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Nemitor

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Everything posted by Nemitor

  1. Congratulations to Jhen Thelev ("The Mystery of Lengdis VIII"), this round's winner! Our runner up is Della Vetri ("Memories of Fate"). -- I'd like to apologize for the delay in getting these results out, I know that all of you have been waiting for these for far too long. Things come up, and delays have to be made, but I hope the Writing Challenge will never again see one this long. I would have posted this in the official thread, however it is locked (and I'm not a moderator). I'm sure it'll be updated, and Thelev's story moved as soon as possible. I know you're all anxioius to begin the next challenge, but I have absolutely no idea when it's going to start. I'm just the guest judge.
  2. That they were, that they were. It was a complicated situation, but it's all been solved now. Everything's been taken care of, so don't worry about it. Results will be out asap.
  3. I've been holding off posting in this thread, but it's about time I do. From what I know (being a judge this round), is that we're still waiting for another judge. Two judges have had their results in for a long, long time, but we are still waiting for a third to judge the competition. Hopefully it'll be settled soon.
  4. Yes, I sent it out right after I got the PM.
  5. Thanks everyone! I hoped you enjoyed it, it was a blast to write.
  6. Actually, it is not late. I asked Wolf a few months back what the deadline officially was, and he said GMT -8. As such, my submission is still valid. For the post, look here; http://www.starbase118.net/forums/index.ph...st&p=260530
  7. “Vulcan whiskey.” The man said as he took a seat at the bar. His outfit was sleek, modern, and professional. As he handed payment to the bartender his eyes shone with a slight glimmer from a viewscreen above. He sighed as he reached for his shot glass, his face darkening as he avoided the screen. “What do you think?” the voice came from the patron sitting beside him, a nearly empty mug of ale in his grip. The bar was mostly empty, surprising for the events happening on the station. Then again, it was late and the commotion had settled for the day. “About what?” Ale in hand the other man motioned to the display, his jacket sleeve sliding down his arm to revel a long, twisted scar. The newcomer looked at the display with a shallow sigh. “Oh. That.” He took a swig of whiskey. “I’m not completely sure. I think it’ll do a lot of good in the world; it would help a lot of people.” “Of course it will.” The man grumbled in a low voice as he motioned for another drink. “As a freighter pilot, I could use the help more than most. But that doesn’t mean I want it.” “Why not?” The pilot twisted around in his stool, to face the rest of the residents of the bar. Most sat in small groups at booths drinking or eating happily, while a few sat alone to drown their sorrows. “What do you see?” “People.” “Really.” There was an awkward pause as he reconsidered his response, looking carefully around the room. “Alright…. Hope, I see hope.” He said confidently with a nod. “These people lead hard working lives, and they deserve the right to have a better, easier, one.” “You’re naïve.” he replied bluntly. “You’re just like them.” “Excuse me?” “These people, these masses of minds, if anything they are docile and selfish. Do you think they care about a hard day’s work? Do you think they care about the Federation? About the future?” he asked, “On first glance, they do. They care about their job, their family, their prosperity.” “You’re confusing me.” “Your treaty, your hope.” He went on. “These politicians, all they see is the surface; the status quo. The masses hate change, especially if it means they will have to suffer; to work harder. Therefore the leaders will do everything in their power to maintain the status quo.” “Is there something wrong with wanting to maintain prosperity?” “No.” he paused to take a sip of his ale. “But we are not entitled to it. We are where we are due to the sweat and labor of our fathers before us. We, as a Federation, inherited our success, and it’s our duty to maintain it.” "Is this treaty not going to do that? Make millions of jobs, allow your ‘masses’ to continue their success and not have to worry about not having a job tomorrow?” “Exactly!” The pilot said, his mug clanging as it hit the bar. “Things can never keep going up, and up, and up! As time progresses, a civilization’s power goes up and it goes down. Long-term changes are not as noticeable as a sudden spike in dilithium prices or the ban on speeds faster than warp five. These people have come to assume that we will never hit bumps in the road; that we’ll never have losses.” “This isn’t some war, friend.” The other man said with a smile, “What you’ve said is right, but don’t think that politicians are idiots. They understand that they fight for more than just re-election. These people are not mindless sheep, they are individuals and all they want is prosperity.” “They want prosperity without the work. They don’t want to worry; they don’t want to think about the future. They have never had true hardship, when their sole existence is on the line. They do not understand that we are not absolute! There is one constant in this universe, and it is change.” The newcomer asked for another whiskey. “If we could have endless, continuous, success without effort I would take it.” The pilot continued. “The thing is, this treaty is not long-term, and it has costs. We will be getting a free lunch, but nothing is truly free. Our children will pay the price for our docility; our laziness. Our children will inherit the costs of trying to strive toward endless triumph.” He turned to face the view-screen, eyes tiredly gazing up. “Things always appear to be worse than they actually are.” The newcomer whispered. “Whether those in power are right or you are, one thing is clear. We are not as docile as you make us out to be. Mankind does not sit idly by and let failure fill us; we continuously endeavor for a better life.” “Not everyone is like you or me.” The pilot muttered. “That is what I’m getting at.” “No, they aren’t.” he said, straightening his clothing. “But they aren’t fools.” “We’ll see.” He said, drinking deeply from his mug. “Don’t drink too much, friend.” The newcomer said as he stood to leave. “It can affect your judgment.” He tapped the table, adding a tip to his bill and walked away. This time, his eyes shone with a different, natural, light. The bartender picked up the empty glass as he looked at the name from the bill, and the position attached to it. The pilot looked down at his ale, nearly empty. The man across the counter leaned over and spoke softly as he refilled the glass. “Do you know who that was?” “Yes… I do.” The pilot responded, “Keep it coming; I can't get drunk on synthehol.”
