UT: Darker Territory: Hearts of Glass

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    DARKER TERRITORY:

    HEARTS OF GLASS


    ISS Kill Devil



    He used strength he didn’t know he had to pull himself up. As his legs turned rubbery, he leaned against the sweating glass, his breath causing puffs of mist.

    “Impressive,” Jasmine said. Her toned bare arms were folded, her head tilted, her expression curious, a cruel smirk on her full lips. Glover glared at her. For once he wasn’t taken by her beauty, and after it all, she was still beautiful. She was wearing a tight, slick halter-top, exposing intoxicating abdominal muscles and her ample, enhanced bosom, which topped off a dress with double slits to trap him any time she walked or flashed a shapely leg.

    He hated that he fell for the trap. It was obvious now, in hindsight. “Enjoying this?” He demanded.

    “The captain had never allowed me to see the agony chamber before,” she revealed. “But I heard stories, and screams, but now, being here, seeing what it does, even to you, it is quite the piece of machinery,” she said coldly.

    “You set me up,” He declared.

    “Don’t make excuses for your failure,” Jasmine retorted. “I gave you an opening to remove our mutual problem, but you failed.”

    “That’s not true,” Glover said. “Awokou knew about us didn’t he? He probably sent you to seduce me.”

    The woman’s laugh was harsh. “Seduce you? I think it was mutual. It is mutual,” she declared as she leaned close to the glass. Glover wished he could reach through the thick, transparent barrier and wrap his hands around the woman’s luscious throat. “You were my ticket out of this,” she stepped back from the booth and gestured at her clinging, slivery black outfit, “And it was your shot at command.”

    She got close to the booth again. “Instead of dispatching him quickly when you had the chance you choose to gloat instead, giving Weiss enough time to thwart our plans.”

    Our plans?” Now Glover laughed before the pain caught back up with him. He bent over, the laughter turning to hacking.

    “Are you alright?” Jasmine asked, bending down to get eye level with him. Glover rolled his eyes.

    Through pain-induced clenched teeth, he spat, “I’m in an agony booth, what do you think?!”

    The woman backed away, as if she had been slapped. “I wanted you to be in the captain’s chair, but there’s nothing I can do for you now. And there’s nothing you can do for me,” she said, her momentary concern replaced by a calculating condescension. “I’ll do it myself.”

    “Ha,” Glover said, pain seizing him again. “Your world was razed, you have no power base, no support among the Admiralty, the Imperial administration…”

    “And yours is doing wonders for you?” Jasmine laughed.

    Glover glared. “My family will avenge me!”

    “Cold comfort,” Jasmine shrugged. “But I will do what I can to inform them of your demise.”

    “You would do that?” Glover was genuinely surprised. “Why?”

    The woman gingerly placed a hand against the glass, where Terrence’s left cheek was. “I hated being Awokou’s woman, but I did want to be yours. But there’s nothing that can be done about that now. I heard Awokou arguing in his office…about you. I couldn’t hear everything, but I know he’s coming for you…soon.”

    Glover pulled himself back up. He steadied himself, without and within. “Whatever comes…I’ll be ready for it.”

    “I hope so,” Jasmine said softly before reaching for his face again. She then left him alone, in the darkness.

    **********************************************************************



    ISS Kill Devil

    Hours later…


    Captain Banti Awokou was not pleased. Terrence was pleased about that. Awokou sat behind his desk, like a restless king on a throne.

    Glover wondered how long he had been stuck in the both, because Awokou, and most of the crew were now sporting new uniforms, with division colors now on the shoulders over a black tunic, a color reversal of the previous uniforms, and the last one he had worn. He supposed it was a good thing that the division colored sashes remained.

    It never ceased to gall him how Command could scrounge up the money for spiffy uniforms while allowing most of their fleet had to fall apart. At least they would look resplendent in the dustbin of history.

    “Sit him down,” the captain ordered, barely looking up from the report he was crushing both hands. Seeing the paper document wasn’t surprising; Awokou loved archaic things. His weapon-laden office, with various armors and weapons from the Terran Empire’s past, plus others he had looted from alien worlds, filled the walls. Glover had always felt like he was walking into a museum whenever he was beckoned to the captain’s state room.

    It was a place just as old and moldy as its captain. Glover had long dreamed of removing all of the relics once he had seized command. Kill Devil was an aged ship, but still, an injection of fresh, new blood could give the ship and crew new life. It’s just the old fossils, like Awokou, Picard, DeSoto, Keogh, and the rest, were still clinging to power.

    Even now, at his end, he still fantasized of how he would cleanse this room of all the rusting things rooting Kill Devil and its crew to the past, a time of defeat and constraint. Though there was one item he would’ve kept.

    “Commander Glover!” Awokou barked, drawing Terrence’s attention away from the long, wicked bat’leth that dominated the left wall. It was Awokou’s most prized possession. He had gained it, along with a vicious scar running the length of his face, bisecting it like a Bolian, in one of the few victories the Empire had scored against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance that had devoured a great swath of the quadrant and kept the Empire at bay.

    The victory had gained Awokou a lot of support in the Imperial Court, enough so that the man thought he was protected enough to do with Terrence as he chose. But Terrence had his own prominent supporters.

    The hard bump against the chair brought Glover back to the present. He looked up at the smirking Commander Weiss, ship’s head of security and Awokou’s chief attack dog. Terrence regretted that he would never get a chance to fillet the man.

    Awokou’s glower had been replaced by his usual hard look. “Enjoy your time in the booth? Did you have time to reflect on your mistakes?”

    “My only mistake was that I didn’t gut you when I had the chance,” Glover riposted right before pain shot through his head and his ears rang. Terrence bent over, tears brimming.

    “Enough Evan!” Awokou held up a hand.

    When Glover sat back up, he took a moment to compose himself as best as possible. He hated having to wipe his tears away, but he did it. Looking directly at the captain, he said, “Weiss, whatever happens in the next few moments, I will find a way to make you regret every putting your sullied hands on me.”

    “Good luck with that,” Weiss scoffed.

    Awokou stroked his neat, graying goatee, carefully watching the exchange between the two men, assessing, judging, like always. “I gave you an opportunity, and I didn’t have to.”

    “You only thought you were currying favor with my family,” Terrence shot back, his fear of the man’s wrath loosened by his time in the booth. There wasn’t much worse that the captain could do to him, that he could foresee. Being exposed to the fabled Tantalus field at this point would be a boon.

    “That I was,” Awokou admitted. “And you proved even more of a failure here as you did on the Repulse.”

    For the first time, in what seemed like an eternity, Glover’s wincing was not caused by pain. Memories stormed over him, buffeting him. “At least there, your rashness only resulted in the death of a dozen or so of your crewmen, but here, to make a play for me, to strike at the king? And you know what they say about if when you strike at a king….”

    Terrence didn’t have to answer. He knew the Emerson admonition well. Jasmine had reminded him before he made his move. “And to think,” Awokou went on. “After Ferguson’s death in that transporter accident I promoted you, of all people…” the man paused, his eyes narrowing. He leaned over his desk. His voice lowered, and Glover tensed, because he sensed how much danger he was in. “The transporter ‘accident’…was no accident.”

    Terrence kept his secrets to himself. He shrugged instead.

    Awokou threw the papers at Glover. He caught most of them. He let the rest hit the floor. He didn’t want to bend over and expose how much pain he was still in, from his session in the booth.

    “What’s this?” Glover said after glancing at the sheets of paper.

    “You tell me?” Awokou said. “She was your wife after all.”

    “Damn it,” Terrence glanced back down at the personnel file. “Liz, just what have you gotten yourself into now,” he whispered.

    *********************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
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  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    I took a break from "Childhood's End" because I got a desire to write a Mirror Universe story. I've really been enjoying the ongoing IDW The Next Generation Mirror Universe comics (Mirror Broken, Through the Mirror, and now Terra Incognita). I thought IDW found a neat way to continue the Terran Empire idea from TOS while meshing it with where DS9 took the Mirror Universe. My story, "Hearts of Glass" is heavily influenced by the IDW comics, however they are not in the same continuity. In part because those books are still going on and I don't know how that story will end and something I come up with for this story might contradict whatever happens in that story.

    I do see "Hearts of Glass" taking place after the IDW issues published thus far. And that for our Prime Universe, this episode takes place after the DS9 episode "Crossover" but sometime before the DS9 episode "Through the Looking Glass" which takes place in 2371. This story was also inspired by a brief vision Terrence Glover saw of an alternate future for him, in which he and Elizabeth Shelby (as envisioned in Dave Falkayn's Sutherland series) are lovers, from my story "Conspirata." And that story was a nod to an earlier story, "The Crucible" in which Glover encountered a Mirror Pell Ojana.

    I got to give a shout out to all the ENT, TOS, and DS9 Mirror Universe episodes I went back to watch while writing this story, and also Star Trek Continues episode "Fairest of Them All," a direct sequel to TOS's "Mirror, Mirror." In my head canon, Continues is the fourth TOS season. The IDW miniseries Succession hasn't factored into my story yet, but it might, so I'll throw in a shout out for it as well.
     
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  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *********************************************************************



    ISS Kill Devil


    Striding toward the main shuttle bay, Glover tried once again, “You might as well just kill me now because she’ll likely shoot me on sight.” Behind him, Weiss chuckled at that. Terrence really wanted to disembowel him.

    “Be that as it may Commander,” Awokou kept stride beside him. “Command is confident that you are the only person that can find her and convince her to return to the Empire, and with her prize.”

    “Some mysterious, mumbo jumbo artifact hidden away by the Bajorans during our conquest?” Terrence shook his head. “Sounds like a bunch of hokum.” It was noticeable that guards were not posted along the corridor like usual; Awokou didn’t want too many ears hearing what he had relayed to Glover.

    “I follow orders,” Awokou said coldly, “I don’t question them. If Command thinks this orb-thing is essential to reasserting our claim to the galaxy, I do as I am told. If you had learned the same lesson, perhaps it would not be you in this situation.”

    “Then who else would it be,” Glover chucked a thumb behind him, “Baldy back there?”

    Weiss pushed him. Terrence stumbled, almost lost his footing. He rounded on the man. Weiss smirked at him. Glover stepped to him.

    “Stop it!” Awokou snarled in his best command voice.

    “Fine,” Terrence sighed after a moment. He struck right after that, a quick punch to the throat. Weiss’s smirk turned to terror as the man began wheezing. He grabbed his throat as he struggled for air. His face turned as red as a Martian countryside. The man sank to the ground, writhing and thrashing, his quest for oxygen driving him mad.

    Both Awokou and Glover merely watched the man struggling to stay alive. After he died, they continued on. After a moment, Awokou said, “Evan was one of the most loyal men I ever knew.”

    “The fool,” Terrence spat on the ground.

    “Indeed,” the captain replied, his voice quiet, the tone belying his words. It was another sign that the Kill Devil master had grown too weak to lead.

    “Let’s say, even if I find Shelby, secure this orb, and get her to come back with me, just how do you propose that two humans get safely through Alliance space?” Glover asked as they entered the shuttle bay.

    Space had been cleared for a sleek, horseshoe shaped Klingon transport. The captain allowed Glover to walk around the ship, to take it in. While he did an impromptu inspection, Awokou explained, “The transponder for the shuttlecraft Delahaye had been transferred to this vessel, to be used in the event you run into any Imperial vessels. For all intents and purposes, this ship is now the Delahaye.” Terrence didn’t know where Awokou had gotten the vessel, and he likely didn’t want to know. He just hoped that the crew had cleaned all the blood and gore that had been spilled inside the ship. Since it was a Klingon ship, he already knew there wasn’t much that could be done about the stench.

    “You think I’m just going to let you go, without supervision?” Awokou laughed. “Perhaps I kept you too long in the booth.”

    “You really think anyone on this ship, including you, can supervise me?” Glover scoffed.

