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Star Trek: Entomalians - "A New Beginning"

STAR TREK: ENTOMALIANS – A NEW BEGINNING

Created & Written By: BolianAdmiral

Based Upon “Star Trek”, Created By: Gene Roddenberry




DISCLAIMER:

This story is a direct sequel/companion piece to the primary “Entomalians” storyline, and as such, is set within the same storytelling universe as “Star Trek: Entomalians”. This is to protect established canon from any conflicts, as well as to allow for full artistic freedom in the telling of the story. Although this is a sequel/companion piece, it is not necessary to have read the original “Entomalians” story prior to reading this one, as there is enough background information provided to orient the reader, and establish proper context to the events and their timeline.





STAR TREK: ENTOMALIANS – A NEW BEGINNING




The United Federation of Planets was in a bad state. Indeed, the entirety of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants were in a bad state. The defeat at the Battle of Idran – the “Big Borg Battle” as it was commonly known now, was appallingly quick and humiliating. The entire combined forces of the allied Alpha and Beta Quadrant fleets – the Entomalian, Federation, Tholian, Klingon, Romulan, and Cardassian forces, had failed to halt the advance of the Dominion entente – one hundred Borg cubes, along with the combined forces of the Dominion, Breen, and Gorn fleets, all coming together in bloody battle in the Idran System of the Gamma Quadrant. It had been the hope of the architects of the allied offensive that by taking the initiative, and engaging the enemy in their own space, on the other side of the Bajoran wormhole, that the threat could be pushed back as much as possible before the Dominion could make its final push into the Alpha Quadrant.

It failed, and it failed spectacularly. It was a literal miracle that anything survived the carnage, and managed to make it back through the wormhole to the Alpha Quadrant. When the Dominion entente came through the wormhole, emerging into the Alpha Quadrant, it did so in triumphant victory, knowing that the allied powers were in no condition to prevent their forces from steamrollering through the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The first world to fall was Entomalius Prime – the treasured homeworld of the Entomalian Empire. Entomalius Prime wasn't conquered. It was physically destroyed – surrounded by an armada of Borg cubes, which sliced and drilled into the planet until it physically broke apart and was no more. The destruction of Entomalius Prime was a personal message – from the Female Changeling to Entomalian Queen T'Zek – telling and showing her in no uncertain terms, what happens to those who dare challenge the Dominion. The Founder wanted the Queen to see her world, her people, her fleet – everything she loved and held dear, die before her very eyes.

Once Entomalius Prime had been dealt with, the Dominion began its unstoppable advance through the Alpha Quadrant. Cardassia Prime, Bajor, Starbase Deep Space Nine, Bolarus IX, Betazed – all fell to the Dominion with shocking speed. With heavy fighting now in the Rigel System, the Federation knew it would be but a matter of time before the Dominion entente also broke through the Rigel System, making its way onward to the inner core of the Federation – the Tellarite, Andorian, and Vulcan systems, until finally, they would reach the Terran System, where they would take their most valuable prize – Earth. The sky was falling, and something had to be done to try to offer new hope for the survival of the Federation and her allies. It was during this time, that agents from the Federation were working behind the scenes with the Entomalian royals to negotiate for a coveted piece of Entomalian technology, in direct violation of the Treaty of Mraz. Given the dire circumstances of the situation at hand, both sides – Federation and Entomalian, figured there was nothing left to lose, so in a rare break with protocol, Queen T'Zek authorized the release of a single Entomalian transwarp drive unit to the Federation, for use in a starship that would be chosen to undertake a very special and last-ditch mission to somehow find a way out for the Federation and her allies – a path toward survival.

Unbeknownst to all but Federation President Melek, Starfleet Admiral Gronthen Klonn, and Entomalian High Priestess K'Trez, Queen T'Zek was also working on a plan of her own to set things right with the state of galactic affairs. While Queen T'Zek wanted the Federation's plan to succeed, she also had no intention of anything undoing the results of her own plan, should it succeed as well. As a result, measures would be put in place that would prevent any possible conflicts between the outcomes of both plans. The Federation's plan was as follows:

The Entomalian transwarp drive unit would be installed on the U.S.S. Frontier, a new Sovereign-Class ship under construction at Starfleet's joint-ASDB facility Seran T-3. The Frontier's mission would be to set a course for the Alpha Quadrant shore of the Andromeda Galaxy, and using the Entomalian transwarp drive, travel there. Upon arrival at the Andromeda Galaxy, the Frontier would begin scouting for suitable locations for new Federation colonies. If the mission was successful, and potential habitable worlds found, the Frontier would return to the Milky Way Galaxy, and with the help of the Entomalians, proceed to set up Federation and allied colonies in the Andromeda Galaxy. The Frontier would carry among her crew, members from every major species in the Federation, to act as ad hoc Federation representatives, during any first-contact situations the Frontier may encounter. Also joining the Frontier's crew, would be Doctor Rayza, the Reticulan Chief Medical Officer of the Galaxy-Class U.S.S. Pioneer, who would be transferring over to the Frontier for the mission, due to her familiarity with the origins of the Dominion, and the Andromeda Galaxy. To avoid any interference with Queen T'Zek's plan, the Frontier would also be equipped with chronometric stabilizers. Commanding the U.S.S. Frontier for the mission would be one Captain Yuri Nikolayev.




- TO BE CONTINUED -
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  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    STARFLEET JOINT-ASDB FACILITY SERAN T-3

    The fairly modest facility stood in the middle of space, against the backdrop of the vast Eagle Nebula, the lone Regula-Class facility flanked by only a mere three open-space drydock facilities, one of which held a new Sovereign-Class ship, the U.S.S. Frontier. Parked alongside the Frontier's drydock in open space, was the Galaxy-Class U.S.S. Pioneer.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – MAIN ENGINEERING

    The turbolift doors slid open, allowing Captain Yuri Nikolayev to enter the spacious Engineering deck, the room abuzz with activity as Starfleet and Entomalian engineering teams worked diligently to integrate the new transwarp drive unit into the existing Starfleet warp core's framework. Nikolayev intentionally kept his distance, not wanting to call for the Chief Engineer or disturb anyone with questions. There would be plenty of time for that later, once the mission got underway. Right now, everyone needed to be left to tend to their jobs, as time was of the essence, and there was no margin for error of any kind. From what he understood of what his Chief Engineer had told him so far, the Entomalian transwarp drive would get them to the Alpha Quadrant shore of the Andromeda Galaxy in the time of two weeks, at maximum transwarp. The Captain was interrupted from his thoughts by the ship's intercom, with a call for him.

    “Transporter Room One to Captain Nikolayev.” the man's voice called.

    “Nikolayev here.” he replied, tapping his communicator.

    “Sir, the Pioneer is signaling that Doctor Rayza is ready to transport aboard.”

    “Thank you. I'm on my way.” Nikolayev replied, again tapping his communicator as he made his way back to the turbolift.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – TRANSPORTER ROOM ONE

    The doors to the room slid open as Nikolayev entered the room, acknowledging the young Andorian man at the transporter controls, as he turned to face the transporter platform.

    “I have Doctor Rayza standing by, Sir.” the Andorian announced.

    “Energize.” Nikolayev replied.

    A second passed before the buzzing whine of the transporter could be heard as the lights of one of the top and bottom transporter platform discs illuminated to life, producing the shimmering silver particle stream of the transporter beam, which began to form the body of Doctor Rayza – the only Reticulan in Starfleet. The transporter beam began to subside as her form became fully cohesive, allowing Nikolayev to take in the sight of her – about five feet tall, a thin humanoid body upon which was a disproportionately large head, sporting two large and black almond-shaped eyes which were angled towards each other at the bottom ends, with nothing but a slight stub of a nose, and a very thin, slit-like mouth that made her look like she was sporting what Nikolayev could only describe as an “alien Mona Lisa smile”. Slung over the right shoulder of her blue medical uniform, was her Starfleet-issue cylindrical blue suitcase. Her left hand held a data PADD. After a second, she stepped down from the transporter pad, extending her right hand to Nikolayev as she walked over to him.

    “Doctor Rayza, I presume?” Nikolayev offered, extending his hand to shake hers.

    “Reporting for duty, as ordered, Sir.” Rayza replied. “Captain Ramsey sends his regards.” she added.

    “Thank you. Welcome to Frontier.” Nikolayev offered, as Rayza handed him the data PADD she was holding.

    “Your final orders from Starfleet for the mission. I also took the liberty of adding a backup copy of the Reticulan database on Andromeda for you.” Rayza explained, as the doors to the transporter room slid open, allowing both her and Nikolayev to exit into the corridor.

    “Thank you. I appreciate that. I'm sure it'll be most helpful.”

    Rayza just offered a small smile in reply as the two walked down the corridor.

    “Are you sure you're okay with this mission?” Nikolayev asked, wondering if her silence was a form of apprehension she might be feeling.

    “Aye, Sir. This is Starfleet – I go where I'm sent.” she offered, as politely as possible. “I'm just not sure exactly how much help I can be. My people's history with the Dominion there was over two-thousand years ago. I'm certain much has changed. Species that we knew may no longer even be there, with younger races having arisen, and taking over planets and space that may have been abandoned. All I can offer you is general geographic borders and our stellar catalog, but again, they're geographic borders and a stellar catalog from over two-thousand years ago.” Rayza explained.

    “Every little bits helps.” Nikolayev offered, as they continued walking.

    STARFLEET JOINT-ASDB FACILITY SERAN T-3

    The Galaxy-Class Pioneer slowly began to depart the facility, moving out and beginning to angle away and upward, putting a safe distance from herself and the Frontier and surrounding structures, before being cleared to enter warp, leaving the Frontier to herself in the drydock facility.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    STARFLEET JOINT-ASDB FACILITY SERAN T-3

    The U.S.S. Frontier very slowly began to ease out of her open-space drydock, emerging into open space as a few small shuttles and service craft zipped by the area surrounding her, moving to clear the way for the emerging starship.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – CAPTAIN'S READY-ROOM

    The door was wide open, as Captain Nikolayev was deeply absorbed in PADDwork, a mountain of data PADDs and isolinear chips strewn about on his desk, surrounding his primary desktop computer terminal. He was so engrossed in his work that he didn't notice the door chime until the second time it sounded.

    “Yes, come on in.” he called, not bothering to look up from his PADDwork.

    From the doorway, an older Bajoran man walked into the room, sporting a command-red uniform and wearing Commander's rank pips. The man looked to be about in his mid-sixties of age, in human years, and sported grey hair. The man made his way towards Nikolayev's desk.

    “I apologize for just standing in your doorway like that, Sir, but your door is stuck on 'open'.” the man began, as Nikolayev looked up to acknowledge the new arrival. “I'm Trevan Jor, your new First Officer.” he added, extending his hand.

    “A pleasure, Commander. Yuri Nikolayev – welcome aboard Frontier.” he began, shaking Jor's hand. “And, regarding the door – it's not stuck – I generally have an open-door policy regarding the Captain's Ready-Room, unless there's material of a classified or personal nature being discussed. I find it makes the Captain seem more accessible to the crew that way – at least in my opinion.” he added, sitting back down, and gesturing for Jor to also sit down.

    “Very good, Sir.” Jor agreed.

    “So... what can I do for my new First Officer?” Nikolayev asked, setting his PADDwork aside for the moment.

    “I just wanted to check in with my first report, Sir.” Jor began. “The Entomalian engineering teams have left the ship, and Chief Engineer Parsons reports that everything looks good to go to transwarp as soon as we're clear of the facility's outer marker. Doctor Rayza has settled in in Sickbay, and says she will begin calling upon the crew for complete mission physicals as soon as we're underway.” he stated.

    “Very good.” Nikolayev agreed, picking up a PADD, and handing it to Jor to inspect. “I've been studying it as best I can, but I'm still in complete awe of it.” he added, regarding the data contained on the PADD.


    “Aye, Sir – from here to the Alpha Quadrant shore of Andromeda in two weeks. I don't know how the Entomalians do it, but their transwarp slipstream drive is most impressive.” Jor agreed.

    “Yes, that's the official full name of the technology, but it doesn't diminish my amazement of it. They must be at least a hundred years ahead of us, technologically. The transwarp drive, their Feliz-Dat-Class ships, with their neutronium phaserskin hull coating, their Tholian-technology-based energy countermeasures...” Nikolayev replied, with audible wonder in his voice.

    “Yet even all that wasn't enough to prevent them from having to retreat during the Big Borg Battle.” Jor lamented. “Just drives home what we're up against, and why this mission is so vitally important to the Federation.” he added.

    “That it does, Commander.” Nikolayev agreed, a sobering tone in his voice, before returning to a more optimistic tone. “Well, if that's all, then I think we'll have a complete formal mission briefing in the Conference Lounge once we've gotten underway. Inform Doctor Rayza I want her there, as well.” he instructed.

    “Will do, Sir.” Jor replied, as both he and Nikolayev stood up from their seats, again shaking hands, just as a call from the bridge came through, via the ship's intercom.

    “Bridge to Captain Nikolayev.” the male voice announced.

    Nikolayev tapped the comm button on his desk as he replied.

    “Nikolayev here. Go ahead.”

    “Sir, we've cleared Seran T-3's outer marker, and have been cleared for warp and transwarp speeds.” the man reported.

    “Acknowledged – I'm on my way.” Nikolayev replied, as both he and Jor walked from the Ready-Room, onto the Main Bridge, where Jor took his seat as Captain Nikolayev looked to the large main viewscreen, which now displayed the stars drifting by the ship at a leisurely pace, the ship being at full impulse speed at the moment.

    Nikolayev made his way to the center seat, sitting down in the Captain's chair, and pressing some buttons on one of the armrest panels, before addressing the Ensign seated at the CONN station.

    “Ensign, set a course... for the Alpha Quadrant – of the Andromeda Galaxy.” Nikolayev ordered, his voice making no attempt to conceal the half-disbelief at ordering such an unexpectedly exotic destination. He pressed the intercom button on the armrest panel, calling Main Engineering. “Mister Parsons, are we good to go to transwarp?” he asked, looking up toward the ceiling with only his eyes, cautiously awaiting the reply.

    “Engineering, Parsons here, Sir. Yes, Sir... we're good for all transwarp speeds, at your discretion.” the man reported, through the intercom.

    Nikolayev adjusted himself in his seat as he exhaled a sigh of anticipation from his mouth, gripping the armrest panels of his seat as he angled forward a bit, towards the main viewscreen.

    “Very well.” he softly stated, mostly to himself. “Ensign, is the course set?”

    “Aye, Sir, it is. Awaiting desired speed, Sir.” the young woman at CONN replied, working her panel.

    “Set speed at maximum transwarp.” Nikolayev related, as he brought his right hand up, looking to Commander Jor for confirmation, before looking back to the woman at the CONN. “Engage.” he added, bringing his hand down in a forward motion.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    In space, the mighty ship came about and vaulted itself into maximum transwarp, becoming nothing but a seemingly never-ending streak of white and blue light, which finally vanished with a pinpoint flash of brilliant white light, in the far distance ahead.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The mighty ship shot through transwarp space, the stars streaking past the ship as almost endless lines of white light.

    CONFERENCE LOUNGE

    The doors on both sides of the room slid open, allowing the senior staff and Doctor Rayza to enter the room and take their seats, Captain Nikolayev sitting at the head of the table, while the streaking stars zipped away from the ship from outside the lounge windows.

    Nikolayev addressed his staff, looking to everyone as he prepared his briefing statements.

    “Thank you all for coming.” Nikolayev began. “I know you've all been briefed on the broad generals of this mission. I've asked you here to go over some of the specifics, as they will pertain to the beginning of our mission. I've asked Doctor Rayza to join us, to provide any insight and additional information she can.” he added, pressing some buttons on the table keypad before turning to face the large wall monitor, his staff following suit.

    The monitor displayed the emblem of the UFP, with the word “CLASSIFIED” in blinking red text below it. The emblem and text gave way to a new title card, which read “RETICULAN DATABASE ARCHIVE EXTRACT 7953A-GM-ALPHA”.

    “What you are about to see comes from the Reticulan database.” Nikolayev began, again pressing a button on the table keypad, which now caused the title card to be replaced with the image of an Earth-like Class-M planet – a very large Earth-like Class-M planet. The image was quickly augmented by numerous LCARS data callouts and animations depicting rotation, atmospheric patterns, etc. “This is Gendalon Major – our first destination, once we reach the Alpha Quadrant shore of the Andromeda Galaxy. As you can see, it's a very large Class-M planet. Like Earth, it has water oceans and vegetation, as well as animal life. According to the Reticulan database, the planet is uninhabited by any sentient life, nor was it claimed by any major spacefaring culture or group at the time this record was taken.” he added, turning to face Rayza. “Are you aware of any cultures or groups nearby, which might have any territorial disputes in the surrounding regions?” he asked her.

    “No.” she began. “That regions is devoid of any industrial civilizations. It's actually a pretty barren part of that galactic arm. Anyone you're likely to encounter in that region would be travelers or traders merely passing through, or the occasional scientific expedition, doing a system or planetary survey.” she added. “However, unless you're planning on doing all your study of Gendalon Major from orbit, or from inside a runabout, I suggest that any away teams visiting the surface wear EVA suits, due to the differences in both atmospheric density, and gravity.”

    “Agreed.” Nikolayev nodded. He was about to move on to the next data file, when his gaze was drawn to the lounge windows, along with everyone else's.

    The seemingly endless lines of light that were the streaking stars at high transwarp suddenly vanished completely – the view outside being replaced with nothing but utter and total darkness. The ship had now left the Milky Way Galaxy completely, and had entered the Great Divide – the vast void of nothingness which separates the various galaxies of the Local Group.

    Nikolayev subtly swallowed a small lump of apprehension in his throat, the realization dawning on him now that this was it – his ship and crew were now committed to the mission ahead – and to two weeks of nothing but complete blackness outside the windows. There would be nothing to gaze out at, and nothing with which to establish a stellar fix, except for the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies. There would also be no way to physically tell how fast they were going, except for the data shown by the ship's computers and instrumentation.

    “Well...” Nikolayev began softly. “that's it, then... we're in the Great Divide now.” he said, looking to his staff.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The mighty ship shot through the solid black void, nothing behind it except for the tiny flat disc of light that was the Milky Way, and nothing ahead of it, except for a much larger flat disc of light that was Andromeda – a disc of light that would begin to grow larger and closer as the ship continued onward through the Great Divide.

    “Captain's Log – the Frontier has left the Milky Way, and is now traversing the 'long dark' that is the Great Divide. So far the Entomalian transwarp drive has functioned perfectly, with no issues, although it's a little unsettling to have no way of knowing how far we're going using visual references, and having to instead rely solely on our instrumentation for that information. We've been at maximum transwarp for a week and five days now. Two and a half more days, and we'll have arrived in the Alpha Quadrant shore of Andromeda, where we'll set a course at high warp for Gendalon Major.”

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Captain Nikolayev manned the center seat, his crew busy attending to their stations duties around him. The Bridge was silent, save for the sounds of buttons beeping, and the recurring 'bloop' of the main viewscreen's scanner lights converging at exact intervals.

    Suddenly there was a noticeable but gentle shudder, which was followed by the short whining sound of a power system failing. Nikolayev looked around the room with caution, just as a call came in through the intercom system.

    “Bridge, this is Engineering.” the voice of Chief Engineer Parsons announced.

    “Nikolayev here. Report.”

    MAIN ENGINEERING

    “Uh, Sir... um... we've dropped out of transwarp, according to our instruments. I can't explain why, but our computer indicates we're currently at sublight speeds, and our velocity is falling off from the upper impulse range.” Parsons began, walking all around the 'pool table' in Engineering, frantically checking and double-checking all the computer readouts and data indicators.

    Suddenly, another whining sound of power draining was heard, as Parsons turned to face the massive warp core, which suddenly went totally dark, powering down completely. The color drained from his face as Parsons witnessed the complete failure of the ship's FTL systems before his very eyes, with seemingly no explanation.

    “Sir?” he added, cautiously. “We've uh... we just... we just lost our warp core.” he reported.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Nikolayev suddenly shot up from his seat, as Commander Jor looked after him.

    “What?” Nikolayev exclaimed. “What do you mean we've 'lost' the warp core? What happened?”

    “Sir, I'm sorry, Sir... I simply don't know – not yet. There was a momentary power drain, and the whole warp core just went dark. I have no idea what's going on, and I won't know anything until I can get inside the systems, and do a manual inspection, Sir. The Entomalian systems are extremely complex – I need to have my team do a complete shutdown, and we'll have to take everything apart, and see what's going on, although the system has pretty much completely shut itself down already.” Parsons offered, his voice apologetic and puzzled.

    All Nikolayev could do was look forward, absorbing the news as best he could, his eyes the size of saucers at the realization that his ship and crew were now stranded, literally in the middle of nowhere.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The mighty ship shot through transwarp space, the stars streaking past the ship as almost endless lines of white light.

    CONFERENCE LOUNGE

    The doors on both sides of the room slid open, allowing the senior staff and Doctor Rayza to enter the room and take their seats, Captain Nikolayev sitting at the head of the table, while the streaking stars zipped away from the ship from outside the lounge windows.

    Nikolayev addressed his staff, looking to everyone as he prepared his briefing statements.

    “Thank you all for coming.” Nikolayev began. “I know you've all been briefed on the broad generals of this mission. I've asked you here to go over some of the specifics, as they will pertain to the beginning of our mission. I've asked Doctor Rayza to join us, to provide any insight and additional information she can.” he added, pressing some buttons on the table keypad before turning to face the large wall monitor, his staff following suit.

    The monitor displayed the emblem of the UFP, with the word “CLASSIFIED” in blinking red text below it. The emblem and text gave way to a new title card, which read “RETICULAN DATABASE ARCHIVE EXTRACT 7953A-GM-ALPHA”.

    “What you are about to see comes from the Reticulan database.” Nikolayev began, again pressing a button on the table keypad, which now caused the title card to be replaced with the image of an Earth-like Class-M planet – a very large Earth-like Class-M planet. The image was quickly augmented by numerous LCARS data callouts and animations depicting rotation, atmospheric patterns, etc. “This is Gendalon Major – our first destination, once we reach the Alpha Quadrant shore of the Andromeda Galaxy. As you can see, it's a very large Class-M planet. Like Earth, it has water oceans and vegetation, as well as animal life. According to the Reticulan database, the planet is uninhabited by any sentient life, nor was it claimed by any major spacefaring culture or group at the time this record was taken.” he added, turning to face Rayza. “Are you aware of any cultures or groups nearby, which might have any territorial disputes in the surrounding regions?” he asked her.

    “No.” she began. “That region is devoid of any industrial civilizations. It's actually a pretty barren part of that galactic arm. Anyone you're likely to encounter in that region would be travelers or traders merely passing through, or the occasional scientific expedition, doing a system or planetary survey.” she added. “However, unless you're planning on doing all your study of Gendalon Major from orbit, or from inside a runabout, I suggest that any away teams visiting the surface wear EVA suits, due to the differences in both atmospheric density, and gravity.”

    “Agreed.” Nikolayev nodded. He was about to move on to the next data file, when his gaze was drawn to the lounge windows, along with everyone else's.

