TFV - Regions of the Dark

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by BrotherBenny, Mar 18, 2012.

  1. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2007
    Location:
    Sol III, within the universe of United Trek
    Whoops.

    Okay, well...it's not the only first contact to go badly, I'm sure everything will turn out just fine.
    Oh, who am I kidding?

    Can't wait to see who these new aliens are.

    Keep it coming, BB.
     
  2. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
    BrotherBenny
    Chapter 11

    USS Xu Fu
    3-Kiloparsec-Norma Bridge, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate 54985.5 (December 26, 2377)


    Twin balls of energy were unleashed from the alien vessel and they impacted the ship dead on, but instead of a fiery death before being exposed to vacuum from a hull breach, the Xu Fu shook violently. Nara didn’t feel anything that could be described as her ship’s death throws and she risked a glance at the tactical station to see Ufiri nodding at her. He’d been able to get the shields up in time.

    The alien ship fired again but this time Erom avoided a direct hit as she began evasive maneuvers. ‘Captain, that ship is more maneuverable than we are.’

    ‘Its weapons are on a par with Federation technology.’ Ufiri said.

    ‘Do we have the latest reports from those smart drones?’ Nara asked her tactical officer.

    ‘I’m trying to locate the nearest secure signal buoy, Captain.’

    ‘You might want to search faster,’ Bartel added from the operations console. ‘Sickbay is reporting three fatalities and seventeen injuries, none serious. Tyrr is unconscious but he’ll be fine. Damage control teams are responding.’

    ‘I have it and I’m uploading the data now, give me three minutes.’

    ‘Never mind that, just search for this species as it comes in,’ Nara said, a hint of frustration creeping into her voice.

    ‘Yes ma’am, searching now.’

    ‘Emma, contact engineering and have the Korr engine dismantled. I don’t want it put back together until we know what happened.’

    ‘Aye, ma’am,’ Bartel responded.

    ‘Ufiri, give me some answers.’

    ‘According to the information I’ve got in so far,’ Ufiri replied as the ship shuddered from a partial impact, ‘they are the Serrasa. We have a full linguistic database on them and tactical specifications on all of their vessels.’

    ‘Let’s make use of them, then. Return fire, weapon emplacements only, and open a channel.’

    ‘Aye ma’am, channel open.’

    ‘This is Captain Nara Q’Rel of the Federation starship Xu Fu,’ she said. ‘We would like to apologize for the destruction of your vessel and offer our condolences to those lives lost. If there is any way we can be of service, please allow us to assist.’

    The image of the shark ship disappeared and that of a piscine humanoid took its place. It was covered in scales with colors varying from white to light pink, sharp teeth and a predatory glint in its eye. Nara also noticed that the aliens were actually immersed in water, just like the crew of the Pacifica, crewed entirely by the natives of that eponymous world. Under any other circumstances she would have enjoyed this first contact situation. The Selkies transitioned from air-breathers to water-breathers during their life cycle but the Serrasa were water-breathers through and through. She wondered how they had evolved and on what planet, and what they were doing out here, but unless she could open a dialogue with them, that wasn’t going to happen.

    I am General Pacus of the warship Mokarran. You are responsible for the deaths of the Nine Lords of Serrasa and for that the punishment is death. What do you say to that, air-breather?’

    Nara inwardly sighed but tried to project an air of authority. ‘General, please understand that we were testing a new form of propulsion that went horribly wrong. We deeply regret the loss of your leaders. If there is anything we can do to redress the balance, we will do it.’

    I already told you what you can do, die!’ Pacus said and the screen blanked, replaced by the view of the glowing hammerhead.

    Erom veered away from another volley of alien fire and Nara whipped her head around toward Ufiri, ‘fire!’

    Ufiri stabbed at the controls and the Xu Fu’s phaser beams slammed against the Serrasa vessel’s shields. ‘No damage, Captain, their shields are inordinately strong. I recommend we use photon torpedoes.’

    ‘Isn’t that overkill, Lieutenant?’

    ‘Not if we can’t penetrate their shields with phasers,’ he replied as he fired again, just as futilely.

    ‘Three torpedoes only,’ Nara relented.

    ‘Firing now.’

    Three torpedoes flew from the Xu Fu and impacted the alien ship’s shields, which promptly collapsed.

