UT:TFV – Part III – Infinities Unbound

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gibraltar, Jun 7, 2013.

  1. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Here and now.
    Ebnal isn't of a mind to be overly trusting of Zeischt/Sandhurst or A'lasha for that matter. Can't say I blame him. Was Zeischt persuasive enough? Probably, but I don't see Lucian hanging out with former-Sandy for drinks and debauchery any time soon.

    And darn it, I miss Pava! :confused:
     
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  2. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
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    USS Venture

    Iris Wu strode down the corridor with Lucian Ebnal, matching the captain step-for-step. “Realistically, sir, we’re your only option. Europa’s transwarp drive will cut our trip from a week to just a few hours. With a robust Alpha Weapons loadout, we’ll be able to pop in next to them, cripple or destroy their cube, a be back here in time for supper.”

    They turned a corner in unison, causing a crewman walking the other direction to lunge clumsily out of the way as Ebnal’s glowering visage acted as an emotional navigational deflector. “Don’t take this the wrong way… no, scratch that, I don’t care how the hell you take it… you’re not experienced enough to lead a mission this potentially dangerous, Commander.”

    “Then respectfully, Captain, why did you promote me to commanding officer?” was Wu’s all-too-reasonable reply. The logic of her argument only served to agitate the mercurial Ebnal further.

    “I legitimately hate to do this, Wu, but I’m going to move my flag to Europa and command this mission myself. You’ll act as my XO for the duration of this raid.”

    Wu absorbed that as dispassionately as a Vulcan. “I’m obviously in no position to contest that decision, sir, but I’d recommend against it.”

    “Why?”

    “You’re our resident expert on the Klingons. If you’re killed or captured on this mission, there’s a good chance Brigadier Gan’Louk will assume command of the task force. As his forces presently outnumber Starfleet’s three-to-one, were he to decide to seize control of Shul’Nazhar for the greater glory of the Klingon Empire, we’d be unable to stop him.”

    “He wouldn’t dare,” Ebnal refuted. “He agreed to recognize Starfleet authority on this expedition.”

    The two officers stepped into Venture’s main engineering area, threading their way through various workstations until they arrived at a maintenance bay. A team of technicians under the watchful gaze of the chief engineer were busy assembling some manner of elaborate-looking conduit.

    Lowering her voice, Wu countered, “Point of fact, sir, but the brigadier agreed to yield to Captain Lar’ragos’ authority, not necessarily Starfleet’s. The respect you earned with the Klingons during the war has allowed Gan’Louk to transfer that allegiance to you with no loss of face among his own troops. In the event of your death or incapacitation, it’s doubtful he could repeat that process without undermining his own authority in the eyes of his men.”

    “Let’s table this for the moment, Commander,” Ebnal growled to Wu before turning his gaze on his chief engineer. “How’s it coming along?”

    The Tiburonian engineer gestured offhandedly to the assemblage. “We’re following the specs exactly, but I won’t hazard a guess as to whether it’s going to work or not, Captain.”

    “No telling,” Ebnal confirmed. “Sandhurst better hope it does, or he’ll have a very brief and unpleasant incarceration.”

    The engineer took the pair through some of the particulars on an oversized engineering padd, and after Ebnal was satisfied the project was well in hand, he and Wu departed, resuming their earlier conversation.

    “Taking your ship from you isn’t something I do lightly, Wu,” Ebnal offered, the first sign of any sort of olive branch from the man that she could recall receiving. “But if Pava’s weapon worked as advertised, they’ll be wounded and cornered with nothing to lose, making them more dangerous than ever.”

    Wu nodded agreeably, again keeping pace with her superior. “Understood, sir. However, I would argue that as task force commander, you’re acting in a brevet-flag capacity.”

    Ebnal looked askance at her. “Tell me something I don’t know.”

    “Per regulations it’s incumbent upon a flag-officer to delegate their orders to their subordinates rather than executing tasks and missions themselves. Otherwise, it undermines confidence in the chain-of-command and dilutes both unit-cohesion as well as the flag-officer’s overall effectiveness.”