    “Oh, I am confident that Command picked the proper motivator for you,” Awokou said. He came to a stop at the ship and rapped loudly against the dark, grayish-green feathered hull with his knuckles.

    The hatch cycled open and a lithe, alluring woman stepped out. Glover hid his fascination as best he could. The bald woman was blue-skinned, as any standard spawn of her species, but her other racial markers were less pronounced.

    What intrigued him even more than her strange attractiveness was that she wore an Imperial uniform. And bore a lieutenant’s rank no less! He couldn’t stop looking at the two golden pins attached to her black turtleneck collar. What was the universe coming to?

    “Commander Glover,” Awokou explained, “Meet Agent Susan Bano. She will be accompanying you.” The woman’s black, insignia-free uniform reminded him of his own nakedness, in a metaphorical sense. The unmissed Weiss had given him a nondescript gray shirt, black pants, along with dark boots and a leather jacket, to put on after his goons had hosed the blood and grime off him. Even though Glover was still ostensibly a Starfleet officer, he felt as exposed as a butterfly dancer.

    Glover looked down at the woman, scouring her with his eyes. “Starfleet Security,” he said, shifting his jaw. The Imperial security apparatus was so dreaded that its mere mention made even the hardiest of Imperial officers quake in their boots. Her appearance here did no less, though both Awokou and Terrence did their best not to show it.

    The woman’s smile was colder than an Andorian sunset. “The good lieutenant’s friends among her section should provide all the proper motivation you’ll need Mr. Glover,” Awokou boasted. “Even your exalted parents can’t save you if you run afoul of them.”

    “Don’t test that theory,” Terrence shot back, though he couldn’t muster the appropriate assertiveness to sell it, even to himself.

    “I would advise the same of you,” Awokou declared. “But that’s not all, to ensure that no harm befalls Agent Bano, and that you complete your mission, I’ve assigned Lt. Commander Thomsen to accompany you.”

    Lieutenant Commander?” Glover grunted. “When did that oaf get a promotion?”

    “Since you just murdered his predecessor,” Awokou replied.

    “He’s never liked me,” Terrence muttered.

    “Precisely,” the captain rejoined. “Thomsen, get out here!” Awokou shouted. The tall, muscled man stepped through the opening. Seeing the captain, he immediately gave a stiff-armed salute, which Awokou repeated and Glover did out of instinct, not conviction. Terrence saw that the man was dressed in similar nondescript clothing, though the slate gray tunic he wore was sleeveless, and displayed his muscled, tattooed arms.

    As soon as Thomsen’s carefully scuffed boots touched the deck, the captain explained what had happened to Weiss and in the process promoted him. Throughout the spiel, the new security chief kept eyeing Glover, his pinched expression growing even more so and his clear, cruel blue eyes clouding with fury.

    After the captain finished, Thomsen approached Glover. The man was as tall as Glover and he looked him directly in the eye, his disdain raw. “I will make sure Commander Glover does as he was told and return to Kill Devil.”

    “Depending on how well you do, Terrence, a former position will be waiting for you, either under my command, or back in the booth.” Awokou smirked. “Though Lt. Rojas is growing pretty comfortable as my temporary XO.” That prompted Glover to take his eyes off the glaring Thomsen.

    “Pedro,” Glover breathed. The man was a great carousing companion, but he had never trusted him. “All he can do is keep that seat warm for me. He’ll never be one inch the officer I am!” Glover shifted his attention back to the arrogant security officer. “Just so you all understand, I am in charge of this mission. I still hold the highest rank, and even if I didn’t, I’m the strongest, smartest, and most resourceful. You can’t survive out there without me.”

    Thomsen snorted and flexed his arms, as if ready to test the assertion. Glover grinned. He was looking forward to working the pain out of his muscles.

    “You’re wasting time,” Awokou said. “Glover is correct. This is his mission, which means if he fails, he will get the lion’s share of the punishment, but not all of it.” He made sure to look squarely at each of them. “This will all fall on your heads if you don’t come back with Shelby and the object.”

    “Understood sir,” Thomsen said promptly, just like the martinet he was.

    “It’ll get done,” Glover shrugged. “I need to get off this bucket for a while anyway.”

    Awokou chuckled at that, “You might change your tune once you are beyond the safety of the Empire.” He paused, “Though I envy you. The last time I was in Alliance space was twenty years ago, Archanis IV.”

    Terrence rolled his eyes. “I’m not in the mood to hear this story again, of how you defeated your Klingon counterpart in battle and wrested his weapon from his dying clutches. I would rather face the whole of the Alliance armada.”

    “You just might, at that,” the Kill Devil captain said. “If they find the object before you do, we might all have to face them.”

    ******************************************************************



    Shuttle Delahaye



    Terrence flew around the aging star cruiser once, confident he would never see the ship again. The stirring sword through the Earth symbol of Imperial power emblazoned the pitted hull. It was a logo worthier of a far more formidable vessel, but ironically, the Constellations were still some of the best ships remaining in the Imperial Starfleet.

    They had been constricted by the Klingons and Cardassians, so much so, that the rest of the galaxy had come to actually believe that the whole of the Terran Empire had been destroyed by that infernal union, a testament to both the strength of the Alliance’s propaganda as well as the inability of the Empire to prove otherwise.

    It certainly didn’t help that millions of humans had been enslaved by the Alliance, providing further ‘evidence’ of the empire’s destruction. It had left the Empire struggling to survive, hemmed in by the Alliance, riven with internal strife as the reforms imposed by the damnable Spock and his converts had to be flushed out of the Imperial bloodstream, literally in some cases.

    After all that defeat, humiliation, and infighting, the Empire was holding on by the proverbial string. And no amount of reporting from the Imperial Network could continue covering up the truth. His parents had told him long ago about their waning prospects, and that the Empire was a hair’s breadth from collapse.

    That impending sense of doom had taken root in him and eventually blossomed into action. If only he had struck when he had the chance…

    “Alliance space is the opposite way,” the vexing Thomsen brayed. Glover didn’t even look back at him. Instead he glanced once more at the compact, four-nacelle ship that had been his home for a over a decade. He knew it would be the last time he saw the ship again. And he didn’t feel anything but relief. It had been his home, but it had also been a prison. Just as the Empire was dying without expansion, so had he been.

    He nodded, starting to understand his ex-wife a little better now. “Course laid in,” he said, more for Shelby than either of his compatriots. “Liz, I’m coming for you.”

    ************************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2018
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  4. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    I'm probably not the biggest fan of the mirror universe, it always felt a little bit to gimmicky for me, a device to show well-established characters without morale scruples or just outright evil.

    Having said that, I am relishing the opportunity to read another Terrence Glover story, even if he is likely much different here than in the prime U. Love the idea that he's married to Shelby though and his mission of going after her to find an Orb after she has apparently gone rogue.

    Also, great to see Bano again.
     
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  5. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks for reading and commenting. I've always loved the Mirror Universe. It is a device that can be gimmicky and show established characters seemingly acting out of character, and that's what I love about it. And it seems like the actors have fun doing it as well.

    The more I think about it, the Mirror Universe characters aren't even always the mirror opposites of their Prime Universe counterparts even. They are just more extreme in some areas, the negative character traits that might exist in the Prime Universe are sometimes jacked up to 11.

    I'm glad you're looking forward to reading more Glover. I'm having fun writing the story and also including Shelby. DF and I have established a flirtatious bantering between the two without ever going there in the Prime Universe, so I thought a Mirror Universe story was a good place to explore that connection between them. When conceiving the Glover character, Shelby's appearance in "Best of Both Worlds" factored into how I envisioned the character. So seeing Glover interact with Shelby is always neat for me. In a way, they are already like mirror reflections.

    I'm glad I could find a place to write Bano again. I do want to expand on her character but haven't just sat down and wrote a Prime Universe story focusing on her, though I do have some ideas.
     
  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ************************************************************************



    Shuttle Delahaye

    Thirteen hours later…


    Terrence had reluctantly handed over the helm to Thomsen. After using the refresher, he had poured a glass of Altairian water from their provisioned foodstuffs. Sipping the water made him think of Jasmine. She had come from Pacifica, a world once known for its vibrant oceans, his father had told him, until the Empire had taken their world. The water and viable denizens and aquatic life was appropriate for Imperial use, and everything else was boiled.

    Despite her questionable loyalty, Glover was glad the Starfleet commander who had set torch to that world had spared Jasmine’s life. From what she had told him, they had deemed her scientist parents worthy of reeducation and reclamation, but Jasmine had been given over to the Imperial Fleet.

    She had confessed that she had felt like a hostage to insure her parents’ loyalty, and that the only way she could protect them, as well as herself, was to find a powerful protector. Glover had passed himself off as just that, and it wasn’t a complete falsehood. He was the son of a diplomat and admiral, he was young, strong, and ambitious, and unlike the doddering Awokou, Terrence saw that physical attractiveness was just one aspect to Jasmine Mendes. The woman’s mind was quite fascinating once she had shared just a little of what she knew with him.

    If he had been successful he would’ve kept his word, and even more, Terrence had contemplated not just making Jasmine his woman, but his wife. It would’ve caused ruffles among the Imperial Court, but his last marriage had caused a tumult of a different sort.

    “Liz, just what the hell kind of trouble did you get yourself into this time,” he muttered.

    “A very good question indeed Commander.” Terrence acted nonchalant about the intrusion. He looked up from his glass. Agent Bano stood in the doorway.

    “What do you want?” He asked.

    “Bolians need sustenance just like you do, believe it or not,” the woman said as she walked into the room.

    “Oh, I know a little about your kind…. you eat revolting, decayed meat,” Glover shook his head.

    “Some Bolians do,” she nodded as she took a bottle from her own food stocks.

    “But you’re not some Bolians I see,” Terrence said. “You’re half-Bolian,” he stated.

    She nodded, “Very perceptive.”

    “I just haven’t figured out mixed with what,” Glover said. He pushed down his disgust at the thought of species mixing.

    “Terran, of course,” she said.

    “Impossible,” Glover shook his head. “A Terran would never…”

    “Never what?” Bano demanded. She sat across from Glover, took a sip from the bottle and offered it to him. “Bolian tonic water,” she explained. “Want some?”

    “I most certainly do not,” he said, scrambling out of his chair. “I would never…”

    “Your loss,” The woman shrugged before taking a longer draught.

    “How, how is it even possible?”

    “I would have thought a man of your…age would know about that process by now,” Bano said.

    Glover’s cheeks warmed at that. He quickly sought to reestablish control. “I didn’t ask you a question, I gave you an order. Explain yourself!”

    Bano’s blithe demeanor dropped. Terrence was glad to see he could make her angry, that there were buttons she had that he could push. “My mother is Terran, a member of the High Commissioner’s staff for the Bolian sector. My father was an official in the Bolian occupational government. Their love was forbidden, of course. My birth was a crime.”

    “Then why are you here?” Glover asked. “You should’ve been terminated in the womb.”

    The woman looked unfazed by that. He imagined she had heard and experienced likely worse, and he had to admire her steeliness, even if she was a mongrel. “Once the scandal was exposed, Starfleet Medical took a keen interest in me, amazed that my mother could actually be impregnated by a Bolian. They kept me alive for scientific purposes. I’ve never known my parents. I don’t even know what happened to them. I was told, more than once, that it was best not to ask, and in time I focused only on my survival.”

    Terrence nodded, “That is wise.”

    “My birth was a curiosity, but my intelligence was something that also brought notice. And we both know that the Empire, for quite some time now, uses every resource it can claim.” Glover also nodded at that.

    “Security eh?” Terrence said.

    The half-breed shrugged again. “It was as good a job as any. It wasn’t like I could get a promising position in Starfleet, with nonhumans being used for menial labor and other kinds of grunt work. It wasn’t much better in the rest of the Empire. I also would not be welcome in the Bolian sector. That warning to avoid looking into my past is still there, in my brain. I can also imagine that some Bolians would look at my like a freak, an abomination,” she replied, her words rote, mechanical, as if she was trying to convince herself as she was Glover.

