"Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-20 11:15am


4 October 2641

D -10 Days

Robert and Angel woke up to the sound of the alarm chime they had set with the computer. Just as on any other morning. Mornings that would have seen them make pleasant morning talk before going off to shower and a breakfast to start their day.

But this wasn't any other morning.

They got ready with urgency. Shower, a quick breakfast without a word, and then into their uniforms before departing Robert's quarters.

As they moved down the deck, Julia joined them. Her hair was brushed and pulled back into a proper ponytail and her uniform was without a single crease. Her green eyes burned with the same intensity their own eyes had.

Jarod joined them next. Cat arrived alongside Leo, and then Meridina came up with Lucy. Scotty nodded in greeting as he moved into place with them.

They met Data, Worf, and Shepard coming up to the Transporter Station. Worf, as well as Data, were in their standard Starfleet uniforms; Shepard was in the blue uniform of the Systems Alliance Navy, complete with the striped shoulder boards.

The door slid open. Locarno was there and nodded. Commander King, not to be outdone, was already present with her crew. "So." Robert looked at them all. "This is it?"

"This is it," Julia agreed.

"Let's go, then." Robert nodded to the Egyptian man at the transporter station. "Are they ready?"

"We just received the clear signal from Command, sir. You are cleared for transport straight to Defense Command."

Robert didn't bother thinking about what had happened the last time they were in Defense Command. That was the past. This was about the future, their future, and stopping a terrible threat looming over everything they cared for. "Then let's go."

In the central structure of Defense Command, about ten stories down from the Defense Committee special room where they had been grilled just four months ago, Robert and his crew stepped into a large chamber illuminated by a giant holographic starmap. Lines were drawn through the space depicted and insignias were displayed in each partition; the torch of the United Systems, the emblem of the Phosako State, and the swastika of the Nazi Reich.

There were already several tables laid out, as well as lines of chairs. Robert, Julia, Jarod, and Caterina went to one table marked with the seal of the Alliance President. Cat was visibly nervous, prompting Robert to put a hand on her shoulder. "It'll be fine," he promised her in a low voice.

The reason for her nervousness was clear; there were more tables and even more chairs. And some were already taken up. Robert recognized various uniforms of Alliance member states, the Systems Alliance, Starfleet, several other allied states… and to his surprise there were even a number of Rangers from E5B1.

The others took up chairs in the seating area. That is, except for Worf, Data, and Shepard, who went to the tables for Starfleet and the Systems Alliance respectively. Robert watched her salute Captain Anderson and an older man with lighter skin and a scar on one cheek that went down to his mouth. She took a seat beside Anderson.

Worf and Data, meanwhile, joined a Starfleet table where Captain Picard was present, as was Admiral Nechayev. An older man wearing what Robert saw to be one star admiral rank was sitting beside Nechayev. The holographic name marker in front of him identified him as Rear Admiral E. Jellicoe, Starfleet.

The Alliance table was only occupied by one flag officer for the moment, Marshal Gulinev. The gruff Russian nodded in acknowledgement to Robert and the others standing at attention before him. They took seats marked for them.

Over the next several minutes, the seats filled in with more officers. The Citadel Council table was soon filled with Turians, primarily, save a small party of Asari led by a Matriarch named Aethyta. A couple of Salarians in the uniform of the Salarian Special Tasks Group sat at one end of the table.

The main doors opened and heads turned. Everyone watched as a large group of Klingons stomped in. Robert and the others recognized Councillor Kurn among them, but he seemed to defer to another Klingon with a large, medal-adorned overcoat. Said Klingon's wild eyes darted around the room. He looked to the Alliance table and Robert realized he was looking right at them. A smile came to the Klingon's face. They watched as he led the Klingon contingent up to the central platform and the Alliance table. "So, you are the captain they say caused the war," the Klingon in the overcoat said. He smiled a toothy grin. "I thought you would be older."

Robert smiled thinly. "I enjoy surprising people."

That prompted a chuckle from the Klingon leader. "Your ship looks impressive, Captain. I will enjoy seeing how it fares in the battle to come."

"And my crew and I will enjoy showing you how good we are in a fight."

That caused another chuckle. "I look forward to judging that for myself."

The Klingon led his contingent to their table. Robert swallowed at seeing the chair he took; adjacent to Klingon lettering was the English translation: Chancellor Gowron, Klingon High Council.

"You just faced down the leader of the Klingon Empire," Cat squeaked.

"He was testing us," Jarod observed. "That's all. Don't let it get to you, Cat."

"But… but look at all of these leaders…"

Cat stopped when the door opened again. This time it was President Morgan leading a group of figures. Admiral Maran, Admiral Davies, General Hatcher of Military Intelligence, and Defense Minister Hawthorne all walked in behind him and made their way to the Alliance table. Indeed, save for Davies' chief of staff, they took up all of the remaining seats.

The Aurora officers were thus the only other people sitting with them. It was intimidating as hell.

But there was one last surprise. The door swung open one last time and admitted a final contingent. They were mostly Minbari in white and yellow robes, a couple of Humans and Minbari in Ranger uniforms, and finally...

Vice President Delenn walked regally through the seating and to the steps leading to the middle platform and its giant holodisplay. She and her group took the last table.

"Ledosh has had a busy week, I guess," Julia murmured.

Robert nodded back. He looked back to the crowd of people attending. Officers and officials from all of the allied powers that were working with the Alliance. Phosako, Klingons, Gl'mulli, Dre'kari...

Admiral Maran stood. "Greetings, gentlebeings, and welcome to Alliance Defense Command. I am Admiral Maran of Drelin. And it is my honor to present to you the President of the Allied Systems, Henry Morgan."

There was polite applause from some as President Morgan stood and walked to a podium. "Thank you all for coming. This strategy summit has been called to address the main issue over which our states have allied against the Nazi Reich of Universe S4W8. We have been able to confirm that there is a Darglan Facility in said universe, and in range of the Reich's fleet. Indeed, we know that even now they are looking for it, although they may not know the extent of what they are looking for." Morgan's expression was stern. "If they discover this Facility, it is a certainty that they will discover the means to develop the interuniversal jump drive developed by the Darglan. And that is what we are gathered here to prevent."

That prompted nods.

And, much to Robert's consternation, Morgan looked directly at him. "I now call Captain Robert Dale of the Starship Aurora to the floor. Captain Dale and his crew will present the planned operation to secure the Facility."

Undiscovered Frontier
"Tides of Fire"

D -11 Days

The fabric of space tore open with crackling green energy. The resulting vortex in space formed just long enough for a single vessel to fly through, surprisingly swift for her kilometer-long hull.

Such was Starship Aurora's arrival at Earth L2M1.

On the bridge of the ship, Robert and the others took in the sight of the plentiful starships arrayed in orbit. A Federation Excelsior-class ship, the Crazy Horse, was nearest to them, along with a couple of smaller Federation vessels of the Miranda-class. A massive Klingon battlecruiser that Robert had never seen before loomed ahead, joined by an even larger pair of warships; dreadnoughts from M4P2, the Systems Alliance Kilimanjaro and a Turian dreadnought.

And among them was a massive blue starship, taller than it was wide or long. "That's a new one," Locarno mused.

"I have it in the newest recognition charts," Jarod said. "It's a Minbari Warcruiser."

"The Minbari are attending the strategy conference?"

"According to her ID signal, she's called the Branmer. On special assignment to the Rangers."

"Quite a lot of people are here," Julia mused. "Isn't that the Negh'Var? Chancellor Gowron's flagship?"

"This is going to be one hell of a strategy summit." Robert stood up. "Already everyone. Let's get to Briefing Room 1. We need to go over our presentation."

In the Aurora's large Briefing Room, Data and Jarod had taken charge. A star system was now displayed over the central holoprojector. "This is System BB29938," Data stated. "Known on Federation starcharts in our home universe as Gamma Piratus. The system includes one Y-class planet, one O-class, three gas giants, and one M-class planet where the Darglan Facility is located. According to the data recovered from the Darglan computer banks, the Facility is located on the tertiary continent in the northern Hemisphere."

"Under a mound, I'd guess," Julia remarked. "Given our Facility was and the data center on 33LA."

"Likely so." Data tapped a key and zoomed in on the planet and the location. "The area is a river valley with several strategic peaks that could be utilized for ground-based defensive emplacements."

"Do we know what's inside of it?", asked Commander Shepard. The System Alliance Marine was seated in Alliance blues between Worf and Meridina.

"That data was not forthcoming in what we recovered," Data replied.

"If it's anything like our Facility, it'll have a utility ship and maybe an Emergency Ship," Julia pointed out. "I mean, one of our Kelley-class ships and a hullform for another ship like the Aurora."

"The tricky question's going to be if we can keep the place," Angel pointed out. "I mean, once the Nazis know it's there, how do we keep them out?"

"If we get there in time, we could shut down the surface transporter," Cat pointed out. "Our jump drives let us jump into the Facility itself, I mean. We don't need the surface access."

"It would buy us time at least," Shepard observed. "We could use it if we have to set demolition charges."

"Granted, we need to make sure the actual portal to get in and out works." Jarod drew attention to himself with that comment. "There's no data on how intact the place is, whether the local systems are functioning. I think we need to bring signal enhancers so we can beam right into the Facility if we need to. But that's not the real problem we're facing." Jarod pressed a key. The image of the system zoomed out until it was but a speck on a larger map of their section of the galaxy. Additional markers popped up. "The real problem is getting there." Jarod pointed to various red specks. "There are at least ten enemy warships in the area around Gamma Piratus. And the enemy fleet base at New Austria is within two days' travel at standard warp. The moment they see us coming, they'll react."

"What if we send a Discovery-class ship?", Cat suggested. "I mean, they're fast, and they can cloak. Maybe the Challenger, or I hear the Gagarin is ready to fly."

"The Reich has tachyon detection grids and other technology that can detect a cloaked vessel given time," Data noted. "The Klingon raids on their supply lines have determined this capability as in place. Even if such a vessel evaded initial detection, it would be incapable of resisting an enemy arrival at the site."

"And we may not have time either." Jarod pointed to the spots. With a keystroke the red dots began moving in a pattern. One easily recognizable. "They're getting closer than before. Whatever method they're using, they're fine-tuning it. It could be a couple weeks, if not sooner, before they actually find the Facility."

"So we can't sneak around without setting off an enemy fleet to come after us," Julia said. "And we don't have time to try something more subtle. That leaves us with the direct approach."

Robert nodded. "A direct assault."

D -10 Days

"I have shared our findings with Admiral Maran and Defense Command," Robert explained to the gathered. "The fact remains that given the location of enemy forces, the best way to secure the Facility at Gamma Piratus involves defeating the Reich fleet and eliminating their fleet base at New Austria."

"A difficult target." The uniformed military officer of the Phosako contingent wiggled his chin. "We have planned for such a strike for months, but currently our forces are insufficient for such a bold strike."

"Given the strategic situation on your front, I'm not sure you can afford such an attack." This was the Turian military commander beside Primarch Fedorian. The holographic display before him identified him as General Adrien Victus. "Although it would certainly be a bold move."

"The Klingon Empire is ready to dispatch ten more squadrons to the war," Gowron stated. "We would have the forces, together, to eliminate this base. But getting to it will be difficult."

"If I may?"

Robert looked to the new voice speaking up. Delenn stood from the ISA table. "I am still unfamiliar with some of the aspects of your interuniversal jump drive technology," she admitted. "Would it not be possible to simply jump to this New Austria system from one of the other universes?"

"Ships do not jump from one exact point to another, Madame Vice President," Robert explained. "There is a spatial aspect margin to each jump. And it can be random. Unless you lock one jump drive onto another, or to a receiving device designed to provide such an anchoring effect, any jump point you open would be to another point determined by various complicated circumstances. And if you did it with multiple ships, then each jump point opened would have a different arrival point over many light years of space. My ship could arrive two light years outside of this solar system while yours might arrive in orbit over Jupiter, or somewhere outside of Alpha Centauri. If a fleet attempted a large-scale jump without something to anchor their jump drives to the spatial location of New Austria, they'd be scattered across the better part of a sector. The Nazi fleet could engage and destroy them in detail."

"So they would see these points open from so far away?"

"Yes." Robert nodded. "Given the large reaches of space, it's very unlikely that a jump point would open close enough to a sufficient gravity source to hide the point from long-range sensors. They'd see enough of our fleet coming to know."

"I see." Delenn nodded. "Thank you, Captain Dale, for that explanation."

"You say the enemy is growing closer to the Facility?", Davies asked. "Are you sure we don't have another few months? Admiral Relini has rebuilt the 9th Fleet and should be able to win a decisive engagement by the end of November. By New Year's, we'll have two more fleets to send at New Austria."

"The pattern of their movements suggests that we have only three weeks before their search pattern moves into Gamma Piratus," Data stated from the Starfleet table. "Commander Jarod and I have run multiple strategic simulations. Four weeks was the absolute longest before discovery was unavoidable."

"And we probably only have two or so," Jarod added. "I'm sorry, sir, but we've run out of time."

Davies didn't respond with any hostility to that. He nodded with understanding. "So we need to launch the attack," he said. "But we don't have forces fast enough to blast their way to New Austria before the enemy fleet could intercept us. We would get overwhelmed and destroyed."

"You have said your jump drives can lock onto one another for jumps?", Delenn asked. "If you cannot get a fleet to the location, could you not send just enough ships that a fleet could lock onto them?"

"There is a hardware limitation to how many locks a jump drive can sustain," Jarod answered. "At best, maybe three different jump drives could lock onto one. To take out a fleet and the base? We'd need to get the better part of a fleet there, and the enemy would likely intercept…"

Robert noticed Jarod go quiet with thought. And he wasn't the only one. "Commander?", Admiral Maran asked.

Jarod blinked. And then he smiled, and it made Robert's heart lift to see that. Jarod had something in mind. "Commander Jarod?", he asked.

Jarod stood. "We can outfit probes to act as drive anchors," he said. "A lot of them. Enough that entire fleets could jump to a single location fast enough to engage the Reich forces at New Austria."

Picard was quick to act on the idea. "Commander, is what you are proposing technically feasible in such a short time?"

"A week, at most," Jarod proposed. "We just need to manufacture the same systems our jump drives use for anchoring other drives. It has been proposed before." Jarod looked to Cat, who blushed and smiled. "So I've been giving it some thought."

"What do you propose for our battle strategy?" The speaker was Admiral Hackett, the scar-faced man at the System Alliance table beside Prime Minister Shasti. "Once we come through a jump point we'll need time to form the fleet up for a general action."

"We can seed the anchor probes with probes configured to jam enemy targeting sensors," Cat proposed. She swallowed. The fact that she wasn't stuttering out of reaction to all the eyes on her was purely from her mind focusing enough on the technical issue at hand. "I mean, I've seen Nazi sensor systems in action before, I know their limitations."

"That would let us buy time to maneuver any intercepting enemy ships into an advantageous position," Robert added. "Then we send a launch signal on our IU bands and the fleet can jump in and engage."

Maran stood. "If this can be done, I would move that the Coalition commit to this operation. A committal of such force to destroying the Reich fleet base at New Austria would send ripples through their communications and logistics networks. It could cause a collapse across the entire front."

The Phosako leader - Turrellso - seemed to ponder the idea. The colors of his eyes seemed to shift, as they always did in the somewhat feline eyes of the Phosako, as if to go with the thoughts in the blue-furred being's head. "Such an accomplishment would have a severe effect upon the Reich's hold on star systems across several sectors. Many worlds in the region were settled by subordinated nations with little love of the Reich. Such a blow to the Reich's aura of military invincibility would have interesting socio-political ramifications. Ramifications to our immediate and long-term strategic advantage."

"In other words, Premier Turrellso, you believe that a victory by our fleets at New Austria could very well win the war," President Morgan stated.

"Indeed, Mister President. I will not say so with certainty, of course, the variables are simply too complicated to make a guaranteed calculation. But it would certainly do extreme damage to the Reich both materially and psychologically."

"We would shatter the Reich's aura of military invincibility." Robert nodded. The more he thought of this plan, the more he liked it.

Hackett nodded with approval. "The Fifth Fleet will be finished outfitting with IU drives and enhanced energy shielding by the end of the week," he said. "We can be in position to launch an attack in nine days."

"The Citadel Fleet will be prepared by that time," Victus added.

"If this works, I will commit eight squadrons to the battle." Gowron smiled his toothy smile again. "I will lead them myself from the Negh'Var."

"The InterStellar Alliance has not agreed to any military action on behalf of your coalition," Delenn stated. "But I am Entil'zha and I will commit the Rangers to fight against this evil. A week should be sufficient time to outfit enough of our ships to assist in this battle."

"I'll have an Alliance fleet ready as well." Maran nodded. "That leaves one matter. We need a ship that can penetrate their defense perimeter and deploy the anchor probes. The ship has to be fast enough to avoid interception and big enough to carry the anchor probes we'll need, not to mention tough enough to endure enemy fire to set up their fleet for the ambush."

Robert swallowed. He knew just which ship fit that criteria.

And indeed, Maran looked to him. "Captain Dale, the Aurora is the only ship that can accomplish this mission effectively. We can deploy some of our fast ships to follow you in and distract their defenses but I'm not sure they can follow you all of the way in. Is the Aurora ready for an operation like this?"

It was a good question. Were they ready? This was everything they had been building up to, after all. All of the diplomatic work, all of the searching for answers… everything, really, since the strike on 33LA.

It all came down to this.

Robert looked to his crew. Julia's green eyes were on him. She nodded, almost imperceptibly. Angel, Jarod and Cat, Lucy and Meridina, Leo, Nick Locarno and Scotty, Laurent, they were all looking at him with the same thing on their faces.

"Admiral, sir," he said, turning to Maran. "We've been training for this for weeks now. Commander Shepard and Commander Worf have put us through our paces. So, yes, we are ready. As ready as we can ever be."

"Good to hear it, Captain," Maran said. "Now, General Victus, Admiral Hackett, let's start with you. Can you give us a complete rundown on…"

Robert went back to the table and set beside Julia. She smiled at him. "Here we go," she said. "Good reply."

"Thanks," he answered. "Hopefully the Nazis won't be as ready for this as we are."

"Don't think of it like that," Julia chided gently. She kept her voice low so as to not disturb General Victus as he listed the Turian warships being prepared for the war. "Think of it this way; it won't matter if they're ready or not, because we're going to kick their asses."

"I can get behind that." And as he said that, Robert found himself wondering. I wonder what they're up to on their end. What are they planning? Do they have anything in mind for the Facility as well?

And, of course, a question that had nagged him for months.

Are we ever going to run into Lamper again?

Over a world marked with towering spires and marble monuments to the glory of the founding regime, a spiraling set of structures dominated the orbital spaces. Various ships filled the spaces around it. Some were plain-looking private vessels, merchant transports and spaceliners and the like. But most were gunmetal gray with the blue ramscoops and red field emitters of the Reich's feared warships. All had the swastika of the Party and State emblazoned on them and a number had the twin lightning bolt-shaped “S” letters marking a ship in operation by the Schutzstaffel.

One ship completed its approach to a docking port. On the bridge of the cruiser Reich's Glory, Kapitän-des-Raumes Joachim Lamper noted their arrival in his log. "Frigattenkapitän, make sure all wounded are offloaded," he ordered his Executive Officer, Frigattenkapitän Hermann Falk.

The dark-haired Neusachsenische replied with a nod. "Jawohl, Kapitän."

"And do not let that little creature Geisser avoid giving us the replenishment we need," Lamper continued, moving toward the lift. "We need every torpedo and missile we can get from the fleet locker."

"You can rely on me, Kapitän Lamper," Falk swore.

A mere nod was Falk's reply from Lamper. The older man stepped into the lift and barked the proper command to head to Deck 7. From there he moved through the spartan halls of his ship, ducking compartment beams and accepting salutes from his loyal crew. He noted their devotion with pride, pride that he had brought them through so many battles. After the Nebula, as costly as it had been, it had seemed like victories would never end… but of course the Alliance had recovered. And more than recovered....

He moved beside one blackened area. Specks of blood were still visible. One of his crew had his skull smashed at this spot during the last battle near Grodni 3. Those Klingon beasts had torpedoed the Reich's Glory quite extensively in the action. That their "Birds-of-Prey" had succumbed to his tactics and disruptor fire did not erase the fact that his ship had taken damage and casualties. Fifty dead, Lamper contemplated bitterly. We are reaping a bitter harvest in death for this war. And it will not get any better.

A chief petty officer saluted him on his way off the ship and obediently logged his departure from the ship. Once through the airlock Lamper started walking down the wide terminal bay for the line of docks his ship had connected to. A passing anti-grav transported stopped. A young woman, a brunette with freckles, saluted him. He recognized her dark uniform; the womens' auxiliary for the Raumkriegsmarine. Women could not serve in combat capacities, obviously, but German women dedicated to serving their Fatherland were found places in the auxiliaries as clerks, secretaries, drivers, galley cooks in central bases… anywhere that combat was not a persistent possibility. "Kapitän", she called out. "Do you need a ride?"

"Ja." He nodded politely and accepted the seat beside her. This made the journey to the central areas of the New Austria Naval Base far faster than he had anticipated. So much the better; he wanted to report to Admiral von der Goltz as soon as he could.

The trip was still on the slow side. Other anti-grav vehicles were carrying stores and supplies to be transferred to ships, allowing power from transporter use to be conserved only for high priority cargo transport. And yet more vehicles carried personnel, bright-eyed young men being taken to ships as replacement crew. Lamper wondered how many were bound for his vessel to replace the men who had died in the past weeks.

Once they were out of the docking areas their journey became swifter. The Base had a commercial area full of civilians, young Germans and those of trusted nationalities who were permitted residence on German military outposts, all seeking better opportunities providing services to the fighting men of the Raumkriegsmarine. Their uniforms gave Lamper and his driver the right of way on their trip. Within minutes they had crossed this section of the commercial areas to arrive at the administrative sections. Here Lamper took leave of his young driver, who blushed with thanks at his praise of her ability. She drove off and he entered the nearest lift, taking him all the way to the peak of this section of the station. A tower jutting out of the toroid-shaped main body of the Base.

Every door on the level belonged to an admiral. Logistics staff admirals, planners, chiefs of staff to fleet commanders, it went on. And, alone among the most important, was the office marked as belonging to Admiral Georg von der Goltz, commander of 5. Raumkampfflotte. An older blonde greeted him, also in the uniform of the auxiliary, and waved Lamper in.

Admiral von der Goltz was looking over reports at his desk. The commander of the battle fleet to which Reich's Glory was assigned looked up as Lamper came to attention and raised his arm in salute. "Sieg Heil," he declared.

"Heil Sauckel," von der Goltz answered, hand raised at his desk. "Be seated, Kapitän."

Lamper did so. He knew better than to inquire; the Admiral would speak when he deigned to, not a moment earlier.

"Your performance at Grodni 3 has won the approval of Vizeadmiral Haus," von der Goltz stated finally. He looked up from his digital reader. "He has submitted your name for consideration for a Ritterkreuz."

"It was a simple action, sir. I do not consider my victory of sufficient weight or skill to warrant high praise."

"Well-spoken, Kapitän." The older man appraised Lamper with light blue eyes. Brown hair had long darkened to wolfish gray, now growing white at his brow. "Whether or not the commendation goes through, the promotion will."

"Promotion, sir?"

"As of the first of the month, yes." Von der Goltz cracked a slight smile. "Congratulations, Flottenkapitän. You will take command of 12. Kreuzergeschwader, to be led by Reich's Glory. Effective at the end of the month."

Lamper remained quiet for a moment. He had not sought such a promotion, at least not yet, and had assumed that his past conflicts with the SS would poison the ability of the RKM to promote him. "I am honored, Herr Admiral. I will redouble my efforts to protect the Reich."

"I know you will." Von der Goltz put his hands together. "But before your promotion and new assignment come into effect, you and your vessel have another assignment to fulfill."


"You have been requested for special duty, Kapitän," the admiral explained. "I do not expect it will be pleasurable, however."

Lamper knew what that meant. "The Schutzstaffel."


The new voice came from the corner of the room. Lamper had not paid attention to the office, having seen it before, and so he had not noticed the extra occupant. The black-suited man turned.

"Sturmbannführer Fassbinder," Lamper said evenly. He noted the change in the rank insignia on his former SS detachment commander. "Or rather Obersturmbannführer. Congratulations, Fassbinder, I am sure the SS has been quite pleased with your performance."

"Of course," the SS man replied. His piercing blue eyes focused on Lamper, as if to emphasize his genetically-engineered Aryan appearance. "As the RKM has with your own. Your victory over the barbarian beasts the Alliance has drawn into the war will do much to pave our way to conquest."

Lamper felt bemusement at that. Conquest? Against a foe whose homeland was safely protected by the unbreachable barrier between universes? The Alliance's security measures to protect their IU drives from being salvaged from destroyed ships were quite effective, so the idea that the Reich could strike back for the moment was farfetched…

Or was it? There was something in Fassbinder's eyes, a glint of triumph that had to be more than typical SS arrogance.

Could he be wrong? Could the SS have found a way to unlock the enemy's technology? If so… Lamper reeled at the prospects before him. We may actually win the war.

"The SS will be commencing an operation soon," Fassbinder continued. "It will be led by Oberführer Eicke from the Eichmann. We will require your ship to provide additional escort for the Eichmann."

Lamper took that with surprise. "Truly? The SS, with all of its own ships, lacks sufficient cruisers to protect one of their dreadnoughts? You must come to the RKM for aid?"

"We have our own operations to consider, Kapitän. Our forces are spread thin in relation to these operations, many of them critical to our victory in this war." Fassbinder's smile was sharp with enjoyment. Lamper knew he was enjoying being able to drag Lamper and his crew around.

"The orders come straight from Oberst-Gruppenführer Lammers," von der Goltz informed Lamper.

Lamper nodded. Lammers was one of the highest ranking officers of the SS. Moreso, he was chief of staff for the führer himself. If Lammers was directing this operation, it meant that this had the Führer's personal attention.

Which did nothing, admittedly, to make Lamper feel better about this.

"My ship is at your disposal, Obersturmbannführer," Lamper said. "We will require repairs and crew replacements, but it should not take us long to be ready for action."

"Take your time, Kapitän, we still have some time before departure." Fassbinder nodded. "In the meantime, I will be pleased to reacquaint myself with your ship and to check on Sturmbannführer Stammel's progress."

"Of course." Lamper looked to von der Goltz. "May I depart, Herr Admiral? My ship requires attention to ensure we are fully prepared for the coming mission."

"You are dismissed, Kapitän."

Lamper left immediately. He felt the need to, reeling as he was with everything being set into motion. I am promoted, I may get a Ritterkreuz... but first I must endure the SS and their schemes. Damn it all.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-21 08:57am

D -9 Days

Robert and Julia were quiet observers to the discussion going on in Science Lab 2. Jarod, Data, Scotty, Caterina, and Lucy were arrayed around a central table. And now they were joined by Commander La Forge. "You're going to need a stronger material to handle the power draw," La Forge observed, looking over the holographic design over the central table. "Otherwise the entire thing will melt down within a minute."

"We don't need it to be active for longer than a minute," Jarod reminded him. "Anything heavier and we'll have to bulk out the anchor probe. The jammers will have a harder time protecting them."

"What if you…"

As the engineers and science people continued to fuss over Jarod's concept of a deployable probe that could act as an IU drive anchor, Robert gave a side glance to Julia. "Are you following a word of this?"

"As much as I can," she answered. Louder, she asked, "Is this possible or not?"

The talking ceased. And everyone nodded. "It'll take some work," La Forge said, "but give us a few days and we can have dozens of these things replicated before you're scheduled to leave. We just have to work the kinks out."

"That's good enough for me."

D -8 Days

The skyline of the Minbari planet Tuzanor was a sight to see, full of fine crystalline spires. It made Meridina almost wish she was there.

"The negotiations continue to go well," Ledosh said. "A number of the Alliance species of this universe are ready to begin trade with us. President Sheridan has been most magnanimous…"

"I am pleased your mission continues so well, Mastrash."

"Was there anything else you wished to report?" He asked. In a very delicate tone of voice.

Meridina swallowed. "Captain Dale… has shown indications of further awakening of his swevyra."

Ledosh digested that news. "I see. What have you told him?"

"It is not fully awake yet. I informed him that it could, or that he could keep it asleep. He seemed inclined to the latter." Meridina found she could not keep the disappointment out of her voice. Her eyes went over to the open tome on her desk.

"I am not surprised. It is his choice, of course. Do not lose heart. The future has yet to be written. There is no telling what it might bring." Ledosh smiled thinly. "I have some happier news for you, though. I have taken a new student, one who has volunteered to join our Order." Ledosh looked offscreen and nodded.

A woman appeared in the image. Meridina recognized her immediately and smiled gently. "Gina Invieve," she said softly. "I am delighted, if surprised, to see you in those robes."

The Humaniform Cylon woman nodded. "I didn't want to tell you until it was certain," she said. "But it is. I have your gifts. And I wish to use them as you have, Meridina. I can protect life, as I believe God would truly intend for me."

Meridina nodded. "I understand. Mastrash Ledosh will help you achieve your full potential. Just as he did with me."

"You flatter your old teacher, Meridina, and do not reflect enough on the fact that you were a superb and talented student," Ledosh countered. "I wish you and the Aurora crew the best. Do not worry of the future, it will tend to itself. Mi rake sa swevyra iso, Meridina. May the Light illuminate your path."

"Mi rake sa swevyra iso, Mastrash, Gina." Meridina nodded. "I look forward to the day when you take your place as a swevyra'se, Gina. It will pave the way for your people to come to the Light."

The Cylon nodded, her smile still on her face. The two disappeared from the image.

Meridina went back to the security reports she was going through. She barely had time to finish the first page before the door chime sounded. At her call of "You may enter", the door slid open and Lucy entered. She was still in uniform instead of the training garb that she might have otherwise worn given the time. "You are finished with the others?", Meridina asked.

"We have a final design. Commander La Forge, Data, Scotty, and Jarod are overseeing the manufacturing so I can get on to other things." Lucy looked around Meridina's quarters. She spotted the book on the desk and went over to it. "This is beautiful writing," Lucy said. "What's the language?"

"An older dialect from Swenya's time." Meridina gently took the book and closed it. "It contains ancient wisdom of the Grand Foundress."

"I'd enjoy getting to read it some day." Lucy stood beside Meridina while she put the book away. "But that's not why I came here."

"And not for training either?"

"Actually, I was going to say I wanted to work on that issue Data found. The transmissions going out."

"We have yet to find an origin point on the ship," Meridina stated. "It would appear that whomever is sending the transmissions knows how our protocols work."

"I figured that. But there's more than one way to find out what's going on."

Meridina considered it. And her instincts, her swevyra, told her that Lucy joining the investigation would be of value. She nodded. "Very well. Let us return to my office, I will bring up the relevant logs for you."

Lucy nodded. "Great. I'll get right to work. I'd like to get this all sorted out before the week's up." That was, before they went off to rejoin the war.

D -7 Days

Leo sighed with contented relief at the inventory list before him. He had gone straight to the Stellar Navy Medical Command offices in Tacoma to ensure complete replenishment of his stocks, and this time he'd gotten it. Combined with what Dr. Hobbs had fabricated for him during the visit to B5, the medbay was now fully stocked and ready for prolonged operations.

About damn time, Leo pondered. He looked out at the medbay and its empty biobeds. Save for a couple cases from bruised bodies from a rugby match between their crew and one from the British Stellar Union cruiser Spartiate, the crew had not required his services since their return to L2M1 Earth. His medical staff was using the time for some much-needed rest and preparation for the trouble to come.

With nothing better to do Leo typed in commands in the ship medical system, preparing to give a call to New Liberty to see how his colleagues from the Facility days were doing. Before the call could go through he had one from the bridge. Jupap's voice chirped primly over the comm line. "Doctor Gillam, I have an active call from Commander Carrey, and you're the only one I can reach right now."

Leo smiled thinly. "Pipe him down here, Jupap. And remember, you're due for that blood test later."

"Of course, Doctor. I will be there by 1800 hours. Jupap out."

Leo sighed contentedly at that. Jupap, and most of his people, actually seemed to prefer getting medical checkups out of the way, a far cry from the Human (and Dorei) tendency to avoid them.

A moment later Zack popped up on the computer screen on his desk. "Hey, Leo, its been a while", Zack said cheerfully. "I guess you're the only one who can talk to me right now?"

"Just about." Leo smiled and nodded. "Rob's in planning sessions with the allied commanders. Julia's running around getting crew replacements trained and ready and doing all the other stuff people need done. Angel's running tactical simulations, Cat and Commander Data are going over the Darglan databanks are helping Jarod and the engineers… it’s pretty hectic here, honestly, unless you're in the medbay."

"Well, here we are then. I guess you're going back to the war?"

Leo nodded.

Zack visibly sighed. "Damn. There goes my sleep."

"I'm sure you've got your own things to worry about, Zack, don't worry about us," Leo urged him.

"Leo, everything out here is fine. The Cylons are still staying away and we're just a couple of jumps away from the Dorei frontier. You guys are heading off to fight the damn Nazis again. And I should…" Zack caught himself.

Leo nodded in understanding. He knew how that sentence would have ended. "We'll handle things on this end, Zack, alright?" Leo thought for a moment. Time to change the subject, I guess. "How have you been doing? Julia mentioned that Clara ended up out there?"

After the conversation was over, Zack looked away from his desktop computer screen and stared off into space for a moment. I got what I wanted, alright, he pondered to himself. He'd wanted to leave, to spread his wings, and he had. He'd worked closely with Adama, he and his crew had conducted multiple scouting missions on their own and trained with the Colonial forces, and now, on top of all that, he'd turned most of the children in the Fleet into baseball fans....

...and he was with Clara. As many times as their schedules could manage, for dinner and a night of making love in one of the suites on Cloud 9. For the past several weeks, he'd been happier than he'd been in years.

But now it gnawed at him. His friends were going off into what would be the most harrowing battle of their lives. And he wouldn't be there to watch their back, to make sure they came out of this safely, to give them the backup they might need…

He let that thought linger for a moment. And then his thoughts turned into ideas. Ideas that grew more concrete as the minutes passed.

There was a tone over the intercom. "Commander, sir, they're ready to beam you over to Galactica for this week's meeting." Apley's voice barely seemed to reach him. "Commander?"

Finally Zack moved. "Tell them I'm going to be a couple minutes late. I need to discuss something with Tom and Karen." He hit a key on his desk to cut the line and hit a second to open another one. "Commander Carrey here. Lieutenant Derbely, Lieutenant Barnes, please report to my office immediately. I have something to discuss with you."

D -5 Days

Caterina had the last of her breakfast strudel in her mouth when she arrived at Science Lab 1 for the morning. Data was already present. Captain Picard and Commander La Forge were standing near him. All turned to face her. She stopped chewing and forced the mouthful down with a hard gulp. "Uh… good morning…?", she said, sheepish.

Picard smiled gently. "Good morning, Lieutenant."

"Um… did you need me to get Capt…"

"We're just here discussing this find with Mister Data," Picard assured her. He looked back to the data on the screen. It was from the Darglan databanks, showing imagery of the Darglan capitol world. The orange-complexioned, tall-skulled aliens were walking around in multitudes, clad in clothing of various colors amid buildings of brilliant azure sheen.

"Oh. Yes, we recently got that video file out. It's an old presentation of Darglan urban planning concepts," Cat answered.

"So it is." Picard let out a sigh. "Such a brilliant culture. I only wish there was more of them to examine."

"Yeah." Cat's voice betrayed her sadness. "What the Shadows did to their Homeworld, it wasn't…" She swallowed.

La Forge was looking over the same screen Data was. "Data, this is amazing. I'm surprised these databanks are working so well. The amount of raw computer information you're processing is a lot for using a tertiary computer system."

"Well, it might be the Darglan computer technology being designed to interface with itself at maximum efficiency," Cat proposed. "Not that Data hasn't been brilliant!" She took a seat beside Data and looked up at the Starfleet captain. "Captain Picard?"

Picard seemed to come out of his reverie for a moment. "One of my regrets was never getting to visit that remarkable Facility you and your friends operated out of, Lieutenant. I never had the chance to consult with the information it must have had on such a remarkable species, the potential it had for furthering exploration…" He looked at her with sad eyes. "...and to think we will likely end up destroying this Facility as well."

"Maybe we won't have to," Cat suggested. "Maybe we can secure it from invasion and use it."

"It would be nice."

"Yeah." Cat felt an old pain flare up inside of her and couldn't keep it out of her voice.


"Sorry." She shook her head. A tear was in her eye. "I was just thinking about Control. The Darglan AI that ran the Facility. He helped me go through their records and learn a lot about what they had found in the Multiverse. He was destroyed when we lost the Facility to the Daleks. He and Captain Farmer and al-Qiba and Simon and..." She stopped as the tears built in her eyes. She remembered seeing the Daleks kill her science team. The terror they had kept her in when they tried to make her free them from the Facility quarantine.

"You have my condolences, Lieutenant," Picard said gently. "I see these are painful memories for you."

It took Caterina a few more moments to regain her composure. "Thank you," she said. "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"A team of scientists from the Coalition are coming tomorrow to remove the databanks to be studied elsewhere," Picard explained. "I'll be leading the examination team with Commander La Forge. I just wanted to see what progress you and Data have made so far."

Cat nodded at that. As much as she wished she could continue deciphering what was in the databanks, taking them into battle with the Nazis was too much risk. She understood that they had to be removed. "Well, we've managed to defragment or decrypt about fifteen percent of the data in the drive so far..."

A crowd had gathered in the gymnasium. And given what she was feeling, Lucy could figure out why.

It wasn't just the sensation she got whenever Meridina used her own extensive life force abilities. It was also that strange, distorted sense that rippled through her whenever Shepard's biotic powers were in use. Lucy was thus not too surprised to see that the two of them were in the boxing ring, Shepard in exercise wear - sports bra and gym shorts colored with System Alliance blue - and Meridina in a tight-fitting purple bodysuit.

Blue energy flared around Shepard and released itself in a wave of bolts that knocked Meridina back into the ropes. Shepard ran up into punching range and threw several expert punches, her form reminding Lucy of both Julia and Angel in their fighting styles, that were carefully blocked or avoided by Meridina. Shepard seemed to realize her opponent could see the blows coming before they were thrown, so she adjusted, going faster and throwing quicker strikes. Meridina's ability to sense where blows were coming still helped, but she had less time to react, and a couple of the jabs landed on her torso.

But Meridina wasn't just staying on defense. She had been biding her time, waiting for the right moment. It came when Shepard threw a punch toward her face. Meridina ducked the blow and extended her arm outward. An invisible blow from her energy threw Shepard all the way back to the opposite ropes. Meridina gathered her strength and reached out with her power again, lifting Shepard into the air and tossing her into the corner. And then the next corner. And then...

…and then Shepard's arm flailed out. Space twisted and a bolt of biotic dark matter flew out and slammed into Meridina. It didn't just knock her back, though, but instead propelled her into the air toward where Meridina was holding her up. Shepard orientated herself in mid-air toward Meridina and, in the moment as Meridina let go of her, shot forward like a thunderbolt on a wake of biotic energy. She crashed into Meridina and both went flying over the ropes and onto the mat outside the ropes.

Lucy rushed ahead of everyone, concerned for their well-being, and came up on the two exhausted combatants. Meridina and Shepard were sprawled out beside each other. Their chests heaved with the heavy, panting breaths they were taking. They looked at each other.

"Draw?", Shepard finally proposed between pants.

"A draw… yes," Meridina agreed.

Lucy sighed and knelt beside them. "Should I call Leo or…?"

"Nothing's broken," Shepard said. "We're fine."

"Well, once you're ready to pick yourselves back up from the ground…"

Julia was escorting the uniformed System Alliance officer from the Kilimanjaro when they arrived at the Lookout. "This is our crew lounge area," she explained. "And there…"

There was a table where Meridina, Lucy, and Commander Shepard were taking a lunch. Shepard looked their way first. A pleased smile came to her face and she stood from the chair. "Mom?"

Commander Hannah Shepard was returning the smile, waiting for her daughter to finish approaching and accept a hug. "Jen." The older woman was of a lighter complexion than Shepard's tanned bronze. Red hair as rich as her daughter's was kept in a regulation military bun. The resemblance between the two was easily noticeable, although Hannah's nose had a different shape, and her cheekbones were more visible.

"I'm glad you got to visit."

"Just for a while. I'm due back on the Kilimanjaro in three hours. We're jumping back home to meet up with the Fifth Fleet." The elder Shepard held her daughter's arms. "But I couldn't leave without checking up on my little girl."

"It's great to see you again." Shepard directed her mother over to the table. Albert was already stepping up with lunch - he had added a plate, Julia noticed, undoubtedly at Hargert's order - and waited patiently while introductions to Lucy and Meridina were offered.

With that task done, Julia went over to the bar and took a seat. She looked back and felt bittersweet feelings at the reunion of the Shepards.

It wasn't often she thought about her parents. It hurt so much when she did, that wasn't surprising.

