Topic: Daggers in the Night  (Read 17537 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Commander La'ra

  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 2435
  • Gender: Male
Daggers in the Night
« on: July 16, 2007, 04:05:33 pm »
Yup.  Finally writing another full-sized La'ra tale.  Just for Grim, this one STARTS with a fight scene.

I already know where this one is going, but I am iffy about the title.  Sounds...generic, to me.  If anyone's got a better idea that the current one, lemme know.

And yeah, I know my updates aren't exactly fast.  Let's hope that my recent 'man, I can write again!' thing continues.

----------------------------



Daggers in the Night


Chapter One




Sirens howled.  Commander La’ra leapt from his bed.  The intercom was already demanding his attention.  He slammed a meaty hand into it as he struggled into his pants.

“Report!”  He demanded.

“We’re under attack.”  The bridge responded.  It was Ensign K’tal’s voice. 

La’ra noted that the Hiv’laposh was not shuddering from weapon impacts and her decks were placid, not pitching as the internal gravity struggled to compensate for wild maneuvers.  He snarled and bolted from his quarters.  There were plenty of other Klingons in the old cruiser’s halls, running for their combat stations.  They made way for him.

“Commander.”  Ensign K’tal acknowledged before the bridge doors had fully parted.  The young Marine stepped away from the command chair.  It was a small, traditional act of submission that La’ra had no patience for.

There was no doubt in the Ensign’s eyes.  Nervousness at having brought the Hiv’laposh to battle alert in the dark hours of the morning, yes.  Uncertainty, no.

“Position of attacking vessels.”  La’ra snarled.

“One ship.  Identity unknown.”  K’tal reported.  Other officers pressed in through the bridge doors.  Leral.  Grimbek.  “Portside aft, indefinite bearing, avoiding visual range.”

La’ra’s expression darkened.  The Hiv’laposh was cruising at warp six.  Any ship that far behind would have to work hard to catch up.

“They attempted to infiltrate an invasive program into our systems.”  K’tal explained hastily.

“Confirmed.”  Ran’jar reported.  The First had strolled calmly in moments before.  He was studying the communication console.

“Shields are up, weapons are armed.”  K’tal said, completing his report.

“Very well.  Man the secondary weapons console.”

K’tal saluted, did as he was ordered.  La’ra clenched his fists.  He moved toward the command chair, glanced at it’s tactical display.  He did not sit.

Shields were up.  Weapons were armed.  Active sensors had revealed the position of the attacking ship…and betrayed their awareness to the enemy.   K’tal had not acted incorrectly -- he’d safeguarded the ship  -- but the enthusiasm of youth rarely served as well as more aged trickery.

There was, however, no changing the situation.

“Change course to intercept target.”  La’ra bellowed.  “Maximum warp.”

The deck plates shifted, and the distant rumble of the engines crescendoed as the old cruiser rolled into a tight turn.

“Target changing course.”  Leral announced.  “Turning away and increasing speed.  Warp six point five and accelerating…”

La’ra acknowledged with a nod but did not reply.  Improper advances had been made on his cruiser.  He leaned over Ran’jar’s console.

“What happened?”

“Our prey was clever.”  Ran’jar was in his analytical mode, quieter and even colder than usual.  “Our nightly updates from Gas’kovan…they waited until we were receiving and attempted to slide their program in.”

La’ra nodded.  Starships relied greatly on their computer systems.  Shutting down the electronic heart of any vessel assured victory.  Controlling it might lead to a fat prize.  He’d never heard of either being completely accomplished.

“Is it contained?”  The Commander asked. 

Ran’jar frowned, his eyes darkening as though his family had received insult. 

“Ah.”  La’ra chuckled.  The engine noise had stabilized; a distant rumble, a quiet shriek as counter note.  “What were they trying to do, specifically?”

“Hard to say without dismantling the code.”  Ran’jar replied.

La’ra nodded.

“Enemy vessel is at warp seven point two and accelerating.”  Leral called out.  The Hiv’laposh was already moving faster.  “They’re altering course…coming about to…they’re headed for the Ribbon, Commander.”

La’ra stepped back towards his command chair.  The Gypsy Ribbon was a massive nebula, a cloud of purple gas that spanned borders and concealed worlds.  It hid ships equally well, and was well frequented by pirates, Romulans, and other undesirables.  The last ship that’d tried to use the cloud to evade the Hiv’laposh didn’t make it, but their new quarry had a long head start.

The Commander considered that. His adversary was intelligent enough to realize that straight fight with a Klingon battle cruiser was something to avoid.  He had tried to narrow the odds, turn the situation to his favor.  The attempt had failed, but he’d made sure to stay out of immediate reach, and he’d made his attempt when a good escape opportunity was close by.

La’ra frowned.  Underestimating such a foe might be fatal.

“Any identification?”  He asked, leaning on the arm of his chair.

“No, Commander.  We should run into their warp trail soon.  That’ll give us more data.”  Leral answered. 

La’ra nodded.  Who would attack them?  He had plenty of enemies. So did the Empire.  He formed a list of candidates.

