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Requiem Galdar - Story

Started by Feathers, November 09, 2010, 02:42:09 AM

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Post 1

Galdar sat at the desk in the borrowed ready room, as silent and still as the array of primitive hunting implements displayed on the wall behind him. Deep in thought, staring vacantly at the wide picture window to his left, he'd dropped the last of his PADDs two hours before and had barely moved since. Around him, the ship's evening had faded into night and at least one mealtime had come and gone.

Beyond the window, stars streaked past in the manner familiar to anyone who had ever travelled at warp but the Ferengi looked at them through unseeing brown eyes, his mind far away. This journey was an extended one but warp travel had long ceased to hold much attraction for him. At some point, it had stopped being a wonder of modern travel, something for him to manipulate and revel in, instead becoming nothing more than an expedient means of getting from point A to point B. A small part of his brain had silently mourned this change in perception but only now was he becoming consciously aware of what it truly meant to him. High impulse manoeuvres used to excite him. Warp travel had been a thrill. The challenge of helming a ship in tight near-warp acrobatics through an asteroid field was how he got his kicks. He'd been good at it too, but it had been too many years since he'd had a call to experience any of these things, let alone pilot his own way through them.

Ferenginar was still three days away. Not a long journey in itself but on top of the time already spent aboard the U.S.S. Atlas, it added up to a significant chunk of boredom. In years gone by, there would have been duties and orders and meetings; things to attend to and people to report to but those days were behind him, replaced by a severely taxing lack of purposeful activity.

He'd tried his best to occupy himself but the available reading material hadn't done much to engage him. Dry statistics on the planet of his birth did nothing for him, nor did briefing notes on a series of missions and meetings, most of which he'd either commissioned or been involved in. So instead, he sat and thought.

A lot had changed since he'd last been home and not all of that change was positive. Some of it was internal, such as the hardening of his long standing dislike of the inherent pettiness of his species, but much of it was not. The nature of the Ferengi Alliance had changed very little in recent years but, beneath the surface, the constant turmoil of political manoeuvrings and machinations were as visible within Ferengi society as they were in any other. Most notable among these, at least to Galdar's eye, was the ever increasing fortunes of his father. There had been increasing public celebration of Baj's business successes over the last decade and a corresponding rise in status of the rest of the family including, by extension, himself.

Right back to his time aboard the Arabella when it had been operating in Romulan space, the influence of his father had never felt too far away. Galdar had done his best to ignore it, but more than once it had brought them face-to-face in the most unlikely of circumstances. Each time they met, his father had garnered another layer of success, increased his hoard of latinum and grown his influence within the Alliance while Galdar had held on to his Federation principals and morality and had terminated their interactions by refusing a grudging invitation to return to the home world and 'rejoin' the family.

Only once had the two actively worked together with anything like a set of common goals and even that had only lasted for as long as Baj had found it profitable.

Despite maintaining as much distance as he could, Galdar had gradually realised that with the family's rise in profile at home came an increased interest in his own activities. While much of what he had done would never reach Ferengi ears, enough was available on public record to make him distinctly uncomfortable in the presence of others of his kind.

He'd found it deeply ironic, then, when this minor notability that he wanted so much to avoid, or at least to ignore, had suddenly proven strategically useful to the Federation in its current round of negotiations with the Alliance. Despite his own reticence, the President had been quick to seize on the fact of his family connections, trying to turn them to the administration's advantage.

So far, the process had taken over a year and there was no guarantee that it would be completed any time soon. Galdar was hopeful that this visit might conclude the dance that they were engaged in but it was largely in the hands of others now, his own reputation having been somewhat tarnished by recent events.

When the full impact of the so-called 'Serenity' mission had become public, Galdar's resignation had been on the President's desk immediately. To his surprise, it had been handed back just as quickly. Apparently, he still had 'value to the process' and was 'an asset that we'd be sorry to lose', whatever that meant.

