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Thread: A War Between Two Galaxies, A Star Trek/Star Wars Story

  1. #1
    SFM Nugget
    Join Date
    Jan 17

    A War Between Two Galaxies, A Star Trek/Star Wars Story

    In addition to doing sketches, I've also started to write my own fan fiction. Actually, I will be making additional starship designs to supplement canon and fanon designs used throughout the story. I have finished a few chapters, which I will post once per day.

    A Star Wars/Star Trek fan fiction WIP. Expect a lot of changes to be made, as I seek out and receive advice from others to improve this, and as I come up with better ideas over time.

    If you don't like spoilers, and see something great in this, then I encourage you to wait until I say I'm finished with this (assuming that ever even happens).

    Certain events and ships from other fan fictions and fan videos will be referenced.

    Star Wars and Star Trek are owned by their respective copyright holders and no copyright infringement is intended whatsoever. Any characters and starship classes inevitably used are held by some fair use/copyright clause that I'm sure exists, and pretty much belongs to them. Same goes for any soundtracks linked to give mood to this story.

    <Background Soundtrack: [link]>


    There are certain areas of space where the boundaries between different areas between time, space, and dimensions are far thinner than normal. There are many areas like this in every Galaxy. Ascended races such as the Q knew about these rifts for at least tens of thousands of years, and some of them have even used them to travel between different times and places. The current younger races however have only now began learning about them, and what they can do. Safely traveling between them is another story.

    During cases where unscented races find and use these rifts, it sometimes results in friendship and mutual benefits for different parties. In other cases, it leads two races with two different ideologies into conflict. In this case, it was the later.

    One was a democratic faction that had just come out of one devastating war after another, and was now dealing with the aftermath of a devastating interstellar event. As a faction known for keeping the peace, they have been expending time and resources to keep their part of the galaxy from turning into turmoil. But they have also begun rebuilding their fleet with the technologies brought back from the Delta Quadrant, which was devastated during the final invasion attempt from the cybernetic plague known to the galaxy as the Borg, as well as the Dominion Wars from over a decade ago.

    Another was a former democratic interstellar state, now turned a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by an iron fist, and at war with those who refused to accept the death of liberty. Things have also gotten worse in their galaxy as the ruthless Empire has stepped up their campaign to rid the Galaxy of any of this stupid, inconvenient notion of "democracy" or "governmental accountability". These two power's ideologies couldn't be any more different, and the first of events is about to be put in motion.

    <For optional background music[link], but stop at 5:16>

    A long time ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

    It has been several months since the devastating Battle of Hoth, and the Rebellion has split up and gone into hiding, but has continued their almost trademark -at-this-point hit and run attacks. While searching for a missing Star Destroyer, Imperial scouts happened upon a spacial anomaly, research into which suggested, that under the right circumstances, could be safely used to cross into another area of space.

    It is a time of great upheaval as the evil Empire's quest to crush the rebellion turns into a full blown Galactic Civil War, and the Empire uses an ever increasing amount of resources. Hungry for more resources to use against the Rebellion, the Empire has built a station specifically designed by Imperial science to cross this special area of space into another, what and where of which is unknown. Due to not knowing where it will lead, and what or who is on the other side, this station has been built with the purpose of fending off any hostile factions they might encounter, as well as in case the Rebellion learns of the existence of this top secret space station, and some of the best capitol ships have been called to form an initial scouting party, with more ships on alert if needed.

    In a rare public appearance, the Emperor is on route to give a grand send off of his ships to conquer new territory. The schedule for the first launch has been sped up, due to the significant amount of resources that have been expended, including on stations such as Gateway. For those in the know, there is a significant amount of anticipation.

    Nearby a nebula floated a gigantic structure, surrounded by gathered vessels and under-construction Golan defense platforms. But what really caught one's eye was the dark grey long dagger-shaped triangular vessel near the newly completed space station: an Executor-class Star Dreadnaught. She was guarded by several smaller Imperial-I, Imperial-II, and Victory I and II-class Star Destroyers, Vindicator-class Heavy Cruisers, and even a few Nebulon-Class Frigates, Carrack-class Light Cruisers and Lancer-class Frigates, plus various smaller craft on patrol. There was even an Immobilizer-class Interdictor. Something important was happening here, especially today.

    The station itself consisted of a stretched hexagonal section, where most of the crew's quarters, Hypermatter power source, shuttle bays, and control bridge were located, not to mention the shield generators, and underneath that, attached by a long rectangular section, was a series of 6 hexagonal rings. The parts of the rings facing inwards glowed a dull blue. The station itself was defended by strategically placed turbo-lasers, laser cannons, and missile batteries, as well as 8 squadrons of TIE Fighters and Interceptors, with more being transferred. On the side opposite of the rings was another long rectangular section with shuttle bays dedicated for these fighters, and docking ports for capital ships. The other 4 sides of the main hexagonal section had additional rectangular sections under construction, where docking trenches on the dorsal side and shuttle bays on both the dorsal and side of the sections were to house and support additional units. One was complete, and was awaiting fighter squadrons to be assigned to them. Another was very close, and only needed the finishing touches, such as completing lighting, life support, and having the defensive weaponry installed.

    A Lambda-class shuttle launched from the Executor class. Escorting her was a quad of blood red colored TIE Interceptors.

    The station, while not as big as the next under-construction Death Star, was still impressive. Hundreds of levels high, it rivaled the size of the Negotiator that the Lambda departed from, and made the shuttle herself look like an ant compared to a giant. When she came to a rest in one of the stations main shuttle bays, large enough to house a small capital ship such as a CR-90 Corvette, there was entire station's non-essential personal, such as Storm-Troopers and off-duty TIE pilots and command staff waiting in well organized lines at attention. Also at attention were mouse droids, astromech droids, and probe droids.
    The Lambda T4a and the escort Interceptors landers, and the shuttle's ramp dropped down, and out came 8 figures: 6 were guards dressed in red: the Emperor's Royal Guard, and 2 were dressed in black. Darth Vader, and his Master, Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith and Emperor of the Galactic Empire departed and walked onto the hanger deck.

    <for background music flavor, listen to this track [link]>

    For the crew, and hopefully the readers of this historical log, there was no need for an introduction here. Everyone knew of their reputations. Except for the station's commander apparently.

