Topic: Endeavour #2  (Read 3124 times)

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Offline Captain Sharp

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Endeavour #2
« on: April 02, 2013, 10:31:19 pm »
Part of what I wanted to do with this new Sharp series was revisit old TOS and TNG episode ideas and show how different characters would handle a similar situation. The story I ganked here was from TNG. I'll let yall figure out which'n.

‘God Complex’

Chapter One


Lieutenant Lania was barely able to dodge the blade this time. Her adversary was getting closer and closer to scoring contact. She was running out of tricks, and he was getting his rhythm.

Lania’s overly sensitive olfactory was nearly overwhelmed by the sent of him as he came at her, sweating more and more in an environment that was alien to his physiology. It was far too hot for him, which should have been an advantage to her Vulcan heritage.

He was far too fast for her though. Her flesh stung with the contact as his very next slash passed through her spinning defense. He withdrew his blade before she could snare his arm or weapon. He smirked, the glint in his eyes telling her he knew he had her now.

Lania stepped back from her opponent’s threat range, making this her seventh straight retreat. But she needed the space. Her strength was quickly fading. He was a trained killer and this was his bloodthirsty sport.
He stopped to gloat for a bit, providing Lania the only opportunity she’d yet had in this battle. Before he could advance on her again, she switched to the attack. She ducked low, bursting forward to get beneath his blades. She slashed for his bowels with the blade in her left hand.

Too late, she realized his pause had been a trap. He flicked his right hand blade into her path and caught her weapon between the blade and handle with expert precision, trapping it. With another flick of his wrist and forearm, he disarmed her. Next came a leg-sweep and a twist. Her eyes clenched as they then focussed on the ceiling. His knee came down between her breasts, pinning her and driving half the breath from her lungs. He planted the blunted cutting surface of his weapon to her throat, grinning evilly in victory.

Again.

“You’re going to have to develop your speed, Lania.” He told her. He propelled himself upright from the top of her chest to drive home the lesson.

Lania couldn’t help but glare at Lieutenant Thylis Sehr as he circled round her, picking up both her fallen Ushaan from the gymnasium floor. At least he’d dropped the gloating expression. She could feel her repressed anger leveling off.
 
The communications officer kipped up and faced her instructor.

“I remain unfamiliar with the weapon.” She told him. Her response sounded defensive, even to her.

Sehr handed her back her Ushaan Tor.

“You made the choice. You could have chosen the lirpa or the I’shaln dagger for all I care.”

“You are readily familiar with Vulcan weaponry.”

“Yes.” Sehr didn’t elaborate. He was known mainly for being the silent, stoic sort, though he would speak at length when needed. Lania didn’t press for more.

“I thought sparring on an even footing would be more beneficial for both of us, thus I chose the Ushaan Tor.”

“The Tor’s simple enough, but it’s intended as a punching implement. It takes time to master.” He turned and led her to the gym’s towel racks. Other crewmen and officers were beginning to filter in, coming off Beta Shift. The lighting in the corridor outside would be dimming to a terrestrial ‘nighttime’ level. “Tomorrow, bring your I’shaln.”

“How do you know I am proficient in the I’shaln?”

The Andorian looked back at her and shrugged. Even his blue antennae seemed to mimic the gesture.

“It seems like you.”

The two took a towel and turned for the shower rooms.

“How long till we reach destination?”

Her left eyebrow arched in curiosity.

“You are the navigator.”

“You’re the Vulcan.”

Her brow remained inclined.

“Seven hours, twenty-three minutes.”

“No seconds?”

“You do not care about the seconds.”

Sehr grunted with his usual smirk. No, he didn’t care.
***








Captain’s Log, Stardate 1040.32.

USS Endeavour has reached System L-372A in search of an illusive sensor signal. While conducting routine mapping duties within the Alpha Majoris Sector, we were scanned at long range by a rather intrusive probe. The sensor signal was only recorded once, but lasted just long enough to triangulate its origin to this star system. I’ve decided to move in to investigate.




“Alright, people. By the numbers. Let’s see what’s here.” Captain Sharp said with a slightly raised voice as he headed across the bridge. He halted behind the helm and navigations consoles and crossed his arms. “Number One, take us through the system center at ahead one-third impulse.”

“Ahead one-third, aye, aye, sir.” Commander Jeremy responded. The longhaired exec and pilot began inputting commands on his board.

“Mister Sehr, begin scanning for starships or space platforms in planetary orbits. Note any blind spots for investigation.”

“Aye, sir.”

“Science officer, begin cataloguing solar bodies. Pick out points of interest. If it gets our attention, it probably got theirs.”

“Aye, captain. Beginning scan.” Replied the young woman sitting at the main sensor station. She flicked back a thick lock of brown hair and leaned in to her primary scope. “General scan reveals seventeen planetary bodies. The outer six seem to be Class D planetoids without atmosphere. No sign of orbital activity, very limited magnetic fields. Planet eleven is within close range, Class J.”

The eleventh world was a big blue swirl of cloud and gas. It possessed a very slight ring of tiny asteroids. Several among the bridge officers paused to give the beautiful sight a glance as it slid slowly past on the main viewer.

“Next closest to us planet number five. Class L, heavy plant life indicated near visible river systems. Planet may be evolving into Class M. Very intricate magnetic sphere… No sign of orbital.”

“Scan origin doesn’t have to be orbital, Commander.” Sharp told her. “Keep an eye out for surface installations.”

“Aye, sir. Continuing scan.”

“Tactical scans show no indication of starships or stellar platforms within range, Captain.” Mister Sehr reported from navigations. “They may be hiding from us.”

“Skittish?” Asked the first officer. “Or getting ready to jump us?”

“No need to imply hostile intent, Number One. It took us the better part of a day to get here. They may have already moved on.”

“Not everyone is interested in sidling up and saying ‘hi’,” commented Lieutenant Lania. She had just stepped in beside the captain and handed him a communiqué from Command. Sharp grinned a bit at her choice of wording and looked the report over with a practiced eye.

“Add that to tomorrow’s briefing retinue, Lieutenant.” He told her.

“Aye, sir.”

Sharp continued to stand unmoving behind the twin pilot stations and watch the main screen. The huge gas giant slid out of view to be replaced by more star-spangled blackness.

“Now reading planet three, Captain.” Lieutenant Andreavich continued from science. “Class M, nitrogen, oxygen, neon, krypton and argon reading in high quantities. Not yet detecting advanced technology. No indications yet of sentient lifeforms.”

“Helm, aim us toward planet three.”

The bearded officer gave a nod, hands gently passing over his station. “Left standard rudder, aye... Steady as she goes.”

The system’s star was now in view, a small looking yellow globe shining away in full fury. Sharp could almost make out the terrestrial world’s shadow between it and Endeavour.

“Now seeing large settlements…” Andreavich went on, “What I think are stone constructions…temples or tombs. No paved roads are evident. Now picking up biosignatures.”

Lieutenant Sehr looked up from his own panel then.

“Second scan of planet three shows no sign of orbiting ships or platforms. No indications of advanced surface installations.”

“Understood, Mister Sehr. Keep watching. Anything further, science officer?”

Lieutenant Commander Andreavich was now stepping from system to system, running every automated scan her station was able to control at once. Nearly every panel showed a graphic or series of measurements.

“I’m recording, Captain. Still no indication of anything advanced enough to have scanned us. Let alone from two-thirds of a light year away.”

“Any traces in the upper atmosphere…something left here by a ship?”

“Scanning.”

As the science officer bent back over her scanner, adjusting her skirt in the process, Sharp resigned himself back to his command chair. The planet under scrutiny was now fully visible, a tiny blue gem in the sunlight. They closed in, causing the spot to grow steadily.

“I see no trace gasses that indicate the presence of a starship, Captain.” Andreavich said. “However…”

Sharp looked over there.

“What, Commander?”

“Erratic gravitons, sir. Nonaligned.”

“Source?”

“Indefinite. They don’t belong to the planet’s gravity well. The reading’s steadily diminishing like you’d expect from an unnatural source, but the origin is…unclear.”

“But you believe them to be unnatural in origin?”

“Aye, Captain. They’re behaving in a manner atypical to any natural phenomenon associated with a planet orbiting a solar body.”

That made the decision for Sharp. Their unidentified contact had likely been here.

“Assume standard orbit, Number One. Begin orbital survey routine. Let’s have us a look.”

Endeavour accelerated her orbital insertion. Commander Jeremy angled the heavy cruiser on her side in relation to the planet, making it seem as though the world wear hanging just above her on the main viewer.

