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Thread: Star Trek: Entomalians - "A New Beginning"

  1. #11
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The ship sailed into orbit of the small Class-M planet, the system's G-Type star shining bright in the distance.

    ALIEN PLANET SURFACE

    The midday sun shone bright over the mountain plateau, covered with green grass as the form of the crashed Vralex ship sat in the center of the plateau, a long dark gash of scored ground behind it, where the bottom half of the ship had dug into the ground when it crashed.

    Approximately six dozen feet away, a large group of figures began to materialize, shimmering curtains of silvery light announcing their arrival as the Frontier's away team materialized on the plateau, carrying phaser rifles.

    Instinctively, the security members of the away team all raised their rifles, sweeping in all directions to look out for any Vralex that might be waiting to ambush them, while Commander Jor and two of the science team members whipped out their tricorders, taking sensor sweeps of the area.

    From the surface of the plateau, the crashed Vralex ship towered over the away team like the Empire State Building, leaning dramatically to the right from the crash-landing.

    “Sir, I'm not showing any life signs on the tricorder, but for all we know, they could still be in the ship, and the hull could have some form of sensor-inhibiting properties.” one of the science team relayed.

    “Sir, the area seems secure, visually – do you want to proceed towards the vessel?” one of the security men asked.

    “Can anyone isolate the Reticulan probe on scanners?” Jor asked, looking to the science team members, who shook their heads in a negative response. “Very well... let's proceed towards that pod bay – maybe we can open or breach that door.” he added, leading the away team cautiously forward.

    As the away team moved forward towards the Vralex ship's aft side, a form began to gradually shimmer into visibility behind them, in a crouching position. As the figure became visible – a Vralex soldier in full heavy body armor, and his massive disruptor rifle already in aim at the away team, the tricorders on the away team came to life, beeping in warning, as Jor and the rest of the team turned to face their new visitor, just as two other Vralex soldiers also de-cloaked on either side of the first, their disruptor rifles also already in perfect aim at the away team.

    “SIR!” one of the security men called out, aiming his phaser rifle, and preparing to open fire.

    However, the Vralex were much quicker, and in literally the blink of an eye, the nature of the Frontier's newest threat made itself known to the away team, as before the security man could pull his rifle's trigger, the Vralex soldier fired his weapon, unleashing an energy beam with such lethal force that the Federation had truly never witnessed an energy weapon so completely brutal...

    The Vralex rifle's energy beam was multi-faceted... the primary central beam was a single and unbroken beam of brilliant lavender energy. That central beam was surrounded by a secondary enveloping beam of energy that was a corkscrew tendril of lavender energy, which not only had a 'serrated' look to it, like some sort of energy-based barbed-wire, but that also rotated around the central focused beam.

    The Vralex's beam instantly struck the security officer, the sheer force of the impact with his body knocking his own rifle from his hand while the entirety of his body was physically lifted up off the ground, the Vralex beam keeping his body held up in midair over a dozen feet above the ground, all the while the serrated corkscrew part of the Vralex energy beam physically drilling into the man's chest, literally ripping his body apart in midair, until the Vralex soldier pulled back more on the trigger, releasing the energy beam, and throwing the now-dead man's body backward into the air another dozen feet, until his body came crashing to the ground, a sickening mass of ripped-apart flesh, bones, and innards.

    As sickened as the away team was at the sight, instantly Commander Jor drew his own rifle, as the entire away team now began to return fire, while Jor struggled to find a moment to activate his communicator.

    “Jor to Frontier, we're under heavy fire here! Get us out of here, now!” he called, as a bolt from his own phaser rifle slammed into the center Vralex's body, throwing the Vralex back a good dozen feet.

    The away team began to fall back, forming a circle around their fallen comrade's body, as the Frontier's transporter beam enveloped them all, vanishing them from sight in a shower of silver light, while the Vralex soldiers made their way back toward their crashed vessel.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The ship sped through space at high warp, having abandoned the pursuit of the old Reticulan probe. By now, it was obvious that the cost of extracting what minute bits of information they possibly could was way too high, and the ship was moving on with its original mission now.

    SICKBAY

    The look on Captain Nikolayev's face was one of utter rage, as Doctor Rayza pulled back the white sheet covering the body of the dead security man for him to inspect. He had never seen any energy weapon do this to a body – ever. Not even anything he'd seen the Jem'Hadar use could have done so much physical damage to a body. He motioned with his hand for Rayza to once again cover the body.

    His emotional state was a mix of rage and regret – rage that the Vralex had done this to one of his crew. Sadness that he had just been witness to his crew's first casualty in the Andromeda Galaxy – sadness that he had indirectly caused that death, by wanting to pursue the retrieval of the Reticulan probe. He wanted to know who the hell these Vralex were, and what they wanted that made them so violent – at least what made their weaponry so brutal.

    “Sir... are we going back to Gendalon?” Rayza softly asked.

    “No.” Nikolayev began, not facing her. “I want to put as much distance between us and this region of space as possible.” he added, facing her. “What's next on the map?” he asked her, as she looked into his eyes.

    In space, the mighty Frontier shot through space at maximum warp, the stars streaking by the ship.

    “Captain's Log – what a fool I've been... I wanted to pursue the data contained within the old Reticulan probe we found orbiting Gendalon Major, but it was a pursuit that would come at too high a price, at least for me. The Vralex – the first alien species we've encountered in Andromeda, have attacked my ship and my people, killing one of them, in a shockingly brutal fashion. I've decided to abandon any study of Gendalon Major, and instead have set course for a region of space that the Reticulan database refers to as the Loxxon Reach – apparently there are several Class-M planets in that area that may be worthy of study.”

    READY-ROOM

    Nikolayev was trying desperately to somehow find some relaxation in his Ready-Room bunk, but to no avail. Sighing in frustration, he got up, walking to the wall replicator.

    “Cola.” he ordered, the replicator buzzing as the cold, dark beverage materialized on the small replication pad.

    He took the drink, sipping while he made his way to his desk, sitting down in his chair and activating the desktop computer, reviewing the stellar charts for the Loxxon Reach as he drank his cola. As usual, the door to his Ready-Room was wide open. He glanced in the direction of the front of the Bridge, part of the main viewscreen visible through his door, the image of the warping stars filling the screen, as a call came in from the Bridge over the intercom.

    “Bridge to Nikolayev.” the man's voice announced.

    “Go ahead.” he replied, tapping his communicator.

    “Sir, we'll be entering the Loxxon Reach in approximately one hour.”

    “Understood, thank you.” Nikolayev replied, again tapping his communicator.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -

  2. #12
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    THE LOXXON REACH

    The mighty U.S.S. FRONTIER came streaking out of high warp, slowing to full impulse in a glide path towards a cluster of closely-spaced small rocky planets – closely spaced in astronomical terms, that is.

    The Frontier's lower forward torpedo launcher came to life, spitting out three projectiles that each went hurtling towards the cluster of planets, each one breaking formation after a few moments, and going in their own separate directions. They were Class-III science probes, launched to conduct sensor sweeps of the nearby planets.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The Bridge crew looked to the main viewscreen, which was displaying the image of the distant probes vanishing from view as they neared their planetary targets.

    “Sir, probes are transmitting perfectly – taking up position in synchronous orbit around each of the three planets.” Lezar reported from Tactical.

    “Let's see it.” Commander Jor ordered, as the image on the main viewscreen switched to a live false-color sensor telemetry feed from the lead probe, complete with LCARS callouts with a live data feed.

    “That's the feed from the lead probe, orbiting the closest of the three planets.” Lezar reported, working his console.

    Nikolayev and Jor took in the data feed from the probe, looking at the information on the screen with fascination.

    “Definitely not Class-M – no atmosphere or any life to speak of, but plenty of deep canyons and caverns. Could be a good candidate for shipyard or fabrication facility.” Nikolayev softly offered aloud.

    Jor nodded in silent agreement as the OPS Officer reacted to some beeps from her panel.

    “Sir, picking up a surge in subspace – something's coming out of warp.” she reported.

    In space, the Frontier drifted along at impulse, just as a warp flash signaled the arrival of a massive construct, which came streaking out of warp, instantly snapping into still form as it came to a mere low-impulse drift, a few hundred kilometers away from the Frontier, dwarfing it with its size.

