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    Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

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    Pyriel32
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    Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Jun 09, 2015 10:19 pm



    "And you currently have the artifact in your possession?"

    "Yes, of course," Qwen said, his bulbous head and large ears looming on Kagran's viewscreen. "I am an honest businessman, Captain. I would never attempt to sell something which was not mine."

    "I understand," Kagran said eager to end the conversation. Dealing with this odious little merchant made him want to kill something. Next time, he would let Tullek deal with the Ferengi.

    "And you can confirm that the artifact is Krenim in origin?"

    "Absolutely!" Qwen said with a toothy grin. "Collected it myself, as I do with all of my fine merchandise. Artifacts from the Delta Quadrant … difficult to acquire, but so unique and valuable …"

    "Save me your sales pitch, Ferengi," Kagran growled. "I will send someone to Drozana to collect the artifact. My aide will work out the details."

    "And my latinum?" Qwen asked.

    "It will be transmitted to your account, as requested. But if this device is not what you say …"

    "It is! It is!" Qwen interrupted. "I've never had an unsatisfied customer."

    "See that you don't," Kagran said, stabbing a button on his chair to end the subspace transmission.

    Qwen stared at the empty screen. How dare that Klingon treat him like a servant? It wasn't like Klingons were known for their skill in social situations, but Qwen was a successful businessman and deserved to be treated with respect.

    And maybe he had lied to Kagran. He didn't find the artifact himself. He didn't find any of his merchandise himself – why do all that dangerous and messy salvage work when there were Talaxians and Hazari more than willing to do it for him?

    The Talaxian he had purchased the device from said it was Krenim and from the Kyana system. That was good enough for Qwen, and it should be good enough for Kagran.

    And, now that Qwen was thinking about it, Kagran should be grateful Qwen was even willing to sell him such a valuable treasure. This was Krenim! Artifacts from dead civilizations were always the most precious, and the Vaadwaur had made sure that the Krenim were long gone. Qwen didn't know why, and he didn't want to know. But the market for Krenim artifacts had skyrocketed in the past few months. Why there were collectors who would be willing to pay far more than Kagran would ever…

    Qwen stopped. And then he hit a button on his desktop console.

    "Renna, get Oglo on subspace. Tell him I've got the perfect piece for his collection, but that he needs to get here and finish the deal as soon as he can."

    Now this was how you made a profit. The Alliance would send their latinum like fools, but Qwen could sell the device for twice as much to Oglo. There would be some unpleasantness when the Alliance tried to collect the artifact, but it wouldn't be anything he couldn't handle. After all, once they checked their contract carefully, they'd see that there were no guarantees and no refunds.

    War was very good for business.


    Last edited by Pyriel32 on Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:31 pm; edited 9 times in total

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:04 pm



    Your interest in these mortals is disturbing."

    T'Ket was angry again. Her passion had always been an essential part of the Whole, but conflict had turned passion for vengeance to irrational hatred.

    L'Miren thought she understood. The mortal known as Kahless had wounded T'Ket, both in body and soul. T'Ket's belief in her own strength had been shaken. Only blood would salve the pain she felt.

    "I seek to understand them," L'Miren replied. "They have proven … more resilient than we thought."

    "We were foolish to rely on intermediaries," T'Ket replied. "Hakeev was useless. Gaul a failure. We should have sent our Heralds to destroy these insects centuries ago."

    "Why?" L'Miren asked. "We are eternal. They are fragile things, beholden to time. In the end, whether our victory comes today or tomorrow makes no difference."

    "I tire of this," T'Ket responded. "Let us destroy them and be done with it."

    "If we destroy them, we will rule over a galaxy of ghosts. Leaders must have those who would be led."

    "We have our Heralds and servitors," T'Ket argued. "That is enough."

    L'Miren considered her words for a long moment before she spoke. She must be careful not to inflame T'Ket's rage even further. "There was a time when we wanted to help the lesser races," she said at last. "They were not ready for all of our gifts, but they could benefit from our guidance."

    "And they repaid our generosity with destruction!" T'Ket argued. "The Whole was shattered. Our world lost. And I will have payment for every drop of blood that has been spilled."

    "But the Other …" L'Miren began.

    "Now you speak of ghosts," T'Ket interrupted. "The Other has not been seen since the Day of Fire. We honor the memory of the Other, just as we honor all that was lost in unjust flames."

    "The Other is still a part of us," L'Miren said. "The Whole must be as One."




    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:27 pm



    The doctor was in the Lleiset's secondary control room when Lieutenant Gaius Selan entered.

    Gaius required little sleep. Many of his Borg implants had been removed, but he retained enough of their technology to benefit more from a few hours in a regeneration chamber than from eight hours of inactivity in his quarters. So he chose to spend his off hours in more beneficial pursuits.

    Normally, this meant he would work on his scenarios in the holodeck. His experiences with the Vaadwaur in the Delta Quadrant had proven the value of preparation.

    Lately, however, he had set his mind to a different task.Only by working through every anticipated complication could one truly be prepared for calamity.

    "You're looking for her, aren't you?" Doctor Rhian Cratak had spent decades in the Romulan fleet before joining the Republic. Gaius respected the older woman. She was one of the few people on the Lleiset who was almost as informed as the chief intelligence officer.

    "That is my intent," Gaius said, his voice even and controlled.

    "Because you're angry?" the doctor asked. "Angry at her?"

    "Anger is irrelevant," Gaius replied. He began to input a complicated series of commands into the secondary sensor array.

    "You don't get to pull that Borg routine," Rhian said. "Not with your doctor."

    "I am not in need of a physician at this time."

    "I disagree. You might be physically fine, but … I've been keeping an eye on you since you … returned." Rhian's voice turned soft. "My family is gone, Gaius. But you, the commander, everyone on this ship … you're family now. And I can't stand by when my family is hurting."

    "I … I could not resist.
    But I knew what I was doing was wrong." Gaius said. "It was worse than … worse than before," he continued. "At least the Collective does not let you remember."

    The doctor put a comforting hand on Gaius's arm. He wondered how long it had been since anyone had touched him. Even among the Lleiset's crew, there were many who were still uncomfortable around liberated drones.

    "Sela hurt you, Gaius. Not physically, but … she stole all that you have become. Made you a slave to her will. And she did it because you were convenient."

    Rhian paused. "She's selfish and cruel. Personally, I'm glad she's gone. I hope she never comes back."

