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 Post subject: Star Crossed Fanfic PostPosted: 2002-07-17 05:09pm
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Hi everyone. This is my first attempt at a fan fic and it is only the first (and only) chapter of the story. If it is torn, ripped apart and spit out then we can all have a good laugh about it (at my expense) :oops:

If you guys like it then I will dedicate some more time to it and update with more chapters shortly. :D

Now, if this is something the moderators don't want posted for space reasons, etc I fully understand and will not complain, bitch and moan, etc if this is locked and deleted. This is just an experiment for me because this is something I've always had floating around in the back of my head.

Some prelims to get out of the way:
Time frame: The story takes place 6 months after ESB, at the dawn of the Battle of Endor, it has the added wrinkle of being a "what if" scenario due to a change in one of the main characters, essentially a scenario I've always wanted to explore and sharp eyed readers will pick up on it in this first chapter.

For ST, it takes place 6 months after Voyager's Endgame ep. I will be exploring the tech Janeway brings back with her - AND the consequences of that action which drives the impending doom mentioned in the 1st chapter.

Just because it is such an issue on these boards I shall say that my allegiance is to BOTH franchises, each one is great in its own way, so don't look for Graham Kennedyesch Portal stuff... :wink:

Anywho, here we go, I would say "Please, be gentle." but I've been reading the posts here since the beginning so I know better. :D




Star Crossed
By

Frank Fontaine




Chapter 1: The Opening Gambit



“What was that?”

The bridge crew was quickly looking about, many looking down at their consoles. Commander Branna steadied himself.

“Unknown sir. We’re checking now.”

Branna shook his head, fighting the brief sense of vertigo. It seemed that the entire bridge crew had felt the same sudden shift. He did not have any idea what had happened but he hoped he got a report before –

“Admiral, what happened?” The voice was soft but cold. A small hologram sprang up by his command post.

“Lord Nemesis, my apologies, Admiral Kittaine is –“

“Just arriving on the bridge, Lord Nemesis.” Kittaine interjected as he stepped in behind Branna.

The hologram looked past Branna. His eyes were cold and they seemed to cut right through you. Branna tried to avoid Lord Nemesis as much as possible. Of course, there were worse assignments. He had lost many class mates in Lord Vader’s fleet.

Kittaine was a tall and imposing figure, hard eyes and aristocratic features, including a proud hawk like nose. Despite the fact that the admiral must have been interrupted in the middle of his sleep cycle his uniform was perfectly kept and looked unmarred. Even his hair was neatly combed and not a hint of stubble on his face.

Kittaine never seemed to flinch under Lord Nemesis’ cold and steady gaze. That is why Branna admired the man. He was like a shield for the others against this unknown dark cloaked stranger who had stepped aboard a month ago and had kept mostly to himself. The crew had been under Kittaine’s command since the turbulent days surrounding the Battle of Yavin. Despite the destruction of the Death Star, Kittaine had never once faltered in his dedication to the New Order. He had hunted rebel ships through nebulas and asteroid fields. He had gone toe to toe with those damnable Mon Calamari ships and had walked away victorious.

His crew had seen him hold them together under some of the most withering assaults, never once raising his voice even in the heat of battle. He was a rock and the crew loved him for it.

“What has happened, Admiral? I feel a disturbance in the Force.”

“I am about to get a report, Lord.” Kittaine did not look up; instead he held out his hand and waited. Branna rushed over to the sensor crews and they handed him the report. He quickly passed it on to Kittaine and waited obediently by his side.

Kittaine stared down at the report for a long moment, paused and then passed it back to Branna.

“My Lord, I believe that your presence is required on the bridge.”

“Oh?” There was a quiet threat to the word.

“According to the report we are no where near our galaxy. All star charts report negative. Hyper space and gravitic sensors also report negative.”

Nemesis was silent for a long moment.

“Are you certain?”

“I am having the report double checked but –“

Nemesis suddenly straightened and pointed to Kittaine.

“Bring the fleet to battle alert. We will be under attack very soon.” Nemesis turned away from the holo projector and disappeared, the flourish of his cloak the last thing caught on the hologram as it vanished.

Kittaine did not hesitate. He turned to face the bridge crew.

“Bring us to battle stations. Raise combat shields and give me a detailed sensor sweep of the area, now.”

“Aye sir.”

Kittaine pointed to the report in Branna’s hand as he stalked over to the main screen.

“Have those readings double checked. I want to make sure that it is accurate.”

“If it is, Admiral, this could mean we are thousands if not millions of light years from home.” Branna commented darkly as he followed his commander.

“One thing at a time, Captain, let us find out where we are before we jump to conclusions.” Kittaine responded softly as they reached the view screen. Beneath them, the massive yet elegant bulk of the Emperor’s Will dominated the lower half of their view. One of the Super Star Destroyer class ships, it was a command ship second to none. Around them, several dagger shaped ships were in various escort positions around them. Their pearly white frames shining in the interstellar void. The Star Destroyers were slowly fanning out as their command ship called for battle stations.

Branna noted with pride the string of TIE fighters flowing out along side the Emperor’s Will, small almost insignificant dots against the enormous frame of the powerful warship. They flew with precision into flowing walls around the warships.

“Fighter screen in place, Admiral.” Branna reported.

“Admiral, we’re picking up an odd disturbance to the starboard.”

“Can you endeavor to be clearer?” Kittaine asked coolly.

“I apologize sir. We’ve never seen anything like it. It seems to be objects out of phase with our space, they are approaching at super luminal speed, but it is definitely not hyperspace travel.”

“That’s odd.” Branna noted curiously.

“What seems odder is that they are using some form of propulsion we are unfamiliar with.” Kittaine added with some concern.

“Those objects are the enemy. Their intent will be very clear soon.” Nemesis spoke as he strode into the bridge. He wore a long flowing black cape and a black tunic. His black boots clicked softly on the metal floor. His sandy blonde hair was kept short giving accent to his eyes. The blue eyes were cold and sharp. His face was in a constant dark cloud of suspicion and anger.

He was followed by a lithe young woman dressed in nondescript gray tunic and pants. She was beautiful but looked dangerous. The crew had taken to calling her Nemesis shadow, as she was never seen far from him. She rarely spoke to anyone and when she did it was always about business, Nemesis’ business. Her gaze was more than enough to unnerve even a veteran officer.

As usual she stood by Lord Nemesis, quietly and trying not to draw any attention away from him. Kittaine knew who she was, or at least what the Imperial high command had deigned to tell him. She was a special operative from Imperial Intelligence, assigned to be Darth Nemesis’ bodyguard and liaison with the Emperor. He suspected much more than that but had no evidence other than his experience and gut feeling about her.

He could not remember exchanging any pleasantries with her. His sole conversation was simple. She walked into his quarters at his request and attempted to engage her in conversation, in a subtle attempt to find out more about his new charge. She smiled coldly at him and spoke, “Admiral Kittaine, I am here to serve at Lord Nemesis’ pleasure. I am merely an agent, anything you have to say, you can say to Lord Nemesis.” With that she politely smiled at him and stepped out of his quarters.

“We will be ready for them.” Kittaine replied.

“Do you have any more information regarding your assertion that we are no longer in our galaxy?” Nemesis asked stepping in to face Kittaine.

“Not my assertion, my lord. Our sensors are telling us that these stars do not appear in our charts, even the charts of neighboring galaxies.”

“Could they be Ssi Ruvi ships?” Branna suggested.

Nemesis frowned.

“No. They are something else. Something cold.” He answered in a quiet voice, as if his attention were drawn somewhere else. The young woman watched Nemesis intently.

“Track all weapons on inbound trajectories.” Kittaine ordered. He looked out the view port and seemed to be weighing something. Nemesis watched him closely.

“Have the Adjudicator move out to greet the newcomers. I want the Executioner and the Inexorable to fall back in support positions.”

“The rest of the fleet?” Nemesis asked quietly.

“We will see what unfolds. We may not need them.” Kittaine answered.

Nemesis nodded slowly.

“Objects now within range, slowing…we are receiving communications being broadcast on all possible frequencies, trying to filter one out.”

10 huge green cubes seemed to flash into existence out of nowhere. They quickly spread out, nearly encircling the Adjudicator. They glowed menacingly.

“Adjudicator looks exposed out there by herself.” Branna whispered to Kittaine.

Kittaine nodded sagely.

“Captain Tarsi is a capable man. He’s survived more first contact situations than you have read about.” Kittaine answered.

“I have a transmission isolated, putting it on speakers.”

“-ARE THE BORG, YOUR TECHONOLOGICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DISTINCTIVENESS WILL BE ADDED TO OUR OWN. LOWER YOUR SHIELDS AND PREPARE TO BE ASSIMILATED.”

“It seems we have our answer.” Nemesis stated evenly.

“Open a channel to Captain Tarsi.”

“Tarsi here Admiral. I’m standing by on all weapons. We’re picking up energy spikes on all these cube ships. Something happened a moment ago, seems they were trying to beam some form of energy to us, we’ve picked up multiple impacts along our shield grid.” Tarsi reported smartly. “Orders?”

“RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.”

Kittaine paused at the ridiculous statement.

“Captain, show these would be conquerors that the Empire always resists.”

Tarsi smiled coldly, nodded and the holoimage disappeared.

A heartbeat later, the Adjudicator suddenly fired all her weapons at the cubes. Half of them disappeared into exploding debris and hot gasses. The other cubes, huge gaping holes and gashes in the armored hull slowly rotated and released a storm of green torpedoes. They impacted against the Adjudicator. Green flashes of energy splashed along the ship’s entire hull.

Without having to be ordered to, the Inexorable and the Executioner opened fire on the remaining cubes. They exploded under the new onslaught. Within a few moments, the cubes were gone and the space they occupied was littered with debris.

“I want bodies brought aboard for inspection. They managed to send out a signal, Kittaine. Be ready for a counterattack.” Nemesis ordered.

“Of course, Lord.” Kittaine answered neutrally.

The young woman paused before following Nemesis off the bridge.

“Lord Nemesis is to be informed immediately when you have completed preliminary analysis.” She added coolly.

Kittaine watched them leave his bridge. Branna felt relief after they stepped off the bridge. Those two deserved each other, he mused.






The buzz of the alarm awoke him from fitful sleep. He slowly sat up on the edge of the bed, trying to shake off the sleep. The buzzing was incessant. He wanted to ignore it but duty, as always drove him to get up and flip open the panel of his personal comp.

“Picard here.”

“Captain Picard? I’m sorry, did I wake you? I forget about the time difference between Earth and the Neutral Zone.” William Riker answered hesitantly.

Picard gave him a wry grin.

“Is that where they have you these days?” He asked and slowly sat down at his desk, moving the comp screen to face him as he did.

Riker shrugged.

“We go where we’re told. I thought we would have had some sort of decision by now.” Riker added softly.

Picard nodded and held a hand up to his chin.

“Unfortunately, Number One, it seems that Starfleet command no longer has control over the issue. The Federation Council now has jurisdiction over the matter. The media is still having a field day with the incident.” Picard said incident with just the right touch of sarcasm to let Riker know precisely what he thought of it.

“The entire crew has sent Starfleet command after action reports, completely backing your story and stating that we had no choice.” Riker sighed, knowing how much good that did in the end.

“It seems Number one, that this matter is now in the hands of politicians.”

“God help us all.” Riker smiled. But it was a sad smile. His commanding officer’s fate was in the hands of people that had created the situation in the first place.

“Now, Will, you did not place a subspace call to me just to ask about this case.” Picard noted with a smirk.

Riker nodded and suddenly grew serious.

“I thought you should know it seems that our long range patrols have picked up frenzied transmissions from the Borg.”

Picard stiffened. Wouldn’t he have felt them if they were coming for them again?

“The new transwarp sensors we’ve been putting up these last few weeks have been picking up transwarp conduit activity increasing eight fold in the last hour.”

“They are on the move.” Picard breathed.

“Looks that way, but they’re not coming for us. All the transwarp activity is centered deep in the Delta Quadrant. They’re moving like mad into the center of their own space.”

