ST: Independence 11 - "Eyes Uncovered"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dnoth, Apr 18, 2008.

  1. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Author’s Note: I’ve decided to turn this next ‘episode’ into a slower, more character driven short story. Almost like a collection of vignettes.

    I toyed around with the idea of introducing a ‘problem’ with Tamarian society, but upon reflection, I think…on the whole, the Tamarians would have a relatively decent culture. It will have its idiosyncrasies, of course…and I have already stated in a very early story that D’nas was basically drafted into serving, due to his language skills. So, that will be addressed.

    At any rate, I thought it was high time to explore the characters a bit more, rather than having a lot of action.

    *****

    "That's how you communicate, isn't it? By citing example... by metaphor! …"

    "Sukat, his eyes uncovered!"


    - Picard and Dathon, TNG: “Darmok”

    PROLOGUE

    Stardate: 54073.7 (27 January 2377)
    USS Independence
    Entering Orbit of Tama

    The Steamrunner-class Independence glided though the darkness of space. It was dwarfed by their Tamarian escort. It had met them at the border of Tamarian space.

    D’nas, the Tamarian exchange officer, informed Captain Aurelia it was a Lokima on the River- class dreadnought, the same type of vessel that the Enterprise-D encountered nine years ago.

    Aurelia had Acting Security Chief Lemipil run a few discreet scans. The ship was impressive and could make short work of the Starfleet cruiser. Its shields were nearly equivalent to the ‘old’ Independence, 835,000 terajoules. The real story lay in its phaser output. Its primary weapon could produce a discharge of 340,000 terawatts, four times Starfleet’s, top of the line, type-XII arrays…and the Indy was only armed with type-X’s. It was no wonder why the Federation was so eager to foster a friendship with these people.

    Admiral Borel once told her, if the Dominion War had lasted much longer, the Federation would have signed an alliance with the Elder Council, the decision making body of the Tamarian government. The talks feel apart, once the war ended. The exchange program, however, remained…at the behest of the Elder Council.

    Provisional Ensign D’nas was selected for the program over a year ago. He was one of the few Tamarians that could wrap his head around how the ‘Rai of Luwani’ spoke. He came aboard the ‘old’ Independence at Starbase 375.

    Sintina remembered how she felt at “baby sitting” a diplomatic appointee. Little did she know how well the young Tamarian did his job in the pilot’s seat. Besides the ‘Nechayev Incident’…a term she used to describe how the former Fleet Admiral brought her into the circle of her little resistance group…D’nas had served well.

    She stared at the back of the Tamarian’s head. A hint of regret formed in her gut. She never really got the know D’nas.

    In fact, she didn’t know many of her officers or crew every well. There were only 212…205 now, people on her ship. Sintina heard of captains memorizing every face and every name on much larger ships. She never bothered to do that. Her excuse was she didn’t want to get to know too many people that she might send to die. It was a half-truth. The other half was she had no interest in getting to know them. She had her core group of friends: Karim and Kimula. That’s all she needed.

    D’nas turned back, “Captain, they are requesting we assume an orbit 1,030 kilometers above the surface in a geosynchronous orbit of Bashi, the central city.”

    “Alright, make it happen, Ensign.” Aurelia continued, “And D’nas…”

    “Yes, ma’am.”

    “Welcome home.”

    The Tamarian grinned and re-assumed his station.

    END OF PROLOGUE
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2008
  2. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That has to be the nicest Indy segment you have ever posted-no explosions, no Sintina temper tantrums, no arguments, no mysterious saboteurs. Well, its still early-I can still hope, right?
     
  3. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The Indy is one of "those" ships, the kind that always invites trouble round for tea and a nice chat.
     
  4. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    A nice, quiet beginning for the Indy's next tale. Perhaps Captain Aurelia will begin to loosen up and get to know her crew as she continues to mature and deal with her own issues.
     
  5. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ahahahahahahaha!!:guffaw::guffaw::guffaw::guffaw::guffaw:
     
  6. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Or not. :p
     
  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Interesting beginning.
     
  8. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER 1

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, First Officer’s Quarters
    In Orbit of Tama

    Mousiqi-e aseel, ancient Persian music, was softly playing in the background. The smell of sandalwood permeated Karim bin Nadal’s quarters.

    A few months ago, a rather impressive collection of religious icons from several cultures would have been displayed, but they were all lost when the Courageous-class Independence exploded. Studying philosophies was something he started since before he joined Starfleet.

