Star Trek: Republic Book I: Wounded Warriors A work of fan-fiction based upon the Star Trek universe created by Gene Roddenberry Authored by Stephen T Bynum All rights reserved Chapter One Matt leaned back in his chair and considered the data that flashed on his desktop screen. Frowning, he went back and annotated one section of the analysis on USS Bessemer’s first contact with a warp capable civilization in the Zeta Scorpius binary system. Finally satisfied that all of the information requested by the Federation Council was present—and in a readable fashion—he saved the data file and forwarded it onwards and upwards. And he sighed as he closed his eyes and rubbed his aching leg. The wound still wasn’t healing properly, and because of the injury Star Fleet Medical had pulled him off the line and stuck him here, in the bloated bureaucracy of Star Fleet Command. He removed the reading glasses that he wore and rubbed his weary eyes. Six months. Six months had passed since he left the hospital ward, and still he was trapped here in these labyrinthine corridors hemmed in by bureaucrats who hadn’t logged a single hour in space for years. And with the downsizing of the Star Fleet following the conclusion of the Dominion War, it was unlikely in the extreme that he would ever get a chance to stand . . . well, sit, he thought ruefully rubbing his leg, on the bridge of a Starship again. Why he didn’t just resign his commission and go home remained an open question. He had considered it over the past months as one doctor after the next refused to certify him for space. But the thought of that empty house, and an empty life had made him delay time and again. But he couldn’t keep putting off the decision, not for much longer. Although Star Fleet was stronger—in absolute terms—than it had been at any point in the last century, there were fewer actual Starships in the Fleet. More powerful ships, true, but the sheer losses suffered in the Dominion War had outpaced the ability of Federation shipyards to commission new vessels into service. And the damage suffered by Federation member planets meant that, once again, the Federation Council was turning its resources to the so-called Peace Dividend, trying to recover the damage on Earth, Bajor, Betazed, and dozen other member and associated systems. Once the last of the wartime time construction was complete, only a trickle of new ships would emerge each year. And fewer ships meant Star Fleet would have little need for a Captain, especially one who was barely mobile. BEEP. The monitor flashed and Matt frowned at the display. He accepted the call, and the screen blanked and then presented the image of a Lieutenant wearing the aiguillettes that marked her as an aide to a member of the Admiralty. “Captain Dahlgren?” the Lieutenant asked. “Yes. How may I assist you today, Lieutenant?” “Admiral Parker requests your presence in his office, Captain, at your earliest convenience.” Matt slowly nodded, even as his heart sank. “Very well, Lieutenant. I will be right there.” The Star Fleet officer shut down his terminal and made certain that all was in order. Then he reached down and grabbed the hickory cane he had started using to help him walk. He stood, wincing as his right leg protested by sending a stabbing pain deep into the bone. And then he left his cubicle and walked over to the tubolift. “Floor 27,” he said, and the lift began to accelerate upwards. The lift slowed and the doors hissed open. Matt exited the lift and gritted his teeth as he limped down the hallway to Parker’s office. The young Lieutenant looked up and then she whispered into a headset; after waiting for a reply, she nodded at the older man. “The Admiral is expecting you, Captain.” Matt walked into the office, where Josiah Parker raised his head and smiled. “Matt, come on it and take a seat. You have met Commodore Jurood, haven’t you?” he said as he introduced the blue-skinned Andorian officer sitting in front of Parker’s desk. The Captain extended his hand to the Andorian and nodded his greetings. “No sir. I have, of course, heard of him and his actions at the Battle of Betazed. I have not had the pleasure to make his acquaintance, however.” Jurood shook his head, the antennae twitching in amusement. “I was lucky at Betazed, Captain Dahlgren. Nothing more.” “Fortune favors the brave and the bold, Commodore. And, may I say, you were certainly both at that engagement.” The Andorian inclined his head slightly, but said nothing as Matt sat down. Parker frowned. “So how’s the leg?” “You probably know more about than I do, Admiral. Star Fleet Medical keeps hemming and hawing about when I can resume active duty—and none of them will give me a straight answer.” The Admiral waved that concern away. “I wasn’t asking about what the doctors think, Matt: how is it?” “It hurts like hell, Admiral. But I can move around and I can do my job. And it is healing.” Slowly, Matt thought, but it is healing. Parker leaned back in his chair and exchanged a look with Jurood. “You know what the doctors will say.” The Andorian made a rude noise. “What they always say: a Star Fleet officer must be at 100% of health and fitness before deployment. Nonsense. If he says he is ready, then he is ready. But you knew that already, Josiah.” Matt sat up a little straighter. What the hell? They aren’t talking like they are going to send me to the beach, they are talking like . . . and then he began to