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Story [Star Trek] DEEP SPACE ONE: "Red Alert" (short story, OCs)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by Kurisan, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Intro: This is a pilot really just to test how characters interact, at the urging of @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha , who wanted "yummy Vulcans and naughty Romulans". I finally got round to knocking this story out Ny! I thank everyone in advance for your comments as always!


    STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE ONE: "RED ALERT"
    [​IMG]



    Chapter 1


    “HUMANS: SO EMOTIONAL, SO PREDICTABLE…” N’Koll surveyed the attacking force through telefocals and arched his dark Vulcan eyebrows. Nearby, the very human Mark Bedder sighed, but also peered out. He wiped his brow, heavy with sweat from the sultry atmosphere. Only a few silhouettes were visible beneath the violet sky at the range, stalking between jagged magenta boulders towards the strongpoint.

    A pair of phaser beams spat along the rocky canyon towards them. Bedder shrank into cover, but the long-range fire was woefully speculative. He leaned back out and raised his phaser pistol.

    “Hold your fire,” said N’Koll.

    Pew, pew, pew!” Bedder mouthed instead then holstered his weapon.

    The stern alien ignored him and produced a communicator. “All sub-teams; leave one sentry and re-deploy to the north side. They are coming this way.”

    “I think they are holding position,” said Skillus, a pale-skinned Arcadian member of the squad, gazing over the durasteel battlement. The arrival of more men and women in red shirts, following N’Koll’s orders, reinforced the unit.

    “Of course they are,” said N’Koll, observing again through telefocals. “We have the superior position. They are trying to tempt us out.”

    “Cadet-officer-in-training-temporary-commandante-N’Koll!” said Bedder, directing his tricorder toward the enemy. “I think we have a problem.”

    N’Koll frowned at the trainee science officer. “You do not need to address me like that.”

    “Is it inaccurate, Cadet-officer-in-training-temporary-commandante?”

    N’Koll scrutinized Bedder’s face, trying to read his ironic half-smile.

    “In a combat situation it is too long. We need to communicate more briefly.”

    “Ah… but are you not taking even more time to tell me that right now? Is that logical?”

    N’Koll scowled. “Noted. What is the problem?”

    Bedder grinned his little triumph to a teammate. Then he ruffled his mop of blond hair and frowned at his tricorder. “I’m trying to scan for numbers, but these readings don’t make sense.”

    “Is there something wrong with your equipment?”

    “No. I think they’re using a tricorder too, but to project an interfering magnetic field.”

    “They are hiding their numbers,” N’Koll stared down the valley. “Why?”

    “Maybe we got less of them than we thought at that skirmish at the ridge?”

    N’Koll cupped his angular chin. Bedder thought about it, too. Two confirmed kills, more possible. It did not make that much difference, given that each side knew the other’s starting strengths.

    “No,” said N’Koll. “It cannot be that there are more than we expect. Perhaps there are fewer. But that would improve their chances of enticing a sortie on our part. It is illogical to hide it.”

    His communicator crackled. “They’ve come over the swamp! I can’t hold…”

    Muffled phaser blasts carried in the soupy atmosphere. N’Koll’s squad was thrown into confusion as attackers streamed through the base from the east, taking them completely by surprise. Shouts echoed, phaser bolts fizzed. N’Koll’s team found themselves with their backs to the very fortifications meant to protect them. The firefight lasted only moments.
















     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @Kurisan -- very compelling team interaction; Bedder seems to be bent on one-upping or trying to push N'Koll's buttons :p [face_thinking]
    Riveting action but it seems like the hiding of numbers is now explained. There were more coming from an unexpected direction! [face_worried]

    =D=
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  3. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Yay! Thank you @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha for looking in so quickly and the nice words. You've figured it out so I will clear up what's happening quickly...


    Chapter 2


    “QUITE THE MOVE,” Bedder shook hands with Kelly Chang. The lissome Hawaiian nodded acknowledgement. With their colour-coded armbands removed, the opposing units were once again a united class from Starfleet Academy, all clad in red security uniforms for the field exercise.


    “You left it to the last moment, though,” Bedder winked.


    The athletic cadet shrugged, releasing her long dark hair from a tight ponytail. “Timing is everything.”


    “I’ll say,” said Bedder. “You’ve been trailing the pointy-ear all year. This last exercise might just put you over on points for the Gold Distinction. I guess there was a reason to play soldiers out here after all.”


    They both looked at N’Koll. The raven-haired Vulcan paced back and forth before the mock command bunker, hands clasped behind his back.


    “You’re not going to congratulate Red Team Leader?” Bedder called out.


    “Just leave it,” Chang whispered, but N’Koll halted and turned towards them.


    He confronted Chang. “I am puzzled. The swamp is treacherous and left your squad exposed on approach, as well as the disadvantage of splitting your unit. It seems a very… illogical tactic.”


    “That’s why I chose it,” grinned Chang. “I knew you wouldn’t think of it ‘till it was too late.”


    N’Koll arched his eyebrows. “So, you utilized this illogical tactic because you knew I was in command? It would not have worked, say, if facing Klingons or Gorn? Interesting…”


    “Come on, N’Koll,” said Bedder. “Don’t be a sore loser. We did get here first and hold the fort for twenty hours.”


    “I assure you I have no emotional attachment to the matter. I am wondering about the veracity of the result, given this information. You agree, Ms. Chang, that you would not have used such a ruse against a real enemy?”


    “Whatever,” shrugged Chang. “It worked, didn’t it?”


    “How did you get across the swamp?” Bedder scratched his head.


    “All credit for that goes to Stuzzil,” grinned Chang.


    A plump Bolian waddled over and produced a sample tube from his backpack. “Aha. Old Andorian trick – a sapper’s treat in this terrain.”


    Bedder switched his bemused gaze from the affable blue-skin to Chang.


    She said, “You ever heard of ice-nine?”


    Bedder nodded. “Sure. Vonnegut. Cat’s Cradle. It makes water freeze at higher temperatures.”


    Stuzzil brandished the vial. “We call this flash-ice. Just a chip acts as catalyst and the molecules re-align. A bit slippery but any wet terrain instantly becomes hard. And since H2O was artificially introduced to the soil of Perse, that’s everywhere!”


    Bedder rubbed his chin. “I thought in the book ice-nine wiped out the world.”


    Stuzzil guffawed. “Dunno about that – haven’t read it. Was it something to do with the thaw temperature?”


    Bedder nodded appreciation for the trainee engineer’s insight. “Exactly – once it catalyzed it went on spreading the freeze until the planet’s environment was destroyed.”


    “Yeah, well, flash-ice thaws at normal temperature, so the process is short-lived. Once it sets you gotta move quickly ‘cos it melts behind you. You shoulda seen us scrambling across!”


    The bald alien guffawed. His infectious belly laugh soon had other trainees chuckling.


    “Is that legal?” said N’Koll. Silence fell. “I mean, under the exercise rules?”


    “Dunno,” said Stuzzil. “I always keep a coupla chips around just in case.”


    “We should see if a challenge to this result is appropriate,” N’Koll folded his arms across his chest.