    The seemingly endless lines of light that were the streaking stars at high transwarp suddenly vanished completely – the view outside being replaced with nothing but utter and total darkness. The ship had now left the Milky Way Galaxy completely, and had entered the Great Divide – the vast void of nothingness which separates the various galaxies of the Local Group.

    Nikolayev subtly swallowed a small lump of apprehension in his throat, the realization dawning on him now that this was it – his ship and crew were now committed to the mission ahead – and to two weeks of nothing but complete blackness outside the windows. There would be nothing to gaze out at, and nothing with which to establish a stellar fix, except for the Milky Way and Andromeda Galaxies. There would also be no way to physically tell how fast they were going, except for the data shown by the ship's computers and instrumentation.

    “Well...” Nikolayev began softly. “that's it, then... we're in the Great Divide now.” he said, looking to his staff.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The mighty ship shot through the solid black void, nothing behind it except for the tiny flat disc of light that was the Milky Way, and nothing ahead of it, except for a much larger flat disc of light that was Andromeda – a disc of light that would begin to grow larger and closer as the ship continued onward through the Great Divide.

    “Captain's Log – the Frontier has left the Milky Way, and is now traversing the 'long dark' that is the Great Divide. So far the Entomalian transwarp drive has functioned perfectly, with no issues, although it's a little unsettling to have no way of knowing how far we're going using visual references, and having to instead rely solely on our instrumentation for that information. We've been at maximum transwarp for a week and five days now. Two and a half more days, and we'll have arrived in the Alpha Quadrant shore of Andromeda, where we'll set a course at high warp for Gendalon Major.”

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Captain Nikolayev manned the center seat, his crew busy attending to their stations duties around him. The Bridge was silent, save for the sounds of buttons beeping, and the recurring 'bloop' of the main viewscreen's scanner lights converging at exact intervals.

    Suddenly there was a noticeable but gentle shudder, which was followed by the short whining sound of a power system failing. Nikolayev looked around the room with caution, just as a call came in through the intercom system.

    “Bridge, this is Engineering.” the voice of Chief Engineer Parsons announced.

    “Nikolayev here. Report.”

    MAIN ENGINEERING

    “Uh, Sir... um... we've dropped out of transwarp, according to our instruments. I can't explain why, but our computer indicates we're currently at sublight speeds, and our velocity is falling off from the upper impulse range.” Parsons began, walking all around the 'pool table' in Engineering, frantically checking and double-checking all the computer readouts and data indicators.

    Suddenly, another whining sound of power draining was heard, as Parsons turned to face the massive warp core, which suddenly went totally dark, powering down completely. The color drained from his face as Parsons witnessed the complete failure of the ship's FTL systems before his very eyes, with seemingly no explanation.

    “Sir?” he added, cautiously. “We've uh... we just... we just lost our warp core.” he reported.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Nikolayev suddenly shot up from his seat, as Commander Jor looked after him.

    “What?” Nikolayev exclaimed. “What do you mean we've 'lost' the warp core? What happened?”

    “Sir, I'm sorry, Sir... I simply don't know – not yet. There was a momentary power drain, and the whole warp core just went dark. I have no idea what's going on, and I won't know anything until I can get inside the systems, and do a manual inspection, Sir. The Entomalian systems are extremely complex – I need to have my team do a complete shutdown, and we'll have to take everything apart, and see what's going on, although the system has pretty much completely shut itself down already.” Parsons offered, his voice apologetic and puzzled.

    All Nikolayev could do was look forward, absorbing the news as best he could, his eyes the size of saucers at the realization that his ship and crew were now stranded, literally in the middle of nowhere.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The great ship sat adrift in the Great Divide, an island of window lights and an illuminated navigational deflector, surrounded by nothing but complete and total blackness.

    “Captain's Log – stuck – for the past two days, the Frontier has been stuck here in the Great Divide, the result of what appears to be some form of catastrophic cascade failure of all the FTL systems on the ship – including the Entomalian transwarp slipstream drive. Per my order, the ship has been at a complete stop, until my Chief Engineer can offer an explanation as to what has happened, and hopefully also offer me a solution as to how to fix it.”

    MAIN ENGINEERING

    A human hand placed a large isolinear circuit board down onto the 'pool table'. The isolinear board was badly charred, some of the remaining chips upon it partially melted.

    “Sabotage.” Parsons voice stated, as Captain Nikolayev's hand picked up the circuit board, bringing it up to eye level to examine.

    “Sabotage?” Nikolayev repeated, looking for a second to Parsons before returning his gaze to the board.

    “Aye, Sir. Those blank chip ports that are missing isolinear chips aren't supposed to be empty – they're supposed to have chips installed – and they did, when we left Seran T-3.” Parsons reported. “Sir, those missing chips – they were tasked with controlling the timing of the reaction between our native Starfleet warp core, and the Entomalian transwarp drive. When those chips were pulled, it caused a sudden transwarp power falloff, which cascaded down to our traditional warp drive, since the warp and transwarp fields were combined, to maintain the transwarp field.”

    “Who could have done this? One of the Entomalians?” Nikolayev asked, setting the isolinear board back down on the table.

    “No, Sir. In fact, nobody from the Entomalian team, the team from Seran T-3, or our own crew could have done it.” Parsons began to explain. “That circuit board came from deep inside the physical structure of the warp core, Sir. Nobody can access that board unless the warp core has been physically disassembled. Additionally, this could only have happened while we were at transwarp – whoever did this had to have been in physical contact with this isolinear board when the act of sabotage occurred. No humanoid could have done this, Sir.” he stated, offering Nikolayev a sobering look, which Nikolayev picked up on.

    As the realization began to dawn on him, the color from Nikolayev's face drained, his face wearing a look of utter worry.

    “A changeling. A changeling did this to my ship.” he softly realized. “It's most likely still on board.” he added, now tapping his communicator. “Doctor Rayza, report to Main Engineering for equipment analysis. Nikolayev to Bridge – intruder alert!”

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The ship sat adrift in the middle of the Great Divide, surrounded by total darkness.

    “Captain's Log – a changeling has sabotaged my ship. Mister Parsons has informed me that the damage to the Entomalian transwarp drive and our warp core could only have been caused from within the actual engine components, ruling out any humanoid culprits. Upon a full biochemical examination of the affected isolinear circuit board, Doctor Rayza has confirmed the presence of residual changeling morphogenic compound on the board. The ship is on full intruder alert, but the crew is acting normally, so as not to tip off the changeling. In the meantime, Mister Parsons has said he has some news for me.”

    CONFERENCE LOUNGE

    The senior staff was once again assembled in the room, as Chief Engineer Parsons stood in front of the large central wall monitor, a large data PADD in his hand.

    “So, I've got some bad news, and some less-bad news.” he began, looking to Nikolayev. “Which would you like to hear first?”

    “Oh, please – the bad news – by all means.” Nikolayev replied, leaning back in his chair.

    “Well...” Parsons started, consulting the data on his PADD. “the bad news is that we'll never have transwarp again – ever. The Entomalian system is fried, and I can't do anything to fix it. The technology is simply beyond by scope of understanding. If we had an Entomalian spacedock at our disposal, maybe – just maybe. But as it is now, us being way out here in the middle of nowhere – there's just no way we'll ever see transwarp again, Sir.” he reported, allowing the magnitude of the situation to sink in for everyone.

    “So, are you saying we're stuck here, in the middle of the Great Divide?” Commander Jor asked.

    “No, Sir.” Parsons began. “We've lost transwarp. But my team and I have been working around the clock for a full two days, and I'm happy to report that we've been able to save and restore our traditional Starfleet warp drive system. We should be back up and running with full warp power available within three hours, Sir.” he added, his tone more optimistic.

    “How long?” Nikolayev asked.

    Parsons worked his PADD as he entered some computations into it, before giving his reply.

    “If we maintain maximum warp the whole time, we'll reach the Alpha Quadrant shore of Andromeda in approximately two months.” he offered.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The great ship sat adrift in the Great Divide, an island of window lights and an illuminated navigational deflector, surrounded by nothing but complete and total blackness.

    “Captain's Log – stuck – for the past two days, the Frontier has been stuck here in the Great Divide, the result of what appears to be some form of catastrophic cascade failure of all the FTL systems on the ship – including the Entomalian transwarp slipstream drive. Per my order, the ship has been at a complete stop, until my Chief Engineer can offer an explanation as to what has happened, and hopefully also offer me a solution as to how to fix it.”

    MAIN ENGINEERING

    A human hand placed a large isolinear circuit board down onto the 'pool table'. The isolinear board was badly charred, some of the remaining chips upon it partially melted.

    “Sabotage.” Parsons voice stated, as Captain Nikolayev's hand picked up the circuit board, bringing it up to eye level to examine.

    “Sabotage?” Nikolayev repeated, looking for a second to Parsons before returning his gaze to the board.

    “Aye, Sir. Those blank chip ports that are missing isolinear chips aren't supposed to be empty – they're supposed to have chips installed – and they did, when we left Seran T-3.” Parsons reported. “Sir, those missing chips – they were tasked with controlling the timing of the reaction between our native Starfleet warp core, and the Entomalian transwarp drive. When those chips were pulled, it caused a sudden transwarp power falloff, which cascaded down to our traditional warp drive, since the warp and transwarp fields were combined, to maintain the transwarp field.”

    “Who could have done this? One of the Entomalians?” Nikolayev asked, setting the isolinear board back down on the table.

    “No, Sir. In fact, nobody from the Entomalian team, the team from Seran T-3, or our own crew could have done it.” Parsons began to explain. “That circuit board came from deep inside the physical structure of the warp core, Sir. Nobody can access that board unless the warp core has been physically disassembled. Additionally, this could only have happened while we were at transwarp – whoever did this had to have been in physical contact with this isolinear board when the act of sabotage occurred. No humanoid could have done this, Sir.” he stated, offering Nikolayev a sobering look, which Nikolayev picked up on.

    As the realization began to dawn on him, the color from Nikolayev's face drained, his face wearing a look of utter worry.

    “A changeling. A changeling did this to my ship.” he softly realized. “It's most likely still on board.” he added, now tapping his communicator. “Doctor Rayza, report to Main Engineering for equipment analysis. Nikolayev to Bridge – intruder alert!”

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The ship sat adrift in the middle of the Great Divide, surrounded by total darkness.

    “Captain's Log – a changeling has sabotaged my ship. Mister Parsons has informed me that the damage to the Entomalian transwarp drive and our warp core could only have been caused from within the actual engine components, ruling out any humanoid culprits. Upon a full biochemical examination of the affected isolinear circuit board, Doctor Rayza has confirmed the presence of residual changeling morphogenic compound on the board. The ship is on full intruder alert, but the crew is acting normally, so as not to tip off the changeling. In the meantime, Mister Parsons has said he has some news for me.”

    CONFERENCE LOUNGE

    The senior staff was once again assembled in the room, as Chief Engineer Parsons stood in front of the large central wall monitor, a large data PADD in his hand.

    “So, I've got some bad news, and some less-bad news.” he began, looking to Nikolayev. “Which would you like to hear first?”

    “Oh, please – the bad news – by all means.” Nikolayev replied, leaning back in his chair.

    “Well...” Parsons started, consulting the data on his PADD. “the bad news is that we'll never have transwarp again – ever. The Entomalian system is fried, and I can't do anything to fix it. The technology is simply beyond my scope of understanding. If we had an Entomalian spacedock at our disposal, maybe – just maybe. But as it is now, us being way out here in the middle of nowhere – there's just no way we'll ever see transwarp again, Sir.” he reported, allowing the magnitude of the situation to sink in for everyone.

    “So, are you saying we're stuck here, in the middle of the Great Divide?” Commander Jor asked.

    “No, Sir.” Parsons began. “We've lost transwarp. But my team and I have been working around the clock for a full two days, and I'm happy to report that we've been able to save and restore our traditional Starfleet warp drive system. We should be back up and running with full warp power available within three hours, Sir.” he added, his tone more optimistic.

    “How long?” Nikolayev asked.

    Parsons worked his PADD as he entered some computations into it, before giving his reply.

    “If we maintain maximum warp the whole time, we'll reach the Alpha Quadrant shore of Andromeda in approximately two months.” he offered.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek vessel shot through the Great Divide, her mighty warp nacelles once again alive with blue light, propelling the ship through space at maximum warp, the white starry disc of the Andromeda Galaxy looming ever closer, ahead of the ship's path.

    MESS HALL

    Various members of the Frontier's crew, both human and alien, mingled about, talking and eating together while the large windows that usually boasted views of the celestial vistas outside now only offered views of solid blackness outside. The doors to the room slid open, allowing Captain Nikolayev and Doctor Rayza to enter. The two stopped beside a wall replicator, and after giving their orders, took their replicated food and drink to a table in the middle of the room, sitting down across from each other.

    “I want to thank you again, for joining me.” Nikolayev offered.

    “No problem – it's my pleasure, Captain.” Rayza replied, as the two began to enjoy their food.

    “Do you have any idea why the changeling saboteur chose this time to strike – this mission?” Nikolayev asked, taking a drink of water.

    “Not a clue.” Rayza began. “As far as the Founders know, my people all migrated to the Milky Way, once the Dominion drove us out of Andromeda. We took all our active technology with us. There should be nothing they expect us to find left in Andromeda. All I can guess is that they simply wanted to destroy any chance of this mission being a success – to prevent the Federation from finding any avenue of salvation or hope.”

    “Why does the Dominion hate your people so much?” Nikolayev asked, softly shaking his head.

    This made Rayza look to him in puzzlement.

    “You're kidding – right? You – you don't know the story behind...” she began, realizing. “Starfleet didn't brief you on the historical background?” she asked.

    “I only know what you've told me, and what's contained in the Reticulan database you gave us. Starfleet didn't provide me with anything not pertaining to our current mission.” Nikolayev replied.

    “Starfleet Intelligence interviewed me for days, after the incident on Deep Space Nine – with me and Odo.” she stated, looking at Nikolayev's reaction, which was just a clueless expression. “I'd have thought at least you'd have heard about that through Captain Ramsey...” she added, noticing he was still looking at her apologetically.

    “At this point, I'm guessing there's something I don't know which Starfleet Intelligence should have included in their mission briefing to me?” he asked her.

    Rayza set down her fork, letting out an exasperated sigh, as she prepared to retell the story that she thought the Captain had known going in – the story she had assumed Starfleet would have shared with the person assigned to lead this mission.

    “You know from the database record, that my people fought a war with the Dominion over two-thousand years ago, and that eventually, both the Reticulan Star League and the Dominion left Andromeda for the Milky Way. You know that Reticula Prime and Entomalius Prime are the only two worlds to have been physically destroyed by the Dominion in the Milky Way.” Rayza probed.

    “Yes.” Nikolayev replied.

    “Okay. Well, then I'm assuming that Starfleet has classified the rest. Basically, if it weren't for my people, there would never have been a Dominion. You see, thousands of years ago, in Andromeda's Gamma Quadrant, the Reticulan Star League was flourishing, covering a vast expanse of space. We needed an awesome amount of labor to help the League expand. To help with that, we engineered a subspecies of humanoid to serve us. That subspecies eventually located a species previously unknown to us – a species of changelings, which could alter their form, to suit whatever task needed to be performed. Throughout our mining colonies, we set up a system where the humanoid subspecies would serve as overseers to the changeling work force. The humanoid overseers would answer to the Reticulan 'Founder' of the operation. After some time, the changelings grew tired of serving us, and staged a massive uprising, revolting against their humanoid overseers and their Reticulan Founders. Most of the humanoid overseers were killed, and the changelings, now organized against us, were able to secure and reverse-engineer much of our technology, building up a fledgling military space force of their own, which they used to hunt down and kill my people, driving the Reticulan Star League out of Andromeda.” Rayza began. “What few humanoid overseers were left alive were sent out into space in all directions by us, with the mandate to distribute the humanoid genetic code throughout the galaxies. What we created as a subspecies to originally serve as overseers, your people came to know as the progenitors of the humanoid form. Human, Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian – all the humanoid species can trace their ancestry to that one common form. That's why Odo's interpretation of the humanoid face is the way it is – that face has been imprinted into his being, from the experiences of his species. It's why the Female Changeling chooses to adopt that look, when she assumes humanoid form. It's why the structure of the Dominion is the way it is – Jem'Hadar, Vorta, and 'Founder'.” she explained. “It's why when Odo first saw me, his first instinct was to lash out in rage, and violently attack and try to kill me.”

    Nikolayev was floored as he tried to absorb all this information and history that Rayza was feeding him.

    “But your people didn't start the war with the Dominion – at least not the war here in the Milky Way. Queen T'Zek did, when the Jem'Hadar fired on the Feliz-Dat.” he offered, trying to understand.

    “That's true. But all the Dominion had to do, was study any sensor scans and computer databank extracts the Jem'Hadar ship was able to collect before they were forced to withdraw, to know of my people's presence here, as well as the bio-readings of the life-forms on the ships they had encountered. We know they scanned both the U.S.S. Quasar and the Entomalian ships, prior to opening fire on the Feliz-Dat. The Vorta probably reported to the Founders that there were 'solids' in the Alpha Quadrant – 'solids' being a derogatory term the Founders assign to humanoids.” Rayza explained. “That's why the Dominion is in the Milky Way – they followed us. It just took them some time to get to the point where they could. They knew we had gone to the Milky Way – they just didn't know where in the Milky Way. They assumed we'd end up in the Gamma Quadrant again, but we didn't – we made it all the way to the Alpha Quadrant.”

    “Wait...” Nikolayev began, motioning that he didn't understand something. “The Dominion doesn't have transwarp capability. So how did they get here? How did they follow you?”

    “They used a form of technology similar to the Iconian gateways.” Rayza began. “When my people left, we feared that such technology would be used in such a way, so we had all known examples of that technology destroyed – or so we'd thought. Obviously, we didn't destroy it all.”

    “I see.” Nikolayev replied, taking another drink of water, as a call came in for him through the ship's intercom.

    “Bridge to Nikolayev.” the young man's voice stated.

    Nikolayev tapped his communicator to reply.

    “Go ahead.”

    “Sir, we're reading a slight temperature fluctuation in one of the power-transfer conduits on deck seven, section twenty-one alpha. Security thinks it could be our stowaway.” the man reported.

    Nikolayev shared a look with Rayza as they both got up from their seats.

    “Acknowledged, Bridge. Seal off that section, and set up a security perimeter in the surrounding sections. Have Commander Jor and a security team meet us there – Doctor Rayza and I are on our way.” Nikolayev ordered, as he and Rayza walked out of the Mess hall.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek vessel shot through the Great Divide, her mighty warp nacelles once again alive with blue light, propelling the ship through space at maximum warp, the white starry disc of the Andromeda Galaxy looming ever closer, ahead of the ship's path.

    MESS HALL

    Various members of the Frontier's crew, both human and alien, mingled about, talking and eating together while the large windows that usually boasted views of the celestial vistas outside now only offered views of solid blackness outside. The doors to the room slid open, allowing Captain Nikolayev and Doctor Rayza to enter. The two stopped beside a wall replicator, and after giving their orders, took their replicated food and drink to a table in the middle of the room, sitting down across from each other.

    “I want to thank you again, for joining me.” Nikolayev offered.

    “No problem – it's my pleasure, Captain.” Rayza replied, as the two began to enjoy their food.

    “Do you have any idea why the changeling saboteur chose this time to strike – this mission?” Nikolayev asked, taking a drink of water.

    “Not a clue.” Rayza began. “As far as the Founders know, my people all migrated to the Milky Way, once the Dominion drove us out of Andromeda. We took all our active technology with us. There should be nothing they expect us to find left in Andromeda. All I can guess is that they simply wanted to destroy any chance of this mission being a success – to prevent the Federation from finding any avenue of salvation or hope.”

    “Why does the Dominion hate your people so much?” Nikolayev asked, softly shaking his head.

    This made Rayza look to him in puzzlement.

    “You're kidding – right? You – you don't know the story behind...” she began, realizing. “Starfleet didn't brief you on the historical background?” she asked.

    “I only know what you've told me, and what's contained in the Reticulan database you gave us. Starfleet didn't provide me with anything not pertaining to our current mission.” Nikolayev replied.

    “Starfleet Intelligence interviewed me for days, after the incident on Deep Space Nine – with me and Odo.” she stated, looking at Nikolayev's reaction, which was just a clueless expression. “I'd have thought at least you'd have heard about that through Captain Ramsey...” she added, noticing he was still looking at her apologetically.

    “At this point, I'm guessing there's something I don't know which Starfleet Intelligence should have included in their mission briefing to me?” he asked her.

    Rayza set down her fork, letting out an exasperated sigh, as she prepared to retell the story that she thought the Captain had known going in – the story she had assumed Starfleet would have shared with the person assigned to lead this mission.

    “You know from the database record, that my people fought a war with the Dominion over two-thousand years ago, and that eventually, both the Reticulan Star League and the Dominion left Andromeda for the Milky Way. You know that Reticula Prime and Entomalius Prime are the only two worlds to have been physically destroyed by the Dominion in the Milky Way.” Rayza probed.

    “Yes.” Nikolayev replied.

    “Okay. Well, then I'm assuming that Starfleet has classified the rest. Basically, if it weren't for my people, there would never have been a Dominion. You see, thousands of years ago, in Andromeda's Gamma Quadrant, the Reticulan Star League was flourishing, covering a vast expanse of space. We needed an awesome amount of labor to help the League expand. To help with that, we engineered a subspecies of humanoid to serve us. That subspecies eventually located a species previously unknown to us – a species of changelings, which could alter their form, to suit whatever task needed to be performed. Throughout our mining colonies, we set up a system where the humanoid subspecies would serve as overseers to the changeling work force. The humanoid overseers would answer to the Reticulan 'Founder' of the operation. After some time, the changelings grew tired of serving us, and staged a massive uprising, revolting against their humanoid overseers and their Reticulan Founders. Most of the humanoid overseers were killed, and the changelings, now organized against us, were able to secure and reverse-engineer much of our technology, building up a fledgling military space force of their own, which they used to hunt down and kill my people, driving the Reticulan Star League out of Andromeda.” Rayza began. “What few humanoid overseers were left alive were sent out into space in all directions by us, with the mandate to distribute the humanoid genetic code throughout the galaxies. What we created as a subspecies to originally serve as overseers, your people came to know as the progenitors of the humanoid form. Human, Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian – all the humanoid species can trace their ancestry to that one common form. That's why Odo's interpretation of the humanoid face is the way it is – that face has been imprinted into his being, from the experiences of his species. It's why the Female Changeling chooses to adopt that look, when she assumes humanoid form. It's why the structure of the Dominion is the way it is – Jem'Hadar, Vorta, and 'Founder'.” she explained. “It's why when Odo first saw me, his first instinct was to lash out in rage, and violently attack and try to kill me.”

    Nikolayev was floored as he tried to absorb all this information and history that Rayza was feeding him.

    “But your people didn't start the war with the Dominion – at least not the war here in the Milky Way. Queen T'Zek did, when the Jem'Hadar fired on the Feliz-Dat.” he offered, trying to understand.

