Star Trek: The Paradron Puzzle (feat. Transformers!)

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Ops_was_a_truck, Aug 15, 2006.

  1. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    EDIT: FINISHED STORY!

    I've been working on this while at work in order to pass the time. If y'all like it enough, I might keep plugging away at it. Keep me motivated to actually finish a writing project!

    Note:

    For the trekkies, this story is supposed to occur roughly between Insurrection and Nemesis. I don't follow the novels, so if this information overlaps/conflicts with the stuff in the Trek books, burn those.

    For the Transformer fans, this story is supposed to occur some time following "Rebirth." I'll be borrowing, occasionally, from other elements of the G1 universe. However, as we've come to know, the Transformers mythology is a moveable feast, so I might not strictly adhere to one universe. ;) 

    STAR TREK: THE PARADRON PUZZLE

    “Analysis, Mr. Data.”

    The premise, Jean-Luc Picard mused, was wonderful. Comforting. As Starfleet had kindly requested, they were to investigate the anomaly and reports of starships having to reset their sensor arrays each time a ship left or entered this, the Paradron system. Several theories had begun to swim around in Picard’s mind even before the Enterprise had entered the system – high levels of any major radiation source could cause a sensor system to be tricked into giving slanted readings, and then there was always graviton displacement…But this was all…nearly too good to be true. They weren’t organizing battlegroups or herding refugees from the Dominion War. They were exploring again.

    “It appears to be a very small class j nova, sir. The key elements that would consist of a stellar nova are all present, yet the quantity of the material often needed to sustain the heat of a nova is not present.”

    The android, having finished his analysis, turned to face the captain, counselor and first officer as Will Riker spoke up.

    “So something is keeping this furnace hot other than the usual mix of hydrogen and helium.”

    “Quite right, number one.” Picard looked from Riker to the image of the Nova again, brow beginning to furrow. Data noted the thinking frown on Picard’s face and spoke up.

    “I believe it is safe to hypothesize that whatever is giving this nova the chemical momentum to continue burning might also be affecting the sensor arrays of ships entering and leaving this area.”

    Commander Riker smiled and nodded. “Data, remind me to discuss ‘stating the obvious’ with you when we’re off duty.”

    Deanna Troi mocked a face of shock at the first officer, while Picard shot Riker a sour look. “Will, come on.” Then, to Data, “Are our sensors also being affected by this distortion effect as well?”

    The android lazily swung his chair back to the sciences console and began running his fingers across the sleek, ebon LCARS controls in front of him. Moments later, Data pivoted the chair again, facing Riker and Picard.

    “I am uncertain. Standard sensor readings indicate that our trajectory into and out of our system are unaffected. Additionally, data on the nova, the Paradron system and proximity readings outside of the Enterprise have not changed since we entered the system.”

    “Yeah, but it’s starting to sound like that’s is a recurring trend,” Riker noted, glancing from a PADD to the image of the micronova on the viewscreen. “This cruise ship, the Pueblo Del Sol, reported similar initial readings when they came through the Paradron system. It wasn’t until they were leaving warp outside of the Frocus system that they realized they had arrived at the wrong place.”

    The commander of the Enterprise glanced back at the PADD, then shot a look up again when he heard Jean-Luc Picard chuckling softly.

    “Are you all right, sir?” Deanna asked, moving to stand.

    “As a matter of fact, I am. I am, along with all of you, gathering the data necessary to research an interesting stellar phenomenon.” Picard chuckled softly again, a grin spread wide across his face.

    “Yes, we are, but…why is that amusing?” Troi noted cautiously.

    “We’re finally fulfilling the Starfleet charter once again and visiting ‘strange, new worlds.’ We aren’t rallying the ship to Red Alert or fending off Dominion assault vessels.”

    Riker grinned as he recognized the captain’s jubilance.

    “We’re explorers again, not members of a task force.”

    “Quite right, Will,” Picard nodded, satisfied with the summary. His moment of exhilaration passing, Picard gave the bridge crew an once-over and began issuing commands.

    “Mr. Data, I want more information. Begin running element-intensive searches on the nova. Particularly, what elements are present in the nova that could induce a phenomena of this nature? Are there gravitons, chronitons present in the nova that are impossible to detect with standard sensors?

    “Number One, you and Counselor Troi prepare a shuttlecraft for flight. I want you to travel out of the system and back in; we’ll compare the data from your jaunt to Mr. Data’s. Be ready to meet again in 2 hours in the conference room.”
    His orders given, Picard watched as the cadre of officers under his command nod their “aye, sirs” and head off to take care of their duties.
    This was it, Picard thought. This is what he had missed during those months of reading battle reports and tactical analyses. Strange, new worlds.



    “Analysis, Perceptor.”

    So far, this mission had been relatively calm, Skyfire mused. That was surprising. It was also unsettling and roused a feeling inside Skyfire that he had carried with him since he had awoken from his icy tomb on Earth – the feeling that, at any moment, enemies and allies might show up to start fighting each another, ruining research or destroying artifacts. It had become the way of the day for the Decepticons and, unfortunately, for the Autobots as well. If Skyfire’s fellow scientist, the telescope Autobot Perceptor, felt the same way, he was not showing it.

    “It appears that the planet Paradron's sun has, somehow, gone nova. Additionally, based on the degree of burn within the nova and the gasses being expelled, it would seem the nova has been this way for some time. According to Rodimus Prime and Ultra Magnus’s initial reports regarding the planet, it was, apparently, rich in Energon and in other sources of energy and, ultimately, unstable.”

    “’Other’ sources of energy? Do we have any information about these ‘other’ sources?” Skyfire queried, standing from the his integrated chair/information center.

    “Unfortunately, no…Rodimus’s team did not have time to make additional readings before they…well, you know.”

    “Before he destroyed the planet without thinking of any other way to handle the situation?” Skyfire sighed heavily as he clunked across the astrophysics laboratory to where Perceptor was sitting. “It’s all right, Perceptor – it’s just you, me and the omnibots. I don’t think any of us are going to jump to defend Rodimus or his ‘legacy.’”

    Perceptor shook his head slowly. “I tried to remain positive about his leadership. I recognize that the Matrix had a place for Rodimus in the hierarchy of Autobot leadership. Still…” The telescope Autobot nodded resolutely, forcing a smile for Skyfire. “That was then. This is now. Let us focus on the Paradron puzzle.”

    The smile Skyfire returned was genuine. “Let’s. And let’s hope we can focus on it without any interruptions – Autobot or Decepticon.”

    “Seconded,” Perceptor chuckled.

    The red-and-white Autobot starship leaned over his friend’s console, looking at the readouts Perceptor had gathered. The telescope Autobot had arranged the data from the Trakon Gamma’s sensors so that it was sorted neatly, showing any major trends in the activity of the nova.

