Author Topic: Let's be about it  (Read 13519 times)

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #75 on: July 12, 2014, 07:42:04 PM »
Part XIX: A Change of Image

Arrival at Rembrandt would see both Princelet and Enterprise turned over to yard hands. Princelet would complete her trials. Enterprise would have more extensive repairs done, including her aft hammerhead and the replacement of the destroyed beta-squared node. Thomas would also discover just what Captain Tremaine hadn’t told him at Nuncio. Hearing of the Battle of Spindle from Henri Kreitzman, the Talbot Quadrant’s Minister of War shocked Thomas and he remarked, “We should have been there”. Kreitzman’s response was blunt, “Don’t be silly Captain! Do you think one cruiser at Spindle would have made any difference? More difference than your ship and crew did at Nuncio? Nonsense! I’ll wager that any cruiser Captain at Spindle would tell you he would rather have been with you at Nuncio. I know that both Commodore Oversteegen and Captain Tremaine feel that way.”

Kreitzman continued, “Captain, I understand your impulse to be with the Fleet when something like this happens. But Thank God you weren’t! We needed you at Nuncio. You protected Imperial citizens and the integrity of Imperial space. There is no higher duty of a naval officer Captain, I will thank you to remember that!” Thomas was shocked at the vehemence in the Minister’s rebuke and it showed. Kreitzman softened and explained, “Captain Kirk, may I call you Thomas?” Thomas hesitated for a moment before nodding, he wasn’t quite sure. Kreitzman noticed only the nod, “Thomas, think of what the people of the Quadrant see of the two actions. At Spindle, it’s Manticorans fighting for their lives. Sure, Spindle and the Quadrant will be affected, but it is a major Manticoran operation. At Nuncio, it’s Enterprise fighting alone for a whole planet of Quadrant citizens, and by extension, the whole Quadrant. Nuncio is smaller, more personal, people will relate better. Get used to it Captain, as word spreads you will be a hero to many here.”

Thomas reflected that Admiral Harrington had warned him about things like this, and yet this had nothing to do with the old entertainments. Kreitzman seemed to read his mind, “Captain, I know of the old cubes. I’ve actually seen some of them; one of my staff is a fan.” Thomas winced, still not completely comfortable with the idea of the comparison. Kreitzman chuckled, “Thomas, you know what she told me when she handed them over? She told me ‘Our Enterprise is better, and our Captain Kirk is better looking anyway’. Our Enterprise, our Captain Kirk. The people of the Quadrant have claimed you Captain. Like it or not you are now a symbol to the people here.” Thomas groaned now, decidedly unhappy at what he was hearing, “Sir I’m not a symbol. I’m a serving Officer of Her Majesty.” Kreitzman smiled, “Yes you are Captain, and right now one of your biggest services is to be a symbol of what a Naval Officer can be.”

To Thomas’ relief the conversation turned to the repairs to Enterprise, and then Henri Kreitzman wanted a full recounting of the Second Battle of Nuncio. There were some advantages to being Minister of War after all.

Thomas was more than a little dismayed that the aft hammerhead repairs would actually involve the modifications that would allow Galileo to use her weapons while still technically aboard Enterprise. He wasn’t completely mollified to hear that both BuShips and BuWeaps had signed off on the work, they wouldn’t be serving aboard Enterprise after the work was done. The good news was that the work could be done concurrently with the beta node replacement and that the modification was actually modular. A section of the aft hammerhead would be cut away and the new section would be attached in its place. The whole job was no more than a job of two weeks work for the Rembrandt shipyards.

The crew enjoyed a two-week shore leave while work was completed. There was always a duty crew aboard, but off-duty the Captain and crew were feted as heroes of the Quadrant. The story of the Battle of Nuncio seemed to grow day by day until Thomas was sure that someone would soon claim Enterprise had destroyed the entire Solarian Navy while most of her crew was at lunch.