“Standard orbit, Captain. Engines to standby.”

“Very well, Number One.”

“Whoa…”

The captain snapped a look back to his science officer. Andreavich had stiffened at her scope, the shortness of her uniform skirt momentarily forgotten. It rode up as she peered more closely at the subject of her scans.

“Got something, Commander?”

“Major earthquake, Captain. Centered around the largest population center on my scope.” She glanced up at a monitor to her right. “No…correction, sir. It’s an aftershock. The first quake must have been larger than this.”

Sharp swiveled to face her a bit better as she continued scanning.

“I’m running a scan of their tectonic strata…maybe there’s something we can learn here.”

“Don’t forget, science officer. We’re here looking for the source of that scan.”

Andreavich flashed him a small smile.

“Don’t worry, sir. I haven’t forgot.”
***


There's a start. More soon.

--guv
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline KBF-Frank

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2013, 09:26:03 pm »
 :goodpost: :dance:

Offline Lieutenant_Q

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2013, 03:15:44 pm »
You have my attention... not sure which TNG one it is... unless its that one with the attack drones...
"Your mighty GDI forces have been emasculated, and you yourself are a killer of children.  Now of course it's not true.  But the world only believes what the media tells them to believe.  And I tell the media what to believe, its really quite simple." - Kane (Joe Kucan) Command & Conquer Tiberium Dawn (1995)

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2013, 05:09:07 pm »
Sorry, family difficulties have kept me away. For your patience, 2 chapters.


Chapter Two


“The planet corresponds roughly to Level Two on the Federation’s development charts, with striking similarities to Earth’s Mesopotamian or Egyptian cultures of about 1,500 B.C.E.” Commander Andreavich was telling the collected officers in the briefing room. This was the day’s first briefing, and she’d made quite a bit of progress in the intervening hours.

“They’ve centered their largest city about a pyramidal structure which bears close similarities to Myan or Aztec techniques. They’ve developed sailing, agriculture, animal husbandry and show somewhat complex military structuring. Population in the primary area of interest is estimated at about four million. Terrain is dry grasslands, open flatlands and lakes bordering an expansive desert within a couple days travel by foot.

“The inhabitants are standard humanoids, perhaps a bit short by our standards.” Andreavich paused as she projected an image of a male specimen on the tri-corner viewer in the table’s center. The image was taken from their telescopic array and was angled down quite severely. But the man had been caught looking up at the sun, and his face was perfectly framed. He had dark markings under his eyes, grease paint meant to absorb sweat perhaps. Slight creases framed his nose on either cheek. He wore a simple brown tunic, belted at the waist, and laced sandals.

“Handsome fellow.” The exec commented with little humor. Beside him, the chief engineer smirked.

“The inhabitants have established an extremely advanced series of mines in the surrounding hills and mountains. The only paved roads lead to the city directly from these mines and seem to mark their importance. However, the minerals they are mining don’t make any sense.”

This made Captain Sharp’s brows rise high.

“Why’s that, Commander?”

“The minerals either have no use to a culture of their development or are beyond their ability to refine.” The science officer tapped in several waiting keys and showed a list of the minerals she’d catalogued. “They are mining bacinite, which is a very resilient metal, but requires advanced metallurgy to make any use of. Their civilization shows no evidence of such metallurgy, and also no evidence of the use of bacinite. Their weapons are simple bronze and wood. They don’t even use nails.”

“What else is there?”

“They’re mining purgium, sir.”

Everyone at the table showed their shock.

“That required some digging.” Jeremy said.

“And it’s radioactive,” Added Engineer Bornet. “Without lead shielding, their entire civilization’s going to die in a couple years…sooner if it reaches the water table.”

“Well, there’s the thing,” Andreavich paused for effect, looking them all over. “There’s no sign of advanced radiological poisoning.”

“None?” Asked Sharp.

“Absolutely none, sir. No sign of shielding of any sort. Also, no sign of the large stockpiles they would have to have considering the shipments that are obviously heading into the city.”

Sharp drew his mouth into a tight crease as he tapped a hand on the tabletop. “What possible use could a Level Two civilization have for purgium?”

Bornet gave a slight roll of the eye.

“Well, if they have a laser laying around, they can fire off an uncontrolled fusion reaction. Purgium has only one use, Captain. Nuclear reaction. Power cores, weaponry. Nothing else. It doesn’t give off light for primitives to use, they can’t forge it into anything because it’s too brittle and can’t be bonded with any other mineral. Direct contact with the hand will cause first degree burns in a few seconds. I can’t think of a single reason they’d be mining it.”

“Or how they’ve even know is existed in the first place.” Jeremy put in. “Purgium only forms in a planet’s crust and pushes up with tectonic stress. They’d have to mine down an insane distance just to get to it. How’d they even figure that one out?”

“These mines,” Sharp said. “Could these have upset the tectonic forces in the area, started the earth quakes you mentioned yesterday?”

“No, sir. I don’t believe even their deepest mine, at twelve kilometers down, could cause enough stress to have set off the kind of quakes I’ve registered.”

“Could the erratic gravitons have anything to do with it?” Jeremy guessed.

“Possibly, but without identifying the source, it’s hard to say, Number One.”

Sharp was eyeing the screen in the table’s center.

“You said the inhabitants are shipping purgium to their capitol city.”

“Even now, sir. There’s a huge caravan on its way under heavy guard from the northern mine.”

Sharp had a feeling about the clues sitting before him. He gave them his collected officers a meaningful look.

“We’re going to have ourselves a look down there. Number One, you and Mister Bornet will accompany me to the planet surface. We’ll keep out of sight and look from a distance. Commander Andreavich, you’ll be with us, too. We’ll try to figure out some answers. Mister Sehr, you’ll have the conn.”

The gunnery officer gave a nod.

Lieutenant Lania handed the captain a data pad.

“The final item, sir.”

Sharp took the thin plastic device, but didn’t refer to it as he spoke.

“Starfleet Signals Intelligence has intercepted chatter from the Klingon Empire. At least two ships have been dispatched to this area on standard recon and harassment detail. We can expect them in the next couple of weeks, if not sooner. Keep your eyes sharp.”

Sharp’s officers answered him in the affirmative. At his queue they stood up.

“Dismissed, people.”




Minutes later, Sharp was stepping up onto the ship’s transporter pad, snapping his gray field jacket shut over his phaser and gear belt. Beside him, Commander Andreavich was doing the same. She’d changed into a pair of trousers and the regular duty tunic. A regulation dress wasn’t practical for the operation ahead.

Bornet double-checked the transporter coordinates on the main console before handing off operation to his assistant, Lieutenant Imura Kami.

“Just don’t beam me down with a shrub up my tail,” he jibed her as he checked his phaser and took his place on a pad.

“How about a fence post, sir?” Imura said back, a playful glint in her Asian eyes. “Ready to transport, Captain.”

“No fence posts, Lieutenant. Energize.”

The gear beneath the deck hummed to life, its crescendo building till the party faded from view. The beam deposited them on a much warmer plateau, surrounded by rough terrain and hip-high grass. A blue sky shone brightly above, accented with a bright yellow sun. There was hardly a cloud to be seen.

Commander Jeremy and Andreavich both raised their tricorders and took a quick scan. Bornet just stood there, looking displeased.

“Definite radiation signature, high levels, but not concentrated.” The science officer told them. “We’re safe for now.”

“Life signs directly south of us, Captain.” Jeremy said, pointing into the rocky distance. “The caravan vanguard. Seven hundred meters.”

Sharp adjusted his belt. A hot wind whipped over them, ruffling every one’s hair but his own. He kept his own short and trim.

“We’re in for a walk, then.” He told them, starting off in the lead. “Keep it tight. We’ll get a look at them, then follow them to the city. Watch for animal life and guards scouting ahead of the caravan. I want to see them before they see us.”




Lieutenant Sehr tapped out a slow rhythm on the armrest of the command chair, and stared at the main viewer. His mind was methodically going through all the various ways he would hide a starship from the Endeavour in this planet’s orbit. Starfleet had a variety of stealth protocols meant to evade enemy detection. Most of them relied on greater range than what was probably at play here.

The two simplest were also the easiest to guess. First: hiding behind the planet with main power on standby. Second: hanging your vessel above a magnetic pole, a La Grange Point. Both methods, however, depended on your not revealing your existence by, say, scanning a passing ship from a light year away.

Naturally, their first few orbits had been accomplished at high speed to ensure that no one was indeed hid behind this world. Intensive visual scans had thus far shown no evidence of a vessel hidden in the La Grange points.

