|Art by KillaBC|
(Author's note: Just for giggles here are the links to my first two Star Trek stories. Out of the Darkness and Hard Transitions: Part One.)
Douglas, Connor Edward: Captain, USS Saratoga NCC-31191-A
Birthplace- New Sucia Island on Izar (Epsilon Bootis 3)
Attended Starfleet Academy from 2360 to 2365
First assigned to the Excelsior-class USS Scott Carpenter, Ensign Douglas was tasked to ferry a Klingon delegate across Federation space in a long range shuttle to their consulate located in Shackleton Station in orbit above the planet Amaknak. While in route, Douglas' shuttle was attacked by Orion pirates and due to battle damage had to crash land on a nearby uninhabited planet. While on the planet's surface, Douglas and the Klingon, Grig of the House of K'pon, were able to at first evade then capture the ten Orion pirates still intent on killing them. After the Orions were taken prisoner, Douglas was able to hack into the communications systems on their ship. Douglas quickly learned that Grig's uncle hired the pirates to assassinate his nephew in an attempt to cover up his own involvement in the smuggling of illegal substances into the Klingon Empire.
Douglas and Grig formulated a plan to expose the conspiracy, but it required them to take the Orion's ship and fly to the Klingon world of Khitomer. After arrival there, the two sneaked onto the estate grounds of Grig's uncle and captured both the records and several personnel involved in the smuggling operation. Once exposed, Grig killed his uncle and turned over the leadership of the House of K'pon to his father.
Grig's father quickly petitioned the Klingon Chancellor to recognized his assumption of leadership of the House of K'pon to prevent any usurpers from coming forward. The Chancellor not only recognized the change in the K'pon hierarchy but had it join his governing coalition. In a show of appreciation not only did Douglas personally receive an award from the Chancellor but Grig's father honorary adopted the human as a second son.
The Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire, not quite sure what to make of this entire event, pulled some strings and had Ensign Douglas transferred back to his homeworld of Izar where he was assigned to the Saratoga, then being built in orbit around the planet. Further complicating the matter, when the Chancellor learned of Douglas' fate he threw a fit over what he perceived was a dishonor shown to the young human. This caused Admiral Sponer, Third Fleet commander, where the new Saratoga would be assigned, to promote Douglas from ensign to lieutenant jg –far ahead of usual practices-to smooth things over.
Since Douglas' major at the Academy was warp field dynamics he was naturally assigned to Engineering helping to finish construction on the ship. As chance would have it, four of Douglas' friends from his Academy class joined him on the new Saratoga: Ubiad Sallem, Mya Farias, Zhao Shih, and Pujit Kothari.
During the rush to get Saratoga launched, Douglas and Farias developed a relationship and became engaged. The actual marriage had to be postponed when positions of the new Freedom-class starship, USS Justice opened up for Farias and Sallem. Later events during the Dominion War caused Douglas and Farias to end their relationship.
Shih, Zhao: Lieutenant Commander
Chief Engineer and acting first officer of the USS Saratoga
Birthplace- Anhui Province, Federal Republic of China, United Earth
Attended Starfleet Academy from 2360 to 2364
Zhao Shih comes from a family with a long history in space exploration that predates the establishment of Starfleet. One of Zhao's ancestors was the first person from the old nation-state of People's Republic of China to walk on Earth's moon. In fact, one branch of the Shih family was part of the first group of colonists to take up residence on that planet. Later members of the Shih family served with distinction in the Earth/Romulan War and the Four-Years War against the Klingons.
All this history contributed to Zhao at first rejecting any notion of applying to Starfleet Academy. A certified prodigy in multidimensional temporal physics, Zhoa graduated from Beijing University five years early with hopes of securing a slot at the physics research center in orbit around the planet-less star, LP944-020. Zhao's talents alone guaranteed his application to Starfleet Academy was immediately accepted.
As before at Beijing University, Zhao graduated the Academy early and had a short posting on the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), before it was destroyed.
