The Star Eagle Adventures: UT10 - Civil War


Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral

The Star Eagle Adventures
Civil War

Welcome to my contribution to the 10 Year United Trek anniversary.

This story, set in an alternate universe, posted here over the next 10 weeks, is the first out of two planned stories in the Road to Quantum Divergence series which will lead to the Quantum Divergence trilogy event next year.

Special thanks to and featuring characters by Bry Sinclair, DarKush, Galen, Michael Garcia, Sam Redfeather and The LoneRedShirt.

To find more United Trek stories by those writers and others, including more stories celebrating United Trek's anniversary, visit or visit for more Star Eagle stories, available to download as ebooks.

01/10 – “This is Where it all Went Wrong.”

Stardate 42781.2
10 Years Ago

“Good Morning, Admiral.”

Commander Krystine Leone entered the turbolift and joined her commanding officer and captain of the USS Potemkin, who as was her wont, was dressed in a command-red, custom-replicated two-piece uniform instead of the more conventional and much more formfitting jumpsuit version.

T'Cirya raised an eyebrow at her first officer, keeping her hands clasped behind the small of her back. “You are well aware, of course, that my promotion will not take effect until next week. Until that time it will be more appropriate to refer to me as ‘captain’.”

Leone smirked. After having served with the Vulcan for over a decade on two different ships, she had come to learn how to read her extremely subtle mannerism, and could tell, not only that she was somewhat amused by the reference to her impending promotion but that she felt a certain satisfaction—not pride, of course—about her career moving on to new heights. Naturally whatever she felt, was well hidden and almost impossible to decipher without the luxury of having served with the stoically steadfast Vulcan for a long time.

“Naturally,” she said, still smirking, and turned to stand next to her, facing the doors she had just passed through. “Bridge.”

The lift acknowledged and set into motion once more.

“Any word yet on your next assignment?” asked Leone.

“Not at this time.”

“Any word yet on my next assignment?” she said and threw the other woman a sidelong look, unable to hide the gleam in her eye. It was well known to her commanding officer that Krystine Leone had ambitions to become a starship captain herself and hopeful to be chosen as T'Cirya’s successor.

The Vulcan turned her head marginally to consider her first officer but said nothing.

The lift arrived at its destination, the doors reopened and the soon-to-be admiral, swiftly stepped out.

T’Cirya clearly took delight in subtly torturing Leone, no matter how much she’d deny it. Leone was convinced of it. She uttered a little sigh but refused to let her mood slip before she followed her captain onto the bridge.

“Report,” Leone heard T’Cirya say before she had even caught up with her.

Lieutenant Commander Ariel Elannis smoothly stood from the center chair to turn to the captain and first officer, shooting her close friend Leone a very brief smile.

Compared to the Vulcan, the dark-haired and buxom half-Orion operations officer had adopted the exact opposite approach on how to wear a Starfleet uniform, evidenced by the fact that her mustard-colored jumpsuit appeared to cling to her ample curves almost as if painted on, and of course it didn’t help much that she insisted on wearing the zipper undone nearly halfway down her chest.

“We have just crossed the Selcundi Drema sector and are now approaching her last know coordinates.”

T’Cirya acknowledged this with the briefest of nods and as Elannis stepped away from the command chair to return to her operations console at the front of the bridge, the captain took back her seat with Leone taking her customary chair next to her. “Helm, slow to one-quarter impulse power.”

“Slowing to one quarter impulse, aye, sir,” the petty officer at the helm console quickly responded even as he entered the new commands into his console.

Leone turned to look towards the ship’s security officer, Lieutenant Ethan Dawkins. “Anything on sensors yet?”

The blonde-haired human shook his head. “Nothing so far.”

“Ships of that size don’t just fall off the face of the galaxy,” said Leone from her forward station. “We should at least be seeing some debris if she has been destroyed.”

“Belay that talk, Commander,” Leone said sharply.

Elannis turned in her chair to give her friend a sheepish look. “I’m just saying.”

“Well, don’t. It’s unbecoming. And until we know for certain we shouldn’t assume the worst.”

Dawkins nodded. “She’s one of those new Galaxy’s, right? Not much I can imagine that could seriously hurt her.”

“Then you suffer from a lack of imagination,” said Elannis, albeit much more quietly then before. “Remember the Yamato?”

Another withering look from the XO caused the operations officer to get the message and preempted any further commentary as she turned back to her console.

“Prepare to initiate a full sensor sweep of this sector,” said the captain and then looked towards her first officer. “We will implement our previously agreed search pattern.”

Leone nodded sharply and then stood to walk towards the conn. “Helm, course heading one-ten mark ten, full impulse.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Captain, I am reading some sort of spatial disturbance about five hundred thousand kilometers off our port bow,” Dawkins reported as his fingers danced over his controls.

“On screen,” the captain ordered.

The image on the main viewer shifted to display what looked like a vortex in space, a maelstrom of blue and gray, looking almost like the mouth of a wormhole, but it was impossible to determine what—if anything—lay beyond, as a thick mist obscured the eye of the anomaly.

"What are we looking at here?" Leone said as she took a step closer towards the screen.

Elannis frowned at her instruments and then shook her head. “Unclear. The anomaly seems to be emitting strong triquantum waves. Subspace disruptions are through the roof, showing at three point one teracochranes and climbing.”

“Yellow Alert, raise shields,” T’Cirya said calmly from the captain’s chair, crossing her legs at the knee.

The order was promptly executed.

“Are we able to determine what lies beyond the anomaly?” the captain asked.

Elannis shook her head again. “Negative, sir. Sensor are unable to penetrate it.”

“I recommend we send a probe,” said Leone.

The captain offered a nod which quickly prompted the first officer to glance towards the tactical console. “Dawk, class-six probe. Fire it right into the center of the anomaly when ready.”

It took the tactical officers only a few brief moments to have the probe loaded into a torpedo launcher and slung into the spatial vortex. The crew watched the projectile cross the distance between the ship and the anomaly in just a few seconds before it was swallowed up whole and disappeared.

“Commander Elannis, do we have telemetry from the probe?” said T’Cirya.

“It is coming through but the readings don’t appear to make a great amount of sense. According to this the probe is—“ she stopped herself suddenly and then her fingers raced over her touch-screen console.

Leone took a step towards her. “What is it, Ariel?”

“We lost all contact. One moment she was there and the next one … gone.”

“What were the last readings you had?”

She turned with her seat to look first at Leone and then at the captain. “As I said: Inconclusive. According to the data the drone was at a location at least sixty thousand light-years from our current position. Deep inside the Delta Quadrant.”

Leone and T’Cirya exchanged brief glances.

“Sir, something is emerging from the anomaly,” Dawk said, his tone urgent and alert.

“Is it the probe?” Leone wanted to know.

“It’s a whole lot bigger than the probe.”

All eyes once again turned towards the main screen, just in time to see that what was escaping the vortex was indeed much larger than the probe they had sent. In fact it was larger than the Potemkin itself but quickly took a very familiar shape as it slowly revealed itself, starting with a large, oval shaped saucer, followed by a bulky engineering section and two tubular warp nacelles.

“It’s the Enterprise,” Elannis said.

“My God, what happened to her?” said Leone when the image zoomed into the other Starfleet vessel, revealing a great number of obvious modifications to her main hull, which now seemed to be covered by a web of dark metallic protrusions, some of them glowing with angry green energy, turning the once handsomely curved flagship into a sinister looking vessel which seemed to have little in common with a Starfleet ship other than the overall shape of her superstructure.

“We are being hailed,” Dawkins said.

T’Cirya nodded. “On screen.”

The man who appeared to be standing in an indistinct part of the ship looked very much like the captain of the starship Enterprise but it was unmistakable that whatever transformation had befallen his ship, had also happened to him. His bald head was sickly pale and the entire right hand side of his face was covered with seemingly implanted machine parts. A black tube connected them with the dark, equally mechanical suit he was wearing. A bright red and directed light shone from the facial modification and directly into the visual pickup.

For a moment nobody on the bridge spoke, as they stared at the sight with disbelieving eyes.

T’Cirya was the first to break the silence, her carefully neutral face showing no evidence of astonishment. “Captain Picard?”

A heavily modulated voice answered her. “I am Locutus of Borg. Resistance is futile. Your live as it has been, is over. From this time forward, you will service us.”

“What the hell—“

T’Cirya spoke right over the befuddled Elannis. “Red Alert. All hands to battle stations. Helm, back us off now, half impulse power.”

The connection was cut on the other end and the man who had indentified himself as Locutus disappeared to be replaced once more by his equally deformed starship.

“Ariel, scan for life-signs, what is going on over there?” Leone asked.

“I’m reading over one thousand life-signs which is comparable to their standard crew complement but they are all off somehow. They do not read as fully human.”

“The Enterprise is firing!” Dawkins yelled.

“Evasive action.”

The captain’s order came too late, as Potemkin was hit dead-on and with such immense force, nobody on the bridge remained upright and a number of consoles exploded in a shower of sparks, filling the bridge with thick smoke.

“Damage report,” Leone asked as she crawled back into her seat.

It took Dawkins a moment to return to his own station. “Shields are down to ten percent. We won’t survive another hit.”

T’Cirya didn’t hesitate once she was back in her chair. “Helm, reverse course. Warp six.”

