UT: Darker Territory: Hearts of Glass

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

  1. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Definitely interested in what Solok's game here is, but it does look like we're going to be getting some answers soon. I expect we'll see some more fireworks in the very near future.
     
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  2. SolarisOne

    SolarisOne Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2016
    Why do I have the feeling "Stadi" could break out of that agony booth and bust some heads together anytime she wanted to?
     
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  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay and DF, thanks again for reading and commenting. I hope some of this answers some questions, though its likely to raise others. CeJay I did feel a need to explain some more stuff because I felt I was going too fast in the story and I hoped to give more characters some space to breathe and chew some scenery.

    SolarisOne, thanks for reading and commenting as well. I believe this is your first comment, so thank you for sharing your thoughts on the story so far. Below you'll learn a little more about Stadi, that's all I'll say.
    *************************************************************************************************

    ISS Travis Mayweather


    “What the hell happened here?” Bashir voiced what they were all thinking. Shelby didn’t worry about reply. Instead she rushed to the ailing nurse. She bent down and propped the bleeding woman up. Temple was grimacing in pain, her eyelids fluttering as she fought to remain conscious.

    Around them, the others spread out. “My gods,” Biraka muttered. Shelby looked up and around at the wrecked room. It was abattoir, the stench of blood and death hung heavy in the room. Her heart throbbed painfully in her chest when she saw Dr. Quaice’s still form. The man had been one of the true allies she had aboard the ship.

    Security Chief Thomsen and the Zaldan, Zim, had both joined the kindly medic in death. A hole had been punched through the human’s chest whereas the Zaldan was nearly burned to a crisp.

    Glover nudged Thomsen’s corpse with a boot. “Damn, I wanted to kill them both,” he said.

    “Where’s Stadi?” Dax asked. Solok was standing by one of the empty agony booths. He was looking intently at it. The shapeshifter was still wearing Oviedo’s face.

    “They were holding her here,” The Vendorian said, while tapping his chin. He touched the glass and then leaned his head against it. He closed his eyes, as if communing with the glass or something unseen within the chamber. It was then that Shelby noticed that the bottom of the booth was coated with dark ashes. “She’s…gone.”

    “Gone? What do you mean ‘gone’?” Terrence asked.

    Solok looked at him, his face a mournful mask. “They murdered her.”

    “Oh,” Shelby’s voice caught in her throat. She looked down at Temple. The nurse was nodding.

    “He’s…he’s right,” she rasped. “Tho-Thomsen…”

    Glover kicked the corpse. “Bastard,” he spat.

    “Don’t tax yourself,” Shelby urged the woman. She looked around and saw Dalen’s medical kit and the closet person standing next to it. “Bashir, make yourself useful and bring me that medical kit.”

    The man glowered at her but complied. He handed it to her. Without looking, her focus still on Temple, Shelby said, “Hand me the hypospray.”

    “The what?” The man balked.

    “Hard to believe in that other reality you’re a doctor,” Dax quipped. Bashir grunted at that but fished around until he produced several choices. Sighing, Shelby picked one. She applied it to Temple’s neck, and the woman’s drifted to sleep.

    “That should at least ease her pain,” Shelby replied.

    “So, this was a waste of time,” Terrence said, unafraid of the hard glares he got as a result of his callousness.

    “What do we do now?” Bashir demanded.

    “We beam over to the Shuttle Bay. Commander Glover, that Klingon ship of yours should be ready to go by now.”

    “And this Braener fellow is just going to let us go?” Bashir was rightfully incredulous. It still didn’t excuse the man’s obnoxiousness.

    “Of course not,” Biraka smiled. “Captain Shelby, there’s a small group of us who remain loyal to you, and hope your command will be restored, and that you will remember our loyalty.”

    Shelby walked over to the man and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Of course. Shelbys’ always repay our debts.”

    Terrence scoffed at that, but she ignored him. “I can’t speak for the Shelby clan, but if we survive this, know that you’ve made an ally out of my family,” Glover declared. Shelby rolled her eyes at that.

    “So, our guardian angel is staying aboard this horrid vessel?” Bashir asked.

    “Yes,” the inquisitor answered. “I’m not afraid of Braener, or his goons. Pollard should be waiting for aboard the Klingon ship. I would rather spare her from what’s to come.” The man paused, a touch of sorrow on his face. “She reminds me of my daughter,” he said quietly. He shook his head and the sadness dissipated.

    “What about Nurse Temple?” Solok asked. The man’s concern surprised Shelby. Perhaps it was a byproduct of his grief for Stadi.

    “I’ll take care of her,” Biraka said. “If anything, her condition will lend credence to the viciousness of your assault.”