    “N’Koll, lighten up will you?” said Bedder. He glanced at Chang, who just shrugged again.


    The main communicator in the bunker chimed.


    Bedder said, “That’s Old Hardass then. Time to send in the result.”


    N’Koll glared at him. “That is no way to refer to the combat instructor.”


    “What? Can he hear me all the way from HQ?”


    “Yes, he can!” shouted forty cadets at once.


     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Enjoyed the post-exercise banter. Like how the various personalities are coming to the fore. N'Koll will definitely need to think outside the box LOL as to planning for the opposing side to take an irrational course, just because it's unexpected ;)
     
  5. Sith-I-5

    Sith-I-5 Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2002
    Both sections were very good, and you excelled yourself with the post exercise back and forth over the swamp crossing.

    Well done, actually getting the Bollian involved with the plot.
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  6. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Thank you very much @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and @Sith-I-5 for your kind and encouraging words! And we move swiftly on...


    Chapter 3


    “SOMETHING IS WRONG,” declared N’Koll, “They are overdue and have not signalled.”


    “We are at the right fort, right?” Bedder asked the group of cadets in general.


    “It is unlikely in the extreme that both Ms. Chang and I failed in our orienteering duties,” said N’Koll.


    “Thanks, I think,” Chang shot back.


    “Then where are they? Did the Major sound pissed to you?” Stuzzil asked N’Koll.


    “His tone was standard. That is, he was not unusually cheerful.”


    “Ugh!” Stuzzil slapped a hand to his forehead. “He overheard Bedder and is punishing the whole unit. We’ve gotta hike back to HQ!”


    Groans rippled around the gathered team and venomous stares were directed at the young scientist.


    Bedder gaped. “He can’t have really heard me, right?”


    “Of course he didn’t,” Chang stepped past him. The slender woman sprang up onto one of the battlements of the mock fort. She shaded her eyes against the reflective orange glare from the distant planet, Vermilion, and searched the rugged panorama of Perse.


    “Can you see that?” she said. The others followed her stare. Something glowed on the horizon. The abrupt curvature of the small planetoid placed the source of the glow beyond their view. “It’s not normal Ver-set glare.”


    Bedder raised his tricorder and frowned. “Whatever it is, it’s too far over the horizon for a full reading.”


    “That’s the direction of Outpost 7,” commented N’Koll.


    “And that’s the Major’s transport!” said Stuzzil. The team all followed his pointing finger and spotted the oblique silhouette.


    “Ha, we don’t have to walk home after all!” said Stuzzil. The big Bolian led the relieved cheer and the cadets forgot about the anomalous glare.


    The shuttle jetted towards them through the hazy sky. Bedder frowned. It was coming too fast, and that looked like a trail of smoke gushing from its starboard flank. Then they all spotted the other silhouette rising behind it. A starship with wicked curving wings rose into view. The much larger vessel – big enough for interstellar range – had previously been hidden behind the Federation shuttle by the angle and perspective.


    The bird of prey opened fire. Bursts of starbright energy spat from its sharp prow and smashed into the smaller craft. Before the eyes of the stunned cadets, the shuttle burst into flames and crashed into the rocky surface. The bird of prey slowed, turned and glided back in the direction of the training base.


    It took several moments before anyone spoke, and it was Kelly Chang.


    “We’ve got to get back to HQ, fast!”


    “Are we under attack?” said Stuzzil.


    “That would appear to be a logical conclusion,” N’Koll said, and stepped beside Chang. She traded a glance with the Vulcan. He continued, “I concur with Ms. Chang’s course of action. We must return to HQ – and evidence suggests it is also under attack. Everyone, remove your phaser safeties and set to combat levels.”


    “Wait a minute,” said Bedder. Everyone looked at him. “Who’s in charge here? What’s the plan?”


    “And where did that starship come from? What do they want with this stupid asteroid?” said Stuzzil.


    Chang and N’Koll traded another look. N’Koll spoke first.


    “As Major Peppard placed Ms. Chang and I in joint temporary command, I suggest we continue with that arrangement unless anyone objects.”


    He allowed several seconds of silence before continuing.


    “Thank you. We do not know who they are and what the purpose of an attack on this planetoid may be, but one must consider the facts of the situation: This is an outpost stationed along the Romulan Neutral Zone. There cannot be that many interested parties. For the moment, it is irrelevant. We are achieving nothing out here. I propose we return and consider our plan when we have more data to process.”


    “It’s a four hour hike!” complained someone from the group of terrified cadets.


    N’Koll turned to Stuzzil. “Not if we go straight across the swamp.”


    Stuzzil grinned and reached for his backpack. “Good job I got some crystals left!”


    Chang nodded. “OK, everyone get ready – collect your packs. We will have to double-time it or we’ll get stranded in the middle of the swamp.”


    * * *

    “DO YOU REALLY THINK THEY ARE ROMULANS?” Bedder jogged up to beside Chang and N’Koll, who were jointly leading the hustling cadets. Bedder was fit, but the marathon was starting to bite into his reserves of energy. Coming at the end of a field exercise camping out in the wild and the oppressive heat was taking its toll, too. If Chang was tiring, she did not complain about it. Bedder knew of her sporting prowess. He noted the impassive N’Koll did not appear troubled at all.


    “It is a probable yet troubling prospect,” admitted N’Koll without breaking stride. “My understanding is they are militarily inferior to the allied forces of the Federation, so provoking a war seems illogical.”


    The swampland crackled as it temporarily petrified under Stuzzil’s expert placement of flash-ice chunks, then rapidly softened to impassable terrain once more. The magenta bog sprouted clumps of proto-plantlife seeded by Federation scientists and stimulated by the introduction of atmosphere to Perse. The group of red-clad trainees kept together on their accelerated march.


    “The ship markings looked Romulan to me,” Stuzzil said. “And they attacked outposts three years ago, remember?”


    The hefty blue-skinned alien wheezed as he caught up to them. They reached solid ground once more. N’Koll slowed and held up a hand and they took cover behind boulders before a rock-strewn plain leading to the training outpost.


    “Look, the base!” said Bedder and they all stared, mouths open. Strangled wisps of smoke drifted skywards from the complex of grey buildings. The alien starship hovered above the base like a vulture. At that moment, its disruptor cannons crackled and a lodgings block disintegrated under the blast. The cadets shielded their eyes. Some gasped. Others cried out. Bedder, Chang, Stuzzil and N’Koll studied the scene.


    “Look, they have ground forces moving through the complex,” pointed Bedder. The tell-tale flicker of distant phaser and disruptor beams reported firefights to the watchers. A group of Starfleet personnel, distinguishable by their tunics, defended a makeshift barricade against dark-helmeted attackers. The hovering bird of prey swivelled and obliterated them.


    “The attackers have seized aerial supremacy. Starfleet will lose this battle,” said N’Koll.


    “No!” Chang rose and strode towards the battle.


    N’Koll leapt to his feet and grabbed her arm. “Ms. Chang, what are you doing?”


    She twisted in his grip. “We have to go and fight!”


    “We achieve nothing by just charging in.”


    “Look!” Chang pointed with her free hand. “They’re dying!”


