Starfleet Intelligence: The Missions of the USS Doyle, Chapter 1

STAR TREK: STARFLEET INTELLIGENCE
The Missions of the USS Doyle

by Edward Webb

LEGAL STUFF: All of the characters and events not specifically copyrighted by
paramount Television is copyright (c) 1997 by Edward Webb. This is a fan novel
written for the pleasure of other fans. It may be distributed freely as long as no
charge is collected in this distribution, and the body of this work and this
copyright notice is kept intact.

NOTE: These events take place almost a year after the Borg Massacre at Wolf
359.

Chapter 1: USS Challenger

Sara Takashi woke up in her quarters screaming. The darkness of her
room closed in on her like a vise. She sat up, calming her breathing and fighting
the urge to rip the blankets off of her as the inter-ship communicator chirped.
“Bridge to Commander Takashi. Is something wrong?”
She subconsciously pulled her long black hair out of her face and closed
her eyes as the night lights came softly on-line, adding shadows to the room.
“No, Bradley, I’m fine. Sorry to wake the night shift.”
Lt. Commander Bradley sighed. “We were already on duty, Commander,
but this is the third time this week we’ve gotten a call from your quarters.”
She silently mouthed the words as Bradley spoke them, wondering whose
idiotic idea it was to make the Betazoid science officer the night shift
commander. Probably the Counselor’s, she thought. “I’m fine, Bradley. Really.
I’ll try to keep it quiet from now on. Takashi out.” She sighed, slid out of bed,
and walked over to the replicator. “Ginseng tea, hot.” The replicator whined
briefly, and she sipped the hot liquid from the clear replicator-standard teacup.
She sat down and gently called out, “Lights.” The lights glowed brightly, almost
stabbing at her eyes.
She glanced around her quarters, spartan except for some family
heirlooms and personal effects. The daisho swords that had been in her family
for almost a thousand years sat over her workstation. Her father’s old Starfleet
insignia and her mother’s communicator pin sat side by side on a small Buddhist
shrine with the Vulcan IDIC symbol hanging between them. She closed her eyes
and prayed briefly, as she always did when her gaze brushed it. Her eyes settled
on the holograph in front of the shrine. It was her father next to Admiral Hikaru
Sulu, congratulating him when he gained command of the science vessel USS
Hawking. She always loved to hear stories about the Admiral and the original
Enterprise when she was a child, told by her mother on her off-duty hours as
Chief Medical Officer aboard the Hawking.
She smiled to herself. Her family were descendants of one of the greatest
samurai families in Japan, and all of them had been in the military. Whether they
had been bushi, World War II airplane pilots, UN peacekeeping troops, corporate
soldiers or Starfleet officers, the Takashi family had been there. The family code,
Death is but a doorway, has always rung in the minds of the Takashi who served.
Her thoughts turned back to her dreams. If death was a doorway, it was
wide-open for the 24th century Takashi. When she was 15, her father died when
the Cardassians attacked the Hawking on an errand of mercy to the Mandorian
outpost near the Cardassian DMZ. She and her mother survived, as well as
sixteen others out of a crew of 173. The actions of Nakita Takashi gave her a
promotion to Captain and command of USS Shogun. Although the ironic jokes
sometimes got problematic, the Excelsior-class starship and her captain both
distinguished themselves during the Cardassian conflicts. When Sara returned
from the Academy, she signed on as Shogun’s Ops. During the nine-year tour of
duty, mother and daughter explored new worlds, sought out new life, and slowly
left the grave of Akira Takashi behind.
Until Wolf 359.
When the Borg attacked Sector 001, the Shogun was one of the ships
assigned to the defending fleet. The ship was damaged beyond repair and the
warp core breached, and Captain Takashi ordered all hands to abandon ship. Sara
tried to stay behind, but her mother almost forced her into one of the escape pods.
Before she could launch the Captain’s Yacht though, the Shogun exploded, killing
her and almost thirty personnel who had pod trouble.
The sight of the explosion and the sound of her own screams have been
haunting her every night since. Not the promotion to Commander, nor the
assignment as Number One of the USS Challenger erased the loss. Captain
Hagen, a large Irish man who always seemed to be jolly, personally requested her
transfer to Challenger, saying he wanted a little of the “Takashi command
tradition” on his ship. She politely accepted, but five months of charting
anomalies and transporting Federation VIPs throughout the galaxy only
re-enforced the emptiness in her heart.
The tea was cold in her hand. She set it down on the table and looked at
the chronometer. Three hours early, she tied her hair back and dressed in her
uniform, all the time thinking, Death is but a doorway.
She looked at her reflection in the mirror, tugging on her tunic. She
rubbed her stomach and looked at the cranberry fabric under her hands. In the
mirror she saw the daisho, and thought how simple life must have been during
those times. Sometimes I wish I could cut my stomach and join my ancestors.
Why did you have to leave me, mother?

