The Poor Man's Wisdom

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U.P. Cinnabar
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The Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-06-04 09:36pm

"...squadron, on me!" she said over squadron tacnet, as purple lighning roiled and forked around an inky darkness wanting to draw her into itself.

That darkness vomited up Kobold battlestars by the dozen, joining the Mercuries, Valkyries, Orions, Jupiters, and at least one monstrous Hades-class command battlestar which had taken up position between the Ring Of Fire and the ships of the task force, Vipers and Raptors burning hard on an intercept toward the Starfury gunships screening the cruisers and carriers.

Syuzen swallowed hard, trying to chase the gummy, chalky dryness from her throat, while she programmed sixty seconds of emergency burn into the shipnet, and stabbed a key on her multi-function holodisplay to...

2275.2.14 03:47:20

...sit bolt upright in the rack, her heart racing, her breathing ragged.

Slowly, Capitaine de vaisseau Syuzen Andreya Ivanova came to the realization she was here, now, in Sondra's quarters aboard Astronef des Nations Fédérés Heracles, not out there, leading Cumberland's Furies in against Kobold battlestars hellbent and determined to keep the Marine d'Etoile from destroying their only link with their homeworlds.

"Baby?" Sondra whispered sleepily, and Syuzen let herself be gently pulled back into her wife's embrace, gazing intently into those beautiful, bottomless dark eyes of hers, reaching out to twirl strands of long, dark hair in her fingers, as Sondra did with auburn ringlets of her hair.

"Io," Sondra softly said, not asking.

"Yeah," Syuzen whispered.

"Io," she added.

Capitaine de vaisseau Sondra Leavitt nodded, as they curled up in one another, holding on tight, caressing each other's hair, Syuzen's fingertips tracing the outlines of Sondra's face, as Sondra's traced hers.

"Proxima III," Sondra whispered, after a silence.

"Yeah," Syuzen whispered back.

"That was bad, too," she decided, Wolf 359, in many ways worse than Io, now coming to mind, Syuzen wishing it wouldn't, not now, not here with Sondra.

"She's a part of you, Syuzen'ka," her Sondra told her, understanding, accepting, as she always did, when it did come up."Always will be. I won't have it any other way."

Syuzen smiled.

Gave Sondra the lightest, gentlest of kisses on her lips.

"Lybluyu tebaya," she whispered.

"Ya znayu, Syuzen'ka," Sondra replied.

"Ya znayu," she repeated.

2275.2.14 07:13:26

This had once been considered non-Canon, as the Kobolds would say.

Even now, the men in charge of their Earth, as well as those cut off from that Earth and the rest of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, continued investing time and energy in vilifying even this.

Fuck 'em, Contre-amiral Nyota Uhura decided, as she always did, whennever she held her lover's hand in public, and mused upon human ignorance.

She gave Janice's hand a gentle squeeze, as they walked along the South Rim of AD Leonis Base's Orbital Facility Romeo, and just took it all in.

Two million people, most of them human, lived and worked in the interior of this rim, gracefully curving away behind and ahead of the two of them, as it rotated majestically around the hub of the O'Neill Island II cylinder to provide a semblance of Earth-normal gravity.

One could barely see the hub, wreathed as it was in fluffy clouds, and a blue sky provided by the fibre-optic light guides piping in the ruddy starlight of AD Leonis, refracted by the moisture in the air.

And, Nyota smiled, as she did, when she mused upon human achievement, all the more impressive, for achieving in spite of ignorance at times.

She breathed deeply through her nose, prompting Capitaine de frégate Janice Rand to ask "whaatt?"

"Thinking," was Nyota's soft reply."Us, this place, everything we've done, how far we've come, in spite of ourselves."

Janice nodded her greying blonde head, before meeting her wife's eyes.

"How quickly it can all be undone," she remarked,"by just a single person who's taken it upon himself to do so."

"Yeah," Nyota whispered, her mind now on the battle, two days ago, for the lives of those aboard the fleet of broken-down refugee ships.

And, those who'd not survived it.

The commander of la Marine d'Etoile's 17 Escadron Croisseur sighed.

Almost three hundred Earth starshipmen dead, including the crews of Hydra and Dokdo.

Over four hundred Colonial warriors.

Over ten times as many refugees.

Corps Medical had just finished identifying and counting all the dead, and Mackie had informed the last families, best he could.

Now came time to lay them to rest, if such a thing, in fact, existed.

She nodded her head, as the two women continued walking hand in hand toward the funeral service.

2275.2.14 07:30:00

"'Then, said I,'" Haut-amiral du Terre Edward McDugan's baritone resonated throughout the airdock lounge,"' wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless, the poor man's wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard.'"

Ain't the truth?! Capitaine de vaisseau Elizabeth Lochley inwardly observed, looking for a moment at Contre-amiral Hikaru Sulu, as he stood stiffly, and looked out into the South Airdock proper, where wreaths of poppies and flag-draped caskets trailed by cables from several of the base's yard tugs leading them out through the ship-handling airlock into the long night and eternal fire of space.

"Did I do the right thing, okusan?" Hikaru, voice choked with grief and guilt.

"You did what you had to do, Hikaru-chan," Liz whispered in reply.

"'Wisdom,'" Mackie boomed,"'is better than weapons of war. Yet one sinner destroyeth much good.'"

"So did they," she told her husband.

"That's not good enough," Hikaru-chan bitterly, angrily reminded her.

"Why," he then demanded,"is it not good enough?!"

Mackie answered that for both of them:

2275.2.14 07:32:08

"'Dead flies do cause the ointment of the perfumer to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor.'"

Yeah, the professional head of Earth's military mentally noted, as the caskets of twelve Colonial warriors and 92 Nations Fédérés starshipmen, plus wreaths of poppies to mark the graves of all the others, entered the shiplock, and it began to cycle.

Everyone assembled in the lounge came to attention, as Yorktown's skipper, Capitaine de vaisseau Sir Bernard Montgomery Scott, led Yorktown's pipe and drum corps in playing "The Flowers Of the Forest."

Haut-amiral du Terre Edward McDugan also came to attention, facing the window looking out into the airdock, the holoprojection of a over a hundred more men and women drifting off to join their slain comrades aboard Hydra, Dokdo, and Galacitica, as the tugs released them, McDugan holding his salute, until the planative, wailing piping and slowly rolling snare drums faded into a long silence.

"From the stars we came," McDugan quietly spoke."And, to the stars we shall return. From now, until the end of time."

2275.2.14 07:35:20

Capitaine de corvette James Kirk turned away from Liz, when he caught her eye.

Instead, he stood stock-still, facing the window, the holoprojections of caskets drifting in the cold and dark, wreaths of poppies and marker beacons forever marking the graves of other good men and women who had to die.

Or shouldn't have had to die.

He sighed.

Swallowed hard.

"Goddamn waste," whispered the voice of Enterprise's chief medical officer, Capitaine de frégate Leonard "Bones" McCoy.

"It is, Bones," Kirk agreed. "Goddamned waste."

"But..." Yorktown's chief engineering officer started to add, trailing.

"Kobolds don't give a shit," Bones acknowledged."They would've killed all those poor bastards on that Gemmonse frieghter, just because. Sulu didn't have a choice, and the thirty-two engineers and Fusiliers-Marins who died knew what was being asked of them, but...still such a goddamn waste."

"Doesn't make it any better, no," Kirk whispered, still thinking of the better man who'd died at Orion VII.

Because of the damn Kobolds.

And, Kirk's irresponsibility.

"Makes it worse," he observed.

"It does," Bones said.

"So, when are you going to go over there, and, at least say 'hi' to her?" Bones then asked.

"She hates me," Kirk equivocated.

"Bullshit," Bones told him. "She still cares about you; you're the one who divorced her, remember?"

"And, Hikaru's a friend," Kirk said, getting a little closer to the truth."They're happy, she's happy, for, maybe the first time, since John..."

"She stopped hating you for that a long time ago," Bones said.

"Maybe, she shouldn't have, Bones," Kirk whispered.

"Maybe, she shouldn't have."

2275.2.14 07:36:01

"You still care for him?" Hikaru-chan said, neither asking nor accusing.

"He's a good man, Hikaru-chan," Liz said."Even when he was a reckless, irresponsible, immature, womanizing ass, who didn't think of anything beyond his next good time."

"He's grown into a man I can respect," Hikaru observed, sighing.

"I only regret it took John's death over Orion VII for that growth to take place," he said. "And, the guilt that's come of it."

"I'm not fair to you at times, am I, Hikaru-chan?" Liz said. "Asking to you compete with his ghost, as well as—"

"I love you, Elizabeth," her husband whispered,"but, in a perfect world, you and John would have grown old together. He completed you, in ways—"

"And, you complete me in so many others, Hikaru-chan," Liz said, as a couple, both blondes about Liz and Hikaru's age, in the silver-edged blue capes and dress uniforms of Colonial warriors, joined the two of them.

"Admiral Sulu?" the man asked Hikaru.

"Yes?" Hikaru asked, as Liz and he turned to face the couple.

"Colonel Starbuck of the Galactica," the man said, extending his hand toward Hikaru."My wife, Cassiopeia, the senior life-sciences officer."

"An honor, sir," Hikaru replied, firmly shaking Starbuck's hand, before introducing Liz:

"My wife, Capitaine de vaisseau Elizabeth Lochley; she commands the Carlos P. Romulo."

"I see," Starbuck replied, nodding respectfully toward Liz.

"And, the honor is mine," he added."In both your cases. Just as you both have my gratitude for saving everyone on the Gemmonese frieghter.

I just wish it hadn't been at the cost of so many of your warriors, Admiral."

"Arigato," Hikaru replied, with a slight nod of his head.

"A pleasure meeting you, Cassiopeia," Liz said, to break the uncomfortable silence which came next.

"Cassi, please, Commandante," Cassi corrected.

"Liz," Liz replied.

"Pleased to meet you, Liz," Cassi said.

"Sorry to hear about the loss of your ship," Liz then said.

"It was inevitable," Starbuck replied." The old girl was over five hundred yahren old; that, and all the damage we took fighting the Cylons, the Eastern Alliance, the Other Colonists..."

He trailed off, sighing.

"Still, Colonel," Hikaru remarked,"it was your ship."

"It was, Admiral," Starbuck agreed.

"Hikaru," Hikaru said.

"Starbuck," Starbuck replied.

"That must make for some confusion with records and such," Hikaru observed.

"It did," Cassi explained,"in the early days of Kobol, before we developed genetic tracing technology which made redundant the need to use the names of patriarchs, places, tribes, and occupations to distinguish between those sharing similar names."