    “We must formulate a strategy first.”


    “I need to go now. You do as you want.”


    She continued to writhe. Bedder watched with the other cadets, frozen into inaction by the enormity of the situation. N’Koll and Chang continued their wrestle, in full view of the station.


    “Get back here or they’ll see you!” hissed Stuzzil.


    “He is right,” N’Koll said without emotion. “You are compromising us all.”


    “Then let me go alone! You don’t command me,” she said. She swung a free fist at N’Koll’s neck. He caught it and turned her, twisting her arm behind her back.


    “You do not understand… listen to me…” he said.


    You don’t understand. I have to go, now!” said Chang.


    N’Koll twisted her arm tighter until she cried out, then forced her to her knees. He forced her other wrist over her forearm behind her back so that he could pin her one-handed, then reached down and clasped her shoulder with a free hand. His fingers splayed then gripped her neck-shoulder joint. N’Koll muttered something, then before the watching cadets Chang crumpled onto the ground unconscious. The Vulcan dragged her back into cover.


    “What did you do to her?” said Bedder, helping to sit her upright against the boulder.


    “I have incapacitated her,” said N’Koll. He noticed the cadets were all staring at him. “Understand: We have one advantage over the attacker at this moment. One. That is, they do not know we exist. We must utilise this fact if we are to have any chance of overcoming this superior foe. Ms. Chang was about to throw away this one advantage in a useless show of emotion.”


    Bedder and Stuzzil exchanged a glance. Bedder recognised the logic in N’Koll’s explanation, but still was troubled by what he had just witnessed.


    “I will explain it to her when she comes round. First, let us approach more carefully. I suggest circumventing the plain and using those rocky fissures to the east.”


    Bedder looked. “We’d better move fast. Kelly’s right, this is happening right now.”

    “That is agreed,” said N’Koll.


     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb edge of seatness =D= My goodness, what could they be attacking for? There is no tangible thing to be gained except a foothold into a larger conquest/incursion [face_thinking]
     
  8. pronker

    pronker Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Excellent action and interaction between the team members - wouldn't it be something if the attackers were doing their version of a field exercise. And things got out of hand as they do.[face_beatup]
     
    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha likes this.
  9. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Many thanks @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha and @pronker - that is actually a really good idea, if the attackers were doing a field exercise too lol. I'll tag @Sith-I-5 as I heard there was some problem with forum updates. BUT this will be the last time I do it unless you reply. So you can passively opt-out if you so wish. Please forgive my presumption if that is the case.


    Chapter 4


    “THEY’RE ROMULANS ALRIGHT,” said Stuzzil. “But that starship looks like a Klingon design, now I’m closer. What’re we going to do?”


    Bedder watched from the cover of the purple rocks. They were far too close to the warship for comfort. Things had gone ominously quiet in the base. Enemy shuttles were crouched on a landing pad beneath to the waiting bird of prey, perhaps preparing to ferry home the attacking ground forces. The cadets huddled and waited, clutching phasers in shaking hands.


    “Mr. Bedder, I need your help to calm Ms. Chang while I waken her. Then we can formulate a plan," said N'Koll.


    An explosion echoed from the base.


    “They’re taking prisoners into the shuttles!” spotted a watching cadet.


    “Come on then, get on with it,” grunted Stuzzil, grabbing Chang’s legs. “Mark, he’s right. Help us out here.”


    Bedder felt like a criminal as he grabbed the wrists of the unconscious Hawaiian girl. N’Koll splayed his fingers, this time touching certain points on her face. He murmured something and pressed hard. Chang blinked awake.


    “Damn you!” she immediately cried, attempting to rise and strike him. Stuzzil and Bedder held on and she struggled. “Damn you all!”


    “We will attack, I assure you, Ms. Chang,” N’Koll spoke quickly now, “but they do not know we are here – that is our tactical advantage. Let us use it!”


    Chang’s struggles weakened, then ceased. She whispered, “Alright.”


    “Alright!” she repeated more loudly, throwing off their arms as they eased their grip.


    She stood and peered at the scene. The fighting seemed to have ceased in the complex. Bedder hoped the battle was not over yet.


    “How long was I out?” she whispered.


    “Too long, I fear, Ms. Chang,” N’Koll stepped beside her, warily. “I request your tactical advice.”


    Chang was abruptly businesslike.


    “We need to take out the starship. That’s the key. Are they still landing troops?” she said, watching.


    “No,” said Bedder. “They are taking them back up now. Is it all finished then?”


    “Not a chance,” said Chang. With a look in her eye that frightened Bedder, she unclipped her phaser and checked the setting.


    “What are we gonna do?” said Stuzzil.


    “We get onto one of those lighters, get up into the mothership, then we take out these bastards. Who is with me?” said Chang.


    A hesitant murmur of support rose among the cadets. N’Koll nodded and cleared his throat, “We have trained for this. We all stand ready to do our duty. Our moment has come.”


    A second murmur rose at the words of the Vulcan – this time more convincing.


    “We don’t have time to waste. Double time, now! Keep out of sight,” said Chang.


    And with that, she darted off on a path between outbuildings towards the nearest Romulan shuttle.


    Chang waited until two lighters had cleared before they spotted one waiting, empty, for its strikeforce to return. Bedder surmised the battle in the complex was not yet over, after all. There was still hope for the defenders.


    With a gesture, Chang ordered the assault. She stretched athletic legs and sprinted in the lead. The cadets hustled behind her. A volley of phaser blasts took down the surprised ground crew of the shuttle. As they closed, Bedder saw them up close for the first time. Distinctive medieval-style helmets and black plated armour clad the invaders. They were surprisingly similar to N’Koll – pointed ears, pointed eyes, everything angular in their faces. The disdainful sneer remained even on the faces of the dead. He confirmed their deaths with his tricorder.


    Chang entered the shuttle and reappeared. “Clear!”


    N’Koll nodded and said, “Everyone, embark before we are seen.”


    The cadets hurried to comply. Inside they found the main section contained the expected rows of grav-seats of a military transport. The cadets took these and buckled in at N’Koll’s order. Stuzzil, Bedder and Chang pressed on to the cockpit. There, Stuzzil squeezed into one of the pilot’s seats and rubbed his hands.


    “OK, what have we here?” his fat blue fingers danced over several controls without actually touching anything.


    “Can you fly it?” said N’Koll, following behind.


    “No need. It’s locked on docking sequence with the bird, look there,” said the Bolian, gesturing to a flickering monitor. “This’ll be the easy bit.”


    “Then do it!” said Chang, checking her phaser pistol for charge. Bedder noted her tanned face was flushed. He initiated settings on his tricorder.


    “What are you doing?” said N’Koll.


    “Disrupting.”


    “Disrupting?”


    “If they have any sense at all, they will be scanning each transport that comes in. If they see forty life-signals and no Romulans, they will blast us out of the sky before we get there.”


    At Stuzzil’s goading the shuttle lifted. It rose towards the bird of prey and Bedder could see the full extent of the damage to the outpost below. It was not quite an extermination, but the raid had certainly been devastating. He wondered what was to become of the prisoners – many of them cadets just like them.