    "I will find her," Gaius said. "I've narrowed the search area down to three sectors. The subspace messages she's sent have helped. If I can return to my work, I can …"

    "Don't," the doctor interrupted. "Focus on what's in front of you, Gaius. Not the past. Wounds don't heal if you keep opening them."

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:31 pm



    Ramir stood in front of his team. They were tired, bloody, and heartsore. Three days of fighting had taken its toll on them all.

    B'Eler leaned heavily on her mate's shoulder, her wounds bandaged but still hurting. Ramir could see that Trevana was in pain as well. There was a tightness around her eyes and she breathed in short, labored huffs, but she would not relax her stance. To the side, Nevven, the Lethean who served as helmsman of the I.K.S. Hegh, leaned against the wall to rest his injured leg. Others sprawled in their chairs, exhausted. There were more still in sickbay, which luckily had survived the last Herald attack.

    Other parts of the ship were not so lucky. The engineers said it would be six hours before the warp drive was back online, and longer for the shields. Until then, they were practically helpless.

    What his team needed was a barrel of bloodwine and three weeks leave on Qo'noS. What they would get would be more blood and death.

    He took a deep breath and faced his teammates.

    "I know you are weary," Ramir said. "I know the loss of friends weighs on you. Kahless, our leader, is gone. But I do not grieve for the fallen. They are in Sto'Vo'Kor, and there they will feast and fight forever as honored warriors of the Empire.

    But it is not yet our time to join them." Ramir continued. "The Iconians still stand in striking distance of our Qo'noS. They still harass our ships and invade our worlds. They think they are our rulers. They think they are gods. They will learn how wrong they are.

    "We are House Pegh! We are the knife in the darkness. We are the silence before the strike. We are the left hand of the Empire. And we may be bloodied, but we are never defeated."

    He paused to scoop a mug off the table in front of him and took a long drink. "Kagran tells me that the Alliance has a weapon they can use against the Iconians, but that they need time to prepare it. We will give them that time.

    "B'Eler, call up the charts. Find me a target that will to draw the Heralds away from the gateways to the Delta Quadrant. As soon as this ship is operational, our next battle begins."

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    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Thu Jul 09, 2015 2:30 pm

    "Without sufficient plasma distribution, the weapon will be able to fire twice, at the most, before the energy cells are damaged beyond repair." Seven pointed to the master systems display. "We need to redesign the EPS to compensate."

    "If we pick the right target, we only need to fire it once," Noye snapped. "Stop wasting time!"

    "Your logic is flawed," the liberated Borg announced. "If time is as fluid as you claim, we are incapable of wasting it."

    "And while you argue semantics with me, your people are losing this war! The Krenim are still lost! We can fix all of it!" Noye rubbed his head in frustration, a familiar gesture to the rest of the researchers working at the new Krenim facility.

    The argument showed no signs of abating, and it was a daily occurrence now. Nog could hear them across the room, and he knew that the bickering was taking its toll on the team. A'dranna was distracted, and Clauda kept stealing glances over at the pair wondering if she should intervene again. And Team Alpha had stopped what they were doing completely to watch the show.

    Nog had to do something. The new facility in the Kyana system had the best materials and engineers the Alliance could provide and some of the greatest minds in the galaxy. Work on the ship was progressing, but fitting the Krenim weapon into it – and making that weapon work – was a more difficult task. It didn't help that the team just wasn't gelling. There were too many strong personalities, too many cultural conflicts … and the fact that Noye fought with everyone but his wife didn't help matters at all.

    In times like these, Nog always thought of one question. What would Sisko do?

    With a tug on his jacket, Nog headed toward his battling researchers.

    "Noye, your job is target scenarios. Seven is responsible for design issues," Nog said firmly, interrupting the Krenim in mid argument.

    "But she is clearly …"

    "Not interested," Nog told Noye. "You have enough to do without trying to do Seven's work too. Or have you found a suitable target yet and just forgot to inform us?"

    "Well, I haven't quite …" Noye started to say.

    "I am quite capable of dealing with this issue without assistance, Captain," Seven protested.

    "I know," Nog answered. "But this has gone on long enough, and it's distracting us all. Noye is right about one thing. The longer it takes us to finish this ship and build the weapon, the worse it is for everyone. The Iconians won't wait for us to be ready.

    "People are dying to give us the time we need."

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Jul 14, 2015 8:43 pm



    " …. Ships ... range …. This is the … freighter Treva. We are under attack by … shields failing! Please, we need … can't last …" The transmission ended in a burst of static.

    So much for a quiet night shift, Lieutenant Jirelle Kav thought. Around her, she felt the emotions of the bridge crew flare like beacons. Stress. Worry. Anxiety. Resignation.

    "Attempting to compensate, sir, but there's a lot of interference." Ensign Marissa Kell said. The red-haired human worked at her console, but all that came out of the speakers was more static. Then the transmission cleared briefly and the sound of weapons fire and the wail of an alert beacon filled the Enterprise's bridge.

    "Keep trying to hail them," ordered Kav. "Helm, how long to their location?"

    "21 minutes at Warp Six," answered Tem Gher Tem, the Tellarite helmsman.

    "Anyone closer?" Kav asked.

    Ensign Kell worked her console. "There are a couple of freighters and the U.S.S. Day in range. But she's a Miranda, Lieutenant. She's not going to have much more luck than the Treva."

    "Every bit helps," the Betazoid said. "Contact the Day and ask them if they can render assistance until we arrive." She touched a control on the center seat of the bridge.

    "Bridge to Commander Winters."

    "Winters here," a sleep-riddled voice responded.

    "I'm sorry to wake you, Commander, but we've picked up a distress signal."

    "Tell me it's something easy like a warp core breach."

    "Bolian freighter, sir," Kav said. "Under attack by Heralds. Approximately 80 civilians onboard."

    There was a pause. "On my way, Lieutenant."

    "Do you want me to notify the captain?"

    "No, no," Winters responded. "I'll contact him when we're on site. Winters out."

    Most of the senior staff had been making a concerted effort to give the captain some down time. Captain Shon hated it … but even he admitted that his 36-hour shifts on the bridge weren't healthy.

    After days of pointed remarks from Savel, the ship's chief medical officer, and repeated offers from the Enterprise's first officer to shoulder more of the burden, it had taken a blunt intervention from
    Counselor Mathias to convince the captain to relax his hold on the reins.

    Kav rose out of the center seat as Winters entered, still tugging on his uniform jacket. She relieved Ensign Kell at Ops, and Kell moved to the empty communications station.

    "Give me a sit rep," Winters said.

    "No further signals from the freighter, sir," Kav said, "and we haven't been able to get a comm signal through. The U.S.S. Day is four minutes out."