    “Working for Security, there’s no way anyone can question my loyalty to the Empire,” Bano declared, “And this black uniform grants me the ability to talk with Terrans like an equal.”

    “You are not an equal,” Glover warned.

    “I know that,” Bano’s eyes were awash with anger and sadness. “I’ve been reminded, sometimes harshly of that. Like you, I’ve spent some time in an agony booth.”

    Glover was taken aback, both by being reminded of his humiliation and that Bolian knowing of it. “At least in the Alliance, being non-Terran will be an asset.” Terrence knew she was correct but didn’t want to concede the point. “Seeing my face when we encounter patrols will make it much easier to get by them than if it was just you and Commander Thomsen.”

    “The man has the disposition of a Nausicaan,” Glover opined, “If only he looked like one.” Bano laughed at that, and Terrence had to admit that the sound had a pleasing musicality. Surprisingly they settled into a comfortable silence, both taking slow sips of water until they ran out.

    “I’m heading back to the cockpit,” Glover said. “And you?” He couldn’t believe he was asking an alien, a half-breed at that, anything. They were made for humans to order around, but yet, he had.

    “Not yet,” she said. “I’m going to partake of some of my revolting rations first,” Bano said, a dark twinkle in her eyes. “Unlike big, strongly, burly specimens like you and Thomsen, if I don’t eat, I might wilt away.”

    “Of course,” Glover nodded. It was only when he was halfway back to the cockpit that he realized she had been teasing him. He thought about turning around and teaching her a lesson. But then he shrugged. It was best not to rile a Security operative, even one that wasn’t human.

    He would find another way to make sure she treated him with respect, deference, and fear, at all times.

    *****************************************************************



    Shuttle Delahaye

    Eighteen hours later…



    Thomsen’s snoring was audible even through the duranium walls. Shutting the door to the cockpit proved futile. Glover had been contemplating slitting the man’s throat for the umpteenth time when his cockpit ‘co-pilot’ spoke up.

    “So, when are we going to talk about Commander Shelby.”

    “We aren’t,” Terrence was brusque.

    “I knew her,” Bano said. “I’m surprised, perhaps not as much as you, by what’s happened.”

    Glover shook his head. “Nothing Liz does surprises me, not anymore.”

    “You loved her,” the Bolian said. “What about now?”

    “That’s none of your business,” Glover snarled.

    “For the success of this mission it is,” Bano pressed back. “If you two still have feelings, it should make your being able to convince Shelby to hand over the object and come back with us. Or it could be combustible and lead to an unpredictable situation. I don’t like unpredictable situations.”

    “I don’t give a damn what you like!”

    “Command doesn’t like unpredictable situations,” Bano wasn’t afraid to pull her biggest card. “How do you feel about that?”

    “You want Shelby, I’ll get you to her. Bringing her back, that’s on you.”

    “Hmmm,” Bano replied. “Things didn’t end well between you two?”

    “That’s usually why people get divorced,” Terrence quipped.

    “Usually, yes,” the Bolian replied. “Though there was more to the case between you two, wasn’t there? I know about the rivalries between the Glovers and the Shelbys. Very Shakespearean. You and Elizabeth, both promising young officers, both star crossed lovers. For the first time in your lives, going against your parents’ wishes, and getting married.”

    “Is there a point to any of this?” Terrence groused.

    “The rivalry claimed your marriage as another victim. Both of you refused to give up your family connections,” Bano continued. “Unfortunate, but understandable. Going it alone, in this universe is quite terrifying.”

    This universe,” Glover scoffed. “You act like there’s another one out there or something.”

    Bano chuckled, “For such a superior human, you know very little Commander. Have you ever heard of Spock?”

    “Of course,” Glover snorted. “That pompous alien deigned himself ruler of the Terran Empire. His weakness and bumbling left us vulnerable to our enemies, and we have yet to recover from his mistakes. At times I suspected he did it on purpose; Vulcans are quite crafty.”

    “That’s our Spock, or rather this universe’s,” Bano replied.

    “Explain yourself woman, or your black uniform be damned, I’ll gut you like a Tellarite pig,” Glover promised.

    “There was another Spock, from a parallel universe,” the Security agent began.

    *******************************************************************
     
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  7. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *******************************************************************



    Shuttle Delahaye




    It had been hours since the Bolian’s revelations, but Glover was still unsettled by it. He had denied the woman’s assertions at first. But the more he had thought about it, the more it had made more sense to him. Though the Vulcans couldn’t be completely trusted, they had mostly accepted their roles as junior partners in the Empire. Until the Halkan incident Spock had been one of the most respected of his species and an effective soldier of the Empire. But afterward, which Glover know realized was contamination from this alternate universe, Spock began taking inexplicable actions, and used the respect he had earned to bring others to his wrongheaded way of thinking.

    Even at the Imperial Academy Terrence had pondered that abrupt change of course for the once responsible alien, but the information had been scant about him, his decisions, and even the Empire’s decline.

    “Spock was a half-breed?” Glover was aghast. He had never been taught that.

    “Yes,” Bano said, “Like me.”

    “It explains a lot,” Terrence reasoned after a moment of reflection. “A man with divided blood has divided loyalties.”

    “There are humans more opposed to Imperial aims than me, or some other aliens,” Bano said.

    “Doubtful,” Glover shook his head.

    “I’ve eliminated enough enemies of the Empire, nonhuman and human alike, to know,” the Bolian riposted. “I speak from experience.”

    Glover glared at the woman. She met his gaze, and he knew she was speaking the truth. “I haven’t spoken to Elizabeth in years,” Terrence finally said. “I don’t know why she would take over the Travis Mayweather or head into Alliance space.”

    “While the Empire occupied the Bajoran sector, several mysterious objects, which Bajoran clergy called ‘orbs’ were discovered. They are Bajoran religious artifacts, supposed gifts from their gods.

    During the conquest of Bajor the Imperial Fleet seized several of these orbs; there were stories that some Bajoran clergy hid others. After their religious order refused to reveal the location of those hidden artifacts, they were neutralized in total. Further, the Empire stamped out as much of the Bajoran religion as possible to erase widespread knowledge of these potentially powerful weapons.

    The objects were held at the Ketteract Institute, under the auspices of Special Affairs and Investigations. Our best minds were put to the task of activating the devices and learning their secrets.

    Command also dispatched various starships to find the hidden orbs, as well as any other alien artifacts that could tip the scale of galactic power.

    The best of these treasure hunters was Captain Donald Varley, of the Mayweather. As you know, Shelby was his first officer. Several weeks ago, Commodore Donners, at Special Affairs, received a communique from Varley, claiming to have found another artifact, this time, one that they were actually able to activate. Then things went dark on Mayweather, until two days ago, Command received a frantic communique from the captain claiming that Shelby had staged a mutiny against him and was taking the starship into Alliance space.”

    “That’s why we are heading into the jaws of the Alliance then,” Glover concluded. “Do you know why Elizabeth has gone into enemy territory?”

    “In Varley’s last message, he claimed Shelby was raving about a space temple in the Bajoran sector,” Bano explained, “The last recorded transponder signal from the Travis Mayweather confirmed that the ship entered Alliance space.”

    “Even our best ships can’t break through the Alliance blockade, and while the Mayweather is a New Orleans, which is newer and better than the rust bucket I was stuck on, it’s hardly a match for Alliance battle cruisers, especially those Klingon monstrosities.” Glover was skeptical, but also concerned about Liz, as well as jealous. Once again the woman had succeeded where he had failed. She had not only reached the center chair before him, but had dispatched her commanding officer to do it, while he had been languishing in the agony booth, at Awokou’s twisted mercies. “Liz isn’t an idiot. She wouldn’t take over a ship just to do a suicide run at the Alliance.”

    “Perhaps she’s defecting,” Bano offered. Glover frowned at that.

    “Shelby is many things, but disloyal is not one of them,” he declared.

    “We don’t know her mental condition right now,” the Bolian replied. “Varley was very convincing in his description of a woman unbalanced by contact with the alien object.”

    “Great, we might be dealing with a crazier Shelby than usual,” Glover shook his head. “This is just getting better.”

    *********************************************************************



    Shuttle Delahaye





    His mind was still reeling when Glover activated the desktop computer. It took several minutes until the Imperial logo changed to a familiar stern visage. “Admiral,” Terrence said, his throat constricting.

    “So, I see that Awokou did know what was good for him,” Admiral Glover said. “It’s very fortunate, for all of us, that in his petty cruelty he kept you alive long enough to be of use to me, and the Empire again.”

    “You are behind my…reprieve, and this mission?” Terrence couldn’t say he was that surprised.

    “Command wants results, and I need someone personally that I trust,” the admiral said. “Unfortunately, your sister and your brother are too far away.”

    Terrence swallowed down his anger and disappointment. Despite his efforts, he would never be the best of the Glover siblings.

    “This alien told me many things, even about Spock,” the words poured out of him, as jumbled and confusing as his thoughts. The admiral nodded along. Once he had finished, the admiral leaned back and tapped the desk until while pondering his words. Glover knew never to interrupt.

    “The old stories from the Bajorans interrogated by Imperial officials revealed that these artifacts, these ‘orbs’, came from some great anomaly in the Bajoran sky, and were given to them by their gods. It’s nonsense, but yet, someone, or something, far more advanced than the Bajorans left those objects, or the Bajorans found them and built up a mythology around them. Each orb is supposed to grant a different gift, some giving great insight, another controlling time itself.

    You can see how these could be great weapons for whatever race wielded them. The Bajorans were not strong enough, not worthy enough to hold the orbs.” The admiral’s face pinched. “And obviously not smart enough to use them to fend off our Starfleet.”

    “Their joining the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance was a canny move,” the words slipped out before Terrence realized he had spoken them. The admiral frowned, and Terrence looked away. He decided to keep to himself that Imperial scientists had divined the secrets of the artifacts either.

    “They have replaced Terran masters with Klingon and Cardassian ones, nothing more,” the admiral sniffed. Terrence again restrained himself from countering. While the Bajorans were not the dominant power in the Alliance, they still held some considerable sway, far more than they ever had under the Empire.

    “Our best minds, our more most dedicated and disciplined scientists, all failed to access the eight orbs we obtained,” the admiral continued, “But somehow Shelby did, and we need to know why even as much as securing that orb or recovering Mayweather. These mysterious artifacts contain great power, perhaps exactly what we need to regain what has been taken from us.”

    “So, this is simply about advancing the Imperial cause,” Terrence said carefully, “And not blacking the eye of the Shelby clan?”

    The admiral smirked. “Perhaps I’ve misjudged you son. Your future in Imperial service might be brighter than I concluded. Of course, I would like nothing more than to apprehend Shelby and bring her before the Court. To see the look on Phillip’s face,” the admiral crowed, “It will be priceless. And that is why you must move quickly. By this time the Shelby partisans have found out about the errant scion and will be seeking to recover her. More than likely her brother David will be hunting for her. You can’t let that brute get his clutches on Shelby or the orb. That glory belongs to us.”

    “Why me?” Glover asked. “You know how things ended between me and Elizabeth. You made sure of that.”

    The admiral nodded, “Of course I did. The idea of our bloodlines mingling….” The admiral shuddered. “We must conquer our rivals not join them. Need I remind you of the Battle of Armens…”

    “No,” he sighed. He had heard the story many, many times before. Terrence no longer was sure he believed the veracity of it, but whatever had truly happened that day, between Mars Glover and Dennis Shelby, it had torn an unrepairable rift between two of the Empire’s most powerful families.

    “If I’m boring you,” the admiral began.

    “No, of course not,” he said quickly.