* * * * *

“Captain on the bridge.”
Takashi got up from the command chair and turned towards Captain
Hagen. His wide muscular frame barely fit through the turbolift doors, his crop of
short red hair almost brushing the top of the frame. He looked uncomfortable, as
he always did when Ensign Saboc, a Vulcan fresh out of the Academy, insisted on
following regulations and announcing his arrival every morning. He glanced
around at Lt. Commander Loreno Bradley at Science, Lt. Albert Schleist at
Security and Ensign Angela Lukacz at the Conn, smiling at each one in turn. He
then turned to study the viewscreen, which was currently showing an empty star
field. “Good morning, Number One,” he said to her in a thin Irish brogue. “Up
afore the crack of dawn as usual, aye?”
She nodded, a small smile on her lips. For some reason, no matter how
she felt, Captain Hagen forced Irish slang and light flirting made her feel like she
was special. Everyone felt that way about him; he just had a way with people.
He had charisma and personality, but when there was work to be done, he went
right down to business. He smiled again and looked around the bridge.
“Excellent. Report.”
She picked up her PADD from the arm of the chair. “All systems fully
functional. We’re finishing up our survey of the Alaris Three ion cluster near the
Neutral Zone, which should be done at 1800 hours. Stellar Cartography is still
complaining that we’re not close enough for a detailed scan, and I suggested that
they ask the Romulans for permission.” She paused as the captain smiled and
Bradley snickered from his Science post. “Ensign Talis is in Sick Bay after some
complications with her pregnancy, and one of the replicators on Deck 12 is
producing drinks without glasses.” She let a soft sigh out, just loud enough for
the captain to hear. “Another exciting day.”
He laughed. It originated from deep within his belly, and sounded more
like a Klingon’s laugh than a Terran’s. “Aye, I know what you mean. Mr.
Bradley, please take the bridge for a while afore you go off duty. I need Mr.
Takashi in my Ready Room for a bit.” He strode off, the Ready Room doors
closing behind him. Takashi glanced at Bradley, a thin reedy man, and handed
him her PADD. “Wonder what he wants?” she said.
Bradley shrugged. “No idea. I try not to scan without permission, but I
suspect it has to do with these nocturnal episodes.”
She frowned at him. “Great. A lecture is not what I need today.” She
tossed her long ponytail over her shoulder and walked towards the Ready Room.
Bradley shook his head as the doors swished behind her.
Captain Hagen was seated behind his desk, drinking a glass of fruit juice
and staring at his desk terminal. She stood at attention until he acknowledged
her. “Sit down, Sara.”
She sat down gingerly, still ramrod straight, and waited. The captain
punched the off control and leaned towards her. “Dr. Mancuso has told me that
you haven’t been going to his appointments.”
She looked at her hands in her lap, and shook her head. “Permission to
speak freely?”
He smiled. “Do you even have to ask?”
“Sir…”
“We’re in private, Commander. Call me Ryan.”
“As I’ve mentioned before, sir, it would be inappropriate to address you
familiarly as long as you are captain and I am your First Officer, even in private.”
“And as I’ve said before, lass, you sound like a Vulcan.” He chuckled and
sat back. “This is not ship business, so I’d prefer if you called me Ryan. Call it an
order if you must.”
“Yes si… Ryan. Speaking freely, I don’t feel that Dr. Mancuso can help.”
“What do you mean? He’s the Ship’s Counselor, and assistant to the CMO.
His credentials are impeccable.”
“I know. I’ve read them. I helped him get assigned to the Challenger. But
every time I talk to counselors about my… nocturnal episodes, as Lt. Bradley calls
them, the concept of temporary re-assignment or time off from Starfleet comes
up.”
“Ah, I see. And no Takashi has ever not been in Starfleet, aye?”
“That’s right, sir. As far back as the Federation goes, our family has been
part of it. It would be… embarrassing to be…”
“Sara, Dr. Mancuso’s not trying to drum you out of the fleet! He just
wants you to take some time off. You keep passing up your shore leave, and he
feels that it’s too soon after the Borg invasion to be taking on such a stressful
position as First Officer.”
“Have I not been fulfilling my duties, sir?”
Hagen winced. Takashi wondered, not for the first time, how he managed
to survive so long in Starfleet with such an aversion to rank and titles. Maybe it
was an act he used to get people to open up to him. Regardless, he ignored the
‘sir’ and replied. “On the contrary, you’re fulfilling every duty and quite a few
beyond. That’s the problem, Sara.” He looked at the PADD on his desk. “You
spend no time on recreational pursuits, you constantly volunteer for bonus duties,
and you sleep maybe three hours a day.” He let the PADD clatter on the desk.
“You’re going to crack, lass. The Irish people are hard-working too, but even we
have a wake after the funeral.”
Her eyes met with Captain Hagen’s. For a second, he looked like he was
about to say something else, but then he leaned back and scratched the short red
bristles on the top of his head. “Mancuso wants you on mandatory R&R. If I
don’t do something, he’ll get the CMO on my butt and I’ll be forced to temporarily
relieve you for a week or so.” He sat up and looked at her. “Honestly, I can’t
afford that week without you, but if you keep going the way you are, I’ll have to
make due. I’d like it if you spent a couple of hours a day in the Rec Room, the