Potemkin promptly turned away from the Frankenstein Enterprise and jumped to high warp.

“She’s pursuing,” Elannis said. “I’m also reading another vessel emerging from the vortex.”

“Put it on screen,” Leone said.

The viewer changed once more, showing the heavily-modified Galaxy-class ship moving away from the anomaly on a pursuit course and something else emerging behind her. Something much larger. At first it appeared like a single, solid wall of metal, until the edges came slowly into view. It finally revealed itself to be one massive, dark cube with no apparent distinctiveness beyond its basic geometric shape.

“The object is a perfect hexahedron,” Elannis reported, wiping the sweat from her brow, as the bridge was becoming increasingly warmer. “Each side is at least three kilometers wide and—I’m now reading a third vessel emerging—it’s another cube.”

Indeed the main screen showed yet another massive ship following the first two.

“Sir, the Enterprise is gaining on us,” said Dawkins.

“Fire photon torpedoes, full spread,” said the captain.

Federation ship or not, Hawkins didn’t hesitate. “Torpedoes away.”

Somebody on the bridge, likely Elannis, had changed the main screen back to show the pursing starship and the six bright projectiles which had been catapulted into her path. Enterprise’s shields flared in an unnatural, bright green, instead of the usual blue as the torpedoes made contact. The result appeared negligible.

“No effect,” said Dawkins. “The shields appear to have completely neutralized our photons.”Leone stared wide-eyed at the screen. “How is that even possible?”“We have to assume that these Borg have somehow modified the Enterprise’s offensive and defensive systems,” said T’Cirya, calmly as ever.

“I am now reading at least six cube vessels having emerged from the vortex,” said Elannis, not quite able to keep a slight tremble out of her voice.

Leone turned to look at her captain, not saying a word—she didn’t have to. They both knew what this meant. If the Enterprise was able to seemingly swat them away like nothing more than an insignificant fly, what chances did they stand in the face of half a dozen ships, four times as massive?

T’Cirya began to enter calculations into the small panel imbedded into her armrest and then spoke even as she continued to work. “Helm, come about to two-niner-seven mark seven-seven, increase speed to warp nine point eight for ten minutes and fifteen seconds.”

Leone gave her a puzzled look, not exactly sure what she was up to.

“We cannot win this, Commander and if the Enterprise, as I strongly suspect, has had all their systems enhanced by alien technology, we cannot escape her.”

Leone nodded. “We need to warn Starfleet.”

“Correct, however the alien vessels are currently interfering with all sub-space communications and I calculate that we will not be able to clear their dampening field before we are intercepted.”

“The Enterprise is still gaining. She will be back in weapon’s range in approximately ten minutes.”

“We need to buy some time,” said Leone.

T’Cirya offered a miniscule nod in response. “This is the Captain, to all hands. Prepare to abandon ship. I say again, prepare to abandon ship.”

This caused Leone to whip her head back towards the Vulcan with disbelieving eyes.

“It is our only chance, Commander. At our current speed and heading, we will reach the outer edges of the Helix Nebula in nine minutes and forty-two seconds, at which time we will drop out of warp, initiate a high-intensity warp plasma discharge which has a chance of temporarily blinding the Enterprise’s sensors, even if they have been enhanced. We will then launch all escape pods and shuttles to take refugee in the nebula while Potemkin will continue at high warp to draw our pursuers off.”

Leone needed a second to catch up with her ultra-efficient captain’s plan which she had clearly only just formulated a few seconds ago. It was a desperate move, and considering the stakes, she would have much preferred some time to think this through. She understood time was their second biggest enemy right now.

She ultimately nodded and then went to work to do everything in her power to ensure the plan would work. Timing was going to be crucial. She also understood that everyone needed to get off the ship. Anyone who didn’t, most likely wouldn’t survive.

For the next nine minutes, the crew of the Potemkin underwent the most urgently rushed preparations they had ever known, quicker even than anything they had ever trained for. Over 750 souls had to be ready and depart the ship at a moment’s notice, making every second count.

“Sixty seconds to the nebula,” said Elannis about nine minutes after T’Cirya had given the order. On the screen Enterprise was inching closer by the moment and not far behind her, ten monstrously vast cube-shaped starships were following in her wake.

The captain stood from her chair and walked just behind the operations console. “You are relieved, Commander Elannis. Get to the escape pod.”

“Sir, with all due respect—“

But T’Cirya was brooking no debate. “That is an order.”

Elannis hesitated only another second before she stood to surrendered her station.

The captain looked at her first officer next. “You as well, Commander.”But Leone shook her head decisively. “You can’t do this alone. You’ll need somebody else.”“Incorrect. I have already determined that it will require only one individual to carry out the plan and to keep Potemkin on course long enough to draw our pursuers away from the nebula. It is illogical for you to remain as well.”

Leone was fighting to remain calm. In all the time she had known T’Cirya, it had been exceedingly rare that the Vulcan had used her vaunted logic against her. She was damned if she was going to start allowing her to do so now. As far as Leone was concerned, she would not let her captain—her friend—go down alone with the ship.

In the end the decision was taken away from her.

T’Cirya looked her square in the eye and raised her hand, palm facing outward, her fingers split in the traditional salute of her people. “Regarding your next assignment—should you survive this encounter, you will be awarded your own captaincy. You will excel at it and you will excel at everything you will do beyond it. Live long and prosper, Captain Krystine Leone.”

Leone hadn’t even noticed that T’Cirya’s other hand had somehow reached behind her neck.

The last thing she remembered from the deck of the bridge— as she was rapidly losing consciousness—was the sight of ten, dark and ominous and unrelenting black cubes racing towards Potemkin.

Racing towards the Federation, with nothing in their way to stop them or even slow them down.

* * *​
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Whoa - you definitely got things started with a bang! Lions, and tigers, and Borg . . . oh my!
Looks like the start of an epic adventure and, considering that it is set in an alternate reality, we have no idea who (if anyone) will be left standing when the tale ends.

More, please!
Holy-moly! That was intense! The Borg assimilated the Enterprise! I hope there was no Q involvement here.
Woohoo! Though this looks like a Grim one, I was looking foward to more UT stuff! all the Fanfics I was following: Gilbratar, Bluefin, Whats Upp, etc, seem to have sputtered and died (or went into cryo).....Anyway, looking forward to going down this dark and twisted rabbit hole!
02/10 – “Welcome to the New Normal.”

Stardate 52864.5

“The planet Cait has no intention of joining the Federation, and we certainly have no interest in your cause, or for that matter, in the cause of your rival faction,” Ambassador M’Raat spoke emphatically, sitting in one of the chairs around the briefing table in the starship Heracles’ observation lounge, his cat-like slit pupils focusing on Commodore Mel Schwarzkopf first, to make sure his point had been unmistakable, before he let his glance wander across the faces of the other two Starfleet officers present as well.

Terrance Glover shot fellow captain Amaya Donners an annoyed look, which she quickly reciprocated, before he turned back towards the vermilion-furred ambassador. “I don’t believe you and your people have fully considered your options. Or should I say, the consequences of rash decisions?”

“Is this a threat, Captain?”

Glover smirked. “Not at all. I just want to make certain that you have the full picture.”
But the tall Caitian wasn’t easily intimidated and turned back to look at the most senior Starfleet officer in the room. “Is this what your new Federation has come to, Commodore? Bullies and strong-hand tactics? Is that what you are hoping to rebuild?”

“These are dangerous times, Mister Ambassador,” Schwarzkopf said. “And to be quiet frank, you’d be a fool not to see that. Do you think the Nyberrites care one whiff about the Caitian people? Do you really think they will come to your help when you need it the most? All the Nyberrites care about are the Nyberrites, and if that means one planet has to suffer for the good of the whole, than that is exactly what will happen under their leadership. And their influence is spreading daily, like a disease. Like the Borg once did.”

The mention of the cyborg race brought M’Raat up short, clearly the memory of the unrelenting and desperate war still far too fresh in his memory, even after four years. His hesitation didn’t last very long however. “I know about Betazed and I will not let that happen to my people.”

“This won’t be another Betazed,” said Donners sharply, as if she had grown bored of that argument. “Things are different now. We are more organized, stronger, more determined.”

But M’Raat shook his head. “And still fractured. From what I hear this other Federation, the Preservers—or whatever the hells you call them, are much more powerful.”

“We have the superior numbers,” Glover quickly said. “It is only a matter of time until we will work out our—differences, and face the Nyberrites as a united front. The question you have to ask yourself, Ambassador, is if you want Cait to be part of the future or of the past. Because, make no mistake, you will need to choose a side.”

M’Raat glanced towards the large windows of the observation lounge, allowing him a magnificent view of his blue-green world below before his focus returned to the three Starfleet officers. “You are fighting amongst yourselves and expect my people to take the risk of betting our future that you will be victorious?” he shook his head again. “I’m sorry, the stakes are simply far too high. Cait will remain neutral in this conflict.”

Schwarzkopf left his chair so suddenly, it even surprised Terrence Glover for just a moment. “I urge you to reconsider this decision, Mister Ambassador. I urge you to think very carefully about what it may mean for your people and for the galaxy as a whole. Change is coming and there is no more room for anyone to stay on the sidelines.”

The commodore’s intensity stunned M’Raat into silence for a brief moment. “I think—I think I would like to return to the surface now.”

