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Crash Calestorm

Where in the 'verse is Ashton? Or How I spent my refit

Lieutenant Malcolm Reed: I'm being compromised, sir. And I don't like it.

Harris: Then I suggest you adjust your comfort level, Lieutenant.

- Star Trek: Enterprise, “Affliction” (2005)


Old United Stares Territory

Former State of Georgia



As a person aged, they naturally acquired skill sets depending on their line of work. A person could be anything to a crackerjack secretary with the civilian workforce to an EOD specialist with the Starfleet Marines to a Historical Sciences officer serving on a survey vessel attached to the private First Contact sector.


A lot of folks considered starship commanders the best of the Starfleet breed, but that wasn’t really true. Or to clarify, this was what she had discovered. Once you got out there in the black expanse you realized that sure, you had the training for the position but it was the acquired skills and training that really made the difference.


Well, all that along with a healthy dose of common sense.


Was she a good starship commander? Calestorm had no idea and that opinion depended on who you asked.


Did she have common sense? Again, that depended on who you spoke to.


Common sense was also another way of knowing when to be a coward for a minute than dead for the rest of your life, or so the old Irish saying went. Her grandfather had been fond of quoting from the “Motherlands” as he jokingly referred to Ireland and Scotland.


But she did notice things. Like the fact the birds had stopped chirping.


Captain Ashton ‘Crash’ Calestorm kept her sight on the tree line, straight ahead ‘cause that was where the uninvited guest was coming from. Her one hand was occupied with a glass of sweet tea that she raised to her lips while the other was occupied with the trigger of Granddads pump-action shotgun that lay across her knees.


The security system hadn’t been triggered and she hadn’t heard the engine of a shuttle. Her guess was either a hover car or standard automobile. Years back, all those science fiction books and 2-D television shows had assumed hover cars would be the way to travel but regular cars had stuck around, mostly clean fuel versions. Even the old gas guzzlers such as her 1966 Pontiac had been converted to some form of electric or plasma energy.


Her glance traveled over to the storage shed where the car sat, a glint of the afternoon sun glinting off the hood. Then her no nonsense gaze fixed on the tree line again. The only visitors she’d been expecting was family and friends who had the clearance codes to the Coyote Run property and that meant this would go really well or someone was going to get a really rude awakening.


She’d never be accused of being twitchy but her old age had made her cautious. Or grumpy. She was finding it hard to tell these days.


A squirrel – the one with the missing tuft of tail – shot out of the bushes and climbed up the trunk of a tree before the rustling reached her ears. Seconds later, a Human emerged from the relative obscurity of the woods.


Not bad. Probably has some SpecOps training…


The man was tall, average build and wore a simple black uniform tunic and trousers. He was younger then Calestorm with sandy colored hair close cropped and starting to go gray at the temples. He had a burn scar that ran from the corner of his left eye down to the jaw line. It was odd to see a superficial scar in this day and age of medical advances.


She kept a close eye on him the whole time.


* * * *

Special Agent Harris stopped at least a dozen paces out from the woods, roughly at the halfway mark between the log cabin and the brush and trees.


With the combat boots, cargo pants, denim shirt and camouflage wrapped shot gun, a Mossberg 835 Turkey Popper if he was guessing correctly and done his research - which of course he had - she looked like a redneck who should have been running moonshine whiskey from county to county in one of those stereotypical good ol’ boy country films that had been so popular back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.


He knew that could be further from the truth based on her service record. Harris watched as she carefully put the glass down on a small patio table and unfolded her lanky frame from the folding hunter’s chair. Shotgun held away yet at the ready, the starship captain mad her way down the composite wood steps leading to the porch.


The silence stretched out until it was Calestorm who broke it. “Welcome. Got a name? And what happened here?” She indicated her face.


Harris nodded in greeting and then answered. “A reminder of the last team I deployed with. Lost a couple of people. Completed the mission, but things went sideways.”


