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For discussion of ideas, casting, ships, images, and stories of the ST: CITADEL shared-universe. Please observe all requests by thread originators concerning the level of feedback/critique they seek. (11/15/16 - I have received a request to lock this subforum. If there is a desire to unlock it again, please contact me by PM. Thanks. - Michael)

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ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures' (COMPLETED)

 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:39 pm 
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Yes. Yes, you do.

I'd love to see the scene where Kayn comes home to a "hero's welcome" in the town where he grew up. Obviously, it'll be quite bittersweet.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:55 pm 
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I've thought about that but then I thought about how he'd be received if he beamed directly down to Gwalior from the Blount Island. It's still a WIP.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:45 pm 
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Anyways, what do I need to do, John, to get this story finished? :-k

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:26 pm 
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Let me take another look at what we've done so far, and I'll get back to you.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:47 pm 
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::tries to speak in an Australian accent:: Sure thing, Boss. Take your time. (\gorn/)

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Sun Aug 19, 2012 9:32 pm 
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Hey, Michael, could I get you to delete this thread, please? I'm re-writing the story and I'd like to start fresh in a new thread when I post it, please. Thank you. Take a gold-plated, gem-encrusted lightsaber out of petty cash. :D

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2012 12:34 am 
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I'll lock it for now.

I'll take a look at the thread again tomorrow and let you know.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:09 pm 
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Per request, now unlocked. :)

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:34 pm 
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Okay, here we go...

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STAR TREK
CITADEL

“RISKY VENTURES”
By Jack Elmlinger


Chapter One

The doors to the wardroom opened to admit Andrew Mundi, a PADD in his hands. With a surety of long familiarity, he headed over to the corner table, where he found Lieutenant Commander Ikar, the captain of the Defiant-class vessel, reading her own PADD while nibbling at bits of her breakfast. Like the larger ships in the task force assigned to Intaran space, the little vessel relied solely on replicators when in flight.

On the ground, however, Nana, the head cook at Gwalior Base’s mess hall, insisted on cooking for the crews of the Espero and her sister ship, Hammersley.

Mundi glanced down at the table, doing a double-take at what he saw. The Horrusi was eating a Human meal. She was eating two buttered English muffins, had an array of local fruits in a small bowl and was sipping from a cup of orange spice tea.

“Good morning, Skipper,” he said, taking a seat across from her.

“To you also, Andrew, a good morning,” Ikar responded with a smile. “Help you, how can I?”

“Why do you assume that I'm on business? Maybe I just wanted to chat with a friend.”

“Apologies, my friend. Perplexed, you appear to be.” She speared a large chunk of a pineapple-like fruit out of her bowl and nibbled on it. “Well, they are, your family?”

“Oh, they're blending in with life here quite well. In fact, my wife asked the public affairs officer if she could teach at the base school.”

“Good, good. Wasted, her talents, they won't be,” Ikar said, nodding. She seemed happier, these last few days, but that was due to the arrival of a complement of Horrusi traders in one of the convoys escorted to Intar by the Edward O’Hare. The gossip around Gwalior was that she was spending time with one of them, the pilot of the freighter Shaded Beauty. “Still, vexes you, something does?”

Mundi frowned, holding up his padd. “Have you read the latest updates from Starfleet?”

Ikar nodded. “Yes, from the Ernst Ruska, received them, I did, an hour ago. These personnel changes, concern me, they do.”

“I knew M'Reeta was transferring back to Starbase 128 because she's expecting again,” Mundi said, sounding both hurt and frustrated, “but I thought Sovek cancelled his transfer request after I talked to him.”

“Apparent, it is, that he did not.”

“Yeah, and to add fire ants to the peppers up our asses, the Ernst Ruska will be getting half our security department.”

“Needed, they are, by the Ernst Ruska, more than here,” the Horrusi replied, brushing a loose strand of blonde hair from her face. “The Gamma Quadrant, kind to Yineth and his crew, was not.”

“Well, why don't they go empty a Galaxy-class or decommission some of the older ships and steal personnel from there?” the first officer complained. “Why do they have to swipe them from us?”

“Calm yourself, Andrew. Replacements, receiving, we are.”

“Oh? And who are we getting, Academy graduates like Grev? Former Maquis like Lake?”

“Know who they are, when see them, you will,” Ikar said, smiling again.

“Well, then I guess we have to discuss the staffing arrangements,” Andrew told her as he keyed his PADD to browse through the information on it. “I’m just happy that we didn’t lose Tarahni. Losing our chief engineer would’ve been dreadful since she’s the only one that understands the ship and her needs.”

“Without Tarahni, our ship, fall apart, she would,” Ikar agreed with him.

The personnel changes, sent to them by way of the Ernst Ruska, concerned her, as well. They had been assigned to the Intar system for less than a month. In fact, the Espero had just returned from two months of repairs at Starbase 128.

“Bridge to Captain Ikar,”
the voice of the ship’s operations/communications officer, called from the intercom. “Captain Ikar, please contact the bridge.”

Ikar tapped her commbadge. “Bridge, Ikar, this is.”

“Lake speaking, Ma’am.”

“Ensign, proceed.”

“Ma’am, there’s a call from Base Ops. General Rentoshi would like to see you in his office,” the ensign told her. He was another of her officers that she worried about. Doctor Sovek had become involved with his treatment after coming aboard at Starbase 128. According to his records, he had a degenerative disease that he contracted from his time as a Maquis before the war.

“On my way, I am.” The Espero’s commander tapped her commbadge to deactivate it and looked up at Mundi. “Ship’s resources and personnel… specialties of yours, they are, Andrew. Your strengths, play to them, you must. The old and the new, integrate them, we will.”

“Oh, they’ll be a cohesive unit when I get done with them, Skipper. But I warn you, I’m not gonna spare the rod and spoil the child.”

“Any other way, have it, I would have it not,” she said with a nod. “Unleash Senior Chief Anax, you should. Teach our new crew members, we must, if to survive, we are.” She took a final sip of her tea before climbing down from her seat. Patting her loyal second-in-command on the arm, the green-skinned alien walked out of the wardroom.

As she reached the threshold, Mundi called out to her. “Are you expecting trouble, Skipper?”

“With Captain Yineth?,” she asked, referring to the Ernst Ruska’s captain. “Always, I am.”



Senior Chief Petty Officer Anax was not comfortable as he walked into the Cargo Bay. Five new crewmen were waiting for him, all but one in conversation. The Edoan’s face hardened. As one of the two most senior enlisted officers aboard the Espero, it was up to him to oversee their orientation, and he didn’t care that one of them wore a junior grade lieutenant’s pips on her blue collar.

“Attention!” one of the crewmen, a Petty Officer 1st Class, shouted to the others in warning. The enlisted personnel formed a line and snapped to attention with the precision of someone used to military regimentation.

The lieutenant, however, remained sitting, her attention on the PADD in her hands.

Anax scowled at the woman.

“So this is my new bunch of maggots,” Anax grumbled at them in full drill instructor mode. Crossing his left and right arms behind him, he tapped the lieutenant on the shoulder.

“Yes, COB?,” she asked without looking up.

“Would you care to join the rest of the class, ma’am?”

“Not really.”

Anax slowly bent down next to her. “ON YOUR FEET, LIEUTENANT!”

The lieutenant was instantly on her feet, the PADD dropping to the deck. A moment later, it shattered under the Senior Chief’s right boot.

“I’m not the skipper or Lieutenant Mundi, but as long as I’m Chief of the Boat, I AM THE SUPREME DEITY! DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME!?!”

“SIR, YES, SIR!,” all five shouted in unison.

“Nice to see you’re getting everyone squared away,” Lieutenant Mundi said from the cargo bay’s open door. He had seen what the multi-limbed alien had done with the Betazoid, and he approved.

Ranks didn’t matter much aboard the Espero. Everyone knew who everyone was, and while military discipline was maintained, the crew of the little ship wasn’t as regimented as those found aboard larger ships like the Kumari.

“Just welcoming them aboard, sir.”

Mundi looked each of them over, his gaze stopping on the Betazoid who stood with anger on her face. He then stepped over to stand beside Anax, crossing his arms over his chest. “Welcome aboard the U.S.S. Espero,” he said with a grin. “I’m your new First Officer, Lieutenant Andrew Mundi and,” – he motioned to Anax -- , "this is our Chief of the Boat and Tactical Officer, Senior Chief Petty Officer Anax. If you have any problems, come to either of us.”

“He broke my PADD,” the Betazoid whispered, clearly enough for Mundi to hear her.

“Excuse me?”

“He broke my PADD… sir.”

Mundi lowered his arms. “And you are?”

“Lieutenant Verra Kitahni,” the Betazoid flatly answered. “I’m your new medical officer.”

“Ah, so you’re Sovek’s replacement.”

“Yes, sir.”

Mundi nodded, turning to Anax. He cocked a thumb at the humans and Rigellian. “Square these guys away, will ya, Anax? I’ll show the doc to sickbay.”

“Yes, sir,” the senior chief acknowledged with a nod.



She was nervous.

Her chocolate eyes wandered the room, landing on several framed pictures of various people, all of them posing with the owner of the office. They included officers, an award-winning actor, politicians of every stripe and even several Prime Councilors. There was even an autographed photo with the current Prime Councilor, Aram Kodo.

Jayna Naytohm had been summoned from her own office, where she was directing the effort to link Intar’s global information networks to the Federation’s equivalents. The wealth of knowledge would take the dark-skinned woman a lifetime to study and understand. Since the arrival of the people from the Federation, her area of study, exobiology, had made her more valuable to the chain of command, since they felt she would be better able to relate with the races that comprised the United Federation of Planets.

The office door creaked open, bringing the woman to her feet before the desk.

An Rentoshi walked into the room, accompanied by one of the aliens. She instantly recognized the diminutive green alien from her recent appearance on The Boredom Cure.

“Section Lieutenant Jayna Naytohm, reporting as directed, sir,” the scientist said with a salute.

“At ease, Lieutenant. This is Lieutenant Commander Ikar, captain of the Starship Espero,” Rentoshi responded, introducing the alien officer before motioning them to take the two visitor seats. The Horrusi greeted her with a simple nod before climbing into the offered seat.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma’am,” Jayna said. “I saw your interview with Ibriel Ganegli on The Boredom Cure.”

“My best, it was not, I fear.”

“I thought you represented yourself well.”

“The interview,” Ikar told her, “to do it, ordered, I was.”

“Commanders McCune and Ikar have become celebrities since they came to Intar,” the general explained as he lowered himself into his own chair. His facial features hardened somewhat, indicating that he had entered business mode. “I’ve called you here in regards to Starfleet Memo Four-Nine-Three-Kappa, from Starbase 128. Commander Wilcox and I have compiled a list of Intaran personnel whom we believe would be qualified for this assignment.”

“The liaison program, referring to, you are, General?”

Jayna felt the yenini take flight in her stomach. “Is this what I think it is, sir?”

“Yes, it is, Lieutenant,” Rentoshi answered, a twinkle in his eye. “I’m making your dreams come true.”

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:48 pm 
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Quote:
Chapter Two

Captain’s log, stardate 56020.7:

The Edward O’Hare has just departed Starbase 128 with a convoy of five freighters. Our destination, once again, is the planet Intar. The industrial replicators and humanitarian supplies are urgently needed on this beleaguered world since the Battle of Intar…



Captain Roberto Vallejo closed his log recorder and looked around him, taking in his ship and her crew. The bridge of the refit Constitution-class heavy cruiser coursing with activity. With assistance from the U.S.S. Espero, two weeks before, they had stopped another Tzenkethi incursion into Intaran space.

“All ships in position and proceeding at warp three-point-nine,” reported Lieutenant Vurek from the science station. The tawny-haired Vulcan had his attention on the ships in their convoy.

“I hate poking along like this.”

The remark was from Lieutenant Commander Aija Nakamura, the O’Hare’s Japanese first officer and helmswoman. She was the daughter of an admiral, though she didn’t rub it in. She had her own accomplishments for that. When Vallejo had met her during the Dominion War, the younger woman’s file had made that abundantly clear to him.

“If only civilian ships had more than light phaser banks and the occasional obsolete photon launcher,” Lieutenant Raia, the Deltan operations officer seated beside her at the joint helm/tactical/operations console added. The pips on her gold collar were new and shiny; A reward for her recent actions at Intar.

“Would you trust an untrained civilian with such weapons?” asked Trevor Malachi, the O’Hare’s chief medical officer. The older, grumpier man stood beside the captain’s chair, his arms crossed over his chest. He reminded Vallejo of the famous Leonard H. McCoy.

“One would assume that any civilian wishing to mount such weapons on his ship would undergo training, Doctor. It is logical that one should be equipped for battle when entering an active war zone.”

“Starfleet’s about keeping the peace and exploring new worlds, Mister Vurek. Not going around shooting up the place.”

“Doctor, I would submit,” the science officer said, turning around in his chair to face him, ”that you are allowing your emotions to direct your responses. Logic would suggest that you commit to a regimen of meditation to—“

“Meditation? You pointy-eared, green-blooded—“

“Ok, guys, that’s enough,” Vallejo said, interrupting both of them. Since assuming command of the O’Hare, the Latino captain had prevented many such arguments between the two officers. They admitted to being friends, but he suspected that, if no one was there as a buffer, they would have killed each other long ago.

“Vurek, keep an eye on our guests,” the captain continued,” and Doctor, shouldn’t you be in sickbay, checking the medical supplies that we’re taking to the Intarans?”

In addition to the supplies aboard the civilian freighters, the O’Hare was carrying engineering supplies for the SCE contingent aboard the Blount Island and medical supplies for the hospitals in the hardest-hit cities.

Muted responses came from both men, and Vallejo watched Malachi walk into the open turbolift before turning his chair to face the Vulcan officer.

“You really like to egg him with logic, don’t you, Lieutenant?”

“It is not my intention to ‘egg’ anyone, Captain. I am merely sharing my experience with him.”

“Hmph, experience,” Nakamura whispered under her breath with a smile. That smile soon disappeared as she noticed the new reading on the screen before her. “Captain, sensors are detecting three ships ahead of us.”

“Identify ‘em, Mr. Vurek.”

“Sensors indicate three Tzenkethi Strakha-class destroyers.”

“Red Alert!,” Vallejo said, rising to his feet. “All hands to Battle Stations! Alert Gwalior Base that we’re under attack and that we require assistance.”

“Aye, sir,” was the Deltan’s response.

Vallejo saw the Tzenkethi ships appear on the main screen.

“Aw, crap...”



The comforting sounds of the Voivonna Namree-Zaye’s bridge greeted Commander Daileyr Kayn as he strode onto it.

There was an extra spring in the man’s step. He wasn’t sure if it was due to trouble with the gravity plating or the fact that, after two years away, they were finally nearing home.

Kayn had commanded the Chu’thankhor-class vessel since the day she was launched, and it was a command he was more than proud of. Named for Voivonna Namree-Zaye, the first Prime Councilor of Intar, the ship was nearing the end of her mission of exploration to several of the star systems surrounding Intar. She was only one of five to do so. The other fifteen had been destroyed by the Tzenkethi before that race had turned its sights on the planet.

With the arrival of the Federation and its technology on his world, Kayn’s latest orders from the ISA, Intar’s civilian-controlled space exploration agency, were to bring the Namree-Zaye home to be refit and upgraded by the Starfleet Corps of Engineers.

“Commander, I have multiple sensor contacts at four-nine-three-mark-seven,” the bridge sensor technician reported. “The computer has designated them aikek one through ten.”

“Any idea what they are?,” the commander asked, stepping up to the navigational plot table at the center of the room. His pilot and the navigator were already routing the sensor data into the table’s processors.

“I’m not sure yet and neither is the computer.”

“Best guess?” Kayn asked.

“Well,” the technician said with a brief sigh, “from the power signatures, my best guess is Federation.”

“They could be Tzenkethi too,” speculated the navigator, grimly.

“Possibly,” the pilot suggested from the opposite side of the plot table, indicating the lower-power signatures displayed there, “but these signatures indicate civilians, like those Pakleds that brought our mail out to us earlier this year.”

“Perhaps,” Kayn said, looking at the sensor contacts on the screen. “Comms, anything from home on this?”

“Now reading weapons fire!” the technician called. “High-power, directed energy.

“Weapons fire?” Kayn asked, as new tags appeared on the plot. They identified one Federation cruiser, six freighters of various origins... and three Tzenkethi destroyers.

“Damn,” the Namree-Zaye’s pilot swore. He straightened the front of his jumpsuit and looked over his shoulder at the Commander. “Sound general quarters and polarize the hull plating, Commander?”

Kayn considered the situation. His ship was no match for one Tzenkethi raider, much less three destroyers, but one of the vows he had taken when he joined the Intaran Sea Forces was to render aid to all who were in peril on the oceans, and he considered space just another ocean.

“Yes, Ati. Sound general quarters, polarize the hull plating, and arm the thermonukes.”

“Aye, Sir.”

“We’re going in?,” asked the navigator.

Kayn looked up from the plot table. He knew the man’s feelings about the Federation. Vio Doshend, as a devout follower of the Speakers for the Maker, was among the few Intarans who saw any extraterrestrial influence with the Intaran people to be an abomination. He was aboard to experience the Maker’s works up close, and had avoided all of the visitors they had welcomed aboard during their travels.

“They came to our assistance, Navigator. I think it’s only right that we come to theirs.”

Doshend stared back at him with a hard expression. “You’re in command.”

“You’re damn right about that.”

“But I want my protest over this decision to be entered into the ship journal.”

“Your religious objection is noted,” Kayn nodded. “Now plot me a course.”

Kayn picked up the handheld communicator on the side of the table. Pressing a button, he said, “All personnel, this is the commander speaking. Man combat stations and stand ready. We are rendering aid to a Federation convoy...”



In his small cabin aboard the Espero, Andrew Mundi was bent over his computer terminal when his combadge chirped for attention. “Mundi here.”

“Lieutenant, this is Petty Officer N’Vosh.”

N’Vosh… N’Vosh…, Mundi asked himself. Who the hell is N’Vosh? Oh, wait, N’Vosh!

“Go ahead, Petty Officer,” he said, remembering who N’Vosh was. He was one of Lake’s people who manned ops and communications during the Beta-shift.

“Sir, Gwalior Base is relaying a distress signal to us from the Edward O’Hare,” N’Vosh reported. “According to Base Ops, the O’Hare was assigned to escort five freighters to Intar from Starbase 128.”

“Any reason given for the distress call?”

“They’ve encountered a Tzenkethi destroyer flotilla, sir.”

Damn, just when I get comfortable, they pull me back. He sighed, scratching the side of his face. “Ok, go ahead and put a call-back to our personnel. Tell Master Chief Nayce that we’ll need to cold-start the warp core and—”

“Commander Wilcox has already informed the captain, sir.”

“Good. I’m on my way to the bridge.”



Two minutes later, Ikar materialized on the bridge, just as Lieutenant Mundi walked into the room. After having summoned his captain back from a meeting with General Rentoshi, the black man noticed that the skipper was accompanied by a woman wearing one of the red Intaran Space Forces uniforms and, by the insignia on her collar, which differed from what she wore on the front of her uniform, that she was a lieutenant, like him.

“Welcome back, Skipper.”

“At Battle Stations, the crew, they are?,” the Horrusi asked him, going straight to business.

“Yes, Ma’am. Anax is loading the launchers as we speak and Tarahni has the warp drive purring like a kitten.” Andrew looked over the lieutenant commander at their guest and smile. “You’re new.”

“Lieutenant Jayna Naytohm, from the Intaran Air Forces,” Ikar said, introducing the dark-skinned woman, “this is. As our liaison, assigned to the Espero, she has been.”

“I’m also your new science officer,” Jayna said, smiling as she indicated the light blue on her rank/crest strip, and the stripes that designated her as a department head.

“Lieutenant Andrew Mundi, at your service,” the first officer said, offering his hand to her. “It’s always good to see a new face in the crowd. Welcome aboard, Lieutenant.”

“Please… call me Jayna, and thank you. It’s good to be aboard.” She looked around the bridge to size up her new surroundings. Her stomach was still fluttering from the transporter. It was her first time, and she hoped that she wouldn’t throw up in front of her new captain. “Ship’s a little cramped, isn’t it?”

“To me, gigantic, Espero is,” the skipper chuckled as she looked up at her second-in-command. “To Hammersley, our gift, delivered, it was?”

“Yes, Ma’am! Four thousand boxes of the local cuisine, along with the bill.”

“And the food?”

“Packed and secured in the cargo bay after being cleared through Customs.”

“Good, good, this is,” Ikar said, turning to look at Jayna. The Intaran was obviously confused by their behavior. “With Hammersley’s crew, compete, we do. The better ship, we have; the better crew, we have. Maintain it, our reputation, we must. Teach them, we must. Accost me, paint me purple, do this, never again, will they!”

“We’re having a prank war with Commander McCune,” Mundi explained, “and the skipper has one wicked sense of humor. I remember one time when she rigged the sonic showers to cover Hammie’s crew in green gelatin. That was—”

“For that, on report by Admiral Jellico, I was,” a grinning Ikar interrupted. “Ready to break orbit, already, we are, Andrew?”

“Why wait? It’s easier to beam you aboard after we launched.”

“Excellent thinking, it was, Andrew. Make of you, a captain, I will.”

“Maybe after you get your fourth pip, Skipper.”

Ikar regarded the screen at the front of the small bridge. Intar dominated the bottom of the screen, while the Ernst Ruska could be seen in the lower left-hand corner with the Blount Island and their sister ship, the Hammersley.

Ikar walked over to her chair as Mundi showed their new science officer to her station before taking his own station. With the changes in ship’s personnel and the departure of half of their security detachment, he was forced to add the duties of Security Chief to his resume.

“Course to O’Hare’s last position, plotted and laid in, Captain,” the ship’s pilot, Ensign Kor lasch Grev, reported with his orange eyes intensely focused on his controls. “Ready for warp at your command.”

“And there goes Hammersley,” someone said as their sister ship flashed to warp.

“Hmph,” the Tellarite growled. “I guess they’re in a hurry.”

Ikar turned toward the operations console. “From the O’Hare, heard more, have we? Their distress signal, too late, I hope not.”

“Nothing yet, ma’am,” Ensign Derrick Lake reported, his hand on the transceiver in his right ear. A minute later, the dark-haired man said, “Gwalior’s hailing us.”

“Screen on.”

The image of Gwalior Base’s executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Jeff Wilcox, appeared at the center of the main screen, replacing the exterior visual.

“Commander Ikar,” he said, standing in the middle of Gwalior Base’s operations center, “we just got a report from an Intaran explorer, the Namree-Zaye. They picked up the Tzenkethi closing on the O’Hare’s convoy, and report they’re on their way to assist.”

“Against the Tzenkethi, not much, they could be,” the Horrusi commented, resting her hands on her hips. “On our way, we are, Commander.” She leaned up on her tippy-toes to peer over Grev’s arm at the helm display. “Our ETA, two minutes, once warp nine, we reach.”

“Captain Th’Nar has ordered that Ernst Ruska and Blount Island remain in orbit. He’s getting the Kumari underway as we speak.”

“Acknowledged, Espero out.”

The skipper frowned, climbing up into her command chair. “To warp nine, Mister Grev, take us.” She then turned towards her first officer, who was already looking back at her.

“This must be serious,” he said, sounding a little anxious, “if the Kumari’s breaking orbit. I thought Th’Nar would have sent the Ruska, with all of the hospital beds she has.”

“It is,” Ikar said with a nod. She was quiet for a moment before asking, “Settled, Kara and the kids, they are?”

“Um, uh… yeah. The base housing officer was able to assign us to an apartment in Kalmiko Tower. It’s a little posh for my tastes, but…” The lieutenant stopped there, his face displaying a façade of confusion. They were heading into an imminent combat situation, and she was asking him about his family.

What’s wrong?


“Hmm… good. Happy to hear this, I am.” Good to hear, fulfilled, my request, it was.

The Horrusi woman had found the apartment offered to her in Kalmiko Tower to be too large and ostentatious for her. Being a woman of simple needs since leaving Horrus, the Espero’s captain asked the base housing officer to give the apartment to her first officer and his family, while she kept to the familiar surroundings of her cabin on the Espero. He had offered an alternative, but she preferred it this way. When the ship was landed, and the crew living out of base housing, she found that the peace and quiet relaxing.

Mundi raised an eyebrow. “Frankly, I’m surprised that you gave up the apartment, Skipper. You had quite the view.”

“Needed it more, you and Kara did. For me, too large, it was.”

“Yes, but—”

“Captain,” Lake interrupted, “we’ve reached the coordinates.”

“On screen.”

_________________
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(Yes, the image is me, but the photomanip wasn't done by me.)


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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:58 pm 
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Location: Aboard USS Marshal Martz, NCC-78506 (though physically in Jamestown, NY)
Quote:
Chapter Three


Ritan th’Nar didn’t like what he saw on Kumari’s main screen. One of the Tzenkethi destroyers had been damaged, but two of the freighters were little more than clouds of debris.

“I should’ve sent Espero or Hammersley with them,” the Andorian murmured to himself.

“It’ll be an awful shame if we cannae get those supplies through, Captain,” Lieutenant, j.g. Brendan Andrews said from his place at the conn. His Highlands brogue reminded everyone of the still mandatory recordings of engineering lectures by Captain Montgomery Scott at the Academy. “I still have yet to teach Nana how to make a proper haggis.”

“Or a decent plomeek soup,” commented Senek.

“Gentlemen, let’s save that conversation for dinnertime,” the captain said, leaning forward in his chair. “Mister Greene, target phasers on the lead ship.”

The tactical officer punched a few commands into his display and the targeting reticule appeared on the screen, zooming in to indicate target lock. Having come from tactical himself, th’Nar preferred to see where his ship’s weapons were targeted.

As they watched, the little Espero swooped in and opened fire with a barrage from her pulse phasers. The Gatling gun effect of her weapons struck the enemy ship’s shields, breaking them like a pane of glass.

“Hold your fire, Ikar!,” th’Nar called. “Hail the lead Tzenkethi.”

A second later and the view in front of him switched over to the other ship’s bridge.

“You are in a military exclusion zone. Withdraw or be destroyed.”

“Captain,” Greene reported from the portside tactical station, “one of the Tzenkethi ships is turning towards us.”

Th’Nar stood up and placed his hands behind him. “This is Captain Ritan th’Nar of the Federation Starship Kumari. The Intar system is under Federation protection, and we do not recognize your exclusion zone. If you withdraw now, you will be allowed to depart.”

The ship shuddered under the impact of the Tzenkethi’s weapons.

“If that’s how you want it... All ships, open fire!”

The Kumari maneuvered around the wreckage of a freighter as the damaged Stratka-class destroyer fired again.

“It looks like they took some damage,” Andrews commented.

“I’m reading some moderate structural damage,” Nix said, looking up from his panel. There was some concern on the Bolian’s face. “Their impulse engines are running at 20% of efficiency and I’m barely detecting any functioning sign of their life-support.”

“Any life signs?”

“Some, but not much, sir.”

“According to Starfleet Intelligence,” Commander Senek said, providing his commanding officer with an encyclopedic account of relevant information,” the Stratka-class destroyer has a crew complement of four hundred and seventy-three warriors. Their weapons capabilities are believed to be—”

“Captain, I’ve located the O’Hare!”



“Easy, guys,” Jax Myrru said. “These pods aren’t made of the same stuff ours are.” He was the Namree-Zaye’s chief engineer, and knew as much as anyone about the capabilities of the ship’s grapplers.

This was the third pod they’d grabbed from the freighter Corazon, which had not fared well against the Tzenkethi raid.

“How’s it coming, Jax?” Commander Kayn asked, rounding the corner from the corridor. Kayn was Jax’s brother-in-law, but that didn’t keep them from being professional. He was going to choose a different person for chief engineer, but his sister had begged him to choose her husband, who had just been passed over for promotion by the Intaran Sea Forces. Because he loved his sister and Jax was a good friend, Kayn argued for him, and had not been disappointed.

“We’re pulling them in like corecs at Nekei Point.”

“Good. No problems, then?”

“None that I can see. The grapplers are having trouble holding to the stuff they make these pods out of, but we’re dealing.”

Kayn looked around, noticing the lack of medical personnel. “Where’s Criber?”

Since the much-publicized launch of the Namree-Zaye, Kayn had been at odds with the ship’s chief medical officer, Dr. Allika Criber. She wasn’t a bad officer or a bad doctor. Much the opposite, in fact. And, unlike Doshend, she was quite eager to interact with the aliens they’d encountered.

But she was also a Thin Preacher.

“I think she’s over at the portside airlock,” Jax answered as a clunk reverberated through the hull as the escape pod made contact with the docking clamps. A moment later, the two technicians unlocked the hatch and pulled it open.

Three people emerged through the portal, quickly followed by three more. All looked like thin Intarans except two. One was a green woman, while the other had blue skin and a bald pate. He also had a ridge running down the middle of his face.

“Thanks for reeling us in,” the blue-skinned one said. “We’ve got wounded.”

Kayn reached over and picked up the intercom handset. “This is the commander. Medics to starboard airlock. We have a medical emergency.”

“On their way, Commander.”

The commander replaced the handset before kneeling down next to the injured man. Using his emergency medical training as well as experience he had picked up assisting his grandfather, he quickly checked the man over.

“A lot of bruising, and these burns are second degree, at least. You dose him with anything?”

“Kelotane for the burns and terakine for the pain.”

“I don’t know what those are, but I don’t think we should give him anything else.”

“Good choice, Commander,” Dr. Criber said, kneeling down next to him. “We’ll need to check his arterial blood gas levels and wrap these burns.” She turned to the two medics and waved them in. “Get this man to sickbay, on the double. At least he keeps in shape. That’ll help his recovery. The rest of you come along. Everybody needs to be checked over.”

A moment later, Kayn, Jax and the technicians found themselves alone.

“She is such a—”

“Don’t say it, Jax. That’s an order.”

“But Daileyr!”

“I know, Jax. Criber may be a damned Thin Preacher,” he said with a long-suffering sigh, “but she has her supporters. And she is a damn good doctor.”

“Still, we shouldn’t have to take that crap.”

“I know, and my report will—”

“Bridge to Commander Kayn.”

Kayn reached over and picked up the handset. “Kayn, go ahead.”

“Sir, one of the Federation ships, the Espero, has hailed us. They’re offering to take the survivors off our hands.”

“That’s a good idea. Advise Dr. Criber—”

The deck pitched under them.

Losing his footing and slicing his forehead open on the edge of the console didn’t stop Kayn from performing his duty. “Report!”

“Another Tzenkethi! He just came out of nowhere!”

“Polarize the hull and get us out of here!”

“Done.”

“I’m on my way up.”

“Here, you better take this,” Jax said, holding out a pressure bandage.

“Thanks.”



“That ship, target it,” Ikar ordered. “Protect the Intarans, we must.”

“Torpedoes ready and locked.”

“Fire!”

A full spread of photon torpedoes left the Espero, flying true and striking the Tzenkethi destroyer in the right spots. The first two brought down its shields, while the rest did hull damage. Plasma fires bloomed across the Stratka-class vessel as it broke off its attack on the Intaran vessel.

“Looks like we got their attention.”

“Indeed.” The Horussi then climbed down from the captain’s chair, crossing the bridge to the operations console, where Lake sat. “Hail them,” she ordered.

“Skipper?”

“Offer aid, we shall. Before more lives lost, end this skirmish, we should.”

“Aye, Ma’am.”

Ikar headed back to the captain’s chair.

“No reply, but they are transmitting a distress signal on their own emergency frequency.”

“Predictable, aren’t they?” Mundi asked, rhetorically.

Ikar smiled. Indeed they are, she thought, clasping her tridactyl hands behind her. “Cut in and put me on, please.”

“Aye, Ma’am.”

“Tzenkethi vessel, Federation ship Espero, this is. To render aid, we offer.”

She’d never been comfortable dealing with felinoids, much in the same way as humanoids weren’t comfortable with saurinoids. But for her, it was more personal. Back home, on Horrus, she had watched as a kreya, one of the large predators of the forest, had seriously mauled her brother, Tokar. He’d lived, but had never been the same since.

“No response.”

Ikar sighed. “Dying, your ship, it is. Serious damage, we have done, but live, we wish you to.”

Suddenly, the image of enraged Tzenkethi appeared on the main screen. Despite herself, Ikar took a half-step back.

“We will never be your prisoners,” the Tzenkethi hissed. “We would rather die than be dishonored at the hands of our enemies! We know how the Federation treats their prisoners.”

“Die, you could, but in dishonor. With life, honor and glory, you could have. Be mistreated, you will not be. Prove this, we will.”

“Never!”

“To die over propaganda, you wish? Arrange that, we can, but help you live with honor, we prefer.”

The Tzenkethi looked around before visibly deflating. “We choose... to live.”

“Beam you aboard immediately, we will. Espero out.”

“I’m reading thirty-nine lifesigns over there, Skipper,” Mundi reported. “They could pose a problem if they get it into their heads…”

“Understand, I do, Andrew. The Kumari, hail, please.”



“Captain, Espero is hailing us.”

“On screen,” Ritan th’Nar answered. A moment later, Ikar appeared on the main screen before him, the Espero bridge behind her.

“What’s your situation, Ikar?”

“Survivors from the Corazon, rescued, the Intarans have. Also, Tzenkethi crew, beaming aboard, we are.”

“That must have been a lucky shot to have them surrendering to you.”

“Lucky shot, it was not, Captain. Skill, it was.”

Th’Nar chuckled. “Indeed. We’ll take them off your hands, if you like. O’Hare has taken damage and needs a warp tow. Can you handle that?”

“Easily, we can.”

“Then let’s get the rest of these supplies to the Intarans.”

_________________
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(Yes, the image is me, but the photomanip wasn't done by me.)


Last edited by AdmiralSirJohn on Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:14 pm 
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Location: Aboard USS Marshal Martz, NCC-78506 (though physically in Jamestown, NY)
Quote:
Chapter Four


“How bad are we hurt, Lieutenant?” Robert Vallejo asked his chief engineer.

“It’s bad, Captain,” the Denobulan answered. “We’re going to need a spacedock.”

I did not need to hear that, Vallejo thought as he looked around. The refit Constitution class ship had taken a beating. Emergency forcefields covered the more serious breaches, but they’d still lost fourteen people. Sickbay had also reported forty injuries, which totally overwhelmed the existing medical facilities. Doctor Malachi had already turned the shuttlebay into an emergency ward.

The captain dropped into the closest chair, letting his weariness show just a bit. “How much repair time are we talking?”

“I don’t even know if we can repair her. We shattered the dilithium crystal beyond regeneration, and we took a hit that vented most of our deuterium supply. And I don’t even want to think about the damage to the port nacelle.”

“Is there anything we can do in the field?”

“We might be able to jury rig something with Intaran parts, but we’ll be limping at best.”

Vallejo nodded. “Do what you can.”

“Right.”

“Bridge to Captain Vallejo.”

The captain tapped his commbadge. “Go ahead.”

“Sir, the Espero is ready to take us in tow. Commander Ikar asks if we need any medical or engineering assistance.”

“Tell her we need both. Doctor Malachi could use some help, and while we won’t be able to make any major repairs, we ought to be able to patch up the holes by the time we reach Intar.”

“I’ll let her know, Captain.”

“Vallejo out.” Standing up, he faced the engineer. “Do what you can, Dhalix.”



Jayna Naytohm walked off the bridge at the end of her first day aboard the Espero, and the dark-skinned Intaran had already seen more combat than she had in her entire career. As she walked through the narrow corridors, she wondered what had prompted her assignment to the Defiant class ship.

I thought I’d be assigned to the Kumari or Ernst Ruska, she thought, pausing to press herself up against a bulkhead to make way for others to pass. This little ship doesn’t even have a real science lab.

On the plus side, it did have the most advanced sensor suite she’d ever seen.

I know it’s just my first day, but I think I need to talk to the commander about this. I just hope it doesn’t hurt my chances with these Starfleet people.

Jayna had played it safe all her life. Even as a child, she sat away from the other children at recess to read. Books had been her escape, and she had a number of old volumes that she cherished, but there wasn’t much room for them in the closet that Lieutenant Mundi had called her quarters.

Even worse, she was expected to share the space.

The door slid open at her approach, and she stepped through to find herself face to face with a naked woman with coloring close to her own.

“What the—”

“Oh, sorry!” Jayna said, turning around. “Lt. Mundi assigned me to these quarters.”

“Lieutenant Naytohm, right? Well, come on in so the door can close.”

Jayna took a step back, seeing the door close in front of her.

“There’s no need to be bashful,” the woman said. “There’s not much privacy to be had on a starship, even one of the big ones.” She then tapped Jayna on the shoulder. “You can turn around now.”

The woman had donned a short robe. It was then that Jayna noticed the woman’s forehead. “I don’t mean to be rude but… what are you?”

“I’m a Haliian.” She then held out her hand. “Master Chief Petty Officer Tarahni Nayce. I’m the chief engineer.” The two women shook hands. “Sorry about that. I just came off duty, and I enjoy an hour where I can just—”

“Say no more, Master Chief. I shouldn’t have assumed the room would be empty.”

“No worries. I’ll just have to start pulling the privacy shades. Speaking of which, the bottom bunk is all yours.”

“I appreciate that.”

“Say, I’m going to head to the wardroom. Care to come along?”

Jayna’s stomach rumbled in reply.

“I guess that’s a yes,” the Haliian said, crossing the small compartment to her locker.


“So what’s your story?” Tarahni asked fifteen minutes later as the two women found a table in the wardroom. Both had chosen Terran dishes. Jayna had chosen the Pasta Primavera with shrimp because it reminded her of a similar Intaran dish, while the Haliian engineer chose Swedish meatballs.

“Not much to tell, really. Mine has been a military family for generations, both for Intar as a whole and the Nectem Republic before that, so it was expected.”

“So you’re a military brat, eh?”

“If I understand the term, yes. Also, military officers have a better chance of being selected for space service.” She then took a bite of the pasta. “By the Maker, this is amazing!”

“Yeah, I’ve always liked Terran food, too. They make great pasta, and the replicators do it well.”

“My father would always take us for something like this down on Intar. Too bad I can’t bring my parents aboard to taste this stuff.”

“Maybe you can. We’ve been giving tours to government types while we’re landed. I’m sure the captain would let you bring your parents aboard for one.”

“Perhaps… I just thought…”

“What?” Tarahni asked after swallowing a bite of meatball.

“I just thought, when General Rentoshi assigned me to the ship as liaison officer, I’d be able to show off my skills as a scientist. Espero has an amazing sensor suite, but there’s no real science lab.”

Tarahni blinked at her. “Didn’t they tell you what kind of ship this is?”

“No. I was just summoned to the general’s office and he told me I’d qualified for a set of reds. I was actually hoping for Kumari or Ernst Ruska. But I go where I’m assigned. Thus is the life of anyone in the military.”

“Well, I’m sure the captain wouldn’t have requested you if you weren’t needed here.”

“I hope so, Tarahni.”

“Hello, Ladies!” Espero’s first officer exclaimed as he walked up to their table. He dropped the small PADD he carried onto the table as he took the seat next to Tarahni. “How’s the food?”

“Good evening, Sir!” Jayna said, stiffening to attention. “The food is wonderful, Sir. I was just telling Master Chief Nayce that my father would take me and my mother to restaurants that served dishes of this type from time to time, Sir.”

“Interesting. What does he do?”

“He recently retired from the Sea Forces, and now runs a rather lucrative private security service, Sir.”

Mundi smiled. “You’ll come to find that those of us on small ships usually dispense with military formality. There’s no need to ‘Sir’ me.”

“Uh, yes, Si—Lieutenant.”

“Anyway, I just came from dinner with the skipper, and we talked about your inexperience with our equipment and procedures. So she suggested that a qualification course might help you out.”

“Qualification course?”

“Yeah, anyone assigned to bridge duty gets it,” Tarahni explained. “Personally, that’s why I stay in engineering.”

“For you,” Mundi added, “it’s more about remedial training.”

“But I’m already assigned as science officer. What else do I need?”

“The skills to be Second Officer. You have the rank, after all.”



Ship’s journal, Mission day 715.

Escorted by ships from the Federation Starfleet, the Voivonna Namree-Zaye is finally approaching home. It feels like a lifetime since we last saw our homeworld, and we are happy to be back.

Chief Engineer Myrru and a team from the Federation ship Kumari have inspected the ship from bow to stern, proclaiming us as starworthy as the day we launched.

As we come home, we do so with no fatalities and only three casualties of note, as set forth in the medical log.
We thank the Maker for watching over us.

Journal entry filed by Daileyr Kayn, Commander
18 Zheika, 85th Year of Unification


The blue and white planet Intar greeted the bridge crew as the forward blast shielding retracted. More than a few wiped tears from their eyes, knowing that none of their compatriots had survived to see this day.

“Anything from control yet?” Kayn asked.

“Not yet, Commander.”

Kayn nodded, acknowledging the reply.

“Too damn quiet, if you ask me,” Doshend grumbled from his place at the plot table.

“Maybe they’re too busy arranging a parade for us,” Jax Myrru joked, walking up next to the navigator. “Lighten up. We’re home!”

“I’m sure your wife will be happy to see you.”

“Oh, if she’s lucky, she’ll have linked up with another guy.”

“Wait, what?”

Jax laughed. He loved pulling the navigator’s leg. The devoutly religious man was just too much the ‘straight man’.

“Not really, but you never know.”

“Commander,” the technician at the communications panel reported, “we’re getting a sublight signal from ISA Headquarters.”

“Headquarters? Not Reden?”

“No, Sir. It’s Unity. Coordinator Fradell.”

“Put her through,” Kayn ordered, taking his place at the center of the small bridge.

The large forward screen, situated directly above the main windows, lit up with the face of a middle-aged woman.

“Daileyr, welcome home. What’s your status?”

“Fully functional and happy to be home, Hentress.” Like most of the ISA’s spacegoing personnel, he and Hentress Fradell were old friends. “What’s with the signal from Unity?”

Fradell’s face fell. “Reden Base isn’t there anymore.”

Daileyr could feel the shock around him, mirroring his own. “What happened?”

“It was attacked in a raid some months back. Your families are safe, but the facilities didn’t survive.”

There was visible relief all around.

“Thank you for letting us know.”

“We don’t have any support facilities available, so you’ll be docking with the Federation ship Blount Island. Her crew will postflight your systems and begin upgrades.”

“And my crew?”

“Liberty will be granted immediately. You’ll be transported to the new base in Citadel.”

Daileyr felt a bit of uneasiness stab at his stomach as he acknowledged the order.



Night shift aboard the Espero was usually quiet. With most of the crew asleep in their bunks and the skeleton watch at their posts, there weren’t any of the usual sounds of sentient activity, and that was just fine with Ikar.

Of course, she was usually in her own bunk by this time, but the after action reports needed to be reviewed and logged. Thus, Ikar sat at her desk, a cup of tea filling the compartment with a sweet, fruity aroma.

Currently, she was looking over the surprisingly short engineering report. The little Defiant-class vessel and only taken light damage in their skirmish with the Tzenkethi raiding party, yet Master Chief Nayce wanted to set the ship down for more thorough diagnostics as soon as possible.

In port, another man to share her interest with, she must have, the Horrusi thought. The Haliian had become rather popular with the single men at Gwalior base and the surrounding city of Citadel. The fact that the small woman could eat like the proverbial horse probably had something to do with it. Still, so long as it didn’t affect her performance, Ikar saw no reason to disapprove.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the door chime. “Enter.”

“You’re still up?” Andrew Mundi asked, passing through the open door.

“Be done, the reports must.”

“True, and speaking of…” He handed a large PADD to her. “No fatalities, and only one injury, according to our new doc.”

“Injury?”

“Tesh’ka… again.”

“A habit, these accidents are becoming,” Ikar remarked, darkly.

“To be honest, I’m not sure they are accidents. I mean, clumsiness is one thing, but…”

“Freely, you should speak, Andrew.”

“Chief Thompson did mention that he’s been getting some… extra attention from Puller and Channing.”

Despite his apparent clumsiness, Tesh’ka, a Saurian, was a fine engineer, and Ikar had recognized him as such… much to the disappointment of the two humans who had more time in grade, but not nearly as much talent. Ikar remembered dealing with a number of people like that throughout her own rise through the ranks. Now that it had been brought to her attention, she’d be damned if she wasn’t going to do something about it.

“Change their shifts, Senior Chief Anax should.”

Mundi nodded, making a note on a smaller PADD that seemed to be an extension of his uniform, he carried it so often. The Edoan Chief of the Boat shared scheduling responsibilities with him, as he was also the ship’s main training officer.

“Their quarters, as well. Close to waste reclamation, they should be. Bullying, on my ship, I will not have.”

“A’ight,” Mundi replied, slurring the word as those from his homeland were known to. “Just heard from Kara and the girls.”

“Well, I trust they are?”

“Oh, yes. Kara asked me to extend an invitation to dinner, once we tow the O’Hare into a stable orbit. I think she wants to thank you for the apartment.”

“Not necessary, her thanks are. For me, too big, it was.”

Mundi frowned. “And you prefer living on this sardine tin?”

“Peaceful, it is, when the children gone, they are,” Ikar answered with her almost trademark serene smile. She took Mundi’s fit of laughter at the old joke to take a sip of her tea. “Requested a landing, Tarahni has. Grant it, I shall, once a suitable site, assigned is.”

“A’ight,” Mundi replied, making another note on his PADD. “Oh, and Doctor Kiyralli strongly requests your presence in sickbay at your earliest opportunity.”

Like all Starfleet captains, Ikar dreaded those particular words, for they rarely bode well. “A reason, she gave?”

Andrew pondered the question. He’d been worried about the little Horrusi female, especially since she had, completely out of the blue, given him and his family the apartment the owners of Kalmiko Tower had graciously granted her, choosing instead to live on board. He suspected there were thoughts and emotions she was hiding from him, and he couldn’t help but wonder what was wrong.

“You know how it is,” he finally answered. “New doc, getting used to a new sickbay, new medical files to process and update, which means…”

“New baselines.” Her dread was well-founded. While she considered herself to be healthy, Starfleet insisted on regular check-ups by doctors and psychologists who invariably found something amiss in some way.

“We all have to go through it. Well, Anax just grunted and stood there… Even that new kid, Naytohm, submitted to one. Doc made an interesting discovery about her, too.”

“Oh?”

“She has Cyrano Jones disease. I’ve already ordered her replicator ration increased to compensate.”

“The mechanics of that, understood, I have never.”

“I didn’t know anything about it myself,” Mundi remarked, “before meeting Captain Harris. You know how people’s metabolisms use food first for energy, then to build muscle tone, and finally to produce fat as storage for future needs in the other two categories?” Ikar nodded. “Well, in a person with AHRS, their metabolism is reversed. In mild cases, it’s similar to a bear or rodent preparing for hibernation, in that fat production takes precedence over muscle tone, whereas in more acute cases, it trumps even energy to keep going.”

“Explains much, this does.”

“So what should I tell the doc?”

Ikar sighed. “When my duties allow it, I will.”

“I’ll let her know. So anything from Hammersley?”

“Indeed, yes. We are challenged.”

“What kind of challenge?” Andrew asked, wary of the answer.

“A game.”

“Not more beach volleyball, is it?”

“No, a different challenge this is.” She handed Andrew another of the PADDs that littered her desk and watched as a smile spread across his face.

“They don’t know, do they?”

“I believe not.”

“Then we are going to wipe the floor with them… but where are we going to find a basketball court on Intar?”

Before she could offer a witty comeback to the man’s remarks, the voice of the ship’s tactical officer, who was serving a watch in charge of the night shift, came over her combadge. “Anax to Captain Ikar.”

“Ikar, this is.”

“Ma’am, the transporter room just reported that Captain Yineth has come aboard.”

“For his visit, any idea, have you, Senior Chief?”

“No, ma’am,” he reported.

Ikar nodded. “To my ready room, direct the captain, if you would, please.”

“Aye, ma’am. Anax out.”

“I wonder what he wants,” Mundi said, speaking the very thought that was on the skipper’s mind.

“Like most captains, know this, I do… nothing good…”



Ikar certainly likes to keep her ready room simply decorated, the Ernst Ruska’s Bajoran captain told himself when he looked around his junior counterpart’s private sanctuary. As soon as he came aboard the little ship and asked to speak with Lieutenant Commander Ikar, a tall, multi-limbed Edoan had escorted him here.

He looked down at the PADD in his hand while he sat in one of the chairs in front of Ikar’s desk. The plan that he had formulating on his personal access data device was something that he had been planning since arriving in Intaran space, but before he brought it before Starfleet Command and the Intaran government, he wanted someone to bounce his ideas off of. Knowing that the Horrusi were universally known for their wisdom and their ability at diplomacy, Yineth had decided that consulting with Ikar was a good decision.

“Unexpected, this is, sir.”

Yineth turned around and stood up from his seat as the doors closed behind the Horrusi. “I’m sorry to pop in like this, Commander,” he said with a smile. “I was hoping that you might have some time for a chat.”

Su casa, es su casa, Captain.”

“I’m sorry?”

“An Earth saying, it is. My first officer, a fan of it, he is.”

“Ah… I see.”

“Get you something, may I, sir?” Ikar asked as she walked over to the replicator. With a simple command, a glass of water appeared before her.

“No, nothing, thank you,” Yineth said, returning to his seat. “If I drink any more raktajino, my chief medical officer might try to relieve me of duty.”

“Many doctors, this threat made, they have.”

“Actually,” he continued,” I came for some advice.”

“Advice? From me? My time, yours, it is, sir,” Ikar said, moving over to her chair and sitting down, her eyes looking across her desk at him. “Help you, if I can, I will.”

“Well, I have an idea that concerns the current situation with the Tzenkethi.”

“To war, the Federation and the Ernst Ruska, take us, you would? A sad state of affairs, such a plan, it would be.”

“Nothing like that,” Yineth quickly countered, missing the Horrusi’s attempt at humor. “It’s something that might resemble cowboy diplomacy.”

“Hmm… your record, studied it, I have,” the Horrusi said, tapping one of the PADDs on her desktop. “Required, I felt it was, when arrived here, you did. A fighter, you are, not a diplomat. Yet, diplomacy, you recommend. Why?”

“Maybe I’m starting to mellow out in my middle years?” the captain quipped, belatedly recognizing her joke. He picked up the PADD from his lap and handed it to her. “Would you look over this, please? I’ve jotted down a few ideas and thoughts.”

Ikar took the proffered PADD and took a few moments to read through its contents. The plan, that he had yet to propose to Starfleet Command, definitely had merit. While his Starfleet and Bajoran Militia records didn’t show much experience in the area of diplomacy, she believed that the different path he was considering could find a non-violent way to end the Intarans’ and the Federation’s hostilities with the Tzenkethi.

“Admirable, this is,” she noted, returning his PADD. “With your record, unexpected, this is. Carry it out, how will you, if approved?”

“Well,” Yineth said after retrieving his PADD,” I’m going to suggest to Starfleet that they send another ship to temporarily relieve the Ruska, since I don’t want to disturb the defense of Intar. Ideally, I’d like to have a second ship with us, but with the current shortages, I’d be lucky if I could get a ship to relieve us, much less a second ship as backup.”

“Hmmm…” Commander Ikar rubbed her chin in deep thought. “Alone on such a mission, the Ruska shouldn’t be. Another ship, help you, it might. Another thought, have this too, I do.”

“I would love to hear what you have to say, Commander.”



The room that Kayn and his senior officers were taken to was instantly recognizable as a medical bay, but it was more advanced than any of them had seen. But it was the alien before them that was strangest of all.

“Damn, Boy, you’re nothing but skin and bones!” Ati Lundo, the Namree-Zaye’s pilot, commented.

“I am not a boy,” the alien answered, “nor am I a girl.”

“I don’t understand,” Doshend asked.

“I am a J’Naii. My species has only one gender.”

“So you’re an… it?”

“I prefer to be addressed as Doctor, but yes.”

Doshend turned to the other Intarans. “We are in the land of the Destroyers,” he drawled.

“New things, Vio,” Kayn said, comforting the navigator. “New things.” Seeing the doctor’s confused look, he explained Doshend’s religious teachings.

“I understand. If you would prefer another member of my staff…”

“I would.”

“He means no offense, Doctor.”

“I take none.”

“Well, now that that’s sorted,” another voice said from the doorway, “I’d like to properly welcome you aboard.”

The Intarans turned to see the man who had spoken. He was small, though not exceedingly so, with graying brown hair and a an open expression. He held out his hand to Kayn. “Captain Dominic Baier, commanding the Blount Island.”

Kayn took the offered hand, marveling at the nearly universal gesture that was the handshake. “An honor to be aboard, Captain, I’m—”

“Daileyr Kayn, commander of the Voivonna Namree-Zaye. The honor is mine, Sir. Welcome home.”

“Thank you, Captain, but what’s with the medical exam?”

“Your government asked us to check something one of our biochemists discovered at Citadel City Hospital.”

“What sort of something?”

“As you know, the Tzenkethi have been raiding your planet for its agricultural products, as the compound you call chetarin affects them in the same way what we call methamphetamines affect humans. We’re hoping that, through genetic engineering—”

“You wish to change the Maker’s work?” Doshend asked, cutting off the captain. “That is blasphemy!”

“Please excuse Mr. Doshend, Captain. He comes from a religious order that is rather…”

“Fervent?” Baier suggested.

“Yes, fervent in their interpretation of the ancient commandments. I’m actually surprised that the psych screeners allowed his assignment.”

“Politics,” Lundo spat, as if the word were a curse.

“The universal curse,” Baier agreed. He was about to say more when he was interrupted by the intercom.

“Bridge to Captain Baier.”


The small man tapped his commbadge. “Baier, go.”

“Sir, General Rentoshi and Prime Councilor Kodo are ready to beam up.”


“They re-elected Kodo?” Jax asked, speaking up for the first time since leaving the Namree-Zaye. “I was sure he’d be challenged by Restan.”

“Well, we sort of short-circuited that with our discovery of what chetarin does to some species,” Baier remarked. Then, raising his voice slightly, he said, “Beam them up and escort them to First Look, Mr. Carmichael.”

“Aye, Sir. Bridge out.”

“If you’ll excuse me, I’ll have someone escort you when you’re done here.”

“Thank you, Captain.”

Jax watched the captain leave, shaking his head. “Damn, he’s skinny. They must all be Thin Preachers…”

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:23 pm 
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Location: Aboard USS Marshal Martz, NCC-78506 (though physically in Jamestown, NY)
Quote:
Chapter Five


Ten minutes later, Kayn and his party were escorted out of sickbay by a young being that identified itself as a Bolian. While it didn’t look very Intaran, having blue skin and a ridge down the middle of its face, it was rather plump, which, in itself, was reassuring.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, Commander,” the Bolian, who had identified himself as Ensign Renek, gushed, “but we are going to have fun tearing your ship apart. Most of us haven’t seen systems like that outside of a museum.”

“Just so you put her back together when you’re done.”

“Oh, she’ll be better than new when we’re done with her. Have no fear.”

Kayn chuckled at the alien’s enthusiasm as they reached a pair of finely-crafted wooden doors, which parted at their approach.

“Poppa!”

Kayn’s head jerked toward the sound of the young voice. A moment later, he dropped to his knees, his arms out wide.

“Marya!” he cried, tears welling up in his eyes. As she ran into his arms, he held her and kissed her forehead as he had done every night before shipping out on his mission. “Oh, sweetie, I missed you.”

“I missed you too, Poppa.” Born nearly two months premature, the doctors had given Kayn and his wife little hope that she’d live more than a few days. Six years later, there she was, welcoming him home.

Releasing his embrace, he looked into the face of his daughter. “How did you get up here?”

“She beamed up with me, Commander,” the deep, distinct voice of Aram Kodo said from deeper within the room. “I asked Captain Baier to give your parents a short tour of the ship.”

“And my wife?” Kayn asked, resuming his feet.

Kodo appeared shocked. “No one told him?” he asked the Army general next to him, whom Kayn assumed was General Rentoshi.

“We thought he should hear it from family.”

Kayn stepped forward, looking at both men. “What happened?” he asked. “Where’s my wife?” He was about to say more, but stopped at the tug at his pant leg.

“Poppa…”

“What is it, Marya?”

“Momma went to live with the Maker, Poppa.”

Kneeling down to look his daughter in the eye, he whispered, “What?”

“Momma’s with the Maker.”

“I’m afraid your wife was killed when the Tzenkethi destroyed Lunabase Three, Commander,” Rentoshi said.

Kayn nodded as he folded the little girl into his embrace once again, the tears flowing anew. They’d had an agreement between them that if something happened while he was gone, he was not to be informed until his return. Like him, his wife had been a military officer assigned to the Intaran Space Agency.

“I am so sorry, Commander,” Kodo added, kneeling down to place a hand on the man’s shoulder. “I know it’s a horrible way to say welcome home.”

“Thank you, Prime Councilor,” Kayn said as soon as he was confident he could speak without breaking down. Feeling that Marya had gotten over her own tears, he gently released her and stood to face the man who led the Intaran government.

“Prime Councilor Kodo,” he said, snapping to attention and rendering a parade ground perfect salute, “Commander Daileyr Kayn, reporting Exploration Vessel Voivonna Namree-Zaye has returned in good condition with no casualties.”

“Commander Kayn, you and your crew are the first to return from your travels. Despite your loss, it is good to have you home.” Kodo then held out his hand. Kayn shook it, once again marveling at the universality of the gesture.



The Blount Island’s observation lounge seemed to offer Daileyr Kayn some comfort. He still marveled at the sheer size of the vessel, which seemed to him the size of a small city.

After sending his daughter back to the surface with his parents, Kayn had chosen to spend the night aboard the Federation construction ship. He knew his crew was there for him, but he needed a little time away from them. Captain Baier seemed to sense that almost innately, and had extended an offer for him to stay aboard for as long as he needed to.

Gynnia, he thought, his eyes slowly roaming the surface of his home planet, what will I do without you? How am I going to raise Marya without you?

“Commander Kayn?”

“What is it?” he asked without turning. He didn’t want anyone to see his tears.

“My father asked me to check in on you, Sir.”

“Your father?” Kayn asked, turning to face the woman. “Well, I’ll be…”

“Welcome home, Commander.”

“Jayna? By the Maker, you’re the very image of your father.” There was a lot of Sepath Naytohm, Kayn’s last commanding officer before receiving his appointment to the Intaran Space Service, in her face. He remembered how the old man had gone on a tirade when he learned his daughter had joined the air forces, despite the fact that he commanded a joint-service aircraft carrier.

“Funny, he says I look like my mother.”

“How is the old flyboy?”

“Retired. He’s running Chakaio Security now.”

“Huh.” He then nodded at her uniform. “I see you got yourself a set of reds. They’re not assigning you to me, are they?”

“No, Sir. I’ve been assigned to the Espero, one of the Federation ships.” She walked up to stand next to him at the windows. A moment later, she pointed. “There it is. It’s little, but interesting.”

“Little? It’s half again size of Namree-Zaye.”

“So it is. General Rentoshi has expanded the mixed crew policy that the base operates under out to the ships assigned to the system.”

“I see. I can see the advantage of such a policy, but there are disadvantages, as well.”

“That’s why we’re starting with liaison officers on the ships.”

Kayn nodded.

“Dad wanted to know how you’re doing, what with you just learning…”

“Yeah. It’ll be hard, but we’ll move on.”

“Move on? With all due respect, Sir, your wife died! True, it was some months ago, but…”

“Jayna, we understood the sacrifices that come with serving our fellow Intarans. We entered the Sea Service to help others and defend our world against anything that would threaten it.”

Jayna nodded. “I remember crying for three days after that attack. It took a lecture from my father to remind me that it’s a risk just living from day to day.” She sighed. “I would have flown up to serve under her two weeks later, if Lunabase Three hadn’t been destroyed.”

“Oh?”

“She requested me. They needed a new science officer.”

Kayn nodded. “So tell me about that ship you’ve been assigned to?”

“Let me get you something from the replicator first. I want to introduce you to something called iced tea…”



As Jayna walked onto the Espero’s bridge the next morning, she didn’t feel as nervous as she had the day before. In fact, she felt rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever came her way. The bunks may be small, she thought as she headed across the small bridge to the science station, but they’re very comfortable.

She saw the rest of alpha shift relieving their night shift counterparts. Ensign Lake sat at the ops/communications console opposite her own, and Ensign Grev was seated at the helm, snarling over something the gamma shift pilot had done to the console.

“Rotten, stinking, pinkskin…” the Intaran heard him mumble

“Is there a problem, Mr. Grev?” she asked, trying to be friendly.

“YES!” the Tellarite barked back at her. Then, realizing his error, he turned and said, “Lieutenant, I—”

“No apologies are necessary, Ensign,” Jayna assured him. “I read some of the cultural briefing papers last night. I understand it’s just your way to be a bit argumentative.” She then noticed that someone had left her a fresh cup of tanzila.

But it wasn’t. As she picked it up, she smelled a distinctly different aroma.

“This isn’t tanzila.”

“Coffee, it is,” Ikar said, walking up to stand between her and Grev. “Popular, it is among Terrans. Enjoy it, I thought you might, since tanzila, embargoed to off-planet consumption, it is.”

“Thank you, Captain. I appreciate it.”

“And something troubles you, Grev.”

“Nothing that can’t be solved with a ritual sacrifice, Ma’am.”

“I’m sorry?” Jayna asked, after taking a sip of coffee. She found it a bit bitter, but decided she could get used to it.

“It’s Ensign Pellew. He keeps eating at my station and he… he leaves crumbs! Once, I even found spilled coffee. He could have shorted out the console, that thoughtless brindik!”

“I see.”

“Sealed against moisture, the consoles are,” Ikar reminded the pilot, “but exasperating, it is. Lieutenant, address it, could you?”

“Of course, Ma’am.”

As the Horrusi headed back to her chair, Grev looked at Naytohn. “If you can do something about it, I will be forever in your debt.”

“Oh, I think I can dissuade him from that habit. I have something special in mind for him.”



“Thank you for seeing me, Prime Councilor,” Yineth Nikara said, shaking hands with the larger man.

“I’m always happy to meet with one of our protectors, Captain Yineth. So, how can I help you?”

“Actually, Sir, it is I who may be able to help you. You see, the Cardassians used my world, Bajor, much the same way the Tzenkethi want to use yours. True, our food never affected them, but they enslaved us and used us to strip the planet of its resources. I think you need to see this…”

As Kodo took his seat, Nikara removed his uniform tunic, then the shirts under it.

“By the Maker,” the Prime Councilor breathed at the sight of Yineth’s scars, “what happened?”

“The Cardassians happened, Prime Councilor. My father was a member of the Council of Ministers. He represented Rekantha Province, a very lush, fertile land. When I was six, he was accused of being a resistance sympathizer. Soldiers from the local garrison forced him to watch as I was whipped. They whipped me exactly three hundred times… and then I was forced to watch them murder him. At that moment, I vowed to do whatever I could to make sure no other world would ever share Bajor’s experience. It is the reason I became a resistance fighter, the reason I joined Starfleet and the reason I requested my ship be assigned here.”

He began putting his undershirt back on, but stopped at Kodo’s words.

“Was he guilty?” the Prime Councilor asked.

“Sir?”

“Your father. Was he a resistance sympathizer?”

“Yes, Sir,” Yineth answered, resuming the act of donning his uniform. “My older brother, Jemarii, was a member of a local resistance cell. I took his place after he was captured and executed two years later.”

“I’m sorry, but that doesn’t explain why you’re here.”

“No, Prime Councilor, it doesn’t. But it does set the stage, as it were. You see, even as a child, I knew that there were Cardassians who disagreed with, even hated, what they were doing to Bajor and its people. Some even helped the resistance. All I had to do was find them.

“I’m sure there are Tzenkethi who disagree with what they want to do here. I believe I may be able to find some. We may not be able to stop the raids, but we might be able to get a bit of warning or mitigate the effects. If we can fight the right person to deal with, we may even find a way to convince them to end their attacks.”

“I pray to the Maker that you’re right, Captain,” Kodo replied, “but based on everything we’ve learned about the Tzenkethi and how our food affects them, I have little hope that your plan will succeed.”

“I understand, Prime Councilor. I still believe that the effort should be made.”

“I agree, but we need every ship possible to defend this planet.”

“I’ll go alone,” Yineth said, zipping his tunic closed. “I shouldn’t need more than… two weeks.”

Kodo regarded the Bajoran for a long moment. “I’ll clear it with Captain th’Nar and General Rentoshi, and advise Admiral Mecum. If you can, I’d like you to remind the Tzenkethi government that we would rather destroy our own crops and starve than turn them over.”

“Of course. I will endeavor to deliver your message to the Autarch himself.”

Kodo stood up and shook the Bajoran’s hand again.

“Thank you, Captain. May both the Maker and your Prophets bless you and speed you on your way.”



Henry Nash was waiting for the captain when he beamed back aboard.

“What the hell are you doing, Captain?” he asked, without preamble.

“What do you mean?” Yineth asked, stepping down from the platform.

“Don’t think I haven’t noticed all the private planning sessions with Commander Ikar. And now a meeting with Kodo? Something’s up, and I need to know about it.”

In the last year, Nash had come to know the officers he worked with, and he knew his captain was hiding something.

“It’s a private matter, Henry.”

“Maybe if you told me, I could help.”

“I doubt that, Commander.”

Yineth turned to leave the transporter room, but stopped at Nash’s touch. “Quit treating me like an enemy, dammit!”

“Enemy? Henry, you’re my first officer.”

“Then start treating me like one. You ask advice from Commander Kelby or Major Colby, when you should be asking mine.”

Yineth looked at the human’s hand until he released his grip. “I’m sorry, Henry. You’re right, of course. It’s a habit I picked up in the Bajoran Resistance. Always look out for the ones with families, for they always leave the biggest holes.”

“Captain?”

“I used to be married, you know.”

“No, I didn’t.”

Yineth nodded. “I had a wife, Naya, and we had two children. We’d left Bajor by this time, and settled on Pelion II. And then the Dominion came.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Ever since then, I’ve been very protective of anyone under my command who is either involved or married. It used to drive my special ops team insane.”

“I never knew. Still, we all know the risks when we join Starfleet. Reh’loryn—”

“Would repaint the hull with my guts if I let anything happen to you. She may be a Klingon and know the meaning of duty, but you’re more important to her than anything. Never forget that.”

He then clapped his first officer on the shoulder, silently ordering him to come along. “Besides,” he added, “while I’m gone, I’m going to need my most experienced officer in command.”

“So where are you going?” Nash asked.

“To find a backchannel. Do me a favor and let the hangar bay know I’ll be taking out the Opaka Sulan.”

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:36 pm 
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Location: Aboard USS Marshal Martz, NCC-78506 (though physically in Jamestown, NY)
Quote:
Chapter Six


Opaka Sulan,” Major zh’Tori called from the starboard tactical station, “launch when ready.”

“Roger that. Opaka Sulan is away.”

“May the Prophets speed you on your way, Captain,” Henry Nash added. “And good luck.”

“Thanks, Henry,” Yineth answered over the bridge speakers. “Take care of the big girl while I’m gone.”

“Oh, he will,” Dr. Reh’loryn, the ship’s Klingon chief medical officer, replied with more than a little mischief in her voice. “I’ll make sure of that.”

“I’m sure of that, Doctor. We’ll be back soon. Yineth out.”

“Oh, don’t look so worried, Henry. Yineth is an honorable man. I believe he can achieve anything he puts his mind to.”

“How Klingon of you,” Nash told his par’mach’ai as he lowered himself into the captain’s chair.

Reh’loryn growled softly at him. “Rest assured that he took the proper protection with him,” she reminded. Both he and Major Colby, head of the ship’s small Marine detachment, had insisted that Yineth take a squad of marines and a medic with him, just in case.

“I’d be more worried for the ship,” Lt. Commander Datho ger Gazhk said from his station on the other side of the bridge. The chief engineer then stood up and walked over to stand on the opposite side of the captain’s chair from the Klingon. “The Opaka took quite a beating in the Gamma Quadrant, and my people still haven’t fixed everything. Her targeting sensors are still throwing fits.”

“Well, you know that captain,” Nash said, reassuringly. “He won’t give up on a ship until she’s a floating hulk without a Planck weight to give.”

Still, he added to himself, I can’t help but fear that things could get much, much worse if his idea goes sideways.

“Commander, Kumari is hailing us.”

“On screen, Major.”

A moment later, the main screen changed to show to face of Ritan th’Nar, the senior Starfleet officer in the Intar system.

“Commander, I just saw you launch your captain’s yacht. May I assume Captain Yineth was aboard?”

“Yes, Sir. It seems that his idea was approved.”

“I wish he’d have flown it past me first,” the Andorian answered, “but if the Intarans are on board with it, who are we to argue? Still, we might want to start some battle drills, just in case. What with the O’Hare out of action, we’re going to need all the preparation we can get.”

“Agreed, Sir. I’ll begin drills immediately. Should we move off station for phaser drills?”

“Negative. I don’t want anybody getting too close to that obelisk.”

“Aye, Sir. Any word on that Intaran ship?”

Th’Nar grinned. “Dom and his crew are like kids in a candy store. I’ve already had four complete overhaul ideas cross my desk, each one more outrageous than the last.”

“That’s the SCE for you. Next thing you know, they’ll be calling in Captain Scott.”

“Great Four, I hope not! Who knew anyone that old could drink so much?”

Everyone in earshot laughed, since the legendary head of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers was well known for his drinking prowess.

“As soon as we hear anything from Captain Yineth, I’ll make sure you’re informed.”

“Fair enough. I’ll send a briefing to Admiral Mecum and Ambassador Elmlinger. They should both know the details… or at least as much as we know. Th’Nar out.”



Ikar sat alone in the Espero’s wardroom, a cup of hot tea steaming on the table in front of her. The leaves had been brought in by one of the freighters, her quartermaster having made the arrangement to get himself out of trouble for sleeping on duty in the impulse control room. It was infused with Terran blackberries, one of her favorite berries.

On non-replicated food, like an Intaran could I become, she thought, taking another sip. She had to admit that her uniform jacket had been feeling a bit tighter over the previous few weeks. But she was off-duty and enjoying a novel from the early twenty-first century called The Hunger Games.

“Good book?”

Ikar looked up, seeing Jayna Naytohn in the doorway.

“Like it, you may. Endless, the author is, with twists and turns.”

“I would have thought you’d read it on a PADD,” the Intaran said, entering the room.

“The feel of paper and binding, I prefer.” Marking her place, she gently set the book aside. “Productive, your visit to Blount Island was?”

“Yes. The engineers were able to provide some parts to fit out the new science lab.” Before heading over, she and Ikar had discussed turning one of the ship’s unused compartments into a small science lab, and the commander had given her enthusiastic approval. The ship’s original design hadn’t included such facilities.

“Good. Help you, Tarahni, she will?”

“Yes,” Jayna answered, taking a seat across the table from the skipper. She was quiet for several moments, and Ikar could sense her mood.

The return of the Voivonna Namree-Zaye was big news for the Intaran people, and was still the lead story on the holovid channels. Indeed, it reminded many of the ship’s crew why they’d joined Starfleet.

“Good, your visit with Commander Kayn was?”

“Yeah…”

“Sad, you are. Talk about it, if you wish.”

Jayna nodded. “I think about all the good things Gynnia did, and then…”

“Death, a part of life, it is. Like a shadow, follows all of us, it does,” the Horrusi told her, feeling her pain.

“Did you feel that way after the Athabaskan was destroyed?

Ikar was taken aback for a moment. She hadn’t thought about her old ship in a long time.

“Find out, how did you?” While her service history was a matter of public record, the events surrounding the loss of that particular vessel were classified.

“I’m sorry, Ma’am. Mr. Mundi—”

“A big mouth, he sometimes has. Tell you stories, I could about the trouble it has caused.”

“I think I’d like to hear some of those…”



“Sensors are clear, Captain,” Major John Colby reported from the copilot’s seat. “In fact, it looks like there are some holes in the patrol routes. We should have at least been picked up on a sensor net by now.”

“Either that,” Yineth remarked, “or our camouflage is still that good. Still, keep an eye out. The Tzenkethi have a habit of popping out from around a convenient stellar body.”

They were cruising just above warp one near the Perraton system, on a course directly into the heart of Tzenkethi space.

“How’s the holouflage, COB?” Yineth asked the Efrosian woman at the engineering console.

“Operational and stable at 99% rated power, Captain.” She then looked up at the back of his head as he looked out the front windscreen from the pilot’s seat. “But I’d still like to know why I’m along.”

“We needed someone to man engineering, and Gazhk told me you were up for an away mission.”

“I’d rather be on Risa.”

Yineth smiled, his eyes still on the sensors. He could almost sense her fatigue. They were all tired, and he hoped that they’d be able to take full advantage of the base privileges soon. One mutiny in my life is enough.

“Sensor contact. Three-one-nine mark five-two,” Colby reported.

“ID?”

“Tzenkethi patrol ship. Bazadan-class.”

“Holouflage?”

“Still up and stable.” The Opaka was masquerading as a small Pakled trading ship, barely larger than a runabout, and he hoped that the Tzenkethi would open a channel rather than shoot first and not bother asking questions. The Pakleds were, after all, one of the Tzenkethi’s trading partners.

Yineth nodded, turning towards the main communications screen. A holographic filter would overlay their image when they made contact, and the computer would alter his vocal patterns to make him look and sound like a Pakled trader.

“They’re hailing,” Colby reported.

“Open a channel.”

“Okay… adding enough to make you an Intaran… now.”

On the screen, a snarling, sandy-furred Tzenkethi appeared.

“I am Shipmaster Fayne of the Autarch’s vessel Karshen,” he announced in a booming voice. “You have entered Tzenkethi space. Explain your presence.”

“We look for things,” Yineth replied, pitching his voice to mimic Pakled speech, so as to allow the computer to process it more quickly.

“Yes, yes, we all know that. What do you want here?”

Yineth paused. “We look for things. Do you have things?”

“This is not a trading vessel.”

“Trade? You trade for things?”

Beside Yineth, Colby bit his lip to keep from laughing.

“No. Where are you going?”

“We go to… to see Autarch. Autarch has things. Autarch is smart!”

On the screen, Fayne seemed to relax slightly. He’d obviously heard that line before. “Yes, the Autarch is very smart, and he has many things. Do you have things for him?”

“We have things! We go now?”

“Yes. You may proceed.”

As soon as the channel was closed, the entire group busted out in laughter.

“Oh, Prophets, that was rich!” Yineth said, laying in a direct course for Tzenketh.

“Must be casual Friday over there,” Colby agreed.

“Either that,” the COB added, “or they’re too busy building up a strike force to properly guard their border.”

“That, I’d rather not think about,” Yineth said, suddenly sober. “Are we up for warp four?”

“The engines are about as bitchy as I am during my period, but she’ll hold.”

“Then let’s go talk to the Autarch about Intar.”



The Opaka Sulan may have looked like a standard Arrow-class captain’s yacht, but it was actually one of the specially modified Shadow-class infiltration ships developed for Starfleet and Marine Special Operations. Still, it had been partially restored to the more luxurious Arrow standard, yet still retained the enhanced countermeasures and stealth systems that made it perfect for blockade running.

One of the parts that had been returned to the Arrow standard was the captain’s stateroom. A reproduction of his shipboard quarters in miniature, it had a very comfortable bed.

A bed that Yineth had lain in, wide awake, for seven hours.

He’d tried to sleep, but like every time he’d been on an infiltration mission, the sleep just wouldn’t come. He had the option of taking a sleep aid, but he’d gone through one bout of withdrawal from an addiction to them, and was determined never to go through a second.

So his eyes, and his thoughts, wandered until there was a soft knock at the open doorway.

“What is it, Sergeant?”

“Major Colby’s respects, Sir. We’re approaching the Tzenketh system.”

“About time,” Yineth said, sitting up and swinging his feet to the deck. He hadn’t even taken his boots off. “How far out are we?” he asked as he pushed past the enlisted man and headed for the cockpit.

“Ten minutes out, Sir.”

“Good.” Entering the cockpit, he saw Colby still in the copilot’s seat where he had left him, and the COB back at the small replicator.

“Coffee?” she offered.

“Tea, please. Rakantha blend.”

“Coming up.” As she keyed the request into the control panel, she added, “I had to adjust the holouflage a bit to compensate for a new sensor platform we passed on the way in, but as far as the sensors show, we’re still hidden from the enemy.”

“Don’t think of them as the enemy, COB,” the captain said, taking his place in the pilot’s seat. “We’re here to find a friend. Major, see if you can piggyback a channel on subspace frequency 1208.”

“That’s a diplomatic frequency. Who are we getting in touch with?”

Yineth looked over at the marine. “An old frenemy.”

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 Post subject: Re: ST: CITADEL - 'Risky Ventures'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:46 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 7:21 pm
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Location: Aboard USS Marshal Martz, NCC-78506 (though physically in Jamestown, NY)
Quote:
Chapter Seven


Wassen Lenar’s mouth tasted like day-old fish juice.

He remembered spending much of the previous night with a certain Tzenkethi noblewoman, but everything after about midnight was a blur. Of course, as Cardassia’s ambassador to the Tzenkthi Coalition, he was permitted a few… dalliances.

He looked around, finding himself sprawled in a deeply-cushioned lounge chair.

Suddenly, there was what sounded like the wails of the damned in his ears. It took him a moment to realize it was only the communications panel, beeping for attention.

Staggering over to the desk, he slapped his hand down on the accept button. “What the ekayi do you want?”

“I thought you’d be happy to see me, Wassen.”

“NOT SO LOUD!” Holding his head, he dropped into the desk chair and blinked until Yineth’s face came into focus. “Yineth Nikara? What did I do to deserve a call from you?”

“Hung over again?” Yineth asked. “You need to lay off the kanar, Old Friend.”

“I am not your friend, Nik! What do you want from me this time?”

“An introduction. I want an audience with the Autarch.”

“An audience? What for?”

“I have a message from Intar.”

“Intar! There’s nothing there but fat people.”

“Hey! Those are good people you’re insulting.”

“Good people? They’re no better than Bajorans.”

“Can you do it, or do I have to put in a call to Garak?”

“I’ll do it,” Wassen answered, “but I want something in return.”

“Oh?” Yineth replied, raising an eyebrow.

“I want off this rotten rock! Take me with you when you leave.”

“I can take you back to Cardassia Prime, if you like.”

“Anything but that! I burned almost all my bridges getting off that rock.”

Yineth paused to consider before nodding his assent. “Deal, but only if you can deliver.”

“Oh, that, my friend, I can do.”



Fifteen minutes later, they were safely ensconced in orbit near several of the planet’s myriad communication satellites.

“Well,” Yineth said, checking the sensor readouts, “all the signals going in and out of these birds should mask our transporters.”

“I still think we should beam down with you, Nik,” Colby repeated.

“No can do, John. The more people we beam down, the more chance that something will go wrong. I’m depending on you to bail me out if I get in trouble.”

“I don’t have to like it.”

“I know.” Yineth quickly secured the pilot’s station and made his way back to the small transporter alcove. “Keep the ship safe for me.”

“Will do. Stand by, there’s a freighter locking on a warehouse we can piggyback your beam on… And say g’bye!”



The beaming lasted much longer than usual, but the reaction he got at the other end of it was worth it.

“YEAAGGH! Warn me first next time, will you?”

“Nice to see you, too, Wassen.”

“I am so going to regret this…” Waving Yineth to one of the deeply-cushioned guest seats, the Cardassian activated the desk communications unit.

“Good morning,” the voice on the other end said. “How may I help you, Ambassador?”

“I request an audience with the Autarch, Scheduler. There is a message of interest that needs to be delivered.”

“Of course. The Autarch is holding audiences this morning. Can you be at the palace in forty minutes?”

“Easily.”

“You will be third on the agenda. Please do be prompt.”

“Of course. However, I must inform you that I am invoking Cardassia’s Protecting Power rights, as outlined in section fifteen of our diplomatic exchange agreement.”

“Which power is the Cardassian Union protecting?”

“The United Fe—”

“The United World of Intar,” Yineth said, loud enough for the panel to pick up.

There was a long silence from the administrator.

“The Autarch will be informed.”

“Thank you,” Wassen replied. “If you would also be so kind, please inform the Autarch that I will be resigning my post as Ambassador from Cardassia, effective at end of business today. The charge d’affaires will be assuming my duties beginning tomorrow.”

“Of course.”



Feeling like he’d been lucky to survive the encounter, Yineth Nikara left the Autarch’s audience chamber discouraged, leaving Wassen to conclude his own business. The Tzenkethi leader had met his proposal with utter distain, vowing to have Intar at any cost.

“A word, Captain, if I may,” the voice of the Chamberlain said from an alcove to Yineth’s right. “There is something you must see.”

“I really should get back to my ship.”

“This will not take long. Please, it is very important that you know this.”

Intrigued, Yineth followed the Chamberlain into the passage revealed when he opened a hidden panel in the alcove wall.

“What I am about to show you, I do at great personal risk. Were it to become common knowledge, the very future of the Coalition could be at stake, and the lives of the entire household and government would be forfeit.”

“I understand.”

The Chamberlain then led him through a series of passages and up a narrow staircase to a corridor containing a series of small windows. Several of them had Tzenkethi standing at them, but all departed at the Chamberlain’s silent command.

“From here,” he explained, “we surreptitiously observe the Autarch and his family, so as to better anticipate their needs.” He then invited Yineth to look through one of the small windows.

What the Bajoran saw made his heart ache. It was clear the child was in agony, not all of it physical.

“This is the successor-designate,” the Chamberlain explained. “A Pakled freighter captain presented a supply of what was called tanzila as a gift to the Autarch. He found the aroma distasteful, but his daughter…” He nodded toward the window.

“I see,” Yineth said, understanding on a level only a parent could. “And like many parents, he would rather enable her addiction than see the withdrawal do something like this to her.”

“Yes. He does understand the military applications of whatever it is in Intaran life that affects us so, but his desire for the planet is much more visceral.”
Yineth took a deep breath and closed his eyes, wishing he were not considering the thoughts running through his mind.

“I must share what I have seen with the Intaran Prime Councilor, but I will request his discretion. I will also suggest that a small supply of tanzila be sent here on a regular basis. Not enough to be used militarily, but enough to… enough to help this child.”

“I have known her since the moment of her birth,” the Chamberlain said, “and it tears my heart to see her like this. If you can secure such a supply, the Autarch will be eternally grateful, though he will never acknowledge it. But I will, here in this place.”

“I will not make a promise,” Yineth answered, “for I cannot guarantee the Intarans will agree to help, but I will do what I can.”

“That is all we ask, Captain. I will show you back to your ship now.”



Yes, Ritan th’Nar thought, this place will be perfect.

He walked around the upper level of the new Federation chancery’s lobby. The building was a gift from the Intaran government, and had undergone a complete overhaul to bring it up to Federation standard, with all the comforts of home for the ambassador.

While it wasn’t part of his assignment, he’d taken a special interest in the embassy’s remodeling. In the weeks since Admiral Mecum had advised him of the ambassador’s appointment, the SCE engineers from the Blount Island had, in concert with the Intaran contractors, worked a miracle. The embassy was ready with several days to spare.

On the lower level, a Starfleet officer wearing the three pips of a full commander walked in. Quickly locating the captain, he walked up the ramp and over to th’Nar.

“You wanted to see me, Commodore?” Roberto Vallejo asked, snapping to attention.

“At ease, Commander, before you strain something.”

“Aye, Sir.” Vallejo altered his stance slightly, assuming an Academy-perfect ‘at ease’.

“Damn, Vallejo, were you a Marine in a past life?”

“Actually, Commodore,” the captain of the Edward O’Hare said, a small smile forming, “my father was a Federation Marine for thirty years. He retired last year.”

“I wish you wouldn’t call me ‘Commodore’. I may be senior captain, but…”

“Understood, Sir.”

“Walk with me, would you?” the blue-skinned captain said, setting off along the mezzanine. “I understand that the O’Hare is going to laid up for a while.”

“Unless we can get a tow back to Starbase 128, Sir, we’re stuck here. Lieutenant Dhalix tells me the warp drive is completely out, unless we can get a new set of warp coils. Even then, it would take six to nine months to do a field repair.”

“I have enough supply requisitions to fill a shuttle bay, but I’ll do what I can to get your ship flying again.”

“‘Flying’, Sir? Don’t you mean ‘sailing’?”

“Is there a difference where a starship is concerned?”

“Well, Captain, the sea is in my blood, so to speak. Back on Earth, my family has a thirty-foot schooner that we’ve circumnavigated the planet with. The Vallejos fought at Trafalgar, Navarino, Cape St. Vincent, Midway, Leyte Gulf and even the Battle of Cairns after World War III.”

Th’Nar smile at the pride that his fellow starship captain displayed. “My family has a similar history. One of my forebears commanded another ship called the Kumari, back in the twenty-second century…”

“Commander Shran, right?”

“That’s right. Another ancestor of mine crewed the icebreaker that bore the name.”

“Then you see my point.”

“History is important, Commander, whether it’s personal or racial history…”

“Yes, Sir.”

Th’Nar stopped to gaze down at the lower level, where a crystal globe with drops of various metals suspended in it was being positioned atop the fountain on which it would freely move, a thin film of water providing lubrication. He was familiar with the feature, since there was one in every Federation embassy. The drops of metal represented each of the Federation’s member worlds and their colonies. Nodding his approval, he turned back to Vallejo.

“How’s your crew coping?”

“As well as they can. They’re adapting well to their TDY positions at the base and aboard the other ships.”

“What about you?”

“Oh, I love standing watches on an empty bridge.”

Th’Nar clearly heard the sarcasm in the human’s voice and chuckled. “What would you say if I had a new assignment for you?”

“I’d kiss your feet and volunteer to father your next child, Sir.”

The Andorian laughed at the mental image. “I think my bondmates and I will do quite well without your help. You’ve heard about the new ambassador, yes?”

“Yes, Sir. I heard the President was able to select someone in touch with the requirements of the position.”

“Meaning he suffers from Cyrano Jones Disease, yes.” Th’Nar regarded the commander for several seconds. “What would you say to being assigned as Consul General in Citadel?”

Vallejo blanched at the question. It almost sounded like a promotion to him, but it would also mean leaving the O’Hare. “Sir, am I being punished for something?”

“Not at all, Commander. With the O’Hare out of commission, I figured we ought to put your diplomatic experience to use. Since the consulate in Citadel is being run out of the base…”

“I see. Well, Dad always did say I should have something to fall back on if my Starfleet career collapsed on me.

“Not too forgiving that you went Fleet, eh?”

“Not really, but he was happy when I graduated from the Academy. Of course, my sister choosing to go Corps helped.”

“Still, a man with your abilities wouldn’t be wasted in a diplomatic position.”

“Have you talked to the Ambassador about it? Such an appointment is his decision, after all.”

“I have, and he’s on board with it. It’ll be temporary, of course. Just until the O’Hare is back in shape.”

“Then I’ll take it.”

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