A Matter of Honor (Starbase 118)

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--Stardate: 238908.20--

Within hours of the shadows leaving the station, the crew were met with another surprise. The arrival of Commander Kells, and Captains Jaxx and Avatar. Adding to the mystery was the reason for their arrival. The only thing that was certain, was that everyone would be waiting with high expectations, as Lt. Cmdr Cody working with Ensign Silveira, decided to make the most of the event and create an epic meal. This gave the crew some time to come to grips with the deaths of the shadows, and the fallout from the previous mission. It also revealed the concern about a Klingon attack into Romulan space, potentially affecting the Thracian alliance.

Before any more details could be provided, the meal was served, to the delight of everyone. As the plates were cleared, Captain Jaxx spoke up, giving the promotions to now Captain Nicholotti and Commander Walker. The crew celebrated their promotions, and enjoyed the evening. After an awkward dance with her FO, the Captain enjoyed a dance with her Chief Operations Officer and sparks flew. As the evening wound down, people moved off to talk through the night, or simply sleep off the enjoyable fullness of the meal.

Come morning, several things had come to light. Firstly, there was a threat on the Captain's life. The threat was sufficient that the returning Lieutenant Colt assigned himself and Ensign Silveira as the Captain's personal Bodyguards, and when Doctor MacLaren's Ambassador brother rushed through the station to speak to the Captain, he found himself transported with Lieutenant Commander Brek to the Brig by the ever so slightly on edge Lt. Commander Cody. Once the situation had calmed down a bit, it was revealed that the Duronis Embassy was under attack by the Klingons, and key members of the Thracian alliance had fled, there whereabouts unknown. The crew split up to cover the bases: Prepare the station against cloaked ships and attacks, prepare the fleet to defend the station, and prepare the Victory to defend the alliance. As they did so, a small item was registered as being transported. Unknown to the crew, it was a Klingon dagger... that would be left to prove the Captain's death was ordered by Commander Krax.

--Stardate: 238910.09--

Things heated up more as the crew went through the final preparations before the Victory left.

Captain Avatar, in response to the cloaked transport, setup a tachyon sensor net around the station. A net that was partially damaged by a meteor that held a high content of elements normally only found on a starship, and who's original location suggested a warp velocity to arrive!

While that more straightforward issue was being addressed and investigated, Lt. Commander Cody worked with the Captain to generate a holo-matrix clone to deflect the assassination attempt. This would have worked well, if the clone hadn't immediately developed her own personality. A personality that involved kissing the Captain's old flame Lt. jg Colt. Ending the romantic moment was the assassin who lunged at the clone, but was deflected from the clone by Colt interposing his body thinking he was saving the Captain. Working feverishly, Doctor MacLaren determined a solution to save the Lieutenant's life, using a process to pull the envenomed blade from his body.

At this point, things became confusing.

Hearing of the attempt, the Captain went to sickbay amidst several confused looks since the Clone had already been present. Following her trail, she then contacted the FO, who was surprised and shocked to see the job of guarding the Captain having doubled overnight! Meanwhile, Commander Cody, also hearing of the tactical officer's valiant act, put himself into custody for assisting in the wounding or death of an officer. A statement that made little sense to the security chief, who contacted the FO. Walker spoke to Orman to get an understanding of what had happened. The two were distracted by the situation, and sharing the humor of Fleet Commander Mar, masquerading as a random engineer, being "caught" by Ensign Silveira before being given the all clear by her former FO. This distraction allowed an incoming ensign to slip past them and see that her adopted father, Cody, was alive. Making this shock worse, was the sensation she had that it wasn't really him so she reached back and grabbed a weapon out of the locker and threatened his life. A threat that would have held more fear, if she hadn't instead grabbed a hand vacuum and pointed it at him. Sending her to quarters, and telling the second officer he was confined to quarters, Commander Walker went to grab a few hours sleep.

This was not to end well, waking him to a nightmare severe enough that he contacted Doctor MacLaren, who diagnosed and determined that the problem was in his mind, literally. Using her telepathy, she confronted a persona within Walker's mind that described itself as a separate entity, but she felt was a part of his subconscious mind. That confrontation ended with the persona shoving some tarnished crystals, symbolizing some of the memories Walker couldn't access into the man and ending the mental connection.

