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Continuing Bean's Wonderful Idea of cleaning up certain Fan Fics I have decided to provide a cleaned up version of Mark S's WONDERFUL Fanfic which as I noticed doesn't really have a title other than what we all know it as: Mark S's Fic.
This is Mark S's Fanfic and NO ONE ELSE's.
I am NOT CLAIMING ANY SORT OF CREDIT.
Mark S is the author and sole creator of this wonderful story and I just want to provide it a nice cleaned up look.
So enough from me...Star Wars: The Republic's Crusade
Star Trek: Invasion
By Mark Shantz
Captain LeFay sat aboard the USS Flurry looking at, in his opinion, one of the most beautiful displays in the galaxy. On the large screen at the head of the bridge, plumes of lightning jousted back and forth, illuminating the colors of the dense nebula they had been sent to study. It was nice to get back to the finer things in life now that the Dominion War was over.
LeFay was a lot like his ship in some respects. They both were starting to show their age and they were both definitely built for science, not war. It had been a trying time for everyone aboard the Flurry when the call had come in to scrub all current missions and report to Earth for refitting and redeployment. His people weren't soldiers and they certainly hadn't signed on for that kind of duty. But they were StarFleet and every once in a while you had to pay for all the privileges that entailed.
These were calmer, happier times though. The ship and her crew had seen the end of the war in relatively one piece and now they were back to their old routine; following hot on the heels on the Federations flag ship herself.
"Studies are now complete on the class seven nebula, Sir," LeFay's exec, one Commander Diana Parsons, stated from the chair at his right. Adding with a wry smile, "Another ‘Gaseous Anomaly' bites the dust, Sir."
The analytical practices of Picard's science staff were somewhat of a joke throughout the Starfleet science community. Any remotely unusual phenomenon was labeled either a gaseous or spatial anomaly and promptly handed off to headquarters for further investigation. As a result, there was always one science vessel or another in the plasma trail of the Enterprise, finishing analysis that sometimes only took a matter of hours. It was beyond LeFay and his colleagues as to what Picard's hurry was but many a ship and crew had filled their commissions doing little else.
To give the Enterprise credit, they had made their share of extremely detailed discoveries. However, those only seemed to occur when the phenomenon in question was putting the ship in some direct and massive danger.
"Who's next in the hopper Di?" the Flurry's captain asked, taking one last look at the cosmic light show.
"Spatial anomaly this time, Sir! Looking at the initial report I'd say it was a dying black hole."
"Well, that will be quite a thing to see. Who says there isn't a God? Lay in a course and inform astrophysics. I'll be in my office looking at the nebula reports." LeFay rose as he gave the orders and nodded to his first before heading for his ever growing file of paper work.
Yes. Back to the old routine. No killing, no destruction, no exploding conduits, no screaming ensigns, no more letters to bereaved families. Just exploration and discovery. He had thought about taking an early retirement after the war but decided against it. The only thing that seemed to take the image of the Ulysses colliding with the Montezuma out of his brain was to fill it with as much work as he could.
Hours sped by at warp speed as the captain of the science vessel Flurry immersed himself in the more tedious part of his job. He had no idea what time had passed when he was summoned back to the bridge. Time didn't matter.
"I was right, Sir," Parsons greeted as she relinquished the command chair. "It's a pretty dense one but it's a black hole in it's final stages. We're just catching the last few gasps from a safe distance."
"Well, we're lucky we got here when we did." Lefay scanned the preliminary reports coming in from the ship's various departments. Something caught his attention.
"Take a look at the gravity fields that thing's producing. Amazing isn't it? And did you notice the wave front coming in from one two six mark five." The captain was in his element and everyone on the bridge could see it. In fact, they could all practically feel the energy building in his small, boney frame.
The Commander scanned the data tables and charts on her screen again and zoomed the main viewer to one two six mark five. Nothing appeared but twinkling stars. "Mr. Tang, see if the computer can't extrapolate anything about the spatial distortion at these coordinates."
