[USS Vanguard] RPG: Phoenix Ascendant, Part 1

  • From: "Andy W. Ho" <andywoho@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2005 13:01:15 -0700 (PDT)

Captain's Log, supplemental:

Due in no small part to Sam McCaw's decisiveness, I was transported to
Mister Kavan's location, where, using my command override, I wrested
control of the Vanguard from the chief petty officer.

In the 24 hours since I resumed command of the ship, through the
efforts of the senior staff?especially McCaw and Doctor Droin?the crew
has been cured of the Psi2000 Virus, and we are slowly returning to
normal...(pause) Well, for what passes as ?normal? aboard the Vanguard.

Capt. Dominic Santos
USS Vanguard
After all recent posts

Captain Dominic Cesar Santos completed his log entry and breathed
through his teeth.

Santos picked up the bottle of Grey Goose vodka on his work table and
poured two fingers into a tumbler. He considered adding ice but decided
against it. Santos knocked the drink back.

Santos came out of the refresher after splashing two handfuls of water
on his face and toweling himself dry. He slipped into bed, picking up
the book on the night table?Richard Rorty's ?Truth, Politics and

Santos read for half an hour, listening to the sound of his own
breathing and the gentle hum of the Vanguard's quantum engine.
(Secretly, Santos always found the sound a little eerie.)

Either because of the vodka or because he was exhausted from recent
events, Santos felt his eyelids grow heavy.

He placed the book on the night table and slipped into a deep slumber.

The first thing he noticed was the scent of lilac.

Lilac, he thought. But that could only mean...

Santos suddenly felt hands covering his eyes.

?Guess who?? asked a voice belonging to a woman?a woman he could never
forget, would never forget.

Santos turned around.

And she was there. Leah.

Leah. Her skin was like fine English porcelain. Her face full of light,
her smile gentle and filling him with a joy he rarely knew. She tilted
her head and studied him, brushing her short, raven hair out of her
eyes. Her eyes. So full of her passion, her strength, her dignity and

?Leah...? he said, full of wonder. ?But does that mean...are we...that

?The Nexus of Realities?? she asked. She smiled again and shrugged. ?I
don't know. I just know that you needed me, and here I am.?

?But I have so many questions to ask you,? Santos said, sitting

Leah smiled and Santos suddenly found himself sitting on a bench. He
looked about. He turned and saw Trinity College.

?Dublin,? he said.

She nodded. ?After we first met in the Nexus, this is what I showed
you. This is me.?

?Leah, I've missed you,? he said. ?Very much.?

?I know,? she said, ?and I've missed you, but this is another of our
stolen moments, and we don't have much time.?

?I don't understand,? Santos said. ?We have all the time in the
universe. This is the Nexus of Realities.?

?It doesn't work like that,? she replied.

She looked at him. ?Here, give me your hand.?

He slipped his hand into hers. She felt so warm, vibrant. Full of life.
He knew that this was not the Nexus. Somehow, this was real, and
happening, right here and now.

?Nick,? she began, looking at him earnestly. ?You and your friends are
in danger.?

Santos' heart stopped.

?What do you mean?? he asked.

She shook her head. ?If I could avoid hurting you, I would do anything
to save you that pain. But you have to know this: Everything you have
believed since assuming command of the Vanguard is a lie.?

Santos stopped breathing.

?Tell me,? he said.

?It's Walker,? she said. ?He is not your descendant. He's a player, a
master strategist, in a much more dangerous game.?

?This is about the Temporal War, isn't it?? Santos asked.

Leah nodded.

?Walker is an agent working for one faction, a faction that believes in
stopping you and the Vanguard. He has worked against you all this time.
Earning your trust and confidence. Maneuvering you into position. And
finally springing his trap?the Borg 'peace treaty.' He wants to hurt
you. And destroy you.?

Santos looked into her eyes and listened to her words.

?Come home, Nick,? Leah said. ?Come home to me.?

?My god,? he said, ?how could I have fallen for this ruse??

?Stay with me,? Leah said, taking his face into her hands.

?Remember this?? she said. Santos suddenly found himself standing next
to the Guiness Brewery.

?Remember our breakfasts at Bewley's? How we laughed in the Temple Bar
pubs? Remember the bridge at the Liffey, where you kissed me for the
first time? Remember lying in bed, and letting me read Hegel to you??

?Yes,? Santos said.

?Come back to that,? Leah said.

?How do we escape this trap? Even if we do, there's New Vanguard. It's
waiting out there for me. We're pre-destined to die there.?