Fourteen days later Enterprise was released by the yard. Thomas had seen the computer imagery and thought himself prepared for the changes to his ship, but he was wrong. Enterprise looked… odd. The upper half of her aft hammerhead no longer showed the straight lines of a proper warship, a curved clamshell hangar for the LAC now filled that space. When the clamshell opened Galileo would be fully exposed, yet still in her docking cradle. Even the docking cradle was new, it was now fitted to a turntable that would allow Galileo to be rotated into firing position, or rotated back to mate up with the reloading and personnel tubes that normally serviced the LAC.

Thomas had been concerned that the modification would cost CM tubes or PD laser clusters. BuShips had solved the problem neatly by pushing clamshell and platform slightly aft. That made room for the CM tubes, the laser clusters were actually installed on angled supports to either side of the LAC turntable. In combat, simply opening the clamshell would allow the laser clusters a clear field of fire. This is going to draw even more comparison to the cubes Thomas thought; I wonder why it seems to bother me less each day?

Enterprise left dock and began a series of trials of the new fit. The crew of Galileo 7 wasn’t very happy, they had arrived only a few days earlier aboard the repair ship returning from Nuncio. They had largely missed out on the celebrations and the invitations to parties that the rest of Enterprise’s crew had enjoyed. The remainder of the crew was more than willing to recount the various celebrations so that their long delayed crewmates would know just what they had missed.

Online Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #76 on: July 12, 2014, 11:14:07 PM »
Really enjoying this.

I must be honest, I had never heard of Honour Harrington before reading your work here but now am definitely going to get into it especially as I expect to have plenty of reading time coming up.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #77 on: July 13, 2014, 01:52:27 AM »
Part XXX: The Way Home

The refit trials of Enterprise took 18 days, in part because Enterprise crewmembers were frequently seconded to assist in the weapons trials and tuning of NNS Princelet. Three crew members in particular were in high demand, Sam Jennings from Engineering, Bob Cumberland from Tactical and the Bosun, Amanda Carling. The Chief Engineer and Tactical Officer had specific knowledge of the modern equipment fitted to the frigate, the Bosun’s long years of service meant that she remembered the older beam weapons installed in the broadside. Of course, all three were also vital to the trials of Enterprise which caused frequent interruptions in the trials of one ship or another.

There were unanticipated advantages to the new configuration. For one, Enterprise had needed to be at a virtual standstill to recover Galileo before the damage. The LAC bay had provided room for the lighter craft, but only barely. Trying to thread the needle while both ships were under weigh was just too tight. The more open platform allowed for greater tolerances and a more useful docking envelope.

The second advantage was equally unanticipated. Shortly after leaving the repair dock a large cargo shuttle was sent to Enterprise. Thomas objected that Enterprise couldn’t handle a shuttle that large, the shuttle pilot had brusquely asked “What’s wrong with the bloody great bay we installed in the ass end of your ship?” Galileo hadn’t been aboard just yet so the shuttle pilot had landed sideways across the platform. This allowed the LAC access tubes to reach rearward and mate with the locks on the shuttle.

As always, there was a few minor corrections or adjustments that needed to be attended to after a major modification. Thomas had a few minor modifications he wanted made to Enterprise as well and he enquired at the Yard how much the work would cost, none of his minor mods were operational requirements and would have to come out of ship’s funds. The Yard Master listened to Thomas’s requirements and then said he and his boys would throw in their time for free. There was nothing in Thomas’ requirements that was more than a few minutes work for the robots individually and Thomas’ design sketches were easily converted to the data the robots needed to fabricate the new parts. “Besides,” he said, “Me and the boys will be able to dine out for weeks if we can say we did Captain Kirk and Enterprise a favour.” Both men shared a laugh, the fame of Enterprise and her Captain was actually growing, not receding, as time went by. The Yard Master was undoubtedly more than right.

Two days saw adjustments and modifications done and Enterprise ready for space and the trip to Spindle where she was ordered to proceed “Once ready in all respects for normal duties.” The departure of Enterprise was considered news-worthy so hundred of recorders had been set up to capture everything from the moment she transferred to internal power in the Yard docks, to finally breaking orbit. Thomas wondered what they would make of the show he had arranged with the Chief Engineer, turning to his communications panel he set the wheels in motion. “Chief, it’s time. Make ready to get under weigh if you would.” The image of the Chief smiled, he had been waiting for this moment, “Aye Sir, systems coming live… Now!”

