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Star Trek Online

"The Day Everything Changed"

By Ambassador Kael
Wed 03 Oct 2018 09:30:00 AM PDT

“Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, and Tellar formed the Coalition of Planets. At this time, Earth still was not using stardates, though most other Coalition members were.  By local reckoning, it was the middle of the 22nd century, and it would take humanity nearly another decade before they started to use the Stardate system.”

Professor Stevens took a moment to let that sink in to the minds of her class. Not everyone in the hall was from Earth, and the concept of the Julian calendar, let alone the split between BC and AD, took a little getting used to for the extraterrestrial students.

 “Now, who can tell me what the stardate of midnight on September 14, 2572 will be?”

The professor looked over her class. The same few hands rose right away as many others set upon their PADDs to assist with their math. She took her time, hoping to give a non-Vulcan a chance to answer. Stevens smiled as the hand of her star pupil shot up, the only human to give the Vulcans a run for their money in terms of knowledge. However, before she could call on Ian Kwon, his hand along with the rest of the room went dark red. All hands lowered as the room’s screens all went to life. “Please Stand By” was written across the screen in multiple languages.

*****

Cadets Tak, Desmond, and Andrei were sitting at Club 602. Desmond and Tak were both enthralled by the humorous story Andrei was telling. “So that’s when I told her,” he chortled. “You can’t warp through the Kobayashi Maru while trying to transport the team off the ship! But did she listen? Of course not!  She just made a face and yelled ‘RAMMING SPEED’ at the top of her lungs.  Poor Irez almost bounced over the helm into the main viewscreen when the collision simulators hit.  Boingggg!  I think one of her ears got bent.”

Cadet Desmond covered her mouth to prevent herself from spitting up the sip of synthehol she just took. “Andrei, you bastard! Not while I’m drinking!” She grinned at her friend. “Glad I didn’t have to do those calculations. Even under the best circumstances, you’re more likely to just pull over an ear or something.” She made a disgusted face to emphasize her point.  “Gross.”

“Well, I suppose you would know,” added Tak. “I heard that you have one of the best scores on the transporter simulation. Is it true that you did a heart transplant via transporter?”

“What?  No!  Who told you that?”  Desmond giggled.  “No wonder your biology marks are sub-nominal!  That’s not remotely how science works!”

“Seriously, you shouldn’t trust everything you hear, Tak,” Andrei chimed in. “Dez here beamed the pants off of that Tellarite who keeps making fun of her hair… whats-his-name?  Guffus?  Gullunt?  Something with a ‘G’…”

The large room’s alert lights turned on, cutting Andrei off. “Red alert… at the Academy?  This must be some new kind of drill!” A chime went off followed by the calm, metered, feminine voice of the Academy’s main computer.

“Please stand by for an announcement from the President of the United Federation of Planets.”

*****

The drone weaved around in an evasive pattern, firing at the Tactical cadet. Cadet Evelyn Savea slid behind the cover of a low barrier, and shot back at the drone. After missing her first shots, she took a moment to observe the drone, hiding behind the cover as needed. She leveled her phaser rifle and took the shot, catching the drone right in the phaser emitter.

The drone’s gun fizzled before being ejected from the drone. From the gap, a mechanical arm emerged, a blade at the end. Its thrusters burned, and the drone raced in to close quarters. Cadet Savea dodged slash after slash as she retreated back up to her feet, attempting to keep her distance from the aggressive little machine.

Unfortunately, she zigged when she should have zagged and bit grimaced as the blade made contact with her arm. “Damn it!” She quickly slid her hands back, grabbing the gun by the stock, and swung the weapon at her attacker. Metal connected on metal and the drone was sent flying back. She returned her finger to the trigger and took one last shot at the drone, but it disappeared before the shot could connect.

“Computer, what the hell, that was just a flesh wound!” Savea reached over to her arm to check the wound. Her friends were going to give her crap again for tweaking the safeties, but she knew that she fought better when there were actually consequences for failure.

