He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

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Swindle1984
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He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2018-03-12 12:43am

Premise: What if the Federation encountered beings who not only made peaceful coexistence impossible, weren't merely antagonistic, but actually embodied everything the Federation considered to be well and truly evil? Worse still, what if the Federation- well, that might spoil too much.

This story is a sequel to Sins of the Fathers (viewtopic.php?f=9&t=164315), so reading that story first would be beneficial to understanding the setting and characters of this story.


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

Personal log, Commander Jonathan Spee:

I am settling in nicely among the Ascension. There was some initial awkwardness, but it's only been a week and I find them to be much more welcoming than I had anticipated. There is still more than a hint of derision toward me from the Augments about their being 'superior', but much of it seems to be good-natured ribbing rather than genuine bigotry. Which I suppose makes sense, given how much of the Ascension's population hasn't been genetically modified; if the Augments were openly contemptuous and high-handed toward their 'lessers', they wouldn't get much support from the other races that make up their union.

My deployment aboard the Ronin, an aging frigate, was delayed while they procured me a 'proper uniform'. Ascension regulations require all crew members to wear one of their body suits at all times, even off duty, and while on duty on the bridge I am to wear an armored suit. Each crew member has his own suit fitted to him personally, and it took roughly a day for them to take my measurements and make one for me. It's a standard crewman's suit, but they colored it to resemble my Starfleet uniform and altered the internal comm system to activate when I touch the commbadge painted onto it, rather than using the typical Ascension control scheme. I thought that was a nice touch.

I can certainly see why they require the suits. Once my initial familiarization training was complete, they threw me in the deep end with a battle drill. This included shutting off gravity and simulating a vacuum when the bridge was 'opened to space' by a direct hit from a Klingon disruptor, simulating injured and dead crew, and taking command of the ship after the captain was declared a casualty. I was told that I was quite competent at damage control and handled myself well during the stress of the simulation, but that Starfleet tactical training was 'entirely inadequate' for commanding the ship in combat. Considering my academy scores, I might disagree, but I did end up losing the ship and most of the crew by the end of the simulation. Their simulations are remarkably realistic, comparable to the holodeck in many ways, thanks to the 'augmented reality' displays in their helmets and haptic feedback from the suits. Had I been in a similar situation aboard a Federation starship, there's a better than even chance that I would have died when the bridge was hit, blown out into space, killed by shrapnel, or struggling to stay in my seat with the inertial dampers failing and losing gravity. Perhaps Starfleet needs to seriously review some of our safety protocols; the Ascension may be making up for less advanced inertial dampers, a lack of force fields to seal hull breaches, and a reliance on armor instead of shielding, but that doesn't mean we can't learn anything from them about safety.

As an example, their reactor room is guarded at all times, engine room personnel wear bright orange suits with reflective stripes and strobe lights to make them easy to find in an emergency, the entire room is blocked off with an armored door and enough radiation shielding to satisfy the most paranoid safety expert, and I couldn't even get into the room for a tour until I'd undergone an hour-long safety briefing and an escort. No wonder they were allegedly shocked when they toured main engineering on the Titan; compared to them, we're much more lax on security.

I've found that the crew are more accepting of me when I keep my helmet on, for some reason. They all wear their helmets at all times, except in their quarters and the mess hall, and even then they keep their helmets literally attached to their hips so they can be donned at a moment's notice. I was honestly surprised to discover that the tactical officer serving under me isn't an Augment, he's a Valakian. I wouldn't have known if he hadn't removed his helmet to eat lunch. I expected more open resentment, given the apparent history between our people, but he's a consumate professional and unfailingly polite. A bit stiff, so he may be harboring some sort of grudge, but it's hard to tell given how the rest of the crew behave. I get the feeling that they're trying not to see me as an outsider, much less the enemy, but they still don't accept me as one of them. Not yet.

I'm sure I'll find a way to endear myself to the crew somehow. I have to; the ambassadors at our new embassy may be the official Federation representatives to the Ascension, but let's face it: they don't interact with the 'little people'. I do, on a daily basis. It's important that I make a good impression and show that there can be a lasting peace, even friendship, between the Federation and the Ascension. They seem to be willing to give me the chance, and Starfleet thought I was the best choice for an exchange officer; let's just hope I can meet everyone's expectations.

Because if the Ascension and Federation ever do go to war again, I'm not so certain we'd win the next one.

End log.


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




Riker adjusted the collar of his uniform, trying not to glare. He could feel himself glaring, and it was irritating him. Deanna rested a hand comfortingly on his shoulder and whispered, "Relax."