    ‘Their shields are down, Captain,’ Ufiri reported.

    ‘Open a channel again,’ Nara ordered.

    General Pacus reappeared on the screen and did not look too happy about it. ‘Why will you not die?’

    Instead of responding to his threats, Nara tried a different tack. ‘Let us help you rebuild your government.’

    Pacus laughed. ‘You cannot simply rebuild our government. The Nine Lords are hereditary leaders with lineages stretching back ten thousand years. We will need to delve deep into our records to find their blood relatives and decide their suitability based on our traditions. It is a long process, Captain Nara Q’Rel.’

    ‘We have technology that will shorten your search for their relatives,’ Nara responded. ‘We owe you at least that much for all the devastation we have caused you and your people.’

    Pacus leaned closer to the screen. ‘You are a strange person, Captain Nara. I am willing to allow your assistance, but there will be opposition.’

    ‘I am sure a man of your position can deal with that.’

    Indeed I can,’ he laughed again. ‘We’ll speak again soon.’

    ‘That went well,’ Bartel said when the screen returned to a view of the hammerhead ship.

    Nara nodded and turned to Ufiri, ‘send our logs to the Galaxy and Starbase Bastion. Let them know what happened and inform them that we’ll be assisting the Serrasa in rebuilding their government.’

    ‘Aye, Captain.’

    ‘Captain, we may have a problem,’ Erom said.

    Nara turned toward the viewscreen to see a number of other piscine-looking vessels approaching their position. She could detect five distinct groups of ships, all bearing markings she assumed to be names of some kind.

    ‘Can you translate that, Lieutenant?’

    ‘I’m working on it now, Captain,’ Ufiri answered.

    ‘Commander, I want a damage report ASAP.’

    ‘On it, Captain,’ Bartel replied.

    ‘Ma’am, I’ve got some preliminary answers regarding the hull markings.’

    ‘Go ahead.’

    ‘Serrasa society is divided into five ruling Houses. Each group of ships represents one House, and if I’m reading the markings on the Mokarran correctly, General Pacus is now the de facto leader of Serrasa until the Nine Lords are replaced.’

    ‘So we created a military dictatorship?’ Bartel asked.

    ‘There’s no evidence, yet, to suggest that the General would be a dictator. We do not yet know how their society works in enough detail to make any conclusions,’ Ufiri countered.

    ‘That’s enough, you two. I want you to pull everything you can from the task force database regarding the Serrasa. We’ll meet in the situation room in one hour.’

    ‘Aye, ma’am.’

    ‘Commander, how long will it be before Galaxy and Bastion receive our message?’

    ‘At our current distance, the Galaxy will probably receive our message in three or four days,’ Bartel answered. ‘We’ll get a response from them three or four after that, unless Project Pathfinder was able to get a signal out here. It will take Bastion about three weeks to receive our message if the subspace relay system isn’t in place. If it is, then the lag time will be about eight days.’
     
  3. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Well, the Serrasa have stopped shooting for the moment, so that’s good… but I think they seemed a bit too eager for Xu Fu’s cooperation, given the tragic circumstances. However, if the ship’s inadvertent destruction of the Serrasan leadership has given the general defacto military control of the government, he may be enlisting their help to stall for time in order to consolidate that control.

    Any way you look at it, Nara and Xu Fu’s have stepped into the hornet’s nest. :eek:
     
  4. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Yeah I agree, I'm more than a little suspicious of Pacus. His government just got {accidentally) blown up by these aliens and he is ready to accept their assistance in forming a new one within minutes.

    There is a Prime Directive for a reason and this could go really bad, really quickly.
     
  5. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
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    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    I'm just catching up here. So the first thing the Xu Fu does in the Delta Quadrant is to kill the ruling elite of a society...wow. First impressions and all that. :rolleyes:

    Then again, who knows what other forces are at work here. Coincidences, coincidences...
     
  6. Galen4

    Galen4 Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Yes, I agree with the other comments.
    Things are not as they appear, for sure.
    I can't wait to see what's under the layers, here.
     
  7. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    BrotherBenny
    Chapter 12

    USS Xu Fu
    3-Kiloparsec-Norma Bridge, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate 54986.8 (December 27, 2377)


    Lieutenant Commander Senar watched the woman seated opposite and waited for her to speak. He understood that her actions led to the deaths of an entire government and although the military leader had agreed to her assistance, nothing more had been forthcoming in twelve hours.

