Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

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astrospace2020
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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by astrospace2020 » 2014-06-15 05:13pm

well not with the Transphasic torpedoes ,and Ablative Armour , and more Powerful phasers .Since Admiral Janeway destroyed the Borg Nexus in that Nebula . So as soon as Voyager arrives, Starfleet will have a great advantage against the Borg .

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Lord Revan » 2014-06-15 06:01pm

Transphasic torps do exist in STO and they're not 1-hit kill on the borg and while it's easier to kill the borg now (5-10 high end ships can easily deal with cubes even if there's more then 1 present at the time) the STO borg are not the TNG-era borg either, they're more resilient, aggressive, intelligent and independent, these drones will attack on sight if they notice you, use ranged weapons as standard are resilient enough to fight undine on the ground and not get slaughtered, in space again they can go against the Undine and actually pose a viable threat instead not even getting to say their standard hail before being blown up.
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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-06-15 08:09pm

Lord Revan wrote:Transphasic torps do exist in STO and they're not 1-hit kill on the borg and while it's easier to kill the borg now (5-10 high end ships can easily deal with cubes even if there's more then 1 present at the time) the STO borg are not the TNG-era borg either, they're more resilient, aggressive, intelligent and independent, these drones will attack on sight if they notice you, use ranged weapons as standard are resilient enough to fight undine on the ground and not get slaughtered, in space again they can go against the Undine and actually pose a viable threat instead not even getting to say their standard hail before being blown up.
This. STO took some liberties with the canon (and I'm taking liberties with STO's material, to boot). By this time in the storyline Voyager would have returned and the Borg already adapted at least in part to her arsenal, which has been rolled out across Starfleet - at least in small doses to important ships.

We're currently two years before 'present day' of STO, before things like Task Force Omega and the dedicated anti-Borg developments, but around the climax of the Klingon war, so I thought that a midsize fleet including a Star Cruiser (the Emissary) was a good match for the Cube.

If we take game mechanics as fact, by 2410 a Star Cruiser can [with an exceptional crew and top-line armament] bring down a Cube in a one-on-one slugfest. Not sure I think that's appropriate or reasonable in this narrative, though.

In any event, thank you all for your interest! :D Have another chapter:
- XIX -
U.S.S. Royal Hunt, Vega System, 2408

Despite the order spelling near-certain doom, the Caitian complied and hurled the Royal Hunt toward- stricken sister ship. His knuckles were visibly white, even through the fine fur of his fingers.

‘Diverting all available power to engines!’ Fox snapped before she had to be ordered, her hands danced frantically across the panel to comply. By now, sporadic phaser fire was lancing out from the Gemini, but the damage she’d sustained had clearly wreaked havoc on her power grid and the orange spears guttered out, stopped short, or swung wide of their targets. The ship lurched, inertial dampeners strained past their limits, as Pavemir forced the ship into a tight spin to avoid one of the errant phaser beams.

The other ships in the fleet attempted to provide aid as well, but were too slow and too far away to hit the fast-moving torpedoes accurately, and their fire dropped off as the Royal Hunt swept past and blocked their aim. Althaeon was issuing orders in as calm a voice as he could muster, but the feline pilot already knew what was required as he placed the ship directly in the path of the torpedoes and banked away from the unmoving Gemini with agonizing slowness.

Ensign Fox read out telemetry data to the Caitian, voice quivering, and his whiskers twitched as the information confirmed his suspicion that the torpedoes had locked onto their ship instead. His turned his head for a fraction of a second, waiting to know what Althaeon had planned next.
‘Miss Du’Shen, can aft phasers lock on the torpedoes?’ he demanded.
‘We’re too close!’ she replied shaking her head. ‘We could shoot them down but we’d lose the ship to the blast waves anyway.’
‘The fleet?’
‘Negative,’ called Fox. ‘I’m pushing the engines to the max and we can’t open a gap!’
‘Very well. Mister Pavemir, head for the cube.’
A light of understanding flickered in his eyes and the fragile light cruiser dove towards the expanding wreckage of the Borg ship.
‘There,’ the Caitian said, highlighting on the viewer an improbably tight gap between sections of wreckage. Before Althaeon could even give the order, Fox had already found that the gap was too narrow and had shunted all the power she could scavenge to the dorsal and ventral shields. The Acting Captain nodded in approval before turning to Amra.
‘Miss Du’Shen, as a contingency plan –’
‘Torpedo spread, delayed fuse, cold launch on my mark!’ she finished for him, barking the command into a channel to the torpedo bay. With the bridge crew already carrying out the insane plan, Althaeon only had one more command to issue:
‘All hands, brace for impact!’

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Lord Revan » 2014-06-15 09:09pm

Venator wrote:
Lord Revan wrote:Transphasic torps do exist in STO and they're not 1-hit kill on the borg and while it's easier to kill the borg now (5-10 high end ships can easily deal with cubes even if there's more then 1 present at the time) the STO borg are not the TNG-era borg either, they're more resilient, aggressive, intelligent and independent, these drones will attack on sight if they notice you, use ranged weapons as standard are resilient enough to fight undine on the ground and not get slaughtered, in space again they can go against the Undine and actually pose a viable threat instead not even getting to say their standard hail before being blown up.
This. STO took some liberties with the canon (and I'm taking liberties with STO's material, to boot). By this time in the storyline Voyager would have returned and the Borg already adapted at least in part to her arsenal, which has been rolled out across Starfleet - at least in small doses to important ships.

We're currently two years before 'present day' of STO, before things like Task Force Omega and the dedicated anti-Borg developments, but around the climax of the Klingon war, so I thought that a midsize fleet including a Star Cruiser (the Emissary) was a good match for the Cube.

If we take game mechanics as fact, by 2410 a Star Cruiser can [with an exceptional crew and top-line armament] bring down a Cube in a one-on-one slugfest. Not sure I think that's appropriate or reasonable in this narrative, though.
the 5-10 ships to take out a cube comes from what missions consider to be what's needed to fight the borg, as in gameplay the powercreep has made it so that my Mirror prommie can almost take a cube 1 on 1 and I still need better tac consoles and the rest of my weapons aren't BiS or optimal against the borg.

I like your story so far, it has made me even consider writing story starting my own STO characters.
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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by astrospace2020 » 2014-06-16 12:12am

great new chapter, i hope the Shields , manage to deflect most of the impact of the torpedoes .