  8. Carte plopped himself down at the table, a tray of meatloaf and pie in his hands. The woman across the table smiled widely, her own tray filled with chocolate ice cream, slowly overflowing the dishes as it melted. "More ice cream, eh?" Carte asked with a chuckle as he shoved a forkful of meatloaf into his mouth. "It's not my fault." She smiled in response. Her fingers helped the spoon lightly, as if it were going to fall to the plate. "Why are you here? I thought your shift hadn't ended yet." "It hasn't." He said, "I just wanted to see you." "You've never taken time off before – won't the Commander be angry?" He had another three hours until his shift was done, just like she started the day three hours earlier than him. He was punctual; he had to be. "Don't worry about it." He said, still grinning, "The Commander has more important things to worry about than me taking a short break to spend lunch with my wife. There is a war going on, you know." "Oh, don't call it that!" She scolded, "It isn't one, no matter how much the outer worlds say it. And keep your voice down…" She glanced hesitantly around the rest of the mess, the masses entertained fully by their meals. "I heard they're trying to weed out possible dissenters, mutiny fears and all, and I don't want them thinking you're one of them." "Look… Amy…" Carte reached over the table, clasping her hand. "I know I've made mistakes in the past, and I've suffered the consequences. I was ready to fight a war when there wasn't one, and I didn't understand what it meant. I've learned a lot since then, and I won't make the same mistakes. I'm a different man now, partly because of you." "I just don't want to see you taken to the brig, of worse." Amy muttered. "Don't worry… I have the Admiral on my side, without him I'd still be a measly Ensign." Her badge suddenly beeped, reminding her to return to work. Carefully she rose from the table, deep blue eyes gazing at Carte. "Will I see you down at sickbay?" He stood as well, side stepping the table. "I don't know if I'll be able to sneak down. Send me the report on the kid though, I'll read it while avoiding the boss." She laughed as he reached in for an embrace. They stood there in the center of the mess, the half-eaten plates still resting at the table, ignoring the glances from the crew. "You know I love you, right?" he whispered in her ear, "Whatever I do, I do for you, and for the baby." "I know." She replied, stepping back. He took her tray from her and watched as she left, his eyes trying to catch a final glance. Reaching down for his own tray he gently brushed at his eye, a single tear fluttering down to the ground. He froze for a moment, his mind racing. He couldn't break down now; he would have plenty of time to do that afterwards. --- Carte didn't go back to work. His boss, the commander in charge of Engineering probably forgot he even existed, a common phenomenon on this ship. Like most flagships it was huge, the pride and glory of the united Federation fleet. He spent his days fine tuning phasers and replacing torpedo banks, a job he was thankful for. His quarters were small for two people, but cozy. Antiques of the past sat firmly on the center table, family photos everywhere. Carte avoided the pictures, heading straight for the replicator. He pried the panel off and attached a small device to the main board. "Coffee, green, frozen." He ordered, the replicator spitting out something that wasn't coffee. He rigged the replicator to act as a transport buffer, the memory device acting as pattern storage. He left the device attached to the board; it wouldn't matter if he left evidence. He dumped the contents of his engineering pouch to the ground, the replicator's product fitting snugly inside. He glanced at the chronometer – it was time to go. The lift opened and Carte entered, a bead of sweat sliding down his face. The door opened and he stepped out, the Bridge before him glowing in its power; the staff working as though he were just another drone. He glanced about, taking security's positions in mind. The view screen glowed, the image of a fleet slowly amassing into view. "Everyone down!" Carte shouted, the phaser in his hand striking the security officers as they crumpled to the ground. "Nobody move!" A few of the ensigns screamed as many others dove for cover, Carte hitting as many as possible. The Admiral in the center pivoted around but Carte was already there, the phaser pointed at the Admiral's head. He tapped the phaser, switching it to kill. "What are you doing, Carte?" The Admiral asked slowly, his eyes piercing into Carte's soul. "I'm doing what I have to." The bridge was silent, everyone staring that the man holding the weapon to their commander's head. Carte blinked strongly, his eyes red and swollen. "Tell your men to back off, Admiral Bage – the phaser will fire if I'm shot."' "Stand down." Bage ordered, his wrinkled face unafraid of the madman threatening him. "I'll handle it." "Insert the following commands to the computer." Carte demanded, tossing a padd to the helmsman. He turned back to the Admiral, hands shaking. "Lock down the bridge." "It's too late for that." Bage whispered, motioning toward the lifts in the back. "John?" a voice whispered, barely audible. Carte spun his head, his insides twisting as he saw the voice's owner. "Leave the bridge." He stuttered. "What is going on?" Amy's voice wavered, water gathering in her eyes. "This isn't what you think!" Carte stuttered. "It's mutiny, Carte." The Admiral said, "You'll be executed without a trial." "No. No." Amy cried in disbelief, hobbling toward Carte. "Stay back!" "You said you were done with mistakes!" Tears fell freely from her face now as she collapsed to her knees. "You said it was all behind you!" "This… isn't a mistake." He hesitated, "You don't know what pain this brings me." "Not enough apparently!" she