    The admiral continued, “I don’t care about Shelby the Younger outside of her being a pawn in our long game, but at least I don’t want her disintegrated, which is exactly what the Shelbys will do to cover up her defection.”

    “Is that what they are calling it now? Command believes she’s defected?”

    The admiral smiled, “That’s what I am calling it, and with our influence with the Imperial Network, soon everyone else will too.”

    “I see,” Terrence nodded. The admiral was stirring the embers of feeling he had for Liz to gain the bigger prize.

    “Yes, you do, and you’re showing me you’ve grown since the last time I saw you,” the admiral said. “Do this, secure the object, bring Shelby to me, and the command you’ve always hungered for, it’s yours.”

    “You’re serious?” Now Glover was fully engaged.

    The admiral smiled again. “Would I lie to you son?”

    “No Mother, of course not.”

    ********************************************************************
     
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  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ********************************************************************


    Shuttle Delahaye


    Glover was getting tired of news. Bano and then his mother had drenched him with it. So, he was content to be behind the controls of the vessel again. It was about the only thing he felt fully in control of now.

    He hated to admit that maybe Octavia or Septimius would’ve been better for this mission. They would not hesitate when they found Shelby, and he didn’t know what he would do, and that nettled him.

    He heard Bano shifting beside him and steeled himself for more probing inquiries. Thankfully, he wasn’t in her crosshairs this time. “So, Mr. Thomsen, what’s your story?”

    “I don’t have one,” the man said. He was seated behind Glover, overseeing the ship’s propulsion and weapons systems.

    Out of the corner of his eye, Terrence noticed the woman tapping the black combadge she now wore. The other man grunted, muttered something unintelligible, and then said louder, “What do you want to know?”

    “Just making conversation is all,” Bano said sweetly. Glover didn’t know why she had chosen to wear the damning Starfleet insignia even after she had stowed away her standard black outfit. He could only assume she wanted another visual reminder of her authority.

    “I was born and raised on Setlik III,” he said.

    “Gods,” the Bolian breathed. “And you made it out?” There was a long silence, so long that the cabin grew heavy with it.

    “I did,” Thomsen said, dispelling the pall, “not unscathed.”

    “You being here, alive, is a miracle,” the Bolian said.

    “That’s one way of looking at it,” the security officer replied. “Got what you needed?
    “I did, and thank you Commander,” Bano turned back around. Terrence took a few glimpses at the woman and saw that Thomsen’s answer had unsettled her. He was glad for the company. Glover stewed in his own thoughts for hours.

    An alert trilled, finally breaking the silence. “We’ve entered Alliance space, the Hatarian system,” Glover informed them. “So far, so good.”

    “Commander, detecting massive spike of spatial distortion.” A Klingon Bird-of-Prey wavered into existence in front of them. The ship’s wing-mounted disruptor cannons began glowing, and Terrence knew what was coming next.

    “I just had to say something,” Terrence muttered.

    *************************************************************



    Shuttle Delahaye


    “Hail them Agent Bano,” Glover ordered, “Before they turn us into mincemeat.”

    The audio sparked to live. “Klingon transport. Disengage your engines. Provide proper authorization code or lower shields and prepare to be boarded.”

    “No,” Bano said, making her voice growly. Terrence would’ve chuckled if the situation wasn’t so dire.

    “If you don’t immediately comply, you will be vaporized!”

    “Time for that access code,” Glover said out of the side of his mouth. The Bolian input it.

    “Acknowledged,” the Klingon quickly said. “Do you wish for an escort?”

    “No,” Bano growled again.

    “Of course,” the man replied. “We will not delay you any longer.” The man barked rapidly in untranslated Klingon. The warship broke off, disappearing back into the depths.

    “Agent Bano, I didn’t know you had it in you to scare Klingon warriors,” Glover quipped.

    The woman looked at him squarely, unsmiling, “Pray you never have to find out what I’m capable of Commander Glover.”

    ***************************************************************
     
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  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    One thing I haven't done, but should do, is also thank my fellow UT writers for all their help and support over the years and for creating great characters, ships, species, and stories, some of which I have used for this tale.
     
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  10. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ***************************************************************


    Shuttle Delahaye

    Two days later…


    The journey had gone so well that Glover was getting antsy. “I thought we would have encountered more forehead or spoonhead patrols by now.”

    “I agree,” Thomsen actually harbored the same suspicions. Perhaps the man wasn’t a total idiot after all.

    Bano merely smiled, “I suspect that that first patrol ship we encountered warned his compatriots.”

    “Warned them of what?” Terrence asked.

    “That this ship carried a So’Taj operative,” she finally admitted; the Bolian had been close-lipped about the ace up her sleeve when Terrence had asked her before. Thomsen expressed his typical ignorance.

    “Klingon Imperial Intelligence,” Glover beat the Bolian to the punch. He smirked at her frown. “Just how did Starfleet Security get ahold of So’Taj access codes?”

    “If I spelled it out for you I would lose respect for you,” Bano cooed.

    “I’m Terran,” Terrence boasted. “Why do I give a damn about an alien’s respect, a half-breed alien at that?”

    The woman’s vibe turned welcomingly chilly. She slid out of her chair. “Where are you going?” Terrence asked. He was always on guard. Though now he wondered if Thomsen wasn’t the person he had to keep the most attention on.

    “I need to walk around, stretch my legs,” the Bolian replied.

    “Good luck with that,” Terrence riposted. “And while you’re stretching those legs don’t concoct any plans that result in me ending up as gormagander food.”

    “Even if I wanted to chuck you out of an airlock, I don’t think your fat head would fit,” Bano shot back. Thomsen chuckled, until Glover pinned him with a tritanium melting glare.

    “You would be wise to not talk to me in such manner,” he warned the woman.

    “Your parents, nor your much more accomplished siblings don’t frighten me,” Bano replied. She walked right up to him and looked down, her nostrils flaring, her eyes burning like suns. “I evoke fear, I don’t cower in it.”

    Being so close to her, her appealing scent tickled his nose, and the hint of her bare, toned midsection, exposed in the halter top she wore, kept drawing his eyes. Glover was momentarily speechless as a familiar urge began welling up. And it made him feel shame to experience such feelings for a nonhuman.

    “Since there was no snappy retort that you understand the import of my words,” the Bolian nodded with grim satisfaction. “Correct Commander?”

    Terrence’s throat was suddenly dry. He merely nodded. The woman’s grunt was triumphal.

    “I don’t even want to hear a sharp intake of breath from you,” Glover ordered Thomsen once the Bolian had left.

    He refocused on piloting the vessel. After a while, he found a good enough excuse to reassert control again. “Any signs of Shelby’s warp trails or transponder signal?” He asked Thomsen.

    “This is a well-traveled sector of space, and our sensors are not refined enough to perform a long-range scan for an Imperial warp signature,” Thomsen answered, obviously ready for the inquiry. “And no sign of Mayweather’s transponder either.”

    “Damn,” Glover said. “This is going to drag on and on.”

    “Are you that anxious to return to Kill Devil, knowing what awaits you?” Thomsen’s tone was taunting.

    Terrence turned around in his seat to glower at the man. “Would you care to repeat that?” The man considered it, his eyes full of blue fire.

    “No,” he eventually said.

    “No, what?” Glover pushed.

    “No…sir,” the man bit down on the last word. Terrence grinned.

    “You’re learning Mikkel,” he nodded, “If you prove yourself on this mission I might just keep you around when I assume command of the Kill Devil.”

    The man grunted. “That didn’t work so well the last time for you…sir. You got a lot of good people killed, just like on Repulse.”

    “You don’t care about any of those people, except Danvers,” Glover smirked at the other man’s astonishment. “There’s little that goes on aboard Kill Devil that I don’t know about. Are you angry because you lost the only person pitiful enough to screw you, or that she didn’t trust you enough to bring you into our plan, or simply that she had more courage than you ever possessed?”

    The man jumped out of his chair. Glover restrained his urge to match the man. Instead he forced himself to relax in his chair.

    “Take out your anger, I dare you,” Glover smiled. The other man was boiling, his muscled arms twitching, his large hands flexing, and Terrence imagined that Thomsen was fantasizing putting his paws around Glover’s throat. “Be a man, for once in your miserable, colonial life.”

    Thomsen ripped his dagger from the sheath attached to his belt. The fool had carried the Imperial emblazoned blade with him. Glover glared at it and then bore into the man’s eyes. Thomsen looked down and realized his mistake. “Go store that away and get back to your duties,” he ordered the man.

    Thomsen rolled his massive shoulders before trudging to his quarters. The man nearly knocked over Bano, without even seeing her. She moved quickly to avoid him.

    “What happened?” The Bolian asked Glover.

    “Sometimes that one needs to remember his place,” Terrence explained.

    “That is a lesson we all need to relearn from time to time,” she smiled before retaking her seat. She began tapping her console. New instructions appeared on Glover’s terminal.

    “What’s this?” He asked.

    “Lay in a new course heading,” she said.

    “Why?” He demanded. “Where did this data come from? Where does it lead to?”

    Bano’s voice dripped honey, “You think I was in the back getting a beauty rest? I was conversing with my superiors. Command has uncovered new information about Shelby and her destination.”

    “I thought Shelby was headed toward the Bajoran system?” Terrence groused. “So, just where are we going now?”

    The Bolian was unfazed. “Ever heard of the Badlands Mr. Glover?”

    ******************************************************************

    Empok Nor

    Trivas System



    “Quite the spread,” Intendent Kira grinned, her eyes widening as she took in the table laden with foods from across the Alliance, with the centerpiece being a living tray, a muscled Terran man holding trays of fruits, while other plates had been placed on his naked body. The man knew well enough if he moved on inch or dared to spill anything, he and his family would not see another dawn.

    “Yes,” Intendent Natima Lang smiled, “I suspect you don’t get as many sumptuous feasts these days aboard Terok Nor, not with your marauder problem.”

    Kira finished plucking the fruit she had been reaching for. She plopped it in her mouth and chewed it slowly, closing her eyes as she savored the flavor. Lang saw that the Bajoran was at war with herself, anger grappling with pleasure, as she sought the proper comeback. None would dare speak to her in such a manner in her fiefdom, or even across much of the Alliance, but Lang dared. There had never been a better time.

    Hatred roiled in Kira’s eyes, but only for a second. She swallowed hard, and the smile returned, “My ‘problem’s are minor, mere Belzoidian fleas,” she chuckled, “And yet still, Terok Nor produces more ore than our sister station.”

    Lang’s mirth disappeared. The truth, rarely spoken in her presence, stung. Empok Nor had always been second to Terok Nor in ore production for the sector. No matter what new policies Lang instituted, what tortures her second Orta devised to squeeze more out of the Thetas, they continued to lag.

    It galled Lang, and it made her vulnerable. Her line of rivals stretched from the Trivas system back to Cardassia Prime. If she didn’t beat Kira, if she couldn’t exceed herself, if she couldn’t make Empok Nor the best, then Central Command would eventually be swayed by someone who promised they could.

    Her humiliation was made all the greater because a Bajoran, a Bajoran, was outperforming her. Certainly, the Bajoran race had weaseled their way into an important place in the Alliance, but still they were subordinate partners, with Lang, among other like minds, just considering them the most favored of the subject species. Kira’s success though reflected more favorably on her entire race, and with the Klingons the most dominant, who was to say if Kira wouldn’t someday wrap her firm thighs around the daft Regent and whisper her people past the Cardassians?

    Kira was oblivious to Lang’s inner turmoil. The woman was eating, drinking, and flirting, with the servants, and occasionally she tickled or stroked the organic tray, determined to make the man falter in his duties.

    After taking a long drink of kanar, Kira finally spoke again, “If Sisko’s band was really that much of an issue, would I have dared to leave my station, or Garak, of all people, in charge?” She chuckled. Lang had to give her that. Her thuggish second-in-command wore his ambition on his sleeve and would never rise to the heights he aspired to.

