Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Sgt_G, Aug 6, 2013.

  1. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    Okay, I finally have the pieces in place where they need to be, so I can start in on some action events soon.

    When I started writing this story, I didn't have a crew roster nailed down. A couple years ago, I finalized a complete list of ranks / rates and duty stations for a typical cutter crew. The normal crew complement is one hundred, give or take a couple. There are normally twelve to fourteen officers, four or five chiefs (one being a senior chief), about seventy petty officers, and a dozen of so "non rates" (junior enlisted below PO3).

    I'm still filling in name for the ship in this story, but I have the officers done:

    Crew of Patrol Cutter Magnum
    Captain = Lieutenant Commander Thomas Isenberg
    First Officer = Lieutenant Ryan Kingsley
    Ops Officer = Lieutenant Ursula Maida (female Alpha-Centauran)
    Science Officer = Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Dupree
    Intelligence Officer = Lieutenant Bin-Yi Xiong
    Weapons Officer = Lieutenant-j.g. Patrick McShannon
    Tactical Officer = on leave
    Chief Shuttle Pilot = Lieutenant-j.g. Maes Roola (Andorian)
    Shuttle Pilot = Ensign Stephanie Tillman
    Junior Shuttle Pilot = Ensign Daniel Littleton
    Doctor = Lieutenant Vincent Sullivan
    Nurse = Lieutenant-j.g. Sarah (Jackson) Campbell
    Engineer = Lieutenant Robert Campbell
    Assistant Engineer = Lieutenant-j.g. Sheralin Naaz (female Andorian)
    Chief of the Boat = Senior Chief Petty Officer Roger Guzman
    Shuttle-bay chief = Chief Petty Officer Amy-Lynn Szczr
    Engine Room Chief = Chief Petty Officer ???
    Weapons Chief = Chief Petty Officer ???
    Legalman = Petty Officer First Class Foster
    About eighty crewmen, mostly Petty Officer Second and Third Class. Don't worry -- I won't try to name them all in this story.

    Marine First Lieutenant Zychowski
    Gunnery Sergeant Linda "Gunny Thorns" Hawthorn
    Sergeant Arthur McKendrey
    Corporal Ackar
    Lance Corporal Jason Blueberry
    Lance Corporal Porterfield
    Private DeWitt
    Private Jimenez
    un-named very tall female seen on boarding action
    At least nine more Marines: one or two Corporals, the rest Lance Corporal or Private.

    Crew of Patrol Cutter Gendarme
    Captain = Commander Yvonne Christensen
    Ex-Captain = Commander Gonzales
    First Officer = Lieutenant Pierre Faucheux
    Operations Officer = Lieutenant Qiang Baku
    Tactical Officer = Lieutenant William Dexter Stableford, III
    Intel Officer = Lieutenant Jacob "Jake" Flynn
    Chief of the Boat = (Senior) Chief Petty Officer Julie O’Hara
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    "All seemed right with the universe."

    More ominous words were never spoken.

    Glad you put together the crew manifest. Normally I don't care much for them but in this case, with the sheer number of characters popping up in this story, this is actually really helpful.

    A few questions. Are the shuttle pilots the same as helmsmen here or are they pulling double duties? Also, and this may have been covered in the story and I missed it, how come nobody is filling in for the vacant tactical officer? Seems like a bad idea to go into a dangerous mission without a tactical expert. Lastly, while you are very descriptive on most everything, I was wondering what style uniforms the characters are wearing. Are they clad in standard TOS-like attire? While I would like to imagine your female characters wearing miniskirts, it doesn't quite seem to fit the military tone of this story.
  3. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    Thanks for the feedback and interest.

    Ensing Tillman's main job is shuttle pilot, but as a junior officer, she gets training in other jobs she'll need to know as she moves up thru the ranks. It's not like they fly shuttles all the time. Don't worry, she gets to fly one soon; if I don't change the story in my head before it gets on the screen.

    The tactical officer is in charge of the tac-team, but the Marines are filling that role. The problem with losing the tac-team is it's mostly made up of boatswain's mates, people that can be put to work doing routine maintenance. About the only additional duties the Marines can fill is kitchen patrol.

    Uniforms would be TOS, but with an option for women to wear pants (required for away team missions).
  4. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    Okay, so the gun is loaded, so now it's time to cock the hammer.

    Most of this scene takes place on the main bridge. Like most Star Fleet bridges, this is a round room. Unlike most starships, this one is embedded into Deck Three (the upper-most deck of the forward half of the police cutter), and at 6.5 meters diameter is smaller than the E's bridge we saw on TV. There's the main view screen in the front (12 o'clock), a turbolift in the back (6 o'clock), and doors leading out to the corridor to the left and right (9 & 3 o'clock). There are eight duty stations evenly spaced around the parameter. And of course, there's the center seat and the two-station navigation/helm in the center.
  5. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    “Good morning, everyone,” Thomas Isenberg announced enthusiastically as he entered the ward room, a small room set apart from the rest of the mess hall. The four other people eating started to stand up, and he waved them back down as he took a seat.

    “Is that all you’re going to eat, sir?” asked operations officer Ursula Maida, indicating the commander’s coffee and pastry.

    “I think I’ll hit the climbing wall in a bit, so I didn’t want to be weighed down.” He noticed the size of her meal, and remembered that she this was her dinner hour, as she had the night watch, and that she is an Alpha Centaurian and would easily burn off any extra calories. He envied her for that.

    They ate in silence for a while. Lieutenant-junior grade Sheralin Naaz, an Andorian, had her PADD propped up by her tray. She was either reading some engineer’s technical journal, or yet another trashy romance novel. Ensign Littleton was stabbing at the remains of his food more than anything, and barely looked up from his plate. Ensign Tillman likewise seemed to be in no mood for conversation.

    When the ensigns finished their meal, Isenberg gulped down the last of his coffee. “Walk with me, Ms. Tillman, if you don’t mind.” He didn’t use his ‘this is an order’ tone, but it was clear it didn’t matter whether or not she minded, he want to talk to her. The look he gave Ensign Littleton said ‘you’re not invited.’ They crossed the busy dining room and climbed a set of spiral stairs up two deck and began walking towards the bow of the ship. Once out of earshot of the crew, the commander asked, “Is everything okay, Stephanie?”

    “Sir?” She tried and failed to mask her feelings.

    He gave her a sideways glance and kept walking. “Well, maybe I’m just not reading things right, but there seems to be a bit of tension between you and Ensign Littleton.”

    “Oh, that,” she relaxed somewhat, “He made ... well, how do I say this? I was going to say he made a pass at me, but that sounds like he used a cheap pick-up line on me. Daniel kind of asked me out.” Isenberg nodded knowingly. Privacy on a starship, especially one this small, was at a premium. There were a limited number of things a couple could do on a date. She read his mind, “Not that kind of a date, sir, just a movie or something. I turned him down.”

    “And has he been pestering you?”

    She shook her head. “No, sir, not at all. He only asked once, yesterday afternoon, and this morning he was apologizing to me when Naaz came in. He was really nice about it, although he seemed embarrassed. I don’t know whether he’s not used to asking girls out, or not used to rejection. At any rate, I wanted to tell him it was okay, that he had nothing to apologize for, but didn’t get a chance yet. I think he thinks I’m mad at him.”

    “Well, okay. But let me know if he doesn’t know how to take ‘no’ for an answer,” Isenberg ordered, and then immediately reconsidered. “Actually, depending on how serious it is, take it up the chain. Don’t come to me first unless he gets physical.” She acknowledged him. “So, that happened yesterday?” She nodded. “Well, it just seemed to me you’ve been down in the dumps for the past three days, Stephanie.”

    There was a bit of a pause. “I guess I have been at that. A friend of mine got off the ship at Star Base Thirteen. And I’ve been a little worried about the Senior Chief. Have you talked with him, sir?” That opened the door to the subject Isenberg wanted to broach.

    “I have not. I figured he’ll come to me when he’s ready. You seem awfully fond of him,” he observed flatly.

    “I am,” she smiled. “Wait, what?” She stopped and looked at him, “No, not like that, sir! I’m sorry if I gave you that impressing, but no. Oh God. You don’t think he thinks ....” She was appalled at the notion.

    The commander was relieved. “No, I doubt it. So, then … what I misread as a school-girls crush, he’s just more of a father figure to you,” it was more of a question than a statement.

    Tillman opened her mouth but no words came out. After a long few seconds, she said, “I don’t have a father. Well, I do obviously; my DNA came from someone, but I’ve never been told from whom.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “Yeah, I guess he’s like a father to me. Is that so bad, sir?”

    “No, not at all. Just keep it professional,” he recommended as they began climbing another set of stairs up two more decks to the Deck Three, arriving about four meters away from the main bridge. There they found Chief Guzman and his new student, Ensign Littleton, already at the helm. Isenberg relieved Lieutenant Bin-Yi Xiong from the center seat, who then left the bridge after briefing the commander of their current status. Tillman sat down at the science/sensors station with Petty Officer Second Class Elizabeth McAllister.