    A hint of a smile tugged at the corner of Ebnal’s mouth. “You’re really going to quote chapter-and-verse to me, Commander?”

    Wu stopped in her tracks, forcing Ebnal to halt and backpedal a few steps.

    “Let me do my job, sir,” Wu said simply.

    A pregnant pause followed, Ebnal having fallen uncharacteristically quiet.

    “This is new to me, Wu,” he said finally. “If you were to screw this up, it falls on my shoulders. It’s difficult for me to delegate something so vital to someone so new to the responsibilities of command.”

    “I’ve no doubt that’s true,” Wu allowed. “But I know my ship, and my people. In this case, screwing it up would likely result in my death and that of Europa’s crew. I’ve got a vested interest in getting the job done correctly.”

    Ebnal looked torn, but after a long moment’s consideration, he nodded fractionally. “Reconnoiter and assess, but don’t engage the Amon unless you have a clear advantage and a viable escape route.”

    “Understood, Captain. Thank you, sir.”

    “You can thank me by coming back alive,” Ebnal replied with a rueful smile.

    Wu appeared thoughtful, causing Ebnal to give her a suspicious look. “You’re about to ask me for something I’m not going to like, aren’t you?”

    It was Wu’s turn to smile. “Zeischt or A’lasha. Having someone on-scene with insight into Amon psychology and tactics would be invaluable.”

    “That’s asking a lot,” he hesitated. “Both of them are dangerous.”

    “They’re both zealots in their own way, but at least A’lasha seems to be dedicated heart and soul to the defense of the Federation.”

    “So she says. I can’t trust either goddamn one of them,” Ebnal groused.

    “Seeing as you’re already setting the dinner table for Zeischt, so to speak, A’lasha would appear to be the better candidate.”

    Ebnal nodded. “And it lessens her opportunity to exert her damned Section 31 overrides on our ships. See to it, Commander.”

    “Aye, sir.” Wu turned to depart.

    “Wu?”

    She paused, glancing back. “Sir?”

    “Good hunting. Give those Amon sons-of-bitches my regards.”

    * * *​
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  3. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Wu used impeccable logic to sway Captain Ebnal - no easy feat that. It remains to be seen whether of not she is up to the task, now that Lucian has given his blessing.
     
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  4. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    Funny how things work out, Pava dead and Sandhurst back with Starfleet, albeit a prisoner. It will be interesting to see what kind of role he's going to play. For now I'm curious to find out what impact A’lasha is going to have. She is fierce and determined and quite possibly extremely dangerous. Will Wu be able to handle her? And for that matter, will she be able to handle going after the Amon> If history tells us anything its that commanding officers of starships named Europa don't have the greatest success ratio. Or, you know, survive ...
     
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  5. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Hello @Gibraltar This looks epic! The prologue blew me away. The first chapter sets up the situation - Delta Quadrant, massing for war, got it. Seems like this story is going to split across several ships and lots of characters. Hope I can keep them all straight! :crazy:
     
  6. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2016
    Hey @Gibraltar Read the con't part of chapter 1 (headed Galaxy Station). [Aside, did you think of breaking up these long chapters - make each section a new one?]

    Cor blimey there's a lot of information here - very complex situation Lar’ragos is getting into. Klingons in the mix too. And still looking for Ramirez! I wonder how this mission to contact Sandhurst will go...
     
  7. Kuri

    Kuri Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2016
    Hi me agian! I read yet another part that is called chapter 1 (where Pava meets Dom). I'll have to be careful of reading this... I've been thinking about androids and the name Sharpe and even a mixed marine/starfleet crew for a story. We appear to think alike!

    So the pieces are coming together. Like the history between Dom & Pava re his godmother. I wonder if he was lying that that wouldn't be a problem?

    I'm commenting from a new mobile device while traveling so sorry for brevity.
     
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  8. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm very pleased you're enjoying the story! Hopefully you'll have caught up by the time I post more.
     