"I see," Hikaru said, chuckling."Bueraucrats, though...."

"Administrators will always have their need for forms in triplicate," Starbuck observed, with a chuckle of his own.

"Yes, they do," Liz commented.

"Everything in its place," Cassi said,"and a place for everything."

"But," she added, a shadow passing over face,"not all of the alternatives to administrators, or the jokes at their expense, are any better."

One of the warriors who'd died in the recent battle had been her son.

Liz wouldn't know what to do with herself, if she'd lost Demora or David.

It was hard enough losing her old man on Mars.

Worse, seeing John killed over Orion VII.

But, she'd carried her two babies for nine months, given birth to them, watched each of them grow into their own.

And, even though David was Vesta's chief engineer, and Demora Enterprise's helmsman, adults in their own right, Liz was still their mother, and that would never change.

"I couldn't..." Hikaru-chan slowly said, meeting Starbuck's eyes,"even begin to imagine how I'd feel, if...God forbid...anything should happen to our daughter, or...our son."

Liz simply held Cassi, and let her cry against her shoulder.

"Thank you," Starbuck whispered, hand on Hikaru's shoulder, as tears streamed down his face as well.
"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 Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-06-06 11:43am

44.119 Anno Colonidae 08:44:07

"Get up, Benjamin," commanded Grand Admiral Jean-Luc Picard's imperious holoimage, Commander Benjamin Lafayette Sisko slowly rising to his feet, gazing into his biologically-destined Shepherd and Lawgiver's steely-blue eyes, as he simply said,"I failed you, my lord."

"How have you failed Me, Benjamin?" the Lord of his life asked him.

"I did not cleanse the last of the Enemy Tribes from the skies of His Creation, as was my biological imperative."

"No," his Jean-Luc acknowledged,"no, you didn't, Benjamin. But, you did purge the last of the Caprican Statists from our Host, and the last of their hulls no longer contaminates His Starfleet.

Now, Daniel Morden's true descendants are free to prosecute the pacification of the inmates of Terra, as it was meant to be, to forge His New Colonies into the United Federation of Planets that will carry out His Mission of Peace and Redeemption throughout all the World, and across all the realities of His Creation, just as predicted by His Received Canon over three hundred years ago."

"And, you, dear Benjamin," He added,"shall be an instrument of that Redeemption, His Emissary of Peace."

"I—" Sisko, choked with emotion, started to say.

"Yes, Admiral, you," his virile, handsome Caesar Christus replied."You will take command of the 75th Battlestar Fleet, and its flagship, the battlestar Galactica, the Odyssey-class battlestar which has always spearheaded our efforts to redeem His Worlds from the Caprican State and the inmates of Terra, on whose deck William Adamu commanded the cleansing of Caprica, and, on whose deck, the grandson of William Adamu ascended to Deo sapiens for all His valiant efforts in the defense of His Genetalia, His Race, and His Biological Destiny.

Do you understand?"

"Without question, Sire," Sisko raptorously whispered."Thank You."

"Your fleet will arrive at Starbase Babylon within the hour, Admiral," his noble, wise, patrician Jean-Luc then informed him."Carry out the Canonical correction of the base, its personnel, and its records, until that fleet arrives. Picard out."

2275.2.14 07:53:41

"I wanted to thank you, Admiral, before you returned to Earth," Sire Boomer, President of the Council of Twelve of his people's Twelve Colonies of Kobol.

"For everything," he added, as he stood in AdNF Vesta's wardroom.

"Have you decided on where, Sire President?" McDugan asked, as he sat on the sofa and drank his coffee.

"The Council's decided to proceed to Earth, and settle in the Wastelands of your North American continent," Boomer replied.

"That's gonna be a hell of a challenge," McDugan remarked."There are only a few metroplexes there, and the parts of the continent which still aren't deserts of radioactive glass are jungle hells crawling with all sorts of mutated life that wants to kill you.

Federated Resources Cooperative's still got a long way to go terraforming it back to close to the way it was before the Fellowship nuked North America on their way out 224 years ago."

"After forty years of wandering hopelessly in the desert," Boomer observed,"even Hades looks like the Promised Land to our people."

McDugan nodded, as he rose from the sofa.

"I suppose it does," he said."When do you leave."

"A day, perhaps two," Boomer replied."It depends on how quickly we can move all our people and remaining supplies onto the colony ship your Earthdome sent us, and how quickly we strip what's left of the Fleet of everything still usable."

"I wish you every success, sir," McDugan said, extending his hand, the other man taking it firmly, as he said:

"Thank you, Admiral. May the Lords of Kobol be with you, and keep you safe."

42.Yahren 38 Post-Holocaust 01:50:53

"Starbuck," Apollo, once commander of the battlestar Galacitica, listlessly said, as Starbuck entered his cell in the Earth base's brig facilities.

"Apollo," Starbuck said, as he took the cell's sole chair, turning it, so that he faced a man who'd once called him friend.

"I heard about Dillion," Apollo said, voice almost inaudiable. "I'm...I'm sorry...I know how you must feel, somewhat, since he was the child of your flesh, and—"

"Boxey was no less your son, for having been fathered by another man," Starbuck reminded him.

"And, thank you," he added.

"How's Cassiopeia dealing with it?" Apollo asked.

"She cries a lot," Starbuck whispered,"goes through his things, what things of his the Earth people were able to recover from the wreckage of the Galactica...they left the bodies where they were, just recovered what personal effects they could for the survivors, and the loved ones of those who didn't make it..."

Apollo turned and faced Starbuck.

"It seems they have a tribal taboo against 'desecrating war graves,'" Starbuck added.

"As we do," Apollo observed.

"Yeah," Starbuck replied.

Then, silence, for a few minutes, before Apollo conceded:

"I was wrong, wasn't I, Starbuck? All these yahren, about the Council, about..."

"The Council are human beings, with human frailities, Apollo," Starbuck replied. "As such, they can make mistakes, like the rest if us. But, they do try."

"I was so afraid," Apollo whispered,"of losing Sheba, you, Boomer, everyone I loved that was left to me, I...."

"I know, buddy," Starbuck simply said. "And, I forgive you."

"You..." Apollo started to ask, not believing what he heard.

"That's what brothers do, Apollo," Starbuck softly said.

"The Council," he added,"has also forgiven you.

Most of them, anyway.

They've rescinded the edict against you, since we're getting a new start, and all."

"Why?!" Apollo asked, uncomprehending."After everything I said, everything I tried to do...I don't..."

"Because they're human," Starbuck said.

February 14, 2275 08:00:00

"Evasive maneuvers!" Captain Sondra Leavitt, commanding the Victory-class destroyer Alyt Neroon, shouted, as the unknown(and human-crewed)starship fired another salvo of what the Neroon's weapons officer, An'la'shok Sarah Cantrell, had described as meson-warhead torpedos, immediately followed by a fusillade of what had been identified as beams of coherent mesons.

Neroon's helmsman violently jinked the Valen-class cruiser in every direction at once, Sondra's first officer, An'la'shok Dulann reporting,"the other alien ship's making a run for the convoy!"

"Damn," Sondra growled, as the bridge lights dimmed, alarms screamed, and the Neroon poured the fury of its entire arsenal of fusion and neutron cannon into the hostile's ovoid hullform, instantly obliterating its port side nacelle, while the smaller, boxier hostile bore down on Interstellar Alliance One, the Excalibur, and the four surviving White Stars, pulses of meson particles tearing one of the White Stars apart, even as the remaining White Stars and Interstellar Alliance One all returned fire.

"Dulann," Sondra shouted,"tell the fighters to converge on that other hostile, and take it out of my sky! How long until the IA One can jump to quantum space?!"

"Another five minutes," the Minbari replied, as the bridge lights and displays dimmed again, and the Drazi manning the sensors reported the arrival of four of the wedge-and-ovoid attack ships which had initially ambushed the convoy.

Leaving four Omega-class destroyers and eight of the twelve White Stars dead and drifting in the darkness.

"Multiple direct hits," Dulann then said,"to gravimetric engines and navigational thrusters; jump engine offline. Auto-repair system working to repair."

"Excalibur breaking away from the convoy on an intercept vector with the Neroon."

"Gideon, stay in formation!" Sondra shouted over comms, Captain Matthew Gideon's image appearing on the main screen, telling her,"maybe we can even the odds a bit for you."

"Negative!" Sondra replied, as Neroon's weapons hammered the oncoming enemy attack ships, and an even larger ovoid ship bore down on the Flight II Victory-class destroyer.

"Neroon doesn't stand a hope in hell's chance against—" Gideon started to be as pigheaded as usual.

Sondra was having none of that.

"The President's life comes first, Matt," she then reminded him. "Get him to safety. We'll hold 'em off ."

"If this is about Proxima III—" Gideon started to say, Sondra cutting him off:

"It's about you doing your job, and me doing mine."

"'We live for the One, we die for the One. Entil'zha vini." she whispered."In Valen's name.

No matter the cost. Leavitt out."

Stardate 59317.34

"Typical primitive religious fanaticism, and unrepentant militarism," sneered Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise, as the 3.55-megaton Sovereign-class exploration starship closed with the ugly tulip shape of the enemy warship struggling in vain against peacekeeping, scientific and exploration platforms two hundred years in advance of anything this throwback reality of militarists, statists and religious fanatics had to offer.

They are apes, as brutal and savage, as the one we threw down from their positions of power, he mused, so, naturally, they have nothing to offer, any more than the statists and millitant radfems scheming to use the Dominion War to lead us down the same path of depravity and moral oppression as the Alliance and former Terran Empire from that other universe.

"Captain," Commander Worf, at tactical, reported,"the Titan is reporting a warp core breach in progress!"

"There's nothing we can do, except honor their sacrfice to the true values of the Federation, and the cause of peace across all realities, Mister Worf," Picard reminded him.

"But, Captain Riker—" Worf insisted.

"—knows his duty," Enterprise's first officer, Commander Simon Holmes reminded the Klingon officer,"and is unafraid to lay down his life for the cause of peace and interstellar brotherhood that only the enlightened rule of the United Federation of Planets can bring about. Now, honor his sacrfice and his crew's by destroying that shi—"

"The Incursion," Lieutenant Commander Harry Kim reported from Operations,"has been destroyed; estimate enemy convoy twenty seconds from entering slipstream."

"That cannot be allowed to happen," Picard declared."Mister Worf, order the remaining Defiants to intercept and destroy that convoy, full impulse! Enterprise is more than sufficient—"

The bridge trembled, several consoles exploding, as Worf reported "shields down to 57%! Power out on decks two through eleven! Starboard impulse engine severely damaged."