"Ah, Commander." Hargert was standing opposite from her at the bar. "Guten Tag."

"Guten Tag," she answered amiably. "What's for lunch? I think I could use your sausage stew."

"Not today," he said. "I'm saving that for before we depart. A pre-battle meal to lift everyone's spirits. No, today we have pickled ham, some curry and rice…"

Julia let him finish listing out the prepared meal for the day before she asked, "So, you'll cook our final meal before you disembark?"

"Oh, no, not at all," he said. "I have no intention of leaving."

Julia shook her head. "You probably should, Hargert. The fighting in July was bad enough. We're going into what might be the biggest battle of the war so far."

"I know," the old German said. "And that is why I must remain. Albert and the others will be disembarking, yes, but I can run this place by myself for a short time. Long enough for us to win."

"You're sure?"

"Very sure, Commander." Hargert smiled thinly. "I have done much of what I wanted to do with life. I would rather spend what little time I have following my heart, not being a miser with what time I have left."

"I… understand, I think," Julia said. She gave him a smile. "At least we can look forward to good meals then."

"Always," Hargert promised.

D -4 Days

Locarno's morning took him to the Lookout for breakfast. He sat one table over from Scotty, Jarod, and Cat, who were still talking about the anchor probes they would be using at New Austria.

He was only part of the way through his breakfast when someone walked up. "Is this chair open?", Captain Picard asked.

Locarno looked at him intently for a moment. And then he nodded. Picard sat down with a breakfast plate of his own. "Mister Hargert is a fine cook," the older man noted before taking a bite and chewing on it.

"The best." Locarno waited for Picard to swallow before setting his fork down and looking at the man who had done so much to destroy his Starfleet prospects. "I'm surprised you're still aboard, Captain. We're departing for our jump out location this afternoon."

"I will be leaving in a couple of hours," Picard revealed. "I am simply awaiting your Miss Delgado's reports on the 33LA data." He nodded over to where Cat was laughing at something Jarod said. Scotty was shaking his head with a bemused smile. "You seem to have done well for yourself, Mister Locarno."

"I've survived." Locarno tried, and failed, to keep some of the anger from his voice.

Picard noticed that. "I find it hard to believe you are angry with me over the exposure of your own mistakes."

"No." Locarno shook his head. "No. I made those mistakes. And I've spent three years trying to atone for them. To try to… make right what happened to Joshua." He turned his head slightly to direct his eyes at Picard. "But that's not why I'm mad as hell at you, Captain."

Picard seemed to consider it for a moment. A pained look came over his face when he figured it out. "Ensign Sito," he sighed.

"You sent Jaxa to her death," Locarno charged.

"You know as well as I do what it means to be in Starfleet. The risks that we might take. She knew those risks. She volunteered."

"Did she volunteer because it had to be done? Or because she felt she had something to prove?" Locarno felt a deep sense of loss welling up within him.

"You have my condolences for what happened to her. She was a fine officer, she did Starfleet proud," Picard insisted. "If you think for a moment that I caused that to happen to her, that I wanted to see her harmed, you don't know me very well at all, Mister Locarno."

There was silence for several moments. The anger in Locarno's mind, his heart, was joined by a deep sense of grief and pain. "I sent her messages," he admitted. "I sent them to everyone. Inviting them to join me and the others. A new life for them. No judgements for what happened to Josh. Maybe if I'd been more persuasive…"

"Lieutenant." Picard kept his voice calm and level. "It's never easy to lose comrades. It's even harder to lose those you feel responsible for. I know how much you cared for the cadets in Nova Squadron. Regardless of the mistakes made, once the truth was brought out, your willingness to sacrifice your own future for their sake was admirable. And I think you have a fine future ahead of you here, in the Alliance. So, I would ask you to consider my words carefully. Sito Jaxa died doing something noble. She went into a difficult situation knowing what might happen and did so because, as a Starfleet officer, she felt it was her duty. Whatever happened, it was not because she was pushed into believing it was necessary for some form of atonement over Joshua Albert's death. Sito Jaxa died as a hero, Lieutenant. You don't do her any service by thinking her a mere victim of your old mistakes."

Locarno listened to those words. Picard had hit it right on mark; he had to fight that feeling of guilt, that Jaxa had gotten herself killed trying to make up for what Locarno had persuaded them all to do. "Alright," he said. His voice was hoarse with emotion. "I understand." He pushed his plate away; with the way he felt right now, his appetite was gone.

As he stood up, he looked to Picard. "And Wes?"

"Wesley is…" Picard sighed and smiled gently. "...he is pursuing another destiny."

"Right." Locarno nodded. "Good for him, then."

With nothing left to say, Locarno left the Lookout.

The completed probes were laid out in the shuttle bay "Ready for testing," La Forge said, looking over his console. "Firing thrusters."

The two probes shifted and lifted into the air on twin jets of blue energy. Under Commander La Forge's guidance the two black objects flew out the back of the secondary shuttle bay, built into the bottom of the drive hull.

"All thrusters check out normal," Jarod observed.

"Jump anchor is givin' an all clear," Scotty added. "Jammin' probes at full power… now."

For a moment there was nothing. A voice came over the intercom after the silence. "Delgado here," Caterina said from the bridge. "The jamming field is up. I can't get an accurate sensor fix on either probe."

"Scotty, I'm detecting a slight variance in the jamming field emissions," La Forge said.

"Aye. We'll have t' adjust th' model with more bandwidth."

"You should have enough spare power for that." La Forge looked to Jarod and Scotty with a grin. "It looks like we did it. Your probes are working."

"We need just one last test." Jarod hit a few keys. "Sending out the request. We're getting an answer…"

Behind the Aurora space split open. The ship that emerged was recognizable to Jarod and Scotty, eminently so. "Bridge to Secondary Shuttle Bay." Julia's voice came over the radio. "The Kirby gives its regards. The test worked."

"Thanks, Commander," Jarod answered. "We're wrapping things up here." He looked to the others. "We did it." Upon standing he offered his hand to La Forge. "Commander La Forge, we couldn't have done it without you."

Knowing full well they could have, La Forge nevertheless accepted the compliment. "Thanks. It was a pleasure to work with you both on the project." He smiled at them. "Take care of yourselves out there."

"Th' same t' ye, Geordi. After all…" Scotty's eye twinkled. "...there'll be another Enterprise soon enough, an' she'll be needin' a chief engineer."

La Forge's smile became an enthusiastic grin. "Here's hoping."

"Captain Picard!"

Picard had been about to enter the Transporter Station to depart when he heard Robert's voice. Robert was almost running when he approached. Given his youth and fitness, he didn't sound winded when he said, "Captain, I need to ask you something."


Robert nodded his head toward one side. They stepped into an adjoining corridor in the ship to be alone. "I wanted to ask for your input on something," Robert said. "It concerns our plans for what might happen at New Austria."

"You have my full attention."

Robert led him down the corridor fully until they arrived in a set of open state quarters. One of the handful of VIP quarters available on the ship, much as the Enterprise had contained. Once the door was locked behind them, Robert laid out some of the plans they'd been making. Picard nodded in quiet affirmation. "Given your likely tactical situation when you arrive in the system, you have accounted for everything that is possible."

"I think we can give the fleet an even better tactical situation, and a chance to eliminate any enemy force sent out to catch us. But that's why I've come to you."

"Oh?" Picard thought on that. "You…"

Robert asked him his intended questions. Picard's brow furrowed. "It will be risky. What you propose has not been attempted before."

"But will it work? I imagine that you, of all people…"

Picard nodded. "I would recommend having Mister Data take over your navigation. That would enhance your chances to an acceptable level."

"I thought so." Robert nodded and extended a hand. "Thank you, Captain Picard. Good luck with that Darglan database."

Picard accepted his offered hand. "Bon voyage, Captain. I'll see you again after the battle."

The familiar gunmetal gray halls of the Eichmann filled Obersturmbannführer Fassbinder with pride. He walked through the decks of the ship, surrounded by the finest Aryans in the Reich, and was reminded of his place in the vanguard of the Race. He could feel the power around him, an invigorating coolness that sharpened the senses and reminded him of purpose. His heart swelled with pleasing hatred for that which stood opposed to the glorious destiny of the Race, the Party, and the Reich. The alien, the untermensch, the foreigner, the traitor… the Schutzstaffel stood ready to deal with them all.

And the Alliance… provided an enjoyable merger of all those enemies into one body.

He entered the wardroom as directed. "Heil Sauckel!", he declared, arm raised ramrod straight.

"Heil Sauckel!", other voices declared. Like he, they were all model Aryans. Blond-haired, blue-eyed, well-muscled and fit, epitomies of the perfection of the Race.

Fassbinder walked into the room and took his place at the table. All eyes were on the Eichmann's commander, Oberführer Eicke. His countenance burned with ferocity. Even among the SS, his hatred for the enemies of the Reich was legendary for its fierceness. He had once provoked war with the Kameli species in his efforts to slaughter Remnants. His devotion to finally fulfilling the centuries-long pursuit of the Final Solution was the stuff that the Party made legends out of, even if his great count of annihilated Jews had been marred by his recent defeat and the escape of the last Jews to another universe.

At the hands of Dale and his crew, added Fassbinder mentally. If only Lamper had destroyed them in the Nebula…

"Obersturmbannführer." Eicke kept his hands together on the table. "Report."

"Stammel and his people have been informed of our plan," Fassbinder said.

"And…" Eicke scowled. "...Lamper?"

"He knows little. But he is not entirely foolish. I suspect the purpose of our mission will come to him before long."

"Of course." Eicke nodded. "All we await now is the necessary conditions."

"Will the enemy do as expected? Do they even suspect?"

"We have indications of their interest in this region of space," Eicke answered simply. "They know what is here. They will move soon, that I am sure of. Every day our ships get closer to the discovery. They cannot allow this. So they will act." Eicke's lips curled into a snarl. "But that is not why I arranged your promotion, Fassbinder, nor why I assigned you to my command for this operation."

Fassbinder was already quite certain of that fact. "You believe the enemy will send the Aurora."

"It is clearly used for special missions. Its disappearance from the frontlines corresponded with the arrival of the Klingons and a surge in Alliance reinforcements. Now we have word of even more alien vessels appearing in Alliance space. A spying vessel was recently destroyed near Leuwewelt by patrols. The recovered bodies were of some sort of amphibian-like species. And our interception of Alliance civilian channels indicates that a species called the Turians are said to be deploying ships."

"They were sent to gain allies, then."

"And the Alliance will undoubtedly employ them to beat us to the prize." Eicke's blue eyes burned with hatred. "And I do so hope they do. I wish to see that ship burn for what they have done. Of the victory they robbed us of."

Fassbinder had his own thoughts. That feeling he had, that since meeting the Aurora his destiny had been laid out, and that the ship was the key to it. "Recovering the vessel intact may also be a boon."

"Perhaps. But their crew will burn." Eicke put his hands on the table. "Now, Obersturmbannführer, tell me everything you know, everything you may have overlooked in your report to the Reichsführer."

After the briefing Fassbinder retired to his quarters. They were spartan enough, barely furnished, with a hard cot to sleep on. Creature comforts would only soften the edges of an SS man, after all; power came from struggle, be it a fight or the struggle to endure in cramped living conditions.

His one luxury was the line of books. The Great Hitler's books, of course, written before his rise to power and later after he won the Second Great War with England and France and broke the Bolsheviks of Russia. Works from all of the greats, the founders of the Party, and those from great leaders since then.

Destiny. That is what they made him think of. The Destiny of the Race, of the Reich. Only now had it become so clear. They were special, after all. Alone, out of the infinite reaches of the Multiverse, they had conquered all before them. Their Germany alone had proven fit to fulfill the First Führer's vision and build the Thousand Year Reich.

Fassbinder's mind dwelled on that. He remembered that old gelding, that German man from the Aurora. "Hargert", they had called him. The smoldering disgust in his eyes, the way he had rejected Fassbinder, rejected everything he believed in, everything that was supposed to be. And that was how the Germans of the other universes felt. Wherever a German was taken in the Alliance service, it seemed there was nothing but cowards or traitors.

They are not Germans, Fassbinder insisted to himself. They are not! They are fakes! Unworthy of the name of our people, our Race!

That fury felt good. The thoughts of what he would do to people like Hargert. He retired to his bed with those thoughts.

Good thoughts to go into the dreams with. The dreams of power, of glory, of burning worlds and the hakenkreuz flying in glorious victory, of Robert Dale and his crew broken at Fassbinder's feet…

...the dreams of his destiny.

The nightmare was a new one.

It came to Robert in bits and flashes. The Aurora bridge filled with smoke, battle-damaged. Visions of the others in what looked like Facility Control, under fire from Reich troopers. He watched them rush around, trying to hold on, trying to buy time for… something...

He saw Meridina dead. Shepard unconscious. Data laid out against a console, a smoking, charred hole in his torso.

And the Aurora. The bridge roof and wall disappeared. He was holding onto a hand, a grip that was failing…

...and he saw Julia, pulled into space, screaming wordlessly as she was expelled to the horrible cold death in the vacuum.

Robert woke up screaming, "Julie!"

A hand pressed to his side. Angel sat up beside him. "Another one?"

For a moment he processed his thoughts, sleep-dulled as they were. Finally he nodded. "New one," he croaked.

Angel nodded wordlessly and leaned against him. "Settle down. Go back to sleep. It'll be fine. Don't worry, it'll all be okay."

He nodded stiffly. The images had been so real. And that realness to them was filling him with a sense of dread. Was something going to go wrong on the mission?

Was he going to make a bad call again?
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-21 04:34pm

D -3 Days

Lucy woke up extraordinarily early. This was not entirely by her desire; she'd had nightmares about Nazi armored troopers and Patrick Duffy's torture dungeon and a general sense of unease.

Realizing she wasn't getting back to sleep, Lucy got ready for the day and went to Science Lab 1. Why she went there and not to the gym for morning training or the Outlook for an early breakfast… well, that was something she was still contemplating.

The Lab would have been empty under other occasions. The civilian scientist contingent had been disembarked over the course of the week and all projects were currently on hold. And with the Darglan database removed to the Archer for Captain Picard's team to continue analyzing, there was nothing special left to do in here. Even more analysis of the 33LA data hadn't granted anything more than more known universal coordinates.

Yet there was someone present. Lucy recognized the Starfleet uniform immediately. "Commander Data?"

Data looked back at her. "Ah. Good morning, Lieutenant Lucero."

"Don't you ever sleep?"

Data's response was immediate. "Only if I desire to. How may I help you?"

"I just…" Lucy sighed. "I just… a thought, I guess. About the computer systems."

"Does this pertain to the secret messages that have been discovered?"

"No. I'm looking into that myself, actually, and making some progress on the how, if not the who." Lucy shook her head and took a nearby seat. "No, I just have this feeling of… missing something."

"What do you believe you are missing?", Data inquired.

"There's just something about this. About the computers." Lucy tapped keys and brought coding up. "I mean, is this Darglan technology doing things we didn't anticipate? First the Cylon virus that we defeated gets the digital equivalent of a gutting inside the auxiliary core. Then the core decodes the database and finds just what we need?"

Data considered that. "Do you suspect there is an issue with the auxiliary core? I can initiate a diagnostic or a complete core restore."

"No. No, that's too much work with just a couple of days left for us. I just want to look things over." And try to get this sensation out of my head...

The captain's stateroom on the Reich's Glory was barely any larger than the one Lamper had enjoyed as a Frigattenkapitän commanding the light cruiser Essen. Indeed, he knew it was barely smaller than the stateroom to be found on anything short of a dreadnought, and for good reason; every cubic meter devoted to personnel living quarters was a cubic meter not devoted to shield generators, armor support, weaponry, combat electronics… the things that made Reich warships so feared. This is why ships usually disgorged their crews into better living quarters on space stations or planetside bases when they were due in port for prolonged periods.

But Lamper had nixed that. This was wartime, after all, and he needed every hand on board and ready should an action be required. Including himself.

It was getting late in the local day when the call came, as he was finalizing commendation reports and new personnel reviews. He tapped a key on his personal computer and the screen flashed to show a cozy urban home. His family's home, back in Bremen on Earth.

The family home. How long had it been since he had actually been there...?

The woman on the screen was his age, with her brown hair pulled back into a ponytail on her head. "Guten Tag, brother," Gerda Lamper said.

"Guten Tag, sister," he answered. "How is everyone?"

"Little Joachim is doing well in school. Siegfried has just been promoted to officer of his troop in the Hitlerjugend."

"And Maria?"

That brought his sister a soft smile. "She had met a young man at the University, he has swept her right off of her feet."

After hearing about how his niece and nephews were doing, Lamper moved on. "Is little Hilda still trouble?"

Gerda sighed. "Our little sister may as well ask the Gestapo to pick her up. She has sent another series of letters. She is adamant that she should be permitted to serve."

"The auxiliaries are always looking for new recruits."

"But as you well know, Joachim, Hilda doesn't want to be an auxiliary, she wants to be an officer." Gerda shook her head. "And she refuses to take no for an answer. 'The enemy lets their women serve'."

Gerda's switch to a higher pitch voice to mock their baby sister caused Lamper to chuckle. "My poor, sad sister," he said. Even as he did, he thought back to the meeting with the Aurora. Commander Andreys, the Lieutenants Delgado, and Commander Meridina… they all served, and all served well.

But they are not us. Their service is not as brutal and strict as the Raumkriegsmarine. This work is not for women.

Another member of the family popped into his mind. It was an inquiry that he had to make and dreaded. "How is Mama?"

Gerda took in a breath. She looked distressed, confirming Lamper's worst fears. "There are still good days," she said, her voice full of false hope. "The doctors think that some time on the Riviera may do some good. Or perhaps America, if they clear the transporter use."

He nodded. "I can send more pay to cover for it."

"It may be our only hope left for Mama," Gerda said. "The way she is going, any day I expect to hear from the hospital that she had been listed for release."

The thought was like a dagger in Lamper's heart. His dear mother wasting away like she was, that was pain enough. But to have her listed? To lose her while he was out here during this war? He wondered if he could get the Admiral to pull strings back in Germany to arrange that she stay off the list. She was the mother of a war veteran, after all. That always conferred special rewards and benefits.

But what also hurt was the thought that it was probably for the best. His mother had lived a full and happy life. Instead of continuing to waste away, the State could show mercy by listing her. Ending her suffering before it grew. Before she could not even recognize her own grandchildren. Wasn't that how it had been done for Aunt Louisa?

Lamper forced the tears back before they could start. "Whatever happens, Gerda, I support your decision. You will do what is best for Mama."

"Thank you, Joachim."

He checked the time. "I must go now. I have run out of my time. I'll send you more news with my weekly packet."

"Of course. Auf Wiedersehen."

"Auf Wiedersehen."

D -1 Day

Angel's hands flew furiously over her tactical console, finalizing targeting solutions and triggering the Aurora's weapons in rapid sequence. On her own displays she saw the indicators flash to indicate the damage she was inflicting on the Nazi battlecruiser. The Lutzow-class warship went red on the indicators under the barrage of the bow cannons.

Further markers showed the approaching Z-2500 type destroyers. Angel kept up targeting solutions on them, rapidly firing off the phaser strips along the bow and port side They fired torpedoes and the Aurora evaded, forcing Angel to shift her targeting on the fly. Her pace quickened; her head ached a little as she thought through her firing plan, shifting capacitor draws and changing the rate of fire. The phasers intercepted a couple of enemy torpedoes that would have hit. She triggered the phaser cannons next; bursts of amber fury that would rip the Reich destroyers to pieces.

Which they promptly did.

Her entire board soon went clear. All enemy contacts were gone.

And the female voice of the ship computer spoke. "Simulation complete. Resetting."

The bridge's running lights shifted to standby alert, the default beginning. All of the others moved slightly to what they had been at the start of the battle.

All save one.

"Your accuracy has improved by six percent," Worf rumbled, looking over a digital reader. "And this time, no torpedo strikes were landed. Your performance has improved satisfactorily."

"Well, so long as it's satisfactory, I guess that's good enough," Angel replied, grinning at her counterpart from the Enterprise crew. She stood up from her simulated tactical station.

"I do question one thing," Worf continued. "You intentionally lowered the power output of your lateral phaser arrays. By doing so, you reduced the likelihood of shield penetrations. Please explain."

"The Nazis use their Z-2500s like disposable cannon fodder in battles," Angel answered. "They race in to fire torpedoes and then race out, hoping that they don't get killed from the lack of strong shields or hull armor. I've found that their captains tend to be pretty aware of how easy it is for their ships to get killed. Throw enough fire at them and they'll focus more on evasive maneuvering than on targeting, and are more likely to fire their torpedoes early instead of getting in closer. So the important thing isn't power per shot but rate of fire."

Worf nodded with approval. "A fine tactical assessment. It is in line with my own."

Angel kept her grin up. "So, I guess this is it, then? We'll find out how well this training has done us tomorrow."

"Indeed." The Klingon nodded. A distant look came over his eyes. "It will be a glorious battle."

Angel's grin turned into a bit of a smirk. "It'll be a damn big one, at least."

Commander Kane had a routine he liked to keep. Regardless of the scheduled inspections, he paid a visit to the armory whenever the ship he was assigned to was preparing for a combat operation. It did good to jostle up the routine of the armorers in his unit and make sure they were on the ball.

The armory was on Deck 20, where the drive hull and primary hull sections of the ship met, in the interior sections behind reinforced bulkheads. Two decks high in height, it contained enough firearms to outfit the entire crew of the Aurora and several industrial replicators and fine machine tools used to maintain the weapons, fabricate more, and to create ammunition or charge clips.

He showed up at 1900 on the dot and was greeted at the door by Corporal Lanyin. The Gersallian woman ran the armory. She stood at attention. "Commander Kane. Sir."

"Corporal, at ease." He nodded. "Give me the tour."

Lanyin knew what he meant. She led him through the rows, all the racks of pulse rifles, and the containers for the heavy weapons. The rows of combat armor were checked next. Internal life support tanks were all topped off, systems readied, combat loads properly stored, everything was in order. The same was true for the heavy power armor.

They were finishing their inspection in the machine tools area when Kane noticed a newcomer seated on one of the stools. Commander Shepard was going over one rack set to the side. Unlike the others, this was loaded with firearms from her native galaxy. The curved body of an Avenger assault rifle was in her hands, the top removed and laid on the nearby table beside some of the internals of the weapon. "Commander." Kane looked over the guts of the rifle.

"Commander." Shepard didn't look up. She was working with something on the inside. A solid metal block was laid on her hip.

"Corporal Lanyin's work doesn't meet your approval?"

Shepard shook her head. She fit something into place and looked up. "Corporal Lanyin does fine work. It's just a habit of mine to go over my kit before an op."

"Unless things go sour, we won't be doing much at New Austria," Kane pointed out.

"Which is why you're here giving everything a check as well, huh?"

At that, Kane chuckled. He went over to the rack set aside for Shepard's kit. The mass effect weaponry had its own distinct aesthetic. He picked up one pistol with curved grips. "Have you tried out our weapons?"

"It's good stuff. But not mine."

Kane replaced the pistol and moved to a different weapon. Its gray exterior was marked with a white "N7" and a bar of red beside the 7. "Shotgun?"

"It's a new model they're testing out called the Crusader. It's a solid slug-firing shotgun." Shepard looked up and smirked. "It should put a hole through most armored targets when fired at short range. Even those Panzergrenadiers."

"Sounds like our S-14." Kane put it down. He looked at her dark gray combat hardsuit next. "So, you do the gear check. I'm guessing some crusty old sergeant pounded that kind of thing into you during an early assignment."

"My field deployment with the 2-1 before I went to officer school." Shepard took the metal block from her hip and pushed it into place. "Sergeant O'Brady."

Kane chuckled. "Sergeant McBride. My rifle stopped working during a fire exercise. He called me every horrible name in the book and made me field-strip the entire thing right there. While shooting above my head every ten seconds. Gunny Roland thought it was funny as hell."

Shepard reached for another piece to fit back into place. "It always helps to have a hardass sergeant kick your ass a little."

"You should see Sergeant Thanh sometimes. She switches between English and Vietnamese at will and I'm damn sure every word is so filthy that ten bars of soap couldn't wash it out."

At that Shepard laughed. "We'll have to get a drink some time. As Marines."

"A toast to hardass Irish sergeants? Count me in."

D -6 Hours

The nightmare came again. Robert watched the Facility fall to the Reich. The Aurora was battered and crippled in a battle.

He watched Julia get sucked out into space again.

Upon waking up, he was relieved to see that the chronometer was flashing 0550. He'd actually managed to sleep properly.

He slipped out of bed without waking Angel. She had rolled toward the other side, taking the sheets with her, and remained sound asleep. Good. She needs her sleep.

His mind went to things he had to do. But he realized he'd done it all already. The pre-action reports were filed and logged. The ship was ready for action. He'd done everything short of delivering a speech. And that he wasn't sure of; the crew knew the stakes, they knew the mission. He didn't want to dilute that with a bad speech.

Robert put on some morning clothes and sat at his desk. The letter he had sent to Beth was still visible, marking itself as sent already. He knew it would still hurt. She was worried about him. And for good reason.

Almost without orders, Robert's eye settled on the plastic case beside his computer. He opened it and reached inside.

The Consort Sha'ira had given the strange object to him. A gold frame enclosed an orange disc of some sort. Robert had thought it might be some form of data disc, but Caterina had scanned it thoroughly. The make was exotic and singular, but there wasn't a single bit of data.

As he laid his hand over it, a buzz came to his fingertips. There was something about this object. Something important, terribly important. He needed to find out.

First things first. I need to get ready for the day. We launch in six hours.

The morning was busy for Julia. She made a round of the ship to make sure everything was ready, meeting with department heads like Scotty and Meridina and Laurent. Once that was done it was off to the bridge for the watch and to be ready for their launch time.

It helped to give her something to do. It was like every part of her body buzzed with anticipation, a tension that she just wanted released by this point. This would be it. They were going off to a major battle, and it would only be part one of a larger operation to secure the Darglan Facility. The weight of the occasion was almost suffocating; this could literally decide the outcome of the war, their fates, the fate of the Alliance they'd helped to build…

They were still waiting for Robert when the turbolift opened. Worf and Data stepped out on the bridge. "Commander, we are reporting for duty."

Julia nodded and allowed herself a small smile despite the tension. "We're honored and pleased to have you both. Commander Worf, Secondary Tactical could use an experienced hand, it'll let Lieutenant Delgado focus on primary targets. Commander Data, if you can take Communications, we could use your quick thinking to direct our fighter wing and escorting ships. And you can use the backup features to access navigation control if we have to perform the discussed maneuvers."

"Agreed," Worf rumbled. He nodded to Angel as he went to Secondary Tactical, getting a nod in reply. Data took up the seat beside him.

"We don't have a bridge station for Shepard," Locarno said quietly. "Or did she even train for one?"

"Commander Shepard is with Kane's Marines to prepare for any boarding actions," Julia answered. "Everyone is in their proper place now."

And so they were. Leo was in the medbay preparing for casualties. Jarod, Locarno, Cat and Angel, they were all at their stations. Lucy was at the Engineering station beside Cat. Scotty would be in Main Engineering and Meridina and Commander Kane were getting their security personnel and Marines, respectively, geared up and split into reaction squads.

That left just one person.

Julia glanced at the time. They were just a few minutes from launch. Any time…

The lift doors opened again. Robert stepped out. She could tell he was just as tense as her, if not more so. He looked over everything and nodded. "No speeches," he said. "We know what's at stake. Let's get this done."

Julia nodded. She moved over to her first officer chair and brought up the status displays she might have to use.

Robert settled into the center chair. "What about our escorts? Who did Maran send?"

"We've got a group of Klingon Birds-of-Prey," Julia answered. "Two more Trigger-class ships like the Sladen."

"Oh, which ones?"

"Wahoo and Troughton."

Robert nodded at that. "Good. We can use them. Isn't Wahoo the ship they assigned that redhead from…"

"Commander Jerricks, yes," Julia finished for him.

"Anything else?"

"Two of the new Predator-class destroyers are in formation with a division of Sol Republic destroyers. The Gersallian attack carrier Mentam and two light Dorei starbirds, Kamara-class. And finally, two Systems Alliance frigates refitted with warp drive, the Bastogne and the Agincourt."

Robert cracked a grin at that. "That works for me. Not much, but enough that we should get the opening we need. Is Commander King ready for her part in the plan?"

Julia nodded in response to that. "We'll combat launch the Sladen once we jump. They signal they're ready."

"Alright." Robert drew in a breath. We can't put this off any longer. Time to go. "Signal to all ships, we're ready to jump. Wahoo and Troughton and the Systems Alliance frigates will form up on us and use our point. All other ships will jump in their own combat groups. If we can form back up on the other side before we arrive, that's fine. If not… we'll see everyone at New Austria."

"Orders sent," Data stated. "Orders are confirmed."


"Setting jump to S4W8. No anchoring points." Jarod held his hand over the console. "Ready."

And that was it. There was nothing left to it. Robert tried to force his nervousness down.

And he gave the order.


Jarod's hand went back to his console.

Space ahead of them split open with a swirling vortex of green energy. Locarno fired the impulse drives; beside them, the two Trigger-class ships and the dart-like Systems Alliance frigates powered their own sublight drives to full acceleration.

Around them, more jump points opened. Their attack force began to move.

On the viewscreen the vortex grew larger until the moment they passed through. As always the screen went blank for a moment, the moment they were between universes, and came back to show open space.

"We're clear of the jump point," Jarod reported. "Opening dock door."

"The Sladen is detaching from the airlock." Julia looked at her own screens. "Launch in five, four, three…"

Right on Julia's count, the Sladen slipped out of the dock set into the back of the Aurora's primary drive. King's vessel shimmered out of view seconds later.

"We're roughly three light years off our mark," Locarno informed everyone. "Setting course for New Austria system."

"Maximum warp for our escorts," Robert said. He looked to Data while Locarno put in the speed and activated the warp drive. "Commander Data, do we have anything from the others?"

"The Klingons have jumped to a point nearly two light years away. They are moving toward New Austria under cloak. Alliance destroyer group jumped into positions near the enemy system. Mentam and her escorts are approximately six light years off-target."

"They'll be coming in late," Robert observed. "Damn. I was hoping to have that carrier with us."

"We'll just have to make do," Julia said. "Lieutenant, ETA?"

"We'll be inside the New Austria system in thirty minutes at present speed."

"Code Red. All hands to battlestations."

Thirty minutes, Robert thought as the klaxons went off around them. Let's see what they're going to do.

Lamper stepped onto his bridge and bellowed, "Report, Frigattenkapitän!"

Falk looked away from where he was standing over Leutnant Rabe's sensors station. He started to lift his arm in salute. "Sieg…"

Lamper scowled and broke off the traditional greeting by barking, "I said report!"

"Long range sensors have detected multiple gravitational anomalies, Herr Kapitän," Falk replied immediately. "They match the profiles of the enemy's interuniversal jump point systems."

"An enemy force has jumped into nearby space?" Lamper took to his chair and checked his harness.

"Ja," Rabe replied. "I have multiple warp signatures. Klingon, Alliance…" Rabe blinked in surprise. "Herr Kapitän, one of the warp signatures, I recognize this one. It is the Aurora."

Lamper nodded. He had yet to fulfill his prediction to Captain Dale in their last meeting. The damage his vessel had taken at Krellan Nebula had kept him out of the further early battles where Aurora had shown up, and by the time they returned to the front the Aurora had stopped appearing. If they are back on the front, it is clear that the enemy is launching a major operation. And to jump here means they will be coming to New Austria.

A part of him pondered the timing. Just as the SS is preparing some "war-winning" operation, the Alliance launches a bold attack on New Austria? With the Aurora returning to the front?

That was no coincidence.

He thought of the young Alliance captain. He was a good man, with an intelligent and innovative crew that he cared for as much as Lamper cared for his own. And so, at last, we meet on the field of battle, Captain Dale.

And just as he had told Captain Dale before, the thought gave him no pleasure.

"Action Stations!", Lamper bellowed. "All hands to Action Stations!"
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-22 10:54am

"We're almost to the heliopause of the New Austria system," Locarno reported.

It hadn't been necessary. Robert and Julia were intent upon the holographic starmap hovering over the station beside Julia.

"Klingon Birds-of-Prey are now in formation," Data reported.

"Distance for the Mentam?"

"They're still about an hour behind us," Caterina answered.

"We've got weapons fire ahead of us," Angel added. "It looks like those forward destroyers are engaged. I've got several Z-2500s on tactical sensors now."

"On screen,"

The screen flashed to show the battle. One of the dagger-like Z-2500s was pouring disruptor bursts into a Sol Republic destroyer, recognizable from its own large torpedo launcher emplacements built along the centerline of the ship and the warp systems integral to the ship's rear section. Blue particle fire retorted from the small emplacements on the destroyer, scoring several hits. The Sol ship deftly evaded the torpedo fired at it by a second Z-2500. Several bursts of disruptor fire hit their shields and started to send flames gouting from the hull.

A rapid series of amber beams intercepted the second Z-2500. Robert watched one of the new Predator-class ships move into range. Much like Aurora her drive and primary hulls had no neck between them. However, unlike his ship, their ventral decks were nearly the same, with only an additional deck coming out below the drive hull. The navigational deflector of the Predator was built into the front of the primary hull like on a Federation Akira or Norway. Her warp nacelles were arrayed at the upper corners of the drive hull, nearly built directly into the drive hull in fact.

Powered and equipped by Darglan tech gleaned from the Facility, the Predator-class ships were more resilient than the Sol ships. The enemy's shots that were damaging them were failing to penetrate the two Predator-class ships' shields. The nimble destroyers with their rapid fire phaser cannon turrets and strips poured amber fury into the dagger-shapes milling about them, fighting hard to protect their less-advanced comrades.

"They're going to be in trouble soon," Angel noted. "I'm picking up two Reich cruisers approaching them. Looks like Nazi light cruisers, Dresden-class."

"They'll make short work of our destroyers," Julia said. "Can we get there in time?"

"Only if we accelerate."

"That means leaving the other ships behind. Damn." Julia looked over at Robert. "Rob… if we…"

"I know," he answered. If they raced ahead, they would be exposing themselves further for several seconds.

The Alliance destroyers knew it too. They continued evasive maneuvers as the cruisers came in, disruptors blazing. Blast after emerald blast missed the twisting, turning destroyers.

And then one of the enemy cruisers managed a direct hit. One of the Sol Republic ships was blown in half.

Robert swallowed. Did I do the right thing?, he thought. He feared he hadn't. But they had to maintain their current formation for the plan to work and to prevent…

"Subspace ripples!", Cat shouted. "We've got stealth ships coming up!"

"Relaying data. Our escorts are engaging," Data added.

Julia gave Robert a meaningful look as the System Alliance frigates flanking them shifted away. Solar torpedoes erupted from the two frigates, bright bursts of blue-white light that flew ahead at high warp velocity. One kept going until it went out.

The other disappeared in a large explosion. A Reich attack ship rippled into view. The Bastogne had crippled her. Phaser fire erupted from the two strips on the frigate's starboard, raking the crippled vessel until it exploded in a white fireball.

A heavy shield-busting torpedo erupted out of nowhere, bound for Aurora. The other attack ship had survived. But it had not fired at optimum range. A phaser beam lashed out and destroyed the torpedo while Aurora's own solar torpedoes were firing. Another Reich attack ship was blown to pieces.

"Enemy torpedo destroyed," Worf reported.

"Enemy ship destroyed too," Angel added.

Julia grinned slightly and nodded at him. Robert sighed. If he had ordered acceleration, their escorts would have fallen behind them, and those enemy attack ships would have had open shots on his sides. "Data, relay my gratitude to the captains of those frigates, please."

"Doing so, Captain."

"We're entering range of the fight in three… two… one…"

Locarno brought the Aurora out of warp almost on top of the continuing fight. A crippled Sol Republic destroyer immediately sought cover behind Aurora. The two Predator-class ships were showing signs of damage, no surprise given the enemy Dresden-class cruisers were raking them with disruptor fire. The Nazi light cruisers were slant-hulled like their bigger counterparts, providing more surface area for the disruptor emplacements that made them murder to light warships.

Of course, Robert and the others knew - from experience - that the enemy light cruisers lacked the heavy weapons to be a threat to the Aurora. The same could not be said of the threat the Aurora posed to them.

Angel fired the bow cannons. Bursts of sapphire energy crashed into one of the enemy cruisers. Its shields resisted initially, but the enemy ship was not supposed to fight a vessel of Aurora's power. The barrage inevitably broke through the shields and sent debris and flame spewing from the deep wounds the pulse particle cannons caused in the cruiser. Disruptor fire stabbed at Aurora. "Shields holding at ninety-eight percent," Jarod reported.

Angel was already moving onto the other target, leaving the first for Worf to finish off with the lighter phaser emplacements along the port side. Multiple streams of pulse fire joined the beams from the Aurora's phaser banks and strips. The damaged Reich ship was trying to maneuver away. A futile gesture under Worf's aim; multiple shots continued to strike the enemy ship until it was left dead in space.

The surviving enemy destroyers might have posed an irritation. But between Wahoo and Troughton, they were quickly dealt with. This left the last surviving cruiser and its desperate attempts to get away from Aurora's guns. Its desperate maneuvering made Angel's job hard. Her hits were all glancing blows, degrading shield efficiency and hull armor, but she had yet to land a direct hit.

That was when Agincourt and Bastogne swept in. The two System Alliance frigates were blazing away with their mass effect cannons initially, causing some slight shield strain on the enemy cruiser, but it was their disruptor torpedoes that were the threat. The bursts of white energy that marked the mass effect fields supporting the torpedoes appeared as the frigates went into the final kilometers of their attack run. The weapons struck the cruiser's shields directly. "The disruptor torpedoes are destabilizing the enemy shields," Caterina said.

"Good for us," Angel said, continuing her own fire. As the Aurora overtook them, she and Worf combined their skills to devastate the enemy cruiser. It erupted into a ball of white fire when one of the capital pulse phaser cannon turrets found the anti-matter storage bunker.

"All enemy forces accounted for," Jarod said.

"Status on our side?", Robert asked.

"The Sol Republic destroyer Hosch has been destroyed. The destroyer Nguyen is operating on emergency power and cannot continue combat." Data looked over from the console he'd taken. "All other vessels report readiness to continue."

Robert nodded and looked to the tactical display Julia had brought up beside her chair. "Let's move further in system and start dropping anchor probes."

Lamper was waiting nervously for the order to move into combat. His crew were alert and at their combat stations, every man ready for this unexpected fight without a hint of fear over it. Just as it should be.

The picket forces for the system were gone; the Aurora and her ships had destroyed them. "Two of their destroyers are out of action. Probably destroyed." Rabe's voice was even. "They are moving in-system now. They will be in combat range shortly."

"What is he up to…", Lamper wondered aloud. Seeing Falk's expression, he clarified, "For the enemy to have sent Aurora, Frigattenkapitän, it means there is more to this attack than a simple raid. The enemy has launched a major operation. But what could…" Lamper's mind went back to their meeting. To everything Dale and his crew had done.

"The Alliance ships are slowing, sir." Rabe looked up. "And I'm having some issues with long-range sensors. Some sort of jamming."

Jamming? What could…

And then Lamper thought to the fight in the nebula. The Aurora's attached vessel, Koenig had literally jumped right on top of them. From inside a nebula. Could they have the ability to bring ships to their location through their interuniversal drives?

The more Lamper thought about it, the more he was certain this was true. "Signal to Admiral von der Goltz, now! The enemy may be bringing a fleet in!"

Robert looked at the relative distance to the enemy base and their fleet. "Several enemy ships are coming our way now," Caterina said. "I'm picking up several cruisers and a couple of battlecruisers, plus at least a dozen Z-2500s. And a whole bunch of fighters."

"Laurent's people can deal with them." Robert noticed the odds. They couldn't beat that force. But they could delay them. "What about our jamming probes?"

"They've finished deploying," Jarod confirmed. "Ready for the anchor probes on your signal."

"Begin launching the anchor probes."

From the rear of the Aurora, the probe dispenser went into operation. It was effectively a smaller, less protected torpedo launcher, and it was now firing like a rapid fire weapon. The probes they fired were joining the prior probes sent out, providing them a blanket of electronic jamming to protect them.

"Uh." Cat's voice betrayed some nervousness. "Remember how I said several before? Try 'several dozen' now. I've got at least eighty enemy ships now moving toward us, fast." She swallowed. "Including an entire division of dreadnoughts."

"Do you think they realize what we're up to?", Julia asked, rhetorically at least.

"Have they seen us do any combat jumps bef…" Robert cut himself off. "Dammit. Krellan Nebula. Our first meeting, we had Zack jump in." He looked to Jarod. "Jarod, are those anchor probes ready?"

"They are." Jarod looked back at him. "But we can't bring any fleets in like this. They won't have time to get into formation before those ships are in firing range. We should have Commander King start…"

"Not while there are still so many enemy ships by the base," Robert said, interrupting. He swallowed. "Send the signal. Call in the fleet. And Nick… I'm sorry." He nodded his head. "But for this, I need you to relay navigation control to Data."