“Computer!  Resume simulation!”

There was no response.

“Hey!  Computer?”

The room faded away and the holodeck door opened. Outside, the hallway was lit red.

Crowds of cadets were bunched around various consoles. Savea went to see what was going on.

“Please stand by for an announcement from the President of the United Federation of Planets.”

*****

To all citizens of the Federation, it is with a heavy heart that I speak with you now.  I regret that I must report that we are at war. Only hours ago, the Klingons opened fire on our ships. Reports show that the battle was hard fought. Many lives were lost in this senseless conflict. In the end, the battle was a grievous loss for Starfleet, and the Federation.

Starfleet Command is still gathering casualty reports, and we will make them public as they become available. We all like to think that the mandate of Starfleet is to explore the galaxy and provide aid where we can. But we must also remember that it is the job of every Starfleet officer to defend the Federation against all threats.

This is not our first time at war, and will likely not be our last, but when future generations look back on us today, they will remember that we did not start the war, but we very well will end it. Stay strong, and as more information arises, we will keep you informed. Thank you.

*****

Savea snapped out of her shock as her rifle hit the ground. Only then did she realize that she had let go. War. The others in the hall were fighting to access the casualty reports. Cadets were trying to push each other out of their way. Some of the more level-headed dispersed to find less crowded consoles they could use.

Savea picked up her rifle, checking it. War. There was definitely a part of her that was bubbling with excitement. War. But the rest of her was chilled with dread. The battle ended in defeat. The Klingons were not to be underestimated. She took the rifle back to the armory. She had a lot of information to study before her upcoming graduation.  What did the Klingons call those big… sword-like things again? 

*****

“So far it’s just the Clarke, the Europa, and the Shran.” Tak was reading off of her PADD. “Those ships were lost, and all crew are presumed dead, though it’s still uncertain.”

“Update just hit,” replied Andrei.  “They just added the Edison, the Shenzhou, and the Yeager. Damn. I knew some guys on the Yeager. They were my older brother’s friends, but still… Damn.”

Tak and Desmond sat there quietly, not really sure what to say to their comrade. They just looked down at their drinks. This was going to be a rough few days for many of their classmates. After a minute of silence, Cadet Desmond went to order another round of drinks. They were going to need it.

*****

The class was silent as the announcement ended. Cadet Kwon looked around at the other classmates. Mouths were agape and, nearby, the eyebrow of Tamav, his Vulcan classmate, raised noticeably.  “Under the circumstances, I expect that classes will be suspended for the rest of the day,” Tamav said evenly, with the calm only a Vulcan could manage in the face of such tragedy.  “It would be logical to use this time to prepare for a number of adjustments and additions to the curriculum, particularly where the Klingon Empire is concerned.”

Ian’s PADD vibrated. There was a message waiting for him. “ARE YOU OKAY?” It was from his mother. He quickly sent her a return message. “Yes, I’m still at Starfleet Academy. Brian and I are fine.” He shook his head. His mother was such a worrier.  “YOUR FATHER IS SENDING A KLINGON LANGUAGE PROGRAM. YOU KNOW HOW HE GETS. YOU ALWAYS TESTED HIGH IN LINGUISTICS.”  After assuring his mother that he’d look into it, he turned to watch the professor as the room’s lighting returned to normal.

“Everyone, class dismissed.” Professor Stevens seemed under visible duress. She didn’t even wait for the class to leave before heading out herself.

Ian’s PADD vibrated again. “DON’T GO TO WAR! STAY SAFE!” He sighed. He thought about his words carefully before typing his response.

“Mother, I am about to become a Starfleet Officer. As the President said, it is our job to protect the Federation. I’m doing this to protect you. If the Federation is at war, then when I graduate I will proudly fight in it, especially if it means keeping you safe.” He hesitated a moment, wondering who he was trying to convince – his mother or himself. He took a deep breath and then pressed send.

 

Ryon “Melange” Levitt
Staff Content Designer
Star Trek Online

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