Posted in 1K Serials, Uncategorized

1K Weekly Series: The Calling: Chapter 13

THE CALLING 

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.

 

CHAPTER 13

 

The Grand Hall on Etalya was filled to capacity. As official guests of the crown, Archer and his crew had been allowed inside but tens of thousands of other Etalyians were not so fortunate. They gathered around the palace with more arriving by the minute from every corner of the globe. It seemed all of Etalya wanted to be present for this moment in history.

They were waiting for the arrival of Prince Bari, whose shuttle was on final approach to the pad. The fleet had pulled into orbit less than two hours ago as the entire planet seemed to be talking about how it had brought the Klingons to their knees while only losing one Etalyian ship in the campaign. Clearly, all present wanted to hear how the Prince had pulled it off.

“Quite the spectacle today, isn’t it?”

“Indeed it is,” Archer agreed as he turned to the source of the voice. “Mr…..?”

“Orlando Mansi,” the older man introduced himself with a slight bow. “Royal Weaponsmaster and father of Paulo Mansi, the Executive Officer aboard the Sicilia. At your service, Captain Archer.”

“You must be very proud of your son, especially on a day such as this.”

“Of course. I am proud of them both. The Prince and my son have been close friends almost since the cradle. I trained both of them from the time they could barely lift a sword.”

“You did well, sir. Especially in tactics.”

“Tactics? I taught them how to properly use any weapon, Captain. But in the art of tactics I feel I might have been more the student than the master when it came to the Prince.

“Even at a young age,” Mansi continued. “It was clear to us all that there was a cunning mind behind those young eyes. Our task was to see that cunning used for right and just causes. We needn’t have worried on that account. A brilliant tactician with a strong moral center, our Prince.”

“I see why he is popular with the people,” Archer remarked.

“Quite right, Captain. The people know he will always do what is right by them and by those he calls friends. Just don’t play a game of chess with him. On that field of battle he is as ruthless and without mercy as any I have ever seen.”

“So, I’ve been told,” Archer chuckled.

“I wish today was a chess game,” Mansi remarked quietly. “The stakes would only be a lost game if it were.”

“I’m not sure I follow?”

“I have told you that the Prince and my son are close friends.”

“Yes.”

“Perhaps I should have described it more as closer than brothers.”

“I have found that to be common even among my people,” Archer replied.

“Yes, but in this case there is an actual brother who resents that relationship because it is not shared with him by his own brother.”

“Francesco?”

“Yes,” Mansi sighed. “I trained him as well and watched as the two brothers grew further apart. Unfortunately, that drove Francesco to the waiting arms of the half of the Council that, quietly, opposes the Royal Family.

“Francesco has been listening to Marcus Antonius too much lately,” he continued. “Much of the strife between the Princes can be laid at Marcus’ feet. When Bari enters to give his official report to the Council, do not be surprised to hear Francesco be critical. It will be his voice, but it will be Marcus’ words.”

“Can the situation be diffused?”

“I doubt it. This is a powder keg that has been waiting for its very short fuse to be lit and today may be that day. In addition to some bad advice, Francesco tends to be more, shall we say, bloodthirsty. His temper, once aroused, does not allow for cool reconsideration once action is taken. It does not surprise me that Bari would find the appropriate point to stop operations once the objective was attained. Francesco does not have that ability. The two will clash here today, Captain, mark my words.”

Just then the rumble of a shuttle passing overhead shook the Hall and the cheering of the massive throng outside could be clearly heard. Only two minutes passed before the Court Chamberlain stepped inside the hall.

“You’re Majesties,” the old man bellowed impressively. “Members of the Council and honored guests. His Highness, Prince Bari.”

The Prince swept into the room in full dress uniform and the gathered crowd broke in applause. His left hand resting casually upon his sword as made his way to the front of the Hall when the King, Queen, Prince Francesco, and the other eleven members of the Council were seated. Bari’s own Council seat was empty. As he reached a spot a few yards from the King, he stopped and knelt, head slightly bowed and the room fell swiftly into a hushed silence.

“Rise, Prince Bari,” the King intoned. “All Etalya welcomes you home in gratitude for your service and that of your fleet.”

“Gratitude,” Francesco muttered under his breath, drawing a stern rebuke from the King.

“Perhaps we could allow your brother the courtesy of making his report before we make any judgments, my son?”

The older Mansi show Archer an “I told you so” look.

“My King, my Queen, members of the Council,” Bari rose to his feet as a murmur passed through the crowd at the omission of the younger Prince. “I bring news of a great victory for our people. The Klingon responsible for the attack on our ship, the kidnapping of our Queen and the very hand that murdered Princess Gianna is dead. The Klingon fleet lies in near ruin. I daresay we may never again hear from the Klingons. While our enemy suffered great losses, we have returned home having lost only a single ship. That ship sacrificed itself to take out a major shipyard. The Klingons will not be able to replace what they lost for decades.”

The Hall burst into another round of applause that lasted several minutes until the King finally raised a hand to bring it to an end.

“An impressive campaign indeed, my son,” the King replied. “Yet, there are some who say you did not go far enough.”

Every eye in the room looked at Francesco and then at Antonius before returning to Bari.

“Of that I have no doubt, father,” Bari replied sadly. “Let them have their say then.”

“As if that would change your mind,” Francesco pounced on the opening. “Would the entire universe tell you that you were wrong, would you admit it?”