For a moment nothing happened, then a carefully scripted set of actions took place. First, the running lights snapped on in the flashing pattern of a ship getting under weigh. Seconds later Thomas’ modifications kicked in. A series of floodlights lit the gleaming white hull of Enterprise, highlighting certain markings. First to light up was the top section of the forward hammerhead where the light splashed across the marking “CA-458” in bold black lettering and the equally bold, but curved “HMS ENTERPRISE” written below. Similar lights then illuminated the legend “STAR EMPIRE OF MANTICORE” on both hulls sides, with the lettering immediately aft of the blazon of the Royal Manticoran Navy. Floodlights played across the name “ENTERPRISE” just below the LAC bay, and then a faint blue light lit the forward lower radar array. As a final touch, red lights played across both impeller rings in a rotating pattern. The lights on the alpha and beta nodes in each ring rotated in opposite directions.

Enterprise advanced slowly out of the dock, as if feeling her way into space again. Once she was a thousand kilometres clear of obstructions, Thomas had the wedge brought up and Enterprise leapt to 570 gravities, sprinting for the hyper-limit. Behind her on Rembrandt, the people knew it had all been show. The lights would be turned off soon enough, and the smart paint re-programmed to a more normal pattern. They didn’t care, the show had been for them, people of the Talbot Quadrant, and their Enterprise had delivered.


Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #78 on: July 13, 2014, 02:00:59 AM »
Volkodav, glad you are enjoying!

You will find that Honor Harrington can consume a great deal of time. Last time I calculated, there was something in the area of 20,000 pages in the paperback books. Should keep you busy for a while. :)

I am truly humbled if my writing will act to introduce you to an author who has brought me so much enjoyment in the twenty-plus years since "On Basilisk Station" was first published.

Current stats: 27,315 words on Page 53.

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #79 on: July 13, 2014, 06:14:40 AM »
Part XXXI: Spindle, redux

Arrival at Spindle made Thomas feel as if several years had passed, even though it had only been a few months. 10th Fleet had faced down the Solarian League and crushed SLN Task Force 496 under Fleet Admiral Crandall. Despite the dressing down he had received from Henri Kreitzman, Thomas still felt he had let the Fleet down my not being present. Any such feeling was short-lived however when Enterprise rendezvoused with HMS Artemis, Admiral Gold Peak’s flagship. Thomas was just about to order the running lights of Enterprise ‘flashed’ in the standard salute to a superior vessel, much to his surprise Artemis flashed her running lights instead, accompanied by a comm message from Admiral Gold Peak, “Yours is the honour Enterprise.”

The rendezvous had occurred well short of Spindle orbit, and after relinquishing the position of honour to HMS Enterprise, Artemis was on the comm again. Thomas found himself in contact once more with Cynthia Lecter, “Hello J… Thomas. I have a ‘request’ from both the Admiral and Governor General Medusa. A dispatch boat left Rembrandt four hours after you did, it carried the news reports of your departure. In the words of the GG, ‘Light her up dammit!’ The Admiral was less explicit, but the basic content is the same.” Thomas once again faced that… interesting smile; he was also beginning to regret the impulse that had lead to the show at Rembrandt. He smiled back at Cynthia, “Of course. I will have the Chief Engineer make the required adjustments as soon as is possible.” Turning to the comm panel in the command chair he contacted Engineering, “Chief? How long would it take to set up the light show and markings we used at Rembrandt? We are requested to make that sort of appearance as we make planetfall.”

