Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gibraltar, Jan 18, 2010.
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Embers of the Fire - Chapter 12
Jonin Faltyne hated water. He had come from the sub-arctic world of Andoria and had learned from an early age to swim as a matter of course. Despite his racial heritage, he despised the liquid medium. The feeling of his body gliding through water was more alien to him than soaring through the cosmos at warp speed. Streams, rivers, lakes or oceans, it made no difference.
Faltyne had found the mandatory swimming courses at Starfleet Academy’s enormous aquatic facility outside Tokyo to be a particularly arduous portion of his training, one he’d swore never to repeat if it could be helped.
As he clung to the side of the mortally wounded escape pod, bobbing helplessly in the coastal waters off one of Lakesh’s Cirensa islands, Lieutenant Faltyne had plenty of opportunity to reflect on his hatred of water. After leaving the stricken wreckage of the Phoenix, Faltyne’s life pod had collided with a debris field, causing serious damage to the vehicle. It had held together just long enough to survive atmospheric entry, veering off course and slamming into the ocean in a superheated state that had sent great plumes of steam thundering into the air. It had begun taking on water immediately, which forced the lieutenant to scramble out of the pod with those few survival supplies he could gather amid the rising water.
The Andorian figured he was perhaps two kilometers from shore. The water temperature hovered at about seventeen degrees Celsius, and Faltyne judged by the creeping numbness in his limbs that he needed to get the rescue raft inflated, and soon. The raft’s auto-inflation mechanism had been damaged in the crash, and with deadening fingers, he struggled to join the gas cylinder to the receiver port. Jonin fought back a sense of panic as he wrestled with the mechanism, treading water frantically as the life pod began to sink beneath the waves beside him.
I survive a space battle, the destruction of my ship, burning into a planet’s atmosphere out of control, he lamented, and now I’m going to drown?
With a final desperate burst of energy, he forced the cylinder into the port and held it there as the air screamed into the raft, filling it rapidly. His task complete, Faltyne used his remaining strength to push his survival pack into the small craft and pull himself in after. Exhausted and freezing, he wrapped a thermo-blanket from the survival pack around himself. He rifled through the survival pack and found the emergency subspace transmitter hopelessly shattered. He reached for his compin, only to discover it missing, undoubtedly torn away in his hurried egress from the pod. Facing a deficit of options, he slept. For how long, he couldn’t say.
Faltyne awoke to the sounds of voices and water lapping against a wooden hull. He roused himself with great effort and tried to steal a quick glance over the edge of his raft, cursing his obviousness of his antennae. He was relieved to see what appeared to be a small fishing boat, crewed by men who looked to be Cardassian civilians.
Within moments, Jonin was safely aboard their craft, a metal cup of hot fish juice in hand. As they headed back towards the nearest island, the captain of the fishing trawler told Faltyne that the people of his village had observed his escape pod’s fiery descent, and had launched their boats in hopes of rendering what assistance they could. The lieutenant thanked them profusely.
Suddenly a dark shadow fell across the small boat with a roar, and Faltyne dropped to the deck as a Cardassian military skimmer hove into view above the trawler. Even with his reflexes slowed by cold and exhaustion, Jonin managed to ramp his phaser to maximum and let go a sustained burst that sizzled harmlessly off the skimmer’s shields. As the stun beam engulfed him, Faltyne knew that worse things than water would soon be in store for him.
Pava Lar’ragos was addicted to the Starfleet TacNet. On average, he spent at least an hour every other day interfacing with the interactive tactical network utilized by security personnel throughout the Fleet to communicate and disseminate information. Officers needing ideas on anything from finding a cloaked Romulan warbird to how to deal with an obstinate subordinate could post their queries on the TacNet and avail themselves of their peers’ collective knowledge and experience.
Lar’ragos had posted a ‘hypothetical’ query on strategy and tactics based on the circumstances they’d faced here at Lakesh. He’d just been reading a flurry of interesting responses; unfortunately, the consensus of his colleagues was that there was no easy way out of their current predicament.
The door to his quarters chimed, rousing him from his correspondence. “Come in.”
The door slid open to reveal the disheveled form of Liana Ramirez, hair in disarray, clad in a rumpled uniform that had clearly been thrown on as an afterthought. “I’m sorry to bother you, Lieutenant.” She remained standing in the doorway, looking very much like she might bolt at any second.
Clad in a loose fitting tunic and pants, Pava stood, looking curiously at the exec. “Something I can help you with, Commander?”
“I… “ She sighed, “I’m not sure.”
“Well, I don’t think we’re going to find out with you haunting my doorway. Why don’t you come in?” He gestured to a sitting chair across from the cabin’s couch. Ramirez moved slowly, taking the proffered seat with an air of hesitancy.
Lar’ragos moved to the replicator, recycling an empty mug and withdrawing an identical one filled with steaming chamomile tea. “Something to drink, sir?”
Ramirez shook her head, her tousled hair waving vigorously.
Lar’ragos couldn’t remember seeing Ramirez this vulnerable before, it was like observing an entirely different person.
He took a seat on the couch facing Ramirez. Lar’ragos sipped at his tea while focusing his senses on the younger woman. “Trouble sleeping?”
“You could say that.”
Lar’ragos offered a friendly smile. “You’ve come to the right place. Rumor has it I’m a good listener.”
After a moment’s silence, she raised her head and trained her gaze on the El Aurian. “In the past two days I’ve survived losing a starship and hundreds of crew under my command, and yet all I can think about is…” she fell silent, struggling with the next words.
“…the boy.” Pava finished for her. Her eyes widened and she stole a glance towards the door, fighting the urge to flee. “No, I can’t read your mind, Commander,” he said soothingly. “Think of it as… acute intuition.”
He set the mug down on an end table. “Something about that incident is still bothering you?”
She nodded. “He was just a kid. About the same age I was when I ran away from home.” She ran a hand through her hair, brushing it away from her eyes. “Who knows. Under different circumstances, he could have been headed to the academy. He might have had a future.”
“Maybe so. “ He leaned forward, encouraging her to reestablish eye contact as her head dropped. “Life is choices, sir. That boy made a series of decisions that led him to confront our away team on that day. He’s responsible for his own fate.”
“I know that. Rationally, I know that.”
Lar’ragos observed her silently for a moment. “But emotionally…”
“I can’t get his face out of my head. Every time I close my eyes, he’s there.” She rubbed her eyes, as if trying to extinguish the image. “I probably killed a dozen people that day, and the only one who’s giving me trouble is one I didn’t.” She took in a deep breath, trying to steady herself. “At first, he was so angry. After I tackled him and we were fighting, he just seemed… terrified.”
“That terrified boy knocked you unconscious and then tried to stab you.”
