The Star Eagle Adventures VI: Semper Fidelis

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by CeJay, Sep 15, 2014.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006

    Star realized in the last tale that she's pretty much out of options regarding her future on Eagle and in Starfleet. She needs to take back control or it's over for her. Thankfully Katanga is around to help out.

    I freely admit that the idea came to me via DarKush who had a story with a war correspondent on board a Starfleet ship as well. It was an excellent idea which I'm taking into a different direction here.

    Thanks for reading and commenting.
  2. IreneAdler

    IreneAdler Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ashburn, VA
    Chapter 1 Review:

    It's interesting to see how different people react to news like the ending of a war. Of course, there's always the press, who will try to find a story, a spin, a scoop, or whatever else they can out of anything that happens. Something tells me out intrepid "heroes" aren't going to be too happy with him soon.
  3. IreneAdler

    IreneAdler Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ashburn, VA
    Chapter 2 Review:

    There are a lot of themes in here that I really enjoy. I love the relationship between host and symbiont, and how it can be hard to tell where one's motivations end and the other's begin. I love the fight for redemption after committing acts that had gotten others killed. I also really like the concept of an addictive substance being used to force a sense of community in those whose selfish natures would prevent such an arrangement from forming naturally. I'm really curious to see where you take this.
  4. IreneAdler

    IreneAdler Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ashburn, VA
    Chapter 3 Review:

    Ooooh, someone is treading in dangerous waters. If there is one thing that is more damaging than any enemy, it's confronting the person who you used to be. I can only hope one of them warns Star so she at least knows what is coming her way.
  5. IreneAdler

    IreneAdler Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ashburn, VA
    Chapter 4 Review:

    Oh man, I have always wanted to somehow incorporate Pirates of Penzance into a piece of Trek fiction, and I am so glad that you had an optimal opportunity to do so.

    I'm glad that Nora made the right decision and told Star. Hopefully Star is able to get out of this mess more or less unscathed.
  6. IreneAdler

    IreneAdler Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ashburn, VA
    Chapter 5 Review:

    I'm confused by their Cardassian visitor's candor, and it makes me instantly distrust him. Cardassians just aren't the sort to volunteer information, particularly regarding their weaknesses.

    I sympathize with Leva. There's nothing worse than showing up somewhere and no one seeming to know why you're there. Hopefully he isn't in for a rude surprise when he finally learns where he is going.
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006

    “Thank you for seeing me. Please have a seat.” Tazla Star pointed Atticus West to the chairs facing her desk as he stepped into her office before she took a seat herself.

    The tall reporter sat down opposite the Trill first officer. “I wouldn’t have dreamed of turning down such an offer.”

    “You are a man easily pleased.”

    “To see the famous Tazla Star in action. That’s no small thing.”

    She regarded him carefully, trying to determine if he was being sarcastic but then realized that he was too good at hiding his true nature. That he had an angle, she already knew. She decided to move on for now. “I haven’t had a chance yet to properly talk to you since you arrived on board. I trust you have settled in alright and that you have been treated well?”

    He nodded slightly. “I won’t complain. I’ve been on other Starfleet ships and so far this crew has been one of the least hostile to me or my profession.”

    “I’m glad to hear that. We do like to accommodate our guests as must as possible.”

    “In that case, I would appreciate if you could talk to the captain. I’ve been trying to schedule an interview with him for a good week now and have not heard back.” He wore a little smile as he spoke.

    “The captain is a very busy man.”

    “One would assume that now that the war is over, a lot less so.”

    “I’ll see what I can do.”

    “That’s all I ask,” he said. “In the meantime, how about you grant me an interview instead?” He produced a small padd from the inside of the sleeveless vest he wore. He placed it on the desk and Star noticed from the small, flashing red light on its display that it had been set to record.

    She leaned forward and tapped the panel that would stop the recording. “I’m afraid I wouldn’t make a very interesting subject.”

    “I’m not so sure.”

    Star leaned back again. “You have a hell of a story right here on this ship, Mister West. Peace. After two years of grueling warfare you get a chance to report on what this really means to the hundreds of people who were right in the thick of things. I can make sure that you have unparalleled access to the crew. Maybe even to the captain.”

    She didn’t miss the little gleam in his eye and for a moment she thought he’d take the bait. “To tell you the truth, Commander, it’s not a story I’m all that interested in anymore. There are only so many variations of the theme. Everyone’s relieved, everyone’s glad it’s all over and everyone’s looking forward to see family and friends again. And some are saddened at the reflection of how much has been lost. It’s hardly headline grabbing news.”

    Star frowned. “It’s reality. It’s the true emotional state of this crew, maybe even of the entire Federation at this moment in time. Somebody needs to capture it.”

    “And I’m sure somebody will.”

    “I don’t understand you, Mister West. I can’t imagine that your readers wouldn’t be interested in reading about this.”

    West pushed himself forward in his his chair as if he was about to pass along great wisdom. “I’ll let you in on a little secret of journalism, Commander. The readers don’t always know what they are interested in. They don’t know what they want until they hold it in their hands.”

    “And what is it they want, Mister West?”

    “They want scandal. They want to be shocked. They don’t realize it but they want somebody to bring them the buried truth. That what others are trying to keep hidden.”

    Star moved back to keep her distance. “Is that what they want or what you want? Perhaps you are just hoping to add a few more awards to the ones you’ve received after breaking that Federation Council story. When was that again? Three years ago? Four?” She had a little smirk dancing on her lips.

    He easily mirroring her expression. “Commander, surely you are above such petty insults. Why don’t we stop playing this little game of ours and say what’s really on our mind.”

    “And what would that be?”

    “You haven’t had the slightest inclination to meet me, or as much as exchange more than a couple of words with me, ever since I’ve been on board. Why all the sudden interest in my work, Commander?”

    “I’m a curious sort.” She offered him that kind of smile they both knew was fake.

    “You found out I’m planning on writing a story about you, didn’t you?”