The Chief had a street-urchin’s grin as he touched one control before announcing, “Done Sir!” From the main comm screen Cynthia gasped, then squealed with delight and gushed, “It’s simply wonderful Jim, simply wonderful!” In the Flag Quarters of Artemis Vice Admiral Gold Peak sat sharing a companionable mug of Old Tillman. Governor General Medusa looked at her companion and noted the approval in the eyes of Michelle Henke, Admiral Gold Peak. “Michelle, you seem to approve of this display. I mean, beyond the obvious public relations windfall it represents” Michelle Henke to a brief sip of her beer to give herself time to properly form an answer, “I do Ma’am. Sorry Estelle. I know you said first names in private. Cruiser Captains need a certain, panache. You can’t teach it, but the good ones have it. Our Captain Kirk is one of the good ones.” Estelle Matsuko grinned at her friend, “Oh, I understand that Michelle. The ‘good ones’ as you call them can get a crew and ship to work miracles. You think James Kirk and Enterprise fit that category?”

Estelle Matsuko had her own opinion, but she wanted to hear why an experienced naval officer shared it. “Yes Estelle, I think they do. You already start to hear things on the streets or in restaurants ‘The actor they got to play Captain Kirk looks nothing like him, why couldn’t they cast the part better?’ or ‘Why didn’t they make Enterprise look more like a real starship?’” Michelle Henke grinned, “He doesn’t know it, but he has already subverted those old cubes and made them, and their legend, his own. His crew will do the impossible, and he will weep in his soul for their losses. But they can’t fail, it’s unthinkable. He is Captain James T. Kirk of Enterprise. That combination never fails.” Michelle Henke looked sad now, “We’ll punish him for his ability, and that of his crew, you know. We always do. We will give him impossible tasks, and expect success. In part we will do it because we too believe.” Estelle looked grim now too. “Just like they did to Honor,” she said softly. Her companion nodded, “Yes, just as they did to Honor. The costs will be similar as well. They always are.”

Enterprise made planetfall and Thomas found himself celebrated once again as a hero of the Quadrant. It made him uncomfortable, but the Governor General had been adamant, “You’ll take it Captain, because the Quadrant needs it. It’s not you they are celebrating, it’s life. As far as burden’s of command go Captain, this one is lighter than most.” “Besides,” and the Governor General had looked sly now, “you will need a companion for most of these social engagements. I do believe that Captain Lecter happens to be available.” Thomas had seen Cynthia Lecter several times since and it had been, enjoyable. He wasn’t sure though about how she kept ‘slipping’ and calling him Jim. Then again, he wasn’t sure if he actually objected. It was all getting rather confused.

Three weeks after planetfall at Spindle a dispatch boat arrived from Manticore. The message it had for Enterprise was simple, “Her Imperial Majesty requests and requires the presence of Captain (S.G.) James Thomas Kirk aboard Her Majesty’s Cruiser Enterprise as soon as is practicable. HMS Enterprise is hereby detached from other duties in order to comply. Signed, Hamish Alexander. First Lord of the Admiralty.”

Enterprise took her leave from Spindle in much the same way she had Rembrandt. Thomas found it was actually becoming easier.

He wondered if that was a good thing.
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 06:17:07 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline elmayerle

  • Its about time there was an Avatar shown here...
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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #80 on: July 13, 2014, 07:21:40 AM »
Damn, you're having a lot of fun with this and it's great fun for an established Honor-verse fan (yes, I was hooked from the start, but I already knew David Weber was good from his earlier works).  It will be most interesting to see where you take this story from here.

BTW, I can also recommend David Weber's fantasy series, too, and not just for good, solid story-telling.  Chapter 20 (IIRC) of the third book in the series, Windrider's Oath contains the best discussion of free-will and omniscience I've seen. 

Offline Silver Fox

  • Talk to me Goose!
Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #81 on: July 13, 2014, 11:47:59 AM »
I'm not much of a reader of fantasy, but I have enjoyed other works of David Weber. Lucky for the Star Empire that Dahak is not a unit of the SLN.

Anything that can carry SD's as parasites should be left alone. :)

Not much left in this particular story.  I wonder if HMS Enterprise will reappear?
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 11:49:47 AM by Silver Fox »

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #82 on: July 14, 2014, 01:23:15 AM »
Part XXXII: Homecoming?