    "Ah, welcome to Gateway Space Station, you must be Lord Vader", which he said as he reached out a hand to Vader, which he reluctantly took, and gave a cyber-enhanced squeeze.
    "Wow, you have quite a grip there, sir...okay, you can let go now. No seriously, your starting to hurt my hand, which I need to..."
    "The Emperor is somewhat displeased with you. First you fail to meet your schedule, and then you approach the Emperor an in inappropriate manner?!"
    "I was merely treating his Excellency no different from how I would want to be regarded", the commander replied in pain. "Besides, how could he be displeased with the work we have done? The heavy turbo lasers and quad heavy laser cannons ordered from Tiam & Bak have begun installation. Which I might add were not a part of the original station's specs, but added at the request of the Emperor. Heck, I've even ordered a few dozen ion cannons, because I'm guessing you'd want to give those Rebel terrorists a nasty little surprise, assuming they decided to come around. And the station's heart is completely operational!"
    "But you are behind schedule!"
    "The new schedule! I replied to the Emperor's office, and said that it would be difficult to speed up construction unless I had a proportional increase in men and equipment! You can't rush these things, it's just not possible! I've already lost a few good men in an accident when we did try to pick up the kriffing pace! I won't put those under my order in unnecessary risARRGGGHH!!!"
    "Watch your language, or you might utter you last word, Colonel!"
    "Maybe if my hand wasn't in pain, I would measure my words better!"
    Usually, the station's commander was mild-mannered and friendly. Most of the station's complement had never seen him curse, and if he raised his voice, it was only out of friendliness or importance.
    "That will be enough, Lord Vader", said Palpatine as he smiled that nasty smile of his. "The Colonel can have his men and equipment."
    "Yes, my master", and Vader promptly released the hand of the station's commander.
    "However, this is the term of receiving these men and equipment: if you fail to complete this station on schedule by even a second, I will execute you myself"
    Was he kidding? He had this retort in his head, but he thought it best to keep it to himself.
    "Me and my men have already created a list of transfer requests. We believe that everyone on this list are among the best construction crew in the Empire. They are apparently have fantastic work ethic and are among the best in their field, not including those already working here, and at least one person among my staff knows one of the people on this list, and have vouched for them personally by showing me their resumés. I'm quite confident that if you send me each of these ladies and gentlemen, you'll have the best station in the quadrant!" He then reached his hand towards the Emperor, apparently not learning his lesson, but merely wanting to just seal the deal. The Emperor's guards pointed their Force Pikes at the Colonel. Nobody was supposed approach the Emperor like that, not with the increased security measures from over the years since the installation of the New Order.
    "You guys can take my blaster if it makes you feel any better, but the charge is not in it. I wouldn't bring a charged blaster while meeting the Emperor!"
    The Emperor walked past the Colonel as the Royal Guards first looked at each other, and then dog-piled him, and confiscated his Blastech personal pistol. However, they didn't kill him, as they would do with most people. Probably a good thing he told them the charge wasn't in the blaster. It was in a back pocket instead. Probably a hold-over from being a Trooper.
    "You will have your men and equipment, then." Palpatine actually kind of admired the Colonel's work ethic, if not his temerity. The station did indeed look impressive, and he liked the initiative of installing the ion cannons. A smile grew on his face. Oh, if he could only get those accursed Rebels to make a visit here. Then they would see the power of the Empire was no longer limited to this Galaxy. Shortly before he made them go the way of the Jedi. The Colonel was a holdover from the days Galactic Republic, his family lineage's service tracing back millennia. Unfortunately, his sort of temperament was unacceptable for the rule of the Sith, and the Colonel would either have to change with the times, or meet an untimely "retirement". He might meet with the latter anyways.

    The Emperor, former Grand Chancellor of the Galactic Republic, now esteemed leader of the Galactic Empire until he croaks, walked up to a promptly built podium to address all of the personal that were now his captive audience.
    A view screen dropped down behind him, while the stations's comm system transmitted his voice, so that even those on the other side of the hanger bay, or those who couldn't be there due to their duties, could at least hear him, if not see him. His voice and image were transmitted to the nearby voice throughout the nearby fleet.
    "To all of the esteemed crew and pilots of this station, and the nearby fleet, I thank you for your attention. It is with great pleasure that I officially decree this station operational."

    The crew in the command station took this as their cue to activate the station's rift generator. The octagonal rings began to grow pulse in a brighter blue in a sequence, where the the rings closest away from the main section lit up sequentially, and then the furthest. Once the furthest ring lit up, the sequence repeated, but this time, the ring closest from the station's main body stayed lit. And then the sequence started again, but the second most ring stayed lit up, and so on. A violet colored spiraling "whirlpool" began to form. By the time the sequence had reached it's last sixth cycle, the rift was complete. The Negotiator and four Imperial II-class Star Destroyers began to move towards the rift: the Durasteelclad, Regretless, Righteous, and the Pride of Coruscant. Also moving towards the rift acting as escorts was the Victory-class Frontier, the Vindicator class Virtuous, and the Nebulon-B2 Ardent.

    "In two other parts of Imperial space, in classified locations of course, similar military expeditions similar to this one are being launched at this very time", the Emperor began to explain.

    It came as a surprise to everyone on the station, other than the Emperor's personal guards and Vader that there were two other Gateway stations. Everyone had assumed that a project this resource intensive and expensive was a one-off example, at least until it was proven to work as advertised.

    Waiting until everyone present had enough time to address what he just informed them of, he continued: "this will be the first time in history since Outbound Flight that we will commit an expedition into unknown space, possibly outside The Galaxy. It is my hope that we will obtain the resources needed to rebuild after the war with the Rebellion is over, and that we might find much needed allies to possibly bring into the fold".

    And with that, the Negotiator and her escorting fleet flew into the rift.
    Last edited by JES; 27th Jan 2017 at 01:33. Reason: To add in links that didn't make it over from the Copaste

  2. #2
    SFM Nugget
    Join Date
    Jan 17
    Due to the shear size of the first chapter, I had to split it up. Otherwise, it wouldn't take.

    <Obligatory background music [link]>

    08.04.2387/Stardate 64590.85

    "Captain's log, Captain Data speaking. We're headed towards Deep Space 4 Portsmouth Starbase, as a waypoint towards diplomatic talks in what was formerly Romulan Imperial space. The events of the Hobus supernova has threatened the stability of the relatively new Typhon Pact with the destruction of Romulus and much of the political establishment, and the Empire is devolving into different factions. It has been 21 days, 10 hours, 1 minute, and 23 seconds since this unfortunate event, and things are beginning to unravel. The Kinshaya, Tholian and Breen leadership are vocally blaming the Federation for the destruction of Romulus and threatening to cut off what few diplomatic ties they have with the us. In addition, their vessels have been acting hostile to us, more than usual. The Kinshaya have already been unhappy with the Federation for some time, as we are allies with their long-time enemy, the Klingon Empire. However, the Gorn, Tzenkethi, and some of the Romulan leadership have agreed to talks, overriding the Kinshaya and Breen. There has been reported aggressions against Federation patrol ships on the Breen and Tholian border, while the Kinshaya have been more aggressive than usual against the Klingons.

