Here's ch 30.
if there's a part like (1) or (a) or something, it's because I want to add a comment about a line that didn't fit with the character speaking or it explains in other words what they meant. Some people don't like this, but I'm not dumbing down my writing because people are too lazy to read an extra paragraph that might contain details that don't fit right in the action/pace of the story, but knowing them might make more sense of what is going on.
Italics are thought.
Bold is emphasis.
(something like this) is internal monologue, or muttering, something that they want to say, but don't during a speech or after it
Underlined is replay of a message/flashback.
here's a little Farscape swearing lesson:
hezmana---either hell or damn, depending on context (go to hezmana, Hezmana-God damn)
On Freedom Reigns
John, Holt and Reed were going through a vaast series of calculations and possibilities to possibly combine the translator microbes with the Federation universal translators. The problem was that while they were all technologicaly gifted, none were experts on the biomechanical systems used to create the microbes. John had a rather advanced knowledge of biomechancial systems when relating to Moya's maintenance, he had no experience working on the microscopic level of the microbes. Reed was used to a wholly mechanical technoligy that was really only starting to explore extremely basic levels of biotech, and Holt was more of a weapons sytem/ship design.
"Look, I don't know about you two, but I need a break. A break and a meal." John stated, putting down the schematics relating to the UT's circuitry. He hated to admit it, but it was a little beyond his current level. He was still struggling with the differences from 20-21st century tech and the tech of the Unchaarted Territories. Having to try and understand 300 years of advancement and technological innovation in one day was too much even for him. "Captain, why don't you send down to the galley for a fair sized meal. We can eat in here. We'll call down the others from where ever they happen to be in their tours, and relax a bit before getting back to business. This is going to be harder then I thought."
"A good idea, Crighton." Holt stated as he leaned away from the table, wincing as his spine crackled. "It has been several hours and we are no closer to a solution then when we began."
Reed frowned, and also looked up. He hadn't really heard what the pair had said as he considered some options. "Perhaps we're over thinking the solution. Maybe we should try something simpler."
Both of the other men leaned forward, their interest showing in their eyes. It was Crighton who spoke first.
"Something's brewing in that brain of yours, Reed?"
"I think that we should try implanting the microbes into someone who has the UT working. I'm willing to try this. Perhaps the pproblem isn't with trying to force an external cross compatability, but creating an internal connection between the devices."
"Intriguing solution, if it works." Holt stated, steepling his fingers. "But wouldn't your universal translator and the microbes interfere with each other?" John translated for the Starfleet officer.
Reed shrugged. "That's what we've been trying to solve, but I think something else would happen. I think that the microbes being somewhat alive would 'overhear' what ever was said and add it to their own network with both the original language and the translation by the UT. The UT would do then be able to copy and translate the language issued by the microbes as the person spoke their native language. I think that as the microbes proces new languages, they actually 'teach' them to an individual and that once that person 'knows' the language, the microbe stops translating unless it's a part of the language that doesn't directly translate. Or when the person isn't actually capable of speaking the language for biological or environmental reasons."
John frowned as he considered Reed's theory. "You know, I think you're on to something about the microbes. The problem is that we can't test them since they can't be removed without causing some serious brain damage. Trust me on this. I know from experience."
Reed matched the other's frown, wondering what kind of experience with brain damage Crighton could have. He didn't seem any odder then some of the other people he'd met who spent most of their time with non human races. Hell, he was more normal for a human than Worf was for a Klingon. It sometimes seemed odd to him that long term, isolated exposure to a society not of their own racial origins often caused beings to be forced to adapt all the worst or less flatering aspects of their races nature.
Worf was a fine example of this. He was an incredible warrior who valued honor and loyalty above all. Yet he had been forced to retain control of his urges, urges that normal Klingons could and did allow. Such as their sense of humor and romance. Klingons were a passionate people, and that passion extended to all aspects of their lives. Worf had repressed his passion and only allowed it to show during battle.
Reed might not be a liscensed counsellor, but as a communication expert, he'd been required to take a minor in psychology, both human and non. He could see that Crighton was not as easy going as he was pretending. The man's every move and statement screamed that he was using humor as a block against the stress he must be under. It was a common defense mechanism, and after hearing a little about his life in this galaxy over the last few hours while they struggled to combine their vastly different technologies, he could understand why the man was behaving as he did. It must be hard enough being the only one of your kind amongst untold millions of aliens, but to have large numbers of those aliens hunting you for knowledge you never really had in your possession until one alien implanted the knowledge in you, but placed blocks to hide the knowledge from your mind must be incredibly painful and frightening.
