The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

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Swindle1984
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-09-24 03:03am

Riker drummed his fingers on the table angrily.

"Can I say something?"

"Certainly," Fabio said, looking somewhat pacified since his outburst.

"Where the hell do you get off calling us the villains? Turkana IV? They seceded and then their planet went to hell! We didn't kick them out so their issues wouldn't disrupt our snug little utopia! El Facil? They voted to stay when we ceded their world to the Cardassians, and then they started a terror campaign against both the Cardassians and the Federation. We didn't cast them off any more than we did the Maquis. Yes, our Prime Directive prevents us from interfering, even in some cases where a world may die; do you have any idea the kind of disasters we've caused interfering with other civilizations? Entire cultures, each one unique and special, gone because they adopted ours wholesale, thinking it would give them the same technology and prosperity we have. We've stepped in to save people before, and yes, it's done a lot of good. It's also destabilized entire worlds and plunged them into chaos!"

"I should think chaos, instability, and cultural appropriation would be preferable to extinction," Fabio replied dryly. "You're more worried about contaminating another culture than you are about that culture ceasing to exist entirely."

"Be that as it may, we may have a high opinion of ourselves, but we've never claimed we were perfect. We don't invade other species and enslave them like the Cardassians did to the Bajorans, and we don't conquer like the Klingons or the Romulans."

"No, you simply stand aside and watch through opera glasses while other civilizations die, because they didn't have the good sense to be as advanced as you. I think, Captain, that this line of discussion is getting us nowhere. We are needlessly antagonizing one another when what we should be doing is finding a resolution to this war that is mutually beneficial."

"Why are you so eager to end the war now? You're not afraid of losing, are you?" Riker said, rapping his knuckles against the table.

Fabio didn't rise to the bait, instead calmly sipping his coffee before replying.

"Hardly. Yes, in terms of military power, the Federation outclasses us at the moment. If the war continued via conventional means, we would eventually lose. But you forget who we are, Captain; we don't think conventionally. If this war continues, it will end in mutual destruction. So why not end it now, before anyone else has to die? We both have our grievances; why not bury the hatchet and start anew?"

Riker paused, taking a deep breath as he glanced sidelong at Deanna. She nodded; Fabio was sincere about wanting to end the war peaceably rather than prolong it.

"All right. What does the Ascension want?"

"Ideally? To be left alone. A nice buffer zone between our space and yours. And reparations for the damage you've done; those space habitats are quite expensive, you know. The loss of life has also been rather regrettable."

"Reparations?! You blew your own colony up!"

"Yes," Fabio commented wistfully. "We hoped if we prevented you from capturing any of our people or accessing our ships or colonies, it would keep you from realizing who we were. It was believed that if you knew we were Augments, you would prosecute a genocidal war to wipe us out. Were we wrong?"

"Yes! The Federation doesn't exterminate others! No matter the provocations."

"Hmm. Your plans for the Borg and your actions in the Dominion War say otherwise, but for the most part I believe you. In any case, what's done is done. What does the Federation want? Besides, presumably, not paying us reparations."

"I don't know what the Federation will want out of this. An immediate cessation of hostilities, for starters. And all of the people you've kidnapped returned. Along with my ship."

"The personnel we... abducted, will be returned regardless of who wins. We only need them temporarily, so we can better understand your technology. Your ship, I'm afraid, has been dismantled. I'm sure we'll be able to return most of it, but you'll need to reassemble it yourselves."

Riker ground his teeth at the thought of his ship being torn apart and studied, but bit down on his anger and forced himself to take a bite of the pasta with the little stick things.

"... what are these?"

"Cordoso root. The texture takes some getting used to, but it's quite nutritious. Tastes a bit like coriander."

"Well, I think it's delicious," Deanna interjected with a plastic smile, giving Riker a look that told him to behave himself.

"I think it would help the peace process if the Federation saw us as people, rather than faceless enemies," Fabio stated as he reached for his water.

"That brings up a good point. Why do you wear those masks?" Deanna asked, genuinely curious.

"Partly for anonymity. Keeps us mysterious to outsiders; hides the fact that most of us are human. Partly it's functional; the helmets allow us to interact with one another and our equipment. Mostly, at this point, it's cultural. We started out wearing the helmets because of environmental issues on the world we first settled as the Ascension, and then we continued wearing them to foster social cohesion."

"Social cohesion?"

"If we're wearing masks, nobody knows that we're human, Valakian, or T'sari. Initially, there were... issues, where Augments felt they were superior to their client races due to their enhanced genetics, Valakians resented us for our attitudes and the fact that they'd been betrayed by humans and left to die, and so forth. We started wearing our helmets all the time, not just while outside in a hostile environment; at first, just for the convenience of what the helmets offered. I believe in the 21st century the interactive features were referred to as 'augmented reality'. Then we kept wearing them because with our bodies concealed, we knew people based on their individual merits and not on their race. We ceased to be human or Valakian. We became... Ascendant. Together."

"That's... quite interesting, really," Deanna said, genuinely intrigued.

Fabio shrugged, then asked aloud, "Is anyone here not an Augment?"

Neither trooper flanking the door moved, but their hostess said, in a monotone voice that gave no indication of gender, "I am T'sari."

"Would you mind showing them, please?"

There was a moment's hesitation, then she nodded. With a hiss of opening seals, she opened the face plate of her helmet and then lifted the entire thing off of her head.

Riker found her face startlingly attractive; delicate, feminine features, pale, chalky blue skin, pointed ears like a Vulcan, white hair with a silvery sheen to it, and violet eyes that almost seemed to glow. Deanna gently nudged him with her elbow to let him know he was staring and he looked back at Fabio.

"T'sari, huh? Another client race?"

"Yes. You may put your helmet back on," he said to the serving girl, then turned back to them looking slightly apologetic. "T'sari blood uses hemocyanin rather than hemoglobin, and they're adapted for a more oxygen-rich environment. She would be much more comfortable with her helmet on; as I said, it started from necessity before it became cultural. Many young people feel rather shy about removing their helmet in front of strangers as well. But yes, the T'sari are another client race; their world was roughly on a pre-industrial scale, but volcanic and tectonic activity threatened to destroy them. Maybe not drive them extinct, but it would certainly have been the end of their civilization. They found a Federation observation post on their world and begged for help; the scientists instead left the planet, abandoning them to their fate. Fortunately for them, they puzzled out how a communications console in the observation post worked and broadcast a plea for help; the Ascension heard and came to the rescue. We evacuated nearly a million of their people before... the end."

"You seem to be rescuing an awful lot of species from certain doom; how, exactly, do they repay you after they become your clients?"

Fabio smiled, knowing exactly where Riker was going with this.

"We've only saved two species from certain doom, as you put it. The Volari were roughly on the same technological level as us at first contact and joined us for mutual defense from the K'zinti. Others were simply primitive civilizations who we elevated, giving them technology in exchange for resources and living space. When your species is primitive and half your children die of disease before reaching adulthood, I should think modern medicine, sanitation, and other conveniences are a fair trade for some ore and land, don't you? As for how the Valakians and T'sari repay us for what we've done... the Valakians were our first client race, and assimilated into our society quite nicely. Thanks to our helmets, we are not human or Valakian, we are Ascendant. The Valakians repay us by serving alongside us on our starships, in our schools, in our hospitals, and in our laboratories. The T'sari required more integration, due to much more severe culture shock; they've only been a part of our civilization for a couple of generations, so they primarily serve in more menial roles. Cooks, servants, maintenance workers, and so on. We do have a few T'sari scientists, and the first T'sari ship captain graduated from the academy a year ago. They're adapting nicely, and will be fully integrated before too long. We do keep a reservation, on one of our space habitats, for those who wish to retain their old ways and not assimilate fully into the Ascension. We don't force anyone to join the Ascension."

"But the Augments are still in charge, right? The others are just 'clients', serving a ruling caste?"

"Each species is, according to our constitution, self-governing. They also each get equal representation in our legislature. Yes, the presidency is, by law, an Augment, but humans otherwise don't get any special privileges over the rest."

The T'sari hostess interjected, saying, "I'm studying for my doctorate in botany. If it weren't for the Ascension, I would never had had that opportunity. I'd have been born a peasant on a primitive world and probably died of plague or been enslaved in the clan wars."

"That's wonderful," Deanna said. "I'm glad you're able to better yourself and find something you enjoy doing."

"So, you see Captain? We're not all fascist monsters who want to rule the world. We're just different, and we just want to be left alone to live as we see fit."

"You know Minister, it's really a shame our people never talked before. Perhaps instead of killing one another, we'd have found some common ground."

"Perhaps. After dessert, I'll give you a tour of one of our habitats. They're really extraordinary achievements of engineering."