Galdar shook his head. The point at which he'd stopped being an officer and had become an 'asset' was the point at which he should have turned in his pips, gone to fly shuttles for a living and had some fun. Too many years behind a Federation desk, that was the trouble.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 2

The head shake was enough to stir him and, in a moment, he was on his feet, a fleeting wince of pain crossing his face. Despite the fact that his resignation had been refused, it was becoming clear that he wouldn't be in this job for too much longer. The growing aches and pains that he'd stoically ignored for the last week were now testing his ability to endure and confirming his most pessimistic predictions. At this rate of progression, he would soon reach the point where he wouldn't be able to hide them any more.

By then, it would be too late for resignations.

Stepping around the desk, the Ferengi shambled across the compact office and headed for the door. As it opened he straightened, adopting a more human-like gait, and strode out onto the bridge, startling the Bolian lieutenant on watch.

"Sorry sir, didn't realise you were still up." The officer coughed, struggling to stand and pull his uniform straight.

Galdar simply grinned and waved the Bolian back into his seat, remembering his own discomfort as a junior officer given bridge duty. "As you were, Lieutenant," he said, "I won't need that chair tonight".

Walking across the small bridge, he stopped behind the helmsman and gently placed a hand on her shoulder. "This one, on the other hand, will do nicely" he said, "Ensign, if you please?"

To her credit, the half-Vulcan didn't even glance at the watch officer, rising immediately at the request and moving to the auxiliary science station on the port-side wall. As she sat, so Galdar dropped into her vacated position and stretched his fingers before dancing them sedately over the console.

The lieutenant watched him silently, a small smile playing on his own lips. He didn't know much of the Ferengi's career but it was clear from his confident movements that he was at home at the helm of a starship. Maybe he was a little rusty, but he was certainly well within his comfort zone, configuring the panel to a bespoke format with an economy of motion that the bridge officer envied. Keeping his silence, however, he waited until Galdar had the panel set before sitting forward in his chair.

"Orders, Captain?"

Fingers still dancing, sensor readouts playing across his screens, the grin remained on Fleet Captain Galdar's face. "No change, Lieutenant. We're to proceed to Ferenginar, best possible speed."

The officer nodded, sitting back a little self-consciously. "Ah, yes sir" he finally remembered to acknowledge, the confusion of commanding a Fleet Captain settling itself uncomfortably upon him.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 3

The bridge fell into near silence, the cycling of the air, the rustling of clothing and the bleeps and chirps of the active consoles seeming to expand to fill the audio vacuum, all of them distinctly audible to the Ferengi's sensitive ears. There was little to occupy the crew in this barren area of space but the Atlas was a small ship with a tightly packed bridge which made a measure of personnel interaction almost inevitable. Galdar was willing to bet that the almost annoying lack of conversational buzz was nothing to do with the ship's size.

"Lieutenant?" The young Tactical Officer was the first to break their collective silence. "Our course appears to have drifted off by zero point six seven percent."

Galdar sighed. He'd bet himself a small Starduster in the ship's mess that no-one would notice anything less than a point seven percent variance for at least another fifteen minutes by which time he would have been well set to proceed.

The Bolian almost jumped at the news, sitting forward sharply before standing and moving to Galdar's shoulder. "Sir?" he asked quietly.

Galdar turned slowly, sighing again while gritting his teeth at a twinge of pain from his chest.  The result was more hiss than sigh and clearly discomfited the junior officer.

"My apologies, Lieutenant" he muttered, rubbing the affected area, "a slight muscular strain." Dropping his hand back into his lap, he nodded at the Tactical Officer before continuing. "The ensign is perfectly correct, I've taken the ship slightly off course but it shouldn't delay you too much in your arrival at Ferenginar."

"'Your arrival' sir?" The officer's voice was calm but guarded and, privately, Galdar was impressed. Unlike many of his species, this Bolian looked like he had the makings of a good command officer.

"Your arrival, Lieutenant" he said firmly, "There's been a small change of plan. I won't be joining the council members this time around."