A twitch from Holt drew Reed's eyes and he turned to face the older man, wondering what about Crighton's statement could discomfort the man. He was further confused as the man spoke.
"Yes, well, that's in the past, and I hope you know that I do not condone the way your arrival was handled by either of the two commanding officers. Bialar Crais was a great leader during a battle, but a bit of a hot headed fool. And Scorpious . . . well the abomination is a matter best left discussed only when all involved are very, very inebriated or certain that he can not discover the conversation. While I trust my crew, I don't doubt that those rebels who attacked you on the planet have the ability to tap into our comm systems. They seemed very well organized and well funded. I suspect that someone on the Roamean Council is aiding or hiring them."
John snorted. "Me either. There are always some in power who care about their own power and a twisted immortality then they do about helping their people. I have no doubt that Roamean's are any different from Peacekeepers or humans in that regard. I'm sure that much hasn't changed in the last 300 years."
Reed gave a small grin. He was missing half the conversation, but that didn't really matter given the main topic. "Sadly, Crighton, you're right. As much as we've done to improve life on Earth and on the other worlds in the Federation, there's always those who think they coudl do better. While some might have the ability to improve things, most are ego driven thugs concerned only with their own fears and desires."
"Enough of this fruitless chatter." Holt stated after ending a tech to the galley to have the meal prepared. "Let's gather the troops, have something to eat, and then finish with the translation work. There is still much to discuss and I for one would prefer to be able to speak directly to our new guests."
John nodded and tapped his comm, as did Reed, each quietly contacting their crew members.
Aeryn had forgotten how much the routine and quiet of a Command Carrier soothed her. The rigid routines of tests being run by the techs as they scrambled out of the way of the set pattern patrols by the commandos. The occassional announcements calling for various personnel to assorted tasks. A serious of tests were being done by the medical staff, and it seemed that most of the crew was being called for various times over the next few days. Several other regiments were undergoing assorted training exercises.
For a moment, she felt a deep sense of loss. By this time, her goal had been to be the Commander of a Prowler patrol. She'd even started to rank in her mind which of her fellow Pleisar Regiment pilots she wanted in her command. She shook off the feeling, schooling her features into the Peacekeeper mold she'd been trained for since childhood. She turned to partially face the oddly colored being that had followed her to the command center.
"This is the command center for the Command Carrier. From here the crew has the ability to asses any potential hostile acts or hazardous anomolies within the current stellar system, and the closest surrounding systems. The focus can be shifted, and instead be set to long range where they are then able to check at least 4 stellar systems in 1 direction."
Data nodded as the Lt went on to explain some of the other capabilities of the Command Carrier and it's complement of support vessels. It seems that the Peacekeeper command structure was rigidly controlled and the slightest disobediance or failure could lead not only to a miss of promotion, it could lead to death. Lt Sun even gave a bit of biological information regarding the Sebeccean species, mentioning that their bodies had been engineered with an inability to regulate extremes of heat, and that if exposed to high temperatures for extended lengths of time, they would enter a coma tose like state known as the 'Living Death'.
"And the current situation is that the Peacekeeper forces have split into two factions, those that support the High Command and those who wish to return to what we once were." finished one of the command officers, a Commander who was Holt's second in command.
The man had joined Aeryn and Data as they strolled around the large area. There were banks of computer equipement and monitors that controlled the various functions of the city sized ship. There was nearly a hundred people on what on an Alpha Quadrant would be known as the bridge. It was more people in a command center then Data had seen outside of some of the largest space stations or artificial moons that had been built. Most of the Alpha Quadrant races had given their ships the ability to pretty much control everything without any assitance from a command staff, and the crew were only needed for setting what ever program needed to be run. Even the tactical systems were controlled by the computers. Though the crew did have the ability to take control and manually target, aim and fire instead of simply assigning a preprogrammed pattern of actions into the systems.
"I am puzzled, Commander, Lt Sun, by the lack of automation in your system designs. It seems that several of your systems are being manned in places where by the rest of your technological base, one would assume to have the capability to have them run by the computer, freeing up many hours and crew members to fulfill other tasks of equal import."
