ST: Independence - "Lucid Dawn"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dnoth, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Welcome to the 16th installment of Star Trek: Independence.

    This will be a work-in-progress. For new readers, my stories typically run around 60-80 pages. Some stories I pop out in a month or two...others take two years. :shrug:

    Even though my series is an ongoing story arch, I'm attempting to write this so new readers can get into it as well. I think even 'old' readers might like a few reminders too. ;)

    Thank you for your interest!


    Star Trek: Independence
    “Lucid Dawn”​
    “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
    -- Mohandas K. Gandhi


    Stardate: 54316.5 (7 Sep 2377)
    SS Boundless, Civilian Transport Ship
    En Route to League of Sovereign Colonies Space

    The stars streaked by Captain Sintina Aurelia’s window. Captain…but she wasn’t captaining a damn thing. Her hiking boots rested on the window ceil. She was reclining back in a chair, just watching the stars go by. There was little else to do.

    The accommodations were nice enough. Privately run ships like this go out of their way to make their passengers comfortable. It wasn’t a top of the line luxury liner, to be sure, but it would get the job done.

    The Latin American woman had smooth cappuccino skin, jet black hair that went to her shoulder blades, and brown eyes. The thirty-seven year old was petite. She was out of uniform, of course, wearing: denim jeans, a simple white shirt, and a black leather jacket. Her face was joyless.

    Aurelia had been on this cruise for over a week. It would take three more weeks to get to her destination. For her, getting there was not half the fun. Sure, she had swum in the ship’s pool and taken in a few holoprograms, but mostly, she found herself in her quarters…glazing out the window and wondering how she got to this point.

    Last month, she was a starship captain. Granted, she had reputation for leaping before she looked. That trait had served her so well during the war.

    Sintina had prided herself as being a combat officer. Soldiers execute commands. She never questioned the integrity of the officers over her. As events spiraled beyond her control, she began to realize, being a Starfleet captain meant more than being just a soldier. It was not a roll she was comfortable with.

    She knew when her career started going wrong. It was when her late first officer, Karim bin Nadal, first made her aware of the Federation’s dark, little secret. At the time, she was ambivalent about this Section 31. She didn’t ask for this revelation. She didn’t want to know.

    He dragged her in, however - kicking and screaming - into some deranged cloak and dagger underworld. It took her some time, and the destruction of her pervious ship, to accept the truth. The truth was: she didn’t know who to trust anymore, or who the enemy was.

    Something happened to Sintina during the war. At the academy and beyond, she was outgoing…some even claimed promiscuous, but at some point, she withdrew. She used to claim it was because her command responsibilities required emotional distance. Now, she wasn’t so sure.

    Whatever the underlying cause, she only had three people in her life that she really trusted. Not just that she trusted them with her life, but they wouldn’t…hurt her.

    One of them was Karim. He had started out as her tactical officer on the Midas, during the war. He was fun, but the consummate professional. He never unduly judged anyone. Not to mention, he was brave, selfless, and the finest officer she had served with. Now, he was dead.

    The former ship’s counselor on the Independence, Kimula sh’Somachanar, was another person she could confide in. The Andorian was one of the most light-hearted women she had ever met. Somehow, Kimula was able to insulate herself from the horrors of the war. Sintina never figured out how she could balance joy with duty, and maintain her own happiness while helping others cope with their own demons. The captain envied those talents. Kimula had taken a position at Project Pathfinder. It wasn’t that Sintina begrudged that…it was just, bad timing.

    The final person was Ro Laren. They were academy roommates, class of ’62. The Bajorian and she bonded more than either had probably expected. They understood each other.

    Over the years, they sporadically communicated. Sintina remembered writing Ro while she was in the stockade. They lost track of each other after Laren defected to the Maquis seven years ago. God, Sintina was pissed at her for doing that, after she had finally gotten her career back on track.

    Then came the Dominion. Any animosity Aurelia had held faded when the Dominion decimated the Maquis. She expected never to see her friend again.

    Shortly after the war, Aurelia and the Interceptor class Independence, were sent to investigate a Cardassian prison camp on Lazon II. Low and behold, Ro was there. She had been through hell, but she was alive. It was as if, Sintina resurrected a part of herself when she saw Ro again. Things had changed, but their bond was less like friends and more like sisters.