Straightening, the watch officer looked about to argue, something Galdar wanted to avoid. "Lieutenant," he snapped, slightly sharper than he would have liked, "I would remind you of our relative positions in the chain of command. The Atlas may have the duty of ferrying me to this meeting on Ferenginar but that doesn't reduce my rank to that of passenger"

"Sir." The lieutenant's tone was neutral and Galdar could see that he wasn't going to back down that easily. Good for you, he thought, but ultimately pointless.

Tapping his chest to forestall further comment, Galdar contacted his aide, "Galdar to Hughes" he said crisply, waiting for the acknowledgement as he roused the human from his slumbers. "Commander, please have our ship prepped and ready in thirty minutes. No other crew will be required. I'll take her out alone"

"Aye sir", the tone was surprised but respectful. The channel clicked closed.

Ignoring the man at his shoulder, Galdar tapped a final set of co-ordinates into the helm console before rising slowly, another stab of pain interrupting the motion and making it a little less graceful than he would have liked. In his head he could hear Ryla Drett, an old friend and skilled physician, mocking him for his vanity.

"Lieutenant" he said formally, standing and waving the ensign back to her console, "Kindly make for the co-ordinates I've specified and inform me on our arrival." He glanced briefly down at the helm again, "I'd suggest accelerating to warp 7.9 to hold the Ferenginar arrival time" he muttered at the ensign.

"Sir" she responded crisply, this time glancing at her superior before doing as he'd requested.

Turning his back to the helm, Fleet Captain Galdar started for the nearest turbolift. As the doors parted, however, he paused and turned back to the Bolian. "You are, of course, free to inform the Captain of my orders, Lieutenant" he said with a quiet smile, "I'm not in the habit of hijacking other people's commands", he paused before adding reflectively, "Well, not often, anyway. I'll be in my quarters."

The lieutenant nodded, his shoulders dropping slightly in a visible sign of the release of tension while Galdar turned back to the lift, stepping forward into the waiting vehicle.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 4

While working his way back to his quarters, Galdar felt happier than he had done in a long while. The corridors were utilitarian but they were familiar and they made him feel at home. Starship corridors always had.

Entering his sparsely furnished room, he commanded the lights to a dim setting, somewhat reminiscent of a rainy, and therefore normal, day on Ferenginar. The room was spotless, a habit the Fleet Captain had always maintained, tidy to the point of barrenness with nothing more than a few personal items revealing the fact of his residence. The Atlas' Captain had pressed him to accept the small stateroom that the ship boasted but Galdar had preferred to take these vacant Commanders quarters.

He moved more slowly now that he was in private again, the pain a constant drain on his energies. Knowing little about Dorek Syndrome and having avoided seeking medical advice, he wasn't completely sure what delaying tactics he could use to forestall its further impact but it was quickly becoming clear that a visit to sickbay would be required before he took his leave of the Atlas.

Moving past the couch, working his way to the desk, one of his few personal items caught his eye. The familiar movement drew him toward the room's single viewport and the table beneath it on which sat a flickering holoframe. The Ferengi had had the image for years but stopped to regard it now for what felt like the first time in months. It travelled with him everywhere and yet there were days, like today, where the content struck him as new and fresh as though his memories were themselves being refreshed.

As he watched, a pair of lively cadets danced, one short and bald, his orange skin standing out against his uniform, the other taller and more graceful with mildly unruly blonde hair and a distinctive pattern of spots disappearing into her collar. The Fleet Captain grinned as the scene played out, a large piece of fruit arcing into shot as the dance reached its climax and splattering the couple in sodden debris before the image faded out and cycled back to the beginning.

The orange figure was himself, although that probably wasn't obvious now, while the other was a Trill named Ryla Emarrin. They'd been at the Academy together and, although a year apart, had struck up an unlikely but close and lasting friendship that had survived various mishaps as well as Ryla's joining with the Drett symbiont and a number of subsequent duty postings. The dance had been one of the first academy events they'd attended together, possibly the very first although he couldn't be quite sure now.