"Their weapons aren't supposed to even penetrate our navigational deflectors," Picard said with disbelief, as the primitive warship again fired its primitive fusion and particle weapons into the Enterprise's forward shields.

"They obviously cheated, sir," Holmes offered."That is the only way primitive cultures such as theirs could ever hope to win against an advanced, warp-capable civilization such as ours."

"Of course, Number One," Picard smugly assured his second in command, as Kim reported "four, no, five slipstream points opening at 048 mark 217, 500,000 kilometers dead ahead!"

"Two of them are Minbari Sharlin-class war cruisers," Worf reported, even as he returned the tulip-ship's fire with advanced phaser and quantum torpedo weaponry,"according to the information supplied by our allies, while the other two are the Warlock-class so-called advanced destroyers being fielded by the Earth of this reality."

"All realities are ours," Picard whispered."All realities will be just like ours."

"Enemy convoy entering slipstream," Kim reported.

"Helm, plot a pursuit course, and engage the slipstream drive," Picard decided."Mister Worf, order all Defiants to follow us into slipstream."
"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 Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-06-09 12:24pm

2275.2.15 16:00:00

There was time enough for a last, fleeting kiss, before they went off to their separate ships.

Screwing on her lid, Syuzen crossed the lounge, through the umbilical leading to AdNF Gennadi Ivanovich Koniev's dorsal airlock, waiting a moment, as the outer hatch cycled open, standing in the airlock chamber another moment, before the interior hatch cycled open, and she stepped onto the Koniev proper.

She saluted the Compass Rose of les Nations, before returning the salutes of the section of Fusiliers-Marins standing guard by the hatchway.

"Permission to come aboard, Quartermaster?" Syuzen asked.

"Permission granted, Commandante," Quatre-maitre de 2e classe Eugenia Romanova replied, as Syuzen walked quickly across the crew deck to the ladder leading downside, and descended into the ship's CIC.

"Commander on deck!" Captaine de frégate Natasha Larenya announced over Syuzen's wearable.

"Status, Number One?" Syuzen asked.

"Base Operations has cleared us for departure, Skipper," Larenya replied, as Syuzen took her place at the center of the deck, strapped herself in and ordered "Seal locks, retract umbilicals. Helm, move us away from airdock, accelerate to fifty grav, when clear. Nav, plot an entry vector for Earth. Tac, eyes open, weapons hot; the Kobolds probably haven't given up on the idea of murdering these refugees."

"Aye, Skipper," Captaine de corvette Ansel Holloway replied.

"Locks sealed, umbilicals retracted," Larenya reported."We are floating free."

Not for long, Koniev's antimatter-fusion torch firing to move the ship along the forty-klick length of the South Airdock, into the shiplock, and through it into the dark which was her home.

"Fifty grav burn," Lieutenant de vaisseau Jillian Kalsi announced,"in five, four, three, two, one, now!"

The diamagnetics built into the deck—set perpinduclar to the thrust axis, same as all the others—compensated for the increased acceleration with hardly a hiccup, as Syuzen relaxed in her chair, eyes on the ship's master holoprojector, while Capitaine de corvette Simone Montigny reported,"Entry vector for Earth plotted and echoed to shipnet. Squadron assuming escort formation round Conestoga," the colonizer sent to bring these other Colonists to Earth."Sixéme ECP now closing our formation."


"...what do you think you deserve for this, Mister Kirk?" Contre-amiral McDugan demanded, as he looked dead at him. "A pat on the back, and a kiss on the cheek?!"

"You cheated, son, you just aren't getting that, are you?!" he demanded.

"I don't believe in the no-win—" Lieutenant de vaisseau James Kirk arrogantly replied, the commandant of l'Ecole Supérieur de Guerre Marine d'Etoile cutting him off with a "no, you really don't get it."

"At all," he added, before asking his counsel "Capitaine Sheridan, you still believe this man is salvageable?"

"Yes, sir," John replied.

"May be," McDugan remarked, looking to the two other members of the court-martial board, before concluding:

"However, I cannot allow this to go unpunished, unless his example misleads your fellow subalterns to believe Mister Kirk is a rebel bucking the system, and that his blatant dishonesty and cowardice in not facing the consequences of his actions is somehow 'cool.'"

"I will not have that, " he concluded."You understand?!"

"Sir," was Lieutenant de vaisseau John Sheridan's stiff reply, as McDugan delivered verdict and pronounced sentence:

"It is the finding of this court that the charges against the accused, Lieutenant de vaisseau James Tiberius Kirk, have been proven, and we award him two years confinment at the Military Correctional Training Centre in Colchester."

"We do this," he added,"in the hope Mister Kirk is salvageable, and that he learns his lesson in the glasshouse, and not on the battlefield, where that could very well..."


2275.2.15 16:08:31

...cost someone else his life.

As it had ended up doing.

Kirk swallowed once, as he studied the multi-function holodisplay in front of him on Yorktown's upper engineering deck, monitoring the status of the ship's antimatter-fusion pulse torch, as it detonated a lithium-deuteride/antihydrogen remass pellet inside liquid deuterium-tritium fuel to compress it, the resulting implosion pushing against the diamagnetic field and the pusher plate to boost Yorkie at 500 meters per second per second toward the required hyperspace entry velocity of three kiloklicks per second, its exhaust passing through the torch's thermopile to generate power for the rest of the ship, before exiting through the magnetic nozzles.

Kirk then studied the toroid of the Marshall hyperdrive engine inside which the torch nested.

On line, receiving constantly-updating vector instructions from the shipnet, as Captaine de corvette Annelise Krantz refined the ship's entry vector for Earth in the CIC above/ahead of him.

Yorktown's chief engineer nodded, looking up at most of his engineers going about their work at other MFDs crammed—along with the ship's machine shop, replicator(industrial-scale three-dimensional printer), and smallish break area, complete with vending machines, battered coffee maker and a microwave—into the upper deck, with Kirk's second, Lieutenant de vaisseau Heinrich Krall, and four other subalterns manning their AuxCon stations in Yorktown's lower engineering deck.

He echoed the AuxCon stations on his MFD.

Normally, AuxCon provided fire control and tracking for the 30,000-ton Churchill-class heavy patrol cruiser's network of point-defense lasers, utilizing a network of optical phased arrays to provide coverage out to 300 kiloklicks in all directions.

In an emergency...it was called Auxillary Control for a reason, after all.

Yorktown's chief engineer smiled grimly, as his wearable bleeped to let him know he had mail pending.

From David.

Damnit.

Just when Kirk had thought he'd distracted himself from those thoughts.

Damn it.

David had only been three years old, when Kirk had gotten his father killed over Orion VII, and he'd stupidly tried taking his place there too, after he'd married Liz.

And, still, David wanted to try and have a relationship with him.

No, Kirk decided, as he always did, archiving David's email unread.

No, he silently repeated to himself, as he forced himself to focus on his job.


"...fire at will, I repeat, FIRE!" Captain Trevor Hall said without hesitation, as the Heracles and the Pollux closed with the five civilian ships trying to escape Proxima III.

"Sir," Sondra objected,"those are civilian—"

"They are traitors, Commander," Heracles' captain reminded his XO."And, there's only one penalty for treason! Now, carry out my orders, or I will find someone who will, while you watch, as everyone you know—including your little friend—pays the price for your disobedience."

"Yes," he arrogantly assured her,"I know all about you, her, and the sick shit you two have been trying to hide from Nightwatch, the Psi Cops, and Earth Force Command. They'll know all about it, she will lose everything, and it will not be nice, unless you obey my orders in the next ten seconds!"

"All batteries," Sondra said, choking down bile, "all forward guns, open fire, fire at will..."


February 15, 2275 16:10:03

...Sondra started awake amidst a cacaphony of screaming alarms, as she ran out of the Neroon's conference center back onto the bridge, Dulann wasting no time in telling her the bad news:

"Excalibur reports a quantum jump point forming on the other side of Narn VII; we're to intercept and investigate."

"Maximum burn," Sondra said to An'la'shok Mira Johannsen, Neroon's helmsman, as she took her place at the center of the bridge, and Neroon made a tight, sweeping turn around the Narn homeworld, jumped into hyperspace, and jumped back into normal space in orbit around a gas giant at the outer edge of the Narn star system.

And, a large ovoid saucer, vaguely cigar-shaped lower hull, and a pair of nacelles curving away from the lower hull came toward them, fast, firing meson beams from the underside of the saucer, along the lower hull, and from both nacelles, Mira violently jinking and burning, even before Sondra could think to give the order, while Sarah poured all of Neroon's offensive arsenal into the enemy ship's shields, and the Victory-class destroyer's interceptors began blocking meson beams and torpedos.

The hostile starship burned past them, on a vector for Narn, the field for its secondary FTL drive system beginning to form around its nacelles and spread outward to envelop the ship.

"Come about!" Sondra ordered."Fire when we bear! Launch all fighters! Warn the Excalibur!"


Stardate 59318.67

"Aft shields down to 42%!" Worf reported, as the militarist and the statist poured its primitive fusion and particle cannon into the advanced deflector shield system of Picard's Enterprise, random bridge stations sparking and exploding, while the Klingon added,"power out on decks 4 through 9, direct hit to saucer section hangar bay, hangar doors destroyed, hangar bay has undergone explosive decompression!"

"I'm having trouble forming a stable warp field," Commander Geordi LaForge reported from the bridge engineering station.

"Evasive maneuvers!" Holmes shouted."Return fire, all phasers!"

"Aft shields now 37%!" Worf continued to bark, as the bridge sparked and exploded again."Port shields down to 80%! Starboard shields down to 72%!"

"Divert warp power to the shields!" Picard ordered."Aft quantum torpedos, fire! Full spread, dispersal pattern Sierra!"

"EPS conduit ruptures on decks 27, 29 and 33! " LaForge reported."Captain, we have a plasma leak in the starboard nacelle; warp drive is offline!"

"Full impulse power!" Picard ordered.

Even at impulse, he knew his ship could outrun either the enemy warship's crude gravitic drives, or the even cruder nuclear rockets used by the Narn and this Earth's military.

And, that was the thing; even these Minbari were militarists, and militarists always used the simplest, most primitive technology, for that was the easiest for the ape-descendants of the Great Harlot Lolita—known also as Lilith, Lolitu, or Lucy—to understand, develop, maintain, and operate.

Even the plasma conduits of the seemingly mundane Electro-Plasma System were two centuries in advance of their simplistic and dangerously-unreliable electrical circuits.