Glover spoke before Schwarzkopf could, the man was clearly far too agitated to be trusted to make another reasonable argument. “Naturally, if that is your wish. You are after all our guest.”

“I am not si sure I felt like one,” he said, shooting a dark look at the still glowering commodore.

“Bridge to observation lounge. Commodore, we have multiple ships inbound.”
It took Schwarzkopf a few seconds to collect himself again, before he finally tore his eyes off M’Raat and looked towards the ceiling instead. “Who is it?”

“Four Starfleet ships, Commodore. Preservers.”

“Just what we needed,” said Donners and left her chair, already heading towards the doors.

Glover was equally annoyed and promptly followed her to head for the transporter room and to return to his ship as quickly as possible, the ambassador already forgotten.

He had so hoped to avoid a fight today.

* * *​

“We are now entering the Trill system, sir,” said Ensign Srena, Eagle’s Andorian helm officer.

Michael Owens nodded. “Drop out of warp. Set condition red across the ship, all hands to report to battle stations.”

Chief security officer José Carlos promptly acknowledged. “Condition red throughout the ship, sir.”

And with that the previously yellow flashing alert panels all over the bridge turned a dark, ominous red, preparing the bridge crew for imminent battle.

Owens stood from his chair. “Who’ve we got?”

“Three ships around Cait, sir,” said Lieutenant Stanmore from ops. “Heracles, Cuffe and Agamemnon. They have detected us and are raising shields and breaking orbit.”

“It had to be her.”

“Sir?” Stanmore said.

“Never mind, Lieutenant.”

“Sir, I have Captain Sandhurst on a secure channel,” said Carlos.

Owens nodded. “Pipe him through.”

Not a moment later, Donald Sandhurst, captain of the recently commissioned, brand-new Luna-class Gibraltar appeared on a large inset in the top left corner of the main screen, Cait and the scrambling, opposing fleet remaining visible in the background.

“Looks like they brought out the big guns. Heracles in their flagship, commanded by none other than Commodore Melvin Schwarzkopf. Not just a hothead but pretty much the poster figure of everything wrong with the Guardians.”

“I know of Schwarzkopf,” Owens said. “He could be a problem.”

“Not as much as Glover on the Cuffe. Sorry to say that I knew the man much better than I cared for in the old days. He’s aggressive and unpredictable. If it comes to it, I say we take him out first. Don’t know much about Agamemnon and Donners.”
“Better that way, trust me.”

The other captain offered a little smile. “Sounds like somebody else here’s got history. Not the pleasant kind, I take it. Or maybe not all unpleasant?”

“We’ll approach in standard formation,” said Owens, ignoring the Sandhurst’s, last comments altogether. “We’ve got numbers on our side today. If we can talk them into withdrawing, good. If not, I want to make sure they leave here broken and bloodied. What they are doing, it has to stop, one way or another.”

He nodded sharply. “Couldn’t agree more. Sandhurst out.”

“Mister Carlos, signal the task force to spread out in standard attack formation. I want Sutherland and Independence to protect our flanks. Let’s not give them a chance to turn our advantage.”

“Yes, sir, signaling the task force now.”

“Captain, we are being hailed by the Heracles,” Stanmore said.

Owens took a brief moment to collect his thoughts before tugging down on his maroon uniform tunic. “Let’s hear what they have to say then.”

The image shifted to reveal Schwarzkopf, standing in the middle of his bridge, very much like Owens himself. However, differently to his crew, Schwarzkopf and his officers wore a different variation of the Starfleet uniform, one with mostly wine-red or mustard-yellow shoulders on their otherwise black tunics instead of the traditional black shouldered and department-colored jackets Owens wore. Even their combadges had a slightly different design, still featuring the prominent Starfleet delta, but theirs sat on a rectangular back instead of an oval. What wasn’t any different however was the phaser strapped to his hip, something that had long since become common practice in either Starfleet.

“Commodore Schwarzkopf, you and your vessels are in violation of Federation Council Directive two-ten as well as Starfleet General Order ninty-five and are hereby instructed to immediately leave this sector or face the consequences.”

“Let’s spare ourselves the little games, Captain, we both know that I don’t recognize your authority or that of what you pretentiously refer to as the Federation Council. “

“Yes, and I care little about what you do or do not recognize. You have thirty seconds to comply.”

“Tell me Captain, doesn’t it become tiring to be the Nyberrite’s lap dog?”

“I suppose not any more than recklessly inciting worlds to fight battles they cannot win. Does the Betazed dictionary still show your picture against the word imbecile?”

Schwarzkopf offered a dry laugh. “I’d rather be called that and fight against injustice then hide myself away in a hole like you and your Preservers.”

“Wisdom is to know when to fight. But then that something you clearly do not posses,” he said and nodded. “But very well, if it is a fight that you so desperately crave, I’ll give you a fight. Owens out.” He promptly activated his ship-to-ship channel by stabbing a button on his armrest, and connecting him instantly with the rest of the task force. “Donald, I want you to focus on Cuffe, seeing that you know her captain best. We’ll focus on Agamemnon. The rest will engage Heracles.” He didn’t wait for a response, confident that the other captains would follow his instructions. “Attack pattern Kappa-Nine. The use of primary weapons is authorized. Eagle out.”

He then turned to look towards Carlos at the tactical station. “Target Agamemnon’s offensive and defensive systems, but limit your fire, I want to give them a chance to withdraw once she realizes the pointlessness of it all.”

The Hispanic officer offered a sharp nod in response.

Stanmore in the meantime shook his head. “They do want that fight, sir. Coming right at us.”

“I shouldn’t be surprised, she never did know when to quit.”

The view screen ahead of him changed to combat mode as the default view of the approaching starships shifted upwards with the lower half of the screen displaying a tactical map of the system and the location of all combatants. The four blue deltas representing the task force quickly split up to concentrate on their designated targets, symbolized by red deltas.

Donners on the Agamemnon clearly didn’t take well to Eagle coming after her and quickly unleashed a barrage of phaser fire. Owens held on to the armrests of his chair as the bridge around him trembled under the impact.

“Multiple direct hits,” Carlos said. “Shields holding at eighty-nine percent.”

He nodded with a smirk. “Return fire, all available banks.”

Owens watched with satisfaction as Agamemnon was taking a beating, her shields flaring heavily under the barrage even while she turned away to carry out evasive maneuvers.

“Their shields are down to sixty-nine percent, some damage to her primary hull.”

“Keep at it,” he said as he studied her projected course on the tactical viewer. “Let’s not giver her the chance to catch her breath. I’d rather finish this quickly.”

“Firing phasers.”

The results were more of the same, the other ship’s shield struggling to protect the hull from the powerful energy blasts while her return fire was mostly absorb by Eagle’s shields, demonstrating the Guardian’s technological advantages over their rival.

He activated a ship-to-ship channel with the other vessel through his armrest controls. “This is foolish even for you, Maya. Know when you are beat and get out of here before this gets uglier than it has to.”

“You mean like what happened last week when you nearly destroyed Pytheas? Three crewmen died that day. That blood is on your hands.”

“They had every chance to withdraw, the same chance I am offering you now. Besides, you don’t want to start comparing body counts.”

“You know what your problem is, Michael. You are just too damned overconfident. It’s going to be your downfall one day.”

He watched Agamemnon turning sharply. “Maybe. But today’s not—“

“Multiple torpedoes incoming!” Carlos barked.

Of course by then he had seen them too. “Damn you, Maya.” He cut the link. “Srena, emergency evasive, full impulse.”

Owens and the rest of the crew had to literally hang on to their stations as Eagle performed a severe turn at breakneck speed, pushing the inertial dampeners past their limits.

It was not enough to avoid all the torpedoes.

“Brace for impact.”

Owens was pushed back into his chair as two projectiles smashed into their shields, causing him to feel the hits all the way down to his bone marrow.

“So much for the Aldebaran Accords,” he said angrily before shooting a dark look at his tactical officer. “Jose, return fire, quantum torpedoes, one set.”

Carlos hesitated for just a moment, and perhaps a more experienced and dedicated first officer would have raised an objection in the old days. But as far as Michael Owens was concerned, those were long behind them. As was the time for moderation. “They asked for this. Fire!”

On the screen, Owens watched as the two azure missiles streaked through space, both finding their target, impacting against Agamemnon’s shields at the stern of her saucer. The shields flared only briefly this time before disappearing entirely. The damage was significant as not a moment later her starboard impulse engine erupted with fire which was quickly doused by the vacuum of space, and then died.

“You’re making me do this, Maya,” he said to nobody. He glanced down at the tactical view to get a picture of the state of the battle. It looked as if Sandhurst and Glover were going at it with nearly the same ferocity, for now the newer Luna-class ship with the advantage. Heracles was holding her own against Sutherland and Independence, meaning that he needed to finish this quickly to add Eagle’s firepower to the rest of the task force.

“Multiple new contacts, sir, three-four-three mark ten. Counting at least eight vessels,” said Lance Stanmore. “They came out of nowhere.”

Owens doubted that very much, and he was angry for allowing his crew to get blindsided like this, but he decided that there would be time for disciplinary measures later. “On screen.”

The upper part of the viewer switched to an aft view to show the new players on the board. They appeared to be a mixed group of starships, none having much in common with the others and all powerful in their own right. Worst though, none were Starfleet. None were on his side.

