ST: Independence - "Beneath the Raptor's Wings"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dnoth, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "This war isn't over and you're already planning for the next."

    "Well put."

    -Bashir and Sloan (DS9: “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges”)


    PROLOGUE

    Stardate: 54512.4 (7 July 2377)
    Imperial Romulan Warbird Odaus
    Rator Star System, Romulan Star Empire

    Slowly, methodically, Commander Hanora scanned the sensor readouts. She trusted her crew to do their job, but she couldn’t help herself. He was out there…somewhere.

    Green light from her tactical officer’s display punctuated her pale white, chiseled face. The bridge of her D'deridex class ship was solemnly quiet. Despite the fact sound didn’t travel in space, everyone muted themselves. They were playing a dangerous game of predator and prey…and it was still unclear which role they would play.

    Her vessel was under cloak, but they were not alone.

    Centurion Chruja reported to his commander, who hovered over his shoulder, “I’m not reading any tetryon particles.”

    Hanora confirmed with, “Commander P’nav knows how to run his ship.”

    The bridge crew’s single-minded concentration was broke when an untactful voice blurted, “Have you found them?”

    The Odaus commander didn’t have to turn around to know who it was. In preparation for dealing with him, she took a long blink and sigh. Then, she regarded him, “Not yet, Major Rima.”

    Commander Hanora had an adequate working relationship with the Tal Shiar operative. Though, she wasn’t thrilled about having an ‘advisor’ assigned to her ship. It wasn’t due to any political or social reservations, though. She simply couldn’t shake the idea that she was being evaluated. It was possible she wasn’t, she reminded herself. She only took control of the Odaus last year, it was her first command.

    Rima, a respectable officer, strode closer. He seemed to casually examine the earth-toned green and brown color scheme of the bulkheads. He settled in front of the main viewer. The dark-skinned Romulan gazed at the orange star. “P’nav must be in this system.”

    The warbird master joined him. Both sported the short, traditional military hair cut. “Of that I have no doubt, Major. If he went to warp, we would detect it.”

    “Which means he also knows we are here,” inferred Rima. The Tal Shair crossed his arms, “Suggestions, Commander?”

    “I’ve studied his tactics,” began Hanora, “when trapped, he will strike.”

    “I agree,” he stated. Rima began to make his way off the bridge, “Find him, Commander...lest he finds us.”

    He was about to enter the lift when Chruja called out, “Ship decloaking! He’s right on top of us!”

    “Decloak!” reacted Hanora. “Raise shields!”

    “Too late!”

    *****

    The graceful lines of the D'deridex class, Fothmar, formed in space. It seemingly fired disruptor bursts at empty space. They hit their mark, however. The black exploded and another D'deridex was revealed.

    The Fothmar slammed the Odaus with several well placed blows.

    The attacker strafed its victim and jumped to warp.

    *****

    After recovering her footing and coughing out the smoke in her lungs, Hanora yelled over the klaxons, “Report!”

    “Sensors are down,” relayed one crewmember.

    Another coughed out, “So…is the warp drive!”

    “Six injures reported, all minor.”

    Despite the chaos he caused, Hanora couldn’t help but feel a certain admiration for her foe. He knew exactly how to inflect maximum damage with minimal casualties. “Well done,” she whispered to herself.

    The major was on one knee aft of her. A trickle of green blood ran down his right nostril. He locked eyes with the female commander. His face barely hid his annoyance. It wasn’t focused at her, however. “I had hoped we could take care of this problem alone.” He stood, wiped his nose and examined the copper-based fluid, “We are only four light years from the Neutral Zone. It’s time to employ other assets.”

    END PROLOGUE
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  2. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nice beginning.

    Only one issue, the ship's class is the D'deridex-class.
     
  3. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thanks for the catch. I should know better than to ass-u-me things by now. ;)
     
  4. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Vague but fascinating beginning. A lot of questions here, who is hunting who and why being the most obvious ones so far.

    That this episode is playing out near the Neutral Zone means that Starfleet might get involved soon.

