The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

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Swindle1984
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The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2015-12-21 03:57am

Basic premise: What if the Federation went up against an enemy from a harder, somewhat more realistic sci-fi universe?






William Luther Jameson, captain of the USS Potemkin, sat at the head of the conference room studying his senior officers. The Potemkin was Excelsior-class, aging, increasingly obsolescent, but recently upgraded, and its crew were all veterans of the Dominion War; both the ship and her crew were solid.

Now, however, the war was over and it was time to get back to what Starfleet was truly about: exploration.

"Alright Joseph, why don't you start by telling us about the system first?"

The man he addressed had deep ebony skin, a beard neatly trimmed to the exact same length as his graying hair, and spoke with a distinct Jamaican accent that thirty years in space hadn't put a dent into.

"Well, there's not much to say. Eight planets, including two gas giants and an independently orbiting dwarf planet, with a dense asteroid field and an even denser cometary halo; no permanent habitats or colonies, but it's rich in resources, including dilithium, so it's definitely of strategic interest if another conflict were to come up. No M-class worlds though."

Captain Jameson nodded, then asked, "and the system's owners?"

"There's not much known about them, I'm afraid. They call themselves the Ascension, or at least that's what we think they call themselves. They're not exactly talkative with outsiders; everything we know about them says that they're extremely territorial and xenophobic. But I think Kat can tell you more about them than I could."

"Doctor?"

The auburn-haired Betazed nodded and licked her lips before speaking.

"The Ascension are, as he said, extremely territorial and isolationist. Our history with them has not been a productive one. First contact with the Ascension was made by the USS Dawntreader, and resulted in the Dawntreader's destruction."

Jameson tugged at his lip for a moment, muttering, "Dawntreader... I should know that one."

"Daedalus-class, replaced the USS Enterprise NX-01 as the Starfleet flagship when it was decommissioned."

"That's right, the pride of the fleet, at least back then. Please continue, doctor."

"The Dawntreader made first contact with the Ascension in 2163; nobody is sure what happened since there were no survivors, but it appears that first contact did not go well. After the Dawntreader went missing, the USS Tampico went looking for it and found wreckage that was positively identified as the remains of the Dawntreader. A pair of Ascension starships declared the system to be their rightful property and fired warning shots, prompting the Tampico's retreat."

Leaning back in her seat, Dr. Katherine Drui steepled her fingers as she lapsed into lecture mode, something she'd done quite often since she transferred from teaching at Starfleet Academy back into active service as a historian and diplomat.

"Our next contact with the Ascension was fifty years later; the USS Nomad approached the same system with the intention of making peaceful contact; they were fired upon with nuclear warheads and suffered heavy casualties, and the Nomad had to retreat. Since then, the Federation has made no further attempts to contact the Ascension; they're extremely hostile and territorial, but they're not expansionist or imperialistic, so a live-and-let-live policy was put into place; so long as they didn't bother us, we wouldn't bother them."

"Until now," Jameson noted grimly.

"Until now. As Joseph noted, the system would be of strategic interest if the Dominion were to resume hostilities or the Borg made a concerted push against the Federation. The Ascension has only recently laid claim to the system and hasn't yet populated it; Starfleet feels that if we can make at least a tentative peaceful contact, they may be open to further diplomatic encounters in the future which may lead to a trade agreement. The Ascension has nothing to offer us technologically, but what we need in the event of another war is resources, and they have those."

"That brings us back to you, Joseph. What do we know about their technology?"

The Potemkin's chief engineer glanced at the PADD in front of him, then shrugged dismissively.

"They're backwards. They were roughly on par with us when they destroyed the Dawntreader, but they really haven't advanced much since then; according to what we know, which is mostly secondhand reports of encounters with the Klingons and the Orions, they still rely heavily on thermonuclear warheads instead of antimatter weapons like photon torpedoes. They don't even have proper shields; their ships project a powerful magnetic field that somewhat disperses particle beams like our phasers, and some sort of deflector similar to a 21st century device known as a plasma window, which stops physical objects from striking the ship but lets energy weapons pass right through. Even together, that isn't much defense compared to shields, even on ships we'd consider hopelessly obsolete. No phasers or disruptors, they rely primarily on lasers and primitive, short-ranged particle beams."

"Lasers?" Jameson frowned, "that doesn't seem particularly threatening."

"They have the power generation to make them threatening," his chief engineer noted dryly. "Their fusion reactors don't produce as much power as our warp cores, but they're good enough to get their ships to low warp and to put some serious punch behind those lasers. Lasers also travel at light speed and don't disperse as much as phasers, so they have greater range too. Their technology may be backwards, but they still can hurt us if they want to. Their propulsion systems are also pretty primitive; they seem to have developed gravitic propulsion similar to our impulse drive, but it's clunky and awkward; they still rely on nuclear propulsion, either nuclear-powered rockets expelling reaction mass or actual nuclear pulses. Most of their ships are limited to warp two, and only for short bursts; they can't generate enough power to maintain a stable warp bubble for long periods of time."

"So if they have resources we need, we certainly have something we trade them in return: technology. Even an old freighter hauled out of mothballs would be a step up for them, it sounds like."

Joseph shook his head sharply.

"Be that as it may, sir, they're still dangerous. The Orions regularly lose ships to them, the Klingons and even the Romulans have made a couple of failed attempts at annexing Ascension territory in the last century, and even the Breen seem to give them a wide berth. Pretty much the only ones who've made peaceful contacts are the Gorn, the Kzinti, and the Ferengi."

"Now that's unlikely."

Katherine stepped in again, nodding to Joseph in acknowledgement as she spoke, "The Gorn attempted to colonize a nearby star system at the same time the Ascension laid claim to it; this was first contact between the two species and although the Ascension were characteristically hostile, they don't seem to be entirely unreasonable. The Gorn offered to buy the system from them; in exchange for large quantities of refined materials and a data library on the known galaxy, the Ascension sold them the system."

"A data library?"

"It seems that while they're isolationists, they do seem keen to stay up to date on what their neighbors are doing. First contact with the Kzinti didn't go as smoothly, but after a brief conflict the two species came to a mutual border agreement and keep one another informed of any new colonies or expansion along that border, which has remained stable for the last hundred and fifty years. The Ferengi are the newest species to make contact with the Ascension; they sold them information and technology, but nothing of military value. They first made contact shortly after the Dominion War began, and the Ascension seemed very interested in learning about any new developments in the war."

"With a threat like the Dominion, I would be too. What else do we know about them?"

"I'm afraid that's about it. They're a relatively minor interstellar polity, they're technologically backward, and they keep to themselves and expect others to do the same."

A glance at Joseph confirmed an identical assessment, and none of the other officers at the table had anything to offer on the subject.

"Alright then. I guess we'll be making our first attempt at diplomacy with the Ascension in over a century soon. Let's keep on our toes, and try not to mess this up. Dismissed."


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



The USS Potemkin lurked on the edge of the unnamed star system, broadcasting friendly greetings in all languages and on all frequencies. It wasn't long before the locals responded; a large starship in the vicinity of the outermost world begun driving hard towards them, while several smaller ships further in-system also began moving to intercept, though at the slow speed they traveled it would take them hours to reach the Potemkin's position. So far, while the large ship had probed them with radar, lidar, and primitive subspace sensors, no attempt at communication had been made. Jameson sat in his captain's chair, watching the ship approach, drumming his fingers on the armrest nervously.

The ship was nearly twice the size of his own, and it had an ugly, utilitarian look to it. It was vaguely cylindrical, with a squared off bow and aft, covered in blisters that could only be weapon emplacements and bristling with antenna and dishes which suggested it still relied on more primitive technology than he had suspected. It was employing both its gravity drive and a nuclear rocket to propel it at about half impulse, which his chief engineer tentatively guessed was its maximum sublight speed.

"Captain, they're pinging us with radar and lidar again. I'm detecting a powerful magnetic field and an unusual energy signature from the ship; I believe their deflectors and weapon systems are active."

"Increase magnification."

The display on the view screen seemed to leap closer to the approaching starship, and there was a dim, blue glow surrounding the ship.

"We're being hailed on a radio frequency, audio only."

"About time. Put it through."

There was a screeching, metallic noise and a burst of static that startled everyone on the bridge, then a deep, mechanical voice boomed out of the speakers on either side of the view screen.

"ATTENTION UNIDENTIFIED STARSHIP: YOU ARE TRESPASSING IN ASCENSION TERRITORY. LEAVE NOW OR BE DESTROYED."

"This is Captain Jameson of the Federation starship Potemkin; we come in peace and mean you no harm."

"ATTENTION FEDERATION STARSHIP: YOU ARE TRESPASSING IN ASCENSION TERRITORY. LEAVE NOW OR BE DESTROYED."

"Friendly bunch, aren't they?" Jameson commented wryly before addressing the ship on his view screen once more.

"We acknowledge that this system belongs to the Ascension and do not wish to challenge that claim; we are here to make peaceful, diplomatic contact with your people."

"WE HAVE NO NEED TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY OR YOU WILL BE DESTROYED."

Gritting his teeth in frustration, Jameson watched the ship approach closer and closer, trying to find a way to get a bunch of isolationist xenophobes to come out of their shells. Sutak, his tactical officer, calmly announced, "they are definitely targeting us with their weapons now."

"We will, of course, respect your claim to this system and leave if you so desire, but we would be very interested in a mutually beneficial exchange of resources, technology, and information."

There was no response for several long, tense seconds as the alien vessel drew nearer, and Jameson look to Dr. Drui.

"Are you getting anything, Doctor?"

The Betazed nodded, a faraway look in her eyes as she replied, "Yes. Their aggression isn't simple belligerence, it's as if... I don't want to say they're afraid, but they definitely don't like us being here. They see us a threat."

"I got that. I meant-"

"CLARIFY YOUR INTENTIONS."

"I would be glad to, but would it be possible for us to establish visual communication? We feel a face-to-face negotiation would be more suitable."

There was another long delay, but eventually the view on the screen changed. It took Jameson several seconds to realize what he was looking at; the image on the screen was a close-up of a gleaming, black something, and his brain filled in details more slowly than his eyes. It was humanoid, what little he could see of it, but the entire thing was encased in some sort of armor or spacesuit, colored a glossy black, with a featureless black visor where a face should be. It moved slightly, as if leaning forward slightly to examine its own view screen, but there was no other indication that whatever it was was alive. In fact...

Literally reading his mind, Drui shook her head.

"It's not an android, it's a lifeform like us; I wouldn't be able to read it otherwise. Actually, his mind isn't that different from your own. More grumpy and paranoid, perhaps, but-"

"YOUR FEDERATION CONSISTS OF SEVERAL SENTIENT SPECIES, CORRECT?"

"Yes. We have-"

"STATE THE SPECIES THAT ARE CURRENTLY ABOARD YOUR VESSEL."

"Um, human, Vulcan, Bolian, and Betazed. You can see all of those but the Bolian here on my bridge."

The figure on the screen didn't move, but something in its demeanor shifted subtly.

"YOU HAVE A TELEPATH ABOARD YOUR SHIP?"

"Yes, Doctor Drui here is-"

Communications with the alien captain suddenly ceased and Drui shrieked out, "They're going to kill us!"

"Raise shields! Evasive-"

"Energy spike! They're firing on us!"

The boxy blisters all along the length of the Ascension ship suddenly sprouted fifty-four missiles all launching simultaneously. The range was short, the Potemkin was still bringing its shields up and too caught by surprise to maneuver, and nuclear warheads or no, that many missiles at once were going to do serious harm to the Potemkin. But they still had time to maneuver, the missiles were far enough away that-

The ship suddenly jolted and Ensign Delure screamed as his console exploded and catapulted him across the bridge.

"What the hell was that?!"

"I don't know, the missiles all detonated and- x-ray lasers! They're using bomb-pumped x-ray lasers!"

Jameson was still processing this when he saw the second volley of missiles erupt from the alien ship and shouted, "Get us the hell out of here!"

"We're losing power! Shields are fluctuating! We can't take that kind of fire all at once! Should we return fire?"

"No, just get us o-"

The second volley of warheads detonated and blasted the Potemkin with a hailstorm of x-rays; the shields failed, crewmen screamed and died as hard radiation sleeted through the hull and blasted holes through the bulkheads, and the Potemkin, which had survived over a dozen battles against the deadliest enemies the Federation had yet faced, was quickly crippled by a ship armed with technology that was centuries obsolete.

