Star Trek: Republic

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by MasterArminas, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Thirteen

    “How the hell are you, Matt?” a quiet baritone voice asked from behind where the Captain stood looking over the small courtroom where he had been summoned.

    He turned around slowly and looked with amazement at the sight of Benjamin Maxwell standing there, wearing his Star Fleet uniform. Slowly, Matt grinned, the grin turning into a warm smile.

    “Cap . . .” Matt broke off, and shook his head as saw the small change in Maxwell’s collar insignia, “. . . pardon me, Commodore Maxwell. I didn’t know you were back in the Fleet, Sir. I’m well, thank you.”

    “The hell you are, Matt. I know, I’ve been standing here—in this room—and for a lot worse that you’ve been accused of.”

    The older man’s face darkened and his eyes glazed for a second. “Events proved me right, Matt, but the way I went about responding to the Cardassians was wrong.”

    “When did you get called back?”

    Maxwell snorted. “Two years ago. Leyton’s coup attempt and the Dominion War took out more senior officers than Star Fleet had lost for nearly a century—something I consider to be a good thing overall. I'll flat-out deny ever saying that if questioned, Matt. I was asked if I would come back and work with the Strategic Operations Planning Board. No command, of course, and there are several officers who resent my rehabilitation in the Fleet, but at least I’m wearing the uniform again.”

    “It’s good to see you, Sir. I was worried that you wouldn’t have many visitors when I got orders to take command of Kearsage.”

    Ben shook his head. “No, you were worried I’d wind up eating a phaser. Those days are over, Matt. I’ve . . . I’ve had counseling.”

    “Yes, sir. What are you doing here, Sir? Come to watch your star pupil take his lumps?”

    “No, Matt. I’m sitting on your board. Admiral Parker’s hand-picked board.”

    Maxwell leaned close and whispered into Matt’s ear. “Like I said, Captain, don’t worry about this formality. We are going to ask you some tough questions, but by and large the board members are the kind of officers who don't have a problem with your actions.”

    Maxwell stood up straight again and looked over the room. “I’d better mingle some, before a report gets back to my Counselor that I’m being anti-social. Keep your jaw up, Matt.”

    “And watch out for low blows, aye, aye, Sir.”

    Matt watched as one of the two men who had truly taught him how to be a Star Fleet officer moved away—the only Star Fleet mentor he had left since Edward Jellico’s death two years ago. He was looking far better than the last time Matt had seen him—the call of duty had been good for him.

    A chime sounded, and Matt took his seat in the gallery as Maxwell and six other flag officers ascended a small dais—including Commodore Jurood among their number, and presided over by none other than Admiral Hawth Shran, the great-grandson of the legendry Thy'lek Shran. Admiral Shran had been the officer who almost single-handedly forced Star Fleet to confront their mistakes in the Leydon affair and the handling of the Dominion—and led the Federation to victory. There were no Vulcans or Betazeds among the seated flag officers, just the two Andorians, four humans, and a Denobulan.

    Admiral Shran took a small hammer and tapped a silver bell on his table three times. “This Special Courts Martial Inquiry in the matter of the USS Republic, her Captain, Matthew Lawrence Dahlgren, and their actions in the Cauldron Nebula, is hereby convened. Be seated.”

    There was a rustle as the observers and witnesses took their seats.

    The Andorian glared at Matt. “Captain Dahlgren, are you prepared to offer your testimony?”

    Matt stood. “I am, Sir.”

    “And have you brought copies of your ship’s logs as you were ordered?”

    “I have provided the logs to the to the Master-at-Arms, Sir.”

    “Then take the stand, Captain. And let us begin this inquisition into the affair.”


    Matt took a sip of water as he considered the latest question posed to him by Admiral Takiro Abe. He had been on the witness stand before the Board of Inquiry for nearly two hours, after which Chan, Jim Nelson, and Ambassador Sepak had all been grilled. And then Matt had been recalled, to clarify his answers to the probing inquiries into every aspect of the decisions that he had made in the Lorsham affair.

    “Yes, Admiral,” he finally replied. “If I had the opportunity and the situation was the same, I would, after intense reflection, have proceeded in exactly the same manner. The Lorsham had already used a biological weapon against Ambassador Sepak and his aides, against the Kraal as well. They attempted to infect not only myself, but several members of my crew—and we can presume that they had subverted the entire complement of the Valqis as well. Given the same circumstances, I would once again act in the same manner—to eliminate a grave threat not only to my ship and crew, but to the entire Federation; to the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.”

    Abe leaned back and scowled down at Matt from his elevated seat on the panel. “You would, once again, make an armed assault upon a race with whom the Federation has not declared war; a race that requested Federation assistance in the first place?”

    “A race that had already committed acts of war upon the Federation, Admiral. Yes, sir, I would.”

    “And you have no regrets—no remorse—over your actions?”

    “Admiral, I regret that thirty-seven members of Star Fleet lost their lives. I regret that I was forced to engage the Valqis, and I regret that I was forced to kill a good number of Lorsham aboard their ships that attacked Republic. I am not remorseful for my actions, which I believe were justified in light of the threat posed by this biological weapon.”

    “And your authorization of this procedure used on Ambassador Sepak, Captain Dahlgren,” the Denobulan commodore stated, “you took a major risk in authorizing a procedure in which so much could have gone wrong.”

    “Yes I did, Commodore Thal. The decision to authorize this procedure was one that I felt had to be attempted; the Ambassador was dying. My ship’s surgeon—and the surgeon aboard the Phoenix—agreed that no conventional therapy could have stopped or slowed the deterioration of the Ambassador’s organs. I made the command decision to attempt to save his life—I expressly did not authorize any such attempts to cure his aides, whose lives were not in danger.”

    The members of the board made notes on data-pads, but none asked another question. Admiral Hawth Shran twitched one of antennae. “Does the board have any additional questions for this witness?”

    After a short pause, he nodded. “Very well. Captain Dahlgren, you are excused. The members of this Special Courts Martial Board of Inquiry will now retire to deliberate. Captain Dahlgren, you are subject to recall upon the conclusion of those deliberations. We are now in recess.” He tapped the silver bell three times and the members stood, and then filed out into an adjourning room.

    Matt stood as well, waiting for the flag officers to finish exiting, and then he gingerly stepped down from the witness box and limped over to his executive officer.

    “Well, they asked everything except what size uniform I wear, Chan,” he said.

    “That information is already contained in your personnel file, Captain Dahlgren,” Chan answered with a grin, “they had no need to ask it.”

    “Seriously, Matt,” he whispered, “your testimony was precise and on-target. I doubt you will receive more than a slap-on-the-wrist. Especially since my testimony corroborated yours completely and faithfully. As did that of the Ambassador and the record statement of Captain Nelson.”

    “Well, except the small matter that I did break the Prime Directive, Chan—justified or not, I did.”

    “Given the threat posed by the Lorsham, Captain Dahlgren, there was not much else you could do—and these men on the board are serving officers each with combat experience; they are not members of the Federation Council who have never in their lives commanded men and women in battle.”

    “True, but I still . . .,” Matt’s voice trailed off as the Master-at-Arms snapped to attention, the door to the deliberation room opening again.

    “All rise!” he intoned, and the court began filing back into the room.

    Admiral Hawth Shran once again took his seat and he tapped the bell three times again. “Be seated, this Special Courts Martial Board of Inquiry is hereby reconvened. Captain Matthew Lawrence Dahlgren, step forward.”

    Matt did so as the witnesses and observers took their seats. He stood ramrod straight directly before the court.

    “Captain Matthew Lawrence Dahlgren, this board has determined that your actions in the Cauldron Nebula were justified in light of the danger this biological weapon posed to the United Federation of Planets. We shall recommend to the President that no charges be preferred against you for violating the Prime Directive in this instance. Further, the Board recommends that the logs of USS Republic, USS Phoenix, and the recordings of these proceedings be sealed. The events leading up to your intervention in the internal workings of the Lorsham government and culture are hereby classified. Neither you, nor any member of your crew, are to discuss these events unless questioned under oath by a justly convened Board of Inquiry.”

    “For the official record,” and here Shran’s antennae twitched, “Star Fleet will publish that on Stardate 53750.7, USS Republic, under the command of Captain Dahlgren, responded to the distress call of Imperial Klingon Vessel Valqis, which had been critically damaged as the result of an ion storm in the Cauldron Nebula. While moving to assist Valqis, Republic suffered severe damage and was unable to prevent the loss of the Klingon vessel with all hands. USS Phoenix subsequently arrived on scene to provide assistance to USS Republic. The board further recommends that the Federation Council approve a permanent blockade and quarantine of the Hak’ta-thor system until a cure for the Lorsham biological weapon has been found. Captain Dahlgren, you and your officers are free to return to your vessel. This court is now adjourned.”

    The Admiral tapped the silver bell three more times, and slowly the courtroom emptied.


    “Captain?” the desktop terminal broadcast.

    “Yes, Grace?” Matt answered setting down the stylus and rubbing his sore eyes.

    “Admiral Parker is requesting a private secure channel to speak with you, Sir.”

    “Put him through.”

    Matt folded his reading glasses and turned the monitor to directly face him, just as the Josiah appeared on the screen. “Good morning, Admiral.”

    “Matt. We’ve got a problem—how soon can you get Republic into warp?”

    Matt jerked, and his jaw dropped. “You can’t be serious, Sir! We just arrived at McKinley yesterday! The station personnel haven’t even finished evaluating our damage, much less started repairs.”

    “Captain Dahlgren. At 1400 hours tomorrow, Ambassador Delena Mar will be introducing a new resolution in the Council—a second resolution demanding that Republic be scrapped. And this time she’s throwing the Star Fleet a bone: she’s offering her full support behind restarting construction on a new Luna-class ship with which to replace your ship. Did you sleep with her sister, Matt, because that woman’s got a real beef with you and your ship both?”

    “No, nothing like that. But I did have to brief her once when I was pulling desk duty down there—one of her aides made a snide comment I didn’t care for about how since peace has broken out Star Fleet is now obsolete and I cut him off at the knees. Didn’t think she was one for holding grudges.”

    “Yeah, she is,” Josiah responded, rubbing a hand over his thinning scalp. “Bottom line, Matt—Republic has to be in warp, out of the solar system, and en route to her next assignment by 1300 hours tomorrow. That gives you twenty-seven hours. What do you need?”

    Matt frowned as he pulled up the ship’s schematics on a separate hand-held data pad, shaking his head. “We might—might—get the hull patched and sealed in that time, but only if McKinley puts three or four work crews on us. I don’t see how we’re going to get the internal damage repaired in time.” Matt looked directly at his old friend. “And I haven’t had a single replacement report on board ship.”

    “They are beaming aboard in twenty-two minutes, Captain. What else?”

    Matt thought for several seconds. “I need to borrow eighty or ninety engineers from McKinley, Spacedock, Utopia Planitia, or Star Fleet Headquarters, hell, even the Academy.”


    “Long term loan, actually,” Matt said with a smile. “I’ve got 118 empty passenger quarters, Admiral, those engineers will let me fix my damage while underway. Oh, and I’ll need an industrial replicator programmed for all of our various parts—along with the raw materials for replication.”

    Josiah stared at Matt for several moments, and then he took out a bottle of antacid and took a long slug. “I swear, Matt, it’d be simpler to let her scrap the ship—you still haven’t given back that officer and two crewmen you shanghaied from Jupiter Station!”

    “Such a harsh word, shanghaied, Admiral. They were transferred aboard this ship under signed orders—signed by you—reassigning them to me.”

    The CSO waved that off, and finally he nodded. “Okay—but I want these engineers back as soon as they fix your ship, Matt!”

    “Agreed. You’ll get the ball rolling with McKinley?”

    “Zak Jurood is meeting with Commodore Sampson at this very moment.”

    “In that case, I think I have work to do.”

    “That you do Captain.”

    “Where are you sending us, by the way?” Matt quickly asked before Josiah could sever the transmission.

    Josiah smiled. “I still hunting for something far enough away, and serious enough to warrant sending you back out on such short notice—but I’ll find something. Twenty-seven hours, Matt—and the clock is running.”

    The screen blanked, and Matt sighed. He pressed the comm stud on his desk.

    Yes, sir?” Grace Biddle answered promptly. “Miss Biddle, assemble the senior officers in the briefing room and I need to see Mister Shrak immediately.”

    Yes, sir,” she replied curtly. “I’ve also got a request from McKinley to send another five engineering teams aboard, sir.”

    “Beam ‘em over and expect more real soon. Now get cracking, Grace—we don’t have time to waste today.”

    Aye, aye, Sir,” she answered as the comm cut out.

    Oh boy, Matt thought. Here we go again.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  2. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Thirteen (cont.)

    Matt grimaced as the Doctor probed the wound on his leg none too gently. Quincy kept shaking his head as he relied on his hands and eyes to judge the state of the wound instead of a medical scanner.

    “If the Jem H’dar used normal weapons, this leg would be fully healed by now. But no, they use that damn polaron based energy that just borders on biogentic levels of insanity. It’s not enough that they almost severed your leg with that damned fire axe on Kearsage, but then they had to exposure the wounded tissue to the polaron radiation! And the anti-radiation treatments further retarded your natural tissue’s ability to respond to conventional treatments! I’ve half a mind to saw the damn thing off and give you a prosthetic, Matt.”

    “Not going to happen, Quincy,” Matt grunted as the surgeon pressed his fingers deep into the ragged red scar tissue.

    He snorted. “Having an artificial leg won’t turn you into a Borg, Matt! And with the advances in technology you won’t even notice after a few weeks.”

    “I’m keeping my leg, Doctor,” Matt growled.

    “Fine. Be stubborn,” Quincy said as he took out a hypo and jabbed it directly into the wound, causing Matt to flinch again.

    “You enjoy that, don’t you? The Marquis de Sade had nothing on you for sadism, right?”

    “Now, why would I ever enjoy inflicting pain and suffering upon a patient who doesn’t follow my directions for getting himself well? Your using the weights again, aren’t you?”

    “It doesn’t hurt as bad since you switched me to the new drug, Quincy.”

    The surgeon shook his head and sighed. “Matt, a pain-killer is not a cure. It only suppresses the pain—you are still doing damage to the muscle.”

    “I’ve got to do my job,” Matt said, and then he swayed. “The room is spinning; wha-what did . . . you . . .?” The captain’s voice trailed off as he collapsed unconscious unto the couch.

    “Yeah. So do I, Captain, Sir,” Quincy answered before he tapped his comm badge. “Doctor Talbot to Commander Shrak.”

    This is Shrak.”

    “Commander, I’ve just put the Captain asleep—and he is going to stay asleep for the next twelve hours come hell, high water, or the Borg. Can you intercept everything and keep this ship running in his absence?”

    I think I can arrange that, Doctor."

    "Good—oh, and I need two rating to haul some stuff from the Captain’s quarters to the medical storage locker.”

    They will be there directly, Doctor Talbot.”

    Quincy nodded as he reached down patted Matt on the shoulder. “If you won’t stop trying to exercise that leg on your own, I’ll hide the damn weights from you. And they can help me haul your ass to bed, Captain.”

    The doctor got up, walked over to Matt’s liquor cabinet, and poured himself a stiff shot of Scotch. He raised the crystal to Matt in a salute. “Good night, sweet prince,” he said and then he took a sip. “Ah. I thought you were holding back on the good stuff.”


    Bridge to Captain Dahlgren,” Chan’s comm badge chirped. He shifted in his seat in the far more spartan Executive Office immediately aft of the main bridge and closed his monitor screen.

    “Commander Shrak,” he said tapping his comm unit.

    Sir?” Grace Biddle’s puzzled voice answered. “I was trying to reach the Captain.”

    “The Captain is getting some much needed rest, Miss Biddle. What is the emergency?”

    I have a Lieutenant Vasa on the bridge, Sir. He’s one of the engineers from the McKinley. And he wants to set us equipment in a space that I felt I needed the Captain’s permission for.”

    Chan frowned. “Is Miss Tsien on the bridge, Miss Biddle?”

    Yes, Sir.”

    “Turn the conn over to her and escort the Lieutenant to the Executive Office.”

    Just a few moments later, the door chimed. “Come.”

    The ship’s Operations Officer entered, trailed by a burly blond-haired man, who was nodded appreciatively. “Ja, I had forgotten that these old Korolev’s still had a day cabin for the Executive Officer—they don’t do that anymore on modern ships. Pity.”

    “I am Commander Shrak, Lieutenant—what compartment do you need access to?”

    The engineer shook his head. “Gustaf Vasa, Commander,” he said, clicking his heels together and tilting his head slightly. “I need to install an industrial replicator sent by Star Fleet Command.”

    “I am aware that they are sending it, Lieutenant. Cargo bay two has been design . . .”

    “Nej—I mean no, Commander Shrak, pardon the interruption,” the engineer cut in, even as Chan’s antennae twitched. “The power conduits are completely inappropriate in that location; the equipment must be moved.”

    Chan leaned back, twirling his stylus in one hand. “Commander Malik, our chief engineer, assures me that the equipment can be installed there.”

    “He is mistaken. Normal replicators? Ja. Ordnance replicators? Ja. Medical replicators. Ja. Industrial replicators? Nej. The conduits cannot handle the power drain for more than brief periods.”

    “And where, then would you suggest this installing this incredibly bulky piece of equipment, Mister Vasa? We are a working starship—not a station.”

    “Ja, that is the problem. Computer, schematic USS Republic on screen,” he barked and a wire diagram of the ship appeared on a wall mounted screen. Only the cargo holds are large enough—but they lack the proper power feeds. We could run new feeds, but these would be temporary and lack the proper shielding in the event of damage, like a Klingon-flavored ion storm, eh?” He chuckled.