    “Efficient, as usual, my friend,” Skyfire muttered, pouring over the information. “Although I wonder why Rodimus or company never marked anything in the logs about the planet's sun going – and remaining – nova after the explosion.”

    “Those were not the concerns of the day,” Perceptor sighed, bringing up another datafeed from the Takon Gamma’s sensor cluster. “In those days, it was either ‘blast or be blasted.’”

    The red-and-white Autobot jet nodded, his head drooping a bit. “Right. Fiendish times, those.”

    Skyfire perked up, looking around the lab. “I’m thinking about going outside for a closer look. I’ll relay all data back to the Trakon Gamma, as well as video feeds and any energon readings I pick up.”

    “Enjoy yourself, Skyfire. I will monitor whatever data feeds you provide from here.” Perceptor turned back to his console, reconfiguring it to handle incoming information from the other Autobot.

    “You are aware that the Trakon Gamma’s sensors would provide the same information you’re seeking to ascertain and keep you safely distanced from any hazardous radiation at the same time,” the telescope Autobot noted as the doors to the astrophysics lab whined open. Skyfire stood in the doorway for a minute, smiling wide.

    “Perhaps it would. But being a scientist does not mean I have lost my sense of excitement. Besides, wouldn’t you rather see this type of stellar phenomena with your own optics?”

    Perceptor groaned, shaking his head no. Jetfire chuckled again as he left the lab.
     
  2. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Will Riker ran his eyes over the readout panels inside of the shuttlecraft Respighi.
    As he expected, there was nothing anomalous – stellar location coordinates for the Respighi still matched up with the coordinates being piped to his console from the Enterprise. Additionally, all of the sensor data – the basic particle scans of the space surrounding the minute nova – were identical to the Enterprise’s sensor readings so far. Geordi double-checked the long rows of readings just to confirm.

    Yup. Nothing.

    “You know, we should get out like this more often,” Couneslor Deanna Troi sighed, coming up behind the first officer of the Enterprise. Will began to turn his chair, but Deanna gave him a defiant look and spun her finger in a circle; turn back around, you.
    “It would be nice. I figure I’ve got enough collateral from my work as a Starfleet Commander that I could probably get us a nice stellar yacht. Whaddya say—oooh, man.”

    The first officer of the Enterprise decided to let the rest of his idea left unspoken as Deanna began plying Will’s shoulders. The beginning of another wonderful backrub, Will thought.

    “You’re too good, you know,” Will noted playfully, grinning at his Imzadi.

    Deanna continued to work the first officer’s shoulders before she cooed, “So…have you followed up with Captain Picard about the Titan?”

    “I have not…do we have to do this now?” As much as Will didn’t want to talk about this now, he wasn’t about to get incredibly defensive – so long as his shoulder muscles were being soothed.

    “If you continue to let the subject hang, Starfleet will find another commander. But…it’ll be just another commander. It won’t be Will Riker, experienced leader and commander of a starship. Of the starship Enterprise.

    The first officer of the Enterprise had run this conversation in circles so many times with Troi that he felt like he was stuck in a temporal loop. Each time, the conversation was the same – get motivated, she’d say. I’m working on it, he’d say. Another command, she’d say. I’m considering, he’d say—

    Enterprise to shuttlecraft Respighi. Status report.”

    Captain Picard’s orderly voice shook the mood inside the small shuttle. Deanna let Will’s shoulders go – to the first officer’s muted protests – and she slid into the chair next to his.

    “Riker here, captain. We’re getting data readings identical to those being taken by the Enterprise. I’m seeing variations only in the negative twelfth power.”
    Riker looked to Troi with a face of regret. Sorry about all this…Troi touched his hand softly in response, caressing it.

    Picard’s response, although it was clipped to a tinny treble by the shuttle’s comm. System, conveyed the captain’s disappointment. “Understood. Please return to the nova at your earliest convenience in order to begin taking close-proximity readings, as we discussed. We’ll continue to monitor you here. Mr. Data and I believe that a smaller ship might reveal a more significant change in sensor readings as it gets closer to the nova.”

    “Understood. Riker out,” the first officer agreed, thumbing the comm. system off.
    The first officer of the Enterprise placed his hands on the LCARS console, programming in the Respighi’s new course. With a piano-playing flick of his hands, he set the ship moving and swung his seat to face Deanna’s.

    “The captain did say ‘your earliest convenience…’” The first officer offered Deanna a crafty smile.

    Troi rolled her eyes. “Will Riker, if you had as much charisma about starship command as you did about getting close to me, we’d have won the Dominion War by now.”

    Riker’s anticipation cooled and he frowned. “Now, wait just a minute—“

    “Stand down from yellow alert, commander,” Deanna growled, “and come here.”





    Skyfire tapped his port and aft thrusters, moving closer to the Paradron Nova. It was fantastic to see this many atomic elements interacting in such a hearty, exciting way – and in such a small, manageable size as well! The spectacle of a nova was one thing, but this – to see the thing contained as it was, for whatever reason – was even more fascinating. Here was a true miracle of science, something to be explored, to be analyzed…

    …and not be turned into a weapon or a new source of fuel, he hoped. Skyfire quickly cross-referenced the data he and Perceptor had gathered once again, thinking it through. There was no energy resource here in the nova that could, with physical resources, be tapped. With solar collectors, the Autobots would possibly be able to set up an energon-generating plant of some sort, but there was nothing, (outside of these strange, radiation-spike readings that occurred every once and a while,) unique enough to be harvested or used for destruction.

    That was comforting to the Autobot scientist. Too often had the discoveries of the Autobots – and Decepticons, he had to admit, as Shockwave had been quite the scientist himself – been immediately put to use as weapons of war for the opposing Cybertronians. Skyfire remembered when combination technology had become new for the first time, pioneered by the constructicons. Geniuses that group may have been, but the resulting monstrosity, Devastator, had been a terrifying example of what happens when the military overtakes the sciences. Skyfire remembered the gradual and umcomfortable research he had done into Autobot combination technology as a result, work and research that had proven useless when his research was trumped by Optimus, Alpha Trion and the Arialbots. The Autobots had gained combiner teams – the Protectobots were more proof of that – but it had been by emulating traditional spark-and-Vector-Sigma methods of life-granting. Hardly scientific. And hardly-

    Skyfire found his reverie interrupted by an off-the scale radiation spike. A very oddly shaped solar flare spouted out of the nova, its sweeping arc aiming towards the Autobot.

    “Perceptor, are you getting this?” Skyfire called out, bringing his boosters to full power and angling around to avoid the arc of fire. The Autobot’s temperature and radiation sensors were starting to reach unsafe levels and it’d be awfully nice if he could just…

    …nothing was happening. His boosters, even at maximum thrust, weren’t pulling him away far enough. The gravitational forces this solar flare had generated were fierce enough to pull any nearby matter – including the autobot scientist – closer to it.

    Perceptor’s voice, finally, crackled through the silence of space.

