Star Trek: Four Years War-The Battle of Aldebaran III

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    STAR TREK: FOUR YEARS WAR
    THE DOGS OF WAR

    2242

    USS Endurance

    “That’s all we’ve got.” Captain Percival Stone frowned at the helmsman’s complaint, but he didn’t disagree with it. Lt. Dania Zapata was right after all. There were six starships assembled before them, waiting. They were a motley collection of ships, everything ranging from a Baton Rouge to a Chaka to a Portsmith.

    “Starship Sirius is hailing,” Lt. Glover said.

    “Onscreen,” Stone sat up a little in his seat. Seconds later the stern visage of Fleet Captain Alexander Marcus nodded tersely at him.

    “Captain Stone, welcome,” Marcus said, “There is a meeting scheduled aboard my ship in ten minutes. Marcus out.” The image shifted back to the starships.

    Lt. Commander Lockhart had turned around in her seat from the navigation console. “Not the chatty type I see.”

    “No, he isn’t,” Stone allowed.

    “At least the meeting will be short then,” joked Lt. Zapata.

    Stone couldn’t help but smile at that. Dania’s comments might sometimes be inappropriate but often were on point and much needed. Stone didn’t always respect the necessity of levity on the bridge and among his senior staff.

    Lockhart was often reminding him of that, and Zapata often brought the point home. And he had seen that it didn’t create unprofessionalism on the bridge, but actually made the crew more cohesive.

    “It’s best we get going,” Stone stood up. “Commander Lockhart you’re with me. Lt. Zapata you have the conn.”

    “Aye sir,” both women said.

    Once the turbolift doors had closed, Lockhart looked at him. “Captain do you think we’ll be enough to stop the Klingons?”

    He looked at her, his expression honest. “I don’t know.”
    *****************************************************************

    USS Sirius

    Stone noticed right off that the conference room of the Baton Rouge-class ship was much larger than his own. On Endurance the captains and their executive officers would’ve been packed together like sardines. Loknar-class ships weren’t built for comfort, but he didn’t mind. Endurance had come through in many pinches and he hoped the old girl would do so again.

    Fleet Captain Marcus was seated at the head of the table. The fleet captain was a tall man, with pitted, sunken cheeks, hooded eyes, and dark blond hair that formed into a widow’s peak. Marcus’s first officer, a broad shouldered dark-skinned man sat at his right. Similar to his commanding officer, the younger man bore a grave expression. Marcus gestured to the two remaining open seats.

    “Late again,” Lockhart muttered.

    “Stow it,” Stone groused. Now was the time to be all business.

    Stone took quick stock of his colleagues. Most were human, with the exceptions being one Caitian, one Denobulan and two Andorians. He knew only one of them. Helena Baumgartner of the Shi Shen smiled at him. He smiled back.

    “I think introductions are in order,” Marcus said, rifling through the names.

    “Captain M’Giia, USS Atlirith.” The Andorian nodded, his twin antennae writhing. Stone took it that Atlirith was the Chaka-class vessel among the group.

    “Captain Zhao, USS Alidade,” the graying woman looked even more severe than Marcus.

    “Captain Baumgartner, USS Shi Shen.”

    “Captain Aggarwal, USS Rushmore.”

    “And Commander Aantjes, USS Plough.” The younger man nodded energetically at his superior officers.

    “Now that introductions are out of the way,” Marcus paused, “Lt. Commander Cartwright?”

    Cartwright placed a data cube into a receptacle and images appeared on the nearest tri-screen viewer, the long table was outfitted with two of them.

    Lockhart gasped at the images displayed on the screen. Stone frowned and the room became noticeably more silent.

    “These images were recorded by the USS Aryabhata, the first ship to arrive after the Klingon assault on the Tri-Rho Nautica shipyards.” The devastation brought to Stone’s mind the destruction he had recently witnessed at Caleb IV. Multiple ships burned in their space dock cages. Beyond that was an immolated orbital office complex.

    “What about Tri-Rho Nautica III?” Captain Baumgartner asked, concerned etched on her face. Stone knew that the shipyards orbited the planet, similar to how the New Aberdeen shipyards orbited Aldebaran III.

    Marcus’s tight expression grew more pinched. “There were several thousand survivors.”

    “But millions lived on that planet,” M’Giia pointed out.

    “Not anymore,” Zhao shook her head and lowered it. Stone thought the woman mouthed a prayer.

    “With the shipyards at Tri-Rho Nautica destroyed, that leaves New Aberdeen, San Francisco, and Utopia Planitia as our major construction, design, and repair facilities. San Francisco and Utopia Planitia are in the heart of the Federation. Even the Klingons aren’t ready yet to mount such an offensive,” Marcus said.

    “Are you sure about that?” Aggarwal challenged. “They’ve beaten us in almost every engagement thus far. Who’s to say they aren’t planning the invasion of Earth even as we speak?”

    “Sanjiv,” M’Giia began, “That isn’t quite the case. There have been some victories against them, slowing their momentum.”

    “Not by much,” Aggarwal huffed.

    “That’s beside the point,” Marcus said. “What is crucial is that the New Aberdeen Shipyards are their likely next target.”

    “If they are successful here, it will seriously erode our ability to mount any defense against them,” Commander Aantjes said. Marcus nodded tersely.

    “The commander is correct in more ways than one,” Marcus nodded at his executive officer. Cartwright took out the data cube and inserted another. Schematics of a Saladin-class ship appeared on the screen. Stone had no idea why, but reserved the question, assuming the fleet captain would fill them in.

    “In addition to constructing and repairing dozens of starships, New Aberdeen is also one of our leading research and design facilities. It is home to Project Caliburn.”

    “Project Caliburn?” Zhao asked.

    “This doesn’t leave this room,” Marcus intoned with severity. “Mr. Cartwright.”

    Cartwright tapped a button and more schematics appeared of a weapons system.

    “This is Starfleet’s most advanced phaser technology,” Marcus said, “And it’s being developed here, at New Aberdeen.” He gave a moment for the assembled to take in the information displayed on the screens.

    Stone read it quickly. Lockhart couldn’t deny herself a low whistle.

    “They’ve been dubbed ‘super phasers’,” Marcus said, “and the test bed ship is the USS Horatius, also here at New Aberdeen.” The image shifted back to the Saladin-class ship.

    “If we had these the Klingons wouldn’t stand a chance,” Aantjes replied.

    “The system isn’t without fault,” Marcus said. “Despite the exponential increase in power they are also a detrimental drain on a ship’s subsystems. After you fire them you’re dead in the water for seven minutes.”

    “Seven minutes?” Captain M’Giia frowned. “That’s too long.”

    “Exactly,” Marcus nodded. “Some of the best minds we’ve got are working on the problem, attempting to narrow the time.”

    “There’s more to it than that,” Stone spoke up, “Isn’t there sir?”

    “Yes,” Marcus acknowledged, “In addition to draining subsystems there have also been problems integrating the weapons systems with other ship’s systems. There have been dangerous fluctuations in power output, and one incidence of a feedback loop that almost reached Horatius’s warp core.”

    “So in essence, using these super phasers might be as deadly for us as they are for the Klingons,” Captain Baumgartner surmised.

    “As it stands right now, yes,” Marcus said. “And that’s why the brains need more time to make sure this technology is safe enough to outfit our ships.”

    “With the Klingons breathing down our necks that’s a tall order,” Aggarwal said.

    “It will not be easy,” Marcus admitted, “But that is our assignment. To prevent the Klingons from capturing or destroying Horatius in addition to protecting the shipyards.”

    “And saving the billions on Aldebaran III,” Aantjes added.

    Marcus fixed him with a cold glare. “Of course.”

    “Will there be any reinforcements coming?” Aggarwal asked. The fleet captain shifted his attention to the Rushmore commander.

    “Starships Kuvak and Astrolabe are over 72 hours away,” Marcus said, “Starship Zhevra is one week away.”

    “Just ten starships,” Aggarwal said, “That’s all Command is putting towards this?” Marcus glared at the man. Before he spoke, the Andorian captain interceded.

    “Be glad we’ve got that,” M’Giia said, “You’ve seen the reports. We’re being slaughtered.”

    “Captain M’Giia is correct,” Zhao added, “The Fleet is stretched thin enough as it is.”

    “We’re just going to have to make do,” Baumgartner said. Stone could tell his old friend wasn’t pleased by that.

    “We’ll do better than that Captain Baumgartner,” the fleet captain said, his eyes burning like warp cores, “If the Klingons attack we’ll make those bastards rue the day they ever took up arms against us.”

    Stone wished he was as confident as the man. While he had every confidence in his crew and was certain he was in good company among the commanding officers, the Klingons would likely attacking with overwhelming force, like they did at Tri-Rho Nautica. And there was only so much that could be done about that.

    Marcus stood up. Cartwright followed suit. “Meeting adjourned.”

    As the crowd filed out, both Stone and Baumgartner sought each other out. They embraced. There wasn’t a touch of gray in her thick, brown hair. With her rich dark hair and elfin features, the woman barely looked like she had graduated from the Academy much less commanded a starship.

    “It’s been a long time Percy,” Baumgartner smiled.

    “Same here Helena,” he returned the smile.

    “Ooh, getting a little gray there,” she touched his temple. He laughed.

    “I see you’re not,” he said, giving her another once over.

    “Tell it to the bottle,” she winked. The two captains shared another chuckle over that.

    “Mr. Taggart, don’t hang around on my account,” she dismissed her hovering XO. Stone turned to a similarly hovering Lockhart.

    “Commander Lockhart, return to Endurance and implement general orders, Security Condition Seven.”

    “Aye sir,” Lockhart said, turning crisply and exiting the room. The two were now alone.

    “Not taking any chances huh?” Baumgartner said.

    “We can’t afford to,” Stone replied. “Not with what’s coming. I want my crew to be as ready as possible.”

    “We all do,” Helena nodded, “though I don’t want them so on edge that it interferes with their duty to do the job when the moment arises.”

    “I see our old debates about command styles continue,” Stone replied. Baumgartner laughed.

    “Perhaps we can discuss them over drinks in my quarters,” she offered.

    “I…uh, don’t know if that would be best,” he held up his ring finger. “And I’m sure you remember how so many of our study sessions ended up.” She touched the ring.

    “Wow, when did that happen?”

    “Two years ago,” Stone smiled, thinking of Marci.

    “Lucky woman,” Helena grinned.

    “I’m the lucky one,” Stone nodded.

    “Wow, look at you. I never thought Percy Stone would settle down.”

    “Things change Helena,” Stone shrugged. “What can I say?”

    “I think that says it all. How about drinks in my recreation lounge then?”

    “I can arrange that,” Stone smiled. Helena locked her arms in his.

    “I hope Marci doesn’t mind,” she joked.

    “She’s not the possessive type,” Stone said.

    “I like her already,” Baumgartner replied, removing her arm. She gestured toward the door. “Maturity before beauty.” She said.

    Stone laughed again. Helena had always been great fun and he was pleased to see that hadn’t changed. The Endurance captain stepped forward. The two captains left the conference room, drawing curious stares from the Sirius crew and a glower from Captain Marcus.

    Stone squeezed on Helena’s hand to stifle the laugh he saw about to bubble forth from the woman. The two quickly made haste to the turbolift and off Sirius.
    *******************************************************************
     
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Another solid entry into the 4YW series of stories and another reminder how screwed the Federation truly is facing the full Klingon onslaught. Under most other circumstances, this would have made for a neat little fleet but facing the blood thirsty Klingons, not so much.

