It seemed like a quiet day in the Universe. Stars dotted the sky as the planets danced in perfect unison with each other. The Soul society showed no signs of giving up to boredom however they were about to see one of the bloodiest conflicts of all of their lifetimes. The Espada, a once dead group, only seen for a fraction of a moment in the eyes of time, would become the greatest threat to humanity ever.

A small federation Deadulus class refit seemed to slowly crawl across that starry sky, as the rumble of the impulse drive broke the dead silence of space. "Captain's log, stardate 66108.3, Captain Luna Kurosaki recording. We've read some slight tachyon emitions from an area of space in the Argolis cluster. We are on route to investigate." Captain Kurosaki walked onto her bridge as her eyes gazed upon her crew. It had been 15 years since the Soul Society Exchange had begun. The Soul Society had recently revealed itself to humanity and its new found era of peace and an agreement of cultural sharing had been arranged. The USS Kongo, which was one of the research vessels in the SSE task force, had 40 Soul Reapers working aboard her, to see what humanity was like in its natural state. "Sir, I'm reading more tachyon emitions but they are stronger then before. And they are moving." Lieutenant Kuchiki stated as she peered over the tactical arc, down at her captain. Captain Kurosaki's face turned to that of wonder. "Moving? No…it couldn't be! A cloaking device?" Suddenly an older man turned his head quickly from his seat. "Sir! I'm reading an unknown vessel! Its weapons are powered!" In moments the bridge became engulfed in a hail of sparks and steam as EPS conduits ruptured all around the ship. The man had easily recognizable tattoos; it was Renji sitting at tactical. "Hull breach on deck 9! Emergency Force Fields offline!" yelled ensign Jupiter Peregrine. Captain Kurosaki stood up from the ground and sat down in her command chair. With an angry smirk she asked "Renji, are our weapons still online?" Renji looked at her and noticed the glint in her eyes as he nodded. "Oh yeah, phasers are online and torpedo tubes are loaded." Captain Kurosaki smiled and nodded. "Then let's give them a taste of their own medicine. Fire all weapons." Bright bursts of blue light shot from the large dome shaped command section as phaser fire pierced the dark vacuum of space. A portion of a green bubble appeared in front of the weapons blast as the weapons were absorbed by the shields. "Direct hit, their shields are down to 45 percent." Renji said as Captain Kurosaki was blasted from her chair. Blood dripped from her head as the smell of burning flesh and conduit filled the bridge. "Captain!?" Renji said, with fear all over his face. He quickly hit his COM badge and yelled "MEDICAL EMERGENCY! DECK 1! THE CAPTAIN IS HIT!" He tapped his console quickly to put the weapons on auto-fire. The weapons began to fire repeatedly as the other vessel continued to pound the USS Kongo. Renji crouched by the captain as Lieutenant Kuchiki pounded her panel. "ENGINES ARE OFFLINE! WARP CORE IS GOING CRITICAL! 3 MINUTES UNTILL CORE BREACH!" Renji glanced at the viewscreen and muttered. "Kuso…all hands. Abandon ship." Klaxon alarms began to ring all over the ship as Kuchiki picked up her fallen Captain and ran to the turbolift. "Renji, come on!" Renji turned to her and shook his head. "Go on, I'll join you shortly." She nodded as the door closed. The bridge was empty except for Renji who turned to the helm console. "We still have maneuvering thrusters, good." All over the surface of the ship small escape pods lifted from its hull and flew off into the darkness of space. Explosions ripped through the hull of the Kongo as it began to limp towards the attacking ship. Renji stared at its hull and saw the first distinct marking on its hull the insignia of the Klingon Empire. He closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable. The Kongo's lower half slammed into the Klingon warship and sheered off as the warship crumbled under the heavy impact. The bridge and 3 other decks narrowly missed the resulting carnage and destruction as the warp core detonated. The resulting shockwave sent the bridge section into a nearby nebula, with Renji still aboard. Slowly three other ships decloaked in the vast void and took the same course towards Earth. From behind the moons of Argolis prime, hundreds more sped outwards towards the Federation.