    The alien construct was obviously mobile, but if it was a ship, it was one of the largest the Federation had ever seen – it was more like a small starbase, a mobile vehicle larger than a full Regula-Class station. In some ways, it resembled a Federation starbase, in the most basic general form – it had a primary top section that was like a mushroom, and the stalk/shaft section below the mushroom top section was quite long, coming to a rounded end. Trailing the aft end of the stalk/shaft section, were three “tail/tendril” appendages, placed evenly at points midway between the middle and end of the stalk/shaft. Finally, unlike a Federation starbase, this construct was oriented horizontally. Along the perimeter edge of the mushroom front/top section, were a series of evenly-spaced docking arms, many of which were occupied by a variety of small alien ships of differing design. The entire ship/station was a deep and dark red color, with areas of silver and silver striping.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER – SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    All eyes were glued to the viewscreen with curiosity as the massive alien ship/station drifted by the Frontier, seemingly oblivious to its presence, the aft end of the construct now coming into view, the entire aft ring of the mushroom section glowing with brilliant blue light – obviously the aft end of the mushroom section was one giant warp nacelle. Apparently these aliens didn't consider Frontier a threat.

    “Mister Lezar... open a hailing frequency.” Nikolayev instructed, not taking his eyes off the sight on the screen.

    “Aye, Sir... channel open.” Lezar replied, the sound of the frequency opening being heard.

    Nikolayev stepped forward towards the screen as he adjusted his shirt, taking a quick gulp.

    “This is Captain Yuri Nikolayev of the starship U.S.S. Frontier, representing the United Federation of Planets, to alien... vessel... or station. We are on a peaceful mission of exploration, and wish contact. Could you please identify yourselves?” he stated, waiting now for the the computers on both his ship and the alien construct to run the messages through the translation matrix, and hopefully come up with a match for a response.

    “Please let them not be hostile.” Jor whispered, just loud enough for Nikolayev to hear, sharing a look with Jor.

    After a agonizingly long few minutes, Lezar reacted to some beeps on his panel.

    “We're getting a response, Sir. It's audio only, but... it appears to be a... a recorded message, Sir.” he offered, as Nikolayev looked to him with curiosity.

    “Well... let's hear it, Mister Lezar.”

    “Aye, Sir.” Lezar replied, piping the recorded message through the speakers.

    “WELCOME – to Gourant's Traveling Rest Stop! Got a hungry crew? Need a part for your ship? Have a thirst that needs quenching? Or is it simple rest and relaxation you crave? Whatever your desire, search no more, and park your ship at one of our convenient docking ports, and enjoy the amenities of Gourant's Traveling Rest Stop! Best food in the Loxxon Reach, known as far away as the Tinziki Sector!” the message stated, cutting off suddenly.

    Nikolayev, Jor and the rest of the Bridge crew took in the lighthearted and enthusiastic message, Jor turning to the Captain.

    “Did we just get an invite on board that thing?” he asked.

    “I'm gonna assume we did, Commander.” Nikolayev replied, placing a hand on Jor's shoulder. “Let's not keep this 'Gourant' waiting.”

    GOURANT'S TREVELING REST STOP

    The massive mobile station sailed through space, the Frontier alongside it, dwarfed by the alien structure.

    CENTRAL HUB

    The area was quite large – obviously a place of mixed-use facilities – numerous alien food outlets, shops, as well as numerous individual aliens selling wares along the main thoroughfare walkways. The entire area was bustling with activity – aliens of every shape and size walking and rushing about, all talking, the air a jumble of unknown alien languages, the smokes and steams from the various alien foods being cooked filling the area.

    Once there was an opening in the bustling activity, a series of four shimmering curtains of light appeared, the Frontier away team materializing. Only a handful of aliens even bothered to glance in their direction, the locals obviously used to newcomers dropping in at any time.

    Jor already had his tricorder out, looking to Nikolayev.

    “I can't even begin to count the number of alien species on board this thing, Sir.” he stated, looking back at his tricorder's readings.

    Nikolayev looked around, focusing on the food establishments in front of them. After a moment, he noticed one alien in particular behind one of the counters motioning to him – obviously indicating for him and the away team to approach.

    “I think that fellow wants to meet us.” Nikolayev indicated, nodding in the direction of the alien as Jor and the security men followed him to the alien's establishment.

    The away team arrived at the alien's counter, just as the alien grabbed a series of beverage glasses, one glass in each of its four hands, as it wiped each glass with a towel with each hand. The alien's form was generally humanoid, but the being was a bit short and squat, and aside from having four arms and hands, had a basically humanoid face. However, the top of the alien's head was a large skin-covered bony crest, somewhat like that of a ceratopsian dinosaur, only with no horns or spikes. The alien's skin, body, face and crest, was blue in color, with medium to large blotches of black.

    “You look like you're new here.” the alien said.

    “We are.” Nikolayev replied. “And you look like you've had time to scan our linguistics database.”

    The alien set the glasses down behind the counter, smiling.

    “Guilty as charged.” it began. “I”m Gourant. Pleased to meet you.” he added, extending his two right hands for both Nikolayev and Jor to shake, and then the security men after.

    “You're Gourant? I thought you own this place? What are you doing behind a bar?” Jor asked.

    “I do own this facility. But I get bored just doing administrative things – I like to mingle with my visitors, meet new people and cultures. I like to talk to people and learn about them – why they're here, where they've been, who they are... all that stuff.” he offered.

    “Forgive me... Sir... but may I ask – what species are you?” Jor asked.

    “I'm a Trophilyte.” Gourant replied. “And you are...?”

    “I'm Human.” Nikolayev interjected. “This is Commander Jor, my First Officer, who is Bajoran.”

    “Ah, yes... you said you're from the Federation of something-something. Never heard of it.” Gourant stated.

    “Yeah... I wouldn't imagine you have.” Nikolayev began. “We're from your neighbor galaxy – the Milky Way.”

    “Fancy.” Gourant replied. “Well, you and your people are free to enjoy the hospitality of my facility. I don't know where you're going, but our course will take us through the Loxxon Reach to the outer fringe of the Zarnex Nebula. So... what can I get you to eat or drink?” he asked.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -

  3. #13
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek ship shot through the Loxxon Reach at high warp, the stars streaking by the ship as long lines of white light.

    "Captain's Log - Finally... finally something goes right, here in the Andromeda Galaxy. Following our initial first contact with the alien Gourant, we have been introduced to over a dozen new alien species native to the Alpha Quadrant here, individuals from which have agreed to come aboard Frontier, so that we may learn from each other, and to also help act as guides for us as we journey through this region of space."

    BANQUET ROOM

    The room was abuzz with activity as Starfleet crew in full dress uniform mingled with various alien delegates of both humanoid and non-humanoid form, while along the aft wall of the room, an ensemble of Starfleet crew played classical music to help set the mood while others worked their way through the crowd, offering food and beverage to all.

    Captain Nikolayev and Commander Jor paused in front of a very tall non-humanoid being, which also paused beside them. The being could best be described as a nine-foot tall harvestman spider, but with only three legs, arranged in a tripod fashion. The being, though standing still, was sort of 'swaying' gently from side-to-side as it stood. Upon spotting Doctor Rayza in the crowd, Nikolayev motioned for her to join them.

    "Ah, Doctor Rayza, good. I'd like to introduce you to this fine individual - a member of the Hyrii species." Nikolayev introduced, looking to the tall spider-like alien beside them. "His name is unpronounceable in English." he added, apologetically. "But our Doctor Rayza here is Reticulan - originally from this galaxy, unlike the rest of us from this vessel."

    The Hyrii being lowered the front of it's body a bit, angling it down towards Rayza, in its own version of a courteous bow, while Rayza nodded in respect to the alien.

    "He's been telling us a few things about the Vralex, from what his own people know of them." Jor added, as the Hyrii emitted a series of clicking/chirping sounds, causing the white jewel on a small necklace around its body to glow as it spoke, eventually converting the clicks and chirps into English.

    "I was explaining why the purple. All is purple - they are all purple." it began.

    "Everything about them - their ships, their armor, weapons, computer interfaces - literally everything Vralex is within the purple color palette, and the reason is quite fascinating." Nikolayev interjected.

    "It is the only part of the color spectrum their eyes can discern." the Hyrii delegate added, clicking. "They are otherwise a colorblind species."

    "Fascinating." Rayza agreed. "Do you know where they're from?" she asked.

