I see that people actually post their stories here whereas I just gave a link to my site! Thought it might be an idea therefore to give you a taste of Star Trek : Angel with the first chapter! C&C Welcome LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Star Trek is trademarked and copyrighted by CBS Studios. NO infringement is intended and no profit shall be made from it. All other material is copyright to Unusualsuspex 2009. STAR TREK : ANGEL BOOK ONE THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE Prologue Her name was Chariscarpia. In the old language it meant gatherer of knowledge. Of course nobody had called her that in almost two hundred turns, but then there had been nobody to speak to her; not since The Loss. Acha type star, three gas giants, two planetoids, no habitable planets – catalogued – probes recovered. Chariscarpia didn’t know if her crew was alive or dead wherever they may have disappeared to. With portions of her memory lost forever, she might never know, but their work would live on through her. Since leaving home and traversing across almost half the width of the galaxy on their generational mission, she had seen wonders beyond count and each one was catalogued carefully, at least she thought they were... Launch secondary probes – configured – 007/55/122 …no she hoped they were. The information was always sent for storage, but her memory troubled her more each day. She couldn’t access many of the data catalogues anymore because she seemed to have forgotten how. The probes didn’t talk of course. They were limited to recording what they saw in all the spectrums available, then returning to simply download it. Conversation wasn’t a design aspect, which she regretted. Even talking to a probe would be better than the silence… Secondary probe 4 report – Theras class civilization discovered in artificial construct around planet reference G5DD5/3. She immediately checked her screen and was gratified to find it active. Recalling the probe on a stealth trajectory that would avoid direct contact with the discovered sentients, she halted her forward motion and waited. A passive scan showed no bustle of activity that might indicate she had been detected and she slowly withdrew to a safe distance from the system. As she waited for the return of the probe, she once again felt the longing to call out to the newly discovered species even if they couldn’t understand each other. In her travels alone she’d monitored the transmissions that seemed to flood the ether near populated planets and then in the lonely times between stars she would study the syntax attempting to claw meaning from the babble. She used to be able to do it so easily. This was something she hadn’t forgotten how to do; she simply found that she could no longer access the means to do it. Or did that mean she had forgotten how to access it? Secondary probe recovered – data download in progress She reluctantly bade a silent farewell to the sentients, and focussed on her next target. Mapping new star systems, cataloguing civilisations, charting routes, she found peace and stability in her function. But the loneliness persisted. Her name was Chariscarpia. 1 USS ANGEL UTOPIA PLANITIA YARDS – DRY DOCK 7 SYNCHRONOUS MARS ORBIT August 30th 2371 - 0300 FST Captain Dan Fishlock knew he should be in bed. He also knew that even if he were, sleep wouldn’t be forthcoming. Prowling the corridors of the USS Angel in the semi-light of the Gamma shift, his mind wandered from routine matters of staffing and supplies to galactic matters of war and peace. You should have taken T’Sell’s hint and got to bed with a sedative he thought. But of course then he wouldn’t have had this last opportunity to commune with his ship. HIS ship. It was a thought that still amazed and pleased him, though to be accurate the ship wouldn’t officially be his for another nine hours. The Angel’s launch was scheduled for 1200 hours with all the pomp and circumstance that naturally attended the ceremony. He just hoped that his body wouldn’t pick that crucial moment to decide that sleep was finally a good idea. He stopped in his tracks. Commune with my ship? It was the second time he’d waxed lyrical about the Franklin class refit in the past couple of hours, and yet he couldn’t bring himself to ignore the fact that over the past few months, he’d sensed a developing character about her. The Franklin class had originally been designed as a medium cargo and support vessel and had served Starfleet faithfully in that role. The Angel had taken that basic design and turned it into a different ship altogether though. Gone were the expansive cargo bays, their space now filled with state of the art medical facilities and an enlarged hangar bay. The defensive weapons that had been meant to provide backup to escorting