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Author Topic: =/\= UFOP: SB118 =/\= Memories of Fate  (Read 2271 times)

Offline Della Vetri

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=/\= UFOP: SB118 =/\= Memories of Fate
« on: 11 July 2009 01:13 PM »
Another UFOP: SB118 Writing Challenge entry. This was also the first one of an intended collection of stories for the USS Ishtar, a vessel and crew of my own concoction... When I get time, I'll look to writing some more.

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Kyoto, Japan – Stardate 92251.2

The skies over Japan were like crystal, a sapphire layer hanging over the city atop the mellow heat of summer. Water babbled through the landscaped stream that wove through the house’s garden, almost mesmerizing Yurohime as she stood in the shade of one of the manicured trees.

There’s nothing like the real thing… Even the best holodeck is still only an illusion.

A juvenile giggle broke the stillness, tearing her attention from the stream to where her daughter was chasing the family dog across the lawn, delighted by the chase the old hound was leading her on. With a smile, Yurohime began making her way over to intercept the rampaging child, preferably before she ran straight into where her grandmother was sitting under a parasol.

“C’mon, kiddo. Let Bounder catch his breath, okay? He’s not as young as he used to be.”

Skidding to a halt, her daughter gave her a fairly mutinous look, but her inevitable complaint was stalled by the laughter emanating from one of the two loungers shaded by the parasol.

“Nobody ever is, ‘Hime,” Nanna Sandra commented after her mirth had died down, “A doctor like you should know that.”

Answering the laughter with a little of her own, Yurohime shook her head as she scooped her daughter up into her arms and moved to sit on the second lounger.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, mama,” she said as she settled herself down, “But didn’t the Ishtar have a run-in with something that kind of breaks that rule?”

“Pah,” came the snorted response, “We ran into no end of oddities out there – temporal inversions were almost par for the course, some days.”


Both women looked down at the young girl, who was looking both puzzled and attentive.

“Did you ever meet any aliens in one of those temper-thingies?”

“No, honey,” Nana Sandra replied, “But the thing your mother was talking about was only a few days after we did find a new species.”

“Cool! What were they like? Will you tell me about them?”

There was no hiding the interest in the girl’s voice, but Yurohime was less happy – she knew the incident her mother was talking about, and it was one of the memories the old woman rarely dwelled on – for good reason…

USS Ishtar, Sector 337-C - Stardate 53253.1

Stepping out of her ready room and onto the bridge, Captain Cassandra Sato made a direct line for the center seat, sparing a quick glance at the viewscreen as she went.

“What have we got, Kolya?”

Giving his commander a second to settle into her seat, the Centauran sat to her right gave a brief smile.

“I’ll leave that to the finder to explain, I think.” He replied, gesturing toward the science station off to one side of the Legacy-class vessel’s nerve centre. Cassandra turned her attention in the right direction, hardly able to miss the good-natured scowl being directed at her XO by the sleek-furred Caitian woman at the console.

“Problem, Lieutenant Mr’sara?” she asked, knowing full well that if there really was one, the volatile scientist would have made it known long before this point.

“Not at all,” she got as a reply, “I’m more than happy to do Commander Trance’s job for him.”

“Glad to hear it. Any chance of that happening before I drop dead of old age?”

A purring laugh and a few keypresses answered that, and the display on the viewscreen split – the view ahead retreating to one corner as the rest was taken up by a battered looking vessel whose style Cassandra didn’t recognize.

“What we have here,” the Caitian said, her voice all business now, “Appears to be an almost derelict vessel picked up by one of our sensor probes. Minimal power, so signs of active propulsion. Whoever they are, they’re adrift.”

“Any clue as to what happened to them?” Kolya piped up, “That looks like a lot more than simple wear and tear on the hull.”

The slight edge to Kolya’s voice caught Cassandra’s attention, but she knew what was causing it – there was the same sick feeling in her own gut. Less than a year had passed since the end of the war against the Dominion, and the sight of battered and broken starships was something she had quietly hoped to avoid for some time yet to come.