Locarno nodded. He didn't like it. But he could understand that, with everything at stake, having Data do the delicate piloting to come was necessary. He released helm control for Data to relay to his station at Communications.

"Standing by, Captain," Data reported.

"Jump points forming!", Jarod declared.

Around and behind the Aurora, interuniversal jump points began to form in space. The vortexes numbered in the dozens.

No. Hundreds.

From each ships emerged. Sometimes just one. Sometimes more, especially with smaller ships. Robert recognized designs from across the Alliance emerging from the points.

Including, much to his surprise and delight, the Kentan.

"Admiral Maran is hailing," Data said.

"Data, full impulse, bring us toward the approaching Reich fleet," Robert ordered. "Put him on."

"Captain." Maran's voice betrayed a hint of bewilderment. "You've called us in awfully close to the enemy fleet. I don't know if the fleet can move into battle position in time."

"Don't worry, Admiral. I'm about to buy you a few extra minutes." Robert keyed the intercom. "Scotty, are you ready?"

"We are, Cap'n. I just hope th' lass can take th' strain of this plan of yer's."

"She can. After all, you helped build her."

"That I did, sir. That I did. Standing by."

"God I hope this works," Julia said to him.

"We'll find out really quickly if it doesn't," he answered. I was hoping we wouldn't have to do this, that we'd have time to deploy the probes after we drew some of their fleet out. Was this a mistake?

If it was, it was too damn late to change anything.

"Enemy ships are starting to lock on," Jarod warned them. "They'll start firing any moment."

"Standby, everyone. Standby…" He eyed the Aurora on the tactical display, moving ever closer to the spheres representing the enemy's likely engagement range. "As soon as they fire…"

The Aurora continued onward, in seeming suicidal defiance of the odds arrayed against her.

On the bridge of the Reich's Glory, Lamper wondered just what Dale was doing. He seemed suicidally mad… but that couldn't be the end of it. No.

What are you doing, Herr Captain?

He got his answer a moment later.

Jarod called out that the enemy was firing.

Data was already acting.

Power surged into the warp drive of the Aurora. With a flash of light from her powerful warp engines, she jumped forward… and stopped.

Right in the middle of the enemy formation.

Enemy sensors were already registering this fact. But for just that moment, their human operators, unable to think at the same speeds, had not realized their quarry had moved so suddenly and so far, making their first shots futile.

"Fire!", Robert shouted.

Angel and Worf responded immediately. The space around Aurora lit up with sapphire and amber fury as every joule of power that could be coaxed from the ship's power systems was expelled through the ship's weapon batteries. Several Z-2500s died in formation, unable to even evade in time. The Aurora's main battery in the bow savaged an enemy Sedan-class cruiser with a full barrage. Torpedoes erupted from every launcher and found targets. The cruisers adjacent to them took their share of the barrage, if doing so more capably than their comrade trapped in Angel's bow gunsights.

After a couple of seconds, the enemy responded. They opened fire, in such volume that the Aurora's shields would be overwhelmed shortly.

But as fast as the Reich gunnery officers were… Data was faster.

Again the engines of the Aurora pulsed with light. Again she was no longer where she had been when the enemy had opened fire.

Instead, the emerald beams and the missiles and the torpedoes kept going. In many cases, they kept going into each other.

Two cruisers, another Sedan and a Dresden, exploded in white fireballs from overpowering hits to their anti-matter fuel bunkers. The warp nacelle of one of the enemy battlecruisers exploded from an errant torpedo.

The second jump brought the Aurora clear of the enemy formation, but still within weapons range. Data fired the impulsors and the Aurora began to turn. The Reich ships were in sudden disarray. Rapid warp maneuvers like that were impossible, after all; anyone desperate enough to try would plow into another ship or burn out their warp systems from the repeated jumps.

"Systems are showing strain on the upper starboard and lower port warp nacelle plasma feeds," Lucy warned. "Damage control teams are standing by."

"Some of their ships are breaking away from formation to pursue us."

"I see, that, Cat." Robert looked to Data. "Data…"

"Preparing to recommence Picard Maneuver," Data replied.

Just as the pursuing enemies opened fire, Data triggered the warp drive again. Space warped slightly and Aurora was suddenly in the middle of the enemy fleet again. Again Angel and Worf opened fire with everything they could. Four more destroyers disappeared. The enemy return fire commenced. The ship shuddered for a moment before the screen flashed with a warp effect yet again. Once more they were clear.

And there were further explosions from within the Nazi formation. Once more, the enemy did themselves more damage than Aurora had.

"Shields holding at eighty-four percent," Jarod reported.

"All warp nacelle plasma feeds are giving strain warnings." Lucy looked back. "We can't keep this up."

"We just need another couple of jumps…" The ship shook once more. They were in enemy firing range. "Two more, Data. Make the second one long enough to clear us from the enemy fleet."

"Acknowledged." Data entered the necessary commands.

"Shields down to seventy-eight percent."

Jarod's warning coincided with Angel and Worf returning fire with the ship's weapons. The enemy cruisers moving up to engage them took repeated hits from the larger phaser weapons while Worf's aim filled the approach vectors of enemy destroyers with amber energy. A Reich destroyer exploded from a direct hit to its drive assembly. The others fired their torpedoes at Aurora; one of these ships died a moment later from a direct hit from one of the larger phaser strips on Aurora's port side.

The torpedoes came in. And they found nothing. The Aurora had warped back into the enemy formation.

"Plasma feed emergency shutdown in upper starboard nacelle!", Lucy cried. "Nacelle is offline!"

By the time she was finishing the second sentence, enemy fire was already incoming. But this time, it wasn't coming from all angles. The Reich tactical officers were adjusting. They had realized that they couldn't get reliable targeting until it was clear Aurora couldn't warp jump again. And given the state of the drive, that was a dicey proposition for them. A short stab of self-doubt went through Robert's heart. Had he gone one jump too far? Had he overtaxed the Aurora's warp drive? Sometimes it was easy to forget just how complicated a system it was, how easily it could be overwhelmed if used improperly.

The ship shook hard beneath them. "One of the battlecruisers is firing on us," Jarod said.

"Lucky damned guess," Robert mumbled as the ship rocked hard from missile impacts.

"Shields down to sixty-nine percent!"

He hadn't planned to take so long for this warp jump. But undoubtedly Data had to adjust for the loss of a warp nacelle. The other Nazi ships would open fire any moment, convinced their warp drive had finally gone down…

Just as several more ships opened up with their disruptors, there was another burst of warp speed. Data brought them clear.

As soon as it was done, Lucy was quick to give them the news. "Plasma rupture in lower starboard nacelle! Our warp drive is offline!"

"That was cutting it close," Julia said, sighing and, despite everything, grinning. Data's last warp jump had carried them free of the enemy's accurate firing range. Some shots would still come their way, but at this range they could easily evade at sublight.

"They're really unhappy with us," Cat said. "Several more ships are breaking from their formation to pursue us."

"They don't know if we can do this again, but they're not taking chances." Julia swallowed. "Rob, they're sending a dreadnought after us. And two battlecruisers. And a number of cruisers… we can't fight this. We have to break off."

"We can't fight this, no," Robert agreed. "Data, get us clear, full impulse, and then please return helm control to Nick."

His orders were implemented with no difficulty. The Nazis now had other problems, as it proved.

The Alliance fleet entered optimum firing range.

Lamper had to admit he was impressed. Tactical warp jumps. Madness. Could his savant officer, that man Jarod, have managed such precision? As far as Lamper was concerned, no human could. And using computers would be unreliable… Not to mention that warp drives would fail with such rapid use.

But Aurora had done it regardless.

"It is a wonder they did not cripple themselves," Falk observed. "Their drive must be very robust."

"Indeed." Lamper looked to communications. Leutnant Jensen was seated there. "Do we have engagement orders?"


That made Lamper frown. The SS squadron that he had been assigned to… why was it not being sent into the battle? What is Eicke up to?

Even as he pondered this, he watched as Admiral von der Goltz reacted to what was happening.

The rest of the Reich war fleet at New Austria began to move.

With Locarno back at the helm, the Aurora was maneuvering clear of the enemy for the moment. The ship shook lightly as enemy fire struck their shields. "Shields still holding at about seventy percent."

"At my mark, bring us around." Robert checked the display. Most of the enemy pursuit had turned back once their comrades were engaged. Maran's ships had used their chance to get organized and were exploiting the disorder of the enemy's forward units for everything it was worth. Markers representing enemy ships were disappearing rapidly.

Now the rest of the enemy fleet was moving up to engage Maran. The odds were close. An entire enemy fleet unit was present. A thought crossed Robert's mind. "Cat, Jarod, would any of these ships happen to be from the attack at Krellan Nebula?"

Cat was the one who checked. "Going by the survivors' sensor records… yeah. A lot."

"Uh huh." Robert felt a grin tug at his mouth. It made what was about to happen even more fitting.

Maran had arranged the Alliance fleet and its disparate members by their strengths. The ships from C5O2 and D3R1 were arrayed in a "battle wall" formation: ranks of dreadnought starships and accompanying cruisers ready to turn and present broadside firepower against the foe. Their light escorts were in a looser formation to assist in screening away enemy light ships or conducting their own dashes at the enemy capital warships to engage weakened enemy shields with heavy torpedoes.

These walls, busy plowing through the forward enemy force, were joined by the other fleets operating by their own tactical paradigms, working hand-in-hand under Maran's direction. Dorei starbirds and Gersallian cruisers and frigates flew in with weapons blazing, clearing the way for hundreds of starfighters from the Gersallian and Dorei carriers to engage with their torpedoes. The Kentan remained in the center of their heavy formations, directing firepower toward the enemy. Their firepower combined with an Earth Confederacy dreadnought - the Cicero - to utterly wreck one of the enemy Aryans.

The heavy warships from the Federated Stars and the Sirian League of L2M1 made their own swift attacks, flanked by cruisers, gravitic drives burning bright blue as they poured phaser and particle fire into the Reich. A wing of Alakin heavy warbirds and Dorei starbirds came burning in after them, pouring plasma and particle fire into the outnumbered ships.

One engagement near the end of the enemy's forward units was particularly poignant; a Colonial Confederation cruiser came to the aid of Sol Republic destroyers under attack from a Sedan. The two erstwhile rivals cooperated with precision against their common enemy. The reward was the flowering explosions from the Reich cruiser. A nacelle blew up from a torpedo hit by one of the Sol destroyers as its companions helped a stricken comrade fly free of the fight.

Seeing this brief part of the battle unfold gave Robert a warm feeling. This was everything the Alliance was meant to be; disparate peoples from all nations and species working together for a common goal, in this case that goal being the defeat of a terrible enemy that had murdered thousands of helpless beings.

Another jolt brought Robert out of his reverie. "Shields now at sixty-six percent."

He nodded to acknowledge Jarod's report. "Locarno… now!"

The Aurora swung around and met her pursuer directly. A Sedan class ship; an appreciable foe, but lacking the raw power to overcome the Aurora alone. Which explained the division of Z-2500s following.

Angel opened fire the moment she had target lock. Thick sapphire pulses lashed out and slammed into the enemy ship, accompanied by two spreads of solar torpedoes. The blue-white sparks of light flowered into brilliant explosions when they slammed into the enemy's shields, accompanied by another barrage of the forward pulse plasma cannons. The enemy cruiser began to maneuver to present strong side shields instead of the weakened bow shields. Angel redoubled her fire on the enemy ship in response to this maneuver. Green, blue, and amber fire filled the space between Aurora and her foes. Worf's expert aim finished off two of the enemy destroyers. His shooting was brilliant and the only reason they hadn't taken a full torpedo barrage from said enemy ships yet.

The barrage on the enemy's shields continued. Angel was targeting every point she could that was supposed to be vulnerable. Their ship shook repeatedly as the cruiser's missiles, taking attrition from the point-defense weapons, crashed into Aurora's bow shields.

"Forward shield generators are taking a lot of strain," Lucy warned.

Jarod was quick to react. "Re-distributing shields to compensate."

"I'm picking up fluctuations in their power systems, I think we're overloading them."

Cat's finding spurred her sister on. Locarno maneuvered the ship to prevent the enemy from escaping Aurora's bow cannons. Angel made full use of his work to continue battering the enemy cruiser. Torpedoes followed the plasma and phaser fire to give the enemy cruiser a battering.

Finally an amber beam from one of the bow-directed phaser strips played across hull. This was followed by a burst from a pulse phaser cannon, then another. Flame and debris erupted from the new wounds in the enemy ship.

And like a shark smelling blood, Angel went for the kill. The next barrage savaged the Nazi cruiser's drive hull. A torpedo blew the blood-red port nacelle to pieces. The lights on the enemy ship's hull began to die out.

"They've lost main power!", was Cat's enthusiastic report.

The last enemy shots before their weapons lost potency finished playing over their shields. "Shields holding at sixty percent." Jarod drew in a breath. "Primary Shield Generator 1 is showing increased strain, we may have to take it offline."

"We'll let Scotty's people deal with it first. But shut it down if you feel the need." Robert looked back to the battle.

Maran's forces had overrun the initial eighty-something enemy warships and left behind a thin cloud of burning hulks and debris fields. Now they were approaching the main enemy fleet. The odds were fairly equal.

It was time to tip them toward their side.

"Is the Sladen in position?", Robert asked.

"They are," was the reply.

"Then prepare to send the second all-clear signal on my mark. Tell King to begin."

On the bridge of the Sladen Commander King and her crew had been watching with a mix of admiration and disbelief. At the helm, the ship's XO Lieutenant Caldwell had given voice to their surprise. "Six rapid warp jumps? Dale must be mad, he's lucky he didn't blow out his entire warp system."

King nodded slowly. Borderline reckless indeed…! But tactically necessary at that point in time. Aurora had few other options once the anchor probes were being deployed. I would have deployed them further out. It would have cost more casualties, undoubtedly, without the enemy fleet intentionally weakening themselves with that first wave. But to take such a risk…

Skarsgard was ready when a tone came from her board. The Norwegian officer turned and faced King. "Commander, we're receiving the signal from the Aurora."

"Confirm that. And start launching the probes," King ordered.

Sladen wavered into view.

Behind the enemy.

They were roughly sixty degrees "above" the enemy as well as being to their rear, a necessary position for what came next. Lieutenant Trymi began firing the torpedo launchers. But there were no torpedoes loaded; rather, combinations of the jamming probes and anchor probes.

"Field is twenty percent complete," the Dorei man reported.

"Enemy vessels on combat approach," Skarsgard added.

King looked at the approaching foes. Similar dagger-shapes to the Z-2500s, but bigger. Reich gunships, A-1700-class, loaded with large disruptor armaments for their size. The vessels sacrificed range to maximize combat power for their size and such were not unlike the Sladen herself. As such they were something of a threat, especially with Sladen having to focus on deploying its probes.

"Limited evasive maneuvers, Lieutenant. We cannot jeopardize the deployment of the probes."

"Yes sir."

Caldwell was doing what he could. But his range of maneuver was limited. The ship shook as several disruptor shots struck their shields.

"Shields down to ninety percent."

King nodded. "Maintain current bearing. Continue the deployment."

No one questioned her openly. They kept doing their jobs, just as she expected, even as another hit came down on them. King eyed the range on her own display. Any moment. Any moment…

There was a ripple in space. Several more ships appeared above Sladen.

Klingon Birds-of-Prey.

The Reich warships started to break off as the Klingons soared in for the attack. The lead gunship took the brunt of the Klingon ambush. Multiple green bolts slammed into its shields followed by a swarm of photon torpedoes. The last two went through the gunship's armor and caused it to burst in a white fireball.

"The Pagh and her squadron are engaging."

"Inform Captain Klag of my thanks," was King's laconic response to that. "Status of probe deployment?"

"Firing final probes… now. All anchor probes deployed, Commander!"

"Send the go signal, Ensign Skarsgard. Lieutenant Caldwell, bring us into formation with the Klingons. We have targets to neutralize."

"Sending go signal, sir!"

"Taking up formation!"

Sladen slipped into place with the Klingon Birds-of-Prey. Her bow phasers opened up, battering an enemy gunship. The Reich vessel turned toward them and opened up with its own disruptor cannons. King's ship shuddered beneath her; she ignored that and kept her eye on the tactical situation. Trymi's gunnery skills were letting him batter the enemy ship and, as things went, won its attention to the extent that it didn't notice the Klingon ship coming up on its stern until it was too late. Disruptor and phaser bolts struck the vessel on both ends and overloaded its shields. Torpedoes turned the ship into a burning wreck.

Their ship shook again. "Enemy vessel to aft. Wait… the Klingons are engaging them."

"Then let us return the favor," King declared. "Focus your targeting on any enemy ship flanking one of the Klingons."

And as she said that, the first jump points opened.

Robert felt like cheering as, for the second time today, space lit up with the opening of a mass of interuniversal jump points.

This time the vessels exiting were primarily not Alliance. The sleek shapes of Turian warships and the blockier Systems Alliance ships emerged from many of the jump points. Smaller, more stealthy ships came out with them - Salarians, presumably. And a smattering of Asari ships rounded out the Citadel contribution.

Other jump points disgorged many dozens of Klingon ships. Birds-of-Prey, cruisers, attack cruisers, and among them all, one big warship - the Negh'Var.

Toward the center of the fleet a large number of smaller ships came racing out of the jump points, accompanied by even smaller blue shapes - space fighters. The White Stars were here in force. More than Robert had expected from what Delenn had said before. And central among them were several of the tall, finned Minbari Warcruisers.

And that wasn't all. Several Slavian dreadnoughts and accompanying warships came from one point; Gl'mulli orb ships emerged from another. A number of Alliance ships joined them. Robert recognized the Discovery among them. We need ships enough that even the Discovery and her sisters have been called in. He recognized the Gagarin and the Atlantis, but not the Challenger. Presumably Madeleine was still in charge of the excavation of the Darglan Homeworld.

And there were other ships. Itagaki Union, Archenar Federation, Gy'toran star-sailers and Kerbal spacecraft carriers. Every nation and species that the Aurora had visited in the past few months was represented in the arriving fleet.

And they had all come to end the threat of the Nazi Reich.

"Admiral Hackett to all ships. Move forward and engage."

At that command, the allied forces formed up. Some took longer than others; it was, not surprisingly, the Rangers who were ready for action first. They were used to launching fleet actions coming through jump points and had come through in combat formation already. Emerald beams came from the massive Warcruisers and the smaller, nimble White Stars. The Minbari weapons cut away at the shields of the nearest Reich warships. A couple of direct hits on the smaller cruisers led to localized shield failures and, after that, the powerful beams from the Minbari cruisers started to carve them into pieces.

Now the rest of the ships were swooping in. The Citadel Council-aligned forces engaged with their hypervelocity mass driver cannons, battering away at the Reich warfleet. Robert was amazed at, and admittedly enjoyed, the sight of a Turian dreadnought and the SSV Kilimanjaro unleashing withering firepower upon a Reich dreadnought. The colossal ship was turning about to engage while its shields flickered and faltered under withering firepower. A squadron of F-61 Trident fighters from the SSV Hawking raced in under the cover of their fire on an attack run. The lighter disruptors on the Aryan-class dreadnought opened up on them. One fighter took a glancing hit and spun off, damaged. Another two took direct hits and disappeared in plumes of flame.

The other fighters made it to optimum range and fired their disruptor torpedoes. One after another the torpedoes lit up and flew forward. Again the enemy light disruptors engaged, and a number of the torpedoes were shot down. The rest slammed into the faltering local shields of the Reich dreadnought. The handful that managed to get through said shields hit armored hull, where intense and unstable mass-effect fields from their warheads began tearing the hull apart.

The dreadnought's starboard super-disruptors were lashing out in reply. Green beams stabbed repeatedly at the two attacking dreadnoughts. Kinetic barriers would not have done much to withstand disruptors, but now both ships were employing UAS shield technology and their shields held against the onslaught.

And this was not the only battle going on. The Gl'mulli orb ships zipped around the battlefield, lashing out with the plasma beam cannons affixed to multiple points of their sphere-shaped hulls. As they tore their way through a Nazi cruiser squadron, attack bombers from the Kerbal fleet raced in at breakneck accelerations. Showing an almost suicidal disdain for enemy counter-fire, the Kerbals deployed their gravitic bombs against the cruisers. With the Gl'mulli orbs having drained away their shields, their armored hulls were left to endure the powerful Kerbal weapons and their hull-shattering gravitic warheads.

Enemy Z-2500s raced in to engage the allied carriers. Kerbal and Systems Alliance fighters moved to engage, and they were not alone. The Starship Atlantis moved into position and engaged with her own light batteries. While the Atlantis covered the carriers, the Discovery and the Gagarin joined the sleek FedStar cruisers in battering a burning Lutzow-class ship into ruin.

On the bridge of the Aurora, Robert noted the distances. "Status on that generator?", he asked.

Jarod checked his board. "It looks like the damage control teams finished their work. The generator's ready to resume its share of our shield coverage."

"Great news. Bring us about, Nick," Robert said. His heart was pounding with excitement. "Bring us in toward the allied fleet and the Sladen."

"Aye sir!", Locarno agreed.

The Aurora turned in space. The bow raised to face the allied forces. Her engines fired to full and she flew toward her allies.

They'd accomplished their mission. Now it was time to use that to win the battle.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-22 06:46pm

Explosions continued to flower in the distance while Patrice Laurent maneuvered his Mongoose starfighter behind the Nazi fighters launched by the base. The craft were wider than his Mongoose, with tapering ends that made them look like arrowheads with engines on the back.

The Reich fighters were currently pursuing the Kerbal bombers that were reducing one of the dreadnought divisions for the benefit of Allied dreadnoughts and couldn't break off safely. Laurent shifted his fighter left and right and then corkscrewed it to avoid incoming fire. He waited the key second before his targeting system flashed a lock and fired. Thick pulses of amber energy lashed out from the Mongoose's chin and the base of the small payload and engine wings. The first shots were still slightly off. Laurent carefully maneuvered his fighter until the stream of pulses started tearing into the rear of the Nazi fighter. The enemy fighter's shields held for the first half second. The pilot was already maneuvering to get out of Laurent's firing line.

But he couldn't. Just as he nearly cleared the stream of bolts, they ripped into his engine assembly. The Reich warship exploded into a few hundred pieces.

A warning tone forced Laurent to maneuver hard to his right and "upward". This let him evade, barely, the stream of emerald disruptor bolts coming from the Nazi fighter moving to engage him. Soon the enemy was on his back and staying on. "Bogey on my six low," Laurent stated.

"I'm on it!" The voice had enough of a strange pitch to it to confirm the speaker was not human or full-sized humanoid. Another Mongoose twisted around Laurent at an acceleration that did more to say it was his wingman than the voice itself.

Lt. Jebediah Kerman's Mongoose slipped by Laurent's own and went directly at the Nazi fighter attacking him. Phasers blazed and the enemy pilot broke off, but not before taking damage.

"Able 2, thank you for that."

"You're welcome, Able Leader!" And with that the Kerbal pilot's Mongoose twisted back into the same angle of attack and roared into position. Ahead of them some of the heavier Reich fighters were starting to fire on the Kerbal bombers approaching the dreadnoughts. Kerman opened fire at the same time Laurent and others did. Missiles streaked through space and hit the enemy fighters before they could evade. Several exploded entirely. Some only took damage and continued their attacks on the Kerbal bombers. A couple of the Kerbal craft exploded from the fire coming in behind them. But instead of breaking off or ruining their attack runs with evasion, the Kerbals seemed to be more interested in accelerating even more, pushing their overpowered spacecraft to and seemingly beyond their limits to ensure their attack run succeeded.

Laurent spit his crosshairs on another Nazi fighter and let loose with his phasers. The enemy fighter, damaged from a missile impact, disintegrated under the attack. "We've got to cover those bombers!" Seeing he didn't have the numbers to keep the enemy fighters from successfully savaging the Kerbal bomber run, Laurent started giving his orders. "Bravo, Charlie, form up on Able! Delta Squadron…"

"Sir!" Ensign Xui, his sensor operator, called out. "More friendly contacts!"

"Above" Laurent, more fighters raced in on mass effect drives pushing to maximum acceleration. The curved, sharp frame looked almost like a fang with wings; Turian fighters. "This is Dedalic Wing to Alliance fighters. Joining your attack vector."

Another Human voice heralded the arrival of F-61s. "Hammer Squadron here, we're on course!" Laurent thought he recognized the voice, a pilot from the Hawking. Lieutenant… Cortez, yes.

With the Turian and Systems Alliance fighters backing his squadron from the Aurora, the Nazi fighters ahead of them began exploding with greater frequency. The explosions from the Kerbal bombers going down ceased.

The lead dreadnought's super-disruptors fired again and there was an explosion at the periphery of Laurent's vision. But he could do nothing about that; he was focused on finishing off the enemy fighters ahead of them.

The Turian dreadnought took three super-disruptor beams into its now-unshielded prow and exploded violently. Behind it a second dreadnought and an adjacent Asari cruiser were pelted by debris.

The Aurora moved up and intercepted another super-disruptor blast on its fresh shield face, saving the Asari ship at the cost of a major shield blow. As the bridge stopped rocking Robert called out, "Damage report!"

"Shields down to forty-six percent," Jarod answered.

"We've got a primary shield generator failing, switching back to secondaries!"

Robert breathed harshly. He was tired of getting smacked around by enemy dreadnoughts. And there were four Nazi dreadnoughts bearing down on him and the Citadel dreadnoughts.

But a moment later, those enemy ships had other problems. Their shields were also starting to go down from sheer attrition. Now there were Kerbal bombers racing across the hull, deploying their gravitic bombs at trajectories the Reich dreadnoughts couldn't hope to intercept at. So close that the pilots were lucky to escape themselves.

Suddenly the lead dreadnought, killer of that Turian ship, suffered several massive detonations across its dorsal hull and bow. The super-disruptor assembly exploded and spewed debris and atmosphere across the bow of the enemy Aryan-class ship.

Angel didn't have to be told. Aurora's bow weapons opened up and vented their fury on the enemy ship. Mass driver slugs accelerated to cee-fractional velocities joined them; the fire from the other Turian dreadnought and the Kilimanjaro. Hit after hit ripped away hull armor from the enemy dreadnought until its entire front third was ablaze, spreading a cloud of lost atmospheric gas and debris as it passed. Solar torpedoes from the Aurora went deep into the opened bow of the ship.

One found the ship's missile magazine. Exposed, now, by the prior damage.

There was a great white flash that their viewscreen barely adjusted in time to keep from blinding them. When it was over, the enemy dreadnought was gone.

The ones behind it were still fighting. Another wing of Kerbal bombers had already severely damaged the third in line. Now it had a new problem as the great, blocky shape of one of the Slavic Union dreadnoughts moved across its bow. The ship - giving off the ID of being the Stanislav Bush - opened up with a barrage of ruby energy. Heavy x-ray laser assembles ripped into the Aryan-class dreadnoughts to either side, causing their shields to flare bright red. The one to its starboard, damaged by the Kerbals, couldn't resist the firepower of a dreadnought on its bow. Said bow disappeared in a series of explosions.

The last dreadnought in the force faced the approach of Gy'toran star-sailers. The sleek and elegant shapes of the ships, propelled by a complicated sublight drive assembly that included both solar sails and subspace carrier-wave sails that gave them a look of being an old sailing ship with sails both above and below, turned and directed orange bursts of energy fire into the dreadnought. It retorted with disruptor fire. The Gy'torans were not getting the better of the exchange - Robert was sad to see one of the elegant ships blasted apart by a super-disruptor hit - but it gave an opening for the White Stars of Delenn's Rangers to get in and start hammering the Reich dreadnought. Both groups of ships pulled away as a wing of heavy Klingon Birds-of-Prey, K'Vort-class, moved in with disruptors blazing. Three attack cruisers of the newer Vor'cha-class came in behind them and let loose a series of disruptor barrages backed by photon torpedoes.

The Aryan-class ship simply couldn't endure the punishment. Its shields failed and stayed down. Its hull took repeated hits. And soon it was a lifeless husk of a ship, all lights extinguished, drifting helplessly in the vacuum of space.

Four enemy dreadnoughts, dead. Robert had never imagined to see such a sight.

And still the battle raged on.

Lamper was clenching his fists in frustration. The fleet was caught between two fires. The Alliance and the allies it had gained had used their drive technology to devastating effect. Before, the Reich had numerical parity. Indeed, if you counted the SS squadron Lamper was now attached to and the damaged ships and close patrols guarding the Base, they had superior numbers to the initial Alliance fleet even after the annihilation of the fleet vanguard. But with this new alien reinforcement, they were now outnumbered and in a tactically inferior position.

Indeed, the sight of so many different ship types filled Lamper with deep foreboding. This is what we face. Not one foe, but many. How can the Reich survive against such force?

"Admiral von der Goltz is ordering all ships to try and break out of the enemy trap," Leutnant Jensen said. "And he is ordering Oberführer Eicke to commit us to the engagement. All ships will be employed to attempt a breakout."

"Get me targeting solutions, then."

"Jawohl, Herr Kapitän."

"Herr Kapitän, we are receiving orders from Eichmann." Jensen's voice seemed to falter. "Oberführer Eicke is ordering us to prepare to withdraw from the system."

Lamper exploded with an angry "Was?!" After a moment to regain his cool, he barked, "I want to speak to Eicke, now."

A moment later the bridge of the SS dreadnought appeared on the screen. Oberführer Eicke was in his command chair. Fassbinder was standing nearby. "You heard my orders, Kapitän Lamper. We are withdrawing."

"You are fleeing?" Lamper looked at him and called upon every iota of control he could. Decades of experience with discipline came to bear in keeping his anger in check. "The enemy has the fleet hard-pressed! If we lose both the base and the fleet, our victories will have been for nothing. We will lose this entire ubersektor, Oberführer. God help us, it could cost us the war!"

"This battle is lost, and we have more important duties, Lamper, than saving a handful of ships. Not with the prize that is within our grasp."

Lamper felt his hairs stand up on his neck. "What prize could be worth the worst defeat the Reich has ever endured?"

"A man of your purported intelligence should know. Now, I expect you to warp out with the rest of us. Any further refusal or argument on your part and I will personally see to it that you are denounced as a traitor to our Fatherland."

"What about our orders to engage?"

Eicke smirked. "Admiral von der Goltz is simply a man. I obey the dictates of the Führer himself. Now, we must withdraw, while the enemy is occupied."

Lamper couldn't get the scowl off of his face. His brave comrades, so many thousands of his peers in the officer corps, of brave German crews, were fighting and dying for their Fatherland… and he was being ordered to leave them behind. With not even a shot fired for the sake of honor.

But he knew full well that Eicke would follow through on that threat. He would be disgraced and executed. His sisters, his nephews and niece, his mother… all would suffer for that.

Everything about it filled Lamper with disgust. But he knew the costs of defiance. And they were too high.

So he choked out a, "Jawohl, Herr Oberführer. For the Führer. For the Reich."

"Heil Sauckel." Eicke saluted and the line cut.

Lamper settled back into his chair. He could see the dissatisfaction on the faces of his subordinates. But they knew full well that there was no choice here. "Warp drive standing by, Herr Kapitän," his helmsman said.

"Follow the course laid out by the Eichmann," he answered, dejected. "Match their warp speed."

The Reich's Glory turned away from the raging battle along with the dark-hulled SS ships. Lamper watched the battle continue up until the shudder of the warp drive initiating came up through the decks.

Damn the SS.

The allied forces were arranged to be behind and "above" the enemy, creating a crossfire where the risk of friendly fire was minimized and, more importantly, the enemy could not easily break away from the battle by going above or below either fleet.

It was a beautiful, deadly sight. The two fleets had the enemy trapped, and the Nazi forces were starting to disintegrate. They were still dangerous, as the burning hulks of friendly ships could attest to, but the battle was against them. Outnumbered, caught between two fires…

Robert thought on it. This was essentially what the Nazis had done to Lithgon at the Krellan Nebula, wasn't it? Now the Alliance and its allies were returning the favor, with interest.

Aurora shook underneath him. A burning Nazi battlecruiser was firing its last defiant shots as Angel finished gutting it with the bow cannons. Several Reich gunships and destroyers moving up on their flank were facing fire not just from Aurora's smaller batteries, aimed brilliantly by Worf, but from their accompanying ships. The Wahoo and Troughton had linked up with them again, as had the Agincourt and Bastogne from the Systems Alliance fleet, and those four ships were battering down the enemy gunships approaching their flank. The Sladen and her Klingon escorts were moving their way as well.

"We've got several more ships coming in," Cat warned. "It looks like they're launching everything they have left from the base… wait, that's odd."

"What?", Julia asked. "What's odd?"

"Several enemy ships just jumped to warp. They're leaving the system." Cat blinked. "If I'm reading… one of those ships was the Eichmann. And the Reich's Glory too."

Robert and Julia exchanged looks. What could they be up to?

It didn't matter for the moment. They had a battle to finish.

"The enemy reinforcements are going after the Negh'Var. The Klingons are already fighting off a battlecruiser."

"Does Gowron have any escorting support?"

Jarod shook his head. "Not anymore."

"Then let's get over there. It won't look good if we let an allied head-of-state get killed, will it?"

Aurora moved away from her current position. At full impulse she rushed across the allied fleet. Robert felt immense satisfaction at the sight of one of the feared Aryan-class dreadnoughts reduced to a burning wreck. Another such dreadnought was trailing debris and atmosphere from colossal wounds in her hull, courtesy of the SSV Kilimanjaro. Angel gave the dying Aryan-class ship a few shots en passant.

A check on the rest of the battle gave Robert a satisfying and reassuring sight. The Kentan was beside the expanding debris cloud of what had to have been an Aryan-class dreadnought… while a second Nazi dreadnought was on her other side, clearly getting the worst of Kentan's particle cannon broadsides. Admiral Maran's flagship was also facing a Lutzow-class battlecruiser on their bow. But that vessel died a moment later, under fire from two accompanying dreadnoughts from the Earth Confederacy, the Cicero and the Epaminondas.

Another hit struck the Aurora. "Shields still at fifty-four percent," Jarod reported. "Just stray enemy fire. Some of the enemy ships are just shooting everything that's not Nazi."

"It looks like they've lost all cohesion," Julia observed. "We're really doing it. We're winning."

"Coming up on the Negh'Var."

At Locarno's remark Robert and the others directed their attention back to the battle. The Klingon flagship was under fire from several enemy cruisers, including another of the Lutzow-class battlecruisers. Their disruptor bolts were starting to strike the Klingon ship's bare hull. "Take out that battlecruiser," Robert ordered. It posed the most thread to the damaged Klingon ship, while the one beside it was still engaging what was left of a Klingon attack cruiser.

Under Angel's direction the bow cannons blazed yet again. Torpedoes raced forward from their launchers and followed the sapphire and amber fire of the Aurora's bow weapons into the decaying shields of the lead Nazi battlecruiser. Their escorting ships raced forward to engage the lighter enemy ships bedeviling Chancellor Gowron's big, ponderous flagship

The enemy ship seemed to notice them finally. Super-disruptors lashed out at them. "Bow shields are taking a beating," Jarod warned. "Overall shield coherency down to thirty-seven percent." Another hit struck them. "Make that thirty-three."

"Take whatever evasive action you can, Nick, but make sure Angel has clear shots."

"I'll do what I can," Locarno said, his voice thick with bemusement at the contradictory order. Nevertheless, Robert and Julia knew that Locarno was more than up to the task. Under his control Aurora corkscrewed relative to the enemy battlecruiser while Angel continued to punish the ship. More disruptor shots came their way.

Of course, the Nazis weren't the only ones with disruptors. The Negh'Var completed a turn and the big Klingon ship fired with her own disruptor cannons. Thick bolts of green energy slammed repeatedly into the failing shields of the Nazi battlecruiser. Photon torpedoes, red sparks against the black of space, came in next. One got through the shields and impacted on one of the enemy cruiser's super-disruptors, turning it into blazing wreckage.

The Sladen and Wahoo raced in next. The two ships jinked and spun in space to avoid incoming fire with the kind of skill Zack would nod in appreciation at. Their powerful pulse phaser cannons erupted in amber fury and drew yet more power from the failing enemy shields. Solar torpedoes slammed into the enemy's dorsal hull. Another super-disruptor exploded, as did a missile launcher.

The remaining weapons now fully focused on Aurora. The ship rocked violently as another super-disruptor barrage hit their shields. "The forward shield generators are going offline again, swapping to secondaries!", Lucy shouted.

"We've got bleedthrough damage to all forward sections, Decks 6 through 14," Jarod added.

"They're targeting us again!", Cat shouted. "The second ship is locking on!"

Angel was pouring fire into the enemy battlecruisers as they poured fire into Aurora. Against one Lutzow-class ship, they had the technology to fight on almost even terms; facing the firepower from two, even if one had lost weapons, was not going to go well for them. Not with the shields already reduced from the earlier fighting.

"I've got more ships coming out of warp," Caterina said as the ship shook again. "It's the Mentam and her escorts!"

The Gersallian attack carrier appeared within firing range of the far battlecruiser. It began to launch fighters while the two light Dorei starbirds flanking it accelerated to begin their strafing runs. Powerful particle cannons built into the carrier's bow lashed out. The Gersallians had made the Mentam and ships like her to fight directly as well as bring fighters into combat, even if they could only do the former at reduced capability for their size.

But that didn't mean their weapons wouldn't hurt.

The new arrivals exploited the damaged battle cruiser's shifting of shields toward Aurora and Negh'Var to pour fire into her rear. Her starboard warp nacelle exploded from a direct hit. The ship began to turn, to cycle shields, but that left them vulnerable to fire from the Aurora.

"Finish them!", Julia urged Angel.

She didn't need to ask twice. Angel let loose with the pulse plasma cannons, making the fire as powerful and as rapid as she dared. Repeated bursts of sapphire energy struck the battlecruiser's failing shields. They utterly collapsed. Flame and debris and atmosphere trailed from the side of the enemy ship as the Aurora's bow weapons carved their way through the thinner hull armor of the battlecruiser. Solar torpedoes with nothing to stop them went right through the resulting breach of the enemy hull. They detonated within the ship.

Suddenly the entire enemy ship disappeared in a white fireball.

"I got their magazine!", Angel crowed.

Robert nodded. For a moment, just a moment, he thought of that. One shot, and thousands dead. It was a reminder that for all the cost and time and effort it took to construct these massive starships, just one (un)lucky shot could wipe all of that away in a second.

Including them.

The remaining battlecruiser was already turning away. They were seeking to disengage, as were their surviving escort. One Z-2500, flames streaking from its hull, nevertheless successfully jumped to warp. A burning Dresden-class cruiser attempted the same but succumbed to the disruptors of an arriving heavy Bird-of-Prey.

The Negh'Var was not about to let its quarry escape. The Klingon flagship fired all of its bow weapons in conjunction with another barrage of the Aurora's forward battery.

After a series of explosions, what was left of the Nazi ship was dead in space.

Data looked over at Robert. "Captain, Chancellor Gowron is hailing. Audio only."

"Put him on," Robert said.

The Klingon leader's voice crackled over the speaker. "I thank you for coming to my aid, Captain. Come, let us rejoin the battle! Qapla'!"

"That will be an interesting marker to call in one day," Jarod mused. "Saving the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council."

"Do not expect Gowron's gratitude to be as forthcoming as you might expect," Worf rumbled. "I speak from experience."

"That's for later," Robert said. "Let's get back into the fight."

And as it turned out, there wasn't much of a fight left.

The battle was over.

It had, arguably, not been in doubt after the allied forces had made the second jump on a second attack vector. But that made little difference to the beings who had still died winning it.

Robert had felt post-battle exhaustion before. From when it was all over and you could relax, just to find your body had been running off of the adrenaline and had nothing like that now. He urgently wanted a bowl of sausage stew from Hargert, maybe a chocolate bar, and then to go to bed.

But there was more work. Always more work. Every department had to report battle casualties, damage, specifics on what had happened. Those reports had to be read and signed off on. Orders made for repairs and the like.

And, in this case, admirals to answer to.

Robert had beamed over to the Kentan for the post-battle meeting. It was surprising to see that while the ship had come out of the battle intact, it hadn't avoided major damage to some systems. Nazi super-disruptors had taken out half of the ship's retrofitted phaser arrays and nearly a quarter of the particle cannons. The ship's primary shield generators were out of action. And there were still dozens, hundreds, of combat casualties. Injuries as minor as contusions from falling over while moving in the battle to near-fatal injuries from torpedo or weapon impacts on nearby hull. Robert passed a damage control party, wearing Gersallian blue work suits, on his way to the Fleet Command Chamber.

Admiral Maran was at the central table. Admiral Hackett, General Victus, and a Klingon commander - a General Martok, Robert recalled - were present as well, as were the commanders of the allied contingents sent into the battle.

But they weren't alone. On the viewscreen was a middle-aged man in a dark suit with a thin goatee and beard. "On behalf of the citizens of New Austria, I, Planetary Gauleiter Hans Lippold, wish to declare that our planet has been declared open by Admiral von der Goltz. The people of New Austria will offer no resistance to your forces."

