The U.S.S. Shenandoah renders aid to the U.S.S. Fortitude during the Battle of Hell’s Keep.
“The Big Three”
by Mike Tripp
Allen Sollace came out from inside the cramped maintenance compartment and threw his wrench across the room, swearing in a mixture of Romulan and Terran both.
He brought his hand to his mouth, nursed his burned fingers.
The crew of the U.S.S. Midland loved their captain, but also knew in times like these? … Give him a wide berth.
No matter how hard the ship’s captain tried, the older power transfer nodes just could not handle the flow from the new style warp core.
On her last mission, the Midland had suffered extensive damage, and although command had opted not to decommission the old girl … repairs and refit were not going well.
Allen had lost good people on that mission … too many good people.
“Those burns look pretty bad. You might want to have those looked at,”
No need for Allen to turn, the voice was very distinct, soothing even, to his pointed ears … one of the hereditary gifts of his mother.
“What is it, N’alae?” he asked his Romulan first officer.
Had it been a year or did it just seem like a year since the Midland rescued N’alae from the Romulan Republic ship she served on?
Time seemed to have blurred during the Iconian war.
It was the mission when Allen went from helm officer to ship’s captain at the blink of a torpedo strike against the bridge.
He had been the only member of the senior staff to survive that day.
Needing an immediate body to feel the role as first officer to complete the mission, the sole survivor of the R.R.W. Tomal was quickly pressed into service as exec officer of the Midland.
And it just kinda stuck.
At first her departure back to the Romulan navy was put off a few times while the Midland slowly recovered, licking its wounds.
Days became weeks and so forth until finally she was placed on detached service to Starfleet and the assignment made semi-permanent.
“Do you want me to have doctor find and heal those burns before or after your meeting with the General?” she asked.
“The one I came down here to tell you about,” she answered.
“Which General? … And just when is this meeting?”
“Gen. Hauk, and the meeting is aboard his flagship in ten minutes.”
She held up a hand to stay his next response.
“And before you ask … Yes, this is for real. No, you weren’t giving much notice. And yes, you can make it as we’re to beam you there directly,” she answered the unspoken line of questions.
“Can I at least change first?”
“No, the General said to have you drop everything and report to him directly.”
“Gen. Hauk? … I thought he stepped down from Alliance command.”
N’alae simply shrugged, tagged her commanding officer for the transporter and waved as he disappeared from view.
Ten minutes later, Allen Sollace was being led through the corridors of the I.K.S. Qu’In ‘an bortaS behind an extremely irritable Ferasian who’s only means of communication seemed through a series of grunts and gestures.
At one door along their route, the feline pointed at an opening door, growled and left.
With a shrug, Allen entered the room finding himself joining three others on the ship’s observation deck in the company of three others.
One was the Klingon, Gen. Hauk.
The second a human he recognized as Miles Llewellyn and the third was an unknown yet rather attractive Orion female who left him smiling rather stupidly.
Her pheromones, he realized a bit late.
Drawing himself up, he gave a nod of greeting to Miles and the smiling Orion before facing the Klingon.
“Capt. Allen Sollace, reporting as ordered.”
“At ease, and feel free to join your fellow ship captains as I have something to discuss with the three of you,” said Hauk.
“Now that we’re all here, I’ll be brief,” he continued.
“A week ago, Starfleet’s Admiral Quinn came to Qonos to ask me to assist him by rebuilding … restructuring Alliance Central Command.”
“Does this mean you’ll be taking charge again?” asked Allen.
Many knew that Hauk had stepped down in protest just before the Iconian war, after what was described as a ‘rogue’ Federation battle group attacked his original flagship.
The ambush cost Hauk both his ship, the lives of most of his crew, and some of his trust for the Federation … excluding a select few within the Alliance.
Other faces had come and gone since but none stayed long in the role of Joint Forces Commander until during the last war, their fleet was scattered and merged … temporarily … with other fleets and commands.
“I’m here only so long as to to get things on a firm foundation and until the new JFC can settle into the role,” Hauk answered.
“Any idea who that will be?” Miles asked
“Yes, but no … I’m not at liberty to say as yet,” Hauk returned.
“So why *are* we here,” asked the Orion.
“Good question, Devaras,” said Hauk.
“With the war now over and rebuilding already underway, it’s felt that all three governments need something to look to for hope … hope of a change away from the war footing we’ve been living with for the past couple of years.”
“We’re retooling Alliance Central Command for exploration, and I need you three … as the commanders of the first three flag cruisers that’ll be ready to get out there … to help me with pulling together and finalizing things.”