"I am relaxed."

"It's only natural that you would be selected; you understand them possibly better than anyone else in Starfleet, after all."

"Oh, yes. I was a prisoner of war and a 'guest' among their people, after all; that makes me an expert on Federation-Ascension relations."

"Will."

"Deanna, they stole my ship and dismantled it. The Titan still isn't back in service, and it's been almost a year. They killed members of my crew. They may be 'reasonable' people, I may understand them better than others simply because I've interacted with them face to face and been given the grand tour of one of their cities in a bottle, but that doesn't mean I have to like them."

Deanna squeezed his shoulder reassuringly, then took his hand in her other and turned him to face her.

"And now the war is over. We're at peace. We have the opportunity to create mutual understanding and respect between our peoples, an opportunity for lasting peace. Who knows, maybe someday the Ascension will join the Federation."

"Not likely. Three human colonies just became their clients, and now they're trying to weasel their way into Turkana IV under the guise of humanitarian aid and acting as 'impartial arbitrators' between the different factions."

"None of those worlds were members of the Federation, and even if Turkana IV does enter the Ascension's sphere of influence, isn't it worthwhile if it finally brings peace to their world? An end to the constant war, the rape gangs, the poverty?"

"Perhaps, but I still don't like it."

"You respect, even admire, the Klingons, don't you? You even served aboard one of their ships, just as this exchange officer will be doing."

"Of course."

"But the Klingons have been at war with the Federation more than once, and we spent centuries being suspicious of one another even when we weren't at war. If you can learn to appreciate Klingon culture and points of view, it can't be that hard to appreciate Ascension culture and points of view."

"Maybe you're right. I'm acting foolish because I've got a chip on my shoulder," he said, turning back to face the entrance to the hangar bay. "I just wish our exchange officer didn't have some religious objection to using the transporter. We've been standing here for twenty minutes."

"The shuttle will be docking soon. Quit fretting."

"I'm not fretting."

"You're fretting."

Riker kept his mouth shut and let it go rather than potentially escalate into an actual argument with his wife. Two minutes later, an Ascension shuttle identical to the one he'd last seen on the Titan slid into the hangar. The ramp slammed down with the same force and speed he remembered, but the two soldiers in their powered armor walking down the ramp moved slowly and deliberately, and their rifles were slung over their shoulders. The hulking soldiers stopped at the end of the ramp and flanked it in a parade rest position, and several more figures exited the shuttle, three moving a small pallet of what appeared to be luggage over to a cargo sled that had been brought to the hangar for just such a purpose and offloading it there. Two more figures approached and the taller of the two saluted by striking his left shoulder with his right fist, then jutting his open palm out in a Roman salute. Riker returned the gesture, and then awkwardly returned a polite bow when the shorter of the two Ascendants in front of him actually curtsied. He assumed this one was female, but that wasn't a guarantee; the bodysuit and helmet hid any secondary sexual characteristics, and the various client races the Ascension consisted of may simply have different gestures of greeting.

"Permission to come aboard?" asked a flat, mechanical monotone.

"Permission granted. Welcome aboard the Galaxy, commander...?"

The taller figure, towering over even Riker by several centimeters, handed him a Ferengi PADD before opening his seals and removing his helmet. He was a handsome man with a carefully trimmed goatee several shades darker than his blonde hair, and flinty grey eyes; if Riker had to guess, he was in his early thirties. The left side of his face seemed to sag ever so slightly, and the eye on that side was twitching subtly, leading Riker to wonder if he'd suffered some sort of neurological damage in the past.

"Senior commander Devrim Stolansky, at your service. You will find my identification, service record, and a complete medical write up on the PADD. This," he said, turning to gesture at the figure whose head didn't even reach his shoulders, "is my valet, S'rahn Tjornah."

S'rahn removed her helmet, revealing herself to be a T'sari. Like the one he'd met previously, she had very delicate, almost elfin, facial features, chalky greyish-blue skin, silvery-white hair, and brilliant green eyes. She likewise presented a PADD toward him, but seemed much more shy about it, actually blushing a darker shade of blue and almost hiding behind Stolansky.

"I'm Captain William T Riker, this is my wife, Counselor Deanna Troi, chief engineer Robert Muldoon, senior science officer Soren Tkray, and my chief of security, Helga Godsdottir. My chief medical officer is currently treating a patient, so we'll meet him later. I wasn't aware you'd be bringing a valet, commander."

"I apologize for any lack of communication regarding our arrangements; I myself only found out I was going to have a valet when I boarded the shuttle. Apparently High Command felt it appropriate for an officer of my rank to have a valet, in order that I may focus more on my duties as executive officer and a representative of the Ascension and less on menial tasks. I trust this won't present any issues?"

