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Messages - John Saxon

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Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: October 01, 2021, 06:27:16 am »
Katra Station - Operational Control Center

Katra Station - Operational Control Center

Solluk reached out to accept the offered cup of Klingon coffee, and it seemed that the caffeinated beverage was the signal the galaxy had been waiting for to make the situation deteriorate.

Perhaps it was an inevitability that some of the Xhelosians would try to make a run for the tempting habitable planet nearby.  But somehow Solluk thought that they'd have more time.  Perhaps when one's entire star system had been destroyed by a plague of celestial locusts, one's patience ran thin.

Solluk's mind raced as he considered the possibilities of how this might go further awry.

"Stand by on the photons.  Depending on how the Xhelosian engines fail, they might be knocked into a decaying orbit.  Contact Kir'Shara.  Scramble the Spock & Kiri-Kin-Tha.  They have tractor beams.  Not enough to tow ships of that size, perhaps, but enough to pull them into a higher orbit if needed, until we can mount a rescue.   Once we have the launch order confirmation, then proceed with the disabling torpedo strikes."

With an intake of steadying, but impatient, breath that would have not looked out of place on a familiar Klingon Starfleet Officer, Saxon nevertheless accepted his Captain's decision, and thumbed the channel to Kir'Shara. "Katra Station to Kir'Shara Outpost..."

After a truncated and brief explanation as to what was urgently needed, 'Century' reported readiness and deployment to Solluk. The Xhelosians made no effort to deviate from their planned descent, and the fighters deftly moved only at the last minute to avoid collision; the intent was unmistakable. "5 seconds to atmospheric contact" he reported...

...and fired.

Tag @Solluk, soft tag to @Netha-Sar Murselas

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 27, 2021, 06:35:11 am »
<Katra Station - Deck 1 - OCC>

Ensign Peter Dannenberg
[Katra Station - Deck 1 - OCC]

"One Raktajino, coming right up!", Peter announced and then turned away to head to the replicator. It took only a couple of seconds to request the beverage before he could pick it up and then carried it over to Captain Solluk. "Here you go, sir! The Klingons make quite a good coffee, don't they? But if you ever want to enjoy a good beer, I recommend you try a German one." He had lowered his voice as if that was an insider's tip and grinned at him almost conspiratorially.

At the Vulcan's question regarding the Starstalker, Peter moved to the right and sat back at the console only to be met with the stare of Commander Saxon, looking at him expectantly. Oh dear. It really was like his XO was on to him. Peter made sure to call up the information quickly. "No word from them yet, Sir. Based on the time of their departure, we have calculated an ETA for them that will be up in 47 minutes."

While he said this he got the incoming alert on his console but Commander Saxon beat him to reporting it out. A frown began to show on Peter's face as his fingers flew over the console to call up more details. He had set coordinations for each of the refugees ships in a way that would ensure the normal traffic to and from Katra could continue almost as usual. So far, it had worked out fine. But if the Xhelosians started to move about on their own now, it wouldn't take long for chaos to take over.

Without waiting for the Captain to order something, Peter took initiative and opened a channel to the ships.    =/\="Katra Operations to Xhelosian ships. Abort your flight path and return to the coordinates assigned to you. I repeat. Please return to the coordinated assigned to you." =/\= So far, the Xhelosians had been cooperative. Would that change now?

The lack of response - or course correction - from the Xhelosians rapidly eroded what was already largely and habitually a very finite amount of patience in 'Century' Saxon, and with that his fingers danced over his console once again, this time with the determination of someone clear in their next steps. The errant refugee ships were 20 seconds from Meridian upper atmosphere. "Captain" he near-barked, "I've instructed torpedoes for a low-yield, targeted strike on various engine manifolds"; his statement did not necessarily need to explain how the system was able to determine these, given the myriad designs of the rag-tag fleet, nor was it really necessary to bother his Commanding Officer of the minutiae of how the AI of the ordnance would be able to nimbly navigate around the considerable traffic; "ready to fire on your mark."

Maintaining his face to Solluk as he waited for the decision, he then slapped his combadge. " =/\=Commander Saxon to CAP: intercept vessels making for Meridian atmosphere: force off course if possible, but weapons hold. =/\="

It was a big ask - having the fighter Air Patrol risk their small frames to pressure the Xhelosian vessels into evasive action away from their destination, but without using their firepower to do so - it would take the steeliest of nerves and confidence in their abilities to do so. But the Commander was going to ensure that any direct attack on civilians would come from himself; he would not ask those pilots to undertake such actions - not unless it became truly critical. Right now, this was not one of those times.

