Episode 5: Red Sand, Dark Tide, Part IV

Jan 30 2004, 10:58 PM

Lattrel Ottel - the Tilibos

“Damn it, Mkrdij! Don’t you give up on me,” Ottel yelled out, as he kept pounding the Nausicaan’s chest. “I need your help if I’m to get out of this mess.” His back was getting wet: Ottel knew what it was but he didn’t care. He tried to recount the events of the past hour or so...

... “The generator is online. Great!” Ottel said excitedly as he entered the cockpit. Mkrdij was doing a good job, as always, dodging shot after shot of Romulan, Cardassian and Tholian weapons. Ottel sat down and took over flight controls, while his friend went to the weapons. That’s for the best, Ottel thought, he’ll feel more at home. Just then, a blast threw the Tilibos off course with the rest of the ships, as the targeted Alliance vessel exploded.

“Report,” Ottel said.

“I don’t know what they were doing, but apparently it was successful. The Alliance ship is destroyed,” Mkrdij responded in excitement.

Good, he’s getting into the battle mode...

As Ottel was trying to regain control, the screen in front of him clicked and a visual of Hardgrove appeared.

  “Mr. Lattrel, I need your assistance. The Alliance cannot be beaten is such way. Every ship we destroy is replaced by reinforcements arriving through the transwarp conduit. It needs to be taken out.”

“I’m listening. What do you suggest?” Ottel asked...

... Mkrdij slowly came to. His eyes gradually opened and peered through those Nausicaan facial ridges. He tried to get up, but Ottel kept him lying down.

“Are you alright?” he asked. Mkrdij nodded positively. Ottel then helped him up and to the chair. As Mkrdij was sitting down, he noticed blood rolling down Ottel’s neck.

“What is that?”

“An old scar. It’s nothing a hypospray wouldn’t cure.”

“Then let’s cure it,” Mkrdij insisted...

... A Scorpion fighter exited the Vellous’ shuttle bay and headed for the conduit. Ottel followed it closely, equipped with a modified torpedo transported by Hardgrove. The scenery was very unpromising: numerous Alliance ships patrolled the conduit, making sure their only way of reinforcement was secure. As they got closer, a barrage of torpedoes and phaser fire was thrown at them, but both the fighter and the Tilibos were maneuverable enough to escape the first wave. The ships kept firing, still with no avail.

“Here we go!” Mkrdij shouted. Ottel looked at the Alliance ships and noticed the small fighters heading out of them. He knew what this meant. I just hope the field generator holds up long enough, he crossed his fingers and activated the generator. With a few more clicks on his console, he activated the viewscreen.

“Captain, I suggest you fly close to us. The magnetic field emitted by the Tilibos will not allow our enemies to lock targets.”

  “What about manual fire from the fighters?” Sith’s voice was heard..

“I can’t help you there, lieutenant,” Ottel responded, “I’m a bartender, not a miracle worker.”

Both ships shook, as the first wing of fighters fired. Coordinating movements with each other, Ottel and Hardgrove stayed close to each other, while the gunners pounded the enemy fighters with responsive fire. One of the fighters was blown in two with the Tilibos’ pulse phase cannon. The two pieces flew haphazardly into the surrounding fighters, taking them out.

“We’re getting mighty close, Mko!” Ottel notified his gunner. “You better be ready.”

The frenzy intensified, with more fighters concentrating their fire on the Scorpion. It seemed to have an effect, as the Scorpion was forced to fly out of the Tilibos’ shield. A lone phaser blast caught the separated fighter’s right wing, which immediately exploded, sending the vessel in an uncontrollable spin.

For a brief second both Ottel and Mkrdij looked at each other in complete silence. In a way, Ottel was relieved, because now Tilibos was alone to fly as it pleased. Realizing this, he decided to head straight through the center of Alliance ships. The Tilibos flew past the comparably slow Alliance vessels, followed by pursuing fighters. The conduit was dead ahead. Mkrdij activated the timer on the modified torpedo, setting it to detonate in fifteen seconds. Once the ship got close enough, Ottel transported the torpedo into the midst of the opening conduit. For a short instant he was able to scan the inside of the conduit, but there was no time for that.

The torpedo blew, lighting a beautiful long string through space. The mouth of the conduit was filled with static electricity, thunders decimating Alliance ships caught inside. As the Tilibos headed away from it, the conduit blew, sending a large shockwave.

“Divert all power from weapons, life support and the magnetic generator to the engines. Keep the shields,” Ottel ordered. He tried to position the Tilibos at the right angle for the shockwave to give it an additional boost. As the wave hit the ship, it was slingshot past the Alliance vessels. Mkrdij was thrown off his seat. Ottel noticed something on his scanners. In one quick motion he activated the tractor beam and locked onto the damaged Scorpion fighter. The fighter was taken off the path of the wave, but Ottel failed to hold the tractor lock long enough and lost it once again...

... “We should go back for Hardgrove,” Mkrdij said. “Is he even alive?”

“We should, but we’ve lost engines. We’re dead in the water,” Ottel answered, “and according to our scans he is alive, but I can’t seem to find the lieutenant.”
Jan 31 2004, 02:13 AM

Admiral Tom Garrison - Transporter Bay 4

Tom stepped onto the transporter pad along with Captain Sumit and a full security team, and was just about to order energize when the comm sounded.

  “OCC to Admiral Garrison. Sir, there’s an incoming transmission for you from Commander Halliwell.”

“Route it down here to the transporter bay.”


Tom stepped down off the pad and walked over to the control panel. The transporter tech took a few steps away and waited at a respectful distance. Tom hit a few holobuttons and Commander Halliwell’s face appeared on the screen.

  “Admiral. There is a lull in the battle at the moment, so I wanted to update you on our situation.”

Tom wondered why David wasn’t in command, but didn’t bother to ask. They were fighting a battle, people got hurt, people died. It would be a dumb question. “Go ahead Commander.”

  “Captain Hardgrove, along with another small fighter, were able to destroy the opening to the transwarp conduit. It’s effectively cut off the Alliance from anymore reinforcements. They can still come, but they’ll have to come the old-fashioned way, and that could take days, maybe even weeks… “ She was about to say more but was interrupted by an officer off-screen. Tom couldn’t hear what he said, but he heard her reply. “Bring us about. Course 205 mark 7. Tell Tanik to get the damn weapons back online. Shut down life support if he has to! Get them online.”

  She turned back to Garrison. “Sorry sir, I’ve got to go. The Alliance fleet is regrouping for another assault. We may have cut off their reinforcements but there are still a lot of them left. This battle isn’t over yet.”

“Hang in there, Commander,” Tom said. “The Bajoran fleet should be arriving any minute now. That might just be what we need to win this battle.”

  “Aye sir.” Tom could see the bridge shake as the Pollux took a hit. “Engineering, get me those DAMN WEAPONS!” Tom heard her shout as she looked off-screen. She glanced back at Tom momentarily. “Sorry sir, no time to talk. Halliwell out.” The screen went blank. Tom felt his heart ache as he thought about all the sacrifices being made at the edge of the Betazed system. How he wished he could be there.

Snapping back to reality he saw everybody was staring at him. He cleared his throat and walked back over to the transporter pad. He nodded at the technician, who had moved back to the controls. “Engergize.” Tom felt the familiar tingle of the transporter, and suddenly he was standing outside on a beautiful day in San Francisco. They were standing outside of Starfleet Headquarters, where Starfleet Command, the crew of the Enterprise, and the few other Starfleet officers who were still loyal to Command were being detained.

Starfleet Headquarters

As Tom, Sumit, and the security team approached the entrance Tom saw the building was heavily guarded. Uniformed security officers flanked every entrance, and others were on routine patrols. It was unfortunate seeing so much weaponry and manpower on a planet that had been described as paradise for centuries now, but Tom knew it was necessary. They couldn’t take any chances, those inside had to remain detained.

Twenty Five Minutes Later, Outside Starfleet Command’s Briefing Room

Tom paused at the doorway for a minute. The entire board of Admirals that made up command were inside, having been summoned to the room by Tom. Captain Sumit had also gone inside, along with most of the security team. Two officers were outside with him. He thought about the last time he was in this room…

“Captain Thomas Garrison, in recognition of your act of bravery and courage, along with your demonstration of your willingness to protect the Federation at all costs…” Admiral Miasha Jenco paused with those words, looking deep into Tom’s eyes. He was trying to read the man, to get some glimmer of what he was feeling. To get some idea of how his friend was dealing with what happened. But there was nothing, only an icy coldness in his eyes. A coldness Miasha had never seen before, a coldness that scared him. He continued speaking.