    I'm not going to get attached to any of these guys just yet. Most of them, I fear, won't make it out of this conflict alive.
     
  3. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    I liked the meeting of the assembled captains. There was no sense of panic, yet a somber sense of urgency filled the room. It makes sense to make every effort to safeguard the development of the super phasers; such a weapon could turn the tide of the war.

    But are ten starships enough? Could they be better used elsewhere? Questions I am sure you will answer in due time.
     
  4. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks as always for the kind words CeJay. I think you are wise not to get too attached :). TLR you bring up some good questions. Obviously some think it isn't enough, but it's interesting about the flip side of that. I'll probably include that viewpoint down the line.

    I want to thank Klingon Name Generator for giving me a cool ship name Q'prahS.

    *******************************************************************
    Ty’Gokor

    Raucous laughter, the clash of arms, and the smashing of heads rang throughout the hall. Drunken warriors clung to the immovable legs of the large statutes adorning the hall. Lureth was certain many of them dreamed that one day their statutes would stand in the fabled hall.

    So far the war had made many heroes and there had been great songs to be sung. Though a part of her realized that the victories would ring a bit hollow due to how easy the Federation had fallen over thus far.

    It was embarrassing to boast of ones feats of superiority against such weak prey. She assumed that’s what held her back from joining in the festivities. She pretended that it wasn’t the presence of her father and younger brother.

    General Lurgan mixed easily among the HemQuch. His main “gift” to Lureth had been his smooth brow; she had earned most everything else on her own. Like her father and brother she was QuchHa’, one of the cursed “Unhappy Ones”, born to a life beneath that of the ridged HemQuch.

    Though the two races feasted, laughed, and sang together within these hallowed walls, and bled together out in space, in the Empire itself the QuchHa’ had been relegated to second class status.

    Her father had come to accept it, working within to achieve more than most QuchHa’. He wore a general’s medals and he controlled the prosperous Khemet sector. Despite this he had been denied a position on the High Council. No QuchHa’ served on the Council. First women and now QuchHa’!

    Her father had come to terms with something Lureth never would. And it rankled her more that despite being first born, control of the House would go from her father to her little brother Lorath.

    The stripling had barely reached the Age of Ascension and could scarcely hold a bat’leth, yet Lurgan and other warriors drew him in, plying him with bloodwine, filling his head with tales of past glories.

    Lurgan hadn’t even attended Lureth’s Rite of Ascension. It was left to her uncles and cousins to usher her into warriorhood.

    The old general was grooming Lorath, building the boy up to be “The One”, the QuchHa’ that broke the barriers, that served on the High Council, and maybe even became Chancellor. Lurgan’s own little kuvah’magh.

    Her father had given her grudging respect that she had joined the Defense Force and that she was a weapon’s officer. Though Lureth had a natural curiosity and an affinity for science, damned if she didn’t want to prove the HemQuch and Lurgan both wrong and command her own vessel one day.

    She reasoned that the quicker path to glory would be blasting her way through, and it was her merits, not her name that got her assigned to the Q’prahS.

    Lureth had seen some action against the Alshain and Xarantine but longed for more. She wanted to vaporize as many Starfleet vessels as she could. She wanted the enemy to tremble at her name.

    “Always thinking, too much thinking!” A large hand clamped down on her shoulder. Without fail Lureth’s elbow lashed down, connecting with a bulging gut.

    She smiled as a violent gust of liquored air expelled from the speaker’s mouth. Lureth turned to him. Boqlah held his ample stomach with one hand and a sloshing goblet with another. The hefty HemQuch was Q’prahS’s helm officer and one of her few friends among the crew.

    “This is a time for celebration! Song!” He cheered. “Didn’t you just hear the news? The Caleb system has just fallen! And one of your people, Kaaj, the son of Torg, helped lead the way!”

    He clapped her shoulder again, even harder this time. Lureth allowed herself a grin. She couldn’t deny that Kaaj had brought great glory to the Empire and to all of her people this day, but it made her yearn to make her own impact.

    “Archanis! New Tokyo! Tri-Rho Nautica! The Caleb system! Soon our trefoil will spread across the entire Federation!”

    “And it’s about time,” Julok butted in, as was his custom. Q’prahS’s science officer, Lureth didn’t like so much. The heavily-ridged, blond haired Klingon had never hidden his disgust with QuchHa’. “Old M’Rek should’ve cleaved Earth in two as soon as that that petaQ Archer dared step foot on Qo’noS!” The man sneered. “Perhaps then the humans wouldn’t have contaminated us with the QuchHa’!” The science officer laughed, but neither Lureth or Boqlah joined in.

    Instead Boqlah reached for his d’k tahg, but Lureth stilled his hand. Instead she grabbed the collar of the science officer’s tunic with such force that it took the man by surprise. He yelped and his goblet clattered on the ground. Standing nose to nose with him, her nostrils curling at his putrid breath, she said softly, with only a hint of malice, “There will come a day when the House you belong to will not protect you, and on that day I will be waiting.”

    She pushed the man backwards. He almost stumbled over his cup. He quickly righted himself. He glared at Lureth and made a show of reaching for his blade.

    She smiled at him, her eyes daring him. Julok couldn’t hold her gaze. Instead he spat at the ground and staggered on.

    “Ha,” Boqlah roared, “The pride of House Duras!” Unlike many of the assembled Boqlah had not come from nobility. He had worked his way into the Defense Force and impressed the Oversight Council enough to be made an officer.

    In a way she envied Boqlah. He had had even less than she had, but through sheer will had forged himself into a soldier for the Empire.

    The two were something of outcasts among the Q’prahS crew, which was perhaps why they had become such fast allies.

    “Why aren't you celebrating?” Boqlah threw up his hands. “We’re in the Hall of Warriors!”

    “But we haven’t done anything to truly belong here,” Lureth said.

    “That is a matter of time,” Boqlah replied. Q’prahS had been patrolling the Pheben system and had missed out thus far on the war. “Why else do you think we were called to Ty’Gokor?”

    Lureth conceded the point. Captain Knos had certainly thought great things were in the offing. He had been beaming when the communications officer read the new orders.

    An uncharacteristic hush fell over the crowd, the silence so intense that Lureth could hear ragged breathing and even more ragged snoring from some of the assembled warriors. Ancient doors at the back of the chamber squealed open and loud boot steps sang through the hall.

    Instinctively she stood at attention. As did the most of the warriors that were alert enough to do so. The Yan-Isleth, the revered Brotherhood of the Sword, filed in, resplendent in their black and gold armor. Cheers rang out. Unbeknownst, Lureth found herself joining the throng.

    After them strode the Chancellor of the Klingon Empire. He was tall, broad-shouldered, and his ridged-brow told the stories of centuries of ancestral service to the Empire. His red robes were heavy, loaded down with medals, but he bore the weight of them with uncommon grace.

    For a HemQuch he was handsome, with a long dropping mustache, a tuft of black hair running from his lower lip, and his hairline receded to show three prominent ridge lines.

    What impressed her most were the Chancellor’s eyes. They were imperious, they were demanding, they were the eyes of a predator. And when his gaze touched hers she growled low in her throat.

    The Chancellor made his way to the large platform dominating the center of the room, the crowd shifting to be around him, preventing only from mobbing him by the fearsome Yan-Isleth. The man mounted the platform. Behind him was the large brazier holding the eternal flame, the great fire that burned in the heart of every Klingon warrior.

    The legends declared that if it’s light ever went out then the Empire itself would cease to exist.

    Never had Lureth seen a gathering of Klingons so quiet, so enraptured, but not since the days of old had a leader brought them such glory. And the potential for more.

    The Chancellor held the gaze of everyone in the room. He drew power from the moment as they drew power from him.

    He held up his hands though there was no need to call for calm. At that moment, Lureth noticed her father and Lorath pushed up near the platform. The old general wanted to be near power. Perhaps he could learn a lesson in how to truly wield it.

    “In honor of Kahless and the great warriors immortalized in this chamber,” the Chancellor began, “You have brought glory to our Empire!”

    The cheers, songs, and stomping started low and built slowly until they were deafening. Lureth pounded her boots into the hard floor, wanting to draw as much sound as possible. Her cries ripped from her throat.

    The Chancellor held up a silencing hand and slowly the din dissipated. “And there is still more glory to come.” Excited cheers sprang up. “I have brought each of you here because each of you will play a part in the great battles to come. Each of you will win honor and glory for your Houses, for each other, and for the Empire!”

    The Chancellor stood back and allowed the cacophony to overtake him. He joined in singing the warrior’s anthem. One of the Yan-Isleth brought him a goblet of bloodwine and he drank it as he strolled around the platform, eyeing as many warriors as he could, as he sang. Lureth joined in. The moment was too exhilarating to deny. The Chancellor made a full circuit around the platform, finally planting his boots where he had started.

    “The humans and their Federation,” the great man spat the word, “have stood in our way for far too long. Today we do what the Xindi and Romulans could not, we crush this insect!” The warriors laughed and whooped with joy.

    “We regain what has been taken from us, stolen from us, we make them pay for creating a cleavage among us,” the Chancellor promised. Lureth’s heart welled. She knew he talked about the divide among the QuchHa’ and the HemQuch, brought about by human interference and shortsighted HemQuch meddling, but the role of the HemQuch was a minor point.

    And it took away from the feeling of togetherness that the Chancellor had brought about, a feeling that was undeniable to Lureth. Those of her kind had often called this war the HemQuch War, derisively feeling it was borne on the shoulders of HemQuch ego and bluster, but now…perhaps truly for the first time…she felt it was her war too. That she was as Klingon as any HemQuch, as the Chancellor himself.

    And maybe there was something to her father’s methods Lureth thought, in spite herself; maybe he could install Lorath in the great chair.

    It was too much to think about, much less to dream. Lureth need to expel the energies building within her. She grabbed the warrior nearest her and savagely kissed him, ripping the HemQuch’s bottom lip, drawing blood. When the man sneered at her and made to kiss her back, she collapsed his nose with her fist. The pain felt good, it made her feel alive.

    The man’s eyes went up in his head before he fell. A compatriot roared with laughter, before reaching down to haul the man back to his feet. The groggy man grinned and saluted her.

    Lureth threw back her head and laughed. This war would truly be glorious.
    ******************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2014
  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ******************************************************************

    USS Endurance

    “Look at the Great Fleet,” Lt. Agnes Hart gestured dismissively out of the large port windows of the recreation lounge. Lieutenant Glover followed her casually tossed hand.

    The motley taskforce hung in space. A Marklin, a Ptolemy, and one Saladin could be seen. Dominating them was the Chaka, designed like the old Imperial Andorian Kumari-class, but much larger and more lethal. The Atlirith and the Saladin-class were the only ships Agnes thought should be there.

    The other ships wouldn’t last long in the kind of fight she expected the Klingons to bring. It was a paper fleet, perhaps thrown up for political considerations than to really defend Aldebaran III and the shipyards. And Agnes didn’t like the idea of being a lamb to the slaughter.

    Her family lived on Donatu V, in one of the systems too close to the Klingons. Agnes knew it was wishful thinking to hope that Endurance had been ordered to the Donatu sector to defend the planet or help evacuate it, but if not Donatu, then one of the truly defenseless border worlds. There were dozens of planets out there and all of them deserved a fighting chance.

