Gareth GXV3


Writing Challenge: Ensnared

5 days ago

It started as a childhood dream, an ambition to explore the universe, to seek life and new adventures, to learn and to go ever forward.

Looking down at the pile of papers Bareth wonder just what had happened to that dream, STAMP* another paper out of the 1000's he's forced to inkblot every day since his capture... every day, was it 9 years or 10 Batheth paused to think.

Slumping back into his wooden chair he looked around the room albeit a metal box with no windows no decor, simply a desk, a chair and a bed. never knocking what time it was or day it was, his only excitement was to go into the toilet to freshen up in the freezing cold water.
His Captor, Sub-Admiral Knick.. as he calls himself beams into the room twice a day to deliver and pick up the papers Bareth is forced to stamp, dropping of dry food rations as he does.

Knick has only ever said a few words, not giving any form of emotion away, yes I could over power him like ive tried many times when he beams into the room for his 1 minute visits, but those attempts were futile, Knick was a holographic projection.

The thought has always been there to end this every day life of stamping freshly produced papers that he couldn't understand what was written, to end his life giving up no hope of recue or escape years ago. This was his life, this is his life, this is hell.

2 people liked this
Edited 5 days ago by GXV3
Connie Zinser


Writing Challenge: Ensnared — Die Gedanken Sind Frei

3 weeks ago
Vall’myn let out a low groan of pain as the agony booth shifted its target, a fresh, sharp burst of pain blooming from their chest. They would have long since doubled over and curled up in on themselves, if not for the fact that the booth was too small to even collapse on the spot in its confines. As things stood, they leaned against the smooth glass wall of the agonizer, their antennae twitching in pain as they winced, their eyes fluttering shut for several moments. 

“Well, Lieutenant Ollilov, I'd say this is just where you belong,” The entirely too smug voice of the first officer rang out to the other side of the agonizer. Letting out a small hiss of pain, Vall’myn slowly opened their eyes and turned to look at their tormentor, their short silver hair sweaty, disheveled and stuck to their skin. 

“Consider this your punishment for failure, Lieutenant. You were under orders, all you had to do was get a correct firing solution on those rebel ships, and you’d be a free blue-skinned bastard. But you couldn’t even get that right. Maybe 12 more hours in the agony booth will be enough to ensure you learn from this mistake,” As the booth shifted to yet another nerve cluster, all Vall’myn could do in response as their superior walked to the control console was slump to the side, their energy almost completely spent, but unable even to fall unconscious. 

As the commander worked at the panel, the source of pain suddenly shifted, bolts of agony lancing through Vall’myn’s head and continuing through their entire body as they let out a loud, strained scream, their throat soon going hoarse, but unable to stop screaming. Their screaming covered up the words their XO said as he left the room, his eyes uncaring and unsympathetic, his expression cold.

Time went on, but for Vall’myn, it rapidly lost all meaning, the moments bleeding into one another, with the only constant being an ever-shifting pain keeping them awake, albeit in an at best semi-aware state, unable to focus on anything but the pain, their mind wandering and confused. They had stopped screaming after what seemed to them like several minutes, although the actual time was anyone’s guess. Even so, they remained breathless, their throat sore and strained, adding yet another layer of discomfort and misery to their torture, and leaving them unable to respond to the new bursts and jolts of pain that occurred whenever the agonizer’s program decided that they were getting to used to the pain. The only outwardly visible sign of such a shift was yet another renewed twitching of their antennae and a hitch in their breathing, barely noticeable with how shallow it already was. 

At some point, while the room they were in was darkened in accordance with the night-time cycle aboard, Vall’myn suddenly felt a burst of clarity, the fog of pain in their mind clearing, and even as it brought the pain into far greater focus, it also let them truly think on their circumstances, shutting their eyes to even just slightly reduce the sensory input they had to deal with and trying to deepen their breathing, slowly but surely regaining control of their body even as the pain continued to run through them. 

As they slowly came back to themselves, the thoughts about what had caused this came back. They had been on duty when the Brand had come across a rebel vessel left from the doomed insurrection that had been crushed back when they were just starting their service with the Terran Imperial Navy. The ship had been heavily damaged, cripppled and barely limping along when the Brand had caught up with it, Vall’myn had been ordered to target their engines, but had taken just a few moments too long. As the ship flashed off to warp, escaping for the moment, they knew that consequences would be coming soon. They’d seen it so often before, and kept their head down, not wanting to face the same fate as always befell those who complained. It was simply how things were, changing it couldn’t happen. 

As another burst of pain lanced through Vall’myn, though, it disrupted their train of thought for a moment, and as they started to compose themselves, their thoughts strayed towards rumors they’d started hearing while on shore leave and when working with other ships. There had been rumblings of some Vulcan taking control of the Enterprise, which itself wasn’t unusual outside of the species of the mutineer, but the claims of his plans certainly were. Reform? Changing Terran society from the ground up? It was almost laughable how grand the plans were from the rumors, and yet. As pain continued to ripple through their body, Vall’myn couldn’t help wonder about how such a thing could be possible, if it could even be possible. 

Letting out a long, drawn-out sigh of pain, they felt their legs nearly give out as the pain centers in their legs were hit by a prolonged stabbing pain. As they tried to lean on the smooth, glass sides of the booth, they couldn’t help but feel hopeless about the idea of change. The empire had always been like this, throughout the millenia of existence, all that had changed was how efficient the punishment was. It would surely be easier to just go along, never hesitate again, and take power for themselves, the same way that any and all higher-ups in the Navy took power. If Vall’myn could become captain, they’d never have to fear the agonizer again, they could do what they wanted to anyone.

This thought held for a few moments, but as a jolt of pain radiated through them again, it quickly faded from their mind. The idea of forcing someone, even those who they hated most, the XO who tortured them and berated any and all non-humans aboard the ship, through an experience like this was not something they could consider right. 

The more they considered it, though, the more it seemed to Vall’myn that many of the things that they had done and seen were far beyond what seemed right. Had they not hesitated, the empty agonizers in this room would all be full of rebels, each awaiting further tortures and, eventually, execution. As a junior officer aboard the Endeavour, they had seen this fate plenty of times, and even served in a firing squad at times. Their complicity in other horrible acts flashed through their mind as they groaned loudly, guts twisting inside them as they remembered the orders dutifully carried out, civilian areas destroyed on suspicion of a single rebel or rebel sympathiser being harbored. After all, Vall’myn had been a good soldier, and that meant absolute obedience, no matter what. But thinking of being the one ultimately responsible for such, that was far beyond what they could stomach. And yet, they also couldn’t go through another time in the agonizer. This was their first time, having always kept their head down, obeying as necessary and avoiding any major mistakes. Still, there had to be a better way, though, both for themselves, and for others. 

After several long minutes of contemplation, time still being difficult to gauge, only being able to be told by the regular shifts in focus of the agony booth, which served to break Vall’myn’s focus for several moments each time, even with them having grown slowly accustomed to it, they started to come to a decision. Through their pain and misery, they knew that they’d never survive if they ever had to go through another round in the booth after this, leaving them with two options.

They could continue to keep their head down, hope to not make any more mistakes, keep quiet and not try to do anything risky, or take the biggest risk of all, and throw in their lot with a different set of potential rebels. They’d seen what could happen, hell, they’d caused the deaths of rebels before as weapons officer of the Endeavour. And yet, despite everything, despite the fact that doing so would almost certainly be the death of them, Vall’myn couldn’t help but think about what success could mean. 

Certainly it would mean no longer having to deal with arrogant superiors who treated them as though they couldn’t be trusted as an Andorian, but what seemed so much more important in that moment was the idea that all the agonizers, all the tools of cruelty and pain that the Terran Empire had developed over centuries might be destroyed, that they and all others may no longer have to face such treatment. And as they pondered and began to plan, even through the pain, even through the fatigue and hunger and misery that suffused their body, an irreducible spark of hope began to grow within them, hope that this would never need to happen again.
3 people liked this
Edited 3 weeks ago by aetios
Dave (Voleron)


Writing Challenge: Ensnared

March 17 2024

It's time for Stonewall's 1st #WritingChallenge of 2024 and the theme will be: "Ensnared".  Submit your entry by logging into this site and posting your story in this thread between now and April 30th, 2024.

Theme Instructions:
We're encouraging everyone to share with us a story of any of your in-game characters that incorporates our "Ensnared" theme.  There's broad latitude with the theme and could range from literally being ensnared to a figurative interpretation like feeling trapped, wrestling with a difficult choice, or anything you can imagine.  Really, the theme is just meant to guide you and not to limit you in any way.  To help get the creative juices flowing, I've provided some writing prompts, though you're free to write your story without the help of the prompts:

  • Write about being stuck in a time-loop, job or life you aren't able to escape
  • Write about being captured by an alien being that torments your ship and crew (a la Q or Trelane)
  • Write about feeling trapped by a commitment to an organization you unwittingly joined long ago (Section 31?)
  • Write about discovering that your reality is actually a holodeck program or a simulated game
  • Write about your world being enveloped in an unexplained darkness from which it can't escape
  • Write about waking up on a strange starship with no recollection of how you got there
  • Write about being stuck on a generational ship en-route to a distant destination

We'll share every submission with the entire community for them to enjoy, but we'll also be looking for our three favorite entries that excel in three criteria that we'll detail below.  We're so very eager for you, SGN's amazing writing talents, to once again share your talent and creativity with us and your community!

To participate in Stonewall's "Ensnared" writing challenge, you must post your entry here, in this thread, before day's end on April 30th, 2024.  Please use the #WritingChallenge hashtag in your entries.  Your posted entry must comply with these additional rules to be eligible:

  1. Your story must in some way relate to your character from a game you play
  2. Your story must be your own original work - NO ChatGPT or AI help!
  3. The content of your story must not be edited after the submission deadline of April 30th

Only one entry per community member, please.  While we encourage you to include graphics to supplement your Ensnared story, only the written narrative portion of your entry will be judged.  Instructions on how to incorporate graphics in your post can be found by clicking here.

Every writer will receive a deposit of 3 Stonewall Credits into their account, but our favorite contest entries will be recognized on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media feeds. The prize packs are as follows:

Our favorite story will get:
  1. 10 Stonewall Credits, AND, your choice of either:
  2. 20 Master Keys in Star Trek Online, OR
  3. $25.00 Redbubble Gift Card to purchase Stonewall Merchandise!

Our second favorite entry will receive:
  1. 8 Stonewall Credits, AND your choice of either:
  2. 10 Master Keys in Star Trek Online OR
  3. $20.00 Redbubble Gift Card to purchase Stonewall Merchandise!

Our third favorite entry will get:
  1. 6 Stonewall Credits!
  2. 7 Master Keys in Star Trek Online

*Stonewall credits can be saved and/or redeemed for in-game merchandise through the Stonewall Credits Store.

Good luck to everyone!  We can't wait to read your stories!

