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Star Trek: Vindicated. Part 2.

Wynma raced across the countryside and easily crossed into Fyoni without incident.  As she approached the capital city, she wondered what resistance she would meet, and whether she would have to sneak back in or be able to walk in through the front gate.  She didn’t want to use her only escape route to sneak back into the city if she didn’t have to, at the risk she might be discovered and not be able to use it later.  She decided she would scout first, and she knew a spot outside of the city where she could watch without being seen.  She approached Yrid and found her scouting perch, whereupon she drew her spying glass and investigated the front gates and the walls of the city.

As she expected, the guards were at their sentry posts, and soldiers walked along the battlements atop the walls, but something was amiss.  The gates to Yrid were normally quite active, with traders and merchants coming and going on a daily basis, but Wynma saw no one either coming or going.  This meant to Wynma that the citizenry was holding a city conference, probably so the new government could explain the atrocity that befell Eglale, and that it meant war.  She could only hope she wasn’t too late.  She knew she would have to sneak into the city, so she mounted her steed again and made a wide circle around the city to one side, where her secret passage was.  She stealthily made her way back into the city and found herself in the small utility shack that covered the passage’s entrance.  Fearing that her court messenger attire would stir suspicion, she covered herself in a layer of peasant clothes, which she kept hidden in this shack for just such a situation.  She stepped into the street, covertly monitoring all activity around her.  Except for the guards along the walls, no one was around.  The streets were empty, and the sentries ignored her, so she walked calmly toward Eloom’s quarters near the military barracks.  Gydras, the aristocratic officer class of the military, stayed close to their troops at all times, never being more than a stone’s throw away, even in battle.  Their aristocratic nature owed to their proximity to their “grunts”, actually, as they needed to quickly establish leadership, and also differentiate themselves while being so close to their warriors on the battlefield.  Eloom was easily the most aristocratic of all of the Gydras, and her prowess earned her the coveted title of First Gydra over the nation’s military.  Wynma didn’t see Eloom as the military leader and officer everyone else did, though:  Eloom was her mother.

No one except Eloom and Wynma knew this, as Gydras were forbidden from marriage and love.  This created a tumultuous and difficult childhood for Wynma, even more so since her father was from Dbrun.  The enemy.  Even though there had been some peace, it was largely frowned upon for Fyonians and Dbrunians to even smile at each other or conduct themselves in anything but the most official, business-like manner with one another, let alone fall in love, so a Fyonian First Gydra in love with a Dbrunian citizen was unspeakable, unfathomable.  Over the years, though, Wynma came to trust Eloom more than anyone she knew, and even began to train with her in the arts of battle and fighting.  Because of this training, she knew dozens of stealthy ways to approach Eloom’s quarters, even in broad daylight.  Now that dusk had fallen over the city, Wynma found herself at Eloom’s window even more quickly than expected.

She peered inside and tried to determine whether or not Eloom’s security had been compromised, but it was pitch black inside.  Believing Eloom was either asleep or elsewhere, she quietly pried open her window and climbed into her quarters.  As soon as she closed the window behind her, however, she felt a sharp, cold blade touch her neck, and heard a voice say, “Don’t take another step.”

Star Trek: Vindicated. Part 1.

“No!  This can’t be happening!  Get back to Yrid and tell First Gydra Eloom about this immediately.  Here, take this with you as proof of my sincerity.”  An old man in a regal robe stood before a young woman in plain clothing, and glared at her intensely as he said this.  He thrust a long cylinder into the woman’s hands and said, “Do not delay, young Wynma.  Now go!”  Wynma bowed before the old man and took five steps backward before turning around and running out of the room as fast as her feet would carry her.