“This is odd. What else do you have?”

Riker smiled at Picard’s intimate knowledge of how his mind worked. He knew that this alone would not be enough to move Riker to call Picard in this manner.

“Starfleet ordered a special consultant to warp out to the border and investigate.”

“Special consultants?”

“A civilian scientist.”

Picard sat back pondering for a moment.

“I would have thought they may have called me.”

“We all know how Starfleet feels about your connection to the Borg. Actually, they were smart enough to use a Borg to find out about the Borg this time.”

“Annika?”

“That’s right; they tell me she still goes by Seven of Nine.”

Picard nodded slowly. He had met her once, at the welcome home party for the crew of the Voyager. She was more than what he expected, but was slightly taken aback by her pride in her drone past. Was it pride though? He should know better, the scars that assimilation could leave behind, and she had been a drone for most of her life. He had only had to suffer the nightmare for a few days.

She left Starfleet shortly afterwards to pursue a career in science. He had read her last paper on Transwarp Conduits. Very informative if a little cold.

“She’s on her way on the Defiant.”

“Then it is a little more than a simple survey.” Picard concluded.

“My thoughts exactly. The Defiant’s cloaking device and armament make her a perfect choice to go poking around in the fringes of Borg space.”

“So the rumors I hear that some of the transwarp technology Janeway brought with her made it on to some of our ships.”

“I don’t think I can confirm or deny that.” Riker stated straightfaced.

“Having only played poker with you a few times, Will, I have no idea what to make of that.” Picard replied wanly.

Riker remained noncommittal.

“I thought you should know sir. It’s not right what’s going on here, but I understand Starfleet’s position. The Federation council is investigating Starfleet for corruption and willful misconduct in violation of our charter and they are trying their best to cover their asses. When we finished off that damned converter and blew the Son’a straight to hell, for some reason I thought it would be over.”

“It’s never over Will. There had to be repercussions for what happened. We betrayed our principles at Baku. It will take sacrifice and pain to stand back where we were.” Picard replied solemnly.

Riker remained silent for a moment when he was interrupted somewhere off screen by someone’s voice. He looked past the screen.

“From whom?” Riker asked incredulously.

The reply etched surprise across Riker’s face. Picard was intrigued.

Riker nodded then quickly glanced back down at the screen.

“Captain, you’re not going to believe this, but we just received a transmission from the Enterprise.”

“What?”

“The transmission is an old Federation code, the voice has been positively identified as that of Captain James T. Kirk.”

Picard was speechless.





He slowly moved the piece forward and pondered it for a moment. It was a Constitution class cruiser. The 3D chess board was made out of a crystal that changed colors constantly. There were more pieces strewn across the board. One was the Emperor’s Will, the other was a piece consisting of several Borg cubes melded together. Many more pieces still sat in there starting positions. This was just the opening move.

He quietly watched the board, it seemed as if he were looking deep into it, lost in thought.

“Brilliant opening move, a tad dramatic and overstated but I like the flamboyance.” A voice intruded.

The player turned slowly, a cold smile crossing his face like a knife.

“You would like the dramatic, my friend. Disappointed that I thought of it first?” He asked in a strange voice. It seemed to boom out from behind him, as if he were not truly speaking out of his mouth but the voice erupted from somewhere else.

“Moi, dramatic? I prefer the term, excitable.” Q replied and flashed out of sigh of the briefest moment before reappearing in a seat opposite the player.

The player regarded Q with a cold detachment, as if he were observing some minstrel show and looking to critique every mistake, every misplayed note. Q smiled in return but his eyes also seemed to measure the man across from him.

“This is unnecessary, you know. You are playing games at a very dark time.”

“The continuum sent you?” The player asked absently as he contemplated the next move. His fingers stood poised over each piece, slowly moving back and forth down the line.

“No.” Q admitted.

The Player smiled and for all intents and purposes it resembled a shark.

“Then why do I care whether you think I’m wasting my time.”

“Time can’t be wasted, you should know that.” Q put a hand up to his mouth in mock surprise. “Oh, I forgot, you’re human, what can you know of space time?”

The player’s hand paused and his eyes flashed up at Q.

“I WAS human, Q. Now I am no longer. I have achieved apotheosis.”

Q smirked.

“What you have achieved is an ego the size of the universe. I always told the others that it was a bad idea to give you sanctuary.”

“Some sanctuary, just when I was getting used to things, you go and have a civil war that nearly reduces the universe to ruin.” This time the player put his hand up to his mouth in mock surprise. “Oh, I forgot, the universe is about to go into ruins.”

“That wasn’t very funny.” Q replied dryly. He looked around for a moment and frowned. They were sitting together on a high rock mesa, the sky above them was pitch black, save for the occasional silent lightning that arced across the sky. Below them was rolling mist and shadow.

“You sure know how to pick a place.”

“Considering what the Continuum was like, I find this place far more to my liking.”

“I came on my own accord because I was a little disturbed by the turn of your game. You seem to be toying with people, places and things that should be well enough alone. They will have their hands quite full when the universe starts to crash down around their ears.”

“You assume that they will know. There are many that believe that when the time comes, it will be swift and dark. There will be no time to save anything.”

“Those people are what we in the Continuum call pessimists.”

The player paused and glanced up at Q.

“I was talking about people in the continuum.” He replied.

Q shrugged.

“What can I say? When you’ve been around and seen what we have seen, you can’t help but be pessimistic.”

The player stopped, sat back and crossed his arms across his chest. Q noted with some distaste that he still had some distinctly human habits for one that had achieved Apotheosis.

“You’re here because I’m toying with people you care about.”

Q flashed out of his chair and reappeared on the other side of the small mesa.

“What?! Don’t be ludicrous, they’re human beings…barely out of the trees, they have not even begun to fathom the mysteries out there. I have thrown back the curtain over a thimbleful of the vastness of the universe they wish to learn so much about and they have been utterly amazed.”

The player nodded in agreement but he was smiling softly.

“They’re foolish little creatures that seem to think the universe owes them a favor.”

“You wouldn’t have perhaps, fostered that belief by getting them out of some scrapes, would you?”

“Pha!” Q waved the words away in disgust.

“Well, I happen to know your propensity to help these humans out, and I for one am rather looking forward to the big lights out. This universe has been chugging along for far too long. I want to see the end.”

“And?”

“You should not interfere. The Continuum gave strict orders to all Q, not to help the humans or anyone else in anyway with the coming end. They brought it on themselves after all.”

Q sighed.

“They did at that didn’t they. They took time to be their personal little playground and now look what they have done. You would think they would have learned by now.”

“So, my warning to you, don’t interfere in the game. Its all I have to keep me entertained in the end.”

“Petty revenge is all you have this close to the end. You can travel the universe, bend the laws of nature to your whim and instead you sit here and craft some intricate little revenge against everyone that hurt you, or so you thought.” Q replied coldly.

“Revenge?” He eyed the Constitution Class cruiser with particular interest before returning his gaze to Q. “Perhaps, but this will be more than that. A grand experiment, shall we say on the nature of man. How far has he come along, eh? How far from the trees are we?”

He eyed his pieces and touched the Borg cubes.

“Is man nothing more than an advanced biological machine and is the way of Unity above all else really the answer.” He passed a hand over the Emperor’s Will. “Can a man come back from the dark road he is on, can he fight the urge of millions of years of evolution, and can he ignore the siren call of rage and fear to transcend?” His hand brushed the Constitution Class Cruiser. “Can a man come to terms with his own mortality and admit that maybe, losing is a valuable part of life?”

“You don’t believe in any of those ideals.” Q noted with disdain.

“I know.” The player smiled. “But your precious humans are going to prove me very right indeed.”

Q frowned. The player returned to his game, his silver eyes gleaming as if enjoying a private little joke.



Wherever you go, there you are.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-17 05:14pm
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I haven't read it yet, but fanfics are fine until Mike says otherwise. They mearly have to be in the right forum. This, a SW/ST would go here. A SW in the pure SW forum. other sci-fi you get the point.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-17 05:19pm
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Thanks Grand Admiral, glad that I haven't violated any rules. :D



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-18 11:19pm
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It's looking good, I like the fact you havn't just had Picard be forgiven by Starfleet for his part in Insurrection, and I like your interpretation of the Character's so far. So in the immortal cliche of feedback on good fanfic's in progress:- Hurry up with Part 2!

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-19 12:12am
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This is your first attempt? Pretty good work, I'm impressed (but that probably doesn't mean much). I'm going to have to agree with Skelron here -- hurry up with part 2!

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-19 02:49am
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Very impressive. I like the continuity with the last Trek movie.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-19 03:06am
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Very beautifully done. Only one problem and you can't really be blamed for this because it is extremely hard to do (trust me i've tried). You haven't gotten Q's personality correctly, like I said you can't really be blamed for this because it is HARD to do but I know you can do better. Other then that it is a very good fanfic and I want to see part 2.



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 Post subject: Chapter 2 PostPosted: 2002-07-19 01:03pm
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Ok everyone, first of all I want to thank you all for the very positive feedback and I'm glad you're enjoying this so far.

I'm particularly happy with readers picking up on little things like Picard's current problems due to the incidents during Insurrection. One of my biggest gripes against Trek is the utter lack of consequences to actions and developments that happen early on so I kind of what to change that here.

Without further ado: Chapter 2



Chapter 2: Strange Meetings


Lord Nemesis was in a meditative pose, legs crossed over each other as he sat, arms extended out along his legs, hands open with fingertips touching. His head was bowed low, eyes closed and the only movement of his body was the slow rhythmic heaving of his chest. He had cast aside the long black cape and wore only his black tunic and pants. He was floating a meter off the ground.

She watched him with guarded interest.

“You know, I’m glad that you decided to stop brooding. It’s good that the men see you in action. Your very presence inspires them and brings fear into their hearts. Fear breeds out incompetence.”

“Really? It has been my experience that fear stagnates a man. Those officers will not take the initiative on anything. They will simply do their best to carry out my orders and take no risks whatsoever to accomplish any other goals.”

She smirked.

“That’s not the way the Emperor sees it.” she paused for a moment. “Or Lord Vader.”

Nemesis opened up one eye and stared at her. She returned the gaze without flinching.

“How well do you know Lord Vader?” he asked softly.

She shrugged.

“One does not know anyone in the Emperor’s service, particularly a Lord of the Sith. I merely served with him on some assignments that required stealth and finesse. Lord Vader is more on the brute force side of the equation. If you want something done quietly with no questions asked or created, you come to me or one of the other Hands, that is what we’re here for. If you want to subjugate a planet or crush the rebellion, you go to Lord Vader.” She paused. “Or Lord Nemesis I assume at this point.”

Nemesis nodded and remained silent. He closed his eye again and there was a stillness in the chamber for some time. She slowly stretched out on the sidelines, keeping an eye on him but working on her muscles and tendons, she needed to be ready to defend him at a moment’s notice.

“I know the real reason why you are here. I am not a fool.” he spoke suddenly in that soft voice of his. Quite a contrast to Lord Vader. He did not look much older than the boy that she knew he was, only some lines around the eyes and cheeks betrayed the anger that welled in him constantly. It did not look as if he had a face that suited such a lifestyle.

“I’m not sure I understand, Lord?” she replied evenly.

“The Emperor, my master, is uncertain of his latest Sith Lord. He wants to make sure that I do not stray a whit from the Dark path. Should I falter, it will be your blade in my back, I’m sure.” he answered coldly, but did not open his eyes.

“My lord, my duty is clear, to protect you, advise you and assist you in anything you need.” she protested. He did not open his eyes, did not even look in her direction. She was guarding her thoughts. But he was a Sith, he was powerful and her thoughts betrayed her. He made no move or sign to betray that he had learned the truth.

Inevitability weighed on him like a cloak.

“They are coming.” he said casually. She moved like a tigress across the chamber and stood by the door as it opened.

Kittaine strode in, followed by Branna and chief of security Dorin. Dorin was a fat man. This was odd in Imperial ranks, as there was a strict fitness regimen among the officers but Dorin had friends. He also had a gift for interrogation and torture that made him indispensable.

