"Citadel" - TGG story by Sunhawk (Zohan Origins)

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"Citadel" - TGG story by Sunhawk (Zohan Origins)

Post by Steve » 2007-08-26 06:51am

I've been asked to post this, it helps in introducing the Zohan that are coming into play in the other big TGG stories being written by myself and Marina.

Part 1 - Exodus

Languid waves of desperation
Fall before the rains
A vanguard to approaching war
Is borne upon the sea
The icy breath of cyclones bent
On waging our destruction
Drills hard against the hearts of heroes
Called here to defend

The very air was heavy and acrid, laced with lingering smoke from a raging fire in a nearby compartment. The displays within the room flickered on occassion, some had burned out completely from powersurges that had overloaded their protective breakers, others simply had test patterns flickering as the computers that drove them had been destroyed. The deck lurched and shook, as if the massive ship was caught in a mighty storm. They were down to backup power now, all that could be spared from running the array of shields and thundering weapons, from maintaining the Tannhauser Discontinuoutity that was the only hope for escape for millions... and power was slowly fading as the ship took hits from weapons far beyond what it had been designed to face.

Despite the battering, despite the damage, the massive BattleCarrier still roared defiance back at the enemy, thundering broadsides of ravening energy smashed at the alien ships, blasting them apart in their hundreds, but their were thousands more behind them. Fighters desperately struck at the foes, suicidally attacking even though the pilots knew that it was impossible for them to recover aboard their ship. Behind the massive ship, battered UtilityShips streamed through the Gate, desperately fleeing, covered by the thunders of the BattleCarrier. At the BattleCarriers flanks hung two massive ShieldShips, nearly as titanic as the BattleCarrier itself, each contributing their own massive thunders to the fray.

The battle had raged for days, originally there had been a half-dozen BattleCarriers and their ShieldShips holding the portal, but the others had already transitted and were waiting on the other side, their own broods of ShieldShips and StingShips and Strikeships and UtilityShips safe. Now this ship stood alone and at bay, the only defense between the ravening alien hordes and the rest of the refugee fleet.

I see storms on the horizon
I see the tempest at the gates
I see storms on the horizon
And a citadel alone
Clinging brave defying fate

"The last non-combat ship is through, Senior Executive Mar'tov" came the hurried report from one of the still operational communications consoles.

"Very well, transmit to both ShieldShips, withdraw through the portal immediately, transmit to all surviving fighters, withdraw through the portal immediately, we will hold." Mar'tov barked from the central command station. "Engineering, reconfigure Tannhauser drive for self-transit as soon as the last fighter is through. Damage-Control, we need main power back online as soon as possible. Gunnery, go to maximum rate on all 15 and 50 centimeter PPACs, disregard overheat warnings."

The deck lurched as massive energy transfer battered the shields, which barely held against the blow. On the secondary viewscreen the effects of the orders were already apparant, both ShieldShips obeying their instructions and beginning transit, still firing up to the last instant, the specks of fighters either racing to the Gate, or, and each time he saw it Mar'tov still winced, ramming into an alien starship in a desperate attempt to win that much more time for the BattleCarrier to withdraw.

And I will stand here at the gates to face the onslaught fighting
Without surrender or defeat
With Troy besieged by tyrants' greed - (tyranny)
In Hector's memory, God willing
We shall save this victory
Without surrender or defeat

The Zohan had a long record of victory, even against appalling odds. But nothing in their long history had been this desperate, this brutal. They could not win, the best they could hope for was to escape with their lives, there was no victory against a foe that so thoroughly outmatched them. It was a bitter thought, the very manuever which had been intended as the Zohans ultimate bid for freedom had instead resulted in this. True, the Empire was no more, the Masters could never have stood against these foes, and the Zohan had detected the deaths of worlds as the aliens had erupted from the sudden rifts in the very fabric of space-time caused by the Crashs of millions of permanent Gates. But that was scant comfort, for the aliens were just as hellbent on annihilating the Zohan, already trillions had died, the despairing signals of lost fleets as they were overwhelmed by the swarming monstrousities had reduced many of the survivors to despair.

But in the very rifts that had spawned such death and despair lay the seeds for hope, frantic Engineers and Scientists had studied them, and determined a crude manner of causing the creation of more of them via the BattleCarriers Tannhauser Gate drives, more controlled ones, and theoritically they could lead elsewhere... to safety, and if they managed to close them behind themselves then they would survive. The data had been transmitted to all surviving Zohan fleets, and the Engineers had desperately worked minor miracles modifying the drives as the aliens had swept inexorably closer to the fleeing fleets. Hundreds more BattleCarriers sacrificed themselves to slow the onrushing tide of death to give the others the chance to escape, taking countless numbers of aliens into death with them.

As far as they could determine, they were the last Zohan still alive in their own universe, other fleets had reported successful escapes, most of their own had made it through to the other side, and even if they died, the Gate would die with them, the survivors were safe, but they were still at risk, staring Death's empty eyesockets down, and desperately battling to avoid meeting the reaper.

Sudden silence - I realize
Breaking teardrops in the rain
With every breathing moment
The pillars are sustained
Waking hands attached to nothing
Tightly clutching close
Each sleeping vision speaks unheard
And heaven only knows (exactly why)

"Hull penetration at frame 478 on deck 35, moderate damage, damage control team en-route. Starboard primary shield generator at 20%, secondary generator is online at 87%. Main power restored to Drive and weaponry, Damage Control reports unable to yet restore it to shields, they are still on backup power supply which is at 42%." came the rapid fire reports from various stations on the bridge as displays flickered and danced. With the withdrawal of the ShieldShips and the majority of the fighters the aliens were pressing closer with each moment, and damage was mounting.

"All fighters are through Gate, Senior Executive Mar'tov!" came the welcome cry from communications.

"Activate self-transit sequence immediately." barked Mar'tov, even as the BattleCarrier shuddered from yet another series of heavy hits, lurching like a galleon trapped in a hurricane.

Outside all was chaos around the massive ship, the Aliens pressing closer even as the thunderous broadsides chewed them up and dispersed them into clouds of debris. The immense Tannhauser Discontinuity itself seemed to writhe and twist, and then actually began to move, engulfing the BattleCarrier as it began it's own transit. Even as it shifted it started to collapse in on itself, but at a slow rate, one slow enough that the BattleCarrier would be on the far side of the Discontinuity when it closed completely.

Paris' arrow landed true
Paris' arrow landed true
Paris' arrow landed true
Down upon your heel...

This Troy
She will not fall again
This Troy
She will not fall
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-08-27 05:50am

This part is mostly by Ed, but I wrote the Alliance-side of the scenes.

Universal Designate GS-42

The fleet hung in space, near an unremarkable planetless red dwarf star. Most of the vessels were only lightly damage, a few sear marks here and there, some buckled plating, but otherwise unscathed. But three of the giants were floating wrecks, pounded and seared, blackened and battered. Six massive BattleCarriers, 12 nearly as stupendous ShieldShips, 58 StrikeShips that looked small only in comparison to the titans, and 210 UtilityShips, some more battered than others. One of the BattleCarriers and the two accompanying ShieldShips were in the center of the formation, protectively encircled by the others as the firefly sparks of thousands of cutters and welders glittered against the dim bulks.

The major atmosphere leaks had already been patched at least, but the survey crews were still cataloguing the total extent of the damage. So far it was estimated that almost half of the BattleCarriers crew had perished in the desperate fighting, with slightly smaller percentages on board the two ShieldShips. Most of the dead had fallen in the final instants of the battle when the starboard shields had totally failed, that entire flank of the ship was a slagged ruin. Here and there on the port side and scattered about the ventral and dorsal surfaces lights glowed, as despite the damage, despite the destruction, the crew of the ship, like those of the two accompanying ShieldShips, were still aboard, even in the midst of the repairs. There simply wasn't enough capacity aboard the other ships to evacuate the crews, and unless they could bring the regenerative life-support systems back up to full capacity it was likely that the crew that had survived the alien attack would still die as their long-endurance backup lifesupport systems finally failed.

Despite offers from several of the other BattleCarriers, Mar'tov still remained aboard his command, controlling the repair work with the same discipline and resolve as he had faced the enemy. It had been three days, and progress was good so far, the leaks had been patched even faster than he had expected, although restoring the main reactors was taking longer than expected as more and more damaged control runs were diagnosed. Outside the ship itself crews had constructed several small platforms to support the repair work, and already shuttles configured for raw material recovery were heading towards the systems lone asteroid belt. Thin as it was, it was the only source for material in the system, and until his command was repaired Mar'tov was unwilling to move the fleet in a search for a better location.

Technical crews from the other vessels in the fleet had attached themselves to the repair efforts, the spare supplies and equipment helping almost as much as the infusion of skilled engineers and specialists to replace those lost in battle. At the central command station Mar'tov coordinated the work alongside the ship's senior surviving Engineering Executive, an exhausting effort, but he had forgotten what sleep was, in the past three days he'd barely managed to catch an hour or so of sleep at a time before some fresh crisis erupted requiring his attention. Most of his most senior subordinates had perished in the secondary command center when a freak explosion had destroyed the entire section of the ship, leaving Mar'tov with no other Senior Executives to spread the command load. Already old by Zohan standards, he showed every long year of his age, but like a tough old oak tree he bore up under the pressure, in many ways thriving on the chaos and stress.

"Sensor Contact at 12 hours! Bearing 46 true 21 low, under warp propulsion at .7, unidentified drive type, not matching anything in our contact database" suddenly came from an open commline from one of the other BattleCarriers which had fully operational sensors...

"Do we have anything on our arrays?" Mar'tov asked, turning to glance at the young sensor operator.

"Not at that bearing, Senior Executive Mar'tov." came the reply. "We lost all sensors in that quadrant, we are receiving a live feed now."

