Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Zefram_Cochrane, Jan 30, 2008.
Looking forward to it.
Gibraltar! Where've you been, man?
Right here, actually. Haunting the fanfic board as usual, and trying to pen my next chapter.
Well best of luck to you Teaser's coming up!
And so, here we are, the conclusion of this three-part pilot episode. I want to thank everyone who's been following along so far. I really appreciate the compliments and comments, and I welcome constructive criticism. If you think something's amiss, don't hesitate to let me know.
Now, I'll get out of the way and present, "Damn the Torpedoes! Part III."
Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead
By Michael D. Garcia
Episode Three: Damn the Torpedoes! Part III
NCC-60597 (USS Farragut)
En route to the Tristnor Research Facility
The stars stretched long on the large main viewscreen on the bridge. Several hours at high warp from the Kasui fortress brought them to their waypoint, and the ship began to slow to sublight as it made the approach. Stars distorted by subspace returned to tiny points of light in the distance.
"Now entering the edge of sensor range of the facility, Captain," reported Lieutenant (jg) Gregory Aspinall. "We're approaching the position of the probe. Slowing to one-quarter impulse power."
Captain Krystine Leone accepted the information with a nod. "Wilson?"
Standing above her at the tactical station, Lieutenant Wilson Nieves reported, "I hold several contacts. The orbital facility, the minefield, and two vessels of similar design. I'd rate them as heavy cruisers in size."
"Unless we find a way to manufacture more torpedoes, I'm afraid we will face extraordinary odds, sir."
"A cloaking device would've come in handy. Any thoughts on how we can approach the target, Mister Saleb?"
Saleb walked down the ramp from the engineering station and asked, "Is there any way to acquire more of your photon torpedoes, Captain? Perhaps your replicators?"
"Unfortunately, we're unable to replicate weapons, but we do have replacement warheads on board."
"I'm not sure I follow you, Captain."
She ignored him, instead ordering, "Tactical on main viewscreen." Leone rose from her seat, eyeing the tactical display on the main viewscreen. "Wilson, collect the probe we launched and have it refitted for a warhead. In fact, start refitting all of our probes for warheads. How long?"
"Approximately three hours."
"That would give us...?"
Nieves paused as he checked the probe stores with a single command. "Eleven additional torpedoes."
"Very well, then," she said, placing her hands on her hips. "Greg, all stop."
Greg nodded. "Answering all stop, aye, aye, sir."
The captain's eyes never left the display. "People, we have to come up with a battle plan that'll require no more than twenty-five torpedoes."
Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis swiveled around from the operations console. "And here I thought you were going to ask us to do something difficult."
Leone smirked at her, but it didn't linger. In a stern tone, she addressed the bridge crew, "We need to be ready in less than three hours. Because by the time those probes are converted, we're going to take the fight to them."
Act I should be forthcoming tomorrow-ish.
Well now, that wasn't very much you've given us here considering the long wait.
I know I shouldn't complain but it is only a sign of how much I was looking forward to read more of this.
Good stuff. Need more!
You guys are getting the first draft of Act I, so it'll be ultra-raw and unpolished. Stand by!
And here's Act I of DtT!3
Lieutenant Wilson Nieves led the discussion in the observation lounge to the rear of the bridge, while the enlisted technicians worked on converting the probes. Although he had been designated as the chief of the tactical and security division aboard the ship, it was in an acting capacity until they returned to Federation territory. Under other circumstances, he might've found the situation a bit cruel considering that the position was one that he coveted greatly. For now, he put that aside to wrestle with the more important issues.
So far, the discussion was not going well.
"I don't see how a stand-up fight results in anything less than total destruction. Which, I don't need to remind you folks, is a bad thing."
Lieutenant (jg) Franklin Pinkerton complained, "If we could use the phaser arrays..."
"Even if we could," replied Wilson, "the modifications would likely take more time than we've got."
Ensign Yvonne Colby pointed out, "What if we didn't have to use the phasers to attack them?"
"You have a plan to attack them without using the phasers?"
Colby shrugged. "Maybe..."
Any other time, he might have given them room to grow into more confident officers. Unfortunately, that time was not now. His frustration with their hesitation wore his patience thin, and with a heavy sigh, he told them, "Out with it. This is no time to hide your light under a bush."
Colby and another ensign, Iris Wu, shared a glance. "Sir, Iris and I..."
"Sir, it's probably won't work," Wu said.
They weren't about to get away with that. Wilson narrowed his eyes at the pair and intoned, "I'm waiting, Ensigns."
"You tell him," said Colby, quietly.
Wu gave Colby the briefest of shocked looks before it eased and she accepted the responsibility. "Fine. Sir, I was just playing around with the notion that we could modify the navigational deflector to output a high-energy graviton pulse that might cause damage to a crystalline hull structure."
"After Lieutenant Bartlet finally finished repairing the deflector, you want her to go back and fuck it all up, again?" asked Wilson, though his heart wasn't in his tone. It was a good idea, one he had been considering, but the extent of the damage to the deflector prevented him from pursuing it. "What's your plan?"
Wu continued, "Yvonne, er... Ensign Colby and I, we feel that we can use the deflector as our new primary weapon. A directed pulse might give us the edge we'd need to use against them. In concert with the damage of our photon torpedoes..."
Wu looked at Colby briefly and asked, "Two?"
"Four, maybe," Colby replied, with a shake of her head.
"Two to four hours, if we cut corners."
Wilson slapped his combadge. "Nieves to Engineering."