Within seconds the area in question became a carnival of display colors. A cluster of irregularly shaped, extremely dense masses hurtling towards the black hole appeared in blue, their gravity well became a green "shelf" surrounding the group, and the gravity wave produced by their motion, a series of green lines. The cluster would reach the event horizon in 33 seconds
"Dark matter." The words came from around the bridge. Some places matter-of-factly, some with a burst of comprehension, and one with awe.
"Nick, drop another long range probe, this position. Cha'Ri'Na, take us back. As fast as you can get this tub to go please." The captain's calm orders translated into a furious wave of finger motion at the helm and the ship spun on it's axis and darted away at warp 8.
Through the probe they all watched as the dying giant spewed forth increasing amounts of radiation and the dark matter sped into it's mouth. With a flash, the feed from the probe went blank and the computer cut to their own long range sensors. Again, the screen would relinquish nothing but stars.
"Take us in again. Warp five. I want a full sensor sweep as we go." LeFay's tone was even as he stood. The emotion was all in his eyes.
Information started streaming through the sensor array immediately. The Flurry passed it's original position with no trace of the probe and continued on, heading for ground zero.
Confusion touched Commander Parsons' voice as she analyzed the data flow. "Sir, the black hole is gone but we're still reading gravametric activity at the point of collapse. Our warp field is reacting with... distorting the area as we approach."
In Parsons' confusion, enlightenment dawned on the captain of the Flurry. "All stop."
The starship came to a halt 100,000 kilometers from where the black hole's event horizon had once been. In an instant, the space before the ship was flooded with tachyons and a brilliant blue vortex grew from a single point to fill their view screen.
"Ladies and gentlemen," LeFay made the address to all hands on the ship. "We have just witnessed, and perhaps inadvertently been a part of, the birth of what appears to be a stable wormhole. I hope you like the scenery because we're going to be in the area for quite awhile I think."
Two thousand five hundred years ago the Old Republic had charted and catalogued the Rodoeen system and scheduled it for detailed analysis. Twenty five hundred years later, give or take a century, the New Republic had finally gotten around to assigning the mission. True, there had been a number of religious and civil wars in that time, not to mention the Old Republics legendary red tape, but those facts didn't stop the three man crew of the Star Manx from laying bets as to whether the system held some vast and mysterious secret to the universe that would have saved millions of lives or made everybody one with the Force. The ship's captain, Link Tondon, had been around long enough to know that probably wasn't the case.
The four planet system had nothing particularly interesting going for it. Three dead rocks and a gas ball orbiting a dull red star. Preliminary scans and subsequent sample analysis had shown indications of some valuable ores in two of the rocks but no tabanna or anything else notable in the gas giant. Nothing in the system supported life or ever had. All in all, it had been a pretty lazy mission.
A small light flashing from a console accompanied by a dull buzz pulled the captains eyes from the stars to his Rodian crew member. It did not, however, wake the pudgy human asleep at the back of the cabin. Teller was the biologist, he just did the animate stuff.
"What's up Cheena?" Link stood to see over the alien's shoulder.
A few seconds of reading passed before Cheena replied. "Looks like a wormhole opening two light years out of the system." How she managed to produce galactic common speech with that proboscis was always a mystery to him.
"I guess the Force is with us after all. Maybe we can catch it before it collapses." He was back in his seat and leaving Rodoeen 2's orbit before he finished talking.
Meanwhile, the Rodian physicist was turning to her other companion, upper ears swivelling with mirth. "He looks so cute. Wake up little one or you'll miss all the fun."
"Huh, what?" Teller came awake in a daze.
Link chuckled. "We're trying to catch a wormhole before it collapses. Thought you might not want to miss the most exciting part of the mission."
"See," Teller relied. "This is why I sleep up here. No telling when the actions going to come."
In moments the Star Manx came out of hyperspace at the gapping maw of the space-time conduit. The ship's senors recorded everything that happened and the crew waited with baited breath for the inevitable.
"It doesn't seem to be closing." Teller's statement was as much a question to the physicist.
"<I don't understand>," Cheena had reverted back to her Rodian language in excitement. "Our arrival should have caused it to collapse. Someone must be keeping it open on the other side. Or it's stable, but I doubt that."