    “This is the best Starfleet could do with the short amount of time they had,” Lt. Glover countered. “It’s not like the Klingons gave us much of a choice.”

    Agnes shook her head at the communications officer and tsked as if he were green behind the ears. “Throwing spitballs at the Klingons won’t do much to stop them either.”

    “We are a bit more than that,” Glover said, “Why do you have be so negative all the time Agnes?”

    “Hadrian, I’m being realistic,” Hart said. “The best thing to do is draw back into areas that we can heavily fortify, to create an impregnable barrier that stops the Klingons.”

    Now it was time for the communications officer to smile. “So our own Maginot Line?”

    “What?” She asked.

    “Earth history,” Glover shrugged.

    “You know I hate history,” Hart groaned. “So boring.”

    “Why do I date you again?” Glover asked, with mock seriousness.

    “Just look at me,” the red head replied. Hadrian did as she requested. “You can’t resist.”

    “You’ve got me,” the communications officer admitted. The statuesque woman filled out her uniform’s khaki top.

    “Enough leering,” Now Agnes was mock serious.

    “How can you ask someone to look away from a work of art?” He asked. “It’s like turning away from the Mona Lisa.”

    Hart rolled her eyes. “That’s pretty corny. Now I need a reminder of why I date you.”

    “This eyeful isn’t enough?” Glover pushed back from his chair so she could see a look at his lean torso.

    “Nah, not convinced,” Agnes shook her head. “What else ya got?”

    Glover shrugged, “I know linguacode?”

    “Not there yet,” Hart teased.

    “I have an advanced degree in phonology.” The security officer shook her head.

    “I can speak five love languages,” Glover threw down his ace. Her eyes lit up with a devilish gleam. She leaned forward and licked her full lips.

    “Now you’re talking,” she said, reaching out to wrap her hands around his. “How about we head back to my quarters and you can demonstrate.”

    “You’re reading my mind,” Hadrian grinned. He was half way out of his chair when a familiar lilt cooled his thrusters.
    ****************************************************************

    USS Endurance

    “Where are you guys going?” Lt. Dania Zapata asked. Before either could answer, the helm officer made a face. “Eww, not again.”

    “Don’t knock it until you try it Dania,” Agnes smiled, sitting back down. A bit reluctantly Hadrian did likewise. Zapata grabbed an empty chair from an unattended table and brought it over.

    “What are you guys drinking?”

    Agnes looked down at her empty shot glass. “It was Andorian ale.”

    “What about you Mr. Glover?” Zapata asked.

    Hadrian pushed the glass away. “Something new called Arcturian Fizz. Not my taste.”

    “Then that’s what I’ll order,” Dania held up a hand. Agnes laughed and Glover twisted his lips.

    Agnes and Dania went back, since the Academy. They were very close and sometimes Glover felt like a third wheel, and at other times he felt like Zapata made him feel that way on purpose. Agnes seemed oblivious to it all.

    He didn’t want to upset Agnes but sometimes he really wanted to tell the helmswoman not to crowd them so much.

    Hadrian mostly kept his opinions to himself, except when he felt the need to unburden on Dr. Theriac. The medic was like a confidant for everyone aboard.

    The Saurian rarely gave advice but he was always a good ear. What Glover really wanted to do was tell Dania to find a man so she could stay out of their relationship. At first he wasn’t too sure why the cinnamon-hued beauty’s love life was so lackluster, but after spending more time with her he saw that she could be blunt, abrasive even at times and that wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Unfortunately no Zaldans were aboard Endurance.

    “How were things up on the bridge?” Agnes asked Zapata. The woman had just gotten off duty. If Glover wasn’t already up on the duty roster he would’ve been able to tell by her tired expression.

    “Busy, tense, the usual,” Zapata shrugged after the waiter had brought her drink. The whipcord Bzzit Khaht had brought new rounds for Agnes and Glover. “It’s the new normal. I tell you Lt. Nimri jumped at every subspace fluctuation.”

    Agnes shook her head. “Some of my guys have been to the surface of Aldebaran III and the tension is building there. People are scared, they want answers, they want out.”

    “I know,” the helmswoman nodded, the colonial transports are late.” Zapata frowned.

    “How much does those ships hold?” Glover asked, accepting the interrupted night.

    “The Cochranes hold over two thousand a piece,” Dania answered.

    “There are millions on Aldebaran III.” Hadrian pointed out.

    “And we’re all that is standing between them and the Klingons,” Zapata said.

    “That’s why we should get those civilians on as many transports as fast we can and aboard our ships if necessary and fall back,” Agnes returned to an earlier point. Dania looked at her old friend as if she had spouted a second neck.

    “Are you serious?” The helmswoman asked, gearing up for a debate. Glover sighed inwardly. The night was about to get longer, and not in a pleasant way. Hadrian looked down at the frothy concoction. Perhaps he could develop a taste for this after all.
    ***************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Yay another Glover. It's not Terence of course but it's close enough. I liked the light hearted banter as well as the relationship issues here to remind us that even during war, we're dealing with real people and their personal problems.

    Also a great look again at Klingon culture and some of the underpinnings of this war. The conflict between the smooth and ridged Klingons is particularly intriguing.
     
  7. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Location:
    Here and now.
    Two excellent chapters! Loved the scene in the Klingon Hall of Warriors - you do an excellent job portraying the rich Klingon culture as well as the internal divide and prejudice between the QuchHa' and the HemQuch.

    And yes, the early days of the war caught Starfleet flat-footed. Spitballs, indeed. Let's hope that the 'task force' heading to Aldebaran III turns out to be more than a paper fleet. And yes, glad to see a Glover in the mix - part of the fun is seeing the ancestors of familiar UT characters turn up. :)
     
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Author's Note: I changed Stone's wife's name from Marci to Chandra.

    Thanks guys for reading and commenting again. I'm glad you're enjoying what I'm doing with the Klingons. I did enjoy writing Lureth's part. I find the opportunities to explore the potential divisions between the Klingons to be interesting. It also afforded me the opportunity to introduce Lorath, my main Klingon antagonist in my Dark Territory stories.

    Glad you also liked Hadrian Glover. I thought it would be neat introducing an ancestor of Terrence's. Hopefully I can make him a little bit different from his descendant. I already started down that road with Hadrian not liking Arcturian Fizz, which is one of Terrence's favorites. And I think Terrence wouldn't put up with Dania Zapata's interruptions for too long.

    ****************************************************************

    USS Shi Shen

    Captain Baumgartner curled up on her sofa, carefully holding the tea cup in both hands. Curls of smoke wafted up from the white cup. The woman closed her eyes and savored the aroma. Captain Stone sat across from her, with a steaming mug of coffee. Its heady scent tickled his nose.

    Their dinner in the captain’s mess had been surprisingly businesslike. Perhaps that was due to the inclusion of Shi Shen’s XO, Geoffrey Taggart. Helena had had the man give Stone a short tour of the ship before the trio settled down for steaks, from some of the finest cattle on the Gault colony.

    After dinner, the two captains had retired to Helena’s quarters. The Shi Shen captain had joyfully pulled off her boots, tossing them as she made her way to her small kitchenette. After fixing the beverages they both sat on the fuchsia sofa.

    Stone shook his head and smiled at the clashing colors and styles in the room. Helena had never had much of a sense of fashion, though she was a bit tidier than she had been at the Academy.

    Seeing him smile brought out one of her own, “What are you smiling about?”

    “Oh nothing,” Stone said. “Just thinking how much you’ve changed and yet stayed the same.”

    “I could say the same of you,” Helena replied, “Still very prim and proper, a hyperspanner stuck up your rectum.”

    Stone laughed, “Ouch.”

    “I know,” Baumgartner grinned, “It must hurt taking that thing out, much less putting it in.”

    “Still with the colorful language,” Stone shook his head again. Helena sipped her tea, a mischievous gleam in her eyes.

    “So, when are you going to tell me about Chandra? How did you two meet?”

    Percival brightened at the mention of his wife. “I met her at the Starfleet Symposium. We were both attending a talk on terraforming.”

    “So your wife is a terraformer?”

    “No,” Stone smiled, “She’s an astrobiologist. She actually has strong ethical concerns about terraforming and even colonization, particularly on worlds that once held civilizations. She made those concerns quite evident to the representatives of Terraform Command.”

    “I bet,” Helena chuckled.

    “Our first date actually sprang out of the argument we had at that symposium,” Stone laughed himself. “I thought her constraints on human colonization were a tad extreme and interfered with Starfleet’s exploration imperative. The moderator had us table our heated debate and it was she that recommended that we reengage outside of the presentation. We did so, and the rest as they say is history.”

    “Still can’t believe you’re married,” Baumgartner’s look was disbelieving.

    “Sometimes I can’t believe it myself,” Stone admitted. “But I’m glad for it, I’m glad for her. And I guess it’s fortunate that she’s on the go as much as I am. It makes the few times we do have together more special.”

    “Yeah, that’s what I’m getting at,” Helena said, taking a sip of her tea. “How do you find the time to be married while also commanding a starship?”

    “It’s not easy but you know there’s a lot of married people in the Fleet,” Stone said, “You just find a way to make it work. I’m lucky that Chandra’s job also requires a lot of travel. And neither one of us are ready to settle planetside just yet.”

    “But what about kids?” Helena asked. Stone looked down into his mug. He took a sip and winced at the strong, bitter beverage. It was quite bracing. Just the way he liked it.

    It also took him away from a touchy topic. Eventually he looked back up again and conceded, “That’s a point of contention between us. I want them. Chandra is less sanguine.”

    “I’m sorry to hear that,” Helena reached out and touched his arm. Unbidden memories of two young lovers wrapped in a fevered embrace came to his mind and he tensed. Baumgartner pulled back her hand, an apologetic look on her face. “Sorry,” her smile was chagrined. “Old habits die hard I guess.”

    “No, it’s okay,” Stone said, “Though perhaps highly peculiar that this is the most time we’ve probably ever spent just talking.”

    “Yeah, I know how it is,” Helena’s devilish gleam was back. “Those were good times.”

    “They were,” Percival agreed. “But of course they had to end and our careers begin.”

    “Just because our careers began doesn’t mean we have to lose our fire,” Baumgartner pointed out, “It’s not just a trait of youth.”

    “I suppose not,” Stone admitted, “but it’s damn sure easier to possess that fire when you have all that youthful energy.”

    “Fair enough,” Baumgartner raised her cup in salute. Stone did likewise.

    “Now, enough about me, what about you?” Percival asked. “Why aren’t you married and so forth?”

    “You know me,” Helena shrugged, “I was never one for settling down, for shackling myself to one person for too long.”

    “True, but sometimes people do change,” Stone said.

    “Not me, I suppose,” Helena’s smile was wan. “I’m married to the job.”

    “So there’s no one special?”

    “Not counting the cabana boy on Rigel X?” She joked.

    “I’m serious Helena,” Stone replied.

    She sighed. “No, not really. I’m just not wired that way. I have my fun but move on, much like we all do, from planet to planet, mission to mission.”

    “A lot of that planet hopping will become battle to battle now,” Stone said sadly.

    “I know, this damn war,” Baumgartner took another sip. “Why did it happen? What do the Klingons want?”

    He recalled his conversation with Captain Fonseca aboard the Kelly. “Perhaps they just want to terrorize us into submission.”

    “They are doing a good job at that I must admit,” Helena’s expression became drawn. “So many deaths, and not just Fleet casualties, civilians. It’s like these Klingons have no respect for the rules of war.”