“I’d like to think I am not that stubborn, brother,” Bari replied with a cold smile. “Or that foolish. What would you and your friend Antonius have had me do? Our mission was to punish the Klingons for what they did. Are they not punished? If the Romulans forced the issue they will be hard-pressed to fight them off with what little fleet remains to them. They will not dare test our steel again, for they have seen the price that foolishness cost them.

“Would you have had me slaughter innocents? Reduce every Klingon world to a charred cinder? And why stop there? The Romulans are little better than the Klingons. Surely if we are justified in the practice of genocide in the case of the Klingons, are we not with any species that may threaten us? Where would you have the bloodshed end, Francesco?”

“I care little about the Romulans or the rest of the galaxy,” Francesco shot back. “Your mission was to remove the Klingons as a threat to Etalya.”

“Which I accomplished.”

“Indeed? Qo’noS is not burning and the Chancellor and the High Council lives.”

“No,” Bari corrected. “They do not live.”

A collective gasp raced around the Hall.

“On our way back we intercepted a transmission,” Bari reported. “There was a coup on Qo’noS shortly after we departed. The Chancellor and the entire High Council were slain. There is a new Chancellor and Council. They have ordered all ships to stay well clear of our space. We accomplished our mission, brother, and will be considered by all outside our space to have done so within accepted bounds of warfare.

“Yes, I could have slain every Klingon and burned every world,” Bari continued. “But now that we have made contact again with the rest of the galaxy we cannot just think of ourselves. We will be joining that galaxy now. Would you have them fear us as bloodthirsty savages? Or as a civilized people who will strive for peace but will defend ourselves when we must?”

Francesco said nothing and Bari let the silence hang in the air between them.

“That is why, brother, you will never sit on our father’s throne,” Bari charged and only then did the anger he felt at his brother show. “No matter how many ill-conceived alliances you form with those not fit breathe the same air as he.”

“You accuse me…” Francesco sputtered, his face going crimson.

“Not just you,” Bari cut him off, looking right at Antonius.

“That will be enough!” the King commanded, standing up. “The Council has heard the report of the action against the Klingons from its commander and accepts it and his reasonings for ending the campaign. It is indeed a great victory and this is a time of celebration.”

“You call me unfit,” Francesco growled, his hand dropping to his sword. “I call you a coward. Afraid to finish what you began and covering it in the flowery language of ‘peace’, brother. I say it is you that has no place on our father’s throne.”

“Are you challenging me, Francesco?”

“Yes,” he snarled. “Only one of us will take the throne and it will not be you. Today, you will take your rightful place; In your grave!”

Francesco withdrew his sword and lunged.

Previous Episodes:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

 

Posted in 1K Serials

1K Weekly Series: The Calling: Chapter 12

THE CALLING 

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.

 

CHAPTER 12

 

“It would appear that you arrived just in time for the celebrations, Captain,” Admiral Gibson remarked.

“So it would seem, Admiral,” Archer agreed. “We’d just entered orbit when the message from the Etalyian flagship arrived.”

“Have you been given any additional information from the Etalyian government regarding the withdrawal? Not that I am complaining that hostilities have ended mind you, but it strikes me as odd that they would let the Klingons off the hook for no reason.”

“You know as much as we do, sir,” Archer replied. “And until Prince Bari returns to make his full report, we won’t know the reason why he chose to spare Qo’noS.”

“I’m not sure I would have if I were in his place,” Gibson admitted. “But I’m damned glad he did. If Qo’noS had fallen the Klingons would have fought to the last man and the Romulans would have leapt in to take full advantage. Can you confirm how many Etalyian ships are returning from Klingon space?”

“We’re just now picking them up on long-range sensors and we’ve confirmed the initial reports from the Etalyians. The entire invasion fleet, save one ship that was destroyed in a Kamikaze run that destroyed the Klingon Shipyards near Q’an’taGh, is returning.”

“An incredible feat of military planning and execution,” Gibson remarked. “What I wouldn’t give to have someone like this Prince at Starfleet. We’ll be studying his tactics during this engagement for years at the Academy, Captain, mark my words.”

“Of that I have no doubt,” Archer agreed. “Admiral, we’ve received very little information regarding the final battle at Qo’noS. How bad was it for the Klingons?”

“Archer, your Prince could have reduced the entire planet to its component atoms and there was nothing the Klingons could have done to stop him. I eagerly await your report detailing what stayed his hand. We can confirm he told the Chancellor not to send so much as a probe across the border again or he’d come back and finish what he’d started.

“The Klingons,” the Admiral continued, “appear to be taking him at his word on that account. What remains of their fleet has been ordered to steer well clear of their shared border. Any Commander who allowed his ship to get within ten kilometers of that line in space would be executed. I get the impression the Klingons want nothing more to do with the Etalyians and High Command is more worried about the Romulans right now anyway. There is a small faction that is screaming for revenge, but their numbers are too small to be of concern. The Vulcans are sending a diplomatic mission to Qo’noS to finalize a ‘peace treaty’ between the Etalyians and the Klingons.”

“I suppose ‘stay out of our space or else’ doesn’t leave the Klingons much in the way of negotiating room?” Archer asked.

“No, it doesn’t,” Gibson agreed. “And if the Klingons know what’s good for them, they won’t try to bargain for anything else than ‘you leave us be, we’ll leave you be’ for now. What is your impression of the Etalyian reaction? Will they honor Prince Bari’s decision?”

