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Star Trek/Star Wars – Galaxy at War: Part Fifty-Two A Tale of Two Galaxies – Part One Dark Frontiers
Star Trek Dimension – May 2382 C.E(12 BBY)
Starbase Unity Beta Quadrant
"This is an outrage! It's blatantly unfair! How dare you reject our reasonable demands out of hand! We won't stand for such an injustice!" Arandis of Risa ranted as she stood before Alliance Governor-General Padme Skywalker and the members Padme's staff. Next to Arandis stood her husband Mandalorian exile Jerec. Both were outfitted in a Risan variant of traditional Mandalorian armor, minus helmets, which favored muted greens, browns and oranges over grey and blues.
Jerec put one of his hands on Arandiss shoulder. They exchanged a quick glance which seemed to calm her immediately. Jerec removed his hand from her shoulder he then spoke.
"Governor General Skywalker surely Alliance members must understand how important this issue is for Risa and all Risans? Repatriation of our lost children, who were orphaned during the dreadful Sith Dominion-Alliance War, is our main priority now that the initial stage of reconstruction has been completed." Jarec said. "For Risa to become a strong, independent world once more every Risan must play their part. If our lost children are not returned a gaping hole will remain in the heart of our society. A wound that can never fully heal."
"While we do appreciate your position Ambassadors Jerec and Arandis (since the war Risans had decided most endeavors would be undertaken by a team of least two tight-knitted individuals to project strength) you must likewise appreciate ours," Padme said. "You are requesting we uproot hundreds of thousands perhaps millions of children from their adopted families and lives nearly seven years after the cessation of hostilities. These children are scattered across Alliance territory from Earth to the Delta Quadrant Frontier. The logistics required to locate them all would be staggering."
"Either return our children or the Risan Centrality will seal our borders to all Alliance traffic, no exceptions," Arandis threatened.
"But that would cripple exploration of the Delta Quadrant and greatly restrict burgeoning galactic trade by vastly increasing travel times. The Risa Sector contains one of the largest known collection of reliable hyperspace routes. One can travel from Cardassia to Talax with relative ease via a short warp hop through the sector." Alliance Minister of Commerce Ralph Offenhouse said. After he helped to stabilize the devastated Ferengi economy the aging Offenhouse had been placed in charge of Alliance economic development and recovery.
"Indeed our territory does," Jarec said with a smug grin. His grin quickly became a scowl, however. "Its strategic importance is precisely why the Sith occupied Risa during the war."
"We will not be taken advantage of by anyone ever again. As I'm sure you know, our motto is security through strength. Do not test our resolve for I assure you it is an axiom we live by." Arandis said.
Padme knew she had to defuse this situation. "We'll take your proposal under careful advisement before we make our final determination. One of our representatives will be in touch with once we've reached our final decision." She said.
"You do that." Arandis her eyes narrowing. The pair turned on their heels and left without any further exchange of words or gestures.
Padme felt herself deflate. What a day. First, the Watraii launched another raid on the Romulan-Alliance border then the resurgent Borg Collective decimated an isolated Talaxian colony deep in the Delta Quadrant and now this.
Padme tightly clutched the fragment of lightsaber crystal which she wore around her neck. The blue shard was one of four her husband Anakin made from his old lightsaber crystal once he switched from a blue to a purple blade a year ago. Anakin kept one fragment for himself he gave each of his family members one of the other three. Like Padme and Anakin their twins Luke and Leia each wore a necklace containing a fragment. Although she was not Force sensitive Padme found it comforting when she held the small piece of crystal and she needed that comfort right now.
Somewhere in the Delta Quadrant
"A vessel of interest has been detected unimatrix six-eight-nine-twelve, grid five-five-three. Probe nine-two-seven-one-four move to intercept target." Droned the multilayered voice of the Borg Collective. "Scan completed vessel identified - Alliance-Starfleet Luna Class, three-hundred-fifty lifeforms. Prepare for interception and assimilation." A brief pause later the Collective gave out its standard greeting. "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
"Borg vessel cease your pursuit immediately or we'll defend ourselves." Captain William T Riker said from the bridge of his ship USS Titan. To his right sat his first officer Commander Data to his left sat his Jedi representative (who were standard on most Starfleet exploration vessels), Jedi Knight Molly O'Brien.
