ST: Independence 10 - "Machines of War"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dnoth, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Author’s Note: I have a confession. I was a Transformers fan before I was a Star Trek fan. I love them both. I think a crossover story is doable. In fact, I think it could be good. (hopefully :)) The following is my effort in that regard.

    This is not the first time a Transformer/Star Trek story has been posted. Admiral2 posted one a few months ago for a monthly challenge.

    I’m going to take a different path than that author did. I’m drawing upon several different incarnations of Transformers. I’m cherry-picking what I think is most ‘believable.’ It’s heavy in Generation 1 and the War Within comics with some 2007 movie mixed in. (If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry; the story should still be fun.)

    Since Transformers is a very visual franchise (and not everyone might be familiar with the characters), so I’ll be posting some pictures I’ve found from here and there as a supplement.

    I envision the Transformers’ bodies in this story to be blend of G1 and movie style. (i.e. the characters’ bodies are more complex and intricate, but they are at least recognizable as their G1 counterparts.) None of the Transformers have “Earth forms,” instead, they have Cybertronian equivalents.

    I hope you enjoy it. I’m certainly having a blast writing it!
    Btw, Paramount owns both Star Trek and Transformers! :beer:
     
  2. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    There is no instance of a country having benefited from prolonged warfare.
    ~Sun Tzu

    PROLOGUE

    Stardate: 54031.2 (12 January 2377)
    USS Independence, Main Lounge
    Sector 32981 (Unclaimed Space between the Federation and the TamarianRepublic)

    “Captain’s Log: We’ve been traveling rim ward, practically non-stop, for almost three months to return our Tamarian exchange officer.

    We’ve left Federation space behind. Before us, is a region that has been explored very little. The crew is hoping Starfleet will cut us loose for awhile after we drop D’nas off and we can do some exploring. I must admit, the prospect of becoming an explorer is…something I’ve never really considered before.”

    *****

    “Jinal’s,” the Independence’s lounge, had become rather popular since the re-launch of the vessel. It was named as a tribute to the fallen hero that saved thirty-eight crewmembers of Aurelia’s previous ship.

    At any given time, there were about 150 people onboard that were off-duty. Of those, half slept. A majority of the remaining 75 could often be found at “Jinal’s.” The lounge had a wide variety of games including: a dom-jot table, a pool table, darts, 3D chess, and a table in one corner for an old Earth game, Dungeons and Dragons. Luckily, Steamrunners sported a rather large lounge.

    There was a group of officers and crew that created an impromptu band. It consisted of a Terran guitar and saxophone, a Risian lute, Caitain drums, and a Deltan harp. They played nearly every night. Unfortunately, they came from different musical backgrounds and produced some type of mutation between Caitian classical and Terran jazz. All and all, it didn’t sound too bad. It was at least…mellowing.

    Unlike some other captains, Sintina Aurelia had no qualms about socializing with her crew. Though, she still struggled to make any real connections to her new subordinates. She was always one to make friends…and to trust…slowly. Once you got in her good graces, however, she would protect you veraciously; even to her own detriment.

    Karim bin Nadal, the ship’s new executive officer, knew all too well about his captain’s quirks. He, along with Lieutenant Kimula, were the only people on the ship that Sintina had elevated to the level of ‘friend.’

    Everyone’s emotions were erratic since the destruction of the former Independence and the loss of two-thirds of her crew. Sintina made every effort to keep her grief discreet, but didn’t attempt to hide her contempt for the situation. She had been a particularly sour mood for a few days now.

    The trio all sat at a table; sipping drinks and listening to the music. Although, she was off-duty, Captain Aurelia never really internalized the concept of separating work from recreation. She leaned over to Karim, “Well, exec, you’ve had a few months to revaluate our crew. What’s your opinion?”

    He smirked at the question and attempted to lighten the mood at the table, “I’m not used to all these science personnel.”

    Kimula, the Andorian counselor, chimed in, “Zian was telling me how happy he was to be in charge of an actual section; instead of just 3 people, like on the old Indy.”

    “The ‘old Indy,’ sighed Sintina, “is that what we’re calling her now?”

    Kimula and bin Nadal shared a glance, knowing their attempt to perk up Sintina failed, once again.

    The captain elaborated, “I’ve commanded three ships, in two years. It doesn’t bode well.”