Enterprise had priority transit through the Lynx Terminus, and yet nobody complained. Thomas was starting to understand what people had been telling him, people could relate on a personal level to the victory of Enterprise in Nuncio. 10th Fleet had won a larger victory, but there were dozens of ships and even more commanding officers. Only Admiral Gold Peak was recognizable, but her proximity to the throne made her unapproachable as well. Thomas was a commoner, and if it the action was smaller, it was no less desperate. It was more on the scale that people could understand.

The arrival in Manticoran space seemed anti-climatic; there was no welcoming committee. Thomas wasn’t disappointed, but after the welcome at Rembrandt and Spindle it did seem as if something was missing. Then it struck him. Everything was missing, there was no picket, no civilian ships transiting the Junction…. nothing. Enterprise was as alone as any starship can be in a heavily travelled sector of space. Thomas was about to query Tactical when the icons of a dozen stupendous SD’s sprang into existence. It was the signal for dozen’s, hundreds of other ships to bring up their drives as well.

The main viewscreen lit up with the image of Fleet Admiral Alexander-Harrington, “Enterprise, yours is the honour. Home Fleet has been charged by Her Majesty to ensure your safe arrival at Manticore. The Fleet will conform to your movements.” Thomas was dumbfounded, surely Her Majesty hadn’t meant this! An honour guard perhaps, but all of Home Fleet? Thomas noticed the Andermani and Grayson icons in the Fleet, this wasn’t even Home Fleet, it was Eighth Fleet… the most powerful naval force in the known galaxy. Apparently, today it felt its job was to escort a single cruiser through friendly space.

Thomas turned to his Astrogation station and queried Midshipman Davis, “Samantha, do we have a Fleet course for Manticore?” Samantha Davis didn’t hesitate, “Aye Sir! Course is 316, Mark 29 at 425 gravities.” Thomas was pleased, apparently the young Midshipman had adjusted to the presence of Home Fleet quite quickly. Either that or she had run an alternate course to include the possibility. Both were signs of a young officer taking responsibility for her position on the bridge.

Nearing Manticore the Fleet broke away to resume their normal station. HMS Enterprise and HMS Imperator both continued toward orbit. Rafe Cardones came on the comm for Thomas, “Captain Kirk, Her Grace has asked me to update you. You both will be attending the meeting at Mount Royal Palace with Her Majesty. Her Grace has separate business on the planet as well, so she will be taking a shuttle to her residence and arriving at the Palace via aircar. Your shuttle should proceed directly to the Admiralty shuttle port where a car will be waiting for you. Hopefully Captain we will have a chance to catch up after your audience.” The data package included with the message listed a full itinerary and all details that Thomas would be required to know to make things run more smoothly.

Thomas was grateful that no one had asked for yet another light show from Enterprise, or at least he was until he noticed in the ‘Dress and Uniform” details section that Enterprise herself was listed, an unusual inclusion. He checked the details on that section, and there it was, “HMS Enterprise is directed to display full colours, markings and lighting as per pattern established in Talbott Quadrant.” So, that was that, Enterprise was to put on a display again. Thomas had a sneaking suspicion that this would become the normal pattern rather than the more mundane markings of other vessels. Thomas commed the Chief Engineer, “Samuel, light her up. We’ve been ordered to put on another show.” Samuel grinned, “There we go Sir. All prettied up for the cameras.”

After settling Enterprise into orbit Thomas left the ship in the capable hands of his Exec and proceeded to his quarters. Undoubtedly, Regina would fuss over him for some time. It was not every day that an officer was summoned to an audience with Her Majesty and his steward was unlikely to stint in any way on the preparations of her Captain. Thomas wasn’t disappointed, it was over 90 minutes before Regina pronounced him fit to be seen.

Regina would be making the trip down to Manticore with her Captain, just in case there were any last minute adjustments required to her charge. Once again Regina lead Thomas past the boat bay and headed aft to the LAC bay and the cutter. Thomas stopped in the passageway, “Regina, we are taking a shuttle to the surface not a cutter. We need to go to the Boat Bay.” Regina looked apologetic, “Actually Sir, Galileo has been launched and one of the shuttles has been moved aft. Commander Durling cleared the movements with Traffic Control.” Thomas started to explain that things like this needed to cleared through him, and then he stopped. In certain circumstances the crew would do what they thought best to project the right image of Enterprise or her Captain. The Captain of Enterprise departed via the aft bay, that was now a ship’s tradition. It was not Thomas’s place to argue with that.