"Engineering. Bartlet, here."
He smiled at the two ensigns. "Lieutenant, can you spare someone who knows the deflector dish like the back of his or her hand?"
Ariel picked up one of the holographic pieces off of the board and used it to knock away one of the captain's pawns. The white pawn formerly occupying the square skittered away until it "fell off" and disappeared. Shortly after, she returned her attention to the pass in her hand.
Leone frowned at the move, realizing that Ariel's knight was now in a position to attack part of the defensive strategy she worked hard to build at the beginning of the game. "I hate it when you do that," she muttered.
"Do what?" Ariel asked innocently.
"Knock the piece off, like that. It's damned unsportsmanlike."
"Stop making it so easy to take your pieces, then. Mate in six, by the way."
"What the hell?"
Ariel grinned. "If you can't see it, might as well resign, now." She never lifted her eyes from the padd.
It annoyed the hell out of Leone, but before the captain could even open her mouth, Ariel asked, "Come up with anything, yet?"
Leone shook her head. "Nothing worth mentioning. You?"
"A couple of ideas, but one requires more pilots than we have..."
"Using the shuttles as fighters? I thought about that, too, but we don't have a full crew aboard to really make that happen." Leone picked up another pawn and moved it one square up.
Ariel's rook came forth and knocked the pawn off in the same manner as before. "The other idea I had, which might be more plausible, is making modifications to the phaser array by way of the deflector dish."
The increased frustration over her friend's manner of capturing pieces dissolved instantly at the prospect of a good idea. "To do what?"
Ariel handed over the padd. "I think we might be able to do some beam damage to their ships, if we can tie in the deflector's graviton emitters to the tactical system. The phasers could be modified to carry a graviton pulse, but we'd only be able to fire one shot at a time."
"Shit, this actually has some promise," agreed Leone, her eyes scanning the padd quickly. "I like this. How long do you think?"
"That's the problem. I'd estimate five to six hours."
The intercom sounded before Leone's reply. Greg's voice called to her, "Bridge to Captain."
"Sir, we have movement by enemy contacts."
Without hesitation, both officers left the ready room and entered the bridge.
Greg slipped out of the executive officer's seat and took over for the ensign at the helm. "Two more enemy contacts have appeared at the facility, and now one ship is moving on us at high speed, sir. We designated the contact as Sierra-Two."
"ETA?" asked Leone.
Ariel did not relieve the lieutenant seated at ops, and moved to take the seat next to the center chair. "Think maybe they're a little afraid of us?"
"I would be," muttered Greg.
Leone ignored him. "How soon until they're in weapons' range?"
"Sierra-Two will be here in thirty minutes, if they maintain their present speed," replied the chief warrant officer at tactical. "Orders, sir?"
The captain settled into her seat. "Beat to quarters, Mister Reynolds. All hands to battle stations."
Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Reynolds chuckled at the use of the archaic naval term. "Aye, sir. Beating to quarters." His fingers tapped against the console and the ship responded accordingly with the wail of the red alert siren. Scarlet lighting sprang to life as the overhead illumination dimmed dramatically, allowing the consoles to light up the bridge.
The doors leading back to the observation lounge parted and Wilson arrived, along with the tactical officers and Lieutenant Bartlet. Wilson took over for Reynolds, while Petra took the engineering console.
"Engineering, transfer to bridge," she ordered the computer.
"Shields activated, all weapons systems are online," reported Wilson.
Ariel lifted her head to look at him. "Status on the probe conversions?"
There was a pause as he checked. "We're half-done, so far, Commander."
Leone tapped her fingers on the side of her chair, lost in thought. The viewscreen magnified their vantage of the incoming enemy ship; its angles seemingly menacing in the great distance between the ships.
"You're tapping again," whispered Ariel. "If you want to go fight them, let's go."
"You think that's a good idea?" asked Leone, matching the low tone of her friend's voice.
"We were counting on being outside their sensor range, and obviously, we're not. They were just waiting for backup to arrive so they could come get us."
"Maybe they want us to go after them."
"Maybe they want us to go away."
Leone glared at her. "Fine." In a louder voice, "Greg, move to intercept approaching enemy contact. Bring us into torpedo range."
"Aye, sir. Jumping to warp seven."
"Wilson, I want two of the torpedoes to be double-yield."
They heard the grin in his voice as he replied, "Double-yield, aye, sir. Two minutes to reload."
"I'll hold you to that," replied Leone.
Ariel snorted, folding her arms across her chest. "I guess we're about to show them that we're not fucking around."
Leone smiled, but said nothing in response.
Greg reported, "Captain, entering weapons range in sixty seconds."
"Looks like we're going to be about a minute late, then. Greg, evasive pattern beta."
"Aye, sir. Pattern beta executing in forty-seven seconds."
Wilson raised his voice, "They're firing. Two projectile contacts, bearing three-five-seven and zero-zero-one. Impact in twenty seconds."
Ariel breathed, "That was stupid of them. Helm, drop to impulse power."
"Captain?" asked Greg, turning his head.
Leone replied, "You heard her, Greg."
"Aye, sir." The viewscreen showed the drop from faster-than-light propulsion.
"Torpedoes have slowed to sublight. Impact in four years, seven month, eighteen days," reported Wilson. "I think we have time to prep those torpedoes."
Ariel shared a grin with Leone. "Just like the Cardassian border, eh?"
The captain nodded. "Distance to target?"
"Twenty-five million kilometers," reported Wilson. "They'll be on top of us in fifteen seconds."