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-06-16 07:56am

Lord Revan wrote:the 5-10 ships to take out a cube comes from what missions consider to be what's needed to fight the borg, as in gameplay the powercreep has made it so that my Mirror prommie can almost take a cube 1 on 1 and I still need better tac consoles and the rest of my weapons aren't BiS or optimal against the borg.

I like your story so far, it has made me even consider writing story starting my own STO characters.
Lucky duck - I had a standard Prometheus/Advanced Escort - they look even better in Mirror colours.

- XX -


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

Though the chaos of haphazard planning and peril of incoming had seemed to stretch time, only seconds had elapsed since the Royal Hunt had swooped in to the rescue of the imperilled light cruiser. Althaeon’s claws bit deeply into the material of his chair and his knuckles turned sky-blue as the twisted wreck of the Borg cube grew and grew in the viewscreen. His face was suddenly contorted by g-forces as his helmsman threw the ship into a violent series of jinks and rolls, evading chunks of debris and overpowering the ailing inertial dampeners once again. One of the glimmering green spheres pursuing them was not so dextrous and detonated against a jagged slab of the Borg structure, the shockwave pushing the tiny cruiser closer to freedom but also – several on the bridge inhaled sharply – compressing the gap they aimed for incrementally. Fox hammered more commands into her console, cutting everything from lighting to gravity anywhere that it could be spared and pumping the meagre surplus into the shields.

Time slowed. The gap rushed forward.

I should have stayed in the Guard, Amra thought dourly.

Then they impacted, and the world was reduced to a chaotic tumult of noise, vibration, and terror. Alarms screeched, escaping gasses hissed, and the entire hull seamed to groan and roar in protest. This first mighty impact was followed by an overlapping series of lesser jerks and crashes as the Borg torpedoes struck the wreckage of the cube and threw forth their energies in massive shockwaves, absorbed by the wreckage and failing to do real harm to the fleeing Starfleet vessel. Still, the structure of the ship groaned in protest, alarms signalling the strain placed on the injured hull and overworked integrity fields.

Then the sickening motion slowed and the ship rocked to a steady halt – the alarms and the other sounds heralding damage and wear continued, but the shuddering, bone-crunching sensations of impact were past. The viewer showed empty space. The ship rolled and shot away upwards, while Amra ordered to the torpedoes launched. They fell away behind the ship un-guided and un-propelled, tumbling away astern where they met the sole survivor of their Borg counterparts which would have made it through the breach, and a second later they detonated in a sympathetic conflagration which tore through the wreckage of the cube. The Royal Hunt was rocked again, and then at last it held still for good. Amra released her death-grip on her chairs’ rests and Althaeon extricated claws from his. Trembling slightly, he keyed the ship-wide comms.

‘Crew of the Royal Hunt,’ he began, ‘once again we have faced Death. Once again, we have spurned it. And once again, we have won.’

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by astrospace2020 » 2014-06-16 08:05am

great new chapter, the Borg are crushed, now its time to repair and upgrade the Starfleet warships, build more Sovereign Class , and Defiant Class, develop auto regenerative shielding . cant hardly wait for the next chapters.

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Borgholio » 2014-06-16 11:54am

astrospace2020 wrote:great new chapter, the Borg are crushed, now its time to repair and upgrade the Starfleet warships, build more Sovereign Class , and Defiant Class, develop auto regenerative shielding . cant hardly wait for the next chapters.
Getting a little ahead of yourself there. First, go back to the planet and deal with any Borg on the surface. Then, perhaps in a different story, the large-scale political and technological changes can be mentioned. This story appears to be about this one lone ship and it's quite a good one.
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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-06-16 04:51pm

Borgholio wrote:This story appears to be about this one lone ship and it's quite a good one.
Took the words right out of my mouth ;). Rest assured, we haven't seen the last of the Borg, but this story is more about one patchwork crew than the military production capacity of the Federation. With the battle done, we're slowing the pace for a bit to get to know them.

- XXI -


U.S.S. Emissary, Vega System, 2408

It wasn’t till the fourth day following the destruction of the Borg cube that Lieutenant-Commander (Acting Captain) Althaeon received the inevitable summons to the Admiral’s presence on the Emissary.

It had luckily taken only two of those days to end the Borg threat once and for all; the damaged Exeter-class had destroyed the remains of the sphere and most of its complement from orbit, and the remaining scattered drones had been eliminated by a combination of shuttle strafing runs, M.A.C.O corps troops in the streets, the indiscriminate wrath of both the forest fires and the notoriously aggressive local predators. Though personnel were still on the ground both sweeping for survivors or parasitic Borg technology and assisting with humanitarian efforts, all were relieved to be spared a gruelling ground operation against a drone presence entrenched in the urban centres.

Following the successful elimination of the Borg ground forces there had still been much to do in the aftermath; long-range sensor sweeps and patrols to find Borg reinforcements which thankfully did not appear, coordination of the stream of arriving repair vessels and medical ships, and solemn services for the lost. The Galaxy-class Triumph had been lost with all hands, though almost a third of the Akira-class Agamemnon survived. Every other ship had suffered some casualties, and once reunited with the remainder of their crew and missing shuttles, the men and women of the Royal Hunt grieved alongside those of the fleet and those from the colony below.

Because of this delay, another important event transpired, though at the time its significance was not so readily appreciated: the bridge crew of the Royal Hunt continued to work together. Though all were still over-worked and deathly tired, the removal of the pressure of imminent doom meant that they could begin to socialize in the odd moments of calm.

All lauded Pavemir for his flying and learned of his history flying sleek Caitian Stalker fighters; he had showed them the footage of the terrifying crash that had led him to Starfleet, opening his uniform to display the deep scars on his arm and chest. Amra and Fox compared their experiences instigating the EPS rupture, and the latter gave the former heartfelt thanks for her quick thinking. Fox also asked for a quiet word with Althaeon, who assured her that he, at least, would turn a blind eye to the compromising situation he had found her in.

Only after all did Admiral Yanishev have the time to call Althaeon in for a debriefing, and even then he was still busy enough that he was digesting the contents of a PADD in the hallway when Althaeon approached rather than waiting in his office. He turned at the towering Kaerbadii’s approach, accepting the crisp salute and noting the contrast between them; though sleep-deprived and worn the Admirals’ fresh uniform bore stark contrast to Althaeon’s, still burnt and tattered.