It hadn't been until years after that he'd learned of the holographic recording and it had taken him a goodly time to track it down and obtain a copy. To this day, it remained one of the things he treasured most, despite the fact that he'd had to deal with his father in order to get it. He could still remember the smugly satisfied expression that had crossed Baj's face when he'd realised that his son wasn't entirely immune to the attraction of wealth and possessions.

Almost in spite of his species, Galdar had never attached much worth to material things, an attitude that had been at the root of much of the conflict between himself and his family. He'd been a frustration to his father and a thing of ridicule to his brother, both of whom wanted him to toe the family line and make a healthy profit. Running off to Starfleet certainly hadn't been a part of their plans any more than it had initially been a part of his.

Nodding an informal salute at the image of the dancers, Galdar steeped to the desk. Sitting, another wash of pain suffused his abdomen as he reflected upon the impact that those early years with Starfleet had had upon his life and the person he had become as a result. There were regrets and moments he would change if he could but, on the whole, the Fleet Captain was happy with the journey he had taken.

As he thought so his hands worked, gathering a few things from the desk and activating the terminal inlaid into its surface. So much could be done sub-vocally but Galdar was still very much a 'hands on' individual, perhaps due to his piloting past. There was nothing better than the feeling of minute engine vibrations through the tips of his fingers and the seat of his pants as he sat at the helm of a ship. Inertial dampeners could never quite suppress everything and, in the same way, Galdar could never quite get used to interacting with equipment without touching it.

"This is Fleet Captain Galdar" he stated quietly when the computer announced its readiness. "Computer, record the following statement and forward to Starfleet Command in the event of my death."

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 5

As he lifted the small ship from the floor of the Atlas' tiny docking bay, Galdar was distracted by the memory of his departure from Commander Hughes, his aide of the last four years. Having prepared himself for the journey, he'd arranged to meet the commander in the docking bay to take receipt of his readied ship.

Hughes had been there as agreed, but he'd not been happy. "I have no issues with you taking the ship out sir", he'd protested once the handover formalities were over, leaning over the Ferengi in an attempt to both add weight to his words and to keep their conversation private, "It's your orders that the Atlas proceed to Ferenginar once you've left that disturb me."

Galdar had said nothing, although he had been sorely tempted. Hughes had demonstrated both his loyalty and his discretion more than once in the time they'd worked together and the Ferengi had no doubt that those characteristics would come to the fore in the current circumstances if he allowed it.

"It's not for you that I'm concerned, you understand", the commander continued, a small note of irony creeping into his voice, "but for myself. An aide who arrives at a conference without anyone to aid tends to be looked upon...unkindly."

Galdar had smiled, despite himself, but held his tongue as he'd shaken his head slowly.

Eventually, the silence having stretched into awkwardness, he'd caught the commander's eye, "Always remember the two hundred and eighty fifth rule, Commander," he'd said, "and be grateful that I haven't asked you to accompany me."

Hughes had looked thoughtfully at the nearest bulkhead for a moment before leaning forward once more. "'No good deed ever goes unpunished'?" he'd asked, confused.

"Exactly" Galdar nodded, "You have your orders, Commander".

Hughes had simply nodded, conceding defeat with the gesture before silently indicating the waiting ship. Bigger than a runabout, it supported a smaller crew complement, trading space and versatility for speed. It was an odd looking thing, its shape suggesting an element of Romulan influence in its design.

Saying nothing more, Galdar had entered the vessel and turned to cycle the airlock shut. As the gap had narrowed between them, the Ferengi had looked up, catching the eye of Commander Hughes and in that instant, he could have sworn that the human had half lifted an arm in some kind of farewell gesture, cut short by the sealing of the doors. When the Fleet Captain had reached the cockpit and looked down through the window, however, the Commander was doing no more than standing at ease, his face impassive.

