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Author Topic: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]  (Read 4188 times)

Offline Dra'Tuisisch-Novae

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Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« on: January 13, 2014, 03:06:06 AM »
I used to post a fair bit of writing here in the old days, and decided it was a good way to mark a return - and keep coming back, because I have at least twenty chapters in reserve.

This story is based on the Star Trek universe as seen in Star Trek Online; set in the universe that Spock Prime and the Romulans leave from in the JJ Abrams movies, Romulus has been destroyed and the Romulan Star Empire is in tatters - leaving the Klingons to expand aggressively and pitting them in a bloody, protracted war with the Federation.

Without further adieu,




- I -
U.S.S. Royal Hunt, Vega System, 2408

Amra Du’Shen knew that she wouldn’t make it.    

Maybe if I’d run with the others…   

No, idiot. They were cut off – surrounded.

Maybe if they’d stood their ground…

Too late to worry about ‘ifs’.

They were cowards.

I fought well.


The woman’s internal conversation was cut off by an involuntary gasp of agony as her left leg – already ruined by the disruptor bolt – finally refused to carry her further. She sagged into the wall, her view turning to her pursuers as her back slipped on the smooth composite surface. Blue blood coursed down her leg, pooling in the burnt and tattered lip of her boots.

Lifeless eyes stared back at her, empty of any anger, sympathy, hate, or remorse. Empty of anything but the mechanical, calculated instinct of a trillion minds in one. Amra chanced a shot at the closest, the brilliant orange streak of light hitting her target squarely in its pallid face and… dissipating, uselessly, in a flicker of shield-contact.

The rifle sagged in her arms, the antennae on her head drooping sympathetically. She fired again, this time at a computer console across the hallway, but the shrapnel from its detonation did not reach the trio advancing unhurriedly towards her, only a few sparks striking their cybernetic implants.

They moved to the far side of the corridor. Learned from last time…

Desperately, Amra turned her attention to the light further down the hallway, coming welcoming and warm from the turbolift doorway.

So close. So damn close…

She forced her good leg to move, pressing her weight into the wall, trusting her tattered left to support her for the last few steps. It didn’t. She crashed to the floor choking back a scream and began crawling towards the source of light. She clawed for grip on the carpet, pushed off against the vertical brace of a wall section, and levered herself on her elbows and working knee. But she wasn’t fast enough.

‘Your current rate of movement is insufficient to permit escape,’ said an icy, unnatural voice behind her. ‘Your attempts are futile. You will cease moving to prevent unnecessary damage to your body.’

Amra tried to ignore the insane order, but her foot slipped off its purchase and she sprawled.

The bastards are right.

I won’t go like Shril. Or Donna. Or Commander Bodun. I won’t!


She grabbed for the phaser rifle and keyed settings into its panel, hearing the internal power supply heat up with a malicious hum.

I fought well, she repeated to herself. I will die well. I will make them pay.

I will make them burn.


She waited for them to get close enough, to feel the touch of ghoulish, cybernetic manipulators. She knew it was only seconds away, and could feel the pounding of her heart reverberating through her and back through the floor. It took her a moment to realize there were too many beats, even in her state; that there was another tempo, that of pounding footfalls not belonging to the hulking, ungainly Borg.

‘Halt and surrender. You will be assim-larrgh-’. Amra’s head snapped up and turned to look at the source of the sound; the eerie tone of a half-synthesized voice attempting to continue speaking without realizing that the organic airway it worked through was no longer connected to a set of lungs.

What she saw stayed with her for the rest of her life. It was a member of the crew – one she had seen on a number of occasions, but never interacted with. An alien, of a species unknown to her. He was tall and muscular; blue-purple skinned with deep furrows like old claw-marks emanating around his face and reaching around his head, partially covered by unkempt – and in places burnt – hair as white as the snows of her frigid home.

But at that the time, it wasn’t his appearance that shocked Amra; it was how he moved. Not bullishly like a charging Klingon or lithely and graceful like an Orion dancer, but with brutal, predatory efficiency. In his hand was a long piece of partially-molten durasteel and at his feet was the falling ruin of the third drone that a moment ago had been fixed on the crippled Andorian. Its throat had been severed almost to the spine by a vicious blow from the makeshift sword, and it still was still attempting to vocalize some awful parody of speech.

The aggressor trampled it with his boots, closing on the second drone and swatting away the arm it raised, crushing circuitry in the process. The drone, reacting too slowly, attempted to fire the disruptor anyway and was rewarded with its lower arm being replaced by cauterized flesh and charred wiring. The alien rejoined with a brutal stabbing blow that embedded the shard of metal into the drones’ torso, sending it staggering, but it refused to fall. It swung its other arm in a clumsy counterblow which struck home in the ribs. The alien rolled with the impact, but released his grip on the metal blade, leaving it hanging at an awkward angle from the drones’ machinery-infested chest. Borg servos whirred as the drone advanced, but the alien was faster and – Amra realized belatedly – he was not truly unarmed. Rather than fingernails or stubs or bony caps, the alien’s fingers ended in vicious curved talons. Before the drone could angle its remaining arm effectively the claws were at the drones’ neck, one hand slicing through flesh and sending a spatter of arterial blood over the wall and the other tearing out wires from the rig that connected to the back of the creatures’ skull. It collapsed, folding under the weight of combined system failures like a rag doll.