The fourth volley of missiles was unnecessary; the third had done the job and an x-ray laser had pierced the warp core at the heart of the ship, releasing its matter-antimatter reaction and turning the Potemkin and all its crew into incandescent vapor.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby LadyTevar » 2015-12-22 10:25pm

INTERESTING .... Where will this go from here?
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby SpottedKitty » 2015-12-23 11:08am

An interesting collision of Trekverse tech and Honorverse tech. Looking forward to seeing what happens next.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-03-15 05:33am

Just a note: this story will NOT update quickly; even though I don't intend for it to be a very long story, it's probably gonna take quite a while before it's finished. As with all my stories (on other sites), I only update when and as I feel like it, and as time allows, so don't get your hopes up for new chapters on a regular basis.

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



Captain William T. Riker, of the Federation starship Titan, leaned back in his command chair and reveled in the feel of it. The Titan was Luna-class, and less than a year old; it still had that new starship smell and feel to it. He still, to this day, missed the Enterprise-D; of all the ships he had served on, it had been his favorite, and he'd always hoped to take command of it someday. Compared to every other starship he'd set foot on, none had felt quite as... comfortable, to him. Like a favorite pair of shoes that fit just right. He didn't think he'd ever be able to describe it in words; to borrow a phrase from Jean-luc, the Enterprise had just had a certain... je ne sais quoi.

Fortunately, he didn't need to put it into words; his better half understood perfectly, both because of her empathic abilities and from personal experience.

He glanced at her and she turned to meet his gaze and smiled, reminding him of an old Earth painting, a classic... the Mona Lisa. That's what it was. He'd never had much an eye for art, but he knew all the important ones, and he still appreciated the beauty the classics portrayed.

"How's the seat?" he asked. The Luna-class had originally had only two seats, one for the captain and the other for his commanding officer, but he'd insisted on having a third seat added for his wife; after all, Deanna wasn't just his wife, she was also the ship's counselor and diplomatic officer. She deserved a place on the bridge, especially for negotiations, first contacts, and the like.

"Still a bit wobbly," she said, "but Chief Argyle assures me he'll have it adjusted by tomorrow."

"Good," he said, grinning broadly. Before he could say anything more, however, an ensign whose name he hadn't quite caught yet spoke up from across the bridge.

"Incoming transmission from Starfleet, priority one, sir. They request that you and the counselor both be present."

Riker stood and gestured to Deanna as he replied, "patch it through to my ready room," and they both crossed the bridge to his ready room.

Sitting down behind his desk, which he irritably noted for the hundredth time was just a few centimeters too short to be comfortable and should really be adjusted to the proper height, he swiveled the viewscreen where Deanna could see it from her own seat and pressed the accept button.

He immediately struggled to hide his scowl as he recognized the face on the screen; he'd never liked that woman, more so after reading the mission logs of her ship and thinking about how he would have handled the same situations.

"Admiral Janeway, what can I do for you?"

"Captain, I'll get right to the point," she said, sipping from the mug of coffee in her hand. "We have a potentially critical situation that needs a deft hand, and you and your wife are the perfect team to handle it. We need an expert diplomat to make sure things go right, and we need a sound tactical mind in case they don't. Think you're up to it?"

"I'm sure we are, Admiral," Riker said, still forcing a smile. "Might I ask what this situation is?"

"I'm transmitting the details and all relevant data to you now, but in brief: the Potemkin was assigned to make contact with a species we know very little about and have had only intermittent contact with for the better part of two centuries. This species is extremely xenophobic and isolationist, and they have turned hostile on us before. The Potemkin was supposed to report in three days ago, and we've heard nothing."

"That... definitely seems like a critical situation. Are we to assume the Potemkin has been destroyed?"

"It's certainly possible," Janeway replied, shaking her head. "They're supposed to be a fairly primitive species, but it's possible they've managed to capture or destroy the Potemkin. We need you to find out, and if necessary, carry out a rescue mission. You may even need to engage in diplomacy with them. We really don't know what the situation is. But you need to get out there immediately, as this is very likely a time critical mission."

"My first officer is still on leave on Risa, should-"

"There's no time. You need to leave immediately. I believe your second officer can take her place in the meantime; I have faith in his abilities," she said with a wry smile.

"All right. In that case, we'll depart now and read up on the mission data on our way there."

"Good to hear, Riker. Stay safe, and bring the Potemkin home, if you can."

"We will."

"Janeway out."

Riker turned to Deanna and asked, "Well?"

"It's hard to get a good read on her from a long-range transmission, but she definitely seems worried. She is confident in our second officer, that is certain."

He couldn't help smiling as he stood up and walked around his desk.

"She should be."

They entered the bridge together, taking their respective seats.

"Commander Tuvok, you'll be acting first officer as of this moment. Inform the crew that we're making an emergency departure."

"Of course, Captain."

"Helm, lay in a course for the following coordinates, warp seven."


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


"Captain, sensor analysis is complete. We cannot find the Potemkin or her wreckage, though there is an expanding micro debris field with the correct composition to be made of the same hull material as a Federation starship, and at its current rate of expansion its age would match the date the Potemkin failed to report in. Without more conclusive evidence, I cannot say for certain, but I believe there is a high probability that the Potemkin was destroyed."

"Thank you, Mr. Tuvok. Suggestions?"

"In accordance with our mission profile, I believe the next course of action is to attempt contact with this 'Ascension'. Even if it is otherwise unproductive, it may confirm that they destroyed the Potemkin. It would also be worthwhile to attempt to ascertain whether or not there were any survivors when the ship was destroyed."

"Captain, sensors are picking multiple vessels approaching us, one at close range. They're all moving at approximately one-half impulse."

Riker frowned at the viewscreen, then looked quizzically at Tuvok.

"How'd that big ship get so close to us?"

"They were hiding in the sensor shadow of the nearby comet with their systems shut down. Presumably they were waiting near the site of the Potemkin's destruction in order to ambush any who came to investigate its loss."

"Deanna?"

"I'm picking up hostile intent, but I think they're more inclined to just chase us away than destroy us. That's just my impression though; I could be wrong."

"Open a hailing frequency."

"Channel open."

"This is Captain William Riker of the Federation starship Titan; we come in peace and mean you no harm. We are searching for a ship of ours that has apparently gone missing; they were last reported to be in this system. Could you tell us anything about it?"

"ATTENTION FEDERATION STARSHIP: YOU ARE TRESPASSING IN ASCENSION TERRITORY. LEAVE NOW OR BE DESTROYED."

"We intend to leave this system as soon as we know what happened to our missing starship. Would-"

"YOUR STARSHIP WOULD NOT HEED OUR WARNINGS. IF YOU DO NOT LISTEN, YOU WILL SUFFER THE SAME FATE. LEAVE NOW OR BE DESTROYED."

Riker turned to Deanna and quietly said, "I guess we can confirm what happened to the Potemkin," before turning his attention back to the viewscreen.

"I believe this is all a misunderstanding. We hold no ill will toward you and wish to open diplomatic relations. Perhaps we could even negotiate a-"

"WE HAVE NO NEED OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS. LEAVE NOW OR BE DESTROYED. THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING."

"Captain, we're being targeted by their weapons systems."

"Deanna?"

"They're definitely hostile, but... I don't know. They're not afraid, more like... they're worried about something. About us. I don't know what it is, but they definitely don't want us here, and it isn't because they don't like outsiders."

Desperate for something, anything, to avoid a conflict, Riker shrugged and decided that it couldn't hurt to roll out the welcome mat.

"Perhaps you would feel more comfortable about our intentions if we invited you aboard our ship for a tour."

There was no response. The ship continued to close at its apparent maximum speed, and continued to probe the Titan with its targeting systems.

"That got their attention. You definitely caught them off guard. I can't be sure, but it feels like they're weighing the risks against-"

"YOU WOULD ALLOW US TO BOARD YOUR STARSHIP?"

"Yes, if you'll agree to it. We'd be delighted to give you a tour of the ship and let you see it firsthand."

The silence stretched for so long that Riker honestly wondered if the comm channel hadn't been closed when they finally replied.

"WE WILL DISPATCH A SHUTTLE IN FIFTEEN MINUTES. YOU WILL KEEP YOUR WEAPONS SYSTEMS DEACTIVATED AND YOUR PROPULSION SYSTEMS ON STANDBY. ANY DEVIATION WILL RESULT IN YOUR DESTRUCTION."

"We look forward to meeting you," Riker said before the comm channel suddenly went dead.

"Well," he said dryly, "this should prove interesting."

"Captain," Tuvok said as he stepped out from behind the tactical station to address him face-to-face, "I believe it would be prudent to have the Hazard Team on standby. Just in case."

"Agreed. And I want two security personnel in the shuttle bay to meet these... what should we call them, Ascendants? But let's keep it low-profile. They're already hostile enough, let's not provoke them with an open show of force."

"Agreed. I will accompany you personally."

"All right, we have fifteen minutes. Deanna, care to arrange the tour?"

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

The shuttle was an ugly, boxy, utilitarian thing that was vaguely aerodynamic and had variable-sweep wings, apparently for atmospheric flight, that were locked in the retracted position. It fired old-fashioned reaction thrusters to slow itself down as it entered the open shuttle bay, their white bursts of light making an audible crackling noise as they fired in sequence. Landing gear with wide pads unfolded and touched down on the floor of the shuttle bay with an audible THUMP as the craft's engines shut down. Shortly afterward, a ramp on the front of the shuttle suddenly slammed down with such startling speed and noise that everyone present jumped, including Tuvok.

A pair of... things rushed down the ramp and assumed flanking positions on either side of it, sweeping massive weapons from side to side as they scanned for potential threats. One of the security officers present reached for his phaser, but Tuvok stopped him by placing a hand on his arm.

Apparently satisfied with the lack of obvious threats, the two armed beings lowered their weapons so they were only mostly pointed in the generation direction of their hosts, and there was a strange sound, almost like a burst of static or a bat chirping, just on the edge of Riker's hearing.

Three more beings came down the ramp, one of them carrying a large piece of equipment with which he blatantly began scanning everything in sight, making no effort to hide what he was doing.

"Greetings, on behalf of the United Federation of Planets. I am Captain William Riker, and these are my senior officers; my first officer, Commander Tuvok, Counselor Deanna Riker, Chief Engineer Michael Argyle, and my chief of security, Lieutenant Boman."

Three of the five beings approached, their footsteps thudding with what was obviously a couple hundred kilos of weight. And no wonder; every one of them was clad in some sort of spacesuit, or maybe armor. They were all a uniform black in color, and clearly based on the same design, but with differences. The two gun-wielding ones flanking the ramp to the shuttle wore helmets that matched the one in the center of the trio approaching them, with two square eye lenses above a triangle that might be a respirator, with a third round lense in the center of what should be the forehead. The one with the scanning equipment had a similar helmet design, but with more lenses, a couple of antennae, and what appeared to be a cable leading from the helmet to the massive scanner in its arms. The foremost being, however, had a helmet that was almost featureless, its entire 'face' made up of a gleaming black visor that reflected Riker's own image back to him darkly. All three of them had obvious weapons strapped to their hips.

"YOU PROMISED A TOUR OF YOUR STARSHIP AND ITS SYSTEMS?"

"Yes, I did. May I ask who you are?"

"YOU MAY ADDRESS ME AS ENVOY. I AM ACCOMPANIED BY THREE BODYGUARDS AND A SENSOR OFFICER."

"I'm... perhaps it would be best if you left your weapons aboard the shuttle. I think we'd all feel more comfortable if-"

"Will." He stopped immediately at Deanna's sharp tone and the squeeze she gave his arm and looked at her; she shook her head and glanced at the armor-clad beings, who all seemed to have tensed up at the suggestion that they disarm.

"Or, if you feel safer keeping your weapons, that's fine as well. We just ask that you keep them safe."

"THIS IS REASONABLE."

There was another burst of staticy chirps that weren't quit in his range of hearing but hurt his ears anyway, and the two beings flanking the shuttle turned their weapons away and held them at port arms. The other three kept their smaller weapons holstered.

"WHAT SPECIES ARE PRESENT ABOARD YOUR STARSHIP?"

"Commander Argyle and I are human, Commander Tuvok is Vulcan, Counselor Riker is Betazoid, Lt. Boman is a Caitian, and my security officers here are human and Bolian, respectively."

All five beings turned their heads to look at Deanna with an audible snap.

"YOU ARE A TELEPATH?"

"I'm only half Betazoid; my father was human. I can only detect strong emotions, not thoughts."

The aliens stood in silence for a long moment, then the one who identified himself as Envoy seemed to reach a decision.

"DO YOU HAVE ANY TELEPATHS ABOARD YOUR SHIP?"

"No," Riker said, frowning. "None. Is there a problem?"

".... TELEPATHS ARE AN ABOMINATION TO US. WE ARE READY TO PROCEED WITH THE TOUR."