Unless their quarry turned their ship invisible and somehow masked all its energy emissions, Endeavour should have found them by now. And that, Starfleet R&D assured, was not possible, despite what rumors had abounded since the days of the NX-01.

“Mister Sehr!”

The gunnery officer turned to conn to face the relief science officer.

“Yes, Mister Townsend?”

“I have an energy surge, flowing from orbit to planet…”

“Originating from where?”

“It was too fast to get a lock on, sir. At a guess, I’d say low orbital apogee, two hundred kilometers or so.”

“What type of energy?”

The older ensign turned to his commanding officer.

“I think it was a transport signature, sir.”

This got Sehr out of the command chair and to the science officer’s side. “Ship to shore?”

“Aye, sir.”

“Where’d they beam down to?”

“The capital city.”

“Lania, get me the captain.”




The stone, earth and wood city sprawled out far wider and farther than Captain Sharp would have given it credit. The dusty habitation stretched out across the entire valley between two defensive mountains amid a semi-arid grassy plain. The city was bisected by the long, wide paved road the Starfleet party had been following for the past three hours.

Even now, the vanguard of the caravan before them was just entering the gates of the city. Jonathan hunkered, watching, with the rest of his team. For now, their vantage behind a rough hedgerow was proving adequate against detection.

Sharp’s communicator issued a tiny chime.

“Sharp, go ahead.” He answered.

“Lieutenant Sehr, Captain. Sir, we’ve just detected transporter activity in your general vicinity, touchdown within the city limits.”

Sharp peered forth into the depths of the urban stone before them.

“Have you located the source?”

“Negative as yet, Captain. Signature was short and low level.”

“Like they didn’t want to be found.” Commander Jeremy commented.

“Are you detecting any alien life signs from within the city?” Asked Sharp next.

“Negative. But there is some sort of concentrated energy activity near the city square. From here we read focussed electrons and magnetic fields.”

“Roger that, Endeavour.” Sharp looked up to the high bluffs of the tree covered mountains to either side of the city. “We’re going to make our way to the high ground on the western side. There’s a bluff there that might give us a better view into the city interior. Sharp out.”

Jeremy gave his captain a dubious look.

“We could just beam up there.”

“I’d sure save my damn feet.” Agreed the chief engineer.

“And sit on our haunches till the caravan finally makes it into the city? We’d be sitting ducks for more than an hour. I’d rather keep moving and reconnoiter on the way.”

“Aye, sir.” Said the XO. Neither he nor the engineer looked happy about it. The entire party was sweating freely, and the prospect of an hour’s hike up a 45-degree incline wasn’t going to make them any cooler.
Commander Andreavich took another scan of the area around them and closed down her tricorder. “The way’s clear for now, sir.”

“Let’s go, people.”





Chapter Three


Phaerus B’tall could feel the heavy gaze of his God upon his back in the hot midday sun. The Market of the Sun was filling with people and he felt all too consciously the pressure of looking like a leader before them, and looking subservient to his Lord.

The perch B’tall sat upon was a precarious one. He knew that the length of his rule depended on sating his Master’s thirst for the burning ore they pulled from the earth. Quenching this thirst had become his main concern, putting State and Civil matters into a distant second place. Enemies from outside the kingdom looked toward the mighty Tomen Empire with greedy eyes, making matters all the worse.

The mine masters upheld that this quarter’s yield of ore would surpass that of the last year. Perhaps this would ease their God’s grip on the Tomen people. Maybe he would even assist the Empire in securing their borders against the Phileed when the raids began.

The Phaerus turned from the procession of ore carts that gathered in the square to look once more upon his God. The Great One looked much as any Tomen, Phileed or Alstaan. His flesh shone with a slight inner light, which artists embellished into angelic radiance in the temple paintings. His skin was quite pale when compared to the light brown of the Tomen, and his long braided hair was the color of gold, rather than black. His eyes were large and blue, which made B’tall’s own look dark and squinty. His skin was so smooth, with only the barest V-like crest beneath the flesh of his forehead.

Their God never smelled of sweat, only incense. Indeed, he never sweated. Such things as being bothered by the midday sun were beneath his deity. Their God did not even deign to leave footprints in his wake. One might think him some sort of specter were it not for the dreadful displays of his power.

The Being looked back at B’tall suddenly, flicking his blue eyes upon him with piercing concentration. B’tall felt like swallowing but made himself refrain. He bowed his head a bit in respect.

“What troubles you, my child?”

The Voice was sweet, accented, soft. But so loud. It carried and resonated far father than any man’s should be able. His eyes carried in them a kindly, compassionate look.

“I merely wish that we could speed the procession for you, Great One. Waiting for such things is beneath you.”

“Perhaps,” the Deity admitted. “But I am able to tend to many things at once, be several places while never moving.”

“Wondrous!”

The God’s eyes turned then back to the workers leading voxen-led carts into the Market. “Indeed.”

B’tall decreed to himself that he would not idly look upon the God without good reason again. It had taken all his will not to say something unguarded to him. Should their Lord ever suspect that this mere mortal daydreamed of a day when the Tomen would be free of Him, the Empire would need a new Phaerus.

“We are watched.” The angelic Voice said suddenly.

B’tall looked back on Him then.

“My Lord?”

“Spies from afar.”

“Who would dare!” B’tall readied to summon his personal guard from the barracks. “We will hunt them if you tell us but where!”

“Never mind, child. Let them watch. Mayhap they will learn something.”

The Deity’s eyes were cast upon the East Mount. Phaerus B’tall looked that way as well, wondering who would have the gall to spy on the ore procession. Did they not know what a God was capable of?




Captain Sharp gently lowered the powered binoculars from his eyes. “He’s looking right up at us.” He told his landing party.

“What do you mean?”

Commander Jeremy shut down his tricorder to crawl up close to his commanding officer. The two of them could see nearly the entire city below from this grassy rise, halfway up the eastern mountain. There was a steady breeze at this altitude, but it did little to alleviate the constant sun on one’s back.

“While I watched the alien, he turned and looked right up at me.” Sharp clarified, somewhat amazed. “He might as well have made eye contact.”

“That makes me feel so comfortable.” Bornet grumbled.
 
“You recognize his species?” Asked Jeremy.

“I’m not sure. Zurian, Praxian, maybe something from the Prai’ell Constellation. I saved some images.”

“I’m still not picking up any sort of life signs from the alien, Captain.” Commander Andreavich said then. She stood a few meters back, out of sight of the town, scanning with her tricorder.

“What are you picking up then, Commander?”

“Concentrated gravitons, electrons and photons, sir.”

“Some kind of sophisticated projection, then.” Offered Bornet.

“Why beam down a projection?” Came from the XO. "And...how...?"

“And why not appear as one of the natives…or as a floating three headed snake for that matter?” Sharp slid back from the rounded precipice and regarded his team. “Whoever this person is, projection or otherwise, he’s exploiting these people.”

Andreavich slapped the top of her tricorder.

“Still no evidence of any real radiation sickness among the populace. He must be either protecting them or inoculating them against the effects.”

“We have to find their ship.”

The landscape took to shuddering beneath them just then. Birds took flight in unison from every direction. Andreavich flopped onto her backside. Rocks tumbled down the cliff face, bounced past the party. Sharp finally lost balance as well and rolled onto his side. Commander Jeremy lay rooted in place, head covered. Bornet, with his stocky frame, was the only one able to retain his stance.

It was some time before the quake began to quell. Captain Sharp’s communicator was chirping before the turbulence began to calm. Dirt flew from it when he flipped open the antenna.

“Sharp here!”

“Sehr, Captain! We’re reading a massive earth quake in your area, do you require beam out?”

“Stand by, Lieutenant!”

“Let’s get the hell out of here, Captain!” Bornet was shouting.

Sharp half dragged himself back to his original lookout point and aimed his binoculars back down at the city. There was chaos there. Stones fell from building tops and wall. People cowered on the ground amid the streets. Animals ran about without control, many tied to ore carts.

Amid all this, the alien god-thing was standing. The look on its face was an irritated one. It looked back up at Sharp and smirked.

“Confirmed, Mister Sehr. Beam us up!”




Phaerus B’tall was on his knees with the first shift beneath his feet. He refused to cry out for he’d seen the God’s pleasure the first time he had. The old man braced his hands widely on the ground to either side, planting himself as stably as possible.

With his eyes wide open despite his fear, B’tall watched the damage occur about his beautiful city. The inner walls shook and wavered like cloth in a washwoman’s hands. The Temple’s fore sanctum caved in. It had suffered serious cracks from the previous tremor. The remainder of the temple, built a hundred years previous by B’tall’s great grandfather, would likely weather this assault well enough, her stones weighing several tons apiece. The homes in the outer quarter would not fair so well. Already, two had fallen in on themselves as he watched.