    “Maybe we are just unfamiliar with how they wage war,” Stone replied. “This could be within keeping with how they conduct themselves.”

    “It’s shameful, sickening,” Helena’s expression darkened. “And so far we have no real answer for them.”

    “There have been some victories against them,” Stone found himself growing defensive and wasn’t sure why.

    “I’m not talking about the ships in the crosshairs; I’m talking about Starfleet Command. They’re dithering. They were completely unprepared for this and the lack of direction is getting more people killed,” Baumgartner replied.

    Stone couldn’t disagree. “A stronger, unified response is needed,” he said.

    “How can I look my people in the eye and tell them to lay down their lives when our leaders don’t know what they’re doing?” Baumgartner asked, “It just seems like such a waste, a big, honking clusterfarb.”

    To that, Stone didn’t have answer. So he drank more of his coffee. They sat in silence for a while, dark thoughts swirling between them.

    “Sorry for bringing the war into our conversation,” Stone eventually said. Helena’s smile was charitable.

    “It’s okay. I mean, its hanging over everything. It’s all just about anyone is talking about. How could we not talk about it eventually? Especially being on the front lines,” Baumgartner said.

    “Speaking of which, what are your thoughts on Captain Marcus?” Stone asked.

    Helena gave him a half-smile, “From what I hear he’s an ass kicker. So he’s the perfect guy to give the Klingons hell.”

    That made Stone feel a bit better. If the Klingons attacked at least they would be led by a man that could inflict severe damage on them. The taskforce could go down fighting.

    The thought mollified him and saddened him at the same time. He thought of Chandra and the idea of never seeing her again. He then thought of her being caught in the sight of Klingon gunners. He shuddered.

    “Are you okay?” Helena asked.

    “Yeah,” He nodded too curtly. “It’s getting late. I should be going.”

    “I understand,” her smile was sympathetic. “Thanks for having dinner with me, and bringing me up to speed on what’s going on in your life.”

    “Same here,” Stone nodded.

    “I don’t know if we’ll get this chance again,” Baumgartner said, reaching out and squeezing his arm.

    Stone returned the gesture. He put the coffee on the small table in front of the sofa. Helena did likewise.

    The two stood up and embraced. It was awkward at first for Percival but then he thought of the real possibility that he or Helena could die soon and so he pulled the woman close and wrapped his arms around her tightly. Baumgartner wilted into his strong grasp.

    The two were still entwined when the room’s intercom buzzed. Helena pulled apart and made her way quickly to the wall-mounted intercom. She flipped a toggle and spoke into it. “Baumgartner here.”

    “Captain,” a nasally voice issued from the speaker. “We just received word from Captain Marcus. The Caleb system has fallen.”

    “Oh no,” Stone muttered, thinking immediately of Captain Fonseca and the brave crew of the Kelly. Endurance had been assigned to assist in rescue efforts after the Federation outpost on Caleb IV had been attacked. Before that, Kelly had miraculously survived an encounter with a Klingon strike force. He hoped they hadn’t evaded certain death at the hands of the strike force to instead be overrun by an invasion fleet.

    “I’m on my way to the bridge. I expect a full report when I get there Mr. Petrie,” Baumgartner said.

    “Aye sir,” Petrie replied. Helena turned off the intercom and looked at Stone.

    “Damn,” Helena uttered. “Those knobby headed bastards strike again. It’s only a matter of time now.”

    “I’ve got to go,” Stone said, still thinking of the Kelly. Before he left his personal communicator beeped. He detached it from his belt. His duty officer informed him about the annexation of the Caleb system.

    The two captains shared a grim look before Stone took his leave of her. He hoped that baleful expression wouldn’t be his last memory of Helena Baumgartner.
    ****************************************************************
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Two old friends catching up and reflecting on their lives before a battle that might spell their end. Nicely done. The conversation felt very human and believable with just the right amount of nostalgia and angst mixed in.

    As usual I really enjoy your characters and their interactions. And as usual, I don't have much hope for them.
     
  10. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay, I'm glad you enjoyed the conversation/interplay between Baumgartner and Stone. I enjoyed getting a feel for them and their relationship.

    Author's Note:

    I've changed the name of the USS Endurance to the USS Ceres. I did this because Loknar class vessels, according to Memory Beta, are named for Federation colonial cities or provinces. Though it appears some are named for colonies too. Ceres is named for the colony on that dwarf planet, which I made up. However I did find a reference to a Ceresville, a domed mining community on Ceres, in the Trek novel The Haunted Ship which works for me too.

    General Wo'toth is a character inspired by Dnoth's Captain Wo'toth in his Star Trek Independence series.

    *****************************************************************

    Ty’Gokor

    Thought Admiral Karm stepped on the inebriated warriors clogging the floor of the Hall of Warriors. With him walked his former protégé General Lurgan. The founder of House Lurgan had been chosen to be his in leading the assault on Aldebaran III.

    It was a glorious honor for one who bore the general’s affliction. Karm had pushed hard for Lurgan, expending a great deal of capital to insure that his will was made evident.

    Even the Chancellor had expressed reservations, but Karm had convinced the stubborn old targ of the rightness of his decision.

    If Lurgan were HemQuch he would be sitting on the High Council. He would certainly be having more sway in the conduct of this war.

    It was his hope that the man would conduct it more honorably than the HemQuch had thus far. The policy of least respect ignited Klingon chauvinism, but it did little to set the stage for after the war, and Karm always thought of after the conflict. The Empire would need to govern its new territories and come to some agreement with the remnants of the Federation, if it still stood.

    For most Klingons war was a permanent state of mind, but Karm thought of war as merely a tool to expand the Empire. In times past he had thought the expansion of the Empire would prove to the galaxy that the traditional Klingon way was superior. But over the years he his doubts had multiplied.

    The ancient feudal arrangements opened the door for too much corruption, petty squabbles among the Great Houses, and war for its sake alone. A more modern, streamlined system was needed, where the power of the Great Houses was lessened, and resources could be more efficiently utilized to build up the Empire and rival the Federation and other powers, beating them not merely with force of arms but with ideas, which were even more powerful weapons.

    Now he sought to divine if his former student felt the same. “You and your House have been given a great honor,” he began.

    Lurgan nodded, “Yes, and I suspect that I have you to thank.” The general smiled. Karm was taken back to the same impish grin on the boy he first encountered on Ogat, after Lurgan had bested his counterparts in class.

    “Think nothing of it,” Karm said, “You earned it.”

    “No, not yet Docent,” Lurgan replied. Karm now smiled. He knew that the title of teacher was one he revered more than any other. Lurgan had thus honored him. “I have yet to prove myself to the HemQuch. I have the fate of a race resting on my shoulders.”

    “Feh!” Karm chided. “You have a battle to win. Let that alone be your immediate concern.”

    “It is, I assure you,” Lurgan smiled again, “but you always taught us to think of after the battle.”

    Karm laughed, “So I did. And it is to that that I wanted to talk.” Lurgan respectfully waited for him to continue.

    The admiral stopped by a barrel of bloodwine. He picked a forgotten stein off the floor and dipped it in the half-filled barrel. He pulled out the cup, took a strong whiff, and then downed it.

    “The policy of least respect,” Karm shook his head, after wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, “I think it is wrong-headed.” The man had never shied away from the truth, even when it could cost him prestige or more.

    “It has been successful,” Lurgan countered.

    “That doesn’t make it right,” Karm chided, “Or what is necessary to win the peace.”

    “The peace?” The general scoffed. “The war isn’t over yet.”

    “But we have to think of the peace,” Karm continued. “Despite what the Chancellor and some among the High Command say, we cannot fight the entire Alpha and Beta Quadrants. How we conduct our war here will affect our future dealings with the Romulans, Tholians, Gorn, even the Alshain.”

    Lurgan laughed at that, “The Alshain are nothing more than neutered grishnar cats. We made their Exarchate dust.”

    “But it still stands, and it could roar once again,” Karm pointed out.

    “They will think twice about roaring in our direction, just like all the others,” Lurgan declared, “We are showing the galaxy just what happens to our enemies.”

    “And that will harden them against us,” Karm replied. “Don’t you think the Romulans or Tholians will have less compunction about striking us first?”

    “Let them come,” Lurgan pounded his chest, in a good imitation of a HemQuch. “It will make their demises all the sweeter.”

    Karm’s expression was sad. He wasn’t sure if Lurgan believed what he said or if he was merely trying to play the role of a loyal soldier of Empire.

    “If our ideas are stronger there is no need for weapons,” Karm said. “We will win without drawing them.”

    Lurgan looked suspicious. “That sounds like the Federation, conquering without firing a shot, hiding their true intentions. That is not our way.”

    “No, we bluster and howl, and stomp our way across the galaxy. It produces resistance against us, unnecessarily so. The Federation seduces their way to dominance and their empire has thrived, while ours has atrophied.”

    “Docent, are you saying we should become like the Federation?” Lurgan was aghast, and rightfully so if he believed that. Unbidden the man’s hand went to his d’k’ tahg attached to his leg.

    Karm growled low in his throat. “Never,” the admiral declared. “However there are some things worthy to emulate. They are better at handling their resources, of ensuring the loyalty of their subjects.”

    “Suppressing rebellions has long been a way to prove one’s mettle,” Lurgan rejoined.

    “A wasted effort that could be better spent on finding new worlds and fighting new foes,” Karm chided. “We are stuck in a loop.” Lurgan looked unconvinced, but to his credit, he was not dismissing Karm’s words out of hand.

    “So what are you proposing Thought Admiral?” He asked.

    It was a good question. One he hadn’t fully come to terms with. “That we destroy the New Aberdeen Shipyards, but spare the civilians of Aldebaran III. We show them that living under us will be scantly different than under their former masters.”

    “But that won’t be so,” Lurgan said, “They will be prisoners of war.”

    “No,” Karm shook his head, “Subjects of the Empire and treated with the respect that should entail.”

    Now Lurgan laughed, “I don’t think the jegh pu’wl’ always see it that way, and if they have any pride they shouldn’t. They should only recognize that they have been conquered by their betters and accept that hard fact.”

    “That way of thinking won’t work in securing the Federation,” Karm placed a hand on Lurgan’s shoulder. The younger Klingon’s shoulders bunched up and he frowned.

    Karm removed his hand. He hadn’t meant to challenge the man, merely to get him to see reason, but wasn’t that a challenge in and of itself?

    Regretfully it appeared so. “The Federation is too large, too diverse, too interconnected. All of our jegh pu’wl’ have been isolated and easier to conquer.” Karm tried again.

    “So just because the challenge is great, we should shirk it?” Lurgan was exasperated.

    “No,” Karm’s face hardened. “It is not a matter of how great the challenge is, but how wise it is to undertake it.”

    “Did you make your concerns known to the High Command?” Lurgan asked. Karm suspected that the younger man would if had not.

    “I did,” the man smiled, “They didn’t agree.” He laughed. “I have been stripped of command.”

    “And what of me?” Lurgan was genuinely troubled. The younger man’s plans were all turning to ash in the man’s imagination. Karm could read it all on his contorted face.

    “I had hoped that you would join me in making a stand, perhaps together the High Command would see the reason of my argument, but now I see that I was mistaken,” he said, a bit regretfully.