    I also like that you are concentrating your energies on the Romulans this time. If you're going to handle them as aptly as you did the Klingons in your previous endeavor, we're in for a real treat.
     
  5. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Rom v Rom-I like it. I thought it was a training exercise at first. Very cool!
     
  6. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

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    Nice opening...the situation in the Empire definitely appears to be falling apart at the seams...
     
  7. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER 1

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Holodeck Two
    Orbiting Quebec Outpost VI, Along the Neutral Zone

    A good portion of the crew seemed to be in an Aztec inspired stadium. It was rectangular in shape with a pit separating two seating areas along its length. The dirt filled pit wasn’t very deep, only enough to protect spectator from participant. Hovering very unnaturally above the pit was a semi-transparent display showing the tournament ladder.

    The crowd, some in uniform, some not, cheered as the ship’s counselor walked out into the dirt. She wore a traditional Andorian robe passed down by her grandmother. Kimula gestured for the spectators to quiet down. And then began, “Welcome to the first annual…or semi-annual, or however often we decide to do it – USS Independence Martial Arts Tournament!”

    The roar of over one hundred people filled the illusionary rain forest.

    “Matches have been decided at random,” explained Kimula. “Our first contest will be Captain Sintina Aurelia practicing Brazilian Capoeira…”

    The applause was respectable while the Latino captain stretched in the pit.

    “…verses Ensign Brad Weston using Tellarite Umpala.”

    This time the encouragement from the crowd was overwhelming. It didn’t hurt that his opponent was the ship’s CO.

    The Euro-American human had arrived on the ship only two months ago. But he was outgoing and well-liked. He sometimes helped Susan Windslow in the classroom. Fortunately, his charisma made up for his mediocre performance in his official duties. He was competent, but not inspired.

    Sintina finished stretching. The captain wore a black sports top and matching shorts. She had smooth, mocha skin and her jet black hair was pulled back in a ponytail. She had never been shy about showing off her toned body. She assessed her opponent.

    Bradley was a less impressive specimen. He was in good shape, but not particularly muscular. His simple, brown tunic honored the martial art he learned as a child on Tellar.

    “You sure got the short straw, didn’t you?” jibed Sintina.

    Weston smiled. He grew up with Tellarites, he knew how to play this game. “With respect Captain, I’m going to make you eat dirt.”

    Aurelia came to like the young ensign despite herself. She secretly enjoyed the verbal sparing they often engaged in. She began to loosen up and made movements reminiscent of dancing. “Big words for an ensign, let’s see if you can back it up.”

    The roar rose again as Counselor Soma exited the pit and the combatants began to circle one another.

    In the audience, Susan asked her engineer husband, “Do you think she’ll let him win?”

    Lieutenant Commander Windslow glanced over with a what-Captain Aurelia-have-you-been-serving-with look.

    Aurelia quickly dove at Weston’s legs. She grabbed and pulled, causing the young ensign to hit the ground. Before he could react, she began to grapple with him.

    Science officer Tang Zian leaned over to his neighbor in the rafters, “What’re the rules for winning?”

    Doctor Zo’Kama, an Arkonian, responded, “Whoever taps out first loses.”

    “Tap out?” he repeated.

    “They have to slap the ground or their opponent to forfeit.”

    The Asian officer looked confused, “That seems a bit…barbaric. And you condone this?”

    The reptilian doctor shrugged, “I already told the fighters, I’m not going to treat anything less severe than a fractured bone.” She looked at him, “Don’t you have faith in your shipmate’s self-control?”

    Back in the pit, Sintina had finished a combination kick/roll to Brad’s chest. The fight was obviously not going well for the ensign. The two styles couldn’t be more mismatched. Umpala utilized brute force, while Capoeria employed feints and quick movement. Aurelia constantly struck and retreated, struck and retreated. Weston simply couldn’t get a hit.