    Due to the use of some form of rudimentary form of Transphasic torpedoes by the Tholians, and fears that they will share this technology with their fellow Typhon Pact members, the Enterprise is also transporting a cargo of our own Transphasic torpedoes. Even though many politicians and diplomats have raised objections to Starfleet Command's decision, citing that it could antagonize the Typhon Pact further, the Admiralty has made decision, and has made it a direct order, and upon arriving at Portsmouth, we are to begin supplying the station and it's defense fleet with torpedoes and specifications to replicate further warheads.

    In order to help with the talks, my former commanding officer, now Ambassador Jean Luc Picard, and Commander Kirsten Heimann is traveling onboard. Commander Heinmann has joined us because the Tzenkethi requested her. She and her family have had a good relationship with the Tzenkethi, and it is the United Earth's and the Federation's hope that she will help smooth these talks. As I mentioned earlier, the Tzenkethi used their influence to help insure these peace talks, and that is partially because of their experience with humans like Commander Heimann. They know that whatever their grievances with the Federation that caused them to choose to join the Pact, that the Federation wouldn't have stood by and allowed billions of sentient beings to die.
    Ambassador Picard's presence on the Enterprise is bittersweet, if I'm using the term correctly. It won't be like years ago. Admiral William T. Riker and his wife and former ship's consular, Deanna Troi Riker, are aboard the Titan, as is Wesley Crusher. His mother, Beverly Crusher is now captain of the Pasteur, while Worf is on leave from injuries sustained while fighting the rogue Romulan Nero and his ship. Former captain Geordi La Forge has retired from Starfleet entirely. While I have a great deal of nostalgia for my those who have been my crew mates since I served aboard the Enterprise-D, I am confident those currently under my command are ready for whatever may come from this mission. "

    <Background music [link]; replace Enterprising Young Men motifs with motifs from the alternative version of Goldsmith's theme, and you get the idea of what I'd want this background music track to sound like>

    The door alert sounded, and Data told the computer to stop recording and save. "You may come in".

    And in came his old friend and former Captain. "Data, it is usually expected for a Starfleet commanding officer to be on the bridge as a starship approached a space station."

    "Ah, Ambassador Picard. I was merely researching all information pertinent to the upcoming mission, as well as recording a captain's log". Because Data was an advanced android, he could both effortlessly absorb and store information, and record his starlog at the same time.

    "Well, you should come out onto the bridge. We are approaching Starbase Portsmouth, and if I might add, it is an amazing sight."

    "Of course Ambassador."

    "Captain on the bridge", announced the First Officer.

    "Approaching Starbase Portsmouth", announced Joanna Faur, the Enterprise's helm officer, or pilot in layman's term.

    "Ah, and so our dear Captain comes out of sulking in his room!", said Commander Jorana Boran, the Enterprise's Tellarite second in command bellowed. Tellarites are argumentative by nature, and are known as such by much of the Beta and especially the Alpha Quadrant. Boran had a wicked sense of humor, and she wasn't afraid to use it. She had a large, muscular build, but was what you might call a gentle giant.

    She continued with her "polite greeting" to her captain. "If you're going to spend most of your time off the bridge, maybe you should apply for desk job as Admiral, and I can take take command of the Enterprise"

    Much of the command crew had a smirk on their faces. Boran's delightful wit helped to loosen the tension on the bridge, no matter the mission.

    "Commander Boran, I only spend 13.6 percent of my time in my ready room, and as Captain, it is my duty to analyze the performance of this ship's crew, and record captain's logs to be reviewed by superior officers. I have become 10.2 percent more efficient at cutting down that time since you first complained about this. What more could you ask me to do?"

    "Oh, come on! You're a freaking android with a brain far more efficient than I could ever hope for! I bet you could reduce it to 5% if you put that positronic brain to your best use possible!" said the Tellarite with a much mirth.

    On the view screen, the warped image of warp speed gave way to the blackness of space, stars, and the blue Typhon Expanse. It was in this spacial phenomenon that the Enterprise's predecessor had been repeatedly destroyed in 2368 when she was caught in a time loop. Fortunately, she broke out of it. The exact cause of this was still under investigation to this very day.

    Ahead of the Enterprise was Starbase Portsmouth: a home away from home for Federation Starships and their crews to and from exploratory missions into the Beta Quadrant beyond the former Romulan Empire.

    Kirsten steppet forward, awed by the sight before her and the rest of the bridge crew. "Wow, I've heard that starbases be that big, but I never imagine how amazing a sight it would be. And to imagine we'll soon be docking aboard her."

    The grand-daughter of Rochus Heinmann and Charlotte Ainsworth, crew members of the U.E.S. Polaris (NCC-0782), and indeed, Rochus was later the commanding officer of an Arbiter variant of the Akyazi-class Perimeter Action Vessel, one that she hailed from quite a family. Indeed, it is because of her heritage that she could play a pivotal role in helping to keep a cordial relationship with the Typhon Pact, of which the Tzenkethi were part of. The Heinmann's were always welcomed by the Tzenkethi for their help against the Kzinti, and due their role of being a part of the vessel that came to their aid when the rest of the Federation wouldn't. She only hoped would be able to make the difference everyone was hoping for.

    She was helping Picard learn about the intricacies of Tzenkethi culture, as well as Kinshaya and Tholian culture, from what their Tzenkethi allies had learned about from being a member of the Pact. Picard had already learned enough due to having contact with the Gorn, and the Romulan especially on numerous times. Indeed, former commanding officer of the IRW Valdore, now Empress Donatra was also instrumental on keeping things the relationship between the Federation and Pact cordial. For now.

    Boran gave out a loud snort. "Yeah impressive! Impressive how it looks like a big fat shiny target! It looks like one of those snow globes you humans like, surrounded by a big fat ring, and all it takes is one successful torpedo hit, and hey, have fun dying of decompression folks!"