    "Escape pods?"

    "The Treva did launch some, Commander. There's a chance for survivors."

    It was a slim chance, Kav thought. The Heralds were attacking any target they could reach now. The Alliance was holding onto key worlds, and even managing a few victories, but the best they could do is try to hold the line.

    And she was so tired of finding empty escape pods.

    "Go to yellow alert and increase speed to warp nine," Winters ordered. "Weapons status?"

    "Fully operational," said Lieutenant Kyona at tactical. "All major systems are online."

    "Then into the breach once more," Winters said. "Prepare to engage hostile ships as soon as we drop out of warp."

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Jul 21, 2015 10:58 am



    Admiral's Log
    Stardate 87264.5
    Earth Spacedock

    When I close my eyes, all I see is wreckage.

    Blasted ships strewn about space like broken toys. Escape pods that offered no refuge. Broken bodies …

    I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. There are hundreds of people I'd like to apologize to who will never have the chance to hear my meaningless words. And the letters we send to their families are cold comfort at best.

    We had to do something. The Iconians are winning. Their Heralds are moving beyond military targets now to civilian populations. They're trying to force us to bow to their rule … but kneeling is not in our nature.

    So we pushed back. We gathered every ship we could muster and attacked. And we failed.

    Oh, there are some in Starfleet Command arguing that we had a partial victory. The Iconians have lost their leader, and we've proven that the Iconians are not immortal. But it was a pyrrhic victory. So many lives lost to take just one …

    And, if anything, it has only strengthened the Iconians' resolve. Instead of cutting the head off the snake, we gave them a martyr.

    Herald attacks have increased by 36 percent in the last 78 hours. And now Heralds of L'Miren are joining the fight, so they have fresh reinforcements where we have battered and outnumbered ships.

    How do you fight a war when more than twenty percent of your officers are in sickbay? When more than a third of your fleet is either destroyed or disabled?

    The only thing I can think to do is change tactics. We rejected the Krenim ship because it would take too long to build. Because the questions of time alteration are too thorny. Because there should be lines we shouldn't cross. That we can't cross.

    Those lines seem hazy today. If the choice is morality or destruction, I fear that many even in Starfleet will choose the option that gives us a chance to see tomorrow.

    What will I choose?

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:27 am



    If you find this letter, you don't need to pass it on to anyone.

    I don't have any family left to mourn me. My friends have either fled or fallen. Even the people I used to pass in the street or see at the market are gone.

    Soon, I'll be gone too. But if you find this letter, remember us. Remember me.

    This was a pleasant enough world once. It didn't have the skyscrapers of Alpha Centauri or the ancient architecture of Bajor, but the fields were green and the forests were vast and beautiful. And we lived here, far away from the greater concerns of empires and armies. We were born, we raised families, we grew old, and we died, all content in the knowledge that the wars that raged among the stars could never touch us.

    Our great-great-great grandmothers and fathers came here from Earth, from Alpha Centauri and from Nova Terra. They came from Vulcan and Betazed and even Bajor. They came here to build something with their own hands, to till the soil and harvest crops and grind grain into flour. We baked bread instead of replicating it, and walked the roads instead of transporting our atoms through space.

    We were happy. That was enough.

    We watched the war on our newsnets. Images of Iconians, beautiful and terrible, destroying with a gesture. Gateways opening in the midst of cities. Destruction and loss. We mourned the dead and wept for the lost worlds. We even opened our homes and took in refugees from colonies that fell to the Herald advance.

    Perhaps that was our undoing. Perhaps that's why the Heralds came here too.

    We'll never know. And really, what does it matter? They're here. They burn our homes. Destroy our crops. And every day, more and more people just … disappear.

    We've surrendered. They do not care. We've begged for mercy. They give none. We've called for help … but when that help comes, it will be too late.

    If you find this letter, remember us. Look across the blasted dust of our home and know that once, we were here.

    And we were happy.

    Pyriel32
    Director of Intelligence

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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:27 am



    "Were you successful?"

    "We destroyed Romulus. Again," Adranna said, rolling her eyes. She moved to the replicator in the corner of the room. "One spice tea, hot, and one Vulcan mocha, half sweet." When the cups appeared in a sparkling swirl of electrons, she passed the mocha to the Vulcan male at the table.

    "That is the six hundred and eighth time you have encountered that result," Sann responded.

    "Does that mean we quit trying?" Adranna asked.

    "Perhaps it means that your mission parameters are in error."

    "I'm trying to restore an entire planet. There are going to be a few setbacks."

    Sann paused to think. "I understand that you and many of the Republic team greatly desire the restoration of your homeworld," he said. "But the purpose of this project is to use time alteration to end or delay the Iconian threat. Not to completely rewrite the past."

    "The Iconians gave Hakeev and Taris the device that caused the Hobus supernova," Adranna argued. "Their first shot in this war wasn't when M'Tara appeared on Qo'noS or when the Elachi started stealing people from colony worlds like Virinat. It was much, much earlier. Why shouldn't we try to restore all we've lost?"

    "I have made a detailed study of the records left behind by the Krenim inventor of this technology," Sann said, sipping his drink. "Annorax, wished to restore something very specific that the Krenim had lost. In his later writings, he speculated that time itself was fighting against him."

    "Time fighting against him?" Adranna scoffed. "That doesn't happen."

    "I agree that attributing emotions and motivation to something that cannot possibly exhibit them is not logical," Sann said. "But there is much about time alteration we do not yet understand. There may be much that we are not capable of understanding."

    "I refuse to believe that there is anything we can't do," Adranna said. "We can restore everything. We just need to find the right combination of alterations."

    "Then it is fortunate that you are testing your calculations in the holodeck," Sann said, standing up and taking his empty cup to the recycler. "Before you destroy your homeworld for the six hundred and ninth time."

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    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:07 am



    Doctor Cratak stepped carefully through the dark but immaculately-maintained foyer of the household, then checked her hand scanner again. Movement once more – a lone person racing through a back hallway, heading toward the entryway; then suddenly, nothing. Cratak felt a momentary surge of elation followed by disappointment, but while another Romulan might have shouted or struck the wall in frustration, she kept her emotions subdued under years of experience. This wasn’t the first time that they’d failed to arrive in time to stop a Herald abduction, and doubtless it would happen again before the war ended. Even here on New Romulus, in the hinterlands where only a few hardy colonists had chosen to settle, the Heralds came without warning.