    A harsh voice barked in the cockpit and everyone jumped. Chang whirled and almost opened fire at shadows. Bedder realised it was a speaker, a communication from the mothership. N’Koll slid into the co-pilot’s place beside Stuzzil.


    “They demand an explanation for lifting empty,” he said. Bedder realised without a Universal Translator, N’Koll was the only one who would be able to understand the enemy.


    “Tell them we have an unstable shield generator and want to check it in case it blows something else before picking up troops,” he said.


    N’Koll turned and arched an eyebrow. Bedder breathed, “It’s what I made it look like, I hope.”


    The Romulan voice barked again. “Do it,” said Chang, tension in her voice.


    N’Koll leaned over and flicked a switch, then spoke in the alien language. There was a pause, then a question from the Romulans, which N’Koll answered. Then a new order came from the enemy. N’Koll leaned back and turned again to Bedder.


    “Impressive. Due to the potential danger, we have been granted a separate landing bay – isolated in case of potential casualties.”


    “Nice one, Mark!” Stuzzil turned and grinned at Bedder as the ship lurched onto a new course automatically.


    “Well done, Mark,” Chang said more softly next to him. They met eyes for a moment and he saw desperate angst. Then she turned and entered the rear passenger section.


    “Everyone, get ready! We’re into the bird of prey. As soon as we exit, things will get hot. But if we keep together and keep moving, we can storm the bridge and it will be over before they know it.”


    Bedder stared out of the front viewscreen as they closed on the gaping jaw of a landing bay. He said, “Stuzzil, you do know how to get to the bridge, don’t you?”

    Stuzzil paused before replying. “Sure. Kind of…”
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful resolve and quick planning from Chang.
    This:
    A hesitant murmur of support rose among the cadets. N’Koll nodded and cleared his throat, “We have trained for this. We all stand ready to do our duty. Our moment has come.” [face_love] =D=

    Swift and resourceful contributions to not being detected and actually winning a victory by Mark's tweaking of what the sensors will recognize.

    Nothing like an unexpected crisis "for real" to make the team more cohesive.
     
  11. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Apologies got a bit sidetracked there - next chapter is below!


    Chapter 5


    “SET PHASERS TO MAXIMUM!” Chang called, striding through the passenger section towards the now landed transport’s portal. Cadets scrabbled to unbuckle and comply. Stuzzil, Bedder and N’Koll followed the trainee security officer and they gathered at the exit. N’Koll held up a hand for quiet as the cadets formed up behind them. They listened.


    “Sounds quiet,” said Stuzzil.


    N’Koll nodded. “The ruse appears successful.”


    Chang activated the door and slipped out with her phaser raised. The shadowy docking bay was indeed deserted. Green running lights threw acute beams. Sharp angles decorated the computer stations and hexagonal doors. A voice barked from a wall speaker nearby the shuttle.


    “They demand we evacuate for a technical unit to evaluate,” said N’Koll.


    “We are no longer hidden by my disruption field,” said Bedder. “They’ll know soon enough.”


    “Then let’s move,” said Chang, jogging towards an exit across the bay. The assault team formed up again. Chang breathed then activated the portal and the hexagonal door whooshed upward. Two helmeted Romulans confronted them.


    N’Koll and Chang burst forward. The surprised Romulans were too slow to draw their sidearms. With a straight punch to the neck and a follow up chop to his neck, Chang dropped the warrior before her. N’Koll parried a desperate swing then countered with an elbow to his adversary’s temple. The guard crumpled. They dragged the unconscious invaders into the landing bay and sealed the door behind them. The nervous cadets were buoyed by the early success and crowded into the dark corridor.


    “OK, which way?” Chang turned to Stuzzil.


    The Bolian looked both ways down the corridor, tapping his ample chin.


    “Umm, up?” he said. Chang opened her mouth to object but he continued, “We have to find a lift to the bridge.”


    N’Koll studied a sign and gestured. “Nearest one this way.”


    Chang and N’Koll lead once more as the assault party scampered along the tunnel, phasers at the ready. At a junction they paused, checking each way before crossing. The red light of an elevator entrance beckoned them from darkness ahead. They approached.


    A patrol of four Romulans in crested helmets hurried around a far corner. They skidded to a halt at the sight of the Starfleet cadets. Two raised disruptor rifles and emerald beams hissed down the tunnel. The cadets dived for cover, as did the Romulans.


    Hugging the sides of the passage, N’Koll and Chang returned fire. Phaser beams and disruptor blasts criss-crossed the air. A klaxon started screaming.


    “We can’t get trapped here!” Chang yelled. “We need to keep moving.”


    Bedder checked behind them. The cadets all stared. Dark tunnels all around them thundered to the sound of marching boots.


    N’Koll raised his voice. “If we cower we die! To win, we must fight!”


    He then stepped out and dashed towards the lift. The show of leadership together with a war-shout from Chang galvanized the team and they charged after him, blasting with phasers and forcing the Romulans ahead to duck back. They reached the elevator and Stuzzil punched a button.


    Agonising seconds passed. The Romulans ahead regained confidence and a fresh volley of disruptor beams spat along the tunnel. Skillus, the Arcadian cadet, was hit in the chest and fell. From behind the assault team, more Romulans approached and a desperate rearguard action was initiated.


    The lift arrived. N’Koll said, “We will not all fit in.”


    Chang nodded, surveying their position. Bedder checked too. The angles of the corridor and position of reinforcement structures gave them a reasonably defensible position. He shook his head, realising he had picked something up from the wargames training module despite himself.


    Chang said, “Two teams: One goes up, the other holds this beachhead until we can lock down the bridge.”


    N’Koll, Chang, Bedder and Stuzzil entered the lift together with six of the bigger cadets. Stuzzil punched a button. The lift rose. Bedder produced his tricorder and initiated settings.


    “More disruption?” Chang noticed and asked him.


    “They are on red alert, the bridge might be locked and they will use internal scans to check anyone coming up. I can’t use the shuttle’s shields as cover. But I think I’ve got the Romulan bio-signs figured out. I’m projecting two now and buzzing these over ours.”


    N’Koll turned to him. “You have formulated fake Romulan bio-signs? Just while we were fighting? That is extremely impressive.”


    Bedder shrugged, “I have a knack. I just hope it works.”


    Stuzzil reached up and cracked a circular lens inside the lift with his elbow. The others gaped at him. He grinned. “Visual monitor!”


    Mere seconds passed, but agonised silence enveloped the lift chamber while the ship’s sirens screamed from beyond its dark metal walls. Then a Romulan voice uttered from an internal communicator set on the side of the lift. N’Koll pressed the switch and replied in the alien language.


    When the exchange finished he said, “It worked. They asked why we were accessing the bridge.”


    “What did you say?” said Chang.


    “I said we had an urgent message for the captain.” N’Koll arched an eyebrow. “Romulans have many negative traits, including a tendency toward treachery. This leads to nepotism, and those in power surrounding themselves only with those they can trust. I surmised that there would be someone on board that the captain cared about. A family member, perhaps. His emotional reaction will overcome the logical need to retain bridge security in an emergency.”