Through it all, the Phaerus remained silent, his face rigid. Let the city fall about him. He would be unmoved. He would not give their God the satisfaction of watching him scream in futility. The God could only kill him. He would die a man.
His resolution held till he saw the obelisk of his father teeter. B’tall’s eyes went wide as the tall, silver stone monument wobbled, straightened, then turned on its base to begin its downward plunge. The enormous obelisk, the tallest in all the lands, slammed into the ground, killing six beneath it, and breaking into seven sections.

“Why?!!” The word had torn free of the old ruler’s lips before he’d even known it. He turned with stricken eyes upon the God. “My Lord! Why?! Does not our offering please you?! Why tear down our homes upon our heads?!”

The Being looked down at the old man even as the tremor abated. He’d been looking up to the Mount again. His expression was one of sated lust.

“The quantity of your offering is sufficient, child. But not its quality. Your men sacrifice alacrity for swift clumsiness. There is far too much jetsam in the ore. You will address this before my return.”

B’tall could only kneel and blink. He was still reeling over the loss of his monument to his father. How many years it had taken to build and emplace. He would never see its like again in his lifetime. His father’s spirit would despise him for not protecting what was his. B’tall could still see the dust roiling from the obelisk’s fall.

The Phaerus’ mind was still whirling through a thousand rampant thoughts and emotions when he looked back upon the Almighty One. The Deity was smirking. He smirked until he disappeared.

***

There ya go. Any guesses as to which ep of TNG I've ripped off?

--guv
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline KBF-Frank

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2013, 06:56:50 pm »
Sorry, family difficulties have kept me away. For your patience, 2 chapters.

i hope, youy family go fine.

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2013, 09:31:52 pm »
Well enough, so far. Wife's mom. Took a trip to Missouri to see her.

Thanks for your interest, sir  :)
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline KBF-Frank

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2013, 08:40:00 pm »
 :thumbsup:

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2013, 08:11:06 pm »
More story. Comments welcome, of any sort.


Chapter Four


Captain Sharp tossed his dusty field jacket upon the railing near his command chair even as he shot out of the turbolift. He halted behind the science station chair, impatiently pointing Commander Andreavich to her post.

“I want that ship found, now!” He managed to halt shy of shouting.

Andreavich simply sat with a nod. The captain’s driven aggravation propelled her hands about the console with nearly frightened speed.

“We have the field scans from the tectonic episode, Captain.” She reported, already striving to dissect the volumes of data recorded by her relief officer.

“Tractor beam?”

“I’d say so, sir. And that would account for the erratic gravitons we detected earlier.”

“We were unable to pinpoint the origin of any tractor beams,” said Lieutenant Sehr as he resumed his post at navigations. “They must be using very low power tractor fields or fields with a neutral charge.”

“Understood, gunnery officer.” Sharp replied without looking back to the bald-shaven officer. “Begin another round of intense tactical scans. Look for clinging gravitons. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find something hanging onto their onboard gravity field.”

“Aye.”

Sharp watched as the graphics on Andreavich’s monitors scrolled past and altered under her direction. “If we can’t detect their tractor beams, then figure out where they’d have to be to affect those plates the way they did. I’m figuring he’ll be back, and he’ll want to show everyone just how powerful he is.”

“And if he doesn’t?” Asked Commander Jeremy, who stood just behind the captain, his arms crossed.

Sharp stared off toward the planet spinning slowly on the viewer. He stepped toward the railing almost listlessly, eyes locked on the world. He tapped his fist on top of his field jacket.

“I might just be able to convince him, Number One.”




Two hours later found the captain sitting in the office section of his cabin. Despite his officer’s best efforts, no sign had yet been found of any orbiting ship other than Endeavour. On the bridge, he knew his exec and science officer were still scouring the area and reviewing sensor records, trying to find clues. If it was possible to find the alien craft, then they would do so.

Sharp tried to put the matter aside long enough to take care of his mounting data work. Fuel consumption reports and various other consumable requests he put to the side. They required little more than cursory examination. If there was a problem, Bornet would have been before him hours ago griping at length about it. Instead, he tried to look over Starfleet’s sector reports and Command briefs.

Jon had just begun to delve into the details regarding the two Klingon cruisers they’d been told to expect when the door chime sounded off. The captain gave himself a moment to grimace before lowering the pad in his hand and turning toward the hatch.

“Come in.”

The doorway retreated into the bulkhead to reveal the red-shirted Andorian gunnery officer. Mister Sehr stepped in, hands held respectfully behind his back. He said nothing.

“Yes, Mister Sehr?”

“I have thoughts about our invisible alien ship, Captain.”

“Do you, Lieutenant?” Sharp deposited his data pad to the desktop. He motioned for the bald alien to sit opposite of him. “Let’s hear it.”

Sehr seemed to pause before taking the offered chair. When he sat, he handed over a pad he’d been obscuring behind him. Sharp took it and keyed it on.

“Personal Log Entries… Enterprise, NX-01?”

“Yes, sir.”

“How did you come by this?”

“Being a graduate of Advanced Starfleet Tactical has its benefits, Captain. One of them being a Level Four Clearance.”

Sharp grinned. He scanned down through the entries that Sehr had decided to include in his collection of exerts.

“Much of the NX-01’s logs and sensor recordings were destroyed during the conflict with the Xindi, and what managed to survive is classified beyond either of our clearance levels. But the old rumors led me to look into the non-classified personal entries.”

Sharp understood immediately after reading a few lines.

“You mean the old rumors about invisible Sulabaan ships?”

“And possibly Romulan, sir.”

Sharp’s eyes widened.

“Read further down, Captain.”

The captain skipped down a few paragraphs to later entries.

“Hmm…Lieutenant Reid mentions here being pinned to the hull by a mine of Romulan origin…” He quieted as he became very interested in what he was reading. “’The ship appeared from nothing, not just coming in from a distance or dropping out of warp…it literally appeared out of the black of space. If it weren’t for cloaking the Sulabaan cell ship in our hanger bay, and seeing the effect with my own eyes, I would not have believed it.’”

Lieutenant Sehr sat quietly, waiting for further reaction.

Sharp absorbed the information in his hands, mulled it over.

“This definitely adds credence to the Academy scare rumors, Mister Sehr.”

“Aye, sir.”

Sharp put the pad down and leaned back into the narrow seat beneath him. “Lieutenant Reid… He later commanded Intrepid, NV-138, during the Romulan War. There’s no mention of Intrepid encountering invisible Birds of Prey.”

“No, sir. But he’s quite adamant that they had that ability, at least in that starsystem, and he also mentions that the Romulan device was superior to the Sulabaan device.”

“Does that mean they had a method of detecting these…invisible ships?”

“I believe they did. He mentions a machine Captain Archer built that was able to detect the Sulabaan version of the system.”
 
“Archer? I don’t remember him being much of an engineer outside of warp theory.”

Sehr shrugged.

“You don’t suppose Reid was delusional, do you?”

“He went on to become CinC Starfleet, Captain.”

“Is this what you think we have here, Lieutenant? A…cloaked ship.”

“Starfleet R&D says it’s theoretically possible, sir.”

“The selective bending of light and sensor waves. And doing it flawlessly. We’ve been scanning for thirteen hours now. Do you really think it’s possible.”

Sehr’s expression remained adamant.

“It is for someone, Captain.”

“Well, if it is, and they have this ability, then we’re going to have to rely on other methods for finding them.”





Chapter Five


Captain’s Log, Stardate: 1040.8

It has now been a full day since my landing party’s return to the ship. So far, we have caught no trace of the suspected alien craft in orbit. Every normal scanning alternative has been explored and I am beginning to entertain my gunnery officer’s theory about invisible enemy spacecraft.

My alternatives seem to be slim, but I refuse to leave these people to alien exploitation. I have a couple more ideas in mind, which may shake something loose.



“Captain on the bridge.” Called out Lieutenant Lania from the comm station.
 
Captain Sharp halted and gave the planet suspended above them a cursory glance before looking to his executive officer. Commander Jeremy vacated the conn and approached. His gaze was questioning.

“Something in mind, Captain?”

“I told you I had an idea, Number One. I’m assuming no change since mid-watch?”

“Nothing, Captain.”

“Understood. Mister Jackson!”

The giant at the security console forward turned his insignificant chair about to face the CO. “Aye, sir?”

