Topic: In the Beginning  (Read 9079 times)

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Offline Ronin

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In the Beginning
« on: August 04, 2004, 06:32:03 pm »
In the beginning.
 
The bright flash of a warp-core breach followed by the rush of debris and plasma in all directions surrounding the site of the explosion, beautiful despite the deaths it implied. That is what Admiral Shogun watched on his monitor over and over as he sat quietly drinking hot herbal tea in his suite during the early hours of the morning ships' time. Over and over he watched as the asteroid field, relatively static for perhaps millions of years, suddenly had a large hole cleared in its midst.

"Computer," he intoned softly. "Areas sixteen and forty-three. Magnify and intensify. Execute."

As the computer swiftly complied with his order Shogun leaned more sharply over his desk, still searching for what he knew had to be there.

-----------
Two years earlier...
-----------

An unmarked vessel, obviously of Romulan manufacture, moves deftly through a dense asteroid field.

"Sir! Those bastards are still closing on us!" came the cry from the navigation officer.

The man addressed turned slowly from a science station, his eyes ablaze with an intensity very few could stand to look into for long.

"How much longer until the cloak will be online, RoadRunner?" He softly asked his first officer at the science station.

"Not soon enough, Wisdom," came the reply. "Not soon enough. They are almost within photon range now. We can use the rocks to avoid the full spread of proxies when they come, but we have about three minutes, sir. And our repair teams are telling me they need at least half an hour."

"Prepare the homing beacon for launch," ordered Wisdom to the bridge officers.

"Aye, sir" was the only response from the officer manning the communications station. "Beacon cloaked and ready for launch, sir. Broadcasting silent cries and all propulsion systems active."

"Launch beacon."

As the beacon moved quickly away from the ship it cloaked and disappeared.

"Sir," said RoadRunner. "The Federation vessel may have picked up our launch, but the beacon is now cloaked and its navigation systems are set for full evasion. They won't find it."

"Sir! The Federation ship is within weapons range," voiced the weapons officer.

"Incoming photons, sir... a spread of six. Impact in four seconds..."

With a flip of a switch Wisdom addressed his crew, "All hands, brace for impact."

No sooner had he finished speaking when the ship was rocked with an explosion nearby as a photon torpedo exploded aft of the ship, followed immediately by another.

"Damage report."

"Sir! Shields are holding. Number four down to seventy-two percent, sir."

"Mister Monkey... I want that next volley to strike rocks, not us. You understand?" Wisdom, a determined look on his face, waited for a look of acknowledgment.

"Aye, sir. I will time it out and their next volley will strike rocks. My retirement plan depends on it, sir."

"Very good."

With a glance towards the communications console Wisdom spoke, "Heavenly... open all channels again, close on my signal."

"All channels now open, sir."

"Federation vessel, this is Wisdom, Vice President of Operations for the Interstellar Consortium of Privateers. We are in violation of no laws and ask you again to break off your pursuit. As you have now fired on us, I must tell you that it is my intention to make for Romulan space, where I will make a full report of your overt aggression towards a peaceful trading vessel."

Waiting only a moment, the reply came. "Wisdom, although you claim to be a trading vessel, scanners show that your vessel is outfitted for war. One type-S Romulan plasma torpedo tube, two type-F Romulan torpedo tubes, and a full suite of phasers... we ask again that you stand down and prepare to be boarded. Surrender and I will spare your crew."

"Captain Ghis, this vessel was purchased for trade. Our weapons are not armed. We are on a peaceful mission. Your aggression has driven us into an asteroid field as our only means of defense against what we see as a hostile threat to our lives. We have no intention of arming weapons except as a last resort. Please call off your pursuit and allow us to continue our legal business."

"Wisdom, you know as well as I do..." with a motion of his hand Wisdom signaled that the communication was to be severed.

"Prepare distress probes... I want one going out towards the nearest eight outposts... launch as soon as they become ready."

"Aye, sir," came the reply from his officer.

"Sir," announced Monkey... "Photons incoming."

With deft motions of his hands on the navigation controls Monkey moved the ship in a sideslip that carried it out of line with the incoming torpedoes. The viewscreen showed four impacts on a large asteroid and two others missed by a wide margin.

"They will get wise to that trick and start firing two at a time, sir."

"I know it, Monkey. Buy us all the time you can."

"Weapons officer LaW," directed Wisdom. "I want all of our weapons armed after the next photon leaves that Federation vessel. Heavenly, open communications again, this time with visual."

"Aye, sir."

Standing straight, his suit neatly pressed, Wisdom addressed the view screen, "Captain Ghis, my apologies for the break in communications... having to evade your weapons fire is requiring all of our attention here. I am sure what you were saying was important, but I want to say again that we are on a peaceful trading mission and that we do not recognize your authority to stop our vessel. In fact, I have ordered my crew to arm all weapons systems if you fire on us again. This will be the first time they have ever been readied for combat, but I am hopeful that we will know how to operate the weapons systems. Unless you have changed your mind? Will you stop hounding us?"

Captain Ghis, sitting in the captains' chair on his vessel, replied, "Wisdom, this is a lawful request for inspection which you have turned into a fiasco by your refusal and subsequent flight from me at high speed. You know that vessel is no match for this one. Make this easy on us both, will you? Stop running, lower your shields, and let's have a drink in my ready room. What do you say?" A sincere smile playing on his lips he raised his eyebrows as if to say, "Well?"

Smiling now despite his concern, Wisdom replied, "Captain... although I would much rather have a drink with you than with Commodore Stonewall or Admiral Phoenix, the two I hold responsible for this "hunt," the fact remains that you are attempting to unlawfully seize my ship, my crew and myself. So, although I appreciate the fact that the Federation has chosen to send you to pick me up instead of one of the many others they could have chosen, I must still decline your offer. I should tell you that our weapons are now fully armed and ready. But I am sure your crew have already discerned that. It would appear that, unless you are willing to ignore your orders..."

"Wisdom, what orders are you talking about?"

"You know exactly what orders I am talking about. You have been instructed to bring me in to Federation headquarters for interrogation. Please don't bother denying it, sir. I have a copy of the order from Starfleet Command in my database. And I know why they want me. So let us dispense with the pleasantries and get down to business. I will not tie iCoP to the Federation. We will not become your lapdogs. We will continue to operate lawfully and expect to be left alone to conduct our business. The Federation had the chance to play nice during the SL war. They chose instead to hunt us nearly to extinction."

"Wisdom, that was all a misunderstanding... you know that."

"I know that if we had not had an operative within the Federation that iCoP would have been destroyed. And you know it too, so please spare me any denials. I hope your crew is cleared for this, Ghis... because I am through fencing with you. I will not work for the Federation. Not now. Not ever. You will never bring me or this organization under Federation control."

"I am sorry to hear you say that, Wisdom. My orders are very clear on this thing."

"I am sure they are. And they sent the one decent man with the backbone to carry them out. Too bad we did not meet in an earlier time, Ghis. You would have been the pride of the Orion Academy. You might never have even wanted to go to Starfleet."

"This is your last chance to stand down, Wisdom. I really hope you will not make me destroy your vessel. You know that I will merely transport all of you over here once that Romulan boat is crippled. I would like to be able to spare your boat."

"Thanks for the sentiment, Ghis. But I think you will find the task more difficult than you imagine. Good luck to you. I hope we don't kill any of your friends when we land plasma on your hull. Wisdom out."

Another wave of his hand and the communication link was severed.

"You bought us another couple of minutes, sir," offered RoadRunner. "And I have all of our cargo strapped down and ready for whatever the future brings."

"Let's just hope the future brings us something other than an abrupt ending," replied Wisdom, his brow furrowed in concentration.

--------- END Chapter 1 ------------
« Last Edit: January 08, 2012, 12:41:45 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Ronin

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2004, 06:32:41 pm »
Chapter Two

"Admiral Shogun. Sorry to disturb you sir, but we are nearing the edge of Federation space and you gave orders to notify you as we approached the neutral zone."

Shogun, still sitting at his desk, meticulously scanning each individual section of the recording, at first appeared not to notice that he had been addressed. With a deep breath and an exhalation that bespoke many emotions, he leaned back from his monitor, reached again for his cup of tea, and spoke.

"Shogun, here. Thank you for letting me know. Any response to our messages to Romulus?"

Sounding a little on edge, the officer who had contacted Shogun continued, "Not exactly, sir. We received a message from somewhere on the planet, but it is not a diplomatic response. It claims to be from your family, sir."

"Thank you, TobinDax. Please put it through to my quarters. I will view it here."

"Aye, sir. You should have it there now, admiral. Sir," continued TobinDax, sounding unsure of just how to proceed.

"It's alright my friend," soothed Shogun. "It is not unusual for the son of a Rihannsu house to be contacted this way when requesting permission to come home."

"Yes, sir. It's just," went on TobinDax. "It's just that I know what this means to you, sir. I realize... I mean... I want you to know that I am with you all the way, sir. No matter how this plays out."

"TobinDax, you have been from the day I met you, an officer... a man; I knew I would always be able to count on. Every admiral dreams of having someone like you in his command. Let me know if anything changes. And advise me when you are relieved on the bridge by Horizon. Carry on."

"Aye, sir. TobinDax, out."

Rising, Shogun made his way to the replicator, "Tea. Lemon grass. Hot." As the replicator fulfilled his request Shogun reached for a thick file on the table nearby. Opening it, he flipped idly through it, seeing each of the messages penned in Rihannsu that had come to him since he left Ch'Rihan. His sisters, his brothers, his mother. His mother... alone these many years now. Even the head of the household staff... they had all written to him asking him to contact them. Asking him when he would accept the mnhei'sahe of his life, and return home to honor.

One in particular caught his eye for a moment. It opened with, "hnafiv-d? hnafirh-d? i'au-d fiv? hru'hfe. neth Rihanha?... nah'lai Lloann'mhrahel? sthea'hwill. h'ta-fvau hru'hfirh Ael Aidoann." Although no member of the Federation had ever seen it he could not help translating it loosely into the Federation tongue... "Can you hear your truth? Can you see your path? Do you know me? I am the head of your family servants. Are you Rihannsu... or Federation? I ask you to decide at once. Come home now, our lord Ael Aidoann."

A sound indicating that his tea was ready brought him back to the moment, and away from what was once his home, in a life long ago, in a place of wealth and privilege. And responsibility. And family. And mnhei'sahe. Would anyone in the Federation understand mnhei'sahe? The ruling passion...

Walking back to his desk, tea in hand, he spoke, "Computer, access message for Admiral Shogun. Access clearance command only. Request retinal scan for clearance."

"Ready for retinal scan."

Sitting down at his desk, facing the monitor, Shogun said softly, "Execute."

"Scanning for authorization."

-----------------------
Two years earlier...
-----------------------

"Wisdom, the rear shield is nearing collapse after that last photon volley. Down to eight percent."

"Thank you, Roadrunner. Monkey, can this boat handle another high energy turn?"

Grimacing, his teeth clenched, Monkey replied, "If I have to hold her together with my teeth, Wisdom."

"Very good. LaW, I want to know as soon as that S-type torpedo is ready to launch."

"Aye, sir. You'll be the first to know," answered LaW, a look of determination on his face.

"In the meantime, Monkey, bring her about and let's see if we can get them to back off a bit. Increase speed and bring her hard to port. LaW, fire port-side F-pseudo and the S-pseudo together as soon as the S-tube is in a firing arc."

"Aye, aye, Wisdom."

From a distance, in the hard cold silence of space, the Federation BCJ began to slow as her captain found himself faced with accelerating to avoid a possible plasma strike, which would cause his ship to ram into a large asteroid... or slowing and preparing to launch a sensor decoy in an attempt to fool the plasma guidance system into striking the decoy instead of the Federation ship.

Time slowed to a stop as the artificial plasma balls, created only to fool an opponent, sped on their way towards the Federation vessel.

