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[2004: JUL-AUG] Memories of Change


Solan
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((Cardassian space.))

::A Cardassian sat in the control seat of the Hideki class scout. He manipulated the controls, disengage the docking clamps, and rocketing the shuttle out the bay doors. It was quickly detected by the Galor class warship it had launched from, the ship turned and began moving after the scout. The Cardassian at the helm increased speed to 1/2 impulse and raised shields, the warship did the same, but a slight explosion rocked it, and the shields collapsed.

A bleeping panel alerted him to the ships weapons being powered, a second later, a small explosion rocked the Galor class warship and it’s weapons went off-line, but it kept coming. The shuttle increased to full impulse, and the warship attempted to do the same, but then another explosion rocked its engines. Yes, he had done the work well. A smile creased his face.

Then he began to vanish, he disappeared, turning into a viscous liquid, before another form appeared. It was the form the Cardassians had insisted that he take when not in training, he didn’t like it. It was a Cardassian, but devoid of any distinguishing features, nothing was original, none of it was him.

He glanced down at his controls, slowing his shuttle, and sweeping around to face the warship which was now disabled. Before he had launched the shuttle, he had been careful to lay a set of traps for the Cardassians, making sure he would be able to get away. He looked at the stricken ship through a view port watching it for several minutes, then back down at his controls. His eyes drifted to the left, straying to the weapons system. He pulled his left hand off the console and rubbed his thumb against his fore finger, then made a fist.

His indecision was maddening. The answer was obvious. He quickly moved his hand towards the console, and powered photon torpedoes, only three quick seconds later, they were ready, prepared for launch, his hand strayed again, moving to the launching mechanism, and then something made him stop. He continued to hesitate, his hand hovering above the lives of so many others. How could he kill them? Even after all they had put him through; even after all they had forced him to do, how could he? How could he, a mortal creature, decide the fates of so many others?

Disgusted with himself, he made a fist above the panel desperately wanting to slam it down . . . but he pulled it away. He couldn’t do it. Angry at himself, he spun the shuttle around, and warped away, leaving the Cardassians to sort out their own problems.

A thought occurred to him, he needed a face. Not what the Cardassians had given him, but something that was his own, something that everyone would recognize as him. Then he realized that he didn’t have a name either. He would have to find both.

He searched for anything about shape-shifters, and found a number of different entries. Some called ‘Allasimorphs’ some called ‘Chameloids’ but none seemed like him. Then the computer informed him about an entry for someone called ‘Odo Ital.’ He opened that and found a picture. The man had smooth features, a wide face, knowing eyes. He stared at the picture for a long time. It was a good shape, a form someone could get used to and enjoy being in. He found a larger picture and set to work. Carefully sculpting himself to be that person.

Later, he would need a name. He would have to find one that suited him, that meant something. But for now, it was enough to create his face.

((Mess Hall, Starfleet Academy, Earth))

DRUE: You hear me? Founder?

::His voice was derogatory, hateful. Cory Drue hated Solan.

Solan looked up, locking eyes with the man. Drue stood 6 foot 4 inches, and towered above the sitting Solan. He leaned over the table, staring into Solan’s face.::

DRUE: Did you hear me? I asked you a question. ::He tipped his head, displaying his fourth year cadets pips. The were polished to perfection.::

SOLAN: I heard your question. ::He said it calmly, attempting to modulate his voice to calm the cadet down.

DRUE: ::The man thundered before Solan could continue.::

Then why aren’t you answering? ::He slammed his fist into the table, everyone’s eyes shot to the pair. His voice hadn’t worked. The noise had been quite loud. Why Drue always did that was beyond Solan, the man wasn’t well liked, he didn’t have favor with the instructors, he didn’t have any real authority except for his seniority. Yet, he always drew every eye he could to their confrontations.

A collective hush filled the room, people stopped eating, people stopped talking, no one was obvious about it, but everyone was watching.::

DRUE: Why didn’t you answer me? ::He didn’t seem to notice the stares.:: Do I need to repeat myself? Not quite good enough at mimicking ears?