"Goodbye Carl" Galdar muttered as he powered the ship through the restraining force field into space. "You always did know more than you let on."

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 6

Sitting forward, almost in the nose of the ship, the cockpit provided a good external view to three sides and a trio of standard console positions. The helm was furthest forward, with Tactical and Ops stations just behind. A single door to the rear accessed the rest of the ship. Much like a standard shuttle, it could be run from a single seat for shorter missions and this was the way that Galdar had had it configured.

Once beyond the protection of the Atlas' shields, he warmed up the impulse engines and looped the craft up and over the bigger ship. Settling on a course away from the sun, just grazing the orbit of the outermost of its two small planets, he didn't jump to warp until he was out of the system. His course was pretty random since, despite what he'd let the bridge crew believe, there was nothing special about the system they'd stopped in. He'd chosen it only to give himself enough time to prepare and to reinforce the crew's impression that he'd had orders to leave the ship halfway to an important conference.

Had he had even the faintest idea that this illness was approaching, he would never have contemplated the trip to his homeworld. Instead, he'd have travelled somewhere far off and alone before embarking on this journey unobserved. In the event, however, he had had to adapt to the current circumstances. The result was less than ideal but almost certainly unavoidable. Whatever else happened, the last thing he could allow at this point was to be taken to Ferenginar.

It was half an hour before he was confident that the Atlas hadn't sent anyone or anything to shadow him. He hadn't really expected them to, but such precautions never hurt. Even then, he left it another fifteen minutes before he took any action to change the course of the ship. Dropping briefly out of warp in the middle of interstellar space, he swung her nose through one hundred and seventy degrees before engaging the engines again at a leisurely warp two.

Sensors detected no-one else in the vicinity.

It was getting a little difficult for him to focus on the helm, the medication he'd wheedled out of the ship's doctor doing its job well but with all of the expected side effects. It wasn't enough to affect his flying, most of that was handled by the computer, but he was aware of it nonetheless. More worryingly, he was also aware of a continuing dull ache despite the strong chemical help. It was almost a part of him now, grown familiar in a teeth-grindingly horrible way and in a very short space of time.

The final phase of his illness was looming earlier than he'd hoped making this journey all the more well timed and his avoidance of Ferenginar all the more critical. It would be just his luck if someone developed a cure for his condition tomorrow but, as things stood, it looked as though he wasn't going to be around to find out.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 7

The realisation had come soon after he'd made the diagnosis of Dorek Syndrome which hadn't given him much time to formulate a plan. His body was failing, his friends had largely passed on, either literally or at least to other, far-off postings, and his most recent work of bringing Ferenginar into the outer folds of the Federation was now more likely to succeed in his absence rather than his presence. The thoughts were morbid but they weren't a reflection of his state of mind. Neither was the decision that he'd taken as a result. Sitting back in the pilot's chair, Galdar allowed his familiar grin to form. No, this wasn't an act of desperate grief, loss or denial but one of filial defiance.

He couldn't help but grin at the thought of what Ryla would say to that.

The last time Galdar had crossed paths with his father, he'd been newly promoted while Baj had been trying to pursue business ventures on Vulcan. They'd argued, as usual, and Galdar had learned not only of the death of his mother but also of the obscene amount that the family had made from the sale of her vacuum desiccated remains. Saddened at her passing, Galdar was offended at the sale, a ritual among his people, and shocked at the value that had been realised. The fortunes of his family were at an all time high and Baj had capitalised in the manner of any Ferengi worth his lobes. What had shocked Galdar more, however, was the realisation of the value that might be attached to his own remains should his family get hold of them after he died.

Whatever happened in the future, he had vowed, that was something he would avoid at all costs.

With a grimace, the Ferengi turned to one of his side consoles and tapped at a control surface, disabling the ship's subspace communications. It didn't make him completely invisible but it meant that he'd effectively drop off the screens of just about everyone at Starfleet unless they were really trying hard to find him. No doubt his 'friends' within Section 31 would still be able to locate him if they wanted to but even that wouldn't be a problem for too much longer.