Nemesis opened his eyes and looked down at the men, he floated slightly higher now, slowly rising as if on an invisible wind.

“What is it, Admiral?” he asked.

“Lord Nemesis, I have the report you requested.”

“We were attacked again?” Nemesis asked casually.

“Yes, Lord. This time there were forty cubes. We destroyed them with no or little damage to ourselves.”

“There will be more.” Nemesis concluded.

Kittaine remained silent on the matter. He knew better than question Nemesis’ intuition in these matters. He had so far proved infallible.

“Go on, Admiral.”

Kittaine nodded to Dolin who stepped forward, eyeing Nemesis suspiciously as he started speaking.

“Lord Nemesis, my men have finished analyzing the relevant materials we recovered from the wreckage of the first battle. We have managed to ascertain the following. Dolin took out a small holoprojector from his pocket, only Nemesis noticed his bodyguard tense for the briefest moment, ready to kill the man.

She eased as he activated the projector. The body of one of their fallen enemy was projected for all to see. It was a human, no doubt but it was covered with cybernetic implants, grotesque implants.

“They call themselves the Borg. They are a cybertnetically enhanced species the likes of which we have never encountered before. The tech level of the enhancements is inferior to our own but serve their utilitarian purposes rather well. They have enhanced strength, endurance but due to inferior construction and neuroprocessing, they are a bit slow and cumbersome. Of particular interest to us are two things. Each of the corpses we recovered had special units that contained a transmitter of very high power that kept in constant contact with each other and a central processing core believed to be half a galaxy away.”

“They have long range communication technology very similar to our own holonet.” Nemesis added.

“Yes, Lord. They also had, implanted just under the epidermal layer a series of energy transmitters, the smallest I have seen in use for a living organism that allows them to generate a personal shield of sorts. We have been unable to activate this property and we believe that it is somehow linked with their vessels, with the vessel providing the power to the shields.”

Nemesis nodded for Dolin to continue.

“We have no way of noting the power and strength of this personal shield, save that by extrapolating the power levels of their shields to date in our two encounters, it is likely that a standard Stormtrooper side arm can probably penetrate the shield.”

“I sense some concern regarding that statement.” Nemesis interjected, glancing at Kittaine.

“I have had my tactical crews run extensive analysis of their attacks and there is a danger.” Kittaine stated gravely.

“Go on.”

Kittaine took out his own holotransmitter and activated it. The first battle played back, save that this time there was a host of technical data streaming along the top and bottom of the screen as well as detailed sensor data superimposed on every object on the screen.

“Note, my lord, that when the Adjudicator opens fire for the first time in a standard ripple fire mode, the first cubes hit are instantly destroyed, the power of our turbolaser batteries proved to be too much for theirs shields and hull. Note however the time display above.” The image was enhanced and the playback slowed significantly. The first two cubes hit exploded instantly. The next two exploded as well, but there was a brief time lag and the power level displayed over the cube increased slightly.

Nemesis’ eyes narrowed on this.

The next cube also exploded but it did not do so for a fraction of a second later, and its own power level increased. The last five cubes took tertiary hits, and instead of instantly exploding as the others, great gashes were made in the hull.

“The Borg seem to posses a technology that allows them to adapt to any form of attack, particularly energy weapons. Their cubes increased in defensive capability with each strike of our weapons, so that in the end, the last cubes were struck by light turbolaser batteries and were not destroyed, only damaged. Even in this damaged state they were able to release a powerful attack, in fact we calculate that these cubes can continue to function at almost 100% combat effectiveness with 75% of their vessel damaged severely.”

“They will eventually become dangerous even to this fleet.” Nemesis concluded.

“Correct, my lord. Although they are starting from a significantly lower power and technological level than our own, they will eventually adapt to the point where they will be able to bring us down through sheer numbers.”

“Have we calculated their fleet strength?” Nemesis asked.

“We have a very rough estimate, Lord. Using calibrations made to our sensors we can now see this area that they call subspace. There must be hundreds of those cubes converging on us as we speak and we can only detect Borg signals around us for hundreds of light years.”

“Is this galaxy solely composed of these beings?” Nemesis asked pointedly.

“No, Lord Nemesis. We recovered what we believe to be a computer core or information node from the wreckage of one of the cubes. It has a very detailed database that we have only begun to download, from a isolated computer work station for security purposes, and have been able to deduce that while the Borg control an expansive area of this galaxy, there are several smaller empires along the fringes of their territory. One would be of particular interest to us.” Dorin answered, glancing furtively at Kittaine in annoyance. If anyone was going to curry favor with the new Sith Lord it would be him not the Admiral.

“How so?”

“According to the Borg data, this empire has had the most experience with spatial and temporal anomalies in this galaxy.”

“How much experience do we have?”

Dolin frowned. “Quite frankly, Lord Nemesis, from the amount of incidents catalogued by the Borg alone I would say it is a wonder this galaxy has not fallen apart with the anomalies and wormholes that criss-cross this area.”

“Then it is imperative that we immediately cease any further hostilities with the Borg and make our way to this empire to gain from them the knowledge that we need to return home.” nemesis concluded.

“You mean to retreat from this cybernetic scum, lord?” Dolin stammered.

“Are you questioning me, commander?” Nemesis asked darkly and he stopped floating, slowly settling back to his feet until he stood face to face with Dolin. Despite Dolin’s greater bulk there was something about nemesis that made him seem larger somehow.

“No lord, I am sure that Dolin misunderstood.”

Nemesis glanced over at Kittaine, genuinely surprised that the admiral had come to Dolin’s aid. He hid the surprise however and instead turned his attention back to Dolin.

“What is the name of this empire?”

“The United Federation of Planets.” Dolin replied, trying not to be cowed by this young boy and failing miserably.

“Do we have any navigational information at hand?”

“We are endeavoring to download a usable coordinate system for our hyperdrive calculations. We should have some within the hour.”

Nemesis seemed to be looking somewhere else for a moment, somewhere far away.

“They will attack us before then, be prepared for a major assault, Admiral.” Nemesis snapped at Kittaine then returned his attention to Dolin.

“We are leaving this system as soon as possible. Alert all commands to be prepared to make the jump to hyperspace even if we are engaged in battle. I feel time is slipping away from us while we engage in fruitless combat.”

“Of course Lord, Nemesis.” Kittaine answered coolly.

Nemesis turned from them and began to walk away. Kittaine and Branna also turned to leave, Dolin glared at Nemesis and also began to leave. Nemesis stopped.

“Your thoughts betray you, Dolin.”

“Lord?” Dolin stammered. He suddenly felt his throat become too tight. He started gasping.

“You think that I am a coward at worst or I am still stained with my rebel past.” Nemesis spoke coldly, his back still to the assembled officers. Kittaine held Branna back. He had served long enough in the Imperial Navy to know when a man’s career had come to an end in the service of the emperor’s agents.

“You bloated fool. Can your addled mind even remember what our original mission was?” he hissed and Dolin suddenly lurched off his feet and hung suspended in the air several feet. He clutched desperately at his throat, eyes bulging.

“Admiral Kittaine, what was our mission when we left orbit of Coruscant?” Nemesis asked casually. He remained back turned to them.

“The Emperor charged us with the utter destruction of the Ssi Ruvi. We were also ordered to field test the new weapon system installed on the Emperor’s Will.” Kittaine answered without hesitation. He realized that they were all being tested at this very moment.

“A weapons system of vital importance to the Empire. A new super laser that can be mounted on a new class of Star destroyer. We have been granted the distinct honor and privilege of using it on the Ssi Ruvi homeworld. Instead we find ourselves here, in this forsaken galaxy far from home. It is my intention to carry out the Emperor’s will to the best of my ability. I am a servant and an agent of that same will and you will not question that, do I need to explain myself any further?” His voice was ice.

Dolin was black now, his gasps and struggles slowed as he slowly slumped down, still floating a meter off the ground.

Kittaine shook his head. “No need at all, Lord Nemesis. We are all servants of the New Order.”

“Remember this object lesson well, gentlemen. I am loathe to waste any more of my time or yours with nonsense. Loyalty is expected and demanded and now you know that in this fleet, even your thoughts are under scrutiny. There can only be absolute loyalty to the Emperor.”

He turned finally to face them. His face was stony and his eyes lanced into each of them with a frightful intensity.

“Absolute in thought and action.” There was a loud sick wet snap and Dolin’s body completely slumped, lifeless. The body hovered for a moment then landed with a thud on the metal floor.

“That is all.” he started to wave them away when his eyes fell on his bodyguard.

“Admiral, unless I am mistaken, you will need a new security officer?” Nemesis asked.

“Yes, Lord.” Kittaine answered slowly. His eyes did not move an inch to see the body of his dead officer. He ignored the two stormtroopers who quickly whisked the corpse away.

“She will do quite nicely.” he indicated with an inclination of his head his bodyguard. She hid her surprise well.

Kittaine looked uncomfortable for a moment then cleared his throat.

“If she is to be head of security, might I the know her name?” he asked and looked intently at her. She glanced to Nemesis who nodded.

“Mara Jade.”

“Very well, we have much to do, Lord Nemesis.”

“Yes, Admiral, do go on, and don’t forget, the Borg will attack us again. Get those coordinates.”

“Yes my lord.” Kittaine bowed his head slightly and left with Branna. Nemesis regarded Mara with detached interest.

“Lord Nemesis?” She asked, a little uncomfortable with his sudden attention.

“Don’t just stand there Mara, you have a job to do. Get those coordinates, I want to be in Federation space as soon as possible.”

She bowed slightly and started to walk out. She paused at the open door and looked back. He stood stock still, back to her.

“What if this Federation doesn’t want to share their knowledge?”

“Share, Mara? No, that would require too much time. Talking and debating, no. We will take what we wish.”
She smiled in agreement and walked out.






James T. Kirk was accustomed to mysteries and even a surprise or two, but when circumstances put both his ship and his crew at risk, he was never amused. Just a moment ago, they were orbiting the planet Antara IV, on a routine survey when everyone felt a sudden sense of nausea or vertigo and the planet had disappeared and now they seemed to be floating in deep space. A quick check of the charts indicated that they were only a few light years away from the neutral zone and that could never be a good thing. He leaned forward slightly in his command seat.

“Mr. Sulu, any indication of what happened?”

“There’s just nothing showing up on the helm displays, sir. The warp drive definitely did not engage and the impulse engines are on standby. Whatever happened, we didn’t move.” Sulu answered.

“Chekov?”

“Keptain, readings from the navigational systems indicate a definite change in position relative to where we were just a minute ago. This corresponds with a change in star position.”

“Considering we were orbiting a planet only a second ago, I would say that we have indeed moved, Ensign.” Kirk replied wanly. Chekov blushed in spite of himself. Sulu smiled to himself.

“Captain, the highly volatile state of quantum particles in the immediate vicinity as well as a cascade of theta radiation would seem to indicate some sort of wormhole or spatial anomaly.” Spock reported as he looked up form his sensor hood.

“How did it happen and we didn’t have any warning at all?” Kirk asked curiously.

“Unknown. Most phenomena of this nature don’t have such a short duration and usually announce themselves in some way that our sensors can detect.”

“Do you think it was somehow artificially created?” Kirk pressed.

Spock shrugged.

“If this were possible the power and technological requirements are beyond our science.”

“Wouldn’t be the first time we’ve run across something beyond our science.” Kirk replied with a smile.

Spock merely nodded.

“Indeed Captain.”

Kirk shook his head and was about to say something else when the turbo lift doors snapped open and Dr. Leonard McCoy stepped out, face twisted with worry.

“Jim, I’ve got a sickbay full of disoriented crewmen.” He griped and stepped down to stand by Kirk’s chair.

“Bones I have a ship that has jumped several hundred light years in less than a second. In case you were wondering, we’re hovering within spitting distance of the neutral zone and we have no idea what happened to us.” Kirk replied dryly.

