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| || Juji's fine. He comes back to life in the end when the doomsday device shifts the polarity of the Earth. Oops. Spoiler. Sorry.
Warning! This page contains spoilers for Star Trek:Into the Inferno.
Star Trek: Into the Inferno
June 9, 2010
This is the prologue to my Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Trek crossover. The primary series here is Star Trek: Enterprise but has elements of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: The Original Series. I hope you enjoy.
Watch ye therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh." - Mark 13:35
"The most persistent sound that reverberates through man's history is the beating of war drums" -Arthur Koestler, Janus
"Although all men are born free, and all nations might be so, yet too true it is, that slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorant-they have been cheated; asleep-they have been surprised; divided-the yoke has been forced upon them.
But what is the lesson? That because the people may betray themselves, they ought to give themselves up, blindfolded, to those who have an interest in betraying them? Rather conclude that the people out to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it as well as obey it."
-James Madison, Essay in the National Gazette December 20, 1792.
Psi Cancri system, 137ly from Sol
Erika Hernandez sat at her small narrow desk in the Columbia's ready room, reading over an engineering status report on the new refit's systems from the computer terminal on her desk. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the display screen hanging on the wall next to the door, displaying the most glaringly obvious sign that her ship had just undergone a major refit: the sizable secondary hull connected to the ship where the launch bay used to be.
Eight additional decks, she thought to herself, thinking about the month her ship and the Enterprise had spent at Newport News getting her new hull drilled on. Triple our previous crew not counting the MACO platoon, a very large deflector dish, experimental energy shields, and she's capable of almost warp six. She smirked to herself as she remembered trying to use the supposedly Warp Five engine the very first time. At least Columbia and Enterprise won't try to shake themselves to pieces when they hit warp five anymore.
Her door chime rang right as she approved the report for transmission to Starfleet Command. "Come," she said quickly as she turned around in her chair to face the door which opened to reveal her science officer, Asha Naidu. The slender twenty-six year old young woman had an excited look on her face as she walked into the room, the door closing behind her. Her uniform, unlike hers had teal science stripes on her shoulders instead of the gold stripes of a pure command officer, the three rectangular silver pips of her rank glowing in the fluorescent light of the room.
"Captain," she said quickly, her Indian accent giving a lilt to her tone as she came to attention and proffered a padd with a glowing blue screen. "We've finished our preliminary sensor sweep of Psi Cancri, sir."
Hernandez took the padd gently, scrolling through the report, skimming and taking out the highlights. "I take it from that look on your face that there's something in there that's caught your attention."
"That's an understatement, sir," Naidu said. "It's a small system, only three main planets. Psi Cancri III is a gas giant roughly the size of Jupiter with as far as we can tell about a dozen moons. Psi Cancri II is your run-of-the-mill lifeless dirtball in the middle of nowhere."
Hernandez nodded in agreement, skimming the results of the survey. Then she got to the final listing. Her nostrils flaring in surprise, she looked up and met her science officer's eyes.
"Psi Cancri I, however," and Naidu's voice took on an excited tone, "appears to be an M-class world with an oxygen-nitrogen atmosphere, liquid water, and a moon in a roughly the size of Luna."
"Then that's where we're going first," Hernandez responded, setting the padd down on the desk. "Set a course for the first planet, full impulse. We're going to get a chance to test out our updated sensor suite."
"I already gave the order, sir," Naidu said. "ETA fifteen minutes."
"We've assumed a standard orbit over the planet, Captain," Commander Naidu said from her science station fifteen minutes later, as she looked into her hooded viewer. "It's about the same size of Earth and is about 1 A.U. from the primary. It's atmosphere is primarily oxygen-nitrogen, with traces of argon and an abundance of liquid water."