    Cratak put the hand scanner back into standby mode and closed her eyes. Behind her, Lieutenant Terel let out an indistinct growl, almost like a Klingon. The security officer waved with her free hand while keeping her plasma pistol trained on the door, and two of her subordinates advanced to the central hallway of the household, keyed the door open, and pointed their weapons down the darkened and empty corridor.

    The house remained quiet and still, except for the sounds of the tactical team. No lights came on – the entire EPS control assembly for the southwest face of the house had been overloaded earlier, during a firefight with a Herald thrall.

    “She’s gone,” said Cratak. “Just like the others.”

    Terel, in her typical stubborn fashion, refused to take that as the end of the matter. Her pair of tactical crewmen advanced through the house, covering doorways with their weapons and crouching near furniture. Terel followed behind them, then stormed into the back hallway with pistol in one hand and grenade in the other. The door for the back bedroom opened with a momentary shudder, and a squeaking, bleating noise emerged.

    Terel checked the corners of the bedroom, then straightened and holstered her pistol. “Just an epohh,” she said. The tactical crewmen moved back through the house, checking the disheveled kitchen and the empty master bedroom, but no-one else remained.

    While Terel paced back and forth along the back hallway, Cratak regarded an end table holding a piece of abstract art. To her it looked like a sculpted flame, stylized into smooth curves reaching upward to a narrow apex. What did it represent? To the family that once lived here, it had some kind of meaning. Now that meaning was lost, along with the people who’d called this home. The whole house was hollow now, empty – like the whole galaxy was in danger of becoming. She picked up the piece and traced her fingers along one of the smooth curves. It was cold to the touch, carved from some kind of native stone, a pale green shade, almost like skin, but without the warmth.

    One of the tactical crew returned from finishing a sweep of the house and, with a stiff military posture, reported to Terel, saying, “Finished checking the rest of the house. Didn’t find any shielded storage or panic room – nowhere to hide from scanners or intruders. It’s empty. No reason left for us to stay here, sir.”

    Terel nodded, though she remained displeased. She turned to Doctor Cratak and said, “The Heralds have already come and gone. I don’t think we’re going to catch any more in this part of the mountains. We should return to the Lleiset and wait for another signal.”

    Cratak nodded once, thinking back to the many conflicts she’d seen as an officer and a doctor for Romulan starships for decades. Enemies that you couldn’t see were one thing: The cloaking device made that a natural tactic for Romulan naval vessels. But enemies who appeared in the middle of the night, whisked away your family and your children, and vanished to some place millions of light years away – it had an uncomfortable similarity to the tactics of the Tal Shiar. Dark nights, with innocent people vanishing without a sound. Carried off to unknown places, never to return. No argument, no negotiation, no faces, just terror.

    Cratak put down the statuary and tapped her communicator. “Cratak here. Ready to beam the team back. There’s nobody left… just the animals. All the people are gone from this settlement.”

    The dipping whine of the transporter sounded in reply, and she was whisked away to oblivion.

    Discuss in the forums

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Aug 18, 2015 2:39 pm



    To: Admiral Janeway
    From: Seven of Nine
    Stardate: 87059.01

    Kathryn,

    I hope this letter finds you to be in optimal health. I am functioning within normal parameters. As indicated by the informal greeting, I find myself in need of the guidance of Kathryn Janeway, my friend, not Admiral Janeway of Starfleet.

    You are aware of the Krenim Project and its stated goals. We are making efficient forward progress, however, I find myself having reservations. It has become apparent we can build this weapon, but the question for me is if we should build it. I have noticed that among my Krenim colleagues there is a disregard for the potential consequences related to our work.

    The acquisition of new technology and the progress of knowledge is, and has always been, pleasing to me. We are also moving at an efficient pace. It is curious that despite such optimal circumstances I would feel such disquiet.
    I posit it may be my intimate familiarity with the statistical dangers that has tempered my desire to push those boundaries. The consequences of the technology, if actually deployed, are vast.

    I am uncertain how to proceed.

    Sincerely,
    Seven of Nine
    Temporal Researcher
    Kyana Research Facility



    To: Admiral Janeway
    From: Seven of Nine
    Stardate: 87086.75

    Kathryn,

    Thank you for the swift reply. I have attempted to follow my instincts as you suggested and I believe I have made progress. The presentation of the inherent dangers of time manipulation was well received in general. Captain Nog also appeared to be appreciative of my concerns and has been using it to curb some of the more enthusiastic members of the Krenim and Romulan delegations. However, the lead Krenim researcher, Noye, seems to think this is more interference by "The Voyagers." I attempted to explain that his dismissive nomenclature does not carry a negative connotation for the members of the Alliance, but he has chosen once again to ignore my factual data in preference of his personal goals.

    I find myself hoping for the success of the mission to assault the Iconians’ Dyson sphere stronghold. This technology is powerful and poses many intriguing questions to science, but it is also the single most dangerous weapon I have personally encountered. The more we discover, the more I find I would rather not see it deployed.

    I have been reminded of when we debated the merits of Omega. I believe I have a more full understanding of your position during that time.

    Regards,
    Seven of Nine



    To: Admiral Janeway
    From: Seven of Nine
    Stardate: 87207.52

    Kathryn,

    By now you will have received word of my request for transfer away from the Krenim project.

    It was a difficult decision to make, especially in light of the recent Iconian counter-attacks, but I feel it is correct. The more we discovered, the more simulations we ran, the more complexities were revealed.

    I helped to develop a recursive technique to anticipate organic variance by over sixty-seven percent, but I feel it is still too inaccurate. According to my projections even accuracy rates into the ninety-fifth percentile could carry catastrophic surprises. For one example, at the ninety-fifth percentile we could see Zefram Cochrane became an agronomist and First Contact on Earth be delayed by more than a century. The ripples from that single change are countless, and while many are small, too many have greater implications we cannot account for.

    Researcher Noye has been particularly vocal about moving ahead anyway and overruling my sound reasoning. I found I could no longer disregard the consequences we might create due to factors we cannot anticipate. I could no longer ignore my “gut”, as you say. Logically, the strongest statement I could make was to resign in protest.

    Captain Nog made a final appeal to me to stay. I believe he has reservations as well. The nature of my transfer request allowed him to insist on additional simulation testing over Krenim objection. In that way, perhaps I helped. I have recommended that Nog call in the officer I worked with at the Turei colony, should he need additional assistance. Nog has agreed they are an excellent asset.

    Time alteration may still hold a key, given the Iconians’ weaknesses, but it is a technology requiring precise mastery we do not have.

