Dawn of the Federation Book II: Darkness on the Edge of Space
Chapter 1: Maiden Voyage
Caution: This Fan Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, BiSexual, Heterosexual, Fan Fiction, Science Fiction, Space, Aliens, Light Bond, Oriental Female, Oral Sex, Anal Sex, Masturbation, Exhibitionism, Workplace, Nudism, War,
Desc: Fan Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1: Maiden Voyage - Dark days lie ahead as the Romulans attack. Can the new "Hammer Of War" class ship make a difference? This follows up on Book I: Tomorrow Never Knows.
Just two days remained until Buran would be back in subspace range and the daily video chat with Trip could recommence. Not only was recalling the day's events with Trip over a beer the next best thing to stand in for the badly missed evening dinners in the Tucker quarters, there was also the odd helpful hint that T'Pol chipped in with, which was very useful for a newly appointed captain, who found himself in charge of Starfleet's second most illustrious ship.
His life had always been that of a lone wolf. There never had been much feeling of family in his youth, mainly because his father radiated all the warmth of an alpine glacier. After the fallout over his refusal to join the Navy he couldn't get away from his father fast enough and ended up with Section 31, Harris's shady bunch, who were hunting for solitary souls like him, since the dubious life of a spy was lonesome by definition. Now, after experiencing something resembling a family with Hoshi and the Tuckers, he couldn't imagine ever to return to that business. Sure, the skills and instincts he had acquired would come in handy now that war loomed, but becoming a spy again, with the odd assassination here or there, was completely out of the question. He would never give up the life with Hoshi he had now.
The subject of his thoughts was sitting at the communications console treating him to a beautiful smile. Somehow she always knew when he was thinking about her. Normally she would be supposed to sit right next to him in the second center chair - a feature that all newly built NX-class shared, but once in a while she liked to do her old job. Regulations be damned Malcolm thought, let her do it. Hoshi enjoyed running the coms and war was on the horizon, best to let her enjoy herself while she still could. He grinned inwardly, besides it put Hoshi in a good mood, which made their off-duty time much more fun.
His mind wandered back to their honeymoon and Malcolm suppressed a laugh. There was a certain irony to having one's honeymoon organized by a Vulcan. Unfamiliar with human customs, T'Len, the newly minted Chief Engineer of Buran had asked Lorian for help and he obviously had recalled his parents' wedding. One day after leaving Salem One to deliver Admiral Gardner back to Earth, he and Hoshi found themselves in a Cargo Bay which had been transformed into a beach, a duplicate of Lorian's parents' own honeymoon in the Expanse. While he wasn't a big fan of beaches - after all they suggested water nearby - Hoshi had thoroughly enjoyed the idea and since this artificial beach came without the water, he enjoyed it as well. Hoshi, having a tendency to not wear a uniform, or any other clothing for that matter, in her quarters, had merely adorned herself with a beautiful smile. That of course had kept his hormones beyond control and they had made glorious love for most of the three days.
His glance fell on the person, who had come up with the beachified cargo bay. When it came to being an atypical Vulcan, T'Len could easily give T'Pol a run for the money. As the captain of the ship he had of course seen her service record and knew that at age forty-nine, she was a good deal younger than T'Pol. Not that it made much of a difference; age did not seem to affect female Vulcans until it was triple-digit. Even though pushing seventy T'Pol looked better than most human females in their twenties and the same was true for T'Len. The unusual thing about T'Len was that she was already fully bonded with her mate Sonos, who was Hoshi's second in command of the communications department. Malcolm had learned from T'Pol that most Vulcans got married in their sixties.
T'Len and Sonos had quickly established a rapport with the crew. When Hoshi had started to assemble an all-female basketball team, T'Len had joined it as if it was the most Vulcan thing in the universe. If Hoshi was looking fantastic in the skin-tight two piece sport dress, T'Len was best described as spectacular. The weekly basketball tournament in cargo bay two had been a huge success since day one, with mainly male crew filling the make-shift bleachers. If she hadn't been married already, T'Len would have to fend the guys off with a stick. No moves on her were made, however. The cultural briefing that Hoshi had forwarded to all non-Vulcan crew members had apparently been well comprehended.
