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
    CeJay,

    Yeah, I guess Wo'toth's in a rough spot. I think he believed what he told Lurgan, but at the same time is forced to admit that he doesn't like the plan either. Despite his bluster he's too good a general to not want to take out an enemy when you get a chance. So he's torn. But of course he's going to do his duty.

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

    Orbital Office Complex

    Captain Sanjiv Aggarwal shook his head, a frown forming. He stood at the window, his back to the small gathering. The office’s port window was large, giving him a view of a great deal of the shipyard and the planet below. Work continued apace on the multitude of starships in their spacedocks. The men and women in their work bees went blithely about, not fully aware of the doom that could befall them at any moment. “Things are proceeding too slowly,” he surmised, as he watched the steady stream of Cochrane colonial transports arriving and leaving the planet. “When the Klingons attack there will still be too many people on the Aldebaran III.”

    “Sanjiv it’s been over a month,” Captain M’Giia rejoined, “And they haven’t shown up yet.” Aggarwal turned back to look at his old shipmate. He regarded him with a humorless smile.

    “Give them time Vadin,” Aggarwal dourly said. “In the meantime they are pillaging the sectors nearest here, adding them to their infernal Empire. It’s only a matter of time before they attack us.”

    “I fear that you are correct Captain Aggarwal,” Administrator Darden shook her silvered head. “I’ve requested more transports, but UESPA’s resources are understandably stretched right now.”

    M’Giia’s smile was sympathetic. “We’re not going anywhere,” he said.

    “Don’t be so sure about that,” Aggarwal said darkly, not particularly concerned by the stricken look on Darden’s face. He had always believed that truth is the best medicine.

    “It makes no sense for us to be cooling our thrusters when we could be helping save lives elsewhere.”

    “And leave this planet defenseless?” M’Giia’s brow furrowed and his antennae curled. “It’s highly doubtful that Command would do that.”

    “Command follows the dictates of the President and the Federation Council,” Aggarwal reminded his old friend. “If enough political pressure is placed on them then our orders will change.”

    “And how do you know that?” M’Giia asked. Darden nodded intently, her gray eyes sharp.

    “I have an associate on Admiral Hollings’s staff,” Aggarwal intimated. Darden crumpled. That didn’t stop the Rushmore captain. “And the admiral is desperate to hold the line against the Klingons.”

    “That would seem to support the idea that he would want us to remain here,” M’Giia pointed out. Aggarwal shook his head.

    “There is pressure to pull back to more defensible positions, to cut our losses.”

    “‘Losses?’” Darden fumed. “We’re talking about sapient lives here. People have built homes here.”

    “Yes,” M’Giia said, “and I can’t see Command leaving so many of our starships for the Klingons.”

    “We could scuttle them, or as many as possible before the Klingons arrived,” Aggarwal said.

    “And what of us? Would you leave civilians behind?” Darden pointed an accusatory finger at Aggarwal.

    He didn’t shy away from the gesture. Instead he looked at the woman squarely. “If those were our orders,” he admitted. “And all of us would.”

    “You would leave us to die?” The woman said softly, the realization of it nearly overwhelming her.

    “If Command thought we could be have better use elsewhere, if we could help save even more lives, then my friend is correct,” M’Giia said, trying to soften the blow.

    “My God,” Darden muttered. “If Starfleet can’t even defend its own space then perhaps we should surrender right now.”

    Aggarwal glanced at M’Giia. The blue Andorian had an ashen pallor. He knew without asking that the Atlirith captain were sharing the same thought. What if Administrator Darden was right? The thought was unbearable, but it coiled like a snake in his mind. What if they should surrender?
    *****************************************************************

    IKS Q’prahS

    Captain Knos handed the half-finished bottle of firewine to Woj. The surgeon grabbed it and sucked down the contents, dropping the bottle on the floor. He belched and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.

    “More?” Woj asked.

    Knos laughed as he got another bottle. He uncorked it and handed it to the grizzled old bone mender. “It’s that bad?”

    “I’ve been stitching up your warriors for days,” Woj griped after taking a draught. “Beyond the usual. They are getting bored, and you know what happens when warriors can't do what they were bred for?”

    “I understand,” Knos said, no longer smiling. He had noted the drop in efficiency on the bridge, and while he had ordered Rornan to administer the appropriate punishments, he could relate to the growing frustration.

    The strike fleet was taking a circuitous route to the Aldebaran sector. He knew that his warriors had expected to join the larger Fifth Expeditionary Force and then come down on the shipyards like Morath’s fist. He wanted to be part of a big victory, something they would sing songs about, something he could tell the elders and anyone who would listen.

    Instead the damnable So’Taj had taken over the mission and was threatening to steal his glory.

    It was unacceptable. Knos let out his pent up rage, pulling his dagger from its holster and throwing it into the wall. The wall was scarred with countless knife marks.

    “It’s getting to you too?” Woj laughed, but there was no mirth in it.

    Knos stood up and stomped over to pick up his knife. He sorely wanted to stab something. “You might have to return to the medical bay,” Knos declared. “The fire in my blood is starting to grow.” He was thinking of finding some warrior in the training hall and loosening his anger.

    “Ha,” Woj said. “Be sure not to take out your frustrations on Julok,” he laughed.

    “I’ll make no promises,” Knos chuckled before he left Woj to his drink. He just hoped the sniveling Science Officer was the hapless one he would find.
    ****************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2014
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Terrifically poignant observation here on the heels of the cold and calculated Starfleet strategy of sacrificing the few to save the many. If they can't defend the Federation, what's the point?

    It's a purely academic argument of course, surrender isn't an option, but it's one worth having.
     
  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks CeJay. I'm glad you liked the following chapter. I hadn't thought much about it before writing it, but I guess for some surrender might be a logical option, especially when you consider the massive losses the Federation is incurring in the war.

    Author's Note: I have decided to change the title of this story from "The Dogs of War" to "The Hidden Dagger". Dnoth's So'Taj means "Hidden Dagger" and it felt more appropriate to the kind of story this was changing into. "Dogs of War" feels more like an out and out big battle story and this is not quite that.
     
  4. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    Stardust Café
    Aldebaran III

    Lt. Leslie Oh hugged herself and grinned. “Isn’t it wonderful, real sunlight?” Her companion, Helmsman Nick Lacoste looked around the navigator, at the myriad women in the bar. Oh looked at him reproachfully.

    “Can’t you just for once enjoy nature’s beauty?” She chided.

    “Oh, I am, believe me,” Lacoste’s grin was rakish. Oh shook her head.

    “Seriously Nick, I don’t know what to with you sometimes.”

    “So, you’ve been thinking about things to do with me?” His eyes shifted to her. She groaned loudly.

    “Gross,” she said, shuddering. Nick was like a little brother to her, albeit a very randy one.

    “Hey,” Lacoste said, with a feigned hurt expression, “Don’t knock it until you try it.”

    “Enough with that, okay?” She said. “I would like to enjoy my meal and drink without regurgitating it thank you.”

    “Fine,” Lacoste said, his eyes lighting up. Leslie knew he had found his quarry. The flight controller stood up. He laid some credits beside his half-finished drink. “I’ll see you back aboard Shi Shen.”

    Leslie didn’t try to stop him. She merely shook her head and let him go. She was certain to hear an edited version of the adventure he was embarking upon at a later date.

    She sat alone, savoring the sunlight more than her food and drink. The green Stardrifter went down surprisingly smooth and the Jollof rice was passable, but she had tasted better.

    She took her time, finishing the rice, doing her best to ignore the undercurrents rippling throughout the café. Everyone was a little too wired, eating a bit too much, drinking too quickly, laughing too loud, snuggling too close. There was desperation behind the merriment.