    Brad was again swept to the ground and the pattern continued. She didn’t give him the opportunity to recover before the next strike came. He felt like he was constantly being pelted. Finally, he had had enough. He repeatedly slapped the dirt.

    Immediately, the captain backed off. Cheers were mixed with sounds of disappointment. Obviously, the crowd favored the underdog. Aurelia didn’t seem to mind.

    The Latin American captain stopped her distinctive movements, walked over to Weston and offered a hand, “Don’t feel bad,” she consoled, “Capoeria is supposed to disorientate people.”

    He took the proffered hand and rose to his feet, “Well, it worked.”

    She smiled and raised his hand in hers. The spectator showed their approval of the sportsmanship.

    *****

    Supplemental
    IRW Fothmar, Wardroom
    Traveling Under Cloak

    The Romulan officers dined at an oval shaped table. An intense discussion was taking place.

    “You ordered an attack on another Romulan ship!” blasted Centurion Dulas. His face was green with anger.

    “Calm down, Gunner,” instructed Sub-Commander Xil.

    “I will not calm down! I don’t care how important this supposed secret mission is!” He pounded the table, causing the items on it to jingle, “I will not fire on another Imperial ship again!”

    Commander P’nav calmly witnessed the argument without reaction. He was an elder Romulan with silver hair.

    “Dulas is right,” commented Dren, the ship’s medical officer, “We could’ve found another way.”

    Xil defended his commander, “There was no other way to remove ourselves from the situation, Doctor.”

    Dulas’ anger was replaced by menace, “I demand to know what our true mission is, Commander.”

    “You needn’t demand anything!” blasted the sub-commander.

    The table transitioned into a tense silence. Eyes rested on P’nav. He took a drink and spoke for the first time in minutes. “I am loyal to the people of Romulas. That will never wavier.” He sat forward, “I have learned of a great deception. The truth must be shared with those able to act against it.” His relaxed, blue eyes scanned his senior officers, “That is all I am prepared to say at this point.”

    The weapon’s officer continued in a more respectful tone, “Just don’t ask me to shoot at my comrades.”

    The silver-haired commander nodded in understanding, “I cannot promise it won’t happen again. Should you hesitate, you will be relived of duty.”

    “I understand, Commander.”

    “I don’t know what this is about, nor do I care,” added Doctor Dren, “but the crew deserves an explanation…or at least, reassurance.”

    Xil concurred, “That would be wise, Commander. You have the full confidence of the crew. But your orders have been…unsettling as of late.”

    “Of course,” agreed P’nav, “You are right.” He thought for a moment, “Tell them we are participating in a fleet wide war game. I didn’t tell them ahead of time since I wanted to gauge their true reactions.”

    “Is there any truth to that?” asked Dulas, hoping for an affirmative.

    Instead of answering, Commander P’nav left his chair. “Excuse me,” he said, “I must contemplate our next move.”

    The others stood as the commander exited the wardroom. The door slid shut behind him.

    Dulas rhetorically asked, “What’s he getting us into?”

    END OF CHAPTER 1
     
  8. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting look at the Romulans. I was surprised at first that Dulas didn't get shot right away for insubordination...but I have to think that maybe unlike Klingons and some Cardassians, the maneuvering between them is going to be a little more under-the-table than that.

    And the introduction to Aurelia really went a long way for someone who's unfamiliar so far with her character, to seeing what she's like in her natural element. ;)
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I really like the annual or semi-annual or whatever martial arts contests and I like Aurelia kicking serious butt. That was awesome.

    On a more practical level however this is also an incredibly dangerous thing to do. For example if Aurelia were to lose a fight, especially badly, it might also cost her respect and faith and face in front of her crew. That could be a dangerous thing for a starship commander. Here's to hoping she's the toughest member of her crew.

    The officer's dinner on the Romulan ship was well done too. Those could be the fist signs of mutiny. The whole thing feels reminiscent of Hunt for Red October. Which would be a great influence for sure.

    Really good stuff so far.
     
  10. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

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    very interesting exchange with the Roms. I liked the tournament but how did you get 100 crewmembers into a holodeck?
     