------------------------

Picard sat at one end of the table, Janeway sitting on his right and Data, newly promoted to captain, on his left. It had been decided that the Enterprise would host their guests since it was one of the biggest and most advanced starships in the fleet, and Voyager's meeting room was currently set up as a museum exhibit.

At the other end of the table sat a tall Gorn, his movements stiff and sluggish. Across from him, a K'zinti.

Lieutenant Stennis leaned over toward Data and whispered, "I've never seen a Gorn before. I thought they had tails? And what's with the compound eyes?"

"The Gorn are a reclusive species, rarely encountered outside of their territory. Several other reptilian species have, at various points, claimed to be Gorn in order to gain some of the Gorn's fierce reputation for themselves, and two of those species do, in fact, possess tails. As for the compound eyes, I believe those are actually protective lenses; Gorn eyes are very sensitive to light and infrared, allowing them to see in the dark, but standard ship lighting is uncomfortable for them. The lenses are also believed to project a visible display the Gorn use to interact with their technology."

The Gorn captain made a series of hisses and clicks, pausing intermittently to wheeze. Data nodded and then spoke aloud, "Computer, increase room temperature by three degrees centigrade and elevate oxygen levels by ten percent."

"Environmental changes confirmed."

Data nodded to the Gorn again and received a whuffling hiss in response. Picard surreptitiously loosened the collar of his uniform in anticipation of the room soon becoming uncomfortably warm.

Data was intimately familiar with all information on the Gorn that the Federation possessed, but he found himself fascinated by the K'zinti representative. They knew even less about that race, despite having fought a series of wars with them early in Federation history, and he had, of course, never encountered one himself. It resembled a barrel-chested tabby cat with orangish fur, a naked, rat-like tail it lashed about constantly, and pink ears that unfolded like bat wings, revealing intricate tattoos. Unusual for a sentient being, the K'zin wore no clothing, only a belt and chest harness festooned with pockets. He supposed the fur made clothing unnecessary. While the Gorn was incapable of speaking any language but its own and relied on a translator, the K'zin had the vocal cords and mouth structure to speak English, albeit heavily accented and with what would have been considered a speech impediment had he been human. Janeway informed the K'zin that he could speak his native tongue if it was more comfortable, and the Universal Translator dealt with the rest. It actually made him more intelligible than if he spoke their language.

"Enough wasting time! Why does the Federation summon a representative of the Patriarchy?"

"Well, Ship Captain-Hrrnz," Janeway replied smoothly, "the Federation as you are no doubt aware is in conflict with the Ascension. I believe the Patriarchy has had hostilities with them in the past, as have the Gorn. We're not asking you to side with us and join our war, but any information you might have about your neighbors would be quite helpful.

"Hrrrrrr, and what do we get out of this?"

"What do you want?"

"We want the Federation to stay out of our region. That includes Ascension territory. If you do not cease hostilities, the Patriarchy may very well side with the Ascension. You would do well to avoid making more enemies, human."

"I believe we won the last three wars with the K'zinti, Ship Captain."

The K'zin rose from his seat, tail lashing even more fiercely as his ears folded tight against his skull and retractable claws slid out of his fingertips. The K'zin bared razor-sharp teeth and snarled as Lieutenant Stennis carefully placed on hand on his phaser.

"Were you not female, I would be drinking your blood! You think you can insult the Patriarchy?!"

"It was not my intention, Ship Captain, to insult anyone. I was simply reminding you that-"

Screeching like a bobcat caught in a woodchipper, the K'zinti raked the conference table once with his claws, gouging the polished wood, and stormed out of the meeting room, presumably to return to his ship.

"... was it something I said?"

Data helpfully responded, "The K'zinti have a very rigid set of cultural mores. They are extremely proud of their warrior prowess, even more so than the Klingons. You have effectively insulted their culture by suggesting they are militarily inferior to the Federation, and you have inferred that you would not mind going to war with them again. Further, it is considered a grave insult not to refer to a K'zin male by his full name or title, in this case Ship Captain-Hrrnz. By referring to him only as Ship Captain, you have implied that he is unworthy of the name he has earned through achievement. To a K'zin, earning a name rather than simply a rank or job title is an extremely important accomplishment. I am afraid you have... 'stepped in it', Admiral."

"Damn. Captain, please see if you can apologize on my behalf; try to salvage things with the K'zinti."

"Yes, Admiral."

Data rose from his seat and stepped out onto the bridge.

"Now then, Captain... Stkar? Am I saying that correctly?"

The Gorn nodded, making a whistling hiss that the Universal Translator parsed as, "Yes, and do not worry about addressing me correctly. Unlike the K'zinti, we are not so obsessed with such honorifics."

"Well, that's good to hear. Still, I wouldn't want to accidentally insult you or your people. Captain, please, any information you have on the Ascension would be very beneficial to us. I'm sure that your people would also like us to end the war before it ends up on your borders with the Ascension."

"Tsssss... There is little we can tell you that you do not already know. The Ascension and the Gorn Hegemony have been at peace for over a century, and our only conflict was due to a mutual misunderstanding. Much like our initial conflict with the Federation. We do not seek to support either side in this conflict, as it would make enemies of the other. Much like the K'zinti, however, we also wish for minimal Federation influence in our region of space. Should you seek to occupy Ascension space, it would make us... very uncomfortable. Tsssh. The Hegemony may choose to side with the Ascension if it looks as if the Federation intends to exert its influence over the region. Understand we do not seek conflict, but we do prefer that you stay where you belong and not interfere with the affairs of others in our region."

"That's not an unreasonable position, Captain. I can certainly understand-"

"Admiral, I am sorry to interrupt, but you have a priority one message from Starfleet. And the K'zinti ship has left."

"Thank you, Data, I'll be there momentarily. Captain, I'm sorry, but please excuse me for a moment. Jean-luc, may I borrow your ready room?"

"Of course, Admiral. I think Captain Stkar and I can continue talking," Picard turned to face him, commenting, "I've always been fascinated by Gorn culture. Perhaps, if time permits, you could tell me a bit more about your people afterward?"

The Gorn captain nodded stiffly to the both of them and Janeway stepped out of the meeting room, walked into the ready room, and then clenched her fists and stifled the urge to scream. Damn, but she couldn't believe she'd screwed up so badly with the K'zin representative! Just getting them to send one in the first place had required concessions from the Federation, and now she'd royally pissed him off!

Calming herself, she sat at Picard's desk and activated the viewscreen.

"Admiral Janeway, we are relaying a recorded message to you from the Ascension."

"Go ahead."

An inscrutable symbol, consisting of white lines and geometric figures on a black background, appeared on the screen. About the time Janeway decided it must be the symbol of the Ascension, or at least something that held meaning to them, it was replaced with the face of one Captain William T. Riker. Janeway didn't know the man personally, but she was glad to see that he was alive.

"I am Will Riker, captain of the Federation starship Titan. I am currently a prisoner of the Ascension. I have been treated well by their standards, and have been in talks with a representative of the Ascension government. The Ascension is willing to negotiate a cease-fire in preparation for formal peace talks with the Federation. You have twenty-four hours to choose whether you will negotiate, or whether this war will end in... the annihilation of the Federation."

The symbol returned to the screen, then disappeared just as she had decided it was a series of different symbols joined together to make one. The meaning was impossible to determine.

"The Ascension wants peace talks, hmm? Well..."

Leaning back, Janeway chewed her lip for a moment, thinking.

"I hope anything that happens between now and their 24 hour time limit doesn't count against us at the negotiating table."
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Burak Gazan » 2017-09-24 05:50am

Janeway : fucking up in new and spectacular ways, in every Quadrant she happens to be in...
And Willy-boy? Dial the arrogance back a few notches. Some of us have seen every single one of your arrogant fuckups firsthand. And let's not get into Section 31.
I do hope she doesn't have some operation going that derails things...

Very nice chapter :)
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-09-28 12:15pm

Hmm, interesting. Janeway forgets herself and costs the UFP a potential ally. Picard behaves diplomatically, of course.

Also, I'm very curious as to what Janeway is planning on doing in the 24 hours left in the ultimatum.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-09-30 02:09pm

Interlude:



Tuvok reached into himself for peace and calm, allowing him to slow his breathing and heart rate. He laid his hand reassuringly on the shoulder of the young ensign beside him, doing his best to project that calm. It seemed to help.

The plan leading up to the breach of the prison camp perimeter had gone smoothly. They'd managed to steal enough components from the various pieces of technology the Ascension wanted them to explain that they could build a transmitter and alert Starfleet of their position. He'd identified a nearby mountain top that would give the transmitter a better signal out of the planet's thick atmosphere. They'd devised a plan for getting out of the compound and escaping into the wilderness, and timed it for when there was heavy rain to cover their tracks. Everything had gone smoothly right up until they got outside the camp.