    “But, there are two compartments both large enough in volume and with the proper power connections,” the engineer continued, zooming in first on Deck 6 and then Deck 10. “Either would be appropriate for the installation. I just need to know which you prefer. Deck 10 is closer to the cargo bays and is somewhat easier to maneuver large pieces of equipment through, but either of these compartments will work.”

    Chan’s antennae were now quivering. “You want to convert Holodeck 2 into your industrial replicator room?”

    “Ja. Plenty of power available; we will remove the holo-projectors and it has ample volume. Even enough space to add a cargo transporter to beam in raw materials as needed from the cargo holds.”

    “Miss Biddle,” Chan said as he looked up. “I think I know what the Captain would say in this circumstance: we are a Star Fleet vessel and not a luxury liner. Surely the crew can get by with a single Holodeck. Cancel all scheduled activities on Holodeck 2 and inform the crew that installation is no longer available for their recreation time. Mister Vasa, you have authorization to put your replicator there.”

    “Thank you, Commander. A question, if I may ask?”

    “Go ahead.”

    “Could this ship use a replicator specialist, Commander? I would like to transfer aboard if possible—running replicators on a station is so boring. I do not think this ship will be boring. Sir.”

    Chan’s antennae twitched again, and the corners of his mouth lifted slightly. “I’ll consider it, Lieutenant, after you’ve lost twenty kilos. Now, I’ve got work to do and so do both of you—the clock is ticking, people. Dismissed.”

    Both the junior officers stood up straight and then filed out of the office, leaving Chan shaking his head as he pulled up the next requisition form in his inbox.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  3. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Fourteen

    Commander Shrak, report to the Captain’s ready room. Commander Shrak, report to the Captain’s ready room.

    Chan looked up at the sudden announcement over the ship’s speakers and he saved the mountain of Star Fleet paperwork he was slowly grinding through. The cover story that Command had devised was playing havoc with getting torpedo reloads onboard—since all he could put in the requisition blanks that demanded to know why the torpedoes had been expended was LOST DUE TO DAMAGE FROM ION STORM. Three times, the requisition had been sent back, electronically stamped DENIED.

    The last requisition came with a curt note all but accusing the Andorian of smuggling torpedoes away to be sold on the black market! And said in no uncertain terms, that there was no reason an ion storm warranted the expenditure of nearly three dozen Mk. 60s.

    Chan walked through the bridge, and he took in the quiet efficiency of the crew with a nod of satisfaction. They had come together, and while there were still rough edges among them, they were acting and conducting themselves like real Star Fleet officers and crew should. He continued through the port-side door and into the short corridor that led to Turbolift 2 and the door to Captain Dahlgren’s ready room.

    He stopped before the door, standing straight and pulling his uniform to wipe away any creases before he pressed the stud.

    “Come,” the intercom broadcast.

    Chan walked into the ready room—the day cabin that served Captain Dahlgren as his office. It was twice the size of his own Executive Office, and included not only a desk and two guest chairs, but a comfortable couch, several shelves covered with books and items the Captain had collected over the years, and three transparent aluminum portals through which the executive officer could see the frantic EVA activity of McKinley Station.

    “You wanted to see me, Captain Dahlgren?” Chan asked.

    “I will presume that you are well aware that our surgeon drugged me, since no one came to wake me for my shift—the shift that you covered.”

    “I was.”

    “And you approve?”

    “Begging your pardon, Captain Dahlgren, Sir, but you needed the rest. The ship is getting ready for space, the crew are working hard—but none of that means jack if you are not as ready as she is when the time comes to slip away from our berth.”

    Matt grunted, and then gestured to one of the seats. He began to open his mouth, but then the doors hissed open and Yeoman Sinclair walked in with a covered serving tray, which she carried across to the desk.

    Matt sat back and frowned as the middle-aged woman set down the tray, a napkin, and a set of silver utensils, and then she whisked the cover off to reveal a china plate covered with hash-brown potatoes, scrambled eggs, strips of crisp bacon, sausage links, and two slices of hot buttered toast with a small open jar of red plum jam.

    “Nancy, I don’t have time for breakfast . . .” Matt began before the yeoman interrupted him.

    “Make time, Sir. Chef Watanabe will be rather upset that his real—not replicated—meal has gone uneaten, Sir. Would the Captain prefer juice or milk, this morning?”

    Matt smiled, and his stomach rumbled as he inhaled the rich steam rising from the plate. “Milk, and . . .”

    “Milk, 500ml, chilled,” the yeoman instructed, taking the glass that suddenly materialized into the replicator. “Iced tea, southern style, sweetened, no citrus, 750ml.” Taking the second glass as well, Nancy Sinclair placed both on the right side of the platter.

    “Will the Captain be needing anything else this morning?” she asked.

    “No,” Matt said as he placed the napkin in his lap. “That will be all, Nancy.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir; I’ll be back for the plate in half an hour. And I will check the replicator disposal log to see if you actually ate it, Sir.”

    Where upon she turned on her heel and exited the ready room.

    “The entire bloody crew wants to treat me with kid gloves, Chan,” Matt mumbled as he scooped up a forkful of eggs and potatoes and took a bite. He patted his lips with a second napkin.

    “Repair status?”

    “On schedule,” the Andorian answered with his antennae twitching. "Commander Malik believes that the last hull plate will in place and molecularly welded by 1200 hours, after which we can repressurize the compartments opened in the breach. Our new industrial replicator has been installed in Holodeck 2, and should be operational within the next twenty-four hours.”

    “Holodeck 2?”

    “The power supply there meets the needs of the unit better than the cargo bay. Or so Lieutenant Vasa assures me.”

    “No great loss; have you . . .”

    “Captain, please. All scheduled activities have been moved to Holodeck 1 and rotation assignments have been posted. I’ve also scheduled a close-quarters combat drill for security at 1900 hours tomorrow.”

    Matt sprinkled some pepper across the steaming eggs, and then he began to mix them into his potatoes. “Let’s plan on a fire drill for tomorrow afternoon—we’ve got a lot of new people onboard and some exposed conduits and circuits. Get a feel at least for how they respond.”

    “I’ll schedule it, Captain Dahlgren,” he said as Matt lifted a strip of bacon and bit off a piece.

    “There is the slight matter of our torpedo reloads, however.”


    McKinley’s ordnance section doesn’t seem to want to believe that we expended thirty-four torpedoes in an ion storm. He denied our request for reloads.”

    “I’ll speak with Commodore Sampson—I have a video conference with him in forty minutes anyway. But we’ll get those torps, Chan.”

    “Indeed, Captain Dahlgren. I was quite ready to send Senior Chief Callaghan and some torpedomen over to obtain them.”

    “Chan,” Matt said as he shook his head with a grin. “That is not how Star Fleet officers are supposed to operate. I’ll speak with Sampson—and Sampson will deal with that dunderhead. But have our torpedo crew stand by to check the reloads before they go into the magazines—he might try to pawn off damaged goods on us.”

    “Of course—and if he does?”

    “If he does, then inform the Senior Chief and grant him forty-five minutes of station leave,” Matt answered with a humorless smile as he lifted one of the sausage links. “Anything else I need to know from my hibernation?”

    “No, sir.”

    “Alright, Chan. We’ve got four hours to finish as much as we can, and then we are out of here. So crack the whip.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” Chan answered as he rose, Matt spreading jam across one of the slices of toast as he turned to leave.

    “And Chan?”

    “Yes, Captain?”

    “Thanks for keeping things running smooth in my absence.”

    The antennae twitched again. “Indeed. I didn’t even need to threaten a flogging—you’ve scared the crew into jumping to obey my instructions. You pink-skin tyrant, you.”

    Matt chuckled. “Miss Tsien has the conn?”

    “Yes, sir, she does.”

    “Fine, I’ll be out there after my talk with Commodore Sampson. Let’s get the old girl ready for space, Chan.”

    “Ready or not, we will leave the station on schedule—you have my word, Sir.”

    “Of that, Commander Shrak, I have not the least doubt.”

    Chan half bowed as Matt took a deep sip of the cold milk and then another hefty bite of potatoes and eggs. And then the doors slid closed behind him.


    Chan stepped out of the turbolift onto Deck 8 and he briskly strode down two corridors before the reaching the Logistics and Supply Office. He walked into the small and cramped compartment and then stopped in his tracks. Rather than the utilitarian décor he had expected, the LSO had dimmed lights, the bulkheads adorned in Tellarite tapestries, with carved vases adorning wooden cabinets. He could hear the gruff snoring and grunting from deep within the chest of Pok Khar’tess, the Lieutenant in charge of this vital department.

    The Tellarite sat in his chair, his feet propped up on the desk, and the chair leaning back against the corner, braced by two bulkheads. Asleep. He was asleep.

    The two ratings working at their consoles snapped to their feet as the Andorian had stormed in, but Pok still slept.

    “Lieutenant,” Chan said. “LIEUTENANT!” he bellowed a second time. Causing the Logistics officer’s eyes to snap open and forcing him to flail to his arms to regain his balance, before sitting up.

    “Ah,” he squinted, taking in his surroundings. “Ah, Commander Shrak. Welcome to Supply? Do you need additional refrigeration units attached to your environmental system controls?”

    “Lieutenant Pok, you called me and requested a meeting.”

    “Ah. Ah, yes, I did, didn’t I,” the Tellarite chuckled. “It takes a while for the brain to wake up from a deep REM sleep—didn’t they tell you in the Academy that waking a sleeping Tellarite is not a wise thing, Commander?”

    “Sleeping on duty on this ship, Lieutenant Pok, is the definition not a wise thing.”

    “On duty, off duty, someone always needs something from Supply, Commander. I all but live in my office these days—haven’t eaten a full meal in days, just snacks. I shall waste away before long!” he chuckled as he slapped his round belly.

    “But now I remember why I asked you to pay us a visit. Come, come!” Pok said as he walked out of the office—and then stopped, looking back through the door at the ratings. “And those requisitions had best be complete when I return or I’ll have you doing calisthenics with Beck’s Marines!”

    The Tellarite waddled down the corridor to Cargo Bay Three, where he entered a complex code into the door access, and it whistled open. “Here we are, Commander!” he said as he entered, waving a hand over the cavernous hall filled with crates full of supplies and spare parts.

    “What am I supposed to the looking for, Lieutenant?” the Andorian asked, his antennae retracted and his face tight.

    The Tellarite threw up both hands and shook his head, walked over to the stack of machinery covered with a tarp and ripped away the concealing cover. To unveil photon torpedo casings stacked upon two pallets.


    Chan froze. He stared at the photon torpedoes, and then he turned his gaze on the Tellarite and then he went back to staring at the torpedoes. “How did . . .”

    “You don’t want to know, Commander. Really. But trust me, Endeavor doesn’t even know they are missing from her magazines. I did leave an . . . anonymous note so that they could replace them before that ship leaves dry-dock. It’s on a timer in their main computer—to be opened after we are well away from Sol,” he finished with a wheezing chuckle. “I know Lt. Commander Adrian of the station—we were in the same class at the Academy. He won’t give you the torpedoes Republic needs—not without a direct order from Star Fleet Command! Hah! There are many ways to skin the vort, though!”

    The Tellarite squinted again at the executive officer. “Unless you want me to give them back?”

    “No. No, Lieutenant Pok, I think we’ll go ahead and keep them,” Chan slowly said as he tapped his comm badge. “Commander Shrak to Torpedo Control—we’ve received a shipment of Mk. 60s in Cargo Three. Set a work crew down to inspect them before storing them in the magazines.”

    Aye, aye, sir,” came the quick answer.

    “And Pok?”

    “Ah, yes, Sir?”

    “I think you and I are going to have a little talk about what else you’ve managed to acquire off the books.”

    Pok’s face fell and he began to wave his furry hands, stuttering at the back of the Andorian who was walking out of the cargo bay.

    “A discussion and perhaps even a full audit,” Shrak’s voice trailed off and the Tellarite quickly waddled after him.

    "A full audit?!?" the Tellarite wailed, wringing his hands.

    Chan stopped and turned around. "Which will only be necessary if you are not completely truthful with me, Mister Pok. Now, what else have you managed to acquire?"

    "A few odds, a few ends," sputtered the Tellarite. "I have a manifest in my office, of course."

    Five minutes later, Shrak's eyes grew wide as he stared at the monitor screen. "Pok, you didn't . . . ?"

    The Tellarite beam a smile. "I learned in the Cauldron, Commander, there is no such thing as too much firepower when fighting a Klingon battle cruiser. McKinley shouldn't miss them for at least a day; by which time we'll be well away from here. Besides, Adrian is a stuffy asshole, even by human standards; I think they call him a prick."

    "You do realize our tubes are not rated to handle quantum torpedoes, Mister Pok?"

    "Commander, I didn't ste . . .; ah, I mean acquire the entire torpedoes! I only took ten warheads. Surely our engineers can make them fit in a Mk. 60 case; even if we lose a bit of range the bigger bang is worth it. Yes?"

    "Oh, yes," mumbled Chan, shaking his head.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  4. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Fourteen (cont.)

    Matt limped onto the bridge and crossed the deck to his command chair, as Chan stood and stepped aside.

    “Captain Dahlgren,” he said softly, “Mister Malik reports that all breaches have been sealed, the remaining repairs will be undertaken en route. All stations are manned, and Republic is ready to get under way.”

    Matt nodded. “I’ve spoken with Captain Garvick aboard the Endeavor, Chan. Would you believe that she is missing thirty-four photon torpedoes from her magazine storage? Which happens to be precisely the number that we needed to top off our own magazines?”

    “Just wait until you Commodore Sampson calls and wants to know why ten quantum warheads walked away from his own ordnance storage, Sir.”

    Matt jerked. “Quantums? Quantums? Our tubes can’t shoot quantums!”

    “Mister Malik thinks that we can adapt the Mk. 70-Q warheads to fit inside our Mk. 60 casings—we’ll lose some range and the tertiary guidance systems, and he and the ordnance specialists will have to refit each torpedo by hand; but he assures me it can be done.”

    “And how, pray tell, are you scoundrels planning on priming the quantum torpedoes, Chan? The launchers are not designed for the influx of energy it takes to arm those warheads?”

    “The main deflector plasma power conduit runs just below the forward launchers; Mister Malik believes that he can install a new bypass that will provide the needed power in a few days—especially with the new replicator and the horde of engineers we have onboard.”

    Chan’s antennae twitched. “Of course, we could just transport the warheads back to McKinley if you want to go through proper channels.”

    “Not on your life, Mister Shrak. I’m certain this crew stole them fair and square,” Matt answered with a smile. “Assume your station for departure.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”

    Matt sat, and he activated the ship-wide intercom.

    “This is the Captain. To those of you who have recently joined the crew and complement of USS Republic, I welcome you aboard ship. As you are probably already aware, our vessel, this proud vessel, has a cloud hanging over her name. She bears a reputation that makes our fellow spacers in Star Fleet shake their heads and make disparaging remarks. They render insults that in truth this crew does not deserve. You are asking yourselves what have I done to warrant this?”

    “Instead, you should be asking what am I going to do to restore Republic her good name. What actions will I take to make this ship the finest in the Fleet?”

    “Gentlemen, ladies; reputations can lie. And those crew who were with me in the Cauldron will tell you that. Comrades! We have had our leave cut short—we will be sailing once again into depths of space, with repair parties still working on restoring this ship. We see the scorn in the eyes of our brother and sister officers of the Fleet; we see the disdain that the Council holds our ship in.”

    “They do not know what you accomplished so recently; they do not know how Republic kicked the ass of a modern Klingon battle-cruiser; excuse me, a Class 10 ion storm!”

    Chuckles arose across the bridge.

    “They do not know, comrades, but it does not matter. Because we know. And the rumor mill run amuck is ensuring that even now, though the records are sealed, people are becoming aware of what this ship and her crew have accomplished. We have shed blood together and shed tears together; we have lost members of our family who gave to their lives to protect the citizens of the Federation, and the Kraal people from tyranny. It is up to you to show the universe that their lives were not given in vain!”

    “Be proud of who and what you are! Crew and officers of the USS Republic! For today, we sail once more, our destination the Cygnus Sector, where we will join Admiral Hall on the frontiers of the Federation! Our mission to explore the unknown worlds that lay beyond our acknowledged borders, to seek out new cultures and civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before! Today we start a new era for USS Republic! Today, we will be that shining beacon that lights the path into the future!”

    “Long ago, on Earth, many years before space-flight was little more than a dream of men often considered mad, mere authors weaving fictional tales of fantasy. Long ago, in that world, there was a great conflict between two differing ideologies, one that would have enshrined the enslavement of our fellow man and the other representing the ideals that we as a Federation carry forward to this day.”

    “And from that conflict, there arose a song, ladies and gentlemen. Comrades, that song is out song.”

    Matt pressed another stud and over the ship’s loudspeakers, a robust baritone voice began to sing.

    Mine eyes have the seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; he hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword; His Truth is marching on.

    Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!

    Matt spoke up, even as the song continued to play throughout the ship. “This is our anthem, this is our legacy. This is the Battle Hymn of our own Republic! And if you will not live up to the promise of this ship, then so help me God I’ll kick your ass so fast and hard that you will achieve warp without a starship!”

    More chuckles erupted as the song reverberated across the bulkheads and decks of the ship.

    “Miss Montoya! Ahead dead slow, until we clear the berth, and then set course for the Cygnus Sector—Warp Seven.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir!” she barked in answer.

    Chan held one hand to his ear-piece. “Captain, Commodore Sampson and Lt. Commander Adrian are hailing us.”

    “On speaker,” said Matt.

    “Shall I discontinue the music, Captain Dahlgren?”

    “No. Let them sing out, Mister Shrak.”

    The Andorian’s antennae twitched, but he only said, “On screen.”

    The station commander’s eyes grew wide as he heard the song thundering over the intercom. “Matt, we’ve got a problem.”