    “I see,” Shelby said after a moment. “And what of you?”

    Biraka held his hands out from him, exposing his torso. “Try not to hit a vital organ,” the man said. As Shelby began looking around for a dagger, Terrence was already handing her one. It was covered in sticky blood. For a painful moment, Elizabeth imagined it belonged to Dalen.

    Stowing those feelings away, Shelby turned back to the inquisitor. She gripped the knife handle as she approached, looking for the safest place to perforate.

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

    Good Fortune



    “Beat you to the rebel warren,” Ensign Natalya Winters challenged, her voice in singsong as she sidled up alongside the Juan Andres.

    “If you’re not careful you’re going to pancake you and everyone on board into one of these asteroids,” Ensign Desvignes riposted. “I’ll take it nice and slow. That rebel base isn’t going anywhere.”

    “Typical Falcon Squad attitude,” Winters sniffed. She opened up her impulse engines, rocketing past the other vessel.

    “Stow it you two!” Lt. Curbeam barked. Natalya was surprised it had taken the querulous man that long before he rained on her fun. She supposed that the shaven-headed security officer was thinking over the mission ahead of them, no doubt imagining the fortune just waiting to be plundered.

    The Mayweather had been on the other side of the massive asteroid, with the base being on the far side, away from them. Now Braener was finally doing something he should have hours ago and sent away teams to look for treasure. Though she was doubtful, it wasn’t completely outside the realm to imagine these rebels had been successful enough to pilfer from the Klingons and Cardassians.

    Winters zipped expertly between the asteroids, her sights on the largest one, their potential prize.

    “Hold up,” Desvignes said, risking Curbeam’s wrath. “Are your sensors picking up the massive residual phaser particles?”

    “Huh?” Winters replied. She glanced back at the crewman operating the shuttle’s science console. Inwardly she chastised herself for once again, looking before she leaped. “Anything?” She barked at the crewman. It was his job to keep her on top of their rivals after all.

    “What’s Desvignes prattling about now?” Curbeam demanded. The crewman sitting at the science terminal licked his thin lips while quickly scouring the panel. “He’s right sir,” the young man squeaked. “It’s a heavy concentration of phaser energy, along with debris.”

    Debris?” Curbeam’s brow furrowed and though Natalya couldn’t see his eyes, she knew they had narrowed. Like many Terrans, the security officer had been born with a sensitivity to bright light, however his photosensitivity was so acute that he wore special eyewear. For landing party missions, he wore darkened goggles. Lesser Terrans would’ve used their disability as a crutch or allowed themselves to be pushed aside by healthier specimens, but Curbeam’s infirmity drove him to be matchless as Starfleet officer, and that made him extremely dangerous. “What kind of debris?”

    “Not sure sir,” the crewman said reluctantly, rightfully fearful of the security officer.

    “Should I inform the Mayweather sir?” Winters asked, drawing Curbeam’s attention to her. She wasn’t as afraid of the man as many junior officers aboard the ship were. Plus, she reasoned she could extract payment, of some form, from the grateful crewman later.

    “No,” Curbeam was curt. “Captain Braener has given us a charge, and we will carry it out. If we inform him now he’ll just tell us to complete the mission regardless. It’s better to investigate this debris and then examine the rebel hideout.”

    “Aye sir,” Winters said. She turned back in her seat before she smiled. She knew as well as Curbeam that knowledge was its own currency in the empire. If there was something of value within that wreckage Curbeam wanted to get his hands on it first to use to advance his station aboard the Mayweather. She intended to likewise.

    Instead of contacting the mother ship, Natalya hailed the Juan Andres. She repeated what Curbeam had told her.

    “Acknowledged,” Desvignes said for once without complaint or a snarky retort. The man grasped the potential of the unexpected find. It was one of the reasons why they worked so well together, especially under the covers.

    “That’s it?” Winters couldn’t help but tease. “No witty comeback?”

    “No,” the man’s smile was heavy in his voice. “I’ve got a race to win,” he said before streaking by her.

    “Like hell you do,” Winters declared before giving chase.

    *******************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2018
  4. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    Sector 04-70


    Thought Admiral Kojo leaned forward in his chair and rubbed his eyes. He blinked several times, before muttering, “I don’t believe it. I haven’t seen such vessels since SermanyuQ!”

    “Imperial Starfleet shuttles, as I draw breath,” gushed another supposedly hardened warrior. Nandali, whom Garak had come to learn was from the Kriosian species, jumped up from her console.

    “Admiral, we must drop our cloak and vaporize those glob flies this instant!” The metal-teethed woman demanded. “Look at them, going over the destruction of an Alliance vessel, as if picking clean its bones!”