    He didn’t really claim a religion, however. Most, he thought, did more harm than good. Despite that, he could’ve used a nice, reassuring world view in that moment.

    For the last few minutes, he stared out into the void. ‘One good thing about all my possessions begin destroyed – no reminders of Nicole,’ he thought.

    Nicole Chase was her name. For over six months, they had a very sensual and very intense relationship. She was attracted to him from the moment they met. …And it was all a lie. Nicole practically flung herself at him. That should’ve been his first clue. She turned out to be a Section 31 plant. Her actions led to the deaths of eighty people and the destruction of the Independence.

    In the process of helping the crew, Karim very nearly killed Nicole. …He would have killed her, if it weren’t for the intervention of another dead friend, Jinal.

    He disgusted himself over how easily Nicole was able to dup him. He didn’t even suspect her. What he really hated himself for was…he missed her. The comfort of having a warm body to sleep next to, walking with her in the holodeck, her scent. He missed it all.

    A single tear ran down his cheek.

    The door chime activated. Bin Nadal quickly wiped away the tear, composed himself, and said, “Enter.”

    It was Kimula sh’Somachanar, the ship’s counselor and communications officer. He was always comfortable with the Andorian, but not particularly attracted to her. Maybe it was the antennae. She was also a bit too…open for his tastes. Karim was pleased to see her, none the less. “Kim, what’s up?”

    With a mock grin, she facetiously said, “You’re going to be so exited when you hear this.”

    He rolled his eyes, “Go on.”

    “We’ve been invited to a type of coming home ceremony for D’nas tomorrow. I guess they’re really making a big deal out of the exchange program’s success.” The Andorian added with emphasis, “Time to break out the Dress Whites!”

    Karim didn’t mind diplomatic ceremonies nearly as much as Kimula or Sintina. He was actually looking forward to learn more about the Tamarian culture, but he decided to give the expected reaction. He unenthusiastically rejoined, “Oh, joy.”

    *****

    “But he had holodeck time last week!” protested Jeff Windslow. His twelve year old face was crunched up frustration.

    Susan Windslow defended her six year old son, Paul. “No, Jeff, he didn’t. You played your game last week, remember?”

    “But I’m ready for the next level!” persisted Jeffery. “Paul just wants to play that stupid Flotter story.”

    “So, it’s my turn!” injected the younger sibling. “And Flotter’s not stupid!”

    “Yeah, he is.”

    “Is not!”

    “Stop!” blasted Susan in her practiced ‘you’re-in-trouble-now’ voice. “If you boys want to fight about it, no one will have holodeck time this week.”

    “Mom!”

    “But…”

    In desperation, the boys looked to their father, who observed the scene from the dinning table. He looked up from his padd, “Don’t look at me. You guys should have seen that coming.”

    Jeff stomped off to his room in protest.

    Paul stood his ground and began to whimper. In a moment, it would evolve into a full blown fit.

    Ethan Windslow, a former captain and the ship’s chief engineer, warned his son, “Don’t start.”

    Paul begged with his eyes to his mother. She showed no signs of backing down. So, in pathetic resignation, the boy retreated to his room.

    Once her sons were out of ear shot, she joined her husband at the table, “Two holodecks for two-hundred twelve people. It’s tough to book time. I’d hate to waste our reservation.”

    “Well,” began Ethan, “it was Paul’s turn.”

    Susan had obviously had a long day. Her straight, blond hair was frizzed and her eyes pleaded for sleep. She laid her head on the table and outstretched her arms, “But he always wants me to go with him…and I hate Flotter.”

    The admission caused a wide grin on the engineer’s face. He put down the maintenance schedule, held Susan’s hand and offered, “How about I take him?”

    Over the last several months, Ethan had slowly reemerged as the person Susan knew before the war. It wasn’t a complete recovery, by any means. But he had been spending less time working and more time at home. He no longer avoided her and the kids. Recently, he actually found excuses to do some of his work in their quarters. The chief engineer did his job, but it was becoming secondary.

    While their family was on the Mendez and Utopia Planitia, he always put them first. That all changed when they were reunited after the Dominion War. Ethan was distant, even hostile. Susan eventually found out why at his court martial. She didn’t blame him for running during the battle. At heart, he was a peaceful man. A man not made for war. He was an engineer, husband, and father; not a soldier.

