STO Phoenix Compendium

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Hawku, Oct 5, 2020.

  1. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    [​IMG]
    Wanted to share my writing for Star Trek Online! This is a comedy series of silly, universe-breaking, sometimes-commentaries with a lot of hyphens.

    On the STO forums, there used to be monthly Literary Challenges I came in late to. Then they continued on through player-run versions and other clones. After that, the odd contest, role playing fiction, my own attempts at breaking formula and so on. These are my entries. Will briefly explain any background, if any, through a pre-emptive Author's Note.

    It starts in the early 25th century on the perpetually rank-frozen crew of the U.S.S. Phoenix-X, the twenty-fifth starship to bear the name Phoenix after a freak transwarp-testing phase in which its predecessors were destroyed one after the other. Then the entries explode into other Captains and other ships from my own collection of STO characters. My goal was to build them into specific fleets and then eventually force them to work together. Note: Each Captain knowing each other while having played the same STO missions is itself universe-breaking.

    Navigation:

    Index:
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2022 at 6:01 PM
  2. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This takes place in the early 25th century. Captain Seifer is a Trill, and I didn't know at this point whether I was going to write him joined with the Night host from my 24th century series, or a new one in this 25th century series, so I kept him as generic "Seifer". I ultimately went with a new host (Oroku), named-dropped in a later entry. This is my first entry, written in April 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #63.

    Literary Challenge #63 Prompt: On an exploration mission into unknown space, you and your crew have stumbled upon and been caught in an uncatalogued, unusual anomaly that reaches into a theorized previously unknown layer of subspace that cannot be entered by physical matter. Exposure to this phenomena though has been causing hallucinations and nightmares to occur to your crewmen, with the exception of Photonics and Androids among your crew. Write a log of how your crew dealt with these nightmares, and how you either made this anomaly safe, or possibly closed this anomaly so it would harm no one else.

    Literary Challenge #63
    Nightmare Anomaly

    The Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X trekked through space. Captain Seifer had just finished a racquetball match on the holodeck and was ready to start a new shift.

    "Ah, that was perfect," Seifer said as he took a seat. "Except, why was I being attacked by a skull-head guy with an axe?"

    Kayl, at ops, turned to him. "Sir, the racquetball simulation has been programmed to make itself more interesting after thirty minutes of play."

    "Dammit. Why'd we let Felix's nephew on board last week? He jack-in-the-boxed all the sports programs. He turned hoverball into hover-Horta." Seifer clenched his fist. "Have we learned nothing of nephew's after Janeway's Q Junior?"

    Before anyone could answer, the Phoenix-X was jolted with a powerful rush of energy and stopped in its tracks.

    "Sensors indicate an unknown energy reading all around us. It's nothing anyone's encountered before!" Armond commented from tactical.

    "Quite bold of you, Lieutenant Commander," Seifer replied.

    "Thank you, sir. It is Friday, after all. I think we can all agree that spirits are usually up more on this day of the week, and, thus, observations more freely made," Armond turned to discuss.

    "Dudes, can we focus here?" Kayl interjected.

    Seifer pointed. "That is not Starfleet jargon! But I do like it. So, maybe?"

    "Well, whatever you decide, the engines are offline," Ensign Dan, at navigation remarked.

    Seifer's jaw dropped. "How dare you, Ensign? You're relieved!"

    "No, I mean, due to the unknown energy stuff," Ensign Dan turned, exasperated.

    The Captain then squinted his eyes and pointed, "Alright, you win this round. But I'm watching you..."

    "Sir, I'm certain that with extensive study, we can learn more about this phenomenon, and determine a way out," Armond turned again.

    Seifer tapped his chin inquisitively. "Like, a couple minutes... an hour or so...?"

    "Closer to a day," Armond confirmed.

    Captain Seifer dropped his arms in relief. "Oh, thank goodness. This has been the longest shift ever. I'm off to bed! You guys too. I don't want you all to be grumpy-Denobulans in the morning. You remember how badly our Tykon's Rift Memorial visit turned out?"

    He shifted his pointing finger at each of them as he exited to the turbolift.

    ---

    "Captain's log, Stardate 87035-point-4. I had the worrrrrssstttttt dream last night. Why did I even go to bed during an obvious ship crisis? That is the dumbest thing any Starfleet officer can do! I just have to hope that my crew didn't take the same action. Hold on, let me check the shift logs—

    "Dammit! We must be getting way too comfortable with being in danger. It is literally something that happens every week.

    "Anyway. I should digress. The question is, why must I digress? Can't we Captain's escalate for once? Why are we meant to be the level-headed, so-called role model? It's a lot like that dream I had last night. I was phased-out of normal matter and everyone on the ship was ignoring me. Even someone named T'Pol. It was the worst copycat-episode ever. Luckily, though, it was all a dream— though, that did seem like a cop-out.

    "Ah, I see what I did there. I digressed without even knowing."


    ---

    Later, Captain Seifer entered the Bridge of the Phoenix-X. The ship was rumbling in an attempt to escape the alien energy that trapped it.

    "I didn't authorize this!" Seifer barked.

    Chief engineer Kugo walked over and handed him a padd. "Actually, you did. Though, telling from the spelling and grammatical errors, you may have been sleep-commanding again."

    Captain Seifer picked up the padd and read it, "Make ship go. I am smart. Since when am I a Pakled?"

    "Sir, I had, uhh... the weirdest dream last night. Permission to transfer to the Enterprise-F after this? I hear Captain Shon is a real slave driver," Armond inquired, hopefully.

    Seifer snapped. "Denied! Just for that, you will all do double leisure duties on the Holodecks."

    "But I dreamt someone was drinking out of a straw connected to my brain!"

    Doctor Lox then started scanning him. "You may have interphasic organism syndrome. The Borg analgesic cream works best for that."

    "We all had horrible dreams, sir. Mine was that I was floating in a green, cloudy void, yelling, Where are you, over and over again. Ugh. The repetitiveness gave me U.S.S. Bozeman syndrome." Kayl covered her face in horror.

    Kugo activated a hover screen at the back of the Bridge, showing an image of the Phoenix-X trapped in an unseen energy. "The energy has reached into a theorized unknown layer of subspace I have deemed subspace-subspace, or subspace-extreme, or gravimetric-subspace."

    "So, what you're saying is, we're surrounded and trapped within a family of over-emotional two-dimensional lifeforms who exist in cosmic strings?" Seifer postulated.

    Kugo deactivated her screen. "No! And yes, that was my nightmare last night. It's all Engineer's nightmares— That, and being stuck in the Delta Quadrant for seven years without a uniform change."

    "Well, I think it's obvious what the answer is here," Seifer started. "Tachyons—"

    "—Tachyons!" Kayl raised her hand, trying to be the first to say it.

    Kugo interjected. "More precisely, an inverse tachyon pulse."

    "Right." Armond nodded. "The only side-effect being that one Phoenix-X from the past and one Phoenix-X from the future will appear."

    Ensign Dan turned. "I didn't even go to sleep last night and that skull-head guy came into my quarters. I think he's loose on the ship."

    "Not now, Ensign Dan! We can only deal with one issue per week. There's no room for good B-stories here, or on the Starship Voyager," Kayl argued.

    The Phoenix-X fired an inverse tachyon pulse into the more dense area of the energy, causing two more Phoenix-X's to appear. They were then hailed.

    "This is Captain Cell of the Phoenix-X from 2390. What the hell? You're Captain in the future??" Cell asked from the other ship.

    Seifer shrugged. "Sorry about that."

    "Just— just don't ruin the ship. That's all. You know we still owe the Orions like fifteen more payments for fixing that moving-nacelle problem the Intrepid-class forced on us," Cell said.

    Seifer responded braggingly, "It's down to twelve payments now."

    "Nice!" Cell said impressed. "Well, we're going to disengage our tachyon pulse. We just wanted to see what would happen."

    He clicked off screen, but the Phoenix-X from the future clicked on: "This is Captain Ensign Dan from the year 2450! The Borg are everywhere. You have to help us!"

    "Ew! No way you're the Captain. Ugh. Disengage the pulse!" Seifer ordered Armond.

    Suddenly the two other ships disappeared and the Phoenix-X of the present's engines came back online.

    "No offense, Ensign Dan, but we can't let that future happen," Seifer established.

    Ensign Dan nodded. "I understand. But why'd I have two titles?"

    "Now that we're out of that mess, is anyone up for an all-nighter of poker? I know it's morning, but I changed the internal chronometers to fix that," Lox asked.

    Kayl stood up. "Fine. But you have to stop using Fizzbin cards. And someone needs to leave a warning beacon here."

    "We're out of those. All I have are these drink coasters that project mini-EMH Mark I's singing opera," Armond held one up.

    The EMH started singing. "I've been working on the railroad—"

    "Oh, hell!" Seifer immediately knocked it to the floor and started stamping on it.

    Armond shrugged. "We have fifty more. They were a gift from Admiral Tuvok."

    "Those'll do fine, Armond. Thanks." Seifer tried to catch his breath. "I just want to thank everyone for saving our lives," he continued. "Being the twenty-fifth Phoenix-ship, we have a standard to uphold, and that standard is existence. Maybe there's more to it, but I don't want to get into all the nitty-gritty."

    ---

    Suddenly, Seifer woke up and found himself in Sickbay with the Doctor hovering over him.

    "Uh! Was it all a dream?"

    Lox shook his head. "No, you just fell unconscious during that speech. Turns out we forgot to leave the area after our engines came back online. We're gone now. We're mostly gone."
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2022
  3. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in May 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #64.

    Literary Challenge #64, Prompt #1: Your Captain and Crew have been on assignment near the Bajoran Wormhole for the last several weeks testing new scanning equipment placed in your Deflector Dish by the engineering crew at DS9. This new technology was designed by the joint efforts of the Federation Science Counsel, the Bajoran Center for Science, and the Cardassian Union Science Ministry.

    While scanning the wormhole, an EPS conduit explodes in your Deflector Control room. A massive power surge bursts from your Deflector Dish, causing the wormhole to fluctiate and envelop your ship. After a bright flash of energy, your instruments indicate that your ship has emerged into a section of space that is completely unrecognizable. But this is no ordinary "space." It appears to be unlike anything you have ever encountered before...

    Literary Challenge #64
    The New Frontier

    The Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X undocked from Deep Space 9 and approached the empty space where the Bajoran Wormhole was situated.

    "Excellent work, crew," Captain Seifer complimented. "This has been much more successful than our delivery-spill of post-classic era Kahn wigs over the Bolian capital, last week."

    Armond turned from the tactical console. "Sir, you wanted me to warn you when you were speaking too soon? Well, that is a full time job that I just cannot execute."

    "Shouldn't we be bantering about our latest mission?" Kayl interrupted from ops. "We're supposed to fulfill at least 20 hours of exposition a week."

    Seifer smirked. "Obviously that's what progress reporting is for."

    "Speaking of which," Chief Engineer Kugo started. "Our latest modifications to the deflector dish have been quite successful. The work the Federation Science Counsel, Bajoran Center for Science and Cardassian Union Science Ministry did was more than exemplary."

    Armond nodded. "It was like a science explosion in the Deflector Control Room. You couldn't get a word in edgewise about anything tactical or engineering at all. I didn't want to report this earlier, but the Deep Space 9 Chief Engineer slapped me in the face for trying."

    "Oh, that just means he likes you in his culture-- Whatever species he is? I keep referring to him as just Alien," Kayl admitted.

    Seifer nodded. "Yeah, he told me was okay with that. As for the over-enthused science talk, do you think there is any chance of that effecting the EPS conduits?"

    "I don’t see how, since talking and the electro-plasma system are completely unrelated," Kugo replied.

    The Captain laughed. "No, you're right. And our testing of this new scanning equipment isn't likely to purvey any adverse episodic plots either."

    "Sir! There has been an EPS conduit explosion in the Deflector Control Room!" Armond exclaimed, suddenly. "Suggest we brace ourselves for a Betazoid-woman's scorn!"

    Seifer clenched his fist and hit the arm of his chair. "Dammit, I knew I should have went to med-school. But, noooooo, that non-corporeal being that feeds off my brain's neural command energy had other plans for me."

    Suddenly, the Wormhole fluctuated and opened up and around the Phoenix-X, enveloping the ship.

    "Ah, you know what," Kayl snapped her fingers in sudden recollection. "Like, fifteen other ships have gone through this exact same thing, just this month."

    After a bright trans-dimensional flash that knocked the crew to the floor, the Phoenix-X found itself in a strange, new and fascinating type of space-- one more desperate to be more interesting than the last.

    Seifer clutched his head as he tried to climb himself back to his chair. "Bloody hell. it's like the Picard-Scimitar crash all over again. I wasn't there for it, but I've heard rumours."

    "Trying to get sensors online, now," Armond climbed back up to tactical and attempted to sort through a mess of holo-panels.

    Ensign Dan found a holo-panel half-lodged into his head. "Armond, I think this one's yours." He pulled it out and looked at it. "Holy Sha Ka Ree! We're in a completely new, and likely recurring, type of space!"

    "On screen," Seifer ordered.

    As everyone got to their chairs, they beheld the most confusingly, possibly horrifying view blinking on the main viewer: A space filled with multi-shades of brown and white balls of fuzz, all around them; the vibration of which, through the bulkheads, created a calming effect.

    "Is that what I think it is?" Seifer squinted his eyes in fear.

    Armond's jaw was dropped, as with everyone else's, "Yes, sir... It's tribble. WE'RE IN TRIBBLE SPACE."

    ---

    Meanwhile, two crew members in the non-windowed, lower-forgotten decks paused, momentarily, from their hard work.

    "What was that ship jolt all about?" Tong asked.

    Gewdeque shook her head. "How would I know? It's not like the Bridge is going to call us specifically and tell us what they're looking at."

    "Yeah, that was a stupid question. Sorry."

    Gewdeque sighed. "No, I'm sorry. It's fine. We'll just find out through the rumour mill over the course of several days passed the event, like we always do."

    "Of course!" Tong smiled in relief. "Thanks, Gewdeque. You always did know how to manage command-structure based ignorance."

    ---

    Back on the Bridge, the crew worked frantically to figure out what was going on.

    "How could we be in a situation? How and why and other steps I need to emotionally go through??" Seifer spat.

    Kayl turned. "Sir, you're riling up everyone's anxieties, like some kind of riled-guy. In conclusion, it's annoying."

    Armond flicked open one of his hovering panels. "The new scanning systems aggravated the Wormhole in a new and fantastic way, triggering an opening into a parallel dimension."

    "Lens flares!?" Seifer looked around in panic and then stopped. "Sorry. That's just an unexplainable, innate fear I have. Seriously, I can not explain it."

    Kugo pondered. "How can all of space be filled with tribble in this universe? What's in the spaces between the tribble?"

    "That's normal space," Armond scanned. "But the tribble are so tightly compacted, that you can't see it with the naked eye. It appears there are enough of them to fill space itself. How far, would require a five year mission, I assume."

    Kayl turned again. "I don't get it? The tribble are a mammalian species from Iota Geminorum IV; a product of millions of years of evolution. How could they be here as well?"

    "Obvious answer: Evolution isn't real, and neither is global warming," Ensign Dan turned, hoping to finally have a one-up on the crew.

    Seifer pointed. "You're relieved!"

    "I believe the more pressing question is, why tribble? Have we not had enough episodic spin-off situations dealing with them by now? Can't we come up with new ideas?" Kugo raised an eyebrow.

    Seifer tapped his chin in confusion. "I... I don't follow." He then sat back and relaxed. "Anyway, I'm sure we all know what we have to do now." He paused, sure of it himself. "We have to repopulate this universe with humanoids and restart the Federation. And this time, no more Lock Boxes."

    "Captain, I'm reading a larger tribble; one that would put Cyrano Jones to shame! It's rolling through the other tribbles on a direct course for us!" Armond exclaimed.

    The Captain shook his head. "A weight joke? In the 25th century? I'm disappointed in you, Armond."

    The giant tribble, the size of a starship, stopped before the Phoenix-X, in the compacted tribble space, where neither was actually visible to each other. An outline of it was brought up on screen.

    "By the rolly-polly jostle of K'mpec himself!" Seifer's mouth gaped open, unaware of his own hypocrisy, to which Armond emanated a disapproving glance.

    The Phoenix-X suddenly shook in vibrations, prompting Kayl to work quickly. "Sir, it's communicating by cute purrs! Translating the adorable messages now!"

    The computer provided a deep, angry voice through all the shaking: "Puny humanoid vessel! I am Troblor, and you have discovered tribble space. Eons ago we sent a single heroic tribble, Trebbly, to your universe in an effort to transform it into one like our own. We have nearly bred ourselves to a galactic unit. Is Trebbly's descendants now and finally your supreme rulers?"

    Still, with mouth gaped open, Seifer remained several moments in shock. It was obvious now that early tribble were biologically spacefaring. Should he tell Troblor that nearly all tribbles were wiped out by Klingons in the 23rd century? Or that people were now breeding tribbles as out-of-combat self heals? Surely, explaining everything would be the right thing to do?

    "Yeah," Seifer finally sputtered out in continued shock-reverie. The Phoenix-X vibrated in translation. "Yeah, you got us," Seifer said, not actually processing what he was saying, but more trying to fill the talk-void to hide his initial reaction.

    Troblor vibrated in ecstasy, and the computer voiced him again, "Oh that is wonderful news! We hope you like them. As a thank you, we shall return you to your universe. Once again, we appreciate the report."

    Another, other worldly-pitched vibration from the giant tribble caused the Phoenix-X to be enveloped in a white energy, transporting the whole ship back into the prime universe, back outside Deep Space 9, surrounded by the empty void and stars.

    The crew looked at each other in shock.

    "Wow....... That was quite revelatory. And as such, we must never speak of this trip into Fluidic space again," Seifer ordered.

    Kugo corrected, "Tribble space."

    "Right. You see, my mind is already trying to suppress it. You will all suppress your memories." He pointed around the Bridge. "Kugo, have the new scanning equipment dismantled and replace it with a bunch of tricorders tied together." He got up and walked for his ready room, but paused. "As for the rest of you: This is what happens when cultures try to work in unison for a greater cause. Sure, relations can improve, friends can be made, but at what cost? Horrifying science-y outcomes??"

    He then went into his ready room and accessed the replicator.

    Moments later he stepped out with a spray bottle and sprayed water at his flinch-prone crew. "No! Bad Starfleet, bad!"

    ---

    Meanwhile, out on the hull of the Phoenix-X, a single, solitary spaceborne tribble detached itself and menacingly sped off into deep space.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2020
  4. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in June 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #64. If I'm not mistaken, the STO staff writer for this prompt was inspired by the Kelvin-timeline IDW comic Parallel Lives that came out in the same year. It featured the gender-opposite versions of Kirk/Spock/McCoy, etc.

    Literary Challenge #64, Prompt #2: On a routine exploration mission to an unknown planet, a spacial anomaly forms near your ship, causing emergency beam-outs back to the ship. As the last person to beam out, your captain has accidentally been swapped out and into a gender bent universe! Nothing is the same and hilarity ensues, until the opposites say they can send your captain back through an identical spacial anomaly. How did your gender opposites react to you? How did you return home? Did your perspectives on your crew change in this universe? Write a captain's log to describe your hilarious misadventure!

    Literary Challenge #64
    Gender Swap

    The Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X held a tractor beam to the Ferengi marauder Jade Fox over a vast, unexplored planet in the Delta Volanis Cluster.

    "How dare you launch several hackneyed, variant-Genesis torpedoes into this planet's atmosphere," pointed tactical officer Armond, who stood up from the Captain's chair.

    On screen, DiaMon Cide crossed his arms, unequivocally. "Hey, I'm under a lot of pressure as the next CEO of Slug-o-Cola. I need to convert as much matter into algae as possible!"

    "Now that we're here, do you mind if I ask a few Ferengi questions? Like, what is with kissing the staff with the creepy head? You do know it's not a real person, right?"

    ---

    Meanwhile, an away team of Seifer, Kayl, Lox and Kugo scoured the planet, below, with tricorder readings at the edge of algae-converted land.

    "Who are we to interfere in Ferengi affairs anyway?" Operations officer Lieutenant Kayl asked, while scanning.

    Captain Seifer stopped and closed his device, "Well, you could've brought that up before we tractor beamed him. Remember when I said 'Options' and everyone started twiddling their thumbs?"

    "I believe our answer was clear," Chief engineer Kugo interrupted, "when the crew started humming the theme to Data's 'Lifeforms' song. Cide had no regard for the possibility of intelligent life on this planet, or any, in his operations."

    Seifer shook his head. "Intelligent life is the worst."

    "Fascinating," Lox commented as he threw several rocks, into the algae, where they all bounced and landed on top of each other in eerie, perfect order. "It appears I have discovered something eyebrow-raise worthy."

    Kugo stopped him from throwing another. "Doctor, we must not engage in mystery investigation. We have far too many side missions in our queue as it is."

    "That's because we got verily click-happy in our Available Missions tab," Lox replied.

    Kayl closed her tricorder. "Captain Aeris of the Zephyra never gets these lame-o tasks. Not to mention, she slept with three aliens last week."

    "Really? That's the kind of Captain you want me to be?" Seifer deadpanned.

    Kayl shrugged. "Well you aren't advancing diplomatic tiers any time soon."

    Suddenly, a few large explosions through the daylight sky turned their attention upwards. "Phoenix-X to Captain Seifer," came Armond's voice over the comm. "Cide's starboard hull exploded from unstable torpedoes. We pulled his ship to safety, but explosions continued in the area we evacuated and now an anomalous spatial disturbance is growing in place."

    "Armond," Seifer tapped his commbadge to respond. "That was really great narration."

    There was a pause, and then the sound of a tearful: "Thank you, sir. That... that means so much to me..."

    "Are you two done?" Kayl tapped her commbadge. "That anomaly is going to interfere with this atmosphere! Need I remind you that many atmospheres are our breathing apparatuses?"

    Armond's voice snapped out of it in time to dismiss her. "Oh, like you know anomalies." There was another pause as the phenomenon grew in size. "Ah! An anomaly! --Hastily beaming you out now."

    "Very well," Seifer nodded. "After all, all the best dematerializations are done in haste."

    Everyone nodded in agreement before transporting occurred in twos: Lox and Kugo were beamed out first, then Seifer and Kayl entered into transport.

    ---

    But when the last two appeared on the transporter padd, they found themselves exactly where they expected to be-- on their ship!

    "What the hell is going on here??" Seifer looked around in shock. A second later, he realized there was nothing odd about being on the ship, as expected. "Oh, sorry. I guess I just got a little excited."

    Kayl pointed to the transporter operator, who appeared to be the female version of who was meant to be standing there. "Uh, you forgot to look hence-wise."

    The female officer swung out a phaser at them. "Hold it right there, you intruders!"

    "We're not the intruders. You're the intruder," Kayl argued.

    The officer paused for a moment, to consider it, but quickly became sly to Kayl's silver-tongued ways. "Ahhh, nice try. You thought perhaps you could combat a misunderstanding with another misunderstanding. Well, those kinds of conflicts create mental supernovas."

    The doors swished open and in walked the male version of Lieutenant Kayl: Lieutenant Kyle.

    "Ahh!!" Seifer double-taked.

    ---

    Later, Seifer, Kayl and Kyle met privately in the Conference room of the Phoenix-X under armed guards.

    "As I said," Seifer continued. "I'm really sorry about my initial reaction to your face. It was completely inappropriate and brutally in the moment."

    Suddenly, the female version of Armond, Amanda, entered the Conference room to the sight of Seifer and Kayl. "Ah! Yuck! No!" She quickly readjusted her demeanor upon realization. "I mean, why are our decalithium radioactive pulses not reverting you to your basic creepy, bug-like forms?"

    "We're not Undine. We're from a parallel universe," Kayl explained.

    Seifer recoiled. "Lens flares!?" He looked around in panic and then stopped. "Dammit. Second time this month I did that."

    "Rather than indulge in rational cause and effect, I suggest preferred accepting of regular quantum reality shifts as a characteristic subject to our exploits," Kayl offered.

    Seifer looked at her. "You're lucky that this is the future and it's normal for people to talk like that."

    "Wait. Quantum reality? You're riding the coattails of Worffina, Son of Monga's Enterprise-D quantum fissure, parallel universe travels!" Amanda exclaimed.

    Kayl nodded. "Indeed. Her excursion-- his, in our universe-- was the last original outside-of-the-box adventure left in existence. All dimensional displacements afterward were unavoidable rip-offs."

    "We brought you two up here because our Brig was full of Benkarans, but now I see we should have vapourized you immediately."

    Suddenly, the ship's power drained drastically, causing the lights to flicker and the gravity plating to jolt everyone off their footing. Amanda and Kyle scrambled out to the Bridge, prompting Seifer and Kayl to follow.

    ---

    On screen, the spatial anomaly flung out bands of energy as the nearby Ferengi marauder Jade Fox fed a deflector beam into it.

    "A sporadic dose of omicron particles have knocked our engines offline, and not theirs, and now, for us, there's no way out of here!" Kyle reported quickly.

    Seifer turned to him. "All that I'm getting from your direction is 'blah-dy blah, blah, look at meeeee'."

    "By the manly beard of Mirror Uhuro," Amanda cursed in fear as she stared at the viewer. "We'd been trying to scan that anomaly for the past ten minutes, but the Ferengi own half this solar system and wouldn't let us get near it."

    The female version of Ensign Dan, an Ensign Danni, turned from the helm very quickly. "If you must know, they won the area in a tongo game from a pair of Ornithoid lifeforms."

    "Ahh!" Seifer noticed. "Sorry. It's just that I wasn't expecting to see you in this universe."

    Ensign Danni stood up. "You, sir, are as offending as the Constitution-class Mirror-Defiant modifications. I'm relieving myself from duty!"

    "Well, she didn't need to do that," Seifer put his hands on his hips as she left.