    Normally, the sensor and communications technicians worked in Auxiliary Control, down on Deck Six, because the chatter they created was distracting to the rest of the bridge. On long flights like this, they didn’t analyze every single contact, so having them on the bridge worked out better. Because of this, Isenberg didn’t know McAllister very well yet. She seemed nice enough; just an average looking woman in her late twenties, of average height and build. Even her reddish-brown hair didn’t stand out. She had a scar from her chin along the jawline to her earlobe; one would think that with modern medicine, she could have gotten rid of it.

    After an hour of reading reports, Isenberg got bored. His conversation with Ensign Tillman wouldn’t leave his thoughts. “Chief, how is young Mister Littleton doing?”

    “Not bad, sir. He remembered more than he said he would. For now, he can fly a straight line,” he winked with a devilish smile, letting the commander know he was kidding. “Tomorrow, I’ll take him back the emergency bridge and put him on some combat sims.” Tillman had already been thru those and scored very high marks. Guzman suspected Littleton would do nearly as well.

    Isenberg nodded approvingly. “What’s say you and I take a break and have that private conversation you mentioned a few days ago?” He stood up, as did Guzman. The chief’s body language was one of resignation; he’d put this off as long as he could, but there was no escape now. “Ms. Tillman, you have the bridge. We’ll be across the hall.”

    The ensign swallowed hard. “Aye aye, sir. I have the bridge,” she stated formally, not expecting to be able to say those words for several more months. “Sir, do I take the seat,” indicating the command chair, “or stay here?”

    “Be wherever you think you’re most useful. I don’t know if this will take ten minutes, or two hours. Just yell if you need us.”

    “Will do, sir,” she replied as she sat back down at the science station, “but I think the intercom might be better.” The commander chuckled at that and walked out with the chief in tow. After ten minutes, she moved over to the helm to check on Littleton. She could have configured her station to monitor the helm, of course. “Apology accepted,” she said in a low voice, “I’m not mad at you, Daniel. It’s just that my heart’s in another place. Friends?” He agreed and gave her a crooked smile. She checked on the other stations and then moved back to the sensor controls.

    An hour later, the door opened, and the Marine announced the commander’s presence. He wasn’t quite as boisterous as Sergeant McKendrey. “As you were,” Isenberg ordered. He looked at the young Marine, “Son, you look like death warmed over.”

    “Sir, have you ever been through de-tox?” He indicated he had not. “I don’t recommend it, sir.”

    Isenberg took the center seat. “Anything of interest happen, Ms. Tillman?”

    “Maybe, sir. We’re on course, same speed, warp-factor seven, same heading. But every once in a while ... there it is again!” she exclaimed.

    Petty Officer McAllister shook her head as she manipulated the sensor fine adjustments, “I don’t see anything, Ma’am.”

    The commander could see Tillman was frustrated and irritated. “I have the bridge. Put whatever you think you found up on the main screen, tactical view.”

    The star pattern was replaced with a computer-generated grid. The blue cross-hair symbol in the center represented the Magnum. There were three green symbols, representing the LaMagne to Magnum’s left and slightly behind, the Gendarme ahead to the right, and the Mazza near the bottom right corner of the screen. They were all cruising at warp seven. There was a red circle behind and to the right of the Gendarme. “Five times now, sir, I got a blip in that area, as if we get a quick glance of something.”

    McAllister gave the skipper that knowing, sympathetic look. “I’ve checked and double-checked, sir. I think it’s just a misaligned sensor panel.” It was probably nothing, Isenberg agreed, but he ordered her to run a diagnostic on the sensor array, which came back clean, and to keep an eye on that area. The petty officer stayed on the controls, with her student watching her every move.

    Three times over the next hour, Ensign Tillman jumped to point at the blip, only to have it disappear again. Once, Isenberg thought he saw it, too. It was probably just the power of suggestion. He ordered the two of them to take a break because they were getting target fixated. That could be dangerous as one could easily lose situational awareness of other hazards.

    After they left, Chief Guzman stood up and walked over to the science station. He kitted his eyebrows in confusion. As a quartermaster, his training was in helm and navigation, but to make chief he had to be cross-trained in many aspects of running a ship. Half the sensor controls were still on default settings. That made no sense to him, but McAllister was trained and certified, so she must know what she was doing. He shrugged. Any time he watched over Sahani’s shoulder, she was constantly adjusting everything. Maybe they had changed the default settings with the upgraded system, one that Sahani helped design. That must be it.

    He sat back down and looked at the tactical display. “Sir, isn’t the Gendarme heading for Kzinti space? Look at her course.” The other ship was well left of the path to her destination.

    Strange, thought Isenberg. He pinched his lower lip and contemplated the situation. “Please open a channel to the Gendarme,” he ordered. A petty officer, human male, appeared on the screen. From the angle, he must be sitting at the communications station. “This is Lieutenant Commander Isenberg of the Magnum,” he announced, “Is Commander Christensen available, please?”

    “No, sir, I believe she is in a meeting. May I take a message?”

    “Yes, please. Have her call me back at her convenience. I wanted to ask her about a book she mentioned.”

    The communications tech acknowledged this and reached to close the connection. Chief Guzman piped up, “Is Chief O’Hara around? I need to talk with her about a personnel matter.”

    “I believe she’s in the same meeting. I’ll let her know to call you.” And with that, he closed the connection.

    “How rude,” Ensign Littleton observed.

    Strange and stranger, thought Isenberg. After a minute, he gave the helm new orders. “In fifteen minutes, start a slow acceleration to warp-factor seven point seven five, and a slow turn to fifteen degrees to starboard. Not all at once; stretch it out over ten or fifteen minutes.” He pressed a button on the arm of his command chair. “Lieutenant Zychowski to the bridge, please.” He released the button, and pinched his lower lip again.

    Less than two minutes later, the turbolift door opened. The Marine lieutenant exited carrying his gym bag, trailed by Gunny Thorns, who was wearing her P.T. uniform. “Good morning, skipper. And good timing; another minute and you would have caught me in my skivvies.” Ensign Tillman entered the bridge through a side door just in time to hear that. She blinked twice and shook her head; that was a mental image she didn’t need.

    Isenberg ignored the comment. “Round up the troops, Lieutenant, and get ready for anything.”

    The smile faded from Zychowski’s face, and he stopped twiddling the small object in his hand. “Aye aye, sir. What’s the mission?”

    “I don’t know yet,” the commander admitted, “Maybe I’m just being paranoid. All I’ve got is a sister ship that appears to have drifted off course and a comm tech who’s not following standard protocol.”

    “And a sensor ghost,” Ensign Littleton interjected. “Any chance that could be a stealth ship, like an Orion?”

    Tillman shook her head, “No, I suggested that, and McAllister said the signature was all wrong.”

    Zychowski had begun twiddling the object but dropped it at the word ‘Orion’. The Private picked it up and handed it back to his superior. “What is that thing you’ve been playing with all the time?” Gunny Thorns asked, somewhat annoyed.

    “Oh, this? I don’t know for sure,” he showed it to Hawthorn and Isenberg, “some sort of German lapel pin.”

    It looked vaguely familiar to Isenberg. “Why do you think it’s German?”

    “Because of the note that came with it,” the marine officer explained. “Do you remember Madre Chavez of the freighter I was on?” Isenberg nodded; how could he ever forget her? “She slipped this to me with a note saying it belonged to the man I was looking for, someone with a fake German accent.”

    The Private stepped forward. “May I see that again, sir?”

    “Not now, DeWitt,” Gunny Thorns commanded, but Lt. Z. handed the pin to him.

    Private DeWitt examined it closely. “It’s not German, sir, it’s French. It’s called a fleur-de-lis. One of the leaves is broken off, but I’m pretty sure that’s what it is.” He handed it back.

    “Why would someone,” Zychowski asked rhetorically, “with a fake German accent wear a French lapel pin?”

    The ship’s captain had a sudden enlightened look on his face. “I don’t know, but what about someone with a fake French accent?” He looked at his Chief of the Boat and could tell they had the same thought: Faucheux. He pressed the button on the chair’s arm. “Senior officers to the bridge.” He released the button. “Chief, initiate that course change now.”

    Ensign Tillman looked at the Marines. “Your sergeant, McKendrey, is on the Gendarme, correct? Maybe you should give him a call.”

    “That’s not a good idea,” Guzman interrupted. “The skipper tried to call Christensen, and I tried to call Julie O’Hara. If the El-Tee or Gunny tries to call the sergeant, it might look suspicious.”

    She considered this, and then said, “I have an idea.” She asked for the pin, and then took a towel from the Gunny, sniffed it and wrinkled her nose, and draped it around her shoulders, covering up her uniform and rank insignia. She closed her eyes and took a couple of breaths, and magically transformed from a junior officer into a young girl who had been crying. She motioned the comm tech out of his seat and sat down. Making sure none of the others were in the field of view, she opened a channel. The same tech answered the hail. “Hi. I’m Stephanie. I need to talk to Arthur McKendrey, please. It’s important.”

    “I’m sorry, missy, but I believe he’s in the gym.”

    “Can you get him, please? It’s really important,” she begged.

    “I can take a message, if you like,” the Gendarme’s comm tech answered helpfully.