"Project it on my display" answered Mar'tov. In response a small holodisplay flickered into existance beside his station. The vessel shown was extremely small, scan resolution poor at this range even with fully functional sensors, but by rough configuration it did not appear very military in nature, unless the military technology was radically different than anything the Zohan had ever encountered before.

As the ship came closer the resolution firmed up, and the obvious large cargo hatches confirmed Mar'tovs initial impression, a merchant vessel of some sort, although extremely small for such a role.

"Classify as a non-threat, Communications, what is the status of our broad-spectrum transmitter?"

"Powered down at this time, Senior Executive Mar'tov, with the power feed diverted to hydroponics four." came the response, prompting Mar'tov to frown. "Very well, have..." he cut off as the contact suddenly swerved radically and sped up. "Well... disregard, they will be out of range before any signal could reach them. I wonder..." he trailed off, tapping one finger on the armrest of his station.

D.N.S. New Wichita, Interstellar Space
En Route to Unknown Contacts
ADN Space

The New Wichita was an older vessel, an American SE-1 Tampa Bay-class heavy cruiser built during the Neo-Nazi Rebellion over thirty years prior, now assigned to the Alliance Stellar Navy and in use in low-priority areas to free up ships for the war fronts against Plymouth and the Dominion. Her armament was old - four double turrets of Type IV Pulse Nuclear-Disruptors and four triple turrets of 180mm particle cannons, with an anti-matter torpedo launcher on the fore and aft sides.
Now under the orders of her captain, Lieutenant Captain Rana al-Rashad, she was moving at warp speed as fast as her Cochrane drives could take her, to investigate the merchant call and a subsequent alert from sector command of a new mass reading in the proximity of Gamma Sircolis-329. Lt. Captain al-Rashad was an Arabic woman, from one of the more liberal Islamic communities living in the boundaries of the United Nation-States of Earth from Universe PA-6 - she herself was privately an agnostic, though she never dared mention it to her family.

"We're getting the unknown fleet on sensors now, Sir," a French-accented man at the sensor station remarked. "A large number of readings... I cannot determine them exactly, the ship's sensor package is not up to the task."
"Prepare to bring them on screen, and to dispatch a hail. All hands to standby stations, power up weapons and raise deflectors.... but do not target weapons or open torpedo tube doors."
"Yes Sir..."

BattleCarrier 000879cc765a78f0 (hereinafter known as Mar'tov's Command)
Tannhauser Limit, Gamma-Sircolis-329

"Contact report! 14 hours, 110 True, 36 high, under warp-propulsion at .93, unidentified drive signature, not matching any database entries. Detecting active shields on contact."

"Sound General Quarters throughout the fleet, do not, repeat do not engage targetting sensors, weapons are not free at this time. Communications, transmit the previously dictated package across all available frequencies timed to arrive at projected emergence point at time of arrival. Raise shields and engage point-defense, fleet disposition as per Operational Order Fourteen." barked Mar'tov, settling back in his command chair. "All fighters to full stealth operation, all detached shuttles to go full stealth as well, execute command."

The fleet shifted, the titans remaining in place, but the far smaller StrikeShips formed a loose perimeter with the non-combat UtilityShips shifting to place the BattleCarriers between themselves and the incoming contact.

D.N.S. New Wichita

When the ship came out of warp Lt. Capt. al-Rashad was immediately informed of the number of vessels in system. Not only were there over two hundred and fifty individual power signatures, but the older mass sensors of the New Wichita were showing that a number of them were stupendously large, and there were dozens of ships in the unknown fleet that dwarfed the New Wichita. "No entries in the database," the sensor officer added.
Suddenly the young tan-skinned American at the comms spoke up, saying "Sir, picking up transmission. It appears to be some form of calibration and first contact package, the standard list of prime numbers and ideograms. I'm working to line up a bandwidth with it now...."
"The translator systems?"
"Working on it now, sir...," he replied.
"When you have it working, transmit our first contact protocols in reply, and a simple query, identifying this ship, informing them of Alliance possession of this space, and requesting their purpose." Rana looked to the sensor officer. "Mister Foucalt, status of their weapons?"
"Their weapons seem to be hot, but I am not reading emissions, Captain, they are not targeting us."
"Make sure we return that favor. Keep torpedo tubes closed and targeting systems inactive until I give the word."

Mar'tovs Command

"Contact has gone sublight as projected, Senior Executive Mar'tov, no targetting emissions, however power trace analysis indicates most likely their armaments are powered up. Mass reading confirmed, that vessel is barely half the mass of a StrikeShip with apparant armament, based on power traces, approximating a GunShip. We have not received a... correction, incoming signal on subband radio, running through standard filters now" came staccato reports from various portions of the command center, the Zohan all speaking nearly simaltaneously.

"Once it has been passed through the filters run full analysis on the transmission, Sensor Technician Ad're" replied Mar'tov, who then turned his attention back to his own display, steepling his fingers before him. "Tentative classification of target as not actively hostile. Once we know what they said in that transmission..." he lifted one eyebrow and trailing off, looking over at the communications section.

"We have it, Senior Executive Mar'tov, contents passed filtering, no harmful payload, contact identified as D.N.S. New Wichita of something called the Alliance of Democratic Nations." a pause as the console was worked. "They are stating that this is their claimed space and are requesting our purpose in being here."

"As expected, live microphone, no video"

"Microphone is live."

"This is Senior Executive Mar'tov, commanding BattleCarrier 000879cc765a78f0, command ship of Fleet 5a78f. We did not intend to intrude on your space, Lt. Captain Al-Rashad, however due to damage taken in hostile action prior to our arrival in your space we are currently unable to depart this sytem." a brief pause as the elder Zohan steepled his fingers again. "We would prefer a peaceful resolution, Lt. Captain Al-Rashad, and shall only offer violence if violence is suffered. Our thanks for your restraint in not activating your targetting systems, please be assured that we shall not target you."

With a simple gesture the microphone was deactivated. "Transmit at once, prepare a shuttle for departure."

D.N.S. New Wichita

"What kind of race names their ships with alphanumeric sequences?" asked Lt. Commander Avery Lewis. The former basketball player, once a key player of the Navy Academy Basketball team that got to the Final Four in 2126 AST, was taller and larger than Rana, who stood barely at five feet five inches.
"Most races do, just that we add meaningful names," Rana replied. "And as I recall, some countries name destroyers with just letters and numbers.... Anyway, their claim of damage? Can we substantiate?"
"I've been scanning them closely. Several ships do show battle damage, sir, and one in particular looks like it was viciously hammered."
"Sir, dispatch from Sector Command!" the sensor officer remarked. "They've dispatched Glorious and her CVTG to our position. ETA 12 hours."
Such was the cost of being in a normally quiet sector; help was hours, even days, away. Taking in the news, Rana ordered, "Send an immediate comm message to Glorious and Sector Command, informing them that the contact appears non-hostile and may require humanitarian aid. Re-establish my link to Battlecarrier Zero Zero Zer.... to the flagship of Senior Executive Mar'tov." Rana wasn't about to list out the entire alphanumeric designator. "See if they have visual channel, I want to see if these people are willing to show themselves."
"Yes, Sir."

Mar'tovs Command

"They are requesting a visual channel, Senior Executive Mar'tov" spoke up the communications technician.

"Really..." Mar'tov paused, then rose to his feet. "I do not want them to see the command center" he continued, "Therefore, I shall be in my office." he turned and stepped through a hatch into a small, spartan chamber dominated by a large desk with a built-in comm unit, the only other objects in the room were the data terminal, a small sleeping pad, and a chair.

The elder Zohan settled into the chair and activated the data terminal and configured it to repeat the main command center displays before keying the comm unit. "Route transmission to and from this station."

"Acknowledged and done, Senior Executive Mar'tov."

A small red light glowed in one corner of the display, indicating a non-secure live linkup.

"I am Senior Executive Mar'tov, I understand you wished a visual channel." he said simply, looking old and worn, wearing a full environmental suit with only the helmet removed. He wasn't a particularly tall Zohan, but the utter featurelessness of the office readily denied any easy points of reference in that regard, her eyes were still sharp, despite obvious weariness.

"It is usually an important step in First Contact situations," replied Rana over the channel. Her eyes were a chocolate brown color, her face on the narrow side with lips of a moderate thickness and short dark hair. "My superiors have already dispatched vessels to this area, and I have requests that humanitarian aid also be delivered. My cruiser alone isn't capable of much, but how can we help you, as I'm certain from the damage you have many wounded."

"We are not very well versed in such situations" Mar'tov replied, steepling his fingers as was his habit. "As for wounded," he paused, looking for a moment even older "There were few who were injured who survived the battle, of the remainder most have recovered, we have sufficient medical facilities for the remainder, but I am unfamiliar with what resources you would have available, so do not have a detailed listing of requirements suitable to said resources at hand. Based on the mass of your vessel I sincerely doubt that you would be able to assist with our most pressing issue, unless your life support systems are both compatible with our own and vastly overly potent in comparison to your likely crew compliment."

"What kind of life support troubles do you have? I can make a dispatch to Sector Command to send appropriate supplies and repair teams." Given the situation, Rana had not yet requested information on their background; typical protocol was to wait for a Department of Initial Contact rep to do such things.

"Main Life Support is at only 15% capacity due to battle damage, secondary systems are reduced to 80% and are overloaded, we are currently conserving life support resources via emergency suits and systems" he replied, not even considering falsification. "However we are down to 52% occupancy due to battle losses, however prior to the damage we were at 120% capacity." his voice was steady enough, almost too much so, but his expression could have been carved from stone. Those were his people, Zohan he was ultimately responsible for, not simply statistics. They were the ones he had failed to save.

The statistics were a emotionless way of saying that half of the ship's crew was gone, killed in battle. Rana wasn't sure why he'd put it so coldly, but this was an alien culture here... perhaps there was more meaning in that for them than for a Human. "You have my condolences and that of my crew," she responded aimably. "Unfortunately my ship is old and doesn't have the resources or volume to aid you on life support. But I am sending a further signal to my superiors asking for support ships and spare reserves of... do you breathe oxygen or another gas?"