At that moment the Manx gave another alert. Within seconds something appeared from the vortex, streaking straight for them.
"Holy shit balls!" Link raised the shields with mere seconds to spare before the vessels collided head on. The object broke up first and then exploded with a flash of antimatter, rocking the small survey vessel and it's three crew members.
"Was that a missile?! Did someone just shoot at us from the other side?!" Cheena, who had never even seen a blaster in real life, was beside herself.
"I don't know," Link replied. "But I'm not waiting around to see if they send another one!"
"It can't be," Teller said, scanning the shield display. "These shields would never stand up to even a concussion missile. They're designed for space debris and stuff like that."
By that time the ship was safely in hyperspace and the discussion was moot.
Back aboard the Flurry, captain LeFay was concerned. The first probe they had sent through was now ten minutes over due. If the follow up didn't return it would not bode well in the eyes of the war weary Federation. It did return, thankfully, and there were many sighs of relief. Until the data that the probe contained was analyzed that is. The first probe had been destroyed and there was no trace of the culprit nor any trace of life in the surrounding systems. As well, none of the stars matched anything on the charts. Where ever the other side of that tunnel was, it wasn't in the Milky Way.
Within hours of filing his report with Starfleet, however, the problem was no longer LeFay's to be concerned about. Three Defiant class ships decloaked before the Flurry armed with bad attitudes and orders from the admiralty. The logs from the science vessel were down loaded and then summarily erased and each crew member was debriefed and informed that any discussion of the events or the wormhole would result in immediate incarceration on the penal colony of their choosing. The area was labeled as a warp damaged hazard and quarantined from public travel.
To Captain Boughmont and his two colleagues time was of the essence. With all that had happened with the last wormhole it was hard not to jump the gun, so to speak. Whatever was on the other side of that thing, be they peaceful or not, would not be allowed to cross over without permission. They, on the other hand, needed to gather as much data as possible. So far, with one probe destroyed without question and the other picking up nothing useful but a couple of lifeless systems, and the fact that it was not in the same galaxy, the only option was to send in a reconnaissance mission to scout the locals more personally.
Boughmont's ship, the Shinobi, cloaked and plunged into the wormhole. At the same time, the other two ships, the St. Peter and the Cerberus, began to deploy their stock of self-replicating mines. The mines had proven a very effective tool in the past. After deployment was complete the two ships would remain in cloak as sentry until a more substantial fleet arrived to relieve them. They were there to guard against unwanted visitors from their own side as much as the other.
The Shinobi reached the other side in silence and immediately performed a series of passive scans. Detecting nothing in the area, not even a residual warp signature, Boughmont ordered long range active scans and waited in silence, staring at the alien starscape.
At long last Lieutenant Commander Mpala reported from tactical. "I'm finally picking up some activity Sir. It's in an asteroid belt, just on the edge of our scanner range, looks like a mining station or something."
"Helm," Boughmont felt the adrenaline start to fill his blood. "Get us to within easy short range distance. Warp 9."
Days passed as the Shinobi charged along it's course. Back in the darker rooms of Starfleet headquarters, the new wormhole was a topic of much discussion. While the incursion action of the Shinobi was a sticky subject, none could disagree that the Federation could ill afford another Dominion. With the mine field in place on their side however, the air was a little easier to breath and it was decided that this was something the President, for the time being, did not need to know.
In the Republic, news of the wormhole and it's mysterious torpedo had sparked debate as well. True, the alleged ‘missile' had only been powerful enough to knock out the survey vessels shields and did not seem to many like a missile at all, but it was argued that whoever had launched it may have been technologically inferior. Why someone would launch an attack as their first course of action was baffling, but there wasn't enough wreckage to prove anything conclusively either way. More information was definitely needed before any conclusions were to be reached. As a precaution, three Star Destroyers were deployed to guard the wormhole while scientific investigation proceeded. Four jedi would be present as well, in the event that negotiations were to commence with whatever power or powers resided on the other side.