It would be on his shoulders, therefore.

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 23, 2021, 05:03:26 am »
<Katra - OCC>

‘Century’ Saxon stood at his dual Tactical-Strategic Overview station as Captain Solluk settled down in the OCC’s centre seat. To the elderly officer, his Vulcan commanding officer looked almost Romulan in his pensive expression- a fact, presumably, due to the reduced emotional barriers caused by injury long-past. Clearly the negotiations between known ‘allies’ to find habitat for millions of refugees had not gone well.

Solluk’s request for any word from the Starstalker, prompted John to turn his head in anticipation from Ensign Dannenberg at Ops; but this was immediately truncated by an alert from his own board. He frowned, and double-checked the readings. Then he looked up in alarm.

Captain” he projected, a voice like a sandstorm, “Fifteen refugee vessels closest to Meridian have powered engines and are making their way to the atmosphere”. Tactical systems automatically calculated directed energy intercepts; not only weapons, but tractor beams, which would be duplicated on the Operations stations- John didn’t have the time to play ‘You Go First’. Calloused fingers danced over controls, but the jabbing became more pronounced as frustrations grew. “Too much traffic to lock tractor beams”. That was, of course, largely moot as Katra just didn’t have the emitters to halt so many large vessels at once.

The reaction from the Meridian authorities would no doubt be dramatic.

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 20, 2021, 04:21:05 am »
<Alpha Quadrant - Deep Space Nine - Conference Room>

Rear-Admiral Amanda Matthewson wished she could put her head in her hands.

It would certainly solve to remove those that sat around her from sight, but did nothing to drown out the din. Wearily, she realised the youthful, but ancient, wisdom of her daughter had provided the best solution situations such as these: scrunching up eyes, sticking fingers in ears, and shouting 'la-la-la' very loudly until it went away.

Being demoted to Ensign was worth it, surely?

But no. She was here because more was at stake than her sanity. Or patience. War was brewing once again in the Alpha Quadrant. On the horizon because of the disappearance of one of the most unique anomalies known to any spacefaring civilisation.

Certainly one of the most important.

The Denorios-Idran Subspace Conduit - otherwise known as the Bajoran Wormhole, the Celestial Temple of the Prophets, Eye of Destiny, the Great Economic Express, a Royal Pain in the Backside - had disappeared from virtually every sensor with little ceremony. The Science teams on board this station, who had the greatest experience of this damn wormhole just past the windows, said that its vanishing had followed a massive increase of some particles the Admiral had very little interest in remembering. Her interest was in preventing the various powers from blaming the Federation... Everything had been tried so far, but nothing had worked; it was, as it was explained to her, as if it had never existed.

"-clear that the Federation still wishes to secure exclusive trading rights with the Dominion", proclaimed Chief Market Manager Glum, from the Ferengi Alliance, their tiny, clever eyes boring into the skull of Amanda. She glared back. "That is utterly ridiculous". Her own blue eyes bore back. "It's not as if we can turn the wormhole back on whenever-"

"We only have your word for that" came the less piercing voice of Admiral Valon of the Romulan Free State - all but the Star Empire yet without both - but that was no less penetrating. "The Federation has a reputation for...shall we say..." she trailed off, and Matthewson did not believe for a picosecond this was down to a simple lack of vocabulary.

Her suspicions were immediately confirmed. General Tamar of the Klingon Empire exploded with indignation, presumably unaware that his Romulan counterpart had set him up to complete the verbal accusation. "-deceit!"

She was not about to let that pass. "I take great offense at that, General. Admiral", ensuring her words were directed to both the agent provocateur and the unwitting partner. The Klingon bristled, but did not interrupt. "The Federation is not in the habit-"

"-of being found out", the Cardassian Legate, Bretal, interceded smoothly, with a wry smile. Amanda was sure the senior representative had undertaken personal training with the once-familiar Cardassian leader. "Let us not lie to even ourselves; everyone around this table now knows of the lengths Star Fleet and the Federation will go to justify their goals. We fought a war together, after all."

"Some on different sides" snorted Tamar.