    - Seven of Nine



    To: Admiral Janeway
    From: Seven of Nine
    Stardate: 87218.48

    Kathryn,

    There was a brief detour on my return trip to the Sol system. The Krenim weapons test was halted by the apparent failure of a temporal incursion. I understand there is a temporally shielded core with data. I have made the appropriate requests to gain access, but Researcher Noye is proving to be uncooperative.

    Captain Paris has insisted this is the perfect time to engage in the Human tradition of the "I told you so." I have reminded Captain Paris that Noye is not Human and the cultural nuance would most likely be lost.

    I find I am both relieved and anxious. With Temporal Alteration experimentation on hold, there will be no more ill-advised incursions. However, one has already happened. We may never know of how much we have lost already.

    I will be in the Sol system soon. I look forward to seeing you and assisting on your current projects to help the war effort.

    Your friend,
    Seven

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Aug 25, 2015 11:09 am



    “Nurse Ch’droth, pass me the osteogenic stimulator,” said Doctor Harza-Kull, elbow deep in microsurgery.

    The patient, a Bekk named K’rat, stirred and began to mumble, “No, let me pass over to Sto’vo’kor.”

    “Not today, I’m afraid,” Hazra-Kull said, “The Empire still has need of your services. Nurse, pass me –“

    Sick bay rocked with the force of an impact, and the lights went down. Harza-Kull let loose a string of curses in several languages in the darkness, before the emergency lights came up, even redder than the regular ruddy light on the Bortasqu’.

    “Koren to sick bay. Wounded incoming,” Captain Koren’s voice came over the comm, sounding tired.

    “What? We’re in battle again? I’m not even done patching up the last group,” Harza-Kull said.

    “It’s the gateways, Doctor. The Heralds can be anywhere at will,” Koren said, “And they’re not slowed down by doctors who complain when they should be treating patients.”

    Harza-Kull grunted his frustration and snatched a dermal regenerator off the instrument tray.
    “No time for a thorough job, I’m afraid. We need you back at your station, K’rat. You’re going to have one serious scar.”

    “Don’t worry, K’rat,” Ch’droth said, “Klingon women like their men with a few scars.”

    Just as he finished closing the incision on K’rat, a team of four crewmen brought in three wounded warriors.

    “Put them on beds four, five, and six,” Harza-Kull, already visually assessing the first patient, turned back to Ch’droth, “Nurse, administer 20 ccs of inaprovaline to Bekk K’rat and send him back to work, we’re going to need the bed.”

    Harza-Kull completed a scan of the first patient, who was unconscious, “Severe plasma burns, possible concussion, multiple contusions and fractured ribs. He’ll live, but he won’t be fighting any time soon. Give him some 20 ccs of Triptacederine and monitor his vitals.”

    The second patient, Lieutenant J’sac was still awake, but in shock. His left arm was severely burned. “What happened, Lieutenant?” Harza-Kull asked, mostly to test J’sac’s mental state – he could smell the ozone characteristic of an electro-plasma discharge the moment the Lieutenant entered his sickbay.

    “We were hit by a torpedo, sir, and the EPS conduit ruptured,” the Lieutenant stammered, trying not to show the pain of his injuries in his voice.

    Harza-Kull nodded sharply, “Just relax, Lieutenant.”

    The third injured crewman was so badly burned that he was barely recognizable. It was only by comparing a scan to the medical records that Harza-Kull was able to identify him as Bekk Orrad, just out of the academy on Qo’noS.

    Triage on a Klingon ship was complicated under the best of circumstances. On another ship, under different circumstances, he would have tried to save the young man.
    But his injuries were so extensive, it would take hours to stabilize him and then weeks of recovery before he was fit for duty.
    Meanwhile, he could amputate J’sac’s arm, pump him full of stimulants and have him back at his station in half an hour.

    And in a war like this, that officer could mean the difference between the deliverance and the destruction of the Bortasqu’.

    Harza-Kull turned to Nurse Ch’droth and said quietly, “Well, if I had more time I could save the arm, but we need him back at his station. Nurse, prepare the Lieutenant for amputation.”

    “Sir, isn’t that a little extreme? You know how we Klingons feel about such injuries.”

    “This is a war, Nurse,” Harza-Kull snapped, “And Lieutenant J’sac is an Energy Weapons Officer. And a one-armed energy weapons officer is better than no energy weapons officer. If he’d rather be dead he can perform the Hegh’bat after we’ve won the war.”

    Another explosion rocked sick bay. One of the uninjured crewmen lost his footing and knocked over a tray of instruments.

    “That’s it,” Harza-Kull barked, “Out of my sickbay. We’re in the middle of a war, go fight it. And leave me to my own battles.”

    Harza-Kull turned back to the third patient, fruitlessly racking his mind for a way to save the young warrior. The cruel calculus of the situation left only a single solution.

    “One more for Sto’vo’kor, Nurse. Give him something to ease the way and then get back to prepping the Lieutenant.” She didn’t argue. In fact, Harza-Kull caught a look of envy in her eyes that he found disturbing. Ch’droth was a competent, if uninspired, nurse. He knew that she longed to prove herself in battle, but lacked the physical prowess. For her, nursing was a way to serve the Empire. Sometimes, though, it seemed she’d just as soon send all the wounded to Sto’vo’kor, at least the Klingon ones. For their benefit, of course, but her Klingon appreciation of a glorious death made him uncomfortable.

    His job, meanwhile, was to patch them up and send them back into battle, and to make difficult decisions about who was to live and who to die. It was small comfort that, given the choice, this young warrior would likely choose to die and guarantee his place in the afterlife. Harza-Kull would have chosen to live. In fact, he would force every single one of them to live, if he could make the choice for them. Let them die of old age and go to Greth’or with the dishonored dead.
    At least they wouldn’t be on his conscience.

    “Koren to sick bay. More wounded incoming.”

    “More? I’m running out of beds down here, Captain.”

    “I will ask the Heralds to pace themselves, Doctor, and give you a chance to catch up,” Koren said.

    “Ah, that famous Klingon wit. With that and some more biobeds we might be able to keep your stations manned long enough to win this war,” Harza-Kull said.

    “Cheer up, Doctor. Today is a good day to die,” said Koren.

    “I don’t know about a good one,” Harza-Kull said, “But it’s proving to be a popular one.”