After that, everything had gone to hell in a handbasket, as the humans were fond of saying.

The Ascension had been perfectly aware of their escape plan all along and had allowed it to proceed in order to identify weaknesses in their defenses. As soon as Tuvok and his team of a dozen volunteers had gotten outside, they'd been confronted by armored behemoths demanding their surrender. Tuvok had flung his makeshift flash bomb at them and the Starfleet personnel had all scattered.

The plan had been to split into two teams, one proceeding stealthily to the objective with the transmitter, the other drawing as much attention to themselves as possible and leading their pursuers away. That evidently had not worked, as the Ascension had dogged them the entire way thus far, and picked off his team one by one. Now it was only him and two others.

Tuvok listened, his sensitive Vulcan ears trying to pick out any sound besides the constant rain. Had he bothered to notice, he was thoroughly soaked, freezing cold, and miserable, but such things were hardly important in the grand scheme. He listened... he could hear an Ascension stun weapon fire in the distance, but nothing nearby. He was just about to motion his remaining men into action when a suddenly rustle caught his attention.

"Ensign, get down!"

Ensign Hassan, one of his security officers, immediately flattened himself to the ground, but it made no difference. The Ascension tracking beast burst from the bushes and was immediately on him.

The creatures could apparently track them despite the heavy rainfall, and looked like nothing so much as a large crocodile with long legs and a galloping gait. Hassan shrieked once, then gurgled as the creature clamped down on his arm with its enormous jaws and rolled, tearing the limb off completely.

Tuvok had no means of fighting the creature. The other time he'd been nearby during an attack, he'd stabbed it with a sharpened stick and failed to pierce its hide. He'd then bounced a five kilogram rock off of its head and barely warranted an annoyed glance from the creature as it continued to maul Lieutenant Sulan.

Making a decision, he grabbed Ensign Revchenko and dragged him to his feet.

They ran. They ran, and he concentrated on his footing and tried to ignore the the sounds behind him as an Ascension trooper caught up to the scene and tried to call the vicious creature off of its prey.

Another armored soldier loomed out of the darkness, looking right at them, and raised his weapon. The stun weapons were seemingly less effective in the rain, with a much shorter range, so this soldier was instead wielding a net gun. Tuvok slid like a baseball player, pulling Revchenko down with him, just as the soldier fired.

The expanding net whistled through the air mere centimeters above them both, enveloping the tracking beast and shocking it with an electrical charge; if the net hadn't hit it, it would surely have gotten one of them an instant later.Tuvok shoved the transmitter into Revchenko's hands and shouted, "Go!" as he stood, driving his heel into the knee joint of the armored soldier before him with all his might.

Even Vulcan strength did nothing. The trooper's hand snapped out faster than the eye could follow, metallic fingers wrapping around his throat and lifting him off the ground. Tuvok noted detachedly that the soldier could easily snap his neck, but seemed more inclined to take him alive, so he slowly strangled instead.

Another trooper approached from behind and handcuffed Tuvok, at which point he was released and allowed to breathe again. Tuvok was then frog-marched a hundred meters to an awaiting ground vehicle and shoved inside with several of his fellow escapees.

Ten minutes later, Ensign Revchenko was deposited in the back of the vehicle with him.

"Ensign, did you activate the transmitter before they captured you?"

"Yes, Commander. I was nowhere near the top, but I activated it."

"Let us hope it was sufficient."

The door to the vehicle opened again, and they were back inside the compound. The captured personnel were all marched into the medical facility and began receiving treatment. An Ascension soldier walked into the room and addressed them.

"ALL ESCAPEES HAVE BEEN CAPTURED. FOUR ARE DECEASED. YOUR ATTEMPT TO SUMMON RESCUE HAS FAILED. DO NOT MAKE ANOTHER ATTEMPT."

Tuvok simply stared at his captors, making it clear that he would continue to resist, no matter what. They didn't seem to care.

In truth, Tuvok expected the transmitter to fail, even if they had reached the very peak of the mountain. The Ascension were too competent and thought of too many variables; they would, of course, be jamming any potential rescue beacons they created.

He sat on the bench, wrists aching in their restraints, waiting his turn for examination and treatment, and began working on his next escape attempt.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by LadyTevar » 2017-09-30 04:28pm

Seems Tuvok was trained in SERE
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-10-01 06:25pm

LadyTevar wrote:
2017-09-30 04:28pm
Seems Tuvok was trained in SERE
My initial inclination, and Riker's orders, were for Tuvok to sit tight and passively resist (ie, not cooperate, but not create trouble either) in order to ensure the safety of the crew and civilians in the POW camp.

Then I thought, "nah, while he'd be perfectly ok with doing that, Tuvok would, at the very least, still be planning an escape, and if he had the opportunity he'd take it, even if it was a huge risk".

By the way, the Ascension tracking beasts were inspired by Kaprosuchus saharicus, an extinct relative of the crocodile.

Thankfully extinct, that is.

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Just as at-home in water as modern crocodiles, but capable of distance running on land and heavily armored. Roughly on par with the saltwater crocodile for size.

I can think of few things I'd be less thrilled to have stalking me in the rain.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-10-01 09:11pm

That was an entertaining interlude. The Ascension guards waiting for the prisoners to make a move, and Tuvok making a feint to give them the illusion that they had beaten him. The question is, do the Ascension recognize his move was only a feint, or not? It is, after all, human nature, no matter how well trained, to relax after an incident is over.

Guess we'll have to see.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-10-13 01:40am

Janeway steepled her fingers, brooding, as she listened to the communique from Starfleet. Picard sat beside her, his expression unreadable.

"It doesn't look good. We've nearly got the fleet back up to capacity, so unless the Ascension pull any more surprises on us, we should be able to beat them. But considering how nasty their ships are in combat and their tendency to fight to the death, it's going to be an incredibly ugly, bloody war, no matter how inevitable our victory. The Kzinti haven't been in communication with us, but intelligence believes they'll probably align themselves with the Ascension. The Kzinti are just as suicidally tenacious as the Ascension, but even more aggressive; worse, their technology is much closer to ours in capability. They're not especially numerous, but they'll make a bloody victory even bloodier. The Gorn may or may not sit this one out; they're still very uncomfortable with the idea of a Federation presence in their region, especially if we end up having to occupy part or all of Ascension space."

Admiral Dren paused, his antennae twitching in an Andorian expression of discomfort.

"The Talarians have also expressed their... concerns about the Federation's influence in the region. According to their ambassador, the Klingons are at peace with us, the Cardassians are no longer a threat and are accepting our aid in rebuilding, and thus might become an ally to us, and since the Shinzon incident shaking up their leadership and making them indebted to us, even the Romulans are warming up to us. The Talarians are afraid we're becoming too powerful in the wake of the Dominion War. They're not an especially powerful race, but if they side with the Ascension, this war could end up being pyrrhic in nature. We'd win, but at what cost?"

"Admiral, if the Ascension are willing to negotiate, I say we take the opportunity. If we can end this war without further bloodshed, then let's do so."

"I share your sentiments, Jean-luc, but unfortunately the admiralty and the Federation council are a bit more... vengeful. They want to bloody the Ascension's nose after the attack on Earth. Admiral Dornez in particular is advocating a single, decisive victory against the Ascension, hurt them where it counts, to ensure the Ascension come to the table ready to negotiate in good faith. He believes the Ascension's call for negotiations is merely to buy them time to regroup. I do not entirely disagree, myself."

"So we're supposed to take the fleet in and hit the Ascension where it hurts," Janeway stated. "Their primary fleet is licking its wounds at their secret starbase; if we go in there, we'll probably beat them, but we may not have much of a fleet left to finish the war. And the Ascension aren't stupid; they'll know that."

"We're not going to strike their starbase, Admiral; we're going to maintain enough of a presence nearby for their fleet to stay put in anticipation of an attack, while Starfleet goes after a more important target."

"And what would that be?"

"The Ascension homeworld."

"Admiral, I was under the impression we didn't know where, exactly, the Ascension homeworld was," Picard interjected.

"Now that we know they're human... at least technically, we've been able to combine long-distance scans of Ascension space and a likely route of travel they took from Earth centuries ago and developed a list of systems we believe likely contain a habitable world. We narrowed it down to three choices; one we eliminated because a long-range probe showed that while it was technically habitable, the planet's biosphere was completely incompatible with human or Valakian biology. So we ruled it out. The second possibility was a world that initially looked habitable, but proved to be contaminated with hyperonic radiation; the Ascension almost certainly has the technology to make it habitable now, but they would have lacked it when they first arrived. That leaves the third possibility for a world they would have colonized: the Tetra Phi system's fourth planet. Class M, but heavily contaminated with heavy metals and extreme weather conditions. They would have arrived at it before either of the other possible worlds, and they would have had the technology to colonize it. They would have lacked the resources and infrastructure to build those massive space colonies when they first arrived, but a simple domed city would have allowed them to colonize its surface. The heavy metal contamination likely drove them to develop off-world colonies and farms in orbit, which eventually led them to building such structures to colonize systems entirely lacking habitable worlds. It's a logical choice... as the Vulcans were very fond of stating. It's also near the system where we first encountered them, before Ascension space expanded to its current boundaries."