The victory, however, also gave the final drone a clear field of fire. Green bolts flashed out, blasting chunks out of the walls and ceiling near the newcomer. One struck him squarely as he dove for cover, and Amra saw a halo of fire surrounding him which flickered, flared and then died as his personal shield burnt out absorbing the impact. He pressed himself into the shelter of a doorway as the drone advanced, firing for suppression as it attempted to regain its target. It ignored as irrelevant the sound of a boot kicking something metallic behind him, and only dully registered something softly bumping against the wall to its left. The drone did, however register an ominous beeping sound and a spiking thermal trace coming from one of his implanted sensors.

When the phaser rifle exploded, the drone did not register anything at all – at least not in time to react, before half its body disintegrated in a thunderclap of plasma and flame. Sparks snapped and fizzled as a computer panel was consumed by a secondary explosion, and a cloud of gas filled the corridor as a coolant line in what remained of a wall burst. Then emergency seals snapped into place, and but for the ambient sounds of battle-damaged electronics and the omnipresent hum of the warp core, everything became oddly silent. Amra pulled herself up, squinting through the artificial mist for any sign of life, and was rewarded by the shape of the alien approaching her, coughing and covering his mouth against the fumes.

‘Are you alright?’ he asked in a sharp, lilting baritone.

‘My leg…’ Amra began, before the stress of terror and loss of blood finally took its toll. Her vision grew hazy and dark.
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Offline Thantos

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 06:31:15 PM »
That was a good read ;D If you split it into chunks like that i can spare the time to keep reading through ^-^

And good to see you alive, y'old Phoenix warrior :P


Offline Dra'Tuisisch-Novae

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2014, 12:23:30 AM »
Thanks! ;D It's good to see you too, y'old skull-'ead Chaplain-y lad.

By popular request [of one person], two more chapters!



- II -

U.S.S. Royal Hunt, Vega System, 2408

She awoke suddenly, her head that had stayed so clear during her flight from the Borg now throbbing and flooded with confused thoughts. She was immediately aware of the alien kneeling at her side.
‘What happened? How long was I out?’ she demanded, causing his eyes – deep blue, iridescent pools with no iris or pupil – to flick towards her.
‘Under two minutes, I approximate,’ he replied in the same deep tone. ‘I believed that stopping blood loss took priority, and your life-signs remained stable,’ he said with a gesture towards an open tricorder.
‘My leg…’
‘-is in remarkably good condition for a Borg disruptor wound,’ the alien finished for her, she surmised in an attempt to keep her from expending the effort of talking too much. ‘I suspect your shield absorbed much of the energy before overloading. I have been able to stop the blood flow, and I believe I can find adequate material for a splint in the debris.’

The Andorian realized most of her already-ruined uniform’s leg had been cut away – another use of his wicked claws, she assumed – and in its place was a hastily-applied mass of polymer bandage.

‘I applied a hypospray to mitigate the pain and synthetic agents to prevent infection. I followed medical training as much as I was able, but it is not my specialty.’
‘Sciences?’ asked Amra dubiously, registering the blue of his uniform. ‘You don’t fight like a scientist,’ she added. The unsettling blue eyes took in the blood-red of her uniform and her insignia. ‘And you are a tactical officer, not security,’ he replied as he finished his work on her limb, evidently comfortable enough with his ministering to provoke conversation. ‘Is the situation that bad?’ Amra groaned.
‘Worse. My station is the bow torpedo tubes – as far as I know we were the last weapon station still firing. The Borg came at us from both sides and overran the loading bay, so I tried leading my team through the only open corridor back towards the bridge. It was a trap – most of them ran and were shot down or… or…’ she cut off, unable to continue as the memory of seeing her subordinates – and friends – be taken and assimilated came rushing back with the force of a charging Andorian bull.
‘I am sorry. The bridge is not a safe destination in any case – it was overrun by the Borg soon after I left. I believe Captain Grumman has been killed.’ The words detonated in Amra’s head like a grenade.
‘The Captain… gone?’ she stuttered.
‘I fear so. He sent me to main deflector control, in the hopes I could break the tractor beam using a modulated-frequency pulse. I was successful but the bridge was lost regardless… too many Borg were already on board. I have been attempting to contact Commander Bodun for further orders, without success.’
‘He’s gone,’ said Amra flatly. ‘He tried to take a security team to meet up with my group and other survivors. When we were surrounded… he held them off, but there were too many. He’s gone,’ she repeated. ‘All of them, gone…’ her composure disintegrated, tears streaming in rivulets down her blue cheeks. Her savior seemed at a loss.
‘Lieutenant – Lieutenant! Please stay focused. We are still in grave danger. What is your name?’
‘Amra…’ she replied. ‘Lieutenant Amra Du’Shen, sir!’ Her eyes refocused, recalling her drills at the Academy and before on Andoria.
‘Thank you, Miss Du’Shen,’ the alien replied. ‘I am Lieutenant-Commander Karibys Althaeon, of Kaeribad. If Bodun is gone… who is in command?’