    HareBrained
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by HareBrained on Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:23 pm

    That first Seven of Nine letter misses the point in an odd way, though they get better after that. It uses all the words that would be used by someone who's only interested in facts and action - "efficient", "posit", "uncertain how to proceed" - but what such a person *wouldn't* do is write a letter that, if you look more closely, actually has next to no factual content - basically it's just saying that she's not happy about something with the Krenim project, but doesn't specify what! It's not even clear what she's asking exactly (how to make the Krenim take notice, presumably?), it's just an expression of her feelings, translated into Seven-speak. Which seems to me to be not something Seven would do.

    Thanks for passing these on. The other one reminds me that I must do something with my own "one-armed bandit"!


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    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Sep 01, 2015 11:54 am



    Personal log. That’s how these journals go, isn’t it? How did I even get involved in this? I’m no soldier, just a biologist.

    At first I thought that the sharp decline in the local animal population was a side-effect of Iconian weapons, or perhaps a disease or migration. That lasted until I found the remains – scat, tracks, and bits of fur. These showed the signs of some kind of new alpha predator, hunting the epohhs and vivvers and everything else that walked on New Romulus. This wasn’t a huge surprise; large areas of the planet remain unexplored even now, and I’d expected to be finding new animals for centuries.

    Whatever this animal was, though, it wasn’t something indigenous. I already knew that the various Iconian servitors and Heralds had been causing havoc on Mol’Rihan, but in retrospect it should’ve been obvious that the Iconians – past masters at genetic alteration and the creation of servant species – would have their own biological weapons to subvert the ecosphere.

    So far, the Heralds and the other servitors like the Elachi had been engaged in hit-and-run strikes on allied positions, appearing from nowhere and overwhelming the allies with a massive strike, then vanishing. After the death of M’tara, though, something changed. The Herald attacks became more vicious and more frequent, especially on New Romulus. And I’d found evidence that the Iconians had departed from conventional warfare with the introduction of engineered predators, pathogens, and of course the Elachi abductions and conversions.

    At first I thought this was because the allied forces had killed M’tara, but now I’m not so sure. The Elachi haven’t been targeting Federation or Klingon forces for abduction like they have Romulan colonies. The Solanae, hiding in subspace, haven’t reappeared, but now it seems like the destruction of Hobus was no accident, and they’re the species that would know the most about damaging subspace shockwaves.

    This feels personal. The Iconians are targeting New Romulus and the Romulan people, and not just because of the old gateway. Crateris suffered an outbreak of an engineered plague. Gasko station’s chief of security was subverted by a neural parasite. The Iconians want to hurt us specifically.

    But why? And what can we do about it? The allied forces were barely able to stop M’tara, and at a huge cost. If there’s a reason for the Iconians to pay special attention to us, we don’t even know what it is, and we may be exterminated before we ever find out.

    I’m going to try to track down the predators that the Iconians have introduced before they can completely unbalance the biosphere relations, but this is just one more point to a many-pronged attack. The Iconians have something special in mind for us – and if they were somehow involved in the destruction of Romulus, that may just be the start.


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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Ryukotsu on Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:21 pm

    i have to agree with hare inerperttion, but im glad to get to read these!


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    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Sep 08, 2015 5:17 pm

    Captain Va’kel Shon regarded the map with a frown. The wall display was configured to show the current state of the Alpha and Beta quadrants. Iconian forces were picked out with grey icons across the map, like sharp teeth, tearing into the Alliance.

    “There must be another way,” Shon said to himself, eyes tracing over the newest systems to fall under the Iconian banner. During conflicts with the Borg, the Collective swept forward like a great tide. The Iconian war had a more abstract concept of a “front line” thanks to their gateway technology, but it was certain they were heading for Earth.

    Shon’s ready-room door chimed, breaking his intent study of the map. “Come,” he called.

    “Captain,” Commander Philipa Matthias greeted as she stepped into the room. She glanced at the display, lips tightening slightly.

    “Did you need something, Counselor?” Shon asked, hoping she would be brief. The Enterprise would be leaving for the final Kyana briefing at 0800, giving him little time to work.

    “Galactic peace would be lovely, but I think you’ll agree that’s unlikely at the moment, so I would be satisfied with a cup of tea and your ear for the time being,” Matthias said.

    Shon eyed the human woman for a moment then stepped to the replicator, calling up a Vulcan blend he knew she was partial to, and a small raktajino for himself. Matthias sat on one of the more informal couches and sipped her tea for a moment in silence. Shon sat across from her with a small resigned sigh.

    “I am making the rounds with everyone,” Matthias said over the rim of her mug. “Just so you don’t think I am singling you out, Sir.”

    “What’s the mood of the crew?” Shon asked, more comfortable with this as a business meeting. He had too much of the future on his mind to be digging into personal tragedies of the past – as ironic as that was given the current situation. They were facing the hardest battle yet. Possibly the last battle.

    “Frightened,” Commander Matthias replied without hesitation, “but they are trying to keep it in check. They’re looking to the senior staff for guidance.”

    “And how are my senior officers, Counselor?”

    “Looking to you, Captain,” she said, contemplating him. “So the question is, how are you? I am under the impression you’ve had some reservations.”

    Shon’s antennae twitched in short, sudden anger. Philipa arched a grey eyebrow, sipped her tea and waited patiently for him to answer.

    “You’ve seen the reports, Commander, and you’ve seen the same maps I have,” he said, gesturing to the display. “We’ve little choice but to move ahead with the plan. Quinn, Jimpok and D’Tan signed off on it. The Alliance fleets are all in motion. We’re committed. The Enterprise will be there to defend the Federation.” To the last, a small inner voice added. If only there was another way…

    “I expect Captain Koren is looking forward to the battle immensely,” Matthias observed, tone light.

    Caught off guard, Shon chuckled. “That she is. She’s bet both Tiaru and I that the Bortasqu’ will personally defeat more Herald ships than the Enterprise and the Lleiset, combined.” Shon shook his head and looked out the window at the gathering fleet; at once it was the largest he’d ever seen and it was too small. “She won’t lack for targets based on what intelligence believes.”

    “You don’t agree with Kagran’s final plan,” Matthias said, abruptly changing the conversation’s direction back to him. “I am ship’s counselor; I‘m here for you to speak with as well.”

    Shon’s antennae twitched and he gave her a cool look. “The Enterprise will do her duty,” he said, “and so will I.”

    “That is never something I have ever questioned, Captain. You’ll go along with the plan, but you don’t agree with it. Do you think it will fail?”

    Shon set his drink aside and stood before the window, clasping his hands behind his back. “Even the best plans can fail, Counselor.
    No, my objections are…” he paused, looking for a word before finally settling on one. “My objections are deeper.”