“Engine room reports that they can maintain this speed for some time.”  Ran’jar called out.

La’ra glanced at his tactical display.  His cruiser's gait was impressive.  The adversary was slower.  Most ships were.

“Acknowledged.”  La’ra rumbled.  L’dar was no doubt cursing his name right now, though not yet threatening to disown him.  They hadn’t exceeded their by-the-book speed yet, and La’ra had yet to decide whether doing so would make a difference.  He turned back to his display.  If nothing changed the adversary would make it into the Gypsy Ribbon.  “Let me talk to him.”

Ran’jar nodded.

“I can give you warp nine for forty-five minutes.”  L’dar’s voice, deeper than his brothers, seemed to shake the speaker.  “We’ll have to reduce to cruising afterward.”

La’ra raised an eyebrow.  He knew L’dar had been upgrading the engines, reinforcing the weak points revealed in the last high-speed pursuit.  Either his brother was not displaying his ordinary caution or his efforts had borne greater fruit than usual.  Or perhaps he just wanted to test his modifications.

“That won‘t do.”  La’ra explained.  Such a sprint would eat up the distance separating the two ships, but it wouldn’t bring them into weapon’s range.  “They’re too far off.  I need a compromise.”

“That’s easier.”  L’dar stated.  The intercom clicked off.

The old cruiser accelerated.




*  *   *



“We’re not going to catch them, are we, Commander?”  Lieutenant Grimbek asked as quietly as he could.

The viewscreen was on.  Against the brilliant purple clouds of the Gypsy Ribbon there was a small image, easily missed. 

“No.”  La’ra responded as discreetly as his gunner.  He had a shirt on now, though he hadn't found time to strap on his armor.

“Will we follow him into the Ribbon?”

La’ra shook his head.

“No.”

Grimbek sighed, slightly.  He didn’t ask for explanations, but his expression betrayed the desire.

“He was too ready to retreat.”  La'ra clarified.

The Gunner nodded with understanding.

“In there…we’re practically blind…”  He said.  The Gypsy Ribbon was a quiet Nebula, in terms of it’s effects on ships.  Radiation levels were low, and shields functioned as well as they usually did.  Sensors, though, were nearly useless inside it’s clouds.  “He might turn and attack, and we couldn’t use our full capabilities against him.”

La’ra bared a fang, lightly punched the gunner’s shoulder.

“Never chase a man too eager to run.”  The Commander quoted.  It was an ancient warrior’s proverb.  Forgetting it could be painful. 

“Target is entering the Nebula, Commander.”  Leral announced, disappointment in her tone.  “We’ll lose contact soon.”

La’ra nodded, stepped back to his chair.  He took a step to one side, back the other.  It was the first glimmering of what could turn into a pacing fit.

“Target tracking becoming erratic…”  Leral warned.

La’ra clenched his fists, growled quietly.  He’d made a few preparations during the long chase, but he had to wait for the proper moment to take advantage of them.

“We’ve lost them.”  Leral announced.  “Entering nebula in sixty seconds.”

“Reduce speed to warp four.”  La’ra ordered.  The engine noise decreased almost immediately;  L’dar had been waiting for that order.  “Begin active track.  Subspace pulses.”

“Yes, sir…”  Leral obeyed.  She had the tone of a carpenter lamenting her inferior tools.  La’ra grinned.  “…beginning sweep.”

It was one of the oldest methods of electronic detection; sending out waves of energy in the hopes it would hit your quarry, bounce back, and reveal his position.  It was still a useful method, especially in an environment like the Gypsy Ribbon, but it could be imprecise.  It was also much like using a hand lamp on a moonless night.  You might find what you sought; it would certainly find you.

The Commander paced, for a step or two.  Leral called out her reports.  The sensors had not found their target.

“Entering nebula now, Commander.”  She finally said.  The viewer showed only stars veiled by a thin purple haze.  Ahead, the fog only grew denser.  He wouldn’t follow his enemy into that, but even the nebula periphery could cloak and conceal.

“Release drone.”  He barked.  The old cruiser trembled, slightly.

“Drone away.”  Grimbek reported.  “It’ll begin transmitting in ten…nine…eight…”

“Cut speed and sensors…”

“Three…two…one…”

“…now!”  La’ra shouted.  Bridge officers jabbed buttons, flipped switches.  The Hiv’laposh lurched, then calmed.  “Cut power.  Rig for stealth operations.  Helm…”

The helmsman, Da’nar, was already acting, swinging the ship off her previous course using only thrusters, brief bursts of impulse power.  The old cruiser coasted into the concealing fog, her lights winking out.  Even the oldest methods of detection had to be guarded against.

“Drone is transmitting.”  Leral confirmed.  La’ra leaned over the buxom science officer.  There was a single contact on her screens, probing the nebula with subspace pulses and emitting a signature quite like that of the IKV Hiv’laposh.  “Looks good from here, Commander.”

“Indeed.”  La’ra rumbled.  There was no way to tell if the enemy had been fooled.  There was no way to tell what he’d do if he had.  He’d been quite keen on escaping the Hiv’laposh thus far, but deep inside the Ribbon, he might see the odds as a bit more even.