    Garak almost chuckled at that, but wisely restrained himself. He wasn’t on a Cardassian battlecruiser and he had to be mindful of that at all times. These Klingons might not appreciate his kotra move over Corvinas and the Falkein. Nor would they understand his role in undermining his liege by feeding the flames of rebellion, but with the discovery of these Imperial ships, Garak saw a way to redirect the focus from the Marauders to the greater enemy. Before he had been content with wiping out all of the rebels, including the Alliance operative among them who knew too much, and thereby covering up his perfidy in the process, but the Imperial shuttles provided a brighter, shinier object that no self-respecting Alliance warship could ignore. Kojo might bypass the rebel base altogether.

    “Those are mere shuttles, even the most incompetent Cardassian commander would not have fallen prey to them,” the old man stroked his beard. Small, dark shapes fell from it. “They would never have made it this far into Alliance space, alone. Their mother ship must be close by.”

    “Perhaps, it is on the other side of that massive asteroid,” Garak suggested, pointing at the screen.

    Kojo snorted. “Perhaps.”

    “Shouldn’t we test that theory milord?” Nandali pressed. “If we rattle our mek’leth at the shuttles, they will flee to their mother ship, and then we shall have them all.”

    “That is a plausible theory,” Kojo admitted, “But you ignore too many variables. We don’t know if there is just one Terran vessel that has intruded into our space.”

    “It could be an armada awaiting us behind that rock,” Garak added. “This could be a full-scale invasion.”

    “Bah!” The Kriosian scoffed.

    “If it is an invasion, let them come!” Growled the Klingon at the helm.

    “There’s no way that even the Terran Empire could’ve slipped an armada into our territory,” declared a long-faced woman at the Engineering console.

    “Didn’t they once possess cloaking technology?” The science officer offered.

    Kojo shook his head at that, “That was old Suliban technology, so useless that they stripped it from their vessels.” He grinned, “I was there, with Dahar Master T’nag when we exposed the futility of those cloaking devices.”

    “Caleb IV,” the science officer quickly added. Kojo’s grinned at that.

    “What of the Romulans, and their technology?” The helmsman countered.

    “They wouldn’t dare incur the wrath of the Alliance by sharing their cloak with the Terrans,” the engineer was confident.

    “Who said anything about sharing?” The helmsman retorted. The engineer glared at him, and then both shared sly grins and roaring laughs.

    “Enough!” Kojo bellowed after a moment, though the man was also smiling. “I doubt that a fleet of Imperial vessels are lying in wait for us, but several is a credible possibility. As it stands, they don’t even know we are here, and I want to keep it that way, for the time being.”

    “But if we unveil ourselves now, the shuttles could call for help,” Nandali didn’t want to let the matter drop. “And we could then face our enemies like true Klingons!” The engineer and helmsman both snickered at that, drawing boiling glares from the Kriosian.

    “That is, if they are able to communicate through the plasma-rich environment inside the maelstrom,” the science officer said, foolishly undaunted by the Kriosian. “It’s by the grace of Molor that our cloak is still operating.”

    “Another reason to press why we still have the advantage,” Nandali said. “And it’s not like we are alone if we there truly are more than one Terran vessel hiding behind the asteroid.”

    “Ah, our cloaked friends,” Garak said. “I almost forgot.” Of course, he hadn’t, and it was concerning him that they had yet to reveal themselves. It made him wonder if Kira, Lang, or even Orta hadn’t made a kotra move of their own.

    “There are a lot of variables in this game of klin zha and one must practice patience,” Kojo advised. Nandali folded her arms and huffed loudly to show her displeasure, but she said no more. Garak hated to agree with any one that looked like a Trill, but the fearsome woman was right in this instance. It made little sense to not press the advantage. Imperial prisoners, even the handful on those shuttles, would win them great honors and rewards from both the Central Command the High Command, if not the Regent himself. He certainly couldn’t allow their cloaked fellow traveler to swoop in and seize the prize.

    If the doddering Kojo didn’t act soon, Garak resolved that he would. If the thought admiral wanted to remain hidden then they couldn’t decloak and send shuttles down to the asteroid to scour it, and he couldn’t cover his tracks and erase any hint of his role in the aiding the rebellion. Every second they tarried was another second that his secret might be exposed.

    “Milord, if we don’t wish to tempt the sabre bear,” Nandali said after a few moments. “Perhaps we could use our cloaked friends to draw out whatever Imperial vessels are hiding behind the asteroid.”

    “What are you getting at Nandali?” Kojo barked.