“… you are hereby awarded the Christopher Pike Medal of Valor. In addition, you are hereby promoted to the rank of Admiral, with all the duties and privileges that accompany said rank, and given the title of Fleet Commander. You will be assigned to Starbase 001. Congratulations, Tom.”

Miasha stepped forward and handed Tom a box containing his medal, along with an additional rank pip. He smiled warmly and shook Tom’s hand, but there was no smile in return.

That was eight years ago. Tom thought about the promise he made to himself the last time he left this room. Never again. It was the wrong choice, I know that know. I knew it the moment I made it. I’ll do it right next time. To this day there hadn’t been a next time.

Tom shook his head to clear his thoughts. Now isn’t the time to think about that. I knew coming here would stir up these memories, it’s why I’ve avoided this room as long as I have. But I can’t avoid it any longer, too many people are counting on me. After another few seconds to compose himself, he walked into the briefing room.
Jan 31 2004, 01:03 PM

Daniel Clark - Auxiliary Engineering Room, USS Pollux

Clark was starting to worry. Repairs were going better than could be expected under the circumstances, but Tanik still hadn't returned from Sickbay. He didn't mind being in command of Engineering, but he would feel much better with his commander back. It's much easier to take and carry out orders then to give them, especially in a battle situation. Daniel tried not to think of that and just get his mind set on the task at hand.... which was one thing the Alliance was making it easy to do. Every hit to the shields is a constant reminder of why he does what he does; without the Engineering crew they would have no shields.

"Status report ensign." Clark ordered as reviewed a PADD of ships schematics.

"Sir," The ensign reported to Clark, "Shields are holding at 78%, Critical systems are stable, but weapons systems are still operating at low efficiency."

"Still having trouble with the forward array?" Clark responded looking up from the PADD.

"We... could use a hand sir." The ensign replied in a cautious tone.

"It's no problem." Clark answered with a puzzled look. Apparently not all of the engineering crew was comfortable with his being in command and right now he didn't blame them. These men and women were used to serving under a Romulan commander with much more of a commanding presence. "You know--" Clark tilted his head upward as a he was cut off by the comm system.

  "This is the commander! All hands, brace for impact!!" Halliwell's voice rang loud in the room.

Clark dove for the nearest rail grip as the ship lurched forward. He held his breath. Thats.... weird. He thought to himself as he loosened his grip on the bar. That was no worse then any phaser blast. Before he could even finish saying it in his mind the entire ship flew forward in space. A crewman who had let go of his brace after the initial blast was sent hurtling across the room. Sparks flew from anywhere that sparks could fly, as the entire power network destabilized. When the ship finally came to a stop nothing could be seen but the red glow of the auxiliary reactors that had somehow managed to stay online. The blackened room was showered with light as an EPS conduit in the ceiling exploded and a fire broke out in the room.

Clark lifted his aching head and looked around. He felt blood dripping down from his temple but he didn't pat any attention. He got up quickly-- but soon regretted it. "GET THAT FIRE OUT!" he yelled as his head screamed with pain and he was sent kneeling back onto the floor. A crewman extinguished the flames as he struggled his way over to a med-pack. The lighting came back on as he grabbed a hypospray and injected himself in the neck. The pain was instantly gone, but he knew something was wrong. This just wasn't the time to worry about it. As long as he could work, that's all that mattered.

He tapped on his communicator. "Clark to bridge. What the hell was that?" He called, somewhat out of breath.

  "Stand-by lieutenant." came his reply.

Sure, I'll just stand here and wait for you. Clark thought sarcastically as he slowly stood up. He grabbed the PADD that he was looking at earlier to assess the damage done to the ship.

  "Halliwell to engineering." Came the commander's already familiar voice. "We've been hit by a shockwave and I know I don't have to tell you how much we need weapons right about now."

"A shockwave?" Clark responded confused. "What could have caused a shockwave that--"

  "I don't have time to explain it to you lieutenant, just get me my systems back!" Halliwell was definitely not in a mood to mess around with.

"Aye sir." Daniel responded quickly. "Clark out."

He quickly began punching away at the PADD held in his hand. "OK! Everybody listen up!!" He yelled to the engineering crew. Our main priority is to the weapons systems and the shields. All other systems right now are secondary! Luckily main power is still online so we don't have to worry about repairing that. Alpha team, I need you to restore power to the shields as fast as you can. Beta team your with me, we're going to get weapons back online. Alright people! LETS GO!" The room was quickly restored to it's previous state with officers running around frantically trying to get major systems back online.

"Clark to Tanik." He said as he tapped on his communicator. No response. "Sir, we could really use you back in engineering right about now. We're going to need help bringing these systems back." Assuming the commander heard him, Clark began to work on a damaged power relay.

We're going to need a new ship after this is over. There isn't much left of this one. His negative thoughts were amplified as a torpedo hit the already devastated shields. Oh no.

  "Engineering, get me those DAMN WEAPONS!" Halliwell's voice came though again.

"Commander, when we get these systems back, you'll know it!" Clark knew he was being insubordinate, but at this point it was the least of his worries.

He took a deep breath, and went back to work.
Jan 31 2004, 01:25 PM

Commander Samantha Halliwell ~ USS Pollux, bridge

"Brace yourselves!" Halliwell shouted as she held onto the command chair.

Some more ships had decided to fire on them especially since they had no weapons. Clark had assured her that as soon as they were ready, she would be informed. She slowly made her way round it and sat down. Everything that could possibly happen was racing through her mind. And on top of that, worry for her captain and Hardgrove.

"There are a hell of a lot of ships firing on something," the tatical officer said loudly. He clicked a few buttons to determine the location, "Got it."

She nodded. "Onscreen," Halliwell ordered and stepped forward and looked curiously at the Scorpion fighter, she turned to her, "Bio-signs?"

"One, very faint." She turned to the tactical officer and nodded. Another ship came by, one she recognized as their own and helped them out. "Get a lock on whoever is inside," she said hoping that the transporters were still working, even if the weapons weren't.

"It's captain Hardgrove," someone said from another console, Halliwell turned round to them, she stopped herself, "Beam him aboard."

She had to fight the impulse to leave the bridge. She glanced to the tactical officer, "You have the bridge." She moved quickly over to the turbolift.

"Commander," he asked, puzzled.

"You're a lieutenant," she said, "You earned that rank, start using it," she stopped and looked round, "The battle isn't as bad, I'm going down to see captain Major." She stepped into the turbolift, intent on getting to sickbay.
Jan 31 2004, 03:43 PM

Doctor Ullii Lauren - USS Pollux - Sickbay

The primary bright lights of the sickbay went out as the secondary lights turned on, as a blast, then another bigger blast hit the ship!

Not again! Well at least the equipment is still online.

"Sir, what should we do with the Vulcan?" A nurse asked Lauren

"Put her in stasis for now."

"In the morgue, sir?"

"Yes, lieutenant. We don't have room anywhere else."

"Aye sir."

Ullii went over to check on Captain Major as the nurse placed T'kila in a stasis container on the far wall. Just as she started reading his bio signs, someone was transported onto an empty bio-bed. Ullii and a few nurses rushed over to the body of Captain Hardgrove, who was broken and bleeding; a seemingly lifeless body laying on a bed in her sickbay. Ullii scanned him with her tricorder, and her heart sunk.

Not again! Two brain traumas in one day!

"Get him onto the operating bed! Hurry!"

Tanik stood to the side watching the events. He was about to return to Engineering when the Captain transported into sickbay. Ullii observed the readings on the panel at the head of the operating bed once Hardgrove was placed on it.

"Internal bleeding in the brain, and a massive skull fracture! Give him ten milligrams of Metracel!"

Right after the nurse injected the Captain with the anesthetic, over a dozen patients swarmed into the sickbay.

"That blast must've caused more dammage than I thought!" She looked at the nurses surrounding the operating bed. "See to the new patients." She then looked at Tanik, "I need your help."

Tanik smiled, "I'll do whatever I can, Doctor."

"I'm going to need a micro tissue regenerator, a laser scalpal, a micro tissue bonder, and hyposprays with ten milligrams of Metracel ready."

"Aye, Doctor." Tanik found the requested tools and stood ready.

"Ok. The skull fracture has punctured some of the gray matter in the brain. Many of the brain pathways in this area have been severed, so I'm going to have to repair each one manually."

The panel at the head of the operating bed started beeping. Ullii read the display.

"The punctured gray matter is causing the brain to swell inside of the skull!"

"What does that mean?"

"It means that if I don't repair the damage to the brain soon, the pressure is going to build, and his brain will literally shoot out of the fracture in his skull, and end up all over that wall!" She pointed to the wall facing the fracture.