  9. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Chapter Ten

    If this is to end in fire
    Then we should all burn together
    Watch the flames climb high into the night
    Calling out father oh stand by and we will
    Watch the flames burn auburn on
    The mountain side high

    ~ I See Fire, by Ed Sheeran


    USS Europa

    “Transwarp systems reading nominal,” Askok reported stolidly from Engineering. “No fluctuations in output since that last adjustment, Captain.”

    “Acknowledged, Lieutenant,” Wu replied. “Excellent work,” she added, closing the comm-link to the engine room.

    “Maintaining course,” Lightner updated from the Flight Control station. “Our velocity is the equivalent of warp nine-point-nine-nine-eight. ETA to last known coordinates of the Amon cube is twenty-six minutes.”

    “Fifty-five light years in a little under two hours,” Georgia Kirk murmured from the XO’s seat with a disbelieving shake of her head. “Impressive.”

    “Thank you, Mister Lightner,” Wu answered smoothly, gratified at the calm and professional nature with which her people were handling this most critical mission. She had nerves enough of her own, and hiding that from the crew was taking a great deal of effort. A jittery crew would only have made the situation that much worse.

    Wu turned to inspect A’lasha as the Vulcan woman perused a data padd in the mission specialist’s seat to Wu’s immediate left.

    “If you keep staring I just might start to blush,” A’lasha noted laconically, still engrossed in the contents of her padd.

    Wu frowned at the woman’s cavalier response to her scrutiny. “Don’t make me regret bringing you along…” her frown deepened. “I don’t even know what to call you. Do you 31 types even have ranks? Do I call you ‘agent?’”

    Finally looking up from her reading, A’lasha offered what at least appeared to be a genuine smile. “My name will be sufficient, Captain.”

    Wu was able to spy a glimpse of the padd’s contents, a list of Europa’s available Alpha Weapons. “What’s your assessment of which weapons system will be the most effective?”

    “Personally, I’d go with the zero-point flux initiator, followed up by the gravitic shearing field, should a coup de grâce be necessary.”

    Wu nodded slowly, all the while trying to feign an indifferent air about carrying out what amounted to an act of genocide. “I hope Lar’ragos’ weapon worked as advertised. I’d rather not engage the Amon at full strength.”

    A’lasha cocked her head approvingly. “That’s a wise choice. At full strength, they’re the most cunningly brutal warriors I’ve ever seen. They put the Klingons and Jem’Hadar to shame. Even my own people at the height of their martial prowess never came close to Amon levels of lethality.”

    With a minute shake of her head, Wu muttered soto voce, “To think Sandhurst thought he could tame them.”

    “He very nearly did,” A’lasha confessed quietly. “It wasn’t until we’d transitioned into the Large Magellanic Cloud that everything went to hell, Captain. He and I… we both underestimated the Amon aversion to making war against their own kind. According to them, that trait was engineered into them by their designers. Whether that was factual or a societal legend we-”

    Their conversation ceased as they both registered the sudden presence of three officers standing in front of the command center chairs. Counselor Liu, Lt. Commander Pell, and Lieutenant Kirk.

    “This is a terribly inconvenient time for a mutiny,” A’lasha quipped.

    Ignoring their guest’s joke, Liu fixed a serious expression on Wu. “Captain, if you have a moment, we’d like to speak with you in private. It’s important.”

    Wu’s hesitation was necessarily brief, and she stood to tell Lightner that he had the conn before leading the trio into the ready room. Wu entered first, surprised to find Dr. Reskos and Lieutenant Verrik already seated and waiting in the two chairs across from the desk. Wu recovered smoothly, gesturing for the others to take seats on the couch along the wall as she slid in behind the desk. “We’re short on time, so I hope you’ll be quick about this.”

    Kirk, Liu and Pell all remained standing. The counselor and diplomatic officer both looked to Kirk, and the acting first officer announced, “Captain, we’d urge you in the strongest possible terms to reconsider this course of action.”

    Wu cocked her head thoughtfully. “I’m acting under orders, Lieutenant. I wasn’t aware I had any choice in the matter.”