"Are my torpedoes ready?"
"Ready and waiting."
"Good." Leone rose from her chair and walked to put a hand on Greg's shoulder. "I'm going to need a split-second warp jump from you on my mark. When I say go, I want you to take us to warp five, and put us as close as you can off their port bow."
Greg looked up at her, and made the necessary preparations. "Aye, sir."
"Put a tactical display on screen, please."
The viewscreen blinked to show a top-down view of the local region of space. Farragut sat some distance away from the flashing red dot marked as Sierra-Two, which moved quickly toward them. The grid marked off the millions of kilometers until the range dropped considerably and closed in to mark off the half-millions. Finally, the range closed tightly enough for them to...
"They're dropping to sublight, Captain. Seven hundred fifty thousand kilometers and closing at above full impulse," said Wilson quickly. "Looks like they have an advantage on us, there."
Leone's eyes never left the display, nor did she leave Greg's side. "Steady..."
"Five hundred thousand," counted off Wilson.
"Four hundred thousand. They're firing torpedoes!"
"Three hundred thousand. Impact in thirty seconds."
"Get ready, Greg."
Greg nodded. "Ready, sir."
"Two hundred thousand. Impact in twenty seconds."
He said nothing. The screen showed the sudden movement of the Farragut dot from one location to another. The torpedoes fired by the Tristnor ship lost track of them and it showed as they whirled around to locate their target again.
Leone turned. "Fire!"
"Torpedoes away, sir!"
"Switch to visual mode on main viewer."
Again, the viewscreen blinked and showed the torpedoes flying away. The close range of Sierra-Two made it nearly impossible to avoid the impacts. The first torpedo exploded against the hull of the ship, allowing the second torpedo to enter right behind it, just as they did with the first Tristnor vessel they encountered.
The captain quickly moved to her chair and tapped a finger on the console to her left to call up sensor data on the enemy ship. Her orders were rapid-fire, one word right after another. "Greg, relative course zero-nine-zero mark zero, warp nine. Engage!"
"Course laid in, sir. Jumping to warp nine."
Flaming debris from Sierra-Two swung out of view as Farragut's bow pointed away from the target. Without hesitation, the warp field generation distorted the sensor image slightly before the stars stretched long as soon as they stabilized their warp field.
"Sierra-Two is building up for detonation, sir. Looks like a self-destruct has been activated," reported Wilson calmly.
"As expected. Greg, alter course to take us to the facility. Let's get this thing over with, once and for all," ordered Leone.
"Altering course, aye, sir. ETA to the facility is now five minutes." The helmsman turned around after the ship's course changed. "If I might be permitted to ask, sir, where did you come up with a short warp hop like that?"
Before Leone could respond, Ariel chuckled. "That, Greg, was a little something called the 'Picard Manuever' and it was first pulled off at the Battle of Maxia about eleven years ago."
"That was a risky move," noted Wilson.
"How so?" asked Leone.
Wilson chuckled, "Well, didn't the Picard Manuever result in the loss of the Stargazer?"
"Y-Yes," stammered Leone, trying to sink into her chair a little bit to hide her blush as Ariel outed her tactic. She cleared her throat loudly. "Needless to say, the Nebula-class is of a far sturdier design than the aged Constellation-class. Also, I was relatively certain the Tristnor hadn't heard of that little trick, being all the way out here and all." With a bit more confidence, she told the bridge, "Let that be a lesson to you all to read up on your history a little more. You could learn a thing or two from the past."
Everyone seemed to find their own bit of amusement from the exchange as they turned their attention back to their respective duties.
Leone turned her head to look at Ariel with an arched eyebrow. "And you... why don't you inform Troopleader Bertas that his men should prepare for battle?"
Short teaser, but huge Act I! Hope it was worth the wait!
Act II is currently being written, but as soon as I have it done, I'll post it. Shouldn't be too long of a wait. You guys are getting these as soon as I'm done writing them.
The Star Trek: Full Speed Ahead website is up and has the finalized Pilot Episode up for reading! Click on the link in my sig for more information!
Great stuff, Zefram! An excellent tactical engagement, with some very creative young officers getting into the midst of the planning. As usual, great interaction between Leone and Ariel.
Thanks, Gibraltar I'm working on Act II as we speak
As promised, here's Act II of "Damn the Torpedoes! Part III"
Saleb caught up with Ariel as she made her way down to Cargo Bay Two. Captain Leone ordered the cargo bay converted to be used as a bunkhouse for the Kasui troops. Although they offered Troopleader Bertas use of the many staterooms available aboard the ship, he found them to be far too opulent for his men, and they required something more Spartan to promote the close-order infantry education he pursued with them.
"Good afternoon, Commander," he said as he fell into step with her. Saleb gave her a grin, and she replied in kind. "Off to see the Troopleader?"
Ariel suddenly skipped along the corridor and sang, "The Wonderful Troopleader of Kasui."
Taken aback, Saleb inquired, "Are you all right?"
"Sorry, just a little joke. Old Earth humor," she giggled. "Yes, I'm on my way to let him know we're ready to move into position for deployment."
"I see. I couldn't help but notice that you've managed to take a majority of the Kasui men in hand."
She smiled gamely. "In my somewhat limited experience, I've found that men are generally guided by universal constants. One of them is usually located somewhere around their genitalia."
"Obviously, you're right."
"Of course, I am."
Saleb chuckled at her confidence. "I suppose with your experience, you've gained some wisdom. And a stellar sense of self."