Tanik stood there shocked! Just as she finished speaking, Commander Halliwell entered sickbay. Ullii called a nurse.

"Nurse, go and see what the commander wants. Don't let her disturb this operation!"

"Yes, Doctor."

The nurse approached Halliwell. "Can I help you Commander?"

"Where is Captain Hardgrove?"

"Captain Hardgrove is in operation. His status is critical. The operation cannot be disturbed."

Halliwell couldn't help herself. She was too worried about Hardgrove to care about anything else. She looked around and saw the entrance to the operating room, and, pushing the nurse aside, walked speedily toward the door.

"Commander! You can't go in there!" The nurse shouted, but couldn't stop her. Halliwell burst into the operating room and found Captain Hardgrove lying in a terrible condition on the operating bed! Her reaction made it obvious that she had some kind of feelings for him.

"Commander," Ullii noticed Halliwell staring in a state of shock at Hardgrove, "I'm sorry, but I must ask you to leave."

"What's wrong with him?! Is he going to live??"

"Please Commander, we can't afford any interruptions! You'll be the first to be informed on his condition as soon as the operation is over! I promise!"

Halliwell stood paralized. "I-I can help! I'm a doctor! Better my assistance than that of an engineer! Please! You must let me help you!"

"Commander, your feelings toward this man are obvious! I cannot allow you to assist in an operation when your feelings can easily get in the way! A Doctor should know that!"

"You have to let me help you!" The tone of her voice was getting louder, "I'm a Doctor! I can help you save him!... That's an order Lieutenant!"

"Commander... I am authorized to relieve you of duty if I feel that your capacity to command has been compromised! Has that capacity been compromised, Sir?!" Halliwell stood there, shocked at Lauren's responce. "Sickbay to security..." Ullii said over the comm, but was interrupted by Halliwell.

"Wait! No... I'm sorry, Doctor." She tried her best to keep her composure. She's right. Halliwell thought to herself, This is not the behaviour of a commanding officer. "I will leave you to your work... good luck, Doctor."

"I'll do everything I can to save him. I promise!"

  "Security to sickbay. Is there a problem?"

"No. Sorry, false alarm." Ullii replied.

"Thank you Doctor." Halliwell said. With that, the Commander went to check up on Captain Major, and finding him in the same condition, went back to the bridge.

Tanik looked at Ullii.

"Let's begin." She said. "Laser scalpal."

Tanik handed her the precision medical tool, and she set to work. She cut open a slice of flesh on the Captain's head, exposing the fracture in his skull. The brain could already be seen swelling into the fracture. Ullii asked Tanik for the Micro Tissue Regenerator, and she started the slow delicate process of reconnecting the severed brain pathways. She worked slowly and accurately. The brain was still swelling, and the clock was ticking. Every once in a while, she ordered Tanik to inject the Captain with the anesthetic. It was slow and frustrating work. Especially for Tanik who didn't have much to do, even though his part to play in the operation was vital.

"No..." Ullii exclaimed under her breath after about half an hour of operating. It was just loud enough for Tanik to hear.

"What is it, Doctor?"

"Some of the pathways are too damaged. They can't be repaired..." Her heart sank. He would be in a coma for the rest of his life. Just like T'kila. Tanik and Ullii both stood silent, not knowing what to do...

"First T'kila, and now Captain Hardgrove..." Tanik said softly in a depressed tone, which didn't help Ullii's mood.

Lauren watched the brain inside Hardgrove's head continue to swell as she thought. Her thoughts then turned to T'kila laying not ten feet from them in her stasis bed. "There is... one way to save him..."

"What is it? What's wrong?" Tanik was confused. "If we can save him, then lets do it!"

"It's not that simple... The only way to save his life... is if we extract some gray matter from T'kila's spine, and replace the damaged Matter in Hardgrove's brain with it..."

Tanik wasn't sure what this would mean for the Vulcan. "What would that do to T'kila?"

"It would put her into a deeper coma... maybe even kill her..."

Tanik looked at Ullii. He did not envy her this decision. He wasn't even sure if he could make it, if he were in her shoes. "I don't know what to say... But whatever you choose, I will not blame you for the consequences. Every officer has to make the call. This is yours."

Ullii waited for what seemed like an eternity, but was in fact only a few seconds. "Get her out of stasis... Prepare her for surgery."

Tanik asked a nearby nurse for help, and together they brought T'kila on a portable bed, and put her beside the Captain. Ullii aquired the proper tools, and carefully extracted a small piece of gray matter from the Vulcan's spine.

"What's her condition?" She asked Tanik.

He scanned his tricorder. "She's stable. Though her life signs are slightly fluctuating."

"Thank god! Get her back into stasis right away!"

Tanik did so, and returned to assist in the operation. Ullii carefully removed the damaged tissue from Hardgrove's brain, and replaced it with that of T'kila's. She slowly and carefully attached the tissue using the Micro Tissue Bonder, and it wasn't long before the damage to his brain was repaired.

"Ok. Now, I need two milligrams of monophose to bring down the swelling."

Tanik did so. "Pardon me, Doctor, but couldn't you have brought down the swelling before you repaired the damaged tissue?"

"No. Brain fluids would have leaked out of the damaged pathways."

"I see."

Ullii waited until the swelling had gone away, and closed the fracture as well as the skin around it.

"Is it over?" Tanik asked?

"Yup." She tapped her commbadge as she read the terminal on the back of the operating bed. "Sickbay to bridge."

  "Bridge. Halliwell here."

A sense of urgency could be detected in her voice, "Captain Hardgrove's condition is stable. His life-signs are normal, and he could be awake in anywhere from an hour to a month. His brain needs to adjust to the new pathways..." Ullii cut herself short, not wanting to reveal the procedure that she had used to save his life. At least not yet.

  Halliwell was too relieved to notice. "Thank you Doctor... Halliwell out."
Feb 2 2004, 09:40 PM

Lt. Commander Tanik ~ Sickbay

Tanik stared down at Hardgrove, and he looked over to T'Kila's slot in the... morgue. Being in the Romulan starfleet, he had lost people under his command, but he was having a difficulty controlling his feelings over loosing - or semi-loosing - T'Kila. What drove him even more insane was the fact that he couldn't pinpoint the source of why he felt the way he felt.

The sound of yelling brought Tanik back to reality. Lauren was chastising one of the nurses for using a standard tricorder instead of a medical tricorder, or that's at least what he caught. He still didn't know exactly what to think of her... even though it was clear what she thought of him...

The ship lurched violently, and Tanik began to wonder about what he was doing.
His commbadge chirped.

  "Clark to Tanik! Are you there, sir?!"

Tanik couldn't believe that he had forgotten about engineering... What is going on with me today?, Tanik asked himself.

"Yes, lieutenant - I read you!"

  Clark sounded urgent. "We need you in engineering right away, commander!"

"I'm on my way!" Tanik said quickly. He turned to Dr. Lauren. "I'm sorry, doctor, but I am afraid I am a surgeon of a different fold," Tanik said as he began for the door.


Tanik walked into engineering. Although it was in chaos (surprise, surprise), there was an air of order to it. Tanik realized it must have been Clark. He's done an excellent job, by anyone's standards. Even my own, Tanik thought.

He walked over and tapped the lieutenant on the shoulder. Clark spun around on his heel, startled - but his face warmed up immediately when he saw who it was.

"It's sure as hell good to see you, commander," Clark said, relieved.

"Likewise," Tanik replied with a smirk. He surveyed the room, and clapped his hands loudly, getting everyone's attention. "Alright, crew - I'm back, and I'm taking charge again. Scary, I know - but you'll have to put up with me once again," Tanik said strongly.

All he got were thin, yet sincere smiles - they were too tired to laugh.

"Just keep attending to your current duty while Clark tells me what kind of a mess he's put you all in," Tanik said jokingly.
Feb 3 2004, 03:17 PM

Admiral Tom Garrison - Starfleet Command Briefing Room

"But how do we know that whatever Sumit saw is the same future we're going to experience? We don't know! And shouldn't that be enough to keep fighting?" There was exasperation in Tom's voice. He had been sitting in the briefing room for over an hour now, arguing about such heavy matters as predestination, fighting even if one is doomed to failure, etc., and despite all that had been said nothing had changed. Each member of Command firmly believed altering the past was the best thing to do, while Tom firmly believed that fighting no matter what the chances of success, no matter what one man had seen in one possible future, was the best course of action. Sumit had stayed quiet throughout the entire meeting, listening to all that was being said.

Nobody answered Tom's question, but he could see their answer on each of their faces. No, it's not enough.