    The woman, to her credit, didn’t flinch or cower. She smiled as she calmly explained, “We expose them and see what the Terrans will do in response.”

    Garak was surprised at the silence that fell over the stuffy room. He had never encountered Klingons who were shocked, much less doubting. Grumbling broke out among the bridge crew. Nandali weathered it all, her expression nonplussed.

    “A metaphasic sweep can penetrate a Klingon cloak,” the science officer offered, finally breaking the disquieting silence. Nandali’s ire turned to gratitude.

    “Kunivas, is correct,” the Kriosian said. “If we initiated a sweep it would unmask their cloak and we could see who has been following us all this way, while providing a lure for whatever Imperial ships are lurking in wait.”

    “The Kriosian does speak with truth,” the engineer added, with reluctant. She spit afterward. “This could be the jackals from the House of Wo’toth or even the Mogh-Duras, seeking to undermine your place of honor at the Regent’s side.”

    “Wo’toth,” Kojo snarled. “They are completely without honor.”

    “As is much of the Mogh-Duras,” Kunivas said, though quickly added, “Excepting the Regent and his kin of course.”

    “The Duras petaQs!” The Klingon female at navigation pounded her console with enough force that it made the helmsman flinch. Roaring laughter, at the man’s expense, rattled the bulkheads. The man jumped out of his seat, glaring at everyone, who only laughed harder. He pulled his d’k tahg, but the laughter didn’t stop.

    “Stop it,” he declared, “At once!”

    “You’re too emotional Drex,” The navigator declared, “Like the puq you are!”

    The man bellowed as he turned on the taunting navigator, too quickly for the woman to respond. The man plunged the blade into her neck. Blood exploded from the wound like a geyser, bathing the wild Drex. He was heaving, his nostrils flaring, his eyes burning, as he stood over the woman. She didn’t fight death, instead she used what remained of her strength to plunge her own mevak blade deep into the man’s midsection. His smug expression evaporated, as he exhaled in agony and surprise. They both fell at the same time, the man stumbling backward, hitting the back of his chair on his way to the deck. The navigator slid from her chair.

    Once their rattles had stopped, Klingons pushed Garak to the side to get to them. Even Kojo lumbered from his command chair. The Klingons kneeled by the fallen warriors. Even Kojo, while leaning on a white bone cane.

    Unable to stop himself, Garak followed the Klingons. They formed a circle around the corpses, and the Cardassian knew not to force his way in. He resorted to looking between whatever silvers between the wall of bodies he could.

    Kojo knelt by the navigator. Garak saw the man carefully open her eyes. He gazed intently into the sightless orbs. A rumble started deep within the core of the old admiral, and seconds later, all the Klingons joined in. As one their eyes lifted toward the ceiling and their collective roar made the deck tremble. Garak placed fingers in both ears, but to know avail. The bellowing made his bones rattle down to the marrow.

    And just like that, it was over. Kojo rose slowly. He looked down at the bodies once more, but his expression was impassive. “Get rid of those,” he ordered. Turning back to his chair, he noticed Garak, as if seeing him for the first time. “You are never to speak of what you just witnessed Son of Tain.”

    “Of course not,” Garak promised. He wouldn’t even know where to begin, or how he could use the bizarre incident to his advantage.

    “I suppose you are familiar enough with our ship’s systems,” Kojo said.

    “I am a quick learner,” Garak boasted.

    “Very well,” Kojo nodded, “You’re now my navigation officer.”

    “Excuse me,” Garak nearly sputtered.

    “Attend your station!” Kojo demanded. The order sent a shock through Garak. The Cardassian was already sitting in the blood-spattered seat before he realized it. The Kriosian took over the helm.

    She flashed her metal teeth at him. “If you’re one-quarter as good as Vekma, you just might survive this.” All Garak could do was swallow hard to push down the lump that had formed in his throat.

    “Kunivas, initiate a metaphasic sweep,” Kojo rasped, seemingly out of breath. But yet the man found the wind to add, “Nandali and Meraht, you better be right. If not you will soon be traveling the River of Blood with Drex and Vekma.”

    “I wouldn’t have it any other way Thought Admiral,” the Kriosian declared. With such a madwoman at the helm, Garak’s confidence of returning to Terok Nor dipped precipitously.

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

    ISS Alexander

    Main Bridge


    “The Good Fortune and Juan Andres,” read Commander Murakawa. She looked back at the captain, her expression both curious and hopeful. “Both belong to the Travis Mayweather.”

    “Where is the Mayweather?” Hudson ordered.

    “Our scanners have not picked it up,” Murakawa frowned.