    “We all care about someone,” Stuzzil commented to no-one in particular.


    Chang clucked her tongue at this explanation but said nothing.


    The doors hissed open to reveal a bridge bathed in red alert glare. Eight Romulans oversaw the raid efforts from monitor stations. Two huge aliens with crested helmets and long-shafted close combat weapons flanked the doors of the lift. Again, Chang and N’Koll led the assault.


    N’Koll launched forward a two-fisted thrust into the belly of the turning Romulan, sending him sprawling across the chamber. The Vulcan followed with a quick burst of phaser fire. The towering gladiator on Chang’s side swung with his heavy-bladed halberd. She deftly ducked and it bit into the doorframe beside her head. The agile cadet spun and kicked between his legs. The Romulan staggered. She finished him with a phaser blast.


    The cadets erupted into the bridge and chaos spilled across the blood-red chamber. Bedder remained at the periphery while Stuzzil lumbered in beside Chang and brawled with another Romulan with impressive physique. Bedder saw one of the aliens – a deck officer – draw a disruptor pistol and aim towards N’Koll.


    Bedder pointed his own phaser and fired. The beam spat and the Romulan fell. Bedder felt a chill at his first kill.


    The fighting was intense but short-lived. The assault party had the surprise and momentum and soon the remaining four Romulans surrendered to the jubilant cadets.


    A sharp-eyed Romulan with golden armour and grey hair sneered at them. He spoke Federation Standard with a cultured accent.


    “We have a whole ship of warriors on their way. What do you propose to do now?”

     
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  12. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Wonderful teamwork and quick thinking -- until that last line :oops: :eek: Edge of seatness time. =D=
     
  13. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thanks again - seems like it's just you and me now so let's press on...


    Chapter 6


    “WE NEED TO SECURE THE BRIDGE,” said N’Koll.


    Stuzzil slid into the helmsman’s position, while Bedder tried to decipher a sensor screen. The other cadets held the four prisoners at phaser-point in a corner. There was a hiss and crack. Bedder turned. Chang stood by the lift doors, their control panel now a smoking hole in the wall.


    “That should hold them,” she said.


    The bleating alarms abruptly ceased and Stuzzil rubbed his hands. He tapped more controls.


    “I’m in. Complete bridge lockdown. I’ve shut the shuttle bays too – no one getting on or off.”


    N’Koll crossed over to him. “The alarms? That was you too?”


    “They were giving me a headache,” the Bolian chuckled.


    Bedder studied internal schematics and external sensors. “They’ve got prisoners on deck eight, here. And there are transponders tracking their ground teams, there.”


    Chang stepped beside him and digested the information.


    “OK,” she said. “Stuzzil, can you swing us twenty degrees starboard?”


    Stuzzil studied then moved a lever. The ship swayed to one side. They saw through a viewscreen a shuttle on the ground and a cadre of Romulan troops waiting beside it. N’Koll turned to their captives.


    “You have one chance to order a stand down, now.”


    “Never!” spat the grey-haired Romluan. “You will lose! I see you are just cadets!”


    Chang took over a console beside Stuzzil and found the correct controls. A disruptor beam shot out from the bird of prey and obliterated the landed Romulan shuttle, scattering the waiting troopers. She fired again, and again, blasting the already charred remains.


    “Move us eighty to port, Stuzzil,” she said, grimly. The Romulans on the bridge had fallen silent now.


    “Shields are up,” Bedder reported after testing controls. “They can’t hurt us now.”


    “That will be sufficient, I believe, Ms. Chang,” said N’Koll. He took the commander’s station.


    “How dare you sit there?” hissed the sharp-faced commander. “You are no Romulan, and you have no rank!”


    N’Koll ignored him and fiddled with the communicator controls at the station. Finally, he found what he was looking for. He cleared his throat.


    “Now hear this: This starship is under Federation control. All Romulan forces are ordered to stand down or be destroyed. Though you do not belong to the Federation, we guarantee fair treatment of all prisoners under our conventions.”


    Bedder spotted Chang scowling at that statement. N’Koll repeated the announcement in Romulan then sat back. He said, “Mr. Stuzzil, can you get Starfleet long range frequency on this? I suspect they destroyed communications on the outpost first of all.”


    “Working on it,” said Stuzzil. “Ah, there.”


    N’Koll surveyed the bridge. The expectant cadets watched him, as did the Romulans.


    “This is Starfleet Cadet N’Koll, at Federation Outpost 7 – Perse. We request immediate assistance. We have been attacked by a Romulan warship. We have defeated them, but there are casualties and extensive damage. We request any ships in range respond immediately.”


    After a brief silence, Stuzzil spoke up.


    “OK, I’ve released the prison doors on deck eight. Our guys will be coming to support the team down by the lift.”


    Bedder came beside him and checked the schematic. “Shut this emergency door, and this one.”


    Chang also joined them and peered. “Separate their troops and trap them? Good idea.”


    The blueskin chuckled as he caught on. “OK, doors down.”


    N’Koll confronted the captive commander once again. “Tell your warriors to stand down and throw down their arms, and no harm will come to them. The bridge is secure and under our control. Reinforcements are on their way. There is no logical course of action open to you.”


    “Your moment of false glory is passing, Vulcan,” sneered the commander. He cocked a pointed ear and Bedder, too, caught the distant snap of disruptor fire from somewhere on the ship. “While we draw breath, Romulans still fight! We will get in eventually and you are alone.”


    There was a few moments of tense silence, then a crackling signal came through a speaker. Stuzzil fiddled with controls and then a voice came through.


    “This is Captain Hunt of the USS Peregrine. We receive you and are en route. Medical and relief missions will be ordered immediately. Who is the CO there?”


    N’Koll blinked. He pressed the switch.


    “We are in disarray, Captain. We are just cadets – my colleagues and I have captured their bird of prey. The current CO is… myself and Ms. Chang, both of Starfleet Academy.”


    “Well, heckuva job, N’Koll! Don’t know how you pulled off taking a bird of prey! Hold on, we’re on our way. Peregrine out.”

    The cadets cheered. The Romulan captives glared but slumped in silent defeat. Bedder let out a breath he did not know he had been holding. The adrenalin rush subsiding, he sagged into a station seat. He noticed Chang do the same, but she was not smiling.

     
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Superb =D= but why isn't Chang euphoric like the rest? Is it just caution or something else? [face_thinking]
     
  15. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Thanks again @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha - all to be revealed now! Also I would like to thank @pronker for the "like"! :)


    Chapter 7

    “CONGRATULATIONS!” Yet another dusty old Starfleet instructor clapped Bedder on the shoulder, almost spilling his glass of champagne. He smiled in acknowledgement, tugging at the collar of his formal uniform.


    The graduation ceremony had buzzed with the tales of the actions three days earlier on Perse, and the after-party was no less excited. A full complement of flag officers had arrived to give their boring speeches. Bedder searched the crowd of cadets – soon-to-be-ensigns – and found what he was looking for just beyond the white-blanketed drinks tables.


    He pushed between chattering graduates towards a table near the edge of the hall. There he met with Stuzzil and Chang.