As the shuttle plummeted into the atmosphere, Thomas couldn’t help but wonder what the future, both immediate and longer term, would bring.

Offline elmayerle

  • Its about time there was an Avatar shown here...
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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #83 on: July 14, 2014, 05:05:05 AM »
I'm not much of a reader of fantasy, but I have enjoyed other works of David Weber. Lucky for the Star Empire that Dahak is not a unit of the SLN.

Anything that can carry SD's as parasites should be left alone. :)
Though I somehow cannot see Dahak putting up with the corrupt mess that the Solarian League has become; he would've straightened things out rather earlier.  People tend listen when someone like that makes comments and suggestions.

Offline Silver Fox

  • Talk to me Goose!
Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #84 on: July 14, 2014, 05:21:16 AM »
True that Dahak would not have appreciated what became of Humanity. And yes, when a sentient being the size of a planetary body makes a suggestion, it is a good idea to listen. :)

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #85 on: July 14, 2014, 07:40:06 AM »
Part XXXIII: To Boldly Go…

Thomas was increasingly numb as his trip to Mount Royal Palace progressed. Thomas had virtually no contact with the aristocracy prior to The Academy, and only limited experience with them since. No Captain could be completely isolated from the highest levels of Manticoran society to be sure, but it wasn’t as if he regularly attended the same functions they did.

Now, he would leap right past several levels of that same aristocracy and meet Her Majesty herself. The whole idea seemed ludicrous to Thomas, as if he was going to be found out at any moment and decried as an imposter. Of course that didn’t happen, and in short order his aircar landed on the Palace platform. Thomas found himself under the scrutiny of Palace Security, The Steadholder’s Guard and element’s of the Monarch’s Own Regiment. Stingships weaved intricate patterns in the air above the Palace and more treecats than Thomas had ever seen in one place seemed to have free run of the grounds.

Treecats had emerged as a major security feature in the wake of several assassinations, so Thomas had expected them to be present… but so many?

One ‘cat in particular seemed to take a peculiar interest in Thomas and followed him at a distance of approximately 2 metres. This ‘cat apparently didn’t know how, or chose not, to sign. When the attention it was paying Thomas was noticed by Palace Security one of the officers asked his ‘cat if there was any problem with the newcomer. Thomas stopped cold, hands away from his sides. He wanted to appear as unthreatening as possible while Palace Security asked any questions they wanted. The officer with the ‘cat reported that ‘Dreams of Questions’ found the newcomer interesting, but not threatening in any way. Dreams was going to follow for a while, the ‘mind glow’ of the newcomer was something Dreams wished to taste for a little while longer.

Palace Security relaxed when it was obvious there was no threat, but several of the officers who had been adopted watched Thomas and Dreams as they walked away. This wasn’t normal behaviour in a ‘cat, and anything out of the ordinary was worth watching. Professional paranoia was a hallmark of a good Security Officer, and the merely good had no place in Palace Security.

Thomas had expected to be lead to The Blue Hall, the Throne Room of the Palace, or perhaps Queen Caitrin’s Hall. Instead, he was lead to King Michael’s Tower, the private retreat of Her Majesty and her family. Dreams of Questions continued to follow and nobody seemed to notice, or care if they did. At the entrance to King Michael’s Tower there was a further security checkpoint to be passed, and both the nearby sentries and the imposing figure at the door itself were accompanied by ‘cats. Six sets of eyes assessed Thomas, his assigned escort… and Dreams of Questions. Not a word was said, but Thomas apparently passed muster. The door guardian saluted and said, “You are expected Sir. Please enter.” The man then froze back into complete immobility, a statue would have shown more emotion.