‘Haven’t changed yet?’ he demanded after dismissing the rating who’d brought the PADD to him. The young man retreated into the distance, boots ringing unevenly on the hard metal grate as he stumbled away, as though still unable to process having been in the Director of Fleet Operations’ presence.
‘I apologize, sir, Althaeon replied with genuine remorse. ‘My remaining uniforms were lost to fire during our initial engagement.’ The Admiral nodded.
‘Fair enough. See to it you requisition a new set before long – there will be formal debriefings with everyone from Fleet HQ to Starfleet Intelligence, and they might not be so understanding if they see you in that state on a viewscreen.’
‘Yes sir,’ Althaeon nodded, ducking out of the way of a stocky Tellarite manhandling a hover-trolley laden almost to the ceiling with crates of supplies.
‘We’re in the way here,’ the Admiral pointed out unnecessarily. ‘Walk with me, Mister Althaeon.’

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by LadyTevar » 2014-06-16 07:13pm

So, I wonder how this debrief will go?
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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-06-30 11:11am

LadyTevar wrote:So, I wonder how this debrief will go?
Why don't we find out! Sorry for the delay getting this up. Caveat lector, this is a longish one.

- XXII -


U.S.S. Emissary, Vega System, 2408

To the Lieutenant-Commander’s surprise they did not travel towards the Admiral’s office, the main situation room, or any other landmarks that Althaeon remembered from his brief holodeck introduction to the ship or from his previous visit. Instead, they passed repair teams and marching M.A.C.O. soldiers, stacks of replacement parts and bins of burnt debris waiting processing, towards an observation deck on the ship’s starboard flank. One of relatively few concessions to personal needs and desires rather than the demands of warfare, the chamber provided a grand view of the assembled starships and an array of inviting seating and small tables. The space was presided over by a raised bar and suffused as a whole by ambient blue-purple illumination to complement the relatively dim ceiling lights. It took only a moment for the shining blue eyes of the alien to take in one other important fact – the room was entirely empty.

The Admiral indicated a pair of seats across from one another – comfortable but simple swivelling affairs rather than the plush benches ringing the edges of the panoramic windows. As Althaeon lowered his oversized and injured form rather awkwardly into one of the chairs, the Admiral deposited himself rather more bodily into the opposing one.
‘During the battle, the Borg caught us with a cutting beam just as the starboard shields went down,’ the Admiral said. Althaeon cocked his head slightly but remained silent. ‘It caught the ship right over our heads and took a phaser station out of commission – and I lost four good people in the process. If it had been a few meters lower, all we would have lost would have been some cushions and this bars’ supply of synthetic dreck.’ He paused, as if waiting for a response.
‘I am sorry for the loss, sir,’ Althaeon interjected at the cue. ‘Some of the greatest tragedies result from blind chance.’
‘And some of the most fortuitous opportunities, too,’ Yanishev replied, nodding. ‘Mister Althaeon, do you remember the last time we spoke?’
‘I do, sir. Almost two years ago.’ Althaeon shifted with uncharacteristic discomfort. ‘I fear that negative sentiments may have resulted from the conversation.’ The Admiral laughed heartily without warning, reminding Althaeon of that last meeting.
‘I’ll never understand how you manage to be so blunt and long-winded at the same time, and still find a way to understate things so completely,’ he said after his laughter had subsided. ‘Althaeon,’ he continued, cutting off the Kaerbadii as he began to reply, ‘I didn’t have ‘negative sentiments’ – I was angry. And you know what makes me even more angry? That you were right. The war with the Klingons has dragged on. Whatever’s left of the Romulans are threatening our borders and new threats I can’t even tell you about have emerged. And now the Borg, the boogiemen we used to scare people into letting us build ships like this, are back and more dangerous than ever. More than ever, we need soldiers, not… what did you call Starfleet officers? ‘Warrior-poets’?’

Althaeon began to speak again, but appeared to think better of it and simply flexed his jaw before settling again, the chair’s upholstery making slight frictional sounds as he moved. The Admiral pressed on to fill the silence.

‘We learned something today, Althaeon. We learned that our worst fears are genuine and real. That far from the front lines we know of, our most vulnerable citizens can be victimized by far worse foes than the ones those front lines hold at bay. We learned that Starfleet isn’t ready. But we, those of us on these worn and weary ships – we learned a different lesson. Do you know what that is, Althaeon?’
‘I believe I do, sir,’ he replied. ‘I believe you mean that, while Starfleet and the Federation as a whole are unprepared, we – the crews – are. I required a great deal of the men and women on the Royal Hunt, but they delivered more than I could have asked for.’

‘So they did,’ the Admiral nodded, the hint of a smile playing under his grey beard. ‘I read your report, and those from the rest of the crew you pulled together – yes, I asked all of them for a detailed debrief,’ he added noticing the expression on Althaeon’s face. ‘They knew what they needed to do and when before you even had to say it. They threw themselves from the frying pan into the fire because they trusted your judgement.’ Althaeon’s face coloured in a way that might have been embarrassment or pride, but Yanishev continued. ‘They respected you – the Andorian woman, Du’Shen? You already know she doesn’t respect her superiors easily. But she respects you – though the way she tells it, she showed you just how much she respects you by way of blatant insubordination,’ he chuckled.
‘In truth, sir, had she followed my orders it would likely have resulted in my death,’ Althaeon confessed.
‘Exactly,’ Yanishev replied. ‘You remember the last time we spoke – that I was afraid you’d turn any group you led into a band of butchers. Instead, you were ready to give your life for them. You led a bunch of the unexceptional into the extraordinary.’
‘Thank you, sir,’ Althaeon said with genuine gratitude. ‘Though I only believe I did what was required in the circumstances.’
‘What was required, Mister Althaeon,’ the Admiral riposted, ‘was to work damn miracles. Not everyone can do that.’ His face darkened. ‘The Astral Fire – she was the ship that disengaged when her bridge crew was killed in a freak explosion. You know who took command and ordered her to handle the Borg on the surface?’ Althaeon shook his head. ‘I did,’ Yanishev answered disdainfully. ‘No one aboard could keep their head long enough to do anything but flee out of range, and no one took the initiative to take command when her senior staff were spaced.’

The image of a sudden deafening blast, followed by a deafening silence and a cold, abrupt death in the void, made Althaeon shudder reflexively.