Admiral Miasha Jenco looked at another of the admirals and nodded, who then got up and walked over to a set of controls mounted on the wall. "Tom," Miasha said gently. "It's time you see this, it's time you see what the Federation will become if you continue this rebellion. These are holorecordings captured by Captain Sumit while he was in the future." He nodded at the admiral again, who pushed a button. The room suddenly disappeared, and Tom found himself along with everybody else in the room standing in a dark room.

The first thing Tom noticed was the stench. A horrible burning smell mixed with the odor of rotting flesh filled his nostrils; it was so strong he had to resist the urge to vomit. He could hear distant explosions, occasionally close enough for him to feel a slight vibration from the shock wave. After each one he could make out screams, but they never lasted long.

As his eyes began to adjust to the dim light he took in his surroundings. He was standing in a large room. The walls were blackened from fire, and there were pieces of charred ceiling hanging precariously above him. The floor was covered in dust and broken glass, and several dead bodies wearing Starfleet uniforms were strewn about the room. The only light was coming from a large, dirty window about 10 feet in front of him. It was a very dim light, just enough to provide an eerie illumination around him. As his eyes adjusted further he realized with a start that he recognized where he has. It's the lobby of Starfleet Command!

He turned around and looked at the Admirals standing behind him. They said nothing, obviously they had all seen this before but they still looked horrified at what they saw. Sumit was with them, he too said nothing.

Tom slowly walked around the large lobby, finding nothing but charred furniture and more dead bodies, some of which were also badly burned. A few of the bodies looked like they had been hit with a phaser or disruptor blast. He paused before a terminal, hoping to access information on the past five years. There was no power, but he realized that even if there was he wouldn't find what he was looking for. This is a holorecording, he tried to remind himself. It's not real. This isn't a real terminal. Those aren't real dead bodies... He paused, then let his thoughts continue. But they are real. These are all a recording of something real, something Max saw. As his mind continued he began to feel more and more confused - they weren't real, yet they were. This was in the future, it hadn't happened yet, but in a way it had.

Shaking his head, he moved on. As he got closer to the window he could hear distant yelling, as well as what sounded like weapons fire. He walked up to the window and looked out. It was twilight outside, almost dark, but he could still see clearly enough. And the site he saw chilled him to the bone.

San Francisco was gone.

There were a few buildings left standing, but almost the entire city was a pile of smoking rubble. Tom didn't even want to think about how many people were buried underneath that rubble. He turned his attention to what he had heard - about a kilometer away a battle was being fought on the piles of rubble. Starfleet security officers had engaged the invading force - squinting into the distance Tom realized they were Romulans. They were exchanging weapons fire, but even from this distance Tom could see the Romulans were slaughtering the Starfleet officers. There were simply too many, there must have been at least five thousand of them, as compared to what looked like only a few hundred Starfleet Officers. As they fell to the ground one by one, Tom had no doubt the Romulan disruptors weren't set to stun. After only a few minutes, there were none left standing.

Suddenly the stench was gone.

Tom found himself standing back in the briefing room along with all the others. They all stood there for a minute, thinking about what they had seen. Tom sat down in his chair, his mind was churning so fast he couldn't manage to hold onto a single thought long enough to develop it, let alone say anything.

Miasha also sat down. He began speaking in a slow, grim voice. "According to the records Captain Sumit brought back, almost every major city on Earth looked just like San Francisco. Initial estimates put the human death toll at over 90% of the planet's population. They fought bravely, Tom, just like you are pushing for us to do. They fought bravely, right up until the entire planet was slaughtered. Slaughtered. That's why we've spent the last several years developing a plan to change history - so that we could do it before you started a rebellion that would end human civilization, not to mention destroy the entire Federation. We weren't quick enough, but there's still time. You can still prevent this."

Tom said nothing, his thoughts still too jumbled for him to make any sense of them.

"Do the right thing, Tom. End this while you still can."
Feb 3 2004, 07:58 PM

Counselor Rasin - Quarters

Othoniel sat down, tired and depressed. He let his eyes close and rested his head in his hands. Thinking and analyzing things intently he stayed there, occasionally changing positions. With the skeleton crew, no one missed the counselor, and that gave him plenty of time to concentrate.

Hate. For thousands of years it has inflicted pain. It has caused countless deaths, is it inevitable that we will all perish? Fate? Othoniel, was a counselor, yes, but he was sheltered as a child, and is, after all, still young. He was profoundly affected by this new experience and did not know how to handle it.

The Counselor stayed in his quarters for 2 days straight. But when a friend of his, Jake Baker, hadn't seen him for a while, he went looking for him. Jake was surprised, as I am sure you can imagine, at the general disarray of Othoniel. His hair was messed up, his eyes looked bloodshot, and he just laid still on his bed. Jake, who had entered through a borrowed security code, out of concern for Othoniel, neared closer to the bed.

Calling Othoniel's name quietly, Jake shook Othoniel's leg. He could feel the thin sheet covering Othoniel, it was soft and breathable.

"Othoniel!!," Jake finally yelled.

Seemingly unfazed by this Othoniel just rolled over. Jake knew there must be something truly wrong, and grew increasingly worried. He walked toward the side of the bed that Othoniel was closest to, and sat on the edge of the bed.

"Counselor, are you ok?" he said, now with worry in his voice.

"It's funny, Jake, I would never thought that other people's emotions would affect me so much. I'm a counselor - shouldn't I know how to deal with this?" Othoniel said softly.

"Things sneak up on us, sometimes, Othoniel."

"Ya, I guess, but me staying in my room for two days certainly says a lot about me. I am over here being a weakling while others are dying courageously. Am I really this weak? This... useless?"

"Othoniel, you are just an emotional guy. You can be strong, you can be courageous, we all have moments of weakness..."

"Do we? It sure as hell doesn't seem that way. It's just so hard for me," he started, "I don't have any family, all I have are my friends, and this hate... it's overwhelming. We are all going to die because of this aggression, this violence... we'll all perish!" he started yelling as he got up quickly from bed.

"Othoniel...," Jake waited for a moment, and then said it again, louder. "Othoniel! we will not die! we will not perish!" Jake found himself yelling and standing in front of Othoniel.


Jake answered back quietly, now, "Because of people like you."

Othoniel smiled lightly at this unexpected compliment and gave a hug to his best friend. As he rested his head on Jake's shoulder he breathed out and immediately felt partially better. With some happiness now in him, he broke the hug.

"Thanks Jake.. for everything."

Jake smiled, and told him he was welcome solely through his warm expression. "Do me a favor?"

"Ya, of course, anything." said Othoniel, eager to please his friend.

"Take a shower"

Othoniel pushed Jake playfully and meandered over to the bathroom in his underwear to start the hot water.
Feb 5 2004, 07:45 PM

Captain David Major - USS Pollux

David wandered the corridors of the ship, desperately, frantically trying to make sense of what was going on. Up to now, he had been able to walk through walls, doors, even people, and yet no one seemed to notice him at all. Having accidentally walked into private quarters a few times, he decided to head to the bridge - if there was anywhere he could find out what the hell was going on, it was there.

Stepping through the turbolift doors, he wasn't prepared for what he saw: strewn across the bridge were pieces of debris, and smoke filled the air, making it nearly impossible to see more than a few feet ahead. Wires crackled from a damaged console in the corner, and the room flashed with the iridescent red light of the alert panels. Stumbling as the ship shook, he caught sight of Samantha in the corner urgently trying to revive a fallen crewman. An Engineering crew was collected in the opposite corner repairing something David couldn't quite see, and K'Rak was swiftly operating the tactical console. "Direct hit to our port nacelle, we've lost impulse power. Operating on thrusters only!" Sam swore under her breath as she nodded to a crewman to take over artificial respiration and returned to her chair.

"Full power to the shei…" she didn't have a chance to finish her sentence when the ship was rocked by another barrage of weaponry, sending Halliwell flying out of her seat, only to land face down a few feet in front. David raced over, and despite his inability to do so, frantically tried to help her. Screaming in frustration, he clawed at her body, praying for his hands to take hold of something solid instead of repeatedly flowing right through her. K'Rak rushed over with a medical tricorder, took a quick scan, and then solemnly closed it, and returned to his station. "No…no….she can't be..." David stuttered. "There's no way…." As K'Rak took command of the bridge, David slowly stood up, until the bridge suddenly faded away into a white abyss. Shocked and confused, he struggled to again comprehend what was going on, until a voice penetrated the emptiness.

  "You confuse us."

"Us? Who the hell are you? And what's going on?"

  "So advanced, and yet still faced with the inadequacy of emotion - pain, hatred, love…."

"Who are you? Show yourselves!"

  "You know us David, and yet you do not. We are a mystery to you, as you are to us." David wrestled for words.

