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Star Trek/Star Wars – Galaxy at War: Part Thirty-Four Nemesis Part I
"See the fields burning. Well, I see the fields burning 'cause hell is coming through. I can't stop the dogs of war."
Dogs of War (2014) Blues Saraceno
Star Trek Dimension - August 2375 C.E.
USS Excalibur near the Vulcan System Alpha Quadrant
Captain Mackenzie Calhoun, formerly the warlord M'k'n'zy of Calhoun, sat in his officer pondering events of the past week. Somehow against all odds he and his crew had secured for Starfleet and the wider Alliance a working Metreon cascade weapon from the most unlike of sources, a group of militant Talaxians. Having delivered his top-secret payload, alongside the surviving research martial gleaned from the family of deceased Haakonian scientist Dr. Ma'Bor Jetrel, to Vulcan via a transwarp conduit mapped by the Liberated Borg his mission was at an end. The decision to use or not use the device now rested firmly in the hands of the executive branch of the Federation Council namely the newly elected President. Captain Calhoun hoped that individual, whoever they may be (he did not follow politics) would weigh all options carefully before acting. With nothing else to do while he and his crew awaited their next assignment, his mind drifted back.
USS Excalibur Delta Quadrant one standard solar week ago
The senior officers were in the mess hall eating their supper when it happened. Being isolated so far from friendly space many supplies including power consumption were strictly controlled. For example, everyone had to eat two meals per day, with absolutely no snacking permitted. This left people understandably on edge. Only a small spark was required to set off intense arguments. One such fuse had just been lit by a security officer.
"Easy for you to say Soleta they didn't carpet bomb your homeworld. If you came from Risa or Cait you'd think differently. Although I was born on Neural I suppose you could say I grew up on Cait. All my formative experiences occurred there." Lieutenant Janos said. Janos was a male Mugato who had been genetically modified by a disgraced Caitian Federation scientist Dr. Bethom. He added with a grumble. "Maybe our galaxy would be better off without the Jem'Hadar and Battle Droids in it."
"Wiping out the Jem'Hadar and the Battle Droids won't improve the situation of the worlds you mentioned, nor will it change what has already been done to these worlds." Lieutenant Soleta countered. The Vulcan-Romulan hybrid was something of an oddity. Known for her fierce temper she had spent years outside of the Federation living in the small but plucky former Thallonian Empire which dominated Sector 221-G of the Beta Quadrant, sandwiched between the Federation/Romulan border, before its collapse in 2373 C.E. due to a coup engendered by the rival Danteri.
"Soleta is correct. The Jem'Hadar and Battle Droids are little better than slaves. The fault for their atrocious targeting of civilians lay with their masters the Sith." Head of Security and Chief Tactical Officer Zak Kbron said. The stout male rock-skinned Brikarian used his typical no-nonsense tone. Before the debate could continue a red alter occurred followed by a summons for the senior officers to report immediately to the bridge.
"So much for a peaceful meal." Captain Calhoun said sarcastically tossing aside his crumpled up napkin.
A few minutes later Captain Calhoun was seated in his command chair. On the main viewscreen of the bridge, he watched a Talaxian freighter be pursued by a trio of Kazon raiders. The Kazon were firing on the Talaxian ship. Its shields were about to fail. "Report," He ordered.
"Three Kazon raiders are firing on the Talaxian freighter. The Kazon refuse to acknowledge our hails. The shields of the Talaxian freighter have failed, Captain." Zak Kbron reported from his station.
"The crew of the Talaxian freighter has sent us a text-based message requesting asylum. They state their communication array has been damaged. Their message continues. They indicate they have valuable intelligence information." Soleta said from her position at communications.
"Mr. Neelix do you have any idea what this could be about?" Calhoun asked his special territorial adviser.
"Not a clue sir," Neelix admitted from his position seated to Calhoun's left.
"Sir I advised strongly against intervening. Our orders are explicitly clear. We are to obtain our objective then depart from this sector. Dr. Ma'Bor Jetrel's family is aboard as is his surviving research material. We cannot jeopardize our mission which is vital to the war effort. Furthermore, this appears to be an internal Delta Quadrant matter. The Prime Directive strictly prohibits us from interfering in the internal affairs of other parties." Commander Burgoyne 172 said in his/her position seat to the right of Calhoun. The first officer was a Hermat a species without a binary division of biological sex.