    “It’s got to be around here,” Hudson said, stroking his chin. “Somewhere.” His eyes bored into the main viewer. “Shelby the Younger is just as crafty as her brother,” he muttered. “Perhaps she’s hiding out on the other side of that large asteroid?”

    “That could be a possibility,” Murakawa nodded. “Our sensors are having enough trouble as it is in this plasma morass, and the minerals in these asteroids aren’t helping matters. I’m even picking up an increase in metaphasic radiation.”

    “Is it coming from our Klingon friends?” Dryer asked. “Are they attempting to expose us like the snakeheads in the Soltok system did?”

    The first officer shrugged. “You’re guess is as good as mine,” she replied. “This patch of space is littered with all kinds of cosmic phenomena.”

    Science Officer Tarses ventured to chime in, “This could be a naturally occurring phenomenon for all we know about the system.”

    “No one asked you half-breed,” Dryer groused. The man gulped loudly in response.

    “Is this metaphasic energy a danger to the ship?” Hudson asked, ignoring the two subordinates.

    “No,” Murakawa said, shaking her head. “It shouldn’t be an issue…if it is naturally occurring.”

    “Sirs,” Dryer butted in. “I think a more pertinent question at the moment is why haven’t the Klingons decloaked and disintegrated those shuttles yet?”

    Hudson stroked his chin again. “An apt question,” he said. “And it’s something we can’t allow because the crew aboard those shuttles would know for sure where the Mayweather is.”

    “Well, it’s not like we can just ask them, without informing the Klingons of our presence,” Murakawa countered.

    “We’ll see about that,” Hudson said. He slapped the communicator on his chair.

    “Bixby here,” the chief engineer was crisp.

    “You were a communications officer before joining the Engineering Corps,” Hudson stated.

    “Aye sir,” the man replied.

    “Since Fuchs ran afoul of Commander Dryer and is currently in Sickbay,” he paused to glance back at the satisfied security chief, “I want you to come up with a way we can communicate with those shuttles out there, something the Klingons can’t detect. I want them to know we are allies.”

    “Aye sir,” Bixby said. “I shall have a solution within the hour.”

    “You have ten minutes.”

    “Aye sir,” the chief engineer replied, less crisply this time.

    “Don’t report back unless you have the solution. Hudson out.” The captain slapped the communicator off. He picked up the riding crop that had been on his lap. “Shouldn’t be long now,” he said, channeling his frustration into bending the swagger stick.

    “Captain, I don’t think Bixby’s going to be necessary to get their attention,” Murakawa said quickly.

    “What do you mean by that?” Hudson demanded.

    “They’re heading straight for us,” Murakawa pointed at the screen. The two shuttles were rushing toward them.

    “How is that possible?” The captain asked.

    “They are charging weapons,” Dryer said quickly. “Sir I think it’s time dropped the pretense and fire on either the Klingons or these shuttles, preferably both.”

    “Not yet,” Hudson said. “Helm, evasive maneuvers. I want to see if the cloak has really been exposed or not.” Ensign Auguste ably moved the ship out of the way of the oncoming shuttles.

    “Shuttles are matching our course,” Auguste informed him a few seconds later.

    “Damn,” Hudson nearly broke the stick in half.

    “Both shuttles firing,” Dryer said. Four stencils of energy unleashed from the shuttles.

    “Brace for impact,” the captain called just before the Alexander was rocked by the phaser fire. Hudson had experienced thunderstorms that were more rattling. About the worst thing was the lighting had blinkered, and then brightened considerably.

    “Minor damage,” Dryer was quick. “However, the cloak,” the woman paused, rereading her terminal. She swallowed hard. She looked at him, a glimmer of concern in her eyes, “The cloak… it’s gone.”

    “What do you mean?” Hudson was out of his chair. He rushed over to Dryer’s console. Before he could push the woman aside, the first officer weighed in, stopping him in his tracks.

    “The commander is right,” Murakawa said. “The cloak, is offline.”

    “And the Klingons sir,” Dryer added. “Have decloaked as well.”


    *********************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2018 at 1:12 PM
  5. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Nice. The tension builds as it looks like Liz is deliberately goading the Imperials and Klingons into a fight. Creative and crafty...
     
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  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    ISS Travis Mayweather

    Shuttle Bay

    “Just who the hell is this?” Glover glared at the anxious ensign. The swarthy man was bound and gagged to the chair inside the Klingon shuttle. He was pulling against his restraints, his large eyes bugging and the veins in his neck pulsing. One fat throbbing vein ran across his forehead.

    “I thought you were supposed to dispose of him Ensign Pollard?” Inquisitor Biraka said more calmly. The woman was disheveled, her slinky dress ripped in places and scratches marring her attractive dark brown face.