Holodeck, or even in the Galley, and in return I’ll try to keep Mancuso happy. Is
that a deal?”
She nodded her head and smiled. “I’ll try, si…”
“Red Alert. Red Alert.” Bradley’s voice almost echoed in the small Ready
Room. “Unidentified Romulan vessel entering Federation space. All hands to
battle stations. Captain Hagen and Commander Takashi to the bridge.” Klaxons
sounded as they both rushed to the bridge.
The viewscreen was filled with the image of a Romulan Bird of Prey, its
dark green metal hull shining dully from the rays of the Alaris cluster. Captain
Hagen quickly took his chair, which always threatened to break when he sat in it.
“Status?”
Ensign Saboc’s hands danced across the Ops console. “Their shields are
up, and their phasers and photon torpedoes are armed.” His console beeped.
“Captain, they’re hailing us.”
He tugged his tunic down. “Romulans,” he snorted. “On screen.”
The scene changed, and the Romulan commander’s face appeared. His
eyebrows arched high on his face, nearly blending in with his close-cropped hair.
His greenish-silver tunic shined sickeningly in the low lights of his bridge. A
computer rendering of the Romulan logo appeared behind him, obscuring the rest
of the enemy bridge. “I am Commander Tomak of the warship Imperial Might.
We are performing military exercises in this sector. We advise you to leave
immediately.”
Captain Hagen sat relaxed in his chair, one leg sitting atop his knee. “This
is Captain Ryan Hagen of the USS Challenger. We are on a survey mission of the
Alaris ion cluster, and we have peaceful intentions.” He tensed and leaned
forward, both feet on the deck and an accusatory finger towards the screen. “We
are also on the correct side of the Neutral Zone. You, however, are not. I could
rattle on about what treaties you’ve violated, but we both know that you’re wrong.
So shove off, lad, and we won’t tell your bosses in the High Command.”
The Romulan smiled coldly. “However, Captain, we have claimed the
Alaris cluster by right of conquest. So you are in Romulan space, and in violation
of treaty. You have one minute to leave or surrender your vessel.”
Captain Hagen slapped his palm onto his right chair arm. Paper. Saboc’s
hands flew across the console again. “Audio off, sir.”
“Observation, Mr. Bradley?”
“He’s lying. I can’t tell about what, but he’s lying. Probably about the
conquest bit, since I don’t remember that being part of any treaty with the
Romulans.”
“Agreed. Number One?”
“I concur. We could ask them which treaty they’re referring to, but it
would just be more subterfuge. Personally, I think they’re looking for an excuse
to fight.”
Captain Hagen sighed. “Somehow, I guessed that as well. Mr. Schleist?”
His thin, custard-colored form looked up from the Security console. “Sir,
they probably have reinforcements cloaked. This smells like a Kobiyashi Maru,
and we’re only a light cruiser. We could give one Bird a run for its money, but
not two or three.” He touched a console, which beeped. “However, weapons and
shields are at the ready, just in case.”
“Good man. Target their engines, and wait for the signal. Saboc, audio
on.” A chirp, and the ambient sound of the disguised Romulan bridge returned.
Captain Hagen leaned back. “We’ve just done a quick scan of our data banks, and
find no reference to a Romulan right of conquest in any of our treaties. I’m sure
you could quote a itty-bitty reference from a little-known amendment, but frankly
I don’t care. I’m not a diplomat, and I expect neither are you.” He sat forward
again, looking intently at the Romulan. “So I’ll make you a deal, lad. We both
leave, and we both contact our respective governments. If the High Command
really wants this sector of space dust, they’re welcome to negotiate for it. But
right now it’s Federation space, and it’s my job to keep the dog off the lawn.”
Commander Tomak smiled again. “We have no intentions of leaving this
sector, but you may contact your government if you wish. We shall give you an
extra minute, since I am a generous man.”
“You’re too kind, sir,” the captain muttered. His fist pounded the arm of
his chair again, this time with two fingers pointing outwards. Scissors. Lt.
Schleist quietly readied the torpedoes and phasers, while trying not to move
obviously. The captain spoke to cover him. “Ensign Saboc, send out a
high-priority message to Starfleet Command, advising them of our situation and
asking for information about the treaty the Imperial Might is alluding to.”
Saboc deftly reconfigured the Ops panel, calling up defensive strategies
and shuttling flight plans to the Conn, manned by Lukacz, who had taken over
communications and was sending out a request for re-enforcements. After a
couple of seconds Saboc announced, “I cannot contact Starfleet Command, sir.”
Captain Hagen muttered again, and turned to the screen. “I apologize,
Commander, but it seems the cluster is in our direct line of communications. I’m
afraid my ship can’t handle multi-directional subspace relays, so without
contradictory orders, I’m afraid my ultimatum stands: we both go, or we both
stay.”
The Romulan sighed. “That, Captain, is not a choice. We will not leave.”
Captain Hagen looked genuinely sad. “I’m very sorry to hear that,
Commander.” His fist hit the arm chair hard. Rock. Schleist fired both phaser
banks and a spread of three torpedoes at the Imperial Might’s engines, while
simultaneously Lukacz initiated defensive maneuvers. The screen blinked back
to the view of the Romulan ship, which was spinning and zagging crazily, but
they managed to register one clean hit on their starboard nacelle. The captain sat