    She made eye contact to respond. It was the first time since the war that he made an offer like that. She smiled, “That’d be great, Ethan.” Her smile faded, “But I already told them…”

    “So,” he quipped, “I’ll get to be the good guy for once.”

    She corrected him, “You mean the guy they whine to?”

    His smile endured, “I’ll take that chance.”

    *****

    Ensign Folana Lemipil, the ship’s current security chief, saw Commander ‘Runsfast’ walk silently down the corridor with his son. She was talking with PO Dorian. The conversation suddenly stopped. Dorian, the operations manager, nodded to Windslow and said, “Commander,” by way of greeting. Ethan coolly curtsied back. The Zakdorn security chief, however, avoided eye contact and remained quiet as they passed.

    Petty Officer Lewis Dorian was all too aware of the sentiment many held about the commander. He was on ship when Windslow had his court martial. There was a lot of shock among the crew when the truth came out. The former captain, then acting as the Indy’s XO, was found guilty of desertion, which led directly to the slaughter of over twenty of his former crew. To make matters worse, he tried to lie about it. Windslow was sent to the stockades for four months. His family went with him. A lot of people, including the captain, was disappointed Windslow would remain as their exec. He didn’t get any more respect when he stepped down and became the ‘new’ Indy’s chief engineer. Once the chief engineer was safely distant, Dorian said to his traveling companion, “I wonder how many people hold a grudge against Commander Windslow on this ship.”

    “More than you might think,” was her response. She added, “And not just on this ship. Word of his cowardice is spreading throughout the fleet. I heard that’s why he couldn’t get his old job back at Utopia Planitia.”

    “They didn’t want him?”

    Forlana came back with, “Would you? …If I were in command…any command, I wouldn’t want him anywhere near my people. He should just resign and be done with it.”

    “I hardly ever see him,” observed Lewis, “whenever I try to find him in engineering, he’s usually either in his office or his quarters.”

    Lemipil puffed, “He’s incompetent too.”

    “No,” defended the ops manager, “Things get done that need to get done, but…he doesn’t really interact with his engineers much.”

    “Because he knows how they feel about him,” assumed the security officer.

    “Possibly.”

    Lemipil paused for a moment, “Mark my words, the day will come when we need him and he will let us down…I just hope no one dies the next time.” She walked off, leaving Dorian behind.

    END OF CHAPTER 1
     
  9. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I like the family interaction-it rings VERY true. As for the rest of the crew-piss on them, I think Winslow has more than he's been allowed to show.
     
  10. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

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    I'm looking forward to your insights into Tamarian society--a culture that uses metaphor as its frame of reference would be a fascinating one to build. The unfortunate truth is that there will always be those like Lemipil who will not accept Windslow no matter what. Actions have consequences and Windslow is only just beginning to feel the long term ramifications from his. He's got a long row to hoe.
     
  11. intrinsical

    intrinsical Commodore Commodore

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    Am I the only one who pity Winslow, who see that he is a gentleman at heart and has many redeeming qualities?

    Everyone, the crew and readers alike just seem to be so biased against him. :(
     
  12. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    I, too, enjoyed the scene with Windslow and his family. We seldom see such interaction in fan-fic stories. You created a very believable scene. Nice to see Windslow trying to repair the rift between he and his wife and sons.

    Still, the conviction for desertion is an albatross he'll wear around his neck so long as he serves in Starfleet. Trust must be earned. When trust is broken, it is difficult to regain. I foresee a rough tour for Mr. Windslow on the Indy.

    I'm looking forward to the glimpse you'll give us into Tamarian society. This is good stuff! :techman:
     
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes. :lol:


    No, seriously, Windslow is one of those great flawed and tragic characters, which makes him a lot of fun to read. A guy who knows he made mistakes and now tries against all odds to redeem himself. I was worried about the character at first for the sole reason that I had penned a very similar character myself. But that's just selfish thinking.

    I really like the change of pace here and I think a more introspective Indy story will be a great addition to the series.

    I'm looking forward to more.
     
  14. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks everyone! :) I'm not going to lie, this is the first story where I really don't know where it's going. ...So you know just as much I do. ...hopefully, it will work out. :wtf:

    I'll have another chapter up today. The computer I'm working with right now is doing the funky code stuff on me for some reason.