“The Prince is very popular here, Admiral. This campaign has done nothing but increase that popularity. The King seems pleased with his son’s decision. He’d ordered the Prince to make the Klingons pay for their crime and I think everyone can agree that he accomplished that in spades.”

“And then some,” Gibson agreed.

“But, like with the Klingons, there is a small faction that thinks the Prince should have finished off Qo’noS and kept going,” Archer added.

“How prominent is this faction?”

“Small, sir, but it is led by the younger Prince, Francesco. It could be the younger Prince actually feels they stopped too early or…”

“We have a bad case of sibling rivalry rearing its head and threatening to ignite this conflict all over again,” Gibson finished. “That’s the last thing we need right now, some young hothead with a chip on his shoulder kicking off a galactic shooting gallery.”

Archer nodded his head in agreement.

“Captain, we’re putting together a diplomatic mission to Etalya but it’ll be a few weeks before they can get there. We want to set up a diplomatic relationship with these people. You’re going to have to serve as an ‘Ambassador-at-large’ until the diplomats can get out there and formalize things.

“Throw every ounce of weight you have behind the King and the elder Prince,” Gibson continued. “Without ridiculing the younger Prince, make it clear that Earth’s government and Starfleet itself fully support the decisions made by Prince Bari during the Klingon campaign. Let’s keep the lid firmly on this powder keg. The longer we do, the less likely it will be that it’ll blow up in our faces. Good luck, Captain.”

“Thank you, sir,” Archer replied as the Admiral’s image faded from the Enterprise’s main view screen.

“Captain,” T’Pol reported after the call with the Admiral ended. “The lead Etalyian ships are expected to arrive in orbit within two hours. Prince Bari’s flagship is among them.”

“Very well, Commander,” Archer replied. “I’ll want the entire command staff ready to beam down to the surface in ninety minutes and in dress uniforms. We’ll be presenting ourselves as diplomats people, so everyone on their very best behavior planetside.”

Archer heard his crew acknowledge the order but kept his attention the forward screen showing the space near Etalya. He peered into the stars beyond as if he could see the returning fleet.

The Prince that led that fleet would be hailed as a conquering hero; this much Archer was certain of. But would he become known as more of a Julius Caesar or Genghis Kahn or would history place him in the role of a MacArthur or a Churchill?

Previous Episodes:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

 

 

 

Posted in 1K Serials

1K Weekly Series: The Calling, Chapter 11

THE CALLING 

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.

 

CHAPTER 11

 

“Flash report, Capitano!” the Sicilia’s communications officer called out. “The Klingon fleet has broken orbit above Qo’noS at high warp. They are on course for Morska.”

“They’ve taken the bait!” Paulo exclaimed.

“Indeed they have,” Forelni nodded in approval to his Exec. “Any update on Kaln’s ship?”

“Still in dock, Capitano,” Communications confirmed.

“Send a flash message to the other groups,” Forelni ordered. “Include the locations of the planetary defense stations. I want them taken out first. Whichever group is closest to the dock is to take it, and Kaln’s ship, out.”

“Aye, Capitano!”

“And if Kaln is still on his ship when it is destroyed?” Paulo asked.

“Then I will reward that ship’s Capitano handsomely,” Forelni replied. “Hopefully, that vermin is still down on the surface so I can have the pleasure of killing him myself. In the meantime, Paulo, order the fleet to attack and get us heading for Qo’noS right now.”

The two ships accompanying the Sicilia followed the flagship out from a cluster of asteroids not far for the Klingon homeworld. No longer needing to remain in hiding, the ship’s sensors scanned the system. A wolfish smile spread across Forelni’s face as he saw every group, save the Littorio’s group that was serving as a decoy, break out of hiding and sprint toward Qo’noS.

“We haven’t lost a single ship,” Paulo couldn’t keep the awe from his voice as he looked at the sensor readout screen on Forelni’s command panel. “What an incredible victory this is, Capitano.”

“Let us wait until the final battle is over before we start the celebrations, my friend,” Forelni cautioned. “But I share your sentiments. I myself could not dare to dream we would escape unscathed like this.”

“Messages coming in, Capitano. Trieste’s group is attacking the dock. Audace’s, Scire’s and Sparviero’s groups are attacking planetary defense stations and command and control installations.”

“Very good,” Forelni replied. “Navigation?”

“Lined up for orbital insertion and geo-synchronous orbit above the capital city in three minutes, Capitano.”

“Weapons?”

“All weapons hot and ready to fire on your command, Capitano!”

“Capitano, look!” Paulo exclaimed pointing to the sensor readout. “That’s the K’Toch, the Chancellor’s personal flagship and she’s heading back toward Qo’noS.”

“I doubt the Chancellor is aboard at a time like this,” Forelni noted with a scowl. “Have the Zeffrio disable the K’Toch and take it in tow. We’ll see what we’ve caught in our net after we’ve got Qo’noS under control.”

The Zeffrio peeled away to corral the Klingon ship while the Sicilia and her other escort continued on. Caught unawares, the planetary defenses fell to the Etalyian fleet, getting off a handful of ineffective shots before falling to enemy bombardment. The dock holding Kaln’s ship, as well as the Klingon ship itself, never even had time to raise its shields before being reduced to atoms. In less than fifteen minutes, Qo’noS had fallen.

Shock reigned in the Great Hall as the Chancellor was faced with the unthinkable: His planet was under the guns of a dozen armed Etalyian ships and he couldn’t even so much as throw a stone at them in defense.