Captain Ghis, faced with the possibility of having two balls of superheated plasma strike his shields where they were weakest from prior plasma attacks, ordered the sensor decoy to be deployed.

No sooner was the decoy out of the bay that the smaller Romulan ship fired phasers at it, destroying it. The artificial plasma balls, fooled by the decoy, passed harmlessly over the BCJ and into the wreckage of the decoy.

"Sir, they have turned off their point defense," announced LaW. "Plasmas charged and ready, sir."

"RoadRunner, get that tractor ready to grab them... Monkey, spin this boat around and let's teach them why so many fear to cross iCoP... LaW fire all plasma the moment the tractor engages their ship... Transporter room, I want our men in the Federation photon bays the moment that front shield comes down. Shuttle bay, prepare to launch a suicide shuttle at range two point six clicks from the enemy on our approach."

In a flurry of activity the crew did what was necessary to carry out their orders. A moment later the Romulan SPG+ spun quickly around and headed straight towards the barely moving Federation ship.

"Brace yourselves, people... their phasers are still armed," warned Wisdom to his bridge officers.

With a jolt the tractor grabbed the Federation ship, the sounds of plasma leaving the tubes could be felt as a hum throughout the Romulan ship as everyone held their breath.

The main screen showed the plasma tearing through the forward shield of the Federation ship and into the hull of the main saucer section.

"Why haven't they fired their phasers?" wondered Wisdom aloud.

"Release the tractor," he ordered.

The Romulan vessel, having released the tractor beam, moved over the top of the Federation ship, trying to put some distance between them.

"Sensors indicate a hit on the enemy number six shield with the suicide shuttle... minimum damage but the shield is down, sir..."

"Monkey, evasive..." was all Wisdom could get out as the ship jolted violently and came to a near stop.

"Sir! They have tractored us," announced Monkey. "I am attempting to repel it, but it will take a moment, sir..."

"Sir, they are locked on our aft shield and preparing to fire all their aft phasers," said LaW softly.

"All hands, brace for phaser fire!" yelled Wisdom, too late.

The smaller Romulan vessel, its rear shield already nearly gone, was rocked by the close range volley of phasers from the Federation ship, fires breaking out on numerous decks, the shuttle bay destroyed, engines badly damaged, a thin haze of smoke filling the bridge.

"Sir, they have launched a missile scatter-pack and our phasers are offline... the shock to the system... working to get them online," intoned LaW.
"Drop nuclear space mine," ordered Wisdom.

"Mine away, sir," responded Roadrunner.

"Defensive tractors activated, sir," said Monkey. "But that will only hold two of those missiles. Still attempting to counter their tractor hold, sir."

"Transporter room to bridge," came a cry through the intercom. "We lost two transporters here... but have crews standing by to transport on your order from the remaining five. We got four of their photon tubes, sir... they won't be firing six of those damned things at us again for a while."

"We need to take out their tractor beam," growled Wisdom. "All transporter teams to are to attack the Federation tractors as soon as we have a shield down on their boat. LaW, turn us so that our rear shield faces them again for an instant, then immediately get the number three shield to them again."

Not questioning, LaW did as he was ordered. As soon as the empty rear shield was exposed again the Federation ship beamed marines aboard the Romulan ship, dropping their number three shield for a moment as the transporters sent marines to destroy the tractor on the Federation ship.

"Our boys are away, Wisdom," came the voice from the transporter room. "They will take out that Federation tractor."

"Scatter pack has blossomed sir! Missiles incoming... impact in three, two, one..." counted RoadRunner.

"Phasers are nearly charged," offered LaW.

The defensive tractors grabbed and held the first two missiles. The number three shield, still fresh, absorbed the impact of the next two missiles, but then collapsed. The sound of tearing metal and explosions rocked the Romulan ship as the final two tore into the hull.

"Phasers now destroyed, Captain," announced LaW. "No chance of repairing them. Couldn't get them charged in time to take out those missiles."

"Monkey, all power to engines... let's drag them over that mine," cursed Wisdom.

The Federation captain, realizing too late that his ship was about to set off a mine, released the tractor beam holding the Romulan vessel. A moment too late. Having turned to try to bring forward weapons to bear the number two shield collapsed as the mine exploded. Damage to the hull, while significant, seemed to be primarily in the area of the starboard side warp engine, causing the warp core to vent plasma into space in a blue line.

"Just got another wave of our boarding parties off, sir," came the voice from the transporter room. "Looks like we managed to take out their remaining photon tubes, sir. And I think we destroyed their tractor."

"Thank you, KiltedManiac," replied Wisdom. "Well done."

"Sir, I am getting distance between us for now, but we are losing plasma from both engines," offered Monkey.

"The only weapons we have are the F-type plasma tubes. I'm not sure we will have the power to charge them unless we can divert most of our power to doing so, sir," reported LaW. "Looks like their last marine attack finished the S-type plasma tube."

"Roadrunner," ordered Wisdom, "status."

"Well, sir," began Roadrunner slowly, "we are at about fifty-percent power, have lost our shuttle bay, half our transporters, and have significant damage to our sensors. Thank the gods that the defensive tractors are still holding. I can turn them off once those missiles exhaust their fuel, but that is only going to afford us a little more power. With the reports I have so far it appears that casualties are light, but I am getting reports that we have fatalities and a hull breach on the lower decks that has voided to space... the energy shields there were offline. We may have lost decks nine and ten, sir. And finally, the cloak, although nearly repaired before our last engagement, will not be operable due to a lack of power."

"Damn," hissed Wisdom. "And Captain Ghis? How did he fair?"

"From what I can get on him with the sensors so beat up it looks to me like he is without forward shielding, has lost all his photon tubes at least for now, has lost two of his phaser banks, and has taken some damage to his engines. That mine appeared to cause some serious damage to his shuttle bay, sir. We may have a chance to hit him again if we can power up the plasma tubes."

"Can we outrun him?" asked Wisdom.

"Not a chance, sir," answered Roadrunner. "They are reeling right now. But they will be in pursuit in a few minutes and we will not be able to dodge them for long. Even if we put every drop of power to engines they would likely catch us within ten minutes."

"Monkey," said Wisdom. "Get us away from that BCJ and get the number five shield between us and them. Get us behind a big rock and then come to a stop and turn us about. Let's get those plasma torpedoes charged."

"How is our cargo doing," asked Wisdom.

"Everything there appears to be fine, sir," replied Roadrunner. "It's a miracle. One of those missiles could have destroyed it all."

"Well, let's see if we can keep that from happening, shall we?"

Wisdom, sitting down into his command chair, found a moment to relax while his crew carried out their duties. "We may live through this yet," he thought to himself with some pride.

--------------- END Chapter Two -------------------
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 07:17:47 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Ronin

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2004, 06:33:25 pm »
Chapter Three

"Computer," said Shogun to the monitor on his desk. "To the limit of your ability, scan each moment of the NCC-1924 Ulysses ship record stardate 2003.06.27.1423 regarding the battle of that day; identifying any anomalous findings for me to review in detail. Execute."

"Parameters for search are too general in nature," responded the computer as it had many times before during the previous several hours.

Shogun had been at it for three hours. He had tried instructions that varied from thirty-two words to ninety-seven words. He knew there was a way to get the computer to do what needed to be done, but nowhere in his training did it explain how to make a computer use intuition. But he had to find out if there was something that Starfleet had missed during its investigation. Starfleet must have missed something, he reasoned. There was just no other explanation that made any sense.

"Computer," he tried again. "Scan each information bit stored in the recorded ships record of the Federation BCJ, vessel identification NCC-1924 Ulysses, stardate 2003.06.27.1423. Create a separate file for anything during that day which is identified by your program as unexplainable, anomalous or which you have at least a point zero, zero, one percent chance of considering as having been misinterpreted by Starfleet in the subsequent review of the ships log by Starfleet Command. This file to be accessed by me only upon completion of the task. Execute."

"Executing," came the reply.

"Finally," breathed Shogun.

"Shogun to the bridge," he said into the air as he headed for his sleep chamber.

"Horizon here, sir," came the reply from the bridge.

"I will be trying to get some sleep," Shogun began, getting out of his uniform. "If there is any word from the Romulan Senate I wish to be notified at once."

"Aye, sir."

"And Horizon," Shogun continue. "If Starfleet Command asks for an update please tell them that I will contact them myself after I have rested. Any word from the Deep Infiltration Fleet yet?"

"Not yet, admiral," answered Horizon. "But we got a message from Starfleet about an hour ago telling us that Admiral Wraith is on his way aboard his flagship."

"Excellent," responded Shogun, relaxing at that bit of news as he began putting on his Rigellian silk sleeping clothes.

"And they also said that they would try to free up either FSF-Lock or 14G-Randy if the fighting along the Klingon border would allow it, admiral."

"Anything at all on the Klingon movements," asked Shogun. "Do we have any reason to believe that they know we are here?"

"As far as we can tell, sir," answered Horizon. "There are no indications that the Klingons are aware of our proximity to the Romulan Neutral Zone. KHH are heavily engaged on the front. Jakle, Devil and Shadowlord have all been spotted in the combat area. RDA were caught trying to flank our forces and make a push towards our space on the other side of the rim, but FEDX and 3rd Fleet were able to hold them. According to the report filed by Picard, the RDA battle fleets were led by Mat'Sagh, Fek'lhr, Kee'Bhor and Jagh'ghos. If we had not had Zen, Picard, Phoenix and RedBaron, each with a battle group along that line, they might have broken through. As it was, the battle was fierce, but neither side gained an advantage and both sides withdrew to their own space. There was a lot more in the report, admiral. But that is the gist of it. I have forwarded the report to your quarters, sir."

"As always," smiled Shogun as he sat on the edge of his bed. "You have left nothing undone. Answering my questions before I have even finished asking them." With a soft laugh Shogun continued as he stretched out and dimmed the lights, "Wake me if our sensors pick up anything coming through the Neutral Zone. I am going to try to get some rest now. Shogun out."

With two deep breaths and many long years of mental training Shogun was at rest. Not asleep as humans know it, but in a state of utter relaxation, disconnected from worry or concern but still able to consider and study whatever the mind was focused upon. He would rest for four hours and then awake and begin again to tackle the problems that plagued him during his waking hours.

"Program complete," announced the computer in the other room an hour and a half later. On one level of consciousness Shogun heard it and filed it away for study upon awakening from his slumber. It would still be there in a couple hours. He would get to it then.

-----------------------
Two years earlier...
-----------------------

"Wisdom," yelled Roadrunner over the sounds of fire and screaming metal. "That phaser barrage knocked out our last torpedo tube!"

The sounds of an automatic fire suppression system drowned out all other sound for a moment.  Then there was silence but for the arcing of electricity through damaged equipment on the bridge.

"I am getting some distance between us, Wisdom," said Monkey. "They slowed to a stop when our last plasma torpedo left the launcher. I was able to keep us out of transporter range when they hit us. But if they close on us and hit us like that again we are going to lose what little power we have left. They will be able to begin beaming over a team to commandeer us or beaming us aboard their ship."

"Truth is," added RoadRunner. "If they hit us like that again our hull will likely come apart at the seams."

"What kind of shape are they in right now, RoadRunner," asked Wisdom.

"Their repair teams have two photon launchers working again," answered RoadRunner. "Although I doubt they will use them unless they plan to simply destroy us. They appear to have only half of their original phaser compliment, but that is still five type-one ships phasers, sir. And they are all in the forward firing arcs. Their repair crews know what they are doing. Scans indicate that their shuttle bay may now be repaired. Which means we may see another missile scatter pack. Again, that would be if they intend to destroy us. In addition, their engines, while damaged, are more than enough to chase us down wherever we go. Our last plasma strike did significant damage to their science and navigational arrays, but they will not need probes or long-range scanners to find us in here now. In short, sir, this ship is finished fighting as soon as they decide to close on us again. They have more than they need to finish us however they care to."

"Casualty report, RoadRunner?"