    ...it was good ol' IE. God love Microsoft. :klingon:
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2008
  15. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER 2

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Sickbay
    In Orbit of Tama

    Science officer Tang entered sickbay with a wide grin. He searched for Doctor Zo’Kama in the blue-hued medical center. It was rather quiet, but the computer said she was here. He peaked his head into her office. “There you are,” he declared.

    The reptilian turned around from a screen mounted in the bulkhead. “Was I supposed to be somewhere else?”

    Tang Zian couldn’t tell if she was joking or not. He continued, “There’s a going away party for D’nas at Jinal’s at 1900, are you coming?”

    She made a grand gesture, “Of course! I would like nothing better than to see off that cute Tamarian.” The tan-scaled Arkonian conspiringly stepped closer and said, “He’s very…inquisitive.”

    The word hung in the air. A chill ran down Tang’s spine. He hoped he just had a sick mind and wasn’t assuming something that wasn’t there. At any rate, he was ready to leave. “…Ok, see you later.” He nearly ran into the glass wall that separated the office from the rest of sickbay. Recovering quickly, he made his way to the exit.

    Zo’Kama made a ‘ssih…ssih…ssih’ sound, the Arkonian version of laughing.

    *****

    Sintina heard three quick beeps, indicating a visitor to her quarters. She was still in uniform…more or less. She lacked boots and a jacket, but still wore slacks and a red shirt. Her dark hair fell well below her shoulders. The Latino captain grabbed a hair tie and pulled her hair back into a ponytail as she said, “Yeah.”

    Kimula, in her full, blue trimmed uniform, entered and quickly made herself comfortable in the captain’s cabin. “Mind if I get a drink?”

    Aurelia shrugged, “Nope.” She sat at a nearby couch and rested her black-clad feet on the glass coffee table.

    The Andorian returned with a green liquid. She joined Sintina on the couch. “So, are coming to the party?”

    “No one told me about a party,” semi-mock disappointment was on her face.

    Kimula snickered, “Well, it’s not a real party, since Captain Shelby won’t be there…”

    “Yeah,” began Sintina, “Let’s not try to compete with the Sutherland on that.”

    The counselor chuckled. She elaborated, “It’s a party for D’nas. Zian is setting it up.”

    “Oh, I don’t know,” the captain finally answered, “I’m tempted to let the crew have their fun with this one. Having your CO at a party is a downer.”

    “Come on,” pressed the Andorian. She nudged Sintina, “I hear Pm’ta is breaking out her secret stash.”

    Aurelia simpered. “All the more reason for me not to go.”

    Kimula’s antennae drooped in defeat, “Alright, be that way.” She got up and gulped the last of her drink, “But I’m going to get ready.”

    “Don’t have too much fun,” advised Sintina.

    A mischievous smile formed on the Andorian’s lips, “No such thing.”

    *****

    D’nas looked out the transparent aluminum windows of his quarters. He stared at the turquoise oceans of Tama. It was beautiful…it was home. He learned during his tour that many Starfleet personnel species are away from their homes for years at a time. It was something he couldn’t imagine.

    The Tamarian truly did enjoy his experience in Starfleet, but it was not something he would choose to do again. The Federations were far too self-centered. He valued the friendships he formed, especially Zian…despite the cultural differences. These people, however, moved quickly and with abandon. They didn’t appreciate where they were, because they were always looking to where they where going. He felt…sorrow for them.

    In his year with Captain Aurelia, he was involved in seven battles; more than he ever imagined a ‘peaceful’ people would be in. The façade the Federation showed the Tamarians and the reality were obviously very different. The Council was wise to send him here.

    He focused on his reflection. His earth-toned, Sentinel of Tama – Tamarian Space Force – uniform was worn with pride. He had respectfully refused any overtures to dawn the Starfleet garment.

    D’nas glanced at the chronometer. It was time to meet Zian at the lounge.

    *****

    The Steamrunner class sported a large main lounge, even bigger than a Galaxy class. The Independence’s lounge was named for a fallen shipmate, Jinal.

    Jinal was forced to cause a warp core breach in the Courageous class gunship. Through his sacrifice, he saved thirty-eight lives. The official investigation, however, didn’t recognize his actions. The admirals in charge of the investigation couldn’t accept Captain Aurelia’s and Commander bin Nadal’s testimony of involvement by a covert Federation agency. So, the late mock-Vulcan engineer went unrecognized…except for the main lounge on the NCC-67091.