“You mean to tell me that our science officer over there hasn’t conjured up the reason yet. Why Spock, I’m disappointed in you.” McCoy said with a grin.

Spock raised an eyebrow.

“Captain.” Kirk and McCoy faced Uhura. She was holding one hand to her ear and with the other she was expertly working her console. “I am picking numerous Starfleet transmissions. But they are encrypted in a manner I’ve never encountered.”

Kirk’s bow furrowed.

“I’ve tried making contact with the local relay station but it won’t allow me access. It keeps telling me that our codes are out of date.”

“Good heavens, Jim, are we out of time – again?!” McCoy exclaimed.

Kirk exchanged a questioning glance with Spock.

“Fascinating.” Spock replied.

“Is that all you have to say?!” McCoy grimaced.

An alarm beeped on Spock’s board and he quickly activated his scanning hood. Jim turned and waited impatiently.

“Captain, I am picking up an incoming starship. Odd. It’s design materials and warp signature are consistent with Starfleet design, but the power consumption curves are several times greater than any starship we have on record or even in the planning stages.”

Kirk rubbed his chin for a moment, staring out at the view screen.

“Let’s play along. Uhura, send the ship a hail. Mr. Sulu, keep the phasers on standby.” He flicked a combutton on his chair’s armrest. “Scotty, I may need emergency warp power at a second’s notice.”

There was a brief sigh on the other end.

“Aye, sair. You will have it.”

Kirk smiled softly and turned his attention back to the screen.

“Mr. Sulu, give me maximum mag on viewer. Show me our mystery ship.”
“Aye, sir.” Sulu replied and adjusted the main viewer. It shimmered for a second and suddenly the ship sprang up to fill a quarter of the screen. Kirk stared dumbfounded.

The resemblance to Starfleet vessels was clear, but this seemed so much…sleeker…elegant than the utilitarian designs he was accustomed to. The organic looking nacelles were swept back like wings and the hull seemed to be designed by an artist more than an engineer. The secondary and primary hulls were blended together. He also did not miss the lettering.

He whirled around to Spock.

“Spock, that ship says that it is the Enterprise?”

“It would seem so, Captain. I believe that the initial assumption that we are out of our time seems to be correct.”

“Spock as far as I know, we’ve only been able to travel to the past.” Kirk noted.

“Our experience with temporal travel is severely limited, captain. If indeed we passed through a spatial anomaly, then it must have also doubled as a temporal one as well.”

“Is it even possible that we’ll be able to interact with the future?” McCoy mused.

“I think we’re going to have to be careful.”

“Captain, I am receiving a hail from the Enterprise.” Uhura felt strange about saying that.

“On screen.”

A man in a gray black jump suit stared back at Kirk.

“Those uniforms look like glorified workout suits.” McCoy whispered to Kirk. Kirk flashed him an annoyed glance then spoke.

“This is Captain James T. Kirk of the starship Enterprise, but I suspect you already knew that.” Kirk stated and flashed a boyish grin.

Riker returned the smile. Kirk thought he noted that the captain was gazing at him with an odd expression, almost like he was being admired.

“Captain, you’re quite right. I’m guessing you know who we are by now.”

“You can say that I am just a bit curious.”

“I’d like to beam over and explain the situation.”

“Of course. I’ll meet you in the transporter room…captain?”

“Sorry, Captain Kirk, I am Captain William Riker.”

“Well then Captain Riker, I’ll see you soon.”


In the transporter room Kirk, Spock and McCoy stood waiting. Scotty stood by the transporter controls.

“We are going to have to be careful, lord knows what we are currently doing to the time line.” McCoy cautioned.

“In this instance, I will have to agree with the Doctor. There is no precedence for this kind of interaction between timelines.” Spock added.

“Sair, the Enterprise signals that they are ready.”

“Go ahead, Scotty. Let’s open the door to the future.”

The transporter shimmered with a golden stream of light and Captain Riker and another figure appeared on the transporter pad. Kirk and Spock stared at the newcomer. He was golden skinned and yellow eyes coolly regarded each of them.

“I’ve never seen that species before.” Kirk whispered.

“Captain Kirk, a pleasure and an honor sir.” Riker said grinning and shaking Kirk’s hand. He had a firm grip, Kirk liked that. Riker looked over at Spock. “Mr. Spock.” He said almost as if he could not believe it. Spock nodded. “Doctor McCoy.”

McCoy eyed Riker suspiciously.

“Just why are you looking at us like that?” he asked.

“I’m sorry it’s just that…well…you are living legends- “

Data cleared his throat.

Riker smiled coyly.

“I’m sorry, believe it or not we have rules about polluting timelines and I really should watch what I say.”

“So then it is true.” Kirk replied.

“Captain, is there somewhere we can talk privately?” Riker asked.

Kirk nodded.

“My quarters will do nicely. And your guest?”

“This is Lieutenant commander Data, he will be joining us as well, your command staff is more than welcome, what I have to say is important to them as well.”

Data walked up to them.

“A pleasure to meet you gentlemen.”

McCoy’s eyes narrowed on Data.

“You’re not quite…human are you?”

“No sir, I am not. I am an android.”

“Android?” McCoy smiled mischievously and glanced over at Spock. “Then you two should get along divinely.”

Spock raised an eyebrow and Data blinked and looked over at Riker who was smiling broadly.

“Come on, gentlemen.” Kirk guided them out of the transporter room.

“And so there you have it in a nutshell.” Riker finished.

“The twenty fourth century.” McCoy sighed.

“You act as if this is something you have had to do before.” Kirk noted with interest. Riker shrugged.

“Unfortunately, time travel has become a reality in our world. It started back in your time I might add but it has consistently grown more prevalent.”

“Is this not an indication that there is something amiss with the space time continuum. By all theories of our time, time travel should be extremely rare if not impossible.” Spock added.

“Indeed, Mr. Spock is correct. We have had an upswing in temporal and spatial anomalies in the last hundred years, in fact in the last six months this activity has increased by more than 67%.”

“That is a troubling statistic.” Spock replied.

“Do the both of you get any joy from sucking the fun and adventure out of time travel?” McCoy deadpanned.

“Doctor, does it not trouble you that the space time continuum is in some state of flux?” Data asked innocently.

“Lieutenant Commander Data, if the good doctor even understood the simple basics of temporal and spatial mechanics he might have a rational answer for you, but he unfortunately does not. Instead regaling us with his emotional outbursts as if they were a substitute for rational discourse.” Spock interjected in a calm voice.

McCoy turned to Kirk.

“Jim, I don’t believe it, it’s love at first sight for those two.” McCoy drawled.

Riker tried his best to hide the smile and suppress the laughter, made even more difficult by Data’s look of confusion and Kirk’s martyr expression. He could see why this crew had faced the challenges that lay ahead for them so well. They genuinely cared for each other.

“Temporal and spatial mechanics aside, we have to get you back home before you do something that does hurt the timeline. It has been our experience that it is best if you remain exactly in the vicinity of the suspected anomaly so that it can be used to return you home. We have a science vessel, the Sagan, on its way, escorted by the USS Thunderchild. They will rendezvous with you in the next four hours. Until then sit tight and good luck gentlemen.”

Riker rose from his seat and thanked the assembled officers, having one last drink of the Saurian brandy that Kirk had offered him. He eyed the drink with a smile.

“They don’t make them like this anymore. Sure beats Synthahol.”

“Synthahol?! What kind of future do we have to look forward to?” McCoy asked a little dismayed.

Riker smiled.

“Gentlemen, it’s a future that you helped create, allowing us to go where no one has gone before.” Riker answered. He was saddened to leave this room, the company of these men, but there was no choice. He was sure that he had violated all kinds of temporal regulations but there was no way that they were going to stop him from at least meeting with the men that had helped make the Federation what it was today.

“A pleasure, captain Riker. I’m pleased to see that the future still has the best men at the helm of a starship. Treat her well captain, there are few ships like the Enterprise in any time.” Kirk replied and gave Riker a solid handshake.

“I agree captain.”

“Thanks for stopping by, hope we lived up to your expectations.” McCoy added.

“More than that sir, I assure you.” he answered, shaking McCoy’s hand.

“Live long and prosper.” Spock gave the traditional split hand salute of his people. Riker returned it as best he could.

“Data.”

“Spock I would have liked to explore the problem of the temporal and spatial problems we are currently experiencing with you. I find it difficult to find a mind disciplined enough to understand some of the complexities of the underlying the equations.”

“Oh, I bet you do.” McCoy said wanly.

“Mr. Data, as you can see, the same can be said for myself.”

McCoy frowned and Kirk smiled as he shook hands with the android and escorted them out to the transporter room.




His door chimed. Picard peered over his well worn copy of the Odyssey. Who could it be at this hour?

It chimed again.

Picard put his book down and rose as he said, “come.”

The door slid open and four men filed in. Three were wearing Starfleet security uniforms and one was wearing civilian clothes, a black leather jacket and dark gray pants. He moved silently and his eyes betrayed that he was a dangerous man. Picard knew the sort, you did not spend your entire life in Starfleet and not recognize the predators among the herd right away.

He pegged him for Starfleet intelligence.

“What is the meaning of this?” he asked neutrally.

The civilian smiled easily, holding up his hands.

“Captain Picard, my name is Max Adare. I’m a special consultant and we have need of you.”

“Really? Well I am supposed to appear at a hearing tomorrow before the Federation counsel.”

Adare grimaced as if he had tasted something sour.

“Are they still giving you trouble about Baku? Personally I’m glad you spaced those Son’a bastards. Their actions however have brought much unwanted attention to some activities Starfleet would prefer remain out of the public eye.”

“I’m sure you do. I know your type, Mr. Adare. You like to think that the law and rules don’t apply to you.”

“Quite frankly, they don’t. But where has your slavish devotion to rules and regs brought you, Picard? Sitting in this lonely apartment,” he paused to take a quick glance around. “Rather Spartan, wouldn’t you say? Your starship is out there patrolling the neutral zone and you’re here. You saved an entire world from being decimated by the Son’a and now here you are trying to explain yourself to a group that is just trying to find a way to save themselves from public ire.”

“Get out.”

Adare smiled. It was not so nice anymore.

“Picard, your Federation needs you. You have some unique insights into a problem we have and I’ve been ordered to bring you.”

“Are you threatening me?” Picard asked dangerously, briefly considered running to his phaser in the other room but decided that he wouldn’t make it past the first few steps. The other three had their hands hovering close to their holsters.

“No. Think of it as reasonable discourse. We need you and we will get you. The question is whether you come willingly or whether I have to use this.”

He held up a strange looking weapon. It wasn’t a phaser, the design, form and look of it betrayed its true origins.

“That’s a Romulan weapon.” Picard spat.

“Well, yes. Unfortunately Starfleet doesn’t issue a weapon like the Neural disruptor, essentially it sends an anaphasic charge through your central nervous system. The effect is instantaneous, but rather painful. You are paralyzed for a few hours but fully aware of what’s going on around you.”

“What kind of agent are you?”

“That’s where you’re wrong, Picard. You think I’m Starfleet intelligence, but that’s not quite right. I’m a lot deeper and darker than that. I don’t exist, on any record in any data bank. I’m here to take you down the rabbit hole. We’re going to a place that does not exist, will never exist and cannot exist. But we need you and I do as I’m told.”

Picard suddenly flung the table up at the security guards and raced for his bedroom. He ducked low and the first phaser discharge missed him, striking the far wall. He reached his bedroom and went straight for his personal locker at the foot of his bed. A shadow loomed in the doorway and he whirled around delivering a kick to the security guard’s solar plexus. The guard let out a “whoof!” of exhalation and fell back but Adare was right behind him and he fired.

The green bolt struck Picard in the chest and sent him to the floor screaming, as wispy green tendrils of electricity danced along his body. Picard could suddenly no longer scream as the muscles in his jaws refused to work and he stiffened on the floor, curled up in a tight ball.

Adare motioned to the guards who quickly picked Picard up.

Adare peered down into Picard’s eyes. They were wide open and staring straight ahead.