The Commander stood fully and took a long look at the viewscreen.  Luminous purple clouds betrayed no secrets.  There was nothing to do now but wait.
"Dialogue from a play, Hamlet to Horatio: 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' Dialogue from a play written long before men took to the sky. There are more things in heaven and earth, and in the sky, than perhaps can be dreamt of. And somewhere in between heaven, the sky, the earth, lies the Twilight Zone."
                                                                 ---------Rod Serling, The Last Flight

Offline Commander La'ra

  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 2435
  • Gender: Male
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2007, 04:08:42 pm »
For once, the wait was measured in minutes.

"Contact, sir..." Leral reported.  She spoke quietly.  La'ra never understood why reasonable officers whispered when their ship was running silent.  Superstition, he supposed.

"Where?"  He demanded softly.

"Directly ahead of the drone."  The sensor chief clarified. "Getting pulse returns...two contacts now...no, three..."

La'ra stepped toward the sensor console.

"Show me."  He ordered.  Leral gestured toward one of her screens.  There were three unidentified targets ahead of the drone, scattered out in a haphazard pattern.

"Mines."  He chuckled.

"Fairly big ones, sir."  said Leral.  "Getting strong returns off them.  Our drone isn't..."

"I know."  La'ra smiled slightly.  His science officer returned the expression.   He normally didn't interrupt her explanations, but he knew full well that using the drone's sensor signals wasn't a terribly reliable detection tool.

He studied the pattern of the contacts and his grin grew wider.   They were probably real, but the ease in which they'd been detected meant they were either old or cheap.  Their spacing was inefficient.  Whatever one might say about his courage, their enemy didn't seem inefficient.

"Signal the drone to began search pattern two."  He said quietly.

"Yes, sir."  Leral did as ordered.  The drone began to zig and zag, directing it's sensors to and fro.  It was still heading for the mines, but it's new course would avoid them.  "There could be more we haven't detected, sir..."

La'ra merely nodded, leaned over the sensor console.  Leral's scent tickled his nostrils in such proximity, a sweet distraction from what he figured was about to happen to his drone.

"Can motion sensors see that far into the nebula?"  He asked.

"Not against a ship.  They might be able to catch gas disturbances, though."  She replied.  She'd never voiced irritation at his habit of looming over her and her screens. 

"Direct them towards the minefield."  On the screen, the Hiv'laposh's drone made another sweeping turn.  Then the console began to beep insistently, the drone's target marker went red and still, and other screens began to scroll with data.

"Explosion bearing on our drone, Commander.  I've lost the control feed."  Leral announced.  "Turning motion sensors toward target area..."

"Sharp eyes, Lieutenant.  I want to know when he decides to come scavenge our corpse."

The Science Officer grinned widely.  La'ra stood, strolled over to the communication's area.

"He won't be foolish enough to think we're destroyed."  Ran'jar advised.

"No.  But he might think we're hurt."  The Commander answered.

"Suppose it depends on how badly he wants us."

La'ra nodded.  Their enemy hadn't been stupid enough to tangle with a Klingon battlecruiser in open space, but he hadn't been smart enough to not provoke one in the first place.

"Possible gas disturbance, Commander."  Leral called from the other side of the bridge.  Coordinates followed.  Relatively far from the minefield. 

La'ra waited.  Leral continued to study her sensors.

"Definite distortion..."  She reported.  "Edging toward the mines.  I can't tell what it is, Commander, not at this range, it could be nebula activity."

"Understood."

"A convenient time for nebula activity.”  Ran’jar chuckled icily.  “It could be a trick.”

“Indeed.”  La’ra agreed.  He turned toward the helmsman.  “Assume that disturbance is a ship.  Least time intercept on my order.  Account for the mines we know about.”

Da’nar nodded, his brown, bushy goatee exaggerating the motion.

“Gunner...”  La’ra began.

“Tracking target.”  Grimbek’s reply was gleeful. 

“We’re falling for the trick?”  asked Ran’jar.

“Only if it is one.”  La’ra grinned.  The First rolled his eyes.

“Disturbance has ceased, Commander...no...”  Leral was frowning.  “It’s changed course...looks like it’s circling the mined area...that rules out nebula activity, sir.”

“Understood.“  It didn’t rule out a decoy, a trick.  La’ra went to his command chair and sat.

“Disturbance is weakening...think it’s slowed down...”

The Commander growled to himself.  His enemy wouldn’t be foolish enough to reveal himself with an overt search.  The next move belonged to the Hiv’laposh.

“Direct a pulse toward the disturbance on my mark.”  La’ra ordered.  “Bring our systems back up.”

Officers assented.  Lights brightened to their usual level, the drone of the engines increased.  Indicators showed the shields raising.

“Action!”  He gestured to Leral.  She pressed a single button, and the old cruiser cried out into the nebula.

“Large object mass return!”  The sensor chief cried.

“Danar!”  La’ra barked.  The fuzzy-faced helmsman threw the ship into hard acceleration,  warp engines howling and complaining as the went from a dead stop to many times the speed of light.