    People didn’t know if this would be the last time they ate, drank, hooked up, or lived, before the shadow of war fell upon them.

    She couldn’t blame them. If she wasn’t such an introvert, she might throw herself into the throng and find someone so she didn’t have to be alone, for a least one night. But that wasn’t her way, so she watched others make those hurried connections. Including Lacoste, who had his arm already draped around an attractive Nuvian at the bar.

    “Is this seat taken?” The voice startled her. She jumped and then laughed at herself. “I’m sorry,” the man said, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

    Oh blinked several times, focusing on the speaker. He hovering above her, a bit nervously, his smile anxious and stretching his face. She had to admit his face was quite nice, as was the rest of him. He had close cut blond hair, ice blue eyes, and an adorable amount of stubble on his face.

    He wore a khaki utility jumpsuit. Leslie had long since doffed her uniform and was gratefully wearing civilian garb, a flower patterned sundress.

    “If I’m bothering you, I can-uh leave,” the man offered. It took Leslie a moment to realize he was talking to her. The man was turning away from her table when she said:

    “No, wait. I mean, you’re not bothering me at all.”

    He turned back around slowly, his smile now more confident. “Please seat down,” Oh offered.

    “Thanks,” he said, taking the proffered seat. The two looked at each awkwardly for a moment before they both spoke at the same time. And then they apologized at the same time.

    “I’m Leslie,” Oh got out first. “My name is Leslie.”

    He reached out and offered a hand. She grasped it and shook. “Michal,” he said. “I’m a technician aboard the orbital office complex.”

    “Oh,” Leslie nodded.

    “You’re Starfleet right?” He smiled.

    “How did you know?” Oh was curious. It wasn’t like she was in her uniform.

    “The way you carry yourself,” he answered, “The military bearing.”

    “Oh,” she giggled, “Nick always did say I’m too tightly wound.”

    “Who’s Nick?” He asked, his eyes dimming somewhat.

    “Oh, ah, just a friend, no one for you to worry about,” Leslie said, before she could catch herself. She placed hand over her mouth anyway. “Oh, I’m sorry I said that. I didn’t mean to.”

    “It’s okay,” Michal’s smile deepened. “I’m glad he isn’t someone to worry about.”

    “Oh,” Leslie said.

    “Yes,” the technician admitted.

    “Listen, uh, Michal,” Leslie began, trying to find the words and her nerve, “I think you’re getting a little ahead of yourself.”

    “Perhaps,” he admitted, gulping nervously, “But I would prefer to be ahead than behind.”

    “I’m going to have to watch out for you, aren’t I?” Leslie grinned.

    “I hope so,” Michal said, glancing over at her glass. “So, what are you drinking?”
    *****************************************************************

    USS Shi Shen

    “You’re on shore leave, and you’re here talking with me?” Captain Stone was incredulous. “This is not the Helena Baumgartner I know.”

    Captain Baumgartner laughed. “I know, right?”

    “Yeah, I remember that time you outdrank those Nausicaans at Bonestell?” Stone chuckled.

    “Oh do I,” Baumgartner grabbed her head. “I had a hangover for days.”

    “And we have stories for a lifetime,” the Ceres captain said. Helena nodded in agreement.

    “Those were the days,” Helena sat back at her desk, a wistful smile forming. “We had our whole lives ahead of us, all that exploring and discoveries we imagined.”

    “And there’s been some,” Stone nodded.

    “Yeah, I mean, making first contact with the Baezians has been the highlight of my career,” Baumgartner intimated.

    “Same with the Chenari,” Stone admitted. “And with the Pelosians.”

    “Show off,” Helena sniffed. Stone laughed.

    “Those were great moments but that’s the past, and why are you spending time reminiscing when you are on shore leave?”

    “I didn’t think it proper to leave the ship, not with the Klingons breathing down our necks,” Baumgartner said, “Plus, I’m sure Ol’ Duranium Ass Marcus would disapprove.”

    “When have you cared about stuff like that?”

    Helena shrugged, “I’m mellowing in my old age.”

    “I understand,” Stone’s expression grew serious. “And I do think you made the right decision. The crew can take time off, but the captain needs to be ready.”

    “Agreed,” Helena said, “Besides, I’m saving up all my time for Risa.”

    “Chandra and I were supposed to go there for our honeymoon, but work got in the way,” Stone replied.

    “That’s a pity,” Baumgartner said, “But you always did let work get in the way.”

    “It wasn’t me this time,” Stone rejoined, “It was Chandra. She was chasing Hyterian artifacts.”

    “The Hyterians?” Helena asked, intrigued more by the twinkle in her friend’s eye than the actual subject matter, with history mostly boring her. Stone liked talking about his wife and what she did, and she enjoyed watching him do it.

    “Yes, an ancient civilization. Not much is known about them, though there were rumors that they could create artificial biospheres,” Stone said, not hiding his amazement. “Finding anything she could about them would give us great knowledge of ancient alien life.”

    “Sounds more important than spending a week or two with you on Risa,” Helena said.

    “Yeah,” Stone shrugged.

    “Though it’s a shame you couldn’t fit Wrigley’s Pleasure Planet in,” Baumgartner added.

    “I wouldn’t be caught dead there,” the Ceres captain looked mortified, “Too gauche.”

    “I like it just fine,” Helena replied.

    “You would,” Stone quipped.

    “If I didn’t know you any better I would take that personally,” Helena said. Stone merely laughed.

    “How is your patrol?” Baumgartner asked.

    “Uneventful,” Stone answered with a concerned look on his face.

    “That upsets you, why?”

    “Because this is damn peculiar,” Stone admitted. “The Klingons haven’t attacked yet. It’s been over a month, we are practically defenseless.”

    “Gee, thanks,” Baumgartner looked wounded.

    “You know what I mean,” Stone pressed on, not willing to laugh this time. “We’re sitting ducks, and yet they haven’t attacked.”

    “I know, I don’t get it either, though maybe it’s a situation where we should be counting our blessings,” Helena said.

    “How so?”

    “I really don’t want to lose anyone or write any letters to loved ones,” the Shi Shen captain admitted.

    “Neither do I Helena,” Stone agreed, his lips drawing tight. The silence grew between them, becoming uncomfortable. This wasn’t what Helena had intended. She had called Percival to take her mind off the war, but what else could she really expect? The shadow of war cloaked everything.

    She was a fool to think there could be anything else on Percival’s mind. But it wasn’t the first time she had been foolish.

    “I don’t want to talk about the war,” She told him. “Anything but that.”

    “Alright,” a smile slowly returned to Stone’s lips. He got it now. “Remember that time we had a run in with those blowhards from Red Squad?”

    “Yeah,” Helena nodded, “I do.”

    “I wonder whatever happened to their leader…what was his name?” Stone asked, snapping his fingers, trying to remember.

    Baumgartner rolled her eyes and groaned, “Don’t make me repeat his name,” she replied with a wry grin. Helena shook her head, “Can you believe I later almost married that jerk?”

    “You did?” Stone’s eyes grew to saucer-size. He leaned forward. “You’ve got to tell me that story.” With silent relief, and a wearied smile, she did.
    ****************************************************************

    Author's Note:

    The Hyterians come from the Star Eagle Adventures story "Eternal Flame." I always thought the name was cool and didn't think a mention here would hurt.

    The Chenari, Pelosians, and Baezians were three species saved from extinction by Captain Kirk, according to the Voyager episode "Q2".
     
  5. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Palpable tension here as everyone believes to be experiencing the calm before the storm and entiely clueless as to the Klingons' real plans. Their behavior, especially Oh's and Lacoste's makes a lot fos sense in this situation.