Wynma, a court-appointed messenger, had just delivered news of a power shift in Yrid, the capital city of the neighboring country of Fyoni.  The old man, named Tydor, was king of the country of Dbrun, a country that once fought Fyoni in a decades-long war that devastated both sides.  Neither side won, and it wasn’t until Tydor’s own father, Tydorin, signed a peace treaty with Fyoni’s then-king Glalenwa that the bloodshed stopped and both countries started to rebuild.  Fyoni’s new king, Glalenwa’s son Glalen, was enthusiastic about maintaining peace between the two old enemies, as enthusiastic as Tydor was when they both came to power behind their fathers.  The power shift that young Wynma had just informed King Tydor about meant the end of that peace.  Glalen was not well, and finally gave in to his illness two months before.  The kingship was set to pass to Glalen’s son Eglale, but just two nights prior, he was killed in his sleep by an assassin–an assassin who appeared to be from Dbrun.  Right after the assassin struck, a man named Ryls launched a coup to overthrow the current government.  The coup was successful, and in just one night, the entire government of Fyoni changed.  Wynma had the good sense to escape and tell Tydor of the news, and now she was charged with getting back into the newly overthrown city of Yrid and finding First Gydra Eloom, a high-ranking military woman whom Tydor knew he could trust.  Both Tydor and Wynma knew the assassin wasn’t really from Dbrun, and they both knew Eloom would know this as well, but they also knew the new government would try to convince the Fyonan people that the collapse of the previous government was all the fault of Dbrun, and its king Tydor.  The Fyonan were a skeptical people, and they would doubt this story at first, Tydor knew, but he couldn’t count on that for long.  Some people would buy into it immediately, while others would doubt.  Eventually, enough people would be convinced of this farce that Fyoni and Dbrun would again be at war.  If Eloom could be reached, she might have a way to convince the people that it was the new government that was at fault, not Dbrun, and there might be a way to avert all-out war.  The cylinder Wynma held might be just the key.

Wynma raced from the entrance of Tydor’s castle on her steed, a giant creature reminiscent of a skinny wombat, and made her way as fast as possible through the winding streets of Onixm, the capital of Dbrun.  Time was of the essence, and she knew it.

Star Trek: Vindicated prelude 2

Captain’s log, stardate 30306.50.  We found out that the Federation research station on Arto is entirely made up of civilians, and they have no discipline whatsoever.  The initial plan when the Sal-Ka asked us to explore thier space was to use the Arto station as a base of operations, but with such disorder at Arto, it would not function as a base of anything except scientific knowledge.  It’s more like a seedy spaceport now, but with no visitors.  We have reported the status of the Arto station to Starfleet headquarters, and they will pass the word on to the Federation’s diplomatic liaison for this sector.
 
Our current mission is to continue exploring the Un-Hi sector, though, so we left the Arto station behind after dropping our load.  We’ve been exploring the Un-Hi sector for days now, and we’ve already seen an entire collection of species who inhabit one of the star systems.  None of them are above a pre-industrial level, however, so we haven’t been able to make contact.  When the Sal-Ka find out about the presence of these races in their sector, will they show equal restraint, or will they contact and possibly abduct them for service in their army?  They are not on any of the Sal-Ka star charts we have, so it’s safe to assume they have no knowledge of them.  I’m sure none of these species are even aware of each other, let alone the much larger Sal-Ka Principality in which they live.  I’m apprehensive about letting the Sal-Ka know of the existence of these planets, but if we want to continue to gain knowledge about our galaxy, we’re just going to have to trust them, or at least bank on the fact that they’re too weak to do much of anything right now.

Star Trek: Vindicated prelude

Captain’s log, stardate 30300.24.  The Tomcat is finally back on active duty, and our first mission is to explore an uncharted region of space known as the Un-Hi sector.  It has not been explored because the species that lays claim to it, the Sal-Ka, was involved in a dispute with the Syon, a species from the neighboring Lo-Cen sector, which the Sal-Ka also lay claim to; the Federation was advised to wait until the dispute was settled.  Apparently the Syon depleted their resources to the point where they could not continue to function, so they decided to leave both sectors to the Sal-Ka in exchange for the resources they needed to survive.  The Sal-Ka have now allowed the Federation passage into their space, and they will let us explore their space if we share all information we collect with them:  they haven’t had much of a chance to explore their own space, and they won’t until they finish rebuilding their government.
 