    “…reading…got…on my scopes here…massive distortion with qualities…space bridge…I’m bringing the Trakon Gamma in to…”

    Skyfire called out, unsure whether he’d even be heard.

    “NO! Don’t bring the Trakon Gamma close to this flare, Perceptor! Record what you can from where you are. If I’m lost, the Technobots or someone will be able to figure out what this—“

    Skyfire stopped short as all of his attention went to his optic sensors. The solar flare was almost on him. There were ribbed distortions within the flare, spiraling away into…nothing? It almost looked as if the loop of the solar flare was empty or dark, as if…

    “Great Primus’s ghost…it’s a naturally-generated space bridge…”

    The Autobot’s sensory data – including his optics – became overwhelmed with information too fast for him to process. First, he was slipping quickly towards the distortion…then the residual light from the solar flare seemed to bend, all aiming away from him…then there was an intense feeling of pain and pressure, as if his legs were being torn from him by Unicron…

    …and then nothing. Skyfire went offline.
     
  3. KA

    KA PENIS GOES WHERE?!!

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    you should have used the original crew. then you can put in a scene where kirk loses his shirt and tries his hornball act with arcee...with hilarious consequences.
     
  4. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Kirk: "You...are such a lusty machine...amazing in my...EYES..."

    Arcee: (flicks Kirk across the room like a booger)

    Kirk: "Love...is a harsh mistress..." *dies*

    I'll write more on this as I can. It's helping me pass the time at work.
     
  5. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Couple they may be, they’re taking their pretty time getting back here, Picard thought, brow furrowed. He glanced around the semi-empty bridge, looking for something to occupy his time as the Respighi returned from its hop in and out of system. Trying to give Riker and Troi the time they needed to recuperate their relationship had been all but impossible as the Dominion War had wound itself to a tireless, haggard close, so Picard had tried to remain cognizant and aloof of the situation between his two officers. It wasn’t easy at times – and almost bothersome right now – but, the Captain of the Enterprise reminded himself, probably for the best.

    Besides, he ruminated, if Deanna was capable of finally showing Will that he deserved the Titan, then maybe his first officer would finally put his best foot forward and take command. Jean-Luc had decided, with relative certainty, that Will was ready for the big chair in the weeks following the Borg incursion at Wolf 359 and his own rescue as Locutus. Will Riker had been, as far as Picard could tell, treading water since then.

    …and now, more than ever, Starfleet needed good captains, particularly to rebuild their exploration fleet. And Will Riker was just the man for—

    “Captain, we’re picking up anomalous readings from the nova.”

    Jean-Luc Picard snapped his head towards Data, focusing his attention directly on the android.

    “Clarify, Mr. Data.”

    “The Nova’s area is decreasing,” Data noted. “This is causing a change in the gravitational pull of the Nova. It has also generated a series of solar flares on the nova’s surface.”

    “This is awfully odd,” Picard muttered, looking between the readings being piped to his own datapadd and the image of the micro nova on the Enterprise’s main screen. “This thing isn’t acting like a nova at all. It’s acting like a destabilized sun. Data,” the captain raised his voice, pacing slowly behind the android’s chair, “how far out is the gravitational disturbance?”

    “Two Astronomical Units, sir.”

    It would be nice to bring the Enterprise a bit closer in order to look at this nova up close, but Riker and Troi are still not back…damn.

    “Captain, we’ve got a ship on scanners,” Ensign Kae announced.

    “Confirmed, Captain,” Data added, “its readings are being slightly obscured by the nova.”

    “Excellent,” Jean-Luc sighed, "Will’s timing couldn’t be better." The captain of the Enterprise strolled up the bridge to where the dark-haired Malaysian sat, his fingers running over the communications console.

    “Put me through to the Respighi,” Picard ordered, leaning in over Kae.

    “Sir, that’s not the Respighi.”

    “What?” The Captain’s brow furrowed; he leaned in to scrutinize the ship signature on Kae’s monitor.

    It sure wasn’t the Respighi. Covered with wings, about as large as a runabout and bearing no engine or energy signatures recognizable by the Enterprise computers, this ship was an unknown. Even if the ship was alien to the Federation, Jean-Luc Picard recognized fluctuating data readings and spiking energy patterns immediately – this ship was in trouble.

    “Mr. Kae, I assume you’ll agree with me – this ship is an unkown?”

    “Aye, sir.”

    “Begin transmitting standard friendship messages,” the captain decided. “See if you can find some way to make contact.”

    Picard wheeled around, swiftly moving to the center of the bridge. As much as he wanted to wait for Riker and Troi to reappear on the sensors safely and being their close-range sensor scan of the nova, the captain of the Enterprise was not about to let a ship in danger go careening into that nova, especially with gravitational forces as strong as they were.

    “Helm, bring us on an intercept course with this unknown vessel and prepare the tractor beam. Transporter room, be advised that we may be taking on passengers.”

    After the Captain of the Enterprise received his “yes,sirs,” he strolled to Data’s science station, leaning over his pale-skinned friend’s seat.

    “Any more data on this ship, Data?” Picard asked, squinting at Data’s various monitors.

    “It appears to have suffered the slingshot effect of passing around the star at a close orbit. I am uncertain as to why we did not detect the ship before.” The android’s fingers continued to fly deftly over the series of multiple LCARS screens he had open, tapping the veins of information available from the Enterprise’s sensor suite.

    “That is odd. Could it have been in warp before being affected by the nova’s gravity well?” Even as Picard spoke, the answer began formulating in his head. No, that couldn't be right...

    “Possibly,” Data acquiesced, “although I would conjecture that any ship’s proximity readings would have detected even a minute change in gravity. Automatic warp kill-switches have been a standard part of sensor packages since 2168.”

    Picard was nodding along with Data, confused. “Indeed…can you give me any more information on the ship itself?”

    “Some, sir. If our readings are to be trusted, the ship’s engine configuration is quite powerful and the vessel contains a larger amount of internal mass than most cargo ships or sensor vessels of that size and scale.”

    “…and?”

    “I am detecting no life signs aboard the vessel either, sir. However, the ship’s computer seems to be operational.”

    “That’s all?” Picard’s hopes sank. A potentially unknown vessel or people and no one was left alive…that was frustrating.

    “I will have more information for you as it becomes available, captain,” Data responded, glancing at the captain.

    Picard recognized the glance; it was something Data had picked up on as he had become more comfortable with his emotion chip. Essentially, it was the body language version of Calm down, I’m doing the best I can.

    Picard bit his tongue, nodded tactfully and backed towards his command chair. It was only a matter of minutes before he’d have his answers.
     
  6. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    ...and the next installment...



    Something big was out there.

    Skyfire struggled to wake up, forcing memory restores and sensory subroutines back into action, shutting down peripheral limb functions and sticking to vessel-mode consciousness, trying to gather himself mentally.