"Sir," began RoadRunner. "So far we have lost twenty-seven of our original crew. We have lost Heavenly, who went to sick bay to help with the wounded. We have lost KiltedManiac in transporter control. We lost BeStGoDs. We lost Craig Baynam. We lost..."

"That is all, RoadRunner. We will name the dead later," commanded Wisdom. "Right now I want to do what I can to prevent our losing any more."

"Aye, sir."

Looking around the shattered remnants of his bridge, Wisdom thought frantically of his options. Clenching his jaw with the realization that there was really only one duty remaining and damned little time to accomplish it, he flipped a switch on his command chair and addressed his remaining crew.

"This is Wisdom, gang. Looks like the Federation captain and his heavy battlecruiser were just a little too much for our light cruiser to handle today." Taking a deep breath he continued. "We, each of us, has a choice to make. While I am leaning towards a particular course of action, I still have some thinking to do. But I want each of you to know that you can choose another path and that I will not think ill of you, no matter what you choose to do here."

Noting the pained looks on the faces of his bridge officers he focused his eyes on the viewscreen, staring intently at the distant image of a damaged Federation ship that would likely soon come for them. Although static and distortion occasionally caused the image to break up, it was plain that the ship was still there; and that it was still sufficient to the task it had been assigned.

"There are three choices for each member of this crew," he explained. "Choice number one: peacefully surrender to the Federation officer commanding that ship. Choice number two: attempt to destroy our cargo prior to capture with a warp core breach to insure that the Federation does not get their hands on it. Choice number three: attempt to use our cargo to avoid having to choose either choice number one or choice number two."

To Monkey he asked, "How long until they close on us?"

"Maybe fifteen minutes," he replied. "Depends on how long they take to get their front shields back up. I will keep us moving away at top speed until the end but the best I can manage is about one-third impulse, sir."

Addressing the crew again Wisdom continued, "We have only a few minutes to decide. Since our shuttle bay is damaged, we will not be able to get out that way. Those who wish to surrender please suit up in evac gear and head for transporter room three. That is our only functioning transporter room. From there you can transport yourselves as near to the Federation vessel as is possible, then contact them via the communications systems in your evac gear for retrieval."

Taking a deep breath Wisdom continued, "If you believe we should destroy our cargo, proceed at once to the hallway outside the cargo bay with hand phasers. If the majority of those left onboard wish it, we will attempt to destroy it together."

Looking around at his bridge crew, a calm cool look coming over his face, "But if you want to try to use our cargo to avoid either of the other choices, bring anything you value and meet in the cargo bay itself. I believe there is at least a fifty-fifty chance that we can all get out of here if we try it. That is all. Make your choice and get moving. Wisdom out."

"Roadrunner," Wisdom said softly. "Can you route what remains of ships systems controls to the control deck on the cargo bay?"

"I believe so, sir," he replied, beginning to work on it immediately.

"Alright, people," Wisdom continued. "The time to choose our path is before us. I am heading to my quarters for a few moments and then will find out what the rest of you have planned for yourselves. I hope to see all of you where I will be going. But want all of you to know that I appreciate everything you have done and that it has been my pleasure to serve with you as a member of the Consortium."

Turning to Monkey, his last words before leaving the bridge were, "How much time do we have?"

"They have powered up one shield and the other two won't be much longer, sir. They are already under way and headed towards us at low impulse. They are not moving fast, but they are moving fast enough. Likely they are using all excess power to reinforce their forward shielding in case we have a surprise for them. We have maybe seven minutes until they are within range with their transporters; if they still plan to use them. Maybe six minutes before they are within range to finish us with phasers."

With a nod and a glance at each remaining face on the bridge, Wisdom entered the turbolift and was gone.

--------- END Chapter 3 ---------
« Last Edit: March 05, 2010, 05:02:05 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Ronin

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2004, 06:33:55 pm »
Chapter 4

Along the Federation/Romulan border a Federation DNF slowly approached a Federation DNH which sat silently waiting before the neutral zone. Still some distance away, the DNF moved at one-half impulse towards the other ship.

Admiral Wraith413, sitting comfortably in the command chair aboard the bridge of his flagship, studied the main viewscreen with great interest.

"Admiral Shogun," he began. "I am very happy to be able to assist. When Starfleet asked me to lend assistance to the Honor Guard they did not tell me that you would be here, yourself. It's good to see you," he continued with a smile. "It has been a long time."

Aboard the Federation DNH, NCC-2112 Dauntless, Shogun returned the smile and replied warmly, "Wraith, if they sent you they must have wanted someone here to make sure things work out." With a laugh he continued, "I didn't think they ever sent you out anymore. I thought you had been stationed behind a desk."

Wraith, unshakeable, tossed back, "Nah. They had me cleaning floors at Starfleet Command. They said they didn't want me involved in anything that a mop and a little time couldn't clean up."

"I know better," replied Shogun. "I know for a fact that you were assigned to Strategic Defense and that you are the best man in Starfleet for dealing with a delicate situation."

His sense of humor unbroken, Wraith answered, "Nah. I'm just a fighter pilot with a bunch of scrap metal on his chest. They gave me all these stripes on my sleeve because they wanted someone who stood out in a crowd at parties. Takes the focus off of the politicians, you know." He laughed warmly at his own joke and went on. "We should be within transporter range in about twenty minutes, Shogun. Request permission to join you on the Dauntless so we can discuss this over dinner."

"Permission granted," answered Shogun. "It will be my very great honor to have you aboard my ship. And please feel free to bring your XO and any staff you want to be involved in this briefing. Just ask your steward to let us know how many to expect. It's too bad we won't be able to finish our game of chess. Perhaps after this situation is resolved we can pick it up. I never did get the chance to thank you for spotting me a bishop."

Laughing again Wraith responded, "I didn't spot you anything and will be watching you every second to be sure none of my pieces mysteriously find their way off the board."

Laughing himself, Shogun replied, "That was always your trick, Wraith. I still think you could have been the best slight-of-hand magician in the quadrant if you hadn't fallen in love with Starfleet."

As old friends looked each other in the eye through the viewscreen it was apparent to both bridge crews that these men held each other in high regard as a result of a long friendship.

"I'll prepare for your arrival," announced Shogun. "You still enjoy a glass of cognac after dinner? I have a bottle I have been saving for an occasion."

"That would be really nice," answered Wraith. "We can talk about things after dinner. The cognac might help me to understand you better. Wraith out." With a laugh and a wink Wraith waved good bye and the viewscreen aboard the Dauntless went back to showing a field of stars, one of which seemed to be getting brighter.

-----------------------
Two years earlier...
-----------------------

In the vast expanse of space, silent and alone, an Orion Godfather class dreadnought moved purposefully towards an unknown destination. Near it, but cloaked and invisible, were six smaller vessels moving at the same rate of speed, and heading in the same direction, as the larger vessel. Behind these ships could be seen a small flotilla of ships of many different types. Lyran, Federation, Hydran, ISC, Klingon, Mirak and Gorn vessels could be seen in the fleet, and many small Romulan vessels, cloaked and uncloaked, moved at the edges. Nearly one hundred vessels could be counted, each a tiny world unto itself. Complete with air, plants, and people of many races. And all of them filled with a common purpose.

Aboard the Orion Godfather nearly three hundred members of the Interstellar Consortium of Privateers worked tirelessly to maintain an organization that spanned the known galaxy. Their purpose, to insure that the Consortium continued to do business, to maintain profitability and to protect the one that began it all. A man who, by sheer force of will, gave life and direction to talented members of all races who had been forced to leave their homes or who had decided that home was not so much a place, as a state of mind. And that the state of mind that best reflected their own ideals was that expressed by the Interstellar Consortium of Privateers.

Aboard the Orion Godfather, in an office that by any standard would be considered opulent, sat a tall, broad-shouldered man behind a large mahogany desk. His hands steepled before him on the desk, his back was ramrod straight as he watched the record which had been sent to him through an operative in Starfleet Command.

He watched a battle unfold. A battle between a Federation BCJ and a Romulan SPG+; which began with the two ships coming close together, apparently in expectation of friendship.

As he watched, the scene was replaced with the image of a Federation officer who spoke, "Admirals log, stardate 2003.06.27.1423."

"Ghis," whispered the man behind the desk as he continued to watch and listen.

The man now on the screen, Ghis, continued, "We have tracked the iCoP vessel as instructed and, claiming to need dilithium as a result of a tri-phasic radiation leak, were able to get within transporter range of the iCoP ship. We weren't sure that our sensor image would be convincing enough that they would believe our story, but engineering came up with a way to fool the sensors on that Romulan boat."

The man behind the desk, realizing that he was pressing his hands together so tightly that his back was beginning to tighten up, tried in vain to relax as he watched the drama on his monitor continue to unfold.

"We were able to transport a team over who placed a small charge on the cloaking device assembly aboard the iCoP ship," continued Ghis. "We did not want to disable the ship, only the cloaking device. It was successful. We lost three crewmen, but the iCoP vessel will be unable to cloak for a while."

"Once they realized what had happened their shields went up," Ghis went on. "I tried talking to them, asking them to surrender, but Wisdom just blocked communications and made a run for it. He was headed towards a large asteroid field near the Romulan neutral zone. We could not do much to catch up until we reached the asteroids. About that time we came into weapons range and did our best to convince the iCoP crew to surrender."

The screen, which had been filled with the face of Ghis, now once again showed a fleeing Romulan SPG+, small in the immensity of space, from the perspective of the ship that followed it.

"This must be from their main viewscreen," said the man behind the desk. "I am going to have to give the agent who brought in this report a raise."

The screen then showed a readout from a science station aboard the Federation vessel. If the information was correct, the Romulan vessel had launched an iCoP silent homing beacon, which then cloaked and hid itself. It was followed by a shot of the Federation main viewscreen showing a volley of six photons being fired at the fleeing iCoP ship.

"I have tried talking Wisdom into surrender," said Ghis, his face now once more on the monitor. "He is determined to avoid it. I understand my orders on this thing, but it doesn't make it any easier."

Once again the viewpoint shifted. It showed details of the ensuing battle. The little Romulan ship made some high energy turns, used its plasma, phasers and transporters with great effectiveness, but it was apparent to the man behind the desk that the battle was not going well for them. The Federation ship was just too much to handle.

"Damnit Wisdom," said the man behind the desk as he watched the battle unfold. "I know you had to see where this would lead. Did you really think you could win this?"

Silence in the room again except for the noises coming from the monitor. Casualty reports and damage assessments, repair crew orders and orders to maneuver and fire were all heard by the man behind the desk as he watched the Federation ship work to bring the iCoP vessel to its knees.

"We have taken a surprising amount of damage as a result of our fight with the iCoP vessel," said the face of Admiral Ghis from the monitor. "We have been engaged with them now for some time. I know they must be nearly out of weapons and their engines have taken a beating, but they are still under power. I have repair teams working on some of our photon tubes and phaser banks as well as on our shuttle bay, which was heavily damaged when we were unable to avoid a nuclear mine dropped by the iCoP ship."

The man behind the desk continued to watch as the Federation ship closed the distance on the iCoP vessel. The little Romulan ship was listing heavily to port. The inertial dampeners must have been compromised, thought the man behind the desk.

"Not good," he said aloud to the empty room.

The face of Ghis from his ready room was once more on the monitor. "Sensors indicate that the iCoP vessel now has no weapons systems at all. We are moving in to begin transport operations. Once we have the iCoP crew in the brig we will work on saving their vessel. Our goal will be to transport it back with us."

The sound of a claxon could then be heard, Ghis touched the desk in front of him offscreen and said, "Lieutenant, what is it now?"

The voice of his lieutenant replied, "Sir, sensors indicate a warp core cascade aboard the Romulan vessel. She's going to blow, sir."

"Can we get to her before she does," asked Ghis. "Any indication of how much time we have?"

"Sir," said a different voice. "We should have ten to fifteen minutes, but there is no guarantee that we will be able to shut it down once we arrived."