"Quite so" the Cardassian nodded politely, and she least had the decency to look ashamed. "But my people were first ruled by a despot, and then by brutal occupation. After we-"

"How dare do you speak of brutal occupation", spat General Jremel. "The scars of your whips are still felt-"

Matthewson was momentarily relieved at the bickering; it hadn't been a new occurrence to be sure over the weeks, and it hadn't been freshly open wounds. The same topics circled around and around, and whilst it had made for these talks - or more accurately interrogations - it had given the Federation more time to solve their crisis.

Dear lord, she thought to herself, is Bretal right though? Do we capitalise on any means for our ends? After all, Sectio- She shook away the discomfort. She raised her voice in a tone she usually reserved for on a Bridge during Red Alert. "Everyone, we're getting nowhere-"

"A bit like the Gamma Quadrant", muttered Glum.

She ignored him, but the room settled down to look at her; with a mixture of expressions. "Once again, the Federation has not not cut you off from the Gamma Quadrant. Something has happened to the wormhole, and we're doing all we can to re-open it. Don't forget, we have our own people trapped 90 thousand light years away."

A cacophony of replies reached her at once.

"Coincidentally with traitors to the Empire! Perhaps you wish to form an alliance with the Republic!"
"A diplomatic and strategic head start, wouldn't you say?"
"A monopoly of trade opportunities!"
"A Quadrant-full of resources to further the Federation's continued aims to be the undisputable dominant force in the galaxy."
"Cutting us off from our very religion.."

The last one cut through the rest, and everyone stopped to look at the Bajoran, who continued without missing a beat. "You all look at the Celestial Temple as something to be exploited. A throughway to your next scrap of stars to fight over. But you forget, the Prophets live within the Temple. You may have lost access to the Gamma Quadrant, but we have lost something far, far greater."

He stood, and for the fist time in a long while, Amanda had a sinking feeling. "At this time the Federation", he said, his face a mask, " is sitting here, in our space, and your welcome is rapidly wearing thin." Bajor was, quite rightly, affiliated with the Federation but even today there was a strong public push back against their joining proper. That was not to say the benefits of Federation membership was not available - for instance, Bajorans joined StarFleet Academy - but full, political integration was still some way off; the thought of fully merging with a monolithic organisation - after so long an occupation where their identity had been crushed  - was still just too much, just too soon. To many, it was one small step away from a cultural occupation. "If the Temple is not re-opened in 40 days", they said with real conviction, "make no mistake you will be expelled from our space as you were an Occupying force. And the Bajoran Government will seek new partnerships; those who have a more vested interest in doing so."

The Rear Admiral couldn't help her jaw from dropping. "You would side with...". Her brain screamed to put the engines in full reverse.

All eyes turned to her. She was tired. She was exhausted. And she was frustrated. And now she was in the firing line. "...With...?" prompted Valon, her angular eyebrows raised in askance, and then looked about her peers. "It is as we said - the Federation believes themselves above us all."

She, too, then got to her feet. "I stand with Bajor."

Everyone else followed, and repeated the same. Even the Cardassian Legate. And the Ferengi. The universe spun and Amanda couldn't be sure it was only the lack of sleep. Was this a set-up?

"The Federation has 40 days, after which the Two-Quadrant Alliance will formally sign into existence and for its first act do everything in our combined resources to reconnect Bajor with their Prophets. The Federation will no longer dictate to us all about what we can, and cannot, do."

Matthewson thrust herself to her feet, and barely contained her rage. She shot a look to Tamar. "The Khitomer Accords explicitly prohibits new allianc-"

"Prohibit!" laughed the General coldly. "Do you think the Klingon Empire can be 'prohibited' like some naughty child!?" His tone became less theatrical, and for the first time, Amanda could see the shrewd tactician behind bloodwine eyes. "Circumstances, like battlefields, change Admiral. As do balances of power."

A few moments later, she was alone with her thoughts, none of them pleasant. After staring into space, literally and figuratively for another few moments, she slammed a palm on the table console and the response was near immediate. "Ops, here Admiral."

"Get me the Federation Council. Urgent."

"Yes, Admiral - right away."

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 17, 2021, 03:29:13 am »
<Katra Station - OCC>

<USS Starstalker - Internal Docking Bay 2 - Deck 7 - Katra Station>

As he stepped into the craft, he nodded his thanks to some of the flight crew that stepped by him who had been doing last-minute checks on the internals. He took his seat at the helm of the craft and began running through his pre-flight checklist, calling out to the crew chief and verbally narrating his actions for the ship's recorder as he tapped away at the computer controls to ensure all systems were in full working order and no lingering issues were waiting to surprise him once he left dock. As part of the checklist, he pulled up his mission profile details on one of the screens, giving it a silent read for the details Saxon hadn't the time to brief him on. As the final part of his checklist, he fitted his helmet into place with a satisfying life-saving hiss as it locked into the place. He then checked his suit for environmental integrity one last time before tapping up the comms channel to station operations.