    Liu spoke up. “Your orders equate to committing genocide, sir. That act is a violation of no fewer than seventeen different Starfleet regulations, operational protocols, and Federation laws. As Starfleet officers, we have a moral obligation to refuse such illegal orders.”

    “The Skorrah and the Amon declared war on us.” Wu’s eyes darted between the five officers facing her, but her voice betrayed little emotion. “The Skorrah have committed acts of wanton genocide, to include the destruction of Ferenginar. Billions have died at their hands. If you’ll recall, the Amon just ambushed us, their allies, killing over a thousand Starfleet and Klingon personnel in the process.” Wu stood slowly, planting her hands atop the desk and leaning forward towards her subordinates. This time her voice lowered a full octave. “And, oh yes… they murdered our captain.”

    The last three words seemed to hang in the air, encased in a sheath of icy scorn.

    Liu’s Adams apple bobbed as his next argument died in his throat.

    Pell was less cowed than her compatriots by Wu’s frosty mien, and pressed on. “The whole of their species can’t be held accountable for the decisions of their leadership.”

    “Unfortunately for them, the whole of their species inhabits a single ship.”

    Kirk tried again. “If Section 31’s weapon worked, they could already be compromised. By demonstrating mercy, we could well turn the Amon back—“

    “We’re done here,” Wu cut her off mid-sentence. “I’m following strict directives from our chain-of-command, and I had to twist Captain Ebnal’s arm to be allowed to lead this mission in his stead. As it happens, I’m in full accord with my very explicit orders. In case one or more of you are hazy on this point, let me be absolutely clear. I intend to put the Amon to the sword. All of them.”

    Pell crossed her arms defiantly, her jaw muscles working furiously as she fought to reign in her boiling emotions.

    “Dismissed,” Wu commanded. “Resume your battle-stations.”

    Nobody moved.

    Verrik spoke for the first time, “Captain, we are obligated by our oaths and our duty to refuse illegal and immoral orders. That being said, if you insist on pursuing this course of action, we will have no choice but to relieve you of command.”

    “On what authority?” Wu scoffed acidly.

    Reskos stood from the couch, as always appearing like a skinny teenager out of place in a Starfleet uniform. His android body however belied his millennia of experience as a healer. “As chief medical officer, I can attest that your willingness to commit an act of genocide is suggestive of a mental instability. I can and will remove you from duty pending a full psycho-physical examination.”

    “One that I’d support as ship’s counselor,” Liu added.

    Wu’s expression hardened and she looked pointedly to Kirk. “Regulations demand that the first officer must be in agreement with the CMO in such circumstances.”

    All eyes then focused on Kirk who did her best not to shrink under the combined weight of their gaze. “I… reluctantly agree with the doctor’s assessment, sir.” She dipped her head for a brief moment before bringing her eyes back to Wu. “We can’t do this, Captain. We’re better than this. We have to be.”

    Wu leaned forward farther as she barked, “The Amon are an existential threat! What don’t you understand about that?”

    “As were the Xindi, the Romulans, the Klingons, the Borg, the Dominion and the refugee crisis,” Verrik recited implacably. “Yet we’ve survived them all without sacrificing that which embodies the best of the Federation.”

    “Destroying them may be unavoidable, despite the best of intentions,” Wu snapped.

    “It may come to that, certainly,” Liu conceded. “But at least we can say afterwards that we pursued all available alternatives before condemning an entire species to death.”

    “Ebnal’s orders were explicit, I cannot willfully violate them.”

    Pell observed, “Ebnal’s a warrior, or the closest thing the Federation has to one. He wouldn’t hesitate to commit genocide if he thought it was in the Federation’s best interest. If you’re trying to use him for legal or moral cover, I’d suggest you reconsider.”

    Kirk held herself a little taller. “The Alpha Weapons can only be deployed with the first officer’s counter-authorization, Captain. I’ll have to be in full agreement with their use.”