    Cool mention of the Hyterians!
     
  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks CeJay. I'm glad you liked the mention of the Hyterians.

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

    USS Horatius

    Commander Nina Kwan did her best to rein in her frustration. “Commander Kwan, you stand relieved,” Commander Cartwright stood rigidly in front of her; behind him stood the other members from Sirius that had come to usurp her team. They had arrived by shuttle only moments ago.

    A cough from Lt. Espinoza drew Kwan from her doldrums. “I stand relieved,” she managed.

    Cartwright curtly nodded before dishing out orders to Horatius’s new crew. Kwan sought her moment when the ship’s new commander took a breath.

    “Captain Cartwright, a word?” The man’s eyes widened and refocused on her as if he was trying to remember who she was.

    “Of course,” he said, “Will the ready room suffice?”

    “Your ready room, of course,” Kwan couldn’t help with the jab.

    Once they were alone, Kwan rounded on him. “Captain, I find this highly irregular,” she said.

    “No request to speak freely?” Cartwright asked, with raised eyebrow and a slight smile.

    “Permission to speak freely…Sir?” Kwan hotly asked.

    “Granted,” Cartwright allowed.

    “First Fleet Captain Marcus grounds us, keeping us out of the taskforce,” she began.

    “Horatius has experimental systems,” Cartwright pointed out, “At the time not authorized for combat.”

    “That’s didn’t stop him from sending you though,” Kwan pointed out.

    “Fair enough,” Cartwright nodded. “Captain Marcus felt a need to expand our options.”

    “Why?” Kwan said.

    “He didn’t say,” Cartwright didn’t hide that he was a bit troubled by this. “Perhaps as a last resort.”

    “Are the Klingons coming?” Kwan asked.

    “It’s only a matter of time,” Cartwright solemnly answered.

    “We’ve been hearing that for weeks, and all that’s resulted in is a lot of sleepless nights, and a monster of tab at the Stardust Café.” Kwan rejoined.

    Cartwright shrugged. “Ultimately it’s not my job to divine the captain’s mind, but to follow his orders.”

    “That’s rich,” Kwan replied, “You are his XO after all. Reading his mind should be one of your top priorities.”

    Cartwright’s smile was humorless. “It’s not as easy as it might look.”

    “You know I could lodge a formal protest through Starfleet Tactical,” she said.

    “See what good it does you. The chain of command, for Starfleet Tactical as well, runs through Fleet Captain Marcus.”

    “So, what am I to do?” Kwan asked, “Are we just going to twiddle our thumbs?”

    “No, you’re going to help us get up to speed and make this ship ready for the Klingons,” Cartwright said. “And I want you to be my first officer.” He paused and waited for the woman to accept. With some reluctance, Kwan did so. It wasn’t like she had anything else planned. Afterwards, Cartwright lowered his voice, and his guard. “I think this is a desperation gambit from Captain Marcus. Pray tell we don’t have to go into action.”

    ******************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2014
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Judging by what the Klingons are truly up to, I'm guessing they already have a spy on Horario or nearby to try and steal Starfleet's secrets. I wonder who that may be.
     
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    I'm keeping my mouth shut.

    ******************************************************************
    Orbital Spacedock

    Captain Baumgartner walked the mostly empty corridors of the USS Dunwich. She ran a hand along the metallic walls and reminisced. The first ship she had served on had been a Loknar frigate, and she had thrilled at the chance.

    Her grandfather had served on one of the NX-class vessels during the war with the Romulans and the Loknar class had been inspired by its design. Her grandfather had died in that war, but he had lived on in the family’s memories, and he had been lionized by Helena as a young girl. In no small part due to her grandmother, who had also served, albeit on a bulkier Daedalus class. Unfortunately there weren’t many of them around and the design was often used for hospital ships these days.

    Not an assignment that Helena wanted then, or now. She wanted to be where the action was; it was a fault. One that would like lead to greater diminishing returns as this war soldiered on.

    It was perhaps telling too that walking the Dunwich also reminded her of the Ceres and Captain Stone. It made her feel a bit guilty and more than a little foolish to be thinking of a married man.

    But she couldn’t deny that there was still a bit of a sparkle between them, and she just hoped that they both made it out of what was to come so they could share more stories and times together.

    Maybe her thoughts wouldn’t be whirling around Percival if she was more attentive to her own love life…but that was another story.

    “Can I help you Captain?” The question pulled her out of her revelry. She turned around slowly.

    The lean man was dressed in stained coveralls; amazingly the chevron patch over his chest was clean. He carried a tool kit in one hand. With the other he rubbed his bearded chin. His eyes were questioning, suspicious.

    “Not really Commander….”

    “Scudder,” the man said slowly, the suspicion still present, “Lionel Scudder.”

    “Corps of Engineers I take it,” Helena smiled. The man didn’t return the gesture.

    “Can I help you?”

    “I think the question you really want to ask is why am I here?” Baumgartner replied. The man didn’t deny it. “And interfering with your work,” she added, her smile widening. Scudder blinked.

    “No, I’m not a mind reader,” Baumgartner laughed. The man relaxed…a little. “Take it as more of a captain’s prerogative. My ship is on shore leave. Instead of doing normal things like acquainting myself with the local bar scene or relaxing on an Aldebaran beach, I’m traipsing through my past.”

    “You served on one of these old buckets, I take it?” Scudder asked, warming a bit.

    “I did,” she said.

    “This one?” The man asked, with raised eyebrows.

    “Oh no,” Helena chuckled, “The Harmony.”

    “Ah,” Scudder said, “I’ve heard of her. Damn shame what happened,” he quietly added.

    “It was,” She replied. The tragedy that had befallen the ship had happened long after she had left. She wondered what Captain Thomas would think now, of this war?

    “Sorry to raise old ghosts,” the man looked chastened.

    “It’s okay,” Helena said, “The ship and crew served with distinction.”

    “We could certainly use more like them for this war,” Scudder added. Helena nodded.

    “I agree,” she said. “And I assume you’re getting this old girl up and ready for the fight?”

    “We’re doing our damnedest, with as little help as we got,” Scudder complained. “The SCE is stretched pretty thin right now.”

    “I can relate,” Baumgartner said.

    “It’s even beyond that, you’ve got a whole team over there at the Horatius and as far as I can tell they’re twiddling their thumbs while we’re patching together the whole of this shipyard. Any idea why that is?”

    “I can’t say,” Helena lied smoothly. “Horatius is a Saladin, all due respect, it stands a better chance against the Klingons than a lot of the rest these ships.”

    “True,” Scudder didn’t deny it. “It’s just damn peculiar. But the SCE is pretty mum about it.”

    “I’m here to help defend the shipyards and planet,” Baumgartner replied.

    “It’s just the team over there has been so hush hush, it’s just aroused a lot of questions from my own guys; and we Corpsmen are usually a bit more collegial,” he added before letting the matter drop. “I just got off my shift.” A smile slowly spread across his bearded face. “Care for a tour…that is if you don’t mind me smelling like grease?”

    “It’s one of my favorite fragrances,” Helena laughed. “Please lead the way.”
    ****************************************************************

    Orbital Office Complex

    “I can’t believe you would prefer drinking on this cramped station than on the planet below?” Chief Engineer Granthik asked, shaking his head.

    “I didn’t ask you to accompany me,” Lt. Federico Plazzi bluntly replied.

    “I thought you could use the company,” the jovial copper skinned Ithenite patted Plazzi on the forearm. The communications officer glowered.

    “Come on Federico, you certainly prefer kicking back your heels to cataloguing more stellar phenomena, unless you’re turning into Commander Taggart.”