Mr’sara was silent for a minute as she concentrated on her scans. A glance around the bridge showed Cassandra that everyone present was getting on with their own duties, but they were also waiting for the analysis just as much as she was.

“Doesn’t appear to match any known weapons signatures. I hate to say this, Commander, but from the looks of things… Wear and tear is exactly what it is. I’m showing signs of micro-meteorite impacts, vacuum ablation – all signs this thing’s been in space for quite some time without any significant maintenance.”

“Life signs?”

Mr’sara shook her head at the captain’s question, giving her answer without having to bother with words. With a sigh, Cassandra settled back in her seat, studying the ship on the screen for a moment before giving the order.

“Helm, lay in an intercept course. Let’s see if we can’t find out what happened here.”

USS Ishtar, Sector 337-C - Stardate 53256.7

It had taken just over a day for the USS Ishtar to reach the vessel they were seeking, a day that had resulted in very little new being gleaned about their quarry – something that had prompted the captain to christen the alien ship with name ‘Marie Celeste’. “Seems appropriate somehow,” she’d commented, and Kolya wasn’t inclined to argue.

He also wasn’t going to argue with anyone that said the Celeste was big. Looking at the image he’d called up on the transporter room console, he had other terms in mind. Downright huge is what I’d call it… At over 2.5 kilometers long, the ship dwarfed anything he’d ever seen that wasn’t a space station.

“Bridge to Transporter Room 2. All set down there?”

The tone of the captain’s voice told him he wasn’t the only one that felt that there was something…off about this whole situation. Looking around the room, he ran a quick visual check on the EVA suited figures that stood waiting for him on the transporter pad.

“Good to go, boss. I take it there’s been no joy?”

“I’m afraid not, Commander.” Sato replied, “Whatever that hull is made off, it’s blocking our attempts to scan the inside, even at this close range. Remember, this means we still can’t say if there’s anyone alive over there.”

“No response to hails, no reaction at all,” Kolya muttered to himself, “I’m thinking we may well be the only living things around.”

“Indeed. Well, either way, you’re cleared to proceed.”

With a brisk nod, he acknowledged the order and cut the comm. connection. Settling the helmet of his suit into place, she stepped up to his place of the pad and gave a thumbs-up to the crewman manning the controls. In a familiar swirl of light, the ship around them dissolved, replaced by the blackness of space, and a solid wall of metal not 2 meters away.

Right on target, Kolya thought with a grin as he took a good look at the airlock door they’d identified as a possible method of access. Activating his suit comm., he carefully motioned one of the suited figures with him toward the door.

“You’re up, Hollis.”

There was no reply except the engineer moving into position, and after a minute or so, pushing himself gently aside as the portal slid open. With a smile that was clearly visible through his helmet’s visor, Hollis made an ‘after-you’ gesture to the rest of the team.

Alien Vessel, Designation: Marie Celeste – Stardate 53256.8

Mr’sara was both mildly surprised, and rather relieved, when the away team’s tricorders showed the presence of a breathable, if stale, atmosphere inside the ship. With the XO’s go-ahead, she’d popped the seal on her helmet and set it aside, able to take an unrestricted look around the room they’d tentatively identified as a bridge – if only because it looked so similar in layout and apparent function to that of every other starship control center she’d ever seen.

Well, we can guess they were probably humanoid, whoever they were. This place looks pretty well set up, even if it is utterly dead.

“Torvil, anything?”

She looked over at Commander Trance, her wrist-light cutting through the darkness to illuminate him standing beside Ensign Torvil, the Tellarite security officer that had joined them on this little field-trip.

“Nothing, sir.” The young officer replied, “Still no life signs other than us.”

With a disappointed sigh Mr’sara turned her attention back to the room around them, eventually finding something that looked suspiciously like a computer access system.

“Hey, Hollis.” she called softly, only to stop as her voice echoed eerily from the walls.