    “That's true. But all the Dominion had to do, was study any sensor scans and computer databank extracts the Jem'Hadar ship was able to collect before they were forced to withdraw, to know of my people's presence here, as well as the bio-readings of the life-forms on the ships they had encountered. We know they scanned both the U.S.S. Quasar and the Entomalian ships, prior to opening fire on the Feliz-Dat. The Vorta probably reported to the Founders that there were 'solids' in the Alpha Quadrant – 'solids' being a derogatory term the Founders assign to humanoids.” Rayza explained. “That's why the Dominion is in the Milky Way – they followed us. It just took them some time to get to the point where they could. They knew we had gone to the Milky Way – they just didn't know where in the Milky Way. They assumed we'd end up in the Gamma Quadrant again, but we didn't – we made it all the way to the Alpha Quadrant.”

    “Wait...” Nikolayev began, motioning that he didn't understand something. “The Dominion doesn't have transwarp capability. So how did they get here? How did they follow you?”

    “They used a form of technology similar to the Iconian gateways.” Rayza began. “When my people left, we feared that such technology would be used in such a way, so we had all known examples of that technology destroyed – or so we'd thought. Obviously, we didn't destroy it all.”

    “I see.” Nikolayev replied, taking another drink of water, as a call came in for him through the ship's intercom.

    “Bridge to Nikolayev.” the young man's voice stated.

    Nikolayev tapped his communicator to reply.

    “Go ahead.”

    “Sir, we're reading a slight temperature fluctuation in one of the power-transfer conduits on deck seven, section twenty-one alpha. Security thinks it could be our stowaway.” the man reported.

    Nikolayev shared a look with Rayza as they both got up from their seats.

    “Acknowledged, Bridge. Seal off that section, and set up a security perimeter in the surrounding sections. Have Commander Jor and a security team meet us there – Doctor Rayza and I are on our way.” Nikolayev ordered, as he and Rayza walked out of the Mess Hall.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The great ship continued its journey through the Great Divide.

    CORRIDOR

    Captain Nikolayev and Doctor Rayza rounded a corner, meeting up with Commander Jor and the security team, everyone armed with Type-III phaser rifles. Jor motioned to one of the security men who held an additional two rifles, slung over his shoulder and back via straps, and the man surrendered both extra rifles to Nikolayev and Rayza, who took them, activating them.

    Commander Jor produced his tricorder, and began to scan the area in front of them. After a few seconds, he moved his hand so that both Rayza and Nikolayev could inspect the reading along with him.

    “Looks like our changeling's here.” Jor whispered, silently gesturing with his head for the security team to take their positions.

    The lead security man began to gesture with hand signals to his team, indicating where he wanted each man to take position, as each man took their place, readying their phaser rifles in aim at a central ceiling panel.

    Suddenly, Rayza let out an audible shudder, as Nikolayev looked to her.

    “You alright?” he asked her.

    “Yes. It's definitely here.” Rayza began. “Like the changelings, our people have been conditioned to react to the presence of the other. - this must have been what Odo felt when I came aboard DS9 – I know danger is near.” she stated, boosting the power level of her phaser rifle to maximum, as she took aim, slowly moving forward.

    “What are you doing?” Nikolayev asked, cautious.

    “Drawing it out.” she replied, as she paused, stopping directly underneath the ceiling panel everyone was aiming at.

    Just then, the surface of the ceiling panel began to shimmer and distort, turning into a golden gelatinous form, which began to try to move downward for Rayza.

    “THERE! OPEN FIRE!” the lead security man called out, as everyone but Rayza opened fire, as the changeling began to shriek in pain while its form began to distort and destabilize, its golden color becoming charred and black, until it fell to the floor beside Rayza, a half-formed mass of a humanoid torso and head, emerging from an unformed golden pool of gelatinous material.

    Rayza instantly aimed her phaser rifle directly at its head, the rifle emitting a sound indicating it was fully “loaded”, and ready to unleash its fury, as the changeling looked directly into Rayza's eyes. The changeling made a very creepy attempt to laugh, which sounded extremely raspy and labored.

    Nikolayev stepped forward, while Rayza kept her rifle trained at the changeling's head, ready for fire in the blink of an eye.

    “Why... why have you sabotaged my ship?” he asked. “Our mission was no threat to you. We were leaving the Milky Way. We weren't fighting you.”

    “The future belongs to the Dominion. We will not allow the plaque of the solids to reach Andromeda.” the changeling spat. “We will not allow the plague of the solids to spread again. You cannot defeat the Dominion – not without cheating. The Reticulans proved that over two-thousand years ago, when they sent their solid taskmasters back in time and throughout the galaxies, to seed their cancerous genes in the primordial ecosystems of countless planets. They knew if they kept them here, in the present, that we would hunt them down and destroy them – every last one of them. And now, Queen T'Zek thinks she can prevail using the same tactic – cheating. But she won't. The Dominion has endured for over two-thousand years, and will continue to endure long after the Entomalian Empire and even the 'mighty' Federation has crumbled into dust. The Guardians don't lie.”

    “If you think this act of hatred will keep us from exploring the Andromeda Galaxy, you're dead wrong.” Nikolayev shot back. “This may not be the way we wanted this mission to go, but it will go – we're not a people consumed by bitterness and hate – we're explorers, and we openly embrace the unknown. We'll see this as an opportunity, not a curse. And Queen T'Zek will win – she'll win because she's fighting out of love. Love of her people. Love of her world. Her cause is just, and her heart in the right place. You fight out of hate and fury, and you've been doing it so long, that it's blinded you to everything else.”

    The changeling was about to reply, but was prevented from doing so by a series of phaser rifle blasts, which slammed directly into its head, causing gelatinous material to fly and spray out in all directions, literally frying and charring to a crisp in midair, as some of the material splattered all over the corridor walls, a charred blotch on the floor where the changeling had been.

    “Enough talk.” Rayza spat at the now-vaporized changeling, wisps of smoke rising from the firing chamber of her phaser rifle, as Nikolayev and Jor looked to her.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The ship sailed through the Great Divide, the luminous disc of the Andromeda Galaxy growing ever larger and closer to the ship.

    “Captain's Log – we were able to locate and terminate the changeling saboteur and stowaway we had on board. We continue on course to Andromeda's Alpha Quadrant shore undeterred. There is far greater distance behind us than there is in front of us. We can't go back, towards the Milky Way. For better or for worse, the Andromeda Galaxy will now become our home, and we will be the only Federation ship assigned to it. I was right in what I said to the changeling – ours is a crew of exploration, which embraces the challenge of the unknown. I have absolutely zero doubt that my crew will rise to and meet this challenge with dignity, grace, and the unbridled enthusiasm fitting of Starfleet's finest. But that fact doesn't make it any easier for me to inform them that we'll never be going home – at least, not unless we can somehow find another source of transwarp power, or some form of suitable alternative.”




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    TWO MONTHS LATER




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    CAPTAIN NIKOLAYEV'S QUARTERS

    The room was bathed in complete darkness, as Captain Nikolayev was fast asleep in his bed, the only sources of illumination in his quarters coming from the few LCARS displays on pieces of equipment such as his food replicator and personal desktop computer terminal.

    Suddenly, the complete blackness was broken, by a single streak of white light sailing past and away from the ship outside the window. That streak of light was followed a few seconds later by another, and a few seconds later another, and another, until suddenly, the vista outside the windows was filled with the familiar sight of stars streaking away from the ship at maximum warp – the Frontier had arrived in the Andromeda Galaxy.

    In space, the great ship sailed into the Alpha Quadrant shore of Andromeda, now enveloped by the familiar embrace of a streaking starfield.

    “Captain's Log – we did it. After more than two months spent in the Great Divide, and the loss of our Entomalian transwarp slisptream drive, we've finally made it to the Alpha Quadrant shore of the Andromda Galaxy, and have now adjusted our course for our first mission destination – the planet known as Gendalon Major. I cannot say enough what a relief it is to see stars filling the vistas outside our windows again.”

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The crew was busy at their stations as Nikolayev and Commander Jor sat at their seats, watching as the warping stars shot by the ship on the main viewscreen.

    “Sir, we're entering the outer perimeter of the Gendalon System.” the Ensign at OPS reported.

    “Very well. Drop us out of warp, Ensign.” Jor began, turning his focus to the Ensign at CONN. “CONN, set course for a standard orbit around Gendalon Major, and engage.” he added, as the CONN Ensign acknowledged his order.

    GENDALON MAJOR

    In space, the arc of Gendalon Major was illuminated from behind by the system's star, which was rising slowly over the crescent arc of the planet as the U.S.S. Frontier entered standard orbit.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The view of the sun rising over the curve of the planet filled the viewscreen, as Nikolayev noticed something as the sun continued to rise – as the sun's light illuminated the stellar dust surrounding the planet and its atmosphere, Nikolayev spotted a very tiny black blotch in the illuminated haze.

    “What is that?” he asked, mostly to himself, but also aloud so as to hopefully gain an answer.

    “Sir?” Jor asked.

    “That... that thing there...” Nikolayev replied, pointing to the blotch in the haze on the viewscreen. “That tiny dark blotch.”

    “OPS, isolate that section and magnify.” Jor ordered.

    The area around the small dark blotch was surrounded by LCARS brackets, which isolated the section of image, as the section then zoomed in, magnifying the dark blotch, which revealed itself to be some form of very small artificial orbital satellite.

    The object appeared to be completely metallic, the entire satellite a silvery color. The object was comprised of a spherical center section, with two tall 'fins' in a right angle triangle shape, one on the bottom and one on the top. The center sphere section appeared to have something inscribed on the surface.

    “Ensign, magnify that inscription, if you can.” Nikolayev asked.

    On the screen, the area with the inscription was isolated with LCARS brackets as the image again zoomed in, allowing a very close-up look at the alien writing on the satellite's surface.

    “That's Reticulan writing!” Nikolayev stated, tapping his communicator. “Nikolayev to Doctor Rayza.” he called.

    “Rayza here.” came her reply over the intercom.

    “Doctor, would you come up to the bridge, please? We've discovered what appears to be an old Reticulan probe, stuck in orbit of Gendalon Major.” Nikolayev stated.

    “On my way.” Rayza's comm voice replied, as the the channel was closed.

    “Sir,” the OPS Ensign began. “I've been scanning the probe, and there are no power reading of any kind. It appears to be inert, Sir. Our sensor dating puts it at being over two-thousand years old. It could have been abandoned – forgotten when the Reticulans left Andromeda – left here in a perpetual orbit of Gendalon.” he offered.

    “Hmmm... could well be.” Nikolayev agreed.

    “Obviously, it must not have anything of military value to it, or one would imagine that someone would have long-since tried to access it, or take it for themselves.” Jor offered.

    “You're both right.” Rayza's voice announced, as she walked over to the two men, looking at the image of the probe orbiting Gendalon on the viewscreen. “That's one of our old science probes. The Ensign is correct that it was left behind by us during the mass exodus to the Milky Way. This is most likely the very same probe that originally collected the information on Gendalon Major to begin with, which was filed in our database, and given to you for this mission.” she added.

    “Is there any harm in our attempting to either access the data stored on board, or bring it on board Frontier for study?” Nikolayev asked.

    “Not at all. However, that thing has been dormant for thousands of years... it might not be salvageable – its power cells may have decayed too much to be restored. But you have nothing to worry about from it – as I said, it's a purely scientific probe. There's nothing dangerous on board it.” Rayza offered.

    Nikolayev was about to give the order to further investigate the probe, when his Tactical Officer, a Bolian man named Drath Lezar, called out to him, reacting to some alarms beeping on his tactical console.

    “Sir... I'm tracking a ship in a low orbit of Gendalon's northern polar region. It's a very small vessel – the magnetic interference from the polar region prevented me from detecting the ship until now because of its small size, Sir.” Lezar reported.

    “Let's see it!” Jor ordered.

    The viewscreen instantly switched to a view favoring the planet's northern polar region, a vast ice shelf covering most of the planet's north pole. There, smack-dab in the middle of the image, highlighted against the backdrop of the vast white ice shelf, was a very small moving speck of a ship.

    “Isolate and magnify!” Nikolayev ordered, as the small moving speck was framed by LCARS brackets, which zoomed in very tight, offering a clear and close-up look at the alien vessel.

    The alien ship was unlike anything the Federation had seen before. The best way to describe the design of the alien ship was two boomerang-shaped sections, intersecting to create a cross-shaped profile from the front and rear, and the forward points of the boomerangs being the front of the ship. The entire ship was colored a medium-purple color, and the port and starboard sides of the vertical boomerang section was adorned with rows of windows. The horizontal boomerang section was devoid of surface details. As the image of the ship slowly sailed by on the screen, revealing its aft section, the Frontier crew could see that the aft edges of the horizontal boomerang section were illuminated in bright purple light. Evidently, these were embedded warp nacelles.

    “Rayza... do you know who they are?” Nikolayev asked, not taking his eyes off the image of the alien ship.

    “Not a clue.” she replied. “We've never encountered anything remotely like these ships. My guess is that this is one of the younger civilizations that has popped up since we left.”

    “Hmmm...” Nikolayev began, looking at the alien ship. “We'll keep an eye on them, but I want to try and access that old Reticulan probe before making any attempts at contact with these people, just in case they're also interested in it. My guess is that we have a more urgent need of the data contained in it then they do. Once we've secured the data or the probe, we'll open hailing frequencies.” he added, as the image of the alien ship continued to sail by on the viewscreen.

    ALIEN SHIP

    The ship held a low orbit over Gendalon Major's north pole, the large Class-M planet rotating below it.

    ALIEN SHIP BRIDGE

    The inside of the alien ship was just as strange-looking as the outside. The walls and contours of the room were all in variations of straight and sharp angles, and literally everything was colored in varying shades of purple, ranging from light lavender to dark purple, including the lighting and computer displays. This purple motif also carried over to the alien beings themselves – beings which were extremely physically imposing. The aliens were quite tall, compared to the average human – roughly seven feet tall – and were very robustly built. The aliens wore layers of extremely thick and shiny purple armor, which covered the bulk of their bodies. The very few bits of the alien's actual bodies that were visible between the layers of heavy armor, revealed a reptilian-like form of life – a thick scaly layer of purple skin, with yellow reptilian eyes. Their heads and faces bore some resemblance to 'raptor'-style dinosaurs from Earth, but these were obviously not dinosaurs. The alien's main viewscreen displayed a computer graphic of Gendalon Major, and their own ship, along with the Frontier and the old Reticulan probe, in orbit of the planet. Finally, the alien leader 'spoke', in a series of guttural snarls, growls and grunts.

    (translated from alien language) “Who are they, and why are they so interested in that old derelict probe in orbit? They've been scanning it for over an hour now.” the leader remarked, looking to the display on the screen.

    (translated from alien language) “Leader, we need the alloys and materials from that probe! The prices they will fetch will feed our families for at least another full cycle!” the alien leader's second in command stated.

    The alien leader nodded, still gazing at the computer readout.

    (translated from alien language) “We will watch them, and see what they do. If they make any moves for the probe, or send any scouting parties down to the planet below, we will deal with them.” the leader stated, as he reached for and picked up a weapon that was by his side...

    An energy rifle – an absolutely massive energy rifle. The rifle was made out of the same shiny purple armor that the aliens were wearing, and visually, the rifle looked extremely heavy and utterly lethal. It was clear that this thing had one purpose, and one purpose only – to utterly devastate and obliterate anything it came in contact with. And you could assume just by looking at it that somehow the resulting death would be neither quick nor painless.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The great ship sat in orbit of Gendalon Major, the bright white light of its star silhouetting the Reticulan probe that was also orbiting the planet, between the Frontier and the star.

    “Captain's Log – after a careful sensor study of the old Reticulan probe orbiting Gendalon Major, we've come to the conclusion that the best way to access the systems and data on board it, is through direct physical contact, interfacing with its on-board computer to download the data to a mobile storage unit. To that end, I am preparing to send an EVA team over to the probe in our runabout. The Frontier will of course be keeping close watch on our new alien friends orbiting the northern polar region.”

    MAIN SHUTTLEBAY

    The large doors to the massive primary hangar facility/launch bay of the Frontier slid open with a hefty sound, allowing a small Engineering team along with Doctor Rayza to enter the shuttlebay, and walk towards the large Starfleet craft parked a mere dozen feet away, waiting for them – the Danube-Class runabout, U.S.S. Wilder. As the team approached the Wilder, Razya tapped her communicator, signaling the Bridge.

    “Razya to Bridge – we're entering the Wilder, preparing to depart Frontier.” she reported.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Nikolayev and Jor shared a look, as Nikolayev pressed a button on his chair's arm console to reply.

    “Copy that, Doctor. Good luck. Let's just access that data module, and download what we can as fast as possible. I don't want you guys out there, exposed to that alien ship any longer than absolutely necessary.” he stated.

    “Understood. Rayza out.” she replied, over the comm system.

    “Sir, I have cleared the Wilder for launch.” Tactical Officer Lezar reported. “Runabout is away.”

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    In space, the large central door of the Main Shuttlebay slid open, allowing the large runabout to exit out into open space, as the craft executed a turn over the Frontier's starboard nacelle, and over the globe of Gendalon Major, heading forward towards the Reticulan probe in the distance.

    ALIEN SHIP

    The purple cross-shaped ship sat in orbit over the northern polar region of Gendalon Major.

    ALIEN SHIP BRIDGE

    The display on the alien's main viewscreen showed the image of the runabout Wilder angling towards the Reticulan probe, the large form of the U.S.S. Frontier in the distance behind it, like a protective big brother looking after its younger sibling.

    The alien leader sneered, revealing rows of razor-sharp white teeth, as it took in the sight of the Wilder heading for their prize.

    (translated from alien language) “So... now we know they do indeed have an interest in that old derelict probe.” he stated, mostly to himself.

    The leader's second in command worked his panel, regarding some incoming data, before looking up to the leader, to inform him of the readings.

    (translated from alien language) “Leader, I detect a total of six life-forms aboard that small craft.” he reported.

    (translated from alien language) “Prepare to alter course, and place all weapons systems on standby!” the leader ordered.

    U.S.S. WILDER – DANUBE-CLASS

    The runabout shot towards the Reticulan probe, which was growing larger through the forward windows of the runabout cabin. Rayza looked over the shoulders of the pilot and co-pilot, her hands on each of their chairs as she took in the instrument readings with them.

    “Looks like we've attracted the attention of that alien ship out there – it's altered course – heading for us.” the co-pilot stated, while the pilot opened a comm channel to Frontier.

    “Wilder to Frontier – that alien ship out there is on an intercept course for us. Do you want us to disengage, or continue on course?” the pilot asked.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Captain Nikolayev intently watched the viewscreen, which showed the small cross-shaped ship altering course and heading for the Wilder.

    “We see them, Wilder – and negative on a disengagement – continue with the mission. We've got your backs. Keep this channel open, and continue to report.” Nikolayev ordered, turning to address Lezar at Tactical. “Mister Lezar, put us on an intercept course – between the probe and that alien ship out there. Standby phasers, and open me a hailing frequency to the alien ship, all subspace channels and bands – begin broadcasting our universal greeting and hello message.” he added, looking back to the main viewscreen.

    ALIEN SHIP BRIDGE

    The leader looked to face his second in command as the second in command reacted to new incoming data on his panel.

    (translated from alien language) “Leader, we are receiving a general-band signal from the alien mothership – it appears to be some form of universal greeting, but none of the languages contained in it are known to us – they're all completely alien.” he stated, looking to the leader.

    (translated from alien language) “Begin to run it through our translation matrix. In the meantime, I bet they've armed their weapons systems, and have adjusted their course to intercept us. This could be merely a stalling tactic on their part.” the leader stated.

    (translated from alien language) “Yes, Leader – their weapons are armed, and they are on an intercept course!” the second in command confirmed, as the leader sneered, looking to the viewscreen.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Captain Nikolayev and Commander Jor stood by their seats as Tactical Officer Lezar reacted to a series of beeps from his panel.

    “Sir, incoming message from the alien ship, audio only.” he reported.

    “Let's hear it!” Nikolayev ordered.

    The ship's intercom speakers came to life, at first with a staticky-crackling sound, which gave way to the guttural grunts, hisses, and growls of the alien's language, which began to warble and distort as the Frontier's computer system tried to find a matrix match for the universal translator. Finally, clipped chunks of fragmented words in English began to filter through the jumble, until the computer had settled on a translation match, and the alien's words came in clearly.

    (translated from alien language) “- you must withdraw at once! This derelict probe is claimed by the Vralex! Disarm your weapons, recall your scouting party, and leave this system, or you will be fired upon!” the alien voice of the leader stated.

    Jor looked at Nikolayev as he took in the alien leader's words of warning, as he took a few steps forward, gazing at the scene playing out on the viewscreen.

    “Mister Lezar, open a channel to the Vralex ship.” Nikolayev ordered.

    “Aye, Sir.” Lezar acknowledged, opening the comm channel.

    “Attention, Vralex ship – this is Captain Yuri Nikolayev of the starship U.S.S. Frontier, representing the United Federation of Planets. We will be more than happy to allow you to take ownership of the alien probe in orbit. However, we are attempting to recover some data files contained within it. Aside from that, we have no interest in it, and will gladly surrender it to you, once our work with the data extraction is complete. We have no hostile intent towards you. Please acknowledge and reply.” he submitted, awaiting the Vralex's response, watching the alien ship draw closer to the runabout Wilder on the main viewscreen.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    In space, the Vralex ship shot towards the runabout Wilder, as the U.S.S. Frontier also began to close in on the area, aiming to put itself directly in the path between the Vralex ship and the Wilder.

    U.S.S. WILDER – DANUBE-CLASS

    The port-side door to the runabout slid open, allowing the three members of the EVA team to slowly exit the craft, and enter open space in their full EVA suits. Two Engineering crew and Doctor Rayza stepped out into space just as the Wilder came up right alongside the Reticulan probe, making a soft complete stop alongside it, allowing the EVA team to grab hold of the probe, and take position on board it, as the two Engineering crew began to open an access panel on the probe's exterior using a small laser tool.

    Doctor Rayza looked forward, ahead and over the top of the Wilder, to see the Vralex ship coming up fast towards them. The image was repeated in the glass of her EVA suit helmet, the reflection of the oncoming Vralex ship quickly filling up the glass visor.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The image on the screen showed the Vralex ship pass over the Wilder at extremely close range, 'buzzing' the runabout and the EVA team, as the image of the Vralex ship zoomed past the Frontier, disappearing off the side of the viewscreen.

    “Captain Nikolayev was not amused. He turned back to face his Tactical Officer as he sat back down in his chair, pressing some buttons on the armrest panel.

    “Sir!” Lezar began, reacting to some new readings on his panel. “The Vralex ship is coming around for another pass... they appear to be powering up their tractor beam – looks like they intend to try and secure the probe by force.”

    “Mister Lezar, target phasers on the location of their tractor beam emitter, and prepare to fire.” Nikolayev began, activating the intercom. “Bridge to away team, prepare for transport. Bridge to Transporter Room One, lock onto the EVA team, and transport them aboard!” he ordered, looking back to the main viewscreen.

