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Cptn Swain

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  1. Background Information for Senior Staff General Information on Toren III : Third planet in the Toren system. Located on the edge of the Pampiont region of space, near the Tamaran Empire and the Romulan Neutral Zone. Class-M, the planet is on the arid side with few large bodies of water and sparse vegetation. Rich in minerals, Toren III has a thriving mineral extraction business. Leading exports include raw dilithium, tritanium and trellium-D. The Toren have also established small outposts on several moons of the system’s gas giants, in addition to a trade depot orbiting Toren III’s second moon. Species Profile: The natives of Toren III are humanoid in appearance, with the exception of pronounced cartilaginous ridges on their cheeks and nictitating membranes. The Toren are a proud and free people, having forged a unified civilization despite their fierce independence. They are known for their tenacity and will, overcoming any trial that is set in their path and holding true to their views through most hardships. However, this also means that Torens are a stubborn and wilful people, difficult to lead and unwilling to accept views that differ with their own points of view without extensive debate and persuasion. Technological Profile: The Toren achieved warp technology in 2237. Technologically advanced, the Toren are roughly on par with other similarly situated species, including their neighbors the Tamarians and the Kaedwani, but lack the industrial base or population to support a large military. Toren Politics and History: The Federation have maintained trade relations with Toren III for many years; they are one of the oldest trading partners in the region. The consolidation of power within the Kaedwani Confederation and the continued rise of the Tamaran Empire forced the notoriously independent Toren to seek protectorate status in 2368. Since then, a small but growing seperatist movement has called for a reversal of such policies. A government proposal to apply for full-membership has caused these bubbling tensions to reach boiling point. The past six months have witnessed a series of large demonstrations and occasional violence, particularly in the planetary capital of Trehjet and the provinces of Jhen and Mauret. Toren III’s planetary government is divided into a senate and a single head of state, called a Parak. The Parak is the spokesman for the planetary government, and heads up all diplomatic affairs in the name of his people. When spoken to he is referred to simply as Parak (name); for example, Parak Joffies is the current head of state on Toren III.
  2. Asher turned in bed, covering his head with a blanket. Maybe, he thought, if he ignored the chime they would just go away. A fourth round of beeping disabused him of this notion and after a heavy sigh, he sat up in bed and turned on his bedside light. “Come.” “Captain,” it was one of the junior bridge officers -- Ravi Malek -- who’d apparently been given the task of rousing Asher. Must have drawn the short straw. “Yes, Ensign?” To Malek’s credit, he remained unphased by the obvious displeasure shown by his commanding officer at being woken in the middle of the night. The stout, brown haired human stood at an easy attention just inside the doorway to Swain’s quarters. His eyes shifted occasionally across the room, the only sign of nervousness. “I am sorry to wake you Captain, I know it’s late.” “It’s fine. I just haven’t been sleeping well, my apologies for keeping you.” “Commander Stanton sent me to let you know that Admiral dos Santos called to schedule an early morning appointment.” Asher’s frown deepened. Starbase 46’s martinet commanding officer Rear-Admiral Carlos Gil dos Santos Puerto was notorious for his early morning briefings. Asher had hoped to avoid one of them as neither he, nor Excalibur, were in dos Santos’ chain of command. “I see, any particular information the Commander wanted you to share about that?” Malek nodded and produced a PADD. “Yes, sir. This should have everything.” Asher motioned him over and started reading,, leaving Malek to stand awkwardly at Asher’s bedside before coughing to get his Captain’s attention. “Oh, you’re still here. Was there anything else?” “No sir, just that the meeting will be at 0530 on the station.” What deity on what planet did I annoy? “Thanks. I am sure you have other duties to attend to at such an hour. Or maybe restful sleep.” Malek stifled a laugh and saluted crisply before leaving Asher alone to ponder the contents of the PADD. Asher closed his eyes and laid back down. “Computer, time?” The melodious computer voice chirped back the reply all too happily. “The time is oh-three-hundred hours and thirty-two minutes. Your alarm will go off at oh-seven-thirty.” Sighing heavily, again, Asher forced himself out of bed and headed for the replicator. “Coffee,” he said almost growling, “black, double strength.” Taking the cup, he started reading the PADD again. The initial message from dos Santos conveyed Starfleet’s appreciation for the information they had gathered from their probes and even more so, apparently, on the data concerning the alien device. Apparently, it independently confirmed a theory Starfleet Intelligence had been shopping as to their nature. “Well,” Asher said between drinks, “I suppose it’s nice to be recognized.” The rest of the missive concerned new orders for Excalibur. So much for the vacation, Asher considered. A few hours later, Asher and Jalen Stanton made their way to the expansive briefing facilities aboard Starbase 46. dos Santos was waiting for them. He was tall, lean and his slicked-back hair had just a touch of grey at the temples. His deep blue eyes conveyed little in the way of emotion. Asher forced a smile. It had been nearly thirty years and he still found the man distasteful. “Admiral.” “Captain, Commander,” dos Santos said with a sweeping gesture. “Thank you for coming, please have a seat, I am afraid we don’t have much time this morning, so we’ll get right to it.” Jalen tossed a glance at Swain and then nodded before sitting down. Despite dos Santos passive demeanor, there was clearly something grave about the situation. “I assume you both read the short document I sent you this morning?” Asher wanted to say something rude to the effect that he was a little old for pop quizzes, but just nodded. “Yes, sir. Though Toren III is a little out of the way from here, isn’t it?” “Still the same Asher, I see. Somethings never change.” For his part, Jalen made a note to ask Asher about his relationship with the Admiral. “I didn’t mean --” Asher half-lied.” Holding up a hand, dos Santos waived him off. “It’s fine. You’re right, it is a bit more in your old neighborhood, but Admiral Tersan asked me to brief you so that you could get underway as soon as possible. She knew you were hoping to get back to 39 Tango, but this is a bit of an emergency.” Asher felt a little silly, but nodded. Maybe dos Santos had changed. “As you know Toren III is situated in the Paimpont, close to Tamaran space but also the Romulan Neutral Zone. As a protectorate of the Federation, we’ve traded with them for years. Over the last several months, though, there have been increased tensions on the planet as they debate applying for full-membership. “Last month separatists staged a massive demonstration in the capital, demanding Tolen independence. Their government has asked us to mediate the dispute.” “I’ve been to Toren III,” Asher said, leaning back in his chair. “Though it was a long time ago aboard the G-W.” “That was why Excalibur was chosen, ”dos Santos nodded before continuing. “As I am sure you’ll remember, Toren III is not only in a strategic location for Starfleet to monitor Romulan activity but it is also rich in dilithium, tritanium, and trillium-D.” “So what are our orders, sir?” Jalen said, giving Asher another sidelong glance. Asher nodded his own approval of the question. “First and foremost you are to try and prevent armed conflict between the two the two opposing sides. The leaders of the two groups have agreed to talks mediated by the Federation. Your orders are to provide whatever security resources are necessary and to mediate the dispute.” “And I assume Starfleet has a preferred outcome?” Asher said with a bit of a frown. “While Command would obviously prefer Toren III to remain a Federation protectorate, and would welcome their application for Federation membership, you have a duty to be impartial. “I would suggest you start with a reception aboard the Excalibur. You’ll want to show them that the Federation can be trusted with security, and---” “And be a neutral arbiter despite our obvious interests.” dos Santos grinned. “Something like that.” Jalen smirked slyly, though his head was already filling with a list of things that would need to be done to get the ship and crew ready for the mission. Biting his lip, he glanced over to Asher. “We’ll need a few more days at least to get the computer core untangled,” Asher said, taking the cue from his executive officer. “And I’d like to give the crew a day or so of leave at your rec facility. I’ve heard it’s one of the best in quadrant. We could also do with a thorough resupply. My operations officer is still fuming that we didn’t get the chance before we left Elasia.” Nodding, dos Santos stroked his goatee. “Yeah, I read the initial report on the issues with your computer core. I’ve informed my engineering staff to give Excalibur top priority. As for the other things, of course. And you’re right, it is one of the finest rec centers in the quadrant, even has a parrises squares arena. I don’t suppose you’d like a rematch, Asher?” Jalen’s eyes widened. Oh dear.