    The leggy Hawaiian sat staring at nothing. Stuzzil sat awkwardly in the next seat, like a prom-date wondering where to put his arms. Bedder approached and asked a question with his eyes to Stuzzil. The Bolian swallowed and beckoned Bedder closer.


    “Both her older brothers – Starfleet Marines – were on Outpost 7,” said Stuzzil in a low voice. “They just confirmed bodies recovered.”


    “Oh no,” Bedder started. Chang looked up at him. He said, “I’m so sorry Kelly. I didn’t know.”


    “None of us knew,” said Stuzzil.


    “They did their duty,” Chang said in a monotone voice. Her eyes glistened but she did not shed a tear. Another approached and Bedder turned to see N’Koll in his immaculate dress uniform. Bedder opened his mouth to warn him, but N’Koll addressed Chang.


    “I have just heard, Ms. Chang. I…” he paused. “I regret your loss. I believe that is the correct human thing to say in this situation. This of course explains your actions on Perse.”


    She stared at him blankly. If he expected a response, he did not get one.


    “I… I hope you understand there is nothing you could have done. Indeed, the course of action we took was the more logical, if we consider how we would make their sacrifice meaningful.”


    Chang rose, grabbed Bedder’s glass of champagne in a swift single motion, and threw the contents over the Vulcan. N’Koll turned his head but did not react. He faced her again, blinking the moisture from his eyes.


    “That, too, is understandable behaviour for a being ruled by emotions,” he said.


    Chang leaned in close and spoke in a low voice, but her words were clear to all three listeners.


    “If you ever touch me again, I’ll kill you,” she hissed.


    Bedder again opened his mouth to interject, closed it again. N’Koll looked down at his soaked tunic.


    “I must clean up. I will leave you now. Good day.”


    He turned on his heel and marched away.


    Bedder turned to Chang. “Kelly, if there’s anything I can do…”


    “Let’s get a drink,” she sighed.


    They moved towards the white tables filled with crystal flutes, but another instructor accosted them. Their course leader, Ra-Yaleii; an Efrosian with a white wispy moustache that matched his long hair.


    “Mr. Bedder, Ms. Chang, Mr. Stuzzil,” he began stiffly, bowing his ridged head. “Congratulations on your graduation. I have a special request from some important people, who would like to greet you privately.”


    Bedder sighed. “We’re kind of busy. Can’t the photo-ops wait until later?”


    “Forgive me intruding, Mr. Bedder. This is rather important. This way…?” Ra-Yaleii gestured to a door leading to an anteroom. The three graduates exchanged looks, shrugged, then followed.


    Inside the anteroom, a trestle table had been set up with spotless white covers. Upon this a Starfleet computer was connected. A hard-faced flag officer in crimson formal uniform rose from his seat behind the table when they entered. Standing in a corner before a wall-mounted computer screen, a muscular Andorian with ice-blue skin and clad in a black Marine uniform turned.


    “This is Admiral Bill Holstein and Commander Thaler,” Ra-Yaleii gestured. “Gentlemen, these are the ones you wanted. And here I shall leave you to your business.”


    Holstein cleared his throat and looked at them one at a time. “Mr. Bedder, Ms. Chang, Mr. Stuzzil, congratulations on your graduation.”


    “Thank you, Sir,” Chang and Stuzzil saluted and replied at the same time. Bedder managed a nod and, “Thanks.”


    If the Admiral noticed the small act of insolence, he did not comment on it. The Andorian soldier crossed to Chang and shook her hand.


    “I’m so sorry about Tom and Stuart. I know their CO. They were good boys,” he said.


    Chang nodded and said in an automatic voice, “They did their duty, Sir.”


    Holstein cleared his voice again and everyone looked at him. Bedder knew this type; the hard-nosed senior officer who did not mess around and seized everyone’s attention when he wanted it.


    “After your heroics at Outpost 7, we both wanted to congratulate you. Ms. Chang, I understand you led the assault and executed a seize operation with the proficiency of an experienced captain. I suspect Commander Thaler will be sorry not to recruit you. Mr. Stuzzil, I’ve read the reports and the initiative and application of your improvised solutions is just the stuff great engineering officers’re made of.”


    “Thank you , Sir!” Stuzzil said with a big grin.


    “And Mr. Bedder,” Holstein switched his intense gaze. Bedder tried to look disinterested. “That was some piece of work with the tricorder and the bio-signs. They never would’ve gotten onto the bridge without you.”


    “I know,” Bedder said, wondering if he was pushing it too far.

    Again, Holstein ignored this. He gestured vaguely beyond the doorway. “So, I imagine you would like to know the consequences of the Romulan attack, and what’s happened since… and what we now need of you...”


    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
    pronker likes this.
  16. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    =D= Very intriguing teaser/lead in from Holstein. Definitely with their resourcefulness and quick thinking in a crisis, their skills will be needed on a crucial mission. @};-

    Kelly's reaction -- a very understandable and realistic blend of stoicism and lashing out by turns. She probably feels, rightly or not, that if she hadn't been prevented literally, she could have saved her family, although the more likely result would have been even more casualties. [face_thinking]
     
  17. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Many thanks again @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha - yes and N'Koll probably saved her life. And thanks to @pronker again! :p

    So, what is Holstein going on about eh?


    Chapter 8

    “WHAT HAS HAPPENED?” said Bedder.


    Now Holstein did have his full attention, and that of Chang’s too, he imagined.


    Holstein said, “They were placing bodies of dead Orions around the base that they had brought with them. Did you know that? They expected to get clean away and we would blame it on pirates. You caught them in the act and got the proof. Now the Romulans are saying it’s a rogue faction, nothing to do with their Star Empire. They’ve disavowed that captain you captured.”


    Stuzzil blustered. Chang shifted her pose. Bedder said, “With all due respect, sir, that’s complete…” he hesitated.


    “bull****!” the Admiral finished for him and Bedder’s eyes widened. Holstein said, “Of course it is. Everyone knows it. But they’re claiming the right to deal with their own internal dissidents.”


    “They want us to return the prisoners? We won’t, will we, Sir?” said Chang, an edge to her voice.


    “We’re hanging on to them for now, Ms. Chang, don’t you worry,” said Holstein. “But the claims make things… difficult for the politicians. The Andorians and Tellarites have had similar issues with the Federation before. The Vulcans are also reluctant to treat this as an outright act of war.”


    “They’re using our political disunity of the past against us,” Bedder said.


    “Correct. This is what we think; the purpose was to raid with impunity, take our young cadets from us, blame it on the Orions, then offer to return the prisoners – which they conveniently manage to rescue from the non-existent pirates – in return for meeting their demands.”


    “Would that’ve worked?” said Stuzzil.


    Holstein paused and shared a look with Commander Thaler. “Possibly. Even with hard proof and their captain in our custody, our politicians are treading lightly in the face of this aggression. With our best and brightest cadets’ lives in their hands, and the question of Orion complicity, I think the Federation may have frozen into inaction, or even crumpled to the demands. You need to understand: What you did on that planetoid averted a major disaster for Starfleet. Now, because of you, we can act.”