    “Commodore. If you are referring to the missing quantum warheads, there is no problem. Sign them out to Republic—they are already in our magazines.”

    The angry looking junior officer standing beside the Commodore slammed down his fist. “I’ll file every charge against you I can, you bloody thief! How dare you . . .”

    “LIEUTENANT COMMNANDER!” barked Matt as he stood. “Speak to me in that insubordinate tone of voice again, and I will have you broken, Sir. I can—and will—transfer your ass aboard this ship and assign you every shit detail I have. Commodore, check with Admiral Parker and you will find we are authorized for a full magazine load—an authorization that this p’tahk ignored. We had to scrounge torpedoes from the Endeavor, although with the permission of Captain Garvick.”

    Permission attained after the torpedoes, but permission nonetheless, Matt thought.

    He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; he is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat!”

    Sampson frowned. “God speed, Captain Dahlgren; I’ll have the paperwork cleared up retroactively—don’t do this again at my station. Is that understood, Captain?”

    “Crystal, Sir.”

    “We have cleared the berth, Sir,” Isabella called out from the helm.

    “Then bring us about, and take into Warp, Miss Montoya,” Matt said as he sat once more.

    Republic leaped forward as shot away from Earth, even as the voices continued to crescendo. “Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah! His truth is marching on!
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  5. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Fifteen

    “Captain log, Stardate 53752.8, USS Republic. We have been underway now for twenty days en route to the Cygnus Sector. Ship’s morale continues to be high, although there have been several . . . confrontations between my regular crew and the engineers we temporarily have aboard ship. However, between the stern efforts of Commander Shrak, Commander Malik, and Commander Phillips (the senior officer of the Star Fleet Corps of Engineers personnel), I believe that we have managed to avert frustrations and discomfort from exploding into violence.”

    “Our guests are not used to the discipline that Chan and I have managed to instill among the crew of Republic; in fact, many have protested to Commander Philips over the lack of access to Holodeck 1, as well as the limited nature of recreational programs that I will allow for their use. Sean Philips, however, understands that this is my ship—and he has backed my decisions to the hilt, despite his own private misgivings over the lack of options the crew has available for their downtime.”

    Matt chuckled. “With the access to the library computer network, and its archival databanks of books, music, drama, comedy, sports, and a nearly unimaginable broad selection of subjects, I doubt that anyone on this ship—on any Star Fleet ship—can be seriously disconcerted by not having their own custom Holodeck fantasies. Complaints against this policy have gradually slowed, however, as the SCE personnel have come to realize that I simply will not give in to their whining. Assigning them to morning calisthenics with the Marine’s only hastened their acceptance of this reality.”

    “I am concerned however about the sheer enthusiasm that my crew has shown concerning the SCE personnel and their critical skills in restoring ships and upgrading equipment.” Matt paused and he took a sip of his Scotch, rubbing his leg, and he shook his head. “So far, I’ve had seventy-nine separate memos sent by junior officers suggesting alterations to the ship. These have ranged from the mildly inventive to ideas that make me wonder if perhaps the Academy training program is not giving enough emphasis on practical engineering. Case in point, Ensign Park suggested that we replicate and install no less than sixty-six pulse phaser turrets on the primary and engineering hulls; completely ignoring the power requirements, conduit rerouting, and hull cutting that would have to go into such an endeavor. Not to mention that Republic would have to install another sixteen fire directors, targeting and tracking arrays, and find the space for an additional thirty-three phaser techs! Or that such a large number of pulse phasers would quickly drain every joule of energy from the ship's reactors!”

    “Another suggestion made was the installation of a collimated phaser strip along the edge of the forward saucer, covering a 170-degree arc of fire from port-to-starboard. Not a bad suggestion on its face, Ensign Roberts failed to consider the drain on ship-wide power reserves, the need to lay nearly two kilometers of 15cm plasma power conduits through existing internal compartments, and that his proposed heavy phaser strip—using emitters normally reserved for planetary defense batteries!—would require the removal of the forward airlock and forty-four personnel quarters.” Matt shook his head and chuckled. "Apparently he was impressed by the disruptor cannons that Val'qis carried in her prow."

    “I did not tear my Ensigns a raw strip from their hides, however. No, I bit my tongue, and simply forwarded the memos to the various department heads and Commander Shrak—who have now, I am quite certain—discussed precisely what the chain of command for such ideas is aboard this ship.”

    “However, there was one idea which is both practical and eminently sensible. Ensign Hollis Trevane suggested that since we do have an industrial replicator and SCE personnel skilled in EVA, perhaps we can manufacture some ablative armor panels to reinforce critical areas of the ship’s hull. His suggestion has merit and I intend to carry it out at our first available opportunity. The added mass is negligible against Republics current tonnage, and the increase in protection for the ship and crew at no cost in power consumption is an excellent proposal. Commander Philips believes that his engineers can, if assisted by our crew, complete the installation of ablative armor plating over 84% of the ship’s external surface in less than two days at sub-light.”

    “The production of so much plating, however, has dramatically eaten into our onboard supplies intended for the industrial replicator. We should have enough to armor vital sections of the exterior of the ship with just enough left over to reinforce the interior bulkheads surrounding the anti-matter containment pods. If we can produce a few more tons, I also plan on reinforcing the internal bulkheads around the warp core.”

    “In order to accomplish the installation of the exterior armor plating, I am planning on a 96-hour layover at the New Columbia colony tomorrow. Once the SCE engineers have completed this task, I will inform Star Fleet Command to send a transport for them—as all of our internal repairs will be complete by that time as well. I have received a handful of requests for permanent assignment aboard Republic, some of which I am considering approving. Commander Philips has signed off on any transfers from his command to this ship; although I am not certain Admiral Parker would. Thankfully, he is far away on Earth.”

    “If possible, I intend to allow the crew to get a few hours of liberty at New Columbia. Our time at Earth was too brief to allow them to visit their families, or go carousing in the case of our young Ensigns. I have already spoken with Commander Shrak, asking him to have a word with those on their first tour of duty. But that is for after the last of the repairs have been finished.”

    Matt yawned. “Computer, save log.”

    “Log saved.”

    “Play recording Cassandra Dahlgren 023, Live from Notre Dame.”

    “File loaded, playback commencing.”

    Matt leaned back in his chair, taking another sip of the smooth whiskey as he listened to the recording of his daughter and her choral group performing at the ancient cathedral.


    “We are approaching New Columbia, Sir,” Isabella called out from the helm.

    Matt finished his update of the ship’s log and he shifted in his chair. “Very well, Miss Montoya. Drop to sub-light and assume standard orbit.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” she replied and the stars streaking by on the view screen suddenly slowed.

    “There is a starship in orbit of the colony, Captain,” the tactical officer called out suddenly. “Orion Clipper-class, transponder says she is the White Cloud.” Pavel looked up from his station with a grin. “I think we’ve surprised them, Sir—her warp drive is off-line and her shields are down.”

    “Well, well, well,” mused Matt. “Miss Montoya, put us into orbit directly aft of that ship; Miss Biddle, stand by forward tractor in case they decide to run. Mister Chan, hail them and inform the master to stand by for a customs inspection.”

    “With pleasure, Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian replied.

    “On viewer, Miss Biddle; magnify.”

    The main view screen zoomed in on the Orion vessel coasting along in standard orbit. The Clipper-class ships were officially designated by the Orion Syndicate as fast cargo/courier vessels—but Starfleet considered them blockade runners, smugglers, and (on occasion) pirates. Standing orders for the Fleet was to conduct inspections of any Clipper in Federation space for illegal goods; more than one such inspection had revealed the transport of slaves. The problem with enforcing that decree was a rather simple one: like all Orion designed vessels, the Clippers were fast ships. Faster, in fact, than all but the most modern Star Fleet vessels, much less an older ship like Republic. Oh, they paid for that speed in having very lightly built unreinforced hulls, low-powered shields, and a limited array of older and weaker weaponry, but all too often they were simply able to outrun Star Fleet ships rather than submit to being boarded.

    But every now and then, on rare occasion, a Federation vessel managed to catch them unawares—much like now. It was a task that the Blue Fleet in particular, with the Andorian’s hatred of pirates and slavers, excelled at. And if that ship was smuggling illegal items, well, then; under Federation law the ship could be impounded by Star Fleet to be either scrapped or sold at auction. Taking a Clipper-class as a prize—intact—was a definite feather in the cap of any starship.

    Matt pressed a comm stud on his chair. “Security, bridge.”

    Go ahead, Bridge,” came the voice of Lieutenant Beck.

    “Prepare a customs inspection party—we’ve got an Orion vessel in orbit, Mister Beck. Commander Shrak will assign the inspection officers, but I want your Marines to provide security for the detail.”

    Aye, aye, sir,” the Lieutenant answered.

    “Captain, we are in tractor range,” Miss Biddle called out.

    “Chan, any response?”


    Matt frowned. “Are their sensors active, Miss Tsien?”

    “Yes, sir. Their proximity alarms should be going off, even if they don’t have a sensor watch manned.”

    “Put them in a tractor lock, Miss Biddle; perhaps that will wake them up.”

    “Aye, aye, Si . . .” she began, but was then interrupted by a shout from Amanda’s science station. “Captain! My sensors are showing no life forms aboard that vessel.”

    Matt rotated his chair and stared at the young science officer. “Verify.”

    “Confirmed, Sir.”

    Chan ran his hands over his own board, and he shook his head. “Confirmed. No signs of life aboard that vessel, Captain Dahlgren.”

    “Does she have internal power and life support?”

    “Affirmative. Her warp core is shut down; her impulse engines are in standby mode; thrusters are at station-keeping. And her guns are cold; deflectors and shields off-line.”

    “Hail the colony, Mister Shrak,” Matt said, as a chill ran down his spine.

    “No response, Captain.”

    “Curiouser and curiouser,” Matt whispered. “Yellow alert, Mister Shrak.”

    “Setting Yellow Alert throughout the ship—our shields are now raised, Captain Dahlgren.”

    “Amanda, scan the colony.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” she replied as she bent over her console. And then she jerked upright. “Captain,” she gasped, “this can’t be right!”

    “Miss Tsien?”

    “I am detecting none of the colonists on the surface. Not one. There are supposed to be twelve thousand people down there, and I’m not detecting a single one of them!”

    The bridge grew quiet. Matt turned back around to face Chan. “Mister Shrak, any signs of combat—either in the colony or aboard that ship?”

    “None. And I confirm the sensor readings, Captain Dahlgren. I am detecting the native animal and plant life, but none of the colonists.”

    Matt leaned back and he tapped his fingers on the arm of his command chair. “Mister Shrak, prepare a landing party—outfit them with EVA suits. I want full hazardous environment precautions, just in case there is some contamination of that ship or the colony. And make certain they are armed, Mister Shrak. Miss Tsien, you are relieved; I want a full science and medical team standing by to beam down once Mister Shrak and the Marines have secured the beam-down site.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir. Permission to leave the bridge?” Chan asked, as Amanda stood.

    “Granted. Find me some answers, Chan.”

    “Mister Roshenko,” Matt continued, turning in his chair to face the tactical officer. “I want you to deploy twenty-four probes in an expanding shell towards the Oort Cloud. Full active sensor pallets with real-time telemetry back to the ship. Tie the probes into the science labs for analysis. In addition, I want a complete sensor sweep of the planet—maximum resolution. Let’s see if there is anyone on the surface, or anything in system.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir. That will cut our supply of probes by half, Captain.”

    “I am aware of that, Mister Roshenko. The added sensor reach is well worth the expenditure.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir. It’ll take twenty minutes to prep that number and launch.”

    “Understood. Miss Biddle?” he said as he rotated his chair back forward.

    Grace turned and looked at the Captain. “Sir?”

    “Miss Biddle, assemble a second away team—make certain that you include a few Marines from Lieutenant Beck’s security detachment. Same precautions as Mister Shrak; I want you in full EVA suits. Board White Cloud and go over every square millimeter of that ship. Try to find out what happened to her crew, make certain her systems and orbit are stable, search the vessel for contraband, and secure her. If she has been abandoned, and her systems are operational, I want a full decontamination of her interior before you go helmets off.” Matt paused, and then he smiled. “I’m assigning Crewman Zapata to your team—have him go through their computer and see what’s she been up to. I’ll leave the rest of your party up to you.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” the operations officer said as she unhooked the restraining straps and stood. “Permission to leave the bridge, Sir?”

    “Granted, Miss Biddle. And Miss Biddle?”


    Every member of your team beams over there armed—is that understood?”

    “Yes, sir," Grace replied with a grimace. She was perhaps the only of Matt's senior officers (other than Counselor Trinculo) who did not care for carrying a weapon. "I will wear one, Sir."

    Matt leaned forward and frowned at the lovely blue world on the viewer, and the sharply racked nacelles of the Orion Clipper hovering between the planet and Republic. He pressed a stud on the arm of his chair. “Bridge to Commander Philips.”

    Philips here, Captain. I take it our EVA to install the armor will be delayed?"

    “Yes, Mister Philips. Have we enough raw materials to fabricate two dozen probes?”

    Easily, sir.”

    “Then have Mister Vasa start the manufacturing process. I may need some of your engineers on the White Cloud or the surface, depending on what exactly my away teams discover, Commander. Do you have a problem with that?”

    None, sir.”

    “Good. Is Mister Malik there with you?”

    Yes, sir.”

    “Mister Malik, what is the minimum crew required of a Clipper-class vessel to safely bring her into port?”

    They are highly automated, sir. At absolute minimum, an engineer and pilot can get her into warp, but I’d recommended at least one officer and around a dozen crew. Maybe a few more if she is going a long distance.”

    “And her total accommodations?”

    It varies, Sir. She’s small, about the size of the Nova-class, but a slaver has more life support capacity and accommodations than a blockade runner, or a yacht. The Orions custom build those ships—no two are exactly the same. But it can’t be more than sixty or seventy at full load, perhaps as many as a hundred if she is a slaver.”

    “We might end up seizing her, Nat, and if so I will need a crew to man that ship until we reach a Starbase. Start going through the crew roster—and Philip’s engineers—and assemble a list of personnel to man her if we claim her as a prize.”

    Aye, aye, Sir.”

    “Miss Montoya?”


    “Miss Montoya, I will be in my ready room. It is precisely twenty-five steps from my desk there to my chair here. You will have the conn in my absence.”

    Me?” she squealed, her voice rising two octaves, as Matt and Pavel Roshenko smiled.

    “You, Miss Montoya. Lieutenant Commander Roshenko is your senior, but you will be the officer of the deck. You will have the conn. Inform me immediately if there is a status change,” Matt stood. “Pavel, let me know when you are ready to launch the probes. Miss Montoya, the conn is yours,” Matt continued with a sly smile as he stepped away from the chair.

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” the helmsman answered, as she moved over towards and then sat down in his vacant chair. “I have the conn.”
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  6. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Fifteen (cont.)

    “Good seal, Mister Roberts?” asked Chief Bronson as he latched the helmet in place. Chris nodded and then gave the older NCO a thumbs up, but then he saw the chief chuckling through the visor of his own EVA helmet.

    Chris blushed. “All green, Chief,” he said over the built-in comm.

    “That’s the spirit, Sir. Keep your sense of humor and you’ll go far in this Star Fleet. First time wearing this setup for real?”

    “Well, we did practice in a depressurized cargo bay aboard the training ship Kongo at the academy . . .” Chris’s voice trailed off.

    “Take it slow and easy, Sir. White Cloud has internal gravity and atmosphere—but we don’t know about the composition of that atmosphere. Your air flow good?”

    “Yes, Chief.”

    “Give me a 360 rotation, Sir,” Bronson said as he backed away and set a wall monitor in Transporter Room 3 to display mode. As Chris slowly turned around in a circle, the camera built into the suit’s helmet showed the rest of the twelve-member away team making their own final preparations. “Good, good.”

    “You are set, Mister Roberts. Got your tricorder and phaser?”

    “Yes, Chief,” Chris answered in a slightly exasperated voice.

    “You have loaded the schematics of the White Cloud into your tricorder?”

    “Yes, Chief.”

    “And your phaser is locked on stun?”

    “Yes, Chief!”

    “Check it, please, Mister Roberts,” Bronson half-suggested and half-ordered.

    Chris pulled the phaser from his belt holster, keeping it pointed away from the rest of the crew. Yes, it was set on stun, and yes he had it locked to prevent the setting from being changed. “Yes, Chief, phaser is set.”

    “Is it armed, Sir? Or do you still have it on safe mode?”

    Chris blushed; no, he hadn’t armed the weapon—which meant it wouldn’t fire if he pressed the stud. “Yes, Chief; it’s armed now,” the ensign whispered as he pressed the priming key and placed the weapon back into its holster.

    “Don’t worry none, Sir. My first away mission I forget to arm my phaser and got the surprise of my life when it didn’t work against two Nausicaan smugglers on Deneb Kaitos III. Got four broken ribs, a shattered scapula, and fractured skull from those two before the rest of my team could react—but I’ve never forgot to arm my phaser since, Mister Roberts.”

    Grace Biddle stepped up onto the transporter pad with the first beam-in section. “Energize,” she said, and six sparkling waterfalls of light appeared and they vanished.

    “Our turn, Mister Roberts,” the NCO whispered over the comm as he mounted the platform.

    Chris followed and he turned around to face the transporter chief. And then he heard Isaac Bronson’s quiet voice again as the chief cleared his throat. “Mister Roberts, you are the senior officer of this section.”

    Chris blushed, and he quickly looked to make certain everyone was on their assigned pad. “Energize,” he ordered, and the transporter hummed and came to life, beaming him across to the bridge of the White Cloud.