    “Docent, even if I saw the wisdom in your present course I could never follow,” Lurgan admitted. “To stand so boldly against the High Command, on the cusp of victory, would doom my people. It would confirm all of the vile things said about QuchHa’. That we are cowards, that we are no better than humans, that we still carry their taint within our bloodstreams.”

    “We are two bound men,” Karm surmised, “You by the demands of the QuchHa’ and me by my love for our people.”

    “Perhaps that is so,” Lurgan conceded. “What is to happen to you Docent?”

    “I will retire to my ancestral lands until the Empire has need for me again,” Karm said, “The expeditionary force will now be led by General Wo’toth. He will be meeting you along the way. Serve him well.”

    “I will,” Lurgan promised. He grasped the old admiral by the arm, digging his fingers into the thick sleeve. “Die well Docent.”

    “Qapla’!” Karm said, thumping his chest. With that, he turned crisply and left his former student. Though he walked away to certain ignominy Karm hoped he had planted fertile seeds.
    ****************************************************************

    Imperial Klingon Warship Q’prahS

    Captain Knos, son of Kojo, stomped onto the bridge, his first officer following closely behind him. The order had just come down to him, from the lips of the General Lurgan himself. Q’prahS would be joining the Fifth Expeditionary Force.

    Patrol duty was a thing of the past. Glory awaited them; and the man couldn’t wait to tell his crew. They were a good crew. He had beaten them into commendable obedience.

    Though they weren’t perfect….his thoughts revolved around Julok, the scion of House Duras. His placement aboard Q’prahS had been political and one of the few battles Knos had wisely decided not to fight.

    The elders of his House had impressed upon him the value of an alliance with one of the Great Houses like the Duras.

    And as long as Julok kept to his instruments and out of Knos’s way he would continue to tolerate the sniveling little d’blok.

    “Captain on the bridge!” Commander Rornan bellowed and the crew leapt to attention.

    He took up position by his upraised command chair. Laying a hand against the old, frayed leather, Knos took in his crew. They all stood at their posts, their faces and eyes shining bright with anticipation, their lips upcurled, showing sharpened, misshapen teeth. They were hungry for battle, thirsting for glory.

    Even the bone mender, the old targ Woj had come to the bridge. The one-eyed medic understood the importance of this moment and like any good Klingon he wanted to celebrate with his brethren.

    The HemQuch and QuchHa’ were interspersed among the crew. He preferred serving with HemQuch, but he would not deny any Klingon the right to prove themselves worthy. And some QuchHa’ had done just that. He stared at Lt. Lureth. The daughter of Lurgan met his demanding gaze with one arguably fiercer. He grinned.

    “Soldiers of the Empire!” He began. “Today is a great day! Today we will fulfill the promises handed down from the ancestors, today we will we embark on the river of blood to glory!”

    The crew cheered, some beating on their chests, others their terminals. Knos allowed the tumult to go on for a moment before raising a silencing hand.

    “We have received our new orders, and our new mission will be a glorious one: destroying the Starfleet shipyards at Aldebaran III!”

    More cheers erupted. Every warrior knew about the great victory at Tri-Rho Nautica and how it had the Federation reeling. Once they lost Aldebaran III the war would essentially be over for them. And the Q’prahS would get to deal the death blow. There would be even greater honor showered upon them for such a feat, and that meant greater prestige for his House. Maybe even an elevation to Great House status.

    “We disembark with the expeditionary force within the hour,” he informed them. “I don’t have to tell you I expect from each of you, and what rewards await you if you do your duty honorably.”

    With no prodding, the Warrior’s Anthem burst out on the bridge. Knos joined in. The bridge crew was still singing when they broke orbit from Ty’Gokor.
    *****************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2014
  11. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Every society, even one as traditional and war hungry as the Klingon, will have individuals who disagree with prevalent political notions. Unfortunately for Karm, his relatively moderate ideas have cost him his position. We'll have to see if they can spread to other Klingons. The war might be going well now, but history is likely going to paint a different picture.
     
  12. surak-toc

    surak-toc Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2013
    I have read all the four year war stories that are on this great site and I loved them, so I was wondering if and when the stories are finished could a ebook be on the cards compileing all these together, hope this is the right place to ask
     
  13. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay, thanks for you response. We all know that Karm was prescient in his misgivings, but of course we know how this will ultimately end. The Klingons at the beginning of the war were riding high so I can see how they would dismiss an old warrior like him. However I liked the idea of putting it out there that some Klingons would have problems with the policy of least respect. I took it a bit further with Karm in that he thought a reordering of society was also necessary if the Empire was going to thrive.

    Surak-toc, it's always great to hear from new commenters. To be honest I'm not aware of any plans to put these stories together in an e-book, but it's not a bad idea.


    ***************************************************************

    USS Ceres

    Lt. Hadrian Glover settled into his chair with a sigh. Last night hadn’t gone so well. Lt. Zapata’s intrusion led to the helmswoman following them back to Lt. Hart’s quarters to play checkers, while Hadrian mainly watched and sulked.

    After Zapata had finally left, Agnes had been too keyed up to do much else but talk about the war. As checkers was winding down, Captain Stone had informed the ship that the Caleb system had fallen to the Klingons.

    Both young lovers had had a rough, restless night. Hadrian had been haunted by his memories of people he had just seen on Caleb IV. Were they dead now? Or prisoners of the Klingons? How many had survived, if any at all? Those thoughts had plagued him. Agnes had tossed and turned even worse. And she had good reason to with her family living on Donatu V.

    Still tired and with grainy eyes, Glover took over for a relieved Chief Petty Officer Barnes.

    He placed his transceiver in his ear and connected himself to the ship. He swam easily into the flow of transmissions that the ship was receiving and he had to send out. Almost everyone on board was sending out missives to their family members, whether they lived on border worlds or not. And almost twice as many transmissions were coming in from Starfleet Command as well as anxious relatives. His job was to sort and route them all. Hopefully many of the messages would provide some comfort or shed some light, pushing away the war’s fog.

    A shadow fell over his terminal. Not hiding his annoyance he turned around to see who the distraction was. He immediately felt a pang of guilt.

    Lt. Sabirah Nimri hovered over him, ringing her hands, strands of dark hair peeking from under her blue hijab. The hair drew his attention. Normally there wasn’t a hair-literally-out of place with the petite Science Officer. And while her uniform was pressed, the strands were telling. As were the puffiness under her eyes.

    “Sabirah,” Hadrian said with sympathy.

    “Hadrian, has any news come in from Gamma Hydra IV?” Glover knew that Sabirah’s twin brother was an A&A officer stationed at the science colony.

    Glover quickly scanned the latest transmissions. He hated answering the woman’s question, “I’m sorry, but nothing recently.”

    “Thank you,” the woman said, trying to smile but failing.

    “No news is good news,” the communications officer replied, with a weak smile of his own. It had to be hell for anyone living near the Klingon border, or with relatives that did.

    Lt. Nimri nodded and made her way to her station. The turbolift door whooshed open and Captain Stone stepped onto the bridge. Similar to nearly everyone else on the bridge, the captain looked tired, but he bore the strain well.

    Instead of heading to his seat, he strode over to the communications station. “What’s the latest on Caleb IV?” Despite the man’s regal bearing his voice was wearied. He had had a rough night as well.

    Glover checked the Federation News Service reports. “Sir, the Klingons have blocked communications from the system. The FNS reports focus on the few ships that made it to safe space.”

    Stone’s expression was pinched. “What about the Kelly? Any news that the Kelly made it?”

    Hadrian hated being the bearer of bad news. “Nothing…yet,” he had added with a note of hope.

    “I see,” Stone nodded. “Thank you Mr. Glover. If you hear any word, I want to know immediately.”

    “Aye sir,” Hadrian answered. Stone stepped over to his command chair. He assumed command from Lt. Chiang.

    Glover dipped back into the river of information, prepared for hours of swimming upstream.
    ********************************************************************
    USS Ceres

    Lt. Commander Joan Lockhart turned back around in her seat and gazed at her instrument panel. Seconds before, Captain Stone had just taken his seat. Despite the tired expression he looked the picture of confidence, but Joan had served with him long enough to sense the tension underneath. There were ripples of unease. It was in his mild grimace, in the tightness of his shoulders, the stiffness of his posture. He sat on the edge of his seat, ready to pounce.

    He was worried, about the Kelly, about the Caleb system, and ultimately about protecting Aldebaran III and Ceres.

    She felt anxiety, she experienced fear, but mainly she felt anger. It had been growing since the hostage incident on Caleb IV. The first officer of the Kelly had been reckless in resolving the incident and he told her that it was the new way of doing things. Despite her initial balking at the man’s dismissive approach, she couldn’t deny that he might be right. And she hoped that the smug bastard Commander Ruddy had made it out of the Caleb system alive.

    Joan didn’t know what to do about this slow burning fuse within her. Normally she would talk to Theriac, but the Saurian medic had disapproved of her reexamination of Ruddy’s methods and would likely disapprove of her latest insights.

    She didn’t feel like being scolded, or lectured, or having someone shake their head at her, even though it was doubtful that Theriac would do any of those things. However she would see the reproach in his eyes and Lockhart couldn’t deal with that right now.

    Instead she wanted someone who understood what she was feeling, someone who could relate to the blossoming fury.

    “Are you okay XO?” The question took Joan away from her wool gathering. She looked up into the appraising gaze of Lt. Zapata.

    “Why do you ask Dania?”

    “Answering a question with a question, not a good sign,” the helmswoman replied. “What’s up?”

    Lockhart blinked, at a loss for words. She didn’t know how to articulate her feelings, much less on the bridge and even to a friend like Dania.

    Instead she just shrugged, prompting a frown from the helm officer. “What’s wrong?”

    “It’s nothing,” Lockhart said, “Besides the usual.”

    “The war,” Zapata nodded soberly. “It’s what everyone is talking about. Everyone is wondering when the Klingons will arrive here, and how bad it will be.”

    The first officer glanced around the bridge. She saw the tensed expressions on too many of her colleagues. “What do you think Dania? Do you think we’ll stand a chance?”

    “You know me,” Zapata grinned, “I don’t hold my tongue.”

    “And?”

    Zapata’s smile turned sad. “It was a good run.”
    *****************************************************************

    IKS Bortasqu’

    The transporter beam released General Lurgan onto the platform. He frowned immediately, always a bit perturbed at having his atoms scrambled.

    He glared down at the tall HemQuch waiting to greet him. The man saluted. Lurgan ignored him. “Take me to the bridge!” He commanded.

    He knew that General Wo’toth would be on the bridge. What self-respecting Klingon wouldn’t be on the bridge of their vessel?

    The officer frowned, “General I thought you wished to speak with General Wo’toth?” The man was obviously confused. So was Lurgan, but he hid it.

    “I do,” he snapped, “Why are you delaying me from doing so?”

    “Sir, General Wo’toth is in the state room.” The man replied.

    “He’s not on the bridge?” Lurgan was genuinely confused, but also perversely intrigued. Despite his sterling reputation and being from a Great House, he might be a coward. And Lurgan relished the thought of a HemQuch recreant in command. It would be easier for him to seize glory for himself, his House, and his race.

    Lurgan could think of no other reason the man wasn’t on the bridge, among his brethren, savoring the battle to come.

    “No sir,” the man said, flummoxed. Lurgan spat and restrained himself from grabbing his nearest weapon and doing violence.

    “Well, then take me to him!” He bellowed.

    “At once sir,” the man nodded quickly. He tall man dipped his head slightly as he crossed the threshold with Lurgan right on his heels.