"Of course. We'll begin in engineering. Chief Argyle here would be happy to lead the way."

"If you'll follow me?"

The engineer led the way, with the trio of armor-clad aliens stomping after him, followed closely by the greeting party. Once in the corridor, Deanna grabbed Riker by the elbow and pulled him aside, speaking quietly to avoid being overheard.

"Will, we need to be very careful here. When they heard I was a Betazoid, they... they intended to kill us. All of us. They still might do so. But their desire to learn more about us, or more specifically about our ship, is overriding that. For now. I don't know why, but they seem almost afraid of telepaths. It was almost as if... like a naughty schoolboy who thinks he's been caught by the teacher. That's the closest I can come to explaining what I felt from them. They're hiding something; I don't know what, but they're definitely hiding something."

"Maybe they have survivors from the Potemkin and don't want us to know."

"Perhaps, but I don't think so. This was too ingrained in them. We need to be careful."

He nodded and patted her hand in assurance, then they hurried to catch up with the others.

This was definitely shaping up into an interesting day, that was for sure.

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

The one with the large scanner waved it around over pieces of equipment, then stood in front of the warp core, seeming befuddled somehow. It was difficult to gauge what they were thinking with the full-body armor they wore, but it definitely seemed confused by something. The others were looking around as well and didn't seem to like what they saw.

"THIS IS YOUR PRIMARY REACTOR TO POWER THE STARSHIP?"

"Yes. It's our warp core."

"HOW DOES IT FUNCTION?"

"It's a matter-antimatter reaction regulated by dylithium crystals. It-"

"YOU POWER A STARSHIP WITH A REACTION BETWEEN MATTER AND ANTIMATTER?" Its voice was a harsh, mechanical monotone that was slightly too loud, but it still conveyed a sense of credulity.

"Yes. All Federation starships have a similar warp core providing power to both the warp drive and the rest of the ship's systems."

"NO WONDER NONE OF YOUR PERSONNEL WEAR SAFETY EQUIPMENT; IN AN EMERGENCY, THEY WOULD ALL BE DEAD."

"Well, it's not-"

"WHAT SAFETY SYSTEMS PREVENTING THE REACTION FROM DESTROYING THE SHIP?"

Argyle, somewhat flustered, launched into an explanation of the various safety systems built into the warp core while the alien science officer, if that's what he was, asked questions and continued to blatantly scan the warp core and surrounding equipment as thoroughly as possible. The other two engaged in a back-and-forth series of static and chirps that had to be their own language, while the rest of the Titan's officers just stood awkwardly nearby. Deanna leaned over and whispered in his ear, "I'm definitely getting the sense that they think we're insane and possibly dangerously incompetent."

"Because of the warp drive?"

"I have the feeling they have a different approach to powering a starship. They only half believe they're looking at our main engineering; I feel they may think we're trying to trick them somehow."

Riker shrugged as Argyle finished his explanation and the Envoy nodded and announced, "WE WILL PROCEED TO THE NEXT SECTION OF THE SHIP."

"Of course. Right this way."

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

The aliens refused to answer nearly every question directed at them, but asked plenty of their own, almost entirely limited to technical questions about the Titan itself. They declared the transporter to be an abomination. They seemed disappointed by the bridge. They were disinterested in the mess hall. Astrographics prompted a lot of questions, mainly about the size and location of the Federation. The holodeck interested them, but only for a a few minutes. Sickbay brought on a lot of questions about medical technology, with an emphasis on treating combat casualties.

As soon as the tour had concluded, the entire party returned to the shuttle bay, where the two aliens guarding the shuttle still stood at attention.

"BEFORE WE RETURN TO OUR SHIP, I REQUEST THAT YOU PROVIDE US WITH HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL DATA."

"Of course. We've prepared a download of a portion of our ship's library and would be more than happy to share it with you." This download left out almost everything of a technical or military nature, of course.

"YOU MAY TRANSFER IT TO THIS DEVICE."

The Envoy produced a PADD from somewhere within the belt around its waist and Riker was surprised to see it was a model commonly sold by the Ferengi.

"I believe this should be compatible. Chief Argyle?"

Argyle accepted the PADD and began the data transfer, handing it back to the Envoy a few moments later.

"Perhaps you would care to grant us a tour aboard your ship some time?"

"NO."

The five aliens then boarded their shuttle before anyone could get a word in edgewise, sealed the ramp, and began firing thrusters as the shuttle backed out of the shuttle bay, made a ponderous turn, and returned to its own ship. Argyle scowled at it as it left, then looked around at the others and commented, "friendly bunch, aren't they."

The greeting party broke up, everyone returning to their respective stations, with Riker, Deanna, and Tuvok heading for the bridge. Lieutenant-Commander Ipris announced, "the Ascension shuttle has docked with their ship" as everyone took their position.

"Any idea wh-"

"WILL!"

Riker turned to look at Deanna's suddenly fearful expression, then at the alien ship on the main screen.

"We're being hailed."

"Onscreen."

"Audio only."

"ATTENTION FEDERATION STARSHIP: YOU ARE TRESPASSING IN ASCENSION TERRITORY. LEAVE NOW OR BE DESTROYED."

"We were hoping we could perhaps open diplomatic rela-"

"WE HAVE NO NEED FOR DIPLOMACY. YOU HAVE ONE MINUTE TO LEAVE THE SYSTEM OR BE DESTROYED."

"They'll do it, Will."

"All right, if that's what you want, then we'll leave. I hope someday perhaps we'll be able to establish formal diplomatic relations. Riker out."

Addressing his crew, Riker announced, "Helm, return us to Starbase Gamma Epsilon, warp seven."

"Aye sir, warp seven."

Riker gave his wife a sardonic look and wryly commented, "Well, this was productive, now wasn't it?"

"At least we know the Potemkin was destroyed; that's something."

"Yes... but where do we go from here?"
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-05-04 09:07pm

Comments and critiques are welcome.

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


Janeway looked around at the other admirals assembled at the table and mentally rolled her eyes as she listened to them. One in particular especially.

"Riker didn't even ascertain whether or not there were any survivors from the Potemkin! And then he just lets a bunch of barbarians who destroyed a Federation starship waltz onto his own ship and scan it to their heart's content!"

"Now Admiral, that's hardly fair. Riker successfully got them to cease hostilities long enough for a tour of his ship; that's something. That's the beginnings of real diplomacy there. I managed to turn potential enemies into friends more than once by rolling out the welcome wagon even after they'd displayed hostile behavior."

Admiral Dornez snorted in disgust as he fixed Janeway with a glare.

"Oh yes, I've read your mission logs. Frankly, instead of promoting you they should have-"

"Oscar. If you please."

Dornez glanced at Admiral Necheyev and leaned back in his seat, compliant for the moment.

"Now then. While I may disagree with Riker's decision, I do have to appreciate his successfully defusing what could have resulted in another destroyed starship. What's done is done, and everything turned out all right so far as he's concerned. My concern is what to do about the Ascension, or whatever they call themselves."

Janeway shrugged, holding her mug of coffee in both hands but declining to drink from it.

"Why do anything at all? They clearly wish to be left alone. So long as we didn't bother them, they didn't bother us. The only times we've suffered at their hands are when we went to them."

Dornez's scowl deepened even further and he looked as if he was about to spit as he replied, "We can't just let them get away with destroying a starship and murdering its crew! If we just let any primitive yokel kill Starfleet personnel without so much as a slap on the wrist, how are we going to look to the Klingons? Or the Romulans? Or the Cardassians?! We can't afford to look weak, or they'll start to take advantage of us too!"

"The Klingons," Janeway retorted calmly, "are our allies. The Romulans allied with us during the Dominion War and have been more open with us ever since Captain Picard dealt with their Shinzon problem, and the Cardassians still haven't recovered from the war. A war we won, I might add, and did so largely on our own merit, though certainly with some help. And we still have all those starships; we may be placing a lot of dedicated warships in mothballs and converting others back into ships intended for exploration, but they're all still there. We can turn them on anyone who decides they want a piece of the Federation, and they know it. Starting a major incident with a species almost no one has even heard of, all for the sake of posturing and showing off how strong we are, is not only unnecessary, it's asinine."

"Starting a major incident?! I'd say they started it when they blew up the damn Potemkin, Admiral Janeway! You think-"

"Oscar, you will remain civil, please. Now then, I agree that charging in to start a war with the Ascension for the sake of impressing the Romulans and Klingons is foolish. I also agree that we simply cannot allow them to get away with killing our people. So. What I propose is that we send another starship, with a captain more skilled in diplomacy but armed with a more capable starship than either the Titan or Potemkin, and we make another go at it."

"And if they shoot at them too? What then, just apologize for the inconvenience and run away with our tails between our legs?" Dornez retorted.

"Stronger measures may be necessary. As you said, we cannot afford to look spineless. Not when the Klingons have gained so much respect for our 'warrior prowess' and the Romulans are finally coming around. But we also can't send in a starship captain who's triggerhappy enough to start an open war."

"Who did you have in mind?" Rear Admiral Nat'sun asked, speaking up for the first time since the meeting had begun.

"Jean-luc Picard."

Janeway smiled as she raised her coffee to her lips and said, "For once, we're in perfect agreement."



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


Captain Picard stood in transporter room three, feeling uncharacteristically nervous. He appeared all business, however, when the transporter hummed and a figure materialized on the transporter pad.

"Commander Data, reporting for duty. Permission to come aboard, sir?"

"Permission granted."

He extended his hand in greeting as someone he'd thought dead and gone stepped off the pad and clasped his hand in return. Picard leaned in and, in a hoarse whisper, asked, "Data, is it really you?"

"Yes and no, sir. As you know, I transferred my memories and personality matrix over to B-4 before transporting aboard Shinzon's ship. B-4 was essentially a blank slate; it took some time, but these memories and my personality matrix eventually established themselves and I became the person I am now. For all intents and purposes, I am Data, but the Data you knew is gone. However," he said, continuing in the characteristically run-on fashion Picard had become so familiar with, "after much debate, Starfleet has agreed that I am more or less the same person as the original Data and after extensive testing they have allowed me to resume my duties. When I discovered that the position of first officer was open on the Enterprise, I immediately requested it."

"And I immediately requested it as well, as soon as I found out you were... erm, alive."

"I appreciate that, sir."

"You do look a bit... different, though," Picard said, examining Data closely.

"My original body had aging subroutines which I had employed to simulate increasing age. It was not perfect, but it did include sagging, wrinkled skin and-"

"I see. So you look younger now."

"After a fashion. B-4 was not equipped with the ability to simulate age, so my appearance is almost identical to when we first met." He paused, then leaned slightly closer and asked, "I was thinking of adding a grey streak to my hair to simulate a more advanced age. I believe it would give me a more... dignified, appearance. What do you think?"

Picard, suddenly having a flashback to memories he wasn't entirely fond of, shook his head.

"It might look silly. I understand you have our latest assignment?"

"Yes, sir. I can brief the crew at your convenience."

"Excellent. Let me know once your things are aboard and I'll arrange the meeting," he said, clapping one hand on Data's shoulder.

"Very good, sir. I estimate I will be ready in fifteen minutes, forty-nine seconds, and-"

"Good. Let me know."

"Yes, sir."

"And Data?" Picard said, emotion threatening to make his voice waver, "It's good to have you back."

"Thank you, sir. It is good to be back."
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-05-17 05:18am

The USS Enterprise entered the system, still identified only by a series of numbers in the computer's databanks rather than a proper name, and Picard felt his bile rise. This was not the sort of thing he had signed on for when he joined Starfleet, and it was not something he enjoyed now.

He was, in effect, about to demand that an alien race pay reparations for the destruction of the Potemkin and its crew. Starfleet Command, in all its wisdom, had decided that not only was it going to befriend the Ascension if it killed them, it also couldn't afford to look weak in front of the Klingons and Romulans by giving in to a less advanced species.

That sort of bloody-minded idiocy, he reflected moodily, was going to be the death of him.

"Captain, we've been detected. Sensors indicate three of the larger starships, tentatively classified as cruisers, and five of the smaller starships, classified as frigates, are approaching at one-half impulse. They will be in weapons range shortly."

They had definitely reinforced the system since the last time. Picard nodded, then replied, "Hail them."

"Channel open."

"This is Captain Jean-luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise. We seek to establish peaceful contact with the Ascension. Please respond."

We come in peace, shoot to kill, he thought sardonically. Now where had he heard that phrase before?

A loud metallic screech boomed out of the bridge speakers, making everyone (aside from Data) flinch, and a deep, monotone, mechanically-generated voice followed.