    "Actually, that is 12 inch thick transparent duranium alloy, which is stronger than the hull separating us from the vacuum", Data stated, always the know-it-all, something that Boran was already happy to rub in his face. Data saw that as a good thing. Federation science had allowed the creation of an alloy that was like diamond and nano-carbon fiber tubules, but flexible like transparent aluminum, and most transparent material was made out of it nowadays. "In addition, the station is well protected with other defense mechanisms. In the event of an attack, it is highly likely that the civilians would be safe."

    "Oh, how much?" asked Boran with a curious smirk.

    "Approximately 68.3%, given all known variables", Data said.

    "Oh goody, so if the Borg all the sudden attacked, we could just hide in here until they get bored", Boran replied sarcastically.

    "That was after the Borg Collective was joined with the Caelier Gestalt", replied Data

    "Oh yeah, we don't have to worry about them any more!", said Boran. "I knew that!", she added.

    "Well, I wish that we had fleet bases like these in the United Earth region" opined Kirsten.

    "There is no need for such luxurious stations when you can just beam down to a perfectly good home to the orbiting planet below. Starbases like this are designed specifically for locations where there isn't a perfectly hospitable planet, and where a large population is expected, to reduce the strain of long times in space, many times ranging from years to decades. If you want to visit such stations, then you should join Starfleet, and request multi-year missions of exploration", said Picard with a smirk and a wink.

    Jean Luc appreciated Kirsten's priority towards focusing her efforts on protecting Earth, rather than serving in Starfleet. She was smart, driven. If she applied herself, she could probably eventually earn herself the command of a Vesta class. Kirsten thought of Jean Luc similarly in an opposite way, thinking he could have been an Admiral by now if he had focused his career on galactic defense instead of exploration, but understanding his need to get out there. It was also a shame that he had chosen to give up his career as a Starfleet officer for politics. He was one of the best officers of his time, and his exploits were legendary. She felt honored to spend so much of her time with a living legend.

    Jean Luc knew there was no way that he would convince her to request a transfer from the First Fleet into Starfleet, any more than she could convince him to rejoin Starfleet, or even spend some of his time in the First Fleet, where his experience would be welcomed. It was slowly becoming a running gag between the two, and whole ship. Between the Dominion War and the Borg, much of the First Fleet's seasoned officers ranks had been depleted. Just one year just so the First Fleet could get back on it's fleet and become independent of the ships and crew on loan from the main fleet would be a huge boon. But everyone knew that Jean Luc was done with being an officer. He just felt his diplomatic skills were more useful than his skills as a warrior. And with Spock MIA, those skills were needed more than ever.

    Portsmouth consisted of a globe the size of her early 23rd Century predecessor, Star Station Yorktown, and her interior was set up more or less in the same fashion.
    Surrounding the equator was a thick ring. This was where starships parked for shorter durations and vessels taking a break from patrol, so that God/whatever deity you believe in forbid, the station come under attack, those ships might depart quickly and come to the station's defense. Above, below, and inside this hanger ring was smaller hanger bays for fighters and shuttles.
    This hanger ring had tubes leading throughout the length of the station, where starships that didn't intend to leave anytime soon stayed, for reasons such as refit or weeks of R&R for the ship and their crew. it was done this way to cut down on congestion between the station's local protection force, and visiting vessels. After the chaos of the Battle of Yorktown in 2263 when a insane former Starfleet officer, his crew, and assimilated crewmen from ships downed by Edison over time attacked the station with old alien starships, and tried to kill the entire population with an ancient weapon, this sort of design feature was integrated into the Yorktown Base over upgrades and refits, due to the fact that starships docked at the base couldn't move out of the base fast enough to engage. Not helping matters was that Edison had sent a false distress call, luring away the small fleet meant to guard Yorktown. Fortunately, Edison was stopped by the crew of the of a ship sent to investigate a disappearance of starship in a nearby nebula using the Franklin in an unorthodox fashion.

    Also available was a few dozen external dry-docks orbiting around Portsmouth, just in case that demand for a stay on the starbase was higher than the station could support. Crews could transport to the station proper via transporter, or if preferred, shuttle.

    Temporally taking a break to top off their deuterium tanks in external dry-docks were two Akira-class Heavy Cruisers: the U.S.S. Kaneda (NCC-79325), and the U.S.S. Fearless (NCC-75978).

    Patrolling the area in space in wolf-packs were Valkyrie-class Starfighters. A pair flew quickly by the Enterprise, before diverting quickly back to their patrol flight plan. Why not? It wasn't everyday the flagship of the Federation came strolling in, and it took them seconds to return to where they were supposed to be. And if they were all the sudden attacked, it wouldn't be a bad thing for them to be there to support the Enterprise. It was far economical to use fighters as scouts, rather than Saber-class Scouts, since they were less resource intensive to produce, and they were quick and heavily armed and shielded enough so they could give capital ships grief until bigger starships could engage. Not that there weren't Saber class vessels patrolling the system too. One was heading back towards base, to be the first to receive transphasic torpedoes. After she headed back on patrol, another would repeat the process, and another, until they were all armed. In this way, they'd be able to take on starships many times their size.

    "Sir, we're being hailed by Portsmouth", said female human/Vulcan communications specialist lieutenant T'Ryssa Chen. Also known as Trys.

    "Put 'em on screen", said Boran.

    "Enterprise, this is Portsmouth traffic control. You are cleared for docking. Please head towards docking bay 7, docking port 1. And of course, welcome to Starbase Portsmouth, and we hope you enjoy your stay!"

    "Understood, and thank you traffic control. Well, you heard him Lieutenant Faur, take us in!", Boran ordered.

    The Enterprise's helmsman put her on a course towards her assigned docking port, passing defensive weapons platforms, Valkyries, and one MacPherson-class Transport. The U.S.S. Everhart (NCC-27309), and work bees were offloading cargo pods from her ventrally mounted transport pods.

    At last, ahead was the Enterprise's assigned docking berth. To her right docked in docking berth 2 was a Galaxy class. The U.S.S. Paris, Navigational Contract Code 73987. She was one of the production runs from the Bright Star upgrade first launched in 2370.

    Jean Luc's eyes grew misty. The Paris reminded him on his second command, the Enterprise-D, a starship that was gone before her time. It had been 16 years, but the wound was still there, the command of his dream destroyed by a bloody 80 year old scout. That wasn't to say that the Enterprise-E wasn't a fine ship. The Sovereign class was a bloody fine design, sleek, fast, and capable. But she lacked some of the grandeur of Chief Designer Andrew Probert's masterpiece.