    Wu glowered at her assembled officers. “You could all be court-martialed for this.”

    “We know,” was Kirk’s succinct reply.

    In a last effort, Wu offered, “Captain Lar’ragos himself tried to destroy the Amon with his last act.”

    “Lar’ragos may have been a good captain,” Pell answered, “but he was a horrible person. His life and death are a cautionary tale, not a call to action.”

    The captain sat back into her chair with an air of resignation. “Fine. So, my mutinous officers, how do we play this from here?”

    Verrik said, “We will not act against you so long as you pursue alternatives to annihilating the Amon in good faith, Captain. However, if you attempt to destroy them in a situation where we feel it is unnecessary, we will stop you.”

    Wu cocked her head thoughtfully. “And what about A’lasha? With her Section 31 overrides she can easily take control of the ship and launch the Alpha Weapons without our help or consent.”

    “She’ll have to be neutralized,” Verrik stated coolly.

    * * *​

    The energy bloom swept across the mighty cityscape, erasing it utterly and leaving the area that had hosted the great metropolis for millennia utterly devoid of structures. Where great towers had once reached skyward, now only meadows and meandering streams remained, pristine and unsullied by the hand of sentient ambition.

    In the ornately decorated viewing bay, Liana Ramirez looked on, an expression of mild satisfaction on her features. She turned to appraise the troubled look in Romulan Admiral Ch’alveris’ eyes.

    “You’re telling me the city in this simulation has been excised from our collective timeline?”

    “No,” she corrected. “The entire Tenaur’i civilization has just been erased from the time-stream by a very precisely controlled causality paradox. They never were. Every molecule of every artifact is gone, every interaction their species had with any other civilization now has never occurred.”

    The Romulan officer appeared to struggle with the concept. “Temporal mechanics has never been my specialty, but if this was real, wouldn’t we have been affected by the alterations as well? How could I remember destroying a species that never existed?”

    Ramirez inclined her head, ceding the point to her Romulan counterpart. “In an actual deployment, your ship would be surrounded by special temporal shielding that would safeguard you from changes to the timeline.”

    “Amazing,” Ch’alveris breathed, nearly overwhelmed at the ramifications of such a weapon.

    Ramirez glanced back to the control station where Annorax sat, scrutinizing the simulated weapon’s readouts with his customary intensity. “Problems?”

    “None so far,” he responded distractedly. “Temporal incursion appears successful. No sign of counter-indications. The temporal shockwave is spreading outward to encompass the furthest reaches of Tenaur’i expansion. Last to go will be the faintest echoes of their first, most primitive radio transmissions.”

    Ramirez smiled brightly. “The swan song of a doomed people; how poetic.”

    Ch’alveris suppressed a shudder at her cavalier dismissal of the annihilation of an entire people, even if it were only a theoretical exercise. The idea that she could potentially extinguish a species for no other reason than as an example of the weapon’s power, and by extension, her own, troubled him more than he would admit. “I am duly impressed, Baroness,” he offered warily. “Would it be possible to bring them back once the deed was done?”

    “Back? Goodness, no!” Ramirez chortled. “That involves a far greater degree of precision, Admiral. As the old adage goes, it is always easier to destroy than to create.”

    He turned slowly to confront her. “If such technology could be weaponized, it would alter the balance of power in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants.”

    Ramirez inclined her head towards a coterie of Romulan scientists waiting patiently to speak with Ch’alveris. “Granted, this simulation was designed to demonstrate what a fully realized weapons-system could accomplish, but if you’ll take a moment to confer with your science personnel, they’ll doubtless inform you that we’ve already achieved proof-of-concept.”

    Ch’alveris stood, brooding silently as he tried to determine if such a thing were actually possible. He gestured for the lead scientist to approach. The man stepped close and then leaned in towards the admiral, keeping his voice in a low, almost conspiratorial whisper. “Sir, utilizing the photonic-isolation chamber we constructed to the Baroness’ specifications, we’ve run a full analysis of this technology.”

    “And?” Ch’alveris prompted, finding himself hoping this would prove a dead-end.