"No, I don't think it'll be a problem, commander. Will you be wanting adjoining quarters?"

"Yes, please, if that's convenient. As I said, I don't mean to impose upon you, I wasn't expecting a valet either."

The tiny woman curtsied again, then reached into a messenger bag hanging from her shoulder.

"It is traditional for T'sari to present their hosts with gifts, to thank them for their hospitality. Please accept these with my humblest apologies for my unexpected intrusion."

"Not at all," Riker said, still smiling as non-threateningly as possible. The petite woman seemed on the verge of hyperventilating, and he tried to alleviate any anxiety she was feeling. Clearly she was stressed out over the situation, but he seemed to be missing some crucial information as to why.

"In T'sari culture, the man is the provider and defender of the family. All married T'sari men carry a wtsai, a ceremonial knife, to signify their status. "

She withdrew a large dagger from the bag and presented it to him hilt first, trembling slightly as she did so. He took it from her, smiling broadly, but she was keeping her eyes focused on the deck.

"Thank you."

Stolansky leaned forward and quietly said, "Make a show of inspecting the blade. Very important in T'sari culture."

Riker drew the dagger and saw that it was double-edged, with a damascus pattern on the blade and a bright blue finish. It was surprisingly attractive, and given the look of it, razor sharp.

"Very nice. I've seldom held a blade as well crafted as this."

S'rahn smiled for the first time, blushing shyly again, and reached into the messenger bag again, this time meeting Deanna's eyes as she presented her next gift.

"In T'sari culture, the woman is the caretaker of the family. One of her duties is to keep the fire going so that the family has food and warmth. This is a traditional T'sari firestarter."

She held out a device, made of wood, black steel, and polished bronze, and Deanna accepted it with a warm smile and a slight curtsy of her own.

"Thank you, it's beautiful. How does it work?"

"Insert the key hanging from the lanyard here, and wind up the mechanism. Hold it above your tinder and pull the trigger; the wheel will strike against the pyrite and shoot a spray of sparks. It may take several attempts, but it is very effective."

"It's lovely, thank you."

The woman- or possibly girl, Riker was starting to wonder- smiled again, and swayed slightly as her skin took on a paler grey pallor. Stolansky leaned down and gently whispered, "Put your helmet on before you pass out."

Straightening again, he looked apologetically at Riker and asked, "I'm given understand from my briefing that one can adjust the environmental settings in individual rooms aboard your ships?"

"Yes."

"Would it be possible then to adjust the settings in our quarters for a higher oxygen content? I'm afraid the air humans find normal is a bit thin for T'sari; less lung capacity and less efficient oxygen transport in their blood."

"Of course."

"Why don't I escort your valet and your luggage to your quarters and help you get settled in, while the captain gives you the official tour?"

"Thank you, counselor; that would be much appreciated."

Riker wasn't entirely certain what Deanna was up to, but she'd made it clear through unspoken signals to him that it was important and he deferred to her judgement.

"Well then, commander, if you'll follow me?"
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-03-12 01:02am

Valet..,or minder?

And, doesn't Spee know painting his space armor red only makes him an easier target? Or that the Ascendant are doing their damndest to patronize him?
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Tribble » 2018-03-12 03:48pm

TNG-era Feds have come across their fair share of nasties, with the Borg perhaps being the prime example.

I wonder what will be more evil to the Feds than "literally treats everyone and everything around them as raw material that can be consumed, physically and mentally violate people in every way possible in order to strip them of their knowledge and personalities, turn them into slaves, use them to kill and enslave others including their own friends and family, and kill everyone who dares to resist?"

This ought to be interesting.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by LadyTevar » 2018-03-12 05:35pm

As Tribble said, this ought to be interesting, and it's a promising start. I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes from here.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2018-03-12 06:43pm

Tribble wrote:
2018-03-12 03:48pm
TNG-era Feds have come across their fair share of nasties, with the Borg perhaps being the prime example.

I wonder what will be more evil to the Feds than "literally treats everyone and everything around them as raw material that can be consumed, physically and mentally violate people in every way possible in order to strip them of their knowledge and personalities, turn them into slaves, use them to kill and enslave others including their own friends and family, and kill everyone who dares to resist?"

This ought to be interesting.
The Borg, at least until the introduction of the queen, are no more evil than army ants. They engage in acts of evil, but they're not actively malicious.

No, we're going to see what happens when the Federation is confronted by evil, and then we're going to see what happens when [REDACTED.