"Oh, how so?"
"Well, for one, you seem to have little compunction for your captain prostituting you to further her own aims. One might assume that she cares little for her officers to abuse them in such a manner. Is that typical of Starfleet captains?"
He never saw it coming. One moment he was walking alongside her and the next, he felt the painful and loud slap of his back against the nearest bulkhead; Ariel's arm underneath his neck, threatening to choke him. Saleb didn't know what to find more surprising: her speed or her strength. The fury in her eyes drained all the self-assuredness he had prior to his verbal misstep, and the lack of air into his lungs prevented speech. He could only wheeze in pain, his arms reaching up to grab at hers.
She wouldn't budge.
With a humorless smirk on her face, she informed him through gritted teeth, "I might find you amusing at times, Mister Saleb, and I'm sure you think you're a charming little man, but you don't get to disparage Krystine without a little punishment."
He gasped out, "Sorry!"
Ariel relented, letting his feet touch the deck again. "I suppose I'll let you live, since you're new to this ship."
Saleb's hand rubbed at his throat. "I apologize profusely, Commander. I had no idea..."
She adjusted her uniform, as it had bunched up at the midsection with her arms raised up as they were before. With a quick tug on the jacket, it smoothed out with a snap. "You do, now. Keep it in mind."
With his eyes wide, he nodded. "Most certainly."
The lieutenant commander, for whom he now had elevated respect for, continued her brisk stride down the corridor as though nothing had happened. Her demeanor appeared to hold no malice toward him or anyone else; she moved as though she had no care in the world. When she noticed he drifted behind her, she smiled at him. "Are you coming?"
Unsure of his footing with her, he asked meekly, "May I?"
"Sure," she said, confused by his sudden shyness. "Look, you apologized. As long as you don't fuck up, I'm not going to bite your head off."
Saleb pressed his lips together and approached her. "My neck and I will try to avoid... 'fucking up.'"
"Good. It's the aim of us all, wouldn't you say?"
"Agreed." He said, hesitantly, "I suppose you and Captain Leone have a more dynamic relationship than I've perceived."
They stopped moving just outside the entrance to the cargo bay, where her hands flittered over the control panel. The door parted with a loud sliding noise, and Ariel turned to him. "You have no idea."
Farragut's shields flared under the impact of the crystalline torpedoes. The explosive shards reflected off and away from the ship. Inside, however, the ship took the brunt of the impact as the inertia dampening systems lagged slightly. The three Tristnor ships moved to swarm up toward the Federation heavy cruiser, making sure to do whatever was necessary to deter them from their goal.
Leone's hands gripped the sides of her chair to steady her through the lurching of the hull. "Damage report."
Petra quickly replied, "Shields holding at ninety-three percent. No other damage to ship systems, sir."
"Evasive pattern omega," ordered Leone quickly. "Wilson, how close are we to the facility?"
"Close enough, but we'll have to time this right," he replied. "More torpedoes inbound, Captain. The facility does not appear to have any weapons that I can see, but that minefield's got to come down before we can star transporting the troops aboard."
"First things first," said the captain. "They seem to be following some sort of coordinated pattern of attack." She pointed to the tactical display on the screen. "Like a trio of insects, attacking from all sides at once." Another lurch of the deck as a torpedo collided with the shields brought her hand back down to brace her.
"Captain, the Second Battle of Keldan Prime," called Greg. "I remember it from my Starfleet Tactics class."
She searched inward for any memory of that battle. "Go on, Greg."
"Three-to-one odds. Three Klingon D-7s versus the Excalibur during the first Klingon war."
Wilson snapped his fingers. "Right! The tractor beam!"
Leone shook her head, having no clear memory of the tactic, but she placed her confidence in theirs. "Coordinate your efforts, gentlemen. Greg has the conn."
Greg's shock was written all over his face. "Sir?!"
"You heard me. You know it better than I do."
"A-Aye, sir. Uh, Lieutenant Nieves, sir? I'm going to bank us hard about in ten seconds. I should put the emitter within range of the first vessel, and then we'll jump out at full impulse power with the third."
Wilson grinned. "I'm looking forward to it, Lieutenant. At your command."
Greg began to count it off, and Leone noted the tremor in the young man's voice. When the countdown reached one, the ship rolled very suddenly, keeping the same side to each ship as they maneuvered around Farragut. "Now, Lieutenant!"
"Activating tractor beam," announced Wilson. The beam lanced out and grabbed hold of one of the ships.
"Reversing roll maneuver," said the helmsman as his hands flew across the console. The Tristnor vessel locked in their grip moved with them... and into the hull of the other Tristnor ship moving in the opposite direction.
"Releasing tractor beam."
"Moving to the direct us to the other ship."
"Activating the tractor. We've got him."
"Reversing course, full impulse," reported Greg. "This may get a little bumpy, folks."
On the screen, the two Tristnor ships seemed to scrape and vibrate against one another until it became too much. The hulls of both the ships gave way as both of them attempted to alter their course away from one another, but without the benefit of knowing which way the other would go, they made the wrong decision and intensified the collision with disastrous results. Both ships disintegrated as fragments flew in all directions, like two shattered mirrors colliding at high speed.
Farragut shuddered under the impact of two more torpedoes fired from the vessel they had a hold of. "Greg..." warned Leone.
"Aye, sir," replied Greg. He called back to Wilson, "Lieutenant, we should be able to dispatch this guy with a couple of torpedoes, now."