    The Romulan scientist struggled to contain his wonder and excitement. “They did it, sir. The temporal field they generated completely extinguished the target photon from the time/space continuum. All interactions between that photon and its quantum-entangled counterparts ceased. Most amazingly, this entanglement breach occurred both in the present and retroactively.”

    “Meaning?” the admiral prompted.

    “Meaning, sir, the technology checks out. Our proof-of-concept parameters have been met.”

    Ch’alveris frowned. “I don’t understand, Doctor Tolann. Just because the field can compromise a single photon, how does that prove anything of note?”

    The scientist spared an enthusiastic glance at his counterpart before turning back to the admiral. “Sir, the ability to selectively edit a single particle from the time/space continuum verifies that the concept is sound and can be weaponized. The only difference between deleting a solitary photon and deleting the entirety of the Klingon Empire is simply a matter of degree. It would require an enormous power source and incredibly specific targeting algorithms, but this proves that it can be done.”

    The admiral found the idea highly unsettling. “What manner of power source would be required?”

    “There are a number of possibilities,” Tolann replied thoughtfully. “The energy release from an intentional subspace rupture, deploying a gravitic d-sink into a naturally occurring quantum singularity, or perhaps harnessing the energy from either a collapsing or exploding star.”

    Ch’alveris broke away from the scientist and once again stood facing Ramirez. “I must admit to being at a loss, Baroness. Our only prior contact with you was your attack on a number of our war-birds during the Federation’s first contact with a refugee species. Your temporal weaponry proved especially lethal in that encounter. Now, however, you peacefully invite us to this demonstration, and then offer us technology that if properly exploited could give the Star Empire unchallenged control of nearly half the known galaxy.”

    Ramirez nodded in silent agreement with the admiral’s assessment.

    “Why?” Ch’alveris asked pointedly. “Entropy and the pursuit of gain are the only two constants in the universe, Baroness. I do not trust in the idea of pure altruism.”

    “You are most correct, Admiral,” Ramirez answered. “I am in desperate need of a fleet of warships to assist in the capture of an installation in the orbiting galactic mass known to the Federation as the Large Magellanic Cloud. I believe your people refer to it as Calanda's Eye. Control of this installation could also give unparalleled strategic advantage to whoever seizes it.”

    Ch’alveris appeared nonplussed. “You wish the installation taken, but you do not want to control it yourself?”

    “My interest in this whole affair is solely with the fate of a single human, Admiral. So long as I take custody of that individual, all other assets seized during this operation will be the property of the Romulan Star Empire.”

    Ch’alveris considered her for a long moment, his mind awash in strategy and tactics. “Let’s say I did accede to your offer, Baroness. How do you propose we coax either the Skorrah or the Starfleet/Klingon task force to open another aperture to Calanda's Eye? We cannot communicate with them across such vast distances. Do we simply sit in the Alanthal system and hope that they return there at some point?”

    “Simple,” she answered with a knowing smile. “We will cloak your ships and follow the task force through the portal when they originally departed for the other galaxy some days ago.”

    His countenance suggested that the admiral thought she was raving mad. “And this would be accomplished how?” he asked dubiously.

    She gestured to the surrounding temporal apparatus. “For someone who can orchestrate this, Admiral, mere time travel is child’s play.”

    * * *​
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
    TheLoneRedshirt and CeJay like this.
  10. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    So A’lasha's little joke was actually spot-on. The crew of Europa has decided, after all, that enough is enough. And who can blame them? Their mission would be a tough pill to swallow for any Starfleet crew. What's impressive here is that this young crew, which doesn't really know each other particularly well yet, and which doesn't have much experience, would stand up to the captain like this. Good for Kirk and co. It's putting Wu into a really tough spot of course and then there is the wildcard ... A’lasha is going to be trouble. A whole heap of it.