    "Unfortunately, no - my people have not had much contact with them at all. Most of what we know comes from the word-of-mouth of other races who have had much more dealings with them. However, it is widely rumored that their home planet is in the Beta Quadrant." the Hyrii explained.

    "If that's true, then that would mean our encounter with them was an anomaly, as Gendalon Major is about as far away from that area of space as you can get here. I wonder what they were doing so far out from their home system?" Rayza wondered aloud.

    As if in reply to her question, another alien representative walked up to the four, allowing the Hyrii to gracefully excuse itself. This alien was completely humanoid - a tall and slender dark-skinned man, draped in flowing white robes and a head-wrap. The man immediately spoke up, answering her question.

    "They were out here because they had to be - they're a race of pirates." the man began, extending his hand. "Jolex Zar, of the Zendawi." he added, shaking Rayza's hand. "They travel the galaxy, looking for anything of value to steal and then sell - the only thing they won't sell is food and water - they keep that for themselves. Anything else goes. My guess is that the crew of the ship you encountered was in a dry spell, and had gotten desperate, forcing them to venture beyond their normal range, in search of something that would have value to them."

    Rayza and the others nodded in understanding. Commander Jor was about to ask a question, when a call came through from the Bridge.

    "Bridge to Captain." the young man's comm voice announced.

    "Nikolayev - go ahead." he stated, tapping his communicator.

    "Sir, our translator just finished decoding a distress call Sir - general subspace band. An alien vessel is claiming to be under attack. They're requesting assistance from any friendly vessels in the area." the man explained.

    "Very well. Commander Jor and I are on our way. Set a course for the source of the distress signal, and engage at maximum warp." Nikolayev ordered, nodding to the Zendawi delegate as he and Jor excused themselves.

    In space, the mighty Frontier angled about, adjusting course heading, warping off in the direction of the new alien distress signal.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The turbolift doors slid open, allowing Nikolayev and Jor to step onto the Bridge, as Lieutenant Commander Lezar relayed some data to the men from his tactical console.

    "Sir, we're nearing the source of the distress signal. I'm reading three ships - two of unknown alien design, the other Vralex - identical in type to the one we encountered at Gendalon, Sir. Entering visual range now." he reported.

    "On screen." Jor ordered.

    The screen switched from the view of warping stars to a view looking down upon three alien ships, one of which was one of the small cross-shaped Vralex ships. The other two ships were also small - no larger than a Starfleet Defiant-Class ship, and were both a bright red color. Both of the red ships were being dealt heavy blows by the Vralex ship. One of the red alien ships took some hits to its dorsal side, which caused its shields to finally flicker off, falling to the Vralex weapons.

    "Sir, those two ships won't last much longer - the one ship's shields are gone, and I'm now reading power fluctuations in their engine core. If they don't stabilize, their core is gonna go critical." Lezar reported. "They're sending out another distress call."

    "Let's hear it!" Nikolayev ordered, sitting down in the command seat.

    The distress call came through the speakers in a badly fritzed and garbled state, but enough chunks of it were discernible.

    "T-is is the T-lorian --ip Ultridies, to any friendly vessel. We are -nd-r atta-k from a Vralex -irate Gunship. We can't hold out much longer, and re-ire ass-stance." the message stated, in a desperate voice.

    Nikolayev steepled his fingers as he thought about the repercussions of what he was about to do - or not do next, as Jor looked to him. Finally, he put on a look of resolve, tugging down on his uniform shirt as he gave his instructions to Tactical.

    "Mister Lezar, raise our shields, and ready both phasers and photon torpedoes. All hands, Red Alert!" he called out, the Red Alert klaxon sounding as the lights went dim, with a dominant red glow. "Open me a channel - general-band."

    "Aye, Sir - channel open." Lezar confirmed.

    "This is Captain Yuri Nikolayev of the Federation Starship U.S.S. Frontier, to attacking Vralex ship - stand down and power down your weapons, or you will be fired upon!" he sternly warned, awaiting a reply.

    "SIR!" Lezar exclaimed, as Nikolayev and Jor looked to the screen, just in time to see the red ship that had taken the shield damage explode into a huge bubble of fire and debris, which rapidly expanded outward in all directions.

    "Mister Lezar, target that Vralex ship - take 'em out." Nikolayev ordered.

    "Aye, Sir." Lezar replied, pressing buttons on his console.

    In space, the Frontier angled towards the Vralex ship, letting loose a fiery barrage of phaser fire, beams lancing out into space from all of the ventral banks on the ship, striking the Vralex ship, causing the purple cross-shaped ship to break off its attack of the lone remaining red ship, and turn to fire on the Frontier.

    The Vralex ship barreled towards the Frontier, as if to play chicken with it, just as two photon torpedoes from Frontier slammed directly into the face of the Vralex ship, blowing it apart in an explosion of fire and debris, as Frontier sailed right through the explosion, heading for the remaining red alien ship.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Nikolayev sat in his chair, confident that now the Vralex had been put on notice not to mess with his ship or crew, as the red alien ship grew larger on the main viewscreen.

    "Sir, we're being hailed by the alien ship - audio only." Lezar stated.

    "Let's have it." Nikolayev ordered.

    "This is Captain Henti Jezereth, of the Republican Guard Ship Ultridies, representing the Tylorian Republic. I apologize for the lack of visual communications, but our visual systems were damaged during the attack. Whoever you are, thank you - thank you. We are in your debt." the voice said, noticeably choked up.

    Nikolayev got up, straightening his shirt as he gave his reply.

    "This is Captain Yuri Nikolayev, of the Federation Starship Frontier, representing the United Federation of Planets. You're quite welcome for the help. It is our duty to render humanitarian aid, whenever it's requested. Your people seem to have some issue with the Vralex. We'd love to welcome you as guests on board our ship, and discuss matters further." he offered.

    "I'd - we'd really like that, Captain. We look forward to meeting you." Jezereth's comm voice replied.



    - TO BE CONTINUED -
    Last edited by BolianAdmiral; 20th Dec 2018 at 07:38.

  4. #14
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek ship sailed through space at impulse speed, flanked on its starboard side by the much smaller red Tylorian ship Ultridies.

    CONFERENCE LOUNGE

    Captain Nikolayev, Commander Jor, Lieutenant Commander Lezar, Lieutenant Commander Parsons and Doctor Rayza sat at the table across from the delegation of two Tylorian men. The Tylorians were humanoid - six feet tall, with grayish skin, which was covered on the sides by prominent freckles, much like those on a Trill, only the Tylorian freckles were various shades of various pastel colors. The lips of the Tylorians was a kind of light yellowish-green color. Perhaps the most striking feature of the Tylorians was their hair - the hair was extremely coarse - more like quills than human hair, and apparently, when the Tylorians were anxious or excited, their 'hair' would literally raise itself upwards, much like the crest on an Earth cockatiel bird, as Nikolayev, Jor and Lezar witnessed when the Tylorians first materialized on the Frontier's transporter pad.

    "So, now that we're all seated here, allow me to formally welcome you aboard Frontier." Nikolayev began, indicating to Parsons and Rayza. "You've already met my First Officer and Tactical Officer, but allow me to introduce you to my Chief Engineer, Richard parsons, and my Chief Medical officer, Doctor Rayza." he added, as both Parsons and Rayza nodded to the men in respectful greeting.

    "An honor, Captain." Captain Jezereth started, facing Parsons and Rayza. "Captain Henti Jezereth, and my own First Officer, Commander Nygrek Xintadi, of the Tylorian Republic. We cannot tell you how thankful we are that you came to our assistance. You have no idea what the Republic is going through with the Vralex."

    Nikolayev leaned forward a bit in his chair.

    "I'll have to be honest, Captain... we don't have much experience with the Vralex - we just arrived in your galaxy a short time ago. But in the time we've been here, the Vralex has assaulted this ship, and murdered a member of my crew. We've been able to obtain bits and pieces of information about them, but nothing really substantial. If you'd care to elaborate, anything would be helpful." Nikolayev stated.

    "You're not from this galaxy?" Jezereth asked. "How did you get there?"

    "No, we're from your companion galaxy, which my people refer to as the Milky Way. We traveled here using a transwarp slisptream drive that was loaned to us by an allied species." Nikolayev replied.