"I am pleased to hear that," Maran said. "Occupation troops are being prepared as we speak. We will signal you with the identity of the occupation authority shortly. Until then, we require that your planetary militia forces and other units on your planet disarm themselves."

"We understand, Admiral Maran. I await further instructions."

Once the man disappeared Robert stepped up to the table. He stood at attention until Maran nodded. "Captain." He put his hands on the table. "That was quite the scare you gave us."

"I know, sir." Robert nodded. "I thought it best to deploy the fleet closer. Had I set up outside the system we might not have gotten the same tactical opportunity."

"Captain Dale's plan was bold and innovative. And it gave us the edge we needed to win." Victus nodded to Robert. "Well done."

"Thank you, General." Robert looked to Maran. "Admiral, my engineering crews are finishing repairs to our warp drive as we speak. We should be ready to depart within three hours for the Facility location. Can you give me an idea of how many allied ships can join me?"

Maran gave Robert an intent look. He didn't like that. After looking over a list Maran shook his head. "None, Captain."

Robert blinked. "Sir?"

"We will deploy forces to engage their patrols in the area. That should give you a clear shot. But aside from the Sladen I cannot deploy any ships to join you on this mission."

"Were our losses that bad?"

"They were heavier than I would have preferred given our tactical position," Maran admitted. "The Reich fleet fought with the courage of the desperate, and they inflicted losses on us. We'll need everything we can spare just to tie up the enemy patrols near the Facility and to hold on to New Austria. We might have managed something for you, if not for…" Maran looked to Hackett.

"The Citadel has informed the Systems Alliance that one of their Spectre agents has detected a buildup in Batarian forces near the Traverse," Hackett explained. "Considering the losses the Fifth Fleet took, I can't keep us here. I'll leave some cruisers and frigates to support base defense, but most of our fleet will be jumping back home for repairs and re-deployment to face the Batarians."

"And with our M4P2 colonies endangered, the Allied Systems need the Systems Alliance and the Turians to ensure the Batarians don't raid our worlds again."

With that explanation Robert could only nod. "I understand. Then we'll do it alone. Hopefully we won't need any backup."

"You're dismissed, Captain. Good luck."

"Thank you, sir." Robert nodded. He turned and began to walk away. As he took the first step down he looked back. "Sir, have we learned anything about those SS ships that fled instead of joining the fight?"

"They were on a course toward the Reich's interior space," Maran replied. "Beyond that, we have no indication of what they were doing. Admiral von der Goltz wiped his computers before he surrendered."

"Right." Robert felt uncomfortable about that. "Thank you, sir."

He departed.

Julia and Angel had opted for a post-battle dinner. Hargert had worked overtime to prepare a heartening meal for everyone, warm vegetable soup and beef cuts and potatoes. Now they sat at the window table and ate in exhausted silence. Occasionally they glimpsed out the window.

The Nazi base over New Austria was mostly intact. The Turians, Klingons, and Alliance Marines - both Alliances - had each boarded at specific points and taken over after a couple of hours of resistance. The resistance had given the enemy sufficient time to wreck most of the space docks, to destroy their supply stores, and wipe their computers. The station was intact as a habitat, but as a fleet base it would have limited use until it was sufficiently repaired.

This was the better view, at least. Further away was the graveyard of the Reich fleet. Allied ships that had been crippled and destroyed had been cleared first, towed out of the way and either finished off or jumped back to the repair yards. A reinforcement fleet from the Colonial Confederation and the Alakin had arrived to bolster the defending fleet.

"I wonder how this will change the war," Angel finally said. She finished slurping at a spoonful of soup. "I mean, this was about twice as worse as Krellan Nebula was for us, right? There must have been five hundred Nazi warships here."

"Supposedly five hundred and six," Julia replied. "We know at least twenty managed to break away. It might have been more, but not much more."

"That's… damn." She smirked. "We paid those bastards back for the Nebula, didn't we?"

"That we did." Julia took another bite. After she was done she took a moment before talking. "I never thought we'd see anything like that. Back when we started out."

"It was insane. Ships everywhere. More targets than I knew what to do with." There was a flicker of enjoyment in Angel's eyes. "That was a big damned rush."

"Yeah…" Julia put her spoon down. "Of course, that's just the first part."

"Next stop, the Facility."

At that, Julia nodded. "We have to succeed there. Otherwise…" She looked back out the window. "...all of this may have been for nothing."

Everyone was exhausted and ready for an off-shift, but they nevertheless returned to the bridge when Robert called. He informed them candidly of what Maran had said. "We're in this alone" is how he summed it up.

"Damn," Julia muttered. "We could have used some extra help."

"I know. But there's nothing I could do."

Everyone took the time to digest that. It was Jarod who clapped a hand on his console. "Well, it's just us then. Whatever happens, we'll deal with it, right?"

"Right," Locarno agreed.

"Right!", Cat shouted.

Angel nodded from the tactical station. "For the Light, we will prevail," Meridina remarked from beside her. That got a nod of support from Lucy.

"My Marines are ready for whatever the Nazis throw at us," Kane promised from where he and Shepard were observing from the port side of the bridge.

"We have won a glorious battle." Worf grinned. "Another awaits."

"Time may be of the essence," Data reminded them. "I would recommend we do not delay."

"I'm with Data. It's time to go," Julia said.

Robert keyed the intercom. "Bridge to Engineering. Scotty, how are the drives? Are your repairs complete?"

"My bairns are ready an' waitin' for yer command, Cap'n. Ye'll have full warp power."

"You heard the man." Robert grinned at Locarno. "Set a course for Gamma Piratus, best speed."

"Aye, Captain," Locarno cheerfully answered. His hands moved over his board. "Breaking from orbit."

The Aurora moved away from the planet and the fleet over it. It took a couple of minutes for the ship to start to clear the area and be ready for warp.

"We are receiving several signals from the allied fleet," Data informed them. "While all have their own wording, I believe I can sum up their meanings as 'good luck'."

"Signal our thanks for their well-wishes, Data," Robert replied. "Nick, are we ready?"

"We're clear. Warp power at your command."

Robert swallowed and nodded. "Engage."

There was a flash of light from the Aurora's warp nacelles. A moment later they were gone, leaving behind their greatest battle yet for the even more important battle to come.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-23 06:35am


That night, Robert had the nightmare again.

He could see in the Facility. Shepard unconscious. Data laid out with smoke rising from his damaged torso. Worf and Kane shot dead, Meridina sprawled out with the back of her head missing. Cat in one corner, weeping in terror as a shadowy figure lifted a gun to her head.

"No!", Robert cried out.

It did nothing. There was a gunshot. Cat fell over with a hole in her forehead.

And suddenly he was back on the Aurora bridge. Smoke filled the air. The ship was rocking violently below him. And then there was an explosion, the roof was gone…

...and he tried, and failed, to save Julia, who screamed his name as she was sucked out into space.

And through it all, he could hear their voices. Worf's deep timbre, Meridina's almost melodic, soothing voice, Cat's high shriek of terror…

And he just about made it out, too.

We needed you! You weren't there and we needed you!

For a brief moment, an object appeared in his mind. Just the object, like a picture being shown to him...

He was jolted awake a moment later. He sat up and looked around. Angel was laid beside him, tired enough that he hadn't woken her up. He swallowed and looked to a chronometer. 0200.

Just a little over a day. We're arriving at 0900 tomorrow. I've got until then to figure this out.

He got out of his bed and went to his desk. For a moment he just spent time signing the final after-action reports from the departments. Then he checked the update on enemy ship positions. Multiple ships were already heading out to engage the enemy ships in the region. They would have their opening.

As he thought on the dream, his eyes fell again on the orange disk in the gold frame. He reached over toward it. His fingers trembled; it was like he could feel energy within it.

It had been in his dream. Why? What was this mysterious object, this thing that the Consort thought he should have? She said it would provide him help in the near and far futures. How?

He went to grasp it.

But the ship's intercom interrupted him. "Lucero to Dale."

For a moment he didn't react. It was only when Lucy's voice came over again - "Lucero to Dale, please respond. This is important." - that he reacted. "Dale here," he said after pressing a receive key on his desk.

"Commander Data and I need to see you and the Command Staff. Now."

"In the middle of the… alright. Okay. Call everyone, we'll meet in the Main Conference Room."

There were many displeased looks in the Conference Room. The Aurora and Sladen command crews were present, taking up every chair. "Commander, Lieutenant," Robert said to them. "You may begin."

Lucy looked to Data. "You should start, sir."

Data gave a slight nod in reply. "Some time ago, I discovered that there was a discrepancy in the logged communications activities through the ship's interuniversal communications system. The bandwidth through the system was being used in ways not being logged in the computers."

"Someone's spying on us, then?", Leo asked.

"Just what we need," Angel moaned. "Another Changeling problem."

"It does not appear to be a Founder," Data remarked. "Lieutenant?"

Lucy noticed her cue and spoke up. "I looked over the data with Commander Meridina's blessing. It took a few days of checking our active communications and attempting data recovery on the systems. I was able to find traces of the unauthorized communications in the system. Whoever was sending them was bypassing our command protocols. I couldn't figure out how they could do so without setting off any alarms in the system. The only way I could determine was that they could turn them off and keep it from getting logged."

"Woh." Cat blinked. "But… that would mean…"

"According to the security regulations in use by the Alliance, this authority is limited solely to command officers," Data explained. "Or officers one post removed from command authority."

"Which basically means everyone in this room."

"So… one of us is the spy?", Angel asked. She was clearly incredulous.

Lucy nodded. "I couldn't believe it. I triple-checked everything. But… it was the only explanation. So I did some checking into the access times, to see if I could find a clue."

"And did you?", King asked.

"Yes, Commander." Lucy nodded at her. She reached over and hit a key. An empty log appeared. "I tried to see if I could match command authority uses to the proper times. But I was coming up with nothing. And then I remembered that I had another ship to look over. I finished that this evening while I was winding down from the battle."

The realization dawned on everyone over the next few seconds. Uncomfortable glances started to move toward King and her officers.

"I found indications of a command override code being used on…"

"Enough of this." King stood. "Lieutenant, you needn't go on."

Lucy looked at her with arms crossed. "I don't?"

"No. There's no point in letting you draw this out." King put her hands on the table. "The transmissions were sent by me."

Even her own officers glanced at her. "Commander/", Caldwell asked. "What do you mean?"

"I have been working for a superior officer," King stated. "A covert evaluation of your behavior and activities."

Robert frowned. So did Julia, and she was the one who immediately seized upon that. "You mean Davies," Julia said, her tone harsh. "You've been spying on us for Admiral Davies."

King nodded. "That is correct."

There was stunned silence in the room. It lasted several seconds. It only ended when Robert managed to force the question out. "Why? Why are you spying on us?"

"It is necessary for the safety and security of the Alliance." King eyed Meridina intently. "There are forces at work that would undermine our new Alliance and subjugate us. Admiral Davies is trying to root them out."

"You refer to my people, do you not?", Meridina asked.

"That's bullcrap," Leo declared. "This is just another damned witch hunt!"

"No, Doctor Gillam, it is not," King declared. "It is an attempt to protect the minds and wills of our people." She looked over them. "You… have no idea of what has been going on, have you?"

"Not of whatever it is you're alluding to, no," Robert growled.

"I see." King nodded. "Then, before you judge me further, perhaps I should tell you. And let you judge for yourselves."

The Aurora officers looked at each other again. It was clear Angel had no interest in what King had to say. Leo didn't look entirely caring either. But Cat's curiosity had clearly taken hold of her, and there was an intent look on Scotty's face.

"Well, this is going to be interesting," Jarod sighed.

After making sure everyone had a chance to respond, Robert exchanged a final curious look with Julia before returning his eyes to his perfidious escort commander. "Alright, Commander King. You have our attention." He leaned forward. "Tell us what's going on."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Borgholio » 2016-05-23 09:53am

The Kerbals came into this and didn't destroy themselves and everything around them? Impressive. :)
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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-23 08:55pm

Borgholio wrote:The Kerbals came into this and didn't destroy themselves and everything around them? Impressive. :)

Thankfully most of their destructiveness was directed at the enemy. :D
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-27 09:58am


There was silence in the Conference Room beside the Aurora bridge. Outside the window the streaks of warped space continued to stream by. All eyes were on Commander Elizabeth King, the commander of the Sladen. Even her own officers were stunned by her admission: she was spying on the Aurora crew on behalf of Admiral Davies, the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. The same man who had tried to take the Aurora away from them.

"The Admiral will be incensed with me for explaining this," she began. Her English accent was polished and refined. "But you deserve to know."

"This reason that justifies spying on my crew?", Robert asked pointedly.

"Yes." King put her hands behind her back. "Tell me, Captain. Have you ever thought about the inquiry after what happened at 33LA?"

"Thought about what in particular? The way your patron tried to railroad us and went digging into our past to attack us with it?" Robert leaned forward in his chair. "Or how he tried to turn my best friend against us?"

"Admiral Davies believes Commander Carrey to have great potential. He didn't want Carrey disgraced with the rest of you. But that is not relevant to the issue at hand." King had returned to her seat. Now she tapped her hand to the table. "Despite everything, you were let off with a reprimand. No matter how many policies you had violated, you were let off lightly. Haven't you ever wondered why?"

In truth, Robert had. He had decided it represented the President's influence, that Morgan had made backroom deals and arrangements to stop Hawthorne. "I imagined it was politics. That our supporters outmaneuvered the others."

King shook her head. "I saw Davies' records of the first votes. The initial vote was not in favor of your censure, Captain. It was in favor of your removal and court-martial. Further court-martial proceedings were to be voted on for your fellow officers."

"Obviously that didn't happen," Julia said., "So if you're telling the truth, the Committee changed its mind before it called us in."

"It did not," King answered. "It was compelled to change its vote."

"Compelled by the President?"

King shook her head. "No. If you want to know whom…" King's head turned. "...why don't you ask this mind-reader?"

Meridina met King's eyes with some confusion. "Commander?"

"I know full well you can read minds, 'Commander'," King stated harshly. "And are you going to play innocent and insist you did not know what happened?"

"I have no idea what you are talking about," Meridina insisted.

"Hrm." King looked to the others. "The reason you are still aboard this vessel is because, after the initial vote, the Gersallian Interdependency informed the Committee and the President that it would withdraw from the Alliance if you were removed from your ship."

"…What?" Robert was incredulous.

"Indeed. They threatened to withdraw from the Alliance. The Dorei joined them. And then the Sirians, and the Colonial Confederation…" King's gaze was hard. "The Gersallians would have ripped the Alliance apart. They would have walked out with over a third of the Alliance. And we believe they would have made an attempt to seize the Aurora from spacedock."

Everyone stared at King in bewilderment. "You can't be serious," Leo said.

"I am," King answered. "I have the minutes." She hit several keys on her multidevice and began displaying them on the holo-projector for everyone to read. The undoubtedly fierce arguments had been reduced to written, official form. Councilman Pensley's harsh invective seemed to leak bile from the projection in his demands for the Committee to stand fast and throw Robert and the others into the stockade. Almost equally harsh was Councilman Zoral's demands for Pensley's censure and declaration that he would try to get Hawthorne ejected from the Defense Ministry by a Council vote. Senator Sriroj and Councilman Palas, a Gersallian, had exchanged harsh words as well after Palas had informed the Committee of his government's overnight instructions. Word started coming in of all the governments backing the Gersallian demarche, including Zoral's.

"And I thought they were harsh on us," Angel muttered, reading the rancor that had erupted within the Committee.

In the end, President Morgan himself had called in to confirm to the Committee of what was going on. Robert's admiration for the man could only increase at his response to the crisis. He could have reminded everyone of the Nazis and used that as a scare tactic, but instead he had emphasized the need for compromise to save the Alliance. In the end, Robert's censure had been agreed upon, and a couple of votes had shifted to against the removal and court-martial.

"So the Gersallians led the people backing us," Angel said. "So what? Isn't this politics?"

"No, Lieutenant, it is not," King declared coldly. "It was nothing less than an ultimatum. The Defense Committee was compelled by threats to reverse its vote."

Suddenly Davies' sullen words after that hearing had made sense. Undoubtedly the same rancor seen here had come up after the war started. All of those nations that had threatened to leave if pressed for more ships and troops… had they been the other nations that hadn't sided with the Gersallians? It would make Davies' charge that their victory in the Committee had come at "a cost" all the more true.

King, meanwhile, continued on. "Afterward, Admiral Davies initiated an investigation into the Gersallian actions with Naval Intelligence."

"Davies is using the military to spy on an Alliance member?!", Julia asked with an outraged tone. "That's…"

"...necessary, Commander," King insisted. "Made necessary because of her kind." Again King was glaring at Meridina.

"Commander, I do not know why you evince such hostility toward me. If it is fear of my power, I would never use it against others. Taking the mind of another is an act of terrible darkness."

"Then do you deny that your Order is responsible for the Gersallian government nearly tearing the Alliance apart? Because that is exactly what was done. The Council of your organization directly advised the Gersallian government to threaten withdrawal. I have seen the evidence, Commander." King looked to the others. "It was what the Admiral used to convince me of the scope of the threat."

Meridina remained in stunned silence.

"I can go on. I will." She looked again to Meridina. "Your people, your 'knights' or whatever you call yourselves, you never join militaries. You work with them, yes. But none have fully joined a service before. Accepted a military rank. Not until you. And you are immediately assigned by another Gersallian to the most advanced ship in the Alliance, with a young and inexperienced crew. You, a telepath with those 'life force' powers that enhance your powers."

Julia realized where this is going. "You think Meridina's been invading our minds. Mind-controlling us."

"To take control of the Aurora, yes," King charged. "The Gersallian government seems enthralled to the Order, after all. Now they undoubtedly look to expand their power."

"Commander." Meridina shook her head. "If this is what you and Admiral Davies believe, it shows only your ignorance of my people. Our culture, our beliefs, you understand nothing of us."

At that, King nodded. "You're right. I don't. And Admiral Davies has only begun to understand. So, understand what it looks like to us. You break your Order's precedent on serving in military organizations. You accept a rank. You request assignment to the Aurora, not for a temporary mission but permanent assignment. It is suspicious behavior, Commander."

"It's paranoid bullcrap," Lucy retorted. "It's xenophobia."

"It's reasonable precautions, Lieutenant," King countered. She sighed. "The damnedest thing is, I do actually believe you are telling the truth. Admiral Davies won't be happy with me for that. The Admiral is convinced that the Gersallian Order of Swenya is trying to subvert the Alliance government. And he has Hawthorne convinced of the same."

"Which explains the questions they gave me in the committee," Meridina stated quietly. Her expression betrayed intense sadness.

Robert let out a sigh. Having it all explained didn't make it feel any better in the end. And the revelation of how fragile the Alliance still was had not been pleasant.

That wasn't the only thing. There were more questions. Not just contemplating how many supporters for their removal were still out there, but wondering why the Gersallians had considered them worth ripping the Alliance apart. What is going on?

And now we need to figure out what to do with King.

King appraised them for another moment before speaking again. "I understand if you no longer wish to work with me. But I do not believe you are in any situation to do otherwise. I give my word that I will cease my activities for the duration of this operation."

"I think you'll understand if we don't take your word on that," Angel grumbled.

"You do not have much choice, Lieutenant."

"No. We don't," Julia said.

"Her mind is quite disciplined and resistant to my power," Meridina stated. "But I sense no falsehood from her emotionally. I believe the Commander is honest when she says she will suspend her spying."

"I'd rather throw her in the brig and then march her back to Davies in cuffs," Angel growled.

"I suspect, Lieutenant, that I will not come to great inconvenience for this," King stated matter-of-factly. "The Admiral may not be pleased with my discovery, nor that I have not given him the concrete evidence he wished to show the Committee, but he will not allow me to be punished for acting on his own authority. Otherwise that authority would be undermined."

"The President might remove him for this," Julia pointed out.

At that, King smiled thinly. "Come, Commander. You know as well as I that Davies has his own allies in the Council. And Defense Minister Hawthorne, of course. President Morgan's administration cannot survive a major scandal, especially if Hawthorne and Davies are accusing the Gersallians of mentally influencing him and others. So long as the war proceeds satisfactorily, I'm afraid Davies' position is quite secure."

Jarod sighed and nodded. "That's probably right. The last thing anyone needs is political upheaval in Portland. We're still at war."

It was Julia who now stood up and addressed them. "Well, we've gotten this all out now," she said. "The issue with the communications has been decided and we can be sure it wasn't another Changeling. Now that we've got that, we need to focus on the task at hand. We're about twenty-four hours out from Gamma Piratus. So let's get ready for it."

There was genuine appreciation in King's countenance. "Agreed, Commander. Captain…?"

Robert drew in a breath. "Right. You're right, Commander," he said to Julia. "We've come this far. We need to be ready for what comes next so we can finish this. You're all dismissed."

Undiscovered Frontier
"Guarding the Future"

Ship's Log: ASV Aurora; 15 October 2641. Captain Robert Dale recording. We're less than a day out from Gamma Piratus now. Currently we are moving at maximum warp to arrive at the planet where the Darglan left their Facility in S4W8. Alliance and Klingon vessels are already reporting engagements with enemy ships in the area, giving us a solid opening to either take the Facility or, if we need to, destroy it.

For the moment there is no sign of pursuit from Reich ships. Our greatest issue seems to be internal with this revelation about Commander King working for Admiral Davies to spy on us. Our relationship with the Commander had always been proper and professional. Now the distrust is such that I'm worried we won't work well when the shooting starts.

My nightmares of late are also concerning me. These are clearly more potential futures my… 'gift'... enables me to see. I have a decision coming, and the choice I make may spell the difference between victory or defeat for us.

No, not just for us. For the Alliance. For everyone. A Third Reich with Darglan technology and interuniversal drive would be a nightmare. We have to stop them.

A cooling lunch was on the table in front of Robert. It was only partially eaten, however. He was simply too absorbed in his thoughts.

"Are you alright?"

He looked up and over to Julia, who slid into the chair opposite him with her own lunch. Since Hargert had no support staff with him, simply the crew assigned to the galley, there were no waiters or such available. Instead Hargert and the galley cooks were keeping a buffet bar open, refilling it with comfort foods for the crew to eat as they came through.

"Thinking," he admitted. "Is everything still going smoothly?"

"Scotty says the drives are holding together. We may need a week or two in spacedock after this is all over, though. The constant warp jumps and moving along at high warp have left several components showing warning indicators. Scotty's talking about doing a complete drive overhaul."

"It would give everyone a break," Robert pointed out. "So it might be for the best."

Julia nodded before continuing. "As for the Nazi ships in the area, Cat's been watching them on long-range sensors. They've dropped their search routes and formed up near their frontier to face the force Maran sent after them. Councillor Kurn should be attacking them by the end of the day. No matter what happens there… those ships won't be coming after us in time to stop us."

"Any sign of the Eichmann and Reich's Glory?"

Julia frowned and shook her head. "No. Given how long of a head start they had, they could have covered a lot of ground before we left New Austria. I've got Cat scanning on long range for them, but there's no sign of them yet."

"What about the long-range probes? Aren't they still out here?"

"Command shifted them out of the area to assist in the planning of the New Austria attack."

"So we're going in blind." Robert sighed. "Damn."

"You think the Eichmann will come after us at Gamma Piratus, don't you?"

Robert nodded. "I've… well… half the ship probably knows by now about what I've got. What I've… developed."

"You mean how you have the same powers Meridina is teaching Lucy in using?", Julia asked. Her tone was a careful one.

"Yeah." Robert picked at the potatoes on his plate. "Meridina says my nightmares come from this thing. This gift. I'm seeing glimpses of a possible future. Just as I did before 33LA."

"Which is why you did what you did then." Julia leaned forward in her seat. "You're having these dreams now? About this mission?"

He nodded. "Yes. And they're not pretty. I feel like there's a decision I'm going to make that will literally be the difference between us succeeding or getting killed."

"I see. I suppose that makes sense." Seeing that Robert was still struggling with his thoughts, Julia reached her right hand over the table and set it on his. "Robert. I trust you. We all do. That's the reason we agreed that you would take charge on this. When the time comes and you have to make a decision, we'll support it. You'll feel better if you trust your decisions as much as we do."

"It's hard given the stakes. And the nightmares. God, 33LA is still on my mind, even after everything that's been said about it." He swallowed. "I feel like… I'm being tested by the most horrible teacher ever. I'm being shown results without being told how they came about."

"Trust your instincts, Robert. That's all you can do. Please."

There was something in Julia's voice. Her confidence in him, born of a lifetime spent in each other's company, was not something Robert could just ignore. After several moments he breathed in and nodded. "Right. Right." He decided to take a bite of his food. It was cold, distorting the taste it should have had. His cheeks curled as he made a face showing the displeasure his tongue was reporting. "Dammit. Excuse me." He stood up with his plate to go and get fresh, warm food.

Julia couldn't help herself at that point. She started to giggle. An amused smile crossed her face as she dug her spoon into her own lunch plate to resume eating.

There was a crash of wood against wood in the holodeck. The chamber had been changed to reflect an open courtyard under a blue sky. Lucy recognized the infrastructure as that of the Gersalllian Order of Swenya's Temple near the Gersallian capital on their homeworld, evidently the kind of place where such training duels might be waged.

For the moment she was more wrapped up in dealing with Meridina's powerful attacks. It took Lucy everything she had to avoid blows, to re-direct the energy Meridina would throw at her, and in short to do what she could to avoid being defeated. Her own gift gave her insight into how Meridina would react to any situation, much as Meridina's gift did toward her, and the result was a combat where each partner could generally see the other fighter's move as or before they were doing it.

These fights nevertheless usually went the same way; Lucy would inevitably think intently on a planned attack and Meridina would parry it with enough force or technique to disarm Lucy. And she would lose. If she wanted to win, she needed to do something else. To fight without thinking, not in a mindless berserker kind of way but by calling on her life force, on her connection to the wider universe, and letting it guide her as it guided Meridina.

It needn't be said that this was much easier a thing to say than to actually do.

Meridina wasn't holding back at this point. Strike after strike came Lucy's way. She seemed to spend more time evading and parrying than fighting. All the while she tried to attain that feeling, that state where she was truly accessing her power in everything.

And then she sensed it. A strike, coming it at an angle. She never had the chance to really think about it though. Her arms moved almost of their own accord to parry the blow.

For that split second, Lucy would have an advantage in footing. She let the instincts inside of her, inside of her very life force, take control of her legs and knees. She bent her legs and lowered her center of gravity. Her left leg slid out from under her and hooked around Meridina's ankles. The Gersallian woman yelped in involuntary surprise as her legs were pulled out from under her. Lucy quickly pinned Meridina's sword arm with her foot and brought the tip of her blade to her throat. "Do you yield?"

The surprise on Meridina's face gave way to satisfaction and pride. "Yes," she said. "I yield."

Lucy was beaming with satisfaction when she pulled her blade back. "About time. I was beginning to think I'd never win."

"And yet you continued to try. Such are the wages of perseverance." Meridina accepted Lucy's hand in getting off the floor.

"Well, yeah. I've got to learn how to stay strong and controlled and all that, right? Especially if we get into a fight." Lucy set the training sword aside and picked up a towel to run over her sweat-covered skin.

She was untying the belt around her training robe to get at the skin underneath when Meridina stepped up beside her. "There is some extra training I wish to undergo today with you, student."

"Oh?" Lucy re-tied the robe and turned to face her instructor. "What is…?"

She stopped speaking at the sight of the finely-carved wooden box in Meridina's hands. Lucy hadn't noticed it in the room, but Meridina had gotten here before her and had left it to the side, perhaps even hidden by the holoprojectors initially. She took a moment to admire the craftsmanship. The wood was fine and smooth to the touch. The false sunlight off the holodeck shined brilliantly from the surface. Brass plates on the cover of the box were engraved with the fine curved symbols of Gersallian, flowing into each other not unlike how Latin alphabet letters might be written finely.

While Meridina held the box toward her, Lucy opened it. Within the box, in a velvet cushion area cut away specifically for something of that size, was a single metal object. Lucy's eyes widened at recognizing it. Her mouth went dry as she gently used her fingers to pull it free of its place. She wrapped her fingers, her entire right hand, around the object upon pulling it free. She examined it closely for a moment. Could it be…?

Her thumb found the switch upon it, embedded in the hilt just below the guard. She held it away as she triggered it.

A sharp sound filled the air. Gray fluid erupted from the hilt within an electromagnetic field. It assumed the shape of a blade before the memory metal, following its programming, hardened and became solid.

A lakesh.

She held the weapon in her hand for a moment. It was rather light. Almost impossibly so. But she knew from experience that it could cut, and cut well. She held it up and gave Meridina a disbelieving look. "Is this…"

"It is yours, Lucy Lucero," Meridina said.

Lucy looked back to the weapon. She gave it a few practice swings to test it. Very light indeed. Easy to control. A faint blue over it showed the presence of the latent EM field that could deflect energy weapons, maybe even bullets, if used defensively. "But…" Lucy shook her head. "I haven't joined your Order. I said no. You're not supposed to…"

"...our rules are quite clear," Meridina stated. "We must not show those outside the Order the secret of how we craft these blades. I have done no such thing. I simply gave one to you. A student in the Order would craft their own upon their admission into the swevyra'se."

"But… that's semantics, isn't it?", Lucy pointed out.

"Perhaps. But it is the right thing. You will have need of this for what is to come." Meridina gestured toward the fighting circle they had trained in. "Computer, please access dueling partner Meridina-1, difficulty 1."

The computer generated a single figure, a light-skinned Gersallian with cyan-shaded training robes on. The figure raised a lakesh.

"So I'm sparring against the computer?", Lucy asked while approaching the figure. She brought her her lakesh and held it with both hands.

"Yes. To get used to your new weapon. Later I will bring up the training simulation for deflecting enemy fire."

"Oh, that will be fun…", Lucy murmured. Once she was in position and had her weapon in ready stance the program activated. The holographic duelist moved forward and made several basic attacks. Lucy met them, parrying and deflecting while looking for the openings to make her own. The lakesh was even lighter than their wooden practice swords. She had to be more careful with it.

Meridina sat and observed. Or rather, she started to, but she ended up looking over the box. Old memories kindled within her of when she had been given the box, a holding box for a lakesh.

Her fingers traced the engraved inscription. She felt an old ache in her heart ,as she read it.

To my child, both of the Order and of my blood.

I am proud of you, daughter.

Go and stay true to your heart, knowing that your father loves you always.


Meridina considered the inscription and felt it all the more bittersweet when she thought about the state of her relations with her father now. An avowed enemy to her mentor, Mastrash Ledosh, Karesl was part of the group in the Order arguing against support of the Alliance and everything else she believed in.

And yet… she could only hope that the inscription had stayed true. And that despite everything, her father still loved her.

The last pre-op meeting between Kane, Shepard, and Worf had ended. The Marine commander was off to finish his day, in preparation for what was to come tomorrow. That left Shepard and Worf in the room. Shepard looked over to the alien, who in his own way looked more Human than every alien species back in her home galaxy, and nodded. "So. Tomorrow."


"We see if all the training we put these people through worked or not." Shepard crossed her arms and leaned against the nearby wall. "And if not, we probably get killed."

"Most likely," Worf answered, in his own laconic way. "But a Klingon does not fear a death in battle."


"To die a warrior's death," Worf explained, "is to join Kahless and our ancestors in Sto'Vo'Kor."

"Ah." Shepard nodded. "How very Viking of you."

Worf let out a low, rumbling chuckle. "I have always felt that the ancient Norse were Humans who would understand Klingons best."

"I don't know. They were more the raiding and piracy types. So, this Kahless, he's what… a god of war, or more of a Christ figure?"

"He is neither. He is the greatest warrior of our history. The leader who overthrew the dishonorable reign of Molor the Tyrant." Worf smirked. "We Klingons do not have gods. An ancient warrior slew them long ago. They were far more trouble than they were worth."

Shepard had only one reaction to that. Worf was quite surprised to see it was to start laughing. Hard. It took her several moments to recover enough to stop. "Wow. That is some interesting theology you people have." She ceased leaning against the wall. "See you tomorrow?"

Worf answered with a nod. "Yes."

"And when it comes to death in battle…" Shepard turned away and started walking to the doorway out. "...I prefer to let the other guys do the dying. It's easier to win that way."

It was Worf's turn to laugh hard.

It was getting late. Caterina knew she needed to be getting to bed soon given the day she had ahead of her.

First, though, she wanted to check on things, so she was ending her day in Science Lab 1. As she had expected, Data was present, working his own console. "Is it ready?", she asked.

"I have configured the ship's systems to interface the Aurora's tertiary auxiliary computer core directly with the Facility once we have established a communication line. This should allow us to access critical data immediately and keep backups should the Facility require destruction."

"Good idea." Cat took a seat and checked some displays. "And the remaining tertiary computer cores can provide us a lot of space for that data." Something on the screen prompted Cat's expression to shift to confusion. "Say, have you see this? Who's running this high level diagnostic?"

"Lieutenant Lucero. She believes there may be an unknown issue with the computer core."

"Huh. I hope not." Cat went over the results so far. "I mean, it's been behaving well. It's worked like a charm before. I'm not seeing anything different on the results. Maybe that Cylon virus caused a few bugs while it was being deleted. It might explain the weirdness."

"Perhaps. I will continue monitoring before we depart in the morning."

"Are you sure you don't want some sleep? Or rest or something like that?"

"In ordinary circumstances I would spend my off-shift hours fulfilling hobbies and practicing sleep in order to dream."

"You can dream?" Cat looked at Data with surprise.

"Yes. My creator, Dr. Noonian Soong, gave me the capacity to begin dreaming when I put myself into a sleep mode."

"That's… really cool." Caterina was smiling when she turned back to inspecting the display in front of her. The smile faded as she fought back a yawn. "I think I need to get some sleep myself. We're going to have a big day tomorrow."

"Indeed. I shall see you in the morning." Data turned back to his work as Cat departed the room.

That night, the dream returned to Robert. With even greater ferocity. More images of the others going down, a desperate fight with Reich forces that resulted in defeat. Cat's execution at their hands. The Aurora bridge in ruins, a gap opening to space, Julia screaming his name as she was sucked out into space.

He cried out to her… and then he was in space beside her. Agony and horror were frozen to her features. Her body did not move.

Below them, he watched the shapes of black-hulled Reich warships pouring fire into the broken, battered remnants of his ship… until it exploded.

And then… New Liberty in flames. Portland in L2M1, the Alliance capital, being bombarded into ruins from orbit. Swarms of Reich warships blasting Babylon-5 to pieces, the emerald of their disruptors replaced with the sapphire color of Darglan weapons technology.

Whole planets burned.

This was a possible future. A future where they failed tomorrow. Where the Reich got their hands on the Facility and all of the technology found within.

As the planets burned, he felt like he was zooming out, flying away from the systems, from the galaxy, until the Milky Way was below him.

The stars started to go out. One after another. A wave of pure darkness spreading out until it had engulfed the galaxy.

And then it reached beyond the galaxy. Every galaxy in his vision, every one a Milky Way, suffered the same fate, the same wave of darkness flowing over them. Until nothing was left.

Nothing but darkness. Pure, unbroken, absolute darkness.

And then it appeared in his vision. The orange disc in the gold frame. The item handed to him by the Consort Sha'ira during his visit to the Citadel, which she insisted he would need in the near future and the far. The object neither of them knew the origin of.

When the image ended Robert found himself in his bed. There was warmth pressed against him. Angel's breath brushed against his neck, her head resting on his left shoulder. The warmth of her skin against his own reminded him of the pleasure it had brought, the intimacy they shared, and how much it made this work bearable.

He shifted out from under her and got out of the bed. Warp space was still visible outside of the window. That was a comfort in a small way. Nobody would be looking in the window and noticing that he wasn't wearing anything, even in the dim light.

Ordinarily he might have picked up shorts or a bathrobe to put on, for modesty's sake, but Robert's mind was still dwelling on the images. The deaths the dreams had shown him, the loss of everything he loved. More than ever he felt like he was at a decision point that would determine how the future would go.

His eyes fell on the orange disc from the dream. He reached his hand for it and felt the gentle buzz from it. Like an electric wire with a current running through it. It seemed preposterous as Cat had confirmed that it had no technology in it. It should not be feeling like this.

He set a hand on it. Just for a few moments. He couldn't make out the images he sensed in his head. He could feel what they meant though. A feeling he had.

And that was when he made his decision about the next day.

Two arms wrapped around his chest. They were strong, muscled. He felt Angel behind him. "Another dream?"

"Yeah.," he said. "Bad one."

"Dammit." Angel kissed him on the back of the head. "There's got to be a way to stop this stuff. The crazy life force stuff Meridina went on about, I mean."

"I don't think there is," Robert noted quietly. He picked up the orange disc and held it in his hand. He wasn't getting the same sense of visions from it anymore. But he still had the feeling, raw and internal, that his thoughts were right. That he had to do this.


"Yes?", she asked.

Robert turned and faced her. They pulled closer together. "I've made up my mind," he said. "I'm going down there, tomorrow."

Angel drew in a breath. "What? Why? You can't…"

"I have to. I… I think I'm seeing the future if I don't. A future where Cat and the others die because I'm not down there. The Nazis take the Facility. The Aurora gets destroyed."

"It's just a dream, Rob," Angel insisted. "That's all it is. You don't have to…

"I do," he insisted. "And I will. For you, for Cat, for everyone. I can't let those dreams come true."

"Don't be a hero," she insisted. "Please."

"It's not about that. Don't worry, I'm not looking to die." He looked down at her. Like him, she hadn't bothered to pull a robe on. It would be pretty embarrassing if someone walked into his quarters at that moment. But it did give him a look at her, a familiar one of course. Her body, while not rippling with muscle like a bodybuilder, had the strong muscle tone that mirrored her physical attitude. It fit the image of what Angel was in his head; strong, powerful, a fighter. And he knew from experience she would fight for everything she loved.

Ever since they had gotten back together, for what seemed like the tenth time (it was actually less than that, admittedly, but it always felt like they'd broken up more often than they had), he had wondered if it would hold. When it would end. What would come between them and push them apart again.

But right here, right now, that didn't matter.

"I love you, Angela," he confessed. "Please, understand that I need to go down there. To guard what we have together and could have together."

Her hazel eyes burned with frustration. "If you think you need to…"

"I know I need to. For all of us."

"...fine." She nodded.

There were no more words to say. He pulled her close and locked his lips to her lips. They shared a deep kiss.

It was Angel who would pull them back into bed. They needed to sleep, after all.

Not that they went straight to sleep.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-28 09:02am

Robert was not the only one dreaming that evening.

Obersturmbannführer Erik Fassbinder looked up at the ceiling of his spartan quarters on the Eichmann, the modified Aryan-class dreadnought under total Schutzstaffel control. The dreams felt so real. The Reich in victory. Fassbinder standing over the broken forms of the Aurora's crew, over others, a Multiverse awaiting their conquest.

Fassbinder was interrupted by a knock on his door. He called out for whomever it was to enter. When he noticed Eicke coming in, clad in his uniform, he stood up and saluted, receiving the customary salute in reply. He was self-conscious of his own state of undress, sleeping shorts and a sleeveless shirt that did nothing to hide the rippling muscle of his perfect physique. "Herr Oberführer, my apologies for…"

"Nein." Eicke waved him off. "I am unoffended. Have I interrupted your sleep?"


"Good. I thought you should know that we have the Aurora on long-range sensors."

Fassbinder grinned. "Are there any vessels escorting them?"

"None that we can read. We must assume they have docked their one gunboat escort, of course. But that they are alone is a great boon to our purpose."

"Then we are in position? We are ready?"

"We are. Once they show us how to access the mound's secrets, you and your team will go in." Eicke smiled viciously. "And I will take revenge for the Aurora helping those Juden escape their end."

"Of course, Herr Oberführer."

Fassbinder had a question on his mind. And his expression must have shown that, as Eicke stated, "What is on your mind, Obersturmbannführer?"

"Questions, Herr Oberführer. About our foes."


Fassbinder looked over to his desk. Reports were displayed digitally there. "Undoubtedly you have heard of the false Humans among them? These… 'Gersallians'?"

"I have. They will face their fate in the ovens when the day comes."

"Indeed. But there is something interesting about them. Them, and those elven species, the Dorei I believe they are." Fassbinder picked up one of the digital readers and handed it to Eicke. "Have you seen the reports about some of the battles with them?"

"I have read of our victories," Eicke boasted. "I have not bothered with further analysis. Untermensch are untermensch, we will crush them all."

Fassbinder knew he had to tread carefully at this point. "It is said some wield strange powers. To influence minds, to move with great speed, and to predict the near-future with sufficient accuracy to deflect weapons fire."

Eickle laughed at that. "Superstition from conscripts in the Wehrmacht. Nothing more. If anything, it is undoubtedly technical trickery."