    Amanda fearfully pushed Seifer aside and stepped forward at the view screen. "Phoenix-X to Ferengi vessel. Please stop your space-poking at once!"

    The screen clicked on to a view of a towering female Ferengi, DiaMon Cida. "You don't give me orders, Humaaan! I'm the head of Slug-o-Cola, the largest conglomerate in Ferengi history. I own fleets of marauders, cruisers and modified casino ships. All of which are loaded with lobi-laced rapid fire missiles inexorably tied to latinum-plated tachyon mines!"

    "All we have right now is the Gekli non-combat pet," Kyle reported from tactical.

    Cida slammed her fist into the arm of her chair. "The point is I can do whatever I want, any time I want. And right now, thanks to your arrogance, I want to continue my actions until your ship explodes!"

    The screen then blinked off and returned its previous exterior view of the Jade Fox and anomaly.

    "Wait. So, the Ferengi are a female-dominated society?" Seifer asked.

    Amanda nodded. "Preferably so! You see, because women run the Alliance, the Ferengi are the most efficiently powerful species in the Alpha Quadrant. Actually, during the Dominion War, the Jem'Hadaire were a close second. Oh, how I envy their birthing chamber practices."

    Kayl crossed her arms. "It doesn't matter. Some Ferengi make such arrogant rich people, no matter the gender! Last week, our universes' DiaMon Cide purchased a crate-load of spherical law-of-probability gambling devices. You know, the kind that were once used on Deep Space 9, during that racquetball match that everyone couldn't shut up about?"

    "Our Deep Space 9 became a wasteland for ketracel white addicts," Amanda countered hopelessly as she slumped into the Captain's chair. "Thus eliminating one quarter of our other-Starfleet crew case studies. If you're wondering, the NX-01 Enterprise doesn't count."

    Another wave of super-charged omicron particles suddenly hit the Phoenix-X, surging power and blowing control panels.

    Seifer climbed himself up against the Bridge's side rail in delayed realization. "Dammit! Cide used those law-of-probability devices to modify his genesis torpedoes, assuredly leading us into the least probable universe to ever exist."

    "Talk about a weapons buff. Or, is that a nerf?" Kayl questioned.

    Seifer walked over to Amanda, dispiritedly. "If only time had no meaning here and I could go to the mountain top on Veridian III. That place has always been my dream escape from all this, and it's surely a spot where Captain's are safe from danger and--"

    "Not all Commanding officer's are ensured safety," Amanda surmised half-heartedly. "Ours is below decks, sick from drinking Slug-o-Cola in a failed attempt to impress DiaMon Cida. You see, I can't give you any advice, Seifer. I'm not a Captain with command experience," she paused. "But I bet I know someone who can..."

    ---

    As Seifer entered Holodeck 3, Lieutenant Commander Amanda's departing words continued in his mind: "And from her point of view, she just got here too..."

    In awe, Seifer approached a woman chopping wood in the side yard of a mountain top cottage, in the Alps. "Seifer... Nikki T. Seifer," he said to himself.

    "Beautiful day," she stated whilst continuing her chopping.

    The male Seifer slowly approached. "Yes, it certainly is."

    "Would you mind?" The female Seifer indicated to a pile of unchopped logs.

    Catching on quickly, "Oh." He picked one up and put it in place for her. "Captain, I'm wondering, do you realize--"

    "--Hold on a minute," she distractedly interrupted. "Do you smell something burning?"

    Pointing quickly, he said, "Yeah, do you realize your house is on fire?"

    "Dammit!" She dropped her axe to face the developing disaster, of which her holographic Great Dane was barking at. "Computer, delete house and dog." When they disappeared, she turned to face her male counterpart, "Sorry, that Slug-o-Cola did a number on my egg-frying focus. Chopping wood usually makes me feel better, despite it being the worst activity anyone could ever want to do."

    Seifer tilted his gaze. "Do you even realize your ship is in danger?"

    "I'm too critically compromised to command. Trust me. My actual appearance is being covered up by photons and force fields. You do not want to see how I actually look right now. It's gross. Like, really, really disgusting. Take what you're imagining right now and times that by ten. I got the holography idea from the Talosians," she assured. "Besides, the Phoenix-X has served its purpose as the Federation's transwarp network test ship. Granted, we did hastily run through twenty-five Phoenix-ships to get here, but we can't allow Captain's to get bored for one second."

    She slowly collapsed in exhaustion from her illness and energy expenditure, and the male Seifer tried to help her down easy.

    "Just let me go, Seifer," she continued. "I don't have any advice for you. My only regret is that I was never the Captain I should have been."

    He watched as she closed her eyes slowly. "I will let you go," he replied, "and I'll notify your family, personally, no matter how offensive my appearance will be."

    "What? I'm not dying," she snapped. "I'm just passing out for a few hours. Different thing! This isn't an epic tale, you know. Everything doesn't have to be dark."

    ---

    Entering the Bridge, the male Captain Seifer saw nothing but fear and horror in the gender-inverse crew, and he knew he had to do what his female counterpart tried to do when she drank the Ferengi beverage.

    "I'm taking command of this ship," he took the chair. "What do you guys think of the name Nightingale?"

    The male version of Kugo, Kojo, spoke up. "Unfortunately, after Harriet Kim misused it, that name was banned everywhere for any reason."

    "Aah!" Seifer nearly fell off his chair at the sight of Kojo. "Sorry, I'm just not used to any of this."

    He quickly hailed the Jade Fox and Cida blinked on screen. "YOU PITIFUL HUMAAANNS are quite liberal with your communication technology, aren't you? That's annoying to people. Not just me. All kinds of aliens you encounter. We hate it. We've all spoken about that and agree."

    Seifer stepped forward. "DiaMon Cida, don't make us all suffer death from your bountiful wealth. It's far too abundant and impressive for our impoverished lifestyles to handle."

    "Nice try with the passive flattery, but Ferengi thrive on that kind of manipulation," Cida smirked. "How do you think we sold the Bajorans to the Cardassians?"

    The Captain's jaw dropped. "That was you??"

    "Of course! There's always a sinister, unforgiving motive behind all galactic events: the Hobus star, the Changeling morphogenic virus, Leeto and Ram. Well, my assistant is giving me the 'wrap-up' sign. Time to die. Sorry about the short notice."

    So, this was it. The end of the line and Seifer knew it. There was nothing else he could have said to change the tides. He gave it his best effort, and failed miserably. Hopefully, some history database, somewhere, would remember him as a good Captain... a semi-competent one who at least stuck to his values.

    "I'll go out with you!" Seifer reached out his hand quickly.

    Suddenly, everyone stopped what he or she were doing and turned to look at him.

    "You mean, like, a date? Hmm," Cida paused to consider this. "I've never actually spoken to a clothed male in person before. There's something... interesting about that."

    It was all he could take to hold in his weakening fear of the unknown. "Yy... yes... 2100 hours?"

    "A male with a dominant attitude? Is that even possible? I shall have to see this with my own eyes!"

    As the screen clicked off, the crew turned to look at Seifer in utter shock. They had only heard of this kind of behavour from the history books, dating all the way back to the exploits of Captain Jane Tiberia Kirk.

    "Finallyyyy," Kayl sighed. "You'd better do a good job."

    Seifer shook his head. "I hope I don't regret this. In distraction-- and I need a distraction right now. Like, anything, DUDE, ANYTHING-- I believe that this anomaly is controlling the laws of probability through neutrinos."

    "Captain, I have an idea. We may be able to modify the deflector dish to extend a neutrino field over the energy expulsion," Kayl postulated.

    Catching on quick, Seifer spoke with Kayl, in unison: "If we control the neutrinos, we control the anomaly!"

    "Yes, sir," Kayl finished in shock.

    The Captain smiled. "Miss Kayl, you're a clever woman... in any time period."

    Kayl just shrugged, assuming that was a reference to something and got to work with her doppelganger.

    ---

    At 2100 hours, the Phoenix-X's Type-11 shuttlecraft Haruko was docked aboard the Jade Fox. Seifer was already in Cida's quarters, at her dinner table, going on, and on.

    ".......And so, as angry, disturbed people, they horrifyingly replaced my old Trill symbiont with an evil symbiont-- the Seifer symbiont. Now, flash-forward to six years later, when a Srivani scientist gets her hands on it and---"

    The story change was enough of a break to interrupt. "Enough! I don't want to hear any more of your stupid exploits. They're significantly awful and therefore should be completely dismissed!"

    "But I haven't even gotten to the time traveling? Surely I was the first?"

    Cida slammed her fists into the table. "Just get off my ship! Get off!"

    "Phoenix-X to Captain Seifer," Kayl's voice came in through the comms. "We've contained the anomaly with the neutrino field. Are you ready to beam back to our universe?"

    Seifer replied, "Not yet," and he turned to Cida. "So, can I call you?"

    "AUGGGH!" She got up and threw her tube grubs at him as he dematerialized.

    ---

    In a moment, Seifer was transported back aboard the Phoenix-X of his prime universe-- evidenced by the recognizable transporter operator at the controls.

    "Welcome back, Captain," the male Ensign said. "You were gone for a while, but I'm not one to ask questions. My wife likes me home by 1700."

    Kayl stood next to Seifer on the pad and looked at him inquisitively. "We were able to reverse the probability effect. In a few minutes, our counterparts will use the field to dissipate it, regain their warp drive and get the hell out of there," she paused. "So, how'd it go on your end?"

    "She completely rejected me, despite the fact I was being myself?" Seifer said in disbelief.

    Kayl rolled her eyes. "You mean you didn't even make it to first base?" She sighed. "Well, at least you took the first step toward a more open Captaining style. Even though it wasn't Captain Kirk status, you got the general idea."

    He paused, for a moment, to consider it.

    "Hey, what happened to Lox and Kugo?" she asked.

    Suddenly, the two in question materialized on the platform next to them. Their expressions: exhausted, and their clothes: tattered and burned.

    "We made it?" Lox said in surprise. "We made it! Ha!"

    Kayl turned. "Where'd you go?"

    "The universe where the Borg took over the Federation. We murdered soooo many of our counterparts, and even a couple of innocent by-standers just so we could get back here," Kugo explained.

    Seifer turned to her, deadpanned. "That.... shouldn't have happened," and then he turned to everyone, strictly. "None of this should have happened! The Ferengi of that universe obviously didn't pass the gender-equality laws the Ferengi have in ours, and do you know why that is?"

    His crew was hesitant to respond.

    "Because of this," he gestured to everything behind him, representing the entire cosmos. "This is the prime universe! We've invested so much into it, developed it, and grew it like a complex real life thought-experiment-baby. Anything else is just a rehashed, hackneyed, rebooted escapade."

    Lox raised his hand. "Does that include the Mirror Universe? They're like our universe's hard-to-get love interest."

    "No, of course not. In fact, I encourage more visits to the Mirror Universe," he turned to the transporter operator. "Belm, send us there immediately to help me prove my point."

    Belm nervously hesitated. "But sir, don't you need to do things here??"

    "Don't argue with me! Transport now!"

    The operator began working quickly to implement the trans-dimensional device he just happened to have that day. "Yes, sir, right away!" And in a visual, particle-frenzy, the four were off to the Mirror Universe.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2022
  5. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in June 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #65. Data references have been changed to fit Star Trek: Picard.

    Literary Challenge #65, Prompt #1: Facility 4028 has sent out a general distress call. Preliminary reports indicate that a group of possible augmented humans broke into the facility and ransacked the holding cells, but there have been no reports of missing inmates. Only a confirmed report that a crate has been removed from a maximum security clearance storage area in Facility 4028 that contained the deactivated remains of a Soong class Android known only as "Lore." The predecessor to the Android known as Data. Lore is a dangerous criminal known to have collaborated with a group of liberated Borg drones, and the Crystalline Entity, both in an effort to destroy the Enterprise and kill his "brother." Your orders are to investigate Facility 4028 for any evidence of how these augments broke into the facility, and where they have taken Lore's remains. Find them, and stop them before they can reactivate this dangerous android.
    Literary Challenge #65
    Myths & Lore

    Captain Seifer and three of his crew rematerialized onto the transporter pad aboard the Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X. The transporter operator, Belm, quickly put his Ktarian headset away.

    "So, how was your trip into the Mirror Universe?" he asked. "Wrought with horror, I imagine?"

    Seifer stepped off the pad. "Actually, great. We beamed into the mirror Rura Penthe, a tropical resort planet that is brimming with smokers— but they were bio-neural gel cigarettes, so it was okay."

    "Should I even ask about that?" Belm pointed to Seifer's goatee.

    The Trill Captain hesitantly brought his hand up to his chin and confirmed his worst fears. "Ah!" He looked over to his other male crewmember, Doctor Lox, who also had a goatee. The two women were hair-free, but their uniforms showed their midriffs. "Dammit," Seifer replied as he walked over to a nearby reflective panel. "I forgot about the Mirror Universe's innate, unexplained ability to make goatee's grow on men."

    "It's strange how selective the growing is," Lox said, feeling his own.

    Suddenly, Tactical officer Lieutenant Commander Armond entered the transporter room, stopping in his tracks at the sight of Seifer and the others. "Oh, I didn't know you were back yet— I was, uh, just going to check on the Heisenburg compensators," he commented, caught off-guard. "They're like the subatomic version of those puzzles you find on the Orient Express."

    "What the guramba?" Seifer knew exactly what was going on, "Are you taking missions while I'm on vacation??"

    Unable to lie under pressure, Armond rubbed the back of his neck and avoided eye-contact. "Well, anyway, I have Kimtones tickets I meant to replicate a lighter for, so I'd better get going—"

    "Stop," Seifer ordered as Armond was in mid-turn. "Where the hell are we? And don't say Risa, because it's the Lohlunat Festival right now, and you know how creeped out I get every time I'm hit on at that Dancing Stage."

    Armond cleared his throat. "No, sir, we're at Facility 4028," he explained. "There was a mysterious break-in in its storage area and Commander Achebe sent us to investigate."

    "Ugh. That place is so confusing. First, you follow the blue lines, then the red, then you're attacked by Beta Jem'Hadar. If they were the Jem'Hadar from the Wormhole, shouldn't they be called Dominion Gamma Jem'Hadar?" Lieutenant Kayl asked.

    Seifer shook his head. "That name is just too long and unnecessary. Belm, beam us down to Facility 4028 where they sometimes contain members of Species 8472."

    ---

    Minutes later, Seifer, Armond, Kayl and Lox beamed down to the secret prison. They met the holographic Warden at a maximum security storage area where the entrance had been blown open.

    "Hm. Perhaps we should take this opportunity to clean out the unnecessaries in here. We still have ten crates of Quark's confiscated yamak sauce," the Warden spoke to one of his holographic officers just before he noticed Seifer and his crew. "Oh! Wait. You people? I requested the Enterprise-F! Your ship just doesn't make any sense?" He turned to them. "How can you be on the -X prefix already? That shouldn't happen until the 29th century!"

    Seifer pondered for a moment. "Would you believe our ships kept exploding?"

    "Warden," the holographic guard started. "That was a miscommunication by our computer systems. It seems the Primary ISIS core and Secondary ISIS core are arguing with each other again."

    The Warden put his holographic finger to his holographic forehead. "Those cores will be the decompilation of me."

    "Captain, according to my biospectral analysis of the blood smear against this torn door-edge, these intruders had highly advanced platelet blood cells," Lox closed his medical tricorder.

    Kayl's jaw dropped. "Do you know what this means? We can cure death!"

    "Let's........ let's just leave that for some other crazy timeline," Seifer replied. "But I think this more importantly means we're dealing with Augments. We should speak to Amar Singh immediately."

    Suddenly, another holographic guard approached with an escaped prisoner. "I'm right here," the apprehended prisoner, Amar Singh interrupted, impatiently.

    "Our break-and-enter friends were kind enough to leave this one behind," explained the holographic guard holding him.

    Seifer looked at the guard disapprovingly. "You didn't just pull out the 'friend' card, did you? That is the laziest holoprogramming ever."

    "After they broke me out we had a difference of opinion on what fiscal direction to take the Children of Khan in," Singh started, "they wanted to invest in Mudd Industries, and I wanted to stick to our original Son'a face stretching boutiques—"

    Seifer interrupted, "Just tell us where they went— and you better not say one of the Cold Stations! Those facilities never contain their diseases and I already have the nehret."

    "I refuse to help you because you Federation fools will never support Augment life, thinking that you're morally superior to us with your natural hippie-Darwin genes," Singh shook his fist at them.

    Kayl raised her hand. "Oh! They're at the Klingon Research Facility in the Briar Patch!"

    "What?? You have a Human that is also a telepath??" Singh pointed at Kayl in shock-confusion.

    Kayl shrugged. "I was genetically altered by Srivani a while back."

    "Hypocrites!!! Here you are touting your ethically perfect lifestyle when you are in fact Augments yourselves!" Singh yelled as the guard started pulling him away. "I wish I had a Gorn and a Klingon right now. You know what I can do with them!"

    Seifer crossed his arms as Singh was on his way passed earshot. "Yeah, well, at least our ancestors don't randomly know who Chekov is."

    ---

    Later, the Phoenix-X dropped warp at the Briar Patch and struggled its way through its orangey-haze to the donut-shaped asteroid. An away team of Seifer, Armond and Kayl beamed into the thought-abandoned secret research base.

    "Ugggh. That was far too annoying to fly through," complained Seifer. "No wonder Riker used the forbidden joy stick."

    Before them, in the large metallic room, was a group of three augmented Humans, trying to assemble pieces of what looked like a Soong-type android.

    "Okay, so are we sure there's not a spinning bed that we can just put him in? I thought that was how they did it on Exo III?" Ruko, one of the Augments rotated an arm, trying to study the connecting point.

    But, Tavar, another one of the Augments pointed at Seifer and his away team. "The Federation!"

    "By the ridgeless foreheads of skinny Klingons! I thought you were going to take care of the proximity sensors??" Ruko snapped at the other Augment.

    Tavar shrugged. "As usual, antagonistic behaviour produces dysfunctional work flow. If you think about it, it's kind of a pre-emptive trope."

    "What in the name of awkward Kirk-movements is going on here?" Seifer blurted, stunned. "You have the android Data??"

    Armond shook his head, "No. Data was double-killed by Picard out of what many have presumed was murderous outrage over constantly trying to be Human. No need to fact-check that."

    "You either love us or hate us!" Kayl quipped.

    Suddenly, a familiar voice broke through the confusion. "Let's choose the latter," the savvy Soong-type android spoke.

    "Lore?? But you already came back to life in one of our unique starship's many previous adventures," Seifer explained. "We re-captured you when your leg got stuck in a Malon tanker pipe?"

    The Android, missing one arm and one leg, hobbled his-sitting-self around to face the Captain. "Your past episodes don't matter and should be comprehensively dismissed!"

    "Yeah..... but... you were...... and things...." Seifer drifted, confused.

    Lore picked up his other arm and threw it at Captain Seifer. "Shut up! You see, my father's ancestor, Arik Soong, was a devote 22nd century geneticist and bred himself a passionate torn-clothed, rock and roll following. This group endured and now they want a similar Soong-type-genius to help in their ambitions of societal amalgamation in much the same way a Galaxy-class saucer section may attempt to attach itself to a Constitution-class-refit body." He paused to shudder at the thought of it. "Ugghh."

    "My first idea was politics. Like, maybe we could run for a counsel somewhere? Perhaps the Nyberrite Alliance? I know a guy with a replicator who is good with branding," Ruko offered. "It's just one idea, though. I have more. Much more."

    Seifer dropped his phaser aim. "Damn that Facility 4028 and its inventory-reporting glitches." He then turned to the Augments. "Also, your plan may be sound. In fact, I could see you conquering the entire Galaxy through the dreary just-elect-anyone-so-I-can-go-home mentality of politics. Except for one thing: This android. Lore, tell them what your ultimate goal is!"

    "Kill all organics," he admitted fluently, unsure at how it could possibly relate to the situation at hand.

    Tavar dropped Lore's unattached leg. "What the Year-of-Hell?? Augments are organics! You mean to kill us as well!?" He paused, feeling as though he needed to explain himself. "If you're wondering about my powers of logic, I once dated a Vulcan."

    "Not at all," Lore replied. "I plan to Borgify you in the way one does with tubules and bendable piping. I admit it's not the most effective form of cybernetics, but it's kind of become my signature. It'd be a disservice to myself not to."

    Tavar picked up the leg and swung it around in horror, knocking Lore's head off his body and into the far wall. It took a second for him to calm himself down. "Sorry, I'm prone to bouts of enhanced rage. It's quite endearing from a genetically dispositional point of view."

    "Ruko to the ship," the other Augment picked up a hand-held communicator. "It appears we've inanely come to an unremarkable avenue for our remarkable kind. Three to beam out! No time for the beaming sound-effect!"

    The disembodied head of Lore watched as the Augments dematerialized in a rush.

    "Phoenix-X to Captain Seifer," Ensign Dan's voice operated over the comms. "It looks like the Augments transported onto a cloaked vessel somewhere."

    "You're relieved!"

    Ensign Dan sputtered for a moment. "Well, that was an over-reaction."

    Seifer then gave up and followed Armond and Kayl to Lore's decapitated body.

    "Are the Augments going to become one of those over-used enemies that lose their teeth with every encounter and that we eventually get tired of?" Armond asked.

    The Captain nodded, solemnly. "Yeah."

    "They were the ultimate bronze and they almost had the ultimate brains. I wonder if perhaps I could utilize my own abilities more effectively?" Kayl postulated.

    Seifer crossed his arms in thought. "Perhaps we all could. To survive is not enough. To simply exist is not enough," he quoted. "Roga Danar, Angosia III."

    "Sir, formally request we go to Risa," Armond turned, inspired and changing the subject. "We almost have enough Lohlunat Favors for a powerboard or floater."

    The Captain turned as well. "You do realize I'm the only one that ever beams down?"

    "Yes, but we're all watching on screen, in much the same way Kirk's crew did during his Gorn adventures," Armond replied.

    Seifer sighed. "Fine. But if I'm talking to a woman, I want that screen off, pronto. I'll contact you when I'm done."

    His crew nodded in agreement, and they collected the Soong-parts and left.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  6. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in July 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #65.​

    Literary Challenge #65, Prompt #2: You and your ship have been selected by the hottest film director in 2414 Hollywood to be the muse of his latest movie. He and his film crew have decided to shoot their entire film aboard your vessel and then premiere it on Earth. Is it a documentary? An action film? Romance? Does the entire shoot go smoothly or are there "unexpected cameos" by enemy Klingons or Borg? Write about the experience having someone film you and your crew or write a log about how the premiere went and if your Captain enjoyed the portrayal of themselves or the ship.

    Literary Challenge #65
    Movie Night

    Out in the incomprehensibly immeasurable vastness of deep space, the Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X rendezvoused with the Sydney-class transport vessel U.S.S. Oberon.

    After beaming four civilians onto the Phoenix-X, the Oberon turned in space and warped out of there. Captain Seifer exited his Ready Room to the Bridge where he met the group who all wore head-mounted holo-recorders.

    "Oh, I'm so happy you allowed us to record you and your crew in their most dramatically, vulnerable, candid states!" the lead civilian, Jeffrey clasped his hands together, excitedly.

    The rest of the crew stopped what they were doing and turned, shocked, to face the intrusive visitors. "Uh," Kugo started, "What the unfinished-Kolinahr is going on here??"

    "This is Jeffrey, the hottest film director in 2414 Hollywood and he has decided we are to be the muses of his latest movie!" Seifer nudged and winked at Armond, similarly excited.

    Armond looked at Seifer. "Please don't do that."

    "Wait. What the hell is a movie?" Kayl interrupted. "I thought those went extinct in the 21st century from the over-clichéd super human— or hero, if you wil— features rebooted, rehashed and prequeled over and over again until audiences revolted and destroyed all known film studios??"

    Kugo nodded. "You are right. But, by then, it was too late: The movie industry had funded real world genetics in an overly passionate, irrational attempt at converting fantasy into reality, which lead them to be responsible for the Eugenics Wars."

    "Well now I'm bringing movies back, baby! Think about this— A new story about how your ship got the -X postfix, rewritten by a one-dimensional, inarticulate madman's alternate reality plot-hole incursion. Plus, you're all younger, with completely different facial features and bone structures!"

    The Captain crossed his arms, hesitantly, "Well, let's talk about that one. Could, say, Spock still recognize me?"

    "Also, since when do we need third-party entertainment?" Armond asked. "We have holodecks now, which are in fact the only venue anyone ever constructs a story-line for anything— and even then it's contrived, considering the vast off-the-cuff, randomized complex programming a holodeck simulation is capable of. Remember the Moriarty Wars in the 2390s?"

    Kayl nodded. "Oh, indeed. Those were so embarrassing, they weren't even mentioned in that overly complicated The Path 2409 reference book Starfleet published to get everyone on the same page, history-wise, again."

    "Well, I bring to the table something those holodecks— Is that what you call them? I've never heard of them— never have," Jeffrey offered. "And that thing is feature film dialogue! No one wants long television-grade well thought-out sentences or artfully composed scene writing? The average viewer is dumb and brain-dead, and we shove that belief of ours in their faces with clichéd short sentences, and name yelling tropes amidst non-stop, overly-stimulating, shark-jumped, uber-starship, hallway-running action sequences!"

    Seifer turned to him. "Really? You need that many adjectives?" Then, suddenly concerned, "And you never said anything about forced-liveliness?"

    Ensign Dan turned in his seat. "Also, the year is 2410? How is it that Jeffrey is the hottest anything from the year 2414?"

    "You're relieved!" Seifer snapped.

    Kugo crossed her arms. "The Ensign is right. Jeffrey would have to be some kind of a time traveler and—" she suddenly stopped herself in realization— "By a sehlat's uncooked hide! I do know him! You're Jeffrey Jacob, a known ex-Temporal Agent from the 31st century, who was exiled from the organization for taking over someone-named-Annorax's temporal rewriting calculations in an attempt to recreate the Vorgon species!"