    Even though launched 30 years ago, and having the less than optimum Warp Drive, the Galaxy class was still a workhorse of the Federation. Starfleet was attempting research into installing Quantum Slipstream on ships not designed to use them to keep most of the fleet from becoming obsolete, but was only having limited success at best. Most vessels not designed for Slipstream experienced the same problem as the Voyager when she tried to use it: unstable, hard to control flights. They were being tightly controlled, because it was learned quickly that loosing control in Slipstream could be disastrous even from the data of Voyager's attempted flight back home.

    Docked in berth 3 was the Federation One. The transport of choice for the President of the United Federation of Planets, on board was the ambassadors chosen by the Tholian Assembly, the Holy Order of the Kinshaya, the Tzenkethi Coalition, and the Gorn Hegemony, other ambassadors chosen by the Federation, and heading the peace talks was to be the female Andorian zhen Kellessar zh'Tarash. Her presence was to send a message of faith to the Pact powers, in spite of the inherent dangers of traveling the Romulan Neutral Zone (not that it was really being enforced very much nowadays).

    The Federation One was different from when she first took flight. After the success of Slipstream designs like the Vesta class, and limited success with fitting designs such as the Intrepid, Norway, Oslo, Luna, and Akira classes with Slipstream units, in order to keep her from falling into obsolescence, she was given a heavy refit in 2385. This consisted of better bleeding her primary and secondary hulls together, replacing her navigational deflectors with those based off of the Vesta class, replacing the pylons attaching the escort and nacelles with units that were more curved from the front and back and better blended into the hull, and the nacelles now resembled the units used by the Sparrow or Vesta class. Finally, the detachable escort was replaced by an experimental unit that was designed for Slipstream, and thus was sleeker. Much of the data taken from her flights was being used for the Escort Cruiser designs that were to supplement and replace the Defiant and Avenger classes. The previous escort was now a museum ship in orbit of Earth's Orbital Smithsonian Starfleet Museum.

    Then there was docking berth 4, which housed the IRW Kerchan. On board was the Romulan delegation. The Kerchan class was the result of the lessons learned from the horrendous losses of D'deridex class warbirds during the Dominion War, and the result was a somewhat smaller, more maneuverable starship. Guarding the area was a pair of Raptor-class Cruisers.
    If they caused any trouble, the defense platforms would blow them to smithereens. They were being armed with some of the transphasic torpedoes that the Enterprise had brought with her.

    The Steamrunner-class Escort Cruiser U.S.S. Isaribi (NCC-56233) passed by, on her way to docking bay 8 to receive transphasic torpedoes, while the Zodiac-class U.S.S. Sierra Nevada (NCC-61000) passed by in the opposite direction on the way to docking bay 6.

    At last, the Enterprise pulled in, and various docking gantry tubes extended into place, giving multiple sections of the ship's crew egress if they wanted. Various securing mechanisms also docked with the ship, while ports opened on the command hull, which additional securing mechanisms locked into. These mechanisms and ports were being introduced throughout the fleet, and the latest vessels such as the Vesta class already had them, as did recently refitted vessels. This was for two reasons.
    1) To top off the docked vessel's power grid, which would then be stored in the ship's capacitors for later use. Better to go into the unknown fully charged. Deuterium and anti-matter were also being restocked in their respective stores, but channeling these throughout the ship could be dangerous.
    2) To prevent attempts from unauthorized personal to steal a Starfleet vessel, similar to what happened with the Osiris-class Escort U.S.S. Isis (NCC-74333) at the end of the Dominion War, when Changelings attempted to hijack her in a desperate attempt to leave the Federation. Fortunately,she was disabled, and the Changelings prosecuted as enemy agents.
    However, the senior staff could still commander their ship, assuming they had the right codes. This was an exception lobbied by Admirals Hikaru Sulu, Leonard McCoy, Pavel Chekov and Nyota Uhura, and was approved considering that if not for them, Earth would have been rendered lifeless if not for the events that occurred after they helped steal the Enterprise in 2284. It could be argued that when trust in all else fails, you can still put your lives in the hands of a good Starfleet officer.

    Much of the Enterprise's crew took the opportunity for shore leave. They would need it. This was the third time the Enterprise-E was headed into Romulan space, and with their luck, it was expected this mission would be no more uneventful than the last two (this didn't include her predecessors forays into Romulan space.

    There were many there to great them. For one, the delegation from the Federation One and Kerchan had been invited to stay aboard the Portsmouth for the several days until the peace talks would begin on a planet in the Romulan Neutral Zone as hashed out by all parties.

    But there were also surprise guests: it was quite a scene, watching much of the crew going to meet family and friends that they hadn't seen in a while, some in years. The different species of the Enterprise crew greeted each other in different ways. For example, Trys's human mother Antigone Chen hugged her, while her father Sylix greeted her with the signature Vulcan salute. Boran's family and friends on the other hand engaged in "polite discourse" typical of Tellarites.

    The delegation had mixed feelings. The Tholian Ambassador for example kept his eyes trained on Jean Luc and Data as they approached the Delegation and the station's commanding officer: Admiral Samuel Choudler, who had left his more than capable second in command to come down and meet the legendary crew of the Enterprise. Those who could read Tholian body language would deem such an emotional display as a waste of time, especially given the circumstances.

    Even much of the senior crew had wandered off to see family and friends. Normally, it would be impossible for them to be here, since it would normally take a year for most family members to travel from across the quadrant at maximum warp. The first of the Quantum Slipstream-capable starliners made much of their presences here possible. Those who didn't live on a core Federation world hitched a ride on a Starfleet vessel. For example, Dygan's parents had traveled on the newly refitted Interceptor-class Destroyer U.S.S. Buccaneer (NCC-77203). Picking up civilians was considered a good way to make sure that the relatively new technology was working properly before going out onto deep space assignments, especially those that weren't designed to utilize it. The Buccaneer had already departed Portsmouth and was scheduled to rendezvous with the Full Circle Fleet currently exploring the Delta Quadrant.

    "Ah, Captain Data, Ambassador Picard, it is great to meet you. I must say, you have quite the reputations, so it is an honor to host you on my humble station, and your starship of course", Choulder said as the in turn shook each other's hands.