“With all do respect, General, the Midland is months away from space and a far cry smaller than those Odyssey lines out there,” Allen noted.
“Didn’t they tell you son?” Hauk asked.
“Tell me what?”
“Miles commands the Fortitude which is coming out of refit. Capt. Devaras commands the new Martok-class I.K.S. ‘ejyan and you … captain … are no longer commander of the Midland …”
Hauk paused for effect.
“The U.S.S. Reliance is yours. They gave her to you.”
Hauk went on talking about how “the big three” would be joined by several other ships, but it would be they who would help lead the charge back into the unknown.
Allen heard little for several minutes.
He looked past Hauk and out the viewport towards three illuminated drydocks, side-by-side in the Cordra shipyards.
The Martok-class was center with the Fortitude to the left.
To the right, was the modified Sojourner-hull with U.S.S. Reliance written across the roundish saucer.
Capt. Allen Sollace
CO, U.S.S. Reliance
CO, I.K.S. jev mI’wI’
aka. Mike Tripp
“A Request, If You Please”
by Mike Tripp
Admiral Jorel Quinn materialized beside his security escort atop a very Klingon transporter padd.
One minute, the pair were standing middle of a ring of hostile Klingons … some placing bets on their survival … and the next they were aboard an as yet unknown Klingon ship.
Of course, it could be a space station, but the artificial gravity felt more ship than station.
T’rov moved to step in front of his charge, placing himself in the path of any unknown danger, but Quinn motioned him back.
Definitely a ship as the room had the markings of one aboard one of the newer Mogh-class battlecruisers … or was it a Kurak?
Knowing the likely owner of the ship, likely somewhere in between the two.
A Romulan stepped away from the transporter controls and approached the pair.
“Welcome to the I.K.S. jev mI’wI’,” she said. “My name’s Ael, and I’ve been asked to escort you to the General.”
“If I may ask, where exactly is the General?” asked Quinn. “I thought he beamed up with us.”
“The General ordered his transporter beam diverted to his ready room, likely to give him time to change into his uniform,” she answered.
She gestured towards the door, “This way, if you please.”
A fierce looking Ferasan standing near the door held up a hand to stay the group.
“Your weapons first,” he growled.
T’roc opened his mouth to breath some words of logic about not doing such, but closed it again as Quinn wordlessly handled over his own phaser.
With a curt nod, the feline warrior stepped to the side, allowing Ael and their guests to leave the room.
Hauk of the House of Rha reached up and pulled his father’s bat’leth down from the wall.
His fingers held the weapon tight as he leaned the blade to his chest, against his heart.
If only the fates could bring his father back to him as they had his grandfather, Rha.
At the sound of the door chime to his ready room, the Klingon hung the blade back in its place of honor.
“‘el,” he barked, speaking the Klingon word for ‘enter’ as he turned towards the door.
The door parted with Ael gesturing the two Starfleet officers to enter before nodding herself and returning to her duties.
Quinn waited til the doors shut.
“I see you’ve had a change of wardrobe since beaming up,” he said.
“For some reason, I had the feeling this is more than a social call,” Hauk returned, “so my drinking clothes didn’t feel quite appropriate.”
“I have to admit, I wouldn’t have minded a drink or two, but you had us whisked up without giving me the chance,” said Quinn.
The Klingon grinned.
“We could always have you beamed back for a bit if you prefer,” he said, smile broadening. “I’m sure there are a few who wouldn’t mind drinking with you.”
“You mean drinking over my cold, dead body, don’t you?”
“Likely,” Hauk answered.
He gestured to a pair of chairs opposite his desk.
Quinn gestured to his vulcan escort as they settled into the offered chairs.
“This is T’roc … responsible for my well being.”
The Klingon grinned warmly.
“Not an easy task when one’s charge insists on walking into places where over half those present want him dead,” said Hauk.
“Indeed, General,” was the Vulcan’s only reply.
“I hope you are not counted among those who’d gladly see my head on a spike outside the great hall?” Quinn asked.
Hauk’s full attention was back on the Admiral.
“I have no ill will towards you, Admiral,” he answered. “Only one or two of your captains who saw fit to fire on and destroy my previous flagship … the Qu’In ‘an bortaS … in the middle what was SUPPOSED to be a joint forces operation.”
“Ah, I thought you might still be unhappy about that,” Quinn noted. “Would it help to know that both he and his command have since disappeared? … Or that we have every intention of trying to make things right between us again?”