    After a few months in a Federation penitentiary for her previous transgressions, Laren went right back to the Maquis. Sintina could have killed her. Ro had thrown away her life at least three times, now. It boggled her mind. Apparently, there were still some things about Ro that mystified her.

    Despite that, Ro Laren was all Sintina had left. At this point she wasn’t sure if Ro was a friend or an enemy, but she didn’t know that about anyone…not anymore.

    The fact of the matter was she simply had no where else to go.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  2. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Geez, running to Ro when there's nowhere else to go... hey, that rhymes! :lol:

    This should prove painfully interesting and more than a bit awkward, most especially if there's someone else who's still pulling Aurelia's strings from behind the scenes.
  3. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Wow - tough opening sequence but a great summary of Captain Aurelia's plight. I've always liked her in spite of her headstrong, stubborn nature. It's troubling to see her without a ship, mired in self-doubt. This trip smacks of desperation in an effort to reach out to Ro Laren. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

    Of course, Sintina does not know that bin Nadal is still alive - in captivity and in an unknown (to us) location. Here's hoping that somehow he is able to escape or be rescued before it's truly too late.

    Great start to your latest story! :)
  4. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Thanks TLR and Gibraltar, it certainly is a last ditch effort on Aurelia's part, but she almost has no where to go but up.



    Stardate: 54320.0 (8 Sep 2377)
    USS Kitzingen, Deck 8
    En Route to Arbazan System

    Tang Zian was a week into his assignment onboard the Kitzingen and it had been the best week of his life. He strode with a wide smile, nodding to his new crewmates as he passed them in the corridor. The Chinese man was in his mid-twenties. He bore one solid and one hollow pip on his collar. The trim on his uniform indicated the science division.

    The junior grade lieutenant moved with a purpose. He was on his way to sickbay. Not because he was ill, because he was smitten. He had transferred over with the ship’s new chief medical officer.

    Ashana was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She was an unjoined Trill that just finished her medical internship. Her green eyes were mesmerizing and he couldn’t wait to run his hand through her silky, brown hair again.

    He had been too timid to approach her at first. Luckily, she had no such qualms. Frankly, he thought she was out of his league. What she saw in him, he didn’t know. He only hoped the relationship would last. It had only been a week…

    As he rounded a corner, he collided with a surprisingly solid body. He realized who it was instantly, of all the people on the ship… “Oh Captain, I’m sorry.”

    Captain Issac Musgrave had a grandfather’s face. His deep blue eyes complimented his graying – almost silver – hair. “What’s the rush, Lieutenant?” he asked jovially.

    He managed to pull together something that sounded like, “I’m…I…just. Um…” He gave up and took a breath, “There is none, sir.”

    The middle-aged human was no fool. He’d been around the block a time or two and knew what Tang’s mannerisms meant. Their relationship was no secret. His bangs bobbed as he looked down the hall to the sickbay entrance and back to the chief science officer. “Ah, I see.” He was obviously having a bit of fun with it, “You don’t want to be late when Doctor Zwen gets off duty.”

    A mild blush was the only reaction Zian had for his captain’s perceptiveness.

    Issac’s age and position afforded him some eccentricities, which he loved to impose on others for his own amusement, especially new people. He began exaggerating the voice and body language of someone far older than himself, “Why I remember back in ’46 when Evey and I started seeing each other, we had agreed to meet in one of the lounges at Starbase 37.” He paused for just a moment to see if the young man was getting antsy. He seemed very fidgety, in fact. It was so painfully obvious that Tang didn’t want to have this conversation, Issac took pity on him. The captain chuckled a bit, “Oh fine. Carry on.”

    Zian was already two steps away when he said, “Thank you, sir.”

    Musgrave continued to laugh lightly as he continued down the corridor, “It’s fun to be old.”

    Stardate: 54325.3 (10 Sep 2377)
    Starfleet Complex
    San Francisco, Earth

    California was a far too warm for the Andorian woman. Though, as a cadet she often made trips to Antarctica. Now that she was back on Earth, she’d have to visit Venezuela. Kimula had loved seeing Angel Falls. It was her favorite place on the planet, to see all that liquid water flowing…amazing.