"A world contaminated with heavy metals and weather extremes? That's an unlikely choice for a homeworld."

"You forget, Katherine, that the Ascension were refugees with very little in the way of resources, plunging blindly into the unknown. Likely by the time they'd made it that far their ships were on the verge of failure. The first habitable world they came across, even if it wasn't ideal, likely seemed better than continued wandering. In any case, Starfleet intelligence has decided that this system is the most likely candidate for the Ascension homeworld. We believe their main fleet is bottled up at their secret starbase, so whatever they have defending the system will very likely be outgunned by our fleet. Your mission is to get in there before the deadline runs out and hit them with everything you've got. If we can capture their homeworld and government, then we can force an immediate and unconditional surrender, ending the war. Otherwise, the Ascension may decide they've got enough allies that they don't need to negotiate a peace agreement."

"And if we can't?"

"Then we negotiate."

"Admiral," Picard stirred, clearly unhappy. "It seems to me that the Ascension might be just a little less willing to negotiate in good faith if we attack their homeworld immediately after they tell us that they're willing to talk. And if, God forbid, we happen to lose, and lose badly, during the attack, putting us at a military disadvantage... what then? The Ascension would have very little reason to want to talk to us then, and would more than likely go on the offensive again, this time with Starfleet severely weakened and a number of potential allies assisting them. I think this is a very foolhardy course of action, and the fact that it seems more motivated by a desire for vengeance than reason only supports that."

"For what it's worth, Picard, I happen to agree with you. But Dornez sold the president and the council on 'making sure the Ascension listen to reason and take us seriously', and they ate it up. And, one has to admit, a decisive victory would ensure peace much more quickly. The decision's been made. Your repairs are complete, the fleet's been resupplied... you're to start immediately."

"Admiral, this is a mistake. We can't just-"

"I'm sorry, Jean-luc. It's out of our hands now. All that's left is to see things through. You have your orders."

The screen went blank and Picard stared at it in mounting frustration. Janeway slowly shook her head, then rose from her seat, tugging her tunic down.

"Well, that's that. Jean-luc, I want you to command the reserves. The Enterprise and the fifth squadron will stay in the rear as reinforcements while the rest of the fleet goes on the attack."

"Won't splitting the fleet leave us vulnerable?"

Janeway shook her head, replying, "No. If we get flanked or the Ascension have yet another trick up their sleeve, you'll be able to counteract it and reinforce us where we're weak. And if we end up outgunned, you'll be able to help cover our retreat. The admiralty seems to think the Ascension's main force is all bottled up, but you can bet that if the Ascension thought to attack the capital of the Federation in a decapitation strike, then they'll expect us to try something similar. I don't know about you, but I really don't want to just charge headlong into what could very well be a trap."

"Agreed. Let's get with Captains Data and Shelby and formulate a plan of attack."

"Do it. I want the fleet ready to go in an hour."

Janeway stepped out of the ready room, headed for the restroom and the nearest pot of coffee, and Picard rubbed his head, heaving a sigh.

"Forward the Light Brigade."

------------------------

Harry walked down the corridor, staring intently at his PADD. Voyager wasn't combat ready. They'd taken on more photon torpedoes, but too many of her systems were unreliable or offline entirely. Whatever hadn't been deactivated in preparation for service as a museum ship was technology from the Delta Quadrant that Starfleet had been in the process of dismantling and studying. The ship was also still lacking a proper crew, having only the bare minimum required to operate it and handle damage control during combat. And Janeway still insisted on commanding the fleet from Voyager.

Stepping into his old quarters to retrieve his other PADD with his engineering notes on it, he startled when a voice called out, "Hello there!"

Looking up, he saw a younger version of himself, wearing his old uniform, grinning and standing in the middle of his quarters, his personal belongings scattered around the room.

"I'm Ensign Harry Kim! Welcome to my quarters! If you look around, you'll find-"

"Computer, deactivate historical program!"

The fake Harry Kim disappeared, along with everything else in the room, as the holographic projectors shut down. The room was much more spartan now, with only the furniture in it.

"And to top it all off, I can't get that damn program to quit activating every time I walk into my own quarters!"

Retrieving his PADD from beside the bed, Harry stormed out of his quarters and headed for the bridge.

----------------------

The fleet dropped out of warp in the midst of the target system, with only hours left to go before the Ascension's deadline for deciding whether or not to negotiate. Other than a brief run in with a single destroyer, easily destroyed, they'd managed to penetrate deep into Ascension space without encountering any resistance. It seemed that Shelby's idea of bypassing every other star system and making a beeline for the target at maximum warp had done the trick. It also seemed that the Ascension really were as stretched thin as Starfleet believed them to be. Now, here they were, close enough to the target planet to reach it quickly, but far enough to get a good idea of what they were getting into instead of leaping in blindly.

"Scan the system, I want to know everything!"

Harry complied, bringing a visual up on the viewscreen.

A dozen of those giant space colonies, each one made up of a pair of miles-long cylinders, littered the system. Two were located at lagrange points around the suspected Ascension homeworld, and the rest were scattered around the system.

"Admiral, I'm reading a large enemy fleet orbiting the target planet, and about a dozen destroyers patrolling the perimeter of the system. I make it... forty cruisers, thirty-five destroyers, ten battleships, and... I'm going to go ahead and tag that as a dreadnought."

"I'll assume that's their flagship," Janeway said drily. "Quite a fleet. Seems they're not as shorthanded as we would have liked."

"I'm picking up a large energy surge coming from a collection of satellites around the sun. They look to be harvesting energy from the sun and transmitting it to- EVASIVE MANEUVERS!"

The USS Oxford's shields flared briefly, its hull turned incandescent, and then the ship burned. It didn't explode, it simply flared up like the head of a match and vanished. An Oberth-class starship and its entire crew, gone in an instant.

"Those satellites are acting as a collimating laser, redirecting solar energy in a single beam targeted at us!"

"Can we avoid it?"

"If all ships engage in random maneuvers as we approach, they should be unable to target us. At this distance, it takes roughly nine minutes for the laser beam to reach us, so they won't have any way to accurately predict where a particular ship will be by the time the laser beam arrives. They must have fired as soon as we dropped out of warp."

"In which case, that energy surge you just detected would be a second laser beam on its way, yes?"

"Ah, yes Admiral, you're correct."

"Inform the fleet. Helm, evasive maneuvers. We're going in."
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-10-13 03:55am

Damn. This is not going to go well.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Burak Gazan » 2017-10-13 12:42pm

Eh boy
Welp, there goes the peace talks
And, is Janeway stupid, or just suicidal? Voyager as flagship? Toots, your ship is way outdated, unfit for combat, and if they figure out you in it, a primary target. I get she's not the first Admiral to be nostalgic about ships, BUT they generally moved on when commanding fleets got bigger and more complex.
And poor Harry. If he lives (doubtful) he should try a phaser on maximum to fix the holoprojector.... :P
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-11-08 09:59pm

The fifth squadron lagged behind to act as reinforcements or a rearguard for the rest of the fleet as the Federation ships charged ahead. Ascension ships began vomiting forth enormous volleys of missiles and mass driver projectiles, which the Starfleet ships evaded as best they could and shot down when they couldn't. There were odd gaps in the firing pattern, which led to ships clustering together at several points, and Picard puzzled over this for a moment.

"Their courses are more predictable now... bracketing fire! Hail the fleet!"

"Admiral Janeway is on the comm."

"Admiral! The Ascension is herding us into a kill zone! Your ships need to spread out, now!"

"Kill zone? What are you talking about? If we spread out, our anti-missile defenses won't overlap and-"

"They're trying to get you to clump together so they can target you with that solar weapon!"

Janeway paused a moment, then opened her mouth to give an order...

... just as the USS Montezuma and USS Berco exploded spectacularly. Voyager itself was partly blinded by the intensity of the laser, but being on the fringes of the beam it suffer only thermal damage to the hull.

"Evasive maneuvers! Spread out, don't let them target us in groups!"

Another laser beam narrowly missed its intended group of targets; the Nebula-class USS Meriweather Lewis took an indirect hit and spun off course as it was propelled by a section of its own hull being vaporized.

Lieutenant Kim looked at his display in dismay and shouted out a status report.