    “So what will the Federation do now?” said Bedder.


    Holstein huffed. “They’re still deciding. The Romulans have gone ahead and made their demands anyway. They say this is necessary to help them prevent rogue factions attacking us again.”


    Bedder rolled his eyes. Kelly Chang said, “What demands?”


    Holstein nodded to Thaler and the Andorian switched on the screen. “Look at this. The Romulans propose an extension of the Neutral Zone, to the galactic north, here.”


    The star chart presented the area of space in question. At Thaler’s press of a button, the red-shaded neutral zone extended as described, enveloping a great curve of space bordering the Federation territory.


    Thaler continued, “Note they are not claiming the star systems – mostly uninhabitable – they want the zone to sweep round like this. They say this would be necessary to allow them to police rogue elements slipping round the zone to create mischief.”


    Bedder could make no sense of the move. Chang studied the map.


    She stepped closer and said, “What’s here, beyond sector Z-6, to the galactic north?”


    Thaler and Holstein exchanged another look. Thaler said to the Hawaiian, “You have an eye for strategy, not just tactics. I think you have hit on it.”


    Thaler turned back to Holstein, who said, “The Eridan Belt. An expanse of unexplored space. They’re trying to shut this door to it. Keep the Federation out.”


    “Why?” said Bedder.


    Holstein shrugged. “We don’t know. They must think it’s worth something. What with the Klingon troubles and the need to increase patrols to counter the Gorn offensives, Starfleet have just not had the resources to explore this region. We suspect the Romulans are gearing up to push into this area, enveloping the north of the Federation and snatching the resources they have identified within.”


    “What resources?” said Stuzzil.


    “We intend to find that out,” said Holstein. He retook his seat and steepled his fingers. Thaler moved to the door and ensured it was firmly closed. The three graduates exchanged glances.


    Holstein said, “What I am about to tell you, I wish you to treat in strict confidence. Can I trust you to do that?”


    They nodded breathlessly.


    “Good. Now, while the Federation dithers, Starfleet needs to take action. We need to take action. We’ve put together a fast-track survey mission to take a good look at the Eridan Belt. We fully expect the Romulans to already be there. We need to catch up. These won’t be months-long charting and study tours. We get to a planet, look around, then get out. We’re not yet in a declared war – but it’s a race, a competition, and the stakes are high. This will be a Red Alert status mission.”


    The senior officers both paused then. Bedder wondered why he was hearing all this.


    Holstein looked at them, “We need young, fit, agile officers who understand what we are doing here and why. This is an opportunity I am offering to you, for your first assignment.”


    Bedder’s eyes widened.


    “We get a starship?” Stuzzil blurted. Holstein indicated Thaler to reply.


    Thaler switched the screen image and said, “This is the Type-J long range shuttle. It is larger and faster than the Class-F you would find in a starship bay. They are calling it a runabout, but I am not sure I like that. Yes, it is small, but this is an explorer starship in its own right. It will get you where you need to be and back, and it will be hard for any sensors to spot. It is armed, but not made to fight a battleship.”


    Holstein took over, continuing the ping-pong style of briefing. “The RED team will operate this ship, returning for debriefing and refuelling between surveys.”


    “Red team”? said Bedder.


    “Rapid Exploration and Designation. We want you three on this squad.”


    “As officers?” said Bedder, raising one eyebrow.


    Holstein shifted in his seat. “Provisional. You understand how it works? I can’t just throw commissions at you. Think of this as a fast-track advanced training mission, leading to full officer rank. Actually, I rather like that; there’s maybe a future for a Red Squadron, depending on how this goes. This is a unique opportunity. I am offering it to you due to your extraordinary actions on Perse and because you have the right profile to execute this mission. What do you say?”


    There was a long pause. Holstein said, “And you get the chance to shoot any Romulans you happen to meet while you’re at it.”


    “I’m in,” said Chang. She snapped to attention. “Sir.”


    Holstein smiled. “Good. I thought you might be. Mr. Stuzzil?”


    The Bolian glanced at Chang and shrugged. “I get to run my own starship?”


    “You’re the engineer,” nodded Holstein. “It will be down to you to keep the Jay running, perfect step to chief engineering officer.”


    “And I can keep an eye on you,” Stuzzil winked at Chang, who smiled back. Stuzzil said, “I’m in too.”


    They all looked at Bedder. He breathed in and out again, slowly.


    Holstein said, “You will lead the survey mission, Mr. Bedder. Ra-Yaleii told me you’re smart – you have some freakish thing for numbers?”


    “I have an eidetic memory for patterns, sequences, things like that, Sir,” Bedder corrected, dryly.


    “Right, well, so the study was a breeze for you. This’ll be a real test. I need you to collate data rapidly. Designate the kind of resources we might be interested in. There will be first contacts, no doubt, and I need you to report on potential species that could be friends to the Federation. Mr. Stuzzil here will look at their technology and do similar things. Then, when valuable species and/or resource planets are chosen, Commander Thaler here can deploy the marines and further Federation resources. We think that…”


    “What about the Prime Directive?” Bedder cut off Holstein mid-sentence. He almost heard Stuzzil gasp beside him. “What you seem to be doing here is preparing for colonization.”


    Holstein peered at Bedder. “You do understand what is going on here? This area, and every species within, are threatened by the Romulans.”


    “So, we throw our moral guidance out the airlock?”


    Holstein sat back. “Ra-Yaleii told me you were smart, and also a smart-ass. I figured someone with a bit of cynicism, someone who quickly understands the bigger picture, would be perfect for this role. Did I misjudge you, Mr. Bedder?”


    “You’re asking me to decide whether a planet is worth plundering for resources, to decide whether species are worth saving from invasions, by sending our soldiers instead.”


    “No, you just make the reports. We’ll do the deciding, if that troubles you.”


    Bedder huffed, but Holstein cut him off before he could reply. “OK, we are using the Directive as more of a guideline than a rule here, yes. If we can observe without interference then that is preferable. And yes, we have to allocate resources carefully. But what we are doing here is the best we can do, under the circumstances: It is better for us to try and help species that cannot help themselves. You really want to leave them to the Romulans? Does that satisfy your moral guidance? You want to explain to Ms. Chang’s brothers how we should be all nice to the Romulans?”


    Bedder glanced across to Chang, who was still at attention and looking directly ahead.


    He whispered, “No, Sir, but that was uncalled for.”


    Holstein stood. “I thought you might get it, Bedder. I knew your father, you know? He was a fine marine.”


    “I am not my father, Sir.”


    “Evidently. I am not going to argue morals with you, Mr. Bedder. If this mission is no good to you, then I will respect that choice. There is the door. I ask you to keep this to yourself. You can explain things to Ms. Chang later. Then we will get on with defending the Federation.”


    Bedder looked to his fellow cadets. Chang remained still, but to the other side, Stuzzil was imploring him. “Come on, Mark, buddy. We’re a great team.”


    Bedder took a deep breath and faced Holstein. The admiral sat down and seemed to relax, as if he knew which way he was leaning. Bedder’s eye twitched with frustration.