    And talking about wildcards, Ramirez is back and once again up to no good. But she ain't no dummy, that one. Not sure how she got her hands on the time weapon but I like the Romulan officers reaction to it. Even he seems to think that this might be too much power. Not that this is going to stop him however. And with new allies in her pocket, Ramirez is back on the board. Good, it's not as if Europa and her crew had enough problems already.

    You are setting this up for one hell of a conclusion. Only fitting for an epic story of this scale. Awesome!
     
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  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Cejay, in a previous chapter, Ramirez traveled deeper into the Delta Quadrant and sought out Annorax, the temporal scientist who caused so much trouble in Voyager's Year of Hell. Ramirez had been given his name and location by the Baron, who insinuated Annorax was the only person in the galaxy whose understanding of temporal mechanics approached his own.
     
  12. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Jan 9, 2017
    oh, this is just awesome. finally rereading the TFV miniseries.

     
  13. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I'm very glad you're enjoying it. I PM'd you the address of the first book of the TFV series, should be inclined to start there. :hugegrin:
     
  14. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Jan 9, 2017
    awesome, thanks
     
  15. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Jan 9, 2017
    Oh wow, talk about a complete personal transformation on Sandhurst's part, certainly far more single minded and a zealot of sorts. Verrik is a good balance though, almost like he is Zeicht's conscience.
     
  16. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    USS Europa
    Main Bridge


    As the Wu and the senior officers shuffled awkwardly into the ready room, the bridge fell into a tense silence. Officers and enlisted personnel absorbed the brief exchange between the senior staff. Lost in their own thoughts, they counted down the minutes until their final confrontation with the Amon.

    Lieutenant Lightner stood from the flight control station as he was relieved, turning towards A’lasha to reveal a phaser brandished in his hand as he moved to assume the captain’s chair. He kept the weapon trained on A’lasha in her seat to his immediate left. “Please don’t move,” the youthful pilot said.

    “Brett,” A’lasha began with a smirk. “I know you’re a terrific shot with a phaser, but please give me more credit than that. My overrides won’t allow a phaser onboard the ship to be fired at me, no matter how low the setting.”

    Lightner’s expression fell. “Oh, well… damn.” He cocked his head hopefully, “Can’t blame a guy for trying, though, right?”

    She had to laugh at that. “No, I suppose not. So, may I presume you and your co-conspirators are changing our itinerary? Do I need to rush in there to Wu’s rescue?”

    “Nothing so dramatic,” he replied. Without warning, Lightner jabbed the emitter of the phaser gently into A’lasha’s abdomen, eliciting a quiet hiss. In response, the Vulcan jumped to her feet, knocking the phaser easily from Lightner’s hand with her own while pulling him off his feet by his collar. “What was that?” she snarled.

    It was Lightner’s turn to smile. “Hypo-spray disguised as a phaser, courtesy of Dr. Reskos. We figured you’d think you were safe from shipboard phasers.”

    A’lasha seemed about to strike him when she abruptly collapsed to the deck. Lightner sank to his knees as she dropped, careful to catch the Vulcan’s head before it collided with the grav-plating. “Sweet dreams,” he offered with no small amount of relief.

    * * *​
     
  17. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    couldn't happen to a nicer people. Oh, gods! That was shocking. Let me guess, the Amon baddies survived?
     
  18. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    Feb 5, 2006
    That's some James Bond like gadgetry right there. Nice litte deception.
     
  19. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Location:
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    USS Venture
    Security Brig


    Captain Ebnal entered Venture’s brig just steps behind the medical team, his expression threatening to melt neutronium with its intensity.

    Zeischt stood at the threshold of the security forcefield barrier, his arm extended past the field emitter encircling the doorway to the cell. His hand was fixed firmly to the throat of a security specialist who remained conscious but unable to escape his vice-like grip. Zeischt’s right arm was scorched at the point where the forcfield barrier had been, the jumpsuit burned away to reveal blackened and blistered flesh beneath.

    Two additional security staff were aiming phaser rifles at the Amon prisoner

    “What the hell are you doing?” Ebnal demanded. “Let go of her, now!”