The Bolian looked over, a look of curiosity on his face, which turned into a nod as he spotted what she was standing beside. Hustling over, he quickly began running his tricorder over the console as Trance came over as well.

“What have you got?” he asked.

“Jackpot, perhaps.” Hollis replied, not looking up from his work, “If I can get this thing working, we may be able to find out just what happened here, Commander.”

“Commander?” Mr’sara spoke up once more, waiting for Trance to turn his attention to her before continuing, “With your permission, I’d like to take Torvil and have a look around.”

Trance seemed to consider the idea for a few moments, then gave a decisive nod.

“Go ahead, but make sure you stay in contact. The relay we set up at the airlock will keep us linked up to the Ishtar, but there’s no sense taking chances.”

Gathering the security officer up as she went, Mr’sara led the way back toward the airlock, having decided to start from there – mostly on the grounds that everything between that point and the bridge had already been snooped into. Tricorder readings aside, the pair were cautious as they proceeded deeper into the vessel, what little conversation there was between them reduced to whispers as the oppressive darkness pressed down on them.

Room after room was explored, revealing nothing but the kinds of facilities one would expect to find on a starship – mess hall, labs, quarters, and what looked like a medical facility. They spent a little while there, looking for any more information on just who this ship belonged to, but coming up short. After nearly a half hour of investigation, Torvil broke the silence.

“Lieutenant?” Torvil asked, his soft voice still shockingly loud in the torch-lit gloom. Looking over at him, Mr’sara raised an eyebrow in curiosity and waited for him to continue.

“Doesn’t all this seem, I don’t know, a little… small?”

“How so?”

“Well…” he paused for a moment, obviously trying to put his thoughts into words, “This ship is so darn big, but everything we’ve found so far suggests a crew smaller than ours. Maybe I’m just not used to this, I’m only new after-“

“Don’t toss that thought, Ensign,” she interrupted, “Fresh from the litter or not, I think you might be on to something…”

She thought for a little while, working through everything they’d found, putting it all together, and coming up with very much the same conclusion.

“Mr’sara to Trance,” she said, bringing her suit’s comm. system to life, “Any life in that computer yet, Commander?”

“Not yet, but Hollis says he’s pretty sure he’s close. What’s up?”

“Ensign Torvil has raised a good point, “ she explained, giving the Tellarite an encouraging smile, “I think this ship had a much smaller crew than we thought.”

The comm was silent for a second or two, which was probably for the best as the duo emerged from a corridor onto what seemed to be a balcony of some kind. Caitian and Tellarite looked at each other for a moment, then out over the railing before them, watching as the beams from their wrist-lamps disappeared into the blackness.

“Hold on,” Trance’s voice came over the comm, “We’re trying a start-up of the computer now.”

After nearly a minute of tense nothingness, lights began flickering into life. The illumination they gave was minimal at best, but enough for Mr’sara’s superb night vision to enhance into clear sight. Stepping up to the railing, she felt her jaw drop as the scene before her was revealed – a single cavernous chamber, filled with rank upon rank of what she could recognize as stasis pods. The sheer number of them numbed her mind a little, but it was obvious that they were gathered here in their thousands, if not more.

The growing light revealed something else, as well – a ladder down from the balcony to the floor below. With a gesture for Torvil to follow, she began quickly working her way down, eager for a closer look at the chamber’s contents. Less than a minute later she was at the nearest pod, and her eagerness died abruptly as she saw what it held.

USS Ishtar, Sector 337-C – Stardate 53262.7

With a sorrowful sigh, Cassandra set the padd down on the table before her and looked around the ready room at her assembled staff.

“Two hundred thousand … There’s no hope at all?”

The impassive features of Doctor Sutal betrayed nothing as he shook his head, but even his Vulcan self-control slipped enough for a hint of regret to color his words.

“I am afraid not, Captain. We conducted individual checks of the occupant of every stasis pod, with the same result.”