The Admiral rose, beckoning Althaeon to follow him, and together they arrived at the panoramic windows. Under the harsh light of space, Yanishev had a look of age and fatigue that betrayed the immaculate uniform. He pointed to the elegant cruiser, a cluster of shuttles and service ships surrounding a deceptively small, ugly scar that marred her white saucer section. Althaeon had seen the reports and knew that the crews out there were not just repairing but re-engineering, amending the design flaw that had allowed relatively light battle damage to depressurize the entire bridge in seconds.

‘So now I have a brand-new cruiser with almost a full crew, but she’s more broken than the Royal Hunt because her morale is gone and she’s got no captain.’ Yanishev rounded on the Kaerbadii suddenly, pulling his attention from the wounded ship to a small box the Admiral pulled from his pocket. He opened it, revealing a set of shining rank insignia, and repeated the word: ‘Captain’.

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by LadyTevar » 2014-06-30 05:37pm

If he's smart, he'll take at least the Andorian as XO. The rest of his temp Bridge Crew might be a good idea as well, but will also be seen by the Astral Fire's crew as intruders. It's going to be a balance of who he can trust v/s building his position
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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-06-30 06:46pm

LadyTevar wrote:If he's smart, he'll take at least the Andorian as XO. The rest of his temp Bridge Crew might be a good idea as well, but will also be seen by the Astral Fire's crew as intruders. It's going to be a balance of who he can trust v/s building his position
Ma'am, stop taking spoilers out of my brain!

- XXIII -


U.S.S. Emissary, Vega System, 2408

Realization hit Althaeon like a bucket of ice, and his eyes widened, revealing nothing but more iridescent blue. More tellingly, the grey rifts that ringed his face contracted slightly, though only xenoanthropologist would have known it for a sign of confusion and rapid lateral thinking.
‘Sir?’ he asked simply, before adding ‘I rank only as a Lieutenant-Commander,’ rather flatly.
‘It’s not an unheard-of jump,’ Yanishev replied, seeming as though he was thoroughly enjoying having the Kaerbadii on the wrong foot in a conversation for once. ‘Your actions today would more than merit you making Commander in regular circumstances, and the circumstances today are exceptional. Not even counting the fact that I value results far more than protocol.’

‘Yes sir,’ Althaeon replied, still struggling to come to terms with what was being asked of him. Fleetingly, it struck him is it was true irony to be confounded by such a situation when he had stayed level-headed while fighting almost literally tooth and nail for his life just days before.
‘Yes, sir,’ he said again, simply, before adding a nearly sheepish ‘thank you, sir.’

‘I’ll take that as a yes,’ Yanishev said, brusque and businesslike, but betraying a touch of humour at finally having the blue-hued Kaerbadii utterly dumbfounded. ‘Aside from the public and political capitol, that will be one less paper ship in this fleet-of-cards I have to worry about blowing away in the wind.’
‘But the Royal Hunt…’ Althaeon began.
‘… will be in dry dock till I retire,’ Yanishev sighed. ‘I exaggerate, of course, but she’s held together by your engineers’ willpower alone right now. I know she fought admirably,’ he interjected as Althaeon began to protest, ‘But now that the day is won she needs months of care to be back to full capability. By the reports I’ve read the damage of Miss Du’Shen’s plasma-venting stunt alone will require a rework of the whole EPS manifold.’ Althaeon grimaced.
‘I hope that her actions will not result in disciplinary measures,’ Althaeon said, finally able to assert himself. ‘I believe her actions were as much responsible for saving the crew as any of mine.’
‘They were,’ Yanishev sighed. ‘It’s the same as your damned training exercise – it was a long shot, it was patently insane, and it worked. Which is exactly the problem. Despite your no-holds-barred approach, you have an exemplary record. I can bull-rush your Captaincy through the Admiralty; a Kaerbadii war-hero has enough propaganda and diplomatic value in itself to help. But Du’Shen? She’s already told you she was thrown out of the Imperial Guard for insubordination. You don’t know how many times she came close to being washed out of Starfleet too. I can’t just give her a pat on the back and a shiny badge that says ‘you were a lunatic, now go do it again’.

‘I understand, sir,’ Althaeon nodded solemnly. ‘But I believe that our complementary abilities and skills are primarily responsible for our survival. I cannot in good conscience accept the honour you are asking me to if she is not recognized as well.’ The Admiral’s shoulders sagged.
‘Just when I was starting to hope this would go smoothly,’ he groaned. ‘I’ll see what I can do,’ he continued, voice like gravel. ‘Were it any other time, I would give her a medal and then strip her down to cadet and have her re-build the ship by hand. But it’s not any other time. After today… Starfleet needs people like her. The Astral Fire certainly needs people like her. I’ve seen enough from the reports to know that as much as she needs someone like you to keep her in check, you need someone like her to do the same.’

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by LadyTevar » 2014-06-30 09:17pm

When you're building up something patently obvious, then it's no Spoiler. :)
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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-06-30 09:46pm

LadyTevar wrote:When you're building up something patently obvious, then it's no Spoiler. :)
Alright, fair point :P.

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-07-01 03:39pm

I've actually done some writing, so here goes another chapter! We're going to be light on action and delving a bit more into characters and setting for several chapters, but I hope it stays interesting. We'll be back to space adventures before too too long.

- XXIV -


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

‘Acting Captain on the bridge!’ Amra snapped the announcement as Althaeon entered, as she had numerous times over the past few days. By now, used to her Andorian military-inspired attention to detail, the bridge crew sat up ramrod-straight in their chairs. Amra herself had been inspecting a panel at the rear of the bridge, a temporarily-rigged replacement for the one unpleasantly adorned with blood stains and disruptor burns, and she snapped to attention with a measure of difficulty as she maneuvered her injured and still-swollen leg into place next to her other.

Althaeon nodded approvingly; for all her apparent stubbornness in the face of superiors who didn’t merit her respect, she clearly believed thoroughly in showing it where she felt it was due. He didn’t, however, call the room to ease as he had before. Amra turned her head to look at him quizzically, and nearly did a double-take after she squinted and finally picked out the gleaming new adornments in place of the tarnished ones that she had grown accustomed to seeing.

‘Captain on the bridge,’ she snapped, and this time Althaeon responded immediately. All eyes were fixed on him, but at first he spoke only a few words.
‘I will provide an explanation momentarily,’ he said. ‘First, I would like to talk to Miss Du’Shen in private.’