    Zeischt relinquished his grip, and the woman dropped fifteen centimeters to the deck, clutching at her abused throat as her legs threatened to give way. The medical team moved to assist the specialist, as the other security officer who had been posted to the brig addressed Ebnal with wide-eyed alarm. “He reached right through the barrier, Captain. The discharge from the field was traveling through his arm and causing Cohen to convulse. I had to shut it down.”

    Ebnal nodded distractedly, his eyes fixed on Zeischt. “It’s fine, Mister Kwŏn, no damage done.” He glanced around at the others before announcing, “Give us the room.”

    The senior-most security officer looked as though she might protest, but Ebnal’s expression brooked no dissent. After the others had cleared the compartment, Ebnal stepped forward, his face tight with anger. “What the fuck are you playing at, Donald?”

    Zeischt finally lowered his arm, heedless of his injuries, and turned slightly to face the smaller man. “I’ve been asking to speak with you for the better part of a day. I asked them to tell you it was urgent. I’ve grown tired of waiting.”

    “You have my full attention now,” Ebnal said with surprisingly little venom. To Zeischt’s eyes, Ebnal appeared more resigned than anything else, a man exhausted by recent events and their resulting losses of irreplaceable personnel and ships.

    “We’re in danger here, Lucian. I’ve seen things in my dreams… visions of Romulan warbirds striking our taskforce.”

    Ebnal threw up his hands in exasperation. “And? You had a goddamn vision? So what? We’re on the cusp of being able to operate the gateway generator on Shul’Nazhar, to open portals to wherever we like. I don’t have time to entertain your bizarre little flights of fancy right now!”

    “Not a vision,” Zeischt corrected. “A premonition. The fact that I experienced it so clearly means it will happen soon. I’m talking days, perhaps hours. Romulans will attack us, and they will have the advantage of complete tactical surprise. How many hundreds has Starfleet lost so far on this expedition? How many more are you prepared to lose?”

    Ebnal’s frown was pronounced. “We’re a hundred-and-fifty thousand light-years from Romulus. Care to explain how the hell you suppose they got all the way out here?”

    “They came through with us, cloaked. They’ve been hiding here the whole time, right under our noses.”

    The senior captain shook his head vigorously. “And we just missed them? Europa’s enhanced sensors couldn’t see them? Your Amon ship, with all its advanced technology, you missed them too?”

    “So it would seem,” Zeischt affirmed.

    “That’s absurd,” Ebnal fumed. “And we’ve been here for days; why would they wait so long to launch their attack? If they’d struck us right after our fight with the Amon, we’d have been on our heels already.”

    Zeischt countered, “I don’t have that answer. Perhaps they’re letting us do the work of figuring out how to operate the portals before they take the station from us?”

    Ebnal was silent for a long moment, weighing the merits of the other man’s argument. Finally, he said, “There was a time, Donald, when I’d have taken your word as gospel. Given all that’s happened, your betrayal of the uniform, the possibility of your having lured us out here into a trap, I just can’t take the risk.”

    “I’m sorry to hear that,” Zeischt sighed. “Though not as sorry as you’re going to be, I fear.”

    At Ebnal’s prompting, Zeischt stepped into the next containment cell over. The captain called the security and medical personnel back in from the corridor, and had the medics attend to Zeischt’s injuries. After activating the forcefield, Ebnal ordered an engineering team to erect a second portable forcefield barrier, set to a different frequency range, immediately in front of the first one.

    Zeischt looked to Ebnal through the bluish haze of the double-barrier. “When they attack, even this won’t hold me, Lucian. I won’t die here. I’m going back to my people.”

    Ebnal’s eyes narrowed in response. “You don’t have a people, not anymore. If Lar’ragos’ little science experiment didn’t kill them, Iris Wu most certainly will.”

    * * *​
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017
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  20. pio1776

    pio1776 Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2017
    And then the other shoe drops :beer: this was some intense writing. I like how Wu has evolved from stiff-upper lip to kick arse. I really would love to see Romulans slugging it out with Starfleet Marines and Klingons.
     
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