    "That would explain why we haven't heard of your 'United Federation of Planets' - it sounds like something that would be quite vast, but from our perspective, your Federation literally exploded onto the scene, when you destroyed that Vralex ship that was attacking us." Xintadi stated.

    "The Federation is made up of over one hundred and fifty member worlds, and over two dozen protectorate worlds." Jor explained.

    "That sounds like our Republic. The Tylorian Republic is a large joint-interstellar community of member worlds. It was started when our people made contact with the only other intelligent life form in our system - the Fflong, who reside on our system's second planet. They co-founded the Republic with us. We now have eight other member species - the Glight, the Gretharians, the Hyrii, the Lorendi, the Steen, the Stroth, the Yunat, and the Zendawi. There are other species who have been interested in joining the Republic, but our war with the Vralex has consumed all of our resources and time. Our mission charter used to be peaceful exploration. Now, the Vralex have forced us to adopt a military agenda. The Republican Guard fleet used to be comprised of larger ships - deep space explorers - ships of science and learning, devoted to the pursuit of knowledge. Those vessels were all lost in the war, fighting the Vralex. Our economy hasn't been able to afford the time or expense of building larger ships during the war, so we've been forced to focus on building much smaller, faster, more agile ships, like the Anatoray-Class ship I command, the Ultridies." Jezereth stated.

    "We've heard that the Vralex are pirates. Is this true?" Commander Jor asked.

    "Oh, yes... it's quite true." Xintadi began. "That's why they're at war with us. You see, our planet - Tyloria Prime - is incredibly rich in natural resources - resources the Vralex desperately want. But they weren't willing to go through a set process to attain those resources. Four years ago, a delegation of Vralex contacted our government about securing numerous assets from our planet. We told them that we could meet some of their demand, but not all of it, and that there would have to be a review process to determine how those resources would be used by the Vralex, and so on. They were impatient, and didn't want to wait. In anger, and as a demonstration of their resolve and power, they murdered five of our council members in full open council, for all the Republic to see. we took that as a declaration of war on their part, and we've been fighting them ever since. If one of your crew was murdered by them, I'm sure you've seen for yourself, the devastation their rifles can cause." he explained, as Nikolayev and Jor nodded.

    "You see," Jezereth began. "The Vralex are a species living in constant poverty and destitution. Their homeworld is in the Beta Quadrant - a dry, barren wasteland of a rock called Karnat Prime. Karnat Prime used to be a lush planet, absolutely overflowing with life and water. But in their history, the Vralex plundered the resources of their own planet until there was nothing left. They had nowhere else to turn but to piracy. They devoted what precious few resources they did have left to building up a space military, which they used to plunder and conquer. Their main class of space vessel is their small Pirate Gunship - the cross-shaped ships, like the one that attacked my ship and yours. Put simply, the Vralex are desperate - starvation and famine has gripped their world, and they're literally fighting for their lives." he added.

    "I really wish we had encountered you long ago." Xintadi began. "Our war with the Vralex is quite frankly, almost at an end. We have maybe a dozen ships left in our fleet, and that's it. Our Strategic Command anticipates that the next Varlex incursion will hit the Tylorian System directly, where they'll very likely overwhelm our forces, and wipe our remaining fleet and planetary defenses out. At that point, the Tylorian Republic will fall." he added, causing Jezereth to lower his head in resignation to the sad reality.

    Nikolayev and Jor shared a knowing look.

    "Yeah... that sounds all too familiar. Our Federation and its allies have been embroiled in a similar war. In fact, that's pretty much the reason we're here in your galaxy - we came here on an exploratory expedition, hoping to locate suitable planets for possible Federation colonization, should the Federation fall to the Dominion, which in all likelihood, seems inevitable. Before we left, Starfleet Command estimated it would be only a month before the Dominion penetrates the inner core worlds of the UFP, and strikes Earth directly. As far as we know, our Federation is already gone. Unfortunately, we can't do anything about it now, since we've been stranded here, our transwarp drive having been sabotaged on the way here." Nikolayev offered.

    Jezereth and Xintadi shared a look, before again facing the Frontier crew across from them.

    "Captain, we're only about two day's travel from Tyloria Prime at maximum warp. We'd like to thank you properly for helping us. Would you accompany us home, and meet with others from the Republic? If anything, we'd like to offer you the hospitality of our planet - allow your crew to get some fresh air, and stretch their legs under an open sky. I know for a fact that Carthax Pentique would love to meet your people." Jezereth offered.

    "Carthax Pentique?" Jor asked.

    "Our President." Xintadi replied.

    Jor looked to Nikolayev, who lightly drummed his fingers on the conference table, taking in the offer from the Tylorians.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -

  5. #15
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The great ship sailed through space at high warp, the Tylorian ship Ultridies sailing alongside it.

    READY-ROOM

    Nikolayev sat at his desk, pouring over readouts on his computer as well as going over various PADDs of information, handing some of them to Commander Jor, who sat across from him.

    "Interesting." Jor began, reacting to the data on the PADD he was given. "The Federation doesn't have any member planets like this."

    "Indeed." Nikolayev began, looking to face Jor. "Their home planet seems to be a sort of astronomical anomaly. A moon of a gas giant - ringed moon at that, and one with its own moon as well. Tyloria Prime is Class-M - Earth-sized, with a stable ring system, and somehow has managed to obtain its own moon with a stable orbit."

    "Well, that means their planet must be orbiting the gas giant in a gravitational sweet spot - maintaining an exact delicate distance and orientation to the gas giant so that the rings and moon aren't ripped away from Tyloria Prime." Jor speculated.

    "That's what I'm thinking as well." Nikolayev agreed. "The gravitational relationship with Tyloria III - the gas giant - could be what prevents any of the objects that make up the rings from raining down to the surface of Tyloria Prime... maybe Tyloria III keeps the whole thing in check somehow." he added, noticing that Jor couldn't help but smile. "What is it?" he asked, referring to his widening smile.

    "This is it." Jor began. "This is what we're out here for - to seek out and explore strange new worlds. This one definitely qualifies and strange and new. It's unlike anything the Federation has encountered as of yet. Federation scientists would go nuts over the Tylorian System."

    Nikolayev couldn't help but share his First Officer's smile, agreeing that this was indeed a welcome and refreshing return to their original mission of exploration and discovery. He returned to scanning through PADDwork as the intercom came to life with a call from the Bridge.

    "Lezar to Captain." announced the comm voice.

    "Go ahead." Nikolayev replied, with a tap of his communicator.

    "Sir, sensors are reading some unusual chrono-quantum energy signatures emanating from a small planetoid in a system two parsecs away." Lezar reported.

    "Alter course to investigate. Hail the Tylorian ship and inform Captain Jezereth that we'll be taking a short detour." Nikolayev instructed.

    In space, the Frontier and Ultridies dropped out of warp, coming to an impulse glide facing a small planetoid that sat directly ahead in the distance.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    MAIN BRIDGE

    Nikolayev and Jor took in the sight of the planetoid on the main viewscreen as it slowly rotated in space.

    "Report." Jor instructed.

    "Sir, the planetoid has an atmosphere, but it's extremely thin - it won't support an away team without EVA suits. I'm not reading any life-forms on the surface. The planetoid seems abandoned and barren." the Ensign at OPS reported.

    "Sir, the chrono-quantum readings appear to originate from a rock formation on the northern hemisphere." Lezar reported.

    Nikolayev eyed the planetoid on the screen as he made his decision.

    "Very well. Commander Jor, you, Mister Lezar and Doctor Rayza are with me. Let's suit up and meet in Transporter Room One. Mister Lezar, inform the Tylorians that they're welcome to join our away team, if they wish." Nikolayev began, tapping his communicator. "Doctor Rayza, report to Transporter Room One in EVA suit for away team duty."

    In space, the Frontier and Ultridies held a low orbit above the small planetoid.

    PLANETOID SURFACE

    The surface of the planet was rocky and barren as the away team materialized in EVA suits, along with the Tylorian party, which was just Captain Jezereth and Commander Xintadi, both in their own Tylorian EVA suits. The sky was dark, providing a nighttime feel, since the system's star was a small red dwarf star which didn't provide much illumination, and was quite distant from this planetoid.

    All members of both away teams took out their scanning devices, the Frontier party using their tricorders to record and scan the area's data as they slowly walked towards a large outcropping of vertical stone.