  3. As chimes signaled the end of Beta shift, Asher shifted his position on his couch and took another drink of tea. He wondered how many times his name had been spoken as a curse in the last few hours as the ship’s officers completed their mandated training instead of exploring Starbase 46’s exceptional, newly renovated recreation facilities. He smirked and continued reading. To be honest, though somewhat petty, his directive had been a rather mild corrective. Frankly, Will and Rhan were lucky that Miranda wasn’t still the executive officer. Asher sighed. He liked Stanton. He was efficient, thoughtful, and competent -- all qualities any captain would value in an executive officer -- but he wasn’t Miranda. Asher's weekly dinners with Miranda had become more like getting together with a friend, while with Stanton they were, well businesslike. They rarely talked about anything other than work, and once the meal was over, Stanton headed back to his quarters -- where as Miranda usually stayed to polish off another bottle of wine (or two) and catch up on the latest gossip. It was fine, but Asher deeply missed the camaraderie he felt with Miranda. Who did he have to blame for that? He sighed again. A chime at the door interrupted his brooding. “Come.” He put his book down and set upright on the couch as his new chief of security entered. Lucius Rex was about Asher’s height, well-built, and his premature grey-hair gave him an air of authority that someone his age might normally lack. It was easy to see why Arden had found him attractive. Asher pushed the thought aside. “Commander?” Rex straightened. “Captain. I wondered if I might have a minute of your time.” Asher frowned inwardly, but nodded. “Sure, have a seat.” Nodding, Rex joined sat down in one of the chairs opposite the couch. Though the Swain had a reputation as an “approachable” Captain, Rex still found him a bit intimidating. “What can I do for you Commander?” Swain tended to leave personnel matters to his executive officers and, like Miranda, Stanton had so far proven himself to be extremely capable, but he wasn’t going to just cold-shoulder a senior staff member. Taking a deep breath, Rex composed himself before starting. “Permission to speak freely?” Oh boy. Asher nodded. “Of course.” “Why am I here, sir?” The question took Asher off-guard. “What do you mean?” “Sir, with due respect -- you’ve barely said two words to me since I came aboard. And at virtually every opportunity you’ve given me a frosty welcome. I talked to your old chief of security and... is this because...” Asher let out a laugh. “Oh gods,” he said, struggling to regain his composure. “I am sorry, were you about to ask me if this was because you dated Arden?” Rex blushed. “Well sir, I can’t think of any other reason you’d be so cold to me, when from what I can tell, you’re very warm with the rest of your staff.” Closing his eyes and fighting back a laugh, Asher finally regained his composure. “My apologies then commander. It certainly wasn’t my intent to make you feel unwelcome. It’s just, you’re new to the crew and I -- well I’ve been trying to be a little more -- anyway I apologize for the misunderstanding.” “Then it doesn’t bother you that --” “I thought you would have realized Arden’s the jealous one. To be honest, it’s a point in your favor. He has good taste in men. Unlike me. Mine is legendarily bad -- except for Arden.” Rex stifled a laugh, both at the implied compliment and the addendum. “Well,” he said, clearing his throat. “Thank you Captain. I just wanted to make sure that -- well if you didn’t want me here I was going to ask for a transfer now, before I got too settled in and while we were at starbase.” “Do you have any idea how hard it was to convince your former CO to let me have you aboard Lucius?” “Sir? I thought she recommended me for the job.” “She did -- only after I managed to get her a case of sparkling Romulan ale and a Tholian silk dress. And only then because I had introduced her to her husband twenty years ago.” Blushing again, Rex finally let out a sigh. “Well I am sorry to have disturbed you Captain. I am sure you’re busy, besides I need to make sure all my staff have completed their trainings.” Asher nodded. “Of course Commander.: Rex stood up and headed towards the door.” “Oh and Commander?” “Yes, Captain?” “Just remember that Arden’s a married man now, hmm?” Rex grinned widely and continued towards the door.
  4. Name: Lucius Rex Age: 34 (Born 2354) Sex: Male POB: Geneva, Switzerland, Earth Ht: 5'10" Wt: 200 lbs Eyes: Grey Hair: Brown Race: Human Rank: Lieutenant Commander Assignment Chief of Security, USS Excalibur Father: Marius Rex, Captain, Starfleet Retired (68) Mother: Carmen Rodriguez Rex, Captain, Starfleet, Retired (68) Siblings: Arturias Rex, Captain, USS Cape Horn (41) Ophelia Rex, Civilian (37) Background: The son of two career officers, it was no surprise when Lucius followed his parents and older brother to Starfleet Academy in 2371. Originally intending to become a science or operations officer, like many cadets in his class the outbreak of the Dominion War during his stint at the Academy steered the young Rex towards a more martial career. Graduating in 2375, he found himself serving on the front lines almost immediately. Following the conclusion of the war, Lucius was assigned to the Starfleet garrison on the Cardassian border world of Panora, before being transferred to Federation Embassy on Cardassia Prime. In 2382, Rex was again transferred to the USS Augustine, and again in 2384 to the USS Georgetown. Service Record: -Graduated Starfleet Academy rank of Ensign (2375) -Assigned to USS Griffin, Assistant Security Officer (2375) -Assigned to USS Lexington, Assistant Security Officer (2376) -Promoted to the Rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade (2377) -Assigned to Federation Peace Keeping Mission: Panora, Security Division (2377) -Promoted to the Rank of Lieutenant, (2379) -Assigned to Federation Embassy, Diplomatic Security Division (2380) -Assigned to USS Augustine, Chief of Security (2382) -Assigned to USS Georgetown, Chief of Security (2384) -Promoted to the Rank of Lieutenant Commander (2386) -Assigned to USS Excalibur, Chief of Security (2388)
  5. Asher shimmered aboard the hulking Elasian flagship Soltok. He was early, but greeted by a cordiere of Elasian officials alongside the senior Starfleet commander for the operation, Joshua Hamlet of the Yalta. Wearing the full-dress whites, Hamlet had salt-and-peper hair parted to one side. He was tall, pale and had deep blue eyes that sparkled in the transporter room lighting. Despite his height, the Elasian officials still towered. Their uniforms were far more ostentatious; silver chords hung from their shoulders, and the lower ranked among them wore highly polished silver helmets. The lead Elasian was lean and sharp featured. His dark auburn hair fell gently across broad shoulders covered in silver pauldrons. “Welcome aboard, I am Prince Coreth, Duke of Collasta and Viceroy,” he said to Asher with a respectful gesture. “The Elasian people and the House of N’Dak are honored to host you aboard the flagship of the Elasian fleet.” Asher smiled tightly, both at the grandiosity of the situation but also the mention of N’Dak. How the universe had allowed not one, but two houses to have such a name eluded him. “The honor, is all mine.” “Captain Swain” Hamlet said moving to shake Asher’s hand. “It’s so good to finally meet you in person. I served with Arden on Deep Space Six.” Caught on his back foot for a moment, Asher shook Hamlet’s hand half-heartedly before returning Hamlet’s own firm handshake. He remembered, now, that Hamlet had sent them a wedding gift -- an espresso machine -- that was still in a box in storage back on Starbase 37 Tango. “Of course,” he said, hopping his momentary lapse had gone undetected, “we love the espresso machine.” Pleased, Hamlet nodded. “His highness has offered to take