"Port sensors are offline, starboard sensors at 85%! Port impulse engine operating at 13%, shields at 6%! Hull integrity is compromised, I've got massive power fluctuations from the thermal shock, and... Engineering reports that their holographic historical program has activated and is running a simulated warp core breach, they're trying to figure out what's real and what's fictional down there. Admiral, Voyager doesn't need to be in this fight. We're undermanned, and we're in bad shape. If we engage the Ascension fleet, Voyager is almost guaranteed to be a casualty."

Janeway grit her teeth and settled back in her command chair, glaring at the flickering, staticy viewscreen in front of her.

"Admiral," Picard interjected. "I strongly recommend that either you transfer to another ship or we hold off on the attack. We-"

"I appreciate your concern, Jean-luc, but we have our orders. We need to hurt the Ascension badly enough to keep them honest at the negotiating table. Commodore Picard, I am hereby transferring command of the fleet to you. Harry, tell engineering to prepare for a short jump at warp speed."

Janeway leaned forward and fixed an icy glare on the viewscreen ahead and rasped out, "We're going to pop in at point-blank range and hit those laser satellites with everything we've got."

"Admiral, that's extremely inadvisable; Voyager is half blind and even if you make the jump safely you'll be endangering-"

Janeway cut off Picard with a silencing gesture, then turned to the panicky helmsman and said, "Helm, prepare for-"

"Admiral, Voyager will be destroyed if you engage those satellites, and we can easily avoid their lasers if we spread out and-"

"This isn't a discussion, Picard. I know my ship, and Voyager can handle-"

Janeway was suddenly thrown to the deck in a burst of reddish light and everyone on the bridge, as well as Picard, stared at Harry Kim in shock as he calmly holstered his phaser and looked at everyone present one by one before firmly stating, "You all saw that. A console overloaded and incapacitated the admiral. Ensign, please take the admiral to sick bay and keep her sedated; we wouldn't want her to aggravate her injury in her condition. Commodore, I believe the admiral transferred command of the fleet to you, did she not?"

Picard stared for several seconds longer, not quite believing what he just saw, and then shook himself out of inaction.

Deal with that later, he thought.

"All ships, reverse course and hold position at our original entry point to the system. Maintain random evasive maneuvers to avoid enemy fire and await further orders."

Harry took a seat in Janeway's chair as an ensign dragged her into the turbolift, and began issuing orders. A text-only communique came in and he read it; Commodore Picard was ordering Voyager to avoid any further combat. The last sentence promised a full review of Lieutenant Kim's actions once the current crisis was over.

Well. He'd pretty well guaranteed a court martial and the end of his Starfleet career, possibly even jail time for mutiny. He'd also likely killed his friendship with Janeway. But at least he'd kept her from senselessly sacrificing the ship and crew on a needless suicide mission.

And damn did that feel good.

-----------------

Ensign Harkness walked into sick bay as the EMH turned and pleasantly greeted him with, "Please state the nature of the medical emergency."

"The admiral is injured. We're under orders to keep her sedated to avoid provoking any further injuries. Please take care of it."

"Are you serious?"

"I have to go, they need me back on the bridge."

"But I'm not-"

The doors hissed shut as the nervous ensign bolted back to the bridge, afraid of Janeway's ire should she awaken, and the holographic Doctor looked down at his patient with a sour frown.

"Dammit,I'm a historical program, not a doctor!"

After fuming for another few moments, the hologram threw his arms in the air and retrieved a PADD and first aid kit.

"What the hell, it can't be that difficult, I'm a simulation of a simulated doctor. Let's see here, sedation..."

Janeway suddenly bolted upright, looking confused and not entirely there.

"What-"

With a hiss of the hypospray, she promptly flopped back onto the biobed, unconscious, and the hologram looked pleased with himself.

"Huh! Got the right dosage and everything. Who says humans don't come with an off switch?"

Looking at the PADD again, the hologram frowned and scrolled through text.

"Good grief, are they still using Latin in these texts?"

-------------------------------

"Commodore, another ship has entered the system."

"Identification?"

"Breen."

Picard drummed his fingers on his armrest, pensive. The fleet had retreated nearly twenty minutes ago, and since then the only attacks they'd suffered were more laser beams that had been fired at them several minutes prior. Once the Federation ships had begun retreating, the Ascension solar satellites had ceased fire and their fleet had declined to pursue them.

Several minutes later, a number of ships that belonged to neither the Ascension nor the Federation had entered the system. A dozen unfamiliar ships shaped like saucers or spheres, colored pink and grey, were identified by the dots-and-commas script on their hulls as K'zinti warships. A trio of Talarian battle cruisers had also entered the system, along with a Gorn vessel, a Ferengi marauder, and now a Breen ship.

"It would appear the Ascension have supporters."

"Commodore, we are being hailed by the Ferengi."

"Onscreen."

Picard had expected to see Damon Jarl on the screen, given his dealings with the Ascension, but the individual on the screen was unfamiliar to him.

"I'm Commodore Jean-luc Picard of the United Federation of Planets. How may we help you...?"

"Damon Bok. The Grand Nagus has seen fit to dispatch me on his behalf. The Ascension have requested that the Ferengi act as impartial arbitrators during negotiations between them and the Federation. Do you have any objections?"

"No, Damon, that would be fine. Please send Nagus Rom my regards."

Bok inclined his head to acknowledge Picard's pleasantries, then exposed his snaggleteeth in what was probably intended to be a polite smile.

"Commodore, I'm going to be honest. Our intelligence reports that you have a fleet stationed near the Ascension's expeditionary fleet, ready to engage them, you have your fleet here, and your main fleet is nearly ready to commence offensive operations. If you were facing only the Ascension, you would very likely defeat them. But the K'zinti, the Breen, and Talarians have announced their intent to support the Ascension if you continue your offensive, and the Gorn have sent a representative to petition the Federation to cease hostilities and negotiate. The Ascension are willing to declare a ceasefire if the Federation is willing. Will the Federation declare a ceasefire and negotiate in good faith toward a peace settlement?"

Picard mused that this was his chance to end this stupid war without any further bloodshed and, without hesitation, stated, "We are. So long as the Ascension abide by the ceasefire, so shall we."

"Excellent," Bok said, grinning and exposing his hideous mouth even further, "Then in that case, negotiations will take place on neutral territory, namely, my ship, the Acquisitor. We understand it will take two or three days for you to send an ambassador for negotiations, but in the meantime the Ascension is willing to make a gesture of good faith by releasing two prisoners, Captain Riker and his wife. They would also like you to begin initial negotiations before the Federation ambassador arrives, so both sides can familiarize themselves with the demands of the other before official negotiations begin."

"Very well Damon. Please inform the Ascension that as soon as the Rikers are safely aboard and debriefed, I would be willing to meet with them and explain the Federation position. But they must understand, I do not have the authority to-"

"Yes, yes," Bok said with a placating gesture, still smiling. "They understand all that already. This is only to introduce both sides to the demands of the other, there will be no binding agreements. Now if you'll excuse me, I must prepare a space for the negotiations."

Damon Bok disappeared from the screen with a wave and Picard sat back in his seat.

"Data, inform Starfleet that we now have a ceasefire with the Ascension and they need to send their delegates to join us immediately. And please have Admiral Janeway beamed over, I'll need to see to her as soon as possible."

"Yes, sir. And what will you do when you meet with the Ascension?"

"Try to end this idiot conflict and hope the Ferengi aren't charging us by the hour for the use of their ship as a meeting ground."

Data cocked his head, frowning at the flippant remark as Picard entered the turbolift feeling like an already long day was about to get even longer.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Burak Gazan » 2017-11-08 10:18pm

I would have vaporized her :twisted:
But I freely admit, I'm waaaay less forgiving an individual that Poor , Dumb HARRY.... :mrgreen:
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-11-09 11:03am

I'm kind of surprised Bok was being so reasonable and wasn't trying to kill Picard, considering the feud they have with Picard having to kill Bok's son in self defense. Or that Bok even has a ship considering he was viewed as a disgrace by the rest of the Ferengi Alliance.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-11-09 05:37pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2017-11-09 11:03am
I'm kind of surprised Bok was being so reasonable and wasn't trying to kill Picard, considering the feud they have with Picard having to kill Bok's son in self defense. Or that Bok even has a ship considering he was viewed as a disgrace by the rest of the Ferengi Alliance.


Different Bok; hence why Picard didn't recognize him.

It's ok; the Ferengi were confused the first time they encountered a second guy named Steve. :P
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Burak Gazan » 2017-11-10 06:46pm

I re-read this; Starfleet Command should give Harry a medal when this shakes out. Not only did his actions save the lives of this crew, it gives SFC an easy OUT to get rid of this bitch, Once , and FOR ALL. Dick waving of this magnitude needs a special penal colony. Taking an obsolete ship into combat is one level of stupidity. Ignoring damage reports AND having the fucking museum piece re-animate in the middle of a battle? Just STOP. There is NO excuse or liesplaining available for saving her ass. No Way
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-11-15 10:32pm

Picard's reunion with the Rikers was a heartfelt one, and his debriefing of all they had seen and gone through was quick but thorough. Because they were the closest things he had to experts on the Ascension, he asked them both to accompany him to the initial negotiations.