More bridge stations exploded, LaForge bleating something or other about another ruptured EPS conduit, while Kim reported,"am reading four jump points forming directly ahead of us; two Narn G'quan-class heavy cruisers—"

"How quaint," Picard commented.

"—and two Victory-class destroyers," Kim concluded, as the bridge shuddered again. "One of them is the Excalibur."

"Neither Sheridan, DeLenn, nor the honorless bitch, Laura Roslin are on board the Excalibur," Worf then informed his captain."I am detecting the terrorist Citizen G'kar on board one of the Narn cruisers."

"Damn!" Picard swore.

This Sheridan, his half-breed witch dominatrix, and their sodding Rangers were proving far more troublesome than their capabilities, or their genetic inferiority and/or corruption through procreation indicated.

First, the bastard had compelled Picard to divide his forces, after he'd had his ships scatter while in slipstream, then he'd had the indecency to not even be onboard Interstellar Alliance One to begin with, or even head for either Babylon 5 or Earth at all, instead sneaking himself, his wife, and the mass murderer Laura Roslin aboard Excalibur and running away to this barren, dismal little nothing of a star system where Vulcan had been in the One True Reality.

The bridge shuddered and sparked once again, as Worf barked something about how low even the forward shields were getting, even though Picard had specifically instructed the moronic Klingon to reinforce them.

Klingons, he sneered. Can't think of anything that doesn't involve eating live worms or their enemies' still-beating hearts.

Still, they do have their uses.

For now.

"Mister Kim," Picard asked,"can we go to slipstream?"

"Negative," LaForge answered instead."We've lost too many EPS conduits, and are unable to divert power to the main deflector dish."

"Captain," Kim then said,"sensors are detecting the local jump gate orbiting the second planet of this system; at full impulse—"

"Mister Worf," Picard asked,"did the information provided by the Colonials' Section 31 include the protocols for accessing the jump gate network?"

"Affirmative, Captain," the brutish Klingon thug boomed."A database on how to activate the various jump gates in the enemy systems was provided."

"Helm, set a course for the local jump gate; full impulse."
"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 Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-06-11 05:14am

2275.2.15 17:08:47

"Commandante," the watchstander at comms said, almost immediately after Koniev jumped back into normal space,"I have an incoming message from Earthdome; Haut-amiral McDugan is standing by on Gold Channel Two."

"Echo it to my wearable, Comms," Syuzen ordered, Mackie's holo floating in front of her, the professional head of Earth's military short, sweet, and to the point:

"Commandante Ivanova, you're needed at Earthdome, ASAP. McDugan out."

"What could Mackie—" Larenya started to ask, Syuzen replying "I'll find out when I get there, Number One," as she rose from her chair and walked toward the ladder leading downship.

"Ship is yours," she then said, before descending toward the hangar bay at the head of Koniev's mast.

2275.2.15 17:16:04

"It could mean anything," a still-unconvinced Albert Bester of the Direction Sécurité Exteriéur des Nations Fédérés insisted."Or nothing at all. These are fables we're dealing with here."

"The same phenomenon as the Ring Of Fire, when it was in operation?" Londo Mollari, the special advisor to the Secretary-General on xenobiology, remarked."Exactly the same phenomenon, Mister Bester. No, I believe there is more than a grain of truth to the account of G'quon's life as the Book Of G'quon gives it."

"Doctor Wilker has already confirmed several other references," McDugan said,"in that account to have real-life analogues; the Cylons, the Ship of Lights, the similarities between the names Mosha and Mozh'Sha—"

"The fact," Doctor Wilker, the Colonial refugees' lead scientist,"that is an ancient Narn word for the head of the Cylon Empire, not to mention our passage through a similar void to reach Kobol on our flight from the Colonies."

"But," Bester said,"the Kobolds surely would have discovered this other Ring Of Fire, when they devastated Narn almost forty years ago."

"Not if it had been dormant for a millenium," McDugan said."Remember, the Ring of Fire itself was dormant between the disappearance of the Exiles, and our activating the damn thing 163 years later."

"And," he added,"Syuzen Ivanova would not have put that information in her after-action report, if she didn't believe it was relevant or important."

"Yes," Bester conceded,"there is that. She's to be promoted to contre-amiral, isn't she?"

"She is," McDugan replied.

"And, Cumberland's CAG during the destruction of the Ring Of Fire at Second Io," Bester then said. "As well as its sole survivor."

"Just barely," McDugan tautly replied. "Goddamn Jeffrey Sinclair for..."

"What were we to do, Mackie?" Bester softly replied."If we hadn't taken it out, the Kobolds would've kept shitting battlestars out of the damn thing, until they overwhelmed us. Bastards were overwhelming us, as it was."

"Da," whispered Suzannah Gennidiya Luchenko, Secretary-General of the Nations Fédérés du Terre.

"Now," Mackie remarked,"we're just holding our own."

"We won't even have that," Mollari then said,"if there is another Ring Of Fire in the Narn system, and the Kobolds get there before we do."

"Fable or not," Luchenko decided,"we cannot afford to take that chance. If it turns out this is a wild-goose chase, then we can thank God for having the luxury of cursing ourselves for the waste of resources.

If, however, we find a second Ring Of Fire there..."

The Secretary-General of les Nations trailed off, as her wearable bleeped, and her chief of staff let her know their guests were en route to the Rotunda.

2275.2.15 17:18:50

Capitaine de corvette Pavel Andreivich Chekov warmly hugged Syuzen the instant she stepped off the gantry lift.

"It has been too long, sestrenka," her older half-brother whispered, as Syuzen hugged him back, then held him by the shoulders, as she replied:

"Only six and a half months, Pavel. And, you're getting fat again, I see."

"I've stopped drinking again, Syuzenya," Enterprise's chief engineering officer told her.

"Khrosho!" Syuzen exulted, grinning from ear to ear,

"I'm damn glad to hear that," she added."Hopefully, for good, this time."

"I hope so, sestrenka," Pavel replied, their father's son by his first wife adding,"it's just...hard, sometimes."

"Ya znayu, Pavel Andreivich," Syuzen said to the only member of her family still alive.

"Uncle Josef's asked about you," he added. "You should visit him, if you have time."

"And," he added, grinning widely himself,"I hear you are to be an admiral soon."

He chuckled, adding:

"My little sister, the amiral."

"Contre-amiral," Syuzen corrected her older half-brother."And, Parliament may not approve it."

Pavel chuckled, observing:

"Too much of that famous Russian pessimism, sestrenka."

"I prefer to think of simply being practical, starshiy brat," Syuzen replied.

Pavel chuckled again, gesturing toward a Marine d'Etoile staff car hovering on its diamagnetics a few meters from the gantry.

"They're expecting us at Earthdome," he said."We wouldn't want to keep the SecGen waiting, would we?"

"Or Mackie," Syuzen said, walking toward the passenger-side rear door of the staff car, held open by a grizzled major with a Fusiliers-Marin's blue beret on his shaven skull.

"Or Mackie," Pavel remarked.

2275.2.15 17:20:24

"Lass," Scotty remarked,"you're more skittish now, than you were at your own sodding wedding."

"Isn't every day," Sondra remarked, fussing with her No.4 starship working dress,"your wife gets made an admiral."

"Just wish her crew could see this," she added.

"They're watching it on cam," Captaine de vaisseau Karin Hostlicht of Warspite reminded her, nodding her blonde head toward the hastily set-up holocam at the periphery of the rotunda.

"Not the same, and probably not even time for a wetting down," Sondra observed,"given the fact we weren't even allowed time to bring our dress uniforms."

"Don't look at me," newly-minted Capitaine de vaisseau Kara Thrace of the just-commissioned Pollux remarked."Mackie told me as little as he told the rest of you."

"All will be revealed, in due time, I'm sure," remarked Contre-amiral Uhura, as the Major de Marine d'Etoile, in dress black and gold, complete with fourrageres, preceded the SecGen, and Mackie, in No.4 dress like the assembled starship captains, into the Rotunda of the Earthdome Reservation.

While Syuzen'ka, preceded by her only living family, approached from one of the other entrances, as the Marine d'Etoile's senior noncom blew his bos'un's whistle, and the assembled captains came to attention.

"Attention to orders!" Mackie's voice boomed through the Rotunda. "Captaine de vaisseau Syuzen Andreya Ivanova, front and center!"

Her Syuzen'ka, in utter and complete shock, stepped to the center of the Rotunda, and came to attention, the professional head of Earth's military then reading from the proclamation projected in front of his wearable:

"It is the will of the people of les Nation Fédérés du Terre, in Parliament Assembled, that, as of 16:00:00 Earth Standard Time, on this 15th day of February, of the year two thousand, two hundred, seventy-five of the Common Era, Syuzen Andreya Ivanova is to be promoted to the rank of Contre-amiral in the Marine d'Etoile Nations Fédérés, and shall henceforth enjoy and exercise all rights , privileges, and the responsibilities thereof."

Grinning like an idiot, Sondra managed to take slow, measured steps toward her lover's right side, unpinning the five gold bars previously on her collar, and replacing them with a contre-amiral's two silver stars, while her older half-brother did the same on her other side.

She then gave her wife a peck on the cheek, Mackie chuckling in reply.

Earth's high admiral then waited for the subsequent applause to die down before telling Syuzen:

"Walk with me, Admiral."

2275.2.15 17:23:08

"The Koniev, the Heracles, and the Warspite are to be assigned to 633 Escardon Croisseur," Mackie came straight to the point, once Syuzen, the SecGen, and he had entered a small conference room,"currently docked at Dreyfus Station; as soon as those three ships are turned around, you are to head for the Narn system, investigate the possibility that another object similar to the Ring of Fire may be present in that system, and to destroy said object if it exists."

Suka.

Precisely what Syuzen had been dreading, since she'd decided to include what Doctor Wilker and she had discovered, when they'd discussed the Book of G'Quon and the Colonials' Book Of the Word, in her after-action report three days ago.

No good deed, and all that, she remarked to herself, as Mackie continued:

"6 ECP, with Shirane in place of Enterprise, will accompany you, with Captain Lochley's Romulo," he indicated Commandante Lochley, seated at the center of the table, next to Doctor Wilker,"serving as squadron flag; the Enterprise is going to be in airdock for quite some time, making good the damage she'd sustained three days ago at AD Leonis, and won't be able to participate, leaving you in overall command of the task force, Contre-amiral.

Doctor Wilker will also be accompanying you, as a scientifc advisor."

"Any questions?" Mackie then asked.