anyone who arrived early on a tour. I highly recommend it, it’s an impressive ship.” Sensing that was more of an order than a suggestion, Asher nodded and went along with his royal highness. Asher had read about the rather pompous nature of the Elasians in preparing for the mission, but he had expected it to be an exaggeration. If anything, they had undersold it. The Soltok’s vast interior was finished more in the style of a cruise ship than of a battlecruiser. Every room and corridor had thick, rich carpeting and trim finishes. It was, surprisingly, tasteful however, as Asher had fully expected some garish nightmare to shame a Ferengi. The Prince was affable enough. He clearly took great pride in showing the ship. It wasn’t the Excalibur, but Asher smiled anyway. After they’d finished, Coreth invited Asher to join him in the lounge while they waited for the other Captain’s to arrive. “So,” Coreth said, handing Asher a drink from a passing waiter. “How do you find her, the Soltok.” Asher took a sip of the surprisingly good wine and cleared his throat. Several other captain’s had found their way to the lounge as well, but they were being kept busy by other Elasians and Hamlet. “She’s a fine ship,” Asher said. “A real show piece.” The prince nodded. “The other vessels of her class,” he said between sips of wine, “are more austere, but my grandfather insisted the Soltok be built to a higher standard. It’s a bit of an extravagance, I admit.” “What will become of it... and the other battlecruisers? They aren’t being sold, correct?” Coreth wrinkled his nose. “No,” he said flatly, “the Dano III, Prince Gaal, and the Freilo will all be decommissioned in the coming months and taken to the Federation boneyards at Gravis II. The Melora and the Tyan will go into reserve duty, while the Soltok will remain active leading the newly formed Elasian Security Force.” He continued unprompted. “Not everyone in the military has been happy about disarmament, or the democratization of our government. But it was the right thing to do. It was the only thing to do.” Asher lifted a brow, but sensed he should politely end the conversation. “Well, again your highness, thank you for the tour. It was most enjoyable, but I shouldn’t monopolize you. In fact, if you'll excuse me, I should catch up with Captain Hamlet.” Smiling, Coreth nodded and Asher slipped away with a deep sigh of relief before making his way over to Hamlet. “How was the tour?” “It’s a big ship.” “The Elasians don’t ever do anything small.” Asher nodded in agreement, taking a drink of wine before a waiter refilled his glass. Hamlet was breezy enough while they were in a group of other commanders, but sobered as he pulled Asher aside surreptitiously. The sudden mood change worried Asher, but he wasn’t deep enough into the wine to have lost his poker face. When he was sure they were out of earshot, Hamlet took a deep breath. “I have an assignment for you.” “Me -- or my ship?” “You, personally. “ Asher lifted his brow. “Strictly on the QT.” Unable to hide his frown, Asher nodded his understanding. “What’s up?” “Despite putting a lot of resources into it, Intelligence still hasn’t ferreted out the identity of the third party broker. Both the Elasians and the Cardassians have said that their agreement required strict non-disclosure. “But the Council is concerned. We have a team on the surface working it, but I’d like you to see if you can find anything out from the Prince. He seems to like you.” Asher’s brows went higher. “We talked a little and he showed me around the ship. That’s hardly a relationship.” Hamlet held up a hand. “It’s still something.” “Shouldn’t this go to someone more experienced with...” Asher’s voice dropped, “that kind of thing? I am not a spy or even a diplomat. I am just a scientist.” “I have people working on other angles,” Hamlet made a motion to the room. “But hadn’t got anyone to cover the Prince yet.” “I’ll see what I can do,” Asher said, resigned to his fate. “But no promises.” “That’s all I ask.” The identity of the broker had continued to be an explosive topic in Federation discourse. Asher should have known there would be some clandestine plot to find it out. Afterall, there were only so many people who could come up with the latinum equivalent to 20 billion Federation credits; and virtually all of the prime suspects had been eliminated so far. The Grand Nagus had personally given the Federation assurances that neither he nor any Ferengi were behind the deal, and had even taken the unusual step of having the Ferengi Commerce Authority complete a public audit of transactions. The Klingons had neither the will or finances, and at any rate could have simply bought the ships directly off the Elasians. The Romulans were always suspects in any galactic intrigue, but Praetor Gaher had been among the loudest voices against the deal, second only to the Bajorans. That left only the smaller powers, none of which, according to Intel, had the finances. Asher glanced over Hamlet’s shoulder to Prince Coreth.
  6. Excalibur, Season 8 | The Darkness and the Thunder The unprecedented wartime alliance of the Romulan Star Empire with other Alpha Quadrant powers, including their perennial enemy the Federation, against the Dominion, left in its wake a wellspring of less xenophobic sentiment throughout the Empire. As a result, rapid liberalization in the post-year wars took place under the Enuar (Forward) government. This included a temporary easing of tensions along the Neutral Zone, participation in multinational ventures such as Sky Harbour Aegis and the Camelot Project, and reforms to various civil aspects of Romulan life. These rapid liberalizations, however, have been met with an equally passionate push back from the more conservative elements of their society. Following the death of the Enuar leader, Praetor Kohlav Avfad in 2384, the last four years have seen the steady rise of the nationalist Sihhus Lakhraem (Preserve, Defend) under the leadership of Proconsul Jalon Llhvae. Underlying many of the platforms of the Sihhus Lakhraem is the deep-seated Romulan xenophobia and a growing distrust of even Romulan-inhabited border worlds, which were at the forefront of the Enuar movement. As the Sihhus Lakhraem have solidified their hold on the Senate, that distrust has become increasingly apparent with passage of several laws collectively known as the Preserver Acts directed at the frontier worlds, Romulan and alien alike. On the orders of Proconsul Llhvae and the Sihhus Lakhraem, rubberstamped by Praetor Gaher, greater numbers of Galae ships have been sent to patrol the border regions. Simultaneously, the Romulans have withdrawn their forces from areas of less value to the Homeworlds, reducing the numbers of exploratory craft and withdrawing from joint ventures like the Camelot Project in the Gamma Quadrant. The Neutral Zone, which had briefly been open to crossings if properly cleared by both sides, has once again become a no-man's land. Meanwhile, following a close election, the Federation has celebrated former Federation Councilor Hajer Somak’s inauguration. Running as a moderate, Somak has promised to continue most of his predecessors policies regarding rebuilding and modernizing Starfleet. He also promised that his administration would continue to expand the Federation with new members, and to continue to press the Cardassian Union on efforts to become less dependent on Federation aid. The blade that was broken has been reforged, and the new Luna-class Excalibur once again finds herself in the middle of perilous times. In Season 7: The Proud Tower, Pt. 1, much of our story involved the Paimpont region, where the Tamarn Empire and the Kaedwan Confederation felt the tensions between the Federation and Romulan governments rising. As we begin Season 8: The Darkness and the Thunder, we hope to engage you once again with a variety of themes and plots with faces old and new as the story unfolds.