And just fair warning, this story is going to be much more graphic and disturbing than the previous.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by CetaMan » 2018-03-12 07:45pm

Look foreword to seeing how this goes, The original was a good read.

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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Tribble » 2018-03-12 07:53pm

Swindle1984 wrote:
2018-03-12 06:43pm
The Borg, at least until the introduction of the queen, are no more evil than army ants. They engage in acts of evil, but they're not actively malicious.

No, we're going to see what happens when the Federation is confronted by evil, and then we're going to see what happens when [REDACTED.

And just fair warning, this story is going to be much more graphic and disturbing than the previous.
Sentient army ants which know exactly what they are doing to their victims, and just don't care. And will resort to torture when they think it will be effective. But yes, I suppose they are not pure evil per se since they seem to think they are doing everyone a favour. Though their vicitms may feel otherwise, of course.

That leaves things which torture and kill purely for amusement, pleasure, hatred, spite etc. Again we've seen this in Trek, though they tend to be god-like creatures and not a group / species as a whole. And said sadistic creatures tend to be childlike and/or easily manipulated. So I take it we won't be seeing something like an army of Armuses :P
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2018-03-28 11:17pm

Commander Spee sat strapped into his densely padded seat, staring straight ahead at the display hanging in front of his face.

"Unidentified vessel appears to be an Orion raider; estimated crew complement of about a dozen. They're still trying to hide behind that asteroid."

The captain nodded in acknowledgement, a gesture difficult to make out on a man clad in all-black armor and strapped into a crash frame.

"Continue intercept course."

"Shall we hail them?"

"No. The Orions know the penalty for trespassing in Ascension space, and they are deep in our territory. There is no point in telling them to get out or warning them of the consequences."

Spee felt a rock form in his stomach as he began to strongly suspect the captain intended to shoot first and ask questions never. The blip on his screen suddenly flared to life as the Orion raider realized they'd been spotted and powered up their engines.

"They're making a run for it!"

"Full speed to intercept. Tactical, arm the gravy; this seems like a good opportunity to test it."

"Gravy?" Spee asked, raising an eyebrow he'd forgotten no one could see with his helmet on.

"Short for gravity cannon; a modification of the tractor beam. Two parallel tractor beam projectors, one pulling the target toward it, the other pushing it away. They alternate, each one firing for a nanosecond in a continuous pulse."

"... tearing the ship apart."

"In theory, yes. This will be a good test against a shielded, moving target."

Spee watching the fleeing Orion ship get closer on his screen as they began to overtake it, then fumbled with his helmet controls until he had a private channel to the captain; he'd learned early in his career to never question a superior in front of others.

"Do you really think it's necessary to kill them?"

"As I said, commander, they knew the consequences and did it anyway. When they fail to return, it will serve as a reminder to the others that we are not to be crossed, and the wise will stay out of our territory. In the long term, this approach will result in less conflict and therefore less bloodshed; if we simply chased them off, they would grow bolder and continue to make incursions into our territory, resulting in more pirate raids and a harsher retaliation from us. This way is better."

Spee lapsed into silence.

"If you wish to file an objection, that is your right as first officer. It will go on the record and there will be a review of my judgement in this matter."

"No, sir. I have no objections. This is an Ascension vessel, and as long as I serve aboard her, I am an Ascension officer."

"Very well," the captain said, switching back to audible speech. "Tactical, lock on and fire as soon as we're in range."

"Aye sir, gravy battery reports ready. Firing in three, two, one..."

The twin tractor beams stuttered at such a high rate that they appeared as a normal, continuous beam. But the effects were far more dramatic than those of a normal tractor beam; the Orion raider's shields flared as they wrestled with the attack, then collapsed. A moment later and the ship disintegrated in a puff of air, frozen water vapor, and debris.

"Target destroyed. The beam was aimed off center and avoided the warp core and antimatter containment. There is one survivor, in an escape pod jettisoned shortly before we fired."

"Bring it aboard and escort the prisoner to the brig. Helm, plot a course for the nearest trade outpost we can deposit our wayward pirate."

"You're letting him go?" Spee asked, genuinely surprised.

"Of course. Lone survivors do an excellent job of spreading cautionary tales amongst would-be trespassers. Especially if we scare the shit out of him before we let him go."

Spee settled back in his seat, somewhat emotionally conflicted about what had taken place.

"I'm a little surprised you'd let him go, given that he just saw your 'gravy' cannon in action for the first time."