    Lurgan ignored the warriors they encountered along the way. He paid little heed to the interiors of the ship. Bortasqu’ wasn’t much different than other D5 battle cruisers, though it was a much newer model than his own JeQ’chal.

    High Command seemed determined to give the QuchHa’ the least of everything, until they proved themselves the equal-no, the superior-of the HemQuch. Lurgan was content to accept that challenge because he was confident it could be met and won and then there would be no doubt as to the QuchHa’s ascendancy.

    Lurgan eventually pushed past the man. He knew the layout of the D5 and where the staterooms were located.

    “Sir?” The Klingon called after him. The general didn’t look back. He quickly reached the entrance to the room. He pounded heavily on the door.

    “Enter,” a deep voice rumbled. Lurgan stepped into a dimmed room.

    “Where is Commander Koral?” General Wo’toth demanded. The man was large, with a bushy red beard and gleaming bald head, which better displayed the bony head crest running down the center of his forehead.

    Instead of answering immediately, Lurgan’s eyes lit on the lithe female HemQuch’ sitting across from the fat general. The woman’s forehead ridges were slight, suggesting a mixed heritage. Dressed in a skintight black outfit, which showed off ample cleavage, the kyamo woman smiled at him. Her teeth were an unsightly white and straight. Like a humans.

    It otherwise marred her raw beauty and made Lurgan immediately distrust her. “Where is the Commander?” Wo’toth asked again, this time his voice brooked no delay.

    “He was too slow,” Lurgan said. “I know my way around a D5 and didn’t need a guided tour.”

    “Yes,” Wo’toth smiled, but there was no mirth behind it, “The hero of H’atoria.” Lurgan had put down a revolt on the colony early in his career. It had gotten him notice and advancement, but some derision among ‘real’ warriors due to a lot of the insurrectionists being old men, women, and children. Lurgan had always felt if a HemQuch had suppressed the rebellion he would be hailed in all quarters and his ruthlessness would be prized, but with Lurgan some saw it as another sign of QuchHa’ not fighting real foes.

    “Are you so eager for the battle to come? Starfleet may be weak, but their old men and children won’t be on their battleships,” Wo’toth guffawed. Lurgan seethed. He burned to remove his disruptor from its holster or his d’k’tahg from its sheath. Instead he swallowed his anger and shifted his gaze to the silent female. She sat back, quietly watching the exchange.

    He wanted to ask the man why he was hiding out in the stateroom instead of on the bridge, but instead he asked a more pertinent question, the most important question. “Why did you come alone?” Lurgan had expected his small flotilla from Ty’Gokor to merge with a fleet of vessels under Wo’toth’s command.

    “Now you want battle?” Wo’toth was incredulous, “Now you want to earn those medals on your chest?”

    Lurgan reached for his blade. Seeing that, the female spoke up.

    “Lurgan, son of Lothur, your great deeds are well spoken of throughout the Empire,” she said smoothly, “If that were not so, you wouldn’t have been chosen for this mission.”

    “And just what is this mission?” He turned completely to her, ignoring Wo’toth. The commanding general grunted with displeasure. It made Lurgan smile.

    “I am Kalana, of the So’taj,” she deflected.

    “Imperial Intelligence?” Lurgan’s hackles were raised.

    “You were told that a fleet was being assembled to destroy the New Aberdeen Shipyards and conquer the Aldebaran system,” Wo’toth broke back into the conversation. “That was a deception.”

    “Then what is this really all about?” Lurgan demanded, his hands itching to hit or strangle someone if they didn’t tell him immediately. Instead both Wo’toth and Kalana just smiled.
    *****************************************************************

    Author's Note:

    General Wo'toth is an ancestor of Captain Wo'toth from Dnoth's Star Trek Independence series. I hope he doesn't mind the shout out.

    Also the So'taj was the name Dnoth developed for Klingon Imperial Intelligence. I thought it would neat to use it here.

    Commander Koral is an ancestor of Koral played by basketball great James Worthy in the TNG episode "Gambit Part II."

    Bortasqu' is the name of the Klingon flagship from Star Trek Online. It was featured in the short story in the most recent issue of Star Trek magazine. I thought to make good on that ten dollar purchase by using something from the book.

    Forgot to mention earlier:

    Captain M'Giia is a relative of Cadet Vanda M'Giia of the Star Trek Academy video game.

    Captain Aggarwal is an ancestor of Rear Admiral Sumitra Aggarwal from my story "Maelstrom".

    Shi Shen XO Geoffrey Taggart was inspired by characters from the Wing Commander game. I will likely be using other character names inspired from Wing Commander.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *****************************************************************

    USS Sirius
    Two weeks later…

    Fleet Captain Alexander Marcus sat up on his couch, a cold mug of coffee on the small table before him, PADDs in both hands. There were more PADDs littering the table.

    His shift had ended five hours ago, but he couldn’t sleep. So instead he worked, and he waited. The Klingons were coming. He knew it. Why they hadn’t attacked yet stymied him. The brutes had steadily attacked sectors along the border, but had left Aldebaran unscathed.

    It frustrated him, this caged beast inside him, not getting a chance to be set free. Some would doubtless call him crazy for wanting a war with the Klingons, since most of the engagements thus far had ended in Starfleet retreating, but Marcus merely thought the Klingons hadn’t met someone who could match their ferocity yet.

    Like most schoolyard bullies if they faced a real challenge they would back down. Too much focus had been placed on licking wounds and stillborn attempts at diplomacy. No the Klingons needed a real bloody nose and he sorely wanted to give them one.

    However he doubted he would even be able to fulfill that desire. Command had hamstrung him with a paltry taskforce to defend the shipyards and the planet. With the fresh wave of Klingon attacks, the three additional starships promised him, had been reassigned. And there were some calls to disband the Aldebaran taskforce and send them to other war zones.

    Marcus had been adamant about not allowing that, using every credit he had collected during his long years in the Fleet to hold the taskforce together. The Klingons would attack here; the prize was too great for them not to.

    It was only a matter of time…

    The door chime told him someone was waiting to enter. He bade them in. Lt. Commander Cartwright walked in. The younger man looked appropriately grim. Marcus smiled.

    He would be damned if Cartwright wasn’t a clone. Certainly his Mrs. Marcus might think so. The first officer stood rigidly at attention, a data slate under one arm. Despite being off duty as well, Cartwright was in a clean, crisp uniform.

    “At ease,” Marcus said, motioning for the slate. Cartwright gave it to him.

    Marcus nodded his approval, “The installation is proceeding apace.” He was pleased that the first officer was keeping his thumb on the project even after hours.

    Cartwright, now at parade rest, said, “Yes sir, Chief Axton informed me that the super phasers will be ready by alpha shift.” That prompted a surprising yawn from him. The captain stretched, feeling sleep’s pull.

    He wanted to be ready himself, fresh, for the coming day, and the approaching battle.

    Marcus’s smile deepened. When the Klingons attacked they would be in for a big surprise indeed.

    “You’re dismissed Commander,” Marcus said, stifling another yawn. The man didn’t move. Marcus raised an eyebrow. “Got something else on your mind son?”

    “Sir,” the man hesitated, now uncomfortable. He made to tug at his collar but then thought better of it. His hand slipped back to his side where it rested uneasily, tapping against his thigh. “This…order was not authorized by Command.”

    Marcus sighed. “You let me handle the higher ups Donald,” he said. “They’re not out here on the front lines, we are.”

    “But what about the potential danger to the crew, or the taskforce?” Cartwright hadn’t been mollified since their last argument about this.

    “The safety of every single man, woman, and other aboard this vessel, throughout the taskforce and this sector is my utmost concern,” Marcus’s expression turned stony. “It is to save lives, as many lives as possible, that I took this step and it’s for that reason alone.”

    “Sir,” Cartwright dug in his heels, like any good XO would, “Isn’t there some desire for payback too? Don’t you want to make the Klingons pay for their massacres?”

    “Sue me,” Marcus shrugged. “I think that sentiment is rife throughout the Fleet. You think otherwise?”

    Cartwright paused, his determination faltering. “No,” he admitted.

    “And if we show the Klingons here that we have a weapon that can swat them away like flies, think of how beneficial an impact that will be for the war effort. It will make the Klingons think twice before they launch another attack. It might also provide the morale booster we sorely need.” The captain threw open his hands as if his last statement was conclusive. It definitely should have been.

    “The super phasers are largely untried and untested,” Cartwright countered.

    “I can’t think of a better time to try them out,” Marcus grinned. “Seriously Donald you worry too much. We’re going to be outnumbered here, but with those super phasers, I’ll be damned if we’re outgunned.”

    Cartwright shook his head, throwing in the towel. “What about the other ships in the taskforce? Shouldn’t they be outfitted with super phasers too?”

    “To be honest I’m not sure how many of them I can trust,” Marcus said. “They might report this to Command, tying our hands.”

    “They would be doing their duty,” Cartwright said. He left it implied that he wasn’t.

    “They would be handicapping us, like HQ has been since day one of this war,” the captain glowered.

    “We keep this small, we maintain the element of surprise, and when we spring it on the Klingons they won’t know what hit them.”

    “Sir I’ve made my concerns known to you,” The first officer stood firm.

    “You have,” Marcus nodded.

    “But I will not file a formal report,” Cartwright revealed. Inwardly Marcus breathed a sigh of relief. “Those super phasers might be the only thing that keep us alive or at least in the fight.”

    “I’m glad we see eye to eye on this Commander,” Marcus replied, his smile warming. Cartwright had been an excellent first officer, one of the finest he had ever served with. And now he was realizing that Donald was a man who perhaps understood his vision of the Federation and what it would take to protect it. Somber as ever the first officer merely nodded.

    “Commander, I’ve got to get some shut eye,” Marcus said. “I order you do so as well. We’ve got a very big day tomorrow.”
    ****************************************************************

    IKS K’Vagh

    The tip of the bat’leth kissed Lureth’s cheek, drawing violet blood and a surprised growl from the woman.

    Instead of jumping back though, she pressed forward, her mek’leth raking her father across the midsection. If the man hadn’t been wearing armor, she would’ve gutted him. General Lurgan roared with delight and tossed his blade to the ground. “Enough!” He declared to the assembled warriors who noisily broke out into cheering, laughter, and song.

    Lureth took a moment to do drop her blade. She wasn’t sure if the session was over or if her father was trying to deceive her into lowering her guard.

    Over the din Lurgan regarded her with what appeared to be newfound appreciation. “You fight well daughter.”

    “I had able teachers,” Lureth replied, thinking of her mother and uncles.

    “They taught you well,” Lurgan nodded. If there was any regret he wasn’t among them he didn’t show it.

    “Gowri speaks of you often,” Lurgan said, speaking of her mother. The mistress of House Lurgan was the one of the few relatives Lureth kept in contact with. Her mother, a formidable presence in her own right, had always encouraged Lureth’s ambitions, especially since she had not attained them herself.

    Lady Gowri’s support stood in stark contrast to her father, who believed a noblewoman’s place was in the home, bearing great sons for a great House.

    “She knows more of your accomplishments than I do,” Lurgan admitted with a smile. Lureth seethed, but she kept the fire inside. She was curious to know why the general had invited her to his ship, after ignoring her for all this time.

    “Walk with me,” his voice brooked no debate. The two left the training hall, Lureth looking back longingly before the doors closed. Warriors had already taken their places, with the weapons they had just used.