Mar'tov actually smiled slightly. "We breathe an nitro-oxygen mixture" he replied, then glanced over at the data terminal and nodding slightly at something he saw there. "We are sending a data packet with acceptable minimal standards for Zohan life support." he continued. "We have sufficient rations, however atmosphere regeneration is a critical need, unfortunately the rest of the fleet lacks sufficient excess atmospheric processing capacity to fully fill our needs, however repairs are progressing at an acceptable rate."

"Very well, I'll have this information dispatched. I've also made a call for a contact specialist to speak with you, and to make any further arrangements necessary. My ship will remain nearby, and I'll speak to my engineering staff about anything we can do to alleviate your life support concerns. New Witchita out."

Mar'tov nodded and simply leaned forward and deactivated the comm unit before rising to his feet and heading back out to the Command Center. "Stand down to Condition Two and resume repair work, fighters to recover as discretely as possible, shuttles may deactivate stealth systems." he ordered as he walked to the command console and took his seat there. "Upgrade evaluation of D.N.S New Wichita to non-hostile, maintain passive tracks and keep a sharp eye out for additional contacts in the near future."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-08-29 07:29pm

Can you hear the breath of the observer
Can you hear the quanta calling back?
The arguments of motivation
Implore my distant muse to act
Sentiment spent on emotions
Derived from our eternal spark
All beyond our comprehension
Watching protons in the dark

BattleCarrier 000879cc765a78f0 (hereinafter known as Mar'tovs command)
Tannhauser Limit, Gamma-Sircolis-329
Universal Designator GS-42

"We have primary life support up to 26% capacity, however secondary systems are down to 72 percent. All atmospheric leaks have been patched and the patchs are holding, atmosphere loss has ceased at this time. Main power is now fully online, grid repairs are progressing as expected. Damage survey is 86% complete, complicated by difficulty accessing remaining starboard spaces. Raw material processing has begun on the material drawn from the asteroid belts, chemical composition is acceptable to begin forming needed parts. Communications is at full capacity once more, all primary arrays operational. Repairs to sensor arrays progressing at an acceptable pace." came various reports from about the Command Center, part of the unending progress updates and reports.

Mar'tov sat at the primary command console, listening to the flowing reports, but his eyes rested on the main viewscreen, centered upon the miniscule warship that floated nearby, a mere gnat compared to the giants of his own command.

"New contact, correction, new contacts, 17 hours, 110 true, 34 high, under warp propulsion at .9. Twenty distinct point sources, emissions signatures resemble those of D.N.S New Wichita. Rate probability of this being the additional units mentioned by Lt. Captain Rana Al-Rashad as high, however unable to positively identify units."

"Put the data up on the main screen" commanded Mar'tov, who then frowned at the datacodes, indicating estimated mass and volumes of the incoming vessels. One was about the same mass as one of the StrikeShips, the others were all smaller, with many being even smaller than the D.N.S New Wichita. "Interesting" he murmured, steepling his fingers in front of him. "Open an audio link to Lt Captain Rana Al-Rashad, do not mention that we have detected the incoming vessels, request from her an estimated arrival time and match that up with the contact."

D.N.S. New Wichita

"The Zohan are requesting an ETA on our 'additional units', Sir" said the current watchkeeper at Communications. "How shall we respond?"

"Advise them of the current ETA from our last communication"

"Aye aye, Sir, transmitting now"

Mar'tovs Command

"The estimated arrival time matchs up with the contacts projected emergence within two minutes." came the report from Communications.

"Very well, tag the incoming contact as non-hostile." Mar'tov replied then rose to his feet. "Clear shuttle bay alpha-six of all craft, deactivate all repeater displays there. Verify that the bay is fully functional in all respects otherwise, but have a crew go over the compartment to ensure that there are no sensitive equipment on display. Likewise clear corridor 426 and meeting room 32. Have Combat Executive Ma'rim and Combat Executive Dra'nat suit up and go full stealth inside the bay in case they attempt anything untoward, I believe that they are friendly, however we shall not take any risks we do not have to."

Mar'tov didn't wait for any acknowledgement as he entered the small office off to the side of the Command Center.

D.N.S. Glorious
Approaching Gamma-Sircolis-329

"Contacts on long-range scanners matching sources from New Wichita, Sir" reported CPO/1st Warren Zelniak from his console in CIC. "Two hundred and ninety six confirmed point sources, the smallest sources approximately 80% of our own mass, the largest.." a pause "Almost ten times our own mass at minimum, there are 6 of the largest contacts, 12 that come in at 6 times our mass, 58 of our own mass, and 210 of the 80% mass contacts. We are too far out to confirm the small-craft activity reported by New Wichita."

"Route the data to the bridge, Chief" ordered Lt Commander Blazwell, the ships Assistant Tactical Officer who currently was holding down the CIC watch. "Ms Markus, send the data out over the tacnet to the task group."

The willowy Lt(JG) seated at the datalink control station started working even as she replied with a crisp "Aye Aye, Sir, transmitting now".

On the bridge, a tall thin man in a crisply pressed uniform sat in the main command chair. His uniform was better tailored than standard issue, with multiple minor non-regulation touchs that only made it appear even more elegant. Captain Mikhail Sumonov was a born aristocrat, but one who had proven his utter competence over the years. Under his command, D.N.S. Glorious ran like a finely made Swiss watch, taut and efficient and absolutely precise. The compartment was dimmed, the better to read the display outputs, and even though the contacts had already been identified as a friendly First Contact the bridge crew still were as crisp and efficient as ever.

"Dropping sublight in ten minutes, Captain" came the report from the helm. "We are on profile for a zero-zero rendevouz with New Wichita as specified."

"Excellent, Lt." acknowledged Captain Sumonov before he pressed the comm button on his command chair. "Admiral? We are on schedule for rendevouz as planned, no anomalies from the sensor data sent by Lt Captain Al-Rashad detected."

Up on the Flag Bridge, Rear Admiral Clarence Ogden nodded, physically almost the polar opposite of his flag captain, Admiral Ogden was relatively short and beefy, a powerful wrestlers physique. "That is good to hear, Captain, thank you." he replied, as politely as was his habit. He turned slightly and nodded to his own communications officer. "Lieutenant Simons, please instruct the Task Group to come to General Quarters for emergence, but keep all weaponry locked down, there is no need to rattle sabers so long as it is obvious the situation is friendly." he continued.

"Yes Sir, transmitting now." came the crisp response.

Mar'tovs Command

"Incoming contacts have dropped sublight at projected emergence point, at present course and deceleration profile will zero-zero with D.N.S. New Wichita in 5 minutes. We have visual contact with the new arrivals, appears to be one main vessel with 5 large escort vessels of varying configurations and fourteen significantly smaller vessels in four different configurations."

"Remain at alert, route any communications requests directly to my station." ordered Mar'tov from his desk in the small office, the comm display blanked, with datafeeds still coming in to the terminal. The elder Zohan simply waited, fingers steepled in front of him.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-08-29 07:34pm

All the love and all the hatred
Split from our desire to be
All the love and all the hatred
Leading to hostilities
All the saints and all the prophets
All the secrets that you keep
Exist with one inriguing question
Tell me dearest - who are we?

BattleCarrier 000879cc765a78f0 (hereinafter known as Mar'tovs command)
Tannhauser Limit, Gamma-Sircolis-329
Universal Designator GS-42

The corridor had been completely cleared, the only Zohan moving through it Mar'tov and two of his more experienced Executives. Mar'tov was still wearing the same slightly stained plain grey environmental suit, as the Command Center was still operating on secondary life-support and thus use of the suits was indicated for prolonging supplies, however neither of his colleagues did. Navigation Executive Flu'rim and Combat Executive Gren'net flanked Mar'tov, Flu'rim to his right, Gren'net to his left, and as this section of the ship was operating off of primary life-support, they had both set their environmental suits to recharge.

All three of them had slightly abstracted looks as their cybernetic comms tied into datastreams, tracking the progress of the shuttle sent from the largest of the Alliance vessels and it's two fighter escort. Otherwise, however, they moved with the crisp efficiency that was their wont, not wasting any energy on extraneous motion. Their pace slowed somewhat, as they intended to reach the shuttle bay's airlock right as these 'humans' came aboard, rather than be obviously waiting for them to arrive.

Henry Calvin was not very happy. Just hours ago he had been roused from his sleep in his Boston home and alerted that a first contact situation had developed with an unknown race. Within just an hour or two he had been put on a shuttle, and from there dispatched to a high-speed government courier ship to rendezvous with the carrier Glorious at the extreme range of the courier's fuel reserves, leading to several nail-biting moments when Henry had overheard the crew reporting they were out of fuel.
Now, sixteen hours after being roused out of bed, he was thrust into making the official face-to-face first contact with an unknown alien race that had just popped into Alliance space with an armada and little warning. They appeared peaceful enough, but the military people suspected they weren't being entirely open; not lying, of course, but not revealing everything. It would be his job to not just establish a good first contact but to determine anything they were hiding that could be important to Alliance security.

The shuttle made its way past the "smaller" ships, most of which were still huge, coming up upon the truly massive vessel. It had the mass of a space station, larger than anything built in the Alliance for certain, and represented what was clearly a very good shipbuilding capability among these people. Henry watched in some anxiety, running a hand through his sandy blond hair again and making sure all of his notes were in order.
There was a loud thump as the shuttle entered the unknown vessel's landing bay, and Henry swallowed. This was it....

The three Zohan Executives reached the shuttle bay gallery right as the lock began it's opening sequence after confirming a solid seal, and simply stood in the same formation that they had been in while walking down the corridor. Unseen in the shadows of the gallery, one on either side, were a pair of combat battlearmor, each suit over twice as tall as the diminutive Zohan who stood waiting. The shuttle beyond the gallery seemed almost toylike, leading to a slightly wry smile on Mar'tovs face. Indeed, the gallery itself was sized to accomodate beings far larger than the Zohan, a necesary design requirement considering the need to accomodate the Masters, so just as the shuttle was dwarfed by the bay, so to were the Zohan by the gallery compartment.