starships were now replaced with enhanced phasers and torpedo mounts and supported by a pair of Valkyrie fighters. With the addition of twin, high power tractor beams the ship had been transformed into a frontline Combat Search & Rescue Vessel. As Fishlock approached the hangar deck, he slowed. Between the new medical facility and the hangar deck was a deceptively empty area with large multiple transporter pads port and starboard. This was the designated triage area and a place that would resemble hell when the time came for it to see action. Direct access from the hangar would allow patients transported by the shuttles and runabouts to be assessed quickly and the transporters with their multiple pattern buffers were dedicated purely to moving casualties. He shook his head. Being a starship captain required making life and death decisions he knew, but it tended towards the impersonal. Here, the blood on your hands would make it all too personal and despite being married to a nurse, he knew it was a job that he could never do and his silent admiration went out to those skilled staff that would be at the heart of that operation. He carried on through triage into the main hangar deck which was almost completely dark. The exception was a pool of light surrounding one of the Valkyrie class fighters in the starboard bay, the Gunr. Beneath it, grunting and swearing like the seasoned non-com he was, laid Master Chief Petty Officer ‘Spider’ Tarrant. The nickname had allegedly begun when it was found that no matter how inaccessible a repair was, Spider could get to it. There were those who knew him better though and it seemed his nickname was better applied to the man at the centre of a quadrant wide supply web. If a spare part was needed, Spider knew where to find it, who to speak to and how much it was likely to cost him in favours. Resourceful could well have been a word invented for Spider alone. “How now?” His voice echoed through the darkness to be answered by a world weary but equally competent colleague, Senior Chief Petty Officer DeBat. The appellation of Dingbat seemed to refer to his surname, but anybody who knew him recognised it more as a character reference. The pair were a virtual legend in Starfleet engineering circles and were aboard the Angel now as ground chiefs for the pair of advanced Valkyrie fighters that were part of her complement. “Nope, looks like it’s peaked out at 128. Face it Spider you’re never gonna make it 130.” “Like hell I won’t. Pass me that field modifier and hold the buffer open when I give you the nod.” Sounds like they can do without me sticking my oar in here thought Fishlock, and quietly left the pair to their arcane rituals. With his circuit of the ship complete and everything looking ready for the launch, Fishlock didn’t have the heart to haunt the Gamma shift with his presence and reluctantly headed for his quarters. Like the rest of the ship it smelt new as if the wrapping had only just been taken off it. He took off his black SpecOps jacket and looked at it wistfully. From here on in it was command red for him, and it was the new pattern uniform that Starfleet had issued to the crew of the Angel as a trial before general issue. He looked at the new jacket and began to realise just how much a small change in uniform could affect the appearance of its wearer. The undershirt was still red and there were red cuff stripes to denote department, but with a padded gray yoke and black body it seemed to reflect the changing times in the Alpha Quadrant. War was on the horizon with an enemy as implacable and unknown as any the Federation had ever faced. The Dominion. He lay on his bed, hands behind his head and tried to put the thought from his mind. He knew that when - not if - war came, the Angel and her crew would likely be in the thick of it. It was with that thought that he at last slipped into an uncomfortable sleep. USS ANGEL – CAPTAIN’S QUARTERS UTOPIA PLANITIA YARDS – DRY DOCK 7 SYNCHRONOUS MARS ORBIT August 30th 2371 - 0630 FST Commander Kat Gray tried the door announcer one last time, convinced that she would have to use her override to enter the Captain’s quarters, but instead a dishevelled Dan Fishlock appeared blinking in the bright light from the hallway. “Glad you could join us”, she grinned. “What the hell are you doing awake at this hour? You’re worse than me.” He rubbed wearily at his face and invited her in. “You do realise that “this hour” is 0630 don’t you?” He stopped rubbing his face and checked the chrono by his bed. “Bugger it. Oh this is just great why didn’t…” “Relax Dan, the paperwork’s done awaiting your signature, the crew manifest is up to date and with the exception of your crew inspiring speech for 0800, we’re ready to fly.” She grinned as he stopped trying to struggle into his red