Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Zefram_Cochrane, Jan 30, 2008.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Excellent character work on Ariel but I have to admit that I am beginning to dislike her which very much might have been your intention. She feels so wrapped up in her secret desires that she doesn't see or care how she treats the people around her.

    She is incredible witty, smart and of course sensual which gives her a lot of power over other people and a bit of a snubish superiority complex. It'd be intersting to see in future stories if that will eventually lead to self-reflection or possibly alot of pain for her and those around her.

    A fascinating character no doubt and one to watch closely for sure.

    Steamy and very well written Act!
  2. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Well, I appreciate the feedback, guys. Yeah, I get a little squicked when writing sex scenes, but I tried really hard to ensure that the steamy part were able to be amputated from the rest of the Act without damaging it too much.

    CeJay, you're the first person to tell me that you don't like Ariel, and I think you deserve some kind of reward :) Ariel's not a nice person. People will fall all over themselves for her and she's used to having a man or a woman at her beck and call because of who she is and what she is. That's really defined who she is and what she wants. So, imagine, if you will, a person who's used to having everyone around her be so fascinated by her that she's now completely dependent upon that attention/devotion/adoration... even if she says she doesn't want it. It's that background noise she's counted on since the first day in grade school when she couldn't figure out why the boys would always surround her.

    Then, while on the Victory, she meets Leone... and Leone isn't impressed by her at all... y'know, I'll stop there. I have this story outlined for the second season, in an episode titled, "It's Deja Vu All Over Again." I could so go off on Ariel right now, though.. trust me. :)

    By the way, if ever you guys needed to put a face with the name? Search for images of an actress named Ayda Field. If you picture her with black hair instead of her natural brown/blonde highlights. She's who I used as a physical guideline when creating her, though the personality is all me. :)

    Gibraltar has Ariel's number, though. Look for a collaboration set in 2377 involving Ariel :)

    -- ZC
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    This is a very interesting way to look at this character and I'm especially fascinated because I have a character who shares a similar issue (... or curse ?) but has come to deal with it entirely different. I haven't really explored that too much but I want to. And guess what? She also has a secret crush for the captain.

    I might not like Ariel right now but she is most certainly a character I'm very interested in (no ... not like that :devil:)
  4. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    To my loyal readers, I have not forgotten you. I'm writing more right now, but it's slow going. I just posted Milk Run's final revision up at the main site, available through to click-through.

    Thanks to everyone for beta reading for me. :)

    -- ZC
  5. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    As promised, the long awaited final act of The Better Part of Valor.


    First Officer's Log
    Stardate 38900.97

    In the thirty-six hours since our retreat from the Turkana system, Lieutenant Commander Johansen and Lieutenant Dawkins have completed repairs to the Delilah's Deed for the purposes of baiting our enemy according to the plan approved by the captain. Lieutenant Dawkins will assume command of the freighter for the purposes of the mission, along with a crew of six to assist him in making certain all goes according to plan.

    The freighter's former garbage ejection tubes have been replaced by a photon torpedo launcher in case the need to defend themselves should arise, while an external thruster pack has been installed to provide additional speed. Finally, as the freighter itself will be our eyes and ears, Commander Johansen and his teams have enhanced the ship's sensor package and communications array to ensure real-time access to information as Potemkin will lie in wait.

    By the exemplary efforts of the entire engineering division, the Deed is ready to fly under her own power once more.

    Though, she will not be flying under the same name.

    "The Flying Dutchman?" Leone stared at Dawkins, unable to prevent the incredulity in her tone. The pair made strides down the corridor from the engineering compartment toward the nearest turbolift.

    Dawkins returned her stare with a large grin. "Yep."

    "Are you kidding?" Her finger pressed the call button as she asked.


    "Was that your choice, or...?"


    The turbolift arrived and allowed them to enter. As they did, she rolled her eyes and told him, "I should've guessed."

    "I thought it was an appropriate name." He ordered, "Deck twenty-two, section delta-four-seven."

    She pressed her lips together and tucked her hands under her elbows. "You are aware of the origin of that name, right?"

    Dawkins smirked. "Of course. Phantom ship. Portent of doom. Oooooo." He wiggled his fingers as though he were conjuring up a spirit.