    "Thank you Admiral, but your command post is hardly humble. It is a kilometer and a half Pensacola-class...", Data was cut off by his former commanding officer.
    "Data, just smile and thank the Admiral. But he's right. You have command of quite a base.", he said with a smile on his face, now that he no longer had to deal with Data's...anachronisms on a regular basis. "She is quite a beauty though, isn't she?"
    "Thank you, and yes, that she is. Sovereign-class Heavy Cruiser. Same thing goes for Portsmouth I guess! We take pride in taking good care of visiting starships. The Enterprise will be no exception to that." The Admiral was quite excited at having a legendary crew and starship at his starbase. "Anyways, since we're all here, it's getting close to lunch time. I'd be honored if you, your crew, and the Delegation from the Typhon Pact allowed me to prepare a banquet in your honor. I suppose it would also allow the politicians to break the ice, eh?"

    "I might deign to accept this, assuming...compatible cuisine is served", voiced the Gorn ambassador. They considered cooked meats to be...inappropriate. "I am feeling a bit peckish from my travels".

    "I'm sure we can work out something for everybody. You give me a day, and we could even have an unreplicated meal, with ingredients flown in from anywhere!", replied Choulder. The new Slipstream-capable freighters had started delivered cargo anywhere in the quadrant nowadays.

    "Perhaps we will take you up on your offer tomorrow then, the Romulan ambassador chimed in. "For now, I trust that your replicators can do a good enough job. I hear that Federation replicator technology has refined so much to the point that you can't tell the difference between the real thing".

    "Depends if we override the predesignated vitamin and minerals settings", Choulder replied.

    "Then that settles it" chimed in President zh'Tarash, "I propose you bring data pads filled with your favorite meals, and feed them into our replicator stations. I believe that this will help break up any further tensions between our associated powers".

    Jean Luc suddenly had a pair of hands cover his hands from behind. "Guess who.", a female voice said in a sing-song voice. He knew that voice anywhere, since he had not only been married to her for 7 years, but also served with her for 23 years.
    "Beverly!", Jean Luc replied as he turned around to embrace his wife. "What are you doing here?"

    "When I heard that you were coming, I thought that I would make a quick resupply run to Portsmouth", Beverly replied with a smile on her face. The Pasteur had been among the ships giving aid to Romulan space over the weeks since the Hobus Disaster, necessary when the rogue Romulan Nero destroyed 2 of the Olympic-class Hospital Ships and the somewhat new slipstream capable Galen Emergency Medical Vessel originally sent to provide aid. There were many displaced Romulans who were on business and vacation trips when their home was destroyed. The U.S.S. Moore (NCC-54216) and the U.S.S. Hippocrates (NCC-68468) were assisting the Pasteur.

    At the same time, less than 1 AU a way, a hole in space was forming, which disgorged the Imperial task force into Federation Space (not that they would recognize it as such). To the Rebels, such a sight would make their blood run cold. The sensor officers on duty knew that this was probably not a good thing. And the size of that one ship!

    Admiral Choudler's combadge chirriped. One the comms was one of the sensor officers manning the Portsmouth was on the line. "Sir, we have a small fleet of vessels approaching our stellarspace. Many of them are large, and they appear to have their shields raised and weapons armed".

    Guess lunch would have to wait. "Understood, I'll be there immediately. In the mean time, recall all of our guard fleet to the station's defensive perimeter, put shields and weapons on standby, tell all ships to prepare to deploy, get our loaders to hurry up with distributing those new torpedoes, and hail them. Oh, and we might need to deploy the armor. Sorry, but it looks like we might have to do this some other time".

    In order to help protect stations like the Portsmouth whose habitable section consisted on a transparent module so that crew and families could look up at the stars, they often had a set of armor that would surround the transparent duranium hull, deploying like a set of clamshell shuttle doors. Made out of 12 inch polarized-capable duranium armor, they were the secondary line of defense for protecting the station's inhabitants. They deployed in a way so that they wouldn't block the docking tunnels, so ships could still evacuate if all else failed. Of course, Starfleet really wanted to to install the deployable armor technology that the Voyager brought with her from the Delta Quadrant. But due to the fact that the technology was assimilated from a future version of Kathryn Laneway by the Borg Queen shortly before being killed by a neurolytic pathogen, and thus dismissed as being of use as an anti-Borg defense, and being from the year 2404, the Department of Temporal Investigations determined they would have to get by without it for the moment. The Federation from that timeline was apparently doing well, and they wanted to make sure the Federation in this timeline survived as well. Deploying a technology from the future could have unforeseen consequences, and if not for the Borg Invasion of 2381 and the need to utilize the ships they had to their fullest potential, they wouldn't have allowed the use of Transphasic Torpedoes.

    "Always eventful when we're together Jean Luc", Beverly couldn't help but comment.
    "Always eventful whenever the Enterprise is nearby", Jean Luc responded.

    "What is happening?", asked the Kinshayan ambassador. "Are we under attack?"

    "I don't know. But we'll find out soon enough. I'm sorry, but it against regulations the Typhon Pact Delegation to join me in the CIC, but I'll allow you to interface with our communications, so you can listen to the conversation, assuming they even answer our hails."
    Last edited by JES; 27th Jan 2017 at 01:06. Reason: Italicizing things, adding links.

  3. #3
    SFM Nugget
    Join Date
    Jan 17
    Due to the 40000 word limit, I had to split it up again.

    Admiral Ayron Nyrok was surprised by a number of things. 1) The station ahead of him. It was obviously the work of a very advanced society. It looked like crystal ball surrounded by an off-white ring. Consisting of round shapes and gentle curves, it was a shame that he would have to annex her. But the Emperor had made it very clear to him in person that the Empire needed resources, otherwise, the Rebels might have their last laugh, leaving the Empire in an economic depression with their impetuous war, and so a strong hand was necessary. If the Empire could take control of this space station, they'd have a foothold. And it looked just big enough to service vessels up to the size of Imperial-class Star Destroyers, if the initial scans were anything to go by. Not that they were much. It appeared that the station had their own jamming system that deflected most of their scans. If he could somehow bribe the factions he encountered into giving the Empire what it needed, or better yet, joining the Empire fine. But he was not to take no for an answer.

    2) He was surprised that the station was hailing him. They had not yet raised their shields or armed their weapons, at least not completely. It seemed that the civilization responsible for this beautiful jewel floating in space was quite principled. Sure there were also some small ships that had altered their courses throughout this area of space, and were now on an intercept course, but he would have done no differently himself. If he could only get them to join the Empire, it was obvious they had a great deal of resources, which would help in the fight against the Rebellion. If not, well, too bad for them. He would have to take responsibility of imposing a "tax" on them. And would be enforced by whatever means. He didn't always feel comfortable with such policies, but it was a necessary evil. Recognizing as such and following orders, no matter how horrific was how he was now in command of one of the finest starships in the Imperial Navy.