    She shrugged. “There’s really no story to tell. Why would I be interested in that?”

    His smile widened. “Oh, everything’s a story, Commander. And you are a most fascinating person. I’ve looked into it. A few years ago you were a young and rising starship captain. And then suddenly and for no apparent reason you go off the reservation, disobey direct orders and in the process get a whole lot of people killed.”

    Star wanted to object right then and there but he beat her to it.

    “Yes, I know, the court martial found that you were not directly responsible for any of the deaths but everybody knows that they were on your hands. Somebody pulled strings behind the scenes. You lost your rank and your command, got thrown in prison and after just a couple of years you make an astonishing comeback. Now, you tell me there’s no story there.”

    Star shrugged once more. “I made a mistake. People got killed and I had to pay the price. That’s all.”

    His intense eyes drilled into hers almost as if he tried to look right through her. “We both know there’s much more to it than that. Starfleet classified most of the details about your little rogue mission that led to all this. I wonder why? I get why they’d release you from the stockade temporarily when the war started to become nasty but they put you in the Border Service as an administrator. Hardly an essential position. And after that you become first officer on a starship that didn’t really need one, certainly not with other ships hurting for experienced officers. And let me ask you something else. Now that the war is over, will you go back to serve the rest of your sentence?”

    Taza Star hoped he couldn’t tell but she was fuming inside. West had really done his homework and considering how much of her file had been classified, mostly thanks to the powerful people she had used to work for, this could not have been easy. It also meant he had firmly set his eyes on her and that story she insisted didn’t really exist. “Not while there is a stop-loss order still in effect.” It was a lame response and she knew it.

    “And what happens after?”

    “I don’t know.”

    He nodded. “Funny, of most of the things you’ve said, that’s about the only thing I believe. Now how about you tell me the truth about the rest of it?”

    She felt her anger rising again and judging by his somewhat satisfied expression, he knew that he was getting to her. She reached for the padd and slid it across the desk until it was out of his immediate reach. “There is no truth to tell, Mister West.”

    He stood then. “You know what, I’m actually thankful you said that. In my line of work a certain degree of adversity makes for a much better story. It’ll be just so much more satisfying once I dig out the truth myself.” He headed towards the door.

    Tazla Star followed suit and left her chair. “Mister West.”

    He turned. “Is this the part where you threaten me to let this go or else? Don’t bother, your friend the security chief already tried that and if that woman couldn’t intimidate me, I doubt you can. Face it, there’s nothing you can do to stop this. You want to throw me into a brig? Go ahead. Journalists are known to do their best work from inside a jail cell.” He was wearing a beaming grin now. “In the end though, the truth always has a tendency to come out. Oh and you can keep that.” He pointed at the padd on the desk. “I’ve got plenty more of those.” Then he turned and left.

    She stared at those closed doors for a moment longer before she angrily picked up that padd with her right hand and threw it across the room with more force than she had realized. The device shattered loudly against the opposite wall before the broken pieces landed on the floor.

    Sometimes she tended to forget how much strength she had in that hand thanks to the cybernetic replacement she had been fitted with after the injuries she had sustained in the very rogue mission he had alluded to. It remained a constant reminder of the sins of her past.

    She let herself fall back into her chair, desperately trying to come up with a way to stop West from using it to lay waste to her future.

    * * *​
  8. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    (Getting caught up. It's been a hectic two weeks.)

    Re: Chapter 4

    Interesting glimpse into the musings of Captain Owens as he considers the future and his crew with the war at an end. I think he waxes a bit melancholy realizing that not everything will remain the same, such as Leva's departure for an XO billet.

    The briefing was well-done. I liked the contrast between the grouchy CMO and the lighter toned banter (from "The Mikado," I believe?) Still, I have a feeling that this mission will be far from a simple, "Hey, the war's over; who wants ice cream?"

    Glad to see Nora give Tazla a head's up over the inquisitive reporter. Very decent of her.
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006

    When he had woken up at around 0600 hours, the first thing Leva had done was to check the computer terminal in his compact room. To his disappointment it contained no messages.

    Unwilling to stare at the bulkheads for the rest of the day, he took a quick shower and got dressed. He had played with the idea of going for his morning run but considering the small size of Gamma Seven, he had quickly disregarded the idea. And according to the computer terminal the facility didn’t have much of a gym either.

    So instead he decided to go and explore.

    It was a decision he quickly came to regret. There was really nothing worth seeing on the outpost other than cramped corridors and small rooms. Worse even, he seemed to be in the way wherever he went. The back and forth movement of cargo had appeared to have continued into the night and was still in progress even in the early morning hours.

    He had shortly attempted to get in touch with Gamma Seven’s commanding officer or other senior personnel but apparently none had the time to spare to entertain him and he certainly didn’t feel to interrupt their busy schedules.

    So after less than an hour, he had already seen more of the outpost than he cared for and had returned to his quarters.

    On approach he noticed a Bolian woman having stepped up to the doors leading to his cabin and using the annunciator. “Looking for me?”

    The blue-skinned, bald-headed officer with a small but noticeable ridge splitting her face evenly turned around. She wore a mustard-colored operations shirt under her jacket and two full pips on her collar identified her as a lieutenant. Leva figured her to be in her mid-twenties at the most and actually quite attractive with a hint of facial makeup which brought out her hazel eyes.

    “Lieutenant Commander So’Dan Leva?”

    “That’s me.”

    “I’m Lieutenant Marjorie Alendra. I’m here to escort you to the ship, sir.”

    “What ship?”

    “The Sacajawea, sir.” She spoke in such a manner as if it should have been a forgone conclusion.

    “And for what purpose, if I may ask.”

    She looked downright confused now. “So that you may begin your new assignment.”

    “On the Sacajawea?”

    She nodded. “Yes, sir.”

    “As first officer?”

    “Yes, sir. I’m sorry I thought you knew.”

    Leva frowned. “Lieutenant, other than being ordered to report here for a new assignment I haven’t been told anything at all.”