Leaning back in the chair, he made a quick scan of the instruments before struggling to his feet and heading below to his sleeping cabin. It was nearing 0500 and he'd been awake for almost fifteen hours. This ship was the closest thing he'd had to a regular bunk for the last year so was well set up to cater for his needs. Considering what lay in its future, he could only hope that Commander Hughes had removed all of his personal possessions before taking on his quarters aboard the Atlas.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 8

The blare of klaxons intruded on his fitful slumber and the ship shuddered around him as the dampening systems failed to keep up with some violent motion provoked from beyond the hull. Galdar stumbled out of his bunk and made his way forward to the controls.

Too big to be a shuttle but too small to be useful for much more than extended personal transport, this class of ship had fallen naturally into the role of providing long range but inconspicuous passage to some of Starfleet's more...deniable operatives. As a result, they didn't have names, only registry numbers (although Galdar had taken to calling his the Depository). Quite how a Fleet Captain had come to obtain the use of it was quite a story but one that had only ever been shared with a few very close friends.

Stumbling into the cockpit, it was clear to Galdar that something had plucked the small vessel out of warp on the outskirts of whatever system it was in and had left it in the middle of a fairly dense asteroid field. The shields had come up and the computer was doing an adequate job of avoiding hull damage from the worst of the debris but the ship was still taking a bit of a battering. It shuddered again as he slid in behind the helm and called up a tactical view on the main screen.

Two ships of an unknown configuration were bearing down on him, threading their way through the moving field of rocks and turning in on his port side. The ships were accelerating.

Ferengi expletives were few but Galdar had adopted a number from other species in his time in the fleet. All of them came into use in a very short interval as he pushed the ship into greater motion and summoned up a computer analysis of both the approaching ships and the surrounding rocks.

As the Ferengi rotated the ship about its central axis and ducked under a massive boulder, his brown eyes scanned the data coming up before him. Something aboard the alien ships was charging but whatever it was that they were capable of firing, it was nothing like Federation standard and would do very little damage to his vessel. What they apparently could do, however, was completely disrupt his ability to create and sustain a warp bubble which was obviously what had dropped him here in the first place.

The priority was to get out of the asteroid belt which is what Galdar set about doing. Under his control, the ship corkscrewed through the field, the strikes fewer in number but more violent when they came. He could easily have programmed the computer to allow the ship a rougher ride and let it guide them out but that would have taken a little bit of time and besides, wasn't this exactly the experience he realised he was longing for just a few hours before? Grimacing at the unintentional irony, Galdar bent to his task.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 9

By the time he was starting to clear the orbit of most of the debris, the trailing ships had drawn close enough to open fire. Galdar had tracked them with half an eye as he'd spun his ship into clear vacuum, his awe at their pilots' obvious skill growing by the minute as they'd skimmed the orbits of small planetoids and ducked through fields of golf ball sized pebbles. Their ships were smaller and more manoeuvrable than his but the skill with which they were flown appeared to render those facts almost irrelevant.

It no doubt helped that his pursuers were familiar with the area since the orbits of some of the larger objects would be known to them. From his scans it was clear that ships weren't capable of anything like interstellar distances, which meant that their occupants had to be native to this system. Nothing in the Depository's database suggested that this area was known to be inhabited and he was reluctant to re-enable subspace communications to make a wider search. By the looks of things he'd made quite a discovery today; a hitherto unknown space-faring species was a rare find.

It was a pity he wouldn't be reporting it to anyone.

"If they're that good at disrupting warp travel, I've no doubt someone else will find them sooner or later!" he muttered.