 =/\= "This is Ensign A'Thaton to Commander Saxon, I am aboard and craft is ready to fly. Awaiting your orders, sir." =/\=

Saxon tapped his badge to the swift and timely report from the Flight Officer, once more pushing down a twinge of jealousy. And not a small amount of sentimentality; the small stealth ship had almost been his tomb some months ago, but ended up being his literal lifeline. Seeing it fly again, and not being aboard, pulled at his cloned heart.  "Acknowledged. You are cleared for immediate departure, Starstalker. We will remain in contact. Given local traffic, Ops will provide you with optimum navigational waypoints until you clear the system. Godspeed."

Turning to Ensign Dannenberg, who was blissfully now without a tray of hors d'oeuvre and now sat at his station in the OCC, he nodded at the update to the refugee fleet that was still limping in. 10 milllion souls; dozens of ships of various sizes; all rammed to rafters with frightened and desperate peoples. And the com channels were already slowly filling up with hails from craft that sought updates or assistance. "Link with Starstalker and assist with their route out, if you please Mister Dannenberg; we don't want our visitors to inadvertently getting in the way. Then see if we can ascertain any of the caravan that needs urgent support and co-ordinate by priority with Engineering and Flight teams."

With his hands behind his back, Century turned to the holoimage in the centre showing the ever-increasing numbers, but his thoughts were with Captain Solluk who had no doubt the greatest of challenges...

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 14, 2021, 11:46:24 am »
<Katra Station - Turbolift to Deck 1>

<Stellar Cartography - Deck 8 - Katra Station>

When Saxon voice called out from his commbadge, A'Thaton tensed up as he was broken from his study of the alien fleet's course. He sighed at himself for being startled and looked up a little to reply back to the Commander.

 =/\= "Ensign A'thaton here, Commander. Where do you need me, sir?" =/\=

A'Thaton hadn't had the chance to work under Saxon directly, but had reviewed the officer's file. A career Starfleet Human who served long before A'Thaton had even left the orbit of Cait; an unconventional security man with rather radical ideas, the sort that won battles and courted medals often; and the sort of person he would've followed around peppering with questions as a cub. Enlistees turn officer, in A'Thaton's experience, took no excuses and had a unique drive and perspective that Academy officers generally didn't get until they hit full lieutenancy, and even then, only those few pushed up the ranks. A'Thaton had wanted to talk with the man since he transferred over, pick the brain of a fellow veteran who knew his business and help refine A'Thaton's own ship-to-ship experience and fleet combat knowledge with a man who had experienced it all from the lower decks upto deck 1. However, A'Thaton wasn't a senior officer any more and Saxon was the station XO. It wasn't his place to approach the Commander unless he had a good reason. If nothing else, A'Thaton was ready to prove he was more than his disciplinary record would suggest.

The Caitain looked toward the screen of his musings and suspicions then said aloud, "Computer, save current astronav file under A'Thaton Nav model number zero-two-seven. Close current session and reset to default status." He then turned away as the lines and cone vanished and the stars of the sector hummed there quietly, awaiting new questions to be answered. For A'Thaton's part, he stood at a relaxed attention in the middle of the room as he perked his ears to listen for his orders.

The turbolift car continued its short journey as he updated the Flight Officer, impressed at the swift and professional response. "Report to Docking Bay 2 if you please, Mister AThaton. You'll be taking the Starstalker out; maximum stealth parameters. Please head there immediately and oversee its preparations. Mission profile will be added to the computer, but succinctly: you'll be tasked with tracing back the route of the refugee fleet to their home system; this may have been destroyed by the species known as the Gregari - the Library Database will provide some details of what little we know. We need this confirmed and-"

The turbolift opened, and he stepped out into the corridor leading to the OCC, "to ascertain any connection to this attack by the Thinkers." To himself, he pulled a face that bordered on irritation. He was particularly pugnacious about that arrogant piece of work that was their figurehead; it was their machinations that directly resulted in his medical leave. Not to mention they who had collapsed the wormhole. He wished it were he that was heading on this mission - he'd certainly toy with the idea of making a detour and ridding the Quadrant of this threat.

