A Work Of Star Trek Fan Fiction By Richard Paolinelli
© 2020 RICHARD PAOLINELLI . ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. NO COPYING OR ANY OTHER REPRODUCTION OF THIS STORY IS PERMITTED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION. This is a work of fan fiction based in the universe of Star Trek, created by Gene Roddenberry. It is not intended to be sold, to be used to aid in any sale and is not to be copied or used in any other way by any other party.
“We have a problem,” the Capitano of the Littorio reported. “Only three of the Klingon ships remain in our space. The fourth has broken away and returned to Klingon space.”
“Which one?” Forelni asked.
“I really need to kill that man the next time I cross paths with him,” Forelni shot a withering look at Archer. “Are you close enough to scan those ships for non-Klingon life signs?”
“No. We are just outside their known sensor range but not close enough to get accurate readings. If we move closer, they’ll know we’re here.”
“I suspected as much. Stay where you are. We’ll be there in an hour,” Forelni ended the conversation and began pacing the bridge of his ship.
“Our friend Kaln is proving to be as much of a coward as we’ve thought,” Mansi remarked. “Do you suppose he’s got the hostages with him and left his other three ships to fight it out with us?”
“It’s a possibility,” Forelni admitted.
“Especially if he wants to draw you across the border and start a war,” Archer agreed.
“Technically, he’s already started a war,” Forelni pointed out. “It remains to be seen if the Klingon Empire wants to accept the invitation. The more important question right now is, where is the Queen and the Princess and how do we find out before we start shooting.”
“Are you discounting negotiation then?” Archer asked.
“It isn’t our way to ask the thief nicely to return what he has stolen, Captain,” Forelni resumed his pacing as the bridge fell silent. “We need to know where they are before we make our move.
“Paulo,” Forelni stopped short. “Summon Giordano, Rizzo, Lombardi and Moretti to the bridge.”
“What do you have in mind, Capitano?” Mansi asked after calling the four crewmen to the bridge.
“Something I hate having to do, Paulo, but I don’t see any other way.”
The four crewmen bolted onto the bridge and presented themselves to their commander. Three were younger men, the fourth was graying at his temples.
“Gentlemen,” Forelni began without preamble. “You know why we are out here. In order to mount a rescue attempt we must know which ship the hostages are being held on before the Klingons can raise their shields. For us to succeed we need to take out the other ships and disable the ship our Queen and the Princess is on.
“The only way we can determine that without alerting the Klingons,” Forelni continued, “is to send out one man in a solo pod. It’s small enough to not be spotted by their sensors. The pilot can determine which ship they are on and transmit the information back. Of course, once the pilot transmits he will alert the Klingons of his presence.”
“It’s a one-way mission, isn’t it?” Lombardi, the older man, asked.
“Yes. We will make every effort to recover the pilot during the operation if he can maneuver around long enough to avoid their fire but the odds of that are…very high against. You are the four highest-rated pod pilots on this ship. I am asking for one of you to volunteer for this mission.”
The three younger men exchanged looks. Lombardi took one step forward.
“Are you sure, Fiori?”
“Quite, Capitano. I have lived to see my great-grandchildren and these three have just begun starting their own families.
“That is the reason why you included me, wasn’t it?” Lombardi added, lowering his voice.
“It was,” Forelni admitted as quietly before raising his voice. “Very well, then, prepare to launch as soon as we rendezvous with the Littorio. The rest of you are dismissed. And good luck, Fiori.”
The four men departed the bridge as quickly as they’d arrived.
“Have you ever ordered a man under your command to his death, Captain?”
“I have,” Archer replied.
“Have you ever found a way to do it without it haunting you the rest of your days?”
Forelni nodded and reclaimed his command chair.
“What is your plan after he transmits the information?” Archer asked.
“This ship will engage the ship with the hostages aboard, the Littorio will move against a second ship if the hostages have been split up. The other ships will engage and destroy any Klingon ship not carrying the hostages. We will disable the Klingons and beam the hostages off the ship.”
An audible gasp circled the bridge.
“Sire,” Mansi struggled to keep his voice even. “The prohibition against…”
“Has already been violated, Paulo,” Forelni cut his first officer off. “The Klingons beamed them off the Crociera, remember? If the originals were in fact destroyed, we are only making a copy of a copy. We’ll deal with that after we’ve recovered them.”
* * *
“Any word yet?” Forelni asked Lucchese at Communications.
“Nothing yet, Capitano.”
“He’s been out of sensor range for ten minutes now,” Mansi reported. “He should be right in the middle of those three ships.”
“If he’d been spotted they’d be shooting at him and we’d pick that up,” Forelni mused. “We’ll give him another hour before we come up with something else to try.”
“Capitano!” Lucchese turned from her station. “Message from the pod.”
“On speaker,” Forelni barked.
“Scanned all three,” Lombardi reported tersely. “Only one, repeat, only one non-Klingon life sign. Tagged the ship with a beacon. I’ll keep them busy as long as I can.”
The transmission ended abruptly.
“Receiving the beacon loud and clear now,” Lucchese confirmed.
“Then let’s get moving,” Forelni ordered. “We’ll take the tagged ship, the rest of the fleet needs to take out the other Klingons and tell the Littorio to get Lombardi out of there.”
The four Etalyian ships hurtled toward the Klingons.
“Why aren’t they firing at the pod?” Forelni wondered. The Klingon ships turned about wildly, unaware of the approaching fleet.
“Because Lombardi isn’t fleeing,” Mansi reported as he scanned the area. “He’s buzzing between them. They can’t lock their weapons or a tractor beam on him.”
Finally, the three ships broke formation, looking to put enough space between them to swat the annoying flea. It appeared to be what Lombardi had been waiting for as he turned his pod right into the engines of one of the Klingon ships not tagged. The bright explosion lit up the bridge. It also kept the remaining Klingons distracted as the four Etalyian ships fell on them without mercy.
“Disable that ship now,” Forelni ordered. “Transporter, lock onto the non-Klingon life sign and beam her aboard.”
Lasers lanced across the Klingon ship, taking out its weapons and engines. The other three Etalyian ships made short work of the other Klingon.
“Transport complete, Sire,” a voice over the speaker replied. “We have the Queen aboard.”
“Escort her to the bridge,” Forelni ordered. “Finish off the Klingon ship, Paulo.”
“Aye, Capitano,” Mansi nodded at the weapons station and the crippled Klingon ship was turned to dust and debris seconds later. The bridge remained quiet, there were no celebratory cheers. The job was not yet done. A minute later, the Queen swept onto the bridge. Most look at her as if she were an alien.
“Majesty,” Forelni addressed his mother. “I am glad we were able to recover you.”
“You had me transported,” she accused.
“It seemed the only way to recover you alive and the Klingons had already transported you. I didn’t think you would object under the circumstances, mother.”
“I suppose not,” she relented.
“The Klingon fleet commander took her aboard his ship.”
“And fled back into Klingon space with her,” Forelni added grimly.
“And what next, my son?”
Every eye turned to the Capitano.
“I do not have the authority to invade Klingon space,” he said after a long pause, “no matter the provocation. We return the Queen to Etalya and await the King’s command. I have no doubt we will invade and recover the Princess. But when we do we will have a plan in place to retrieve her and teach the Klingons a lesson they will never forget.”