"With pleasure." She heard the near-glee in Wilson's tone as he spoke. "Torpedoes away!"
And away they were, as yet again the hulls of the enemy vessel proved ineffective against the antimatter warheads of their photon torpedoes. The tractor released them and the remaining Tristnor vessel drifted, powerless.
"Any sign of a power buildup in their core, Wilson?" asked Leone.
"No, sir. Not that I can see, so far. It's possible we might have disabled their command computer."
"Or killed their command crew," offered Greg.
Wilson leaned forward. "Should we finish them off, sir?"
Leone considered that thought, but Starfleet regulations were clear. "No. They're in no position to mount a defense, right now. But, it gives me an idea." She tapped the communications control on her chair. "Bridge to Elannis."
"Elannis, here. Go ahead, Captain."
"Commander, is Troopleader Bertas with you?"
"Yes, sir. Along with Mister Saleb."
"Good. Troopleader, we have a Tristnor vessel dead in space. Would you like to add a ship to your faction's collection?"
Bertas' gravelly voice seemed to bounce off the bulkheads. "It would be my pleasure to take such a prize off of your hands. I can have a platoon ready for transport shortly."
"Very good. Commander, take them to the nearest transporter room and stand by to beam them out." The captain ordered, "Wilson, as soon they're beamed aboard, we move to our primary objective."
"Yes, sir. Have you any thoughts as to how to dispatch the minefield?"
Leone tapped her fingers along the side of her chair, but Ariel was still coordinating the troops below decks. "Since the lot of us seem to be taking our cues from the past... Wilson, do you remember the Battle of Vorkado?"
Wilson grinned. "I'm on it, sir." He slapped his commbadge. "Mister Reynolds, I need another two torpedoes, double-yield."
The chief warrant officer replied in good humor. "Right away, Lieutenant. Give me sixty seconds and they'll be ready in the forward tubes."
As soon as the channel closed, Wilson chuckled. "Everyone should have a chief warrant like that."
"I'll make sure to put one in your Christmas stocking this year," Leone remarked out of the side of her mouth. "I have the conn," she added, realizing that she hadn't yet taken her back from Greg. "Well done, Greg."
"I follow in your fine example, Captain," oozed Greg.
Leone bristled at the shameless display of flattery, but Wilson managed to get in a choice phrase. "Little something on your nose, Lieutenant."
Greg reached up to brush at it, and then turned his head to fix Wilson with a glare when he realized the joke.
They didn't have to wait long when Reynolds contacted the bridge to let them know the torpedoes were ready for use.
"Fire when ready, Wilson," ordered Leone.
"Aye, sir. Firing torpedo number one." The torpedo advanced quickly and entered the minefield. Wilson said nothing. The phaser beam lanced out and hit the torpedo with deadly accuracy, causing the casing to breach and the warhead to explode with its double-yield warhead taking out a majority of the mines on the one side of the facility.
"Damage to our target?"
Wilson scanned the station quickly. "Minimal. No signs of fracturing."
"Very well. Continue."
"Aye, sir. Firing torpedo number two." The same phaser beam lanced out and impacted against the torpedo, causing another large chunk of the minefield to explode prematurely. The collective energy being released looked very impressive on the screen.
Leone smiled, rising up from her seat. As she was about to give the order to proceed, Wilson interrupted her.
"We have a new problem!"
Wilson's tone was urgent. "The facility is building up a power overload. They're going to self-destruct!"
"Greg, full impulse. Get us within transporter range!" She whirled back around to face the viewscreen. If the facility destroyed itself, it would take the only way home with it.
I'm working on Act III, don't fret! Comment is invited.
The continuation of the combat was stellar, and Leone demonstrated incredible trust in her junior officers’ abilities by turning the battle over to them in the middle... but to their credit it worked like a charm.
One question, however. How did Farragut use her tractor beam on the Tristnor ship with the starship’s shields up?
Ariel showed just how sensitive she is to criticism of Leone, and just how far someone can push her in regards to the captain’s dedication to their friendship. And just how close are those two, anyway?
Great stuff, I'm waiting eagerly for more.
Incredible, but not without merit. She's served with Wilson enough and knows Greg well enough, so I don't think it was entirely outside the realm of possibility. Besides, she was on the bridge and could resume the conn at any time she felt it was getting out of hand.
In the early days of TOS/TNG, it seemed like this was a cardinal rule, right? In DS9/VOY this rule kept getting broken without much pause. I figured, someone somewhere developed a deflector grid that allowed a heavy graviton beam like a tractor to operate on a one-way basis through the shield perimeter. Because the rule doesn't apparently exist anymore.
Yeah, Ariel's real touchy about people disparaging Leone. Before you get any ideas, no... they're not lovers, now or before. :P Leone's married to John and has a son, Dominic (who made an appearance in TQB2, btw).
As for Ariel, in the next episode, "Milk Run," we find out that Ariel's a mustang officer. Originally enlisted and then applied for OTS and got her commission that way. Leone's family had something to do with that. Actually, I won't say much more because there's a scene with Kincaid and Ariel that I think will explain a little bit more about their relationship. There's a line that Guinan says about her relationship with Captain Picard: "It goes beyond friendship. It goes beyond family." And as Forrest Gump says, "That's all I'll say about that." For now I'm really pleased with Milk Run, because I finally have the crew grooving, even with the new additions.
Also, watch out for Commander Hargreaves.