When her beauty wasn't driving the male human contingent crazy, T'Len studied the assembled engineering reports she had gotten from Trip as a going-away gift. While she was quite the brilliant Engineer herself, she didn't grow up with Trip's genius for improvisation. Thankfully Buran still had the new car feel to it, so she wasn't in need of improvised repairs yet, giving T'Len the time to get a feel for her.
Sonos, her mate occupied the communications console, Hoshi's intrusions not withstanding. Unlike T'Len, he was a Vulcan of a more traditional variety, but he seemed to have no problems with T'Len's occasional departure from Vulcan customs.
Looking to the right Malcolm could see his replacement at the tactical console. During the first days of their journey and much to the amusement of the bridge crew he had - out of habit - gone from the turbo lift straight to tactical instead of the big chair, even though it was hard to miss that the station had a new occupant, because his successor was bright blue. Tholos, once a member of Shrans raiding party at P'Jem and one of the Kumari survivors who had followed Shran to Starfleet, had specifically asked for assignment to Buran. Not too many people had managed to outfox the experienced Andorian warrior, but Malcolm and his landing party at P'Jem had. Tholos had developed an honest respect for Malcolm as a result. Having that much experience behind the tactical console was even better for Malcolm's confidence, knowing he would have been tempted to second guess each decision of a less experienced officer. Such a lack of trust in his tactical officer would be disastrous in a battle situation.
Next on Malcolm's visual inspection was the portly figure at the helms console – the Tellarite Grev. Coming with a stellar recommendation and quite a few honorable insults, he was one of only two Tellarites to enter Starfleet service. Both Andorians and Vulcans now boasted double digit numbers of Starfleet officers. With only Grev on board justification for the construction of a mud bath had been difficult, but since Tellarite mud seemed to have a positive effect on the skin of other races, it was added as cosmetic therapy for the many females on board, at least that was what the requisition Malcolm had signed, indicated. Surprisingly even some of the Vulcan females made use of the facility.
Somewhat impatiently Trip waited for the connection to establish, grinning when the screen finally lit up. Centered on the view-screen was a rather sweaty Malcolm and Hoshi sitting side by side – he still in uniform, while Hoshi wore a silk robe, which looked exactly like the one T'Pol had. It didn't take a rocket scientist to guess that she wore nothing, or at least very little underneath.
"Do you actually wear clothes in your quarters at all anymore, Hoshi?" Trip asked with a chuckle.
"I do, occasionally, but we're still having some teething problems. Today the temperature controls for most of C deck packed in - again. It was the easiest solution to ditch the frock. Of course he's too much Captain to follow my example. That's why he's sweating like a pig and I'm not." she said with a teasing look at Malcolm,
"Actually, I'll leave you boys to your beer," Hoshi said, tossing the robe over a chair, walking away out of viewer range in nothing but skimpy panties.
"Looks like you've got no problems in the entertainment department, Malcolm," Trip said shaking his head, still amused by Hoshi's antics.
"Certainly not," the Brit answered and raised his mug. "Cheers."
"So, how's your little melting pot coming along?" Trip asked.
"Bit tricky," Malcolm explained. "No problems between the species, but adapting to them is a technical and logistical nightmare. The Vulcans are freezing and the Andorians are complaining of being boiled alive. Between cooling down the cabins of the Andorians and heating up the cabins of the Vulcans the life-support system is badly strained. It's the third time this week that the environmental controls went haywire. Mind you, it treats me to the most beautiful picture in the world," he said with an admiring look at a topless Hoshi, who was somewhere out of viewer range. "But that is little consolation for my crew."
"I might have something to help you," Trip offered. "I hooked the life-support in our quarters to the bio-sensors. That creates a sort of temperature bubble around T'Pol. She had been introducing me to some advanced neuropressure techniques. Some of them take an hour or more, so she usually gets a bit cold towards the end, but if we crank the temperature up to her comfort level, I'll sweat like a pig and smell accordingly."
"I wonder, how you'd stay conscious at all," Malcolm snorted. "I once was in our meditation chamber and it was so hot in there I nearly passed out."
"Exactly; the modifications allow T'Pol to set the temperature to her liking and due to the hook up to the bio-sensors the bubble follows her around, leaving the rest of the room unaffected. That could work for the Andorians as well – at least in their quarters."