Renji stood up from the floor three days later. The viewscreen was gone, replaced only by a gaping tear in the ship's hull. He could read the registry number on the hull of the command section. He sighed and looked around. "Computer, status?" He asked. "Life support on backup reserves. Time remaining: 18 days. Weapons, engines, and communication systems offline, shuttlebay one, heavily damaged." His eyes widened at the final statement. 'Heavily damaged', but not destroyed. He quickly asked "What is the status of the Turboshaft?" The computer replied. "Turbolift systems offline. Turboshaft 1 exposed to space. Turboshaft two at minimal hull integrity. Hull breach imminent." Renji shook his head and walked to the turbolift doors and pulled them open. He grunted as he glanced at his leg and saw blood dripping. He chuckled as he looked up and down the shaft. He heard metal creak from the degrading shaft as he swung to the first bar of the long ladder down to deck four. Bar by bar he worked his way downward as the creaking became louder. He landed on top of a turbolift on deck two. "Damn it!" He cursed. In order for him to survive he had to find a way thru this turbolift. It was then when he opened the top and saw the entire bottom half of the turbolift had been ripped away. He scaled his way down and reached the next bar. He finally reached deck four and pried the doors open. He slowly reached onto the floor of the deck when he heard a loud snap. His head tilted up as he saw the turbolift hanging above his head. It quickly jolted down 5 feet closer to him. He began to frantically pull himself upwards as he heard two more snaps and another five feet of distance was lost. As he pulled himself up a final snap was heard and the turbolift plummeted down towards the bottom of the shaft. He smiled, not realizing the danger he was truly in. When the turbolift hit the bottom it blasted a hole in the ship as he began to fly out of the room. He couldn't believe it. He wouldn't believe it. All his work just sucked out into space. He grabbed the edge of the door frame as chairs and loose panels began to fly out of the corridor into the shaft and out to space. A large panel cover slammed into his hand chopping off his ring finger as he screamed in agony. He pulled himself inside slowly and closed the doors and once more the world turned black to him. Hours passed until he finally regain consciousness. His eyes swept around the room as he remembered the horrors which he had witnessed. He stood up as he walked down the corridor. He had left his zanpakuto in his quarters, per Starfleet orders. He opened the door and picked it up. Inspected it for a moment or so and then headed out. He continued walking and found the large double doors. He jammed his zanpakuto in the cracks and pried it open slowly. Suddenly flames shot out of the door and burned his face and arms. The doors flew open to reveal a shuttlebay in flames. He stood up and pushed his way in, his face in excruciating pain. He climbed into a runabout and sat down. His gigai began to fail as he grabbed a medkit and healed the burnt flesh on his face. He tapped the buttons to set a course and open the doors. The panel buzzed at him as the door remained shut. "No!" He shouted, banging on the console. He looked around the room and saw a handheld phaser. He walked over, picked it up, and put on an EVO suit while leaving the door to the shuttle open. He ran to the main latch of the door and set the phaser down. A loud whine began to pierce his ears as the phaser exploded into flame, blasting the shuttledoor open as the ships—and Renji, were sucked out of the ship. He smiled and allowed himself to drift for a moment before using his boosters to push him towards the runabout. He grabbed its hull and climbed inside then closed the door, removed his helmet and sat down. Compared to the Kongo she was in good condition. Everything was online except for her shields. Those were fried during the initial attack. He scanned the sector and looked at his console. He read 4 dots on his screen and zoomed in. A Phoenix class starship was running from three small fighters. He checked his weapons systems and his impulse drive and discovered the inoperative shields were still taking energy from the warp core. He shook his head and re-routed the shield power to the pulse phaser turrets. He then opened a channel. "Federation starship this is Runabout…" his voice trailed as he thought about his ship. "What was its name?" he thought. He piped up once more "I seem to have forgotten my ship name, I'm one of the survivors from the Kongo, I'm reading 3 fighters chasing you, are you in need of assistance?" At that moment he realized the starship had no weapons. His eyes widened as he punched in the coordinates and went to warp. He only needed three minutes to arrive at the battle. The Phoenix class ship was in worse condition then he expected. Its sensor pod was sheered off; one of its nacelles had just exploded and caused massive damage. He then looked to the three fighters and realized they were refitted Jem'Hadar bug-ships. "Certainly no match for a runabout." He thought as he turned his nose to the first and fired a large burst at its hull. The fighter burst into flames as the runabout flew through the explosion. The nose of the runabout twisted upwards as it darted through the stars; as if to race against time itself. Suddenly a green blast slammed against its weapons array, disabling it in a single blow. Renji swung his ship around and looked right at the large Neg'Var class warship. He cursed under his breath as he fired his final torpedo. He had to think quickly. It was then that he remembered the sensor pod on top of his ship. Renji transferred all power to the scanning beam and rerouted plasma flow into the projection system. He then ordered a sensor scan which shot out a plasma-beam into the hull of the enemy ship. The Klingon vessel blasted apart but his ship wasn't much better. The sensor pod had melted over the back windows along with the only exit. Although he was near another federation ship, all he had to do was land and it would all be over with. He tapped the button to open a comm. Channel to the federation starship. "Federation vessel, this is SSE officer Renji Abarai of the USS Kongo requesting emergency docking clearance." The comm. was silent for a moment and then a voice was heard "Commander Abarai, this is the USS Nightingale, I'm glad to see another survivor, you're cleared to dock in shuttlebay 1. We have emergency teams standing by, along with a visitor who wants to see you. Captain Marcus out." The small runabout landed in the docking bay as welding teams ran into place and cut their way into the main hatch of the Runabout. Renji stepped out and looked around the shuttlebay as he was hugged by Lieutenant Kuchiki. "I'm so glad your ok Renji, everyone thought the worst about you…" She looked up at him as he smirked. "Come on Rukia, You really think a crash like that would stop me?" She smiled and shook her head. "I never gave up hope but…Captain Kurosaki died earlier today…her injuries were too extensive to repair. However, she has given me the authority, and honor to promote you to the rank of Captain, along with your choice of ship and crew to command. Congratulations sir, I'm just sorry it had to be under these circumstances." Renji nodded and walked to the window. Space was no longer a friendly wonder that he looked to with a smile. It was a place of death and despair. The year is 2389, and the Klingon War has begun…uyyuhh

TO BE CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 2: WAR AND PEACE