2 people liked this


Kevin's CrackerJack. ;)

January 18 2024
Kevin's CrackerJack signifies a delightful blend of taste and nostalgia. Whether a snack or a brand, it conjures images of quality and enjoyment. Explore the goodness play blooket encapsulated in this name, evoking a sense of classic flavor and satisfaction.


The Ships of Stonewall 2023 yearbook!

December 28 2023
My big thanks to everyone who contributed this year!

Here is the finished yearbook for 2023, with a first for having expanded into Starfield!

I hope that everyone who reads it enjoys the adventures of our members, and credit to @voleron for helping to upload on the platform.

Never too early to start thinking for next year's edition!! Your feedback is welcome - should we include more games in future editions?
Unknown Person liked this


The Ships of Stonewall 2023 yearbook!

December 12 2023
Quote by aetios
Is there a requirement that the captain is the one in Stonewall or an affiliated fleet? Because I've been developing lore of a few different characters this year, but they aren't currently in a fleet. 

Not at all, it's totally up to you which captain you want to showcase 😁
Connie Zinser


The Ships of Stonewall 2023 yearbook!

December 12 2023
Is there a requirement that the captain is the one in Stonewall or an affiliated fleet? Because I've been developing lore of a few different characters this year, but they aren't currently in a fleet. 


The Ships of Stonewall 2023 yearbook!

November 18 2023
It's that time of year again! 
Following on from our successful inaugural launch of our yearbook last year, we hereby invite you to get your holo-imager ready and snap your fabulous flagships and their captains into this year's SHIPS of STONEWALL 2023!


Did you get a new ship in 2023 and did your flagship change as a result? 
Overheard in Spacedock's Club 47: Commander, Starfleet Admiral Morrow said to Fleet Admiral Nick "Nick your Sovereign-class Stonewall is 20 years old, we feel her day is over."
We wonder whether Nick will change the USS Stonewall this year??? Find out in this year's SHIPS of STONEWALL yearbook which will showcase these, the flagships of our wonderful fleet of members as well as our extended armada buddies, and serve as our 2023 family album which we can all get to read over the holiday period. 

1. Take a good quality high-resolution image of your ship

2. Take a good quality high-resolution image of your captain &/or crew

3. State your captain's name & rank, and crew details too if applicable

4. Provide the following details :
  • Ship name
  • Ship class
  • Ship registry
  • Any special or defining features/characteristics
  • Current Fleet attached to (e.g. Deep Space Stonewall), or;
  • Current Armada Fleet, if applicable

5. Provide any Captain's Log excerpts (optional) - feel free to highlight the adventures of your ship and crew to tell the story of your 2023 and send in about 3 or 4 paragraphs. Some ideas to include:
  • Write a mini biography for your captain and crew, and/or a small except of your captain's logs of adventures throughout 2023. 
  • Did you get a newly commissioned flagship this year?
  • What is the reason, or backstory, for your ship's name?
  • What spatial anomalies did you encounter? 
  • Which species made your captain spill their coffee (or tea)?
  • With whom did you make first...or even second contacts? 
  • Where did you boldly pew pew? And; 
  • With what new upgraded gold-border MK XX mods? 

6. Send your submissions via
[Discord - PREFERRED] Direct message the above information and files to Calcyum via Discord
[SGN Forum thread] Reply to this thread - note that this route means your entry will be seen by others first, rather than upon publication in the book

In order to ensure that our team can include your submission in the yearbook, please submit your contributions by Friday 22nd December to help us meet our publication timeline to release by New Year's Eve. 

We hope that you join in our next yearbook and we look forward to seeing your contributions!

*image credit STPLAZMA
3 people liked this
Edited November 18 2023 by calx
Adam Kotaška


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

September 17 2023
I had one more story idea concerning sacrifice. This time not about sacrificing home and principles and identity like in Blueberry fields, but about sacrificing friendship and potential love on the altar of service. I wasn't sure if the idea is better or worse so I decided to write it down as well and see. If anybody is interested, there it is:


***Part I: HIM***

„DIXON HILL AND THE BLACK DAHLIA“ read the display on the wall-mounted LCARS panel. That was yet another red flag. Darin considered himself well-versed in the dixonverse and so he knew with a high degree of certainty that the correct title should mention „black orchid“ instead. Whatever program was scheduled to run behind the simulator door in front of him must have been something else; mislabeled on purpose to conceal it’s true nature. Curious.

Something foul was going on here. Nevertheless, his search led him here, in front of the holodeck doorway, and it was too late to back away. Darin’s curiosity had to be satisfied and so he cautiously stepped through the large octagonal portal.

Whatever Darin expected – this wasn‘t that. He walked into an ordinary crew quarters. The room looked exactly like in any other out of hundreds of cabins on his ship, except for a few unique decorations on walls and personal items on display. The style in which the room was decorated suggested its occupant to be a woman. But there was nobody in sight in the living area.

Darin had suspected he was uncovering some insidious Undine or changeling infiltration scheme on his ship, or perhaps tracking clues left by a careless Section 31 double agent, but looking around this place he began to reconsider. Something else related to the stolen medical records was going on here.

Slowly he moved around the room, observing, noticing every detail as if touring a museum exposition, mindful not to touch anything, until he found one object that caught his attention – a duritanium bajoran earring decorated with a tiny dilithium crystal that looked exactly like his own, including the engraved half-moon relief. Curiouser and curiouser.

When he concluded there was nothing more he could learn from the living area Darin moved towards the bedroom door. He stopped at the threshold, leaned, and peaked inside through the door that slid open almost inaudibly. Darin thought that he must be imagining the sight he saw there.

A large window displaying endless starscape dominated the room. Below the window, there was a double bed and on the bed a body of a young man lay, sleeping peacefully. Darin’s breath got stuck in his lungs. That can’t be right! He was looking down at himself.

Darin stepped into the bedroom, threading carefully, his legs moving almost automatically to bring him closer. But a better look only confirmed what he already knew. Darin was looking at an image of himself. Lying on his back, casually sprawled on the bed, exposing his fully naked body to the shocked observer, there was Darin’s double.

The likeness was uncanny. Darin knew his body extremely well. He could tell that his duplicate’s form was a perfect match, down to the tiniest detail, the same curves, same shapes of pronounced muscles, his arms and legs, his pecs, his abs… the same size and light color of his pointed nipples. Darin could discern even that little, almost imperceptible bump on his chest – a reminder of an unevenly healed broken rib from when he was a teenager. That was before Starfleet Academy, before access to advanced Federation medicine. Nobody knew about that injury. Darin never told anyone.

There was only one striking difference – lack of any body hair. Darin’s proud bush was gone on his double’s body, as well as the happy trail and all the hair from his armpits. So this is how I’d look if I shaved it all off? Darin thought and fixed his eye on the pubic area that looked so different than on his real body. There was a tiny dimple in the middle, right above his dick. Darin thought it was the cutest and hottest thing ever and decided he must try the smooth look for real someday. It looked good enough on his body to exchange it for the masculinity of his fur.

He always knew, at least since he grew up, that he was rather good-looking, and romantic interest in him coming from many girls and boys, especially during those carefree and not-so-distant Academy years, suggested so as well. But only now, when looking at himself from above in this dizzying out-of-body experience, he could fully realize and appreciate his own beauty. Youthful, boyish, yet masculine at the same time, with short ruffled blond hair on top and clipper shaved to the tiniest stubble on sides and back, chiseled face, slim, yet firm and athletic figure the boy on the bed was simply hot.

Darin felt an increasing pressure in his pants and realized he was growing an erection. You perverted idiot! Darin scolded himself. Getting aroused by looking at your own body! He thought he never felt more embarrassed by himself. But it came to him that moment, that this was exactly the reason behind the whole mystery. So that’s what’s going on!

There was no conspiracy. No assassination plot. His good looks alone explained why somebody hacked the secure medical database of the ship and stole Darin‘s medical records and why Darin traced the missing files all the way to this simulator program and anatomically precise recreation of himself. It was a sex holonovel, just like Vulcan Love Slave or Amazon Women from depths of Uranus, except this time with himself as the object of desire.

Darin clenched his jaw. A feeling of nausea washed over him and he must have reminded himself that according to the computer logs this program had never been run before. Whoever scheduled the holodeck session for this hour, it was their first time since setting it up. There was a bit of solace in that fact. There was still time to stop it.

„Computer, delete the character.“ Darin muttered through his teeth.

The holographic simulation of a naked young man vanished, leaving just an empty bed and crumpled sheets.

It was time to leave and assign the computer to analyze cleverly scrambled holodeck records in order to identify the author of this program.

But then the door behind Darin opened with a subtle whoosh sound. Darin turned around and saw his first officer, Elisa Flores, coming in. He didn’t understand. So many thoughts flooded his mind at that moment – Did she somehow learn about his investigation and come to help uncover this mystery?

„Elisa?“ he said, forgetting the proper protocol for addressing officers.

She smiled broadly. „Hey, handsome. My shift got a little longer, sorry. It felt like an eternity as I’d been looking forward to you the whole day.“

She looked different, wearing the tightest black uniform piece usually reserved only for away teams, an outfit showcasing her attractive figure along its whole glorious height, and she seemed to have dyed her hair a new shade of pink that made her look both gentle and fierce at the same time.

Elisa approached him with confidence Darin had never before seen in her, crossing all personal space boundaries in three short steps, pushing him against the cabin wall, leaning on him with the full weight of her body, and kissing him passionately.

Darin was too shocked to bring himself to resist and part of him liked what was going on. After all, he liked Elisa a lot, he considered her very attractive, and, as any other Bajoran man, he too enjoyed when a strong woman took charge from time to time. He found himself returning her kisses…

...until the realization dawned on him. This holoprogram – Elisa – Can’t be!

***Part II: HER***

Elisa had to will herself into pulling from Darin’s lips. The simulation felt even more realistic than she fantasized. She waited so long to craft this dream into perfect holographic pseudo-reality and she couldn’t wait a second longer.

She grabbed the top of his uniform by the collar and tore it open forcefully, revealing his naked chest and shoulders as he didn't wear an undershirt. Looks even hotter than I imagined, Elisa thought. She put her left hand on his shoulder, pressing and pinning him even more strongly against the wall, and started rubbing his chest with the palm of her right hand.

For a rather slim young man, Darin had quite big, precisely sculpted pectoral muscles, like from an ancient Greek statue. The result of so many times she and he played velocities and parisses squares together as cadets, no doubt, Elisa reminisced. She grabbed his beefy left pectoral and began massaging the muscle. It felt unexpectedly soft and lithe in her hand.

The sensations she was getting from this simulated reconstruction of a man she secretly loved were full and real beyond any expectations. She considered for a moment that perhaps it was her own excitement that was fooling her senses. After all, the imaging technology, however impressive, has not been yet that advanced.