"Recommendations," offered Ghis. "I need to know what you think here."

"Sir, came the second voice again. "I think we had better get the hell out of this asteroid field with all speed and warp as soon as we are clear. Our shields are too beat up to handle the blast and associated rocks flying around in here."

The man behind the desk, his heart heavy with sudden realization, watched as the Federation vessel moved away from the Romulan ship through the asteroid field.

As the Federation ship prepared to exit the asteroid field there was a clear view of the Romulan ship. The man behind the desk felt bile rising in the back of his throat as he watched the ship, saw how alone in the vastness of space her crew and commander seemed from this perspective.

"You were a brother to me, Wisdom. You will be missed by everyone who had the privilege to know you. God speed. May you find answers to all the questions we ever had as we sat together drinking Romulan ale," said the man behind the desk. As he watched, the Romulan ship blossomed into the explosion of a warp core breach, scattering asteroids and plasma in all directions in the center of the asteroid field.

"You were everything iCoP could ever hope to be associated with, my friend. Goodbye," said the man behind the desk as the monitor went blank. The man, known throughout the galaxy as MagnumMan, then leaned back in his chair, doing his best to cope with what he had just seen.

------------ END Chapter 4 -------------
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 07:29:10 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Ronin

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2004, 06:34:28 pm »
Chapter 5

"So," began Wraith when he finally had Shogun off in a corner of the room. "Just what the hell have you got us into here?"

Shogun, unperturbed, replied, "Ghosts."

A puzzled look was the only reply from Wraith as stewards entered the dining hall and everyone began making their way to the table.

Once everyone was seated Shogun, at one end of the long table, rose to speak. "I want to thank Admiral Wraith and his staff for making it here to dine with us. There are so few opportunities to enjoy the company of anyone outside of our ships company that I wanted to let you all know how glad we are to have you here. It is nice to see some old friends." With a nod to each officer he continued, "Shogun, Knightrider, Swift, Leo, Torpedo, Josh, Memnoch, Jester, it is great to see all of you again." With a sweep of his arm he continued, "Allow me to introduce some of my officers; TobinDax, Horizon, LocNar, Dorod, Bradford, Jonny and Peacecraft." Raising his glass he went on, "To old friends and new acquaintances. May we appreciate both while we can." With that he drank and sat down.

Around the table each officer drank solemnly, understanding that with the present General War things could change in an instant.

Once Shogun was seated the stewards began serving. Several minutes of food being served, glasses being refilled and introductions were made around the table, followed by a relative quiet. It was at that point that Shogun determined that he should speak.

"Gentlemen," he began. "We are involved in something here which many would consider to be far outside the normal purview of Starfleet. While the operational details are classified, I will be sharing them with Admiral Wraith after dinner. I am sure that he will pass it along to those of you he feels need to know, but I can tell you that what we do here may well determine the outcome of the general war."

From the other end of the table, Wraith spoke, "Shogun, every one of these officers has my approval for this. Feel free to tell the tale. But I still want some time alone later to share that cognac you promised. We can talk privately then, if you don't mind."

Looking uncomfortable, a young officer of the Dauntless rose and said, "Admiral Shogun, sir? I will remove myself and dine in the mess. Thank you for honoring me with an invitation to dinner, but I understand that I am not cleared for this."

A slight smile playing across his features Shogun replied, "Allow me to introduce all of you to lieutenant commander Peacecraft. He was told that his invitation to dinner this evening was a courtesy to reward his hard work on a recent project." Looking squarely at Peacecraft, Shogun went on, "But the truth of the matter is, I thought it would be very nice for him to be honored in another way tonight, while we have guests."

Taking a small box from his uniform jacket Shogun walked around the table to Peacecraft. Opening the box he removed two gold lapel pips.

"Peacecraft, for service to the Honor Guard you are hereby promoted to the rank of Commander, with all the privileges and responsibilities of said rank." With that he placed one pip on each of Peacecrafts lapels, alongside the three on each side that were already there.

Wraith, on his feet, raised his glass. Everyone else at the table stood and raised their glass as well. "To commander Peacecraft," toasted Admiral Wraith.

"To commander Peacecraft," chorused all the other officers. And with that everyone drank.

Red faced but ecstatic, Peacecraft stood speechless.

"This means you can have a seat and finish your dinner, commander," laughed Shogun. "With Commodore Chuck in the infirmary I needed another command officer I could trust. Congratulations."

"Thank you, sir!"

Walking back to his seat Shogun spoke, "Thank you all for helping me to make this an event for our new commander."

"Now, allow me to tell all of you why I asked you to be here," continued Shogun.

"Better send for that cognac, Shogun," said Wraith. "I can tell by the look on your face that we are going to be here a while."

Several hours, and several bottles of cognac later, those assembled had some idea of just what Admiral Shogun was attempting.

"So," asked Memnoch. "Just to summarize, you believe that Wisdom had something in his cargo bay which may have been able to get them out of there?"

"In a nutshell," answered Shogun. "Yes. I do. And I even have a guess about what it may have been. But until I have something to offer as proof I will keep my guesses to myself."

"With all due respect, Admiral," offered Josh. "That sounds a little... well, it sounds impossible, sir."

"Our findings indicate," interjected TobinDax, "that there was a microminiature break in the fabric of space-time in the vicinity of the iCoP vessel just prior to the warp core explosion."

"But that could have been a result of the build-up to the explosion," argued Torpedo.

"While that sort of thing has been seen before," offered Bradford, "I submit to you that such a break has never been seen before a warp core explosion."

"And never have we seen one then accelerate in a straight line into warp," tossed in Jonny with a look around the table.

"Perhaps the cascade caused it somehow," offered Leo.

"Maybe the sensor readings were wrong," suggested Jester. "The Ulysses had taken some significant damage to her sensor array."

"We have another source of data," stated Horizon. "And it tells exactly the same tale. Gentlemen, Admiral Shogun has covered all the angles here, in my opinion."

"What is this other source of data," asked Admiral Wraith.

With a smile Shogun answered, "An iCoP silent running beacon that is sitting in one of our cargo bays. We picked it up a couple days ago when we arrived. Amazing that it was still functional. Excellent craftsmanship. Romulan design, actually."

"But how did you find it?" Asked Wraith. "Don't they have an avoidance system?"

"They do." Answered Shogun.

"Then how the hell did you find it?" Asked Wraith. "Starfleet has been trying to figure out how to do that for years."

Leaning back in his seat, setting his feet carefully on the edge of the table, Shogun continued.

"Do any of you ever recall hearing about an iCoP by the name of Ronin during your time in Starfleet?"

-----------------------
Two years earlier...
-----------------------

"Ronin," welcomed MagnumMan. "Please come in. Have a seat."

"Thank you," replied Ronin as he sat down in a comfortable chair in front of MagnumMan's desk.

"I have some disturbing news, Ronin," began MagnumMan. "Brace yourself. This is not easy to deal with, my friend."

"Computer," continued MagnumMan. "On the large viewscreen please replay the encrypted Federation message I was viewing two days ago at my desk."

MagnumMan then pointed towards the far wall, where a large viewscreen could be seen. Ronin, following the direction in which MagnumMan pointed, watched in fascination as the scene played out before him.

As the recording neared its end, and it was apparent that things were not going well, Ronin cursed just barely loud enough for MagnumMan to overhear, "Damned Federation bastards," his eyes filling with unwanted tears. "Lot of friends on that boat."

At the end of the recording the lights did not come back on. Instead, MagnumMan waited several minutes without speaking as they both sat quietly in the near darkness.

"I have composed myself," said Ronin quietly. "Thank you."

"I had the same trouble myself the first time I watched it, Ronin," was the reply. "Leaving the lights low for a moment seemed the decent thing."

As the lights came back up MagnumMan continued. "This leaves one hell of a hole in our operations, Ronin. One hell of a hole."

"Any idea what he was carrying?" Asked Ronin. "Must have been something pretty damned important if he was willing to take it with him to keep the Feds from seeing it."

"Well," answered MagnumMan. "The truth is, we don't know what it was. He did not communicate anything about it to anyone outside of his ship. No documentation on it at all."

"Is that why you called for me? You want me to find out what it was?"

"Well," replied MagnumMan. "Yes and No. I do want you to check on it. But there is something else I want you to do. I want you to take over as Vice President of Operations."

"I am sure there are others who would do well," offered Ronin. "Must be half a dozen who know as much about iCoP."

"I have reviewed everyone's files and want you for the position. With Wisdom gone we need someone in that spot and you are the one I want."

"Well, then," answered Ronin. "I suppose I better figure out just what the job entails. But first I would like to make a little trip to the area where Wisdom was last known to be."

"Way ahead of you, Ronin," rumbled MagnumMan. "There is a KCR we liberated a couple of years ago that has been hiding near planet Lopez for quite a while now. You will find your crew ready and quite capable."

With a touch of a control at his desk MagnumMan addressed his personal secretary in the adjoining office. "Get an encoded message to Kirk and let him know that Ronin will be joining him soon."

"All right, sir. Right away," came the soft and feminine reply.

With a look to Ronin he asked, "What shall we call her, Ronin?"

Ronin, thinking only a moment, replied. "Let's christen her the Merciless."

Again addressing his secretary he continued. "Be sure that we log the ships name as the iCoP Merciless and see to it that the shipyard gets that name on her by the time Ronin arrives."

Closing the connection to his secretary MagnumMan said, "See to it that your ship is aptly named, Ronin. Let's find out what the hell happened and make whoever is responsible for the death of Wisdom and the others pay for their attack."

"I will take payment in blood," replied Ronin. Rising, the two men shook hands. Ronin turned and was gone.

--------- END Chapter 5 ------------
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 07:46:08 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Ronin

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2004, 06:35:00 pm »
Chapter 6

"Ronin? He was the iCoP operative who infiltrated the Federation during the SL war," offered Wraith. "What's he got to do with how you found this beacon, Shogun?"

Bringing fresh drinks to the chairs that Wraith and Shogun had been sitting in while they chatted in Shoguns ready room Shogun replied, "well, that is quite a story, Wraith. Let me sit down and I will tell you all about it."

The two of them had just dismissed their officers after dinner. Wraiths men were on their way back to their own ship. Shoguns men were likely headed for their quarters. All of them were likely going to be trying to get some sleep after an interesting dinner.

"As I told everyone at dinner," began Shogun as he got comfortable in his chair. "I have some rather unique information on Ronin."

"Yes," replied Wraith. "And I understand that you wanted to be vague in front of everyone else. But now it's time to put all the cards on the table."

"We have been friends for a long time, Wraith," responded Shogun. "So in the name of that friendship I ask you to hear me out completely."

"Of course I will hear you out," growled Wraith. "What the hell is the story?"

"Computer," began Shogun. "Detail personal history, brief overview, Starfleet Command records. Officer to be detailed is Admiral Shogun."

"Admiral Shogun," began the computer. "Born on Vulcan prior to the Pertainan succession. Trained extensively at the Vulcan centers of higher learning. Joined Starfleet relatively late in age. Pursued a career as an officer. Received numerous commendations while serving aboard four different Starfleet Vessels. Appointed to the rank of Admiral and asked to head up the Starfleet Honor Guard."

"That," offered Shogun, "is the official version. It will be the same on any ship in the fleet. It will be the same in Starfleet records everywhere."

Wraith, sitting quietly and sipping his cognac, could only wait patiently.

"Now let me tell you what only a handful of people have known until right now. Something that could have explosive consequences should it become general knowledge."

"Go on," prompted Wraith.

"Computer," continued Shogun. "Detail personal history, brief overview, Starfleet Command records. Person to be detailed is Ronin-iCoP."