  7. Asher sat quietly in his and Arden’s quarters, drinking tea. It had been almost three weeks since they’d returned from their misadventures in time. Though he’d taken the opportunity to spend a few hours in a holodeck recreation of a ski lodge in the Alps, most of his time had been spent meeting with various Starfleet officials, including the several days he had spent “debriefing” (it was more of an interrogation) with the Starfleet Inspector General’s Temporal Investigations Unit. Their formal report wouldn’t come back for another few weeks, but the lead investigator had complimented Asher on his efforts to avoid and repair the timeline. The compliment came as something of a surprise, but apparently their little trick with the Enterprise-C had somehow erased that entire episode from the timeline and the only record of their sundering had been a sealed report by Captain Cormoran. Soft piano music played in the background while he read over the preliminary damage assessment on the Excalibur. He sunk into the couch as he read deeper into the report. There were, literally, dozens of remarks as he scrolled through the individual sections of the report that made his stomach turn, such as “total loss,” “will need complete rebuild,” and the ominous “unsalvageable.” Finally he came to the last section, a narrative from the senior engineer conducting the assessment. Part of him thought it was unfair to have someone who didn’t know the ship decide her fate. He was sure that this, Commander Arhren Sloan was perfectly competent and capable of delivering a fair assessment, but it just seemed somehow wrong. Then again, that was why Sloan was making the assessment and not Miranda or Tandaris. Neither of them could be remotely objective about their ship, and to be fair, neither could he. When had that happened, he wondered? That Excalibur became his ship? Odd now that she was possibly at the end of the line, that he would feel this tug at his heart. He took a drink of tea and started reading the final narrative. It was a bit like reading ahead to the end of a holonovel, or more grimly, reading obituaries. “After a thorough on-site inspection, and after reviewing reports from the ship’s Chief Engineer and Commanding Officer, I am prepared to make the following recommendations to Starfleet Command on the future of the USS EXCALIBUR.” Asher frowned, looking away towards the star-filled windows. The drydock was thankfully on the other side of the barren rock that Starbase 39 Tango orbited. He didn’t think he could look at her while he read the next lines of the report. “The vessel has sustained major damage to virtually every system, including power, life-support, drive, navigational arrays, and computer networks. The structural integrity of the superstructure required significant reinforcement to be towed at warp speed. “Even under normal circumstances, a recommendation for refit could be considered questionable. Given that Excalibur has undergone three major refits already in just under five years, it becomes even more questionable. Not only because of the large number of resources required to complete a refit of this magnitude (comparable in both time and material to new construction), but the underlying issues with key structural components that have now underwent the same number of refits one would expect for a vessel reaching the end-of-service life, but in just six standard years.” His heart sunk. He didn’t need to read any further to know how Command would receive the report. He laid the report down on the table. He considered calling Miranda to tell her. It would be another few days before Command made a formal decision. She deserved to know. Excalibur was as much her ship as it was his, afterall. It was late. What was it his father had always said about bad news? Something about it never going away. Asher frowned. He’d never listened to his father before, so he wasn’t about to start now. He glanced away again, towards where the picture of he and Arden as newly graduated cadets had been since Arden moved to the starbase. It had been one of the few possessions Arden had taken with him aboard the Bancroft. Asher swallowed hard. There was no one else in the world he suddenly wanted to be near. They had finally managed to catch each other on a livefeed just a few hours before. Asher hadn’t expected to cry. He was never the crier. Arden had teased him about it after. Which, he supposed, was fine. “Now you know how I’ve felt all these years, Asher.” That was an uncomfortable truth. They had been an item, on and off, since they’d met at the academy at the learning center where Arden was teaching supplemental classes to, mostly, non-human cadets on Federation standard. And in all of the break ups, all of the “cooling off” times it had always been Asher who’d left. It had never been Arden before. It also never been Arden whose career had come first. Asher was happy for his husband though. Even if it wasn’t an assignment of his choosing, the executive officer experience was virtually a prerequisite for having your own command. Arden would never, ever admit it, but in his heart, Asher knew, he wanted his own chance to command. They had chatted for almost an hour before Arden’s actual assignment had come up. The Bancroft, a relatively new Nova-class, had been assigned to survey one of the ruins that Asher had led bread-crumbed the Lugh too while searching for him. “It’s just this mission,” Arden assured Asher, though he hadn’t asked. “As soon as we’re done with the survey, Command assured me I can have my old job back at Starbase 39 Tango.” “Are you sure that’s what you want?” “Why wouldn’t I. It’s a good command, and Excalibur isn’t likely to be assigned elsewhere for a while I’d venture.” Asher bit his lip. “Arden, I don’t know if they’re going to sign off on a refit this time. She’s in pretty bad shape.” “Oh.” Arden’s voice was suddenly quiet, introspective. As if Asher had just told him a good friend had died. “I... I am sorry, honey. I -- well I guess we can talk about it once you know more. “The Bancroft is a good ship from what I can see so far. Captain Uhmasa has a good crew here. The other senior staff have been good too. You’d like the security chief, he’s an unjoined Trill.” Asher lifted a brow. “Anything I need to worry about?” Arden snorted. “Are you jealous? Why Asher Swain.” They laughed together before closing with I love yous and plans to talk again later in the week once the Bancroft had completed its initial orbital surveys. And more practically, when Asher knew for sure if his fears about Excalibur were real. Perhaps Asher, thought, he could join the Bancroft. He knew the planet, and the ruins perhaps better than one in Starfleet, and command would be more than willing, he assumed, to give him some leeway between assignments. After a moment, Asher pushed the idea aside. That wouldn’t be fair to anyone and besides, he’d learned from Arden that command had been extremely generous in not revealing to anyone aboard the Bancroft about the particulars of the ‘rescue mission’ that Arden had led to the planet. Admiral Haller had said in confidence that if there was a decision to decommission the Excalibur that she would help Asher get a new command of his choosing. The Excalibur had never been his ideal posting and Fleet had foisted it onto him, afterall. And despite his recent lapse in judgement, he was a seasoned commander at a time when many of Starfleet’s more senior commanders were retiring. Perhaps, Haller said, he might even be inline for a Sovereign-class or Galaxy-class. It was an appealing offer. He knew that the Strausbourg was nearing the end of a refit and that most of her command staff, including her Commanding Officer, Giles Greenworth, had been reassigned. He’d even stopped by the construction site to look over the new bridge module. Granted, he’d instantly felt guilty. Like he’d just cheated on a lover or something. Now, with the obituary in hand, he felt even guiltier. Still, the reality was that he would need to make a decision about his future soon. It was strange, really. He’d spent most of the last six months considering that very question, and now, having finally decided he wanted to command Excalibur, fate had seen fit to intervene and make the decision for him.