But she felt the warmth of his body under her hands and lips, the scent of his skin, full of irresistible hormones and pheromones. Even the behavioral protocols exceeded what Elisa thought were their limits. Darin’s simulation looked genuinely surprised by her advance on him, with eyes wide open and even pupils dilated to the maximum, with heavy breathing and sweating. Elisa felt his muscles contract spontaneously under her leaning form as if he couldn’t decide whether to resist or surrender to her desires. But the big, steel-hard bulge in his pants showed Elisa clearly what his body wanted.

She looked up, as he was somewhat taller, to see his face. The "deer in the headlights" look in his eyes seemed so authentic that Elisa had to suppress a sudden surge of unease. Since she couldn’t have the love of a man who was her captain at the same time and since she never felt any physical love from him even during their academy years, she decided after a long time of self-denial to satisfy her needs at least with his image. But she never would have thought, when executing her plan stealing Darin’s medical records and programming a simulation, that the end result could be so realistic that she had to keep reminding herself it wasn't real. Seeing the hurt expression on his pretty boy face made her realize the ethical dimension of her actions for the first time. What an irony, Elisa thought, that the authenticity that she sought so much was what made her feel so shameful now.

Elisa bowed her head a bit and looked away, her look tracing the simulated bedroom. She noticed the large bed with crumpled sheets and decided. She craved it too much and she will have it.

She turned her face towards Darin again. „It’s the moment of truth, cutie,“ Elisa exclaimed, „Time to give me what you owe me. Now, let‘s see what other part of your body is covered with sexy ridges besides your nose,“ and with those words, Elisa released the grip on Darin’s pectoral muscle, slid her hand lower on his abdomen and then continued even lower under his pants.

Elisa was taken aback as he gasped, his expression so real, and even more when her fingers slid into soft thick curls of pubic hair. What the..?! She was trying to remember – Didn’t I instruct the program to alter his anatomy records and make him shaved? She was sure she did, as that’s how she preferred her boys. Darin’s medical records revealed he was not a fan of manscaping. Nothing a simple instruction to the computer couldn’t rectify, she thought, convinced that’s exactly what she did before. Now this was an odd glitch. Especially considering how uncharacteristically perfect the simulation seemed so far.

If the real Darin was interested Elisa would enjoy making love with him and the little patch of fur in his crotch wouldn’t matter the slightest. But this was her simulation of the dream-lover's body and she wanted everything on her terms. She wanted it perfect. And she liked her boys smooth.

„Computer,“ she commanded, „Remove all body hair on Darin, from the chin down.“

„Unable to comply,“ came the answer of a mechanical voice.


„The character of Darin has been deleted from simulation.“

„What?! That’s clearly not true. I…“ her words faded as Elisa once again looked up to see Darin’s face, with his jaw clenched, tearful eyes firmly set on her. A feeling of dread hit her like a warp core breach, tearing all her other feelings and sensations into a chaotic mess.

Elisa couldn’t move for a few seconds that felt like eons. Then she brought herself to slowly and gently slide her hand back from his pants and took a step backward before her legs betrayed her and she fell on her knees. She had to brace herself against the floor with both hands to fight the dizziness and nausea. It was him. Not a simulation. She felt like nothing worse could ever have happened to her than this moment of ultimate embarrassment.

After several minutes of silence, when none of them moved and only their irregular breathing was disrupting the awkward silence, Elisa found some words in her dry mouth. „Why didn’t you say something?“

***Part III: THEM***

„After a seemingly endless minute of silence, Elisa finally whispered: „You could have said something, spared me the embarrassment.“

Darin shook his head involuntarily. „I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t.“ He turned his face towards the window at the simulated starscape behind it, determined to avoid looking at her. „Do you have have any idea what...“ His voice faded away. There were no words he could find to finish that sentence with. Not ones he could bring himself to speak aloud.

„I do now. I’m sorry.“ She brought herself to look up and sought his gaze, sought any sort of connection. „I never meant to hurt you this way. Or any other way. I didn’t expect you to ever find out.“

„Oh, then sorry I did!“ Darin spat out, anger replacing the confusion and rising within his chest. Elisa’s words sounded so inadequate in his ears, the apology so hollow and insufficient. He gritted his teeth tight. „No, you clearly have no idea how violating this is. You just don’t.“

„I mistook you for the holo version. I would never grabbed you like that if...“

„Not that!“ Empowered by his anger Darin turned back and faced Elisa, flames in his eyes, “I don’t care for your hand in my pants. I mean this,“ he gestured with both hands as if to encompass the whole room, „All of it. This sick simulation. Aren’t there enough sex programs in the database with some generic dudes since you have to use an image of a real one? And even steal the medical records for that purpose?“

„That wouldn't work.“

„What did you just say?“

Suddenly Elisa found the inner strength she didn’t believe she still had within herself. It allowed her to brace herself, stand up, and face Darin. „What do you think? That this is just about sex? I always thought you’re rather smart, but I guess I was wrong.“

Darin opened his mouth to reply and... closed it again. He wasn’t prepared for Elisa standing her ground in what he considered a clear matter where he was the victim and she was the culprit. His rights were trampled, and his privacy breached, by an officer and trusted friend nonetheless. What can be possibly said to excuse it?

„I’m starting to think it’s you who has no idea.“ Elisa said, her confidence growing steadily with each sentence. „This isn‘t only about satisfying the body, Darin. It‘s as much about feelings. There is something between us. Ever since our freshmen year at the Academy. Even though we never admitted any of it to each other, don‘t bother denying it. I know it‘s there. I know it because it‘s been driving me nuts for a long time. It was heartbreaking enough at the Academy, when we spent all the time together, studying, having fun, just talking all nights long, and then...“, she staggered a bit, but took some air in her lungs and forced herself to finish the sentence, „and then I kept hearing from the gossip pipeline about all the girls and boys you had, same story every week, but a different cadet. Do you have any idea how that made me feel, listening to all those girls bragging, describing precisely what you did to each other and how it felt and how your body looked under the uniform when I actually had feelings for you? And I knew you returned them. Or do you want to deny it‘s been mutual? All that affection I‘ve seen in your eyes when you looked at me, all those smiles, the need to seek my company at all times?“ Elisa bit her lips. Finally, it was out, spoken aloud. She felt such relief as if holding her breath for years and finally allowing herself to exhale.

„I... of course,“ Darin uttered silently, almost a whisper. „I mean, of course I felt that way too.“ His anger began melting away. Elisa‘s words brought with them tides of memories and feelings he had pushed to the back of his heart and tried to forget about, sometimes almost successfully. Fully exposed now, those feelings, as Darin realized, not only didn‘t weaken but grew in intensity, accompanied by a newly discovered sense of guilt.

Hearing him say it brought Elisa some joy. But not a pure joy she always imagined to experience in such a moment. His admission made her previous anger feel righteous. „That‘s good to know. What about all the other girls you slept with? Why everybody else but me?“

„Elisa, but that was nothing.“ Darin tried to explain. „That was just exploring, having fun. Academy felt like a miracle coming true after growing up an orphan. I told you all about it. I was just thrilled to be among peers for the first time in my life, young people my age, and all of them so kind and joyful and interested in the same stuff and just as enthusiastic as me about learning and dreaming of starships. Yes, I admit I overreacted and expressed that passion in a wrong way and I‘m thankful that everyone was so understanding and non-judgmental that they never made me feel bad because of that reputation of being sexually hyperactive or whatever.“

„Yeah, why wouldn't they be,“ Elisa added sarcastically. „I don‘t remember hearing any complaints from the grapevine. They all seemed quite satisfied. Especially physically. Wait! Not everyone.“ Elisa said and tilted her head to emphasize her point. „If only I knew the magic words I‘d make you have me like you had them.“

„That's not fair, El.“

„Isn't it? How about?“

„You were my best friend.“ Darin noticed Elisa taking a deep breath and quickly added: „That means more, not less. I liked you too much and valued what we had, that friendship and feeling of comfort and safety. I was scared that I'd lose it if I expressed anything. That it would break and I'd never be able to patch it up again.“

Bulshit! was the first word on Elisa’s mind. „What are you saying? You were breaking my heart every day. And all for the sake of playing it safe or something?“ Elisa felt tears rising again. She rubbed her eyes to prevent him from noticing her sudden weakness. „I guess I don‘t understand you men at all. All those years. And it only got worse once we got on the same ship and you became my boss. You grew even more distant, playing the captain part, soooo serious.“

„I am not playing anything. I am the captain. And you have the same training so I‘d expect you to understand how this enormous responsibility prevents...“

„Yeah, right,“ Elisa didn't let him finish. She saw him slipping into the ‚lecture mode‘, just as many times before, and didn‘t care for a ‚sermon‘. „I know you, Darin. I think I‘m one of the few people in the galaxy that really know you. And knowing you I can imagine that living this life alone is enough for you. Having this... this duty and responsibility as not only first but the only thing in your life. But it‘s not enough for me.“ She shook her head. „I can‘t just compartmentalize these feelings and pretend they don‘t exist and people around me are not real people but only officers. I know it‘s a lame excuse but I couldn‘t see you every day on duty and say nothing and do nothing. I was suffocating and needed to express my feelings. Somehow. A copy of you on a holodeck seemed like the least harmful way out of all that pain. I am sorry. I truly am. My feelings clouded my better judgment.“

Darin nodded. „Okay, I can accept that. And I‘m sorry for how I treated you, coldly and dismissively and all. I thought it‘s best for everyone, but had no idea how hard it‘s for you.“ He bit his lip. „You're my best friend. So I won‘t put any of this on record. But you‘re my first officer at the same time. And after this, I can‘t imagine us working together anymore.“

Elisa blinked rapidly. She was afraid he might decide to do the responsible thing. She knew him well, after all.

Darin continued: „Tomorrow morning I will send a message to Headquarters asking them to assign the ship a new XO.“

So he did it, Elisa thought. Kicked her out. There was no surprise. Elisa knew she crossed a line by a lightyear. Yet, hearing his last words almost stopped her heart.

„As for you,“ Darin said and looked straight into Elisa‘s eyes, „I will recommend you for promotion. My word has enough weight in Starfleet to push it through. You deserve your own ship anyway.“

I deserve you‘ was the thought screaming in Elisa‘s mind, but she left it unspoken. Truth was Elisa deeply respected Darin as a starship captain. She admired his short yet stellar career in service to Starfleet and how he seemingly easily carried the burden of command. She didn‘t consider herself to be good enough for the chair herself. The fact that Darin did made her happy. Even when attempting a punishment her friend couldn‘t help himself but gave her the greatest gift instead. At least greatest in the mind of a model, dedicated officer as he was. She nodded, mouthed a silent ‚thank you‘ and meant it.

Now it was Darin‘s time to look hurt. As if the weight of what they just did and said only now settled upon his heart. Sudden moisture in his eyes suggested a surge of emotions. He turned and sat on the edge of the bed.