SOLAN: ::Solan didn’t raise his voice.:: My ears are fine. I didn’t answer your question, because I didn’t feel the need to.

DRUE: Feel? Is that what you call it?

SOLAN: ::Solan’s gaze intensified, sharpening, it was all he could do to hold back his prior training, not from Starfleet. He would succeed though, he had to. Even so, his right hand clenched around the padd he was holding.::

DRUE: I doubt you feel, you heartless ball of slime! ::His voice grew steadily louder.:: I doubt you care enough! ::By now he was yelling.:: But lets see, shall we? ::He gave a menacing sneer, then planted his hands on the table Solan sat at, and leapt over, placing him squarely in front of Solan. He then punched Solan in the face, sending him backwards along the table bench about a foot. Solan didn’t respond.::

CONTER: ::Another fourth year cadet stepped closer, speaking in a subdued, yet concerned voice.:: Cory, your going to get burned . . . ::But Drue ignored him. Advancing on Solan just as he was standing to his feet.::

SOLAN: ::Shaking his head.:: I’m not going to fight you.

DRUE: Ah! You do feel! I see you feel fear. ::He shoved Solan, trying to knock him down, but Solan maintained his balance this time.:: Perhaps we should let you feel something else, eh? ::He pulled a device from his uniform, it looked something like a modified phaser, he fired it at Solan. The beam struck him in the chest, and instantly he knew what it was. Again, his training started to kick in, but he held it in check. The beam was meant to force him into liquid form, and it was working. He was forced to revert, and eventually was on the floor. He sensed Drue laughing, then calling to some other people at a table.::

Think he feels embarrassment now? ::He continued guffawing.::

::But no one else laughed, it wasn’t that they didn’t find it funny, it was that they had seen this kind of thing too many times before. The second fourth year cadet, the one named Conter shrugged and moved off, Drue continued laughing. Without his knowledge something else was happening to Solan.

He felt it, his terror, his hatred his fear, it was taking over. He slowly rose back and re-assumed humanoid form, but he didn’t see a fourth year cadet, he saw a laughing, hateful Cardassian. Everything slowed suddenly in Solan’s mind, his eyes blazed, they widened greatly, taking in every detail, every miniscule fact. The Cardassian Solan saw was in full uniform, his eyes, cold, calculating, un-feeling. He was reaching for his disruptor in fear, Solan’s senses were focused on his every move, he could literally see every hair on the man’s hand as it wavered in the breeze from movement. He was so focused, the contrast between his pail skin and black uniform stood out like a tornado on a calm day.

He saw the hand brush against the disruptor, confirming it’s location, confirming it could be used to kill. He sprang, he could fill his muscles pulsing under him, he could feel their tenseness released in one, single magnificent leap. He could see the eyes on the Cardassian as he rushed towards, he watched as the pupils contracted, realizing to late his mistake, he saw the hand that, just finished from a brush against his disruptor, shoot back to it, attempting to draw it from it’s holster and use it before the end came. Before that sickeningly rapid jump came to an apex, and the Cardassian’s life was ended. Solan’s hand [...]ed back, creating a fist shaped wedge, it was a solid thing, rapidly, in less than a second, all of Solan’s attention became focused on one point on the Cardassian. One point, became the focus of all his wrath. The right side of his neck, about his fourth vertebrae, a direct blow there would kill. He ignored the terrified eyes, the lips parted in a horrified scream, the hands that started to come up in an effort to defend himself. All was blocked from Solan’s vision, except for that one point, that one area of his neck.

A scream rocked the air, searing into Solan’s mind, distracting him, forcefully pulling him from his remembrance. His head spun swiftly to the side, he spied a first year cadet, she had seen his intent the blazing in this eyes, and probably saved Drue’s life. Solan collided into Drue, both fell into a table.

Solan forced himself upright, stared for a second, horrified, realizing what he had almost done, then he spun on his right heal, and ran out of the room.::

((Time Warp, 2.5 hours later, 1433 hours.))