The big episode with Leone/Ariel's relationship is "The Better Part of Valor," the sixth episode of FSA. It's an episode that explores a little bit of the days of Ariel and Leone on the Victory under Captain Zimbata. Cameo appearance by La Forge and Susanna Leijton (in the outline, at least... no telling how the final product will turn out). I'm looking forward to writing this one, because it also tells how Leone met her future husband.
Thanks, as always You keep reading and I'll keep writing
Well that was certainly a nice chunk of writing.
Tight and concisce battle sequences and now they really have to scramble if they want any chance at getting home. (Something tells me they'll suceed)
Personally I prefer your character sequences over the battles. My favorite part in this post was Ariel's reaction to the rather insulting Mister Saleb. She does have her pride after all. I find her a very intriguing character.
I was a bit concerned over Leone's decision not only to take sides in this internal conflict but also actively helping the other side by handing over an enemy vessel to them. You gotta stretch that annoying Prime Directive at times, but I wonder if she isn't overstretching it in this instance.
Looking forward to more.
Roughly 4.5k words. And there's another 1.5k I haven't uploaded yet. Each episode is 10k-ish. Sometimes I'm over, sometimes I'm under.
I prefer the character interaction, myself. To me, good stories shouldn't need this kind of conflict level. And in "Milk Run," I tone it down because we have to introduce Commander Kincaid, Lieutenants Atherton and Otix... there are members of the senior staff who've yet to make an appearance.
No, she's stretching, big time. In fact, she's blowing through it to get to her goal. She has to answer for that in "Milk Run" when an officer from the Inspector General's office starts crawling all over her ship.
As soon as I have more, I'll post it I've also got 2k into "Milk Run," so hopefully I can post that as soon as I finish DtT3.
Thanks for reading,
This is not the original draft of Act III. I apologize for not giving raw material, but the original Act III went in a direction that totally threw me for a loop and I realized if I didn't constrain myself, there would be a Part IV to Damn the Torpedoes!
I'm hoping the second scene doesn't come off as contrived...
News of the facility's impending destruction put Ariel and Saleb in with the first wave of troops. Ariel carried a menacing-looking rifle that she called a "Type-3." Saleb wielded a smaller "Type-2." He wondered how small the "Type-1" was, and Ariel shook her head at him.
"Trust me, you want people to know you're carrying," she said as she checked her weapon and stepped onto the transporter platform. "You ready to go?"
Saleb honestly wasn't. Like him, everyone wore a copy of the Starfleet insignia on their chest. Each one prepared to provide the starship's computer system with information on their general health, as well as a position within the facility in case of the need for emergency beamout. The likelihood of that increased exponentially unless he could find and disable the system controlling the power buildup in the facility's reactor core. "I suppose I am, yes," he said, after she fixed him with a glare.
He stepped up onto the transporter pad, grateful that the only Kasui fighting on the facility would be the ones on his side. The Tristnor did not trust the "lower" races with a research project of this magnitude. There would only be Tristnor security forces to deal with, and even then, they would rather rely on their technology than brute strength. Maybe they'd make it out of there in one piece, after all.
Ariel slapped the side of her rifle and let it rest underneath her bosom as the strap went taught over her shoulder. "Fine, stick to me, then. You get me to where we need to be and Bertas' guys will handle the rest."
There was no way in hell he would ever leave her side. "I'll try."
Just before the transporter beam carried them off, she shot him a look. "Don't try. Do!"
The transporter room disappeared and the familiar Tristnor design of the research facility came into view through the blue, shimmering light of the transporter beam. Ariel had her rifle out and ready in a crouch while Saleb felt the fear coursing through every part of his body.
He brought out his phaser, watching at the tip of it seemed to tremble as he pointed it in any direction. He realized it was his grip that caused the phaser's aim to waver so quickly and he tried to steady it as much as he could. It was one thing to talk and think about the situation; quite another to actually be there.
They watched as many of the facility's crew seemed to be panicking. The reptilian-looking humanoids ran to their destinations.
Saleb recognized the multi-colored strip of Tristnor security upon one of them. "W-We need to move quickly!" he shouted to Ariel. "Down that corridor then to the right."
Ariel nodded. She gestured to the platoon leader that transported with them. "Bitras! We're going to need you to clear the corridor from here to the first intersection. Saleb's going to need a lot of breathing room."
Bitras growled, "Understood. First squad, with me. Second squad, bring up the rear. Third squad, guard Mister Saleb." The Kasui troops moved accordingly and they were left with six burly men with huge weapons out of the nineteen that transported with them.
"Lead the way, Saleb!" shouted Ariel. "Can we disable the destruct?"
They ran down the corridor as the Kasui fired clear ahead of them. "I don't know until I can gain access to a terminal," replied Saleb. He pointed as they turned the corner. "Third hatch on the left hand side will be the main testing laboratory!"
"Bitras!" Ariel called.
"I heard! First squad, kick in the door!"
The door was kicked in, Kasui-style. Meaning there was little to no door left when they opened fire. Saleb moved inside after the first squad cleared the room.
Several dead Tristnor lay around, and he shivered at the sight. He worked with nearly all of them, and recognized the Alpha device sitting within the cradle. "They never even tried to save it," he muttered.
"Is that a little odd?" asked Ariel, keeping her weapon pointed toward the exit, along with the rest of the Kasui.
"I'm checking it out."
"How much time do we have?"