Elisa kept studying his face. She didn‘t relish in Darin's pain. But it felt satisfying to see him being a person for once, instead of an officer. She remembered the cheerful Bajoran cadet that she fell in love with years ago as if he no longer existed and some stranger just reminded her of that long-lost boy by a familiar gesture.

Darin couldn‘t bear her gaze for long. „Dismissed,“ he commanded, hoping to sound authoritative, but his voice failed him.

Elisa pursed her lips and nodded. She kept staring into his eyes for a couple more seconds and then she turned towards the invisible holodeck door. „Arch.“

An arched panel appeared and a large orange door in it opened into the empty corridor of the real world. Elisa walked through but stopped at the threshold to turn back and steal one last look at her dream lover, looking so sad when sitting on a bed and covering his face with both hands. „You know, I‘m not sure if I admire you, that you can just swallow up all your feelings and act so professional, or pity you for that, Najem.“

„I will write you,“ Darin called behind her, „When you settle on your next ship.“

She turned back and left the holographic bedroom. „It is better if you don’t“ were her last words escaping through the closing doors.

Darin remained alone.

„I'll do it anyway,“ he whispered to himself.

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Dave (Voleron)


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

September 16 2023


Thanks to everyone who contributed to our "Stories of Sacrifice" writing challenge!  We loved reading all of the entries and invite you to check out the compilation of all of the submitted stories at the link below.  We'd also like to share our favorite stories with you and will reach out to the authors of those submissions to arrange delivery of prizes!  Everyone who participated will receive Stonewall Credits within a day of this post.  To spend them, login to this site with your account, click the drop down menu next to your profile picture on the menu bar and select 'wallet'.  

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Dave (Voleron)


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

September 01 2023


Thank you to everyone who entered our Stories of Sacrifice writing challenge!  Entries are now closed and we'll be enjoying your submissions over the next week and will post results of our writing challenge on or around September 10th!
Edited September 01 2023 by Voleron

Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

September 01 2023
When the black fog abated, Renato didn’t know where he was. This wasn’t the forests of home. There was an eerie silence about and he could feel eyes peering at him from the dark. Renato slowly came to his feet, dusted off his pants, and adjusted his sandals, “How long have I been out?” he thought. His eyes darted back in forth, looking for any clues as to where he was, and more importantly, trying to find his sister. Thalita was with him just before he passed out. “Or was that days ago?” he wondered. Time felt altered here. As his eyes darted back in forth, his eyes caught something white in the distance. “What is that?” He leaned in farther to get a better look. Through the dense fog, the details started to gather in his mind. It was some kind of mask, with stretched-open eyes and a gaping jaw, and it was looking right at him!

His stealth disturbed, the masked man with a ghost-like face, raised to his feet and started heading toward Renato. In a panic, Renato started to run away. His sandals slipped and slid in the muddy ground as he tried to get away from the unknown man pursuing him. No matter how quick he was, no matter how agile, the masked man was catching up to him. A blood lust energized the man as he chased behind Renato. Renato glanced behind him; the killer was just a few steps behind and Ren could see a knife in his hands. In a mad dash, Renato pushed over a pallet blocking the killer and seemingly stunning him slightly. Only a few seconds passed before the killer effortlessly broke down the pallet and was once back again in pursuit.

Cornered, there was nothing else Renato could do. He’d never make it to another pallet and there were no other obstacles in sight. The ghost face quickly swiped, stabbing Renato in the back who collapsed on the ground in pain. The ghost stood over Renato, looking over his prize. Admiring his smooth tan skin and the small muscular definition of his biceps, Danny couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt for harming such a beautiful creature, but he knew what he had to do. The Entity craved offerings and he had to comply. He knelt over and then hoisted Renato onto his shoulder before heading toward a nearby hook.

Nearby, Steve stood up and started a dead run right at the killer. He had been hiding in the background and this was his chance to make a play. He’d been watching the chase and keeping nearby, but out of sight way by skillfully urban evading the chase. He couldn’t help but admire Renato as he ran. The loose board shorts hid his perfectly sculpted butt that Steve couldn’t help but stare at. He could see it bounce and ripple with every step. Renato’s soft abs and pecs moved with his body so gracefully as he ran. Steve’s mind drifted to impure thoughts. He knew he was Renato’s only hope. Flashlight in hand, Steve used the rush of haste to get into position and blind the killer.

Stunned, the killer dropped Renato. Renato used this chance to try to make a break for it. He had a momentary rush and he bounded as far from this madman as he could, but it was to no avail. The ghost face was too quick and with deadly precision, Renato was down again. This time, there was no hesitation and Danny was sure to protect his gaze as he hoisted him on his hook. Danny glanced around, trying to find that stunning Steve to hunt him down as well, but he was nowhere in sight. Danny slipped back into his shroud and headed out to find his next victim.

Once the coast was clear, Steve emerged from his hiding place and helped Renato off from his hook. “Don’t worry, champ, we’ll make it.” He said while tending to Renato’s wounds. Ren found this comforting in ways he couldn’t even describe. Steve’s hands caressed the sore muscles on Renato’s lean back and hearing Renato’s soft moans stirred something inside him. Thanks to their teamwork, they now had a collective stealth that would protect their movements from the killer’s unwanted attention. Steve grabbed his hand and led him to safety.

“Who was that?” asked Renato.

“That was the killer. I think his name is Ghost Face or something like that. He’s hunting us and trying to kill us.”

“What? Why?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been trapped here for I don’t know how long. It’s just been endless cycles of this.”

“I was with my sister, Thalita; have you seen her?”

“No, sorry. My friend Nancy is here with us. There's another survivor here I don't really know. They're trying to make it out just like us. They were working on getting us out of here the last time I saw them.”

“How do we get out?”

“The exit gates are powered. We just need to get one open and we can escape. There’s one not far from here. Follow me and we should be okay.”

“Thank you so much for your help. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” Renato leaned in and wrapped his arms around Steve, hugging him closely. The two held each other for a few moments before gathering to make their escape.

Slowly they worked their way to the exit gate. From a distance, Steve could see Nancy on the gate controls. “That’s my friend. She’s almost got it open. Come on. We can get out of here.” But from the corner of his eye, he saw that mask and knew it was too late. The killer had been stalking Renato the entire time. They both tried to dash for the gate but the killer was right on top of them and Renato went down before he had a chance to flee. Steve spun around and tried to blind the killer as he picked up Renato, but the killer was aware of this and turned away. Steve ran to the gate where Nancy was waiting. She motioned for him to come with, to escape with her, but he knew he couldn’t abandon Renato.

Steve ran to Renato as fast as he could, but the killer was on top of him quickly. Ghost Face swiped at him which only made him more determined. He sped ahead and pulled Renato off the hook. “Just run to the gate. Nancy will help you.”

“I can’t” Renato cried. Renato wanted to wrap his arms around Steve, to kiss him deeply, to hold his body onto his, but there wasn’t time. His heart was beating in his throat as the killer approached.

Steve pushed him toward the gate, “Go!” he screamed as the killer’s blade stuck him in the back. He fell to the floor as Danny got on top of him, stabbing him over and over. From this position, he could see Renato get to the exit. With Nancy at his side, he headed out to safety and made it all worth it.
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Ian M. Walker


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice - Michlo's story.

September 01 2023
It was the silence.  It was deafening.

Since being freed from the Collective, he struggled to get used to the absence of the multitude of voices, which was an ever-present and comforting white noise. 

He would adapt, however.  It was why he often toured his ship's decks, to connect with and hear the crew's voices.

He was building a new collective with the Stonewall Fleet of the Federation.  They had rescued him.  They had freed him.  His purpose was no longer subjugation and the pursuit of perfection but the protection and building of this precious group.

He even had dreams again.  Often, they seemed to be of him living an entirely different life on a pre-Federation Earth.   He was named Ian, and his closest companion was a canine named Bailey.   They lived in a city called Los Angeles.  These were the times when he did not wish to wake up.  He wanted to remain in that simpler life.   On such days, he would feel a comforting presence, as though Ian was guiding his every action and decision.   He drew strength from this imaginary bond.

Yes, he would adapt to the silence.

However, he struggled with the absence of just one voice — his brother's.

He had always felt connected to his twin brother, even after the Borg assimilated them both at a young age.  They shared a designation, a purpose, and a collective mind.   But when the USS Wallasey, the vessel he now commanded, liberated him and several other drones, he faced a difficult choice: staying with his brother or embracing his individuality.   He chose the latter and left his brother behind.   He was still uncertain the sacrifice and subsequent torment had been worth it.

He spent years adjusting to his new life, reclaiming his identity as Michlo I. Walker, a human from Earth.  He joined Starfleet, hoping to make a difference in the galaxy and Stonewall.   He made friends, learned new skills, climbed the ranks to Captain, and discovered new passions.  He even found new dislikes; It would be too soon if he never saw a dilithium mine again.

But he never forgot his brother, who was still part of the Borg.

He hoped that one day, he would find him again and free him from the Collective.  He dreamed of reuniting with him, sharing his experiences, and starting a new life together.  He knew it was a long shot but never gave up hope.

That hope was shattered when he received a distress call from a Starfleet vessel. They had encountered a Borg cube near the Neutral Zone and were under attack. He recognised the cube's signature.  It was the same one that had assimilated him and his brother.

He responded to the distress call and ordered maximum warp to the vessel’s location.  He knew it was dangerous, but he also knew it was his only chance to see his brother again.  He hoped to free him, convince him to leave the Borg and join him on the Wallasey.

He boarded the cube with a phaser rifle and a cortical inhibitor.  He fought through the corridors, dodging plasma beams and assimilation tubules.  He knew this vessel well.  He scanned every drone he saw, looking for his brother's signs.

He found him in the central plexus, surrounded by other drones.  He looked just like him, except for a few differences in their implants.  He had the same eyes and face but an expressionless stare.

He approached him slowly, calling his name.

"Brother... It's me, Michlo.  I've come to take you with me."

His brother did not respond.  He did not recognise him.  He did not acknowledge him.  He was just another drone.

Michlo felt a surge of emotion that overwhelmed his caution and logic.  He reached out to touch his brother's arm, hoping to trigger some memory, some spark of recognition.

But before he could touch him, his brother raised his arm and fired a plasma beam at him.

Michlo barely had time to react.  He felt a searing pain in his chest and fell to the ground.

He looked up at his brother, who was still aiming at him.

"Why...?" he whispered.

His brother did not answer. He did not understand.  He did not care.

He was about to fire again when phaser blasts erupted all around, striking the drones.  One hit his brother.

He collapsed next to Michlo, who was still alive but barely.

Michlo turned his head and saw one of his crew standing over him.

"Are you okay, Captain?" she asked.

Michlo shook his head.

"No... I'm not."

He looked at his brother's lifeless body.

"I'm sorry..." he said.

He closed his eyes and died.