    The Persian XO attempted to console her, “This is a good, sturdy ship. We have a fine crew. And we have a hell of a captain.”

    “Here, here,” added the Andorian woman as she rose her glass.

    Aurelia, however, continued to sulk, “Are you sure? My stubbornness got our ‘old’ ship destroyed along with a good part of her crew.”

    Kimula retorted, “Nonsense…”

    “No, I mean it,” plowed Sintina, “I only got my first command because it was wartime and Captain Camar died. Then, I was told to my face that the only reason I got that Courageous-class ship was because I was a non-thinking drone. Now, I get my third command due to the pity of an influential admiral. If it weren’t for all that, I’d be a first officer still…at best.”

    The counselor had an edge to her words, “You’re being too hard on yourself, Sintina. You’ve proven yourself against the Dominion, Cardassian insurgents, the Alshian…hell, we even bested a Sovereign under your leadership.”

    The talking up wasn’t enough to bring Aurelia out of her funk, “A monkey could’ve been in charge of the ‘old Indy’ and won those battles.” She listed off, “Since I assumed command of the Midas, I’ve lost two ships, alienated some of the most respected admirals and captains in the fleet, and let’s face it, this whole mission to return D’nas is to get me out of peoples’ hair.”

    “No,” countered Karim, “it’s to bring our profile down a little. It’s to protect us.” He added, “Besides, you personally saved the president’s life. So you have at least a few powerful allies.”

    The captain unenthusiastically said, “Oh yeah, go me.”

    Kimula could take no more of Sintina’s pouting. She puffed and began to shake her head. Then, addressed her captain, “Uh-uh, poor you.” She raised her voice…a bit too much, “You’re not the only one who lost something, or someone, you self-centered…” She managed to restrain her curse, but continued as she left her chair, “If that’s really how you feel, request a demotion like Windslow did. At least, he stopped feeling sorry for himself.”

    She didn’t give Aurelia a chance to respond. Kimula turned and stomped out of the room.

    An uncomfortable silence followed between Karim and Sintina. The first officer cleared his throat and stared at his drink.

    The captain finally offered, “It’s your job to defend me against attacks like that now.”

    Somberly and deliberately, he got out of his seat as well and stated, “No, it’s my job to make sure you hear it.” He coolly walked away from the table, leaving Sintina alone.

    Aurelia glanced about to see if anyone overheard the exchange. Luckily, no one seemed to notice…or knew enough to actively ignore it. She ran her fingers through her hair, got up, and headed for the exit as well.

    *****

    Sintina silently entered her quarters. The cabin was only lit by streaks of passing star light. She sat on the couch next to the windows and stared out into space. She sighed deeply, rested her head on her arm, and quietly said, “goddamnit.”

    END OF PROLOGUE
     
  3. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    CHAPTER 1

    Stardate: 54033.6 (13 January 2377)
    USS Independence, Main Engineering
    Sector 32981

    The type-V matter/anti-matter reactor had recently been replaced when the ship was at dry-dock. The vertically aligned core pulsed with a steady beat. While it was fully operational, every engineer knew it took months to ‘fine tune’ a new reactor.

    The unique design of the Steamrunner produced some unique problems. Few Starfleet ships incorporated warp nacelles into the primary hull. Only Saber, Defiant, and Steamrunner classes had the feature. These vessels produced a distinctive warp field compared to ships with more traditional outboard nacelles. Also, warp stresses on the hull necessitated a certain amount of ‘over-engineering.’ Not to mention other particular traits that engineers at a ship yard don’t consider…

    “My room always glows red from the Bussard collector, Commander!” complained Doctor Zo’Kama.

    Ethan Windslow regarded her with only a hint of annoyance as he rolled his stool to another station. “I’m sorry I haven’t gotten to it yet, doctor.”

    “Not to mention,” continued the Arkonian, “the medical concerns of prolonged exposure to all the particles they suck in.”

    Ethan rolled his eyes, “Doctor, the ramscoops only usually ‘suck in’ hydrogen. Besides which, the hull and SIF will protect the crew from anything dangerous we might collect.”

    The usually light-hearted, reptilian officer seemed unconvinced. She pressed, “And the light pollution?”

    With a sigh, he conceded, “Alright, I’ll have someone adjust the transparent aluminum to filter out the light from the collectors.”