Hauk decided not answer, instead changed the subject.
“So, what brings you to my doorstep, Admiral?” he asked.
“I need a favor.”
“Favor? … You know I’m done as Joint Forces Commander of Alliance Central Command.”
“No … I guess you would be, and although I’d gladly have you back, the favor is along those lines but slightly different.”
Hauk had settled into the chair behind his desk. He kicked his feet up, setting them atop the desk.
“I’m listening,” he said, crossing his arms.
“What about taking the reigns just long enough to rebuild it?”
I.K.S. jev mI’wI’
aka. Mike Tripp
“Before the Gates”
by Mike Tripp
Scene: First City, Qonos
The plain clothes Starfleet security officer’s eyes looked from face to face, studying each in turn. He searched for trouble.
The Vulcan might not be sweating, but there was a slight muscle tightening around the jawline.
“I am not sure of the logic of your being out here in the open, Admiral,” said T’rov.
“The war between the Klingons and Federation might be over, but many in these streets still wish you harm,” he continued.
The similarly dressed Trill half smiled.
“You worry too much, T’rov,” he said. “We’ll be fine … as long as you drop the title. It causes heads to turn.”
“Apologies, but is my job to be … worried … about your health,” almost repeating the flag officer’s title.
“It would have been simpler for us to have located the person you seek and have had him brought to you.”
“No,” the Admiral returned. “If this is to work, I need to go to him.”
A few blocks later, the pair reached their destination.
“This does not look like a place you should be visiting,” the security officer observed.
They faced a Klingon drinking establishment. Words in Klingon when translated named the bar “Gates of Sto’Vo’Kor.”
The Trill ignored his escort’s previous warning and crossed the threshold.
He took in the atmosphere, his eyes scanned the faces at the various tables.
T’rov stood gauging the threat level, which was quickly on the rise.
“According to intelligence reports, he has a table he shares with his friends towards the back,” the Vulcan observed.
The pair slipped through the crowd, but the points of T’rov’s ears caught the attention of more than one.
“Romulans don’t frequent this establishment,” said one voice, backed by a small sea of grunts.
“Then it is fortuitous that I am not Romulan.”
T’rov moved to push through the growing crowd. Two Klingons closed ranks to keep him from leaving.
“If you’re Vulcan, that’s worse,” called one voice.
“Hey … the Trill!” called another. “That’s Starfleet Admiral Quinn. Jorel Quinn!”
The crowd quickly doubled.
Sounds of blades being drawn were evident to the ears of the Vulcan … even if they were yet to be seen.
T’rov’s hand went to the phaser hidden beneath his cloak. The Trill’s hand stayed him.
“I’m looking for General Hauk!” Quinn shouted above the crowd. “He and I have business.”
The crowd closed ranks, completing a circle surrounding the pair.
“Hauk! … You better get out here,” a voice half drunk called out from the back of the crowd. “One of Starfleet’s top dogs wants you!”
“Yes, Hauk … You don’t want to miss the fight, do you?” another voice added, punctuating the statement with a belch.
Hauk emerged from the back where the restrooms were, grumbling under his breath.
The Sto’Vo’Kor warrior glanced briefly to his refilled mug with longing and an eventual sigh before pulling his communicator from his belt and issuing orders.
A figure circled the crowd, taking bets on the outcome when the drone of a Klingon transporter sounded.
Three flares consumed Hauk and both of the Starfleeters.
G’hargh sidled up to Korrath whispering, “Just like Hauk to skip out on the tab. Guess it’s your turn to pay.”
“And NO refunds on those bets!” he added a bit louder.
I.K.S. jev mI’wI’
aka. Mike Tripp
Introducing the Andromeda-class exploration cruiser U.S.S. Starfall, commanded by Capt. Sharev.
Sharev is an Andorian “delta recruit” that marks one of the most recent of my characters created in Star Trek Online.
He’s big on honor with a head geared towards tactics, however, he also is known to be something of a hothead.
Although offered command of other more military styled ships during the Iconian War, Sharev refused to leave his beloved Andromeda class … swearing that on the day the war ended, he had plans to return to being an explorer and so wanted his ship geared for it.
Ok … I’m finding I want to write more than I want to play the game currently, which is a good thing.
I still play, but I want writing and creativity.
So … I’m currently narrowing down the characters I want to use and will be firing up these stories yet again.
The stories will take place in the days just after the Iconian War with the Cordra Expanse again the playground.
— Mike Tripp