There was a long pause, broken only by the crackle of sparking wires. Then, the young Andorian woman wet her lips.

‘You are, sir.’
‘What?’
‘Chief Staunton was killed holding Main Engineering. Bodun too… you’re the highest-ranking officer left. You have command.’

Althaeon was silent for several seconds. Though she had no way of telling where his eyes were actually looking, she had a feeling that they were probing to one side and the other as a Human did when attempting to solve a problem. Then he spoke.

‘Very well. Acting First Officer Du’Shen, we need a tactical assessment of the ship and the surrounding battle. If you are able to walk once I splint your leg, we will head to Auxiliary Command.’ He paused again, and then his narrow lips cracked into what might have been a smile. ‘Admiral Yanishev will rue this day…’
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Offline Dra'Tuisisch-Novae

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2014, 12:25:57 AM »
- III -

Starfleet Academy, Sol System, 2406

‘Please be seated, Lieutenant-Commander,’ Admiral Grigori Yanishev offered after accepting the just-promoted man’s salute.
‘Thank  you, sir,’ Althaeon replied, folding his tall form into one of the pair of chairs across the desk from Starfleet’s Chief of Fleet Operations. ‘I came as quickly as I could after the ceremony was dismissed.’
‘Of course. I didn’t want to pull you away in the middle of that – the first Kaerbadii to reach full leadership rank after all.’
‘And hopefully not the last, though what I have been told of the current state of negotiations is discouraging in that respect,’ Althaeon said. The Admiral grimaced.
‘I don’t think things are quite that grim,’ he retorted lightly. It was no secret that negotiations for Kaeribad’s induction into the Federation had struck several roadblocks, and at the general attitude of optimism which had seen several of the planets’ natives enlist in Starfleet was cooling. ‘I have faith in the Diplomatic Corps yet.’ Althaeon inclined his head slightly.
‘As do I, sir,’ he replied. ‘May I inquire why you wanted to see me?’
‘I just wanted to ensure that you remembered the discussion we first had after field training with Task Force Gemini,’ Yanishev said levelly. ‘You will be leading men and women now – impressionable new recruits – and I want to ensure that you don’t turn them into your own little squad of killers.’

Althaeon’s eyes glinted as his focus moved about. He shifted uncomfortably, taking care not to tear the seat cushion with his razor-like fingertips.

‘I remember, sir.’ He hesitated before continuing. ‘It was rumoured that some of the Admiralty opposed my promotion – if I may ask, were you one of those individuals?’ The dark-skinned creature’s head jerked back at an unexpected peal of dry laughter.

Me, Mister Althaeon? No – though I will not deny that the sentiment existed elsewhere. I simply had reservations about your attitude, which I felt best to address with you directly – man to man. How we did things as lads in St. Petersburg, not hiding behind a duty officer.’
‘I appreciate your honesty, sir,’ Althaeon replied. It is… discouraging, however, to know that even you hold such reservations. It is said that you are one of the most war-minded of Starfleet’s Admiralty.’

‘It’s said truthfully,’ Yanishev replied. ‘And that’s just the problem. There are still doves in Starfleet, and they resent the big bad bulls like me. And the fact that the Kaerbadii make me look a tame old cow makes them nervous. It makes me nervous. The Federation has a noble purpose – one that Starfleet has been a part of from the outset. And as much as your people have rich science and art and architecture, they remind people of the Klingons. Militarized. Dangerous.’

Althaeon exhaled through his flattened, wide nostrils and turned his head to take in the warm sunlight of Earth’s star, and the throngs of new recruits milling about the green spaces that interspersed Starfleet Academy’s grounds.
‘You know why that is, sir,’ he began. ‘The ‘doves’ as you call them – they mistake pragmatism for belligerence; directness for lack of wit or culture. The homeworlds of the Federation have seldom faced war – real war – even now with the Klingons. It is a distant thing, unfortunate and regretted – not feared and fought every day. We might have been like Humans, if it were not for the Hirogen, or for the Vraki, or for the Borg. They do not honour your Prime Directive or recognize rights. The Kaerbadii today are not the ones who prospered and explored and discovered – they are the ones who survived. That’s what we are taught when we are young, because of how our parents learned – to survive, to defend our own, by any means necessary.’


‘Exactly, Lieutenant,’ rumbled Yanishev. ‘And that’s what I’m afraid of. You already have reputation. That you accomplish things by any means necessary. Now, as the first of your species with a command role, just as negotiations with your homeworld are on the verge of collapse, that reputation matters. It’s not just about your reputation for bloody efficiency any more; it’s about how that reputation reflects on all of Kaeribad. And that’s what I’m afraid of, and why I asked you here.’ There was a pause before, as if coming to a sudden and profound realization, the alien cast his head back and set his jaw.