“I’m sorry to have had to do this captain, but we all have our duties.” Adare stated solemnly then looked back up at the guards.

“Take him to the shuttle and don’t let anyone see you.”

Picard watched it all helplessly as they carried him away and despite his best efforts, he found himself thinking about the Borg, and his assimilation as he watched helplessly while they carved into his flesh. He raged against his condition but no one was listening. No one cared.



Wherever you go, there you are.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-19 01:30pm
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Very beautifully done. Only one problem and you can't really be blamed for this because it is extremely hard to do (trust me i've tried). You haven't gotten Q's personality correctly, like I said you can't really be blamed for this because it is HARD to do but I know you can do better. Other then that it is a very good fanfic and I want to see part 2.


Thanks so much but I have to agree with you it is HARD to write Q, BTW one of my favorite characters on ST. I used to HATE him with a passion when he was first introduced but he really grew on me. I'll try to peg him better next time.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-19 01:39pm
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I like.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-19 02:13pm
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Nice Fanfic :)

Gimme Part 3 now :)

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-19 02:57pm
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Extremely well done. I like how you use dialogue to move the story forward instead of extrapolation (a trap I often fall into, myself). If you are going where I think you are going with Darth Nemesis then it will be GREAT! Very good shock effect. In any case, you should definitely keep working on it. The only thing that I can mention that might help is that Data does not clear his throat. He is not a very subtle character (in that he tells you exactly what he thinks), but he IS subtle in that he is still learning about people in general and he sometimes makes mistakes when dealing with them. I like the Kirk/McCoy/Spock/etc. thing that is going on, and I DO like how the consequences from Insurrection continue. You are absolutely right about how in ST nothing ever carries over from episode to episode (Voyager shaved HOW MANY YEARS off its journey?). Writing is a wonderful pastime and you should definitely continue to work on this and hone your skills.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-19 05:02pm
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Part two, very well done.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-20 08:22pm
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Ladies and Gents, by popoular demand (many thanks for all the positive comments) Chapter 3


Chapter 3: By the Numbers



The explosions activated the automatic shading on the view ports as another cube evaporated under a direct volley of the Emperor’s Will. Four cubes skimmed by, firing a wall of green plasma torpedoes that erupted against the massive ship’s shields. A storm of green turbolaser fire filled the top portion of the view port, as three Star Destroyers formed a wedge against the new wave of cubes that arrived firing straight from transwarp space.

“This would be much easier if we had fighter and bomber support.” Branna muttered to himself. He watched four more cubes explode as they dared cross the main forward guns of the flagship.

“I will not order pilots of the empire to expose themselves to being left behind at the mercy of these soulless things. Don’t forget once we have the coordinates we have been ordered to make the jump to light speed, whether we are in the middle of combat or not.” Kittaine reminded the captain. He watched with a growing sense of unease as another wave of cubes arrived. Despite the valiant effort of the Adjudicator, Executor and Inexorable which formed the forward wedge of his fleet formation, too many cubes were squeezing past their veritable wall of turbolaser fire.

“How many cubes is that now?” Branna asked his tactical officer.

“That last wave makes 600, we’ve managed to destroy 1/3 of their fleet so far, with most of the others badly damaged, but they’re starting to strain us. The Adjudicator reports forward screens are buckling, we also have reports from the lighter ships that the Borg weapons have had an increasing damage to them. One Carrack, the Izman, that her shields are failing and engines are damaged. She does not know if she’ll be able to make the jump.” the tactical officer stated the last part with some concern.

“Inform the commander of the Izman, that if they are unable to use their hyperdrive he is to scuttle his ship immediately and get his men to escape pods. Have the Relentless drop back from picket duty to stand overwatch and recover survivors. Tell them they have little to no time. My orders are clear on the matter of jumping.”

“Yes sir.”

“Do you think they’ll make it?” Branna asked.

Kittaine remained quiet and instead watched as the Borg sent in yet another wave. They were coming on without fear of losses or death. They knew that they were outclassed in weapons and defenses but still they came. The sad part was that despite all their advantages and his tactical skills, the weight of numbers may still carry the day. He was slowly beginning to understand Lord Nemesis’ insistence. He had a way of seeing danger before it happened and he obviously saw grave danger to them if they remained here. Unfortunately jumping blind was not a good idea at the moment. They could lose everything if they ran into anything. Even the great Emperor’s Will could be crippled if it bounced too close to a sun or other stellar object.

Mara Jade suddenly appeared. She stalked up to Kittaine and handed him a data pad.

“We extrapolated a hyperspace route into Federation space. It is in an area near one of their militarized borders. Lord Nemesis expressed an interest in capturing one of their warships for interrogation and inspection. There must be a reason why the Borg have not assimilated them. I figured we would find plenty of warships there.” Mara explained, completely ignoring the thermonuclear storm just outside the main view screen.

“Excellent, have navigation enter these into the nav computer and alert all commands, we are jumping as soon as we give the signal.” He handed the data pad to Branna. Branna nodded, paused for a moment and asked in a low voice.

“The Izman?”

“What is the status of her evacuation?” Kittaine asked stoically.

“The Relentless reports that they have only recovered the first wave of escape pods, over 60% of the Izman’s crew is still onboard.”

“How long will it take them?” Branna pressed.

“Admiral.” Mara warned. “Our orders were clear, we are to jump. Now.”

Kittaine stared at her for a long moment. There was silence on the command deck for a few seconds, despite the raging battle.

“Give me the commander of the Izman, set coordinates and transmit to the rest of the fleet.” He ordered stonily.

The image of the commander of the Izman appeared before Kittaine. He looked haggard and behind him they could see men rushing about.

“Admiral.”

“Captain, I have orders to jump now. We cannot wait for you.”

“Admiral, we have a large warp signature approaching, mass and density suggests 1,000 cubes inbound.” the tactical officer reported loudly. The worry in his voice was clear.

There was only a heartbeat’s hesitation. “Understood.” The captain of the Izman replied. He looked about his bridge for a second and then reached beyond the transmitter’s view and touched a few controls. He looked back up into Kittaine’s eyes.

“I have set the reactors to overload in 30 seconds. It was an honor and a pleasure serving with you admiral.” He said and switched off the transmission.
Kittaine nodded to himself.

“Hyperdrive standing by.”

Suddenly the stars ahead of them were blotted out by a sea of green cubes.

“Jump to hyperspace now!”

The cubes positioned themselves to fire but then they vanished into the familiar blue tunnel of cascading light that was hyperspace. Branna noticed several bridge crewmen give audible sighs of relief. He could not agree more.

“Excellent, Admiral. I will inform Lord Nemesis that we are enroute to Federation space.” Mara said and began to leave.

“A good man gave his life for the empire today.” Branna said. She paused. “If Lord Nemesis had given us a few more minutes we would have rescued the crew of the Izman.”

“Ask yourself something, captain. If we had remained behind for even one second longer, how many more ships would we have lost? Remember, all officers and men are expected to die for the greater glory of the empire. In the end, we destroyed over 400 enemy ships in the engagement while only losing 1 light cruiser. I would make that exchange any day.” Mara answered icily and left the bridge.

Kittaine remained silent, despite Branna’s obvious fuming. He knew that in the end, Mara Jade was correct. In the cold language of numbers she was absolutely correct, and in fleet engagements numbers were the overwhelming most important factor. That did not mean that he had to like it. The captain of the Izman had died far from home and that hurt him. He loved his men, he had served with them for years and they had never failed him. He never wanted to fail them.

“Have tactical commands immediately begin sending us status reports on all ships. I want detailed reports before we emerge form hyperspace on our own damage and the Borg’s weapons and defenses. Begin emergency repairs, focusing on our defensive systems first. If these empires have held off the Borg then they may be even more dangerous than those cybernetic monstrosities”

“Yes, admiral.” Branna nodded and went about doing his duty. Kittaine hoped the work would keep his mind off his rage and bitterness. Branna was a competent officer, he would hate to lose him because he thought the wrong thing in Nemesis’ presence.





The Defiant moved silently through the void, cloaking device active, thus making her completely invisible to sight and most sensors. She was a small ship by Starfleet standards but considered the most heavily armed ship in the Alpha Quadrant for her size. Pulsed phaser arrays and quantum torpedo launchers gave her a powerful punch. Ablative armor and the latest in phased array shields gave her a near legendary ability to absorb punishment.

She was currently encased in black ablative armor, adding to her stealth, even with the cloaking device inactive she was difficult to pick up visually in the depths of space. Special baffles were added to her warp nacelles and impulse engines, they scattered the heat and energy signatures of the engines, making them fade into the regular background noise of space. Anything that could help her elude detection was used, since despite her armament, she was no match for a Borg cube.

These thoughts dominated the mind of Captain Jason Archer. He was worried not only about his first real mission but by his passengers. Standing off to his left in the small cramped bridge was a beautiful woman, tall with a long mane of blonde hair. Over her left eye was the only sign of her Borg past, a small metallic couple that he could not surmise what it could be used for. Her full red lips were pursed in thought, as she stared out at the great expanse on the view screen. In the upper left hand corner was a small tactical display showing Borg positions relative to theirs. They were currently threading their way through the gaps in the Borg lines.

Not that the gaps were very large, in some cases nonexistent. The Borg were if anything, efficient. Their cubes were in constant monotonous patrol patterns. The odd part was that if timed correctly, the Defiant could make her way through gaps as cubes passed their extreme sensor range before the next cube came on station. These gaps could last anywhere as long as an hour or as short as 15 seconds. It was easy to time and exploit. The Borg were like clockwork. That did not surprise him.

What did surprise him was Seven of Nine’s reaction to their success so far.

“This is most disturbing. To think that we have penetrated this far into Borg space without detection.” She said in her cold monotone. God she was beautiful. He had to be very careful. He was young and a captain. He could not be seen to be a simple mooning teenager. Besides, he had a lot to live up to. He had the unfortunate coincidence of being related to Jonathan Archer, captain of the first Enterprise and a founding member of Starfleet. This created some very high expectations that he feared he could never meet.

It didn’t help that there was a very senior officer on board as well. Captain Katherine Janeway was standing at the science station, what little there was on what was essentially a warship. She should have been in command but Starfleet assigned her as a special consultant for some odd reason. She seemed to have almost as much knowledge about the Borg as Seven of Nine did. She was the only Starfleet captain to actually have negotiated a treaty with the Borg and she had defeated the Borg Queen, destroying a vital transwarp hub that had crippled Borg traffic for an unknown amount of time. Many thought that she had saved the Federation and rumor had it that she had also brought back some very advanced technology.

She had not contradicted him in any way, she tended to keep to herself, but he knew that if things got hairy and she wanted to take command there was little he could do. After all this was the Katherine Janeway that had led her ship through the Delta Quadrant without any support or even hope of getting home anytime in their lifetimes. She had beaten the odds and was a hero back home. Who the hell was Jason Archer?

He sighed to himself. It did not help that it seemed that Seven of Nine and Janeway were not getting along. He had noticed it at their first meeting before they got underway. Seven of Nine refused to look at her and Janeway had clumsily tried to reach out several times only to be spurned. Archer had his guesses as to why but kept it to himself.

“Don’t be so negative, Seven. We’re 15 light years in Borg space, I believe that this is some kind of record.”

Janeway smiled to herself while analyzing the real time data coming in from the passive scanners.

“Well, excluding Voyager of course.” He quickly corrected himself.

“Don’t be too sure of yourself, Captain Archer. The Borg will eventually find us, particularly if you intend to probe deeper into their space. I do not see the point. The disturbance is too far into their space to safely investigate.” Seven replied coolly.

“Well, so far so good. According to our last readings the sudden surge in transwarp activity has finally ceased. Maybe they got what they were looking for and we just take a quick scanner snapshot and head home.”

“I do not share your optimistic appraisal of this mission.” Seven answered.

“Then why did you come.” Janeway walked softly from her post. Seven did not look at her, instead she started to walk off the bridge.

“I will be in the mess hall if anything should occur.” She stated grimly and left. Janeway seemed to be debating with herself and suddenly followed her out. Archer slumped into his seat. Things could get worse, he had to think happy thoughts.