That caught Ramirez’s attention. “He did? I didn’t know that.”
Lar’ragos sat back. “Yes. After you fell off of him, he pulled out a rather wicked looking knife and was about to drive it into your chest.”
The exec took a deep breath and wiped her eyes. “Did you shoot him?”
“No," the older man shook his head fractionally.
“What happened to him?”
Lar’ragos tried to sidestep the question. “Look, I really don’t think going into the details is going to hel—“
“I have to know, Lieutenant.”
Lar’ragos sat still for a moment. “If you must know, I broke his neck.”
Ramirez shuddered, overwhelmed by the events of the past few days. “Such a waste. All of it. After everything these people have been through, that they should have to suffer this.” She wiped away another tear. “And the crews of Phoenix and Sojourner. To have survived all the death and devastation of the war, only to be killed on a mission of mercy.”
“That’s why our task is so important, sir. We have the opportunity to at least try and improve their situation. The Federation doesn’t always succeed, but at least we have the moral wherewithal to try. That’s more than can be said for most governments in this quadrant.”
In a small voice she murmured, “I couldn’t save them, Lar’ragos.”
He resisted the urge to lean across and touch her. They weren’t friends. They were barely shipmates. Nonetheless, he sought some words of comfort that might help the younger woman put her recent experiences in perspective. “You know, the captain who delivered the commencement address when I graduated the academy gave us a quote that’s stayed with me. He said, ‘It’s possible to do everything right, and still lose.’”
The lieutenant knew that all the logic in the universe couldn’t salve the pain of losing a ship and crew, but if Liana could hang on long enough to get time and distance from the incident, there was hope for her and her career. He continued, “They had a weapon we couldn’t defend against. Even if you’d been equipped with one of those mysterious plasma modulators, it would only have prevented torpedoes from being placed inside the ship, not inside the shield grid. The result would have been the same.”
She nodded weakly. “I suppose.” She sat in silence for a few moments, Lar’ragos leaving her alone with her thoughts. Then, slowly, a determined glint took hold in her eyes. The tears stopped, and she straightened. Ramirez stood, looking embarrassed as her hands tried valiantly to smooth the wrinkles from her uniform. “Thank you for your time, Mister Lar’ragos.”
Picking up his tea and padd, he smiled amiably. “Any time, Commander.”
Ramirez made a hasty exit, still very self-conscious but feeling better for having given voice to her fears. She hoped that the lieutenant could be trusted to keep his mouth shut. The last thing she needed was the crew laughing about her insecurities behind her back. On top of all the other humiliations she’d been forced to endure on this assignment; that would simply be too much.
She returned to her quarters and slipped into a fitful sleep that promised neither rest nor escape from her nightmares.
Sandhurst stepped onto the bridge from the turbolift and was pleased to see that Plazzi had resumed his post at the Science station. As he moved around to the geologist’s seat, the captain greeted the older man warmly, “Elisto, good to have you back.”
Plazzi smiled. “Thank you, sir.” On his display, a sensor overlay of Lakesh’s northern continent was highlighted in primary colors.
Sandhurst gestured to the screen as he queried, “Any luck?”
The older man shook his head. “Not as such, Captain.” He tapped at his console, enhancing the image of the Avendra mountain range. He pointed to the formidable crests and the scientist noted, “I’ve been trying to scan for any kind of geological formations which could help disguise a subsurface installation, batholiths and the like. Unfortunately, there are high concentrations of fistrium in the rock strata that inhibit sensors.”
Sandhurst looked perturbed as he asked, “Something like nature’s own cloaking device?”
Plazzi nodded glumly.
“Is there anything else we can try? Could we modify some of our sensor probes to penetrate the rock?”
The commander frowned. “Negative, sir. I’ve already crunched the numbers for that. Even heavily shielded, a probe wouldn’t be able to dig deep enough for our purposes. And even if it could, the fistrium in the soil would prevent our getting any meaningful data.”
Sandhurst leaned his back against the edge of the console. “What about… using our phasers to burrow beneath the fistrium layers, sort of like drilling test wells?”
Plazzi turned in his chair to face the captain, chuckling lightly. “The Avendra range is still volcanically active, though it hasn’t had an eruption in close to two centuries. It’s tectonically unstable, Captain. Using either phasers or torpedoes to punch into the strata could set off some very severe seismic events.”
Sandhurst pondered that with a deep breath. “Right. Not really what they need down on the surface at the moment.”
“My thinking as well, sir.”
As he pushed away from the console, Sandhurst patted Plazzi on the shoulder. “Keep on it, Elisto.”
Embers of the Fire - Chapter 12
Chapter 12 <con'td>
A stiff breeze blustered across the plains of Ensid, sending additional ripples through the already undulating fields of uebwi grass that seemed to stretch for endless kilometers in all directions. The sun crested the distant mountain range to bathe the scenery in the surreal golden glow of a new day. The village of Kendarsi appeared placid, if not entirely deserted. It was for perhaps that reason that Kendarsi had gone untouched during the Breen orbital bombardment of larger population centers.
The township was unremarkable in most respects, and consisted of a collection of off-white or gray structures ranging from one to three stories in height. The community’s only recent notoriety had come as the result of being selected by the Federation relief teams as an excellent location for a food and medical distribution center. Those plans had been delayed indefinitely when the relief operations were rolled up and evacuated by Starfleet following the attacks on the orbiting starships.
Covert surveillance sensors left behind by Phoenix’s withdrawing security personnel had registered several instances of anomalous activity. Upon further scrutiny, this activity seemed to be consistent with the movement of resources and personnel in support of insurgent operations.
QaS DevwI’ M’Sharv was the equivalent of the Klingon ground force’s Sergeant Major. He was clad in traditional Klingon battle armor whose tones had been muted to more reliably approximate the color of the ubiquitous uebwi grass. The bulky optical scanner clutched in his gloved hands was a source of constant irritation for him because it stubbornly refused to reveal anything not already known about the village and its occupants. Even at five hundred meters, the device should have been able to tell him something about what they were facing. As he turned to look askance at Lieutenant Lar’ragos, the old warrior grumbled, “Nothing. Passive scans indicate the village is deserted, and yet we’ve seen movement among the buildings.”
Dressed in a covering of mimetic holomesh over a suit of Starfleet Class-4 combat armor, Lar'ragos’ furrowed brow was clearly visible through the raised faceplate of his helmet. “The people we’ve seen scurrying between buildings could be holograms, trying to draw us into an ambush. Or they could be employing that sensor dampening field again.” He glanced at M’Sharv, smirking as the impatient Klingon struggled with the resolution on the field glasses. “Only one way to be sure.”