    "Yeah, 'portent of doom' is the key phrase I was hoping to draw your attention to,"

    "But it's doom for the people who see it, not doom for the people on it."

    Leone threw both hands away from her, keeping her elbows against her sides. "That's because the people on it were already doomed. They were said to be eternally bound to the ship. The ship was doomed to roam the Seven Seas for all eternity. They were never allowed to go home."

    He paused to consider that. "Really?" The turbolift announced their destination and parted its doors for them.

    She did not hesitate, moving out into the corridor without waiting for him. "Yes."

    "You sure?" he tilted his head as he asked, his tone betraying his disbelief.

    Again, she stared at him. "Look at my face."



    "Well..." He scratched at the top of his head. "That does present a problem."

    "There's no problem. Just rename the damned thing to something else."


    "Sure, you can."

    "Can't." He said with an emphatic shake of his head.

    "Why not?"

    The doors to the lower observation lounge opened and the large bay windows looking out toward the freighter revealed his reason. Dawkins gestured with his hand toward it.

    As soon as her eyes ran over it, Leone groaned with a hand to her forehead. "Oh, shit."

    "Yeah," sighed Dawkins.

    Emblazoned upon the bow of the ship was the new name and registry of the former Delilah's Deed, in full block lettering for anyone with eyes to see.

    "Well," Leone said after a long moment of staring, "I guess you know what this means."

    "I'm doomed?"

    "Sure, but you're the new commanding officer of... that." She chucked a thumb toward the freighter, and headed for the exit.

    Dawkins moved quickly to catch up. "And?"

    "The legend says that the captain was doomed to play dice with the Devil for eternity."

    "Play dice for what?"

    It was her turn to smirk, now. Leone replied, "His soul."

    -----SCENE CHANGE----

    Captain T'Cirya entered the bridge and proceeded directly toward her now-vacated command chair. "Status?"

    Leone pulled herself up out of the captain's chair the moment the turbolift doors closed behind her commanding officer. Without hesitation, she answered, "Lieutenant Dawkins and his team are aboard the freighter, now, sir. They're ready to get underway."

    "Signal Commander Elannis, disengage the tractor beam."

    Ariel's fingers danced over the console. "Tractor beam disengaged, Captain." Upon the screen, the shimmering blue light of the tractor beam disappeared as the Flying Dutchman drifted without further aid. "Lieutenant Dawkins is reporting they're now clear and free to navigate."

    "'Captain' Dawkins," corrected T'Cirya.

    "Yes, sir."

    T'Cirya turned her head slightly to address the chief petty officer seated at the communications console. "Inform the captain that he may proceed at full impulse power to clear the ship, then approach the Turkana system at warp four."

    The message's effect was nearly immediate; the Dutchman's impulse engines glowed brightly and the freighter dwindled quickly as it sped away from the Potemkin. Moments later, the warp engines flashed and accelerated the ship to warp, with the telltale blue-white starburst in the distance.

    "Their ETA to the system is fifteen minutes," reported Ariel, immediately.

    "Very well," said T'Cirya with a short nod. She did not turn her head as she called to her executive officer, "Commander Leone."

    Leone stepped forward from behind the captain and replied, "Aye, sir." A series of orders flew from her lips, and the bridge's alert status indicator flashed amber as the ship went to yellow alert. She punctuated each order by standing over each manned station. Finally, Leone stood over the helm; "Ahead warp seven. Bring us out of warp close enough to Turkana III to approach the pole opposite the Dutchman."

    Dawkins' plan called for Potemkin to lie in wait as they drew the fighters out of hiding. Once they approached and swarmed the freighter, he would release the escape pods and let them float within the swarm before activating the photon torpedoes that lay within each one. The proximity of the torpedoes would be enough to collapse the fragile hulls of the aged fightercraft. Should the plan fail, or the freighter's shield generators fail and the reinforced armor buckle, Potemkin could sail forward within an instant, transport their crew back to the ship, then retreat from the system.

    Although Leone presented her misgivings about the plan to her captain, T'Cirya decided in favor of the brash strategy, much to the surprise of the senior staff. However, the captain assuaged them that the highest priority, according to the Starfleet mandate, was to protect all shipping lanes from piracy. The fighters presented a dangerous threat to shipping passing through the Turkana system. At the very least, they could place a warning buoy to avoid entering the system, but they would be severely remiss in their duty if they did not attempt to remove the threat permanently.