As far as he could tell, the warp field disruption was nothing more than a side effect of the strange ships' power systems and was thus a relatively localised effect. It appeared to be simple bad luck that his course had come close enough to theirs to pull him back into normal space but as they had closed on him, the effect of their proximity was very effectively blocking his only real means of escape.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 10

Now clear of obstructions, the speed and power of the Federation vessel started to tell, reopening a gap between itself and the pursuers. The ship was more than capable of steering itself out of range but it wouldn't take any overtly hostile action. Galdar was reluctant to create any sort of prime directive incident but as things stood he was exposed to a continuous field of unknown energy that seemed to be playing havoc with the stability of his warp core. Shield modulation had taken care of some of the stray energies but not enough to allow him to get away.

Moving to the Tactical station, Galdar ran a more detailed scan of the pursuing one-man craft. In addition to their energy weapons, they seemed to carry a set of projectiles that would do very little harm to even minimal shielding. The problem was that while they were unshielded, and therefore potentially susceptible to a disabling low power phaser burst, their power systems were so tightly integrated into the structure of the vessel that any such attack would run the very real risk of destroying the targeted ship in its entirety.

That would be one heck of a first contact violation and was one that Galdar wasn't prepared to risk. He told himself it was because of the Prime Directive and some nobility of purpose but, deep down, he knew it was simply out of fear that someone would, one day, find out. Fleet Captain he may be but somewhere deep inside there was still the timid ensign who'd graduated the Academy so long ago.

With a grunt of returning pain, Galdar crossed back to the helm and disengaged the autopilot. The computers were good but he was better. The thought tailed off as he threw the ship into a loop and a bolt of energy passed beneath the hull. While a hit could do no more damage to the ship than a miss, old habits died hard. The question was, how long could he keep it up?

After ten minutes, he'd opened enough of a lead that he looked likely to reach a warp capable range within a further five. In what he'd thought of as a clever move, he'd taken the ship out of the plane of the ecliptic, reasoning that the alien ships would have no reason to follow him if he made it clear he was leaving. It hadn't panned out quite as he'd hoped but it had made the going easier. The only thing that could now get in the way was the pain.

It was building rapidly and the medication seemed to have largely worn off. Galdar couldn't blame the doctor for giving him a lower dose than he'd requested but the implications were a little disturbing. Having listened to the warnings of the likelihood of a worsening 'appendix' once the anaesthesia wore off, he'd gone ahead with his plan anyway. In all the scenarios he'd run through, he'd already reached his destination by this time.

At the weapons console again, Galdar risked a low power, manually targeted phaser shot which cut through the narrow gap between the two chasing ships. Neither was endangered by it but both of them were rattled, the quivering of their stubby wings giving away the small shakes in their pilots' hands.

A second burst had less effect, presumably revealing nothing more than his ability at shooting to miss. The third was completely ignored.

It was actually another quarter of an hour before the Depository had pulled far enough ahead to allow Galdar to make his escape. The Ferengi had fired off another couple of half-hearted warning shots along the way but their impact on the pursuit had been minimal and he'd given up in disgust. The pain had grown as the effect of the drugs had tailed off completely and, by the time he was able to make the jump to warp, it was taking a surprising amount of effort just to stay focussed. Had his job been anything more than holding a steady course and going to warp when the opportunity arose, he would probably have failed. As it was, as he touched the panel and the ship finally accelerated, so he collapsed across the console in a wave of pain, screeching with the agony of it.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 11

Two hours later, the ship dropped to impulse again, emerging from warp in a barren system and moving to hold station in a deep solar orbit. Galdar had come round an hour before, dragging himself down to his cabin and collapsing onto the bunk from the effort of it.

Raiding the medical kit on the way, he'd come up with some general purpose pain suppressant and dosed himself up as well as he could. It was nothing like the concoction that he'd acquired from the Atlas' medical officer, but it was enough to take the edge off the pain and would allow him some mobility. Hopefully, it would be sufficient to see him through.