    ‘I’m worried that something is going to happen that I will be powerless to stop,’ she finally said twenty-three minutes after sitting down.

    Senar raised his left eyebrow. ‘Has that not already occurred?’

    Nara looked at him questioningly before the truth dawned on her. ‘I suppose so. General Pacus is being far too nice for someone in his position and I don’t trust him.’

    ‘What do you mean by “far too nice”?’

    ‘His leaders have been killed by an alien vessel, his weapons, which are now repaired, are able to destroy us, but he has allowed us to assist with rebuilding the government. It was something he agreed to a little too quickly. I didn’t think anything of it at the time as I was too busy concentrating on saving my crew.’

    ‘A laudable goal,’ Senar replied. ‘Why do you think he spared you?’

    ‘We don’t know enough about Serrasa society to make any judgment call on that.’

    ‘Why do you think he spared you,’ Senar asked again, adding emphasis.

    ‘Because he wants something from me,’ Nara answered.

    ‘What does he want?’

    ‘That I don’t know, and I cannot think of anything he could want from me.’

    Before Senar could respond, Lieutenant Ufiri’s voice interrupted. ‘Captain, we’re being hailed by one of the other vessels.’

    ‘I’ll be right up, Lieutenant. Have Ambassador Yarg join us please.’

    Aye, Captain, Ufiri out.’

    ‘We’ll finish this later,’ Nara said and left Senar’s office feeling that she’d just had a therapy session more than a mentoring one.

    By the time she reached the bridge, Yarg was already seated to the left of the command chair. ‘What do we have?’

    ‘House Pygo would like to discuss the current situation with you, Captain,’ Ufiri said.

    ‘Do you know anything more about them?’

    ‘House Pygo and three of the other four Houses each provide two Lords to the ruling body of the Nine Lords. House Serrasa provides one, the deciding vote.’

    ‘What does House Pygo wish to discuss?’

    ‘I didn’t ask, Captain. That’s your job.’

    ‘I’ll take it in my ready room,’ she replied. ‘Ambassador, please join me. Commander Bartel, you have the bridge.’

    ‘I have the bridge,’ Bartel answered as Nara and Yarg disappeared into the ready room.

    Nara sat behind her desk and Yarg took up a standing position to her left. Nara activated the monitor which rose from within the desk and the Federation logo was replaced by that of another piscine lifeform. This one had scales that were much darker in color than General Pacus and there were smaller and closer together.

    ‘How can I help you?’ Nara asked.

    I am Colonel Charac of House Pygo,’ the alien said. ‘You have done us a great service by eliminating the Nine Lords. I would like to ask you to further your good deed by wiping out the rest of House Serrasa. They have kept us under their fins for too many years now. It is time for a more even leadership.’

    ‘Colonel, we are not in the habit of assisting in coups. What happened to the Nine Lords was an accident, one which we have no intention of deliberately repeating. What we will do is assist in helping to replace the Nine Lords.’

    Charac leaned forward menacingly. ‘We do not want a return to the Nine Lords. If you will not help us, you stand against us.’

    ‘Colonel, our Prime Directive prevents our interference in the affairs of other species. We committed a grave mistake when our ship destroyed the Nine Lords and we are trying to correct that.’

    You have made an enemy of my House, Captain. It will not go unanswered.’

    ‘You could have handled that better, Captain,’ Yarg said.

    ‘You could have said something,’ Nara snapped. ‘But I will not be a party to a coup d’état.’

    ‘Did you ask why they want to stage a coup? Perhaps the regime of the Nine Lords is not something they should return to.’

    ‘That’s not for us to decide.’

    ‘Perhaps, and then again perhaps not,’ Yarg responded. ‘You should learn as much as you can about them before you assist them in appointing new leaders.’

    ‘Ufiri and Baransky are going through everything from the drones to see what we have on the Serrasa. I should be getting a report within the hour.’

    ‘Captain, I know that you want to help these people but do you have that right? As you yourself mentioned, it does go against the letter of the Prime Directive.’

    ‘But not the spirit,’ Nara countered. ‘I would not feel comfortable in leaving these people in the lurch, especially not that there seems to be a civil war in the making.’

    ‘You should not get involved in that.’