“Nyberrites,” said Srena, even if there was no need to put that into words at this stage, not with a Romulan Warbird, a Breen Destroyer, a Klingon Vor’cha cruiser and two massive Nyberrite Lawgivers staring them in the face.

He noticed a call coming in from Gibraltar and activated the link. “Looks like this party is over,” said Sandhurst.

“I was hoping to avoid something like this.”

“No point crying over spilled milk now—Looks like they’re sending a general hail. How very typical.”

Owens nodded. “Of course they are,” he said and opened a second channel.

“Attention Federation starships, this is the Nyberrite vessel Pillar of Justice, you are hereby ordered to dispersed from this system immediately.”

It didn’t take long for Commodore Schwarzkopf to respond. “We—by this I mean the Guardians of the Federation of Planets—are here on a diplomatic mission to the Caitian homeworld. You have no cause to ask for our removal.”

“Your presences here—of your so called faction or any Federation vessels or personnel is neither requested nor welcomed by the Cait government which is under Nyberrite protection. If you do not comply you will force our hand.”

Owens quickly opened a secure line to Heracles. “Schwarzkopf, don’t be an idiot for once. Listen to them and get out of here.”

The commodore’s enraged face appeared on the top right corner of the screen. “We can take them together. This could be where we make our stand against their aggression. Join us in taking back the Federation.”

But Owens shook his head. “That is insane. All you will achieve is needless death, just as you always do. This is not the way.”

At that Schwarzkopf laughed. “You are an even bigger coward than I thought. You are all too happy to go after your own people, but as soon as anyone with a bigger stick shows up, you run away.”

“It’s called tactical thinking, Commodore, I suggest you try it some day. You want to throw away your lives and in the process declare war on the Nyberrites and lose what little of the Federation you keep clinging to, be my guest. But we won’t be party to this. In fact I came here to avoid that very possibility. But if you insist on acting like a fool, you’re on your own.” He disconnected the line. “Josè, signal the task force to withdraw. Srena, get us out of her, warp six.”

The orders were swiftly acknowledged and Eagle and the rest of the task force left Cait, the Guardians and the Nyberrites behind but not without keeping long-range sensors peeled at the potentially explosive situation unfolding.

Owens prayed that Schwarzkopf and his misguided comrades would not be hot-headed enough to light a fuse that would blow up into their faces and thereby destabilizing an already precarious status quo.

He uttered a heavy sigh of relief when he realized that the better part of valor ultimately won out when Heracles, Cuffe and Agamemnon departed as well.

He knew the consolation he felt would be fleeting. As far as he was concerned, it was only a matter of time until someone, somewhere, pushed things just a little bit too far.

And then it would be just like the Borg all over again.

* * *​
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Intriguing and distressing at the same time. I'm liking this alt-reality story. Seeing familiar characters, allies (though not always friends) in the prime universe, launching salvos at one another is a bit disturbing. Figuring out the "good guys" from the "bad guys" won't be easy (if such a distinction is possible). I'm still curious as to how the civil war began (aside from the apparently successful Borg invasion). The Nyberrites obviously hold the upper hand in the quadrant - reminds me a bit of the Organians, though in an active, rather than passive mode. This promises to be quite a wild ride!
I'm enjoying this all over again, even after reading the first draft at United Trek.
Fun and intriguing!
I'm really enjoying this story. It's totally blowing my mind. Especially when I saw that Sandhurst was back and that the Luna class ship was the Gibraltar, not the Europa. I hope no one takes offense when I say that I've missed The Rock.
03/10 – “Meet the Guardians of Yesteryear.”

One Week Later

The doors to his quarters opened to reveal Amaya Donners, wearing a stern expression on her dark face.

“Captain,” she said.

“Captain,” he said.

“I just got here and I thought maybe we should compare notes before the meeting,” she said.

“Excellent idea, Captain. Come in,” he said and moved aside to permit her into his quarters.

She took two steps inside, enough to allow the doors to hiss shut behind her and then turned back around to face Glover. Then she reached out for the collar of his uniform.

Glover offered no resistance as she practically yanked him close to her and then pressed her lips against his.

He went along with it all, even as she reached up to first take hold of his neck and then brushed her hands through his short hair and when she began to push him towards his bedroom. He became more active when she started to pull down the zipper of his jumpsuit and followed suit to undo her own.

They had shed their boots and tunics by the time Donners pushed him down onto his bed without ever removing her tongue from deep inside his mouth.

“Commodore Schwarzkopf to Captain Glover.”

“Ignore it,” she hissed as she pulled up his grey turtleneck shirt, only to discard it haphazardly on the floor.

“Damn right.”

“Schwarzkopf to Glover, please come in.”

He needed no further motivation to leave the call unanswered when she started to pull her own shirt over her head while she was sitting on top of him.

“Schwarzkopf to Captain Donners.”

She stopped in mid-movement and Glover frowned when she let her shirt fall back down. Donners dropped onto her back next to him with a heavy sigh. “The man really knows how to ruin the mood.”

Pulling himself up onto his elbows, Glover shrugged. “Don’t let him. Ignoring him was a good call.”

“Commodore Schwarzkopf to Captain Donners, please—“

But Donners didn’t follow her own advice and had reached down onto the floor to find her uniform and the communicator still attached to it. “This is Donners, go ahead.”

“Ah, Captain, I’ve been trying to reach you.”

“Yeah, sorry about that, I was … busy. How can I help you, Commodore? The meeting is not until a couple of hours.”

“That’s why I’m contacting you. I want to get this out of the way now. The people I want you to meet are on a tight schedule, so the quicker we can get this done the better. I want to see you and Captain Glover down here as soon as possible.”

Donners glanced over to Glover lying next to her and he emphatically shook his head.

“I’ve been trying to get hold of Captain Glover but I can’t reach him.”

“That’s alright, I think I may know where to find him. But to be honest, I have some things to take care of first. Are we sure this can’t wait?”

“Trust me, whatever you are doing, this is more important.”

Glover uttered a subdued little laugh which caused Donners to instantly shoot him a dark look.

“Sorry, I didn’t get that.”

“Uh, never mind, just my … pet.”

Glover noticeably fought off another amused laugh.

“Give me ten minutes and I find Glover and we’ll both meet you on the surface.”

“Excellent, Captain. I’ll see you in ten. Schwarzkopf out.”

“What a jackass,” Glover said.

She sat back up, beginning to pull the black and red jumpsuit back on.

Glover reached out for her, gently touching the small of her back. “Hey, ten minutes. More than enough time.”

She fixed him with a bemused look. “Really? That’s rather disappointing.”

He rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean.”

Donners stood as she pulled her zipper all the way back up. “I would also prefer some discretion on your part. I don’t need that ‘jackass’ to know about us.”

He shrugged. “Why not? I don’t care who knows.”
“Well I do,” she said as she began to pull on her boots. “It’s none of his business. Besides, I don’t know about you but I care about my career.”

“I wouldn’t be worried about that. The way things are going, experienced starship captains are in high demand all over the place. No way they would bump either one of us for something like this. They need all hands on deck if we are serious about taking on the Nyberrites.”

Fully dressed once more, Donners stood to look down at the still half-naked Glover on the bed who hadn’t made a single move to put any of his clothes back on. She looked pensive for a moment. “I’m starting to have my doubts about all this. It’s been four years since we got rid of the Borg and the Schism. The Preservers are no closer to rejoin with us now then they were four years ago. On the contrary, all they can do is hold Betazed up over our heads when what we really need to do is to let bygones be bygones and unite against the Nyberrites for once and for all. Take back and rebuild the Federation.”

“Hey, you’re preaching to the choir here, lady.”

She uttered a heavy sigh. “I just get so frustrated with Owens and the rest of that misguided bunch that thinks that playing it safe will keep the Nyberrites away. You heard him last week. The man hasn’t change one iota. Still the same thick-headed, lying son-of-a-bitch.”

Glover smirked and reached out to take her hand into his. “And that’s why you kicked him to the curb and got yourself an upgrade. He’s a sour loser, you always knew that.”

She slapped him away angrily. “I am being serious, Terrence.”

Glover jumped out of bed, his facial expressions becoming more sober. “Owens is an idiot. They all are. Sandhurst probably the biggest one of them all. They’re all just happy to stick their heads into the sand and hope the Nyberrites won’t come for them next. They are so afraid of losing the little bit they have left since the Borg rampage that they jump at their own shadow instead of taking action.”

“Then what’s the point in doing all this?” she said as she watched him hunting down his strewn-out clothes and boots. “Why are we even doing this if there is no hope in reuniting us? We can’t hope to take on the Nyberrites alone and its not like anyone is lining up to join us. We struck out with the Caitans. That’s what? The fifth world in a row who has given us the cold shoulder.”

“Have some faith. Sooner or later even those blockheads on Earth will see that they don’t have a choice but taking the fight to the real enemy. And even if they don’t, they won’t be able to keep this up for long. And when the time comes, we’ll make them see the truth, even if we have to pry their eyes open by force,” he said as he put on his shirt. “Besides, didn’t Schwarzkopf give you his speech about this new mission of his?” He pointed at the gray and red planet visible through the windows of his quarters, which the Cuffe was currently orbiting. “’This is what we have been waiting for. This is what will change everything and bring back the Federation we once knew and loved. This will mark the turning point of this conflict’. The man sure loves his hyperbole.”