    "And I would've gotten away with it too if it weren't for that meddling Janeway," Jeffrey cursed. "Temporal Investigations literally gets her involved in every time travel thing."

    Seifer stepped forward. "Okay, everyone, stop. If Jeffrey was on the run, he'd have been arrested by now, right?"

    "In fact, I did serve my time and am now a free man. I decided I would bring back something called movies, and, to start, I illegally traveled back in time to rewrite Starfleet's most irreparable crew! Yours! You see, I devised the perfect modification to these headset holo-imagers and just had to find you to implement them— the modification being LENS FLARES!"

    The Captain was suddenly taken aback and almost lost his footing. "Oh, ugh! —Uggh! No!? No, this can't be??"

    Armond quickly got up and held a phaser to Jeffrey and his team. Jeffrey looked around as Kugo and Kayl were aiming phasers as well.

    "I'm sorry," Captain Seifer reestablished his stance. "But we cannot allow you to go on in any fashion under those parameters any more. The line must be drawn here; this far, no further."

    ---

    Minutes later, Jeffrey and his team were back on the pad in the Transporter room, but this time, were being fitted with environmental suits.

    "Captain, is this really necessary?" Jeffrey asked.

    Seifer explained. "Like the Omega molecule, Starfleet Captain's are required to take strict actions in situations like these. Somewhere, in some other time, the repercussions of similar acts like yours are still being felt to this day." The crew finished with the fittings. "Fortunately, this is a high traffic transport zone, so you won't be completely in the company of death," Seifer did the so-so hand gesture, "per se."

    He then nodded to the transporter operator, who beamed Jeffrey and his group out into cold space: the very same space where the Phoenix-X turned and jumped to warp.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2020
  7. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in August 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #66. It was my first attempt at breaking out into a different crew through STO's playable Klingon faction.

    Literary Challenge #66, Prompt #1: Starfleet Command has ordered your crew to undergo an unusual mission. A familiar figure from Starfleet's past has appeared onboard your ship following a Priority One communication directly from Admiral Quinn... and Franklin Drake, a known Section 31 Operative. Your orders, to assist "Crewman Daniels" stop a direct threat to the timestream from an unknown enemy who, according to Daniels, plans to return to the Xindi homeworld in the year 2033 to stop the destruction of the Xindi Avian race. Your mission, travel back in time to stop this temporal incursion and maintain the timeline at all costs. In order to protect the future, you and your crew must allow the genocide of an entire race of the Xindi species to assure that history repeats itself, and to ensure that Starfleet doesn't loose one of it's most valuable allies in this new period of Xindi cooperation. Starfleet can not afford to loose the experimental technology the Xindi have supplied us in our new offensives against the looming threat of the Iconians. Upon arrival in 2033, your Com Officer reports an incoming hail from an Xindi Avian Escort, whose Captain has offered to their assistance in escorting you to their homeworld.
    Literary Challenge #66
    The Xindi Paradox

    Captain Seifer walked hurriedly down one of his corridors on the Prometheus-class Starship Phoenix-X. A crewman named Daniels tried catching up with him.

    "Sir! I need to speak with you?" Daniels called out.

    Seifer turned slightly but didn't lose stride. "Why don't you talk to one of my Bridge officers? I'm a little busy right now."

    "It's important," Daniels affirmed.

    The Captain turned a corner. "I'm sorry, Daniels. I've got my hands full—"

    "It's about the Suliban," he started. "—Gah! I mean, the Xindi. I'm always getting those two mixed up. You ever notice how they're similarly plot-device'd aliens?"

    Seifer stopped. "Alright, fine. Though, I'm not going into your quarters."

    "But I've just poured us each a glass of Gamzian wine?"

    The Captain held up his hands. "No! Ugh! You are just, just so awful. And the forehead. Excuse me a second." He involuntarily leaned against the bulkhead, attempting to hold in a sudden sickness. "I'll be fine. Just need to— hold it in. Okay." He stood up. "Okay, let's go to the Bridge."

    ---

    Later, the Phoenix-X approached a giant, blue-hazed rogue comet, which was moving slowly through space as it was being scanned by the Vor'cha-class IKS B'Cnah.

    "This is Captain Menchez of the B'Cnah! Don't you dare touch this space object. It is ours! We were going to put a flag in it, but our replicators are busy with our daily gagh manufacturing," the Klingon yelled out.

    Seifer peered at the view screen. "Fascinating. This thing is exactly like Driffen's comet, only, not-destroyed."

    "Obviously, it came from the same source! What is taking you so long to come to the appropriate conclusions??" Menchez argued.

    The Captain furrowed his brow. "I just got here. Give me a second to process things and such and so on."

    "Klingons do not give seconds!"

    Seifer looked confused. "I'm not— I don't know what that means. Anyway, we're here because a Na'Kuhl man named Sayjan will be traveling back in time to prevent the Federation from forming. The fact we're from there is just a coincidence."

    "Except that if he's changed the timeline, it makes no sense that you are still here!"

    Crossing his arms, Seifer replied. "He hasn't changed it yet. But, by manipulating the triolic energy of this asteroid, we'll be able to jump back to a time in the past of which contains a future that he does."

    "That sounds unnecessarily complicated? However, I just cannot allow my battle record with Starfleet ships to be erased from any alternate timelines, so please, proceed," Menchez offered before blinking off screen.

    The Phoenix-X fired a selective molecular polarization beam from its deflector dish into the comet. Realizing the haste in his actions, Captain Seifer snapped his fingers. "Dang! I forgot to tell Menchez to get out of the way."

    ---

    Suddenly, the B'Cnah was enveloped by triolic energy and sent back in time to the early 21st century, in the Xindi system.

    "QI'yaH!! We are not to be in this time-frame!" the Klingon Captain cursed.

    Derok glanced over. "We should have never trusted the Federation!!! Uggghh!!!"

    "What? That is completely irrational. Clearly, they did not intend to send us here. You need to calm down, Derok. Your attitude is unbecoming and a little discreditable."

    Stopping, Derok replied, "Sorry, Captain."

    "bIjatlh 'e' yImev! There is a Xindi ship approaching off the port bow!! THEY ARE HAILING!!!" Ulkegh reported from tactical.

    Menchez nodded. "Very well. Just please stop yelling, everyone! It is characteristic, yes, but mostly annoying."

    "Greetings," the Xindi-Avian commanding officer opened. "Welcome to our home system. We are in a state of war right now, but would take great pleasure in escorting you to come visit our non-war areas. We have two: One is an Avian koi pond at my mother's, and the other is an Avian bowling alley on 47th Street."

    Ch'Tong, at helm, scratched his Klingon-goatee. "How would the latter even work? Perhaps, this is worth some investigation."

    "yIDoghQo'! The real question is how do the Avians have starship technology when history records they could not even leave their planet???" Menchez slammed his fist into the arm of his chair.

    The Xindi-Avian nodded. "Indeed. This vessel is actually our first one ever. Yay, us! We should be using it to defend ourselves on-world, but every time any one of us Captain's it, we just cannot turn down the call of freedom and are compelled to soar blissfully throughout our single planet solar system. Surely, our inescapable deviation could not result in real life consequences?"

    Suddenly, a Xindi-Reptilian snuck up behind him and decapitated the Avian. On screen, more Xindi-Reptilians broke onto the Bridge and killed the Avian crew.

    Ch'Tong crossed his arms. "It is their spiritual nature that has been their demise."

    "Ha! Now we shall use this vessel to detonate all the explosives we placed under our world's largest seismic fissures!" exclaimed the Xindi-Reptilian with glee. "Did you guys remember to bring the holo-imaging camera? I want to update my Risa profile page with it."

    His second in command shook his head. "Sorry, sir. The cameras were all destroyed when the Xindi-Aquatics hit us with that giant tsunami. We were wringing our uniforms for weeks!"

    "Rings. I like the sound of that. Let's update our uniforms to include ring-like shoulder pads. They'll loop around, right over our shoulders, unlike the Klingons' flat, unimagined pads of boredom."

    His second in command saluted right away. "Excellent idea, sir!"

    "Speaking of Klingons, I suppose you want to destroy us now, Klingon vessel?" the Xindi-Reptilian turned to acknowledge the B'Cnah's presence.

    Menchez held up his hand. "No! You must do what you must do. Not to mention, that decapitation was excellently done, dishonorable as it was."

    "Why, thank you. It's quite easy, because their necks are so thin. I've done so much head-chopping in my time, I sometimes wonder what it is like."

    The Klingon Captain tilted his head in confusion. "That's an odd thing to say so arbitrarily."

    Suddenly, the Na'Kuhl agent, Sayjan popped up behind the Reptilian and attempted to decapitate him, but only succeeded in slitting his throat.

    "Dammit! How do they do it??" Sayjan cursed as the Reptilian hit the floor.

    Menchez then relaxed. "Oh, that's why." Then stood up. "You fool! Killing them is tampering with the timeline!!"

    "Yes, I know." Sayjan then shot down the other Reptilians on the Bridge. "As a time-traveler, tampering with the timeline is my purpose. How would you feel if you couldn't yell-talk anymore? Yeah. Not a pleasant thought, is it?" He turned to work on the control panels. "Anyway, I'm now sabotaging the communications on the planet, in an effort to stop the explosives from detonating, thus saving everyone's lives. After this, I plan to manipulate all the Xindi-species into a lasting peace with each other! Hahaha!!!"

    The Captain clenched his fist. "You monster! The Xindi will then develop a functional, non-bickering-type council that succeeds in their efforts in destroying the Federation through mutual cooperation and perfect unity!"

    "I know. Isn't it so obvious that that's what's going to happen? It's suuuuch a sure thing."

    Menchez pointed to Ulkegh. "Transport him directly into the Brig!!"

    "But, I thought we weren't to be yelling, sir?" Ulkegh was confused.

    He waved his hand. "Forget those orders!"

    "Qapla'!" she exclaimed as she initiated the transport. Moments later, her console beeped. "Captain Menchez, the remaining Reptilians on the ship have initiated self-destruct."

    Menchez gestured. "That is horrible timing! Hail the new lead Reptilian!"

    "Huh?" A view of a Reptilian in Engineering blinked on. "Oh, is that alien gone? Well, what do you expect from us? We are on the lower decks. All our Bridge-news has a 30-second delay! Also, we were working on those new shoulder rings. They look sooooo good."

    The B'Cnah started to back off, but the Xindi-Avian cruiser exploded and knocked several key systems on the Klingon vessel offline: Most notably, the weapons systems. The shuttle bay endured a massive breech, blowing several irreparable shuttles out into space.

    "Uggh!!! This is all that Na'Kuhl's fault!" Menchez irked. "Derok, ensure he is flogged appropriately!"

    Derok scratched his head. "Do Klingons do that?"

    "I don't know. Yes, perhaps," Menchez tried to recall. "We do need to maintain a certain level of barbarism, anyway."

    Derok saluted. "Yes sir!"

    "Ch'Tong, take us to the planet. We must repair whatever un-damage they've done."

    ---

    The B'Cnah then warped for the planet Xindus. Upon entry into orbit, the crew began scans.

    "Captain, it appears only a few of the seismic fissure-explosives have gone off," Ulkegh explained. "According to reports, the remaining explosives are only a few days away from detonating, due to earthquakes, but the Avians are confident they can disassemble them before that."

    Menchez slammed both his fists into his chair. "Hu'tegh! Can we detonate them remotely ourselves??"

    "Not possible," Tayana, the engineer approached. "Sayjan's half-way sabotage was successful in disabling those devices' communications. Classic plot-block."

    The Captain got up, looked around for his cup of raktagino, picked it up and then threw it at a lowly Bekk.

    "Aahh!" screamed Bekk Rinn in fear.

    Menchez turned. "Unacceptable!! We will take our last Toron-class shuttle down and deal with the situation ourselves!"

    "But, Captain," Ulkegh interrupted. "The weapons on the I.K.S. Hex are inoperable??"

    Ch'Tong spat. "Another setback? We should just let everything be, repair our systems, and head back to the still-open triolic time portal! It will be enough. The Empire will die a horrible, bloody death fighting the Dominion alone, but we'll have had some good Klingon-jollies along the way."

    "Perhaps," Menchez started. "But we must honor the intents of this mission, even if it wasn't ours to begin with. Destiny has put us in this place for a reason and it is sorely obvious that a Starfleet crew could never do what we can and must now do."

    ---

    Half an hour later, the Hex was landed on the surface, and the Bridge officers from the B'Cnah were already busy slaughtering surrounding Xindi-Avians, using bat'leths, mek'leths and tajtiqs of all kinds.

    "AaaaaHHHH!!!!" an Avian screamed as its head was neatly sliced off by Tayana.

    Ch'Tong hacked his bat'leth into a flood of oncoming Avians, one after the other, and another. "Captain! Must we continue doing this?? My arms are getting tired!"

    "Wwwwhhhhhyyyyy?????" another Avian called out, attempting to slap with its wings, but instead being gutted by Menchez's tajtiq. "My insidessss!!??"

    Menchez whipped the remaining blood off his weapon. "Do not waver! That is an order and plea for honor." He then surveyed his surroundings of death all around. "Captain Seifer is going to owe me for this. Him and his precious little timeline!"

    Another Avian ran for Menchez, to which he sliced right into. Blood flying everywhere. His dulling blade ensuring maintained continuity.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2020
  8. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in August 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #67. This is also my sequel to Star Trek: Voyager's "Threshold".​

    Literary Challenge #67, Prompt #1: The news has spread throughout Starfleet, the High Council, even amongst D'Tan's Republic. They are going back to the Delta Quadrant. Back to clean up Janeway's mess? To finish off the Borg? Or to draw more attention to the Alpha and Beta Quadrants? The Voyager crew made first contact with more species than any other in the Federation's history. Not all of them were so eager to befriend them. But now they make the call for you and I to join their expedition. To reestablish old ties, and perhaps strengthen new ones. What lies ahead for the Captain's of STO in Delta Rising? What mysteries and pitfalls await you, and your crew as they take a leap of faith halfway across our galaxy?

    Literary Challenge #67
    The Delta We Left Behind

    The Vor'cha-class IKS B'Cnah sped through space in the Delta Quadrant at incalculable speeds! Captain Menchez entered the Bridge.

    "What is our status?" he asked.

    Ulkegh tapped at tactical. "Captain, our status is boredom and irreparable frivolity."

    "That's not a thing! Besides, not two days ago, we fought a lost Vidiian starship several sizes larger than ourselves," Menchez countered.

    Ch'Tong turned from helm. "That vessel was already on fire— in space, mind you— from an Hirogen attack. Also, have you noticed how this quadrant is a quadrant of complete absurdity?"

    "Whether that is true or not is not for you to decide! It may, in fact, redeem itself. So, don't dispose your unliving gagh all over it so quickly!" The Captain then composed himself. "But, just as a reminder of our orders from the Klingon High Command, we are not to reference that Starfleet vessel-of-which-shall-not-be-named in conversation at any point, in any place, for any reason during our time here."

    Tayana raised her hand. "Are the rumors true, that they endured coincidence so often that it made them invincible?"

    "Yes," Menchez replied. "Though, it is usually agreed, by most in the scientific community, that that was due to magic— a radical phenomenon leaked by a cross-dimensional shift originating in the alternate universe planet Megas-Tu."

    Ch'Tong nodded. "Seems legit. That's a short-form for the word legitimate. Permission to continue using it?"

    "Denied!" Menchez ordered. "Now, what is going on with those disturbances on Deck 5? Is it true there have been reports of Klingon's yelling? How is that even—?" He crossed his arms. "The stopping of my sentence short was intentional."

    Suddenly, Derok ran onto the Bridge, yelling with a slimy-green creature clung onto his arm. "AAAHHH!!!" He ripped it off, threw it to the floor and stomped on it several times.

    "What is that? You know Ferengi Food Friday is not until tomorrow," Menchez stated. "That William T. Riker-looking chef we have is always one for surprises."

    Derok then kicked the dead creature away. "I killed that chef last week, actually, in anticipation of gaining one of those Talaxian ones."

    "You fool, Derok!" Ch'Tong pointed.

    Derok approached the Bridge crew. "Anyway, the entire lower half of the ship is rife with these salamander things. They came off our salvaged Vidiian haul. According to the Vidiian database, they captured several amphibian-like mammals from a distant jungle world. But before they were able to control the creature's on-board population, the creature's took over and attempted to alter the ship, thus leaving them defenseless to the Hirogen."

    "That still doesn't explain the flames in space," Ch'Tong interjected.

    But, before anyone could continue, the Bridge was surprised-ambushed by the hiding creatures. Small, green, slimy quadrupedal amphibian-like aliens emerged from the shadows, all over the place.

    "Greetings, humanoids," one of them opened. "My name is Venice, of the Paris Tribe. We are human-salamander descendants of your quadrant's Lieutenant Tom Paris and Captain Janeway. We've been commandeering vessels for a long time, in an attempt to return our species to a humanoid shape."

    Menchez pulled out his knife. "By the illegal Dancing Clone Troop of Kahless! You are all a collective abomination!? And, I'm pretty sure you are at an advanced level of evolution? Not to undercut my mighty Klingon yelling."

    "Indeed we are advanced— slimily-advanced, if you will. But we've come to realize this era was made for bi-pedal creatures with access to chairs and hover-cycles, so we would like to revert. Also, we swim in water, but we cannot drink it. It's an odd future, I'll admit," Venice explained.

    Ch'Tong crossed his arms. "Why, again, did that ship-to-not-be-named choose to just leave new life— babies, by the way— behind? Aren't Starfleet crew's supposed to be interested in things like that? Oh, yes, they had to get 'home'— What a pathetic, cry-baby ship-goal."

    "Fool! Their first officer could not risk ruining his chances of mating with his Captain by preoccupying her with motherhood!" Menchez snapped.

    Another human-salamander squandered up. "My name is Marseille, for reference. We've been manipulating your crew for some time now, by remote orders sent via text, with various engineering tasks written in short-message-form. We have made your crew adapt a new type of dilithium and had them alter your ship's engines and structural integrity to that of a Warp 10 capable ship. You see, our salamander scientists have determined that evolution is cyclical, and have concluded that another warp-jump will advance our DNA forward back to you."

    "That is insane!? Everyone knows the steps are: Wesley, Traveler, Changeling, Organian, Trelane's parents and then Q! We Klingons will not stand for this blatant disregard for real-life canon!" Menchez ejected the side blades of his knife, but was stopped.

    Ulkegh held him back. "Captain, no! Our blades are still dull from last week's time-travel-Xindi-Avian massacre!"

    "I told you to have them re-sharpened!" Menchez stopped to examine his weapon. "Look at this. There are still Avian feathers on mine." He tried to unsuccessfully wipe them off.

    Venice sluggishly hoisted himself onto a control panel, and slapped it with his fin. "You Klingons are too late anyway! We initiated the Warp 10 protocol half an hour ago and will soon be travelling at speeds you haven't even imagined!!! The delay is due to our salamander-operative in Engineering, who has to climb himself up onto the correct console."

    "Just putting this out there, but the Enterprise-D was doing these speeds way before the-ship-that-shall-not-be-named," Menchez commented. "Also, your existence presents an aura of story-anti-climax! Who wrote you!??"

    He frustratingly reached for the salamander, and attempted to choke it.

    "AAaaahhh! My beautiful slimy neck!" Venice cried, worried he was going to get a proper hold.

    Not really succeeding in grip, and before he could finish, the Captain was beamed away.

    ---

    Menchez found himself rematerializing in the B'Cnah's Sickbay.

    "Sorry to cut your non-Cryptic-approved festivities short, Captain," Terek walked over. "But, when the Galley started receiving requests for pepperoni pizzas with Kavarian olives, I knew evolved salamanders were coming."

    Captain Menchez nodded. "It is always that."

    "In just a few minutes, when they initiate Warp 10 with their modifications, we are all going to advance-evolve, but the transformation will be immediate— due to their altered calculations and also for time-sakes." Terek activated a spinning test-tube centrifuge, but instead of test-tubes, there were Klingon knives spinning around. He continued, "I've determined that you will require a phase discriminator arm band to protect yourself from any unbridled science you may encounter."

    Menchez furrowed his brow. "Very good, Doctor. But, do you have something more Klingon?"

    "Way ahead of you," the centrifuge stopped and Terek tossed over one of the knives. "Cut that into your blood, and you will be safe from any kind of salamadolution. Do not, I repeat— Do not try to mate for at least 24 hours."

    The Captain cut his palm immediately. "You have been more than helpful, Terek."

    Suddenly, the B'Cnah entered Warp and sped up to Warp 10. In a bright flash, everybody was everywhere at once. But with the salamander's pre-focus, everyone, and the ship was brought back to its original plain of existence.

    ---

    Menchez entered the Bridge to find his crew evolved into Klingon salamanders, but with spikes on their backs, and the Paris-Janeway offspring evolved into naked Human forms. "Actually, the spikes make it not so bad. Though, I'm certain this future lacks the proper appendages to hold a Klingon pain-stick. Also, Warp 10 isn't the same as transwarp?"

    "We did it," Venice muttered, half-disoriented, climbing himself up onto a control panel. "No more trial-and-error consumption of whatever happens to be near our salamander heads! No more guessing games during group mating sessions!"

    Captain Menchez pushed Marseille's slowly waking Human body off her control panel. "If you are representative of what the Delta Quadrant will have to offer, I am confused and bewildered!"

    He then hit a control button and the B'Cnah entered into Warp 10 again. The ship then exited, not too long after, on Menchez's command.

    "As you are aware, it doesn't matter what you do. We can just flip the cycle over again," salamander-Venice interjected as he noticed he was a salamander again. "We are not to be denied our ability to do squats."

    Shocked and appalled, Menchez hit the Warp 10 button again, causing another bright flash and everyone to change back.

    "You see?" now-human-Venice called out. "This is the true path of evolution! It just goes back and forth from humanoid to salamander to humanoid to salamander! The science checks out!"

    Menchez hit the button again and again, and after each flashy Warp 10 jump, everyone except Menchez was switched to either humanoid or salamander. "This can't be?? It's a complete contradiction. Whoever thought of this must've been on something?? Perhaps studio pressure to have something good— but at what cost? Compromising the universe??"

    Menchez grabbed a nearby salamander, Marseille, and threw her at a lowly Bekk in frustration.

    "Aahhh!" screamed Bekk Rinn in fear.

    Venice jumped onto another panel and switched it again. "It's too late, Captain. The research has been done. The metaphorical 'episode' has been aired. The ability exists!"

    The Captain then accessed the database. "Not if I delete the in-progress documentation," he continued. "That, and destroy the modifications! Your divergence has caused far too much pain and suffering on message boards and holo-chat rooms. You are not to be a catalyst for temporal reset buttons any longer! Except this one last time." He switched everyone back and then programmed a feedback loop into the modified systems, destroying the Warp 10 function.

    "NNOOOOOO!!!" the salamander-Venice screamed. "I was going to take up Russian dancing!"

    Menchez completed the system purge and then held his knife at surrounding salamanders. "You can all forget about your planned shoe shopping ambitions, you salamander-petaQ!" He watched as his dizzying crew got back to their feet.

    "Captain," Ch'Tong started, groggily. "Am I to assume we are in our next evolutionary-form, which just happens to be exactly like we were before, rather than a sixth or eighth more different form?"

    "Indeed," Menchez answered. "And, as such, each of us must endeavor to stop all hints of Warp 10 anywhere from now on."

    Venice squiggled his way for the door, but was blocked by Derok's foot. "Permission to murder most foul, strange and unnatural, Captain?"

    "Collect them all and bring them to the Galley. They will await our new chef," Menchez commanded.

    Ulkegh got up, slowly. "Sir! You cannot really mean to eat those things??"

    "It is the only way to prevent from further Warp 10 incursions, Lieutenant. We may be saving the Delta Quadrant from scientific incongruity, but we are still Klingons! It is our duty to do horrifying deeds and then ask questions later!"

    Ch'Tong nodded. "He's got a point. Everything we do should feel unsettling to outsiders."

    "Very well," Ulkegh turned. "Although, it is odd we are speaking from that perspective. Also, perhaps such an example will assist in toughening this Quadrant up a bit more."

    Menchez accessed a nearby drawer and started handing out Klingon forks and knives. "From what I have seen, I will agree with that necessity. Now we just need a cook. —Ch'Tong, set a course for the nearest Talaxian colony!"

    The B'Cnah turned and jumped to warp, the hunger imposing in on their mighty bellies.
     
  9. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in September 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #67.

    Literary Challenge #67, Prompt #2: After the most recent Jenolan Accords, the Federation, KDF, and Romulan Republic have entered into a tense, but established, peaceable relationship. Federation and KDF forces have opened their once closed borders, letting enemies-turned-allies across their borders once again, and allowing more open discussions between all three galactic powers.

    Of course not all are happy with the peaceable relations between these powers, and one such agent of discord has gone rogue. A Section 31 operative has gone renegade, targeting Romulan, Klingon, and even Federation vessels, labeling them all as enemies, either as Undine traitors or Iconian pawns. Your Captain has been targeted next, labeled as the Iconian's greatest puppet, the one who was always there at the right time, and the wrong time. They know all you strengths, and all your weaknesses. How will your captain handle it this time?

    Literary Challenge #67
    There's Always Some Strings Attached

    The Vor'cha-class IKS B'Cnah trekked through space, listlessly and ever so haphazardly. It was the end of his shift and Captain Menchez was turning a corner on one of the living quarter decks.

    He nodded to Chief engineer Tayana as they passed each other. "Captain," she said.

    "Sir," Bekk Rinn greeted eagerly as he passed and Menchez just radiated an awkward and detached stare.

    ---

    The Captain entered his dark quarters to find an incoming message light blinking on his desktop monitor. He tapped a button to accept it.

    "Menchez! It's your Federation counterpart, that one guy and stuff," Seifer appeared on screen, from the Phoenix-X.