    ‘Like it or not, Ambassador, we are involved. What I want from you is a way to nip the civil war in the bud before it develops into something that will kill a lot of people. There are forty vessels surrounding us and I would hazard a guess that they represent the last remaining people of this species. Fourteen thousand people are all they have left, and a civil war may well deplete that number to the point where they can no longer reproduce. It is our duty to stop that from happening.’

    ‘I see that you take a more liberal view of the Prime Directive than many of your colleagues,’ Yarg said distastefully.

    ‘If I see an asteroid heading toward a populated planet I am not going to stand by when I can do something about it,’ Nara countered, using the oft-repeated Academy lesson.

    ‘What if they have sensor technology of some kind that sees your ship and what it does?’

    ‘I’ll give you the same answer I gave my Academy professors and every captain that has asked me that question. If they have that technology then it’s probably in the hands of the governments who will likely cover up the existence of alien life if they have not yet encountered it. Another possibility is that a group of scientists see it and they will endlessly debate it before it’s covered up by the government. I could go on but the point is that if I have the ability to save a species from existence, I will. They could go on to develop a cure for a deadly disease.’

    ‘They could also start a spacefaring empire that enslaves billions,’ Yarg said.

    ‘We’ll agree to disagree on that. Like I said before, all I want from you is a way to stop a civil war before it starts. That’s why we have diplomatic officers aboard these ships.’

    ‘I will be in my quarters,’ Yarg said and left the ready room.

    Nara sighed and tapped her combadge, ‘Nara to Bartel.’

    Bartel here, go ahead, Captain.’

    ‘Emma, how long will it be before the Galaxy gets our message?’

    I was checking on that a few minutes ago,’ Bartel replied. ‘The Galaxy and the rest of the Vanguard fleet are still in cryosleep. We could send the message to the Europa and ask them to pass it along when the Galaxy’s crew wakes up.’

    ‘Good idea, get on that,’ Nara ordered. ‘What about Starbase Bastion?’

    We’re looking at three weeks before they receive our message. It will be six weeks before we get a reply. That’s too long for it to make a difference.’
     
  8. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Good to see that Cpt. Donners isn't the only one who knows that a counselor is good place to turn for some good old fashioned advice and reassurances. After all Nara is new to the captain's chair as well.

    I liked the Prime Directive conversation here which once again shows what a complicated situation they've gotten themselves into. Not even sure if there is a right answer here. Just two bad options.
     
  9. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Chapter 13

    USS Xu Fu
    3-Kiloparsec-Norma Bridge, Delta Quadrant
    Stardate 54987.4 (December 27, 2377)


    A full shift had passed with no further contact from the Serrasa and Nara watched her crew go about their daily routine as if nothing was wrong. They had inadvertently destroyed the leadership of a previously-undiscovered species almost two days earlier and the ship’s engineering staff had spent the better part of the intervening period dismantling the drive and securing it in a cargo bay that was then sealed under her own orders. Bartel and Robinson stood in front of her as she read the padd that contained their official report on the incident. All three of them had a hand in reverse-engineering the drive system from the Korr vessel they had discovered the ruins of more than a decade earlier and Starfleet Command was going to be asking some uncomfortable questions they needed to be able to answer. The official report would go a long way toward that.

    ‘You’ve triple-checked everything?’ Nara asked her chief engineer.

    ‘Yes ma’am,’ Robinson answered. ‘I’ve gone over everything the Enterprise cryptographers were able to translate in addition to the thousands of tests and simulations we’ve run since then. The truth is, this ship should never have been built. Starfleet Command rushed into this without actually looking at the big picture. This engine comes from a civilization several thousand years more advanced than we are at our current stage of development. There’s no way we could have realistically expected this drive to work. The fact that it did, for the most part, is a miracle, but until we have a better way of opening the terminal aperture and even protecting anything that might be on the other side of it, we should not be utilizing this technology.’

    ‘Maybe the archaeological team permanently stationed on Korr has had more luck translating some new documentation,’ Bartel offered.

    ‘Then we should contact them, through Bastion, asking for whatever they have,’ Robinson countered. ‘In the meantime, I don’t want anyone near that engine.’

    ‘They’ll need my authorization code to get into the cargo bay,’ Nara told her, ‘and I have no intention of handing it over.’