Cassandra could do little else but nod her grim acceptance of the man’s words, and turned her eyes to Mr’sara, who gave a little sigh herself before speaking up.

“From what we have been able to gleam from the computer, they were called the T’Kel. Their homeworld’s sun was destabilizing, so they came up with a plan to escape. Low-warp capable, but able to hold anywhere up to half a million people, their sleeper ships were designed to automatically lock onto the first M-class world they encountered and awaken the crew. The rest of the passengers would remain in stasis until it was confirmed the new world was viable for settlement.”

“So what happened?” Trance asked.

“Bad luck,” came the shrugged response, ”The ship got too close to a nova, and 90% of their ops systems got fried by the resulting EM pulse. With the computers unable to maintain the stasis pods…”

Mr’sara’s voice trailed off at the end, but she didn’t need to say the words. Looking out of the window, Cassandra could plainly see a much more potent testament to the sometimes harsh vagaries of the universe in the silent hulk the Ishtar was keeping pace with.

“How long?” she asked, still looking out of the window.

“As far as we can work out… nearly three thousand years.” Trance answered her after looking at the padd in his hand, “Far too long for us to be able to really hope to track down any other colonies of their kind.”

Cassandra nodded, but stayed silent as she tried to get her had around just how far the accidental mausoleum she was looking at had travelled. After a minute or so, she spoke up, her voice low.


There was a second or two when nothing happened, until Doctor Sutal began to speak.

“Captain, what do you intend…”

His didn’t so much trail off as simply stop talking, as she turned her gaze on him. Something he saw there had him giving a nod of acceptance of her order, and joining the rest of the staff in leaving her to her thoughts.

The kami were not kind to you, my friends, she thought to herself, staring once more at the alien vessel. But I will find some way to set your spirits at ease.

Kyoto, Japan – Stardate 92251.2


At the sound of her grand-daughter’s voice, Cassandra gave a sad little smile.

“Another time, little one.” she answered, her smile becoming reassuring as she turned her attention to her daughter, “But not today.”

The girl’s response to that was fairly predictable, but Yurohime headed it off with practiced ease.

“Go see if you can find Bounder’s bone, Teesha.”

A happy giggle, and Teesha was off her mother’s lap and in motion. Watching her go, Yurohime looked back at her mother, who was calmly sipping at her tea.

“You never told me what you did with the ship.” She said, a certain amount of curiosity in her tone.

“No?” Cassandra replied with a faintly troubled expression, “I shouldn’t have forgotten that.”

USS Ishtar, Sector 337-C – Stardate 53269.3

The bridge was silent as the Ishtar’s tractor disengaged, letting the derelict vessel settle onto it’s new course. Softly, Cassandra broke the stillness, not looking at Mr’sara as she spoke.

“How long?”

“It will enter the photosphere,” the Caitian replied equally quietly, “In 3.2 days.”

Stillness reigned again as they watched the ship drifting away. Silently, Cassandra stood, bowing her head as she commended a prayer to the stars for the spirits of the travelers whose fate she had regretfully learned. After a second, she heard movement around her, and a single glance took in the rest of the bridge crew joining her in paying their respects.

Slowly, they all turned their attentions to her, and she responded with a tired smile.

“Helm, resume course for DS12. Warp 6. Let’s leave these people to finish their voyage in peace.”
« Last Edit: 11 July 2009 01:17 PM by Della Vetri »

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Offline Nimue

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Re: =/\= UFOP: SB118 =/\= Memories of Fate
« Reply #1 on: 14 July 2009 02:57 PM »
Yes, that's the one! Makes you shiver! Great story!
Life, not worth writing about, is not worth living!

Offline Della Vetri

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Re: =/\= UFOP: SB118 =/\= Memories of Fate
« Reply #2 on: 14 July 2009 04:01 PM »
Thanks, Boby :)

Like I said, there are some more for this ship/crew bouncing about in my head, and I'll try getting them actually written sometime soon...

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