undershirt, his eyes peeking out from its still zipped collar. “See,” his voice came out muffled as he tried to disentangle himself, “I knew there was more to you than just a pretty face.” “That’s right,” she replied with a wicked grin. “There’s a first officer who’s just busting to relieve you of command because you can’t drag yourself out of bed! Ready room in half an hour?” He sighed as the shirt at last came free. “Yes Ma’am now get out before I show you my ass, I’m having a shower.” “Already seen it Sir. Galvan V? Ring any bells?” He threw the balled up shirt at her rapidly retreating back and it bounced harmlessly off the door. Kat Gray was one of the closest friends he’d ever had and they had worked together many times in both Special Operations and at the Academy. It was no surprise then that a dynamic had sprung up between them that made their partnership both close and effective. Doesn’t mean she can insult my ass though he thought, then grinned again. BORG TRANSWARP HUB SPATIAL GRID 986 DELTA QUADRANT August 30th 2371 The Borg Queen smiled. It was an affectation she was somewhat vain about in the sense that she alone amongst the Collective was capable of it. Standing at the centre of the vast, almost fractal construction that was the transwarp hub, she watched and monitored the comings and goings of her cubes as they continued their galaxy wide mission of assimilation. Yet despite the thousands of locations that the transwarp conduits led to, her attention remained fixed on the Alpha Quadrant. It was here that she had suffered one of the greatest blows to her power when the intractable Federation had routed her incursion at Wolf 359. Worse still they had taken Locutus from her, and that was a transgression too far; one that they would ultimately pay for. The patience of the Borg was endless, and recently the Queen had been debating with herself whether their assimilation was worth the price of more cubes. Surely it would be better to remove them as an adversary altogether, even if it meant the ultimate loss of Locutus. The answer to her musings had come from nowhere. If the Federation was never to be formed, then they would be nothing more than individual planetary systems fighting for their own place within the quadrant and easy pickings for well placed cubes. To achieve this end though, she needed a reliable way of sending a cube back through time to prevent the flight of Zefram Cochrane from ever occurring, for that had been the catalyst which fomented the birth of the Federation. With a foothold in the past, she knew the Alpha Quadrant would quickly fall to her drones and the Borg would be one step closer to galactic dominion. She returned her attention to the now, deciding that she could afford to dispatch another cube to the Alpha Quadrant to join the two that were currently prowling its perimeter in the search for reliable time-travel technology. The time would come when her plans saw the downfall of the Federation and for an outcome like that her patience, like the Collective’s, was open ended. USS ANGEL – HANGAR DECK UTOPIA PLANITIA YARDS – DRY DOCK 7 SYNCHRONOUS MARS ORBIT August 30th 2371 - 0800 FST Fishlock had stood here atop the dais in the main hangar deck once before, addressing the crew in his first welcome brief. Since then he had met and spoken with many of them personally and as he looked across the mass of faces gathered here this morning, he recognised the look of anticipation that he knew he wore as well. “I feel like I’m standing in a pulpit ready to deliver a sermon,” he joked somewhat self consciously, “though I suspect if that were the case I’d already be preaching to the converted. This isn’t a sermon, but a thank you because in just four hours time, the USS Angel will be commissioned into the inventory of Starfleet and much of that is due to your hard work over the past couple of months.” He noticed a swell of well deserved pride ripple through the room, and was pleased. “It’s a maxim in Starfleet circles that a captain is only as good as his crew and ship. Well the Angel has yet to prove herself, though I have little concern over her ability to show what she’s got. As for the crew, I have no doubt whatsoever that the pride you deservedly hold in your own performance will reflect favourably on your captain. For my part, I’ll do my best to earn that.” And he meant it. In his years of service he’d seen his share of commanders who were inept in most every aspect of their position, but had ridden on the coat-tails of damn fine crews. He refused to be one of those commanders. “I realise you all have tasks to attend to, so I ask you to accept my thanks and in return I offer my best wishes for your careers aboard the Angel. Let’s make it a launch to remember, ladies and gentlemen. Dismissed.” As the massed ranks