Sun and the Commander exchanged glances before staring at Data with confused expressions on their faces. Data sighed, as he realised just how much of a rift in Sebeccean society really existed. Lt. Sun had told him that the Pk forces were separated into Tech, Commandoes, and Misc, but he would have thought some level of technical competance would exist among the higher command levels. He hadn't understood Sun's statement when she'd told him that the higher one climbed, the less they knew about the full abilities of the systems under their control. He'd assumed she'd been speaking on a more social scale regarding issues of commanding various planets, not about a captain or commander of a vessel being incapable of performing even the most essential of repairs or technical tasks.
"I have been observing the stations during our conversation and I have noted that your computer devices aer more then adaquate for the running of such simple systems as life control and keeping the ship stationary. As well as the regulating of power flow and tracking of crew members. Yet I have noted that nearly 35 individuals are tracking these and other similarly simple matters. With only a simple rewritting of some minor programs, you could free up between 27-32 of those individuals to be assigned tasks that can't be as easily automated."
The pair continued to stare at Data with those weird expressions on their faces. For the first time in his existence, Data was able to feel the sensation that others had mentioned. So this is what it feels like to be stared at like there was a growth of a secondary head. he mused before sighing again. "Though I am sure that you have your own reasons for this unique structure of command." he stated in what he hoped was a gesture of compromise.
"Er, yes, Colonel Data. As you say." the bewildered commander stated, not really understanding what the other had been saying since he couldn't speak English and Aeryn hadn't bothered translating. "Anyway, Lt. I understand that Commander Crighton and Captain Holt have found a new design for a shielding device that they hope to be able to outfit not only on larger class vessels, but also on fighters. As a prowler pilot of some skill, how do you think this would effect your battle strategy?"
Data refocussed his attention into processing what he'd learned so far. While he couldn't understand what the Peacekeepers where saying, Lt. Sun had been kind enough to translate the salient points of conversation, and he'd gathered from her side of the various discussions what the conversation was. Once it had been clear that the Peacekeepers could understand his statements, he'd been able to follow more closely. He kept some of his attention on Sun and the Commander, replying occassionaly as Sun brought him into the cconversation, but since it was related to a topic over wich he wasn't altogether familiar, -a rather intriguing feat considering his vast personal experience and his extensive file system- that of spacial individual fighter tactics, he kept his replies simple while the rest of his network went over all the interesting things he'd learned about this quadrant of space in the last few hours.
Whatever else happened, it had been worth taking leave of Daystrom to visit this unexplored territory and encounter such interesting characters.
Worf grinned as he ducked under the swipe of his opponents staff. He spun to his left, bringing his own weapon around in a sweep towards the large alien's knees. The move was success and Dargo slammed onto his back on the mat. Worf then attempted to slam his staff down into Dargo's ribs, but the orange tinged alien moved out of the way and was on his feet faster then Worf expected. The Luxan warrior sprung at the Klingon, swinging the weak looking weapon towards Worf's ribs.
Deciding to surprise ihs opponent, Worf allowed the weapon to slam into his side. He ignored the blow and the shattering of the weapon, stabbing with the end of his staff into an area that was a weak spot on most humanoid life forms: in the center of the torso, right where the ribs met in what humans termed the sternum. The hit from the Luxan was more powerful then Worf had anticipated, and he was forced to adjust as he slid on the surface of the training room. His real-life experience allowed him to score a strike in the proper location, and while Dargo didn't collapse as a human or most Alpha Quadrant races would have, he was force back, heaving desperately to gather his breath.
"End point." called out a deep voice from the side and Worf and Dargo glared at a moment as their bodies continued to produce their races equivalent of adrenaline. For a moment they both twitched toward each other, their aggressive natures anddesire for battle struggling for dominance over their minds.
Eventually each was able to calm down. They faced each other from about fifteen feet away, a space either could cross in less then a second if they so desired. Instead they each assumed non threatening stances, Worf bowing as was earth custom while Dargo simple nodded and folded his arms across his chest. Neither was willing to allow each other or the third member of their unusual sparring triad to see any weakness, though each sported bruises that would linger for days.
Gaan stood forward, taking center place between the two warriors. His own form glistened as he was wearing only the pants of his uniform. His chest adn back were marked in a similar fashion to either of the aliens in the room. He nodded to Worf, a gesture Dargo had told him was common among humans and one that he assumed someone raised among humans would understand to it as a show of respect.