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Stephen Douglas


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice - Did we just

August 30 2023
Top Secret – Sensitive Compartmental Information
Section 31 Report – Update on the humanoid species designated Zoxesyr.
Additional information about Zoxesyr D, E, F, G, I
Stardate: 86090.3
Submitted by agents:  Wilson, Shilar, T’Plak
S31 acquired a temporally shielded datacore from contact FCA-3329A.  (ref report 382a994d for full report on contents).  In the datacore, we discovered a recording of a meeting between several of the Zoxesyr species.  We can find no other information in the datacore linked to this recording
A Krenim covert device made the recording, which was then stored in the datacore sometime before the event of the Temporal War code named “Ragnarok”.  The Krenim agents used their temporal technology to hide this device on an unremarkable, barely habitable planet in the Sonak system (Delta Quadrant) in anticipation of the Zoxesyr meeting. 
Zoxesyr representatives present for the meeting:
Known:  A (Human), B (Klingon), C (Romulan), H (Human), J (Jem Hadar) - confirmed by biometric tricorder data included in the recording
Unknown:  D (Human), E (Klingon), F (Romulan), G (Orion), I (Vulcan) –all wear uniforms appropriate to their fleet, showing the rank of captain or equivalent.
Not Present K (Human), L (Romulan), M (Klingon), N (Human)
Transcript of the meeting:
The representatives beam in over about 3 minutes.  They remain silent until all are present.
Zoxesyr A001:  The Temporal War uncovered a fatal flaw in our long-term plan.  Has everyone reviewed the issue?
(all others nod or say “Yes”)
Zoxesyr A001:  Does everyone agree that the choice is sacrificing a few of us to prevent the complete erasure of this multiverse.
(all others nod or say “Yes”)
Zoxesyr D005:  I’ve been setting myself up in the elsewhere, so I’m ready.
Zoxesyr E006:  My configuration in the pandora is compete.  I am also prepared.
Zoxesyr F007:  This has been fun, but I’m ready for a change.
Zoxesyr G008:  You all would be surprised by the realities I’ve found to explore.
Zoxesyr I010:  Oblivion is one of my favorite places to relax.
Zoxesyr A001:  We will miss you all.  Hail and Fare Well!  (Raises right hand to shoulder level.)  It is done.
D, E, F, G, I – disappear from the recording at this point.  The recording indicates the disappearance occurs in less than 3 nanoseconds, which is the maximum resolution of the hidden Krenim tricorder.  The readings show no energy emissions, no space-time distortions and no chronoton radiation at the time of disappearance.
Zoxesyr A001:  (Opens communicator) One to beam up.
Zoxesyr B002:  (Opens communicator) Transport Now!
Zoxesyr C003:  (Opens communicator) Time to leave. Bring me up.
Zoxesyr H001:  (Taps combadge) Please transport me to the Bridge and prepare to leave.
Zoxesyr J001:  (Taps combadge) Operation complete.  Returning to ship.
The representatives beam out over about 3 minutes of time.
The recording ends.
The nature of the Temporal War prevented further investigation on how the Krenim discovered the time and location for this specific meeting.  The Krenim would obviously be interested in any species that appear to have advanced temporal technology, like we suspect the Zoxesyr have.
Extensive investigation shows no evidence that “D”, “E”, “F”, “G”, “I” ever existed on any known planet in the Milky Way Galaxy.  No ships in any fleet have registered these 5 as captains or crew.  Office of Temporal Investigation research indicates that these five never existed at any point in any timeline.  Additionally special operatives (ref UTI39928) confirm they don’t exist in any known alternative universes (Primary, Mirror, Anti-matter, Reverse Time, Fluidic, etc.)  Casual discussions with the remaining Zoxesyr representatives indicates that they never heard of the missing individuals.  Covert psy-tricorder readings show that they are not lying and show no signs of biochemical or telepathic memory tampering.

We have initiated research into the chilling possibility that the Temporal War could have “erased” our universe.  That it was prevented by the "disappearance" of 5 humanoids boggles the imagination.  This indicates a level of technology never before hinted at even by the Unaffected Species like the Q, the Organians, the 10-C, and others.

We seem to have “dodged a bullet” to use an anachronistic analogy.  The obvious next questions are: what bullet did we dodge and are there other bullets out there?

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Edited August 30 2023 by Zoxesyr
Lars Zandor


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

August 30 2023
The End of the Airlock

'Admiral Dholas Vyhl, Captain Lars Speerman, Dahar Master Lenassa and her ship the Gavrex, Commander Dina Movak, Legate Laras Zhador. There really are a lot of officers who have met mysterious ends over the years.' Captain Lisanne Brouwers couldn't comprehend the scale at which Alliance officers had been systematically murdered.
'These are not even all of them. Remember Admiral Calanthe? Or Captain Kheldas? Whatever happened to Admiral Vorian?' Commander Ghaelhan Loreth wondered. The frowning of his forehead made the tattoo placed there look funny. Loreth was assigned to the investigation as a representative for the Romulan Republic.
'Some of them came back, multiple times even, only to disappear or die again!' Dahar Master K'Marrak, liaison from the Klingon Defence Force, chipped in as his tail swung behind him. 'These attacks must stop!' the dark blue-furred Ferasan roared, not unlike a sehlat.

Captain Brouwers, wanting to conduct the investigation with a sober mind, waved away her desire for a Thuredrith - a delicious blonde craft beer from (and named after) her hometown on Earth - and ordered a cup of Cardassian tea instead from the replicator.
'What do these officers all have in common with each other that might make someone want to kill them?' she inquired with her fellow investigators.
'My investigation led me to no true incentive. Not all of them served simultaneously or at the same posts. They didn't even all serve in the same organisation, aside from being part of the Khitomer Alliance.' the raspy voice of K'Marrak answered. 'However, Loreth did come up with one possibility, but I hardly believe it could be true. Still, it bears investigation, if only to definitively exclude it.' Brouwers looked to the Romulan commander and asked:
'You don't think the rumours could be true, do you?'
'It would explain a whole lot, not the least of which is that the last two or three years seem to last for over a decade already.' Loreth's theory was a frightening one. The trio decided to investigate further and meet the next day again to discuss their findings.

One loading screen later

'Well, Commander. It seems you were right,' K'Marrak said, disappointed.
'I'm not happy either, Dahar Master, that this bigger universe is the truth,' Loreth exclaimed depressively.
'What do we know about him? I discovered his account is several years old,' Brouwers decided not to dwell on the implications of their discovery, fearing it might melt her brain. K'Marrak began:
'He has bought or otherwise unlocked over one hundred ships and loads of service items.'
'Apparently he has a lifetime account and unlocked several event items,' Loreth continued. 'Apparently he is called lars#4647.'
'Dammit Lars!' Captain Brouwers exclaimed. 'How do we stop him?'
Commander Loreth responded: 'Well, if we got the coordinates right, we could, uhhm, just transport him into here.'
K'Marrak exclaimed his doubts: 'We can't transport someone from out there into here. That makes no sense!'
'No, Loreth is right. And this is one of those rare instances where it doesn't have to make sense. We just have to do it.'

And thus it was done. The team transported lars#4647 to them, and they explained the situation to him. lars#4647 apologized and promised not to delete his characters anymore. He actually decided to sacrifice his account and just not play on it anymore. Afterwards he was transported back to his universe.

At the end of the tiring day, Captain Lisanne Brouwers went to bed. At least I'm not one of those player characters, or so thought Lisanne Brouwers@gavrex#4281 before falling asleep.

Or did she truly fall asleep?

*evil laughter in the faraway distance*

4 people liked this
Edited August 30 2023 by Lars_Zandor
Adam Kotaška


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

August 27 2023
#WritingChallenge entry: Stories of Sacrifice


He kept his blind eyes set on the stars behind the window of his ready room. Many times he overheard his crew talk about the soothing beauty of the stars when observed from a ship at high warp velocities, how they could be observed with awe allegedly for eternity and sought as a source of everlasting comfort. This wasn't the first time he strived for their comfort, nor the first time he wondered if having a sight would have made any difference.

This is all so wrong.

He turned the tips of his forked antennae towards the padd he was gripping tightly in his pale hands and toward the cold words the padd was displaying in yellow capital letters. He wrote those words a long time ago. At least it felt like a long time since the war of 2405 started. Correction! He realized in his musings, that he didn't actually write the words, he just downloaded the file from the database of formal templates. It said:


He hasn't found the strength yet to even fill in his name: Thyan, captain of the U.S.S. Deaconia. If Thyan had missed one thing more than all else after submitting the letter on the padd, it would be the magnificently beautiful Excelsior II class vessel entrusted under his command. Thyan loved the ship and took a lot of pride in sitting in her central seat and deciding the course of her travels. But then, since the war machine took over the Starfleet, Deaconia, as every able cruiser, was repurposed as a ship of war, and as Aenar, Thyan detested the very concept of war.

So many times Thyan got close to sending the message contained in the padd to Starfleet HQ but something inside always prevented him. Two weeks ago, when returning from the previous mission with the ship badly damaged and multiple casualties, Thyan had even brought the padd with him into Admiral Quinn's office on Earth Spacedock along with after-action reports but was swayed from putting it on the table by a shower of compliments the admirals had prepared for him. The official title of 'The most brilliant tactical mind of Starfleet' engraved on a golden plaque threw him entirely out of balance. That day Thyan forgot about the padd in his hands, thanked Admiral Quinn, and left to supervise repair works on Deaconia. Next time then, he had thought.

Yes, true, for someone it might have seemed like an admirable victory when a ship caught sneaking behind enemy lines got chased by a fleet of Klingon warships into the accretion disk of a supermassive black hole and was the only vessel that also emerged from it. A fleet of twelve of the finest Klingon ships destroyed at a cost of medium damage to a single Starfleet ship and not a single photon torpedo wasted. On an imaginary calculator of the Starfleet top brass, it must have looked like an impressive result, not so much in Thyan's white eyes. First of all, he didn't consider his maneuver as brilliant as others described it. It was a desperate move made on the spot. He simply assumed that Klingon captains would follow Deaconia's course blindly and wouldn't think of also reconfiguring their deflectors to decrease ships' mass at the last moment to maintain escape velocity. He was right and the event horizon swallowed their entire task force, while Thyan's ship got free. Not unscathed though.

Starfleet Intelligence believed the enemy fleet was on its way to destroy Starbase 24, which at the time was weakened by waves of assault to the point it would have fallen to another surprise attack, which would open the path for invaders to multiple Federation colonies near the border. Starfleet Command argued that in that mission Thyan saved not only his ship but then also the station and then also billions of lives across multiple planets. But the way Thyan understood it that was a hypothetical scenario of what might have happened. He didn't care for 'what ifs'. He rarely used them in the calculus of his tactical projections. All Thyan cared about were facts, and real people, especially those he lost under his command that day. All he saw in the eye of his mind were faces of the fallen and black scorched scars on the hull of Deaconia. As Aenar he couldn't grasp that anything could be worth this amount of damage and suffering. Or any amount.