smile. Josiah Parker returned it with a grin of his own. “Well, Matt? Are you up to taking the center seat again?” “Yes, sir.” “Good. I’ve got a ship in Spacedock right now that I am in desperate need of a Captain for. The Republic, Matt.” Matt’s grin grew wider. “She was a fine ship when I served on her as an Ensign fresh out of the Academy, Admiral. And the Korolev’s just get better with age.” “I take it then that you have not heard why Republic is in Dock, Captain Dahlgren?” asked Jurood in a sour voice. “No sir. I wasn’t even aware she was in system.” “Last month, she responded to a distress call from Omicron Cygnii II. A series of Class IV volcanic eruptions destabilized the tectonic plate on which the colony was originally placed, and the colonists required immediate evacuation.” Matt winced. “That is right on the Gorn border.” Parker nodded somberly. “And forever the opportunists, the Gorn responded as well, planning on claiming the system—and its mineral resources—once the Federation colonists were offworld. They didn’t interfere with Republic, but as you can imagine, the colonists were not all that happy with the situation. Captain Linda Bates had sent her executive officer down to the surface to coordinate the evacuation, but once the colony government realized that the Gorn were going to claim the planet for themselves they balked at leaving.” “Bates transported down to try and convince the leaders that they simply had to abandon the mines and their homes, even as the climatic conditions worsened.” Jurood shook his head sadly. “And that is when the stress fields on the colony’s shields overloaded one of their generators, Captain Dahlgren. It exploded, killing Captain Bates and wounding her first officer.” “Lt. Commander George Harrison was the officer left in command of Republic. And he panicked. Somehow, he was convinced that the Gorn had caused the explosion and he . . . he opened fire on their cruiser.” Matt blinked once. And then twice. His jaw dropped. “He what?” “He took her under fire from Republic, and he disabled her warp drive. But he didn’t stop her from sending a sub-space transmission that she was under attack by a Federation vessel. And the Gorn sent reinforcements.” “By the time they arrived,” Admiral Parker continued, “Harrison had been informed that the explosion was not caused by the Gorn and he attempted to placate them. He failed. They moved in to attack Republic—three of their modern Hrass’ka-class cruisers—and Harrison ran. He abandoned his away team and the colonists and fled.” “He was a coward, Captain Dahlgren,” Jurood added. “And the Gorn slaughtered the colonists and the federation personnel he left behind on the ground. The Council has managed to resolve the situation, but that leaves Star Fleet with the question of what to do with Republic and her crew.” “Harrison is under arrest, technically. He suffered a complete mental breakdown after he realized what the Gorn would do to his shipmates and the colonists—he’s been in a state of catatonia every since. But the ship’s morale is among the worst that I have ever witnessed; the crew blame themselves for following Harrison’s orders and abandoning a Federation colony after they opened fire on an innocent bystander,” the Admiral finished and he shook his head sadly. “All of Republic’s officers and senior NCOs have been reassigned; many were cashiered out of service. Her crew are still aboard, and she isn’t a happy ship at all, Matt. With the Fleet stretched as far as it is, I can’t simply disband and dismiss the crew—and they deserve a chance at rehabilitation. No other ship in Star Fleet wants them, however. So, we have decided to keep them together, assign new officers and senior non-commissioned ranks, and hopefully restore Republic her honor. Are you up for the task of doing so?” “Yes, sir,” Matt said, even though he stomach lurched. “When do I meet my officers?” “1800 hours. There is a briefing scheduled here at Star Fleet Command. I have to warn you; I pulled in just about every seasoned officer and rating I could from leave, shore assignments, and the Academy, but many of them haven’t been in space for years. And most of your junior officers are fresh out of the Academy as well.” “Who is my XO?” “That is up to you. I’ve got four eligible officers in this data-file that you can choose from; of course, if you aren’t satisfied with them, I’ll try and find you someone you can trust.” “What about Chan Shrak?” Parker raised an eyebrow, and Jurood laughed. “An excellent choice, if I may say so myself.” “He is available, Matt, but are you certain you want Shrak as your XO? The man’s ideas on discipline are positively medieval—and the majority of Republic’s crew is human. An Andorian executive officer is rare in Star Fleet outside of all-Andorian ships.” “He’s a solid officer, Admiral; I have known him for years. And his last assignment was first officer aboard the Korolev-class Andor, the flagship of your Blue Fleet, Commodore. So he is intimately familiar with the ship’s systems. I think his ideas on discipline and training are precisely the medicine that Republic’s crew needs right now. And I know that I can work with him.” Parker rose, followed by Jurood and Matt. “In that case, Captain Matthew Dahlgren, I will have the orders cut immediately. God bless you and your new ship Captain, and good hunting,” he said as he extended his hand, a hand that Matt took and gave a firm shake.