“Target has gone active!”  Leral yelled.  The enemy knew he’d been found;  no reason not to see more clearly himself.  Getting warp signature on target...”

“Coming out of warp...now!”

The old cruiser lurched, dropping to sublight speed violently.  Bursts of energy flew, bursting around the dim shape of her adversary.  The enemy ship snaked about, her shields flaring with a hit as her own weapons began to reply.

"Multiple hits!"  Grimbek whooped.

The deck shook, lights flickered as something hit the defense screens. 

"Shields holding!"  That was Danar.

"Cut him off!"  La'ra bellowed.  The enemy's course had straightened, a small necessity for a leap into faster-than-light.  Da'nar wrenched the ship onto an appropriate vector and the cruiser swooped down on her prey.  There was a distant howl as the disruptors opened up, and the bridge lights dimmed.  On the viewer, flashes marked another series of impacts.

"Target is evading!"  Leral called out.  The enemy twisted away from the Hiv'laposh, making narrow, random turns.

The cruiser trembled as a torpedo detonated close by.  Phaser beams lanced out from her quarry, scoring only the occasional hit as the two ships swooped through lavender fog.

"Their aft shields are close to collapse."  Leral reported.  Her voice was more even know that action had truly commenced.

"Who is he?"  La'ra demanded.

"Target is a heavily modified Andorian courier ship, sir."

La'ra growled, stood.  The lights dimmed again, and there was a solid lurch as his cruiser spat out a missile or two.  He leaned over Leral again, staring at the data she'd collected on their quarry.  It was a classic Andorian design, clearly built for speed. 

"There's several ships of this class in the database, Commander..."  said Leral.  "...not sure if this is one of them yet."

La'ra nodded once and paced back to his chair.  The deck shook with another minor hit.  He could see the enemy on the viewer now.  The sleek shape darted about, closely followed by the Hiv'laposh's missiles.  La'ra squinted.  The missiles were following the target a bit too closely, neither catching up or falling behind.  Disruptor bolts, phaser blasts, were finding the enemy regularly now, even in the fog of the nebula.

The Commander chuckled.  The missiles were being held off with tractor beams, a standard countermeasure.  Grimbek using their drive signatures to correct his targeting wasn't so standard.  La'ra growled, rapped his gunner's shoulder.  The Lieutenant laughed and fired again.

"Their aft shields are down, Commander!"  Leral yelled, seized her console as a torpedo hit shook the ship.  "They're turning again...coming around..."

La'ra frowned.  The enemy banked, bringing her tapered bow around to face the larger Klingon ship.

"Hold fire!'  He yelled at Grimbek.  The gunner jerked his hands away from his controls.  The enemy let fly with his entire forward arsenal.  The Hiv'laposh shook and moaned.  "Ready on aft weapons."

Grimbek nodded.  On the screen the enemy grew larger and larger.  There was a hint of motion, a slight change in her bows.

"Hard to port!"  La'ra bellowed.  Danar threw the ship into a torturous turn.  The enemy was turning too, the opposite way.  For a second, the ships raced away from each other.

The Hiv'laposh's aft phasers spoke, brilliant blue beams catching their target's unprotected rear. Metal melted, boiled away.  Atmosphere billowed out of the wounds.  The enemy shuddered, threw himself into another series of evasive maneuvers as the old battlecruiser brought herself around.

La’ra frowned.  The enemy was evading, but not violently.  He was staying on the same basic vector, and even now his course was straightening, readying himself for another escape attempt.  La’ra was chasing his stern now.  Skillful cut-offs and quick interceptions could not help now.

Grimbek fired.  Phaser beams punished the enemy, disruptor bolts tore chunks from his hull.  La’ra snarled, knowing the damage wouldn’t matter.  He willed another volley to strike home, to hobble his enemy.  It wasn’t enough.

There was a flash, the illusion of motion as the enemy leapt into warp, her course carrying her deep into the thickest part of the nebula.

The command center went quiet.  Officers blinked or cursed quietly.  A couple sighed.  The enemy had disengaged.  Many would count that as a victory, but this was a Klingon ship.  The Commander clenched his fists.

“Cowards.”  K’tal spat, from somewhere in the back.  There were nods of agreement around the bridge, muffled curses.  La’ra didn’t agree with the sentiment.  His enemy had refused to fight when circumstances were not in his favor.  That was intelligence, not cowardice.

“Perhaps.”  He spoke low, but loud enough for his crew to hear.  “But coward or not, he’ll remember what happens when he takes liberties with our ship.”

There were a couple of grins, a chuckle or two.  That was good:  They had outfought their enemy despite his escape.  If they could salvage some pride from the encounter, they’d earned it.  And to be sure, it was not a total defeat.  The enemy had survived, but he wouldn’t forget the Hiv’laposh anytime soon.

Despite himself, La’ra grinned.  He wouldn’t be forgetting anything either.

-----------

Damned character limit.