"Ronin-iCoP..." answered the computer. "Born on Romulus to a noble house of median political power. Trained as a member of the Romulan military. Left Romulus to study at the Orion Academy. Ostracized by his family and homeworld for not choosing to serve in the Romulan Praetorian Guard. Graduated with honors. Joined the Interstellar Consortium immediately after graduation. Became co-director of Intelligence for iCoP. Infiltrated the Starfleet Special Task Force at the beginning of the SL war. Rose to the rank of Admiral. Later resigned his commission and returned to iCoP. News of his infiltration and later return to iCoP was the cause of much strife in the Federation. Last known location was the planet Lopez. Last known position was CEO of the Interstellar Consortium of Privateers. No data on current whereabouts or assignment."

Wraith, his eyebrows furrowed, "I hope this has a point?"

"It has a point, my friend," responded Shogun. "A very sharp one. And I am hoping that you will not be cut by it in any way."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"Starfleet Command," continued Shogun, "knows all about it. But they consider the advantages of keeping it secret to be worth the risk of discovery."

"What do they know all about? What benefits? Damn it man, even with the cognac I can't understand you."

"Well, I will make it very plain for you, my friend. While I am the person you know, I am not only the person you know."

A slow dawning of realization spreading across his face Wraith asked, "Are you asking me to believe that an admiral in Starfleet is not an admiral in Starfleet?"

"I am asking you to meet Ronin," replied Shogun as he extended his hand to Wraith. "I hope you will forgive my not having introduced myself properly before now."

-----------------------
Two years earlier...
-----------------------

"We are nearing the sector, Ronin," offered Kirk.

"Engage the cloaking device," ordered Ronin. "And arm all weapons systems."

As the Merciless slowly disappeared from view a flurry of activity continued aboard her.

"Slow to one quarter impulse," said Ronin.

"Aye, sir. One quarter impulse," responded Wolverine.

"Ronin," said Kirk. "I am picking up images of three small vessels in the area of the spacedock. Looks like they are probably police cruisers at best."

"How long to weapons range for us, Wolvey," asked Ronin.

"About ten minutes at present speed."

"Are our boarding parties ready?" Asked Ronin.

"Yes," responded Ramagar. "I am heading down to the shuttle bay now to meet Reejr and Mike."

"Excellent," answered Ronin. "Good luck, Ram."

The invisible KCR continued to move slowly into the sector. On the main viewscreen an image of a distant shipyard could be seen. In the shipyard a large Federation vessel could be seen, but the distance was too great to make out the class.

"Overload S-Torps," said Ronin.

"Overloading S-torps," responded Kirk.

"Ronin to shuttle bay," said Ronin.

"Shuttle bay here," responded Ramagar.

"Are your people ready down there?"

"You better believe it, Ronin," laughed Ramagar. "We can't wait."

As the KCR crept closer to the shipyard it became apparent that there was only one repair facility here. One repair dock, one small base and three police cruisers.

"Continue monitoring their transmissions," said Ronin. "I want to know if there is anything at all that might indicate that they suspect something. Take us to within tractor range of the space dock."

The KCR moved to within tractor range of the space dock. The bridge crew, able to see what they approached through the main viewscreen, began to have a feral look in their eyes as they slowed to a stop within easy reach of the space dock and the ship in its berth.

"Hello, Ulysses," snarled Ronin. "Can Ghis come out and play?"

"Inverting now," said Wolverine slowly.

With gentle touches of the controls Wolverine tipped the KCR on its nose.

"Ram," said Ronin with a touch on his controls. "We will be able to block you from their vision until you are practically at the door."

"OK, Ronin," responded Ramagar. "It's time for some payback. Everyone down here knows this is for Wisdom and his crew."

"God speed, Ramagar," offered Ronin. "Let's get started."

From the shuttle bay of the KCR began to fly iCoP personnel in evac gear. Some two hundred members of iCoP formed up behind the shield that the KCR provided and then began their mission.

With great speed they rocketed towards the BCJ in the space dock. Reaching entry ports in over a dozen places they quickly gained access to the ship. Meanwhile, the KCR moved back into a level position in front of the space dock.

"Are they all aboard," asked Ronin.

"They are," answered Kirk.

"Any sign that they were detected," asked Ronin.

"There is some chatter from the dock. They are trying to find out who ordered all the repair crews out to work on the Ulysses," laughed Jonny.

"Decloak and tractor the Ulysses," ordered Ronin. "Kirk, as soon as the cloak disengages fire both S-type pseudo torps at the base and when they launch a sensor decoy phaser it and then hit them with both the overloaded S-torps."

The KCR, previously invisible, began to take form in front of the Federation space dock. Federation personnel, nearing panic at the sight of a KCR uncloaking so close, scrambled to get their shields online. Aboard the base, officers yelled for Red Alert and ordered the shields up. Frantically, their personnel worked to comply.

As the KCR decloaked completely the Federation BCJ was caught in a tractor beam. At the same time, two pseudo-torps sped on their way to the base, passing harmlessly over the space dock. Predictably, the base launched a sensor decoy, perhaps not having enough time to assess whether or not the incoming plasma was real. As the pseudo plasma headed towards the sensor decoy a phaser volley from the KCR stuck the sensor decoy, destroying it. Immediately the KCR fired two type-S plasma torpedoes at the base. The pseudo plasma struck the destroyed sensor decoy and, due to lingering effects from the sensor decoy, the real plasma roared toward the destroyed decoy as well.

"Get us out of here, Wolvey," ordered Ronin.

"Just trying not to ram that BCJ full of our personnel into the sides of the dock, Ronin," responded Wolverine.

Slowly the KCR had been pulling the BCJ from the dock. As it cleared the dock area Wolverine added speed and the Merciless, with the Ulysses in tow, began to pull away from the dock.

At that moment the plasma struck the base. At such close range the damage was tremendous. The base had not had time to get their shields up or their phasers charged. They took the full fury of the plasma torpedoes.

"Three police cruisers incoming," said Kirk. "They are going to try to hit us while we are recharging."

"Switch the S-torps back to normal and use the F-torp pseudos to try to slow them down a little."

"Will do," responded Kirk as he switched into a mental gear that would make him the most terrifying weapons officer in the quadrant.

"Jonny," barked Ronin. "Can you raise anyone on the Ulysses yet?"

"All I am getting there are the sounds of fighting, Ronin," responded Jonny. "Sounds like our people are making headway, but having to fight for every inch. I will let you know the second they can talk."

"Well, they haven't repelled our tractor or fired on us, so we must be doing all right over there," offered Ronin with a laugh.

"Ronin," said Wolverine. "I have us beyond range of any overloaded photons from the base, but that is not all we have to worry about."

"Go on," said Ronin.

"There is a Federation CLC inbound to this position," continued Wolverine. "It was just outside of passive sensor range when we came in. We have about five minutes until she gets here."

"Ronin," interrupted Jonny. "Reejr is on the bridge of the Ulysses. He is powering her up now. He says Mike and Ramagar and their teams are still fighting pockets of resistance while maintaining control in engineering and all critical systems."

"Was anyone there able to get out a message about being boarded," asked Ronin.

"I don't think so, Ronin," answered Jonny. "I did not hear anything about it and the Federation chatter is only talking about how we grabbed her and that they are going to try to get her back."

"Excellent," laughed Ronin. "Just like we planned."

"Release the tractor," ordered Ronin with a laugh.

Immediately the Ulysses was set free. The KCR continued to move away while the Ulysses merely floated along in the same trajectory.

"Bring us about, Wolverine," ordered Ronin. "We have some more damage to inflict."

Moving to port the Merciless fired phasers on one of the police boats, crippling her. Then followed that with two F-torps, destroying the police boat completely.

"Nice shooting, Kirk," offered Ronin.

"Hrmph?" was the only reply.

"Are those S-torps ready yet?"

"Just coming online," answered Kirk.

"Let's beat up the base a little more," said Ronin.

"You got it," responded Kirk.

Wolverine, hearing this exchange, moved the KCR towards the base.

"Erratic maneuvers engaged," said Wolverine. "And maximum ECM."

Photons fired from the base passed by without striking the KCR, phasers doing only slight damage to the forward shield.

"Grab it and unload," ordered Ronin.

Engaging the tractor beam the KCR grabbed the small base, followed at once by firing two S-type torpedoes into it. The damage was substantial.

"Launch suicide shuttle," ordered Ronin.

"Shuttle away," responded Jonny. "Reejr reports that they have complete control of the Ulysses. Ramagar has Ghis and his command officers cornered in the cargo area."

Another explosion rocked the base as a suicide shuttle packed with explosives slammed into it.

"F-torps online," announced Kirk. "Firing."

Two F-type torpedoes sped on their way towards the still unshielded base, striking the outer hull and puncturing deep inside. A moment later a large split was seen to be spreading across the surface of the base.

"Releasing tractor," said Wolverine as he moved the Merciless away from the base.

"Report," barked Ronin.

"Weapons functional," responded Kirk at once."S-torps at seventy-four percent charge. F-Torps at three percent charge. Phasers fully charged."

"Communications and sensors functional," replied Jonny.

"Navigation and engines functional," answered Wolverine.

"Ronin," offered Jonny. "We have about forty seconds until that CLC is in weapons range with her proximity photons."

"I have crippled two of the police cruisers and destroyed one," announced Kirk. "I can finish the other two with phasers before the CLC gets close."

"Do it," answered Ronin.

"Ulysses has powered up shields and is powering up weapons now," offered Jonny.

"Wolverine," said Ronin. "Get us opposite the approach of the CLC, about ten clicks from the Ulysses as though we are going to pound her."

"You got it," said Wolverine as the KCR moved into position.

"The Feds always like to sit together when they can," laughed Ronin. "Reejr will know just what to do on the bridge of the Ulysses."

As the CLC approached it saw the remains of three police cruisers and the large broken pieces of what was once a small base floating in the area. It also saw a Federation BCJ squaring off versus a Romulan KCR. Unable to establish communications, no doubt guessing that the communications systems had been damaged in the fight, the CLC moved into position just ahead of the BCJ to offer phaser support versus plasma.

At that moment plasma tore from the KCR directly towards the Ulysses. The CLC captain, hoping to weaken the plasma, fired all his phasers into it as it approached.

"You are about to have the worst day of your life," laughed Ronin at the image of the CLC on the monitor. "Nice of you to fire into those pseudos."

As if in reply the CLC fired four overloaded photons at the KCR. Having turned slightly, Wolverine was able to spread the damage over the front and right-front shields.

"Number two is down, Ronin," said Wolverine. "But our forward shield is holding. No damage reported."

At that moment the captain of the CLC received the biggest shock of his life. His ship was caught in a tractor beam from behind: from the Ulysses.

Simultaneously six overloaded photons slammed into the number three shield of the CLC, followed by a volley of phaser fire into the downed shield.

"Jonny, does she have anything left over there," asked Ronin.

"No, sir," came the reply. "That blast from the Ulysses gutted them. They have one phaser bank remaining. Their shuttle bay is destroyed. Their engines are offline. They are crippled. Reejr did it right."

"Open communications," said Ronin.

"Communications open, sir," replied Jonny.

"To the captain of the Federation CLC," began Ronin. "Your ship is now the property of the Interstellar Consortium of Privateers. Stand down and prepare to be boarded. Surrender and I will spare your crew."

"You Romulan bastard," came the response from a Federation captain on his now burning bridge. "What the hell is this all about? You are going to pay for this!"

"My dear captain," responded Ronin warmly. "We have already paid. I am just here to collect what we paid for."


--------- END Chapter 6 ------------
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 07:51:28 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Ronin

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2004, 06:35:35 pm »
Chapter 7

Captain Kirk, his dark brown eyes filled with determination, turned abruptly to the science officer. "Katie," he began. "How close can we get before their sensors might spot us?"

"Their equipment is likely not tuned to register our impulse trail," she answered calmly. "But if by some chance it is we should come no nearer than six clicks from them."

"Arm all weapons systems," ordered Kirk.

"Arming all weapons, sir," replied Finrod.

"OK," responded Kirk. "You heard her, Rupr. No closer than six clicks."