    It was a sunny day as she walked on a street that had once been used for wheeled vehicles. It had long since been adapted into a walkway filled with small vendors, benches, fountains, and landscaped flora. Some buildings were state of the art. While others appeared unchanged for hundreds of years. It was an interesting mix of modern and ancient architecture.

    A few minutes later, she found herself facing the large Starfleet Communications Building. It must have been built nearly one hundred years ago. The massive Starfleet arrowhead on its façade harkened back to the days of James Kirk.

    She had entered the building and taken the lift up to the appropriate floor for Project Pathfinder. Soon, she found a reception deck being manned by a young, female, Zakdorn ensign. Zakdorn, had an unfortunate feature on their cheeks that make Kimula think it looked like her face was melting. She made sure not to vocalize her observation.

    “Ensign,” Kimula said by way of greeting, “I’m to report to Commander Harkins. Do you know where I can find him?”

    The young officer replied, “He’s in the com lab. You can’t go back there without authorization, but I’ll call him up, sir.”


    A few minutes later a hatch parted and a half-bald, human male entered the anteroom. He had a pleasant smile and reached out a hand, “Lieutenant sh'Somachanar,” he said with some trouble, “welcome to Project Pathfinder.”

    The Andorian took the hand, “Thank you, sir. Don’t worry about using my family name. You can just call me Lieutenant Kimula…or just Kimula, if you’re so inclined, sir.”

    He seemed relieved, “Lieutenant Kimula works for me, thanks. Well, let me show you around.” He guided her into the restricted area.

    Harkin looked to the ensign at the desk, “Lorachi, would you order access codes for Lieutenant Kimula, please.”

    “Aye sir.”

    The Communications lab was a two level complex that had the most complete and advanced assortment of com equipment Kimula had ever seen in one place. It included dedicated science and engineering labs. It even sported on-site holodecks for simulations.

    Harkins continued, “We achieved real-time, two way communication a year ago – almost to the day - using the MIDAS array to create a micro-wormhole.” He continued his tour, “Then about four months ago, we sent our first successful data stream to Voyager using a cyclic pulsar to amplify the signal. Now, we can communicate with them every month.” He seemed to be debating whether to say something else or not. He finally settled on, “Though, we’ve had our troubles with the data streams. Hopefully, they are behind us now.”

    “Oh?” she asked hoping to nudge more out of him.

    Harkins wouldn’t budge and changed the subject. “Oh and here is the man that first made contact with Voyager, Lieutenant Barclay.”

    The officer took a moment to pull himself away from his work to meet the newcomer.

    “Oh,” he said, “Um, hello…” He paused when he realized he hadn’t yet heard her name. Barclay was an average looking man. His hair was receding, but he still had plenty of it.

    “This is Lieutenant Kimula, Reg.” Came from Harkins, “Not only is she a communications tech, but she is a certified counselor.”

    “A…a counselor?” Barclay repeated as if it related to him directly. “Why do we need a counselor?”

    Harkins bit his lip.

    Kimula piped up, “I think it might be beneficial since Voyager didn’t have a counselor onboard when she was lost. I’m sure some of those people are having a hard time coping with being so far a way from home.”

    “Oh,” the engineer almost shouted. He continued at a more normal tone, “Voyager, right. Yes, yes, I’m sure they are having trouble with that…with being so…far away. Good, good idea.”

    There was an awkward pause as if no one knew what to do next.

    In as polite a voice she could muster, Kimula offered, “Nice to meet you Lieutenant Barclay. I look forward to working with you.”

    Barclay seemed to be doing an imitation of what a relaxed person might look like, poorly. “Nice to meet you too, Lieutenant…um, Kimula. See…see you around.”

    The commander gently nudged her to move along.

    As an afterthought as they were walking away, Barclay called out, “And call me ‘Reg!’”
  5. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    That was a delightful bit where Lt.(jg) Zian ran into his captain. Nice to see the C.O. has a sense of humor. "It's fun to be old," indeed. :)

    And Kimula meets Reginald Barclay. Reg is fun to write and you portrayed him perfectly: hyper-kinetic, nervous and distracted. That's Reg. :lol:
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    This was posted in the wrong thread:

    Great, re-introduction, if you will, to Independence. I too, have always liked Sintina not despite her flaws but because of them. She's a young starship captain still trying to find her way.