"Irrelevant," Said the Borg Collective.
"Are you sure? You've scanned our vessel. You must be aware that we're more than a match for you." Riker said not in the least bit intimidated.
"You will be assimilated." The Collective said stubbornly.
"Give it your best shot," Riker said before cutting off communications.
USS Titan and the Borg Probe which was nearly the Titan's size danced around each other exchanging energy weapon fire. Neither had a clear advantage until USS Titan played her trump card. A pulsating blast from the massive turbo blaster mounted atop the saucer section blew a hole through one side of the cigar-shaped Borg craft destroying nearly a third of it.
"Begin regeneration process. Remodulate electromagnetic field to minimize further damage. Prepare energy dampening plasma torpedoes for deployment against enemy shielding." The Borg said.
Before the Borg Probe could take any further action USS Titan went to warp leaving its temporarily crippled opponent behind. If the Borg Collective were capable of being easily frustrated they would have been extremely irritated by this evasive action. Rather than waste time with trivialities the Collective began searching for the USS Titan several standard hours later they would give up their search without success.
USS Titan at warp
"That was rather close for comfort," Riker said while breathing a sigh of relief. "While we likely could have defeated the probe if they had summoned a cube or sphere for the assistance things might not have gone our way."
"The Borg Collective has become quite the menace in recent months. This region of the Delta Quadrant is infested with them." Molly accurately observed.
"Borg activity quadrant wide has increased dramatically during the past standard solar year." Data stated.
"If they've entered an expansionist phase it could spell bad news for everyone," Riker said getting to his seat. "I'll send an updated report on the Borg situation to HQ this evening. Mr. Data you have the bridge. Run long-range scans for Borg activity until further notice. I'd rather they not take us by surprise again."
"Understood sir," Data said as he switched seats with Riker.
Riker proceeded to his quarters where he found his wife Deanna Riker-Troi playing with their infant daughter Natasha Riker-Troi. Natasha had been born the year before in April of 2381 after two failed pregnancies. Riker was worried when Deanna announced her third pregnancy and actually advised her against continuing the pregnancy. He did not think she could mentally survive another miscarriage. Watching his wife and daughter now he was glad she had not taken his advice.
Riker and Troi named their daughter Natasha in honor of their fallen colleague and friend Tasha Yar. Tasha who had never really been given a chance at life. At least her spirit was free now.
At times Riker would think of Tasha Yar and her supposed daughter the Romulan-Human hybrid the late Sela aka Darth Imera. He could not help but feel he along with the others had somehow failed both women. He vowed to himself if he ever was given the opportunity to set things right we would do so.
"We were attacked by the Borg Collective again," Riker said to Deanna. "Luckily this time it was only a probe."
"That's what the sixth time this month?" Deanna said.
"Yes," Riker said. "I think we can safely assume they've fully recovered from their conflict with Species 8472."
"Do you want to say hello to daddy?" Denna said when Natasha cooed.
Deanna handed Riker their daughter. "How is my special little girl?" He said. He blew a kiss on the baby's stomach which caused her to giggle.
Riker could never remember being happier. At one time he thought if only he had his own ship he would be in a state of bliss that he could live without a family, without Deanna, he was wrong. He needed all three in his life to feel fulfilled a career, the woman he loved and a family.
Rural France on Earth Alpha Quadrant, evening
After retiring from Starfleet with distinction in 2377 C.E. Commodore Jean-Luc Picard removed to his home region of France where he spent the next five years restoring his family vineyard which had been devastated by the fire which took the lives of his brother Robert and Robert's family years before. Picard did not go into semi-seclusion alone, however, he was accompanied by Dr. Beverly Crusher. The two finally wed in a small ceremony in 2379 C.E. and were blessed with a son in 2381 C.E. who they named Rene Jacques Robert Francois Picard in honor of Picard's deceased brother Robert and nephew Rene along with Beverly's dead husband John, though they called the boy Francois to shorten his cumbersome name. Although Starfleet Academy and the local university alike constantly extended invitations to Jean-Luc and Beverly to teach a class or two both had so far resisted the temptation instead opting of the less hectic life of wine markers and rising their son in peace.