“Probably another harebrained scheme getting us nowhere. I swear, with a blowhard like Schwarzkopf on our side, you don’t need any enemies. We might as well just turn our phasers around and shoot ourselves in the head.”

Glover finished dressing. “Tell you what, he gets between us like this again, I know exactly who I’m shooting first.” He turned back around when he reached the doors to his bedroom after noticing that she was still standing by his bed, looking at him askance. “What?”

She just shook her head. “Sometimes I really can’t tell when you’re joking,” she said and then swiftly walked passed him and out of his quarters.

* * *​

Bolarus IVb, more commonly known as Panea, had been a vibrant and bustling world once. Located within the same system as the home world of the Bolian people, the second moon of a massive gas giant had been a melting pot of many different races from all across the Federation and beyond.

That was before the Borg and the subsequent Schism. It remained home to nearly ten million people but the fat years had long since passed, replaced by wide-spread poverty and crime.

It seemed therefore a terrible place to discuss the future of the Federation, at least to Terrence Glover, as he and Amaya Donners walked down a narrow alleyway towards their meeting with Schwarzkopf.

Most of the inhabitants who noticed the two Starfleet officers shot expecting glances their way, a few children even came up to them to beg for scraps, which neither of them had brought.

“If there is a more miserable place in the Rim, I haven’t seen it,” said Glover as he gently pushed aside two young girls who were trying to get his attention, and more importantly, his money.

“Sounds to me you haven’t been planetside much of late. This is not too different than many other places I’ve been to.”

“Bet Earth doesn’t look anything like this.”

She frowned. “One more reason we’re in this fight.”

They reached their location, a rundown warehouse from the looks of it, with a rusted and patchy roof but a surprisingly sturdy looking and reinforced door. Seeing no other means to gain access, Glover shrugged and then knocked against the metal door.

They didn’t have to wait long, within moments the door slid aside to allow them entry, only to promptly slide shut again once they were inside.

It was dark and dirty and cramped inside, looking no better than it had from the outside. A single dim light strip build into the floor seemed to mark their path and they followed it all the way to the other side of the warehouse where they found another set of doors which opened for them as well.

These ones led to a turbolift which set in motion as soon as the doors had closed again behind them. They moved downwards for only a few seconds before the doors parted once more but this time to reveal a more expensive facility of sorts, looking clean and sterile with predominantly white walls and ceilings. Even the air seemed fresher down here.

Schwarzkopf was waiting for them.

“Fancy setup you’ve get here,” said Glover. “Right out of the Starfleet Intelligence playbook I bet.”

“Let’s just say that we’ve taken all necessary precautions.”
Donners frowned. “I hope that whatever it is you are cooking up down here is important because from the looks of this, the resources you’ve spent setting this up would have been enough to feed and cloth half of that city above us.”

The commodore led them down a wide corridor. “Oh, it’s important alright. Perhaps the most important project since the Schism. I want you to meet the people behind all this.”

“The suspension is killing me,” said Glover and shot Donners a smirk which she clearly didn’t find very amusing.

Schwarzkopf showed them into a large conference room, with equally white walls and a large, glass table at the center and a number of computer screens which were all currently turned off.

Three men were standing near the table and turned to face the new arrivals. All three were strangers to Glover. Two were humans, the third man was Vulcan judging by the shape of ears. The Vulcan and one of the humans appeared to be close to his age, even though this was naturally quite difficult to tell with Vulcans. The other human was gray-haired, with hawkish facial features, white hair and at least middle aged. He got a distinct scientist vibe from the two humans and not just because they were wearing lab coats. The Vulcan could have been one as well, but he wasn’t wearing a coat. None of them were uniformed.

“Gentlemen,” said Schwarzkopf, “I want you to meet Captains Donners and Glover who will play a key role in security over the next few weeks while you focus on your work here. I can confidently say that they are amongst the best and brightest on either side of Starfleet.”

The two captains exchange quick, surprised glances. This was the first time they had been given any indication as to their role here and clearly neither of them was happy to play the role of a babysitter.

Schwarzkopf turned back to the two Starfleet officers. “These men are the brainchild of this entire undertaking,” he said and pointed them out, starting with the oldest human. “Doctor Westren Frobisher, Doctor Matthew Owens and Mister Jarik.”

All three nodded briefly but Frobisher seemed obviously impatient. “Well met, both of you,” he said quickly. “I’m sure you will do an adequate job to secure this facility, but we are really on a tight time table here—“

“Wait a minute,” Glover cut in. “Owens? As in Michael Owens?”

Matthew Owens seemed pained to admit to it. “Yes. He is my younger brother.”

“Oh this is just great,” said Glover and looked back at Schwarzkopf. “Are you serious about this? You are running some sort of super-classified operation here and one of the people leading it is a close blood relative to our number one enemy. You don’t think there is a bit of problem with that?”

“Now hold on, Captain,” said Frobisher, clearly not quite able to suppress his anger. “Matthew and I have been working on this project for over thirty years and this has absolutely nothing to do with his brother. In fact, the two of them have hardly exchanged words during that entire time, which I can attest to. This project is far too important to be endangered by misplaced paranoia.”

Schwarzkopf nodded. “Doctor Frobisher is right,” he said, giving Glover a stern look. “You don’t need to worry about the family connections of this team. Your only concern is security.”

“Family connections are exactly why I am concerned about security,” said Glover.

“Doctor Owens and Doctor Frobisher have been fully vetted,” Schwarzkopf said dismissively. “We know that they will not endanger their own project.”

“Vetted by whom?”

Donners stepped in before Glover could shoot back another terse reply. “Alright, so we are to provide security here, I suppose some sort of heads-up on this would have been nice.”

Glover didn’t miss that judging by the looks that were being exchanged between Donners and Owens, the two of them were at leas somewhat familiar with each other which wasn’t much of a surprise considering that she had used to date his brother once upon a time. It was clear however that she had not expected to find him here. He also thought that he could spot recognition between the Vulcan and Donners. Since the Borg War in which billions had died, the galaxy had of course become a much smaller place.

It took Schwarzkopf a moment to get over Glover’s uncooperative attitude and consider his colleague instead, shaking his head. “Not possible, I’m afraid. All this is on a strict need-to-know basis.”

“Fine,” said Donners. “We’re here now, so clearly we need to know,” she added and looked towards the other men. “What exactly are we providing security for? What is it you are doing here?”

Frobisher took that one. “I don’t wish to sound patronizing, Captain, but it is highly unlikely that you or your fellow starship captain would be able to fully comprehend the scope of the work we are engaged in—“

“Good thing you prefaced that statement because you, sir, sound extremely patronizing,” Glover interrupted.

Frobisher tried not to take notice, keeping his focus on the one captain he clearly had decided was the more reasonable one. “Sufficient to say that our work revolves around a totally new, and immensely powerful technology which will most likely change the face of the galaxy as you know it.”

That was apparently too much hyperbole even for Schwarzkopf. “It’s vitally important for the future of the Federation. And by that I don’t just mean the Guardians. If we want any chance to stand up to the Nyberrites and liberate the worlds they’ve stolen from us, we will need what these men here are working on.”

Glover looked them over again and his eyes came to rest on the Vulcan. “Mister Jarik, was it?”

“That is correct.”
“What exactly is your role here?”

He offered a very small smile, revealing that he was perhaps not as much of a Vulcan as he appeared.

“We are not here to be interrogated by you,” said Frobisher angrily. “Mister Jarik fulfills an indispensable role and that’s all you need to know.” He looked back at Schwarzkopf with obvious impatience painted on his features. “Now, are we done here, Commodore, or are there any other asinine queries we need to cover before we are allowed to return to our work?”

“No, that will be all, Doctor,” he said and looked at all three men. “Thank you for your time. And please rest assured that you will be able to complete your work here without any further interruptions, from us or anyone else.”

“I sincerely hope so,” said Frobisher and then was the first to leave the room.

Jarik followed closely while Matthew Owens at least made brief eye contact with the two Starfleet captains before exiting the room.

“Lovely people, those,” said Glover.

Schwarzkopf turned on him. “Was it really necessary for you to antagonize them? Do you not understand what is at stake here?”

“To be honest, no I don’t, considering that I’m learning all this now, instead of being briefed ahead of time.”

“We covered that already,” Schwarzkopf said sharply. “Now, I will provide you both with a full patrol schedule and rules of engagement within the hour. I want every vessel entering this system meticulously scanned and analyzed. No ship is to approach this moon without prior authorization. The Bluefin and Orion are on station at the far side of the system, so all you need to do is focus on the immediate surroundings of Panea.

Only a very small number of people know this facility even exists, which means it is unlikely anyone will try to gain access but if they do, Heracles will lead a rapid response fleet stationed less than half a light-year from here at Starbase 6, which can get here in less than an hour.”

“And who exactly thought it be a good idea to put this facility on a densely populated world? From what I’m hearing you’re playing with fire here, building some sort of super-weapon. Right under a bustling city,” Donners said.

“This has been approved by the Security Council. Nobody would expect such a facility here. It’s a perfect cover.”

“Sure it is,” said Glover, laughing mirthlessly. “Right up until the point when it all blows up into our faces.”

“Possibly quite literally,” said Donners.