"ATTENTION FEDERATION STARSHIP, YOU ARE TRESPASSING IN ASCENSION SPACE. THIS IS YOUR THIRD VIOLATION OF OUR TERRITORY. ANY ADDITIONAL TRESPASS WILL BE CONSIDERED AN ACT OF WAR. LEAVE IMMEDIATELY OR BE DESTROYED."

"I'm afraid I can't do that. I am under orders to inform you that the United Federation of Planets considers the destruction of the USS Potemkin to be a hostile act, and as such you are required to... make reparations. We are not unreasonable; we will respect your territory and your privacy, but we do-"

"YOU WERE WARNED. IF YOU WILL NOT BE DISSUADED, THEN YOU WILL BE DESTROYED. THERE WILL BE NO FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS AND ALL FUTURE VIOLATIONS OF OUR TERRITORY WILL BE MET WITH DESTRUCTION."

"They've closed the channel."

Picard sank back in his seat, a leaden weight settling in his stomach, and grimaced as if he'd bitten into something sour. He'd expected this, and he'd argued with Admiral Necheyev over his orders, but she'd told him her hands were tied.

"Captain," Data said, looking at the display on his console, "They have accelerated to nearly three-quarters impulse and are targeting us with their weapons."

So, they were holding back when they met the Titan, he noted detachedly.

"Helm, take us out of here, warp five. Tactical, launch a probe into the system; we may as well learn all we can about them as we leave."

"Aye, sir. Launching a probe and-"

The Enterprise rocked under a sudden jolt, and the tactical officer looked at his console in surprise.

"Captain, we've just been hit by a gamma ray laser! Shields are down three percent. I'm detecting additional lasers, both x-ray and gamma ray, being fired at us, but only the one hit. If we maintain course on 121 by 015, the majority of their laser fire should pass all around us."

"Make it so, Lieutenant. I want-"

"Captain! They've just launched torpedoes! Hundreds of them!"

Picard stood in shock and stared at the viewscreen as the small fleet chasing after him vomited forth a veritable tidal wave of nuclear missiles, just over two hundred of them altogether. More than enough to seriously damage, or even destroy, the Enterprise. And they were all racing toward them.

"Evasive maneuvers! Get us out of here!"

"Captain, if we evade, their lasers will-"

"It's bracketing fire, they want us to stay on one course! Evade, now!"

The panicky ensign at the helm complied, and though the Enterprise rocked violently from more laser hits, it managed to get out of the path of the oncoming swarm of missiles; most of the missiles attempted to correct their course and chase after the Enterprise, but the range was too long and their maneuvering was apparently limited at this distance. Dozens of them detonated and blasted bomb-pumped lasers at the Enterprise, taking its shields down dramatically but otherwise doing only superficial damage; the majority of the powerful laser blasts missed, and the remaining missiles were left further and further behind as their drives burned out and the Enterprise continued to accelerate at maximum impulse.

The Enterprise jumped to warp speed shortly thereafter, escaping largely unscathed. Its captain did not, however, feel at all sanguine about current events; he had a sinking feeling that they had just stuck their hand into a hornet's nest, and that this had all been entirely avoidable.

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

Federation Starbase Gamma Epsilon was shaped like a mushroom, a smaller version of the infamous Federation Spacedock orbiting Earth. The much smaller Gamma Epsilon starbase had internal capacity for four starships, and could dock with a dozen more on its exterior; the starbase served as a major repair and resupply hub for the sector and had been constructed only a few years prior as a direct consequence of the Dominion War.

Currently, only three starships were docked with the station, and since the end of hostilities that was about the largest complement of starships the station had seen. Despite their strategic importance to the sector, they now served little purpose except as a central hub for resupplying starships that had far more interesting things to do, and as such the station's crew had gotten rather lax in its duties.

Specifically, Ensign Gomez, the sensor officer of the watch, didn't notice anything out of the ordinary on the console she barely paid attention to. Even if she had been alert and serious about her duties, it was very unlikely she could have altered the events that were about to unfold.

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

The starship drifted into the system, black as space and emitting no betraying sensor or propulsion emissions. It had dropped out of warp well outside of the system and the estimated sensor range of Starbase Gamma Epsilon, fired its sublight propulsion briefly, and then coasted into the system on momentum alone. So far, it had gone undetected.

The starship seemed to fit the generic Ascension design, roughly cylindrical and squared off at the ends, covered in boxy bumps and blisters, but the nose of the ship had a bulky, awkward-looking conglomeration of things attached to it, and as the ship drifted further in-system, that collection of objects began to expand outward, taking shape.

The process took hours, but when it had finished, the Ascension cruiser no longer had its strange looking collection of parts and pieces mounted to its bow; the entire thing had unfolded and assembled itself, and the starship was actually dwarfed by the thing attached to it: a mass driver 24 kilometers in length.

Capacitors running the entire length of the mass driver were already charged, and the cruiser's onboard reactors spiked to full power as its thrusters fired to counteract the massive recoil of the weapon it was strapped to.

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

Ensign Gomez looked distractedly at her monitor as something blipped on her sensors momentarily, and she sat up straight, boredom relieved for the moment.

"That's strange."

"What is?"

"I picked up an anomaly on the edge of the system; gravitic and electromagnetic. It was just there for an instant."

"Probably nothing. The Utah is due to depart in an hour, maybe we can ask them to check it out."

"Maybe," she said, leaning back as disappointment was quickly replaced with boredom. "I doubt it's anything important though."

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

Three hours later, a metal slug traveling at relativistic speeds punched through Starbase Gamma Epsilon; the tiny charge of antimatter inside was released upon impact, but the projectile was traveling so quickly that it had nearly passed all the way through the station before it detonated.

Starbase Gamma Epsilon and the three starships docked with it exploded in a flash of plasma and hard radiation, nearly two thousand people vanishing in an instant. None of them had even suspected they were about to die before they simply ceased to exist.

No second shot being necessary to finish off the target, the Ascension cruiser detached itself from the enormous mass driver, detonated the scuttling charges all along the length of the single-use weapon, and jumped to warp.

They had hoped that a show of force would convince the Federation to leave them alone once and for all, but they had miscalculated. They'd just given the war hawks the excuse they needed to flex Starfleet's muscles and show off for their neighbors.

War was now inevitable.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-06-18 09:00pm

"This is an outrage! Do you have any idea how humiliating this is, how it makes us look to the Klingons and the Romulans?"

"Admiral-"

"First they blow up a starship! Then not one, but TWO more starships run away from a bunch of primitives armed with nuclear weapons! Nukes! And now they've managed to destroy an entire starbase along with three MORE starships! Thousands are dead, and so far all we've done is invite the damn barbarians to tour one of our ships and run away when they take potshots at us! The Romulans know weakness when they see it; we cannot afford to look weak!"

"So what do you suggest, Admiral?" Janeway asked as she fixed Dornez with a glare. "We go to war with these 'barbarians' as you call them?"

"Yes! They've committed not one, but MULTIPLE acts of war against us, and we've done nothing to them! What would you have us do, just leave them be?"

"Why not? I don't see the harm in that. They're not advanced enough to pose a serious threat, and if all they want is to remain isolated, there's-"

"Not advanced enough to pose a serious threat?! THEY BLEW UP A DAMN STARBASE!"

Janeway colored as she replied, "They don't pose a threat to the Federation as a whole. They're too small and too primitive for a repeat of the Dominion War. If we just leave them alone, they have no reason to attack us and the conflict ends there."

"Really?" Admiral Dornez leaned back in his seat, glancing at the other admirals seated around the table. "What if it was the Cardassians who blew up a Federation vessel trying to make peaceful contact? What if it was the Cardassians who destroyed an entire starbase? Would we still be sitting here saying we should leave the poor, little Cardassians alone, they're too backwards to pose a threat to us?"

"That's not a fair compari-"

"Yes, it is! Because if the Cardassians or the Romulans or the Klingons think we're too weak to handle a primitive species like the Ascension, then what do you think they'll do next?"

"We beat the Dominion! And the Cardassians!"

"With THEIR help! We had to drag the Klingons and the Romulans into the war or we'd have lost otherwise. And now we're too afraid of getting hurt to even challenge a bunch of nuke-toting primitives when they kill our people? Ladies and gentlemen, the sharks are circling, there is blood in the water, and it's ours. The Klingons are our allies... for now. How long will that stay true if they think we've become soft and cowardly? We've earned some goodwill from the Romulans for dealing with their Shinzon problem, but is that enough to prevent them from remaining belligerent toward us? Especially if they start to think they could take us, since a bunch of backwards barbarians can go around attacking starbases and get away with it! Maybe the Cardassians would like a second go at us too, hmm? Hell, what if they're all so opportunistic as to attack us at the same time and carve off chunks of the Federation for themselves? What then?"

There was silence in the room as he stared down each admiral in turn, ending with Janeway.

"They've declared war on us. Our only option is to declare war right back. We're bigger, we're more advanced, we'll roll right over them and demand their submission. This will be a quick, easy war, we can put them back in their place, and once we're done we can magnanimously leave them alone... after they turn over that star system as an apology for killing our people. And then," he waved his finger for emphasis, "the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Cardassians will know the Federation is not to be taken lightly. Then they'll be more reluctant to shoot first and ask questions later, and more amenable to meeting us at the negotiating table. But we've got to fight back against this Ascension! We've got to teach them a lesson. Because sometimes," he said, smirking slightly as he crossed his legs casually, "the only way to have peace is to make sure everybody else knows to leave you the hell alone."

"I'm sure the Ascension were thinking much the same thing," Janeway retorted, "when they blew up Starbase Gamma Epsilon."

Dornez turned an amazing shade of purple, but didn't rise to the bait. Necheyev stood and announced, "All right, I think it's time we put it to a vote."

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


Picard sat at his desk in the ready room, reading the dispatch with growing disgust. Then he slapped his commbadge.

"Number One?"

"Data here, sir."

"We're to rendezvous with the Warhorse, the Dakota, and the Langtry at Starbase 73 and await the arrival of the USS Nelson."

"Yes, sir."

"And Data... inform the crew that we will be going to war with the Ascension."


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

The five starships under his command assembled, Picard led his squadron into the Ascension's newest star system, which had finally been given a name; not by stellar cartographers, but by the Starfleet admiralty: the Jameson system, named after the captain of the ill-fated Potemkin.

Just what we need; a martyr. he thought.

"We are coming out of warp. Sensors indicate... four Ascension cruisers, seven frigates. There are four frigates and one cruiser within range to intercept us, the others appear to be patrolling the system."

"Captain? We have been detected. The near ships are moving to intercept, they will be in weapons range in five minutes. The other ships are moving into formation and will coming to intercept us in... fifteen minutes."

Picard nodded to his tactical officer, then looked at the tactical display in the arm of his chair and frowned, glancing between it and the main viewscreen.

"Allright, the Enterprise is the largest and most advanced ship we've got, we'll intercept the cruiser and take it on ourselves while the others handle the frigates; if we can keep the cruiser from joining formation with the frigates, that may allow us to defeat them in detail before their reinforcements arrive."

He glanced at Data to be sure his orders were being passed on, then announced, "Open a hailing frequency."

"Channel open."

"Ascension starships, this is Captain Jean-luc Picard of the Federation starship Enterprise. You have committed an act of war against us and will be held responsible. Surrender now and we can settle this peacefully."

"No response. They are moving to link up."

"Helm, intercept that cruiser, don't let them link up with the frigates."

"Aye sir, moving to intercept."

"Captain," Data interrupted, "I believe I have an idea. Based on our last encounter with the Ascension, it would appear that in a long-distance fight they hold a significant advantage over us; their nuclear weapons are fired in much greater quantities than our photon torpedoes, and enough of them will do serious damage to the Enterprise. I suggest we attempt them to engage the cruiser at close range, where it will be unable to fire nuclear weapons without risking damage to itself."

Nodding, Picard replied, "That sounds like a sound strategy, Number One, but they'll still get to fire on us as we intercept them. And once we're up close, we won't be able to use our photon torpedoes either."

"Correct, sir. However, there is a small planetoid... here, which we can stay behind as we approach the cruiser, thus preventing them from firing on us at a distance. I also believe that if we fire a pair of photon torpedoes at precisely the right moment and trajectory, we can use the planetoid's gravity to slingshot the torpedoes on an arc behind the cruiser, effectively hitting them from behind and possibly damaging their engines at almost the same moment that we engage them from the front. In effect, we'll be hitting them from two directions at once."

Picard thought about it for a moment.

"Make it so."

"Helm, prepare for the following course change..."