    His proximity sensors had scared him awake, detecting the approach of a massive vessel. The first response (and Skyfire was almost unhappy with himself for it,) was Decepticons! but, as his optic-and-sonic detection suite came back online, he changed his mind.

    This starship, whomever its owner or whatever its alternate mode, was an impressive piece of art. Commanding, tremendous and elegant, the ship’s unique design suggested a non-aggressive stance. Skyfire hoped that that would be the case. Spacing of the windows and details on the vessel’s exterior suggested a humanoid-inhabited vehicle, further encouraging the Autobot. Then he recognized something else – human lettering on the vessel! Skyfire staggered through his memory subroutines, forcing them back online – English! The letters were in Earth english! The Earth Defense Forces had arrived.

    Shunting power around, he brought his rattled long-range communication system online and called out in English in fourteen Autobot-safe language codes.
    “Skyfire to unidentified ship…please help…a majority of my systems are damaged and I need a place to recouperate...repeat, Skyfire to unidentified ship…”




    “Captain, we’re receiving a distress call from the unidentified ship.”

    Jean-Luc Picard slowly rose from his command chair, where he had waited pensively for the Enterprise to reach this mystery vessel. While it was interesting to be investigating stellar phenomena again, Picard had had to remind himself that this was often another joy of research missions – handling multiple anomalies efficiently.

    “Thank you, Mr. Kae,” Picard noted, partially turning to the communications officer to add, “put it on speakers.”

    A static-filled transmission, just hazy enough to hard to hear, sputtered through the Enterprise comm system.

    “Skyfire to unidentified ship…please help…a majority of my systems are damaged and I need a place to recouperate...repeat, Skyfire to unidentified ship…”

    Picard nodded at Kae again and the comm. system went silent.

    “Mr. Data, I thought you said there were no life forms aboard.”

    “There are not, sir,” Data replied. “However, my previous judgment that there was no one onboard this ship might have been in error.”

    “…meaning?”

    “I believe that voice is the ship speaking.”

    Picard’s brow furrowed and he regarded the android. Data had suggested some odd premises in the past…but then, he was usually right. Automated vessels were a mainstay of Federation (and most galactic) hauling industries, but this vessel was too sleek and stylized to be anything industrial. Additionally, the voice had empathy, concern, and while those thought patterns could by dynamically mimicked – the holodeck was proof enough of that – Jean-Luc Picard remained unconvinced. Still, something – be it the ship or hidden life-forms onboard – needed their help.

    “Hail the alien vessel.” Picard decided, moving to the center of the bridge. He assumed a non-threatening, diplomatic stance and awaited the appearance of…whomever.

    “Alien vessel, this is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise, a Federation starship. We have received your distress call and wish to offer assistance.”

    “We have a visual,” Kae offered politely.

    “Onscreen.”

    The visage that appeared on the Enterprise’s viewscreen was…surprising, Picard had to admit. It was, more or less, a robot head. The being’s head looked armored and sleek, bearing no signs of securing screws, warning panels or access plates. Pearlescent white half-orbs capped what resembled a similarly pearlescent pilot’s helmet. A burnished metallic face sat in the center, a face which was, Picard noted, wrought with emotion.

    “Greetings, Captain Picard of the Enterprise. My name is Skyfire, I am an Autobot. I don’t have a record of Earth Defense Federation constructing such a starship, but I welcome your assistance. Do you have a docking bay where I could transform and begin repairs?”

    Earth Defense Federation? Picard thought hard for a minute. He couldn’t cut this…being’s communiqué short, but he couldn’t remember any use of the term Earth Defense Federation from history…there was the UESPA, the Federated Colonies, but…

    Picard couldn’t stall for time for more than second without looking like an ungracious host. Or risking doubt in this being's eyes.

    “Mr. Skyfire, we will clear a space in our main shuttlebay for you. You mentioned you were damaged; is your vessel capable of impulse speed? Can you navigate to the docking bay or do you need a tractor beam?”

    “There is only me, captain Picard; you don’t need formalities. My only name is Skyfire. And, as you asked, I am capable of movement. Also, out of curiosity – have you made contact with Perceptor or the Trakon Gamma?”

    Again, Picard’s brow furrowed. Perceptor? Trakon Gamma? Were these more Autobots, whomever they were?

    “I’m afraid we have no knowledge at present about ships named Perceptor or Trakon Gamma, Skyfire.”

    The robot’s face sank a bit, as the pupil-absent eyes seemed to scan around. The robot’s face mimicked thinking very well. Then, Picard reminded himself again, holodecks and androids did that too.

    “Very well,” the robot replied with an audible sigh, “please prepare to receive me. Skyfire out.”

    Jean-Luc Picard stood looking at the viewscreen for a minute more before slowly turning his gaze to Data.

    “I believe that voice was the ship speaking, Mr. Data.” Picard responded, frowning at his android friend.

    “Indeed,” Data replied, adding, “This would also explain the intricate level of machinery and system detail from our scans. There is likely more to this vessel than meets the eye.”

    Picard nodded, suddenly distracted. Still no word from Will. However, the Enterprise was about to take on a guest that, apparently, had the firepower and vessel strength of a scout ship on the premise that it was damaged and was seeking aid. Goodwill or not, Picard was not going to sit on the bridge and fret about his first officer while he…

    …yes he was. The shuttlecraft had now been out of contact for 15 minutes beyond their established ETA. They were in-system and scans showed that communications weren’t being affected. Where the hell was Will?

    “Mr. Data, you and Mr. LaForge take a science team down to the main shuttlebay and attend to Skyfire. If possible, attempt to ascertain his origin – who constructed him? Is he a weapon?”

    Data nodded, tapping his display offline. “Aye, sir.”

    As the android walked towards the turbolift, Picard stepped across the bridge to the helm officer, Mr. Kelly.

    "Helm, plot a course back to a safe outer orbit of the micronova. Warp 1."

    Kelly nodded, adding an "aye, sir," as Picard turned and paced quickly to his command chair. He leaned back in the seat, glancing up at the comm officer.

    “Mr. Kae, attempt to raise Commander Riker or Counselor Troi. Try all standard Federation frequencies. If you reach him, tell him the Captain would like a word with him at his earliest convenience."

    "Course laid in, sir," Kelly offered from the helm.

    "Engage."
     
  7. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    ...and, finally, Riker & Troi bite the dust:

    “Where’s Enterprise?”

    Knowing full well that the Respighi’s sensors were still slightly off, thanks to the glowing stellar phenomena around which they were orbiting, Will Riker leaned forward in his chair, craning his neck to glance through the shuttlecraft’s front windows. As he expected, there was nothing to be seen.

    “Will, I wouldn’t worry too much. I’ve programmed the shuttle to cycle our standard hail repeatedly. Enterprise will hear us. Besides, Captain Picard wouldn’t have abandoned us out here unless something very pressing had come up.”