Saleb immediately jumped onto an active terminal. The facility's self-destruct sequence was activated on a countdown of nearly eleven minutes, of which close to six were left. He accessed the main computer and requested a complete shutdown of the system, to no avail. "The command processor is not accepting my requests. I think the head scientist might have locked out the processor to prevent anyone from doing what we're trying to do. Do you want me to see if I can kill the main system?"
Ariel shook her head. "Let's grab the device and get the fuck out of here!"
With a nod, he whipped out his Starfleet tricorder and scanned the Alpha device. "Wait," he said.
"Wait, what?" Ariel moved behind him, peering down at the tricorder over his shoulder.
"This is strange. The device shouldn't be giving me..." He looked up at it and then turned to Ariel with an expression of shock. "It's a fake!"
She didn't miss a beat, instead moving closer to him. "Where the hell is it?"
Saleb moved back to the terminal and checked the logs of the research team running the experiment. He had to do a regular expression search on all of the text-based logs before he found the transfer order. "You're not going to believe this..."
"What?" Ariel replied, annoyed. "Cut the dramatics!"
"It's already installed on the test ship. The frigate I told you about," he explained. "They launched it earlier today, ahead of schedule. Probably before we got into sensor range."
"Don't care. Where is it?"
"I'm looking for it."
Saleb sighed. She was almost as bad as Belkis. "I have the transponder frequency." He entered in a few more commands. "I'm transmitting it to your ship."
Ariel slapped her commbadge. "Elannis to Farragut."
"Farragut, here. Go ahead, Commander," replied Leone over the channel.
"Captain, the frequency we just transmitted is the transponder of the frigate that presently has the Alpha device."
Like Ariel, she was all business. "Good to know. Status?"
"Do you want us to attempt to find the Beta device?"
"Only if you have time. Wilson says you have less than five minutes to get the hell out of there."
"Indeed, we do, sir."
He perked up. "Yes, Captain?"
"How far away is the Beta device from your present location?"
Saleb looked around. "Ordinarily, it would be in the lab, Captain. However, it seems my former colleagues may have absconded with it or secured it in a new location." He turned his attention back to the screen. "I'm attempting to locate it, now."
"The clock is ticking, Mister Saleb."
He sighed, shaking his head as he entered in the necessary commands to scan the new directory. "No one is more aware of that than I, sir."
"Three minutes, and then we're beaming the whole lot of you back," ordered Leone quickly. "Farragut, out."
Saleb opened his mouth to say something derogatory about the captain's impatience, but remembered the altercation in the corridor with Ariel and thought better of it. He placed a finger on his lip, trying to pass it off as a thoughtful look, instead. The scan against the computer's information ran in the background as he starting locking down the communications subsystem access.
Then, the information appeared. "It's three levels down. Straight down."
"Is anyone down there?"
He ran a quick lifeform scan. "It looks like half of the garrison is down there. It's a smaller lab, though. Two points of entrance."
Ariel shook her head. "Not to worry. It's why I brought extras of these," she said, pulling out another commbadge. She tapped it and called to the transporter room on the Farragut. "I need a site-to-site for this signal. Stand by to transport."
"Standing by, Commander."
She walked over to the large platoon leader and pulled two grenades from his belt. "I need to borrow these for a minute."
The Kasui eyed her. "You're giving them back?"
Ariel smirked and walked away. "Chief, lock onto the commbadge. Transport one weapon three levels below us, one meter to port. The other, one meter to starboard."
She activated both grenades, then set the commbadge upon them. "Chief, fire in the hole."
Both grenades disappeared in a shimmering light. Shortly after, the facility rocked from an internal explosion. She pointed to him. "Scan again."
"No lifeforms, but then you might've destroyed the Beta device."
Ariel shrugged. "Better that they should be deprived of it." She looked up at the ceiling, "Chief, you still with this?"
"Site-to-site, everyone in this room to the lab three levels down. Energize, when ready."
"I have you locked on, already, sir. Energizing."
Saleb's seated position fell out from under him when he rematerialized in the smoky lab. The fire alarm sounded off as he fell to the floor with his balance gone. He got to his feet, coughing through the acrid taste of the burning circuits and scarred flesh that hung within the secondary lab. His watering eyes searched around for the housing of the Beta device.
He found the signage for the device. "It should be right over there, within the reinforced storage..." The lid that secured it appeared to have been torn from its housing completely and the contents, whatever they might have been, were melted into unrecognizable pieces. "It's gone."
Ariel sniffed at it, peering into the box. "'Gone' as in it was taken?"
"'Gone' as in it was destroyed by your grenades."
"Huh." She looked at him. "And it was housed in this? You're sure?"
"That's too bad."
"I can only hope that Captain Leone agrees with your assessment."
She smiled sweetly at him. "No sense crying over spilt milk. Let's get back to the ship before this place goes up."
---- SCENE CHANGE ----
Within her ready room, Leone heaved a sigh immediately after listening to Ariel's report of the away mission. Farragut moved well beyond the range of the detonation blast, in pursuit of the transponder signal. "Well, it would have been nice to have that device, certainly... but I'm pleased that the Tristnor were deprived of it, instead."
Ariel turned to look at Saleb, giving him a smirk. "Told you."
Saleb rolled his eyes.
Leone ignored them both. "What about the research? Is it in any danger of being attempted again?"
"The protocol for destruct sequences is all aboard must perish, preventing the research from falling into the wrong hands," explained Saleb quickly. "The frigate was outside the protocol, but it's not likely they were able to communicate the problem to them. The frigate and the facility would have been observing radio silence with one another."