    “Sir, I-I did as you said, I made sure that Chief Singh dismissed the other crew, leaving us alone. And then I did apply the sedative, but when it came down to the other part…I-I just couldn’t, not in cold blood,” Pollard blubbered.

    “You’re a disgrace to the uniform,” Glover spat.

    “Enough Terrence,” Shelby said firmly.

    “Not this time Elizabeth,” Glover continued fuming. “She must follow orders or be made to.” He took out his blade and held it towards her. “Go on,” he demanded, “take it!” The ensign shrank from the dagger.

    “Quit it Terrence,” Shelby sighed. “We don’t have time for this.”

    “If I can’t trust the people with me to do what is necessary to insure our survival then we aren’t going anywhere,” Glover held firm.

    “You think you’re the only one that can fly this bucket?” Shelby challenged.

    “Bano isn’t going to help us, and Thomsen can’t,” Glover smirked. “Besides, you’re in the best hands because I’m the greatest pilot in the galaxy.” Biraka chortled at that, and Terrence glowered at the robust inquisitor.

    “You know it’s true Liz,” Terrence said. “I’m the best chance we have to get away from this ship and then evade Braener.”

    Shelby sighed. “Damn it.”

    Bashir approached Glover. “Give me the knife. I’ll gut him like a drayjin.”

    “No,” Glover turned the dagger on Bashir.

    “Julian,” Jadzia said, as calmly as Biraka had been with Pollard. She placed a restraining hand on the man’s shoulder. “Stay out of this.”

    “Better listen to your Trill,” Glover smirked. Julian pushed against Jadzia’s grip.

    “You eager to die pirate?” Glover taunted him.

    “The longer we argue, the greater the likelihood of discovery,” Solok wisely pointed out. The fake Vulcan had gone over the shuttle to verify Pollard’s assertions that she and Singh were the only ones left.

    “Well?” Glover turned back to Pollard. The woman’s fear turned to disgust, and then there was a spark of rage at the Terrence for the situation she had put him in. At that Glover laughed and nodded with satisfaction.

    “There it is, that fire, the flames that burn in the hearts of all who are worthy of our uniform,” Terrence said. He waved the dagger at the science officer. She snatched it out of his hands. Terrence waited placidly to see if she would use it on the bound man, or him. He glanced at Elizabeth and saw that the woman was holding her breath.

    Squaring up her shoulders, she approached Singh. Sensing what was about to happen, the man started bucking against his restraints. He shook his head wildly as tears began to flow. Terrence couldn’t understand the man’s muzzled words, but he assumed he was begging for his paltry life.

    Pollard stood over the man, looking at the blade and then back at Singh. “Like the Vendorian said Ensign,” Glover pressed, “We don’t have all day. Do it!”

    Pollard cried out as she sunk the blade deep into his chest. Singh’s cries of pain were muffled. Blood ran down his golden tunic. “Again,” Glover ordered, “Again.” He kept barking at the woman as she stabbed the engineer. Soon his cries became whimpers and his stunted flailing stopped altogether. The man’s head lolled to the side, his eyes closed forever.

    Pollard stood over him, dazed. Glover sauntered over to her. He plucked the knife from her bloodstained hands. “Good work Ensign,” he smiled. “You’ve earned that uniform today.”

    “He’s right, you know,” Biraka said. “Noelle, this universe is not made for gentlefolk.”

    “There is another universe though,” Jadzia said.

    “So, we’ve heard,” Bashir was doubtful. “But who knows if Sisko and O’Brien weren’t just yanking our chains.”

    “They weren’t,” Shelby was assured, even more than usual. “What I saw-what I experienced-with the orb, that was real. There is another reality.”

    “Multiple ones, in fact,” Solok added, “Even extradimensional realms on this plane of existence.”

    “I’ll believe that when I see it,” Bashir blew through his teeth.

    “Who gives a damn what you believe,” Terrence said. “My wife, I mean, Captain Shelby is right, the shapeshifter is right, and you’re wrong. Deal with it.”

    “How about I deal with you instead?” Bashir huffed. He was in Glover’s face before the Trill could stop him.

    Glover chuckled. “You really eager to join that engineer huh?”

    “Don’t be so sure it won’t be you drawing your last breath,” Bashir retorted.

    “Terrence,” Shelby said, in an annoyed tone he knew very well.

    “Julian,” the Trill’s voice had a similar tone.

    “This isn’t over,” Glover promised.

    “You’re right about that,” the other man said.

    “It’s over, for me at least,” Biraka replied.

    “What are you getting at Bennington?” Shelby asked.

    “This is where I take my leave of you,” the inquisitor replied.