    And then he materialized into a scene out of Hell. Chris gagged as he saw the bloody mass of twisted and distorted tissue and bone that oozed out of the captain’s chair. He quickly averted his eyes, but the helm, the navigation station, the tactical console, the engineering station—all of them were occupied by those . . . things.

    He retched, seeing the trails of blood and feces and urine that covered the deck and bulkheads, and then Chief Bronson stepped up directly in front of him and took hold of his EVA suit.

    “Deep breath, Mister Roberts! Don’t you vomit into that helmet, Sir!” he said quietly, his voice stern, but gentle—and filled with unease. “I’m increasing your O2 flow by 5%, take a deep breath, relax . . . and be glad we can’t smell this, Sir.”

    Chris felt the cool, crisp airflow into the helmet increase slightly, and he nodded slowly. “Sorry, Chief; I wasn’t expecting . . .” his voice trailed off.

    “Easy, Sir. Easy.”

    Grace tapped her comm badge. “Away Team Two to Republic.”

    Go ahead, Miss Biddle,” Chris heard the Captain say.

    “Sir. We’ve found part of the White Cloud’s crew. Sir, they appear to have been caught in a transporter malfunction—their patterns . . . their patterns must have shifted and collapsed during materialization. It’s a mess over here, Sir.”

    Understood, Miss Biddle; we are receiving your video transmission,” the Captain said in a tight clipped voice. “Do you need assistance?”

    “Negative, Captain. We will begin sweeping the ship. Away Team Two, out.”

    “Mister Zapata,” she said quietly. “It appears their main computer interface is on Deck 2; take Harrison and see what you can find there. We’ll divide into teams of two, people, and conduct a compartment by compartment search—including Jeffries tubes. Maintain communications with me and the ship. Leave the . . . bodies . . . alone for now—but get full tricorder scans for medical. She’s only got six decks, so this shouldn’t take long.”

    As the away team divided up and began to move towards the turbolifts, she turned to the ensign. “Chris, you all right now?”

    “Yes, ma’am. Sorry ma’am; it won’t happen again.”

    “All right, then; get cracking Mister Roberts—Deck Three.”

    “Aye, aye, ma’am,” Chris answered. “Chief, shall we?”

    “After you, Mister Roberts.”


    Chan materialized in the center square of the New Columbia colony, the early morning mist from the nearby lake covering the ground in a haze of fog. He waited until the other two beam-down sections arrived. “Divide into teams of two and conduct a search of the city,” he ordered. “Tricorders out; I want constant communication with all search teams. Take it slow and easy, gentlemen; let’s see if we can find where they have all gone off to.”

    “Mister Park,” he said to the young engineering ensign. “You are with me.”

    “Yes, sir.”

    Chan opened his own tricorder and took a reading of the area, comparing it with the maps of the city stored in its databanks. Finally, he nodded and began to move off to the east—towards the tall hills that bordered the city on that side. “Their emergency shelters are in this direction, Mister Park; I think we will start our search there.”

    “There’s no signs of combat, sir—and no bodies,” Jin Park commented as they walked, his tricorder humming.

    “No. Just this mist. Atmospheric composition?”

    “I’m not detecting any contaminants, Sir. And background radiation is exactly as the archive computers indicated; no trace of weapons fire, either. But, that’s odd.”

    “What’s odd, Ensign?”

    Jin stopped and he frowned at the tricorder. “I’ve got a power source up ahead, sir—a big one. And according to the schematic, there shouldn’t be anything putting out this kind of power in that location—it’s a park, Sir.”

    “A park, Mister Park?” Chan said with a grim chuckle. “No need to answer that, Ensign.”

    Chan took a look at his own tricorder, and adjusted the controls frowning. He tapped his comm badge. “This is Shrak. I want Lieutenant Bowen to report to my location immediately.”

    “Come, Mister Park. Let’s see what is producing all of that power.”

    The two officers continued walking through the streets of the city, and then they entered an expansive area of green trees, manicured grass still wet with the dew of the morning mist. And in the middle of the park, there was a massive device.

    “Life signs, Mister Park?”

    “None within two kilometers, sir. And only native lifeforms outside of that radius.”

    Chan slowly approached the bulky object, his tricorder humming. “Ensign, does this design look familiar to you?”

    “It’s generating a sub-space signal, but on a frequency I haven’t seen used before . . . Commander?” He suddenly paused. “Could it be a transporter beacon? I’m showing a stabilization of the sub-space field in the area around it.”

    “Exactly what I was thinking, Ensign,” Chan said. From out of the mist, the shapes of Lieutenant Bowen and a Marine appeared, and Bowen whistled.

    “That doesn’t look like it belongs here, Commander.”

    “No, Lieutenant, thank you for stating the obvious. I want a full analysis of this device—Mister Park, assist Mister Bowen. Corporal Thiesman—you’re with me.”

    As the two engineers began to inspect and study the object, Chan and the Marine moved out towards the emergency shelters. After a short walk, they reached the entrance, which was not sealed. Chan descended the steps, his tricorder humming as they went, and the Marine followed, his phaser rifle at the ready.

    Seventy-five meters down, they reached the turbo-lift shafts that connected to the secure bunker one kilometer deep. Built in the aftermath of the Dominion attacks, emergency shelters such as this one were designed to house the population of the colony during even the worst planetary assaults—and they were shielded against sensors to prevent any attacker from detecting the people within. But the shelter was empty, with no sign that any of the colonists had attempted to reach it.

    After searching the desolate, spartan rooms buried beneath the surface, Chan and Thiesman once again emerged on the surface, and Chan’s communicator beeped.

    “This is Shrak.”

    Bowen, Sir. Ensign Park is right—it’s a transporter beacon, but one a massive scale. I’ve never even seen plans for one this large.”

    “Why would someone need such a device, Lieutenant,” Chan asked.

    Sir . . . the only reason I can think of is that some is attempting interstellar transport. Given enough power, we know it is possible—but very difficult in theory. But with a transporter beacon of this magnitude, it might, might be accomplished, if the entity using the transporters has enough power.”

    “Thank you, Mister Bowen. Shrak to Republic.”

    Go ahead, Chan,” Matt answered.

    “Sir, I think we’ve found something. There is a sub-space transporter beacon—a massive one—down here in the colony. It’s operating on a kappa-band sub-space frequency; retuning the lateral sensor arrays to that frequency might detect a transporter ionization trail.”

    You think the colony was beamed away?

    “Sir, I don’t know. But this beacon has to be here for a reason.”

    Mister Roshenko is adjusting the sensors now, Chan . . . yes. There is a transporter trace on the colony and extending into deep space.”

    “Captain,” Chan slowly said. “Mister Bowen believes that with a beacon this powerful, interstellar transport might be possible.”

    Understood. Anything else?

    “Negative, sir. No bodies, no colonists, and no signs of weapons fire in the colony itself. I don’t think the colonists are here anymore.”

    Neither do I, Chan. Neither do I,” Matt paused. “And given what Grace found on the White Cloud . . . let’s get your search parties back aboard ship, Commander. I’ll put the science labs and Miss Tsien on tracking down that trace.

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  7. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Sixteen

    “. . . and as we thought, Sir, the instrumentation showed that all of the New Columbia colonists within the 5 kilometer range of the beacon were beamed away in the dead of night. The beacon contains a buffer; however, its memory was wiped immediately after the transport, and provided no information on where they were beamed to. Or any residual patterns.”

    “Thank you, Mister Bowen, for your report,” Matt said quietly as the junior engineer sat back down. The Captain tapped his stylus on the conference table of the Primary Briefing Room, aft of the bridge. “Miss Biddle?”

    Grace remained seated, but she did change the wall and table monitors from the schematic of the beacon to show a series of ship’s logs. “As you suspected, Sir, the logs aboard White Cloud were heavily encrypted, but Crewman Zapata was able to break that encryption. They indicate that the ship and her Orion crew were hired to deliver this beacon to New Columbia—by a being they refer to as Inderi. Neither the race nor gender of this being were revealed in the logs, but they were contracted on Havalis II.”

    “Inderi hired the White Cloud to deliver the beacon, with instructions to approach New Columbia in the dead of night, colony time. Once in orbit, they were to beam down the device, and leave orbit—then they were to transmit a message via sub-space radio. They were instructed to return after two hours, retrieve the beacon and return to Havalis. No questions asked.”

    The Ops officer sighed. “According to his logs, the Orion shipmaster decided to remain in orbit and transmit the sub-space signal. He thought that the device was a weapon being tested—and he wanted to record the evidence in case Star Fleet tracked him down afterwards. We have the bridge recordings of what happened next,” she continued quietly, and pressed another stud.

    The monitors showed the crew of the Orion ship going about their stations, and then each was caught in the stream of a transporter beam. They began to scream as their flesh shifted and melted, and Matt could hear Andrea Trincullo gasp, and Amanda Tsien gag.

    “Computer monitor off; stop playback,” he said quietly. “Continue, Miss Biddle.”

    Grace nodded; her face pale and drawn. “White Cloud was caught in the beam, but not in the range of the beacon. Her crew partially dematerialized, but not fully—and their own movements within the transporter stream literally shredded their patterns. I’ve seen a few examples of this in the records from the earliest days of transporter experimentation, along with a handful of accidents, but nothing on this scale. Every member of that ship’s crew, their pattern was altered, broken—and then the beam ended. And they rematerialized. The lucky ones were already dead, but at least four lived for several hours. And they all remained conscious and fully aware of what was happening during the transport.”

    “The worst was the ship’s owner—who wasn’t the same as its master. He was in his cabin with the slave girls of his harm; all five of them. They were fused into a single organic being, it was . . .” Grace shook her head and tightened her lips. “Structurally, the ship is sound, and she is carrying goods that are illegal in Federation space.”

    “Miss Tsien?” Matt said after Grace went quiet.

    The science officer also hit a control and the wall monitor flared back to life projecting the spatial geography of the immediate space surrounding New Columbia. Perched right on the frontier, the colony led to a narrow passage between Romulan and Ferengi space to the Cygnus Sector, with dozens of independent systems interspaced. “Transporters normally leave a minute trace behind that under normal conditions dissipates fairly rapidly. This was not a normal use of the transporter as we understand it. It left a trace that our sensors have been able to identify,” she touched the stud again and a blinking line appeared that stretched out away from New Columbia. “We’ve only been able to resolve the trace out to one light-year, but I’ve configured the lateral sensors and the long-range sensors to detect it, Captain. We will have to keep Warp speeds fairly low—Warp Four, perhaps even Warp Three—in order to back-trace it, but the sensors can handle the task.”

    “How long until the trace dissipates, Miss Tsien?” asked Chan.

    She shook her head. “Hours? Days? I don’t know for certain, Commander Shrak.”

    Pavel stared at the star charts. “The trace isn’t heading towards Havalis II.”

    “No, Mister Roshenko, it isn’t,” Matt answered.

    “Nat,” he said to the chief engineer. “I want an all hands effort get the White Cloud ready for space—including a proper burial for the crew. Lieutenant Bowen. I am appointing you as the executive officer aboard the White Cloud, assisting Commander Philips who will be in command. Sean,” he said to the Corps of Engineers officer, “I’m going to assign you some of Mister Beck’s Marines. Your jacket indicates you did two tours with Star Fleet Intelligence, and I want you to take that ship to Havalis II and find this Inderi.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”

    Matt smiled grimly. “Don’t worry, Sean; I’m not going to stick you out on a limb here. I’ll be informing Star Fleet Command of the situation immediately after this briefing—and if they say no, we won’t do this. But from Admiral Parker’s briefing, there aren’t too many starships in this ‘quiet little sector’. I think we are going to have to handle this ourselves.”

    “While you are heading to Havalis II, I will take Republic and back-trace the transporter trail; either until we find the planet of origin or it ends.”

    “And then, Sir?” asked Commander Philips.

    “And then, Commander, I have to decide how to deal with people who abduct twelve thousand citizens of the United Federation of Planets. I think a photon torpedo or four delivered a few kilometers outside their capital will be a good place to begin negotiations from,” he finished with a perfectly straight face.

    And the low growl in answer from his own officers showed that they agreed.


    “My god,” Josiah Parker said over the secure sub-space channel. “Someone transported away all twelve thousand of the colonists? Everyone?”

    Matt just sat there and slowly nodded. “I’ve got a few leads, Admiral Parker, but I felt I needed to send this up the chain just as fast as possible.”

    “Yeah,” Josiah said as he sat back, running his hand through his thinning hair; hair that was getting greyer by the day. “We are stretched too thin, Matt. The closest ships I’ve got are Sig Hansen’s security group at Starbase 114.” Josiah frowned. “He’s flying his flag from the Akira-class Blackhawk, and he also has the Defiants Balao and Thunderer, plus the Steamrunners Arrogant and Franklin.”

    He concentrated on a monitor off-screen of the small viewer on Matt’s desk, and then he looked up. “Balao can be there in five days—if her drives hold together for that long. Arrogant in seven, but Blackhawk is the middle of a warp core refit. Franklin and Thunderer are at least ten days out.”

    Matt grimaced. “I don’t like pulling all the ships off this section of the border, Admiral. Like I said, I’ve got a couple of leads—and I am putting a prize crew on White Cloud, with Sean Philips as her commander.”

    Josiah nodded his approval. “Sean’s overdue for a fourth pip. But those Clippers don’t carry a lot of firepower, and their fragility . . .”

    “I’m not planning on sending Sean into combat—I hope. I’ll be sending him to Havalis II to try and track down this Inderi, with a few of my Marines as backup.”

    And Josiah winced again. “Technically Havalis II is an independent system, but it is really an outpost for the Ferengi Commerce Authority . . . they will not like a ship crewed by Star Fleet poking our nose into their business there.”

    “Consider this a chance to hone your diplomatic skills, Admiral,” Matt said with a wry smile.

    “And Republic?”

    “I’ll be taking her after whoever beamed away the colonists. We’ve got a transporter trace that might lead us to where they taken. Since we don’t know what we are dealing with here, Admiral, I might need some of that backup,” Matt finished with an unhappy expression on his face.

    “Agreed. I’ll also cut orders for Independence to get underway immediately. She can be there in eight days at maximum warp.”

    Matt raised an eyebrow. “A Sovereign? You are taking this seriously.”

    “Matt you are talking about someone who can beam twelve thousand people between star systems. We’ve met a few races, including the Dominion, with interstellar transporter technology, but not on this scale. But that is beside the point. Yes, pursue this matter, and find out where our people are—or if they are even still alive.”

    “And if they aren’t, Admiral?” Matt asked softly.

    “If it were up to me, I’d . . . damn, Matt," the Chief of Star Fleet Operations said, as he shook his head. "I'm not certain what I'd do. I will need to brief the President.”

    "We'll find them, Sir. And we will bring them home."

    “Godspeed, Captain Dahlgren—and good hunting.”

    Matt leaned back in his chair as the screen blanked and tapped his comm badge.

    “Dahlgren to Shrak.”


    “Status on our transfers to White Cloud?”

    Fifteen minutes and she will be ready for departure, Captain Dahlgren.”

    “Very well, Mister Shrak; I’ll be on the bridge shortly. Have Miss Montoya lay in a course along the path of the transport trace at the highest warp speed which allows Miss Tsien to detect its course. Engage as soon as the transfers are complete.”

    Aye, aye, Sir.”

    “And Chan?”


    “I want shields up and weapons manned and ready.”

    Aye, aye, Sir.”
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  8. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Sixteen (cont.)

    Sean Philips watch the view screen as Republic spun around and then quickly accelerated to warp on the trail of the transporter trace. The sparkle and flash of light as she broke the Warp barrier faded from the viewer, and then he turned around to face the handful of crewmen he had assembled on the bridge of the White Cloud.

    “All right, folks, we’ve a job to do—and that ship and the colonists are depending on us to do it right,” he said. “Mister Bowen; excuse me, Gerald,” Sean said with a smile, “we are going into the heart of darkness; a Ferengi trade world. Collect uniforms from everyone and seal them away in the ship’s vault.”

    One of the marines jerked. “This ship has a freaking vault?” she asked.

    “Yeah, Sandy,” Sean answered, shaking his head. “With thirty-five kilos of gold-pressed latinum stored inside. Among other things.”

    The Marines, Philips engineer’s, and Bowen shook their heads in shock. Crewman Herman Zapata blurted out, “That’s 3,500 hundred bars of latinum!”

    “Ah, Skipper,” one of the engineers cut in, “turn in our uniforms? Are we going naked then?”

    “Don’t you wish, Will,” muttered Sandy.

    Sean shook his head. “No, ladies and gentlemen. Civilian clothes—we aren’t Star Fleet anymore, we are Orion pirates! And speaking of which, I’ll need your comm badges as well.”

    He sat down a box of Orion wrist-comms. “Use these instead—I replicated them myself and each has a transporter beacon built in, and all the capabilities of our normal comm badges besides. Marines, there is a fully stocked armory with a hodge-podge of weapons—pick your own, but I don’t want to see Star Fleet phasers on every person; that’s not how the Orions roll.”

    “What about medical?” Gerald asked as he dropped his comm badge into the box, took one of the wrist-comms and locked it in place on his arm. “We don’t have a doctor, Commander.”

    “No ranks, Gerald. And not exactly on the doctor. Computer,” he said, “activate Emergency Medical Hologram.”

    There was a flash of light and a holographic image of a bald headed man dressed in Star Fleet uniform suddenly appeared on the bridge. “What is the nature of your medical emergency?” he asked, and then cocked his head to one side. “Star Fleet? Star Fleet! It’s about time you came to rescue me!”

    “An EMH! How the devil did the Orions get an EMH!” Bowen exclaimed.

    “They stole it; and this ship has holo-emitters everywhere; the doctor can travel throughout the ship, including the Jefferies tubes.”

    The hologram looked around and then his face fell, and he sighed. “I’m not going back to Star Fleet am I?” it asked.