    “Yeah, but…” Riker glanced around at the monitors in front of him. “Define ‘pressing.’” He spoke more to the monitors than he did to Deanna, but she leaned over him to point at the data pouring in about the micronova.

    “Pressing may have been as a result of this. See how the nova’s area seems to decrease and then increase again? It’s very miniscule right now, but we’ve only been taking readings since we dropped out of warp. If this nova’s mass and area was fluctuating more aggressively before, who knows what it could have done?”

    Riker’s mind flashed back to the Amargosa star system, where a madman named Dr. Soran had collapsed that system’s sun to direct a freak occurance, the Nexus. Soran had, so far as Riker and his captain knew, died on the last planet on Soran’s list, Veridian, when Picard killed the man. If others had become power-hungry enough to figure out how to manipulate stellar masses and use their gravitational flux in controlled waves…

    “Do you think this is artificially controlled?” Will murmured, gazing out at the odd once-star.

    “What do you mean?”

    “Well, what if someone’s figured out how to control the decay of a nova, so that its mass and shape doesn’t collapse into a random wormhole?”

    “I…think that’s unlikely, but…with enough antiprotons, you could add more kick to a dying star…” Deanna thought hard, her eyes glazed over as she stared at the micronova outside.

    “When did you become the scientist?” the commander of the Enterprise quipped, giving Deanna a light poke.

    “When you were off brooding about Worf and I dating,” she responded, gushing a smile at him.

    Riker winced, whistling. The Enterprise counselor rolled her eyes, adding, “Honestly, I just paid more attention during the commander examination…”

    …and Deanna’s voice quickly dwindled to nothing. Her eyes went wide as she sunk back into her seat.

    “The sensors, Will.”

    Riker poured over the monitors in front of him. The mass and area of the nova were decreasing again. This time, quickly. The change was so sudden that a small shockwave rumbled off of the planet’s surface, shedding a skin of hydrogen atoms.

    “Oh damn,” he growled, switching the Respighi’s main monitors over to the flight system. He placed his fingers on the helm controls and began powering up the engines.

    Of course the Captain asks us to pull in close to the nova to investigate it further. Of course we end up having to run from a goddamn shockwave.” Will stabbed at the engine display, moving around power from sensor systems. Come on, come on…

    “20,000 meters and closing fast. Will, that shockwave is getting very close.” Deanna leaned over her sensor display and cross-checked the location of the wave, looking for solace. Nope, they were in trouble.

    “All right, we’ve got impulse power. Warp is still powering up. I’m going to take us back out to—“

    “Will, I don’t care what you’re going to do, power us up now!”

    The first officer stabbed the power rampup buttons for the impulse systems. The Respighi shuddered violently and then whipped in a loop too difficult for the inertial damping systems.

    “What the hell?” Riker snapped. The shuttle’s impulse controls had gone blank, replaced with the standard “error, equipment malfunction” screen.

    “Will, we’re…spiraling back towards it!” Deanna sputtered, grabbing for surfaces to brace herself.

    …and the Respighi smacked into the shockwave, plowing through and causing the small ship’s interior to erupt into a cacophany of warning lights and error messages. Will desperately reached for the monitors in front of him, stabbing at the active control panels. Systems were shutting down quickly and he couldn’t even reach them!

    The inside of the shuttle was getting hot as well…and bright. Far too bright. Will used as much strength as he could to glance over at Deanna, who was similarly pinned into her chair, her face being pried back by the g-forces tailspinning the shuttle towards the sun.

    “I love you,” Will screamed over the whine of the shuttle systems overloading.

    He thought he heard a response, but it was hard to tell; William T. Riker, commander of the Enterprise lost all ability to focus on anything as his vision, his mind, his all was absorbed by an unimaginable wave of white nothingness.


    ****************************


    I'm really not sure where to go at this point. I have three general ideas about how to finish the story, and I'm curious which one you guys would find more interesting:

    1. Riker & Troi and Perceptor must come up with a way to get the Paradron nova to open (same with the Enterprise and Skyfire) in order to send the displaced folks back to their time continuum...

    2. Data & Geordi discover that the nanotechnology that makes up components of Skyfire's systems are amazingly close to the type used by the Borg, which leads to the discovery that Cybertron in the Star Trek universe eventually became the Borg homeworld...(I need to work out more details there, but I've got some ideas for a backstory...)

    3. The Decepticons and/or the Borg show up in one (or both) continuums and make things difficult for our heroes, OR they want to seize the power of the nova for themselves, OR they have a vendetta of some sort.

    Should I blend different parts of these plots? Use all three? Go with only one? Anybody?
     
  8. Scrapper6

    Scrapper6 Lord of Constructicons

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    I can't really decide; this story is most intriguing though, I don't see that many Star Trek/TF Crossovers... Or maybe I just haven't looked hard enough. Still your story is very well thought out.
     
  9. Mongoose Fire

    Mongoose Fire Active Member

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    It's a really good story - i like the way yo've crossed over the two universes.

    I like all 3 ideas for plots you put foward...perhaps integratin all 3?

    Keep up the good work.
     
  10. JLBarnett

    JLBarnett Well-Known Member

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    Good story. I'd go for one and three, though maybe skip the Borg. Perhaps when the Deceps show up on the side with Riker, Troi and Perceptor, some of them accidnetally get shunted to the universe with the Enterprise and Skyfire.
     
  11. Overlord II

    Overlord II Starscreamicon Leader TFW2005 Supporter

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    Ops a well thought out story....I find it very entertaining....Prehaps you could blend all three ideas....bringing everything to a cachophony (sp?) of chaos....just a thought.
     
  12. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    There might be two updates today, depending on how much work I can get done.

    Captain’s Log, Stardate 20219.6 – The Enterprise is orbiting a phenomenon dubbed a ‘ micronova’ that was once the Paradron system’s sun. The nova, which is surprisingly small in scale, seems to be sustaining itself based on a reaction of some sort deep within the nova’s core; our sensors cannot penetrate that far into the reaction. This lack of knowledge is frustrating and compounded by the fact that my first officer and counselor have gone missing while researching the nova. As I am one to never readily admit defeat, I hypothesize that Commander Riker and Counselor Troi might have been exposed to the same gravitational slingshot effect that brought us our current guest, a sentient cargo ship named Skyfire, who has identified himself as an Autobot. While I have been attempting to plot possible slingshot courses for Commander Riker’s shuttle, Mr. Data and Mr. LaForge have been investigating Skyfire; I have asked them to press the automated vessel for more information on its origin in order to properly plot Skyfire’s slingshot effect. The data may prove useful in locating Commander Riker and Counselor Troi, should they still be alive.

    “Skyfire, I am Data. I am the Enterprise’s science officer. This is Geordi LaForge, the Enterprise’s chief engineer. We’d like to assist you in your repairs, if necessary.”