    The Arkonian grinned, exposing a mouth of incisors, “Thank you, Commander.” Having accomplished her goal, she turned and returned to her default setting of merriment and exited. Though, she was careful to make sure Windslow didn’t see it.

    As she left, Windslow allowed himself an inner joke involving crew quarters and red lights. A rare grin emerged. He quickly went back to work.

    *****

    Deck one of the Steamrunner-class Independence consisted of: the bridge, the captain’s ready room, the conference lounge, a head, and a few storage lockers. The lounge was directly aft of the bridge and the ready room was starboard of it.

    The bridge differed significantly from the command center on the former Indy. The executive officer or counselor didn’t have a designated station on the bridge. Karim, however, often manned the mission operations post and since Kimula also served as the communications officer, it wasn’t an issue. Instead of sharing the forward ‘pit’ with the helm, the tactical station was a free-standing post behind the captain’s chair. There was a separate internal security station to the left of the tactical position.

    Aurelia emerged from the turbolift…the crew new better than to announce her arrival. Tang Zian turned from the science station, “Good morning, ma’am.”

    She waved an acknowledging hand in the young officer’s direction as she made her way to her office.

    The Asian persisted, “Ma’am, I have a request.”

    Sintina paused, “And what’s that, Lieutenant?”

    He indicated to her to look at his display, “During the night shift, Ensign Chattopadhyay noticed something odd.”

    “What?” Sintina inquired.

    Bringing up a scan result, Tang explained, “It’s some huge metallic mass in interstellar space, 1.2 light years away. It’s almost as big as Mars.”

    She leaned in, “Any guesses?”

    The chief science officer vocalized what he had already considered, “Well, its way too small to be a Dyson’s Sphere. And I doubt it’s a natural phenomenon.”

    “Could it be a Borg Sphere?”

    He shook his head, “I don’t think so, Captain.”

    She looked over at him with a small smile, “You’re just chomping at the bit to go investigate, aren’t you?”

    A smirk developed. “Yes, ma’am,” he admitted.

    The captain bobbed her head in consideration. She would have to make the transition from a war mindset to one of exploration eventually. Her curiosity wasn’t peaked but seeing the desire for knowledge in Zian’s eyes, and the fact they were ahead of schedule, persuaded her. “Oh, why not?” she concluded. She stood and looked to the helm, “D’nas, adjust course to intercept that…metal planet.”

    *****

    Opposite Captain Aurelia’s desk, sat a plush soft leather couch; Kimula plopped onto it, “You wanted to see me?”

    Sintina looked up from a padd she was reading. She simply stated, “Thanks for the kick in the ass.” She returned to the report, “Dismissed.”

    One of the Andorian’s antenna popped up. She shook her head and found herserlf grinning with incredulity. She could tell Sintina had no intention of speaking to her further. …It didn’t matter; her outburst last night had the desired effect. Barely satisfied with her friend’s version of an apology, Kimula walked out in silence.

    *****

    The double doors to main engineering parted for First Officer bin Nadal. He asked a passing crew member to point him in the direction of the chief engineer. Karim made his way to the lower level and found Lieutenant Commander Windslow partially hidden by the Jefferies tube he was in. “Commander.”

    Without looking to see who it was, the response came, “Yeah.”

    Bin Nadal squatted down so he could look into the tube, “Commander, Captain Aurelia wanted to schedule some ship wide tactical drills, but I wanted to know your maintenance schedule, so they don’t conflict too much.”

    Ethan maneuvered to see Karim’s face, “That’s…considerate, Commander. I’ll send it to you within the hour.”

    “Thanks.”

    Windslow ventured as bin Nadal began to rise, “How are you liking command?”

    The XO admitted, “It’s a pain to coordinate everybody.” He returned the question, “How about you? How do you like being an engineer again?”

    Still half hanging out the maintenance tube, “I don’t regret the decision. It’s where I belong.”

    Bin Nadal nodded. He hesitantly inserted, “I know you and I have had our disagreements in the past. I hope it doesn’t interfere with our new working relationship.”

    The chief engineer averted his eyes for a moment but then rested them on his new superior, “You once told me that I didn’t belong in the uniform. …You were half right. I didn’t belong in that red one. I’m not ashamed to admit that.”

    Karim absently examined the deck. He regretted being so judgmental. Yes, what Windslow did was inexcusable…but not necessarily unforgivable. He looked up with genuine concern on his face, “Have you had any trouble with anyone?”