Henry stepped out, accompanied by a pretty young Chinese lieutenant from the Glorious, Lt. Kiang Yu Ling, who had been assigned by Admiral Ogden to act as Henry's aide and secretary until a civilian replacement from the Department of Initial Contact could be sent out. His business suit was crisp and clean, Lt. Kiang wearing her formal black uniform with service ribbons and hat, a mere five feet three inches in height compared to Henry's five feet eleven inches. He was gestured to the gallery, where he saw the three figures waiting for him. And as they got closer, he realized, much to his surprise, just how small they were.
"Um, hello," he said. "I'm Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact, the branch of my government responsible for establishing first contact relations. This is Lieutenant Kiang Yu Ling, who has been assigned as my aide until the Department can send me one."

Mar'tov stepped forward slightly, the two female Zohan flanking him remaining in place. "Greetings Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact and Lieutenant Kiang Yu Ling" he replied, nodding slightly towards each of them. "I am Senior Executive Mar'tov, in command of 000879cc765a78f0 and Fleet 5a78f, as such I have the responsibility of being the senior-most Zohan within communications range, my companions are Navigation Executive Flu'rim and Combat Executive Gren'net. I welcome you aboard 000879cc765a78f0, Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact, and you as well, Lieutenant Kiang Yu Ling." The translator easily handled the conversion between trade speech and English. "I have ordered a meeting room set aside for our discussions, if you would be willing to accompany us?"

Mar'tov stepped forward slightly, the two female Zohan flanking him remaining in place. "Greetings Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact and Lieutenant Kiang Yu Ling" he replied, nodding slightly towards each of them. "I am Senior Executive Mar'tov, in command of 000879cc765a78f0 and Fleet 5a78f, as such I have the responsibility of being the senior-most Zohan within communications range, my companions are Navigation Executive Flu'rim and Combat Executive Gren'net. I welcome you aboard 000879cc765a78f0, Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact, and you as well, Lieutenant Kiang Yu Ling." The translator easily handled the conversion between trade speech and English. "I have ordered a meeting room set aside for our discussions, if you would be willing to accompany us?"

"That would be quite alright," Henry replied. What kind of race names their ships after hexidecimal units? he wondered inwardly.

Mar'tov gestured towards the exit from the bay and led the two humans along a spotless and empty corridor, being in here made it almost impossible to imagine that the ship they were on was so badly damaged. There were no other Zohan in view as the five walked along the corridor silently for almost a full minute before they arrived at their destination. "In here, Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact and Lieutenant Kiang Yu Ling" Mar'tov said, turning and gesturing politely towards the door. Inside was a simple multiple-segment table, each segment being individually adjustable so that beings of different sizes could easily sit at the same table, likewise the chairs appeared to be extremely adjustable for the same purpose. Two of the places had evidently already been configured for the two humans, the remainder were all adjusted to the shorter height preferred by Zohan.

"I must reiterate that we had no intention of trespassing within your territory, and would not have knowingly done so. However circumstances forced our hand, and while we apologize for any troubles our arrival may have caused, we will not apologize for taking the steps required for our own survival." Mar'tov began almost as soon as the group was seated, leaning forward and looking Henry straight in the eye, although that required Mar'tov to look up quite a bit.

"Oh, that is quite understandable." Henry looked over to make sure Kiang was copying down the minutes of the meeting as was her purpose, his own notes on the digital assistant device he had placed on the table in easy view. "The Alliance of Democratic Nations is a signatory to the Oslo Convention's Treaties on Passage Rights, and recognizes the Right of Innocent Passage and Emergency Passage with qualifications, and your emergency certainly falls into that category. Naturally our only concern was the sudden arrival of such a large fleet deep in our territory, and now that your purpose has been settled for the most part, we do not see the need for any form of apology. I am, in fact, empowered to make preliminary arrangements for future diplomatic discussions and on humanitarian aid of any kind that you require."

"I must confess to being unfamiliar with several of the terms you have just used, as we have no experience with things such as this 'Oslo Convention'. However it is welcome to hear that our presence is not an affront, we would not wish to start off poorly, after all." Mar'tov replied, smiling slightly. "As was communicated to Lt Captain Rana Al-Rashad, our primary difficulty at this time is expediting repairs to 000879cc765a78f0's primary life support system. There is lesser damage within the Fleet readily handled with our own resources, however 000879cc765a78f0 was, as you no doubt could tell en-route, heavily engaged and we nearly did not successfully self-transit." the smile had disappeared as he continued, face hardening slightly. "I already acquainted Lt Captain Rana Al-Rashad as to the situation, may I presume that this data was adequately transmitted to yourself?"

Kiang took a moment longer than should have been necessary for recording, and Henry could tell it was trying to decide on just how to express the hexidecimal name of the ship, though she seemed to essentially settle on the designation "Contact Flag". Keeping his attention primarily on Mar'tov, he reviewed his notes on the PDA. "Um, yes... I do see that was communicated. Engineering teams have been prepped by our vessels for aid, and life support reserves on our ships made available for your use until a freighter carrying further oxy-nitrogen mixtures can arrive. We are having some trouble finding a suitable yard where your vessel could be repaired, of course, due to the size of your vessel. We're not even sure we can generate a large enough IU jump point to get you to a larger yard."

Mar'tov tilted his head slightly "IU jump point? Regardless, we are quite used to performing major repairs and refits in free flight, as the drives are relatively undamaged it is primarily an issue of fabricating required parts and fully re-initializing the atmosphere recyling systems as well as replacing ductwork and the rest of the distribution system." his fingers steepled in front of his face as he spoke.

"Ah..." Henry replied, not quite sure of how any of that precisely worked, but willing to take the man's word for it. "Well, um, is there anything further you could have use for? If not, we can get ahead to the diplomatic protocols...."

"Those are our primary needs, and certainly, Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact." Mar'tov agreed quite amiably, and opened his mouth to continue when suddenly the entire ship shuddered violently, the room actually tilting to one side as they all were physically shifted. A loud rumbling sound echoed in the room, the sound of a massive explosion transmitted by the very structure of the ship.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-08-30 06:25am

Outside on a winter's night as the rain begins to fall
There's a chill in the air and the howl of a wolf while the rain beats at the door
Seven kings will ride on the wind up towards the mountains high
And the only sound that will break the air is the warrior's bitter cry
When the dawn of a new day will see the light then the strongest hearts grow old
And the warrior stands on top of the hill in the snow

BattleCarrier 000879cc765a78f0 (hereinafter known as Mar'tovs command)
Tannhauser Limit, Gamma-Sircolis-329
Universal Designator GS-42

A comm display popped open from the table where Mar'tov sat, and the elder Zohan frowned. "My apologies, you may desire to return to your own vessel for safety purpose." was all he said as he stood up and rapidly left the room, leaving the two younger Zohan facing the humans, both looking just a bit flustered and concerned as they tapped into their own commfeeds and paled.

From the outside, it was rather more dramatic, a sudden massive explosion erupting out of the ruined starboard flank of the titanic Battlecarrier, large enough to shove the ship to one side. Several work-shuttles were caught in the blast and likewise exploded in brilliant pinpricks of light. A fresh cloud of debris and wreckage drifted through space, some of it still glowing from the brutal heat of a nuclear detonation. From the fresh wound ripped into the hull came streamers of gas, as atmosphere vented from chambers suddenly exposed to vacuum as hull patchs let go from the concussion. Most of the station-keeping lights promptly flicked off as power was lost through much of the ship. Moments later, one of the escorting ShieldShips locked a tractor onto the BattleCarrier to help snub off the reaction movement from the blast.

D.N.S. Glorious

"Reading explosion on primary contact, Sir!"

With those words the crew of the carrier and, likely, their companions on the ship's escorts leapt to attention. "Get me Mister Calvin, immediately! Sensors, tell me what happened!"

The barked orders, accented with Captain Sumonov's Russian, brought the entire crew to immediate readiness even faster than the sudden explosion. "Flight Ops, prepare to launch S&R craft, I want all available medical personal to be ready to ship out by shuttle!"

"Sir, Mister Calvin on speaker!"

A moment later Calvin's voice cut through, heard by both Sumonov and Ogden. "There's been some kind of mishap, they haven't told me yet, but they've asked me to return to Glorious for safety reasons. Returning to the shuttle now."

"Sir, going by the explosion's location, I'd say it was an unexploded munition from whatever firefight they were in before," the officer at Sensors said. "Radiation and energy plume suggest a warhead intended for point-defense purposes."

"This is Admiral Ogden to Senior Executive Mar'tov, my task force is launching search-and-rescue recovery craft and shuttles of medical personnel to aid you. Please advise on any further developments. If abandonment of your vessel is necessary, we will do prepare transport craft."

Mar'tovs Command

"Detonation was in vicinity of Point Defense Cluster 16-45 Low, Survey Team 15 was clearing the area and we have lost all contact with them, seven workboats were destroyed by the detonation as well. We are venting atmosphere at this time, Damage Control however reports good boundary seals, the detonation forced the emergency shut down of Main Reactor Four through Seven, Engineering is currently running diagnostics to determine extent of reactor damage but it currently appears to simply be shock damage to the control runs which hadn't yet been fully repaired from the battle. We have received a transmission from Admiral Ogden advising that they are launching search-and-rescue recovery craft and sending over medical personnel."

"Casualty count?" stated Mar'tov as he settled into his command station.

"Current estimate is 400 dead from the initial blast, we are still compiling accurate data on injuries as reports come in, current reports indicate three thousand injured and the number is rising."

"Open a channel to Admiral Ogden." Mar'tov said after a pause, eyes remote as calculations whirred through his brain.