    Sean grinned. “You are, but first we are going undercover.”

    “I’m a Doctor, damn it, not a spook!”

    “There are twelve thousand civilian lives at stake here, Doctor,” Sean answered. “We’ve got to track down Inderi and try and find them.”

    “Inderi? I met her the last time she came aboard—treated her for some radiation poisoning back on Havalis II. First time in months I’ve had to treat anything other than sexual transmitted diseases; you wouldn’t believe the things I have had to deal . . .”

    “I really don’t need to know this part, Doctor,” Sean said.

    “. . . with, being treated like a piece of furniture and not a highly skilled, trained surgeon and physician that I am; and now I get to pretend to be a undercover field agent . . .”

    “Computer, end EMH program,” Sean said, as the Doctor looked up at him sharply, and then faded out.

    “Annoying bugger, isn’t he?” The engineer shook her head and turned a serious face on his crew. “Get squared away, get changed, and get to your stations. We are moving out in ten minutes for Havalis. And don’t worry about the risk of contamination; your quarters were thoroughly disinfected before your arrival.”


    Sean walked through the doors to the spacious and luxuriously appointed ready room, aft of the bridge. He shook his head. The Orions really did like their creature comforts, he thought as he circled the marble desk, his booted feet sinking deep into the plush carpeting of the deck. He sat down in the chair, and jerked as the seat began to conform to precisely to his body—it was unnerving. He shook his head though.

    “Computer, activate EMH.”

    “Please state the nature of the medical emer . . . oh, it’s you again. Didn’t you get enough of a laugh by shutting me off in mid-sentence once?”

    “You said that you met Inderi?”

    “Yes. She didn’t talk much, but was in much better health than the original crew of this vessel—even with the radiation poisoning.”

    “Tell me about her.”

    The holographic doctor frowned. “I am bound by doctor-patient confidentiality. Medical ethics are a large part of my programming.”

    “And how’s your survival instincts, Doctor? I have a crack computer-man sitting out there would love to take a peek at your core programming.”

    “Threats? Can’t you solids interacts with holograms in any manner other than threats? You are as bad as the Orions, I have half a mind to rep . . .”

    “Doctor? Inderi?”

    The hologram sighed. “What do you want to know?”

    “Race, gender, height, weight—a picture would be good. Your impressions of her—why she was aboard this ship; that sort of thing.”

    “Well, she is a she: a female Antaran. Reasonably intelligent, but obviously a criminal who associates with the Orion Syndicates; although I got the impression that she was more of a free-lancer than part and parcel of the Orion mob.”

    The Doctor turned the captains monitor around and tapped a few keys, and then spun it back aground again, this time with a picture of an Antaran female on the screen. “That’s her height, weight, skin coloration, eye coloration, and cranial ridge patterns. I cannot, ethically tell any more of her medical condition than she was suffering from low levels of radiation poisoning.”

    “Exotic radiations?”

    “No, it appeared more to be leakage from her ship—an old Vulcan Warp-shuttle, Shirak-class, I think she said. The impulse engine shielding needs to be replaced, she’s being deluged with beta-particles; in low doses, of course, but over the long-term she will suffer serious medical side effects if she does not repair the engine.”

    “Anything else, Doctor?”

    “Oh, so you can ask nicely—that’s good to know. I was not privy to any of her conversations with Baron Jowar, or Shipmaster Palin. And she discussed nothing with me in sickbay except for her medical status. Well, we did talk a bit about her needing to make a long-distance flight in the shuttle after the ship returns to Havalis II. I, of course, recommended against such a flight until after the impulse shield has been replaced. But I do not believe she was planning on taking my advice.”

    “How long a flight, did she say?”

    “Eleven days at warp, she said.”

    Sean leaned back, and once again the seat began crawling over his back. He shook his head and stood up, activating his wrist-comm. “Gerald.”


    “Pull up the specs on the old Shirak-class warp shuttle; I want to know all possible destinations within eleven days of Havalis II at her maximum warp capacity. And configure the sensors to detect beta-emissions from a poorly maintained Shirak-class impulse engine.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”

    “Thank you Doctor, you have been most helpful.”

    “I am so happy that you feel that way, Sir. The chair is not to your liking?”

    “No; I’d rather have something a bit more solid.”

    The hologram sighed. “Computer, disable automatic metamorphic adaptations in Baron Jowar’s day-office. And now, you may deactivate me if there is not a real medical emergency at hand.”

    “Computer, end EMH.”

    Sean sat back down slowly, and this time the chair remained solid and firm. I’ll be, he thought.

    He keyed his wrist-comm again. “Zapata.”


    “Can you change the EMH’s appearance?”

    There was a pause. “I believe so, sir.”

    “Good. I’ll send you the physical profile of Baron Jowar—the previous owner of this vessel. Let’s make sure that Inderi gets to meet the good Baron once again."
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  9. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Seventeen

    “Captain’s Log, Stardate 53753.0, USS Republic. We have been trailing the abduction of the colonists from New Columbia for more than twelve hours now. As predicated by Miss Tsien, the transporter trace is grower weaker and weaker, forcing us to slow to Warp Three in order for our sensors to detect it. I have, of course, had Stellar Cartography plot the track forward to identify any star systems that lie within its path—and there are three that might be the origination point. I cannot, however, discount the possibility that the colonists were beamed aboard a ship of some sort, so we continue our slow progress searching for any evidence we can find.”

    “So far, we have not detected any signs that a ship was involved; having no trace of warp drives being in use in this region for the past forty-eight hours. I am tempted to simply bypass following the trace to investigate the systems ahead in more detail, but at the current rate of signature decay, we will only be able to detect the trace for another seven hours. No. On the chance that the colonists were beamed aboard a ship I will continue to follow this trace until it dissipates below the threshold of sensor sensitivity.”

    “The current plot draws close to the Romulan border, although it does not—quite—cross into their space. I suspect that our presence here, and the leisurely advance of Republic with every sensor onboard lit up has provoked questions among the border outposts. Although the Star Empire was our allies against the Dominion a short time ago, they remain as vigilant as ever at defending the slightest incursion into their space. Accordingly, I have directed that the crew remain at Condition Two under modified Yellow Alert, rotating on-and-off duty in four hour shifts, while maintaining raised shields and manned weapon stations.”

    “Computer, save log entry,” Matt said. He finished the last of a tall glass of iced tea and then he stood and limped over to his private head and relieved himself.


    “Mister Shrak, I have the conn,” Matt announced as he entered the confines of the bridge.

    The Andorian stood and he nodded as he stepped aside. “Captain has the conn.”

    “Any change?”

    “None, Captain Dahlgren; the trace continues to dissipate at the projected rates. No contacts—hostile or friendly—on long- or medium-range sensors. We are collecting a great deal of information on the Romulan border defenses, however—and some of their outposts are attempting to jam our sensors.”


    “Unsuccessfully, Captain.”

    “Very well, Chan; get some rack time. I’ll see you in four . . .”

    “CONTACT!” Barked out Pavel Roshenko from Tactical. “Romulan Warbird decloaking! Valdore-class, Captain; she has her shields raised and her weapons are armed. Sir; they are hailing us.”

    “Have they crossed the border, Mister Roshenko?”

    “No, sir.”

    “On screen, Mister Roshenko,” Matt said calmly, as Chan made his way to the Mission Ops console and took station behind it.

    The main viewer blanked and then projected the image of a Romulan Commander, seated in front of the Imperial Eagle of the Star Empire.

    “I am Commander Borahn, of the Warbird Nei’rrhael.”

    “And I am Matthew Dahlgren, Captain of the Federation starship Republic. What can we assist the Star Empire with today, Commander?”

    The Romulan folded his hands before him on the screen and adjusted his jaw. “We could not help but notice the . . . stately pace of your advance in parallel to our border, Captain Dahlgren.” And his features hardened. “And your probing of our outposts with your sensors. Both are most unusual for a Federation vessel; particularly here so far away from core systems.”

    “Ah, yes. I have decided to stroll through the Corridor, Commander Borahn, rather than sprint.”


    “Have you ever felt that sometimes the press of duty calls upon us all to rush by and ignore the majestic beauty of space, Commander? I am en route to the Cygnus sector, and have chosen to take a more leisurely speed to admire the stellar formations here.”

    “With your shields raised and your weapons armed? Most unusual for a vessel looking at the stars.”

    Matt chuckled. “I told you, Mister Shrak, that we couldn’t fool a Romulan.”

    “Yes, sir,” the executive officer answered, forcing his antennae to twitch. And the Romulan’s expression changed to one of consternation.

    “Some of my officers have proposed that you are spying on the Empire, Captain . . . this is not a laughing matter.”

    “Oh, we are not spying on the Star Empire, Commander. We are hoping to attract two rouge Ferengi marauders that have been preying on Federation and neutral shipping.”

    The jaw of the Romulan tightened again. “We have had no reports of any such marauders.”

    “The Ferengi choose weaker prey, Commander. Do you expect them to cross your border and assault your shipping?”

    Commander Borahn sat back, and the corner of his mouth lifted in a smile. “Your Federation is not weak, as much as I would rather not admit it.”

    “No, but we are stretched thin—as is the Star Empire. And we normally do not answer a Ferengi overreach with plasma torpedoes—as does the Star Empire.”

    “You speak the truth, Captain. But I fail to see what you hope to achieve . . . your vessel is a relic of times long ago; two marauders with capable Damons will make short work of you.”

    “That is quite simple, Commander Borahn—we’re bait.”

    The Romulan squinted. “Bait? Bait implies a fisherman; yet you are alone.”

    “Perhaps not as alone as you might think, Commander.”

    “Captain, our sensors do not lie—your ship is the only Federation vessel in this quadrant.”

    “Did I say that our fishermen were Federation, Commander?”

    “No, but I doubt that Martok would send a ship so far.”

    “Gowron would not have . . . but Gowron is now dead, Commander Borahn. And Chancellor Martok realizes the debt that the Klingon Empire owes to the Federation.”

    “Still, a bird of prey or two will not avail you against . . . any attacker.”

    “Again you make assumptions, Commander. A Bat’lah-class battle cruiser is neither weak nor decrepit.”

    The Romulan leaned forward, one eyebrow raised. “A Bat’lah? The Klingons, not even that foolish Martok would send such a powerful ship so far for Ferengi.”

    He sat back. “I have half a mind to cross the border, and see for myself, Captain, just what your intentions truly are.”

    “That would be most unwise, Commander Borahn. Mister Shrak, signal the Valqis and ask Captain Krull to launch his attack the moment Nei’rrhael crosses into Federation space. Mister Roshenko, arm photon torpedoes.”

    Borahn sat back and folded his hands together again. “I think you are bluffing, Captain.”

    “Yes, because the Federation has never confronted the Star Empire with cloaked Klingon battle cruisers in support.”

    For several moments neither captain said a word, and then Borahn nodded. “Continue your stroll, Captain Dahlgren—but do not stray such much as one micron across our border.”

    The screen blanked, replaced by the stars streaking by as the Romulan Warbird cut off their transmission.

    “They are altering course on a heading back into the interior of Romulan space, Captain,” Pavel reported.

    “Secure torpedoes, Mister Roshenko. Mister Shrak,” Matt said with a smile. “Hail the Valqis again and inform Captain Krull he may stand down.”

    “With pleasure, Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian answered, his antennae aquiver.


    “Hold still!” the holographic doctor said as ran the dermal knitter across the long and ragged tear in Chief Mayhew’s shin. “How did anyone as clumsy as you ever pass the Star Feet physical in the first place? Stepping into empty space because you expected an Orion smuggler to have a personnel lift like Star Fleet engineering does? Hah! This crew made do with ladders. But at least you are not depleting my supply of anti-biotics and anti-virals.”

    “I suppose you are going to want pain medication as well?” He finished with his hands on his hips, glaring at the engineering tech.

    The doors to the small, well-furnished sick bay slid open and Sean walked in. “How is he?”

    “He will be fine; it is just a shallow gash in his right leg and a bump on his head—not to mention the dislocated shoulder where Ensign Park grabbed hold and keep him from falling onto the warp reactor.”

    “Sorry, siRAAAAH!” the tech yelped as the Doctor placed his hands on the shoulder joint and popped it back into place.

    “There. Now would you like an analgesic to go with that?”

    “Did you finish those power conversions, I asked you for?” Sean continued, trying to distract the crewman from the pain.

    “No, sir. I don’t see how they managed to get a civilian power profile out of the engines! That thing is so over-powered, New Columbia should have spotted them a light-year out . . . and I don’t know how we are going to just sneak in past the Ferengi at Havalis II.”

    “Why don’t you use the cloaking device?” the Doctor asked as he placed the tech’s arm into a sling.

    Sean’s eyes bulged from his head. “What cloaking device?”

    “The cloaking device that the Orions used to get into orbit around New Columbia; one of the Orions mentioned it was an older Klingon model they got second hand,” the Doctor continued as he adjusted the sling. “There. Take two aspirin and don’t call me unless it is an emergency.”

    Sean slowly counted to ten. “Doctor. Where is the cloaking device?”

    The hologram frowned. “How should I know, I’m a doctor not an engineer. Could you shut me down on your way out? And turn off the lights; waste not, want not, and all of that, you know.”

    The Doctor looked from Sean to the tech and back again, puzzled at the expressions on their faces.

    “What? Was it something I said?”


    “It was concealed behind a workstation in engineering, Sir,” Gerald Bowen said, shaking his head in disbelief. “They tore out the tertiary bank of containment field generators for the warp core in order to hide it.”

    Sean Philip’s jaw dropped. “Are they insane?”

    “That I don’t know, Sir. They rigged the control panels for the tertiary safeties to duplicate the readouts for the secondaries—which is why we didn’t notice the backups weren’t working. The compartment was lined with monotanium shielding as well; it would have been almost impossible to find on a cursory inspection.”

    “And the control circuits?”

    “Hidden in the Engineering 2 station. I’d would not recommending using it unless absolutely necessary, however.”

    “I doubt that is because of the Treaty of Algeron, Mister Bowen; so what else is wrong with this cloak?”

    “It’s a first generation Klingon device, Sir. Like those they installed on the original flight of the Bird of Prey scouts. But the Orions didn’t have the room to properly shield the cloak or the plasma shunt providing it with power; if we take a hit while cloaked, it could cause a resonance in the EPS plasma conduits that could blow out half the engineering hull.”

    “They just left out the safeties? Even the Klingons aren’t that crazy!”

    “To be fair, the Klingons use cloaking devices in combat—this one isn’t set up for that purpose. It seems to be intended to bypass perimeter sensor arrays and allow the ship to get within transporter range of its destination. In fact, the power drain of this cloak is so high that it would take fifteen seconds to reconfigure the power conduits in order to activate our shields or disruptors—after decloaking.”

    Sean winced. “That shouldn’t be a problem; I’m not planning on taking this ship into combat!”

    The Orion wrist-comm on Sean’s arm beeped. “Go,” he said as he pressed a stud.

    We’ve got the shuttle on long-range sensors—it’s moving towards us, ETA three minutes.

    “Set General Quarters, I’m on my way to the bridge.”

    Sean and Gerald moved through the sliding doors onto the bridge proper. “Take us to impulse, Mister Sykes. Zapata, have you finished those modifications?”

    “I believe so, Sir.”

    “Computer, activate EMH.”

    The hologram sprang to life, taking on the appearance of the former owner of the White Cloud.

    “Please state the nature of your medi . . . oh. My,” the Doctor stuttered, examining his hands, and then he slowly lifted them and began to feel his face, and the enormous belly that protruded from his abdomen. “What have you done to me?”

    “Doctor, we need you to establish contact with Inderi.”

    “You altered my basic program! Changed my body matrix—how can I even hold a hypospray with these pudgy digits!” He shrieked, waving ten fat fingers, causing that massive belly to ripple. “I’ll be laughed out of service; how can I lecture the crew on physical health when I’m carrying 187 kilograms of excess body fat!”

    Sean frowned. “It is temporary, Doctor. Just make contact with Inderi.”

    “And ask her if she wants an examination? I’m a doctor, not . . .”

    “You are member of a Star Fleet crew, Doctor!” Sean snapped. “And there are twelve thousand lives at stake here!”

    The hologram blinked once, and then twice. “Well. Never let it be said that a hologram didn’t do his duty to the Federation. What should I say?”

    Zapata cleared his throat. “It’s all written out on this PAD, Doctor; ah, I mean Baron.”

    “Your Grace,” the Doctor said absently as he took the PAD and began reviewing his lines.

    “Excuse me?”

    “Baron Jowar prefers to be addressed as ‘Your Grace’. Although from what I gather, the title was bestowed on him not for any noble qualities but for his success in criminal endeavors.”

    “The shuttle is dropping out of warp, Skipper,” Sykes called out from the helm.

    “Hail her, and put it on screen. You’re on, Your Grace.”

    On the main viewer an image of Inderi suddenly snapped into focus, and her grey face was pinched. “You are late!”

    “And you will address me by my title, Inderi,” the Doctor said pompously.

    “What was the delay?”

    “I am waiting.”

    “Your Grace, what was the delay?”

    “Our engines suffered a . . . problem. We had to drop out of warp to conduct repairs.”

    “Was the delivery made on schedule?”


    “And you retrieved the device?”


    She relaxed. “Good. There is a Federation starship too close for comfort in this sector; and I had feared that you might have been caught.”

    “Never fear, Jowar is here,” the Doctor said with a rumbling laugh. “I have never been caught, Inderi—a fact that you should know well.”

    The Antaran nodded slowly, and then the hologram cocked his head. “Those lesions appear fresh; have you been taking the medications my physician prescribed?”

    “Stick to the script!” Sean whispered in a rough voice.

    “I’ll live,” the smuggler answered. “You know, Jowar, I half expected that you would be irate that you were used to remove an entire Federation colony.”