    “Nooo,” she pouted, “It’s private. It’s ... it’s a personal matter. I really need to talk to him, please.” She really laid it on thick. She noticed McAllister returned to the bridge. The petty officer entered from the far side of the room, fortunately, so she was not in view of the camera. She took three steps in and stopped as she looked at the main view screen, still showing the tactical display, and then hurried to the sensor station.

    “I’m sorry,” and he really was, poor girl, “I can’t. But I’ll tell him you called.”

    “Okay. I’ll call back in, say, twenty minutes. Okay?”

    “Well, I don’t know,” the man replied. “You know how those guys are; they’ll probably be in the gym for an hour or more. Sorry.”

    “Okay.” She clicked the connection closed and puffed out her cheeks as she exhaled. “Well, that was a bust.” Turning around, she saw everyone else was staring at her. “Four years of drama club,” she smiled.

    “Award winning,” Gunny Thorns dry-panned. “It still doesn’t get us anywhere, Ensign.”

    The side door opened; Lieutenants Kinsley and Dupree entered. A few moments later, Bin-Yi Xiong and Sheralin Naaz stepped off the turbolift. How Naaz could walk around reading her PADD and not run into walls was anyone’s guess. That gave Tillman another idea. “Gunny, did McKendrey turn in his PADD before he left?”

    Hawthorn thought about it for a moment. “No, there wasn’t time. And I think he took it with him. Why?”

    Instead of answering, the ensign pulled her data PADD out of the cargo pocket on the thigh of her pants. The comm tech informed her, “Ma’am, if you doing what I think you’re doing, they’ll be able to read it.”

    “Then I’ll just have to write a message that only he will understand.” She typed for several seconds, and then showed the RapidChat message to the others.

    “I don’t know what that means,” Gunny Thorns stated.

    “He’ll know. At least, I hope he’ll know.” Tillman looked at Isenberg. “Sir?” He nodded ‘yes’, and she hit the send button.

    “Will that work?” asked Zychowski.

    “Yes. Maybe. I don’t know,” Tillman admitted.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    What's going on on the Gendarme? Very curious and very eager to find out.
  7. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    Ask and you shall receive. We now move over to the Gendarme. Sorry, I had to introduce yet another character.

    My wife read this next post before I had type up the last two sections, and her comment was, "Looks like this *bleep* is going to get real."

    After she read the last part, her reaction was, "Holy Crud Monkeys! I did not see THAT coming!"
  8. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Marine Sergeant McKendrey sipped his coffee, black, while Second Lieutenant Eric Powers, his new platoon leader, went for a refill of his iced coffee. He was still evaluating the young officer. Green. Very green. But shows some promise. He and his twin sister Erica graduated college on the agro-colony Nova Ottumwa during a soft jobs-market. In order to pay off student loans, they both applied for Star Fleet but did not qualify. The Marines accepted them; they were smart, capable, and confident, just what the Marines were looking for. So what if they hadn’t taken courses in high-level calculus or three-dimensional trigonometry, and didn’t understand basic warp-drive physics? Star Fleet flies -- Marines fight.

    So after ninety days of Officer Candidate School and four months of Basic Infantry Officer Course, Eric and Erica were assigned to Delta Company, First Battalion of the Fourth Regiment, known as “The Quarterbacks” because it was written as “D - 1/4 Marines”. It was a clerical error at Manpower & Assignments that kept the siblings together; someone thought Eric and Erica were one and the same person. The new lieutenants liked to joke they couldn’t wait to make O-4 so they could be “the two Major Powers.”

    Erica was on the Mazza leading the Second Platoon, while Eric had the Third here on the Gendarme. McKendrey didn’t know about the other platoons, but the Third was almost as green as its leader. The platoon had five five-man squads, four of which were cohorts, and two of those were straight out of infantry school. They were still E-2 Privates, not due to make E-3 Lance Corporal for several more months, and their squad leaders were only Corporals. The other two cohort squads were composed entirely of Lance Corporals, all nearing the end of their first enlistments. McKendrey had one of these squads, and the other was run by the other sergeant, Reynolds. That man was a real piece of work. Lazy and totally useless, he made E-5 by the skin of his teeth on the third try. The Marines Corps has a strong up-or-out policy: fail to make rank after three promotion opportunities, and the troop must separate from the service at the end of the enlistment or upon mandatory re-assignment or one year after notification of non-selection, whichever comes first.

    Four women, three Corporals and one Lance Corporal, made up the technical support squad. Only two of them measured up, in McKendrey’s opinion, and they were both married. He had nothing against women in the Corps; the ones in his platoon were every bit squared away and Gung-Ho as any of the men. Lance Corporal Petrovic’s mission in life was to find and marry an officer; Lieutenant Power let her know in no uncertain terms she should look elsewhere. At least she could do her job. Corporal Valentine was a princess, always needing someone to ‘help’ do hers. McKendrey wondered how Gunny Fields let this platoon get to be such a mess. Gunny Thorns’ words from three days ago still echoed in his head, ‘No good deed goes unpunished.’

    [LEFT]His data PADD chirped. He read the message; it made no sense to him. Shifting uncomfortably on the bench seat, McKendrey wondered why the Gendarme used booths in the mess hall, instead of tables like on the Magnum. Ever the combat Marine, he noted that the person sitting next to the wall would have to slide across the bench before being able to stand up. That could be dangerous in an emergency. It wasn’t the only difference, nor the only thing he didn’t like, about the Gendarme verses the Magnum.[/LEFT]

    Commander Christensen was sharp. He liked her. Maybe even more than the Magnum’s captain, Thomas Isenberg. At first, Senior Chief O’Hara seemed like someone who had been beaten down and defeated, but that was quickly changing. He wasn’t there to see it, but he heard that immediately after officially taking command, Christensen told O’Hara that she was out of uniform. When the chief asked what was wrong, the commander reportedly said, “The Chief of the Boat is a Senior Chief’s job. The next time I see you, you had better be wearing the proper rank.” The rebuke was not aimed at the chief, but rather at the Exec Officer, Lieutenant Commander (select) Pierre Faucheux. Everyone knew he had forbidden her to frock, to pin the rank on before her official promotion date.

    Now there was someone McKendrey did not like. Nobody did. The man seemed to go out of his way to make people not like him. Yesterday, the NCO heard one of the troop say, “Instead of a sleeping bag, they issued the Ex-Oh a six-foot prophylactic.” As much as he agreed with the sentiment, he had to put a stop to that kind of talk. The Private gave him some lip, so McKendrey ordered him to clean all the toilets in the gym locker room. Upon appeal to the platoon leader, Lieutenant Powers told the offender to “make them sparkle.” When the squad leader started to argue for his underling, the officer suggested that the Private might not have the proper training, so the Corporal would have to show him how it’s done. The rest of the Marines got the message, five by five.

    McKendrey saw Lieutenant Flynn, the ship’s intelligence officer, talking to his platoon leader. If he had to use one word to describe Flynn, ‘unstable’ came to McKendrey’s mind. He wouldn’t trust the man as far as he could throw him. Then again, the man was skinny; the Marine could probably throw him a good five or six meters. As bad as Flynn was, he had nothing on Qiang Baku, the operations officer and third in command of the ship. Baku had a sleazy, slimy way of manipulating people, and used that ability to the full extent with Flynn. He’d shake your hand one second and stab you in the back the next. Where Faucheux would challenge Christensen’s authority directly, Baku would undermine it quietly.

    Powers came over to the booth but did not sit down, so McKendrey stood up. “I’m wanted upstairs, Sergeant. As to what we were talking about, I don’t want to make any permanent changes until Gunny Fields gets back on his feet. However, I do like the idea of shuffling the squads. Maybe we can do it as a training exercise to test the theory.” He paused and looked around. “It’s almost lunch time. Don’t we have anyone scheduled for KP duty?”

    “Yes, sir. They’ll be here any minute,” he replied, thinking but not saying, ‘if I have to go drag them down here.’ After Powers left, he sat back down and finished his coffee. Something didn’t feel right. He looked around. It was late morning, time for the afternoon shift to grab a meal before reporting for duty. There were only five other people in the mess hall. By the time he drained his coffee, his senses were on full alert.

    He read the message on the PADD again. “Arthur, go to where we last spoke. About face, isolate second from the left, blue two reds blue green. I have news. Stephanie.” It still made no sense. He dropped his mug off at the scullery and started climbing the spiral stairs, intending to go up to Deck Two where the barracks was located. The only Stephanie he knew was Ensign Tillman. And the last place that they had spoken was over a week ago ... on the Emergency Bridge, when she showed his team some of the basic control systems.

    He got off the stairs after one deck up and walked aft, through the common areas. There was nobody in the break rooms or in the computer terminal room. There was nobody doing laundry. What the ... there was always somebody doing laundry. With a hundred crewmembers to service, the eight machines ran 24 hours a day, every day. He continued aft to another set of stairs and climbed up another deck to Deck Five, and then turned aft through a tools storage area to get to the Emergency Bridge. Thankfully, it was vacant.

    This control center duplicated the Main Bridge, but it was arranged differently. Instead of a round room, this was a wide rectangle. It had the same type of main view screen and center seat / helm as the Bridge. There were four control stations facing forward, two on either side of the view screen, and four facing aft. The message said, “About face, isolate second from the left.” He turned to face the back of the ship; the second set of controls was configured as the communications station.