Comment and questions welcome!
"Dialogue from a play, Hamlet to Horatio: 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' Dialogue from a play written long before men took to the sky. There are more things in heaven and earth, and in the sky, than perhaps can be dreamt of. And somewhere in between heaven, the sky, the earth, lies the Twilight Zone."
                                                                 ---------Rod Serling, The Last Flight

Offline Czar Mohab

  • Faith manages.
  • Lt.
  • *
  • Posts: 564
  • Gender: Male
  • Chewie - Go jiggle the handle!
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2007, 09:29:12 pm »
Hahahaha... I like it when the Klingons are the good guys sometimes; this is one of those times. Great read, lookin forward to  more!

Czar "No quote today" Mohab
US Navy Veteran - Proud to Serve
Submariners Do It Underwater - Nukes Do It Back Aft - Pride Runs Deep
Have you thanked a Vet lately?

Subaru Owners Do It Horizontally Opposed!
Proud Owner - '08 WRX - '03 Baja - '98 Legacy

Offline Governor Ronjar

  • Lt.
  • *
  • Posts: 830
  • Gender: Male
  • 'None Farther...'
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2007, 10:18:54 pm »
I don't know...

I can't see La'ra letting this go. He'll hunt this mother down. I know I would. I'd stalk his happy ass down and pin him to the wall. Ron'jar would most likely hunt him down. Dath'mar would hunt him down. Ford might even hunt him down.

Pretty damn sure La'ra won't be able to let it go.

Great story all around. A good start and hoping for much more to come.

Gimme more!
--thu guv!
'It's a lot of hard work being a mean bastard...' --Captain Eric Finlander, CO USS Bedford (The Bedford Incident)

'Jaken...are you pretending to be dead?' --Lord Sesshomaru, Inuyasha.

Offline Grim Reaper

  • The 4th Horseman, the Lord of Death
  • Lt.
  • *
  • Posts: 577
  • Gender: Male
  • Beyond the apocalypse
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2007, 05:24:17 am »
Battle == good.

Thx La'ra!
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline Commander La'ra

  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 2435
  • Gender: Male
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2007, 07:46:10 am »
Pretty damn sure La'ra won't be able to let it go.

*whistles innocently*
"Dialogue from a play, Hamlet to Horatio: 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' Dialogue from a play written long before men took to the sky. There are more things in heaven and earth, and in the sky, than perhaps can be dreamt of. And somewhere in between heaven, the sky, the earth, lies the Twilight Zone."
                                                                 ---------Rod Serling, The Last Flight

Offline Governor Ronjar

  • Lt.
  • *
  • Posts: 830
  • Gender: Male
  • 'None Farther...'
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2007, 08:54:48 pm »
yeah...I thought so... :laugh:

--guv!
'It's a lot of hard work being a mean bastard...' --Captain Eric Finlander, CO USS Bedford (The Bedford Incident)

'Jaken...are you pretending to be dead?' --Lord Sesshomaru, Inuyasha.

Offline kadh2000

  • Admiral, of course
  • Lt. Junior Grade
  • *
  • Posts: 356
  • Gender: Male
    • Kadh's Empire
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2007, 11:04:17 pm »
I was gonna say that Kadh would let it go, but he wouldn't.  'Course he'd charge straight in anyway and take his lumps.
"The Andromedans," Kadh said, "will never stop coming.  Not until they are all destroyed or we are."

Offline Scottish Andy

  • First Officer of the Good Ship Kusanagi
  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 1086
  • Gender: Male
  • New and improved.
    • Starbase 23
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2007, 11:15:16 am »
Andrew would let it it go... but set up a warning flag for any ship detected that came within a 50% match of the sensor profile. :D
Come visit me at:  www.Starbase23.net

The Senior Service rocks! Rule, Britannia!

The Doctor: "Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink."
Mickey: "Wot's that?"
The Doctor: "No idea. Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'Magic Door'."
- Doctor Who: The Woman in the Fireplace (S02E04)

2288

Offline Commander La'ra

  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 2435
  • Gender: Male
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2007, 11:00:23 pm »
Posting Chapter Two in Parts.  It's coming slowly, but surely, but I get tired of not posting anything and thus that's not good enough. ;D

--------------------



Chapter Two



The enemy had escaped around midmorning.  By noon, most of the Hiv'laposh's crew was back to their usual duties.  Some lamented the mysterious ship's escape.  Others hoped for a victory feast, since their adversary had run away.  A few realized that, while the chase was over, the hunt was just beginning.

"He'll need a dockyard."  L'dar rumbled, staring at a schematic of the enemy ship.  Bright red indicators marked where the Hiv'laposh's teeth had bit deep.

"What if he's not as fastidious as you?"  La'ra countered.  The brothers were in L'dar's work area.  The drone of the warp drive wasn't background noise here.

"I thought of that."  L'dar stated dryly.  "So I imagined a state of repair that would satisfy you, were you an engineer.  He'll still need a dockyard."

La'ra resisted the urge to snarl at his brother.  There was an unspoken rule about sibling conflict taking place in neutral areas.  Engineering wasn't neutral;  La'ra ruled the rest of the ship, but this was his brother's den.