    Ethan knew the commander’s meaning. Bin Nadal wanted to know if any of his engineers showed him disrespect due to his conviction of desertion and conduct unbecoming. The chief engineer bit his lip, “Some.”

    “Who?” Bin Nadal surprised himself at how quickly he came to his former first officer’s aid.

    Windslow was careful with his words, “With respect, I can handle it, sir.”

    Karim was split on what to do. Ultimately, he accepted his chief engineer’s judgment, stood, and reluctantly left.

    Commander Windslow took a long sigh…then, returned to work.

    END OF CHAPTER 1
     
  4. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    I missed Indy. It's good to have her back even if she looks very different now.

    Now I have to be honest, when I first heard the idea of a Transformers cross-over I thought you had lost your mind. But then I've seen the movie! Those things are kick-ass. Now I'm actually quite curious to see how you'll incorporate this.

    I also like Sintinia's continued self-doubt. It gives your characters depth and perspective. Your characters have all grown on me quite a bit and I'm looking forward to this new adventure.
     
  5. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Agreed, it's good to see Aurelia and the others back in action. I, too, was a bit... concerned about the proposed Transformers crossover. But you've handled other topics deftly in the past, so I figured you'd earned the benefit of the doubt. ;)
     
  6. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    I agree with Gibraltar. As long as you don't have Decepticons transforming into Birds of Prey I'll withhold judgement. I don't like crossover fic as a rule but like the Big "G" said, you handle things deftly. Looking forward to more.
     
  7. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    BrotherBenny
    Good so far, didn't realise that Cybertron Prime was so far out :D
     
  8. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Likewise, I'm glad the new Indy is venturing into new territory. I'm not very familiar with the Transformers (didn't see the movie), but it sounds like an intriguing premise. I liked the character interplay you gave us in the opening segments. Glad Kimula rained on Captain Aurelia's pity-party. Someone had to! :D
     
  9. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    I won't lie, I also had my doubts about doing this crossover, but this has been in my head for awhile and it won't go away! :)

    So, I'll do it and see what happens. At the very least, it ought to be a fun, action-packed read.

    Besides, if Trek can have an X-men crossover, I figure this isn't too much of a stretch. :D

    At any rate, not to worry. This is a one-time deal...promise.
     
  10. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    ...well, otherwise Cybertronians would be members of the Federation by now...and that'd just be silly...:wtf:

    :)
     
  11. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    CHAPTER 2

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Main Bridge
    Sector 32981

    Lieutenant Virak came over with the rest of the bridge crew from the last Independence. The ebony skinned Vulcan’s board lit up with an indicator. She reported from behind the center seat. “We’re in visual range of the rogue planet.”

    Sintina uncrossed her legs and sat up, “On screen.”

    The viewer came to life. A jagged, chrome-colored sphere hung in the depths. No lights emanated from it. Very little detail could be seen, but there was a huge crater on the surface. It didn’t appear to be an impact crater…rather the remnants of an explosion from the bowels of the planet.

    “Magnify and light enhance,” ordered the captain. Despite herself, she became intrigued by the sight.

    More details could now be seen. The surface consisted of buildings, deep abysses, and roadways. There was no movement. Everyone on the bridge gazed at screen.

    Bin Nadal turned from the mission ops station, “What is it, Zian?”

    Tang spun back to his station displays and began processing the information from the scans. “It looks like the entire planet was built up on a large asteroid,” he reported. “…It has layers. Like they just kept on building new upon old until it got this massive. My scans are being hampered by widespread use of magnesite in the metals.”

    Aurelia, not understanding the significance of the magnesite, commented, “It looks abandoned.”

    “I agree,” concurred Tang. “I’d guess its mean age is about ten million years.”

    Karim pondered aloud, “I wonder if it’s always been here.”

    “No,” the science officer rejoined, “it’s moving at nearly 10 million KPH, relative to most of the stars in the galaxy. It could have had time to travel halfway around the Milky Way by now.”

    “Can you trace back its trajectory?” came from Aurelia.

    Tang did some calculations, “Assuming it’s been at a constant speed, somewhere in star cluster 3478-H in the Gamma Quadrant.”