She followed him, guardedly, to the Captains’ ready room. Althaeon had spent virtually no time there before, but he seemed somewhat more at ease now that the late Captain Grumman’s personal effects had been removed to be presented to his family. It was now simply a bare, nondescript space accumulating supplies and parts which had yet to find a home. A confused Andorian and another blue-skinned officer were then added to the motley collection, and behind them, the door hissed shut – after a seconds’ delay and a warning beep from a faulty sensor.
To Amra, the other appeared more animated now than she had seen him since the battle.
‘You’re wearing Captain’s pips, sir,’ she stated flatly.
‘I am,’ he admitted. ‘My meeting with the Admiral yielded… unexpected results. You have read the briefings on the misfortune that befell the U.S.S. Astral Fire?’
‘I have,’ she replied. ‘I just read some additional notes the Admiral released while you were away; I hadn’t realized he had to run the show himself.’ Althaeon compressed his lips momentarily, his mind jumping to the PADD Yanishev had fiddled with towards the end of their discussion. Particulars and crew assignments had dragged on for some time, which would have given plenty of opportunity to disseminate the relevant data to curious readers.

He planned things more diligently than I thought.

‘He’s making you her new commander,’ Amra cried, eyes wide with sudden realization. A hint of envy and what might have been umbrage at her leader being singled out.
‘Not precisely,’ he replied. ‘He has asked me to take on the role of being her new Captain; I accepted on the caveat that I would be able to reassign a number of other crew – Commander.’ At the last word, he withdrew a box from his pocket and presented it, mimicking the Admiral’s gesture precisely. Commander’s insignia shone golden, polished and pristine, in the dim lighting of the ready room.

Amra Du’Shen’s eyes bulged and the stalks on her head straightened as taut as saluting soldiers. For a moment, there was silence. Then, slowly, she moved her jaw and wetted her lips, rolling the gesture into a sound, which became a response.
‘Sir,’ she said, picking every word deliberately, ‘if people above me keep giving me this kind of stupid, short-sighted, poorly-thought-out order… I’m going to spoil my reputation for ignoring them.’

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-07-02 05:37pm

Hit my stride and have been writing up a storm the last couple days, so here we go with a double-update. It also means I can leave off with a chapter that actually has something different to the previous two happening in it :P.

- XXV -


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

‘There will be significant changes to your current assignments,’ Althaeon began without preamble as he and Amra exited the ready room. ‘I would value your attention and cooperation, as there will be logistical challenges.’
‘What he means, is,’ Amra added, ‘it’s time to pack our bags.’ A cheeky smile played on her face and she was far too alert to miss the stares of the other two, and the fact they were fixed on the rank badges that had freshly appeared on her breast.
‘We’re being reassigned?’ Fox wailed, catching her superiors off-guard with an unexpected tone of dismay. Her pleasantly round face was framed by a neat bob of brown hair, a strand of which she tossed out of angry eyes. Beside her, Pavemir was more reserved, assessing the situation with the same air of feline calm that had come over him when he had threaded a ship-sized thread through a too-small needle hole of Borg debris. ‘Sorry, sir,’ the flustered Fox continued, ‘but Fergi–Lieutenant Fergusson and I just firmed up a plan to get the EPS grid back up to spec; we can probably get up to warp six by the end of the week!’
‘And what about up to warp nine, Ensign?’ Althaeon asked earnestly. She choked.
‘Well… with the current state of the… it might take some dock-time, but…’ Althaeon silenced her with a consoling hand on her shoulder.
‘You have done phenomenal work. You turned a burning hulk into a warship again in hours. But the Royal Hunt has done her work and earned her rest. She will be repaired and re-fitted. Your work has not been in vain,’ he continued over Fox’s sputtered objection. ‘The original plan called for her to be towed back; your efforts will free ships for missions on the Klingon Front and let her return under her own power.’

Fox sat for a moment, and nodded. She patted the hand on her shoulder, anger gone from her eyes.
‘Thank you, sir,’ she said quietly. Althaeon removed his hand as the Caitian raised the obvious question.

‘Sir, where are we to be assigned?’ he asked cautiously. ‘Obviously yourself and Commander Du’Shen have been elevated to a command posting; I’ll miss the opportunity to continue serving with you, sir, despite your creative attempts to get me killed.’ After a deadpan pause, all four laughed, Pavemir in a rather unsettling purring, yipping cascade of titters.
‘Well, Mister Pavemir, I must disappoint you in that case,’ Althaeon replied once the laughter subsided. ‘I expect you will have several more opportunities to terrorize us with your piloting,’ he continued. ‘Just take care to remember that the U.S.S. Astral Fire is less manoeuvrable and significantly larger than the Royal Hunt.’

There was another pause of total silence, broken only by the slightly erratic hum of the warp core and the beep of various instruments. Then the realization hit the two junior officers, just as it had Amra, and just as it had Althaeon himself.
‘Lieutenant Fergusson…?’ Fox enquired, breaking the shocked silence.
‘There will be many re-assignments,’ Althaeon repeated. ‘Mister Fergusson will take over as Chief Engineer of the Astral Fire; he is well past due for promotion in any event.’ Fox groaned, tilting her head back and running a hand through her dark hair.
Chief Engineer Fergusson,’ she said resignedly, ‘as if he didn’t have a big enough ego already.’

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-07-02 05:49pm

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

The re-assignments of crew were more of a logistical nightmare than any had been prepared for. Many of the survivors of the Royal Hunt joined those from the Agamemnon to await assignment to one of the new starships rolling out of Utopia Planitia; some of the engineering crew from the Astral Fire joined them, making way for the newly-named Lieutenant-Commander Fergusson and his men and women.

The critically injured had already been taken aboard medical vessels or rushed by ambulance-shuttle to even more capable facilities, but a few other less-critical cases trickled away as damage – physical or psychological – was deemed severe enough to keep them out of active service in the immediacy. Lieutenant Du’Toni, the Royal Hunt’s Chief Medical Officer, was to be among them, bound for extended leave on Andoria. Amra had spent some time with her, having become close friends with the only other female of her species aboard, but despite that companionship the CMO had declared herself unfit for duty pending psychological leave. Given the morbid terror she had endured pressed against a mangled corpse for several hours, no one argued the decision.

Althaeon was, however, blindsided by Amra’s suggestion that she might ask for the same absence.