"No, sir," Syuzen replied.

"Then," Mackie said,"you, Commandante Lochley, and Doctor Wilker need to proceed up the well to Dreyfus Station, ASAP. I apologize for not giving you proper time to work up your new command, R&R for your crews, or even a decent wetting-down, but—"

"I understand what's at stake, Haut-amiral," Syuzen replied, memories of fucking Io flashing before her eyes.

"Only too well."
"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 Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-06-14 02:35am

Stardate 59318.76

"Commander," Kim reported,"I'm picking up an object approximately two million kilometers dead ahead."

Commander Simon Holmes forced himself to look at the nauseating view of the swirling reddish-black in Enterprise's main viewer.

There was an object in the distance, a dim glinting of one, at least, barely visible in the ruddy darkness of hyperspace.

How far ahead it was, he couldn't be certain, this alien space was good at screwing up his senses.

A most disagreeable way to travel, Enterprise's first officer observed. Nothing like the simple beauty of a starbow at warp.

"Magnify," Holmes ordered out loud.

The magnified view only showed a few more details in the shimmering reddish-black; still, he thought he could make out...

"Maximum magnification, Mister Kim," he ordered.

"Well now," Holmes remarked, upon laying eyes on the quartet of thick, interlocking, concentric yellowish rings, the innermost of which as wide in diameter as Enterprise itself, the diameter of the entire construct being the same width as Earth's Moon.

He tapped the commbadge on the left breast of his black and red pleather uniform tunic.

"Captain," he said. "I think you'd better come up here."

Stardate 59318.76

"On my way," an annoyed Picard said, reluctantly putting down his cup of Earl Grey, bookmarking his page, and rising from his chair in Enterprise's ready room.

Almost as incompetent as Riker, he thought nastily, as he entered the bridge to hold his first officer's hand.

"What is it, Number One?!" he said out loud, before turning to face the sickening view of hyperspace in the main viewscreen.

And the image of a wormhole gate, similar to the artifact they'd discovered in the Tarazed system in the One True Reality, floating quietly at the center.

"I see," he remarked.

"A means of escape," he added, not forgetting the Alliance warship dogging his Enterprise, and rapidly closing upon it, in spite of the Federation starship's more advanced impulse engines compared to the enemy's primitive gravitic drives.

"Mister Worf," he decided,"call up the precise signal we sent to access the artifact at Tarazed from the database, and transmit that to the object ahead; that should activate the corresponding gate in this reality's Alcyone A system, and return us to the Colonials' homeworld."

He refused to call that world Earth, as the Colonials insisted.

"And, hurry, Commander," Picard added."That Alliance destroyer will be on us any minute now. Mister LaForge, I need as much power to the impulse engines as you can spare; take it from life support, if you have to, but I need those engines pushed to their limits and pushed hard."

"Aye, Captain," LaForge replied, at the same time Worf reported:

"Transmitting signal now, Captain."

February 15, 2275 18:20:00

Dulann uttered a rude Minbari word, as a swirling cloud of purplish lightning lit up hyperspace from the general location of the rings ahead of the hostile starship now boosting his sublight engines to transit the roiling inky-blackness at the center of the lightning.

Sondra, on the other hand, preferred cursing inwardly, while doing something more constructive outwardly.

"All available power to the engines!" she ordered."Gimme everything you've got!"

From their reconaissance of the Alcyone system—which the Colonials called Helios—the An'la'shok knew of the gate orbiting the first world of their primary star, which the Kobolds called the Pilgrims' Passage, and that the ships of the Federation came through that gate to assist them in their war against the Interstellar Alliance and the Centauri Republic.

What that gate was, where it led to precisely, and how, all remained mysteries; all they did know, for certain, was the energy consumption of the Pilgrim's Passage was 10,341 yottajoules, or, the number six raised to the sixth power, raised to the sixth power in Joules.

Yeah.

The Universe had a shitty sense of humor sometimes.

"We're closing with them!" Mira reported, as the bridge lights dimmed slightly, and the Federation warship spat a volley of meson torpedos from its stern to try and discourage the Neroon, the ship's defense grid, in turn, shooting most of them down, while Mira was forced to jink and burn to dodge the rest.

"Not fast enough!" Dulann growled."Enemy vessel now entering the rift!"

2275.2.15 18:25:30

"Mon dieu!" were the first words from Quatre-maitre de 1re classe Etienne Hollande's mouth, as Koniev led the other ships into normal space round the cratered, glassy, devastated former Narn homeworld in time to see the purple lightning forking and swirling in orbit around the system's second planet, some 44.9 megaklicks away.

"Stations de combat, stations de combat!" Syuzen wasted no time in ordering, Koniev's intel officer, Lieutenant de vaisseau Julia Tavernier reporting,"T-band radar detecting a starship, unknown configuration, emerging from the center of the anomaly! Closing fast on an intercept, velocity—merde!"

"Helm, jink and burn, for fuck's sake! Tac, launch Starkillers, stand by all railguns and lasers! Carriers, launch Starfuries!" Syuzen ordered, as T-band confirmed the launch of a great shagging many small objects from the unknown starship closing her task force at an impossibly high relativistic velocity, likely made possible by the low-level Bergen field warping space and time around its saucer, cigar-shaped lower hull and outriggered, swept-back, tapered nacelles.

Fuck me dead, if that isn't something right out of Star Trek, she had time to muse, as each of the twenty-four ships, and the 144 675-ton Starfury gunships under her command, fired six 267-kilogram Starkiller anti-battlestar missiles from their tubes, the missiles executing a quick Theta jump, then a quicker burn to fifty percent lightspeed, before each missile fired its ten twenty-kilogram tungsten penetrators into the unknown, but blatantly hostile starship.

"Bandit," Tavernier reported,"has diamagnetic shield generators similar to what we incorporate in our Whipple armor, but with a much lower energy disspation rate, approximately 791.3 tons per second...what in the actual fuck are they using for armour be'ind it, shit paper?!"

"It appears so, capitaine," Hollande remarked, as the impact of tungsten penetrators against the unknown enemy's hull disrupted the low-level Bergen field emenating from its two antimatter-fusion pulse torches—each of which was barely the size of Koniev's one—and inhibited its acceleration.

"Am reading multiple 'ull breaches, and multiple plasma and coolant leaks throughout enemy machine's spaceframe," Koniev's lead photonics tech added, as the hostile starship began opening fire with more of what appeared to be single-warhead meson torpedos and short bursts of ...no, that..just couldn't be right.

"Intel," Syuzen asked, as Kalsi and Montigny worked together to jink and burn their ship out of the path of the torps the point-defense lasers couldn't burn down,"are those meson beams?! Because, I thought they were impossible to begin with, and too short-ranged by nature to be of any practical use, even if they were."

"Meson beams, and single-warhead meson torpedos, oui, Commandante," an equally-perplexed Tavernier replied." The meson beams are propagated and collated through a series of phased-array antenna, as well as being diamagnetically confined, to increase their range and slow their rate of decay respectively, but even with that, the beam's upper range limit appears to be around ninety kiloklicks; furthermore, given the constant decay occuring along the beam length, the damage it inflicts decreases as range increases."

"Thank you, Intel," Syuzen replied, as Koniev unleashed her twelve 90mm railguns and four 200-nanometer, ultraviolet-wavelength, phased-array lasers on the enemy ship now in their midst.

Stardate 59318.76

"Shields down to 12%!" Worf barked amidst the fire and chaos of Enterprise's bridge."Decks two to nine, 24 to 28 have been gutted! Multiple hull breaches throughout the ship, including the bridge; structural integrity fields are holding, but are beginning to fail!"

"I have EPS conduit ruptures throughout the ship!" LaForge then reported, as the primitives and their puny thrity and forty kilo-ton hulls hurled their rocks and their lasers against Picard's proud flagship, the cutting edge of modern, twenty-fourth century science and technology. "Fires on all decks!"

"Return fire, all phasers, full axis rotation to port!" Picard ordered."Quantum torpedos, full spread! Helm, evasive maneuvers, pattern Kirk Omega!"

Picard's bridge exploded again, another crewman screaming as he burned down to a misshapen lump of carbon, Kim reporting:

"Captain, their point-defense lasers are shooting down most of our quantum torpedos, and their armor is a composite of tungsten and depleted uranium, seventeen centimeters thick on the armor's inner and outer shells, with a seventeen centimeter central void filled with cryogenic lithium and shield generators similar to Federation technology, together capable of dissipating phaser energy at a greater rate than our own—"

"NO!" roared Picard, even as his bridge continued exploding, this time hurling the Ferengi helmsman from his station to his burning, screaming death."They're militarists, statists, primitives, apes! They don't even have transporters!"

"No," Enterprise's captain then whispered, as Holmes took over helm control from his station,"no, Mister Kim, you're obviously being intellectually-honest, and I won't have that from any officer under my comman—"

Still again, his bridge exploded, alarms shrilling like that damnable harpy Beverly Crusher, as Worf grunted:

"Shields are offline; shield generators destroyed! Their lasers have destroyed our main deflector dish!"

"Port nacelle has been destroyed!" LaForge reported."Captain, we have a warp core breach in prog—"

2275.2.15 18:27:45

"Evasive maneuvers, ten seconds, emergency burn, now, verdammit!" Captaine de vaisseau Karin Hostlicht ordered, AdNF Warspite violently whipping herself out of the path of the gutted three and a half megaton wreck just barely in time, as it finished eviscerating itself from the inside out from a violent matter-antimatter reaction spreading out from the center of its ventral hull.

Verdammte schiesse.

"Who in the actual, bloody fuck," Capitaine de corvette Yvette Therrien whispered via wearable,"would be so stupid as to stick a matter-antimatter reactor, and the remass, inside the sodding ship, where they wouldn't be able to eject it clear?!"

"They may just have had an ejection mechanism," the intel officer, Lieutenant de vaisseau Greta Steinberg, offered,"but, it failed to function. We had no time for a proper analysis of the ship, before it attacked."

"Then, it was as shite," Therrien replied,"as a reactor that goes boom!, when you so much as sneeze at—oh, dear Lord, that's big!"

"Another starship emerging from the anomaly!" reported Quatre-maitre de 1re classe Wolfgang Schiller.

"Mein liebes Gott," he then whispered,"she's huge...length approximately three kilometers, mass, 310 megatons, am detecting multiple particle-beam emplacements, and what appear to be casaba howitzers utlizing lasers for possibly either guidance or, more likely, increased range and coherency, as well as smaller point-defense emplacements and missile tubes, and what looks like a composite beam weapon, yield undetermined, but...fuck!"