"Our comrades in the Waffen SS have confirmed reports, though. On the world of Gamar, an entire platoon was held back by one of these beings." Fassbinder showed an image of a Gersallian in a blue robe over purple armor. A blade shining light blue was in his hands. "Their elimination of the alien populace on Gamar was prevented by his attacks. The reports are…"

"...technical trickery," Eicke remarked dismissively. "Fassbinder, do not tell me you accept these tales. To think that untermensch" - even Fassbinder was stunned at how much venom and hate Eicke could manage to pack into the term, it was truly impressive even by SS standards - "could wield power not available to an Aryan? It is laughable."

"But what if it is available to us?", Fassbinder asked. "What if we have never found it because we have never needed it. But they, weak as they are, did find it, and use it? Imagine how great it would make us if we discovered it as well? If even such aliens are made powerful by it, how powerful would we be? None could deny the supremacy of the Race. All of the dreams of the Founders for our Race could be fulfilled, sir…"

Eicke answered with a "humph" sound. "I doubt it, Fassbinder. But there is reason in your words. It is something to… consider, at least. But focus on the task at hand first. Our victory will be won or lost with this battle, Captain."

Fassbinder answered that with an enthusiastic salute and "Heil Sauckel!". He held his arm up longer and added, "I will depart for the surface immediately, Herr Oberführer."

"Sieg Heil, Obersturmbannführer. The future of the Reich, of the entire Aryan Race, is in your hands. Do the Führer proud!"

It was not often when Julia regretted saying something.

Now she was.

You promised to trust him. And to support his decisions. You even encouraged him to follow his instincts! Julia thought these things while Robert finished the morning paperwork while in his field action uniform. "So you're certain?", she asked.

The look in his eyes was all the answer she needed. He added to it with a nod. "I am. As certain as I've been of anything."

"You know how bad this is going to look," Julia pointed out. "You are the commanding officer of this ship. If a command officer is going in the field, it's supposed to be me. Remember how it nearly went when you went after Potano? And that wasn't even a guaranteed combat situation."

"I know." He nodded. Robert hit a final key and stood up. He drew in a breath. "I wouldn't leave you in this position, Julia, if I wasn't absolutely certain of myself. But I am. Every fiber of my being, every part of my heart and soul, is saying that if I don't go down there today, we lose. We all die, the Nazis get the Facility, the Multiverse burns. We have to stop it."

Julia sighed at that and leaned against his table. If her hair wasn't back in a ponytail it would have flowed over her shoulders. "You know King might be able to give this to Davies."

"Yeah. Let her." Robert frowned. "God damn Davies. That's what it's been about, all of this time. He's paranoid about the Gersallians, about their Order of Swenya, and he's lashing out over it. But we can't help that. It won't matter if the Nazis get all of that Darglan technology." He rounded the desk and stood beside Julia, who straightened to her full height. At just over six feet she was arguably an inch or two taller than he was. Their eyes met. "Your place is up here, Julie," he said. His use of her childhood nickname made it clear that he was being very personal. "In that chair, keeping the ship safe, and winning against whatever they throw at us."

She nodded. "Yeah. But…" She smiled thinly. "Robby, I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to be Captain. But I can't do it at your expense. And this… it almost feels like that. You're worried you'll make a bad call in that chair and that we'll die from it. So you're asking me to take over, even if it weakens your own position as Captain of this ship."

That was a hard point to dispute. It would certainly look that way, after all. Robert shook his head, though, and said, "I'm not doing it for that. Not over 33LA and my call there or anything like that. I'm doing this because I know where I need to be today, and I know I can be there because you'll be up here."

The only way Julia could reply was with a nod. "Alright," she finally said. "You'd better get going then."

He nodded at that and walked out of the ready room. She followed. The bridge crew had taken their posts by this time, save Angel, with Ensign al-Rashad taking Science due to Caterina going down. Mataran, the Gersallian ensign, was at Engineering. But Nick Locarno and Jarod were in their proper places, and both looked intently at her as she nodded to Robert and took the command chair. He went on to the lift.

"Captain Dale is going down to Gamma Piratus 3," she informed everyone. "I'll be in command for this operation."

"Understood, Commander," Locarno said. He looked to Jarod, who smiled thinly and shook his head before turning his attention back to the Operations board.

Angel kept pace beside Caterina. She felt intensely frustrated at it all. Robert was going down, Cat had to… and she would have to stay up here at Tactical. And every time she looked at Cat, wearing the field action uniform with pants instead of her preferred skirt, it just rubbed it in more. "I wish I was going down," she finally said.

"Angel, we'll be fine," Cat insisted. "Meridina's going, Lucy's going, Kane and his Marines… and you know how strong Shepard and Worf are, and they'll be there too! Robert and I will be okay!"

Angel shook her head. "I know. I know what you're saying. But…" She clenched her fists. "I know."

They entered the Transporter Station, Number 1, and Robert and some of the others were waiting. Worf and Data were in Starfleet uniforms specially made to be like their own action uniforms, provided by the ship's armorer and the Starfleet uniform replicator pattern. Shepard was in her dark gray combat armor with the N7 mark prominent on the right side of the chest. Robert was in a field action uniform - the first time Angel had seen him in it - while Meridina was in her purple armor with blue robe.

As was Lucy. Angel stared in surprise at that. Lucy was dressed up like Meridina.

"We're ready," Robert said to Caterina. "Kane and his Marines are in the other Transporter Stations, ready to beam down when we do."

Cat nodded. She turned and gave Angel a tight hug. "I love you, Angel. I'll be back, don't worry!"

"I always worry about you. You're my crazy little sister after all." Angel gave her a kiss on the forehead, at Cat's hairline. "Be careful."

"I will," she answered.

Angel looked to Robert and walked up to him. He took her into his arms and they shared a brief kiss. "You too," she said.

He nodded in reply.

Everyone was taking up positions on the transporter. As they did so, Worf looked back to Angel. He nodded. "I will take care of them. On my honor."

"Thank you, Commander Worf," Angel answered. She nodded to the petty officer manning the transporter.

He pressed his controls. White light surged around them and whisked them away.

Angel took in a breath to steady her emotions and left. It was time for her to report to the bridge.

The air was cool where they beamed down. It reminded Robert of crisp fall days in harvest time, when you had to wear long-sleeved sweaters to keep the cold off while working the harvesters or organizing the bushels.

Their environs consisted of blue-green grass and undergrowth in an open valley. Tall snow-topped peaks towered in all directions. Data had not been kidding about the location's fitness for anti-space defenses. He was at the front of the group with Worf, Caterina, and Shepard, holding out a Starfleet tricorder. Cat had her own scanner device, a detachable scanner from her personal multidevice, in her right hand. Worf was carrying a sleek-looking Federation phaser rifle and Shepard had an Avenger assault rifle in her hands.

Kane and his people were also carrying their arms. Corporal Ijala had his sniper rifle slung on his back. Lucy and Meridina had no weapons held, content with the pulse pistols and weapon hilts on their belts. Pulse pistols were also in the hilts of the engineers toward the rear of their group, surrounded by more of Kane's Marines. A count told Robert they had at least fifty people present. And the Aurora would send down more if they sent the signal to do so.

As they ascended the mound, Robert felt a sensation. An unease. What was it?

"I am detecting some form of pressure plate sensor," Data noted as they reached the top of the mound. He knelt in the grass and brushed it around until a brown patch of material was showing. "I am not showing any indication of how to operate it."

"Lucy and I have activated them before," Robert noted. He looked over to Meridina. "Meridina, why don't you try this time?"

She nodded at him and stepped up beside Cat and Data. She knelt down and pressed a hand against the plate. After several moments she stood again. "Nothing is happening. Perhaps I need to put weight upon it?"

"Hold that thought." He turned to Lucy. "Lucy, why don't you step down with the others? That way if it brings us along you can start relaying them in?"

Lucy nodded at that. "I will." She moved away from the crown of the mound.

Once she was clear, Meridina applied weight to her foot on the panel.

For a few moments, Robert thought it might not be working. But there was a sudden surge of light from the crown of the mound that encircled them.

The mound, the outside, it all disappeared. Dull light surrounded them. Robert could smell the stale air and dust of centuries. A distant thrum indicated that long-dormant life support systems were activating.

"I will never get used to that," Caterina squeaked.

Data held up his tricorder. "I am detecting a dimensional disturbance consistent with a dimensionally transcedental field."

"Sounds about right," Robert murmured, stepping forward. A large door loomed ahead. A light erupted from the area above it and moved over him. After several seconds, the light flashed blue and the door slid open. "Here we go."

Robert's heart was pounding with excitement. After all of this time, all of this searching… they were here. Another Facility. The legacy of the Darglan species was everywhere in these walls.

Kane and Shepard stepped in first with weapons at standby positions. Data and Worf followed up and Caterina and Meridina behind them. Robert tapped the commkey on his device. "Dale to Lucero."

"Lucero here."

"It's open. Start sending people down."


Robert turned to the side of the door. Beyond them the walls wwere sheened with azure color and dim lights. The entire Facility was remaining in low power mode. The Control AI wasn't even responding yet. He looked to the side of the door and saw there was a control. "Huh." He put a hand on it and a holo-display appeared. After several moments the alien figures it was displayed transformed into Latin characters. English language controls appeared. He hit one to hold the door open. "Commander Kane, keep two of your people here. Their job is to hold the door open until we're all inside. Or Nazis beam in. Then they need to close it right up."

Kane nodded. Behind him, the transporters lit up. Lucy appeared with several Marines and engineers behind her. He started barking orders.

"This place is a little spooky, isn't it?", Cat murmured. "I mean, it's dark and not as nice-looking."

"Maybe it's the way they left it when they deactivated it," Robert pondered aloud. He motioned onward. "Come on. Let's go check the central control area."

They advanced onward. Cat and Data kept scanning. Worf and Shepard looked around at the silent halls with weapons at the ready. Behind them Meridina was looking around. "This place…" She shook her head. "It is not like your Facility was."


"No. There is a sense of… terror here. An old feeling of loss and worry."

"Maybe this was one of the last Facilities the Darglan left? We heard from their recording that they were forced to give up interuniversal travel by other races. Probably the First Ones of their home universe given what we found on their homeworld." Cat looked back briefly. "I mean, that would make anyone feel lost and worried."

"I suppose," Meridina stated. But Robert could tell her heart wasn't in the reply. She thought this was something more.

And he had to admit… so did he.

They found the control chamber where they had expected it. The lights were still low, as if the Facility was not bothering to recognize their presence. It gave the entire chamber a foreboding look. The windows that would have shown the internal dock were covered by blast doors. Cat moved over to one of the panels like the one she'd often used back in the day and ran a hand over it. Nothing happened. "One of you needs to activate it," she said to Robert and Meridina.

Robert stepped up to the central control. He put a hand on it.

Nothing happened.

"It is possible the Darglan altered their access protocols compared to the Facility you once inhabited," Data pointed out.

Robert shook his head. "Then why did it let us in? Why would the system recognize us enough to let us in but not to activate for us?"

"Maybe it's some sort of extra security?", Cat suggested.

Over Gamma Piratus, the Starship Aurora continued her quiet orbit. The smaller Sladen was nearby, cloaked, ready to protect the larger ship if it came to it.

There were bursts of light and energy from along the ship's drive hull, along its highest decks. A flight of Mongoose starfighters erupted from the Aurora launch tubes. In the lead fighter, Lieutenant Commander Patrice Laurent, the Aurora's CAG, looked back at his compatriots. One of his alien pilots, the Kerbal Lieutenant Jebediah Kerman, was on his right wing, ready to execute whatever insane maneuver that could cross the little green alien's mind in a fire fight. To his left wing were two more Mongoose fighters under the control of Lieutenant Gwen Skydancer - a brilliant young woman from the Sirian League who stood out among Laurent's pilots from her richly-colored purple hair and striking green eyes - and her Gersallian wingman Ensign Lerisl. "Beginning system patrol, Aurora," Laurent stated.

"Confirmed," was the quick reply from Jarod.

"Eyes front, everyone," Laurent ordered. He considered his course toward the first of the inner planets. The patrol wouldn't take long at all.

"I read you, sir," was Skydancer's answer.

The final group was gathering on the mound around Lucy. She looked down at the pressure plate they'd found. It was well-hidden, certainly, and if they hadn't been looking for it they might never have found it.

Lucy took in a breath. She was distracting herself with that thought. The truth was, she was concerned. There was something wrong. She looked around the clearing the mound was in and to the wood lines beyond, wood lines going up into the mountains that surrounded the valley.

Is there something out there?, she thought. Instinctively her hand settled onto her new lakesh. But she didn't pull it out.


The young engineer, a male Dorei of blue coloring and teal spotting, was giving Lucy an uncertain look. She nodded at him and put a foot on the pressure plate. The transporter built into the mound whisked them away.

On the other end the door was being held open. The engineers and security people in the group followed her inside, where the Marines dutifully closed the door upon their entry. "There should be a common room nearby," she noted. "We'll set up the transport enhancers there."

While she was speaking, Lucy felt a cold chill go through her. There was something about this place. Something… wrong.

Cat and Data were hard at work on the control panels. Robert looked away from them and to the holo-screen displaying Julia's face up on the Aurora. "We're still not sure why the computer systems aren't coming on." he looked about. "This place isn't like our old one. It feels dark and unpleasant."

"We're ready to start beaming down more personnel to help examine everything," Julia said.

"Just another security and engineering team. We already have plenty of people down here as it is. There's no point in giving us more."

"Agreed." Julia looked offscreen for a moment. Jarod was apparently speaking to her. "Jarod says we can try a remote connection to the Facility. Maybe there's a way to activate its systems if we use the Aurora computer."

"Cat and Data should have the hook-up to our tertiary cores done soon. You'll find out quickly if it works." Robert looked to the others. Meridina had a pensive look to her. Shepard had her assault rifle still at hand, like at any moment violence would erupt. "Keep in touch if anything changes. Dale out." He ended the call.

The door opened and Lucy entered. Like Robert and Meridina, she was particularly jumpy. "So, am I the only one getting the creeps from this place?', she asked.

"You are not," Meridina said.

"It's hard to believe the Darglan changed this much between Facilities."

"Any sign of their scout ships? Or another Emergency Ship?"

"We won't know until Cat and Data can access the computers." Robert gestured to the blast shields that had been lowered over the viewing ports that would have shown the internal docks. "The lifts are locked down."

"There are still the tubes, though, right? Maybe I should go set the scuttling charges just in case?"

Robert thought on that. He was still hoping that they could secure the Facility and keep it. But it was best not to assume anything. He nodded to Lucy and looked to Kane. "Commander Kane, Commander Worf, please take a team and join Lieutenant Lucero on planting the naqia charges on the DT field machinery."

"Yes sir." Kane nodded to Lucy and followed her out. He started barking orders to the Marines outside.

With Kane and Worf gone, Shepard and Meridina remained as commanders of their bodyguard contingent. The former seemed less plussed than the latter. Her assault rifle remained at ease in her arms. "So you're saying this place isn't as welcoming as it should be?", she asked.

"Exactly," Robert answered. Why, though? Why does this place fill me with dread? What happened here?

Julia waited patiently for further updates in the Aurora command chair. Everyone was busy at their stations. Locarno kept the ship in stable orbit, Jarod was busy working the computers… everything was it should be.

This part of the job was not the easy part. Friends were off in an unknown situation and all she could do was sit, watch, and wait. She could tell Robert felt uncertain and worried whenever he spoke. What was wrong down there?

"Laurent to Aurora. Sweep of second planet finished. We are heading to the first planet."

"We read you, Able Leader," she answered.

Jarod looked back at her. "I think I'm in."

Julia sat up straight. "You can access the Darglan computer core in the new Facility?"

"I think so. You'll know in a minute if I can't." Jarod went to work. "Activating the data relay and tying it into the tertiary computer core."

Several seconds passed with nothing happening.

Naturally, it was only when Julia began to relax that everything went crazy.

The lights on the control surfaces activated. "The relay is functioning," Data stated. "The computers are coming online."

After several moments a holographic figure popped into existence above the central station. It had the orange coloring and tall skull of a Darglan. It spoke in an alien language, and those words were auto-translated. "Unauthorized access detected. Damage to computer systems not repaired, cannot implement proper Control procedures. Reverting to prior commands. Re-initializing quarantine procedures."

The screens locked down and showed a simple countdown. Caterina swallowed. "That's not good," she said.


"The system's triggering something through the Facility power systems."

"It would appear to be a powerful burst, although I cannot determine what energy would be found within." Data looked up from his tricorder. "But at the projected levels, it will cause fatal cellular damage to everyone in the Facility."

"Then stop it," Robert insisted. "Try to wake up the AI, let us know we're friendly…"

"Aurora to Dale. Whatever you're doing down there, you need to stop!"

Robert quickly answered Julia with a "What? What's wrong?"

"Something's getting into the computer systems. It's trying to trigger our self-destruct!"
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-28 03:13pm

On the bridge of the Aurora, the lights were flickering in and out. Jarod was at work on his station. "Whatever this is, it's smashing through the computer security we set up like it's nothing. Like it knows every possible defense in our systems and is defeating it!"

Alert klaxons were still going off. "Then cut the connection," Julia ordered.

Jarod worked quickly. His only result was a harsh beep from the console. "We're being locked out. I can't stop it! I…"

There was a sudden change in the displays. Everything seemed to stabilize. "Jarod?"

Before Julia could suggest it was his doing, Jarod quickly said, "That wasn't me. I'm picking up increased activity in the tertiary auxiliary core. A program is running using the core. It's uploading into the Facility systems."

Everyone watched as the hologram flickered and shifted. "Warning, warning, intrusion into systems. Data control being overridden…" The hologram flashed out briefly. When it came back, it seemed more sedate. "Off-site computer processing restoring program to normal function. Off-site Control software initializing."

The lights in the Facility came online. The hologram remained as it was for several moments before it shifted into another form. One that was evidently Human.

And familiar too.

Caterina's jaw dropped open. She stared in disbelief. Robert watched tears form in her eyes.

"Control," she squeaked.

The flickering hologram turned to face her. "I… remember you. Caterina Delgado," it said.

"You're alive."

Robert swallowed. Control, the operating AI of the Darglan Facility below his family farm, had been lost with the Facility. Control was the reason he and Julia had survived the destruction of the Facility by holding the Daleks back and getting them out of the main door.

"You uploaded yourself into the Aurora," Cat said. Her voice was becoming choked with emotion. "Didn't you?"

"My memory is incomplete. I do not recall everything that occurred."

"You're the one who gutted that Cylon virus after Jarod trapped it in the core," she continued. "And you helped us decipher the Darglan databanks we recovered."

"Yes." He nodded. "I remembered you enough to know you needed my assistance, Caterina Delgado."

"How much do you remember, Control?", Robert asked. "About us?"

Control looked at him. "You are… accessing… accessing… Captain Robert Dale, Starship Aurora. According to files you were of the Facility as well. I have no direct memory of this. My apologies."

"We'll get your memories back," Cat insisted. "We'll make you like you were before!"

"I am afraid that is not possible. Not on your ship. The Aurora lacks the computer processing to properly contain my program and memory," Control explained. "I have restored what memory I was able to retain by merging my program with the Control program of this Facility."

"Fascinating," Data remarked.

"This place tried to kill us," Shepard said. "Can you tell us why?"

For a moment Control did not act. "It would appear that there is damage to the computer cores of this Facility," he finally stated. "The Control program for this Facility was degraded by the loss of both vital code and processing power. It reverted to basic functionality and presumed everyone who remained to be non-Darglan. Security measures logged as the last to be enacted resumed operation. I am… pleased you were not harmed."

"Thanks." Robert looked over one of the control stations. He found the control and opened the blast shields to the main docks.

Everyone stared in bewilderment at what was on the other side. The docks were choked with debris. The remnant hulls of several patrol ships like the Kelley and her sisters were strewn everywhere, as were other pieces of raw debris blackened by energy fire.

"What happened here?", Robert asked.

"The data files are incomplete," Control explained. "Much damage was done to the computer cores of the Facility. Records show that an arton cascade was employed after the base self-immolation procedures were compromised by damage. An attacking force was neutralized, as were the remaining Darglan crew. Disintegration was immediate."

"Who was attacking them?", Cat asked. "The Shadows?"

"That data is not available."

"You said remaining crew," Shepard said. "What happened to the rest?"

"They escaped with the Emergency Combat Ship."

"Where?", Robert asked.

"That information is unavailable."

Robert sighed briefly. So much for that hope. Plus an Emergency Ship might have indicated a dock they could bring ships into. With that thought he asked, "What are the states of the jumpgates? Can we bring ships into the facility?"

"All gates were destroyed to prevent use by the Enemy," Control informed them succinctly.

"So we can't bring ships in until we manage repairs." The more he thought about it, the more Robert believed this was going to culminate in blowing the place up. As much as he'd rather not.

He looked to Meridina. "Have the security and engineering teams directed to the storage rooms and workshops. If they find anything worth salvaging, I want it beamed up."

Meridina nodded and left to direct those efforts.

Robert keyed the multidevice on his left forearn. "Dale to Lucero."

"Lucero here."

"What is your progress on those charges?"

"We're coming up on the field generation chamber now."

"Keep me informed. Dale out." He looked around. Whatever he thought, he couldn't keep the apprehension out of his mind. Tension filled him.

"Rob, what's wrong?", Caterina asked.

"I'm not sure," he admitted. "What's your progress on uploading the data to the Aurora?"

"We're still at just two percent," she revealed. "I might have to store some of the data in here on the backups I brought along. We only have so much computer space on the Aurora, you know."

"Right. Well, no matter what, keep that coming." He looked away from her and toward the door.

Despite everything remaining quiet, he fought down the urge to reach for his pulse pistol. Maybe it was the feeling he had in the air, maybe the deaths that had happened so many thousands of years ago… but this place made him feel tense, frightened, in a way he had never known before.

"You look tense, Captain." Shepard's voice cut through those feelings. He turned his head and faced the elite soldier, still cradling her assault rifle in her arms. "Is something wrong?" There was something in her tone that made it clear that there had better be something wrong for him to be acting like he was.

"I just have a bad feeling," Robert admitted. "Like something's about to happen."

That got him a nod in reply.

The activity level on the Aurora bridge hadn't changed since things had returned to normal. Julia remained in the command chair to watch the planet spin quietly below them. Her thoughts were on what the others had said in their last update. Control… alive all this time, trapped in their computers, just a shell of his old self. An unknown enemy that the Darglan had killed themselves to eject from the Facility.

There was a tone from Jarod's board. "We're getting a hail. It's from Admiral Maran."

"Put him on."

The screen showed the Gersallian admiral. As he appeared on the screen there was a burst off static. "Aurora, do you read?"

"We do, Admiral," Julia stated. She was already standing up.

"Where is Captain… never mind." Maran shook his head. "That's not important. An enemy fleet is counter-attacking us at New Austria. We have the upper hand here. But we detected several enemy squadrons bypass our battle and warp on toward your position. Councillor Kurn's squadron is in no shape to intercept them and my ships are too busy holding this system. We expect you have twelve hours before their lead elements arrive at Gamma Piratus."

Julia sighed. "Damn."

"Consider your orders confirmed on the matter of that Facility, Commander. We need for it to be destroyed."

"Understood, Admiral. Aurora out."

The channel cut. Julia immediately opened one to Robert. "Captain, I've got bad news. Admiral Maran says we've got a Reich force only half a day from arriving. We've been ordered to destroy the Facility."

There was a sigh on the other end. "Understood."

Kane's lead Marines were the first to step into the generator chamber. Lucy followed up behind them and looked around for the appropriate place for her charge. She was heading toward one promising spot when her multidevice activated. "Dale to Lucero."

"Lucero here, Captain."

"Our orders to destroy are confirmed. Set the charges."

"Understood." Lucy let out a reluctant sigh and went to work.

As she did, the hairs on her neck began to stand up. "Commander Kane, Commander Worf?", she said.

"Yes, Lieutenant?", Worf answered.

"You might want to take up defensive positions." Lucy activated the display to begin setting the naqia charge. "Because I think things are going to go pear-shaped really fast…"

Laurent pulled his fighter into orbit over the hot first planet of the Gamma Piratus system, a "Demon"-type planet. At this range the system star dominated his view and would be shining directly on him if not for the fighters arriving in the shadow of the planet itself. His flight sensors were showing bursts of interference. Given the speeds a fighter could go at, this was bad news to say the least. "Xui, what can you do about this interference?"

"The planet's mass is composed of several exotic elements, including trace elements of naqia and element zero," Xui replied. "The solar radiation may be interacting with these elements to create disruptions in our systems. There's nothing I can do."

Laurent nodded. As they flew on, a thought occurred to him. "Ensign, this interference field. Could ships hide in it?"

"Well, sir… maybe?," she answered. "Our proximity to the star might help hide them from subspace sensors and other long range sensors. Especially if they're inside the atmosphere."

Laurent's fists tightened on his flight stick. "Able 3, this is Able Leader. Hang back."

Skydancer's answer was immediate. "Yes sir. What's the problem?"

"I have a suspicion. Keep your distance."

Laurent fired his drives to full and started to round the planet toward the sunny side. Laurent lowered his orbit until he began to skirt the atmosphere of the planet. The fierce energy in that atmosphere, heated as it was by the system's sun, was putting increasing strain on his Mongoose despite its protective shielding. "See anything, Ensign?", Laurent asked.

"Nothing sir." A few moments passed. "Still nothing. Sir, I… wait."


"There is some sort of power signature ahead. Wait… there's another… more..."

Laurent began to alter his course in the atmosphere.

It was what saved his life.

A green energy beam sizzled through space beside him, hitting nothing. More beams came as he pulled the fighter up and away. "Able Leader to Able 3!"

There was no immediate response. Laurent repeated himself. "Able Leader to Able 3! Do you copy?!"

"Sir, with all of this interference and enemy jamming, I doubt they can hear us."

Laurent gritted his teeth and twisted the Mongoose hard. It shuddered at a glancing hit from a disruptor blast. His right shield icon went red; even a glancing hit had nearly blown the shields out. "Abla 2, break off! We need to get out of here and warn the Aurora!"

Both fighters continued to lift out of the atmosphere and pull away. More green shots came at them. Some smaller than the others. "Enemy fighters on our six!", Xui shouted.

Laurent's free hand raced over his side control panel. The small naqia micro-reactors built into the fighter as backup power began shifting their output into the engines and shields. He continued to evade and twist as much as he could, avoiding several hits. But the enemy fighters were closing and closing fast. They had the same idea he did, but they could afford to devote even more to engines without his weapons being able to hit them.

"Able 2 here!" The pitched voice of Lt. Kerman was accented, although not as severely as ordinary Kerbal attempts at speaking English. "Let me hold them off for you!"

The thought had crossed Laurent's mind. The Kerbal pilot was a daredevil and could possibly buy him time to get out of atmosphere. But he still wouldn't last long. It might not buy him enough time. "Negative on that, Able 2." A thought crossed his mind. "Able 2, stand-by to execute about-face maneuver!"

"Yes sir!"

Laurent judged the distance to the enemy fighters. His instruments weren't reliably accurate in this situation and denied him the ability to be completely accurate.

But for what he had in mind, that might not be necessary.

Sweat was coating his brow by the time Laurent twisted his flight stick. His free hand was already working his power controls.

The Mongoose turned nearly on a dime, displaying its extraordinary maneuverability. By the time the turn was executed, power was shunting from engines to weapons.

Before the Nazi fighters could react, the two Mongoose fighters opened up on them with full barrages of their phaser banks and cannons. Streams and beams of amber light did little to add to the luminous atmosphere around them, almost fading in with the backgrounds. Explosions flowered ahead of them. With their shields turned down, the Nazi fighters couldn't withstand the fire they had thrown at them. Those that didn't get destroyed by the phaser fire or missiles broke away to evade.

That gave Laurent the opening he needed. He began diverting power back to engines and twisted away again. As he did, another massive shape started rising from the clouds.

Its hull was dark, virtually black. All save the Nazi swastika insignia emblazoned upon it.

Laurent recognized the type immediately. "It's a dreadnought," he muttered. "God help us all." By this point his Mongoose was pointed away from the planet again and he hit full engines on it. More enemy fire started coming their way again, taxing their evasive abilities to their limits.

The atmosphere seemed to fade away on all sides. As it did so, Laurent started shouting into his fighter's commlink. "Aurora, emergency! Enemy dreadnought is present, i repeat, enemy dreadnought!"

There was nothing but a crackle of static from the other end. They still weren't close enough.

"Enemy ships are coming out of the atmosphere!", Xui reported.

Laurent was too busy evading another enemy fighter to respond. He twisted, he turned, he corkscrewed, he did anything he could to shake the enemy pilot. Warning indicators appeared as green energy streamed beside them. A loud tone told him that the engines had taken damage. The enemy fire was breaking through his shields.

Amber light erupted ahead of him. "Able Leader, I've got your six!" Skydancer flew her Mongoose in around his and continued to fire. She gained a hardlock and missiles fired from her hardpoint wings. They crossed the distance on fiery white wakes and slammed into the fighters pursuing him.

"Able 3, form up. We need to get to communication distance!" Laurent checked his engine status. He'd lost ten percent of his power. But the Mongoose had a lot of acceleration power in its impulsors, enough that the loss of even ten percent was not dooming him. He put acceleration to full and continued to rocket away from the enemy ships now coming out of the planetary atmosphere.

And as he did, Laurent was still calling out into the radio, waiting for a confirmation beyond the static he was getting now.

Käpitan-des-Raums Joachim Lamper observed the fleeing fighters from the bridge of his cruiser, the Sedan-class Reich's Glory. "How wide is our jamming field?", he asked Leutnant Jensen, his communications officer. "Are we still blocking them?"

"Ja, Herr Käpitan," Jensen answered. "But they are nearing the edge of the field's effective range."

"Then we are losing the element of surprise." Lamper considered his options. Which were more limited than he would prefer. He could not move independently here, not with Oberführer Eicke from the SS-staffed dreadnought Eichmann watching the entire squadron like a hawk. "Put Eichmann on."

"Jawohl, sir."

The bridge of the dreadnought appeared on his viewer. Lamper showed no intimidation at the collection of SS men, with their genetic engineering to become the "epitome" of the Aryan Race, who looked at him with their blue eyes. "Oberführer, I propose that we execute a warp jump to the space of the third world. Our presence will be made clear to them shortly."

Eicke had made no pretense of how low he viewed Lamper. The feeling was understandably mutual; Lamper had his own long-standing grievances with the SS, the self-proclaimed guardians of the Party, and the schemes they performed to improve their own power.

But whatever Eicke felt of Lamper, he clearly knew a good idea when he saw it. "I am in agreement, Käpitan. All ships prepare for war jump."

Lamper nodded to his helmsman, who obeyed without a word. The time has finally come, he pondered. We first met as allies. Now, Captain Dale, we meet as enemies.

It was several minutes after the last group left the mound that it was disturbed yet again. Now heavy metal boots crunched into its soil and crushed grass beneath them. Wearing his own light armor, Fassbinder looked over his men and then to the mound. Two of his men were still carrying the device Eicke had given him, a stealth field generator that had hidden them all from view and scanners as if they were on a Doenitz-class raider. Beside him, the nervous sensor officer from the Reich's Glory, Leutnant Rabe, was actively scanning the mound. They approached where the Aurora crew had activated a transporter of some form.

"What can you find, Leutnant?"

Rabe gave a wary look to Fassbinder, who didn't deign a return glance. The young officer felt put off, the only non-SS man present and with the features to prove that distinction. Obviously a man aware he was around the genetically superior. Fassbinder wondered if Rabe had non-Aryan blood in his family background. Given his clear affection for that little untermensch girl from the Aurora, it was something to check for later.

Just before Fassbinder could bark at him for remaining quiet, Rabe spoke. "There is some sort of pressure plate here, Obersturmbannführer. This way." He led them over to a patch of ground and set his foot on it. Rabe clearly put his weight on it for several seconds. But nothing happened.

Fassbinder gestured to one of the enlisted men under his command. The SS Scharführer, a Panzergrenadier wearing his heavy powered armor, stomped over and stood on the plate. After several moments Rabe looked at him and shook his head. "It does not work."

"It worked for them," Fassbinder growled. He went up to it. "I refuse to believe it will not work for us. It cannot…"

His feet were both on the spot and putting their full weight on it. There was a sudden surge of energy and light around them.

The valley, the mound, it all disappeared. They were all crammed into one chamber now. Fassbinder looked to Rabe, who was looking over his scanner. "We are many kilometers underground," he confirmed. "I am detecting warping in the fabric of space-time coming from that door."

"Well." Fassbinder smiled. His heart was swelling with a feeling of imminent triumph. More than that; for him to be the one that these machines recognized… that meant something. He didn't know what it meant yet, but he knew it was something glorious. Something that would raise him to new heights.

With thoughts of victory and glory in his mind, Fassbinder stepped forward.

Julia's first indication that something was wrong was when Laurent didn't give a check-in upon completing his orbit of the first planet. Now, minutes later, she was asking, "Still nothing?"

"I don't even have his transponder," Jarod said. "There must be interference from…"

Before Jarod could finish that sentence, a loud crackle came from the speakers. Laurent's voice began to form through the chaotic sounds coming in. "...immediately! I re-.... warships… out of first planet!" Laurent's voice began to grow stronger through the static. "The enemy fleet is…"

That was all Julia needed to hear. "Code Red!", she bellowed. She reached over and secured her seat harness. "Prepare for…"

"Subspace radiation spike!"

Ensign al-Rashad had barely finished that second word when several ships appeared on the viewscreen, a fair distance away from them. Julia recognized the profiles of the three Dresden-class cruisers, a Sedan-class, some Z-2500s, and…

"Enemy dreadnought on sensors," al-Rashad declared. "Engine signature matches the profile of the Eichmann."

"Evasive maneuvers!", Julia shouted. "Fire at will!" She pressed the key to re-open her channel to the surface. "Attention ground team. We have an enemy squadron in orbit…"

"...we have an enemy squadron in orbit…"

Julia's words had just reached Robert's brain, with their full implications, when another voice came over the comm line. "They're here!," one voice screamed. "Enemy…" The report ended with an abrupt scream.

"The main door has been opened by someone with a genetic profile marked as Aterran," Control stated.

"Close it!", Robert shouted. "And beam them out of here!"

"I have closed the door. But the damage to the systems of this place prevent me from exercising security controls or operating the transporter systems." Control paused a moment. "The enemy is advancing into the Facility."

Meridina and Shepard went to the door. "We'll hold them off as long as we can," Shepard called back. "And maybe that will buy time for Lucero and her group to set off the bombs."

Cat looked up from her seat. "I'll see if I can get a remote access to the transporter systems going. Data, can you help me with this?"

"I will begin accessing the…"

Robert allowed his people to get to work. He walked to the door to join Meridina and Shepard. Meridina looked at him. "You should remain here," she said. "With the others."

"You'll need every gun you can spare," he answered.

"And we'll need someone here in case the foe gets around us," she pointed out.

Robert glowered at that. He hated to admit she had him there. "Alright," he said.

And so he remained at the door while the others went off to join the battle.

Fassbinder stepped over the dead body of one of the Alliance crew his men had just wiped out. He looked around in the chamber, the first large room his people had come to. The Alliance had set up transport enhancers of some sort. He looked to Rabe. Rabe shook his head. "Sorry, Herr Obersturmbannführer, but their transporters don't work the same way ours do."

"It does not matter." He turned to his men and nodded. Four SS technicians, wearing light combat armor, moved in and knocked over the Alliance devices. They reached to their packs and, with proper Aryan efficiency, began to set up their own.

A tone sounded. Fassbinder pressed the button on his wrist that activated his commlink. "We have engaged the Aurora," Eicke informed him. "What is your status?"

"We have entered the alien base," Fassbinder replied. "It is quite remarkable. It is larger on the inside than on the outside."

"Secure it from the Alliance at all costs. Do not let them destroy it."

"Jawohl." Fassbinder cut the communication. "Scan for the Alliance's teams," he ordered Rabe. "They will undoubtedly seek to rob us of this prize."

While Rabe did so, Fassbinder turned his attention to his technicians. The final transport enhancer was up. "The ground base confirms a transporter lock, sir," one of them said. "They are transporting now."

Ripples of gray-toned energy formed into the figures of more of the SS troopers Fassbinder had brought to the planet and hidden. "Leutnant, do you have any indications of where the enemy is?"

"Spread about the base, Herr Obersturmbannführer. The largest concentrations are on this floor and another three floors down."

Fassbinder looked to Sturmbannführer Krager. "Send squads to track them down and kill them. Leave nothing to chance."


The Aurora continued to shake as enemy fire poured into their shields. "Shields down to sixty-four percent," Jarod warned Julia.

Julia heard him. But she didn't speak in reply. She was too focused on the tactical situation and how bad it was. The fighters were matching the Nazi fighters at least, but the cruisers alone would give the Aurora a hard fight. That dreadnought made this impossible. "We have to back off," she said to Locarno. "Give us some space, Lieutenant."

"Aye, Commander."

Julia triggered the comm line to Robert. "They're too much. I have to pull the ship back or we'll lose the Aurora."

"We've got problems of our own down here," Robert said. "They've gotten into the Facility. I'm not sure how yet."

Julia knew what that meant. If they had transporter enhancers of their own, then backing off would give the enemy plenty of opportunity to send even more troops into the Facility. "Can you evacuate?", she asked. "Maybe we can just beam an armed torpedo down."

"They've already overrun the areas near the entrance, including where the transport enhancers were located." Robert's voice betrayed his irritation. Julia figured he was angry with himself for not placing the enhancers elsewhere. "And the Facility transporters are out of action. Cat and Data are working on any way we can find to get them functional again."

Julia swallowed. She looked back to Angel who was busy firing at their enemies. But she heard what was being said. She knew what it meant. Just as Julia knew how much it would hurt her to hear her next command.

"I'll keep the ship clear," she said. "I won't be able to interfere with them sending reinforcements down, though."

"Understood. Do what you need to."

"Ju… Commander, you can't…"

"I'm sorry," Julia said to Angel. "But we won't do them any good if we stay here and get blown to pieces."

As if to punctuate her point, a super-disruptor blast from the Eichmann struck the ship. "Direct hit, shields down to forty-five percent," Jarod said. "I'm losing cohesion on the port shields."

"Get us to the other side of the planet," Julia ordered. "Make them chase us."

"Yes sir!" Locarno's hands moved swiftly over his controls. The Aurora's engines powered up and she raced toward the darkening horizon of Gamma Piratus 3.

As they did so, the Nazi warships continued to close.

Eicke watched the Aurora move into the shadow of the planet and snarled. "Herr Oberführer, the enemy ship is masking our weapons with the planet. We can no longer fire on them."

At the report of his gunnery officer, another suggested, "Shall I detach the cruisers to pursue?"

Eicke thought on that. But his cruisers alone may yet be unable to defeat the Aurora. And he was not in the mood to let them go. Not after dreaming of this encounter for months. They had humiliated him when they saved the last Jews from his reach. To let them go now was a betrayal, nothing more or less."

"Pursue them," Eicke ordered. "All SS ships, pursue and destroy!"
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-29 08:26am

The forces under Fassbinder were coming down the main corridor that led to the central control room. And as this corridor crossed several others connecting to other parts of the Facility, it provided defenders several locations to take cover.

A group of the Aurora security forces, with some of Kane's Marines, were holding one such intersection. Private Hakimzade looked around the corridor down to the next one. More of the Panzergrenadier armored troopers were stomping their way, moving over the bodies of their own and of a couple off the Alliance defenders. Hakimzade fired the missile launcher fitted to her combat suit's left arm. The missile slammed into one of the Panzergrenadiers and exploded,. The armor fell over.

But there were more coming. Too many for Hakimzade and Private Markham, the other member of her fire team, to suppress them from their cover. "They keep coming…" Markham protested.

From behind them there was a burst, accompanied by a crack of thunder. Shepard rocketed down the corridor, past their cover, and slammed into the leading enemy. The armored trooper stumbled backward from the impact of Shepard's charge and its biotic power. He started to bring a weapon over but could not do so in time. The gun in Shepard's hands went off with another crack of thunder. The Crusader shotgun in her hand did as advertised. With a sharp crack the solid slug it fired slammed into and then through the Nazi power armor and to the soldier inside. He let out a sickly sound and collapsed. Blood rushed from the break in the armor.

The next foe lined up a shot on Shepard as she turned to fire. Before he could even imagine taking the shot invisible force slammed into him. Meridina moved ahead at a speed that no human could match. The blue sheen of her lakesh seemed to almost glow in the light as it came up. The blade clanged against the alloyed armor of the enemy suit and, with effort, Meridina pushed the gun arm out of Shepard's way completely. Shepard pivoted with her foot and fired the shotgun again. The shot blasted a hole into the enemy armor and into the enemy within. He gurgled out a curse before collapsing.

"Behind me!", Meridina shouted. Shepard took a step back. Just in time, as more enemies were approaching them and firing. Meridina's lakesh moved like a blur of ghostly-blue light. The blade's protective EM field started deflecting disruptor blasts back toward the enemy. One of the light-armored SS troopers cried out as his own disruptor beam slammed into his chest and knocked him backward.