‘You are not afraid of me, sir,’ Althaeon said quietly.
‘What was that, Lieutenant?’ Yanishev snapped back, eyes narrowing.
‘I do not believe you are not afraid of me, sir. Nor are you afraid of the Kaerbadii, or our nature. You are afraid of what we mean for Starfleet – for your Federation. Not that my reputation will scare them into denying Kaerbadii membership, but that the war will scare them into accepting it regardless. You are not afraid of us bombarding cities to rubble or seeing my claws dripping with Klingon blood; you fear that this war will make it necessary. You fear that all of your ships and all of your brave young recruits won’t be enough when all the cards are on the table, when soldiers have to be soldiers and not explorer-ambassador-poets. That one day soon you will have to beg for us to fight a bloody war – a real war – to keep the utopian Federation and its ‘noble purpose’ safe.’

Yanishev inhaled, pushing out his barrel chest, and opened his mouth to speak before reconsidering and pressing his lips together till they turned white. Finally, he broke the uncomfortable silence.
‘One day. Maybe soon. Not yet. That will be all, Lieutenant-Commander.’ The newly-minted officer saluted crisply, hooked talons glinting in San Francisco’s midmorning sun.
‘Sir, yes sir!’ barked Althaeon in reply.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2014, 02:17:12 PM by Dra'Tuisisch-Novae »
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Offline The Allfather

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2014, 02:46:50 AM »
I like it. More? I kinda want to start writing again...


Also, do you still play STO? I have it still but haven't touched it in almost a year.

Offline Dra'Tuisisch-Novae

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2014, 03:53:43 AM »
I like it. More? I kinda want to start writing again...

Sure, why not! :P.

Quote
Also, do you still play STO? I have it still but haven't touched it in almost a year.

On and off; I have a max-level character and a "reboot" of that character I started recently to get back into the game after a long absence. Both are basically Althaeon from the story, but the idea is to tell him primarily through Amra's perspective; he's not supposed to be flawless or, really, as relatable as the Andorian gal.



- IV -

U.S.S. Royal Hunt, Vega System, 2408

The pair moved almost silently, taking advantage of the inconsistent lighting and general chaos of battle damage to evade the occasional Borg patrol. Once, they had stopped to consult a schematic of the ship to seek an alternate path; the design of the Royal Hunt with the saucer section hanging below the impulse engines and elegant, slender pylons swinging down to connect to the nacelles rendered knowledge of many of the conventional shortcuts and Jeffries’ tube pathways found on larger Starfleet ships redundant.

Amra was well aware that she would have trouble out-pacing even a lumbering drone with her leg in its current state, but had little doubt that her new companion – new commander, she reminded herself – could outrun them even with her over his shoulder. He moved from shadow to shadow and cover to cover with the well-versed timing of someone who had grown up with no fear of dark corners.

‘Auxiliary command should be just ahead,’ she breathed as Althaeon fell back into step with the ailing Andorian.
‘Indeed,’ he whispered back. ‘I will check the corner.’

Amra nodded and limped back to cover in a doorway, while Althaeon pressed himself into the wall closer to their target and creped forward, cradling his new weapon in clawed hands. Both had re-equipped themselves; the de facto Captain with a hand phaser and a long supporting brace which had twisted to an ugly point, which he now held like an ancient tribesman’s spear, and Amra with a replacement rifle and a photon grenade. She had done her best not to look at the face of the security officer she had taken them from.

Althaeon inched his head around the corner, exposing as little of himself as he could before snapping back around. He gestured to Amra to withdraw, a look of what she thought might be consternation on his face. Once they were nestled into another doorway he spoke again.

‘Five drones. They do not appear to have accessed the secondary command itself, but they are directly in our path.’
‘Five… what type?’ Amra’s voice was low and wary.
‘One technician, that appeared to be interfacing with the ships’ computer. Two freshly assimilated units without major implants and one average drone,’ he paused, as if to prepare Amra for worse. ‘-and one larger drone. Likely heavily armed and armoured.’
‘We could try forcing our way into the recreational room nearby,’ the Andorian replied. She paused, mulling information in her mind. ‘There’s a Jeffries’ tube connecting the two… but blasting through the door would bring them down on us.’
‘I had considered that too. We can attempt to fall back that way, but it is… not an optimal plan.
‘Would now be a good time to contact the rest of the crew?’ Amra ventured. ‘We could assault the passageway if we had more firepower.’ Althaeon shook his head dejectedly.
‘They will certainly have taken over the communications and jammed them; they had already begun to do so when I lost contact with the bridge crew. At best we would get no response… but we also risk alerting the Borg to our exact location.’
‘Yeah, I’d rather not,’ hissed back Amra, cracking a grin in spite of everything. Althaeon responded with a nasal chuckle.
‘We should take them by surprise– try to neutralize the heavy drone outright. The recently-converted will lack shields and I can handle the technician even unnamed.’
A curd nod was Amra's only response, equally full of fear and respect.
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Offline Dra'Tuisisch-Novae

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2014, 01:07:02 AM »
Have another chapter! It totally doesn't end on a cliffhanger >:D.