  11. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

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    Romulans are all about the subtle--something that tends to get lost all to often. It'll be interesting seeing how Aurelia deals with this--she doesn't handle subtle very well.

    I'd disagree a bit with CeJay and the martial arts competition though. I don't think Sintina would necessarily lose the respect of her crew if she lost, so long as she conducts herself with dignity and does her best before, during, and after the fight. After all, this is sport and friendly competition.
     
  12. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Sounds like a set up for a joke, doesn't it? :) And no, I have no good answer for it.

    For the issue about Sintina's pride in winning. I think it spoke volumes that she agreed to participate and be subject to a potential defeat. I'm sure the crew wouldn't really care...she might., but that's her problem. ;)
     
  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Terrific stuff, and the crew of the Indy sure knows how to let their hair down, Kung-Fu style! :lol:

    Actually, you have the people in multiple holodecks/holosuites, then link them so that each projects its ‘inhabitants’ into a unified environment. It looks seamless, and you wouldn’t know if the person next to you was really next to you or was simply being projected in from the next holodeck over. Anyway, that’s the way I’d explain it. :techman:
     
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Great start. This looks like you'll give us another indepth fresh look at a Trek foe that really needs it.

    I disagree with Cejay. I think it's cool that Aurelia joined in the contest. It shows that she's willing to engage with her crew and have fun with them. I think that might pay off later on regarding building trust among her crew. Of course, Cejay is right that there is the potential for her to be embarrassed, but I think it says a lot about her character, her confidence, and her openness that she's willing to risk personal embarrassment to spend offtime with her crew.
     
  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, I think we need to keep Aurelia the hell away from Terrence Glover! :lol:

    Too similar, those two. ;)
     
  16. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Sorry for piling on, but I also agree--if someone is so insecure that they don't think their command can last if they lose a sports match, then that points to larger issues than just the sports match. I don't see anything wrong with what Aurelia did; in fact, it seems like a good morale-building exercise regardless of the outcome.
     
  17. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Allow me to clarify the point I tried to make as I think it might have been slightly misunderstood and is it admittedly dabbling a bit too far into the realms of psychoanalysis and the workings of the subconscious.

    A Starfleet captain like every commanding officer, especially in the military has to maintain a certain image and status in front of their subordinates. They have to believe that their boss is tough, trustworthy and pretty much beyond reproach so that in the most critical situations they will not think twice about following them into battle or even to their own deaths.

    However if a person in such a position makes herself vulnerable to lose that status in front of their crew by for example being beaten badly in a friendly martial arts contest, it could have certain negative implications. The next time the ship goes into battle a crewmember might invoke, entirely subconsciously, the image of his or her leader broken and battered instead of victorious. Depending on the person in question this could lead to a failure to trust the captain in making the right decisions or maybe cause them to hesitate to follow a crucial order when quick actions are called for.

    There is after all a good reason why there are so many regulations or recommendations to keep captains isolated and distant from the crew.

    Again, this is a purely psychological effect and I would not suggest that the crew would voluntarily think any less of their captain for doing what she does or even for losing a battle.

    All this is of course a complete non-issue if you - as the writer - would decide that it is. Besides I'm sure that some in this crew might already have certain less than flattering notions about their captain's sometimes flaring temperament.

    Also, as I said before, from a story writing stand point I thought her participation in the combat was pretty damn cool and it sure was a lot of fun to read. I just wanted to point out possible implications of her decisions.
     
  18. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    All good stuff! The martial arts competition, the tense dinner on the Romulan warbird (I agree that it is reminiscent of Hunt for Red October - nicely done!) all were nice bits that gave deeper insight into both crews.

    Somehow I have a feeling these two crews will face each other at some point.
     
  19. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'm sorry for the delay everyone. "Real life" is taking up more of my time and I don't know when I'll be writing. Sorry about that, but I'd thought I'd give everyone a heads up.
     
  20. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Thanks for letting us know and I hope things get better for you soon.