Okay, Harris isn’t a**hole but he’s not begun to adjust his course dealing with the demons though. She made a mental note.


“Why are you here?”


“My unit requires your assistance with a mission. You’ve come to our attention based on your past involvement with the ORP, specifically, the assignment to Idiri K Five*.


There was no dickering around here, this was for sure.


The Officer Recovery Program had been responsible for the recovery of noncom-grade and officer personnel from covert operations that had ended, or were mostly ended. The assignments could range from non-interference observation of an evolving culture to deep cover within the ranks of a pirate clan preying on cargo haulers.


ORP missions had typically involved ferrying assets from point A to point B for drop off and debriefing. When things got weird the assignments were a straight up run and gun extraction. Then Lieutenant Commander Calestorm had done two years with the program with then Commander Shauna Coyote as lead handler.


The program had since been enveloped under Starfleet Intelligence Operations and …Crash hadn’t heard the name K Five in a long time.


“As ah recall, Thirty One came to ORP and asked for assistance with that one. I suggest you contact them.” Her tone was cool and on DefCon Accent Eleventy.


He only had a slight reaction to her blatant use of the Starfleet covert organization. “Actually, that is who I represent.”


She paused, her expression exasperated and then she spit out her opinion on the matter. “What the Hell is this? Is every covert Starfleet group in operation volun-tolding Border Patrol personnel now?”


Calestorm deliberately made an overt reference to the recent cryptic note she’d received from her Exec, Commander Wesley and…Harris made no comment. Of course he didn’t. She knew there were a limited number of experienced personnel that could be tapped for high value assignments, especially after the destruction of the Fleet at Vulcan. As such, Crash and Scooter were two such qualified officers.


Didn’t mean Calestorm had to like it…she ran a hand through her short silver-white hair. Her emotions debated with her logic and the outcome was somewhere in between Flaming Mad and Ticked as Hell.


“Fine. Harris, you can deal with our commanding officer when she finds out. First Threat Response Program, Commanding Officer - Admiral Coyote, remember that name ‘cause she sure as Hell will remember you. Good luck with that.”


“I will. She will be contacted shortly as well to inform her of your acceptance of the extraction assignment.”


“In case you ain’t noticed, I haven’t said ‘yes’ to anything, boy.”


“You don’t have to. Here’s your assignment.” Unperturbed, Harris held out a simple data chip. Well, simple except for the bright pink color of the chip. Crash took the item gingerly as if it would explode in her hand.


“And here is your backup.”


Two forms emerged from the wooded area and scared the freakin’ proverbial you know what out of her; there was only one species that could sneak up on Calestorm like that.


The data chip dropped to the grass. She knew they were both good at sneaking, but despite knowing that fact she reflexively crouched and pumped a round into the shotgun as it swung on the felinoids. There was no retort of the weapon. No fur or blood exploded into a cloud. Just as quickly as she had moved, the older woman automatically and quickly unchambered the round, withdrew her finger from the trigger and pointed the shotgun to it’s safer and upright position.


Crash was practically apoplectic. “Dammit, y’all know better then that!”


Lieutenant Jagrissa Shaow Vacer Honor-Scar and Commander Kansas Vacer JoNs didn’t so much as purr or say a word. The female cousins as one just put their paws in the air in a facsimile of ‘we surrender’. She swore JoNs was smirking.


Smart ass cats…


“Good hunting, Captain. I’ll leave you and your team to your mission.” He nodded and then began to retreat back the way he’d come.


She waited until he’d gone a slight distance and then called his name. Harris stopped, turned and regarded her.


“Lose the scar, it don’t suit you. Your memories honor your team and you’ll know what not to do the next time.”


Harris gave her a funny little look and seemed about to say something. But, he just nodded silently and then quietly made his way back into the wooded area.