    But there appeared to be some difficulties getting their visual.

    "We have them on audio Admiral", explained the Communications Chief, "but we seem to be having difficulty getting visual. We're getting their signal, but we need to reformat it to be compatible with our systems"

    "Well, please keep trying. In the meantime, I guess I have things to discuss with these visitors", Choulder then turned to the comm system.
    "Yessir", replied the Comms Chief as he set to work getting visual
    "Attention to all unknown vessels, this is Admiral Samuel Choulder, you have entered Federation Space, and what is worse, you have done so with a number of vessels with weapons raised and shields active. You will power down your weapons and withdraw all but one of your vessels, or you will leave us no alternative but to assume that you mean this station and it's inhabitants harm, and we are prepared to defend ourselves."

    "Why can't we see them"? Whispered Nyrok to his chief communications officer.

    "It's because they don't use anything like the Holonet we use, sir", the chief of communications explained. They were getting audio loud and clear. But they would have to adapt their system to display their version of a visual. "We're getting a signal that I think transmits their version of a visual transmission, but I need to translate it into a format compatible with our technology".

    "Well, see if you can't give us visual. I'd prefer to look upon the faces of whom I'm talking to. This is an important moment in Galactic history, after all", to which the communications technicians and chief got to work. In the meantime, it was time to deal with the natives.

    "This is Admiral Ayron Nyrok of the Galactic Empire, commanding officer of the Imperial Star Destroyer Negotiator. I apologize for our intrusion. We are on a expeditionary mission in search of resources and allies, which have been sorely depleted due to a revolutionary war. It is a desperate time for the government that I represent. We request that you allow us to use your base as a stopping point while we search this area of space for resources, at least until we can construct our own nearby space station. We of course would be more than happy to compensate you for your hospitality. And do you have a visual transmission system due to our Holonet? My technicians say that we are receiving a signal that we believe is supposed to be visual."

    "Not only do we have a visual transmission system, Admiral, but most communications is done in this very fashion in this area of space. And my own team of technicians are trying to reformat what we believe is your version of a visual transmission into something compatible with our systems. Great minds think alike, I guess? Now about your request...we've scanned your vessels. Thoroughly. They are what we'd consider possible ships of war. Four of them are what we'd consider dreadnoughts or battleships, 1 of them a heavy cruiser or battleship, one of them a battlecruiser, and one of them a heavy frigate, assuming our terminologies are the same.

    And your ship, the Negotiator, which is a whale of a ship by the way, and I mean that in the best way possible, is what we'd probably call a heavy mobile battle station or super heavy dreadnought. Now, with that in mind, I'm afraid that Starfleet Command wouldn't take kindly if I agreed to service a fleet of warships from a power we know NOTHING about. THAT would be against regulations. And PLUS, you came in with shields and weapons powered up, which I believe I said could be interpreted as an act from a hostile power."

    He left out the fact that having the name "Empire" in the name of the government that Nyrok was representing had a negative connotation to Choulder, and indeed most Federation citizens. Then again, the Andorian Empire was a member of the Federation, so maybe that chill going down his spine was nothing.

    "And I apologize for that as well. But you have to understand that over the past few decades, the Empire has been at war with multiple powers. Not only are we having to contend with an active rebellion from a terrorist organization, but we have been at war with other powers and criminal organizations as well. We have been constantly under attack by hostile powers, so you have to understand our precautions. And I must insist that you service our ships during our stay in your part of space. I can't afford to take no for an answer. I'm sorry, but those are my standing orders from my Emperor".

    "Well, you can tell this Emperor that..."

    "Excuse me Admiral, thank you but I'd like to take this from here", President zh'Tarash interrupted. She could see that things were starting to go downhill, as the human saying went. At the same time, one of the technicians exclaimed. "Aha, voila! We got visual Admiral! Oh, sorry to interrupt you Zha President! But hey, at least you can now look at the person you are taking to!".

    "Thank you, and no problem at all", the Federation President replied.

    The holographic display flickered to life in the CIC of the Portsmouth and the Negotiator simultaneously. For the crew of the Portsmouth, the holographic display came in the form of a blue middle aged human figure, while for Nyrok and those of his crew who were able to take the time to serve as witness, it came in the form of a fully colored 3D imagine of a the Admiral and this President who he had been speaking to, with what appeared to be a part of the control room in the background. It appeared that the Admiral named Samuel Choulder was human, something that Nyrok was not expecting. As was some of the crew in the background.

    "Let me introduce myself: I am Kellessar zh'Tarash, the President of the United Federation of Planets, elected to represent said government. I already know why you are here, but let me make this clear: if you attempt to force yourselves on us, you will permanently damage our newfound relationship. Admiral Choulder is right, it is Starfleet regulations that we only allow the service of ships deemed as made for combat if they are from our allies, or they have our trust. You continue this rhetoric, and I will have to say no wonder that you have so many enemies, what with the rhetoric you are using against us!"

    "I can't help but notice that you appear to be human, Admiral. If you don't mind, I'd like to have one of my tactical officers scan you to confirm it", Choulder chimed in. Curiosity got the best of him.

    He was a bold one, this Admiral. But honestly, Nyrok was thinking the same thing. "Yes, I was curious about that as well. If you don't mind, we'd like to scan you as well".

    "You're free to do so, but if we see you trying to sniff into our tactical systems, our tactical electronic countermeasures will firm up", Choulder agreed.

    "We have jamming systems as well, which I hold quite the confidence in", Nyrok replied "You won't be able to learn anything about the Negotiator unless I want you to".

    A minute later, the results came in. And even though both sides expected the results, it was still came as a shock.

    "Looks like we're somewhat related, Admiral", Choulder couldn't help but say. "Human. We're the same species!"

    "Yes, when I went on this trip, I would have never thought to wager the odds that we would meet other humans", Nyrok said.

    "Is your crew multi-race like ours?", Choulder asked, curious.

    " Our crew is entirely human.", Nyrok answered.

    "Then you don't have any non-Human members in your Empire?", this admission was a bit concerning. Were they like the Terran Empire from an alternate timeline, a dark version of the Federation where a totalitarian humanocentric dictatorship ruled by an emperor? This same mirror version of the Empire had tried to invade this universe on a few occasions. In fact, it looked like multiple versions of the Empire tried to invade, fortunately, with no success so far.

