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[2003: SEP-OCT] The Tale of an NPC


Varaan

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((Corridors - Cardassian Freighter MON HALKUK))

::He had never thought he would be in quite this situation. Something like

it, maybe, but this particular situation, never. After all, the Cardassian

War had been over for years, and after the Dominion War the Cardassians did

not seem to be in any kind of situation to be a threat for years to come. So

how did he come to find himself here, on a Cardassian freighter, in the

middle of a firefight?::

::He remembered back almost 6 years ago. His mother had been standing on the

front porch of his family home in Colorado. She was wearing a blue dress and

waving a white dishtowel at him. She had been crying for almost three full

days now, and refused to come out any further. Like the act of staying where

she was had some bearing on a decision he had made two years ago. His father

was helping him load his belongings into the hovercar. Dad was smiling,

partly because he found mom's actions humorous, and partly in pride at him.

He was Albert Martinez, and he was the first Martinez of this line of the

family to be accepted to Starfleet Academy.::

MARTINEZ: Mom, I promise I'll write, and come home when I can. You know I

love you.

::Emelia Martinez almost broke out in tears yet again. She stopped waving

the dishtowel long enough to use the corner of it to wipe her eyes. Mom had

always insisted on having manual labor done around the house, especially

when Albert and his brothers and sisters tried to talk her into getting a

replicator and join the 24th century. She said it built character. She went

back to waving the towel.::

MRS. MARTINEZ: I know son. I love you too. Do us proud.

::You'd think he was going away forever, the way she was carrying on. His

younger sister Maria came out of the house from behind his mother. Maria had

a skipping rope in her hands, and used it as she skipped all the way across

the yard to where their father was finishing loading the hovercar. Albert

squatted down as Maria approached. She was only 9, and the youngest, but

Albert's favourite sibling.::

MARTINEZ: Hey squirt. I'm going to go now, but I'll be back soon. I need you

to do me a favour.

MARIA: [still skipping] What?

MARTINEZ: Mom's going to need looking after for a while. Do you think you

can take care of her?

MARIA: [still skipping] Okay. See you later.

::She skipped away down the block towards her friends house as Albert stood

up. Even with Maria's non-chalant attitude, he knew she would comfort their

mother after he had left. Albert's father put the last bag in the hovercar

and closed the door. He walked over to Albert and placed his hand on the

back of his son's shoulder.::

MR. MARTINEZ: Time to go, son.

MARTINEZ: Thanks, dad. Bye Mom!

::They both got into the hovercar and slowly drove away as Albert hung out

the window waving back to his mother who was shaking the towel around like

she was trying to signal a low flying shuttlecraft. Albert's father just

shook his head and smiled.::

::Another disruptor blast hit the wall across from him. The Cardassians were

at the far end of this cross corridor, laying down enough fire that Martinez

couldn't advance to the next available cover. He was sitting on the floor at

the corner of the T-junction. His phaser rifle in his right hand was

currently pointed at the ceiling, in a standby position while Martinez

waited for a break in the Cardassian fire to take his turn.::

::His second year at the Academy began rather normally, until he met Cadet

Gloria Marx. It wasn't anything romantic. Not at first, anyway. At first she

was just this excitable blonde in his Military Tactics class, and they got

partnered up for a project on Ordin's "Great Battles in Federation History."

They quickly became friends, and he found out how interested she was in

pulling pranks. Usually they were on other people, but he did get his share.

By the end of third year, spending almost every free minute together,

something happened. The night before their Probability Mechanics final they

were pulling an all-nighter, studying. They were both sitting on his bed in

his dorm room, with their backs up against the wall, reading. After a long

period of silence, Gloria leaned over. Albert thought she was trying to look

at what he was reading, but instead she maneuvered herself and kissed him

full on the lips. Initial shock swept aside, one thing lead to another and

needless to say they both almost slept through their exam the next morning.

They dated all through fourth year, but knew that come graduation they would

almost certainly be given distant assignments. When she was sent to Starbase

285 and he was assigned to the Federation Consulate on Vulcan, they promised

to remain in contact. If got out of this, he promised himself that he would

write to her.::

TARA: =^= Tara to Martinez.

MARTINEZ: =^= Martinez here. Go ahead.

TARA: =^= Status report, ensign.