    Holstein said, “You’re right. Yes, you’re right, and we would do things differently if we could. But true evil only needs one thing to flourish: For good men and women to do nothing.”


    Despite his doubts, Bedder nodded. “Then count me in, Sir.”


    Smiles broke out all round. Stuzzil spoke up. “Sir, you said the Jay needs to return for debriefing and refuelling. To where? You said we got no resources, but surely we need a cruiser to deploy from?”


    With a nod from Holstein, Thaler answered this, switching the screen back to the star map and pointing. “Alright. You have all just signed up, so this is classified information. We have an asset here, Deep Space One: A starbase, but unlike previous space stations this one is able to operate independently of a system. We have a warp core providing power and protected supply routes in. Its biggest benefit is they do not know it is there. Very low profile and far away from any planet. They will never see it unless they happen to point sensors at the exact spot in deep space. RED squadron will be based here and will return between missions to debrief and refuel.”


    Bedder blinked, digesting the flood of information coming to him. What had he just signed up for?


    Chang spoke up. “Excuse me, Sir, but am I in command of the Jay?”


    Thaler sighed. Holstein said, “One step at a time, Kelly. You did great on the outpost, but you’re not quite ready for your own command yet. You’ll all effectively be provisional deck officers as I said before. That’s pretty unprecedented, and I hope you appreciate the flack will come back to me if it doesn’t work.”


    “Understood, Sir.” If Chang was disappointed, her voice did not betray it.


    “So, who is in command?” said Bedder.


    “We’ve selected someone. He will meet you on Deep Space One,” said Thaler. “A transport is going in two days. Better settle your business, we move fast.”


    “Yessir!” said Chang and Stuzzil together. Bedder wondered if he had just made the worst mistake of his life.


    [NOT the end - one more chapter!]


    .
     
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    @Kurisan -- you have an excellent and realistic grasp of the quandry political and otherwise of the Romulans' machinations. I like Mark's forthrightness and adherence to principles and Holstein's candor that if they could do things the "slower way" they would but time and information is of the essence.

    @};-
     
  19. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Thank you for that glowing compliment, @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha ! [face_blush]
    We do indeed learn a lot about Mark & Chang in that chapter! And now, with thanks for your patience...


    Chapter 10


    “WELCOME TO THE DEEP SPACE ONE ROYALE,” said Bedder, surveying the dingy mess room. He had seen more cheerful prison blocks. Chang, Bedder and Stuzzil entered the quarters and dumped their packs.


    “At least we got a space-view,” said Stuzzil, pointing to the circular porthole, beyond the multi-purpose table and easy seats. Stars winked from the velvety blackness of space beyond.


    Four cabins led off the central mess: three rooms with bunkbeds, and a head with communal shower. Bedder and Stuzzil picked bunk cells and carried in their bags. Chang chose the third. Tired after the day’s transfer aboard the cargo shuttle, she stripped off to her underwear and grabbed a towel ready to head for the shower.


    At that moment, three more figures appeared at the main door.


    “S’up?” said a deep voice. Stuzzil and Bedder emerged from their bunks and exchanged a look with a brawny marine with slicked-back, dark hair. The gladiator said, “You must be the new kids. Heard about Perse. Sounded rough.”


    Bedder nodded greeting. “I’m Bedder.”


    “Stuzzil,” said the Bolian.


    “Sergeant Santiago Mendez. You can call me Santi, or Boss.” The brute guffawed. “Sorry about this, but on DS1 space is tight. We’re in with you.”


    From behind Mendez a muscular Caitian prowled into view. He bared fangs and his leonine face broke into a grin. A tail swished. He pointed a claw at his own chest and purred, “Crill.”


    Towering over both Mendez and Crill, a broad-chested human leaned in under the doorframe to avoid knocking his smooth-shaved head.


    “Matts Bergstrom,” he grunted.


    Mendez tapped the giant’s bulging shoulder, “We call him the Berg.”


    Chang wandered into the main room, drawing the stare of all three marines. They all crowded into the mess room. Mendez whistled. “Olé! What do we have here?”


    The sergeant surveyed Chang from head to foot in a way that Bedder did not like. Mendez said, “You bunking in here with us?”


    Chang straightened. “Is that a problem?”


    “No problem for me, not at all. You want top bunk?”


    Chang sighed. “Stuzzil, I’ll go in with you.”


    “Hey, no, I’ll share with you! I’ll wrestle you for top bunk,” Mendez grinned and turned to Bedder. “Who’s the hula-girl?”


    Bedder folded his arms. “She’s right there, you can ask her yourself.”


    “OK. What do I call you, hula-girl?”


    “You call her Lieutenant,” said another, stern voice. Mendez, Bergstrom and Crill spun. N’Koll stood in the doorway behind the marines.


    “Officer on deck!” Mendez noticed N’Koll’s gold jersey and all three marines snapped to attention.


    “Ms. Chang, you are 2-I-C. I regret that did not allow me to organize your quarters in the officers’ wing of the station.”


    Chang gaped, exchanged a look with Bedder, then turned back to N’Koll. “You’re… You’re the CO?”


    “That is correct,” said N’Koll. Stunned silence followed. Bedder watched Chang for a reaction. She hid it well.


    “Sir, Crill, Bergstrom and I all have full two years’ service, these guys are just provisional. By rights, we get to decide bunk and room allocation…” began Mendez.


    “Length of service alone seems an illogical and inefficient method to determine ranks, Mr. Mendez. I am advised you are excellent commandos, proven in the field. I look forward to receiving your assistance on missions.”


    Mendez glanced at Bedder, who only offered a shrug. Chang headed back to the cell to collect her things. Bedder reeled at the notion of N’Koll and Chang together on the same ship.


    Mendez saluted N’Koll again. “You can count on us, Sir. Things should get real interesting on these missions.”


    Bedder rubbed his chin. “You can say that again.”


    THE END...
    and the Beginning...!

    startrekdeepspaceone.webs.com

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    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
    pronker likes this.
  20. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_dancing] Interesting indeed and chuffed that it's only the beginning of the adventure. =D=

    The rest of the crew seem likeable enough and probably are competent but Mendez was being overly flirty although understandable that she would attract notice being an attractive lady and possibily there aren't too many lady crew members, on this mission at any rate.

    I don't doubt Chang can put him straight ... I didn't miss that Mark was protective of Kelli as well :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2018
  21. Kurisan

    Kurisan Jedi Knight star 3

    Registered:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Oops missed this reply... thanks as always @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha for your kind attention (and picking up the little tasty cookies).

    So, this is the set-up as explained at the beginning. The REAL stories of the series are to come, I just wanted to practice putting these guys together and seeing how they work. I took to heart the request for Romulans and Vulcans so tried to keep a kind-of-sort-of exploration themed series but with Romulans having an excuse to regularly show up as villains. [face_devil]

    I did originally think about calling this series "Red Shirts" and having them all security staff members, but that seemed to take away their ability to make decisions on where they go and who they meet. They look good in their colours anyway...

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    I think there is potential for this bit of tension between N'Koll and Chang. We shall see when the muse strikes again in the Eridan Belt...

    K.
    PS thanks for the like @pronker !!!:D