At the wormhole, the Republic Star Destroyers Maxim, Leneer, and Sabre sat lazily by as probe droids buzzed around it's hypnotic depths, effectively propping it open. Gerra Windfire had been put in charge of the over one hundred scientists that had flocked for the chance to study the apparently naturally stable conduit and whatever was on the other side. Many of these scientists were the top minds of the galaxy and it felt odd for Gerra to be ordering them around. Even if she was the preeminent wormhole specialist in the Republic, she had never liked being in charge of things.
"Ready six probes for launch into the wormhole." Gerra watched the holographic projection rotate slowly before her.
"Probes ready for launch, Ma'am."
"Launch." A room full of scientists waited in anticipation as the six probes dropped from the Maxim's hanger and streaked toward the wormhole. With a flash they were gone.
"Something's coming through Sir!" The tactical officer of the USS Cerberus, jumped from his daydreaming.
On the main screen, the wormhole spat up six tiny objects. Within seconds they were each consumed by the self-replicating mines.
"What do you mean ‘All six have been taken off line'?" Gerra raised her voice at her insectoid graduate student in spite of herself.
"Just that! I was receiving a signal from each one of them until they reached the other side. They cleared the hole's other end and then boom. Static." The automatically translated voice and the breathing apparatus could not hide the defensive chirps and whistles of the student.
"Of course. The other side closed up on us. Lets give it one more try. Just one probe through this time and one to be the door stop. Program them to stop as soon as they get through. If they die on us again, inform the rest of the staff and Captain Pooda." Gerra flopped down into her chair to watch the next probes rocket forward. "Maybe I should arm these things with turbolasers."
"That did it, Ma'am. I'm patching the droid's feed to the projector." Everyone present turned to watched as the picture appeared, floating at the head of the room.
"That looks like a mine field!" The exclamation had come from Wa-Na Loodie, an anthropologist straight from Coruscant, who had rushed up so close to the image that his pointed nose was submersed in it.
"You're not exactly transparent Loodie. Why don't you let the rest of us take a look?" The imperious comment came from Jiari Hax, Loodie's main rival.
From a computer terminal at the back of the room an indeterminate voice chimed in, "Look, the probe is being scanned!"
At that point the room erupted in debate about anything and everything. Gerra turned to her student before heading for the door. "Inform Captain Pooda and tell him I'm on my way."
Even though they were still in cloak, the Shinobi hung back from the asteroid mining colony. The belt was relatively inactive and it had been easy for the ship to navigate safely without shields. Now they sat behind one of the larger adjacent asteroids, protected but still within beaming range.
The doors to the captain's ready room opened and Commander Bala strode in, still wearing the nondescript clothing he had donned for his reconnaissance of the colony. StarFleet Intelligence had done an intensive study on what was the most unsuspicious, unassuming, common looking attire, depending on the situation of course. To their credit, it seemed to work.
"You're not going to believe this Captain." Bala's voice matched his face's look of amazement as he held out his report. "The population's mostly Human down there!"
"Interesting." Boughmont's even tone was betrayed by his wry smile. He took the offered data pad and half looked at it. "Interesting and advantageous. For both sides if it's true."
"I did a DNA scan on one of the locals, Captain. I'm one hundred percent sure. That's about the only similarity though. Language is completely different, technology's different. I don't know too much about the culture though, translator was having a hell of a time down there. I couldn't read a damn thing either. I'll tell you one thing, that's the biggest mining colony I've ever seen in my life."
Boughmont looked at Bala, he could feel the man's excitement. Bala was a born chameleon, a spy through and through. It's what he loved, it's what he did best. "I want you to put together some gear for a long term stay..."
The Shinobi left the asteroid field, three men short, following a small commercial freighter. Matching the ships sublight speed, Boughtmont prepared for warp, intending to trail the ship to it's next port.
"They're powering up their main engines and making an alignment change, Sir," Lieutenant Gerard reported from the helm, waiting for orders. "I'm not detecting a warp signature."
With a burst of energy, the freighter seemed to stretch and then disappeared. One moment it was there, the next it was gone. No space warp, no trail to follow.
"Did they just go into cloak? Did they see us?" Shinobi's captain felt a tingle of apprehension.