    He sat down and looked the controls over. Blue. Main power switch. On. Two reds. Two reds. He looked the board over. He found a red button on the left. It didn’t do anything. He found a second red button on the right. It didn’t do anything either. He pressed them at the same time. A message appeared on the screen, ‘Transferring control from Main Bridge.’ Another blue. Hailing frequencies. Open. Green. Transmit. He pressed it.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Lieutenant Miada suppressed a yawn as she entered the bridge. She held the door open for the Magnum’s weapons officer, Patrick McShannon. Ensign Tillman noted that the entire command staff was now on the bridge; the only officers missing were Chief Engineer Campbell and his wife Nurse Sarah, senior shuttle pilot Maes Roola, and Doctor Sullivan. The turbolift opened, allowing Chief Szczr and Marine Corporal Ackar to add to the crowded room.

    Gunny Thorns told the Prelarian corporal to go round up the troops. Lieutenant-j.g. Naaz asked the commander, “Sir, it is getting uncomfortably crowded. Do you require my presence, or may I please leave?” He told her to go, and she followed Ackar back into the turbolift, still reading her book. Tillman wondered if perhaps Andorians navigate with those antennae, like bats with sonar.

    “Okay, we’re all here,” Kingsley stated the obvious, “Anyone care to tell us what’s going on?”

    “Might be trouble on the Gendarme,” Iseberg said, indicating to the tactical plot on the view screen. “We’re trying to get a message to someone we trust.” Just then, the comm station beeped. Incoming hail. “Okay, hush, everyone,” he ordered and waved them to the far side of the bridge.

    Ensign Tillman sat down, debating to herself, ‘do I just tell him, or play-act it?’ She knew the Gendarme’s comm tech could and probably was monitoring all traffic, so to just blurt it out would tip them off. On the other hand, if she play-acted it and McKendrey didn’t understand, she’d blow their one chance. She pressed the transmit button, and the sergeant’s face appeared on the small screen. “Arthur, it’s Stephanie. They figured it out.” She voice trembled in fear and anxiety. Part of that wasn’t acting; she really was concerned for him.

    “Who figured what out?” he asked, confused. She could tell he swallowed the word ‘ma’am’. Good. He was as smart as she’d hoped.

    “Your lieutenant and the commander. After you came back from that freighter, El-Tee Zee found this,” she held up the fleur-de-lis lapel pin, “and when he showed it to the commander, they figured out who it came from. Oh, Arthur, I think you’re in big trouble. The commander is okay with it, as is the chief, but I think Kingsley will want to lock you away. You understand, don’t you?”

    McKendrey paused while he studied the pin. She hoped the camera had it in focus for him. “Yeah, I think I do. I’ll make it right with the el-tee, mon amour. He’s okay.”

    She allowed herself a small smile. “Arthur ... just be careful.” The feed ended suddenly before she could add, “I love you.”

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    McKendrey stared at the blank screen, his brain in full overdrive. Ensign Tillman was trying to tell him something -- something that she and presumably Commander Isenberg didn’t want the crew of the Gendarme to understand. Radio protocol forbids “talking around” a subject, but it also demanded no non-encrypted messages on an open channel. He knew that Zychowski was given something when they “arrested” him on the Santa Maria; it had to be that pin. He recognized it right away as a fleur-de-lis. When she named “Kingsley” as the one to watch out for, at first it didn’t make sense until he remembered Kingsley is the Exec Officer. And the Gendarme’s Exec, Pierre Faucheux, wears the same exact style of pin. By calling Tillman “my love” in French, he told her he understood the message.

    But now what to do with it? By saying that the commander and chief were both okay with it, Tillman meant that he could trust Commander Christensen and Chief O’Hara. He knew he could trust, probably trust, Eric Powers. The rest of the troops would follow along, hopefully, but half of them were too green. After three second’s thought, he killed the main power on the control station. He looked at the blank screen again and wondered why she closed the transmission so suddenly; he had the feeling she wanted to tell him something else.

    He stood up and took just two steps when both doors opened up. Two police force petty officers walked in, one male, the other female, and both had Type-II phasers in their hands.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Tillman stood up and with a grin said, “He got it.” She took a side-step to her right, and then suddenly reached out and grabbed Petty Officer McAllister by her red hair. Viciously, she yanked the woman out of the chair, kicking her feet out for under her, spun her around and slammed her face-first onto the deck. As stunned as she was, McAllister managed to catch her fall and tried to push herself back up. Tillman dropped to her knees square onto the small of McAllister’s back.

    “Hands! Hands!” she demanded as she forced the woman’s arms back. Something went skittering across the deck. “Cuffs!” Private DeWitt tossed her his set. Tillman caught them and quickly handcuffed her prisoner. She rolled the woman over and pulled her to her feet by the lapels.

    “You didn’t think I’d see that?” she yelled, “Who are you working with?”

    McAllister spit in the ensign’s face. Tillman slammed her forehead into the woman’s nose, doubled her over with a hard knee to the mid-section, and rendered her unconscious with an elbow to the back of the neck.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Okay, this *beep* just got real. And damn, Tillman, is a bad mother *beep*. I didn't expect that from the unassuming ensign.
  10. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    Sorry for the delay. Dealing with a minor medical issue here. Gout is No Fun. If there's a way to inflict on someone, it would be banned by the Geneva Convention.

    The fact that I have a set of deck plans for the ship in front of me and you, my readers, do not, makes my job harder, not easier. And no, sorry, but I cannot post these plans on the Web, for they will be published sometime in the near future.

    At any rate, here's another 1600 words to the story. I wanted to get more written, but such is life.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
  11. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    “Okay, buddy, hands were we can see them,” the man ordered Sergeant McKendrey. “This is a restricted area.”

    “Whoa. Take it easy, Petty Officer,” he couldn’t read the name tag, “I’m part of the security detail. I have full access to the entire ship.” He could see the man’s phaser was set to heavy-stun. Good. He was afraid they had shoot-to-kill orders.

    The man laughed menacingly, “Not any more, you don’t.” He looked at the woman, “Tell the boss we got the last one.” With his free hand, he began to pat the Marine down for weapons. His partner made a rookie mistake and lowered her weapon to pull out her data PADD. McKendrey made his move, and almost immediately made a huge mistake of his own.

    He grabbed the man’s right wrist, forcing the phaser down and away, and turned to elbow him in the solar plexus. His next move would have been to twist the weapon hand up, around, and behind his opponent to disarm him. The problem was, he realized a moment too late, the man was an ethnic Orion. Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of Orions live and work an honest life, and many serve honorably in Star Fleet and even the Police Force. They must pass a rigorous back-ground check, of course, but so does anyone from any other planet. The immediate problem at hand is Orion anatomy. Unlike humans, a blow to the gut will not stun an Orion.

    The Orion was also much stronger than he looked, as the Marine discovered by being wrapped up in a bear hug. In an attempt to move to Plan B, he tried to drop to his knees and body-throw his opponent. He found himself being lifted high in the air and expected to be slammed to the deck. McKendrey threw his head back and heard a satisfying snap of teeth breaking, and kicked down and back with both feet hard into the man’s left kneecap. His left arm slipped loose from the vice-grip hold. It was an awkward move, but was able to punch the petty officer once, twice, three times in the side just below the ribcage. That is how you stun an Orion: in the side, not the gut.

    McKendrey broke free and landed on his feet. He turned and swung a haymaker of a punch, only to have his hand caught inches away from the target. This guy was a brawler. He smiled a bloodied smile and began to crush the Marine’s fist in his. Out of the corner of his eye, McKendrey saw the woman had recovered from her surprise and was pointing her phaser at them, waiting for a clear shot. As the Marine was free from her partner, she fired. And missed. McKendrey dropped to the floor as she pulled the trigger. The energy beam brushed the seat of his pants; it felt like fire and electricity at the same time. By dropping out of the way, he allowed her shot to hit her partner in the lower torso, making him wonder if she aimed low on purpose.

    The Orion’s phaser fell conveniently close to the Marine’s non-dominate hand. He grabbed in and rolled behind the command chair as she fired again. He reached around the chair and took a blind shot at where he thought she was. The thud told him it worked. Quickly, he checked to make sure they were still breathing. He rolled the man on his side so as to prevent him from drowning in his own blood. As he scooped up the second phaser and the woman’s data PADD, he heard or rather felt the approaching turbolift cars.

    That was another thing about the Gendarme; the turbolifts were noisy. His quarters on the Magnum shared a bulkhead with the main turbolift horizontal corridor, and he never felt it. He could feel the Gendarme’s lifts practically anywhere on the ship. This felt like two cars, both moving towards the aft of the ship. He had to move fast.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    The bridge of the Magnum was in total chaos. As Ensign Tillman was pulling the sensor tech to the floor, the three Marines sprang into action, more due to trained reflex than conscious thought. Lieutenant Zychowski grabbed the ship’s captain, pulled him from his command chair, and moved him to the far side of the bridge. Likewise, Gunnery Sergeant Hawthorn pushed Lieutenants Kingsley, Maida, and Dupree through the door and into the corridor. Private Dewitt was actually the first to move, placing himself between the two women and the helm station. He had his cuffs out before McAllister hit the floor.