    Alendra seemed baffled. “I apologize. We were only told to expect you last night on our way here. I guess Starfleet is running a bit slow these days.”

    “Not your fault. And I guess you’re right. Let me get my things and then we can be on our way.”

    She nodded curtly and watched him disappear into his quarters.

    Less than a minute later he had reemerged with his carryall and the two of them were making their way towards the transporter room.

    “Communications in this sector have been spotty lately,” she said as they walked side by side or at least as much as they could manage considering their restricted surroundings. “It doesn’t help that Starfleet has mounted a massive relief and rebuilding effort in a hurry. They’re planning to erect multiple point stations over the next few weeks within what is now occupied Caradassian space. Much of the materiel is coming through here.”

    “That would certainly explain the rush and all the cargo.” He had to awkwardly attempt to get passed a crewmen pushing a packed anti-grav unit.

    She nodded. “And form the looks of it Gamma Seven has not been designed to handle this much volume. But I don’t think Starfleet has much choice at the moment.”

    He could not help but agree. “Is Sacajawea here to assist with the relief efforts in Cardassian space?”

    “We haven’t been issued orders yet.”

    Leva thought she sounded somewhat disappointed about this. He wasn’t surprised. From the sounds of it Starfleet needed all the ships it could get its hands on if it was serious with helping the Cardassians. It seemed somewhat odd that a perfectly fine ship which appeared available and in the right place at the right time was not being utilized. At least Leva hoped that she was perfectly fine.

    They beamed over onto the Sacajawea with little delay. Leva found the transporter room of fairly standard design. Larger than the one they had departed from but smaller than what he was used to on Eagle. It occurred to him then that he knew next to nothing about this ship. The name sounded familiar but he couldn’t immediately recall where he had heard it before. Had he been given a heads-up, he would have spent the last few days learning everything he could about his new assignment. As that had not been possible, he would have to play catch-up now. “Tell me about Sacajawea, Lieutenant.” They stepped out of the transporter room.

    He had expected her to light up a little when speaking about her ship but he could find no such excitement in her features or even her tone. “She’s a refitted New Orleans-class frigate. Sixteen years old. We currently have a crew of two hundred and five, including eighteen officers. Captain Evan Mahoney is in command. He’s been the commanding officer for about eighteen months or so. I’m the operations officer and have been on board for twelve. I’ve also filled in as the acting first officer for the last three months.”

    Leva took all this in. She wasn’t nearly as large as Eagle but still a decent little ship and ideal to gain experience as an XO. It also didn’t surprise him that she carried so few officers. It was a sign of the times. During war it was far easier to man ships with inexperienced enlisted men who could be rushed through basic training rather than officers who at average spent four years at the Academy before being ready to be deployed. In the same vein it wasn’t unusual for the few available officers to fill more than one position like Alendra had done.

    They stepped into the turbolift and she asked for the bridge.

    “What can you tell me about Captain Mahoney?”

    She hesitated answering that question, clearly not entirely comfortable with it. “To be honest, sir, I think it may be better if you make up your own mind about the captain. We’re heading for his ready room now.”

    That had not been a response Leva had expected from a member of the crew.

    They arrived on the bridge and at first glance Leva found it compact but functional with all the stations one would expect. The center featured only a single chair, for the captain, instead of the arrangement of multiple seats on Eagle’s bridge. For Leva this likely meant he’d have to do a lot of standing. He didn’t mind, he was used to it from his time as a tactical officer.

    Alendra walked him to within twenty feet of a set of crimson doors and then stopped and pointed. “That’s the ready room. The captain’s inside.”

    “You’re not coming?”

    She shook her head. “I don’t think that will be necessary.”

    “Very well then.” But before he could head out, she spoke up again.

    “Oh, and sir, welcome aboard.”

    He responded with a curt nod and noted the all too obvious relief in her eyes. He would have expected a little bit more reticence from the officer he had come to replace. But then again Alendra seemed young and perhaps quite happy to unload a burden she’d been asked to carry much too soon and probably looked forward to being able to return to her regular duties.

    She promptly turned and left, leaving Leva to approach the ready room.

    After using the annunciator, a disembodied voice allowed him entry.

    Inside he found that the lighting had been dimmed significantly compared to the rest of the ship. The office wasn’t much larger than to allow enough space for a desk, three chairs and an old-fashioned wooden cabinet standing in a corner. A small privacy alcove hinted at a secluded area to one side.

    Behind the desk sat Mahoney who was partially obstructed by the shadows created by the low light levels. Only when he leaned forward a bit was Leva able to fully see the man. He appeared to be in his mid-thirties, usually young for a starship captain but likely another sign of the times. He wore his hair buzz cut short along with a neat goatee which framed his slim mouth. His eyes seemed sunken and dark, especially in the low light conditions.

    “Commander Leva, please come in, come in. It’s good of you to finally arrive.”

    “Thank you, sir, it’s good to be here.”

    Mahoney uttered a little laugh and then reached for a glass on his table which contained an amber-colored liquid. He waved him closer with the other. “Please, sit down, let me have a look at you.”

    He did as requested.

    Mahoney took a swig from his wide glass, nearly emptying it. “Vulcan?”

    Many people had made this mistake thanks to his pointed ears and underdeveloped forehead ridges. “Part Romulan. My father was human.”

    He nodded. “Yes, you don’t sound Vulcan. You must have had a tough time with that kind of heritage.”

    It was not a subject he liked to dwell on. “I’ve had my share of challenges.”

    Mahoney seemed to understand and moved on. “Well, I’m certainly glad you decided to join us. A little surprised perhaps but glad nevertheless. Poor Marjorie has been doing her best but she lacks experience. Hell, she was just a jay-gee up until five months ago.”

    “May I ask why you are surprised that I’m here, sir?”