    VRALEX SHIP

    In space, the cross-shaped purple ship maneuvered into position, making a fast pass towards the Reticulan probe, as the massive form of the U.S.S. Frontier loomed large ahead of the ship. The Vralex ship passed over the probe, and as it did, launched out a shimmering lavender tractor beam, which extended out to grab hold of the probe, as well as the EVA team members, who were thrown off the probe due to the violent action of it being grabbed by the tractor beam. The force of the tractor beam also pulled the EVA teams towards the Vralex ship.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    “Transporter Room, do you have them?” Nikolayev asked, his eyes wide as he watched his away team being pulled after the Vralex ship and probe by the tractor beam.

    “Not yet, Sir... I'm boosting the signal to the confinement beam” the Transporter Chief's comm voice replied.

    VRALEX SHIP

    The small purple ship shot over the globe of Gendalon Major, the tractor beam pulling the probe in closer to the ship, along with the EVA team from the Frontier. At the aft intersection of the vertical and horizontal boomerang sections, was a small pod bay, which was beginning top now open up to accept the incoming Reticulan probe, just as the three members of the EVA team were enveloped in transporter beams from the Frontier, vanishing in a shimmering curtain of silvery light. Just then, the purple glow of the Vralex's warp nacelles began to increase in intensity, and the Vralex ship shot itself into high warp, leaving behind only a quickly vanishing streak of brilliant purple light, ending with a pinpoint flash of white light in the far distance.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Nikolayev sat in his seat as he got the news from the Transporter Room over the intercom...

    “Transporter Room to Bridge, the away team is aboard, Sir.” the young man's voice reported.

    “Very good! Lock on to the Wilder, and beam it back into the Main Shuttlebay.” Nikolayev ordered, turning his attention to his CONN Officer. “Ensign, lay in a pursuit course for the Vralex ship – follow their warp trail. Once the Wilder is secured, engage at maximum warp!” he ordered.

    In space, the mighty Frontier angled about, and vaulted into high warp, vanishing in a long streak of white and blue light, leaving only a pinpoint flash behind, off in the distance.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The main viewscreen displayed the image of stars streaking by the ship at maximum warp, the Vralex ship a tiny cross-shaped form off in the far distance, dead-center of the vista on the screen.

    “Sir, we will overtake the Vralex ship in approximately twenty seconds. It looks like their warp drive is no match for ours.” the CONN Ensign reported.

    “Match their speed, Ensign.” Commander Jor ordered, looking to Nikolayev as he worked some buttons on an armrest panel.

    “Mister Lezar, ready a photon torpedo. I want that ship out of warp, now.” Nikolayev began. “We don't have torpedoes to waste, so I need their engines taken out with one shot. Can you do it?”

    “You bet, Sir.” Lezar returned, inputting the settings on his panel.

    The image on the viewscreen now displayed the Vralex ship's aft side, almost filling the screen, its warp nacelles alive with bright purple light as the warping stars flew by all around the ship.

    “At your discretion, Mister Lezar – let's get it right.” Nikolayev stated, waiting for his Tactical Officer to fire.

    Lezar focused on his Tactical display, inputting targeting coordinates and other pertinent information, before looking up to the viewscreen, his finger hovering barely above the firing button.

    “Torpedo... away!” he stated, his finger hitting the firing button, the sound of the photon torpedo launching filling the bridge, as on the viewscreen the single orange photon torpedo sailed through space, slamming directly into the starboard wing blade nacelle of the Vralex ship, causing a small explosion which caused the starboard nacelle to go totally offline, while the port nacelle's light began to flicker.

    On the screen, the stars in front of the Vralex ship shrank from streaks of light, to mere pinpoint dots of white light as the ship was forced out of subspace.

    VRALEX SHIP

    In space, the ship came to a slow drift from a falloff from full impulse speed, just as behind it, the U.S.S. Frontier shot out of high warp, sailing over the Vralex ship and overtaking it, eventually coming about in the far distance, and turning to face the Vralex ship, heading back towards it.

    VRALEX BRIDGE

    The leader faced the viewscreen, looking at the image of the mighty U.S.S. Frontier charging directly at it, his side lip curling, revealing his sharp teeth as he snarled in defiance.

    (translated from alien language) “Ready all disruptors, and initiate a strafing run along their dorsal axis!” he snarled.

    In space, the Vralex ship charged forward, racing towards and over the Frontier, spitting out bolts of bright violet energy, which struck the Frontier's shields.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The deck shook with each disruptor impact, causing lights and computer readouts to flicker, as the crew held onto their seats or stations for support.

    “Sir, that ship may be small and slow, but her weapons pack a punch! Our shields are holding, but that's a lot of firepower for a vessel of that size!” Lezar reported, the ship rocking again with another weapons hit.

    “Return fire – full phasers!” Commander Jor ordered.

    In space, the Frontier gave chase to the Vralex ship, spitting out orange phaser beams from all of her forward phaser banks, the multiple phaser beams scoring multiple accurate and direct hits on the Vralex ship's hull. Finally, one of the phaser strikes caused the Vralex's port nacelle to begin venting drive plasma, an increasingly long trail of smoke trailing from the nacelle as the Vralex ship attempted to make a run for it, heading in the direction of a distant Class-M planet.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The viewscreen displayed the image of the wounded Vralex ship making a run for the small Class-M planet in the distance.

    “Sir, they're making a run for that planet. They'll either crash-land there, or evacuate the ship and beam down.” the OPS Officer reported, looking to Nikolayev, who was standing behind her.

    “Let's stay with them. I intend to get some answers.” Nikolayev began, now turning to address Commander Jor. “Assemble an away team. Heavy security, armed with phaser rifles.” he ordered.

    “Aye, Sir.” Jor began, pausing as a thought came to him. “Sir, do you want Doctor Rayza to accompany us?”

    “No, thank you, Commander... I want her to remain here on the ship.” Nikolayev replied, looking back to the image of the fleeing Vralex ship on the screen as Commander Jor made his way to the turbolift.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The ship sailed into orbit of the small Class-M planet, the system's G-Type star shining bright in the distance.

    ALIEN PLANET SURFACE

    The midday sun shone bright over the mountain plateau, covered with green grass as the form of the crashed Vralex ship sat in the center of the plateau, a long dark gash of scored ground behind it, where the bottom half of the ship had dug into the ground when it crashed.

    Approximately six dozen feet away, a large group of figures began to materialize, shimmering curtains of silvery light announcing their arrival as the Frontier's away team materialized on the plateau, carrying phaser rifles.

    Instinctively, the security members of the away team all raised their rifles, sweeping in all directions to look out for any Vralex that might be waiting to ambush them, while Commander Jor and two of the science team members whipped out their tricorders, taking sensor sweeps of the area.

    From the surface of the plateau, the crashed Vralex ship towered over the away team like the Empire State Building, leaning dramatically to the right from the crash-landing.

    “Sir, I'm not showing any life signs on the tricorder, but for all we know, they could still be in the ship, and the hull could have some form of sensor-inhibiting properties.” one of the science team relayed.

    “Sir, the area seems secure, visually – do you want to proceed towards the vessel?” one of the security men asked.

    “Can anyone isolate the Reticulan probe on scanners?” Jor asked, looking to the science team members, who shook their heads in a negative response. “Very well... let's proceed towards that pod bay – maybe we can open or breach that door.” he added, leading the away team cautiously forward.

    As the away team moved forward towards the Vralex ship's aft side, a form began to gradually shimmer into visibility behind them, in a crouching position. As the figure became visible – a Vralex soldier in full heavy body armor, and his massive disruptor rifle already in aim at the away team, the tricorders on the away team came to life, beeping in warning, as Jor and the rest of the team turned to face their new visitor, just as two other Vralex soldiers also de-cloaked on either side of the first, their disruptor rifles also already in perfect aim at the away team.

    “SIR!” one of the security men called out, aiming his phaser rifle, and preparing to open fire.

    However, the Vralex were much quicker, and in literally the blink of an eye, the nature of the Frontier's newest threat made itself known to the away team, as before the security man could pull his rifle's trigger, the Vralex soldier fired his weapon, unleashing an energy beam with such lethal force that the Federation had truly never witnessed an energy weapon so completely brutal...

    The Vralex rifle's energy beam was multi-faceted... the primary central beam was a single and unbroken beam of brilliant lavender energy. That central beam was surrounded by a secondary enveloping beam of energy that was a corkscrew tendril of lavender energy, which not only had a 'serrated' look to it, like some sort of energy-based barbed-wire, but that also rotated around the central focused beam.

    The Vralex's beam instantly struck the security officer, the sheer force of the impact with his body knocking his own rifle from his hand while the entirety of his body was physically lifted up off the ground, the Vralex beam keeping his body held up in midair over a dozen feet above the ground, all the while the serrated corkscrew part of the Vralex energy beam physically drilling into the man's chest, literally ripping his body apart in midair, until the Vralex soldier pulled back more on the trigger, releasing the energy beam, and throwing the now-dead man's body backward into the air another dozen feet, until his body came crashing to the ground, a sickening mass of ripped-apart flesh, bones, and innards.

    As sickened as the away team was at the sight, instantly Commander Jor drew his own rifle, as the entire away team now began to return fire, while Jor struggled to find a moment to activate his communicator.

    “Jor to Frontier, we're under heavy fire here! Get us out of here, now!” he called, as a bolt from his own phaser rifle slammed into the center Vralex's body, throwing the Vralex back a good dozen feet.

    The away team began to fall back, forming a circle around their fallen comrade's body, as the Frontier's transporter beam enveloped them all, vanishing them from sight in a shower of silver light, while the Vralex soldiers made their way back toward their crashed vessel.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The ship sped through space at high warp, having abandoned the pursuit of the old Reticulan probe. By now, it was obvious that the cost of extracting what minute bits of information they possibly could was way too high, and the ship was moving on with its original mission now.

    SICKBAY

    The look on Captain Nikolayev's face was one of utter rage, as Doctor Rayza pulled back the white sheet covering the body of the dead security man for him to inspect. He had never seen any energy weapon do this to a body – ever. Not even anything he'd seen the Jem'Hadar use could have done so much physical damage to a body. He motioned with his hand for Rayza to once again cover the body.

    His emotional state was a mix of rage and regret – rage that the Vralex had done this to one of his crew. Sadness that he had just been witness to his crew's first casualty in the Andromeda Galaxy – sadness that he had indirectly caused that death, by wanting to pursue the retrieval of the Reticulan probe. He wanted to know who the hell these Vralex were, and what they wanted that made them so violent – at least what made their weaponry so brutal.

    “Sir... are we going back to Gendalon?” Rayza softly asked.

    “No.” Nikolayev began, not facing her. “I want to put as much distance between us and this region of space as possible.” he added, facing her. “What's next on the map?” he asked her, as she looked into his eyes.

    In space, the mighty Frontier shot through space at maximum warp, the stars streaking by the ship.

    “Captain's Log – what a fool I've been... I wanted to pursue the data contained within the old Reticulan probe we found orbiting Gendalon Major, but it was a pursuit that would come at too high a price, at least for me. The Vralex – the first alien species we've encountered in Andromeda, have attacked my ship and my people, killing one of them, in a shockingly brutal fashion. I've decided to abandon any study of Gendalon Major, and instead have set course for a region of space that the Reticulan database refers to as the Loxxon Reach – apparently there are several Class-M planets in that area that may be worthy of study.”

    READY-ROOM

    Nikolayev was trying desperately to somehow find some relaxation in his Ready-Room bunk, but to no avail. Sighing in frustration, he got up, walking to the wall replicator.

    “Cola.” he ordered, the replicator buzzing as the cold, dark beverage materialized on the small replication pad.

    He took the drink, sipping while he made his way to his desk, sitting down in his chair and activating the desktop computer, reviewing the stellar charts for the Loxxon Reach as he drank his cola. As usual, the door to his Ready-Room was wide open. He glanced in the direction of the front of the Bridge, part of the main viewscreen visible through his door, the image of the warping stars filling the screen, as a call came in from the Bridge over the intercom.

    “Bridge to Nikolayev.” the man's voice announced.

    “Go ahead.” he replied, tapping his communicator.

    “Sir, we'll be entering the Loxxon Reach in approximately one hour.”

    “Understood, thank you.” Nikolayev replied, again tapping his communicator.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    THE LOXXON REACH

    The mighty U.S.S. FRONTIER came streaking out of high warp, slowing to full impulse in a glide path towards a cluster of closely-spaced small rocky planets – closely spaced in astronomical terms, that is.

    The Frontier's lower forward torpedo launcher came to life, spitting out three projectiles that each went hurtling towards the cluster of planets, each one breaking formation after a few moments, and going in their own separate directions. They were Class-III science probes, launched to conduct sensor sweeps of the nearby planets.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The Bridge crew looked to the main viewscreen, which was displaying the image of the distant probes vanishing from view as they neared their planetary targets.

    “Sir, probes are transmitting perfectly – taking up position in synchronous orbit around each of the three planets.” Lezar reported from Tactical.

    “Let's see it.” Commander Jor ordered, as the image on the main viewscreen switched to a live false-color sensor telemetry feed from the lead probe, complete with LCARS callouts with a live data feed.

    “That's the feed from the lead probe, orbiting the closest of the three planets.” Lezar reported, working his console.

    Nikolayev and Jor took in the data feed from the probe, looking at the information on the screen with fascination.

    “Definitely not Class-M – no atmosphere or any life to speak of, but plenty of deep canyons and caverns. Could be a good candidate for shipyard or fabrication facility.” Nikolayev softly offered aloud.

    Jor nodded in silent agreement as the OPS Officer reacted to some beeps from her panel.

    “Sir, picking up a surge in subspace – something's coming out of warp.” she reported.

    In space, the Frontier drifted along at impulse, just as a warp flash signaled the arrival of a massive construct, which came streaking out of warp, instantly snapping into still form as it came to a mere low-impulse drift, a few hundred kilometers away from the Frontier, dwarfing it with its size.

    The alien construct was obviously mobile, but if it was a ship, it was one of the largest the Federation had ever seen – it was more like a small starbase, a mobile vehicle larger than a full Regula-Class station. In some ways, it resembled a Federation starbase, in the most basic general form – it had a primary top section that was like a mushroom, and the stalk/shaft section below the mushroom top section was quite long, coming to a rounded end. Trailing the aft end of the stalk/shaft section, were three “tail/tendril” appendages, placed evenly at points midway between the middle and end of the stalk/shaft. Finally, unlike a Federation starbase, this construct was oriented horizontally. Along the perimeter edge of the mushroom front/top section, were a series of evenly-spaced docking arms, many of which were occupied by a variety of small alien ships of differing design. The entire ship/station was a deep and dark red color, with areas of silver and silver striping.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    All eyes were glued to the viewscreen with curiosity as the massive alien ship/station drifted by the Frontier, seemingly oblivious to its presence, the aft end of the construct now coming into view, the entire aft ring of the mushroom section glowing with brilliant blue light – obviously the aft end of the mushroom section was one giant warp nacelle. Apparently these aliens didn't consider Frontier a threat.

    “Mister Lezar... open a hailing frequency.” Nikolayev instructed, not taking his eyes off the sight on the screen.

    “Aye, Sir... channel open.” Lezar replied, the sound of the frequency opening being heard.

    Nikolayev stepped forward towards the screen as he adjusted his shirt, taking a quick gulp.

    “This is Captain Yuri Nikolayev of the starship U.S.S. Frontier, representing the United Federation of Planets, to alien... vessel... or station. We are on a peaceful mission of exploration, and wish contact. Could you please identify yourselves?” he stated, waiting now for the the computers on both his ship and the alien construct to run the messages through the translation matrix, and hopefully come up with a match for a response.

    “Please let them not be hostile.” Jor whispered, just loud enough for Nikolayev to hear, sharing a look with Jor.

    After a agonizingly long few minutes, Lezar reacted to some beeps on his panel.

    “We're getting a response, Sir. It's audio only, but... it appears to be a... a recorded message, Sir.” he offered, as Nikolayev looked to him with curiosity.

    “Well... let's hear it, Mister Lezar.”

    “Aye, Sir.” Lezar replied, piping the recorded message through the speakers.

    “WELCOME – to Gourant's Traveling Rest Stop! Got a hungry crew? Need a part for your ship? Have a thirst that needs quenching? Or is it simple rest and relaxation you crave? Whatever your desire, search no more, and park your ship at one of our convenient docking ports, and enjoy the amenities of Gourant's Traveling Rest Stop! Best food in the Loxxon Reach, known as far away as the Tinziki Sector!” the message stated, cutting off suddenly.

    Nikolayev, Jor and the rest of the Bridge crew took in the lighthearted and enthusiastic message, Jor turning to the Captain.

    “Did we just get an invite on board that thing?” he asked.

    “I'm gonna assume we did, Commander.” Nikolayev replied, placing a hand on Jor's shoulder. “Let's not keep this 'Gourant' waiting.”

    GOURANT'S TREVELING REST STOP

    The massive mobile station sailed through space, the Frontier alongside it, dwarfed by the alien structure.

    CENTRAL HUB

    The area was quite large – obviously a place of mixed-use facilities – numerous alien food outlets, shops, as well as numerous individual aliens selling wares along the main thoroughfare walkways. The entire area was bustling with activity – aliens of every shape and size walking and rushing about, all talking, the air a jumble of unknown alien languages, the smokes and steams from the various alien foods being cooked filling the area.

    Once there was an opening in the bustling activity, a series of four shimmering curtains of light appeared, the Frontier away team materializing. Only a handful of aliens even bothered to glance in their direction, the locals obviously used to newcomers dropping in at any time.

    Jor already had his tricorder out, looking to Nikolayev.

    “I can't even begin to count the number of alien species on board this thing, Sir.” he stated, looking back at his tricorder's readings.

    Nikolayev looked around, focusing on the food establishments in front of them. After a moment, he noticed one alien in particular behind one of the counters motioning to him – obviously indicating for him and the away team to approach.

    “I think that fellow wants to meet us.” Nikolayev indicated, nodding in the direction of the alien as Jor and the security men followed him to the alien's establishment.

    The away team arrived at the alien's counter, just as the alien grabbed a series of beverage glasses, one glass in each of its four hands, as it wiped each glass with a towel with each hand. The alien's form was generally humanoid, but the being was a bit short and squat, and aside from having four arms and hands, had a basically humanoid face. However, the top of the alien's head was a large skin-covered bony crest, somewhat like that of a ceratopsian dinosaur, only with no horns or spikes. The alien's skin, body, face and crest, was blue in color, with medium to large blotches of black.

    “You look like you're new here.” the alien said.

    “We are.” Nikolayev replied. “And you look like you've had time to scan our linguistics database.”

    The alien set the glasses down behind the counter, smiling.

    “Guilty as charged.” it began. “I”m Gourant. Pleased to meet you.” he added, extending his two right hands for both Nikolayev and Jor to shake, and then the security men after.

    “You're Gourant? I thought you own this place? What are you doing behind a bar?” Jor asked.

    “I do own this facility. But I get bored just doing administrative things – I like to mingle with my visitors, meet new people and cultures. I like to talk to people and learn about them – why they're here, where they've been, who they are... all that stuff.” he offered.

    “Forgive me... Sir... but may I ask – what species are you?” Jor asked.

    “I'm a Trophilyte.” Gourant replied. “And you are...?”

    “I'm Human.” Nikolayev interjected. “This is Commander Jor, my First Officer, who is Bajoran.”

    “Ah, yes... you said you're from the Federation of something-something. Never heard of it.” Gourant stated.

    “Yeah... I wouldn't imagine you have.” Nikolayev began. “We're from your neighbor galaxy – the Milky Way.”

    “Fancy.” Gourant replied. “Well, you and your people are free to enjoy the hospitality of my facility. I don't know where you're going, but our course will take us through the Loxxon Reach to the outer fringe of the Zarnex Nebula. So... what can I get you to eat or drink?” he asked.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -



    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek ship shot through the Loxxon Reach at high warp, the stars streaking by the ship as long lines of white light.

    "Captain's Log - Finally... finally something goes right, here in the Andromeda Galaxy. Following our initial first contact with the alien Gourant, we have been introduced to over a dozen new alien species native to the Alpha Quadrant here, individuals from which have agreed to come aboard Frontier, so that we may learn from each other, and to also help act as guides for us as we journey through this region of space."

    BANQUET ROOM

    The room was abuzz with activity as Starfleet crew in full dress uniform mingled with various alien delegates of both humanoid and non-humanoid form, while along the aft wall of the room, an ensemble of Starfleet crew played classical music to help set the mood while others worked their way through the crowd, offering food and beverage to all.

    Captain Nikolayev and Commander Jor paused in front of a very tall non-humanoid being, which also paused beside them. The being could best be described as a nine-foot tall harvestman spider, but with only three legs, arranged in a tripod fashion. The being, though standing still, was sort of 'swaying' gently from side-to-side as it stood. Upon spotting Doctor Rayza in the crowd, Nikolayev motioned for her to join them.

    "Ah, Doctor Rayza, good. I'd like to introduce you to this fine individual - a member of the Hyrii species." Nikolayev introduced, looking to the tall spider-like alien beside them. "His name is unpronounceable in English." he added, apologetically. "But our Doctor Rayza here is Reticulan - originally from this galaxy, unlike the rest of us from this vessel."

    The Hyrii being lowered the front of it's body a bit, angling it down towards Rayza, in its own version of a courteous bow, while Rayza nodded in respect to the alien.

    "He's been telling us a few things about the Vralex, from what his own people know of them." Jor added, as the Hyrii emitted a series of clicking/chirping sounds, causing the white jewel on a small necklace around its body to glow as it spoke, eventually converting the clicks and chirps into English.

    "I was explaining why the purple. All is purple - they are all purple." it began.

    "Everything about them - their ships, their armor, weapons, computer interfaces - literally everything Vralex is within the purple color palette, and the reason is quite fascinating." Nikolayev interjected.

    "It is the only part of the color spectrum their eyes can discern." the Hyrii delegate added, clicking. "They are otherwise a colorblind species."

    "Fascinating." Rayza agreed. "Do you know where they're from?" she asked.

    "Unfortunately, no - my people have not had much contact with them at all. Most of what we know comes from the word-of-mouth of other races who have had much more dealings with them. However, it is widely rumored that their home planet is in the Beta Quadrant." the Hyrii explained.

    "If that's true, then that would mean our encounter with them was an anomaly, as Gendalon Major is about as far away from that area of space as you can get here. I wonder what they were doing so far out from their home system?" Rayza wondered aloud.

    As if in reply to her question, another alien representative walked up to the four, allowing the Hyrii to gracefully excuse itself. This alien was completely humanoid - a tall and slender dark-skinned man, draped in flowing white robes and a head-wrap. The man immediately spoke up, answering her question.

    "They were out here because they had to be - they're a race of pirates." the man began, extending his hand. "Jolex Zar, of the Zendawi." he added, shaking Rayza's hand. "They travel the galaxy, looking for anything of value to steal and then sell - the only thing they won't sell is food and water - they keep that for themselves. Anything else goes. My guess is that the crew of the ship you encountered was in a dry spell, and had gotten desperate, forcing them to venture beyond their normal range, in search of something that would have value to them."

    Rayza and the others nodded in understanding. Commander Jor was about to ask a question, when a call came through from the Bridge.

    "Bridge to Captain." the young man's comm voice announced.

    "Nikolayev - go ahead." he stated, tapping his communicator.