- V -

U.S.S. Royal Hunt, Vega System, 2408

The grenade came around in a perfect arc, deflecting off a bulkhead and rolling to a stop right at the feet of the largest of the cybernetic monstrosities. Amra ducked back beside her compatriot as it detonated, seeing the wash of blinding light and feeling the wash of searing heat on her face.

As one, the duo swung around the corner a second time and unleashed an orange storm from their phasers, only to be forced back into cover by a tempest of sickly green retaliation. The grenade had obliterated the standard drone and crippled both of the newly-converted units, which their shots had finished off along with the damaged technician. But the heavyweight drone, the true threat, appeared totally unscathed.

It has particle shields!’ Amra heard Althaeon bellow over the din of disruptor blasts. ‘Fall back!’

She didn’t have to be told twice. As fast as her leg would allow she stomped back towards the recreation room entryway, firing at the centre of the door as she went. Her new leader fell in beside her, adding bright streams from his sidearm to her zipping bolts. She realized he was bereft of his makeshift spear, and guessed he must have hurled it at their attacker in a futile attempt to slow its progress. The door, glowing hot and sagging in its frame, began to buckle and give way.

‘Go!’ Althaeon shouted, urging her through. She hesitated, realizing how menacingly close the sounds of the Borg’s footfalls were behind them, but vaulted for the opening when he repeated the command.

She arrived messily, coming up onto her feet a moment later. Her uniform had snagged on bits of charred composite and her boot soles fizzled, but she was otherwise unharmed.  Althaeon was a few seconds behind her, and urged her to find the Jeffries’ tube access. She saw him jab settings into his phaser with one claw before he discarded it in the doorway.

Fumbling in the dark, she found the access panel, released its lock, and tossed it aside just as the drone battered through the remains of the door. She wormed her way inside, finding handholds and then the rungs of the ladder. Althaeon was on her heels, throwing himself to the ground to avoid a phaser overload blast for a second time. Twice per day more than he enjoyed doing so, he would later note.

His head snapped around as he rose, and time stopped for a moment.

The drone was still standing.

It was clearly damaged by the blast, shields finally having caved after weathering the force of two miniature supernovas. But it was unmistakeably still moving, and came inexorably towards the shocked Starfleet officer.

‘Go, go, go!’ Altheon howled, urging Amra onward. He realized that the drone’s disruptors must have been disabled, given the fact that the Borg construct hadn’t annihilated him with green ruin. He weighed his options, and then turned away from the vent, squaring his stance with a grim finality. ‘Lieutenant,’ he called over his shoulder, ‘Keep moving. Seal auxiliary command and contact other survivors. That is an order.’

He grabbed the closest object that came to hand – a hand-weight from the rooms’ exercise set – and lunged.
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Offline The Allfather

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2014, 03:28:43 AM »
It totally doesn't end on a cliffhanger >:D.

I TRUSTED YOU.

Offline Dra'Tuisisch-Novae

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 04:05:44 AM »
It totally doesn't end on a cliffhanger >:D.

I TRUSTED YOU.

Well you should know better ;).

Longer section this time. I wouldn't want to leave that cliffhanger too long...

... without a flashback, exposition chapter to explain what's going on inside Althaeon's head >:D.



- VI -

U.S.S. Emissary, Deep Space, 2405

Footfalls of heavy boots rapped crisply on a mesh floor grating. The owners of most of the boots seemed self-conscious of the clatter they generated, measuring their footfalls to attenuate the echoing metal din. There were two exceptions were stocky, grime-coated engineer and a tall, blue-skinned science officer with a long mane of white hair tied back in a simple knot – both seemed more at home on the unyielding metal than the carpet endemic to other Starfleet vessels.

The Emissary was no such vessel; larger and more advanced than anything else in service, it was seen as the pioneer of a new era; like all of the class which bore the name, the Emissary’s hull was studded with phaser stations and her interior traded observation decks and botanical labs for dense armour and redundant shield generators. It mirrored the no-nonsense persona of the man who the boots came to a halt in front of – Admiral Grigori Yanishev, Director of Fleet Operations.