But first we need to stop by the planet Arto, a planet on the border of Sal-Ka space, to unload a shipment of essential supplies for the Federation research station there.

Aftermath

9 months later . . .

Captain Thornburg made his way to sickbay in a great huff.  He was followed closely by Catherine Lim, Jeffrey Debbs, Mick Santos and Rory Preston (who had both reached the rank of Lieutenant J.G.), and Rudgard Uhrlaub.  They all took a break from their duties at Earth Spacedock to witness the miracle of life, which was just minutes away.  In no time they were through the doors of sickbay and saw Dr. Lynn Yerian crouched in front of a curved delivery chair (Mick Santos would later remark that Lynn reminded him of a baseball catcher), with Zotia Crowe standing next to her, and the rest of the medical staff poised to assist at any moment.  They were both staring at the person in the chair, who was none other than Commander Chester Crowe himself.

"How’s it going?  Did I miss anything?" asked Shawn, out of breath.

"No, you’re just in time," replied Lynn.

"Oh good.  I didn’t want to miss it.  I got here as quickly as I could."

Chester looked up at him and painfully said, "Oh, I’m glad you came, Shawn."

"Don’t talk, Chuck.  Concentrate on delivering this baby," scolded Lynn.  "You might want to back up, Shawn, so there are no distractions for the mom-to-b–oh, sorry; for the dad-to-be."

"Right."  Shawn rejoined the rest of his entourage, who had waited near the door.  After a few minutes, he chuckled, "Lynn, I have a question.  I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but . . . where does it come out?"

Everyone except Zotia and Chuck joined in the quiet laughter.  Then Lynn replied, "Shawn, it . . . I’ll explain later."  She saw Chuck giving her a worried look.  She grunted and lowered her eyebrows.  "Well, let’s keep focused, shall we?"

Then Chuck let out an almost deafening yell and Lynn started yelling for him to push, so everyone else grew suddenly quiet.  Soon they heard the sound of a newborn’s cry, and Lynn said, "Congratulations!  It’s a boy!  You’re a brand new momm–sorry, daddy!"

Chuck, sweating profusely, reached out to take the newborn from Lynn’s arms.  Zotia joined him, taking her turn to hold the baby, and crying even more than Chuck.


The next day, Zotia and Chuck arrived in Ten Forward, baby in tote, at the request of Captain Thornburg.  When they came through the doors, they saw the last thing they expected:  every crew member had gathered, and in one collective roar yelled "SURPRISE!!!"  The entire room was decorated with "New Baby" balloons and banners, there was cake on the bar, and every single person rushed forward to hug the new parents.  It was a grand old time.

After a while, Shawn managed to pull Chuck aside while Zotia held the baby.  They sat down at an empty table and began talking.  "Really, congratulations, Chuck."

"Thanks, Shawn.  It was great you could be there."

"What was it like, Chuck?"

"Childbirth?  Are you kidding me?  Okay, I think the 20th-century comedian Bill Cosby said it best:  take your bottom lip and stretch it all the way over your head, and you’ll have an idea."

Shawn laughed nervously.  "Alright.  It doesn’t sound pleasant.  What did you name him?"

"Garth, after my grandfather."

"Oh that’s great.  Just think, if Captain Gerding and his comrades hadn’t exposed Epsilon and helped us defeat the ships they sent, we wouldn’t be here to celebrate this day."

"How is he by the way?  I heard he was accepted back into Starfleet."

"Yes, he was, and so was Jason Konrad.  I think there was some complication with their ranks, but I don’t remember exactly.  The other captains and all of their crews simply took civilian lives.  I think some of them had families to return to, and others took off for parts unknown.  In light of their part in exposing Section 31, their punishments were reduced to nothing."

"Well, that’s good," said Chuck.  "I know the admirals involved were arrested.  That’s been all over official communication channels."