    "Sir, our translator just finished decoding a distress call Sir - general subspace band. An alien vessel is claiming to be under attack. They're requesting assistance from any friendly vessels in the area." the man explained.

    "Very well. Commander Jor and I are on our way. Set a course for the source of the distress signal, and engage at maximum warp." Nikolayev ordered, nodding to the Zendawi delegate as he and Jor excused themselves.

    In space, the mighty Frontier angled about, adjusting course heading, warping off in the direction of the new alien distress signal.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The turbolift doors slid open, allowing Nikolayev and Jor to step onto the Bridge, as Lieutenant Commander Lezar relayed some data to the men from his tactical console.

    "Sir, we're nearing the source of the distress signal. I'm reading three ships - two of unknown alien design, the other Vralex - identical in type to the one we encountered at Gendalon, Sir. Entering visual range now." he reported.

    "On screen." Jor ordered.

    The screen switched from the view of warping stars to a view looking down upon three alien ships, one of which was one of the small cross-shaped Vralex ships. The other two ships were also small - no larger than a Starfleet Defiant-Class ship, and were both a bright red color. Both of the red ships were being dealt heavy blows by the Vralex ship. One of the red alien ships took some hits to its dorsal side, which caused its shields to finally flicker off, falling to the Vralex weapons.

    "Sir, those two ships won't last much longer - the one ship's shields are gone, and I'm now reading power fluctuations in their engine core. If they don't stabilize, their core is gonna go critical." Lezar reported. "They're sending out another distress call."

    "Let's hear it!" Nikolayev ordered, sitting down in the command seat.

    The distress call came through the speakers in a badly fritzed and garbled state, but enough chunks of it were discernible.

    "T-is is the T-lorian --ip Ultridies, to any friendly vessel. We are -nd-r atta-k from a Vralex -irate Gunship. We can't hold out much longer, and re-ire ass-stance." the message stated, in a desperate voice.

    Nikolayev steepled his fingers as he thought about the repercussions of what he was about to do - or not do next, as Jor looked to him. Finally, he put on a look of resolve, tugging down on his uniform shirt as he gave his instructions to Tactical.

    "Mister Lezar, raise our shields, and ready both phasers and photon torpedoes. All hands, Red Alert!" he called out, the Red Alert klaxon sounding as the lights went dim, with a dominant red glow. "Open me a channel - general-band."

    "Aye, Sir - channel open." Lezar confirmed.

    "This is Captain Yuri Nikolayev of the Federation Starship U.S.S. Frontier, to attacking Vralex ship - stand down and power down your weapons, or you will be fired upon!" he sternly warned, awaiting a reply.

    "SIR!" Lezar exclaimed, as Nikolayev and Jor looked to the screen, just in time to see the red ship that had taken the shield damage explode into a huge bubble of fire and debris, which rapidly expanded outward in all directions.

    "Mister Lezar, target that Vralex ship - take 'em out." Nikolayev ordered.

    "Aye, Sir." Lezar replied, pressing buttons on his console.

    In space, the Frontier angled towards the Vralex ship, letting loose a fiery barrage of phaser fire, beams lancing out into space from all of the ventral banks on the ship, striking the Vralex ship, causing the purple cross-shaped ship to break off its attack of the lone remaining red ship, and turn to fire on the Frontier.

    The Vralex ship barreled towards the Frontier, as if to play chicken with it, just as two photon torpedoes from Frontier slammed directly into the face of the Vralex ship, blowing it apart in an explosion of fire and debris, as Frontier sailed right through the explosion, heading for the remaining red alien ship.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Nikolayev sat in his chair, confident that now the Vralex had been put on notice not to mess with his ship or crew, as the red alien ship grew larger on the main viewscreen.

    "Sir, we're being hailed by the alien ship - audio only." Lezar stated.

    "Let's have it." Nikolayev ordered.

    "This is Captain Henti Jezereth, of the Republican Guard Ship Ultridies, representing the Tylorian Republic. I apologize for the lack of visual communications, but our visual systems were damaged during the attack. Whoever you are, thank you - thank you. We are in your debt." the voice said, noticeably choked up.

    Nikolayev got up, straightening his shirt as he gave his reply.

    "This is Captain Yuri Nikolayev, of the Federation Starship Frontier, representing the United Federation of Planets. You're quite welcome for the help. It is our duty to render humanitarian aid, whenever it's requested. Your people seem to have some issue with the Vralex. We'd love to welcome you as guests on board our ship, and discuss matters further." he offered.

    "I'd - we'd really like that, Captain. We look forward to meeting you." Jezereth's comm voice replied.



    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek ship sailed through space at impulse speed, flanked on its starboard side by the much smaller red Tylorian ship Ultridies.

    CONFERENCE LOUNGE

    Captain Nikolayev, Commander Jor, Lieutenant Commander Lezar, Lieutenant Commander Parsons and Doctor Rayza sat at the table across from the delegation of two Tylorian men. The Tylorians were humanoid - six feet tall, with grayish skin, which was covered on the sides by prominent freckles, much like those on a Trill, only the Tylorian freckles were various shades of various pastel colors. The lips of the Tylorians was a kind of light yellowish-green color. Perhaps the most striking feature of the Tylorians was their hair - the hair was extremely coarse - more like quills than human hair, and apparently, when the Tylorians were anxious or excited, their 'hair' would literally raise itself upwards, much like the crest on an Earth cockatiel bird, as Nikolayev, Jor and Lezar witnessed when the Tylorians first materialized on the Frontier's transporter pad.

    "So, now that we're all seated here, allow me to formally welcome you aboard Frontier." Nikolayev began, indicating to Parsons and Rayza. "You've already met my First Officer and Tactical Officer, but allow me to introduce you to my Chief Engineer, Richard parsons, and my Chief Medical officer, Doctor Rayza." he added, as both Parsons and Rayza nodded to the men in respectful greeting.

    "An honor, Captain." Captain Jezereth started, facing Parsons and Rayza. "Captain Henti Jezereth, and my own First Officer, Commander Nygrek Xintadi, of the Tylorian Republic. We cannot tell you how thankful we are that you came to our assistance. You have no idea what the Republic is going through with the Vralex."

    Nikolayev leaned forward a bit in his chair.

    "I'll have to be honest, Captain... we don't have much experience with the Vralex - we just arrived in your galaxy a short time ago. But in the time we've been here, the Vralex has assaulted this ship, and murdered a member of my crew. We've been able to obtain bits and pieces of information about them, but nothing really substantial. If you'd care to elaborate, anything would be helpful." Nikolayev stated.

    "You're not from this galaxy?" Jezereth asked. "How did you get there?"

    "No, we're from your companion galaxy, which my people refer to as the Milky Way. We traveled here using a transwarp slisptream drive that was loaned to us by an allied species." Nikolayev replied.

    "That would explain why we haven't heard of your 'United Federation of Planets' - it sounds like something that would be quite vast, but from our perspective, your Federation literally exploded onto the scene, when you destroyed that Vralex ship that was attacking us." Xintadi stated.

    "The Federation is made up of over one hundred and fifty member worlds, and over two dozen protectorate worlds." Jor explained.

    "That sounds like our Republic. The Tylorian Republic is a large joint-interstellar community of member worlds. It was started when our people made contact with the only other intelligent life form in our system - the Fflong, who reside on our system's second planet. They co-founded the Republic with us. We now have eight other member species - the Glight, the Gretharians, the Hyrii, the Lorendi, the Steen, the Stroth, the Yunat, and the Zendawi. There are other species who have been interested in joining the Republic, but our war with the Vralex has consumed all of our resources and time. Our mission charter used to be peaceful exploration. Now, the Vralex have forced us to adopt a military agenda. The Republican Guard fleet used to be comprised of larger ships - deep space explorers - ships of science and learning, devoted to the pursuit of knowledge. Those vessels were all lost in the war, fighting the Vralex. Our economy hasn't been able to afford the time or expense of building larger ships during the war, so we've been forced to focus on building much smaller, faster, more agile ships, like the Anatoray-Class ship I command, the Ultridies." Jezereth stated.

    "We've heard that the Vralex are pirates. Is this true?" Commander Jor asked.

    "Oh, yes... it's quite true." Xintadi began. "That's why they're at war with us. You see, our planet - Tyloria Prime - is incredibly rich in natural resources - resources the Vralex desperately want. But they weren't willing to go through a set process to attain those resources. Four years ago, a delegation of Vralex contacted our government about securing numerous assets from our planet. We told them that we could meet some of their demand, but not all of it, and that there would have to be a review process to determine how those resources would be used by the Vralex, and so on. They were impatient, and didn't want to wait. In anger, and as a demonstration of their resolve and power, they murdered five of our council members in full open council, for all the Republic to see. we took that as a declaration of war on their part, and we've been fighting them ever since. If one of your crew was murdered by them, I'm sure you've seen for yourself, the devastation their rifles can cause." he explained, as Nikolayev and Jor nodded.

    "You see," Jezereth began. "The Vralex are a species living in constant poverty and destitution. Their homeworld is in the Beta Quadrant - a dry, barren wasteland of a rock called Karnat Prime. Karnat Prime used to be a lush planet, absolutely overflowing with life and water. But in their history, the Vralex plundered the resources of their own planet until there was nothing left. They had nowhere else to turn but to piracy. They devoted what precious few resources they did have left to building up a space military, which they used to plunder and conquer. Their main class of space vessel is their small Pirate Gunship - the cross-shaped ships, like the one that attacked my ship and yours. Put simply, the Vralex are desperate - starvation and famine has gripped their world, and they're literally fighting for their lives." he added.

    "I really wish we had encountered you long ago." Xintadi began. "Our war with the Vralex is quite frankly, almost at an end. We have maybe a dozen ships left in our fleet, and that's it. Our Strategic Command anticipates that the next Varlex incursion will hit the Tylorian System directly, where they'll very likely overwhelm our forces, and wipe our remaining fleet and planetary defenses out. At that point, the Tylorian Republic will fall." he added, causing Jezereth to lower his head in resignation to the sad reality.

    Nikolayev and Jor shared a knowing look.

    "Yeah... that sounds all too familiar. Our Federation and its allies have been embroiled in a similar war. In fact, that's pretty much the reason we're here in your galaxy - we came here on an exploratory expedition, hoping to locate suitable planets for possible Federation colonization, should the Federation fall to the Dominion, which in all likelihood, seems inevitable. Before we left, Starfleet Command estimated it would be only a month before the Dominion penetrates the inner core worlds of the UFP, and strikes Earth directly. As far as we know, our Federation is already gone. Unfortunately, we can't do anything about it now, since we've been stranded here, our transwarp drive having been sabotaged on the way here." Nikolayev offered.

    Jezereth and Xintadi shared a look, before again facing the Frontier crew across from them.

    "Captain, we're only about two day's travel from Tyloria Prime at maximum warp. We'd like to thank you properly for helping us. Would you accompany us home, and meet with others from the Republic? If anything, we'd like to offer you the hospitality of our planet - allow your crew to get some fresh air, and stretch their legs under an open sky. I know for a fact that Carthax Pentique would love to meet your people." Jezereth offered.

    "Carthax Pentique?" Jor asked.

    "Our President." Xintadi replied.

    Jor looked to Nikolayev, who lightly drummed his fingers on the conference table, taking in the offer from the Tylorians.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -




    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The great ship sailed through space at high warp, the Tylorian ship Ultridies sailing alongside it.

    READY-ROOM

    Nikolayev sat at his desk, pouring over readouts on his computer as well as going over various PADDs of information, handing some of them to Commander Jor, who sat across from him.

    "Interesting." Jor began, reacting to the data on the PADD he was given. "The Federation doesn't have any member planets like this."

    "Indeed." Nikolayev began, looking to face Jor. "Their home planet seems to be a sort of astronomical anomaly. A moon of a gas giant - ringed moon at that, and one with its own moon as well. Tyloria Prime is Class-M - Earth-sized, with a stable ring system, and somehow has managed to obtain its own moon with a stable orbit."

    "Well, that means their planet must be orbiting the gas giant in a gravitational sweet spot - maintaining an exact delicate distance and orientation to the gas giant so that the rings and moon aren't ripped away from Tyloria Prime." Jor speculated.

    "That's what I'm thinking as well." Nikolayev agreed. "The gravitational relationship with Tyloria III - the gas giant - could be what prevents any of the objects that make up the rings from raining down to the surface of Tyloria Prime... maybe Tyloria III keeps the whole thing in check somehow." he added, noticing that Jor couldn't help but smile. "What is it?" he asked, referring to his widening smile.

    "This is it." Jor began. "This is what we're out here for - to seek out and explore strange new worlds. This one definitely qualifies and strange and new. It's unlike anything the Federation has encountered as of yet. Federation scientists would go nuts over the Tylorian System."

    Nikolayev couldn't help but share his First Officer's smile, agreeing that this was indeed a welcome and refreshing return to their original mission of exploration and discovery. He returned to scanning through PADDwork as the intercom came to life with a call from the Bridge.

    "Lezar to Captain." announced the comm voice.

    "Go ahead." Nikolayev replied, with a tap of his communicator.

    "Sir, sensors are reading some unusual chrono-quantum energy signatures emanating from a small planetoid in a system two parsecs away." Lezar reported.

    "Alter course to investigate. Hail the Tylorian ship and inform Captain Jezereth that we'll be taking a short detour." Nikolayev instructed.

    In space, the Frontier and Ultridies dropped out of warp, coming to an impulse glide facing a small planetoid that sat directly ahead in the distance.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Nikolayev and Jor took in the sight of the planetoid on the main viewscreen as it slowly rotated in space.

    "Report." Jor instructed.

    "Sir, the planetoid has an atmosphere, but it's extremely thin - it won't support an away team without EVA suits. I'm not reading any life-forms on the surface. The planetoid seems abandoned and barren." the Ensign at OPS reported.

    "Sir, the chrono-quantum readings appear to originate from a rock formation on the northern hemisphere." Lezar reported.

    Nikolayev eyed the planetoid on the screen as he made his decision.

    "Very well. Commander Jor, you, Mister Lezar and Doctor Rayza are with me. Let's suit up and meet in Transporter Room One. Mister Lezar, inform the Tylorians that they're welcome to join our away team, if they wish." Nikolayev began, tapping his communicator. "Doctor Rayza, report to Transporter Room One in EVA suit for away team duty."

    In space, the Frontier and Ultridies held a low orbit above the small planetoid.

    PLANETOID SURFACE

    The surface of the planet was rocky and barren as the away team materialized in EVA suits, along with the Tylorian party, which was just Captain Jezereth and Commander Xintadi, both in their own Tylorian EVA suits. The sky was dark, providing a nighttime feel, since the system's star was a small red dwarf star which didn't provide much illumination, and was quite distant from this planetoid.

    All members of both away teams took out their scanning devices, the Frontier party using their tricorders to record and scan the area's data as they slowly walked towards a large outcropping of vertical stone.

    "Sir," Lezar began. "The energy signatures are coming from this rockface. But it's more accurate to say that the signatures are coming from within it - it seems that whatever is producing the energy signatures has been encased over by rock over time." he added.

    "Can we expose whatever's underneath the rock?" Jor asked.

    Lezar worked his tricorder before giving his reply.

    "Aye, Sir, we can. I believe that a phaser burst of about five seconds at medium setting will be enough to vaporize the rock encasing the object." he offered.

    Jor took out his phaser, adjusting the power setting as he aimed it directly at the rockface, pressing the trigger and opening fire.

    The rock began to glow hot red before vaporizing, as Jor deactivated his phaser. The object which was revealed was best described as a large ring of stone - a sort of lopsided doughnut shape, which rested upon a pedestal flanked by two Greco-Roman-looking stone columns.

    The reaction from Doctor Rayza was instant...

    "No..." she began, shocked.

    "Doctor?" Nikolayev asked, turning to face Rayza.

    "It can't be... we had... we'd thought we had all of these destroyed." she exclaimed.

    "What is it?" Jor asked.

    As if in answer to his question, the lopsided ring of stone suddenly came to life, with glowing white light which seemed to come from within the stone itself, as a powerful voice boomed an echoing reply...

    "I am the Guardian of Forever." it announced.




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  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
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    PLANETOID SURFACE

    The two away teams stood before the Guardian of Forever, transfixed by the sight of the ancient oracle before them.

    Nikolayev shot Rayza a puzzled look.

    "Why would the Reticulans have these destroyed? Are they weapons?" he asked.

    "No, they're not. But the Dominion used at least one of them as weapons." Rayza began. "If you remember, I told you that the Dominion used technologies such as the Iconian Gateways, as well as similar technologies, to traverse the galactic distances and hunt us down. This was one of the similar technologies. We couldn't take the chance that the Dominion would find them all and use them against us, so we destroyed every one that we could find." she explained.

    "A question. For many eons, I have awaited a question." the Guardian's voice boomed loudly.

    Suddenly, Jor began to remember something that the Changeling had said before Rayza killed it.

    "The Guardians don't lie..." Jor softly stated aloud, as Nikolayev looked to him. "That's what the Changeling said to us before Rayza killed it. It must have something to do with something it saw from one of these Guardians." he added.

    Nikolayev looked back to the Guardian, taking a few steps closer to it.

    "I have a question - why are we here?"

    "So that I may deliver a message. Behold." the Guardian boomed in response.

    Suddenly, the center of the oracle began to mist up, holographic images displaying themselves upon the mist - images from the distant past of the Andromeda Galaxy - the history of the Reticulan Star League, and the rise of the Dominion... the images were flying by quickly... the first Reticulan solar system, and the first Reticulan home planet. The Reticulan fleets expanding out into deep space, the Guild of Elders establishing the Reticulan Star League, and the setting up of various League colonies, which included the slave labor to establish the colonies with... the gathering of Changelings.

    The images began to depict colony sites, as Reticulan taskmasters, called Founders, ordered the Changelings to assume whatever form they ordered them to... Changelings toiling through all hours, mining, building, etc. Suddenly, within one of the records, a group of Changelings began to ascend up a hill, and revolt against the Reticulan Founders, killing them, and using the Reticulan ship to escape from the world.

    The records then began to show what the Changelings did next...

    Changelings studying parts of the Reticulan ship and other technology, and reverse-engineering it... the first Changeling-built starships... the face of the Female Shapeshifter... a Changeling scientist with a vial of DNA-enhancing substance, a pale lavender in color... a Vorta... a graphic representation of a string of Jem'Hadar DNA... a young Jem'Hadar in a cloning facility... the emblem of the Dominion.

    Suddenly, the images shifted back to outer space...

    An unsuspecting Reticulan starship is suddenly ambushed and destroyed, by a small starship, with varying tones of dark violet coloring on the hull, and firing white beams... phase-polaron beams, with purple engine lights... an early Dominion starship.

    More Dominion assaults on Reticulan targets... the Reticulan-Dominion War has begun. Entire fleets of Reticulan and Dominion ships war with one another, throughout the Andromeda Galaxy... a Dominion fleet orbits a planet... on the surface, thousands of Jem'Hadar troops storm through a city, slaughtering any and all Reticulans in sight, thousands falling dead. In orbit, the Dominion fleet opens fire on the world, causing colossal explosions to ripple out upon the surface, devastating the globe and killing the population... Reticulus Prime, as the entire Dominion fleet surrounds the entire planet... the Dominion fleet opens fire on the world as a massive exodus fleet of Reticulan ships flees, just as the Reticulan homeworld is totally destroyed.

    A lone group of five Reticulan ships... on one of the ships in a medical lab, a Reticulan scientist holds up a vial, as a monitor in the background shows a rotating image of a strand of DNA... HUMAN DNA... a lone Reticulan ship sails through the long dark void of the Great Divide, the Milky Way Galaxy visible in the far distance... after a long moment, the lone ship is followed by four more Reticulan ships... one ship enters orbit of Cardassia Prime... another nears the Klingon Homeworld. One orbits Romulus, and another settles into orbit of what will become Zeta Reticuli. The last ship settles into orbit of a planet with a vast supercontinent... Earth. On Earth, the Female Progenitor deposits the Reticulan information, before beaming back to the ship in orbit.

    Images of the new Dominion homeworld, in the Milky Way's Gamma Quadrant... in the Omarion Nebula.

    The images then began to tell the rest of the story... the away team watched, stunned, as the images flew by... The U.S.S. Quasar and the Entomalian fleet at Deep Space Nine in orbit of Bajor, the very first encounter with the Dominion... the Jem'Hadar ships firing on the E.I.V. Feliz-Dat, killing Prime Minister Mraz. Queen T'Zek's message declaring war on the Dominion. The Gorn attack on Earth. The image of three Gorn Generals shaking hands with a Vorta Ambassador. President Melek looking over the casket containing the body of President Tyra Winters, a UFP flag draped over it. Images of Cardassian ships doing battle with small Maquis ships and Klingon Birds-of-Prey. A Romulan Warbird and Gowron's Negh'Var firing in unison on the Duras Family's Vor'Cha, destroying it. The destruction of Zeta Reticuli by the Dominion fleet. The Allied fleets leaving DS9 for the wormhole, en route to the Big Borg Battle. The Big Borg Battle itself. The destruction of Entomalius Prime, the Battle of Betazed, and the Rigel Campaigns. Finally, the images began to draw the darkest picture... the total destruction of Coridan, Tellar, Andor, and Vulcan, by the Borg and Dominion fleets. Finally, the scenes came to Earth... the entire Federation fleet assembled to face the invincible Dominion forces. The Dominion fleets totally devastating the Starfleet, smashing the entire fleet with horrifying speed. The Borg Cubes moving into position and opening fire on Earth itself, drilling into the cradle of humanity until all that was left of paradise incarnate was a rotating ball of molten rock, which itself exploded, sending massive chunks of molten rock into space.

    The last image had a visible physical impact on Nikolayev, who stumbled backward, falling back onto the ground, shocked.

    "NO!" he cried, beginning to sob, as Jor and the others stood shell-shocked that they had just bore witness to the complete and total fall of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy at the hands of the Dominion - the complete annihilation of the United Federation of Planets.

    Captain Jezereth looked at Nikolayev with pity and sympathy in his eyes, as he watched the man break down in front of everyone, crying like a child.

    Nikolayev began to utter words, broken by sobs.

    "No... it can't be... T'Zek... she was going to... her mission... no... not Earth..." He cried.

    Suddenly, the Guardian's lights began to flicker, as new holographic images began to form within the misty center.

    "All is not as it was. Behold." the Guardian loudly boomed, prompting Nikolayev and the others to look at the new images playing out in the mist...

    The new images began from the point of the Big Borg Battle. But this time, things were different...

    The away team watched as Queen T'Zek's restoration fleet came out of warp, and saw the mighty E.I.V. Traz come streaking out of warp, smashing through the center of the Borg Queen's Cube, totally obliterating it and moving triumphantly onward. They watched as the entire fleet of hundreds of thousands of ships plus the original native Entomalian fleet, moved to once again enter the fray. The fleets began to bring down the Dominion fleets with unbelievable speed and ease... before the enemy knew what was happening, almost half the Borg fleet had been totally demolished and the Dominion ships were running for dear life while some of the new Entomalian ships flew after them, unwilling to let them get away.

    The images then moved on...

    The away teams watched as the Female Shapeshifter signed the surrender papers, handing the PADD to President Melek, before being led away by a team of Starfleet security, and Entomalian Royal Guardsmen. The message then ended.