    "Sir," Lezar began. "The energy signatures are coming from this rockface. But it's more accurate to say that the signatures are coming from within it - it seems that whatever is producing the energy signatures has been encased over by rock over time." he added.

    "Can we expose whatever's underneath the rock?" Jor asked.

    Lezar worked his tricorder before giving his reply.

    "Aye, Sir, we can. I believe that a phaser burst of about five seconds at medium setting will be enough to vaporize the rock encasing the object." he offered.

    Jor took out his phaser, adjusting the power setting as he aimed it directly at the rockface, pressing the trigger and opening fire.

    The rock began to glow hot red before vaporizing, as Jor deactivated his phaser. The object which was revealed was best described as a large ring of stone - a sort of lopsided doughnut shape, which rested upon a pedestal flanked by two Greco-Roman-looking stone columns.

    The reaction from Doctor Rayza was instant...

    "No..." she began, shocked.

    "Doctor?" Nikolayev asked, turning to face Rayza.

    "It can't be... we had... we'd thought we had all of these destroyed." she exclaimed.

    "What is it?" Jor asked.

    As if in answer to his question, the lopsided ring of stone suddenly came to life, with glowing white light which seemed to come from within the stone itself, as a powerful voice boomed an echoing reply...

    "I am the Guardian of Forever." it announced.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -

  6. #16
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    PLANETOID SURFACE

    The two away teams stood before the Guardian of Forever, transfixed by the sight of the ancient oracle before them.

    Nikolayev shot Rayza a puzzled look.

    "Why would the Reticulans have these destroyed? Are they weapons?" he asked.

    "No, they're not. But the Dominion used at least one of them as weapons." Rayza began. "If you remember, I told you that the Dominion used technologies such as the Iconian Gateways, as well as similar technologies, to traverse the galactic distances and hunt us down. This was one of the similar technologies. We couldn't take the chance that the Dominion would find them all and use them against us, so we destroyed every one that we could find." she explained.

    "A question. For many eons, I have awaited a question." the Guardian's voice boomed loudly.

    Suddenly, Jor began to remember something that the Changeling had said before Rayza killed it.

    "The Guardians don't lie..." Jor softly stated aloud, as Nikolayev looked to him. "That's what the Changeling said to us before Rayza killed it. It must have something to do with something it saw from one of these Guardians." he added.

    Nikolayev looked back to the Guardian, taking a few steps closer to it.

    "I have a question - why are we here?"

    "So that I may deliver a message. Behold." the Guardian boomed in response.

    Suddenly, the center of the oracle began to mist up, holographic images displaying themselves upon the mist - images from the distant past of the Andromeda Galaxy - the history of the Reticulan Star League, and the rise of the Dominion... the images were flying by quickly... the first Reticulan solar system, and the first Reticulan home planet. The Reticulan fleets expanding out into deep space, the Guild of Elders establishing the Reticulan Star League, and the setting up of various League colonies, which included the slave labor to establish the colonies with... the gathering of Changelings.

    The images began to depict colony sites, as Reticulan taskmasters, called Founders, ordered the Changelings to assume whatever form they ordered them to... Changelings toiling through all hours, mining, building, etc. Suddenly, within one of the records, a group of Changelings began to ascend up a hill, and revolt against the Reticulan Founders, killing them, and using the Reticulan ship to escape from the world.

    The records then began to show what the Changelings did next...

    Changelings studying parts of the Reticulan ship and other technology, and reverse-engineering it... the first Changeling-built starships... the face of the Female Shapeshifter... a Changeling scientist with a vial of DNA-enhancing substance, a pale lavender in color... a Vorta... a graphic representation of a string of Jem'Hadar DNA... a young Jem'Hadar in a cloning facility... the emblem of the Dominion.

    Suddenly, the images shifted back to outer space...

    An unsuspecting Reticulan starship is suddenly ambushed and destroyed, by a small starship, with varying tones of dark violet coloring on the hull, and firing white beams... phase-polaron beams, with purple engine lights... an early Dominion starship.

    More Dominion assaults on Reticulan targets... the Reticulan-Dominion War has begun. Entire fleets of Reticulan and Dominion ships war with one another, throughout the Andromeda Galaxy... a Dominion fleet orbits a planet... on the surface, thousands of Jem'Hadar troops storm through a city, slaughtering any and all Reticulans in sight, thousands falling dead. In orbit, the Dominion fleet opens fire on the world, causing colossal explosions to ripple out upon the surface, devastating the globe and killing the population... Reticulus Prime, as the entire Dominion fleet surrounds the entire planet... the Dominion fleet opens fire on the world as a massive exodus fleet of Reticulan ships flees, just as the Reticulan homeworld is totally destroyed.

    A lone group of five Reticulan ships... on one of the ships in a medical lab, a Reticulan scientist holds up a vial, as a monitor in the background shows a rotating image of a strand of DNA... HUMAN DNA... a lone Reticulan ship sails through the long dark void of the Great Divide, the Milky Way Galaxy visible in the far distance... after a long moment, the lone ship is followed by four more Reticulan ships... one ship enters orbit of Cardassia Prime... another nears the Klingon Homeworld. One orbits Romulus, and another settles into orbit of what will become Zeta Reticuli. The last ship settles into orbit of a planet with a vast supercontinent... Earth. On Earth, the Female Progenitor deposits the Reticulan information, before beaming back to the ship in orbit.

    Images of the new Dominion homeworld, in the Milky Way's Gamma Quadrant... in the Omarion Nebula.

    The images then began to tell the rest of the story... the away team watched, stunned, as the images flew by... The U.S.S. Quasar and the Entomalian fleet at Deep Space Nine in orbit of Bajor, the very first encounter with the Dominion... the Jem'Hadar ships firing on the E.I.V. Feliz-Dat, killing Prime Minister Mraz. Queen T'Zek's message declaring war on the Dominion. The Gorn attack on Earth. The image of three Gorn Generals shaking hands with a Vorta Ambassador. President Melek looking over the casket containing the body of President Tyra Winters, a UFP flag draped over it. Images of Cardassian ships doing battle with small Maquis ships and Klingon Birds-of-Prey. A Romulan Warbird and Gowron's Negh'Var firing in unison on the Duras Family's Vor'Cha, destroying it. The destruction of Zeta Reticuli by the Dominion fleet. The Allied fleets leaving DS9 for the wormhole, en route to the Big Borg Battle. The Big Borg Battle itself. The destruction of Entomalius Prime, the Battle of Betazed, and the Rigel Campaigns. Finally, the images began to draw the darkest picture... the total destruction of Coridan, Tellar, Andor, and Vulcan, by the Borg and Dominion fleets. Finally, the scenes came to Earth... the entire Federation fleet assembled to face the invincible Dominion forces. The Dominion fleets totally devastating the Starfleet, smashing the entire fleet with horrifying speed. The Borg Cubes moving into position and opening fire on Earth itself, drilling into the cradle of humanity until all that was left of paradise incarnate was a rotating ball of molten rock, which itself exploded, sending massive chunks of molten rock into space.

    The last image had a visible physical impact on Nikolayev, who stumbled backward, falling back onto the ground, shocked.

    "NO!" he cried, beginning to sob, as Jor and the others stood shell-shocked that they had just bore witness to the complete and total fall of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy at the hands of the Dominion - the complete annihilation of the United Federation of Planets.

    Captain Jezereth looked at Nikolayev with pity and sympathy in his eyes, as he watched the man break down in front of everyone, crying like a child.

    Nikolayev began to utter words, broken by sobs.

    "No... it can't be... T'Zek... she was going to... her mission... no... not Earth..." He cried.

    Suddenly, the Guardian's lights began to flicker, as new holographic images began to form within the misty center.

    "All is not as it was. Behold." the Guardian loudly boomed, prompting Nikolayev and the others to look at the new images playing out in the mist...

    The new images began from the point of the Big Borg Battle. But this time, things were different...

    The away team watched as Queen T'Zek's restoration fleet came out of warp, and saw the mighty E.I.V. Traz come streaking out of warp, smashing through the center of the Borg Queen's Cube, totally obliterating it and moving triumphantly onward. They watched as the entire fleet of hundreds of thousands of ships plus the original native Entomalian fleet, moved to once again enter the fray. The fleets began to bring down the Dominion fleets with unbelievable speed and ease... before the enemy knew what was happening, almost half the Borg fleet had been totally demolished and the Dominion ships were running for dear life while some of the new Entomalian ships flew after them, unwilling to let them get away.