    I'm really eager to see if she will find it in a reunion with Ro Laren. This promises to be a riveting tale.
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Kitzingen is a fun ship and I'm sure I've already pointed out that Tang may never actually want to come back to Indy ... unless of course something bad were to happen ... *cue ominous, foreboding music*

    Barclay, I thought, was spot on.
  8. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    I also really enjoy the Kitzingen's crew.

    I'm so glad my Barclay is convincing. It's kinda hard to get his stammer and mannerisms right without exaggerating them.



    Stardate: Unknown
    Location: Unknown

    A dish filled with brown rice mixed with a green paste and a glass of water materialized. Karim bin Nadal quickly shoved it in his mouth with his bare and grimy hands. It was the exact same meal every time. The first day he found himself in this cell, he made the mistake of not eating it right way. After about a minute, the food vanished again. He would not make that mistake again. He imagined the green component was some type of nutritional paste. It really wasn’t that bad. If it had some curry, it’d be a passable meal. It was eaten in a matter of seconds. He couldn’t be sure, but it seemed like his jailers, presumably Section 31, had been giving him less and less time before the food dematerialized.

    The Persian was still in his duty uniform. At this point it seemed to be gluing it self to his body. He had been clean shaven, but now his beard was at least half a centimeter long.

    He still hadn’t seen or heard anyone else. Though, he often talked out loud, hoping – pretending, perhaps – that someone could hear him. “That was pretty good,” he said to apparently, no one, “But next time, how about a chelow kabab, maybe some carrot juice to go with it.”

    The empty bowl and glass disappeared in the transporter effect.

    He was proud of himself that he was still able to make jibes. Either that, or he was truly beginning to loose his mind. He couldn’t be sure.

    Karim sat back down on the bench. He had gotten used to entertaining himself with his own mind. Lately, however, there were no thoughts, per say. His mind had just settled into mere existence.

    The commander was startled by the sound of a transporter beam again. He was almost excited about something, anything, unexpected happening. His heart skipped a beat as he saw what materialized on the floor. It was a platter full of rice with sliced, grilled meat. It was even garnished with charred tomatoes and green beans. Next to the plate was a cup full of orange liquid. It was exactly what he asked for!

    Karim’s first reaction was to be suspicious. His captures, however, had taught him not to hesitate too long. Was it a trick? Would they beam it away as soon as he reached for it?

    He was willing to take that chance. He dove and began to engulf it. It did not disappear. Though, he didn’t allow himself the time to enjoy the food. He ate it all.

    He wasn’t sure why but it seemed appropriate to say, “Thanks.”

    Stardate: 54329.6 (12 Sep 2377)
    StarfleetCommunicationsResearchCenter, Pathfinder Project
    San Francisco, Earth

    The project team members all sat around a conference table with a view of the San Francisco skyline out the windows. There were about a dozen officers, most trimmed in blue or gold. In fact, the only person that wasn’t was Admiral Paris, who sat at the head of the table.

    Commander Harkins continued to summarize Voyager’s latest data stream response. “According to Captain Janeway, the Hirogen had disabled the hologram safety protocols and the simulations fought back and escaped, taking a Hirogen ship.” He paused, “There a…seems to be an issue with Voyager’s EMH, but I feel that information should be for your eyes only, Admiral.”

    Admiral Owen Paris, a somewhat overweight, bald man, nodded solemnly as the commander handed him a padd. Paris leaned in, I’m glad we finally have a successful transmission and we’re done with sending holograms.”

    Lieutenant Barclay receded in his seat. The comment felt like a dagger into his chest.

    The Andorian counselor saw how emotional the man became from the admiral’s comment.

    Paris stood and activated a monitor on the wall. “I have something new for Pathfinder. Now, I know our priority is Voyager. However, Command has a side project for us.”

    The galaxy was displayed. He tapped a button and it zoomed in to an area of the galaxy far outside of the Federation. “I want this team to figure out a way to send real-time communications to this sector of space.”

    Harkins spoke up, “With respect sir, that sector is on the other side of the Nyberrite Alliance. Who’s there to talk to out there?”

    “This is a research exercise,” explained Paris, “You all did an excellent job of finding a way to communicate with Voyager. Like any good experiment, Command wants to know if you can duplicate your results in another region of space. Four months ago, the Erickson launched two probes toward that sector.” He moved closer to the table, “I expect you to be able to communicate with them when they get there in five months, understood?”