To Riker's surprise, when the Ascension representative removed his helmet, it was not Fabio, but a man he didn't recognize. He had a shaved head, a handlebar mustache, a broad, flat nose, square jaw, and skin so black it was almost blue in the light.

"I don't mean to be rude, ambassador, but you're certainly not what I was expecting; I was given to understand that the Augments among the Ascension were all descended from Europeans?"

"No offense taken, Captain Riker. All of the adult Augments were refugees from the European Dominion, but the scientists who created us made sure that every major ethnic group, and several minor ones, was represented amongst us, given that we were supposed to lead all the peoples of the world into a bright new future. Khan Noonien Singh, for example, was of northern Indian ancestry, and Caocao Ming was Han Chinese."

Ming the Merciless, as Picard recalled; he'd been one of the most brutal dictators of the Eugenics Wars, and had been all about 'maintaining purity' of race and genes; his genocide had exterminated nearly all ethnic minorities in what had then been China, Mongolia, Tibet, and Cambodia, along with anyone who had 'defective' genes, such as autism, diabetes, dwarfism, or nearsightedness. Khan, who had deposed Ming and gone on to conquer nearly all of Asia, had been far more egalitarian; he didn't care what race you were, so long as you obeyed. In the aftermath of the Eugenics Wars, the nations previously ruled first by Ming and later by Khan had formed the Eastern Coalition, one of the primary belligerents in the Third World War that had followed almost immediately after the Eugenics Wars.

"When the Ascension Project began crewing ships for the Exodus, they took aboard a number of frozen fetuses and tissue samples from other regions; my genetic heritage derives from the Andaman Islands. I've always been curious to see them for myself, to get in touch with my ancestral home."

"Perhaps that will be possible," Picard said with a polite smile, "Once we've settled a peace agreement between our peoples."

"Perhaps. But we will have to wait until we've built that bridge before we cross it," the Ascension representative replied with his own polite smile.

"In the meantime, please call me Joseph. Now, this is only the preliminaries; the real negotiations won't begin until your ambassadors arrive from Earth. No agreements are binding and there is no expectation of reaching any sort of conclusion. Both sides will present what they want from the other, and then once the ambassadors arrive and familiarize themselves with our demands, we can start compromising on something we'll both be willing to tolerate."

"Very well. I must say, Joseph, the Ascension's attitude toward these negotiations is very understanding."

Joseph acknowledged this by inclining his head, and replied, "The Ascension are a reasonable people, Commodore. From our point of view, it was the Federation who unreasonably intruded where they were not wanted and continued to push the point after we made it clear we did not want contact with you. Thus, from our point of view, the Federation is at fault for the war and must bear the most blame." Joseph smiled wryly at the stiff expression on Picard's face and continued. "Of course, we understand that the Federation has its own point of view regarding this, and we do admit to at least some of the blame. Now, perhaps you would be so kind as to tell me what the Federation wants in exchange for peace?"

Picard shifted in his seat, then looked at his PADD.

"First, the Federation wants a complete cessation of all hostilities."

"That seems a given at a peace conference. Go on."

"Second, all Federation citizens held prisoner by the Ascension are to be returned immediately."

"The Ascension is willing to release all prisoners immediately upon the conclusion of a peace agreement."

"Very good. Third, the return of all captured Federation technology, including the USS Titan."

Riker's cheek twitched at the mention of his ship, while Deanna reached under the table and squeezed his hand reassuringly.

"Fourth, the Ascension will agree to place a limit on the number, size, and armament of its warships."

This time it was Joseph's turn to involuntarily betray his inner feelings, flaring his nostrils and drumming his fingers on top of his helmet.

"Fifth, the Ascension will accept responsibility for all those who died in San Francisco-"

"How many was that, might I ask?" Joseph interrupted.

"... we're still counting. There are a number of people still unaccounted for, but our best estimate is roughly 70,000 people, mostly civilians."

Joseph motioned for Picard to continue, and Deanna leaned over to whisper into her husband's ear, "That disturbed him almost as much as it did us." Riker made no move to acknowledge her statement.

"The Ascension will accept responsibility for all those who died in San Francisco, as well as the unprovoked destruction of Starbase Gamma Epsilon, and the deaths of thousands of Starfleet personnel, and pay reparations. The full extent of these reparations is still to be decided, but will include the cession of the system where hostilities initially began, now known as the Jameson System. Sixth, the Ascension will sign a non-aggression treaty, to be renewed in ten years time, whereby the Ascension agree not to levy war against the Federation for the duration of said treaty, nor to aid any nation in a conflict with the Federation. Seventh, the Ascension will allow the Federation to establish an embassy on their homeworld, and establish an embassy on Earth, to allow for mutual communication and understanding between our peoples in order to avoid future conflict."

Picard slid the PADD across the table toward Joseph, who glanced at the display and then set it aside.

"Is that all?"

"For the moment, yes. The ambassadors will have a more up-to-date idea of our position, but for now that is the extent of our conditions."

"Very well. Now I will present our demands."

Joseph picked up a Ferengi PADD and began reading.

"First, the immediate cessation of all hostilities. It seems we are in agreement there. Second, the immediate return of all prisoners, all bodily remains, and all captured Ascension ships and technology. Third, the establishment of a neutral zone between the Ascension and the Federation, which neither side shall violate without first consulting the other. Fourth, the Federation will sign a non-aggression treaty to be renewed in fifty years. Fifth, the Federation will agree not to provide aid to any nation or entity in conflict with the Ascension and will consult the Ascension before making any kind of formal trade agreement, alliance, or treaty with the Talarians, K'zinti, Gorn, Breen, or Zur. Sixth, the Federation will accept responsibility for the loss of life, property, and resources within the Ascension and pay reparations, to be decided later. Seventh, the Federation will agree to allow human colonies to make independent treaties with the Ascension, up to and including membership and alliances."

Joseph lowered the PADD and Picard said, "Well, there's certainly a lot of negotiating to be done before we manage to meet in the middle, but I do believe we can work something out here. Both sides seem to genuinely want to end this conflict, so if we-"

"Eighth, the Federation will finalize negotiations within three days of the ambassadors' arrival and agree to all Ascension demands. In exchange, the Ascension will call off the planet-killers aimed at multiple Federation worlds before it's too late."

Joseph slid the PADD across the table toward Picard, put on his helmet, and said, "We've both stated our positions. I look forward to seeing your ambassadors once they arrive. Good day, Commodore. Captain. Counselor."

The Ascension representative marched out of the room as Picard and the others sat speechless at the table, nearly plowing into Damon Bok and a Ferengi crewman holding a tray with drinks as he left.

Bok looked around the room, then pointed at the tray and asked innocently, "Did I come at a bad time?"

Riker looked at the last bullet point on the PADD, then at Picard, and said, "What the f-"

--------------------------

The Federation president looked at Admiral Dornez aghast, then asked, "What do they mean, 'planet-killers'? What do they have that could kill a planet?"

"We don't know, Mr. President. It could be any number of things that would be within their technical capacity. They've certainly surprised us before. It could also be a bluff. We have no way of knowing."

"Well surely you're looking into it?!"

"Yes, sir! We're running deep space scans, we've got starships patrolling, we're doing everything we can. The problem is that the threat is too vague. We don't know what sort of 'planet-killer' we're looking for, if one even exists, nor do we know which worlds have been targeted. We're assuming Earth and Vulcan would be priority targets for the Ascension and concentrating our efforts on detecting anything that could be targeting them. But we just don't have enough to go on. Personally, I'm inclined to believe it's a bluff, but I'm also not willing to take the chance."

The president took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose wearily.

"And just what, exactly, am I supposed to do with the Ascension claiming to hold a gun to our heads?"

"I'm afraid that, Mr. President, is above my paygrade."

Dornez really did believe the threat was a bluff; the Ascension had more ships than anticipated, but they really were at the limits of their military capability, while the Federation was finally back up to speed and could throw far more ships at them now. On the other hand, as he said, he also wasn't willing to call that bluff; the Ascension had sprung too many nasty surprises on them for him to take anything for granted now.