“Seven.” Janeway called after her as she followed her into the tiny mess hall. Seven was pouring herself some coffee, the replicators had been powered down to cut down on their energy signature. Even the perimeter lighting had been dimmed. Starfleet was taking no chances with the Borg. Whatever had stirred up that hornet’s nest, they did not want one of their starships getting caught in it.

Janeway stood in the entrance staring at the woman she thought was a friend.

Seven paused, staring into her mug and finally looked up.

“I thought I made it clear that I did not want to have any contact with you. If I had known you were going to be on this mission I would have turned Starfleet down.”

“Seven, what’s happened to us? You were a valued member of my crew, someone I could rely on..” Janeway paused and her voice dropped slightly. “and a friend.”

Seven glared at her.

“Friend? I may not be as experienced as you in the matters that make us human, but friends do not do what you did.”

“He made his decision. I wasn’t going to stop him.”

“He loved me.” She whispered and Janeway could tell that the words had hurt her, as if she had pulled an arrow from her flesh.

“Seven, if he loved you, he would have stayed.”

“How dare you!” Seven exploded. A crewman was walking in at that point. He stopped, turned on his heel and walked away.

Janeway shook her head and took a few hesitant steps towards seven. The ex Borg drone could probably kill her with her bare hands if she wanted to, but Janeway could not turn her back on this. This had been festering for months.

“Seven, Chakotay knew what he was risking when he left. He never forgave Starfleet for what happened to the Maquis in the Dominion war. He felt violated and betrayed and he was not in a good place emotionally. He left before he did something he would regret.”

Seven breathed hard, staring at Janeway with unbound fury. This woman who had brought her back from the Collective and gave her back her humanity. Yet she could not help her with the emotions she had been suffering with since Chakotay left.

“He did not even say goodbye.” She whispered.

Janeway frowned.

“Seven, he didn’t say goodbye to anyone. He said he had to go on a Vision quest, he had to find himself again. Lord knows where he is now. I tried tracking him several times but he disappeared into the Badlands.” Janeway slowly reached out to the young woman she had embraced like a daughter and touched her shoulder.

“I am so sorry this happened. But that was no reason to leave Starfleet. No reason to punish the rest of us. Harry has taken it very hard. Tom and B’elanna wanted you to be the child’s godmother but you severed yourself from us. After all we had been through.”

Seven looked up at Janeway, tears welling in her eyes, but her face was set like stone.

“You could have done something. You could have stopped him. You could have asked him to take me, I would have gone anywhere with him. I had nothing back on Earth. My family was dead, I was alone and everyone looks at me like I am some sort of freak.”

“Seven.” Janeway whispered, her face betraying the agony she felt, knowing that her friend had been in this much pain all this time. Damn Chakotay, she was right, he should have taken her with him. He had failed to see how deeply she felt for him. He was, after all her first true love, and all first loves are forever.

“Seven, I am truly sorry. But please, let me in. Let me sit here with you, let me talk to you, like we used to do. Debate me, you were the one who said I should not have given Starfleet the schematics for the new weapons. You warned me about sharing too much of the transwarp technology. Tell me again why, remind me in that simple yet compelling Borg logic of yours.” Janeway pulled out a chair.

“Please?”

Seven stared at Janeway for a long moment. She stared into the woman’s eyes and she saw so much reflected there. She saw the pain, the pain she had felt tearing her apart inside reflected in those eyes. She remembered a determined captain telling her that she would teach her what it was to be human.

“Sometimes being human is about pain. You told me that once.” She whispered, her voice thick with emotion.

Janeway nodded as she guided Seven into the chair. She sat in an opposite chair and rested her head on her hands, looking right into Seven’s eyes and she smiled softly.

“And sometimes it means sharing pain as well.”

Seven blinked several times then nodded, her tears gone, her jaw set and she spoke louder and more emphatically.

“You will regret tampering with the timelines by giving the Federation this technology.” She began. Janeway smiled and sat back.

“Do go on.”





Picard groaned loudly, it was his first realization that the neural disruptor had worn off. He slowly raised his head and blinked his eyes. It had bothered him nearly to the point of madness how dry his eyes had become from being forced open for hours. He did not know where he was save that it was dark and quiet. He assumed he was still in the shuttle’s hold.

Slowly he unfurled from his curled up position and groaned again as his muscles protested their abuse by his rigid position for the last few hours. He did a few stretching exercises and tried to surmise where he was. He had not heard a single sound since being placed in here by the security guards. No one had come to speak to him or gloat or interrogate. It was all rather odd.

The door he did not know existed slid open and the lights to his chamber simultaneously lit up. He was in a small cell, one metal bed and a wash area. A single clean mirror hung on the unadorned wall. Two security officers walked in followed by Adare.

Adare smiled at Picard and one of the security guards calmly placed a Starfleet uniform on the bed.

“Put that on. You have a meeting with someone anxious to meet you.” Adare ordered and turned to walk away.

“Where am I, Adare?”

Adare looked over his shoulder and smiled.

“The rabbit hole. Or Never Never land. Whichever you prefer. I’m giving you precisely 5 minutes to get dressed and cleaned up. The man’s time is not to be wasted, particularly when the Federation is in trouble.”

“You still expect me to believe that nonsense?” Picard replied hotly.

“No, Picard, I expect you to be dressed in 5 minutes.” Adare replied and walked out.

Picard reluctantly dressed, finished well before his 5 minute deadline and waited. Adare stood at the entrance and motioned Picard to follow. Picard left his cell and was immediately flanked by two security guards. Adare led them through winding sterile corridors. They looked like the corridors of any Federation facility or starship. He was still clueless about where he might be.

Adare led them into a turbolift which they stood in for a long moment. It seemed to be the same amount of time he stood in the enterprise’s turbolift when he traveled from main engineering to the bridge. At the very least he was in a ship or facility that had multiple levels. When he stepped off the turbolift he quickly decided that they were on a facility, he simply could not hear the usual soft hum of the warp core running through the deck plates.

Adare nodded to a secretary sitting at a desk outside of a large office.

“Carla, is the man available?” she asked.

“Yes, Mr. Adare. He has been waiting.”

“Good, let’s not keep him waiting.” Adare stated and motioned for Picard to follow. The door opened and he turned to the two guards.

“Don’t worry boys, if he and I can’t handle Captain Picard then we don’t deserve to be where we are.” Adare said with a wry grin aimed at Picard. The guards nodded and each stood on the opposite sides of the doors. “You gotta love ‘em. They weren’t hired for their conversational skills.” Adare added and slapped Picard on the shoulder, leading him into the office.

Picard quickly examined his surroundings. It was a standard admiral’s office, large and spacious, there were sparse decorations, a Starfleet academy diploma but absolutely no medals or citations. There was a hologram of a beautiful young red haired woman sitting on the desk. The desk itself was covered by neat piles of data pads and a scaled model of a class of starship he had never seen before. It had four warp nacelles and was built like some sort of floating fortress.

The man behind the desk was middle aged and slim. His sharp eyes certainly never missed much but he had an easy smile. His uniform indicated a rank of captain.

“Captain Picard! It is a distinct pleasure to meet you.” The young man exclaimed and stood up, offering his hand. Picard shook it reluctantly. The fact that the young man had pronounced his name Pickerd did not win him any points in Picard’s eyes.

“Please have a seat.” He magnanimously waved Picard over to one of two seats opposite his desk. Adare quietly took his place, standing behind Picard. “I’m Captain Mark Durant.”

“I’ve never heard of you. According to that diploma back there you graduated the academy only 20 years ago, so what ships have you commanded?” Picard asked pointedly.

“I like him. He’s straight to the point, no nonsense.” Durant replied, looking over Picard to Adare.

Adare shrugged.

“Captain Picard, I have commanded ships for the last ten years, I’ve been in charge of this institution for the last 8.”

“I find this all hard to believe.” His eyes suddenly caught sight of a starship docked close by. There was a large picture window behind Durant, it revealed a massive shipyard where dozens of starships were in various states of repair or construction. The vessel docked closest to them was a replica of the desktop model Durant sported.

“I’ve never seen that starship before.”

Durant smiled proudly.

“That is the USS Bunker Hill, she is my flagship and first of the new Federation Class Dreadnoughts.”

“There’s no such ship.”

Durant nodded.

“On that point, you are quite correct. This ship and her sister ship under construction in yard 12 do not exist and never will exist just as that ship,” he turned and pointed to a starship that was slowly leaving the crowded shipyard passed by their window. It strongly resembled one of the Akira class starships, save that there were three huge torpedo banks along a roll bar above the primary hull, and the usually saucer shaped primary hull was more arrow headed shaped like the Intrepid class. “The USS Wasp, a long range torpedo ship, doesn’t exist.”

“I’m at a loss.” Picard admitted.

“Picard, this shipyard doesn’t exist, most of the ships in this shipyard don’t exist. We are a fleet that works and builds in the shadows. We have no existence on paper or any databank. Our oversight is done by a secret troika of admirals in Starfleet, most of who don’t know who the other is.”

“How is this possible? Where do you get the materials? Where do you get the funding?”

“There are advantages to living in a money less society, my friend.” He replied and paced back and forth, hands clasped behind his back. “But seriously there are secret back channels and we have our hands in just about every Starfleet project, we siphon a little here, a little there. The materials are also easy to explain. Starfleet always tries to keep reserve hulls and equipment in storage in case of emergency.” He smiled grimly and opened his arms to point to the window beyond. “We are that emergency. Didn’t you always wonder where Starfleet put all of that equipment, where were those extra Galaxy class hulls put in storage? They are right here. Put to good use, defending the Federation.”

“This is a shadow Starfleet and you expect me to be happy about it? This is a crime, this is treason, and it goes against every ideal that the Federation stands for.” Picard protested bitterly. The magnitude of this place was slowly sinking in.

“Picard, the Federation has wonderful ideals, but they are just not practical when it comes to defense. Democracies have always been ripe for conquest, never willing to do what it takes to defend itself from the nasty things out there. We exist to act as a security blanket, a sword and shield that strike where no one is looking and allows our precious Federation to continue on living the way it has, enjoying the freedoms it espouses and never once having to question why the enemy is at the gate. We keep the barbarian horde at bay.”

“You fight secret wars then?” Picard accused.

“Let us say that the Romulan healthy respect for Federation firepower was won by this fleet over the span of many decades. The Gorn? They haven’t bothered us in over 75 years because they lost very badly to us in a battle that can never be reported with heroes that will never have histories written about them. The Tholians? Those bastards haven’t so much as spun a strand in our space in 20 years thanks to a particularly successful mission. Think of us as the Federation’s avenging angel”

“This is an abomination!” Picard exclaimed.

“Easy captain, no one here is your enemy. We are all Federation citizens, some love her despite her flaws.” Adare interjected and placed a restraining hand on Picard’s shoulder.

“Well some of us love her and see the so called flaws for what they are.” He shoved Adare’s hand away. “Her strengths. I did not spend my entire career exploring strange new worlds, discovering new life and civilizations so that you war mongers could spend yours staining the stars with the blood of others. The Federation is nothing more than the Romulans with better attire, the Klingons with better manners if this shadow fleet is what you think is necessary.”

“Captain Picard.”

“No, Captain Durant, you will listen to me, I’ve heard the complaints, and I’m not blind. Many in Starfleet think that the Federation compromises her security because she is as open as she is, because we believe in the person over the collective, because for us there is no more valuable word than freedom. We just came out of the bloodiest war in Federation history because we realized that peace was another word for surrender, so don’t sit there and tell me that we are weak. We have a strength, it is in our individuality and freedom that you find so weak and flawed. I am disgusted and insulted by this place.”

Durant nodded slowly, he was obviously not expecting such a strong answer.