    A round of “yes sirs” came from the collection of scientists and engineers.

    The admiral placed his hands behind his back in a show of pride and satisfaction with the project members, “Good, dismissed.”

    The team began to file out of the room. Barclay lingered. Kimula began to leave, but then took a look back at her co-worker. She purposely waited until the room was empty, except for Reg and herself.

    She sat in the chair next to him. He was biting down on his hand.

    “Are you alright, Reg?” she asked gently.

    “I just…wish he’d stop bring it up,” he spouted.

    The Andorian’s antennae waved slightly, “Bring what up?”

    “The hologram,” he said as if she should know, “I only got that idea after the Doctor sent himself to help Dr. Z. And…and then, it would’ve worked had it not been for the Ferengi. He stood up and began to pace, “and then, they just dropped the idea.” He threw up his shoulders, “It wasn’t my fault!”

    Kimula was in full counselor mood, “What wasn’t your fault?”

    “The first reply from Voyager was the Doctor,” he realized he had to explain, “Their EMH. Then, then, we had to send him back, of course.” He continued with barely a breath, “The next month, June, I tried to send, hologram. Everyone thought it was a great idea. But it didn’t work…and it didn’t work the next month. But once we found out about the Ferengi, we should have tried again. But Admiral Paris said, ‘We had wasted four months of data streams’…wasted! Can you believe it?”

    Kimula waited to make sure he was done talking. It appeared so. She began, “From what I understand, they did give your idea a try. You shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. It sounds to me like it was less about you and more just bad circumstances.”

    He had obviously gone over this with someone else before, “I know.” He popped down, “I know. I just wish people wouldn’t keep bring it up.”

    The counselor put a hand on his knee, “Sometimes people like to rehash other people’s mistakes to make themselves feel better. That’s their problem, their ego needing to be stroked. It has nothing to do with you.”

    Barclay looked at her hand on his knee. She decided to remove it.

    “Umm, thank you. Thanks, Kimula,” he managed.

    “Any time,” she said as the two got up and walked to the door.

    He was still stiff, but he seemed as if he was working up the courage to say something. He finally took the leap, “Maril’s cousin is visiting us. Do … would you like to go, I mean,” He took a breath, “Would you like to join us for a holoprogram?”

    “A double date?” she tried to confirm.

    “Yes, yes,” he said, “Maril is my…my girlfriend and her cousin – her male cousin – is in town and would you like to go to a holosuite with us sometime?”

    She couldn’t repress a smile. Kimula had the distinct impression Barclay was out of his comfort zone asking her. To refuse him, might affect him more than most. “Alright, sure. Whenever is good for you, just tell me.”

    “Ok!” he exclaimed. “Great. I will, will talk to Maril and set up a time, ok?”


    He took of in another direction down the corridor, “Ok.”

    She waved politely as he moved off, “Ok.”
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Ok, so the plot thickens in regards to the mysterious captors. It appears they are not completely out to torture Nadal. Unless of course granting him his wishes is part of the torture.

    I too think you've captured Barclay just right and I think that he and Pathfinder make a great challenge for Kimula.

    Also, the tie in with TFV makes perfect sense.
  10. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    It looks as though Bin Nadal has taken the first, unfortunate step towards being ‘conditioned’ by his captors… not that he’s been given much choice in the matter.

    The Kimula/Barclay scenes are a delight, as she’s so very much the opposite of his frenetic, unfocused personality. Agreeing to double-date with he and his girlfriend practically made the guy’s year.

    And I agree with CeJay that Project Pathfinder makes a completely brilliant tie-in with TFV, even if the officers involved don’t know it yet.
  11. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    This does not bode well for bin Nadal. If he's beginning to feel any gratitude toward his captors, he's heading down the wrong path - not that I blame him. He's been subject to severe psychological torture through the isolation and the 'conditioning' with the meals.