“That’s enough,” Schwarzkopf said sharply. “I need you both focused on keeping this place safe form external factors. You’ll have your assignments shortly. I trust you can find your own way back to the turbolift.” He said and turned his back on the two captains to follow the scientists.

“Don’t say it,” said Donners the moment they were alone.

“You mean that this all sounds like an atrociously bad idea, dreamed up by fools who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, and which is doomed to fail from the start?” He shook his head. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

* * *​
Hmmm. This has a mad-scientist "Manhattan Project" vibe to it. Intereresting that Michael Owens' older brother is one of the project scientists. Methinks he doth protest too much regarding the estrangement with Captain Owens.

And Bluefin is in the game as well. (Yay!) I wonder what changes have occurred with her ship and crew? Maybe T'Ser is back on board as Captain and Akinola was assimilated by the Borg . . .? :lol: :borg:

Seriously good stuff, CeJay - I'm really enjoying this!
04/10 – “Preserving the Future is a Full Time Job.”

Michael Owens walked into the meeting room followed by fellow starship captains Donald Sandhurst and Jason Aubrey. Vice Admiral Krystine Leone was already seated at the head of the table with a middle-aged, bald headed Deltan man sitting at her side who did not look pleased at seeing Michael Owens entering the room.

Owens took little notice as he found a chair at the opposite end of the table along with the two other men who had accompanied him

“Gentlemen, thank you for joining us,” said Leone, even though of course there had been little choice in the matter. “For those of you who are not aware, this is Deputy Director Altee from Starfleet Intelligence. He will brief you on a mission you will undertake immediately after the conclusion of this meeting. This mission has been deemed both of the highest importance as well as time critical by Starfleet Command.” She looked at the Deltan. “Director?”

He offered her a short nod and then stood to walk the short distance to the far wall and the large screen imbedded within. “Two days ago we have received confirmed intelligence that the Guardians are in the final stages of completing a prototype device designated Big Betty. We have known about the general scope of this project for at least a couple of years but have only been recently able to positively determine that Big Betty is in fact a prototype dark matter generator which will enable the Guardians to produce what they have coined Alpha Weapons,” he said and then activated the screen which promptly displayed the schematics of something akin to a photon torpedo.

“I’ve never heard of an Alpha Weapons before? How is this different to what they have in their arsenal at the moment?” said Sandhurst as he studied the screen. “That looks like a run-of-the-mill torpedo to me.”

“In this case, appearance are deceiving,” said Altee. “While an alpha torpedo maintains the same overall dimensions and characteristics of a regular photon torp, the anti-matter payload has been replaced by anti-dark matter, increasing its explosive yield by nearly 300 percent,” he said and typed a command into the wall panel. The image on the screen changed to show a Nebula-class starship enter orbit around an Earth-like planet and then fire three torpedoes directly onto the surface. The image zoomed in close as it followed the torpedoes’ trajectory but then remained steady at just a few hundred meters above the surface and the major metropolis which was the target.

The three torpedoes slammed into the city and quickly evaporated its center as well as most of the outskirts including much of the rural area surrounding it.

“This is a computer simulation of the estimated damage caused by three photon torpedoes with a standard yield,” he said and changed the parameters.

The new display showed an identical ship approaching an identical planet but this time only firing a single torpedo which looked very similar to the ones in the previous simulation.

However when this projectile found its target, the detonation was so powerful, it practically whitened-out the screen for a moment. Once the flash had dissipated, the image zoomed back out onto a continental scale only to reveal nothing but a massive dust cloud which continued to spread across the entire continent.

The image pulled back further to allow a view of the planet which now showed a massive bright blotch on its Northern hemisphere. Within a few moments, enormous cracks appeared, spreading out from ground zero like a web covering the planet, the fissures growing as they went until the planet simply broke up into massive fragments.

“The Alpha Weapon,” the Deltan said, “is a planet-killer. And even worse, the weapon otherwise behaves just like a standard torpedo, meaning that it is easy to store, easy to fire, can travel at warp speed and can be used against moving targets with relative high chance of success. You have seen what it does to a planet. We have a number of simulations of its effects against starships and orbital installation but I will leave it to your imagination what the results are.”

With that he deactivated the screen and returned back to his seat.

Leone took over from there. “As you can see, we can not allow the Guardians to develop such a weapon, it would fundamentally change the balance of power and could lead to multiple mass casualty events.”

Leone’s words were followed by a period of silence as the three captains digested what they had just seen.

Jason Aubrey was the first to speak. “I believe the Guardians are fundamentally wrong about a lot of things and I think they are capable of much to get their way but I find it difficult to believe that they would retort to weapons of mass destruction to force an end to this conflict.”

“We don’t know with certainty that they are intent on using such a weapon against any Federation world,” said Leone. “But that doesn’t mean that they might not deploy Alpha Weapons against our ships or, more likely, against Nyberrite targets.”
Altee jumped back in. “We don’t believe the Nyberrites know about this yet but it is only a matter of time until they find out. Their intelligence apparatus is very efficient. And just the possibility of the Guardians possessing a weapon of this nature will in very high likelihood lead to all out war. And the Nyberrites won’t make the same distinction we do, as far as they are concerned, we are all part of the same problem.”

Leone frowned at this, clearly not entirely of the same opinion and Owens understood why. Just like the rest of the Federation Council, Leone believed the best way forward for them, was to maintain good relations with the foremost power in the quadrant even if it often appeared that at best, the Nyberrites simply tolerated what was left of the splintered Federation.

“Then what’s the plan?” said Sandhurst. “We go in and blow it all up before they can turn it into a weapon?”

“If possible you will try to obtain the prototype,” said Altee.

Owens, who hadn’t spoken yet, shook his head. “So that our scientists can meddle around with a super weapon? I thought the point of this exercise was to ensure nobody had something this powerful.”

Leone quickly stepped in again. “Correct. Therefore your primary mission is to destroy the prototype along with all the research that goes with it. However, if you are able to obtain it, our scientists would like to have a look at it. Perhaps there are other applications for the prototype we have yet to discover.”

Sandhurst and Aubrey exchanged suspicious glances. “I think I would be more comfortable if we just get rid of the blasted thing altogether,“ said Sandhurst, getting a quick nod of approval from Aubrey.

“Well, it won’t be up to you,” said Altee. “Operational command for this mission will fall to Captain Tazla Star onboard the Sacajawea.”

That did not sit well with the assembled starship captains, most notably Sandhurst. “I’ve heard of Star, and nothing good. She’s known to be ruthless and unreliable. Not the person I would want to entrust with much more than a cargo haul, not to mention a mission which could spell war for the quadrant if it fails.”

Altee hid his anger behind a wide grin which was likely meant to charm others but seemed to have little effect on his present audience. “Star has the operational knowledge which quite frankly the three of you lack. She has been monitoring progress on this prototype for a few months now and is close to its location even now. She is, without doubt, the right person for this.”

Aubrey’s and Sandhurst’s insisting glances towards the admiral were ignored by Leone. “And that brings us to our next difficulty. The location,” she said looking back at the intelligence director.

“Right,” he said and tapped a control on the table to reactivate the wall screen to show a small reddish moon in orbit of a massive gas giant. “The research facility is located underneath the largest city on Panea in the Bolarus system.”

Aubrey uttered a heavy sigh. “Heavily populated of course.”

Altee continued as if the captain hadn’t spoken. “We know of at least five starships which have been guarding the system and Panea in particular. This mission will require surgical precision.”

“And what will that look like?” asked Sandhurst.

“You will head for a rendezvous with Sacajawea as soon as this meeting is concluded and Captain Star will brief you on the operational details.”

Again, neither Sandhurst nor Aubrey looked impressed with this plan, or the lack of any details being revealed. Owens remained stone-faced, as he had for most of the meeting.

“What else do we know about the facility and the personnel staffing it?” said Sandhurst.

Altee hesitated for only a moment before tapping the controls again, displaying the faces of three men on the screen behind him. Two humans and an apparent Vulcan. “The research team is small, made up mostly by these three men, Project Big Betty is pretty much their conception. Security at the facility is not significant, they are not expecting anyone to breach it.”

Aubrey took a double take on at least one of the faces displayed on the screen, before looking to his side to consider Owens. “Am I the only one here seeing a certain resemblance?”
“No,” said Owens.

“Alright, what is it you aren’t telling us?” Aubrey said, throwing Leone a piercing glare.

She uttered a little sigh as if she had wanted to avoid this point. “The lead researchers on this project are Doctor Westren Frobisher and Doctor Matthew Owens.”

“My brother.”

The other two captains exchanged baffled looks with each other before Audrey turned first towards the Owens sitting next to him and then at the two senior officers at the other end of the table. “And this is a good idea, why?”

“Captain Owens knows his brother better than anyone else in Starfleet. He is the logical choice to be on this mission,” said Leone but seemed to lack conviction.

“Yes, or it could be a complete disaster,” said Aubrey. “You said it yourself, this mission could be critical for the continued survival of the Federation, and you are endangering it by introducing a personal element. This is like planning the perfect mission and then doing the exact opposite.”

Altee’s façade seemed to slip for only a brief moment as he shot Leone a very fleeting look, almost as if he found himself agreeing with Aubrey. Leone however was not be swayed. “Captain Owens’ inclusion has already been approved and will go ahead as planned,” she said, this time showing no hesitation or indecision.