    The Klingon Captain nodded. "If this is about the money you owe me from that time on Nimbus III at Shangdu, then the pay back has doubled!"

    "Why would you double it if I was going to pay it back now? Never mind. This is about something completely different. Your life," Seifer started. "It's in danger and not in the way those United States Army Air Corps Generals from the 1940s used to smoke cigars into Ferengi faces."

    Menchez slammed his fist into his table. "I decide when my life is in danger! I was planning for another Fek'lhr battle, despite the fact you keep telling me that was all a dream."

    "I still maintain that, yes," Seifer nodded. "But this is different. Several key people in direct relation to past Iconian and Undine galactic events have been killed and continue to be killed as of late. That category includes you, according to a makeshift chart of refrigerator magnets on the wall next to my replicator."

    The Klingon ground his teeth. "You know, you did the same missions. And just because we are allies now does not mean you can attempt to save my life! To a Klingon, that is just rude!"

    He cut the transmission off in anger and took a breath to himself.

    "He's right you know," a Human man emerged from the shadows and extended a phaser at Menchez. "About the murdering and such. It's not like I've been advertising it though, so, perhaps I should re-think my actions."

    In close range, Menchez grabbed the man's wrist and redirected the phaser fire, blowing the monitor. The weapon was dropped and Menchez pulled out a d'k tahg from his boot with his other hand. He swung it around toward the attacker. "You dare confirm Starfleet's careful examinations of patterned behaviour??"

    But the human blocked Menchez's incoming forearm and force-palmed the Klingon in the face. The man then grabbed a kut'luch off a nearby table and stabbed Menchez through the chest. "The name's Rave, and I didn't go rogue from Section 31 to hear lectures about Starfleet, despite that being one of those subjects I enjoy debating about on subspace message boards."

    Rave stepped back and watched as Menchez fell off his chair, to his knees, and to the floor.

    ---

    After ten seconds, Menchez re-spawned outside in the hallway with full health. He got up and walked passed several officers, Tayana and Bekk Rinn again, before re-entering his quarters.

    "Uh, didn't I just kill you?" Rave questioned upon his entrance. He swung the kut'luch to which Menchez stopped by grabbing Rave's forearm. With his free hand, Menchez punched Rave across the face.

    The Captain quickly triple-punched Rave in the chest, with one final blow knocking the rogue Agent over a nearby table and onto the floor behind it. "I am far too angry about dying to process your Section 31 logic!"

    Rave found the phaser from earlier and fired it into Menchez.

    ---

    Ten seconds later, Menchez re-spawned in the hallway back to full health. Passing Tayana and Bekk Rinn, he re-entered his quarters, but this time stopped in his tracks. "Wait. What is going on here? Why can I remember waking up at some 'checkpoint'?"

    Suddenly, Q flashed in, freezing Rave in mid-run-attack. "That's exactly what I'd like to know!"

    "Obviously, I've been messing with your settings," another Q, named Qu, flashed in.

    Q's jaw dropped, "Qu!?"

    "Huh? There's another Q?" Rave said, confused, still-frozen from the neck down.

    Qu shook his head. "There are more than one Q in this universe. Stop being so close-minded! Anyway, old-faced Q, here," he gestured, "put in place a re-spawn-quantum string for select Captains, everywhere, in order to maintain continuity and reduce player frustration. Normally you wake up and those involved, including you, don't remember the hiccup. Events proceed as normal with no awareness of interrupted flow."

    "That is madness! You're saying reality is just a lie?? Also, when is my actual death??" Menchez blurted.

    Q sighed. "Later, for other reasons. You know, Qu, if you want to make a change here, then, fine. I've got all these Organian devs to deal with right now; their Delta Rising movement is going to be a Delta Spas-ing cesspool if I don't modify certain player perceptions. About this whole death thing, don't say I didn't warn you." With that, Q flashed away.

    "Did anything he say even make sense at all to anyone?" Menchez asked.

    Qu waved him off. "Never mind that. He's right about the death thing, though. When and how you die is when and how you die, not when and how you don't. My problem is lying to you guys. I just can't have that on my conscience, and after my mother-in-law's lecture during my whole Amanda Rogers fan fiction obsession and-- well, I don't want to bore you with all the details," Qu maintained.

    Menchez postulated, "So, I may die here, or elsewhere, but the when and how of that must be correct?"

    "Precisely," Qu answered.

    The Klingon waved it all away. "Whatever! You have issues. That's what I will translate from this. Let us just get on with it. A Klingon's death is not to be trifled with."

    "Yeah," Rave agreed. "I have other Captain's I'm supposed to kill. Ever heard of a Captain Seifer? He left an odd, stubby looking man named Jeremy Jacob's to die out in cold space! Wut up wit dat yo?"

    Qu pointed. "That vernacular is not accepted in this universe!"

    The freeze on Rave was lifted and his run-attack continued. Caught off guard, trying to process Rave's odd words, Menchez was shot down, harder, with the increased momentum.

    ---

    Ten seconds later, Menchez awoke. But before returning, he double-checked his purple Solanae tribble buff. "Ugh. 60 minutes of 1% Critical Hit Chance better come in handy."

    Re-entering his quarters, he forced-palmed Rave's phaser out his hand and then multi-punched Rave in the stomach. Rave grabbed the final punch and redirected Menchez into being impaled by a bat'leth he pulled off the wall. "Why won't you just die already?? This rogue endeavor isn't even my primary mission!"

    ---

    Ten seconds later, Menchez returned. He grabbed a Forcas III trophy off a shelf and clashed it with Rave's bat'leth. "Ugh! How can this not be your main objective? You're killing people?? That's a pretty important goal if I recall my early Klingon targ-stab training??"

    "I left Section 31 to work with another alien group," he pushed Menchez off and kicked the Klingon onto his desk. "Not only do I believe the Federation is madly infiltrated, but I want Section 31 to be stronger than ever before."

    Menchez threw the trophy at Rave, and Rave threw his bat'leth at Menchez. Rave was hit in the head and the Klingon Captain was impaled.

    ---

    Thirty seconds later, Menchez returned. "Dammit! I'm like the worst Klingon to ever exist for some larger literary purpose?? This can't be what happens every time in reality? And what the hell with the thirty seconds??"

    "Oh, if you keep dying within a short period, the time interval increases," Qu explained, just watching it all from the nearby window ledge. "It's to encourage you to get better at life. I'm not sure why Q thought people would respond to that positively."

    Menchez then pointed at Rave. "And you. You betrayed your own people for your selfish, close-minded perspectives! How do you think the Duras sisters died??"

    "A horribly-executed battle with the Enterprise-D from both sides?" Rave got up, rubbing his head. "Besides, I have to work with my associates if I want their cooperation," He then took out a Klingon painstick from a drawer and jammed it into a nearby control panel. "I was sent to retrieve a man named Sayjan, but when I realized the truth behind this treaty, I just had to act on it first."

    The shock from the control panel followed a series of circuits behind the walls until exploding another control panel next to Menchez.

    ---

    Thirty seconds later, Menchez awoke in the corridors. "That petaQ???" He took out his purple Solanae tribble and threw it at Bekk Rinn as he was walking by.

    "Ahh! I'm allergic!" Bekk Rinn cried.

    ---

    Back in his quarters, knowing where he left Rave, Menchez flew through the opening doors, knee first, slamming his knee into Rave's face. Following the momentum and landing, Menchez forced Rave against the far wall. "DenIb Qatlh! You're working with the Na'Khul, those vile space Nazi's from the 29th century!"

    "Okay, you know, the Nazi get up was a one time thing. And you know Sayjan?" Rave shocked Menchez with the pain stick, sending him back.

    Menchez grabbed the blood-stained bat'leth. "He time-traveled to 21st century Xindus, attempted to unite the species in perfect harmony and forced my crew to slaughter thousands of Xindi-Avians!"

    Rave processed that for a second. "Ha! Yeah, that definitely sounds like him."

    "Like those awkward humanoid bird things, I should have died long ago! And what is up with me encountering the same crew in the corridors over and over while time runs normal in here??"

    Qu glanced over having been pre-occupied with a finger-trap. "Huh? Oh, the hallway's in a time-loop to bring you back. You don't actually think the Q can control life and death, do you? Wait, don't pursue that subject. I'm not supposed to confirm or deny that."

    "Uggh. This taste of 'reality' is so preposterous I just want you to kill me now," he tossed Rave the bat'leth and approached him. "bIHnuch! This is your primary objective!"

    Rave dropped the pain stick and hesitated on what the perfect kill spot would be on Menchez. "Okay, wait. I want to make this good. Where's your jugular again?"

    "What the hell? Stop it! You're messing with the whole fabric of space-time!" Qu interrupted. "Okay, fine. I'll put things back to the way they were. You won't remember your re-spawns, your checkpoints, or the floating items you childishly maxed out your inventory with from now on. Why people prefer an augmented reality, I'll never know."

    He flashed away to both men's shock. Menchez then grabbed the bat'leth back, but before he could strike, two Vorgon agents transported in.

    "We'll take this rowdy time traveler, thanks," the lead agent, Crog, said.

    The other agent, Tugh tapped at his Vorgon padd, causing Rave to be transported away. "We've been waiting forever for the Na'Khul to release him on some cockamamie mission of some sort. He's wanted for crimes of murder and mystery in the future against various races and so on. Well, you've met him. You know what he's like."

    "The lesson is, if you're in Section 31, simmer down," Crog assured, quite randomly.

    Menchez held one of them back. "Any chance you guys are aware of my dying of an honourable death at some point?"

    Tugh thought for a moment. "You're Menchez, right? Better you don't see it coming." The two then transported out.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  10. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in October 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #68. It generally takes place around the Iconian War time, where the KDF and Federation were forced back into being allies. It's still 2410. This three-parter was inspired by an appreciation for zombie flicks and has origins from the 2011 IDW comic series Infestation that crossed over various franchises.

    Literary Challenge #68: The ancient tradition of Terran Fall Harvest Celebrations, Spirit Worship, and the practice of 'Trick or Treat' has long been studied by allies of the Federation. With our favorite holiday fast approaching, we want to see what great stories you can come up with that celebrate the concept of Halloween, either from a human perspective, or from that of any of the species in STO. Do the Klingons or Romulans have similar cultural traditions? Do the Bajorans? The Caitians? The Orions? The Talaxians? Now is your chance to invent something special just in time for the holiday.

    Literary Challenge #68
    STO Halloween, Part I

    The Prometheus-class U.S.S. Phoenix-X sat out in deep space, completely unmoving, as Captain Seifer sat focused, staring at the sea of stars on his viewscreen, intently.

    Kayl approached, easing into an awkward observation, as she handed him a report. "Uh, if you don't mind, why are you just glaring at nothing? Also, what's our mission?"

    "Lieutenant," Seifer broke his trance to address her. "You don't need to always have a mission, or be doing something, or have a purpose. Just enjoy existing for once."

    Armond turned from tactical. "Captain, as a social gesture of conversation between colleagues, will you be attending the fall harvest festivities in the messhall this evening?"

    "Dammit, I don't know. It's just that being forced to use a dank messhall isn't as glamorous as a 10-Forward, like the kind you find on a Galaxy-class starship, for example."

    Armond replied, "But tables and such?"

    "Forget it! You can have your pumpkin spice pie cakes lattes— those weirdly meat-filled desserts that are also dinner and a coffee all in one."

    A proximity alert went off and Ensign Dan called it. "Captain, a Klingon Vor'cha-class cruiser is de-cloaking off the port bow!"

    "Destroy it, immediately!" Seifer called out.

    Armond tapped at his controls. "Ah, sorry, I wasn't ready. Besides, it's just the I.K.S. B'Cnah."

    "Greetings," the viewscreen blinked on to a view of the Klingon Captain, Menchez.

    Seifer stood. "Armond, destroy them! Follow my orders without question!"

    "Only if you come tonight, sir. Only if," Armond bargained.

    The Captain then sat back in his chair, frustrated. "Ugh. Never mind." Then addressed the Klingon. "What do you want, Menchez? Is this about that Klingon civilian transport ship we fired upon before knowing who they were as it de-cloaked in front of us?"

    "What?" Menchez didn't catch that.

    Seifer replied quickly, "Nothing."

    "Whatever! We have apprehended a Human criminal for hijacking a Klingon Pach-class starship during the honoured and mostly forgotten Kot'baval Festival. He did the most hurtful Kahless impression using a hauntingly otherly-franchised, Outer Limit-like voice."

    Seifer watched as the human, an ex-Starfleet officer, Avery, was shoved on to the Bridge for Seifer's benefit. "Dammit!" the Captian cursed, recognizing him. "You're right about that specific Human. You see, he dropped out of Starfleet after being sorely, and whine-ily, unsatisfied with how his Starfleet message board suggestions were being ignored and verily argued against."

    "It's amazing I even got a Starfleet commission," Avery commented, suddenly being aware of his unrealistic luck.

    Captain Seifer threw up his hands. "Don't you Klingons kill people who wrong you? Why is he still alive— which, for the record, I am glad about— but only for the record."

    "Since our Iconian-forced allying, the High Command has ordered me to pursue acts of diplomacy with you goodie-goodie-full-body-pajama-wearers whenever possible, for the acquisition of something called Diplomacy Points. So far, I have 0."

    Seifer turned away. "Forget it, Menchez. The last time I dealt with criminals, I was given to tracking Lore parts— aka, the evil-Data who, by his very existence, trumped the Enterprise-D crew from ever having a proper Mirror universe experience."

    "You petaQ! We still haven't resolved our discourse over you accidentally time-sending my ship to the 21st century Xindi homeworld!"

    The Captain forced-smiled in nervous recollection. "So, you'll beam the prisoner over then?"

    ---

    Later, Seifer entered Transporter Room 4 with Armond, where Menchez, two of Menchez's crew, Derok and Ch'Tong, and the Human traitor, Avery, beamed in.

    "So, Avery, we meet again?" Seifer eyed him.

    Avery smirked. "Your precious little Starfleet has very little time left, Captain. I hope you're ready to say goodbye to your ship."

    "Ugh," Seifer half-rolled his eyes and addressed the Klingons. "All he ever did was mothball starships when he had power." He turned to Avery, "You know we can un-mothball things, right? And you don't actually fill the ships with actual mothballs."

    Derok shoved Avery into Armond's custody, who then turned and took Avery out into the corridors. "That was my calling card!" Avery yelled just before the doors closed on him.

    "Sorry about that," Seifer continued. "By the way, why did you guys beam over? Are you invading? If so, I want in."

    Menchez stepped off the transporter pad. "We were extended an invitation to a harvest festival in your messhall. It is rare we Klingons get to check out a Federation starship messhall. Also, Diplomacy points."

    "What the hell? Messhalls are the worst! Never mind. Just come with me," Seifer gave in, reluctantly.

    ---

    They followed him out into the corridors. "So, here's a question, why do you eat targs but also keep them as pets?"

    "Long ago, Klingons realized the usefulness of targs in all aspects of our culture. They're our friends, our farming mules, our upper class food trough delicacies," Menchez explained.

    Derok nodded. "They're also great for pre-courting jitters."

    "I'm just...... I'm just going to stop trying to learn about your culture," Seifer concluded.

    ---

    After a short trip, Seifer, Menchez and his two officers arrived at the Phoenix-X's Messhall. Inside, was a décor of orange and black streamers, pumpkins and hay bales everywhere.

    "What the Shinzon is going on here? Didn't we jettison those Bringloidi farmers out into space??" Seifer said, shocked.

    Kugo, the Vulcan Chief engineer, approached. "Uh, no. This is the party that celebrates a seasonal change even though space does not have seasons. Also, you're thinking of an Enterprise-D mission."

    "Sorry, it's just that Picard did all the best stuff," the Captain conceded. "Except that time, around Surata IV, he allowed Riker to under-go flashbacks. Nothing but flashbacks!"

    Crewmembers filled the Messhall, drinking and chatting with each other, merrily. The Klingons joined the festivities and Ch'Tong attempted to head-butt Ensign Dan as a sign of goodwill.

    "Captain, permission to be relieved of duty so I can go to Sickbay?" Ensign Dan walked over, clutching a gaping wound in his forehead.

    Seifer was taken aback by the question. "How dare you trump my relieving you of duty, especially when you aren't even on duty to begin with. You're relieved!"

    "Oh, thank you," Ensign Dan ran out quickly.

    Seifer glanced over at Derok. "He's a good kid. Horrible at duty."

    ---

    Down in Sickbay, Doctor Lox and Armond were examining Avery, who was lying on a biobed, seemingly unconscious and pale. Ensign Dan entered.

    "Lox, I've got a thingy here," the Ensign interrupted. "It's thinging my cranium thing in the most thingful way."

    The Doctor glanced over. "Oh, the EMH will take care of that for you."

    "You do realize the drain on resources the EMH tolls on the ship by being run all the time, don't you?" Armond criticized in Lox's general direction as the EMH took Ensign Dan to another section of Sickbay, on the opposite side of Lox's office.

    Lox snapped. "Hey, I have far too many lobe enlargements on my schedule! Oh, I forgot to mention that I'm temporarily contracted to work for the Ferengi to replenish Starfleet latinum reserves. Admiral Quinn went a little overboard with the Dabo addiction last month."

    "Anyway, are we even allowed to be talking to each other without a main in the room?"

    The Doctor paused. "What? Never mind. What I was about to say is your prisoner, here, is dead. I'm going to have to do an autopsy to find out what killed him. The question is, do I go laser scalpel, or this new pen-knife I got as a free sample in the mail?"

    "I will leave that to you, Doctor. In the meantime, I'll inform the Captain of the situation, even though he hates being notified of situations," Armond nodded just before leaving.

    Doctor Lox went around to prepare his tools for the surgery. As he was focused on wheeling his table around, he was delayed in noticing the suddenly empty biobed.

    Gasping abruptly, he turned to observe a pale, deathly-eyed Avery slowly walking toward him. Too close and too immediate to respond, Lox was collided-into by the sleep-walking man who also gaped open his mouth and bit right into Lox's shoulder: Blood gushed out in painful abundance. "AAAAaaggghh!"
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  11. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Literary Challenge #68
    STO Halloween, Part II

    Captain Seifer and Captain Menchez stood in the mostly empty Prometheus-class Engineering room of the U.S.S. Phoenix-X, staring up at the unusually large transwarp coil.

    "So, wait— Your series of vessels were precursors, but it took you twenty-four consecutive ship-explosions to get it right?" Menchez asked.

    Seifer nodded quickly. "A lot of the hulls were made of low-grade titanium. That, and they kept putting the go button right next to the doorbells."

    "Shall we return to the festival then?" Menchez suggested. "Derok gets anxious and bitey around Humans. It's the lack of ridges that spooks him."

    Seifer nodded again and they both left for the corridors. "Good idea. We only have low-grade synthehol on board and its anti-debilitating effects are hit and miss."

    ---

    "So, here's a question," Menchez started as they walked. "Why do you celebrate harvest and the dead in both an equally edifying way?"

    The Starfleet Captain started. "Long ago, people realized celebrating things, no matter the thing, was the best way to express themselves in a collective, group, pie-filled mindset."

    "That," Kugo said as she joined their walk, "And avoiding the fear of being afraid of the things."

    Menchez furrowed his brow at their awkward Federation ways. "I'm just....... going to pretend you are Klingons from now on."

    As they turned a corner, they instinctively averted their eyes from a couple who, from their half-cornered quick-glances, seemed to be 'making out'.

    "Ugh!" Seifer covered his peripheral with his hand. "You know you're not supposed to do that on this ship. You two report to anywhere but public! Now!"

    Menchez turned to Seifer as the three of them continued on. "Shouldn't you ensure they follow your orders?"

    "Nah," Seifer brought down his arm in relief. "The last thing I want to see, even the remnants of, is a human side to my crew. Makes it harder to order them around in a hardcore militaristic style."

    As they gained distance from the section, the two officers remained in the state they were in: One female Engineering officer biting right into a slowly slumping, passed-out male Sciences division officer.

    When the female officer finished feeding, she slowly limped away.

    Half paying attention, Ensign Belm walked by and flipped the fallen Science division officer a slip of latinum. "Get a job, lazy!"

    ---

    Seifer, Menchez and Kugo entered the Messhall, but instead of finding the festive activities of celebratory fall-times, they were presented with a desolate sarcophagus of forsaken season.

    "Just FYI, this is not a reflection of Federation autumn celebrations, which, I imagine to be completely tame in comparison to Klingon autumn celebrations— if those even exist," Seifer reassured in a questioning sort of way.

    Kugo glanced around, confused. "Did the hokey gathering of uniformed personnel degenerate into the fear-themed STO Halloween occultism already?"

    "And exactly what does STO stand for?" Seifer asked.

    Kugo glanced at him. "Space-Time October, the month our plain of existence intersects this time of year."

    "I'm certain none of that made sense," Menchez started. "Also, it appears your security is not doing their job." He pointed to a smear of blood on the floor, leading to behind an over-turned table.

    Seifer and Kugo went over to see what the blood led to, followed by Menchez. They discovered a fallen officer, Lieutenant Tong, impaled by a table leg from another table on its back. But Tong was not seemingly unmoving as they would have expected: With a deathly glare at no one in particular, Tong tried, continuously and unsuccessfully, to get up.

    "Tong!" Seifer called out. "You look unwell." And then, "Seifer to Sickbay. We need a medical team in the Messhall, STAT." But the commbadge chirp from his tap went flat. "Seifer to security? Seifer to anyone? Seifer to my Horta hatchling?" But there was no response. "Ah, he can't talk yet."

    Kugo pulled out a tricorder from a nearby cabinet and began scanning. "It appears there is a deficient dampening field in the vicinity."

    "Menchez to B'Cnah," the Klingon slapped his wrist communiqué, but he did not get a response either.

    The emotional Vulcan engineer looked at him. "What did I just report?"

    "Huh? Oh, sorry. To be honest, I have not paid attention to a thing you've said since you joined us."

    As Seifer approached Tong, Tong became aware of his proximity and snapped at him in an animalistic way. But being restrained by the impaling, as before, he did not get up.

    "He looks infected with something," Seifer observed. "I probably should've suggested this wayyyy earlier, but why aren't we all wearing breathing masks?"

    Kugo continued scanning. "If it was airborne, we would've seen the effects by now, probably. I just made that up. By the way, this is curious," she began. "It appears that the dampening field is originating from Tong himself." She turned to scan through the walls. "As well, there are more people emanating dampening fields too."

    She walked closer to the doors to shift her scanning range when suddenly the lights flickered. The doors opened and two seemingly undead-like officers straggled in and collided into her. Not expecting the attack, Kugo fell and was bitten in to.

    "Oh, come on. Moving near the doors was clearly a set up," Seifer criticized no one in particular. He grabbed a frying pan from the kitchen and whacked the two officers off Kugo. Menchez kicked the two out into the hallway and locked the door.

    Kneeling and tending to Kugo was too late for Seifer, as Kugo fell unconscious from her wounds.

    "Dammit," Seifer remarked. "She owed me, like, ten strips of latinum."

    Menchez addressed him. "It is odd how we are all always owing each other money."

    "Well, anyway, I assure you this is not how our fall-time gatherings typically go, but it is on-the-button on sentiments."

    Not too long later, Kugo awoke in an infected gaze. She attempted to bite into Seifer, but the Captain force-palmed her head back. He and Menchez then wrestled her into a nearby food storage closet and locked its door.

    "You and I work well together. Like the time I teamed up with Obisek on Brea III to defeat Hakeev," Seifer offered.

    Menchez was taken aback. "What the Gre'thor? But I thought it was I that teamed up with Obisek to defeat Hakeev??"

    "You know what. Let's just say we both did," Seifer compromised before he picked up a phaser from a nearby closet. They both then exited the Messhall through the back doors.

    ---

    Discovering the tubolifts offline, Seifer and Menchez elected to take a jeffery's tube to the Bridge— a seemingly empty wasteland of malfunctioning consoles.

    "According to what's left of these interfaces, the dampening fields are intensifying in certain areas and effecting shipboard systems," Seifer explained while hitting one of the consoles in an attempt to maintain its response.

    Menchez looked around. "Is it just me, or is your Bridge bigger, and thus not to spec, than to what it's supposed to be?"

    "Yeah, the devs kind of............. kind of rushed it," Seifer replied.

    The Klingon changed subjects, annoyed by the constant failures. "Anyway, what is the point of all this? All you can seem to do is justify our immediate horror as being in-sentiment with your culture's Space-Time October celebration."

    "Uh, yeah, we use light-hearted attitudes to face our fears. So what if Doctors call that denial? Besides, you Klingons live for this stuff."

    Menchez shook his head. "There may be comfort in the danger, but there is nothing honorable about losing yourself to an infection that rips off the Borg!"

    "You're lucky Seven of Nine isn't here. She loves those massively numbered cybernetic bee-like assimilators and everyone supports her in that," Seifer argued with passion.

    But before they could continue, an odd moan developed from the Captain's Ready Room. "Mmmhhrruhhh......."

    "I thought the Federation banned cows from starships after that Barclay incident?" Menchez said, confused.

    ---

    The two slowly made their way over to the Ready Room doors, which were trying to close, repeatedly, except that the torso of a headless and armless corpse was wedging it.

    In the corner was Armond on the floor, his sides being eaten into by a mindless Klingon automaton-- though his upper body appeared to be conscious.

    "Armond!" Seifer blurted in shock. "Why aren't you screaming, or dead yet?"

    The weak tactical officer held up a hypospray. "Uggh...... Got one of these pain relievers on my last trip to— Sickbay, where Avery died. Don't bother— going there, though; it's flooded with infected —just wandering around. Is my— speech pattern— throwing you off?"

    "Yeah, a little," Seifer confirmed. "Damn. The dampening fields put the phasers offline too." He tried firing at Derok, but the weapon returned flat-chirps. "Oh, sure, but it's got enough power to make those noises."