    Another nice scene between awkward Barclay and Kimula. The double-date should prove interesting. Nice tie-in with TFV and Project Pathfinder - that makes perfect sense.
  12. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Yeah, I'm starting to think that bin Nadal is about to become a double agent or even a saboteur if he doesn't come to his senses, and quickly. In the military, you are told that one of the rules when you're taken prisoner is not to accept gifts from your captors.
  13. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    With my ongoing computer issues, I probably won't have a chance to really get into this one until later, but I just wanted to let you know that I think it's great that you are back and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next for the Indy crew.
  14. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Thanks...I'm having internet issues as well. :rolleyes: I doubt I'll be very productive for the next week. But who knows, stranger things have happened.
  15. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.

    Stardate: 54336.0 (14 Sep 2377)
    SS Boundless, Shooting Range
    En Route to League of Sovereign Colonies Space

    The phaser range on the civilian transport ship wasn’t has advanced as those found on Starfleet vessels. There was no central platform and zigzagging target lights. It was a linear design. Rows of shooters, each in their own slot, stood next to each other and shot in the same direction. There were a variety of holographic targets down range. Some were representations of alien creatures. Some were clay-type targets.

    An Acamarian passenger wielded a Kzinti phaser. It fired a purple burst of energy.

    Down the line of people there was a Nausicaan firing a Cardassian disruptor.

    An American Indian man shot a Gorn-made weapon.

    Then a sound trumped all the directed energy weapon fire…BANG! …BANG! It came from the last alcove.

    One by one, phaser and disruptor fire ceased as aliens from around the quadrant popped their heads out of their bays. A small crowd came to see what the ongoing, deafening sound was.

    They found Sintina shooting off a silver-colored pistol with a black handle. Unlike the others, she was wearing sound-dampening ear plugs. She didn’t notice the observers.

    Her mind was elsewhere. She was rehashing her meeting with Admiral Sitak about two weeks ago. Officially, Starfleet had found Sintina at fault for the extensive damage to her ship, which was back at Starbase 17 for repairs.

    The admiral suspected Aurelia allowed her “fragile human ego” to be “wounded by being outmaneuvered by the relatively primitive Vuke forces.” The Vulcan didn’t even entertain the idea that she was telling the truth about Lore or the Section 31 ship.

    Well, perhaps that’s a bit harsh. There was simply no evidence to back up Aurelia’s story.

    Though, as she fired another round, Sintina didn’t feel like being charitable to the admiral. Especially, after what happened next. She relived the words: “As of this moment, you are on medical leave. You will not return to duty until you successfully pass a complete psychological evaluation. Do you understand, Captain?”


    Click. She saw the bolt locked to the rear. It was out of bullets. Sintina suddenly became aware of the half dozen people looking at her and the weapon. Most people just seemed relieved that the inane sound stopped and walked away.

    One did not walk away. “That weapon must be ancient,” the American Indian man said.

    She removed her earplugs. “It’s a replica.”

    The man had a solid physique, but not too husky. He had black hair nearly as long as her own. A few beaded braids ran along the left side of his face. “May I see it.”

    “Sure,” Sintina cleared the weapon and handed it to him handle first.

    The Native American examined it. He read the inscription, “Springfield Armory, XDm .45 Compact.” He looked up, “Mid 21st Century?”

    She retrieved it, “More like turn of the millennium.”

    He got the impression she wasn’t going to ask, so he offered, “My name’s Espowyes, but most people just call me ‘Epps.’” His hand went out.

    She took it with some hesitation, “Sintina Aurelia. That’s an interesting name for a human, Espowyes.”

    “It’s Nez Perce for ‘light on the mountain.’ My father insisted in giving me a traditional name. It doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, though, hence ‘Epps.’”

    “Nice to meet you, Epps.” She glanced down, “Mind helping me police up my brass?”

    “Brass?” He looked down to see the spent cartridges, “Oh, sure.”

    As they squatted, she noticed his sidearm, “A Gorn disrupter, huh? Nasty weapons.”

    He picked up a shell and looked at it, “It may be primitive, but that pistol of yours is a nasty bit of technology as well. I think I’d rather be hit with a disruptor.”

    She had to concede, “I don’t blame you.”

    Epps asked in a casual manner, “Do you feel like joining me for lunch?”

    It had been a long time since anyone had asked her that. At the academy, she wouldn’t have hesitated. But now… And in truth, she just wasn’t good company right now, anyway. “Thanks,” she said, “but I’m going to pass.”

    “Well, alright.”

    They gathered the rest of the spent rounds and stood.

    Epps nodded, “Have a good trip, Sintina.”