    Lurgan strode in silence through his ship. Lureth shepherded her own thoughts. Once they were within his quarters, the woman stood at attention while her father brewed fresh bahgol. It only took moments. He poured two glasses and handed one to her.

    Unbidden she placed the tip of her nose just above the warm liquid and inhaled. A flutter of memories took her back to simpler times in the Khemet sector. She looked up to see her father grinning.

    He downed the drink in one gulp. Lureth took her time, savoring the flavor. The bahgol aboard K’Vagh was certainly fresher than what was served aboard Q’prahS. Her stomach rumbled imagining how fresher the gagh must be as well.

    Lurgan plopped down into the throne-like chair behind his desk. He gestured for Lureth to grab a seat and join him. She did so, with growing reluctance, her curiosity mounting.

    “You are a strong warrior,” Lurgan began, “with notable victories against the Alshain and the Xarantine, and there are still greater glories for you in the future,” he concluded.

    “I have…dishonored you,” he admitted, looking her straight in the eye. For perhaps the first time ever, Lureth blinked.

    As a young girl she had dreamed of a conversation like this happening, but had long ago put aside and derided that fantasy. All she could do now was sit stunned and take it all in.

    “Lorath is the future of our House, but you can help him, in more ways that I had realized. You can help make our House great, help make it strong. As of now, you will be the gin’tak of this House once Lorath assumes his role.”

    “What do you ask of me father?” Lureth asked, finding herself choking on the words. At the moment it was hard to speak. The honor her father had just bestowed on her; that of trusted adviser, was something she hadn’t dared imagine.

    “You have brought much honor to our House and to all QuchHa’,” Lurgan intoned, “and you will continue to do so, but for now I need an ear I can trust, and what flows thicker than blood?”

    “I am at your disposal father,” Lureth declared.

    Lurgan’s smile turned slowly into a frown. “This whole mission, this whole glorious campaign, is nothing but a feint.”

    “A deception?” Lureth asked, not believing what she had just heard.

    Lurgan nodded, his frown deepening. “There will be battle, but it is not the glorious one I and the rest of the strike fleet have been led to believe.”

    “Then what are we doing here?” Lureth asked. Like many others aboard Q’prahS she had wondered why so few ships had been assigned the task of laying waste a Starfleet shipyard, the planet it orbited, and conquering the entire sector. Klingon warriors were fearsome, but even she knew there were limits.

    “You are a fierce warrior, but you are a young one, whose head is filled with the images from the great operas,” he smiled, “Aktuh and Maylota, The Battle of Gal-Mok, Goqlath Castle, Kahless and Lukara…”

    Lureth’s cheeks grew warm. As a young girl-even still-her heart stirred at the epic tales of heroism and courage. She had never known that her father knew of her love of opera. The young warrior looked away, not wishing for him to see her smile.

    “Many wars are still fought like that, but often wars are not won so nobly,” Lurgan said. That drew Lureth’s attention. She looked back at her father.

    “What do you mean?”

    Lurgan shook his head with reproach and snorted, “The betleH’etlh,” he replied.

    “The Blades of the Bat’leth,” Lureth repeated, “Is that like the Order of the Bat’leth?” She thought of the venerable, revered honor bestowed upon only the Empire’s best warriors. The ceremonies were held in the Hall of Warriors, where she had recently stood. The next time she was there she hoped to be among the honorees.

    “No,” Lurgan snorted again, and then spat. “Nothing so honorable.”

    “Then what is it father?” Lureth was growing impatient. Her father was normally much more straightforward than this.

    Lurgan’s frown turned into a glower. “Imperial Intelligence,” he answered.

    “Oh,” Lureth’s eyebrows furrowed. Even among stout hearted warriors the very mention of Imperial Intelligence was whispered. Conversely among some warriors the words were an invective.

    “Too many of our people have sought to serve the Empire by joining the So’taj,” Lurgan glowered. “It merely adds to the falsehoods spread about our people, that we are schemers and without honor.”

    “High Command feeds into the lies by saying our people are the best candidates for the betleH’etlh.” The general added.

    “What is the betleH’etlh?” Lureth demanded.

    Lurgan looked at her squarely, “They are Klingons, surgically altered to look like humans. Their missions are to infiltrate the Federation and bring it down from within.”

    Lureth nostrils flared as if she smelled something rank. “Where is the honor in that? That makes us no better than the Suliban or Romulans!”

    “No, the Romulans have far more honor,” Lurgan asserted.

    “What does any of this have to do with our mission?” Lureth pressed.

    “Ha,” Lurgan laughed. “Your passion is your strength daughter. Always stoke the fires within. Never let the flames go out.”

    “I promise to do so,” Lureth declared.

    “One of the Blades is at Aldebaran III. They have uncovered information about a powerful Starfleet weapon. This mission is to recover them and their data.”

    “That’s it?” Lureth couldn’t believe it. “We are to retrieve just one person? What of the shipyard and all those ships? Shouldn’t we destroy them? Wouldn’t that win the war?”

    “You would think so,” Lurgan’s expression darkened, “But many among the High Command believe that the war is already won. What if Starfleet keeps a few of their vessels?”

    “That makes no sense,” Lureth balked. “We have the quarry on the run, now is the time to pounce on them and finish the kill.”

    Lurgan nodded. “I agree daughter, but once again, some among the High Command think a longer war provides greater opportunities for glory.”

    “I can’t deny that,” Lureth admitted, “but I also understand the necessity of victory.”

    “It is unfortunate that you do not sit among the High Command,” Lurgan said, and Lureth was momentarily bowled over by her father’s compliment. “Nor any QuchHa’.” He bitterly added.

    “It is truly a HemQuch War then,” Lureth muttered, saddened by the realization. She recalled how wonderful she had felt in the Hall of Warriors, among both HemQuch and QuchHa’, united in song, bound by steel. Now that dream of unity had caught fire and would soon be ash.

    “It is theirs to lose,” Lurgan’s eyes lit with glee, “and ours to win.”
    ******************************************************************

    Author's Note:

    I changed the name of Lurgan's ship to the K'Vagh, after the Klingon general in charge of the Klingon Augment program.

    The Blades of the Bat'leth come from Trek Lit. (The novels Errand of Vengeance, The Edge of the Sword, and River of Blood).

    After checking out the Cartwright entry on Memory Alpha I decided to go with the first name Donald after the entry said it was his name in the script. Before that I had named him Lance like he is in Trek Lit.

    This one is from a ways back, but Captain Knos from the IKS Q'prahS, might be an ancestor of Kojo, the husband of Kriosian Starfleet officer Nandali Kojo from my Dark Territory series.

    Also, Captain Stone is meant to be Commodore Stone from the TOS episode "Court Martial". I named him Percival in honor of the actor who played him Percy Rodriguez. This one is a loose homage right now because I'm not sure if my Stone will survive the war, but Commodore Stone is the inspiration.
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2014
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Looks like much more is afoot here than just another battle. The Klingons have gotten wind of Starfleet's new toy, even if Starfleet itself does not appear fully dedicated to deploying the super phasers.

    Now the Klingons are planning some sort of intelligence mission to learn Starfleet's secrets? Cloak and dagger isn't exactly their thing, so it'll be interesting to see where this will lead.

    Also quite impressed with your many Trek connections here. I caught a couple but without the notes I would've missed most of them.
     
  16. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks CeJay,

    I didn't want to do another big space battle, though I do intend for there to be space action in this story. I've done a big space battle recently in "No Win Scenario" and honestly I don't think I can compare to the good work that The Lone Redshirt and Bry have done with their Four Year War's battles so I've opted for something a little different.


    ****************************************************************

    USS Shi Shen
    One week later…

    “It’s been almost a month, at least they could give us shore leave,” Lt. Nick Lacoste whispered. The helmsman was leaning over to his console mate.

    Lt. Leslie Oh, at the navigation station, pursed her lips. “No way are you getting set loose on the daughters of Aldebaran III,” she said, with a smile.

    Lacoste gave her a rakish grin before protesting, “I’m a gentleman.”

    “You forget that I was with you on Vega Colony,” Oh replied. Lacoste paused, thought about it, and then shrugged.

    “Guess you’re right,” he laughed.

    “Ours is to patrol this sector,” Commander Taggart stepped between their seats. He placed a hand on both of their shoulders. He gazed up at the main viewer, his pale blue eyes beaming.

    “There are at least some interesting stellar phenomena in this region,” the XO/Science Officer replied. He patted both of their shoulders. Lacoste rolled his eyes. Taggart was oblivious to the gesture. Oh stifled a giggle. Oblivious, Taggart continued, “We’re getting amazing data on unique gaseous deposits.”

    “When we return to Aldebaran III perhaps we should pop a cork,” Captain Baumgartner said, mischievousness in her voice. Oh glanced back at the woman. There was a twinkle in the captain’s eyes. She liked teasing Commander Taggart, who often became very taken with even the smallest bit of scientific phenomena.

    Still clueless, Taggart turned back to the captain. “You know I don’t drink captain, but an acknowledgement of these findings would be appropriate.”

    “That is if we make it out of this in one piece,” Lt. Federico Plazzi, the resident sourpuss, grumbled from the communications station. “Then we can fill as many scientific journals as you want Commander.” The mood on the bridge dimmed. Lt. Oh frowned.

    Lacoste glowered at the man and Captain Baumgartner’s expression grew more drawn. Satisfied, the cranky Communications Officer applied his transceiver back into his ear and turned back to his terminal.

    The captain asked for the current heading and speed. Once Oh and Lacoste answered her, Baumgartner made course corrections. “Once we complete our current patrol route I think we can spend a little time exploring. I want to get back to that, and plus we’ll need material to fill up all those journals Federico mentioned.”

    Plazzi grumbled. Taggart beamed. Oh giggled. And Lacoste chuckled.

    “Seriously people, you’re doing excellent work,” Baumgartner said, “Keep it up. And I will see about getting us some shore leave, on a limited basis, once we return to Aldebaran III.”

    “Alright,” Lacoste pumped his fist. Now Oh rolled her eyes. “Look out lucky ladies of Aldebaran III because here we come,” the helmsman declared.
    ****************************************************************

    IKS Q’prahS

    “Are you going to tell me soon or will I have to beat it out of you?” Lt. Boqlah huffed as he sought to extend his leg. Lureth smiled as she moved gracefully through the next Mok’bara form.

    “What are you talking about?” She was coy.

    The hefty engineer gave up all pretenses of learning the venerable martial art. He stomped his foot like a petulant child and folded his arms, refusing to humor Lureth any further.

    With a sigh she stopped practicing and glared at him. “Well?” Boqlah asked.

    “Well what?” She demanded. The two faced off against each other.

    “Ever since you came back from the K’Vagh you’ve been in your own universe,” he said, “How did things go there?”

    Lureth didn’t quite know how to respond. The best of all possible things had happened with her rapprochement with her father, but it was something she couldn’t talk about. Very few knew about the truth of their mission to the Aldebaran sector. Her father had trusted her, which meant she couldn’t trust Boqlah, even though he had been her closest ally.

    So she decided to tell him part of the truth. “My father will make me gin’tak of our House once my brother comes of age.”

    “That’s wonderful!” Boqlah thundered, grabbing the woman in a crushing hug. He lifted her off her feet and twirled her around. Lureth cuffed him hard against the temple.

    “Put me down,” she demanded.

    He twirled her once more before doing so. “This requires some of the finest bloodwine the old Vutwl’ can dredge up, and the best pipius claw. I will pay the darseks.”