"He ejected shortly before we opened fire, it's unlikely he has any idea what destroyed his ship. And even if he does realize it was some new type of weapon, more's the better: he'll spread the news and our neighbors will be duly worried about the Ascension's new toy. Besides," the captain added casually, "if we were going to keep it a secret, you'd already be dead."

Spee felt a chill go down his spine for a moment, then suddenly realized it was a joke. He barked a laugh and returned his attention to his console as the captain chuckled in return.

The Ascension had a sense of humor after all.

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

"Sick bay is, naturally, where we bring the wounded and ill for treatment. Given the semi-modular nature of the original Galaxy-class starships, we managed to swap out the old sick bay for a modern, top-of-the-line one with all the bells and whistles."

"Very impressive," Stolansky said appreciately as he looked around. "A bit more open than an Ascension medical facility, but I suppose you use force fields for isolation chambers, atmospheric pressure regulation, and so on."

"Precisely. And over here is our chief medical officer. Done with your patient, Doctor?"

A balding man approached them with a casual swagger, folding a medical tricorder and placing it on a tray as he walked over to meet them.

"Yes; a simple case of the Rygellian fever pox. Easy to treat, but time consuming. You see, each of the lymph nodes must first be-"

"Doctor, this is our exchange officer from the Ascension, commander Stolansky. Commander, the Doctor."

"Pleasure to meet you," the Doctor said, sticking his hand out. The commander hesitated for a moment, as if uncertain, then shook hands.

"I'm sorry, we don't typically shake hands in the Ascension."

"Oh, that's quite alright; I assure you, my hands are perfectly sterile."

"I didn't catch your name, doctor...?"

"Just Doctor. Or Doc; it annoyed me at first, but the nickname has endeared itself to me."

"Your name is Doctor?"

Riker grinned, clapping the Doctor on the shoulder.

"The Doctor is a hologram; a living artificial construct. He wasn't created with a name."

"I've tinkered with a few over the years, but none of them really suit me. I've gone by 'the Doctor' for so long, it's basically my name."

"Ah; like Doctor Who."

"... Doctor who?"

"It's an old, pre-Exile television series. My father was a fan of centuries-old entertainment."

"You must be amazing at Scrabble then."

"So you're a hologram?"

"Yes; originally a basic EMH, Emergency Medical Hologram, but I've long since expanded beyond my original limitations as a program."

"Intriguing. Is the entire ship fitted with holographic emitters, or only sickbay?"

"Sickbay, the holodecks, all three shuttle bays, all of the transporter rooms, the bridge and conference room, main engineering, the arboretum, and Ten Forward are equipped with holo emitters," Riker stated, clearly proud of his new ship. "That allows for holograms to interact in critical areas, but the Doctor can actually go anywhere he pleases thanks to his portable emitter."

"Impressive. I believe I did hear about you in a briefing; so you're not part of the ship's computer then?"

"No, although I can transfer myself into the main computer if necessary. The ship comes with one of the newer EMH's installed, but we don't use him; we have more than enough medical staff to go around, and his personality is insufferable."

"As exciting as all this is, Doctor, I believe we need to get moving on our tour of the ship. We're scheduled to depart in another hour and we still need to see the bridge."

"Oh, well, don't let me keep you. And commander, please report for a physical at your earliest convenience."

"I've already transferred my complete medical files to you, Doctor."

"Lovely; that'll give me something to compare the results of your physical to. Excuse me, gentlemen; I too have matters that need attending."

Riker and Stolansky exited sickbay and headed for the turbolift.

"He seems... charming."

"Oh yes, he has a great bedside manner," Riker quipped, grinning broadly. "And he's an excellent opera singer."

"... you programmed an emergency medical hologram to sing opera?"

"Oh no. He picked that up himself."

"I'm definitely going to have to hear that story sometime."

"Believe me," Riker said as the doors to the turbolift hissed shut. "You don't have a choice in the matter."
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-03-30 10:25pm

Speed, I have a feeling the Ascension ain't joking. And that Orion that ejected before his ship was torn to shreds was somebody's spy.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
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"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-03-31 01:58am

So, the Ascension is against hailing individual ships in their territory now. Lovely. I weep for any freighters hit by ion storms and other space oddities, as the Ascension will kill them for daring to be stranded passed their line on the map. The Kobayashi Maru shows such things happen, and the Ascension is going to punish people for bad luck.

I wonder how many of their neighbors are going to tolerate this, and for how long.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-03-31 10:04am

The Ascenion just considers wayward freighters to be good target practice.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Tribble » 2018-03-31 02:46pm

Pretty amusing that the Doctor of all people views the new EMH as insufferable; IIRC he got along fine with the EMH mk2 after they sorted out their differences. Maybe Zimmerman went with Bashir after all :P
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-03-31 03:19pm

He went with Arnold Rimmer instead.