"If it's a cloak it's not one our sensors can detect, Captain," Mpala answered at tactical. "Long range scans show nothing either. As far as Shinobi's concerned, the freighter's just... gone."
"Align us with that last vector Ensign. Maximum warp. Let's see how fast that little ship is really going." Superlight speed without warp? What else were they going to have up their sleeves.
The Republic Star Destroyer Leviathan sidled up to the Traveeca asteroid belt trying to get as clear a transmission through to the colony without having to blast away any of their profitable rocks.
"This is Star Destroyer Leviathan to Traveeca mining colony," a young com/scan officer made contact. "What is it we can do for you, Governor?"
"Leviathan. Yes, good." The balding administrator wiped his head distractedly, eyes shifting as he spoke. The young ensign had seen a lot of this reaction. Star Destroyers still carried very bad connotations with a lot of the older generation. "We started picking up some unusual spatial disruptions a day or so ago. I hadn't really had time to do much about it and it didn't seem to be too pressing considering it wasn't spreading and all..."
"Yes Governor. Thank you for bringing this to our attention," If only the messages from these asteroid colonies didn't get so garbled going through the belt, the ensign started to daydream.
"No, wait!" The bald old man waved his hands, frantically trying to ward off disconnection. "It's just that the disruption left this afternoon. Sensors seem to think it was following a local freighter, the Buckrider it says here. I don't want anyone thinking my operation is environmentally unsound! I've got enough to worry about besides fines and shutdowns."
"Thank you, Sir. All civilian tips are appreciated. Leviathan out." That wasn't so painful now was it you old bastard, the ensign thought. Didn't he know by now that they were a kinder, gentler navy?
With a quick scan of the area to confirm the warps in space, the ensign passed the information on to his superior. From there it traveled it's way up the chain of command until ten minutes later Captain Mulby was being informed.
"Oh happy day," the captain sang to his executive officer sarcastically. "We get to give damaged freighters free rides to dry dock. Next we'll have to get out with mops and clean up the mess. I'm going to my office if you need me."
The first officer laughed. "Com/Scan, see if you can't get a fix on that damaged ship. Give them a shout and tell them to heave to. Helm, follow that trail!"
"Sir," the com/scan bridge officer shouted up from his pit. "I've got hold of the ship in the sensors but there's something odd. It's doing lightspeed but it's not using hyperspace."
"How fast?" The Commander didn't think you could go past the speed of light without hyperspace.
"A little less than a billion kilometers a second, Sir. They aren't responding to hails. Oh, and Sir, Traveeca told us they were identified as the Buckrider. This ship displays no Republic identification."
The Leviathan's second in command shook the strange details from his head and acted on the situation. "Helm, give me a quick jump. Land us three billion kilometers in front of that ship. Tactical, as soon as we come out of hyperspace I want her caught in a tractor beam. Go!"
The bridge crew of the Shinobi all concentrated on the screen in front of them. The vessel they had been pursuing moments before was now forgotten. Someone had spotted them, someone very, very big.
"They're hailing us Sir. They know we're here but they've made no move to intercept at any significant speed." Mpala couldn't keep his eyes off the monster on his tactical display.
"Don't jump the gun yet Mr. Mpala," Boughmont's mind was moving faster than his ship. "All stop. Cut main power. All I want is life support, the viewer, and the cloak and even then I want everyone holding their breath."
The Shinobi's sudden stop took the footing out from under a number crew members. As the lights dimmed and computer terminals went blank everyone paused and waited silently, expectantly. A second later and the behemoth ship in pursuit was gone, only to reappear far ahead. In another, they were somehow right on top of them. At this range it's wedge shape and rear tower were clearly visible. The monster began to move steadily towards their position.
"They're at a stop, Sir," The Leviathan's tactical officer announced as they returned to sublight. "Shall I still tractor them?"
"Don't bother yet," came the captain's reply as he strode in. "I've got it now Commander. Com/Scan, why can't I see it?"
"Sorry, Sir," a second of button pushing and a green outline of the small vessel appeared over it's relative position in space. "They've been using a form of wide spectrum cloak. The gravimetric sensors picked them up right away and I actually didn't remember that you couldn't see them up there. Now they're just sitting dead."