    "All is as should be." The Guardian boomed.

    The look on Nikolayev's face was one of utter relief and joy, as he began to put the pieces of the puzzle together, rising to his feet again.

    "Of course... that's it!" He began. "The Dominion must have viewed the original version of the message... the one from the timeline before T'Zek's mission. The Dominion KNEW it was going to win the war all along... this was what they were basing that on... they took this information to be literal... like a manifest destiny, if you will!" He said, turning to Rayza. They saw the future and went with it... but they did not... they could not, have imagined that one mind... one woman, would develop a plan to alter all of that and change history!" He said.




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  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek ship sailed through space at high warp, the Tylorian ship Ultridies sailing alongside it, both ships on their way to Tylorian space.

    "Captain's Log - following our encounter with what according to Doctor Rayza says is one of the last surviving Guardians of Forever, if not the last surviving one, we are proceeding on course for Tylorian space, where we have been invited by our new friends to meet with the President of the Tylorian Republic, as well as delegates from their various member planets. I find myself filled with a profound sense of relief and joy that Queen T'Zek was successful in her restoration mission, ending the Dominion War in the Milky Way. The original alternative presented by the Guardian of Forever was simply too much to bear. However, now that Queen T'Zek has in fact succeeded in her mission, it falls on me to now fully disclose the consequences of her mission and its impact on our ship and its mission to the rest of the crew. I'm not sure exactly how to accomplish this task, but somehow I'll find the words."

    PRIMARY CREW LOUNGE

    Captain Nikolayev stood at the center of the vast room, flanked on either side by Commander Jor and Doctor Rayza, the only other members of the crew who had inside knowledge of Queen T'Zek's restoration mission, having been briefed on it by Starfleet Intelligence prior to leaving for Andromeda. At the far right side of the room, Captain Jezereth and Commander Xintadi stood by the wooded double doors, looking on. On the wall above the bar behind them, was a large viewscreen monitor, which for the moment, was displaying a static image of the UFP seal, along with the ship's name and registry number written below the seal. Nikolayev loudly cleared his throat, signaling to the assembled crew to come to attention as he took in the sight of his ship's crew, preparing to address them.

    "Attention, ship's crew of the U.S.S. Frontier - welcome, and thank you for coming. I have asked you here so that I can fully disclose some information which you should know." he began. "As you all know, when we left the Milky Way, the state of affairs was very dire for the Federation and the Alpha and Beta Quadrants in general. Starfleet projected that the Dominion and its allies would reach and take Earth within a month after we left. What you don't know - what was deemed classified by Starfleet Intelligence - was that Queen T'Zek of the Entomalian Empire, had devised a plan to end the Dominion War and restore the state of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants to a pre-Big Borg Battle state. However, her plan did not have the endorsement of President Melek, as it stood in direct violation of the Prime Directive. Queen T'Zek's plan was to amass a great fleet, made up from allies she made from various parallel universes the Empire encountered within the past few years. Once assembled, these fleets would join forces, combining their technology. The combined fleet would then travel back in time to the site of the Big Borg Battle, where it would descend on the Dominion and Borg fleets, hopefully decimating them with their new combined technologies. The idea was that every single ship, every single weapon, every single shield, would be in a constant state of chrono-quantum flux, which in theory, would make it nearly impossible for the Dominion and Borg forces to adapt to the new onslaught." he continued, as various members of the crew softly remarked to each other on the new revelations.

    "However, her plan came with an unusual side-effect." Commander Jor began, taking a step forward. "Because we now know that Queen T'Zek succeeded in her mission, that means that there are now two of every person and every ship that participated in her mission - a version from the original timeline, and a version that came back in time with her fleet - and that includes our ship and crew." he explained, the crew wearing looks of confusion.

    Doctor Rayza now stepped forward, addressing the crew.

    "Prior to leaving Seran T-3, the Frontier was fitted with chrono-quantum stabilizers, which are designed to keep our ship anchored in the original chrono-quantum signature of the original timeline. The inoculations you all received when you came on board included a blood-borne version of this stabilization agent. Our ship and crew is shielded from any changed made to the timeline resulting from Queen T'Zek's mission." she explained.

    "Sir!" One of the young male Ensigns asked, raising his hand in the crowd. "Permission to speak freely?"

    "Always." Nikolayev called back, awaiting the man's question.

    "Sir, if Queen T'Zek had a plan to end the war, and restore the state of affairs, why were we launched, with this mission? Why couldn't we have just waited for her to carry out her mission?" he asked, as a few other nodded in agreement.

    "Because, Ensign... it is as I said - President Melek rejected her proposal, as it violated the Prime Directive. President Melek felt he couldn't condone such a blunt modification to the timeline, in effect, changing history. This mission - our mission, was his plan - Melek's plan. He wanted us to have a fighting chance, in case all else failed." Nikolayev explained. "However, now that we know Queen T'Zek succeeded, we're now left with the question of just how to proceed here in Andromeda, now that we're stuck here - for better of for worse, Andromeda is now our home. But before we go any further, we'd like to share with you the images we obtained from the Guardian of Forever, confirming Queen T'Zek's victory." he added, pressing a couple buttons on a data PADD he was holding as he looked up to the large viewscreen, the rest of the crew following his gaze.

    The image of the UFP seal and text was replaced by video footage from Commander Jor's tricorder, which had recorded the holographic history presented by the Guardian. The Frontier crew watched, stunned, as they took in the images being presented to them. Their collective reaction one of shock and sorrow upon seeing the fall of the UFP and Earth, and then changing to one of elation and excitement at witnessing Queen T'Zek's mighty new flagship, the E.I.V. Traz, literally smashing through the Borg Queen's Cube as it came streaking out of high warp, like a dagger being driven at full force through the heart of an enemy, as the Borg Queen's ship exploded outward in a huge blast of fire and debris, while the rest of the restoration fleet devastated the Dominion and Borg forces with blinding speed. An uproar of cheers and applause at the retreat of the Borg fleet, and the sight of the Female Shapeshifter surrendering to Queen T'Zek and President Melek.

    Nikolayev allowed his crew to have this moment - indulging in the uproarious cheers, whoops of approval and applause, before pressing some buttons on the PADD again, causing the viewscreen's display to return to the static image of the UFP seal and text as he turned to face his crew.

    "You have just witnessed Queen T'Zek's triumphant victory over the Dominion and its dark allies. The Big Borg Battle was ended with our side emerging victorious. That means that now Entomalius Prime survived. The allied worlds were never conquered. Earth survived. The Alpha and Beta Quadrants survived. We survived. Frontier's original mandate was to seek out and identify potential candidate worlds for Federation colonization, and eventually report back to the Milky Way for the next phase. However, with the loss of our transwarp drive, we won't be returning home again - unless a new transwarp source is eventually found. Until then, we have a choice to make - how will we proceed here in Andromeda?" he asked.



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  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek vessel came streaking out of high warp, the Tylorian ship Ultridies ahead of it, as both ships came to a fast impulse glide, heading directly for a stunning sight - a massive gas giant planet, of swirling bands of blue and white colors, and in the foreground, the Earth-sized ringed moon of Tyloria Prime, with its beautiful blue oceans and continents of green and brown, dotted by patches of white cloud cover here and there, as Tyloria Prime's own single moon, Jant, could be seen off in the distance between Tyloria Prime and Tyloria III, its gas giant parent.

    The Ultridies sped forward ahead of the Frontier, leading the Federation ship to waiting formation of over a dozen small red vessels identical in design to the Ultridies - the Tylorian fleet. Behind the fleet formation, off in the distance, was a very large red starbase - roughly three-fourths the size of Earth's Spacedock facility. The most basic form of the structure was similar, a primary structure that was basically a mushroom-like shape, with a very elongated shaft section. However, branching out from the elongated shaft section of this structure was an array of multiple 'petal'-like extensions of the facility - like adjunct facilities joined with the larger mother facility.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The bridge crew stood at attention, regarding the sights before them on the large viewscreen, looking on at the Tylorian fleet welcoming them to their home.

    "It's beautiful." Ensign Jeon Hye-sung exclaimed from the OPS station.

    "Remarkable." Lieutenant Commander Drath Lezar agreed from Tactical.

    "That must be their primary starbase - their fleet headquarters, if you will." Commander Jor speculated aloud, not taking his eyes off the screen.

    Lieutenant Commander Lezar reacted to some beeps from his console, looking to Captain Nikolayev to deliver his report.

    "Sir, we're being hailed by the Tylorian fleet - a ship identifying itself as the Zohlvani." he stated.

    Nikolayev straightened his uniform top, standing straighter as he replied.

    "On screen, Mister Lezar."

    The viewscreen image shifted to the interior of the Tylorian ship Zohlvani - the Bridge. The Bridge of the Tylorian ship looked to be somewhat small - about the size of the Bridge on a Starfleet Defiant-Class ship. The CONN and OPS console appeared to be integrated into a single 'Y'-shaped console, with the single bottom line of the 'Y' shape extending all the way to the command area of the Bridge. The prominent colors of the Bridge appeared to be light yellow and light green. The ceiling of the Bridge also seemed to be substantially lower than those on the Bridges of Starfleet ships. Behind the Tylorians manning the CONN and OPS stations, two Tylorian men stood at attention - obviously the Zohlvani's Captain and First Officer. One of the men broke the silence, speaking.

    "Greetings, Captain Nikolayev... I am Captain Ingren Jenz, of the Tylorian Republican Guard vessel Zohlvani. To my left is my First Officer, Commander Izred Margai. We wish to welcome you to the Tylorian Republic!" he stated, smiling.

    "Greetings, Captain Jenz, and on behalf of the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet, thank you for your warm welcome. Allow me to introduce my own First Officer, Commander Trevan Jor. It's an honor for us to be welcomed to your home as friends." Nikolayev replied.

    "Captain Nikolayev, there is someone here who I would like to introduce you to - someone who has been anxious to meet you, ever since reading Captain Jezereth's report of his encounter with you." Jenz began, as both he and Commander Margai stepped aside, revealing a somewhat short and stocky male alien being, who stepped forward to face Nikolayev directly on the viewscreen. "Captain Nikolayev, please allow me the honor of introducing you to Carthax Pentique - President of the Tylorian Republic."

    Nikolayev and Jor stood at respectful attention at the sight of the alien man. Nikolayev's first impression of the alien man's appearance was that of a cross between Sir Winston Churchill and a penguin.

    "Mister President, this is an honor." Nikolayev replied.

    "The honor is mine." Pentique began. "First, please allow me to express my personal thanks, as well as the thanks of the Tylorian Republic, for coming to the assistance of the Ultridies. If you had not intervened on its behalf, it would have surely been lost to the Vralex. Second, please allow me to extend a personal invitation for you and your entire crew to visit Tyloria Prime, and enjoy the hospitality of the Republic and its people. From what I understand, yours has been an extremely long and difficult journey. Allow yourself to enjoy some open spaces, fresh food and fresh air." he added.

    "You honor us, Sir - thank you. We accept your gracious offer." Nikolayev replied. "In the meantime, Mister President, would you do us the additional honor of dining with my crew and I on board the Frontier? We'd be honored to have you as our guest, and introduce you to people from some of the various worlds that make up our Federation."

    "I'd be delighted to accept your invitation, and meet representatives from your Federation, Captain, thank you." Pentique responded.

    "Excellent. We'll make arrangements to have you and anyone you wish to accompany you beamed aboard at your leisure. We look forward to meeting you - all of you, in person very shortly." Nikolayev stated.

    "Until then, Captain Nikolayev." Pentique replied, nodding respectfully.

    "Until then, Mister President. Frontier out." Nikolayev closed, the viewscreen switching once again to the view outside of the Tylorian planets, fleet and starbase.

    TYLORIA PRIME

    The mighty U.S.S. Frontier sat in standard orbit of the homeworld of the Tylorian race, the planet's beautiful silvery rings slowly drifting around the planet below the Frontier, as a handful of Tylorian ships sailed alongside the Frontier, keeping it company.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    CONFERENCE LOUNGE

    Captain Nikolayev and the Frontier's senior staff sat at the table, along with President Pentique and his delegation, which in addition to his two attache's, included the Captains and First Officers of both the Ultridies and Zohlvani. On the table before them was a stunning and elegant spread of food and drink from worlds throughout the Federation, along with a beautiful floral arrangement at the center of the table. Behind President Pentique's party, part of Tyloria Prime could be seen rotating outside through the lounge's windows, intersected in part by the planet's rings, the entire vista broken up only by the Frontier's two long warp nacelles.

    "Forgive me, Mister President, but when I first heard about you, I expected you to be Tylorian. Obviously, you're not." Nikolayev delicately queried.

    President Pentique chuckled at the question as he delivered his reply.

    "Don't worry, Captain... I take no offense to that. Obviously, you're right - I am not Tylorian. I'm Gretharian."

    "Gretharian?" Commander Jor repeated.

    "My people joined the Republic about two decades ago. Sadly, we were one of the last to join, at least so far." Pentique replied.

    "Because of the war?" Jor asked.

    "Aye, because of the damned war." Pentique began, refilling his glass with water from a jug on the table. "The Vralex have kept the Republic so busy fighting, that we simply haven't had the time needed for the admission of new member planets. All our resources have gone to keeping the Vralex at bay, and making sure that the Republic survives. For over two years now, the Lunax have been trying to join the Republic, but we just can't do it with the current state of affairs. Even if we were to grant them membership as a protectorate world, that does no good if the Republic falls to the Vralex. Stability - that's what we need - stability. Unfortunately, war is not conducive to stability." he lamented.

    "Trust me, I understand." Nikolayev agreed, taking a sip of his red wine.

    "Now, I've read that you got to this galaxy using a transwarp engine borrowed from a species called 'Entomalian'... are there any Entomalians on board this ship?" Pentique inquired.

    "Unfortunately, no." Nikolayev began. "There's only one in the Federation - our President - Melek, is an Entomalian. Prior that, he served as his wife's Tactical Officer, on the U.S.S. Quasar. He originally joined Starfleet as part of the Federation's inter-species exchange program. After the death of our former President, Captain Ariel suggested that he put his name in for consideration for the position, considering the wartime climate the Federation was facing, and the involvement of the Entomalians in the war. After the Gorn attacked Earth, the people overwhelmingly elected him President." he explained.

    "Why did these 'Gorn' attack your world?" Pentique asked.

    "It was to prove themselves to the Dominion." Jor began to explain. "They wanted to show the Dominion and its Breen allies that they weren't afraid to strike at the heart of the enemy. There was a rumor that the Breen had wanted to do it, but that they were afraid of the swift retaliation they'd face from the Entomalian Navy, so they wanted to secure an alliance with the Dominion first, before launching any attacks on Federation or allied forces. Then the Gorn came along, and wanted to show the Breen that between the two of them, they were the alphas." he stated.

    After listening intently to the conversation, Captain Jenz finally offered his voice into the discussion.

    "Captain... Captain Jezereth here has informed me that now that you're stranded here in our galaxy, you're not quite sure as to what form your mission will take from here."

    "That's correct." Nikolayev replied. "Naturally, we're all explorers, those of us here on this ship. As such, we'll continue to seek out new worlds and potential new places to call home - as well as continuing to search for new transwarp technologies that may one day end up getting us back home. But as of yet, we have no clear and definite plan as to what our permanent status will be here - the final form our mission will take."

    There was a brief pause of silence as everyone in the room took in the nature of the situation, before President Pentique audibly cleared his throat, appearing to reach down into his lower inner coat pocket for something.

    "Well, if you'll excuse the presumption, Captain... I would like to humbly offer a proposal." Pentique began, producing a Tylorian data PADD from his pocket, and sliding it on the table with his fingers to Nikolayev to pick up and examine. "Again, I know it may seem quite presumptuous, but I was briefed in advance of your general situation by Captain Jezereth, via his report to me." he added, while Nikolayev looked over the words on the PADD, his eyes getting wider as Commander Jor and the others looked to him.

    After a long moment of awkward silence, Nikolayev looked to President Pentique, with a look on his face that was desperately trying to be diplomatic.

    "This isn't funny. Surely, you can't be serious." he replied, lowering the PADD.

    "I know how it must seem to you, Captain, but I assure you, it's not meant in jest. We - I - am completely serious." Pentique offered.

    "Sir?" Jor asked, a look of confusion on his face.

    Nikolayev gently handed the PADD to Jor, who began to scroll through it, his look mirroring the surprise that Nikolayev's face wore moments before, as he directed his attention from the PADD to President Pentique.

    "You want the Tylorian Republic to join the Federation?" he asked, stunned.



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  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek ship sat in standard orbit of Tyloria Prime, flanked by a handful of onlooker Tylorian ships.

    READY-ROOM

    Captain Nikolayev, Commander Jor, and the command crew of the Tylorian ships Ultridies and Zohlvani stood across from Nikolayev, who was seated in his chair, President Pentique seated in the chair across from him. Nikolayev was trying his hardest to be as diplomatic as possible in his explanation and response to Pentique's desire for the Tylorian Republic to join the Federation.

    "I'm sorry for breaking up our dinner, but I figured this was a more appropriate place to have this discussion." Nikolayev began. "First off, while I'm honored that you wish to become a part of our Federation family, what you're asking is simply impossible. For starters, we're alone out here - there's simply no Federation for you to technically join - there's the Frontier, and that's it. Second, there's a set process by which such an application should be submitted. Once you submit your application, it would be reviewed by the various delegates on the Federation Council, along with the President. Once that review process is completed, a vote would be conducted, with the President having the final say. There's no Federation Council out here, and no Federation President." he explained.

    "Forgive me Captain, but doesn't your ship's crew include representatives from the four core worlds of the Federation, as well as a handful of others?" Captain Jezereth interjected. "Why can't they act as interim ambassadors to their respective worlds, and you as the acting voice of the president? After all, as a starship Captain, you know as well as I do that you have broad authority when it comes to making policy decisions out in the unknown." he stated.

    "Yes, there are various members of my crew from those planets, but none of them are as equipped as a full ambassador to tackle a scenario such as this - and I am certainly not qualified nor inclined to speak for President Melek." Nikolayev replied. "In addition, there's also the matter of the Prime Directive. The Federation and Starfleet cannot interfere in the internal affairs of alien worlds. If we were to align with you as official representatives of the Federation, we'd be involving the Federation in you war with the Vralex - a species the Federation has no prior conflict with."

    "But your people came to the aid of the Ultridies, and you said before that prior to that encounter, you fired upon and downed a Vralex Pirate Gunship." Commander Margai offered.

    "That's true, but in regards to the Ultridies, we were simply rendering humanitarian aid - something we have an obligation to do - no matter who sends out the call for help. We would have responded to a Vralex call for help just the same. With regard to our first battle with them - they attacked my ship and crew, and I had an obligation to protect my ship and people. But we're not actively seeking a conflict with the Vralex or anyone else for that matter." Nikolayev replied.

    President Pentique's look turned to one of visible sadness, as he monetarily looked to the floor before looking back up to Nikolayev.

    "Well, I can certainly respect your position, Captain, and our sincere thanks still remains, as well as our offer to host you as friends here on Tyloria. I can only hope that you'll reconsider - at the very least, discuss it with your crew, and think about it." he offered.

    "I can certainly do that much for you, Mister President. And be assured, your friendship - the Republic's friendship means a great deal more to us than you can know. But it's a matter of simple logistics - we have no way of ever getting back to the Federation - this ship is all that there is of it out here in Andromeda. Even if we do what you want, there'd be no way to make it official." Nikolayev replied, sympathetically.

    There was a long moment of extended silence in the room as everyone came to terms with the reality of the situation. Finally, a call came in from the Bridge, breaking the silence.

    "Bridge to Captain Nikolayev." Lezar's comm voice announced.

    "Go ahead." the Captain replied.

    "Sir, we're monitoring a subspace message for President Pentique from Tyloria Prime. It's coded top priority." Lezar's voice stated.

    President Pentique looked up to Nikolayev, his eyes asking a simple question, which Nikolayev picked up on.

    "Please, Mister President, feel free to take the call on the Bridge." Nikolayev offered as both men got up, Nikolayev gesturing with his arm to the door.

    The doors to the Ready-Room slid open, allowing the group of people to enter the Frontier's Main bridge, as Pentique took position in front of the large viewscreen, awaiting the message.

    "On screen." Nikolayev ordered, standing in front of his command chair, looking after President Pentique.

    The image on the screen switched from the view of a rotating Tyloria Prime to the face of what appeared to be a Tylorian Admiral in some sort of command center.

    "Forgive the intrusion, Mister President, but there is urgent news." the man stated. "Sir, our monitor station in the Yunat System has picked up the warp trails of a large Vralex advance, on a direct course for the Tylorian System. The force came out of nowhere, Sir - they must have found a way to mask their warp signatures within a certain distance."

    "How many ships?" Pentique asked.

    "One hundred and fifty, Sir - plus this..." the Admiral began, looking down to his console to punch up some new data, which caused a new callout image to emerge on the viewscreen display - a rotating wire image of an alien ship that appeared to be a conglomeration of "V" shapes in various orientations.

    "Oh my Gods!" Captain Jenz exclaimed.

    "Look at the size of that thing!" Captain Jezereth added, his mouth agape in disbelief.

    "That thing must be at least twice the size of a D'deridex-Class warbird." Commander Jor remarked to Nikolayev in disbelief.

    "How many of those things are there, Admiral?" Pentique lamented.

    "Two, Sir." the Admiral replied, as Nikolayev walked beside President Pentique.

    "What the hell is that thing?" Nikolayev asked.

    "That 'thing' is a Vralex Man of War." Pentique explained. They're the conquest ships of the Vralex fleet - only sent in as part of a final invasion force. There may only be another two like them in the entire Vralex fleet - they're incredibly resource-intensive to build, and only the wealthiest Vralex units can afford them. They're meant to transport waves of ground armies to the planets the Vralex mean to take, once the enemy's fleet has been knocked out, and their defenses exhausted."

    "How long until they reach Tyloria, Admiral?" Nikolayev asked.

    "They'll enter the system by the end of the day, Captain." the Admiral replied.

    President Pentique turned to face Nikolayev.

    "Captain... you'd better start recalling your people from the surface - I don't want any of your people to be put in harm's way for no reason. Once again, allow me to thank you for all you've done so far." he began, offering his hand for Nikolayev to shake.

    Nikolayev saw how difficult this was for the President, and was sympathetic to him.

    "I'm sorry." Nikolayev began. "I wish you the best of luck." he added, shaking Pentique's hand.

    Pentique nodded as he began to make his way for the turbolift.

    "Mister President, permission for us to remain on board Frontier until all of Nikolayev's people are back on board? I want to ensure they get back safely." Captain Jezereth requested, referring to him and Captain Jenz's people.

    Pentique just nodded, stepping into the turbolift, the doors closing behind him.

    VRALEX INVASION FLEET

    The massive Vralex armada sailed through warp space - over a hundred small Pirate Gunships dotting the sky, as two massive Man of War ships loomed large behind them, like an elephant behind a huge flock of baby ducks.

    MAN OF WAR BRIDGE

    This Bridge was larger than the small and confined Bridge of a Pirate Gunship, but was just as angular and purple. The Vralex leader stepped forward, sneering at the readout before him, revealing his sharp white teeth, as his First Officer delivered the data report.