    “Fair point,” Lang nodded. She raised a glass, this one filled with Voodai, and downed the Bajoran beverage. She licked her lips. Though they were inferiors, they still made delicious drinks. “But what are you going to do about them?”

    Kira sighed and shrugged, “Oh, I don’t know, they are quite fun to be honest. They provide Garak with someone to fulminate and plot against besides me, after all. And the pathetic glimmer of hope Sisko’s rebellion provides the Terrans aboard the station helps us root out rebel sentiment, or suspected dissidents.”

    “There are rumors that Sisko is dead, is that true?” Lang asked.

    Kira shook her head, a surprising sadness briefly shadowing her countenance, “I don’t know for certain, but I am doubtful. Benjamin was always very…resourceful.”

    Lang leaned forward, “And what about this I hear about your constructing a…transpectral sensor array, a device that can actually penetrate plasma storm interference, and render the Badlands an obsolete hiding place for the marauders?”

    The hate flared up again in Kira’s eyes, but only for a second. The mask fell back in place and the Bajoran smiled. “You hear a lot of things my dear Natima, but don’t believe everything your operatives on Terok Nor tell you. One could almost suspect that you set up this whole sector meeting of Intendents just to get me in a position to ask just this sole question, and also to highlight my ‘marauder problem’ weakening my position among our fellows.”

    Lang shook her head. “No, I would never dream of doing such a thing, of undermining you. You remember Minos Korva.”

    “Of course, of course I do,” Kira lifted her head up toward the ceiling and laughed lustily. “Some many days of blood, nights of fire…and not just the kind that burns,” she added, pinning Lang with her smoldering eyes. The Bajoran slowly licked her lips. Lang’s blood ran colder than usual. It had happened once, on Minos Korva, the exultation of claiming that Terran world for the Alliance, of netting all those slaves, all that bounty. The two hadn’t been the only ones that got swept up in the moment. But Kira remained a slave to her desires.

    Lang used sex to further her goals, nothing more or less. With her counterpart, she too often engaged in such acts on whim.

    “Perhaps we can…” Kira’s eyes lidded and her voice grew huskier. “Relive the past before I leave?”

    “Sometimes are best kept in the past,” Lang said coldly.

    Kira’s anger flared up. She knew the woman hated nothing more than to be rejected. “If you won’t join me, perhaps your Theta here,” she said, reaching across the table, knocking plates off the slave and grabbing his package. She squeezed and pulled hard. The man grunted in pain, dropping his trays, the other plates falling off him, food crashing on the table and falling to the floor, a small fortune in some of the delicacies across the quadrant now no better than vole food.

    The man seized up, his knees up, as he cradled his aching manhood. Lang was on her feet, her hand hovering over her danger. Kira was at the opposite end of the table, her stance similar.

    The Bajoran licked her lips again. “I knew I could get your blood up some way,” she chuckled. And then she turned away from her and sashayed out of the room. “It seems like I’m not the only one who has a mess to clean up.”

    ****************************************************************
     
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  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ****************************************************************


    ISS Alexander

    Trialas System


    Captain David Shelby folded his arms and forced himself to stop tapping his boot. “How long much longer is this going to take?”

    The screams were unfortunately muffled by the agony booth’s glass. “I can test full duration,” the chief medic suggested, “Though I can’t ensure the prisoner’s survival.” The gray reptilian was curdled in a fetal position, blood streaming from his ears, nostrils, and mouth as his body was rocked with pain.

    “You would like that, wouldn’t you Giger?” Shelby grunted. “Wouldn’t that provide enough stimulation for you to test your cockamamie theories on cellular regeneration?”

    The balding man doctor smirked, “Well, it would doubtless stave off my cellular boredom for certain.”

    “Perhaps a personal hand is needed instead of that contraption,” the equally impatient security chief spoke up. Shelby glanced at the dark brown young woman, admiring her shaved haircut and the curved shaped scar running from her left eye to her mouth, giving her a false elongated, one-sided grin. “Brass knuckles or a knife are just as effective, and less a drain on the ship’s power.”

    “You’ll have to get your workout elsewhere Dryer,” Shelby replied. “Besides, you tend to get carried away with your work, and we need to keep this one alive. At least until I find my sister.”

    “Commander Hudson scoured the miscreant’s computer files,” Dryer pressed, taking a glance at the tall, observant man, before continuing “and if this spoonhead is withstanding the booth without revealing more, at this point, he needs a stronger motivation.” The woman stepped toward the booth.

    Shelby put an arm in front of her. “I said, no,” he ordered. The woman wisely stopped in her tracks. Dryer noticeably shifted her shoulders, displaying her displeasure. She knew not to vocalize it.

    “Rejak lives for now,” Shelby said, loudly enough for Dryer, Giger, and everyone else in the room to hear. “We need to ensure that the authorization codes he’s given us will allow us safe passage into Alliance space.”

    Hudson leaned in close to the man and said, his voice low, “Perhaps it is wise that we don’t hand him over to Nyota,” he suggested. “Rejak has been beneficial to the Empire thus far, and by returning him to the Borderland, that productive, and profitable relationship could continue.”

    Shelby nodded, “I was thinking the same thing,” he said just as quietly, glancing up at the taller Hudson, “Once I am confident we are not heading into an ambush, cut the Cardie loose, and give him some credits to salve his wounds.”

    Hudson’s eyes widened, “That’s most generous.”

    “I reward loyalty,” Shelby shrugged. The captain noted that his first officer was neutral on that. Cal had been loyal enough thus far, but any first officer worth their salt would eventually make a play for the big chair. It was only a matter of time before Hudson took the chance. “Besides there are bigger prizes in the offing, ones that will more than compensate for any money given to Rejak.” Shelby was a man who smiled rarely, but he couldn’t help it this time, “This is the first time I’ve ever looked forward to a family reunion.”

    ************************************************************************


    ISS Alexander

    Captain’s Quarters

    Eighteen hours later…


    Captain Shelby rolled over on the bed. “Shelby,” he barked.

    “Rejak has been given a shuttle, and sent packing,” Hudson said over the intercom. “I suggested he spend those credits at Verex III, the vacation explaining his absence to any prying from his Central Command.”

    “Nice touch Number One,” Shelby nodded. “Anything else?”

    “No sir,” the first officer said.

    “Inform me immediately if you encounter any problems,” He paused, “And the Klingon cloak is working thus far?”

    “Thus far,” Shelby noted the sourness in the man’s tone. The authorization codes were used to get them into Alliance space, but Shelby only wanted them used sparingly afterward. For most of the journey they would be traveling under cloak, a device brought from Rejak. That was the premise to get the greedy Cardassian to meet with them.

    The Border Service had long since discovered how the disreputable Cardassian gul was heavily entangled with the Orions and other criminal cartels and was running a thriving black market. It made sense that if his sister wanted easy access to Alliance space, she would’ve gone to Rejak.

    “I told you Bixby could integrate the cloak with our systems,” Shelby said.

    “It’s working,” Hudson admitted, “For now,” he made sure to add.

    “Remind the chief of the consequences of failure,” the captain ordered.

    “I have,” Hudson answered, “But will gladly do so again.”

    “See to it,” Shelby said. “Captain out.” He rolled back over to gaze at the most beautiful sight this side of the Beta Quadrant.

    Nella Daren, nominally the ship’s senior science officer, was looking down at him. She was propped up on one elbow. Strands of reddish brown hair hung down over one eye, adding a layer of mystery to the woman.

    “Commander Hudson is dangerous,” she surmised.

    “What have you heard?” Shelby was mildly intrigued. His eyes and ears were some of the best in the Fleet, but even then, still, they weren’t infallible.

    “Nothing,” Daren admitted, “And that’s what concerns me.”

    Shelby threw back his head and laughed. “Cal has been loyal.”

    “So was MacDuff,” Daren pointed out, “Until he conspired with the Satarrans to steal this vessel.”

    Shelby shook his head, “The fool. Thought he could become a warlord all his own, a god to the Satarrans.”

    “While it doesn’t appear that Hudson has aspirations to godhood he is extremely by-the-book,” Daren pointed out.

    “As he should be,” Shelby nodded.

    “Even if those orders come into conflict with profitable ventures, or other…goals,” Daren smiled. Shelby glared at her. Sometimes he shared too much with the woman. She knew things about him that even his wife didn’t.

    “Hudson hadn’t raised any concerns about that before,” Shelby shrugged. “He knows how advantageous it is to be my Number One.”

    “That’s true,” Daren said, smiling lasciviously, “in more ways than one, but this ship has never undertaken a mission like this, with such game changing repercussions. It will test us all in ways we’ve never experienced before.”

    Shelby frowned. “What do you mean by that?”

    “If what your sister has been able to do is true, the Shelby clan could possess one of the most powerful, at least sought-after objects, in the quadrant. It could take your family from being merely part of the Imperial Court to ruling it.”

    Shelby sighed, “I know.” He shook his head before flopping on his stomach. “I half want to find my sister to ask her why she didn’t come to us with her discovery. This is exactly what we need to catapult our clan to the top.”

    “Don’t be so hard on yourself,” Daren cooed, “Or her.” She massaged his scalp. He blew at the few blond strands that fell over his eyes.

    “I’ve never understood her,” he admitted, “Elizabeth I mean. She was always the strange one, at times it seemed like she enjoyed incurring father’s wrath or mother’s disappointment. And then she got married to a Glover, and now this.” He sighed again. “And I thought she had gotten back on track, working her way up to XO on the Travis Mayweather.”

    Daren’s hands moved from his head to his shoulders. His muscles relaxed under her skilled ministrations. Her fingers continued going downward. He turned around, the familiar urge stirring, but she forcefully pushed him back on his stomach. “There’ll be time enough for that,” she promised. “I just want to play for a while.”

    Shelby allowed the woman her fun. He enjoyed her firm, yet soft touch. She was much better than her predecessor. Spacing that woman had been more pleasurable than just about any time they had spent together, though the woman’s voluptuousness couldn’t be denied.

    Daren trailed a fingernail along his ribcage, tickling him. She dug into his skin and Shelby exhaled again. He knew better than to turn around this time. He squelched his desire to take her. That would come soon enough.

    “So, you want it rough tonight?” Shelby asked. Daren didn’t answer, instead he heard a sob. After a few moments, he decided to break protocol and turn around. He barely registered the knife coming down.

    **********************************************************************
     
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  12. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Life in the Empire. A great story here. You're taking these characters' dark traits and giving them full rein here. Mirror David is very much the opposite of his prime universe counterpart and you've done an excellent job in revealing aspects of Glover's prime personality and character that he keeps a very careful check on, but in the mirror universe, those traits can run wild. It'll be interesting seeing this universe's Shelby when she finally makes her appearance. She seems to possess the creativity and rebelliousness of her prime counterpart.
     
  13. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    DF,

    I'm really glad you are enjoying the story. And that you have been gracious enough with me using both Elizabeth and David. Don't worry, Liz will be making an appearance soon in the story. I also enjoy always returning to Nyota Dryer if I can. She's one of my favorite characters to write for.

    I envision these stories lately to be short, but they just grow and grow. Though that's in large part because the more I write about these Mirror characters the more they grow on me.
     
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    **********************************************************************

    ISS Alexander

    Captain’s Ready Room


    Hudson turned around in the captain’s chair-his chair-slowly. He rubbed the armrests, still getting used to the feel of the chair. Security Chief Dryer shoved the murderer into the office. Nella Daren, covered in dried blood, stumbled to the floor.

    Dryer stood over the woman, ready and eager to beat her again. “The captain…I mean, the body was a mess sir,” the security chief said, her eyes still on Daren, as the science officer slowly got on all fours. “I took care of it. Only trace left of Shelby besides the blood is the stain left by disintegration.” Hudson frowned at that. He would’ve preferred to have seen the body, but there was nothing else he could do about that now. His eyes fell to the agonizer clipped to Dryer’s belt. He pondered using it on the woman for her over eagerness. Shelby at times encouraged her excessiveness, he would not.