Sallem, Ubiad: Captain, USS Justice NCC-81445
Birthplace- State of Palestine, Greater Levant Confederation, United Earth
Attended Starfleet Academy from 2360 to 2365
Always a bit of a restless spirit, Ubiad applied to Starfleet Academy to escape the boredom some associate with life on Earth in the 24th century. Having majored in studies of exobiology, Ubiad spent his first few years on the USS Charles Darwin surveying prospective colony worlds. The crisis years leading up to the Dominion War forced the Darwin back to Federation space with Ubiad jumping at the chance to serve with his best friend, Connor Douglas on the Saratoga. Ubiad was assigned to security while there but was soon transferred to the USS Justice and became one of that ship's tactical officers.
Like many others, including Douglas, combat losses at the start of the Dominion War turned into quick promotions for those with the luck and skills. Within six months after being transferred, Ubiad became the first officer on the starship Justice and later its captain after Robert Wingo became the commanding officer on the USS Lexington. Mya Farias was also reassigned to the Justice as the same time as Ubiad and the two became involved during the course of the war.
Farias, Mya: Lieutenant Commander,
Second officer and chief ship operations officer on the USS Justice
Birthplace- Rosario, Republic of Argentina, United Earth
Attended Starfleet Academy from 2360 to 2364
While born in the Argentine city of Rosario, her family moved to the asteroid colony of Asteria in orbit beyond Mars when she was six years old. Both of her parents had received their post-graduate degrees in life support systems management and the asteroid colony governments were always eager to recruit residents to replace those leaving the Sol system.
Mya attended the first two years of Starfleet Academy at the satellite campus on Asteria before transferring down to San Francisco. Graduating with a major in linguistics, Mya was initially assigned to Izar to assist the resettlement of Bolian refugees who were forced off their colony world due to massive volcanic eruptions. As the buildup to the Dominion War proceeded, she was transferred to the Saratoga where she became involved with Connor Douglas. The two became engaged a few weeks before positions opened up on the USS Justice with her and Sallem who were strongly urged by Starfleet to transfer over due to personnel shortages.
With the transfer to the starship Justice, Mya became entered a relationship with Ubiad Sallem.
Captain's Log, USS Saratoga
Connor Douglas in command
We are still four hours away from reaching the Mandith system. Renegade Cardassian forces have already arrived and in far greater strength than was reported. The Federation starships stationed in the system have engaged the enemy and as of our last communications are still operational but will not last much longer. They are pursuing a highly modified form of guerrilla warfare of attacking the larger ships then jumping to warp before they can be pinned down. Once clear, they turn around an attack another group before repeating the process yet again.
The static system defenses on both the various civilian habitats and drydocks have so far not allowed any enemy forces to gain a foothold. Klingon warriors and Federation Marines along with Cardassian locals are standing ready to repel borders once they beam over.
“Connor, you still with us?” LCDR Zhao Shih asked softly while looking at his friend and now captain.
“Yes, I'm still here,” Connor said turning himself in the command chair slightly to right to look at his first officer still growing accustom to the idea he was now the captain.
Connor didn't say anything else for a moment choosing to look around at everyone on the bridge performing their duties. The Saratoga's bridge now had more in common with that of its younger Sovereign-class sister ships. The only difference being that all the duty stations were now seated positions that included the automatic safety belts that were tied into the inertial dampers. Connor's thoughts were a jumble of different subjects but he couldn't help but wonder why in the hell it had taken Starfleet so damn long to include those features.
“Zhao,” Connor finally said, “be ready to head down to engineering if Lieutenant Axor needs help once we go into battle. He's a good kid but I'm not sure he is ready to head up your department while we're engaged in combat.”
“Aye sir,” Zhao responded not quite ready to remind Connor that the very same things had been said about each and everyone one of them at some point. Deaths during the Dominion War had caused untold thousands of Starfleet personnel to be promoted far ahead of schedule. Zhao had to admit that while the Bolian, Wren Axor was a genius with the ship's systems he had much to learn about how to handle those under his command.