    The stars streaked by on the main viewscreen until the ship slowed the sublight speeds. By her own count, they spent less than thirty seconds at high warp before reaching the system. Quickly, the ship angled toward the planet and dived down beneath its southern pole.

    "We're in position, sir," said the helmsman.

    Captain T'Cirya replied, "Very well. Reduced power mode, all non-essential systems. Passive sensors only."

    As soon as the captain gave her order, the bridge lighting disappeared. The cerulean band of the status indicator provided only a modicum of illumination, and it was the consoles that made up the difference.

    Ariel reported, "Active sensors offline. Passive sensor data available on tactical display."

    "On viewer," said Leone.

    The scene on the main viewscreen shifted from the southern curve of Turkana III to a top-down view of the range of the ship's sensors. Seconds after the change in view, the Federation seal representing the Flying Dutchman appeared near the bottom of the screen.

    "Dutchman on sensors, now, sir."

    "Thank you, Commander Elannis. Send our traffic as planned, Chief."

    The communications chief nodded. "Sending tactical data, aye, sir." Potemkin transmitted their most recent sensor data to the Dutchman, encoded. "We're receiving their acknowledgment, Captain."

    "Very well." T'Cirya uncrossed her legs to swivel her chair to face Leone. "Commander."

    "Aye, sir. Helm, lay in a rendezvous course for the Dutchman."

    "Course laid in, sir."

    Leone looked up toward the ceiling. "Bridge to engineering."

    "Engineering; Johansen, here."

    "Oleg, keep an open commlink. Stand by to turn it all on."

    "We're ready to go down here, sir."

    "Captain," said Ariel, "the Dutchman is now adrift. Their warp drive is offline, and impulse engines are damaged."

    "They're sending out a low-powered distress call," reported the communications chief. "Doesn't look like it will reach outside the star system."

    "Everything's going according to plan," the captain said. "Prepare to execute on the XO's order."

    No one spoke from that point on. The standard hum of bridge activity served as white noise to the heightened tension of waiting for the enemy. Nearly all eyes glued to the tactical display as they waited.

    A minute passed.

    Then five.

    Nearly fifteen more minutes passed before Ariel's voice pierced the festering silence.

    "Multiple inbound contacts, Captain!"

    Leone snapped her head toward her friend. "Identify."

    "Remora-class impulse fighters, sir. Same as before. They're on a fast intercept toward the Dutchman." She added, "Without active sensors, sir, I'm unable to determine if they're weapons hot."

    "We could request a sensor packet from the Dutchman," offered the helmsman helpfully.

    The captain shook her head. "Negative. Maintain radio silence per Captain Dawkins' instructions."

    Leone asked, "Ariel, what's their ETA?"

    "At present speed, thirteen minutes, forty-seven seconds."

    Once the fighters entered weapons' range, they wasted little time in firing on the freighter. Their powerful phasers lanced through the dark to make ferocious contact with the Dutchman's shields. Energy interacting with energy made for an impressive display of light as they altered their view from tactical to a high magnification real-time scene of the one-sided battle.

    As planned, the escape pods began to float away from the freighter. Unplanned, the fighters began shooting at the pods before they could clear the ship. The first pod exploded after its hull broke away under the power of the fighters' phasers.

    "Oh, no!" cried Ariel.

    The phaser's energy made contact with the active warhead immediately. A massive explosion appeared on the screen. It obscured their view of the battle completely. Once the fireball died in the vacuum, an almost collective gasp sounded on the bridge of the Potemkin.

    Leone drew a hand to her mouth in disbelief.

    The viewscreen showed nothing but a field of stars.



    The story left off in this episode will not be resolved until later on in the season. I don't intend for the flashback episodes to run in a linear fashion. :)

    Coming up next, FSA #7: "Eight The Hard Way"

    -- ZC
  6. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Commodore

    Dec 13, 2003
    Good to see you resuming this one. Good character work and a taut cliffhanger to end on--hopefully we'll get the next part sooner rather than later :)
  7. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Well, I'm hoping for another surge in writing, soon. But at least I'll make my November 1st deadline for the final draft on the main website. :)

    I have the first two acts of #7 already written, but they're not the second part of this story.