"Oh, tell me about it.  I’ve been interrogated about five hundred times about that."

"So when are we departing?  The Tomcat’s repairs were extensive, I know, but we should be ready to depart by now, right?"

"Oh, absolutely.  She’s in tip-top shape.  The only thing we’re waiting for is her first officer."

"Well, don’t put all the blame on me, Shawn.  Come on," he joked.  "Lynn says I’ll be fit for duty in just a few days."

"Yeah, I already talked to her.  Oh, quick, look busy.  Here comes Rudy."  He said the last two sentences loud enough for the Admiral to hear.

"Oh, you think I’m coming to reprimand you for something, do you?"  Rudy laughed and sat down at the table.  "Congratulations, Chuck."  He patted him on the back.

"Thanks, Rudy.  How’s the December?"

"Well, she’s a good ship, and she’ll be an even better ship when she’s out there exploring the stars.  I enjoyed having her as my own, but Admirals don’t belong on ships.  I had to compromise.  I’ll be taking a posting on the U.S.S. Astral."

"Wow," said Shawn, "that has to be the oldest ship in Starfleet.  I’ve heard it’s very cushy in there.  It almost never leaves the solar system."  He smiled.

Rudy began grumbling.  "Yeah, yeah.  Rub it in.  At least I get to stay on a space vessel.  Don’t worry, though, I’ll come visit you on the Tomcat once in a while for an inspection or two."

The three kept talking and laughing while the party carried on into the wee hours.  It wasn’t until they couldn’t keep their eyes open that they broke up the party.  All of the decorations were taken down, and Ten Forward was back to its much calmer self.

 

A few days later . . .

Captain Thornburg stood proudly on the bridge of the Tomcat.  He requested permission to leave Spacedock, gave the order to release the mooring clamps, and ordered Lieutenant Preston to "take her out".  The Tomcat, restored to her former glory, and now with a restored mission of peaceful exploration, set out for the stars, eager to encounter the next big adventure.

From Within, final

***This is a long one, but it’s almost the last one.***
 
 
"Jeff," said Shawn, "are there any ships within range?"

"Affirmative, Captain.  There are nine Starfleet vessels within a ten-minute range of the specified coordinates.  The next nearest vessel would take an hour to arrive."

"Hail one of them, Jeff."

A few seconds later the face of a Vulcan appeared on the viewscreen and said, "I am Captain S’klar of the U.S.S. Comanche."

"And I’m Captain Shawn Thornburg of the U.S.S. Tomcat.  Captain, I need your help."

"How may I be of assistance?"

"There is a dangerous threat to Earth, and I’m about to intercept it.  You’re just ten minutes away from the projected coordinates.  Can I enlist the aid of you and the ships with you?"

"What is the nature of the threat and why has it not been broadcast on official channels?" questioned S’klar.

"It’s internal and we don’t exactly know whom to trust.  I’ll explain later, but I need you to help now.  Here’s a briefing of recent events."  He nodded to Jeff, who sent an information package.

"We have received the transmission, Captain.  We will meet you at the coordinates.  S’klar out."

At the moment S’klar disappeared from the viewscreen, Jeff said, "Captain, we’re being hailed by the Enchanter."

"On screen."  When Mark’s face appeared, Shawn said, "We’ve enlisted some help, Mark."

"Good," he replied, "but I want you to know the exact specifications of our enemies.  I’m going to transmit our own specifications so you have an idea of what you’re up against.  We have some weapons you won’t be able to withstand, so don’t expect to last long in this battle.  I don’t know how many ships Epsilon will have dispatched to intercept the Suundel, but a safe guess is at least ten.  They tend toward overkill."

"I see.  We’ll do what we can.  Thank you.  I’ll transmit these specifications to the nine ships we just contacted.  They’ll be a big help."

"Good luck, Shawn."  Mark disappeared from the screen.  Shawn turned to Jeff again and had him send the new information to the December and Captain S’klar, then he went to his chair and began reviewing it himself.