VINE: ::The instructor stormed back and forth across the office, Solan sat in a chair, watching him. When he spoke, he was shouting.:: And you were about to commit a deliberate murder! Mister Solan, that is unacceptable! ::He paused in his rapid pacing and looked at him.:: Do you even realize what that would have done to your career?!?

SOLAN: I-

VINE: ::He was cut off as the officer continued his tirade.:: I don’t think you do! ::He paused again calming himself.:: Do you realize you’ve got at least ten admirals watching you? Watching how you act, how you behave? ::He sighed and slumped into his chair.:: And now I’ve got to tell them that you tried to kill another cadet. ::He shook his head, whether in disgust, or despair it was impossible to tell. Vine was a human, Solan found him to be one of the more un-predictable terrans Solan had met. He looked at Solan, almost ruefully.:: Any ideas on how I break it to them? ::Unpredictable, but a friend anyways.::

SOLAN: ::Solan answer the rhetorical question seriously.:: I would recommend you tell the Vulcan first. The Admiral will take the information logically, and will be a benefit in informing the other Admirals.

VINE: ::Vine’s fury actually dropped away enough that he laughed.:: You know, I just don’t get it. How can you be so logical and have so much insight into human character, yet, not be able to avoid these fights? ::‘Fights’ was plural, Solan had had more than one with Drue.::

SOLAN: The reasons, sir, are in the record.

VINE: ::Vine sat forward.:: I know whats in the record. What really happened?

SOLAN: ::Solan connected his right and left hands at the finger tips.:: I exposed a Changeling pretending to be the former Admiral Drue, and Cory Drue has never forgiven for doing so, he was happier with an imitation, than with nothing.

VINE: ::The instructor sighed again, speaking as though to himself.:: You’re never going to tell me, are you?

SOLAN: ::Solan shook his head slightly.::

VINE: ::Vine sighed deeply, disappointed again.::

((Time warp, one year later.))

VINE: Alright, cadet, lock phasers onto the asteroid.

::Solan pressed the correct buttons, locking the shuttles type four phasers onto the target.::

SOLAN: Phaser’s locked correctly, firing buffer shows all systems operational, functioning normally. We have a ‘green board’ so to speak.

VINE: ::Vine smiled.:: Good, then let’s fire phasers.

::Solan fired the phasers, destroyed the small asteroid, but overloading the conduits. A small explosion could be heard from the back of the shuttle cabin. Vine ducked his head instinctively, and a fire could be heard starting.::

VINE: Drat!

::Solan didn’t know the exact meaning of the word, but he agreed with the sentiment.

Vine stood and put out the fire.::

SOLAN: Sir, shall I bring us back in for docking?

VINE: ::The instructor sat back down.:: No. Cadet, I want you to repair those phasers here.

SOLAN: ::Solan swiveled his pilots seat.:: Here, sir?

VINE: ::The man put on a false air of exasperation.:: Here, cadet!

::Solan stood and moved to the back of the cabin, opening a panel and beginning to repair the damaged conduits. It was a test, and he knew it.::

((Time warp, five months later.))

COMPUTER: Simulation in progress. ::The small fighter moved forwards, a helm/tactical cadet in the front, Solan in the back.::

CRONE: ::The pilot in the front spoke nervously, he was a first year cadet.::

Arm phasers.

SOLAN: Phasers armed. ::His sensors bleeped.:: Enemy craft approaching, bearing 234 mark 132.

CRONE: Coming about. ::Solan could see sweat standing on the mans neck as the enemy craft filled the screen.::

My goodness! It’s a battle cruiser!

::To be precise, a Romulan Warbird filled the front viewer of the shuttle.::

SOLAN: The vessel is powering weapons and raising shields.

CRONE: Evasive maneuvers! ::The fighter began to duck and weave wildly, remaining in the formation with the other six fighters of their wing.:: Arm Quantum Missile one.

SOLAN: ::Solan activated the automatic arming system.::

CRONE: Target their . . . ::He hesitated. Not quite sure what he wanted to target. He finally came to a decision.:: Target their warp engines.