“Hail the Commander of that fleet,” the Chancellor rasped, defeat tightening his throat. “Ask him what his terms are.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Message from the Zeffrio,” Communications called out. “They have the K’Toch in tow and will be entering orbit in two minutes. They report the Chancellor’s family is aboard, but not the Chancellor.”

“Weapons,” Forelni punched in a set of commands. “When the K’Toch is in range, this is what I want you to do. Then stand by for further orders.”

Paulo leaned over so he could see what Forelni was ordering. He tried to keep his face neutral.

“Objections?” Forelni asked.

“Reservations, Capitano.”

“We’re being hailed by the Chancellor,” Communications interrupted before Forelni could respond.

“On screen,” Forelni ordered and the Klingon Chancellor appeared. He looked nothing like the belligerent Klingon of a few weeks before. Now he looked old and beaten. Behind him, Kaln and the members of the High Council stood in silent defeat.

“What are your terms, Etalyian,” the Chancellor muttered in a barely audible tone.

“First this,” Forelni replied then stabbed a button on his panel. “Transporter, do you have a lock yet.”

“We do, Capitano.”

“Then begin transport.”

Kaln disappeared in the glitter-glow of a transporter beam.

“And beam him out into space,” Forelni continued. “Widest possible dispersion.”

Even the crew on his own bridge paled at that order but no one raised an objection.

“Transport complete,” the officer reported quietly.

“Weapons,” Forelni intoned, his voice flat and space cold as he stared down the image of the Chancellor on the screen. “Execute phase one.”

A beam lanced out from the Sicilia and bathed the K’Toch in blue light. A view of the interior of the Klingon ship appeared on a smaller screen, a view being transmitted to the Chancellor below. Every Klingon on the K’Toch crumpled to the deck.

“Dead?” the Chancellor asked.

“Stunned,” Forelni replied. “Weapons. Phase two.”

“Phasers locked on the K’Toch,” the officer replied. “Tight beam, low power as ordered.”

“What are you going to do?” the Chancellor demanded.

“I’m going to drill a series of very small holes into the K’Toch,” Forelni replied. “Not big enough for her to implode, but enough for the air to slowly bleed out. The level of stun we used has left every Klingon conscious enough to be aware of what is happening to them. They will know they are suffocating and will be powerless to do anything about it.”

“You monster…!” the Chancellor bellowed, but Forelni cut him off.

“Monster? Who invaded our space, seized our ship, kidnapped our people and butchered an innocent woman for no reason other than to satisfy your own bloodthirst?

“You dare call me monster, Klingon,” Forelni matched the Klingon’s bellow. “By rights I should reduce that ship to dust and burn your world to a cinder for what you have done!”

The Chancellor tried to rally some semblance of protest, but the sudden defeat had knocked all of the bluster from him. He bowed his head, accepting his fate.

“You asked for my terms, Klingon.” Forelni said in a calm, quiet tone that froze the blood of all that heard it, Etalyian and Klingon. “Raise your damned head and hear them.”

The Chancellor raised his head and waited.

“You will remember my hand on your throat, Klingon. You will remember that all I need do is order phase three to be executed and Qo’noS is no more, nor is any of your family. You will remember this day and how easily we defeated you.

“Because if any Klingon ship ever again is found so much as a meter inside Etalyian space,” Forelni continued, “We will return. This time we will not stay our hand or our wrath until no Klingon lives anywhere within this universe. Do you understand?”

The Chancellor nodded.

“I need to hear you say it, Klingon.”

“I understand.”

“I am withdrawing my ships, Klingon. Do not give me a reason to send them back here.”

Forelni waved for the transmission to be cut and the screen went black.

“Order the fleet to return to Etalyian space, Paulo, and make sure the Littorio and her escorts are on their way out before we leave Klingon space.”

Paulo relayed the orders then turned to Forelni in surprise.

“You were prepared to exterminate everything on that planet,” he said softly, having seen what phase three entailed. “What changed your mind?”

“We accomplished what we came here to do, Paulo,” Forelni replied. “My sister’s murderer is dead by my order. The Klingons have been punished for the invasion of our space and the taking of our ship and the Queen. Our retribution is justified.

“But if we had continued on,” Forelni continued. “We would be no better than the Klingons. We would have become murderers. The thin line between justice and revenge, Paulo. We dangled perilously over that edge. I dangled perilously over that edge.”

Forelni fell quiet as his fleet broke orbit, heading back toward home at top speed.

“We are going to reclaim our place with the rest of the human race now that a ship from Earth has visited us. We are going to become a part of the galactic family too. We will not do so as blood-thirsty warmongers, Paulo. Not at my hands at least.”

Previous Episodes:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Posted in 1K Serials

1K Weekly Series: The Calling, Chapter 10

THE CALLING 

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.

 

CHAPTER 10

 

“Utter one more syllable, Kaln,” the Klingon Chancellor bellowed, the point of his drawn d’k tahg digging into the Klingon Commander’s throat. “Even the slightest sound and I will gut you were you stand and feed you to my Targ while your heart is still beating.”

Kaln wisely kept his mouth shut, and his head intact with his neck, as a thin trickle of purple blood dripped down his tunic and onto the floor of the High Council.

“It is because of your…,” the Chancellor struggled to find the right word. “…stupidity that we are in this situation.”

“I was obeying my orders,” Kaln braved against the threat of the d’k tahg.

“Your orders were to harass Etalyian shipping among their outer worlds,” the Chancellor reminded as he withdrew the blade and stepped closer. “Not to attack the Royal transport, kidnap their Queen and bring their Princess into Klingon space!”