With the emergence into normal space, Galdar had made his way back to the cockpit, a quick scan revealing that he was finally where he wanted to be and it was as remote and private as he could have wished. Despite his roundabout route, this was where he had been heading since he left the Atlas and from the way he was feeling, it appeared that he'd made the right choice in committing to this course of action when he had. His Dorek Syndrome seemed to have entered the final phase.

Whatever happened, he was going to die soon. That was out of his control and there was nothing he could do about it. What he could control was the form that his death would take and, to a certain extent, what would happen next. Once he was gone, things would be completely beyond his influence but until that happened, he would do everything he could to shape his final destiny and prevent his remains from being passed back to his family.
That was not to be allowed to happen and he knew only one way of guaranteeing to prevent it. He aimed to die in such a way and in such a place as to ensure that there would be no remains that could possibly be recovered.

Death in Starfleet normally resulted in being shot out of a torpedo tube to orbit a sun for the next millennium or at least until you crashed onto some freakish science experiment and were reincarnated. Whichever of those options came about, something remained. Something was left behind that a focussed enough individual could find, retrieve and possibly make a profit from. Galdar had given most of his life to Starfleet and the Federation and he was damned if, in death, he was going to allow anything to be returned to his father.

Slowly and quietly, the Ferengi reached out a blue nailed hand and tapped a sequence into the guidance controls, smiling as he felt the ship bank slightly in response to the commands. Sitting back, he listened to increasing the whine of the impulse engine that would have been inaudible to anyone else.

Dropping out of its solar orbit, the informally named Depository started to fall in towards the sun, accelerated by the throbbing impulse engines. As it moved, so its shields sparkled, intersecting with the paths of the numerous specks of interstellar dust that filled this otherwise empty system. Nothing else moved, there being no other ships or planetary bodies here; nowhere for anyone to hide and witness what was about to happen or try and intervene to prevent it.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.


Post 12

Galdar sat almost serenely at the helm and watched the sun loom larger in the window. The computer was doing the navigating and, at full impulse, it would take little more than fifteen minutes for the ship to intersect the outer boundary of the sun leaving him more than enough time to prepare himself. The Ferengi really didn't have much precedent for this, destruction of one's worldly remains flying in the face of all that they believed in. As a result, Galdar felt free to spend this time as he saw fit.

Having looked at the death rituals of others, nothing had seized him as wholly appropriate. For a brief moment he'd toyed with the Klingon Hegh'bat but had quickly discounted it as too melodramatic and far too painful. There had been other possibilities too but each had proven unsatisfactory to a greater or lesser extent. Ultimately, he'd settled on spending what time he had with his memories, closing his eyes and running through the high points of his life, the people he'd met and the friends he had made.

Ryla was in there, as was Paul Adams, the man who'd recruited him into the fleet. Aeric James, who'd done much to progress his career, and the other officers of the Arabella featured heavily having been such a large part of his life.

His reverie was interrupted as the ship entered the outer layers of the sun.

The windows had long since darkened to protect the passengers eyes but Galdar could still detect the flaring of the shields as they started to draw more power, struggling to hold the immense forces of the superheated plasma at bay. Silencing the alarms, he allowed the ship to move forward, determined to see this through, although progress was slower now as the resistance of the solar fuel pushed back against the intruding vessel.

"Warning.", the voice of the computer blared again, "shields approaching tolerance limits. Breach predicted in three minutes."

"Computer, mute alarm." The Ferengi's voice was quiet and calm, the waver in his tone noticeable to no one but himself as, around him, red lights flashed and the warnings became increasingly insistent as the ship attempted to preserve the existence of both itself and its lone passenger.

It was the final shield warning that eventually stirred Galdar to action. Forcing himself to his feet, he bit back an involuntary screech of pain. Standing awkwardly, he took a deep breath and pulled himself to some form of attention, the habitual Ferengi slouch overcome one final time by a supreme effort of will. Ignoring the now excruciating sensations his posture provoked, Galdar reached out one hand and tapped at the central helm panel, taking the final action of his Starfleet career.

I know it's unnusual here but I don't have a podcast of my own.