"He was in good enough shape to run away."  La'ra reminded.

"Look at this."  L'dar pressed a button or two.  The screen shifted to a replay of the last moments before the enemy's escape.  Disruptor bolts, phaser blasts punished the Andorian-built vessel.  L'dar paused the record, suddenly.  "There.  You see?"

"He's losing some kind of fluid."  The Commander considered.  "Deuterium."

"Yes.  And a lot of it."  The engineer adjusted the screen, zooming in on the precise area of the hit.  "Disruptor bolt ruptured their primary deuterium storage.  Could've been catastrophic if we'd been luckier.  See the breach?"

"Yes."  La'ra crossed his arms.  The force of the blast had breached the hull, torn a huge chunk out of the hostile ship.  It wasn't the type of thing you could completely fix without extensive repair facilities.  "What're the chances he's already run out of fuel?"

"Slim.  Most ships have reserve tanks.  He'll have enough to get somewhere."

"We were lucky."

"How so?"  L'dar frowned.  "That hit could've destroyed him."

"Could've."  La'ra agreed.  Fuel storage was well-protected on warships, but on converted civilian vessels, that wasn't always the case.  "But now he needs a dockyard, as you said.  That narrows the possibilities quite a bit."

"So you are hunting him."  L'dar grinned.

"You didn't wonder where we were headed at warp seven?"

"Can never tell with you."  L'dar stated.  "Where are we headed?"

"The other side of the Gypsy Ribbon.  Wherever he's going is probably over there.  When we figure out where that is, we'll be close by."

"He could double back into our space."

La'ra nodded.  If he were the enemy captain, he might try just that.  Yet there had been something about the way his adversary had handled himself, his ship...

"I doubt he will."  La'ra said quietly.  "He's too..."

"...cowardly?"  L'dar asked.  The Commander shook his head.

"He's no coward."

"He ran away."

"Retreat when there's no hope of victory is not cowardly."

"He did not try very hard."  L'dar rumbled.

"He fights when it suits him.  Not before."  La'ra decided.

"The same might be said of you, and for all your flaws, you're no coward."  L'dar relented with a slight grin.  "So why won't he double back?"

"It's hard to...verbalize."

"Try."

La'ra growled lightly.

"He takes the logical course of action.  He's willing to take chances, but they're measured.  He plays odds.  He's willing to fight, but when he does, he fights toward a goal."  The Commander paused.  "Better?"

"Better." L'dar agreed.  The engineer nodded.  "Do you think he's Vulcan?"

La'ra shook his head.  "No.  Too lively."

"So why does this mean he won't double back?"

"He has a fuel leak and damage to his ship.  The Ribbon is huge.  Even if we're searching for him, we'd have to be very lucky to catch him as he emerged.  Doubling back means he's in Klingon space with deep wounds.  That's riskier."

L'dar nodded.  "He'll assume we're chasing him."

"I hope so."  said La'ra.

L'dar raised an eyebrow.

"Why?"

"A modified civillian ship generally means pirate or mercenary.  Mercenaries don't fight unless they're paid.  Pirates don't attack battlecruisers if they can help it, unless they're acting as mercenaries for the moment."  La'ra explained.  "If he thinks we're hunting him, he'll be evasive. That'll slow him down, and wherever home is to this man, I want to get there before he does.  He'll have friends there."

"You're not so interested in catching that ship..."  L'dar realized.

"No."  La'ra grinned.  "I want who hired him."

*   *   *
« Last Edit: October 03, 2007, 05:49:21 am by Commander La'ra »
"Dialogue from a play, Hamlet to Horatio: 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' Dialogue from a play written long before men took to the sky. There are more things in heaven and earth, and in the sky, than perhaps can be dreamt of. And somewhere in between heaven, the sky, the earth, lies the Twilight Zone."
                                                                 ---------Rod Serling, The Last Flight

Offline Commander La'ra

  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 2435
  • Gender: Male
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2007, 05:47:34 am »
"How many systems have what he'll need?" 

"Three within close proximity to the Ribbon.  Two more within a weeks travel."  Leral answered.

"Without his main deuterium tanks, he won't have a week."  Grimbek mentioned.  "Which of those three are pirate havens?"

"We're in the Triangle."  Leral chuckled.  "All of them."

"Oh."  Grimbek smiled.  Once, his question might've seemed naive.  It might still, but there was a trace of humor in the gunner's voice, the possibility of an intentional jest.

"We still hope to arrive before him, find his allies?"  Ran'jar asked.

"Yes."  La'ra replied.  The Klingons were gathered in the officer's mess.  On the Hiv'laposh, it was mostly used for discussions and briefings.

"There's no guarantee one of these systems is his usual base."  The First cautioned.

"There isn't."  La'ra admitted.  He was hoping that their enemy nested nearby, though.  A hired killer could make use of the Gypsy Ribbon's close proximity and the easy access to multiple stellar borders, so the hope was not blind.

Ran'jar merely nodded.

"Have we identified him?"  La'ra asked.

"We've narrowed it down to five possibilities, based on ship type and weapons scheme."  Grimbek reported.  "We have more clues, but..."