‘At ease,’ the barrel-chested Russian boomed, tone leaving no doubt that ‘ease’ was the last thing the assembled party should be feeling. Nonetheless, they smartly relinquished their salutes for hanging hands and relaxed their ramrod spines incrementally.
‘Lieutenant Cole,’ the Admiral aimed at the first of the party, ‘please summarize the purpose of Task Force Gemini.’ A flicker of confusion crossed the brunette Human’s expression momentarily.
‘Sir, Task Force Gemini is a training exercise. Its purpose is to test new tactics and give new officers the opportunity to take part in realistic field simulations, sir.’ Straight from the operational brief – almost.
‘You sell yourself short, Miss Cole,’ the Admiral replied. ‘Gemini’s goal is to give promising or exceptional new officers that opportunity. Lieutenant Phogi,’ he continued, turning to a thin Bolian, ‘please summarize the planned simulation concluded at oh-nine-hundred hours.’
‘Sir, the simulation was an exercise in working in delicate situations involving pre-First Contact civilizations, sir,’ he belted out hurriedly, hoping his time under the Admiral’s hawk-like scrutiny was over. Predictably, it only attracted his attention like the panic of a wounded rabbit.
‘Excellent, Mister Phogi,’ Yanishev nodded. ‘Please elaborate.’
‘Sir... the exercise centered on a Federation observation post and a tribal society living on a floodplain near a dormant volcano, sir. Romulan loyalist forces had surrounded the tribe and set up transport inhibitors, intending to capture and interrogate the observation post’s staff. Our objective was to extract the Federation observers without contaminating the indigenous population, sir,’ he finished breathlessly, hardly having taken a breath during his description. It seemed to satisfy the Admiral, at least. He turned to the muscular blue-skinned officer, who stood at least a hand taller than any of the others.

‘Lieutenant Althaeon,’ Yanishev began with the tone of a man addressing a particularly stubborn and evasive housefly, ‘please explain how you arrived at the plan you enacted when given the command role.’ Like most of the other exercises the Gemini force had put its recruits through, in this one the young officers taking the lead in turns, and a new approach or variant tactic was expected from each. Though it was clear he was intimidated in the Admiral’s presence, the Kaerbadii showed none of the fidgeting fearfulness the other two had done in his response.

‘Sir, I hypothesized that it would be possible to create a distraction by forcing the team posing as the indigenous tribe to evacuate the area. Available intelligence suggested that the fictional tribe in question was nomadic and frequently relocated due to volcanic activity, and I believed that as the team was composed of a range of anthropologists, archaeologists and xenobiologists they would mirror the expected behavior of the tribe they portrayed.’

The normally stoic Admiral blinked at the thoroughness of the response – or more likely at the lack of fear or self-doubt audible within it. He narrowed his eyes, holding the gaze of the alien he addressed.
‘Very well, you extensively studied the background material. Please elaborate on the plan itself.’

‘Sir, I believed the best way to provoke a tribal migration was to simulate a volcanic eruption. To prevent contamination of the local tribe, I ordered a defused photon torpedo with the warhead replaced with concussion charges to de dropped during the night into the volcano’s mouth. This successfully simulated volcanic activity and provoked the so-called tribe to begin to break camp and effect a migration.’

‘And the extraction itself – do explain how you evacuated our observers,’ the Admiral pushed, seemingly more at ease as he absorbed the information and zeroed in on his point.

‘Sir, I monitored the deployment of the Romulans from the ship; while some teams fell back from the volcano itself as a precaution, they retained an effective perimeter with transport inhibiter coverage. I isolated one team which was geographically isolated from the others, and elected to lead a small team to neutralize that team by beaming down beyond inhibitor range and closing on foot.’

‘Very well,’ the Admiral replied. ‘Obviously, you had to prevent that team from alerting their comrades.  So, you ensured that they would be unable to do so by jamming their comms, correct?’
‘Correct, sir. Once they realized their communications had been blocked, they attempted to spread out for the dual purpose of making contact with other surveillance teams and intercepting the observers.’ Althaeon paused, but continued at a nod from the Admiral.
‘Our jamming prevented us from warning the observation team, and due to proximity weapons’ fire may have alerted the indigenous tribe. I elected to engage the proxy Romulans by way of ambush.’ At this, Yanishev raised a PADD, retaking control of the dialogue.
‘Indeed. And, as a result of this ambush, I have reports that five Starfleet officers received between them,’ he raised the data screen for dramatic effect, ‘three broken ribs, one dislocated shoulder, four concussions, a sprained ankle and a broken wrist. Not Romulan soldiers, Lieutenant. Starfleet officers.’ An uneasy silence settled over the group. ‘Do you care to explain your actions?’ The Admirals’ voice was level, but full of menace.

‘Sir, the objective of the exercise was to provide a realistic simulation of special assignments. I attempted to force each to surrender without causing harm, and attempted to minimize injury and prevent lasting trauma when they elected to fight instead – presumably as per their instructions for the exercise. As a result of my actions, the observers were extracted without injury and with minimal impact to the indigenous peoples, sir.’ Althaeon’s reflective blue eyes were fixed on the Admiral, but he could not fail to catch the mixture of disbelief, horror and – though only visible by subtle hints – begrudging assent that was written on the faces of Cole and Phogi.

Though Admiral Yanishev had long-since learned to keep his temper under control – a necessity to ascend from a simple hotheaded ships’ Captain to the commissioner of Starfleets’ substantial resources – it was clear that he was within a hair of exploding now. He rounded unexpectedly on the remaining member of the group, the stocky and lubricant-coated engineer.