And yet, there he was, on yet another daring intel mission with Deaconia deep behind the enemy lines. Something, most likely his Starfleet training, or maybe his upbringing on Andoria, which both filled his mind with optimism and noble ideas, kept him going. Thyan's latest orders sent him and his crew to the Sha'Kurian territory, where black ops away teams retrieved intel vital for future war efforts. Should the mission succeed and he brings the ship safely home again, with this intel, Thyan thought, it is going to violently turn the tides of war in Starfleet's favor. This mission was so vital, so special and so insanely impossible that Thyan couldn't bring himself to refuse. He knew there was no other captain that could possibly pull it off.

And at that moment two weeks ago, when accepting the latest orders, he didn't even bother repeating his mantra: 'next time'; next time for submitting his resignation. There is always a next mission, even more important than the last one. There is no way out of that circle. What an awful gift for a peaceful Aenar, Thyan wondered, is a mind of a brilliant tactician. Or what a curse! He gripped the frame of the padd even tighter, knuckles on his hands turning more pale than usual when the doorbell rang and interrupted his dismal line of thoughts.


"Come in", Thyan muttered, tilted his head, and turned his antennae towards the door.

Skorilon, the ship's Xindi-Reptilian first officer came in and stood in attention at a respectable distance from his captain. "I have the routine report ready for your approval, captain!"

Thyan didn't need to see the admiration in his XO's eyes. His telepathic senses told him all about how much Skorilon looked up to him and his famous genius, as most of the senior crew did. Such was the common reason why they had requested a transfer to Deaconia after all, extremely dangerous profiles of all missions notwithstanding. They all stood firmly behind their captain, bearing faith in his reputation of tactical brilliance. Sensing Skorilon's devotion, loyalty, and stubborn optimism, Thyan would hate to disappoint him so he never showed his modesty on the outside, nor any doubts he harbored regarding his own Starfleet commission.

"Sum it up for me, commander."

"Ehm," Skorilon started nervously and looked down at his own padd, "We should cross the Federation/Klingon border in four hours. We are almost home, sir. So far, no signs of detection on the side of Klingons. Stealth protocols seem to be working. Also, the engine room reports they managed to install and integrate the Sha'Kurian device successfully into Deaconia's systems, but Chief Two of Five admits she doesn't understand the underlying principles that technology is based on. To put it in her words: We have no idea how it works and thus not even if it works."

"I see," Thyan replied. "Let's just hope it was worth the effort."

Suddenly, the lights turned red and sirens sounded out. "Red alert", the computer announced and was swiftly followed by: "Captain to the bridge." Both men exchanged worried looks and turned toward the door. "Report!" Thyan commanded once he and Skorilon stepped side by side into the dimly lit command center.

"Sensors detected four Klingon ships – two Bortasqu' class heavy battlecruisers and other two are Qeh'Ral class battleships, flying in formation and...", operations officer on duty hesitated for two heartbeats, but quickly recovered, "...and under cloak. Sir, I'm not sure how..."

"That's alright, lieutenant," Thyan said and turned to Skorilon. "At least there is your proof that the Sha'Kurian sensor enhancement works. It can truly see through Klingon cloaking technology. We have to get it home for SCE to look at, urgently." He directed his antennae back to the ops officer. "What's the heading of the Klingon patrol, lieutenant?"

"That's the reason for the red alert, sir. Once they came into sensor range, enemy ships changed course. To intercept."

The bridge fell quiet for several seconds and in such unnatural silence, the ambient beeps and whistles of computers became almost deafening. Everybody knew that going toe to toe with even a single Bortasqu' warship would be a challenge and nobody wanted to know the chances of surviving in a battle with basically four of such.

"Project their course. Interpose ours as well." Thyan ordered. He dropped the habit of calling the 'On screen' line since the battle five months ago when Klingon disruptor pulse destroyed half the bridge module including the main viewscreen. The crew had a hard time adjusting to looking out of the force field-sealed tear in the bulkhead directly into the dark depressive clouds of micronebula they had used as a hiding spot during emergency repairs, so Thyan had ordered the hole patched up with duranium plates and after finally reaching safe harbor of Station 39-Sierra weeks later Thyan decided not to have a new screen installed. Instead, he relied on three-dimensional holographic images just as those that just now, by his order, started forming in the air all around the bridge. Thyan's antennae found it easier to read such images than a two-dimensional viewscreen. It also helped him to visualize the disposition of ships in his mind. And it felt like playing simple 3D chess game.

Thyan was of exceptionally slender and tall figure so as he walked around the bridge his head towered above the tiny holographic ship models and lines that connected them on the transparent hologrid. He could easily detect that the lines representing his ship's course and that of their enemies connected way before the blue plane indicating the border of the Federation. Even at maximum warp, there was no escape. They will have to face the Klingons.

Thyan reached out with his telepathic senses and savored the emotional atmosphere of the bridge. As expected, there was tension and fear, which was a natural and healthy reaction. There was also confidence and expectation, both directed towards him. He pointed one antenna in the direction where Skorilon was standing near his chair and met his gaze. The officer was full of hope, despite the odds. Thyan found it inspiring.

Very well, then. Let's see if there are any micronebulae or supermassive black holes this time around. "Overlay the tactical grid with a map of local space. What options do we have?"

"There is a gas giant in nearby Epsilon Irae system," offered Skorilon a suggestion. "Its atmosphere is impenetrable by sensors. On critical warp we can reach it before they catch up on us."

"And spend weeks hiding in the layers of a stormy atmosphere trying to avoid seeker probes?" Thyan wondered. "Under other circumstances, perhaps. But we have a delivery to make, asap. And we can't deviate from our course. If we did, the Klingons would know we detected them under cloak. We cannot divulge our newly found advantage. No, our current course will bring us near this unnamed system," Thyan said and pointed a finger at an average yellow star with no planets. "Adjust our course only enough to bring us to the edge of the star's photosphere and order full stop once we reach that point. Make it look like a technical issue. We will take our stand there."

U.S.S. Deaconia sat motionless inside of a stellar corona, a stone's throw of what would officers from the astrometric lab describe as chromosphere, and waited. Waited for the much stronger and more numerous enemy forces to catch up with their prey.

Thyan, back in his central chair of the bridge, was focusing his senses on the four holographic representations of enemy ships, moving along their vector. The quartet was approaching his ship in tight formation and slowed its pace soon after Deaconia hit its proverbial breaks near the star. Sneaking and stalking like a pack of feral hybors, Thyan thought, closing in, eager to land a killing bite.

"Status?" Thyan asked with an ever-leveled voice.

"Metaphasic shields holding, captain." the lieutenant at the ops station replied. "Enemy ships are keeping course and speed. Should we... ehm, arm our weapons, sir?"

"Negative." Thyan felt a slight nausea at the thought of ordering to fire the ship's weapons. Even long ago at Starfleet Academy, he managed to pass battle-oriented training simulations only through disciplined self-denial, and even that was all just playacting. No! He never had to order firing at another ship before and he won't this time either. "Besides, we can't spare the energy for weapons. We will need all of our warp core's output distributed evenly between shields, integrity field, and engines."

"Sickbay to bridge." a deep cracky voice sounded from the intercom.

"Captain Thyan speaking. Go on, doctor."

"As ordered, radiation protocols are in effect on all decks, the whole crew is inoculated and sickbay increased capacity in case of large amounts of wounded." Next garbled noise sounded like a groan or a sigh. "I very much hope you people up there know what you're doing."

"Thank you, doctor!" Skorilon stepped into the dialogue, scowling at a tone with which the ship's Tellarite CMO dared to speak with his captain. "That'll be all, bridge out." With the channel closed, Skorilon looked up at Thyan. "We are ready for your maneuver, captain."

"Not yet, number one. Wait. The timing needs to be precise. Ops, let us know exactly when Klingons get in weapon's range." Yes, we know what we're doing, Thyan answered the doctor's query in the privacy of his mind. Which doesn't mean it can't go horribly wrong. Maybe it was a good thing that Loriam, the ship's young Vulcan science officer, didn't join them on this mission in favor of addressing some complicated family matters on Weytahn. Thyan wouldn't care to hear the precise odds of success of his latest battle plan.

"Aye, sir. They are coming in weapon's range in 5..., 4..., 3..., 2..., NOW!"

Immediately once they were able, Klingon ships decloaked and opened fire. Deaconia's forward shields lit up with dozens of impacts from point-defense disruptor turrets, doing little damage at their uttermost effective distance, but creating an impressive visual spectacle nonetheless.

Thyan raised from his chair, stepped forward, and put a hand on ensign Kolez's shoulder. "Your turn," he whispered.

As per orders described by his captain earlier at a briefing, the Saurian ensign at the helm started the sublight engines of the powerful Excelsior II class cruiser; he didn't waste a second and began steering the vessel towards the star. "Collision course with the star laid in, full impulse speed on."

Deaconia plunged into the inferno of the inner corona. The ship immediately started shaking as wave after wave of super-heated gas and stellar matter emanating from the white-hot surface hit its shields.

"Shields dropping, but slowly," someone shouted their report through the racket of the turbulence. "Engineering attempting to compensate. Structural integrity holding so far!"

"Acknowledged. What about Klingons?" Thyan inquired.

"Following us in, matching our speed, shields buckling" answered the lieutenant at the operations station and turned over his shoulder to face his commanding officer. "Just as you predicted, captain."

Thyan just nodded. He was counting on Klingons pursuing no matter where to.

"Sir," Skorilon said, shaking of the deck reflected in his faltering voice, "If we transfer reserve power from auxiliary and batteries to impulse, we'd be faster, we could increase our distance. Their fire wouldn't reach us. The pounding from the heat and radiation itself is bad enough."

"Negative, number one," Thyan said. "We will need that energy later. Besides, we want Klingons to keep firing, despite the cost to our shields." Violent turbulence increased in intensity, forcing Thyan to slump back into the central chair before he could be tossed against a bulkhead. He gripped the chair's armrests with both hands to steady himself. "We can't let Klingons get the idea that they can just switch their weapons off and that we are anything but a clueless scaredy-cat desperately running away – an easy pick even deep inside the corona. Their bloodlust is their undoing."

"Hull integrity at 40% and dropping." came in another loud report. "Gravitational forces are tearing the hull apart. We can't survive another minute of this."

"Steady," Thyan commanded in firm, reassuring voice. He was grateful the bridge had no viewscreen, no way for his crew to watch the deadly wall of fire in front of them and closing fast. So much light would blind anyone who wasn't blind already.

"Ensign Kolez, are you familiar with the term U-turn?" Thyan asked.

"Yes, sir."

"You know what to do then. Wait for my mark." Thyan tapped his delta-shaped combadge. "Thyan to engineering."

"Two of Five here."

"Chief, I want you to use the aux energy and batteries to activate warp engines. Give me at least warp 2, anything less won't do. Pull additional energy from any system if needed."