M'Sharv sputtered with barely contained frustration, and tossed the binoculars over his shoulder as he turned to inspect his troops. Fifty of Kang’s finest warriors knelt among the grass, their disruptors and bladed weapons held at the ready. Accompanying them was a small detachment of security personnel from Gibraltar, led by Lar’ragos and Master Chief Tark. Everyone, Klingon and Starfleet alike, carried backup projectile sidearm and edged weapons, ever mindful of the potential for the enemy to employ their power nullifying field.
The QaS DevwI’ bared his teeth at Lar’ragos, sneering. “What? More probes? Perhaps you’d like to sneak up and poke the nearest building with a stick?”
Lar’ragos returned his stare impassively, ignoring the quiet snorts and guffaws of those Klingons within earshot. “I was actually going to suggest that we attack. Whatever awaits us in that village, sitting here any longer won’t help us figure out what it is.” He flipped the faceplate of his combat helmet down and his voice took on a distant, digitized quality. “But, if you feel an assault on the target is too bold a plan, I’m familiar with any number of Romulan youth brigade camping songs. We can join hands and sing to the Praetor’s health.”
“Bah!” M’Sharv’s eyes bulged as he forced himself to refrain from rushing the El Aurian. The shoulders of several nearby warriors shook with silent laughter. “When this is over, little man, I think you and I will come to an understanding. If you are fortunate, it will not involve my feasting on your heart.”
Lar’ragos turned away from the burly Klingon to communicate his intentions to his security team with a flurry of quick hand gestures. “Hate to disappoint you, QaS DevwI’, but ask any of my subordinates; a heart is something I’m lacking.” The security team, still crouched low, moved to climb aboard five two-seat combat SWIFTs.
The Special Warfare Interceptor/Fast Transport was a large, shielded hover cycle that had been fielded near the end of the Dominion War. Fast, quiet, durable and well armed, the transports had found favor among Starfleet’s Special Forces community. Just prior to their mission to Lakesh, Pava had managed to appropriate five SWIFTs in the eventuality that the mission required a quick response platform for surface patrols. Each unit boasted two forward facing phaser emitters, controlled by the pilot. The cycles then supported either an under slung gatling-style pulse phaser cannon, or an automatic photon grenade launcher operated by the passenger in the rear seat.
Lar’ragos turned back to M’Sharv as his armored personnel quickly carried out pre-mission checks on the cycles. “If you’ve no objections, we’ll flank the village from the east. I’m correct in thinking you’re going to use a two-prong frontal assault with a diversionary feint to the west?”
The QaS DevwI’ growled, his mustache and beard flecked with spittle. “Yes, damn you! Go, before I forget who my allies are supposed to be!”
He offered M’Sharv a jaunty salute, then moved to his SWIFT at a low crouch, sliding up and onto the pilot’s seat. Lar'ragos initialized his helmet’s communications and engaged the short range, heavily encrypted transmitter that allowed him to speak to his team covertly. “Strike Group Alpha, saddle up. Vector approach to the target, formation Theta. I want to hit them just as they’re getting their first glimpse of the Klingons.”
As he throttled up, he kept the SWIFT no more than a meter off the ground as he led the other four craft plunging through the sea of grass towards the enemy.
Glinn Trevar was sweaty, dirty, and exhausted. He and his thirty-seven man contingent had just completed moving nearly two tons of weapons and supplies into the rural Kendarsi village. The powered sleds that had carried the men and cargo through more than two-hundred kilometers of underground tunnels from the insurgency’s primary base had offered little in the way of creature comforts.
Trevar’s advance party had set up one of the portable sensor inhibitors which created a disruption field that extended out for five kilometers from the village. Within that area scanning devices would not function beyond a few meters. The glinn had requested to bring one of the insurgency’s invaluable area-effect energy siphons, but his superiors had denied him. Thus, if attacked, he would have to weather the full force of his enemy’s ranged weaponry.
He hoped that the sensor inhibitor would be enough. With the Klingons now in orbit, the possibility of an engagement with the fearsome warriors was a distinct possibility. In Trevar’s view, fighting Starfleet was bad enough, but the Klingons were another matter. Federation forces could at the very least be counted on to show a modicum of civility to their prisoners. In Klingon hands, at best he might suffer a quick end fighting the brutes for sport or training purposes. At worst he would be slowly tortured to death for information.
Now he sat atop a crate of photon mortar tubes on the ground floor of some displaced family’s home, sipping water and taking his first real break of the morning.
Sed Grinnt ducked through the low doorway of the structure behind him, and called out in a subdued voice. “Glinn, we’ve spotted movement outside.”
Trevar took a long draught from his canteen and inquired, “Where and how many?”
Grinnt stooped to pick up another energy cell for his rifle from an open crate. “Not certain, sir. The sentries on the western wall reported what looks to be organized movement among the grass. Too ordered to be a herd of animals.”
Klingons… and so soon. Trevar toggled his wrist communicator. “Zandol, close and secure the entrance to the tunnel, make sure the holoemitter camouflage is functioning. If we’re overrun, detonate the charges and collapse this end of the tunnel.” As he received an affirmative from his second-in-command, Trevar quickly scooped up his phaser rifle, flipped off the safety catch and checked the charge. He followed Grinnt back outside, shielding his eyes against the glare of the rising sun. The glinn sensed movement around him an instant before he perceived his own soldiers, crouched low and moving for cover, filtering silently into this quadrant of the settlement.
As Trevar moved to a firing position behind a low mud brick wall, he caught a glimpse of motion from within the sea of grass. Then a series of greenish flashes danced among the swaying blades. Disruptor bolts whipped past him, ripping into stone, wood, and flesh. Those of Trevar’s men left untouched by the Klingons’ opening volley returned fire, their bright yellow beams reaching out towards the enemy. Klingons fell from the ranks of the charging warriors, some pin-wheeling backwards as others vanished entirely as their bodies were consumed by swirling eddies of molecular entropy.
Trevar took aim at one of the advancing Klingons, his sights set on the soldier’s armored breastplate. Without warning, the earth around him and the wall he sheltered behind seemed to explode with cacophonous sound and blinding light. The glinn was thrown into the air, then landed with a bone-jarring thud that drove the air from his lungs. He coughed spasmodically, momentarily unable to catch his breath as the cloud of dust around him began to settle. Something roared past him through the veil of drifting soil, and Trevar registered a glimpse of some kind of cycle-like conveyance, two bodies crouched low atop its back.
Starfleet. They had been flanked by Starfleet. He reached for the comms transmitter on his wrist, wheezing into it ineffectually as he tried to order his men to fall back and regroup. He mustered what strength he could and rose shakily, croaking orders into the communicator as his breath returned to him.