    A small smirk emerged on Aurelia’s face. She began to feel a sensation. It was the excitement of exploration, she determined. ‘I could get used to this’ She turned to address her science officer, “What conditions should an away team expect?”

    “Ma’am?” immediately objected bin Nadal.

    Zian ignored the first officer, “We couldn’t transport down due to the magnesite.”

    Karim stepped closer, “It interferes with sensors and transporters?”

    “Yes sir.”

    The Persian gave a disapproving look to his captain. He knew Sintina saw it, but she persisted.

    “How about surface conditions?”

    “EVA suits would be required,” he elaborated. “Gravity is one-half G. …It has a thin atmosphere of helium and other interstellar gases that it’s probably pick up along its journey. The temperature is about 150 degrees below zero.”

    Karim was less subtle this time. He walked close to Sintina and whispered, “If something happens, we won’t be able to beam up the away team.”

    She looked over and mused, “You weren’t this uptight when you were a security officer.”

    He quickly came back with, “Sure I was.”

    Aurelia dismissed his concerns, “We’ll be fine.”

    “We?”

    The captain made her way to the turbolift, “Tang, D’nas, Virak, you’re with me.”

    Bin Nadal said as forcefully as he could without causing a scene, “Ma’am. It’s inappropriate for you to lead the away team.”

    Sintina obviously anticipated his response. She continued walking, “It’s a dead planet, what could happen?”

    Karim debated to dissuade her, but doubted he could. It was just like Sintina to jump into the thick of any excitement she could find. He wondered if he could ever train her to be a ‘stay-at-home’ captain. Defeated, he grabbed Virak for a moment and said, “You’re responsible for her safety, Lieutenant.”

    The Vulcan female somberly curtsied, “Of course, sir.”

    *****

    The type-eight shuttlecraft flew low over the crumbled, metallic surface of the planet. It was obvious a conflict occurred there. All of the structures were in disrepair. Some had large chunks missing from them.

    Aurelia and Tang manned the consoles; Virak and D’nas were in the aft compartment.
    The four members of the away team wore the standard issue Extra-Vehicular Activity suits, minus the helmets and gloves.

    A light flashed on Tang’s board. He reported, “Now that we’re closer, I’m picking up a few faint energy sources scattered on the planet.”

    D’nas, the Tamarian exchange officer, spoke up, “What type of energy?”

    The Asian science officer worked his station, “I’m not sure. They’re barely reregistering with all the interference from the magnesite. It could be something left over from what ever civilization used to live here.”

    Virak hypothesized, “Could they be mines or weapons?”

    He shrugged, “I really can’t tell. It could be something as harmless as a power generator of some type.”

    The exchange officer chimed in, “It’s a testament to who ever built this that there are any energy signatures left at all, after all this time.”

    “You don’t think anyone has taken up residence here, do you?” questioned the captain.

    “I don’t see how, ma’am,” offered Tang, “I can’t imagine anything surviving on that planet, unless it had a lot more power than I’m reading.”

    Settling in to her new role as explorer, Sintina concluded, “Well, one way to find out.” She looked over at Zian, “Where do you recommend we set down?”

    He glanced at his display, “The power signatures appear to be concentrated in the polar regions.”

    “Ok, heading for the nearest pole,” commented Aurelia as she manipulated her console.

    END CHAPTER 2
     
  12. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    I'm liking it so far-but I have to ask-Since when do Vulcans curtsy?
     
  13. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Perhaps it's a loose use of the word. But several authors have used it as a synonym for "nodded/acknowledged." ...but now I'm gonna have the image of everyone formally curtsying from now on...thanks. :D
     
  14. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Well...well...well...Sintina has caught the exploration bug--I wonder what Michael Owens would say about that? :)

    A most promising beginning, I'm looking forward to more.
     
  15. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    CHAPTER 3

    Supplemental
    Shuttlecraft Welker
    Uncharted Planet

    The magnetic seal of the shuttlecraft hatch broke and it slowly lowered to the ground with a clang. The away team exited, now fully adorned in their EVA suits. Each suit had an external audio receiver in addition to the com link. The team’s boots grabbed the metal surface slightly with each step.

    Beyond the movement of the team, there was no sound. The only light came from the suits, the shuttle, or the distant stars. They were surrounded by structures of various shapes and sizes; all in different stages of collapse. They landed on, what probably had been, some type of roadway. Now, it was littered with debris and pot-marked. The holes exposed some type of circuitry and another space under the road. Despite the damage, the structure seemed stable.