“Captain, I knew you would not be thrilled, but please listen to me. The shadow fleet is just one aspect of an entire organization that has been in place since the formation of the charter. We have been protecting the Federation nearly as long as Starfleet has. When Starfleet launched her first starship, we were building our first warship to protect while you explored. I don’t think the Federation is flawed. Perhaps I misspoke, but this organization allows us to protect her without worrying about public backlash or political interference. Let’s face it Picard, if it had been one of our missions at Baku, the Son’a would be just as dead, the converter destroyed and you would still be at the helm of a starship instead of answering the questions of some politicians who haven’t been where you and I have been.”

“That is a dangerous assumption to make Captain. Political oversight makes sure that Starfleet does not become what the Klingon Defense Force and the Romulan Navy is, a strong arm against its own people.”

“Mark, let’s just cut to the chase.” Adare suggested.

“I so wanted you to understand me, Picard. Wanted you to think of joining us. We could create a convincing cover story you know.” Durant was sincere. He truly was reaching out to Picard.

“That’s actually my department.” Adare added.

Picard glanced back at him suspiciously. Adare smiled.

“I’m with the other guys.”

“You’re Section 31.” Picard accused.

“Never heard of them, and if I was I would have to kill you.”
Picard smirked.

“I have heard the rumors out of DS9, but I never really believed.” Picard shook his head.

“Then don’t. Quite frankly it’s all a nice big brotherhood. The Shadow fleet gives us the ships we need, or ferries us where we have to go and we do what must be done, and Picard, before you think that this is bad, I’d like to tell you, there are darker organizations out there.”

Picard frowned heavily, jaw set.

“Enough, Picard, I want to give you a small tour then we can talk about what needs to be done. It is in regard to the Borg. Starfleet has its own mission out there but we have some more relevant information. You would be extremely helpful to us.”

Picard suddenly smiled.

“You’re not fooling me.”

“Oh?”

“I just realized something very damning about this show of yours. I’ve counted over 20 starships out there, with signs of more around this facility, yet where are you getting your crews? How do you man so many starships? Starfleet would eventually notice a manpower shortage of Starfleet Academy graduates.”

Durant nodded.

“You are quick on the uptake. Your answer will be leading the tour.”

The door behind him hissed open and someone stepped in. Picard turned and his eyes widened.

“Data?!”

Data stood in the doorway, wearing an all black jumpsuit, it resembled a Starfleet uniform, but it had a harsher edge to it, more militaristic and intimidating. He cocked his head in that strange way Data used to do when he first came on board the Enterprise.

“R-7 Reporting for duty as ordered, Captain Durant.” He said in Data’s voice.

Durant nodded to Picard as he looked back at him in surprise and confusion.

“Not quite, captain Picard. Not quite.”



Wherever you go, there you are.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-22 10:50pm
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Very interesting. I like it a lot.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-22 11:18pm
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I still like it very much. Keep up the good work, your story grows in depth as it grows in length.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-22 11:53pm
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Damn you! That was great! :D



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-23 01:07am
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Dude, when should we expect Chapter 4?



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"Science is one cold-hearted bitch with a 14" strap-on" - Masuka 'Dexter'
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-23 01:11am
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Glad you asked. Finishing it up tonight, final touches tomorrow morning and it should be up by the afternoon



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-23 01:12am
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I am breathless with anticipation... and that wasn't sarcasm! :D



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-23 01:51am
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Most excellent! A good piece of adventure to brighten up my trekkie bashing.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-23 06:03am
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Very good
BTW From me that is extremely high praise



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 Post subject: Re: Star Crossed Fanfic PostPosted: 2002-07-23 06:49am
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<snip>

Very, very good.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-23 11:59am
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By popular demand.....Chapter 4 (Please feel free to comment, I LOVE hearing feedback from my audience, negative or positive.)


Chapter 4: Shadow Play

All he could hear was the wind. It was always the wind, and the long gaping abyss below. He leapt. He always leapt. He always fell, tumbling through the darkness.

Why did he always fall?

YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR WHAT HE SAID.

The voice was his. He fell further, accelerating to some unseen bottom. He usually saw nothing save the darkness, but sometimes, when he least expected it, he saw his face, his teacher, his mentor.

“Lord Nemesis?”

He stopped falling and found himself kneeling, low and there were a pale of sickly yellow eyes looking on him like a predator.

“Lord Nemesis?”

He looked up. The yellow eyes flashed and a smile appeared beneath them under the dark hood.

“Rise then, my young apprentice, rise Lord Darth Nemesis and bask in the shadow of the Dark Side.” The emperor spoke in that soft whisper of his.

“Lord Nemesis, are you alright?”

There was something else. A sound, the deep bass rumble of a respirator. He wanted to turn around, to look and see. Always the breathing, always the cold monotone. He wanted to look upon him with his Sith eyes and see the truth.

Lord Nemesis awoke.

Mara Jade was leaning in close, her face wrinkled in worry. His hand flashed to her throat and held it. Mara’s eyes widened but she did nothing else. She instinctively knew that if she said a word, struggled in anyway he would snap her neck with ease. Instead she controlled her breathing and her fear as she was taught and stared into his eyes, silent.

Nemesis stared at her, fighting the panic in his heart, the fear was quickly replaced with anger. He squeezed and she gasped but remained still.

“Have you come to kill me?” He asked softly.

Mara shook her head very slowly, fighting against the unyielding hand at her throat.

“Why are you here?” he asked.

She tried to speak but only strangled gasps came out. Nemesis slowly eased his grip on her throat and the rage within him slowly subsided. He held on to part of it, fanning it and feeling the cold grip at his heart. He would need the rage. It made him powerful.

“I’ve come to tell you that we are only an hour from Federation space. Our long range sensors have detected three ships close to our hyperspace emergence point. They match the Borg description of Federation vessels.” She reported evenly, not betraying a whit of her anger and fear.

“What is the Admiral’s threat assessment of these ships? Are they superior to the Borg vessels we’ve encountered?” he asked and completely released her from his grip. He slowly rose from his meditation chamber and wrapped his cape around his shoulder as he walked away from it.

Mara followed, watching him closely. He had been sleeping, not meditating and unless she was completely mistaken it looked like he was having a nightmare.

“Actually, they are far inferior. Their power generation seems to be less than 10% of a Borg cube, and that is combined. Weapons are hard to tell at this range.”

“We should not assume too much. Arrogance is a flaw, one that endemic of our empire.”

“There’s every reason to be arrogant when you are the premier power in the galaxy.” Mara replied.

Nemesis smiled softly.

“Indeed. Well, tell the Admiral that I want one of those ships captured, their crew brought onboard and interrogated. I want to know all that there is to know about this United Federation of Planets. I want any information on wormholes and these so called spatial anomalies.”

“Understood, my Lord.” She replied.

He removed his cape and loosened his tunic, taking his lightsaber and walking towards the back of his quarters. She knew that his workout room was built in behind the meditation chamber. He did not say another word as the doors hissed open and he entered. She followed.

She watched as he stood in a calm pose for a moment.

“If you are going to watch, you can at least make yourself useful.” He stated and indicated the table on the far side of the room. She nodded and moved over to it. He watched her, her muscles moved, taut under her skin.

She was beautiful.

She stopped at the table and saw four remotes sitting on the table top.

“How many do you want to train with today?” she asked, turning her head to face him. Some of her hair fell in her eyes and he took a breath, pushing the thoughts away.

“All of them.”

She smirked.

“Showing off?”

“Just turn them on.” He replied.

She shrugged and activated the remotes. The cold black orbs leapt away and buzzed towards Nemesis like a pack of wolves. Nemesis’ lightsaber activated with a snap hiss and the ruby blade was up in the high guard position between the blinks of an eye. The orbs paused just out of his reach and they slowly fanned out around him, encircling him.

She watched his foot play, as he expertly positioned himself with the blade at chest level, his eyes weren’t really watching the remotes.

They fired. Four needle like beams flashed at him and he whirled round, flashing his blade across and deflecting each bolt with ease. He flipped over one of the remotes and as he passed overhead he slapped it with his lightsaber, the crimson blade neatly bisecting it.

He landed and turned at his waist, bringing his saber around and blocked the next three bolts. The saber made a quick vroom sound as he back flipped gracefully, the green needle bolts chopping up on the floor one second behind him. She watched him in motion and was awed by his raw speed and agility. She had seen Vader in action a few times and he was powerful and unstoppable. This was different. There was a grace and speed that she had never seen before.

He stopped, flicking his wrist out, the blade hummed loudly as it flashed out of his grip and took out one of the remotes in mid-flight. The blade swung back towards him but he was already in motion again, racing beneath the two remotes which stopped and spun on their axis as they tracked him, their green bolts missing him by a hairsbreadth. One suddenly zoomed out ahead of him in an effort to cut him off.

It had forgotten about the lightsaber. It sliced right through the remote and Nemesis leapt up into the air, catching his lightsaber and as he flipped in a tight ball his lightsaber blade out at an angle caught another volley of shots.

He landed and stood in the classic guard position.

He was not breathing hard. Her eyes narrowed on him. There was something on his face she had not seen before. Joy.

The last remote ducked in fast, almost a blur of motion and fired off a series of shots low then high in quick succession so it looked like a wall of laser shots. Nemesis’ smile broadened and his crimson blade flashed into a wall of light, the bolts all bounced away save one. The last one he casually flicked away form him and it struck the remote, bringing it down at his feet with a crash.

She clapped.

He seemed to notice her again at the sound. He smiled, some sweat beading on his forehead but no other sign of exertion.

“That is what we Sith call a warm up.” He said and there was a hint of the boy that he most obviously still was in his voice. Mara cocked up an eyebrow at the remark.

“Oh?”

Nemesis touched a control at his wrist and eight remotes hissed out from behind Mara. They floated hungrily around Nemesis.

“You have got to be kidding.”

“I recommend you leave, and see to the capture of the Federation ships. I want prisoners and I want them alive.”

“Of course.” She replied and started to walk out, paused by his side and eyed his saber. She ignored the heat coming off of him.

“Your saber, that’s an odd design, it doesn’t look like your old saber, or Lord Vader’s.” she commented and looked up into his eyes. He returned the gaze steadily for a moment.

“It is my own design, but an homage to an old friend.”

“Oh?” she replied curiously.
His face softened for a moment as his memories crept into his mind like timid children. He almost smiled. But then there was the betrayal and his smile turned into a sneer.

“Call it a reminder of how the light side is pitiful, weak and lies.” He added darkly. He brought the saber up to his face at a classic en garde position and Mara felt the chill settle over her as he closed up.

“See to the capture personally Mara. Consider it your first test.” He ordered.

“Of course, my lord.” She bowed slightly and left the room, wondering what memories she had dredged up.





James T. Kirk, Leonard McCoy and Spock sat around the conference room table. Each one seemed relaxed as they spoke, a bottle of Saurian brandy sitting on the table, Kirk and McCoy obviously enjoying a small drink at the end of their shifts.

“So let me get this straight. This science ship is going to find the anomaly and then we go through it and return to our time?” McCoy asked incredulously.

“That is the offer from the Captain of the Sagan. He states that this can be accomplished easily, the Sagan has the most experience with temporal and spatial anomalies out of any science vessel in the Federation, although he did note that we were a special exception.” Spock replied.

“Oh?” McCoy pressed.

“It seems, Bones, that we are something of a legend in the time travel department. In fact he confided in me that there is a special division and file regarding the Enterprise.” Kirk added with a mischievous grin.

“You have got to be kidding. By the way,” he dropped his voice to a secretive whisper. “Did you get any tips about the future, maybe some stock options, hmmm?”

“Odd that. The captain of the Sagan was very clear that money was no longer in use. Seems that the Federation credit is the only thing out there and the market’s just gone.”

“Now THAT is an odd step. All I know is, Starfleet better honor our pensions.” McCoy griped.

“Well, we do the one thing I don’t like to do.” Kirk frowned. “Sit and wait.”

“I for one, PREFER the sitting and waiting.” McCoy interjected. “Less of a mess and maybe, just once, we can have a normal mission. I mean honestly, what could possibly happen waiting around?” McCoy replied with a satisfied grin and poured himself another glass of Saurian brandy. Spock eyed him critically. McCoy held the glass out to Spock for a moment.