    Menchez pulled Derok off Armond and angrily moved the seemingly bland Klingon to the far wall. "Qovpatlh!!" He then impaled a tajtiq through Derok's shoulder, pinning him against the surface. Menchez stepped back to observe his own chief of security, in shock.

    "—Communications are —offline as well," Armond continued. "I couldn't— get to you— so I came here, just in case—"

    Seifer knelt down at him, "Great; thanks. You knew I'd survive out of anyone else."

    "Seemed— likely— since you're a... Captain—" Armond then pointed to the desktop monitor, "Inform—ation....... Infection introduced at —Calibus VII." But the action of pointing weakened him and he passed out.

    The Captain closed Armond's eyes. "I hate it when people die with those open. It's like, come on, finish the job."

    "Calibus VII is the planet we captured Avery in orbit of," Menchez reported. "The colony was holding a Klingon 'honor of the dead' ceremony during Kot'baval and invited nearby ships."

    Seifer recoiled. "Ugh. You mean your Halloween is a ceremony??? Well, I can't say I'm surprised."

    "The point is it was Avery that infected your crew! Next time, we need to listen to any person that says: 'say goodbye to your ship'."

    Seifer tried accessing the monitor. "Come to think of it, that really was blatant, in-your-face foreshadowing." Then there was a half-beep. "I think there's a cure on here." But the monitor blinked as he tapped at the controls. "What the hell? It's also saying the main database is failing! And I can't even log in to access local memory without it??"

    "A Klingon does not try to understand how computers work— We just conquer them and hope for the best," Menchez explained. "And, you were right about my need to embrace all this," he conceded, "As such, I've come to believe this is where we must die. Dishonor is our destiny."

    The monitor blinked off from the infection, "Okay, wow. Someone obviously needs jamaharan." Seifer then ejected an isolinear chip. "Anyway, this chip has the local information Armond loaded."

    "What is relevant about that? Perhaps we should start over: Hi, I'm Menchez—"

    Seifer lit up. "No! What I mean is: Don't you see? We have the magic reset button!" He walked in front of his desk. "Every horrible thing that ever happens to Starfleet vessels, anywhere, no matter the far-fetchy-ness, always gets a quick-turn-around master reset button— Whether it's a Krenim temporal wave, an Enterprise-D T-cell de-evolution or magic Kahn-blood— don't ask me where I got that last one from— there is always a guarantee we will to go back to the way things were!"

    "That is preposterous!" Menchez countered. "We'd end up with stale repetition, enough to bore our minds into the deck plating, and don't get me started on the abnormal after effects. In fact, I once encountered Warp 10 salamander descendants. One of them was named Venice."

    The Starfleet Captain opened his tricorder and was about to walk passed Menchez. "Well, I've already made up my mind, sir. Since our Sickbay is flooded, I have to get to yours and use the B'Cnah facilities to develop an antivirus. I imagine it's a lot like baking a cake."

    "The answer is no," Menchez out-stretched his arm. "We die here, as it is meant to be."

    After a moment to weigh the consequences, Seifer quickly knocked the arm away and force-pushed Menchez back for space. The Captain then ran out onto the Bridge, which was quickly being flooded with physically deteriorating, mindless officers.

    Menchez ran out, but was too late. He did not see Seifer anywhere. "That petaQ!" He then addressed the inbound crew, quite matter-of-factly, "You are all in need of analgesic cream."

    ---

    Down in Transporter room 4, Seifer struggled the doors open and bee-lined it to the control deck. With the door left half-open, slow-moving undead-like officers began to squeeze their way in.

    "GGgrrrggghhh..." the infected version of Ensign Dan managed his way through, hungry for humanoid flesh. He then tripped and fell at Seifer's feet.

    Seifer tapped at the controls. "Just enough juice to beam me over. As long as more of you don't enter." Ensign Dan bit into Seifer's left ankle, forcing Seifer to kick Ensign Dan away. "AAAugh! You're relieved for real this time!"

    As a gold shirt officer drooled his way in to join the festive party, Menchez's d'k tahg pierced his head from behind, sending the officer to the floor and allowing the Klingon to step in, himself. "Huh. Turns out you've got to aim for the head." He then changed focus, noticing the wound on Seifer, "Captain! If you go over there you will infect my crew!"

    "I disagree. The reset will negate that paradigm. Resets for everyone!" Seifer exclaimed. He then began accessing a quickly deteriorating transporter system, "--Computer, beam me out as soon as I'm on the padd."

    The computer acknowledged with a half chirp.

    Menchez intercepted Seifer on his way and launched a fist to which Seifer coldly stopped by snatching Menchez's forearm. Seifer returned the favor with his free hand, but Menchez leaned back and grabbed that in much the same manner. Clinging to each other in a struggle for dominance, they began to be the target of slow-moving, incoming, drooling officers.

    "That's it. I'm a vegetarian from now on!" Seifer said, finally.

    Menchez observed the approaching horror, which was tripping and stumbling to his boots. "Uh, I will consider such a commitment."

    As he was pushed into, Seifer tripped backward over a crawling brute and Menchez lost his hold. The Klingon was taken down by grabby-infected-hands and he glimpsed Seifer falling backward onto the transporter padd.

    The Starfleet Captain was beamed away.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
  12. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Literary Challenge #68
    STO Halloween, Part III

    Captain Seifer beamed into a dimly lit, dank, empty corridor aboard the Vor'cha-class I.K.S. B'Cnah. In the distance, the deadpan moans of an infected Defense Force officer could be heard coming his way.

    "Dammit. The Klingons too??"

    As the foaming-at-the-mouth warrior turned the corner for Seifer, another Klingon, Ch'Tong, approached from behind and sliced a mek'leth through the infected's head.

    "Yes, the Klingons!" Ch'Tong took notice of the Captain as the body hit the floor between them. "I assume you were remarking in such a fashion before I arrived here. It's just a general response I call out on occasion, hoping it applies."

    Seifer nodded. "It does."

    "That would mean the Phoenix-X is being plagued with the same bitey-bitey-snatch-snatch! After I transported back here, the whole ship started falling apart."

    The Captain looked at him. "We learned that Avery was the original carrier, and that it can only spread through attempts at cannibalism."

    "No Klingon shall eat another: That has always been one of our people's most influential sayings."

    Seifer took out an isolinear chip. "We can ensure that remains true. You see, I have a cure on this, but need to get to your medical bay to read the information and manufacture it."

    "That's going to be tough. There are infected all over the decks from here to there and the lifts are offline," Ch'Tong explained. "Besides, where's Menchez? Is he standing right behind you?" He leaned slightly to change his viewing angle to no avail.

    Captain Seifer hesitated, unsure how to explain things. "Uhh, well, you know how people can sometimes trip over things? Well, we were being bombarded by drooloids and that spike in Menchez's boot happened to hamper certain foot over foot movements— and, well, you can imagine the rest."

    "That sounds unnecessarily step-by-step, unless, of course, you're covering up someth— Wait. By the gre'thor of gre'thor?? You allowed him die so you could escape??" He then pointed in vile accusation. "You're a betrayer!"

    Seifer held up his hands. "Nah, bro. It ain't like that."

    "And what is that vernacular you speak? It is utterly horrible!!" But in Ch'Tong's increasing cloud of passion, he failed to notice a door prying open next to him, where grabby-infected-hands lurched out and clung on. "Arrgh!" As he was being taken in and bitten into, he spat out in pure strain at Seifer, "You petaQ! You better help me right now! We both have to die here right nowww!"

    But Seifer was locked in complete shock as Ch'Tong was taken through the doors, too late to act on the request even if he wanted to. "Dammit. That didn't work out so good." He then attempted to call out to Ch'Tong as he picked up the mek'leth, "I'll make use of this. Thanks!"

    As he took a step forward, his weakening leg set off pain detectors in his head. Seifer pulled out one of Armond's hyposprays and shot his shoulder with it.

    "Ohhhh yeah. Better than ketrecel white."

    ---

    The doors from the corridor to the Shuttle bay on the Phoenix-X were pried open by a herd of infected. Menchez, covered in blood, tore his way through the bodies with his d'k tahg and approached the Danube-class runabout U.S.S. Iroh. Inside was Kayl, trying to get it online.

    "Captain Menchez?" she said, shocked, as she opened a hatch for him. "I thought Klingons hated slow, steadily-paced violence?"

    Menchez helped her close the door as the shuttle bay began to flood with dreary dead-heads. "We do. But violence is violence, and when murdering comes-a-calling, Menchez-comes-a-knocking. In times like these, it is okay to fight like a rabid-unfocused-Ferengi."

    "Anyway, if things don't start working out for us, rabid-unfocus is all we'll have left," she explained, gesturing to the windows. The entire shuttle was hauntingly being surrounded by clawing and crying infected. "By the way, what happened to Captain Seifer? Did he die from doing nothing? He likes to do a lot of nothing."

    The Klingon clenched his fist. "That petaQ left me to be fed to the wolves while he transported to the B'Cnah. We are to head over there and stop him from his arrogant attempt at mundane-ity."

    "I'm not sure how I deciphered that, but are you saying he has a cure? Are you saying you have a death wish??"

    Menchez gritted his teeth. "I intend on killing your Captain for that one shred of honor within the vacuum of dishonor we've all been mandated. His attempts at reset are harmful and presumptuous!"

    "Uh, reset is a Starfleet tradition. I'm sorry, sir, but I can't let you go through with your openly explained planned actions," she went over to a storage container and rifled through it in search of a weapon.

    Just standing there, waiting, Menchez began to lose his patience. "Oh, for the love of Sto-vo-kor. Just take my mevak!" He threw her the weapon.

    Kayl caught it and launched it toward him. Menchez knocked her arm away and jabbed his d'k tahg at her. Dodging, she grabbed his arm with her free hand and elbowed him. The two stopped when the console next to them beeped.

    "I had a program running, which I wrote to counter the dampening effects around the ship," she glanced at the display. "It worked! I knew the Delta Rising subroutine would over-power everything."

    But, Menchez, breathing heavy and weak from something else, quickly lurched his head into Kayl's shoulder and bit right into her!

    "Aah!" Kayl screamed, pulling back and falling to the floor, bleeding. Her skin started to turn pale. "How dare you do that and not take me out to dinner first??"

    The Klingon pulled out a hypospray and shot himself with it. "Ahhh, perfect. It's a good thing Armond had several of these, off-screen." He then turned to Kayl. "My apologies. Your honor will be joining our dishonor, if that makes any sense word-wise." He then activated the Iroh's impulse engines, hovering it off the bay floor and knocking several brain-dead officers back.

    One of them was Bekk Rinn, visiting for the festival. "Heyyy! I'm not infected?? I'm just camouflaged in blood and guts!" The other lazy-eyed officers turned to his direction. "Ah, I shouldn't have talked."

    ---

    Seifer, crawling through the maintenance tubes of the B'Cnah, had teamed up with several surviving Klingon Defense Force officers: Ulkegh, Necktos, Tayana — all of which he unintentionally betrayed to sudden influxes of infected, brain-thirsty warriors.

    Kicking out a service hatch, Seifer entered the medical bay, which was yet to be technologically compromised. "Dammit. What are the odds that all three of them would get 'Seifered'? That's what I'm calling it until the reset."

    "If I heard your self-deprecation correctly, most of the crew is dead," Terek, the tall and old Klingon medical officer emerged from the shadows.

    Seifer approached and handed him the isolinear chip. "Indeed. I also discovered that the B'Cnah's infection originated through Avery's Klingon jackal mastiff, which he acquired on that Pach-class ship and likely infected on purpose for you guys and— well, it was this whole side-mission thing. I'm trying to get to Level 60."

    "I admire a thorough man in the face of death! But you do know I still cannot ignore the betrayals, right? Killing is the most conflicting and confusing thing a Klingon Doctor must do."

    The Captain shook his head. "You're too late anyway. I'm already dying." He took out a hypospray and shot his arm with it... but this time there was no effect. "Bloody hell. It stopped working? This is what I get for being a bad Captain, and I was hoping the reset would patch that."

    "Huh? Oh, sorry, I have a tendency to block out other people's personal issues. Also, I was busy reading your data. This appears to be a cure," Terek said, having plugged in the isolinear chip and began scanning through the medical monitor. "According to this, in 2273, your very own Admiral Kirk, Mr. Spock and Doctor McCoy encountered this disease on the previously quarantined Calibus VII. The epidemic was a hybrid organic-cybernetic infection leading to attacks of desperate-franchise-crossing proportions."

    Running out of energy, Seifer leaned against a medical bed. "That's.... impossible... I've seen every historical database-episode, even the Pike one."

    "Oh, this was cataloged as sequential imagery, a 'comic' if you will— titled, 'Infestation'— Likely nobody read it," he confirmed. "What an obscure and odd reference, though," Terek commented. "Even so, I can actually replicate this quite quickly. It's likely Avery added the dampening effects to the infection for his commendable anti-Federation efforts, so we should distribute in gagh form."

    As he began replicating the cure, Seifer found himself confronted with the reality of the 23d century. "That Klingon bastard..... was right. We're just ripping off Kirk...?" He struggled toward Terek in altered-resolve. "We.... have to.... stop.... the reset......"

    But the sudden banging on the medical bay doors over-noised him. Terek walked over to the entrance. "Who is it?"

    "It's Menchez, you fool!" came the familiar voice.

    The Doctor attempted to work the door's unlocking mechanism. "Captain!" But he had trouble unhinging the archaic metal handle, "You'd think we'd have advanced these things by now."

    "Terek," Menchez started, recognizing the delay. With his body getting weak and tired, his mind began to drift out of the moment. "I've come to the conclusion that the only way we can all ever be sure of our... deaths... is if they are....... in dishonor....."

    Doctor Terek paused. "Sir, you already know I'm impervious to personal issues. Besides, it sounds like you're forcing death for peace-of-mind— despite that being the actual nature of it all."

    As he opened the door, Menchez surpassed the unconscious stage and immediately turned into an infected walking corpse— the Klingon Captain charged at Terek, colliding into him while biting right into his neck.

    "Auggh!" falling to the floor, the bite shocked-still Terek's motor functions. "This has been— an eventful— Klingon-Halloweeeeennnnnggghh!"

    Seifer's vision blurred and he turned as well. After a moment of painful screams from Terek, Menchez finished feeding and stumbled over to Seifer.

    The two undead-like, drooling, Captains, unable to acknowledge each other, remained pacing around the medical bay having partook and surpassed in one of the most sacred Klingon-Halloween ceremonial traditions ever: the sharing of a near-death experience. Happy Halloween!

    ---

    The Soveriegn-class U.S.S. Zephyra came upon the two adrift vessels, the Phoenix-X and B'Cnah.

    "Ma'am," Kuri started, "It appears that both crews have endured a viral, living-death-inducing infection! Captain Seifer and Captain Menchez are walking around aimlessly around what seems to be vats of a gagh-cure. I believe it should be easy to administer if we feed it to everyone in much the same way a mother bird feeds her baby hatchlings."

    Captain Aeris, ignoring her tactical officer, gritted her teeth in utter annoyance of what was before her. "...........Those idiots!"
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2021
  13. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This entry was written in October 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Unofficial Literary Challenge #4, a player-run version of the Literary Challenges when those official challenges began to dwindle. This began my exploration of my "secondary"-level Captains, who I also created in past fictions.

    This specific challenge also gave me a chance to jump into the 28th century, where, from 2003 to 2005, I role-played a character named Rune Sith and his android spider Zeta in a forum RPG called Star Trek: 001. That RPG was set in a time where the Federation was in a weakened state, and took place on Earth Spacedock which had been renamed Starbase 001. I made use of the crew of Starbase 001 in this entry, who were invented and role-played by the other players of that RPG back in 2003, but in this entry are played somewhat out-of-their-characters for sake of brevity.

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #4, Prompt #1: You wake up in another time and another life. Though everything seems 'normal' you begin to realize it's not where you belong. As you start encountering members of your bridge crew in key roles of this other life, you become more and more convinced that it isn't real. Where did you wake up? are you a lounge singer on a Risan yacht, or a cowboy on the American frontier, or maybe a blue collar worker on a 20th century Romulus. Who put you there? Is it an enemy scheme, alien influence, holodeck malfunction or fantasy made real?
    Unofficial Literary Challenge #4
    Second Life

    Harley Menrow woke up in his quarters, like any other day, and, like any other day, he questioned what he was doing with his life. It wasn't horrible, by any means, but it definitely wasn't conventional.

    "Good morning, sunshine," the holographic attendant for his quarters, Jaya, phased on at the end of his bed with a smile.

    Menrow jumped at her, "Aah!" And then he remembered. "Oh, right. You're the personal assistant that appears in all the quarters. Must you keep appearing like that?"

    "It is the nature of my program, Menrow," she answered. "The same program you hacked to harvest station-encryption algorhythms of which the absence of are decompiling me as we speak."

    Menrow watched as she disappeared. "Well, that was unexpected."

    ---

    Inside the space station's Bajoran Shrine was a dead Orb of Summons, encased within a spherical see-through glass-like container. The shrine had been falsely scheduled to close for maintenance, thanks to Menrow's team.

    "How are things looking? Are all the sensors offline?" Menrow spoke.

    A female voice, Sen Hatcha, responded over secure comms. "Everyone's in place. Security has been blocked."

    "Wait. Hatcha? What's going on here?" he asked entering the shrine. He only had ten seconds to complete his task, but something about her voice triggered a dream-like memory within him.

    She answered, "Uh, what? You’re off-pace question is confusing me, Menrow. Stealing is what's going on. That's what we do. You wrote it on your hand, remember?"

    "Sorry. I'm having an existential moment. But I'm sure such a momentary interlude will have no consequences," Menrow commented, as he approached the Orb. But his hesitation cost him the time he needed, then—

    A robotic *Click! Click! Chirp!* called out to him from behind, coming from a large, hand-sized, robot spider named Zeta, sitting on the Chief of Security's shoulder.

    "A little early for a felony, isn't it?" Starfleet officer, Lieutenant Commander Sith said with crossed arms.

    Knocked back into reality, Menrow quickly slapped a transporter tag onto the Orb, causing it to be dematerialized. Zeta lept out at Menrow, grabbing onto his face: Struggling for balance, Menrow pried the spider off his face and threw it back at Sith. "Ugh! It's never too early to break social order!"

    Sith caught Zeta, which was enough of a distraction for Menrow to attack.

    The two exchanged punch after block after redirect before Sith used his free hand to force-palm Menrow in the head and knock him out.

    "Dammit. And the Orb was just one week away from retirement."

    ---

    Later, Menrow's team was seated in the observation lounge on the space station. They were placed around the big table, joined by some of the senior staff. Outside the large windows sat the big, blue Earth.

    "Don't feel bad," Captain Halliwell opened. "We learned about your operation by accident when we captured an Alliance infiltrator on a civilian freighter last month. He thought selling something called 'ice cream' to passengers would make him less suspicious."

    Menrow glanced at her. "So, you knew about our cover-jobs at the station's bar, the Double~Helix, huh? I guess you can tell your Bolian bartender, Ottel, that I will be late for work today." He then eyed his own people in confusion. "Wait. Even that sounds offsetting? Something's not right here? Are we on Earth Spacedock?"

    "No one's called it that for a very long time," Fleet Admiral Garrison said. "It's Starbase 001 and it's you who will be giving us answers— like where is the Orb? And why aren’t you telling us where the Orb is?"

    Hatcha interjected. "This is ridiculous. We're not working for the Alliance! That is— What's the Alliance again? Great. Now I'm suffering from Menrow-nia."

    "The Alliance is the large intergalactic sovereignty that is fighting us, what's left of the Federation, the us they claim to be corrupt," Doctor Ulli answered. "They're also who your contact, Kebb, is working for, whether you knew that or not."

    Another one of Menrow's people, Grunley, spoke. "We're just kindly thieves who steal for a living. We have nothing against the Federation." Then admitting a sudden, newly found naiveté, "Side-question: What century is this?"

    "It's the 28th century!" Garrison answered, frustrated. "Why can't any of you stay on topic here?? This is worse than necro threads on message boards."

    Suddenly, a tall, pale man, entered the secured room, wearing grey robes. "My apologies, everyone. I can explain it all. My name is Wayfar and I am a Traveler. This group, here, is not from this era, but rather, several hundred years earlier; and they are not thieves, but rather, a Starfleet crew of the Intrepid-class Starship Crucial."

    "Those ships were retired in shame after the Janeway Trials!" Ulli exclaimed in shock.

    Menrow looked to the side. "The last thing I remember is being at Starbase 78 when we were attacked by Hirogen."

    "You died from those attacks," Hatcha said, remembering. "Your body was recovered, and I took over the Crucial. For a second, we felt like Klingons, and it was......... glorious."

    Wayfar nodded. "I happened to be on the medical team working to save Menrow, and when all else failed, I attempted to revive him via Traveler means. All of you were visiting him that day and came upon my sneaky efforts by chance. When you tried to stop me, your interruption sent all of you into the future— Classic sitcom set up, by the way."

    "But I remember so much about my life here?" Grunley said, unsure. "Even that whole year I was a botanist for no reason: Soooo many plants."

    The Traveler turned. "Unfortunately, my work is more than mere time differential, but, in this case, life duplication. I must apologize. I'm new. I just got my Traveler's license, like, two weeks ago."

    "So that's it? You're going to take these people back?" Garrison interrupted. "We have an Alliance plot to destroy the Earth. The Orbs may be dead by our century, but their material is just now being sought after as a highly destructive weapon, undetectable by sensors of any kind."

    Hatcha nodded. "Well, at least we'll know when the Earth dies— and it's not in our era, so we can at least enjoy the comfort of that. Beach party, anyone?"

    "No, Garrison's right," Menrow conceded. "We've been living the worst kind of life here: as criminals. I felt something was off and never did anything about it. This is our chance to set things right. It's convenient, I'll admit, but I'll take what I can get."

    ---

    Later, Menrow met with two engineers, Tanik and Clark, in the Transporter Center.

    "Are you sure there's a cloaked vessel at these coordinates?" Tanik asked. "Seems like we're just going to beam you into cold space— Not that, as bad guys, you wouldn't have our sympathies about. We're still enlightened is what I'm saying."

    Clark perked up. "Also, how do we even know we can trust you? For all we know, you're just going to expedite Earth's end, like that one century with the polar ice caps."

    "Because, not only am I doing this for my home planet, but I'm also doing this for my personal issues," Menrow explained as he stepped onto one of the pads. "I'm not saying they're equal, but I'm not not saying that too."

    Annoyed by that logic, Tanik rolled his eyes and just went ahead with the transport.

    ---

    Menrow rematerialized inside a darkly lit cloaked Romulan shuttle. There, Kebb was working on the Orb of Summons, under an isomolecular resonance spectrometer.

    "Dude, why is it so dark in here?" Menrow spoke as way of introduction.

    Kebb glanced up from his work. "Uh, we're cloaked. How else would you know? Also, your words are weird. You talk weird."

    "You can't judge me, the same you who has been working with the enemy all along!" Menrow pointed in accusation.

    Kebb went back to work. "Oh, please. Like you care? You're in it for the money and money alone; and you can't tell me you don't get a cheap thrill from it— In much the same way a young adult may knock on some old man's household door and then run like hell."

    "Perhaps in the short term— the women, the parties and riches— but in the long term, it's meaningless. Let's better ourselves. Let's live better."

    The Takaran finished setting up the changes to the Orb and then offered the money chip to Menrow. "What the hell?? I'm seconds away from committing genocide. You are such a mood killer! Just take your money and go— Oh, you might want to evacuate the Solar system, by the way."

    But instead, Menrow knocked the chip to the ground. He then turned his back to Kebb, revealing Zeta having been clung there the whole time. *Click? Chirp!*

    Zeta then leapt off Menrow and tackled Kebb to the ground. "Aahhhggh!! My precious face!!?? I needed that for proving to others my alternative lifestyle as having valuuueggghhhh!??"

    ---

    After saving Earth in the 28th century, and returning the Orb, Wayfar performed an awkward everyone-hold-hands-in-a-circle like-séance which was successful in sending everyone back in time to the 25th century. The crew found themselves on the Bridge of the Intrepid-class U.S.S. Crucial.

    "Wait, what?" Menrow checked his chair chronometer. "We've been returned many years after my accident!"

    Grunley raised his hand. "Is Bacco still president?"

    "I think it's a bottle of Saurian Brandy now," Hatcha replied, checking a nearby computer too quickly. "Sorry. Just a Saurian. No brandy."

    Wayfar entered through the turbolifts. "Man, I had to take two Orion transports to get here. It was, like, six weeks of traveling for me. This Bolian passenger wouldn't stop about his Picard obsession."

    "Well, it's obvious why you didn't space-time travel. We're years behind schedule," Menrow implicated.

    The Traveler held up his hand. "Like before, I really have to apologize. You did in fact return several days after your disappearance— unfortunately, the reality time-differential placement offset just integrated this plain of your consciousness back into this point in your personal histories. You see, the offset was off to begin with, part-why your memory delayed in the future, and, as I said, I literally just got my license, which is surprisingly well laminated—"

    "Dammit, Wayfar!" Menrow cursed. "I must've slept with, like, fifteen different aliens by now, and I can't even remember them."

    The Tau Alpha C native handed over a PADD. "You'll find all your past experiences in your logs. And don't worry about the consciousness's you've just overwritten. They're dead now."

    "Ugggh," Menrow started, annoyed. He then took a breath. "No, you were only trying to help. The fact of the matter is I owe you my thanks, for saving me and for providing us with a look at another life had we been born into a century our current level of brain development was not evolved enough for." He hesitantly shook Wayfar's hand. "Would you be interested.... in dinner with the crew or something?"

    Shocked, Wayfar replied, "Of course I would! This is great. You set a date. I'm going to time-travel straight to it by sensing for it alone."

    In a second, he disappeared in a flutter of horizontal phasing-bands.

    "Hatcha, you'll remember to set a date, right?" Menrow asked.