    “Leave us Nyota,” Hudson said, deciding to withhold punishment; this time.

    The fuming younger woman stayed rooted, hovering over Daren. “Sir, we need to know who told her to murder the captain!”

    “I said leave us,” Hudson hissed through clenched teeth. Dryer grunted before turning quickly on her heel. A quick boot connected with Daren, slamming into the woman’s ribs and knocking her back to the ground.

    He hopped out of the captain’s chair and rushed to the woman’s side. She had made it to her knees, though she cradled the side where Dryer had kicked her. Hudson bent down and gently touched her chin. He brushed away her hair and frowned.

    “Nyota,” he said, looking at the bruises around the woman’s eyes, and her split, swollen lip. Daren nodded.

    “I-I-I did as you ordered,” she blubbered, tears started pouring.

    Hudson nodded. He carefully wiped away her tears. “What did you tell Dryer?”

    “I told her-her nothing,” the science officer promised. “Just-just like you said, even she would not kill me without clearing it with you.”

    Hudson nodded, “That’s good.”

    “The captain…David…was good to me,” Daren said, “To take a woman, of my age, to make me a captain’s woman, his woman, it’s unheard of.”

    “Yes, yes,” Hudson said tenderly. “But I am captain now.”

    “Will you-will you do as you promised?” Daren asked.

    “Your parents, Doctors Aura and Vernis Daren, committed serious crimes, aligning with the infamous Professor Galen, in proposing that our race actually shares common ancestry with alien species,” Hudson explained. “It is a wonder they weren’t disintegrated instead of sent to the penal colony on Tantalus V.”

    Daren nodded, “Did you get them released?”

    “I will,” Hudson promised.

    “When?”

    “It doesn’t matter, not for you,” Hudson replied.

    “I-I don’t understand,” Daren said but the sudden light in her eyes told him she did.

    He aimed the dagger true, piercing her heart. There was no need to make the woman suffer more than she already had. He held Daren as she died in his arms. The captain laid her gently on the deck, wiped the bloodied dagger on his pants leg, adjusted his uniform, and then requested Dryer return.

    Hudson told the overeager security officer that Daren had confessed before she died. He gave Nyota the names of Shelby’s most loyal confederates aboard the vessel, the ones most likely to plot against his ascendance, as co-conspirators, and then let the woman go to work.

    He retook the captain’s chair, and shifted around in, feeling more comfortable by the nanosecond. Hudson activated the desktop computer and sent the credits transfer to the warden on Tantalus V, while looking at the dead woman cooling on the office floor. After all, he was a man of his word.

    ***********************************************************************

    Sector 04-70


    “Come on, come on,” Chakotay urged the ship, feeling a pang at each shriek from the engine and the rattling of the bulkheads as the structural integrity field was getting pushed to the limit.

    At his side, her hair wild about her head and face, Justine Haas looked up at him, “Klingon ship is gaining on us!”

    “Damn,” Chakotay smacked his terminal, causing the lights to blink. He held his breath until the console lighting returned. He opened a channel to the propulsion section.

    “Ann, we need more power,” the man demanded.

    The woman’s reply was crisp, “We’re tapped out sir, this is the best we’re going to get.” The man wanted to argue, but he knew that Smithee didn’t prevaricate or exaggerate. If she had maxed out the engines, that’s all that the interceptor had left.

    “Alright,” the man said tightly before closing the channel. He glanced out the viewport, at the roiling mass of plasma storms he had come to consider home. If they could just make it into the maelstrom, he was certain they could escape their pursuer. If….

    The ship was hit with such force that it spun around, almost throwing him from his seat. Chakotay was slammed so hard against his console he was certain something cracked inside him. The lights went out, and when they stuttered back on, he saw Haas lifting her head from her terminal. Blood poured from her mouth.

    And they were the lucky ones. Kelsi and Joxat weren’t so fortunate. Chakotay forced himself to look away from their charred, perforated bodies. They had been great soldiers, better friends. He had known them before the rebellion, they all had worked the mines in the Crolsa system, and the Trill and Saurian had been the first to agree to his plan to take over the transport hauling the dilithium to Cardassia Prime. Instead Chakotay had taken the transport into the Badlands, praying the stories he had heard about a rebellion were true.

    Now he was attempting to reach that sanctuary just one more time. The ship shuddered, the struts groaning.

    “Got to be a tractor beam,” Justine said, her words slurring. She wiped her still bleeding mouth. “Bastards.”

    Chakotay slammed his dead console. Weapons, shields, engines, it was all inoperable. “Ann!” He shouted, “Smithee!” Hoping he heard her. He wasn’t going to let the Alliance get them. The information he possessed was too important. He would destroy the pilfered interceptor first. The irony of using an Alliance ship to destroy another one was not lost on him, and he liked it. Smithee hadn’t responded. Chakotay suspected the worst.

    He gave Haas a quick look. She nodded in understanding. Chakotay patted the woman’s hand before he ran out of the cockpit. The ship shook again, so he was lucky there was a wall close by to catch his fall. He looked back into the cockpit. “What the hell was that?”

    “I-I-I can’t believe it,” Haas said.

    Against his better judgment, Chakotay ran back to the cockpit. He started to ask the woman what she meant when he saw it himself. He stood in the center of the trashed cockpit, dead friends at his side, and stared with gaped mouth out into space. He had never seen a more beautiful sight in all his life.

    There was a ship approaching them, fast. He had never seen a ship like it before. It had a large, circular saucer hull and what had to be two swept-back nacelles.

    It was larger than any rebel vessel he had ever seen, on par with an Alliance battle cruiser, and it possessed the fire power to match. Orange red beams poured out of what appeared to be three weapons pods, two atop the saucer and one beneath its secondary hull.

    The ship shook. Justine smiled. “The tractor beam has been detached.”

    “I think our Alliance friends have bigger fish to fry,” Chakotay smirked. “See if you can get weapons, helm, and control back online. I’m going to check on Ann.”

    “You really think they need us to join the fight?” Haas asked.

    “No,” Chakotay shook his head. “We need to get back to base. We still have a mission to complete.”

    “Aye,” Haas said. She paused and tilted her head to the side as if she heard something odd. It was then that he felt it too. A tingling along his arms that slowly consumed him. Before he could tell Haas, the woman vanished seconds before he did.

    ****************************************************************
     
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  15. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ****************************************************************


    Chakotay returned to life seconds before his certain permanent death. Both he and Haas were encircled by a group of humans, which was shocking, but not as much as what appeared to be firearms pointed at them.

    The humans all wore uniforms he had never seen before, clean uniforms at that. The uniforms were multicolored, but all were belted by sashes, with daggers in hilts stuffed inside the sashes. None were adorned with the symbol of Earth, a badge of shame all human slaves had been forced to wear by their Alliance masters. Despite the dire situation, Chakotay took a huge whiff, and smelled…nothing. This was the first room he had ever been in populated with humans that didn’t reek of sweat, bodily fluids, spent desires, desperation, or death. He also chanced to look around the room, which was dimly lit, but clean.

    The humans not aiming weapons at him were busy at terminals. This was no mere room, but the bridge of a starship? The starship that had save them. A ship crewed by thetas! Chakotay looked over at Haas and saw that the woman was equally confused and amazed.

    “Where are we?” He finally found his voice.

    “Who are you?” Justine added.

    “Put down your weapons,” a sharp feminine voice ordered. The soldiers complied. The owner pushed into the circle. Chakotay blinked. The woman shared blonde locks with Justine, but she was shorter than his old partner. The woman wore a snug red and black sleeveless uniform that showed off her toned arms, among other things. She radiated authority.

    “I’m Captain Elizabeth Shelby, of the Imperial Starfleet vessel Travis Mayweather,” the woman said as a greeting. Chakotay and Haas looked at each other at the same time. In unison, both replied.

    “Who?”

    **********************************************************************
     
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  16. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    **********************************************************************



    ISS Travis Mayweather

    Two hours later…


    Chakotay hadn’t wanted to leave the sonic shower. He hadn’t been so clean in, well, forever. But his stomach had other plans, and now he could barely speak, much less lift his head as he shoved food into his mouth. Justine’s cheeks looked about to burst as well. He was heartened that the medic aboard the ship had mostly repaired her face, as well as attended to Chakotay’s injuries.

    The ash-blond man sitting at the opposite end of the table from Captain Shelby had a noticeable look of disgust. Shelby was more bemused.

    She allowed the two rebels to engorge themselves for a few more minutes before intervening. “There’s more where that came from, in addition to water, medical supplies, and perhaps more, if you take us to your base.”

    “Weapons?” Justine said after swallowing down her food. Chakotay looked up and silenced the woman with a frown.

    “I get it, you don’t trust us,” Shelby nodded.

    “We just saved your life,” the disapproving man said. Shelby threw up a hand.

    “Hold off Commander Braener,” the captain replied. “This has to be confusing to our guests. We just show up out of nowhere, in a ship and from an empire they’ve never heard of.”

    “How is that possible?” Braener scoffed. “The Terran Empire is feared far and wide.”

    “Not this far,” Chakotay retorted. He didn’t like the man and he saw no need to hide it. “Since I was young all we’ve been taught is how the empire had been destroyed by the Alliance.”

    “All we’ve known is the lash,” Haas added. Shelby frowned, whereas Braener sniffed.

    “The Alliance will never plant their accursed flag on Earth,” he declared.

    “No, they’ve just kept us from planting ours almost anywhere else,” Shelby shot back. The ash-blond man glowered at her, and the captain’s returning smirk was challenging. Braener wisely didn’t answer the call.

    “We didn’t know the Empire still existed,” Chakotay said. He had forced himself away from his feast. After downing the glass of water, he added, “How did you know about the rebellion?”

    “Have you come to aid us?” Haas inserted quickly, her hopefulness one of her most endearing traits.

    Shelby sighed, “Not quite. I mean, we’re here, and we’ll do all we can. Like running off that Klingon warship.”

    “Terry’s incompetence allowed them to get away,” Braener shook his head. “When this is over I’ll personally apply his agonizer to make sure he learns to aim better the next time.”

    “You won’t touch him, unless I say so,” Shelby replied.

    “Captain,” the man leaned forward over the table, “If discipline is not swift and harsh…”

    “Captain Varley believed the same thing,” Shelby cut him off. “And look where he is. Do you wish to join him?”

    Braener leaned back from the chair. He threw the cloth he had been wiping his mouth with on the table. Chakotay didn’t know what had happened exactly to this Varley fellow, but he knew whatever Shelby had sent him, it wasn’t a trip he wanted to take. “I sided with you,” the man pointed out.

    “Yes,” Shelby nodded, “And for that, you will be rewarded.”

    “Only if these rebels,” Braener nearly spat the word, “tell us where the Vulcan is.” Chakotay and Haas couldn’t help but share a look. Was the cruel man talking about Solok? The Vulcan was the leader of their group of marauders. Just what did Shelby want with him? “A session or several in the booth will loosen their tongues.”

    “You’re right about that,” Shelby nodded. Braener’s eyes brightened. He clapped.

    “I’ll see to it immediately,” he hopped out of his chair.

    “I said you were right, but not that we were going to do that,” Shelby said.

    “What?” Braener was crestfallen, “But you said…”

    “We’ve got to do things differently now,” the captain shook her head.

    “That damned orb,” Braener shook his head.

    “That you saw nothing when you gazed upon it is telling,” Shelby replied. “If you weren’t so capable an officer, or had a need I could exploit, I would’ve spaced you along with the other holdouts.”

    Braener seethed but said nothing. “You can leave,” Shelby said, waving dismissively at him. The man turned quickly and stomped out of the room.

    “If I can’t convince you of my intentions, I’ve got something that just might.”