"On screen," Hernandez ordered. Her breath caught in her throat. She was staring at a big blue marble with white whisps of cloud and capped, almost lovingly, with ice like her homeworld. There was a huge main continent. It appeared to be in the middle of the geologic process of splitting into three smaller landmasses, she could see the splits from here. It gave the primary landmass a look a lot like that of a crustacean reaching out to consume the brown islands that surrounded it.
"How big is the main continent?" Hernandez asked eagerly.
She heard Naidu's station hum as she ran a sensor sweep on the main continent. After a few moments she stood up and looked at her, saying, amazement in her voice, "Roughly the size of Gondwanaland, sir."
"Is it inhabited?" Hernandez asked. It would seem like a waste of space to have such a world not be inhabited. They hadn't been challenged or hailed, and Naidu surely would've mentioned it if they'd detected any sort of interstellar travel. A pre-warp or preindustrial society was still well worth the journey, and, expanding the frontiers of human knowledge was worth any price.
"Standby," she heard Naidu say. Captain Hernandez looked over to see Naidu leaning into her viewer as she tapped commands into her console. After a long moment, she leaned back in her chair and said, "This is...I don't know what to think."
"Report, Commander," Hernandez ordered, well disguised surprise and slight worry flooding her.
Naidu leaned back from her viewer, retracted it and turned to face her, utter shock on her face. "I'm reading human biosigns on the surface," she said, her voice hollow with surprise.
Immediately all the idle chatter that floated on the bridge ceased as everyone turned and looked at her science officer.
"How can you be sure?" Erika asked. "The only human ships this far out have been merchantmen and the ECA hasn't reported any missing ships in this sector."
"The sensors just passed a level one diagnostic," Naidu said shaking her head. "There's no way these sensors can be wrong. There are humans down there."
Suppressing the fluster she felt when thinking about it, Hernandez asked, "How many humans?"
Her science officer sighed and said, "On the order of six hundred million, sir. I ran the scan twice to be sure."
Six hundred million, she thought to herself, genuinely surprised by the number of people. Only Alpha Centauri has that many people off Earth. How the hell did our kind get out this far? And when? "Ensign Tischler," she began, looking at the communications officer. "Try emitting a general hail, see if that get's their attention."
The sandy-haired Starfleet ensign stuck his receiver in his ear and ran his hand over his board. After a few moments he shook his head. "No response, sir," he said with a distinct Israeli accent. "Also, I'm not reading any evidence of subspace communications. No artificial EM emissions of any kind."
"Are you sure, Ensign?" Commander Naidu asked. "If they were advanced enough to get out here they have to have subspace communications."
"Positive, sir," Tischler said. Cocking his head, he said, "If I may be so bold, sir, it's possible they're one of those "Back-to-Nature" Luddite groups who left Earth a few decades after First Contact and promptly dismantled their ships."
"Yes," Naidu retorted, her tone no doubt reflecting her annoyance with the hypocrisy of using a starship to get away from technology. "But the largest of those groups was only a few thousand at most. They wouldn't have gotten a population this large in less than a century. I mean, even Alpha Centauri only got its population after persistent immigration from Sol, and that in the last few decades."
Deciding that now was the appropriate time to get everyone focused back on their duties, Hernandez broke in and said, "Can we leave the discussion for when we've learned more, please? Commander, continue your scans. Ensign, transmit our preliminary survey and the sensor data we've already gathered to [Fanon:Starfleet (Earth)|Starfleet]]."
It was at that exact moment that the sensor alarm from the tactical station beeped. Captain Hernandez turned in her chair to view her tactical officer Lieutenant Commander Dechtire Shaugnessy. "Captain," the younger woman said with a fairly strong Irish accent. "I'm reading a Romulan vessel closing on our position."
"What?!" Hernandez said, "Romulan?"
"Yes, sir," she said, nodding fiercely. "It appears to be of the same type that the Enterprise encountered three years ago. It will be within weapons range in approximately," and she tapped a few commands into her board, double-checking a reading, "seven minutes."