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

Data's maneuver worked perfectly. Just as the Enterprise and the Ascension cruiser rounded the planetoid to meet one another, a pair of photo torpedoes arced in and struck the cruiser in its rear; the attack took them by complete surprise, and the torpedoes detonated at almost the same moment that the Enterprise and the cruiser opened fire on one another.

"Direct hit! Their engines appear to be heavily damaged, they've lost forward propulsion!"

"Shields down to 95%! They're firing on us with lasers, particle beams and... mass drivers?"

"Target their weapon systems!"

"Aye sir, targeting weapon systems."

Data analyzed the battle, then shook his head.

"Sir, their equivalent to shields is only marginally effective against our phasers, causing the nadion beam to lose its focus somewhat, but their ship appears to be heavily armored. I also cannot find a single key point to target; their vessel appears to very decentralized. We will have to take out all of their weapons individually."

"Make it so, Mr. Data."

"Aye, sir."


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

The battle between the other Federation starships and the Ascension frigates was going rather differently than the Enterprise's battle with the cruiser.

Captain Jason Ortega, of the USS Langtry, grimaced as his ship rocked violently under another volley of missiles.

"Captain, we can't keep this up! They're putting out far more torpedoes than we are, and they're intercepting and destroying all of torpedoes with laser point-defense turrets and what appear to be... torpedo interceptors. We have to get to closer range so our phasers will be more effective."

"Do it. C'mon, we're bigger than they are and we've got much better shields; let's show them what we've got!"

"Aye, sir."


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

"Captain," Stennis, the Enterprise's tactical officer, announced, "The rest of the Ascension ships will be in firing range in three minutes."

"Thank you. Keep the phaser fire, suppress those weapon systems!"

"Captain, it appears that the Ascension cruiser has suffered significant damage to their primary reactor; I'm reading power fluctuations and a severe increase in radiation."

"Yes," Picard said, stroking his chin thoughtfully. "They use old fusion, and even fission, reactors, don't they. Those poor devils. The radiation leaking must be-"

"Sir, we've destroyed the last of their laser batteries."

"Excellent. Hail them, I don't want to destroy them if it isn't necces-"

"Captain! They're rotating on their axis!"

The Ascension cruiser fired old-fashioned chemical thrusters along the length of its hull, rolled, and brought the fresh, undamaged weapons and armor of their starboard broadside to bear against the Enterprise and the slugging match started all over again.

"Ascension reinforcements will arrive in two minutes."

"This," Picard said in a moment of supreme understatement, "is going to get ugly."

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


Hours later, the battle was over. Picard had seldom been in a battle that lasted so long, and when it hadn't been a long-range duel that he was severely disadvantaged in, it had been a close-quarters brawl that had been more evenly matched, but no less brutal.

They'd ended up completely destroying one cruiser and three frigates, and severely damaged three other frigates and one more cruiser before the Ascension ships had fled, keeping up a steady rate of missile fire as they retreated. One frigate hadn't seemed able to keep up and had launched lifepods, collected by the others, before scuttling itself in a ball of fire.

In exchange, the Warhorse a scattering field of ionized plasma, its warp core pierced by a laser and consumed by its own matter-antimatter reaction, and the Langtry was an unsalvageable wreck, leaking air, most of its crew, including its captain, killer or injured. The Dakota and the Nelson were in bad shape, but still able to limp to the nearest starbase for repairs. Only the Enterprise was more-or-less intact, though they almost certainly wouldn't have been if the Ascension had pressed the attack rather than retreat.

"Number One, I want all survivors from the Langtry transferred to the Enterprise, inform sickbay to prepare to receive casualties. We'll tow her back to Starbase 73 with us. Are there any survivors from the Warhorse?"

"None, sir. There was no time; she went down with all hands."

"What about the Ascension vessels? Any survivors?"

"No, sir. No lifepods were launched, and their vessels were totally destroyed; we may be able to study the wreckage, but there isn't much left."

"We'll leave that for later. For now, let's just get out of here. Lt. Stennis, inform Starfleet that we've 'won' and inform them of our damage and casualties. Helm, set a course for Starbase 73, warp seven."

"Aye sir, course laid in."

"Engage."

Picard turned to look at Data and said grimly, "Another 'victory' like that and we may as well slit our own throats."

Data merely shrugged in agreement.

"I will begin my analysis of the battle so we can determine the best approach for next time."

"Good. And Data? Excellent work, with that cruiser. That was very quick thinking."

"Yes, sir. Of course, I have a processor speed of- Thank you, sir."

Data stood up and left the bridge and Picard, despite his ugly mood, smiled to himself. Yes, this was definitely Data.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby astrospace2020 » 2016-06-24 04:18am

very good story , so far , lets see if the Ascension have learn their lesson , and finally establish peace treaty and trade wit the UFP, cant hardly wait for the next part

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

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-06-24 06:57am

astrospace2020 wrote:very good story , so far , lets see if the Ascension have learn their lesson , and finally establish peace treaty and trade wit the UFP, cant hardly wait for the next part



I'm glad you're liking it so far; this is probably the weakest story I've written because most of my work is character driven. Star Trek characters are already well established, and the Ascension have to be kept mysterious for a good chunk of the story, so instead of characters driving the story, it's events.

I was getting kind of worried at the lack of feedback, because without it, I can't improve the story.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Borgholio » 2016-06-24 09:37am

Some of us are too enamored by the story to provide feedback. :-P
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-06-24 11:48am

I'd just love to see the Feds get their comeuppance for once, and not skate by on some technobabble trick, cause they're space America, and everyone's supposed to like space America.
"When you send a man out with a gun, you create a policymaker. When his ass is on the line, he will do whatever he needs to do.

And, if the implications of that bother you, the time to do something about it is before you send him out."
—David Drake


"Oh, but you did! You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me! But, since that's a concept you can't seem to wrap your head around, then, you've got no place here. You did it to me, Jayne, and that's a fact."

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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2016-06-24 02:17pm

Unlike Cinnabar, I'm wanting to see just what the hell the Ascension is, without reading a 'TEH FEderaTiON SUX!!!!' fic. Also, wouldn't the UFP be involved in military decisions?
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-06-24 02:31pm

FaxModem1 wrote:Unlike Cinnabar, I'm wanting to see just what the hell the Ascension is, without reading a 'TEH FEderaTiON SUX!!!!' fic. Also, wouldn't the UFP be involved in military decisions?


Though I have more than a couple ideas as to who the Ascension might be, I'd love to see how wrong those ideas really are.
"When you send a man out with a gun, you create a policymaker. When his ass is on the line, he will do whatever he needs to do.

And, if the implications of that bother you, the time to do something about it is before you send him out."
—David Drake


"Oh, but you did! You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me! But, since that's a concept you can't seem to wrap your head around, then, you've got no place here. You did it to me, Jayne, and that's a fact."

—Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class hauler Serenity,in a nutshell

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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2016-06-24 02:58pm

Too late to edit, the UFP president is whom I think would be briefed on this. Or in your fic does Starfleet not answer to the President?
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-06-25 01:58am

FaxModem1 wrote:Too late to edit, the UFP president is whom I think would be briefed on this. Or in your fic does Starfleet not answer to the President?



I was going to go into more depth about the politics in a future chapter. Basically, the admiralty railroaded the president into declaring war.





U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
FaxModem1 wrote:Unlike Cinnabar, I'm wanting to see just what the hell the Ascension is, without reading a 'TEH FEderaTiON SUX!!!!' fic. Also, wouldn't the UFP be involved in military decisions?


Though I have more than a couple ideas as to who the Ascension might be, I'd love to see how wrong those ideas really are.



PM me, I'm curious what you're thinking.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-09-17 03:14pm

Ars Thulani, president of the United Federation of Planets, removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. He was an old-fashioned man, and rejected the modern medical techniques that would repair his vision as mere vanity; glasses worked just as well, and reminded him of all his flaws, physical and spiritual.

At the moment, it was not a reminder he wanted.

"Admiral, I agreed to this punitive action on your recommendation, on the basis that they were too primitive to pose a serious threat to the Federation but too dangerous to leave alone. Now you're telling me that a technologically backward species is capable of outgunning us?"

Admiral Dornez shook his head respectfully and replied, "No sir, not at all. They certainly have a few advantages over us, particularly in long-range firepower, but we still hold the edge. While their ships are certainly very tough due to their armor and the compartmentalized nature of their construction, they lack shields and we can slug it out toe-to-toe with them at close range where their missiles can't be used."

He drummed his fingers on the tabletop thoughtfully for a moment, then shrugged.

"I'll confess that we haven't yet found a means of getting our photon torpedoes past their point-defense systems, but we are developing our own equivalent; our engineers are devising small phaser turrets we can mount onto our ships without an extensive refit, allowing us to shoot at incoming missile volleys almost as effectively as they can shoot down our torpedoes. We can begin refitting ships within the month, and that will negate their biggest advantage over us, or at least reduce it. In the meantime, we press the offensive and deny these barbarians the chance to recover."

Thulani put his glasses back on and tugged at one of the tendrils on his chin in a thoughtful gesture.

"You can begin putting these point-defense systems onto ships within the month?"

"Yes, Mr. President."

"That's just to begin mounting them? Why can't you speed it up, because of our other big project?"

"No, sir. Project Galaxy won't have any bearing on this; there's really way to do it any faster. We have to build the point defense systems, bring ships in, install the new systems, work out any kinks in the process, etcetera. And we have to do that for every class of ship we retrofit with the point defense phasers. We can speed up the time it would take to get a small fleet equipped by standardizing around a single class of ship, for example, the Excelsior class, but there's nothing we can do about start-up time."

"Hmm," President Thulani nodded, glancing at his notes. "And do you think Project Galaxy will be finished in time to deploy against this Ascension?"

The admiral shook his head.

"No, sir. It's a much more extensive project. We'll likely have this whole conflict wrapped up before the first one comes out of the yard. But it represents a major leap forward in propulsion and firepower, so the next time the Dominion, the Romulans, the Klingons, the Cardassians, or even the Borg come knocking, we'll be more than ready for them."

The president nodded again and leaned back in his seat.

"All right. I'm trusting the Admiralty's judgement, Dornez. But I want this war to be as brief as possible; Starfleet is about exploration and knowledge, not conquest."

"Of course, Mr. President. To be honest, I'd like to get back to finding out what's out there just as soon as we possibly can. But we made the mistake of assuming we were ready for an ugly, hostile universe before our first encounter with the Borg; let's not repeat that mistake."

"Agreed. All right, Admiral; you have my blessing to continue this offensive. Let's be about this as quickly as possible, so we can get back to what we're really all about."

"Yes, sir. Have a good day, Mr. President."

"Mm. I doubt that; have you seen how much paperwork I have to deal with?"

Dornez chuckled politely as he stood to leave the president's office, then a serious, intense expression slid over his face as he got into the turbolift. The president was continuing to give him carte blanche to prosecute this war, and he was going to use it.

Slapping his communicator, he said, "Preston, how soon can the Enterprise return to active duty? I think it's time we go after the Ascension again."
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby astrospace2020 » 2016-09-17 05:21pm

very good new chapter , its so good to see its back , the point defenses are excellent, and what is the Galaxy Project ? is it a Warship new class , with advanced propulsion , amazing firepower , and excellent Defensive systems , does it utilize all the upgrades in amazing Tech Brought back By voyager , from the delta quadrant ? Cant hardly wait for the next chapter

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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby FaxModem1 » 2016-09-18 02:25am

This is post-Nemesis, with Riker having the Titan. They could be adding slipstream to Starfleet ships to have them explore the galaxy. IE, Project Galaxy.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-09-18 06:35am

Or it's the refit Galaxy class from "All Good Things" with the third nacelle and bigass phaser cannon.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-09-18 07:13am

A Prime Universe Vengance? We'll find out in the next exciting installment.
"When you send a man out with a gun, you create a policymaker. When his ass is on the line, he will do whatever he needs to do.

And, if the implications of that bother you, the time to do something about it is before you send him out."
—David Drake


"Oh, but you did! You turn on any of my crew, you turn on me! But, since that's a concept you can't seem to wrap your head around, then, you've got no place here. You did it to me, Jayne, and that's a fact."

—Malcolm Reynolds, captain of the Firefly-class hauler Serenity,in a nutshell

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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-09-19 06:01am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:A Prime Universe Vengance? We'll find out in the next exciting installment.




Now now, you heard the admiral: there's no way this conflict could possibly drag out long enough for Project Galaxy to roll off the assembly line. :)
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-09-22 04:46am

Picard tugged down on his tunic as he got out of his chair and sighed; if he still had hair, he'd be tearing it out in frustration right now. After pacing around his ready room for almost a full minute, he spun on his heel and stepped onto the bridge.