“I want you and a small security detail with me and Commander Andreavich. We’re beaming down there.”

“Aye, sir!”

Jackson was instantly on his feet and headed for the lift. Commander Andreavich glanced from him to the captain as she stood and left her station to a relief officer. The XO let his confusion be known.

“More recon, sir?”

“Not exactly, Number One. We’re going to contact the populace.”

That sent the XO’s brows into the sky.

“Should I signal Doctor Kenny to prepare for plastic surgery?”

“We’re not going to bother disguising ourselves. They’ve already seen alien visages. I don’t think we’ll cause that much of a stir considering what they’ve been living through. And it might take some of the awe out of different looking beings for them.”

“I see.” It was plain that Jeremy remained doubtful.

“Have Fabrications draw us up some convincing traveler’s robes. We’ll wear them over our uniforms. But I want them to see our faces.”

“I wonder how they’d respond to Mister Sehr’s face.”

The navigator’s antennae perked up at that, but he didn’t bother to turn about in his seat. Sharp allowed a small smile at the thought.

“Don’t think I haven’t considered it, Number One. You’ll have the conn. If I’m successful, you’ll get another tectonic display. Do everything you can to locate the source of those tractor beams.”

“Understood, Captain!”

“Come along, science officer. Stay sharp, people!”

Commander Jeremy chuckled at the apparent pun as his skipper led Ursula off the bridge. The XO turned to his officers and gave them all a nod.

“You heard the Captain. Eyes on your panels. Lania, signal Fabrications as the captain ordered.”

“Aye.”




Four robed figures beamed in amid an empty alleyway behind a bakery. The sounds and smells of a pre-medieval society came rushing in at them as they became accustomed to being off the ship once more.

Sharp took the lead just before Lieutenant Jackson and went to the head of the alley. He looked out from beneath his hood’s anonymity and took stock of the people before them.

It seemed that life had resumed per normal despite yesterday’s devastation. People roamed about on their normal early morning rounds, carrying out the normal business of city life. Carts hauling hay passed by the bakery, tied to a horse-sized animal that more resembled a hound dog. There was even a street sweeper cleaning the trodden dirt path between the unevenly spaced buildings. Children played in front of several of the shops, aggravating the owners within.

“The city square isn’t far from here.” Sharp told his party. “We shouldn’t have too many problems. We might even happen on their king if he’s leading the bunch taking care of the purgium.”

“I advise caution, Captain.” Warned the hulk behind him. Jackson had a hand near his hidden phaser, though the captain knew all too well that his favored weapons were his fists.

“Acknowledged, lieutenant. Let’s go.”




Phaerus B’tall watched as workers milled about the fallen obelisk of his ancestor and made plans for its destruction. It had been decided to break the enormous monument into much smaller portions to facilitate its removal from the city. This pained the ruler even more, adding misery to his heartbreak and dishonor. But it was necessary.

The day was young, but the old man was already beginning to sweat. It would be a blistering day. On days such as these their God loved to appear. What did he care? He did not sweat. B’tall would not remove himself from the square, though, until after their God’s visit. The quakes lasted even longer when the Phaerus hinted he had a life elsewhere.

Four travelers caught the ruler’s attention. They wore the most uncomfortably hot-looking robes he could imagine, and stood removed from the majority of B’tall’s people. It was obvious that they wished to remain unobserved an anonymous as they watched the goings-on of the Market. He could not make out their faces beneath their raised rain hoods.

The spies. They had to be.

B’tall waved off his guards as he moved into the crowds milling about his workers. The people parted respectfully as he waded among them. They looked at him with sad reverence and pity. He had once been as a god among men. Now he was a pitiable old man, trod-upon by a powerful being.

The four strangers had to have made out B’tall’s approach long before he broke free of the crowd. They made no move to escape him. Why should they fear him? He was just an old man, unable to protect his people. He halted before them.

One was a giant. Even beneath the darkness of his hood, B’tall could see his flesh was pale, untouched by the sun. He stood beside what was certainly the leader of the group. This man stood with his hands loosely clenched at his sides. His hands were darker than his much larger servant’s, but they still did not have the look of tanned flesh.

Behind the leader stood another subservient man, and what B’tall believed was a woman, by her sweet smell and lighter frame. The Phaerus stood before them and looked them over, obviously appraising them.
The leader bowed slightly, respectfully. His servants hesitated, but copied the gesture. It was obviously not their custom, what they were doing. An honor done him, then…

“Has the translator locked onto their language yet, science officer?” The lead asked of one behind him. He had no accent at all.

“Yes, Captain.” The woman responded, with far too little servitude in her tone. This made the ruler curious.

The leader stepped apart from his people and slowly drew back his hood. The face that looked back at him was smooth, with only a few wrinkles of age upon it. Wide eyes stared steadily from a light brown countenance. He was definitely of an alien origin, as strange to B’tall as their God’s visage.

The old man allowed a slow intake of air to pass his lips..

“You are the ruler here?” The Captain asked.

“I am…B’tall…Phaerus of Tomen. Why do you come? The God knows you are here!”

A tiny grim smile creased the Captain’s wide mouth.

“I’m sure he does, Phaerus. In fact, I’m counting on it.”

“And you do not fear him?”

“We do not.”

“Are you…Gods?”

There was a look of sadness in the Captain’s eye then.

“No we’re not. And neither is he. Phaerus, is there a place we can talk privately?”




“There,” Commander Jeremy pointed at the pattern on the navigation’s sensor panel. “That’s an active sensor pulse. They’re scanning the planet.”

The bald Andorian focussed his sensors on the reading.

“They’re scanning the city…Captain’s location.”

“Sharp’s got their attention, then.” Jeremy smiled slightly with satisfaction. “Localize that reading.”

“Scanning.”

Sehr retrained the tactical sensors. The sensor beams panned out through low orbit, contacting with nothing. Sehr changed resolution several times.

“Negative contact.”

“Nothing?”

“I’ve narrowed their orbit down to bearings 345 mark 056 to 350 mark zero. Approximate range 50,000 kilometers.”

The XO checked the tactical grid mounted at his feet.

“That’s within visual range. Put the area on screen.”

Sehr made a face, as though he still expected failure. There seemed no way to hide from a visual scan. Their quarry seemed finally in reach.

The main viewer angle changed, showing only another, slightly altered angle of the planet hanging above them. Stars twinkled back at them, almost like naughty sprite laughing across the cosmos. Frustration broke through the exec’s veneer.

“Goddamnit! Where the hell is he?”

“He’s stopped scanning.” Sehr reported.

The exchange between the two officers had got the attention of most of the bridge. The science spec was training everything at his disposal toward the area under scrutiny. Everyone else was a simple spectator.

“Damn it! He’s reflecting his scans!” Jeremy ranted on in a low voice. “He has to be. He’s not invisible.”

“Unless he is.” Said Sehr.

“No…” the first officer stepped back and slid down into the command chair behind him. “No way. Can’t be.”

The gunnery officer seemed to shrug. He terminated his scan.

Jeremy looked back at the empty field of space behind Endeavour. The captain’s orders were still valid, if seemingly much harder to carry out. He steeled himself.
 
“Something tells me the Captain’s plan’s about to start getting results.” He tapped the comm button on his armrest. “Yellow Alert! All hands, stand by battlestations!”




The Phaerus led the captain’s party to a torch-lit chamber deep within the central temple. They were surrounded by rich tapestries and hangings, by walls engraved with beautiful and intricate carvings. Tall statues of leaders from ages back stared back gallantly at them.

Two guards accompanied the procession into the temple’s interior. There were several servants with them till they reached their final destination, which were promptly dismissed once they halted. The room seemed to be some sort of offerings chamber. A throne sat in the far center, on raised dais. Two golden reliefs flanked the guilded chair, looking to the heavens.

B’tall did not take the seat, but stood before it instead. He turned to look back at the travelers. His guards took up silent posts at the room’s corners. Sharp gave them a glance. They were disciplined, armed with short bronze swords and short-hafted axes.

“You risk much to speak with me, strangers.” B’tall began. “What have you come here for?”

Sharp dropped his hood once again. His people followed suit, drawing gapes of shock from the flanking guards. The captain watched them a moment with a measured eye, then stepped forth to answer.

“Phaerus, you and your people are being exploited by a criminal.”

B’tall gave a sad smile.

“What you would call a criminal, my people call God.”

Sharp studied the elder ruler for a second. His senses told him the old man knew more than he dared admit to any other living being. Or at least he suspected.

“You know he’s not.”

The Phaerus shrugged.

“What else does one call a being capable of so much. You witnessed the tremors?”