Calhoun knew Burgoyne 172 was right. He was about to give the order to leave the immediate vicinity when a second text message came through. This message changed everything.
"Sir, they indicate they possess a functioning Metreon cascade device. They say they stole it from Haakonian Order. Apparently, there has been an uprising. According to their latest message, the Talaxians have overthrown the Haakonian Order after months of continuous insurgency." Soleta reported. She quickly added. "They are seeking membership in the Federation in exchange for the device which they claim is the only working one of its kind."
Calhoun was told sensors could not penetrate the Telaxian freighter enough to learn if the claim was true and that the freighter would not survive Kazon fire much longer. Calhoun made a snap decision. "Lock weapons onto the Kazon ships, fire full spread."
The Kazon naturally were outraged by the intervention of the USS Excalibur. One of the captains threatened Calhoun and his crew with dire consequences. The Kazon captain eluded to a powerful new Kazon ally recently arrived in the sector who would destroy the Excalibur when he soon arrived. Calhoun brushed off these threats as false bravado. Usefully, however, before they retreated the Kazon captain confirmed the claims of the Telaxian freighter crew. The Haakonian Order had indeed been overthrown by a rebellion led by the Telaxians.
A short time later Calhoun reported what he learned to Starfleet in the personage of Admiral Alynna Nechayev. Admiral Nechayev was pleased by the news. She authorized Calhoun to make any concession necessary to obtain the Metreon cascade device from the Telaxians, much to his dismay. Calhoun feared Starfleet and the Federation were losing their values in search of victory.
Back on the bridge, Calhoun was greeted by a startling sight. A retrofitted Providence-class dreadnought was bearing down on the Excalibur. Possessing nearly twice their size, three times their shields and three times their weapons the purple-hued ship was a terrifying sight to behold.
"They have locked their weapons onto us, Captain." Zak Kbron reported.
"They are hailing us, Captain," Soleta reported.
"Put them through," Calhoun ordered.
The face of former bounty hunter and current Imperium Admiral Cad Bane grinned on the main viewscreen. The Duros wore his trademark wide-brimmed hat. "Captain I have you outmatched. Your ship and all its contents belong to the Sith Imperium. Surrender or I'll see your crew is sold in the Great Market Place of Ferenginar for my personal profit." He said in his gravelly voice.
Calhoun knew in a slugfest he stood no chance. Luckily he recalled something Neelix had told them about this area. This region of space was heavily mined by both sides during the Talaxian-Haakonian War. In fact, the Excalibur had passed one such heavily saturated minefield on their way into the system.
"Full reverse, then bring us around. Make for the minefield, we passed by earlier at maximum impulse." Calhoun ordered.
USS Excalibur executed a hairpin turn with Cad Bane's Providence-class dreadnought in hot pursuit. Excalibur barely kept ahead on the dreadnought as it was peppered the other ship with weapons fire. Aboard the Excalibur Calhoun commanded his helms officer to get as close as possible to the looming mines which were attracted by electromagnetic profiles, the juicier the better. Meanwhile, aboard his own vessel, Cad Bane ignored the warning words of his Tactical Droid which advised stringently against entering the expansive minefield. Several minutes later without warning, Excalibur changed course heading straight for the dreadnought at full impulse. All the while the two ships exchanged fire Excalibur getting the worst of it.
"Divert all power from non-essential systems to our forward shields. Open a channel to the enemy vessel," Calhoun commanded. "Imperium vessel this is your only warning. Stand down or be destroyed."
"Ha, you fool," Cad Bane scoffed. "I used to be a bounty hunter the best bounty hunter is my old galaxy. I have nerves of durasteel. If you are expecting me to blink you're sadly mistaken."
"Shields have failed, Captain." Zak Kbron dutifully reported.
"Pfft, even you cannot fail to realize with your shields gone you are mine, sonny. My larger still shielded vessel will tear yours apart." Cad Bane said snarling.
"If not for one fact," Calhoun said as he stared down his enemy with not so much as s flinch. "My ship is towing about two hundred proximity detonated mines."
Excalibur performed a downward thrust mere feet from the dreadnought. The tightly packed group of mines following it sensing a more robust target flew towards the other ship passing straight through its deflector shields which were modulated from energy weapons and much larger energized projectiles. The Imperium vessel was blown to bits without a single survivor. Thus ended the legend of Cad Bane.