With the return of combat the bridge fell silent again as all the personnel retreated into their duties. While first officer Connor kept busy making sure everyone stayed alert and ready to respond when the proverbial hammer fell. Now as captain, his private thoughts and memories kept him hostage.
Delta Acuben 4, Starbase 738
Earth date-May 10, 2373
Seven months after the start of the Dominion War
The view from the window of the damaged laboratory showed a motley collection of battle damaged Starfleet vessels surrounded by a swarm of manned repair pods that looked like Terran bees. Several of the massive support and maintenance ships hovered nearby all with their various landing bays open allowing what amounted to continuous operations.
Lieutenant Connor Douglas' repair team were under orders to ignore the lab itself and just repair the optical data conduits that ran behind the bulkheads as quickly as possible. The recent engagement against a Dominion cruiser and its escort gunboats and was a success but the ship had still taken some heavy blows. While the Saratoga wouldn't need any outside support for repairs Captain Boone wanted the ship ready to join the task force being assembled to try and take the occupied Kotin system.
It was while his team was replacing one of the six junction assemblies that Connor saw the starship Justice from the window. The immature part of him immediately wanted to run to the nearest communications terminal and try and contact Mya. But he knew his duty would not allow such a distraction given the current situation with the Federation engaged in a battle for its very existence. With any luck, Connor thought to himself, Admiral Carter would call for a captain's conference before the various starships left the system allowing to have a few off duty hours.
Eleven hours later that is just what happened and as luck would have it the starships Saratoga and Justice ended up in nearby parallel orbits that permitted transporter operations. Connor easily got permission from the duty officers from both ships to beam over to the Justice.
The interior of the USS Justice had the same general appearance and layout of the much larger Galaxy-class vessels and he stepped out of that ship's starboard transporter room knowing the location of his fiancee quarters. Part of Connor's mind knew it was probably a bad idea to beam over without talking with Mya directly beforehand but time was critical and the saying, “fortune favors the bold” was running through Starfleet like a bad case of Rigelian flu.
The software that automatically opens the doors on the Justice immediately recognized Connor and allowed him entrance without even announcing his presence to occupants inside the quarters. That was when he saw both Mya and Ubiad on the bed with the sheets chaotically twisted and them caught in the act. For a long second the three friends looked at each other in the same sort shock and disbelief that had heralded the end of uncounted relationships from the beginning of humankind.
Connor just calmly smiled and shook his head before turning around and leaving. Ubiad quickly followed saying something but Connor didn't hear a word of it. When Ubiad came within range though Connor quickly turn and punched his former best friend in the chest just above the heart. The blow was one of those special maneuvers taught at the Academy that gave human a chance against stronger species. Ubiad immediately fell to floor unconscious with Connor only taking enough time to make sure the man wasn't dead. By that time Mya had come out of her quarters with one of the sheets wrapped around her body, the sweat of her and Ubiad's lovemaking still gleaming on her body.
“You could have told me it was over,” was all Connor said before returning to the transporter room and beaming back to his ship.
“All hands,” Connor said returning to the present, “this is the captain, we are fifteen minutes from dropping out of warp. Go to red alert and battle stations, sick bay and damage control teams be ready to respond because this is going to be messy.”
All told Starfleet had dispatched seventeen capital ships to help relieve the defending forces. The Klingons had sent ten as well but Admiral Cartwright's original idea was to hold them in reserve. The fact that the renegades had attacked with over fifteen ships instead of the six that intelligence said would appear throw that plan out. All the allied vessels would be engaged with everyone just hoping the Cardassian IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) systems on the static defenses mounted on the habitats and drydocks had been updated. While it was a certainty that the newly reactivated defense systems were updated for the Starfleet vessels already in the system if the Cardassian computers didn't recognize types of ships entering the area the renegades were going to be happily surprised at their good luck.
