[USS Vanguard] RPG: Bend But Don't Break

  • From: "Andy W. Ho" <andywoho@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: USS-Vanguard <ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 31 Dec 2002 15:21:03 -0800 (PST)

Capt. Dominic Santos
USS Vanguard - Tuscadero Dining Room
Shortly following "Hello/Goodbye"

??and it is with a sad note that we bid Tails to Ennien farewell, safe
journey, and hope that we will cross paths with her again someday. As
her people say?? At this point, Capt. Dominic Santos issued a series of
what sounded like hums and yelps. A few of the officers looked at one
another, amused, but out of respect, said nothing more.

??that roughly translates to: ?May you stalk with your whiskers high,
may the rain stay off your back.? I wish you well, Tails. Thank you for
your service to this ship and to us.?

The officers stood and applauded. Tails to Ennien sat quietly at the
opposite end of the table from Santos and nodded. One officer in
particular was a stranger to them all. He was tall and although he
looked relaxed, Santos noted his keen gaze as he studied his
surroundings and the other officers.

This was their new Chief of Security?Lieutenant Connor Vogel, assigned
to the Vanguard and ordered to meet with the ship during their last
starbase visit to take on supplies and have the vessel checked for

?It is on that note that we welcome our new Chief Security Officer,
Connor Vogel.? Santos gestured at him: ?Lieutenant.?

The luncheon concluded not long after, and Santos retired to the ready
room on the bridge, accompanied by Soman Drath.

Nick Santos emptied a packet of seeds into Prism?s tray, and the macaw
ducked its head and began to eat, keeping one large eye trained on
Soman Drath. The executive officer wisely gave the bird a wide berth.
It was known to have a nasty temper, and the beaks of macaws were
notorious in their ferocity.

?What?s next?? Soman asked Santos, as both men took a seat, Santos
behind his desk, Soman on the other side.

?You won?t believe this, but we?re on extended elective assignment.?

Soman?s eyebrow went up.

?Really? That?s a nice opportunity.?

Extended elective assignment?also known as ?EA??was often reserved for
the larger multipurpose vessels, and the vessels that Starfleet wanted
?on display?. Enterprise, for example, was one such ship. Starfleet
wanted these ships known, recognized, and some would argue, feared.

?Any ideas on how you?d like to spend it?? Soman asked.

?Well, we have a couple of open issues, wouldn?t you say? Science has
been asking about the Archipelago and when we?d study it. Colony B11
has been requesting a Starfleet presence for weeks, to settle a mining
dispute. The Logians have been spotted near Romulan territory??

?Not the Logians,? Soman said. ?Anything but the Logians.?

Both men chuckled, recalling that mission from the Astoria?s archives.

?Project: Lightstorm is in its final testing phase.? Soman referred to
the long-range transporter project which had been initiated by the
Vanguard more than a year ago, then reassigned to (and renamed by) the
crew of the USS Rachel Garrett when Vanguard was diverted.

Santos smiled and nodded at this. ?I once read somewhere the way to
inner peace is finishing what you begin. Ready for some enlightenment??

?Lead the way,? Soman said.

Santos toggled a switch.

?Highwaij here.?

?Patch us through to the USS Garrett, please, Mr Highwaij.?

There was a pause.

?Go ahead, Captain.?

=/\= ?This is Capt. Henry of the USS Garrett. How may I help you??

Santos relayed his image.

=/\= ?Excuse me, Cadet.? Santos cleared his throat. ?Do you know the
way to a charming little city??

=/\= ?Sure, I?ll give you a??

?Charming little city!? both men finished together, laughing.

This was obviously a joke between Capts. Santos and Henry, although
Soman had no idea what it meant.

=/\= ?Nick! What can I do you for??

=/\= ?Just wanted to check on the progress of Lightstorm. You have room
for one more over there??

=/\= ?Oh, I think we can find some room. When can we expect you??

Santos looked at Soman.

?Fourteen hours at maximum warp.?

Santos nodded and looked at Capt. Henry.

=/\= ?About a day, Len. I?m feeling in no real hurry.?

=/\= ?Speaking of which, how?s that arm? I heard about your troubles.?

=/\= ?Nothing a little scotch wouldn?t cure.?

=/\= ?I?ll set some aside in my decanter. I?ll see you then, Nick.
Garrett out.?

Santos spun toward Soman and grinned. Both men walked on the bridge.

?Helm,? Santos said in the direction of Cynan Mandrake.

?Aye, sir?? Mandrake asked, turning around to face Santos.

?Set a course for Merlin-102, warp six.?

?Aye, sir. Course plotted and laid in, warp six.?


In space, the Vanguard?s prow made a course correction as she veered to
port. The timeship reached for infinity and seemed to disappear in a
glimmer of starlight.

A few hours later, Santos was practicing archery on a field in
Trowbridge, England. The weather was particularly fine, and the sun was
behind him, casting that dusk light the Italian masters called
?sfumato.? It was said that the Mona Lisa was painted in a sfumato

It wasn?t ideal light for archery, but Santos enjoyed a challenge,
having exhausted most when it came to archery.

The target, an old-fashioned straw-and-hay one, was set 40 meters
out?just a practice range.

Santos nocked his arrow and drew, resting his right hand against his
right cheek. This was the maneuver that frightened most novice archers,
who believed?incorrectly?that the release would hurt their faces.

Santos held the draw, and saw that the bow had an almost imperceptible
motion. He felt his wound again and relived Dr. Droin?s words?his
shoulder was hurting his aim, and no wonder on a bow with a 50-lb draw.

He calmed himself and focused on his release. It was, really, the most
important aspect of an archer?s skill, almost more important than aim.
He needed a smooth, sure release.

The arrow flew out, and struck the target with a satisfying thump!
noise. Santos looked. It was in the blue. Not a bull?s eye, but better
than he could have hoped. The arrow had struck up and to the left. This
indicated an old problem to Santos?either to much draw, too early of a
release, or he had aimed the bow too high. He began to readjust for the
distance when the ship shook under him.

Immediately came the chime.

?McCaw to Capt. Santos.?

?Santos here. What is it??

?Can you join us on the bridge, Captain??

Santos left the holodeck and moments later, emerged on the bridge to
see most of the senior crew.

Quetan spoke first.

?It?s a neutrino storm.?

Santos looked at the viewscreen. The ship had dropped out of warp, and
wild iridescent ribbons of energy were coming from all directions.

?Why didn?t we detect his earlier?? His first thought should have been
to secure their safety, but he couldn?t help satisfy his curiosity,
which was the nature of his question, rather than the accusatory

?Because no one has ever run into anything like this,? McCaw said from
the engineering console. ?It?s been speculated, but never witnessed.?

?Why did we drop out of warp??

?The ship?s emergency systems automatically engaged when long-range
sensors detected the storm. There was no time to change course,?
Mandrake said from the pilot?s seat. His eyes were fixed on the
viewscreen, looking back and forth between that and his instruments.

?Recommendations, Captain?? Soman asked.

Santos looked around as the crew?McCaw at Engineering, Quetan at
Science, Soman out of the command chair, Mandrake at helm, D?Angelo at
Tactical. He imagined the rest of the crew at their stations throughout
the vessel.

?Steer into it,? Santos said, thinking of the Tao: ?Bend, but don?t

?Ride it,? Santos said.

Without another word, Mandrake began.

The Vanguard was struck a few more times, but due to Mandrake?s expert
piloting, the damage was minimal.

?I see a break in the storm,? Quetan finally said. Santos breathed out.

Then the red alert klaxon rang.

Santos looked up, staring into the biggest energy discharge of all. And
it was headed straight for Vanguard.

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