"Admiral Ogden, this is Senior Executive Mar'tov. The initial situation is contained at this time, we welcome assistance, however we do not believe we shall need to abandon. The shuttlebay used by Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact is still clear and, based on the size and numbers of small craft we detect inbound, should be able to accomodate them all."

"Understood, Senior Executive Mar'tov, we shall instruct the relief craft to dock at that location, what frequency are your search and rescue teams on?"

"ShieldShip 000879cc765a78f0-2 is coordinating external search operations, however they have not reported detecting any survivors from the immediate blast area, there are four crippled workboats that are in the process of recovery at this time, transmitting communication protocals for ShieldShip 000879cc765a78f0-2 at this time for your crews to coordinate operations."

The lights in the command center dimmed momentarily then came back on stronger.

"I will have Navigation Executive Flu'rim and Combat Executive Gren'net remain at the shuttle bay to guide your teams appropriately, if that is acceptable to you."

"Perfectly, ETA is twelve minutes, I will leave you to your command, Senior Executive, hopefully there will be no further troubles."

"Agreed, Admiral Ogden, recovery and damage control is difficult enough without such surprises." Mar'tov replied, smiling briefly before closing the channel.

"Main power is back online, Engineering was able to bring all reactors back online, there is no additional damage to primary life support, however secondary life support is now down to 62% and we have lost a significant amount of atmosphere. Currently 46% of spaces are vented to space, internal pressure seals are currently holding, we have crews checking for seepage to ensure their integrity. 10% more compartments could be repressurized however we lack sufficient atmosphere to do so." came a series of reports as Mar'tov listened.

"Route a request for atmospheric gasses to the ADN units, how many crews do we have checking for seepage?"

"32 total, Senior Executive Mar'tov, ten percent of available damage-control personnel." came the response. A brief pause. "New report, death count up to 624, 3,822 injured, 947 critically."

Mar'tov briefly closed his eyes as he nodded, face a mask against the news. "Very well, route that data to the medical teams coming on board." he finally said, then went silent, brooding at the damage-control schematic that now hovered on the main viewscreen.

Shuttle Bay Alpha-Six - Mar'tovs Command

Navigation Executive Flu'rim and Combat Executive Gren'net were again waiting in the shuttlebay gallery, this time as it filled with the shuttles from the ADN carrier. The two Zohan were slightly on the young side for Executives, having just barely finished their Executive Test when the desperate battle had occurred, and were therefore available for less critical tasks, the more experienced Zohan fully occupied in the damage-control and repair efforts. They waited silently, attempting to mimic the studied aplomb of Mar'tov, but not quite managing to conceal their nervousness. When the first humans started exitting the shaft, Combat Executive Gren'net took a deep breath and stepped forward, being the slightly more senior of the two, having completed her Test precisely 1 minute and 15 seconds before her companion. When she spoke, however, her voice was almost perfectly steady, only a slight wavering from nerves that only a keen ear would pick up.

"I am Combat Executive Gren'net, this is Navigation Executive Flu'rim. Senior Executive Mar'tov requested that we act as liaisons between yourselves and the rest of the Executive staff and crew of 000879cc765a78f0." she introduced herself, hands clasped lightly behind her back. "We have cleared several conference rooms on this deck as well as advised our own medical staff of your arrival." she continued, managing a slight smile she meant as welcoming, but which came across as just a bit nervous as well.

"Ahhh, thank you much, ummm, Combat Executive Gren'net, you said?" was the reply from the tall redheaded officer who had exitted the shuttle first, "I'm Lieutenant Commander Marcus Fielder, we have a full medical team with us, all trained in xenomedicine." he continued, sounding just slightly flustered at meeting a pair of naked female miniature human-looking aliens in the middle of an emergency like this, even though the aliens seemed quite unconcerned with the looks they were receiving. With strict discipline, he kept his eyes on Gren'net's own while he spoke, quickly managing to banish any trace of reaction. "Surgeon Commander Alice Keyes is in command of the medical staff, I was likewise assigned to act as a liaison officer for this." he continued. Behind him the medical staff was exitting the shuttles into the gallery, toting their own equipment behind them on counter-grav pallets. What in tarnation is a 'Combat Executive' anyways? he thought in the privacy of his own mind.

"Most excellent, Lieutenant Commander Marcus Fielder" Gren'net replied what long and unusual identifiers these aliens have, just what specialty is a lieutenant commander anyways? she thought to herself as she gestured politely towards the door and waited for Lt Cmdr Fielder to step through, glancing over at Flu'rim before accompanying him. The other Zohan would wait for the last of the humans to disembark before following, trailing behind to hopefully keep anybody from getting lost. "This section suffered no actual damage from the blast and is at full pressure with fully functional atmospheric processing and power. We have several teams right now working on converting two of the habitation units into suitable temporary operating wards. Medical Executive Mor'shi requested that I inquire if your medical personnel are familiar with, I believe the term is 'cybernetics'?"

"Cybernetic repair is indeed part of the standard coursework." Answered an older woman, one elegant eyebrow slightly lifted. "I am Surgeon Commander Keyes, Combat Executive, while the medschools do indeed teach about our own cybernetic technology, I doubt that will translate fully into your own."

Gren'net nodded slightly in response OK, she's probably a doctor, if the translator is translating Surgeon correctly, and also a Commander, so I guess that means she commands doctors, does that mean Lieutenant Commanders command Lieutenants?, "Medical Executive Mor'shi simply requested I make the inquiry, beyond basic first aid I fear that I am quite unversed in medical matters, I will arrange a communications link to her for any consultation you may wish to undertake prior to starting to work with the casualties. Quite honestly, our medical facilities are not quite totally overloaded, even with this fresh set of injured, but reducing the load would be a substantial benefit. We were not overly well supplied with Medical specialists in the first place." she concluded with a slight understatement. although the looks on those Iltari bastards faces when they realized we were serious about spacing them was priceless, after all they did they still thought we'd have mercy on them she smiled slightly as she thought that, which appeared to just be a friendly expression to the humans.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-09-01 08:52am

Dark night with a glimmering light in the distance up ahead
In the forest they dwell with a misty spell no one heard what once was said
And the eagle fly through the clouds while earth bleeds dark and cold
When the voices of men will ring out again all creation shall unfold

When the colour of night will fade to light and the weakest hearts go cold
And the warrior stands on top of the hill in the snow

BattleCarrier 000879cc765a78f0 (hereinafter known as Mar'tovs command)
Tannhauser Limit, Gamma-Sircolis-329
Universal Designator GS-42

The corridor was pristine, the air fresh and crisp with a faint yet pleasant scent to it. Unlike earlier, there were other Zohan moving through the corridor on various duties, some in environmental suits, some in hard worksuits, others completely nude.

"The conference rooms are right up ahead, Lieutenant Commander Marcus Fielder, the habitation units are nearly reconfigured." stated Gren'net, glancing up at the tall human beside her. "I trust that you have brought with you suitable consumables for your own use, however we can provide rations and liquids as needed."

"Oh, I don't think that will be necesary, Combat Executive" replied Fielder, "We brought sufficient supplies for a couple days, and can always send the shuttles back for more, we're here to help, not consume your own supplies." he continued, smiling slightly. they talk almost like computers, so precise, and what is with how they always, everytime, use the full rank and name rather than shorten it at all, odd.

"That is excellent, Lieutenant Commander Marcus Fielder," Gren'net replied so imprecise, if there were multiple Combat Executives here how would anybody know who he was speaking to?. She stopped outside a door and pointed. "Conference Room 421, 422 and 423 are at your disposal" she stated, then pointed to another door "Sanitary facilities are in that compartment. The habitation units being converted are right down the corridor.

The conference rooms were the same, plain and austere, with just the central table and the highly adjustable chairs. The only sign of anything even resembling decoration was in one corner, a floor to ceiling transparant tank containing what appeared to be a multi-hued coral structure.

"As I stated earlier, Navigation Executive Flu'rim and myself are available to answer any questions you may have and assist in any way that we are able to. Medical Executive Mor'shi is available for consultation via the communications link, if you would like I can open a channel for you, Surgeon Commander Alice Keyes?"

"Would appreciate it, Combat Executive." replied Surgeon Commander Keyes as she slid into one of the seats, the rest of the team leaders taking their own seats as well.

With a nod, Gren'net stepped back slightly, as a holographic image formed in the center of the table, showing a somewhat harried looking Zohan woman who was clearly missing one eye, which had been replaced with a rather obvious cybernetic prosthetic, and likewise had a clearly cybernet arm. The pickup was obviously closely focused, but even so the bustle behind her was obvious. "Medical Executive Mor'shi here, I take it that you are the ADN medical crews Senior Executive Mor'tav advised me were coming?"

"That we are, Medical Executive" replied Keyes, leaning forward slightly. "We have brought much of our own multi-species medical equipment, along with field testing gear to test for possible negative chemical interactions. While I 'm not trained on your specific physiology and biology, I am a fully qualified xenomedical practitioner." she concluded, smiling faintly.

"One moment" Mor'shi said, turning slightly and rattling something off in an untranslatable torrent, before turning back to the pickup. "Once the habitation units are converted we will begin transferring triage cases to them, thus allowing us to focus on the cases which require higher familiarity." she continued, her voice just a bit clipped.

"Understandable, Medical Executive, if you could send over any data packets about your medical requirements we can begin collating that with what we have here." Keyes smiled again, looking over at one of her own subordinates who had placed a case on the table.

"Certainly, Surgeon Commander Alice Keyes" came the response. "Transmitting now, my apologies, but I must get back to work here." Mor'shi's image flickered out as the commlink deactivated.

"Hrmmmm... Combat Executive, if you would be willing to assist, we can start calibrating our equipment now." Keyes said, turning slightly to face the diminutive Zohan. "With your agreement, of course."

"Assist in what way, Surgeon Commander Alice Keyes?" Gren'net asked, tilting her head slightly.