    Of the many emotions Data was learning to process, awkwardness had been a more recent subject of study. Mixed notions of hesitation, frustration (a derivative of the basic anger value) and a general lack of understanding composed the awkward emotion. The emotion, to Data, seemed to describe his current situation quite well: The android was essentially speaking loudly to a giant inert cargo ship. Data exchanged glances with Geordi, who shrugged innocently.

    “I dunno. Maybe he’s gone into standby mode? He could be sleeping”

    The moment of awkwardness, however, didn’t last long. A booming voice filled the shuttlebay soon after Data spoke.

    “Data, Geordi LaForge, it is an honor to meet you. Your assistance in helping me regenerate and repair would be much appreciated.”

    “Ah,” Data noted, stepping forward decidedly. “And how should we assist you?”

    As the science officer and the chief engineer approached what appeared to be an entrance hatch, the booming voice spoke up again.

    “I believe internal repairs will help the most; I usually have a field medic do internal work. However, if you gentlemen perform day-to-day operations on a ship such as this Enterprise, I’m sure you’re more than qualified.”

    “Well,” Geordi smiled into the air at the aeronautical cargo ship in front of him, “don’t give us too much credit yet. I’ve been known to jury-rig a ship or two in my life, but I haven’t even seen what I’m fixing yet.”

    “Before you board,” Skyfire’s voice came again, “I am curious. My preliminary scans showed this location to be the largest cargo or empty section onboard your ship. Is there a larger area or a location I’m missing? I would be able to help you more if I could transform.”

    “Transform?” Data echoed, cocking his head.

    “Ah, I see your confusion, Mr. Data. You and I share a similar heritage, it would seem. However, I have more than a few tricks up my sleeve which you might want to study. Well,” the automated cargo ship’s voice continued with a sigh, “I guess I’ll be stuck in vehicle form for a while. Enter at your discretion…”

    And with that, the door of the cargo ship opened automatically, revealing an interior done primarily in gray and half-lit. Random, box-shaped seating lined the interior of Skyfire’s cargo bay, and access ladders of two sizes – one human sized, another much larger – lead up to, Geordi surmised, the bridge or cockpit. The interior was also MUCH smaller than Skyfire’s exterior hinted at; however, the chief engineer remembered, Data had noted that the ship seemed to contain a bulk of additional machinery that didn’t seem necessary.

    Geordi’s electronic eyes, however, picked up something that really blew him away: the interior of the ship, its service nodes, the data panels and partially exposed sections of electronics pulsed with activity in an incredibly synchronous rhythm, almost like a heartbeat. Data transmission within Skyfire was, Geordi figured, ridiculously fast; he glanced at one of the wall-mounted output monitors to see data patterns flashing across the screen that resembled Data’s own positronic data patterns.

    “Gentlemen, if you’ll make your way to my-er, ‘the’ cockpit, I can explain further the repairs I need. I am lighting the way for you.”

    Just as Skyfire’s deep, soothing voice spoke up, brighter orange indicator lights began flashing towards the smaller ladder at the front end of the cargo section. Data flashed Geordi his nonchalant very well then expression and walked towards the ladder. Geordi shrugged, muttering, “When in Rome,” and tagged along.

    Skyfire’s cockpit was distinctly set up for two types of beings – smaller humanoids and larger humanoids. The humanoid cockpit controls included tandem seating in the center of Skyfire’s cockpit section, with similar controls five times Geordi and Data’s size on either side. Data sat into one of the cockpit seats and Geordi followed suit.

    The robot face that appeared on the screen in front of Data was recognizable as Skyfire; Data had interacted with the robot on the bridge. For Geordi, it was a new experience.

    “This is, for the time being, the closest we’ll get to meeting face to face, I believe. Geordi LaForge, I am Skyfire. Data, my regards. I’ve scanned your portable sensor equipment and have designed an appropriate sync port for them. This port will give you a brief readout of where I need help repairing myself.”

    As Skyfire spoke, a panel raised between Data and Geordi which resembled a regular tricorder sync location.

    “Out of curiosity – oh, and it’s just Geordi,” the chief engineer queried, “how did you scan our tricorders and build this so quickly? I can understand adapting an existing port for other technology, but this…this looks like a near-accurate replica of one of the Enterprise’s sync ports!”

    “We Autobots have always been resourceful, Geordi. We have learned, over the years, to adapt to new environments as necessary.”

    “Indeed,” Data replied, adding, “Would this adaptation also include the ‘transforming’ process you mentioned?”

    “It seems as if your culture and mine would be apt to share some history,” Skyfire’s visage on the monitor grinned wide. “Let me tell you about transforming…”




    What began as a simple offer of repairs became an intriguing 3-hour exchange. As Geordi, Data and a called-in team of junior engineers set about repairing and tweaking Skyfire’s internals, Skyfire explained the utility and necessity of transforming, narrated the history of Cybertron, the debated theories behind Quintesson-creation and Primus-creation, the rise of the Megatron and the beginning of the Decepticons, the creation of the Autobots, the matrix and the importance of the Primes in Autobot history. Skyfire tried to keep his description of the multi-million year war between the Autobots and Decepticons as short and concise as possible, but there were so many important events. He carefully detailed the arrival of the Autobots on Earth and the theory he, Prowl, Optimus Prime and a few other Autobot elite had shared regarding the destiny of the Autobots and the Decepticons to someday interact with humans. Skyfire admitted that many of his Autobot brethren had become different individuals, more caring or optimistic, because of their interaction with human beings. Finally, he detailed the events leading up to his displacement and arrival in the same dimension as the Enterprise.

    As Skyfire narrated, Data noticed that he could hear Skyfire just as well as he was listening to the Autobot aurally. The sensation was disturbing at first, but as Data processed and tracked down the reasons behind what he could only describe as a ‘6th sense,’ he found that a series of cognitive receiver packages near the lower portion of his positronic net were resonating with the Skyfire’s voice, as if they were receiving the voice as an independent transmission. Data logged this and planned to return to it, noting an interesting similarity between the oddly invasive nature of Skyfire’s voice and data transmission and several other methods of artificially-generated ‘telekenesis’ observed in other species.

    Geordi was right in there with Skyfire, sentence for sentence, describing the formation of the Federation, the Federation-Romulan war, the Federation’s unease and eventual peace treaty with the Klingons, the recent Dominion-Cardassian war and the arrival of the Borg. The Borg piqued Skyfire’s interest, Geordi noticed, as he asked about the location and origin of the Borg. Geordi told the Autobot what he knew – the Borg seemed to originate from the Delta quadrant, where they had a series of hives. No one in the Federation knew where the Borg’s home planet was outside of ‘somewhere in the Delta Quadrant,’ which Geordi relayed.

    …and then, the chief engineer realized how much work they had accomplished. The work Skyfire had outlined was complete; Geordi and ensign Moore only had to remagnetize the hull plate they had removed and place it back over an exposed section, and…done. Skyfire’s booming voice echoed the final step.