shouted, "You're throwing your life away, for nothing! I thought you'd changed; I thought you put us above politics! I thought you were better than this…" "We all did." The admiral interjected, a slight smile hidden from view. "Why do you think he's even at that rank anyway? You owe your career to me Carte; and this is what you do with it. This is your final mistake." "Shut up!" he cried, his arm pulled back to strike his friend. Right before impact he stopped himself, taking a sharp breath inward. "No, no, this isn't a mistake." The helmsman had entered the commands as ordered, and the bridge had been sealed off. Security wouldn't reach the bridge in time. There were only a few men still conscious, silent in fear. One of them tapped his screen, and Carte quickly fired at the man, making sure to switch it to stun. "Then what is it?" Bage asked, "You pulled your life together; you have a wife, a child on the way, and then out of the blue… this." "This isn't random. There is a reason – I don't want this life." He cried, "I don't want this life for my child. He deserves the same opportunities I had; he deserves freedom. You know there is a problem when the Klingons have more rights than we do; when one wrong word can get you imprisoned or killed." The fleet still filled the view-screen, immobile and unaware of the chaos aboard their flagship. In all their glory and power, they were unable to stop one man with a phaser. They were drones, Carte knew, following their orders mindlessly. They obeyed a leader who had grown insane. "You aren't going to solve anything on your own." Bage reminded, motioning toward the rest of his fleet. "The fleet will still act, security will get up here, and you will die." "No!" Amy cried from her knees, "Admiral, you have to do something – you can't let him die, you can't." "I'm not going to die." Carte whispered, drying the tears from his eyes. "There are others – countless others who know we've gone too far. This is not random, this is not without planning." "You can still beg, you can beg for your life!" she replied, "We haven't gone that far – we still have democracy… the people can save you." Carte stood up straighter at her words, his hands steadying. He had gone over this event a million times in his mind, knowing what he must do, what he must sacrifice. He never wanted her to be here – he never wanted her to see. "No, love. That's where you and I differ the most – we both want the same goal, just I realize that there are moments when no amount of negotiation will solve a problem. We've passed the point of no return, and no amount of talk will bring back what we once had. There is a reason those planets sent out their declaration of independence; there's a reason why we have Civil War. Our democracy caused this problem, and some problems can only be solved by revolution." "The revolution is destined to fail, Carte. Just like the one you nearly started a decade ago, this one will be stopped right in its path – what do you think this fleet is for?" For the first time since lunch Carte smiled, his swollen face pained as the muscles moved. He reached over and tapped a button on the Admiral's seat. He paused for a moment as he looked at the screen. The screen fluctuated as fleet of ships suddenly decloaked, weapons fire filling the screen. "What do you think our fleet is for?" he nearly chuckled, the phaser slightly lowering. "I'm not the only one, Bage – half of your fleet is immobile or under our command. Ours was waiting to make sure the flagship is down. The first victory of this war goes to us." "Are you going to kill me?" Bage wondered, his face falling, "War must involve killing; murder. Are you going to kill me like your comrades will kill my friends?" "No." Carte said firmly. Flashes of phaser fire lit up his face unevenly, the battle raging. "You're right – you gave me my life back, and I can never fully thank you for that. When this ends, I know you'll be on whatever side is right – whether its mine or not." "But you're already killing me, John." Amy cried, "Why can't you see that? Your wife and son are going to be the first casualties of your war." Carte lowered his arm, knowing now that no one would try to attack him. Not with the battle outside. He approached his wife, and embraced her firmly. "Don't say that." He said. "Everything I do is for you and for the child – never forget that. He'll grow up free; not knowing what life he almost had. There are some things worth fighting for – some things that must be done. You'll understand before it's over." "I never thought it would be you." "It wasn't supposed to be; not until the baby. It's gotten bad, Amy – were living under a dictatorship, one that is becoming harsher and more cruel by every passing moment. I don't want our child growing up in a land where fear of being killed is commonplace. We have to go back to what once was, we have to make sure the Federation returns to what it was; what made it great. If we have to fight for it, so be it." The fire on the screen slowed, yet it was impossible to determine the victor. Federation vessels fired at Federation vessels, no way to externally determine friend from foe. Carte's commbadge suddenly beeped; he detached himself softly and holstered his phaser. "I have to go." He whispered, before turning to the Admiral. "Get her back to Earth – keep her safe." Bage sighed, "You're going to be convicted of treason, Carte, and you are the enemy. She'll be returned to Earth and placed under house-arrest, as standard protocol." "That is all I ask." Carte turned to face his wife, wiping a tear from her face. "I'll come for you, when it's over. Don't give up hope." She gave a quick nod as he tapped his commbadge, the swirl of energy surrounding him. A moment later and he was gone, the bridge crew turning to face the Admiral. "Now what, Admiral?" "Now we fight our war."