    “Fat chance,” Plazzi said, scowling down into his Heisler beer. The crestfallen look on the Science Officer’s face at the news that Shi Shen had been granted shore leave was only surpassed by his own grousing when Captain Baumgartner literally kicked him off the ship.

    She wouldn’t allow Plazzi to retire to his room and his books, away from the crew and people in general. The only thing he liked about them was their language; he could leave everything else behind.

    The gallant Granthik had leeched onto him right before Federico had beamed down and had stuck with him, as if attached to the hip. Federico hadn’t been much in the mood for drinking, but he had chosen the refuge of the small bar to give the Ithenite something to do besides talking.

    It was only half working, since the engineer was packing words in between each drink and bite of food.

    Plazzi did the best he could to drown him out and to listen instead to the mélange of dialects from the bar’s patrons. It was a pleasing mixture, much better than the singular grating noise coming from Granthik.

    If he could find some way to elude Granthik he could hole away in the complex’s library and continue his studies. At first he had thought if he got the Ithenite sauced enough he could quietly make an exit.

    But the man was on his fifth glass of Aldebaran whiskey and it didn’t look like the man was slowing down anytime soon. Plazzi sighed and prepared to weather the storm.

    He wasn’t allowed to ruminate for long. Granthik tapped him on the shoulder. “Federico, I think we’ve got admirers.”

    “What are you talking about?” Plazzi groused, refusing to look up. The engineer tapped him again.

    “They’re coming over,” he said.

    “What?” Plazzi asked, looking up with a start, and almost spilling his drink. He blinked and frowned at the women approaching their table. Two admittedly comely women were approaching, one human and another Vulcanoid. They both held drinks.

    Granthik, a big grin spreading over his face, smoothly got out of his chair and gave a quick bow. “Welcome ladies.” Both women looked similar, with dark hair and cinnamon hues. It was the Vulcan’s distinctive pointed ears that made her stand out.

    The two women smiled, and the expression from the Vulcanoid surprised Plazzi. Perhaps she was v’tosh’ka’tur, he wondered, his curiosity a tiny bit piqued.

    Granthik quickly rustled up two seats for the ladies. The women sat down, the Vulcan closest to Plazzi. On his way back to his own, he kicked Plazzi, prompting the Communications Officer to speak.

    “Hi,” he grumpily said, frowning at Granthik.

    “I’m Granthik, chief engineer on the Shi Shen, and this is my friend Federico, communications officer on the same ship.”

    The two women looked at each other and smiled, before the Vulcan spoke. “I’m T’Preea and this is Verdad.”

    Verdad brushed back her head and said, “Hi.”

    “So what do you ladies do?” Granthik asked.

    “We work in Administrator Darden’s office,” Verdad said. T’Preea nodded.

    “You’re from the Shi Shen?” The Vulcan asked, tapping the patch on Plazzi’s arm. The man tensed. He didn’t like being touched.

    “Good eye,” Granthik nodded.

    “I have a thing for assignment patches,” T’Preea smiled and shrugged. “One of my uncles served in the Border Service.”

    “Is that right?” Granthik smiled at the woman. “Thank him for his service.”

    “Thank you for yours,” Verdad replied. “And that’s what we would like to do, buy you a drink.”

    “I’ll never say no,” the Ithenite laughed. Plazzi’s scowl grew deeper. The women seemed oblivious. Federico didn’t like that.

    He stood up. “I’m tired,” he said, not finding or trying to conjure up a better excuse.

    “You’re from Rigel IV aren’t you?” T’Preea asked.

    “Yeah,” Plazzi asked, his hackles rose. “How can you tell?”

    “You’re a fellow Rigelian,” she grinned. “Of course I know.”

    “Rigel V?” Plazzi reluctantly asked. T’Preea nodded.

    “I hope you’re not going to leave a fellow Rigelian in the lurch,” she said, patting the now empty seat beside her.

    “No,” he shook his head, “I really should be going.”

    “You’re going to miss out on all the fun,” Granthik chided. Both women nodded in agreement.

    “I’m sure you’ll all get along fine without me,” Plazzi shrugged and turned away from the table before they could protest or cajole him to stay.

    Federico felt a relief off his shoulders once he left Granthik behind. He was sure the gregarious Ithenite could handle himself.

    Plazzi went over to the nearest wall terminal and looked up the location of the station’s library. He trudged to the library, which was thankfully sparsely populated. Finding an alcove he plopped down and began rifling through the exolinguistic files. His eyes lit up when he found the Malurian language.

    It was one he had only begun to explore, inspired by a lecture he had heard from Dr. Manway at the Federation Science Council. Settling down for a long night, his eyes devouring the Malurian script, something kept nagging him.

    He flipped through page after page, trying to ignore it, his concentration lagging. With a frustrated snort, Plazzi stopped and argued with himself. It took him a few moments to resolve what the nettlesome issue was.

    It was T’Preea. Her accent. The woman had been correct about the planet Federico hailed from and perhaps that’s what had veiled it from him. But now that he had time to mull it over. She was right about him, but she wasn’t from Rigel V.

    Why she would lie to him he didn’t know. Maybe she had moved there at some point, but she wasn’t a native. He pondered it only for a moment more before diving into Malurian idioms. T’Preea was Granthik’s problem now, as far as the Communications Officer was concerned.
    *******************************************************************

    Author's Note:

    Dr. Manway was mentioned in TOS "Changeling", as were the Malurians. They were also featured on an episode of Enterprise and have been antagonist in the recent Enterprise novels.

    T'Preea was a name courtesy of the Vulcan name generator.
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Alarm bells are going off in my head about T'Preea.

    Plazzi could be right and it might be nothing more than her having moved to Rigel at some point, but considering the wider implications of this story, I'm not willing to trust anyone. Especially not civilians who know their Starfleet assignment patches. Oh, and I also don't trust Granthik to figure out any kind of mystery. Too bad Plazzi is so unsocial and prefers the company of a book over that of other people.
     
  10. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay you are right not to trust anyone. Because there are a lot of people who could be Agent Maal :).

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

    USS Plough
    Two days later…

    Commander Roald Aantjes rushed onto the bridge. He paused a moment to catch his breath. Lt. M’Reva took the opportunity to slide out of the command chair. The Caitian stood at his side and quickly filled him in.

    Even though he didn’t need to, M’Reva being very thorough, Aantjes looked back at his communications officer. The Zeosian gulped before nodding along with the first officer’s recounting.

    Aantjes saw beads of sweat on the young man’s head. “Fourteen vessels, heading into the system,” he repeated after M’Reva finished, “And they are still out of transponder range?”

    “Yes sir,” M’Reva nodded, “We don’t know who they are, but the ships are moving fast, at Warp 5.”

    “It’s the bloody Klingons,” Ensign Burke groaned from the navigation console. “I just know it.”

    Aantjes frowned. He suspected the same, but he didn’t want to add to the tension growing on the bridge. Reclaiming her seat at the helm, M’Reva placed a reassuring hand on the navigator’s shoulder.

    “Lt. Molina, run another long-range scan; let’s see if we can find out who’s coming into the system.”

    “Aye sir,” Alise said, peering back into her scope. She sat up straight in her chair, moments later, and shook her head. “Still out of transponder range,” she informed him.

    Aantjes didn’t have to seek out M’Reva. The Caitian was already looking at him intently. Aantjes cleared his throat, and gathered his courage.

    “Mr. Jax, send out a message to the taskforce, informing them of what we’ve discovered.”

    “Aye sir,” the communications officer went to work immediately.

    “And Lt. M’Reva,” he paused, fighting the constricting of his throat, “lay in an intercept course.”
    ******************************************************************

    IKS K’Vagh

    General Lurgan clutched his armrests. “Magnify!” He ordered. The main viewer zoomed in on the small, wedge-shaped starship that was rushing toward the strike fleet.