Nothing for it, then, she thought to herself. "Tactical alert," she shouted, "Helm, standby to break orbit on my command."
"Aye, sir," the young Thai woman at the helm responded, her hands running over her board. The instant the words were out of her mouth, the lights dimmed slightly as power was shunted to the shields, engines, and weapons systems and the images on every computer station on the bridge turned red.
"All sections report at tactical stations," Ensign Tischler reported two minutes later.
"Commander," she said. "Put the Romulan ship on screen, maximum magnification."
A heartbeat later, the screen changed to show a vaguely green ship with roughly the shape of a horseshoe crab, gracefully curved warp nacelles sticking out a strut on both sides. Abruptly, the ship on the screen sped up, the magnification on the viewscreen compensating by cycling out to keep the whole of the ship in view.
"They're increasing speed," Shaughnessy shouted. "They'll be within weapon's range in a minute."
"Break orbit, helm," Hernandez ordered calmly, "move us between them and the planet. Ensign try hailing them."
She heard him run his hands along his board. After the communications console beeped. "No response."
"They're charging weapons," Shaughnessy said.
"Evasive maneuvers, now," Erika ordered as a green burst shout out of the front of the Romulan starship. The view of the screen suddenly shifted to the left as the ship pitched violently to port. The bridge around her shuddered under a glancing blow and Erika gripped the armrests of her command chair as the crewmembers around her stumbled and grabbed onto their consoles.
"Direct hit to starboard shields," Shaughnessy reported. "They're holding."
Erika Hernandez breathed a silent prayer of relief at the thought. "Bring us about," Hernandez ordered. "Shaughnessy, fire at will." She watched four fiery red lances lash out at the Romulan warship as the enemy vessel swerved to avoid Columbia's firing patterns. Two blasts connected to the hullg.
"Two direct hits, sir," the tactical officer said, a note of exhilaration on her voice. "Enemy's starboard shields are at ninety percent."
"They're coming about for another pass," her flight controller responded, shock and fear on her Thai accent.
"Commander Shaughnessy," Hernandez ordered even as she watched the Romulan vessel's weapons ports glowing menacingly. "Target their weapons and engines, maybe they'll be willing to explain themselves if we cripple them."
The next few moments raced by as a blur as both starships closed and engaged each other at point blank range, phase cannon and disruptor blasts lashing into each other. Both ships bobbed and weaved trying to avoid the bulk of the fire from the other. Columbia's three orange-red photonic torpedoes lashed out across space. The bird-of-prey avoided two of them, the third one slamming into her midsection, and both ships continued launching furious barrages at each other.
Hernandez heard a console explode behind her as surge protectors overloaded, filling the air with an acrid smoke as she stood over at the flight control station, looking over tactical data as it came in.
"We are losing dorsal shields," Shaughnessy reported, exhilaration having long ago turned to worry.
"Keep our bow to the Romulan," Hernandez heard Naidu order over the din of exploding consoles. "Reroute auxiliary power to forward shields."
"Hull breaches on Decks C, D, and E," Shaughnessy shouted, "emergency bulkheads in place and holding!"
"We're receiving casualty reports all over the ship!" Tischler blurted over the din. "Sickbay responding."
"They're firing again!"
Hernandez barely had time to grab onto the flight control station when a massive blast rocked the ship as though it had been hit by the hammer of an ancient Terran god. Hernandez saw the deck rush up to meet her even as she put her hands out to break her fall. As she fell, time seemed to slow as her head rushed towards the deck.
Madre de Dios, she thought as she blacked out.
Commander Asha Naidu watched as her Captain hit the deck with a loud thump. An instant later the young woman rushed over from her station, not even stopping to make sure her relief took her position. She put her hand on Captain Hernandez's neck, breathing a sigh of relief as she felt a pulse run under her fingers.
"David, call a med team!" she shouted to Ensign Tischler as she helped the helm officer back into her chair. As Ensign Tischler placed the call to sickbay, she rushed over to the command chair and sat down.