Kaln remained silent as the Chancellor sheathed his blade and stormed away a few paces, muttering curses under his breath.

“It was clear that we intended to go to war with Etalya,” he ventured when the Chancellor fell silent.

“Yes, that was our intent,” the Chancellor agreed, spinning back around to face the disgraced Commander. “At a time of our choosing. After we had finished gathering intelligence on their fleet strength and capabilities, once we had formulated our strategies and gathered our resources. Then we would begin on the offensive.

“Not,” the Chancellor’s bellow rose to a new decibel level, “having to fight a defensive action against an overwhelming invasion force because of some addled-brained QI’yaH!”

Even those not the target of that last insult stiffened. No Klingon could take such an insult and remain silent. Yet, in Kaln’s circumstance, he had no other choice but to suffer it in silent shame.

“Then allow me to regain my honor,” Kaln finally spoke, his voice barely audible in the hall. “Allow me and my ship to leave orbit and face Forelni. I will bring the shattered remains of his hull to you.”

“I think you’ve done quite enough already, Kaln,” the Chancellor growled. “When you brought your hostage into Klingon space, you signed her death warrant, as well as your own. Now I must do whatever I can to see to it that you have not signed the death warrant for our entire Empire.

“Take this petaQ from my sight and lock him away,” the Chancellor ordered his guards, turning his back on Kaln. “His stench offends my nose.”

Two guards, huge even by Klingon standards, grabbed an arm of the unarmed Commander and hauled him toward the exit that led to the dungeons below the Great Hall. Two more guards, each carrying an intimidating painstik followed closely behind. Their expressions conveying their earnest desire for Kaln to be a coward and make a break for it. Kaln made no such bid for his freedom and the heavy door slammed behind him as his escorts hauled him into the pit below.

The Chancellor sat down heavily upon his throne, glancing at the latest intelligence report on the status of the war before throwing it aside in disgust. No one asked him what the report conveyed, the look on his face said all that was needed.

“I am surprised you didn’t kill him on the spot,” K’enbgh, one of the Chancellor’s closest advisors, remarked. “He clearly cannot be allowed to live.”

“No, he cannot,” the Chancellor agreed. “But perhaps the time and circumstance of his departure from this life can be of service to the Empire yet.”

“How so?”

“You have seen the same battle reports that I have, old friend. Barring the miraculous resurrection of Kahless himself, I have no doubt in my mind that devil Forelni and his fleet will arrive at Qo’noS sooner rather than later.”

“And when he does?”

“Then to save the Empire,” the Chancellor growled softly, “we will feed him that petaQ and that garbage scow he commands and hope that is enough to spare the rest of our Empire.”

“It was Kaln’s blade that struck the blow that began this,” K’enbgh pointed out. “But it was your order that sent that blade into action. How can you be certain Kaln’s head and ship will prove sufficient?”

“I don’t,” the Chancellor admitted. “But we make that move when, and if, the time comes. If that is not sufficient, we have one last move to play to save what we can.”

“Against a Romulan, a Vulcan or even an Earther that move might work,” K’enbgh remarked. “Against someone capable of leading the kind of barbarism we are seeing…?”

“What else can we do? We will play the game out to its conclusion and if it is the fate of the Empire to die at the hands of this man, then we will fight to the last breath with honor and I will see you in Sto-vo-kor.”

The two older Klingons fell silent, condemned men waiting for the executioner’s blade to fall upon their necks. Proud warriors facing the unthinkable, the destruction of the Empire they’d served their entire lives. A warrior dashed into the Great Hall holding a data pad and shouting for the Chancellor’s attention.

“Chancellor, we have him!”

“Have who?”

“The Sicilia was spotted, her course has her on the way to Morska,” the warrior reported. “A message was intercepted ordering the Etalyian fleet to attack the orbital depot at Morska.”

“General Merj and his fleet…?”

“Are in perfect position to intercept the Sicilia. He asks for home fleet to be dispatched to close in behind the Etalyian ships.”

“We can crush his fleet between our two fleets,” K’enbgh exclaimed. “Forelni is sailing straight into the jaws of death.”

“Indeed,” the Chancellor agreed. “Perhaps our miracle has come just in time. Order every ship between here and Morska to join up with Merj. I want that troublesome Forelni and his ships reduced to dust!”

 

Previous Episodes:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Posted in 1K Serials

1K Weekly Series: The Calling, Chapter 9

THE CALLING 

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.

 

CHAPTER 9

 

“Captain Archer,” the King settled on his throne in the great hall. “I appreciate the point you are making. And I understand your superiors’ concerns. The last thing I would want is for Etalya to spark an intergalactic war.”

“Then you will send word to your ships to withdraw from Klingon space?” Archer couldn’t keep a hopeful tone from his voice as he addressed the planet’s monarch.

“I would consider doing so, Captain. But even if I should decide to end hostilities with the Klingons, I would not be able to do so.”

The reply caught Archer short and he failed to keep the dismay from his face.

“But why…?”

“Captain,” the King interrupted. “We have been dealing with Klingon hostility for a very long time. We tolerated their occasional forays into our space only because they failed to even inconvenience us.

“But this…,” anger and grief caught in the ruler’s throat and he was a moment recovering it. “They kidnapped my wife. Murdered my only daughter in cold blood.”

“And they have paid a steep price for their crimes, sir,” Archer argued. “You’ve seen the same reports we have. The losses on the Klingon side are massive. Surely you have exacted enough revenge by now.”