"Mystery? How do you know my name?" Slowly, a figure appeared in a few feet to his side - Eric. "Eric?"

"You felt, pain, for your first officer. Correct?"

"Yes, yes I did. I've known her for a long time, I just couldn't, I wouldn't see her die.. Who are you? "

"And yet there was nothing you could do. You confuse us."

"Why are you confused by me? Did you cause this?"

"We did, we wished to watch you - you confuse us. We need to learn more."

"So you, you caused me to be invisible. Did you make Sam die too?"

"You, in your limited comprehension, intrigue us. We wish to learn more." David began to feel anger rise up.

"You caused this, you put me through seeing the death of one of my most valued crewmembers, you made me think that I was invisible, and you do it all so that you can learn about me?"

"Not you, but your kind. You confuse us."

"Well, you're going to learn a lot more right now!" David stepped towards the man, anger and frustration boiling over.

"We will return. Goodbye, human…" Just as David began to speak, the entity, still in the shape of Eric, faded into the abyss, and David awoke on a bio-bed, only to find the doctor looking back down at him.
Feb 6 2004, 12:26 AM

Doctor Ullii Lauren - USS Pollux - Sickbay

"Good morning, Captain." Ullii said cheerfully at the confused Captain Major laying in the bio-bed. "God knows how, but for the last five minutes, your neural patterns have been returning to normal. It wasn't my doing, that's sure enough."

"Doctor..." He couldn't place a name with her face.

"Ullii Lauren, Sir."

Despite his condition, he managed to show a bit of humour, "Welcome aboard Doctor." Ullii smiled as she pushed the Captain down when he tried to sit up.

"With all due respect sir, for lack of a better explanation, you've been in some sort of coma for a long time. There's no telling what kind of side effects you may experience, so please be a good captain and rest while I make some tests." Ullii said in a gentle, very doctor-like bedside manner.

"Is that an order, Doctor?"

"You tell me."

"Haha. Very well Doctor." His thoughts were interrupted as his mind turned towards the battle. "Doctor..."

"Yes, Captain?"

"How's the battle going? Is the Commander still... alive?"

"Of course! She's on the bridge. I can't say as much for the ship though... Speaking of which, I should inform her of your condition."

Major lay back down relieved, as Lauren informed the Commander about Major's condition.

  "When will he be able to return to duty, doctor?" Halliwell asked over the comm.

Noises of sparks flying and people shouting and scrambling to repair damaged systems could be easily heard in the background.

"My tests should be complete in about ten minutes. If all is well, he'll be all yours."

  "Thank you Doctor. Halliwell out."

Ullii initialized her tests, and let the computer do the rest. Sickbay was located in the center of the ship, so the effects of the conflict were less felt here than in other areas of the ship. It always confused Ullii why Starfleet Engineers placed the Bridge of every starship on the outside of the hull. She shifted her attention to a patient with a second degree burn. His screaming was tormented, even though such an injury was easy to repair. She picked up the appropriate tool, and after a few seconds of white light shining from the instrument onto his burned flesh, it was fully healed. The crewman thanked her and left Sickbay. Lauren then went to check up on Hardgrove's condition. She once again read the display at the head of his bio-bed, and discovered that he was ready to be awakened.

At last, a bit of luck!

Ullii pressed the hypospray against Hardgrove's neck and injected him with a chemical to stimulate consciousness.

Ullii tapped her commbadge. "Sickbay to Bridge"

  "Bridge. Halliwell h..." She was cut short by a blast hitting the ship, sending more sparks flying. "Halliwell here. What is it Doctor?"

"It's Captain Hardgrove, Commander. He's awake, and seemingly well."

  "Can I see him?"

Shouldn't she stay on the bridge? I mean, we're in a battle here! Oh well, it's her prerogative... "I would recommend it sir." Ullii said, suddenly changing her opinion as she looked at Hardgrove, "He looks mighty confused."

  "I'm on my way."

Ullii tried to calm the Captain down, but he got up off his bed, asking tones of questions, demanding answers, but not allowing time for any. Halliwell then walked into the room and looked at Hardgrove.

"Captain?" She said anxiously.

Hardgrove immediately calmed down, and looked back at Halliwell. "Commander!"
Feb 6 2004, 07:10 AM

Commander Samantha Halliwell - USS Pollux, Sickbay

Halliwell looked at Hardgrove and closed her eyes for a moment. As she looked at him, she was afraid that he didn't recognize her. He was very upset and was shouting at Ullii. Although after she spoke, he calmed down and said Commander. Relief washed through her, she walked forward and glanced at Ullii who finally let him go, her look said it all as she released him.

"I just came down to see how you are," Halliwell said, her tone more professional. It had to be, especially after her little outburst when she came into Sickbay before. She helped Hardgrove back onto the bed, he lay back down and looked up to her, "What happened to you?" He was about to answer when her badge went off.

  "Bridge to Commander Halliwell."

She sighed slightly and tapped her comm badge, "Halliwell here. Go ahead, Lieutenant."

  "Ma'am, we need you back on the bridge." She looked to Hardgrove, "Give me 5 minutes."

"I'll come back as soon as I can, I'm just going to see Captain Major," she said putting a hand on his, he looked down to it. Unaware, she quickly pulled it away and glanced to Ullii who had obviously seen that too.

Halliwell crossed over to where Major was, "Captain," she said brightly. He turned to face her, "Sam..." he looked at to her cheek, at the cut, "You okay?"

"I'm good...although seat belts would be preferable" she couldn't help but look at the monitors, all going into doctor mode, she had to stop doing that, "You look rough but appear to be doing fine."

"Thanks," he muttered.

She smiled to him and patted him on the arm, "It's good to see you're okay, that turn you had on the bridge was unexpected."

Major nodded, "Well it's you good thing you were there."

"What are first officer's for?" she asked turning away and leaving Sickbay to get back up to the bridge.
Feb 6 2004, 05:45 PM

Admiral Tom Garrison - Starfleet Command, Briefing Room

"Do the right thing, Tom. End this while you still can."

Tom stood up and looked at Admiral Jenco. "I'm going for a walk, I need time to think."

Miasha nodded. "Of course, Tom. It's not like we're going anywhere anyway," he said with a slight smile. Tom didn't smile back, he simply turned and left the room.

Tom stood in the middle of the lobby of Starfleet Command, not looking at anything in particular. The lobby was deserted, everybody being held in here was confined to makeshift quarters as it was too much of a security risk to have them wandering the building. Usually Tom loved quiet, but the silence in the room was deafening.

Just minutes ago I was standing here in this same room, but it looked so different. So... destroyed. And the bodies - so many dead bodies. He moved over to the same window he had stood at earlier. This time when he looked out he saw the skyline of San Francisco, not a smoking pile of rubble on which a battle was being fought. But the image of death and destruction was burned into his mind. As he stared at the buildings making up the great city, all he could think of was death.

Hundreds of million humans dead, probably even billions. That what'll happen if I keep this going. Not to mention everybody that's already died in the Betazed sector.... but how can I just give up now? Their deaths have to mean something. The future is NOT written in stone. And even if it were, we have to keep trying. We have to.

His mind made up, Tom walked back towards the briefing room.
Captain Maxwell Sumit - Starfleet Command, Briefing Room

"Of course, Tom. It's not like we're going anywhere anyway." Tom said nothing in return, simply walked out of the room. Miasha watched him leave, and as soon as he had left he turned to Captain Sumit.


Sumit looked up, startled. He had been lost deep in his own thoughts.


"You haven't said anything since Tom got here, so while he's gone for a few minutes I need to know what you think. Will he realize the foolishness of his actions and turn power back over to us?"

Sumit thought about this carefully. "No, I don't think so. He might, but I woudln't count on it. And to be perfectly honest, sir, even if he did the rest of Starfleet and the Federation might not go along with him."

"At least we'll still have the Enterprise on our side," Miasha said with a smile. Sumit held Miasha's gaze, but didn't smile back.

"No matter," Miasha continued. "Whether Tom gives power back to us or not, we'll have it soon enough..."

Before he could say more, Tom walked back into the room.
Feb 6 2004, 06:36 PM

Fleet Captain Hardgrove - USS Pollux, Sickbay

Hardgrove sat up form the bio bed and adjusted his surroundings. He was quite sure how he had gotten aboard the Pollux but surmised it must be that Sam was onboard. He deduced they must still be in battle due to the length of their conversation and figured they'd need all the help they could get.

Heading to a nearby utility sink, he dawned the scrub shirt, opened the kit, removed the laser razor and began to shave. He had had this beard since the academy and felt it was a time for a change. He then trimmed his hair to even-out his new appearance. Finishing here, he headed back to a replicator and ordered a new uniform top and combadge.