“We did.”

“What sort of being can do this?”

Sharp made an offering gesture with his broad hands.

“We can. If one has the knowledge, it’s a simple trick.”

“Trick? Hm! Simple!”

There came a breeze within the enclosed chamber, strong enough to blow the hems of their robes about their ankles. An instant look of fright came over the Phaerus then and Sharp knew any progress was about to become a lot harder to purchase. Mentally, he steeled himself.

“Simple is it, Captain Sharp?” Said the God. He sat before them in the raised chair, looking down upon them all. Sharp smirked at the soft glow emanating from his skin.

“Simple application of tractor beams against tectonic fissures.”

“A crude method of replicating my power, Captain.” The thing said. “These people are wiser than you. They accept what their eyes show them.”

“They aren’t advanced enough to know the difference between trickery and miracles.”

“You call them dullards, yet they achieve greatness!”

The captain could instantly see the tact the false god was taking. He sought to set the ruler against him, make it seem as though Sharp were the one looking to take advantage. With his soft tones and calmness, the God-being would have made a brilliant politician.

Sharp forced a playfully deviant look onto his face and glared with challenge at the thing on the throne. “No dullards. Dullards wouldn’t begin to suspect already that you’re a charlatan, a con artist.”

The God’s eye flicked to the Phaerus. The uncertain ruler stood at the edge of the dais, looking like he’d rather be in prison than trapped between the two strangers. The being eased forth a smile.

“Phaerus B’tall recognizes his Gods.”

“Really? Does this…being…conform to your myths, Phaerus? Does he…look like any of your gods?”

B’tall swallowed.

“We…have no pictures of his face…”

“Which god has this being presented himself as?”

“Ba’al, God of Seasons and Harvest.”

“Ba’al?!” Came from Commander Andreavich. She’d recognized the name. Sharp didn’t have the time or luxury of questioning her about it. He pressed on.

“And how does this Ba’al appear in your imagery?”

“As an eagle on the winds.”

“And I appeared to them on the winds.” Said this thing that called himself Ba’al. Victory gleamed in his eyes. “I ride the skies as they ride voxen.”

“How long has this being been among you?”

“A year and two seasons.”

“And for your efforts, has he given your people anything? Plentiful harvests, perhaps?”

B’tall looked from one powerful personality to the next, nervous, perhaps scared for his life. Sharp knew he really didn’t need to convince this man. The real target of his argument was the man behind the god-act. He had to make this Ba’al, or whoever controlled him, angry enough to strike out.

“The harvest was immeasurable… The fertilizers Lord Ba’al gave to us yielded the greatest crops we have yet had.”

“Protected you from drought, then? Or floods?”

There was a flood, in Timuura. It killed one hundred—“

“The floods were necessary.” The God interjected, his face suddenly severe. “A mortal cannot know all the designs of the Gods.”

Sharp was quick to cut him off.

“Surely you have other gods as well. Probably a whole pantheon of them.”

B’tall hesitantly nodded.

“Ba’al is but one of many—“

“And where are they? Why has Ba’al been the only one to show himself?”

“The Tomen were ever my children, Sharp. You tread on dangerous ground!”

Sharp took a threatening step toward the seated god. The being watched him without fear, as though he were an errant child. Sharp halted at the edge of the dais.

“Dangerous ground? You’re exploiting these people. You’ve turned them into slave labor. With fear and a few simple tools, you’ve compelled them to mine a dangerous mineral from their world, which you will sell on the open market.
They’ll do the work, and make you rich. And when the purgium runs out, you’ll be gone, and with you goes the radiation drugs. They’ll whither and die, and you’ll be long gone.”

The being’s face twisted into an angry mask of hate.

“I have tolerated enough from you mortal.”

“I’ve only just started—“

Sharp was cut of, nearly strangled when an invisible force took hold of his larynx. He was driven to the ground before the dais, slamming his knees to the dusty stones. Lieutenant Jackson and his crewman rushed to their captain’s side. Sharp held up a staying hand, halting them. He gasped for breath.

“Foolish being!” The God-thing growled at him, leaning forth to look into the captain’s eyes. Sharp’s vision was beginning to darken at the edges. “You dare test me? You test the piety of my children?”

Sharp gagged as the grip on his throat tightened even more. He clawed at a force he could not grasp. This compelled Jackson and his subordinate to act. Both charged the dais. Both were knocked to the far wall by a wall of force.
Jackson’s subordinate was first to recover. He rolled to his feet, robe flying aside as he drew his hand phaser and aimed. Jackson shouted out a warning, trying to make a grab for the kid’s weapon.

The phaser squalled out its cry, filling the chamber with noise and searing light. The red beam shot out and pierced the God, who reacted not at all. He simply looked bemused as the wall behind him burst into a scatter of stone shrapnel.

The being release Sharp, who crumpled onto his side, gasping for clean, cool air. He looked back to his man who stood confused beside Commander Andreavich, staring at his useless weapon.

“Such insolence!” Ba’al almost whispered. He made a dismissive gesture. “Such is your reward.”

And the crewman was gone. There was no sound. No ionic discharge. Nothing occurred to reveal a transporter in operation, but the crewman was no longer there. Sharp forced himself to his feet. Jackson caught him as he swayed there before the God.

“What did you do to him!” Sharp shouted, his voice broken and winded.

The being smiled benevolently.

“He has met his reward, Captain Sharp.”

With a pointed finger, the chamber door opened, exposing the stone passage without. The day’s light glared back painfully at the end of the long corridor.

“Hark…he approaches!”

There was enough in the menacing smile for Sharp to discern his meaning. A faint murmur was coming from outside, the multiple voices of excited people. Sharp forced his legs into operation, dragging their leaden mass into a run. He flipped open his communicator as he charged for the out doors.

“Transporter room! Lock in on Crewman MacFarlane’s signal and beam him aboard! Now! Transporter room!”

As slow as Sharp felt, he was clearing the corridor swiftly. His people were right on his heels. He ignored the soft laughter that followed his retreat. A new sound was overriding the clamor of the people outside. The sound, high pitched and wretched, was growing quickly and steadily.

“We have his signal, Captain!” Came Lieutenant Imura’s excited voice from the other end of the comm link. “But a scattering field’s been raised in the ionosphere! I can’t bring him in!”

The captain and his crew broke into the full light of oppressive day. They halted, blinded, squinting as they looked about. Sharp tried to look skyward.

MacFarlane’s scream ended as he slammed into the stone right in front of the Captain. He struck the granite of the temple with enough velocity to crack the surface, sending a chip into the captain’s face. The crewman’s body was twisted into a shocking, fearful pose. The people about the temple entry rushed away in fright at the alien visages of Sharp and his team and the fallen man. They shouted and took flight at the appearance of the crewman’s red blood when it broke free of his twisted mouth.

Behind the landing party, Ba’al emerged from within the temple at a serene pace, a peaceful and benevolent expression in place on his pale face. Sharp glared over his shoulder at the form, ignoring the sheepish Tomen ruler standing behind him. The old man had been totally cowed.

“You have your warning, Captain. Leave this place, and never return.”

“Captain!” Said Imura then, “The scattering field’s dissipated! Shall I beam you aboard?”

Sharp brought the device back to his lips, unable now to look away from his dead crewman. This... hadn’t figured into his plan.

“Roger that, Lieutenant. Energize.”

Those few that had not hidden from the aliens at the temple, now ducked and scattered as the four forms were enveloped in a circling pattern of golden energy. As they began to fade out of sight, Sharp mused darkly that these people would probably attribute the event to the power of their awesome and unexplainable God, who had proven his superiority before his people.
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline KBF-Frank

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 05:48:49 pm »
Realmente estoy intrigado, ¿Quién es supuesto dios?, ¿Cómo es que no pueden detectar su nave?
¿Qué hará Sharp para salir victorioso de esta situación?.
Esperando pacientemente por la continuación  ;D  :knuppel2:

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2013, 10:47:46 pm »
Uhm...yeah. I totally speak Spanish... Lemme head to babelfish.com...

Yeah, I'm not going to do that.

--guv
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline d4v1ks

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2013, 03:33:50 pm »
Lucky me, cause i can understand it.  ;D
"But he isn't wearing anything at all!" (The Emperor's New Clothes)

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #11 on: June 11, 2013, 12:40:13 am »
Yar-har! From Babelfish:

"I'm really intrigued, who is supposedly God?, how is it that they cannot detect your ship?
 What it will do Sharp to emerge victorious from this situation?.
 Waiting patiently for the continuation "

Wait no longer.