    “What?” Pollard and Shelby said almost in unison.

    “You can’t go back there,” the ensign said.

    “Ensign Pollard is right,” Shelby nodded. “Once Braener finds out you helped us escape your life is forfeit.”

    “The key word there is ‘if’,” Biraka smirked. “Don’t worry about me. I told you before I have allies aboard, and Pollard isn’t the only one. You’ll need someone here to help you get away. Even if Braener suspects I’m involved, even he won’t lift a finger against me. He knows that would not go over well with Command.”

    “Don’t count on that,” Shelby said. “Kendrew is unpredictable.”

    The burly man tapped his temple. “Not to an inquisitor.”

    “What about me?” Pollard asked.

    “You stay with them,” the man said. “They’ll need your know-how to get through the expanse.”

    “I don’t need anyone,” Glover huffed. Biraka chuckled at that, and Glover growled in displeasure.

    “Too much time has been wasted already,” the inquisitor said. “I’ll do what I can to slow Braener down, but you need to leave; now.”

    “The counselor doesn’t need to tell me twice,” Glover replied.

    “Take care of yourself Bennington,” Shelby said, grasping the man’s hand in a firm grip.

    Pollard simply hugged the man but stopped when she realized she was getting Singh’s blood on his uniform. Tears overtaking her, the woman ran to the ship’s refresher.

    Glover hoped the woman would stay in there until she could conduct herself like a proper Imperial officer.

    Striding to the cockpit, he said over his shoulder, “Inquisitor, if you’re not off this vessel in five seconds you’re coming with us whether you want to or not.”

    “You’re welcome Mr. Glover,” Biraka said in response, before he hustled out of the hatch. Shelby slammed it closed behind the man.

    “Terrence you can be a real ass sometimes you know,” She said. Glover smirked.

    “Yeah, I know, it’s part of my charm,” he riposted.

    “Not, it’s not, not really,” Shelby came back.

    “Oh? Then why did you marry me?” Glover said while bringing the ship’s systems online.

    Shelby took up the seat beside him. “I still ask myself that, at once a day.”

    “I long suspected, but glad to hear it from you, that I’m still on your mind,” Glover quipped.

    “Don’t flatter yourself,” Shelby rolled her eyes at the man’s smugness.

    “Don’t need to when I got you thinking about me all the time,” Glover said. The ship lifted off the deck. “Now’s the time for everyone to buckle up,” he said over his shoulder.

    “What about the body?” Jadzia asked.

    “We’ll shoot it out with any garbage once were away from this prison,” Glover replied. He got behind the controls. “Everyone buckle up,” he ordered. “We’re about to blow this popsicle stand.”

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

    Good Fortune

    “What the hell?!” Lt. Curbeam showed a glimmer of emotion that Natalya didn’t think the man possessed. He jumped beside her, nearly pressing his face against the viewport. “That’s-that’s an Imperial conquest ship!”

    “The Alexander to be exact,” the science officer supplied, no doubt seeking to redeem himself and ward off the security officer’s wrath.

    “What in the Great Bird is the Alexander doing out here, in Alliance space?” Winters muttered before realizing she had spoken aloud.

    “Hail them,” Curbeam ordered.

    “They’re hailing us,” Winters said, her console blinking.

    “Open channel,” the security officer said.

    There was a burst of static, and then a harsh voice, “Get out of the way!”

    “What?” Curbeam looked at Winters. She was just as confused as the goggled man was.

    “Repeat that,” Curbeam said.

    “Damn it man,” the voice barked, “Evasive maneuvers or I’ll slag you myself!”

    “We’re not following,” Curbeam replied.

    “Uh, sirs,” the science officer squeaked. The ship was knocked hard to the side before he could finish his interruption. Though Curbeam clamped on to the edge of the console, it kept him on his feet, though his hip bone banged into the side of Winters’s head. She blinked back the pain at the contact. Right now, she had bigger worries than minor discomfort.

    The science officer started again, “The Juan Andres…has been destroyed.”

    “Come again?” Curbeam asked.

    “Henri,” Winters gasped. Grief and rage began stirring within her. She closed her eyes, forcing a lid on the cauldron. She needed to channel her emotions into retaliating against whoever had murdered her lover.

    “A Klingon battlecruiser has decloaked,” the science officer said. “It destroyed the Juan Andres.”

    “Damn forehead bastards,” one of the security guards in the back groused.

    “And now they are heading for us,” the science officer squeaked.

    In front of them, the Alexander, a grand ship of the line, shot past them. Winters only was able to marvel at the ventral secondary hull before the ship disappeared.