Petty Officer Dunleavy, seated behind Lieutenant Lar’ragos on the team leader’s SWIFT, pressed down on the firing stud as she locked her firing solution in her helmet’s heads-up display. She sent a stream of pulse phaser blasts screaming into the midst of a group of Cardassian soldiers whose attention was centered squarely on the approaching Klingons.
The walls, buildings and trees they were using for cover exploded in a wave of withering shrapnel. Lar’ragos increased the SWIFT’s forward shields, and plunged ahead through the swirling cloud of dust and debris while firing phasers to clear his path. As the SWIFT shot through the haze, he caught a fleeting image of an insurgent lurching unsteadily to his feet, screaming into a comlink affixed to his gauntlet. The rear stabilizer fin from Pava’s cycle sliced cleanly through the man, who fell backwards before parting ways with the other half of his body.
Master Chief Tark, seated on the back of Ensign Diamato’s SWIFT, peppered the southeastern quadrant of the village with a flurry of photon grenades set for airburst stun detonation. A rippling wave of concussive blasts rocked the target area, sending insurgents reeling. Those not rendered immediately unconscious were so disoriented that when they were finally able to function, they found themselves staring down the barrels of Klingon disruptors.
The Klingon warriors, heedless of their reputations as dull-witted thugs, searched the structures of the village with a quickness and precision that left even the highly trained Starfleet security detachment impressed. Rapidly frisking any civilians for weapons, they left them bound but otherwise unharmed. Within a matter of minutes the village had been swept and cleared. Those remaining insurgents who chose to resist were dispatched with relish by the Klingons, who favored bladed weapons for the Cardassians’ last, desperate engagements.
Embers of the Fire - Chapter 13
Ramirez looked over the large-screen medical display, and then directed an impatient frown at Lieutenant Taiee. “Okay, I give up, what am I looking at here?” She was standing in one of Gibraltar’s operating theaters, which also doubled as an isolation exam room. On the two tables behind them lay the Cardassian survivors of the Vintar, rescued a day earlier by Klingon forces during their search of the vessel’s hulk.
The nurse practitioner stepped forward to point to several locations of the Cardassian’s scan highlighted on the display. “The other patient’s injuries appear consistent with exposure to rapid decompression and prolonged oxygen deprivation, but this one’s a different matter.” She tapped at the display’s control interface. “This is a cross section diagram of his prefrontal cortex. The spots that I’ve marked in orange are regions of synaptic degradation.”
“That a result of head trauma?”
“No, sir. Blunt force trauma would show up differently.” Taiee turned to fix a concerned expression on the XO. “If I had to guess -- and mind you the EMH agrees with me -- what we’re seeing here is the result of exposure to direct synaptic stimulation.”
“So, some kind of brain scan?” Ramirez looked bewildered.
Taiee nodded. “Yes, a very specific kind. The technical term for it is ‘invasive neuro-synaptic induction,’ more popularly known as the Klingon mind sifter.”
Ramirez’s expression darkened. “I thought use of that device was outlawed in the Khitomer Accords.”
“It was, sir.”
The exec turned to look at the Cardassian, feeling an unaccustomed swell of pity for the man. Even for a Cardassian, for an insurgent fighter, to have your intellect ripped asunder… layer by layer, memory by memory. “They’ve tortured them. They’ve tortured them, and now they want us to patch them up and send them back for more.”
“So it would seem, sir.” Taiee was no stranger to the many kinds of cruelty sentient species could visit upon one another. During the war, her mobile surgical unit had been the closest facility to a liberated Cardassian prisoner-of-war camp. The Starfleet personnel and Federation civilians that she treated had been horribly brutalized. At the time, Issara had secretly wished to see such violations inflicted upon the Cardassians in return. That she could have harbored such thoughts, however fleeting and understandable given the circumstances, shamed her now. “I won’t allow it, of course. I don’t care if the head of Starfleet Medical herself orders them released to the Klingons.”
Ramirez’s eyes narrowed. “Not going to happen.” She moved for the exit. “Do what you can for them, Lieutenant.”
QaS DevwI’ M’Sharv walked along the line of kneeling prisoners, his d’k tagh clutched tightly in his left hand. “You are now prisoners of the Klingon Empire!” he bellowed. The burly warrior paused at the end of the line just long enough to belt one of the Cardassians across the back of the head with the spike studded end of the blade’s handle. The man fell forward with a grunt, arms still secured tightly behind him.
Lar’ragos looked on, his security team arrayed behind him. The lieutenant held up a hand, stopping the team’s medic in his tracks as he had started towards the now injured Cardassian. The rest of the Starfleet contingent shifted uneasily in their armor, less from rising heat of the midmorning, he imagined, then from what they were observing.
For Lar’ragos the scene held a powerful sense of nostalgia. How many cities, towns, and villages like this one had he conquered or laid waste at the behest of his former masters? He realized with a sudden thrill of familiarity why he loathed M’Sharv so potently, despite having just met the man. Four hundred years earlier it had been Lar'ragos giving this rousing little speech, or one very much like it.
The grizzled Klingon continued, “For those of you who do not understand the concept of empire, allow me to explain. You and your fellow Cardassians are now servants to the Klingon race. You are now and for all time jeghpu’wI’. Serve us well, and you will survive to enjoy some semblance of the lives you once knew. Disobey us… or worse, and you will be slaughtered like livestock, your bodies and those of your loved ones left for carrion birds!” He walked to a position from where the ranks of kneeling insurgents could all see him. “So there is no misunderstanding, you are less now than the Bajorans once were to you.”
One of the prisoners spat loudly towards M’Sharv, his effort falling short by meters. The man’s expression radiated a hatred so visceral that the air around him almost seemed to oscillate with it. The QaS DevwI’ drew his disruptor pistol with blinding speed, vaporizing the offending insurgent where he knelt. M’Sharv holstered his weapon slowly. “Let that be your first lesson.” The eyes of the other Cardassians lowered, none among them willing to chance M’Sharv’s wrath.
It took every ounce of control Lar'ragos possessed to stay his hand. He ached to intervene, to step up and confront M’Sharv. He seethed with the desire to humiliate the QaS DevwI’, to break the man in front of his warriors. But Lar’ragos knew that Klingon honor would demand satisfaction for such an act. The likelihood was that after Pava and his team had been dispatched by M’Sharv’s men, Gibraltar and his crewmates would end up paying the remainder of the tab.
Instead, he flipped his helmet faceplate shut, activating the long range comms. “Lar’ragos to Gibraltar, I need to speak with the captain immediately.”
The door to the captain’s ready room opened to admit Ramirez. As soon as Sandhurst glanced up, he could tell she was angry. He waved her towards the chair sitting opposite his desk. “Have a seat.” She clearly would have rather remained standing, but sat anyway.