    Preoccupied and looking around at all the workstations for her spot, she nodded absentmindedly. "Huh? Oh, yeah, yeah. Sure."

    ---

    Meanwhile, Wayfar found himself unexpectedly transported to the white nothingness the Q were known to occupy during off hours. "Damn! I really over-shot that." He looked around.

    "Yeah, you did," said Qu, who just happened to be standing nearby. "Want to draw smiley faces in a cloud of Calamarain?"

    Wayfar nodded. "I'd like that."
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2021
  14. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in November 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Unofficial Literary Challenge #5.

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #5, Prompt #1: During the fight against the Vaadwaur in the Delta Quadrant, one of the officers under your command is killed on the Kobali homeworld. The Kobali approach you, and petition you to allow them to resurrect your officer as one of their own. Write about how your Captain would react to this petition, and whether or not your Captain would agree to it.
    Unofficial Literary Challenge #5
    Lazarus

    Last time, on the Intrepid-class U.S.S. Crucial: The ship sat out in orbit of Kobali Prime. Captain Menrow entered the Bridge to find his crew hard at work.

    "Perfect. Everything is going as planned," he commented.

    Hatcha looked up from her operations panel. "Except that we're supposed to be on the surface, fighting the Vaadwaur half-invasion!"

    "Are you kidding me? We need all the breaks we can get! The Vaadwaur are insanely over-powered and there is only so much polaron beam-firing one can do before one sterilizes their ability to procreate," Menrow explained. "By the way, we're all sterilized."

    Barley slammed his fist into his console. "Dammit! You know as Captain, you're supposed to impregnate as many aliens as you can."

    "Another life, I suppose. Ever since we were brought back into our bodies by that Traveler named Wayfar, with our memories offset in time, it almost feels like lives come and go at ease."

    Grunley replied, "Sir, you can't be that naïve?"

    "It's just a thought, Lieutenant Commander. Now, let's return to the surface and fight for skill points. I mean, for the needs of others. I'll take Hatcha and Grunley."

    Barley out-stretched his arm. "Wait! Don't you want more people?"

    "For some weak old Delta Quadrant mission? Pfft. Two's more than enough. Besides, what's the worst that could happen?"

    ---

    Down on the surface, the team of three found themselves locked down behind a rock, under heavy fire from Vaadwaur soldiers; the rapid fire loud enough to force Hatcha to try to yell over it.

    "Well, are you happy, now, sir?" Hatcha asked, ducking flying rock debris.

    Menrow knocked an incoming rock aside. "I don't follow?"

    "You said, 'what's the worst that could happen', and now that very thing is happening!" She reached around and fired at the Vaadwaur group.

    Menrow followed suit and then addressed her. "Are you saying that you were deliberately silent this whole time, from the walk to the transporter room to the trek out to these God forsaken Level 53 Trenches, just so you could fluidly connect something I said on the Crucial to something that's happening on Kobali Prime??"

    "We need to have dialogue that flows," Hatcha argued. "It's just better for us, mentally."

    Meanwhile, Grunley, firing the Mirror Zefram Cochrane Shotgun like a mad man, trying to make each burst of shells count, was suddenly approached by a Vaadwaur and shot at at point-blank range. "Auugghh! This weapon is uselessssssss!"

    As he hit the ground, Menrow and Hatcha fired liberally into the Vaadwaur assailant, until he was knocked down as well.

    "What the hell??" Menrow cursed. "Who just runs up to their enemy while their enemy is firing at them?? And they do it so nonchalantly??"

    Hatcha agreed. "It's well-earned overconfidence, sir."

    ---

    And now, the conclusion: Later, aboard the Crucial, several of the senior staff and Grunley's father, Jarken, an Earth engineer, was in attendance of his wake. Grunley was lying, dead in an open torpedo casing.

    "In accordance with our laws, we are to fire this man into an enemy, or a planetary atmosphere. It's nice that the option is there," Menrow spoke at random.

    Jarken looked at his son. "He wasn't a particularly good engineer. In fact, he was incredibly horrible, from what I ever saw, and from your reports as well, Captain."

    "Don't you have anything good to say about him?" Menrow asked.

    Jarken glanced over. "That was the good thing."

    Suddenly, they were approached by a visiting Kobali elder: "Please excuse the interruption, but we would like to offer our services in reviving Grunley as one of our own— the most sacred of our traditions, next to returning expired cheese back into Kobali pizza ingredients."

    Menrow pointed. "Sold!"

    "Wait. I'm the last of Grunley's family. Don't I get a say in things?" Jarken cut in as way of accusation.

    The Captain shook his head. "Uh, my ship, my rules. Besides, my entire senior staff has a record in returning back to life, and I'm not about to let Grunley break that. There's a Ferengi at Spacedock keeping track."

    "Captain, this is wrong," Hatcha interrupted. "Our return was wrought with horror. Our bodies returned years ago, but our minds didn't return until just recently— over-writing the minds of those bodies, who just happen to also be us."

    Jarken jerked his head slightly. "Space magic?"

    "Traveler," Hatcha conceded.

    Jarken nodded. "Space magic."

    "Damn it, Hatcha, you're right. I'm getting calls from a woman that claims I'm my own grandpa. What the hell can of worms is that to deal with on a Monday?? Though it is nice to know my previous consciousness was involved with time travel— a staple in seven year missions." He then tapped his chin. "At least now I get to fire Grunley at the Vaadwaur, which, from a tactical point of view, is what we should have been doing all along."

    The father held up his palm. "No! It is you who are right, Captain. My son, though inept, was still good at heart. That good is also a representation of your crew, even after his life." Jarken then turned to the Kobali elder. "Please, it would be my family's honor to indulge in your society— a sense of cross-civilizational transcendence that makes up for Grunley's obsession with snacks and sugar-infused pop drinks."

    "I'm having second thoughts about this," the Kobali elder paused.

    Jarken pointed. "Too late! He's yours now! Ha! Now, how do I get back to the Alpha Quadrant? Transwarp, right? Ah, yes, transwarp is the answer to everything."

    ---

    Down in one of the non-attacked cities of Kobali Prime, Grunley, now known as Klik'Yeunyi, worked tirelessly on fixing his new family's food preservation machine.

    "Just finished my work, mother," the new purple member of the group called out after his masterpiece.

    When she stepped out into the kitchen, she was horrified to find the machine suddenly spewing out chunks of expired cheese at everyone, "Aahh!! You are the worst son we've ever revived!"

    "What about Per'Opeana? He keeps trying to score with our sisters— hot as they are," Klik'Yeunyi said— but as he said that, his skin coloration began to fade, and his Kobali head-ridges began to recede. "Oh, no! I'm turning into a Caatati or something??"

    His mother then examined him. "Uh, no, you're reverting to your previous species. This works out great— err, I mean, oh noooo, who will fix my head shiner now?"

    "I can do it, mother!" Per'Opeana entered, holding a split-beam laser tool.

    His mother then scowled. "You stay away from the female side of the house!"

    ---

    Later, Grunley was returned to the Crucial and joined the senior staff at dinner in the Messhall with their Traveler friend, Wayfar.

    "Wow. The interior of this ship was really well done— except, why can't I get to the upper level of Engineering, and why would Borg alcoves be in the same Cargo Bay of every present-day Intrepid-class starship? Wouldn't that interfere with daily cargo activities?" Grunley asked, logically.

    Menrow raised a glass. "That's not for us to decide and never will be. Salut!"

    As everyone cheered and clinked glasses, Wayfar stopped before drinking his. "This is all my fault, Captain. The space-time modifications I made to each of your cells in bringing you forward and back in time prevented the Kobali genetic traits from maintaining themselves in your Chief Engineer."

    Menrow put his drink down. "Wait. When did you get here? This party was to celebrate Grunley's return? Something I maintain as a half-success, despite the Kobali fail-GIFs going around of his de-transformation."

    "Well, now you tell me. I've already preset my future travels to have me appear at all of your parties?? Damn it!"

    Hatcha turned. "Can't you just reverse those presets?"

    "You know very well I'm bad at my job. If I try anything, guaranteed I'll end up at one of past-Voyager's awkward, forced-gatherings. Well, in terms of job performance, Grunley knows what I mean," Wayfar said assuringly.

    Grunley paused, confused. "What?" And then: "Aaahhh, I get it. Haaaaa!"

    "Haaaaa!" Wayfar high-fived him. "You guys want to create warp bubbles around Galaxy-class Doctors some time?"

    Menrow shook his head. "That's not a thing we can approve of. But keep us up to date on your findings. As for me, well, Grunley, I'm sorry I tried to sell you off to the Vaadwaur in an attempt to repeat Wayfar's re-lifenings."

    "That's okay. An Orion tried something similar on me back in my Academy days. He said he was just going to lift me up. I should've asked why. I see that now."

    Wayfar then raised his glass. "To Orion slavery: The final frontier!"

    To that, everyone hesitantly and unassuredly tapped glasses with each other. Together: "Yaaayyyy.........?"
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
  15. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in December 2014 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Literary Challenge #69, the last Literary Challenge. It was based on the game's Winter Wonderland event that happens every year. It also picks up on Seifer and Menchez after the zombie/Halloween crisis. Qu was last seen in LC 67.

    Literary Challenge #69: The ancient tradition of Terran Winter Celebrations is such a festive and playful time in STO! Q is back and he brings us more Winter fun this year, with new snowmen, new weapons, new ships and more. This month's challenge is to write your own crews story centered around the event and festivities of the Terran winter season. But don't stop at Earth! You can tell us stories about any cultural celebrations from across the Star Trek universe. Perhaps the Andorians have tales of mysterious Vulcans who sneak into their homes at night and replace their toys with logic puzzles. Perhaps the Bajorans have a winter tradition that they hold dear involving incense and an Orb of Jolly. Maybe the Borg Queen is all alone on New Years and just longs for the day some dashing Android will meet her under the mistletoe and help her kill all humans. Or maybe your crew discovers a planet of elves who are ruled by a fanatical toy maker with a thirst for egg nog. Let your imaginations fly this month, and add your own twists of Trek Holiday Lore to the universe!

    Literary Challenge #69
    Winter Wonderland Celebrations

    Captain Aeris entered Sickbay aboard the Sovereign-class starship U.S.S. Zephyra. On the biobeds were laying two groggy, grey-skinned males, Seifer and Menchez, just barely recovering from the undead-like infection of late-type events.

    "Ugggh. My head feels like ten Vaadwaur ambushes---" the nearly unrecognizable Seifer groaned. "So, a normal day."

    Menchez tried sitting up but failed in his attempts. "My mighty Klingon ridges-- feel like Ferengi ear cartilage, jammed together to form some kind of money hungry forehead."

    "Nice one," Seifer remarked as he and Menchez attempted to high-five, only to be defeated by the pain in their arms-- "Ugh!"

    Aeris looked at them. "So, you're alive, huh? Damn that Captain's prerogative which makes us all immune to death, supposedly."

    "Not--- for long," Seifer ached in his continued speech. "I have to-- reverse the 'reset' through calculations of time warp!"

    Menchez shook his head, subtly. "And I must--- purchase some--- life insurance."

    "Well, you can forget all those things, because you're both going to be stuck in bed for months thanks to your foolish handling of ex-Commander Avery, and the complete mess of carnage aboard both your ships," Aeris re-assured, disappointedly.

    Seifer gasped in shock. "Oh no! That means we're going to miss Q's Winter Wonderland??"

    "He's like the Kes of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants--- sending us 9.5 thousand light years closer to happiness," Menchez stated.

    Seifer nodded in understanding, and then stopped in realization. "Too bad she's dead now?"

    "--Au contraire, mon Cap-i-tans!" Suddenly, Qu appeared, perched like a bird over an unconscious Ensign Dan on a surgical bed near them.

    Menchez's eyes widened. "That's what Q's say??"

    "No, it's Qu. I'm a different guy. Also, it sounds the same, but it's spelled differently."

    Menchez turned to Seifer. "Qu had a go at serving me a dose of hard-reality not too long ago--- As it turns out, we're all constantly re-spawning in our battles in both space and ground-- thanks to a cosmic string which is also responsible for wiping our memories of it."

    "Wait, Qu, are you saying that that specific Ocampan is still alive--?" Seifer asked, instinctively dismissing the other thing.

    Qu looked at him confused. "What? Oh, no; she's a goner, for sure; died of constantly merging her life energies with things. --No, 'au contraire', is just a Q way of saying hello. We inherently contradict all creatures, and prefer to warn everyone through our greetings. The real reason I am here is because I've decided I'd like to send you all into a winter wonderland of forced joy and delight!"

    To that, he snapped his fingers and all three of them flashed away.

    ---

    They all re-appeared in a snow-filled paradise of questionable elation. Aeris suddenly noticed that both Seifer and Menchez were now standing, their pigments returned, and they both appeared to be in full health.

    "Uh, Qu, why the hell did you do that before we could react? We need to react to things, you know," Seifer insisted.

    Qu furrowed his divine brow. "You mortals take too long for things!"

    "By the curly hair of Admiral Kirk! You're not bed-strapped or Takaran-looking anymore??" Aeris' mouth was already dropped at the sight of the two other Captains.

    Qu continued. "Indeed. It was my judgment that you would all need to be capable for winter forced-liveliness. Here's the catch. All three of you Captains, or 'mains', if you will, desire something specific." He then turned to each of them, sequentially. "Seifer, you want to murder the rest of your crew in the noble cause of rejecting something you call 'resets'. Menchez, you desire reassurance of life and to install cushions in all the duranium beds on your ship. And, Aeris, as the new one, you just want these two Captains back aboard their similarly T5U, or T6-wannabe, vessels."

    "It's really more about the stench," Aeris confirmed. "Also, the skin debris coming off you guys. You're both worse than flaking-Odo as a Vidiian."

    Qu opened his arms. "In the spirit of the season, who so-ever wins these winter games will get what they want! More proof of my greatness; the action of such which also serves to confirm said claim."

    "Except why is some of this snow melting? And why is that gingerbread man attacking and eating that other gingerbread man?" Seifer asked, pointing.

    They all looked over to see a blue gingerbread man eating the remains of his most recent conquest. "Hahaha!! Let's see you try council-membering me now!" his amazingly perfect high-pitched voice exclaimed in victory before he started running off to his next victim.

    "Never mind that. --Begin, like the grindfest rodents you are!" Qu snapped and disappeared.

    ---

    Walking along the now seemingly half-efforted Winter Wonderland, the three Captain's came upon an ice shelved section with a gate attached to its edge. They approached a Breen who was more than impartial to address them.

    "The race happens 15 minutes after the hour, then again 22 minutes after the hour, and at 45 and 52 minutes after the hour," he instructed.

    Seifer tapped his foot. "Uh, it's 45 after; so, what's the hold up?"

    "I think I read somewhere that the 45 minute mark is hit and miss," Menchez offered. "Perhaps a reminder we should all get out and find girlfriends."

    Suddenly, the Breen started talking again: "Make sure you're standing on the starting platform - the wooden area - while the countdown to the race happens."

    "Well, aren't you Mr. Sunshine?" Aeris commented as the three of them moved to get into position. "He's actually not that bad; I just wanted to sound witty."

    Menchez gazed at the platform, "Ice. Pure ice. Anyway, as great as it is that we have this opportunity to take part in Winter Wonderland, I intend on wiping the makeshift raceways with your sorry Federation uniforms. Seriously, who designed your Odyssey type? It's just a 2373 rehash."

    Suddenly, an ominous countdown beeped and the gate dropped. Seifer, Menchez and Aeris leapt onto the icey track and ran for it, each determined to win favor with the standing record for each of their own personal reasons.

    "Auuuggh!" During the run, Menchez and Seifer suddenly found themselves sliding into an inhibiting patch of spikey ice. Aeris fell into a snow bank.

    Seifer tried, unsuccessfully, pushing the Klingon away from him. "I'm not letting you win, Menchez! You told me about reset, and now I'm addicted to it! This is just like the ketrecel white fixation I had last month."

    "So, you intend on killing your crew?" Menchez asked rhetorically. "Give it up, Captain! Doing things just leads to other things! And things are the worst!"

    As Aeris got up and carefully re-stepped back into the race, she suddenly found her foot breaking through the ice. In half a minute, the entire track cracked apart, revealing the unfrozen, unkempt river beneath. The three Captains found their legs immersed in shallow, streaming, and chopped-ice water.

    "You know, the Phoenix-X has this exact same problem on Deck 8," Seifer admitted. "I suspect it's one of my Xindi-Aquatic duty officers."

    The three made their way out onto destitute snow-land, disqualifying from the boundary, and confused by the end-result. "Where do we file bug reports and whiny protests? Is there a General Discussion forum somewhere?" Aeris asked.

    ---

    Next, the mini-group came upon the icey shelter where Ferengi vendors and Epohh ladies lived.

    "Qu is a genius!" the Ferengi said as they strolled by, "And so handsome."

    Seifer eyed him, confusingly. "Why is he just offering personal information out like that? Doesn't he want to keep that to himself?"

    "Don't you want an Epohh friend?" the Epohh lady asked, loudly, as they walked passed her next. "Qu loves all the little creatures; even you!"

    Menchez nodded, taking that last comment in, somewhat overwhelmingly. "It is a good feeling being loved. As a Klingon, I will freely admit that."

    "It's the Pie Contest Breen," Aeris observed as they approached a seemingly over-weight, cold, suited man.

    The Breen spoke at their arrival, "Look at all this bounty Qu has provided. Eat the pies for his amusement! The more pies you finish, the better the rewards!"

    "The reward being an early death?" Seifer asked.

    As the three approached the table of pies, the countdown timer rang off, prompting them all to begin eating as many as possible. Menchez and Seifer dove in and began stuffing their faces, but Aeris hesitated. "The Humanoid stomach can only fill about 2 to 4 liters of food, and you have a Trill Symbiont."

    "Yeah, but his stomach can hold up to 6 or 7," Seifer explained with a mouth-full, knowingly breaking canon and the laws of alien biology all at once. Suddenly a gag reflex caused him to involuntarily spit out his pie. "Ugghh! These are really badly made! Are these...... Are these all leola root pies??"

    Aeris pointed to a nearby table. "Well, there's your answer-- a Talaxian."

    "Happy Non-Denominational Holidays! Qu has charged me to discover new foods and combine bizarre spices in strange, new ways," Neelix greeted from afar.

    Menchez continued eating, forcing it down. "You fools! Leola root is nothing to a Klingon! I don't care what that half-asleep engineer always said!"

    "Captain, no! Many of Voyager's crew was found dead from leola root poisoning! They secretly cloned new personnel, as replacements, every season--- That's why there were more background faces than what the actual crew complement was supposed to be!"

    Menchez involuntarily spat out a mouth-full, compelling him to stop in pure emotion-- "I have to win this! Don't you see? If we can't have death, as I have previously tried to force it, then we must have life-- We can't end up the way Sisko fake-died??"

    "Yeah, that was weird. Then I had a dream about Kirk trying to interview him while he absent-mindedly played piano? Anyway, Captain, what I mean to say is: you're the fool. Your obsessions are turning you weak and barely even Klingon anymore!" Aeris charged.

    Menchez wiped a tear from his eye, and sniffled. "That was a mean thing to say, you big meanies. I can't believe how mean you both are being. Captains are supposed to have a non-mean code."

    "Uggh!" Seifer and Aeris threw up their arms in frustration before a bunch of live leola root worms started wiggling out of the pies, destroying their perfect holiday crusts.

    It was all Aeris could do to keep herself from hurling-- "Oh, dude, hell no---" She pushed Seifer aside and ran out into the open snow, preparing for the worst in regurgitation.

    ---

    Seifer and Menchez ran over, to catch up, when all three suddenly stopped their concerns, noticing a gingerbread veteran, nearby, eating into the blue, high-pitched gingerbread man from earlier.

    "A gingerbread council member is being eatennnn!" it cried out before perishing.

    The gingerbread veteran, with a nasally, stuffed-up voice emerged from his hunger-triumph and took notice of the three Captains. "Help protect us from an invasion of snowmen!"

    "You just performed horrible, yet deliciously-looking cannibalism, and now you want us to take you seriously?" Seifer critiqued.

    The gingerbread veteran continued his nasally panic without waiver: "Strange snowmen are trying to break into our winter wonderland and ruin everything!" He then turned to find Menchez breaking off his left arm and eating it.

    "Whu't?" Menchez said with a mouth-full of gingerbread. "I nee'ded to w'ash th'e Nee'lix dow'n."

    Suddenly, a group of stick-bat'leth-wielding snowmen approached from the distance, intent on overtaking the intrepid Captains of yonder time. Aeris pointed to just the left of them. "Here! A pile of conveniently formed snowballs! Put the extras in your pockets!"

    All three Captains began picking up snowballs and throwing them at incoming snowmen.

    Suddenly, a giant Borg sphere passed overhead, in the sky, stopping to a hover beyond the hill in the distance where the snowmen were approaching from. Moments later, the onslaught of snow enemies trickled into an onslaught of assimilated snow enemies. Their drone voices broadcasted all around, naturally: "We are the Borg. In an effort to penetrate new realms, as we do, we have entered this one. We call it, the 'jolly realm'. We were already aware it was labeled Qu's Winter Wonderland. Freezistance is futile."

    "I love that the Borg are way more talkative now. Remember when they attacked the NX-01 Enterprise in the mid-22nd century and they didn't even say they were Borg, despite them being from the future where they did say that?" Seifer commented by way of run-on-ask.

    Menchez looked at him while continuing his non-tiring snow-throws. "And how exactly would any of us remember events we weren't there for?"

    Then, a more giant amalgamation of assimilated snow mush, called a Bursting Snow Monstrosity, approached. "We only wish to lower temperature for all species."

    While frosty assimilated enemies were being taken out by highly trained Starfleet officers and a hardened Klingon warrior, the gingerbread veteran snorted: "In order to help you out, I've dug three several-kilometer-long grooves into the snow to help align the snowmen's approach!"

    "That wasn't necessary," Seifer explained. "The only reason I can think you would do such a thing is because you wanted to name each of the groov---"

    But the veteran just interrupted him at the then incoming approach of several Guardian Snow Monstrosities: "Snowmen are coming down Black Diamond, Crimson Cube and Blue Lozenge lanes!"

    "Yeah. That."

    Just then, the Borg Snow Queen, the tallest snow mash-up of them all, emerged in the distance and threw a giant snow ball at the group. Seifer and Menchez dodged it as it hit Aeris and took her down. "Ugh! This is pointless!" the Human Captain gritted in snow-plastered frustration. "Of course you two are able to ease into reminiscings of any kind, while I have to deal with being the new one with no memorable adventure-like experiences to back me up!-- Entries, if you will. It's almost as if we only get one per month now??"

    Seifer looked at her, confused.

    "Oh, please. Like you've never been jealous of a non-tangible thing."

    The Trill Starfleet officer tapped his chin. "Well, there is that whole Vulcan katra mumbo-jumbo, which is way more mystical than our zhian'tara woozle-wozzle. Both, of course, I assume are ghost-based."

    The two then glanced over to see Menchez handing over several items to a Ferengi Holiday Item Vendor: Targ ear muffs, Bolian candles, Andorian sleigh bells and much, much more. He was rewarded with a Freezing Mist ground-based weapon-- to which he immediately used to blast the Borg Snow Queen to pieces.

    "Definitely feeling aggressive tendencies, sirs!"

    Aeris got up with Seifer's help. "Thanks for telling us?"

    "--Ahh! What are you mortal meat-bags doing??" Qu suddenly flashed in with arms pre-open. "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: Don't provoke the Borg!"

    Seifer crossed his arms, "You never told us that. In fact, we asked you specifically if there was a group we shouldn't provoke and you replied with 'Don't bother me now; I'm picking out my Q hat'."

    "Yes, that's right! Big surprise, the Q likes head-wear! I made this Winter 'Wonderland' because I thought it could lead me to be worthy of even more Q top-warmers."

    Aeris looked at him, with judgmental glee. "It's clear you just copied Q's Winter Wonderland from previous years. Melting race tracks? Leola worm pies? Gingerbread cannibals?"

    "Let's not forget the epohh breeding baskets. People are literally just putting epohhs in baskets and placing bets," Seifer reported.

    Qu put the oddly-formed epohh he was petting down. "Uggh. They're just serving as a reminder of the Borg epidemic now. All I was doing was trying to follow the gold example?? Old-faced Q thinks he's so perfect."

    "---I'm Q-Junior, the less copyrighted Q!" Q-Junior said as he flashed in. "I'm the one who's been running the Winter Wonderlands; not my father."

    Qu looked at him in momentary shock, "Oh! I guess I forgot to check. Plus your look, behavior and dialogue are similar? Well, anyway, it's not like people really need to know the truth. I suppose I don't feel as bad now."

    "Wait! Who won out of the three of us?" Menchez reached out. "The Klingon, right? It's usually the Klingon."

    Qu shook his head, "I don't have time for games!? My wonderland is destabilizing thanks to this Delta incursion! Do the players love it? Do they really??"

    "Well, pick one of us. We went through hell and back for this holiday season; just... horrible, utter hell," Aeris stated.

    Qu glanced over. "Huh? Oh. You..... since you're the one closest to me right now-- Your wish of everyone back on their ships, in some measure of health, is granted. But, you should know, Captain, even the action of being sent is itself memorable." Before snapping, he paused-- "Please note, every Q transport erases two weeks of childhood memory." At that, Seifer, Menchez and Aeris all disappeared in a flurry flash.

    "I like what you've involuntarily endured with the Borg snowmen," Q-Junior said, walking over. "I think I'll add it to my Wonderland; the lanes as well." He glanced at the gingerbread veteran. "You're coming with me, too. The catch being you thinking this was all my idea."

    Qu tilted his head, "But your Wonderland has been going on since the beginning of the month? You're adding this in so late in the game?"

    "I'll go into the past and add it, you nit-wit! Ugh. You are literally the worst Q that ever existed," he said before preparing to leave. "Now, if you'll excuse me, but I have to sit in a chair on Earth Spacedock, Qo'noS and New Romulus all at once. They make me shift my consciousness between each body and it's quite dizzying."