Maybe those genetically-engineered bastards really did have some sort of planet-killing superweapon hidden up their sleeves.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Burak Gazan » 2017-11-15 11:17pm

ITEM FOUR on the feddies list? I think the politest answer I could give , would be along the lines of "FUCK YOU, DEAD"
And, the Feds would have to be monumentally stupid to think the Ascension is bluffing. There are any number of ways to build a planet-killer , as readers of this board could explain to these guys.... :twisted:
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-11-16 11:48am

Considering the Ascension would lose a war of attrition, and they did fire first, an arms reduction seems reasonable. Also, bringing planet killers to peace negotiations smacks of Augment temper tantrums, so this is a bad sign.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Burak Gazan » 2017-11-16 06:07pm

It's more of a principle. You may recall a war in Earth's history, where attempting to dictate the terms from on-high, didn't work out very well later on. Remind me again, which power launched an offensive WHILE peace attempts were full underway? And KNEW it, but went ahead anyways? Another reason to kill Janeway off, put it on her incompetent measures....
"Of course, what would really happen is that in Game 7, with the Red Sox winning 20-0 in the 9th inning, with two outs and two strikes on the last Cubs batter, a previously unseen meteor would strike the earth, instantly and forever wiping out all life on the planet, and forever denying the Red Sox a World Series victory..."

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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-05 02:28am

"Well, ambassador? What's the news?"

"Commodore, I do believe we're making progress. The Ascension have given us a three day deadline to conclude negotiations, but considering how far we've come on the first day, we just might have something worked out by then. They're actually remarkably reasonable people, all things considered."

Picard nodded impatiently, then asked, "And have they given any indication just what sort of super weapon they're threatening us with?"

"Yes," the lead negotiator for the Federation replied. "After they were satisfied we were negotiating in good faith, they told us what it was. A relativistic kill vehicle."

"Relativistic kill vehicle?"

"I'm not familiar with the concept myself; I was rather hoping..."

"I believe, Commodore," interjected Data, "That the term refers to a projectile or spacecraft accelerated to relativistic speeds and aimed at a planet. Depending on the mass and speed of the projectile, it could impact with the force of anywhere from several gigatons to a teraton of explosive force, assuming technology consistent with what we've seen the Ascension employ and that the stated destruction of a planet is accurate."

"Merde. That is a planet killer. But a projectile traveling at relativistic speed would take decades to hit a nearby target; if they're targeting worlds in Federation space, it would take centuries, potentially, to reach their target. Perhaps even thousands of years, depending on the speed and distance. What use is a weapon that kills your enemy after your great-great-grandchildren are long dead and gone?"

"I believe, sir, that the point is merely to threaten Federation worlds with annihilation; if the Ascension are defeated, or outright destroyed, it makes little difference to them how long it takes to exact revenge. The length of time necessary for the projectiles to reach their targets would ensure that, even if their existence was known, it would surely be forgotten by the time they reached their targets."

"But surely an object traveling that slowly would be easily detected, long before it became a serious threat."

"That," the ambassador said wearily, "Would be true if the Ascension hadn't seen to it. According to the information revealed to us at the end of today's negotiations, the projectiles are coated in sensor-stealth material designed to hide them from visual, thermal, radar, and subspace sensor sweeps. Something traveling that fast, smaller than a starship, and that hard to detect just might slip through our sensor grid. Or it might not. The Ascension made doubly sure of that by installing a copy of a Klingon cloaking device on each projectile; the projectiles themselves have no drive system and the power supply is just large enough to operate the cloaking device and nothing more. The projectiles are otherwise inert. No exhaust, no energy leakage, no outgassing, nothing to give them away."

Picard rubbed his chin in consideration.

"But... if there's no drive aboard the projectile, how is it being propelled?"

Data cocked his head to one side, eyes twitching side to side as if he were reading text, and then stated, "I believe I may have the answer to that."

Tapping away faster than the eye could follow, Data entered information into the console built into his seat's armrest, then swiveled it to face Picard.

"The satellites orbiting the star. They absorb energy from the star, then transmit it elsewhere in the system, primarily in the form of microwaves, visible light lasers, or similar directed energy systems. Their primary purpose is not as a defensive weapon in the event of an attack on the Ascension homeworld, though they are certainly effective as such; their purpose is the transmission of energy. Since our entry into the system, we have detected a number of cargo drones operating in the system; many have minimal propulsive systems aboard, the bare minimum to steer and brake. Smaller drones, launched from small moons and the asteroid belt, appear to be launched via magnetic or gravitic mass drivers, and are then braked," He changed the image on the display, "Via a solar sail with a diffuse laser beam directed at it. Larger drones are propelled toward the outer system by the same system of solar sails and laser beams, then brake with chemical rockets or nuclear pulses, depending. If the Ascension used this laser system to propel the projectiles via solar sail, they would indeed be able to accelerate to low relativistic speeds without an onboard propulsion system."

"That's... incredible. How fast could they accelerate a projectile capable of harming an entire planet using this system, Mr. Data?"

"Unknown, sir. We would need to know the mass of the projectile, the size of its solar sail, the power output of the laser beam used and its concentration, and a number of other factors. But it does seem quite possible, and we know the Ascension are capable of... surprising, us."

"Yes. Ambassador, did the Ascension give any indication of how many of these weapons they've deployed, or what their targets are?"

"No, sorry. That's pretty much all they told us."

Picard leaned back, quietly horrified. Weapons that were nearly impossible to detect, even if you knew their target and speed, and would take so long to reach their targets that they'd almost certainly be forgotten about... before resulting in the deaths of millions, or even billions, of innocent lives, all as revenge for a conflict that would be, at most, a footnote in history books by that point and relevant to no one, with everyone on both sides of the conflict long dead and forgotten.

It told Picard three things about the Ascension: combined with the massive space colonies, solar satellite system, and other constructs, the Ascension thought on a grand scale rarely seen in known space, both in terms of size and timescale. The Ascension were very, very thorough when it came to conflict; he had a sneaking suspicion that if their intended goal had been to simply kill as many Federation citizens as they could, there would have been little Starfleet could do about it. They'd been holding back, at least when it came to collateral damage, until San Francisco. And finally, the Ascension were very much of an attitude encountered more than once in human history.

“If the day should ever come when we must go, if some day we are compelled to leave the scene of history, we will slam the door so hard that the universe will shake and mankind will stand back in stupefaction."

"Sir?"

"A quote, Mr. Data. Joseph Goebbels. Uttered before the fall of the Nazi regime. If the Ascension are defeated, their intent is to make their defeat as horrifying as possible for the victors, no matter how repugnant or destructive. They're willing to murder entire worlds, centuries from now, just to get their revenge."

Data raised his eyebrows, then looked at Picard and said, "That is a very... selfish, course of action."

The ambassador interrupted, saying, "They're not willing to go that far unless all other options are exhausted. They told us what the weapon was. We don't know how many, where they're aimed, where they are, or how fast they're traveling, but we at least know the nature of the beast. They've told us that if we work this treaty out by the deadline, they'll inform us as to how to locate each weapon and transmit a self-destruct signal to them."

"Well, that is reasonable," Picard said sarcastically.

"Commodore, try to understand: these people view us as an existential threat. They've spent the last few centuries convinced that as soon as we found out who they were, we'd send an armada to exterminate them all, to the last man, woman, and child. They're convinced we're the bad guys, that they fled genocidal persecution, and that given the chance we'd do the same again, just to keep the 'genetic supermen' from being a threat ever again. They're resorting to extreme measures because they think the situation is equally extreme. But they're not unreasonable; we're dealing with rational human beings here, not rabid warmongers blindly lashing out. Part of my job is to convince them we really do mean it when we sign on the treaty; and given that we attacked them after they announced they wanted a ceasefire and negotiations, my job is not easy. Of course they're holding a gun to our heads: from their point of view, we've attacked them treacherously, and have every reason to want them all dead. The only way they can trust us is by ensuring our honesty in the most definite way possible."

"I can appreciate all of that, Ambassador, but it certainly doesn't make things any easier on my end, given that these people are essentially willing to throw a temper tantrum over losing, a tantrum that will murder God alone knows how many innocent people out of the blue, who won't even know why they're being killed."

"Picard, believe me. I understand. I do. Now I have to make the Ascension understand that we're not the bad guys here. And I really do think we're making progress in that regard. I'll keep you up to date."

"Thank you, ambassador. Picard out."

--------------------

Voyager dropped out of warp and made a beeline for Earth. Its skeleton crew was walking on eggshells and nobody wanted to broach the topic of the reason for their return to Earth.

Admiral Janeway had been relieved of duty and placed on leave, effectively immediately. She knew her judgement in trying to take Voyager on what was, she realized in retrospect, almost assuredly a suicide mission, was questionable at best. She knew she wasn't in the best of conditions right now; she'd seen a counselor several times since returning from the Delta Quadrant and knew she had issues with survivor's guilt, post-traumatic stress, questioning her own judgement and constantly going over might-have-been's, but she'd thought that was all behind her. She'd been too fragile to trust in another high-stress situation, but too popular to put out to pasture, and subsequently been kicked upstairs, where she'd gotten herself put in charge of the fleet by bullying her way to the front and having several of her superiors die off.