“We are not seeking revenge, Captain. We are seeking justice. We are seeking an assurance that the Klingons will never again threaten my people.”

“Even if it means exterminating an entire race and putting billions of other lives in jeopardy?”

“You have a dramatic way of making your point, Captain.”

“Would you at least consider sending our concerns to the Prince?” Archer made one last pitch. “Perhaps he can accomplish your objectives without drawing in the Romulans and the rest of the quadrant?”

“We have had to plan to deal with Klingons for a very long time and my son has been planning a possible invasion for decades. If anyone could find a way to adjust to our battle plans on the fly, it would be him

“But there is one problem, Captain,” the King continued with a sigh. “There is no way for us to get any such message to him.”

“Why not?”

“His plan called for his fleet to cut off all communications with Etalya once they crossed the border. We haven’t heard a single word from any of our ships since they departed our space. Your reports are the first we’ve heard how the invasion progresses.”

“You mean…”

“We won’t hear a word from him or his fleet until they return to Etalyian space. This war will end when he decides the Klingons have paid for their crimes and not one second before.”

*   *   *

The Sicilia and two other Etalyian ships held station within an asteroid field in the system of Qo’noS.  It had taken them the better part of three weeks to work themselves into this position after the initial strike against a major Klingon military base at Forcas IV.

All thirty Etalyian warships had struck the base in a battle that was more massacre than battle. Within two hours, nothing of the base or the Klingon ships in orbit remained. From there the ship broke away in packs of three and scattered throughout Klingon space.

Striking in hit and run fashion, the ten mini-fleets had the Klingons tied up in knots. Adding to the confusion, by design, three other Etalyian vessels were bearing the name of the fleet commander’s flagship. It seemed to the Klingons that the Sicilia was flying about space at Warp Thirty. None of the groups communicated with the other, keeping the Klingons from intercepting messages and figuring out what the next target was.

The disadvantage to Forelni, was that he had no way to make any adjustments to the attack plans. Fortunately, according to the intercepts between the Klingon ships and Qo’noS, he was able to piece together how well the invasion was proceeding as his three-ship fleet closed in on its target: The Klingon homeworld.

So far, against all odds, the Klingons hadn’t been able to claim a single Etalyian ship destroyed during the campaign. The losses, at least those the Klingons were openly admitting to, were adding up. Their enemy had paid a heavy price for their Chancellor’s act of murder.

Perhaps too high, Forelni mused as he sat in his command chair. Well, there is only a little more left for them to pay before we can mark them as paid in full.

“Capitano?”

“Yes, Paulo?” he addressed his Executive Officer.

“We’ve received a tight beam message from one of the Littorio’s pods. He’s in position in orbit over Qo’noS. The Littorio’s group is in position and will proceed as planned in three hours.”

“Excellent,” Forelni allowed a slight smile to form. “The forces around Qo’noS are  forming up in preparation to depart.”

“The Todaro’s attack appears to have succeeded.”

“Indeed, Capitano, and they managed to let ‘slip’ where there next ‘destination’ was going to be and when they were going to strike.”

“So it appears,” Forelni agreed. “In three hours, the Littorio breaks radio silence and allows herself and her group to be spotted when they send a general strike message to the fleet. And when they sign that message as the Sicilia, every one of those ships will take off after her.”

“Leaving Qo’noS wide open,” Paulo finished. “How many of the other groups are out there in position?”

“Enough, Paulo, enough. Even if it is just our three ships it will be enough,” Forelni paused. “Did he mention Kaln’s ship in his report?”

“He did,” Paulo confirmed. “Kaln’s ship is in orbital dock and is not showing signs of being readied for action. Perhaps Kaln has already been executed? I’m sure the Chancellor is already wishing he’d never laid eyes on that Merda.”

“Perhaps,” Forelni agreed. “If he isn’t already dead, he will be before we are through here.”

“Capitano,” Paulo lowered his voice. “You haven’t clarified the rules of engagement. Once the planet’s defenses have been neutralized what are your intentions regarding the civilian population?”

“Are you asking me if I intend to burn Qo’noS to a cinder, Paulo?”

The Exec felt his blood run cold. They had been friends since childhood and he, more than anyone outside the Royal Family, knew the Prince’s temper. The icy cool manner that Forelni had asked that question frightened the Exec.

“Are you?”

“I haven’t decided yet.”

 

Previous Episodes:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

 

Posted in 1K Serials

1K Weekly Series: The Calling, Chapter 8

THE CALLING 

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.

 

CHAPTER 8

 

“Your new friend wasn’t kidding, Captain,” Admiral Gibson’s face, dominating the main screen on the bridge of the Enterprise, looked grim.

“How so, sir?” Archer asked, remembering the last words Forelni had spoken to him back on Etalya.

“They’ve shot the hell out of the Klingon fleet,” Gibson explained. “Those they haven’t damaged or destroyed, are running all over Klingon space trying to track down the Etalyian ships without effect. Our intelligence reports indicate the Klingons have taken major damage to several military installations as well.”

“How long can they keep that up?”

“For as long as they want to as far as we can tell,” Gibson shook his head as he scanned the reports in front of him. “Despite what the Klingons are telling their people, we cannot confirm a single Etalyian ship destroyed or even damaged enough to be captured. The Klingons may have started with an advantage in ships, but the Etalyians are cutting that down by the hour.”