    The young Tamarian officer slowly took in his surroundings. The chrome landscape was spectacular against the backdrop of the space. He uttered, “It’s beautiful.”

    Aurelia saw it from another perspective, “Whoever was here certainly trashed the place.”

    D’nas finished her captain’s thought, “Most likely, they destroyed themselves.”

    “Not necessarily,” commented the Virak, the only security officer present, “They could have been raided…they could have fled. There is not enough information to come to a conclusion.”

    Zain allowed himself to look up from his scans for the first time, “Can you imagine the structural engineering required to build this place?”

    Captain Aurelia noticed something etched into a nearby structure. She walked closer. “Tang, come here.”

    The lieutenant joined her seconds later. He didn’t have to ask what she wanted. The etchings seemed to be some type of glyphs.

    “Can you translate the markings on the building?” she asked.

    He was already running them through the translation matrix via his tricorder. “It reads: Kaon cosmotron production facility two.” He surmised, “I guess Kaon is where we are…and I have no idea what a cosmotron might be.” The officer began to add up all the information he’d gathered to this point and ventured, “If I were to guess, I’d say this whole planet served as a massive factory.”

    “Producing what?” inquired the Vulcan security chief.

    Zian’s head shook in his helmet, “I don’t know, yet.”

    *****

    A shadow moved quickly and effortlessly in the darkness.

    <Ravage reporting. The unknown craft has landed 3.68 decavun’s due east of Kolkular.>

    <Acknowledged. Perform further reconnaissance.>

    <Confirmed. Proceeding.>

    *****

    Karim sat uncomfortably in the command chair. He was annoyed at Sintina. As leader of the away team, she should’ve reported by now. He ordered Kimula to open a channel. “Independence to away team.”

    “Aurelia here.”

    Her voice was too innocent. Karim considered if she was deliberately trying to agitate him by not following protocols. “Just wanted to check on your status, Captain.”

    “We’re about ready to investigate some power signatures. Are you picking them up?”

    The lieutenant commander looked over to the science officer on duty. The ensign indicated a negative. “No ma’am.”

    “The tricorders can’t pick them up, either. The shuttle must have the right combination of sensitivity and proximity.”

    The first officer added, “I’d like to recommend a regular report interval.” He knew the request would be interpreted as a complaint about her lack of communication. In the pause before her response, Karim was sure she rolled her eyes.

    “Fine. You’ll hear from me every ten minutes.”

    “Thank you, ma’am,” bin Nadal responded, “Independence out.”

    *****

    Other than the very slight hum servos, it advanced smoothly and quietly. The constant darkness wasn’t an issue for the machine. Its red optical sensors could process information in the absence of light. Ravage’s navigational systems calculated every step, every leap. It tracked its prey with cold efficiency.

    The cat-like creature crawled to the edge of the roof and observed the movement below. The main threat didn’t seem to be sentient. The other four had appendages and seemed to move with purpose. Ravage couldn’t determine if they were biological, technological, or some combination of the two.

    <Visual confirmation. The craft held four occupants. The vessel does not appear to be an Autonomous.>

    <Do not underestimate the vessel. It could a rebel returning from exile. Do you see a brand on it?>

    <Negative. Request authorization to engage.>

    <Authorization granted. Reinforcements are en-route to your location. ETA: 1.2cycles.>

    *****

    All four members of the away team were now several meters from the shuttle. Aurelia and Tang continued to examine a building. D’nas collected samples for a metallurgical analysis. Virak stood vigil over the other three.

    The Vulcan decided to bring up a topic she considered more urgent. “Lieutenant Tang, have you been able to localize the source of the power signatures you detected earlier?”

    He turned, “Not yet, I got distracted with these hieroglyphs.” The Asian began moving to the craft, “I’ll need to use the shuttle’s sensors.”

    As he neared it, a pair of rockets came from seemingly nowhere. Both hit the shuttle in rapid succession. The resulting explosion flung the science officer into the air. He landed some distance away and rolled to a stop. He didn’t get up.

    The fireball didn’t exist long in the absence of oxygen. What was left was a half-melted hulk.

    Once the shrapnel was no longer a threat, Aurelia and Virak drew their hand phasers and surveyed the area. D’nas ran, as fast as his suit would allow, to aid Tang.