    He took his time to answer that question and then shrugged. “We’ve lost a lot of people during the war and I’ve been asking for new personnel for months now. All they’ve ever sent me are ratings too young to shave and a handful of ensigns who wouldn’t know the stern from the bow.” He emptied his glass. “Except for me, Marjorie and the good doctor are about the only officers on this ship with any kind of experience. A man with your record is desperately needed.”

    “I understand.”

    Mahoney reached for a bottle of whiskey on his desk but when he tried to pour some of it into his glass he found it to be empty. He stood and walked to the small corner cabinet and opened it. Inside Leva could spot at least half a dozen full bottles. Clearly Mahoney preferred his alcohol strong and non-replicated. “To be frank, the other reason I’m surprised, Commander, is that you would accept a position on this ship in first place.” He removed another bottle.

    “Starfleet did not advise me of the ship I was to be assigned to when they made the offer.”

    That caused Mahoney to throw back his head and laugh again but Leva had a hard time figuring out if it was born out of genuine amusement. “I’m sorry, Commander but this is just so typically Starfleet.” He walked back behind his desk. “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that they’d pull a stunt like that.” Mahoney poured himself another. “If they had told you what ship they wanted to send you to, I’m sure you would have thought twice about this transfer.”

    “Why do you say that, sir?”

    “Because this ship is a career killer, Commander.” He took a sip from his refilled glass. Then he leaned forward and over his desk a little bit, causing Leva to smell the whiskey on his breath. “We haven’t exactly distinguished ourselves during the war. Oh yes, we’ve bled for Starfleet but we haven’t really made much of a difference. And over the last few months we weren’t even good enough to take part in combat. Instead they had us running milk runs far removed from any kind of real danger. Mark my words, the powers that be want Sacajawea cast aside. Mothballed, maybe even scrapped for good.” He leaned back in his chair again, looking off into space for a moment. “I know they want me gone.”

    Leva refused to join Mahoney’s dejected mood. “With the heavy losses during the war, Starfleet will need every ship available. The reconstruction efforts in Cardassian space alone will require massive resources.”

    “I like your optimism, Commander.” Even though Mahoney seemingly didn’t agree with any of it.

    “Sir, they could have transferred me onto any ship in the fleet. They chose this one when they could have left matters well enough alone.”

    Mahoney shrugged, obviously not willing to have his views on this subject changed or accept any theory which didn’t easily fit into his own. “Far be it from me to try and discourage my new first officer on his first day on the job.” His smile looked forced. “Regardless what the future holds for me and this ship, we’ll carry on like good little Starfleet officers, won’t we?”

    “Yes, sir.”

    “Glad to hear it,” he said. “I guess you better go and get to know your new ship. I’m sure Marjorie has plenty of work she cannot wait to unload onto you.”

    It was clear he was being dismissed so Leva stood. “Understood, sir. I’d be happy to get started. And again, I’m glad to be here.”

    “We’ll see.”

    With that Leva left the ready room. Once outside he took a moment to consider Mahoney and all that he had said. He hadn’t expected his new commanding officer to be so different to Michael Owens, so seemingly dejected and uninspired and with seemingly little to no pride left for his ship or his crew. Even during their darkest days, Owens and the people under his command had never displayed such a level of apathy as Mahoney seemed to have surrendered himself to.

    But Leva refused to adopt such an attitude or feel sorry for himself for having abandoned a ship where he had come to take a certain degree of self-respect for granted. Instead he decided to see Sacajawea as a challenge. He was determined to do whatever was in his power to see the fortunes of this ship and crew turned into something everyone on board could be proud of once again.
  10. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Re: Chapter 5

    The Cardassian liaison officer is definitely a surprise. Still, considering their horrific losses, it makes sense that empty slots were quickly filled and promotions granted with dizzying speed. Gul Belore seems sincere, but appearances can be deceiving. Time will tell.

    As for So'Dan Leva, a word of advice - 'be careful what you wish for.'
  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    I LOVED the scene with the senior staff quoting lines from Pirates of Penzance in the middle of a mission briefing! It was an obviously cathartic release of wartime tension, coupled with a giddy sense of relief.

    Gods but Owens seemed saddled with the ghost of Leonard McCoy in the obstinate and opinionated Dr. Katanga. He needs to keep Star around just to cut the old codger off when he gets on a tear!

    This mission brings back the heady days following the end of the war, before anyone had an idea of how high a cost peace would come at. I have a nagging feeling that what awaits the crew at their destination will bring the horrors of the war home fully.

    Oh, and I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but of all the UT starships past and present, Michael Owens’ Eagle is the ship I’d have wanted to serve aboard. :)
  12. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Chapter 5 review:

    The Cardassian gul isn't what I'd anticipated... I'd expected some embittered battle-weary soldier with a chip on his shoulder. I hope this inexperienced greenhorn can make his countrymen see reason, otherwise much more blood may be spilled unnecessarily.

    Leva’s departure wasn’t the most poignant I’ve seen, but that’s to be expected after what everyone has endured for the past two years. Leva’s faced the age-old conundrum of whether to remain where he’s at home, or push ahead outside his comfort zone to seek his destiny elsewhere. He’s pragmatic enough to know his knowledge and experience make him a good executive officer candidate.

    Now he’s stuck on some backwater outpost where nobody seems to know what the hell is going on, or what’s in store for him.

    Hurry up and wait, soldier. Hurry up and wait. :rolleyes:
  13. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006


    Michael Owens stepped onto the bridge and noticed his first officer already sitting in her usual chair, next to his, seemingly studying a computer console. He took his seat and leaned over to her. “Commander?”

    She didn’t even react.

    “Commander?” He tried again, this time a little more forcefully and loud enough to cause Deen at operations to glance back at them curiously.

    The Trill looked his way and then when she had apparently realized that he had addressed her, blushed ever so slightly. “Sorry, sir, million miles away.”

    He frowned. “You’ve seemed distracted over the last few days. Anything I should be concerned about?”

    She quickly shook her head. “No, nothing. I’m fine. Honestly.”