“It’s medicinal.” He answered Spock’s unspoken question. Spock’s eyebrow arched.

The communicator beeped.

Kirk flipped it on.

“Kirk here.”

“Captain, we have a strange reading on our sensors, it looks like some odd spatial distortion relatively close by – “ there was a pause. “Sir, the Thunderchild just went to battle stations and they want us to follow suit.”

“Go to Battle stations! We’re right on our way up.” Kirk snapped and slapped off the communicator. He got up quickly nodding to Spock who followed. McCoy shook his head sadly.

“Can we have just one damned mission without-“ The red alert klaxons went off and the small red panels flashed above the doors to the conference room as Kirk and Spock raced out. “that god awful racket!” he shouted to no one in particular. He slapped the communicator on.

“Nurse Chapel, have sickbay prepped for possible casualties, I’m on my way.” McCoy ordered and suddenly seemed more grim and determined as he walked out of the conference room, hoping that his skills would not be called upon.

On the bridge, Kirk walked in followed by Spock who took his post as Kirk slipped into his command chair.

“Status?”

“Thunderchild has just accelerated to full impulse. The Sagan is hanging back, their using their sensors to find what triggered their defenses.” Sulu replied.

“Captain, I’m receiving a hail from the Thunderchild.”

“Put it through Lieutenant.”

Spock was busy adjusting his sensor hood, searching for the unknown danger.

Captain Armando Ochoa appeared on the screen.

“Captain Kirk, we have one contact inbound on an intercept course, they look big and well armed. We’re going to try and verify their intentions. Hang back and protect the Sagan. We may need to run.”

“Captain, if the ship is approaching on an intercept course under strict sensor and radio silence I think that their intentions are fairly clear.” Kirk replied and kicked himself. He did not want to question a fellow officer, especially one he did not know.

Ochoa hesitated for a moment. His boyhood idol had just told him something he had not considered. But pride pricked him and he smiled casually.

“Don’t worry captain, the Thunderchild saw plenty of action recently, we’re up to it.” He replied. “Ochoa out.”

Kirk frowned. He had seen that look before, the right mix of smugness and recklessness. He had been accused of that before himself.

“Sulu keep us within 5,000 kilometers of the Sagan, arm the torpedoes and charge the phasers.”

“Aye sir.”

Kirk hoped that Ochoa knew what he was doing.

“Captain, I’m getting another distortion in space. Opening up right between us and the Thunderchild.” Spock warned.

“Evasive, Mr. Sulu!”

The screen flashed for a moment and a ship seemed to explode into view. Kirk froze for a moment as he saw the kilometer long vessel. The design was completely unfamiliar. Its arrow shape and obviously armored hull made her look dangerous and predatory.

“Sir, I’m picking up a transmission on a frequency we’ve never used before.”

“On speakers.”

“In the Name of the Emperor, cut your engines and prepare to be boarded.”

Kirk slowly turned to Spock.

“Captain, the vessel is sporting armament the like of which we have never encountered before.” Spock looked up at Kirk. “We are no match for this vessel.”

“That makes up my mind, inform the Sagan to follow our lead.” Kirk replied and turned to Sulu.

“Mr. Sulu, we run.”

“Aye sir.”

“Captain, the Thunderchild is attacking.”

“Oh no! What is he doing?” Kirk exclaimed.






Picard walked alongside the android that was introduced as R-7 but was obviously an exact replica of Data. He kept eying him in disbelief and wonder. They were left alone together, but that was no surprise, if R-7 wanted to he could tear Picard apart with his bare hands.

They walked through a long corridor that connected one area of the base with another. The corridor was clear, allowing anyone to look out and observe the shipyard. It was an enormous affair, rivaling the great shipyards of Utopia Planetia. Dozens of starships were gathered, most were undergoing some major refit.

“We are now moving into the D Section of the Control center. This is the disembarkation for starships and armory section. I will caution you to be careful as live ordinance is constantly being transported through this area to be loaded onto starships.”

“R-7, why are all your ships being refitted?” Picard asked.

“We have recently received new weapons, propulsion and defensive system upgrades that Captain Durant has ordered to be installed in all our warships as soon as possible.”

“New upgrades?”

R-7 paused.

“Captain Catherine Janeway of the USS Voyager returned from the Delta quadrant with new technology. This fleet procured those plans from Starfleet command and have incorporated these designs into the fleet.”

“Are you aware that your actions could pollute the timeline?”

“We have made the proper calculations and it is doubtful that this could occur, besides, Captain Durant is adamant that these new advancements gives the fleet an edge we have never had before.”

Picard watched R-7 closely, but there was no sign of emotion at all. This was Data, at the time of the Farpoint Encounter, not having grown at all. What did this all mean?

“How did they come about another Soong type android, R-7? I was led to believe that Commander Data and Lore were the only ones out there.”

R-7 nodded as they passed through the corridor and entered the new section. Picard stopped as he took in the new sight. They were standing on an upper level that was railed off. A small workbee tug was floating ahead of them over a large assembly area below. He slowly peered over the edge and saw quantum torpedoes neatly stacked below in piles, the workbees were gently taking then into another area. Phaser coils were being lined up and carried off as well. He noted several shield generators being inspected by technicians in dark blue overalls.

There was a clockwork feeling to it all, an organized chaos down below of workbees, technicians, and automated loading systems that were filling small barges with ordinance and equipment. This was impressive and scary at the same time.

“The plans and schematics for the Soong type androids were procured by this fleet at the time of Data’s admission to Starfleet academy. It took a few years but we were able to find a way of mass producing the current production line.” R-7 answered as he motioned for Picard to follow him to another area.

Picard did a double take.

“Did you say mass produce?” Picard asked in shock.

“Right this way, Captain. It will all be clear to you in the troop disembarkation section. Please be careful, it is a rather long drop.” R-7 added thoughtfully. Picard followed him, uncertain that he actually wanted to know what R-7 was about to show him.

“This is the troop disembarkation area. Here mass transporters beam our crews over to their ships.” R-7 explained. Picard stepped into another massive chamber and below there were huge transporter pads, the size of the Enterprise’s cargo bay each, and men were marching on them in neat rows, too neat. No human could march that tightly and with perfect coordination. As he looked closer he saw that they all looked the same. They all looked like Data.

There must have been hundreds milling around down below him.

“This is unbelievable. How did you overcome the positronic brain problem?” Picard breathed, horrified at what he was looking at. This was the realization of a nightmare, one that he had argued vigorously against during Data’s trial to establish his rights as a sentient being.

“Simple actually, captain, there was no need for a positronic network as complicated as Data’s. We needed androids to run starships and fight battles, we did not need science officers or androids that wanted to be human. We are machines in service of the Federation.”

“You say that with absolutely no hesitation.” Picard replied in disappointment.

“I am what I am, Captain.” R-7 replied without an inflection in his voice, as if he had said that space is black.

“This is more monstrous than I ever imagined.” Picard hissed.

“Before the Soong type we used androids successfully thanks to James Kirk.” R-7 continued as he led him to a turbolift that took them down to the disembarkation area.

“Kirk?”

“One of his missions led him to a world run by androids, androids under the supposed control of a one time felon called Harry Mudd.”

Picard nodded slowly, hazily remembering the mission from his reading.

“Those androids were deactivated by Kirk’s clever use of logic problems, but our fleet went in and took some of the androids for further study, and began mass producing them for use of our warships. Before the android solution we were forced to field a much smaller fleet due to man power limitations which you readily noted in Captain Durant’s office. We have a limitation on the amount of graduates we can, disappear with or appropriate. We experimented with automation but it simply was not feasible, automated starships did not fight nearly as well as human run ships, plus we had the fear that we may have another M-5 situation on our hands.”

“M-5?”

“Yes, the supercomputer installed on the Enterprise many years ago. It malfunctioned and killed the crew of the Excalibur and damaged two other starships. The M-5 project run by Richard Daystrom was partially funded by our fleet in the hopes of installing them in our warships. Ever since the incident we have looked for other options.”

“And you find this a viable alternative?” Picard asked as they walked out of the turbolift and traveled down the disembarkation area. Picard felt as if he were in a dream as he walked by hundreds of Datas all waiting patiently for their turn. A human in blue overalls was standing by the transporter controls of one of the mass transporters.

“All crewmen for the Indomitable, please prepare for transport!” he shouted. Lines of Datas suddenly moved as one and marched to the pad. They were eerily silent. He noted that some carried the latest Federation assault phasers. Others were in engineering gear.

“This is madness.” he muttered.

“The androids from Mudd’s planet served us well for nearly a century. The fleet expanded to nearly three times its size and we won major victories against the Gorn, Tholian and Romulans, as well as some other races you never encountered. However, their processing skills were simple. When the Soong type arrived command felt that an upgrade was necessary.”

“What did you do with the other androids?” Picard asked.

“They were relegated to guard duty and construction. They are the ones building the warships that we now crew.”

“Any humans on these ships? Are they sharing the risk when you go into battle?”

“Yes each starship has a human captain as well as several other key posts.” R-7 answered without a hint of any dissatisfaction. Picard frowned as they seemed to be walking forever to cross this disembarkation area.

“What I find interesting is that while your fleet claims to want to protect the Federation I did not hear of it fighting in the Dominion War. Where were you when all looked lost?”

“We were fighting the Gorn and the Tholians. What Starfleet did not know and Section 31 discovered was that the Dominion had actually formed a pact with the Gorn and Tholians to attack Starfleet simultaneously with them. We barely got the fleet out to the main staging area in time. We destroyed the Gorn/Tholian invasion fleets while the Dominion War raged back home. If they had attacked you, the Federation would have lost the war as it almost did simply facing the Dominion. And there was also the Battle of Cardasia. No one ever thought to ask why it was so easy for Sisko’s fleet to fight all the way to Cardasia when you considered the overwhelming advantage in numbers the Dominion had. We kept six Dominion fleets occupied while Sisko made his run to Cardasia and secured his victory. In my estimation we played a significant part in the war, but you just do not understand our main objective, we defend the Federation in secret, if Starfleet were to discover us, then this fleet would be shut down or put under civilian oversight. That cannot be allowed.”

Picard paused as they finally reached a large vault like door. He turned and looked back, seeing hundreds if not thousands of Datas ready for transport. Many of them armed. Something was bothering him about this whole show and it dawned on him.

“You’re planning some sort of attack aren’t you? That is why Durant is refitting his whole fleet, that is why troops are being prepared, ordinance loaded. I am a fool. You’re planning an assault, and unless I’m mistaken as to why I am here. You want to attack the Borg.” he turned around suddenly to face R-7.

R-7 nodded.

“H-Hour is a mere day away and we are launching a preemptive strike on Unimatrix 001. We finally have the weapons which will allow us to eliminate the Borg threat forever.”

Picard felt his heart sink and a sick feeling in his gut as the vault like doors hissed open.

“We will need you to lead the fleet Captain Picard. Please follow me to the C&C.” R-7 stated in that matter of fact voice.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2002-07-23 12:21pm
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Darkest Knight
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That was still very good, but I noticed a tiny bit of sagging in the last chapter from the gems that were the first three. The writing style seemed different, a bit. My guess is that you rushed the last chapter to get it out to everyone on time. That was MY fault for not warning you about that, even after I saw everyone else asking you to hurry.

NEVER rush writing. That is why I HATE deadlines. If you write something for speed, quality goes down immeasurably. In this case, it was not too bad. In fact, it was still very good, but if you continue to rush writing, it could severely damage the VERY good story that you started out with. Take a day off. If you don't feel like writing, don't. You will be able to come back to the story, later, with a fresh mind and a better grasp of where you want to go. I get some of my best ideas when I am just trying to fall asleep (I'm an insomniac), but for others, their best ideas come when they are excercising or driving or walking through a park. Some people do their best work when they're with their friends. Do whatever is best for the story. Don't hurry it just to get it out of the way. It is much slower, but it is MUCH more rewarding, that way. Keep up the good work! May the Force be with you, Stravo.



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