Re-dressing in full uniform, he exited sickbay unnoticed and left through the main doors. Heading to the turbolift, he entered and was asked his destination: "Bridge," was his response.
Feb 6 2004, 08:37 PM

Commander Rune Sith - Romulan Harvest Ship Kelork, Walkway to Bridge

Sith was unconscious, being carried by Romulans to the back of their giant Bridge. "Put him there!" One of the lacky's ordered. They did what was told and slammed Sith against a metal platform against the wall. The abrupt hit woke him up, startled.

"Uh!" He looked around at the Romulans, who were programming the computers. Gravimetric energy currents shot around Sith, confining him to a certain space, and suspending him within gravity forces. He looked around in confusion. Dammit!! he thought as he realized he had been captured.

He could see the hovering viewscreen across the Bridge, and the immense phaser and torpedo fire from swarming starships. The Romulan Commander walked over, smiling at Sith. "Heh, heh heh! ...What do we have here?" He leaned over. "You think your pathetic rebellion is going to save you?"

Sith just looked at him.

"The Smuggler's Coalition? ...The Orion Syndicate? Haha! How long do you expect them to work together in peace? They were once enemies and it won't take much for them to become enemies again."

Sith didn't care about anything this man was talking about. His mind was clouded with anger for the Alliance. The same hate that had been building up for all these years.

Ten Federation ship's had found their way through the craziness, pumping torpedoes onto the fleet of Harvest Ships. The first ship, the U.S.S. Gambit, commanded by Commander Hurst.

U.S.S. Gambit

She was hopeful in her efforts. She knew what she was doing, and was perfect in her stance. But she was also tired of the anticipation. In this attack would she find her satisfaction of causing some major damage, Alliance wise.

In no time, two Harvest Ship's were destroyed. Pieces flew out in all directions. Then, another Harvest Ship was taken out. Its explosion knocked the U.S.S. Akira to the side, but not harming it as much.

Harvest Ship Kelork

"Argh!!" The Commander irked in anger. He turned from Sith and looked on screen. The ship before him had just been destroyed.

"The Federation won't take this anymore," Sith finally spoke. "You've pushed us... a little too far."

The Commander looked into Sith's eyes. Sith's strength originated from his hate. This strength almost put fear into the Romulan Commander, as he'd never seen such hate before.

"You're going down, and we are not going to show any sympathy. So run... Run while you can. Because when the time comes, you'll be cornered and we'll be deciding on whether you live or you die... And believe me, your fear will be all that you know."
For a moment the Romulan Commander felt that fear, but then shook his head. Sith just stared at him deathly.

"You're crazy! What the hell is wrong with you!!?" The Romulan yelled. "Your precious Federation is who's going down!! Make no mistake! There's nothing you can do!"

The Romulans were handling Sith when Zeta suddenly woke.

"What is that?" One of the lackys asked.

The robotic spider leapt up and jumped onto one of the Romulans. Metallic cables shot out at the other Romulans, taking them to the ground. The Romulan Commander and a few others took out their disrupters and began firing at Zeta who had detached his cables and began scurrying along the walls. "Destroy that thing!!"

Zeta stopped at a panel and hooked himself into the computer system. In seconds, Sith was released from the energy strings. He immediately punched the Romulan Commander out and leapt over the fallen officers. Sith dove behind a computer frame, dodging fire from the other Romulans.

"Shields down!!" One of the Romulans yelled from tactical.

The others forgot about Sith and ran to their stations. Panels exploded, bulkheads fell, holographic structures deactivated. The ship was falling apart from attacks. The Federation was showing resilience.

"Ugh!" Sith got up and held on as another jerk to the Ship occurred. Zeta dropped himself onto Sith's shoulder. "You okay?"

Zeta clicked in agreement. If Zeta was destroyed there was no telling how bad Sith would feel... Although that wasn't going to be a problem...

The Helm exploded!! ...blowing pieces and the helmsmen to the back of the Bridge. Then the tactical station nearby exploded. Sith ran into the walkway for cover, but was hit by debris.

Tholian Web Attacker Tsengate

A Fleet of Tholian ships flew in and began firing at the Federation Fleet. The U.S.S. Gambit was pounded with Web Torpedoes, but the U.S.S. Akira was able to shoot the web material off before it was too late.

The Tholian's could see that the Kelork was doing bad. Pitiful, they thought. "The Romulans fly too close together. They deserve their fate," an echoic voice from within the ship said.

They watched parts of the Kelork explode. The Tholians didn't care too much for their allies, but then again... there really wasn't much reason to. They had no quarrel with the Romulans anyway. The Tholian with the echoic voice thought this. He felt nothing for the Romulans, no sympathy - yet no competitiveness. They were just Romulans. "Perhaps assistance is the best course of action."

Harvest Ship Kelork

Zeta waited as Sith tapped at hover control panels like crazy. "There has to be a way to contact the Gambit!!" he cried.

"Click!" Zeta jumped onto the console and dealt with the hover panels. If anyone could bypass these strange configurations fast enough, it would be him.

--Message Sent--
Zeta was able to get control of the defective Communication System, even though it was about to decompile. Suddenly the view-screen clicked on to Commander Hurst.

  *Sith! Is that you?*

Sith turned and smiled. "Commander! It is me. You have no idea how glad I am to see you. Captain Hardgrove and I ran into a little trouble... I don't know where he is."

  *Don't worry, we'll have you out of there in a couple seconds--* She reassured.

The Gambit flew over the speeding Kelork but was suddenly bumped aside by the Tsengate. The Tsengate articulated a quickly growing ball of black and blue energy before them. They held the black energy ball, turned, and blasted the ball into the Gambit.

The Gambit was knocked to the side, as the ball exploded against them, making it hard to get the transporter lock. The Harvest Ship had undertaken way too much stress. The ship couldn't take it anymore and exploded. Plasma and debris flew up at the Tsengate. But the Tholians weren't as damaged and turned away.

U.S.S. Gambit

Hurst watched the explosion in shock. "Transporter Room!!" she yelled. "Did you get him!?!?"

There was a pause.

  *No ma'am.* Came the answer.

She took a few steps back and sunk into her seat. She couldn't believe it.

On screen, most of the Harvest Ship's were destroyed. It seemed they couldn't handle the amazing tactics the Federation executed on this particular attack. The Tholian Fleet turned and sped out of there. They would regroup behind Alliance lines.

Hurst just looked on screen at the debris. She didn't know Sith well, but was saddened nonetheless.
Feb 8 2004, 04:43 PM

Lt. Commander Tanik - U.S.S. Pollux, Engineering

We need to get those weapons up and running, Tanik thought to himself. He looked over at Clark. "Come with me, Lieutenant - I'm going to need your help."

Both men walked over to a Jeffries tube in the corner of the room that went up at nearly a 45 degree angle. "You have to monitor the hatch while I'm in there. If we get an overload, I want you to close it immediately. Understand?" Tanik said.

Clark hesitated. "If I do that, you'll be trapped!"

Tanik sighed. "I know. But if that happens, it needs to be done to avoid the ship tearing itself apart from the inside out - Which is why I plan on not letting it come to that. But this is just in case."

Clark nodded in resignment. Tanik climbed in.

After a few minutes and many Romulan and Earth curses later, Tanik stuck his head out. "Spit," he said to Clark, indicating his opened hand.

Clark did as he was told, and he spit in Tanik's hand.

Tanik looked down at his hand, back up at Clark, and back down to his hand before wiping the saliva off on his jacket. "NO! Your gum!" he said, exasperated.

Clark smiled sheepishly and gave Tanik his gum. Tanik disappeared again.

A while later, Clark noticed the nearby console beeping rapidly. "Overload in progress," Clark breathed to himself. He stuck his head inside the tube. "Commander! There's an overload in progress!"

"Close the hatch!" came Tanik's immediate response.

Clark's voice was frantic, "But sir!"

"Just do it! That's an ORDER!" Tanik belted back.

And with one push of a holo-button, the hatch was closed. A few seconds later, Clark's panel read clear - the overload had stopped.

Clark opened the hatch, his eyes closed in pain. Tanik crawled out onto the floor in front of him. Clark was astounded. "How-?" Clark began.

Tanik looked up. "Amazing what a little gum can absorb through an electrical wire..."

Clark grinned, and helped Tanik back to his feet. Tanik hit his commbadge. "Bridge - you have weapons now!"
Feb 9 2004, 07:44 AM

Commander Samantha Halliwell ~ USS Pollux

Halliwell had stepped back onto the bridge and almost collapsed into the command chair. Although it seemed that they were winning, she got up and crossed over to the tactical officer, "How many ships remaining?"