    He wasn’t convinced. It hadn’t been that long ago that Michael had finally managed to convince himself to let her off the proverbial leash and to begin to show her more trust than what he had been able to afford her after she had first come aboard. And even though she had been on the ship for over a year now, he knew their relationship was still not as strong as the one he’d shared with her predecessor. It wasn’t at the level he was entirely comfortable with. Perhaps he had been spoiled by Edison, but he wanted his first officer to be an extension of himself, especially when it came to dealing with the crew. Sometimes he wasn’t quite sure if the reason they hadn’t managed to establish that kind of rapport yet was because he was unwilling to go the extra mile or if it was Star who refused to go it with him.

    However there was no doubt that she had worked hard over the last twelve months, maybe harder than anyone else on this ship and that she had earned to be a member of this crew despite whatever sins she had committed in her past life. She had redeemed herself in his eyes and he certainly wasn’t going to disregard her splendid track record on Eagle because of a couple of days she’d been less focused than usual.

    “Are you sure? I’m still waiting for that intelligence report you promised me.” Since Star had once worked for Starfleet Intelligence—albeit a rather shady part of the organization from what Owens understood—and still had a few contacts within SI, she had become his unofficial intelligence officer, often able to provide pertinent information faster and more reliably than if relying on official channels.

    Tazla Star was not a woman easily rattled and yet she looked downright embarrassed at her oversight. “I’m sorry, I’ve got it right here.” She picked up a padd and then worked her console to transfer the data before handing it over to the captain.

    Owens scanned the content but couldn’t find anything particularly interesting. “What are the highlights?”

    “We don’t have much on the Cardassians,” she said. “Starfleet believes that a Gul Metral has been left in charge of the military contingent after the Jem’Hadar and the Vorta pulled out. Their troop strength is estimated at about fifty thousand Cardassian soldiers, similar to the number of Starfleet Marines stationed there.”

    Owens scrolled through the report until he found the sparse details it contained on the Cardassian officer in command. “What do we know about Metral?”

    She shook her head. “Not much. He’s a career military man from a wealthy family on Cardassia Prime. He’s been serving in the Twelfth Order pretty much all his adult life and made a name for himself during the Klingon-Cardassian War.”

    “Was our guest able to shed some more light on him?”

    “Can’t say that he has. Belore has never met the man and only knows him by reputation which is not particularly noteworthy.”

    Owens wasn’t surprised, by his own admission, Tevor Belore was not likely to have travelled in the same circles as Gul Metral. Perhaps Belore’s concerns that he wasn’t going to be very useful on this mission were appropriate after all.

    “Now I did dig up quite a bit on General Lam.”


    “For one thing I was able to find out the answer to the question as to why Starfleet would continue to invest manpower and resources to fighting a ground war on a planet with seemingly little strategic value. It seems it’s mostly thanks to Lam himself who has been able to convince Command over and over again that giving up on Valeria would be a grave mistake. And the man seems to have enough clout with the powers that be to have had his way. The general has some very important and influential friends back on Earth including a relative who works within the administration. Among senior officials the Valeria campaign has gained the nickname Lam’s War.”

    Owens did not like the sound of that. He turned to look at DeMara Deen who had been listening in. “What’s so important about Valeria to dedicate so many men and resources to it? What do we know about the planet?”

    Deen was prepared. “Valeria is a class-M planet in a binary star system with a mostly temperate to tropical climate. Its a warp civilization with a grade six on the industrial scale which places it roughly a century behind current Federation technology levels. The planet is sparsely populated and is not a major supplier of resources. However the Valerians are very active and important in the interstellar trading community in this sector, trading with both the Cardassians and the Federation. They have attempted to remain neutral with both.”

    He looked back at Star who nodded in agreement with Deen’s report. “They signed a non-aggression pact with the Dominion before the war broke out. When it did, its location close to Cardassian and Federation space made it a possible invasion route into Federation space but after just a few months the war moved elsewhere and Valeria was mostly left alone.”

    “Except for Lam and Gul Metral,” said Owens. “So have they been fighting their own private little war all this time?”

    She nodded. “I believe so. Certainly since the Dominion pulled out and both sides stopped actively supporting it.”

    “That’s just great.”

    The doors to the forward turbolift opened to allow Doctor Elijah Katanga to step onto the bridge. Michael doubted that it was a mere social visit. Katanga had made it very clear ever since coming onboard that he wanted to play a much greater role on Eagle than Doctor Wenera had ever done and the captain had gotten used to Katanga spending some of his time on the bridge. And on occasion he even welcomed the input of the most veteran officer serving on his ship. Of course there were equal amounts of occasions when he wished he could keep his observations to himself. Michael had found it difficult to tell one of Starfleet’s living legends to shut up. Not that he thought it would do much good.

    “Doctor.” He offered him a nod as he made himself comfortable in the chair to his left. “What brings you up here?”

    “We’re about to arrive at Valeria and I’d like to be here when we get to break the good news.” He had a smirk on his face.

    Katanga had the uncanny ability to show up on the bridge just before something important was about to happen. Owens had come to think of him as an omen. And not always of good news.

    Culsten spoke up from the helm. “Captain, we are approaching the Valeria system.”

    Owens exchanged a quick look with Star, once again surprised how well Katanga had been able to set his clock to match up with ship events. Then he stood. “Slow to impulse once we enter the system and set a course for Valeria Prime.” He glanced back at Star. “Please ask Mister Belore and Major Wasco to join us on the bridge. With any luck we’ll be able to resolve this mission in just a few minutes.”

    Her response was not an expression of optimism and learning everything she had told him, he could hardly blame her.

    “Dee, what’s happening around the planet?”

    She promptly consulted her board. “Very little. But I’m detecting a number of defense satellites in orbit. Both of Federation and Cardassian design.”

    Star nodded after she had summoned the two men to the bridge. “That’s all that’s left. Starfleet as well as the Dominion took all ships and most orbital facilities with them when they pulled out.”

    “They didn’t pull out everything, obviously.” Katanga sported a frown now. “What insanity to fight over something nobody really wants.”