"...but it's taking some time to analyze them."  Leral finished.  She'd insisted on beaming aboard bits of the enemy ship, samples of the leaking fuel.  "Probably a few more hours."

"We should've taken a closer look at those mines."  Grimbek lamented.

La'ra grinned.  He was standing, leaning on the wall near the viewport.  He diverted his gaze outside, for the gunner's earnest expression would trigger laughter if La'ra kept looking at him.

"Our scans got enough information from them."  Ran'jar snorted.  "No need to bring live explosives aboard."

"It would've been easy to disarm..."  The gunner fretted.

"We already have one of their weapons."  La'ra reminded. 

Ran'jar's eyes narrowed.  "Indeed we do."

"What've you learned?"

"Whoever wrote it is...subtle.  It was designed to insinuate itself into our less important systems.  Lighting.  Crew Comfort.  Things less secure than the weapons or propulsion."  The First leaned back in his chair.  "It would've changed their power allotments."

"Doesn't sound very serious..."  Leral began.

"...except if it'd done it enough it'd have caused burnouts, overloads."  Ran'jar continued.  "It wouldn't have disabled us, but it would have inhibited our ability to fight."

"We'd have been less than an even match."  La'ra agreed.  The choice to engage the Hiv'laposh at all had been the only thing that hadn't fit his impression of the enemy captain.  Now it made more sense.  His opening salvo had been an attempt to turn the odds to his own favor.

"Have you checked our...other data sources?"  Leral asked. 

La'ra smiled.  The Hiv'laposh had a treasure on board.  A store of information stolen from a man who did little but accumulate it.  They'd made use of it on several occasions, careful not to betray their inside knowledge, and while some of the secrets they held were out of date, much was still priceless.

"It's next on the list."  He admitted.  "Wanted more than just a ship description."

Leral smiled.  "How scientific of you."

"Insulting the Commander like that...the women on this ship are far too bold."  Grimbek said.  His eyes were wide and bright.  Leral blinked at him before laughing loudly.

"He makes jokes now."  Ran'jar shook his head.

"We're a bad influence."  La'ra agreed.

"It does remind me..."  Ran'jar stated, his voice going icy.  His eyes, for a moment, were far away.  "Whoever wrote the virus is a woman."

Leral cocked her head.  Grimbek blinked.

"How do you know?"  La'ra asked.

Ran'jar shrugged.

"It's a woman."



*  *  *



La'ra stared at his computer screen.  Grimbek had said there were five ships the enemy could've been.  All five were mentioned in the stolen data trove.

Leral's data on debris and fuel and other such things eliminated one of the possibilities.  The pirates had technical specifications on three of the ships, and one had an Axanari engine with a very distinctive exhaust signature.  Whoever had assaulted the Hiv'laposh hadn't left such a trail.

Another of the suspects was a smuggler, focusing his trade on ores he could pick up cheaply in Klingon territory and sell for great profit in the Federation.  Imperial Intelligence had sent out a general warning not to harass him a while back.  La'ra wondered if it was Major Dar'tel who'd recruited the man, and marked him off his mental list.

The third prospect was a legitimate businesswoman, at least in theory.  She ran a high-value courier business, using her speedy, armed vessel as insurance against pirates, thieves, and Klingon raiders.  Rich Federation citizens hired her to transport sensitive items -- often people -- to or from dangerous areas.  Despite Ran'jar's assurance that the virus' maker was female, he doubted that the woman would jeopardize a profitable business scheme for a chancy assault on a much larger ship.

That left two possible attackers.  An Andorian mercenary named Shax.  A human mercenary answering to ‘Little Earl’.  Both had ships that could be the Hiv’laposh’s attacker.  Both had a reputation for competence. Both home-ported at one of the Triangle worlds Leral had listed.  There were no disqualifiers for either of them.

La’ra called up personal data on the captains.  It was useless information, mostly, but the man he’d purloined the information from was fastidious and a little obsessive when it came to his trove of knowledge.  ‘Little Earl’s’ fondness for small human women of Asian decent didn’t help La’ra decide who to pursue.  A description of Shax’s family, however, did.

The Andorian had a daughter.  She’d dropped out of Starfleet Academy to join her father’s less legal pursuits.  At the Academy, she’d been steered into some very advanced computer courses.

“A woman.”  La’ra muttered.  Ran’jar might not be able to explain his intuitions, but La’ra trusted them as much as his own.  He stood, walked toward the intercom, and gave the appropriate orders.