As the minutes ticked down with the flagship, USS Destiny, started transmitting real-time tactical updates and assignments for the other ships of the emergency relief force. Saratoga was tasked with repelling two renegade heavy cruisers that were attempting breach the defenses of a cluster of drydocks holding six deactivated Cardassian warships of similar size.
“Here we go people,” Connor called out, “tactical, open up with phaser strikes on the enemy ships but hold the photon torpedoes until we're five-thousand kilometers out. And tactical, set the torpedo pattern for sierra-six, that should confuse them both. Once the photons are fired, swing the ship around and put us on a course of 331 mark 061 at full impulse. Then I want all power to shields and forward phasers.”
The helmsman on duty was the young Ensign Reid who had long frustrated Connor Douglas with his silly but bloody gung-ho attitude. “But Captain Douglas,” Reid said while laying in the maneuver, “that will bring us under the two renegade ships.”
“Exactly Ensign,” Connor said, “you wished for a glorious space battle before the war ended and you're finally getting your wish. They're aren't any civilian habitats nearby and I rather blow those enemy ships away before they have a chance to reposition.”
For the entire voyage to the Mandith system Connor and Zhao had kept the tactical display on the main viewscreen at the front of the bridge. Connor switched it to a live forward view barely five seconds before dropping out of warp. As the warp field evaporated and space returned to normal there were the two renegade ships trading fire with massive drydock facilities. Hampered by the fact that the renegade forced actually wanted to limit the damage to the unmanned ships and other facilities they could only direct their fire to weapons systems and power conduits, both heavily protected by shields.
At precisely the programmed moment the phasers on the Saratoga hit the renegade ships at their weakest points. For one renegade ship that was an already damaged shield generator protecting a power conduit leading to a energy weapons array. The tactical officer, had already instructed the computer to take advantage of any new vulnerabilities and after the first phaser hit the shield generator again concentrated fire on that point. Before the Saratoga passed by that part of the renegade ship's shield collapsed allowing another volley to penetrate the hull. The resulting explosion ruptured containment on one of the secondary fusion reactors killing over a hundred Cardassians on five decks effectively knocking it out of combat.
The second renegade ship fared far better than its partner. Saratoga's phaser strikes didn't affect its shields beyond causing a significant drain of their available power. By that time Saratoga was beyond effective phaser range but hadn't yet reached the point where the photon torpedoes would be launched. The Gul1 of the renegade ship ordered his helmsman to pursue the Saratoga and open fire with all weapons.
“Hits on port nacelle and strut, shields down to 85 percent” tactical officer Lieutenant Kinyor said from her station after the ship shuttered. Just as soon as those words were out her mouth the aft photon launcher spit out six torpedoes set at maximum charge.
The first two torpedoes detonated on the renegade ship's forward shields sending a surge of power back through the emitters the buffers were only barely able to absorb. The third torpedo overloaded the buffers and the forth and fifth exploded on the hull thirty meters from the enemy bridge. The sixth torpedo wasn't targeted for the ship trying to pursue the Saratoga but the one they had already knocked out. That torpedo detonated over the bridge causing another hull rupture and the ship to explode in a fireball that bathed the other ship in hard radiation frying numerous systems including weapons and life support.
The Saratoga was still maneuvering around for its second pass when the first renegade ship exploded. “Massive systems failure on the second renegade, Captain Douglas,” LT. Kinyor said as her hands danced over her console.
“Doesn't matter,” Connor said, “execute the maneuver and lets take it completely out of the equation. But limit the strikes to its power conduits and weapons, I'm done with killing but I want that ship barely holding on with just life support.”
The second pass did the job with Connor having the Saratoga linger in place just long enough to make sure it wouldn't be able to return to battle.
“Captain,” Zhao said looking up from the small terminal attached to his chair, “the USS Gorkon2 is in trouble. She's been jumped by two renegade battleships and all the other ships including the Klingons are engaged.”
“Helm, get us to the Gorkon as quickly as possible,” Connor said.