    “It’s war, Doctor.” Owens spoke without looking at the man. “Most of it tends to be rather insane.”

    “Well, the war is over,” he shot back. “Time for those kids to get with the program.”

    “Couldn’t agree more.” Owens looked back towards Deen. “Do the satellites pose any danger to us?”

    “The Cardassian ones would be if we were to stray too close. Friend-or-foe detection on ours has already kicked in and we are not being targeted by those.”

    He nodded and glanced towards tactical and for a moment expecting So’Dan Leva to stand watch there. Then he quickly remembered that the Romulan had left the ship and in his stead he found Junior Lieutenant Trinik manning that post. A final decision about Leva’s permanent replacement had not yet been made but for now the Vulcan was the next highest ranking tactical officer and it made sense that he would step up to fill that position. “Mister Trinik, are we able to hail the planet from here?”

    “Negative. Sensors are detecting significant interference emanating from the planet’s surface. I am not certain we will be able to open reliable communications at all.”

    “How are we going to break the good news if we can’t even talk to them?” Deen looked at the doctor who quickly nodded, recognizing the dilemma.

    Just then the turbolift deposited their Cardassian guest along with science officer Xylion and Major Wasco onto the bridge.

    Owens regarded Xylion first. “Commander, we’re having some trouble communicating with the planet’s surface. See what you can do, please.”

    He offered a curt nod while he headed towards the Science I station at the aft part of the bridge. “I have already expected this complication. A ground war of this magnitude is likely to depend heavily on communications and transporter jammers in order to achieve a tactical advantage over the enemy.” He took his seat and began to work. “I have formulated a number of theories as how we may be able to circumvent scattering fields blocking our communication attempts.”

    Katanga rolled his eyes. “Sure, let’s fight a horrible ground battle and while we’re at it let’s take away all means to talk to each other. I’m starting to like this place less and less.”

    “Now entering standard orbit around Valeria.” Culsten was experienced enough to know that this would have been the captain’s next order and had taken the initiative. “I’m keeping us well away from those nasty little Cardassian weapon platforms.”

    Owens nodded and regarded the screen where the large green and blue orb filled out most of the space now. At first glance the planet reminded him a little bit of Earth. Upon closer inspection however it was clear this world was smaller, with fewer landmasses and heavier cloud cover. From about six hundred fifty miles from the surface the planet seemed peaceful with no indication at all that a terrible ground war had ravaged this world for nearly two years.

    The captain looked at his two guests who had joined him in the command area at the center of the bridge, finding both men appearing fairly confident even if Belore had already warned him of his perceived low chances of success. Of course that wouldn’t stop Owens from trying.

    Wasco with his strong and square jaw looked as stone-faced as ever. Owens couldn’t quite shake the feeling however that he was trying to keep his distance from the Cardassian. No surprise considering the Marine had fought his kind up until a week ago. “Gentlemen, as soon as we are able to open communications you’re up. I’ll speak with General Lam myself but I think it be best if you stay close Major and jump in if you feel it necessary.”

    He nodded curtly in response.

    He glanced at Belore. “As for Gul Metral, it may be best if you address him yourself.”

    “Certainly, Captain.”

    “Sir.” The science officer turned from his console. “I’ve been able to boost our communications grid to make contact with the Cardassian system and we should be able to open a channel. It might not be very reliable but it should be stable enough to allow for a two-way audio/visual signal for up to three minutes.”

    Star shot the Vulcan a quizzical look. “How about our side?”

    “The Marines are employing a more sophisticated jamming system and it will take longer to attempt to circumvent it.” Xylion focused back on his station, no doubt in order to work on a way to open a channel to the Federation presence on Valeria.

    Katanga’s frown seemed to be edged onto his face now. “You’d think our people would make it easier for us to talk to them.”

    Owens felt similar but decided not to wait. “Very well, we’ll start with Metral in the meantime.” He glanced at Trinik. “Lieutenant, hail them and advise that we have a Cardassian military representative onboard who needs to urgently speak with Gul Metral.”

    The tactical officer nodded and tended to his controls.

    Owens glanced at Belore. “Are you ready?”

    “As ready as I’ll ever be, I suppose.”

    They had to wait nearly five minutes for a response and when Metral finally appeared on the view screen, the channel was heavily distorted and flickering as if it was about to collapse at any moment.

    Belore took a step towards the screen regardless. “Greetings Gul Metral. I am Gul Belore and I have come to advise you that the war between the Federation and the Dominion has formally ended. A treaty has been signed three days ago and hostilities have come to a close.”

    The man on the screen didn’t seem to respond to this, he hardly even moved.

    “Metral, can you hear me?”

    “Yes, I can hear you.” His voice came across as distorted as his image. “Who did you say you are?”

    “Gul Tevor Belore, assigned to the Ninth Order. What’s left of it.”

    “I’ve never heard of you before.”

    Belore nodded. “As you can imagine, Cardassia is in turmoil at the moment. We have suffered heavy losses. Regretfully I was the only military officer available at short notice to come here. I’ve only been a gul for a brief time. But that doesn’t change the situation. The war is over and we’re here to make sure the fighting on Valeria comes to an end accordingly.”

    “That’s just like the Dominion.” Metral practically spat as he spoke, showing little love for his former allies. “They pull out of here with all their men and equipment, telling me to keep fighting but haven’t sent me a shred of support since. If the war really is over, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were the last to be told about it.”

    Owens exchanged a quick and encouraging look with Star. Metral seemed to be willing to listen.

    On screen the channel flickered out completely for half a second before coming back on.

    Xylion glanced towards the captain. “We are likely to lose this signal shortly.”

    Belore understood. “Gul, we are having trouble keeping this channel open. If you could disable your comm jammers, we might be able to discuss this over a more stable connection.”

    But Metral seemed to be concerned by something else altogether. “You have arrived here on a Federation starship? What does this mean? Have we lost the war?”