    He turned to face her. “When I joined Starfleet, I took an oath to uphold the Federation’s ideals and values. Too much of this flies directly in the face of that. We’re facing certain death, but if we win in this way, will we have killed something core to the Federation? If we take these actions, will we be damning ourselves anyway?”

    “You are concerned for the soul of the Federation?” Matthias asked.

    “It will be easier a second time. Easier still a third. The door will have been opened.” Shon walked back to the tactical display of the quadrants as he spoke. “I’ve spent the last few days trying to come up with an alternative.” He shook his head. “They’re too numerous and too powerful. The best case might have us survive a few months, but then we’ll be overrun.”

    “I don’t think we’ll instantly jettison the Prime Directive if we survive the next few days,” Matthias said, answering some of Shon’s darker, unspoken thoughts.

    Shon looked over at her.

    She shook her head, shoulder squared. “We have too many good people to let that happen. I count you chief among them, Captain. That said, you are the commander of the Federation’s flagship. That places you in a special position. If you have reservations, you’re in a position to speak up and be heard.” She rose and set her teacup in the replicator. “As someone who shares your reservations, for the same reasons, I would be grateful if you’d give us a voice.”



    Shon studied her then nodded. “I’ll do my best, Counselor.”

    “Thank you, Captain. With your permission I’ll let you get back to your work. If there is an alternative plan, I hope you will find it.”

    Shon nodded and turned to regard the map once more as Matthias saw herself out. Another icon flashed silver, another system held by Herald forces. “As do I, Counselor,” Shon said, “as do I.”

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:30 pm



    “To K’mpec, son of Rorg, and Ktala daughter of Mudj,” Kagran intoned, trying to inject some inflection and emotion into what had, upon his 534th repetition, become a rather rote recitation, “I am pleased to inform you that your son, B’ijik, died an honorable death in battle, and will assuredly have a place in Sto’vo’kor. He died-“

    The door chime sounded. “Computer, pause recording. Enter.”

    Tom Paris walked into Kagran’s office. Spartan by Klingon standards, Kagran had only a couple small trophies displayed and a single Klingon Defense Force banner behind his desk.

    “Captain Paris, thank you for coming.”

    “I’m happy to help, Captain.”

    “I make it a point to personally notify the families of fallen warriors under my command, if their commanding officer cannot.
    I have had some difficulty composing condolence letters to the families of the Federation troops that have fallen. The Klingons, and to a lesser extent, the Romulans, understand the value of a glorious death. But your Federation species… you do not share the same values.”

    “Agreed. Well, let’s hear what you’ve got.”

    “Computer, playback Kagran-231-Epsilon.”

    “To Fred and Mary Johnson: While I regret to inform you of the passing of your son, William, I am pleased to inform you that he died an honorable death in battle, and will assuredly have a place among your honored dead. He died aboard the U.S.S. Surat with all hands after a pitched battle at the Iconian Sphere, due to a warp core breach. Although he managed to reach an escape pod, its mechanism jammed upon launch and he was no doubt incinerated in the plasma explosion. We drink a toast to his memory and I congratulate you on your son’s achievement.”

    “Oh boy. I’d hate to hear Kagran-231-Alpha. Well, for starters, dying a glorious death is not intrinsically a good thing to our people. But sacrifice, for a larger cause, can be a good thing. These parents are going to be grieving, and if you want to help them, give his death some meaning beyond the act itself. What did this William Johnson achieve by his death?”

    “Well, nothing, really,” said Kagran, “He died at Iconia, as part of our attack on the Iconian Sphere. Which I’m sure you remember all too well.”

    “It haunts my dreams. I lost a lot of friends that day, not least of which was Guroth.”

    “Then you remember my desperate plan for an all-out attack resulted in the loss of more than half our fleet.”

    “We did manage to kill M’Tara.”

    “Yes, who may have turned from the path of vengeance when we returned the World Heart, as L’Miren did. I saw no other options at the time. But looking back now, we could have played a waiting game, drawing out the conflict until our weapon was ready.”

    “And they could have destroyed Qo’noS, Earth, or New Romulus in the process.
    On the other hand, we united the entire galaxy, perhaps for the first time. We kept things together, defending what we could. Yes, we made hard decisions, and those decisions resulted in a loss of life, but without your leadership we never would have reached the point of going to the past, and without your compassion we would not have achieved victory.”

    “Klingon Loremasters do not sing songs about compassion.”

    “Well maybe they should, because compassion won this day. And William Johnson gave his life, the ultimate sacrifice, to give us that opportunity. His parents lost their son, and they want that loss to mean something.”

    “Very well. I shall try again.”

    “Oh, one more thing, Captain. Maybe go a little easier on the details.”

    “His parents do not wish to know the circumstances of his death?”

    “No, they do, in general terms, but Federation species tend to be a bit more squeamish than Klingons about the blood and guts part.”

    Kagran sighed loud and long, ending the sigh with a muttered utterance that sounded to Tom like “milk-drinkers.”

    “Very well. Computer, begin Recording Kagran-231-Zeta.”

    “To Fred and Mary Johnson. While I regret to inform you that your son William has died, you should take comfort that his death helped lead us to the day that we could go back in time and retrieve an object that ended the Iconian war. So, in a sense, we were standing on his corpse when we went to the past. He died with all hands on the U.S.S. Surat at the Battle of Iconia, likely due to a plasma discharge. Such discharges are so hot and so powerful, they usually cause instant death with very little pain. While we were unable to retrieve his body for burial, rest assured that his remains float through space with his fallen comrades.”

    Tom sighed. “It’s going to be a long day.”

    Pyriel32
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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:38 pm

    I like this one.

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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by HareBrained on Wed Sep 23, 2015 3:32 pm

    So do I. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to make a funny story about "brown envelopes". But that is funny. Poor Klingon evidently thinks he IS being encouraging... it really is going to be a long day.


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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Pyriel32 on Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:31 pm



    After some unavoidable small talk Sela began to withdraw from the conversation. "Don't make eye contact," she recalled her father's advice with a twinge, "wear a neutral expression. Listen. Always listen." His advice had served her well in the Tal Shiar and it worked now. She began to meander through the growing crowd towards the nearest exit, the neutral mask and unobtrusive wandering as effective as any cloaking device. Excited and relieved chatter filled the air. It grated against her ears. Their worlds had all been saved by the miraculous journey through time. Sela gritted her teeth.

    Sela knew the opportune moment would come if she was patient. She didn’t have to wait long. A Klingon contingent beamed down with casks of bloodwine to toast the victory with Kagran. Klingons rarely celebrated at less than full volume and the flood of jubilant warriors quickly overwhelmed the more subdued Federation and Romulan officers.