"Well, Number One, it appears that with repairs to the Enterprise complete, we'll be going out to meet the Ascension again."

Data looked up from the PADD in his hand and tilted his head, waiting for him to continue.

"Admiral Dornez has ordered us, along with the T'val and the Impresa, to return to the... Jameson system, and secure it in case the Ascension send a fleet to take it back. Meanwhile, it appears that we won't be meeting the Rikers after all; the Titan has been assigned to reconnaissance the nearby Delta 537 system for signs of Ascension activity. Unless something radical happens in the Jameson system, they'll be gone and back before we are."

"Yes, sir. In the meantime, all repairs are complete, we are fully stocked with quantum torpedoes, and Starfleet has delivered the new Class Three probes for us to deploy once we arrive in the Jameson system. The Enterprise is ready to depart as soon as the T'val and Impresa arrive."

"Splendid," Picard said, feeling nothing of the sort. "Hopefully now that we've at least bloodied their nose, the Ascension will seek out peace talks."

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

Steve Macguinness, governor of the Federation colony on Randi Epsilon IV, frowned at the beep from his console. His assistant knew never to bother him unless it was important, so if she was interrupting his quiet time between meetings, then it was probably just that: important.

He sighed, stuck a bookmark in the antique copy of Finnegan's Wake he'd been slogging through, and pressed the flashing button on his desk.

"Yes, Mallory, what is it?"

"Sir! I'm sorry to bother you, but it's-"

"Spit it out, Mallory."

"Several unidentified ships just came out of warp and are approaching the planet! We think they're Ascension!"

His mind raced nearly as quickly as his face paled; the Ascension, here? He'd received a briefing from Starfleet ever since hostilities began, but he'd never thought they'd show up on his doorstep! Their ships were limited to warp two, and the colony was somewhat off the beaten path, so why go to the effort of...

"... unless that's why they're here?"

"Sir?"

"Mallory, prep the shuttles and both runabouts. They don't have transporters, so they'll be using their own shuttles to land soldiers. We need to intercept them and try to fend them off. Order everyone to the emergency shelters, and start issuing phasers to the militia."

"Sir, there's no way we can fight them off."

"I know that, but we only need to delay them long enough for Starfleet to send help. Send a distress signal and-"

"Sir," his assistant said, distress clear on her face. "We already tried! They're jamming our signals!"

He pounded a fist against his desk and snarled in frustration.

"All right, dispatch one of the warp-capable shuttles to the nearest starbase to send for help. It's all we can do for now."

"Yes, sir."

He closed the comm channel, then reached into the drawer of his desk and pulled out his phaser; it was a civilian model, with fewer settings and more restrictions on its power than a Starfleet-issue phaser, but it still had a kill setting. He checked the charge and saw it was full, then put on his belt and holstered it. As he stepped out of his office, he saw members of the militia were already withdrawing phasers from the armory.

There were, he noted, some advantages to being a backwater; they might not have Starfleet backing them up, but at least their region of space was still wild and lawless enough that they had brought weapons with them for defense.

They were going to need them.


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


As it turned out, Governor Macguinness was half right: while the Ascension had to land troops by shuttle, it wasn't their only option.

As it passed over the planet, one of the Ascension ships, smaller and boxier than the frigates and cruiser it accompanied, spat a series of tungsten rods, ranging in size from a crowbar to a telephone pole. Each rod hit a specific target, wiping out sensor and communication arrays, the power plant, and what appeared to be a barracks but was actually a hydroponics farm. Immediately following this orbital barrage, the ship disgorged a series of egg-shaped objects, which entered the atmosphere on ballistic trajectories.

The ablative outer layer of each pod slowly burned off from atmospheric friction, and a series of drogue chutes, varying in size and shape, deployed, slowed the pod's fall for a few seconds, then detached. A series of rockets fired, slowing the pods further as they descended, more pieces of the pod detaching and falling in a cluster around it; the debris would have confused old-fashioned radar systems, making it harder to target the pods with ground-based weaponry, but against modern sensors it was nearly useless. Each pod also fired off a series of flares, to distract heat-seeking missiles, which also weren't an issue.

Finally, the hundred and twenty pods impacted the ground at a little over the speed of sound, landing in clusters of ten. With a loud BANG of explosive charges, each pod split in half and an armored thing stepped out of it.

Matthew Hayes, member of the militia, was staring at one right in front of him. It was more than two meters tall, was a matte, dark green, had square eye lenses above a triangular respirator, and was made of some sort of metal or plastic. He couldn't tell if it was a robot of some kind, or an armored spacesuit.

He was still in shock when it unslung its weapon, chambered a round, and put a five-shot burst through his chest, killing him instantly.


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

Gorath, son of M'goch, rolled his head on the table he'd been resting it on and looked around the bar blearily. Where the hell was everyone?

The aging, drunken Klingon stood, swaying for a moment before finding his balance, and looking around. The bar was empty. And what was that hammering noise? It reminded him of when his grandfather had once taught him to fire his ancient Glassbreaker...

That's exactly what that noise was! Someone was firing a firearm outside!

He grabbed his bat'leth from beside his table and staggered across the bar and out into the street. What the hell were these idiot humans doing-

He blinked several times as he got his bearings and his alcohol-soaked mind processed the fact that he had literally stumbled into the middle of a battle. Several colonists were taking cover behind a thin wall surrounding the town square, occasionally popping up to fire their phasers at someone; they were doing a terrible job of hitting anything.

Gorath turned to see who they were shooting at, and his eyes widened in surprise: hulking, armored behemoths, wielding antiquated rifles that barked deafeningly. As he watched, a spray of bullets punched through the wall and killed one of the humans crouching behind it; obsolete or not, those weapons were deadly.

Just like his bat'leth.

Gorath shouted a war cry and charged at the nearest attacker, swinging his blade in a series of arcs that ended in an overhead strike; the armored giant he was attacking actually straightened up in surprise at the sight of him and made no move to protect himself from the strike... which bounced right off of his helmet without even scuffing the paint.

Gorath was knocked to the ground by the butt of the alien's rifle, and then his ears started ringing, hit by a loud concussion he could feel in his chest; a glance showed that an explosion, probably from a grenade of some sort, had just finished off the rest of the humans hiding behind the wall.

He struggled to his feet, snarling curses, and realized he was surrounded by a dozen of the armored beings, all pointing guns at him. Well, Gorath was no coward! And this time, he would not be denied an honorable death in battle! He screamed and charged again, only to stop when the nearest alien lowered his rifle and held his arm outstretched in the universal sign for 'stop'. What-

One of the aliens, possibly an officer since it had markings on its helmet and shoulder pauldrons, stepped forward, dropping its rifle on the ground and pulling a massive knife, or possibly a shortsword, from its belt. Gorath gritted his teeth and snarled in challenge; now this was an interesting development!

He charged, swinging his bat'leth with a ferocity he hadn't displayed since his younger days, striking over and over again. Each time, his opponent blocked the blow, seemingly without any effort. After a dozen or so failed attacks, Gorath was just considering changing tactics when his opponent did it for him, counterattacking and forcing Gorath to be the one blocking his blows. Each time, he was just barely fast enough to get his bat'leth in position to parry the blow, and the impact of blade against blade was beginning to make his arms go numb; his opponent wasn't just fast, he was strong! Gorath ducked under the next swing and struck, shouting triumphantly as one of the points of his bat'leth struck his opponent in a joint in his armor... and bounced off harmlessly. He stared disbelieving, not understanding at first; his blade should have sunk between the hard plates of the armor and into his opponent, but even in the joints it could turn a blade!

He hesitated too long and cried out in pain as his opponent slashed his left bicep down to the bone; his left arm was useless, and bleeding heavily. Gorath switched to a one-handed grip and went on the attack again, swinging his bat'leth in a savage frenzy... and each blow was blocked almost effortlessly.

He missed a parry and the tip of his opponent's blade penetrated his own armor with ease, puncturing several inches into his lower abdomen. He gasped, then slammed his forehead against his opponent's chest and smacked him in the helmet with his bat'leth; neither accomplished anything, but it felt good. He circled his opponent, then roared in anger and charged, swinging his blade with all the strength he could muster.

It never contacted; the armored behemoth shot one leg out in a kick with greater reach than Gorath's and shattered his femur. Gorath fell, groaning in pain, and raised his bat'leth to block an overhead swing of his opponent's blade; the blow struck with such force that a large chip broke out of the blade of his bat'leth, which was sent flying through the air as his wrist shattered. Gorath wasn't merely severely outmatched, he was now beaten and defenseless.

Despite this, he smiled, even managing to laugh; so what if his enemy was vastly superior to him? That only made the battle more glorious! He'd challenged an armored juggernaut and faced him in single combat! There was no shame in losing to a superior adversary, and now he had what he'd sought for so long, after all of his old comrades had fallen in battle one by one: he had an honorable death.

His opponent stood over him, watching him as he greeted death with open arms, then seemed to make a decision. The green giant clenched his fist and pounded it against his chest once in salute and nodded, then raised his blade overhead.

Gorath was still smiling as his head was struck from his shoulders.

The alien picked up his bat'leth and examined it curiously for a moment, then placed it in Gorath's dead hands before retrieving its rifle and leading its troops to secure the rest of the colony.

The entire battle was over in less than an hour. Most of the militia were killed; only those who were too wounded to move or smart enough to surrender were spared. A few tried to flee into the hills surrounding the colony and were killed by another strike from orbit. The shelters were opened up and the civilians marched outside, forced to stand in a series of single-file lines in the square. At the head of each line, there was an armored alien holding up a device, taking photos and biometric data from each civilian and questioning their name, age, and profession. As each colonist was questioned, they were forced into the school and made to sit on the floor with their hands on their heads.

Governor Macguinness, having wisely tossed aside his phaser when an Ascension soldier literally kicked the door to his office across the room, was standing in line to be processed when he heard a rumble in the distance and saw the shuttlecraft approaching, each one an enormous thing that disgorged hordes of additional troops. Then bigger shuttles landed just outside the colony and vehicles began rolling out, including what looked like old-fashioned tanks. Just before he was led into the school, he saw a group of Ascension soldiers, these ones clad in black armor rather than the dark green all the others wore, assembling what looked like an enormous gun pointing into the sky.

It looked like the Ascension intended to occupy Randi Epsilon IV for some time.

And he had no idea if the shuttle had made it out of the system to warn the Federation, or if it had been shot down like the others.

All he could do was wait, to see if help was coming, and to see what the Ascension wanted with his colony.
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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby astrospace2020 » 2016-09-22 06:22am

very good new chapter , i hope soon the federation goes on full war mobilization , to crush the damned Ascension, and that that shuttle reached the nearest Starbase , so that the Alarm can be raised and the Colony liberated . Cant hardly wait for the next chapters .

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Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-10-03 10:12am

In case anyone is curious, the Glassbreaker mentioned in the previous chapter is a Klingon firearm, apparently named because the muzzle blast could shatter glass, mentioned in a DS9 novel featuring time-traveling cactus-faced aliens in phaser-proof armor that Kira had to fight using a replicated Glassbreaker and phasers set on overload. Given that she asked the computer for the most powerful firearm on record and it recommended the Glassbreaker, and there are 14.5x114mm anti-tank rifles, 20mm anti-tank rifles, and similar firearms, I'm guessing the computer interpreted her request for the most powerful firearm as a request for the most powerful firearm that could be reasonably handled by a single person for anti-personnel purposes.

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



The Enterprise and its escorts dropped out of warp on the fringes of the Jameson system and immediately deployed probes, covering the star system with long-range sensors that would warn them immediately of Ascension starships; there were none.

"Well, Number One, I suppose now we sit and wait. Inform Starfleet that-"

"Sir, incoming transmission, priority one."

"Onscreen."

Admiral Janeway appeared on the viewscreen, looking worried.

"Jean-luc, I've just been informed that the Ascension have launched an attack on Starbase 73. We've already dispatched a fleet to reinforce the ships there. In the meantime, you are to remain where you are and await the arrival of another fleet; they should arrive in eight hours."

"Another fleet?"

"Yes. We've halted mothballing our purely military ships and have diverted a number of them to join up with you; once you rendezvous in the Jameson system, you are to lead the fleet to an Ascension system and take it from them. I'm forwarding the coordinates now."

"Admiral, the-"

"I'm sorry, Jean-luc. I've got to go. I'll contact you when I'm done stomping out fires. Janeway out."

The screen returned to its view of the Jameson system, and Picard felt an ominous sinking sensation. The Ascension were attacking another starbase, this time apparently in force. And Starfleet expected him to lead a fleet in an offensive operation.