    Belore didn’t respond straight away but glanced at Owens instead, not entirely sure apparently how to breach that particular subject. The captain prompted him to continue. “The Dominion forces have surrendered to the Federation following a siege of Cardassia Prime.”

    Metral leaned back in his chair, and taking far too much time to take in this information, considering the unstable connection. “You are putting me into a difficult position here, you understand this, don’t you? I’ve never even heard your name before today and you come here on a Starfleet ship telling me the war is over and that we have surrendered to the Federation. I suppose next you’ll tell me to surrender myself to Lam. How do I know this is true? How do I know you’re not part of Damar’s Rebellion I’ve heard about?”

    It was a good point, Owens had to admit. Gul Damar, the former leader of the Cardassian Union had indeed rebelled against the Dominion and had even received Federation support for his efforts. The Dominion and the new Cardassian leadership had naturally spun Damar’s action into a rebellion against Cardassia itself and the uprising had initially failed. Metral probably hadn’t learned of that outcome yet or of any of the other events which had transpired after, including the Dominion’s harsh retribution against Cardassia and its eventual surrender.

    “We have copies of the official records we’ll be able to transmit to you. But I’m not asking you to surrender, Metral. All we want is a cease fire until you are able to verify what we have said.”

    Owens was pleasantly surprised at Belore’s approach and remembered that he had claimed to have been a diplomat before being drafted into the military.

    “What’s Lam got to say about all this?”

    Owens stepped forward. “We have not yet been able to contact General Lam but we expect to do so shortly. He has no reason to mistrust us and I would expect he would agree to an immediate cease fire as well.”

    Metral uttered a short little laugh. “Clearly you don’t know Lam.” He continued before Belore or Owens could respond. “I might be willing to entertain the notion of a cease fire if Lam agrees. But until then I shall not move a single man from the front lines. I will not take that kind of risk. Contact me again when—“ The channel cut out for good and Metral was gone, once again replaced by the image of the slowly spinning planet.

    Deen offered a little nod. “That went better than I would have expected.”

    “Contrary to what you might have heard, Lieutenant,” said Belore. “Cardassians can be reasonable people.”

    “All we need to do now is get Lam to agree to a cease fire and half our job here is done.” Owens found his science officer again. “Commander?”

    “I have found a way to communicate with the Federation embassy on Valeria which functions as General Lam’s headquarters.”

    The captain gave Trinik the go ahead.

    Within a few moments a middle-aged man, apparently thin and with short white hair appeared on the screen. He seemed to be standing in an office of sorts and while the image was just as bad as it had been with Metral, it was just good enough to make out his uniform and rank insignia. It was without doubt General Lam.

    “Greetings General. I’m Captain Michael Owens of the starship Eagle. We have been dispatched to deliver good news. The war is over. The Dominion has surrendered.” A smile decorated his lips. He was never going to get tired saying this.

    “Captain Owens.” Lam spoke slowly, almost methodically. “Welcome to Valeria. The Dominion has surrendered, you say?”

    Owens had expected Lam to be relieved, or at the very least surprised by the news. Neither seemed to be the case. “Yes, sir. A treaty has been signed.”

    Lam seemed to recognize the man standing next to Owens. “Cesar? Cesar Wasco?”

    Michael was pleasantly amazed to see the major smile for once. “Yes, sir, it’s me.”

    “My God, how long has it been?”

    “Eight years, sir.”

    Lam nodded slowly. “Far too long.”

    “It has. We’ve come to bring you and your men home, sir.”

    “Yes, of course.” Lam glanced towards Owens again. “Captain, would you do me the honor of joining me on the surface so that we may discuss this situation. And Major, I would be delighted if you could join us as well.”

    Owens nodded. “We shall beam down shortly, General.”

    “Splendid. I’ll have precise coordinates and instructions sent to you immediately. With all these overlapping scattering fields in effect, transporters can be a little tricky on Valeria and I suggest you follow the instructions closely. I’m looking forward to seeing you both. Lam out.”

    And with that he disappeared as well.

    Owens turned to his crew. “Thoughts?”

    Katanga was unsurprisingly the first one to offer his opinion. “The fella didn’t look as relieved as I would have been when getting these kind of news.”

    Wasco shot the doctor a hard look. “General Lam is a highly experienced Marine who has been around for a very long time. He’s also one of the most stolid people I’ve ever met. However that does not mean that he would not feel immensely relieved to hear of the end of the war. For the sake of his own men at the very least.”

    “I’ve been around for longer and witnessed more than my fair share of tragic events. Trust me I took those news a lot less gracefully.”

    Star stood from her chair. “After serving on the front lines for as long as he has, he may have become somewhat jaded. Perhaps he is a little less willing to believe anything he hears at face value. No matter how good it may sound.”

    Owens nodded. “Agreed. We’ll go down there and let him know that this isn’t a mere gift horse.” He regarded the Cardassian. “Mister Belore, I think you should join us as well. You’re presence might help convince the general that this war is truly over.”

    “Whatever I can do to help.”

    He pointed at Deen next who understood and she left her station. He turned to his first officer last. “Commander, mind the store while we’re gone.”

    “Sir, I’d much rather you let me go down there instead to brief the general.”

    But Owens shook his head. “Lam is expecting me. Besides, these are the kind of news I like to deliver in person.” He was already heading towards the turbolift with Belore, Wasco and Deen following closely, his mind fully made up on the issue.
  14. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Chapter 6 review:

    Yeah... West's not giving up on this, and he seems determined to be a real dick about it, too. Tazla's certainly not blameless here, and the fact that there's anything for West to dig up is on her, but I still can't help but feel protective about her after all she's been through.
  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Chapter 7 review:

    Poor Leva, assigned to a ship with a total burn-out for a captain. No wonder the Ops chief seemed so wound up, serving aboard the mobile equivalent of Gamma Seven, devoid of purpose or pride in your assignment...