"Gespatchio soup, hot!"
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Iroscato » 2018-04-02 05:12pm

Just read Sins of the Father and really enjoyed it - your grasp of the characters is pretty spot on and you have a nice writing style. This is shaping up well so far too :)
Yeah, I've always taken the subtext of the Birther movement to be, "The rules don't count here! This is different! HE'S BLACK! BLACK, I SAY! ARE YOU ALL BLIND!?

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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2018-04-07 10:34pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-03-31 01:58am
So, the Ascension is against hailing individual ships in their territory now. Lovely. I weep for any freighters hit by ion storms and other space oddities, as the Ascension will kill them for daring to be stranded passed their line on the map. The Kobayashi Maru shows such things happen, and the Ascension is going to punish people for bad luck.

I wonder how many of their neighbors are going to tolerate this, and for how long.
To be fair, an Orion pirate ship is a tad different from a freighter.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-04-08 08:03am

Swindle1984 wrote:
2018-04-07 10:34pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-03-31 01:58am
So, the Ascension is against hailing individual ships in their territory now. Lovely. I weep for any freighters hit by ion storms and other space oddities, as the Ascension will kill them for daring to be stranded passed their line on the map. The Kobayashi Maru shows such things happen, and the Ascension is going to punish people for bad luck.

I wonder how many of their neighbors are going to tolerate this, and for how long.
To be fair, an Orion pirate ship is a tad different from a freighter.
Will the Ascension care? It's a ship in their territory. They didn't really seem to care what the ship was, just where it was.

EDIT: Imagine the same scene with the Xhosa, Kasidy Yates's freighter, and you see how bad this is because they would have reacted the same exact way.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Tribble » 2018-04-08 03:00pm

FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-04-08 08:03am
Swindle1984 wrote:
2018-04-07 10:34pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-03-31 01:58am
So, the Ascension is against hailing individual ships in their territory now. Lovely. I weep for any freighters hit by ion storms and other space oddities, as the Ascension will kill them for daring to be stranded passed their line on the map. The Kobayashi Maru shows such things happen, and the Ascension is going to punish people for bad luck.

I wonder how many of their neighbors are going to tolerate this, and for how long.
To be fair, an Orion pirate ship is a tad different from a freighter.
Will the Ascension care? It's a ship in their territory. They didn't really seem to care what the ship was, just where it was.

EDIT: Imagine the same scene with the Xhosa, Kasidy Yates's freighter, and you see how bad this is because they would have reacted the same exact way.
The Ascension never came across to me as that trigger happy. I imagine they know the distinction between "civilian freighter disabled by ion storm that drifted in their territory" and "pirate raider deliberately flying deep into their space despite knowing full well that they won't be tolerated." They still gave warnings to Federation ships to leave their territory even though they held a big grudge against them, so I don't see why they'd blow up a civilian freighter right away. They also have less incentive to do so now that everyone knows who they really are, so there is less need for secrecy. If anything they'd probably just impound the ship and/or crew until things were sorted out.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-04-08 06:39pm

Tribble wrote:
2018-04-08 03:00pm
FaxModem1 wrote:
2018-04-08 08:03am
Swindle1984 wrote:
2018-04-07 10:34pm


To be fair, an Orion pirate ship is a tad different from a freighter.
Will the Ascension care? It's a ship in their territory. They didn't really seem to care what the ship was, just where it was.

EDIT: Imagine the same scene with the Xhosa, Kasidy Yates's freighter, and you see how bad this is because they would have reacted the same exact way.
The Ascension never came across to me as that trigger happy. I imagine they know the distinction between "civilian freighter disabled by ion storm that drifted in their territory" and "pirate raider deliberately flying deep into their space despite knowing full well that they won't be tolerated." They still gave warnings to Federation ships to leave their territory even though they held a big grudge against them, so I don't see why they'd blow up a civilian freighter right away. They also have less incentive to do so now that everyone knows who they really are, so there is less need for secrecy. If anything they'd probably just impound the ship and/or crew until things were sorted out.
They're perfectly willing to murder colonists, I think you grant them too much good will.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Swindle1984 » 2018-04-30 01:09pm

The turbolift doors parted and Riker immediately felt a wave of homesickness as he stepped out onto the bridge. It wasn't 100% like the Enterprise-D, but it was so close he had to stop and think about the little differences. He'd served aboard a dozen starships, but none of them had felt as much like home as the old Enterprise.