    “A deal’s a deal, Inderi. I expect to be well compensated for the risks I took.”

    Sykes turned around. “We’ve got a lock, Skipper,” he whispered.

    “Energize,” said Sean. And a transporter beam reached out from White Cloud and enveloped Inderi, dematerializing her. “Corporal, have we got her?”

    Aye, aye, Sir. She’s in the brig and pretty vocal about being double-crossed.

    “I’ll be down there directly. Gerald, take a couple of the crew across and vacuum out her computers. Search that shuttle stem-to-stern, as well. Zapata, you’re with them.”

    “What about me?” the Doctor asked. “I want my body back.”

    “Later, Doctor,” Sean said as he moved to the turbolift.

    “Later? I can’t do my job like this. You have to res . . .”

    “Computer, end EMH program,” Sean said as he stepped into the turbolift.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  10. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Seventeen (cont.)

    Bridge to Captain Dahlgren,” the intercom announced. “Bridge to Captain Dahlgren.

    Matt dragged himself out of a sound sleep, and tapped his comm badge reflexively. “Go ahead,” he said sluggishly, as he shook his head to clear away the cobwebs of his slumber.

    Captain,” Chan’s voice continued over the communicator. “Lt. Commander Tsien has located the origination point of the transporter beam; we will arrive at the location in two minutes.

    Matt glanced at the time index on the display set beside his bed. And then he frowned. “The beam originated from deep space?”

    Yes, Sir. According to Miss Tsien.

    “Very well, Chan. Take us out of warp and prepare to launch probes—I want a complete survey of both normal and sub-space in the immediate area. I’ll be on the bridge momentarily.”

    Matt slowly sat up, wincing as his leg cramped, and he slowly kneaded the thigh until the muscles relaxed. He picked up his cane and gingerly stood, and then began to walk towards the door out of his quarters. He stopped for a moment before a mirror, combing his hair black down, and straightening his uniform; then he continued out into the corridor of Deck Three and into the turbolift set directly across the corridor.

    “Bridge,” Matt said as the doors whistled closed. The turbolift swooshed back along the spine of Republic, and then quickly moved up before the doors opened onto the bridge. The captain limped out and moved over towards his chair, where Chan was standing up.

    “I have the conn.”

    “Captain has the conn,” Chan intoned in the ritual reply as the ship slowed to impulse power, and Matt sat down.

    “All stop, Miss Montoya,” he ordered.

    “All stop, aye, aye, Sir,” the helmsman answered. “Thrusters at station-keeping.”

    “Initiate a full sensor sweep, Miss Tsien—long-, medium-, and short-range arrays, as well as the lateral-sensors. Mister Roshenko, prepare to launch a probe shell.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” the two bridge officers answered.

    Matt looked down at this own displays, repeating the data streaming into the Science station. The transporter trace did abruptly end, just two hundred kilometers dead ahead. Not dissipate; the trace simply stopped. This had to be the location from which the beam had been engaged.

    But the space immediately around Republic was empty, except for a few stray atoms of hydrogen common to the interstellar deeps of this region.

    “Warp signatures, Miss Tsien?”

    “None, Captain. But I am detecting an ionization trail that is very similar to our impulse drives,” the Science Officer frowned. “But this can’t be correct. The levels of radiated and ionized gas are far larger than a single ship could produce.”

    “How much larger, Miss Tsien?”

    “Captain,” she started, and then she shook her head. “Sir, it would take a thousand ships with the impulse power of Republic to leave a trail this significant.”

    “Probes are prepped and ready for launch, Captain,” said Pavel Roshenko.

    “Spherical search pattern, Mister Roshenko. Sensor pallets on active scan, with telemetry back to Republic. Miss Montoya, rotate the ship as necessary to the launch the probes on proper vectors.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir,” Isabella answered.

    “First pattern is launching,” Pavel said, and Republic quivered as four probes streaked away from the forward launchers.

    Chan stepped forward besides Matt’s chair and he leaned down. “The Council will have a cow when they discover how many probes we have deployed, Captain Dahlgren. I really must endeavor to get a copy of the hearing when they find out—some of them might even suffer a stroke from the expense.”

    The corner of Matt’s mouth twisted slightly into a smile. “Here’s to Ambassador Mar having the soul of a miser and a weak heart, Chan.”

    “We can only hope, Sir.”

    “Launching sequence two,” announced Pavel, as Republic shivered a second time. The turbolift doors opened and Yeoman Sinclair walked in with a large ceramic mug on a tray, along with a small glass of water. “Since the Captain did not have time for a proper breakfast, perhaps he would like some hot cocoa?”

    Matt chuckled and shook his head, but he took the steaming mug. “Thank you, Nancy.”

    “And Doctor Talbot asked that I ensure you take these tablets,” the captain’s self-appointed watchdog said, holding out a small foil package.

    Matt took the foil package, popped out two small white tablets and placed them in his mouth, and then took the small glass of water his yeoman held out, washing them down his throat.

    “That will be all, Nancy,” Matt said as Chan giggled—the hard-nosed, stern as nails Andorian actually giggled like a giddy school girl.

    “Chief Watannabe should have your real breakfast ready in half an hour, Sir.”

    “CONTACT! Probe three, heading 032, mark 004! Range . . . 40 AU.”

    “Hold off on that breakfast, Miss Sinclair. Mister Roshenko, can you identify?”

    “She’s not in our warbook, Sir. And she’s big.”

    How big?”

    “Bloody huge, Sir; with more internal volume than a Borg cube. Visuals are coming through telemetry now.”

    “On screen.”

    The main viewer blanked and then showed an elongated cylinder, with a cluster of impulse engines at the rear coasting through space. Irregular protrusions covered the hull, along radiators, sensor arrays, and . . . weapons. Lots of weapons.”

    “Overall length 7,274 meters, with a beam and a height of 2,744 meters. Hull composition is monotanium/duranium alloy, rendering our long-range sensors ineffective. She maintaining a sub-light speed of 0.75c; sir, I’m not detecting any signatures consistent with a warp drive and there are no neutrino emissions typical of matter-antimatter reactions.”

    Chan jerked, and his antennae shrank slightly. “No warp drives? Are you suggesting that is a generation ship, Lieutenant?”

    Before Pavel could answer, Amanda spoke up. “Sir, Science is analyzing the sensor data now—there are over three hundred and fifty thousand separate life forms on board that ship! Including at least ten thousand humans.”


    Pavel shook his head. “She’s covered with weapon stations, Sir. But they are all lasers and early phase cannons—and she doesn’t have a shield grid. But I am detecting a structural integrity field of very high strength.”

    Matt stared at the ship on screen for a few moments, and then he nodded. “Mister Malik,” he said as he hit a stud on his chair arm. “Have you managed to finish that little project I asked you about?”

    “Ready to go on-line at your order, Sir,” the Trill responded.

    “Then activate the inhibitor. Chan, set General Quarters throughout the ship and sound Red Alert—Miss Montoya, plot an interception course at Warp 2, drop us to impulse six hundred kilometers away and match course and speed with the alien vessel. Let’s go meet these people, and find out why they thought it a good idea to abduct our citizens.”

    “Course plotted, Captain,” Isabella answered.

    “Mister Shrak, record and transmit to Star Fleet Command, send a copy to Admiral Hansen, as well the starships Arrogant, Balao, and Independence. We have located what appears to be the origination point of the transporter beam involved in the New Columbia abduction. It is a board a sub-light ship—perhaps a generation ship—that is heavily armed, but only with late-generation lasers and early phase cannons. The vessel does not match any in Republics databanks and may be an example of a civilization heretofore not contacted by the Federation. I am initiating First Contact protocols and will investigate the matter further; coordinates and all technical data gathered by sensors on the vessel to this date will be appended to this transmission. Matthew Dahlgren, commanding officer, USS Republic.”

    “Recorded and ready for transmission, Captain Dahlgren,” Chan confirmed.

    “Send it, Mister Shrak. Mister Roshenko,” the captain continued as Chan transmitted the message and Matt kept staring the sensor data collected by the probe. “Am I wrong or does that vessel mount no missile or torpedo launchers?”

    “None that we can detect, Sir.”

    Matt frowned and he typed in a few queries into the computer database, and then he looked back up the screen and shook his head. “Take the torpedo launchers off-line and safe the weapons, Mister Roshenko.”


    “Mister Shrak, presume that you are the commanding officer of that vessel; you encounter Republic and a fight ensues. Further presume that you have no experience with photon torpedoes and their resonance when targeted by high-energy weapon systems.”

    Chan nodded. “With that interlocking array of short-ranged weaponry, Captain Dahlgren, and presuming no prior knowledge of photonic shockwave detonations, I would possibly use my weapons as point-defense to intercept the torpedo before it managed to complete its run.”

    “And the resulting damage from multiple photonic shockwaves at say, fifty thousand kilometers?”

    “Without shields? Their structural integrity field would dampen some of the blast, but they would sustain major—perhaps critical—damage to the vessel’s hull, possibly even breaking the spine in half. Depending, of course, on the level of internal reinforcement of the major structural members.”

    “Mister Roshenko, if that scenario were to play out, how many of the New Columbia colonists could we beam aboard ship before fuel fires and internal secondary detonations tore her to pieces?”

    “Not many, Sir.”

    “No, not many, Mister Roshenko. And even if we had the time to beam them all aboard we simply do not have sufficient volume aboard this ship for twelve thousand refugees. Not to mention the three hundred thousand plus other sentient beings that such an event would condemn.”

    “Torpedo launchers are now off-line, Captain, and the weapons have been safed.”

    “Thank you Mister Roshenko. Miss Montoya, take us to Warp 2 and intercept that vessel.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”

    Republic smoothly made the transition to faster than light speeds, and she rapidly ate up the distance between her previous position and the lumbering alien. And then she slowed once more.

    “Holding at six hundred thousand kilometers, Captain.”

    “Thank you, Miss Montoya. Mister Shrak, hail the vessel on all sub-space and EM frequencies.”

    “Her weapon systems are coming on-line, Captain,” Pavel tersely chimed in from tactical. “And she has polarized her hull plating.”

    Matt rotated his chair and cocked an eyebrow at Chan, who slowly nodded. “That matches with her observed weaponry, Captain Dahlgren—but will offer little protection against modern phasers.”

    “Is she taking evasive action, Miss Biddle?”

    “Negative, Sir. She is continuing on course for New Columbia.”

    “At this speed, Miss Biddle, how long until she reaches New Columbia?”

    “Seventeen years at her current sub-light velocity, Captain. Give or take a few months.”

    Matt nodded slowly. “No response to our hails.”

    “Captain Dahlgren,” said Chan, “we are being probed by sensors from the vessel. They are attempting to achieve a transporter lock on our crew.”

    “Not precisely the response I had hoped for, Mister Shrak. Is Mister Malik’s inhibitor functioning?”

    “Affirmative, Sir. Their transporter system cannot lock onto us at this time.”

    “Hail them again.”

    Chan pressed a few keys and then the shook his head. “No response. Correction, they have increased transporter power by a factor of six.”

    Matt frowned. “Mister Roshenko. Put a full-power one second burst from the starboard dorsal phaser array across their bow—one kilometer separation.”

    “Firing phasers, Captain,” the tactical officer called out.

    “They have ceased their attempt to acquire a transporter lock, Captain. SIR! They are beaming a warhead into space just outside the inhibitor field off our starboard side!”

    “Evasive action, Miss Montoya! All power to starboard and aft shields!”

    “Brace for impact!” Chan broadcast as Republic sprinted away from the warhead. And then the ship shook as the device exploded. “Conventional fusion explosive, Captain, highly radioactive, yield in the fifty megaton range,” the executive officer continued in a clipped voice. “Shields are holding at 96%.”

    “More transporter traces, Sir,” Pavel called out, “I am detecting another eight warheads bracketing us!”

    “Warp speed, Miss Montoya!”

    Republic jumped into warp, leaving behind the thermonuclear flares of eight new suns.

    “Take her back to impulse power at three million kilometers, Miss Montoya.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”

    Matt rubbed his dry lips, and only now noticed that he knocked his mug of cocoa across the deck. “Damage reports?”

    “There is minor radiation contamination to the secondary hull and nacelles—no physical damage.”

    “Is the probe still in sensor range, Mister Roshenko?”

    “Yes, sir—and we must be beyond that vessel’s own sensor reach. The probe is showing she is standing down her weapon systems.”

    Matt nodded. “Miss Tsien, Mister Roshenko, Mister Shrak. I want a full tactical and science analysis of that vessel from what our own sensors showed during that encounter. Mister Roshenko, I want four stealth probes alongside that ship, giving us real-time telemetry via sub-space. Make it fast, people; department head briefing in two hours—and I want answers by then.”

    The Captain stood and he braced his weight on his cane. “Miss Biddle, you have the conn—any detection of a transporter beam and you are authorized to evade or go to warp on your own initiative—don’t wait for my order. I’ll be in my ready room.”
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  11. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Eighteen

    Two Marines escorted the shackled Antaran into the small conference room aboard White Cloud. Sean remained seated as they brought her in and sat her down at the opposite end of the table, scrolling through page after page of information recovered from her shuttlecraft.

    Finally, he looked up and glared at the furious woman. “You have been busy—Feringil Delon.”

    Inderi jerked slightly, and her lips quavered. “Who? My name is Inderi . . .”

    “We’ve cracked your computer encryptions, Madam Delon, and DNA doesn’t lie. You are Feringil Delon, also known as Jaspari, also known as Melan Tour, also known as Lindsey Krait, also known as Inderi. There are warrants for your arrest on four dozen separate charges on four of these identities . . . and there will soon be one issued for you role in what occurred at New Columbia.”

    Sean closed the monitor screen and he met the eyes of the smuggler and criminal facing him. “There is no escape this time, Madame Delon; you will spend the rest of your natural life span on a penal colony undergoing rehabilitation. Unless . . .”

    Inderi’s eyes grew wide and she looked up at that last word. “Unless?” she croaked.

    “Unless you tell us everything about the people who abducted our colonists from New Columbia.”

    The Antaran swallowed. “I want a full and complete pardon for my past crimes.”



    “No, Inderi. What I will do is this: if your information is truthful and it helps us resolve this crisis, I will let you and your shuttle go. We are not in Federation space, after all. You can continue to live your life on the fringe of civilization, or you can you go to Hell. It makes no difference to me. But that offer is contingent on retrieving the colonists safe and sound, Inderi.”

    “You need my information—and your offer is not good enough to pay for it.”

    Sean sat back and he snorted. “USS Republic has already found your allies, Inderi; the sub-light generation ship that beamed away the colonists. You value your information too highly, ignoring the fact that it has a very real and very finite duration of viability. Three more starships are on their way, and White Cloud will be joining them. With or without you, Inderi, we will retrieve our colonists. Frankly, my dear, I hope that you reject my offer because the universe will benefit from your incarceration.”

    Inderi swallowed. “You are bluffing. You haven’t encountered . . . them.”

    Sean nodded and he pressed a stud, and the technical details recovered by Republic flashed into existence onto the wall mounted view screen. Inderi blanched, and her head fell.

    “I don’t bluff, Madame Delon. My offer is good for the next sixty seconds. What is your choice?”


    “Did she talk, skipper?” asked Gerald as Sean exited the turbolift unto the bridge.

    “She sang like a songbird, Mister Bowen. Helm, set course to rendezvous with the Republic; make your speed Warp 9.9.”

    But Sean’s face was tense and pursed. Gerald moved close and he leaned down to the older engineer. “Was it that bad, skipper?” he softly asked.

    “Worse. Much worse, Mister Bowen. They don’t just want the planet; no these aliens needed the human beings of New Columbia to restore genetic diversity that their own DNA has lost over thousands of years of inbreeding. They plan on disassembling our colonists on the molecular level to develop a treatment for their genetic disorders. They aren’t hostages—they are medicinal supplies. Expendable medicinal supplies.”

    “Warp drives on-line, skipper,” the helmsman said.



    “They are called the Nephkyrie. I discovered them . . . yes, I found them three years ago. When all of the might of the Federation and the Romulans and the Klingons and the Cardassians and the Dominion had not; I found them. My shuttle was having engine problems, and . . . there was the matter of a Ferengi ship hounding me. I came out of warp in deep space, far from any system, far from any reason . . . and there they were.”

    “You are fools if you think them primitive. They are not. No, their home ships do not have warp drive, but they have warp-capable shuttles contained within—shuttles as large as some of your Federation starships. They were never warlike, or violent, but they are old, Commander. Old beyond all meaning. They roamed the stars before the first Vulcans awakened to question the universe; they explored and they learned when humanity huddled in caves and wore dirty hides to stay warm.”

    “I was scanned, and taken aboard, and for six days they didn’t even speak with me—as if I were nothing to them. Until, finally, I was told I wasn’t compatible. Yes, they examined me to see if my species could suit their purposes, for their long voyage is finally drawing to a close. Most of their people sleep in stasis; but that only slows the aging and the decay, it does not bring it to a halt. Their genetic structure has progressed to the point where it no longer reliably transfers its chromosomes to the next generation; they have outlived their own bodies.”

    “Well, I have always been a trader. I offered to help them find a race that was compatible.”

    A question was asked from off-screen, and Inderi shook her head.

    “What did I care—my own people aren’t suitable. I have brought them samples of Denobulans, Vulcans, Romulans, Klingons, Cardassians, Ferengi, Bolians, Efrosians, and finally . . . at long last, they discovered that it was human DNA which could restore their own ability to reproduce. Of course, a single human can only provide enough . . . raw material . . . to inoculate perhaps a score of Nephkyrie. They needed more, many, many more.”

    “And they needed a new home where they could—and those following after them—could settle.”

    More questions, and Inderi laughed.