    Sacajawa is a slap in the face to other little-ships-who-could. Here's hoping Leva can bring some hope to this listless vessel.
  16. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Hmm... so far so good, but I've got this nagging suspicion that Lam is going to be harder to convince than his Cardassian counterpart. I'm hoping the good general hasn't gone all 'Colonel Kurtz' in the absence of higher authority or oversight.
  17. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    Just read the first three chapters. Very good character work CeJay. I think you've created an interesting antagonist in Atticus West. I really liked the scene where Captain Owens announced the end of the war. That's something I hadn't seen before and it was well done.
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Guys, thanks for the reviews, much appreciated.
  19. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006

    Only a few hours after Leva had joined Sacajawea as first officer had they received their new orders. Mahoney had left it to him to organize a mission briefing to get the senior officers up to speed. It was not how Owens had liked to run things back on Eagle but Leva didn’t mind the extra responsibility.

    Of course senior officers was a bit of a misleading term on Sacajawea. Besides him, Mahoney, Alendra and the ship’s doctor, no officer had served in Starfleet for longer than three years and as the captain had pointed out, most of the officer corps was made up out of ensigns who had been cadets in training just a short while ago.

    Leva had gotten to work straight away after meeting with Mahoney, getting together with Alendra who was indeed quite happy to fill him in on whatever he needed to know and pass on her temporary duties as executive officer. He had found that she had done a decent job at keeping the ship running and her file made it clear that she had done so being surprisingly versatile, filling in from time to time wherever she needed to, be that in engineering or at tactical and even at the helm.

    But the tactical and security position remained the only one which had not yet been filled with a permanent officer ever since the previous person holding that position had been killed in action months earlier. As security and tactical were his specialty and seeing that there wasn’t anyone else on board who even came close to his qualifications, he had decided to take a page out of Alendra’s book and moonlight in that role himself while at the same time trying to find a promising ensign or non-commissioned officer he could tutor to eventually take over the position full time.

    The only other officer with any kind of significant experience on the ship was a junior lieutenant called Preston Hendricks who had become the chief engineer only a few weeks ago. Judging by his personnel file, the young man was no genius but at least he had served on the ship for his entire, even if short, career and was familiar enough with the engines to keep things running efficiently.

    Hendricks and Alendra had already assembled in Sacajawea’s compact briefing room along with chief medical officer Doctor Alan Newheiser when Leva arrived

    Newheiser was going on middle age, was tall, almost skeletal with dark, spiked short hair and restless eyes. He didn’t exactly fill Leva with the greatest amount of confidence.

    “Ah, Commander, it is such a pleasure to finally meet you.” He quickly offered his hand after the first officer had entered

    Leva shook it. “My pleasure, Doctor.”

    “I’m curious, how do you find our little ship, Commander?”

    Newheiser’s voice carried, almost as if he wasn’t just speaking to Leva but giving a speech in front of a large crowd. There really wasn’t much point to this considering the compact size of the briefing room. He did notice however that Hendricks and Alendra were paying close attention to their conversation.

    “I see a lot potential here.”

    “Potential, eh?” Newheiser said. “That’s quite a nice way of putting things.”

    Mahoney stepped into the briefing room and walked right to his chair at the head of the table without acknowledging anyone present.

    The doctor didn’t take any notice of the captain either. “Well, I for one am rooting for you, Commander. It strikes me you might be one of the most capable officers we ever had the pleasure of welcoming on this ship.” Newheiser shot a very brief glance towards Mahoney.

    If the captain was bothered by this dig seemingly directed at him, he didn’t show it.

    Leva merely responded with a nod.

    “I hear we have a new mission.” The doctor focused back on Leva as he took his seat. “Tell us all about it.”

    Leva followed suit, positioning himself to the right of Mahoney and then looked at the captain, not feeling comfortable to speak out of turn yet.

    But Mahoney was clearly quite happy to let his first officer take the initiative. “By all means, Commander, go ahead and share the details of our glorious mission with our valiant crew.”

    “Right.” Leva turned to regard the three officers at the table. “As you may be aware, communications in this sector have been rather spotty since we have lost more than half of the subspace relay stations thanks to Dominion forces using them for target practice during the war. We took aboard twenty-eight new subspace beacons at Gamma Seven and our mission is to deploy them across the sector as a temporary solution to ensure full comm traffic in this area of space is restored.”

    Hendricks and Alendra were nodding slowly along while Newheiser’s intense eyes just stayed glued on the first officer, a tiny smile on his thin lips.

    “Mister Hendricks, you’re job will be to prepare the individual beacon modules for deployment. Alendra, we’ll need you to work with the helm to map the most efficient deployment pattern across the sector.” He waited a moment until both officers had acknowledged. “Any questions?”

    Only Newheiser spoke up. “Sounds all very straight forward, Commander.”

    He nodded.

    “Yes, very straight forward.” Mahoney spoke without regarding any of his officers. “And a job a damn buoy tender could be doing instead.” He stood suddenly. “Commander, finish up in here, will you?” And with that he quickly departed.

    Leva had not expected the captain to leave so abruptly. He was right of course, it wasn’t exactly a glamorous assignment but he couldn’t suppress a frown at Mahoney voicing his displeasures so openly in front of the crew. When he glanced back at the others he noticed that nobody had seemed particularly surprised or rattled by the captain’s sudden departure. “Well, let’s get to work, shall we?”

    Everyone left their chairs.

    Newheiser lingered behind even after the others had left and then regarded the first officer. “Welcome aboard, Commander.” He offered that same smirk again. “And from the looks of things you’ve got your work cut out for you.”

    Leva couldn’t disagree.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  20. admiralelm11

    admiralelm11 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 17, 2009
    Vancouver, WA
    Sacajawea sounds like such a sad ship since Tazla Star was in command. It's good to see her again. I'm sure Leva can straight it all up. Though I have my concerns about Captain Mahoney. He seems more like a hindrance than a proper commanding officer.

    I patiently wait for more, please, CeJay. You have absolutely peaked my interest, sir. :bolian: