The crew of the Enterprise faces the greatest challenge ever!
Original Series Characters:
Ensemble Cast - TOS
28 Aug 2011 Updated:
06 Jan 2013
1. The Opening Move by Ln X
2. When Opportunity Knocks by Ln X
3. The Pieces Assemble by RobertScorpio
4. The Innocent Blood by Ln X
5. The Choice by Ln X
6. They Don't Make Them Like They Use To by Ln X
7. The Mark by RobertScorpio
8. A Child's Toy by RobertScorpio
9. Beyond the Veil by RobertScorpio
10. Lure by RobertScorpio
11. Fresh Horses for Battle by Ln X
12. Possession by RobertScorpio
13. Intimate Encounter by RobertScorpio
14. Fight or Flight by RobertScorpio
15. Guardians by RobertScorpio
16. A Final Resolution by RobertScorpio
17. Star Trek: More Than A Will To Live by RobertScorpio
18. Forward in the Past by RobertScorpio
The Opening Move...by Mick
Story editing by Ln X
The Opening Move
“Checkmate,” said Kirk as he moved his king onto the middle level of three dimensional chessboard. The captain of the starship Enterprise fought the urge to smile as he watched his opponent admit defeat.
Spock raised an eyebrow as he said, “That is your third attempt in the last six months to use a variation of the Kolchinsky maneuver against me. If I had realized it sooner I would have countered your last move no more than six moves ago.”
“Come now Spock,” said Kirk now smiling as the sat across from each other in one of the Enterprise’s recreation rooms, “Admit it, you let me win.”
“I did not Captain,” replied the Vulcan.
“Say what you want Spock, but I figure that your sub-conscious wanted you to let me win while your conscious mind tried to fight it but lost,” said James Kirk.
“If I require a psychological evaluation, I will see Doctor McCoy to do so,” said the half-human Spock. “Your remark shall I say is, insulting.”
Kirk then said, “Spock, your human side must be fallible, prone to making mistakes. Admit it, you let me win.”
“Again I did not sir,” said Spock, “if you are trying to bruise my ego you are forgetting that I am a Vulcan, I have none to bruise.”
“Your half-human Spock,” said Kirk, “certainly you can not do things perfectly every single time. Even logic can be flawed once in a while, interpreted incorrectly. I used the same maneuver on you again hoping that you would notice, and learn from that.”
“I do not see how repeating the same action over and over would grant you a different outcome,” said Spock, “some would argue that it is by definition called insanity.”
“One man’s insanity is another man’s logic,” countered Kirk. “Would you like to play again?” he asked.
“Another time,” said Spock, “I am due in the Science lab shortly to continue an experiment I have been running.”
“Oh, on what?”
“Single cell organisms in an airtight environment,” said the Vulcan.
“Say again,” said Kirk not sure if he heard Spock correctly.
“That was an attempt at a joke Jim,” said Spock, “I actually have to take inventory of the equipment.”
“Oh you should try that one out on McCoy, he’d find it hilarious,” said the captain.
“Indeed I shall,” replied Spock.
Captain Kirk groaned internally as he heard the comm terminal chime, “Bridge to Captain.” it was the voice of Lieutenant Nyota Uhura, the ships communications officer. Kirk got up from his chair and walked over to the wall mounted comm terminal. He pressed the control to open a channel, “Kirk here,” he said into the speaker.
Uhura then said, “We are picking up a distress call from the freighter Draco. They report they have struck a mine and are adrift. Life support is failing.”
Kirk did not waste anytime, “Yellow alert. Lay in an intercept course to the Draco’s last known position and engage at warp factor seven.” Not thirty seconds later did the yellow alert klaxon sound as the small crowd began to break up in the rec room. The captain of the Enterprise began to walk down the now crowded corridor with Spock right behind him. They quickly entered the nearest turbolift, Kirk grateful that it was empty. Spock twisted the control handle and gave the computer their destination as the turbolift car began to move toward the highest point in the ship. The turbolift doors opened quickly allowing the two men to exit out on to the Bridge, the main control center of the starship Enterprise. Captain Kirk took a moment to straighten his gold command tunic as he eased down into the almost throne like command chair in the center of the room. “Report,” he called out.
Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu turned from the Helm station and said, “On course to intercept the Draco. Estimated time of arrival is eight minutes at present speed.”
Captain Kirk nodded as he turned in his command chair to see Spock looking into his viewer at the Science station. The Vulcan stood straight as he turned around and said, “I have located the Draco on sensors. Their position is within the disputed zone with the Klingon Empire.”
Kirk nodded in acknowledgement before saying, “Let’s hope we can get to them before the Klingons do. He then slammed his right fist down on the arm of his chair opening a comm channel, “Bridge to Engineering.”
“Scott here sir,” came the reply of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott.
“Mr. Scott, I could use a little more speed out of the warp drive,” said Kirk.
“Aye sir,” replied the Scotsman, “and you’ll have it. I can give you warp seven point eight.”
“Thank you Scotty,” said Kirk as he closed the channel.
“New E.T.A. is four point six seven minutes,” reported Sulu.
The captain leaned back in his chair as he considered his next move. Given the position of the freighter it would be tough to perform a simple rescue because of the chance the Klingons could get to the freighter’s crew before the Enterprise could. “Uhura,” he called out, “their distress call, it was a gravitic mine that they had hit and sent them adrift?”
“Yes sir,” she replied.
“Spock, this sounds very familiar,” said Kirk as he got up and walked to the edge of the railing by the Science station.
Spock raised an eyebrow before saying, “The Kobayashi Maru scenario.”
“Precisely,” said Kirk, “the only problem is that the solution I used will not work this time.”
“Agreed, since this is not a simulation,” offered the Vulcan.
“There has to be something that we can do,” said Kirk.
“We could enter the disputed zone, but the Klingons make take an aggressive stance towards us if we did. Also, it is possible that is all an elaborate ruse to lure the Enterprise to this location,” said Spock.
“For what purpose?” asked Kirk.
“Unknown,” replied the Science officer.
When Opportunity Knocks by Ln X
When Opportunity Knocks...by BorgDominant
Story editing by Ln X
When Opportunity Knocks
Captain G'nahC sat on the bridge of his ship, the Furious Charge and stroked his
ample beard. He was tall and thick, a properly sculpted warrior. His brow was
covered in thick and heavy plates of bone, bold and prominent ridges. His family
had been spared the indignity of the smoothed brows of the augment genes. His
heritage was pure and free of any tampering, and it was grilled into his family
to never mix with the impure augments.
G'nahC wore his robe proudly and kept his badges of award and office in
excellent condition. He maintained himself to a much higher standard than most
Klingons, also part of his families determination to keep itself pure. His heavy
baldric was woven with bronze materials and was much darker than most other
families, his familial honorifics sat boldly over his primary heart.
He looked around the bridge noting that the crew was diligently busy with the
regular operations of the ship. He gestured for one of the stand-by bridge
officers to come forward, he took the report held out to him with a grunt of
approval and a nod. He scanned the engineering report and noted that the slave
labour crews were dying less frequently, the chief engineer must have located
that radiation leak.
He made his mark on the report and handed it back, the officer took it away and
returned to his post. There were two other stand-by officers waiting for
approval to present their reports, G'nahC sighed and rolled his eyes. He hated
paper work, unfortunately being a battle group commander required he
administrate more than he was used to. The burden of command had seemed less
tedious when he was the master of only a single warship.
He gestured again and the next report was presented, he scanned it and made his
mark once again. The final report was just as interesting as the other two, and
left him grinding his teeth. He looked onward noting that the annex operation
was proceeding as it should, the fleet was currently bombarding a pre-warp
culture into submission. Hardly the type of action that would be remembered with
pride, but it was conflict and Klingons thrived on conflict.
His left hand wandered down to stroke the head of his favoured Targ, and he
smiled as the animal snapped at the back of his navigator. He nudged a thick
bone to the animal which it snapped in half immediately. He had made it wait
most of the shift before allowing it to take the bone, he grinned and watched as
it used it's tongue to lap out the thick marrow inside. He caught a slight
change in the light level and looked over to see his comm officer miss a
blinking light on his console. G'nahC counted silently to eight in his head
before the officer saw the light and tapped on his controls to interpret the
“Captain, we have intercepted a sub-space radio transmission. It appears to be a
Federation freighter vessel, and it is inside our annex zone. They report heavy
damage and are requesting aid!”
“Contact the Fatal Stab, and the War Song. Lay in an intercept course, maximum
warp. We will toast their deaths at dinner this night!” G'nahC slapped his thigh
and laughed, it had been too long since his ship had any kind of target in front
of her. He felt as if he was neglecting a lover, after all a war ship needs to
be at war to prove her mettle and valour.
“Aye sir,” said the comms officer. “Furious Charge to Fatal Stab and War Song.
Orders from Captain G'nahC!”
The comms officer relayed the orders while the navigator set the course and the
Furious Charge leaped ahead of the other two vessels.
Captain G'nahC reclined in his chair and watched the main screen, the target had
been placed on the map as was the relative positions of his ships. They were
closing in quickly and would soon fall upon their prey. The captain opened a
small compartment on the side of his command chair and withdrew a small skin
bound book from inside. He ran his fingers over the inlaid script on the cover,
and fingered his way into his favourite passage inside.
“Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and
some have greatness thrust upon them,” he announced loudly with a hearty laugh.
“Estimated time to intercept?”
“Ten minutes captain.”
“Good, and how long till the Stab and the Song arrive after us?”
“Three and five minutes sir,” his navigator replied.
“Excellent, pull up the coordinates of the mine field in that sector. I want to
know what their escape options are.”
The navigator pulled the information from the computer and overlaid it on the
main screen after adjusting the scale. Shortly afterwards many orange dots
appeared and a blinking yellow targeting icon sat at the edge of them. Captain
G'nahC studied the layout for a few minutes, and ordered their course altered so
the Federation ship could only flee them by going deeper into the mine field.
Several minutes later another yellow targeting icon appeared, and the captain
sat up gazing intently on this new feature.
“Report!” he demanded.
“Another ship sir, Federation warship by the energy readings.”
“Reduce speed by 20%, let the warship be trapped in the minefield with the
freighter when we strike. This will be a glorious day my brothers. Comms! Send
the signal to the marines, they may yet get their blades wet this day!”
G'nahC set his book on his lap and drummed his fingers over the cover. The gold
leaf imprint boldly proclaiming the title 'Twelfth Night', was faded and only
the imprint sat under his fingers remained unmarred. He looked down at his
chair's arm and punched up his ship's status, he smiled as he noted that the
crew were all responding correctly to battle protocols. All weapons were charged
and ready to fire, the torpedoes were loaded and he imagined them quivering in
His marines were waiting at the transporter stations, fully prepared for a
boarding action. The Fatal Stab was coming closer to them since he had ordered
his ship's speed to be reduced, but the Furious Charge would still be within
attack range sooner than they would. The War Song was catching up but would
likely only watch the final moments of the engagement.
The Pieces Assemble by RobertScorpio
The Pieces Assemble...by Jespah
Story editing by Ln X
The Pieces Assemble
By Jespah Introducing
Kirk had his pieces. He was – and he had to admit this was a bit arrogant, but such was life – he was the King. The Queen was at Communications – Miss Uhura. His knights were Spock, his First Officer, and Montgomery Scott, his Chief Engineer. For bishops, he had Doctor Leonard McCoy and Nurse Christine Chapel. For castles, he had Helmsman Hikaru Sulu and Navigator Pavel Chekhov. As for pawns they were, most assuredly, any number of redshirted Security personnel.
Not exactly anonymous cannon fodder, but they were not officers either. But, like pawns, they could be useful for opening gambits, defensive strategies and diversions. A pawn could even reach the eighth rank at the end of the board – literally rise through the ranks as it were – and become a different, more powerful piece. That was what had happened with Ensign Chekhov.
As they sped toward their rendezvous with the Draco, Kirk thought of games past, and not just of his matches with Spock. Every time, he had felt himself getting better, absorbing more information and projecting more authority. Strategies were becoming tighter and more harder for an opponent to read and anticipate. Spock was probably not letting him win. No that couldn't be. So the chances were good that it was all him.
Battle was a lot like that. He remembered when he was green, fresh and almost winging it. Life was not like that anymore. While he did not go for drawn-out tactical meetings, he did find that going over ideas in his head beforehand was helpful. And so his thoughts went to the scenario that was playing out before him.
The Draco had been damaged by a gravitic minefield, assuming the freighter was even there at all. There was a chance that the whole thing was a massive trap. And the location! That was not good, it was near disputed space, which bordered with the Klingon Empire.So what the devil was the Draco doing there in the first place?
He involuntarily shook his head, his mind now focusing on the matters at hand.
"Mister Spock," he said, "do we have any information on the Draco?"
"The ship has a Captain Robert Craddock in command," replied the Vulcan First Officer.
"What do we have on Craddock?"
Spock scanned the records quickly. "It seems he is a direct descendant of a namesake Robert Craddock from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. That Craddock was a geologist at the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. He studied Mars. But the Craddock from the present has several reprimands on his personnel record. It seems many of them are for infractions such as breaking ranks with convoys and going off on his own."
"A maverick would you say?" Kirk asked.
"Perhaps," Spock concurred, "but also it would appear arrogant, and seemingly convinced of the utter rightness of his actions."
"Within visual range, captain," Uhura said.
"On screen," Kirk replied.
She brought the picture up. There was the minefield all right, and there was the freighter. There were burns and breaches on the hull, though it appeared to be more or less intact it was not moving. "There is a message coming in, sir."
"This is the Draco," said the man on the command chair, who looked wearied and gaunt. "I am Captain Robert Craddock. I advise you to keep your distance."
"We're here to help you," Kirk assured Craddock.
"Keep your distance."
"Craddock!" Kirk exclaimed.
"I said, GO AWAY!" Craddock thundered with what seemed to remain of his waning strength. He keeled over to the side and a young Ensign ran over to save him from falling. She looked up at the viewer, frightened.
"I'm afraid he's right," said the young Ensign, "We're trapped in here. And I hate to say it, but by now maybe you are, too."
The Enterprise jolted and the viewscreen suddenly reverted back to the usual view of outer space.
"Sir, I'm losing helm control!" Sulu reported.
"We're nowhere near the Draco!" Kirk replied. "Full reverse!"
"Helm's not responding!" Sulu countered.
Kirk smacked his Communications panel. "Scotty!"
" Mister Scott replied, "the engines are overheatin' somethin' fierce! We'll have to ease up or we risk a breach!
"Take it down several notches, Mister Sulu," Kirk said. "Chekhov, plot us a course out of here, bearing, one nine four seven."
"Captain, that would not be advisable," Spock said.
"It appears we are surrounded by gravitic mines."
"But we didn't see anything. Sensors didn't pick up anything," Chekhov protested.
"Spock?" Kirk asked.
"Mister Chekhov is correct. Beyond the visuals, we did not receive warnings of any sort. But that does not alter our current situation." Spock adjusted some controls. "I am compensating by creating a quantum beacon. Wait one moment while I deploy the beacon. Miss Uhura, kindly adjust the viewer image to account for the quantum readings."
The picture on the viewer was duly adjusted and it was possible to see the magenta outlines of several additional gravitic mines, stretching out for several kilometers in all directions.
"They are behind us, above us, below us, in front, to port and to starboard," Chekhov said. "I estimate there are at least four thousand of them."
"Four thousand five hundred and twenty-six, not counting the mine or mines that disabled the Draco," Spock replied after looking at, and checking, the readings.
"The closest mine is some twelve hundred meters to port," Sulu said.
"Let's remain at a full stop," Kirk said.
"Aye sir," replied Sulu.
"What would account for this?" Kirk asked.
"If I may, sir," Uhura interjected.
"Perhaps the added mines were cloaked somehow. That would explain how Mister Spock was only able to give us a visual after deploying a quantum beacon."
"That is a logical explanation," Spock said, "and if it is correct, then at least the cloaked portion of this minefield is not of Klingon origin."
"Oh, what is it, then?" asked Kirk.
Before he could respond, a proximity alarm was tripped. "Klingon ship coming in, sir," Uhura said, a tinge of fear in her voice.
She fiddled with the controls and the image on the viewer shifted to that of the Klingon D7 battle cruiser dropping out of warp. A second adjustment to the controls and the quantum images of the cloaked gravitic mines were again superimposed over the Klingon mines. The Klingon ship was just as deeply ensconced in the mine field as they were.
The Innocent Blood by Ln X
The Innocent Blood...by Robert Scorpio
Story editing by Ln X
The Innocent Blood
By Robert ScorpioIntroducing
They ran and ran through the secret caves that had, thousands of years earlier, led to the certain death of the traditional sacrificial caves. As they ran the sounds of explosions and death coming above could not be fully escaped from.
All four of them had escaped the slaughter, which had been unleashed by the violent strangers from the sky. Now, running out of breath, all four stopped running simultaneously, leaning up against the walls of the caves for a much needed rest. One of them held a torch which had barely lit the way, and was dimming due to the lack of oxygen, as the caves went deeper.
"My husband, he who is my Buk'amah(Chief); we should have stayed and fought with our people, instead of using their deaths to flee," Kulnay said, as she held a young child in her arms.
"No, my wife, my equal," Buk'amah O'mat said, his voice noble and strong. "They are laying down their lives; such is the role of our people. If we had stayed, our fate would have been the same and our throats slit. Even Lymet, our daughter, would have been killed. These strangers, with their heads riddled with grotesque ridges, do not know of the word mercy
O'mat reached out and softly stroked the cheeks of his little daughter, Lymet, as she smiled up at him. Although she was only two years old, Lymet felt safe knowing that as long as her father was close by, she was safe.
"Why must they do this to our world father? Why is it they must attack our world and kill our people?" asked Thamal.
Thamal was also a child of Kulnay (his mother) and O'mat (his father), and just as much as Lymet was loved by her parents, so was Thamal who was also well-loved. But unlike his young sister, Thamal was nearly an adult. "Why is it they must take in force anything which we would have given them peacefully, if it would have made them leave?"
His father, O'mat, was about to answer when another voice spoke instead.
"I will tell you why, my young nephew," a fourth voice suddenly said from the hidden darkness of the cave, stepping into the light as he spoke. His name was Pavant. "These ruthless beings, called Klingons, do not want our possessions, they want our entire world and to enslave us. They see our world, Mehjah'Loh, as theirs. And while we try to fight back with sticks and rocks, they stand behind their magical weapons and slaughter us. In order for the people of Mehjah'Loh to survive, we must evolve and become more powerful; more like them, more ruthless."
"That is not our way," O'mat said, quietly.
Pavant was Buk'amah O'mat's younger brother and heir to the leadership of their people. They had always held different visions of their world's future.
"Wise Uncle," Thamal said to Pavant, "how is it you know so much of these strangers?"
O'mat already knew the answer, having known his ruthless brother all of his life.
"You brought them here, didn't you?" O'mat demanded.
Pavant smiled at his older sibling.
"I could never lie to you; brother," Pavant said, with a casual chuckle. "So, bringing these barbarians here was the only way I could find that would get you out of your safe chambers; and down here to the sacred caves; and, as you can see, it has worked."
"What do you plan to do to us?" Kulnay demanded, as she shielded her child tighter to her chest.
Pavant shifted his gaze to the little child Lymet, buried in her mother's bosom.
Lymet, in turn, looked up with her innocent eyes.
"Leave my child alone," O'mat said, as he reached out and took Kulnay's hand into his and brought her back toward him, and then hugged her and their daughter.
Pavant raised up his left arm, to reveal one of the odd looking weapons that the strangers from the sky had used, holding it tightly in his hand. Before his brother, O'mat, the Buk'amah of the entire world, or nephew, Thamal, could respond, Pavant fired the weapon at the two of them; killing them instantly. Now all that remained was Pavant, his dead brother's wife, Kulnay, and the child; Lymet.
"Hand the child over or she will die as well," Pavant said to Kulnay.
Kulnay held the young girl out to Pavant, who then took the young girl into his arms.
"Kulnay; I've always wanted to know; why did you never tell O'mat that his daughter was really mine?" Pavant asked, as he caressed Lymet's straight auburn hair with his fingers. "I mean; here we stand, on a tragic sunset hanging over our civilization, and my brother, one of the most honored Buk'amahs to have lived, didn't even know the truth about the little girl in my arms."
Kulnay shook her head, bowing her head down to look at the ground, ashamed of her answer as she looked at the corpses of her husband and son. She looked back up at Pavant.
"How could I have told him that I had taken his brother into my bed?" Kulnay asked.
Pavant smiled, and then fired the weapon at Kulnay, instantly killing her.
The child, Lymet, stared silently; she was far too young to comprehend the fact that her uncle had just killed her parents and her brother. With the child in his arms, Pavant walked through the caves and arrived at the ancient sacrificial chamber that had long been abandoned as the believes of the people had changed over time. Another off world visitor was waiting for Pavant.
His name was Vormarl, and unlike the Klingons, Vormarl had a smooth face like that of Pavant and his people; though there was one notable difference; Vormarl had pointed ears.
"You have taken too long," Vormarl said, with a cold sounding tone in his voice.
"The Klingons are far more efficient than you seemed to infer," Pavant said, as he held the little girl, who smiled up at him. "And they are more numerous than you said they would have been."
"Do not be concerned with the Klingons," Vormarl said, as he looked at the child. "Their fleet has been adequately preoccupied. Now," Vormarl said to Pavant, "I have scoured nearly four hundred worlds, and their ancient myths. According to the ancient texts of your world, sacrificing a child the age such as this one will unleash ultimate power that would be controlled by any sentient being that wore this amulet."
Vormarl pointed at the amulet that hung from a necklace over his chest.
"As I told you before, Vormarl," Pavant said back, "that is an ancient belief and long since discarded by my people."
"I would like to see proof of that," Vormarl said, with his cold voice. "Now, use those," he said, pointing at an assortment of ceremonial daggers. "And carry out your part of the bargain and take the life of your daughter. And once the power is released from these caves, and is at my bidding, my forces will drive the Klingons from this backward planet, leaving you as the new Buk'amah of your world."
Pavant placed the girl, his daughter, on the ceremonial blanket that was spread across the smooth flat rock face of the offering table. Once all seven daggers were used, the child's lifeless body would be dropped into the raging pit of fire just feet from where he stood.
"Do not stall any longer," warned Vormarl, "the Klingons will eventually find these caves and find their way here. If that happens, I will flee, and leave you to their Bat'leths; and you will die; hacked into pieces."
Pavant looked at Vormarl, and then back down at the child who was surprisingly still; looking up at her true father with a look of total trust. Pavant picked up the first of seven daggers, and placed it inches above the unsuspecting child's heart.
Above the sacrificial cave, on the surface of Mehjah'Loh, the Klingons continued to pillage the villages, showing no mercy, and killing men, women and children just because it was their way. As the Klingons hacked the villagers with their Bat'leths, the additional screams of a young girl in the caves, far below, were drowned out.
The Choice...by Mick
Story editing by Ln X
Captain James T. Kirk considered his options as he sat in the command chair. The Enterprise was now surrounded by mines and it had lost helm control. To attempt to move the ship would set off every mine in the field. The mines were only visible because of the deployed quantum beacon, a trick used before by Captain Jonathan Archer of a previous Enterprise, the NX-01, almost a century earlier.
There was a disabled freighter with a maverick captain and a Klingon D-7 cruiser off the port bow; the only consolation was that the Klingon ship was just as much a sitting duck as the Enterprise was.
"Spock, what is the Draco's manifest?" asked Kirk breaking the silence that was on the bridge.
The Vulcan science officer replied, "At last report dilithium. It would not surprise me if the Klingons are not after that shipment."
Kirk then asked another question, "What is so significant about this sector? What value is it to the Klingons?"
"There is an M-class planet less than two light years from our present position. Other than that, we know nothing of it," said Spock.
Kirk got up from his chair and walked over to the edge of the rail in front of the Science station. He then replied, "You said that these cloaked mines might possibly be of Romulan origin."
"Yes. They are similar to the ones encountered by the NX-01 approximately one hundred and four years ago. The biggest difference is that they were still able to maintain control of their helm and engines. Neither of which we have at the moment," said the Vulcan as he turned in his chair to face the captain.
"If it is true than this has just become bigger than a territorial dispute between us and the Klingons," said Kirk.
"I would agree," replied Spock, "which is why we must be cautious as what could happen here may have lasting repercussions for all parties involved."
Kirk walked over to his command chair and opened a channel. "Bridge to Engineering."
"Scott here sir," came the reply from the Chief Engineer who had successfully got the sensors back online just a few moments ago.
"Mr. Scott, I need engines and helm as soon as possible," said the Captain.
"Aye sir, I'm working on it. I'll have it for ye in four hours. Before ye protest, I know ye dinnae have four hours so you'll have it in one," said Scotty,
"I'm going to hold you to that Scotty," said Kirk.
"It'll mean some jury rigging, and some systems rerouting, but we'll get it done. I'd recommend putting into a starbase when this is all over," said Scotty.
"I'll keep that in mind. Kirk out," said the captain as he sat back down in his chair. He felt like he had absolutely nothing to do at the moment.
Uhura was monitoring communications between the ships in the area. Spock was peering into his viewer off and on to see if any ships had moved, and to determine if there was a way out of the minefield. Chekov was taking the data that Spock was feeding him, and plotting a course that would accommodate the size of the Enterprise. While McCoy was down in Sickbay attending to the injured, all Kirk could do at the moment was sit and wait for something to happen.
Captain Kirk looked around just as the turbolift doors opened, allowing Doctor McCoy to now exit onto the bridge. The doctor came up to the bridge fairly often, offering his assessment of the situation, and trading logic with Spock. It was a relationship that helped define each of those involved in it, and Kirk would not have it any other way.
"Well Captain," said McCoy, "there were twenty-six injured when we entered the minefield, but it was mostly minor injuries. Twenty-one have been returned to active duty, while the remaining five will need a few days rest since they were shaken up pretty bad."
Kirk nodded as he said, "That's good news Bones."
"Captain," said Spock as he turned to face his commanding officer. "Two of the Klingon vessels are moving closer to the Draco. The third one is not far behind. Given the nature of the Klingons, I would say that they may attempt to board the ship. The Draco's life support is still failing, and according to my calculations they have less than thirty minutes of breathable oxygen left."
"Jim we have to do something to help them," said McCoy.
"I agree Doctor," said Kirk considering his options. He could let the Klingons board the ship, or he could try to save as many lives as possible.
"Uhura, hail the Draco," said Kirk wasting no more time.
"Aye sir," said the communications officer, as she held her earpiece to her left ear.
Kirk stood in front of the command chair. He waited for Uhura to nod in acknowledgement of the channel being open before saying, "Captain Craddock, this is Captain Kirk of the Enterprise. There are three Klingon ships closing on your position, and it is very likely that they will attempt to board your ship. You will abandon your ship and get out in shuttles, we will stand by to take you on board the Enterprise."
"Didn't you hear me the first time Kirk? I told you to say away," said the captain of the Draco.
"Yes I did hear you, and that was not a request it is an order. According to regulations the captain of the ship with tactical superiority is in command of the situation. Now, given the fact that you have left your convoy and ended up in this sector is grounds for a competency hearing; which I will forgo if you do as instructed. Should you not comply, I will send a security team over to take you off your ship by force. We can get out of this if we work together. The choice is yours Craddock; take it or leave it."
To be continued . . .
They Don't Make Them Like They Use To by Ln X
They Don't Make Them Like They Use To...by BorgDominant
COVER ART IMAGE selected by BorgDominant
Story editing by Ln X
They Don't Make Them Like They Use To
G'nahC looked at the tactical display and shook his head. The Fatal Stab had overtaken them and arrived on the scene only to fall prey to a gravitic mine. G'nahC was for once thankful he had taken command of an older D-7C series ship; the old girl couldn't power all her weapons, and had the most inefficient shield power grid the Empire had ever devised. But her engines were highly efficient and easily able to maneuver in the gravitational disturbances. Whereas the Fatal Stab and the War Song were both newer models M series with more power but sluggish engines.
"Status report!" he demanded.
"The Fatal Stab is stuck inside the mine field," reported the officer at the tactical station. "But Captain B'hulack signaled the War Song in time to avoid them both becoming mired. We are suffering a power drain, but we can maneuver. We have enough reserve power to get a few shots off, they will only be effective at extreme close range."
"Plot me a firing solution and get me Captain B'hulack!"
A few moments later the main view screen flickered to life and the grizzled old warriors face glared back at him.
"Captain G'nahC," he said with a curt nod. "You have managed to bungle this one haven't you B'hulack?"
"We will have weapons in another hour or two, what are your orders?"
"Get me your first officer!"
B'hulack looked shocked for a moment then grumbled and stepped away from the viewer, the dour face of the Fatal Stabs first officer stared back at G'nahC blankly.
"Congratulations on your new command Captain Hrullgin, your first order is to send your former commander to Sto'Vo'Kor with honor. You will not fail me as he has."
G'nahC made a chopping motion across his throat and his comms officer killed the link just before Hrullgins blade came down deeply into B'hulacks shoulders. He died with honor and made no sound save for his massive frame toppling into the deck plates.
"Hail the Federation ship."
The comms officer opened the channel and G'nahC stared into his opponents face for the first time, this human had a confidence and swagger. A Vulcan officer could be seen in the back ground peering into a console, and several other humans as well.
"Greetings, I am Captain G'nahC son of G'Khan. I am the commander of this battle group, and I demand an explanation of your presence in this sector."
Kirk smirked and met his eye; G'nahC inwardly approved at the total lack of fear in the man's eye, but this was the James T. Kirk.
"This is Captain James T. Kirk, of the Federation Star ship Enterprise. We are conducting a rescue operation of this trade ship, if you will disable your minefield we can proceed and be on our way."
"Captain Kirk. Your reputation precedes you, and I have heard of you." He then bared his teeth to make Kirk doubly aware that reputation or not, he was an enemy of the Klingon Empire. "Though I must decline your request however; we are in the middle of a military operation. I will need to respond appropriately due to the fact that you are more than likely spying on our operations."
Kirk seemed to ponder this for a moment before responding. "We only want to protect our citizens from harm. Our presence is entirely peaceful and we have no interest on spying upon you."
"I am not in a position to confirm or deny your claim Captain; I am here to police the border of the annex zone. I am bound by honor to uphold my duty to the empire, you are in violation of Klingon territory and you and your ship must be destroyed."
G'nahC thought that Kirk looked a little taken aback, but before he could respond G'nahC signalled to his tactical officer to terminate the comm link. The moment the comm link was ended, G'nahC gave his tactical officer some new orders. "Tactical, plot a attack course on the Enterprise and ready the weapons. It's time we sent these Starfleet petaQs to Gre'thor!"
The tactical officer nodded once, and then began tapping his console, the helm officer laid in a new course and the ship made its first strafing run on the Enterprise.
The older model D-7 weapons lanced out and blasted across the saucer in a tangent like volley. While the second volley of the attack run laid three disruptor blasts across the starboard nacelle.
The War Song sent its own attack from the edge of the mine field, at extreme range they had little accuracy and the power was dropping off. Only one of the six discharges landed on the Enterprise, and at that range the shields absorbed them easily.
Kirk had taken his seat and was staring at the main view screen, he was pondering the situation and had decided that the best course was to divert what power they had to the shields and play defensively for the moment.
"I need those engines now Mr. Scott! Sulu! Maneuvering thrusters; get their weapons spread out across more shield facings."
"They have damaged the star board nacelle and there is minor hull damage, our shields are holding," reported Spock.
G'nahC looked up at the main viewer and watched as the helmsman expertly avoided the edge of the minefield. They were free of the gravitational disturbances but were beyond effective firing range, but his tactical officer fired on the Enterprise anyway.
"Bring us about, prepare a tractor beam and grapple the Draco. Let the mines finish it off, drag it into the nearest one."
The Furious Charge surged back into the minefield and grappled the Draco, moments later the extreme power drain caused a few conduits to rupture sending sparks arcing across the deck plating. G'nahC smiled as a mine detonated on the Draco's hull; orange flames bloomed and died as the ship took massive damage.
"Bring us around to 248 mark 335, full impulse power. Release tractor on my mark, and change course to 44 mark 250," G'nahC commanded.
G'nahC smiled as he raised his hand and chopped it down. "Release the Draco!"
The crew performed the maneuver perfectly and sent the hulk of the Draco tumbling toward the Enterprise, it was clear they couldn't move. It was also clear the Furious Charge couldn't damage the Enterprise significantly; the Draco however could make a much more effective weapon than a target.
G'nahC settled himself in his seat and watched as the hulk spun toward the Enterprise, while disruptor fire from the War Song spat at it as they moved away to the edge of the minefield.
"Excellent work my brothers, you have served-" his words were cut off as the ship suddenly lurched and a roar rippled through the deck plating.
"We have struck a mine Captain," reported the tactical officer, "and we have massive damage to the engineering section and the port nacelle!"
"Signal the War Song, get them to tractor us the rest of the way out. Continue bombarding the Enterprise. Let me know when that hulk has struck them."
G'nahC looked around at his bridge crew and noted that one of the stand-by officers was lying on the deck, his skull was split open by a overhanging strut that penetrated straight through the officer's head. G'nahC shook his head; he always had felt that this ship was of a poor design.
The Mark by RobertScorpio
The Mark...by Jespah
AUTHOR'S NOTE: the word L'Faneka means "Before" in Hebrew.
The planet Mehjah'Loh
L'faneka made her way into the caves.
She was an old woman, and did not move too quickly, but she had a true advantage when it came to the caves, for she was completely blind, and had been so since she was young. She did not need to carry a heavy femur bone, carved and hollowed out at the top, and filled with congealed animal fat and twisted strands of long hairs and dried plant fibers, lit by their fires. She had both hands free, and could clamber as needed, on all fours if that was required, even on her belly like the lowest of all life forms on Mehjah'Loh.
One of the lowest, for lower than a slime thing with no legs was anyone who had killed of their own family. That was a far lower station. Those were the ones who looked up to the legless slime things, and well they should have.
She heard sounds, screams, and then silence. She could smell dripping animal fat and burning dried plant fibers. There were others nearby. She entered the cave chamber where they were. She could smell Pavant, and wrinkled her nose in disgust at the stench of one of the strangers – Vormarl. "What has happened here?" she asked.
"This is a new day," Pavant said.
She groped over to the sound of his voice and touched his face. The smell, it was a bit of burning, but not the burning of the animal fat and long hairs and dried plant fibers. This was a different burning, that of flesh. She found the wound on the side of his face, a shallow gash but inside it there was something that stung and burned her fingers as well. "It is the mark of the Buk'amah," she said, "I know this mark."
Unseen to her, Vormarl grinned. "See, you are marked as a leader!" he caressed the amulet, waiting for its power to rise.
"It is the mark of other things as well," she said.
"Other things?" Pavant asked.
She sensed it would mean danger for her if she said anything more. "Nothing that will interfere with your rule, my Chief," she bowed slightly and kept her thoughts to herself.
Her thoughts would have troubled Pavant, had he known them. She was sure, though, that Vormarl would not have cared. But the mark! All Buk'amah had some sort of mark on their faces, an indication of a scarring from a dying, desperate child clawing at life. O'mat had had it – they all had, back to before and before and before, to when the oldest of the old were young and before ships and strangers came from the sky to loot and burn and dismember and kill. But this was more than just the mark. The strange feeling of stinging and burning inside meant one other thing.
The dead child had had the burning blood. There were two types of blood that they knew about. One could mix perfectly with the others' blood and there would be no hissing and no acidic burning. But some, a small minority, had the burning blood. L'faneka had it. Kulnay had had it. And Lymet had had it as well. So the dead child was Lymet. There could be no other. L'faneka knew that Lymet was of Pavant's seed, for she had delivered the child and heard the mother's secrets, whispered during the agonies of labor.
And so L'faneka knew that the new Buk'amah was lesser and lower than the legless slime things.
Above, the village lay in ruins. It was charitable to call it a village, for it was little more than skins over the huge ribs of the great beasts that made the best game, and the number of skin-homes numbered fewer than one thousand. Blood had run, and most of it mixed well but some of it hissed and popped.
"That sounds like an acid," said one of the angry, marauding ridged ones as he snarled and surveyed the destruction.
"There is nothing to pillage from here," replied a companion.
"No," said the first, "there is the sound and smell of acid. Find that."
"But these people are not sophisticated enough to brew spirits, let alone manufacture acids!"
"I know what I am hearing and what I am smelling. Find that, and you will have your spoils of war."
The bridge of the USS ENTERPRISE
The Enterprise came about, on maneuvering thrusters, and narrowly managed to avoid the hulk of the Draco, which took more damage. "Open a channel to the Draco!" Kirk yelled.
"Hailing frequencies open, sir!" Uhura called back.
"Craddock, get your people to your Transporter or there won't be anything left!"
On the Draco, there were flames everywhere. Craddock motioned to Ensign Chambers – she'd been the one who'd saved him from falling before. She came close. "Get everyone to the Enterprise, any way you can."
"And you, sir?"
"I'm staying here."
The Klingon D7c Battle Cruiser Furious Charge
The Furious Charge turned slightly. "There are mines all around us," cautioned the Helm Officer, "possibly some that I cannot yet see. Our damages are not light."
Captain G'nahC smiled, "That freighter is moving right at the mighty Enterprise. Again, we can fire when ready."
"Sir!" the Helm Officer was insistent. "We cannot take another hit such as that. What if we fire upon a mine?"
"Then we shall find it, am I right?" G'nahC did not wish to have the moment of his triumph interrupted and sullied by a nervous officer who was barely old enough to hold a bat'leth.
"Sir!" This time it was the First Officer. "A word with you."
G'nahC's eyes narrowed to slits. "A word?"
"Yes," said the First Officer, slightly emboldened, "about honor."
"Honor? And what would you say to me about honor?"
"What I would say to any Klingon," replied the First Officer, "that there is little honor in firing upon a damaged, trapped ship. It is as little honor as there is in battling a child with no legs."
"Your squeamishness is noted."
"It is not squeamishness. It is a fact. This is not a battle; this is the shooting of targ in a tiny cage."
"I said it is noted. Or perhaps you would prefer to discuss honor with the crew members who scrub the plasma conduits?"
The First Officer stood and said nothing, then returned to his post, stepping over a body. He then noted, in his head, that the captain's actions were not only hazardous and impetuous, they were also without honor. And that was a far worse offense.
Back aboard the Enterprise
"Like shooting fish in a barrel," Kirk said, shaking his head.
"Excuse me, sir?" asked Chekhov.
"Firing upon the Klingon ship, or them firing on either us or the remains of the Draco and any jettisoned escape pods," Kirk explained, "there's no challenge in it. It would not be a battle. It would be a massacre, assuming we could – or any of the ships could – avoid collateral damage."
"Oh," Chekhov said as the light dawned. "Like shooting a bear in a trap; it is an old Russian expression of course."
A Child's Toy by RobertScorpio
A Child's Toy...by Robert Scorpio
Chapter 8A Child's Toy
by Robert Scorpio
The Planet Mehjah'Loh
Inside the ancient sacrificial caves…
Vormarl, who clutched the amulet in his right hand, as it hung from a gold necklace around his neck, looked about the cave at the various carvings, no doubt carvings of ancient sacrifices, perhaps one of which was the very first ritual. He stared at the carvings, knowing that at the heart of them there had to be a science at work. But he didn't care if it was science or magic, as long as it served his purpose; to provide the Praetor options in case war with the Klingons, the Gorn or the even the Federation, or all of them at the same time, ever came.
"No more delay, Pavant," Vormarl stated coolly, "this decrepit old woman says you have the ancient mark." Vormarl looked at the ancient carvings, and saw crude drawings of the Buk'amah in those times, and a crude mark was seen in the art work. "Now that you have taken the child's life with the ancient daggers, place the body into the fire pit, and release the ultimate power; the coil of spirits
"You are a fool!" L'faneka cried out. The old blind woman reached out with her hands, and finding nothing to support her weight on; stumbled forward as she lost her balance, and fell to the ground. "Look at the walls and the stories that are told upon them!"
"I have been staring at images of these drawings for nearly a year, female," Vormarl came back with, "Just as in those carvings, a sacrifice has been made, and when the body of the child burns in the fire," he looked at the cave walls and saw what he was talking about depicted upon them, " and the blood mixes with the fire, the coil of spirits
will rise from the flames , surround me, laud me with their worship, and then they will enter the amulet; and then I will control the coil of spirits
"When that happens, L'faneka," Pavant said to her, "this out-worlder, as you call him, will vanquish the invading Klingons and grant our world peace for the next ten-thousand years."
L'faneka began to laugh at first, and then she began to cry with pity.
"You are both fools; especially you out worlder," L'faneka spat back with through her tears. "Look closer at the story; the coil of sprits
are not going to envelope you, they are meant to possess the Ka'nah'j; the doorway."
"You foolish woman; these old carvings depict the coil of spirits
entering a man; the Ka'nah'j as you put it a moment ago. I will be the Ka'nah'j in the here and now; I WILL BE the doorway." Vormarl came back with.
"No," L'faneka said, with a cry in her voice. "You will only release its evil! The Ka'nah'j is literally a figuring, no bigger than the size of your hand. It is sacred, it is holy, and it acts as the passageway from the amulet and into the soul. The coil of spirits
must first pass through the crest of the figurine, be cleansed, and then passed to the holder of the amulet. Without the Ka'nah'j to cleanse the evil, the coil of spirits will destroy everything, including our world, and then wage war with the heavens if they must; until the spirits can find and destroy the Ka'nah'j; the doorway to the soul. THEY DO NOT want to be controlled by a mortal."
"You lie," Pavant said with a laugh, as he looked over at L'faneka. "I have never heard of such a tale. There is no such thing as a Ka'nah'j figurine!"
L'faneka began to laugh, though her laugh was flavored with dread.
"Pavant; you were never the Buk'amah, that is why you do not know of this tale," L'faneka pleaded. "Only the Buk'amah, and a chosen elder who is bind, in this case me, knows the secret story hidden in the myths of our people. It has been done this way to prevent what you're trying to do from even happening. Long ago the Buk'amah realized the evil that was kept alive in these caves, and they decided that the coil of spirits
must never be released, and for that reason, the story was omitted from our spoken history, and the ancient evil has ever since been contained here; in the bowels of the cave."
"You lie!" Pavant yelled back. "Child sacrifices have happened in recent times."
"Very recently in fact," Vormarl added.
"It was made sure that the children who were sacrificed in the recent times did not contain the blood line of the Buk'amah," L'faneka told the other two, "for the very reason I am telling you; so that the evil inside of the coil of spirits
would not be release!"
Vormarl had an innate ability to know when someone was speaking the truth, and he could tell that the old woman was not lying. Vormarl walked over to the old woman, who was still on the ground. He kneeled down next to her and picked up a boulder, the size of his hand, and after grabbing the back of her head with one hand, with one powerful stroke, he pummeled her left hand, her bones cracking at the sound. The woman screamed.
"Where is the figurine you speak of?" Vormarl demanded in a calm and cool voice, as the woman cried in agony.
Vormarl slammed the rock down on the old woman's same hand again, this time dislocating every knuckle in her hand. Even Pavant stared at what was happening with disgust in his eyes, but did nothing to help her.
"I do not believe her," Pavant finally said, as the woman refused to say anything more. And without any thought given to it, Pavant suddenly picked up Lymet's lifeless body and took it over to the fire pit, and raised the body over his head.
"I demand of you," Vormarl said, as he stood back up, "do not put the body of that child into the fire pit; this old woman is telling the truth."
Pavant looked back at Vormarl, and shook his head.
"This is my world, off worlder," Pavant said, "and I do not consider her tale remotely true!"
And then, in one fluid downward motion, Pavant threw the child's body into the fire pit. The flames flared for a moment, as they ate through the dead skin; the flames becoming wilder due to the unique acid inside the sacred blood.
"He did it," L'faneka said with remorse in her eyes.
Vormarl bent back down, picked up boulder he had used moments ago, which now had a blood, her blood, dripping from it and then slammed it down on her other hand, again and again.
"Where is the Ka'nah'j ? Where is the figurine?" Vormarl demanded in a soft voice.
"We will all die," the old woman said, through her cries of agony.
"Then you have nothing to lose by telling me," Vormarl said. "The next time I strike you with this boulder, old woman, I will drive it through your face, and you will know only agony before you know death, whether the coils of spirits
rise or not."
L'faneka knew it didn't matter, and she wanted her death to be like that of her people, as it would surely now come for all of them; through the power of the coil of spirits
. She did not want to find death at the hands of an off-worlder. So; she decided to reveal the truth, knowing, that in the end, it didn't matter.
"Another off worlder visited Mehjah'Loh three suns ago," she told Vormral. "This being,and his friends, were traders of goods, and came in peace to our world, which you and the Klingons have desecrated in a matter of hours." She explained. "I knew the Klingons would be coming because Pavant, the fool that he is, was betrayed by a woman whom he had taken to his bed. He told her this outlandish plan, and she in turn told me. So," L'faneka said, "I gave the Ka'nah'j figurine to the trader on the chance she was telling me the truth; the human's name was…Kardokk,(Craddock)" she said, trying to pronounce the name of the human correctly, "He believes the Ka'nah'j figure is but a child's toy."
Vormarl had heard enough, and despite what he had promised the old woman, he slammed the rock at her forehead, with such a force, it drove her head to the ground, and then the boulder crushed through her skull; killing her instantly.
And then, suddenly it started; the ground began to shake. Before another second could pass, Vormarl, without saying one word to Pavant, pressed a button and shimmered away into nothingness. Pavant stood back from the fire pit, and could only watch in awe as the flames came together, wrapping themselves around each other; coiling together. And then…
Mehjah'Loh, the entire planet that it was, exploded!
But even though all life on the planet seemed to be destroyed; they
had survived; the coil of the spirits
. The coil remained motionless,its energy swirling about, as the planetary debris rippled outward, and then, the coil began to streak through the planetary debris seeking but one thing; the Ka'nah'j figureine. Once the figure was destroyed; the coil of spirits
would never be a possession again. The coil of energy streaked into open space!
Safe aboard his scout class vessel, Vormarl had removed the necklace and amulet, and had placed them before him on the consol. He scanned the amulet, and detected a power source being emitted. He correctly deduced that the amulet could be used to track the coil of spirits. He knew that he had to find the figurine, no matter where it was. He we was convinced now more than ever that such power, including the ability to destroy an entire world in but a wink of an eye, had to belong to the Romulan empire.
On the Draco, there were flames everywhere. Craddock motioned to Ensign Chambers – she'd been the one who'd saved him from falling before. She came close. "Get everyone to the Enterprise, any way you can," he told her.
"And you, sir?"
"I'm staying here."
Chambers reached down, against Craddock's orders and tried to force him out of his command seat in order to safe his life.
"That's foolish sir; you're coming with me," she tried to force him up, but he pushed her away.
"I can't leave the Draco," he told Ens. Chambers, with hysteria in his eyes. "This was our ship," he said, as he reached into his pocket and took out an old item of jewelry; a locket. He stared at it and the image of the woman contained inside of it. "Oh my Elizabeth," Craddock nearly sobbed as he looked at the image, "She died, right there, right where you are standing. I can feel her presence here on the bridge, in my quarters, in the bed we shared. I will NEVER leave her!" He composed himself, and put the locket back into his pocket. "Now go, Chambers, and leave me here to die with my wife."
Ensign Chambers felt sorry for the man, who had usually been a strong figure. But now that he faced death, she could tell that his inner demons of his past were coming back. Chambers bowed her head, and made her way off of the bridge.
Finally alone, Craddock looked about the bridge. The instruments were sparking, a thin vale of smoke was gathering. There was nothing more he could do but die; his wife was only a breath away now.
Unaware to Craddok, in the cargo hold of the Draco, among the scattering of items that he and his crew had traded for on their latest run, there was an ancient figurine, which he had only seen once and had discarded as a worthless child's toy. The two eyes of the figuring began to glow…the coil of spirits was getting closer!
Beyond the Veil by RobertScorpio
Beyond the Veil...by Ln X
Beyond the Veil
By Ln X FeaturingAboard the Draco....
Craddock thought he heard a noise, something far different from the sound of the flames. This was something alien, like a prolonged ethereal hissing sound. Maybe he was imagining things this close to death or maybe this was real... He got up onto his feet as he realized there was one last piece of unfinished business with his ship, this one final mystery...
He left the bridge, and noted that the hissing sound grew louder. Perplexed he found a still working console down in the corridor and tapped in a few commands. In a matter of moments the computer had determined the source of the sound; it was coming from the ship's cargo hold.
His curiosity increased, and this time he ran through the corridors to get to the cargo hold. He knew there was little time left before either the ship disintegrated or the warp core containment breached. He ran through damaged corridors, debris were everywhere, and the closer he got to the cargo hold the louder the noise became.
Finally he came to the doors leading to the cargo hold and paused for a moment. Whatever was happening in there could kill him, perhaps horribly... He then shrugged his shoulders and went inside, he was going to die on this ship one way or another, and he'd rather die getting to the bottom of this mysterious noise than sit around on the commander's chair waiting for death.
Now the noise had become almost deafening, and he saw a weird orange glow come from somewhere just behind a stack of containers. The glow appeared to be gradually intensifying and as he moved forward, his eyes were both eager and terrified at what they would behold the moment he walked past the containers.
And there it was the source of the light and the noise; it was that ancient figurine, the figurine he thought was just a piece of historical junk. With a trembling hand, he moved it forwards curious to know what it would be like to touch the figurine. This was some strange impulse on his part, and he could not explain where it had come from.
As his hand came closer, he felt no warmth emanating from the figurine, which was most strange indeed. The moment the very tip of his middle finger contacted the figurine, everything went white. His consciousness left his body and he traveled onwards… Now he was simply thought, formless and yet with form. He could see white when he had nothing to see with... Time and space had no meaning in this realm...
All of a sudden he was in his quarters, and back on a undamaged Draco. However miraculous and wondrous this seemed, it was nothing compared to seeing his wife Elizabeth smile at him from their bed. She looked as beautiful as ever, and she was wearing a rather floaty looking white dress.
Craddock had forgotten her beauty, her beautiful petite figure, the brown hair, those perfectly shaped hips and breasts... But it was the face that really caught his attention, and for a moment simply looking at her was the most wondrous thing in the entire universe.
“Elizabeth?” he breathed, and he simply stared at her wondering if this was real.
“Yes…” she said, rather vaguely, “she once existed.”
“You mean she is dead?” asked Craddock, and he was beginning to wonder who this woman really was.
“Death comes to us all and nothing can change that,” said Elizabeth, a subtle firmness in her voice.
All of Craddock’s hope died down; this wasn’t his wife, and he felt his grief return to him. “Then what is the meaning of this masquerade? What are you?”
The smile faded from Elizabeth’s face, and she removed herself from the bed, and came a few steps closer to Craddock. “I’m afraid my kind live in a realm that sentient beings like your self could never imagine or conceive of. We thought it would be easier on you if we appeared as someone familiar to you.”
“Well you had me fooled…” murmured Craddock, and for some reason he found it difficult looking at this stranger. “But what do you want of me?”
Elizabeth cast a rather penetrating stare at Craddock, and it seemed his very soul was being examined. “You picked up a figurine, one that you thought was worthless, but what you don’t know is the true importance of this figurine.”
“What does it do?” asked Craddock, and he felt a tiny bit of interest spark inside him as he wondered what was going on here.
“On the world of Mehjah'Loh, the people talk of something which they call ‘coil of spirits’. They see these spirits as evil beings and quite rightly so. These evil beings were once our brethren, but they abused their powers and used it to try and subvert the realm my race lives in. There was a long and brutal war, which even spilled over into your universe. Finally we managed to prevail against the spirits and trapped them in the caves of Mehjah'Loh, with fire and other barriers.”
“But we needed a mechanism to disable the barrier and converse with the spirits should they have dropped their hostilities. So we used the people's blood to bring the spirits out of their prison, the figurine to control the spirits, and finally the amulet to bound the spirits to a humanoid being.”
“This is all very interesting,” replied Craddock, his impatience flaring up, “but what has it got to do with me?”
Elizabeth now looked at Craddock with intensely serious eyes. “We need you to keep the figurine safe until the time comes when the coil of spirits must go through the figurine and into the amulet.”
“How am I going to do that?” demanded Craddock, he couldn’t believe the audacity of this women, who sounded like a queen giving commands to her subjects. “When this vision, or whatever it is, ends then I go back to the Draco which is about to explode into a million pieces!”
“We will move you over to somewhere which is reasonably safe.”
“I'm not doing it,” said Craddock flatly. “I'm not leaving the Draco!”
“Is this because of your wife?” asked Elizabeth rather shrewdly.
That was one topic that this woman was not going to pry into, and Craddock sought to evade the question at all costs. “A captain never leaves his ship, that is-”
Elizabeth walked over to Craddock, and the cold disappointment in her eyes made him lose his will to speak.
She came to Craddock a few inches away from his right side, and her eyes bore into the side of Craddock’s face. “There's no point lying to me because you are only lying to yourself... Why do you cling onto something which has already been lost?”
Craddock stood their resolutely, though he couldn’t stop his hands from trembling in anger. “I'm not answering any more of your questions! Send me back to the Draco, now!”
A rather pitiful look came upon Elizabeth’s face, and she extended her hand, palm outwards, until it was almost touching Craddock’s chest. “Take my hand...” she said softly.
“Why?” said Craddock, looking briefly at the hand.
“Take it and everything will be made clear to you.”
Turning around a little, Craddock came to face the women, he felt simultaneously curious and frightened. “What will happen if I do take your hand?” he asked rather slowly and cautiously.
Elizabeth simply smiled. “I know more about you than you know yourself, the answer to your grief and suffering resides inside you, yet you cannot see it...”
Slowly Craddock extended his right hand, it was inches from Elizabeth’s and he wondered if he should do this. Finally he summoned his courage and grasped her hand in full. The moment he did so, a flood of emotion overwhelmed him, his grief flared up, so much he let out a soft moan of pain. It felt so raw, and it was so painful he wished he could rip his heart out to stop feeling.
But through the surge of pain he discovered something else; guilt, mind-numbing amounts of guilt. The guilt was even worse, it made his eyes burn with tears, and his breathing became shallow and erratic. He felt like he was grieving more in these few seconds than he had in the last three years.
“All this time I've been suppressing my guilt...” he lamented. “Telling myself that it was bad luck; that she happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. The truth is I made an error of judgement, and got the Draco into a situation which could have been avoided! If I hadn't been so cocky and so arrogant, the attack would never have happened and Elizabeth... She would still... still be...”
He gulped as he fought to say the word, more painful than any others. “Alive!”
“Do you see now?” said Elizabeth, looking at him with some tenderness and understanding. “The answer to all of your grief was to accept your guilt and not hide away from it.”
Craddock continued to breathe out deeply and though his breaths were still erratic, he could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some form of acceptance after all the years of grief and pain. “Thank you,” he said softly, and he gave a Elizabeth a weak smile. “I've never found closure after her death, never... until now.”
He composed himself and brought his feelings under control, as he felt his grief subside. For the first time in three years he felt free, no longer shackled by grief or suppressed guilt.
“Do you still want to return to the Draco?” asked Elizabeth.
“No,” said Craddock, shaking his head. “It's time I moved on from the past and looked towards the future... What must I do?”
“You must keep the figurine safe at all costs. While the coil of spirits cannot come into close proximity to it without being entrapped inside, they will try to destroy it through other means...”
Though Craddock felt safe, he couldn’t help but feel a little nervous as he thought about what he was getting himself involved in. “How do I protect this figurine against such powerful entities?”
“The coil of spirits have weakened after they broke free from Mehjah'Loh, they will need to return to our realm to fully replenish their power. Know this that each time they use their powers, their energy weakens, because of this they will devise a plan of attack to minimize the use of their powers.”
“So how we do stop them?”
“They will need to come through the figurine and be transferred to the holder of the amulet.”
“And the amulet is in whose possession?” asked Craddock cautiously.
“A Romulan called Vormarl,” answered Elizabeth, and there some anger in her voice. “He is playing with forces he does not understand. The amulet must be removed from his possession immediately; otherwise the coil of spirits will possess him and use him to destroy the amulet.”
“And what happens if the figurine is destroyed?”
At this Elizabeth looked at Craddock very somberly. “Then the final barrier preventing the coil of spirits from returning to our realm will have been destroyed, and a new war will begin. The coil of spirits must go through the figurine, and into the amulet. The person possessing the amulet must be an individual who cannot be tempted by the coil of spirits to use the amulet for any other purpose except for the trapping of the spirits.”
“But who wouldn't be tempted by the opportunity to wield such power?”
Elizabeth paused for a few seconds, and she seemed a little unsure of how to answer Craddock’s question. “Very few humanoids could resist the temptation,” she replied thoughtfully. “But I'm sure you will find one who can.”
Craddock took a little confidence in this, and giving the powers the being standing in front of him possessed, perhaps she was right… “Just one more thing what does the amulet look like?”
Elizabeth raised her hands before they rested on both sides of Craddock's head.
He felt memories, and literally knowledge and information flow into his brain.
“Can you now see it?” she asked.
“I do...” said Craddock, the image of the amulet was now crystal clear in his mind. “Thank you for everything, and for changing my life...”
Elizabeth though simply smiled, and the whiteness started to return.
For some moments Craddock eye’s greedily feasted on his wife, this would be the last time he ever saw her, but in some ways he was glad it was like this. It was the least painful way of letting go of his wife. His wife seemed to shine, and the white dress glowed with increased intensity as the whiteness steadily consumed her.
Finally the whiteness became so bright it dazzled Craddock, and instinctively he closed his eyes. Some moments later his feet made contact with the ground. There was the sound of people talking, but suddenly there was a hush and everything went deathly quiet, save the beeping of what seemed to be consoles running.
Opening his eyes Craddock realized he was on the bridge of a Starfleet vessel, and not just any Starfleet vessel. His eyes came to the man rising out of the command chair, it was Kirk and for a moment Craddock felt considerably shocked.
Everyone’s eyes were upon him, at this point he realized he was still clutching onto the figurine. Craddock wasn’t even sure where to begin, or how to explain himself.
“Captain Craddock,” said Kirk, finally breaking the silence. “Do you mind explaining to me just how exactly you arrived in the middle of my bridge?”
By MickGuest Starring
“Captain Craddock,” said Kirk, finally breaking the silence. “Do you mind explaining to me just how exactly you arrived in the middle of my bridge?
Our story continues...
Robert Craddock’s eyes blinked for a moment, unsure of where he was. ‘The Draco,’ he first thought. ‘No that can’t be,’ was his next thought as he scanned the pairs of eyes looking back at him.
Captain James Tiberius Kirk was getting restless as he asked again, “Craddock, how the hell did you end up in the middle of my bridge?”
Craddock took a moment to adjust to his surroundings before saying, “It’s difficult to explain.”
“Try me,” said Kirk.
He glanced down at the figurine he was still holding, and wrapped his fingers around it tighter. Craddock held it up so that Kirk could get a look at it. “It was caused by this,” he said. Captain Kirk reached for the figurine, but Craddock pulled it back, “It was entrusted to me by an old woman on the lone inhabited planet of this system; Mehjah'Loh. Trust me Kirk; I can not let it out of my sight.”
The captain of the Enterprise leaned back in his chair assessing the situation, and the man’s reluctance to let him hold the figurine, “Craddock, what is it?”
“It is,” said the freighter captain as he nodded his head, “There are forces at work here greater than any of us can imagine. This figurine called to me as my ship was burning. It looked like a child’s toy when the old woman gave it to me, but now I know it was so much more. In fact, moments ago when I found it again in my cargo hold, I grabbed it and was whisked away to a realm where time and space had no meaning. The being I met there took the form of my wife; my beloved Elizabeth.”
Kirk nodded in understanding, not sure if the man was drunk or not, but he continued to listen as he recalled that Craddock’s wife had died three years earlier. But then again, Kirk had seen some pretty strange things in his years as the captain if the Enterprise.
Craddock paused for a moment before saying, “This figurine represents beings, evil beings. These beings were imprisoned inside the depths of that world after they had fought a war with the people of the one that appeared to me. Elizabeth, rather the being I encountered, she tells me that this figurine is meant to control the spirits. She told me of another object, an amulet. She warned me that if anyone had the amulet, and figurine, they would control the evil force; the coil of spirits. Trust me Kirk, we can’t let that happen.”
“Captain,” said Mister Spock as gazed into his viewer at the Science station, “Sensors have detected a large explosion; I believe it is the planet Mr. Craddock is referring to. Mehjah'Loh, has been destroyed.”
Kirk’s expression turned to one of worry.
“Elizabeth, I mean the being I met aboard the Draco, told me this would happen if the coil of the spirits were released,” Craddock said with a forbearing voice, “everything she warned me about is coming true.”
“Fascinating,” Spock came back with, as Kirk looked back to his first officer for some kind of input.
Craddock then continued, “If these coils of spirits come within close proximity of this figurine they will become trapped. They will try to destroy it through any means possible.”
“Mr. Craddock; where is the amulet you refer to?” Spock asked Craddock.
Craddock closed his eyes, and he could still sence the presence of the non-corporeal being who had come to him in the form of his wife. She had answer. Craddock opened his eyes...
“According to the being, the holder of the amulet is a Romulan called Vormarl.”
“Spock,” said Kirk, pivoting in his chair again to face the science section, “what do we know of this Vormarl?”
“According to Starfleet Intelligence,” Spock said as he had immediately researched the name with the library computer upon hearing in, “he is ruthless Captain. He will do whatever is necessary to win at all costs. Six years ago, it was reported that he began to research mythological and spiritual means in hopes of giving the Romulus and advantage over us and the Klingons,” reported Spock as he read from his screen at the Science station. “Of course the Romulan Empire denies any affiliation with Vormarl, however, that could be subterfuge.”
“Those devils,” Scotty added quickly.
Kirk leaned back in his chair. He looked around before saying, “These mines; we know they are Romulan origin so it sounds like both us and the Klingons are being played.”
“I would agree,” said Spock.
“Keptin,” Scotty said, “these mines are not stationary in nature. They could have been programmed to swarm around any vessel leaving the system.”
“So Captain Kirk, you believe me don’t you?” asked Craddock.
Kirk shook his head, “It’s hard to believe, but your crew informs us that you stayed with your ship. We watched it blow up, and now you’re here long after it was destroyed. Someone, something, would have had to have gotten you off there somehow, and sent you back here.”
“A guardian angel,” said Robert Craddock, with a sound of affection in his voice.
“If ye ask me, it sounds like to me like the devil himself is at work here,” said Scotty as he got up from the Engineering station.
“It would sure seem that way,” said Kirk as he got up began to walk around the outer ring of the bridge. “Let’s rational this out; Captain Craddock you ordered the Draco here, and the Enterprise picks up your distress call. We get pulled in, as well as the Klingons, into what is no doubt a Romulan minefield.” Kirk continued to walk in front of the viewscreen before saying, “You somehow manage to get off your ship before it blows up, and yet you end up here saying the Romulans are involved.” Kirk stopped by the Science station and leaned over the railing, “Spock, start scanning the area, give me anything that could be a sign of Romulan activity. I need more than the name of a deranged Romulan as proof.”
Uhura jumped as she held her earpiece, “Captain, listen to this.” Kirk walked over to the Communications station and took the earpiece from her.
He listened for a moment as he said, “The Romulan, Vormarl, is trying to contact us on an open frequency. I want everyone on the bridge to hear this,” he added. “…on screen.” He motioned for Craddock to stand off to the side so that the Romulan could not see him.
The images of stars and the minefield were replaced by the stern look of a Romulan. His eyes were cold…very cold. But more importantly, he was wearing an amulet around his collar.
“Federation Starship,” Vormarl’s voice said, “I will detonate the minefield and destroy both you and the Klingons unless you follow my directions. I will arrive at your position in five of your minutes. Be prepared to transfer the figurine to me at that time, or you will be destroyed.”
The signal ended.
“This Vormarl has already deduced that we have the amulet,” Spock said to Kirk.
“Sir,” Sulu said from his helm post, “if the planet has been destroy, doesn’t that mean that the coil of spirits Mr. Craddock spoke of have been released?”
“Good point Lt. Sulu,” Kirk said, “I don’t think we want to be here when they or the Romulan arrive. Scotty,” Kirk said, as he looked over at the engineering station, “is there away we can detonate the minefield, and not damage either us or the Klingon ship?” asked Kirk.
“As far as I can tell, no,” said Scotty. He thought for a moment, “I cannae guarantee that either ship will survive there’s too many mines.”
“Can we equip a shuttle with a quantum beacon? We could lure both Vormarl, and these spirits, if they exist, away from the Enterprise, buying you more time to come up with a way to deal with the mines.” Kirk said.
“Aye sir, that can be done. It’ll take me twenty minutes,” said Scotty as he started to walk toward the Turbo-lift, “but we only have five, so it looks like I be doin’ya two miracles today.”
“Get started Scotty,” said Kirk with a knowing smile. Kirk walked over to Graddock. “Craddock, I’d like you to stay here on the Enterprise. You’ll be safer.”
Robert Craddock shook his head, “With all due respect Captain, from one starship commander to another, I’d like to go along. I feel somewhat responsible for all of this. I’d like to see it though to the end, and besides,”
Graddock said, "I have a guardian angel over my shoulder."
“I guess I can’t argue with that,” said Kirk, “are you injured. I can have our doctor patch you up before we leave.”
“No, I’m fine,” said Craddock.
Spock came over to Kirk.
“Captain,” Spock said, “logic would suggest that you remain aboard the Enterprise, due to our tactical situation with the minefield and the Klingons.”
Kirk was about to protest, but then again, he knew that Spock’s suggestion was the correct one. But he also knew his first officer, who was also his good friend, was no doubt trying to shield Kirk from the unknown danger of being the lure for the Romulan and the coil of spirits.
“Captain Kirk, we’re being hailed by the Klingons,” said Uhura.
“Go,” Kirk said to Spock, and then he watched the Vulcan and Graddock disappear behind the Turbo-lift doors. Kirk turned to face the main viewing screen. “On screen,” said Kirk as the image of the minefield changed to the bridge of a Klingon ship. Sitting in its command chair was the ships commander.
and coming soon...an all new star trek adventure..
Fresh Horses for Battle by Ln X
Fresh Horses for Battle by....BorgDominant
Story editing...BorgDominant and Robert Scorpio
Additional story editing by Ln X
Fresh Horses for Battle
G'nahC looked across his bridge and smirked, they were alive and though the Furious Charge was damaged it would not be long before they were moving under their own power again. The War Song had been able to tractor them out of the field.
"Captain, we have monitored a transmission directed at the Enterprise. It seems to be coming from a Romulan vessel coming this way; they are demanding the humans surrender some sort of treasure."
G'nahC narrowed his eyes and thumped a hand down on the arm rest of his command chair; the fleet leader had briefed him about the operation on the primitive world in the next grid. He didn't know any details about them or the operation, but he did know it involved a pillaging, though he wished his men could have joined in with.
"Hail the Enterprise," he ordered.
In a quick moment the legendary starship commander's face was on the screen.
"KIRK! We have monitored your transmissions with the Romulan ship coming this direction; do you intend to transfer the figurine to the Romulans?"
Kirk shook his head in disagreement.
"No, this is the rightful salvage of a Federation citizen. The Romulans are encroaching on your territory as well as molesting our citizens. Their threat was directed as much at your people as it was at us. You should know that the planet your forces were raiding has been destroyed."
G'nahC looked over at his science officer who nodded in agreement to what Kirk had said.
Kirk continued on with his offer…
"G'nahC; once we are clear of this minefield we will be bringing the fight to them, we will fight at your side; our fists united against the Romulans," said Kirk, with much bravado. "We will be fighting for your territory and your sovereignty; as well as for the lives of my people, who will lay down their lives for the honor of your people."
G'nahC looked Kirk square in the eyes and read his face as best he could, the bland features of humans were unfamiliar but the eyes spoke loudly. He nodded to himself and gestured to the helmsman.
"Deactivate the minefield and target the Romulan mines as best you can, clear the Enterprise a path. Kirk..."
"Go ahead," Kirk said.
G'nahC couldn't believe he was about to say what he was about to say. His voice was weary with consternation.
"I will aid you in getting free of this minefield, but human; I have one condition!" He pointed directly at Kirk. "Should we both survive this engagement with the Romulans, I would have my combat with you. I am formally challenging you and your honor. My honor will not allow your trespass to go unanswered."
"If we survive I will answer your challenge," agreed Kirk.
"It will be worthy of song," added G'nahC with a devious smile.
"A mere song?" replied Kirk. "I would expect nothing more than a full fledged opera!"
G'nahC flashed his ragged teeth at Kirk and laughed loudly.
"Very well, my helmsman is sending you the coordinates for a safer path through the field, our mines will not harm you and we will target any others we manage to spot."
"My thanks Captain G'nahC," said Kirk, with a nod.
"It is a good day to die Captain. We will bring this Romulan, Vormarl, to his heel together."
"Well said, Kirk Out."
Once the screen was blank, G'nahC shifted his attention to his crew.
"Damage report!" G'nahC barked as he kicked the remains of one of his dead officers.
"We are moments from restoring impulse engines, the port nacelle is functioning at 60% and we have several hull breaches. Of the 40 Casualties, 12 are expected to survive," his first officer replied.
"Excellent, as soon as we have impulse power bring us to heading 12 mark 134. Best speed, add our disruptors to the War Songs. See if we can force them to expose a flank for the Fatal Stab."
"Looks like the Klingons are going to give us a helping hand. Get us out of here as fast as you can Mr. Sulu. Chekov, please take Spock's post and keep a sharp eye out; feed the targeting information to Sulu. If you spot anymore mines give him the best shot possible at them."
Kirk pressed the com switch on his chair. "Spock," he said, "prepare to launch the shuttle on my next command."
"Very well," Spock's voice replied.
Chekov, who had made his way up to Spock's post, looked into the science viewer. His voice became worried.
"Keptin," Chekov said, "there is a distortion field expanding from grid mark 96, it seems to be the distortion wave from the planet." said Chekov.
The Furious Charge...
G'nahC thumped his palm impatiently as he watched the Enterprise plough through the mine field. Captain Kirk was certainly worthy of his reputation. The Klingon watched as the phasers of the Enterprise destroyed several Romulan mines. The Furious Charge destroyed a few as well.
"Fair is foul and foul is fair," said G'nahC as he watched the Enterprise waddle through the minefield. "If I destroy Kirk, and the Enterprise…"
"Your name will be legend," his first officer concluded.
"Begin scanning, see if you can also spot the Romulans. Signal the fleet and tell them there is game to be had. More glory to my brothers." He wrinkled his nose. "And send someone up here to clear off all this mess," he added angrily.
G'nahC looked around for a moment and finally brought his glance back upon his first officer again; he gestured to him and straightened his baldric. The two moved off to the boom of the ship and stood aside for a few moments as the dead were hauled off to a sorting room.
"Do you still feel that the Enterprise is akin to a caged Targ?"
His first officer looked deeply shamed at his earlier remarks, and shook his head slowly.
"No sir, it is evident to me now that I under estimated them. It also seems I have under estimated you."
"You feel we should simply destroy them where they are, and then go hunt the Romulans?"
"Yes, my lord. You will be aiding them. They are not worthy of aid or your respect. They are humans, and Federation scum. You dishonor yourself by offering that pathetic human an honorable challenge."
G'nahC drew his Mek'leth and growled at his former first officer. The other man drew his D'K'Tahg and the two men lunged at each other. G'nahC's move however was a feint, he side stepped instead of lunging. The other man moved right in front of him and did not feel the captains Mek'leth hack through his cervical vertebrae. His head toppled to the deck plates with a clatter, G'nahC whipped his weapon through the air once to clean it and strode back to the bridge.
"I will not lose a personal combat my friend," said G'nahC with honor aimed at his fallen friend.
G'nahC walked back to the bridge and read the damage reports his stand by officers handed TO him, he grumbled and read through the crew manifest. He patted his palm against the arm of his chair twice and held his hand out, moments later a steel cup of warm blood wine was placed in his fist.
He sipped the wine and read through the data, after the drink was finished and he had digested the information he looked up and nodded to the nearest stand by officer.
"This is a list of personnel to be transferred between the War Song and the Furious Charge. Then have my quarter's possessions sent to the War Song, inform commander G'hrullang of her promotion to captain of this vessel."
G'nahC left the bridge and made his way to one of the secondary transporters located a deck below the bridge, from there he beamed over the War Song.
He relieved G'hrullang of her command of the War Song and handed her his copy of Twelfth Night.
"The previous captain gave this to me when I took command of the Furious Charge, it is a tradition I would like to continue. I now pass this text to you, and wish you all possible success in your career. I will be sending you a commendation for your performance today."
"I am honoured sir. You will find the War Song a capable vessel, with an outstanding crew."
"Captain, I would like to add that in addition to my commendation I will be recommending you for command of the Fist of Kahless."
G'hrullang looked surprised as she sucked in a sharp breath, she recovered quickly and saluted the older man smartly. The prestigious vessel was one of the newer model heavy cruisers in line to serve the fleet, she may have just lost command of a D-7. But she would likely be commanding a D-10.
"That is much appreciated sir, I will always remember the honour you grace me with today."
"You earned that honour yourself, I was fortunate enough to recognize your actions. Fare well G'hrullang."
"Fare well G'nahC."
She stepped onto the transporter and disappeared a few moments later, G'nahC walked up to the bridge. Even though the Furious Charge and the War Song were thirty years apart in age, the War Song deck's was laid out in same configuration as the Furious Charge. Also in spite of the age difference, the War Song was a larger ship. Longer, wider, taller, and heavier. The dimensions were not very different, only 5-10 meters difference. It was the weight difference that really mattered, the War Song was close to twice the weight of the Furious Charge.
"Comms. Alert me as soon as you have located the Enterprise," said G'nahC as he surveyed the bridge.
With that G'nahC left the bridge to visit the galley, battle often made him hungry. Waiting was always easier when there was something to do, and a meal would serve that purpose well enough.
He ate a typically spartan meal and visited his new quarters briefly before returning to the bridge, there he chose a new book to keep at his side for his command of this vessel. Titus Andronicus seemed best.
Vormarl's ship was speeding toward the minefield when at last a Warbird de-cloaked. The Warbird's massive underbelly opened up, as if preparing to swallow Vormarl's much smaller vessel.
Mere moments later, Vormarl's ship disappeared behind the bay doors. Some time later Vormarl exited his ship and made his way to the bridge. The lower ranked Romulan officers had been trained very early on not to look at him; and to keep their heads bowed down until he had passed. Failure to do so would mean death. Only the command crew, which was on the bridge of the Warbird, was deemed worthy enough to look into his eyes.
At last he arrived on the bridge, only to see the Enterprise clearing the minefield, and pivoting to a head on course with the Warbird. And, more interesting, the Klingon ships appeared to be aligned with the legendary Federation ship, and it's equally legendary Captain; James T Kirk.
Possession by RobertScorpio
There are those who say that there is no life after death.
Klingons believe in a Stovokor for all honorable warriors, a kind of alien Valhalla. And Vulcans, in general, believe in a return to the beauty of full, pure and complete logic, secure in the company of Surak. Others believe in peace and light, a place at the table with their ancestors, or a dream, neverending, where they wander around in others' subconsciousnesses like so many extras in unknown private stage plays.
But there are many who are unsure. Atheists, agnostics and the just plain skeptical – they see this life as being it, the only one. But for the people of Mehjah'Loh, and the recently dead, including one Elizabeth Craddock, the reality was far different.
It was all of the lives of Mehjah'Loh, from all time, and not just the sentient ones, for there were the legless slime beings, and the huge hulking furred beasts who made the best game, and earlier versions of the people, back to even when they were small things, twitching with constant terror, barely out of the ooze and fighting to not become someone else's next meal.
The current – recently current, that is – people of Mehjah'Loh were all there, together. It was O'mat, it was Pavant, and Lymet and Kulnay and L'faneka, and more. The ones with the calm blood and the ones with the acidic burning blood – they were all together as they had been before, in the village.
L'faneka could, it was strange, it was as it had been at about the time she had experienced her fourth annual passage of the sun, in its inexorable journey around Mehjah'Loh.
She could see.
So she knew that she was no more, and that had to be the truth, for the pain was gone, vanished like last night's wisps of cloud. She approached Pavant.
"He is a false Buk'amah! He is lower than the legless slime things! He has killed of his own!"
"Is this true?" asked O'mat, who seemed unsure of where he was, and what his condition was.
"It is true," said L'faneka, "Will you say, or will I?" she asked Kulnay.
"I will say," Kulnay replied, "he became Chief at your, your end. And it was with the slaying of Lymet, who is of his, his house."
"Not just his house," L'faneka prompted.
O'mat looked pained. "What does this mean?"
"Of more than his house. Of his seed," Kulnay confirmed.
"Is this true?" O'mat thundered.
"It is so," Pavant said, "you were not the man you thought you were, brother," he spat out the last word in disgust and O'mat was about ready to have at him when they were interrupted by a voice.
"That hardly matters," said one of the Klingons, "show us where the acid is, and how you get it. There's nothing of value on this wretched orb except for that."
"You are not on what you call the wretched orb anymore," said another Klingon, "but I do not know where we have gone. The acid and the spoils – it all seems to matter very little right now."
"What does it mean?" asked Lymet, the child.
"I sense there is evil here," L'faneka said, "and it is feeding off all of our bad deeds, our sins. But one here is innocent." She pointed at Lymet.
"She had the burning blood, as do I," said Kulnay, "judgment may be passed this way." The men of Mehjah'Loh grabbed Pavant and a stone knife was produced. His arm was slashed, as was Lymet's. The crowd – little more than an angry mob now – exerted itself to bring the two slashes together, and burn the sin into Pavant's body for all time. There was a sound of loud hissing and popping.
"That's the acid!" yelled one of the Klingons to another, "Don't you see? We could use these as cannon fodder! With acidic blood, the shrapnel would be outstanding!"
"And don't you see," replied the one who had realized they were no longer on the planet's surface, "there is no point in shrapnel anymore, or in any of it."
Elizabeth looked away, searching for faces of anyone she knew, anyone familiar, but the sentient faces were but the people of Mehjah'Loh and the ruthless Klingons who had been plundering their pitifully barren lands.
Then there were two more.
Kirk was about to say something about the Klingons when he was interrupted.
"There are escape pods out there, the last few from the Draco," Chekhov said.
"Get them in via tractor beam," Kirk commanded. He punched communications. "Scotty! See to it that we get over anyone we can."
"Aye, sir. Scott out."
Scotty worked the Transporter, and a group of five appeared, including a young woman last seen on the Bridge – Ensign Jamie Chambers. She fainted and was brought to Sick Bay.
But the view from the Bridge's main viewer was less appealing. Escape pods are normally tough to control, and these were within a minefield, with a good half or more of the mines hidden via cloak. Chekhov did what he could to get them all in, but he could not get everyone. Two of the pods hit mines, and were vaporized on impact.
Uhura shielded her eyes from the devastation. "Message coming in from the Draco, sir."
"Message? But there's no one on there," Kirk said, "Right?"
"None on sensors," Chekhov said.
"On screen," Kirk said.
There was no figure on the screen, just blinding whiteness. "There is power, and light."
The voice was coming from not only the blinding whiteness on the Draco, but from Craddock himself in a shuttle, which was shown on a split screen, even though Uhura had not changed the image on the viewer. He seemed possessed, unable to cease speaking the words that were being fed into his brain and forced from his mouth. He seemed to be trying not to cooperate, but to no avail. A coil feature emerged on his forehead, between his eyes – a helix.
Kirk glanced at Uhura. She knew what to do, and opened a channel. "Mister Spock! Status!" she called. "Mister Spock –"
Her voice was cut off. "You will listen!" commanded the twin, synchronized voices of Craddock and the message.
And Vormarl was speaking with that voice as well, from the Bridge of the warbird and was showing the same coiled, helical mark. The screen split to three and all could watch.
And on the Furious Charge, they listened as well, for G'nahC was also speaking – a fourth part – and the coiled mark appeared there as well as the screen split into quarters.
And wherever the people of Mehjah'Loh were, they also heeded, for Pavant was, too, possession by the voice and parroting it. It was a fifth part, a vessel to transmit commands, with the self-same helical mark. They dropped their plans for rough justice and listened, and waited, but did not forget the need for justice and retribution, as the acidic blood continued to hiss and pop menacingly.
"There is a power, and light. Our needs are simple – a place to call home – and freedom. We have been trapped for far too long. Our home can have no fences and no barriers. We will destroy all in our path until we gain what we seek."
Elizabeth recognized Crewman Briggs, and went over to him. He looked at her, clad, improbably, in a diaphanous white gown. "I remember you. You're Craddock's wife; your supposed to be dead; Is this heaven?" he asked.
"I don't think so," she said, indicating the Klingons, who still looked bloodthirsty, and had briefly suspended their arguing with each other over whether they were really in Stovokor, and the people of Mehjah'Loh, who were trembling with pious fear. "I think this is the antechamber to hell."
Intimate Encounter by RobertScorpio
Intimate Encounter...by Robert Scorpio
A soft breeze greeted Robert Craddock as he walked along a dirt path. The tiny trail was between two large fields that had flowers scattered across them. Craddock knew the place very well. As he made his way along the path, a butterfly flew past him, and he laughed as a feeling of melancholy came over his mind.
He watched as the lone butterfly disappeared into the field of flowers. He took a deep breath in, through his nose, and was rewarded with the sweet scent of grass and flowers, and felt at peace. But his mind was confused. He knew he should have been with the Vulcan, Spock, inside the shuttle-craft, acting as a lure to lead the approaching Romulan threat away from the Enterprise and the minefield. But now; now he was back at this place. And sure enough, as he walked further down the path, he made his way past a row of trees, and then through a clearing where a simple but modest home stood; his home, or more to the point, their home.
Robert’s parents had passed away years ago and they had left their son, Robert, and his beloved with Elizabeth, their home. It had been where Robert had been raised as a child. It was located in the back country of a small Nebraskan town called Blue Springs, which as many such towns, dotted the landscape. In the 23rd century, many people on Earth had returned to a more rural rustic setting. And while Nebraska no longer existed as a “state”, some of the small towns, like Blue Springs, did; and proudly so.
But due to the demands of being a freighter captain, and with his wife by his side, they rarely ever had a chance to get back to Earth to enjoy the old home. But they had managed to do so, just five months before her untimely death aboard the Draco. Her death had been meaningless after a run in with a new race that they had never encountered before. The new attackers were nothing more than ruthless space pirates, and while trying to take the Draco as a prize, Elizabeth was killed during the attack. Craddock grimaced and pushed the memory out of his mind just as a wisp of the breeze caressed his face. He closed his eyes and smiled, because he instantly knew he was no longer alone.
“I knew you would come here,” a voice said from behind where Robert was standing by the clearing of trees.
Robert knew the voice all to well; and why wouldn’t he? The voice belonged to that of his wife. He turned to face his wife, knowing full well that Elizabeth had died four years earlier on the bridge of the Draco; right before his eyes.
“You again,” Craddock said to the image of his wife.
“No, not exactly,” Elizabeth said, as she came over and planted her lips on his.
At first he felt repulsed. But as her lips became warmer, and as he breathed in the scent of her hair, which he knew so well, he went with it and instinctively kissed her deeply, letting his hand make their way up her back, pressing her closer to him. It had been far too long since he held a woman. He had never been with another woman since her death and the longing that all men have had been bottled up inside. But now, here she was. And even though he knew it wasn’t really his Elizabeth, he didn’t care. He lowered her down to the grass, their lips never parting, and then…they made love…as they had done in the exact same spot the last time they had come home.
Sometime later, Robert opened his eyes, and was pleased to find that it hadn’t been a dream. Elizabeth was still there next to him, on the grass, staring up at the sky.
“Why have you returned as my wife?” Robert asked. “It must be because I have failed you; the coil of spirits must have destroyed the Figurine and the amulet.”
“No, we haven’t yet destroyed them,” Elizabeth’s voice said, as she moved over on her side so as to face to face with Robert.
Robert didn’t like the meaning of her words, and then he stood up, putting on his clothes as he did.
“You’ve come to tempt me,” Robert said to yet this different version of his wife.
Elizabeth stood as well, not bothering to clothe her self as she did.
“My kind does not,” she searched for the word, “enjoy such physical pleasures. But as you and I were sharing intimacy, I could tell it had been too long since you had last done so. Your desire was strong.”
“She was my wife,” Craddock said, his voice revealing his shame, “What would you expect?”
“You have been without intimacy, in this manner, for a long time. You have no reason to feel shame. Now; imagine if that existence without companionship had lasted for fifty thousand years? That is how long we have been imprisoned in the bowels of that retched world. Now we are free; and all we want is to exist again.” She came over to him, and reaching out, took his hand into hers again. “My kind may not love in the way you do; but we do love.”
Craddock looked into her eyes. He understood the point of her words.
“Unfortunately,” Craddock said, finally, with genuine compassion in his voice, “if your power is controlled by others, it could bring destruction to many worlds. In fact, that is why you were released from your prison on Mehjah'Loh. A being, much like my self, wishes to control your power, and use it in such away.”
“We would not allow it,” Elizabeth said.
“The last time my wife’s image appeared to me,” Craddock said, “another non-corporeal being was in her place and warned me of your violent ways. Do you deny your past?”
“No,” Elizabeth said, “but we have changed. We are the last of our kind, and only wish to exist peacefully. By chance; did this other being who took the form of your wife tell you that she, your wife, is still alive but just beyond the reach of your reality?”
“What do you mean?” Craddock asked, as hope began to feel his heard.
“Her presence has always been with you, Robert,” Elizabeth said. “And when you came into possession of the figurine, her essence was brought back to a plane of existence where some wait.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Robert asked, as he fought back the urge to cry.
“Did you also know that she was with child?” Elizabeth asked. “That child was brought into existence the last time you were here.”
Robert shook his head quickly.He didn't know the fact that Elizabeth had been pregnant when she died. He didn't believe the being.
“No! You’re just telling me this nonsense so that I will give the figurine to the Romulan so that he will have both the figurine and the amulet. Once that happens, either he will control your power, or, you will possess his actions, and control the power. In either case, I will not let you manipulate me into unleashing your evil.”
“No,” Elizabeth pleaded. “The amulet is where your wife’s essence exists, as well as those of Mehjah'Loh whose blood contains our essence as well. Other out worlders exist there as well due to their own beliefs (the Klingons).Yes…let the Romulan bring both objects together. Once he has, we will move into the figurine, and then we, the coil of spirits will possess the amulet and free all those who exist within its realm, including your wife and child.”
“And what will you do once you have freed them?” Craddock asked.
“We will destroy those who imprisoned us, and then we will forever leave this realm. Why involve yourself in a war that doesn’t concern you?” Elizabeth asked. “Darling,” Elizabeth said in a tender voice, “Don’t forsake this chance for the two of us,” she placed his hand on her abdomen, “the three of us to be together.”
Craddock tried to find an answer. The being was right; he had no stake in a war between these strange beings. Elizabeth pressed her lips against his again.
“Robert,” Elizabeth said, softly, “the coil of spirits have more than a will to live…they have a need to love.”
Meanwhile, on the shuttle, Robert Craddock was staring blankly out into space. Spock knew that Craddock was in some sort of telepathic contact with either the being that appeared to him as his wife, or, quite possibly the other beings known as the coil of spirits. Spock knew that time was of the essence, as he saw the Warbird moving closer to the Enterprise.
Spock placed his fingers tips upon Robert Craddock’s head, and then the Vulcan said the familiar words.
“…our minds…are one….”
Fight or Flight by RobertScorpio
Flight or Flight....By Ln X
Fight and Flight
Author's note: pyschonic is my own made up word.
Elizabeth watched as the possessed Pavant continued to chant, she felt very uneasy by what was going on and she was deeply concerned for the people of Mehjah'Loh. They seemed enraptured and entranced by Pavant, and Elizabeth wondered what on earth Pavant was doing.
However she didn't have to wait long because high above the sky opened up a vortex, with a centre which was black, while the edges swirled around with bright white and red colours.
"Would you look at that," said Briggs sounding virtually entranced.
Elizabeth continued to look at the vortex and she felt an unusual sensation that seemed to urge her to go inside the strange feature high above in the sky. But she instantly quashed that urge when she saw the people of Mehjah'Loh's very life force drift upwards and into the vortex.
Streams of green and orangey energy poured out of the people and slowly ascended to enter inside the vortex. The moment the energy reached the vortex did the vortex expand gradually in size. Elizabeth looked back at the people and was shocked to see them grow transparent, she turned around and saw the same thing had happened to Briggs.
This was not right, somehow the people of Mehjah'Loh and Briggs were powering this vortex. She glanced at Pavant who was no longer chanting, indeed the weird coiled mark had disappeared and an energy being drifted out of Pavant. Wondering what it was, she very carefully sensed the surrounding area with her mind, trying to latch onto the consciousness of this energy being.
In this realm doing such an invasive thing was deeply prohibited, but she had no choice, the people around her where somehow dying and she had to know why.
For a brief moment her mind made contact with the energy being, and in that moment she realized what it was and what it's intentions were. This energy being was a coil of spirits, the very thing the people of Mehjah'Loh feared, and Elizabeth finally understood what this coil of spirits was doing. It was using the people's pyschonic energy to generate a rift to enter into the realm of the Guardians.
Elizabeth had only seen a Guardian once, and these beings occasionally visited the pyschonic realm to watch over it. Almost at once she knew she had to hide, but where? She thought about her primary construction, the house on Earth that she once lived in with her husband. The moment she thought about it did she sense two visitors residing inside her primary construct, one of them was a coil of spirits and the other was…
She suddenly froze. It was her husband, he had somehow arrived in the pyschonic realm, and right now he was in grave danger. Immediately she transferred herself away from the Mehjah'Loh construct and to her primary construct, she had to find Robert at all costs…
Craddock walked down the dirt track, away from his home, the alien Elizabeth had given him a lot to think about. Though she had a convincing argument that the coil of spirits had no quarrel with humanoids, somehow Craddock couldn't quite trust her. It was like she had said the exactly right things to say to him.
He continued to walk on and into the woodlands surrounding his home. Looking around he couldn't help but admire the beauty of this area. Suddenly he stopped walking and came out of a relaxed reverie when he heard a disturbance to his left behind a clump of tall bushes.
A person appeared and walked around the side of the bushes, and to Craddock's surprise it was Elizabeth.
"Robert is that you?" she asked, staring at him as if she couldn't believe her eyes.
"You again," said Craddock wearily, "what do you want?"
"We've met before?" said Elizabeth, looking puzzled.
"I've had visions of you twice before," explained Craddock, "each time an alien possessed your body or masqueraded as you, I'm not sure."
Elizabeth came closer to him, and she looked at him with urgent eyes. "Listen Rob it is me Elizabeth, this place we are in, this is the pyschonic realm, it's where we go when we die..." She then cocked her head a little to the side and eyed him up from head to toe. "But I didn't expect you to arrive here so soon."
"I'm not dead," said Craddock, "I somehow arrived here, possibly because of the figurine." He paused, and the more he looked at Elizabeth the more he sensed that she was anxious of something, but what it was he couldn't be sure. He ignored that and decided to ask a more pressing question. "But if you're dead how come you are here on Earth so close to our old home?"
"It is a construction," explained Elizabeth, "the place which I prefer to dwell the most, your parents sometimes arrive here."
Craddock was stunned to hear this. "My parents, are they are in this construct right now?"
"I'm afraid now is not the time to be conversing with your parents-"
Suddenly the ground shook and Elizabeth was looking around, until she rested her gaze on some point in the blue sky, revealed by a small clearing. There was terror all over her face.
Craddock followed her gaze upwards and he saw a vortex swirling in the greatest most reaches of the sky. This vortex looked distant, but there was something very menacing about it. He could just make out red and white streams of energy swirling around the vortex.
"Oh no!" exclaimed Elizabeth. "They reached this place as well!"
"What is that?" said Craddock.
Elizabeth ceased looking at it and faced Craddock. "It's some sort of vortex, generated by the coil of spirits, and it gets it's energy from the people of this realm! The people of Mehjah'Loh are steadily being absorbed into it, and so will we soon..."
Anger flared up inside Craddock, the alien had lied to him about not harming humanoids. "Of course!" he breathed. "She lied to me!"
Craddock forced himself to look at his wife, and for some reason he could just tell that this was his wife, it was as if he intimately knew every part of her. "The alien who masqueraded as you, I think she was one of the coil of the spirits!"
"You talked to it?" said Elizabeth sounding horrified. "Are you crazy?"
"She seemed warm and understanding enough!" said Craddock, as he sought to explain himself.
The ground shook again, and a powerful gust of wind swept through the trees. Craddock had to brace himself hard against this wind. He looked at Elizabeth, who seemed barely able to stand on her feet, while her long hair was whipping around everywhere.
"She manipulated you and brought you here!" shouted Elizabeth above the sound of the wind. "You have to go back and use the figurine to entrap one of the coil of spirits, and find someone to carry the amulet and to take possession of them!"
"But I don't know how to go back, and I don't want to leave you! Not when your life is in danger, I don't want to lose you for a second time."
"You have to leave me, leave this place," said Elizabeth, who was looking at Craddock with desperation. She walked ungainly over, the wind pushing her from behind and when she reached Craddock she grabbed onto his hand, raising it up to the level of his chest. "Please Rob, the people of Mehjah'Loh and everyone in the pyschonic realm don't stand a chance against the coil of spirits. Promise me you'll try and protect them?"
Seeing his wife plead like that was heart-wrenching for Craddock, and he simply couldn't refuse her request. He took both of Elizabeth's hands and gave them a gentle kiss. "I swear to you and I will try and do whatever I can to protect you and these people."
"Thank you," said Elizabeth, and her eyes gave off such affection and gratitude that it further emboldened Craddock to fulfil his promise.
However Craddock had one major problem. "But how do I get back?" he asked her.
Elizabeth let go of his hands, and smiled slightly, while she glanced over his shoulder to look at something behind Craddock. "I think your companion behind knows how."
Craddock turned around and saw Spock standing close to him. "Spock what are you doing here?"
"I had to mind meld with you to determine what was happening to you," replied Spock, who seemed totally unperturbed by the wind. "I have come to warn you that our shuttle is being approached by a Romulan warbird, and that we must leave now."
"I wish I could leave but I can't..."
"The figurine..." said Elizabeth, "if it brought you to this place then it must surely take you back."
Understanding blossomed in Craddock's mind, for some reason it was easy to find the answer to unknown things. He was beginning to understand the nature of this place, and since he was in this pyschonic realm he could use it's forces to convert his memories into reality. So he thought about the figurine, and when he opened his eyes to his surprise his right hand was holding the figurine.
He was about to use the figurine when he paused, he had to say goodbye to Elizabeth and not just any old goodbye.
"Mr Craddock," said Spock who sounded a tiny bit more urgent. "I suggest you do not delay, we have to leave immediately."
"Just one moment!" said Craddock, "and erm… Spock if you don't mind I need a little privacy."
"I see," replied Spock, with a rather knowing expression in his eyes.
Only when Spock had walked a few paces away and behind a tree, did Craddock feel he had the privacy he required. He once more held onto Elizabeth's hands. "Promise me you will stay safe?"
"I will," said Elizabeth in earnest, "now go!"
"One more thing," added Craddock, he placed his hands on her shoulders and as he did so he kissed her, and she responded almost immediately. But this time it felt right to Craddock, he felt like he was kissing Elizabeth and not just some stranger.
The two broke off and Elizabeth had her eyes closed, savouring the moment. "I haven't kissed you in three years..." she said softly. Her eyes opened and the urgency returned. "Now please leave this place!"
With one last look at his wife, Craddock turned around and strode over to Spock. He found Spock lurking by a tree. "Spock place your hand on the figurine."
Spock raised a questioning eyebrow. "You intend to return us back to the shuttle?"
"Just watch me!"
Inside his mind G'nahC fought against the being that was trying to control him. He could feel it tempting him with power, nay offering to him the very position of Chancellor itself. The being was also giving him instructions and orders, but he ignored these as well. His heart, clinging on to his honour, duty to the empire and his sheer stubbornness, gave him the strength to fight this being.
He would not yield or surrender, this was a test, a test of the Klingon heart's resilience and power. Even so the being strengthened it's assault on his mind, and in those moments of weakness, G'nahC felt himself losing control of his body. His mouth opened and said words which were wrenched out of him. For some reason he was talking to Kirk, who was watching from the viewscreen.
Though perhaps he was imagining things because the image of Kirk soon disappeared. G'nahC was losing control of his mind and just when he was about to succumb did the being suddenly leave him. He stood there, in front of the commander's chair, rooted to the ground but his mind was abuzz with triumph and information.
For he had managed to just briefly probe the being's mind, and discovered that there was at least another being of the same type.
"Captain can you hear me?" said the first officer, giving G'nahC's shoulder a shake.
G'nahC finally jerked out of his trance, and with his fist he knocked the first officer's hand of his shoulder. "Yes I can," he angrily replied, "can't you see that I was possessed?"
"Possessed?" asked the officer, looking at G'nahC as if he lost his sanity. "But why?"
"The being wanted to break my word with Kirk, but it underestimated the heart of a Klingon warrior, as I resisted against it's attempts to control me!"
"Do we continue to assist the Enterprise in tracking down the Romulans?"
"We do!" replied G'nahC vehemently. "I was fortunate enough to discover that there was another one of these beings, possessing a Romulan commander called Vormarl. He is sending his warbird to assault a Starfleet shuttle just outside of the minefield, at coordinates three four nine mark one seven one."
"How do you know all of this?" demanded the first officer, who sounded immensely suspicious.
"I just do, that is answer enough!" replied G'nahC, lying down his authority with iron-clad words, and if necessary his d'k tahg which he had done with his previous first officer. "Communications call the Enterprise, and tell them we found the Romulans!"
In an instant Craddock found himself back on the shuttle. "We made it back!"
"So we have," said Spock, who sounded mildly interested by this extraordinary event. "Mr Craddock I need you at tactical, while I try to manoeuvre this shuttle away from the Romulans."
"We can't outrun them!" he told Spock, while he took up the tactical station.
"No but we can evade them for as long as necessary until the Enterprise arrives, I'm sending out a distress call right now."
"The Enterprise will never reach us in time!"
"Well then Mr Craddock I suggest you do what all humans do and cross your fingers and hope for the best."
For a moment Craddock thought that this was Spock's way of being humorous, but he wasn't sure. He then focused on the console in front of him, and readied the shuttle's phaser cannons.
The shuttle suddenly lurched and Craddock braced himself against his chair. "Shields are down to 35%," he said.
"Performing evasive manoeuvres," said Spock.
For some moments Spock's flying seemed to keep the warbird's disruptors at bay. But Craddock knew it was only a matter of time before another disruptor burst struck the shuttle's shields. What seemed odd to Craddock was that even with Spock's skilled piloting, the Romulan warbird should have hit the shuttle many more times. Yet it didn't, and Craddock wondered why the Romulans were so halfheartedly firing upon the shuttle.
"Don't you think it's odd that the Romulans aren't trying to really hit us with their disruptors?" he finally asked Spock.
"It is most odd, it could perhaps even be attributed to luck…"
"I thought Vulcans don't believe in luck?"
"We don't, but it seems luck is so far the only plausible explanation to the warbird's tactics."
But just after Spock had finished the shuttle was struck again.
"Shields are gone," said Craddock, and now he was worried.
The shuttle shook again, but it didn't appear to be from weapon's fire. Checking his console Craddock realized it was something much worse. "The Romulan ship has us tractor beamed, can you break free?"
"I cannot," replied Spock, "the tractor beam is too strong to resist against."
"We're being contacted by the Romulan ship!"
"On screen," said Spock, who sounded totally calm despite the serious situation both men were in.
Spock turned around to face the screen, placed on the side of the cockpit, which displayed the comm channel.
The screen showed Vormarl, sitting down in the commander's chair on his ship's bridge. The amulet was slung down his chest, held up by a thin chain around Vormarl's neck. "This is commander Vormarl, I demand that you willingly surrender your vessel and hand over the figurine!"
"Do you see the mark on his face?" whispered Craddock to Spock. "He's been possessed by the coil of spirits."
Spock though seemed to ignore this. "Commander if we do hand over to you the figurine what assurances can you give us that we will be allowed to return to the Enterprise unharmed?"
Vormarl looked almost insulted by this question. "All I want is the figurine and the person carrying it, Robert Craddock!"
"And what do you intend to do to Mr Craddock?"
"I intend to destroy both the figurine and Craddock!" said Vormarl passionately, and for a moment his eyes were bright with rage.
Spock however raised his eyebrows at this. "Mr Vormarl I am curious; if you wanted to destroy both the figurine and Craddock why didn't your vessel destroy this shuttle?"
"Because the figurine can only be destroyed by the coil of spirits and only once the one who controls it is killed! You have one minute to decide upon what you should do, because rest assured one way or another, I will have that figurine!"
The channel closed and Spock swivelled around in the chair to face Craddock.
"We can't give the figurine to Vormarl!" said Craddock urgently. "Once he destroys it then the coil of spirits can finally go to their former realm, and the vortex where Elizabeth lived will kill everyone living in the pyschonic realm, including her! We have to stall for time!"
For a few moments there was silence from Spock as he thought about Craddock's words. "Logic would suggest that to be the best approach, however Vormarl let slip something really important; it seems that he must personally destroy the figurine and kill you with his own bare hands."
This didn't make much sense to Craddock. "So why doesn't he destroy this shuttle, killing us, and presuming the figurine remains intact, beam the figurine from the debris and then destroy it?"
"I'm not sure," replied Spock, a slight frown had appeared on his face, and he seemed just as puzzled as Craddock. "Perhaps the figurine is protected in more ways than we realize due to your ownership of it. Or perhaps you somehow cast some sort of protective field around the figurine, and if you die the field will eventually dissipate. But not it seems quickly enough for Vormarl's liking."
"If that's so what do we do?" said Craddock. "We can't stall for time!"
"By my estimates it will take the Enterprise seven minutes to arrive. We need to break free of the tractor beam and head to the minefield."
"The minefield?" repeated Craddock, and he wondered if Spock had lost all logic and reason. "But Vormarl will follow us, and once we arrive in the minefield he will detonate-"
"Think about it Mr Craddock," interrupted Spock. "Vormarl due to his circumstances cannot do that as an option if he wants to destroy the figurine as quickly as possible... Open the channel to the Romulan ship."
"Channel open," said Craddock, while he wondered what Spock intended to.
Vormarl was on the screen, and was gazing at Spock with something like unbridled hatred. "Well are you going to hand both the figurine and Mr Craddock over to me?"
"I'm afraid not," said Spock lightly, "you're going to have to catch us first."
Fury made Vormarl's eyes bulge in their sockets. "Catch you-"
"End the channel," said Spock, "Mr Craddock fire phasers at the Romulan tractor beam."
Craddock locked on the phaser cannons to the Romulan ship's tractor beam. "Firing... It's damaged."
"Good, I'm taking this shuttle back to the minefield."
With a little lurch the shuttle's thrusters fired up. From his console, Craddock noted the Romulans were firing again but it seemed their reluctance to hit the shuttle had further increased. Perhaps Spock was right, Vormarl really didn't want to destroy the shuttle...
Kirk watched the viewscreen, as the Romulan ship slowly grew in size. It was pursuing the shuttle which Spock and Craddock were on, and strafing somewhat left and right, in what Kirk presumed was for avoiding the mines.
"Approaching the Romulan ship captain," reported Sulu.
"The Klingon vessels are breaking position and heading straight for the Romulan ship," said Chekov who was back at the helm.
"Follow behind them Mr Sulu," said Kirk, and he knew, giving the number of ships against the Romulan warbird, that this battle would be very short. And once it ended he would face the bigger challenge of defending against three Klingon ships…
Vormarl remained standing as he gazed in a fixated manner upon the shuttle displayed on the viewscreen. He was running out of time, but he could not afford to destroy the shuttle and kill the protector of the figurine, Robert Craddock. The figurine's protective powers would linger for many days after Craddock's death, and this was time Vormarl did not have.
"Sir the Klingon ships have increased their speed," said the first officer, Novek. "They'll be in weapons range in less than a minute."
"Continue the pursuit of the shuttle!" said Vormarl angrily, he was getting rather tired of Novek pointing out the obvious.
"Sir," protested Novek, "we are outnumbered four to one, surely we must break the pursuit and turn-"
Finally Novek had pushed Vormarl's impatience and tolerance to the brink. He turned around, stared at Novek, and then used his powers to choke Novek. He smiled as he watched Novek clasp his hands against his throat in a futile effort to stave off asphyxiation.
Killing these humanoids was so easy for Vormarl… "Do not question my orders," he hissed. "If you cannot follow my orders then I will find someone else who will!"
Novek continued to cough and retch. "I will follow your orders commander!" he gasped. "Please... I meant no... no disrespect sir."
Feeling that he had made his point, Vormarl stopped telekinetically choking Novek. "Good," he said, and he approached Novek's station. "Now remodulate this ship's disruptors according to these specifications."
He passed to Novek a padd containing the specifications.
Novek though simply stared at the padd with bewilderment, it was clear that he had never seen these sorts of specifications before. "But sir I don't see how our disruptors could be modified to fire these energy bands!"
"Such ignorance..." said Vormarl though more to himself. He then walked around to operate Novek's station. "Seems like I must do it myself..."
He forcibly nudged Novek out of the way, and proceeded to reconfigure the modulation of the disruptors. This was a very simple matter of remodulating the sub-space harmonics, harmonics that the Romulans didn't even know their disruptors possessed, to hundreds of times their usual frequencies. His hands flew across the console, as he reconfigured the disruptor banks.
"There," he said when he was done. "You will find these disruptors more than sufficient to destroy the attacking ships."
Vormarl left Novek and he returned to his spot, where he resumed watching the shuttle. Most of his mental effort was devoted to the shuttle, and he found it quite limiting being stuck in this body. If he was out of it he would be more fully aware of what was happening around him, but he was confident that his adjustments to the weapons would keep the Klingon ships and the Enterprise at bay.
"Captain the Romulan ship is maintaining it's course!" said Chekhov, who sounded a little surprised. "It continues to pursue our shuttle!"
"Commander Vormarl must be out of his mind," said Kirk, "surely he knows that he will be flanked?" He shook his head slightly, this battle was going to be even easier than he originally thought. "It doesn't matter, Sulu commence attack run gamma five, and target the warbird's engines."
"Commencing attack run gamma five," said Sulu.
"The warbird is firing at the Klingon ships..." said Chekhov, who was monitoring the ship's sensors, he then paused and frowned at something. "That's odd."
"What is it Mr Chekhov?" said Kirk a little impatiently.
"The Romulan's disruptors are penetrating straight through the Klingon's shields, the Klingon ships are taking heavy damage."
"I take that under advisement..." replied Kirk, as he took a gamble that whatever the Romulans were firing at the Klingons, wouldn't affect the Enterprise as badly.
"Firing photon torpedoes," said Sulu.
No sooner had Sulu said that, did the bridge shake violently. Some of the bridge's plasma conduits exploded, and one console some metres behind Kirk, exploded into flames.
"The Romulan disruptor fire is penetrating straight through our shields captain!" shouted Chekhov over the sound of the ship shaking.
"Fire at will Mr Sulu," said Kirk calmly, "we have to disable the Romulan ship's shields!"
"The Romulan shields are down to 50% captain!" reported Sulu.
"Continue firing!" said Kirk, who was now leaning on the edge of his seat. "Evasive manoeuvres Mr Chekhov, and avoid the disruptor-" There was another more powerful jolt of the ship. "-fire at all costs!"
Vormarl smiled to himself as he heard reports of the devastating damage his ship had inflicted upon the attackers. "Do you see now Novek?" he said smugly, as he continued to watch the viewscreen. "There was never any reason to worry about the Enterprise and the three Klingon ships."
"Yes sir," said Novek a little distractedly. "A second Klingon ship has been destroyed."
The ship shook again but it was not enough to unbalance Vormarl.
"Our shields are gone!" said the officer at the tactical station, he looked up at Vormarl in a desperate manner.
Frustration also made Vormarl explode with anger, it seemed he had no other choice but to deal with the attacking ships first. "Break off the pursuit of the shuttle," he ordered, his words laced with bitterness. "Direct your fire at the Enterprise!"
"The left warp nacelle has been ruptured!" said Chekhov, who was momentarily clinging on to his console as the Enterprise lurched violently.
"Sulu aim the photon torpedoes at the warbird's disruptor banks!" said Kirk.
"I can't access the computer controls for the torpedoes," replied Sulu, sounding calm despite this problem. "Switching to phasers instead!"
"Captain," said Uhura, "we're being hailed by the War Song!"
"On screen," said Kirk.
There on the viewscreen was G'nahC sitting on the commander's chair, behind him smoke and fires were everywhere, but G'nahC seemed far more alive and animated than Kirk had ever seen him."Captain looks like I must decline our challenge," said G'nahC, baring his teeth in a Klingon-like grin. "I promised that I would destroy this Romulan vessel and indeed I shall! As we speak my ship is heading directly for the Romulan warbird's right warp nacelle."
"G'nahC that's suicide!" exclaimed Kirk. "Surely-"G'nahC though shook his head vehemently. "My ship is crippled and yours will shortly be so! It is the only way!"
Kirk accepted that G'nahC was right, and for a moment he was deeply grateful of the sacrifice this Klingon was about to make. "Good luck captain!" he replied."You and I would have had a glorious battle; Kirk!"
Kirk smiled at his Klingon counterpart.
"Of that; I have no doubt," Kirk said to the heroric Klingon. "Qapla", Kirk added with meaning in his voice."Qapla'!" replied G'nahC.
The channel closed, and at that moment Kirk had a plan. "Mr Chekhov, turn this ship around and make another attack run upon the Romulan ship!"
"We're going to get pretty singed captain!" warned Chekhov.
"Not as singed as they are!" replied Kirk confidently.
G'nahC had both hands gripped to his chair, as he braced himself against the shaking and vibration of his ship. "Helm are we still on course?"
"We are," replied the officer, "the Romulan ship is still facing the Enterprise!"
"Good," hissed G'nahC, his rage at boiling point. "Those Romulan petaQ's think we're making another firing run at their warp nacelle… Helm when I give the order swing this ship upwards and towards the Romulan's right warp nacelle!" He watched the viewscreen, as his eyes were a far better measure of this ship's course than the computer. "Wait for it..." he said. "Wait... Now!"
He saw from the viewscreen the Romulan vessel filling up the view, and expanding at a rapid rate. This was how a Klingon warrior should die he thought, in a blaze of glory like this. He could almost hear Sto-Vo-Kor calling to him…
The War Song powered towards the Romulan ship, the distance between the two diminished until finally the front of the War Song plowed into the Romulan ship's right warp nacelle. At first there was a tiny explosion and a lot of twisted metal as the War Song's front disintegrated. But still the ship's momentum carried it through further penetrating the Romulan vessel.
Finally there was a colossal explosion from the right side of the Romulan ship, and hundreds of pieces of outer hull plating where churned up and ripped off the ship. The wings of the War Song became detached as the back half of the ship twisted and contorted from the stress. A second huge explosion came when the War Song's warp core breached, and when it did so, the whole of the War Song was engulfed in a fire ball.
Once the fire ball disappeared, the Romulan ship came into sight, while the War Song was no more. There was an almighty gash along the Romulan ship's right side. The whole ship was tilting sideways, and all the exposed decks were venting air out into space. Shards and chunks of metal littered around the impact area and around the stricken ship.
Vormarl got back to his feet, numerous bulkheads had collapsed through the ceiling, fires were everywhere, as where dead Romulans. But Vormarl didn't care about any of this. "Report!" he shouted.
Novek shakily got up and returned to his station, there were cuts all over his face, he looked battered and very defeated. "The Klingon ship rammed into the starboard warp nacelle. The weapons are down, both primary and secondary power are down, multiple hull breaches! I can't seal them, this ship's energy reserves are too depleted!" He looked at Vormarl beseechingly. "Sir we should abandon ship!"
Fury surged through Vormarl, how could the humanoids have overpowered his ship? He ignored that rather bitter thought as he considered his options. The figurine had to be destroyed, he had to do it, and now he was forced to take the worst possible choice. He was going to have to arrive in the shuttle and destroy the figurine from inside there. It was dangerous but it was the only way, he had now ran out of time.
So closing his eyes, he visualized the shuttle and he literally beamed himself off the wrecked Romulan ship, and concentrated with his all mind on materializing inside the shuttle.
Guardians by RobertScorpio
Spock and Craddock watched from afar as they saw a battle rage between the Enterprise and the War Song on one side, and the Romulan warbird on the other. They had both decided that waiting here was the best, and only, thing to do to keep the figurine safe.
Sometimes Craddock stole a glance at Spock and it seemed Spock looked composed. But then he saw the subtle clenching of Spock’s jaw, and this small physical reaction made Craddock realize that Spock was deeply concerned for the Enterprise.
Before Craddock could think anymore about Spock’s pain, he felt a breeze coming from behind.
“Turn around slowly,” said a cold voice.
Obeying the person, Craddock turned around and saw Vormarl pointing a disruptor at both himself and Spock.
Out of the corner of Craddock’s eye he saw Spock press a control on the helm, and the shuttle instantly lurched sideways. Vormarl stumbled, and seeing their opportunity, both Craddock and Spock rushed at Vormarl knocking him down on the ground.
Craddock grabbed the disruptor out of Vormarl’s hand, while he saw Spock being throttled by Vormarl’s other hand.
So Craddock aimed the disruptor at Vormarl’s chest and was about to fire, when both he and Spock were thrown backwards. They flew through the air, before smashing against the cockpit consoles.
Coming around Craddock saw Vormarl approach, and when Vormarl extended out his right hand, Craddock felt himself pinned to the floor unable to get up. He was lying there flat on his back, and his entire body felt like it under ten g of gravity. There was nothing he could do except wait for Vormarl to kill him.
“Craddock the figurine!” rasped Spock, who was also being forced against the floor.
Looking to his left, Craddock saw the open container, which held the figurine, and there just in front of the container, lying on the floor, was the figurine. Craddock reached out with his left arm, and finding it’s motion unimpeded, he grabbed the figurine.
The moment he did so he felt some of the force, pressing down on his body, lift. He used this to his advantage, and swung his left arm around and upwards so that the figurine was directly facing Vormarl, while he used his right hand to maintain a firmer grip on the figurine.
The result was almost immediate, Vormarl began convulsing and horrible, deafening screams erupted from his mouth. And then his mouth began to glow red, and a coil of spirits was gradually pulled out of Vormarl.
Craddock felt the figurine shake a little and he also heard a faint hissing sound coming from it, as it steadily sucked the coil of spirits out of Vormarl.
Finally the red clump of energy was detached completely from Vormarl, and it was sucked into the figurine. It suddenly glowed red hot and Craddock dropped the figurine onto the floor.
The figurine’s eyes and mouth were both glowing orange, and both Craddock and Spock backed away from it. Craddock continued to walk backwards when his feet came into contact with Vormarl’s boots. Turning around Craddock saw an unconscious Vormarl, and the amulet upon his chest.
“The amulet...” said Craddock quietly. “You know the moment one of us touches it the coil of spirits will leave the figurine and possess one of us!”
“Are you sure it is the only way to confront these coil of spirits?” asked Spock.
“I'm positive,” replied Craddock confidently. “There hast to be a person who can wear the amulet without being tempted to use it for anything other than being a vessel to the coil of spirits.” And he had to do it, so he lowered himself and his right hand slowly reached down for the amulet. “I'll do it-”
“No,” said Spock firmly, holding onto Craddock’s arm. “It should be me as I am the logical choice of person, the Vulcan mind is disciplined and can resist temptation far more easily than humans.”
Craddock stood up and looked into Spock’s determined eyes. “Are you sure about this?”
“It is the best option I can think of,” said Spock.
So Spock crouched down, and with one hand carefully lifted Vormarl’s head, and with the other gently pulled the chain, around Vormarl’s neck, holding the amulet. Now Spock had removed the amulet off Vormarl, and was holding the chain with his left hand. Spock gazed at it for a long time, and Craddock could tell that Spock was psyching himself up, if Vulcan’s did such a thing of course.
Finally Spock pulled the chain over his head, and lowered it until it rested against his neck. For one brief second nothing happened, and then with a great whoosh the coil of spirits flew out of the figurine and straight into the amulet. An expression of surprise came upon Spock’s face, and his eyes were wide.
Craddock realized Spock was afraid, and this really disturbed him. “Spock can you hear me?”
Spock nodded in a stiff manner. “The being inside is trying to converse with me,” responded Spock in a hoarse and strained voice, “but I can ignore him for the time being.”
“I don't get it,” said Craddock, as he felt his consternation grow, “I did everything I was supposed to do and yet nothing is happening!”
“The figurine...” said Spock weakly, and he pointed a shaking finger in the general direction of the figurine. “We need to... to return to the realm where we met your wife.”
Without delay Craddock strode over and scooped up the figurine before returning to Spock. “But how?” he asked Spock.
“I don't know...” said Spock, who sounded at the end of his tether. “But hurry! I cannot resist this being for much longer!”
Craddock looked at the figurine, before instinctively placing the figurine against the amulet. The moment he did so, the shuttle disappeared from view…
When Craddock arrived back to the pyschonic realm he thought he had returned to the wrong place. There were fires everywhere, and against the flames and smoke, he could discern a massive vortex which had consumed most of the sky. The coil of spirits were flying around everywhere and seemed deeply excited by what was going on.
Squinting heavily Craddock could just make out the faint images of people, and then to his horror he realized they were the people of Mehjah'Loh, and their very essence had almost been sucked into the vortex.
Taking a few steps forward he could make out another figure, and his heart plummeted to the very lowest depths of despair. “Elizabeth! No!” he shouted, running over to her, and he tried to touch her but his hand went straight through her almost transparent body.
“There is nothing we can do for her,” said Spock calmly, as he walked over to Craddock.
The fact that Spock sounded more like himself meant nothing to Craddock, once again he was watching his wife die, except this time it felt even worse. He then looked away from Elizabeth when he heard the weird rushing sounds made by the coil of spirits descend upon him.
The coil of spirits were approaching, in a great mass of red energy, which could just be distinguished from the flames. Craddock expected to die and for the coil of spirits to rush at him and Spock, but they didn’t.
Instead they cautiously approached the two men.
“I can hear their voices...” said Spock softly.
“What are they saying?” asked Craddock, while he eyed one of them with some fear.
“They're afraid,” said Spock, “as the amulet is summoning the entities from beyond the vortex.”
Suddenly from the vortex came blue masses of energy, they literally flew out of it descending from the sky.
Craddock felt his fear increase, he was now stuck in the middle of some war, and he expected a horrific battle to break out at any second. But the blue energy beings continued to descend down at a steady pace, finally one of them approached Spock and hovered above the ground. It then transformed into the image of Kirk.
“The coil of spirits wishes to speak with you,” said Spock addressing the Kirk alien.
“Go ahead,” said the Kirk alien.
Spock then closed his eyes, but when he opened them his entire expression and composure changed. Pure hatred lined the Vulcan’s face, and his tall upright posture was replaced with a more slouching and hunched one. “We do not want to talk with you!” hissed the possessed Spock. “This figurine and amulet is simply a mechanism to entrap us!”
The Kirk alien though shook his head vigorously. “They are for us talking and for attempting to resolve the long-standing vendetta between our peoples!”
“Lies!” shouted Spock. “You imprisoned us and you will do so again because we represent everything you despise!”
“We did not despise you!” protested the alien Kirk. “Differences sprung up because you had a different ideology about the destiny of our race! You Hatastoferic have always been head strong and forceful in pushing the boundaries of our race's powers!”
“Powers which are rightfully ours to use!” replied Spock defiantly. “And if a few bipedal creatures are snuffed out along the way that is too bad! We are the master race, and superior to all other humanoid life forms!”
“Though we are superior that does not give us the right to murder the lower life forms!” argued Kirk.
A horrible leer twisted Spock’s mouth, and his gaze was daggers upon Kirk. “They are like lowly ants to an humanoid, they do not even remotely compare to us!”
Cold anger built up on Kirk’s face, and his nostrils were flared. “If that is your view, then there is no further point discussing matters, and we will fight it out once more as we did all those eons ago! Is that what you want to do, to kill more members of our race?”
“I don't want to Zofadetterian,” said Spock bitterly. “But I have no choice if you impede my followers research in the space-time continuum!”
“Research?” snarled Zofadetterian. “It was a barbaric use of our once recently evolved powers!”
“It was exploration of the universe,” said Spock, his eyes wide with rage. “Exploration on a scale never dreamed before and you impeded that! You held back the evolution of our race!”
This accusation seemed to really hurt Zofadetterian, he looked back at Spock with a slightly open mouth and wounded eyes. “Let us not forget that we were once humanoids, we once called ourselves Torahvay, and that the process of evolution takes time. We had these new found powers and we wanted more, everyone did at first!”
“Well that is one thing we can both agree on,” said Spock grudgingly.
“But with such power there hast to be limits,” said Zofadetterian, “morale limits, limits which you breached and because of that you plunged our people into civil war!”
Spock took a few steps closer to Zofadetterian, and it looked like Spock wanted to do nothing better than to punch Zofadetterian straight in the face. “That was because you cast my followers as misfits,” he roared, “your side openly discriminated and disapproved of my side! You were afraid, afraid that we would lose control of our powers, you have always been too cautious against change!”
“I was trying to keep our people together,” said Zofadetterian desperately, “I begged of you to maintain a united front but you betrayed me.” The lines on Zofadetterian’s face hardened. “Instead of trying to foster peace, you spread lies, deceit and venom! You promised your followers the gift of evolution, by the development of their powers, but all you did was to get them to carry out pogroms of humanoid races! You fed the illusion that we were the superior race, morally, culturally and in just about every other way. When really you were following the basest of all humanoid feelings; revenge!”
At this Spock laughed in a horrible and mirthless manner, it was laughter that was soulless and seemed to reverberate throughout the entire pyschonic realm. “Don't pretend to me you weren't against exterminating the Gorasians once we developed our powers!” Amusement was still etched on his face. “For centuries we were persecuted as a people, our planet occupied, the Gorasians tried to exterminate our race when we were evolving! But we paid them back in kind!”
Zofadetterian bowed his head slightly in shame. “And that was a decision that many of us deeply regretted. Even now to this day, amongst many of my people there is a long-standing shame and remorse for our actions. Most of our race vowed never to repeat the same mistakes of old again!” He looked at Spock rather somberly. “You though were intent on repeating them! Why do you still want to exterminate the humanoid races?”
“Because I have never forgiven what the Gorasians did to us!” spat out Spock. “I have never forgiven you from stopping from me teaching the humanoids a little lesson in humility.”
“And will your war end Hatastoferic?” asked Zofadetterian in cold, high tones. “What will you do when you finally wipe out all of the humanoid races? You don't have to do this, I can give you so much more then you give yourselves!”
“What do you mean?” said Spock, and this seemed to have caught him by surprise, as a lot of his anger receded.
“After the war my people resumed the exploration of the universe,” explained Zofadetterian, “and we carefully developed our powers. We discovered places and realms that even you couldn't comprehend, and even now we are still exploring as this universe is infinite in size!”
“But the humanoids...” murmured Spock.
A sad and pitiful expression came upon Zofadetterian’s face. “Does it really give you pleasure butchering beings that are completely helpless against our race's powers?”
“It had to be done,” said Spock a little distractedly, “I felt obliged to butcher them!”
“You haven't answered my question!” said Zofadetterian angrily. “Did you enjoy it?”
Now Spock looked really troubled, and it seemed that he was fighting against something in his head, his own personal war. “No,” he finally answered, before gazing at Zofadetterian with cold and sharp eyes. “But I had to do it! I had plans for our race, and I had to give my followers some sort of plan, something to accomplish! And then the civil war came, and to me the humanoids became irrelevant, I thought my side could win, I thought that by winning the war I could carry out the plans I had for our race!” He paused as a very sour expression twisted his face. “But you defeated us,” he said bitterly.
“And do you think that you can beat my side?” asked Zofadetterian.
“I don't want to admit defeat,” said Spock forcibly, his voice sounding slightly muffled through his gritted teeth. “I spent eons telling my followers that we were on the right path, even during imprisonment!”
Zofadetterian looked thoroughly depressed to hear this. “Listen if you fight now, you will accomplish nothing, except cause more misery and suffering upon our race. There is a different path you can take, but you have to actually walk upon it and stop avoiding it!”
For a moment Spock paused and it looked like he was going to defiantly refuse Zofadetterian offer. “Fine!” he burst out. “It was jealousy! I was supposed to lead our people but you manoeuvred against me! So you got elected leader by a slim majority, and for that I have always despised you for it! And now here you are still the leader of your people!”
“Leader?” said Zofadetterian looking disbelieving. “My people abandoned the concept of leadership many eons ago after the war, there is no one-person rules it all sort of leadership anymore! It's now collective leadership, a committee of people who help to guide our race. I am simply their representative and I'm here to try to end our race’s civil war.
Spock’s mouth fell open in stunned disbelieve. “You are not leader?” he breathed, saying the words as if they weren’t real. Some of his anger eventually returned as did his composure. “Why didn't you tell this to me before when I was imprisoned! Why press for peace now?”
A very pained look came upon Zofadetterian’s face, and he seemed to force himself to keep looking into Spock’s eyes. “Because my side was afraid of letting your side out, we didn't want another war and we picked the easy option of continuing to imprison you and your followers. We tried to convince ourselves that it was for the protection of the humanoid races, but really it was to put off the time when we would have to do considerable soul-searching about our part in this divide!”
While Zofadetterian lowered his head in shame, Spock looked at him with a strangely curious expression. It seemed Spock hadn’t expected to see his rival display such humility and openness. “So can you promise me that if my side surrenders, my followers will not be persecuted or looked down upon in any way?”
Kirk lifted his head and gave Spock a very serious stare. “I can only guarantee this if you promise me that you will end your pogroms of the humanoid races, and that you will cease your efforts to force your way back into our domain. If you hold true to that, then your side can return to the realm you once came from.”
All the fight seemed to have been drained out of Spock’s face, he was simply standing there, breathing deeply. The silence continued to lengthen and in those eyes of Spock’s there was a serious fight being raged. “There is no promise that I can trust you to keep,” he said while he walked slowly towards Zofadetterian. “However I am prepared to give a peace a chance, if both sides hold true to their agreements.”
“Then close the vortex and restore the pyschonic realm!” urged Zofadetterian.
Spock sighed, and then the coil of spirits possessing Spock left him. The Hatastoferic energy being flew over to his followers, and there in weird, screeching tones did he converse with them.
Suddenly the flames were sucked back up into the vortex, and the vortex began collapsing. As it did so the people who were once powering the vortex began to gradually solidify. The vortex grew smaller and smaller, collapsing in upon itself until it absorbed all the flames and vanished.
The sky suddenly reverted to it’s usual blue, and all the people in the Mehjah'Loh construct suddenly broke their collective trance. By that time both the coil of spirits and the blue energy beings had vanished.
Craddock though had eyes for only one person and that was Elizabeth. When he saw her solidify he dashed over to Elizabeth, and when she suddenly reanimated, without even thinking Craddock hugged her. “Oh Elizabeth, I thought you were dead!” he lamented. “I'm so glad you're still alive again.”
Elizabeth seemed a little surprised by Craddock’s sudden hug, but she wrapped her arms around his back none the less. “Well technically I am dead, but I know what you mean.”
It felt like a moment of reunion for Craddock, and for one tiny moment he could convince himself that Elizabeth had never really died. But the illusion came and went with the blink of an eye, and he broke off his hug when he saw Zofadetterian walking towards him and Elizabeth.
Zofadetterian stopped a metre away from the couple and simply smiled at them.
“You were the one who appeared as my wife during my first vision,” said Craddock, the words came tumbling out of his mouth.
“I was,” said Zofadetterian with a nod. “It is thanks to you and Mr Spock that the negotiations finally took place, and peace was finally attained. For that you have my race's deepest gratitude.”
Craddock briefly glanced at Spock who looked alright, and was staring around at the whole scene. Knowing that Spock was hale and hearty relieved Craddock a little bit, but still he felt anxious, he had one simple request to make of Zofadetterian. “Before I leave can I talk to Elizabeth for a few more hours, say six of them? I just want to say a final goodbye.”
“Of course you can...” said Zofadetterian.
And without further ado he suddenly vanished from sight.
“I'm going to miss you,” whispered Elizabeth softly, her head bowed against Craddock’s forehead. “When you finally leave this realm.”
“Not as much as I'm going to miss you,” said Craddock.
Both he and Elizabeth broke off when Spock arrived to meet them. “Mr Craddock seeing as we have accomplished our task of completing negotiations between these beings, may I suggest we leave this place?”
“Not yet,” replied Craddock, his eyes were constantly on Elizabeth. “I want to say goodbye to Elizabeth first, we’re going to be in each other’s company for six hours.”
“Take your time,” said Spock tactfully, “I see no reason to hasten our departure.”
Spock then walked away from the two, and some moments later headed to one of the dwellers of Mehjah'Loh, and almost instantly struck up a conversation.
Craddock and Elizabeth stood holding each other in their arms. “I know we only have six hours left,” said Elizabeth, “but do you want to return home?”
“I would like that,” said Craddock gently.continued...
A Final Resolution by RobertScorpio
A Final Resolution...by Ln X
A Final Resolution
Craddock and Elizabeth walked hand-in-hand down the dirt path back to their house. The last time Craddock had been in this construct, he didn't have the chance to see his house up close. It was white coloured, with a duranium construction for it's frame, while the outside was covered with classic wooden panels so typical of 20th/21st century suburban American homes.
They arrived by the wooden gate, that reached no higher than Craddock's waist, and he opened it. As he went past the perimeter of the simple wooden fence, of the same height as the gate, he looked all around at the front garden. Most of it was covered with short cropped grass but the soil beds clinging to the outside had all sorts of flowers and bushes growing in them.
Finally Craddock sat down on the wooden sofa, held up by two sturdy chains attached to the wall of the house. When Elizabeth had sat down, Craddock extended his arm over her shoulders and he felt her rest against his side, her head resting against the top of his chest.
For some minutes he simply sat there, holding Elizabeth, feeling the gentle, pleasant breeze blow against his face, and looking out at the fields and woodland that surrounded their home.
"It's so beautiful this place," he said after a lengthy silence, "like you..."
"Some time in the future we'll be living in this house," said Elizabeth happily.
Craddock though didn't see what so was great about that. "But it's not real... All of this is just a construction of your mind."
Elizabeth moved away from him, and removed Craddock's arm from her shoulders, she sat quite rigidly looking at the garden. "In this place you cannot define real. The breeze blowing against us, does that feel real? Does the ground you walk upon feel real to you?"
"My senses tell me this is real, but my head is telling me that this is an illusion."
"So am I an illusion?" asked Elizabeth a little coldly.
"I don't know..." murmured Craddock, for some reason talking to Elizabeth right now only seemed to make him sad and sorrowful. "But when I look at the fields, this house, and you, it reminds me of what I lost and it makes me wish you hadn't died..."
Tears spilled from his eyes, as he felt his guilt and sorrow intensify.
Elizabeth then wrapped her arm around Craddock's shoulders and pulled him in close to her chest. "Ssssh..." she soothed, "I don't blame you for what you did, even if it did get me killed."
Craddock cried even harder, her words only seemed to inflame his pain. "It's still my fault," he choked, "because of me you and our baby died!"
"What baby?" asked Elizabeth.
Looking up, Craddock gazed at the confused look on his wife's face. "You were pregnant when you died, possibly a few weeks pregnant."
"I if had been pregnant I would have given birth to our child in this realm."
"How is that possible?" said a stunned Craddock. "You can procreate in here?"
"Yes. But where did you get the idea that I was pregnant?"
Craddock felt both his shame and embarrassment grow. "It was the coil of spirits masquerading as you, she told me you were pregnant."
"I've told you before she lied to," said Elizabeth, softly reprimanding Craddock. "I bet she would have done or said anything to keep you in this realm."
"She made a fool of me!" exclaimed Craddock, as his self-anger reached a crescendo. "Because of her I was momentarily unfaithful to you."
"What do you mean?"
Craddock literally winced at Elizabeth's question, he wasn't going to hide the truth from her, but he knew Elizabeth would probably hate him for it. "Well she kissed me, and then I kissed back..." Craddock paused, he had done a lot more than kiss that alien. "We had sex basically," he added in tortured tones, "but afterwards I regretted it when I realized I wasn't kissing you, I was kissing that coil of spirits! I didn't know you existed in this place, but I swear to you that if I had known, I would never have kissed her!"
"Stop punishing yourself!" exclaimed Elizabeth, who sounded deeply pitiful.
This was the last reaction he had expected from Elizabeth, and he felt a little hope as he realized he wasn't in the dog house.
"I would probably have done the same thing if I were in your shoes," she said. "Besides she kissed you first, she was manipulating you all the time!"
"That doesn't make it right what I did..." he moaned.
Elizabeth though appeared to ignore this, and she moved her arm off Craddock, and gently pushed him back against the sofa. She then placed her hands against both sides of Craddock's face, and she turned his head so that he was facing her. "Listen we have a few hours left, I don't want to leave on a sad note, I want to leave feeling like I had the best time of my life."
"Your right..." agreed Craddock, as he forced himself to look into those brown eyes. "But you do forgive me?"
"I forgive you," said Elizabeth softly.
"Thank you..." replied Craddock, and he felt a little of his guilt lift.
All of a sudden Elizabeth got onto her feet, and she suddenly grabbed onto his hand. "Come on," she said, as she gave Craddock's hand a tug, forcing him to stand up. "There's a place I want to go to."
"Where are you taking me?" asked Craddock, as he willingly let Elizabeth guide him.
"You'll see," she replied smiling, and she gave a playful tug and ran around the house, with Craddock following from behind.
Craddock's guilt and sorrow further eased as he wondered where Elizabeth was taking him. But at this moment he didn't really care, running with Elizabeth, while holding hands, made him unbelievably young and vibrant. It didn't matter that he had less than six hours left to spend with her, for he was certain that this next hour with Elizabeth would be truly magical.
As Craddock walked back, holding hands with Elizabeth, to find Spock, he thought about the last six hours. They had been truly wonderful, first walking over to the river, and seeing the beautiful scenery. He smiled a little as he remembered himself and Elizabeth behaving like children when they splashed around fully clothed in the river. Then, soaked to the skin, they walked back to their home.
In there, they went straight to their bedroom and had sex, afterwards he made Elizabeth dinner, and after dinner they went in the living room and snuggled up on the sofa. There he read Elizabeth a book, one of their favorite activities, and read for quite some time. The last two hours they just simply talked about their lives.
But as Craddock knew the time he spent with his wife wasn't go to last forever, and so with a heavy heart, he asked her to return to the place where Spock was. Throughout all this time, a little something constantly niggled inside his head. The coil of spirits masquerading as Elizabeth told him that his wife could return to his universe. At first he thought she had been lying, but what if she hadn't been?
This question constantly bothered him and as the time of departure came nigh, he wanted this question to be resolved.
"Mr Craddock," said Spock who was still wearing the amulet. "I take it you are ready to leave?"
Craddock shook his head. "There's one more thing I have to do and that is to speak with Zofadetterian."
"What about?" asked Elizabeth, her brow slightly contorted in confusion.
"To bring you back with me," explained Craddock as he looked into his wife's eyes.
"I'm afraid that can't be done," said Zofadetterian who had suddenly appeared, and once more in the guise of captain Kirk.
"Why?" asked Craddock desperately.
"Because it would violate our laws regarding the tampering of your universe. Bringing your wife back from the dead would definitely break those laws."
Craddock didn't give a damn if this being broke his precious laws, all Craddock wanted was his wife back. "But one of the coil of spirits told me that you had the power to bring back the dead to life!"
Zofadetterian smiled a sad smile at Craddock. "I'm afraid that the being you spoke to lied to you. Your wife is dead, and the person you see standing before you is simply an echo of her consciousness, that is her pyschonic energy. This place is where the pyschonic energy goes to."
Despair gripped Craddock, and he looked from Elizabeth, who looked so real to him, and then back to Zofadetterian. "But how can she be dead if she exists here then?"
"The truth is that even we don't know what happens when someone dies..." answered Zofadetterian in very gentle tones. "Though your pyschonic energy goes to this place, where your true essence, your consciousness, or soul, whatever you want to call it. Where that goes to could be somewhere completely different..."
"But could you return her back to where I live?" asked Craddock, desperate to know the answer.
"We could but-"
"Well I'm asking you," said Craddock forcibly, "as a personal favour, after helping you to settle your war. To let Elizabeth come back with me, to make her flesh and blood again! I did you a favour so why can't you return it?"
"Rob..." said Elizabeth softly.
"What?" said Craddock impatiently, wondering why his wife sounded so sad.
"I can't come back with you to your universe," she said sadly.
"No..." said Craddock, and he trembled with dread. "You don't mean that!" he added shakily.
Elizabeth walked up to him, and there was a longing in her eyes, as if she wanted to go with Craddock. "As much as I would like to go with you, I know that my existence resides in this place. One day when you die your pyschonic energy will arrive here and we'll be together, but it is not this day."
"I'm sorry but my decision is final..." said Zofadetterian. "And I will not force your wife to come back with you."
Zofadetterian left, and so did Craddock's last chance of living with Elizabeth again in his universe. He felt truly terrible, and he couldn't look at Elizabeth anymore, she seemed dead to him. Walking away from Elizabeth, he shut his eyes to stem the tears. It was like he had lost her all over again, and he couldn't bare to live with that feeling anymore.
He heard her walk over against the grass, and he felt her hand rest upon his shoulder.
"One day we will be together again in a manner of speaking," she told him.
Craddock though turned around and slapped her hand away. "I don't want to wait that long!" he said angrily. "Perhaps if I return back with Spock and then kill myself-"
"No!" exclaimed Elizabeth in terrible anguish and desperation. "Please don't kill yourself!"
"But I want to be with you!" said Craddock in a tortured voice. "In this place right now!"
"You heard Zofadetterian," said Elizabeth firmly, "for all you know when you die, your soul, your true essence may not go to this place!" She then glared at Craddock. "Don't you get it? If you die you may not find yourself in this realm with me!"
"But this pyschonic energy, it is your consciousness," said Craddock miserably, his mouth trembling from the sorrow. "I'm talking to you!"
Elizabeth looked just as hurt as Craddock, and tears had now welled up in her eyes. "I know it doesn't make much sense, but please don't kill yourself just to exist with me!"
She then grabbed Craddock, and her eyes seemed to be begging him to change his mind. "Please Rob I want you to live your life, and live it in all of it's entirety like every other humanoid being!"
Seeing Elizabeth prostrate herself against him, managed to inject some rationality into Craddock's head. He didn't want to upset her, and he didn't want to see her like this, but still he didn't want to leave her either. "If I leave here it'll be like losing you again!"
"Maybe it's better that way," said Elizabeth softly, and she moved a little away from Craddock but still lightly held on to his shoulders. "Every human faces loss, death of loved ones and bereavement. That is life, but to somehow cheat those things, to cheat death is not natural. You have so many years ahead of you and for all you know you could find another women that you will love, or perhaps in that time you could help thousands of people and make those lives better and happier! How could you so readily pass up those things?"
"Your right..." replied Craddock quietly, and he finally admitted defeat. If he was going to lose this argument then he wanted to do so gracefully. "I'm being selfish, wanting you this badly will only torment and hurt me further. I have to let get go, and..." He hesitated, as it was hard for him to say. "And life my live."
"Thank you..." whispered Elizabeth softly.
"And I suppose one day when I die, one part of me will return here, and in a way we'll always be together..." He tried to sound cheerful but didn't quiet manage it. He then dropped the figurine out of his hand, so that he could better hug Elizabeth. "I'm going to miss you..."
"Same here..." said Elizabeth.
"But how many people are lucky enough to say a proper goodbye to their departed loved ones?" he told her.
Finally Craddock partially let go of her, before kissing her. It was a very tight embrace, and one long passionate kiss. Finally he ended the kiss and picked up the figurine.
"Goodbye Elizabeth, I'll never forget you."
"Neither will I…" she replied, her voice almost breaking in sorrow, while her eyes showed a pain far deeper.
In a sad gesture Craddock raised the figurine, and Spock came over placing his hand upon it. He would always remember that kiss and he felt that he had left Elizabeth in the best way possible. Without even knowing, or understanding how, Craddock activated the figurine's power and just like that he saw no more of his wife. He had now well and truly lost her.
When Craddock saw the shuttle again, he felt a surge of disappointment and loss. For sometime in the pyschonic realm he thought that Elizabeth could be brought back into this universe. To hear Zofadetterian refuse his request was hurtful enough, but to hear Elizabeth, of all people, say to him that she didn't want go back simply stunned Craddock.
In a way he sort of understood her reasons why, but it didn't make the separation anymore easier. And then to further compound his misery, he realized he wasn't holding the figurine; it had somehow disappeared as he travelled from the pyschonic realm back to the shuttle. Looking around he saw that the amulet Spock was wearing had disappeared as well.
"We're back," said Spock.
"We are..." said Craddock a little sadly.
"For starters may I suggest that we tie up Vormarl and head back to the Enterprise?" suggested Spock.
"Yeah sure," said Craddock.
While his hands tied plastic cords around Vormarl, his mind wasn't really paying any attention, in some ways it seemed to be still stuck in the pyschonic realm. Once Vormarl was tied up, and unceremoniously placed beneath the underside of a console. Spock and Vormarl returned to the front of the cockpit.
As Spock piloted the vessel back to the Enterprise, Craddock used this opportunity to let himself think in peace. He had so many questions about death, losing friends and family, and even about the existence of one's soul. In the pyschonic realm Craddock had come seriously close to accepting the idea that human's had a soul, something invisible not even physical, but something which was always there.
He now wondered if when he died, he would wake up and find himself in the pyschonic realm. One part of his consciousness would, but would he be aware of it and be part of it? Or would he go somewhere else to a place beyond this world? There were no answers to these questions, and the more he thought about them the more confused he got.
One thing was blindingly obvious and that was Elizabeth's death, she had died and for a second time, in the space of a few days, he had to find a way to live with that, to accept it. More than anything he wanted to talk to someone about what it was like to lose a friend, or family member. But he had no close friends, he had no family. There was no one to talk to, however…
Craddock looked at Spock, out of all the people perhaps Spock had the answers or some hints… So summoning up his courage, Craddock decided to ask Spock a rather personal question. "Spock do you have family?"
"I have a father and a mother," replied Spock, who kept staring at the front and not looking at Craddock. "Why do you ask?"
"Well I was just thinking about losing loved ones...You have a mother; will you miss her when she dies?"
Spock seemed sufficiently intrigued that he turned around in his chair to face Craddock. "If you mean in an emotional sense then no, but I will add that just because Vulcans suppress their feelings, doesn't mean they won't briefly experience loss. However if she did die I would miss the bond I share between myself and my mother, and talking with her and being with her. The relationship she and I share gives a sense of contentment that can't precisely be defined."
"So is that the Vulcan way of saying you love your mother?"
"You could say that..." said Spock somewhat cautiously, he then gave Craddock that challenging Vulcan stare. "Is there a point to this discussion Mr Craddock?"
Craddock bit his lip as he wondered what sort of questions he could get away with without Spock refusing to answer them. "I was just wondering how Vulcans, or more exactly people in general cope with losing family?"
"May I presume that you still have not got over the loss of your wife?"
"I'm not sure," said Craddock, and he looked away from Spock's eyes, a slight lump had formed in his throat as thinking about Elizabeth became a little painful. "It all feels so strange, knowing that a part of her lives in this pyschonic realm and that when I die, a part of me will join her there. My point is how can Elizabeth be lost if I'm going to meet her again?"
Spock raised his eyebrows slightly at the question. "I would not care to answer that question as even logic breaks down when it comes to the matter of death. Death is that one unknown thing that cannot be explained by logic. Countless people have spent years determining what happens after death and seeking explanations, scientific and spiritual, about death." There seemed to be something harsh in Spock's voice, as if it was a matter that seemed pointless to discuss. "Though I recognize the humanoid curiosity about death, I think it is more important to focus on the time we have then think about what cannot be explained."
At this Craddock couldn't help but smile. "That's funny because Elizabeth said almost the exact same thing. After all that has happened in these past few days I just don't know how to resume my life from where I left it."
"Well perhaps a good place to start is to think about how you are going to explain yourself to captain Kirk when he asks why your ship was so deep in Klingon territory?"
Craddock inwardly groaned when Spock mentioned this, he was going to get in a lot of trouble about why he had sent the Draco so far into Klingon territory. He couldn't believe what a reckless decision that had been on his part, a decision made by a man far different to the one he was now. Some people had called him a maverick, but Craddock now knew that his recklessness was simply a twisted desire to tempt death.
Now though he wanted to live, despite losing Elizabeth again, he never wanted to let his grief and despair control him in such a manner ever again. Once he had settled the matter with Kirk, and Starfleet, about the Draco, he realized that he wanted to return home back to Earth, Nebraska. He could take a couple month's leave of absence, and work out what to do with his life.
But what else could he do? He was a freighter captain, mind you soon-to-be-stricken off freighter captain. To many times had he crossed the line, and finally with the Draco, he had managed to land himself in a lot of trouble with Starfleet. No matter what decision Starfleet would make on his actions, he knew that he would somehow get through this as he was determined to rebuild his life.
Many years would pass, and Robert Craddock would go on to experience many more life changing events. He would end up starting fresh with a new ship and a new crew, and would knock on death's proverbial door many more times. Death would come to him in a meaningless way, after illegally entering, and then fleeing Klingon territory, as freighters often do, and trying to find refuge inside of an asteroid field. The Draco II would be smashed into oblivion by a stray asteroid, and Robert Craddock would die instantly…STARFLEET ACADEMY…(a month before the events of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
As Captain Spock watched his new class of cadets prepare for yet another simulation inside of the bridge simulator, Dr. McCoy, who was eager to see how the new medical cadets would perform, walked over to his long time friend.
"Here," McCoy said, as he handed Spock a data pad, "this came for you a moment ago."
McCoy, knowing that it was some sort of death notification, left Spock alone of a moment of solitude.
Spock read the data. It was the death announcement of Captain Robert Craddock, civilian freighter pilot. Craddock had included Spock on a short list of those who he had wanted to be notified upon his death. Spock thought back to the time he had shared with Robert Craddock, in the other realm, and Spock could only wonder; did Craddock's pyschonic energy reunite with Elizabeth's and did they at last go home? Spock's left eyebrow arched up.
"There are always possibilities," Spock said to himself. And then he pressed the delete button…
Star Trek: More Than A Will To Live by RobertScorpio
In preperation for the upcoming new joint writing project, please read More Than A Will To Live...and relive the magic!!
Forward in the Past by RobertScorpio
This was a great story that myself and four others (and if I forgot anyone, please let me know) collaborated on nearly a year ago. This was very fun and could have easily been a real episode or movie. Consider this a forwardÔÇŽso if you want to read it then please go back to the first posting and go from there. The human adventure awaits you!!!!
With kudos to Jespah, LN X, Borgdominant and Mick.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.