"And what about the energy requirements?" Malcolm asked doubtfully.
"About 30% increase over normal, but still massively less than cooling or heating the whole quarters."
"With only two Vulcans on your ship, I doubt that was an entirely self-less decision," Malcolm said in a teasing tone.
"Busted!" Trip laughed again. "T'Pol dislikes the thermal lining in her uniform with a passion, so I had to get her comfortable without sentencing myself to hours of sauna in my own cabin. That she's taken to occasional topless meditation since the new system has been working, is a positive side-effect. She says it's making it more relaxing for her, but I bet she does it just to get me going."
"Does she succeed in that?" Malcolm asked with a mischievous half-smile.
"Every single time," Trip said with a chuckle, before switching to shop talk. "Did you get your CMO by now?"
"Picked her up on Earth," Malcolm confirmed with a nod. "You'll never guess who it is."
"Phlox's wife Feezal," Trip said casually between sips of beer.
"You knew?" Malcolm wondered.
"Forgotten who our CMO is?" Trip asked back. "He told me about it. He just didn't know when she would arrive. In fact, he said you should not wait long before having a serious talk with her. Denobulan marriages do not require sexual fidelity as I found out back at Dekendri III. Phlox has already told her that married and engaged men are off-limits, but she'll have no qualms bedding unattached guys unless you specifically order her not to."
Malcolm smirked. "We've already had that particular talk, Trip. Frankly I couldn't care less as long as the guys are willing and she makes it clear to them that it isn't more than a friendly roll in the hay. In fact, I've noticed a significant improvement in crew morale. She uses the rumor mill to update her list of eligible candidates."
Both of them had to laugh about that.
"So except for a quarter master you have a full crew then?"
"In fact I have a quarter master - Krolek, a Xindi."
"We've got Xindi in Starfleet now?" Trip asked in surprise.
"No, he's a civilian. Worked in Gralik's kemocite operation. It looks as if most Xindi are on some sort of guilt trip over the attack on Earth and want to make amends."
"Six different species. That's one diverse gang you have there," Trip noticed with a chuckle.
"Tell me about it. I've thought about renaming myself 'Captain Doolittle' and take to traveling the corridors on a pogo stick."
Both men laughed and raised their mugs in salute.
"It's a good crew though," Malcolm said as he put the mug back down. With all the Vulcans and Andorians on board, we have more deep space experience than you lot."
"True," Trip agreed with a suddenly grim face. "And you're going to need it – have you read the latest recon reports?"
"Yep, " Malcolm said, suddenly turning serious, too. "Together with what I wrangled out of Harris, I'd say we have two months maximum before things get serious. That's why we're going to test the vortex generator tomorrow."
"Vortex generator? As in Xindi vortex?"
"The very same," Malcolm acknowledged. "The Xindi had one vortex generator left from one of the salvaged Reptilian ships and when they heard that Hoshi and I would command this ship, they just installed it. Guess we've made a bit of a name for ourselves."
"I assumed this technology depended on the Sphere Builders' manipulations of space?" T'Pol joined in and took a seat next to Trip.
"Hi T'Pol," Malcolm greeted her. "As they found out, all it takes is a vortex generator. Of course it wasn't meant to be invented for another 600 years and its gigantic energy requirements make frequent use prohibitive."
"This would contaminate the time line," T'Pol argued.
"Sure it will," Malcolm agreed. "But both Starfleet and the Xindi council have agreed not to study or replicate the device and it has an automatic destruction sequence should someone try to remove and inspect it. Theory is that either the contamination of the timeline is minor enough not to alert Daniels and his Temporal Whats-its-name or it was meant to happen in the first place. Frankly this temporal malarkey gives me a headache."
"Indeed," T'Pol agreed.
Before they could continue, Trip and T'Pol witnessed a half naked Hoshi hopping through viewer range trying to don a uniform commando-style, while a loud klaxon on both ships announced that they had gone to General Quarters status.
"On screen!" Malcolm demanded as the alpha shift took their places on the battle bridge. Commodore Archer's grim face appeared on screen.
"The planet Betazed is under attack. They sent out a distress signal. Have you tested your vortex generator already?"
"No, sir, we were planning... ," Malcolm started, but was interrupted by Archer.