"Uncle Jean-Luc," Jarandi and Hodq yelled as they ran up to Jean-Luc who was tending his vines.
Although Jean-Luc and Beverly were not related by blood to either Jarandi or her adopted brother the Mirialan-Human hybrid Hodq they considered both children members of their family along with their parents Geordi and Barris La Forge. Hodq was born in 2376 C.E. an occurrence which surprised everyone due to his ease of conception given how different Humans and Mirialans were genetically everything that is other than Barriss who simply would say his birth was "the will of the Force".
Jean-Luc received a group hug from the children. "I'm so happy to see you, children." He said. "I hope you have enjoyed the 3-D Chess set your Aunt Beverly and I sent you?"
"Uh huh," Hodq said nodding.
"Yeah, it's a lot of fun. I usually win unless Hodq uses the Force to cheat." Ten-year-old Jarandi said.
"Do not," Hodq said.
"Do too," Jarandi said.
Her five-year-old brother stuck his tongue out at her. "Do not!" Hodq yelled.
"Do too!" Jarandi yelled back.
"Children, no fighting," Barriss said walking up to the trio with Geordi.
"Sorry, mom," Jarandi said.
"Sorry, momma," Hodq said.
"Run along inside and visit with your Aunt Beverly. We'll join you in a bit." Geordi urged.
Once her children were gone Barriss' happy expression evaporated. "I don't know what we'll do if we lose her." She said.
"So, the rumors are true about the Risan Government exerting diplomatic pressure on the Alliance?" Picard asked.
"And then some. The advocate for the Families of Risan War Orphans informed us yesterday that the Risan Centrality threatened to curtail all Alliance traffic through their territory unless their demands are met." Geordi said. "What I don't understand is why now after so much time has passed."
"That's the key question, isn't it?" Jean-Luc pondered. "If there is anything either Beverly or I can do don't hesitate to ask."
"Actually that's one of the reasons we came," Barriss said.
"I remember your passionate defense of Data when his rights as a sentient being were under threat from Commander Bruce Maddox," Geordi said.
"We want you to plead our case if the Alliance caves to Risan demands, Jean-Luc," Barriss said.
"I'm not an advocate. My training is in archaeology which is a subdivision of xenology. I wanted to become a cultural expert become I decided to pursue a career as a Starfleet officer." Jean-Luc explained. "No doubt there are others more suited to undertake such a task on your behalf."
"Please, Jean-Luc, we know you're the right person to represent our cause," Geordi said.
"I'm humbled by your faith in my abilities. I swear to you I'll do my best." Jean-Luc said after a long pause of consideration. He only hoped he could actually help the young family.
Risan Cruiser somewhere in the Beta Quadrant
Arandis and Jerec stood before a holographic emitter which contained a life-sized hologram of Suwarin leader of the Watraii. Not much was known about the mysterious Watraii other than their deep abiding hatred all things Romulan, this was due to the fact they concealed not only their true outward appearance from outsiders but also most facets of their society. Their territorial isolation deep in the Beta Quadrant beyond the far borders of Klingon and Romulan Space only added to their mystique but thanks to hyperspace technology all that had changed in recent years.
"It is as you said Suwarin, those sniveling Alliance bureaucrats are worthless. They refuse to hand over our lost children." Arandis growled.
"Following seven years of close association with the Romulan no doubt their well-documented traits of intransigence and duplicity have permeated the other Alliance members," Suwarin said his hands folded within the expansive confines of his robes.
Like all Watraii he wore a loose-fitting dark green robe inlaid with black gemstones. His face was covered by a matching dark green mask that almost appeared black due to zig-zag lines present at the bottom and top parts of it. Only his eyes were visible their icy blue color provided a stark contrast to his outfit. Watraii were often so thoroughly covered that even their gender was in doubt to observers.