::Solan rolled his eyes silently.::

SOLAN: Armed and targeted. ::His console bleeped.:: Cadet, the other vessels are requesting instructions.

CRONE: ::He hesitated again. When he finally spoke his voice was trembling, and about three octaves higher than usual.:: Order them to . . .remain in formation, pattern epiloson.

::Solan rolled his eyes again. The cadet was putting his fighters into a compact formation, flying directly towards the Warbird.::

SOLAN: All fighters responding.

CRONE: Open fire . . . now.

::Even as he said it, the console turned white, and the computer’s voice broke the concentration rudely.::

COMPUTER: Simulation terminated, all fighters destroyed by Plasma Torpedo hit.

CRONE: ::The cadet sat dejectedly, not speaking for a few minutes in the fighters [...]pit. Finally he turned and swiveled his neck as far as he could to get a better view of Solan.:: What went wrong?

SOLAN: ::Solan chuckled.:: First, you shouldn’t target their warp engines, that just takes away their method of escape and forces them to fight all the harder. You can’t hope to actually destroy them, your only hope is to drive them off.

::Solan continued to explain the faults in the cadets strategy. When he was done, the young man seemed even more depressed than before.::

CRONE: Did I do anything right?

SOLAN: ::Solan hesitated slightly. Not much had gone right in the scenario.:: It doesn’t really matter, this is your first attempt, everyone’s allowed some slack.

CRONE: ::The man sighed, not encouraged much.:: Have you beaten this? ::He gestured to the controls.::

SOLAN: ::Solan hesitated again, Crone had suffered enough disappointment for one day, but he had to be honest.:: Once.

CRONE: ::Crone gestured excitedly to the controls.:: Show me!

((Time Warp, Ten Minutes Later))

::Solan powered up the fighter.::

SOLAN: Engines at maximum, all weapons prepared, shields up and reinforced.

::The small ship swung around, grouping up with it’s squad mates.::

SOLAN: ::Solan spoke over his shoulder to Crone, now in the back seat.:: Order all fighters into standard diamond slot formation.

CRONE: ::He tapped in a few commands.:: All fighters acknowledging.

::Solan brought them about, facing the Romulan Warbird.::

SOLAN: Solan to all ships, prepare to break on my mark.

::He was acknowledged again.::

Target their forward weapons array, and arm Quantum Missile One. ::The ships only carried two, and they were only about a tenth of the power of a standard Quantum Torpedo, but they were more accurate. And, if used correctly, could actually be used to temporarily disable a vessels shields.::

Set them to auto detonate, range, three meters.

::That would set the missiles up to detonate just in front of the Romulan’s shields.::

All ships, maintain course . . .

::A green glow could be seen coming from the front of the Warbird. Solan’s gaze intensified, his focus intense.::

BREAK! ::Five small fighters suddenly altered course, blasting away from each other.::

::Three seconds later.::

Realign for firing pass! ::The ships continued away from each other, but they were now moving towards the Warbird as well.::

Hold fire . . .

::They swept closer, 600 m.

500

200

150.::

SOLAN: FIRE!

::Small missiles streaked away from the fighters that slowed for two seconds, and reaccelerated. The missiles traveled less than 7 seconds ahead of the fighters. They exploded just in front of the Warbirds shields, creating a gap for a few seconds. In that instant, the fighters shot back into tight diamond formation, and made it through.::

Target weapons and fire. ::The small ships began to pound away from inside the warbirds shields. The still couldn’t destroy it, but it was enough to convince the warbird captain to leave.::

((Two months later, Graduation.))

::The instructor handed Solan a rolled piece of paper.::

VINE: Congratulations, Solan. ::He smiled broadly, and shook his hand.::

And welcome to StarFleet.

::Solan nodded, and smiled slightly, it was clear he was pleased.::

VINE: Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the first Changeling ever to join Starfleet!

::Some in the crowd applauded, some sulked, but all were amazed. No one had thought Solan could handle it, it would be too different, well, he had.::

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