MARTINEZ: =^= [another blast hits the wall] Well, no movement either way.

The Cardassians seem content to keep me here.

TARA: =^= Hold tight, ensign. I am sending you aid.

MARTINEZ: =^= Understood. Martinez out. =^=

::Before being transferred to the PALADIN, he had been stationed on the USS

CASPIAN, a Nova-class vessel. They had been charting stars and systems on

the coreward edge of Federation space. Gaseous anomolies are all very well

and good, but nothing compared to a neutrino pulsar. At least, that's what

the boys in the science department kept telling him. Albert wasn't all that

interested in seeing the unknown. He was more interested in the known. He

wanted to see the inhabited systems of the Federation. He had been on Vulcan

for a year, and that was interesting, but there was more to the Federation

than just Vulcan. And Earth. Instead he was out here, twiddling his thumbs

to find something to keep him occupied.::

::Then they came across a binary system; a red supergiant with a smaller

orange main-sequence companion. Sensors were picking up the remnants of a

recent warp jump insystem. The CASPIAN entered the system slowly to

investigate. Of the 7 planets, the fourth was reading as Class-M. According

to the captain, normally in situations like these, the CASPIAN would take

readings but stay out of sight. Upon leaving the system they'd inform

Starfleet Command, and a First Contact team would be sent out here to

investigate. That had been the plan, anyway. Right up until the CASPIAN was

scanned by whatever ship had initiated the warp jump.::

::It seems that there was an indigenous humanoid species living on the

fourth planet. After several attempts at communication, the universal

translator started to earn its pay, and First Contact was made between the

Federation and the Gormdin. That's what they called themselves, anyway.

Albert didn't think it was a very flattering name for a species, but who was

he to argue with thousands of years of evolution on an alien planet. The

Gormdin demanded some answers, and Captain Hammond did his diplomatic best

to give them to the newbies on the Galactic front. Amazingly, to Albert

anyway, it worked and the CASPIAN was invited back to Gorm to celebrate. It

seems the Gormdin were at the stage of developing and testing superluminal

travel mechanisms. They were basically peaceful explorers, and were curious

about what lay beyond their solar system. Captain Hammond agreed, and teh

CASPIAN escorted the Gormdin ship back to their homeworld.::

::After spending almost two weeks on Gorm, spending time with the native

population, Albert had come to realize that being in Starfleet was about

more than just seeing the sights and being where the action is. He was

helping his crew teach the Gormdin about the Federation, and learning about

their culture in return. There were many parties and celebratory feasts, and

Gormdin ale was discovered to be fairly potent, even to the Gormdin. They

stood on average just over two meters, and resembled bipedal felines. Lions,

actually. And strong too. One night at a party, a Gormdin almost knocked

Albert flat on his face with a congratulatory slap on the back after Albert

had successfully told a Gormdin joke in their own language. Sometimes he

thought he could still feel the bruise.::

::After two weeks a special Federation Cultural attachment arrived on

planet, and the CASPIAN had to leave to continue their mission. Albert was

slightly disheartened to leave, but had a renewed vigor for his career. He

promised Fraalen, the local magistrate whom he had come to befriend, mostly

because Albert was one of the few who could hold his Gormdin ale, that

someday he would return. He meant to keep that promise. He had heard over

the subspace wire that a couple of weeks ago Gorm had officially petitioned

the Federation for membership. He was glad.::

::Another disruptor blast hitting the wall across from him brought him back

to reality. He turned to his right ans saw a Starfleet Marine run up to him.

The marine crouched down in front of Albert, facing him. The marine did not

look much older than Albert himself, but had a big smile across his face.

Setting down his own phaser rifle, he reached into one of his jacket pockets

and pulled out a small, roughly spherical object. Pressing a button, he

leaned out into the crossfire with no regard for his personal safety, and

rolled the item down the hall towards the Cardassians. Smiling again, he

patted Albert on the shoulder, picked up his rifle, and took off back down

the hall from whence he came, all without saying a word. Albert watched him

go, even as the stun grenade went off amongst the Cardassians. Albert smiled

to himself as he scrambled up off the floor to his feet. He brushed the

flecks of brown peeled paint off his uniform, and they fell to the floor

where they had come from. Turning down the corridor, he made his way to the

unconscious bodies to relieve them of their weaponry. Today was a good

day.::

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