"In the Alliance's fleet?" he asked. She nodded slowly. "Eight." She looked at the view-screen. There weren't many ships on their side either, but this battle had to be won... everything seemed to depend on it. She walked over the command chair but didn't sit in it. She was as determined as ever to win this.

She had nothing else on her mind right now, Captain Major was fine and Hardgrove was too. He could of died today... it was the first time the thought had popped into her mind and for some reason, she didn't like the idea of it. Her thoughts were interrupted yet again.

  "Bridge, you have weapons."

"Great, thanks Tanik," she replied with relief in her voice. Now they could actually make a difference in the battle and not have to evade the Alliance. "Shields?"

"At 80%."

"Lieutenant," she said eyes focused on the screen in front. "Target any Alliance ships...we're not letting them get the first shots in, someone needs to win the battle; that someone should be us." She finally looked around the bridge crew, the grim looks on her faces - she had their doubts... she had from the beginning but if she didn't think positive now, who would? "Fire at will," she told him and sat back down, "Let's show these bastards what we're made of!"

The first ship came at them. She glanced to the tactical officer who was already targeting them - she crossed over to a console to check the status of the systems and gripped onto it as they took a shots from the vessel. She looked up to the view-screen as it was quickly destroyed. Two of their own ships took out two, she looked back down the sensors, We can do this... she kept saying in her head.

"One ship remaining," she said after a few minutes, her voice tense and nervous. It was heavily shocked her as it turned away and retreated Oh no you don't... "What are you waiting for?"

The tactical officer did his job and the vessel was destroyed. Halliwell closed her eyes as some cheers rang out through the bridge. It would be short-lived, guessing that they would be regrouping behind Alliance lines. But for now, the threat was gone. They had them right where they wanted them.

The bridge went quiet and the turbolift opened, she turned to it and saw another officer coming to join the bridge, she stopped and turned back to look at his rank then to his face, "Captain?" Hardgrove had shaved off his beard and she hardly recognized him.
Feb 9 2004, 07:06 PM

Captain Hardgrove ~ USS Pollux, Bridge

"Commander, I figured you could use a break," he said smiling.

"New look Captain?" she asked, smirking. If it hadn't been for those piercing eyes of his, she wouldn't have known her ex-husband to any other good-looking Captain in the fleet.

Looking at Sam, he smiled and asked the foremost question on his mind, "How are we doing? Winning I hope."

The tactical officer was the one to answer him. "Holding Sir, enemy vessels destroyed. Long range sensors picking up multiple bogies - e.t.a.: 45 minutes."

Great, he thought to himself.

Looking to Sam, he nodded to her and then looked toward the ready room. Halliwell stood form the Captain's chair and followed Hardgrove into the ready room.

Ready Room

As the doors slid shut, Kelly threw herself in to Hardgroves awaiting arms and kissed him passionately. Hardgrove accepted both returning her kiss while he held her tightly.

The kiss itself didn't last long but the feelings it brought back would last much longer. Samantha pulled back, looking embarrassed. She turned to recompose herself and spun to face Hardgrove again. "I'm sorry that was... um ..unprofessional," she said biting her bottom lip.

"A reflex, to a stressful situation. I understand," he replied.

"I'm just thankful to see your ok," she said turning away from him again.

"I'm thankful I'm alright as well. Right now though I think our current battle status is more pertinent. I don't want to step on your toes Sam but I was hoping we'd be able to raise our mixed fleet and regroup with a battle strategy before these Alliance ships show."

Halliwell nodded, "Then I think we need to get to work".
Feb 9 2004, 07:51 PM

Lieutenant Daniel Clark - Main Engineering

"Try it now!" Tanik yelled from across room.

Clark hit his fist against the panel, "Nothing!" he yelled back. "I don't get it! It should be working!"

"Hold on! I think I got it." Tanik replied from underneath a large panel. "Give that a try!"

Clark re-sequenced the warp drive and pushed a few holo-buttons to re-initialize the system. "Looks like it's working!" he yelled with enthusiasm. A strong sound built up as power began to return to the warp drive. A blinding shower of sparks flew from a conduit in the middle of the room and the lights flickered to black.

"Shit!" Clark and Tanik yelled in unison and both hit some inanimate object. No sooner did they yell it, a beautiful blue glow formed in the middle of the warp core and the lights came back up.

"Umm..." Tanik said confused as he stood up.

"The entire warp drive system is back online!" Clark said happily as he finished a diagnostic on the warp core. "We're ready for warp 7. We can have 9 in an hour!"

"Excellent." Tanik slapped Clark on the shoulder. "You keep on this. I'm gonna keep working on the weapons." He said as he headed for the door. "I'll send a team down to give you a hand."

"Understood." Clark answered as the commander walked out of the room. He grabbed a tool kit and laid down where Tanik had previously been.

  "Commander Halliwell to Engineering."

"Clark here," he half said with a tricorder in his mouth. "What can I do for you commander?"

  "We could really use warp drive right about now lieutenant," she replied sounding more relieved then she had all day.

"Your in luck sir. You have warp 7 at the moment, I can have 9 in about an hour."

  "Excellent work. Halliwell out."

Excellent work. He thought as he smiled to himself.
Feb 12 2004, 02:36 AM

Lattrel Ottel - the Tilibos

“Try it again,” Ottel said, after reconnecting the dual engine relays. With a few clicks on the panel in front of him, Mkrdij tried to activate the engines. The Tilibos vibrated mildly, moved a few meters and then came to an immediate halt once again.

“Ahhh, you piece of klondz,” Mkrdij said something in Nausicaan. Ottel didn’t know what the word meant, but he got the feeling it was not positive. Disappointed, Ottel went back to the relays, and tried another variation.

“How about now?”

“I’ll try,” Mkrdij gave it another shot. The same sequence of events occurred, and the ship stopped again. This time it was Ottel that expressed no restraint.

“You piece of plondz!”

“It’s klondz, aga Lattrel,” Mkrdij corrected him. “You want...” He was interrupted by a shock, and the Tilibos started moving. “What?” Mkrdij went back to the controls.

“The engines?” Ottel asked.

“No,” Mkrdij shook his head, “one of Starfleet vessels is tractoring us away.”

“Hail them,” Ottel got up and dusted off his pants. He scratched the old scar on his neck that was bleeding just minutes ago. “We could use some assistance in getting this ship running again.”

While Mkrdij was communicating, Ottel sat in his seat and accessed the scans taken right before the conduit blew. There was something that bothered him about readings on a ship. It seemed quite familiar.

“Someone will be transported over, once they fix their own problems,” Mkrdij notified Ottel. “What are you looking at?”

“Come take a look at this,” Ottel said, pointing at the holoimage he pulled out. “See anything familiar?”

“That’s a Romulan Devoras,” Mkrdij said, without second thought.

“Look carefully,” Ottel insisted, “see the engine configurations, the cargo bay doors... look at the tractor beam generator and its energy input.” Slowly, Mkrdij’s look began to change. A sight of a revelation appeared in his eyes.

“That’s a tub,” he nearly shouted. “The refits are almost unnoticeable but that is a TUB!”

“The question is, what was it doing with Alliance ships,” Ottel’s mind was puzzled.
Feb 13 2004, 10:22 PM

Lieutenant Daniel Clark - USS Pollux, Main Engineering

"Clark! I was just about to call you down." Tanik didn't need to turn around to know that he had entered the auxiliary engineering room. "Status report."

"We've boosted the engines 85% and are currently holding at warp 8.75. Weapons control in Main Engineering is fried, along with most other major system controls. Shields are accessable, but the system needs work before we can begin to do anything in Main Engineering. Anything above warp 8.75 won't be possible until we've completed repairs at 001. Other then that sir, we're in surprisingly good shape for the beating we took."

"Very well." The Romulan replied as he stood up from his work and turned around. "Continue work on the shields systems for now."

"Yes sir." Clark turned around on his way out.

"Clark?" He said quickly.

"Yes sir?"

"You better get that checked out." He lifted a hand pointing at the stain of blood on the side of Daniel's head.

"What?" he replied as he touched the side of his head. He pulled his hand away to find it dripping in blood. "Oh that..." He had completely forgot about his injury, and right now he'd much rather be working on the ship then sitting in sickbay. "It's nothing sir. I'm fine." He turned to walk out but Tanik stopped him.

"I'm not doctor, but that doesn't look like nothing to me. I want to you stop in to Sickbay. We have the situation under control right now."

"But I'd--" Clark protested.

"That's an order lieutenant." Tanik said.

Clark knew there was no defying him. He sighed and headed out the door, when the pain in his head returned.
Feb 14 2004, 07:10 PM

Doctor Ullii Lauren - USS Pollux - Sickbay

Ullii was whistling while she patched up a bruise on a crewman's leg.