“The Klingons have been torturing those prisoners.”
“I know.“ Sandhurst met her gaze evenly.
Her eyes blazed. “And you’re just going to hand them back? Knowing what they’ll be subjected to?” The challenge in her tone was unmistakable.
The captain leaned back in his chair, content to keep his own counsel for the moment.
“This is outrageous! I can’t believe you’re going to allow the Klingons to walk all over us!” The expression on her face was a mix of disbelief and contempt.
He observed her silently for another moment, trying to decide how far he should push this. “You’re talking about the people who shot Phoenix out from under you, Commander. Are you so sure you want to defend their rights as prisoners of war?”
Ramirez sat forward, her anger palpable. “How dare you ask me that! Nobody’s more aware than I what these people have cost us. That doesn’t excuse our turning a blind eye to these prisoners being tortured by our honorable allies. I swore an oath on the day I earned this uniform, the same oath you took…”
She came up short as Sandhurst began laughing spitefully.
“You really don’t understand me at all, do you Commander?” He shook his head, his disappointment evident. “I’ve no intention of allowing those Cardassians to be transferred into Klingon custody. In fact, Starfleet regulations specifically prohibit rendering prisoners to the supervision of any third party who isn’t a signatory to the Seldonis Convention governing treatment of detainees.” He moved forward suddenly to stand and brace his arms on the desk as he glared across at Ramirez. “But you just assumed that I’d knuckle under to K’Vada.” He sneered, “I’m so glad I’ve earned your confidence.”
In response to Sandhurst’s aggressive posture, Ramirez rose to her feet as well. Despite his size advantage, Ramirez was undaunted. “Maybe I’d know that, Captain, if you’d spend any time at all talking with your first officer! Whenever you want to bounce ideas off somebody, instead of looking to me you lock yourself away in here with Lieutenant Lar’ragos.” A flicker of uncertainty shone in the captain’s eyes, and sensing vulnerability, Ramirez forged ahead. “What happened to your needing me on this mission? You’ve asked for my input on the insurgency exactly once. The rest of the time you seem content if I stay out from under foot.”
His malicious reply evaporated on his tongue. Sandhurst’s shoulders sagged, and he pushed back from the desk, resuming his seat heavily. “Touché, Commander.”
Caught off guard by Sandhurst’s abrupt change of mien, Ramirez nevertheless held her ground.
Sandhurst rubbed the back of his neck absently as he muttered, “For what it’s worth, Ramirez, I’m glad you haven’t let your personal feelings about the Cardassians influence your ethics.”
She regarded him warily. “And you feel you have?”
Sandhurst fought back a defeated sigh. “I think that I’ve made far too many compromises here, while failing to do anything proactive. We came here to help these people. Now, their planet is burning down around them, and all we’ve to show for it is hundreds of civilian and Starfleet dead.”
Ramirez offered, “Our own personal Kobayashi Maru?”
“Something like that.”
“Bridge to Captain Sandhurst.”
“Sir, priority message from Lieutenant Lar’ragos on the surface.”
“Acknowledged, put it through.”
There was a brief pause before Pava’s voice announced, “Captain, we’ve got a situation developing down here. Our attack on the suspected insurgent position was a success, and we’ve netted seventeen prisoners. However, the commander of the Klingon contingent has already executed one of them, and if we don’t act soon there’s sure to be more unnecessary casualties among the POW’s.”
Sandhurst stood, rounded the desk and made for the door. “Understood, Lieutenant. Are the prisoners in an area where we could beam them all out at once?” He passed through the parting doors and onto the bridge, Ramirez on his heels.
“Negative, sir. The POW’s are all in one location, but we’ve yet to pinpoint the sensor jamming device that prevented us from scanning the village prior to our assault. It’s very doubtful you could get a transporter lock on any of us.”
Sandhurst murmured, “Of course,” under his breath as he took his place in the center seat. “Transporter room one, can you get a positive lock on anyone inside the village?”
“Stand by, sir. Scanning… No, sir, sensor interference at those coordinates is preventing us from getting an accurate lock.”
“Acknowledged.” The captain looked to Ramirez, who had assumed her seat in the well. “Thoughts, Commander?”
She pondered the question for the briefest of moments, then replied, “I’d recommend a two part strategy, sir. First, we have Lar’ragos and his team look for the sensor scrambler. Meanwhile, we talk with K’Vada, try and get him to reign in his people. If nothing else, we might stall them for a bit.”
“Good idea.” Sandhurst tapped at his armrest display. "Commander, you get in touch with Lar’ragos and relay his new orders.” He stood. “Open communications with the Kang.”
“Aye, Captain. Channel open.”
His guts knotting with tension, Sandhurst wondered how he might sway the imposing Klingon general. K’Vada shouldn’t give a damn what a Starfleet captain’s opinion was of his tactics, but perhaps there was some way he could make the man see reason.
General K’Vada appeared on screen, looking dour. “What do you want, Captain?”
And here we go, Sandhurst steeled himself. “General, it appears we have a developing situation on the surface. Some of your ground forces are abusing the prisoners in our joint custody. This makes our participation somewhat problematic.”
K’Vada looked pained. “Speak plainly, Captain. I have no stomach for subtleties.”
Sandhurst pursed his lips. “Fine. I request you order your troops to stop killing the Cardassian prisoners, sir.”
“You’ve made your feelings clear on this matter, Captain. If you are uncomfortable with how we treat those we’ve conquered, I suggest you withdraw your surface team.”
Sandhurst felt a growing surge of anger. "The Cardassians aren't a conquered people, General. If you'll remember, they joined our cause and helped turn the tide against the Dominion at the last minute, paying a terrible price in the process. Our occupation of their territory is merely to help stabilize their government and economy."
"That makes them all the more dangerous, Captain," K'Vada growled. "I would have more respect for the Cardassians had they not betrayed their alliance to the Dominion. They proved beyond all doubt that they cannot be trusted, and will turn their backs on any pact if it suits their whims."
Sandhurst floundered, fighting for purchase in the face of K'Vada's indignation. "I believe we can still work together to accomplish something on Lakesh, General… salvage something worthwhile from all this chaos.”
He poured every ounce of conviction he could into the next statement. “But as long as your men continue to torture and execute helpless prisoners, I can’t offer you any further assistance.”
K’Vada sat back slightly in his throne-like command chair and inclined his head. “Your actions at Lakesh have been duly noted. Your continued presence here is not required.”
"I'm sorry?" The captain frowned uncertainly.
“You are ordered to withdraw from the Crolsa system, Captain. You may gather your civilian transports and depart.”