    “Starfleet vessel, Portsmith-class destroyer on an intercept course,” Science Officer G’Lor said. Lurgan frowned at the woman.

    “Tell me something I don’t know,” he barked. He grinned at the woman’s satisfyingly chastened response.

    “Shall we move to engage sir?” Commander Jo’roth asked/demanded.

    As if reading his mind, and gleefully determined to snatch the glory away from him, it was at that moment that General Wo’toth hailed K’Vagh.

    “General Lurgan, you are to proceed with your attack on Aldebaran III,” Wo’toth rasped, a gleam in his eye. “We will meet the Federation taskforce there.”

    “What of this Starfleet vessel?” Lurgan almost pleaded.

    “The Chu’vam should suffice,” Wo’toth surmised, stroking his beard. “In fact that is overcompensation.”

    Lurgan wanted to protest, but relented. Commander K’zhen would get first blood, it appeared, but there would be opportunity soon enough to wet his own bat’leth.

    “I…follow your lead General,” he said through clenched teeth. Wo’toth’s grin widened.

    “Onward to Aldebaran III!” Wo’toth crowed.
    ****************************************************************

    USS Alidade

    Captain Zhao had her communications officer read the communique again. Ensign Valsson carefully repeated the message.

    Commander Grenfel’s usual jocularity had evaporated. He stood morosely at the science station. The Denobulan knew what was coming next. Zhao looked at him briefly, before ordering the helm to take Alidade after the Plough.

    *****************************************************************
     
  11. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Oh, it's on, it's on like Donkey K... okay, never mind. We already know the battle is not the real attraction here. Question now; will our brave Starfleet defenders figure out the real game before it's too late?
     
  12. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Not quite yet CeJay. I've got to get all the players in place.

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

    USS Ceres

    Captain Stone’s stomach tightened. “You’re to proceed back to Aldebaran III on the double,” Fleet Captain Marcus told him. “Sirius is already en route.”

    “What about the Plough?” Percival asked. His thoughts flittered to the youngish Commander Aantjes. “Shouldn’t we be reinforcing them?”

    Marcus shook his head, “It’s probably too late for them. Our primary focus is defending Aldebaran III.”

    Stone understood the logic, but its callousness chilled him. “Aye,” the Ceres captain said with noticeable frostiness. He would mourn the noble Aantjes later. Now, he had a war to fight.

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

    USS Plough

    Commander Roald Aantjes swallowed, “Repeat that again.”

    “It’s the Klingons sir,” Lt. Molina said, concern wreathing her face.

    “Oh bloody Hell,” Ensign Burke placed a hand over his face. The navigator was blanching. Roald knew his complexion probably held a similar pallor.

    “There are fourteen vessels, heading our way, fast,” the Science Officer added.

    “Orders sir?” Lt. M’Reva asked. The woman was turned around in her chair, her gaze pinning Aantjes in his seat.

    The commander slid to the edge of his seat. His mouth was dry. He could feel the sweat starting to bead on his forehead. He wanted to wipe it away. He wanted to wipe everything away. But Roald knew he had a job to do and that his crew needed him.

    He felt their eyes on him, boring into him like Andorian ice bores.

    “Sir?” M’Reva prodded. He looked at her. The woman had an uncharacteristic scowl.

    “Hail them,” Aantjes said, “Let’s at least give diplomacy one shot.”

    “For all the good it’ll do,” Burke retorted. M’Reva glared at him.

    “Store it Horatio,” Lt. Molina said. Burke looked even more miserable.

    “Channel open,” Ensign Jax informed him. The commander sighed, before gathering up his courage.

    “Klingon vessels,” he said, with forced assurance, “You are in violation…” A loud burst of static filled the bridge.

    “I guess they aren’t in the mood for talking,” Burke said.

    “Arm weapons and power to forward shields,” Aantjes said, his pulse quickening.

    “Klingon vessels are breaking off!” Lt. Molina didn’t hide her surprise.

    “What?” Several bridge officers, including Roald, said in near unison.

    “Y-Yes sir, the Klingon vessels are altering course,” she said, her excitement dipping. “They are on a new heading that will take them directly to Aldebaran III.”

    “Move to intercept,” Aantjes ordered. There might not be much Plough could do against fourteen vessels, but he wasn’t going to make it a cakewalk for the Klingons.

    “Sir,” Molina interjected. “Not all of the Klingon vessels have changed course. One is still heading our way.”

    “And it’s powering up its disruptors,” M’Reva said.

    “Klingon ship is hailing!” The commander barked. He didn’t want to let the other Klingon ships go but right now he had a more immediate concern.

    The main viewer shifted to the darkened environs of a Klingon vessel. A long-faced Klingon, with dropping mustache and a pointed goatee glared at them. His eyes were hooded by his heavy brow ridge. A sickly red light was splashed over his face. He smiled.

    “I am K’zhen, son of Kessum,” His smile widened, showing sharpened teeth. “And I like to look into the eyes of the men I am about to kill.”
    ********************************************************************

    USS Shi Shen

    “Get your head out of the clouds,” Lt. Lacoste whispered. “He couldn’t have been that good.”

    Lt. Oh blushed. She wanted to whip off a snappy retort, but she had no answer. The truth was it had been that good. It had been an unbelievable couple days. Michal, or Technician Froman had took her on a tour of the orbital office complex that she had actually found more interesting than Aldebaran III, or maybe it had just been the spark in Michal’s eyes as he explained his job. He had reminded her of an excited little kid.

    It had made her a little sad that she hadn’t been able to reciprocate; despite Michal’s soft needling she hadn’t been able to set up a tour of Shi Shen. Security Chief Kipsang had put his foot down about bringing outsiders aboard.

    Leslie hadn’t wanted to take up the issue with Commander Taggart or the captain, and that hesitancy had made her feel a little guilty, a blemish on an otherwise whirlwind two days.

    It had left her swooning a bit. “He really revved up your thrusters huh?” Lacoste laughed, producing more redness on her cheeks.

    She fought the urge to tuck her head down and looked at Nick squarely. “At least I can remember Michal’s name.”

    “Good point,” an eavesdropping Yeoman Blaise chimed in. Leslie nodded at the young woman before turning back to Lacoste.

    The man swiveled his head between the two women, a chagrined smile spreading over his face. “This is not the kind of double team I had envisioned.”

    Oh made a face, “You’re so gross.” Lacoste chuckled.

    “Captain on the bridge!” Blaise said, a bit startled, quickly using her boatswain’s whistle. Leslie sat up in her seat, straightening her back, even more so because the captain hadn’t needled the usually overly formal yeoman to knock it off.

    Lt. Oh turned around in her seat to glance at the captain. The woman’s expression was grave. She stood by her seat. She met Leslie’s gaze with a hard-eyed look. Still the navigator saw regret swirling within the orbs.

    The bridge crew, attuned to their captain’s moods, quieted down, as a pall descended across the bridge. “I’ve just received word,” the captain finally said, looking around at her crew before she continued. “The Klingons have entered this sector.”

    There were a few gasps, though Leslie doubted that anyone was truly surprised. The surprise was over how long it had taken them to get there.

    “Sirius, Ceres, Atlirith, and Rushmore are heading back to Aldebaran III to help us defend the planet and the shipyards.”

    “What about Plough and Alidade?” A pale Commander Taggart asked.

    Captain Baumgartner shook her head, “Both were out on patrol, they would encounter the Klingons first,” she paused, shook her head again, “Right now, we just don’t know.”

    “Well I know we’re about to make those big forehead bastards rue the day they started this war,” Lacoste promised, with forced bravado. Leslie smiled sympathetically at him for at least making the attempt.