The volume of fire was increasing. Shepard knew Meridina wouldn't be able to sustain her defensive maneuvers for long. She hooked her Crusader at the base of her back and pulled the Avenger over her right shoulder. It expanded from carrying mode to firing mode with the press of a button. Shepard took in a breath and turned to face the enemy. Her finger squeezed the trigger and the Avenger roared to life, sending its mass effect-accelerated rounds down-range into the enemy. The Panzergrenadier armor suits were only dinged by the assault rifle's fire. The light-armored foes, however, could only take so many hits. A couple went down from sustained barrages. After mentally counting down the seconds, Shepard moved back behind Meridina, who was enjoying the respite from the relaxed enemy fire. "How long until your weapon cools down?", she asked.

"Several more seconds. But I've got other plans." Shepard curled her left hand into a fist and felt the dark matter surge into being around her, generated by the eezo in her body and channeled with the help of the implant in her brain. She threw the bolt of dark matter outward,. Bolt after bolt of dark matter thundered across the floor and slammed into one of the heavy armored SS troops. The armor kept the soldier inside from being harmed directly, but it couldn't stop the biotic energy from knocking the armor-wearer back and onto his back.

Behind them Hakimzade and Markham were coming around the corners with their other Marines. The volume of fire behind Meridina increased. Her defensive needs eased with this reinforcement. Pulse fire and Shepard's assault rifle forced the enemy to take cover themselves. One enemy Panzergrenadier who failed to was hit by heavy fire from both Hakimzade and Markham, killing the SS trooper instantly.

Meridina could feel the surge in her allies. Their morale was increasing, they believed they were winning. She restrained such impulses for the distraction they could become. She had to remain focused on what was to come, what might happen.

While most of her focus was on deflecting enemy fire, she did what she could to sense the enemy's mind-state. What was he thinking? What would he do? Were they about to be overrun? Would…

There were cries behind her. The squad in the rear were crying out for reinforcement.

Shepard was the first to speak on what was happening. "Fall back!," she cried out. "They're flanking us!"

Moments later there was an explosion. Two of the Marines and one of her security people went flying through the corridor behind them. Shepard and Meridina turned toward this new threat. Green and blue fire was filling that junction now, from the friendly forces on one side and the flanking enemy on the other.

Blue energy surged around Shepard and, within a moment, she was rocketing forward again. A human projectile which crashed, with all of her biotic fury, into the enemy heavy armored trooper coming out of the side corridor behind them. She didn't have time to switch to her shotgun. Shepard brought the Avenger up and poured fire into the helmet of the enemy armored trooper. It might not penetrate, but it would buy her and Meridina necessary moments.

Around them, the others joined their retreat. Green energy continued to blaze, now on two sides. One beam sizzled just past Meridina's head. A burst slammed into Shepard's side and caused blue energy to flare up around her. She growled in pain and dropped to a knee. Freed from the fire of Shepard's overheating Avenger, the Panzergrenadier brought its massive armored fist down to grab Shepard. She rolled away, ignoring the injury caused, and summoned more biotic power. It took much of what Shepard had at the moment to generate the warp field that gripped the heavy armored trooper. He thrashed for a moment from the sensation of the dark matter trying to tug his molecules apart.

This bought Meridina the second needed to come in with her lakesh. She drove the blade with all of her will into a vulnerable point where the armor's torso plates interlocked. The soldier within screamed from having the blade pierce straight through into his ribs. Meridina pulled her bloody weapon out and called upon her power, using it to push her wounded foe into his own allies. Two of the light-armored troopers were bowled over. One was made easy pickings for Hakimzade's weapons.

"Fall back to the next junction!", Shepard shouted. She grimaced as she stood. Seeing Meridina's concerned look, she waved it off. "My biotic field caught most of it. Just a little burn."

"If you insist. The medics may still want to look at you."

"They can after we surv… look out!"

Shepard shoved Meridina out of the way just as a disruptor bolt would have slammed into her back. She lined up her assault rifle and riddled an SS trooper with rounds. Meridina recovered from the push and made it to her feet in one quick move. She reached out with her power and threw the pursuing enemy back. "Go!", she cried to the other remaining troops. "Retreat!"

They did so, firing all of the way.

Weapons fire was proving an undesired distraction for Lucy as she sought to arm the final naqia charge. She had to control the pounding in her heart at realizing what was likely to happen. With the enemy pinning them they would have to detonate the bombs here.

After all of this, she was probably going to die.

Kane seemed more interested in dealing with the attacking enemy than that. He had joined his squad and Commander Worf near the door. The Klingon leaned out the door enough to fire off several shots from his phaser rifle. A distant cry confirmed he'd gotten a solid hit. He barely evaded the return fire. "Lieutenant, how much longer?", Kane asked.

Lucy ran her hand over the controls for the last charge. It operated under the same principle of what Cat had done to the Kelley in their original Facility; destabilize naqia and then cause it to detonate. "I've got the final destabilization setting calculating now," she said. "Give me another minute at least!"

"Right. You heard her, Marines! Give her a minute!" Kane left cover long enough to fire an RPG from his underslung launcher on his rifle. There was a distant explosion. "Thanh, now!"

The Vietnamese woman nodded and stomped into position with her heavy powered armor suit. Lucy wasn't watching as the muzzles on its arm-mounted guns opened up, pouring streams of sapphire pulses into the hallway leading into the generator room. She heard the sound of a missile firing and another explosion further away.

A feeling filled her, a tingle that brought Lucy's attention to the door briefly. She reached out with her power… just in time to grab the enemy grenades sailing through the door. She tossed them back down the hall. There were more cries of surprise and a series of explosions.

"Nice one, Lieutenant," Kane said, pouring more fire out of the door. He moved into cover before return fire could hit him.

He was kind enough not to ask her for her progress. Lucy thanked him by going even faster.

Fassbinder checked over the casualties on his advance forward, toward what he figured to be the major control area for this alien place. The Aurora crew were fighting with the courage of the desperate. And it would not mean a thing.

He was far more perturbed with his own losses. The enemy's desperation was giving them some success in the fights. His men may need reinforcement to ensure a rapid fall of the base. He keyed his comm-line open. "Oberführer, I am in need of the backup company." When there was no immediate reply, he went to speak again.

"We are out of position, Fassbinder," Eicke finally said. "You will have to make do with the remaining forces on the Reich's Glory for this operation."

Fassbinder felt frustration at that. Eicke's desire to destroy the Aurora was interfering with the battle. But he knew better than to reply with anything but a hearty "Jawohl!" He pressed a different key on his wrist. "Fassbinder to Reich's Glory. Transport down your SS detachment, coordinates are being provided by enhancer."

Lamper heard Fassbinder's order and frowned. He had remained in position while Eicke went off chasing the [i}Aurora[/i]. But given that the enemy gunship had yet to make its appearance, dropping his shields to beam troops down was too much of a risk.

But yet… he was under orders. He could not disobey.

After a few moments Lamper realized what he wanted to do. "On my orders, lower shields for two seconds and raise them," he said. "Activate the transporters but do not send any of our people down yet."

As always, his men did nothing to disagree. They trusted him on these matters, even if they didn't understand his orders.

"The SS is ready to transport down, sir," Frigattenkapitän Falk informed him.

Lamper nodded. "Well then…. Initiate my orders… now!"

The Reich's Glory lowered its shields. Its transporter systems initialized.

That was when the Sladen pounced.

Commander King's ship decloaked and fired immediately. Phaser bursts from the forward cannons raced ahead of the blue-white solar torpedoes, all impacting on…

Reich's Glory's raised shields.

"Clever bastard," King muttered to herself. Disruptor fire came in within moments, plentiful from the enemy heavy cruiser. [i}Sladen[/i] made several sharp maneuvers under Lieutenant Caldwell's expert piloting, evading the worst hits but still taking several.

"Shields down to eighty-seven percent," Ensign Skarsgard warned from Ops.

"So I see, Ensign. Maintain evasive maneuvers." Her jaw clenched. "As long as we keep fire on them, they can't risk sending reinforcements down."

"Aye sir."

Lamper frowned at the small gunboat ship. The vessel's crew was flying well and keeping his main disruptors from landing any hits. "Can we achieve any missile locks?", he asked.

"Nein," answered Kapitänleutnant Peter Weigle, the blond Mars Colony recruit at Gunnery. "They are too fast, Herr Käpitan."

"Then do what you can. Helm, orientate our ship to give us an opening on one shield quarter. We can lower our shields briefly for transports and raise them before this enemy ship gets into position."


King noticed the Reich's Glory shifting its position in orbit. Ah, that's what you're doing. "Get us on that far side, Lieutenant," King ordered. "They're trying to bring down the opposing shield face so they can begin beaming!"

"Yes sir!"

The Sladen twisted in space and shot forward, moving across the port dorsal side of the Nazi cruiser. King watched and waited until… "Lieutenant! Break port!"

Caldwell shifted the Sladen to port, just in time to throw off the enemy aim and avoid taking several missile hits. The enemy missiles turned to re-acquire as enemy disruptor shots trailed up into their midst, destroyed three. The remaining missiles started racing toward the Sladen again. The dorsal phaser bank stabbed amber light at them and destroyed one, then another…

The third slammed into their shields. The ship shook underneath them. "Shields down to sixty-three percent," Skarsgard said. "Shock damage to Deck 1 Section D."

"Have damage teams make any necessary repairs," King replied.

"Commander, I've already detected a transport," Skarsgard added. "Their shields are going back up."

"Damn," was King's sole, somewhat irritated response. She hoped Commander Andreys was faring better.

Sparks erupted from the MCD at the back of the Aurora bridge. "Shields down to forty percent!", Jarod shouted. "We're losing shield cohesion on the starboard side from those super-disruptor hits! Damage to several decks! We have casualties on Deck 10!"

"Lieutenant, whatever evasive maneuvers you're pulling, it's not enough," Julia said to Locarno. "Divert extra power to the impulsors if you have to."

"I'm giving the impulse drives everything I can," Locarno said. "I simply can't keep everything off of us."

Julia recognized that already. The dreadnought was still trailing and the enemy cruisers were bracketing the Aurora on all sides. She needed to change this battle, and change it soon. She thought hard about their positioning. If she could get an opening for Angela to hammer them with the bow weapons without exposing their vulnerable side shields to that Nazi dreadnought…

More fire rippled across the Aurora's shields. They flared blue and then amber as phaser beams and bolts lashed out at the ship's tormentors. One of the Nazi light cruisers took a full cannon barrage to its failing shields and started to shift away, trailing atmosphere and debris from the new wound in its port side.

But it kept firing.

In the medbay Leo was ready for the arrival of the casualties across the ship. Even as the vessel continued to shake under him, he directed the incoming patients to different beds. His subordinate physicians began sorting through the wounded, determining who was in need of the most immediate care, who could wait… and who was too far gone to treat.

Leo's first patient was a young woman with slightly-tanned skin, a Mediterranean complexion. Shock damage to the internals of the ship had broken a support beam and sent shrapnel into her chest and torso. She moaned from the pain until Leo finished applying the sedative and anaesthetic. The young crewwoman settled into a gentle sleep. "Nasri, prep minor OR for this one, we need to get these things out of her… wait, no!" He barged over to where one of his newest doctors was preparing to treat a wounded Gersallian. "I know they look Human, but if you yank that out you'll open the Gersallian carotid artery!" He pushed the young man's hand away. "It's too close."

"But the artery is…"

"...not entirely there, no, but if you jostle that thing just a few millimeters off, you could cut the adjoining blood vessel and the carotid will start gushing right into it!" Leo examined the wound. "Tag him for a regenerative patch and send him to the waiting table. He'll live."

"Doctor, I think I'm losing this one…!"

Hearing that plea from one of his nurses, Leo ran over to the biobed in question. As he did so, the ship nearly came out from under his feet.

The dreadnought's gunnery officer was good. Too good. For all of Locarno's quick flying he'd directed another near-perfect barrage into their shields, this time their rear shields.

"Shields now at thirty-four percent," Jarod said. "Primary generator in the rear has gone offline. Secondaries are taking up the load for now."

Julia decided enough was enough. She had to change the situation. "Mister Locarno, prepare to make a hard turn, ninety degrees starboard by thirty degrees dorsal."

Locarno immediately saw what she was doing. "Aye, sir."

Julia looked to the enemy contacts on her tactical viewer. The distance wasn't right yet.. Not right… not right yet, come on!

The ship rocked again. Sparks flew from the auxiliary station in the back. "Shields now at thirty percent!", Jarod shouted. "Hull breach in Section H, Decks 30 through 32!" He looked back at her. "Commander, I see that light cruiser you're directing us toward. But if you adjust our course further to their bow, we'll be masked from that dreadnought."

"Good thinking, Commander. Mister Locarno, adjust planned course, eighty-eight degrees starboard and twenty-eight degrees dorsal instead."

"Adjustment planned…"


The Aurora turned in space and moved her bow upward. Her impulsors propelled her rapidly toward the enemy light cruiser. The Nazi ship poured disruptor beam after disruptor beam into her starboard shields. Blue light flickered around each shot. Missiles erupted from the enemy ship as they approached. Angel's light phasers intercepted some, but the rest got through.

"Starboard shields are almost gone, we've got widespread armor and hull damage," Jarod warned.

Even as he did, Angel cried out, "Firing!"

Although her bow cannons weren't aligned for an accurate shot on the enemy cruiser, Angel had plenty of her best phaser arrays and pulse cannon turrets lined up with the enemy ship. The phasers pummelled the enemy ship repeatedly. Red light flickered briefly to meet the repeated barrage of amber energy.

Then the Aurora passed in front of the enemy ship. Locarno straightened up enough that the aft cannons came into line with it. Angel fired a full barrage and added torpedoes to it. Although she half only a third of her usual bow firepower to aft Angel's fire still proved deadly accurate. The shields of the enemy cruiser nearly buckled under the barrage they faced. The torpedo spread finished the job. Angel's aft phasers began ripping into the enemy ship's bow. The torpedo launcher there went up in flames. A phaser beam speared and destroyed a disruptor bank.

But the light cruiser remained and continued to fire on them with what they had left. And while the super-disruptor fire from the Eichmann halted for the moment, the fire from the other enemy cruisers didn't. They adjusted their courses to try and pin Aurora in again.

Julia had bought herself some time. Time to think up new options. Because the way things were going…

....they couldn't win this battle.

Robert could feel only frustration at what was unfolding around them. His comm unit filled with cries from the various squads and groups under fire. The Aurora was in danger above them, fighting off a force they couldn't hope to win.

And now Meridina and Shepard were coming back into the Command Room. Shepard was leaning against Meridina with a severe disruptor wound on her thigh. "They've brought in reinforcements," Shepard said. "We can't hold them any more."

"Most of our people are being cut off in the side corridors," Meridina added. "The enemy is ignoring them to focus on getting here.

Robert nodded. He swallowed and took in a breath. "Then we don't have any choice." He walked up to the main doors and brought up the controls. Blast doors slammed into place. He keyed his multi-device comm line to Lucy. "Lucero, this is Dale. Are those charges ready?"

"Yes sir," was Lucy's reply. He could hear tension in her voice. She knew what was about to happen.

He looked over to Caterina. As he did, his eyes filled with tears. I'm sorry, Angel. Please forgive me. Please. "Sorry, Cat," he said aloud. "I'm so sorry for bringing you."

Caterina's eyes had tears too. She looked up to Control and forced a smile. "It's… okay. It has to be done. I knew it might have to be done." She swallowed. Whatever fears of death she felt… she was keeping it to herself.

Sorry, Jean-Luc. I couldn't bring back your people to you was the thought that went through Robert's head when he looked to Data. He didn't say anything on that, though. There was no time. Already the blast doors were starting to turn red. The enemy was burning through.

Instead, he found his courage, tapped his multidevice to add Aurora to the call, and he gave the order.

"Julie, get the ship out of here. Lucy, blow it all up."

Julia heard that and felt her heart plunge into her stomach. No.

Angel said nothing. Even as the tears formed in her eyes, all she could do to give vent to the feelings she now had inside was to push her weapons to their limit and kill as many of these bastards as she could.

On the other end of that call, Lucy looked up to the others. One of Kane's Marines was lying on the floor. The Dorei woman looked at her with blue eyes full of pain and anguish. But there was a glint of determination in there.

"I'm sorry, Commander Worf, Commander Kane," Lucy said. "This is it."

Kane nodded. His expression was solemn. But not grim. "I'm ready to go, Lieutenant. Set them off."

Worf nodded. He looked to Lucy and then to Kane with a small smile. When he spoke, his bass voice had lost none of its strength. "Today is a good day to die."

"Oohrah, Commander Worf," was Kane's only reply.

Lucy found herself whispering a prayer as she hit the final key. The bombs were now set to go off. "Five… four…" She listed the countdown as it went to zero.

And then… nothing.

No flash of light. No energy atomizing them right in their places. No destruction that collapsed the Facility in on itself.

Absolutely nothing.

After a few moments she heard Robert's voice over the line. "Lucy, blow it up! Now!"

"I… it's not working." She was breathless as she checked over the charges. "No… no no no…"

"Lucy! What's wrong?!"

"The naqia… it didn't go off! The destabilization, it's… it's not enough! The naqia is still too stable…"


Lucy turned and reached out with her power instinctively.

The grenade went off.

Above them, in orbit, Julia noticed there was no explosion yet. "Jarod, are they still there?"

"They still are." He swallowed. "The naqia charges… if they didn't destabilize enough…"

But there was no time to think of that. Julia noticed the light cruiser to their aft moving. It had figured out they could keep it between them and the [i}Eichmann[/i] and the SS commander had taken a new, more fanatical course of action.

He was moving in to ram the Aurora.

Angel was throwing everything she had at the enemy cruiser with the aft weapons. More and more of its bow disappeared. Entire sections exploded as they were exposed to space. But the enemy vessel did not stop.

Before it could hit, Locarno banked the Aurora to starboard. The enemy cruiser barely missed their port nacelles. Angel let loose with the port weapons. With the light cruiser's extensive damage, it had no hope of sustaining the fury of one of Aurora's broadside barrages. Its starboard nacelle exploded violently and it spun away, leaking profuse amounts of atmosphere through its many wounds. The lights on the ship began to flicker out as it lost main power.

Of course, this meant they had lost their shield. Eichmann opened up on them yet again, joined by the other cruisers continuing to pelt at them with disruptors. The Aurora shook violently under them as another super-disruptor hit plowed into the aft section of the ship. One of the green beams went right through the weakened aft shields and stabbed into the flight deck. The flight crew there had no chance, no prayer. They were all atomized. The handful of munitions still on the flight deck were destroyed as well.

If they had been anti-matter, the entire drive section might have taken severe, crippling internal damage despite the armored deck. But naqia didn't explode like anti-matter did, not unless destabilized and energized, so the destruction was limited to damage on the decks immediately below the flight deck. Flames and wreckage spewed from the flight deck entrance and the launch tubes.

On the bridge the Aurora bridge were might have fallen from their chairs if not for their safety harnesses. Instead they were tossed about in them as the shock of the explosion rippled its way through the ship. "We just lost the flight deck, direct hit!", Jarod shouted. "Shock damage to multiple sections of Decks 22 through 24. Aft shields have lost cohesion, shield strength is down to twenty-one percent!"

"Bring all shield generators on-line, divert all power available!"

"We are trying, Commander," Ensign Mataran insisted from the Engineering Station.

"Ah cannae give ye much more, Commander!," Scotty insisted, calling from Engineering. "Our entire shield system is startin' t' fail!"

Julia might have swallowed to gulp down fear. She might have wanted to scream in frustration that their journeys were going to end here.

But she couldn't. Not here, not like this. This was her ship, just as much as it was Robert's. She had named the Aurora. She had been the one to ensure Carlton Farmer and Scotty and the others had the resources to finish her.

If it ends here, we're going down fighting, by God.

"Target the nearest cruiser," she ordered Angel. "And give them everything we have."

"Right," was Angel's response. It was more reserved, but Julia was certain she'd agree. If they were going to die Angel would want to die fighting.

But she still couldn't give up. For all Julia had pride in her ship and belief in her abilities, she knew what she had to do. Their only hope to get out of this. "Jarod, get on the IU comm network."

"We're on," he said after two button presses.

"This is Commander Julia Andreys, commanding the Alliance Starship Aurora," she began. "We are under heavy attack and require immediate assistance. I repeat, this is a general distress call from the Aurora, mayday, mayday, we are in need of immediate assistance…"

Robert pushed Cat down behind the central holotank when the blast doors fell open.

Shepard opened fire with her Crusader shotgun at the first form to come through. The solid slug it fired was too far away to get the penetration it had managed in prior uses and didn't break through to the soldier underneath.

Robert got up from where he'd knocked Cat over and fired with the pulse pistol he'd brought down. His shots staggered the heavy armor suit without damaging it enough to harm the pilot.

There was a whine in the air. An amber beam struck the Panzergrenadier suit directly. An entire portion of the torso armor disappeared, revealing the uniformed man within. Robert fired again and the pulses killed him immediately.

Data fired again immediately. His hand phaser was set to near maximum, the setting that could take down a house, and it vaporized the torso plate of the next heavy armor trooper moving in. Shepard's shotgun left a large, disgusting hole in the soldier's body when she fired it. "Wow," Shepard said from where she was in cover, at one of the stations. "And all from a handgun."

Data said nothing. Robert knew, however, that this was only to buy time. He only had a few more shots at that power level before his phaser was out of energy.

For a moment there was no further advance. What came through next wasn't a heavy armored trooper, though, but a pair of SS stormtroopers in light armor. Shepard's shotgun claimed another. Robert poured pulse fire into the second. The armor couldn't resist his shots, but it did prevent the occupant from dying right away.

Long enough for the SS man to fire the massive weapon in his arms.

A solid beam slammed into Data's torso. The impact sent him flying backward into the control consoles ringing the room. Electricity arced from him the wound and around Data's head.even before he made impact.

And when it was over, there was a large, smoking, blackened mark on his torso.

Just like in Robert's dream.

Another pair of light-armored men came in. Shepard fired at one immediately and Robert the other. Robert's aim was thrown off by the moving trooper and he missed. And this time Shepard's aim, while still true, didn't hit anything critical. The trooper, wounded, fired at her as well. The disruptor beam slammed through her biotic field and into her shoulder, above her heart, and knocked her backward.

Meridina moved forward to intercept both. Her lakesh caught one disruptor blast, sent it into the wounded trooper, and then her weapon cleaved through the remaining one from shoulder to hip. Both cried out - the one sliced open more - before they went down. Meridina turned and began deflecting shots from the doorway with her lakesh. Inside the doorway the enemy was lining up in firing formation. At least four SS troopers were pouring fire at Meridina.

At this point, Robert didn't know what to do. What was left to do? The explosions hadn't worked. Data and Shepard were down, Cat was in no shape to fight, and Meridina couldn't fight forever. And he… this wasn't his strength. He couldn't do this.

That thought prompted the obvious question, from within himself. Then why did you insist on coming down?

Because… he knew he had to be here. There was something that would happen that he had to change.

Meridina, meanwhile, was forced back into cover gradually. The volume of fire she was taking was immense. Robert tried to fire at her attackers and was driven back to cover by the attempt. He checked his pulse pistol's charge. He was almost out of shots. He needed to make them count. He lifted his pistol from cover and started spraying fire in the direction of the enemy. His reply was more suppression fire, giving Meridina an opening. She stood and held her arm out. A wave of power threw the enemy firing line back.

A surge of hope filled Robert. Meridina was still here, with him, fighting. With her powers, maybe they could…

And then Meridina cried out. His hope sank into his stomach, along with his heart, upon seeing her get back into cover with barely enough time to avoid more fire. Her hand was over a blackened section of her armor, near the belly. When she looked at him, he could see her eyes had gone dull with pain. It was clear she could do little more from the damage the disruptor had inflicted. The only reason she was still alive was because her armor had saved her life.

Desperate, Robert peeked over the holotank enough to squeeze off his last shots before his pistol went empty. He needed to put another charge clip in.

But he knew it would mean nothing. They were out of time.

From outside of the room a voice called out. "Your resistance was impressive, given your genetic inferiority."

Robert scowled. "Fassbinder," he growled.

There was a sudden laugh. "Ah. Captain Dale? How surprising. You abandoned your post to come down here? Perhaps that is why your ship is trying in vain to flee? It lacks its proper captain."

"Julia is all the captain my ship needs, it's why I left her in charge," Robert retorted.

"Ah yes. Your Alliance and its bizarre affectations for letting women and untermenschen serve. But yet you cannot prevail on the battlefield without bringing in allies and employing trickery. In a direct battle with Aryans, this result is the same as always. Utter defeat."

"You're one to talk," Robert guffawed. "Krellan Nebula was an ambush with overwhelming numbers, not a straight up fight. New Austria was more of a straight up fight. You know, the one you ran away from?"

There was a harsh laugh. Robert started to peek over the holotank. Fassbinder was standing in the doorway. Robert recognized Lamper's sensors officer - he forgot his name - standing beside him.

"Herr Obersturmbannführer, the field Scharführers are reporting in. All enemy forces are isolated. Resistance is continuing, but they expect victory shortly."

"Do you hear that, Captain?", Fassbinder asked, turning toward him. "Your people are scattered and divided. Your ship burns in orbit. You have failed. The Reich has possession of this place and its wonders. Undoubtedly we will unlock the secrets of your drive soon enough. Our defeat at New Austria will be avenged in the broken shell of your capital world. Now… surrender to me, Captain, and I will authorize mercy to your surviving people."

Robert laughed at that. "Mercy from the SS. I've seen what your 'mercy' looks like. No thanks."

Fassbinder shrugged. "Very well."

And he turned to his men.

"Kill them."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-29 10:18pm

The grenade blast was like nothing Lucy had ever felt before. It pushed at the core of her being with a violence that seemed almost alive.

To her surprise, she held it. Not entirely. She couldn't constrain the entire explosion. But she could force it to go just one way.

A jet of plasma roared back down the corridor. The enemy was already moving toward the door, looking to overwhelm them after the blast, and had no time to react to the sudden re-direction of their grenade. There were cries of surprise and anguish at what it did to them in their light armor.

"Can you set those explosives off, Lieutenant?", Kane asked.

"No," she answered. "At least, not with the necessary force. It would still kill us but the machinery in here is too well-protected for a simple naqia blast."

"So can't you destabilize that stuff or whatever it was you were doing?"

"I'd need to replace the hardware in the charges and I don't have the gear for that!" Lucy's mind was racing. The calculations were accurate. The same Caterina had used for the naqia in the Kelley's reactors. Maybe the quantity of naqia influences it? Or did the emitters we built into the charges not work right?

"So you can't do anything about this?", Kane asked.

"No, I can't. We're useless here. We should get back to the Control Chamber. There might be something we can do there."

Worf slipped back into cover after sending several phaser shots into the hall. "That will be difficult. There are still many enemies out there."

"I know." Lucy thought on the problem. And then she grinned. She picked up the naqia charge and changed the settings on it.


"We can't use these to blow the place up," she said. "So I've got something else in mind." She went over to the door and handed the charge to Worf. "Stay behind me. When I say to, hit the activation key and throw it."

"You can't go out there," one of Kane's Marines said. "They'll gun you down."

Lucy sucked in a breath. Baptism by fire time, I guess. She forced a confident smile to her face for the benefit of Kane and his Marines. "They'll try."

She reached to her belt and pulled her new lakesh out. Her thumb hit the switch and the blade extended out with its usual sharp, metallic sound. As soon as the memory metal formed completely and the EM field was glowing faint blue over the blade, Lucy entered the corridor. She focused on the training lessons Meridina had given her the prior day. What she had been told to do in these situations.

Lucy felt her arms start to move without a conscious command. She let that force inside of her do that work. A green pulse slammed into her lakesh blade and was sent flying into a wounded enemy. More enemy fire came and her arms moved with speed that felt super-human, meeting every blast, every shot. Some were deflected into the azure sheen of the corridors, blackening them. Other shots were returned to the enemy, not always the one firing, to the extent she was doing them more damage than she would with a rifle.

But she knew she couldn't keep this up. She felt the struggle to resist all of the fire coming her way, to move where she needed to avoid the shots she couldn't stop. Eventually she would be overwhelmed. "Worf, now!", she shouted.

Worf had remained behind her all this time. After three months he was still getting used to what the Gersallians could do, even considering all of the other strange beings and otherworldly powers he had seen in his time on the Enterprise. For just a moment he had been transfixed by the way Lucy's blade danced in the air, intercepting every disruptor shot as if it had been lobbed by a child. Her call to him broke through that and re-focused his mind. He pressed the key on the charge and hurled it over Lucy's head.

Lucy saw the charge appear in her vision and focused. She couldn't use her hand to concentrate her power on it - she needed both hands on her hilt - and it required sheer raw concentration from her mind to grip the object and send it flying. It was a difficulty Meridina had prepared her for. She breathed silent thanks to Meridina for that training, all that time flipped upside down and standing on one or both hands, as her power flung the naqia charge clear. "Get back!", she shouted.

Worf fell backward into the generator room. She jumped back and landed on top of him. With a sweep of her arm she forced the door closed.

There was a tremendous roar on the other end of the door.

Kane was looking at his sensors. And the noticeable lack of life signs on the other end now. "Damn," he muttered. "It worked." He smirked at Lucy. "You're always good at being Goddamned crazy, Lieutenant."

"I try," she sighed. She wanted to laugh. She settled for a smirk. Feeling Worf begin to shift underneath her prompted her to sit up and get to her feet. "Let's get going. Rob… Captain Dale and the others will need us."

Fassbinder's troops were moving toward them. They ignored Shepard for the moment; unconscious, she wasn't a threat. Meridina would be the first one they got to and, in her condition, she would be killed immediately.

This was Robert's dream coming true. Everything here. Their failure. Had he made it into a self-fulling prophecy? Maybe he should have stayed on the Aurora.

As he thought those things, a voice came out of his memory.

Trust your instincts, Robert.

Julia had said that. Julia. His oldest friend. His closest. They'd spent a lifetime together, growing up, understanding one another. Her opinion was the one that mattered to him more than anything or anyone else.

He had to trust himself. Trust the instinct that led him to coming down here. To where he could make a difference.

But how? What could he do in this situation? What…

You know. You always have.

The voice in his mind was not his. He looked to Meridina. The enemy was already coming up to the console she was leaning behind. She had mere seconds to live.

This is why you came down, Robert, her voice said in his mind. You have always known.

Robert swallowed. He knew what she meant.

His mind flashed back to that training simulation. A moment of panic brought on by the realism of the simulation and the power that had come from within, unbidden, in that moment. A power he had always suspected was there, ever since the nightmares had begun.

He didn't want it. It was another burden on top of the others he was already carrying and a temptation. His dreams were already haunted by what it caused him.

But if he didn't… then his nightmares would come completely true.

I know you're in there, he said to himself. And I need you. Whatever you are, whatever this power is… I need you. He felt within himself for that power he had used accidentally. He had only seconds left to use it.

He realized there was a warm feeling inside him now. The kind of gentle warmth you got under a blanket in the middle of a winter night, or from eating warm soup on a chilly morning. The warmth that was soothing and refreshing to the body and mind and spirit. The warmth came from within, a power that he once ignored, indeed, that he had once never even thought to look for. But it was there. It had always been there. It was ready to be used, almost eager to be used. Every ripple of it felt like an appeal saying "I am part of you, please use me. This is what I'm here for."

One of the SS stormtroopers rounded the console where Meridina was. His rifle came up. She moved, as if to defend herself, but her injury was too severe. She'd never manage it.

Robert reached his arm out. And when he did, he called upon the power. He reached with it to grab.

The SS trooper stopped. He went rigid with shock.

Robert swung his arm away from Meridina.

The trooper went flying back. Fassbinder let out an inarticulate shout that ended when, presumably, the trooper landed on him.

The power within him surged. It was a part of him, a piece, everything he was and yet more. He pondered, for just a moment, if this came from his very soul.

But that was for later. He had to act now.

Cat was staring at him. He shushed her and shifted cover. Disruptor beams scoured the floor behind him. He could sense the others in the room. Several troopers had entered and were spreading out.

He leaned out from cover and pushed out with his hand. A wave of force flew forward, bordered by the holotank in the middle. Three of the enemy went flying.

The other troopers were distracted. This gave him the moment he needed. He stood from behind his cover with his hand out. Another wave of force hit several more of them and sent them flying.

The Nazi science officer - Rabe, Robert now knew - was already taking cover. More dangerous was the last trooper standing. He had been winged by the last use of power and was still standing. He was bringing his weapon up to shoot Robert.

There was a thunderous roar. Blood and other stuff gouted from behind the trooper and splattered across the viewing window behind. From her place on the floor, Commander Shepard leaned up further with her shotgun steady in her arms. She was breathing hard and pain was visible in the emerald-colored eyes that looked Robert's way. But a small smirk crossed her face. "Now what?", she asked.

"Now…" He turned his attention to the door, where more of the enemy was coming. "We hold them off, and think of a way to finish the mission."

In orbit over Gamma Piratus the Aurora shook viciously again. Overloads in their systems sent sparks flying from nearby consoles. Julia heard Mataran's shout of pain and wondered, again, why the fuses didn't work the way they normally did.

"Shields are down to fourteen percent. We've got multiple hull breaches across the ship. The armor self-repair systems are losing effectiveness."

"Any ideas, Jarod?"

"None that I like," he replied.

"The only thing we have left is to either jump out or warp out," Locarno pointed out. The ship rocked under them again.

"Like hell," Angel hissed. She never even looked up. She was too busy unleashing every weapon she had into one of the cruisers up on their flank. Flame and debris started to erupt from the Dresden-class light cruiser where she was overwhelming its shields.

"No. Someone will answer," Julia insisted. "If we can just get a few ships to join us…"

There was another violent rocking of the ship. Disruptor beams played across the upper starboard nacelle of the Aurora. The damage caused a small explosion in the nacelle, which began flickering with light until it went dead.

"We just lost the upper starboard nacelle," Mataran said. "Safety systems have engaged and the plasma feed is cut. Emergency plasma venting is clearing the nacelle."

That's a relief.

"I'm starting to lose power in the impulsors," Locarno warned. "There's only so much I can…"

Jarod cut him off. And as he spoke, Julia felt the cloud of doom start to lift from her expectations.

"Someone's locking onto our jump drive!"

Several moments later Jarod confirmed what the viewscreen was already showing. Green light pierced the fabric of reality and expanded into a vortex of energy.

Julia smiled at the sight. She already knew, in her heart, what was coming through.

The Koenig emerged from the jump point.

And much to her amazement and joy, they hadn't come alone.

"We're clear of the vortex. New contacts on DRADIS." Gaeta's voice carried over the Galactica CIC. Every crewman and crewwoman was at their action stations and ready for the fight. Hearts pounded with anticipation that had only built with the jump from their native universe. "Profiles are matching those of Reich warships provided by the Koenig."

"Launch everything we've got." Adama looked at his plotting board.

"Pegasus is launching all Vipers and Raptors now," Duala reported. "Colonel Fisk is ready for engagement orders."

"Focus fire on their light cruisers, let's get them out of the way."

"Time to see if those engineers earned their money," Tigh mumbled.

As the two Battlestars closed the range, Viper fighters shot from their launch tubes and Raptors from their launch decks. The Reich warships were turning to engage. Disruptor fire flared out and struck the shields of the two ships.

When they returned fire, it was not with railguns. Thick beams of amber energy erupted from the emplacements now mounted on the bows of the large Battlestars. The powerful phaser cannons struck the light cruiser already damaged by the Aurora, meeting the red of the enemy ship's shields.

Under fire from the two Colonial Battlestars, the enemy cruiser had nothing left when Koenig soared in at full acceleration. Her forward phaser cannons blazed to life and punched into the cruiser's thin armored hull. As flames erupted from those shots, a pair of solar torpedoes crossed the short distance and slammed into the enemy ship's rear area. The cruiser's lights began to flicker as it lost main power.

The Galactica and Pegasus fired again. Their phaser cannons punched right through the dying enemy cruiser. One of the shots hit the vessel's main reactor. A bright white fireball engulfed the Dresden-class light cruiser. Only small pieces of debris remained after the fireball died.

On the bridge of the Koenig, Zack kept his eyes on the tactical display. Enemy destroyers were again racing in for the Aurora, looking to deploy their shield-disruptor torpedoes. "Scare them off, April," he ordered.

"Right away, sir," Sherlily answered from Weapons.

The powerful forward cannons on the Koenig blazed away. The lead destroyer's shields began to buckle under the onslaught until the thick phaser pulses engulfed the aft drive section of the dagger-shaped ship. It exploded in another white fireball. The other destroyers broke off, desperate to avoid the wrath of the Koenig.

"Missiles!", Magda shouted from Ops. "The enemy dreadnought has a weapons lock!"

Missiles spewed from the launcher of the undamaged Eichmann and began racing toward them. "Evasive maneuvers!", Zack ordered. Koenig, under Apley's able command, began to corkscrew and turn as the enemy anti-matter missiles pursued them.

Said missiles died in a hail of cannon fire from a flight of Colonial Vipers.

In the cockpit of her Viper, Kara "Starbuck" Thrace reveled in the feeling of getting a good fight in. She watched the enemy missiles explode under her cannons and those of the wing around her. The Pegasus' Vipers were spread about, helping to protect the Raptors moving in on the enemy cruisers remaining on the field. The remaining Alliance fighters were still locked in combat with their Reich counterparts. The entire fight was a furball like few she'd seen before. Death could be instant out here, even with the portable shields rigged into the Vipers now.

Her systems warned her of an enemy fighter locking on. She maneuvered her Viper "upward" to avoid the first disruptor shots and fired her engines to full, looking to evade. The enemy fighter was one hell of a pilot and kept on her. Kara turned and directed her cannons on an enemy fighter engaging one of her others. Her cannons slammed repeatedly against the shields of the enemy fighter.until the continued shots started to degrade them at that spot. It fired on the Viper she was trying to protect as her cannons found its engines and sent it spiraling away, trailing flames.

The Viper was lucky. She had forced her target off enough that the disruptor hits blasted off part of a wing. The pilot couldn't stay in the fight, but they could get back to Pegasus at least.

Her jury-rigged holographic indicator flashed red. The fighter behind her had just put enough shots into her shields that the small generator was on the verge of overload. She maneuvered sharply to continue trying to force the enemy off.

Ahead of her a Mongoose fighter from the Alliance was racing in. "Allow me, Captain Thrace," said a voice she faintly remembered.

Patrice Laurent's Mongoose opened up on the fighter trailing her. The fire behind her slackened. Her indicator stopped showing the presence of the enemy behind her. "Thank you, Commander," she said. "It looks like you've been busy."

"We still are," he reminded her. "We'll keep them off your people as best we can."

"Likewise." Kara triggered her command line. "Keep them off the Raptors, people!"

With the battle suddenly shifted by the arrival of Koenig and the Colonial Battlestars, Julia was considering the wider tactical picture. "Focus fire on that heavy cruiser!", she ordered. Nearby the last light cruiser was taking fire from the two Battlestars and strafing runs from the Koenig. "Where is the Sladen?"

"They're still engaged with the other cruiser," Jarod said. "They're trying to keep them from beaming down any more reinforcements to the Facility."


As that exchange happened Locarno lined the enemy Sedan-class cruiser up on the bow. Its shots streaked at them, hitting their weakening shields and slicing across armored hull. Angel returned the favor with a full barrage of the bow cannons, the bow phasers, and both torpedo launchers. The onslaught was tearing away at the enemy's shields.

It also forced them to focus on the Aurora, and not on the Raptors streaking in.

The Colonial craft had shielding too now. Not the best, jury-rigged from spare parts meant for the shield systems being introduced to the actual full-sized ships in the Colonial Fleet, but enough to take light disruptor hits a few times. The Raptor pilots did their best evasive maneuvers coming in as they could. There were still hits. A couple were direct hits; one lucky Raptor had time to bank away with severe damage and the other became a fireball. Glancing hits caused attrition for the rest of the strike.

But then it was too late. They were in optimum range. They fired their payloads.

The missiles that streaked in were a mix. Some, the last to go in, were conventional atomics. They wouldn't do nearly enough damage to shields and needed direct hits on damaged hull to do the kind of damage that might knock the heavy cruiser out.

But the initial wave were carrying naqia-enhanced warheads, retrofitted from the spare solar torpedoes that had been left for the Koenig. These weapons struck the enemy's weakening shields in a series of impacts that battered their shields down, enough that the follow-up wave of mixed warhead types slammed into the armored hull of the cruiser. After the resulting explosions had finished the Sedan-class cruiser was trailing flaming debris and atmosphere into space.

With their jobs done, the Raptors broke off and flew back toward the Basestars. The ships would have to lower their shields to admit them and were arraying themselves to cover one another as each did the necessary operation.

The loss of her shields weakened her, but she still had weapons and they were hammering the Aurora. Worse still was that the enemy dreadnought had not given up on them. Another super-disruptor shot sliced along their port side, leaving a trail of damaged armor and hull breaches along their drive hull between their port nacelles.