‘And you, Lieutenant Fergusson. How would you describe Mister Althaeon’s performance?’
‘Well, sir – it worked, didn’t it, sir? His tactics were extreme but he got the job done, didn’t he, sir?’ the squat-figured man bumbled in a heavy Yorkshire accent. His eyes darted to the others just long enough to catch a shrug and a nod of what seemed to be reluctant agreement from Lieutenant Cole.

A few minutes later, Althaeon stood alone with the Admiral, six pairs of boots drumming up an indecent clatter from the metal decking as they retreated into the distance with no regard for the noise, only the speed with which they were able to put distance between themselves and the remaining pair.

‘You risked contamination of a pre-warp civilization, and you brutally beat your fellow officers to win a training exercise. And it worked,’ admitted the Admiral wearily. ‘Even though you took matters on the ground into your own hands rather than remaining in control of the overall scenario.’
‘I felt that my skills were most valuable where I applied them, sir,’ Althaeon responded. ‘I assigned others to roles they were naturally suited for and thought it obvious to apply the same metric to myself.’
‘Like I said, it worked. Not many others accomplished things so cleanly, or at all. Just remember that one day, you will find a place where brute force and clinically-applied violence aren’t enough – where you have to rely on teamwork and trust, not muscles and claws.’
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Offline Dra'Tuisisch-Novae

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2014, 02:16:09 PM »
The first flashback, between Yanishev and Althaeon in Starfleet Accademy, wasn't sitting so well with me; I felt that Yanishev was too much of a strawman and Althaeon was too readily sympathetic for such a cold character. So I've gone and re-written it somewhat. I've changed the post but also quoted the changes here for ease-of-use.

Original:
Quote
Althaeon exhaled through his flattened, wide nostrils and turned his head to take in the warm sunlight of Earth’s star, and the throngs of new recruits milling about the green spaces that interspersed Starfleet Academy’s grounds.
‘You know why that is, sir,’ he began. ‘The ‘doves’ as you call them – they mistake pragmatism for belligerence; directness for lack of wit or culture. The homeworlds of the Federation have seldom faced war – real war – even now with the Klingons. It is a distant thing, unfortunate and regretted – not feared and fought every day. We might have been like Humans, if it were not for the Hirogen, or for the Vraki, or for the Borg. They do not honour your Prime Directive or recognize rights. The Kaerbadii today are not the ones who prospered and explored and discovered – they are the ones who survived. That’s what we are taught when we are young, because of how our parents learned – to survive, to defend our own, by any means necessary.’

‘Exactly, Lieutenant,’ rumbled Yanishev. ‘That’s what I am afraid of.’ There was a pause before, as if coming to a sudden and profound realization, the alien cast his head back and set his jaw.

‘You are not afraid of me, sir,’ Althaeon said quietly.
‘What was that, Lieutenant?’ Yanishev snapped back, eyes narrowing.
‘You are not afraid of me, sir. Nor are you afraid of the Kaerbadii, or our nature. You are afraid of what we mean for Starfleet – for your Federation. You are not afraid of us bombarding cities to rubble or seeing my claws dripping with Klingon blood; you fear that this war will make it necessary. You fear that all of your ships and all of your brave young recruits won’t be enough when all the cards are on the table, when soldiers have to be soldiers and not explorer-ambassador-poets. That one day soon you will have to beg for us to fight a bloody war – a real war – to keep the utopian Federation and its ‘noble purpose’ safe.’

Revised:
Quote
‘You know why that is, sir,’ he began. ‘The ‘doves’ as you call them – they mistake pragmatism for belligerence; directness for lack of wit or culture. The homeworlds of the Federation have seldom faced war – real war – even now with the Klingons. It is a distant thing, unfortunate and regretted – not feared and fought every day. We might have been like Humans, if it were not for the Hirogen, or for the Vraki, or for the Borg. They do not honour your Prime Directive or recognize rights. The Kaerbadii today are not the ones who prospered and explored and discovered – they are the ones who survived. That’s what we are taught when we are young, because of how our parents learned – to survive, to defend our own, by any means necessary.’

‘Exactly, Lieutenant,’ rumbled Yanishev. ‘And that’s what I’m afraid of. You already have reputation. That you accomplish things by any means necessary. Now, as the first of your species with a command role, just as negotiations with your homeworld are on the verge of collapse, that reputation matters. It’s not just about your reputation for bloody efficiency any more; it’s about how that reputation reflects on all of Kaeribad. And that’s what I’m afraid of, and why I asked you here.’ There was a pause before, as if coming to a sudden and profound realization, the alien cast his head back and set his jaw.

‘You are not afraid of me, sir,’ Althaeon said quietly.
‘What was that, Lieutenant?’ Yanishev snapped back, eyes narrowing.
‘I do not believe you are not afraid of me, sir. Nor are you afraid of the Kaerbadii, or our nature. You are afraid of what we mean for Starfleet – for your Federation. Not that my reputation will scare them into denying Kaerbadii membership, but that the war will scare them into accepting it regardless. You are not afraid of us bombarding cities to rubble or seeing my claws dripping with Klingon blood; you fear that this war will make it necessary. You fear that all of your ships and all of your brave young recruits won’t be enough when all the cards are on the table, when soldiers have to be soldiers and not explorer-ambassador-poets. That one day soon you will have to beg for us to fight a bloody war – a real war – to keep the utopian Federation and its ‘noble purpose’ safe.’