    “They tell me that in the last years of their planet, of their civilization, the Nephkyrie began to construct a fleet such as this galaxy has never before seen. Nearly one hundred of their ponderous vessels were built and millions of their people were loaded on board. Launched one after the other in a stream of refugees through space and time . . . until they found a world that resembled their home of so long ago and so very, very far away.”

    “They claimed that world a hundred generations ago, but like the rats of this galaxy have you humans scurried to every world and every system you can find, claiming it and its treasures, leaving other races without.”

    “Not this time. I found the compatible race, and I was to be rewarded . . . transformed into a Nephkyrie. I hired the Orions to deliver the beacon, to cleanse New Columbia of your colonists. And you cannot stop them. You do not even know what they are capable of doing.”

    Chan Shrak shut down the view screen aboard the Briefing Room of USS Republic. “She refused to speak any further with Commander Philips, and has been returned to her brig cell. White Cloud is en route as we speak and will rendezvous with us here within the next hour; Balao is still at least eighteen hours away, with Arrogant arriving in sixty-two hours, followed by Independence thirteen hours afterwards.”

    Matt nodded and he tapped his stylus on the table. “Thank you, Mister Shrak. People, we have very little time and I want options; options that will allow us to rescue those colonists alive, if at all possible. I want a full analysis of all data we have so far collected; in addition, I want Science and Medical to go over Inderi’s testimony in detail and try to reverse engineer what these . . . Nephkyrie are trying to accomplish. Mister Malik have you been able to extend the radius of your transporter inhibitor?”

    “Yes, sir. I think we have managed to push it out far enough that those transporter-conveyed warheads won’t be able to damage our shields—but expanding the field has also weakened it. They might be able to punch through.”

    “I want Engineering and Tactical to run simulations; take the maximum transporter power they showed us they can produce and increase it by a factor of 10. Mister Roshenko, I want you to do your best to get through the inhibitor—exhaust every possible scenario. The last thing we need is for them to beam a fusion warhead directly aboard this vessel.”

    “Mister Shrak, Miss Biddle. I want you two focused on working with the rest of the Science department on finding the weak points of that ship. If we can take out her main power reactors, then she might not have enough reserve generation capacity to pose as great a threat. And figure out precisely how we are going to be able to house that many colonists on just five ships.”

    Matt paused and he looked carefully over his officers. And then he firmly nodded. “Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get to work.”
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  12. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Eighteen (cont.)

    “Mister Philips, welcome back,” Matt said as he stood to welcome the Starfleet engineer back aboard ship. “Enjoying your first command?”

    Sean grimaced. “She’s not exactly the sort of ship I was expecting, Captain. Still, I think Intelligence will want to go over her in detail—seems the Orions have been busy at acquiring proprietary technology again.”

    “No doubt, Commander,” Matt answered as he led Sean out of the transporter room and to the closest turbo-lift. “Deck 6.”

    The engineer shook his head. “Deck 6? Not the briefing room?”

    “No, Doctor Talbot has some questions for your EMH; Mister Malik has set up a telemetry link to White Cloud so that he can be activated in Holodeck 1. I thought it would be best to get your impressions at the same time.”

    “Ah, Captain, you should know . . .” Sean began as the turbolift came to a halt and the doors opened. “The EMH is rather annoyed.”

    “Yes, the Mk I tended to come across as rather abrasive, don’t worry about that, Commander.”

    “No, sir. I mean annoyed at me.”

    Matt stopped and he turned around to look at Sean. “Oh?”

    “We had to adjust his appearance to fool Inderi. He didn’t like that.”

    Now the Captain frowned. “I don’t imagine that he did. No one cares to have their body altered. And I would imagine that he told you that.”

    “Yes, sir. Repeatedly.”

    Matt tapped his cane against the deck, and then he turned and continued limping towards the Holodeck. The doors slid aside at his approach and he, followed by Sean, stepped within. Rather than the black plating with yellow girds of an inactive Holodeck, Dr. Talbot already had the basic program running—a duplicate the Chief Medical Officer’s office.


    “Captain, Commander.”


    Matt tapped his comm badge. “Mister Malik, we are ready when you are.”

    Activating the system,” the chief engineer said over the link.

    The holographic doctor suddenly materialized. “Please state the nature of the med . . . this is different,” he finished in a surprised voice. And then he sighed and held up his massive pudgy hands. “And I am still an obese Orion crime lord.”

    Matt frowned, and he turned to glare at Sean. “You didn’t restore his original programming?”

    “We haven’t exactly had the time, Sir. I was planning . . .”

    “Dahlgren to Crewman Zapata.”

    Zapata here.

    “Mister Zapata, how long exactly will it take you to restore the Emergency Medical Hologram to its original parameters—while preserving its accumulated memory?”

    An hour, perhaps less.

    “You have thirty minutes, Mister Zapata,” Matt said curtly and then he directed his gaze at Sean once again. “You could not spare an hour, Mister Philips?”

    “Captain Dahlgren, it’s only a hologram—not something that has feelings.”

    “Mister Philips, the Emergency Medical Hologram is an extremely advanced piece of technology. I have read the classified reports Star Fleet Command has intermittently received from Voyager, and I can tell you that this hologram is far more than its creators ever intended for it to be. He is a member of the ship’s crew—a Star Fleet officer that deserves to be treated with respect and common decency.”

    Matt turned to the program. “You have my apologies, Doctor, for the . . . inconveniences you have suffered.”

    The hologram swallowed. “Apologies accepted, Captain Dahlgren. Am I no longer aboard the White Cloud?”

    “Welcome aboard the USS Republic, Doctor,” the corner of Matt’s mouth twisted and then he smiled a crooked smile. “There are many doctors aboard my ship—what is your name?”

    “Name? I wasn’t given one.”

    “We will correct that then, Doctor . . . who? Let me think,” Matt said as he rubbed his sore leg.

    “You are not get . . .” Quincy began, at the same time as the hologram asked “Is there an actual medi . . .” and then both stopped and looked at each other.

    “He’s my patient,” Quincy growled.

    “I was only asking, Doctor . . .”

    “Talbot. Quincy Talbot, chief medical officer.”

    “Ah, yes. I read your paper on neurosurgical restoration of Trill symbiotic nervous tissue resulting from improperly balanced transporter fields. Might we discuss that in detail some time, Doctor Talbot?”

    “Of course.”

    Matt grinned. “How does Dr. Robert Woolsey grab you, Doctor?”

    The hologram frowned. “I am not familiar with a historical medical figure by that name.”

    “He delivered my three daughters, and was my family physician until his retirement last year.”

    “Ah,” the hologram said, before he looked down at the deck. “Woolsey . . . Robert Woolsey. Rob. Robby. Bob. Bobby. No. Robert. Robert Woolsey, medical hologram, at your service, Captain Dahlgren.”

    Sean shook his head. “Captain we don’t have time for this.”

    “Mister Philips. We have ample time to greet this ship’s newest crew member.”

    Quincy jerked up. “Now wait just a damn minute . . .”

    “Stow it Quincy. You were telling me last week how much Republic needs a third board-certified surgeon in case we get into combat again. Star Fleet won’t assign a third surgeon; not aboard a ship this size—and you know it. Doctor Woolsey here, he is available and he is now your third-shift on-call trauma specialist.”

    “The ship isn’t set up to handle an EMH!” Sean blurted out. And Matt turned back to him and glared.

    “Then it is a really good thing we still have your engineers. I want sickbay outfitted with holoprojectors, in addition to all of the medical labs and department offices, main engineering, the bridge, and the brig. And once that installation is complete, I want his program transferred aboard. You are capable of undertaking this task, are you not, Mister Philips?”

    “I am,” the engineer replied through a clenched jaw.

    “Good. However,” the captain continued as he turned back to the hologram. “It may be a while before we can do this, Doctor Woolsey. Right now, Doctor Talbot needs to ask you some questions about Inderi and anything she may have revealed concerning the Nephkyrie. And aboard this ship Doctor, you will be treated properly.”

    “Thank you, Captain. I would honored to serve under a real Star Fleet officer. I can’t recall her mentioning the . . . Nephkyrie by name. What exactly are the Nephkyrie?”

    “An alien race—the one that abducted the New Columbia colonists. Doctor Talbot will fill in all of the details.”

    “Ah. She did ask me to run an analysis on a tissue sample collected in a tricorder—a sample that does not match any known species.”

    “Is it still in the memory banks of the White Cloud?” Quincy asked sharply.

    “Yes. Of course.”

    Matt smiled as the older doctor inhaled. “In that case, Doctors, I’ll let you both get to work. Commander Philips, Mister Shrak has a detailed briefing for you. That second-hand Klingon cloak might just come in handy.”


    Matt taped his stylus against the table and frowned. “Are you telling me that we ignored another race’s claim on New Columbia, Miss Tsien?”

    Looks of shock went around the table following the science officer’s statement and the Captain’s question, but Amanda shook her head.

    “Not exactly, Sir. I had Lieutenant Shalmut, the head of my Social Sciences Division, go back over every record we have of the initial exploration and colonization efforts at New Columbia. USS Constellation surveyed the system back in 2337 and her report indicates that three probes of alien origin were discovered in orbit around the planet we eventually settled as New Columbia. Or rather, that he discovered the remains of three probes. The devices were very old and had no power, but were in a stable geo-synchronous orbit over the planet.”

    “No evidence was uncovered to suggest that the planet had indeed been claimed by another race—until after the initial colony settlement in 2344. Two years later, the colonists discovered an obelisk some eighty kilometers from the initial colony site. The obelisk displayed the same technology as the probes found in orbit, but the language on the obelisk proved to be undecipherable. The Science Council did dispatch a team to New Columbia to investigate the matter further, but were unable to discover any additional artifacts—and they concluded that due to the age and lack of further evidence that whatever race had left them behind did not intend on colonizing the planet.”

    “Our analysis of the beacon recovered from the colony confirms that the Nephkyrie are indeed the race that launched the probes and landed the obelisk.”

    Matt nodded. “Legal claims on the system aside, there is still the not-so-small matter of our colonists. Thank you, Miss Tsien. Doctor Talbot?”

    “The tissue samples gathered by Inderi have been thoroughly analyzed by Medical, Captain. We have identified what is causing their chromosomal decay—and why they think that human DNA can restore it. The Delphi-3,4 protein string of Chromosome 17 has suf . . .”

    “Simple English, Doctor,” Matt said dryly, causing nervous chuckled around the table.

    Quincy looked up, with a stern expression on his face. “Small words are for small minds, Captain, sir. Basically, the Nephkyrie are a genetically engineered race; probably their own doing and not outside interference. They have used a very sophisticated technique to eliminate the negative physiological aspects from their chromosomal memory, leaving only the positive traits. Greater physical strength, higher bone density, increased sensory perception, enhanced reaction times—and their brains have been overclocked, to borrow an engineering phrase, allowing them multi-task on several cognitive problems simultaneously, as well as conscious control of some of their normally involuntary reflexes."

    The surgeon shook his head. “It is an incredible accomplish, far beyond what the scientists behind the Eugenics Wars attempted. And the Nephkyrie were successful. But they missed something. The engineering rendered them extremely infertile as a race, a problem that they attempted to solve via cloning. And for a time, that solution was successful. However, like a . . . oh, an old magnetic tape that is has been played over and over again; the structure of their chromosomes has simply worn out. The protein strands no longer attach when they attempt to produce a new generation . . . they are dying.”

    “And how will using our colonists help them to repair the damage, Doctor Talbot?” asked Chan.

    Quincy rubbed his lower jaw and shook his head. “I don’t know, Commander. Our best guess—and it is only a guess—is that they intend to splice the human DNA, after it has been suitably altered to match the existing protein strands, in an attempt to restore their natural fertility. Physically, on the DNA level, they are very close to humanity as a species—far closer to us than the Vulcans or Andorians or Klingons. Or they were before they began altering themselves. But that will only be a temporary solution; the dominant traits that are locked into their chromosomes will eventually overwrite the new DNA and force them to start over again with fresh human DNA.”

    “Can they be aware of this?” asked Grace Biddle.

    “I don’t see how they could miss it. Their survival as a species will literally depend on having access to vast numbers of humans—farmed or otherwise.”

    Absolute silence hovered over the briefing room.

    “Can we offer an alternative means of restoring their species ability to reproduce, Doctor?” asked Matt.

    “Maybe. It’ll need some study, and the Nephkyrie might not like the option.”


    “After discussing this with some of Amanda’s Biological Sciences people, and with Doctors Donato and Woolsey, we think it might be possible to reverse engineer the chromosomal damage—to restore the species DNA to its original configuration and remove all of the genetic engineering. They would have to clone their next generation, but afterwards, the species would once again be able to evolve at their own natural pace.”

    “At the expense of their engineered abilities,” Matt mused.

    “Yes. If it works, and it might not.”

    “Mister Malik?”

    “We’ve finished installing a second transporter inhibitor aboard the White Cloud, sir. And I have personally seen to the repair of Inderi’s shuttle. We’re ready.”

    Chan’s antennae lowered and he stared at the Captain. “I must renew my protest, Captain Dahlgren. Regulations are quite specific on this issue—as you are well aware.”

    “I’ve already logged your objections, Mister Malik. But if we can manage to resolve this peacefully, it is worth the risk. We have to establish contact with the Nephkyrie, and since they already have spoken Inderi—and she is supposed to be rejoining them, I will pilot her shuttle and begin a dialogue.”

    Matt looked sternly down the table. “White Cloud will be nearby in cloak and ready to assist if I need it. However, if I am taken by the Nephkyrie—or killed—I expect this ship and every being on her to do their duty. Regardless of how unpleasant that duty might be.”

    Each officer at the table nodded, and Matt joined them. “Assume your stations. If I am not back in twelve hours . . . there are sealed orders prepared that you will have to carry out. Dismissed.”

    Matt’s senior staff rose and filed out of the briefing room, leaving only Matt and Chan seated at the table.

    “I don’t want command this badly, Matthew,” Chan whispered. “One fusion warhead and that shuttle is gone.”

    “Nat’s installed a transporter inhibitor in the shuttle, Chan. If they get frisky, I’ll activate it and run to warp. But if I don’t come back and the colonists can’t be saved . . .”

    “Oh, yes. I am quite capable of doing what must be done, Matthew,” the Andorian’s antennae contracted. “Balao is only eight hours out. We can wait, you know.”

    “Every hour means it is likely that more and more colonists are being processed, Chan. We can’t wait. And I have to take this chance, if either of us are to ever sleep peacefully again—we can’t just exterminate them without trying to convince them to alter their plans.”

    The Andorian let out a deep breath, and then both of his antennae bent slightly in a sign of acquiescence. And then Chan stood. “Permission to escort you to Shuttle Bay 1, Captain Dahlgren,” he asked.

    “Granted, Mister Shrak.”
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  13. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 17, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    I'm really enjoying this Republic series. I can't wait to read what's posted next. Keep up your great work, please. :bolian::bolian::bolian::bolian:
  14. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Eighteen (cont.)

    The doors to Shuttle Bay 1 slid open with a hiss and Matt limped around to the hatch on the side of the old Vulcan shuttlecraft that filled the bay’s interior. The thing was so large that two of the four Star Fleet shuttles normally stored here had been moved to Shuttle Bay 2 to make room. Several engineers were closing up access hatches on the outer skin of the shuttle, gathering up their tools and equipment, and slowly leaving the bay; each nodded to Matt and the XO, one even giving them a thumbs-up.

    The pair came around to the side of the shuttlecraft, and Matt suddenly came to a halt. “What are you doing here?”

    Quincy Talbot looked up from where he was sitting down on the ramp leading up into the shuttle’s interior. “Waiting for you, Captain Dahlgren, Sir.”

    “Quincy, I don’t have time for another lecture on the leg . . .”

    “Oh, you have plenty of time because you aren’t flying this thing, Captain.”

    Matt glared at his chief medical officer. “Excuse me, Doctor?”

    “Beaming down to Hak’ta-thor was necessary. I understand. Getting almost no sleep so that your leg can heal, in order to get this ship motivated and worthy for the Fleet was necessary. I don’t like it, but I understand. But this?” Quincy shook his head. “You aren’t some twenty-two year old space cadet, Captain. You have officers whose duties encompass missions just like this, good officers.”

    “Quincy, I have to talk to them . . .”

    “That’s what sub-space radio is for, Sir. Your officer assigned to this mission will contact the Nephkyrie, and he will patch you through to them. Putting yourself out on the ledge isn’t part of your job description anymore, Captain—and it damn sure ain’t necessary.”

    “Thank you for that opinion, Doctor. Now step aside,” Matt growled.

    “No. Matt, I’ll declare you medically unfit for command if you so much as place a single one of those six eleven boots in that shuttle.”

    Matt started to snarl, and then he saw the seriousness with which Quincy was stating his position. Instead the Captain turned to Chan.

    “The two of you think this up together, Chan?”

    Before the Andorian could answer, a fourth being cleared his throat from inside the shuttlecraft. Natantael Malik descended the ramp. “Actually, I called him, Skipper,” the Trill admitted. “You don’t need to be doing this, Sir.”

    “And while I was willing to let you go, Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian added, “I can’t say that I am sad to see the good Doctor here and prepared to stop you.”

    Matt started to open his mouth, and Quincy shook his head. “I will do it, Matt. Don’t force me to.”

    The Captain let out a long breath, and he nodded. “If my executive officer, my second officer, and my ship’s surgeon are in agreement then fine; we will do this your way. I trust you gentlemen are happy now?”

    “Happy?” Quincy replied. “Nope. Because that blue-skinned, ice-water in his veins executive officer of yours should have already knocked some damn sense into your head; instead of me having to come into this hanger to pull out the big guns. And you, Captain, Sir, should have more sense than to think the two of you could get away with this.”