    (translated from Vralex) "Reading over a dozen Tylorian ships in orbit of the planet - along with the Federation vessel encountered by the Gendalon unit. And Leader, there are Tylorian life readings on the Federation vessel." he reported.

    This made the leader's sneer grow, as he snarled in anger at the realization he was coming to...

    (translated from Vralex) "So... that means this Federation vessel is either some new secret Tylorian weapon, or these Federation aliens have formed an alliance with the Tylorians. And by firing upon the Gendalon unit, they declare war on the Vralex! If they stand with the Tylorians, they stand against the Vralex!" he sneered. "We're not going to give them the chance to escape again - increase velocity to maximum warp!"



    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -



    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The ship held orbit over Tyloria Prime, while in the space around the ship, the ships of the Tylorian fleet were moving off, angling for a course which would take them to a position at the outer perimeter of the Tylorian System, just outside the Tylorian System's Kuiper belt, where the Tylorian Republic would make its last desperate stand against the oncoming Vralex advance.

    READY-ROOM

    Captain Nikolayev was trying to sleep in the small bunk in his Ready-Room, but was having little luck. As soon as the landing parties were all beamed back to Frontier, the ship would be leaving the system, heading for who-knows-where. He hated the idea of leaving the Tylorians to fend for themselves against the Vralex - who he knew would almost certainly crush the small remains of the Tylorian fleet. In the short time he had known them, he'd come to regard the Tylorians as friends - kindred spirits - a culture originally focused on exploration and the pursuit of knowledge, only to be thrown into the fires of war by fate.

    He found himself unable to fall asleep, his mind racing with thoughts of home - how Queen T'Zek had taken the initiative, standing up to President Melek, and going ahead with her plan anyway, and in doing so, saving the entire Alpha and Beta Quadrants, not because it was legally or politically right - but because she felt it was morally right. If it were not for her, the Federation would not now exist. Her actions gave his own people a second chance at life. On the other hand, President Melek was correct - her plan was a gross violation of the Prime Directive. Still - it had to have been painfully difficult for Melek to refuse her, and not give into the temptations of her plan. Nikolayev couldn't allow himself to fall into the same trap here. As painful as it was to see the Republic fall, the Federation didn't start the war with the Vralex, nor did it have any dispute with the Vralex. He couldn't possibly allow himself to get involved.

    He thought also of the Big Borg Battle, and all those souls he saw lost during that literal incarnation of hell itself. How many hundreds of thousands had perished in that carnage - Federation species, Entomalian, Klingon, Romulan, Cardassian, Tholian - all the allied forces struggling so hard, at first to no avail against the invincible juggernaut that was the Dominion-Borg alliance. He recalled how lucky he had been that his ship, the U.S.S. Khitomer, had been one of the handful of Federation ships that managed to make it back through the wormhole intact. Out of a force of 500 Federation starships, only 12 made it back through the wormhole at all, let alone intact. It was the first time in the entire history of the Entomalian Empire that their forces had ever been forced to withdraw from a battle. He remembered how powerfully he was affected by the complete death of spirit he saw in the eyes of General Martok and the legions of Klingon troops he saw after the return to the Alpha Quadrant - the sight of the Entomalian Navy retreating from the field of battle had totally crushed their spirit and any shred of hope the Klingons had retained - for the first time anyone could recall, they saw true and genuine despair in the eyes of even the most hardy of Klingon warriors. On Deep Space Nine, there had been no massive crowds of raucous Klingon warriors drunkenly singing, shouting out, and merry-making after the battle - all he could see were Klingons sitting in silence at tables, staring blankly into their mugs of bloodwine, their eyes devoid of light.

    Finally, his thoughts were also for his own ship and crew, in the here and now. He knew all too well that if they were to accept their new fate as permanent residents of the Andromeda Galaxy, that they would be needing a reliable source by which to replenish the ship's supplies - energy and fuel sources, weapons, raw materials from which to fabricate replacement parts, small craft, etc. Ideally, they'd also need to find a stable place where the ship could be taken for major repairs and refits - all the resources and luxuries they took for granted in Federation space. These were all things the Tylorian Republic possessed - and they were lucky that the Republic was friendly to them, and willing to embrace them. The Tylorians were the ones who approached him - the Frontier didn't impose itself on the Tylorians.

    He tossed and turned, desperately trying to make the idea of sleep work, but finally realizing it would be a lost cause, sighing loudly in frustration as he got up.

    "Dammit!" he loudly whispered, making his way to the replicator next to the window. "Cola, cold." he ordered.

    The machine materialized a glass of the cold, dark liquid, which he took, taking a few long gulps from, knowing the caffeine would at least help him stay awake for a while. As he finished his first gulps, he turned to look out the window at the ringed globe of Tyloria outside. Dammit, that sight didn't help his attempt to shift his focus. The sight made him recall the first record of images the Guardian of Forever had shown him - the destruction of Earth at the hands of the Dominion-Borg alliance. He sighed loudly again, setting the drink down on his desk, straightening his uniform and making himself appear neat and professional again, running his hand through his hair to put it back into formation, noticing as he did so that his hand was shaking - this was starting to affect his nerves in a tangible way. Mercifully, he was distracted by a call from the Bridge.

    "Bridge to Nikolayev." Lezar's comm voice opened.

    "Go ahead, Mister Lezar." Nikolayev softly replied, looking at his hand.

    "Sir, all our teams from the surface are back on board, and the Tylorians on board report they're ready to disembark. We're also picking up a large concentration of warp signatures heading for the outer Tylorian System, Sir - Vralex." Lezar reported.

    Nikolayev looked to the floor before looking back up.

    "Mister Lezar, would you please summon the Tylorians still aboard to the Bridge? I'll be right out." Nikolayev asked, straightening his uniform top.

    TYLORIA PRIME

    The last of the Tylorian fleet angled into position over Tyloria Prime, taking a defensive position, as a last-ditch measure, should the Vralex break through the outer system's defenses. Two Tylorian ships, to defend the home world. At the same time, the U.S.S. Frontier began to angle away, leaving Tylorian orbit and beginning to move off into open space.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Captain Nikolayev stood in front of his command chair as the turbolift doors slid open behind him, allowing Captains Jezereth and Jenz to enter the room, walking over to Nikolayev, who extended his hand to them.

    "Captains, I wanted to wish you good luck before you departed, and again express my thanks to you and your people for your generous hospitality." Nikolayev began, as they each shook his hand. "We've arrived at the outer edge of your system, and will transport you to your ships." he added, as Lezar suddenly interrupted.

    "Sir! Vralex fleet, coming out of warp!" Lezar called out, surprised, looking to the group of Captains before him.

    "What the - they're early!" Captain Jenz exclaimed.

    "On screen!" Nikolayev called out.

    The main viewscreen came to life, showing the massive Vralex armada angling towards the waiting Tylorian fleet, which instantly began to open fire, letting loose with absolutely everything it had, spitting out hundreds upon hundreds of long beams of red phaser energy, and fiery photon torpedoes.

    A few unprepared Vralex Pirate Gunships instantly fell to the Tylorian weapons, but most of the small purple cross-shaped ships instantly broke formation and angled off in all directions, engaging the Tylorians from multiple vectors, just as the real nightmare began...

    As everyone watched on the viewscreen, the two gargantuan Vralex Man-of-War ships slammed out of warp, coming to a halt in a streak of purple and white light. The further of the two Man-of-War ships held position, while the closer of the two began to angle off.

    "Sir! One of the ships is breaking off, and heading... heading for us, sir!" Lezar exclaimed, looking to Nikolayev, who wore a look of shocked surprise.

    "Shields up! Red alert!" Nikolayev called out, just as everyone looked to the viewscreen just in time to see the Man-of-War open fire, spitting out an opening volley of two photon torpedoes, the glowing balls of brilliant purple energy racing right towards the Frontier.

    In space, the torpedoes slammed full force into the Frontier's starboard warp nacelle, the ship's shields flickering wildly as the nacelle instantly began to flicker on and off.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVERIEGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Everyone on the deck was thrown entire feet into the air as the entire ship was violently jolted, causing lights and stations to flicker on and off as consoles and stations erupted into sparks, small fires erupting from blown EPS conduits while high-pressure smoke fizzed out from ruptured power-transfer lines.

    The entire Bridge crew and the Tylorians struggled back to their feet amid wildly beeping consoles and flickering lights and readouts, as the various crew attempted to ascertain the damage done with that first opening volley.

    "Damage report!" Commander Jor called out, looking to his console for some incoming data.

    "Sir, Engineering reports that we've lost warp drive - that opening salvo took out our starboard nacelle. Multiple casualties in Main Engineering, shields down to 70 percent." Lezar reported. "SIR!" he called out, looking again to the viewscreen.

    Everyone again looked to the screen just in time to see two more Vralex torpedoes, well on their way to the Frontier.

    Nikolayev instantly grabbed ahold of the top of his chair as he called out his next order...

    "All hands, brace for impact!"

    The ship was again struck with extreme violence, literally throwing everyone on the Bridge across the room as lights began to flicker out and multiple stations erupted into both sparks and actual fires, as sparks and debris sailed across the room, while multiple alerts and alarms sounded without end.

    VRALEX MAN-OF-WAR

    COMMAND CENTER

    The master of the vessel emerged into view in front of the viewscreen, taking in the sight of his new prize - the U.S.S. Frontier, angling out of control as lights flickered on and off all over the ship, the starboard warp nacelle trailing blue warp plasma, while the remains of purple energy crackled along the Frontier's hull in the spots where the two most recent Vralex torpedoes had struck the ship. The Vralex master sneered in pride at the sight, his sharp white teeth on display, as his First Officer posed a question to him, behind him.

    (translated from Vralex) "Master, should we finish them?" he asked.

    The master of the vessel made a swiping motion with his right arm, prompting the viewscreen to pan to a view showcasing the rest of the Vralex fleet's ongoing battle with the Tylorian fleet.

    (translated from Vralex) "Soon, my First. They are not going anywhere. I want them to witness before they meet their end, what happens to those who oppose the Vralex. They shall bear witness to the destruction of the Tylorian Republic, before they are allowed the luxury of escape that their death will provide." the master proclaimed, snarling with the thought of his impending victory.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The room was awash with thick smoke from the exploded and burning consoles, as people coughed while getting back up on their feet, some of the Ensigns at the aft stations putting out small console fires while various consoles and stations around the room continued to beep their alarms and alerts.

    "Is everyone alright?" Nikolayev asked, coughing.

    "Aye." Captain Jezereth replied, looking to Captain Jenz.

    "Why haven't they finished us?" Commander Jor asked.

    "We're not gonna wait around to find out." Nikolayev shot back, tapping some buttons on his chair as he sat down. "Captain Jezereth, Captain Jenz - you two have ample combat experience fighting the Vralex, yes?" he asked, looking up to the two men.

    "Aye, that we do." they replied in unison.

    Nikolayev nodded, pressing more buttons on his chair panels.

    "Very good. Captain Jezereth, you're with me - you'll be my First Officer. Captain Jenz, you're with Commander Jor. You'll be his First Officer." Nikolayev stated, as Commander Jor looked to him, puzzled.

    "Sir?" Jor asked.

    "Commander... I'm separating the saucer section. You and Captain Jenz will take command of the saucer. Captain Jezereth and I will be on the battle section." Nikolayev explained, tapping the intercom button, and activating the ship's internal comm system. "Attention all hands, this is the Captain. All hands prepare for emergency saucer separation - all hands to emergency saucer separation stations - this is not a drill. I repeat - this is not a drill." he added, looking to Jor. "Commander, I want all qualified shuttle pilots on both hull sections to report to each of the shuttlebays. As soon as we separate, I'm going to launch all armed shuttles, as well as our two Runabouts. We don't have Starfleet out here, so we have to make our own as best we can. We're going to launch a multi-pronged attack on those Vralex bastards out there."

    "Aye, Sir." Jor seconded.

    "Captain Jezereth, you're with me." Nikolayev stated, getting up from his chair and surrendering it to Jor as he tapped his communicator while he walked to the turbolift to the Battle Bridge along with Captain Jezereth. "This is the Captain. All hands, battle stations!"



    - TO BE CONTINUED -
  • BolianAdmiralBolianAdmiral237 Posts: 1,638Member
    - CONTINUED -



    THE OUTER TYLORIAN SYSTEM

    The battle between the Tylorian fleet and the Vralex armada raged on, both fleets intertwined in combat, the space between the fleets a wash of red and purple energy weapons fire, broken up by the occasional exploding ship, as in the background, the two massive Vralex Man-of-War ships stood watch, while the U.S.S. Frontier was now beginning to angle itself into a new orientation - an orientation directly facing the Man-of-War which had launched an attack on it.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    BATTLE BRIDGE

    Captain Nikolayev assumed his post, sitting down in the command chair, while Captain Jezereth stood at his left side, looking around the room to take in the sight of the Frontier's combat command center, while Nikolayev pressed some buttons on his panel, while the rest of the crew assumed their stations. Nikolayev activated the viewscreen, which displayed the raging battle outside. The Tylorians were managing to hold their own, but they were also being physically driven backwards, facing inward to the Tylorian System rather than away from it.

    As he and Captain Jezereth absorbed the sight before them, Nikolayev knew this was it - he couldn't sit on the sidelines any longer. Even if he were to ignore the Tylorian aspect of the equation, the fact was that as of now, the Vralex had indeed initiated direct hostile action against a Federation ship and crew. He wasn't going to let that slide, and he wasn't about to witness the destruction of what was basically an Andromedan analog to his own Federation back home - not when he had the power to do what T'Zek had done. He activated the intercom by pressing a button on his chair's arm rest.

    "This is the Captain - initiate saucer separation sequence. Stand by all weapons. All shuttle teams, standby to launch!" he instructed.

    In space, the mighty Frontier emitted a low mechanical grumbling sound, as the two sections of hull began to separate, the docking latches slowly retracting with a low hum, as the saucer began to gain ever more distance from the Star Drive section. Finally, the saucer began to angle upwards and away from the secondary hull as the Star Drive's impulse engines began to glow to life with brilliant red light.

    BATTLE BRIDGE

    Nikolayev watched the saucer gain distance on the viewscreen as he gave his order.

    "Saucer section and Runabouts, target the second Man-of-War. Fire all weapons!" he instructed, now addressing Lieutenant Commander Lezar behind him at Tactical. "Mister Lezar, Target that lead Man-of-War. Fire all weapons!"

    In space, both sections of the Frontier swooped around, making direct combat runs for both Vralex Man-of-War ships, the saucer letting loose with all phasers and torpedoes, along with the two Runabouts flanking it, while the Star Drive section began to unload everything it had on the lead Man-of-War.

    BATTLE BRIDGE

    Nikolayev and Jezereth reacted to the sight on the screen as the Frontier sailed through one of the gaps between the Man-of-War's three wings sections, torpedoes flying through space, and impacting upon the purple ship's hull, causing noticeable damage, but not yet nearly enough. Nikolayev decided now was the time to up the game some, as he again activated the intercom.

    "Nikolayev to saucer section - Commander, initiate the 'Ariel Maneuver'. All shuttles, target the Pirate Gunship fleet, and assist the Tylorian fleet." he ordered.

    "Captain - what is... the 'Ariel Maneuver'?" Jezereth asked.

    Nikolayev allowed a sly smile to creep to the surface as he replied.

    "A little something the Captain of the Quasar came up with to make sure her ship could escape the Big Borg Battle intact. After the battle, Starfleet implemented the tactic throughout the fleet as a last-ditch measure." he explained, looking up to Jezereth. "You'll see."

    SAUCER SECTION

    The Frontier's saucer sailed towards the second Man-of-War in its second approach run, flanked by the two Runabout, all three vessels maintaining continuous weapons fire. Suddenly, all the lifeboats on the saucer began to deploy, and maintain a stabilized distance from the saucer, matching the saucer's speed, forming a defensive corona around it.

    The lifeboats then all reoriented in unison, so that their sides were facing the Vralex ship, and each and every lifeboat then began to open fire with the small phaser banks they were each equipped with.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Commander Jor looked a the sight on the screen, pressing buttons on his chair while also addressing Nikolayev over the intercom.

    "Ariel Maneuver initiated. Activating independent targeting." he added, pressing some more buttons.

    In space, the saucer's lifeboats each broke off in different directions, coming at the Vralex ship in all directions, while the saucer and two Runabouts maintained constant weapons fire. The mighty Vralex elephant was being bitten to death by fire ants. The Man-of-War's weapons couldn't begin to lock on to the various small targets assaulting it, as the targets were not only numerous and tiny in comparison, but were way too close to the Vralex ship's hull.

    THE TYLORIAN FLEET

    The Tylorian fleet was now being joined by over a dozen Starfleet shuttles, which were helping to inflict some noticeable damage to the Pirate Gunship fleet, causing many of the ships to fall, and allowing the Tylorians to hold their ground.

    TYLORIAN VESSEL ULTRIDIES

    BRIDGE

    Commander Xintadi looked at the sight on his screen, relieved and thankful for the new Federation assistance they were getting from the shuttles, as his Strategic Officer called out to him.

    "Sir! The Vralex Man-of-War ships are calling the Pirate Gunships for assistance - the Pirate Gunship wings are being forced to break off! They're heading for the position of the Frontier's two sections!" the man reported.

    Commander Xintadi smiled at the revelation. That meant that now, the Vralex were basically withdrawing, and they had the high ground - they could maintain fire on the Vralex with greater effect, since now the Vralex would be torn between two targets.

    "Order the fleet to maintain pursuit and weapons fire! We've got to help the Frontier!" he instructed.

    SECOND VRALEX MAN-OF-WAR

    The Frontier's saucer sailed through the lower gap between the ship's lower and middle wing sections, spitting out phaser fire, along with the lifeboats and Runabouts. As the saucer turned to make another pass, the Man-of-War finally got another torpedo lock on the Frontier saucer, and opened fire, sending a bright purple torpedo smashing into the bottom of the Frontier's saucer, the impact strong enough to physically launch the saucer backwards in a flipping motion.

    SAUCER SECTION

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The impact was the most violent one yet, and threw the crew physically from the floor to the top of the ceiling and back down, as every light flickered out on the Bridge, as fires erupted all over the room, sparks and smoke filling the air as even the emergency alerts went silent. Various crew members began gasping, having had the wind knocked out of them as Jor and other crawled over to stabilize them and get them back to their feet while the emergency lighting activated, and what few alarms did work came to life in a broken, fritzed manner. Jor looked to the viewscreen, which alternated between being completely inactive, and showing nothing but patches of static here and there.

    VRALEX MAN-OF-WAR

    The massive vessel saw its opportunity, and targeted the drifting saucer, spitting out a devastating beam of energy - a beam that was a massive version of the beam the Vralex rifles emitted. The beam smashed right through the entire saucer section with incredible ease, like an arrow that had been shot into a target. The beam began to slice through each and every single layer of the saucer, the surrounding coils of energy around the main beams literally ripping and shredding chunks of the saucer's hull as it moved ever inward, inching closer to the bridge module.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - STAR DRIVE SECTION

    BATTLE BRIDGE

    Captains Nikolayev and Jenz looked on with horror as the Vralex ship's beam ripped into the saucer, the lights on the saucer flickering off as all of the power now went dark.

    "Mister Lezar, get us over there, NOW! Throw everything we've got at that ship - every damn torpedo... NOW!" Nikolayev called out.

    In space, the Star Drive section barrelled towards the second Man-of-War, angry as all get-out, every single phaser bank alive with blazing energy, while both fiery photon torpedoes and brilliant blue quantum torpedoes raced out in massive volleys at the Vralex ship.

    As the Frontier's battle section sailed for the Vralex ship, the various torpedoes began to impact the Man-of-War's hull, just as they were joined by dozens upon dozens of new red photon torpedoes - Tylorian torpedoes, as the first wings of the Tylorian fleet joined the Frontier's battle section, flanking it on both sides, and joining the assault.

    The torpedo salvos did their job, and the deadly Vralex energy beam was broken, the saucer visibly lurching backwards in a lifeless drift, as the combined force of Tylorian ships, Starfleet shuttles, and the battle section went to work on the massive ship, which finally began to succumb to the relentless assault from so many tiny swarming targets.

    The Frontier continued spitting out volleys of torpedoes, which kept slamming into the forward section of the Man-of-War, until finally numerous internal explosions could be seen spreading throughout the gargantuan vessel, as the Vralex ship visibly began to drift downward while explosions and fire dotted its surface. The various ships of the Tylorian fleet and the Starfleet shuttles all veered away just in time for the Man-of-War's warp core to go critical, just as the Frontier's battle section swooped in front of the Vralex ship, grabbing the disabled saucer with a tractor beam and moving away to safety, just as a blindingly brilliant flash of pure white light quickly enveloped the ship, before the entire vessel exploded apart, sending out a sphere of fire and debris out in all directions.

    TYLORIAN VESSEL ULTRIDIES

    BRIDGE

    Nobody on the Bridge could believe their eyes as everyone instantly erupted into cheers and applause, elated at the sight of the seemingly impossible - they had managed to take out a Vralex Man-of-War.

    "Sir, Vralex Man-of-War destroyed!" the Strategic Officer relayed, excited.

    "Indeed, it is!" Commander Xintadi agreed, but coming back to the moment at hand. "But we've still got those Pirate Gunships out there to deal with, not to mention one more of those things." he added, looking to the viewscreen. "All forward Tylorian ships, break off and target the Pirate Gunships - the rest of us, let's give our Federation friends some more help!"

    In space, the Tylorian fleet split into two units, the forward unit breaking off and giving chase to the small Pirate Gunships, which were trying desperately to return to the lead Man-of-War, to attempt to draw fire away from it, while the rear units joined the battle section and remaining Starfleet assets in engaging the remaining Man-of-War.

    VRALEX MAN-OF-WAR

    COMMAND CENTER

    The Vralex master of the vessel looked at the sight of the oncoming force, led by the angry battle section, a hateful and lethal sneer of disdain on his face.

    (translated from Vralex) "They dare destroy one of our great flagships! For this, they shall know a slow death!" he began, turning to face his Weapons Officer. "Eliminate that wretched ship from the sky - NOW!"

    The might Man-of-War began to slowly angle to meet the oncoming Frontier battle section head-on. The Frontier suddenly angled upward, in an attempt to evade, just as the Vralex ship activated the lethal energy beam, this time the beam stabbed right into the lower front portion of the battle section, instantly and quite literally skewering the entire section in place, the beam shooting out the other side of the battle section's hull, all the while, the outer rings of the energy beam sawing and ripping away at the hull as the energy beam now began to slowly crawl towards the aft section of the secondary hull.

    The Frontier's warp nacelles instantly began flickering on and off before finally going totally dark, smoky blue warp plasma slowly leaking out from the edges of both nacelles while lights all over the section flickered on and off before also going totally dark.

    BATTLE BRIDGE

    The entire room was thick and hazy with smoke, the only illumination coming from the fires burning in various spots in the room, as the silhouettes of the crew scurried about, trying to comprehend whatever readings they could still get from their stations and consoles as the sounds of coughing and sparks filled the Battle Bridge.