    “Thank you, friends, for your efforts. What you accomplished in 3 hours, I would have spent weeks and months regenerating. I appreciate the help.”
    As Geordi and Data counted heads in Skyfire’s cargo bay, the chief engineer replied with a grin, “No prob, Skyfire. Any opportunity to look at new technology is a good thing. I know I’ve been entertained.”

    “And I have been as well,” Data agreed. “I am currently attempting to draw parallels between the wars of the Autobots and the Decepticons to historical battles throughout our galaxy. I must admit that I cannot find a listing for wars lasting for as long as yours has.”

    “…and it has been a long war,” Skyfire admitted, sighing. “Too long.”
     
  13. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Also, a quick nitpick note:

    In this story, I'm going to place Cybertron wherever I damn well please in space. I know there's been some conjecture about it being close to Earth, but roll with me on my location for it.
     
  14. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    “Report,” Jean-Luc Picard barked, swiftly walking towards his chair in the Enterprise bridge’s conference room and clanking down a teacup of Earl Grey.

    The captain of the Enterprise, along with a series of junior science team officers, had been running slingshot projectile paths away from or into the micronova for the past several hours in an attempt to track down some additional Data on the shuttlecraft Respighi. The trail was cold and Picard was frustrated. He refused to acknowledge that he had lost Will and Deanna. Not now, not with the Titan command so close to Will & Deanna’s grasp. He couldn’t believe it.

    “Captain, it appears that Skyfire is not from our universe,”

    “Explain,” the captain grunted from behind the teacup, sipping quietly.

    “Skyfire, as he has explained, is an Autobot. It turns out that he is part of a warring faction of machines that is fighting to protect other planets from their opponents, the Decepticons. Both factions are from a planet called Cybertron, which Skyfire described as being ‘very far from Earth.’ He did not give any astronomical data on its location.”

    “This is informative, but it doesn’t get my first officer and counselor back any faster,” the captain noted, leaning in to cast a gaze at both Geordi and Data.

    “What did he tell you about his arrival? Was it a result of the micronova?”

    “Skyfire gave us everything, Captain. He gave us access to all sorts of tracking logs and sensor data on the micronova. So far, what he saw in the moments before he got sucked into this universe matches what we’ve seen.”

    “You mean, this micronova exists in his universe as well?”
    Geordi slid a datapadd towards Captain Picard and leaned back, offering his hands in a gesture of so it seems.

    “From what I can see, the data Skyfire accumulated is damn near identical to what we’re reading off of this thing. Only difference is, Skyfire fell afoul of the thing’s temper.”

    Picard frowned at the chief engineer, but Data tactfully stepped in, continuing the chief engineer’s thought.

    “Geordi is referring to a spike in what appear to antitachyons and chronitons. These particles have not been identified in his universe, it would seem, so we only have data to match them. However, I ran a cursory simulation where a standard, B-class nova is exposed to chronitons and antitachyons at its core. The basic results would include a temporal rift and some degree of particle and matter transfer between one universe or continuum and the next.”

    The Captain of the Enterprise sat quietly, his brow furrowed, as he regarded the chief engineer and science officer. Temporal rifts of this sort were usually the result of someone artificially tampering with time and space. Although rare, it occurred- and it usually meant an awful lot of cleanup work to repair the damage done to one continuum or another. However, when a sun explodes, the strength of the explosion had been conjectured to lead to small temporal disturbances before…

    “Could this be the first naturally-occuring, self-sufficient nova? Imagine...” Picard stood up, pacing behind his chair, slowly speaking his hypothesis.

    “Two stars, in two different universes, explode simultaneously, causing a temporal rift that would allow them to feed off of each other. If the explosion was massive enough to create a sufficient rift, neither nova could either expand or collapse, because one would be feeding the other whatever matter it’s attempting to expel. Their mass and volume would remain…relatively constant.”

    “That is an interesting hypothesis, Captain,” Data noted, “although the odds of such an event occurring naturally is nearly 263 trillion to one, based on the number of known stars and possible inconsistencies between both universes.”

    “Do you have a better hypothesis for why our micronova is what it is, Mr. Data?”
    Picard retorted, leaning over the back of his chair.

    “I do not, at least not at present.”

    “Very well. We’ll come back to this. Data, Geordi, how did Skyfire explain that he got here?” The captain, rescuing some of his calm, sat back down.

    “According to Skyfire’s logs, he was monitoring his universe’s version of the micronova when a stellar flare rose from the surface. Skyfire attempted to leave orbit and was struck by the flare. When he awoke, he several hundred kilometers out, where we found him.”

    “So, building on this theory, if a craft is struck by a solar flare from a nova laden with a chroniton and antitachyon core, it could possibly be thrown from this universe into the next one.”

    “It would fit the facts,” Geordi acceded, crossing his arms. “But…I dunno…Any time we get into time/space continuum and alternate universe jams, it always ends up being a real bear to get back out of them.”

    “Indeed it is,” Picard agreed, “Which is why we can’t spend much time in their universe after we find the commander and the counselor.”

    What?” the chief engineer balked, leaning across the table. “Captain, you’re not thinking of—“

    “No, not until we have sufficient proof,” the captain of the Enterprise admitted, holding up the datapadd Geordi and Data had prepared.

    “Geordi, prepare a probe. Program it to detect the sufficient conditions for a temporal rift or a dimensional vortex. Data, collaborate with Skyfire and Geordi. I want to make sure that the readings this…Autobot, as you call him, was looking at the same planet, or at least the same series of particles. Convince me.”

    “It is your hypothesis, Captain,” Data calmly mentioned.

    “Then show me that I’m right,” Picard bit back, picking up his tea and stood. He saw the unease in his engineer and science officer’s eyes and sighed, letting his shoulders sag a bit.

    “…or, prove that I’m wrong. Either way, we have a possible explanation for Will and Deanna’s sudden disappearance that goes beyond the ‘falling into the star’ theory. My first officer and counselor are not fool enough to allow their shuttlecraft to just fall into a nebula. Prove me right. Or prove me wrong. Dismissed.”

    The captain, datapadd in one hand and empty teacup in the other, made a beeline for the door. Geordi and Data knew the walk all too well – Jean-Luc Picard now had to wait for answers and the captain hated the waiting game.

    “I believe it is in our best interests to bring the captain results as soon as we have them, as opposed to running simulations on the data we accumulate, as usual. We should…’hop to it.’”

    Geordi nodded, pushing himself out of the conference room chair. “Couldn’t have said it better myself, Data.”
     
  15. Sheba

    Sheba FF 1 Badman=Cyclonus

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    this is cool, keep it up :D 
     
  16. Chaos Incarnate

    Chaos Incarnate Not just a name.

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    "There is likely more to this vessel than meets the eye." Best. Line. Ever!
     