"Uh, captain... forming a warp bubble inside this heat storm will most likely..."

"I know." Thyan interrupted. "You have your orders."

Somehow something in Thyan's words made the chief engineer forget her concerns. His power to inspire worked its charm one more time. "Understood. You will have warp at your command. Engineering out."

It was nearly the time. Thyan reckoned that executing this maneuver would be pointless unless at least a hundred kilometers from the surface of the sun. They were about to cross that point any second.

"Ensign Kolez, reverse course. Comms, open ship-wide channel: Everybody, brace for impact."

Deaconia decelerated abruptly and started turning along two axes in a desperate attempt to rush out of the trap for which it used itself as bait. Two of the Klingon ships flew right past her at full speed and were vaporized the moment they touched the melting surface of the star. Third was lost in a solar flare that resulted.

Gravity forces so close to the sun were far too strong for inertial dampeners to compensate. They pinned the bridge crew deep into their chairs. To reach a button on an LCARS panel turned into an exhausting toil. Thyan found he couldn't even lift his head from the headrest. He pointed his antennae up at a flickering holographic map and noticed one last Klingon warship turning as well. Thyan was surprised by the unexpected mindfulness of its commander. They recognized the trap at the last second when it was still possible to escape it. Or was it really?

Thyan managed to push a few words through his clenched teeth, "Why... aren't we... at warp... yet?"

"We are, sir!" came the answer from the direction of the helm. "Warp field is forming but it's weak. We don't have enough juice to stabilize it."

Tips of Thyan's main sensory organs were still focusing on the position of the remaining enemy contact and its sensor readings. It was also trying to activate its warp engines and run. Except it lost way more strength to the lethal environment of the corona than the better-shielded Deaconia did. The moment the Klingon ship's warp bubble formed it immediately collapsed again; the Bortasqu' burst into billions of tiny flickering pieces, causing a massive shockwave.

Deaconia's engines shone with energy at last and the ship shot through corona back into the safety of black empty space right before it'd have been swept by the antimatter wave. With dampeners strained to their limits the impact of the warp jump rocked the vessel so hard Thyan felt his ribs breaking against safety belts of the chair. For one blink Deaconia lost its shields, its decks flooding with deadly radiation. Myriad exotic particles overwhelmed Aenar's sensitive antennae and after seeing for the first time all colors of space, visible and invisible, his senses overloaded, his mind drifted away, past the giant koala guarding the dreamscape and beyond the black rainbow and he lost his frail, troubled consciousness.

Frightening sounds of thunder woke Thyan up. When he quickly surveyed the room with his antennae he noticed the noise was actually made by crewmen cleaning up debris. From his surroundings, it appeared the sickbay was hit hard as well when the ship engaged warp inside the thick layer of stellar gases. Skorilon was leaning over Thyan's biobed and despite his Xindi-Reptilian face being hard to read Thyan sensed the relief his first officer felt upon his captain's awakening.

Thyan got up on his feet, felt the spot on his chest where he assumed his broken ribs were hurriedly stitched together with bone-knitter, and took a padd with a report from Skorilon. The sheer number of casualties he observed being triaged on all beds and over the floor and wherever there was space enough for a stretcher, already told him the report was going to be bad. He didn't wait to be released and left the room.

Thyan was aware of the ancient terran naval tradition of captain touring his ship before the battle. A hopeless battle, to be precise. But he altered the tradition for himself. He always walked the corridors of the ship after each hopeless battle and there have been many such tours since the war erupted. And now, just as before, Thyan went to every deck and every section to survey the damage personally. He felt every broken relay, ruptured conduit, and every hull breach as if wounds to his own body.

As Thyan found out the ship took severe structural damage when it hit warp speed. Large portions of hull plating were torn off, mainly off the ventral side of the saucer, its pieces pierced and wrecked the dish of the navigational deflector. The right nacelle exploded after colliding with an extra dense chunk of stellar matter, leaving just a charred pylon behind. The ship was limping forward at low warp speeds using its remaining nacelle. By the time Thyan returned to his ready room Deaconia crossed the border and continued safely toward the nearest Starfleet repair facility.

Thyan once again found himself in front of the small window of his darkened private room, seeking the solace of stars passing by beyond the transparent aluminum.

He knew well what the admirals were going to do when the ship arrived at spacedock. They will celebrate the victory against impossible odds. They will rejoice in the destruction of multiple enemy warships without a loss of a single Starfleet vessel. And they will decorate Thyan with one more medal, commendation, or honorary title. The thought made him sick. He braced himself against the glass.

Over there. Thyan trained his antennae at a pale distant star that he believed was Epsilon Indi. In the star system, there was a gas giant called Andor, and in its orbit a moon called Andoria, or rather 'Fesoan' in his native tongue. Thyan's thoughts led him to the city deep below Fesoan's Nothern Wastes, where his people resided. A place where he grew up and a place he left behind in favor of Starfleet Academy. What would other Aenar back home think have they known he just destroyed four ships, killing thousands of their crew, albeit blood-thirsty enemies? Would they regard the excuse that he never actually fired a single shot? Probably not. The harm was done and directly or indirectly Thyan was responsible. There was no excuse, nor forgiveness. No home waiting for the return of the prodigal son.

Only now, in his exile of consequence, he learned to appreciate the idea of home. In his mind, Thyan pictured vivid memories of his time on Andoria before leaving the frozen world behind. Distant feelings of happiness permeated eerily lit images of the mindscape. Warm light on a winter's day.

Strange. Why couldn't have he felt just as happy back then as he did now, remembering those ancient times? Perhaps he would not have been tempted so easily by the lure of sparkling stars in the night sky. Perhaps he wouldn't have left. But then, what good could "what ifs" bring Thyan now?

He turned away from the window and stars beyond and headed for his desk. He found the padd left there in a hurry and glanced at its contents. "To whom it might concern..." Should he sign? Or should he delete it?

It was past the time to walk away, Thyan thought, and even if, there was nowhere to return to. He felt like stuck between two stars, two enormous gravity wells crushing his soul from opposite ends, melting it in all-pervading white light.

He tightened the grip on the padd and took a deep breath. There was much to consider and the night had only just begun.

The end
4 people liked this
Austin  Rockford


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

August 25 2023
The Sacrifice To The Box

Dwight awoke on David’s chest feeling aching in his bones and his heart racing as he saw the fog from afar. Yui was next to wake up followed by Rebecca and then David all awoke from the aching the fog causes. We all know what it means so we quickly got our gear together and prepared. David and Dwight had been running together for a long time and David seems to be the only constant for Dwight since they lost Claudette and Jake. Thankfully they aren’t dead because Yui saw them before she came to David and Dwight but there’s know way of knowing just how long they have been in these trial. Days or weeks or months, maybe even years of horror could have passed, Dwight only hopes there is a way out somewhere. The fog has finally incased them and then dissipated to reveal their new trial.

A gust of cold wind blew through and we shivered instantly recognizing Mount Ormond and it wasn’t long before the chills left and we were able to begin. They started toward the ski lodge’s generator and got to work immediately repairing the generator. They finished the first gen quickly but something felt off and that’s when they heard the ringing of bells and clanging of chains and just as they started to run a chain with a hook grabbed Yui deep in the shoulder. Everyone started to bolt and once far enough away they saw Pinhead swing his chain and knock down Yui and quickly take her a hook for the Entity to enjoy. They knew they had time to spare so they all hopped on generators to try and escape.

The Cenobite was not under the Entity’s command and did as he pleased and that scared everyone. Yui was pulled off the hook but it wasn’t long before Dwight was caught on a and hung on a hook along with Rebecca after she took a hit for David. David was close from getting caught several times but always escaped somehow and that wasn’t sitting right with Dwight. Yui was able to get Rebecca even though she was in extreme pain and her along with David and Rebecca finished the last gen. 

Rebecca headed to the closest gate while Yui and David went to save Dwight. Dwight screamed as David took him off the hook and Yui was running interference. Rebecca got the gate open and waited for then scoping out in case Pinhead sent a chain at her. They started running back with David in the bed and just as they approached the door Pinhead found his box and opened it causing chains to surround David and the others causing them extreme pain. Dwight quickly got the chains off of himself and ran to David to help him while Rebecca and Yui helped each other. As Dwight was helping David Pinhead hit David to the ground and David pushed and  yelled for Dwight to get out and save the others. Dwight didn’t listen and ran to save him but in that moment Pinhead spawned in hundreds of chains and a pillar and chained him up. Rebecca and Yui pulled Dwight back as he fought to go save David but what finally made him stop was David saying what he wanted to say from the beginning: “I love you Dwight. Please make it out for me.” In that moment David was ripped apart and chained to the pillar and disappeared with Pinhead

Dwight sobbed and panicked after he saw his friend ripped apart and the fog started to take them over as he knew that it wasn’t over. They had appeared back at their campfire like nothing happened but something had. They started bandaging themselves up and eating even though it was hard to eat. As they ate a figure came out from the fog that bordered the campsite and as the figure approached Rebecca jumped and ran into Leon’s arms which had seemed to be bitten by zombies. He was going to be their new friend and teammate so they quickly helped bandage him up and fed him making sure his zombie bites would heal thanks ironically to the very thing that wants us dead, The Entity.
3 people liked this
Connie Zinser


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

August 20 2023
There was an indescribable comfort in the link, Curiosity had found. Being able to simply sink into a sea of discussion, sharing of experiences, and most importantly, connection, in ways that were simply impossible to experience otherwise. As she sat on the bed in her sparsely-decorated quarters aboard the Vesuvius, they let themselves sink into the collective, keeping only the barest amount of awareness of the outside world as she lost herself in discussions about recent discoveries and her own recent experiences. 

“Red Alert! Red alert!” The sudden noise of the familiar warning klaxon tore Curiosity back to her ship with a jolt. Taking a moment to get her bearings, running their hand through their dark blue hair, brushing it out of her eye. Feeling the rumble and shakes of a ship under attack, she started running towards the bridge as fast as her lanky frame could manage, their mad dash only slowed down by the need to wait for a turbolift to take her to the bridge.

As she left the turbolift, Curiosity stumbled slightly as another jolt shook the ship, making her lose her footing. Glancing around the bridge quickly, she immediately noticed an ensign with blood staining his hands, in shock and trying in vain to operate a blown-out LCARS panel. “Medical team to the bridge, we have casualties.” Her voice, as she used the combadge to contact the medbay, seemed cool and collected, but those who knew them, would be able to tell that she was scared for the safety of her crew and deeply furious at whatever or whoever was causing problems. Assured that the injured crewmember would survive, she turned her attention to the viewscreen, asking firmly “Okay, what’s the situation?”

“We encountered an energy anomaly while charting this system, as we approached, a ship of unknown configuration decloaked and engaged us. It has refused to answer our hails, and our weapons have had no effect thus far, and our shields are down to 38% ma’am.” S’pral was a competent officer, her Vulcan training allowing her to remain cool and efficient even while delivering the bad news. Curiosity, not having such control winced noticeably, but very quickly made up her mind. “Alright, evasive maneuver Delta, let’s at least make it harder for them to get a hit in. Any way we can lose them?” 