Chapter Six


Captain Sharp threw his robe down on the same spot of railing he’d discarded his field jacket the day before. As he stomped down to his command chair to sit, Yeoman Leison swept past to retrieve it and take up those from Lieutenant Jackson and Commander Andreavich. Sharp glowered at the main viewer in silent, mind awhirl in thought. His face was a blank slate, brimming with anger.

Commander Jeremy relieved the officer at helm and silently took over. He glanced back to his CO without comment, patiently waiting.

The captain continued to glare straight ahead, unmoving. The silence on the bridge was thick and tense. Everyone knew they had just lost a man. They were no closer to locating the alien vessel. Sharp’s right hand clenched his armrest, pressing in on the thick padding.

Suddenly his eyes dropped to the tactical display mounted on the deck between the helm and navigation station.

“Break orbit, Number One. We’re leaving.”

Jeremy’s face went slack.

“Leaving?”

“Course 126 mark 27. Ahead full impulse.”

Jeremy turned back to his station with some lethargy. He couldn’t believe his CO was throwing in the towel. Sharp wasn’t the type to give in. He had no idea yet what had happened on the planet, but it had obviously triggered something in the captain Jeremy had never seen before. He laid in the commands.

“126 mark 27, ahead full, aye.”

The course was an oblique one for breaking orbit. It would take them very close to the planet’s moon. Jeremy had to wonder why Sharp had chosen such a route.

The green and brown world fell away from them on the fore viewer as Endeavour turned for the gray little moon. Jeremy throttled ahead to full impulse and the planetoid shot past them on the left hand side.

“Come left two degrees.” Sharp said then. “And steady as she goes.”

The captain was obscuring their exit vector. What was he planning?

“Gunnery officer, load a MK IV decoy into the forward torpedo bay.”

“Aye, sir.” Replied Mister Sehr.

It was suddenly making sense to the exec. Jeremy’s hands poised themselves over his controls. “Helm ready, sir.”

A look of dark satisfaction came over the captain. He still hadn’t taken his eyes of the main viewer.

“Decoy drone ready, sir!” Reported the gunner.

“Launch!”

Endeavour rattled side to side with the expulsion of the small body from her missile tubes. The little drone rocketed ahead on thrusters, striving to keep ahead of the starship. Soon, it would begin broadcasting its base ship’s electronic and subspace signatures. It would even file a false report to Starfleet in a half-hour.

“Begin hand-off.” Ordered Sharp.

“All stop, aye!” Said the helmsman.

“Shutting down main engines!” Came from the tech at engineering.

“Active sensors to standby!” Andreavich.

“All primary systems switching to standby!”

“Communications now set to receive only. Disengaging transponder beacon.”

“Stealth Protocols initiated,” the XO confirmed once everything had been checked.

“Decoy drone accelerating to warp one.” Added Mister Sehr. There was a little blue flash ahead of the ship as the unmanned module broke the subspace barrier and dashed away.

“Set combat watch rotation,” the captain told them as he turned the conn to face each of his officers about him. “Maintain Yellow Alert. Science officer, keep you eyes on those passive detectors. The planet’s moon will be out of our way in two hours. Hopefully, our god will think were on our way to Starbase at warp two. With us gone, he’ll be wanting to make his pickup on the surface.”

The aft hatch hissed apart to allow Chief Engineer Bornet onto the deck. He looked about the slightly darkened bridge and took note of the self-satisfied auras of the officers. The captain had a plan, and he hadn’t informed his engineer again. Jave thumped down to stand beside his friend’s chair.

“What are we doing?”

“Gambling on narcissism, engineer.”
***




At the sixth hour of their long wait, Captain Sharp was roused from reverie by the form of Lieutenant Imura Kami as she stepped up to the command chair. The captain could tell she was sorrowful over the death of their comrade, MacFarlane.

“Captain…I’m sorry.”

“There was nothing you could do, Imura.” He consoled her. “Our enemy has a few tricks up his sleeve…and he’s craven enough to use them.”

“Still, Captain… I just wish I could have got him before…”

“Man your station, Lieutenant. We’ll get the person responsible.”

“Aye, sir.”

Sharp watched the assistant engineer take her place at the main systems panel. Her word had made him antsy again, ready to smash that God’s face in with his bare hands. He hopped out of the conn and made for science.

“Andreavich,” he said quietly to his science officer. “You recognized their god’s name down there. How?”

Ursula only half-turned to face her commanding officer. She was hesitant to take her eyes from her monitors.

“The name Ba’al appears in ancient Earth mythohistorical records. Judea, Egypt, later  Israel. He’s even mentioned in the Christian Bible, sir.”

“Some sort of parallelism?”

“Maybe, sir…Or just a simple name that two separate species happened to use for their pantheon. A xenotheologan might---“

Ursula broke off and focused totally on her energy-recording monitors. Sharp could feel his sails suddenly billowing about him.

“Contact, science officer?”

“Affirmative, Captain. Bearing 176 mark 359. Approaching the planet surface from low orbit. Low velocity. Making contact with the upper ionosphere.”

“On screen!”

The main viewer switched to show a small, golden vessel slipping down toward the clouds below it. The ship was covered in painted-on hieroglyphics and obviously chosen for its aesthetics. It was a converted luxury liner.

Sharp charged back to his command chair.

“Maintain Stealth Protocol! Helm, bring us about! Thrusters ahead!”

Endeavour turned about on her axis, slowly at first, then with growing momentum as her great mass was overcome. When her bow was aimed at the planet before her, her secondary boosters urged her ahead. She made her way back slowly, quietly, slipping in on unawares prey.




The God Ba’al tapped a final string of codes into the computer before him as the liner rattled about him and the rest of the crew. Just one more appearance before his adoring masses, and then they would take their act to another continent. The southern veins were showing signs of running dry. The flotsam he’d complained about to that fool B’tall had been more a sign of the mine playing out than any ineptitude of his miners.

The thought made the charlatan chuckle benignly. This had been the perfect act. He wondered how many other worlds such a ploy could be used on. Despite the bumbling interruption of the Starfleet ship and her captain, everything was on schedule.

Even the mighty Captain Sharp hadn’t been able to foil the operation. One might have expected better of a vaunted captain of Starfleet. Perhaps they weren’t what they were reputed to be.
 
“Three minutes to touchdown.” The pilot called out over the intercom. The ship shuddered more steadily. Ba’al hated landings. But the ship’s transporter, tuned as it was for silent, low level activity, couldn’t handle ore transport. They had to rely on the slave workers below to load the holds.

The con artist made a few more adjustments to the controls before donning the manipulator headband. When he slipped the device down onto his temples, his holographic doppelganger shimmered into being beside him.

A complex collection of photonic emissions, forcefields and tractor fields, the hologram was the perfect actor. The computer edited out any reaction or habit of the controller’s that didn’t fit the role. The projection couldn’t be intimidated. It wouldn’t show stress or fright. It hadn’t shown Captain Sharp just how hard its owner had been working to come up with every response it had uttered in their argument. It had made the battle or wills look flawless.

The noises of atmospheric entry were getting much higher pitched, Ba’al thought absently as he watched his double move about majestically in his gaudy clothing. On a whim, he turned up the glow of the projection’s flesh. Today, in his last appearance, he would absolutely glow in broad daylight!

Something pressed into the side of Ba’al’s head, and his projection glanced to the side at something within its view. The con artist gaped as he recognized the cold steel feeling of a phaser being poked into his skin.

He realized only too late, that some of the noises of ‘atmospheric entry’ he’d been hearing might have in fact been a Starfleet transporter.

Captain Sharp’s smile was a black thing looking back at the God.

“Still feeling All-Powerful?”

The God gave a crooked grin, which the projection had a hard time recreating. Both of them shrugged.

“Not so much.”

Captain Sharp glanced about the small compartment. Exposed wiring and glowing conduits snaked about in all directions from ad hoc gear. The thing he’d faced down on the planet stood, seemingly without direction, atop piles of cable.

“I wondered how all this worked.”

“Advanced holographic projection. We bought it from the Klingons. Seems like they couldn’t get it up and running—“

“And how about your stealth device?”

“Your guess is as good as mine…” The criminal said. “The captain didn’t even mention he had it till he turned it on.”

“You’re not in charge here?”

The God-man shrugged.

“No…I’m just the face.”

Sharp saw the projection tense just a bit. He doubted the thing needed to do such a thing in order to pounce. Likely it was just an impulse from the brain controlling it. The captain squeezed the trigger, dropping the hologram’s owner to the deck with a burst of stun energy. The projection fell as well, then faded into a mere shadow.