    -- ZC
  8. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    So we won't be finding out the Dutchman's fate anytime soon? AAAAWWWWW!
  9. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Nope, sorry :) The flashbacks are simply that... peeks into the past. They're backdrop for the stories taking place within the context of the series' timeline. I'll post the teaser for Eight The Hard Way later today.

    -- ZC
  10. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    Well that's just ... kinda cruel, no?

    I wasn't quite sure why they were going after these fighters in the first place. If these people don't want anyone in their system why not just stay out of it all together instead of going on the offensive? That doesn't strike me as very Starfleety.
  11. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    The Turkana system is actually a Federation star system (according to Star Charts), or mor elikely a system that falls within Federation space, being a failed Terran colony. Potemkin has jurisdiction over it. And since in "Legacy" it was established further that it was a spacelane, I just tried to put together a story that would have a minor TNG tie.

    -- ZC
  12. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    When last we left our heroes...

    In "Eternal Midnight" we left Ensign Tommy O'Day stranded on the corner of NO and WHERE (apologies to Joss Whedon). Since our interlude into the past, we catch up with Farragut as she is back at Starbase 310, ready for her next set of orders.

    Special Guest Appearance by Captain Benjamin Maxwell of the starship Phoenix.

    And now, without further delay, the teaser for "Eight The Hard Way." (bonus to whoever knows where that phrase comes from)


    Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead
    By Michael D. Garcia

    Episode Seven: Eight the Hard Way

    NCC-65420 (USS Phoenix)
    Docked at Starbase 310
    Stardate 43322
    Starboard Airlock

    "Permission to come aboard, sir," said Captain Krystine Leone as she strode through the inner airlock door.

    "Permission granted, sir. Welcome aboard, Captain. It's a real honor to make your acquaintance." The lieutenant commander standing just within the door brushed back a strand of blonde hair before extending her hand. Her blue eyes sparkled above a light dusting of freckles.

    Leone accepted the proffered hand, nearly taken aback by the warm welcome. "Uh, likewise, Commander...?"

    "Oh! Hayes, sir. Olivia Hayes."

    "Good to meet you," said Leone with a smile of her own. "I'm Krystine Leone."

    "I know."

    The handshake continued for a while longer than normal, and the captain looked down. "Can I have my hand back?"

    "Sorry!" said Hayes, dropping her hand as though it was on fire. "As I was saying, sir, your reputation precedes you."

    Leone shot her an arched glance with a smirk. "Does it, now?"

    "Oh, no! I didn't mean it like that, sir. I just meant that I've been so looking forward to meeting you."

    Unable to help the discomfiture presented by the commander's demeanor, Leone gestured toward the corridor. "Er, yes, well... I assume Captain Maxwell is awaiting my arrival?"

    "Of course, sir," Hayes calmed herself noticeably. "I'm sorry about gushing like that."

    "It's all right, I guess," she said, as they began down the corridor toward the turbolift. "I just wonder what you've been told."

    Hayes grinned, as though she were waiting for the opportunity to tell her. "My cousin is Commander Elisabeth Hayes, class of '49."

    That changed everything. Leone regarded her warmly in light of the new information. "Oh my, God. You're Lisa's cousin? Wait..."


    "Her cousin's name was Janna, not Olivia."

    "It's Olivia Sarjanna Hayes," explained the lieutenant commander. "Janna's a nickname Lisa gave me when I was three."

    Suddenly, Leone embraced the cousin of her Academy roommate. "Oh, well, gosh, you're practically family, then. No wonder I got the full court press back there. I didn't realize that you were that Janna Hayes."

    Hayes returned the embrace. "Lisa said you were very affectionate."

    Leone chuckled. "You could say that, yeah." She stepped back and asked, "I haven't spoken to her in a long time. How is she doing?"

    "Oh, she's doing fine. She's pulling shore duty right now at Starbase 10 for a few years to get some experience under her belt before she pushes for that fourth pip." They made it to the turbolift and entered. "Main Bridge."

    As the car moved upward, Leone thought it over. "Last time I saw her, she was shipping out for a four year tour on the Crazy Horse."

    Hayes considered that. "She came back about three years ago, with another solid pip on her collar and wearing red instead of gold."

    "Good for her. I have to drop her a line at some point and tell her we ran into each other," promised Leone, just as the doors to the lift opened to present the main bridge of the Phoenix.