  9. Ancient scripts spoke of the end of the world, the mercy of their god saving the people from the pain, but not death. Molak was never a believer, but now as he fell to his knees it was hard not to be. The people were oblivious to what was coming – the mental pain relieved by the government; the physical pain would be relieved by the laws of physics. There would be no cities, towns, rivers, mountains, or oceans... but worst of all there would be no survivors. At least none on the surface. Those huddled in a cramped cargo bay below would survive. They were the best and brightest, chosen by the powers of his world as their best chance for the future. They were there to survive, to persist, to keep their species alive. "Please…" Molak begged as he stared at the planet below. "Please… is there no more room for two more?" His plea was addressed to the man in power; a stern look on his face as he sat on his thrown. It wasn't more than the slightly elevated chair in the center, yet to Molak it was a seat of great power. "I already told you." The man said as he idly tapped a console, "If there was any more room I would take those who can help your cause." Molak turned his head to face the man. "Only two! Please – just my famil–" "No Molak!" he interrupted fiercely. "I don't care who they are or how many there are! You have a duty to your people, and I hope you learn that quickly." Tears freely flowed down Molak's face as the man stared down at him, eyes glaring. "You are condemning them to die…" "Don't forget that you should be joining them. If it wasn't for me your entire species would vanish into the abyss!" He snapped, "I am not supposed to be here Molak. I am not supposed to save you and all your knowledge. I am supposed to let you die." "Why?!" Molak cried, "What makes you better than us? Why did you have to come here? What gives you the right to decide who lives and dies?" "This ship gives me the right!" He yelled, jumping to his feet as Molak seemed to shrink in fright. "I am risking more than you know! Your people mean nothing to me – a speck in the night sky, a figure in our database. There is no reason I should be here, risking my career; my life, to keep yours around!" He took a deep breath and slowly dropped back into his chair, his face calming. Molak wiped his eyes fiercely, shaking in fear. "Unlike your species who has yet to leave its home, I have seen a fair portion of this fine galaxy." He said softly, eyes locked on the man before him, "I have watched species disappear; never to have existed except as a note in the history books of aliens. I've watched cities be leveled; their owner's destroyed. I have watched civilians and families be slaughtered mercilessly, their killers uncaring. I've watched friends die in my arms, the light in their eyes fading like the hope in yours." "Maybe…" Molak whispered, his head down, "Maybe… they died for a reason…" "There is always a reason." He replied, "Nature, greed, misfortune, war. But in the end it's all the same - sentient life is to be treasured above all else, and a species is infinitely larger than a single life. One who lives should never watch idly as a civilization ceases to exist, even if it is not his own. I am sick of watching as the innocent die, I am sick of watching species end for the sake of upholding law. It may be the last thing I do before I'm locked away for the rest of my life, but I know I'm doing the right thing." Molak looked up, the man before him now resembling mercy rather than indifference. "Why me?" Molak asked, "I'm just the man who answered your signal. I am not one of the brightest minds; I should be below, waiting for my doom." "You have a…" he paused as he searched for the right word. "light… about you. One I have not seen in many others than myself. You understood what was happening; you understood what must be done. Even if you may doubt yourself now, you understand it all." His gaze turned to the screen, Molak's eyes following. A barrier of light erupted from the sun, quickly approaching the planet; its beauty signifying death. As it made contact Molak shut his eyes, incapable of watching. "I saved you because I would have wanted the same." He finished as he witnessed the surface be uprooted, massive chunks of earth thrown into orbit. Molak opened his eyes and sat in shock as he suddenly understood. A tear trickled down his cheek as he realized how much can happen in a wink of an eye.
