Posted in Uncategorized, 1K Serials

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 t 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 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 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