With the arrival of the relief force in time to prevent the renegades from making off with the deactivated ships the battle was essentially over. The only question remaining to be answered would be how suicidal were the renegades.
The Gorkon had gotten in trouble getting between two battleships and one of the civilian habitats. The shields on the habitat had collapsed and the several hundred renegades had beamed over and were attempting to take control. Tactical communications told the story of Klingon warriors and Federation Marines battling the growing number of renegade troops. The starship Gorkon, one of the more recent Excelsior-class vessels was prevented from bringing it weapons up to full power because any damage to the renegade ships would probably impact the civilian habitat that was housing over fifteen thousand individuals.
“Get the Saratoga between those battleships and the Gorkon,” Connor said to the helmsman. “Tactical, try and target the weapons systems and warp drives on the renegades. Zhao, try and raise the Gorkon, see if they can get any distance, we're all too close for comfort here.” Connor finished hoping it would be enough to save the damaged Starfleet vessel and the civilians.
Squeezing in between the opposing ships worked, but the Saratoga was being rocked by heavy weapons fire from the two renegades with no real way to respond. Things got so tight that the shields from the different ships started flaring from contact with each other. Despite the flaring shields and continued weapons fire the Gorkon was able to limp away from the area, its starboard nacelle growing red from the plasma fires raging in the warp coils but still engaging one of the renegade battleships with phaser fire.
“Captain, receiving a message from the civilian habitat,” Zhao said, “it's the Klingon general, Kartan, he says that the renegades reached the habitat's self destruct system and activated it.”
“Captain Douglas,” the new science officer, Lieutenant Sovan said from his corner of the bridge. “This civilian habitat is powered by four 500 terawatt helium-3 reactors. Given its position, the resulting explosion will not only vaporize it but at least twenty others like it, as well as most of the drydocks and unmanned ships. The renegades knew what they were doing when the assaulted this facility.”
“Alright,” Connor said, “tactical you're going to need to prevent the battleship we're engaged with from moving. Forget the weapons systems and start blasting anything that has to do with its warp drive or sub-light propulsion. This has become nothing but a slugfest.”
“Sovan,” Connor called out, “how long do we have before self-destruct?”
“Ten minutes, thirty-two seconds,” he said.
“Tactical, give me an update,” Connor said as the ship was rocked from the energy volleys being fired at it.
“Shields holding at 45 percent and I've been able to disable its sub-light engines but I'm still working on the warp drive.” Lieutenant Kinyor said from her station.
By this time many of the surviving renegade ships had heard about the impending explosion of the civilian habitat and began trying to escape. Admiral Cartwright sent many of the Starfleet and Klingon ships to hunt them down. Even the renegade battleship still duking it out with the Gorkon decided it was time to leave.
“Captain Douglas,” the ship's intercom blared out, “this is Lieutenant Axor down in engineering. What the fighom3 are you doing to my ship. I'm rerouting systems to keep you people going but even I can't keep this pace up for much longer.” Both Connor and Zhao looked at each other after noticing the arrogance of the Bolian's voice.
“No promises Axor,” Connor said, “if we don't disable the enemy ship we're engaged with in a little over nine minutes the Saratoga and everyone inside her will become super-heated plasma.”
“Captain,” Kinyor called out, “our combatant is trying to engage warp. I think its gul wants to save his or her skin.”
“Put a tractor beam on it and keep firing on its warp engines,” Connor said.
“Eight minutes, ten second before the habitat detonates,” Sovan said to everyone.
“Sovan,” Connor said, “look up the name and commanding officer of that ship. Connor said with an idea struggling to take shape in his head.
“Captain, that ship is named the Enduring Revenge and before the end of the war it was commanded by Gul Toohas.”
“Zhao, hail our friend, Toohas.” Connor said to his first officer.
“Channel open,” Zhao said.
“Gul Toohas, this Captain Connor Douglas of the Federation starship Saratoga, please be advised that you and I are going nowhere. I am the adopted son of the Klingon House of K'pon and today is a good day to die. I'm willing to hold your sorry ass right next the civilian habitat your soldiers have set to detonate. Somehow I don't think you want to die today, Toohas. Call your people and have them stop the countdown.”