Recollections of a particularly direct and pragmatic Orion senior security crewman who had attempted the same thing to the horror and dishonour of the Service put a lid on that compulsion...but hot lava filled his veins at the very thought. "Report when you're ready to depart."

The ambient noise changed dramatically as Saxon entered the OCC. Ambient noise that had been chatter became hurried hush, peppered by the occasional spluttering into a cup, or the clearing of a crumb from a throat caused by the inhale of baked goods that had the unmistakable homemade signs of being prepared by one certain Chief Engineer. Hands swept consoles clear, and nervous glances to each other, gave Century all he needed to know. It was to be expected - moderately so; the senior officers, Department Heads, and selected representatives of such Departments, were almost always at what junior crew sometimes called the 'Shindig', and those not attended (and unlikely to until they too reached certain positions or were rota'd in) were rumoured to bring in their own snacks, on the proviso it was never spotted by the senior officers. It was an open secret, and John didn't particularly relish pulling them up on it; if the job was being performed satisfactorily, how they fuelled their attention was not for him to say.

To a point.

Giving them all a moment to compose themselves, and to remove all traces of their somewhat non-regulation refreshments, Saxon cleared his throat theatrically and, in the most dramatic fashion, raised his PADD to eye level as if to inspect the contents without distraction. In his peripheral vision, frantic kicking of items began in earnest and palms swiping boards clear, with frenzied Cadets scooping up elements and ferrying them out of sight. John mentally gave them 5 seconds.

He looked back at them in 4.

It was as if they had been working studiously at all times.

Stroking his beard, he looked around and spoke in a volume that brooked no further errant behaviour. "Status of our visitors' ships, if you please."

Tag to @AThaton

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 13, 2021, 02:53:08 am »
<Katra Station>

VIP Lounge - Katra Station

Solluk looked to Cat as she commented on the stories she’d heard about Captain Phreth’s described gate system.  Just stories, at the time.  But now, it seemed those tales had been confirmed, and much to her delight. 

For his own part, Solluk wasn’t sure whether he should be delighted or concerned.  What he did know was that they had to learn more about this Trantalus Gate.  Its unknown technology could contain the key to reactivating the wormhole… or even creating one of their own.

More concerning was the possibility that such a gate might allow something more sinister than refugees to reach the Trialus system.

”No need for apologies, Lieutenant,” Solluk said to Goodspeed, ”Your enthusiasm for this topic is auspicious.  I think we may have to mount a mission to see this gate for ourselves… if only briefly.”

Ensign Dannenberg commented on the Atrosians, and their coaxial warp drive.  He nodded at the Ensign, ”Atrosians.  Yes.  One wonders how such a technology as this Trantalus Gate might have impacted development of drive systems throughout the quadrant.”

The Xhelosian Captain quirked his head slightly to one side.  Solluk wished he could decipher some of their body language.

”The mysteries of the gate lie far beyond our understanding,” Phreth said, ”but perhaps others have indeed learned something from it.”

Saxon politely asked to be excused, and Solluk nodded, speaking softly.  ”Of course.  Perhaps you could check that the Starstalker is in flying trim.  I’d like someone to have a look at this.  As soon as possible.”

Turning his attention back to Phreth, Solluk asked, ”Can you tell me more about what happened to your home star system?”

Phreth twitched.  ”We had heard of them, but had never seen them before.  They were many.  Like infinite swarms of insects.  They surrounded our star, and it ceased to be.   A wave of energy erupted from our dead star to smash the system.  The evacuation was as swift and efficient as we could manage.  Still, only very few of us escaped.  I will forever be haunted by that knowledge.  By the feeling I should have done more...”

He paused, then added, "I am fatigued.  I would like to return to my ship."

Solluk stood.  "Certainly.  I will let you know as soon as I learn anything about your application for relocation."

Captain Phreth wobbled, and then began to depart.  Solluk nodded to Bryson, indicating that the man should escort Phreth back to the transporter room.  It seemed that this first meeting with the Xhelosians was at an end.

Appreciating the Captain's swift and clear permission to give leave to the room, Saxon gave a short bow at the shoulder to Phreth, and a swift nod to the other officers, and exited at a somewhat brisk march. A pace surely made for him.

As he crossed the threshold into the corridor, he tapped his badge. "Saxon to OCC".

There was a pause, and a sound of someone in the background asking someone else to 'shhh'. He raised an unkempt eyebrow to himself. "Control here, Commander."