"Then you will do so now. Get to Betazed as soon as possible and hold the fort. The Vulcans should be there within two hours, we need at five from Salem One. Until then, you're on your own, Malcolm."
"Aye, Sir," the Brit replied calmly, using all his experience to hide his real condition. What the crew needed now was a captain, who proved that he'd been in more than one battle before. "We'll keep them busy."
"See that you do," Archer replied with a nod. "Good luck."
"Shit just got serious," Tholos said grimly, showing off his 'skills' in human slang. His antennae were pointing forward in aggression.
"Reed to engineering" Malcolm barked ignoring the Andorian's comment. He pressed a button on his Captain's chair.
"Engineering," came T'Len's calm reply.
"Make ready for the biggest energy drain these engines have ever seen, we are going to test the vortex generator in combat conditions. We only have one attempt, Lieutenant-Commander."
This wasn't like anything he'd ever seen or experienced on an Andorian ship, Tholos realized. Only a short-lived species like the pink-skins would be so reckless as to engage an untested device that could obliterate the ship any minute. The horrible whining noise the ship generated while traveling through the vortex was deafening. He had his hands full keeping up with plasma and energy flows as the massive energy drain repeatedly caused some of his weapons systems to go off-line and come back unexpectedly. The only reassuring thought was, that Lieutenant-Commander T'Len herself was operating the engineering controls.
Just a year ago he probably would have shot at her ship and now he found himself relying heavily on the expertise of the Vulcan female. The tactical exercises they had conducted on the way to Earth had shown that he and the Vulcan worked excellently together. Now this cooperation was going to be tested for real. Once through the vortex, they would find themselves in the middle of a battle with only the torpedo launchers available. That was the only weapon system the Vulcan chief engineer had guaranteed to keep online.
The ship exited the vortex with a shudder and several consoles emitted sparks. Taking a short look at the tactical display, he saw four large vessels surrounded by dozens of little signatures, which looked like ice bores surrounding a Thl'ank carcass.
"Triple salvo tube one" he heard the captain say, but the trigger had already been pulled.
True to her word, T'Len had kept the torpedo launchers powered, and was already working on bringing the phase cannons back online. Tholos fired as soon as a target presented itself.
"I see, we're on the same page, Tholos," he heard the Captain praise him, as the Romulan warbird, completely surprised by their sudden appearance, exploded after a direct hit to their exposed cloaking device. Apparently the Romulans had done nothing to eradicate the blatant weakness of their ships, the Coalition forces had exposed in the battle for Salem One.
Unfortunately the three remaining enemy ships immediately zeroed in on Buran, carefully keeping their vulnerable hind-quarters out of the line of fire.
Hoshi nodded at Sonos in quiet understanding and he took the hand of the petite human. Both closed their eyes, hoping that their combined telepathic abilities would suffice to get the message through to at least one of the dozens of Betazoid ships. Betazoids were supposed to be strong telepaths according to the Vulcan database and it was their best chance at the moment. A medical scan of Phlox had verified that she did indeed possessed latent telepathic abilities, but she was not able to use them actively. Her hope was that using touch telepathic contact with the Vulcan would just add her modest strength to his.
Target the spikes in the warbird's stern, they thought in unison, but that was the only chance they got as a direct hit to the shield generators caused the coms console to explode. Both Hoshi and Sonos were violently thrown back ending up bleeding and unconscious on the floor.
Malcolm suppressed the urge to rush to his wife's side. Although she hadn't told him what the strange hand-holding with Sonos was meant to be, he had a good idea what they had tried to do and he hoped it had been successful. He refocused his attention on the battle. Putting the Buran up against the three remaining Romulan warbirds was unrealistic and even if they could hold out the 90 minutes until the Vulcans arrived, their D'Kyr class vessels simply didn't have the fire power for much more than hit-and-run attacks. Grimly Malcolm decided that to survive this he had to destroy them on his own, even if he so far lacked an idea how to do that.
The question about the success of Hoshi and Sonos' attempt to communicate with the Betazoids was answered in dramatic fashion, when one of the diminutive Betazoid ships rammed into the closest Romulan vessel hitting it squarely in the vulnerable section, causing the warbird to explode in a massive fireball, unfortunately destroying five nearby Betazoid ships as well.