"My sentiments exactly, Quartermaster," Karin whispered, as the anomaly closed up behind the monster warship now approaching the Nations Fédérés machines.
"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 Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-06-16 05:41am

45.119 AC 19:29:01

"Commander!" Titan's DRADIS operator shouted."Picking up a massive disturbance in the subspace band originating in the 40 Eridani A system!"

"That's the former Narn home system, isn't it?" the Akira-class torpedostar's exec, Colonel Trevor Hall, asked.

"Aye, sir," was the DRADIS operator's reply, as Commander William T. Riker looked up at the DRADIS repeater screen just above his head in the ship's red-lit CIC.

"Frak," he whispered, as the repeater flared to incandescent brightness around the 40 Eridani trinary, then gradually died away.

"That looks familiar," Hall mused.

"Sir," the DRADIS operator spoke up again,"according to the database, the disturbance matches the subspace-band DRADIS picture of both the Pilgrim's Passage and the Eye Of Yaweh when they are—or were—in operation."

"Well now," Riker observed."Another Eye Of Yaweh leading back through the Pilgrim's Passage."

"And, no time to waste," Hall remarked."If we detected it, chances are so did the inmates of the prison planet."

"Agreed, Mister Hall," Riker replied."Comms, inform Starfleet Command, and recall all Vipers, Raptors and scoutcraft from convoy exploration patrols. Nav, plot a vector for the 40 Eridani A system."

"Fleet Command won't like us abandoning our convoy exploration mission in this system, Skipper," Hall warned.

"They'll like the apes getting to a second Eye Of Yaweh and destroying it before we have the chance to explore that even less, XO," Riker reminded him.

"Aye, sir," Hall remarked.

February 15, 2275 18:30:00

"Unknown starships maintaining intercept, but making no hostile moves," the Minbari at sensors reported.

"They're small," was Dulann's observation."The twenty-four larger ships are only 30,000 tons each, with the 144 smaller vessels are 675 tons apiece."

"Larger than either a Starfury or a Nial," Sondra replied."And, they took care of that Fed ship easily enough."

She indicated the burning wreckage of the Federation starship spiralling into the thin atmosphere of the cratered, glowing, glassy, utterly lifeless planet on Neroon's main viewscreen.

"Confirmed," the sensor operator reported."Optical and other passive sensors indicate multiple high-energy laser and kinetic-energy weapon strikes on enemy starship; preliminary analysis show KEW strikes may have been relativistic in nature."

Sarah whispered Jesus' name in reply.

What bothered the veteran An'la'shok captain, and former Earthforce officer more was what the astronomical data they'd gathered thus far was telling them.

The spectra of the red-orange star was unmistakably 40 Eridani A's.

The Narn system's star.

The constellations, the ones Neroon's telescopes could pick out, bore this out.

They'd even shown Sol in the same corner of the sky.

Except, sensors also said that the planet where Narn should be had been rocked, slagged, and nuked to hell and gone some forty Earth standard years ago, using very high-yield antimatter-fusion thermonukes, high-energy laser bombardement, and massive KEW strikes.

And...

"Comms," she asked the young Human girl at the communications station,"have you been monitoring radio traffic from Epsilon Eridani?"

"Affirmative, sir," the comm tech replied."There is speed-of-light radio traffic from the system, all in English, though with some unfamiliar words and phrases.

It isn't from Babylon 5. Not our Babylon 5. That much is clear."

No, Sondra wasn't liking this at all.

"Where is it from?" Dulann demanded.

"They identify their location as the Babylon Fleet Yards," the comm tech replied,"and themselves as Colonists or the New Colonies of Kobol. There are also references to 'wireless,' 'DRADIS,' 'battlestar,' and to the 'inmates of Terra.'"

"'Curiouser and curiouser,' as you Humans would say," Sondra's second in command then observed.

"Open a channel to those ships," Sondra decided.

"Channel open, Captain," the comm tech replied.

"Unknown vessels off my bow," Sondra said."This is the starship Alyt Neroon of the An'la'shok—"

2275.2.15 18:32:08

"—Captain Sondra Leavitt commanding," said the brown-robed image of someone who looked like her wife."We are not prepared to fire upon your vessels, unless fired upon first. I repeat—"

"Fuck me!" Kalsi whispered.

"Mind your helm, Mister Kalsi," Larenya chided.

"—will not fire, unless fired upon first," this Sondra finished repeating herself.

"Comms, open a channel to the Neroon," Syuzen said, after a moment of gobsmacked silence.

"Channel open, Commandante," the comm tech replied.

"This is Contre-amiral Syuzen Andreya Ivanova," Syuzen then spoke into her wearable's mic," commanding the Astronef des Nations Fédérés Gennadi Ivanovich Koniev to Captain Leavitt of the An'la'shok vessel Neroon. We are on an intercept for your vessel, but are also not prepared to fire, unless fired upon first."

"S-susan?!" this Sondra stammered out, as shocked to see Syuzen as Syuzen had her."What the hell?!"

"That," Syuzen quipped, noticing the An'la'shok captain was using the English pronounciation of her name,"was going to be my next question."

"We were chasing the Fed ship through hyperspace," this other Sondra explained,"after it had tried to assassinate the President, DeLenn, and their guest, and ended up...here."

"What happened?" she then asked."To Narn? It was a habitable world, when we left just a couple hours ago, one, maybe two billion Narn..."

She trailed off.

"It's...a long story," Syuzen replied, after a silence."Suffice it to say, you are not in Kansas anymore. Actually, there isn't a Kansas anymore.

Not beyond the Nowata-Montgomery Metroplex, anyway. Your place, or mine?"

"I'll...I'll come aboard your ship," a visibly-shocked Sondra replied.

"I'll put the kettle on," Syuzen replied."Ivanova out."
"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 Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-07-04 02:47pm

45.119 AC 19:35:06

"This changes everything," Grand Admiral Jean-Luc Picard, Sheriff and Pastor Of His Global County Of Terra Nova, Executive Vice President of Peacekeeping Operations, and biologically-destined President of His United Federation of Planets, remarked, as He studied Titan's subspace DRADIS telemetry, now projected in front of the comm badge on His left breast.

"And, not necessarily for the better," Caesar Christus added, as He reclined on the sofa in His Temple's penthouse suite, boots firmly on the back of the ape who made him inflict such depravity on it.

"No, Sire," Antono Refa, Executive Vice President Of His Inter-Corporate Government, replied, bowing and scraping in his Master's presence, as he spoke.

"It's taken Us almost three decades to get everything the way it should be," the EVP Of Peacekeeping Operations continued,"and, now We have to deal with another Eye Of Yaweh that will allow the Caprican statists from the Old Colonies to re-establish control of Our campaign to redeem the worlds of His Creation and visit violent, loving judgement and final punishment on the inmates of Terra.

And, that, is not acceptible! You understand, Antono?!"

"Yes, Great Maker, I do," the pampered, perfumed, mincing, weaselly Centauri, little better than the femperv apes who had led his so-called Republic into decadence, depravity, and subjugation, was quick and oily with his reply.

"But," he added,"if we are to carry out the redeemption of all His worlds throughout all possible realities—"

"That," the biologically-destined Shepherd and Lawgiver of His Federation made perfectly clear,"will be at a time and place of My choosing, Refa! My choosing!"

The Captain Of His Host casually sipped from the tumbler of cognac in His red leather-gloved left hand, before deciding:

"Inform Commander Riker that he is to abort convoy exploration operations in the Tau Ceti system, and jump to the Narn system the instant Titan's FTL engines are spun up. He is to find and destroy that second Eye Of Yaweh, and dispose of any hostile forces in system.

Including whatever came through the gateway."

"What are you waiting for, Refa?!" he then demanded of the greasy little Centauri excuse for a man."Carry out My orders!"

Stardate 59318.82

Captain Jean-Luc Picard casually stepped off Scorpia Fleet Yards' main transporter stage, and firmly shook the hand of Daniel Morden, Executive Vice-President of Military Operations for the Twelve Colonies Of Kobol.

"I know His Received Canon predicted this," Morden remarked,"predicted every detail of its operation, but still, it amazes me just how capable His Natural Aristocracy truly can be."

His true Aristocracy is capable of anything, the veteran Starfleet officer thought, but did not say aloud. We are the Biologically-Destined, after all, and science has proven, time and again, that We and only We are His first-born Sons and rightful Heirs.

It is Canon.

"I hear it has already increased reproduction and resurrection efficency tenfold, Sir," Picard remarked.

"It has," the Chief Executive Officer of the Colonies replied."Now that we can use raw biomass instead of cloning bodies ahead of time, and with the ability to store our bodies as easily-modifiable transporter patterns, we can further optimize and purify our genome, and vastly reduce our overhead at the same time."

"But, enough about that, Jean-Luc," this virulent young man spoke in his usual calm and soothing tone, only to be interrupted by a whining, puling little China doll being dragged from the transporter stage to the fate reserved for all those hellbent upon intellectual honesty and heresy against His Received Canon:

"Captain, please! Give me another chance! Don't—"

before making the black and gold pleather-clad Starfleet security officers manhandling it jazz it good with their painsticks.

"Yeoman Kimi," Picard said, cursing the yellow stink for forcing him to leer at it, "has an appointment with the Fleet Yards' recreation suites.

For all eternity."

Then he turned his back on the former Harry Kim, and resumed the business of men:

"I take it President Adamu and yourself have reviewed the telemetry Enterprise's computers and transporter buffers uploaded prior to our destruction?"

"We have, Captain," the EVP of the Colonial Peacekeeping Forces. "Walk with me, Jean-Luc."

The two men exited the main transporter room, making their way along a well-trafficked corridor to the lift at the end, neither of them saying anything, as the lift car ascended to the actual docks themselves.

Picard found himself taken aback, as he regarded the vision of sheer technological beauty easily dwarfing even the largest of the angular, primitive, reptilian hullforms of the Colonials' battlestars.

Two struts, curving upward from the slender stardrive section into the sleek, graceful lines of the saucer section, with another pair of pylons flowing from the aft end of the stardrive hull into powerful warp nacelles, each easily twice the size of an average battlestar's flight pod, yet, were drops of liquid metal frozen in time, as curvaceous and slender as they were.

Impressive machine, Picard raptorously thought to himself.

"The Peaceful Revolution must think highly of you indeed, Jean-Luc," Daniel trilled."She came through the Pilgrim's Passage an hour ago, along with orders from your Earth, promoting you to vice admiral."