She... wasn't well. She'd always been confident in her abilities, but now she didn't really know if she could handle it anymore. Perhaps... perhaps it was time to announce her retirement.

She'd already seen Harry. He was ashamed, of course, and convinced that he'd ruined their friendship forever. Poor, dumb Harry. She certainly didn't approve of how he'd done it, but his actions had probably saved Voyager and everyone aboard. She'd forgiven him, and meant it. He was also relieved of duty, and a court martial was going to be arranged eventually. She intended to testify on his behalf, not against him.

Janeway wiped a tear from her cheek, surprised at the churning emotions she was experiencing. She hoped she wasn't being too hasty, thinking about resigning. She needed a voice of reason to keep her grounded. She needed Tuvok. She'd always been able to rely on his judgement. She'd heard from Riker that he was alive, in an Ascension internment camp, but she hadn't known if he was alive or dead for weeks, and she needed someone she could talk to so badly...

She popped open a secret panel hidden by her bedside and retrieved a dusty bottle. It'd been so long since she'd put it there, she'd honestly forgotten it existed until just now. A gift from Mark, to be shared when she got home. Mark. The man she'd been in love with, engaged to, and lost.

She pried the lid off, replicated a glass with ice, and poured herself two fingers of some of the best damn Romulan ale in the galaxy. She grimaced, feeling it burn as it went down, and poured herself another glass.

"You know... I was supposed to share this bottle. It'd be a damn shame to drink it alone."

She slapped her commbadge and said, "Janeway to Lieutenant Kim. Harry, you busy?"

"Uh, no, Admiral. What can I do-"

"I've got a contraband bottle of Romulan ale onboard and I need someone to help me dispose of the evidence. You in?"

".... I'll be there in five minutes."

"You're a good man, Harry."

Kim actually arrived at her quarters in two minutes, and sat across the table from her.

"Wow. This really is the good stuff."

"Nothing but the best from Mark. And it's from the northern continent; they traditionally include a few 'intoxicating' herbs and a higher alcohol content. I hear you can actually get a few months in jail just for having a bottle. We'd better make sure we dispose of it all before the powers that be figure out what to do with us."

Kim looked around the room nervously, then said, "Uh, Admiral? Since we're disposing of contraband and all, I've got something Libby gave me to help me relax during stressful assignments. Perhaps we should get rid of it as well."

"Oh? Consider my curiosity piqued," Janeway said as she poured them each a full glass. Her eyes bulged when Harry placed a small baggy, a plasma igniter, and rolling papers on the table.

"Is that-?"

"Romulan marijuana. The good stuff. Don't ask me where Libby got it."

"Harry," Janeway said, astonished. "You've finally learned how to loosen up!"

"So..."

"Roll me a fat one, Mr. Kim. We've got a hell of a lot of contraband to dispose of."

"Yes, ma'am!"
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-06 12:01pm

Yes, the Romulan marijuana scene is silly (and inspired by SF Debris), and I initially didn't want to end it that way, but decided to do so for a couple of reasons.

1) Star Trek is silly, even unintentionally, so including something stupid like that is in the spirit of Star Trek, even in an otherwise serious story.

2) It shows Janeway and Kim bonding again after something that would, by rights, end many a friendship.

3) It shows that Harry Kim is not the same person he was during Voyager. He's less risk averse, he's more confident (and actually has a reputation amongst his junior coworkers for being a badass thanks to all the crap he's been through in the Delta Quadrant), and, as Janeway said, he's learned how to lighten up, mostly thanks to his wife Libby's influence. He's not a naive, insecure ensign anymore; he's grown up.

4) The Federation bans Romulan ale, yet everyone seems able to get their hands on the stuff and the consequences don't seem too severe; what other contraband is readily available in the Federation, and what would the Romulans be willing to clandestinely sell to the Federation in order to get smuggling (and spy) operations within their borders? Similar to how North Korea manufactures heroin and meth to fund their army.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Burak Gazan » 2017-12-06 12:12pm

1. War is not silly; ST Voyeur may be, but real nasty WAR aint. Stop that
2. Bonding? Again, I would have DISINTEGRATED THE BITCH
3. Harry is still an imbecile with no real personality of his own
4. Booze is one thing, STONED Is another. And most certainly NOT with this bitch
Make nice?? I would testify at HER EXECUTION
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2017-12-06 05:19pm

That was rather silly. Harry and Janeway bonding is nice, but I think it could have been executed better, and been more in the vein of feeling like something the characters would actually do.

Also, nice that the ambassador is being diplomatic, but there's a limit.

Ambassador, "Sure, they have a gun to our heads, but you just need to understand where they're coming from."
Picard, "Do they understand our perspective at all?"
Ambassador, "No, for we aren't as evolved as they are, for we aren't genetically engineered and are therefore untermenschen, so our perspective isn't taken into account, aside from what we can do for them."
Picard, "Ah, so you've been giving them our perspective and confusion as to why they started this war and shot at us first?"
Ambassador, "No, because I didn't want to confront them."
Picard, "I see. How long have you been an ambassador again?"

Also, since Data has been briefed on the weapon, I'm sure he can technobabble a way to detect them and make a countermeasure.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Dass.Kapital » 2017-12-06 11:43pm

Um... thinking of a few points.

The Ascention have launched their RKV's from around their home star, yes?
They haven't built any other launch sites... Well.. not that the Feds or any one else can detect?
An RKV is only a threat untill it hits something?

Now... this is where I don't understand te physics of the things, so.

If an RKV were to hit anything before the intended target... Would the thing still carry on? Or would it just now smear itself across the void?
Since the Feds have both a starting point and known possible stargets.
The interveining travel time will be in the what? Centuries, at least?

So (If an RKV can only survive impacting one other mass), surely enough time for replicated fleets of even simple robot drone constructors at the potential target planets to start moving Oort cloud mass into a 'belt' around it and the Ascention's starting point.
A 'Steller wiple' shield, if you will....
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2017-12-08 01:02am

Eh, you're right. Romulan marijuana is too silly. Consider it retconned: Harry and Janeway just split a bottle between them and bond over old times.


Dass.Kapital wrote:
2017-12-06 11:43pm
Um... thinking of a few points.

The Ascention have launched their RKV's from around their home star, yes?
So far as the Federation knows. Remember that Data's guess about how they launched the projectiles is only that; a guess. They have no way of knowing if what the Ascension are saying is true, nor do they actually know how they were launched or where they were launched from.

If an RKV were to hit anything before the intended target... Would the thing still carry on? Or would it just now smear itself across the void?
Depends on how substantial the object is and its velocity relative to the projectile. Could do nothing but splatter against the projectile, could break the projectile into multiple parts (producing a shotgun blast at the receiving end, depending on how far apart the fragments spread), could obliterate the projectile entirely.
Since the Feds have both a starting point and known possible stargets.
They have no idea which planets were targeted. They can guess, but there's no way to know unless they detect a projectile.

Knowing the starting point, picking a likely target, and then searching the path in between shouldn't be too difficult for them. Problem is, without knowing how fast the projectile is traveling, they have no way of knowing how far along the path it is (though they should be able to roughly estimate, based on guesses of acceleration via solar sail; again, assuming what the Ascension told them is truthful and accurate. Would you trust them at face value?), and if they can't detect it (or at least, not easily), then how do they intercept it? Fly an object along the same path and hope they run into each other? Good idea... until you miss by ten feet and the projectile goes past your search zone. Space is a BIG place, and even a straight path from A to B contains a large volume of space you can easily lose a relatively small object in, much less one coated in stealth material and cloaked.

And they can still only guess at which planets were targeted. Picking key planets like Earth or Vulcan is logical, but what if the Ascension targeted colonies nearest their own space for the shortest travel time? Or picked planets they thought were likely to become important several centuries in the future as their populations, economies, locations along developing trade routes, etc. developed, so that when the projectiles finally arrived they'd hit big, fat targets? You only have guesses, at best, as to where these interstellar bullets are aimed.

Now, granted, the Federation should have centuries to find and destroy or divert them, but what if they don't find them? Or don't find them all? Human nature being what it is, how long do you think they'll keep searching before they call it 'good enough' and give up? How long until they decide, "eh, we've got a few hundred years before they become a problem, I'm sure by then we'll have a technobabble solution." And then after a few decades, everybody effectively forgets they exist and the Federation gets distracted by local politics, wars, a Borg invasion, economic collapse, whatever for the next few centuries until suddenly a planet gets pasted out of nowhere with a K-T Event-level impact and suddenly it's a problem again? And that assumes they even remember what this threat was and aren't completely clueless when it first happens.
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