    After he and the gingerbread veteran flashed away, Qu took one last holiday prideful look at his melting ice shelter moments before half of it collapsed in on its sad, tired and depressed vendors. Luckily, despite being copies, they were all granted immortality, so they were probably fine. Happy Holidays!
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2022
  16. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in January 2015 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Unofficial Literary Challenge #7.

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #7: Prompt #1: One day, when walking into the mess hall/lounge of your ship for some food, you find that one of the LCARS display panels has been reconfigured. Rather than what it normally shows, it now displays a list. The list only has one item when you first see it (something like "Do not tease the Klingons"), but each subsequent time you visit the mess hall/lounge, things have been added to the list, usually in response to some event that has happened recently.

    What items all end up making the list? Does your Captain know why each item goes up, or do they need to hit up the local grapevine? Do they take the list in stride or do they shut it down fairly quickly? If they take it in stride, do they add their own items to the list? Write a short story detailing what happens.

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #7
    Things Crew Members of the Jenova are No Longer Allowed to Do

    Raking phaser beams across cold space, the Centaur-class U.S.S. Jenova finally blew a part of the Vaadwaur scout vessel Himotek's forward hull.

    On the Jenova, Captain Iviok pointed at the view screen in utmost immediacy. "We've got them! Fire the tricobalt device!"

    "We had one of those for the last two hours??" Gondi said in realization while simultaneously firing it.

    The glowing shot slowly arched out into space's icy vacuum with more than enough of an opportunity to be snubbed out, until, once and for all, it detonated into the head of the Himotek's modified framework. The Himotek blew apart, sending debris flying out in all directions.

    "Nice work, crew!" Iviok complimented, taking an exhausting seat in his chair.

    Doyanis, the helmsmen, turned from his position. "Captain, permission to go to the bathroom? It seems like we've been working at that little scout heap all morning."

    "Actually," Iviok checked his chair's chronometer, "It's passed lunch now." Then, strictly, the Andorian turned his attention to the crew. "You all know we have to work a little harder to take out enemy hulks. But we're a good ship. Yay us. Huzzah."

    Gondi added: "We're a Tier 1 vessel."

    "That's not an official rating system!" Iviok warned. "Those classifications were invented by tired, old, Irish noncoms!"

    ---

    Later, Iviok entered the messhall, where crew were mostly in-and-out due to ship repairs being top priority. He noticed a nearby display blinking an engineering readout with the words: Do not tease the Humans.

    "Iviok to Caveat." He tapped his commbadge. "A messhall screen is presenting an odd, but perhaps necessary report. How is an Andorian supposed to replicate redbat up in this place?"

    The Chief Engineer replied over air: "Sorry, sir. I'm running an experimental reporting-nanite which predicts and takes into account all ship system issues. It's programmed to dictate precautions in layman's terms."

    "So, teasing Humans is somehow detrimental to the Jenova?" Iviok questioned, confused. Just then, Sara entered the messhall and Iviok turned to her. "Walking through doors, huh? Typical Human. Haha."

    Sara stopped, momentarily upset. "Sir, you know that's the only way I can get room-to-room!" She then ran out, crying.

    "You....... you have weird exchanges with her," Doyanis squinted at Iviok, truthfully.

    Just then, a nearby oxygen vent blew apart, spewing more oxygen into the messhall. Doyanis quickly put his food down and repaired it.

    "Captain," Caveat's voice came through the comm, "Somehow, the messhall vent mechanisms are responding to specific sound frequencies. I'll have to investigate."

    Iviok tapped his commbadge, "Understood. Iviok out." He then turned to his helmsmen. "Do you think the Jenova is a sagging old rust bucket, designed like a garbage scow?"

    "I don't not think that."

    ---

    At the end of the shift-day, Iviok returned to the messhall for dinner. He stopped in his tracks as he was about to walk passed the same display from earlier. On it: Don't eat meat.

    "What? I'm the Captain! I can eat all the meat I want!" Iviok then went over to the replicator, in protest, and made himself a Starfleet-imitation Andorian krill-beast steak. After taking a hearty bite into it, Iviok was compulsed to spit it out in utter disgust. "Ugh! By the creepy giant eye balls of Aenar babies! That steak tasted like my regulation boot!"

    Gondi paused with his tray of food, as he was about to walk by. "Are you referring to the time we were on Kobali lockdown under constant annoying Vaadwaur attack and we had nothing to eat but our footwear?"

    "Of course!" Iviok slammed his useless tray onto a nearby table. He then went back to the replicator. "This means, no one on the ship can eat meat anymore. --Computer, make me a.... vithi salad. Ugh."

    As soon as Iviok's salad was replicated, Gondi watched Iviok take it out and fork a cold bite.

    "So... health....y..." the Captain yawped unconvincingly between chews. "Let me know when the display changes again." He left with a little less hope for the situation, more anxious than ever for a solution.

    ---

    The next morning, Iviok was called into the messhall by Caveat to review the next message: Items used from only one corner at a time.

    "What?" the Captain griped, confused. He and Caveat approached a corner of the messhall, only to be deflected by a force field. "Ugh!"

    Caveat looked before them, "Dammit. I have specialized tools laid out in all corners of this room. Strange how evenly dispersed each of the access points are; almost conveniently inconvenient."

    "Can we at least eat meat now?" Iviok asked.

    Caveat nodded, "Just the poultry, so far. The tool I need for the rest is behind that force field. Furthermore, I discovered a piece of that Vaadwaur scout embedded into our hull. It transmitted an Iconian algorhythm into the Jenova's systems, effectively causing all these specified malfunctions."

    "But there's meat we can eat now?" Iviok re-asked, just to make doubly sure.

    Just then, the monitor nearby blinked a new rule: Only speak to people whose names start with an S.

    "That's more ridiculous than the last rule," Iviok complained to Caveat in frustration-- only to be followed with a horrific feedback noise through the comms.

    SZZZZKKKCCKKK!

    "Ugghh! What the hell was tha---?" But he was interrupted again by that awful noise.

    SSSZZZKKCKKKKK!

    "Sara," Caveat stopped the Lieutenant, just as she was walking by. "Please tell Captain Iviok that the Himotek's Iconian algorhythm is getting more aggressive."

    The science officer turned to Iviok. "Sir, Caveat says the Iconians are responsible for everything that happens everywhere, which is less a surprise and more a redundancy now."

    "Sara," Iviok sighed, "Please tell Caveat I'm not prepared to give up the Jenova to the Iconian-infused Vaadwaur hull fragments. The line must be drawn here: this far-- maybe a tiny bit further."

    She then turned to Caveat, "The Captain says the Andorian equivalent of 'For Cardassia!'"

    The floor is lava: The three turned, curiously, to see the next rule blink on-screen.

    "Sara, what does that mean?" Iviok asked in shared confusion.

    The Lieutenant looked at the message, unsure. "I think it means I wish we were back on Kobali Prime, eating boots."

    Suddenly, the floor plating beneath them lit up in an over-heated blaze, while the gravity all over the ship disengaged and sent everyone floating into the air.

    "Sara, I'm getting reports all over the ship of burned soles and flaming socks!" Gondi floated near a side-console, next to a table full of spawn beetle-infested oblissian cabbage.

    Iviok's antennae twitched, "Why is my crew reporting that? Nevermind. --Sara, is Caveat able to purge the algorhythm from our systems?"

    "Uh, how would I know? I'm not a telepath, nor have Caveat and I had any relations of any kind," Sara replied, sharing a quick feared-glance with the Chief Engineer.

    Caveat then floated over to another force fielded corner, nodding. "Sara, I can purge our systems from here by amplifying this mini reverse-ratcheting routing planer into any data port. Only problem is, I can't get to it."

    "Uggh! Am I seriously the only one who can talk to non-S's? Also, isn't Ensign Salisbury out of bed yet??"

    Gondi floated over. "She transferred to the Phoenix-X last week. She said she couldn't handle another eight hour Argala patrol."

    "Once! That happened only once!" Iviok interrupted in protest before suddenly being cut off by the interference--

    SSSSZZKKKKKCCCKK!!

    "--Sara. I meant for that to be directed at Sara," Iviok back-tracked just moments before the next item blinked on screen.

    Do not live.

    The messhall crew floated in shock, reading it once more, just to make sure.

    "Do not live?" Gondi repeated in Sara's general direction, only to be cut off by a sudden lack of life support.

    Every floater in the room began having trouble breathing, including Captain Iviok: "Dammit to hell--! We need a new-- ship! The Jenova shouldn't be hauling garbage--- it should be hauled away as garbage--!"

    He sufficatedly floated over to Caveat.

    "Sara, the first message said-- to use items from one corner at a time-- If we're-- receiving limitations caused by the algorithm-- then we have to work with those limits--" Iviok took a short breath. "I want Caveat to use--- the tool sitting in the open corner-- on something."

    The popular science officer scoffed, "Why does Caveat--- get to do all the fun things? --Rude."

    "Would you guys-- stop-- taking-- up-- all-- the...... oxygen??" Gondi struggled, seconds before he and Sara passed out in a drooling, mid-float.

    Caveat took the isolinear spanner from the open corner and sloppily adjusted the replicator into a mode where it began constantly producing nothing but meat. With floating meat slowly invading everyone's space, another corner opened up and Iviok grabbed the reverse-ratcheting routing planer.

    "Maybe--- I'll get--- one of those--- canon-breaking-- intel ships---"

    After amplifying its output and applying it to a data port, Iviok and Caveat found themselves losing consciousness in a sea of glorious meat. Moments later, they blacked out in steak heaven.

    ---

    Later, Iviok, Caveat, Sara and Gondi all awoke in Sickbay, groggy, but bound by gravity and supported by a full atmosphere.

    "I quickly grabbed a Benzite respiratory device when things got hazy," Doctor Rubens explained. "It did nothing to prevent me from having Seven of Nine hallucinations."

    Everyone looked around in anticipation of a loud noise until finally falling their gaze upon Sara.

    "Sara--" Iviok started--

    But she slammed her palm against her biobed. "Enough! Enough of everyone talking through me! I am not dream-state Hoshi Sato!"

    "I was just going to thank everyone systematically," Iviok offered, "And assure you all that we are going to purchase a new ship, just as soon as we spend a few months on Vlugta, dilithium mining. --Everyone this time; not just me with you all watching on the view screen."

    Gondi glanced at everyone. "Captain, this is about us operating within our limits. After all the struggle we continuously put into this junk ship-- working Edward Jellico-level shifts-- just to keep us barely above water in a Tier 5-U/6 Quadrant, I think I speak for all of us when I say, the Jenova is our home-- as painful as it is to live here."

    Iviok looked around to the others, who were all confirming with subtle, second-thought-prone nods. Doyanis then entered Sickbay just as everyone was finishing, him holding sole-less boots.

    "Well, with barefoot footwear, I was able to feel my stepping on this one non-replicating nanite who must've ejected himself from the Jenova systems during your meat-filled purge. He's, uh... he's dead now."

    Caveat grasped his face in terror. "Nannie-- Noooooooooo!"

    "Sorry, Cav," Doyanis apologized while dropping the black-dot-looking nanite from his fingertip into Caveat's hand.

    Caveat glanced over at Iviok, with sad, pleading eyes. "Torpedo case funeral...?"

    "Ugh. Fine." Iviok conceded, annoyed.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  17. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in February 2015 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Unofficial Literary Challenge #8. This story continues on from LC 65: Movie Night.​

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #8: Prompt #1: As your away team materializes on the transporter pad, you realize that you don't recognize the place, or the people in it. A large crane swings away, as a man shouts, "Dammit, what's wrong with those lights? Okay, everybody, break for lunch while we figure this out!" You realize that the room lacks some walls - and a roof. Outside a window, you can see what turns out to be early-21st-century Earth, and not the one from your history books, either. You're in a movie set, and everyone thinks you're actors portraying yourselves as fictional characters!

    What do you do now? How do you get back home? Or do you?

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #8
    Visit To a Weird Planet, Revisited - Again

    The Centaur-class U.S.S. Jenova arched overhead, blasting photon torpedoes through the shields of the Kazon-Mostral shuttle Lessek. After passing, the Jenova fired one aft quantum torpedo into the enemy offender, exploding the craft in a glorious popcorn-like mini-puff.

    "Is it just me, or did that just take us half an hour??" the helmsmen, Doyanis complained.

    Iviok took a seat. "You know what Tier our ship is. Also, I forget what Tier our ship is."

    "Speaking of the ship," Melyot opened. "I apologize for installing all those Kobali split-paneled consoles."

    "--Cut! That was horrible, but let's use three seconds of it. Anything is workable. Then, cutaway, cutaway, cutaway!" A short, dark haired man with glasses stepped onto the Bridge, pointing at various people.

    Iviok looked around and suddenly noticed half his Bridge was detached; appearing to be in a large studio. Film crewmembers spilled onto the set, checking lighting stands, wardrobe and make-up on the crew.

    "Alright, that's a wrap for today. I have to go sleep with an actress who wants a part in my Pac-Man prequel."

    Iviok walked over to the Director, Jeffrey, who was playing back the scene with his First Assistant Director, Stuart. "What is the meaning of this intrusion? We haven't even had our post-mortem krill-beast steak meet yet?"

    "Hm," the Assistant rubbed his chin at the playback. "I think there needs to be more arbitrary back storying-- Don't be afraid to contradict pre-established canon and, more importantly, make stuff up in place of other stuff. Then, Romulans!"

    "Oh, is this a 'movie set'?" Iviok paraphrased. "Nice try, but movies went extinct as soon as holodecks were invented-- Coincidentally, so did new forms of art and music."

    Jeffrey shut the monitor off and looked at Iviok, confused. "Huh? What? Is this another hypnotic-relapse from the other night?" He then turned, "Dammit, Stuart. Your hypnotist show-off bar trick is messing with people's brains, and hence, this production!"

    "Heh," Stuart chuckled, absentmindedly. Then, to explain, "I'm looking into hypnotism as an alternative career choice."

    Melyot walked over, with his tricorder, scanning Iviok. "I do not understand. According to this: you're human, and there are dangerous levels of silicon on your face."

    "What are you doing? That tricorder is a plastic prop-- and an unauthentic one at that." Jeffrey then turned to his Prop Master. "Let's replace that with a rustic beer hydrometer. Yes! Realism!"

    He then turned to the film crew as a whole.

    "Just a reminder to all: Stay off the Message Boards. The nerds are pre-saying a lot of crap and we don't have time to address mommy-issue-driven soapboxes until it really gets to us. We are in this for dollar signs, people. Dollar signs!"

    ---

    Later that night, Iviok was met with his own crew inside his dimly-lit, deteriorating, trailer. Doyanis and Gondi held piles of junk food in their arms.

    "I don't know about you guys, but they have something called 'craft services' here and it's practically unlimited food-- for free!" the helmsmen bragged.

    Sara looked at him, critically. "Replicators?"

    "Sorry. Can't hear you over this cronut," Gondi said with a mouth-full as he and Doyanis arm-full-low-fived each other on their way out the trailer. "Hey, pass me a potato chip cookie? And a cannoli cone?"

    Melyot took their cue and turned to Iviok. "I recommend the status quo for the moment, until we can figure things out. Slow-progression is the Starfleet way, and who are we to question that? Eventually, I might. Though, I'd have to see about that as well."

    As he and Sara left, Jeffrey made his way inside. "How you feeling, big guy? The entire cast was subjected to that drunken mind-show the other night, and it's been Fek'lhri Eve ever since. The Exec Producer wants to give you a day, but I think we need to press on if I'm to be slated for that other franchise."

    "There's nothing you can say to make me think I'm a Human in the early 21st century. Where is the evidence of your Eugenics Wars? Is San Francisco the fall out?? If so, that's only partially believable."

    Jeffrey hesitated. "Look; at the bar, you told me you'd been feeling like your life just isn't measuring up lately. That's what hypnotism does! It makes you say crazy things!"

    "Indeed, I was feeling that, but only in relation to my seemingly always-broken starship. There were days I tried decaying our planetary orbits on purpose."

    The Director put his hands on Iviok's shoulders. "That's just a metaphor for this production. Unrelated: I'm converting the fan hate mail into snow flakes for the fifth monster ice-world scene-- This time, it'll be double the CG. More CG, I say! More! Let's desensitize people!"

    ---

    The next day, Iviok entered the Bridge-set of Star Trek Into All the Money. His Special FX Artist ran over in a rush.

    "Did you sleep with the face on? Talk about commitment, and hours of work off my back. This literally means I can use my mornings for writing. Would you be willing to look at a screenplay? It's about a space-high mad man who teaches Nazi ideals to inner-city kids."

    Iviok took notice of her. "Can I story-edit?"

    "Well, it's just that there's a lot of command-structure world-building, names and titles..." she trailed, awkwardly.

    Iviok turned away. "Pass."

    "But, he's searching for the one true King---"

    The Andorian moved on. "Pass."

    "Captain," Sara approached. "Something is wrong with all this. According to our sensor analysis, we're reading a massive subspace deformation, all around us."

    He shook his head as he took his place at the fake-Bridge. "That's impossible. Your panels are stickers created by the art department, designed by the brilliant and irreputable Michael Okuda."

    "What? Sir, according to history, Okuda was a drunk, hippie who was constantly thrown out of bars for harassing waitresses. He died in bed with eight supermodels."

    Just then, a grip walked over and handed Jeffrey a clipboard. "Here's your one paragraph summary of the canon universe we're making this movie about, Mr. Jacob."

    "Great. Let's burn it," the Director dismissed. He then stood up to address the actors. "Everyone ready? Prepare the lens flares... annnnnndd-- rolling, aaaaaand Kirk-thrusts, aaand action!"

    Doyanis turned to Iviok. "Jeffrey Jacob? That sounds familiar. Captain. I think I read a report about this man. If I'm not mistaken, he's a known time traveling fugitive from the 31st century!"

    "This is trippy. This script is trippy," Jeffrey observed before processing appropriately. He then threw down his notes in shock. "Hey, wait! Time traveling is a right, and anyone should be allowed to do it!"

    Melyot walked over, holding a phaser at Jeffrey. "Aha! The Phoenix-X caught Jacob, trying to film them, and out of a passionate repelling gesture, left him and his crew out in cold space."

    "I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling Seifer!" Jeffrey clenched his fist in anger. "We floated out there for days before we were picked up."

    Iviok shook his head. "Stop. No. We were all hypnotized by a British man, named Stuart. This feels right. We're actors. We're on our way to success through the precious re-forcing of a badly-handled franchise. Keyboard warriors will write horrible fan fiction about us for centuries."

    "Captain, according to my analysis of my analysis, the subspace deformation has all the characteristics of a massive warp bubble," Sara reported from her console.

    Melyot pressed his phaser to Jeffrey's temple. "Ugh!" Jeffrey squirmed. "Yes, that's right," the Director said. "Beverly Crusher experienced an augmented reality, based on her own thoughts, when she was trapped in something similar. That's what we're experiencing now-- my creation, my desires."

    "Everything you said last night-- about my life-measuring being crazy-- was a lie?" Iviok squinted.

    Jeffrey tried pulling away from the phaser, unsuccessfully. "Role playing is the best we are going to get here, anyway. We were all transported into this warp field, randomly, against our will. This isn't just some experiment by some over-begrudged, genius kid....... it's a labor camp."

    "No; impossible," Sara intervened. "Static warp fields are unstable. They're like trying to run a Tuvok drill from a Parallax mud bath, while stuffing your face with jumja sticks."

    Iviok shook his head in disbelief. "What a fool I've been. This world was too easy a distraction, and invoked none of our Starfleet officer anti-holo-addiction training." He then turned to the Director. "This ends now, Jeffrey. The players don't love it, and continued sarcasm by them isn't annoying."

    "Like I said," Jeffrey gritted under the phaser pressure, "it's a labor camp."

    Melyot growled, "By who? What do they want?"

    "Who do you think?" Jeffrey countered, just as Stuart stepped onto the Bridge, menacingly, "And the answer to your second question is: our neural energy."

    Stuart nodded and began speaking in his true, augmented voice, "I am Devidian, Captain. We can best share an existence in this pocket universe, where your neural patterns are amplified, ensuring dinner for my both my wife and kids tonight-- Those annoying brats and their whining. Ugh."

    "Since we're finally communicating verbally, I would be remiss not to confront you about Drozona, or the Cardassian ship Axon."

    Stuart threw up his arms in distractingly fake shock. "Oh, come on. Puh-leeze. Bringing up the past? You're worse than my wife! Prophets bless her soul."

    "What? What was that last part?" Sara impulsed. "Actually, let's stay on topic."

    Iviok hesitated. "Years ago, when I was slightly more ambitious, I studied Wesley's Kosinski Warp Theories in detail-- in that the physics of a pocket universe were reversible and interchangeable with that of our own."

    "Dammit, Iviok, this is no time for cake baking!" Gondi argued. "Or is it? Cloaking frequency icing, anyone?"

    The Captain made a mental note to do that later. "What I mean is, we need to initiate the post-calculated vortex Wesley space-magic'd."

    "Of course. I see what you're saying, Captain," Sara continued, approaching an engineering console. "We have to treat our home universe as the static warp universe, and the static warp universe like our home universe."

    Doyanis snapped, "Stop confusing me. You're ruining the wonder!"

    "How can we do anything when we are on a film set?" Melyot criticized.

    Iviok turned. "This universe pre-existed with Jeffrey's ideas and the only real way in, combined with Devidian space-time, was for it to be mutated by our own, which explains why our instruments still work; and I'm willing to bet the fake-Jenova's warp core is still in tact too."

    "Nooooo!" Stuart took out a long snake-headed staff and blasted its energy, "Science isn't meant to be utilized; it's just a thing, and stuff!"

    But, as the Devidian blast headed their way, Sara's initiation of the warp core calculations caused an expanding, dynamic wave of great intensity from beneath them, erasing the incoming attack, and Stuart, from existence.

    ---

    A second look and the crew found the film set intricacies gone and Jeffrey and his team back in the Phoenix-X's environmental suits, on board the Bridge of the Jenova.

    "According to sensors, we were re-deposited back here through the Devidian portal. The Wesley-vortex must've nullified the static warp field and sent us to the portal all at once," Gondi reported.

    Doyanis turned. "Either that, or we're in some kind of warp bubble within a warp bubble?"

    "Let's not........ let's not do that," Iviok suggested.

    Jeffrey finally pushed Melyot back and confronted the Captain. "This is preposterous! I was this close to making a rehashed masterpiece, millions would have been annoyed by!!"

    "Mr. Jacob, an alternate universe is one thing, but one of uninspired, lack-of-measuring-up, where-anything-can-be-a-screenplay, Malon waste, is frightful and un-intellectually appetizing. You're going to be put in prison for a veryyyy long time-- which is what the Phoenix-X was supposed to do with you," Iviok stated.

    After a moment of processing by everyone, he quickly realized the repulsion that was realized previously.

    "Ugh! Actually, on second thought-- Mr. Gondi, beam him out into space."

    Gondi addressed his controls and initiated the confinement beam, prompting Jeremy to lash-out as he and his team were in mid-transport. "Captain, nooooooooooo-o!!!!!-!!----!!--!--!"
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021
  18. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in April 2015 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Unofficial Literary Challenge #10.

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #10: Prompt #2: You've been rotated off the front lines to spend a tour back home as an instructor at your service academy, or perhaps to give a guest lecture at the Academy or at a civilian university that hosts an ROTC battalion or two.

    What's your subject matter? How does the next class of cadets, mangHompu', or eredhin react to being taught by an officer with your service record? How do you respond to their questions? Is there something nefarious going on at Starfleet Academy, Klingon Academy, or the newly opened Phi'lasasam on New Romulus?

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #10
    Teaching the Next Generation

    The Akira-class U.S.S. Hijinx approached Spacedock. Ships of all shapes and sizes trafficked the area, a-buzz of daily operations and adventure endcaps.

    "What a ride! Who knew about that whole thing with the Iconians? Am I right?" Captain Andrea Reynolds commented in finality.

    Lieutenant Bo turned from the helm and shrugged. "It feels like they've been ramping up to something forever. Well, it's over now."

    "Is it, though? Will it ever be?" Lane asked from tactical.

    Reynolds nodded. "Make a note for us to never encounter them again."

    "Captain Reynolds," came a voice from the view screen. "Hello. I am Crewman Kereg from Starfleet Academy. I'm a temporary intern here and I broke in to your ship's systems in order to communicate with you."

    The Captain did a double-take. "Why didn't you just hail us?"

    "My intention was to impress you with my skills in order to expedite receptiveness."

    Reynolds stood up. "Well, Crewman, you've succeeded, despite the fact I'm legally obligated to report you and have you stripped of your uniform."

    "I had a good run. Anyway, the reason I'm calling is because Captain Seifer was slated as a guest speaker for one of our forums, but due to some unfortunate happenings with his crew coming back from the dead and an odd Winter Wonderland adventure, he is unable to make it in time."

    She nodded again. "Yeah, you dodged a phaser beam there. But, I have no desire to be an assumed role model of sorts at all? In fact, I offer the wrong advice to my crew, daily, to keep them on their toes."

    "--Great, Captain. You said I should ask Gerry out, and he turned out to be such a jerk! My emotions! Uggh," Jolene complained, entering the Bridge.

    Reynolds turned back to the view screen. "You see? She should've been less trusting of her superior officer."

    "That's fine, ma'am. We'll take on what we can get. Besides, if Lieutenant Ferra catches me failing in my duty again, I'll never get sold! He makes us clean the hairballs out of his uniforms."

    The Captain arched her head. "What? --Never mind. --Yes, fine. I will do this. But, no, I am not changing my uniform at Spacedock. I'm certain that Cardassian tailor is a spy of some sort. I mean, come on."