    "I'll do the same," grinned Hayes. "This way, please, sir." She led Leone from the rear turbolift onto the bridge. It was nearly exact same module she'd become accustomed to on Farragut, with the notable exception that the navy blue trim was replaced with a bright, almost fire engine red.

    Leone thought it looked bizarre against the beige tone of the carpet, and awful against the wood grain of the tactical horseshoe at the rear of the bridge. Nevertheless, she stepped down to the lower half of the bridge and waited for her escort to signal the commanding officer that she arrived.

    The doors to the ready room slid open shortly after Hayes pressed the panel to the side. Like the bridge, the captain's ready room's trim matched that of the ship's signature color, and within sat Captain Benjamin Maxwell.

    Maxwell, like Leone, served during the Cardassian Wars, though he served as the commanding officer of the starship Rutledge. Leone, on the other hand, served as a junior operations officer aboard the Intrepid. Maxwell's status as a hero of those wars far outweighed her contributions. She felt like she was meeting a living legend of Starfleet.

    Hayes grinned widely. "Captain Benjamin Maxwell, it is my privilege to present Captain Krystine Leone."

    "Thank you, XO. That will be all," said Maxwell tersely, without looking up from the terminal on top of his desk.

    "Sir, I beg your indulgence-"

    Captain Maxwell's eyes lifted to fix his executive officer with a cold stare. The chilling glare did more to interrupt her than his words. "Lieutenant Commander Hayes. That will be all."

    Hayes' demeanor changed considerably at his second response. "Aye, aye, sir," she replied, taking a step back before twisting on her heels and exiting. Her abrupt departure seemed to suck all the warmth from the room, as the other captain sat behind his desk.

    Leone waited for Maxwell to acknowledge her, let alone offer her a seat. Seeing as he outranked her through time in grade, out of respect for that, she tried to affect a subordinate stance while in his ready room, as she would expect of a visiting captain to hers. Aboard his or her own ship, the captain was the final authority of all those aboard.

    "Thank you," he said finally, "for arriving so quickly."

    She inclined her head succinctly, and allowed a smile to spread over her lips. "Of course, sir. I've been looking forward to meeting you."

    Maxwell allowed his gaze to meet hers. She searched his eyes for any hint of cordiality, but found none. "Have you?"

    Leone bristled at his tone and demeanor. "Yes, sir. I have a friend who served under you on the Rutledge."

    "Is that so?" he asked,

    "Yes, sir. Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis. She's my chief of operations. She served as a third class master-at-arms during the war," supplied Leone, trying to find some way to make a connection with the senior captain. "She speaks very highly of you, sir."

    The wrinkles around his eyes softened slightly. "I'm sure she does, though I wish I could say the same. I'm afraid I don't recall making her acquaintance."

    "Well, sir, if you'd like, I'm certain she would love the pleasure."

    "Perhaps, if there's time."

    She nodded. "Of course, sir."

    "Now, as you may or may not be aware, Admiral T'Cirya has assigned your vessel under my command for operations along the Cardassian border."

    "Yes, sir. I received my written orders this morning, shortly before receiving your request to see me."

    The previous softness disappeared and his tone grew an edge. "It wasn't a request, Captain. It was an order."

    In that moment, Leone felt like a first year midshipman once more, standing before the Academy superintendent's desk. She stiffened and stood at attention out of habit. "Yes, sir."

    "I understand that you and Rear Admiral T'Cirya are old friends."

    "I served under her command as executive officer of the Potemkin, and with her on the Victory."

    "And that you are the daughter of Vice Admiral Angelina Leone."

    "Yes, sir."

    "I also understand that your command was by order of Rear Admiral Alynna Nechayev, also a friend of the family."

    "Yes, sir."

    "And that you have connections with the family of Vice Admiral Joy Aspinall, the sitting vice chief of Starfleet Operations."

    "Yes, sir. Our families lived next door to one another for years. In fact," she added with mild pride, "her youngest son is my current lead flight controller."

    The word "controller" hung in the air as Captain Maxwell said nothing in response to that, seemingly content to consider her words in quiet repose. As the moments dragged, Leone felt herself becoming increasingly unsure of her footing within the suddenly cramped ready room.