"Admiral," whispered an awestruck Picard, finally getting the reward and recognition denied him for so very long by the cabal and conspiracy of radfemperv apes ruining his Federation with their militarism, statism, and intellectual honesty.

"I couldn't resist being the one to show you," the Chief Executive Officer Of His Colonies softly said.

"T-thank you," Picard said.

"The orders," Daniel then said, coming to the point, as one of His Natural Aristocracy should,"from the Council For the Preservation Of the Peaceful Revolution also request that you to seek our help in leading a joint expedition to subjugate Narn, and from there, use its jumpgate to access the wormole gate you discovered in local hyperspace. Being that our sworn enemies were on the other end of said wormole gate, William and I won't hesitate to provide whatever help you may need."

"Of course," Picard replied, gaining the control over his base emotions only one of His Chosen Few had proven himself capable of demonstrating.

"Again," he added, eyes still on the newest, and most beautiful of starships to bear the proud name Enterprise, "thank you, Daniel."

February 15, 2275 18:42:18

"...they came through the Passage 224 years ago," Laura Roslin, leader of the Caprican Resistance briefed the others seated in one of the many conference rooms scattered throughout the chambers of the Kha'Ri,"establishing an enclave on Gemmenon; using their technology, especially their cloning technology, they were able to slowly gain control of the entire planet, and, over time, with the aid of empowered minorities of political, religious and business leaders—descendants of the leaders whose treachery led to the civil war and our ancestors' exile from Kobol—as well as the Ha'la'tha—the equivalent of your Earth's various organized crime syndicates—they wormed their way into power on all the other Colonies as well."

Roslin paused, swallowed hard, before adding:

"Most who spoke out against them were either ridiucled in the media and on the Network...or silenced in other ways, but, in spite of that, maybe even, because of that, opposition continued mounting against them, especially when the legal processes they ridiculed began working against them.

Of the Twelve, Caprica was the first and most influential of our Colonies, and that was where the Gemmonese Exiles, and their allies amongst the Old Blood exerted their greatest power and influence...and, ironically enough, where the greatest and most effective opposition was brought to bear on them, in spite of their increasing efforts to stamp it out."

"'The more you tighten your grip,'" General Susan Ivanova remarked, as she sat next to Entil'Zha DeLenn of Mir at President John J. Sheridan's right hand,"'the more star systems that slip through your fingers.'"

"The Russians—more precisely, the old Soviet Union," the Chairman Of the Earthforce Joint Chiefs Of Staff added,"found that out the hard way 286 years ago."

"Not as hard as the Centauri, if I remember my Earth history correctly," remarked Citizen G'Kar, seated at Sheridan's left hand, directly across from DeLenn.

"Perhaps," Sheridan remarked, before any further digression could take place."If you could please continue, Ms. Roslin."

"I would say it was more analogous to the situation with your people's former Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union, which General Ivanova described," Roslin continued."The tipping point was the final Caprican parliamentary elections 119 years ago. None of the candidates from any of the political parties, all of whom were part of Morden's and Adama's Fellowship, as they'd now styled themselves, had gained seats in Parliament, and the ones who had were not the ones the Fellowship wanted in power.

So, just before the new Parliment was seated, and the new government had taken office, they...struck."

Another pause, before she half-whispered:

"We had no idea just how organized they were, the real extent of their militia movements—not even after the bombing of the Government Building in Caprica City twenty years before that—or the hired soldiers the corporate and Hal'la'tha leaders were able to field. Or the weapons at their command.

They...set...off...hundreds of nukes emplaced all across Caprica, exterminated the Caprican Fleet and Armed Forces through a campaign of assassination, with those surviving being declared statists and hunted down, along with their families, friends, neighbors...."

"Great Maker," Prime Minister Vir Cotto of the Centauri Republic whispered, as Roslin whispered:

"Then, they went after the schools, the teachers...we should've known that was coming too, the Fellowship, and the media they controlled, had spent decades attacking,undermining, and discrediting public education, either magnifying fixable flaws into iredeemable defects, or outright inventing things horribly wrong with the system, so they would have their reasons to break it."

"I don't understand," the CEO of Edgars-Garabaldi, Micheal Garabaldi, said."How in the hell did they think destroying their schools and the teachers essential to them, in any way, served their best interests?"

"You're assuming leaders have even their own best interests at heart, Mister Garabaldi," the expert on loan from IPX, Doctor River Song, remarked from the foot of the table."Believe me, when I say, the weight of history is against that assumption."

"Earth's history at least," Sheridan whispered."There were times in our history, when leaders decided education was a privilege only the 'right' people were allowed to have."

"While everyone else," Doctor Steven Franklin, Earthdome's head of xenobiology, remarked from Susan's left,"were considered only good enough to be the disposable property of the 'right' people."

"It wasn't just that," Vir then spoke up."The education the 'right' people received had to be the 'right' kind as well."

"No truths," G'kar added,"too inconvenient."

"No," Roslin replied. "No truths too inconvenient, Citizen G'kar."

"They went after the scientists next," she added."Only that science which was of immediate use to Adama, Morden and their followers survived de-Canonization. Population Genetics was distorted, strawmanned, and re-named Independent Design or Creationism, while Divine Engineering and Social Selection were re-named first Population Genetics, then ultimately, Biological Authoritarianism or Biological Destiny."

"There were probably signs of that coming as well," observed Song.

"There were," Roslin said,"but we wanted to believe religion was in decline, and the human race had turned a corner, that we were on the right side of history."

"Only to be on the wrong side of history," she added, shaking her head, "because we were too afraid to learn from it."

15 February, 2275 18:45:57

"So," Garibaldi then asked,"where does this Federation fit into all of this?"

River Song knew damned good and well how the United sodding Federation of Planets fit into all this.

Only too well.

Laura Roslin replied:

"They started coming through the Passage eight and a half months ago, offering an improved means of resurrection—"

Their transmat technology, River silently observed.

"—as well as other advanced technologies," Roslin continued,"in exchange for an alliance...against you, the Interstellar Alliance, the Centauri, and everyone else in this galaxy, as far as the Resistance's intelligence has been able to determine."

"And, why are they interested in us?" John Sheridan asked.

"Isn't it obvious, Mister President?" River asked." We exist. That's all the reason anyone's ever really needed to kill his neighbor."

"Correct," Roslin said."Again, to the best of our knowledge, this Federation comes from another Galaxy similar to this one, another Earth, and their leaders are part of a minority of powerful men, similar to our Fellowship, and your Earth's Psi Corps, Mister President—"

"And, a certain group of Earth's once-leading businessmen," Garibaldi observed.

"—who'd carried out a successful revolution similar to the Fellowship's in the Colonies and Clark, the Psi Corps, and their co-conspirators' in this Earth's Alliance," Roslin continued,"sometime in their recent past."

"What about this transporter technology, Doctor Song?" DeLenn asked.

"As far as IPX's reserachers have been able to determine, based on combat reports between the Rangers, the Interstellar Alliance's member forces, the Centauri, and the Kobold/Fed alliance," River equivocated,"the transporter is somehow able to store a living being as some sort of computer program, disassemble him on the sub-atomic level, then, with the use of biomass stores and the stored pattern of that person, reassemble him somewhere else."

"That's...just not...possible," Susan Ivanova pointed out.

"It would take obscenely advanced computing power, not to mention a huge amount of mass memory storage," River explained,"just to store all the physical and psychological information which makes up a sentient being, or even a nonsentient one, capabilities incongrous with the few examples we've seen of Federation technology in action, though they could've either nicked the technology from some other, more advanced race, and fumbled their way to a bare understanding of just what it can do, or it's some sort of fluke in their own technological development. Absent further evidence, there's no way to tell which is the case."

"From the way you just described it, Professor Song," Franklin observed,"the transporter actually destroys the original person being transported, and instead creates a copy of that person."

"In a sense," River replied."And, when that copy enters another transporter, that copy is destroyed and a copy of that copy is created in its place. And, these Feds have apparentally worked that out to their advantage."

"Immortality," the Centauri prime minister remarked,"through the magic of technology."

"It would seem so," Franklin said.

"All right," Sheridan said,"now the million-credit question."

"The gate," Ivanova said, her voice taut.

"A Narn cruiser discovered it in local hyperspace several Earth hours ago," G'kar replied,"and our intelligence determined it to be similar to the one discovered by the Rangers at Alcyone A I. I took it upon myself to inform Captain Leavitt of this, as the Federation's ship's sole course of action became obvious following the crippling of both its other means of faster-than-light travel."

"The Neroon and her crew are still alive, General," Captain Matthew Gideon of the Excalibur reassured Ivanova, as he sat between River and Steven Franklin,"in whatever reality is on the other side of that gate. We received a signal from them, just before the gate closed.

More importantly, though, is that Excalibur also intercepted signals from the Fed ship, before it was destroyed."

"They'll be coming here," Ivanova concluded.

"In spades," G'kar concluded."As you Humans would say."
"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 Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-09-20 06:53pm

15 February, 2275 18:45:57

The first thing she noticed was the prominent picture of Gennadi Koniev hanging on the bulkhead behind her.

Of course, Sondra immediately thought. This ship is named after him, so, it would logicially follow there would be some reminder of him in her wardroom.

"Wasn't he Secretary-General in your reality?" this Susan—no, she'd used the Russian form of her name—asked.

"President," Sondra replied, still standing in the wardroom's interior hatchway,"the first one the Earth Alliance had, but, history considers him almost as controversial a figure as John Sheridan."

Syuzen gave a start on hearing that name.

"It's," she slowly said,"been a long time, since I saw him last."

"Almost four decades, as a matter of fact," she added.

"Sheridan, your Sheridan's—" Sondra started to ask.

"Killed," Syuzen said, voice choked,"over Orion VII, fighting the damned Kobolds for the lives of the Narn and Centauri refugees almost forty years ago."

"I was there," she whispered.

"I...I'm sorry," Sondra whispered.

"You didn't know," was Syuzen's reply, motioning Sondra to a seat at the foot of the wardroom's conference table.

"You have it here as well," Sondra observed, noticing the samovar which was a twin of the one her Susan's father had bequeathed her.

"Pavel inherited it," Syuzen replied, as Sondra took the offered seat,"after Mama and Papa had been killed, when those Kobold bastards destroyed Saint Petersburg, forty-five years ago—"

The time when Susan's mother had committed suicide, Sondra thought, as Syuzen poured a cup of tea, thanks to the fucking Psi Corps.

"—and, Pavel gave it to me, after Ganya had been killed at Second Io," Syuzen finished, flinching a bit at the final two words.

"You take cream and two sugars, right?" she then asked.