    "Sir!" Lezar began. "The Vralex beam... it's moving towards the aft of the hull."

    Nikolayev's eyes grew wide with the realization of what that meant.

    "The warp core." he lamented. He looked around the room, to see if there was any chance he could maybe use the ship's comm system, but it looked as if the only thing working was emergency power and artificial gravity - for now. He looked to Captain Jezereth, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Captain - I need you to get to Engineering - you need to tell Mister Parsons to eject the warp core, and eject it now." he emphasized.

    "I'm on it." Jezereth replied, running for the turbolift.

    Nikolayev turned to face his viewscreen, which for the moment, was still working, but was still displaying the image with a good deal of fritzing static - the image of the mighty Man-of-War in front of them, and the horrible beam of energy drilling into his ship.

    THE TYLORIAN FLEET

    The Starfleet shuttles and lifeboats, along with the second unit of Tylorian ships, had managed to take out almost all of the smaller Pirate Gunships, as the last remaining ones flew towards the inner section of the Man-of-War, to try and gain some form of protection from the larger ship, as the combined Tylorian and Starfleet forces now focused entirely on the Vralex's energy beam emitter, firing volleys of torpedoes into the forward section of the Vralex ship.

    Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the energy beam was again broken, and the Frontier's battle section lurched backward into a lifeless drift, while the Tylorian fleet and shuttles maintained their weapons barrage on the Vralex ship, which began to now slowly angle away from the attacking force, moving to withdraw from battle, as the Tylorian and Starfleet weapons danced upon the surface of its hull.

    Finally, the Vralex ship had come about and established a position where it could jump into warp, and the massive ship shot into subspace, leaving only a long streak of brilliant purple light behind, which ended with a bright flash of white light off in the far distance, while the Tylorian and Starfleet craft held position, triumphant.

    TYLORIAN VESSEL ULTRIDIES

    BRIDGE

    The cheers were deafening as the crew reacted to their unexpected and miraculous victory. The crew jumped up and down, hugging each other and laughing and crying, shaking hands and laughing. Commander Xintadi looked to the disabled sections of the Frontier, tears welling up in his eyes as he whispered his gratitude to his new saviors from another galaxy.

    "Thank you." he whispered, his voice breaking as he hugged a crew member who embraced him. He looked back to the screen. He realized all too well that this victory would never have been possible without the help - the sacrifices of the Frontier and her crew, and he and his people would be forever in their debt. He leaned down to his command chair and activated the ship-to-ship intercom. "Attention, Frontier - if you can hear me, sit tight - help is on the way. And, thank you." he stated, closing the comm channel.



    TYLORIA PRIME - TYLORIA ORBITAL III

    The open-space drydock facility orbited the beautiful ringed planet, as the saucer section of the U.S.S. Frontier sat inside the facility, secured by holding moorings while numerous Tylorian service and repair craft swarmed over the ship, giving the ship that had sacrificed so much to save them top priority in repairs over their own vessels. The saucer was being laid bare, entire deck's worth of outer hull panels being stripped away for replacement, as the bright electric violet glow of gamma-welders could be seen within the areas of exposed saucer framework, effecting structural repairs. Off in the distance, in open space, the Frontier's Star Drive section sat, flanked and guarded by a pair of Tylorian ships, while even more service and repair craft made runs from it to the dock facility and back, preparing it to be next in line in the queue for repairs, once the saucer was dealt with.

    "Captain's Log - the Frontier has suffered an extreme amount of structural and systems damage as the result of a battle with the Vralex. Nineteen of my people have died. We almost lost our warp core. The Tylorian Republic has been most gracious in allowing us the use of their repair facilities and personnel in repairing the Frontier, but by all estimates, even the best-case scenario has it taking over three months to fully repair the damage done to the ship. We'll be here for some time - which begs an answer to the question that's been running through my mind ever since we arrived here in the Tylorian System - what now?"

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SAUCER SECTION

    READY-ROOM

    Captain Nikolayev sat at his desk, a mountain of PADDwork on the table as Commander Jor sat across from him, along with President Carthax Pentique, while Captains Jezereth, Jenz, and Commander Xintadi stood behind Pentique.

    "So, in light of the circumstances, I think I have a solution to the dilemma we face, regarding your proposal." Nikolayev began, handing Pentique a PADD to look over, as he continued explaining. "As I explained, there's no Federation out here, so anything we're going to do is still admittedly on dubious legal standing. However, what I propose, is that instead of applying for Federation membership, that the Tylorian Republic becomes the Federation - basically, you would become the Andromeda Galaxy 'chapter' of the Federation, so to say."

    "We'd convert?" Pentique repeated.

    "Basically, yes." Nikolayev replied. "You already have all the major elements in place - you have a President, a council, ambassadors, and a defense force. But the Tylorian Republic would cease to be - you'd now 'be' the United Federation of Planets - the Federation in Andromeda. The Tylorian Stellar Guard would become Starfleet - all who serve in it would become Starfleet personnel. You'd fuse the Tylorian Republic's constitution with the Federation's. You would become the Federation President - at least, the one here." he added. "One thing to also consider, is that with all this, you'd basically get access to Federation and Starfleet technology - everything we have access to, would now be yours - which brings to mind my next proposal... I've taken the liberty of outlining a few ideas on how to help you get your fleet back up, and bolster your defenses against the Vralex." he said, handing a second PADD to Pentique, who looked back to him.



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    TYLORIA ORBITAL III - U.S.S. FRONTIER SAUCER SECTION

    The large primary hull of the Frontier sat in the dock, the bulk of the forward half of the saucer stripped down to the bare skeletal framing as EVA repair teams and service craft carried out the major structural repairs to the ship.

    FRONTIER CORRIDOR

    Captain Nikolayev walked through the long corridor with Commander Jor, the men discussing the recent events while Tylorian and Frontier engineering personnel effected the repairs to the ship's internal systems. Most of the side panels throughout the corridors were removed, exposing the isolinear circuitry, EPS power taps and ODN access ports that would normally be hidden behind the panels. Large sheets of opaque clear plastic covered up what wasn't being worked on by the engineering crews. Jor handed a PADD to Nikolayev as the men continued their walk as the Captain looked over the data on it.

    "As you can see, it'll be another month before the impulse engines can be brought back online - the Tylorians are having problems securing coils the proper size, so they're having the yard fabricate them from scratch." Jor explained.

    "Hmmm." Nikolayev acknowledged.

    "Any word from President Pentique yet?" Jor asked.

    "Nothing concrete. He's scheduled to beam aboard tonight, where he'll supposedly deliver his reply to our proposals." Nikolayev returned, the two men rounding a corner.

    "I just don't understand it - why would the Tylorians even want to convert into another 'chapter' of the Federation? To do so would mean giving up the Republic - all its history. I can understand wanting to join the Federation, as a means of both protection and becoming a part of something greater, but this - I just don't get it." Jor stated, Nikolayev extending his arm to pause their walk.

    "I think you have to look at it from the current state of the Republic." Nikolayev began, looking to Jor as he rested against the corridor wall to deliver his explanation. "We encountered the Republic in its death throes - their fleet was almost gone, and most of their outer systems had fallen to the Vralex advance. It would be like if we had made first contact with the Federation just before the Dominion broke through Sector Zero-Zero-One - for all intents and purposes, we would have encountered a Federation at death's door - no matter what we did to help them, the damage would have already been done. From what I can gather, the Tylorian Republic pre-Vralex, was roughly only sixty or fifty years behind us in technology. But the Vralex conflict kept them technologically stagnant, as they couldn't devote resources or time to the development of new tech. We were only able to avoid that level of stagnation during the Dominion War due to the vast scope of the Federation's size and access to resources. Enter the Frontier, into the Andromeda Galaxy, where we encounter the Ultridies. They finally see a force with superior technology and firepower to their own - and to that of the Vralex - and see it as their potential salvation." he explained.

    "So what you're saying is that at this point, the Republic simply has nothing of substance left to hold on to - that they'd rather just embrace a fresh start?" Jor offered.

    "Basically." Nikolayev nodded in agreement. "They are getting what they wanted in the first place, anyway - Federation 'membership' - just in a different form. And, like it or not, we need this as well. As the battle with the Vralex clearly illustrated, we're going to need facilities at which to repair our ship, a means by which to re-supply the ship with weapons and so on. We need friends in this new galaxy which is alien to us. They're getting new Federation technology and knowledge, and we're gaining new friends and resources, as well as space - if all goes well, and President Pentique accepts the conversion proposal, all the space held by the Tylorian Republic will become Federation space - we'd have a place to basically call 'home'. he added.

    The two men were interrupted by a call from the Bridge through the intercom.

    "Bridge to Nikolayev." the young man's voice announced.

    Nikolayev reached over to tap the wall panel, activating the comm system to reply.

    "Nikolayev - go ahead."

    "Sir, the yard teams are requesting permission to move the Star Drive section to the drydock orbiting Jant - they say they have an opening, and can begin effecting repairs as soon as the section arrives." the man reported.

    "Very well... inform the yard that they have my permission to begin moving the Star Drive section to the moon's facility, and convey my thanks to both yard supervisors and their teams. Nikolayev out." he stated, releasing his hand from the wall panel, shutting off the comm system and looking back to Jor. "Besides, Commander... I'm hoping the Republic has the resources that would allow us to set up a research and development team that can explore the possibility of developing a new transwarp drive engine. It would be nice to have a way to eventually get home - and allow the Tylorians to make their case to the Federation the proper way." he added.

    TYLORIA PRIME - PELDURA CITY

    The sprawling ultra-modern city sat in the vast basin below an equally vast alpine mountain range, its hills green with tress and its caps topped with white snow, while the gargantuan bluish-white gas giant of Tyloria III loomed large behind the vista, filling up the entire sky, interrupted only by Tyloria Prime's only moon, Jant, drifting between the gas giant and this world, which was itself a moon of the gas giant. Various small civilian craft and Republic shuttles buzzed about in the sky, going about their business.

    The Tylorian Republic's capitol building stood at the center of a large complex, the concrete walking paths that joined the buildings of the complex lined with and broken up by various belts of well-landscaped foliage and water fountains, as the main walking path to the capitol building's entrance was lined on both sides with the various flags of all the worlds of the Tylorian Republic.

    The various Republic officers and civilians that were walking the paths all paused to look to the sky and react at the sight of one of the Frontier's shuttlecraft sailing through the sky, angling downward on a glide path to land, finally coming to a soft landing on the walkway in front of the capitol building.

    After a few moments, the hatch to the shuttle slid open, and Nikolayev, Jor, and Doctor Rayza all stepped out in time to see President Pentique emerge from the main entrance to the building, flanked by Captains Jezereth and Jenz.

    Pentique offered his hand to the Frontier delegation.

    "Friends - welcome to the capitol of the Tylorian Republic - soon to be the Federation capitol." Pentique stated, shaking everyone's hand, indicating for them to follow him into the building.

    "I take it this means you've chosen to accept our proposals?" Jor asked as they reached the entrance, the twin-panel glass doors sliding silently open for them to enter.

    "That it does, Commander." Pentique began as they walked into the lobby of the building. "The war has been long and difficult. It had worn on our people and our Republic. It has caused us to stagnate, when we should have been prospering. We have grown weary of war and the stagnation that comes with it. We're ready for something new - a fresh start. We're ready to embrace a bold new future, and new friends."

    "I'm delighted to hear that, Sir." Nikolayev began. "But I just hope you know that the change and reconstruction you seek will not come overnight - you'll be building this new Federation up basically from scratch... it will require a huge investment of time, effort, and resources."

    Pentique just smiled, looking to the Starfleet Captain as he replied.

    "I've had a bit of time to study some of your historical files from the computer records you've shared with us, Captain - I think it was one of your early Earth Presidents who said; "We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too."

    "President John F. Kennedy." Nikolayev recognized, smiling. "Well, in that case, Mister President... let's talk." he added, as Pentique motioned for the group to follow him to his office.



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    TYLORIA PRIME - PELDURA CITY

    TYLORIAN REPUBLIC CAPITOL BUILDING - OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

    President Carthax Pentique walked around to his seat behind his desk, a large flag of the Tylorian Republic hung on the wall behind the desk, as he looked to the Frontier three - Captain Nikolayev, Commander Jor, and Doctor Rayza, while Captains Jezereth and Jenz stood behind the three Federation men. The flag of the Tylorian Republic wasn't what the Federation people expected - the flag sported the image of an alien - presumably Tylorian - deer-like animal dynamically leaping through the air, against a field of solid red, which was intersected diagonally by a very bold and thick line of gold. In the upper corner of the flag, was a single stylized star icon, much like the ones that adorned the Federation's flag, with a second identical star in the opposite corner in the lower section of the flag. Captain Nikolayev didn't want to ask about it just right now, but he assumed that the two stars on the flag represented the two founding races of the Republic - the Tylorians and the Fflong.

    "So, Captain - you said that you have some ideas for me regarding our soon-to-be Starfleet." Pentique began, sitting down in his chair as Nikolayev handed him a PADD.

    "I do, Sir." Nikolayev started, leading into his presentation while also handing copies of the PADD to Jezereth and Jenz to also look over. "Obviously, your war with the Vralex has forced the Republic to focus on maintaining its force of smaller and more combat-oriented ships. For the time being, the Federation is going to have to maintain this tactic - shoring up your existing defenses and bolstering your strength by amassing a sizeable fleet of starships which are very small, quick, and well-armed. I've put together a list of qualified vehicle platforms which I believe would best achieve this goal - ships that the Federation back home used against our most powerful adversaries - the Borg and the Dominion, to far greater effect than was seen from the use of our larger capitol ships. In particular, I believe the Iowa, Oslo, and Rapier class of ships to be best candidates. They can be built quickly, and deployed en masse to any theater of operations you wish. They are all extremely agile and quick, and well-armed. Right now we have a rare and precious window of calm, as the Vralex will no doubt be smarting for some time from the loss of one of their Man-of-War ships - they'll be trying to figure out how to deal with the new circumstances facing them, re-evaluating their current tactics. We must use this precious period of relative calm to become as strong as we possibly can, securing as tightly as possible every single star system and planet in the soon-to-be Federation, and we need to maintain that hold solidly. Once we have become assured that our space is as secure as possible, then we can focus on looking to once again build larger vessels - explorers and science ships - secure in the knowledge that our space will now be secure to allow for those new exploration and scientific endeavors." he explained.

    The Tylorian Captains nodded in approval at the proposal and the specs of the ships they were seeing on the PADDs. Captain Jenz offered a question.

    "What of our own Republic vessels - and your Frontier?" he asked.

    "I would like to use Frontier as the flagship, used for diplomatic missions and 'showing the flag' type missions - only called in for a show of military force when there's a situation the smaller ships of our fleet can't handle on their own - when they need to show the big guns as an added deterrent. My goal is for the Frontier to promote the image of the new Federation as a force for peace and exploration, yet one that is backed with strength, should it be called for. I want the Frontier to engage in first contacts with other species, not in battles. I'd also like Frontier to be used as a training platform for all the new Starfleet personnel that will soon be - a place where they can learn firsthand, through hands-on experience and training, how to operate a Starfleet vessel, and the ways of Starfleet and the Federation. I want to start educating the new generation of personnel in diplomacy and exploration, not only combat tactics. As for your old Republic ships... I'd like to keep one of them active as a training vessel as well, so that my people can learn the ways of operating one of your ships, and learn your interfaces and ways. But to be blunt, the Vralex have had way too much experience with your current fleet - they know your vulnerabilities inside and out. They know how to destroy your ships, and they know what to expect from your ships and even your weapons. We need to do away with what they know, and offer them something fresh - something they haven't seen before, and won't know exactly how to deal with." Nikolayev explained.

    It was at this point, Commander Jor interjected with some thoughts of his own.

    "It also dawned on me, from reading some of the specs of your ships, that your ships don't automatically rotate shield frequencies - is there a particular reason for this?" he asked.

    Captain Jenz decided to reply.

    It's mostly a security measure." he began. "If we need to rotate our shield harmonics, we do it manually, so that in the event that our computer system is compromised by an outside threat, they cannot disable our shields, or render them useless." he explained.

    "We could fix that. Our computer processors can automatically run through the entire E-M spectrum with remarkable speed - much faster than any potential enemy could hope to keep up or adapt." Jor stated.

    "Almost any enemy." Nikolayev lamented, looking to Jor, who returned his look. "But yes, Commander Jor is correct." he added. "We'll make sure we educate your people on the system, and also teach them the tactic of rapidly alternating through phaser harmonics, to penetrate an enemy's shields." he stated, as the Tylorians and Pentique looked to him with fascination.



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    TYLORIA ORBITAL III - U.S.S. FRONTIER SAUCER SECTION

    The work on the Frontier's saucer section was continuing, many of the outer hull panels starting to now be replaced with newly fabricated ones as gamma-welders secured them in place upon the ship's framework, while the small army of service and supply craft continued their runs from the saucer to the yard and back.

    FRONTIER CORRIDOR

    Captain Nikolayev was joined by Captain Jezereth and another Tylorian man, a Tylorian doctor, as the men walked through the corridor, which was now looking more like a Starfleet corridor, the plastic sheeting that covered the exposed sections of wall now having been removed, and most of the exposed walls covered back up with their respective panels, with only a few sections of corridor left with exposed isolinear circuitry and ODN relays.

    The men rounded a corner, slowing down in curiosity to take in the sight before them - a line of dozens upon dozens of people, all of whom appeared to be from the various species of the Tylorian Republic, all waiting in a formed line leading out from the entrance to Sickbay.

    SICKBAY

    The trio entered Sickbay to see Doctor Rayza and her medical staff busily attending to the various people standing beside and laying down upon the biobeds in the room, the various nurses running tricorder scans of all the new arrivals.

    "What's all this?" Nikolayev asked with interest, as Rayza set a PADD she was studying down on a bed, walking over to him to explain.

    "Data entry." Rayza began. "Now that we're setting up a new Federation here, I'm building up a medical database of all the former Tylorian Republic species for our medical database, and conducting interviews with members of the various species - finding out about any ailments or diseases they all suffer from. We'll need all that information to assist in developing any future treatments or cures. Oh, which reminds me, captain - as soon as it's convenient, I'd like to speak to the Transporter Chief... we'll need to input all this medical data into the transporter biofilter system, as well." she added, Nikolayev nodding in approval.

    The Tylorian doctor was visibly taken with the sight of Rayza and decided to speak up.

    "You're Reticulan, aren't you?" he asked, to a visibly surprised Rayza.

    "I am, yes." she replied. "You know of my people?"

    "Well, not directly, obviously, but yes... in a manner of speaking. I've made it my passion to study the ancient cultures of our galaxy - the species who have long since left - the Reticulans, the Kelvans, the Ooglamesh, you name it, if they've left any sort of record in this part of the galaxy, I've studied them." he stated, extending his hand. "Doctor Nel Grevari."

    "Doctor Rayza." she replied, shaking his hand. "You're more than welcome to join us here and assist me if you wish, Doctor. I can get the alien members of our crew up here for you to interview, if you like - we can exchange notes." she offered.

    Doctor Grevari's smile widened as he accepted Rayza's offer, nodding to the other two men to excuse himself to join Rayza.

    Nikolayev and Jezereth shared a knowing smile as Lieutenant Commander Lezar entered the room, heading for them.

    "Mister Lezar - what've you got?" Nikolayev asked.

    The Bolian man looked at all the various aliens in the room as he delivered his report.

    "Captain, I have word from the surface - President Pentique has heard back from the Republican Guard - they've settled on the choices they want for the new military assets. They're requesting a meeting with us as soon as you're available." Lezar stated.

    "That was fast." Jezereth offered.

    "Well... let's go see what they've decided." Nikolayev replied.



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    TYLORIA PRIME - PELDURA MOUNTAIN RANGE

    The afternoon sun shone brightly over the vast Peldura region, bathing the vista in warmth and light, allowing Captain Nikolayev a pristine view of the large Tylorian capitol city in the valley below, as various civilian craft buzzed about their business in the clear blue sky above. The carpet of tall green grass waves in the light breeze, carrying with it the smells of the various Tylorian wildflowers that grew upon the mountain, most of them various shades of blue and white. Nikolayev sat down in the grass, closing his eyes for am moment to allow himself a brief pause to enjoy being in a wide open space, breathing fresh, un-recycled air, and feeling a natural breeze upon his face.

    His mind recalled all the events of the past few months - the series of events that led them to where they were today - becoming permanent residents of the Andromeda Galaxy. He found himself now focusing his thoughts on the Tylorians themselves, as a people. He hadn't had much time to dwell on their society as a whole, outside of his dealings with the President and the captains he'd met. But now that he'd been able to spend some time on the surface of Tyloria Prime, he was beginning to take in the subtleties of the Tylorian people and their culture.

    One thing that stood out to him early on, was the civilian clothing - at least the clothing native to the Tylorian species itself, not so much the other Republic species. Tylorian civilian clothing sort of reminded him of the traditional clothing worn by the Alpine Bavarians or Swiss people back on Earth - but more modern-looking, as if someone from the 24th century had designed such clothing. And then there was the Tylorian's hair, which he had noticed when they first beamed aboard Frontier. Their hair was more coarse than most humanoid hair - almost sort of quill-like. Whenever a Tylorian was surprised or shocked, or displayed any form of alarm, the entire head of hair would move upward, like the crest on a cockatiel bird. He also noticed an almost bird-like quality to their voices, which seemed to always have a hint of singsongy-ness in the background, as if they made it a habit to suppress that aspect of their speech during normal conversation. He got the impression that the Tylorians would make for some epic Opera singers in the Federation back home.

    After a few moments, he heard the faint buzzing hum of a transporter, and turned to see Commander Jor materializing a few feet away to his left. Jor walked over to him, kneeling down to sit beside him on the mountain meadow, joining his captain in looking out at the city below.

    "I heard." Jor stated, still looking to the city in the valley.

    "Yup." Nikolayev began. "A total of six classes of starship - four fast tactical vessels, and two fast light cruisers, which will be the ships that they gear mostly towards science and exploration efforts."

    "They chose well - all of the platforms they selected will enable their fleet to be brought back up to full strength and then some in less than two years." Nikolayev replied.

    "President Pentique wants to have a ceremony formally officiating the change over to the Federation at the end of the week. The alien representatives from our crew are being briefed on their new roles now, by the various former Republic ambassadors. Also, the yard foreman reports that the new impulse coils have arrived, and the impulse engines can be brought back online once installation is complete sometime tomorrow. And the Jant facility reports that work has begun on the warp drive system." Jor reported.

    "That's quicker than expected. Good." Nikolayev began, standing up, Jor following suit. "I suppose I best be getting back to the ship. I have a meeting with the head of the Republican Guard's Advanced Astronautics Division - he's going to discuss with me the possibilities of setting up a transwarp research division, to see if we can develop a new transwarp engine together."

    "My God, that would help us out so much." Jor agreed. "I'll meet you up there later, Sir. I have a meeting with some of the civilian cultural leaders in town. We're exchanging cultural databases - art, music, entertainment - all that good stuff." he added.

    "Enjoy, Commander. I'll see you soon." Nikolayev stated, tapping his communicator. "Captain to Frontier - one to beam up." he stated, the transporter beam's curtain of shimmering light enveloping him as he vanished from view.



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