His face reddened, and Sandhurst countered, “I thought we had addressed this issue, sir. I’ll need confirmation from Starfleet Command before I can--”
K’Vada cut him off. “It would be a mistake to treat this as a request, Captain Sandhurst.” He gestured sharply to someone off screen.
An alert warbled at the Operations station. Ensign Browder announced, “Sir, a Klingon K’Vort-class cruiser has just decloaked directly astern.”
The general looked entirely too satisfied as K’Vada observed Sandhurst with detached amusement. “I am certain confirmation from your admiralty will be forthcoming. In the meantime, the Grolkam will provide an escort to the edge of the system.”
“General, we still have Starfleet personnel unaccounted for on the surface. I would ask for time enough to recover our people.” Sandhurst’s expression hardened.
“Request denied, Captain. You may be sure that if we find your missing crew, they will be well cared for and returned to you as soon as is practical.” K’Vada seemed to consider something for a moment. “Before you depart, you will beam the two prisoners aboard the Kang.”
“With respect, sir, I will do no such thing.” Sandhurst’s reply was immediate, and he took pleasure in standing his ground.
For an instant it appeared as though K’Vada would press the issue. Then he smiled that same unnerving sneer that Sandhurst had seen in his ready room. “No matter. We have others now who will give us the information we need.” He waved a hand dismissively. “I bid you farewell, Captain.”
As he considered the dwindling options open to him, Sandhurst weighed taking a stand on moral grounds against starting an interstellar incident with the Klingons. It was a battle he was sure to lose. Both his crew and the survivors of Phoenix had been through enough. This planet and this mission had already bled Captain Awokou’s original task force white.
Sandhurst refused to sacrifice anyone else on the altar of his own pride. He gradually became aware that the entire bridge crew awaited his next command with baited breath. “Commander Ramirez, recall our away team. Ops, order all relief ships into convoy formation and have them standby for departure.” He turned back to the view screen and the captain frowned at the image of K’Vada. “It appears I have little choice other than to comply with your instructions, General. For whatever good it does, be advised that I take this action under protest, and will lodge a formal complaint with Starfleet Command regarding your treatment of prisoners of war.”
“Words, Captain. Merely words. On the day the Federation comes to realize that a single decisive act is more potent than all the words ever spoken… on that day you will become worthy allies of the Empire.” The Kang terminated the comlink, leaving Sandhurst staring at the blank viewer.
As he sat back down in his command chair, Sandhurst muttered, “I really dislike that man.” He took measure of his bridge, and the captain saw that the assembled officers and crew were beginning to relax now that the chances of an armed confrontation with the Klingons appeared to be dwindling.
You know, I was starting to like Klingons for their honour!
K'Vada is hopefully an aberration as far as the Empire is concerned, though the old saying "one bad apple" springs to mind.
Sandhurst, like many military commanders before him, is caught between a rock and a hard place. Let's hope there's some redemption.
Ramirez made a nice stand with Sandhurst there and I thought it developed her character nicely.
Lar’ragos certainly has some history too. Hmm, I suspect I have some reading up to do!
Well paced, nice angst, compulsive reading!
K'Vada is a traditionalist. He's simply guaging the Cardassians on the behavioral patterns they've established to date... unfortunately for the Cardassians.
Hope springs eternal.
If there's one thing Liana will never do, it's sit mutely by while perceived injustice goes unchallenged.
Pava is a complicated fellow with a long backstory and enough issues to fill a Galaxy-class starship.
Embers of the Fire - Chapter 14
Lar’ragos and his team fanned out through the village of Kendarsi, using their tricorders as crude Geiger-counters. They used the sensor interference itself as their guide, moving towards those areas where their devices were less functional in hopes of stumbling across the offending device.
Lar’ragos and two of his officers forced their way in to a small outbuilding adjoining a family cottage. As Petty Officer Dunleavy’s tricorder burned out with a crackling gout of sparks, Lar’ragos noted, “I think we may be getting close.”
From behind him one of the security NCO’s said, “Lieutenant, check our six.”
Lar'ragos turned as a group of Klingon warriors approached, led by an especially severe looking M’Sharv. The lieutenant fought the urge to raise his weapon, his instincts insisting that something was very wrong here. Still, he could not resist baiting the man. “Done playing grand inquisitor, M’Sharv?”
“Starfleet, it appears you will be leaving.” The burly Klingon actually looked disappointed. “And before we have had our reckoning.”
The QaS DevwI’ rested his hand on the grip of his holstered disruptor pistol.
Just then, Lar'ragos’ helmet comm crackled with Ramirez’s voice. “Gibraltar to away team, stand by for immediate beam-out. Move out of the zone of sensor interference double-time.”
“Acknowledged. On our way.”
The Klingon contingent surrounded the Starfleet personnel and shepherded them back to their equipment where they were reunited with the others from the away team. When they were safely outside the scrambling field, the lieutenant signaled their readiness for transport.
As he stood next to his SWIFT, the El Aurian raised his faceplate and fixed his gaze on M’Sharv. “May the gods forgive you for what you’re about to do here.”
M’Sharv’s reply was a coarse laugh. “Fool. Our gods are dead, and theirs cannot help them.”
Pava’s response was lost in the hum of the transporter field that swept the away team home.
The stars fell behind him as smears of light in the blackness. Captain Sandhurst found that he could barely stomach the sight of himself reflected in the viewport. He was running away. There was no other possible explanation, and no rationalization he could find would make the experience any more agreeable.
He sat in his ready room brooding, hating the feeling of failure that seemed to permeate the entire ship. He realized that he had been completely unprepared for that possibility on this, his first mission as captain. Sandhurst had thought that he and his crew would somehow find a way to resolve the situation. Perhaps they might have located the secret insurgent base, enlisted the aid of the remaining civilians to their cause, something. But the miracle solution was not to be, and the mission ended in disaster. Two starships destroyed, hundreds dead or horribly crippled, and for what? The very people he had been sent to help would now be crushed under the boot of a vindictive Klingon military.
Less than an hour after the Federation convoy departed the Crolsa system, Admiral Salk’s orders to withdraw had arrived by subspace. A nice, neat little wrap-up to Starfleet Command’s silent complicity in the Klingons’ actions. Despite Sandhurst’s determination to throw the light of public scrutiny on the situation, he knew no matter how embarrassing the episode proved to be for the Federation, the Council would not risk war with the Klingon Empire. The peace would be preserved, whatever the cost in Cardassian lives.
His door chimed. He turned in his desk chair to face the entrance, but said nothing.
Another chime. He sighed heavily and grumbled, “Come.”
A freshly showered Lar’ragos entered, having spent the past half hour washing away the last remnants of Lakesh from his person. Sandhurst stared at him silently for a moment before practically snarling, “What?”