  8. William “Bill” Swaggert’s question hung heavy in the low-lit parlor of the Lake Como villa where the four main candidates to replace Nan Bacco waited to hear the answer from the outgoing president. Nan tilted her head slightly. “Not the Bajorans,” she said finally to a collective sigh of relief. Though tensions between the erstwhile enemies had eased significantly since the end of the Dominion War, there was little news that should would have pulled them together at such a late hour that could involve them both and not be in the “terrible, no good, in fact very bad” category. Of course, Nan considered, it didn’t make the news she was about to deliver much better, either. “Then who? There are dozens of worlds in the candidate process,” Rydra Thallis said, waving her lower pair of arms while gesturing quizzically with the uppers. “And if it involves the Cardassians...” Nan held up a hand. “The Elasian Confederation and the Cardassian Union have agreed, in principle, to the transfer of matériel, ships, and technology.” “The Elasians?” Hajer Somak’s thick brows were pointed upwards enough to give the Vulcan across the room a run for her money. “How much are we talking here.” “Nearly all of their recently decommissioned vessels. Roughly a hundred or some small patrol ships, sixity or so destroyers, thirty to forty light cruisers of an older model, and another thirty to forty of a new design, and roughly twenty or so heavy cruisers. In addition to torpedoes, shuttle and fighters, personal disruptors, and other items.” “You’ve got to be kidding,” Rydra said, flushing dark purple. “You seriously let this happen?” Nan frowned. “I didn’t let anything happen. We only found out about it a few hours ago and the agreement has already been made in principle. At our behest, they have agreed to allow me to announce it.” “For once I agree with Rydra,” Bill said sharply. “You seriously can’t be thinking of letting this go forward. Do you have any idea what the response from the public -- for our allies -- is going to be Nan?” “Just how did you find out about this anyway?” Rydra cut in before Nan could reply. “Did they just drop by your office and say, oh by the way?” “We intercepted a communique...” “You were spying on diplomatic channels of Federation members?” Rydra’s ears were flaring. Nan had never seen her be so vehement. Nevertheless, Nan took a deep breath and reminded herself to remain calm. Counting backwards in her head, she started again after a moment. “Firstly, the Elasians aren’t Federation members yet. Second, we intercepted a message sent in the clear by the Cardassian government to an unidentified third party that is helping finance the deal.” “You have to stop this thing Nan,” Bill said, his voice rising. Though he wasn’t as animated as Rydra, he was clearly more than a little upset by the news. “I thought I was pretty clear, Senator, that I didn’t ask anyone here for policy advice. The Federation Council has reviewed the situation and came to a decision that we cannot politically or legally interfere.” “What do you mean we can’t politically interfere,” he replied back. “The Elasians are up for Federation membership, and the Cardassians are still virtually dependent on our aid. See this is what I am talking about...” “I hate to agree with him,” Rydra interjected. “But there has to be some way we can intervene. Legally, aren’t the Cardassians bound by the Bajoran Accord...” “Oh, they were. They were. Until Madame President over here threw them out to get...” “Bill,” Nan said, letting just enough of her annoyance come through. “Shut up. First, the Lahore City Agreement didn’t change any of the statutory requirements on the Cardassian military. Secondly it actually formally spells out that they can’t use any of the money we give them through the reconstruction fund for military expenditures. You can say whatever the hell you want on the campaign trail, but I’ll be damned if you’re going to condescend to me like that.” After a long moment of interminable silence, Salyet of Vulcan spoke up. “Then, I assume that if the Federation Council has approved, that the purchase agreement is within treaty restrictions?” Nan was grateful for Salyet’s level headed presence. Taking a deep breath first, she nodded. “Yes, they will still be compliant with total force levels.” “And the Arcadia Agreement only specified that the Elasians would disarm, but didn’t have any stipulations on what they did, right?” Hajer asked, respectful as always. “Correct. Our previous technology sharing agreements with them do require that any offensive weaponry or other advanced proprietary Federation technology be removed before they could transfer the ships to a third party.” Rydra had calmed down, at least based on the position of her ear flaps and more muted purple color. “Still,” she said, “why can’t you use political pressure to slow the process down? You said the Council has already decided to move forward? Why were those meetings held behind closed doors and off the public record? You’ve said yourself sunshine is the best disinfectant.” “We can’t just go telling sovereign nations what they can or can’t do,” Hajer said. “Can you imagine the outcry from the Tellerites or the Caitians if we told them they couldn’t do business with other people?” “Neither of them are selling weapons of war to an aggressive species who, just a decade ago, brought us to the brink of galactic annihilation.” “Rydra’s right. The Bajorans, the Klingons, the Romulans? You think they’re just going to stand by and say ‘well I guess the Federation Council approved,’ and ‘we couldn’t possibly upset the mighty Elasian Confederation, whatever would we do without them!’ Come on, madame President. You have to see what a problem this is going to be, not just for you but for whichever one of us inherits this mess in six months.” “I do,” she said. “Believe me, nothing you’re telling me isn’t something I haven’t already strongly suggested to the Council. The Cardassians have every right to defend themselves, but this is going to be a mess.” “So why is the Council going against you?” “One of the things you’ll have to learn if you’re lucky enough to have this job,” she said with an almost wry smile. “Is that just because you’re the President, doesn’t mean you can ignore the Council.” “You mentioned,” Salyet interjected again, “a ‘third-party’ brokering the agreement and helping to finance the purchase. Who is it?” “We don’t know.” Bill couldn’t hide his exasperation. “What? How is that possible. Didn’t you ask them?” “We did. Both the Elasian and Cardassian ambassadors refused to tell me. Intelligence has a few leads, but nothing solid.” “The Ferengi?” Hajer offered. “Possible, but Intelligence is still working through everything,” she said with a heavy sigh. “Anyway, now you know. I will be addressing the Federation General Assembly in forty-eight hours. After that you’re free to address the situation as your campaigns see fit.” “Thank you, Nan,” Hajer said. “For the heads up. We’ll have a lot to talk about soon.” Bill simply glowered.
  9. July 26, 2388 -- Earth Lake Como was quiet in the darkness. Cool mountain air drifted down from snowy peaks. Fireflies danced in the late summer. Nan Bacco smiled, she would miss Earth, she considered for perhaps the first time since she’d taken the Federation presidency. It had never felt like home, but now in the waning days of her presidency, she realized that like so many others it had captured her heart. She glanced away and back towards a small villa; the final aeroshuttle had arrived and Cal would be coming to collect. Sighing, she took a final breath of summer and headed back down a cobblestone path. Cal met her at the doors. He wore the same frown as always, though now she noticed something else, thought she couldn’t place it. “That’s it,” he said, “Swaggert is here now. They’re all waiting in the den. I had Maurice get them settled in with refreshments.” She nodded. “Good.” “Are you sure this is a good idea?” “No, but it's the right thing.” Cal’s frown broke. “I guess you really don’t have any plans to ever run for office again.” Nan laughed and patted her old friend on the shoulder, squeezing gently as she passed by and into the villa. It was nearly midnight local time and the small romanesque villa was still save for muffled chatter coming from behind heavy double doors, each carved with the likeness of several Roman gods and goddesses. “Madame President,” a plain-clothes Starfleet security officer from her detail who was guarding the doors said as he opened the doors. She glanced towards him with a smile before taking a deep breath. “Into the lion’s den.” The room, like the rest of the house, was decorated in a style meant to evoke the long dead Roman Empire. Waiting for her, were the four leading candidates to replace her. It was, she realized, the first time she’d actually been in the room with all of them at once. Nearest to her, Hajer Somak looked over as the doors opened. At nearly 130, the Catullan male’s once purple mane had faded to a regal silver and he seemed to enjoy his role as the elder statesman in the race. Across from him, the final arrivee was pacing. Nan sighed. William “Bill” Swaggert. If you were writing a political character for a holonovel from human history, you wouldn’t do much better than just modeling him. Young, charismatic, and extremely handsome. He was, Nan considered, almost too perfect. If she were twenty years younger and single, she might even consider him attractive -- until he started talking about politics, anyway. At the other end of the room, Salyet of Vulcan and Rydra Thallis were making small talk. Nan wasn’t actually sure why Salyet was running, if she was being honest. As Vulcans went, she was something of a wallflower. Sure she’d been part of three different presidential administrations in the past, and had been part of the Vulcan delegation to Earth for nearly half a century, but outside of the Champs d'Elysee, she was virtually a non-factor. Rydra, however, was a rising star in Federation politics. The purple-skinned Osadjani had made a name for herself as an outspoken critic of both Nan’s and the preceding Min Zife administration's efforts to rebuild Starfleet following the Dominion War. Earlier, she had been a passionate advocate for the Bajorans and a strong critique of Federation policy towards the Cardassians. Though she’d been a continued thorn in her side, Nan had always found her to be fair and forthright. As all four finally turned towards Nan, she motioned to the security officer to let the door close. She wondered when the last time anyone in the room had been alone at a meeting without an aide. Smirking she made her way over. “Thank you all for coming,” she said. “I know it’s late and I am sure you’re all wondering why you’re here.” Saylet, surprisingly, replied first. “It is a curious situation we find ourselves in, Madame President.” Before Bill could chime in, Nan resumed. “What I am about to tell you cannot leave this room. And if it does, well... I will make it my personal mission to assure that the campaign responsible doesn’t win the election.” “I thought you weren’t taking sides,” Bill said smugly, “that’s what you keep telling all the papers anyway.” “And I am not,” she gave him a cold glance. “I assume,” Rydra said, folding the upper most of her two sets of arms, “that if the President is going to all the trouble of meeting with us all, at midnight, in some tiny house away from Paris that it’s a matter of state importance?” “That is correct.” Hajer leaned forward, putting his glass down on a coffee table. “Alright.” Salyet added her agreement before Bill finally agreed as well. “In 48 hours I will be making a major announcement concerning a future Federation member and the Cardassian Union, after which you will be free to discuss the issue with the press freely. I am telling you all this now so that you can be prepared. The decision has already been made.” “Which future Federation member, exactly?”