    Captain, you’re needed on the bridge,’ Ufiri’s voice sounded over the comm. system. ‘We’re being hailed by General Pacus.’

    ‘I’ll be right there, Lieutenant.’

    Nara entered the bridge a moment later, followed quickly by Bartel and Robinson, and stood in front of her chair. She signaled for Ufiri to respond to the general and waited to hear from the de facto leader of the Serrasa.

    Captain Nara, I have consulted with my advisors and we have found a suitable way for you to assist us in naming our new leaders.’

    ‘What do you require of us, General?’

    Your vessel,’ Pacus responded. ‘You and your crew will show us how to pilot your vessel and some will remain on board to maintain it. The remainder of your people will be assigned to other ships as slaves.’

    Nara narrowed her eyes at the general. ‘That is unacceptable. We will destroy this ship before we let you take it.’

    I doubt it,’ Pacus replied before cutting the signal.

    ‘Red alert,’ Nara ordered. ‘Raise shields, arm all weapons and pass out phasers. I want security heavily at all access points and secure areas.’

    ‘Shields are up, weapons armed, security personnel are moving into position,’ Ufiri responded.

    Nara toggled the intraship comm. system, ‘this is the captain to all hands. The Serrasa intend to take this vessel by force. If we cannot stop them from doing so, I will destroy the ship. Fight harder than you have ever fought before, Nara out.’

    Erom entered a command on the helm console, ‘all pilots to your fighters. Prepare for combat. I repeat; all pilots to your fighters. Prepare for combat.’

    ‘All departments report ready,’ Ufiri told her.

    ‘Don’t fire until they do, Lieutenant. This is a fight to the death so aim for their engines.’

    ‘Yes ma’am.’

    Nara sat down in her chair and Bartel did likewise to her right. Robinson returned to engineering and the rest of the bridge crew watched as the Mokarran bore down on them. Its twin weapon ports glowed red and a torrent of energy pulses battered the shields unendingly.

    ‘Captain, you’re not going to believe this,’ Ufiri said as the ship shuddered around him and he let loose with a barrage of phaser fire, ‘but those pulses are draining our shields of power. Our phasers are having no effect.’

    ‘Target their weapons.’

    ‘Shields down to seventy percent and falling,’ Ufiri responded. ‘The pulses are creating a rise in ambient radiation. The sensors can’t penetrate it for a target lock.’

    ‘Do it manually!’ Nara practically yelled at him.

    Ufiri responded by firing at the Mokarran using his eyes and he crowed in triumph as two beams hit home, ‘port weapons array damaged.’

    ‘Archangel Squadron deployed, Captain,’ Erom said. ‘What are your orders?’

    A small smile creased Nara’s face. ‘Tell them to take out the starboard weapons array and the engines. Ufiri, as soon as the radiation clears I want you to take them out.’

    ‘Captain, we have a major problem,’ Tyrr said from the operations console. ‘I’m reading fluctuations in the shield grid. Engineering is trying to compensate.’

    ‘What kind of fluctuations?’

    ‘The radiation from the pulses is preventing the shield emitters from shoring up the shields,’ he answered. ‘We’ll be dead in space in less than three minutes unless we move away from here now.’

    ‘Erom, back us off as fast as you can.’

    ‘Aye ma’am, reversing course,’ Erom responded as she kept an eye on the fighters. ‘Archangel One reports starboard weapons array destroyed. The Mokarran’s shields are down but their engines are still protected.’

    ‘Erom, recall the fighters; Ufiri, fire torpedoes; let’s get out of here.’

    Ufiri fired a volley of torpedoes which got close to the Mokarran before going dead.

    ‘Lieutenant, what happened?’

    ‘It must be the radiation, something our torpedoes aren’t shielded against.’

    An alarm sounded and Nara muttered a Klingon curse, ‘now what?’

    ‘Intruder alert,’ Ufiri said quietly. ‘I’m reading sixty Serrasa life forms spread out on all decks.’

    Nara slammed her palm down on the intraship comm. ‘Intruder alert, all hands repel boarders. Do not let them take this ship.’
     
  10. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hmm...water-dwelling life-forms trying to take over an air-breather's vessel? I wonder how that is going to work? Either very badly, or they've got some very advanced tech to handle it. Knowing the UT universe, I'm going to guess option #2. Yikes...
     