  10. Sounds good, thanks for the clarification Admiral.
  11. Wait... is deadline midnight GMT or midnight EST or midnight Central or what?
  12. After a year I think its about time I returned. I'll have my submission posted on time.
  13. Evolution by Nemitor Atimen ----------- “Tell me” was yelled in its face as he held up the captive by the throat. “Tell me what you’re planning” “Lt. Saul Get away from that thing” yelled another voice from across the room as the sound of tens of charging phasers echoed in his ears. “We don’t know what it can still do” The Lieutenant dropped it, the machine falling right back on its feet. Jones backed up a few feet, and was handed his rifle. “We removed its implants – all it’s got is brute strength – it’s about as harmful as an ape.” he replied, calming himself consciously, his eyes still locked on the machine. The last think he needed was to lose his own temper. He supposed it was a little late for that… “Intimidation and threats won’t work against me, Captain Jones.” smirked the machine, or at least it made a face that Jones assumed was a smirk, “With time all will be revealed – and you don’t have much time at all.” “How much time?” said Jones calmly, holding up a hand to quiet Saul. “Heh, sorry Captain, but until you restore my link I won’t be telling you anything.” There was a pause in the room as Jones sighed. The officers in the room still had their rifles pointed straight at the machine, refusing to blink. “Let me kill it, Captain. It won’t tell us anything. Keeping it alive is a threat to the ship and crew.” “No. Even machines crack.” “Not the Borg, Sir” spoke Saul, his Chief Security. “The silence will get to it, just give it time.” “We don’t have time, Captain…” said Saul once more, leaning in a bit closer to Jones as he kept his phaser on target. “I suggest you listen to Lt. Saul – he seems to be the most intelligent out of you all.” “Quiet Drone” yelled Saul, his phaser being pushed a bit closer to the Borg. “Calm down, Lieutenant. Last thing we need is you losing temper.” muttered Jones as he aimed his phaser and motioned for the drone to move into a cell. “Get in. Now.” “Or what, Captain Jones? You’ll kill me? There are trillions of my brethren on their way, one measly drone won…” a shot echoed through the room as the drone collapsed, a small amount of smoke rising from its body. A split second later the mass of officers moved forward, pointing their weapons at point blank range. “Captain” “I wouldn’t kill it that easily. It was on max stun.” The Captain moved over and nudged the drone with his foot, his phaser still aimed. “Ensign, make sure it’s out.” “Aye, Captain.” a security Ensign moved forward, handing off his rifle and drawing his sidearm. As he reached over with his tricorder, an arm flew across him, gripping his neck. A second later it was on its feet, the Ensign being held a good few inches above the ground. “Freeze, Drone” screamed an officer as the Ensign began twitching, “Captain, Orders?” “Set phasers to maximum stun” “Quite noble, Captain – still wishing to capture me alive?” snickered the drone, his right arm dangling lifelessly. “It isn’t for your protection. Fire” Flashes of light and sound filled the room as each officer fired nearly simultaneously. With remarkable agility, the drone ducked and dodged the shots, using the Ensign as a shield. A scream filled Jones’ ears as he saw the unused arm of the drone spring to life, slamming full speed into an officer. Falling backwards the hit officer tumbled into another, collapsing to the ground. More shots were fired as the captive Ensign dangled lifelessly from the iron grip of machine. Chaos ensued as officers went flying, their once accurate shots hitting walls or friendlies as they hit the floor in agony. Smoke began to billow from crushed rifles as people were being crushed by the drone’s strength. Seeing the drone began to head for him, Jones ducked and ran, barely avoiding the once captive ensign who just got his first experience being thrown through the air. “Shoot to kill” Jones almost ran into the wall as he slowed down, his rifle laying discarded on the other side of the room. He turned to run, but found himself in a corner, the smoke of the destroyed rifle beginning to fill his lungs. Drawing his sidearm, Jones barely had time to react as he saw the Borg charge straight for him, two tubules extending out of its arms. “Captain” came a yell as Jones fired off multiple shots, He quickly tried to move, but there was no escape route possible. He was cornered, and he prepared for impact, his arms over his head. Seconds before impact a blurry object slammed fully speed into the Borg, a subsequent burst of light hitting the Drone in the head. Jones was saved, but just barely. Slumped against the wall, Jones pushed the body in front of him out of the side, the Borg collapsed a few feet away from him. Jones fired off multiple shots, and the drone remained immobile. He took a deep breath, instantly regretting it as the smoke infiltrated his lungs completely. “Computer” coughed Jones, trying to get to his feet. There was no response… or none he could hear. He could barely see three feet in front of him – it was amazing how much smoke some 24th century technology could give off. “Computer” he coughed once more, falling to his knees. “Captain Are you alright, Sir?” yelled someone from the distance, barely audible over cracking and moaning. “Open the [...] door” Jones tried yelling, the sound coming out at normal volume. “Computer – open door” The smoke was immediately sucked out of the room, Jones’ eyes and lungs clearing almost instantaneously. Coughing a few times and pulling himself to his feet, Jones looked around the room. There were originally 12 security officers, plus Saul. It looked like a good half were now on the ground, blood flowing freely out of some. “Jones to Sickbay – Medical Emergency in the Brig” he said into the computer console. “Get that drone into the cell immediately Saul, when you get checked out, meet me in my ready room immediately. Tell the doctor to also come when he arrives.” ------------------------------- Jones sat in his ready room, sweat on his face and adrenaline in his blood. What the hell was that… a Borg Drone that can think, move, and react independently from the collective? Something was different… that Borg was not the mindless drone that the Federation had always dealt with. And it had mocked him… “Come.” Jones looked up and saw the Doctor and Saul enter the room. “Ah, hello Doctor, Lt. Saul. Please, take a seat. Casualty Report.” “No casualties, but Ensign Ret is currently in intensive care – he was hit with one too many phaser blasts.” Jones nodded slightly – Ret was the shield used by the drone. “The Borg