"Bloody hell, these guys are brave," Malcolm muttered, then an idea struck him. "Grev, I need a bit of magic," he demanded. "Flip us upside down, and bring us under the warbird – Tholos, you have exactly one shot!"
"That's all I need," the Andorian replied calmly and Malcolm noticed that Tholos' antennae were still pointing forward aggressively.
Without saying a word, the Tellarite simply delivered what was asked of him. In a risky maneuver, he slipped in between two Betazoid ships on a collision course, forcing the ship into a steep dive.
After Grev had brought Buran into the ordered firing position, Tholos quickly emptied the three lower torpedo launchers. The nine mark three projectiles headed for the most vulnerable part of the warbird disintegrating it on impact.
"I cannot retain power for much longer, Captain," came T'Len's report from engineering and the very un-Vulcan-like pitch in her voice told Malcolm that she was aware of her mate's injury.
"Reduce life-support to minimum," Malcolm ordered. "Do what you can."
Captain L'uana of the Third House was torn. The arrival of the human ship had probably saved her planet from complete annihilation, but the attack by these unknown aggressors had cost too many lives. She was uncertain why her beloved had decided to sacrifice himself and his ship by ramming it into the enemy ship, but his death had not been in vain. As many other ships did, she pounded away at the last remaining attacker, but their weapons where just too weak to penetrate the shielding.
Just as she decided to honor her mate by sacrificing herself as well, a huge, unknown, copper-colored ship dropped out of warp. It delivered a mortal blow to the remaining enemy vessel, crippling it. The human ship quickly destroyed it by firing a salvo of torpedoes at point blank range.
The battle was over.
Hailing the unknown ship she was greeted by an elderly, gray-haired alien. "I am Ambassador Soval of Vulcan. May we be of assistance?"
"God almighty," Trip exclaimed hustling out off the turbo-lift and onto the bridge, just as they reached the scene of the battle. Buran hung in space with considerable list, docked to a D'Kyr cruiser – the Gol, which tried to right the stricken ship. Normally there was no 'up' and 'down' in space, but all coalition ships were aligned to the same vertical and horizontal attitude to create an artificial 'up' and 'down', else vertigo was a real thread, especially during visual flight.
At least ten or more small ships of unknown, probably Betazoid origin floated nearby in space in varying degrees of devastation. It was a shocking sight.
"Are they okay?" he asked, hoping that T'Pol would know anything about Malcolm, Hoshi or the real state of their ship, but uncharacteristically, T'Pol just shrugged. She was too unsettled herself to even notice her use of the human gesture.
"I'm going over," he said and headed towards the turbo-lift.
"Commander, my ready room," T'Pol ordered him back sternly. Trip followed her with a confused look on his face.
"I am as concerned about Buran as you are," T'Pol started without preamble, as soon as the door had closed. "But we are in a hostile situation and I must be able to rely on my officers doing their jobs here as opposed to running off on their own volition."
Trip stared at her. The transmissions through their bond were clear. She was pissed off and highly disappointed in him.
"You undermined my authority," she continued her lecture. "You should have requested my permission, as every other officer would have done. You know quite well that Starfleet's acceptance of our marriage is dependent on our ability to perform our duties without letting our personal relationships interfere. We are on duty. At the moment I am not your wife, but your captain and I expect you to act accordingly. Did I make myself clear?"
"Yes, ma'am. I'm sorry," Trip muttered, realizing that he had had the one lapse in professionalism that could potentially force him and T'Pol to be separated. He could see, and feel in the bond that T'Pol's anger subsided.
"I understand your anxiety and if I could, I would go over myself, but we must remain on Enterprise. The Gol is already docked to their ship and will provide assistance. Our duty is to remain vigilant, because there may be additional Romulan ships nearby."
"Yes, Captain," he said, controlling his impulse to do an about-face and depart before being ordered to do so.
"Dismissed," T'Pol said, raising an eyebrow of frustration when he had left.