  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Wow, that got ugly quick! :eek: Welcome to the Delta Quadrant, boys and girls!

    And Captain Nara… what was that crack about Captain Sandhurst being a menace and lightening rod for bad luck? :lol:
     
  12. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    I do 'like' how their own ship seems to be fighting against them. That's what happens when you don't kick the tires...;)
     
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Oh yeah, things are turning sour. Now, outnumbered and possibly outgunned, the battle for survival is on.
     
  14. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    RL and original stuff is taking up some major time, and I'm going away this weekend to a family reunion. I'm hoping to get the next chapter up before I go, which will explain a few things, but I might not be able to.

    But when I get back, I'm going to try and move the story along.
     
  15. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Chapter 14

    Archaeology Site Gamma-3
    Korr Homeworld, Alpha Quadrant
    Stardate 54987.5 (December 27, 2377)


    Commander Simon Marshall waited anxiously as the shuttle descended toward the ruins designated site Gamma-3 by Starfleet Command’s original team of experts. The ruins were on the largest of the southern hemisphere’s three continents just south of the planet’s equatorial region. They were the ruins originally explored by the science and engineering teams sent from the Enterprise twelve years earlier, where the alien vessel had been found in almost perfect condition considering that it had been buried for thousands of years. He had been roused from a sound sleep to visit the site so the linguists and archaeologists could tell him some bad news.

    ‘Sir, we’ll be landing in a moment,’ the pilot said. It’s going to be rough. There’s a hurricane in the area.’

    ‘So that’s why I couldn’t just beam in here,’ Marshall muttered. ‘Damned planet is full of curses.’

    The pilot said nothing as he navigated through the intense wind shears and driving rain toward the ground. ‘Hang on, sir.’

    Marshall sat in the co-pilot’s chair and activated the restraints as the shuttle neared the ground, shaking constantly. There had been nothing in the Enterprise’s initial reports about unusual weather activity and they had left behind a number of orbiting probes to continue gathering data until an official team could be sent out, but since he’d arrived there had been nothing but trouble. Weather patterns became unpredictable and there’d been a rise in the level of background radiation which prevented transporter use at times.

    The shuttle hit the ground with a hard bump and Marshall felt his teeth rattle. ‘How far are we from the compound?’

    ‘About fifty meters, sir. I couldn’t risk landing any closer in this weather.’

    ‘Wonderful,’ Marshall muttered as he opened the port hatch of the shuttle and darted into the rain.

    Less than a minute later he reached the compound and was met by a woman so old she looked like parchment stretched over bones and vacuum-sealed. ‘It’s about time you got here. I called you almost an hour ago.’

    ‘There’s a hurricane outside, if you hadn’t noticed,’ Marshall snapped. ‘Now what was so damned important?’

    ‘It always rains here,’ the woman said. ‘Follow me.’

    Marshall walked in step with her as they went deeper into the compound. ‘How are you powering this compound?’

    The woman didn’t answer.

    Marshall sighed. ‘Look, I don’t know who you think you are, but I am in command of all of the archaeological teams on this blighted world and when I ask a question, I expected it to be answered.’

    The woman stopped and turned to face him. ‘My name is Bernadette Daystrom, wife of the late Richard Daystrom and I am in command of this outpost. If you do not do what I say when I say it you’ll find yourself out of a career. Is that understood?’

    Marshall nodded silently, in awe of the woman who had to be at least a hundred and forty.

    ‘This way.’

    ‘So what powers this place?’

    ‘A fusion reactor, what else?’ Daystrom replied and led him into a room which looked like the bridge of a Galaxy-class starship and he quickly realized that it was one of the modular outpost control centers that Starfleet had recently designed for just a mission as this.

    ‘William Stark, pleased to meet you,’ a young man walked up to him and shook his hand.

    ‘What did you call me about?’

    ‘We called you because of the information we just decrypted from the memory core.’

    ‘You said it was bad.’

    ‘I should have said it could be catastrophic,’ Daystrom replied and Marshall got a sinking feeling in his stomach.

    ‘How bad?’

    ‘What is your clearance level, Commander?’

    ‘Obsidian level, why?’

    ‘Is he cleared?’ Stark asked.