    So did the captain. “Right you are, Mr. Lacoste.”

    “So, what are our orders in the meantime?” Taggart asked.

    “To hold tight,” The captain didn’t hide her displeasure. Leslie could definitely feel the need to be doing something, to be on the move, to not be a sitting duck for the Klingons, “And to insure that the evacuation of Aldebaran III is proceeding apace.”

    “That’s it?” Lacoste groused. Leslie shared his sentiment. She had no desire to mix it up with the Klingons, but certainly Shi Shen could be doing more to save lives than waiting until Fleet Captain Marcus arrived. “What kind of orders are those?”

    “They’re our orders,” Captain Baumgartner snapped, “and we will carry them out. Do you have a problem with that Mr. Lacoste?”

    “No sir,” the man said, the fires in his eyes dimming, “Not at all.”

    “Then attend to your duties,” the captain said, “I’ll need everyone doing their jobs to the utmost in the coming hours. Save the opinions for later. Am I clear?”

    “Crystal,” Lacoste replied.

    “Mr. Taggart,” the captain turned from the helmsman. “Take us to condition yellow.”

    “Aye captain,” Taggart replied briskly. The lighting aboard the ship flashed yellow. Leslie went to her duties, bringing her station up to speed, doing her best to tamp down on her fear and to squelch her concern for her crewmates and also for Michal.

    She didn’t know if any of them would make it in the next few hours and she felt guilty and self-pitying that she had just met someone only for them to potentially be snatched away.

    After a few moments, Lacoste leaned over to her and muttered, “Their names,” he said, his expression serious, “are Lyhera and Jissr,” he said, a smile disrupting the grimness, “and Totea.” His countenance grew dark again, “And I’m worried about them too.”

    “Thanks,” Leslie said, reaching out to squeeze the younger man’s shoulder.

    “The sooner we deal with these Klingons the sooner we can see them again,” his false bravado was back.

    Lt. Oh nodded along, not wanting to strip it from him. She even managed, “They aren’t going to know what hit them.”
    ****************************************************************

    Author's Note:
    -Yeoman Blaise might be a relative to Federation Diplomatic Officer R. J. Blaise from a TOS comic.
    -The names of Lt. Lacoste's acquaintances came from the Star Trek Online name generator.
    -Kessum is probably name that came from the Klingon name generator.
     
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Looks like it's curtains for the appropriately named Plough. Don't see much of a chance of her standing up to a Klingon warship. But hey, never say die, right.

    Shi Shen and the rest of the fleet may still have a chance to come out of this alive. The question is, will they come out of this battle without giving up Starfleet's greatest and perhaps only tactical advantage in this disastrous war?
     
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    Thanks for continuing to read and comment.

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

    USS Alidade

    “What do we do?” Commander Grenfel asked, an exaggerated frown on his face. Often the man’s pliable facial muscles were stretched into long smiles. Captain Zhao didn’t know if the Denobulan or any of them would be smiling anytime soon.

    “The majority of the Klingon fleet is breaking away, on a course toward Aldebaran III,” Grenfel added. Captain Zhao nodded, looking again at the main viewer.

    She felt the eyes of the crew on her. One Klingon ship had been left behind for Plough, a ship that overpowered the Portsmith-class vessel. It was certain death if Plough was left to fight that warship alone.

    Zhao also knew it could be certain death for her ship and crew if she did what she knew must be done. “Change course,” she said, feeling disconnected from her words, “Intercept that fleet.”

    There was a hesitation with both the helmsmen and the navigator. Both were looking at each other. Both officers knew what she was asking of them.

    “You heard the captain,” Grenfel uncharacteristically barked, “Carry out her orders!” That prompted both officers to act.

    Zhao dug into her armrests as she felt the Alidade turn from its present course. She gave a mental prayer to the crew of the Plough. She recalled meeting Commander Aantjes aboard Sirius. He was so young, not much older than her son.

    She put thoughts of him, and her grandchildren out of her mind. Now wasn’t the time for reminiscences or regrets.

    Grenfel left the science station and sidled up to her. He leaned over and said softly, “Diane we’ll do our best to keep the Klingons tangled up.”

    Zhao nodded, without answering back. Grenfel didn’t talk about winning. He knew that was a moot point. At best Alidade could only delay the attack on Aldebaran III, but who knows how many lives those few minutes or longer might save?

    She thought of her family again. And then of all the families on Aldebaran III. The taskforce was the only thing protecting them from the Klingons. One of her professors often invoked a Vulcan precept, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

    The thought gave her some comfort. She leaned over to her first officer. “We’ll do more than that Grenfel,” she said with certainty. “We’ll draw first blood.”

    Grenfel’s smile, thankfully returned, even if there was a darker tinge to it than usual. “For the Plough,” Zhao stated.

    “For the Plough!” Grenfel and the crew replied.

    “Let’s make these bastards rue the day they ever violated Federation space,” the captain declared.
    ****************************************************************

    USS Plough

    “The Alidade is breaking off,” Lt. Molina didn’t hide her disappointment. Commander Aantjes swallowed his.

    “Damn blokes,” Ensign Burke spouted off. Aantjes frowned at him.

    “Stow it,” he ordered. The ship shuddered again.

    “Klingon warship just scored two more hits,” a dour Security Chief Martinez reported, “limited damage.”

    “They’re toying with us,” Lt. M’Reva said, as she angled the ship to avoid another volley.

    “Return fire,” the commander ordered. The forward phasers stitched across the other warship’s prow.

    “Their shields are holding,” Martinez shook his head, “Minimal effect.”

    Aantjes stared at the long-necked, gunmetal gray warship, displeased that none of the pits dappling its hull had been caused by Plough. And while he shared his first officer’s belief that the Klingons were prolonging this, they still were relentless. Chipping away at Plough’s weaker shields, they would eventually puncture them and then destroy the vessel.

    The commander had to do everything within his power to prevent that from happening. Even if it galled him.

    “Lt. M’Reva,” he said after the ship took another pummeling. “Get us out of her. Maximum warp, while we still have it.”
    ****************************************************************
     
  15. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    IKS QprahS

    Lt. Julok pulled his nose out of his computer screen, “A Starfleet vessel is approaching, on attack vector!”

    Captain Knos yanked down his scope, to look himself. He laughed. “Contact General Wo’toth!” He commanded. “Tell him QprahS demands first blood.” The image shifted to a fast approaching Saladin-class destroyer.

    Lt. Lureth thrilled at the words. Finally she would be able to spread blood among the stars in this war. Her fingers itched as they hovered over her console.

    Moments later Wo’toth’s fat face appeared on the main viewer. “Have at it, son of Kojo.” A shout went up from the crew, with Lureth shouting the loudest. She grinned at Boqlah as he moved the ship to meet the Saladin.

    Darkening the viewer was the winged ventral section of the larger Bortasqu’. Boqlah jerked the yoke of the ship to avoid a collision. By the time he had righted the ship, the D5-class cruiser had begun attacking the Saladin, fire belching from the twin disruptor cannons on its underside.

    Knos cursed. As if hearing him, Wo’toth’s face appeared. “It appears you weren’t quick enough,” he laughed. The Raptors and the other battle cruisers swarmed over the Starfleet vessel, surrounding it.

    “Get in there Boqlah!” Knos bellowed. “I’ll be damned if I let those other petaQ get the killing blow!”
    ****************************************************************

    USS Ceres

    “Percival,” Captain Baumgartner didn’t hide her delight and relief. “It’s good to see you again.” Captain Stone’s throat tightened. The woman’s relief and her words had import, on what wasn’t said, and the dread hanging around them.