Thomas stepped through the open door and was announced by the major-domo, “Captain James Thomas Kirk of Her Majesty’s Cruiser Enterprise and his companion, Dreams of Questions.” Thomas momentarily started, he wasn’t even aware that the ‘cat had followed him though the door. He was about to explain when he saw Her Majesty rising to approach him, hand extended. In Thomas, the impulse to salute warred with the simple courtesy of responding to the extended hand. Courtesy won out and Thomas shook hands with his monarch, Empress Elizabeth I.

 “Welcome Captain Kirk, I wasn’t aware you had been adopted. Please introduce your friend.” Elizabeth smiled, but she looked a bit confused. Thomas turned slightly to the ‘cat, “Apologies Your Highness, I haven’t been adopted. This little fellow starting following me at the landing platform and has stayed with me ever since.”

From Elizabeth’s shoulder, her treecat Ariel observed the unadopted ‘cat. Thomas hadn’t noticed anyone else was in the room with him and the Empress, but now he saw Nimitz and Samantha, Nimitz’s mate. The two ‘cats padded over to sit near the feet of Elizabeth. Thomas was vaguely aware that the ‘cats were communicating on a level no human could fully understand. When he looked up he noticed Earl White Haven, First Lord of the Admiralty and his wife, Fleet Admiral Honor Alexander-Harrington approaching. Thomas offered a respectful “Sir, Ma’am” and a nod of the head to the two others and joined them in watching the ‘cats.

Nimitz signed something to his person, and all the other humans seemed to understand. No one offered to translate for Thomas though, and given such august personages there seemed to be no way to sate his curiosity. Thomas contented himself with introducing himself to Ariel and Samantha and greeting Nimitz. He offered each cat a hand to shake, but only a nod of the head to Dreams of Questions. Dreams was a ‘wild’ ‘cat and human conventions were not observed by wild ‘cats.

Honor studied Thomas as he greeted each ‘cat. The message from Dreams was simple, Thomas Kirk was no danger, but he was not whole. Dreams sensed that Thomas was denying his true nature, something that any ‘cat would find almost impossible to accomplish. Dreams found the experience... fascinating. It was an aspect of the two-legs that ‘cats rarely saw, and it almost always drew their attention. Honor wondered how she might help Thomas, or if help was not possible whether it was safe to leave him in command of a cruiser.

She liked Thomas, but command had higher responsibilities that could not be ignored.

Offline elmayerle

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #86 on: July 14, 2014, 08:04:16 AM »
And now the treecats make an appearance; I daresay they are going to effect a few more changes in Thomas' life, likely ones he'd never expect.  They excel at that (as David Weber's stories of both Stephanie Harrington's and Honor Harrington's impressing have made clear - and let us not forget the first treecat to impress a princess and what that lead to).

Offline Silver Fox

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Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #87 on: July 14, 2014, 09:59:21 AM »
Part XXXIV: Where no ‘cat has gone before

Elizabeth lead her guests to a small sitting area where refreshments had been laid out. There were various small food items, including a small bowl of celery for the ‘cats. As the bowl was not empty, Thomas surmised that it had just arrived, but he would have bet that no one had entered or left the room. Apparently at this level, the stewards had mastered the skills of teleportation. Nimitz let out a small “bleek!” and signed a message to his person. Honor chuckled and turned to Thomas, “The coming and goings of stewards apparently perplexes you Thomas. Nimitz sensed your confusion over how the refreshments had arrived without anyone entering the room.”

Hamish Alexander turned to his wife, “He’s of sufficient rank. Please put the poor man out of his misery and explain it to him.” Honor laughed heartily, “I will Hamish, I will! It’s just that it’s always so much fun to see the reaction to something that should have been obvious. I know I was dumbfounded when it was first explained to me.” Turning back to Thomas she explained, “You see Thomas, all stewards attend certain Foreign Service training courses. We don’t advertise it, but the last line of defence for our senior officers or dignitaries have always been the stewards. These people are so often overlooked, or completely ignored, people just don’t observe them. Most stewards never serve in any capacity other than stewards, but the ability to pass through a room full of people and just not be seen has certain advantages.”