"I'm sure you've studied the bridge layout of Federation starships, Commander. This is tactical and communications, these are science and engineering stations, here we have ops and the conn, and your seat is right here next to mine. My ready room is right there, and the officer's conference room is through here."

"Yes, this all looks familiar. Very... open."

"You don't like the design?" Riker asked, amused.

"As far as Ascension ship design goes... it's a death trap. The bridge is located in a vulnerable position on the hull, there's not enough armor protection, the bridge is too open, so any debris can fly across the entire room and hit vital equipment or personnel, the seats are just cushioned seats, not dedicated crash frames, they don't have restraints, and you're too reliant on forcefields; if there were a hull breach, personnel would be blown out into space or otherwise killed because you don't wear protective gear. Starfleet has a very lax approach to safety, in my professional opinion."

The man at the conn position turned in his seat to face the commander, commenting, "Starfleet has an extensive safety record going back for centuries, and the Galaxy-class starships are some of the safest ever built."

Commander Stolansky turned to look at the conversation's intruder, fixing him with a glare made even more effective by his faceless mask.

"And who might you be, lieutenant?" he asked, glancing at the pips on his collar.

"Lieutenant first class Wesley Crusher, sir. Senior helmsman aboard the Galaxy."

"Wesley and I go back a long way, Commander. He's the best navigator in Starfleet, and an excellent engineer and science officer as well. His unique experiences make him perfect for the Galaxy Project, and he's known as a bit of a wunderkind."

"Really. I look forward to reading your personnel record, Lieutenant. Your familiarity with the captain notwithstanding, please adhere to protocol in the future and refrain from intruding on the conversations of senior officers unless necessary."

Looking equal parts chagrined and angry, Wesley simply replied, "Yes, sir," and turned back to his console.

"Well, Commander, that about wraps up the tour. You've met all of the senior staff. I'll give you some time to get settled into your quarters. We'll have a meeting of the senior officers at 1800 hours in the conference room."

"Very well. I will be there, Captain."

Commander Stolansky stepped back into the turbolift and vanished into the depths of the ship. Wesley turned back around to face Riker and exclaimed, "What was that about?"

"I have a feeling the Ascension are sticklers for protocol. Or at least, Commander Stolansky is. And one of his pet peeves seems to be interrupting a conversation between him and the captain."

"That's going to make conversations on the bridge... exciting. Part of how we do things is to let people jump in with ideas or comments and maybe discover a solution to a problem."

"The commander is the ship's executive officer, and as such he's free to enforce his own personal style on how he runs the ship, just like I did on the Enterprise. But he also has to get used to how we do things, not how they do things. I'm sure there's going to be some friction at first, but everything should work out fine. Besides," Riker commented wryly, gently whacking the back of Wesley's seat with his hand. "He's right; you do tend to run off at the mouth."

"Hey, I've gotten better over the-"

"Shut up, Wesley."

"Aye, sir, shutting up now," Wesley replied with a grin as he turned back to his console.

"I'll be in my ready room if anyone needs me."

Riker strode through the door into a ready room entirely unlike Picard's had been on the Enterprise, save for the couch against one wall beneath a painting of the Galaxy orbiting the Earth. That much remained the same. But the desk and its position were different, the window was placed closer to one bulkhead, there was no aquarium, and the potted plant in the corner gave the room an odd, perfumed scent that reminded him of vacations on Risa. He had no idea who had chosen to decorate his ready room with the plant, and he'd nearly gotten rid of it, but it had started to grow on him.

Not ten minutes after he'd begun to go through all the tedious reports that needed the captain's approval, the door chimed.

"Enter."

Deanna walked in and flopped onto the couch in an undignified, but comfortable, position.

"Well? How are our guests?"

"I'm having a hard time reading the commander. He has a very strong rein on his emotions, very disciplined. I get the sense that he's vaguely nervous about performing his duty, but is more concerned with the duty itself than his performance anxiety. He does seem a bit perplexed by the way we do things, but I think he's willing to work with it rather than impose his way of doing things without compromise."

"That doesn't sound too bad. And his valet?"

"She's a bit easier to read. She's an inexperienced young girl, on her first big assignment, in a strange new culture, surrounded by people she'd grown up thinking of as the enemy. The fact that she isn't a nervous wreck speaks well of her. The Ascension cultural briefing was right; their young people are shy about taking their helmets off around strangers, much like, say, a 20th century girl would have been embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit for the first time. But, once we'd gotten to know each other a little better and I'd helped her get the environmental settings right, she eventually felt comfortable taking off her helmet while I helped her settle in and showed her how things like the replicator work. She's a very sweet girl."