Paris on Earth, afternoon
President-elect of the United Federation of Planets James Tiberius Kirk stood before the Federation Council about to give his inauguration speech. Part of him found it hard to believe he was even here. He remembered how his longtime friend Spock, now Commander-in-Chief of Starfleet (Spock replaced the retiring Taela Shanthi), convinced him to run for the office of president. Spock had been deeply troubled by the meteoric rise of the Federation First Party in popularity. This process was only aided by the recent Breen attack on Earth. Spock feared unless a viable alternative could be found people would vote Esyllaa Sh'ivaahrihr and her hateful allies into power. In a matter of days, Spock skillfully created a collation party and convincing the other presidential candidates to drop out and throw their support behind Kirk. By the time Spock asked Kirk to actually run Kirk found he had no choice but to do so.
Kirk took a sip from a glass of water then cleared his throat. The eyes of the Federation, Starfleet and Alliance were on him. He was painfully aware that everyone was waiting for him to give an inspired speech. 'Here goes nothing,' Kirk thought.
Kirk decided to skip the usual formalities of such political speeches. He caught straight to the chase. "During our only debate, my challenger for the office of presidency asked me a question. She asked me if I hated the members of the Sith Order, their soldiers, and their allies." Kirk paused dramatically here. "I told her no. I honestly do not hate those who call the Sith Imperium home. What I do hate is the thought of destroying what the Federation stands for. If we defeat our present enemies at the cost of our cherished values we win no victory." Kirk again paused. "I'm not a perfect being, far from it. I've made mistakes oh how I've made mistakes." Many in the crowd laughed at Kirk's self-deprecating humor. "I've lived a long life, longer perhaps than I should have given my past well-documented recklessness. I know what it is like to love, to hate, to lose those you care about, to make enemies into friends, to stare down seemingly insurmountable adversity and continue going. My dear friend Commander-in-Chief of Starfleet Admiral Spock wears a very special medallion around his neck. Upon that medallion is inscribed four simple letters IDIC; which means Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations. IDIC is more than a slogan these letters and what they represent is the living heart of the Federation. On my watch, I vow this heart will never stop beating. I will defend the values of the Federation until my dying breath. I'll pass into the next life, should there be one, with the following words on my lips. Long live Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations! Long live the Federation! Long live Starfleet! Long live the Alliance! And most of all long live the dream of freedom for every being everywhere in our galaxy and beyond!" The crowd roared its approval.
USS Enterprise-E in the Mariposa System
Commodore Picard was in his officer watching the Alliance-wide broadcast of President-elect of the Federation Kirk's inauguration when a high-level security clearance transmission broke in. Picard entered his personal clearance codes. He was greeted by the image of a nervous looking Admiral Thomas Henry of Starfleet Security. Picard knew Admiral Henry was currently assigned to be a liaison between Starfleet and the Romulans. Picard wondered if this unexpected communication involved events in the Romulan Star Empire.
"To what do I owe the pleasure, Admiral Henry?" Picard asked.
"Jean-Luc a new Praetor Shinzon of Remus has seized control of the Romulan Star Empire, apparently by assassinating the entire Romulan Senate. Praetor Shinzon has request Starfleet send you and your vessel as our representatives. I'm transmitting all the intelligence we've gathered on Shinzon and his movement to you now." Admiral Henry said. "I can't stress enough that good relations with Shinzon and his Reman Faction is of paramount importance. Maintaining the Romulan military contribution to the war effort is vital, especially in light of recent setbacks. Proceed to Romulus immediately. Get there as soon as possible, use hyperlanes if you must."
"Understood," Picard said.
"One last thing," Admiral Henry said.
"Yes Admiral," Picard said expectantly.
"Good luck," Admiral Henry said before his image blinked away.
Wrath the Flagship of Darth Vader Beta Quadrant
"Bravo," Imera said with a round of mock clapping. "A fine performance, Admiral." Admiral Henry shivered in fear unable to speak.
"Receive your justly deserved reward, Admiral," Vader said from behind Admiral Henry igniting his crimson blade which perturbed from the chest of the Admiral killing him instantly. Vader and Imera smiled savagely at each other while the body of Admiral Henry fell to the floor in an undignified heap.
"Shizon will be pleased. Picard will soon be arriving on his doorstep." Imera said. "A happy minion is a productive minion.