"In return for your military assistance, we promise to cut all ties with the Alliance and grant the Watraii unrestricted access to our territory including full use of our hyperlanes." Jerec said cutting to the chase. Unlike his wife, he knew how to reign in his fiery passion when need be. Watraii military support was vital to Risan prosperity. Watraii military technology was second only to that of the Borg Collective in terms of its devastating effects on enemy targets.
"Very well," Suwarin said. "We have an agreement. Expect your first shipment of small to medium arms to arrive shortly followed by shipbuilding technology once you formally break ties with the Alliance, farewell." Suwarin's hologram faded away.
Watraii Home World
Suwarin immediately had his underlings input new communication coordinates into his communications array. He waited patiently while the connection was made. The party he was contacting was located a considerable distance from Watraii Space in the Gamma Quadrant.
Seven imposing holographic figures flickered into existence in a semi-circle around Suwarin. These were the leaders of the Sith Dominion the much feared Kosst Amojan returned to the flesh via unwilling hosts - Darth Tenebrous, Darth Vitiate, Darth Sion, Darth Nihilus, Darth Traya, Darth Bane, and Darth Zannah. Save for Traya and Vitiate who wore the same bodies they had during the war the Kosst Amojan members were clad in black & grey hooded robes along with full face masks equipped with yellow hued electronic eyepieces and voice distortion devices. Their true faces were only known to each other.
Suwarin fell to one knee and bowed his head briefly before his allies who he knew enjoyed the show of respect. In truth, the Kosst Amojan enjoyed subjugating their underlings into little more than glorified puppets. Breaking the will of other creatures gave them sadistic pleasure few other things could match.
"Suwarin why have you contacted us? You best have something of note to report." Darth Zannah said.
"I do, my masters," Suwarin said.
"In which case you should report not grovel." Darth Nihilus said.
"Do not waste our time any further. Tell us what has occurred and we shall be the judges of its importance or lack thereof." Darth Sion said.
"I am confident the Risans will soon restrict Alliance access to their hyperlanes." Suwarin said.
"Your confidence in this possibility is of no concern to us. What matters is what actually occurs." Darth Tenebrous said.
"If you succeed and only if we shall then grant you limited access to our Star Crusher technology. The weapon you need to turn the unstable star Hobus into an ultra supernova and destroy your hated enemies the Romulans." Darth Bane said.
Years ago the Kosst Amojan had stumbled upon fragments of semi-functional Iconian technology they then combined with their own dark arts to recreate a feared weapon from the history of their own galaxy, although on a much smaller scale, the Star Forge. They nicknamed this new hybrid weapon the Star Crusher. With the Star Crusher, they were able to all but annihilate the Jem'Hadar and Vorta Insurgency after the Alliance refused to back the rebels to any significant extent.
"The Romulans must pay for what they did to our forebearers. Because of their ancestors' detestable actions we are no better than worms crawling in the dirt." Suwarin said angrily.
"You do realize the ultra supernova you unleash from Hobus will destroy many other worlds besides Romulus?" Darth Vitiate question Suwarin.
"A small price to pay for our vengeance," Suwarin said without hesitation.
"Spoken like a Sith. I'm so proud of you, Suwarin." Darth Traya said with a grin. "Collateral damage is meaningless and even desirable should it help one achieve their goals. Compassion is the credo of the weak, of those who delude themselves into thinking life in and of itself holds any intrinsic value. Only through power are our chains broken. Contact us again when Risa enacts the Alliance travel ban." The Kosst Amojan's holograms blinked away.
"I will not fail. I cannot fail. Not when the dream of my ancestors is so close to being realized." Suwarin said clenching his gloved fists.
To Be Continued
Author's Note -
Natasha Riker-Troi, Francois Picard and the Watraii are all taken from the semi-canon Star Trek novels. I find it sad most of these characters will likely soon become non-canon with the advent of Star Trek: Picard. Like Star Wars Legends before them, they shall always hold a special place in my heart.