"Engineering to Bridge," the voice of the chief engineer filtered through, desperation on his voice. "Respond please."
She hastily activated the intercom. "Robert it's me," she said quickly. "The Captain's unconscious."
"We have a problem down here", Commander Robert Kelby said over the intercom. "The starboard interlock took damage and I can't repair it right now." A heartbeat later a loud explosion was heard over the intercom.
"Oh, no," she heard him say when Robert's voice came over the intercom, and she sighed in relief even as worry hit her again at what he might've been swearing at. "Bridge, the interlocks just failed, we've got ten minutes to a warp core breach there's nothing I can do."
"Another explosion was heard over the intercom and Robert shouted, "Everyone out, now!"
"Status on the Romulans!" she shouted.
"They're moving off, sir," her helm officer said a moment later, wonder and confusion on her voice. "I don't understand it."
"They know we're about to suffer a core breach," Naidu said, slamming her fist on the armrest of the command chair. "They don't know if we can do anything about it, so they're moving off at best speed." The turbolift opened at that point and a medical team arrived and loaded Captain Hernandez onto a stretcher. A minute later, the turbolift opened again and Naidu looked in relief as Commander Kelby walked onto the bridge.
An instant later, the two officers were over at the engineering station on the starboard side of the bridge, with Naidu entering her command codes to eject the engineering section from the rest of the secondary hull, Kelby following a moment later. An instant later the computer emitted a denied tone. Worried, the two of them entered their codes again. And again.
"Well," Kelby said after the third time. "Time to go."
"No kidding," Naidu said as she rushed over to the command chair. "All hands, this is the Acting Captain. Abandon ship, abandon ship, all hands abandon ship. Shuttle teams launch ASAP, everyone else to the escape pods, Captain Naidu out." She looked at her crew, all of them had stunned faces as they realized the true effects of what was being ordered.
Crown Princess Azula lay in bed, looking at the red upholstered ceiling of her four-poster bed, stewing as she thought about what had been done to her. They betrayed me, she thought, thinking about Ty Lee and Mai's betrayal. I made them who they are and they betrayed me. Mai stopped me from killing my dear traitor brother Zuzu and Ty Lee struck me behind like the coward she is. She hit her pillow, rage at the betrayal hitting her like a particularly painful brand. Revenge, however, has been mine. Ty Lee and Mai are incarcerated, and the moment I have the available forces ready I will pursue Zuko and his friends to their hiding spot and burn them all out.
She was interrupted from her musings from a green glow that suddenly appeared out of the corner of her eye. Looking over, she saw a strange light outside her curtain. Pulling the curtain aside she balled her left hand into a fist, causing a blue flame to explode to life. Sitting on her nightstand was a small, silvery gray box. Cocking her head in interest, she reached out with her right hand and touched it gingerly. It felt cool to the touch. Curiosity piquing even more, she grabbed it and picked it up. Willing the fire in her hand to turn orangem she lit the candle on her nightstand before allowing the fire to dissipate, and, in the flickering light, analyzed her find.
There's a lid, she thought to herself when she saw what appeared to be a partition at the bottom of the box. Taking care not to break it, she lifted the lid. When it emitted a loud chirping sound, Azula's eyes widened in shock and she dropped the box, letting it bounce onto the bed. Berating herself for being weak enough to jump at a mere noise, she picked it up again, examining the small, metal grille in the center of the opened box.
"Jolan'tru, Princess Azula, heir to your people," a deep male voice said unexpectedly out of the grille, and Azula had to restrain herself from dropping it. "My name is Admiral Valdore. I am speaking to you through this device called a communicator. It allows communication over vast distances, even across entire worlds and...even with people in orbit."
"Orbit," she said, a cold feeling of surprise flooding her as she remembered the term used for objects, like the moon, that circled the planet. "You're in space?"