Stepping over the slumbering thief at his feet, the captain regarded the security men behind him, then turned to fire a final shot into the control mechanisms. The remainder of the hologram blinked out as sparks rained forth from the destroyed machinery.

Lieutenant Alfred Jackson was waiting for the captain as he emerged from the projection compartment. His grunts were manhandling several unconscious crew down the hall toward a selected security zone. The fight had been anticlimactic and short. These were petty criminals, not soldiers. And they’d been caught unawares.

Still, this wasn’t the satisfying ending he’d hoped for.




Phaerus B’tall watched the descent of Ba’al’s Sky Chariot with growing sorrow. The stranger, Captain Sharp, had not been able to present his people with a way out of the shackles clamped on them by their God.
The stranger had put forth a good argument, one that would have convinced the ruler. But he had come ill-prepared for Ba’al’s terrible power. To make a man vanish and then fall from high above the city… Terrifying!

And now Ba’al’s majestic vessel was lowering itself from the heavens, just as it had a year ago. Dust was already beginning to swirl beneath the giant metal craft as it slowed its descent. Today, the God had chosen a landing place far from the road. Perhaps he wanted to add just that much more labor to the hardship of the ore handler, to make them push the voxen carts across the uneven land off the road.

Given that B’tall had entertained blasphemy, such a punishment was a light one. The old man stepped outside the city gates, followed by his retinue of guards and attendants.

Dust whipped about in the winds created by the great machine, blasting grass and robe alike. B’tall covered his eyes and squinted. He wondered why the great horns had not yet called, as Ba’al was fond of doing before the huge feet of his Chariot touched the packed dirt.

The vessel landed without fanfare. The long ramp appeared and extended to the ground. The white plumes of vapor B’tall was accustomed to seeing did not come today. Something was different…

Figures emerged from within the tall, golden craft. There was far more light in the inner corridor than ever before, and the Phaerus could see much more of the interior. Three figures were coming forth. One of them was being held aloft by the two largest. The nearly had to drag him, as though he suffered from stupor.

Phaerus B’tall’s heart caught in his chest, threatening to seize on him when he began to recognize faces among the figures.

At the lead, holding the stumbling man before him, was Captain Sharp. He wore no robe, having replaced it with a golden shirt with an arrowhead emblazoned upon the breast. The giant that had accompanied him before stood beside him, his tunic a fine crimson.

B’tall wanted to weep when he recognized the third face. For between the two strangers stooped their God. He did not look so powerful now, being held upright by two larger men. His skin no longer glowed. His eyes were bloodshot. Drool dripped from swollen lips.

Sharp and his man escorted the God to the bottom of the ramp. There, he let the Being drop to his knees, head lolling aside. He was barely conscious. The captain looked supremely triumphant over the God of Tomen.

“Phaerus…here’s your God.”

The captain gave the semi-conscious man a nudge with one boot. He fell over, groaning miserably. B’tall gaped in wonder, feeling an onrush of joy. Were they saved?

The ruler knelt before his people’s savior.

“You have defeated the great god, Captain Sharp! We are your servants!”

Sharp wasted no time in grabbing the kneeling man by the arm and yanking him to his feet.

“No more of that! You bow to no greater being! Look at him! He was just a man. No better than you or anyone else.”

B’tall remained standing, though his knees threatened to buckle anyway. The Captain smiled kindly then, waving into the mighty vessel he had conquered.

“This is nothing more than a machine, designed by people just like you. They know more than you, but one day, you will have similar knowledge. This will not be beyond you.”

The Phaerus still gaped, knowing he looked like an idiot. But the truth of the captain’s words were beginning to sink in. At the very least, he understood he and his people had been played for fools. He looked down at the alien man lying behind Sharp. B’tall’s simple expression turned to one of rage.

“He’ll get what’s coming to him, Phaerus,” Sharp said, understanding. “And we’ll deal with his vessel. You’ll never have to see it, or his like, again.”

The old man looked up into the stranger’s eyes.

“We thank you, Captain Sharp.”





Epilogue


Captain’s Log, Supplemental

The criminals behind the activities on Planet Three, System L-372A have been apprehended. My suspects remain under guard in the brig till transport to Starbase can be arranged for trial. Doctor Ken was forced to treat them for minor injuries sustained during their temporary holding on the planet surface. The populace was less than sympathetic to them once the details of their Gods had been fully revealed to them and things, unfortunately, got out of hand.

Endeavour remains in orbit for a short duration as my engineers and geologists instruct the miners of Tomen how to close up their purgium mines safely. We have left them a stockpile of anti-rad inoculations and instructions on ensuring the safety of their drinking water. We will also leave a Class Four probe in orbit to monitor radiation levels in the area in case we should be needed in the future.

The damage to the planet’s sociology and culture should be confined mostly to the city of Tomen, but trade and migration may see the contamination spread further along the continent. Luckily, my science officer has been able to conclude that nearly every city possesses a very different theological belief system, and tales from Tomen are likely to be taken with a grain of salt.

The only regret I am left with about this mission is the loss of Crewman MacFarlane. I am formally noting him for commendation.




“So, no sign of Mister Sehr’s invisibility device?”

Alfred Jackson took the time to send to hard jabs into his captain’s defense before answering over his mouth guard.

“Nope. We stripped that ship before we set her adrift. If it had an invisible shield, then the whole thing must’ve been invisible.”

Sharp answered the jabs with a roundhouse right, aimed for his security chief’s ear. Jackson bent and tucked his head into the curve of his arms, blocking the shot. He threw a series of fast punches into the captain’s torso, wearing him out a bit. Both men were sweating freely now. They were evenly matched for strength and speed. Alfred had some years on the captain, though. The older officer didn’t have the stamina of his younger security chief.

“I got MacFarlane killed.” Sharp said suddenly, aiming straight in with a left that he followed with an uppercut. Jackson took that last on the jaw and stumbled back. The captain let him recover.

“Mac got himself killed. No one ordered him to open fire.” The lieutenant responded.

“He was defending his captain. I shouldn’t have put him in that position.”

Alfred lowered his guard, secure in his distance from the captain. Sharp remained where he was, eyeing the larger man over his red gloves. They were absolutely alone in the gym’s boxing corner. Otherwise, Sharp wouldn’t be so candid.

“You know who’s fault it really is, Captain? It’s those bastards down in our brig! They killed Mac. They beamed him a thousand feet into the air and let him fall. That smug son of a bitch in the robes killed our man. Not his captain.”

Sharp tried to smile his thanks around the bit in his mouth. He conveyed his appreciation with a series of fast, weltering shots to the big man’s abdomen and chest and head as Alfred tried to cover everything. Alfred gave him a two fisted shove to gain space and circled.

“For the rest of us, life goes on. And you know what, because of what we did down there, life will still be going on for those people too.”

Jon halted and leaned against the ropes behind him. He was tired from all the stressful waiting and aggravation of the last couple of days. He was upset at the unnecessary loss of a man. He’d come here to unwind, unload.

“You know what I really need, Mister Jackson?” He said suddenly.

“What’s that, Captain”

“A drink.”

Jackson spit his bit into his boxing glove and grinned hugely.

“I know just the place, Captain!”


END
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline KBF-Frank

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2013, 04:21:54 pm »
 :notworthy: :notworthy: a very good story, believable from beginning to end, but it remains an unsolved mystery, why could not detect his ship?

Offline Captain Sharp

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2013, 06:49:28 pm »
It did indeed have a cloaking device. In a way, I was making fun of the inconsistency between TOS Trek and ENT-era, having to do with cloaking devices. Sharp's crew, for all their tech savvy...just missed it. Aw well, what they don't know, won't hurt 'em. Perhaps the ship's captain zapped it with a phaser before they could capture it, lol.

--guv
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline Captain Sharp

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  • R. Lee Ermy for Prez, 2016!
Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2013, 02:59:41 pm »
Anyone want more?
"Jayne?"

"Yeah?"

"You wanna tell me why there's a statue of you here lookin' like I owe him something?"

"Wishin' I could, Captain. "

Offline KBF-Frank

  • Lt. Junior Grade
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  • Posts: 22
Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2013, 01:41:08 pm »
YES¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡  ;D

Offline CaptJosh

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Re: Endeavour #2
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2016, 12:49:43 am »
I realize this thread is ancient, but since nobody else got it, I felt the need to chime in. "Devil's Due" is the name of the episode you so shamelessly ripped off. But the concept comes from well before that, with The Man Who Would be King, and other similar stories.
CaptJosh

There are only 10 kinds of people in the world;
those who understand binary and those who don't.