This didn't stop Angel. She opened up on the enemy cruiser with another barrage. With its shields degraded by the Raptors' attack run the Sedan-class cruiser couldn't resist the Aurora's firepower. As it raced along the enemy ship its bow weapons tore into its starboard side and caused even more damage than the Raptor attack had. Once it was alongside Angel opened up with the phasers that could fire into that angle. The repeated hits to the enemy hull caused major structural damage and eliminated several power lines. The enemy ship's sublight drives began to shut down from lack of power.

As they passed, the aft solar torpedo launchers sent out more spreads of torpedoes. There was absolutely nothing left for the enemy cruiser to defend itself with. It exploded.

Julia noticed that the other cruiser was now a flaming wreck as well. All that was left was a dwindling number of destroyers… and the Eichmann.

Unfortunately, as the Eichmann's next shot proved, that was still enough to win the battle for the SS forces. Its super-disruptor barrage struck at the Aurora again. Without shields to resist it they took the hit on their armor. The ship shuddered hard from the impact. "Another direct hit to the drive section. Multiple sections have hull breaches."

"Armor self-repair systems have fallen to sixty percent capability," Mataran warned. "Emergency forcefield systems are in place, but they won't take this abuse for long."

"We still don't have the raw firepower to take out that dreadnought, we need…" Jarod's console beeped an alert to him. "We've got another ship locking on our drive. Wait... two!"

The first jump point that formed appeared "above" them. When it finished forming two ships came out. Julia recognized the Kelley-class hull shape of one and realized it was the Park, under their friend Ibrahim Fanous. The ship behind it was something she had seen only a couple of times before; the attack ship Eagle, formerly from the Tikvah.

A second jump point formed nearby, in closer orbit of the planet. The Starship Challenger, one of the Discovery-class ships based on the Aurora's design, emerged from the point. As she left her jump point fighters emerged from her flight deck.

Captain Madeleine Laurent appeared on the side of the main screen. A native of the Central African Republic, her voice had a thick accent as she spoke to them. "Commander Andreys, I'm thankful we could make it."

"Aren't you supposed to be directing the excavation of the Darglan Homeworld?', Julia asked.

"I see little point in that if these monsters win. If Command doesn't like it, they can always court-martial me. We're engaging now."

The main weapons on the Challenger opened up on the Eichmann. This drew the attention of the larger warship; one of its secondary disruptor banks barked a reply, a green beam of light that speared the shields of the Challenger.

"Aurora, this is Yonatan Shaham," another voice spoke. "I am commanding the Eagle. My father sends his regards, as do the people of New Liberty."

"It has been a while, my friends," Ibrahim added. "Let us take up your burden."

The two lighter ships zipped in toward the remaining SS destroyers. They were trailing the Aurora while Koenig helped the Battlestars finish off the last cruiser. Angel's phaser fire lashed out at them repeatedly to break up their attack runs. The SS commanders, goaded on by their commander on the Eichmann, were no longer letting her rapid fire chase them off.

But before they could try to further damage the wounded Aurora with their weapons the two light ships engaged with their own. The thick amber pulses coming from the Eagle showed that the ship had been refitted with Koenig-style phaser cannons while the smaller sapphire pulses of the Park were familiar, being the smaller counterparts of the Aurora's own main battery. Multiple torpedoes erupted from both ships in tandem to their energy fire.

The enemy Z-2500s never stood a chance. Hit after hit battered their shields into dissipation and torpedo hits gutted them. Angel's phasers added to the carnage; the heavy phaser cannons she brought to bear completely annihilated one unshielded destroyer.

All that was left was the Eichmann.

And all that the Eichmann seemed to care about was destroying the Aurora. The SS dreadnought ignored the persistent efforts of the Challenger, ignored the Koenig's strafing run on her, and the two Colonial Basestars. Their fury was directed solely at the Aurora. Locarno anticipated the shot from the ship's massive super-disruptor emplacements and twisted the Aurora. Her shields failed again under the impact; Locarno's maneuver kept the resulting shots from slamming into the center of the primary hull. They struck the port side of the primary hull instead. The local armor failed and the shots pierced the hull all the way, slicing through four decks before coming out the other end.

Julia clenched her teeth at that. "If he wants us, he can come and get us. Locarno, full impulse, away from the Eichmann."

"We have another ship locking onto our drive," Jarod said. "Jump point opening now."

Again a jump point formed ahead of them. Julia wondered who it could be this time. She had been hoping for even more of a response, with unengaged ships coming to their aid. Even if spatial aspects would be off for many, making a jump to them impossible - they would simply appear partway from their position in the other universe to this system, and quite possibly in the middle of enemy space - there had to be more ships that could make the jumps.

The ship that came out was framed like the Koenig, although it lacked the forward-swept appearance to the nacelles. Julia was shocked to see it.

The Defiant.

A baritone voice spoke over their open tactical commlink. "Commander Sisko to Aurora, what is your status?" As he spoke, his image appeared in the side of the main viewer, with the bridge of the Defiant visible behind him. Julia noted Sisko had grown a goatee since she'd seen him last, back in February.

"We've taken a beating. That ship really wants to kill us," she replied. "Commander, I thought the Federation Council was keeping out of the war?"

He kept his expression carefully neutral. "Whatever do you mean? Ah, I see." Sisko turned his head to face someone off-screen. "Major Kira, you neglected to inform me the distress call was from S4W8."

Kira's reply was a droll, "My apologies, Commander, it slipped my mind."

"Remind me to reprimand you later."

Julia let out a chuckle. "Thanks for coming, Commander. We need all the help we can get. We'll let them chase us if you want to put the boot in."

"Sounds like a plan. Defiant out."

"Mister Locarno, bring us around the planet, as quickly as you can," Julia ordered. "If they want to kill us so much, let's make them work at it."

"Right." Locarno went to work on his console.

Bruised and battered, the Aurora shot ahead of the looming dreadnought. Disruptor beams streaked after them as they moved to round the planet.

Shepard's shotgun roared again and took the head off of one of the Stormtroopers forcing the door. The wave of force Robert generated toss the body and the nearby foe out of the door. Every sense in his head seemed to be seeing the world anew. Energy surrounded him, his own energy resonated with it, and he could use it to keep the enemy flying and off-balance.

Is this what Lucy feels like all the time?, he wondered. Meridina?

The number of enemies outside the door seemed to be slackening. He could hear gunfire further down the corridor. Had his people rallied with Fassbinder out of communication?

He took a step toward the door. With a push of his arm a bulky armored Panzergrenadier tripped backward. Shepard unloaded a shotgun blast to his neck. A local weakness in the armor allowed a partial penetration. Blood gurgled out of the gap in the armor and the Nazi trooper collapsed.

When Robert got to the door, he could see why the enemy was no longer rushing forward as they had before. He watched Hakimzade maneuver her powered armor into place and let loose with the automatic weapon built into the suit's arm. Pulses nearly tore one of the light-armored stormtroopers apart. Amber phaser blasts struck another of the light-armored troops. Worf moved out of cover briefly to pour more fire into the enemy unit between them and Robert's position.

Robert lifted his arm to use his power. But he didn't have time. He could feel the surge of energy, the bright presence, of another; Lucy vaulted over one of the remaining heavy-armored troopers and turned. Her lakesh shined its dull blue shin as it bit into the joint in the leg, where the armor was weakest. Sparks resulted but no breach. Lucy twirled the weapon around and thrust it in with all of her strength. Now the armor gave way with a shriek of protest. An angry growl came from the suit's occupant, who toppled over onto one leg. A missile slammed into him from the front and the SS trooper went flying. Robert could feel the trooper's life ebb and fade out in the second it took for the armor to thunk onto the blue floor.

Lucy looked at him. Her eyes widened. He knew she could feel his power and essence just as he felt hers. "You… you actually did it," she said. She walked up as, around them, the resistance of the troopers here ceased. "You called on your life force."

"I had to," Robert answered. "To save everyone."

"I understand. I'm just…" Lucy smiled thinly. "I don't know whether to congratulate you or feel sorry for you. You've just entered a complicated world, Rob."

He nodded at that.

And then a bad feeling prickled up his spine. A sense of fear, anger, hatred, it all came from behind him. There was a cry of fright from behind him. Robert turned.

As he did so, Shepard shouted, "Put it down!"

Lucy was behind Robert by the time he turned and stepped back into the Chamber.

Shepard was still propped up against the console she'd used for cover. Her shotgun was leveled toward the other end of the chamber.

Fassbinder was standing there, near one of the control consoles. Near him Rabe was on the ground, as if ready to stand. Fassbinder had his gun out and up.

It was pointed at Caterina.

She had stood from cover at Fassbinder's command. Her face was pale and her eyes wide with terror.

"Put the gun down, Fassbinder," Robert ordered. "Now. You're not walking out of this."

"I do not need to," he answered. "I only have to hold this place until the reinforcement fleet arrives. Its prizes belong to the Reich. I will not be denied! If anyone moves, if I get even the slightest feeling of your powers working on me, I will shoot. And this little untermensch brat will die."

The bridge of the Eichmann was shuddering slightly. The officers of the massive dreadnought were watching as the enemy ships pounded them again and again with fire. The attack vessels of the enemy fleet were coming in close and strafing their weapon emplacements. The larger enemy ships - those two unknown carriers and the Alliance starship - continued to pour their phaser fire and cannon fire into the deflectors of the dreadnought. Deflectors that were holding… for the moment.

Obersturmbannführer Heiss, the ship's Executive Officer, was manning a station to provide reports to Oberführer Eicke. "The enemy ships continue to attack us, sir, let us retaliate!", he urged. "We could annihilate them!"

"The Aurora might get away," Eicke retorted. "I cannot allow that!"

"Your duty is to complete the mission…"

"Do not lecture me on duty!," Eicke raved. "Those swine cost me years of work, of glorious effort to finish the work of the Great Hitler and his first followers! They left my ship humiliated and broken by the Juden, who ran away laughing at me! At the Reich! Nein! The honor of the Reich, the Schutzstaffel, and the Führer demands their blood!"

"I cannot maintain a targeting lock on the Aurora," reported the Hauptsturmführer at Gunnery. "They are using the curvature of the planet to keep our main disruptors off of them."

"Helm, full acceleration! We cannot let them succeed!"

"We are at full now, Herr Oberführer," the helmsman protested.

"Then divert more power to the drives! More!" Eicke slammed a fist on his chair arm. "Divert everything!"

Rabe had stayed down during the fighting. It had seemed the best thing, especially with the strange abilities Captain Dale was suddenly revealing. He had stared in wonder at the Alliance Captain moving his arms and sending stormtroopers flying without laying a hand on them. There had been rumors that the Alliance's people had bizarre powers, rumors that the State had been trying to suppress. Now he was seeing them first hand.

It wasn't hard to see that there were mere moments before they did something. Before Captain Dale or that Lieutenant in the blue robe and purple body armor used their powers. But could they do so before Fassbinder killed Caterina Delgado?

Rabe looked at the young woman again. He understood her terror at the gun pointed at her. She wasn't a soldier. She didn't know how to face this sort of thing.

When it came down to it, neither did Rabe.

All through his life, Rabe had believed one thing; that intelligence was the means to improve things. That the State and the People would be happier with the fruits of that intelligence. More than anything else, it was such things that continued the progression of his people. He had not been raised to consider every Human one of his own, that was true… but then again, in his education and later, he had known that there were those of the conquered countries who, despite their secondary status and education limitations, were still brilliant. He'd heard the stories of these people coming up with solutions that advanced the Reich, that made technology better, lives safer. These were people he looked up to, the people he wanted to be. Service through intelligence and problem-solving, not martial power.

It was, admittedly, not a popular viewpoint in many circles in the Reich, but it did have its followers.

Caterina Delgado was one such person he respected in that role. Her subspace scanning proposal had been a thing of sheer brilliance. From the first time he'd seen her, he knew Caterina was a boon to everything. She deserved to survive so her brilliant mind could continue to work for the betterment of all.

And now this SS man, this engineered brute, was going to snuff her life out. He already planned to. He'd never let her live. And then…

...then they would all die, wouldn't they? Even he likely would in the fight to come. That, or be a prisoner of the enemy, and that was if he was lucky.

But Caterina would still be dead.

Kurt Rabe had not made many decisions on his own in his life. As a young man, he had obeyed his stern veteran father and demanding mother. When they died, it had been his maternal grandfather, a Party functionary on New Pommerania, who had brought him out to space and finished raising him in brutal and angry fashion. Even escaping that had not been his decision: the Reich had made those decisions. The State had tested him, determined his intelligence, picked the school he was to go to, the education he would receive, and put him in the Raumkriegsmarine as a sensor and space specialist. Not one of these decisions had been his.

Not. One.

But here and now, he would make one. He would not allow the world to be further darkened by the SS. Damn his parents, his grandfather, the Reich… he would make this one choice for what he believed in.

He believed that Caterina Delgado should not die.

Rabe launched himself at Fassbinder's arm. The SS man shouted in surprise and fired his gun.

The emerald bolt from the disruptor went right by Caterina's head and scorched the far display glass.

"What are you doing?!", Fassbinder shouted at him.

Rabe didn't answer. He couldn't think of a way to explain his choice to Fassbinder. The SS man would never understand it if he could. He thought solely in terms of the Ideology, of the Party and Race. He couldn't process Rabe's thoughts in any way save to consider him a degenerate traitor. Nothing like that was something Rabe was interested in.

The initial shock of his attack was the only reason Rabe had thrown his aim off. Now that they were grappling in close quarters, Rabe was no match for Fassbinder's engineered strength and power. The SS man swiftly pulled his gun free and belted Rabe across the mouth. Rabe felt two teeth break loose from the impact and fell backward.

Fassbinder screamed "Traitor!" while directing his gun toward Caterina again.

He never got the chance to pull the trigger. Robert reached out with his power and ripped the gun from Fassbinder's hand. Shepard's shotgun rang out. Blood exploded from Fassbinder's shoulder. The powerful slug ripped through the meat and bone of Fassbinder's body and out the other end, where it promptly broke a hole through the transparent material of the window.

The impact of the shot threw Fassbinder backward and through the new hole. He screamed in rage as he fell out into the dock.

Robert forced himself to stop feeling for Fassbinder. He didn't want to experience the result of the SS man splatting several stories down.

"Damn," Shepard mumbled. "I was aiming for his heart." The smile she had was weak. She was still favoring the disruptor burn on her side.

Robert went up to Caterina. She was still pale and upset. Her breathing was shallow. "Cat? Cat, it's okay."

"He… he was going to kill me," she whimpered.

"I know. It's okay." He patted her on the shoulder. "You're okay."

Caterina seemed to be starting to process things again. She turned to face Rabe, who was spitting blood onto the blue floor. "You saved me," she said.

Rabe looked up at her. Blood had pooled around his lips and was flowing down onto his chin. He spoke and their auto-translator converted it into English. "I could not let him kill you," he said. "Nobody as intelligent and creative as you should die like that. Especially not to a brute like an SS man."

The first one to get to Rabe's side was Worf. "You showed courage," the Klingon rumbled. Rabe looked at him as if Worf were about to rip his head off.

"I am a traitor," Rabe said. He looked to where Fassbinder fell through the window. The extent of what he had just done struck him. "I… I have struck an SS man. Opposed him."

"He's dead. We're the only witnesses," Lucy pointed out. Like Robert she could feel the fear bubbling from within him.

"It won't matter," Rabe insisted. "If I am the only survivor, the SS will assume I am a traitor. They'll… the penalty for treason is to be ejected into space, Captain Dale. It would be more merciful if you were to shoot me now."

"I've got one better on you," Robert said. "Leave the Reich. You can come with us."

"Come with you?" Rabe considered that. "I…" He shook his head. "I would have to face my friends and comrades in battle, then. I have no deep love for the Reich, but the men I've served with, I can't betray them. I can't help to kill them, Captain Dale."

"I'm not saying your only option is to join the Alliance service, Leutnant," Robert said. "There are other options. All I ask is that you come with us and explore them. It's better than dying here. Not when you might have so much to offer."

Caterina nodded. "Yeah. There are… I mean, you're smart. You can join a science mission, or become a science officer somewhere outside of the Alliance. You don't have to stay with us." She smiled at him. "You shouldn't have to die because you saved my life."

Rabe seemed to consider this.

As he did, Kane clicked his tongue. "Uh, I don't want to break up the kumbaya fest here, but I'll remind everyone we're supposed to blow this place up. How do we do that?"

"What happened to the naqia charges?", Cat asked. "They should have worked."

"They didn't induce enough destabilization in the naqia," Lucy explained. "We used one of the charges on our attackers, and it did a lot of damage… but not nearly enough."

"We must have messed something up…"

"We'll find out when we can. Right now, though, we need to think of what to do." Robert hit the key on his multidevice. "Dale to Aurora, what's your status?"

There was no immediate answer.

"Dale to Aurora, what's your…"

Before his voice could show any real panic, Robert was rewarded with Julia's reply. "We're a little busy here…"

The Aurora took a hit that sent a shower of sparks off of the now-flickering MCD behind Julia. "Shields are down again." Jarod was working on his board. "The damage control teams can't keep the generators up long enough to regenerate shields to withstand those super-disruptors. We've got more hull breaches and armor damage on Decks 12 through 15, Section G and H."

Julia checked her usual station. Casualty reports were continuing to come in all over the ship. Leo was getting them treated as quickly as he could, and given how much the ship was shaking it was making it hard on him. "More power to engines," she said. "We have to get around the planet again."

"We're at max now," Jarod warned. "And we're about to come up on the Reich's Glory and Sladen. If the Glory opens up on us in this condition…"

"So…" Julia nodded. "Alright. Break us completely from orbit, Mister Locarno." She hailed Engineering with the chair control. "Mister Scott, please tell me you can get us more speed, that dreadnought really wants us dead."

"I cannae give ye any more on th' impulse engines, lass. I've given ye all I can. There's simply tae much damage."

"I'd like to know how they're keeping up with us," Angel growled. "Those things can't be that fast."

Ensign al-Rashad spoke up. "Going by their power output, I think they're putting all power into their engines."

That made Jarod look up. "Probably too much to keep up with us, even at our current capacity." He looked over the readings himself. "It looks like their shield systems are degrading. If enough fire is focused on one point…"

Even as Jarod was saying that, Zack was watching his pulse phaser cannons continue to pummel the dreadnought's shields. A few of the smaller disruptor cannons on the ship occasionally fired at them, inflicting shield loss, but so far his ship was mostly unhurt. "That commander wants the Aurora dead pretty badly," he said. He opened his tactical comm line. "Commander Sisko, what do you make of this? Any way we can use this to our favor?"

"Chief O'Brien believes they're degrading their shields to sustain this high impulse level," Sisko replied. "I'm inclined to agree."

"Yeah." Barnes spoke up from their engineering station. "And if they're doing that, maybe enough firepower into one arc might overload their shields enough to ruin cohesion."

Madeleine Laurent's voice now joined them. "Lieutenant Duwala's scans confirm that their shields are most vulnerable to their stern. It may be due to the impulse drives being pushed as they are."

"Admiral Adama here. It sounds like we have a target." Zack nodded at Adama's remark. "All ships and fighters, concentrate firepower on the enemy ship's rear drives."

"You heard the Admiral, Ap," Zack said. "Give it everything we've got."

"Aye sir."

The Koenig broke off her strafing run and moved away from the enemy ship. Only briefly, long enough that the Defiant, Park, and the Eagle met up with them. The four attack ships raced along the back of the enemy dreadnought with phasers blazing and torpedoes firing.

Behind them, surviving Mongoose fighters from the Aurora and Challenger roared in at full impulse. Whatever remaining munitions they had were expended and they fired their phasers to the point of overheating. The Challenger endured fire from some of the dorsal disruptors of the dreadnought. One super-disruptor emplacement fired a beam that penetrated the shields and scarred the ship's port side. It did not manage a hull breach or anything further damaging. The hull repair systems immediately began applying replicated patches to the damage.

As soon as Laurent's ship was in position her gunnery officer opened up with everything he had. Sapphire energy bolts and the amber color of the phasers streaked into the dreadnought's rear shields.

Several more amber beams began pounding those shields. Adama's ships lacked the sublight acceleration to keep up, but they still had the range and were firing for everything they were worth. Ahead of them the Raptors and Vipers of the two ships came soaring in. The handful of remaining SS fighters exploded under the volume of fire from Pegasus' Vipers, leaving the rest of the ship's complement to join Galactica's in their attack run. Rounds from the Vipers were little more than hailstones against the shields, but every little bit counted. The Vipers danced with little effort against the enemy's return fire. Since they were remaining behind the Eichmann, it's handful of aft-facing weapons were being overwhelmed by the sheer number of targets.

What counted more than the Vipers, or even the Mongooses, were the munitions the Raptors carried in. Most of them were carrying conventional Colonial atomics. A handful had the remaining special warheads with naqia. They reached their firing range and opened up in one synchronized salvo. The missiles soared in alongside solar torpedoes from the other Alliance ships and the Defiant's own quantum torpedoes. Phaser fire and the pulse plasma cannons on the Challenger chipped away at the shields further in the moments before the Raptors' strike began hitting home. Each wave of missiles came in, fully synchronized for maximum effect, and vent their tremendous energies against the dreadnought's shields.

Said shields were still flaring red. But the red began to sputter under the onslaught. "Come on," Zack grumbled. "Come on you bastard…"

The enemy dreadnought began to turn. Evidently they had realized their situation and were adjusting.

But it was too late.

More and more hits weren't hitting the red. They were hitting hull. The Defiant's phasers slammed into one of the impulse drives of the dreadnought. Challenger's bow cannons slammed the port warp nacelle of the dreadnought until it exploded. Park and Eagle ran in and put torpedoes and phaser shots into the stern heavy disruptor and blew it apart. The Koenig, with Sherlily's expert aim, pumped its firepower into the enemy's port impulse drive. From further away the Galactica and Pegasus continued to batter the Eichmann's aft section. Galactica scored a direct hit on the starboard nacelle of the ship. Its blood-red color began to flicker and go out.

The enemy ship was still turning. Its overloaded shields were having trouble enduring damage even on the other arcs now, but shots were again playing against red energy and not bare hull.

Electrical fires were raging on the bridge of the Eichmann. Eicke was shouting orders and getting only reports.

"Warp drive is down! Sublight drives are at sixty percent effectiveness!"

"The shield grid has been compromised. Aft shields no longer functioning. All other shield arcs are losing cohesion from damage to the system."

"Weapons power is down…"

Heiss glared at his commander. "We are losing this battle, Herr Oberführer! What are your orders?" When Eicke didn't reply, Heiss shouted again. "What are your orders?!"

I have been a fool, Eicke realized. His fury and rage, usually so helpful to him, had betrayed him instead. He had dismissed the threat of the enemy ships as being too weak to effectively harm the Eichmann. That had cost him his ship.

His ship. His honor. His revenge. His mission. All of it lost. All that he could do now was fight the enemy to the death.

But even that felt beyond him. This had been the Reich's chance to win the war. To ensure they could lash out at their foes and impose their will on the Multiverse. But failure here would rob them of that. The reinforcement fleet was still too far away. The enemy would destroy the alien facility and rob them of their chance to level the field.

I have failed you, mein Führer. I do not deserve to live.

Eicke reached for his belt and pulled out his pistol.

"Oberführer, what are you…?"

Eicke pulled the trigger.

Julia watched the firing of the Eichmann change. It started to fire at their allies and lessened the shots at them. The range started to open up.

They hadn't had the chance to recommend Jarod's strategy before the allies did it themselves. Of course, given the concentration of talent on those ships, Julia wasn't shocked by it.

And even more importantly, it had bought them the time they needed. "The tertiary shield generators and our remaining secondaries are restoring shield cohesion."

"How well off are we, Commander?"

"I can give you at least thirty-three percent effectiveness on all faces. Double that if we focus our shields, although we might get generators going offline once we take fire."

"I see." She considered that. "We'll need at least fifty percent usual strength to take a super-disruptor hit. Commander, put all shields to bow."


"Lieutenant Locarno, bring us back about. Lieutenant Delgado, get a target lock and fire when you can." Julia felt her voice fill with confidence. "It's time we finished this."

The Aurora swung back around and moved in toward the Eichmann. The stricken dreadnought was losing speed and acceleration with the growing damage to its impulse drives. Its firing was becoming desperate, with attempts to deal with the four attack ships moving up and down its hull and hitting every weapon emplacement they could while Challenger, already wounded, remained to the aft of the dreadnought and continued to fire into her dying engines. It was like a great beast was being stabbed and clubbed by a host of lesser creatures. Individually it could swat them all, but with its wounds slowing it down and the enemy too fast to hit, it was losing.

Angel vented the fury of the Aurora on the SS dreadnought. Pulse plasma cannon fire, pulse phaser cannon fire, phaser strips, and solar torpedoes all lashed out at the giant that had wounded the Aurora so grievously.

The enemy ship's shields resisted initially. But they were already so badly degraded by the damage to their power systems and shield generators that even the powerful banks that protected the behemoth began to buckle under the attack. Julia watched on the magnified viewer to see Angel's handiwork send flame and debris from the enemy ship's bow. Their own forward cannons hammered the big ship's bow super-disruptors until they came apart. Explosion after explosion rippled over the dreadnought.

And to top it off, a spread of solar torpedoes slammed into the great large swastika emblazoned on its hull. The insignia of the Nazi Reich disintegrated in flame and wreckage.

The symbolism made Julia grin. And, she supposed, it was a very feral grin, the kind she used to give in far more modest circumstances in high school gyms across Kansas.

And then something happened on the other ship. It might have been a hit to their armory or magazines. It could have been their scuttling charges going off.

"There she goes," Locarno said, with some cheer in his voice, as the SS dreadnought Eichmann was blown apart in a massive series of explosions.

Applause immediately broke out on the bridge of the Aurora. "Not yet," Julia demanded, and the applause ended. "Mister Locarno, bring us back into course for our original position. There's still one enemy ship left, and the Sladen probably needs our help."

If Commander King had heard Julia's remark, she would have appreciated it for the understatement that it was.

The Sladen's bridge had a thin haze of smoke from an electrical fire long put out. One of her bridge crew, a technical officer manning an auxiliary station, was already on the way to the ship's medbay with injuries. On her viewscreen the mostly-intact Reich heavy cruiser lashed out at them with another barrage from their disruptor cannons. The Sladen rocked underneath them.

"Shields are down to fifteen percent," Ensign Skarsgard warned. "Our armor has been breached on all decks."

"I'm having trouble keeping weapons power up," added Lieutenant Trymi. "And we're down to just five solar torpedoes."

King nodded. She would have broken off the engagement long ago, but she knew that would allow the enemy cruiser to beam down more reinforcements to the Facility. The mission required they remain engaged. And with the cloaking device off-line, hit-and-run attacks were no longer possible.

More of their phaser fire stitched over the enemy cruiser. The Sedan-class ship had some scorch marks and hull damage from where their shots had managed to overcome the steadily-declining shields of the enemy ship. But for all the firepower of the Sladen, they couldn't get them down completely. They were losing this battle.

But it doesn't matter. The mission must come first. If duty demands I die, so be it.

"Commander, I'm reading several explosions around the horizon of the planet," Skarsgard informed her. "I think it was the enemy dreadnought!"

"Was it? Are you sure it wasn't the Aurora?"

Skarsgard checked her board carefully. With their sensors damaged she had to be sure. Within seconds the young Norwegian nodded enthusiastically. "It wasn't! I've got the Aurora on sensors still! She's coming our way with the other ships that jumped in."

"Good for them," King sighed. Perhaps I shall live after all…

On the bridge of the Reich's Glory Lamper was listening to Leutnant Klein, Rabe's replacement, confirm the report. He drew in a breath.

The Eichmann destroyed. The SS flotilla completely wiped out.

For a moment Lamper gave himself the luxury of fear. Fear that the SS would blame him, regardless of what Eicke had ordered. It wouldn't be beyond them to embrace hypocrisy and damn him for obeying an order from an SS commander. They might yet accuse him of all sorts of ghastly things.

"Herr Käpitan?" Falk was speaking to him. "What shall we do? The enemy is rounding the planet. There are several enemy ships. Even if we could finish the Aurora off…"

"...her comrades would be the death of us." Lamper sucked in a breath. "Do we have anything from the planet's surface?"

"We have no answers from the Facility. There are only the remaining personnel in the SS camp."

Klein added, "I have only a few life signs showing."

He nodded. SS men, yes… but they were still Germans. Lamper had a duty to uphold. "Lower shields on the opposite quarter from the enemy vessel and beam them up. Helm, set us a course away from here, maximum warp velocity."

"Jawohl," came the two replies.

Lamper waited patiently as the maneuver was carried out. With the damage it had taken the other ship couldn't quite position itself in time to stop their maneuver and take advantage of the shields going down. Of course, they were just beaming people up quickly. They might have had a longer window if they were beaming down another assault team.

"They are recovered, Herr Käpitan," Falk stated.

"Get us out of here, Oberleutnant," Lamper ordered.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-29 10:18pm

Julia watched the Reich's Glory jump to warp.

This time, she didn't stop the others from celebrating. She almost joined them.

Instead of cheering or laughing, she simply breathed in relief. They'd survived. The Aurora had taken a beating, the worst one they'd faced, but they were still alive.

They had won.

"Jarod, please put me on with the others."

Jarod nodded and keyed the tactical commlink to visual. He looked up and saw the viewer fill with screens. Adama looked at her from his place on the Galactica CIC. His jaw was set and he looked like he had just been overseeing maneuvers, not his civilization's first extrauniversal space battle. Zack had something of a cocky stature in how he was leaning in his chair that felt new to him, and which Julia thought was a good sign. Sisko had his hands on his chair arms and looked relaxed and comfortable in the aftermath of their victory. Madeleine was sitting back in her command chair looking quite pleased with herself. Yonatan Shaham had the wide smile of a youth who had just accomplished a life's dream. Ibrahim had his usual solemn look that made him look natural in the pressures of command. And last, but definitely not least, Commander King was keeping that stiff, formal posture that the Englishwoman seemed to cultivate as part of her command style. Stiff upper lip and all, even with the haze of electrical fire smoke still wafting about her bridge. "Thank you all," Julia said to them. "I owe you all a favor."

"Who's counting?", Zack said. "I'm just glad we got here in time."

"How did President Roslin take it?", Julia asked. "Taking all of the remaining Colonial military with you?"

"The President agreed that with the stakes of this mission, risks were necessary," Adama answered. "It doesn't hurt that we're one jump away from Dorei space."

"Congratulations," Julia said. "I'm looking forward to hearing about the new world you settle."

"Where is Captain Dale?", asked Ibrahim. "Has he been hurt?"

"I don't think so. One moment." Julia nodded to Jarod. He promptly tied their tactical link in to the commlink with the ground party. "Aurora to Dale. You were saying something?"

"How is everything up there?"

"The Eichmann has been destroyed," Julia said. "And the Reich's Glory retreated. Admiral Adama is here."

"Admiral Adama?"

"Hello Captain."

Robert was quiet for a moment. "Thanks for your help, sir. What do you think of detaching a pursuit for the Glory?"

"The Challenger could do it, I suppose. But from what I gather, it might not be able to fight off a Reich heavy cruiser. And your ship is far too damaged to make the attack."

"Our warp drive is out and we have one nacelle completely ruined," Julia clarified.

"Damn. Well, that's where jump drives are good. Do we know how long until that enemy fleet gets here?"

"Given what Admiral Maran said, not for several more hours."

"Good, that gives us time. Re-establish the communications link with the Facility. We'll load as much data as we can before we go. To every ship that's here."

Which, of course, was not exactly in their orders. But Julia thought it was right. Sisko could use Darglan data to help justify his "accidental" entry into the war and for the Colonials it was a significant compensation for the pilots they had undoubtedly lost. "Jarod is setting it up now."

"Lieutenant Dax is ready to establish the link," Sisko confirmed.

"We're ready to receive," Adama added.

The other captains confirmed their readiness.

Robert overheard them. "Good. Standby, Aurora, we're sending wounded up as soon as we get our transporter enhancers back online."

"We're ready. But what we are going to do about the Facility? Are the charges ready?"

"We had a problem with them. We'll think of something. Keep in touch and let me know if anything else happens. Dale out."

He looked to the others. Marines had removed Shepard and Meridina to be treated by their surviving medic. Lucy had gone to help the engineers that survived the fighting get their transport enhancers back online. Rabe was still here, under discreet guard by Kane, while Worf and Cat were looking over Data. "I think that we can repair him if we get him back to the Aurora," she said. "We might need to have Commander La Forge's help."

"As long as we get him up there. We have other things to consider, Cat." Robert looked back out at the dock and sighed. "We need to figure out how to blow this place up if your naqia explosives aren't working. Or all of this…" He gestured toward the various dead troopers. "...will have been for nothing."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-30 04:12pm

Robert greeted the newcomers as they arrived in the Control chamber. Admiral Adama had come down. So had Commander Sisko. Yonatan Shaham and Madeleine Laurent arrived right before Zack did.

Zack went up to Robert with open arms. Robert was quick to accept the hug from his friend. "It's good to see you," he said.

"Good to see you." Zack gave him a careful look. "Are you okay? There's something different now…"

"You could say that."

Nearby Jarod and Cat were going over the controls to the Facility. Julia was standing beside him and looking up at Control. "So you don't remember?"

"I am afraid I do not," he answered her.

"I'm sorry for you."

"It is quite alright." Control nodded. "I remember enough to know you and the others have done the Darglan proud. This new alliance you have formed is everything they wished to see come about."

"I'm more concerned with what attacked this place," Jarod said. "Because whoever did it actually managed to force a lock into the jump gates in the docks." He motioned to the debris outside, within the zero-G drydock field at the middle of the dock area. "It's no wonder the Darglan decided to wipe out everything in here."

Sisko looked over one of the interfaces. With power partially restored it responded to his touch, altering from Darglan text to English. "Interesting technology. Some sort of neural interface?"

"Yes, Commander Sisko," Control answered.

"So one of these is where it all began." Adama continued to look around. "This entire Multiversal Era of yours."

"Pretty much," Cat remarked.

"The old one was brighter," Madeleine stated. "And more hospitable. This place feels like a graveyard."

Robert knew what she meant. Even more now. The energy inside him felt a cold sensation in the air. Fear and terror, pain, rage, and sheer destructive hate. Some of it was fresh, an imprint left by the hateful fanatics of the SS. But some was far, far older. And some of it was… different. Some remnant to a wrongness, like finding old bloodstains in a serial killer's dungeon.

What had the Darglan fought here?

"As much as I would have liked a tour, the enemy fleet is just a few hours out," Adama pointed out. "We need a solution on how to blow this place up."

"It is easier said than done, Admiral." Control faced the older man. "The Darglan instituted defenses against such direct sabotage. The sort of blast that would be capable of destroying this facility requires excessive amounts of energy. More than your explosives can easily match."

"What if we combined a quantum torpedo with a naqia booster?", Jarod asked. "That's a nasty combination."

"It would yet be insufficient to overcome the Darglan defenses. To be honest, even your plan of using destabilized naqia charges may have proven insufficient, Captain Dale."

Robert nodded. "And Cat's still running the calculations on how that didn't work."

"Surely the Darglan provided this place with a self-destruct mechanism," Sisko said.

"They did. But the necessary protocols to initiate it were degraded by the damage to the computer cores. I would need a high access to initiate the command."

"Well, maybe…" Zack looked at Robert and then Sisko. "Between Dax and O'Brien and Jarod and Cat and all of Maddie's people… maybe we could manage to hack it…"

"Cracking a Darglan computer in a few hours?" Jarod shook his head. "Even if we got Data back on his feet, I'm not sure we could pull that off in time."

"But maybe…"

As they talked Robert felt something tug at him. He closed his eyes and thought of the day, exhausting as it was. He was missing something. Something…

Of course.

He reached into his pocket and pulled out the orange disc that the Consort had given him. He walked up toward the holotank while everyone started to look his way.

Control looked at him. "Where did you get that?", he inquired.

"What is it?"

"It is a Darglan command disc," Control replied. "Their highest authorities used them to be given instant computer authority whenever they went in Darglan territories."

"What?" Caterina blinked. "I scanned that. I couldn't make out the material, but I didn't find any evidence of data storage."

"The data is not detectable by those means," Control explained. "This device is based off of recovered Time Lord technology. The disc can access a pocket dimension where the physical media for the data is kept. If you do not have the appropriate means to access the dimension and read the data, it will not work."

"Do we here?", Cat asked. She was looking at the disc with excitement. Who knew what secrets the Darglan hid on the thing?

"I am afraid not. It is likely the reading device was evacuated along with the Emergency Combat Ship."

"So it's useless?" Robert's voice betrayed his disbelief.

"Not at all. Merely by possessing it, the Facility systems grant you the highest levels of authority. The damage to the computer cores no longer limit my access. I can now initiate the Facility self-destruct with your access permissions."

"Just that simple, huh?" Zack shook his head. "Wow, Rob, that was good luck getting that thing."

"A part of me is wondering if it was luck at all," Robert admitted, looking at the disc. He wondered what secrets were still contained within.

"It would seem our problems here are solved then," Sisko said. "We should get going. The Reich's cloaked attack ships could be moving ahead of their fleet."

"Entirely possible," Robert agreed. He took in a breath. "Cat, Jarod, get everything back up to the Aurora. As soon as you're all gone, I'll trigger the self-destruct and leave the Facility."

Cat was looking at Control with sad eyes. "So… what happens to you?", she asked.

"I am still primarily aboard your ship and stored in your computer core," Control revealed. "I will simply upload what data I must to maintain the cohesion of my program and go into another cycle of reduced capacity."

"That's horrible, though," Cat insisted. "What if we expand our computer memory? You could run again, you could become our central computer!"

"I'm afraid your ship would need a major reconstruction to implement the computer cores necessary to contain my full program. And it would force you to reduce your capabilities in other areas." Control smiled gently at her. "Do not worry, Caterina Delgado. I will remain in your ship and continue to help where I can. And though I will lack the means to directly communicate with you as I do here, I will be with you."

It was clear to Robert that Caterina didn't consider that enough. But she forced a smile and nodded while tears flowed down her face. At least he was alive. He had survived her mistake.

Once everyone was out, Robert stood alone in the Control room. He looked at the disc. Studied it. Where could it have come from? How did the Consort get it? How did she know to give it to him?

All of these questions needed answers. And he knew it would be a long time before he got them.

He nevertheless found himself focusing on the disc. He had a feeling there was something else he could do with it, here and now.

Hell. I might as well ask. He looked up at Control. The program was preparing the final stages of returning himself to the Aurora. "Control, is there anything else I can do with this here? Anything of interest? New technical schematics? Files, information, that I can access?"

"Standby." Control went still for a moment. "There is one message that was stored in high priority. It is no longer intact due to the computer damage. I can replay one line for you."

"Go ahead," he said.

Control went stiff again. And when he spoke, it was with an odd tone.

"'...stop the Darkness.'"

After that line repeated a few times, Robert held up a hand. "What is it talking about? What darkness?"

"I do not know."

For a moment Robert thought about that line. And then a memory kicked in.

A galaxy. Stars going out, one after the other, in waves until no light was left.

It had been in his nightmare. After his dreams about the Reich destroying everything.

How were these things connected? What did it all have to do with what happened here?

"Aurora to Dale." Julia's voice brought him out of his thoughts. "We just picked up enemy ships on long range sensors. We've got an hour before they're here."

"I'll be right up," he said. He looked to the transporter enhancers. They were set up and working. With that done he looked at Control. "Initiate the self-destruct sequence." He held up the disc. "By my authority."

"Commencing. Shutting down dimensional transcendence field generators. Shut down will complete in thirty seconds. I am now finishing my upload to the Aurora." Control nodded. "Farewell, Robert."

"I'll see you around," he replied. He tapped his multidevice. "Beam me up."

His eyes settled on the carnage in the dock area. The destroyed ships, still hovering in remnant zero-G fields, and who knew what else was down there with Fassbinder's body.

He had a feeling that this was just the beginning for this mystery.

And then the Aurora transporter whisked him back home.

Robert arrived on the bridge of the Aurora just as Cat was giving her report. "I just detected a subspace ripple. It matches the one that happened when the last Facility had its DT field go down."

"And Lucy?", he asked.

A moment later Lucy's voice came over the comm. "There was a hell of a lot of racket for about ten seconds. And then nothing. The door won't open at all. This place is history."

"Literally. Let's get out of here then." Robert went to his seat. Julia was back in hers.

"We have her aboard."

"Thank you, Jarod." Robert looked at Angel. "It's time."

She nodded and triggered a solar torpedo launcher on the bow. The spark of blue-white light flew into the planet. A bright flash marked where it exploded. "Direct hit. There's nothing left of the mound."

"Who's left in orbit?", Robert asked.

"Just the Challenger," Julia said. "The other ships all jumped out before you beamed up. The Sladen is docked. And, somehow, we managed to cram all of our surviving fighters into the shuttle bays."

"Well, we're done here I suppose. Set the jump drive, we're heading to Earth, L2M1."

"Setting for Rimward Station, D3R1," Jarod said. The first jump would get them close enough that the second jump would carry them straight on to Earth. "Establishing link now. Preparing jump drive…"

"The Challenger is jumping out now," Julia added.