    "I see," he said, slowly. A gentle tap on the control panel of the desktop terminal rewarded him with a soft audio tone. The information that appeared on the screen widened his eyes noticeably. "I've been serving in Starfleet for over thirty years; fourteen as a commanding officer." He gestured to her to take a seat.

    "Thank you, sir," she said, seating herself accordingly.

    Maxwell offered a sly grin that did not touch his eyes. "Your first mission as captain seems to on classified hold by three different admirals; two of whom are 'friends of the family,' so to speak. I attempted to access them, and was met with clearance requests above my current level. That level, I might add, that is considerably higher than yours."

    She decided to say nothing to that, instead allowing him to appraise her response underneath the mirrored, humorless grin she gave him.

    He continued, "In fact, these holds came about due to the fact that you were being investigated by the office of the Inspector General. Coincidence?"

    Leone's expression did not change. "I wouldn't dare presume to debate the wisdom of Starfleet Command, sir."

    His grin never dropped. "I'm sure you wouldn't, Captain. It's difficult to debate with a decision that works to your favor."

    "I'm not certain of what to say to that, sir," she admitted, honestly.

    Maxwell rose from his seat and stood before the viewport, looking out at the traffic surrounding the Starbase. "Perhaps it's better for you to say nothing, Captain. However, were our positions reversed, I would concern myself with my growing reputation within Starfleet."

    "With all due respect, sir, I'm not sure if I catch your meaning. Have I done something wrong?"

    "The fact that you're unaware of it only makes it worse, Captain Leone," he said, refusing to face her. "Are you aware that some of your brother and sister officers have taken to calling you 'Princess Leone'?"

    She dropped her gaze to his desk upon mention of that nickname. One she thought to be long since dead from her days as a freshman midshipman at Starfleet Academy. A nickname that another freshman midshipman, Elisabeth Hayes, helped to squash by defending her so vigorously. "No, sir, I was not."

    "I see. Perhaps now that you are aware, Captain, you may take steps to reduce the scope of your political ties and prove yourself to be as capable an officer as the Admiralty holds you to be."

    Leone's grin disappeared, replace by a stony expression of neutrality. She did not want him to see that he scored a direct hit on her ego, and in turn, she did not need him to perceive any sign of disrespect toward him. "I thank you, sir, for your kind advice."

    "It is not kind, Captain," he corrected her sharply. "I have a vested interest in seeing those ships under my command working together as a cohesive unit. Unfortunately, it will take some time."

    She inclined her head and stood from her seat. "Yes, sir. I understand."

    He turned away from the view and reseated himself behind his desk. Maxwell tapped his desktop terminal and swiveled it around to face her. "The Starfleet Public Affairs Office has requested a starship be dispatch to Starbase Six, in order to assume a courier mission from the starship Fearless. Farragut is ordered on temporary duty with the PAO, effective immediately. You will assume Fearless' mission."

    Leone tilted her head and did nothing to hide her displeasure. "Courier duty, sir? I assumed that we would be put to work on the border."

    "You assumed incorrectly, Captain." He sighed, dropping any pretense of joviality with her outright. "I don't know you beyond your reputation, and that means that I can't trust you, yet."

    Leone sat back as though he slapped her in the face. This was practically unheard of! And to have it coming from Benjamin Maxwell, of all people... "Sir, I respectfully request that you reconsider. Farragut is battle-ready."

    He ignored her. "You will not deviate from this mission under any circumstance other than to satisfy Starfleet directives or general orders requiring you to. If such a case arises, I expect a detailed report from you explaining your decisions. In fact, I would like to be copied on all official logs generated by you and your crew. Understood?"

    "Aye, sir," replied Leone. She mentally catalogued every word he said for her report to Aunt Alynna.

    "There will be no further cover provided by your family and friends. Under my command, your 'royalty,' as it were, means nothing. We work for a living."

    "Aye, sir."

    "And should I hear that you complained to one of your highly-placed friends or members of your own family, and believe me... I will. It will only reinforce your sub-standard reputation."

    Damn. "Yes, sir."

    "I expect to see your ship at high warp within the hour."

    She rose from the seat, as she could hear the end of the conversation in his tone. "Aye, sir."

    Maxwell shot her a hard glare. "Welcome to the real Starfleet, Captain. You're dismissed."