Turning into a junction towards the nearest turbolist, 'Century' continued to march witrh purpose. "Who is the lead pilot on duty, if you please?"

As he arrived at the turbolift doors, there was another pause over the line, but this time accompanied by the more expected sounds of a console being accessed. Then, "Ensign A'Thaton, sir."

Despite no-one being around, Saxon pulled an expression of approval. The Caitian - experienced, intuitive, tactically minded -  was perfect for what was soon to be necessary; as long as their hot temperament was kept in check. "Excellent. Please inform the docking control team to prepare the Starstalker for departure. The pilot will assist with final pre-flight checks." He thumbed the call for the lift carriage and stepped in.

"Aye, sir."

Closing the channel with one tap, John tapped again to re-establish a new call. Technically, he needn't had done so - the ever-present computer had advanced enough intelligence to monitor for verbal cues, but he had never got out of the habit; indeed, he missed the golden days of having to flip up a communicator antennae. This, then, was the next best thing. "Commander Saxon", he said, as he rode the turbolift to Deck 1, "to Ensign A'Thaton. I have a mission for you..."

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 09, 2021, 04:39:54 am »
<VIP Lounge - Katra Station>

VIP Lounge - Katra Station

Solluk looked over as Saxon approached.

"Commander.  Captain Phreth was just describing a curious mechanism which allowed the refugee fleet to reach us.  The 'Trantalus Gate.'"

The Xhelosion wobbled his head slightly.  "It is an ancient technology found in the rimward area of the quadrant, not far from our home system.  The Gharidae used to control it, but they have since departed to unknown regions."

Solluk shook his head, "Until your mention of it, I had never heard of such a device..."  His gaze drifted briefly into the field of officers mixing at the function.  Was that the new science officer?  He raised his voice slightly, "Ensign Smith.  Lieutenant Goodspeed.  You may both find this of interest."

Then, returning his attention to Phreth, he asked, "How does this Trantalus gate work?"

A high-pitched hiss was translated into recognizable words, "There are two components to the gate system.  One close by, one near the rim.  When ships enter the gate near the rim, it generates a subspace wave effect which propels the ships at incredible speeds, until the receiving gate slows them down again.  This is why, despite our vessels having an average speed of Warp 5, we were able to reach the Trialus system swiftly when our home star was consumed."

This was the first detail the Xhelosian had presented about why so many were fleeing the Xhelos homeworld.  Their home star was 'consumed?'  There was only one threat in the Galaxy Solluk knew of who utilized such techniques with regularity.  He glanced to Saxon, wondering if his XO had the same thought.

At first mention of this 'Trantalus Gate' in the transporter room, Century had positively salivated with the thought of finding out more. But as this conversation continued within the VIP suite, he realised this merely some form of assistive propulsion to aid the refugees. Merely(!), he thought to himself wryly. He had come across similar technology over his career, but none still existed, or were not within reach. It seemed, however, there was now something in the proverbial neighbourhood. Of course, his primary concern was who else had access to such means - a threat force with some kind of speed multiplier would be quite the tactical concern.

So, as Phreth spoke of their journey, Saxon listened politely, but the wily old fox already thinking about how to blow this 'gate' up.

By coincidence, the subject of blowing up entered the conversation, and for a second John wondered if the Xhelosian was telepathic. Consumed? The star? His grey eyes flicked to Captain Solluk, and they met. He responded with a small nod to confirm he had picked this up.

The Gregari.

The innumerable swarms of what seemed to be small, autonomous drones were directly observed to destroy stars with focused soliton waves, harvesting the materials from the resulting stellar matter - solid metallic hydrogen - into the construction of new Gregari . The material that could be reaped from a single star was immense; who knew how many stars they had razed over time - but their sheer numbers were thought to be beyond any comparable threat force in any Quadrant. Individually, and in small numbers, these small craft were insignificant and of little to mild threat - their metallic hydrogen construction easily wrecked by conventional weapons. But a single swarm could number the millions, and their novel soliton wave firepower already difficult to deflect.

But the possibility of the Gregari being involved with the refugee fleet also tied up with the attacks from the Wanderers. Both had been known to have been 'employed' by the Thinkers; and whilst the Gregari's action could be seen as an isolated (if tragic) coincidence, given they often acted as cosmic locusts rather than conquerors, it was a little too convenient that both affiliated forces had been involved; the former directed to force the Xhelosians to flee, and the Wanderers to... what? Pick them off? The refugees were certainly no match for either even on 'home turf' so they hardly needed to be scattered and separated like tuna for easier pickings.