"True," Vader added deactivating his lightsaber. "I can only hope, my dear, that eliminating that traitor Damar and his equally worthless cohorts proves more of a challenge then abducting this dolt did." Vader gestured down at the body by his black booted feet with disgust.
"Starfleet security messages are pitiful." Imera conceded. "Slaying his so-called 'guards' was no challenge."
Imera stepped over the body and wrapped her arms around Vader's neck. She pulled him into a ferocious kiss. Which the pair broke only reluctantly when a B1 Battle Droid told them there was an urgent holographic message waiting for them in their private chambers. Annoyed the pair followed the droid which Vader prompting fried with a small jolt of Force Lightning when they arrived (a technique he had recently learned from Imera).
"Who are you?" Imera asked the hooded life-sized static-filled, flickering, blue figure when he fully materialized in front of the pair. She and Vader had been expecting Lord Tyranus but this wizened man was clearly not him.
"I'm Darth Sidious child. Master of your master. The one true supreme Dark Lord of the Sith. I have a proposition for you and your partner." Darth Sidious said eye both Sith from beneath his hood.
"We're listening," Vader said intrigued. Vader sensed something strangely familiar about this Darth Sidious aside from the name which haunted his Jedi past. "And for the record, I'm her husband, not her business partner if that is what you meant."
"Interesting," Sidious said. "It would appear my information is incorrect." Silently he cursed Grievous that fool never was one for details. A great tactician but a dreadful informant. "Regardless, I think the three of us can be of immense help to each other. You are in need of a proper master. I am in need of worthy students. I propose an exchange of sorts. One which benefits us both."
"What do you have in mind?" Imera asked cautiously.
The Dark Side tightly surrounded this one. It shrouded him like how darkness shrouded a black hole. Imera could not get a read on his true intentions. No matter how hard she tried he remained an enigma. She knew she must be careful unless she and her husband wanted to become victims of his guile. She suspected the list of those Sidious had duped was a long one.
"I thought you'd never ask," Sidious said smiling coldly.
Malevolence en route to the Barzan Wormhole
Outside the swirling colors of hyperspace surrounded the small battle group General Grievous had hastily assembled in secret. His orders from Lord Sidious had been clear. Grievous was to pass through the now stable Barzan Wormhole into his home galaxy with his fleet. Then using secret hyperlanes he would launch a surprise attack on the Republican Capital of Coruscant, infiltrate world itself, abduct Supreme Chancellor Palpatine and bring him back through the Barzan Wormhole into this galaxy where he would hide him in an agreed upon location; the Typhon Expanse. With the Breen energy dampening weapon equipped to each of his ships, Grievous knew his orders should be easy enough to follow. Only one loose end remained before he could begin.
Grievous was inspecting the communication hub of Malevolence alone with his male Vorta assistance. Grievous knew the truth. This his Vorta, as with all others, was not so much his assistant as rather a spy for Count Dooku (Grievous refused to call Dooku Lord Tyranus any longer) and the Sithlings Dooku trained. If Grievous hoped to keep Dooku ignorant about his renewed allegiance to Lord Sidious, he could no longer afford such a spy in his midst. Time to remedy the situation.
When the Vorta was not paying his movements much attention Grievous grabbed the slimy creature from behind with one of his four arms. He threw the squawking alien into the communication hub which had the appearance of a large grey cylinder connected by a rat's nest of wires, alive with a multitude of blinking purple lights. When the Vorta made contact with the cylinder he became tangled in the wires shorting out the device in a huge shower of sparks. He shrieked in pain as his body burned to a cinder. Long-range communications for the fleet which passed through the Malevolence due to its larger size and thus greater power output had been effectively crippled. Grievous was now in uncontested command of this battle group. He could not have been more pleased with himself.
Grievous activated the communicator unit built into his right wrist. He spoke into the device. His voice was eerily calm given the situation. "General Grievous to emergency maintenance crews. Report at once to the Primary Communication Hub with fire suppressants. There has been an,, accident." Grievous watched the fire burn dispassionately. Its raging purple-tinged flames reflected in his amber eyes.
To Be Continued
Author's Note one -
The battle scene between USS Excalibur and Cad Bane's dreadnought was heavily inspired by the concluding battle of the movie Galaxy Quest. I always wanted to put that type of scene in one of my stories.
Author's Note Two -
For those worried part two of Nemesis will focus more heavily on Shizon, Picard, and company. Then Revenge of the Sith cometh.