For a small empire of technologically-obsolete nobodies, the Ascension were turning out to be more trouble than anyone had given them credit for.


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

Riker stroked his beard thoughtfully; they had just finished surveying the system and, other than some unmanned probes and satellites apparently studying the rocky worlds and gas giants, found it uninhabited. Apparently the Ascension didn't consider this system important enough to garrison.

"Captain, I'm detecting a small vessel coming out of warp.... it appears to be a Federation shuttlecraft."

"A shuttlecraft? What's it doing here?"

"They're hailing us."

"Onscreen."

Two haggard men, neither wearing a Starfleet uniform, appeared onscreen.

"This is Captain William Riker of the USS Titan, please identify yourself."

"Titan! We're from the Federation colony on Randi Epsilon IV! Please, you've got to help us!"

Riker frowned, glancing at Tuvok, then asked, "what seems to be the trouble?"

"We've been attacked by the Ascension! We tried to get to Starbase 73 to ask for help, but their fleet followed us there and attacked the starbase! We fled in the confusion, but we didn't know where to go. We didn't expect to run into a Federation ship here, but we're glad we did!"

"You said their fleet followed you to Starbase 73?"

"Yes! They only left one ship behind at the colony, we think some sort of troop transport. Please, you've got to help us!"

"All right, land in our shuttlebay, and we'll help."

"Thank you, Titan! We-"

Riker made a gesture across his throat and the comm channel was closed.

"Tuvok, signal Starfleet and let them know what's going on. Helm, set a course for the Randi Epsilon system, warp nine. As soon as that shuttle comes aboard, I want us gone."

"Aye, sir. Course laid in, awaiting confirmation of shuttle docking."

Riker leaned back in his seat and bit his lip; the Ascension, attacking a remote colony and a starbase? This conflict wasn't shaping up the way Starfleet intended; not by a long shot.

"Shuttle aboard, Captain."

"Engage."

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


The Titan dropped out of warp, and immediately scanned the system for signs of the Ascension; there were none. There was also no contact with the colony.

"Sensors detect 435 humanoid life signs on the surface."

"And what is the population of the colony supposed to be?"

"611."

Riker grimaced, then said, "Helm, bring us into orbit over the planet. Tuvok, have an away team meet me in transporter room one."

"Captain, I strongly advise against beaming down to the planet. We do not know the conditions on the surface. Let me beam down instead."

"Very well, Commander. Proceed."

Tuvok power-walked toward the turbolift, slapping his comm badge as he went.

"Hazard Team, report to transporter room one and standby."

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

Less than an hour later, Riker was talking to Tuvok on the main viewscreen.

"Captain, the Ascension withdrew their ground forces and departed in their transport shortly after the rest of their fleet pursued the shuttlecraft to Starbase 73. It appears that 41 colonists were killed, and the remaining 135 missing were taken by the Ascension."

"Taken?"

"Yes, sir. All of the colonists taken by the Ascension were engineers, scientists, or otherwise possessed information of a technical nature. They also stripped the colony of its reactor and took examples of our technology; that's why we couldn't contact the colony. Their communications system was stripped, all equipment was taken from the hospital, along with several doctors, all of the militia's phasers were taken, and they even took one of the harvesters from a nearby farm."

"So they're trying to study our technology."

"Yes, sir, that would be a logical conclusion."

"What about the remaining colonists?"

Tuvok glanced around him, then continued in a cautiously optimistic tone.

"They insist that the Ascension did not mistreat them, and promised that all of the people they were taking with them would not be mistreated or harmed; they said that all would be returned at the conclusion of hostilities. I must note that the Ascension did provide medical treatment to the wounded, and left food stores intact."

"So that's it?" asked Riker, confused. "This was just a smash-and-grab on an undefended target so they could kidnap a bunch of engineers and doctors and grab examples of our technology?"

"It would appear so. However, the colonists say that the Ascension initially appeared to be establishing defensive systems suggesting the intent of occupying the colony against a counterattack. It is possible that-"

Tuvok ducked as a gunshot rang out, striking the Hazard Team ensign next to him. Another burst of gunfire was heard and a phaser beam flew across the town square they were standing in before the screen returned to a view of the planet.

"Signal is being jammed."

"Security, prepare an away team and report to transporter room one! Get Tuvok back on the comm! Find out what-"

"Ascension ship off the port bow!"

Riker spun to face the viewscreen again, seeing a huge Ascension cruiser where only empty space had been before. How the hell-

The Titan rocked with a series of hits that threw Riker off his feet. Dammit, they'd been caught with their pants down!

"Raise shields! Evasive maneuvers!"

"Helm is not responding! We've taking major hits, Captain! We can't withstand this sort of firepower!"

"Arm phasers, return fire!"

"Captain, something's attached to our hull... breaching pods! They're cutting through the hull on decks two, six, seven, and nine!"

"Intruder alert! Prepare to repel boarders!"

"Captain, phasers are losing power! We're sitting ducks!"

The Titan rocked away and a console began smoking and belching sparks. Riker glanced at the damage report scrolling on the display in his chair's armrest and made a decision.

"Abandon ship! All hands, abandon ship! Get to the lifepods and transporters! Send a distress signal to Starfleet and-"

"They're jamming our comms still! We can't-"

The doors to the turbolift slid open and a dull, black cylinder sailed through the air toward the center of the bridge. Riker had only just begun processing this when he was thrown from his feet, temporarily blinded and deafened by the stun grenade. Disoriented, he groped around for something to help him to his feet and found his command chair, pulling himself to a seated position. He fumbled in the small storage compartment on his armrest, pulling out the Type I phaser inside, but it did him no good.

An armored fist plowed into his face and drove him into unconsciousness.

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

The first thing he was aware of was pain. It took a while, he had no idea how long, to fully regain consciousness, because he kept slipping away, trying to escape that pain.

When Riker opened his eyes, he immediately regretted returning to the world of the living.

"Shhh, it's ok. Relax."

"Deanna?"

His voice sounded awful; he was slurring, there was something... wet about his voice, and talking increased the pain exponentially.

"Try not to talk. Your cheekbone and jaw are broken, and you're missing several teeth."

"Oh. S'at all?"

He slowly sat up and swallowed what tasted like blood, looking around blearily. He was in some kind of holding cell, brightly lit and bare except for a pair of beds built into the wall and a door.

"Doctor T'neel says you also have tinnitus from the concussion grenade they used to stun everyone on the bridge, but it's easily treatable."

He glanced around the cell, but he and Deanna were alone.

"The doctor was allowed to examine you, but he wasn't allowed to treat you. He said he had higher priority patients that the Ascension wanted him to focus on."

He looked at her in concern and she looked away uncomfortably for a moment.

"Apparently, a number of the crew suffered gunshot wounds. I don't know how many. As ship's counselor, I was allowed to visit the the crew. They've segregated the crew by gender; you and I are the only ones of mixed gender, apparently because we're married. According to Doctor T'neel, the Ascension have his entire medical staff treated the wounded, and they're allowed to move freely among the prisoners, more or less."

"Ffa shhhip?"

Sighing, Deanna took clasped his hand in both of hers and replied, "They've captured the entire crew and, so far as I can tell, are taking the Titan back with them to Ascension space. We are all prisoners of war now."

Riker slumped back on the cot, disbelieving. How the hell had the Ascension pulled that off? Their ambush, the ship that wasn't there one minute and was the next, boarding and subduing the crew so quickly...

"Try to relax. I know you're hurt and confused right now. Just try to relax; everything will be alright."

He squeezed his wife's hand, as much to reassure himself as her.

How the hell had they done it?

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

Picard was in his ready room, reading updates on the battle at Starbase 73. Heavy damage to the starbase, the USS Rondo destroyed, and the small Ascension fleet driven off when reinforcements had arrived. Starbase 73 was likely to be out of commission for months, and the Ascension had gotten away with relatively light damage in exchange. All in all, the attack had paid off for them, and was yet another black eye for the Federation. They needed a victory, and fast.

"Commodore, the fleet has arrived."

"Excellent, thank you Data."

Commodore. He'd received word of his promotion only an hour ago, and it still felt strange. Granted, it only made sense given his seniority and the fact that he would be commanding a fleet of ships, but he'd been a captain for so long that the new rank just felt... unnatural.

Well, they'd promoted James Kirk, twice, so it was only fair that they eventually got around to him too. Picard stood and walked out onto the bridge to survey his fleet.

In addition to the three ships already in the system, Enterprise included, he now had eight more ships to command, for a total of eleven. Most were typical mid-sized starships like the Excelsior-class, but Starfleet had seen fit to give him two more heavy-hitters like the Enterprise: the USS Magellan and the USS Midway, both Galaxy-class. The Magellan was one of the original series of Galaxy-class starships, more or less identical to the Enterprise-D, his previous command, but the Midway had entered service during the Dominion War and was essentially a battleship, with none of the original Galaxy's recreational or scientific facilities. Instead, it had been packed with more shields, more phasers, more photon torpedoes, and was designed to go toe-to-toe with Cardassian and Dominion warships.

And its captain was to be his second-in-command for the fleet.

"Hail the Midway, lieutenant."

"Aye sir."

The bridge of the Midway, disappointingly unlike that of the old Enterprise, appeared onscreen and he smiled pleasantly at the younger woman in its captain's chair.

"Captain Shelby, it's good to see you again."

The blonde woman nodded in greeting, a ghost of a smile the only hint of emotion on her face.

"Commodore Picard. Congratulations on the promotion. Shall we get down to business?"

"Yes. I believe you received the same orders I did; we are to launch an immediate offensive on a nearby star system where the Ascension is known to have a significant presence."

"Then let's be about it, shall we?"

"Agreed. Helm, lay in a course, order the fleet to man battlestations and follow us at warp seven."

"Aye, sir, course laid in, all ships report ready."

"Engage."
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Swindle1984
Jedi Knight
Posts: 970
Joined: 2008-03-23 02:46pm
Location: Texas

Re: The Sins of the Father (Star Trek)

Postby Swindle1984 » 2016-10-25 12:15pm

Yes, they're based on Star Furies.

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



The fleet dropped out of warp, shields up and weapons already armed, and began scanning the system.

"Commodore, sensors show eight Ascension cruisers and five frigates. There is a significant presence in the asteroid belt indicative of mining and..."

"Yes, Data? What is it?"

Data, uncharacteristically speechless, changed the display on the viewscreen. Picard's jaw dropped in awe as he took it in.

"It appears to be a pair of artificial cylinders thirty-two kilometers in length, eight kilometers in diameter. Each is equipped with a trio of large mirrors, evidently for temperature control and light, allowing them to create an artificial day/night cycle within the cylinder. They are rotating at approximately twenty-eight revolutions per hour, producing roughly 1G of artificial gravity via centrifugal force. The cylinders are counter-rotating and physically connected to one another to maintain orbital stability and keep the 'front' of the cylinders aimed toward the sun."

Picard stood and slowly approached the viewscreen, still shocked at what he was seeing.

"Data, are you saying these people built that as... a habitat?"

"There are no Class-M planets in the system. Therefore it is a safe assumption that that," he replied, nodding toward the construct on the viewscreen, "is how they have colonized the system."

"Just one of those cylinders is bigger than the Spacedock back at Earth; and they built two?" Picard shook his head in amazement. "These people are incredible, building on such a scale with technology centuries obsolete."

He frowned as he returned to his seat and said, quietly, "What determination they must possess, building their own world where the universe gave them none." The thought was more than a little disturbing.

Lieutenant Stennis, his tactical officer, spoke up from behind him, saying, "Commodore, it appears the Ascension is evacuating the... space station, or whatever you'd call it. I'm picking up dozens of starships, none of them apparently armed, leaving the two cylinders."

Data looked over his display with a feigned expression of concentration and said, "The evacuation appears to have been proceeding since before our arrival. Each cylinder can house a population of millions, but I am detecting only thousands of lifeforms in each one. Either they have been evacuating in preparation of our arrival for some time, or the colony was not yet fully inhabited."

"Millions," Picard said, still in awe. "Incredible."

"Commodore, Ascension cruisers are moving to intercept us."

"Hail them."

"No response. Captain Shelby is awaiting orders."

Sighing, Picard pointed at the viewscreen and replied, "Take us in. All ships, prepare to engage the enemy. We will not interfere with the Ascension's evacuation of the cylinders, nor attack the cylinders themselves unless fired upon. Proceed with attack plan Beta."

"Aye sir, all ships acknowledge."

Picard tugged down his uniform tunic and settled more comfortably into his seat, awaiting another slugging match between the more primitive, but brutally efficient Ascension ships and his own.

"First wave of missiles is approaching, all ships are responding with torpedoes and phasers."