    “I think he is happy, Chan,” Matt said. “Remember for when you get your own ship: if the chief medical officer isn’t whining he isn’t happy.”

    “I’ll make a note of it, Sir,” the Andorian answered.

    “Whining? Whining? Why I’ll . . .”

    “You’ve made your point, Quincy—don’t push it,” Matt warned. “Mister Malik, I presume that since you and the doctor have grounded me, you have arranged for a pilot?”

    “I have,” the Trill beamed.

    “In that case, gentlemen; let’s get this show on the road.”
  15. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    You went ahead and posted almost the entire story here in one go. I've found that when posting in a forum like this, it is more beneficial to post in segments. This way you stand a better chance of getting constructive feedback and avoid the risk of the story dropping off the front page too soon.

    Having said that, I've really enjoyed what I've read so far up to Chapter 6. We don't often get to see a fire and brimstone type captain who sounds more like a drill sergeant than a refined gentleman. It an interesting approach and certainly appropriate considering this crew misfits and under performers.

    I'll try to catch up with the rest of this tale, time permitting.
  16. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Hahaha. I realised that is was probably counter-produce when I looked up and saw that it consumed two full pages of postings, and part of a third! But by then it was too late to change.

    Here are the orginal threads on

    Thread #1:
    Thread #2:
    Thread #3:

    There are 1,258 seperate posts with folks commenting and giving advice, mixed in the chapters. Their 500 point limit per thread forced me to break up the story, because I wasn't expecting THAT level of interaction.

    Master Arminas
  17. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Eighteen (cont.)

    The old shuttlecraft decelerated out of warp and immediately the threat receivers in the cockpit lit up.

    “They know that we are here,” muttered Lieutenant Ciyan Judek, the sole Antaran aboard the Republic, as he adjusted his controls.

    “Chin up, Ciyan,” Sean’s voice came over the sub-space communicator. “If they decide to open fire with that many guns, the odds are you will be dead long before your brain can say ouch.”

    “Thank you, Sir, for providing me with that most motivating and fear-alleviating pep talk. Remind me never to ask you calm my jitters again, Commander. And to never volunteer on conducting repairs underway.”

    “Fear is a good motivator, Ciyan. Just hold it together.”

    Ciyan looked down at his instruments. “They are scanning me.”

    “We see it.”

    “And now they are hailing the shuttle,” the engineer finished. He grimaced and flicked the communications switch

    We feared that you had been compromised; already we have had an encounter with the dominant species in this region—the species that you assured us were nothing more than vermin, loathed by all others.

    The guttural voice paused, and turned cold.

    Vermin do not build such starships, Inderi. What else have you lied to us about, we wonder?

    “I am not Inderi. I am Lieutenant Ciyan Judek, of the United Federation of Planets, and I wish to establish a dialogue between my commander and your leaders.”

    Foolish and incompetent. The Solidarity is best served without her presence. You are not the species that Inderi termed human; you are Antaran, as was she.

    “Yes. The Federation consists of one hundred and fifty four member worlds, each of which has chosen to voluntarily request admission for their species.”

    A multi-species polity? How . . . unusual. And these humans? Are they members?

    “They are one of our founding members. Who am I speaking with?”

    Ah. Not vermin, indeed. You are speaking with the Solidarity of Nephkyrie. Are these humans still a force within your Federation?

    “They are a major species within the Federation, yes.”

    And their settlements on our world were authorized by your Federation?

    “We had no knowledge of your claim on New Columbia. Perhaps you can speak with my commander . . .”

    Lies. We know our marker was landed; we know it was removed. And now we know the true threat we face.

    Ciyan heard the hum of a transporter beam, and he began to twist as an object started to materialize—when White Cloud’s own transporter beamed him out and away from the shuttlecraft, micro-seconds before the fusion warhead detonated.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  18. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Nineteen

    Matt leaned forward, and he rubbed his thigh with one hand. “Thank you, Mister Philips,” he replied to the image of Sean on the main viewer. “White Cloud is to proceed to New Columbia; I want you to take up a position in orbit above the settlement—and if you receive any indication that the Nephkyrie are activating that transporter beacon, I want you to destroy it. You are authorized for a photon torpedo strike from orbit, Mister Philips—I will provide that order in writing if you so desire.”

    “That won’t be necessary, Sir,” Sean answered. “I understand the stakes; if they can reverse the beam and transport to the planet, then removing them will be far more difficult.”

    “You’re going to have a minimum crew aboard, Sean—I’m pulling all of my Marines back, and the majority of your engineers. And just so she doesn’t decide to try anything, we are transferring Inderi aboard as well; that should be one less headache for you to worry about.”

    “Understood,” the engineer said as Matt addressed his chair audio pickup. “Mister Malik.”


    “Time for Plan B. How long will it take to reset the inhibitor field? I want it to conform with our shield bubble for maximum strength.”

    Thirty minutes, Captain.”

    “How much will that increase the field strength?”

    Enough that I will guarantee they can’t beam anything aboard, Sir. However, we will be vulnerable to proximity warheads.”

    “Not for long, Mister Malik, get to work down there. Miss Biddle,” he addressed the Operations officer. “Plot us a course behind the Nephkyrie vessel, maintaining a distance of at least three million kilometers. Miss Montoya, let’s make our way there and match that ship’s vector and velocity. Once we are in position, Miss Biddle, I will need you to plot a course at Warp speed to bring us out very close to their ship; Miss Montoya I want Republic oriented so that our belly is facing their hull.” Matt pulled up a schematic of the Nephkyrie vessel on the main viewer and he highlighted a small section of their hull. “Put us here, Miss Montoya.”

    “How close do you want her, Sir?” Grace asked.

    “Our shield bubble extends fifteen meters beneath the keel; I want us to come out of Warp with no more than thirty meters of separation between our shields and their hull.”

    Everyone on the bridge, including Chan, turned to stare at Matt. Isabella’s jaw gapped opened in shock, as her face drained of blood. Grace merely blinked. “Did you say thirty meters of separation? Sir?”

    “No more than thirty meters, Miss Biddle. Ideally I don’t want five meters of separation. Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to get in so close against them that they cannot use their transporter delivered nukes without gutting their own ship in the process. Mister Roshenko,” he continued as he swiveled the command chair to face his tactical officer. “We’ve got four phaser arrays on the ventral surface—I want every weapons emplacement that can bear on us destroyed the instant we come out of warp,” dozens of different gun mounts began to flash on the display. “I do not want over penetrating shots if you can avoid it, Mister Roshenko. We will have bare seconds—at best—before they bring those seventy-six emplacements on-line and to bear; you will have to be accurate and fast.”

    Matt sat back and he rotated his seat forward. “I want us as close as a tick on a hound, people. Once we are on station, and their local weapon systems are disabled, the Nephkyrie will have a choice—begin a dialogue or continue to stonewall.”

    Chan cleared his throat. “And if they continue to stonewall? Sir.”

    Matt pressed another button. “Mister Beck.”


    “You have been listening as I requested?”

    Yes, sir.”

    “I want all Marines outfitted with Phaser Rifles and field armor. Additionally, Mister Shrak will be sending you a list of crewmen that will flesh out your boarding parties. Can you outfit another hundred and twenty personnel gleaned from our crew and Philip’s engineers?”

    I don’t have enough armor, but I’ve got plenty of phasers. And grenades; I’ve assembled a good supply of those since you installed that replicator, Captain.”

    “Thank you, Mister Beck. If they continue to refuse to talk, ladies and gentlemen, then we will board them; we will find our colonists; we will recover our colonists; and we will destroy their transporter system. And if we can’t; if the colonists are dead and they continue to refuse to even speak with us, then I’ll blow them out of space.”

    Matt lowered his head, and the corner of his mouth lifted slightly. “Any officer or crewman who feels that they cannot with good conscience participate in such an action may report to Mister Shrak for transfer to the White Cloud.”

    “Miss Montoya, this is all contingent on you getting us that close without ripping off a nacelle in the process. Can you do it?”

    The young Lieutenant stared at the Captain for a moment and then she nodded her head slowly. She licked her dry lips. “Y-yes, Sir. I can get us that close.”

    “Very well, then. Get your departments prepared; Mister Shrak assemble a list of personnel to augment the Marines and have them report to Lieutenant Beck. We have thirty minutes until Mister Malik finishes his adjustments. You have that length of time to get ready for this. Mister Shrak, you have the conn; I need to inform Admiral Hanson at Starbase 114 in case something goes wrong.”

    Matt stood, and he turned around and cocked his head at the Andorian. “I have the conn, Sir,” Chan answered; but then he stepped up close. “And they say I am the crazy one, pink-skin,” he whispered.

    “Just get the ship ready, Chan," Matt replied in a low voice.

    “On one condition, Captain,” the XO continued.

    “Condition? Your are setting conditions?”

    “Yes, sir. You will not be boarding that ship, but sitting in that command chair instead, Sir. That is my sole condition.”

    “Agreed. Now get her ready, Mister Shrak.”

    “Aye, aye, Sir.”
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2012
  19. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Nineteen (cont.)

    “Miss Biddle, is our warp jump plotted?”

    “Yes, sir,” the Operations officer replied as she made a final adjustment to her controls, a thin bead of sweat dripping down her nose. “Warp drive will be engaged at Warp Factor 2, for .9732 seconds on computer control.”

    “Very well,” Matt answered calmly, as he secured the safety straps across his waist. “Mister Shrak, set General Quarters throughout the ship, and sound Red Alert in all compartments.”

    The bridge lighting dimmed, replacing the normal bright illumination with a harsh red glow. “All stations report manned and secured for Battle Stations, Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian answered.

    “Initiate the warp jump, Miss Montoya.”

    “Aye, sir,” she replied. “Warp speed in five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . ENGAGED!”

    Republic surged forward, crossing over the boundaries into warp, and then almost immediately dropped back into normal space. Matt could hear the thrum of the phasers firing even before Isabella could report. “We are at the designated coordinates, Sir; six meters, forty-two centimeters of separation between the keel and the Nephkyrie vessel!”

    The ship rocked as a half-dozen Nephkyrie laser cannons struck her forward shields, but then the batteries on the alien vessel fell silent.

    Pavel Roshenko looked up. “Weapons emplacements neutralized, Captain. No hull penetrations.”

    “Forward shields holding at 98%, Captain Dahlgren,” the Andorian added, and then his antennae shivered. “We are being hailed.”

    “On screen.”

    The main viewer blanked and for the first time, Matt and his crew could see the Nephkyrie with their own eyes. The man on the screen was humanoid, his smooth skin a darkened bronze, offset by the coal-black well groomed hair that covered his head. Except for the strange skin color and the eyes—eyes with a vertical cat’s slit and an iris of purple—he could easily have passed as a human.

    “You will remove your vessel at once. You are not welcome here among the Solidarity,” he said.

    Matt nodded. “We will be depart as soon as our people have been returned to their home; the Federation does not desire conflict with the Solidarity, and we are prepared to greet you in peace. If they are not returned, however, then we shall meet you with war.”

    “War? You would go to war over such a small number of your people? For which my species has a need? You would condemn thirty-five million to death for twelve thousand of your own kind, and see an entire species destroyed?”

    “If it proves necessary, then yes. I am Matthew Dahlgren, commanding officer of the Federation Starship Republic. And we do not allow any race to steal away twelve thousand of our own people—not without paying the consequences of that action.”

    The Nephkyrie on the screen met Matt’s stern gaze evenly, and then he nodded. “I am Typhias, and I am Speaker for the Solidarity. Your people were interlopers and intruders upon a planet which our race had claimed long ago as its own.”

    “Your claim was one which the Federation was unaware of until just recently, Speaker Typhias. However, on behalf of the United Federation of Planets, I promise that we will evacuate our colonists and leave you the planet. That offer is contingent, of course, on the colonists being returned to us safe and sound.”

    Chan cleared his throat and Matt swiveled his chair to face his executive officer.

    “They are attempting to gain a transporter lock on the entire ship, Captain Dahlgren. The inhibitor is blocking their attempts—for now.”

    Matt turned back to the main viewer. “I would advise you to cease those attempts, Speaker Typhias; they might easily be interpreted as hostile. You have seen the power of my weapons; I would hate to turn them onto your vessel in earnest.”

    The Speaker turned to someone off-screen and spoke rapidly in a language that the universal translator did not recognize, making a slashing motion with one hand—a hand with four elongated fingers and two opposing thumbs.

    “Transporter lock-on attempts have ceased, Captain Dahlgren,” Chan reported.

    “Thank you, Speaker Typhias. I would like to begin discussing on when we can expect our people to be returned.”

    Typhias’s mouth twisted and he leaned forward. “Your weapons are impressive. As is your ability to block our transport beams; but I have heard nothing that would compel me to relinquish the specimens we have retrieved. The survival of my race is at stake, human, and I shall not let a mere twelve thousand lives of another species stand between our survival and extinction. You would do the same, would you not?”

    “No. We would find another way. We will offer to your race our collected medical resources in an attempt to restore your DNA to it original configuration; my scientists and medical professionals have already determined that it might be possible to alleviate your own damage through means that do not require the death of thousands—millions—of my own people.”

    “And your solution has been tested and proven?”

    “No, but we can work . . .”

    “Then it is useless. The Solidarity must be assured of survival, human. And if survival requires that we harvest your species, than that is what we must do. I order you again to depart, and trouble us no further; failure to comply will result in your own deaths.”

    Matt frowned. “We are too close to your own vessel for you to risk your transporter bombs, Speaker Typhias. Do not force me into the position where I have to board you and recover our people.”

    “Board us?” the Nephkyrie began to laugh. “Ah, you are indeed amusing, human. You shall not step one foot upon the decks of this ancient vessel—but we will take yours.”

    The screen blanked, and Matt swiveled his chair as he heard the hum of a transporter beam—several transporter beams.

    Nephkyrie troops, wearing thick heavy cuirasses of armor plating and combat helmets appeared onboard the bridge of Republic and those aliens drew weapon, but the Marine security guards and the bridge crew already had their own in hand. Phaser and beams of unknown energy began to criss-cross the bridge as Republic’s crew fought the intruders.

    Matt unclipped his safety belt and rolled out of his chair, just instants before a high-energy beam burnt a hole through the back, and he tapped his comm badge. “Intruder Alert!” he barked. “All hands repel boarders!” Wincing with the pain, Matt knelt on his injured leg and drew his own Type I phaser, firing a long burst into one of the intruders.

    The Operations console exploded under the fire of another Nephkyrie, and Grace Biddle was slammed to the deck, bleeding and burnt. Matt twisted and he fired two short beams into the alien as he stood over Grace, joined by a third beam from Isabella.

    And then the shrill sounds of phasers stopped; the Nephkyrie intruders were down, along with nearly half of Matt’s bridge crew. Chan pulled himself back up to his feet, and he leaned on his Mission Ops station, holding a useless arm tight against his side in pain. “Intruders reported on Decks 2 through 8; make that 2 through 9. Mister Malik reports Main Engineering is secure, but he is requesting immediate reinforcements; Mister Beck is deploying Marine reaction teams and crewmen prepped for boarding operations against the Nephkyrie.”

    “How the Hell did they get through the in . . . no, don’t answer that, Chan!” Matt snarled. “Miss Montoya—set course to rendezvous with the Balao, maximum Warp. Mister Roshenko, take out any transporter emitters on their hull!”

    The turbolift doors opened and a pair of marines and two medics emerged.

    “Transporter emitters destroyed, Captain,” Pavel answered calmly. “That will only slow them, however—and they rolling their ship!”

    “Now, Miss Montoya!”

    And Republic surged forward, into Warp and away from the Nephkyrie ship.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2012
  20. MasterArminas

    MasterArminas Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 22, 2011
    Chapter Nineteen (cont.)

    Corporal Alvin Thiesman held up one hand as he heard the pounding of feet on the deck past the T-junction directly in front of his team. He knelt and raised his Type III/f phaser rifle, knowing the two Marines with him had his back. He pulled the weapon in tight against his shoulder and he took a deep, slow breathe; and then a gaggle of Nephkyrie burst into sight, shooting over their shoulders as they RAN.

    Thiesman exhaled and pressed the firing stud repeatedly, sending one high-powered phaser stun beam into each of the alien troopers in front of him before they could respond. But he remained where he was as he heard an incoherent scream of rage and more thundering impacts of boots. And then a hyperventilating Lt. Pok came running up, shouting Tellarite imprecations at the stunned Nephkyrie.

    The Marine lowered his weapon, but the ship’s quartermaster saw the motion and he spun, raising his own phaser pistol. “STAR FLEET MARINES!” Thiesman yelled, and he raised the rifle again. “SAFE THAT WEAPON, LIEUTENANT!”

    Pok squinted and then he squealed as he lowered the phaser. “Didn’t . . . see . . . you,” he gasped, out of breath from the running. “I was chasing these cretins. Absolute morons,” the Tellarite said as he kicked one of unconscious soldiers. “They broke a vase from the Vasana Dynasty of Janus VII! Shattered it!” the Quartermaster wailed. “It was a priceless treasure, and they ruined it.”

    “You were chasing them? Alone?” Thiesman asked in an amused voice.

    “Of course, I am not alone! My assistants are right behind me . . .,” Pok turned and noticed that the corridor behind him was empty. He frowned. “They had best be stunned or they will be doing workouts with your Marines three times each day!”

    “Lieutenant, why don’t you come with us; there are more of them on the lower decks.”

    Pok nodded, then he grunted, and then he pointed the phaser at the unconscious Nephkyrie and shot each of them of them again. “They just knocked the vase right off the pedestal; as if they had no appreciation for its value.”

    “Let’s go, Mister Pok,” the Marine said as he struggled not to laugh.

    “Lead the way; we Tellarites aren’t that stealthy.” And he fired one final stun beam into the unconscious soldiers as he followed the three Marines to the Jefferies tube.