He could feel the subtle shift in the deck as the battlecruiser changed course.  There was a hum from the engines he hadn’t noticed before.  The snarl of a predator who’d caught the right scent.
"Dialogue from a play, Hamlet to Horatio: 'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.' Dialogue from a play written long before men took to the sky. There are more things in heaven and earth, and in the sky, than perhaps can be dreamt of. And somewhere in between heaven, the sky, the earth, lies the Twilight Zone."
                                                                 ---------Rod Serling, The Last Flight

Offline Grim Reaper

  • The 4th Horseman, the Lord of Death
  • Lt.
  • *
  • Posts: 577
  • Gender: Male
  • Beyond the apocalypse
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2007, 01:31:56 pm »
you know I love you make the ship into a living being. Most captains will tell you their ship has a soul of it's own. And btw, nice the daughter is a nice twist. And I'm looking the learn more about andorians. Are you gonna teach me?
Snickers@DND: If there is one straight answer in that bent little head of yours, you'd better start spillin' it pretty damn quick, or I'm gonna take a large, blunt object, roughly the size of Kallae AND his hat and shove it lengthwise up a crevice of your being so seldomly cleaned that even the denizens of the nine hells would not touch it with a 10-feet rusty pole

Offline kadh2000

  • Admiral, of course
  • Lt. Junior Grade
  • *
  • Posts: 356
  • Gender: Male
    • Kadh's Empire
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2007, 02:14:32 pm »
Woo hoo, my favorite Klingon is back.  (okay 2nd favorite).

Nice bit on the virus.  Very nice.  I'm liking this pirate foe.  The crew is, as always, fun to listen to when they jaw around with each other. 

The only thing that got me is the sudden shift of venue between the two sections of the chapter.
"The Andromedans," Kadh said, "will never stop coming.  Not until they are all destroyed or we are."

Offline Governor Ronjar

  • Lt.
  • *
  • Posts: 830
  • Gender: Male
  • 'None Farther...'
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2007, 11:00:26 pm »
 :rwoot: :flame: :notworthy:

Ron'jar is happy!

--thu guv!
'It's a lot of hard work being a mean bastard...' --Captain Eric Finlander, CO USS Bedford (The Bedford Incident)

'Jaken...are you pretending to be dead?' --Lord Sesshomaru, Inuyasha.

Offline Scottish Andy

  • First Officer of the Good Ship Kusanagi
  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 1086
  • Gender: Male
  • New and improved.
    • Starbase 23
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2007, 12:26:08 pm »
*nudge*

There is more, right?
Come visit me at:  www.Starbase23.net

The Senior Service rocks! Rule, Britannia!

The Doctor: "Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink."
Mickey: "Wot's that?"
The Doctor: "No idea. Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'Magic Door'."
- Doctor Who: The Woman in the Fireplace (S02E04)

2288

Offline Andromeda

  • Queen of Amber
  • Lt. Junior Grade
  • *
  • Posts: 319
  • Gender: Female
  • Absolute Destiny!
    • Andromeda's Invasion
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2007, 11:33:14 pm »
Everyone else has already commented, but I promised, didn't I?

I like that the issue's still in doubt.  Yeah, your D6 is better than the Andorian in a straight fight, but this hasn't been a straight fight.  Hurt the little fish, kill the big fish.  Seems likea good strategy to me.  I don't have any technical comments because I'm not sure how to give them. 

A joke:
Two Klingon Captains meet in a bar and discuss their latest forays into space.

Klingon 1: "I learned something new this trip: Never shoot your navigator if you don't have a back up."
Klingon 2: "That's what cross-training's for."
this sig was eaten by a grue

Offline Scottish Andy

  • First Officer of the Good Ship Kusanagi
  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 1086
  • Gender: Male
  • New and improved.
    • Starbase 23
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2007, 10:53:04 am »
That's a good joke. I like that.
Come visit me at:  www.Starbase23.net

The Senior Service rocks! Rule, Britannia!

The Doctor: "Must be a spatio-temporal hyperlink."
Mickey: "Wot's that?"
The Doctor: "No idea. Just made it up. Didn't want to say 'Magic Door'."
- Doctor Who: The Woman in the Fireplace (S02E04)

2288

Offline Governor Ronjar

  • Lt.
  • *
  • Posts: 830
  • Gender: Male
  • 'None Farther...'
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2007, 08:29:01 pm »
I want more La'ra!

--thu guv, Founder, Chairman, CEO and lead spokesman for the Foundation Wanting More La'ra.
"I support this message!"
'It's a lot of hard work being a mean bastard...' --Captain Eric Finlander, CO USS Bedford (The Bedford Incident)

'Jaken...are you pretending to be dead?' --Lord Sesshomaru, Inuyasha.

Offline KOTH-KieranXC, Ret.

  • Spokesman, Punisher Industries
  • Lt. Commander
  • *
  • Posts: 1861
  • Gender: Male
  • K-Fo, diehard SFCer and Taldrenite, est. 2000
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2007, 08:49:33 pm »
I concur... new La'ra has been too long in coming.

I'm enjoying this one so far. I'm getting curious about the antagonists in this one. And to echo Kadh, I can't get enough of La'ra and his crew. :D
"One minute to space doors."

"Are you just going to walk through them?"

"Calm yourself, Doctor."

Offline kadh2000

  • Admiral, of course
  • Lt. Junior Grade
  • *
  • Posts: 356
  • Gender: Male
    • Kadh's Empire
Re: Daggers in the Night
« Reply #19 on: December 05, 2007, 02:16:00 pm »
More!!
"The Andromedans," Kadh said, "will never stop coming.  Not until they are all destroyed or we are."