"Any vessels go along for observation?" asked Ariel.
"Maybe one or two shuttles..."
The captain leaned back in her chair. "What I wouldn't give for a cloaking device right now..."
Ariel nodded sympathetically.
"Fine. We're already on course for the transponder signal. If we approach them at high warp, we're going to tip our hand," said Leone, placing her right palm atop the armrest of the chair. "Mister Saleb, how long before they activate the device?"
"Thirty hours, give or take ten minutes," he replied.
Ariel wrinkled her nose. "Give or take?"
"We don't mark time the same way the Federation does."
Leone leaned forward, placing her elbows upon the desk. "We have around ten hours to track them down and get what we need, then get the hell-"
"Bridge to Captain," interrupted Wilson. "Sir, incoming transmission from the Kasui aboard the cruiser."
She touched the panel on the desk. "Patch them through in here, please, Wilson. Thank you."
The desktop terminal's small screen blinked once and the stern visage of Troopleader Bertas appeared. "Captain."
"Troopleader. How can we help you?"
"It is we who can help you, Captain." Bertas swung the visual input wildly until it settled upon a device connected to some sort of massive system.
Saleb nearly squealed. "It's the Alpha device!"
"We thought so, based on the description you provided us," said Bertas. "The frigate must have been a decoy."
"They must've thought we would destroy the ship... or they would destroy us," reasoned Saleb, his tone lessening under the startled looks of Leone and Ariel. "Either way, we wouldn't get the device."
Bertas grunted, "It is foolish thing to underestimate your opponent."
Saleb grinned. "In this case, I think it's more like they had a rather inflated sense of their strength."
"Be that as it may," interrupted Leone pointedly. She addressed the screen once more, "Troopleader, might we trade a tow back to the fortress for that handy little device of yours?"
"Agreed, Captain. After all, you've provided us with a first-hand look at Tristnor ship construction," boomed Bertas with a toothy smile. "This will bolster our side of the war handily."
"Of course." Leone's eyes looked to Ariel.
Ariel nodded, lifting herself out of her seat. "I'll alter course, sir." With that, she disappeared behind the ready room doors to take the conn.
"Creepy, how you two do that," noted Saleb, under his breath.
Leone smirked. "Troopleader, we should be en route to you now."
"Excellent. We await your arrival. Out." The screen cleared to show the Starfleet insignia before shutting down completely. The stars outside the deck-to-ceiling window moved as the ship made its turn back toward
Saleb asked, "Captain, now that you have the Alpha device, will you be returning to your Federation?"
"Might I appeal to you to delay your return?"
Leone tilted her head. "Why?"
He rose from his seat, placing his hands behind his back. "I know this isn't your war, Captain, but we could really use your assistance." She opened her mouth, but he raised a hand, "Now, please, let me finish."
Perturbed at being cut off, Leone pressed her lips together. "Very well."
"Thank you. As I said, your assistance would come during a time when our resources have run very low. Prior to the capture of the Tristnor vessel, the Kasui have been fending off the Tristnor advances through acts of sabotage and terrorism. Now that you're here, you've been able to provide them with the means of a frontal assault. You have successfully elevated the level of warfare against them. I'm sure that's beyond what your 'Prime Directive' entails, does it not?"
"The actions that I've taken, Mister Saleb, were in the best interests of my ship and crew. It was in our best interests to defend ourselves against an attacking ship," she replied, keeping her tone even. "It is not in the best interests to put this ship, with less than a quarter of its total crew, into a war we have nothing to do with."
Saleb's voice raised slowly with each word he spoke, "You have everything to do with it, Captain. Don't you see that, now? You're here. You've destroyed five of their ships! You're in the fight, with us."
"No," she said, shaking her head. "I've bent the Prime Directive enough... to last me more than a lifetime, I'm sure. I don't agree with your logic."
"Captain, I brought you here-"
"Against our will," interjected Leone, her tone making it clear that the conversation was beginning to wear her patience thin.
"Oh, look at that," she said, looking down at her wrist. "Time's up."
Saleb blinked. "I'm sorry?"
"No, I'm sorry. Look, I appreciate your... position. Under other circumstances, I might even agree with you. I have a duty to Starfleet and the Federation, but my first duty is to my ship," said the captain, rising to meet his gaze. "I realize that we might've blown a few doors open for you guys in the past few days, but at no time did I ever make an agreement that we would provide... quid pro quo."
"Quid pro what?"
"It's a Latin phrase; an old Earth language. It means, 'something-for-something.' In this case, the expectation that simply because we're here, doesn't mean we'll provide you with anything." Leone moved from behind her desk to look out her window. "Needless to say, if anything, I think you owe us for the inconvenience, but since we're going home, I think we'll call it even. You're dismissed."
Saleb approached her. In a pleading tone, he tried again, "But, Captain..."
She fixed him with an angry glare. "I've already extended you the courtesy of discussing my decision. Do not make me regret it."
Defeated, Saleb nodded silently. "I... apologize for pressing the matter without thinking."
Leone's expression softened slightly. "I appreciate that you had to try."
"Thank you, Captain."
So, obviously, they're going home But, again, I feel like this could've been better. Oh, well... that's what revisions are for!
Just a quick note, to those of you who PM instead of reply to the thread:
Yes, Wilson is staying. Yes, there will be more of him.
I had no idea he was such a big hit with you guys
JESUS-you gotta stop posting in 9'x9' chunks! I am sooo far behind on this one......
9x9? I don't understand...
Separate names with a comma.