back and barked orders. “Change view to tactical. Let me know the second any
other Romulans uncloak. Lukacz, as soon as that happens, plot us a course
bearing 187 mark 43, maximum warp, evasion pattern Delta Five.”
“Aye, sir.”
“Saboc, any word from Starfleet?”
“I’ve just received word from the Iliad and the Excelsior, sir. They’re on
their way, but it will be at least fifteen minutes until they arrive.”
“Lukacz, give us that time. Schleist, fire at will…”
Takashi broke in. “Captain, I’m reading a warp signature off our port bow.
It’s another Romulan vessel.”
“Do it, Lukacz. Saboc, feed the bearing of our reinforcements to the
Conn, and change course as soon as we’re out. We’ll meet them halfway.
Schleist, cover our exit with a few spreads.”
“Incoming torpedo, bearing 179 mark 0,” Takashi shouted. “Impact in
three seconds.”
“Brace for impact!” the captain screamed as the bridge shook. Saboc was
thrown out of his chair, but quickly regained his station.
Takashi read the bad news off of her chair monitor. “Rear shields at 37%.
Light structural damage to decks 7 and 8. One more good shot and our back will
be exposed.”
“Saboc! What’s our ETA?”
“Six minutes and thirty nine seconds, captain!”
“We don’t have six minutes! Exceed safety warp limits!”
Lukacz screamed back, “We already are, sir!”
The inter-ship communicator chirped. “Engineering to Bridge, we’re
putting severe stress on the core’s intermix chamber! We’ve got about five
minutes before we’re looking at a warp core breach!”
“Understood,” Takashi snapped. “Helm, reduce speed to 50% above safe
speed, and initiate warp maneuver Gamma Three.”
“Aye, sir.” The tactical display showed that Challenger had slipped out
from between the two Romulans, and was now spinning and zig-zagging like a
kite in a whirlwind. The representations of two other Federation ships just barely
entered on the left side of the screen.
Takashi had briefly checked the damage report when her sensor screen
flashed. She touched it, and her heart sank. “Captain, another warp signature
dead ahead!”
“What?” He looked down at his own panels, and bit his lip. “Damn! You
were right, Schleist! They’re going to triangulate and run us down. Lukacz, drop
to sublight immediately, change bearing to 94 mark 2, and engage at maximum
warp.”
“Bridge to Engineering,” Takashi called out, “we need that core to hold
together longer than five minutes.”
“We’ll try, Commander, but it’s already being held together by sheer
willpower.”
“Captain,” Schleist bellowed. “Two torpedoes from opposite directions!
We’ll be caught in the crossfire! Impact in…”
Sparks flew from the back wall of the bridge. Schleist flew over his
console from the blow, and slammed into the back of the captain’s chair. The
force of his velocity caused the chair to snap, and it toppled to the ground with
Captain Hagen in it. Takashi slapped her badge and manned the Security
console. “Emergency! Medical to the bridge! Two casualties!” She noticed that
the console was on fire, and rerouted all the major controls to the Science station
next to it, shoving Bradley out of the way. “Bradley! Check on the captain!”
The intercom chirped again. “The chamber’s flooding Engineering,
Bridge! We’ve got to drop out of warp now!”
“Ensign Lukacz, drop to full impulse and initiate…”
“Incoming torpedo!”
The bridge shook again, harder this time, and Saboc flew backwards, his
uniform and face horribly burned. The turbolift doors swished open, and the
medical team went to work on him and the captain.
Takashi wiped sweat and soot from her brow. Ops was gone, the captain
was down, and they had no warp power. Maybe today is a good day to die, she
thought. “Lukacz, where’s our ships?”
“They’ve exceeded maximum safe warp, sir! They’ll be here in twenty…”
The front of the bridge exploded as another torpedo burst impacted. The Conn
panel came loose and slammed into Lukacz’s chest. She slumped over.
“Bradley! Take over at Ops and initiate maneuver Zed Zed Zed! We need
just a few more seconds!” She manually targeted the phasers, and fired on the
nearest Romulan vessel. The phasers managed to pierce the shields and do
minimal damage to its hull. “Direct hit!” she called out.
Through the smoke and noise, the communicator crackled into life.
“Challenger, this is the Excelsior. We understand your situation and are engaging
the Romulan threat. Pilot your vessel to course 241 mark 78 at best possible
speed to rendezvous with the Pasteur.”
She wiped her brow again. “You heard the man, Bradley. Bridge to
Engineering, we need best possible speed.”
“We’re limping as it is now, Commander. I can give you Warp 1 for about
three minutes, and then this chamber’s going to shut down.”
“Do your best, Engineering. We need to get as far from the battle as
possible.” She put the panel on standby and rushed over to the medical team.
Schleist was covered with a medical blanket over his face, and Saboc was being
sent to Sickbay in a stretcher. Lukacz was coming around, but she was having
some trouble breathing. She kneeled down next to the team by Captain Hagen,
but they were starting to cover him up as well.
Dr. Mancuso looked at her with deep blue eyes. “I’m sorry, Commander.
His neck snapped in the fall. He died instantly.” He got up and assisted Lukacz
to the turbolift.
Bradley turned to her. “Warp engines off-line. We’re in the clear, but
we’re also dead in the water. Nothing to do now but wait.”
Takashi slowly sank into her chair, staring at the flickering screen of the
ongoing battle, but her thoughts kept wandering back to other times, other places.
Death is but a doorway.