"As I told the Medical Executive, we have our field testing gear along, as well as our xeno gear, if you'd be willing to allow us to take a small blood and tissue sample we can start analysis and get a headstart on getting up to speed on your species." replied Keyes, smiling slightly. "It would be a great assistance to us."

Gren'net pursed her lips for a moment, but her eyes danced slightly how polite, in comparison "Certainly, Surgeon Commander Alice Keyes, I would be willing to do so" she replied.

"Excellent, let's get started, shall we?"

Command Center, Mar'tovs Command

"We have received 100 cubic meters of atmospheric gas from the ADN vessels, allowing us to repressurize 10 more compartments and begin repair work. Primary Life Support is up to 42% capacity and secondary systems are back to 80%. The ADN medical teams are setting up at this time, it is estimated that they will be able to alleviate 75% of the sickbay overflow. Hull plate fabrication is underway in the undamaged construction bays. Spare part inventory is down to 15%, we are receiving supplies from the rest of the Fleet to make up shortfalls however this is slowing repair operations. Damage Control recommends to fully concentrate on life support systems until primary systems are at full capacity for the reduced crew size."

"Very well, do so. Communications, contact Admiral Ogden and advise him that we shall be deploying a fabrication facility from BattleCarrier 000879cc765a78f2 within the hour" Mar'tov commanded, resting back in the command station. "Tactical, keep our starfighters under stealth. All units are to continue under full emission control apart from navigational sensors and communications, except to deployed starfighters." Mar'tov paused, frowning. "Communications, addendum to the previous message to Admiral Ogden, request permission for a representative from this ship to board his vessel to continue diplomatic discussions. If accepted, have Combat Executive Bri'loni take a light shuttlepod out to D.N.S. Glorious and continue discussions."

Washington, D.C., Earth, Alliance of Democratic Nations
Universe Designate HE-1
14 December 2161 AST

The Christmas season in Washington was dulled only somewhat by the acknowledge of the continued wars raging in ST-3, where billions of Alliance troops and thousands of ships were engaged in fighting the Dominion, and in CON-5, where again billions more personnel were engaged alongside the growing Grand Alliance in the war on fanatical, rabid New Plymouth. In these times the Alliance Security Committee met often and regularly, sometimes daily; even now it was assembled at the Pentagon to discuss the impending invasion of Plymouth's territory.

But now the discussion was on the peculiar reports coming out of GS-42 of a fleet of unknown aliens suddenly showing up in Gamma Sirconis 329 with stupendously huge vessels. "Most of the vessels seem to be at least lower capital tonnage," one of the aides, a young black-haired Englishman. "They are impressive feats of naval engineering by any consideration."
"What word do we have from the ships conducting first contact?" President Mamatmas asked. To either side of him, in their usual places, were the "civilian" and "military" chiefs: on his right, Chancellor Rachel Mackenzie, Foreign Minister Boris Umachov, Security Advisor Sir James Bronson, and Director of Intelligence Samuel White Eagle; on his left, Defense Minister Robert Dale, Chairman of the JCS General of the Army Gregory becker, and the Chairman of the SPS, Fleet Admiral Alexei Simonov.

"Reports from Admiral Ogden on the carrier Glorious are mostly preliminary. An official of the Department of Initial Contact, Henry Calvin, started first contact talks with them, but apparently there was an emergency situation of some form aboard one of their ships," Dale informed the Security Committee.
"Yes, the report from Mister Calvin corroborates Admiral Ogden," Umachov said in reply; the hard-as-nails old Russian coughed for a moment; the others had already noticed these past months as the stress of directing Alliance wartime foreign policy and age had made the infamous "Iron Boris" sickly. "We know very little of these people, except that their situation was such that the first ship on the scene called for humanitarian aid, and that Mister Calvin has placed in a priority request for medical aid and atmospheric supplies."
"How did they get that deep into the frontier?" asked Admiral Simonov. "GS-42 has a fully developed sensor net, we would have seen them even if they have ECS systems, especially on ships that large."
"That has yet to be determined," Dale replied. "Again, we're working on only preliminary reports from our people on the scene. Until we get more, all we really have is speculation."
"Then I want more information, that last thing I need now is the public to panic," Mamatmas stated firmly. "Can we send a mission out to see what's going on first hand?"
"It's possible," Dale agreed. "A fast courier should get someone from the Luna GS-42 Gate Assembly to Gamma Sirconis 329 in half a day or so."
"Can the JCS spare Chief Admiral Darlington?"
Eyes turned toward the gray-haired man beside dale. General Becker nodded after a moment. "For a few days, sure. We have no crucial operational meetings that his deputy can't attend instead."
"Very well. Robert, if you don't mind..."
"Of course, Mister President, I'll give him the order immediately, and have the courier prepared."
"Good. Then if there's nothing else, we can adjourn for the day. We certainly have a long week ahead of us as it is." Mamatmas stood from his seat, and the others did so a moment later, the President's movement sufficient to consider the adjournment of the Security Committee complete. Dale reached for his government line cell phone and activated the encryption protocol for the call to Darlington as he went to the door while an aide shut down the archiving computer that recorded Security Committee meetings.

D.N.S. Glorious, Gamma Sirconis 329, ADN Space
Universe Designate GS-42

A change in the watch came and Lieutenant Frank Stuart came on duty on the Glorious Flag Bridge, where he would be responsible for reporting the sum readings of the entire task force's sensor readings for the benefit of Admiral Ogden. The tan-skinned native of Winston, a medium-population colony world of Universe PA-6, went to work silently and efficiency, keeping an ear out should the Admiral or one of his staff want a sensor report.
He overheard them discuss one of the aliens coming over to the Glorious to resume contact talks and wondered just what these people looked like. As he contemplated that, he noticed something interesting on his board. A small anomalous heat plume, too far from any of the alien ships to be from them, but none of the other sensors showed it; only the sensors on the patrol destroyer Leonard Richter, positioned on Glorious' port side. "Sir, Richter's sensors are detecting a heat plume within the enemy formation?"
Ogden looked over, broken out of conversation with his Chief of Staff. "What's that, Lieutenant?"
"Heat plume, sir. Not close enough to any of the ships to be from them," Stuart replied. "Size and intensity would be consistant with a fighter-sized craft, sir."
For a moment, there was silence. Then Commander Aleksandra Malyeshev, Ogden's Russian Chief of Staff, made the remark, "Sir, could this be a trick? Could they have set the explosion to distract us and prepare for a fighter attack?"
"Or they simply had fighters already in defensive positions, cloaked, and they don't want to show us their entire hand just yet. I'm not going to ruin this by jumping at shadows, Commander," replied Ogden. "Still.... keep an eye on that heat plume, Lieutenant, and tell the Richter and Devaluez to keep a sharp eye out for more heat plumes. Make discreet preparations to keep a fighter squadron on standby at all times and for the ship to be warp-ready at any time." His orders given, Ogden finally went to leave. "I'll be joining Mister Calvin and Captain Sumonov on the hanger deck now. Commander Malyeshev, you have the Flag Bridge until I return."
The brunette nodded sternly.
Last edited by Steve on 2007-09-01 08:31pm, edited 2 times in total.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by fgalkin2 » 2007-09-01 07:50pm

Um..Steve? I think you missed an update.

Have a very nice day.
This is me posting from a public computer or a mobile device.

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Post by Steve » 2007-09-02 04:19pm

When life is left behind this isolation
Cruelty and hatred have become
The cause of those whose eyes are full of wanting
The truth will still abandon none

So you must carry this light into the darkness
You shall be a star unto the night
You will find hope alive among the hopeless
That is your purpose to this life

D.N.S. Glorious, Gamma Sirconis 329, ADN Space
Universe Designate GS-42

The small shuttle flared slightly as it entered the landing bay, looking like little more than a brick with an airlock on either side, a drive on the back, and a truncated pyramidal transparency on the nose, through which could be seen a single flight-suited Zohan at the rather deceptively simple controls... which the pilot wasn't even touching, indeed a sharp eye would probably notice that the pilot wasn't appearing to be paying much attention at all, yet the shuttle moved with a complete crispness and assurance.

On top of the cockpit section of the blocky shuttle a small sensor turret glowed slightly, as vac-suited crewmen directed the shuttle towards an elevator to be lowered to the hangar deck. The shuttle smoothly followed the directions, coming to a halt precisely in the center of the elevator with exacting precision.

The elevator smoothly descended, the machinery extremely well-maintained. At the bottom, a hatch hissed open, and guidelights on the deck and bulkheads directed the shuttle into the well-lit airlock chamber. Once the shuttle was inside, the hatch hissed shut and sealed, a green light confirming a positive seal, and then the valves opened, pressurizing the compartment rapidly.

Moments later a green light flashed on the inner doors, and they whispered open, suited deckcrew again took over guiding the shuttle, hangar deck safety requiring that personnel in proximity to the large airlocks remain suited in case of accident. Again the blocky craft smoothly followed directions as it was guided to the designated spot, the pilot never once seeming to look at anything or touch the controls. Once it had stopped, all was still for a moment, then the side hatch showed a small green light to one side and opened, splitting such that it formed it's own boarding ramp down to the deck. Four diminutive Zohan were standing inside the shuttle, one in front, three in the rear.

Combat Executive Bri'loni was in the lead, and actually appeared just a bit nervous, or at least uncomfortable. Due to the shortage of pressure suits and the damaged state of the BattleCarrier none of the group sent over were wearing environmental suits, so they were having to trust an aliens life-support systems to function properly, which was never something inclined to make any Zohan happy. Wish a slight hesitation she exitted the shuttle, followed by the others, while the pilot in front seemed to wake from whatever distraction he was in and left the flight deck, but didn't disembark.