    “Same here Helena,” He said, understanding full well that it might be the last time he talked his old friend.

    “At least you’re not last,” She said, “We’re still waiting on Sirius.” She didn’t mention the obvious, the likely losses of the Plough and now the Alidade. On the main viewer, the rest of the taskforce was spread out, with Atlirith and Rushmore near Aldebaran III. Shi Shen was in orbit around the Orbital Office Complex. Ceres joined them. Stone could only imagine the tension crackling beneath the surface on each ship. He felt it on his bridge, he saw it in the grimaced faces, furtive glances, and heard it in their anxious voices.

    But to their credit Stone knew the discomfort wouldn’t impede the performance of his officers. And he made sure his own fears and concerns would not get in the way of defending Aldebaran III.

    “How is the situation with the evacuations?” The Ceres captain asked.

    “Proceeding too slowly,” Baumgartner shook her head. “Captain Aggarwal has been working with Administrator Darden on the evacuations.”

    “The Klingons will be here within the hour,” Stone said.

    “Maybe less,” Baumgartner added.

    “I don’t like waiting,” Stone admitted. “I would much rather meet the Klingons out there than letting them get too close to the planet.”

    “This isn’t our show though is it?” Baumgartner said. “This is how Fleet Captain Marcus wants it,” she said, not hiding her displeasure.

    “Truly a last stand,” Stone said.

    “It appears so,” Baumgartner replied.

    “I intend to see you on the other side of it,” Stone stated.

    “First drink is on me,” Baumgartner declared.
    ****************************************************************
     
  16. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    The battle is joined, the game's afoot. And it already looks bleak for some of these heroic Starfleet crews. Perhaps a mere omen of what is yet to come?
     
  17. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Yes CeJay, the battle is joined and everyone will be out for blood.

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

    USS Plough

    “The Klingons are gaining on us,” Lt. Molina said, “They’ll overtake us in less than a minute.”

    Commander Aantjes felt the science officer’s eyes on him. Even though most of the bridge officers were nose deep in their consoles he didn’t have to be a mind reader to know that most of them were also tuned into what he would say next.

    He exhaled before ordering, “Full stop.”

    “What?” Lt. M’Reva turned around in her seat, her golden eyes widened in surprise.

    “If we do that, the bloody Klingons will catch up to us,” Ensign Burked also turned around, not hiding his disproval.

    Resisting the urge to bark at his subordinates, Roald said, “No, they’ll overtake us, exposing their aft sections to our phaser fire. I’m going out on a limb here and thinking they’ve front loaded their shielding, making their backside way more tender.”

    “Aye, I like your thinking captain,” Burke grinned. M’Reva nodded along, but Aantjes could tell she wasn’t convinced. It didn’t matter; the Caitian would do her duty, like she always had. He favored her with a sympathetic smile.

    “We can’t outrun them M’Reva, and if we’re going down, we’re going down fighting.”

    “Aye sir,” M’Reva said, turning back to her station.

    “Full stop on my command,” the commander repeated.

    “Acknowledged,” M’Reva replied.

    “Make it so,” Aantjes ordered. He gripped his armrests as he was pushed back into his seat. The ship stopped with a shuddering jerk. The Klingon ship screamed past them on the viewer.

    “Hit them with all we’ve got, before they figure out what we just did!” Aantjes barked. M’Reva’s nimble fingers danced across her terminal. A flurry of beams was unleashed from the forward phaser emitters.

    “Direct hits to weapons and propulsion!” Lt. Molina said. But Roald didn’t need the information to see what was displayed on the main viewer. Each bolt had drawn blood from the Klingons. It seemed that the Klingon commander, in his arrogance, had placed not just some, but all of his shielding in the warship’s forward sections. “Their propulsion system is down, weapons inconclusive.”

    “Hit them again,” Aantjes said. “Don’t let up until I say so.” M’Reva poured it on, making the hapless ship alight in smoke and flame. A cheer erupted from the crew. It took Aantjes a second to realize he was cheering lustily as well.

    “Shall we prime the photon torpedoes sir?” Ensign Burke asked. The man was going for the killing blow. Though the Klingons likely deserved it, Aantjes said:

    “No,” he shook his head, “We’ll give them the chance to surrender.”

    Ensign Burke looked crestfallen, but M’Reva gazed at him with silent support. Aantjes relaxed just a little in his seat, but only a little.

    “Hail the Klingons,” he ordered Ensign Jax. Seconds later the image shifted to a darkened, smoky bridge. There were cries and curses, but through it all sat the Klingon commander. Aantjes could barely make out the shadowy figure sitting in the center chair. “Klingon vessel, we offer you terms of surrender. Lower your remaining shields and prepare to be boarded.”

    The Klingon sitting in the center chair said nothing. Aantjes wondered if the man had heard him. Perhaps he was injured. He thought to ask Alise to check the man’s life signs, when his counterpart shifted in his chair. He leaned forward, as if he pushed the smoke away from him so that Roald could get a better look.

    A jagged, purple slash ran across his face, from forehead to cheek. His expression was impassive.

    Until the corners of his mouth split into a smile. Aantjes’s stomach twinged. “Now we have some sport,” the Klingon declared.

    “Klingon ship is turning around, powering weapons,” Lt. Molina said, her face glued to her scope.

    “Damn, I thought we had knocked the Klingons out of this,” Ensign Burke said.

    “They’re a lot tougher than they appear,” Lt. M’Reva took the answer away from the commander.

    “Prepare the photon torpedoes,” Aantjes ordered.

    “They are already primed,” M’Reva said. By that time the Klingon ship was advancing on them.

    “Fire,” Aantjes began, but the Klingons struck first. And hard.

    The next thing Aantjes recognized was a light shining in his eyes. He blinked and tried to cover his eyes. Pain sprouted everywhere, particularly at the back of his head.

    “Don’t move sir,” Lt. Molina said, “You hit your head, pretty hard.”

    Aantjes ignored her. Around him he could hear the sounds of battle. His nostrils curled at the stench of smoke. He tried to sit up; pain lanced his brain, making him light headed.

    “The ship,” he croaked. Beneath him, the deck shuddered. He knew the feel of torpedoes being fired.

    “Lt. M’Reva has taken command,” Lt. Molina informed him. She held one of his hands in hers, while running a medical tricorder over his body. “You need medical attention sir. Not only do you have a nasty concussion, but some cuts, and a sprained ankle.”

    “I’m not leaving this bridge,” he declared, willing himself to sit upright. He blinked back the spots and the whirling bridge. “Help me up,” he ordered.

    Lt. Molina sighed, knowing it was folly to argue. She helped him up. When his legs wobbled, she steadied him.

    She was helping to turn him toward the center chair when he saw M’Reva gasp. Instinctively his head snapped toward the main viewer. One furious red glob of energy, spat from the maw of the Klingon warship, burned through space toward them.

    “Evasive,” was all Roald was able to get out before the impact and then…nothing.
    ******************************************************************
     
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Yeah, I had a feeling straight away that holding off on the torps was a bad idea. This is a dog eat dog galaxy out there and those who hesitate ... well I guess we're about to find out what happens to them.
     
  19. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay, I meant to imply that the Plough was destroyed in that last attack from the Klingons.

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

    IKS QprahS

    Lureth loosed the disruptor beams. They joined the other beams from the other Klingon warships. The Starfleet ship’s shields collapsed under the assault. The Raptors swarmed over the ship.

    “The human ship’s warp core has been damaged,” Julok said. “A breach is imminent.” The Raptors, also detecting the mortal wound dashed away from the ship.

    Knos grunted, obviously displeased that the kill hadn’t been his alone. He didn’t order the ship to fall back. It hung over the dying starship. Lureth was torn between watching the hull crack apart and her impassive captain.