Aubrey uttered a little laugh which caused surprised glances from everyone in the room, including Owens. “Please, we all know exactly what is going on here. Admiral Owens was such a big deal when he was alive, he exerts his pull even after he’s gone.”

“That is uncalled for and not what is going on here at all,” said Owens angrily. “Yes, Matthew is my brother. The truth is, I haven’t spoken to the man in years and even then we didn’t exactly part on the best of terms. So your concern that I may endanger this mission because I hold a favorable bias towards him are entirely unfounded. My primary concern is, as it has always been, is the safety and security of the Federation. If my personal connection with my brother will give us any kind of edge in achieving our mission, I’m determined to exploit it.”

Sandhurst and Aubrey remained unconvinced, judging by the dubious looks on their faces.

“How about an unfavorable bias?” said Aubrey.

“Excuse me?”

But Leone had heard enough. “This will be all, gentlemen. You have your orders. Director Altee has prepared a full intelligence package which has been sent to your respective ships. Make sure you review it in detail on your way to Bolarus. And good luck. Dismissed.”

Aubrey was the first to get out of his chair. “From the sounds of it, we’re going to need it,” he said under his breath and shooting Owens a fleeting, clearly disapproving glance.
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I'm still enjoying the second read on this.
Echoing my comments over at United Trek, I think the idea of an anti-dark matter weapon is especially cool.
Keep it coming!
An anti-dark matter planet buster weapon?!? Nope. Can't see anything good coming from that. And now from Admiral Leone: "However, if you are able to obtain it, our scientists would like to have a look at it. Perhaps there are other applications for the prototype we have yet to discover.” - Sure, like the ability to cause the entire quadrant to be sucked into a giant black hole. Add in the obvious mix of divergent agendas and the Owens brothers quandary and we have the makings of a royal mess.
[Kirk]Sounds like fun![/Kirk] :D
'Anti-dark matter weapon'? 'Alpha weapons'?

Holy crap, we're in a broken galaxy with this one. But I like it. It offers up some 'What If?s' and shows a different side to the characters and ships. I'm curious to see how the rest of the United Trek universe is involved in this story. Will we see any other ships and crews? Just asking for my own curiosity.
Hi guys, thanks for reading and commenting. As always, greatly appreciated.

As for more UT crews, we might see one or two more in coming chapters. Stay tuned.
05/10 – “Whoever Draws First Blood...” (Part 1)

“Captain, we are approaching the Mutara Nebula,” said Lieutenant Stanmore from operations.

“Ensign Srena, drop us out of warp and head for the rendezvous point, maximum impulse,” said Owens.

“Aye, sir, dropping to impulse.”

From the panel in the armrest of his chair, Owens accessed the viewscreen controls to give him a split screen on the viewer, the swirling blue, purple and red of the nebula ahead and the Gibraltar and Intrepid just behind them, following Eagle towards the nebula.

The screen began to flicker with increased intensity the closer to the nebula they got, as the sensors were having a progressively difficult time to compensate for the static discharges and the high concentration of ionized gasses.

Owens glanced towards the tactical station. “Jose, do you have the Sacajawea?”

The man shook his head. “Negative, no sign of her on sensors.”

The captain frowned. “Must be the interference.”

“I’m not sure that’s what it is, sir,” Carlos said. “Sensors are affected by the nebula but all readings indicate that there are no other starships present within ten million kilometers of the rendezvous position.”

Stanmore agreed. “Confirmed, sir. She’s not here. We should be able to see her at this distance, even with the interference.”

He noticed an incoming transmission from the Gibraltar and activated the line which automatically opened a three-way channel to the Intrepid as well. “Where is she?” asked Sandhurst

“Obviously not here,” said Aubrey before Owens had the chance. “Maybe she decided to start without us.”

“I wouldn’t put that past her at all,” said Sandhurst. “Star has a reputation for being a bad team player. Probably got bored of waiting and is halfway to Panea already.”

Owens considered that for a moment. “Donald, did they outfit Gibraltar with a Sub-Quantum Mass Array?”

Yes, all Luna-class ships have them now. Was supposed to give us a real edge in deep space exploration. Not that we’ll ever get an occasion to use it.”

“Here’s your chance to see what it can do,” said Owens. “I’m willing to bet it’ll cut right through this muck.”

“I don’t like it,” said Aubrey. “That array is bound to light up the nebula like a Christmas tree. In case you had forgotten, this is supposed to be a covert operation.”

Owens shook his head even though none of his fellow captains were able to see this through the audio-only link. “We’re a good two and half light-years from Bolarus, this won’t register as much more than a blimp on their long-range sensors, if that. Not enough to even warrant an investigation.”

“Still a risk,” said Aubrey.

“I’d rather take it than sit here twiddling my thumbs until Star deigns us with her presence. Or worse, if she’s gone rogue and is trying to go it alone, I want to know before she gets too far.”

The other two captains didn’t respond straight away as they were considering Owens’ request. As far as he was concerned they were taking too long, after all he had seniority over the other two men and as long as Star, who had been placed in operational command of the mission was unaccounted for, he was in command of the task force. “Do it, Donald.”

There had clearly been some tension and disagreements between him and the two other captains during their initial mission brief but both men were professional enough to put those feelings aside.

“Activating the array now,” said Sandhurst.

Owens watched the Gibraltar closely on the screen. Her deceptively small, oval shaped deflector dish mounted at the very front of her engineering section flashed brightly for a few moments. Glancing at his sensor readouts, he could see a powerful energy reading coming from the Luna-class starship which lasted less than five seconds and then disappeared again in time for her bright-blue deflector to return back to its ordinary intensity.

“We’re definitely not alone out here,” said Sandhurst. “We read at least three vessels in close—what the hell?”

The exclamation from the normally levelheaded Sandhurst caused Owens alarm. “Donald, what’s happening? What do you see?”

“Sir, I’ve got her,” said Stanmore instead. “Sacajawea. She’s … right off our port bow. Less than six-thousand kilometers.”

This surprised Owens even more but the viewer quickly shifted to provide proof positive of the presence of another Starfleet ship. “Where’d she come from?”

Stanmore shook his head. “I am not sure, sir. Sensors picked up a strong energy reading just moments ago. Could be a warp signature.”

“What in the name of the Seven Hells do you think you are doing?” Tazla Star’s voice boomed across Eagle’s bridge, and her face appeared on an inset on the top right corner of the screen. The red-haired Trill looked as angry as she had sounded as she glared at Owens and very likely the other two starship captains as well.

It was a breach of long-established etiquette in Starfleet, an unwritten rule, to communicate with other ships this intrusively, without so much as hailing them first. Owens believed in etiquette and felt his own anger rising. He stood from his chair. “Perhaps you would like to clue as in as to what is going on here and where exactly you’ve come from?”

“You may have just endangered this entire mission,” Star shot back without addressing Owens’ questions at all. “The Guardians have ships nearby and you just gave them our position and our numbers.”

“She’s right,” said Sandhurst. “We’ve detected two other ships within the nebula. The array identified them as the Bluefin and the Orion.”

“I knew they were close by,” said Tazla Star as she seemed to consider this, looking away for a moment. “Damn it. Good news is they can’t get a signal out from within the nebula but they are doubtlessly already trying to get clear.” Her piercing green eyes looked back up. “We don’t have much time. Intrepid will be with me, we’re going after the Orion. Eagle, you and Gibraltar take the Bluefin. They use these ships for border patrol duties, they are not heavily armed. Catch up to them and stop them. No matter the cost. Star out.”

With that her face disappeared from the screen again.

“Sir, the Sacajawea is moving away at high speed,” said Stanmore but Owens could see that on the viewer.

He was struggling to keep his anger in check about what had just happened. He was not used to be spoken to in this manner, especially not by a peer who had less command experience than he did. For now there was nothing else he could do, she was in charge and he would follow her orders.

He noticed all his officers having turned his way with expectant glances.

Michael Owens took the captain’s seat again, suppressing the urge to utter a sigh. “You’ve heard her. Set course for Bluefin’s position and engage at maximum speed.”

* * *​

Captain Jason Aubrey stepped onto the secondary bridge of his highly-upgraded Excelsior-class starship, preferring to run operations from the more securely nestled auxiliary command center on deck five, instead of from the much more exposed main bridge on deck one, particularly if their mission was likely to involve combat.

“Did you find her?” he said with little preamble, addressing Lieutenant Commander Shantok, his Vulcan/Betazoid operations officer and de facto XO.

The graceful woman swiveled her chair away from the operations console to face the captain, she tended to stay at her station even when she had the bridge. “There is a high probably that we have identified the Orion. The vessel we are pursuing is traveling at high impulse towards the outer edge of the nebula. Her energy signature is consistent with that of a Constellation-class starship, however we are unable to determine with one hundred percent accuracy that the vessel in question is in fact the Orion.”

“Ballpark it for me,” he said. “What’s the likelihood we’re tracking the right ship?”

Shantok didn’t need to think about the question. “Ninety-four point eight percent.”

Aubrey smirked. “I think we’ll take that.” He turned towards the tactical station next and walked over to his security chief. “What do we know about the Orion, Adol?”

The Andorian lieutenant was equally prepared. “As the Commander has pointed out, she’s a Constellation-class, at lest sixty year old.”

“Don’t knock her because she’s got some mileage on her,” said the captain. “Intrepid isn’t exactly a spring chicken herself.”