Gibson set aside the reports and looked directly at the camera on his end of the conversation.

“Which is why I’m calling you, Captain. For now, the Klingons are fighting this war without drawing their ships away from their border with the Romulans. Eventually, they are going to have to do so.

“However, the instant they do so they leave themselves wide open for a Romulan incursion into their territory,” Gibson continued. “I’m sure you’ll agree the Romulans wouldn’t pass up a chance to make the Klingons fight a two-front war. Even if the Klingons leave their border fleet in place, eventually the Etalyians will pick off enough ships to leave the Klingons too weak to fight off the Romulans anyway.”

“This doesn’t sound good for the Empire, sir.”

“No, it doesn’t,” Gibson agreed. “Nor is it so good for the quadrant. If the Romulans do invade then in all likelihood we’re looking at a war that could drag everyone else into the fray. The Vulcans are trying to negotiate a truce before things go too far, if they haven’t already.

“They’ve asked us to have a word with our ‘cousins’ about calling off the dogs,” Gibson continued. “You’re right there on the border and you’ve already been introduced. I want you to return to Etalya and begin negotiating a stand down and withdrawal of their forces in Klingon space.”

Archer glanced around his bridge. By the look on his bridge crews’ faces he gathered they shared his skepticism.

“Admiral,” Archer began carefully. “The impression I got when I left Etalya has me doubting they are going to amenable to outside interference.”

“I’ve read your reports, Captain,” the Admiral replied kindly. “And I got the same impression. But if we can’t put a stop to this a lot of people are going to die. We have to try.”

“Aye, sir, we’ll do our best. What am I authorized to offer in exchange for the stand down?”

“Given the circumstances, Captain, I’m inclined to tell you to offer whatever it takes to get them to withdraw. If the Vulcans can get the Klingons to do the same, we may keep this from getting any worse. Good luck, Captain.”

“Thank you, sir,” Archer replied as the screen faded to black and reverted back to an outside view of the space his ship occupied. A hush fell over the bridge as the seriousness of their mission settled in.

“Travis,” Archer broke the silence. “Set a course back to Etalya, maximum speed. Hoshi, send a message to the planet and let them know we’re coming on a diplomatic mission. Repeat the message every half hour until we get a response and clearance to approach. Malcolm, make sure we’re ready in case we get an unfriendly welcome.”

The three officers acknowledged their orders and got busy carrying them out. Archer drifted over to the science station and addressed his first officer.

“Assuming we can talk the Etalyians into doing so,” he began. “How likely is it that your people can talk sense into the Klingons. Granted they started this mess by assassinating the Princess, but I’m having a hard time believing they are just going to forget what the Etalyians have done to them.”

“The Klingons are most stubborn,” T’Pol agreed. “Their warrior mentality will be an impediment to a successful détente. However, even the Klingons must accept reality. If Admiral Gibson’s information is accurate, they will not be in a position to escalate the conflict in the foreseeable if they wish to survive as an Empire.”

“I have a feeling, Commander, that Klingon pride will trump Klingon logic. I hope Vulcan logic fares better.”

“Hope is illogical, Captain,” T’Pol said cooly. “However, given what is at stake, perhaps a little ‘hope’ is exactly what is needed.”

“If a Vulcan can hope, Commander, then perhaps we have a chance after all.”

“Captain,” Hoshi called out from her communications station. “Our signal to Etalya has been received and acknowledged. We are granted clearance to return to Etalya and enter orbit.”

“Acknowledge them and send my thanks,” Archer replied with a slight smile. “I’ll take that as a good omen.”

The Enterprise streaked across the border that marked Etalyian space even as a Vulcan envoy flew to meet with the Klingon Ambassador. Both ships sailing on missions to stop a galactic war from starting.

Deep within the space claimed by the Empire, Klingon ships clashed with Etalyian vessels and the bloodshed continued unabated. As the ships battled, the rest of the quadrant teetered on the brink of a war that no one could lay claim to as its winner.

 

Previous Episodes:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

 

 

Posted in 1K Serials

1K Weekly Series: The Calling, Chapter 7

THE CALLING 

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.

 

CHAPTER 7

 

“Why didn’t you pursue Kaln’s ship?” Francesco thundered at his older brother. “You just let him carry off our sister without a fight!”

“Yes, chase him deep into Klingon space with just four ships,” Bari countered. “And when we caught up with him I am quite certain there would have been an entire armada waiting to welcome us.

“We were fortunate to recover the Queen and only lose one man in the battle,” he continued. “Had we done as you suggest, all would have been lost and the Klingons could claim to the rest of the universe that we were the aggressors.”

“You fear starting a war that the Klingons have already started?”

“No, brother, I fear losing a war by fighting it on the Klingons’ terms. And I fear winning that war in a way that turns all of the other species in this quadrant against us. Once this matter is settled, we are going to have to live with all of the species out there. I prefer not to be known as blood-thirsty warmongers like the Klingons.”

“Your brother is correct,” the King stood, placing a hand on his sons’ shoulders to quell the argument. “We have recovered the Queen. We will recover the Princess and extract a price for this madness from our enemies. But we will do so from the position of the wronged, with full justification for the actions we take.”

Francesco turned and stormed away.

“I am surprised at you, my son,” the King remarked as he watched his younger son’s departure. “I would have suspected you to chase down Kaln while you were closer to your quarry. Why do you think it was a trap?”

“Because its what I would have done if I were him.”

The King chuckled and threw a look at Archer, who was standing quietly to one side.