She had approached him during off-duty hours when the hectic preparations were finally winding down, having positioned herself in his path rather than appear unkempt and winded from chasing him down. Though her leg was healing well, she would have had trouble keeping up with his loping gait at the best of times. The hallway was almost deserted, the remaining crew who hadn’t yet been transferred either in their beds or working on repairing the most heinous of the damage in the far corners of the wounded vessel.

‘Sir!’ she said in imitation surprise, rounding a corner directly in front of him and making a quick salute which he returned, ‘I was hoping to speak with you.’
‘What can I do for you, Commander?’ he responded, breaking his stride and turning to face her. She flinched almost imperceptibly at the use of her new title.
‘Well, sir… that,’ she replied awkwardly. ‘Commander Amra Du’Shen.’ Her head stalks sagged slightly.
‘You are having doubts?’ asked Althaeon, craning his head slightly. To her relief he dropped his deep voice from conversational to conspiratorial, mindful of the odd passing crewmember.
‘Sir, I… yes,’ she sputtered. ‘I’ve gone from problem case to rising star without warning. The Astral Fire has a crew of four hundred; I couldn’t look after a crew of ten when…’ Althaeon’s head furrows pulsed with momentary contractions, and then his eyes narrowed.
‘You blame yourself for the loss of your torpedo bay crew,’ Althaeon said flatly, then continued, cutting of Amra as she was about to respond. ‘But you were faced with an un-winnable situation’.
‘I know,’ Amra admitted. ‘But… it isn’t them. I know I tried my best to save them, I know I was able to save more in engineering,’ she finished, this time cutting of Althaeon’s attempted reply herself.
‘Then,’ the new Captain replied hesitantly, ‘why are you in doubt?’

‘It’s not about the crew – the ones I saved or the ones I failed,’ she said, looking up with wide, tired eyes. ‘It’s about me. I knew I was going to die, sir,’ she hissed, ‘I knew I wouldn’t make it. I knew I’d never feel the wind and the snows of home again. I knew I’d never see my parents again… see if they would forgive me.’ She paused her near-hysterical progress for a moment, realizing she’d opened more of herself than intended, but pushed on before Althaeon could question it. ‘I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept since… no. I slept the first few days, after the adrenaline was gone and I was still on heavy pain-suppressants. When there was too much to do to dwell. But now… now I have time to think. Time to remember. I’ve been in battle, sir, been outnumbered, outgunned, out of time – but I’ve never been helpless. I never knew that I wasn’t coming back.’ She realized belatedly there were tears in her already-reddened eyes and brushed them away with a volley of creative curses under her breath. ‘I’m sorry, sir,’ she forced out in a hoarse voice.

‘I sympathize,’ Althaeon intoned after a moments’ pause. As before, Amra realized that he seemed much better equipped to handle shed blood than shed tears. ‘I appreciate your honesty, Amra,’ he said. She took notice at the unfamiliar use of her given name, antennae betraying her surprise even more than the rest of her expression. ‘In honesty,’ he added, ‘I have experienced similar difficulties. It is… reassuring to know that I am not alone.’
‘You haven’t shown it,’ Amra said skeptically.
‘Neither have you,’ Althaeon replied with every appearance of sincerity.
‘Well then you’re a damn useless judge of character,’ she snapped back before she thought better. ‘Sorry, sir,’ she added guiltily. To her relief, her Captain didn’t seem nearly as affronted as she feared he would be.
‘My interpersonal skills are not immensely well-honed when concerning non-Kaerbadii,’ he admitted with what passed for a shrug. ‘I do not take undue offense at your assessment.’ The edge of his voice left just enough of an impression for Amra to understand that he did take due offense, and nodded apologetically. The towering alien brought her out of her thoughts a moment later.
‘Have you decided to stand down beyond reconsideration?’ he asked.
‘No… not yet,’ she replied. ‘I wanted to talk to you. And I’ll certainly feel like an arse now, if you’re in the same state.’
‘Your decision should be based entirely on your own condition,’ he counselled. ‘You have nothing to prove – you have done so already many times over. Your leaving will not change that; only make me reconsider my posting.’

What?’ Amra demanded.

‘I mentioned when I first informed you of your promotion that my Captaincy was contingent upon others,’ Althaeon replied. ‘To clarify, I told Admiral Yanishev that I would not accept his offer unless you also received due credit for your role.’ Amra’s eyes bulged as Althaeon continued. ‘He acquiesced despite the difficulty of convincing Starfleet to promote you thusly.’
‘You faced down Admiral Yanishev over me?’ balked Amra incredulously. ‘You’re even madder than I thought. How in the blue depths did you talk him to do that?’
‘He accepted more readily than I expected, following my ultimatum,’ Althaeon admitted. ‘His reasoning resonated with me… he said that, as much as you needed a commander such as myself to reign you in, I required a first officer like you to do the same.’ Amra tilted her head at first, considering the words, then gave a nod, then a shrug, and finally a chuckle.
‘Well, sir, I can’t argue with that,’ she replied, some of her usual wit clearly rekindled. ‘But… I’m still worried. I can’t keep you in line if I can’t even sleep at night.’
‘I understand, Commander,’ Althaeon said. ‘Hence my doubt – taking command of the Astral Fire without your presence.’ Amra felt momentarily conflicted, oddly slighted that he didn’t use her given name again, but put it aside. ‘It may…’ he paused, grooves on his head pulsing again. ‘It may be possible to arrange a brief leave on Andoria. Is it possible that this would assuage your worries?’
‘Maybe… yes. I think so, sir,’ she replied, attempting to appear confident. ‘But how?’
‘We have received our orders,’ he said. ‘I intended to inform you at the beginning of the next watch, but given the situation… we are being sent to the Draconis Cluster, via Starbase 4, which is only–’
‘– a day at warp away from Andoria,’ Amra finished. ‘But I’m not sure how we could explain the delay.’
‘We couldn’t,’ Althaeon replied flatly. ‘We could use the pretext of delivering Lieutenant Du’Toni for leave, but we would still have to leave two days ahead of schedule at minimum. We would have to finish the reassignments and crew change-over documentation almost overnight.’

Amra considered for a moment, then held out her hand for the PADD Althaeon was carrying. He passed it over a moment later, claws clicking on the composite surface as he released it. She skimmed the blue and yellow text, and indicated in the direction of the main briefing room.
‘Not like I was going to sleep tonight, anyway,’ she said ruefully.