It made little sense. Unless the aim was simply to spitefully create a new, benign swarm to stretch Katra's resources further. His mind's eye narrowed.

As they were joined by other officers, Saxon struggled to keep up with the discussion. There were plenty of debate about the nature of the 'Trantalus Gate' some he dimly recognised from Starfleet records of around 20 years when the USS Voyager returned. He, like most other Enlisted, were not overly involved in pouring over the debriefs upon its retutrn, but his somewhat more 'illustrious' reputation afforded him a little more access to logs that would otherwise had been expected. Most of what he knew, at the time, therefore came from the holodocs that detailed the ship's journey through the Delta Quadrant.

Time and...other...matters provided more intimate experience of some of the documented threat forces that followed.

So, at a moment where the conversation had a natural pause, Saxon turned to Solluk. "Captain" he said in his gravelly but well-accented, voice, "if you would excuse me?" The unspoken message was that the First Officer was about to turn to his dual duties as the station's Strategic Operations Officer.

Federation News Network / Re: Post of the Month - June 2021
« on: September 09, 2021, 03:01:38 am »
Tremendous. :)

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 07, 2021, 06:43:16 am »
<Katra Station - VIP Lounge>

To Smith and Dannenberg, she nodded pleasantly, and took Saxon's hand and shook it, returning the time-honoured tradition among humans. Her grip was firm but not overly-so, her hands dry and cool as those of her species usually were, and she released the shake affably.

"It would be a pleasure, sir," she murmured. "I seem to have gotten in at a good time. Nothing seems to have exploded, here. Yet. My last assignment had plenty of explosions and patients. Station life is supposed to be a bit more secure, I was told - but where we are, well, who knows if that's the truth of it. I welcome the opportunity to see what it's made of, honestly. Katra will likely be quite an adventure in an entirely different vein than my last few."

He nodded towards Dannenberg as the Operations Officer parted from the group. "Ensign" he acknowledged, watching him return to Goodspeed; a set-up then, he concluded. John gave a wry look as the Medical Officer described recent postings. "I can't promise a quiet life" he admitted, "but Katra Station certainly has its moments".

Taking a moment of his own to glance around the room (the career Security Officer in him never quite absent) he completed the scan of the room and settled upon Captain Solluk, who was doing a remarkable job of engaging in diplomatic small-talk with the inscrutable representative of the refugees. "Speaking of which" he continued, "I rather should speak to our guest."

Nodding to them both. "Doctor. Ensign." he said politely to them remaining pair by way of a temporary farewell, and moved towards his Commanding Officer and the the Xhelosian.

Katra Station / Re: The Wretched Masses - Season 1, Episode 3
« on: September 06, 2021, 03:24:08 pm »
<Katra Station - VIP Lounge>

[Katra Station - Deck 6 - VIP Lounge]

The icy look the commander gave Peter almost made him tremble. Almost. It seemed the first officer was as gruff as he looked. He would have to be careful in his company, for Peter was one of those people who spoke first and thought later.

Peter looked at John uncertainly for a moment, but it only took a second and it might have been missed with the blink of an eye. Then the young man grinned again and smiled appropriately sheepishly. "Um, no, Commander, there's no way I would think that. You, um ... You've obviously reached a respectable age, so I'm sure you are able to provide for yourself perfectly well." He enhanced that statement with one of his smile. Perhaps the Commander was projecting his own insecurity or dissatisfaction about his age onto others. In any case, it was a mystery to Peter why he reacted this way to someone who only wanted to be attentive. Egged on by a joke, but still.

Peter cleared his throat a bit with a wry smile, still holding the plate. "I just thought since I was in charge of the buffet, I might as well go ahead and make sure everyone was comfortable and ..." He cleared his throat. He felt like there was no good way he could end this sentence. "You know what, I'm just going to put the plate right here." On a table a few feet from where they stood, Peter set the plate down. He now knew why the lieutenant had asked him to make this move. But Peter was not mad. He could take a joke at his expense very well. And now he knew: no jokes with the First Officer!

Not being quite the prankster as he was the general soldier of mass destruction, 'Century' couldn't make out if the Ensign had realised the tease, or had taken it all as seriously as the tone and glare conveyed. John was more comfortable obliterating an enemy fleet, or annihilating a hostile base, or even just 'neutralising' the odd megalomaniacal villain, and perhaps his tendency for maximum destruction permitted very little finesse in the finer arts of the 'jape'. Or rather, it had been a long, long time since he had relaxed enough to do so. Such things were for the young, carefree Crewman back in the early 2320s, not the war-forged warrior of today.