    Tillman grabbed the back of the unconscious woman’s collar slowing her fall to the floor. Instinctively, she reached to wipe the spittle off her face but stopped herself. She moved to the now-vacant command chair and stopped it from spinning. She jabbed at the control panel on the arm. “Medic to the bridge! Medic to the bridge! Bring a combat kit!”

    Lieutenant Bin-Yi Xiong, the intelligence office and thus McAllister’s immediate superior, exclaimed, “What the hell, Ensign? Have you gone mad?” He started to move towards the women, unsure whether to attack the crazed officer or to render aid to her victim.

    Private DeWitt blocked his path. “Don’t touch them, sir,” he ordered.

    “Did she spit on anyone else?” Tillman asked as she began pulling her uniform shirt off. Subconsciously she was thankful that she had a tee-shirt on underneath, but at the moment it wouldn’t have mattered if she hadn’t. Using the shirt as a blotter, she dabbed the spit off her face and neck. It burned. She had to be careful not to wipe and thus spread it. “Did anyone else get spit on?” she demanded. Her hands began to shake. Everyone else indicated they had not.

    The door nearest her opened, and Corpsman Earnest Jefferson entered briskly. He had the medical scanner in his hand; Tillman snatched it away and ran it over her face and arms. Her vision was starting to get blurry, but she could still see the indicator lights. Just as she suspected. She tossed the device away with a flip of the wrist; Private DeWitt caught is easily. The ensign grabbed the corpsman’s go-bag and clawed at the flap. She pulled a smaller bag out and ripped that open revealing several cylindrical objects. Using her teeth to pull the protective cap off one, she jammed the end into the back of her thigh. She clinched her jaw as the needle sank deep into muscle tissue. She rolled McAllister face-down and administered two auto-injectors, one into each check of her buttocks.

    Sinking to the floor, she pointed at the drool and vomit McAllister had deposited on the deck. “Don’t touch that,” she panted. “Get a Haz-Mat clean-up kit.” As she leaned over and added her own vomit to the mess, she heard Isenberg order the bridge cleared and transfer to Auxiliary Control. She tried to sit back up, only to fall over to the other side. Darkness took her.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Sergeant McKendrey knew he couldn’t go back out towards the stairs, not without confronting whoever it was on the turbolift. His only option was to turn left as he exited the Emergency Bridge and move further aft. There was only one more compartment that direction, the impulse engine bay. It wasn’t a dead-end for someone who had studied the ship’s layout. He entered, looked around to see nobody inside, and looked up to see no one above on the perforated floor on the second level.

    Quickly, he climbed a ladder and lifted a trap door, pulling himself up to Deck Four. He entered a man-lock that separated the impulse engine bay from the main engineering control center. There in one of the lockers he found an engineer’s thermal jacket, which protected the wearer from heat as well as cold, and put it on. He opened the door and crossed the control room as if he belonged there. McKendrey noted that there were only two technicians on-duty, neither of which looked up as he walked by. He exited and turned to climb another flight of the spiral staircase. This brought him out near the brig. Above him, he heard someone entering the stairs. “Move it!” a voice demanded of its prisoner. From around the corner, the Marine heard another unfriendly voice. Again, he was caught in a pickle. And once again, his knowledge of the ship allowed him to escape.

    He moved quickly the two meters that left him exposed to view and entered the air conditioner systems compartment. He maneuvered under the ductwork and crawled into the vertical shaft that ran alongside the staircases. By regulations, he should have had a safety harness on. Oh well. He climbed up to the Deck Two and found an inspection panel. He opened it just a crack, and could see into the gymnasium. There were about forty crewmembers sitting or lying on the floor, their hands bound behind their back.

    Briefly, he considered shooting the guards, but there was no way to guarantee he could get all four of them before one shot him back. It was a long way down to the bottom of the shaft. Even if he could get them all, there was no easy way out of the shaft to the gym; he’d have to go up yet another level to get out. Time for Plan B. He started climbing back down the shaft. Or maybe it was Plan F. He was running thru the alphabet and didn’t want to think about what happens when Plan Z failed.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​
  12. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Jeez, what's going on here? Did the Orion Syndicate infiltrate Federation police and take over an entire cutter? Or is this something else.

    And there is obviously more to Tillman than meets the eye. I'm getting a Section 31 or some other intelligence outfit vibe from her.
  13. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    Hush. You're giving away the plot. I still have a few surprise twists planned.

    You're reading more into Tillman than I have in mind. Yes, I do have an explanation for some of her education.
  14. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    From her desk in the Assistant Engineer’s corner office, Mary Donovan saw someone exit the impulse drive bay. It wasn’t any one she recognized, but whoever it was, they were out of uniform. It was one of the ensign’s pet peeves; the chief engineer might not give a flying-flip about that sort of stuff, but to a Star Fleet brat like Ensign Donovan, a well-run ship began with a self-disciplined crew. Until two days ago, she wasn’t getting the support she needed from Chief O’Hara. Thank God, she rejoiced, they finally had someone deserving in the center seat. It was going to be a long road, but she was sure the new commander would turn things around on the ship.

    Donovan got up and walked to the open door. Her first question in her head of ‘who was that’ was replaced with ‘where is everybody?’ There were only two engine techs on-duty. She expected a half-dozen or more Boatswains and specialists working on various routine maintenance issues. Lord knows, there was enough to do. Before she left, Commander Gonzales let a lot of things slide, including requests for spare parts and other supplies. While at Star Base, Donovan filed emergency requisition forms to fill a six-month back-log. The exec wasn’t happy the way she jumped the chain of command, but she was too used to his wrath to care.

    She walked out into the control room. Looking around, she saw a small repair project scattered about on the table, and some of the tool lockers were not closed properly. What a mess. She began to ask the petty officers what was going on when she noticed the bridge relay screen. “We’re off course,” she stated. Then she noticed something else. “We’re being followed.”

    As the ensign reached to the intercom button, she failed to notice one of the petty officers had removed his gloves. He was a member of a minor species within the United Federation of Planets, a people that was known for two things: they are considered rather unattractive by most other humanoids, and their ability to generate an electrical discharge, much like some eels on Earth. Before she knew what happened, he grabbed her by the forearm with one hand and the back of the neck with the other. Her eyes rolled back into her head as she slumped to the floor.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    McKendrey found that going down the tight shaft was not as easy as going up. It was made for plumbing, electrical conduits, and ventilation ductwork, not for people. There were no lights, and the ladder was intended only for crew performing repairs with proper safety equipment. As he moved down past main engineering, he heard a short yelp of pain. He continued climbing down. He had three viable exit points. The easiest was on Deck Seven, into the trash compactor near the mess hall. A funny thought popped into his head: he didn’t have a little robot friend to get him out of trouble if someone should activate the press. It was an antique, but he loved that movie. Stephanie Tillman introduced it to him and his troops.

    His foot slipped. He had to force stray thoughts out of his head, but not before wondering why he thought of her as by her first name and not as ‘Ensign.’ He reached Deck Six and wiggled his way out, being extra careful not to put any weight on the plumbing leading the bio-waste treatment system. The engineer’s jacket he was wearing was filthy, so he stripped it off and left it behind. Quickly, he retraced his steps back through the still-vacant common areas to the next-forward set of stairs. He climbed up one flight to Deck Five. He felt the turbolift cars moving.

    He poked his head around the corner and saw the corridor was clear, then sprinted the thirty meters to the public restroom near the ‘neck’ of the ship where the forward and aft hull sections joined. It felt like the turbolift was going to stop just a couple meters ahead, so he ducked into the restroom. He heard the turbolift door open, followed by a gruff voice say, “Don’t worry, boss. It’s only one guy. We’ll get him.” Whoever these guys were, they weren’t cops.

    The police force only had two classes of ships: a few hundred cutters and several dozen flagships. There wasn’t a cop in uniform that hadn’t served on a cutter. Cops knew their ship better than the backs of their own hands; they trained constantly in various emergency scenarios, mainly dealing with escaped prisoners and repelling boarding parties. Whoever these guys were, they didn’t know standard search procedures.

    McKendrey waited until he heard them enter one of the crew quarters before making his move. It was fifteen meters to the forensics lab, and another fifteen meters to his goal, the astrophysics lab. He heard the search team behind exit a room behind him, so he was forced to stop for cover in the forensics lab. There was one person, a Rigellian female wearing an Ensign’s uniform, in the room. “Who are you? What’s going on?” she demanded.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Chief Engineer Sammilaarote, otherwise known has Lieutenant Sam to the crew, stepped out of his office just in time to see his assistant approach the duty technicians. He knew by the now-too-familiar look on her face that she was ready “to rip somebody a new one,” to use her own words. Inwardly, he sighed. His people, for the most part, did not believe in direct confrontation. He tried to teach her the power of quiet persuasion. Before he could interrupt her, she said something, and then one of the enlisted used his electrical powers to knock her out. Sam back-peddled into his room and hit the lock button as the door closed.