Leah smiled patiently and shook her head. ?You still don't understand.
New Vanguard was part of the trap, part of Walker's game. If you die
there on your way home, it's because Walker planted the suggestion in
your mind. He wants you to make the wrong decision, to second guess
yourself, and to die there. You know you have no family there. Neither
does anyone on this ship.?

Leah suddenly turned, as if listening to a voice in another world.

?I have to go, darling,? she said.

?Don't go,? Santos said. ?Stay.?

Leah rushed forward and kissed him full on the lips. Santos held her,
refusing to let her go. He felt her press something tiny into his hand.

?Come to me,? Leah said. ?We'll walk in the mountains. We'll lay down
in the meadows. You know where to find me. Follow your heart.?

Santos jolted awake. For a moment, he stared into the darkness. The
Vangard's quantum singularity continued its odd little hum/shriek.

Santos looked around his quarters, remembering Leah vividly. He was
tightly clenching his fist. He opened his left hand and stared.

In his hand, reflecting the light from his refresher, was a filigree
chain. On the chain was a sigil: Ö.

It was the Greek symbol for ?phi.?

Two minutes and 33 seconds later, Santos appeared on the Bridge.

?Captain,? Ens. Munro acknowledged from the security post.

From the captain's chair, Kavan turned and stood.

?Captain Santos...?? he asked with confusion.

Santos strolled up to Kavan.

?Chief Petty Officer Kavan,? Santos announced formally. ?As of
three-ten, I assume command of this vessel.?

?Aye, sir,? Kavan said, frowning. ?I stand relieved.?

Kavan cleared his throat. ?Sir, if this is about the incident in

?No, Mister Kavan. This has nothing to do with Psi2000.?

Santos turned and studied the faces of the delta-shift bridge crew.

?Ladies and gentlemen and transgendered beings: What I am about to do
in no way disrespects your fine contributions to this vessel and to

They looked at one another with some consternation.

Santos tilted his head:

=/\= ?All senior officers: This is the captain. Report to your duty
stations, on the double.? =/\=

A minute and a half later, Zena Quetan and Jaav E'thexx appeared on the
bridge, exiting the turbolift together. The Trills were still waking
up, but ready for duty.

Quetan stood in front of Santos, folding her hands behind her back.
?Captain,? she said, nodding at him.

The counselor stood by the Science station, leaning against a bulkhead.

Santos looked at E'thexx and nodded. The counselor silently returned
the nod.

The captain stared at Zena.

?Commander,? he said, ?we are aborting the mission to the Borg
homeworld. We are leaving the Borg conduit the way we came, and we'll
be moving a hair faster than a scalded dog.?

Quetan nodded and tilted her head toward the comm.

?Red alert! All hands to your stations!? Quetan announced.

Another minute passed, and Mandrake, Valentine, Shar, Highwaij and
Kieran Darkwater appeared on the bridge, joining the others.

Valetine and Mandrake slipped into the navigation and helm posts,
respectively, while Highwaij assumed his post at Communications, Shar
at the Tactical station and Darkwater crewed Science while Quetan
assumed her duties as the Vanguard's second-in-command.

Santos waited until they were settled into their posts and immediately
ordered: ?Helm, bring us back into the Borg conduit. M.J., plot a
course through the Borg conduit, returning to our original point of

?Cynan, on my mark, prepare to exceed maximum warp once we are inside
the conduit.?

Mandrake turned from the pilot's seat. ?Begging the captain's

?You have your orders, Commander.?

Mandrake nodded. ?Aye, sir.?

Santos turned to Kavan. ?Chief??

Kavan studied his board. ?All systems are five-by-five, sir.?

?Good to know.?

=/\= ?Engineering.? =/\=

=/\= ?McCaw here.? =/\=

=/\= ?Sam, prepare the Vanguard for warp 11.? =/\=

The comm was silent. ?Aye, sir,? came the reply at last.

In Engineering, Ens. Greene turned to McCaw, who was still buttoning
the tunic on his uniform and trying in vain to control a cowlick that
had sprung free.

?Sir, is the captain aware that this ship is not rated for that speed??
Greene asked. The other engineers stopped to watch McCaw's response.

?Are you daft?? McCaw barked. ?The captain has issued an order. Don't
be presumptuous. Crew your stations, all of you, and prepare for warp
11, per the captain's orders.?

A spate of ?Aye, sir?s and the engineers rushed back to duty.

McCaw leaned forward and placed his hands along the banister
surrounding the quantum singularity.

?I hope you know what you're doing, Nick,? McCaw muttered.

(To be concluded.)
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