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-07-04 11:42am

Another fairly cheerful bit of story - consider it an Independence Day present for all ye South of the border.

- XXVII -


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

Amra woke with the dignity and enthusiasm of an Andorian bat coated in molasses. Her limbs seemed to have the lead weight of someone who’d spent several hours in a contorted mess, but her mind felt refreshed and sharp, as it hadn’t done in a week. The first thing her renewed clarity directed her attention to was a fringe of snow-white hair obscuring her vision, which she brushed away with a lazy hand. The second thing she realized was that she was seated, not lying in bed, and using her newly-cleared vision she took in a long, wooden table ringed by empty chairs. The tables’ surface was obscured by around a dozen data recorders, PADDs and other devices – a fact only dimly visible, as the lights were dim and most of the room’s illumination came from the purple-green mass of Vega IX hanging like a tarnished opal through the room’s viewport.

Amra straightened and stretched, groaning as her muscles unwound and recovered from their contortion. Struck by a sudden realization, and she snapped around searching for Althaeon, expecting his unsettling eyes to be locked on her judgementally, but she discovered that he was nowhere to be seen. Then her eyes found a computer panel in the wall, took in the chronometer mounted there, and went wide.

It’s been eight hours?

She was suffused by doubt, followed by shock, followed by panic, before realizing that she’d first approached the Captain with some time left on her shift and, judging by the time on the wall, she still had around fifteen minutes before being back on duty. As if on cue, the computer’s voice chimed. ‘Commander Du’Shen, please confirm you are awake,’ it enquired in the usual disinterested way.
‘I’m up,’ she replied. The computer affirmed crisply and fell silent, leaving her alone with her thoughts.

‘So,’ she said to the empty room. ‘I had a psychological breakdown in front of my commander, stayed up for hours processing crew assignments, fell asleep on his watch, and he turned out the lights and put on an alarm for me. That could have gone worse.’

She gathered up the assortment of PADDs and displays, tucking some of the smaller ones into pockets and collating the rest into a heap in her arms, and turned to leave the briefing room.

As she did so, she was smiling.

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Grimnosh » 2014-07-07 11:29pm

Very nice work, keep it up.
You know, its remarkably easy to feed an undead army if all you have are just enemies....

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-07-07 11:40pm

Been quiet here a few days...

Long chapter! History! Innuendo! Bonding! Farewells! Or something...

- XXVIII -


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

After the routine bustle and commotion of a fully-crewed starship, the haunted desolation of battle, and the frenetic rush of repairs, and the dedicated but futile struggle to return her to full readiness, there was something singularly depressing about seeing the hallways of the U.S.S. Royal Hunt utterly deserted. Despite the carpeting and soft-composite walls, every footfall seemed to echo in the emptiness.

Only a skeleton crew remained, composed mostly of engineers and technicians that had arrived on the repair vessels and were nursing their stricken charge back to their posts at Utopia Planitia. Fergusson and Fox had already drilled them extensively, talking them through the myriad makeshift solutions and work-arounds they had employed. Althaeon had permitted himself a bit of humour at their expense, as he watched the relief crews’ mounting horror at just what nightmarish contrivances were keeping the ship going. Afterwards, as they had left, both had sentimentally patted the warp core like an old warhorse put out to pasture.
In the end, the Captain and his First Officer were the last of the original crew to depart. A young officer had formally relieved Althaeon in an emotional but somehow anodyne ceremony, and both of the blue-hued aliens departed the bridge with a measure of reluctance – Althaeon once more drew a claw across what still remained of the ruined science station, murmuring something under his breath, before leaving with a nod. They stood together in the turbolift silently, before Amra took the chance that had eluded her in the mad rush of the previous days.
‘Sir, I just wanted to thank you for all your consideration,’ she said, mustering all her professionalism. ‘I hope I didn’t inconvenience you..?’
‘Not at all, Miss Du’Shen,’ he replied easily. ‘Have you rested better subsequently?’
‘Like a rock, sir.’
‘I am glad to hear.’
She waited for a response, but none came other than a polite nod. The gentle hum of the turbolift and flicker of lights as they moved through the ship somehow only highlighted the silence of the chamber, rather than doing anything to fill it.

He’s still as stoic as a rock. Hardly surprising, but…

‘Sir,’ she asked on a longshot, ‘when I first came to you, you said you were having trouble yourself. How did you cope with it? If you don’t mind…’ A moment of more silence, with nothing but the pulsing rhythm of the turbolift.

I hope they get this thing moving at proper speed soon or they’ll spend months just getting around the poor ship…

‘I… directed my energy towards solving a problem which troubled me,’ Althaeon replied, clearly unsettled by the interrogation of such a personal nature.
‘The Borg?’
‘Yes… the appearance of drones resistant to physical attack is troublesome to me.’ He paused, as if weighing the merits of expanding on the statement, before pushing on. ‘I have studied all the records I could find; the defense of Earth by the Enterprise-E was perhaps the most comprehensive. I have never encountered an instance of Borg drones using kinetic energy deflectors. This… exceeds the capabilities of Borg adaptation. It indicates the development of new tactics not previously associated with the Collective.’ Amra shuddered at the thought.

‘You’re worried about another invasion of the Federation,’ Amra said slowly, after another period of looming silence. The humming of the turbolift finally ceased and the door whispered open onto the semi-darkness of the deserted middle deck. Althaeon was caught mid-step and turned, eyes glinting in the overhead light of the lift.
‘I am worried about my home,’ he confessed.
‘Kaeribad?’ Amra replied dubiously. Her Captain turned, fixing her with the glinting blue orbs of his eyes.
‘What do you know of its history?’ he asked.
‘Not much,’ she admitted in turn. ‘I read a bit about you after the battle; I’d heard a bit before that, but there just wasn’t time to learn much in the middle of the reassignments.’ Althaeon nodded, and beckoned her to follow him towards the transporter room.

‘My people had a difficult history. The Borg came across our homeworld when we were barely star-faring. We fought them – it was grueling and bloody. Our colonies were wiped out, but our homeworld confounded them; their transporters were all but worthless, the terrain treacherous. Eventually, they left; historians think now to confront a threat elsewhere. But not before tens of thousands had perished holding their numbers back.’
‘And you’re worried the Borg would come back?’ Amra asked. The image of cyborg monsters falling upon a species that still used chemical rockets for space travel made her shudder visibly.
‘I’m certain of it,’ he replied gravely. ‘The Borg have taken a special interest in Earth more than once before, and Kaeribad lies almost directly in their path… and now, they appear to have developed capabilities optimal to combat a foe like my people.’
‘What do you mean?’
Althaeon permitted himself a smile.