    “No, I can’t ask that of you,” Lureth said. She knew that Boqlah had much of his pay diverted home to his family.

    “You’re not asking me anything of me,” Boqlah said. “It is my gift. And you do not want to deny me the honor of honoring you,” he warned.

    “Fine,” Lureth snorted. “Do what you want!”

    Boqlah let out a belly laugh before grabbing the woman roughly by the arms again and pulling her close. He attempted to lift her again, but she kneed him in the stomach.

    The massive warrior let her go with a great exhalation of air. Once he could breathe again, he laughed.

    “I’ll stay on the ground,” she said.

    “As you wish,” Boqlah shrugged. “Why did you hold this news from me? The celebration could’ve begun days ago.”

    “It wasn’t something I felt needed to discussed,” Lureth said. “It has not happened yet.”

    “But it will,” Boqlah declared. Lureth clapped the man on the shoulder.

    “We have many great battles yet to fight before I am truly worthy of the title,” she said. “How can I advise my brother, how can I protect my House, if I have not wet my blade in enough blood?”

    “That’s coming too,” the helmsman promised. “We will dip our blades in oceans of blood at Aldebaran III, enough to paint the very stars!”

    Lureth smiled along, but the gesture was false. She knew that the great battle Boqlah and the others believed would happen was just a ruse, and once the Blade had been recovered, the Klingons would retire back to their space.

    Of course she couldn’t tell her friend any of this, so she thought a distraction was in order. She slapped Boqlah hard on the back, between the shoulder blades. “I’ve changed my mind. I’m ready for that bloodwine, but you can hold the pipius claw. It was too rancid even for me.”

    “Well, that’s more for me then!” Boqlah roared, slapping the woman back and nearly knocking her to the floor.

    Lureth growled and punched the man hard in the arm. Boqlah laughed. He held out his arms and shouted to the heavens, “Today we dine on pipius claw, tomorrow the entrails of the Federation!”
    ****************************************************************

    Author's Note:

    The USS Kelly was named for John Mark Kelly who commanded the Ares IV mission to Mars (VOY: "One Small Step")

    Federico Plazzi is an ancestor of Elisto Plazzi, former science officer aboard the USS Gibraltar. I hope Gibraltar doesn't mind the shout out.
     
  17. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Ha, I caught the Plazzi reference. Yay me.

    Bamgartner and crew have the stars in their eyes but unfortunately much needs to be done before they can go back to do any exploring like they used to do. There's that little matter of the Klingon invasion fleet to consider first.

    Lureth is kinda growing on me. I'm curious where she will fall in the greater scheme of things. For now I figure she'll make a formidable antagonist for what's to come.
     
  18. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    Just realised I've made no comment as yet, so that has to be rectified.

    I love the slow burn, the Starfleeters waiting on tenderhooks for what they suspect is coming, the desperate acts of Captain Marcus. Also the look at things from the Klingon perspective is always interesting, especially the real reason behind them targetting Aldebaran.

    More please!
     
  19. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    Glad you caught the Plazzi reference. Also glad that Lureth is growing on you. She's grown on me too. I don't know how things are going to go with her and hopefully it will be interesting.

    Bry,

    Thanks for your comments. Yeah, I didn't want to rush things with this battle. I wanted things to stretch out, give the characters a little breathing room before the battle comes.

    *****************************************************************

    IKS Bortasqu’

    General Wo’toth grinned at the uncomfortable looks around him. Kalana’s smile was more insincere. She sat beside him at the head of the table. At the opposite end sat General Lurgan. Around the table sat five commanders of the strike fleet’s battle cruisers. The masters of the seven Raptors had not been invited. They would follow Wo’toth’s lead and their consultation was not needed. Neither was that of the battle cruiser commanders, but Wo’toth was merely extending a courtesy.

    Kalana pressed a button on the table’s instrument panel and the holographic image shifted above the table. The picture of a human appeared.

    “This is Agent Maal, a member of the So’Taj,” she began. One of the assembled officers scoffed, another snorted.

    “Surely this is a joke,” Captain Maglus bellowed. “This Maal looks so weak, even for the So’Taj!” This prompted a round of laughter from the warriors. Even Wo’toth chuckled. Kalana was unfazed.

    “Maal infiltrated the New Aberdeen Shipyards at Aldebaran III and has uncovered information of a new Starfleet weapon, a phaser more powerful than our best disruptors.”

    “Ha! That’s impossible,” Commander Jagoh threw out his hands. “If they had these weapons, why haven’t they used them?” Some of the officers nodded in agreement with the young warrior. “We’ve pushed Starfleet back almost to the Sol Sector!”

    “The weapon isn’t ready,” Kalana informed them.

    “Or maybe the Earthers are just afraid to use it,” Captain Kozak suggested. This prompted another around of head nodding and some derisive laughter.

    “The information that Maal has gleaned suggests otherwise,” Kalana said smoothly. “At any rate the High Command views that this weapon could alter the war.”

    “Good,” Captain Knos broke in. “The humans can finally provide us worthy foes!” This prompted more head nods all around.

    “Despite how many feel about the Federation, they are not an enemy to be taken lightly,” Kalana replied, still smiling, but baakonite had slipped behind it. “If Starfleet is successful in utilizing this weapon they could reverse our gains.”

    “Impossible,” Jagoh repeated. For the younger man, it was an article of faith. Wo’toth shook his head, his smile fading. He had served in enough wars to know that the tide of battle could change in an instant. Unbidden he glanced over at General Lurgan. To this point the QuchHa’ general had sat silently, letting the junior officers hold forth. Wo’toth saw that the other man was frowning as well. That deepened Wo’toth’s scowl. He hated agreeing with his smooth paned adjunct.

    He thought of Thought Admiral Karm’s passing words to him and it angered him even more. He didn’t want the taint of hesitancy to infect his thinking as it had the old admiral’s. Perhaps Jagoh was right. He certainly had recent history on his side.

    However, orders were orders. “Our mission is not to destroy the New Aberdeen Shipyards or Aldebaran III,” Wo’toth informed them. “It is to retrieve Agent Maal and the plans for this weapon.”

    “But what of our battle? Our glory?” Knos demanded, not hiding his anger. The other commanders agreed. Normally Wo’toth would suppress any dissent, but he understood their disappointment. Especially a strong warrior like Knos who had yet to wet his blade in this conflict.

    “Our attack will merely be a feint, hiding our true purpose, which is retrieving the So’Taj operative.” The general said.

    “Is that why we are so few?” Kozak asked. Wo’toth nodded.

    “It was never the High Command’s intention to secure this sector?” Jagoh asked, dejected.

    “Not at this time,” Wo’toth admitted. “Our forces have nearly encircled this region of space. It is a matter of time before we close the pincers, but that will not be this battle, that will be for another day.”

    “The High Command is concerned about this weapon, yet is willing to leave shipyard filled with Starfleet warships untouched?” Kozak asked, disbelieving.

    Wo’toth smiled. “Not completely untouched. You will make the attack believable; by wreaking as much devastation as possible, but the complete destruction of this shipyard is not our goal.”

    “It is the policy of least respect,” General Lurgan finally spoke. He said it so quietly that the men had to crane to take in his words. He stroked his pointy beard. “Leaving this shipyard is a message that Starfleet can’t stop us. We’ll even leave their ships intact to prove they can’t defeat us in fair combat.”

    “However these ‘super’ phasers create an unfair advantage and if we don’t secure them for our side then it could provide the Federation the firepower they need to not only survive this conflict but to win it,” Kalana added.

    The heretofore silent Commander K’zhen looked acutely incredulous at Kalana’s summation. However the man left it for others to voice their opinions. Wo’toth knew men such as K’zhen bore watching.

    “It sounds to me like the So’Taj’s fear has crept into the High Command,” Jagoh challenged. The obstinate commander glared at Kalana, showing no fear of the Imperial Intelligence agent. Wo’toth knew some of that came from the foolishness of youth. It also likely came from Jagoh being a scion of House Seplch, the masters of Taganika. Seplch was a powerful House, but even they would bend before the So’Taj. Kalana sat back and merely smiled at the younger man. Wo’toth suppressed an inward shudder.

    He could scarcely imagine what the woman might have in store for the headstrong young man.

    “Bortasqu’ will take the primary responsibility for securing Agent Maal,” Wo’toth declared. “While K’Vagh will lead the diversionary attack.”

    The rotund general glared around the table, seeing emotions run the gamut from excitement to distrust. Jagoh looked the most out of sorts. Distrust of the QuchHa’ ran high among HemQuch officers, and Wo’toth felt with good reason.

    They were too similar to humans; they were too weak, too willing to use words instead of weapons. As far as he was concerned, they were unfit for anything but administrative duties aboard Klingon warships, but orders were orders.

    “Do you have a problem with my orders Commander Jagoh?” Wo’toth bellowed.

    Jagoh stared at him, the defiance working his lips. He struggled over his response before finally answering, “No General.”

    “Here are our plans,” he gestured at the PADDs by each of their seats. “Return to your ships, memorize them, and be prepared to execute them at my command. Dismissed!”

    Lurgan got up slowly, waiting for the others to exit. “Well,” Wo’toth said, shifting his bulk in his chair. “Speak!”

    “I’ve been thinking,” he began, then paused as he thought over his words. “The policy of least respect,” Lurgan shook his head, “I think the High Command is making an error in this instance.”

    “Do you now?” Wo’toth scoffed, surprised that the QuchHa’ was so forthright. It wasn’t a trait he expected out of them.

    “We should not only retrieve Agent Maal, but lay waste to this shipyard, at the very least. We have it within our grasp to win the war, right here. Why should we not seize it?”

    “You QuchHa’ will never learn. It is not the victory, but the battle that truly matters. That is what forges warriors, sharpens and hones them. You merely want the end result,” Wo’toth shook his head. “And that is why your kind shall never lead the Empire. For if such a day should ever come to pass then we shall lose everything it means to truly be Klingon.”

    He continued, “This war will birth an entire generation of warriors, and once the Federation has fallen, those warriors will go on to push the Empire to greater heights, against even worthier opponents.”

    “We have not defeated the Federation yet,” Lurgan pointed out.

    Wo’toth smiled, “You doubt the Defense Force?”

    “No,” Lurgan said, backing down from the challenge. Wo’toth was glad to see the tension working across the man’s smooth brow. “Of course not.”

    “Do you think I should disregard the orders of the High Command?” He challenged.

    “No,” Lurgan’s gaze was intense.

    “Then there is nothing more to discuss,” Wo’toth shrugged. “All that is left for you to do is execute my orders. Do you have a problem with that General?”

    Lurgan glowered. Wo’toth smiled. “No sir,” he said with clenched teeth.

    “Dismissed!” Wo’toth ordered. Lurgan stomped out of the room.

    Alone, the general admitted to himself, “I think the d’blok is right.”
    *****************************************************************
    Author's Note:

    The House of Seplch comes from the novel Klingon. As does the planet Taganika.

    The names for the Klingon captains and Agent Maal came from either the Klingon Name Generator or were inspired by the Star Trek Online name generator.
     
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    And there we have it, a most un-Klingon plan for this Klingon raid. And nobody seems to like it, regardless of all the bluster. Funny enough I was beginning to buy into Wo'toth speech myself. It does make a certain kind of sense for a people worshipping the warrior ethos not wanting a war to end quickly. Well, we all know, this one won't.