In an attempt to put across some semblance of good humour - and one that was more easily recognisable - Saxon gave the Operations Officer a quick wink, but wasn't convinced it was spotted in time. Inwardly, he shrugged - whilst it would have been a change of pace to be seen in a less stern light, nonetheless he was First Officer, and tomfoolery only opened the door to poor discipline among the junior staff.

And that would never do.

Turning away to briefly, while the Ensign put the offending crockery down, take stock of the dialogue between Captain Solluk and the delegate, John was momentarily taken aback by someone who had appeared into his field of vision instead.

[Katra Station - Deck 6 - VIP Lounge]

After depositing her few carryalls in her quarters and changing into her dress uniform, Amarande fixed her hair so it was less flyaway, the white streak winding its way through her hair in a French braid. Once she was satisfied her appearance was decent enough, she made a beeline for the luncheon where she'd been informed her superior officers, Commander Saxon and Captian Solluk were attending. The hubbub of it hummed through the room as people stopped to chat with each other, touching elbows and generally enjoying themselves. Or putting up a fantastic front, if they weren't.


What a dreadful word for talking with others at a formal function. She tugged a little at her uniform and flicked her gaze around the room locating Solluk, with a species she'd never seen before, which was fascinating in itself, and Saxon who looked as if he was about to reject a plate across the room. Between the two of them, she decided Saxon was the more unoccupied of the two and moved alongside him.

"Commander Saxon," she murmured, smiling gently at Dannenberg, "Doctor Amarande Xiiv, your new Assistant Chief Medical Officer, reporting in. I was told I'd find you and Captain Solluk here at the luncheon. I do hope it's appropriate to say hello here." She gestured, the movement delicate. "The Captain seems suitably busy with whom I can only assume is an ambassador of a new species, if I've read the situation correctly. Might I steal you away for an update on the situation?"

She folded her hands behind her back and smiled at the older gentleman, her head inclined slightly and her warm hazel green eyes mildly quizzical.

Dr Xiiv? It took Saxon a moment to recover from the mild surprise at not noticing her approach, and then another moment to recall her appointment. The urgent and critical mission aboard the Aquila had somewhat thrown his work schedules into some disarray. That would, no doubt, be both a challenge and opportunity for Hannah Sullivan, his Yeoman - the young personal aide lived for any moment to wrestle with his complicated (and perhaps wilfully avoided) workload; an emergency departure to protect and escort a vast refugee fleet was the administrative nightmare she lived for.

"Doctor Xiiv, of course - forgive me; welcome to Katra" he acknowledged, holding out his hand in greeting. "There's not much I can update you on at the moment; but I'm happy to bring you up to speed with what little we know. Allow me to introduce you to Ensign Dannenburg, our new Operations Officer. Mister Dannenberg: Dr Xiiv."

As she picked and chose what to eat, she couldnt help but smile as she over heard Saxton's comment of old age.  'Maybe ill get him a tritanium old fashioned wheel chair for his birthday?' she thought to herself as she picked a few small morsels and placed them onto her plate she picked up as she went to the table.  Then went over to stand by Saxon as he was the only one she really knew in the room and perhaps scare off a few of the weirder officers in the room.

In saying this, Saxon was then joined further by Ensign Smith, and he nodded to her as she stood by him. Slowly he felt like he was being caught in a pincer movement.  "Dr Xiiv, please also allow me to introduce Science Officer Ensign Miranda Smith. Ensign Smith: Ensign Dannenberg, Operations Officer, and Dr Xiiv - our new Assistant CMO."

Glancing at them both Smith and Xiiv, it struck 'Century' that three of the four perhaps represented the oldest beings in the room (not accounting for the Xhelosian, whose lifespan was not yet determined); one Trill, whose symbiote was likely to be several hundred years old (but whose current host was depressingly youthful), one El-Aurian, whose personnel record already conveyed a lifespan of remarkable length (and yet life experiences tragically paused by their assimilation to a Collective that cared not for such things), and he...who had got there the hard way.

Unless Dannenberg also hid some secret of longevity. Given the almost immediate display of being a prankster, John wouldnt have been surprised if he turned out to be a member of the Q Continuum.

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