    He hit the alarm button, but nothing happened. He grabbed the mechanical locking bar and forced it into place. Next, he moved to his desk and tried the intercom, only to find that it too had been disabled. He could hear someone attacking the door with power tools. It was only a matter of time before they forced their way in. He would have to surrender. But first, he had to protect the ship.

    Sam moved the keyboard to the side of his desk, reached under the desktop to press in a certain spot a certain way. A panel opened to reveal a little lever. He pulled on it, and a panel opened where his keyboard had been on the desk top. He removed a chain from around his neck. He took the command key and inserted it into the slot. He twisted it one-quarter turn to the right, then typed a six-digit code on the small keypad, and then pushing down hard he twisted the key one-half turn the opposite direction. It clicked. He typed in another six-digit code. A discreet yellow light winked on beside the intercom. Sam closed the lid, replaced the keyboard, and pushed the chair back under the desk. The Gendarme’s chief engineer walked to the door and opened it to accept his fate.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    “It looks like a mutiny, Ma’am”, McKendrey told the ensign. She looked panicked. “They have half the crew tied up in the gymnasium. I didn’t see any of the officers, though. How did you escape?” He didn’t trust her. How could he?

    “Escape? I’ve been here all morning, catching up on reports,” she indicated to the computer screen on a desk. “What do we do now?”

    McKendrey walked over to a control station in front of a large wall-mounted view screen. “Do you have full access to the ship’s sensors from here like they do in the astrophysics lab?”

    “No, not really. We can do some of what they do. Why? What do you have planned?”

    “I’m going to send a message,” he explained, “and I should be able to access the internal sensor grid to locate everyone. Maybe I can still send the ....” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the object she held, some sort of pry bar. She wielded it like a bat aimed for his head.

    The Marine had just enough time to reflexively raise his shoulder to take the brunt of the attack. Still, she rang his bell pretty good. She reared back for another go, but he was faster. He grew up being taught to never hit a lady, but if she was trying to bash his brains in, she was no lady. He hit her with a right-cross to the jaw, followed up with a pair of quick jabs with the left, and finished with another right fist that smashed her nose. She dropped to the floor in a heap. He staggered to the controls, shook his head and felt for blood. He had a goose-egg of a lump, but no blood. Stupid. He knew he couldn’t trust her.

    He looked the control panel over and tried to recall the demonstration that Lieutenant Dupree and Crewman Page gave him and his team. It took about two minutes to figure out how to do what he wanted. He set the command on a sixty-second time delay and exited the lab.

    Hearing footsteps down the hall, he ran to the astrophysics lab. There he accessed the ship’s internal sensors. Whoever these people were, they didn’t have a sensor tech amongst them. If they had, he would have been captured before he crawled out of that plumbing stack. Good fortune had smiled on him thus far. According to the sensors, there were people approaching the lab from both the port and starboard corridors. Both exits were blocked. There was a third way out, but it was almost never used.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    This is starting to remind me a lot of those action movies like Die Hard or Under Siege. One man, against a horde of bad guys.

    My money's on McKendrey.
  16. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    The man wearing a police force lieutenant’s uniform sat in the command chair, contemplating the morning’s events. He pulled at the uniform’s collar for about the tenth time; finally he had enough and yanked the top two fasteners open. He wore it for ten years now, but over the past four years he felt less and less like wearing it. He had come to see the hypocrisy of the United Federation of Planets and could no longer enforce its rules. Mayra had shown him the path to enlightenment.

    Sweet Mayra. He closed his eyes and remembered her face, her smile, as they lay basking in the afterglow of their passion, her green skin glistening in the moonlight. She told him stories about how the ruling elite had subjugated her people, and many other peoples they deemed inferior. The Federation prevented whole world from fulfilling their potential, their destiny. At first, he resisted. He was an educated man and had studied history and sociology in college before applying for the Star Fleet condensed academy. As fate would have it, his first posting was a cross-service assignment to a police cutter. He felt he had a purpose in life, a true calling, so he switched services. For six years, he did his job well, did it proudly. And then he met Mayra.

    His team boarded her ship and rescued thirty young women, some only ten or twelve years of age, just budding into adults. Mayra was one of them. Later, much later, she admitted to him that she was the captain of the ship and hid among her passengers for safety. She said they weren’t slaves, as the Federation prosecutor claimed, but rather she was saving them from a life of misery and starvation. She was taking them to a better place, where they would be housed and feed, given the best clothing to wear, and provided with medical care.

    Dear sweet Mayra. For three years, they would get together whenever they could, clandestinely of course, and in her arms he felt more alive than he’d ever thought possible. She taught him that what he learned in school was not the truth. Once his service commitment was up, they could be together forever. He had everything planned to the last detail. All that changed eight months ago. With her guidance, he had used his position within the Federation Police Force to protect her ships. Over time, he recruited others into his organization, and expanded his cliental. Mayra brought other ship masters to seek his aid, and they paid handsomely for the service. With his assistance, free trade prospered, proper free trade unencumbered by excessive taxes and tariffs without artificial limits of what was deemed to be contraband.

    He found powerful friends in high places within the government. Mayra fought him on this, accusing him of working with the ruling elite she loathed so very much. He explained that in order to bring change, real change, to the Federation, they would need people inside the General Assembly. He came to regret that discussion, for they asked more of him than he could deliver. To make their point that they could bring his organization down any time they wanted, they compromised some of his people and had them arrested. It was touch and go for a while, but then he recruited that Norwood woman about a year ago. She taught him how to protect his people, how to communicate covertly, and how to manage payments to them. Pity she got greedy, demanding to be cut into the dealings with his government benefactors. He hating having to kill her, but part of him wished he could have pulled the trigger himself.

    Poor dear sweet Mayra. Eight months ago, another of her ships was raided. As she had done before, she blended in with her passengers. Only this time, one of the women betrayed her trust and informed the tactical team leader of her presence. Mayra killed that little wench and four policemen making her escape. She was gunned down like a rabid animal. Renee Norwood was on that raiding action and should have protected Mayra. Norwood told him one of the passengers took up the officer’s weapon and murdered Mayra in cold blood.

    Somehow, he always felt there was more to that story. He recently heard that it was Norwood herself, and not some nameless harlot, who fired the fatal shot. No matter. Senior Chief Renee Norwood paid for all her crimes. The Federation Police Force would soon pay for theirs.

    The soon-to-be ex-lieutenant opened his eyes and brought himself back to the present. He had waited three days until he could make his move. Commander Christensen didn’t see fit to abide by a set schedule. If she wasn’t out wandering the ship, her lap-dog Chief O’Hara was. He started to make his move yesterday, but his third nemesis kept hanging around the bridge after his shift ended. Oh, but it was fun to watch him and Christensen butt heads yet again. That alone was worth the delay.

    Finally, about an hour ago, the Queen, her least favorite officer, and the ship’s doctor went into her office for a closed-door meeting. O’Hara went to her office to ‘mentor’ a petty officer that failed to report to his duty at the scheduled time, yet again. It was such a simple matter to quietly round up the rest of the crew. First, he had all the Marines picked up one-by-one and locked away in the brig. Next, his people herded the crew into the gym. Soon, he would have full control of the ship.

    “Hey, boss,” the man at the communications station interrupted his meditations, “I think we have a problem.”

    “Now what?” the man in the command chair snapped.

    “I watched that transmission again. There’s something you need to see.”

    The man angrily stormed over. “What? So some grunt knocked up his girl and is in trouble with his platoon leader? It happens all the time.”

    The comm tech replayed the message and paused it when the girl held up a pin of some kind. “Look familiar?”

    “Damn.” He noticed an indicator light on the console. “What’s that?” He pushed the tech out of the way and entered the command to display the text queue. It read, ‘Isenberg is on to you.’ He whirled around and looked at the tactical display. “Damn. Damn. Damn.” He threw himself into the command chair and barked out new orders.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Science Officer Benjamin Franklin Dupree was the first to arrive in Auxiliary Control and immediately went to the sensor station. Chief Guzman followed quickly, taking the helm station. As Commander Isenberg walked in, Dupree informed him, “Sir, the Gendarme just jumped to warp nine point two five.” Just then, the icon for that ship winked out. “They just killed their transponder.”

    “Chief, go!” Isenberg commanded. Guzman pushed the Magnum’s speed up to match. “Can you still track them?”

    “At this range, barely, sir. I still have their warp signature, but there’s enough stellar mass between us and them, they might be able to shake us. If they change course and drop speed, we could lose them.” Dupree’s fingers flew madly over the controls. “Sir, there’s another contact. Looks like a stealth ship. It just matched course and speed to the Gendarme.”

    “Great. This gets better and better. Ex-oh, contact the LaMagne and Mazza. Bring them up to speed on what we know. Dupree, open a channel to Star Base Thirteen, flash priority.”

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​
  17. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Commander Yvonne Christensen regarded the two men sitting across the desk from her. In the course of the past hour, both of them had surprised her in vastly different ways. They were discussing the mission parameters and what the medical staff should expect. The police lieutenant actually offered constructive suggestions without his usual negative attitude. She noticed that his demeanor was completely altered during private closed-door session, and she grudgingly had to admit that for all his personality faults, he was a competent officer.