    The images then moved on...

    The away teams watched as the Female Shapeshifter signed the surrender papers, handing the PADD to President Melek, before being led away by a team of Starfleet security, and Entomalian Royal Guardsmen. The message then ended.

    "All is as should be." The Guardian boomed.

    The look on Nikolayev's face was one of utter relief and joy, as he began to put the pieces of the puzzle together, rising to his feet again.

    "Of course... that's it!" He began. "The Dominion must have viewed the original version of the message... the one from the timeline before T'Zek's mission. The Dominion KNEW it was going to win the war all along... this was what they were basing that on... they took this information to be literal... like a manifest destiny, if you will!" He said, turning to Rayza. They saw the future and went with it... but they did not... they could not, have imagined that one mind... one woman, would develop a plan to alter all of that and change history!" He said.




    - TO BE CONTINUED -

  7. #17
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek ship sailed through space at high warp, the Tylorian ship Ultridies sailing alongside it, both ships on their way to Tylorian space.

    "Captain's Log - following our encounter with what according to Doctor Rayza says is one of the last surviving Guardians of Forever, if not the last surviving one, we are proceeding on course for Tylorian space, where we have been invited by our new friends to meet with the President of the Tylorian Republic, as well as delegates from their various member planets. I find myself filled with a profound sense of relief and joy that Queen T'Zek was successful in her restoration mission, ending the Dominion War in the Milky Way. The original alternative presented by the Guardian of Forever was simply too much to bear. However, now that Queen T'Zek has in fact succeeded in her mission, it falls on me to now fully disclose the consequences of her mission and its impact on our ship and its mission to the rest of the crew. I'm not sure exactly how to accomplish this task, but somehow I'll find the words."

    PRIMARY CREW LOUNGE

    Captain Nikolayev stood at the center of the vast room, flanked on either side by Commander Jor and Doctor Rayza, the only other members of the crew who had inside knowledge of Queen T'Zek's restoration mission, having been briefed on it by Starfleet Intelligence prior to leaving for Andromeda. At the far right side of the room, Captain Jezereth and Commander Xintadi stood by the wooded double doors, looking on. On the wall above the bar behind them, was a large viewscreen monitor, which for the moment, was displaying a static image of the UFP seal, along with the ship's name and registry number written below the seal. Nikolayev loudly cleared his throat, signaling to the assembled crew to come to attention as he took in the sight of his ship's crew, preparing to address them.

    "Attention, ship's crew of the U.S.S. Frontier - welcome, and thank you for coming. I have asked you here so that I can fully disclose some information which you should know." he began. "As you all know, when we left the Milky Way, the state of affairs was very dire for the Federation and the Alpha and Beta Quadrants in general. Starfleet projected that the Dominion and its allies would reach and take Earth within a month after we left. What you don't know - what was deemed classified by Starfleet Intelligence - was that Queen T'Zek of the Entomalian Empire, had devised a plan to end the Dominion War and restore the state of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants to a pre-Big Borg Battle state. However, her plan did not have the endorsement of President Melek, as it stood in direct violation of the Prime Directive. Queen T'Zek's plan was to amass a great fleet, made up from allies she made from various parallel universes the Empire encountered within the past few years. Once assembled, these fleets would join forces, combining their technology. The combined fleet would then travel back in time to the site of the Big Borg Battle, where it would descend on the Dominion and Borg fleets, hopefully decimating them with their new combined technologies. The idea was that every single ship, every single weapon, every single shield, would be in a constant state of chrono-quantum flux, which in theory, would make it nearly impossible for the Dominion and Borg forces to adapt to the new onslaught." he continued, as various members of the crew softly remarked to each other on the new revelations.

    "However, her plan came with an unusual side-effect." Commander Jor began, taking a step forward. "Because we now know that Queen T'Zek succeeded in her mission, that means that there are now two of every person and every ship that participated in her mission - a version from the original timeline, and a version that came back in time with her fleet - and that includes our ship and crew." he explained, the crew wearing looks of confusion.

    Doctor Rayza now stepped forward, addressing the crew.

    "Prior to leaving Seran T-3, the Frontier was fitted with chrono-quantum stabilizers, which are designed to keep our ship anchored in the original chrono-quantum signature of the original timeline. The inoculations you all received when you came on board included a blood-borne version of this stabilization agent. Our ship and crew is shielded from any changed made to the timeline resulting from Queen T'Zek's mission." she explained.

    "Sir!" One of the young male Ensigns asked, raising his hand in the crowd. "Permission to speak freely?"

    "Always." Nikolayev called back, awaiting the man's question.

    "Sir, if Queen T'Zek had a plan to end the war, and restore the state of affairs, why were we launched, with this mission? Why couldn't we have just waited for her to carry out her mission?" he asked, as a few other nodded in agreement.

    "Because, Ensign... it is as I said - President Melek rejected her proposal, as it violated the Prime Directive. President Melek felt he couldn't condone such a blunt modification to the timeline, in effect, changing history. This mission - our mission, was his plan - Melek's plan. He wanted us to have a fighting chance, in case all else failed." Nikolayev explained. "However, now that we know Queen T'Zek succeeded, we're now left with the question of just how to proceed here in Andromeda, now that we're stuck here - for better of for worse, Andromeda is now our home. But before we go any further, we'd like to share with you the images we obtained from the Guardian of Forever, confirming Queen T'Zek's victory." he added, pressing a couple buttons on a data PADD he was holding as he looked up to the large viewscreen, the rest of the crew following his gaze.

    The image of the UFP seal and text was replaced by video footage from Commander Jor's tricorder, which had recorded the holographic history presented by the Guardian. The Frontier crew watched, stunned, as they took in the images being presented to them. Their collective reaction one of shock and sorrow upon seeing the fall of the UFP and Earth, and then changing to one of elation and excitement at witnessing Queen T'Zek's mighty new flagship, the E.I.V. Traz, literally smashing through the Borg Queen's Cube as it came streaking out of high warp, like a dagger being driven at full force through the heart of an enemy, as the Borg Queen's ship exploded outward in a huge blast of fire and debris, while the rest of the restoration fleet devastated the Dominion and Borg forces with blinding speed. An uproar of cheers and applause at the retreat of the Borg fleet, and the sight of the Female Shapeshifter surrendering to Queen T'Zek and President Melek.

    Nikolayev allowed his crew to have this moment - indulging in the uproarious cheers, whoops of approval and applause, before pressing some buttons on the PADD again, causing the viewscreen's display to return to the static image of the UFP seal and text as he turned to face his crew.

    "You have just witnessed Queen T'Zek's triumphant victory over the Dominion and its dark allies. The Big Borg Battle was ended with our side emerging victorious. That means that now Entomalius Prime survived. The allied worlds were never conquered. Earth survived. The Alpha and Beta Quadrants survived. We survived. Frontier's original mandate was to seek out and identify potential candidate worlds for Federation colonization, and eventually report back to the Milky Way for the next phase. However, with the loss of our transwarp drive, we won't be returning home again - unless a new transwarp source is eventually found. Until then, we have a choice to make - how will we proceed here in Andromeda?" he asked.



    - TO BE CONTINUED -

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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek vessel came streaking out of high warp, the Tylorian ship Ultridies ahead of it, as both ships came to a fast impulse glide, heading directly for a stunning sight - a massive gas giant planet, of swirling bands of blue and white colors, and in the foreground, the Earth-sized ringed moon of Tyloria Prime, with its beautiful blue oceans and continents of green and brown, dotted by patches of white cloud cover here and there, as Tyloria Prime's own single moon, Jant, could be seen off in the distance between Tyloria Prime and Tyloria III, its gas giant parent.

    The Ultridies sped forward ahead of the Frontier, leading the Federation ship to waiting formation of over a dozen small red vessels identical in design to the Ultridies - the Tylorian fleet. Behind the fleet formation, off in the distance, was a very large red starbase - roughly three-fourths the size of Earth's Spacedock facility. The most basic form of the structure was similar, a primary structure that was basically a mushroom-like shape, with a very elongated shaft section. However, branching out from the elongated shaft section of this structure was an array of multiple 'petal'-like extensions of the facility - like adjunct facilities joined with the larger mother facility.