* * * *

Calestorm watched him go and listened until he was out of earshot before turning her attention back to the golden furred cats, “Oh fer the love of – put your paws down!” and pointed towards the house with her free hand while the other held the now disengaged shotgun barrel upright against her shoulder.


“Well, Ladies, I’ve got an extra room. You two shed, you’re responsible for sweeping it up. Any questions? No? Good. Welcome to Coyote Run and let’s start making plans.



* See “Hang Tree Flats” Log (08.30.09) for reference: http://www.stsf.net/...showtopic=19380

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Beta Jupiter Twelve

Vasquez Territory



Beta Jupiter Twelve. Current era of time equivalent to the Earth Old West, with a few exceptions. If left alone, the planetary population would likely achieve warp drive in another two hundred years. If approached by one of the galactic governments - or involuntarily annexed by one of the empires - that projected timeline could be either sped up or forfeited. The population was of Humanoid and felinoid descent. There were rumors that the DNA signatures were a direct match for Earth Humans and Caitian Felines.


All of this information was of no concern to Ashton ‘Crash’ Calestorm right at this moment. After three months spent on this assignment, she just wanted to get herself, JoNs and Honor-Scar out of this in one piece; as the projectile sped past her head, she wasn’t so sure about that last part.


Commander Kansas ‘Taboo Cat’ JoNs was driving the hover vehicle. Or rather, she was attempting to drive the vehicle. Used primarily to haul ore or supplies, the transport wasn’t the optimal choice for a high speed chase. Then again, their pursuers were riding on the local equivalent of horses so it wasn’t exactly a high speed chase.


Lieutenant Jagrissa ‘Jumper’ Honor-Scar fired a few shots back in the general direction of the posse as Calestorm quickly reloaded her pistol.


“It sure would have been nice to bring some hand grenades, wouldn’t it?” the younger felinoid yelled out as she took a wide shot at a rider.


Crash made a close approximation of a growl. “Stow it, Jumper!” She popped up again and squeezed off her shots, still deliberately missing targets.


An undercover operative had been observing the population for the last four months. He currently lay unconscious on the bed of the pickup due to a bullet graze on the side of the head. Thankfully, the injury wasn’t serious.


He’d been mistakenly arrested as one of the persons responsible for a fixed poker game and missed two scheduled check ins. Starfleet Intelligence had gotten concerned and as always, the Border Patrol had been volunteered to deal with the situation. Calestorm had been tapped due to past experience with the type of era, with JoNs and Honor-Scar tapped for the obvious reasons that they were feline and Crash had obviously worked closely with the two officers before.


Just beaming him up to a recovery vessel was not an option; as the reconnaissance had indicated, Cooper had been watched most of the time by the sheriff and her deputies. So….they’d staged a jailbreak…


Join Starfleet. See the Universe. Travel to exotic locations and mess with the local law in the name of surveillance. Yippee ki yay! Not.


With their pursuers’ equines beginning to run out of proverbial steam, Crash decided that it was now or never.


“JoNs! Once we clear that overhang ahead, trigger the automatic beam out!”




Less then two minutes later, the four of them shimmered back into existence, boots and paws on the solid deck surface of a sleek, black shuttle. Like the outside, the interior was devoid of any official Starfleet markings.


Honor-Scar tended to Cooper’s wound while Calestorm and the older felinoid moved into the cockpit area and readied the flight programs for the shuttle to leave orbit.


Crash couldn’t help but laugh from the co-pilot’s seat. “Those yokels were so far off with their shots it wasn’t even funny. The sheriff must have rounded up every drunk in the county for that posse.”


“Uh, Captain?” Kansas stopped her course plot on the cockpit keyboard monitor to indicate the cowboy hat Calestorm wore with a paw. “You might want to double check on that.”


Crash removed the hat, gave it The Look and then poked her finger through the hole in the brim of her hat. She exclaimed, “Son of a…Great Bird of the Galaxy. Not cool! This is so not cool! Do you see how close that one got?!

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