As the Zohan shuttle pulled up, Admiral Ogden and Captain Sumonov stood waiting with Henry and Kiang. There were no honor guards, none of the usual pomp of VIP greetings, given the uncertain situation; Henry had advised that the way the Zohan were, it would be better to dispense with it. The shuttle stopped, and as the door opened, something occurred to Henry, and he hastily whispered to Ogden and Sumonov, "Um, there's something I kinda forgot to mention."
Ogden barely got the "What?" out before Bri'loni stepped out of the shuttle with her entourage..... wearing absolutely nothing.
"They, um, they don't wear clothing," Henry said in a low voice. Ogden's brow went up, and Sumonov, something of a puritan, grumbled something in Russian that neither men could understand. There was a brief giggle from Kiang, but the young Chinese officer wiped the amused look from her face when Ogden and Sumonov looked toward her. Aloud, he spoke, "Exective Bri'loni, welcome to the Glorious."

Bri'loni smiled slightly as she stepped off of the shuttle. "Thank you, Admiral Ogden" she replied, hands clasped lightly behind her back as the others nodded briefly yet remained well back. "Senior Executive Mar'tov requested that I extend his personal thanks for the supplies and assistance." she continued as she reached the greeting party, not seeming to notice the byplay at all. I wonder what was so funny

"Boishe Moi," Sumonov muttered.
Seeing Bri'loni and her entourage were completely unaware of what was going on, even as other members of the hanger crew were starting to gawk (even their NCOs sometimes too shocked to bother getting them back in line), Henry hastily said, "We're grateful to hear the Senior Executive has found our help so useful. Um, I apologize, but our people... we have... taboos about not wearing anything in public."

"Truly?" Bri'loni looked genuinely surprised by that "We had noticed that all of your people wore what appeared to be inefficient environmental suits, but had not considered that possibility." she continued. How very alien "Unfortunately due to the environmental systems damage we are short on environmental suits and needed all of ours onboard 000879cc765a78f0. I hope that this is not too severe an issue for you?" Probably not a good idea to question their environmental plant now.

Henry honestly didn't know what to say, but thankfully Ogden came to his rescue. "We do have replication systems on board that can replicate you new environmental suits," he answered diplomatically. "I had believed this ability was transmitted to Senior Executive Mar'tov, but apparently it was lost in the signal or simply overlooked. We would be happy to help you make as many suits as your crew needs."

Bri'loni was hardly a diplomat, but she managed to mostly restrain her reaction to the idea of replicated enviromental suits. "We received the... offer. However our environmental suits make use of ultra-high pressure microvacuules and molecular circuitry, neither of which we've ever trusted to matter replication systems." she said, pursing her lips slightly. an uncharged suit might not blow up on me, but trusting anything matter replicated... 'I'm afraid that we distrust matter replication in general, honestly, a matter replication system can hardly take pride in craftsmanship after all. As none of your teams on board 000879cc765a78f0 indicated any potential trouble I had no idea it would be a problem, so do forgive me for being surprised by it, I am not usually inclined to babble." she trailed off, then shrugged with a wry smile.

In reaction Henry caught himself almost coughing. A panic rose within him; this entire thing seemed to be on the verge of turning into a circus. "Perhaps.... perhaps some other form of covering can be found?"
Ogden stepped in now, bringing up his comm unit. "Bridge, this is Admiral Ogden. I want a path to the Fleet Conference Room on Deck 8 cleared completely. Nobody is to enter the area until I say otherwise."
"Yes, Admiral."
Ogden looked to Bri'loni. "Given that having you walk nude across the ship would be a distraction for the crew, and perhaps pose problems, I'm going to take the precaution of ensuring that doesn't happen. I hope you don't mind, but we're used to planetbound species which, like us, have found wearing clothing a force of habit."

Bri'loni nodded in response, smiling a bit in understanding. "Ahhh, a planetary species, whereas we have lived in space for practically our entire existance, I guess having to deal with uncontrolled environmental conditions could lead to such practices." she replied, nodding slightly yup, alien. "As for alternate 'covering', while unusual I do not personally find issue with such, so long as I do not have the concern of a defective microvacuule failing under pressure." she smiled at Henry, not seeming at all affected by the disconcerted reactions of these tall aliens, before turning her attention back to Ogden. "I am a guest on your ship, Admiral Ogden, if we had realized that it would be a problem we would have taken steps, and for that I apologize."

"Understood, Executive. If you would prefer that, I can have the pilots' locker room made available for you while walking suits are replicated."

"Whichever is easier for you, we do not presume to make unreasonable demands upon our hosts, after all, which would be quite impolite I'd think." Bri'loni replied, smiling in response.

"I believe Lieutenant Kiang can show you to the appropriate place to change," Ogden said.

D.N.S. Glorious Fleet Conference Room

Bri'loni was the only Zohan in the room, the others having remained behind at the shuttlecraft. Now dressed in a standard issue shipsuit, replicated to fit her, she looked just slightly out of her depth. Due to the damage to the ship, all of the Engineering and Damage Control Executives had been fully occupied, while the Combat Executives had mostly been idle, thus were free for things such as this, yet Bri'loni was by nature a combative sort, and acting as a diplomat was trying for her. Here she was, in an alien environment, subjected to who knows how well-maintained a life support system, surrounded by aliens who towered over her, having to wear a non-functional suit just to accomodate their prejudices and taboos... it was enough to make any self-respecting Combat Executive pine for the cockpit of a fighter and an enemy in her sights.

"Repairs to the life support system are progressing acceptably, the atmospheric supplies are helping immensely in that regard. Counting the casualties from the explosion, we currently have sixteen thousand, four hundred and thirty injured and under medical care, there were one hundred and thirty thousand, five hundred and twelve fatalities from combat damage prior to our arrival in this system and an additional fifty three thousand, nine hundred and seventy two who succumbed to their injuries already. This, of course, is only aboard 000879cc765a78f0 and is exclusive of the casualties aboard 000879cc765a78f0-1 and 000879cc765a78f0-2, not to mention the remainder of the fleet. I do not have the total casualty count at this time." Bri'loni spoke without benefit of any apparant notes or data storage devices, laying out the briefing material she had been given in a crisp, steady voice, although her eyes were clouded as she recited the casualty list no sign of it intruded on her tone. "The arrival of your medical teams is helping greatlyalready, despite their lack of expertise on Zohan physiology and biology. For various reasons the majority of our former medical staff is no longer with the Fleet and the remainder have been severely overworked." no need to mention the specifics of the various reasons she thought, smiling but managing to make it appear to be in gratitude for the assistance, rather than anything else. She then leaned back in the chair slightly as she concluded.

"We're sorry for your losses," Henry remarked. "We're in a war ourselves, so we understand what you've gone through, and are happy to be of aid to you in your time of need." He looked over to Ogden, who said nothing but simply kept eye contact with Bri'loni.

Bri'loni easily met Ogden's gaze, the faint smile remaining on her lips, as she replied to Henry. "It is appreciated, Henry Calvin of the Department of Initial Contact." she replied, then shrugged slightly, one eyebrow slightly arching at Ogden in a silent question. "Thankfully we were able to successfully transit, or else I would not be here right now, but it was a very close run affair, one more hit would likely have spelled destruction rather than our present situation."

"If I might ask, what is it that attacked you, and how is it you came to be here?", asked Ogden.

"Answering your first question first" Briloni replied, a slight twinkle in her eyes. "We were never able to determine the true origin of our attackers, nor did they ever open communications with us despite some early attempts. Rather, due to unexpected anomalies in the aftermath of Operation Reclaimation they arrived within our territory and immediately began destroying whatever they could reach. Analysis of the anomalies indicated a potential exo-galactic origin, and it was determined that it was possible to suitably modify the Tannhauser Gate initiation sequence to open said anomalies in a more controlled manner, other Fleets indicated successful use of the modification. We initiated the Tannhauser Discontinuity utilizing the reconfigured sequence, however in the process of transit the aliens reached our position and Senior Executive Mar'tov coordinated defensive actions against them." Her voice was completely level, calm and relaxed, yet a gleam was in her eyes. "000879cc765a78f0 was the last BattleCarrier to transit, and the Gate was closed behind us."

She was originally answered by nods. "What was this Operation Reclaimation?," Henry asked, sounding genuinely curious.

Dangerous ground here Bri'loni shrugged slightly. "I am not certain what term would be most approximate." she replied, frowning slightly for a moment and looking a bit unfocused. "Preliminary analysis indicates you do not use the same type of technology, however Operation Reclaimation was the simultaneous Crash of over three million, six hundred forty three thousand, nine hundred and eleven permanent Gate installations. Objective was to paralyze the Imperial Fleet and thus permit future operations to successfully achieve the goals and designs laid out for them. Perhaps the best term would be that it was the opening 'gambit' in a slave revolt." her voice was steady, but her eyes were like rocks.

That certainly got their attention. "You were essentially burning the bridges and blocking the roads," Ogden said.
"Your people were.... slaves?"

Bri'loni turned her head slightly to look at Henry and nodded, then turned her gaze back to Ogden. "Correct, the Empire relied upon the permanent Gates to manage all traffic, communications and military movements. By crippling that network we expected to be able to handle Imperial forces in isolated packets, unable to support each other. Unfortunately the Crashes had unforeseen repercussions." a pause, and then her voice hardened just slightly. "And yes, we were slaves for nearly our entire existance, but are no longer, and shall never be again."

"You needn't worry about that here," Henry said. "To our people, enslavement of sentient beings is one of the most heinous and grotesque crimes that can be committed. It is strictly outlawed."

She only nodded in response, a smile crossing her lips for a moment, then she tilted her head slightly, her attention still on the Admiral.

Ogden continued with his primary concern. "You must understand our concern, this race could pose a future threat to our own security, so do you mind if we see footage of your battles with them?"

"If you have a neural interface I could connect to, I have representative data from the fighting." Bri'loni replied, nodding to Ogden. "And if they make it here, I daresay that they would be a threat, my apologies but your vessels are rather small."

"We don't find it an efficient use of resources to build vessels larger than the tasks we've assigned them. Since our race is primarily planet-based, we only remain in space for limited durations of time before rotation home," Henry explained. "So our ships don't tend to have the room for mass and prolonged habitation, though we do have space stations that are as large as your ships and which can have hundreds of thousands of inhabitants."