  10. Constance d'Aubigné glanced over to the co-pilot seat of the shuttlecraft Arion. Asher Swain fiddled pensively with the box of datachips Rhan had given to him before he left. Though she’d been on the Excalibur for almost two years, she’d had very little direct interaction with the man. Which was, she thought, rather strange given his reported attitude. Not that she entirely minded the absence of a personal relationship. In truth, she preferred a bit of distance between herself and those who reported to her. It just seemed cleaner. “On approach to the Enterprise,” she said, moving her hands over the console. “Clearance from flight ops to land.” “I’ve seen Ambassador-classes before,” he replied, looking out the window. “But I don’t think I ever thought I’d see this Ambassador-class.” “Alphy -- my brother -- served on the Mandela. I visited him a few times. They don’t make them like her anymore.” Asher nodded. The Arion continued her approach before touching down with near pinpoint accuracy. Constance smirked as Asher reminded her again of the protocols that Commander Hawthrone had insisted they followed. She was to stay on the shuttle and avoid unnecessary contact with the Enterprise crew until Asher was ready to return to Excalibur. Under no circumstances was she to allow them aboard her shuttle. “So you want me to space them or?” Asher frowned, but she gave him an apologetic reply and his mood lightened. He checked his uniform one last time before disembarking. Captain Rachael Garrett was waiting for him, attended on either side by her own executive officer Samir al-Halak and their chief science officer Tholav. Garrett wasn’t as tall as Asher had expected. She welcomed him aboard, and after the perfunctory introductions, suggested they adjourn to a nearby lounge. Tholav would join them, later, she said. al-Halak excused himself to return to the bridge to coordinate gathering the list of supplies from the Excalibur. The lounge was little bigger than Asher’s ready room, but it was well appointed and comfortable enough. Tea service was waiting. “Unless you’d prefer coffee,” she said, pouring hot water into a cup. “But I’ve never been much of a fan.” Grinning widely, he nodded. “Same actually.” “Well then, this is an Andorian blend. Thalov introduced me to it when we first met back on the Ghandi. It’s got a bit of a kick.” While they waited for their tea to steep, Asher settled in across from Garrett. He would be lying if he said he didn’t feel a sense of school-boy excitement to be aboard the Enterprise-C. Still, he also couldn’t help but to feel a profound sense of guilt knowing what fate would befall the woman making him tea in a few years when on sleepy Sunday afternoon, her ship responded to a distress call from the Klingon outpost on Narendra III. He forced a smile as she offered him milk. “So, I am guessing it is a rather interesting story about how your ship got here?” “Well, I am not sure my crew would call it that, but I suppose.” She smirked. “How are they are?” “We’ve been through a lot in the last few weeks, they’re tired but they’re good. I think every Captain thinks that, but they are.” Nodding she took a sip of tea, and motioned for him to continue. He explained that they’d been returning to starbase following a diplomatic mission in the sector and had received a distress call. The irony of their somewhat intertwined fates loomed ever present in his mind, but he continued. “That’s where things got weird.” “You said it was from a Kaedwani freighter?” He nodded. “Yeah, on the edge of Tamaran space. They said they were under attack, well as near as we could make out. It was pretty garbled. When we arrived, we were the first ones there -- at least from our perspective.” Rachel lifted a brow, but took a drink of tea instead of asking another question as Asher continued to unwind the events of the last few weeks. “We managed to calm them down,” he said of the Kaedwani and Tamaran captains, “and we agreed to launch a joint investigation led by the Romulans and us. “By then we’d started to notice malfunctions and unusual biological effects.” “Unusual biological effects?” “It was strange, crew remembers were reporting old wounds healing or in some cases reopening. Our science and medical team suspected the high levels of chroniton radiation were at fault, but we couldn’t confirm it until we brought the wreckage aboard.” Rachel was listening intently and had largely forgotten her tea. “We discovered,” he continued, “that the molecular structures of the freighter’s hull were starting to regress to earlier temporal states but before we could hypothesize further, the Kaedwani cruiser started to lose containment. They ejected their core and well... what happened next is pretty conjectural.” Remembering that Rachel wasn’t a science junkie, like himself, he considered how to explain what happened. Even for an astrophysicist, he found it all a bit strange. “We think when the core exploded, that it caused a temporal inversion -- a rip in space-time -- that caused the destruction of the freighter. The result was a sort of, temporal eruption. We got caught in its wake and somehow ended up in the past.” Taking that all in Rachel leaned back in her chair, drumming her fingers. “Well, I guess that would explain what’s going on with the moon...” Sheepishly, Asher sighed. “Well not uh... not exactly.”
  11. The Lysander circled at low impulse. Svati frowned, crossing her legs in the command chair. It had been almost six hours and she could almost hear the clock ticking before the Captain would, smugly, declare the entire a diversion a waste of time and order them to return to their patrol. He’d doubtlessly add something smug about scientists while doing so. “Commander?” She turned. “Yes, Ensign?” “Come take a look at this.” Brightening, but keeping her enthusiasm in check she headed to the science console. “I’ll be damned. Get the Captain up here right away.” A few minutes later Jesselyin joined them. His tall, lanky frame occupying the bulkhead near the science console, he peered at the science officers skeptically. “So?” “These are ion trails,” Svati said pointing to the screen. “That’s the only explanation that makes any sense anyway. One very faint ion trail.” “It appears whatever ship left it,” Reese Corten added, with a prod from Svati, “that their field coils must have been out alignment or something. It’s very erratic.” Jesselyin nodded, thoughtfully. “That doesn’t explain the delta radiation spike. It could just be a freighter or something that passed through. Not like they keep their warp drives in perfect working order.” “That is a possibility,” Svati said, clearing her throat. “But it makes more sense for the two things to be related. If the Romulans are testing a new cloaking device -- perhaps something went wrong and they’re limping home. “We also only noticed the ion trails because Ensign Corten ran it through a Terras Cycler,” she said give him a sly wink. “They appear headed towards Romulan space.” Jesselyin frowned. “Options?” “We should follow the ion trails. Even if it’s not a Romulan ship, they could be damaged.” “And if is a Romulan ship? It could cause an intergalactic incident.” He closed his eyes. “Are we still having problems with the long-range communications?” “Yes,” the communication officer on watch chimed in. “We’re still trying to track down what’s causing it.” “How long would it take us to establish comms with HQ?” “At least four to five hours,” the comms officer said with a glance to navigation. “Assuming the phenomena is localized to this sector.” Jesselyin took a deep breath and glanced towards Svati. “Commander?” “The ion trails are already starting to dissipate, we should follow them.” “Very well. Helm, set course. Yellow alert.”