    ‘Yes, he’s cleared,’ Daystrom answered and took a deep breath. ‘Twelve years ago, three engineers from the Enterprise designed a starship around what they thought was a revolutionary engine which created a wormhole in subspace. That starship was eventually built and was supposed to be used as a test bed for that propulsion system in addition to a number of other upgrades Starfleet was planning on incorporating into the next generation of starships.’

    ‘What happened to it?’ Marshall asked.

    ‘That is a good question. The last I heard was that the ship was being reassigned to a long-term deep space mission but that was months ago.’

    ‘What’s the problem?’

    ‘What those engineers thought was a new propulsion system was actually a devastating subspace weapon.’

    ‘What kind of damage are we talking about here?’

    ‘Pinpoint accurate destructive energy. You could open an aperture to subspace inside an enemy ship and they wouldn’t stand a chance. Usage of this weapon goes against the Khitomer Accords.’

    ‘What was the ship’s name?’

    Xu Fu, named after some ancient explorer.’

    Marshall muttered a curse, ‘Stark, open a channel to Starbase One, priority alpha-one-alpha, and connect me to Admiral Brandies.’

    ‘Aye sir.’

    ‘I’ll need you both to clear the room. Neither of you are cleared for this.’

    Daystrom looked like she was about to argue but decided against and left the room, closely followed by Stark. It took seven long minutes for the communication to be routed from Starbase One through hundreds of other relays until it reached its destination.

    This is Glover.’

    ‘Terrence, this is Simon Marshall, I have some urgent news.’

    'The archaeology team on the Korr homeworld found something, didn’t they?’

    ‘Yeah, and it’s not good.’

    Glover grimaced, ‘how bad?’

    ‘Have they left yet?’

    They left over two months ago, Simon. What happened to my starship?’

    ‘You haven’t had contact with them?’

    I last heard from them when they left Charis. When I didn’t hear from them again I sent a ship to the Stameris system to look for them but all they found was a subspace energy signature and a warp dead zone.’

    Marshall shook his head. ‘It’s not an engine.’

    What do you mean it’s not an engine? What the hell is it?’

    ‘Daystrom believes it’s a subspace weapon, the most dangerous that could be encountered.’

    If she says it’s a weapon, then it’s a weapon. Clearly they activated it, or the Stameris system wouldn’t be such a mess.’

    ‘What are you going to do?’

    There’s nothing I can do until I hear from them or some other ship in the taskforce finds the wreckage,’ Glover replied. ‘The Klingons and Romulans have massed fleets to send out there and even though they are both technically our allies I don’t want them stumbling across that weapon.’

    ‘Weren’t they going to contact you when they reached the Stameris system?’

    Yes they were, but I have a suspicion that someone impersonated me and intercepted the signal.’

    ‘What makes you think that?’

    My communications team detected an unauthorized signal to the Stameris system. That’s why I sent a ship out there. I’m going to try and contact them from this end. Stay alert and let me know the second you find out anything else, Glover out.’
     
  16. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Well, that explains a great deal... and Holy Friggin' Wow is that not good! :eek:

    Nara's unwittingly taken command of the Death Star, which is going to make her and Xu Fu a bigger target than they already are.
     
  17. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    Well, ain't that a kick in Glover's arrogant ass.

    That's what he gets for rushing into things and not doing his research: lives on the line, a treaty-violating weapon, AND all the damage to the Serassa.

    But something tells me he's not going to have the balls to own up to it.
     
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Oops.

    Installing a new engine into a starship which in reality is a super-destructive sub-space weapon has to rate as a 9.5 on the FUBAR scale.
     
  19. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    BrotherBenny
    I'm not sure the Xu Fu could be a much bigger target, at least until knowledge of the Korr Subspace Weapon(TM) becomes public knowledge among the nomadic fleets...

    Nerys, I don't think it was really Glover's fault. Brandies probably assigned the Xu Fu to the fleet, but really the blame lies with the engineers themselves. They should have known better, and recognized that it was a weapon and not an engine.

    Yeah, and you'll see from the next chapter that the crap is only just beginning.
     
  20. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
    That said, Glover was the last person who had the ability to prevent the Xu Fu from launching without proper testing, over Nara's protests. Brandies and the engineers played major roles, too, but Glover was in a position to swallow his pride and have some common sense instead, and he let his hubris and need to be a power-tripping asshole overcome reason.