    "We used to have multi-race crews in the past, but due to a separatist movement by most of the other races, the Emperor decreed that other races couldn't be trusted in high military positions", Nyrok explained. "There is still a lot of anti-non-human sentiment from that turbulent period of time, and the ongoing revolt I mentioned earlier is devolving into an outright civil war. Of course, there are exceptions for those who prove their loyalty to the Empire."

    "And how do they prove their loyalty to your Empire?", Choulder was determined to find out if this Empire was a threat to the Federation, which he suspected more and more with every passing moment.

    "I'm sorry, but it is not Imperial policy to divulge regulatory information to a foreign power! I did not come here to be interrogated by anyone, not you Admiral, not anyone!" Bingo. The only reason for Nyrok to have gotten his feathers so ruffled was because he was hiding something. It's not that he couldn't answer the question, so much as he didn't want to. zh'Tarash's Betazoid aide could feel the same thing, and she agreed with his unvoiced assessment. These Imperials were trouble, she was sure of it.

    "Then I'm sorry, but I have to reiterate Starfleet regulations: we do not allow the docking of warships from a power we do not trust. And we've scanned your ships well enough that if you were to leave Federation space and use them for...dishonest purposes, that you could cause who knows how much damage. Damage that we would be responsible for if we allowed you go on your way, instead of going back through that hole in space..."

    "Thank you Admiral, but I think I'll take things from here again", zh'Tarash interjected. "Look, it seems we're getting nowhere here, and I get the sense that if this sort of rhetoric keeps up, we're going to see a firefight, something I'm sure neither side wants. Is there any chance that as President of the United Federation of Planets, that I may speak to one of your representatives? Perhaps even reach this Emperor of yours?"

    Nyrok had to give the female blue skinned antennaeed humanoid some credit. Most beings in The Galaxy wanted nothing to do with the Emperor if they could help it. Of course, she probably didn't even know any better. So be it. This was getting to far over his head, and he really wanted to avoid shooting up these people if he could help it. They were a bit obnoxious like the Rebels, but unlike them, at least they were peaceful and cultured, if not a very stubborn! Rumor had it that The Emperor had a tendency to be... very...persuasive. Well, they asked for it!

    "In fact, the Emperor was visiting the space tunnel station we used to get here. He is probably leaving by now, but there is still a good chance we can contact him. Please hold while I attempt to reach him."

  4. #4
    SFM Guru psCargile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 07
    Warner Robins, GA
    Some pointers:

    This is not to say that you are or aren't doing any of the things suggested below, but to get on the same page moving forward.

    Stories are about conflict and how that conflict gets resolved. The protagonist has a problem or goal, and the antagonist has an opposing goal, or is attempting to impede the protagonist, and sometimes it is the other way around. Everything in the story must serve the conflict resolution, what the story is about. Passages that have nothing to do with what the story is about should be removed. Everything in the story should move the story forward. An important element that moves the story forward are the stakes, what should happen if the protagonist fails. It's usually pretty bad. Having your homeworld destroyed is bad, but too over used. The stakes don't have to be that the entire universe is sucked into a blackhole. Personal stakes are just as good.

    Choose the best character to tell the story. Choose a viewpoint and stick with it. Don't flip-flop between the character viewpoint and omniscient viewpoint, where you the all knowing author is narrating the tale. When using character viewpoints, do not switch viewpoints in the same scene. Each scene should be written in one viewpoint. If you find yourself switching, decide which character's point of view is best for the scene.

    The protagonist should have a flaw that needs to be overcome to resolve the conflict. Doesn't need to be out of this world big, it can be a simple flaw, but one that prevents the character from success until the very end.

    Dialogue is not people talking. Dialogue is information that moves the story forward. See anything by Quinton Tarantino, the master of dialogue. Especially "Reservoir Dogs." No one else is Tarantino. I'm not Tarantino, you're not Tarantino. Keep dialogue on point. When you read a book, notice how dialogue is used. Note what is said, and what is not said.

    Destroy redundancy at all cost. Especially in short stories. If you need to remind the reader in chapter 33 about something in chapter 5, by all means do. But if something is explained in narration, don't have dialogue that explains the same thing. Once you tell the reader something, once should be enough. If not, you need better attentive readers.

    Begin as close to the conflict resolution as possible. You need a lot less lead up than you might think. Readers like being thrown into the middle of action and wondering what the hell is going on. It prompts them to continue reading to get to the answers. Tease out the answers. The movie "Pandorum" excels at answering the story's mysteries one small step at a time.

    Do not launch into volumes of backstory, and history right up in the front of the story. It slows the pace to a textbook crawl and readers skip over it looking for the good stuff. Write all these ideas down for your notes and refer to them and include that information only where and when the story needs it. You'd be surprised, but you need a lot less of it than you think. Pay attention to how it is treated in your favorite author's books.

    Exposition is like parsley. It's great sprinkled throughout your pasta, but it makes for a horrible appetizer dumped in a bowl. Nothing needs to be explained all at once, especially by characters doing nothing more than sitting around contemplating their life.

    Show. Do not Tell. Don't tell us John has a great fear of large dogs when he encounters one on his path. Let's relive that horrible memory of him being attacked. It's becomes like a shared experience the reader has with the character.

    Let your sentences flow smoothly, always seek a better way to express something. Streamline your thoughts and it will flow like water. Read out loud. If you have trouble saying it, we have trouble reading it, even if you had no trouble writing it.

    Control pace. Short, choppy sentences work well for action and tense scenes, while longer sentences slow the pace.

    Who said What and How: There is no wrong way to do this, but it can be streamlined.

    "God, this cake is delicious," Amber exclaimed with joy in her voice as she put down the fork and lifted the knife to cut herself a heaping slice, waistline be damned.

    In this example, "explained" is redundant given the context of the quoted speech.

    "Freaking delicious cake," Amber said with a spreading smile. She dropped the fork onto the paper plate and grabbed the knife for a slice of her own, to hell with the calories.

    Here, "said" is just as valid as any other denotation of spoken words. If the emotion is obvious from the speech it doesn't need a substitute verb. A good writer lets the character's word choice carry context and emotion. We pick up those clues every time we listen to people speak.

    "OMG! This cake is totes delish." Amber wiggled with exuberance as she cut a wide wedge of chocolate heaven for herself. Her scale would have to get over it.

    I don't have to declare that Amber is speaking. Since dialogue and the speaker occupy the same paragraph, it is understood who is speaking. Because I am showing her wiggling with exuberance, I don't have to tell you how she spoke.

    Full disclosure, I have not been published, though I am working toward something worthy of submission. These are the things I've learned from many sources and apply in my own work.
    Keep moving forward.

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