attempted to inject almost every person with nannites. Even me.” said Saul half-heartedly, has he pulled down his collar to show two holes. Saul was expecting Jones to jump, but he didn’t even react. “Don’t worry, Captain. The doctor sterilized it before awakening it. We’re all safe, luckily.” “Alright, I need to know what happened back there. That was not standard Borg behavior.” “Agreed. It spoke like it was independent, like it was alive. Not only that, but it moved with incredible speed, definitely not the bulky slow Borg we’ve always faced.” “Doctor, you did remove it from the Collective, correct? I need your guarantee that it was not communicating.” “Captain, I manually removed its transmitter, and disabled its nannites. There is absolutely no way it could communicate with the Collective or build itself a new one.” “That’s bad news. Command needs to be told immediately about this. Without the Collective, the drone must go independent, but it seems like now it’s still controlled partially by the machine, thus making our hybrid.” stated Jones, going out on a limb. It seemed to be the logical reason for its actions. It definitely made sense to him. “So that’s why it could mock you and move so quickly?” “Yes. It must be designed since we’ve been capturing and studying more drones and the Queen must not be happy about it. A radical unpredictable drone is much more effective at disrupting research and individual ships than a normal one.” “Then why not do that for all their drones?” “It would be impossible to control a few trillion independent drones. Anyway, for the time being we need to know what they’re planning. There is a Borg fleet approaching Earth, and we need to know how big it is, what it contains, and their plans. This Borg, no matter how radical, unpredictable and independent it is, it still contains the knowledge we need.” said Jones as he stood up, straightening his uniform. The others followed suit. “The future of the Federation may rest in its hands, and subsequently ours.” “But Captain, I doubt it will tell you anything – it seemed pretty resilient last time.” “That’s because we were treating it like a Borg. We need to go after the one thing the Queen gave it – freedom.” ------------------------------- “You really caused a lot of damage out there.” stated Jones calmly, staring into the face of the drone, metal bars between them. Since the war has started, the Federation has become keener to the abilities of the Borg, and that included replacing Brig force fields with old fashioned metal. “Had we not sterilized you, you could have taken over the ship.” “The Collective will come for me, they will assimilate you all.” declared the drone with hostility, his face pressed directly against the metal. “Return my subspace transmitter immediately” “How does it feel to be all alone?” The drone froze and Jones smirked internally – the drone looked like it was just hit in the face. It removed its face a few inches and blinked. “They…” “We removed your subspace components, you can’t hear them anymore.” “The voices… they’ve all stopped – I’ve only realized it now…” the drone’s face suddenly shifted from shock to rage, “What did you do?” “We made you free – the collective doesn’t control you anymore. It’s just like it was before you were assimilated. Can you remember back then?” There was a distinct pause as the drone attempted to recall the past… the past that the collective worked so hard to destroy. “Yes… I was… human?” “Can you remember Earth?” prodded Jones. He was making great headway – he had never expected to be moving this quickly. “Yes… I miss it. I remember… My family… my friends I want to go back” muttered the drone, longing becoming more predominant in its voice. “You can, but by the time we arrive there may be nothing to get back to. Your friends, your family, they’re in danger. The Collective is preparing to invade, and we need your help. Without your help, your family may be assimilated or killed.” Jones paused for a moment, sympathy in his voice. “Do you know anything that could help them?” “The Borg… I know what they’re doing… I know what’s coming” “Tell me” ------------------------------- “Are you sure about this, Captain?” asked Saul, standing at his post on the bridge. The drone had been exceptionally cooperative, giving the coordinates of a transwarp conduit, from which the primary Borg fleet would exit. Not only that, but the number and class of ships, as well as the time of the fleet arrival. “We can’t trust it… there’s something suspicious going on. Two hours ago it almost took out the whole security staff and now we’re letting it on the bridge?” angrily said Saul, motioning to the Borg in the corner, five officers surrounding it with phaser rifles. “Keep in mind this sort of thing has happened before.” “But not at this rate Sir, I do not suggest we go find this conduit. You will be endangering this crew, ship, and the Federation.” objected Saul, his eyes slits. “Your objection has been duly noted, Lieutenant.” Saul breathed deeply, reminding himself to keep calm. He didn’t like this one bit… “Captain, we are approaching the coordinates.” informed the ensign at helm. “Good. Now what?” asked Jones as he faced the drone, its face blank and emotionless. “Enter the nebula. The conduit should be in the center, in a bubble of normal space.” “Excellent. Helm, prepare to enter the nebula.” The ship hummed as it began to speed up, entering the reddish colored nebula. The bridge was silent; everyone’s eyes were locked on the screen. “Sir, we are approaching the bubble.” “On screen.” he commanded, and the screen brought up a blurry red cloud. Slowly it focused, the red being replaced with black. Jones squinted his eyes, a hint of green catching his eyes. “Zoom to sector 103.” the screen focused, and Jones cursed. “Reverse course! Heading 103 by 204 mark 5, Maximum warp!” yelled Jones at the Ensign sitting at help as what he saw on the screen was not empty space, or a transwarp conduit, but rather an amassing fleet of Borg Cubes... their massive hulls glowing green with energy. “I can’t let you do that.” stated the drone, and Jones felt the push of a phaser to the back of his neck. “You tricked me” yelled Jones, spinning around to face the holder of the weapon. What he saw was Lieutenant Saul… with a face that was not flesh…
  14. Whew, I just realized that it ends tomorrow! I had almost missed the end date!
  15. Mine has been finished, and edited. So its definitely coming, even though you wont see it for another month or so.
  16. Thank you very much for extending the deadline. Unfortunately, I was in Spain and completely spaced on posting mine before I went. Whew.
  17. any news on when we'll get our feedback for the last challenge? Just wondering.