  17. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    I couldn't let a story like this run its course without slipping in the obvious TF one-liners. :D 
     
  18. Overlord II

    Overlord II Starscreamicon Leader TFW2005 Supporter

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    Cool....Cool.

    In my opinion, very accurate portrayal of the characters involved.
     
  19. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    Only a small update today, but I've been studying and working.


    4 lightyears away, a dormant transmitter post picked up the distress call broadcast by Skyfire and forwarded it as necessary. The transmitter post’s signal was bounced off of a relay station, and then to the closest transceiver matrix. The transceiver matrix, deciding the signal was of high priority, encoded the distress call in a transwarp signal package and sent it towards Unimatrix Eighteen. The package, after receiving a cursory evaluation by Eighteen’s collective consciousness, was then forwarded to Unimatrix One, again via a high-priority transwarp signal package.

    Deep within Unimatrix One, the collective consciousness maniftested by the Borg Queen received and eagerly opened the transwarp signal package, evaluating the distress call. Its signal strength, its transmission method, the data packets …flawless. Precise. Accurate. Completely perfect in every way. The signal was Borg, but such an incredibly refined signal style that no Borg vessel could have sent it.

    As the Queen willed two investigation cubes and a hive study sphere towards the signal’s origin, she listened to it on repeat, at maximum frequency, over and over again.

    “Skyfire to unidentified ship…please help…a majority of my systems are damaged and I need a place to recouperate...repeat, Skyfire to unidentified ship…”

    The Queen smiled. “We are coming, Skyfire. Help is on the way.”
     
  20. Ops_was_a_truck

    Ops_was_a_truck JOOOLIE ANDREWWWWWS!!!!!!

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    “Probe away, captain.”

    “Excellent. Mr. LaForge, Mr. Data, this is your show.”

    Jean-Luc Picard nodded curtly at his science officer, who, along with the Enterprise chief engineer, were clustered around the stellar probe data station at the back of the bridge. It would take a matter of seconds before the probe got close enough to the micronova’s sun-like corona before it would open and begin gathering information…

    …and, like clockwork, the data began pouring in.

    “We’ve got a feed, captain,” Geordi noted. “I’ve got the probe set up to take each reading that Skyfire’s was taking. Turns out all their interaction with humans has paid off; Skyfire gave me all the English versions of what he was watching.”

    “I will be cross-referencing our probe’s datastream with Skyfire’s data," added the positronic science officer. "The probe’s orbit, combined with the simulated gravity center, should duplicate the conditions Skyfire endured before his dimensional shift.”

    Picard nodded curtly. “Good, good. It looks to me as if the micronova’s verteron particles are being reabsorbed before they can be released.”

    “That is correct, captain,” Data noted. “The verteron particles are—“

    “Captain,” Geordi blurted out, “Something’s happening.”

    Picard looked closely at the data, then at the probe control station where Geordi was navigating the small automated craft, then at the monitor. Each one showed him the same thing.

    “A temporal flare,” the captain murmured in awe. “Amazing…”

    The raw data streams on the science consoles at the back of the bridge didn’t convey the incredible image playing out on the monitor. Picard glanced between each one as a monstrous arc of heat and light burst like a bubble over the surface of the micronova, its massive size causing the explosion to play out in slow motion. The arc of white-hot stellar matter that remained had an obsidian, off-colored flicker within its center, almost like a disembodied sunspot.

    “Captain, we’re losing the probe,” Geordi warned.

    The Captain whirled from gawking at the bridge’s viewscreen and scrutinized the chief engineer’s data station.

    “Explain,” the captain grunted, squatting to Geordi and Data’s seated height.

    “Well, as you predicted, the probe is being sucked into that,” Geordi offered, thumbing in the direction of the viewscreen.

    “Confirmed, captain,” Data added. “The readings the probe is receiving match the velocity, loss-of-control and radiation spikes that Skyfire’s readings show before his sensor suite went offline.”

    “Time to complete loss of data?”

    “28 seconds, captain.”

    “Milk that probe for any information you can get, commanders,” Picard decided, using Geordi and Data’s shoulders to push himself up.

    “Aye, captain,” Geordi acknowledged. “On top of that, we-“

    “Captain, another ship has entered the system. A...and two more, sir. They are closing fast,” Kae announced, his voice piqued in ancitipation.

    “What type of ship? You sound like you’ve seen a ghost, Kae.”

    “Two cubes and a sphere, sir. Borg vessels.”

    “Red Alert! Raise shields, Mr. Kae.”

    Damn. So I wasn’t hearing things. As the dissonant klaxons and red warning lights filled the bridge with an emergency ambiance, the captain of the Enterprise pursed his lips, frustrated with himself for dismissing something he could have sworn was just old age setting on. He had heard right – Skyfire’s transmitter had Borg technology of some sort, or enough to set off the captain’s old implants. It had been an uncanny feeling, and, with an arm of the collective now in such close proximity, Picard felt idiotic. He had heard Skyfire before anyone else. Now, so had the Borg. And, as the faint whispers in the far corners of his cerebral cortex muttered, they wanted this strange mecha.

    The captain of the Enterprise swiftly strolled down the bridge, heading towards the helm officer’s station.

    “Mr. Kelly, plot a course for that rift at full impulse.”

    Kelly, a little offset by the order, glanced back at the captain. “Sir?”

    “You heard me, Kelly. Plot a course. Maximum impulse. Follow the probe in.”

    “Aye, sir,” Kelly nodded. The helm officer’s hands were hesitant as they hit the console, but he began working with dexterity.

    The tremendous, organic-looking Sovereign-class starship began to lose altitude, giving up its inverted position over the micronova. A pale orange corona of heat began to build around the Enterprise as its shields took on the brunt of the micronova’s residual heat energy. The ship peeled in closer, gaining velocity as it approached the seemingly endless dimensional rift in front of the vessel, a wavering, near-pitch-black circle that sucked in and swirled away any light and heat from its solar flare exterior.

    The bridge of the Enterprise was filled with tension as the ship’s inertial dampers struggled to fight the micronova’s gravitational pull. The captain shook uncomfortably in his chair as he called out to his crew.

    “Mr. Data, how long until we lose the probe?”

    “Approximately 6 seconds, captain. We are 500 meters behind it and are experiencing same velocity and gravitational pull.”

    “If you would be so kind as to thread the needle, Mr. Kelly,” Picard called out over the overwhelming rumble of the Enterprise’s inertial dampers.

    “Aye, captain,” the Canadian helmsman nodded, his brow set.

    The Enterprise shot ahead, her bow shields pouring on the heat, until the egglike corona of the ship suddenly changed shape, as heat – and everything else – was sucked towards the dimensional chasm before the ship. Seconds later, Enterprise herself was stretched across the fabric of space and time, her mass disappearing into the rapidly-dwindling wormhole.
     

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