He then turned to Dargo and spoke, knowing that the Klingon as he called himself would not understand, but also that Dargo would let the other know what was being said.
"Excellently done, on both halfs. It has been a pleasure to fight each of you in a setting as calm as this. It was the first time I could fight a Luxan without having to be forced to kill or be killed. I must admit, I have greatly underestimated your people as warriors and I must extend my appologies to you for my actions against them. Though many would use the excuse of being under orders, for the longest time I did not fully understand Holt's acceptance of all races as equals and held to the belief of Sebeccean superiority. I am glad to say that today, you have put aside the last of my reluctance.
I see now what I have missed for these many cycles. I know that no words can make up for the damage I have done to your people, but I hope that you and I, Ka Dargo, may come one day to consider each other friends." Most people would not have believed that the giant Sebeccean could be as verbose as he showed with this speech. Those few that knew him well, would simply smirk as the man known mostly for his size showed that he had not obtained his position solely due to his size.
Dargo stared at the Sebeccean, feeling the stirring of hyperrage in the back of his mind. Luckily, the persistence of one human commander had shown him that it was possible to control that most feared state of mindless violence that plagued his race. "I can not forget what you and others like you have done to my people and others of the so-called lesser races." He continued to stare as the only Sebeccean to match him in size lowered his gaze. "But perhaps one day, I can forgive. One thing I have learned since the arrival of John Crighton: holding onto hate does nothing but make you less then you could be. I can never forgive the peacekeepers for the death of my wife and my separation from my son, but you, Gaan Reis, I hold no hatred for. I too look forward to the day that will allow me to call you friend."
Worf watched as they spoke, catching only Dargo's part of the conversation since the Luxan had continued in English the entire time. He had guessed rather early into their tour of the large vessel that there was some hostility between the orange Luxan and the human like Sebeccean crew. He didn't know anything of the history, but from what Dargo had just said, it was both a somewhat personal as well as more general hostility. Apparently the Peacekeeper forces had been subjugating the other races and using them as cheap labor for unwanted tasks.
And it also seemed that they had something of a severe segregation policy and superiority complex. He didn't know how deeply it went or how long the situation had lasted, but that wasn't his concern. He was here to learn as much as he could about their fighting tactics as well as their tactical abilities. Though he felt his soul stirring at the sincerity in the words stated by each, even if he didn't comprehend exactly what Reis stated, he could understand the tone of respect and humility.
He spoke up as much to clear the air a little as to avoid the heavy emotions. "This has been a fine day. I have rarely found an opponent on which I could unleash my full strength. I am pleased to have met each of you, and for the opportunity to fight without worry of death."
The three warriors shared a moment of silence before Dargo spoke up. "When John and Aeryn returned to the ship, they mentioned that you have been able to find a weapon you think could kill a Scarren with a single shot?"
Gaan grinned. "yes, we have been working on several weapons. Come, we shall go and have a few shots at those foul creatures. Advise our new companion. I suspect this will interest him as much has yourself, Ka Dargo."
"I think you are correct, Reis. I wonder how Worf would do facing a Scarren on the battle field." the luxan asked as the trio wiped off with the freshly provided towels. He would have continued with an explanation of Scarre's for Worf, but his comm kbadge chirped.
"Yes Crighton, what is it this time?" he asked in irritation.
"Break time, Big D. Grab everyone, head back to base. We're stuck, we have a plan to fix it, but we need every one here. And since we're all going to be here, the galley's cooking up a meal for us. Say, back here in 10microts? Holt says that even if you're at the far end of the ship, there's lifts and stuff that can get you here in that time."
Dargo glanced at Gaan, who nodded to confirm the estimate. "We will be there shortly, Crighton. After our exertions we could use a filling meal."
"See ya in 10. I'll let Aeryn and Data know." John said before the comm badge shut off.
Dargo turned to his new allies. "Shall we go? I could use something more the nfoodcubes, and we haven't had a chance to sort the foodstuff we purchased on Ryra."
The other two nodded, feelign the stirring of hunger in their own forms. The three moved out of the training room, startling a squad who were coming for their daily session. The squad pressed themsselves tightly against the bulkhead walls, allowing the three massive figures to cross.
So another chapter done. Hope you enjoy it. A little action, some tech discussion and politics. Next should have more action and a solution to the communication issues.