  12. Svati smoothed back her hair. Maybe she should just cut it all off. It was such a damned inconvenience and it never looked worth a damn. It worked for the Deltans, didn’t it? She sighed and secured the flap of her jacket. Her mother would never approve. Making her way down the hallway, she refocused on the task at hand. Telling her mother that she had shaved her head suddenly sounded more appealing of an option than waking the Captain. It wasn’t that he was a tyrant or anything. It was just -- she couldn’t place it into words -- he just didn’t seem to like her. Well not her. Her discipline. How had he put it when they first met? “It’s not you I have a problem with -- it’s what you represent. Scientists.” He’s almost spat the word. She shook her head again. Why the would you join Starfleet if you didn’t like exploration? Who spends four years busting their ass at the Academy and goes “yeah, don’t like this whole exploring thing you people are doing.” And then sticks around long enough to command a starship! The hallways were quiet and the deck lighting had been dimmed for evening. The Captain’s quarters were only a section down from her own and she paused collecting herself before hitting the chimes. The door lock clicked and the pneumatics hissed lowly. Oh good, he wasn’t asleep. “It’s late Commander -- how can I help you?” “I hope am not disturbing you,” she said, realizing how silly that sounded. “But?” He waived her in. “You’re in uniform and it’s -- gamma shift? So I assume it’s not just anything.” She smiled. “It might nothing, but one of our probes has detected some very unusual radiation readings in sector 41.” “What kind of radiation?” “Delta radiation.” The captain frowned, leaning back into his inset bunk along the wall opposite the door. “And you want to go take a closer look, I assume?” “Yes, sir. It might be nothing but it coul...” “When are we due in at Coridan?” The interruption caught her off guard, but Svati took a deep breath. “Not for another week, and...” “And this a chance to blah blah,” he said with a heavy sigh. “Yes, I am sure a delta radiation spike in the middle of nowhere is very interesting to you, but I have...” Seriously? “Captain, with all due respect -- sir, may I speak freely?” After a moment, he nodded. “Yes.” “Jesselyin -- sir -- I know you don’t like science officers. I am not sure why exactly, but sir -- I wish you would trust me on this. If it were just something I was interested in, I wouldn’t bother coming to wake you in the middle of the night. And if you can’t trust me then maybe you should ask Starfleet for another executive officer.” It was Jesselyin’s turn to be taken back. Sitting up, he laid the book he’d had in hands the entire conversation aside and swung his legs over the edge of the bed to face her. It took several attempts before he finally spoke. “No, I don’t want another executive officer and it’s not that I don’t trust you to do that job. You’ve continued to show yourself to be a perfectly capable ex-oh. “It’s late and I was intemperate. I am sure you wouldn’t bother me with something trivial. What do you think it could be?” He apologized? Lord have mercy. Letting the apology stand, Svati nodded. “There’s a number of things it could be, but the one that I am concerned about in particular would be Romulans testing modifications to their cloaking device. Intelligence reports for the sector have indicated an increased number of sensor blips over the last month or so.” “Very well. Inform Coridan that we might be delayed. Keep me updated.” “Yes sir and thank you.”
  13. It was late and gamma shift had reached the point of the evening where Harold Tisker considered if he could get away with a nap in the head. Lysander was nearly three months into her first real assignment -- cataloging gaseous anomalies in near the Romulan Neutral Zone -- and nothing even remotely exciting had happened to them yet; which, as far as Harold was concerned, was entirely okay. He leaned back in the command chair and started to close his eyes. Nothing wrong with an inspection of them. Behind him, the new junior officer they’d picked up at Starbase 10 prattled on about Erathian verb conjugations -- or something -- from the communications station. How anyone could get so excited for a language no one had spoken for three thousand years eluded Harold, but whatever floated the guy’s starship, A station or two over, an enlisted guy named Hancock was swinging (and missing) for the fences with gamma shift’s engineer, Malia Jhaon. Harold considered sparing the poor guy by reminding him that such flirtations were inappropriate, but that sounded suspiciously like effort, something Harold had sworn off for the rest of the shift. Harold had almost managed to doze off when the woosh of the lift doors stirred him to attention. Unperturbed. he sat up, pretending to be busy looking at the clipboard on his lap. “As you were.” Turning he started to stand. “Commander.” “No need, Lieutenant,” Svati Desai said. “I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I’d take a walk.” Harold exhaled. “Of course, Commander. Everything’s pretty quiet up here. Ensign Corten has been monitoring a small spike in delta radiation in quadrant 29. Nothing too unusual but...” “Delta radiation?” Svati’s eyebrow was peaked like a Vulcan, and she was already halfway to the science console. “There shouldn’t be any delta radiation spikes in quadrant 29.” She really must be bored, Harold considered. It was accurate. Svati had spent the better part of the last two weeks looking at space dust and crew evaluations. This was her first assignment as an executive officer and she wished someone had warned her about all the administrivia that came with the shoe closet they called her office. Reese Corten looked up as she approached. He was, from her remembrance of his file, a capable if inexperienced officer; like many on the crew, it was first real mission since graduating the academy. “So, what are we looking at Ensign.” “One of the probes picked it up, ma’am,” Reese said, rolling his chair over to give her room at his console. Svati nodded and looked over the readings. “Did you run it through the Terras cycler?” Fumbling for a moment to remember what that even was, he shook his head. “Not yet ma’am,” he finally said, “I -- uh -- we hadn’t seen anything other than just the spike so we were just recording the data.” She furrowed her brows and pulled her hair back into a ponytail. “Mmm,” she began tapping. “Always good to run delta radiation spikes through it. Though -- Ensign... Portein have you monitored anything on subspace?” Wide-eyed the young communications offer shook his head. “Uh --” he said, “ Nothing unusual.” Harold closed his eyes and bit his lip. He felt it coming. Wincing he braced himself. But the dressing down never came. Instead, Svati instructed Portien to begin monitoring from here on out. That was a relief. “Lieutenant, give him a hand and go back through the logs from when you detected this until now and make sure there’s nothing he missed.” What a damned inconvenience, but at least she didn’t blow up on him. “Ma’am,” Reese said, “what are you thinking?” “There shouldn’t be any unusual delta radiation in that sector. It’s empty space. And the -- what are their names? Tamarians and Kaedwani? Neither of them are very technologically advanced. Warp 4 or something like that?” Svati was pacing. She did that alot when she was trying to figure a problem out. She also rambled. It drover her roommate at the academy crazy. “How far is that from Romulan border?” Reese took a moment to find the exact distance. She nodded. “Though intel is spotty in the region,” she stopped. “Ah good the results from the Terras Cycler. “Interesting. You said we picked up the spike from one of the probes?” “Yes -- uh -- 6-D.” “Where is it now?” “Quadrant 30. “ “Turn it around, have it go back through 29 and this time have it do a level 4 sweep. Then we need to run a level 2 analysis of this data. It could be nothing, but this close to Romulan space...” Harold had been listening and while most of what she was saying was about as intelligible to him as Portein’s babbling about Erathian verbs, he got the gist of it. “Commander,” he interjected at an opportune time, “should we inform the Captain?” Svati took a deep breath. “No,” she finally said. “I’ll do it. I need to change into my uniform anyway. Ensign continue monitoring and begin the level 2 analysis.” Harold nodded. “Aye.” Good luck!