    She was ashamed that there was a twinge of desire to move the ship to a safe distance, to avoid the explosion that was building within the human ship’s propulsion system.

    “Seconds to meltdown,” Julok attempted to proud him. The Duras scion couldn’t hide the trepidation in his voice. Lureth’s lip curled with disgust.

    “Get us away from that carcass,” Commander Rornan stepped forward. Boqlah looked at the still silent Knos.

    “You heard me!” Rornan snapped, clenching his fists, as if ready to strike the helmsman. “Do it now!”

    Boqlah hastily muttered an obsequious reply before angling the ship away from the starship. He took QprahS to full impulse, just beating the blast. The edges of the explosion liking the ship’s aft quarters, rocking the vessel.

    “Captain,” Rornan stepped over to Knos. Lureth couldn’t help but watch the exchange. She knew it could only go a handful of ways, if Knos intended to retain control of the vessel.

    Before the first officer could speak again, Knos, face still impassive, backhanded him, knocking the man to the ground. Swiveling around in his chair to peer down at the man, Lureth saw he was now glowering.

    “This is my ship to command,” he reminded the stricken Rornan. “It moves, or stays put, at my orders.”

    “But sir, the explosion,” Rornan replied, smart enough not to rise. Blood ran from the corner of his mouth.

    “Death means nothing, once you look it in the eye,” Knos declared, “And you took that chance away from the young officers in this crew.”

    “But sir, the warp core breach,” the first officer tried again.

    Ignoring him, Knos continued, “I promise you, I promise you all, that you will see much death at Aldebaran III, and you will rejoice in it.”

    He stood up and stepped over Rornan. His back turned to the man, he pointed backward. “Get up,” he demanded, “And don’t bother me until we arrive at Aldebaran III.”

    Rornan slowly took the command seat. Lureth saw the fires in the first officer’s eyes, she read the murder on his face, and it thrilled her. It would only be matter of time before the son of Noj challenged Knos for command of QprahS.

    His fiery eyes met hers and he gave her a tight smile. He knew that she knew. Soon she would be forced to pick a side. There would be bloodshed even after Aldebaran III and that pleased her. She would get to test her mettle not only against weak humans but worthier Klingons.

    She couldn’t help but laugh, which drew a questioning look from the older officer closest to her. All she would tell him was “Glory is in the offing, be ready for it.” The graybeard scowled at her, and dismissed her words as those of a foolish youth.

    “You know nothing of glory little one,” the old HemQuch snorted.

    “But soon I will,” Lureth declared, “Soon we all will.”
    ***************************************************************

    USS Ceres

    “About time,” Lt. Dania Zapata mumbled. Stone didn’t castigate the woman. He felt the same way. It had taken Sirius quite a bit of time to get back and left the crew stewing, letting dread and anticipation build up. His people needed something to do; he needed something to do.

    And now Captain Marcus had come from on high to finally give it to them. Everyone on the bridge was enraptured by the graceful arrival of the Sirius as it swept in to rest in front of the taskforce. Fleet Captain Marcus had called them all together.

    The Baton Rouge-class cruiser took point, the tip of the sword. “Sirius is hailing us,” Lt. Glover said.

    “On screen,” Captain Stone ordered. Stone found himself a little troubled to see that Marcus smiling, or at least what passed for it.

    “We’re going to take the fight to the Klingons, keep them as far away from Aldebaran III and the shipyards as possible.”

    “But first, we’ve got a couple surprises for the foreheads,” Marcus’s grin stretched over his face. “Commander Cartwright, its show time.”

    Lt. Commander Lockhart asked, sotto voce, “Sir, what is he talking about?” Stone should his head. He didn’t know. Whatever it wasn’t, he wasn’t sure he was going to like it.

    “There’s movement from the shipyards sir,” Lt. Nimri said, looking at him, confusion scrunching her features. “It’s the Horatius.”

    “The Horatius is joining the party,” Marcus informed them. Stone’s expression tightened. The super phasers that ship contained were experimental and very dangerous. Stone didn’t like this gambit at all. It struck of desperation to him. But Marcus looked anything but desperate. Instead he looked…triumphant.

    “We’ll head out on my mark,” Marcus declared, “Let’s meet the bastards head on and make them regret they ever picked a fight with the Federation.”
    *****************************************************************

    Author's Note:

    -The name Noj comes from the Klingon Name Generator.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  20. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    IKS K’Vagh

    “They’ve made it easy for us,” Commander Jo’roth guffawed. Before the strike fleet hung the paltry Starfleet taskforce. All the ships lined up, with a Baton Rouge-class cruiser taking the lead.

    The humans’ arrogance to think they could stop the Klingons before they plundered Aldebaran III.

    “Starfleet vessel is hailing the strike fleet!” Communications Officer Azaram bellowed, as per usual.

    “On screen,” General Lurgan said, not pausing to wait for General Wo’toth to give permission. A pale-skinned human with a pitted face and serious countenance glared from his bridge.

    “I am Fleet Captain Alexander Marcus,” the human announced, “commander of this sector, which you have violated. You’ve got one opportunity to turn around and return to Klingon space. If not, you will be destroyed.”

    Commander Jo’roth laughed uproariously. “The audacity of this petaQ!” The first officer concluded. Lurgan agreed, but he knew there had to be more to the boast. What tricks did this Marcus possess?

    It made Lurgan suspicious, and cautious. “Text message from General Wo’toth,” Azaram said. “I want this d'blok’s carcass for myself.” Lurgan growled low in his throat as Bortasqu’ shot out in front of the other ships. The corpulent general was changing the plan and denying Lurgan glory for himself and his house in the process. That did not sit well with him.

    “Inform the fleet,” he said, “The attack begins now.”
    ****************************************************************

    USS Sirius

    “Klingon ships advancing,” Acting First Officer Chenowyth said. Fleet Captain Marcus straightened even more in his seat and tugged down tightly on his tunic. One D5 was out in front of the rest, barreling at them at full impulse.

    “Mr. Bryce,” he said to the communications officer, “Inform the taskforce to hold back. We’ve got this.”

    “A-Aye sir,” the man didn’t hide his skepticism, but he dutifully carried out Marcus’s orders.

    “Helm, move us to intercept the Klingons, half-quarter impulse,” Marcus said.

    “Yes sir,” Lt. Commander Pitts replied. The ship lurched forward.

    “Getting communiques from the other taskforce ships,” Bryce informed him.

    “Ignore them,” Marcus was dismissive. His eyes glittered with the prize before him.

    “Mr. Pitts, bring the super phasers online.” He had felt it necessary to inform his senior officers about Project Caliburn to successfully carry out his plan. He intended Sirius to end this attack in one fell swoop. Barring that, Horatius would clean up the left overs.

    “Aye sir,” the younger man said.

    “Klingon warship is powering weapons,” Chenowyth said. Marcus squinted as he looked into the glowing red eye of the circular disruptor emitter.

    “On my mark, take that ship out,” Marcus commanded, “Wide spread beam. Wipe out the whole accursed fleet!”

    Marcus was half out of his seat. He felt the thrumming beneath his felt which turned into a steady vibration running through his chair and piercing his bones. He almost imagined his hair standing on end as the weapons came to life.

    “Klingon ship firing!” Pitts said.

    “Destroy them!” Marcus bellowed.
    *****************************************************************
    Author's Notes:

    -Azaram comes courtesy of the Klingon Name Generator. It's pretty handy.

    -Sirius officers' names come from Memory Beta. Looked up 23rd century Starfleet personnel. Just took the names, not the characters. One possible exception is Lt. Commander Pitts, who may or not be Michael Pitts who served aboard the Kelvin.