    Doctor John Nikolaidis was another matter. She didn’t know which dismayed her more; his lack of field experience, or his blasé outlook on the upcoming mission. Not only was he not Police Force, being on loan from Star Fleet, he wasn’t even an officer but rather a civilian hired under a short-term contract. He had served on the Gendarme for six months and still didn’t seem willing to adapt to the military way of doing things. He was one of those people who said, ‘show me how once, and I can do it,’ and refused to see the benefit to repetitive training.

    “Commander, we have it covered. The medical facilities on this ship are as big as on a Constitution-class cruiser. It’s not like a disaster relief mission; we’re just going to give a few people a ride home. Your training exercises are a colossal waste of time.”

    Calm. Be calm. “Yes, Doctor, you have the beds, but not the staff of a cruiser’s sick bay. I’m sure you are an excellent doctor, as is your assistant. However, we need to make sure the crew are current in their first aid training. Trust me: you put eighty to a hundred refugees in the gym, and you will have medical issues to deal with. A common cold can sweep through the population like wild fire. And we have to be on guard for fights among them, even the possibility of a riot. These people will be scared, and scared people do stupid things.” She looked at the policeman, “I suppose you disagree.”

    The lieutenant shook his head. “Not at all, Ma’am. If nothing else, it’ll keep the crew occupied. I’ll have Chief O’Hara pull a dozen crewmen to play the wounded and set up a no-notice exercise this afternoon.”

    “Good. That’s settled.” She could see Nikolaidis was not happy with her decision, but at least he didn’t argue the point. “Doctor, did you take care of that other issue?”

    “What issue would that be?” He acted like he didn’t know what she was taking about.

    “Lieutenant Flynn. I asked that he be given a medical exam before we left Star Base.”

    “No,” he replied defiantly. “He had a routine exam just four months ago, and I fail to see why he should need another. Besides, medical records are private and are of no concern of yours.”

    As she was formulating a response, the other man interjected, “Only to a point, Doctor. If a service member has a medical condition that impacts his or her performance, the command staff may have limited access to that information. However,” he turned to the commander, “I am unaware of anything that would cause you to question Jake’s health, Ma’am.”

    Christensen pursed her lips. “In the short time I have known Mister Flynn, I have observed radical mood swings, unwarranted emotional outbursts, and even statements that border on paranoid delusions. It is my belief that he is suffering from clinical depression, bi-polar disorder, post-traumatic stress, or perhaps some combination of the above.”

    Doctor Nikoladis was unimpressed. “And from where, may I ask, did you receive your medical degree?”

    “Personal experience,” the commander responded coldly. “My sister spent six months in a Klingon prison. That will break even the sanest person. This isn’t a request, Doctor. I want you to examine him today.”

    “So you can drum him off the force.”

    “No. So we can find out what’s wrong and fix it. If he has an underlying medical condition, you can treat him and help him get his career back on track.” Without looking, she pressed the button on the intercom, “Lieutenant Flynn, report to my office, on the double.”

    Hardly twenty second elapsed when the door opened. Lieutenant Jacob Flynn entered the commander’s office with a Type-II phaser pointed right at her head. “What is the meaning of this?” Commander Christensen demanded. Even before the words were out of her mouth, she felt stupid for saying them.

    “I believe the meaning is obvious, Ma’am. You are no longer in command of this ship,” Lieutenant Pierre Faucheux informed her calmly, still seated in his chair.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    “She’s coming around, Doctor,” Ensign Tillman heard as her brain climbed up out of a deep well of utter blackness. “Blood scans shows all traces of the toxins have been eliminated from her body.” That sounded promising. She opened her eyes, just enough to know it was too bright, and closed them again.

    “Good. No, put that down. Use this,” she heard the doctor order. She felt someone hand brush against her lips and the tip of her nose. The pungent smell of ammonia exploded in her nasal system. She turned her head away, only to have the sadist give her another dose.

    “Okay, okay, I’m awake,” she declared but didn’t open her eyes. She tried to sit up and fell back on the pillow as the world spun. She tried to raise her hand to cover her eyes, only find she was cuffed to the bed. “What the hell?” she exclaimed.

    “You have some explaining to do, Ensign,” Lieutenant Ursula Maida informed her. “Starting with this,” she held up a stun grenade. “You dropped this on the bridge during your fight with Petty Officer McAllister.”

    “No, Ma’am. McAllister had that,” Marine Private DeWitt interjected, “and this was in her pocket.” He held up a disruptor pistol, illegal to possess on a Federation starship. “Keep her sedated, Doctor,” he indicated to the other woman being treated in Sick Bay.

    “Stay out of this, DeWitt” Gunny Thorns snapped, “The doctor knows what he’s doing.”

    The private ignore his non-commissioned officer, a very dangerous thing to do, and told the Chief Medical Officer, “Trust me, Doctor Sullivan; you’ll want to keep her under until you do a complete body scan.”

    Sullivan rolled his second patent over to remove the handcuffs. “Jefferson, why are her hands encased in plaster?”

    “The Private did that, sir,” the corpsman explained. He waved a hand-held medical scanner over the woman’s hands and showed the results to the doctor.

    Sullivan’s eyes went wide. “Keep her sedated and move her to isolation. Do a full body scan. And don’t cut that cast off her hands yet.” He turned to the Marine. “Good catch. How did you know?”

    “Sergeant McKendrey has us read intelligence reports, sir. I remembered one that described how agents working for Orion Cartels often have multiple suicide devices implanted.” He looked at Lieutenant Maida and continued, “I was watching her all morning. I don’t know anything about how to work the ship’s sensors, but I could tell she was intentionally preventing them from working right. Every time Ensign Tillman had that sensor ghost locked in, Petty Officer McAllister would spin the knob the opposite direction.”

    “I knew it,” Tillman muttered. “When I was talking with Arthur, with Sergeant McKendrey, I saw the indicator that someone piggy-backed a text message to the Gendarme. And then I saw McAllister pull the stun grenade out of her pocket. If you look, you’ll see that she has earplugs in. The entire command staff was on the bridge at the time, Ma’am.”

    The operations officer considered this. After a long moment, she nodded, “Good job. Both of you, good job. I’ll have to check the video log to confirm your story, of course. So, Ensign, stay put.” She indicated to Gunny Thorns that she could remove the cuffs. On her way out of Sick Bay, she stopped and spoke quietly to First Lieutenant Zychowski for a moment.

    “Private DeWitt,” the officer called. The enlisted man snapped to attention. “Please go to Petty Officer Foster and ask him to help you write up a report of everything you saw and did this morning.”

    “Aye aye, sir!”

    Gunny Thorns released Tillman from the cuffs. “Nice takedown, Ma’am.”

    “Thanks,” she replied modestly. “My mom is a cop. When she was out of patrol, I’d stay with a foster family. A couple times, I stayed with Gunny Steele’s family; he has three daughters, and he taught all of us hand-to-hand.”

    Doctor Sullivan came over to the bedside. “You’re lucky to be alive, young lady. We analyzed the toxin. It was a derivative of VX nerve agent. It looks like McAllister had a suicide device implanted in her mouth. I am curious, though, how you figured that out so quickly.”

    Stephanie had a shiver run down her spine, and she rubbed her arms protectively. “When I was a kid ... when I was fifteen, we lived ... my foster family at the time ... we survived ... some of us survived the terrorist attacks on Derexis.” She closed her teary eyes; Linda Hawthorn cradled the younger woman’s head motherly.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Leave it to a Frenchman to be the villain. Classic.

    And Tillman is no super secret agent but a self taught survivor. At least I was half-right about the Orions being involved.

    Now how are they gonna take back Gendarme? Looking forward to find out.
  19. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 5, 2013
    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    The shipwrights who designed the police cutter included some features that rarely if ever were utilized once the ship was placed into active service. One such feature was a ‘dumb waiter’ leading from the astrophysics laboratory down to the probe launcher. The intent was that scientists could customize a sensor package and send it down to be installed in a probe. Of course, newer programmable probes were developed and made this dumb waiter pretty much useless.

    Useless except when one is a Marine sergeant on an escape and evade mission. McKendrey entered the small chamber, closed and locked the door, and began climbing down the shaft. He didn’t want to risk being heard, so he didn’t try to use the power lift. Two rungs down, his pants leg caught on a bolt; shacking his foot free resulting in undoing the blousing strap and letting the pants leg fall freely to cover his boot top. How annoying, it bugged him to have one pants leg secured around the top of one boot and the other dangling free. He put out of his mind as he stepped off into the probe launcher bay.

    He pulled out the ‘borrowed’ PADD and checked the relay. No luck. The bad guys might not have a sensor tech, but it appeared they had a comm tech, for they had shut off all intra-ship communication relays. McKendrey knew he couldn’t stay here for long. If someone figured out he was in here, all they would have to do is open the drop-hatch and out he would go. Even Marines needed air.

    Quickly, he exited the launch bay. The next compartment forward housed the photon torpedo tube, which would do him no good, and ditto for the sub-space radio room nearby. He was only a Marine and therefore lacked the training that Star Fleet personnel received. Still, he was a combat Marine who had spent a lot of time thinking about how to defend a ship, and part of that process was to think of ways the enemy might try to capture the ship. It scared him how many different ideas came to mind.