"On a ship in orbit, to be precise," the man said coolly, though he could've sworn that he heard the man on the other end suppress a chuckle. "Now, there are things I must tell you, and quickly, there is little time..." Azula, her mind racing at the possibilities simply implied by the sudden appearance of this device, listened intently as this person, who claimed to be an Admiral, talked.
"We've just crippled an Earther warship in orbit of the planet. It's going to be destroyed soon, and the survivors will land on your world. If you want to take advantage of what we're offering you, capture as many as possible and turn them over to us when we return to your world at some point in the near future. Do you agree?"
She lay back on her bed and thought about it. If these "Romulans" were as powerful as the fact that they could make this device appear in her room in a flash of light seemed to prove, they could be very beneficial to her. Every word he had said to her had opened up a new world full of possibilities, opportunities to be exploited, revenge for her enemies, and at long last, what she always craved ultimate power for herself. This is a dangerous thing you're embarking on, she thought, but rule over all mankind is worth it.
"Yes," the young woman said, a slow, dangerous smile appearing on her face. "We have a deal."
"Excellent," Valdore said. "Jolan'tru, Princess. Oh, and as proof of our generosity look in the back of the device after our discussion is over." After that there was a clicking sound. Azula slid the device into the pocket of her crimson bathrobe and flopped back down onto her pillow.
A heartbeat later three loud booming knocks were heard at the wooden door at the other end of the room. Having a good feeling about what was going to happen, she said, an almost eager tone on her voice, "Come."
The door opened to admit a porter in the red dress of the palace servants. The young woman with brown hair bowed obsequiously as soon as she was in the door. "My Lady," she said, her gaze averted towards the ground, and away from her Crown Princess. "Several meteors crashed into the middle of the Fire Nation capital. When it landed, it caused much damage in the center of the city. The City Watch is still putting out the fires."
"And the City Watch is so incompetent that my leadership is required for fire suppression?" she remarked, her brief optimism replaced by annoyance. Meteor strikes were a common enough occurrence. Gods, I hope this doesn't turn into one of those stupid things my father usually leaves me to deal with.
"No, your Highness," the porter said, her eyes still downcast. "They were made of solid metal and one of the meteors turned out to be a strange vehicle. It had four occupants inside who surrendered without incident."
"They are waiting outside?" Azula asked, an almost giddy sensation filling her. This alliance might actually pay off after all.
"Yes, Highness," the servant before her said, "they're here now."
Azula stood up. "Very well," she said nodding, "send them in."
"Yes, Highness," the servant said as she withdrew. An instant later a squad of armed guards entered the room, followed by a squad of soldiers in the black lacquered armor of the City Watch entered, muscling three women and one man into the room. The four people before her were clearly soldiers based on how they carried themselves. The three women and one man wore blue uniforms with blue epaulettes on the shoulders and had what appeared to be silver pips similar to the ones her own officers wore on their undress uniforms to denote rank.
"I'm Captain Erika Hernandez of the United Earth starship Columbia," the eldest woman out of the group said, standing at parade rest. Azula regarded the older woman before her curiously. She was about forty years old, with fair skin, brown hair and eyes, and a noticeably purpling bruise on her forehead. Her blue uniform had gold stripes on both shoulders and four silver pips on her right shoulder.
"Princess Azula of the Fire Nation," she said slowly, folding her arms as she thought of the opportunities the four people in front of her represented. "Take them to a cell on the lower levels," she ordered the guard commander. "And call the physician to see to any of their injuries. I'll be down in order to question these people shortly."
After the guards muscled her bewildered guests out, she turned her device over and gently opened the back up. The moment she had it open a green light appeared, lancing up before coalescing before her eyes into a physical representation of a very familiar island in the shape of an ember. She inhaled in surprise, then looked at the location being shown, reading the description being written in her language.
Let the games begin, she thought to herself, feeling an urge to laugh in delight. With this I cannot fail. The world will fall.
For the collective works of the author, go here.