    ***********************************************************************

    ISS Travis Mayweather


    Chakotay was impressed by the orderliness on the ship. There were soldiers posted throughout the corridors. They were all at attention and gave crisp, stiffed armed salutes as the captain strode by. After a while she stopped returning the gesture, becoming more intent on her destination.

    Chakotay and Justine shared another look. Both were eager, but also fearful of where this strange woman was leading them.

    Chakotay held his breath once Shelby stopped outside a closed door. A tall, formidable looking woman stood guard. She quickly slung her rifle over her shoulder and saluted Shelby, this time the captain returned the gesture. “Anyone attempt to access this room Weathers?” Shelby asked.

    “No sir,” the woman briskly responded.

    “Good,” the captain nodded. Weathers stepped to the side and Shelby lead the rebels into the darkened room. It lit up immediately. Chakotay saw the room walls were lined filled with tiny screens and keypads. “This is our archive vault,” Shelby explained. “Where we store our most valuable treasures.” She sauntered over to one of the larger depositories. She tapped a few commands, bent down slightly, and clutched what an ornately made, large jeweled, box. She carefully placed the box on the nearest empty table.

    She gestured for Chakotay and Haas to come to her. She motioned for Chakotay to move around to her other side. Close to the box, he could see it was a vessel, that could be opened. Shelby sighed, and smiled.

    “We found what’s inside this container in the Iconian sector, from one of the last of the Bajoran clergymen, a hard man named Teero Anaydis. He tried to warn us…but we didn’t listen. He put up a good fight, but it wasn’t enough.”

    “You killed him,” Chakotay knew enough not to ask. Shelby looked at him directly.

    “Yes,” she nodded. Justine took a step away from the woman.

    “Why?” Chakotay asked.

    “He stood in the way of progress,” Shelby answered. “Or rather that’s what I thought when I pulled the trigger.” Haas gasped.

    “You murdered a holy man,” Chakotay said, “for that?”

    “He was holding this container when I did it,” the captain explained. “When he hit the ground the box opened, and then…everything changed. I…changed.”

    “Changed how?” Chakotay asked.

    “Teero called it the Orb of Transcendence,” the woman said, ignoring his question. “It can’t be explained,” she continued, opening the case. An intense, yet peaceful light spread from the opening, suffusing the room, and pushing out all darkness, in the room, and within Chakotay.

    Before he was completely enraptured he saw Shelby smile. “See what I mean?”

    ******************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
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  17. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ******************************************************************

    IKS N’Vak

    Sector 04-70


    “General Kojo will have our hides for this!” Captain Larg grabbed his favorite targ and choked the thrashing creature until it expended its last breath. As he tossed the carcass aside it wasn’t lost on him how the unforgiving general rewarded failure.

    “I’m more concerned he’ll inform Lord Kurn, or even worse, Lady Lursa,” Commander Lurkan spoke up. Kurn was indiscriminate when enraged while his wife had a well-dreaded reputation as a poisoner who would slaughter whole families.

    “Ha, whelp, you should be worried your own father will not learn of how we ran like a pack of khrun at the sight of that Starfleet ship,” brayed the gnarled Huraga, the ship’s new weapons officer. His predecessor was already floating back to Qo’noS.

    “What was a Starfleet vessel doing this far into Alliance space?” Science Officer Kasia pondered aloud.

    “Does it matter?!” Larg bellowed. “When the battle was joined, we fled. That’s all the general will recognize!”

    “That’s all Kojo will see,” Huraga said, “but he is not the only general in our Fleet.”

    “What are you prattling about old man?!” Larg demanded. He erupted from his chair like lava from Kri’stak. “I have no more time for your games!”

    “The boy,” Huraga jerked a thumb at the young first officer, the armor he wore seeming too big for him. “Everyone knows his father has General Duras’s ear, and Duras has the confidence of Lord Kurn.”

    “If you say one more word I’ll cut out your tongue!” Lurkan stepped to the man just in time to receive a spray of spittle as the old man roared with laughter. The other warriors joined in. Lurkan pulled his d’k’tahg and turned around, ready to stab someone, anyone. But then the man put it away and stomped off the bridge.

    It was no secret that Lord Kurn, though he was the brother of the Regent, had racked up massive debts to the Orions. Lorath, a man who had grown wealthy trading in humans and other aliens, had covered those debts. One of the prices was Lurkan being installed as first officer aboard a vessel controlled by the Mogh-Duras.

    “Lord Kurn might see reason, at that,” Larg said, nodding as he warmed to the idea. “If General Duras brought the information to him. If we place the blame for this defeat where it belongs, on Lurkan’s slender shoulders.” The other bridge officers slowly nodded. Even if Lurkan protested, Duras and it’s doubtful that Kurn would take his word over seasoned warriors. In fact, he might even reward them for not tossing him out of an airlock.

    “It’s settled then.” Larg sat back down. He reached down beside the chair, expecting to clutch the coarse fur and spikes on his pet targ, then realized he had just murdered the beast. His anger started brewing.

    “Commander,” Kasia spoke up again. Larg cursed.

    “What is it now Lieutenant?!” He demanded.

    “The Starfleet vessel,” she began.

    “Let the Cardassians find it,” Larg said, drawing hearty bellows from around the bridge. “If the Bajoran and her Cardassian lackey want to prove themselves worthy of being in the Alliance, they should root out this so-called rebellion by themselves. It’s not the proper job of Klingon warriors. Even her seloh isn’t worth losing my ship! Let the Starfleet vessel be an extra surprise for the unfortunate Cardassian patrol that comes upon them.” Larg was sure that the laughter that followed woke the dead.

    **********************************************************************

    ISS Travis Mayweather

    Sector 04-70


    He awoke with a start. A gentle, but firm hand pressed against his chest, urging him to lay back down. Chakotay resisted. “What? Who?” He wasn’t sure where he was anymore, or who he was.

    There had been a bright, but soft, consuming light, and then he was…Chakotay shook his head, trying to force some sense into it, but that was in short supply. “How?” He asked, his throat suddenly bone dry, as if he had traveled a great distance, and in a way he had.

    Someone placed a cold compress against his head. It was soothing, but not mollifying. He squinted through the stream of memories, of experiences that he had shared, yet had never been his own.

    The blonde woman applying the compress, he knew her, but not like this. She was wearing a different uniform, the same colors…but different, and so had he. He remembered a mutual distrust between them, but he had no cause for why.

    And there were other memories, other women, each stirring his emotions. There was duty, suspicion, love, and even pain as images flittered through his mind.

    “It’s okay,” the blonde woman promised, “This is a side effect of the orb experience.”

    “Side effect?” he managed to get out before being swept away by another tide of strange memories, that felt as real as any he still clung to.

    “It was something the old mad monk had warned us about, but we hadn’t listened,” the blonde woman explained, but it only made him more confused. “I had to learn the hard way, and even then it took me days to process what had happened. I’m still trying to sort it all out.”

    “Days?” Chakotay asked, remembering Justine. He raised up again, but the woman pressed him down.

    “You’re looking for your friend?” She asked. He nodded.

    “She’s still unconscious, which is something else that can happen during an orb experience. It affects everyone differently,” the woman said.

    “I need to see her,” He raised up and this time the woman relented. Sitting up in the bed he felt an intense throbbing in the back of his head and the room began to swim.

    “You had also passed out, bumping your head in the fall,” the woman answered before he raised the question.

    Wincing through the pain, Chakotay slid half-way off the bed. He saw Justine on the bed across from him. A thickset white-haired man was crouched over the insensate woman. “How is the patient Doctor Quaice?”

    The ponderous man took his time as he stood up straight and looked in the direction of the questioner. His nostrils twitched beneath a thick white mustache. “She’ll live.” The man was less not that enthused at the prognosis.

    “That’s your expert opinion?” The woman’s voice was thick with sarcasm. The elderly man shrugged and shuffled off to attend to another patient. The woman shook her head and sighed.

    Chakotay snapped his fingers, mentally plucking a name from the ether, “Shelby.” The woman looked at him quizzically.

    “Yes?”

    “Your name,” he said, rolling the name around in his mind.

    “That’s correct,” she answered, “And your name is Chakotay.”

    “Of course,” he said slowly, the recognition making him smile. “I am…Chakotay, but…there…I saw…others.”

    Shelby nodded, her expression encouraging. “Did you hear the word…Federation.”

    He squeezed his eyes shut, searched through the shifting, competing, memories. “United Federation of Planets,” he finally said, smiling, but not sure why. He shook his head, “My feelings, so mixed up. There’s admiration, loyalty, but anger, and disappointment. I was wearing a different uniform, like yours now, but…still different.”

    “There were sleeves for one,” the woman chuckled.

    Chakotay nodded, “Yes there were. There were sleeves!”

    “Not as revealing in other ways too,” Shelby replied.

    “It was all so similar, yet so different,” the man replied. “I was also wearing different clothes, maybe another uniform, I’m not sure. It was ragged, but not as torn and dirty as my clothing here. I was fighting against people wearing the same uniform I had been before, against ships that looked like this one.”

    “Some kind of Terran Civil War,” Shelby pondered. “I didn’t see that in my vision.”

    “None of this makes sense,” the man confessed.

    “That’s why I’m here,” Shelby admitted. “I need to make sense of all these visions, are they dreams, figments of the imagination, some transmittable psychosis passed on by the orb? In my visions I saw a Vulcan, residing in this cauldron of space. A sightless man, with the whitest eyes.”

    “Solok,” Chakotay breathed. “What do you know of him?”

    “I don’t,” she shrugged. “That’s why I’m here. The visions showed me this other me, this different Empire, but these Federation wasn’t much like our Empire at all. They were stronger, and they worked together with aliens instead of enslaving them. The visions said Solok would know more about this, that he could explain it. I saw him, with an orb, the one I have, and I knew I had to get it to him.”

    “I see,” Chakotay said slowly, suspicion clouding his features. Shelby was sharp enough to recognize it.

    “You’ve already told me you know him,” Shelby said. “I know you where he is. I don’t want to hurt him. I just want answers.”

    The man pulled back. “How do I know this isn’t some elaborate trick? The Alliance still has human marauders in their employ.” He said. “I’ve even heard wild tales that they can surgically alter Klingons and Cardassians to look human.”

    “You think we’re a bunch of Cardies now,” snorted Dr. Quaice. “Never thought I would hear such foolishness in all my days.”

    “Get back to work Dalen,” Shelby ordered. She focused on Chakotay. “I’ve risked everything to be here. And further I’ve promised my crew great rewards. If I can’t deliver Commander Braener or someone else will not hesitate to eliminate me and they will do so to you, after interrogating you in ways you can’t even imagine. The information you’re keeping from me will be exposed, one way, or the other. I saved your life and I’m offering to save it again.”

    Chakotay considered the woman’s words. He looked into her hard-blue eyes for a long time. He sighed before replying, “Okay, I’ll tell you where he is.”

    ****************************************************************
     
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  18. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ****************************************************************

    ISS Alexander

    Soltok System


    “Full stop,” Captain Hudson said quietly, but firmly. Ensign Auguste quickly complied. Beside the young Haitian, Commander Murakawa, his new XO, while still working as the ship’s chief operations officer, checked her readings.

    “The cloak is holding,” she said anticipating his answer.

    Hudson leaned forward in his seat, propping an elbow on his leg. He absently tapped Shelby’s swagger stick against that leg as he frowned, “Then why has that Galor stopped in front of us Yuki? As if they detect something?” The stingray-looking warship inadvertently-or perhaps purposely-blocked their path. Calvin was certain Alexander could take the battlecruiser in a fight, but it was not the way he wanted to announce their presence inside Alliance space.

    “Alliance battlecruiser is powering weapons,” Lt. Commander Dryer said, with relish. Nyota was itching for a fight, which was nothing new for the New Kenyan. The woman shared a long terminal with the science officer. Of course, he also had to chime in.