"You got it, sir," responded Rupr.

Looking through the main viewscreen Kirk watched as two Federation destroyers flanked a cargo vessel at slow speed moving through this region of relatively unprotected space. With a smile he realized that he would soon have whatever the cargo vessel was carrying in his own holds and that his reputation as the most feared privateer in the quadrant would be further spread by the survivors; if there were any.

"Phaser capacitor charged, Kirk," announced Finrod.

"Take us into position immediately fore of the port side destroyer, Rupr," ordered Kirk. "Six clicks distant on the same speed and heading as the target."

"Aye, sir. Moving into position ahead of the target, sir."

"Finrod," said Kirk. "On my mark I want a one hundred eighty degree high energy turn and the cloak disengaged. Rupr," he continued, "you bring us to speed three at that time and head straight at the target."

"Aye, sir," came the reply from both men.

"All plasma charged, Kirk," announced Finrod.

"Katie," said Kirk. "When we come around I want you to grab that boat with the tractor. Don't let them repel our hold on them."

"Aye, sir," came the response.

"We are in position, Kirk," announced Rupr.

"Katie," ordered Kirk. "Drop NSM."

"The Federation vessel appears to be unaware of the danger sir," replied Katie after completing her orders. "They are still on course."

In the viewscreen Kirk could see the destroyer heading straight for the Nuclear Space Mine that his ship had left in its path. With a blinding flash the front of the destroyer was engulfed in white flame as the mine exploded.

"Now, Finrod," said Kirk sharply. Finrod, his hands flying over the controls, executed the maneuver that would bring their ship back towards the damaged destroyer as the cloaking device disengaged.

As Kirk watched his bridge crew work he could only marvel at their skill. "This is why the Federation have come to fear iCoP," he thought to himself with pride.

"Sir," said Katie. "The other Destroyer is pulling away at full speed, making no effort to engage. Range three and increasing. I am scrambling the Federation weapons sensors now."

"Fire S-type pseudo torpedoes at the fleeing ship," ordered Kirk. "That might slow them down."

As the Romulan PRA "Deaths Friend" decloaked in front of the damaged Federation destroyer Kirk was filled with adrenaline. With a jolt the tractor beam anchored the damaged ship.

"Fire S-type torpedoes, Finrod," ordered Kirk.

"Aye, sir."

As they watched, two red glowing balls of plasma rolled on their way towards the now trapped Federation destroyer. Determined to struggle, the destroyer fired. Two photon torpedoes smashed into the front shield of the Romulan vessel, followed by a phaser volley. The destroyer, her front shields down as a result of the nuclear mine, took the full force of the plasma attack without protection. The bridge crew watched as the plasma struck the ship. Fires and molten metal were easily visible through the viewscreen. As they watched, lights flickered and went out on the damaged ship.

"Number one shield at forty percent and holding," announced Rupr. "Reinforcing."

"They are heavily damaged," announced Katie. "Emergency power is being activated. The other destroyer has come to a stop and launched a sensor decoy, sir. They thought the pseudo torpedoes were real. They appear to be trying to get under way again."

They could see lights returning to the damaged destroyer being held in their tractor beam.

"Fire starboard side F-torpedo," ordered Kirk.

The bridge crew watched as the plasma struck damaged hull. The lights went out all over the destroyer.

"Sir," announced Katie. "They have only minimal life support and no power to rearm weapon systems."

"Incoming missiles from the other destroyer, sir," announced Finrod. "Six are hot and locked on us. Defensive phasers set, sir."

"Range to other Destroyer," asked Kirk.

"Five clicks, sir," answered Rupr. "They are increasing speed and distance."

"Fire R-torpedo at the other target and release current target from tractor," commanded Kirk.

"Sir," offered Katie. "The cargo vessel is headed right at us at full impulse."

"What the hell?!" Kirk exclaimed, bewildered.

"It appears to be on a ramming trajectory, sir," offered Katie.

"Reinforce shields to that side," ordered Kirk.

"R-torpedo has struck the other destroyer sir," offered Rupr. "Shield four down and moderate internal damage."

"Fire F-torpedo on the port side at them and follow that with phasers into their downed shield," ordered Kirk.

"Katie," said Kirk. "Tractor that cargo ship before it rams us."

"Aye sir," came the reply.

As Kirk turned back towards the viewscreen he had the odd sensation of falling. Like a feather dropped in a still room he felt himself drifting. But not down. Not down. Somewhere else. Somewhere different. He could hear the sounds of his bridge crew calling his name as if from a long way off; then only silence.

His mind reeling he found himself in a place of bright persistent light, surrounded by a warm golden glow that brought him a sense of... What? Peace? Yes, peace.

"Hello, Kirk," came a strangely familiar voice.

"Who is it? Who are you?" he replied.

His senses still whirling Kirk began to see a form coalescing from the light ahead of him. A form. No. A body. It swiftly became less and less of the light and more and more something tangible, something Kirk could see and understand.

"What the hell is going on?" asked Kirk of the form as it took shape.

"Where the hell am I?" Kirk wondered to himself whether some catastrophe had happened. Had he died? Did some calamity strike the Deaths Friend and this was the afterlife? Was this some sort of dream?

The form before him finally began to come into focus. Slowly. Slowly. Finally he could make out who stood in front of him.

"You and your crew are in great danger, Kirk," said the body that had come from the light. "I thought I should help."

"Oh, my God." whispered Kirk. "Oh, my God."

"Don't worry Kirk," came the reply. "You have not lost your mind. It's really me."

"Wisdom," said Kirk, tears in his eyes.

-----------------------
Two years earlier...
-----------------------

- On the bridge of the F-NCL+ Pirates Pleasure

"You know," suggested Juno, "We might have more luck if we were to shut down the weapons systems entirely and reinforce the rear shield."

"Shutting down weapons, sir," responded, Newt.

"I am tossing mines out port and starboard," offered Maldo. "They are taking a beating on their front shields from our mines."

"Electronic counter measures powering up, Juno," offered Newt. "Rear shield down to eighteen percent."

"Keep us on this heading, maximum speed, maximum ECM and everything we have left into reinforcing the number four shield," ordered, Juno.

"Aye, sir," came the reply from both Newt and Maldo simultaneously.

- On the bridge of the R-SPG+ Mudds Women

"I have the Pirates Pleasure on long-range scanners, sir," said Shredder quietly. "They appear to be outrunning the pursuit."

"Excellent," smiled Harry Mudd. "Any signs of internal damage to Junos boat?"

"No sir," answered Jeddy. "He has managed to keep all his shields up so far. Looks to me like we will likely spring our trap before he gets banged up."

"Disengage the cloaking device just as Juno passes by," ordered Harry Mudd.

"Aye sir."

- On the bridge of the K-D5L Destruction

"Maintain maximum speed perpendicular to the line of the incoming enemy and move towards Mudds Women as soon as she decloaks," ordered Reejr.

"Aye, sir," responded Luc. "We will be on those Federation bastards before they have time to think."

"Harry's boat is decloaking, sir," said Wagged. "The Federation ships should be visible on long-range scanners any second. I show Junos boat slowing and turning into the enemy now."

"Take us in," ordered Reejr.

- Aboard the F-NCC Saladin

"Sir," called the ensign at the science station. "His rear shield has collapsed."

"The next volley should slow him down then," laughed Steve Rogers, commanding officer of the Saladin.

"Captain," shouted the weapons officer. "Romulan SPG+ decloaking directly ahead, range 18 and closing!"

"Hard to port!" Ordered Steve Rogers.

- Aboard the F-DD Missouri

"Sir, the Saladin has dropped the rear shield on the pirate vessel," offered the science officer.

"Prepare to fire proximity photons," ordered the captain.

"Sir," interrupted the navigation officer. "The Saladin is breaking hard to port."

"Romulan SPG+ uncloaking dead ahead!" Yelled the science officer.

"Hard to port!" Called the captain.

Too late, the Federation destroyer broke to the left, following the Saladin.

"Incoming plasma, captain," yelled the weapons officer.

"All stop! Launch sensor decoy!" Ordered the captain.

The destroyer, coming to an abrupt stop and launching a sensor decoy could only watch in horror as the plasma that struck the decoy was seen to be pseudo-plasma. Phasers from the Romulan ship fired into the decoy, destroying it.

Then the real plasma came.

"Sir! Incoming plasma!" Yelled the weapons officer.

"Activate defensive phasers!" Ordered the captain.

The phasers firing into the plasma weakened them, but not enough.

- Aboard the F-NCC Saladin

"Captain Rogers," offered the science officer. "The Missouri has taken a hit on the number two shield. The SPG+ has beamed boarding parties over and there is a struggle for control at present."

"Sir," said the navigation officer, "I am bringing us about as ordered and heading to intercept the Romulan vessel."

"The NCL+ we were following appears to be charging all weapons and has come about, sir," interjected the weapons officer.

"Sir," interrupted the science officer, practically yelling. "I have a Klingon D5L moving in at high speed towards the Missouri."

"Jesus..." whispered Steve Rogers. "Overload photons and launch missiles at the NCL+."

"Aye, sir."

"Communications," ordered Steve Rogers. "Message to Admiral Tyler. Pirates have ambushed Saladin and Missouri. Missouri damaged and attempting to repel boarders. Saladin offering support. Outnumbered and outgunned. Captain Steve Rogers, commanding."

- Aboard the F-DNH Leopold

Admiral Tyler, alone in his ready room, tired and concerned, sits quietly reading a report from one of his new officers.

Reaching slowly for his coffee, the admiral reads with appreciation the neatly outlined plans that his officer has brought to him.

"Admiral Tyler," came a voice from his desk. "Incoming message from Captain Steve Rogers, sir. It has a six minute delay from transmission."

"Send it through."

As the admiral watched the viewscreen on his desk he saw the face of Captain Rogers.

"Sir," began the Captain. "My battlegroup, myself in an NCC escorted by a DD, were pursuing a rogue Federation NCL+ which we believed to be under the control of iCoP operatives. They led us into dark region of space, where we believed they would attempt to lose us." The admiral could hear the sounds of voices and could see the image shake accompanied by the sounds of weapons fire.

"It was an ambush," continued Captain Rogers. "We are currently engaged with the NCL+, a Romulan SPG+ and a Klingon D5L. All of them are apparently under iCoP command."

More noise and a yell from the background, accompanied by more shaking of the image.

"The DD has been boarded and control is questionable at this point. Frankly, sir, we may lose the Missouri."

Another loud noise and a violent shaking of the image.

"The Missouri is out of the fight, Admiral. She is apparently doing all she can just to keep the pirates from taking control. At this point I am notifying you officially that I intend to try to rescue the Missouri, but that it may be impossible."

The sound of voices in the background heard, Captain Rogers turned away briefly to answer someone.

"Sir, the Missouri is no longer under Federation control. She appears to be powering up weapons again and I have every reason to believe that she will soon begin firing on us."

The admiral, his face showing his age, can only watch and wait as Captain Rogers returns to the screen.

"We will be making all speed out of this area, Admiral. Requesting rescue operations and assistance at our location. We are in sector..."

Without another sound the screen went black, then was filled with the Federation LCARS symbol.

With a touch on his desk, "Computer, please locate Captain Shogun."

"Captain Shogun is in the officers mess," came the reply.

"Computer, have Captain Shogun report to me at once."

"Aye, sir."

Moments later, as the admiral finishes his coffee, he hears the door chime.

"Enter."

As the admiral watches, Captain Shogun enters the ready room. Captain Shogun, a Vulcan of medium stature, enters the room.

"You wanted to see me, sir?"

"Please sit down, Captain."

"Thank you, sir."

"Yes, Shogun. I wanted to see you. I have just finished reading your report and recommendations regarding iCoP. Very clean."

"Thank you, sir."

"How long since you finished the academy, Shogun?"

"Sir," answered Shogun. "I am only recently graduated from the academy. However, I presume you know that I am not young, and that I had a very extensive education on Vulcan prior to attending Starfleet Academy."