The security chief shook his head. “This is different. According to our records the Orion hasn’t seen a full upgrade in nearly ten years and it is highly unlikely the Guardians have been able to do much with her either. Makes sense that she’s been relegated to border patrol and courier missions. If it comes to a fight, we’ll end it quickly, even in this soup.”

“Rather not let it come to one.”

“You know me, Captain. Rather be over-prepared.”

Aubrey nodded and walked to his chair which was positioned at the center of the bridge by itself. “Where’s Star’s ship?”

“We lost contact with the Sacajawea about twenty-two minutes ago,” said Shantok. “Her last known position placed her sixty-two point five million kilometers from our location.”

“We don’t need her for this,” said Adol.

Aubrey took his seat. “I still would rather know where she is. Keep and eye out for her, Commander. How long until we intercept Orion?”

“At our current speed we will intercept in nine minutes and twenty-three seconds,” said Shantok.

“Who is in command over there?”

“That would be Commander Reihyn according to our records,” said Adol. “We don’t have much on him. Distinguished himself in the later years of the Borg War, served on the Kukri and received a battlefield promotion to commanding officer.”

Aubrey nodded. “A man who has seen his share of battles.”

Shantok turned to face him. “This can likely be said for a great number of Starfleet officers, on either side, who are alive today.”

“Yeah,” he said. “Mister Adol, hail the Orion, please.”

The security chief responded after just a few moments. “No joy. Does not look like they want to talk to us.”

“Not planning on giving them a say in the matter. Open a channel.”

“Channel open.”

“Attention Orion. This is Captain Aubrey on the USS Intrepid. You are hereby instructed to come about and power down your engines immediately.” He shot a glance at Adol who shook his head. Aubrey pressed a control on his armrest to mute the connection. “At their present speed, how long until they clear the nebula and are free to broadcast.”

“Eighteen minutes, thirty-nine seconds,” said Shantok without even consulting her instruments.

Aubrey un-muted the channel. “Let’s dispense with the usual hot air and empty threats, Captain Reihyn. We both know what’s going on here. You know I can’t let you clear the nebula and you also know that you have no chance of getting out of range of my weapons before you can alert your friends. I’d rather not let this get ugly. Tell you what, you come about and surrender peacefully, and I make sure we work something out.”

Adol smirked. “Got their attention now, sir. He’s hailing us.”

“On screen.”

The face of a humanoid Rigellian man, relatively young for a starship captain, appeared on the screen. “Captain Aubrey?”

“The very same. Captain Reihyn, I presume.”

He nodded. “So very gracious of you, Captain, that you would allow us a chance to surrender. Within our own territory no less.”

“I don’t think we should get into territorial questions here. My government doesn’t acknowledge yours or the territory you claim, nor does yours acknowledge mine. Let’s just keep the politics out of this.”

“Very well, more than happy to do that. Never saw myself of much of a politician anyway,” said Reihyn.

“I can make certain reassurances to you and your crew if you were to surrender. The alternative, I’m afraid to say—and I won’t mince words—is for me to order opening fire on your ship. I won’t hesitate to give that order but I’d rather get out of here without bloodshed.”

Reihyn uttered a little mirthless laugh. “You truly expect me to believe that? It’s been barely a week since the last fight between our two respective sides. Why should I trust that you show any more restraint than your fellow peers?”

“I can’t speak for my fellow peers, Captain, I can only speak for myself. And I don’t prefer to settle matters with violence. I’m Old Guard, I believe in a Federation that can find peaceful solutions to its problems.”

The Rigellian looked unconvinced. “You forgive me if I question your peaceful intentions while you are amassing a task force inside a nebula just a couple of light-years from Bolarus.”

“Wouldn’t call this a task force, Captain. Certainly not enough for an invasion if that’s what you fear.”

He shook his head. “No, but maybe something just as nefarious.”

Aubrey noticed Shantok turning to him and mouthing a few words. He knew exactly what she was telling him. Orion was getting closer and closer to the point of no return. “I admire your attempt to buy yourself time, Captain, I really do. But you understand that I cannot allow that. We’ll be in weapon’s range in less than two minutes and I intend to cripple your ship unless you have come to a full stop by that time. I will instruct my gunner to try and avoid critical hits but we both know that there is no guarantee to that. And the harder you make this for us, the greater the chance people will die.”

“Is this the point where you’ll tell me that any casualties resulting from this will be on my head?”

Aubrey shook his head. “No. I fully accept responsibility for any and all casualties you may to incur in such a scenario. I will have to live with that,” he said and then leaned forward in his chair. “But let me make something very clear to you, Captain. I’m not proud of it, but I have done far worse in my time.”

Reiyhn nodded slightly. “I think I believe that at the very least.”

“I’m not one for ultimatums but you have just one minute left to decide how this will play out.”

“This is a difficult position you are putting me in, Captain Aubrey.”

He nodded, understandingly. “I appreciate that. And I wish I didn’t have to. I wish a lot of things were different.”

“So do I,” said Reiyhn and seemed momentarily distracted, as if something else had caught his attention, something Aubrey couldn’t see. “It looks like you have made your play, Captain. A shame really, perhaps we could have worked something out.” And with that his face disappeared.

Aubrey was not a man easily confused, but he wasn’t entirely sure what had happened, not until Shantok spoke up. “Sensors have just detected Sacajawea, three-hundred thousand meters off the Orion’s starboard bow.”

Aubrey had no time to wonder about this.

“Sir, the Orion is opening fire on us,” Adol said.

“Full evasive actions, stand by to return fire.”

He noticed the two missiles flying their way but was fairly certain, based on their trajectory and speed within the less than optimal conditions inside the nebula, that they were not going to hit and therefore not cause significant damage even though their shields did not operate at full capacity due to the nebula’s interference. That was until they both suddenly erupted with bright flashes in quick succession, not only blinding him but rendering the already unreliable view screen completely inoperable.

“What just happened?”

“Massive EM burst from Orion’s torpedoes, multiple systems are affected and shutting down,” said Adol.

“I am compensating for the effects,” said Shantok.

And she did a good job too apparently as within just moments the view screen cleared up again, returning to the static-filled view of the red and blue nebula. The Orion however, was nowhere in sight. Instead the Sacajawea had appeared where the other ship had been before, heading straight for them.

“What happened, where’s the Orion?”

“No longer on sensors, sir,” said Adol.

“I am registering a debris field consistent with the size of a Constellation-class starship,” said Shantok.

That left Aubrey momentarily speechless.

“The Sacajawea is hailing us, sir,” said the security officer.

Aubrey activated the control on his armrest which immediately caused the image to shift to show Tazla Star. “Next time, Captain, don’t cut it so damn close. They launched a comm buoy the moment they triggered those rattrap torpedoes. We took care of the buoy but if we hadn’t been close, this whole mission would have been blown.”

Aubrey took a moment to respond. “What happened to her?”

“The Orion?”

“No, the other starship that was right under our nose a moment ago,” he said angrily. “Of course the Orion.”

Star shot him a piercing look, clearly not enjoying the sarcasm. “We took care of her as well.”

“There were over one-hundred people on that ship.”

The Trill looked annoyed. “I don’t care if there were one hundred or one thousand people. This mission is too important to let it be endangered by your ethical sensibilities, Captain. Or did Director Altee not sufficiently impress on you what is at stake if we fail in accomplishing this mission?” She didn’t wait for a response. “Let’s move out and rejoin Eagle and Gibraltar. Last thing I want is for them to drop the ball on this. We already came close to disaster once today. Star out.”

“Close to disaster,” Aubrey repeated to himself, looking over what little remained of the starship Orion.

“I would like you to note in your log, Captain,” said Adol. “I don’t like that woman. Don’t like her at all.”

Shantok turned from her station to look at Aubrey. “Sir, I think there is something you might want to see.”

* * *​
Geez, the Tazla Star of this universe is a cold one! :eek: Why not just take out Orion's engines rather than destroy the ship and the 100 plus souls on board. This doesn't bode well for the chances of re-unification of the two Starfleet factions.
And from whence did Sacajawea appear? Cloaking device? Transwarp Conduit? Some new stealth technology to confuse sensors? She certainly wasn't forthcoming about that, either. It would seem that Aubrey, Owens, and Sandhurst have a wild-card in the mix. I certainly don't envy them!
Star has always been a well written and intriguing character in the Prime universe, if not someone who got on my nerves from time to time. But you can always count on her to liven up a party!

Like LRS said, she's a wild-card and our AU heroes have their work cut out.
So who's the real enemy here?

The beauty of this story is we don't know for sure who to root for.
Holy crap, they blew up the Orion! I thought Star was tougher than tritanium but now... now I'll have to re-evaluate my position on her in this universe. It's a crazy, messed up universe and I like it!

BTW: Are the Guardians the same creatures who were also known as the Sphere-Builders? I just want to clarify, please.
Holy crap, they blew up the Orion! I thought Star was tougher than tritanium but now... now I'll have to re-evaluate my position on her in this universe. It's a crazy, messed up universe and I like it!

BTW: Are the Guardians the same creatures who were also known as the Sphere-Builders? I just want to clarify, please.

Hey thanks for reading. The Guardians is the term the faction Glover, Donners etc. support has chosen for themselves, opposing the Preservers faction.