A few minutes later the December hailed them and Admiral Uhrlaub said, "Shawn, these are some hefty weapons.  Our current defenses will be no match for this combination."

"You’re telling me, Rudy.  Any ideas?"

"Go find Ensign Santos.  He has something to show you."

". . . acknowledged."  The Admiral disappeared from the viewscreen and Shawn looked up and said, "Ensign Santos, what is your position?"

His voice came back, "I’m in deflector control, Captain.  I’m finishing up the last few modifications to the deflector dish."

"Oh?  How much longer will you be?"

"Just another minute.  I need to finalize one last test."

"Join me on the bridge when that is accomplished."

"Aye, Captain."

Shawn turned to Chester and asked, "What is he doing?  You approved it, right?"

Chuck just smiled and replied, "I think you’ll like it, Shawn."

"We’ll see."  The Captain continued to look over the specifications, still amazed at the amount of technologies they’d stolen.  Mark’s ship alone incorporated Borg, Dominion, Breen, Romulan, a few Delta-quadrant species, and some illegal modifications of current Federation technology, including a phase cloaking device.  After a few minutes, though, he was interrupted by Mick Santos’ presence on the bridge.  He stood and said, "I’m told, Mick, that you have some news for me."

"Yes, sir.  I installed the basic technologies behind five new weapons.  They can be deployed using current methods.  Three of them are torpedo-based and the other two are deployed from the deflector dish."

"The basic technologies?  Give me a summary of what these new weapons will do."

"Well, when I was at the Academy I was commended for ingenuity in the field of weapons development, you remember.  The five weapons I just installed were some of my ‘pet projects’, and they could be implemented with little alteration to the systems most Federation vessels have.  And they were the only ones I had time to implement in the short time since you gave me the inital report on the Suundel.  The torpedo-based weapons simply require some moderate tweaking of the tracking systems and payload of our quantum torpedoes:  one type can track anything that leaves a subspace trail; another will lock on to a certain set of emissions; and the third is simply an increase in payload.  The two weapons that use the deflector dish are essentially new types of beam weapons, one of which has the capacity to phase through almost any shield by continuously adapting to shield modulations until it finds the right one.  I call that one the modulation beam."

"That sounds impressive.  Are these field tested?"

 
"All but one.  The modulation beam has only been simulated."
 
"Well, I suppose this is as good a time to test it out as any.  If it works you’ll be commended again, and possibly promoted.  That weapon alone could give us an advantage few other ships have."
 
"Oh, thank you, Captain.  Hopefully they’ll work," he replied with a nervous laugh.  "The December is already outfitted with these weapons, and it would only take about ten minutes per modification for any other ships to apply them.  A whole team would have them done in no time."

"Jeff, send the modifications to Captain Gerding and Captain S’Klar.  They may be able to implement them."  He sighed.  "All we can do now is wait."


"They’re waiting for something," thought Captain Gerding, "but I don’t know what.  They should have attacked already."  He turned to Jason and said, "Hail Captain Martinez."  When Cal’s face appeared on the viewscreen, Mark said, "How are those weapon modifications coming along?"

"They’re just coming online now, Mark," replied Cal, looking at his chair display.

"Good.  We’ll be prepared for the attack then.  What do you think is taking so long?  They should have sent a group to intercept the Suundel already."

"The best I can come up with is that they’re trying to figure out where we are.  The Suundel battlecruisers have switched from their subspace cloak to their typical cloak, so they’re completely undetectable by any means we have, and since we’ve switched off anything that would help the rest of Epsilon detect us, we’re completely hidden as well.  I’m willing to bet that they’ll attack the very second the Tomcat and December drop out of warp at our coordinates."

"Agreed.  Our shields have been extended over the Suundel battlecruisers, so they’ll be well protected when the attack comes.  Do you have enough power to extend our shields over anyone else?"

"I’d say we’re already stretching it too much.  My shields are extended over two of the battlecruisers, and so are the Sol’s.  You only have to worry about one battlecruiser, though."
 