    Leone took one step back, as Hayes had before, then twisted on her heels and exited. As she did so, Hayes rose from the center seat and approached her.

    "May I walk you back to the airlock, sir?" she asked.

    Although she did not want to be rude, Leone opted to walk alone. "That's quite all right, Commander," she told Hayes. Without allowing her an opportunity to say anything further, Leone entered the nearest turbolift and made her way back to Farragut.


    <Picard>Comment is invited.</Picard>

    -- ZC
  13. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Wow, what a dressing-down. Talk about being put in your place! Good bit there. Made me uncomfortable for our "Princess" and addressed something that had bugged me about this character-her being friends with every high-ranker in the Fleet.
  14. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    It's hard growing up the daughter of Starfleet brass. Leone is sometimes the female version of Tom Paris, had he not screwed up and ended up staying in Starfleet. Admiral's kid, lots of connections, greased/accelerated career... no wonder she has a lot of friends, but also a lot of people who dislike her.

    -- ZC
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    No matter who Leone's friends and family are, I don't think she deserved that kind of treatment, especially not from a fellow starship captain. But Maxwell does strike me as a character who might take offense with the privileges Leone might have had.

    I like the tension between the two characters as it makes for great storytelling opportunities down the road. I for once am hoping for Leone to stick it to the old man somehow later on. Maybe Phoenix gets into a serious jam and only Farragut can help .... oh, how delicious that would be for our 'Princess'.

    Great segment!
  16. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    You should've seen the first draft. This is actually the toned-down fourth draft. Maxwell was actually more direct and didn't play to any subtle phrases whatsoever. But, it was determined, by my alpha readers at the United Trek forums, to be far too hostile.

    Which is exactly what I was trying to set up. The antithesis to Maxwell's contempt for Leone is going to come to a head in the second season, shortly before he takes Phoenix into Cardassian territory and starts shooting up ships ("The Wounded"). The tension begun in Eight The Hard Way is a set-up toward that inevitability. I'm going to tr and have fun with it as much as I can :)

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for the compliment!

    -- ZC
  17. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Well, well, well. So Maxwell was an asshole even BEFORE he went postal on the Cardassians.

    Then again, as you might expect from someone who writes Gul Macet as one of her lead characters, I never was inclined to see that particular character very kindly anyway.

    The way you portrayed him just put a chill up my spine. Yes, maybe Leona had a lot of connections or whatever--but you could definitely see the calculating madman simmering beneath the surface. Or maybe it's more that I see it through the lens of my version of Macet...I don't know, but to me there's definitely a lot of foreshadowing of that singleminded madness: perhaps he thinks if he scares his underlings enough, they won't question him when he goes on his little vigilante mission?
  18. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Full credit for my interpretation of Maxwell goes to the phenomenal portrayl by the very talented character actor, Bob Gunton. He seems to find himself in similarly-written roles ("The Shawshank Redemption," "Demolition Man," "Patch Adams"). It was so easy to just hear his voice and figure out what he might say given his performance, and O'Brien's description of him when they asked for his opinion. I needed a new foil for Leone, since I traded away Hargreaves from Milk Run and Eternal Midnight.

    Fact is, Leone is not a nice person, in spite of her being the main character. People could easily side with Maxwell given her recent history as sort of a reckless captain (seen through the eyes of Tricia Hargreaves). Leone's only card really is her familial ties in the upper upper echelons of Starfleet. And she is the type of person who's used them to her advantage pretty much her career. Her reputation is well-earned.

    But yeah, there's a little crazy there, but before he went crazy... he had the reputation of being a rock-steady starship commander. So, I guess we'll see what happens. This was his only appearance in this episode, but since Farragut is assigned to his task force, this won't be the last time we see him.

    -- ZC
  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 4, 2008
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Yeah, as I read, I'm not liking Leone either--but like I said, I do come at the character of Maxwell from a bit of a biased perspective. (Same deal with Picard for a similar reason, but much more ambivalence there.)
  20. Zefram_Cochrane

    Zefram_Cochrane First Faster Than Light Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2008
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA
    Some people really like Leone, though. I guess the need for an anti-hero is greater in Trek. That's something I felt was never fully explored within the shows.

    Some people really love Ariel, but I think that's because she's walking sex more than anything else ;)

    -- ZC