On the Shinobi, Boughmont watched as a ship that looked as though it could run his right over without noticing, came to a stop kilometers away.
"Boy's and girls, I think the jig is up." The captain began to contrive his best diplomatic smile. "Restore main power, raise shields, decloak and let me hear that hail. Let's hope the computer's been able to figure out this language."
Everything powered up and the lights brightened as the Shinobi decloaked.
"...Unidentified freighter, this is the Republic Star Destroyer Leviathan. Your propulsion system is in violation of Republic environmental code 636-E. Please take your main engines off line and prepare for docking procedure."
"Still no positive translation Captain. I think they think we're a freighter? And there's something about an environmental problem."
"Freighter? Environmental problem? Are we leaking anything?" That was one thing he hadn't expected them to say.
"No Sir," came the reply. "The ship's 100 percent. I don't detect them leaking anything either. Nor have they raised shields."
"Captain Mulby, they're finally returning the hail." The com/scan officer had a note of confusion in his voice. "The computer doesn't recognize the language as any known in the galaxy. It's having a hard time piecing together a translation."
"Unknown ship and language," Mulby commented to his commander. "They must really be hicks."
"Looks like we're going to have to do this Imperial style," the Exec returned.
"Looks like. Com/Scan, advise them we are unable to understand their communications and that we are authorized to impound their vessel under Republic law. Let's hope they understand us more than we do them. Then inform hanger control of our new guests. Tactical, target tractor beam and pull them in."
Moments after the Destroyers transmission, the Shinobi shuttered and began to move against it's will.
"Tractor beam Sir. They intend to swallow us whole."
Impound the Shinobi?! Capture was not an acceptable outcome of this mission. "Mr. Mpala, lock phasers on that beam emitter and break us free. Mr. Gerard take evasive action the moment we're loose. Where the hell is Hora!?"
A stream of visible energy connected the two ships for a split second and the Shinobi was free, darting along the lower hull of the larger vessel.
"Number two tractor beam is gone, Sir."
"Oh!? Well! Firing on my ship I do not appreciate," Mulby's tone was stern and in control. "Shields up. Jamming field up. Gunnery officer, give them something to think about. One light turbolaser please. Whoever they are, if they're going to act like pirates we'll treat them like pirates."
Seconds later, a burst of green energy streaked from the Star Destroyer to land squarely on the smaller ships nose.
"Shields down five percent Sir."
Boughmont smiled despite the slight jerk of the ship, "If that's all they've got I'd say their bark is a little worse than their bite."
At that moment the turbo lift opened and Commander Hora rushed to stand next to his captain. "Sorry Sir, caught me in the shower." The Betazoid adjusted his collar and stared at the colossus filling the viewer.
"Too many life-forms to get a clean picture, Captain," Hora proceeded. "Most of the crew of that ship, though, don't even know anything is going on. If I knew where the bridge on it was, maybe I could be of more help?"
"Actually Commander, I don't think it really matters," Boughmont replied casually. "Mr. Mpala, let's introduce our new friends to the story of David and Goliath. Phasers at maximum, target that gun emplacement and any others you can detect."
"Sir," Mpala sounded concerned. "The computer is having trouble targeting the ship let alone finding the gun emplacements. They've set up a jamming field I can't break through."
"Don't tell me what you can't do, Lieutenant," the captain shot in annoyance.
"Switching to manual control."
The bridge crew of the Shinobi watched the jumping, pulsing, multiplying, static covered image of the Leviathan on the main screen as Mpala manually targeted and fired. The beam stabbed into space, wide of it's mark.
"No use, Sir," the tactical officer stated in frustration. "The only way we're going to hit that thing is if we either get close enough to break through this field or somebody looks out a window."
Captain Boughmont's face remained calm. "Get us in as close as we can. As soon as you have a shot Mr. Mpala, take it. Engineering, I nee..."
The order was belayed by a cloud of green bolts that peppered the ship. Boughmont flinched as a plasma conduit exploded behind him.
"Shields now down seventy five percent, Sir. Hull breaches on all decks, starboard side..."