Thomas sank back in his chair. Yes, it was obvious that it should have caught his attention. The way the stewards moved, the silence when they opened a hatch by hand, these were the skills of an infiltration team member. Even the way they cared for their charge, utmost concern for the safety and well-being of their chosen officer. Given time, Thomas was sure that he would figure out just how stewards selected who they would serve. However, that was for another time. Turning back to the Fleet Admiral, “I see Ma’am. It should have been obvious. I suppose that even those of us who are served tend to not look too close. Thank you for telling me.” Honor smiled at him, “Please keep it under your beret Thomas. As I said, it isn’t something for public consumption.” Thomas nodded, “Of course Ma’am. Besides, who would believe me?” Thomas grinned at his superior officer.

Elizabeth decided it was time to move the conversation back to the point of this visit, “Captain, in recent years I have made it my practice to personally thank those officers who have served in such exemplary fashion. There have been times I was unable to publicly acknowledge such contributions to the Star Kingdom, but I have always tried to ensure that my feelings were known. Even when I couldn’t show that thanks publicly.” She smiled a sad smile at memories of another time, “There will be no problem with public acknowledgement in your case. Nevertheless, the private expression of thanks has become a sort of tradition, one I wish to uphold. After all, Monarchies run on tradition.”

Thomas hesitated then stuttered, “You Majesty. Thanks aren’t necessary, I was only carrying out my orders and doing my duty!” Elizabeth gave a wry smile to Honor, “Nonsense Captain! Yes, it was your duty, and yes, you were following your orders. It’s how you did your duty and how you followed your orders that is the question.” Elizabeth grinned, “Let me tell you something Captain. I have grown quite used to certain of my officers trying to deny me the privilege of showing my appreciation. You Captain have my thanks, but be warned. You are not yet of sufficient rank to get away with what certain of your elders have!” Despite the stern words, there was a whimsical gleam in the Empresses eyes, it was met with open laughter from Hamish and Honor.

Honor turned to Thomas, “Take the warning seriously Captain. The longer you deny her the little pleasures, the more likely Your Queen will find some way of making you pay in the end. Better to take your lumps now and get it over with.” All the treecats in the room let out a ringing “BLEEK!” and all the humans except Thomas laughed. He was more than a little perplexed at how easily these people got along. Somehow, he too was being drawn into the web.

Elizabeth interjected again, “Honor is right Captain. In the end, I will have my way. Best to just put up with my little quirks now.” Elizabeth smiled, “Captain, it has been decided that you will receive The Manticore Cross. There will be a formal presentation ceremony later, but congratulations. I have decided on a more personal honour.” The Empress turned to Honor, “Dame Honor would you care to assist?” Honor sobered, “Of course, Your Majesty”

Honor rose and walked a short distance where she collected a small red pillow and a sword, “Thomas would you stand please, then kneel on the pillow?” Thomas stood, and then kneeled as requested. Elizabeth took the sword from Honor and approached Thomas. She turned to Thomas, “Captain, you go by Thomas now? Is that how you choose to be known for the future?”

Kirk thought for only a moment, “Actually Ma’am. I think I have outgrown the need for ‘Thomas’. Please call me James, or just Jim.”

A loud buzzing purr filled the room; Jim Kirk turned his head and locked eyes with Dreams of Questions. The ‘cat wasted no time in leaping onto his outstretched arms.

Ceremonies would have to wait. Jim Kirk was whole again.

Offline Silver Fox

  • Talk to me Goose!
Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #88 on: July 14, 2014, 09:59:51 AM »
The End.

At least for the time being. :)

Offline elmayerle

  • Its about time there was an Avatar shown here...
  • Über Engineer...at least that is what he tells us.
Re: Let's be about it
« Reply #89 on: July 14, 2014, 12:18:00 PM »
Ah, yes, between treecats and her majesty, yet another officer's life and career are majorly altered.  *wry chuckle* I do reckon Honor is quite speaking from experience in her advice to the good captain; she does, after all, have experience with the "whim of iron" of two different planetary heads of state.