    “Thank you, you too.”

    He moved back to his shooting slot.

    Aurelia but her earplugs back in, slapped in another magazine, released the slide, and fired.

    USS Kitzingen, Bridge
    Arbazan System

    Cadet Third Class Bolar manned the forward helm station. Her species, Evora, was one of the most recent Federation protectorates. As soon as treaty would allow, she entered the academy. It was an immense privilege to be the first of her species to be in Starfleet, and her family back home let her know it. She truly did want to be here, but it was as if her whole homeworld watched her every move…and mistake. It was an equally immense burden. She confirmed the last order from Captain Musgrave, “Slowing to one-quarter impulse.”

    The elder captain swiveled his chair slightly, “Ishok, do we have a visual on the contact?”

    Lieutenant Treum Ishok was a Native Coridan. He wore a dark chrome-colored faceplate with intricate designs etched into it. The skin on his bald head was scaled. His voice was slightly distorted through the faceplate, “Yes sir, at maximum magnification. I’ll put it up.”

    All eyes went to the main viewer. It came alive to reveal the green planet of Arbazan Prime. Orbiting it was a beautiful, sleek vessel. It didn’t look manufactured…it looked as if it were made from one massive mold. It was elongated and its hull was white…almost a pearl white.

    Still looking at the ship, Musgrave simply said, “Tang?”

    The science officer was as mesmerized by it as anyone. He was jolted out of it, remembering he had a job to do…and he was the new guy here. “Sir, its composition is some sort of mesh between organic and inorganic materials.”

    Commander Ewn stood, “Are you saying its cybernetic?”

    Tang looked at his Ariolo XO. Her species was a reptile-like mammal. Her skin was smooth and hairless. Ariolos had a very prominent forehead that hung well over the rest of their face. The eyes were dark and with no white in them. “I’m not sure, sir.”

    “What do you mean?” asked the captain.

    The Asian attempted to find the words to explain, “Well, cybernetic implies natural and man-made components. There’s a clear distinction between the two. But with this, it’s more a merging. It’s not reading as organic or inorganic, but both…and neither.” He understood his description was imprecise. He offered, “I’m sorry sir, but that’s as accurate as I can get with out further study.”

    He nodded, “It’s alright, Tang. Keep at it.” Musgrave addressed his tactical officer again, “What more can you tell me?”

    The Coridan continued to manipulate his console, “No recognizable weapons ports. It is emitting a strong electromagnetic field, but I can’t tell you how. And I can’t get any internal readings from scanners.”

    Ensign Sabra Okoro, an African female, reported from ops, “My scans can’t identify any individual components, sir. I can’t even figure out how it’s propelled.”

    Tang felt a bit better that the other bridge officers were just as baffled as he was.

    “Alright then,” started the captain calmly, “Yellow alert. Bolar, hold your course. Let’s go say ‘hello.’”
  16. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Odd and unidentified starships seem to be popping up left and right in the UT. Not a good sign. Let's hope this one feels like talking for a change.

    And Aurelia has found the perfect way to let off steam after having a bad day. Make that a bad month.
  17. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 26, 2008
    Great to see more Indy. It is interesting to see the characters so far flung and fun to imagine what their future may hold. For Aurelia, she's really at a loss, no ship, no crew, no command and so she turns to look for Ro. Nadel meantime is enduring a hellish ordeal and it is as I feared, a case that someone may be trying to turn him. Given his skills and tenacity, he would he would a lethal weapon in the wrong hands but the question is their agenda and plans for him. Good stuff.
  18. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Mystery phenomena are becoming plentiful in the Alpha Quadrant these days, and this one has certainly piqued the Kitzingen crew's curiosity. Tread softly, gentlebeings, and keep your phasers on hot standby.
  19. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005
    Lots of fun to be had in the UT at the moment, glad I came back.

    I wonder if any of the plots will dovetail together?
  20. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 12, 2006
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    I should have another installment up this week.

    I just wanted to post this image and thank Cejay for making it.


    The Kitzingen plot and the Pathfinder plot in this story are part of the United Trek Refugee Crisis. The Refugee Crisis is the 'home front' aspect of Task Force Vanguard, which has its own logo as well.

    I want to thank the group of authors sharing their Trek universe for the sake of great fan-fiction!