    “They’re leaving us?!” The science officer nearly shrieked. Winters shared a troubled look on Curbeam’s face. Even though she couldn’t make out his eyes, she knew they were lanced with fear.

    “I don’t know,” Winters said, speaking for them all. “I don’t know.”

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

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    ISS Travis Mayweather

    Medical Bay


    Captain Braener was smoldering. He couldn’t just have one satisfying moment. The demands of his station had forced him to lock away his lustful memories of Furlong. He glared down at the dozing, battered nurse. “Doctor, wake Nurse Temple.”

    “Uh, Captain,” Junior Medical Officer Quint’s voice was halting. “Nurse Temple has suffered great trauma. She needs rest.”

    “I’ll determine what she needs,” Braener declared. He poked his finger in the man’s chest. “If we had another seasoned physician right now I would put you in an airlock.”

    The medic took a step back. “You don’t move, unless I tell you,” Braener hissed. He got in the man’s face, his eyes going cross as they zeroed in on him. “Got it?”

    “Of course, sir,” the man said, looking down, submitting to Braener’s authority. Braener smirked.

    “That’s more like it,” he nodded. “Now, do as I order.” He nodded at Shoreham, who was by the dispensary’s door, pleased there was another witness to his power.

    The medic scampered over to a medical table and lifted a cylindrical device. He rushed back over the insensate nurse. He placed the device against the woman’s neck. There was a soft hiss, and then the woman’s eyes fluttered, and she grimaced with pain.

    Braener pushed the doctor to the side. He leaned over the waking woman. He wanted her face to be the first one he saw. The captain wanted to question her before she could remember any lies.

    “Captain Braener,” the intercom made him curse. He couldn’t leave the bridge for five minutes it seemed before he was being called back to it, like he was chained to that command chair. It was already starting to feel less like a throne and more like an electric chair. Though Braener wouldn’t have it any other way.”

    “What is it now Woods?” He didn’t hide his frustration.

    “You’re needed on the bridge,” the woman was undaunted by his fit of pique. “Now.”

    Braener looked down at the still stirring nurse, and then at Quint who wisely looked away. Next the captain looked at Shoreham, who smartly maintained her cool poise. He threw up his hands, “And why is that Number One?”

    “Simply sir,” the woman’s voice was tinged with fear, “Everything has just gone to shit.”

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

    IKS Vi’chak


    Everyone was stunned into momentary inaction, even Garak. He blinked several times at the Imperial tearing towards them. It wasn’t until the deck plates trembled and several consoles sparked that he jumped into action.

    Working in concert with the Kriosian he turned the battlecruiser hard to port, straining as much as the lumbering warship did to avoid another volley from the oncoming starship.

    “The assailing ship is a conquest vessel of the Excelsior-class,” Bregath, the chiseled, dark-hued weapons officer informed them.

    “A marvelous vessel,” Thought Admiral Kojo gasped in wonder. “I-I haven’t destroyed one of those in many, many moons.” Bregath sent a fusillade of disruptor fire at the ship, forcing it to veer off.

    “It was Terrans following us the whole time?” Kojo was befuddled. “How-how did they mimic Klingon cloaking device readings?”

    “It’s more plausible that they stole one of our devices or brought it from the thriving black markets in the Borderlands,” the female warrior at the science terminal explained.

    Kojo shook his head, “After all these years, these humans are still without honor! To skulk about instead of facing us openly, like true warriors!”

    “Toy’wl’!” Meraht bayed. Garak recognized the term, one of the many the Klingons had devised for the enslaved. Nandali spat a thick gob of spit on the deck at the epithet, and the Cardassian wondered if the Kriosian was showing her solidarity with her Klingon betters so they wouldn’t put her in the same caste.

    As the old admiral thundered on, Garak fought hard not to chuckle. How was what the Terrans did any less honorable than the cloaking device many Alliance warships were equipped with, including the Vi’chak?

    “The remaining Terran shuttle has changed course and is now powering weapons,” Bregath said.

    “Could the cloaked vessel be the mother ship we were looking for?” Nandali asked.

    “Unlikely,” the science officer replied. “It has been following us for a long time now.”

    “Zegov is right,” Kojo said. “There’s another Terran vessel out there, somewhere, and it could be cloaked as well.”

    Dread formed a hard lump in Garak’s throat at the prospect. While he forced it down, the ship shuddered again as the shuttle fired on them and then they were hit again by the more formidable conquest vessel that had come about. More consoles caught fire, one engulfing the unlucky soul that had been seating at the environmental station. To all that, Kojo roared with laughter. “Nothing like a little blood and smoke to get the blood pumping eh?” He guffawed and pounded his armrest. “By Molor, the battle is joined!”

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