"Oh, yes," agreed the admiral. "Graduated with honors from the Sarek School of Higher Logic, Master of Discipline from the Vulcan Council, sixteen years as a starship tactical instructor near the Romulan border, top in your class at Starfleet Academy... hell, I even know when you last endured pon'far."

Shogun, folding his hands in his lap, waited patiently.

"I read your report and have considered your recommendations, Shogun," continued Admiral Tyler. "And I like what I read. I wonder, would you be interested in leading a wing in the Starfleet Special Task Force?"

"Sir," responded Shogun. "I would be honored to serve in whatever capacity you feel I am worthy of."

"Well, I will tell you, Shogun. I am quite impressed. If you perform as well as you write reports you may move up a great deal farther than most have a right to hope for. But for now I want to offer you a field promotion to the rank of Commodore, pending final approval from Starfleet. If they give their approval I will have you transferred off the Leopold and on to a flagship of your own, where you will oversee operations for a division of the SSTF."

"I am honored," replied Shogun, his face displaying no emotion at all.

"Your first task," ordered Admiral Tyler, "will be to bring iCoP under control. Their pirating must be brought to a stop in this part of the quadrant. Are you up to the task?"

"Yes, sir." Replied Shogun. "In fact, I believe I am uniquely qualified for the job."

--------- END Chapter 7 ------------
« Last Edit: July 29, 2010, 08:15:16 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Ronin

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2004, 06:35:58 pm »
Chapter 8

Stunned, Admiral Wraith could only stare at the outstretched hand in disbelief.

For what seemed like hours, Ronin stood there with his hand out, refusing to let this moment for resolution pass by without his best effort. Looking into the eyes of his friend still seated so close he could see the pain, the sense of betrayal. He had seen it before. He had hurt countless others during his many times working undercover. It was, in some ways, what he was best at. So why did it hurt this time? Why did it matter this time?

Because this time he was more than a mercenary for hire to the highest bidder. This time he was more than an arm of vengeance for those he loved and called brother. This time he was more than leader of the largest trading consortium in the quadrant. This time he was doing the right thing, for the right reasons. And that made all the difference.

"Please," he said quietly, hand still outstretched. "Take my hand, Wraith." Searching the eyes of his friend, pleading with his eyes for just a chance to explain. "Give me your hand and a moment to talk and I will give you all the explanation you could want."

Slow and agonizing. That had to describe the dialogue going on behind those eyes, thought Ronin. "Trust me..." Ronin pleaded silently; hand still extended in the vain hope that this could turn out well.

Wraith would follow the orders Ronin knew he had been given. Of that Ronin had no doubt. But just this once, this one time, he wanted more than that. He wanted someone who had trusted him, called him a friend, to see beyond the machinations, beyond the manipulations, to the person known as Ronin. To know that, here, at the end, Ronin was doing the right thing. And that he would do it alone if need be.

All the plans of the last couple years, all the people who had sacrificed, who had died, to get Ronin to where he was right now... it was up to him to make it all worthwhile. He had to be able to justify their efforts. But he had to come out on the other side with at least one friend who knew that he was not inherently evil. That he cared. That he was what the humans called "compassionate." That he followed his mnhei'sahe with honor. That he honored his family, his world, and in this case, his allies. Would anyone in the Federation understand mnhei'sahe? The ruling passion... How many times had he asked that since this began? How many times would he ask that before the end?

His hand still extended, "Wraith?" Will he see the truth behind my eyes? Or will he see a Romulan spy working for a hated cartel?

Seeing the look in Wraiths eyes Ronin went on, "You are the finest Starfleet has to offer. You would follow orders and live with the consequences whether you knew why or not. But I owe you more than to use you as a pawn. You are my friend, whether you doubt that now or not. And I want to explain everything. I want you to know why you are sitting here in the ready room of a galactic criminal aboard the DNH the Federation assigned to him."

Looking down for just a moment, his hand still outstretched, then looking directly into Wraiths eyes he continued, "I want you to know who I am; what drives me. I want you to tell me that, were our positions on this game board reversed, you would be doing the same thing."

Gathering himself, his hand still outstretched, he went on with the only thing he had left. "It is what I know as mnhei'sahe. It is what humans would call "honor" and "duty" and "love" and "concern for sentient life" and "honoring forefathers" and "following ones destiny" and "trusting in the universe" and more. It is the code a Romulan lives by and, if need be, dies by. It is what we call the Ruling Passion and to deny it is to die to ourselves and to our people. Without it we believe we are nothing. You have it without knowing it by name, as humans do not understand that all these things are one. I only wish the chance to show you that I, too, have mnhei'sahe. And that you can trust me. Because, although I know you will follow the orders you have received, I may have need of more than that. But I will need time to explain these things."

Was there a slight change in Wraiths expression? Was there a crack in the otherwise impervious armor surrounding the man at this instant?

Feeling the power of this moment he played his final card. "I want my friend to know that I am doing what he would consider "honorable." That it is not for greed, for revenge, for power or personal gain. That I am driven by a desire to do what is right; not for me, but for all of us, regardless of race, regardless of beliefs or training, against a darkness which threatens to consume us all?"

His voice breaking, eyes filling with tears at unexpected emotions that suddenly overwhelmed him, slowly Ronin dropped his hand to his side, closing his eyes and slowly shaking his head. "How many nights I have wished that my mnhei'sahe would have led me on another path..."

Wraith, seeing what he knew to be genuine anguish, stood and reached for Ronin's hand, grasping it firmly, pulling it to him and shaking it gently. Seeing the pain, seeing the emotion, remembering all the times Ronin had shown no strong emotions, trapped within the Vulcan persona, which acted as his camouflage within the Federation even as he had seemed to become more and more human with time. And understanding how difficult that must have been; how much control it required. Remembering the many times that Ronin had seemed too friendly, too humorous, to have been Vulcan. But remembering how glad that he was to know him. Remembering many moments with Ronin, many conversations and a closeness that he had always felt. Remembering a respect that he always had for this man, this Romulan man, he was moved to believe that he did, indeed, know Ronin. And that he would trust him.

"You better have one hell of an explanation, my friend..." began Wraith, a sad smile of dawning understanding about the pain his friend must feel, how lonely he must have been, playing behind his eyes.

"I can do better than that," offered Ronin, mustering a smile in deep gratitude and placing his left hand over their clasped right hands. "I will explain how you now hold my very life in your hands."

And mnhei'sahe was done. And Ronin could live with that.

-----------------------
Two years earlier...
-----------------------

"Ronin did what?!"

Leaning back in his seat, hands steepled on his chest, MagnumMan answered, "He has captured a Federation battlecruiser, intact. He has destroyed a Federation battle station, a repair facility and three police cruisers. He has tractored and brought in a badly damaged Federation light cruiser. And he has brought us nearly four hundred Federation prisoners, including the officer who chased Wisdom into the asteroid field where he and the others died."

Looking into a viewscreen on his desk, MagnumMan watched Forest wrestle with that bit of information.

"He did that in a KCR?" asked Forest.

"He sure did."

Forest, commanding officer of the Imperial Militia, an organization not unlike iCoP, could only stare back blindly while his mind took the information in.

"Further," continued MagnumMan, "When the Merciless returned here I was given a recorded message in which Ronin told me that he needed an extended leave to pursue some leads he had."

"What kind of leads?"

"I wish I knew," responded MagnumMan. "He was pretty vague. He just told me that he might be gone a while and suggested that I consider moving Wolverine or Kirk into the number two spot here."

"Didn't give much notice, did he?"

"No. All I got was a recorded message," answered MagnumMan. "He did not return with the others. And none of them had any idea what had happened. All they could tell me was that at some time during their journey back here that one of the shuttles from the Merciless came up missing."

"How does a shuttle come up missing?" asked Forest.

"Ronin is... well, he is resourceful."

"Well, I guess I can understand that. Beaver was the same way."

"I was really hoping you might help in tracking him down, Forest. I know your network is on par with ours... while I trust him, I would feel better knowing where he is."

"Is he dangerous, MagnumMan?"

MagnumMan, his eyes betraying nothing, had to wonder about that. Was Ronin dangerous? Probably not, but who could tell. He and Wisdom had been close. Could he have snapped? Would he hurt someone who happened to cross his path in an effort to locate him for me?

"I can't be sure, Forest. Wait? what do you mean Beaver was the same way?"

"Someone assassinated him only a few days ago, MagnumMan. Phasered him down. I will have Rann, Hurricane, Graakna, ShadowFox, Intruder, Lestat, Starfire, Stormseyeblu, Mistress and Viking on loan from the Black Fleet looking for the assassin as soon as they return from their current assignment."

"Why would anyone want to kill Beaver?"

"Well, until now I had thought perhaps a deal had gone sour," answered Forest. "But after hearing what you have shared I find myself wanting to investigate every dealing we have had with the Federation. You don?t suppose all this is connected, do you?"

"Forest," responded MagnumMan. "I wish I knew. But that is why I contacted you. As the only other trading and military organization of any size in this quadrant I thought you should hear about this. Now, after hearing about Beaver, I am glad I did."

"Well, we will keep an eye out for your man Ronin. Perhaps in exchange you might keep an ear to the ground to help with our search for Beavers killer?"

"Of course," answered MagnumMan. "I will get a team of my people on that at once."

"We will be in touch soon, MagnumMan."

"Thanks, Forest."

"Thank you, MagnumMan. Next time let's not wait until the sky is falling to talk."

"Good idea... we'll have to work on that," answered MagnumMan as he watched the screen go blank.

--------- END Chapter 8 ------------
« Last Edit: March 05, 2010, 07:41:17 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Ronin

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2004, 06:36:27 pm »
Chapter 9

Ra'tleihfi, capital city of ch`Ríhan, splendid in the cool fall of the year. Time of the annual festival known as Eitreh`hveinn, with nobles and commoners alike sharing food and drink, gifts and many pleasures. Nobles opening their homes to the entire city, entertaining guests at all hours, the household staff constantly on call.

Sienae ir-Mnaeha tr`Llweii, matron of the noble house Llweii, her violet gown and lace cape accentuating her delicate frame and features, moved gracefully through the main building of the manor. Smiling softly she welcomed each guest she encountered warmly, extending her hands to each person to insure that everyone was made to feel welcome.

From across the large game hall a woman, younger than Sienae, walked slowly and casually towards her.

"I bid you good morning, Arrenhe ir-Ra'tleihfi t`Llweii," said Sienae to the young woman as she embraced her.

"And to you, mother," responded the young woman warmly. "It is a special day."

"Indeed it is, daughter. And where are your brothers? Have they not yet awakened?"

"They have," answered Arrenhe. "In fact, Argelian and Terrh were up before me. They have been playing Iluaeuuka with our guests for some time now."

"And what of your sister?"

"S`anra is in the kitchens," she answered with a smile. "She insists that everything must be perfect and is determined to inspect every dish herself."

"And so everything should be perfect," answered her mother. "Mnhei'sahe requires that we provide nothing less."

"Of course, mother." Nodding in agreement, Arrenhe hurried to the point she had been waiting hours to broach with her mother. "Have we heard anything from Arrhae, mother?"

"It has been only a short time since I dispatched the courier, daughter," was the careful reply. "We must attend to our duties without distraction."

"Of course, mother. It is as you say." With a formal bow Arrenhe excused herself from her mothers presence.

Sienae, watching her eldest daughter walk away, was filled with great pride. They had done so well. So unexpectedly well. When their father died at the hands of the treacherous James T. Kirk of the Federation, when the ship he commanded encountered the Enterprise along the neutral zone, things could have deteriorated rapidly here at home. But Arrhae had stepped forward with determination. And he led the family from that time of darkness into a time of great fortune in only a few short years, forging lasting alliances and powerful trading partnerships.

But that time ended too swiftly, she recalled with sadness.