"Yes, we’ll be able to extend our shields over one more vessel without losing effectiveness.  Is the Sol ready with her weapon modifications?"
"Affirmative, and Captain Wilson reports that the Indiana has intercepted the Suundel scout ship and is applying the weapon modifications as we speak.  He’ll be here shortly."

"Excellent, Cal.  Be ready for anything.  Gerding out."


The stage was set, and everyone knew they were probably on their way to their doom.


 
The inital attack was swift:  the Tomcat and December had coordinated their arrival times with the nine ships they enlisted, so both groups dropped from warp at the same time; ten seconds later, ten ships dropped from transwarp (five ships came from one direction, and five ships flanked from the opposite).  None of them were cloaked–a show of arrogance that would eventually cost them the battle.  The Tomcat fired first, unleashing a volley of the increased-payload torpedoes, all of which impacted, and all of which caused almost no damage to the enemies’ shields.  The Enchanter and Sol followed closely by launching a volley of transphasic torpedoes, which proved much more effective and took every shield they hit down by at least fifty percent.

The return volley was more devastating, though, as every single Epsilon ship unleashed an unknown type of torpedo at the same time.  Five ships (the Uranide, Brasil, Lancer, Troia, and Apache–all part of S’klar’s group) were crippled because the new torpedoes had no problem cutting right through standard Federation regenerative shields and ablative hull armor.  The Enchanter, Sol, Alton, and Suundel vessels were barely affected because their shields were made to counter that type of torpedo; the December was the other vessel the Enchanter extended her shields around, so she was equally unaffected; the Comanche, Viper, Alliance, and Polar (the rest of S’klar’s group) only took a couple of non-critical hits because the Enchanter, Sol, and Alton coordinated several intercept runs.

 
The Tomcat, however, was on the far side of the group, and was left to fend for herself.  But she came out completely unscathed because of the incredible maneuverability of the Agent class, and the quick wits and nerves of steel of the most unlikely of heroes:  Ensign Rory Preston.  With Ensign Preston at the helm, the Tomcat maneuvered around every single torpedo that came after her, releasing countermeasures for distraction along the way.  Then, immediately after those acrobatics came to an end, Captain Thornburg had Ensign Preston position the Tomcat to fire a volley of regular quantum torpedoes.  The torpedoes were a distraction, however, so the Tomcat could fire its modulation beam, which impacted and broke through the shields of one of the Epsilon ships, dissolving a hole in its ablative undercoating almost immediately.  Captain Thornburg then fired a volley of increased-payload torpedoes that travelled parallel to the beam and broke through the weakened shields, impacting on the bare hull underneath the ablative armor and causing a chain reaction that destroyed the ship from within.  The only things left of that ship were the neutronium plates that floated away harmlessly.
 
About that time, the Suundel battlecruisers fired their planet-destroying weapons, which had been charging since the initial attack.  Their beams unleashed punishment unequalled by any Starfleet weapon, and all five of their targets were destroyed with ease.
 
The rest of the battle went much the same way, with the Enchanter, Sol, and Alton weakening the shields of the remaining four Epsilon ships and everyone else firing Ensign Santos’ weapons while the Suundel readied their next attack.  And though the four Epsilon ships put up an amazing fight, bringing down the shields of Gerding’s group, crippling the rest of S’klar’s group and the Suundel ships, and landing several non-critical hits on the Tomcat and December, they were destroyed.
 
The victors, smoking and beaten, stood silent on the battlefield.

The personality quiz–a short break

Your results:
You are Worf

Worf


70%
James T. Kirk (Captain)


60%
Will Riker


60%
Spock


52%
Jean-Luc Picard


50%
Data


48%
Uhura


45%
Deanna Troi


45%
An Expendable Character (Redshirt)


45%
Leonard McCoy (Bones)


35%
Chekov


35%
Beverly Crusher


35%
Geordi LaForge


30%
Mr. Sulu


25%
Mr. Scott


15%
You are trained in the art of combat
and are usually intimidating.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test