And while I'm at it, to finally resolve that bloody cliffhanger!

- VII -

U.S.S. Royal Hunt, Vega System, 2408

The Borg drone lumbered in, swinging armoured limbs replete with ugly bladed implements towards the springing Kaerbadii. The blue-skinned attacker was quicker, crushing the drones’ jaw into splinters and jerking its head upward. Any normal opponent, even a raging Klingon, would have crumpled to the floor in agony, but the drone hardly seemed to notice. Heavy arms snapped shut like the jaws of a hideous robotic shark, cracking ribs and eliciting a feral bark of pain. Althaeon jabbed the barbell , doing little more than denting a chest plate, but giving him momentum to twist free of the constraining arms. He raked low and high with his claws, tearing wires and flesh from the drones’ leg, before being lifted off his feet by a blow to the side of the head.
Hazy and disoriented, he tried to rise but barely had time to bring his hands up in self-defence before one of the drones’ arms crashed down, cracking a forearm bone and sending him sprawling onto his back. He threw a vicious kick that glanced off an armoured shin, and tried to roll away, but the over-grown cyborg was bearing down now with lethal intent. Wicked, bladelike manipulators glinted in the dying firelight and crushing pincers whirred and clicked in anticipation of crushing bone.

Then half its head disintegrated, and it slowly toppled sideways like a clockwork toy run out of time. Even so, bolts of brilliant orange continued to smash into both metal and exposed flesh, leaving only a tattered wreckage smoking on the ground.

Forcing his eyes to clear, Althaeon turned to the source of the firing to find Amra Du’Shen sprawled awkwardly in the opening of the Jeffries’ tube, panting heavily with eyes burning and full of defiance.

‘I ordered you to seal yourself inside the command room,’ Althaeon stated simply as she approached.

‘And I’ve always been terrible at following stupid orders, sir,’ she replied tartly as she pulled him up by his good arm, phaser rifle cradled in her other elbow and covering the doorway. ‘There’s a reason I got drummed out of the Imperial Guard.’ For the first time, Althaeon cracked what was recognizable as a grin, before accepting Amra’s arm and gingerly lifting himself up the ladder and towards the crawlspace.
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Offline Dra'Tuisisch-Novae

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]
« Reply #10 on: January 22, 2014, 11:53:04 PM »
Hey look, an update!

- VIII -

U.S.S. Royal Hunt, Vega System, 2408

The Royal Hunt was one of the newest light cruisers in Starfleet, of the Gyrfalcon class. The pair of blue-skinned officers which now occupied its auxiliary command centre were quietly thankful for the fact, and the practical innovations it incorporated, as a thick blast door dropped into place outside of the room’s entryway. It was preceded by a high-powered emergency forcefield, of course, but the Borg had showed little mercy for such defenses in the past and usually over-rode them or denied them of power. At times, the seemingly primitive solution afforded by a solid foot of durasteel was the best one.

‘Blast door locked in place, sir,’ commented Amra. ‘Though it appears that it’s about the only thing in here that’s working properly,’ she added ruefully. She was perched on the bench seat which served both helm and operations consoles, sliding between the two in an attempt to get as many systems online as possible.
‘I can access a few onboard sensors and… control the maintenance cycles on the EPS system, whatever good that will do,’ she said doubtfully.
‘Roughly what I expected,’ Althaeon replied consolingly. For his part, he had eschewed the Captain’s chair for hovering around the rear of the cramped compartment, moving between the tactical, engineering and science consoles. If nothing else, he was grateful for the compact nature of this backup bridge; it would have been intolerably cramped with a full complement. However, it appeared some engineer had the foresight to expect it might be crewed by only a few officers and laid it out so that the pair currently occupying it was able to dart between stations rapidly.

‘I’m locked out of core systems,’ Amra began in distress, before visibly brightening. ‘But it looks like a Starfleet lockout… at least it’s nothing like the Borg infiltration slims I trained on.’
‘Perhaps the Captain ordered it when the bridge was threatened?’ Althaeon appeared at her shoulder, inspecting the code scrolling across her panel.
‘I don’t think so, sir,’ Amra replied hesitantly. ‘I can’t find any command-code authorizations; it’s almost like physical access to the systems has been cut and the software lockout is just to protect the ships’ computer itself.’

‘Engineering.’
The pair had said the words at nearly the same moment, sharing the realization – someone had dismantled, disabled, or simply demolished the lines connecting the ships’ essential systems to the central computer in a desperate attempt to keep their control out of Borg hands. And that feat couldn’t even be done on the ships’ brain, its bridge, but only in its heart – main engineering.
‘Lieutenant… is the emergency comms system functioning?’ Althaeon queried.
‘Possibly… yes. We still have the em-comms, sir,’ she replied. ‘Should we contact engineering?’
‘Do it.’
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