    “Where the hell’d that come from!” blurted Aurelia.

    The response was more reserved, yet trepidation could be heard in Virak’s voice, “I’m not sure, ma’am.”

    In mid-step, D’nas got plowed down by some massive force and it pinned him to the ground. He didn’t know what it was but he called out, “Help! Get it off me! Get it off me!”

    Both Virak and Sintina heard the cries over their headsets. They turned to see…what looked like a large black and silver cat on top of the helm officer.

    Aurelia ran toward the scene, but her magnetic boots slowed her progress.

    Virak used a bit more ingenuity. She deactivated her boots and moved with an otherwise unnatural gait.

    The Tamarian struggled futilely against the robotic beast. The creature now clamped down with its jaws on his helmet. He heard its artificial growl. The monster’s fangs left circular cracks in his visor. The sound of the fracturing only served to engulf him in panic. He flapped about helplessly against the heavy machine.

    Sintina decided to stop her approach and leveled her phaser. She fired and hit the mechanical cat. The response was not what she hoped for. It only looked at her with its piercing, red eyes and made a synthetic roar. The captain quickly determined, “Stun doesn’t work.”

    The pressure against D’nas’ chest from the robot’s paw prevented him from breathing. Long cracks now ran across his field of vision.

    The Vulcan reactivated her boots in mid leap and was pulled the metallic road. She adjusted her phaser to level 12, enough to disrupt ultra-dense alloys. She aimed carefully and discharged the weapon.

    This time, it achieved the desired result. The cat was hit in the side and it created some type of digitized howl. The phaser beam left a three centimeter hole in the automaton’s armor. It immediately jumped off D’nas and retreated to the shadows.

    Virak reached the Tamarian first. He propped himself up with his elbows, but she instructed him to lay down for the moment and relax. Tang still lay motionless a few meters away.

    The captain activated her long-range communicator, “Aurelia to Indy!”

    “Independe…”

    “We’ve been attacked. The shuttle’s gone, Tang and D’nas are injured. We need extraction, now!”

    There was no hesitation in the reply, “You’ve got it. I’m dispatching a shuttle now. I’m also going to move into geosynchronous orbit and keep a visual on you.”

    “The sooner the better, this planet is defiantly not dead yet.”

    “Understood, I’ll leave this line open”

    Aurelia joined Virak. The two made a perimeter around the wounded. “What do you think that thing was?” she asked.

    The tactical officer guessed, “Perhaps an automated defense system.”

    “What the hell was I thinking,” the captain chided herself, “going into what I knew was a former war zone.”

    The Vulcan only observed, “It would not be the first time the machines of war outlasted their users.”

    “What’s that?” came from D’nas.

    “I feel it too,” concurred Virak.

    The Latino captain could feel it now as well. It was a slight vibration on the road. It grew.

    Sintina assumed the worst, “We need to find a more defensible position.”

    “Agreed. However, I don’t think we have time to…”

    A large vehicle rounded a distant corner. It was a type of treaded tank. It was purple in color and the cannon atop it rotated in their direction.

    Aurelia’s stomach fell, “Aww, mierda.”

    END OF CHAPTER 3
     
  16. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    I truly wish I could give credit to the artist, but I have no idea where I got this from. I got it about two years ago. I've tried to find it again, but to no avail. This is fan art of "Ravage":

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2008
  17. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    "Aww, mierda" indeed.

    And where is Optimus Prime when you need him?

    Ravage looks awesome. I think I'd be scared. Very very scared.
     
  18. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Nice job of building tension 'til the "felgercarb hit the oscilator!" Aurelia shows she still tends to be a bit head-strong while walking into unknown situations. Now the Indy must risk another shuttle and away team in a dangerous rescue attempt.

    Good stuff! :)
     
  19. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    Between the candle and the flame
    Shuttle, Hell! Send a wave of attack fighters with nuclear-tipped missiles! It sounds like they have a Bolo coming down on their butts. Having suspended my belief (on a j-hook mounted on the back of my door) I am having a good time with this! I said b4 I don't like cross-overs (damn my purist heart!) but this is too fun. And I like how you are writing the machines' communication, too. Fun stuff all around.
     
  20. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Aurelia's really stepped in it this time! Also a seamless job in the crossover. Now, how is Aurelia going to get out of the mess she's in?