In an effort to blunt the effectiveness of the sheer numbers of missiles the Ascension ships threw at them, all of Picard's ships were firing full spreads of photon or quantum torpedoes intended to detonate once they got close to the missiles, then attempting to pick off more incoming missiles with their phasers. The Enterprise rocked under multiple hits from bomb-pumped lasers, but took less damage than anticipated.

"The strategy appears to have been effective at reducing the enemy missile barrage by nearly thirty percent. A second wave of missiles is incoming."

"Commodore," Stennis spoke up, "Two of the Ascension cruisers aren't firing nearly as many missiles as the others."

"Reason, Lieutenant?"

"Unknown, sir. They appear to be a different design, with fewer missile launchers. Beyond that, I can't tell."

Picard nodded, still focused on the viewscreen. "Perhaps an older, less efficient design. Keep an eye on them anyway, just in case they spring something unexpected on us."

"Aye, sir."

Another spread of torpedoes went out to meet the Ascension missiles, but when they detonated they destroyed far fewer missiles than they had in the first volley, as the enemy missiles evaded their own torpedoes, popping 'up' or 'below' and continuing to drive toward the Federation fleet. As before, the phasers only picked off a few of them before they all detonated, blasting their targets with concentrated beams of x-rays.

"Commodore, they appear to be targeting the Enterprise, the Magellan, and the Midway. None of the other ships have been hit."

"Trying to take out our heavy-hitters before we get close enough to engage theirs. All ships, try to get to close range, negate their missile barrages."

His fleet, which outnumbered the Ascension's since only the cruisers had engaged, weathered a third and a fourth missile barrage as they tried to close to what could be considered 'knife range', too close for nuclear and antimatter warheads to be used without harming the ship firing them. They were almost there when, almost as he'd suspected, the Ascension threw them another curveball.

"Commodore, both those cruisers with the lighter missile armament are now... launching shuttlecraft? No, they appear to be one-man craft, lightly armed."

"Carriers," Picard muttered.

The fighters swarmed out to meet them, following close on the heels of a fifth missile barrage.

"The fighters appear to be armed with... either a laser or a mass driver, and a pair of missiles. Missiles are too small to contain a laser warhead, they must be low-yield conventional nuclear warheads."

Which meant they would do very little damage to the Enterprise or his other ships, since they would creating a spherical blast that would only hit the target with a portion of their total yield. Still, nukes were nukes, and there were dozens of the small craft.

"Once this next wave of missiles is dealt with, target the fighters with phasers, but continue to close with the cruisers."

As the fighters approached, Picard thought they rather resembled a toy from his youth: jacks. A cylinder tapering to a point at both ends, with an X sticking out of the center. The cockpit appeared to be in the nose, the main drive section appeared to be the rear, and each arm of the X seemed to have attitude thrusters built in. As he watched, the fighters nimbly dodged the incoming phaser fire and launched their own volley of missiles.

The Ascension seemingly having an infinite number of surprises to pull out of their hat, the missiles were neither bomb-pumped lasers nor conventional nuclear warheads. They were Casaba-Howitzers, essentially nuclear shaped charges that projected approximately 85% of their total yield as a jet of plasma that attempted to penetrate the shields of the Enterprise and the Magellan.

Then the fighters were swarming around the two ships and Picard was surprised at their maneuverability; the attitude thrusters on the arms sticking out of each fighter allowed the ship to fly in one direction while facing another direction entirely. The Enterprise was surrounded by fifty of the things, each one 'orbiting' the ship while keeping its guns aimed at the Enterprise, keeping up a steady rate of fire.

"Commodore, the fighters are too fast to target accurately; I've only hit three. Now they're staying in our dead zones."

"Dead zones?" Picard queried, momentarily confused by the term.

Data to the rescue. "A dead zone is an area where none of our phasers have coverage. Because of the shape of most starships and the placement of our phaser banks, there are multiple areas where a small craft at close range is effectively untouchable."

"Thank you, Number One, I'm familiar with the concept. Order the-"

"Sir, the Midway is firing phasers on the fighters surrounding us. Multiple hits. The Kruschev is also assisting."

"Seems Captain Shelby read my mind," Picard responded dryly.

"The fighters are breaking off and returning to their carriers," Data noted.

"Engage those damn cruisers; I don't want any more surprises today."

"Aye sir, all ships engaging."

The battle quickly devolved into another slugging match at close range; the Federation ships slightly outnumbered the Ascension cruisers and had superior shields, but the Ascension ships definitely had an advantage in the sheer weight of fire they could unleash and durability. Once the battle began to tell against them, the Ascension cruisers began to retreat.

"Ascension cruisers are breaking off."

"Pursue them, don't let them get far enough to use their missiles."

"Aye, sir."

The Ascension cruisers turned and ran at their full speed of three-quarters impulse, keeping up a steady barrage of harassing fire with lasers and mass drivers as they fled, Federation ships close on their heels.

"They're launching fighters again."

"Engage the fighters, don't let them swarm us again."

The Enterprise rocked under a barrage of hits, the fighters having apparently rearmed with new missiles.

"Commodore, several of the fighters are on predictable courses; I think I can snag one with the tractor beam."

Picard nodded, replying, "Make it so. If we can capture one of their pilots, he'd be an invaluable source of information."

Suddenly, the screen flared white and Picard winced at the intensity of the light coming from it before the display automatically dimmed. He stood up in shock, then turned to Data and asked, "Did they-?"

"Yes, sir. The Ascension appear to have destroyed their own colony by detonating multiple nuclear warheads inside."

"Was the evacuation complete?"

"No, sir. Sensors indicate an estimated 10,000 lifeforms were still aboard when they self-destructed. All Ascensions ships are in retreat."

Picard sank back into his chair, horrified.

"They destroyed their own people, thousands of them, just so we couldn't get our hands on them." Glaring at the screen, Picard growled, "Mr. Stennis, lock on with the tractor beam and get me one of those fighters. I want to see just what sort of people we're dealing with face to face."

"Aye, sir."

The fighters broke off their attack and turned to rejoin the cruisers, and in the split second their courses were most predictable, the Enterprise's tractor beam lashed out and grabbed one.

"Tractor beam locked on, sir."

"All ships, full stop. Phasers on rapid fire and launch a full spread of torpedoes; I don't want them destroying their comrade before we have a chance to capture him."

In the suddenly intensified exchange of fire, none of the Ascension ships seemed to have noticed the lone fighter that had been ensnared by the tractor beam, and they continued to retreat at full speed.

"Ascension cruisers are continuing to retreat; they are following the same course as their other ships, which are jumping to warp now."

"Let them go. Mr. Stennis, status of the fighter?"

"We've got a solid lock, sir. The fighter doesn't appear to have inertial compensators, so that sudden stop probably wasn't very healthy for the pilot. I'm detecting a single lifesign aboard, but there's no activity from the fighter; I'm guessing he's unconscious."

"Have a security team report to shuttlebay two and beam the fighter aboard. Number One, you have the bridge."

Picard stood, tugging down on his tunic again as he walked into the turbolift and headed for the shuttlebay.


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


Up close, the fighter was even more primitive than he'd first thought. The nozzles of reaction thrusters, the barrel of a single laser jutting out beside the cockpit, dull black metal... it looked almost nothing like a modern spacecraft, he thought. It was both more primitive and more... sinister.

The security personnel he'd ordered to the shuttlebay had the fighter surrounded, phasers drawn, and a medical team was also on standby. Two of his engineers were scanning the fighter with tricorders.

"There's definitely no inertial compensators aboard; I'd say you're right, this guy got smacked good and hard when the tractor beam stopped him. We should be able to open the cockpit... now."

A hatch on the underside of the cockpit opened, and large quantities of liquid splattered all over the floor of the shuttlebay, startling everyone nearby.

"What the hell is that?"

"... his pressure suit is leaking."

"Pressure suit?"

"The pilot's wearing some sort of armored spacesuit; near as I can tell, the fluid was contained inside the suit to pressurize it; to compensate for the G forces of his maneuvers. I'd say he popped a leak when he got slammed against the inside of his cockpit by our tractor beam."

"Doctor?"

One of the medical personnel was waving his tricorder around the inside of the cockpit, then snapped it shut.

"He should be safe for transport. He's definitely unconscious, and may have some internal injuries, but I'm not seeing anything serious. We'll have to get him to sickbay and get him out of that suit before I can make a full diagnosis."

Picard nodded. "Proceed."

The two engineers reached into the cockpit and undid a series of restraints, then both fell to the floor as the pilot was dumped on top of them.

"Aaagh!"

"Geez, he's heavy!"

The doctor waved his assistants forward with a hover stretcher and the unconscious pilot was loaded onto it. Picard stared at him, seeing a creature from another era. A pressurized spacesuit, solid black, covered in armored plates, hoses and wires that had connected to his spacecraft, a combination of jet fighter pilot and deep sea diver. Surrounded by security personnel, he was wheeled off toward sickbay, Picard following close behind.

"Captain, we are transporting the Ascension fighter off the Enterprise now," Data suddenly said over his commlink. Picard slapped his commbadge and asked, "Why?"

"It appears that when the cockpit was opened, it activated a self-destruct mechanism. The fighter exploded one second after transport."

Picard paused in the hall, processing this information.

"Thank you, Data. Order Captain Shelby to secure the system, and dispatch a ship to study the wreckage of those cylinders. I'm going to find out just who the hell these people are that are so dead set on preventing us from capturing any of them."

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

The pilot's suit was disassembled and, after checking it for any nasty surprises like a self-destruct mechanism of its own, piled in one corner of sickbay. The pilot, clad only in a skintight bodyglove, lay on the biobed, held by a restraining forcefield. He still hadn't regained consciousness.

"Except for the ridges around the eyes and cheek bones, he looks fairly human."

"Well, he's not," replied Doctor Dube in his soft, South African accent. "Fairly standard humanoid biology, but his metabolism is very different from ours, and some of his internal organs are a little different. His liver appears to also function as his gallbladder, for example, and there's only one kidney."

"Will he regain consciousness soon?"

"Yes; he doesn't have any serious injuries, just a mild concussion, easily treatable."

Doctor Dube punched some entries into his PADD, then frowned.

"That's odd."

"What is it?" Picard asked.

"His species is already in the system."

Picard turned and waited for the doctor to continue.

"But that's impossible; they should all have gone extinct by now."

"I'm sorry to disappoint you."

Everyone turned to see the pilot was awake and glaring at them with what could only be sheer hatred.

"I'm Cap- Commodore Jean-luc Picard, of the United Federation of Planets."

"We know who you are."

"Then who might you be?" Picard asked, feeling just a little confrontational.

The pilot made no reply, so Doctor Dube stepped in.

"His species is Valakian; they were first encountered in the mid-22nd century. Their people were afflicted with a genetic ailment and it was estimated their species would go extinct by the beginning of the 24th century."

"YOU CONDEMNED US TO DIE!" the pilot shouted, struggling against the forcefield holding him to the biobed.

Picard took the PADD from Doctor Dube and quickly scanned through it to get more context, then handed it back and walked over to stand beside the pilot.

"We had a cure, and we didn't give it to you. And you not only survived, you... became the Ascension. Is that why you've remained isolationist for so long?"

The pilot laughed, responding, "We didn't become the Ascension. The Ascension saved us, when you refused. We owe our survival as a race to them, and now we serve them in gratitude."

"Serve them? Then you're a client race to the Ascension?"

The pilot spasmed suddenly, and chuckled to himself. "You'll get no more information from me, Federation scum."

Dube suddenly lunged forward with a hypospray and pressed it to the man's neck, shouting, "Nurse, I need you NOW!"

"What's happening?!"

"Dammit, we're losing him!"

The pilot's body went slack on the biobed and his eyes glazed over, still glaring at Picard with hate.

"Aikona! He's gone."

"What happened?" Picard demanded.

"Cyanide tablet, hidden in a false tooth. He ingested it as soon as he regained consciousness, but Valakians metabolize cyanide more slowly than humans apparently. I didn't catch it until just now."

"Blowing up thousands of their own people and a massive space colony, self-destructing a fighter, suicide poison in false teeth... who the hell are these people and why are they so afraid of us capturing them?"

"I don't know, Commodore. But at least we got something out of him before he died."

Nodding, Picard said, "Study the body. Let me know if you find anything. I'll be on the bridge."

Brooding, Picard got into the turbolift and wondered what the hell Starfleet had gotten themselves into. If these people were willing to kill themselves just to avoid capture, it didn't bode well for the future; many times in the past, such an enemy preferred to fight to the death even when it was hopeless, creating a conflict far bloodier and more drawn out than would otherwise have happened.

"Merde."
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