  14. Asher sat pensively next the glassy table at the center of the observation lounge, sipping replicated tea -- herbal supplement #431. It had a somewhat pleasant mixture of juniper, fern and cardamom that made him think of a flannel shirt. For replicated tea, it was passable. Chewing at his lip, he sat the tea down as the chimes announced the arrival of the first of guests. Captain-General Gal Calborn entered through the side entrance, flanked on either side by one of Excalibur’s security officers -- a concession to both the Tamaran and Kadwani delegations. She was stoutly built and dressed in full regalia. “Captain,” she said in the low-gutturals endemic to her species, “Thank you for agreeing to host this conversation.” Before he could respond, the chimes came again and the lythe, horned figured of the Kaedwani commander emerged from behind the doors. She looked towards her Tamaran counterpart for a long moment before turning her attention to Asher. “Captain Swain, I presume. Taller than I expected for a primate.” Was that a racism? Asher smiled anyway. “Welcome to the Excalibur, please have a seat. Can I get either of you anything to drink while we wait for Commander tr’Shaelon?” “I require no refreshment to be able to meet with you, my stamina is quite fine,” came an overly quick response from Calborn. Asher exhaled through his nose, trying his best to remain neutral. “Of course, Gen...” The chimes interrupted, mercifully, and tr’Shaelon entered the room with a flourish. “Jolan tru,” he said tipping his head. “I am pleased that we are all able to be here and that calm, rational dialog may yet win out.” This is going to be a very long day. Asher nodded and motioned everyone to have a seat. After some initial posturing on all sides, the four commanding officers each relayed the version of events as they had experienced it: the Tamarans had received a very garbled transmission that appeared to be a distress call and had moved to intercept; the Excalibur had detected a similar transmission and done the same; the Kaedwani continued to maintain they had detected no such signal but had instead detected the Excalibur moving off it’s registered flight path and moving towards a Tamaran vessel headed towards their space; and then there were the Romulans. “In the interest of transparency,” tr’Shaelon began. “My orders were to keep an eye on the Exca;inur during your trade mission to the Confederation. As you might imagine, my government weary of Federation interest in one of our strongest allies.” Asher had to make a concerted effort to keep from rolling his eyes, but nodded along. “Naturally.” “We had been keeping some distance, as I said we were only observing. We noticed your course correction and did briefly detect a subspace transmission, but both due to our cloak and its somewhat low-powered nature could not identify it further...” “A secret transmission!” The Kaedwani commander interrupted, thundering as she he smacked her fist on the table. “No doubt a signal from the Tamaran fools.” “How dare you.... You... you...” “Can we please,” Asher said sharply, “can we please refrain from pointing fingers.” The two commanders glowered, but nodded. Asher exhaled again and looked to towards tr’Shaelon who seemed impressed at Swain’s ability to defuse the situation. “Indeed. My science officers do not believe the transmission was Tamaran in origin, but without additional evidence we cannot rule that out.” “What more evidence do you need?!” This time it was Calborn rumbling from across the table. “There is an entire field of debris out there or did your fancy cloaking device keep you from seeing that too? Speaking of which... awfully handy you just happened to be here...” “Why would the Romulans destroy one of our ships?” “To precipitate a war between us! To drive...” “Stop it.” Asher said smacking his mug against the table. “Just stop it. We’re not going to get anywhere as long as we keep devolving into shouting matches.” Calborn recoiled, but the Kaedwan commander was less cowed. “Then what do you suggest, Captain? I have yet to hear any evidence exonerating your crew. You’re just as...” “Commander,” tr’Shaelon cut in abruptly. “I believe Captain Swain has a suggestion, if you’ll let him speak.” “Very well.” Asher made a note to thank tr’Shaelon later. Perhaps a bottle of the ale that Issaha had given him? “Yes, I am proposing that we conduct a joint investigation of the incident. Crewmembers from all four ships will be involved and each of us will agree to turn over all sensor logs and computer information. “I am sure that we all have information we’d rather not share, but we must trust each other.” “Why should we trust you?” It was the Kaedwani again. “Because I am trusting him,” tr’Shaelon said. “I am not exactly pleased at the idea of turning over sensor data or computer logs, either; and I assure you my superiors will be even less than thriled.” “Mine won’t exactly be happy either,” Asher admitted. “But I am committed to finding out the truth of what has happened. Something or someone destroyed the freighter out there and I intend to find out who or what did it.” Calborn nodded. “I will agree to these terms as well. My honor alone demands I clear my people’s name.” “Fine. I will, accede to your request on the condition that after the investigation is complete that you turn over all information to my government and all parties agree to accept Confederation jurisdiction when determining any judicial proceedings.” “Agreed.” “Very well.” Asher nodded. “There is one last matter. As my ship is the best equipped to handle an investigation of this nature, I would propose that it be headquartered here and led by my chief of science who will have independent authority to conduct the investigation. Are there any objections?” A welcome silence followed and for the first time, Asher began to breathe a bit easier. “Very well, I suggest everyone return to their ships and begin coordinating with Lieutenant K’hal on which officers you are assigning to his investigation.” Both the Tamaran and Kaedwani commanders departed shortly after, their security detachments keeping them apart; tr’Shaelon however lingered. “Captain, if we might have a moment in private?” “Of course, why don’t you join me in my ready room. I might even have a bottle of Romulan ale if you need something after that.” tr’Shaelon grinned. “In deed.”
  15. Kaedwan Confederation Report Prepared by: El’Arrain Issaha NDak, USS Excalibur ---- BACKGROUND Formed nearly a century ago, the Kaedwan Confederation began as a defensive alliance between the Kaedwan, Aedirn, Kovissian and Cintran peoples as a backstop against expansionist neighboring powers in the Paimpont region, such as the Xindi, Breen, Romulan, but more immediately the Tamaran Empire. The defensive alliance quickly grew into a multinational confederation and has solidified into a federated republic, comprising of several dozen star systems and ten member states. The Confederation maintains close trade relations with the Breen and Romulans, with whom they exclusively supply with cryogenic materials and oxium (a rare metal used in construction of Romulan AQS units.) In return, the Breen and Romulans governments provide them with weapons, technological advances, and protection from the Tamaran and Xindi. Due to the Federation’s longtime support of the Tamaran Empire, whom the Tamarans supply large quantities of biogenic materials, relations between the two have remained terse, if not antagonistic. However, recent developments on Romulus have led some in the Confederation to wonder about the long-term viability of their partnership, and to look towards the Federation -- who they are more ideologically aligned with -- as a better fit. POLITICS While the member states retain vestigial autonomy on a number of issues, real authority rests with the governing “Security Council.” The Security Council is nominally comprised of all ten member states, however only five are given “voting” rights. These five consist of three of founding members (Kaedwan, Aedirn, and Koviss) while the other two rotate on a two-year basis through the remaining seven representatives. At the beginning of each two-year term, the representatives elect a Chair who serves as the nominal head of government, though in reality the powers of the office are mostly limited to parliamentary procedure. The Confederation’s head of government, the Secretary-General, is elected by direct-popular election and serves for unlimted 6-year terms. The current Secretary-General is Gniss Colarni, the first Secretary-General to be elected from outside one of the original founding states. The Secretary-General serves as the commander and chief of the Confederation military, and guides both domestic and foreign policy. Within the Confederation, the Kaedwan and Aedrin maintain positions of consistent dominance, owing to both their relatively larger economies and populations. The Confederation military, in particular, while being nominally the responsibility of all member states, draws heavily from Aedrin and Kaedwani history and traditions. While the Kaedwan homeworld of Ard Jael serves as a defacto capitol, the actual capitol is a large, space-born facility located near the center of the confederation. BIOLOGY Kaedwan Classification P-2 life forms, the Kaedwan are mammalian primates. They have fair skin and complexion. Though their histories record they once possessed telepathic abilities, a genetic mutation that propagated throughout the species some 10-centuries ago seems to have neutralized this gene. Physically they are resemble Terans, with the exception of two corniculate structures on their heads. Aedrin Classification P-6 lifeforms, the Aedrin are mammalian primates. They have blue-green skin and markings in deep purple, pink and grey that form around their eyes. Koviss Classification M-5 lifeorms, the Kovissians are mammalians closely related to perissodactyla, more specifically Teran Tapirs. Cintra Classification P-5, Cintran are mammalian primates who bear a strong resemblance to Vulcan and Romulans, including having copper based blood. It is possible they are distant related. Tothir R-1 class lifeorms, the Tothir are a species of cold-blooded reptilians with a highly-evolved sense of smell that replaces their near-absent sense of sight. MILITARY OVERVIEW By Lt. Commander Philippe Augustin and Major Ryu Seung-jae The Kaedwan Confederation maintains a robust defensive posture with a series of outposts along their considerable borders with the Xindi, Federation and Tamaran governments. In addition they posses advanced technology on par with the Gorn or Tzenkethi Empires. Their military fleet primarily consists of varying classes of light cruisers, destroyers and smaller patrol vessels. These ships are armed with weapons sourced from Breen and Romulan governments. Federation intelligence suggests the Kaedwan also possess several larger capital ships. Current information indicates they have 16 Bulwark-class heavy cruisers (roughly equivalent to a Mk4 Excelsior-class), 4 Adamant-class heavy cruisers (roughly equivalent to a Mk2 Ambassador-class) and 3 Citadel-class battle carriers (roughly equivalent to an Akira-class.) Additionally further intel suggests the development of a series of new “medium” cruisers to be underway with the first of these ships expected to begin space trials in the next 16-18 months.