    The Academy grounds were well marked for the students. Sela followed the signs and ducked into the faculty locker room outside a holodeck suite. The replicator could be used to create alternate clothing, but it would be logged, so it wasn't an option. The lockers weren't actually secured, giving her a selection of alternative clothing. She opened a few looking for something suitable. Sela paused over a security officer's mustard uniform then, shaking her head, opened another locker. There was a set of off-duty clothes that might be slightly too large, but they were a soft pastel purple that reminded her of Iconia. Sela sneered and put the garment down. She didn't wish to be in something so eye-catching and cheerful. The next locker had darker robes in the Vulcan style. The austere garment even had a hood. Perfect. She traded her overcoat for the concealing robes and pulled up the hood.

    For the moment, the rest of the galaxy seemed content to let her be and enjoy the shared victory. Soon all her actions would be remembered and there would be a call for her to face the consequences. Probably from D’Tan’s traitors first, she thought with a scowl. The revelation on Iconia would erase whatever goodwill she’d gained by bringing in the Dominion. The same Dominion who had departed the sector and stranded her on Earth. She would pay them for that. She hunched into the robes as a gaggle of excited cadets passed by, shrinking from their eyes as much as their joyful laughter. Sela could not share the mood. Her scowl deepened.

    Many people were leaving the Academy grounds and heading for the city across the bay. The transport she boarded was crowded, but her best Vulcan impression kept everyone at arm's length. The city was a riot of celebration when the transport deposited her and the other passengers in San Francisco proper.

    Sela automatically took stock of her situation. She was alive and while she didn’t have access off world via the Dominion, her eleventh-hour save had bought her this momentary reprieve. She needed to find passage, rendezvous with loyalist forces and then perhaps she could spare a moment to truly consider the truly bizarre chain of events that had destroyed Romulus, and possibly-

    "You did it!”

    Sela's head whipped around.

    “You did it!” The speaker was a human civilian embracing a Starfleet officer. The two looked enough alike they were probably sisters. Sela took a deep breath and then let it out. Nothing for her to be concerned about; just two survivors happy to be alive, another family reunited. Sela watched them for a brief moment and decided she was glad her father had not lived to see the destruction of his home world.

    Previous experiences, beginning when she’d tactically retreated from Romulus before her first exile, told Sela she needed to get off the planet and soon. Her window of escape closed with every moment. The longer the delay, the harder it would be to leave no trace. Replacing her facade of Vulcan calm, Sela headed in the direction of the public spaceport.

    Earth had been on lockdown with the battle raging overhead. The entire planet had been holding its breath in fear. Now the danger had passed and humanity breathed a collective sigh of relief. People streamed out from secured areas into the streets. The throngs of people made it easy to bump into someone and lift some latinum here, some jewelry there; enough to supplement what she already had on her person, for passage off world. No one would ever suspect an apparent Vulcan of something as illogical as theft.

    Wherever Sela looked there was celebration. Humans made the majority but the other races were just as exuberant and welcome. It was the end of their nightmares, after all. Their burdens had vanished. Hers had not. Her burden of her own creation. As Sela crossed the city, with each step the knowledge seemed to weigh more. She tried to focus on the familiar motions of escape, but the terrible truth was a dark pressure on the edges of her thoughts.

    How had T'Ket known she was a Romulan, anyway? Sela clenched a fist as she finally walked into the spaceport. Probably through Kagran when he was looking for the other ships and becoming best-buddies with the Iconians. Idiot. She'd remember that! She- Sela banished that line of thought and took a calming breath. She had to escape first.

    The spaceport was alive with activity as travel restrictions were lifted. Captains who had been stuck on the surface fearfully awaiting death were now eager to resume trade. How easy it was for them to go back to their lives as if nothing had happened. Sela tucked away another scowl of anger. Her father’s household had acted like that after her mother’s execution. Forcing another calming breath, Sela began to inquire about passage off Earth.

    Sela found a small Ferengi merchant ship headed in approximately the right direction. The owner, an odious example of the species named Qwig or Qwal or Qwen or something, didn't appear to be overly concerned with her lack of credentials or the strange collection of latinum and jewelry she presented in exchange for passage off world. Vulcans never caused problems and he was too happy to be alive to care much. Like many, he’d been stuck on Earth as the Iconian fleet pressed their attack and he was eager to return to his business. But not before he took advantage of the situation and stocked his vessel with goods and passengers. Sela shuffled into the ship after a Denobulan and a Bajoran and settled into the common area for the voyage. It was not as palatial as she would have preferred but it would be one of the first vessels leaving the Sol system.

    As the small ship rose into the sky and clear blue gave way to fathomless black, Sela regarded the planet. It hung like a fragile blue jewel, far less green than Romulus had been. The ship tilted and they swept around crossing to the night side. Her father had taken her up for her first trip into space and had pointed out the grand features of their world. She’d been mesmerized by the lights of the cities, how they sparkled in the dark on the night side, adorning the planet like filigree. He’d told her Romulus was her birthright. Earth was covered in an unfamiliar lacework of light. She turned her head away.

    Sela had saved Earth and the Federation. She had saved that idiot Kagran and his Empire and that traitor D'Tan and his weak followers. And in the process she had doomed Romulus.

    "I never thought I'd live through all that," the Bajoran passenger said as he looked around at the aftermath of the battle and the clean-up process. "Did you see the size of some of their ships? And they could just appear! Bam! Just like that!"

    Sela made an appropriately agreeing noise. She could see Alliance ships already carefully clearing away debris, towing damaged ships and beginning to make repairs. The damage would be erased and life would continue. In a short time it would be as if nothing had happened. The home world of Tasha Yar's people would continue while her father's world, Sela's world, would still be gone. And she had caused its downfall. Sela hid a grimace.

    The Denobulan grinned the too-large smile and joined the conversation. "So, where are you headed anyway?" he asked.

    "Anywhere but here," Sela replied.

    She mentally kicked herself for the less-than Vulcan response but it shut the men up. Both eyed her then resumed their inane chatter with one another. Sela assumed what looked like a meditative pose and thought about her next steps. She had resources tucked away she could still call upon at need. Her presence in the successful final battle would be an asset so long as some of the more damning details never came to light. She would rebuild. She would survive.

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    Re: Star Trek Online: Tales of the War #8 - 23

    Post by Sponsored content Today at 3:29 am


      Current date/time is Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:29 am