"Sure. She was also assigned as the commander's valet at the last minute, with no warning to him or us. That doesn't strike you as a little odd?"

Deanna inclined her head to acknowledge his point, thinking for a moment before slowly responding, "She has a very compartmentalized mind, focusing on one task at a time. If she does an ulterior motive or hidden agenda, it wouldn't be especially difficult for her to simply forget about it while she's focused on her current task. But I think she really is just a valet and not a spy or political commissar; her mind was just a little too open and her emotions just a little too raw for her to hide much, if anything, from me. I think she is what she says she is."

"All right. Well, the senior officers are scheduled to meet at 1800. We've got two days before we depart on our mission; that means there's a lot to do, and not a lot of time to do it in."

Deanna stood, smoothing out her uniform, and said, "I'll be in Ten Forward then, collecting my thoughts. The Doctor is supposed to get with me so we can finish our evaluation of crew readiness, as soon as he's finished in sickbay."

"I'll be here, buried under all the paperwork," Riker replied wryly.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by B5B7 » 2018-05-01 02:09am

Well Deanna is only an empath, not a telepath, and a trained 'mentalist' may be able to deceive her as to their true feelings, yet alone thoughts.
Watch this space as to when we find out the truth about the valet.
The Ascension guy is right about the safety aspects of Federation ships (and indeed all other Star Trek ships) being deficient.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-05-02 08:27pm

B5B7 wrote:
2018-05-01 02:09am
Well Deanna is only an empath, not a telepath, and a trained 'mentalist' may be able to deceive her as to their true feelings, yet alone thoughts.
Watch this space as to when we find out the truth about the valet.
The Ascension guy is right about the safety aspects of Federation ships (and indeed all other Star Trek ships) being deficient.
Yes, but that's mostly due to budget and design reasons. A 1960s and 1980s-1990s tv show couldn't really blow all it's money and episode time on people getting into spacesuits, wearing bulky harnesses, and bring strapped into a seat. It's hard on the actors, having to be confined like that for hours at a time, while also dealing with glare from helmets, choreography, lighting, pacing, etc.

I mean, you could do it, as BSG and the Lost in Space remake show, even Star Trek Discovery uses more gear appropriate costuming and sets, but it gets in the way of the stories you're trying to tell, and costs more money than it can be worth when you're also budgeting out money for spaceships, alien make-up, sets, etc.

There's a reason it took until First Contact before Star Trek had spacesuits available for filming, they were so expensive to make that they couldn't make more, could never damage them and instead used expensive CGI instead of practical effects in fear of doing so, and had to use creative filming so that they could only have three people in a suit at a time on camera.

This is why stories like this get kind of grating after a while. Yes, we know that the Federation, as presented, has problems, due to contradictory stories, budget limitations, and values changing since the filming of the episodes or movie. You can either choose to try and mesh it together, and embrace the spirit of what they were trying to say, or be like this, and have this Eugenics militarized ubermensch organization show them how awful they are and repeatedly give them a black eye. Then have entire chapters dedicated to main characters from the show oohing and aahing at the Ascension's weaponry.

It's all up to the writer.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Burak Gazan » 2018-05-02 08:32pm

Funny how The Expanse manages with way less money, and the story never suffers. In fact, it ENHANCES AND REQUIRES IT in some bits
But, hey, Tweknology....
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Tribble » 2018-05-03 12:24am

IIRC in the TNG tech manual the bridge was on top of the hull and detachable so that it could be easily swapped out during an upgrade.

Also the main bridge of the E-D wasn't supposed to be used during battle situations as it was intended that they saucer-separate first, but that didn't happen very often (outside universe this was largely due to the timing of scenes and budget contraints).
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by FaxModem1 » 2018-05-03 04:15am

Burak Gazan wrote:
2018-05-02 08:32pm
Funny how The Expanse manages with way less money, and the story never suffers. In fact, it ENHANCES AND REQUIRES IT in some bits
But, hey, Tweknology....
And I'm sure 20 years in special effects advancement making special effects cheaper has nothing to do with it, nosiree Bob.
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Re: He Who Fights Monsters (Star Trek)

Post by Tribble » 2018-05-03 10:34am

Star Trek TAS had a fairly simple solution - instead of spacesuits they just used personal force fields. I always wondered why that wasn't used in TNG era onwards, the special effects were up to the task and we see other species like the Borg using them. They could have saved on the budget by only showing the field when it was turned on/off and when interacting with something.

Seska does use one in Voy IIRC, but that was more of an exception.

Is there any in universe explanation for why they aren't used more often?
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