"Yeah, yeah," Sondra, flinching herself at the question.

"Sorry," Syuzen replied, adding cream and two sugar cubes to the cup,"didn't mean to creep you out. It's just..."

She trailed off, clearly uncomfortable...and as easy to read as Susan herself was.

"So, this reality's...Sondra...and you..." Sondra started to ask.

"Fourteen years now," Syuzen whispered, smiling softly. "Since Wolf 359...after, Talia..."

Jesus, Sondra silently remarked, as she accepted the offered cup and saucer, here too.

"Sorry," the An'la'shok captain said aloud.

"Don't be," Syuzen replied, smiling bravely. "I have those three years I shared with her, and no Kobold son of a bitch will ever take those away from me."

"You mentioned the Kobolds before," Sondra said, changing the subject."How long have your people been fighting them?"

"Sixty-one years and a day," Syuzen whispered,"from the time then-Capitaine de vaisseau MacDugan's expedition triggered the Ring Of Fire in orbit around Io, to today. Why?"

2275.2.15 18:48:02

This Sondra's reply damn near made Syuzen drop the cup in her hand:

"'Kobolds' are what we—the Interstellar Alliance and the Centauri Republic—call the enemy we've been engaging out toward the Rim since the end of the Drakh Crisis three years ago. According to Alliance Covert Intel and the An'la'shok, they refer to themselves as the Twelve Colonies of Kobol."

"Suka," Syuzen whispered.

"You think they're the same enemy?" Sondra, as quick on the uptake as her counterpart in this reality, asked.

"The Ring Of Fire," Syuzen asked, calling up the holo from Koniev's archives,"does it look like this?"

Sondra almost choked on her tea.

Regaining her composure, the—An'la'shok Syuzen believed she was called—captain said slowly:

"Io is where Earthgov positioned the second hyperspace jumpgate to be built in the Solar System—the first one built solely by Earth—but, orbiting the first planet of the Alcyone A system is what the Kobolds call the Pilgrims' Passage, and it looks like that...and like the wormhole gate—what the high-IQ boys back home call it—we transitted in local hyperspace to end up here."

"The ships of the other polity we're fighting," Sondra then said,"this Federation, came through the Passage to join the Kobolds' fight against us eight and a half months ago; I commanded the Alliance mission to recover the leader of the Caprican Resistance, Laura Roslin, and bring her to Narn; President Sheridan and En'til'zha DeLenn, in spite of all good sense, insisted on personally accompanying the mission—"

Syuzen couldn't help but chuckle.

"CAG doesn't change much, it seems," she remarked, with a smile.

"Always feels he has to be on the tip of the spear," Sondra agreed, before taking another sip of tea,"and DeLenn is just as bad as he is."

"He wouldn't marry a woman who wasn't, I don't think," Syuzen observed, briefly reminscing on the CAG's relationship with Liz Lochley, before the lighting abruptly turned blood red, and the combat stations klaxon buzzed gratingly over the tannoy.

2275.2.15 18:53:00

"[i]And, so the Lightning,"[/i] MacDugan read from the Colonials' [i]Anethma[/i],[i]"came, and had always come, since the beginning, reddish-violet clouds and forks, howling winds, and darkness, the inky darkness, blacker than the sky at night, and it girdled the Earth from end to end, in the present moment and backward from that moment, to the beginning, throughout all the Earths which had arisen, and the ships of the hunted and the hated passed through the Lightning, through the Squall, driven to and fro, and almost carelessly cast aside."[/i]

The Haut-amiral du Terre's voice echoed in the emptiness of his office in Earthdome, the fading light of the setting sun through the window behind him casting long shadows on pictures, medals, models of commands held, and other mementos of a life given over to the defense of his Nations Fédérés.

He read the passage again, before setting the book down on his desk, picking up the yellowing paper containing the extraordinary report made by one Dennis Silva, Chief Boatswain, United States Navy to the former Unified Intelligence Taskforce(then known as the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce) in the year 1977.

At around the same time the British Royal Navy frigate, HMS Hero, had disappeared 500 klicks from the Falkland Islands in the midst of a storm which, according to the testimony of both the crew of a forward-deployed Royal Air Force Bucaneer nuclear bomber aircraft, and an Armada Republica Argentina Pucara patrol plane, was exactly as described by whoever had written the Anethma.

"'"Curiouser and curiouser," said Alice,'" the professional head of Earth's military remarked aloud, as he read this Silva's testimony.

Since the only Dennis Silva this reality had to offer was a character in an alternate-WW2 series of novels called the Destroyermen, from just before the Fellowship's coup in 2016.

It got better, as MacDugan read on.

According to this Silva, the ship he had been assigned to, the destroyer USS Walker, along with its sister ship, USS Mahan, had, off of Surabaya following the Battle Of Java early in Earth's Second World War, had entered a storm he had called "the Squall" while attempting a torpedo run against an Imperial Japanese Navy battlecruiser, and had ended up in an alternate reality, where they'd fought another war with both human and felinoid allies against a a race of lizard men and at least two human factions, either of which could've given the Fellowship and the American Theocracy(to say nothing of the Kobolds)a run for their money.

And, here was another curious part: The Imperial Japanese Navy, at least on this Earth, had either cancelled, scrapped, or converted their proposed battlecruisers to aircraft carriers, while both the Walker and Mahan of this reality had been hulked, and eventually scrapped long before the war.

Same as this Silva's claim about claiming to have encountered the Surcouf, under the banner of the long-outlawed French Popular Party, when she'd disappeared in this reality about 200 klicks from the Atlantic side of the Panama Canal in late 1942, and she'd clearly been on the side of the Free French forces.

"'"Curiouser and—" '" MacDugan started to repeat aloud, when a knocking at his inner office door interrupted him.

"Who's at my hatch?" he asked, Al Bester's voice replying from the other side "it's a door, not a hatch, Mackie."

"Come in, Al," MacDugan said.

Al entered, Londo Mollari trailing him.

"Your sense of humor needs work, Al," MacDugan remarked, as the two men helped themselves to his office's padded leather guest chairs.

"I have a great sense of humor," the Director-General of the DSE insisted."Everyone tells me so."

"Your social life, on the other hand," Earth's spymaster remarked,"is what needs work."

"I am the professional head of Earth's military," the Haut-amiral du Terre reminded Al,"not to mention your boss. Don't have time for a social life."

Al snorted.

"The kids miss seeing their Uncle Mackie," he said,"and Carolyn's been worried about you, living alone, working all hours of the night..."

He picked up MacDugan's hardbound copy of The Number Of the Beast, carelessly flipping through a couple of pages.

"You should join the 23rd century, Mackie," he remarked."We read novels on the InterWeb, or simply watch vids, nobody—"

"You do not have to turn on a book," Londo commented,"yes?"

"Something like that," MacDugan replied.

"Not his best work, though," the Centauri special advisor added. "His hardening of the ideological arteries shines through in this one. Not to mention his views on incest."

"I ain't reading it for the inbreeding, Londo," MacDugan commented,"or any of the other retrograde nonsense that got this world damn near blown to hell and gone over two hundred years ago."

"Certainly not for the story," Al piped up, going through some of the other papers and books on the Haut-amiral's desk.

"Actually," MacDugan commented,"now that you mentioned it, Al, I am."

"These are the old UNIT files," Al remarked aloud, as he continued going over folders. "From the 1950s to the 1990s, before they started digitizing their records... the disappearance of HMS Hero in the Falklands, Dennis Silva's delusional testimony to the United States Navy...hell, you even have old USN and Royal Navy reports of the Sorcouf's disappearance from the 1940s in here, along with the follow-up investigation by UNIT in the late 1960s. Mackie, what the hell?"

"Do you notice a common thread to all those reports, Al?" Mackie asked, tapping on the cover of another hardback novel, one of the Destroyermen novels, to be precise.

"Hmmm," Earth's spymaster replied, scanning the files he had in his hands, adding in a "well" or two after a few moments, before looking back at MacDugan, and saying:

"The same phenomenon as the Ring of Fire, at all these incidents."

"And," Londo, reading the passage in the Anethma,"it is recorded here as well...whoever wrote this called it a 'Squall.'"

"The exact words Silva used to describe the phenomenon which transported his ship through to the other Earth he described in his testimony," Al slowly realized.

"Goddamn," he then interjected.

At Al's second "Mackie, what the hell?!" the Haut-amiral du Terre called-up Ivanova's initial after-action report on his workstation.

Pausing the replay on the guncam footage of the ship which had attacked them.

"Look familiar?" he asked.

"Great Maker!" Londo whispered."From one of your Fellowship's Canonical Works, a series of television shows and movies about—"

"Star Trek," Al replied,"but...Mackie, that's fiction, bad fiction—and worse propaganda—at that."

"So is the Destroyermen," Mackie reminded him, tapping the novel again.

"But..,but that could've been based on accounts of Silva's testimony—" Al started to insist.

"Except," Mackie reminded him,"Silva died in some buttfuck and nowhere, cootie-ridden corner of the former Third World two decades before Anderson even put pen to paper. Moreover, I checked with your people. Neither UNIT nor the United States Navy ever declassified Silva's appearance on this Earth, Hero's disppearance, or his testimony. Anderson could not have known about Silva or his claims."

He resumed playback, pausing at the emergence of the second unknown—but also familiar—ship to emerge through the gateway around Narn's second planet.

"I'm not sure what I should be seeing," Al said.

"Nor I," Londo said.

"Not surprised," MacDugan replied. "I had to dig pretty deep in the InterWeb to even find any mention on the show it came from. It's a cult hit, both in the 1990s and early 2000s, before the Fellowship put any science-fiction works that were not Canon to the torch, and their fans, creators, and such as well. I can count the number of people who even know about this show now with both hands, and just barely that."

"It was called Babylon 5," he added,"set on an O'Neill-type space station in the Epsilon Eridani system."

"Where our fleet yard used to be," Londo said."The Kobolds call it the Babylon Fleet Yards now."

The former Centauri noble then picked up the hardcover of The Number Of the Beast.

"I believe the premise of this book..." he then started to say, before trailing off.

"Yep," was MacDugan's reply.
"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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Eternal_Freedom
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Re: The Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby Eternal_Freedom » 2016-09-21 02:05pm

Ok, I have only the faintest damn clue what's going on, but I like it.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: The Poor Man's Wisdom

Postby U.P. Cinnabar » 2016-09-21 02:24pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:Ok, I have only the faintest damn clue what's going on, but I like it.


Thanks. I'll try to develop things a little bit better, as I continue.
"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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