The two ships generated their own jump points in space. Each entered their own swirling vortex of green energy and were gone.

Lamper stepped into the infirmary on his ship. Dr. Beimler gave him a nod and directed him to one of the few exam beds occupied. The figure laying on it was wounded, severely. And Lamper knew his disposition would only get worse. "Fassbinder," he said.

Fassbinder looked up. "Ja?"

"You survived. I would not have expected that."

"Only barely," he revealed. "I had established a transporter link to our enhancers. I activated it after I fell and had the enhancers send me on to the base camp." He motioned to his shoulder. "This, Lamper, is your fault."


"Your… sensor officer. He betrayed me," Fassbinder growled. "He betrayed me for an untermensch. I want the names of his family. Every member. They will pay for this."

"Leutnant Rabe has only one surviving kin, his grandfather Heinrich Peiper. He is a senior assist to the Gauleiter of New Pommerania, I believe." Lamper showed no satisfaction to that. Peiper was a Party man, with seniority. Arguably enough that he would evade punishment for Rabe's actions. "The Leutnant was a very quiet young man. I have tried on occasion to encourage him to be more energetic in his duties. But I got the feeling he resented his compulsory service."

"You should have reported him," Fassbinder spat. "There can be no room for shirkers in the Reich!"

"Most grow out of this phase, Fassbinder," Lamper said. "They come to understand the importance of duty through shared experience. I am only disappointed the Leutnant chose this path. Although given the outcome of this mission, I suppose he is safer than us now."

Lamper had expected that to wound. A little measure to remain Fassbinder of his failure, and how the SS abandonment of the fleet at New Austria had now been for nothing.

But Fassbinder didn't. He smiled thinly. "Oh, Käpitan? You believe we failed?"

"They have undoubtedly destroyed the Facility by now," Lamper pointed out. "We will not gain the technology the SS sacrificed so much for."

"Hrm. It is true we did not get all we wanted."

Lamper watched as Fassbinder slipped his working right hand into his field uniform. He was reaching for one of the utility pouches within. When his hand came back out, it was holding a device. Lamper didn't recognize it. "What is that?", he asked.

"An innovation of the Gestapo," Fassbinder said. "A data siphon device. It remotely connects to existing data connections and transmissions to syphon the data. I left its counterpart in the Facility, hidden in the Control Chamber there. It is designed to transmit what it finds to its sister device through high subspace frequencies, beyond the usual range used for subspace radio. I am assured it is very hard to detect, quite hard indeed, unless you know what to look for. And I have had this transmitting into your computer banks since this started."

Lamper considered what he was saying. "So what you are saying is…"

"...we may not have secured the alien Facility, Käpitan," Fassbinder finished for him, "but only time will tell if this was the failure you think it to be."

And there was nothing Lamper could say to that.

Ship's Log: ASV Aurora; 17 October 2641. Captain Robert Dale recording. We have returned to the Fleet Command Spacedock to begin repairs to the ship. With all of the damage we took, it will be weeks before we're ready to go back out. This should give everyone some time to deal with the stresses of what we just went through and to process the grief for the comrades we lost at Gamma Piratus and New Austria.

The Darglan data we recovered may go a long way into furthering our edge over the Reich in this war. We've beaten them at New Austria and we've held there. We're already getting reports of uprisings and anti-Reich actions across the adjoining sectors. This may very well be our first step in winning the war and putting down the Reich completely.

On a personal note… I now have to deal with the fact that I have become what Meridina and Lucy are. There's no hiding that. It's simply something I'll have to accept. Which won't be easy given what Commander King has told us.

Robert was finishing his log when the tone at his door sounded. He looked up and was pleasantly surprised to see Picard enter. "Captain. I wasn't aware you had come aboard."

"I thought I would surprise you." Picard gave him a wistful look. "I understand you had to destroy the Darglan Facility after all. A shame."

"Yes. Although… this place wasn't as n nice as our old one, Jean-Luc. The Darglan there had been fighting something. Something so nasty they killed themselves to keep their Facility out of the enemy's hands."

"That does sound rather bad, yes."

Robert answered with a nod. "So, how's Data?"

"Mister Data will be up on his feet soon," Picard assured him. "Mister La Forge and Mister Jarod are already finishing the critical repairs. We'll finish those repairs when we return to the Crazy Horse for the jump home."

"Good. He and Worf helped us make the difference. I was honored to serve with them."

"They appreciate the sentiment, I'm sure."

"Will Commander Sisko get in trouble over his 'accidental' jump into the war?", Robert asked.

At that Picard grinned, as if they had just shared a joke. "I suspect the Commander will be dealt with appropriately. As they say, the reward for work done well is more work. And people I know at Starfleet Command indicate that he is likely to be made a Captain soon enough."

"He deserves it."

Before either could continue on the door chime sounded again. Robert looked up in time to see Commander King enter. She was holding a data pad with her. "Ah, Captain Dale, my apologies for interrupting you and Captain Picard," she said.

"It's quite alright, I must be going anyway," Picard assured.

Robert had a sudden thought. "Captain, before you go… there is someone I'd like you to talk to. Commander Worf can direct you to the quarters we've assigned him."

"Oh?" Picard considered that with interest. "Well, I will speak with him then." Picard smiled the usual sort of warm, friendly smile he was capable of. "Bon voyage, Captain."

Robert returned that smile with his own. "Happy trails, Captain."

After Picard had left King handed him the datapad. "My official transfer orders, Captain," she said. "The Sladen will need its own time in drydock before we're fit for service again. And Command is re-assigning us to the 10th Attack Flotilla when it forms in a month's time."

"Ah. Well, good luck," Robert said. King noticed that the smile Picard had merited had completely vanished. He went over the transfer order and used a thumbscan to confirm he'd seen it. "Good luck when you go back to the war. You're dismissed."

"Thank you, sir." King turned to leave. She stopped before she got to the door and looked back to him. "Despite everything, Captain, it was an honor to serve with you. Hopefully one day we might work together again under less… onerous circumstances."

"Maybe," he answered, although in his mind the answer was a firm "No way".

King noted that. And she understood it. "I understand, sir. Good voyages to you."

She left and Robert was alone with his thoughts.

And, unfortunately, the energy within him that didn't seem to go away. He found himself wondering how Lucy and Meridina didn't become surly from putting up with it. It was, unfortunately, very distracting.

Leo finished examining the patch of skin with his scanner. "Looks like the cellular regeneration is holding. The damage is certainly healing well." He leaned back and looked over Commander Shepard, who was pulling her shirt back down. "That armor took most of the shot."

"That's a relief." Shepard looked around. "Not a lot of casualties?"

"No. We just sent them on to dedicated facilities,' Leo admitted. "We took hundreds of people in during the battle. It felt like we had half the crew in here, screaming and dying." His eyes focused on something not there. A memory, an image of how chaotic and terrible things had been. "That's the trouble with going into combat. People die whether you win or lose."

"That's how it's always been." Shepard moved on the bed. "So, do I get a bill of health?"

"I'd like to keep you longer for observation." Seeing the displeased look on her face, he continued, "...but I don't see any cause for concern. Just take it easy for a few days."

"I've got weeks of debriefings and committee meetings ahead of me. Taking it easy is all in the eye of the beholder."

"It's got to be better than combat," Leo pointed out.

"In combat, I get to shoot the bastard who's bothering me," Shepard pointed out drolly.

I suppose that can be a boon." Leo put his scanner back into its place on his multidevice. It snapped right into its slot as designed. "Nurse Nasri will see you out."

Leo went to his office. He dropped into his chair bonelessly before rubbing at his eyes. The exhaustion had set in. It was everything he could do to stay awake for the rest of this shift.

Of course, sleep had its own problems. It seemed like those lines of sheet-covered bodies appeared whenever he closed his eyes.

The fact that it might have been worse was only a partial consolation.

Worf led Picard to the guest quarters on Deck 7. Two of the ship's security personnel were flanking the doors. "Captain Dale and Commander Meridina have authorized this visit," he rumbled to them.

The security people, a Dorei and an Alakin, nodded. One unlocked the door.

Inside Picard found a smaller set of guest quarters than those he'd found Worf in. It was a smaller accommodation than would have been available on his Enterprise... but of course the Aurora had not been designed entirely like his own ship, and it was roughly the size of junior officer quarters he'd seen in his early Starfleet career. There were only base furnishings to go with the bed.

Sitting on the bed, in a civilian suit of L2M1 style - no collar, rolled back cuffs, earthy yellow and brown coloring - was a young man. When he looked up and spoke it was with a thick German accent. "Hello."

"Hello." Picard nodded. "I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard of Starfleet. Captain Dale and Commander Worf asked me to pay you a visit."

"I am.. I was… Leutnant Karl Rabe, an officer of the Raumkriegsmarine," Rabe replied. "Now I… am not."

Picard nodded. "Commander Worf tells me that you acted to save the life of Lieutenant Delgado."

"Yes. I could not allow an SS brute to murder someone with such promise. The things her mind can come up with, to make things better…"

"I see." Picard found a seat and sat down opposite from Rabe. "You showed great moral fortitude in what you did."

"No." Rabe shook his head. "It… wasn't like that. I… I'm not sure what…"

Picard allowed the young man to collect his thoughts.

"I have never believed in the Reich's mission," Rabe admitted. "Although my parents and grandfather pushed it upon me when I was young. It never seemed reasonable to discount brilliant people simply from their race. It made no sense. But I said nothing, because to say anything would be to deny the State and Party. And now I sit here and I have thought about this, I have read your histories and seen all of the brilliant people the Reich would have demeaned or slaughtered out of hand… and I wonder how many people like Caterina Delgado died while I did nothing. When I did not even speak up for them. In truth, I was a coward."

"I cannot pretend to understand, entirely, how impossible your situation had been, Mister Rabe," Picard said. "May I ask what your plans for the future are?"

"I imagine I will be held as a prisoner of war. Captain Dale has promised he would report me as a defector, but… they will expect me to help them. But how can I help kill people like me? The men I served with, my comrades and friends, I can't bring myself to help kill them."

"I understand," Picard said. And he knew immediately why Robert had sent him to Rabe. "Mister Rabe, perhaps you could consider a different course then."

Rabe gave him a curious look.

"Do you wish to make things better for others?", Picard asked. "To use your gifts and talents to improve the state of our world, so to speak?"

"I do," Rabe said.

"Well, as it so happens, that is our goal as well," Picard explained. "And Starfleet is not actively engaged in this conflict. I think a man of intelligence, a man willing to leave the life he had before to save just one person… is a man who would work well within Starfleet."

Rabe sat silent for a moment. He looked from Picard to Worf and thought about what Picard was saying.

"Please then, Captain," he answered. "Tell me more."

Science Lab 2 was where Caterina had arranged the necessary pieces for fixing Data to be installed. La Forge and Jarod were moving around Data now and patching up the damage. "I'm just glad your positronic network wasn't shorted out," La Forge said to his friend. "That disruptor blast did a lot of damage."


"It looks like everything's good," Jarod said. He looked up from Data's former wound. "How do you feel, Data?"

"I am not receiving any indicators of further damage."

"Well, that's good news."

At La Forge's remark, Caterina piped in. "Yeah, but, well, how do you really feel?"

Data looked at her. He considered that inquiry. "Do you mean my emotions?"

"Yeah," Cat said. "Your chip didn't get damage, did it?"

"It is still in operation," Data answered. He twitched his face for a moment and a small smile came to his lips. "Test complete. It is working as intended."

Cat nodded and smiled as well. "That's wonderful."

La Forge reached for a control and released Data from the repair cradle. He stepped off. "Thank you, Geordi. Commander Jarod. Lieutenant Delgado."

"You can call me Cat, if you want," Caterina said. "I mean, we all call you Data, so…"

Data seemed to process this. "Very well. Cat. Thank you for helping with the repair."

Caterina's response was to give him a hug. "It's good. I was so worried when they shot you."

La Forge gave Data a curious look. "It looks like you've made a new friend, Data."

"Indeed. Caterina has been most interested in my development of emotions."

"I think it's wonderful to have them," Cat agreed. "An AI with emotions. Control had them…"

"I sense you have become sad." Data ended the hug. "Is Control not still located within your ship's tertiary auxiliary computer core?"

"Yeah, but he's not himself in there. He needs a bigger computer system to be at full potential."

"Yet he is here. So long as he is in the core, you have the chance to give him a proper storage medium at some point." Data's emotions shifted to allow him to comfort her with a gentle expression. "There is no reason to be sad."

There was no arguing with that logic. "Yeah," Caterina agreed. "You're right."

There was a surge of energy as the jump completed. And this time, Zack wasn't seeing it from the Koenig bridge, but through the dome of Cloud 9. Overheard space appeared again, seemingly little different from what it had been before.

But it was different. Entirely different.

At Roslin's nod, he took the microphone and spoke. "Attention everyone. Yes… sorry, celebration's not over, just a moment…" When Zack saw that he'd gotten everyone's attention - his voice booming across the area and, indeed, to the rest of the Fleet, that wasn't a surprise - he continued. "Commander Zachary Carrey of the Koenig speaking. To the people of the Colonial Fleet, I have just one thing to say. Congratulations! We have just jumped into the Penyami System. We are now in the territory of the Dorei Federation, a member of the United Alliance of Systems. You have officially made it to Alliance space!"

The crowds cheered. Adama and his officers applauded. Even Tigh was present, with his wife Ellen at his arm.

The Koenig officers present applauded as well.

In the crowd, the mostly-Colonial attendees continued their cheering. And one figure in a pretty dress winked at him. Zack smiled at seeing Clara blow him a kiss to go with the wink. His heart grew warm with thinking about what they were sharing now.

And he felt better. His friends had needed him and he had come, and he'd brought help. His decision to go out on his own, his acceptance of the offer to join Adama's fleet with his ship… it had all worked out in the end.

Everything had worked out.

"Now, before we let the celebration continue, I have one more little announcement to make. Something I've been waiting weeks to say." Zack pointed out to the fields beyond the dining pavilion they were taking up. "In celebration of our arrival, the First Colonial Little League Tournament will officially begin! Alright kids, let's play ball!"

The cheers, this time, were at the rear, where all of the children in the tournament teams were waiting. At Zack's call they rushed out, a sea of various light and grey-colored uniforms running enthusiastically toward the ball park. Samuel Anders and Creighton Apley were waiting to send them off to their diamonds to begin the warmups for the games to come shortly.

Zack left the microphone to Roslin and jumped down from the raised stage. Well-wishers extended him their hands and personal thanks and he did what he could to accept that. He made his way through the crowd to where Clara was waiting. Her blouse was a lovely sea-green and her skirt a midnight black. He felt a little flutter as her lips pressed to his for a quick kiss. "You're becoming quite the public speaker."

"Not that much of one," Zack said. "President Roslin lent me her speechwriters."

Clara giggled at that.


They looked to their side. Doctor Baltar stepped out from the crowd. "Commander, you did rather well," Baltar said. "I regret that you are likely to be re-assigned before my election."

Zack tried not to sigh. "Well, we'll see what happens," he offered.

"I was hoping to get more information from you on the planets being offered for our settlement," Baltar continued.

"We made that public last week. There's nothing being hidden," Zack insisted. He kept an arm around Clara and put a polite smile on. "Honestly, Doctor Baltar, I know the election's getting a little heated. I just don't think it's my place to get involved. Admiral Adama making us members of the Fleet was an honor but it doesn't change the fact we're outsiders. Your people have to decide for yourselves without our input."

Baltar smiled thinly and nodded. "I'm glad to hear you say that, Commander. Please, don't let me keep you from the games. I find your baseball rather fascinating and I hope to increase support for it when I'm in office."

"That guy gives me the creeps," Clara murmured after he returned to the crowd. "I feel like he's undressing me with his eyes all of the time."

"He probably is," Zack said.

"And you know this because…?"

"Because that's how I used to be." He gripped Clara's hand tightly. "Don't worry about it. It's just politics. Tonight is for us too."

"Watching a Little League game?", she asked, a sweet smile on her face. "Not a usual date."

"Not just a game. All of them! We've got every grouping playing tournaments over the next couple of days." He gave her a look. "And after today's games we'll have time for dinner and… I've reserved our suite."

"Ah." Clara grinned widely. "You are such a charmer, Zachary Carrey."

"I try…"

They stepped out of the crowd. Before they could go further, Zack heard the call of "Commander" and turned to face Adama. The older man wasn't quite smiling, but he was still cheerful. "Congratulations. And thank you for all of the work you've done helping the Fleet. Hopefully you'll get to stay with us until this election business is finished and we confirm which world we are settling on."

"I'll be with you as long as they let me, Admiral," Zack promised. "I'd like to thank you, too. You helped me convince President Roslin to take the risk and help my friends."

"It's always a good policy to help friends out when they need it," Adama stated. "Your people bled to help ours. It was only right that our people did the same for yours."

"Any luck with that Darglan data?"

"It'll take us years to go through, honestly," he admitted. "Doctor Baltar is the best candidate to do the job. Much to my regret."

"Yeah." Zack was staying apolitical and he knew Adama was trying. But despite what had happened at the initial contact, Zack would never support Baltar over Roslin. Not to himself. Roslin had at least repented of her bad decisions. Baltar seemed unlikely to ever do such a thing. "Well, Admiral…"

He stopped. A fun little idea crossed his mind.

Adama was waiting patiently for him to finish.

Zack grinned widely. "Admiral, I think the kids would be honored if you threw the first pitch of the tournament."

"Excuse me?", he asked.

"It's a ceremonial thing. You go up to the pitcher's mound and throw the ball to a catcher. And then you move on. President Roslin said she would be too busy and we've both thrown first pitches already for the Little League proper…"

Adama seemed to consider it. A grin crossed his face. "I think I will." As they walked on, he added, "And maybe I'll stay for a game or two. I'm still trying to understand how you play this sport…"

Worf looked over his assigned guest quarters with a discerning eye. All of his personal effects were again in his duffel bag and he had, after a proper search, made sure nothing had been lost.

When he arrived at the door, Angela Delgado was waiting for him. "Heading home already?", she asked.

"Yes." Worf nodded.

"I'll walk you to the airlock."

They moved through the corridors of the ship toward the port airlock. Once they got on a lift to take them to the lower deck where the airlock was based, Angel began speaking. "You've shown me a lot since you came aboard. Thank you."

"And you show promise. It has been an honor to work with you, Lieutenant."

"So, what next?"

"I… am unsure. I believe I will take a leave from Starfleet to consider my future."

"Right. Some time to think about things can help." Angel smirked. "I usually just hit things when I need to think."

"So I have noticed." Worf grinned slightly at that. "I have left a holodeck program for your mok'bara exercises with Commander Andreys."


"And if you desire things to hit instead, you may find Program Worf Calisthenics-1 as well." Worf's grin turned into a smirk. "I would recommend you ensure the safety protocols are in place before use. It can be quite… taxing."

That caused Angel to laugh. "Well, that sounds interesting. I can't wait to find out."

When the lift opened and they stepped out, Worf began speaking again. "I understand what drives you. I understand the need to protect what is important to you."

"Yeah. You've got the same, with your brother…"

"...and my son, yes." Worf took a moment to contemplate his own complicated relations with his son Alexander.

Angel noticed this. "I don't have kids so I can't talk about that. But I know… just because the people you care about aren't like you doesn't mean you can't get close to them. Cat and I are so different… but I wouldn't have it any other way."

"I suppose… there is wisdom to that."

Angel could tell he wasn't quite accepting of her argument regardless. She didn't push it.

Many people had turned out at the airlock to see the others off. Not simply Data and Worf (with La Forge and Picard still present), but Shepard as well. She was carrying a large duffel bag on her left shoulder, as if in defiance of the wound she took to her side below, and was in her blue duty uniform.

Commander Kane was in his own olive brown Marine duty uniform. He shook her hand. "An honor and a pleasure working with you, ma'am. Hopefully we can have that drink soon."

"Looking forward to it, Kane." Shepard turned her head and faced Meridina, who was in standard duty uniform. Olive brown trim below the collar of her black uniform jacket and along the sides of the trousers marked her branch as security. "Commander Meridina. It was a pleasure working with you."

"Indeed, Commander Shepard."

They nodded. And then Shepard's grin turned sly. "Rematch?", she asked.

"Rematch, yes," was the response. "Mi rake sa swevyra iso, Commander Shepard."

"Mee rocky…" Shepard stopped trying even as the bemused grin came to Meridina's face.

"Gersallian is really hard," Lucy said, stepping up. Her uniform had the beige of Operations/Engineering on it. "I just say 'may your life force be with you', since it's about the same in meaning, but sounds really weird."

"Yeah, it does," Shepard agreed. She shook hands with Lucy. "How about we just go with 'Take care of yourself', Lieutenant?"

"Take care of yourself, Commander," Lucy agreed.

Shepard stepped away. Julia was the next to offer her hand. "It was great working with you, Commander," the blond woman said.

"I've got a question," Shepard said while accepting Julia's hand. "Your uniforms seem to do the same 'branch color' thing that the Starfleet uniforms do. Your rank insignia even use the same pattern of gold and black markers. Why is that?"

"It's in memory of Captain Farmer," Julia explained. "He was a Starfleet engineer who helped us before the Alliance was created. He oversaw the building of the Aurora. We adapted his uniform design for us back then in honor of his achievements and his sacrifice when we fought the Daleks."

"Right. Thanks for that." Shepard and Julia exchanged grins and she went on.

Robert was standing with Picard and the Starfleet people. And one more. Rabe was standing behind them, clearly ready to join them in departing. "Well, Captain, this is it, I suppose."

"It is, for now at least," Robert answered. He accepted Shepard's hand. "It was an honor, Commander Shepard."

"I have to admit, I wasn't sure how well this would work out," Shepard said. "But you and your crew are pretty good. Maybe we'll end up working together again someday."

"I hope so."

Shepard leaned in closer. "So… that… you know… thing you started doing…"

"Yeah." Robert nodded. "I'm still getting used to it."

"Take it from a biotic. Get the training you need to use it well. It'll save your life."

Angel looked their way. Robert noticed the unhappy look that crossed her face and sighed. "Yeah. I know."

With their exchange completed, Robert called out for everyone to look their way. "Everyone… I know that we've just gone through… well, I suppose you could actually call it 'hell'. But we came through that. And I don't think we could have done it without the allies who stood with us in the fight. Commander Shepard, Commander Data, Commander Worf… good luck to you all. We're honored to have served with you. Without your experience and skill, I don't think we would have won this. We wish you the best in the future. You'll always have a place with the crew of the Aurora."

There were cheers from behind. Cat was the only one to fully speak out, though, calling out to Data. "Data, let me know how your emotions are doing! I can't wait until you're experiencing them completely!"

"Of course," Data answered. He had them turned in partly, given the grin on his face. "I look forward to working with you again."

Worf looked over everyone. "You are honorable men and women, brave and resourceful. Worthy of our respect. I was honored to serve with you all."

Shepard looked at Worf with a slight grin before turning her head back to them. Her green eyes flickered with a hint of bemusement. "I think the big guy put it better than I would have."

"Goodbye, Caterina," Rabe called out.

"Good luck in Starfleet!", Cat replied happily.

"I can see you have all made an impression," Picard stated. The applause quieted down as he spoke. "A year ago, I was looking forward to seeing where your journeys would take you and how your potential would develop. Whatever our differences of opinion, I knew that you could go far. And hearing of this past year, your first year together as a crew on this ship, I can see how right I was. You have made several critical first contacts for your Alliance, you've stood against terrible forces and strived to make this growing Multiversal community stronger. Some of you have made mistakes along the way, yes." Picard nodded. "So have we all. But what we do out here isn't about avoiding mistakes, it's about learning from them. Growing from them. And that is what I see here." Picard smiled softly at them all. "Learning from our past is how we can learn to guard our futures. You have been taking that to heart. I look forward to seeing where the next year takes you all."

The applause began again.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-30 07:14pm


The Willamette River flowed in the distance through the window. Robert looked at it and the brightly-lit skyline of Portland beyond. The new capital of the United Alliance of Systems was growing busier every time he saw it again, it seemed.

Behind him a young Gersallian woman called his name. "The President is waiting for you, Captain," she said. Her English had a melodic quality to it, much like how Meridina spoke English.

"Thank you." He nodded and entered the room beyond. President Henry Morgan was at his desk. His hair was more gray than it had ever been and lines were growing ever more prominent on his dark skin. Brown eyes looked toward Robert and he could see the fatigue in them.

Robert had felt the pressure of being a captain often, and moreso whenever his decisions seemed to weigh for the future of the Alliance. Seeing Morgan made him realize how well off he was. Morgan made decisions that could make or break the Alliance every day.

Seated in a couch was Admiral Maran. The Gersallian man seemed as unflappable as ever. No new gray had been added to his hair. They must not show stress like we do, Robert imagined.

"Congratulations, Captain," Morgan said. "Your mission was a success. And the additional data you've given us may take years to sort through. And that includes what you found in E5B1."

"Thank you, sir." Robert nodded. "We lost some people. Good people."

"I know." Morgan put his hands on the desk. "Admiral Maran says you have something to share."

Robert gave a glance to his commander. Maran showed no response to what Morgan said. But he had obviously read Robert's report on… everything.

"Admiral Davies arranged the assignment of Commander King's ship, the Sladen, so he could spy on my crew," Robert said. "I have the Commander's confession recorded, along with the proof. I provided it to Admiral Maran."

"Yes." Morgan sighed. "I thought he might do something like this."

"Is there anything we can do about it?"

"Not without having a showdown with my Defense Minister," Morgan revealed. "And with the war on, I cannot risk that."

"But he's spying on a member nation," Robert protested. "He admitted he's got Naval Intelligence spying on the Gersallian government."

"I know. But after what happened in May…"

"You mean the attempt to throw us off our ship."

"Yes. The Gersallians… did not make friends that day." Morgan shook his head. Robert could feel the weariness coming from Morgan through his newfound power. "This Alliance is a work in progress, Captain. The war is not making it any easier to put it together. I cannot afford a showdown over this. Not again." Seeing Robert's frown, the President smiled thinly. "Thankfully your successes have quieted some of your detractors. We didn't think anyone could get the Citadel Council into an agreement without it costing us more."

"Thank you, sir."

"You've earned a lot of respect among the other allies too. The Klingons, the Federation… you have a growing list of friends. Hawthorne and Davies will find it hard to argue with that, not when we still need our allies for the war."

At least there is that. "Will there be any trouble about Kurt Rabe?"

"He is a conscientious defector from the Reich, not a prisoner," Maran replied. "While we might have preferred debriefing him, I've arranged the paperwork to show that his consideration for his defection was being permitted emigration to the Federation."

"Good. I think he'll do better there than with us," Robert said. "Is there anything else, sirs?"

"Nothing," Morgan replied. "You are dismissed, Captain."

Robert nodded and turned to leave. He stopped himself at the door and looked back. "Hawthorne and Davies seem to seriously think the Order of Swenya is trying to covertly undermine the government. There's got to be a way to deal with that fear, right?"

Maran and Morgan exchanged glances. "I wish there was, Captain," Morgan finally said. "But the tricky thing with paranoia is that the paranoid only accept what they want to accept. All I can hope is that time and practice show their fears are unfounded."

"And that the damage they cause in the meantime can be fixed," Robert sighed.

"Exactly," Morgan said. "Your ship's repairs will take another month or so, Captain, so feel free to take some leave time. Do something to decompress. We'll need you at top form when the Aurora is ready to leave spacedock."

When Robert returned to the Aurora and went to his quarters, Angel was waiting for him. "So," she said, "with the ship needing repairs I figured we could take some leave time. I've always wanted to visit some of those Caribbean islands and…" She noticed the look on Robert's face. "What is it?"

"I can't," he said. "Not… maybe in a week or so."

Angel's lip pursed. She was clearly upset with that. "This is about that mumbo jumbo stuff, isn't it?"

Robert nodded. "I've let the genie out of the bottle, Angel," he said. "So I've got to get this under control."

He could feel the frustration and anger coming from her. "No. No, there has to be something… some way you can get rid of this stuff."

"There isn't," he said. "I've looked into it. Leo has no idea what's happened to me. No more than he did about Lucy."

"Dammit, Rob. Dammit." For a moment Angel struggled against her temper before she got it under control. "Okay, so you have to do this. But does it have to be now? Can't you take a freaking break after we all nearly died?"

"I wish I could," he said. "But.. this power I feel, it's not something I just turn off. And I can't just leave it alone, not until I get an idea of how to control it." Seeing Angel's look he went up and put a hand on her shoulder. "Angel, a week, okay? Give me a week to train with Meridina and Lucy, just to get this thing under control. Then we'll go... I don't know, wherever you want to go. Sicily, the Aegean, the Caribbean, Acapulco, wherever. We'll take two weeks, just the two of us, together. Just us. Okay?"

Angel nodded stiffly. "Two weeks."

"Yeah. Two weeks. Then we come back and the ship will be getting ready to launch again."

There was a moment of silence as Angel's frustration warred with her understanding. She finally nodded. "Sure. Two weeks. I'll pick the place we go."

"Of course."

"And no calls. We don't bring multidevices. We beam down and if anyone calls us, for any reason, I get to break one of their bones. Deal?"

"As long as it's not my bone," he said jovially. "Deal."

There was silence. And then Angel nodded again. "Deal." She gave him a peck of a kiss on the cheek. "Now I bet you're heading off to go learn mumbo jumbo with Meridina and Lucy, right?"

"Well… yeah."

"Fine. Go. Learn it." She nodded. "I'll be waiting for you."

Robert could feel she still wasn't happy. But she was trying to be, for his sake if anything. He replied with a kiss on her lips. He made it a full one, and she accepted, and for several moments it was just the two of them.

The kiss ended and they smiled at each other. Angel went over to the table and sat down to watch Robert leave.

The smile disappeared after the door closed.

Meridina and Lucy were waiting for Robert when he got to the holodeck on Deck 6 that they used for their training. The environment selected was a simple room with protective mats on the walls and floors. Various objects were scattered around. Meridina and Lucy were wearing light vests and baggy trousers of white and gray respectively. A similar set of clothing was laid out for him beside a partition. "For your benefit," Meridina said.

"Right. I'll warn you now, we have a week and then I'm on leave. Or Angel will start punching our teeth out."

Lucy chuckled at that. "Wow. You talked her into an entire week."

Meridina nodded and smiled gently. Robert didn't think she was as amused though. "I understand Angela's desire to spend time with you. But it is very important that we establish your abilities, Robert, and your control, before you go off into other situations. The darkness in everyone can easily manifest in the most unexpected ways."

"Tell me about it," Lucy muttered. Robert saw her actually shiver.

"Okay. So… I change and then…?"

"And then… what comes, comes," Meridina replied stoically. "All training will differ by the strengths and weaknesses of the individual student."

"Although I, for one, am looking forward into how you deal with standing on your hands," Lucy added, chortling afterward.

Robert gave her a look. "I'm not going to like this, am I?"

"The training can be taxing at times, yes," Meridina admitted. "It is necessary to come to terms with your power."

"Of course it is." He sighed. "This is going to be worse than the time I let Julia and Angela talk me into joining their training." He picked up the vest and trousers laid out for him and slipped behind the partition to change.

While he did so, Lucy looked to Meridina. "So, how does this thing work now that you've got two students?"

"It is not unknown to train two individuals in basic control at a time," Meridina said in reply.

Lucy gave her a skeptical look. "It's not basic control training anymore, and you know it."

"Indeed. But regardless, I believe in you both. You will learn how to use your powers to the fullest. And you will use them as you see fit."

"And you're sure about that because…?"

Meridina matched Lucy's curious look with one of absolute certainty, joined by a small grin. "Because, Lucy Lucero… I believe in Destiny."

The medical bay on the Reich's Glory was dimmed and quiet. The ship's night cycle was on and there was only one patient left.

Erik Fassbinder tried and fail to move his left arm again. It would take more surgery, more repair, to regain the use of the limb.

But he was not perturbed by that. He focused upon his right arm. His right hand. He was holding a coin in it. A five Reichspfening coin that he was running around his fingers.

He thought of what he had seen. The confirmation of all of his suspicions. The power that had never been known to the Reich before.

Fassbinder flipped the coin in his hand a few times, thinking. Thinking of his enemies.

He slowly sat up in the bed and held open his palm. The coin laid in the middle of his palm. He focused on it. He imagined the possibilities of power. The whispers of his destiny.

And, just for a moment, the coin seemed to rise from his palm..

The Adventures of the ASV Aurora​
and her crew​
will continue in...​

"Undiscovered Frontier"​
Season 2

The crew will face new enemies…

Robert looked at the man on the other end of the forcefield. His brown eyes were intent on Robert and he could feel their prisoner's anger. His passions and his determination to get out. "Where did you come from?", Robert asked. "How did you get…"

"You'll find out soon enough," was the reply.

Meridina reached out and felt the dark matter flow around her. It snapped, as if angry it were denied its target. "Stop!", Meridina shouted. "You have done enough damage."

The dark-clad Asari replied with a smirk. "If I had known you were like that, I might have hunted you instead."

Angel and Caterina moved ahead of the other, startled people in the basement room. "What is that thing?", the man said in an English accent.

The suppurating mass of green that had once been the suited man began to coalesce into a humanoid form. "Interesting," it gurgled through a half-formed mouth. "Perhaps I will learn more after I absorb you two…"

"Hey, you two…" Angel looked back. "Alton or Ursula or whatever your names are, we should probably start to…"

"...run!," Caterina urged.

Angel started shooting the creature as it surged at them with a terrible hunger.

...and old.

"You are not welcome in this galaxy, outsiders." The Goa'uld made Robert think of an old movie with Fu Manchu. "And if you wish to protect the Tau'Ri, you will agree to our terms."

"Or…", the other began, his long flowing hair framing a voice full of disgust. "...the Goa'uld System Lords will not stop until you are destroyed. All of you."

Robert and O'Neill exchanged looks. "Oh, is that all?", O'Neill asked. "Because here I thought this was supposed to be a negotiation and that really doesn't sound like negotiating as I understand it..."

The Nazi assault craft continued to hover over their heads. Energy fire poured down from the saucer-like vehicle and its multiple disruptor cannons. The green pulses forced Kane and Lucy to stay low. "We're not moving ahead of here, Lieutenant," Kane said. "That thing's got too much firepower."

"We need to keep going," she insisted. "If we don't get to Nick and the others soon, they'll die!"

Robert looked across the desk at Davies. "Can't you see what you're doing, Admiral?", he asked. "All of this paranoia and suspicion is going to destroy the Alliance!"

"I'm well aware of what can or can't destroy this Alliance, Captain," Davies retorted. "And it seems to me that you've already picked your side on that matter with what you've become."

"How can you be so close-minded…"

"You have undermined millennia of our ways!", Goras raged at Meridina. "You have paved the way for the subjugation of our entire species to outside influences! You are an enemy, a traitor to this Order, to the Code, to the people of Gersal. I will see you tested! Personally!"

"Tested?", Robert whispered to Ledosh.

The older Gersallian's expression was drawn with horror. "He wishes to test her, power against power, lakesh against lakesh."

"A duel?", Lucy asked.

"A duel to see if she is in control. And if she fails…" Ledosh gave them a sad look. "...he will certainly kill her."

But where there are enemies…

"We might need some help on this one," Robert sighed.

Julia responded with a sly grin. "Isn't that how it usually goes?"

...there will also be allies.

Robert and the others were surprised at the figure that materialized in the room. "Greetings, Robert Dale and crew." The little alien raised a hand. "I am Supreme Commander Thor of the Asgard."

"Commander Shepard." Zack extended his hand as she stepped off the Koenig transporter. "Welcome aboard."

Shepard accepted his hand and nodded. "Glad to be here."

Robert reached up and let O'Neill and Teal'c haul him to his feet. "Thanks."

"You are welcome." Teal'c motioned down the hall. "I believe the Goa'uld went this way."

"It's alright, young lady, you'll be safe here," the woman answered. "What's your name?"

"Caterina. Caterina Delgado. This is my sister Angel," Cat managed between breaths.

"Well, Caterina, my name is Sarah Jane Smith." The woman gestured for them to enter. "It looks like you and your sister have quite the story to tell…"

Recalling what he had been briefed to say, Robert said, "Your Highness, thank you for welcoming us to your world."

The short man replied with an accent that was more German than English. "I may have you to thank, Captain…"

Robert extended his hand. "Captain Robert Dale, Alliance Starship Aurora."

"Ah." That won him a nod. And much to Robert's surprise, the hand was accepted. "I am Prince Victor Steiner-Davion. Welcome to New Avalon, Captain."

And the meeting that will change everything…

"Well, look at all this!" The man looked around the bridge. "Lovely ship you've got. Ah, the Darglan, they were always so creative…"

Everyone was staring at the new arrival. "Excuse me," Julia began, "but who are you?"

"Me?" He flashed them a grin. "Hello everyone. I'm the Doctor."

Undiscovered Frontier​
Season 2​
"Whispers of Destiny"​

Coming Winter 2016
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-05-30 08:07pm

"Hullo, Nazi chaps, would you like a jelly baby?!"
"When you send a man out with a gun, you create a policymaker. When his ass is on the line, he will do whatever he needs to do.

And, if the implications of that bother you, the time to do something about it is before you send him out."
—David Drake

"Oh, but you did! You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me! But, since that's a concept you can't seem to wrap your head around, then, you've got no place here. You did it to me, Jayne, and that's a fact."

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-05-30 11:06pm

"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Steve » 2016-05-31 03:20am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:"Hullo, Nazi chaps, would you like a jelly baby?!"


I can't wait to reveal which Dr. Who event the poor Aurora crew will wind up getting pulled into... :twisted:

And I'm probably also lucky that Thanas hasn't found this, I'm sure the idea of a timeline where Nazi Germany won the war and conquered the world in about 100 years or so would be horrifying to him.

Eternal_Freedom wrote:Awesome.

The story? Or the previews for what's coming next? :D
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-05-31 04:35am

Steve wrote:And I'm probably also lucky that Thanas hasn't found this, I'm sure the idea of a timeline where Nazi Germany won the war and conquered the world in about 100 years or so would be horrifying to him.

I think it would make anyone's "worst fucking nightmare" list; mine, especially, because I can't help but feel it's coming true in this country, especially with the increasing power of a minority with similar views over the last thirty-six years.

Thanas, doubtlessly fears this, because he's lived in a Germany where these knuckleheads have remained marginalized for 61 years by a people who've learned the hard way what giving their worst instincts power does...and how much it costs.

And, because there are still a minority in his country who still wish for the "good old days," and all it takes for them to come to power again is a single wrong word, a single dark thought made manifest, and a people who have forgotten the lessons history has taught them.

By the way, the Nazis in your ficton are scary accurate. Damned accurate. And damned scary.
"When you send a man out with a gun, you create a policymaker. When his ass is on the line, he will do whatever he needs to do.

And, if the implications of that bother you, the time to do something about it is before you send him out."
—David Drake

"Oh, but you did! You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me! But, since that's a concept you can't seem to wrap your head around, then, you've got no place here. You did it to me, Jayne, and that's a fact."

—Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class hauler Serenity,in a nutshell

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Borgholio » 2016-05-31 08:41am

I'm loving this story so far, especially the action scenes. Anything that involves smashing Nazis is just pure fun. :) Question for you Steve...did you ever explain just how much space the Nazis actually control?
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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-05-31 08:59am

71 years. Never have insomnia and do math at the same time.
"When you send a man out with a gun, you create a policymaker. When his ass is on the line, he will do whatever he needs to do.

And, if the implications of that bother you, the time to do something about it is before you send him out."
—David Drake

"Oh, but you did! You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me! But, since that's a concept you can't seem to wrap your head around, then, you've got no place here. You did it to me, Jayne, and that's a fact."

—Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class hauler Serenity,in a nutshell

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-05-31 09:29am

Steve wrote:
Eternal_Freedom wrote:Awesome.

The story? Or the previews for what's coming next? :D

Both! The Doctor, Thor, more fun stuff with SG-1 and BattleTech as well? Sweet.

I now have a mental image of a bunch of Panzergrenadiers getting ambushed by an Atlas or Orion and collectively going "oh shit."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-05-31 10:14am

I just want to see Aaron Sandoval and his "nephew" curbstomping goosesteppers.

Or SS men versus Clan elementals. Or Snow.
"When you send a man out with a gun, you create a policymaker. When his ass is on the line, he will do whatever he needs to do.

And, if the implications of that bother you, the time to do something about it is before you send him out."
—David Drake

"Oh, but you did! You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me! But, since that's a concept you can't seem to wrap your head around, then, you've got no place here. You did it to me, Jayne, and that's a fact."

—Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class hauler Serenity,in a nutshell

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Re: "Seeking the Past" - "Undiscovered Frontier" Season 1

Postby Borgholio » 2016-05-31 10:43am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:I just want to see Aaron Sandoval and his "nephew" curbstomping goosesteppers.

Or SS men versus Clan elementals. Or Snow.

Actually I want to see the Nazis gain enough info from the Dalgren database to find their way to the Stargate universe. I want to see Goa'uld vs Nazis.
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