    MAIN BRIDGE

    The bridge crew stood at attention, regarding the sights before them on the large viewscreen, looking on at the Tylorian fleet welcoming them to their home.

    "It's beautiful." Ensign Jeon Hye-sung exclaimed from the OPS station.

    "Remarkable." Lieutenant Commander Drath Lezar agreed from Tactical.

    "That must be their primary starbase - their fleet headquarters, if you will." Commander Jor speculated aloud, not taking his eyes off the screen.

    Lieutenant Commander Lezar reacted to some beeps from his console, looking to Captain Nikolayev to deliver his report.

    "Sir, we're being hailed by the Tylorian fleet - a ship identifying itself as the Zohlvani." he stated.

    Nikolayev straightened his uniform top, standing straighter as he replied.

    "On screen, Mister Lezar."

    The viewscreen image shifted to the interior of the Tylorian ship Zohlvani - the Bridge. The Bridge of the Tylorian ship looked to be somewhat small - about the size of the Bridge on a Starfleet Defiant-Class ship. The CONN and OPS console appeared to be integrated into a single 'Y'-shaped console, with the single bottom line of the 'Y' shape extending all the way to the command area of the Bridge. The prominent colors of the Bridge appeared to be light yellow and light green. The ceiling of the Bridge also seemed to be substantially lower than those on the Bridges of Starfleet ships. Behind the Tylorians manning the CONN and OPS stations, two Tylorian men stood at attention - obviously the Zohlvani's Captain and First Officer. One of the men broke the silence, speaking.

    "Greetings, Captain Nikolayev... I am Captain Ingren Jenz, of the Tylorian Republican Guard vessel Zohlvani. To my left is my First Officer, Commander Izred Margai. We wish to welcome you to the Tylorian Republic!" he stated, smiling.

    "Greetings, Captain Jenz, and on behalf of the United Federation of Planets and Starfleet, thank you for your warm welcome. Allow me to introduce my own First Officer, Commander Trevan Jor. It's an honor for us to be welcomed to your home as friends." Nikolayev replied.

    "Captain Nikolayev, there is someone here who I would like to introduce you to - someone who has been anxious to meet you, ever since reading Captain Jezereth's report of his encounter with you." Jenz began, as both he and Commander Margai stepped aside, revealing a somewhat short and stocky male alien being, who stepped forward to face Nikolayev directly on the viewscreen. "Captain Nikolayev, please allow me the honor of introducing you to Carthax Pentique - President of the Tylorian Republic."

    Nikolayev and Jor stood at respectful attention at the sight of the alien man. Nikolayev's first impression of the alien man's appearance was that of a cross between Sir Winston Churchill and a penguin.

    "Mister President, this is an honor." Nikolayev replied.

    "The honor is mine." Pentique began. "First, please allow me to express my personal thanks, as well as the thanks of the Tylorian Republic, for coming to the assistance of the Ultridies. If you had not intervened on its behalf, it would have surely been lost to the Vralex. Second, please allow me to extend a personal invitation for you and your entire crew to visit Tyloria Prime, and enjoy the hospitality of the Republic and its people. From what I understand, yours has been an extremely long and difficult journey. Allow yourself to enjoy some open spaces, fresh food and fresh air." he added.

    "You honor us, Sir - thank you. We accept your gracious offer." Nikolayev replied. "In the meantime, Mister President, would you do us the additional honor of dining with my crew and I on board the Frontier? We'd be honored to have you as our guest, and introduce you to people from some of the various worlds that make up our Federation."

    "I'd be delighted to accept your invitation, and meet representatives from your Federation, Captain, thank you." Pentique responded.

    "Excellent. We'll make arrangements to have you and anyone you wish to accompany you beamed aboard at your leisure. We look forward to meeting you - all of you, in person very shortly." Nikolayev stated.

    "Until then, Captain Nikolayev." Pentique replied, nodding respectfully.

    "Until then, Mister President. Frontier out." Nikolayev closed, the viewscreen switching once again to the view outside of the Tylorian planets, fleet and starbase.

    TYLORIA PRIME

    The mighty U.S.S. Frontier sat in standard orbit of the homeworld of the Tylorian race, the planet's beautiful silvery rings slowly drifting around the planet below the Frontier, as a handful of Tylorian ships sailed alongside the Frontier, keeping it company.

    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    CONFERENCE LOUNGE

    Captain Nikolayev and the Frontier's senior staff sat at the table, along with President Pentique and his delegation, which in addition to his two attache's, included the Captains and First Officers of both the Ultridies and Zohlvani. On the table before them was a stunning and elegant spread of food and drink from worlds throughout the Federation, along with a beautiful floral arrangement at the center of the table. Behind President Pentique's party, part of Tyloria Prime could be seen rotating outside through the lounge's windows, intersected in part by the planet's rings, the entire vista broken up only by the Frontier's two long warp nacelles.

    "Forgive me, Mister President, but when I first heard about you, I expected you to be Tylorian. Obviously, you're not." Nikolayev delicately queried.

    President Pentique chuckled at the question as he delivered his reply.

    "Don't worry, Captain... I take no offense to that. Obviously, you're right - I am not Tylorian. I'm Gretharian."

    "Gretharian?" Commander Jor repeated.

    "My people joined the Republic about two decades ago. Sadly, we were one of the last to join, at least so far." Pentique replied.

    "Because of the war?" Jor asked.

    "Aye, because of the damned war." Pentique began, refilling his glass with water from a jug on the table. "The Vralex have kept the Republic so busy fighting, that we simply haven't had the time needed for the admission of new member planets. All our resources have gone to keeping the Vralex at bay, and making sure that the Republic survives. For over two years now, the Lunax have been trying to join the Republic, but we just can't do it with the current state of affairs. Even if we were to grant them membership as a protectorate world, that does no good if the Republic falls to the Vralex. Stability - that's what we need - stability. Unfortunately, war is not conducive to stability." he lamented.

    "Trust me, I understand." Nikolayev agreed, taking a sip of his red wine.

    "Now, I've read that you got to this galaxy using a transwarp engine borrowed from a species called 'Entomalian'... are there any Entomalians on board this ship?" Pentique inquired.

    "Unfortunately, no." Nikolayev began. "There's only one in the Federation - our President - Melek, is an Entomalian. Prior that, he served as his wife's Tactical Officer, on the U.S.S. Quasar. He originally joined Starfleet as part of the Federation's inter-species exchange program. After the death of our former President, Captain Ariel suggested that he put his name in for consideration for the position, considering the wartime climate the Federation was facing, and the involvement of the Entomalians in the war. After the Gorn attacked Earth, the people overwhelmingly elected him President." he explained.

    "Why did these 'Gorn' attack your world?" Pentique asked.

    "It was to prove themselves to the Dominion." Jor began to explain. "They wanted to show the Dominion and its Breen allies that they weren't afraid to strike at the heart of the enemy. There was a rumor that the Breen had wanted to do it, but that they were afraid of the swift retaliation they'd face from the Entomalian Navy, so they wanted to secure an alliance with the Dominion first, before launching any attacks on Federation or allied forces. Then the Gorn came along, and wanted to show the Breen that between the two of them, they were the alphas." he stated.

    After listening intently to the conversation, Captain Jenz finally offered his voice into the discussion.

    "Captain... Captain Jezereth here has informed me that now that you're stranded here in our galaxy, you're not quite sure as to what form your mission will take from here."

    "That's correct." Nikolayev replied. "Naturally, we're all explorers, those of us here on this ship. As such, we'll continue to seek out new worlds and potential new places to call home - as well as continuing to search for new transwarp technologies that may one day end up getting us back home. But as of yet, we have no clear and definite plan as to what our permanent status will be here - the final form our mission will take."

    There was a brief pause of silence as everyone in the room took in the nature of the situation, before President Pentique audibly cleared his throat, appearing to reach down into his lower inner coat pocket for something.

    "Well, if you'll excuse the presumption, Captain... I would like to humbly offer a proposal." Pentique began, producing a Tylorian data PADD from his pocket, and sliding it on the table with his fingers to Nikolayev to pick up and examine. "Again, I know it may seem quite presumptuous, but I was briefed in advance of your general situation by Captain Jezereth, via his report to me." he added, while Nikolayev looked over the words on the PADD, his eyes getting wider as Commander Jor and the others looked to him.