Lar’ragos quirked an eyebrow as he settled onto the couch. “Word has it you’re in a bit of a snit.”
Sandhurst glowered at the El Aurian. “I don’t remember inviting you to have a seat.”
“Funny, neither do I.”
The captain’s voice was laden with warning. “Really not in the mood.”
Lar’ragos gauged his friend’s candor, then nodded slowly. “I know, so I’ll be brief. You’ve been making some discrete inquiries that are getting some very important people rankled.”
The captain settled back into his chair to fold his arms across his chest in an unconsciously defensive posture. “Regarding?”
“Regarding the device in engineering. I’ve been asked by interested third parties to warn you to back off.”
Lar’ragos scowled. “Don’t be obtuse, Captain. You know precisely who and what I’m talking about. You've set a great many things in motion behind the scenes. Talking publicly about what we found in engineering could endanger those investigations."
Sandhurst’s face hardened, and he leaned across the table. “Pava, did you put that thing on my ship?”
Lar'ragos flinched as if struck, looking utterly incredulous. “You think I’m capable of such a thing?”
Sandhurst smirked wickedly. “Don’t play the wounded bird; you’re not that good an actor. I know for a fact that you’ve done far worse in your time.” His temper rising, he jabbed an accusatory finger in Lar'ragos’ direction. “I haven’t forgotten listening to your impassioned speeches at the academy. On and on about how the Federation was unique in all your travels, how it was the one bastion against the imperialism and chaos that consumed much of the rest of the galaxy. I believe your exact words were, ‘It must be protected and preserved at any cost.’”
Lar’ragos met his captain’s gaze steadily. “Let me make this absolutely clear. I did not place that device aboard the ship. I am not at present, nor have I ever worked for Starfleet Intelligence in any capacity.”
He eased back into his chair and Sandhurst frowned. “I’d almost feel better if you were. At least then I’d know who among my crew was harboring divided loyalties.”
Lar'ragos gave the captain a pessimistic shrug and looked apologetic. “From what little I know about how these people operate, by the time we figure it out, whoever planted it will be long gone.” The old soldier looked down for a moment, rubbing his hands together. “Anyway, the powers-that-be strongly suggest you let this go.”
Sandhurst scratched the back of his neck, observing his friend for a moment. He turned his chair and his back on the Tactical officer and uttered, “Get out.”
Lar’ragos departed without another word, leaving the captain alone with his thoughts and the retreating stars.
Ramirez awoke from a troubled sleep to the insistent beeping of her data terminal, the double chime of the alert signaling a priority communiqué. Bleary-eyed, she staggered over to her work desk and slid into the chair, toggling the viewer on.
Rear Admiral Monica Covey appeared on screen, smiling wistfully at Ramirez’s appearance. “Commander, sorry to have woken you.”
She rubbed her eyes before sweeping her hair back and away from her face. Ramirez muttered, “S’alright, sir. What can I do for you, Admiral?”
“I just received Captain Sandhurst’s request for your reassignment to my staff, and I wanted to discuss it with you.”
Ramirez brightened noticeably. “That’s wonderful news, Admiral. We’re on course for DS9 with a brief stopover at Epsilon. I can catch the next available transport from the station to Starbase 71.”
Covey paused, mulling over her next words. “Liana… I’d like you to consider remaining on Gibraltar for the time being.”
A look of complete disbelief washed over Ramirez’s features. “I’m sorry, sir… you what?”
The admiral appeared momentarily uncertain, then her resolve seemed to firm. She focused her dark brown eyes on the younger woman. “Donald needs you as his right hand.”
Ramirez’s face colored. “Respectfully, sir, I have no desire whatsoever to continue serving on this ship.”
“I’m fully aware of that, Liana, but sometimes the needs of the service outweigh our personal ambitions.” Covey’s expression softened. “I’m asking for one year. Asking, Liana. I won’t order you to do this. However, at the end of that year, it would be accurate to say that you’d have a flag officer who owes you a favor. A big one.”
Ramirez fought to calm her breathing. “How big?”
“You could come back to my staff, if that’s what you want. Or, I could offer you the first available XO’s billet on a Galaxy or Sovereign-class ship. Perhaps command of a smaller vessel, an escort or deep space scout?”
Her shoulders slumped in resignation. Ramirez stared at the admiral. “If I’m going to sign on for this, sir, I need to know why.”
Covey gave her a questioning look.
“Why is Sandhurst so important to you? What the hell makes him so worthy of all this effort?”
As she gave the younger woman a wry smile, the admiral replied, “It’s nothing I could explain to you in a few minutes. I very much hope that by the end of this next year, you’ll be able to answer that question for yourself.”
Still looking unconvinced, Liana pressed, “But why me? He’s got Lar’ragos. Hell, he’d be delighted to promote the lieutenant to the executive officer’s post.”
“Lar’ragos is Donald’s most glaring weakness, Liana. As a cadet Donald worshipped the man, and still does in some ways. Pava has his strengths, of course, but he’s a deeply troubled man who refuses to confront his demons. He can’t be trusted with a command level position, and fortunately to some degree he seems to know this.” Covey shook her head in amazement. “I even opened the door for him to the Enterprise, but he wouldn’t bite. He passed up the flagship to serve with your captain. That, in and of itself should tell you something about Donald’s uniqueness.”
Ramirez closed her eyes as her hopes and expectations for the next year seemed to evaporate.
“And as for you, Commander, you’re exactly what the captain needs in an XO. You’re capable, fearless, and brutally honest when it’s required. Your strengths counteract Donald’s weaknesses. In my book, that’s the definition of an effective command team.”
Reluctant but committed, Ramirez said, “Admiral, sir, you have yourself a deal.”
Captain’s Personal Log, SD- 53172.6
Gibraltar’s first mission has ended in failure. I sincerely hope this ignoble beginning will not effect our future assignments. I’m increasingly pleased with the caliber and fortitude of my crew, despite their being labeled a ‘gang of misfits’ by others in the Fleet. These people might not be the most celebrated officers and enlisted personnel in the service, but they have performed with distinction and do credit to Starfleet.
Starbase Deep Space Nine
Sandhurst found speaking through a Betazoid intermediary to be a uniquely surreal experience. He was drawn to the telepath’s dark eyes as he attempted to speak through him to another who might as well have been a corpse.
Captain Banti Awokou lay immobile, eyes open but unseeing, atop a biobed in DS9’s infirmary. The male Betazoid sat beside him, giving voice to Awokou’s thoughts.
Regardless of his own discomfort, Sandhurst had specifically requested this meeting. Dr. Bashir had brought Awokou out of stasis so that Sandhurst could give him a full report on the fate of his ship and the mission to Lakesh. It had not been easy to tell the celebrated captain that his beloved Phoenix had been lost, struck from the sky in a single instant of violence.