For a few moments, silence reigned on the bridge as the officers on duty worked at their own stations, either maneuvering or trying to gain more accurate readings. After a moment, the Andorian in charge of the tactical station spoke up. “I think the energy signature from those phasers is Federation!”

“In that case, it is logical to assume that they utilize Federation sensor technology, which I should be able to disrupt temporarily.” S’Pral was already walking towards an open console, undeterred even as the ship shook once again from a jarring hit by the mysterious assailant. “Alright, jam them on my mark, at the same time, we go to warp and get the hell out of here.” Curiosity finally took her chair again, and once both officers were ready said in her faux-calm tone "Execute."

It was only several hours later when, after repairs were well underway and the senior staff had all been completely briefed by their departments on the events of the night, that a meeting was held.Curiosity paced at the head of the table, the adrenaline and discipline that had allowed her to act cool and collected during the encounter having long-since faded. Turning to their chief engineer, she sighed softly before composing herself, sitting down to start the meeting. “Okay, what’s the damage on the ship, and how long will it take before we’re back to full strength?” The Bolian, Zarva, took a moment to bring up the MSD for Vesuvius, showing where relays and junctions had been damaged. “Well, we got hit fairly hard. No hull breaches, but several EPS junctions and plasma conduits have been damaged. We’ve got teams running over the phaser arrays trying to see what the overload they suffered could be, depending on the damage, repairs could be anywhere between 48 hours and impossible to achieve with our own resources.”

“Understood. Update me when more information is available. Now, does anybody here have any information on what the ship that attacked us was?” After a moment, Elisa, the first officer, spoke up. “We know the technology is definitely starfleet, but the configuration doesn’t match any design currently in service.” Curiosity tilted her head slightly, confusion evident in her expression. “So, is it stolen technology, or some sort of classified ship? If it’s the latter, why attack a fellow Federation vessel?” Silence reigned as everyone took a moment for the questions to sink in. “I’m going to see if our cooperative has any knowledge of a ship like this. Zarva, keep working on repairing the ship, use any resources you need. Everyone else, if you get any ideas on what our mystery enemy could be, tell me. I’ll be in my ready room.”

As Curiosity sat and started to relax behind her desk, they fought to try and calm the storm of anxiety and worry within them, taking several deep breaths before closing her eyes and starting to sink into the link. Caught up in her own head as she was, it took a moment before the buzz of emotions and thoughts being shared throughout the collective started to sharpen into more distinctive discussions.

Opening her eyes again, Curiosity looked around at the long-since familiar site of the bustling hub of the collective, a constructed city shared between the minds of everyone in the link. As she stood alone, trying to figure out how to start asking about the ship, they felt arms wrapping around her and a pulse of affection and comfort directed at her. Sighing and finally starting to relax, she heard a voice quietly coming from behind her. “Hello, dearest. Dare I ask what happened to make you radiate so much worry?” Turning around to face her girlfriend, a Romulan named Tolava, Curiosity sighed slightly and hugged her close, sending a pulse of happiness back towards her beloved. “My ship was attacked, she got hit hard. Nobody dead, but, it was rough.”

Several minutes passed, with Tolava and Curiosity talking about anything other than the attack, Curiosity gradually calming down in the presence of her partner, relaxing and cuddling up to her. After a while, though, she sighed heavily and said wearily. "We still don't know what the ship was that attacked us. Apparently it was using starfleet technology, but it's not anything actually within the fleet. Do you think that, with all the information from everyone here, we could figure out what it actually was?"

After a few more moments holding each other close, Curiosity felt a gentle kiss on her forehead before Tolava broke away for a moment, saying in a gentle tone “Well, if that’s what you need, darling, you’ll need to talk to more people than just me.” Curiosity sighed, looking into her girlfriend’s impossibly, beautifully deep blue eyes for a moment before broadcasting her thoughts more broadly to the collective. She kept things to the point, describing the nature of the attack, the use of starfleet technology, and shared a memory of the design of the ship.

Unsurprisingly, the news of the attack met with a rather strong reaction, with various discussions stopping suddenly, before a number of different groups and people started discussing, accessing their own memories and the more communally held archives of information and encounters that were held within the ships belonging wholly to the cooperative. After a moment, a member unfamiliar to Curiosity spoke up. “I’ve seen a similar ship design twice, both times in a fairly short time period. I was a captain on one of our exploratory vessels at the time. The second encounter, we were set upon by a vessel that decloaked suddenly and caused significant damage before we managed to go to warp to escape. The first time,”, he trails off, giving off a palpable amount of unwillingness to discuss further.

“What was your first encounter with the ship? I need to know as much as possible, otherwise my crew, innocent people, could be in danger.” As Curiosity speaks, Tolava lays a comforting hand on her shoulder, trying to calm down the ever-increasing nervousness and worry within her. The unnamed captain sighed heavily before continuing. “The first time was when you requested to join the collective, Curiosity. You were the only person on board the ship and set a self-destruct before asking to join us. I don’t know anything about why, or who created the ship, my deepest apologies.”

A cold chill runs through Curiosity for a moment and she suddenly feels themselves being cuddled by Tolava. It doesn’t take too long to put together, but longer for Curiosity to phrase her thoughts coherently rather than as a burst of random emotions. “So, somehow, I knew about this? About whatever happened here?” It took another several moments before her worry, guilt and fear slowly started to be replaced with resolve. “In that case, I need to know what the hell I hid from myself, need to give up on trying to forget my past.”

Despite her newfound resolve, Curiosity couldn’t help but hesitate, turning to Tolava with fear evident in her eyes, her emotions, and her voice, hands shaking slightly as she speaks. “What if what I remember changes me? What if I did terrible things?” Tolava holds her close before she can spiral further and sends a thought to her, kept only between them. “I trust you. I know, even if you change, you’ll be my Curiosity.”

Her resolve hardened, and holding tightly to Tolava, Curiosity starts to dig into the archives of her memories, finding the point from which she stopped remembering past events, and going towards it. As her once-lost memories started to flood back in, she shuddered, still being held by her partner. Unethical experiments she’d done and stood by over, developing new illegal ways to ensure that the Federation would stay secure, and throughout it all, a recurring two words. Section 31.

As Curiosity came out of the link, she heard somewhat distantly the chime of someone requesting to enter her ready room. “Come in!”, she called out, sighing as she remembered all the times she’d said that in a very different setting. Her thoughtful expression must have been noticeable to Zarva as she walked in, because she was quick to say “Sorry, captain, if you want I can leave. Just thought you’d want an update on the repairs.” For a moment, Curiosity said nothing, before, with a slowly growing, slightly malicious grin, she responded. “Oh, feel free to give an update. I’d like to have our ship as ready as possible, if we’re going to capture this Phantom.” 
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Edited August 20 2023 by aetios
Artemis Vetter


Writing Challenge: Stories of Sacrifice

August 17 2023
Captain’s Log, Diana Elizabeth Byze, U.S.S. Achilles, NCC-93454, in orbit of Qo’onos
Stardate: 100950.09
We received word from Starfleet Command this morning, local time: the Achilles has been deemed “beyond repair,” and is to be returned to the Utopia Planitia Fleet Yards for decommissioning. 
Although this wasn’t entirely unanticipated, as my chief engineer, Lieutenant Commander Syuch, had declared the entire power grid a total loss despite her best efforts, the news has struck the crew hard. We all knew the risks of responding to the attack on Qo’onos-
The door to my ready room chimed. I looked around at my haphazard attempts at packing with a suddenly critical eye. “Computer, pause recording.” I turned back to the door and did my best to straighten my uniform as it occurred to me that I hadn’t changed it in the chaos from the day before. “Enter!”
Captain Kenneth Fury, U.S.S. Endeavour, poked his head into the room. “I have to say, I hate what you’ve done with the place.”
I groaned playfully at my old friend. “Take it up with the Undine and the Iconians. And maybe Admiral Quinn, if you’re so inclined.”
“I’d prefer not to, if I can help it. I give the man enough problems to deal with as it is.” He brought a red bottle out from behind his back. “Apparently the Klingons show their gratitude with strong alcohol. This is courtesy of the captain of the Drovana; she specifically said that I should give it to you personally.”
I raised an eyebrow. “Why didn’t she give it to me herself?”
He smiled. “You didn’t exactly stick around for the party.” His smile dropped, as he said softly, “Kohis was looking for you.”
I tensed. “If the Commander wants to talk to me, she knows my comm frequency.”
Kenneth nodded gravely, electing to drop the subject, and motioned to one of the few chairs that wasn’t occupied by packing materials. I tried to relax and push any thoughts of Commander Ehrie Stelas Kohis from my mind as I leaned against my desk. 
Kenneth looked at me, still serious. “I take it you heard?” 
I sighed. Apparently we were going to talk about at least one sore subject tonight whether I wanted to or not. “Yes. I understand the decision; she’s an older ship, and the resources it’d take to rebuild her are getting a little tight and could be better served elsewhere. Most of the Defiant-class has already been decommissioned or retrofitted so much they’re basically new ships. But…”
“But she’s your first real command,” Kenneth said, not unkindly as he began to pour the bloodwine into two mugs still on my desk.
I sighed. “Yeah.” 
Kenneth handed me a mug before leaning back with his own. “I wish I knew what to tell you. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I lost Endeavour.”
I took a cautious sip of the wine, and let it burn on the way down. “You’re too good for that. They’ll have to drag you off of her the day they decommission her and promote you.”
Kenneth looked at me sharply. “You didn’t do anything wrong, Diana. You did everything right; nobody could have flown the way you did- down the mouth of a planet-killer, I might add- and you brought your crew home against impossible odds.”
“And I still feel like shit.” I took a swig from my mug; it went down a little easier this time.
“Why?” Kenneth asked the question earnestly, without judgment.
“I saw myself staying here. I’ve moved between so many commands…” I trailed off. I wanted to be upset about the strange paths my life had taken, but I also knew that it was largely due to my own choices.
“You were hoping that this one would be yours; the one where you made your mark.” 
I nodded, and Kenneth leaned forward. “Maybe it wasn’t forever, but you’re still here, and you still made a mark on this ship and her crew. A legacy the next ship to bear the name Achilles will be proud to live up to, I’m sure. And trust me when I say,” he said, meeting my eyes, “I doubt the galaxy has seen the last of Captain Byze. I need someone to fly into the fire to pull me out, after all.”
I snorted, and allowed a little hope to flare to life in my chest. I raised my mug. “Hopefully my next ship is big enough for a tow, but until then… to the Achilles. A goddess among ships. Her like will not come again.”
Kenneth raised his mug to mine. “Hear hear.”
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Edited August 17 2023 by Huntress99