Greeting another handful of guests Sienae made her way towards the rear of the hall, through a doorway and then along a hallway that would take her to a more private area. Entering a small sitting room she found the old familiar anger at war once more with the love she felt for her eldest child. She found herself staring into a small pool surrounded by green ferns, thinking back in time to her pregnancy with him. Her husband, serving in the Rihannsu military, was away for long stretches of time. She placed so much of her love in the unborn child. His name had been most carefully selected by her during that time. It was approved of by her husband and so he was named Arrhae ir-Ra'tleihfi tr`Llweii. He was Arrhae, or "one worthy of a high position," born in Ra'tleihfi to the house of Llweii. It was not until his thirteenth year that he decided on his own private name. And after discussing it with his family and getting their agreement he became Arrhae ir-Ra'tleihfi tr`Llweii Ael Aidoann. Only his family or close relative would ever know his own name of Ael Aidoann. It tranlated, "Winged Moon." Because he wanted to visit the stars as a member of the Rihannsu military, as his father had done. Yes, his mnhei'sahe would be great, his mother was certain.

He had been tall and strong, like his father. She could still see him studying the game of lluaeuuka, a very serious and involved game of tactics and strategy. So studiously he would attack the three opponents on the large game board. His father would enjoy hours of watching his eldest son competing with others, taking great pride in the skill his son had honed and believing that it would, someday, be very useful as a member of the Rihannsu military.

But that had all ended so suddenly. His father, her husband, was declared dead by the khre`Enriov. A messenger had come to the house, from the office of the khre`Enriov himself. Dire news came with him. Shocked looks on the faces of her children she had taken the news quietly, thanking the messenger, asking him to relay her thanks to the khre`Enriov for honoring the house of her husband with his own messenger.

But once the messenger was gone the tears began. Her own tears struggling to break free she noted that every one of her children cried except Ael. She remembered that he looked hurt, terribly hurt, but that he did not cry. She thought it a show of strength from the new leader of the house at the time. He was in his twentieth year and surely knew what his fathers death meant to house Llweii. He knew that he would become the leader of the house, accepting his nobility and shouldering the responsibility that it required.

Tears falling softly down her face she came back to the moment. Sitting down beside the small pool, listening to the sounds of the water as it danced and played she found herself once more in a vanished time.

She would never forget the day that he had come to her. His face showing nothing, he declared that his mnhei'sahe was not on Ch`Rihan. "Not yet," he had said.

He tried to cede his authority for the house to his brother Argelian. But Argelian and Terrh, his youngest brother, would have none of it. "You're place is here, Arrhae. You can not run from your mnhei'sahe."

But he had. Or so they had all felt at the time. But his family had honored him despite not understanding his path. His brothers refused to accept authority for the House. And, after a discussion amongst the family it was agreed that he would remain hru`hfirh, lord of the House Llweii. His mother would stand in his place until his return, as she had done for her husband.

Arrhae had disagreed, but finally accepted that his family would have it no other way. And then he had left. Foregoing a life in the Rihannsu military for the Orion Academy. And from there she knew only that she was able to write to him, and did several times each year, but little else. His replies were always short and generally included phrases such as, "I am unable to tell you what I am doing now or even where I am, but I am honoring House Llweii and our mnhei'sahe."

But she wanted so badly to hear more from him. So many years he had been away. So many years they had all done the best they were able without him. Without his guidance, without his strength, they had still remained among the premier houses. But things were changing. A new Afvillhei ran the district under a new planetary Aefvriha and the old rules were changing. Alliances were shifting and so too could the sand that house Llweii was built upon.

And now, at the moment he was needed more than ever before, a message from him. Removing a small piece of paper she lovingly traced the letters Arrhae had written with his own hand.

It read, "Hnafiv-d. Hnafirh-d. Neth Rihanha... nah'lai Lloann'mhrahel. Sthea'hwill h'ta-fvau hru'hfirh Ael Aidoann." She could hear his deep voice in her mind. "I know my truth. I have seen my path. I am Rihannsu... not Federation. I have made my choice and will come home now as your lord Ael Aidoann."

--------- Aboard the NCC 2112 Dauntless ------------

"Admiral on the bridge!" shouted the ensign at the door to the turbolift. Instantly everyone sprang to attention. Those who were at a duty station made sure that their posture was proper, although they could not stand. Admiral Shogun, with the wave of his hand, headed towards the command chair.

"At ease, people." He said. "Report."

"Sir!" Answered TobinDax as Shogun sat down. "We have confirmation that your message was received, admiral."

"Very good, Dax. And was there a reply?"

"There was no answer, sir."

"Helm," ordered Shogun. "Take us to within transporter range of the neutral zone, one-third impulse."

"Aye, sir! One third impulse ahead mark zero two three, sir!"

"Admiral," began TobinDax. "Are we expecting company?"

"I am expecting an answer." Replied Shogun. "It may come in a form few would expect. We will be ready."

"Will they attack?" Asked TobinDax quietly.

"No." Came the reply. "They will not attack. In fact, I think it may be quite a warm response. Assemble the command officers in my ready room. I will be there in a few moments."

"Of course, admiral." Answered TobinDax. "I will have them here in a few moments, sir."

-----------------------
Two years earlier...
-----------------------

"He what?!" Shouted MagnumMan into the monitor.

"It appears that he infiltrated the Federation, Mag." Came the reply. "Which explains why we have not been able to find him. Who would look for him there?"

"Forest," answered MagnumMan. "If this is true we may be in some real trouble."

"Well," offered Forest. "You may be right. And I have taken certain precautions as a result of this information."

"Damn," whispered MagnumMan. "But it just doesn't make any sense. Why in hell would he do that?"

"We have our people scouring through the Federation looking for him, Mag." Said Forest. "If we turn anything up I will let you know right away."

"Thanks, Forest." Came the reply. "I appreciate your help on this one."

--------- Aboard the NCC 2112 Dauntless, two years later ------------

"We want to come with you, admiral." TobinDax said carefully. Gesturing around the table in the ready room he took in every officer present. "Every one of us understands what it means."

"I can not allow it." Answered Shogun, his eyes meeting those of each man at the table. "Although I trust each of you with my life, where I am going you would be met with suspicion and distrust. Possibly worse."

"We can't just let you leave without us, admiral." Said Horizon. "We don't know the details. We don't know why you are doing this. But we all know that there must be a reason, a reason big enough for all of us."

"We can commandeer the Dauntless." Interjected Bradford. "We can simply take her into Romulan space and make use of her."

"You can not commandeer the Dauntless, gentlemen." Answered Shogun. "Doing so would effectively destroy what I am working towards. No," he continued. "You will all remain aboard the Dauntless. TobinDax will take command. And we will meet again when my mission is through."

"And when will that be, admiral?" Asked Peacecraft.

His eyes gazing vacantly into the room Shogun answered, "I wish I knew. But it must be this way."

"I see that you have brought a bundle of things with you, admiral." Said LocNar, pointing to the black case that Shogun carried with him. "What is that, sir?"

"Just some things I was rummaging through in my quarters that I neglected to put down before I made my way here." Came the answer. "Personal effects."

At that moment the alarm klaxon sounded. "Red alert, all hands, red alert." Blared through the ship.

TobinDax, lightly touching a console control spoke, "Bridge! What the hell is going on?"

"Sir," responded Dorod from the bridge. "A Romulan KCR has just uncloaked off the port bow. They are outside our photon arcs but we can get four banks of phasers on them and I am bringing us about while we charge."

"TobinDax," said Shogun. "I have to go. Take care of the Dauntless until I see you again, my friend."

With a quick sweep of his eyes he took in the others in the room. "Until we meet again, gentlemen."

"Wha-," was all TobinDax could get out before the shimmer of a transporter beam formed around Shogun. A moment more and he was gone. Only the surprised looks of the other officers in the room remained.

"Dorod," began TobinDax to the nearest monitor. "I imagine the KCR has cloaked?"

"Aye, sir." Came the reply. "We monitored two transporter signatures. One from cargo area six and the other from right about where you are now."

"What was in that cargo area?" Asked TobinDax.

"The iCoP probe the admiral located before we took position here."

"Jesus..." whispered Bradford. "What the hell just happened?"

"Well, gents," began TobinDax. "I wish I could tell you."

"They took the admiral and a probe?" Asked Horizon. "Let's get them back! Order a full sensor sweep and let's start looking for traces of ionic exhaust gases before they have a chance to get too far."

"No, Horizon." Responded TobinDax as the other officers stared. "This is just what the admiral wanted. Now we wait."

"What? Wait? Is someone going to tell me what the hell just happened here? Sir?" Sputtered Dorod, still listening from the bridge.

"Take us to yellow alert, Dorod." Ordered TobinDax. "And send a message to Starfleet. Tell them that Shogun has gone in and that we are standing by."

"Aye, sir." Replied Dorod. "But I sure hope I can get an explanation later, sir."

"That goes for all of us." Chimed in Bradford. "So. Vice-Admiral TobinDax. What the hell just happened? Do we get to know or not?"

"Gentlemen," answered TobinDax. "The admiral has gone home."

"Home?" Asked Peacecraft.

"Home." Repeated TobinDax. "And the trip may answer a lot of questions about a lot of things. Things that affect all of us."

"You mean us? Here in this room? The Federation?" Asked Bradford.

"I mean everyone in the quadrant." Answered TobinDax. "Everyone."

--------- END Chapter 9 ------------
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 12:51:21 pm by Ronin »
"Flying Romulan takes cunning. You either have it... or you die."

In The Beginning -- An unfinished fictionalized account of events surrounding the old Starlance League.

Offline Commander Maxillius

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2004, 09:53:32 am »
but but but... that can't be the end?!?  There's gotta be more!!


C'mon, Ronin, don't leave us hangin!!!!  :)
I was never here, you were never here, this conversation never took place, and you most certainly did not see me.

Offline FPF-Tobin Dax

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2005, 06:27:44 pm »
He's a very busy man leading 3 lives in his effort. I'm hanging there with you and I'll see if I can nudge the boss a bit. ;)
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Offline Komodo

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2009, 11:26:48 pm »
OK- so I found a copy of this and reread it, and came looking for more...! I had up to chapter 8... Lo & behold, I found chapter 9 here- woohoo! But the tale still remains to be finished, I see.... hmmm.... Oh Ronin...! I must know the rest!!

Please?
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Offline FPF-Tobin Dax

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2009, 09:44:16 am »
Not likey to ever be finished... :(
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Offline Komodo

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2009, 04:12:18 pm »
Maybe you're right, old man... actually, it could stand the way it is, but there are a few things left hanging. It's funny, I kinda take this story rather personally, since I knew so many in it. I was once a part of SHG as Loc-Nar, I was originally in 9th with Ghis, I was in DIF for a time, CB,  heck, I  even had a stint in iCoP  LOL. I didn't get to spend nearly as much time as I would've liked with Ronin/Shogun/Ael-Aidoann- but I know he was a real gentleman (still is I'm sure!)

Time got long, and life went on... I'm little more than a ghost myself here, now... but this really brings me back to my favorite time :)
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Offline Torchwood

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2010, 08:42:55 pm »
Wow, Had to necro this thread.
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Offline FPF-Tobin Dax

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Re: In the Beginning
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2011, 02:09:07 pm »
Maybe you're right, old man... actually, it could stand the way it is, but there are a few things left hanging. It's funny, I kinda take this story rather personally, since I knew so many in it. I was once a part of SHG as Loc-Nar, I was originally in 9th with Ghis, I was in DIF for a time, CB,  heck, I  even had a stint in iCoP  LOL. I didn't get to spend nearly as much time as I would've liked with Ronin/Shogun/Ael-Aidoann- but I know he was a real gentleman (still is I'm sure!)

Time got long, and life went on... I'm little more than a ghost myself here, now... but this really brings me back to my favorite time :)

Hopefully the good old days will be back with the re-working of the EAW code. The Boss still drops by once in awhile to check things out here.  I'd love to see how the story ends.
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