dispersed to their duty stations, he was met by Kat Gray at the base of the dais and they headed for the ready room. “You know I remember a time when your idea of an inspirational speech tended towards “last one to their posts buys the first round in the bar”. You’ll be growing grey hairs next.” “For your information Commander, my family has tended away from grey hair until old age which I hasten to add, has not struck me yet. Besides I remember a time when a Captain got some respect from his first officer.” The mock serious scowl he added to the remark took the sting out of his words. For her part though, Gray stopped and looked at him seriously. “Trust me, the more I see of you in this rank, the more respect I have for you Dan, I mean that. You might not have seen the change in yourself, but I know others have; me especially. You made the right choice in accepting this post.” He tilted his head and raised his eyebrows. “Commander Gray, are you attempting to curry favour with your commanding officer?” Shaking her head with a sigh, she slapped him on the arm and said “I really don’t know why I bother.” USS ANGEL – CAPTAIN’S READY ROOM UTOPIA PLANITIA YARDS – DRY DOCK 7 SYNCHRONOUS MARS ORBIT August 30th 2371 - 1030 FST Of the four cadets standing in front of his desk, he already knew two personally. The big Remvellian security cadet, LJ Xantharik, had been the first Academy student to attend an Advanced Tactical Training course led by Fishlock earlier in the year, one that had ended in disaster when an attack by what appeared to be Breen assault ships destroyed the USS Trevallion and almost killed the entire ATT course on Adreman. Then there was the strawberry blonde, Cadet Siobhan Dixon. Had it not been for her actions for which she deservedly received the Starfleet Medal of Commendation, Fishlock himself wouldn’t be here today. The accident right here in the Utopia Planitia Yards had almost taken his life and that of another cadet yet despite her lack of experience in EVA, she had managed to recover both of them. The other two cadets were new to him but again their reputations preceded them. The young Asian girl, Hiroshi Misaki, had been recommended by Kat Gray after aceing her tactical training at the Academy and going on to prove her skills as a pilot, both desirable qualities in her new role as a combat medic. Finally there was Cadet Anya Vischenko, a girl whose Russian accent was as distinctive as her looks. Her recommendation had come directly from Captain Montgomery Scott. His eloquent closing line had been “If she cannae fix whatever’s bolloxed up yer weapons systems, I’ll gladly buy ye a bottle of yer favourite poison.” Fishlock was willing to bet a year’s credits that he’d never collect on that. As he stood, he saw them tense in the manner he’d learned himself at the Academy and smiled to himself. Some things never changed. Noticing their expectant looks, he decided not to prolong their misery being as none of them had any idea why the Captain should call them to his ready room this close to the launch. “I’ve called you here just to explain a new directive that’s come down from Starfleet and the Academy. It’s recently been decided that cadets should receive longer shipboard and facility assignments to better prepare them for regular service. It means you may be with us for some time, assuming that it suits you to be here.” He noticed a look of anticipation in all their faces at that news. Previously, assignments had proven to be of too short an endurance to provide cadets with the experience that they may well need should the Dominion choose to start aggressions. Personally he agreed, because the threat of a war with the Dominion would mean that these young men and women would become line officers damn fast. He’d hate to think that they were going to be thrown into the maelstrom of war unprepared. “Along with that change in thinking,” he continued with a knowing smile, “is another one which you might also find agreeable.” He reached behind him and picked up four small boxes that had been sat on his desk. “Concurrent with amended Starfleet policy, it’s my duty and privilege to promote you all to the field-brevet rank of Ensign as of this stardate 48661.47. Congratulations.” Each cadet took the proffered box containing the ensign pip as if it were their own personal holy grail. Fishlock broadened his smile. “This means you all need to go sort out a current service uniform to pin them on. Wouldn’t do to have ensigns walking around dressed as cadets, even brevet-ensigns.” Snapping to attention with a chorus of yes sirs, he dismissed them and smiled sadly to himself. He hoped that whatever the future brought, to the Federation as a whole and the cadets in particular, he would have the time to make sure that they were prepared for it.