There was no response from the Enduring Revenge, but two minutes later a call came out from General Kartan saying the Cardassian troopers had surrendered after deactivating the self-destruct.
“Now Toohas,” Connor said over the still open communications link, “power your ship down completely and prepare to be boarded.”
Captain's Log, USS Saratoga
Connor Douglas in command
(Two weeks after the Battle of the Mandith System)
The aftermath of the battle had the ships of the task force either securing renegade ships or rescuing the crews of the three original ships assigned occupation duty in the Mandith system. Personally lucky for me the crew of the Enduring Revenge killed Gul Toohas after realizing what he had ordered the soldiers to set the civilian habitat to self-destruct.
Once the members of the Cardassian provisional government in the Mandith system took control of the Enduring Revenge I was able to move the Saratoga over to the location of the starship Justice. While Sallem and his crew totally exceeded expectations on keeping the renegades at bay until the relief force arrived, by the time I laid eyes on the ship it was pretty much a dead hulk with rescue personnel looking for survivors. Happily to my surprise, many of the crew had survive in harden section of the ship. This situation now forces me to do something I should have done a long time ago.
The deck-five, section green treatment bay of the hospital ship USS Anna Comnena4 held twenty patients all about to be released. The bio-bed display screens above the patient's head only gave the most basic of information to the various nurses and technicians on duty. Connor Douglas walked in looking for one person in particular and found her on the far end next the bulkhead. After seeing that the patient in the bed was still asleep he engaged the privacy screen and pulled out the small chair placed next the bed and began his wait. Two hours later she woke up quite surprised.
“Oh my god, Connor I can't believe it you.” Mya Farias said not quite sure what to make of her ex-fiance sitting next her bed.
“When I found out you had survived I knew I had to see you...one last time.” Connor said looking at the woman he once thought he would spend the rest of his life with.
Mya was puzzled about what he meant, until she had a terrible thought. “It's Ubiad isn't it, he died.” Mya said with tears beginning to form on her face.
“No,” Connor said, “Ubiad survived as well but in far worse condition. He's still in the bio-tank and before he gets out will have a two new arms and a new leg. He was badly burned but his brain was intact and the doctors say with a couple of years of rehab he will at least be physically good as new.”
“Connor, I am so sorry Ubiad and I didn't contact you when our relationship turned into something more than friendship. I know we hurt you and that there is nothing I can do to make it better.” Mya said with the tears now flowing for a different reason.
“That's why I'm here Mya,” Connor said after gently grabbing her hand. “I was the one who was wrong, I never should have shown up like that. You're going to have to tell Ubiad when he gets out of the tank I'm sorry for sucker punching him in the corridor. For a second or two, I actually wanted Ubiad dead but when I saw him on the floor, I was terrified I killed my best friend.”
“Why can't you tell him? I'm sure he would love to see you again.” Mya asked wiping her face with a cloth Connor handed her.
“Mya, I'm the captain of the Saratoga now and I've requested a deep space mission. Given how my crew and I stopped the Enduring Revenge and essentially saved the civilian population of the Mandith system my reward is a seven year exploration mission into the uncharted regions of the Beta Quadrant. Making matters more interesting it will take the Saratoga a year to reach the red line marking the end of charted space. And I'm not including the time my ship will be in orbit around Mars in drydock getting refitted for the mission. I'm looking at ten to eleven years before I'll see any of the stars of home again.”
With nothing left to say two old friends whispered their goodbyes to each other and parted ways.
1Gul: Military rank equivalent to Starfleet captain or Marine colonel.
2USS Gorkon, NCC-40512 Named in honor of the Klingon chancellor who died in an effort to establish peace with the Federation. See Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country
3Fighom- Bolian version of hell or hades
4Anna Comnena: Eleventh century doctor who ran a hospital and orphanage in ancient Constantinople.