  18. The Choice By Nemitor Atimen Some say deceit is in our blood. The Romulans would say so, so would the Klingons. However, we could say the same thing about them. All people, all species, have lied before. Even Vulcans, with their logic, and the Borg, with their collective mind, all have lied to someone, at some time. Its part of free will, perhaps even the soul – the part of every sentient being that allows them to make choices. This choice is key, and this free will defines us to the core. It is this free will that gives us the chance to experience hate, love, fear, and joy. ---- The joys of retirement. Captain Johnson relaxed in his lounge chair in his ready room. His head was tilted backwards, his eyes staring at the ceiling. A smile was wide across his face, his gray beard following suit. As he stretched his arms, he brought them back down and they skimmed his balding scalp. He was getting old – and this was his last mission – to return to Alpha Centauri and retire. He had been waiting for years for this, and now that it had come, joy had overwhelmed him. No more missions, no more admirals, no more Starfleet. Not that he didn't like Starfleet, just he liked it more before it was run by a bunch of bumbling idiots. Idiots who didn't listen to him when he warned them – idiots who couldn't decide who was the best officer to promote if their lives depended on it. His smile reversed into a frown as he thought about how many mistakes they had made. Hmph. Too late now... “Captain Johnson to the Bridge.” his first officer's voice filled the room. Sighing, he knew he wasn't done with this job yet. As the door opened, he turned around and looked at the ready room – bits and pieces of memories scattered in material form throughout the room – he needed to pack. “Captain on the Bridge!” That was his science officer – Lt. Stein. He got along well with Johnson, even though he was one of the newer arrivals. Johnson saw a bright future for Stein, if he ever loosened up a bit. That guy followed protocol to the letter, unless he was off duty – but even then he still was quite uptight. “Thank you Lt.” Johnson moved to take the seat that his first officer just moved out of. As Johnson got closer to the seat, the first officer's eyes only darted to the side quickly, still staring at the view screen. Staring down at his officer, Johnson was getting annoyed. Shuddering slightly, the first officer rose, and apologized himself while standing up, and took his seat to the right. “Is everything alright Commander Ole?” Johnson noticed similar occurrences over the last few weeks... he would have to send the Commander to Starfleet medical if it didn't stop before they arrived. “Yes, Sir, I'm fine. I was just thinking. Its unimportant.” there was a pause, and Johnson considered removing him from active duty... but he scratched the idea – he needed is First Officer, and Ole was still capable of performing his duties. “Sir, we picked up a distress signal from an unidentified ship three light years away from our current position. I have ordered an intercept course.” “Uh, I just can't have my retirement yet, can I. Put the distress signal on.” The screen flashed a few times, and a very fuzzy image of a woman was shown on screen. “Warni...*static* Intercepted... *static*... Severe.. damage to... *static* warp core...*static* sabotage... *static* breach... imminent. *static* Request... assistance.” The screen flickered once more before going black. There was a pause as everyone seemed to hold their breath. “Current velocity?” “Warp 8.5” “Increase speed to warp 9.7” the little ship could take the stress, and not only did he want to help these people, but he wanted to finally retire. Sighing, he raised his hands to stretch, and looked at the ceiling of the small bridge. He hoped this would be a simple issue, and began to day dream about his house on Alpha Centauri. He hadn't been there in years, but he hired someone to fix it up. It was an old house, built a few years after the system was colonized. Made out of wood, it was designed to be a symbol of old Earth civilization, and that was exactly why he liked it. It reminded him about why he was here, and why humans were here in space at all. “Sir, we are entering sensor range.” “On Screen.” The screen flickered, and a small highly damaged freighter appeared on screen. The Federation design was obvious, as was the immense damage to the hull – which appeared to have come from the inside out. “Life signs?” Stein froze for a second as he tapped the console. “Two humanoid life signs on the freighter.” More tapping came from Stein's console, “Sir, the core is fluctuating.” “Bring us to transporter range. Prepare to lower shields and beam them over.” “We're receiving a communication burst from the freighter – it appears to be encrypted data” Upon hearing this, Ole's eyes grew wide before the right one twitched as he stared at Stein. The Captain didn't notice, his own gaze was focused on the scene in front of him. Ole suddenly spoke his voice rasp. “Send the communication burst to my console immediately, do not attempt to decrypt the data.” Stein froze before nodding, and Johnson looked at his first officer with confusion. “Commander?” Ole didn't shift his gaze, and ignored his superior officer completely, “We are entering transporter range.” “Prepare to lower shields and beam them over on my mark.” Johnson began counting down as he stared at the damaged freighter. “Lower shields, beam them over.” Without warning, Stein yelled. “Core breach on the freighter!” “Shields up!” The screen and the lights flashed as the ship was jolted to the side. Johnson held onto his chair for dear life as he saw Stein fly forward and be tossed around like a rag doll. The shaking slowed to a stop as the lights returned to normal. “Damage Report!” “Uh... Severe damage to the forward shields, conduit overload on deck 4, injuries throughout the ship, and some gel packs blew out.” Stein had pulled himself up, and Ole tapped the console like a mad man. Both seemed mostly uninjured, but Stein had a small gash on his forehead, which was bleeding. “Lieutenant, report to sickbay immediately, and get that fixed. Commander, record a log of the events, and resume our original course. I'll be in my ready room.” Once in the ready room, Johnson fell into his