    After a long moment of awkward silence, Nikolayev looked to President Pentique, with a look on his face that was desperately trying to be diplomatic.

    "This isn't funny. Surely, you can't be serious." he replied, lowering the PADD.

    "I know how it must seem to you, Captain, but I assure you, it's not meant in jest. We - I - am completely serious." Pentique offered.

    "Sir?" Jor asked, a look of confusion on his face.

    Nikolayev gently handed the PADD to Jor, who began to scroll through it, his look mirroring the surprise that Nikolayev's face wore moments before, as he directed his attention from the PADD to President Pentique.

    "You want the Tylorian Republic to join the Federation?" he asked, stunned.



    - TO BE CONTINUED -

  9. #19
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    U.S.S. FRONTIER - SOVEREIGN-CLASS

    The sleek ship sat in standard orbit of Tyloria Prime, flanked by a handful of onlooker Tylorian ships.

    READY-ROOM

    Captain Nikolayev, Commander Jor, and the command crew of the Tylorian ships Ultridies and Zohlvani stood across from Nikolayev, who was seated in his chair, President Pentique seated in the chair across from him. Nikolayev was trying his hardest to be as diplomatic as possible in his explanation and response to Pentique's desire for the Tylorian Republic to join the Federation.

    "I'm sorry for breaking up our dinner, but I figured this was a more appropriate place to have this discussion." Nikolayev began. "First off, while I'm honored that you wish to become a part of our Federation family, what you're asking is simply impossible. For starters, we're alone out here - there's simply no Federation for you to technically join - there's the Frontier, and that's it. Second, there's a set process by which such an application should be submitted. Once you submit your application, it would be reviewed by the various delegates on the Federation Council, along with the President. Once that review process is completed, a vote would be conducted, with the President having the final say. There's no Federation Council out here, and no Federation President." he explained.

    "Forgive me Captain, but doesn't your ship's crew include representatives from the four core worlds of the Federation, as well as a handful of others?" Captain Jezereth interjected. "Why can't they act as interim ambassadors to their respective worlds, and you as the acting voice of the president? After all, as a starship Captain, you know as well as I do that you have broad authority when it comes to making policy decisions out in the unknown." he stated.

    "Yes, there are various members of my crew from those planets, but none of them are as equipped as a full ambassador to tackle a scenario such as this - and I am certainly not qualified nor inclined to speak for President Melek." Nikolayev replied. "In addition, there's also the matter of the Prime Directive. The Federation and Starfleet cannot interfere in the internal affairs of alien worlds. If we were to align with you as official representatives of the Federation, we'd be involving the Federation in you war with the Vralex - a species the Federation has no prior conflict with."

    "But your people came to the aid of the Ultridies, and you said before that prior to that encounter, you fired upon and downed a Vralex Pirate Gunship." Commander Margai offered.

    "That's true, but in regards to the Ultridies, we were simply rendering humanitarian aid - something we have an obligation to do - no matter who sends out the call for help. We would have responded to a Vralex call for help just the same. With regard to our first battle with them - they attacked my ship and crew, and I had an obligation to protect my ship and people. But we're not actively seeking a conflict with the Vralex or anyone else for that matter." Nikolayev replied.

    President Pentique's look turned to one of visible sadness, as he monetarily looked to the floor before looking back up to Nikolayev.

    "Well, I can certainly respect your position, Captain, and our sincere thanks still remains, as well as our offer to host you as friends here on Tyloria. I can only hope that you'll reconsider - at the very least, discuss it with your crew, and think about it." he offered.

    "I can certainly do that much for you, Mister President. And be assured, your friendship - the Republic's friendship means a great deal more to us than you can know. But it's a matter of simple logistics - we have no way of ever getting back to the Federation - this ship is all that there is of it out here in Andromeda. Even if we do what you want, there'd be no way to make it official." Nikolayev replied, sympathetically.

    There was a long moment of extended silence in the room as everyone came to terms with the reality of the situation. Finally, a call came in from the Bridge, breaking the silence.

    "Bridge to Captain Nikolayev." Lezar's comm voice announced.

    "Go ahead." the Captain replied.

    "Sir, we're monitoring a subspace message for President Pentique from Tyloria Prime. It's coded top priority." Lezar's voice stated.

    President Pentique looked up to Nikolayev, his eyes asking a simple question, which Nikolayev picked up on.

    "Please, Mister President, feel free to take the call on the Bridge." Nikolayev offered as both men got up, Nikolayev gesturing with his arm to the door.

    The doors to the Ready-Room slid open, allowing the group of people to enter the Frontier's Main bridge, as Pentique took position in front of the large viewscreen, awaiting the message.

    "On screen." Nikolayev ordered, standing in front of his command chair, looking after President Pentique.

    The image on the screen switched from the view of a rotating Tyloria Prime to the face of what appeared to be a Tylorian Admiral in some sort of command center.

    "Forgive the intrusion, Mister President, but there is urgent news." the man stated. "Sir, our monitor station in the Yunat System has picked up the warp trails of a large Vralex advance, on a direct course for the Tylorian System. The force came out of nowhere, Sir - they must have found a way to mask their warp signatures within a certain distance."

    "How many ships?" Pentique asked.

    "One hundred and fifty, Sir - plus this..." the Admiral began, looking down to his console to punch up some new data, which caused a new callout image to emerge on the viewscreen display - a rotating wire image of an alien ship that appeared to be a conglomeration of "V" shapes in various orientations.

    "Oh my Gods!" Captain Jenz exclaimed.

    "Look at the size of that thing!" Captain Jezereth added, his mouth agape in disbelief.

    "That thing must be at least twice the size of a D'deridex-Class warbird." Commander Jor remarked to Nikolayev in disbelief.

    "How many of those things are there, Admiral?" Pentique lamented.

    "Two, Sir." the Admiral replied, as Nikolayev walked beside President Pentique.

    "What the hell is that thing?" Nikolayev asked.

    "That 'thing' is a Vralex Man of War." Pentique explained. They're the conquest ships of the Vralex fleet - only sent in as part of a final invasion force. There may only be another two like them in the entire Vralex fleet - they're incredibly resource-intensive to build, and only the wealthiest Vralex units can afford them. They're meant to transport waves of ground armies to the planets the Vralex mean to take, once the enemy's fleet has been knocked out, and their defenses exhausted."

    "How long until they reach Tyloria, Admiral?" Nikolayev asked.

    "They'll enter the system by the end of the day, Captain." the Admiral replied.

    President Pentique turned to face Nikolayev.

    "Captain... you'd better start recalling your people from the surface - I don't want any of your people to be put in harm's way for no reason. Once again, allow me to thank you for all you've done so far." he began, offering his hand for Nikolayev to shake.

    Nikolayev saw how difficult this was for the President, and was sympathetic to him.

    "I'm sorry." Nikolayev began. "I wish you the best of luck." he added, shaking Pentique's hand.

    Pentique nodded as he began to make his way for the turbolift.

    "Mister President, permission for us to remain on board Frontier until all of Nikolayev's people are back on board? I want to ensure they get back safely." Captain Jezereth requested, referring to him and Captain Jenz's people.

    Pentique just nodded, stepping into the turbolift, the doors closing behind him.

    VRALEX INVASION FLEET

    The massive Vralex armada sailed through warp space - over a hundred small Pirate Gunships dotting the sky, as two massive Man of War ships loomed large behind them, like an elephant behind a huge flock of baby ducks.

    MAN OF WAR BRIDGE

    This Bridge was larger than the small and confined Bridge of a Pirate Gunship, but was just as angular and purple. The Vralex leader stepped forward, sneering at the readout before him, revealing his sharp white teeth, as his First Officer delivered the data report.

    (translated from Vralex) "Reading over a dozen Tylorian ships in orbit of the planet - along with the Federation vessel encountered by the Gendalon unit. And Leader, there are Tylorian life readings on the Federation vessel." he reported.

    This made the leader's sneer grow, as he snarled in anger at the realization he was coming to...

    (translated from Vralex) "So... that means this Federation vessel is either some new secret Tylorian weapon, or these Federation aliens have formed an alliance with the Tylorians. And by firing upon the Gendalon unit, they declare war on the Vralex! If they stand with the Tylorians, they stand against the Vralex!" he sneered. "We're not going to give them the chance to escape again - increase velocity to maximum warp!"



    - TO BE CONTINUED -

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