Nonetheless, Sandhurst felt that he owed Awokou that much. Ramirez had wanted to do it, feeling equally obligated, but Sandhurst had taken up the task himself.
“… regret that it ended this way, Captain. She was a fine ship with a first-rate crew.” Sandhurst fell silent, looking down at Awokou’s inert features. His words, however heartfelt, were totally inadequate.
The Betazoid spoke with a kind of detached calm. “I understand, Captain. Tell Ramirez not to blame herself. This assignment was botched from the beginning.”
“You really think so?”
“Absolutely. These people had an arsenal at their disposal. We’d have needed twenty starships laden with an occupation force to pacify Lakesh. Instead, we had thee and me. Perhaps it’s not politically correct to say so, but I feel I’ve earned the right… I hope the Klingons burn that planet down.”
As Sandhurst rose to leave he murmured, “Of that I have no doubt, Captain.”
“Was your first command what you’d expected?”
The question, posed so innocently, caught Sandhurst off guard.
“No.” He turned back and his eyes tracked from Awokou to the Betazoid intermediary. “I thought the pressure would be nearly overwhelming; the responsibility so awesome as to defy description.” Donald Sandhurst turned and passed through the door onto the Promenade. “I had no idea.”
I have actually read this series over at Ad Astra but for some reason I don't think I ever reviewed there. I must say that you do a great job with your characters. Captan Sandhurst for example is impressive in the way he seems to just be an average officer of no particular note yet is on a road to being one of the great Starfleet Captains like Kirk or Pike. I especially like his trick in "Prophets and Loss" which is the kind of thing that James T. Kirk would pull off. Lar'ragos also has such a well detailed background while maybe being something of an anti-hero. He certainly contrast but also compliments Sandhurst. I also happen to like the mystery that is Lieutenant Juneau.
Another thing that am impressed with are the ground vehicles, combat equipment and special forces that you present in the series. It reminds me of the story "A Planet to Far" located here http://www.bettnet.com/startrek/index.html for the well developed presentation of Star Trek ground warfare.
In contrast to the great characters and storytelling the one thing that has drawn my attention as odd is how weak you present the Gibraltar as being. The Constitution Refit ships have a warpcore that is a big as those carried by many 24th century starships so in being overhauled she could easily have been fitted with a modern core. That means that as far as power production goes Gibraltar should be a mach for ships like the Intrepid-Class for example which means she could support modern shield generators and phaser banks.
As for her warp speed the Constitution Refit was supposed to have a top speed of Warp 12 on the old scale which is a hair more than Warp 9.2 on the new scale. The toughest thing to bring up to standards would be building a new torpedo bay to replace the obsolete one she is equipped with. With the exception of that though I believe the Gibraltar while not having the range of a modern ship due to the likely lower fuel capacity should have the tactical speed, maneuverability and firepower of a modern mid size Federation starship.
Wow. Guess I gave that more thought than I had planed. Don't let that last paragraph get you down the series is great and I would look forward to seeing new adventurers of the Gibraltar and its crew. There are after all a number of points hanging unresolved and I believe their are a couple of unfinished stories in the series that I would look forward to seeing completed.
One of the best Trek fan-fiction novels I've ever read. In fact, good enough to be more than mere fan-fiction.
I'll just thought I'd say that in case anyone cares about my opinion.
Can only second the comments of both KJ_A (though I'm not technically adroit enough to speculate on the engineering side!) and CeJay.
This is paperback worthy material Gib.
Excellent stuff and a nice cliff-hangar to lead on to the next story with crew conflict, suspicions, and failure to contend with!
Top writing mate, well done.
Gibraltar, I never did get a chance to read this first story when i started reading your stories. Now that i'm in on it, I can see that the Gibraltar series was excellent from the beginning.
I can also see that i was totally right in thinking that Pava Lar'ragos should be played by Liev Schreiber...should it ever be televised, of course.
Televised!? It's gotta be a full blown, Gibraltar blockbuster motion picture or nothing, I say.
I like that quiet, dangerous edge that Schreiber would bring to the role. I just never imagined Pava to be that tall.
Thank you for the commentary, folks!
KJ A, I'm glad you've read and enjoyed the whole series. As for Gibraltar's restrictions as a starship, that was really the whole driving force behind the series, to show a crew that had to dodge, claw, and cheat their way out of danger because the couldn't outrun or outfight it. You make salient points about what could potentially have been the ship's top speed, etc, but seeing as we're dealing with imaginary space vessels anyway, I decided to take some liberty with the specs.
CeJay, thanks again for your continued patronage. I'm grateful for your support and critical feedback.
unusualsuspex, thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you've enjoyed the series opener, and I appreciate the kind words. I hope you'll check out Geometries of Chance over on Ad Astra for the crew's next adventure.
Admiral2, thanks for the support and the comments! I think Liev Schreiber would make a terrific Lar'ragos, but he's a bit too big and physically defined. Pava's relatively small and wiry, which is part of what makes him so dangerous. People tend to underestimate him.
I see Pava looking more like this: http://tengossip.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/stephen-look.jpg
I got no problem with a blockbuster, CeJay. I'm just saying, you put this in front of cameras, Schreiber's gotta play Lar'ragos.
But can that boy act? We know Liev can. You gotta go with the best guy on this.
Oh, he can act...
Angel's a better vampire, and Liev is tougher without the fangs.
You know, despite being a big Buffy and Angel fan, Boreanaz never quite sold me on the whole vampire thing. Schreiber is an undeniably bad mofo, though.
I have tried to picture a contemporary actor to play Pava, yet no one really comes to mind. I see a wiry but unassuming man who can muster a penetrating stare and a smile that would make a Denobulan squirm.
The late Anthony Perkins (of Psycho fame) comes to mind, though I understand he was a vegetarian. Pava Lar'ragos fans know he most definitely was not a vegetarian.
Here's a link to a photo of Perkins that reminds me of Pava.
TLR: I suppose Perkins is an option, but he looks more like how i picture Elisto Plazzi than he does Pava. Of course, either way you'd need to raise Perkins from the dead, so, he probably shouldn't be first choice.
Gibraltar: I'm not generally into vampires from any show or whatever. I think they're overplayed, especially the emo, whiny-teen-girl-magnet type, but given a choice I'll take any Buffy/Angel vampire over what i saw in that video.
Gibralter, finally got read this, and posting it here helped light a fire under me.
My sense of your characters has gotten even sharper after reading through their experiences on Lakesh, their ill-fated first mission.
Also, I have a better sense of why Ramirez remained aboard.
As always, great attention to combat/military terminology and tactics.
Thanks for sharing this again.
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