    “The Cardassian vessel has initiated a metaphasic sweep,” Lt. Tarses said.

    “Check it again,” Murakawa barked at the half-Romulan. The boyish young man, with the deviled ears, gulped loudly before doing as the first officer ordered.

    Hudson turned in his seat to glare at the science officer, to give him the proper motivation. Hudson’s decision to keep Tarses as chief science officer, much less alive, was not met with enthusiasm for some. Captain Shelby had been the half-breed’s champion, considering him something of an experiment, a pet.

    Though Terrans dominated the ranks of the Imperial Fleet, and rightfully so, there were many ships that still had alien crew aboard, mostly to perform menial tasks. They were sparsest on conquest vessels. The lessons learned from the green-blood traitors Soval and T’Pol and their attempt to ignite a revolt against Empress Sato had not been forgotten, even centuries later.

    So, it was rare to see an alien in the prestigious perch that Simon Tarses now occupied. Imperial Command had looked favorably upon Shelby’s recommendation, seeing the gesture as a way to curry favor with the Romulans. It certainly didn’t hurt that Shelby did an end run around Consul Glover, the Terran ambassador on Romulus.

    Hudson had no iron in the fire of that family blood feud. He kept Tarses because he was a capable officer. When his usefulness ran out, so would the man’s life. But that went for any full-blooded Terran that got in his way as well.

    “My first reading was correct,” the man squeaked. Tarses was appropriately obsequious when talking with Terrans, though Hudson had heard stories that the man could be quite cruel in his dealing with fellow aliens, especially Vulcans, who he sought to distinguish himself from.

    “Hmph,” Murakawa crossed her arms, still not convinced. The woman was extra demanding and disdainful whenever she dealt with Tarses. Things would’ve gone much smoother for the young man in life if he simply had bobbed his unsightly pointed ears. He looked human enough to not arouse suspicion or draw ire in most settings, though his career in the Imperial Fleet would’ve been blocked by the required genetic scans conducted by the Genetic Purity Ministry.

    “Cardassian vessel is sending out a broadcast,” the Communications Officer said. Hudson turned around to catch the worried expression on his wife’s face.

    “This isn’t good is it Gretchen?” Hudson asked. The willowy German bit her lip, which was never a good sign. The captain sighed. “Let’s hear it.”

    “Klingon vessel, this is the Alliance Battlecruiser Kraxon, Gul Ranor, Eighth Order.” Hudson noted the boastfulness even across space. “Are you testing us? Just so you know, we detected your sensor echo since you entered the Soltok system.”

    Hudson and Murakawa shared a confused look. Calvin activated the communicator on his armrest. “Bixby, you hearing this?”

    “Aye captain,” the man hurriedly replied.

    “What are they talking about?” The captain demanded.

    “I’m not certain sir,” the engineer sounded tortured. If he didn’t figure out what was causing the sensor echo he would soon learn what real torture felt like.

    “Find out,” Hudson barked, silencing the link before the engineer could reply.

    “Klingon vessel,” Ranor began again. “Come now, don’t be angry. We’re all one big happy Alliance Fleet after all.”

    “Back us off,” Hudson ordered, “Slowly.” He glanced at Dryer and the woman knew to prepare for his order to power weapons and fire on the battlecruiser.

    “I can imagine your engineering crew will not enjoy what’s in store for them, but you at least will have a story to tell,” Ranor said, and Hudson heard some laughter in the background.

    Alexander continued slowly distancing itself. “Klingon vessel, this is unbecoming,” Ranor’s tone was now annoyed. “Drop your cloak, show yourself, and admit you’ve been bested.”

    “Yuki,” Hudson began.

    “Already on it sir,” the XO replied. “At your command I’m ready to deactivate the cloak so Commander Dryer can perforate the snakeheads.”

    “I like the sound of that,” Dryer added.

    “Klingon vessel, why are you reversing course?” Ranor’s tone now shifted to suspicious. “Are you experiencing some mechanical troubles? Lower your cloak, identify yourself, and we can render aid.”

    “In a pig’s eye,” Dryer huffed.

    “Not now Nyota,” Hudson said sharply. He turned to Fuchs at communications, “Gretchen, send them a communique. Tell them we’ve experienced a major damage, due to…encountering an ion storm, something to that effect. But we are working on the damage and have things in hand. We don’t need their help.”

    “Essentially thanks, but no thanks,” Dryer added. Hudson grunted his disapproval at the woman’s flippancy.

    Ignoring the security chief, Fuchs said, “Acknowledged,” and then went to work putting together what hopefully would be a sufficient lie.

    It didn’t take long for Hudson to get his answer. The rectangular forward weapons array just beneath the ship’s primary hull began to glow. “Kraxon is charging weapons.”

    “Damn it Bixby,” Hudson shook his head and slapped the riding crop hard against his chair. He had feared that rickety Klingon cloak would be the death of them, and now he had to make himself a liar. “I’m through with this pretense. Drop the cloak and atomize those Cardies!”

    ************************************************************



    ISS Travis Mayweather

    Main Bridge



    Chakotay stood at the prow of the main bridge. The man was fidgeting. “I just hope this works,” he said. Haas, fully recovered, and standing beside him, nodded. On his other side, stood Shelby.

    “It will,” she was certain. “Right Mr. Albert?”

    The young man at the flight controller station wiped his sweaty forehead. The viewscreen was filled with a hellish starscape of towering infernos of plasma. The man was earning every bit of his Nova Squadron training by navigating through the chaos.

    “If he follows the path we gave him, he’ll be fine,” Haas replied, her lack of confidence in the younger man evident.

    “Lay off Justine,” Chakotay said. “I’m more concerned about what happens when we get to base.” The man looked at Shelby and then back at Braener. He didn’t hide his suspicion about their true motives. It was admirable that he was distrusting, but pitiful that he wore his emotions on his sleeve. The man would’ve never survived in Starfleet.

    “We harbor no ill intentions,” the captain assured the man again. “I just want to see your leader, Solok.”

    “To mind frinx him?” Haas asked. “Like you did us?”

    Shelby looked hard at the woman. “I see it more as…opening your eyes.”

    Chakotay placed a hand on the flustered Haas’s shoulder. “She’s right, and Solok will want to see this orb.”

    The man leaned close to Shelby and whispered intently, “And after that, then what?”

    She shrugged, not willing to verbalize in front of her senior officers, especially Braener, she wasn’t sure. But Shelby had to come up with something quick, “We then take the fight to the Alliance, inside their own gates!”

    A cheer erupted among the bridge crew. That was one of the lies she had told to secure the loyalty of many of the crew who were thirsty to really take on the Alliance, who festered being kept pinned behind the walls enforced upon them by the Alliance. Many wanted to fight, while Braener wanted money and glory.

    Shelby had been able to sell him on this venture by promising him a fortune in looted Alliance bounty, which he could then trade with the Orions to set up his own private fiefdom. He could become the merchant prince that she knew he long fantasized to be.

    The frigate continued into the bedlam. Everyone grew extra silent whenever the ship touched the edge of one of the plasma storms. The vessel would rattle, the lights with flicker, hearts stopped, and imaginations ran wild of various ways they were all about to die, but thankfully-perhaps these Bajoran gods existed after all-they were spared.

    A collective exhale went up from the crew when they broke free into open space again. An asteroid field lay before them.

    “Sensors are detecting multiple ships heading our way,” Operations Officer Woods crisply said.

    “The viewer still works Beth,” Shelby dryly said to the Asian woman. “I can see that with my own eyes.”

    “That’s your rebel armada?” Braener scoffed. Shelby didn’t like having her back to the man, but she was confident that Chief Engineer Craig, sitting at the aft, auxiliary engineering console would have the first officer in his sights. And Kendrew knew that Craig had no love for him.

    The vessels approaching them were all different but were all ramshackle. “You expect to win a war with those ships?” Braener continued. Haas tensed and Chakotay growled low in his throat.

    “They’ve survived thus far,” Shelby said, turning to glare at her first officer. “And that is impressive.”

    The man worked his mouth to conjure a reply, but Shelby patted the dagger at her hip, and he wisely stowed his retort.

    “The lead vessel is hailing us,” Woods announced. An ancient Orion interceptor was now leading the pack.

    Security Chief Terry whistled, “Where did they scrounge up that beauty?”

    “You’ll get a chance to ask them,” Shelby replied. “Woods, put them on screen.”

    Shelby squelched a gasp as her vision now became real. A graying, bearded Vulcan, with pale gray eyes filled the screen.

    “Who are you?” He asked.

    Shelby tapped Chakotay’s shoulder. “Solok, it’s me, us, me and Justine.”

    “Are the others with you?” The Vulcan asked.

    “No,” Haas now spoke. Her voice choked. “They…they didn’t make it.”

    The Vulcan was silent for a moment. “Kelsi, Joxat, and Smithee were good soldiers. Their loss can not be replaced.” Chakotay and Justine both nodded. Now wreathed with an extra solemnity, Solok inquired, “And what of the supplies?”

    “We lost those as well, unfortunately,” Chakotay shook his head and pounded his fist into his other open hand.

    Solok paused, letting that information sink in. “The Imperial Starfleet ship,” he said. Chakotay explained how the Mayweather had saved them.

    “Why is it here?” Solok looked directly at Shelby. “Why are you here?”

    “I would rather discuss that in person, in private,” the captain said. “I am willing to beam to your vessel, with Chakotay, Haas, and some of my people.” There was no way she was going to let Braener stay on the ship while she wasn’t there.

    “Beaming,” Solok said. “I haven’t seen such technology in a long time.”

    “I imagine that one doesn’t see much at all these days,” Braener joked behind her. Shelby silenced the chuckling with a hard look.

    “I will allow it,” the man said. Even Shelby rankled at the idea of a Vulcan granting her anything that she naturally had a right to as a Terran, but it was a new day, and she would have to grapple with it, in all its unpleasantness. So, she forced a smile, “Prepare for us.” She pointed to Braener and Terry. “Braener, Arrio, Pollard you’re with me.” The young Science Officer jumped at being called upon, it was so rare. But she thought the woman’s knowledge of alien cultures could be of use, for once. Shelby suppressed a chuckle before looking toward the engineering console.

    “Mr. Craig, you’ve got the conn.” The dark-skinned man nodded in acknowledgement. “Woods, six to beam over to that Orion interceptor.” Haas snorted, and Chakotay made a face. Both were steeling themselves to be dematerialized again. The idea that routine teleportation could cause so much distress was a reminder to Shelby of how much different, and backward, these Terrans were from Imperial citizens. It was something she would have to keep in mind as she played her hand with Solok and his rebels.

    Braener,Terry, and Pollard just made it to other three before the transporter beam whisked them all away.

    *********************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2018
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  19. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    I like what you've done with Liz here. That orb has given her an epiphany and it looks like she's taking the ball and running with it against near impossible odds--yep--that's our Liz.
     
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  20. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks again DF,

    It's really cool my take on Mirror Shelby works for you. I've tried to steer clear of using too many of your characters in case you ever wanted to dip your toe into the Mirror Universe well. Sorry about David though, but I thought the twist would reinforce how dangerous and unpredictable the Mirror Universe is. Elizabeth doesn't have any more siblings does she?

    I did use two of the crewmen from the Sutherland (Craig and Terry) who were serving during the Klingon Civil War when Hobson butted heads with Data. And I've placed several TNG/DS9/VOY characters in the story as well. Alexander's Chief Bixby is named in honor of Jerome Bixby who wrote the "Mirror, Mirror" episode and gave us this wonderful alternate universe to play around in.

    One thing I am enjoying is using this story to flesh out some DT characters I haven't focused much on, like Susan Bano, in the prime UT universe. And also others, like Braener (a Gibraltar creation), Auguste, and Pollard and giving cameos/name drops to others, like (Karla) Weathers. Or giving some life to characters that are dead in the prime UT universe like Kojo and Hardcastle.
     
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