“Be careful of my eldest son, Captain,” the King said, a ghost of a smile tugging at his worried features. “He is a ruthless tactician. A fact I discovered too late the first time I played chess with him.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, your majesty,” Archer replied with a slight smile of his own. “I have reported to Earth what has happened here. We are working with our allies to try and help secure your daughter’s safe return.”

“I thank you for that, Captain. Please relay my planet’s gratitude for their efforts on our behalf.”

“It’s the least we can do for ‘family’, sir.”

“How is mother doing?” Bari asked, changing the subject.

“The doctors have examined her and find no change in her considering she has been transported twice,” the King reported.

“Which I have been saying all along…”

“Yes,” the King held up a hand to forestall a renewal of an old argument. “Your mother accepts the logic of why she was transported. Accepting the fact that she was, and she being the biggest proponent of the prohibition against transporting sentient beings, is going to take some time.”

“Meaning she’s still mad at me.”

“Indeed,” the King sighed. “We’ll have to move you to the far end of the table for dinner for a few days. But your mother will come around. Your focus now is your sister.”

“What are you going to do, if you don’t mind my asking?” Archer stepped forward and spoke softly.

“We wait,” Bari replied. “Until the Klingons reply we can’t do anything.”

“Why not?”

“Because we do not know where she is being held and we won’t know that until the Klingons contact us so we can demand proof of life. Once they allow Gianna to speak to us, we’ll know exactly where she is and can move accordingly.”

“I doubt they’ll show much of her surroundings,” Archer remarked. “And they aren’t likely to come out and give you her coordinates.”

“They won’t have to, Captain,” Bari said, casting a look at his father.

“Go ahead, they were your idea to begin with and it seems you were prescient about the need for them.”

“The Royal Family would always be a target for kidnapping and ransom,” Bari explained. “Especially with the Klingons roaming around. So we each carry on our person a crystal. Deep within the crystal lies a device. Once the Klingons put her on screen for the proof of life, that device will activate and piggyback onto the transmission, sending us a signal with her exact location. Once it does that, we’ll know where to find her.”

“And then?” Archer asked.

“Then we recover the Princess and give the Klingons a reminder of why they should never again enter our space.”

“Can you get in and out of there that easy?”

“Oh yes, Captain, we can. The hard part will be when we get close. To pinpoint her location we’ll have to send another man out in a pod.. The odds are he will fare no better than Lombardi. Another debt the Klingons will pay dearly for.”

“Father,” Bari turned suddenly, remembering something. “At Lombardi’s funeral yesterday, I noticed his grandson…”

“I was informed, son,” the King interrupted. “The matter is being tended to. None of Lombardi’s family will ever want for anything ever again.”

The trio fell silent as Archer thought back to the memorial service the day before for the crewman who’d sacrificed his life to rescue his Queen. It was the Etalyian tradition that the Capitano escorted the body of a fallen crewman under his command. There had been no body to bring back. Only a flag and platitudes that seemed as empty as Lombardi’s grave.

“Your majesties,” someone called out, breaking Archer’s reverie. “A signal. From Qo’nos itself. It is the Klingon Chancellor.”

“On screen,” the King commanded.

The screen flared to life showing the chamber of the Klingon High Council. Commanding most of the view was the graying Klingon Chancellor. But enough of the chamber was visible to reveal the Princess Gianna standing with a Klingon blade to her throat. A blade held by a smiling Kaln.

“I guess they are going to give us the coordinates after all,” Bari whispered to Archer, who nodded in surprise.

“Greetings, Chancellor,” the King began, keeping his voice calm but firm. “I suppose you are calling to discuss the terms of returning that which you have stolen?”

“No, I am not. You destroyed three of my ships…”

“Ships that were in our space illegally,” the King countered. “Ships that attacked an unarmed civilian ship and kidnapped two of its passengers.”

“War criminals, not passengers,” the Klingon thundered.

“Until your ships carried out this attack, there was no state of war between our peoples. We are willing to overlook the matter, provided you return the Princess to us unharmed.”

“Again, you misunderstand,” the Chancellor growled. “We tire of your interference in our plans to conquer all that we are destined to rule. You are in our way. Today, we start to remove that impediment.”

The Chancellor turned his head and nodded.

“This is not a negotiation of terms you were invited to, Etalyian. It is an execution.”

Before any word of protest could be uttered, Kaln quickly whipped the blade behind the Princess and thrust it through her back, the bloody tip protruding from her chest. Her mouth and eyes flared wide open. Kaln savagely withdrew the blade and let go of the body, letting it slump to the floor as the viewscreen went black.

A shocked silence filled the room. Bari looked at his father, who stared at the darkened screen in shock and horror. He had no doubt that he wore the same expression.

“Father,” he said softly, placing a hand on the older man’s arm. The King shook himself visibly and turned to look at his son.

“You know what to do, my son,” the King replied. “I will tell your mother what has…”

His voice trailed off as he turned away and slowly walked out.

“I do not wish to seem unkind, Captain,” Bari said quietly as he watched his father. “But it is time for you to return to your ship and for your ship to return home. When this is over, you will be welcomed back but you do not need involve your government in what will come.

“Tell them,” Bari continued, “when you get back, all that happened here. Tell them that today, there were Klingons and there were Etalyians.”

“And tomorrow?” Archer asked.

“Tomorrow?” Bari answered. “Tell them that tomorrow, there will only be Etalyians.”

 

Previous Episodes:

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6