End of Chapter 1

AUTHOR’S NOTE
————-
Star Trek: Star Fleet Intelligence (SFI for short) is going to be a serial
Internet adventure set near the end of TNG. This is a long epic tale, as the first
“book” will be merely introducing the seven or eight main characters, joining
them together, and detailing the unique feel of SFI missions. Each book after that
will probably be a little shorter, but will still detail some facet of the one
character as a subplot, and connect towards a longer, interwoven plot.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, Sara Takashi is destined to become the
captain. In each series, the captain is the central character, and usually will
determine the feel of the crew under his or her command. Sara is a very tragic
character who is trying to overcome her grief. Three people close to her have
died from the dangers of Starfleet, but only her Japanese culture and personal
stubbornness pushes her onward. Sara was developed from a character I made for
the Star Trek Role-Playing Game, and it will be interesting to see how she
develops.
Also, I am not intimately versed in Star Trek physics and pseudoscience,
preferring to concentrate on the story and characters. However, if someone
wishes to give “technical advice”, I am more than willing to listen, but I will not
tolerate nit-picking. Example: “In chapter 4, Captain Takashi fires a level
thirteen phaser blast at the Klingons, but he is only stunned. I think level seven is
closer to heavy stun, as supported by BLAH book on page BLAH” is much better
than, “In chapter four, you retardedly have Takashi firing a LEVEL THIRTEEN
blast! What an idiot!” You get the idea.
Also, if anyone has plot suggestions or character ideas, I’ll be more than
willing to hear them. If I use them, you’ll get credit. If anyone would care to
make a more accurate timeline of the events I list in these stories, that would also
be appreciated (I HATE Stardates!).
Most of all, understand two things about SFI: I am flexible and willing to
write to my audience, and these stories are for fun, not to become gospel. If you’ll
indulge me, let me take you on a wild ride into the frontier of interstellar
espionage.

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