    ---

    Later, Reynolds and Bo beamed down to Starfleet Academy and were met with Commander Meyer upon the commencement of a hasty corridor trek.

    "I'm thankful that you could make it, Captain. The students at this forum are looking forward to hearing of your in-field experience. Do you see a lot of particles where you go? That's mostly what I'm interested in, personally," Meyer conversed.

    Despite the quick pace, Reynolds gave him an odd look. "Yes?"

    "Fascinating. Just fascinating!" he replied. "Also, how wonderful is it that we have a Betazoid at the Academy? All other Betazoid officers have been re-assigned in the past month-- not to mention, any Ullians, Aenars, and Cairns-- for reasons of coincidence, is my guess. I don't know. I'm mostly focused on the particles."

    ---

    At the door to the hall, they were met with Jeffery Scharf, who was holding a padd with a list of guest speakers.

    "Aren't you the bartender?" Reynolds asked.

    Scharf activated his padd. "Staff's been a bit spotty, lately. Though, I can get you a drink. --Oroku Seifer, right?"

    "Andrea Reynolds," she corrected in half disbelief. "You mean this whole time Seifer's Trill host name was Oroku? I had no idea."

    Bo turned to her. "Did you know Uhura's first name was Nyota?"

    "What??"

    But as her shock erupted, she was quickly pushed out onto stage. With nothing prepared and no idea what to talk about, she was unsure at what to say.

    "Ahem," she started at the audience of students. "I'm Captain Andrea Reynolds of the Federation Starship Hijinx. As you know, in-field work is riddled with crazy floating head aliens and homicidal, one-dimensional, leather-bound villians-- Some of which are British in translated-accent. For those not familiar with canon, their personalities and dialogue are dumbed dow---"

    But then it was at that moment she could sense it: The students in the audience were not who they appeared to be. They were altered somehow. Her Betazoid mind-reading began picking up suppressed thoughts of deception, multiplied by the seat.

    "By the rip-torn pants of Kirk?! You're all being controlled by Bluegill neural parasites???" she announced over the air, unintentionally giving up any tactical advantage.

    All the students stood up, simultaneously in shock. But, before they could escape, a force field stretched around the seating area, trapping the students inside!

    Out, from the other end of the stage, Admiral Herthel stepped, clapping the slow clap in appreciation for Reynold's efforts. "Bravo, bravo, Captain! We suspected this batch was infected, after hundreds upon hundreds of ships returned from the Delta Quadrant, from teaming up with Eldex on Kartella Prime-- But, after all the telepaths at the Academy were reassigned, we weren't sure. You see, our tricorders are all out at the shop."

    "How was a Trill supposed to help you in this?"

    Herthel nodded at the rational question. "We were going to let them infect Seifer, and watch the symbiont/Bluegill stomach-battle of the century, but your arrival facilitated a less messy, less abdomen-explosive solution. It's fine, I guess," he sighed in half-disappointment. "It's mostly fine."

    "Neural parasites at Starfleet?? Who'd ever have thought??" Bo stepped out in complete and honest shock. "Well, clearly it's never been done before. Clever plan. Just plain clever."

    Reynolds turned back to Herthel. "Well, I'm still here if you'd like me to continue my lecture with any un-parasitic students, if they exist."

    "Huh? Oh, we don't ever need in-field lectures on those kinds of experiences. Starfleet installs cameras throughout all starships for perfect high definition replay. You ever see the footage from Spock's death scene aboard the amazingly refit Enterprise? It's like it was edited by a professional, but in reality, the playback shots were chosen at random by the computer."

    Captain Reynolds rolled her eyes in lost patience. "You know what? Next time you need me to save the Academy-- and you will-- I'd appreciate a call first! Thanks."

    To that, she and her subordinate left the increasingly student-moan-sounding/forcefield-slap-noisy arena. Herthel shrugged and turned to watch his catch of drone-like students stumbling all over each other.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2021
  19. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in May 2015 as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Unofficial Literary Challenge #11, and aligns with the game's release and training level from the Delta Recruit campaign. This story also establishes the event in the past that forced many of my Captains to go back to Starfleet Academy, effectively lining them up with the events of the game.

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #11: Prompt #1: You're an up-and-coming cadet/second officer/colonist, with your whole life ahead of you. Then one day, you're confronted with an older version of yourself (and not that much older!), wearing the insignia of the very highest rank, and telling you that you have to use the device you're being handed to gather intelligence on the supposedly-extinct Iconians, to prepare the galaxy for a massive invasion. How do you handle it? Does this feed your ambition? Do you have ambitions, or did you just join Starfleet to study nebulae? What is your reaction to finding out you're destined to surpass anyone's expectations - and that you have to prepare for total, all-out galactic war in less than two years?

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #11
    Delta Recruit

    The Akira-class U.S.S. Hijinx sat at an undisclosed location; its windows completely blacked out by Starfleet issue, texturized curtains.

    "Where........ where are we?" Lieutenant Bo attempted to lift one of the futuristically designed drapes, but his hand was slapped down by his commanding officer.

    Reynolds snapped. "Hey! You know we're not allowed to know where we are."

    "Did the Temporal Protocol have to black out our sensors along with our windows, while auto-piloting us all at once?" Bo complained, passively, as they entered a turbolift.

    Reynolds nodded. "Well, it's about secrecy, I suppose. But, at least my job here is done. I did what I had to do: Went back in time and talked myself into helping save the galaxy from the Iconians."

    "It's odd to think that anyone in Starfleet would be arbitrarily pro-Iconian, not to mention entrusting the future of a 100,000 lightyear-in-diameter galaxy to a fresh, green Cadet."

    Reynolds tapped her foot, impatiently. "All that matters is that my younger self doesn't mess things up for me in the present."

    Now, worried, Reynolds' thoughts drifted, in search of her memories. She'd hoped to find anything out of the ordinary; she delved deep into her past-self and the series of events that led to where she was now:

    ---

    Back, in the past, Reynolds sat in Admiral Herthel's office, unsure at the reasoning in her presence there.

    "According to medical reports, everyone involved in the accident has been cleared for re-entrance into Federation society."

    Reynolds lifted a finger. "Uh, I was lured here with the promise of a five-drink coupon at 602 Club?"

    "Yes, yes. Of course," he said, tossing her an isolinear chip. "That gets you two pounds of wings, as well-- The free range kind, none of that lab-grown stuff Chronowerx Refit was pushing for a while." He paced. "Now, despite everything you've been through, whichever of it you even remember, your aptitude and academic scores remain exemplary. I'd like to ask you to apply to Starfleet Academy."

    The Betazoid burst out in short laughter. "Haha! Are you kidding me? Last week, I got into a bar fight with a bunch of Starfleet recruits, after I called one of them 'Cupcake'."

    "Even more of a reason to join, as that's a Captain's-prerequisite in some alternate realities. But, in this one, sooner or later, you're going to have to accept who you are and what you're capable of, as the many others did, who endured that same accident, including Menrow, Iviok, and Aeris. Once that is done, you get to rightfully take your place among Starfleet's okay-ish."

    Reynolds sighed. "I don't know where this is coming from, but I'm young, brash and too full of life to throw it all away on some rule-bound science-y/militaristic and exploration mash-up organization. Seriously, do you guys do birthday parties too?"

    "Yes, in fact, there is an entire department dedicated to that-- But I'm not here to get into operational specifics of our purple cake, celebratory initiatives at the moment. My purpose is to convince you to join..." He tried to measure her by mere visual observation... "You'll get to read people's minds from across the vacuum of space...?"

    She immediately slammed her palm against the surface of the table. "Sold! Now where do I sign up? And when are you going to apologize to your wife about forgetting your anniversary?"

    "Uh... tonight?"

    Reynolds nodded. "Very good."

    ---

    Years later, Graduation Day, Reynolds found herself in a last-second, Advanced Phaser Training program minutes before an embarking for her Training Cruise. After taking out several Klingon holograms, using live-fire inside a Klingon warbird Bridge simulation, Cadet Reynolds took a sigh of relief.

    "Ah, yes, very good. I guess that Herthel was right about me after all. I'm pretty darn, nifty, if I do say so, myself. Promising future, here I come!"

    Then, an unexpected, similar voice rang out, from behind her. "I know this is going to sound crazy, but I am you, from your future."

    "Yeah, right. Nice try whatever-your-name-was," Reynolds said, turning to observe the Fleet Admiral version of herself.

    The Admiral smirked. "Think of a number, any number. It will be identical to the one I thought of when I was in your position."

    Blue, Reynolds thought, being as sly as ever.

    "Ah, yes," the Admiral smiled, "thought I was quite the comedian back then. The number you are thinking of is 'blue'."

    The Cadet cursed at the telepathic Betazoid standing before her. "How did you know I was thinking that? How did you know what was in my mind?? How???"

    "Future-you. It's the only explanation," the Admiral reaffirmed. "Now. There is a war coming. The Iconians, who we thought were extinct, have returned to take back that was once theirs. You... we... will benefit from the knowledge I'll give you today."

    Cadet Reynolds nodded. "Tell me what I need to know."

    "I can't just drop everything on you at once; the knowledge I just said I would give to you. No! Take this," she handed her younger self a large, unpocketable, disc-like device. "It allows me one-way communication from the future to you."

    Reynolds shook her head. "Doesn't that inhibit productivity? And, also, if you're really me, then you know I, like others, are still recovering from an accident, years ago. Our minds trickling bits of who we are, piece-by-piece, in a fragile, psychological battle for mental stability."

    "Quit your whining, me! You get to be Fleet Admiral, which means ordering people around on a grander scale, including dealing with the weight of the Iconians, which, I'm sure a Cadet with no perceived experience can handle, easily."

    The Cadet gritted her teeth. "I feel like we're going off-script now? Anyway, let me just say how odd this all seems that a future group would intentionally paradox all of this, this... Beta Quadrant Recruiting?"

    "Delta. Well, you'll find out. Maybe. You'll also blow up a lot."

    She tilted her head. "I'll help you, fine, but you have to clarify that whole accident thing that's got me, predictably, addicted to cordafin and inaprovaline."

    "Done! But just so you know, your Cadet friend and Captain are behind one of those holographic walls, trying to decipher the muffled sounds of our talk," future Reynolds warned. "Now, allow our minds to touch; my mind to your mind, my thoughts to your thoughts."

    Young Reynolds was taken aback. "Ew, a mind read of myself? That's like trying to kiss your own brother."

    "Uggh. Don't you see? It was a massive molecular reversion field, intermixed with an ion storm, that turned all of us half-young and the trauma of it suppressed years and years of memories! Several starships were involved."

    Young Reynolds looked to the side, in pure shock. "Of course! I remember now. I was old, and now I'm young again. That explains why Herthel wanted me and it explains why my face is a déjà-vu every time I see myself in the mirror. I've always felt like I've seen that woman before."

    "I can't... I can't begin to explain to you how mirrors are meant to work like that anyway. Now, instead of me confusing you further, there will be updates through that device as you progress through your career. Check it often."

    The Cadet did a double-take. "You can tell me about the Iconians, but you can't tell me the specifics of them all at once? By the time I figure everything out, Starfleet will have zero time to be ready??"

    "I'm going to be honest, me. We need action. Like, lots of it, in the future, or what's the point of doing anything? And the only way we're going to get it is if we design ourselves to be ill-prepared for a surprise attack, through the guise of preparation itself. Well, I think I've taken up as much of your 'time' as I can. Enjoy the free ore!"

    As future Reynolds faded away in an odd and painstakingly slow dissolve, young Reynolds was left to her new life of account-wide rewards. "Umm... Thank you?"

    ---

    The simulation disengaged and Reynolds found herself in one of the Academy grounds' holodecks, where she began. Her Cadet-mate stood there, alone. "The Captain got tired of waiting for you and said to meet him aboard the ship when you were done talking to yourself. The other Cadets in our class went up too, ten minutes ago, via shuttle."

    "I think you should start referring to me as 'sir'."

    The Cadet squinted. "Why? Why would you make that suggestion out of nowhere? Never mind. Let's just beam up. It's not like there's a shortage on transporter confinement beams."

    "Uggh. That future me screwed everything up here. I'm way out of sync now! She thinks she likes being Fleet Admiral, huh? Well, I'll show that jerk who's the boss here."

    ---

    Back in the present, still at that secret location, future Reynolds returned to the Hijinx and she and Bo made their way in to the turbolift. The two conversed until Reynolds dropped off into deep-memory.

    "Ma'am?" Bo interrupted her thoughts. "You were saying something about expecting your younger self not to mess things up for you in the present?"

    Snapping out of her extended flash back, so oddly engaged in the presence of another person, Reynolds shook her head to awake-mode. "Oh, yes, yes. Sorry. That was selfish of me to take up your time like that. You see, it was an entire year of obsessive rank-building, for me, but I finally made it to Fleet Admiral, again. And it was all thanks to me-- that other me, I mean."

    The two stepped out of the turbolift and on to the Bridge. Bo found it important to correct her, just then. "Actually, you never became any-Admiral. You Picardly turned down promotion after we captured that slippery, no-lipped Romulan, Taris, and you remained Captain ever since. Oh, they registered you as Admiral, but only as a hollow, non-effective commission, just there for the rank system paper work."

    "What!?" Reynolds then recalled those Romulan Mystery events: "And where did half those missions go? Did I just skip them??"

    She quickly approached a nearby, blacked-out console, where she could address her reflection out of pure rank-inhibiting spite. It was clear, now, her tendency for diminishing growth was now self-inflicted.

    "Dammit, me!"
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2021
  20. Hawku

    Hawku Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Author's notes: This was written in May 2015, as part of the Star Trek Online Forums Unofficial Literary Challenge #11, and mashes up three of my latest alt Captains, Menrow, Iviok and Reynolds.

    Unofficial Literary Challenge #11: Prompt #3: The unthinkable has happened. Word has reached your captain that a fellow commander in Starfleet/the KDF/the Republic Navy has gone rogue and committed a horrible crime. Perhaps this captain has subjugated an underdeveloped planet and set him/herself up as a god. Perhaps this captain has committed an atrocity against unarmed civilians, or lashed out and destroyed the ships of a former enemy. Regardless, your captain has been ordered to go after this rogue and bring him/her to justice...or failing that, to terminate this renegade's command with extreme prejudice. Write about your captain's hunt for the renegade and what he/she finds.
    Unofficial Literary Challenge #11
    Better Angels of Our Nature, Part I

    The Akira-class U.S.S. Hijinx sat out in deep space, unable to move. Down in Engineering, several crewmembers stared blankly at the drive.

    "Damn. Did we learn nothing of warp bubbles from the Wesley Crusher years?" Captain Reynolds gripped the edge of the main console.

    Science officer Jolene breathed a sigh of distress. "We learned not to have any more Wesleys, hence the Jake Siskos, and, to a lesser extent, the Echebs."

    "Not to mention, the Dividiians are creating these bubbles as neural energy labor camps," Security officer Lane stated. "If we hadn't stumbled upon this one, those poor Kazon murderers would've gotten hurt— or worse, their just desserts."

    Suddenly, a voice came through, from the Bridge. "Bo-Lin to Captain Reynolds."

    "Here." The Captain tapped her commbadge. "Wait. Your name is Bo-Lin? I thought it was just Bo?"

    There was a quick answer: "When the first Starfleet database patch was released in 2409, I had to re-register my name because there was a three character minimum. Not to mention, this was always my full first name. Not to mention, why don't you know your own crew's names?"

    Reynolds waved it off. "We Betazoids are far too busy reading minds to pick up details on people somehow. Anyway, nice to meet you."

    "I just wanted to let you know the U.S.S. Jenova has arrived and is offering to beam over their experts," Bo reported.

    Captain Reynolds nodded. "Beam them in."

    In a matter of seconds, Captain Iviok and his Chief engineer, Caveat, were transported into the vicinity.

    "Madame Reynolds," Iviok opened. "Or, is it just Madame? Or, Mademoiselle?"

    Reynolds looked at him. "It's neither? I don't get why people don't know what to call female Captains."

    "Well, whatever your title is, my Chief engineer will have this fixed in no time. Not to put your Chief Engineer out of business or anything."

    Chief engineer Scion turned from his console. "Are you insinuating a lack of enlightenedness on my part? Thems fight'n words, Mac."

    "Don't worry about him," Reynolds turned to Iviok. "He's just going through the most embarrassing relationship break up. As for us, after we bridged the warp bubble, using Wesley's Kosinski Warp calculations, and saved the people inside, our own warp drive stopped working."

    Caveat approached the main console. "Ugh. Last time we were caught in one of these, I was applying analgesic cream for weeks. Also, your ship's positioning is offset from the Dividiian warp field by a few trillion microns. Just realign your field's positioning until it lines up, by pressing this button, here, repeatedly." He begins tapping one of the buttons, to start, and Scion approaches to take over. "It may take a few hours, so you'll want someone to make krill-beast sandwiches."

    "Starfleet Command to Captain Reynolds," a screen nearby suddenly clicked on, interrupting. The speaker appeared to be Admiral Herthel.

    Both Captain's walked over. Reynolds addressed him, first. "Admiral? Aren't you supposed to be at Starfleet Academy??"

    "Quinn and I are going out to lunch. I'm at his desk while he's dealing with some time travel loiter outside his office, before we go. In the meantime, there has been a devastating report of the U.S.S. Crucial attacking and destroying several Starfleet science ships in the Vandor system. Since you're the closest vessel, I'm proxy-ordering you to track down Menrow so he can pay for his inexplicable crimes."

    Reynolds raised an eyebrow. "After all the trickery you've put me through? I refuse to take your orders! Last week, you had me tracking Fek'lhri, who are clearly just figments of Klingons' imaginations."

    "Also," Iviok's Andorian antennae twitched, "Reynolds is indisposed with her ship at the moment. That being said, and hense forth, and other extra words, shall I take over?"

    Herthel looked at him in realization. "Agh. Your ship is a Tier 1, isn't it? Well. You can try, I guess. You'll probably die, infinity. Seriously, how are you alive? Fine. Might as well get what we can get since the Enterprise-F is out, right now, grinding for experience points. —Damn! I have to get going. It looks like Quinn and Crey are getting into an awkward slap fight. —Reynolds, I still expect you to catch me a Fek'lhri. Ferra wants to breed them for DOFF assignments."

    ---

    Later, Captain Iviok entered the Bridge of the Centaur-class, U.S.S. Jenova. He took a seat just as the ship sped through warp for the Vandor system.

    "Ah, yes. Back out into open space. It's the cry of the space fairies that each of us Captains must answer, with glee," Iviok narrated.

    Reynolds stepped into his field of vision. "You mean the Calamarain? They're more like space fireflies, who can lift a man if they wanted."

    "Yeah, them. —Wait. What are you doing here??"

    She then took a position, standing next to him. "You may have seen me in a state of refusal earlier, but that was just in taking orders from Herthel. This was still supposed to be my mission. Ever since the Phoenix-X was taken out by that Calibus VII virus and the cancellation of LC's— that's what I call the Life-support Canisters in their environmental systems— we've been getting lucky with mission queues, and I refuse to waste this one on my ship being inert."

    "Captain Seifer's still alive, though, right?" Iviok asked, confused. "I mean, it's not like he's actually dead now?"

    Reynolds just shrugged.

    Before they could continue, the Jenova was knocked out of warp, just as they approached Vandor IV. The Orion corvette, Hakkett, dropped out in to normal space, with them, and opened fire.

    "Federation starship. The Orion Syndicate has taken full control of this system, as your kind was quick to abandon it," a large, Orion male, named Ginyo, blinked on screen.

    Iviok stood up. "It's only been inhabited by Federation citizens for, like, 59 years, is all."

    "Yes, but the last 10 of those years were under a shared Syndicate operation, in much the same way your precious Deep Space 9 was awkwardly intermixed with the skin-toned, pajama-uniformed Bajoran Militia. Only, the advantage with our joined service was the money we could offer for illegal materials. That, and the slave girls."

    Reynolds snapped her fingers. "Of course! This was the site where Doctor Paul Manheim caused a rip in dimensional space-time— thus stunningly causing a turbolift, carrying Picard, Riker and Data, on the Enterprise-D, to appear right next to itself."

    "And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for that meddling Android! I think. I really didn't know any of them. The people running his project just got desperate. Let's just say Manheim's son was leading it. Right? That makes it more dramatic? Ah, I should've been a fan fiction writer. That was my calling."

    Captain Iviok pointed at the view screen. "How dare his legendary legacy be sullied in this dark and trendy way? You'll pay for what you've explained!"

    "Don't you mean you want to negotiate a cease fire, so you can investigate what the U.S.S. Crucial did to your own people, and where it went?"

    The Andorian dropped his pointing finger. "Huh? Oh, yeah. That."

    "Well, said gesture is not in our nature. Clearly! Plus, some other things. Now, defend yourself!"

    The screen clicked off and the Hakkett re-opened fire, blasting photon torpedoes on to the Jenova's forward shields. The Jenova responded by veering off into a rotating attack pattern, returning with quantum torpedoes and phasers. After several minutes of exchange fire, Reynolds stepped away from her position.

    "What is this? Are we back at the beginning of the game? Never mind. I'm taking a team down to Manheim's lab to see what I can find out," Reynolds said.

    Iviok turned to her. "Why don't you just wait until we're done here?"

    "Are you kidding me?? This ship is like a Pakled in Future Guy's shadowy drug chamber! I'm being specist, but, the point I'm trying to make here is, basically, you're never going to be done."

    At that, she left the Bridge and Iviok turned his attention to his Klingon first officer, Melyot, as three Orion interceptors approached.

    The Jenova was then taken down, closer to the rocky, barren and uneven planet while Caveat expertly beamed two transporter rooms of Starfleet officers out through shield cycles.

    ---

    Reynolds and her team rematerialized into a hallway, next to the lab, where several muscle bound Orion operators were surveying open consoles and lifting large crates around.

    "So, my mother is about ready to retire from the Orion slave business. Ah, the career she's had. I am truly proud," one of them said while carrying a case.

    His co-worker nodded. "She really was the best. I've actually seen her work in action. Several times and up close, in fact. She certainly did thrust herself in to her profession. Yes, she was a very good office manager." At that, the group suddenly took notice of Starfleet's presence.

    A hell storm of weapons fire erupted from both sides, both taking positions behind dead crates, as Reynolds noticed Iviok was right next to her with his own team.

    "You abandoned your ship in mid-fight??" Reynolds exclaimed in shock, while continuing firing her phaser in rhythm with the enemy. "This, I'd expect from emotion-chip-Data, maybe even alternate-reality-Kirk; but you, the Andorian everyman who is also a Captain?"

    As men from both sides were taken out, Iviok phasered the open console, blowing the rest of the Orions away in a messy, debris-spattering explosion. "I trust my crew, Captain; I don't trust you." The two stood up. "This mind reading ability you have gives you too much power. It's made you over-confident, and who knows what else? What other kinds shenanigans are you really into? 22nd century Vulcan fury? Delta Quadrant magic MacGuffins? British Kahns?"

    "All of those things, if I wanted to kill our franchise universe!" she confronted, emoting on a completely separate issue, just moments before realizing they were the only two left. "Damn. That's ominious and post-apocalyptic."

    The two entered the lab, and began examining the equipment. Display screens listed data on wormhole activity, rather than dimensional doorways, and just below a console, blended with the room debris, was an injured Damar Kahn, chained to the wall.

    "Uggh. You guys made it. As you can see, the team, here, has been focusing on something completely different." The Trill coughed out dust and his shoulder was pierced with a duranium rod: debris from the explosion across the lab doorway.

    Iviok and Reynolds ran over, immediately. "We have to get you to the Jenova! Your Trill symbiont is in danger!"

    "I'll be fine. I'm buffering the EMH as we speak. He sure does have an alternate Spock vibe to him. He was knocked temporarily offline when you blew that console. Not to mention, I made out with Jadzia Dax once, so, pretty much anything that happens to me pales in importance."

    Iviok nodded. "Well, he's right about that."

    "So, you survived the Crucial's attacks and the Orions kept you to finish the work here?" Reynolds surmised by mind reading.

    Damar Kahn sighed in self-contained frustration. "Ah, a telepath. That makes things easier, and by easier, I mean, annoying. Yes, I was touring several research facilities when this one was hit. The team, here, was grandfathering Manheim's dimensional equipment to, in a sense, catch wormholes; more specifically, the Barzan wormhole."

    "I'm actually glad you're present to explain all this, rather than us finding out through story, or technical deduction," Iviok admitted.

    The Trill shook his head. "Yes, yes, I'm clearly a mechanism. Now, back to the research: You see, after catching one of its ends, we gained control of the Barzan wormhole— insane, over-the-top control— so much so, that we've enabled use of the dimensional portal as an entry point."

    "So, what went wrong?" Reynolds asked. "I mean, tell Iviok. I already know."

    Damar Kahn breathed. "Menrow, from the Crucial, forced us all to open the wormhole in space, right here, so that he could take his ship through. I don't know why, or what his motivations were, but his actions freed up the area for Orion raiders. Wherever they went, you'll find them by going through this space-time rift." He reached over to a wired remote control and turned a knob, activating the in-room portal: a reflective, crystalline mesh of flat rectangular surfaces, shifting into each other. "Manheim's portal turns Barzan into a person-sized-wormhole."

    "You'd expect it'd be voice command, as everything is in this century," Iviok observed.

    Reynolds turned. "You're thinking of the last century, the one with the computer search engine that processes like it's from 1987."

    "What? Are you two doing a thing? Never mind. You'd better go through, now, as the person-sized-wormhole can only hold for a few minutes at a time, and before more Orion's get here. And don't bother trying to contact your ship. The Syndicate installs Ferengi thought makers everywhere they occupy. They prevent intruders from wanting to call for help."

    Iviok stood up in realization. "Hey. He's right?? Well, I suppose we have no choice."

    "Right. It's time to put Menrow down. That sultry, sexy looking man who sleeps around with any alien he comes across," Reynolds stood up as well, and the two of them stepped through the portal.

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2021