    Fortunately, the mood in the room was anything but somber. Pm’ta M’tes, the civilian lounge proprietor, was indeed serving more than synthehol. The Caitian barkeep brought out several bottles of ‘the good stuff.’ She had Bajoran and Yridian ale, Saurian brandy, Terran rum, vodka, amaretto, and Scottish whiskey; along with some legal, natural, psychotropic substances. She even had a small barrel of Klingon Chech'tluth, for those who dared. All of this was, of course, against Starfleet regulations. But rules that prohibit intoxicating substances on ship were rarely enforced, especially since the war. And Captain Aurelia was notorious for looking the other way when it came to the moral of her crew.

    Among the crowd, there was a pretty even mix of people in and out of uniform. The ship’s unofficial band, The Impulse Drive, played something resembling upbeat jazz. The pool and dom-jot tables were taken. A group played darts. Some members of the crew were even beginning to be proficient at D&D.

    Kimula felt an immense sense of pleasure at seeing the crew so carefree. It was the first chance for the crew to really unwind. She entered Jinal’s wearing a simple, but elegant, white dress. It exposed much of her blue skin.

    During the three-month journey to Tama, they were still tweaking many of the ship’s systems. She heard first hand how Windslow pushed his crew to get the work done. Virak, before she died, was just as tenacious to the security division. Zo’Kama and Tang were really the only laid back department heads, though they still had plenty to do. Then there was the incident with the rogue planet. Eight members of the crew were lost. Add to that, many people…including herself…hadn’t fully grieved for the loss of life from the destruction of the ‘old’ Indy. …But for now, that was the past.

    She walked up to Pm’ta, “What do you recommend?”

    The Caitian purred slightly, “I’ve discoverred a human drink I think you might like.” She began mixing and presented her with a cocktail. “It’s called amarretto stone sourr.”

    *****

    A few minutes later, the doctor walked in. She dropped her daughter off at the Windslow’s beforehand. Susan assured her they wouldn’t be coming to the gathering.

    Kimula, working on her second drink, gestured her over. The Andorian asked, “Can I get you a drink, doctor?”

    The Arkonian cocked her head, indicating a negative in her culture. She started, “It has no effect on my physiology…except violent diarrhea.”

    “Oh,” said Kimula, obviously wishing she hadn’t asked.

    Zo’Kama continued, “Besides, I don’t need that stuff to act foolish.”

    “I do,” was the Andorian’s honest response.

    *****

    Tang Zian held a pool cue in one hand and patted D’nas’ shoulder with the other. “With you gone, who will talk me into going to really strange shoreleave spots?”

    “I just hope you begin to see with larger eyes, my friend,” said D’nas.

    “Oh, I will.” After D’nas took his shot, Tang stood closer to the Tamarian, “Did…uh…anything…happen between you and…uh…the doctor?”

    D’nas looked up without a hint of shame or jest, “I was curious about Arkonian sexual practices so…”

    “Nevermind,” spat Zian. “On second thought…I don’t want to know.”

    “Very well,” D’nas said and yielded the table to his opponent.

    Zian lined up his shot and jibed, “You’re a sick man, my friend.”

    Without missing a beat, the Tamarian commented, “Then perhaps I should see the doctor.”

    END OF CHAPTER 2
     
  16. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Does D'nas really think that Starfleet lied to his people about their peaceful intentions or does he just not understand that peace can only be found if there is something to hold it up against?

    A great piece with Aurelia, Tang and D'nas.
     
  17. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Wow, maybe you should tone down the explosions and death more often-you really have a handle on the whole character interaction thing! My challenge to you-write more stories reflective of the "puzzle" or "dilemma" episodes a la ST:TNG instead of the dark, DS9-type "battle" stories. I think you might even surprise yourself with the results. This is shaping up into an excellent tale.
     
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I wouldn't go so far as to suggest you write different stories but I do agree that you're doing a splendid job with this. I personally take good character stories over action ones everyday.

    I did like D'nas' view on Starfleet. It's a clash of cultures, no doubt. I don't think he believes that he has been deceived. He just ... feels sad for them! Classic!

    Very well done and eager for more!
     
  19. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Ditto to what they said - a great story so far!

    I really like the doctor - she cracks me up! :guffaw:
     
  20. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm with everyone on how great a grasp of character interaction you've got. These characters just feel alive. Great job. I also like the little things you add to make life aboard the Indy feel real, like the Impulse Drive band.