    The first thought was to get down into the navigation deflector pylon and disable the system. He knew that a starship needed the deflector to ward off micro-meteors that could slice the ship end-to-end like a vibro-knife through butter. He had no idea what would happen if he shut the deflector off, so his next option was to go to Auxiliary Control and see if he could take command away from the bridge. He opened the blast door and moved aft into the main corridor. Two steps in, on his left, was the forward stairwell. And someone with a Type-II phaser pointing right at his head.

    “That’s far enough, Sergeant.” McKendrey noted the man’s rank insignia, Master-at-Arms First Class. Great. This guy wasn’t just any cop; he was a cop’s cop, the one who trained the rest of the crew in police procedures, including hand-to-hand combat. McKendrey’s team had sparred with the Master-at-Arms on the Magnum. These guys were good. Real good. “Cover me,” the man said, and a female petty officer slipped around him off the stairs. The Marine recognized her as the one he shot on the Emergency Bridge.

    The cop relieved McKendrey of the phaser in his hand, and the second one in his pocket, and then put him on his knees with his hands on his head. After a quick pat-down, he took the stolen PADD and handed it back to its owner. He then put a handcuff on the Marine’s wrist and twisted his arm down to his lower back. The overhead lighting began to flicker. McKendrey smiled inwardly; at least that part of his plan was working. Before the man could bring the other arm down and cuff it, McKendrey slid his hand under the tail of his shirt. His fingers wrapped around the familiar object attached to his belt. There was the whining noise, and the Master-at-Arms slumped to the floor. Before the female petty officer could blink, McKendrey rolled and fired again. For the second time within half an hour, she fell victim to a phaser set to stun. The Marine almost felt sorry for her. Almost.

    McKendrey replaced his personal-issue Type-I phaser in its holster on the back of his belt, recovered a Type-II phaser, and the keys to unlock the handcuff. After a moment’s thought, he handcuffed the two sleeping petty officers together on a rather compromising position. Later, he would come to regret that little indulgence and the precious time he wasted doing it. He took about five steps towards his goal, the Auxiliary Control center, when the door to the forward battery room opened.

    The Marine saw two things before he could react. The first was a grin full of broken teeth, and the second was the fist the size of a ham-hock slamming into his jaw. The blow staggered him, causing him to drop his weapon. “Remember me?” the Orion asked menacingly. Sergeant McKendrey watched the other fist inbound, and all he could do, the last thing he did, was think, ‘This is going to hurt’.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Lieutenant Dupree was trying, and failing, to maintain a lock on the Gendarme’s warp trail. They were only an hour ahead of the Magnum, but at this speed that meant there were over twenty parsecs between the two ships. Currently there were five stellar systems interfering with the sensor’s ability to track the Gendarme’s signature. Senior Chief Guzman made up some time by plotting a slalom course right through the heart of one such system, coming dangerously close to a gas giant. Ensign Daniel Littleton sat at his side and watched in total amazement; he wouldn’t try some of these maneuvers with a race shuttle. Guzman ordered the young officer to keep the navigation plot current. Too bad Tillman wasn’t here, the older man thought, because she would love this.

    “Damn,” Dupree muttered. “Lost them. I think they jinked when they passed the binary star system back there.” He started to replay the sensor log to figure out which way they turned, when suddenly good fortune smiled on the Magnum’s crew. “They just went active. I don’t know why, but they just fired up active sensors. We got them now. Chief, a bit more to starboard.”

    Memories and lessons from long ago popped into Guzman’s mind. “Are you sure it’s them, sir? Maybe they dropped a probe out on a lateral course.” Just the same, he altered course slightly. The next system was a little too soupy, so he didn’t try to cut through it.

    “Valid point, Chief, but even if it’s a probe, they have to be over that in direction,” the science officer explained. “That’s strange.”

    “What’s strange, Ben?” Isenberg asked. He immediately chastised himself for falling back into old, bad habits.

    “It’s ‘Frank’, sir. I go by Frank,” Lieutenant Benjamin Franklin Dupree corrected his superior officer. “What’s strange is the amount of power they’re sending to the sensors. They keep this up, and they’ll burn out the grid. Take a look.” He put the signal up on the tactical screen, with sound.

    Ping Ping Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping Ping Ping! Pause. Ping Ping Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping! Ping Ping Ping!

    “It’s an S.O.S!” Guzman, Littleton, and Isenberg all exclaimed at the same time.

    The ship’s captain looked over at the Marine platoon leader. “Your sergeant’s handiwork, I presume.” Zychowski nodded with a smug look on his face. “So, now we know where the Gendarme is. The next problem is: how do we stop them?”

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    Commander Yvonne Christensen glared at her second-in-command. “If it’s any consolation, Ma’am, you weren’t supposed to be here,” Pierre Faucheux informed her. “That honor was intended for Thomas Isenberg; the plan was for you to get the Magnum back. Now, if you would be so kind, please hand over your command key. I believe you carry it in the left pocket of your pants. Stand up slowly, please,” he ordered.

    She stood and removed the key, placing it on the desk. “Why Isenberg? I didn’t think he was a part of this.”

    Lieutenant Faucheux picked up the key. “Oh, he isn’t. But he made some enemies, powerful enemies, who would like nothing more than to see him sit in jail for the rest of his life. They wanted him framed, to take the fall as the ring-leader. And if he should resist,” he shrugged; the meaning was clear. “Now, you, my dear, have also made enemies. I think some of them are all too happy for your situation. I, however, am not one of them. I had no desire to see you in the middle of all this.”

    “No?” she asked, doubtfully.

    “No. And that is the truth, not that I expect you to believe me.” He removed his own command key from the chain around his neck. “In fact, I wanted Chief O’Hara off this ship, too. I couldn’t just order her out, so I did everything I could to make her ask for a transfer. And it was working, until you came along and gave her the resolve she needed. You two are too much alike. I expected you to throw a wrench into the mess. As it is, I believe you cause the entire time-table to be moved up. We weren’t ready yet.”

    “So glad I could help,” she replied sarcastically.

    “Don’t be too proud of yourself,” he countered. He broke eye-contact with her for a moment. The second time he did, she followed he gaze to her desk top, when she noticed a small yellow light illuminated next to the intercom.

    She hid her surprise by slamming her fists down. “You just couldn’t wait, could you? Was it worth it, throwing your career away? Well, the ship is yours, ‘Captain’, just as you wanted.”

    Faucheux shook his head with a sad little smile. “Oh, but it’s not.” He handed the pair of command keys to Jacob Flynn. “I presume Captain Baku will want these. Please pass my complements along. Tell him, ‘Well played, sir.’ I didn’t expect him to make his move until after we left the border station.”

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​

    The door to Sick Bay opened. “Oh, good, I’m glad you’re back, Doctor.” Ensign Janet Ferrari called out. “I wanted to ....” It wasn’t Doctor Nikolaidis, but rather Ensign Welck, the assistant science officer. The Rigellian’s nose looked broken. “Here, sit down. Let me take a look at that.”

    “Just give me something for the pain,” she demanded, “I have something important to do.”

    “No. I need to make sure the bone isn’t broken, too, that it’s only the cartilage. Otherwise, a sneeze could drive the shard into your brain. Do you want to give yourself a frontal lobotomy?” Ferrari used her best Doctor Nikolaidis impression. Janet was a first-year resident, having just graduated medical school. Technically, she could call herself ‘doctor’ but for now used the title of physician’s assistant. There were nurses, and enlisted corpsmen, who knew more about medicine than she did.

    As she began scanning the woman’s face, four more people entered sick bay. To be precise, two men walked in, each carrying an unconscious person. One of the men, an ethnic Orion, looked like he had just gone three rounds in the boxing ring. The Marine he was carrying looked worse. The Petty Officer First Class looked a bit woozy, and the woman he carried was out cold. The new doctor rang a hand-scanner quickly over all four of them. The woman had signs of phaser burns, not once but twice. The two men also had signs of recently recovered from a phaser’s stun setting. What the *bleep* happened?

    Ferrari went to the nearest intercom and pressed the button. “Doctor Nikolaidis, please report to Sick Bay.” She noticed a little yellow light by the speaker, and her blood ran cold. “Doctor Nikolaidis, report to Sick Bay. All corpsmen, please report to Sick bay.” She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. She had no idea what was going on, but it could not be good. She turned to face her patients. “Okay, put them over there,” she indicated to the row of diagnostics beds. “I’ll get to them in a minute. Ensign Welck, sit back down.”

    As she examined the Rigellian, and yes the bone was cracked but not broken off, Ferrari couldn’t help but replay the conversation she had just three days ago. When she and Doctor Nikolaidis transferred to the police cutter, she was taken aside and given a classified briefing. Normally, they told her, the Chief Medical Officer would receive this information, but as he was a civilian, the duty fell to the highest-ranking military person on the medical staff. In this case, Ensign Janet Ferrari. Ergo, she knew exactly what that little yellow light meant, and what was expect of her.

    ~~~ ~~~~ ~~~​
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2013
  20. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.

    I am far from caught up, but I'm thoroughly enjoying what I have read thus far. Great character work and detailed imagery. Plus, I'm a sucker for any story with a cutter involved. ;)

    A great read!