No mentioning firepower differentials, if they can't figure that out on their own "Ahhhh, understandable, perhaps." she allowed.

There was a chime from Ogden's belt. He looked down to see that his shipboard comm unit was displaying a message. "Excuse me," he said. "I have to take this."
He left the table, leaving Henry to talk with Bri'loni alone. "I'm sorry to hear your people were slaves once," he remarked. "How is it that despite that you were able to build such a large, impressive fleet?"

"That was part of our function within the Empire, we were intended and modified for engineering and space operations. Eventually we were used as, I think the best term in your language would be 'cannon-fodder' in fleet operations, we would be sent in first, against the most difficult and dangerous targets, and thus none of the Masters would die to accomplish their conquests." Bri'loni shrugged slightly. "Thus, we mined our own resources, processed our own ore, designed and built our own ships, and crewed them, and were required to use them at the will of the Masters. Until Operation Reclaimation we were unable to determine a suitable manner of both defeating them and surviving the experience."

Henry nodded. He went to speak again when he saw Ogden returning. "We just got a call straight from the Pentagon," he said. "Chief Admiral Darlington is on his way."

Bri'loni nodded, blinking once "From the data we received concerning your rank structure, I believe he would be your seniormost fleet officer, yes?"

"He is. Officially he is the commander of the Stellar Navy, though his chief of staff usually performs the operational end of command because of his duties in the military's Joint Command Staff.

"I see, Admiral Ogden." she replied. "But your earlier query about footage of the combat action, do you have a neural feed that I could use to link the data packet?"

"We do have neural systems that use headsets, our people don't have cybernetic connections," Ogden replied.

"That would complicate things, as I am not sure if I would be able to interface with one of your headsets. One moment please, Admiral Ogden" and with that her eyes went unfocused for a moment. "Your communications personnel should be receiving a packet shortly with this data."

Henry looked on with some surprise. "What did you just do?"

"Sent a message to the shuttle, which was relayed to 000879cc765a78f0." she replied simply They don't recognize cybernetic systems? Weird

"....oh," was Henry's reply, after a pause. He looked to Ogden, who appeared nonplussed as usual. "Well, that's certainly interesting."
Ogden received confirmation a moment later. "Mister Calvin, Executive Bri'loni, I'll leave you to finish this meeting so I can look over the recording data. Executive, I hope your time on this ship hasn't been too bad."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by Steve » 2007-09-06 08:07pm

BattleCarrier 000879cc765a78f0 (hereinafter known as Mar'tovs command)
Tannhauser Limit, Gamma-Sircolis-329
Universal Designator GS-42

Bri'loni strode into the Command Center, nude once more now that the life support for this section had been fully restored, the garment from the humans already being reclaimed for potentially useful materials. As she walked in, Mar'tov smiled slightly from his command chair but said nothing, fingers steepled in front of him as he gazed at the viewscreen's display.

"One of the aliens senior military commanders is coming" Bri'loni began, stopping at Mar'tovs shoulder and sharing the view, hands clasped lightly behind her. "They neglected to give me an ETA, however. First impressions from the meeting is just how simply alien they are, and they appear just a bit on the arrogant side. Evidently they have societal taboos concerning 'nudity' and some of them appear quite willing to impose those taboos on others, regardless of agreement, and are not seen as unusual, indeed while Admiral Ogden offered what he no doubt considered a reasonable resolution he quite plainly found himself in full agreement with those who wished to impose upon us customs and practices that are not our own. In the interest of a peaceful resolution, as you instructed, I went along with their demands, but this is going to be a sticking point, I do not think we should permit any alien, no matter how well-meaning, to think that they own us and can dictate our own conduct and behavior in harmless manners such as this."

Mar'tov nodded slightly, still silently contemplating the viewscreen.

"Several other areas of interest, they do not make extensive use of cybernetic interfaces, either plugged or unplugged, and appeared surprised when I made use of an implanted communicator to request the data packet. Their Admiral Ogden indicated he was going to study the footage. I still believe that transferring that packet to them was a mistake, as it reveals too much of our tactical capability while we are still in relative ignorance of their own. From what I was able to determine with visual and passive data gathering is that their technology is roughly analogous to our own, however they are highly profligate of materials in wasted methodologies and usages, thus reducing their own efficiency by a significant degree." Bri'loni continued, still standing behind and to one side of the elder Zohan.

"They have every right to know of the threat that may be looming above them" stated Mar'tov calmly, a faint smile again on his lips. "And I judge that the tactical data may well inspire them to not treat us as inferiors, as they will have evidence of our capabilities."

"Their arrogant insistance on enforcing their own norms upon us upon their ship may provide evidence against that." Bri'loni replied, finally looking down at Mar'tov for a moment. "Countering that, however, they also expressed rather firmly their opposition to slavery, and swore to me that such is utterly outlawed by them, which is a concern as well since it indicates that others in this area may practice it, else there would be no need to outlaw it. Beyond that, I must concede that they have been quite generous with supplies and equipment, although I recommend careful examination of all supplies as they appear to make great use of matter replication. They even thought nothing of replicating a light-duty environmental suit, complete with microvacuules and molycirc." she continued, just a bit drolly.

"Foolish of them, but some limited scanning of the gear brought over by their medical teams indicates that they rely less upon such equipment, so it is possible that they were unaware of the composition of the light-duty suit." Mar'tov pointed out, glancing up at Bri'loni with that faint, slightly enigmatic, smile still. "Remember what I taught you, Bri'loni, just as we are not these aliens, these aliens are not us. They will react in ways we cannot always predict, and similarly actions that we consider normal will no doubt surprise them. Do not fall into the trap that some of them have, and judge them so quickly."

Bri'loni was silent for a moment, then nodded, although the days when Combat Executive Bri'loni had been a youngster just starting her Passage and Mar'tov, already the fleet's Senior Executive, had decided to mentor her were long behind them both, the Mentor/Passager relationship was still strong. "I understand." she replied simply.

"Good." was all Mar'tov said in response, then smiled at the viewscreen. "Tactical, have half of our deployed fighters in sectors four, twelve and nineteen drop stealth operations and continue normal patrol routes." he spoke in a slightly louder voice.

"Done, half of deployed fighters in indicated sectors to drop stealth and continue patrol operations... acknowledged" came from the Tactical section as almost a hundred starfighters dropped out of stealth operation yet continued flying basic racetrack pattern patrols around the shuttles ferrying to and from the systems asteroid belt. Fifty more dropped out of stealth in the immediate vicinity of the fleet, likewise moving in an obvious patrol pattern.

"Since they now have the tactical footage, it is pointless to leave all of the fighters in stealth" Mar'tov said softly, glancing up again at Bri'loni, who looked slightly surprised at the shift. "This way, they see some of them, engaged in understandable operations that are no direct threat to them. Thus we show some of our capabilities, in order to conceal all of our capabilities."

Bri'loni nodded, smiling now. "I see now" she murmured in response, eyes dancing just a little.

"Good, with repairs progressing as well as they have, I intend for the next meeting to be aboard 000879cc765a78f0 rather than aboard one of their vessels, let us see if they are going to try and dictate to us on our own decks. Make arrangements for as many as are not on duty or otherwise occupied to be present in the bay gallery and the path to the Command Conference Room when the time comes."

"Understood" Bri'loni replied and swiveled to leave, exitting the Command Center as briskly as she entered it, while Mar'tov returned to his contemplation of the ADN warships shown on the main viewscreen.

Two Days Later

The shuttle bay gallery was crowded this time, almost two hundred Zohan gazing out through the transteel wall. The bay itself was empty of vessels so far, but the outer doors had opened, leaving only the glittering containment field between the vacuum of space and the bay itself. Inside guidelights sparkled, framing a quintet of landing spaces, each brightly illuminated by recessed floodlights. The interior of the bay was spotless, the transteel nearly perfectly transparent and meticulously clean. Teams of suited Zohan waited within the bay itself, keeping well behind a single gleaming red line picked out in blazing light that crossed the bay itself mere feet from the actual entrance. Opposite the gallery was an enclosed control station, mounted on an articulated arm that permitted the controllers to shift about in order to monitor the various activities that would normally occur, and to also allow the station itself to shift out of the way when larger vessels docked.

The ADN pinnace drifted into the bay and set down neatly on the designated spot, the airlock extending even before the shuttle was completely down. Behind the pinnace a pair each of ADN and Zohan starfighters settled to their own landing points. Moments after the pinnace completely stopped, the airlock engulfed the small crafts exit hatch, the malleable universal adaptor conforming itself perfectly to the hull of the pinnace and forming a tight seal. Seconds later a bright green light came on, both within the gallery itself but also on a repeater bar on the outside, confirming the seal. Even though the shuttle bay was fully pressurized, even though the armored outer hatch was already sealing itself shut, all precautions were still followed. Teams of suited Zohan bay personnel set chocks around the landing gear of the pinnace, helping to secure the craft against unexpected motion, while others hooked up umbilicals to the pair of Zohan fighters which had landed and rolled up embarkation ladders to all four of the fighters.

Inside the pinnace, Chief Admiral Darlington was still seated near one of the viewports, a slight smile twitching across his lips as he suppressed the urge to chuckle. His eyes were on the gallery itself, and the masses of nude forms within. "Point taken, Senior Executive... point taken" he murmured, loudly enough to draw glances from several of the other officers onboard the pinnace. A moment later he rose. "Very well, ladies and gentlemen, it is time." he continued in a crisper voice, although he still had to physically restrain himself from grinning at the expressions on some of the more... staid... officers faces.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Post by dragon » 2007-09-13 04:51am

very nice, even though I don't see why so many of them were suprised as the Betazoids (sp) use nudity in all their cermony, Plus with planets like Risa I'm sure there tons of nudists running around. Hell even in the US there are millions of registred nudists. In Europe I see tons of naked people at the local pools and eastern Germany is even worse.

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