chair, his head in his hands. His wrinkled hands scratched his bald head as he thought. Something was not right, he just didn't know what. Not only did Ole act very strangely, but the ship exploded right after their shields dropped. And that encrypted packet of information... Something was not right. He decided to continue his plans and send Ole to Starfleet Psychiatry for mental evaluation. Next time Ole acted strangely, he would relive him of command – he can't have any problems, especially on his last mission. “Captain to the Bridge.” Johnson stood and went over to the door, straightening (what was left) of his hair. Entering the bridge, he saw Stein was still there, but his gash had stopped bleeding. “Lieutenant, I ordered you to Sickbay.” “Sorry Sir, but the turbolifts are not responding.” Johnson walked toward the lift, and the door did not open. He turned around and looked at Stein. His gaze shifted as he looked at Ole, still tapping like crazy on his console. “Commander Ole – What are you currently working on?” The commander froze and his eyes darted from left to right. A small bead of sweat fell from his temple, sliding down his face. “Getting the turbolift online Sir. I believe it to be a computer malfunction caused by the freighter's core breach.” Johnson stared at him as he debated what to do. “Very well. Carry on.” He turned to face the Lt. who was now tapping away at the console himself. “Captain, we have some problems. Internal communications are offline, all turbolifts are offline, and doors are not responding throughout the ship.” “What?! Drop out of warp and fix these problems! Call up engineering immediately – get those lazy bums working!” Anger surged through the Captain's voice. Something was definitely not right. “I'll be in my ready room” Stein opened his mouth and began to argue, but Johnson was already gone. Ole was still tapping away. --- Back in his ready room Johnson fell into his chair to think. Communications, doors, and turbolifts. It was as if someone was trying to stop communication and movement... He froze as he turned on his console and brought up the distress signal. “*static* warp core...*static* sabotage... *static* breach... imminent. *static*” Johnson listened to it once more before rewinding and replaying it again. “*static* sabotage... *static*” Again... “*static* sabotage... *static*” His mind jolted, and his body jolted upright with it. Reaching under his desk, he grabbed a phaser and jogging as fast as his old legs could take him, headed to the bridge. It was time to stop this. Stein looked confused at the way Johnson entered, with his face red and anger obvious, phaser drawn. “Captain Johnson?” Johnson ignored him as he stood right next to Ole, his phaser pointed at the man, his hands now in the air. “Commander Ole – I am hereby relieving you of duty and detaining you under the charge of conspiracy against the Federation. Lieutenant Stein - “ Johnson tossed the phaser to the Lieutenant as he led Ole to the side of the bridge. “If the Commander moves, shoot him.” “Captain, what is going on?” “Don't play dumb Stein!” Ole was yelling at the lieutenant now, his face distorted in anger and his hands clenched into fists. “Calm down, Commander.” “You can't get away with this Stein! Captain - Stein is a...” a quick line of light flew toward the Commander, and a yell echoed through the deck. The Captain kneeled down and felt for a pulse... there was none. “Lieutenant! You had it set to kill?” He turned his head to face Stein, and his face went pale in shock. The phaser was now pointed at him. “Lieutenant Stein, I order you to stand down.” “I can't do that... Sir.” hatred echoed through is voice as he used the title, his eyes narrowed into slits. “The Praetor would be quite disappointed with me.” “Praetor?! What the hell are you talking about?” “This ship is the catalyst – why do you think I was assigned here originally? Was it because it was a good position, and I was a good officer? Ha! No! It was because you are the captain. You, Johnson, live at Alpha Centauri, and are the oldest Captain in the fleet. We knew retirement would come soon, and then we would strike.” Johnson was now on the ground, his back to the wall. The phaser was pointed at his head as fear filled his mind. “Do you still not understand? This ship will be brought to Earth under the guise of you wanting to visit the Admirals once more before your retirement. We are being trailed by thirteen Romulan war birds, their emissions are being disguised by the plasma and other particles being emitted by the 'damage' to this ship. Once we enter the system, Earth will be hit without warning, and the Federation will be severely weakened – enough for a full invasion from the Neutral zone.” Johnson understood now... Ole was trying to protect him and the Federation. Ole knew that telling Johnson directly would only get him sent to the brig – so he tried heading off Stein whenever possible. He just couldn't hide what he was going well enough... “Why am I not dead?” “Why? Quite simply, the Federation will not believe your science officer if he tells them you want to visit Earth. They would send a ship to rendezvous, and we would be discovered. We need you to tell Earth that you will be coming, and that the ship was damaged.” “If I don't?” “Then you will die a most painful death.” Stein tapped a few buttons, and the Federation insignia displayed on the view screen. “Get in your chair.” Johnson hobbled over and sat in his chair. He rubbed his bald head, a hundred million thoughts flooding his mind. All the lies... all the pain... what has happened, and what will come. The screen flashed and an Admiral was on the screen. Johnson turned to look at Stein before looking back. It was the choice – the choice between right and wrong – survival and death – the truth or the lie. Johnson opened his mouth... to speak the truth.
  19. well, I'm working on one. I should have it done by sunday, but we'll see, since I'm going out of town for the weekend. I plan to finish it on the plane
  20. awesome. Yesterday a lot happened in two hours: First Promotion then Award then First Place. pretty amazing. Congrats to the other participants- they were good stories. Hopefully next time we can get a few more submissions.
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