"There you go," she said, in a bit of a better mood, "Good as new."

"Good as new?" the older male lieutenant replied, sounding irritated, "Those damned contraptions will be the end of us! Why, back in MY day, we'd grab a slab of meat, stick it on the wound, and let nature do the doctor'n!" He got up off his bed and started walking toward the door, rambling all the while, "What don't kill ya won't hurt ya, that's what my father said! Why, just last week I cut my forehead in the holodeck! But did I come crying to sickbay? NO! I toughed it out! It's put a scar there..." He stopped, thrusting his head forward to show a nearby patient his scar, almost hitting him in the process. The patient gave a confused, worried look to Ullii, "But it shows that I'm a man! Not some skinny little whimp!" He shouted at the now extremely confused patient. He then exited the sickbay continuing his rant until he could no longer be heard.

"Doctor?" The confused patient inquired, rhetorically.

"I'll put down a note for him for a checkup." This made the patient feel better. Ullii went to her office, a few steps away, to make a reminder about the strange man, when Lieutenant Clark stepped in.

"My oh my, what a bruise!" Ullii exclaimed, noticing the large swelling lump on his head.

"Yes uhh..." Clark wasn't quite sure how to say this... "I just met a strange man in the corridor who kept shouting at me not to come here... said something about a slab of meat..."

"Yes, we've also had a visit by him. Don't worry, I'm putting up an inquiry about his mental health to Starfleet Comma... well whoever's in charge now." Clark was relieved to hear that. "So about that bump," She led him to a bio-bed, "What happened?" She asked as she started scanning him with a tricorder.

"Accident in engineering. Didn't think much of it until things started settling down, and it really started hurting."


"Hmmm??? I don't like Hmmms doctor."

"You've suffered a concussion to your skull. You should have come to me immediately, lieutenant. And it's a good thing you didn't waste another moment. Another half hour and you'd've needed minor surgery." She spoke as she hovered a strange instrument across Clark's head.

"Will I be alright?"

"Oh yes. A few more seconds and you'll be able to return to duty... There. Good as new!"
Feb 18 2004, 12:56 AM

Captain Drayson Hardgrove - USS Pollux, Bridge

Hardgrove and Halliwell left the ready room and returned to the bridge. Hardgrove lead the way to the Captain's chair and glanced toward Halliwell. She responded with a nod and Hardgrove took a seat.

"Tactical - open channels to the fleet, the smugglers, and the Orion pirates." Within a second Halliwell had taken the XO's seat next to him and watched the screen intently.

"Channels open sir," came the tactical's response.

Drayson cleared his throat and began to speak: "Attention all ships. We have already won this battle by taking a stand here and now. No matter what the outcome of this battle or any battle that follows, we have won here today just by fighting. The lives that have been lost will be remembered as the heroes they are. Their sacrifice has saved numerous lives in return. We have fought a rough battle and sadly it is not over yet. Long range sensors have detected a wave of Alliance forces heading our way. I am now assuming command of the Federation fleet. Your willingness to follow us in to battle tells me we have the same goals. Let us make a stand together united as one and give these bastards a run for their money."

Cheers were heard throughout the USS Pollux bridge as well as the open channels. The Pollux waited while the combined fleets joined together and formed a large barricade, and awaited the oncoming attack.

The Alliance fleet approached at a rapid pace, out-numbering the remaining fleet. The lead attack ships entered the system and met with the full force of the new Federation fleet, the newly combined Federation Smugglers Coalition, Orion Pirate fleet and newly arrived Bajoran fleet.
Feb 18 2004, 04:08 PM

Admiral Tom Garrison - Starfleet Command Briefing Room

"At least we'll still have the Enterprise on our side," Miasha said with a smile. Sumit held Miasha's gaze, but didn't smile back.

"No matter," Miasha continued. "Whether Tom gives power back to us or not, we'll have it soon enough..."

Before he could say more, Tom walked back into the room. He looked around the room slowly, making eye contact with each of the admirals gathered before him. His gaze stopped on Jenco. The two men stared at each other for a minute, then Tom began speaking.

"I'll get right to the point so we can get this over with. I'm not ending this rebellion. The future you showed me is horrifying, and the thought that I may be responsible for it scares me like you can't even imagine. But I have to believe that standing up for what we believe in is the right thing to do. I have to believe we still have a chance to make a difference. And if I'm wrong, if everything I saw comes true... well at least I died fighting for what I believe in."

Jenco smiled, a smile that made Tom shiver. "That sounds like a prepared speech, Tom. Who are you trying to convince? Us, or yourself?"

Tom faltered for a minute, but composed himself and continued. "That's not really your problem is it? Now if you'll excuse me, I'll be returning to Starbase 001 now."

He started to turn, but was stopped by Jenco's voice. "No, actually you won't." As he said that the door opened and several security officers swarmed into the room, phasers pointing at Tom. The security officers were some of the men that had been detained in Command along with the admirals.

Tom turned back to Jenco. "Where did you get weapons?"

Jenco just smiled in return. "I've been in Starfleet over 50 years. Do you really think I wouldn't know how to get my hands on a few phasers? Now if you'll accompany these nice young men, they'll take you to a holding cell." One of the men reached out to grab Tom's arm, but he shook him off. He turned towards Jenco, his anger rising.

"What the hell do you think this is going to accomplish? Even if you hold me, the rebellion will continue. Nobody has any faith in the leadership of Starfleet Command, and the Federation council has already been disbanded and sent home! You're wasting your time."

"Tom, Tom, Tom..." Jenco said with a sigh. "How naive you are. We're not going to simply hold you. By the time we're finished with you, you'll be ready to denounce this rebellion. Most people will follow you when you tell them that restoring Command to power is the right thing to do."

"I'll NEVER..." Tom began.

"Yes, you will." Jenco interrupted with a cold tone in his voice.

Tom's eyes widened, he was starting to understand. "You wouldn't. . ."

Jenco turned away, refusing to look Tom in the eyes. "Take him away," he ordered the guards.

"No. That's enough, let him go." Everybody in the room whirled around to look at Sumit.

"What?" Jenco asked.

"You heard me, let him go. The admiral and I will be returning to 001."

"What the hell are you doing?" Jenco demanded.

"What I should have a long time ago. Standing up to you and the rest of Starfleet Command. Everything you've been doing is wrong, and I'm sick of being your enforcer, your lackey. I'm through, and so is my crew. Now let him go."

"You're in no position to be making demands. The only armed people in this room report to me!" Jenco said.

"You forget that I have an entire crew being held in this building. You don't have nearly enough people loyal to you to win this. Just give it up now, and save everybody the trouble of another fight."

Jenco's eyes were wide with surprise. He looked from Sumit, to Tom, to the rest of Command, then back to Sumit again. The look of surprise was slowly replaced with one of resignation. He sat down in his chair. "Let them go," he ordered quietly. "But Tom, this isn't over."

The officers let go of Tom. He demanded one of them give him his phaser. The officer turned to Jenco, who nodded in resignation. He handed the phaser to Tom. "Let's go, Captain."

Tom and Sumit turned to leave the room. As they were just about to leave, Jenco spoke again. "You'll be hearing from us again, Tom. I can promise you that."

Tom turned back and looked at the man that used to be his friend. Suddenly it all came to the surface - all the feelings of betrayal, distrust, and disgust that had been built up in recent months came bubbling with an intensity that Tom wasn't expecting. "Maybe," he said, his voice dripping with malice. "But not today." He raised the phaser and fired. He was already out the door by the time Jenco hit the floor.

Sumit turned and followed Tom. Out in the corridor, he spoke.

"Did you kill him?"

"No. But I wanted to."

A Few Hours Later, Aboard Starbase 001

Admiral's Log -

I've just finished reading the battle reports from the Betazed system. The battle is over, the Federation has won a great victory. The Alliance regrouped and came in for their final attack, but at that moment the Bajorans finally joined our front line. After the lead Alliance vessels saw our dramatic increase in numbers, they relayed that information to the rest of the Alliance fleet, which promptly turned around and headed for Alliance territory.

So this is a major victory. The Federation won the first battle of what I fear will be a very costly war. We proved we can defeat them, that they aren't invincible. But at what cost? Over half of our ships destroyed, almost one third of those Starfleet Officers which entered the battle did not leave. And we've allied ourselves with the Smuggler's Coaltion and the Orion Syndicate, two of the most undesirable groups in the quadrant.

When Captain Major, Commander Halliwell, and the rest of the crew return, they along with all the other officers will be returning as heroes. So again, this is a major victory! It just doesn't feel like one.