Soval sat in the conference room of the T'Karath, waiting for the Captains T'Pol and Reed to arrive. Previous mind melds with Charles and T'Pol had revealed their high regard for Malcolm Reed, but seeing the aftermath of a battle in which the human had taken on the four Rihanssu ships made him realize how much the introverted human deserved their esteem. The sickbay of the T'Karath, Vulcan's newest Suurok class battle cruiser, had been overflowing with Human, Vulcan and Betazoid casualties, but now that the other human NX-class ships had arrived, a true triage process was conducted to have the less severe cases transferred to the human vessels for further treatment.
Even after fifty years on Earth and with the relatively new but enlightening experience of having a human clansman, Soval still struggled to believe in the concept of luck. It was easily explained – a chain of statistically improbable events would occur in a statistically even more improbable sequence to produce a most fortuitous, statistically near impossible result. But for the first time in his life, he had to admit that 'luck' had intervened. Logic simply failed to explain the timing and sequence of the disparate events that had allowed his ship to arrive at the battle in what was realistically the last moment to save the human and remaining Betazoid ships. He examined the unlikely sequence of events.
The mediation talks between the Xindi races were completed at the precise moment the T'Karath received orders to proceed to the newly reconstructed Salem One station, where he was supposed to establish the infrastructure for a deep space embassy of Vulcan and fill in the post as interim ambassador until an appointed envoy would arrive. Neither was the fact foreseeable that a Xindi aquatic ship, the first scientific vessel the Xindi sent out after returning to peaceful coexistence, had offered to open a vortex for them, which was the sole reason for the T'Karath arriving when she did. Had the Xindi ship not happened to cross their path, they would have been at least a week from Salem One and the Buran would not have survived the maiden voyage under the command of Captain Reed.
Yes, he admitted to himself, whatever he tried to explain these events, he would always arrive at an abstract human concept, be it fate, destiny or luck, so in pragmatic fashion, Soval decided to accept luck as the best explanation, since this concept was the least alien to him.
T'Pol and Malcolm had met with Soval aboard the T'Karath to discuss the current situation. It was not difficult for her to see just how worried Malcolm was. There was still no word about the status or whereabouts of Hoshi, and despite just having won an improbable battle, her fellow Captain was angry and worried. This was the part of his emotional state she couldn't explain.
"First things first, Ambassador," she heard Malcolm ask without preamble. "Is my wife on your ship?"
"She is, Captain Reed, and to ease your concerns, her condition has improved. She is now in serious yet stable condition. According to our medical staff there will be no permanent damage, neither will there be any permanent disfigurements."
T'Pol heard a loud sigh escape Malcolm and she could clearly see that he had to summon all his professional experience to refrain from exiting the room and force his way to sickbay.
"You appear unsatisfied with our situation," T'Pol half stated, half asked.
"We won the battle, fine," Malcolm answered and his voice was thick with anger. "But the MACOs were a complete no-show. I have never seen such a gormless bunch of cowards. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them have been hiding under their bunk during the battle."
"You are used to the experience of Sergeant Cole and her group, you cannot expect all MACOs to measure up to her standards without accumulating experience beforehand," she argued.
"All true," Malcolm agreed. "But I rely on them getting the basics right. They were too slow, didn't secure core areas of the ship, and don't even get me started on their lack of discipline. Their platoon sergeant has absolutely no authority over them. I've already contacted General Reilly to get a new one."
"Is the situation truly this bad?" T'Pol asked back, believing Malcolm's emotional recollection to be exaggerated.
"Remember the useless recon marines in 'Heartbreak Ridge', that film we saw a year ago?" Malcolm spat. "That's my MACO platoon in a nutshell."
"Perhaps they would profit from similar treatment then?" T'Pol replied dryly.
The Vulcan saw Malcolm's bewildered look. "Are you trying to tell me I should emulate a movie character to whip them in shape?"
"While much of the film was exaggerated for dramatic reasons, some of the psychological methods employed by Gunnery Sergeant Highway were sound. He was successful in creating an esprit de corps among the men, motivating them to improve."
"I can't believe you're suggesting something as crazy as this!" she heard him say in exasperation.
"While I am in no position to understand what Captain T'Pol is referring to," Soval intervened. "I have found her advice to be sound at most times in the past, even if it appeared most unusual, if not even entirely illogical at first. I suggest you entertain the idea of heeding her advice, Captain Reed."
"To hell with it," Malcolm said with a sarcastic, lopsided grin. "It's worth a try. It's not like it could get any worse."