‘When the Borg arrived, we had not adopted energy weapons or shields common among the more advanced races of the galaxy. We still relied on chemical slug-throwers – and the Borg had no defense against them. When we ran out of ammunition, we resorted to bows, to blades… to claws. They crippled my ancestors with orbital bombardment, force fields, tractor beams… weapons we had no countermeasures to. But they stood no chance in an isolated ground conflict – now, with these heavy drones… things would be very different.’
Amra let out a low, long whistle.
‘Who’d have thought… keeping the dreaded Borg away with museum arms.’
‘Indeed. From what I understand, it is an ongoing stumbling block in negotiations for Kaerbadii membership; we still maintain large arsenals of modern projectile weapons in case of just such a return, but the Federation balks at their capacity for inhumane harm. Yet how many inhumane deaths would they have saved aboard this ship?’ he asked, gesturing to the scarred and pitted walls around him. Amra nodded somberly.

‘It seems like you had a better reason to lose sleep than me,’ Amra shrugged, thumping along beside her unusually talkative, though still dark and calculating, commanding officer. Realizing how belaboured her progress was, he checked his pace slightly and inclined his head to respond.
‘My dedication to counteracting the Borg has only been a distraction from my underlying doubts,’ he said rather uncertainly. ‘It has proven an effective, though perhaps unhealthy, means of doing so.’
‘What doubts, sir..?’ she ventured, cautiously.
‘In my own abilities; to protect my crew, to defeat my enemies. I confronted death, too, Amra’ he said, once again giving her the tiniest of uncertain flutters as he used her given name. ‘Though I saved your life, you were the one to save me – and the remaining crew.’
‘Couldn’t have done it without you… Kaeris,’ she added, flashing a grin as he faltered mid-step at the use of his own familiar title. Emphatically, she added, ‘I mean it, and not just because I’d be a drone if it not for you.’

As she finished speaking, the pair rounded the final corner and a door hissed open ahead of them. The yellow-orange light of the transporter room loomed ahead, simple black duffel bags bearing the Starfleet crest already stashed on the pad in waiting. In Amra’s case there was a small white box tucked into one of the outer pockets of the sack; in Althaeon’s, there was also a long case of a similar material, even taller than he was and evidently hand-embroidered with a swirling crest like a whirlpool in a sea of knives.

They both stood silent a moment longer, and Amra imagined that just as she was, Althaeon was digesting the reminder of how all the belongings, everything which made their quarters ‘home’, could be reduced to a bag identical but in name-tag to tens of thousands of others and displaced elsewhere on a whim. He confirmed her suspicion a moment later.

‘I have always held that physical geography bears little impact on where you make a ‘home’. It is why I carry my house’s sigil,’ he said, indicating with an extended claw to the whirling pattern on the long case. ‘Nonetheless, In Starfleet I have seldom felt truly at home – until the Battle of Vega IX.’ Realizing how profound it was for him to be finally speaking about something not cold and rational, Amra wordlessly let him continue, and he did so. ‘If this crew is to be a family, we must be able to rely on each other as family – and not keep secrets as though we are strangers. I will endeavor to do so in future,’ he said, offering a hand with in-bent fingers as he had long ago learned to do.
‘Deal,’ Amra replied as she accepted the handshake.
‘Althaeon to Astral Fire,’ he said, voice raised as he released his grip, ‘permission to come aboard?’
‘Permission granted, sir!’ called back the enthusiastic and disembodied voice of now-Lieutenant Fox.
‘Very well. Two to beam up.’

As they waited for the beam to energize – a slower-than-convenient process thanks to the Royal Hunt’s faltering power grid – Amra turned her head to the Captain.
‘If the crew’s a family, you must be the father. Does that make me overworked maid or the jaded wife?’
Althaeon shot her an incredulous look and then snorted with laughter, before forcing himself back into a more dignified stance as the familiar tingle of transportation enveloped him.

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Re: Sundered Stars [Star Trek]

Post by Venator » 2014-08-04 10:34am

Sorry this has been dead so long. Work has been demented. So!

- XXIX -
U.S.S. Astral Fire, Vega System, 2408

The tingling sensation dissipated and another transporter room came into view out of a haze of bright static. It resembled the one they had stood in shortly before, but as their view steadied the pair saw that it was both better lit and noticeably more spacious.

Some of that space was consumed by the party which stood to greet them. Familiar faces – Fox, Pavemir, Fergusson, and a few others including Lieutenant Huran, all standing proudly to attention. Once the afterimages of transportation faded, one thing was immediately noticeable – all were wearing a peculiar uniform unlike the conventional Antares-pattern Amra and Althaeon wore, the latter having finally been able to secure a replacement for his tattered and singed ensemble a few days previously. Fergusson’s voice disrupted their curiosity.

‘Welcome aboard sir, ma’am!’
‘At ease,’ Althaeon replied, stepping with Amra off the transporter pad. ‘Your uniforms…’
‘Ah, that,’ Fox replied with some embarrassment. ‘It’s one of the problems right now – the Astral Fire is part of the rollout of Jupiter-series uniforms, but the entire ship somehow got issued Diplomatic Corps specialist colours. We’re still trying to get new ones issued, but it’s pretty low on the list for requisition right now what with the repairs.’
‘I believe we can continue until we have a chance for regular resupply – unless it has had a negative impact on morale?’ Althaeon queried.
‘Can’t speak for elsewhere,’ Fergusson chimed in, ‘but the lads in engineering aren’t too keen on them. Besides, the white stains.’ He motioned apologetically to a bluish mark which sullied the sweep of white fabric running from the neckline to the right arm. The others nodded in assent.
‘General consensus is that its bad luck of some sort; wearing peacekeeper’s uniforms to a war?’ Huran offered with a shrug.
‘I see,’ Althaeon noted flatly. ‘And what of the crew otherwise – I gather there are other morale and personnel issues?’
‘Do you want them alphabetically, categorically, or thrown at you all at once?’ Fox asked dourly. ‘And that’s just cracking the surface – half the problem is that we’re all outsiders. We should introduce you to the other department heads.’
‘Lead the way,’ said Althaeon, already wishing he was back fighting drones bare-clawed.

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