As the new morning dawned, the Captain called her first and second officer to discuss what and how to deal with "Anya" the clone of the Captain and how to prevent her from having too much of the Captain's information. Tasked with removing or modifying Anya's memories, Cody joined Doctor MacLaren and Lt. Colt in attending the briefing remotely. As the briefing ended, there was less than an hour until the Victory left...

--Stardate: 238911.22--

The crew left the starbase with little fanfare, but picking up a handy map in the form of an intelligence agent from the Thracian Alliance in a warp pod, and a Romulan Senator Vreeya. Someone who had apparently been interested in a young Ben Walker's childhood on Romulus. Setting the ship toward the coordinates specified, they were soon joined by both the Apollo and the Achilles, further boosting their firepower, and hope that it wouldn't be needed.

As the crucial moment arrived, the Captain entered the system matching the given coordinates and brought the ship to a halt. With the other ships nearby, and the ship's fighters deployed, Captain Nicholotti sent a message out to the Klingons announcing their presence and desire to help the Thracians. A message that was immediately responded to by the Klingon Commander Krax, who thanked the Achilles and Apollo for bringing the war criminal forward, and that they could now leave Klingon space! Before a response could come forth, Commander Creena, decloaked his Warbird in support of the Federation fleet.

The crew worked with the allied ships to swiftly transport the Thracian President from the Warbird to the Victory to sign the alliance that would allow the Federation to be directly involved. A move that strangely the Klingon ships made no move to prevent. Noting the strange lack of response, tensions raised as the time to sign the document into effect neared, then passed without anything but harsh words being exchanged. Especially when it was realized that Commander Krax was a fugitive from Klingon High Command, and therefore had no military backing. At the moment of greatest perceived weakness, this was the moment that Krax had been waiting for.

Unbeknownst to the crew of any of the Federation or Thracian ships, Krax had a plan to start a war. But to do so, it had to not be rogue Federation ships, but the Federation that had fired on Klingon ships unprovoked. Fifteen Klingon ships fired each fired one torpedo near to the Federation ships, before re-cloaking. While this was a Klingon method of honoring the lost, Krax hoped that one of the Federation ships would fire and trigger his war. Something that very nearly happened, but Krax's odd, non-Klingon, actions had put the crew on edge. This made them question the obvious attack, seeing the weapons would pass harmlessly by. The Apollo's and Achilles' crews both experienced near firings, but thankfully the first trap had been escaped.

The Apollo called the believed bluff, making it clear that the Klingons would need to leave immediately or face the wrath of the ships present. Krax once more acted out of the normal, and agreed to withdraw. Withdrawing instead to the center of the Federation fleet formation. Nearing the optimal placement, the crew of the Victory waited, knowing there was a trap to the Commander's actions, but not knowing what it was. Moments later, the trap was revealed. Commander Krax had set a beacon for each of the torpedoes that had previously been fired, and the klingon warships also fired on the warship before withdrawing. Believing this to be an attempt to deliberately trigger a massive warp core explosion, the ships began to move away. But Krax had a more ingenious plan. He entered high warp, just as the first torpedoes impacted, and the Achilles locked onto the fleeing ship with tractor beams. Both ships entering into warp by the power of the Klingon drives.

The Quantum weapons, combined with the subspace bubble formed from the warp, created a tear in the universe. A tear that caused an immediate implosion, that collapsed to create a massive explosion, the shockwave of which moved out to engulf the remaining ships. The Apollo moved in front of the Victory, hoping it's shields would be enough to see them both through. Mostly, this was true.

The Victory, battered by the shockwave, was thrown around like a child's toy, stresses from the impact enough to throw people from their chairs and damage components across the ship. The force also sent, unknown to most, an electromagnetic pulse of sorts through the ship. For most this last part was the least of their worries, except for Captain Nicholotti, who's artificial heart was unable to continue pumping. Lt. Commander David Cody, cradled the dying Captain in his arms and raced to Sickbay, as the First Officer was left on the bridge. A First Officer who was not quite himself after a head injury, but forced his way through.

Meanwhile, the Romulan Senator had one more ace up her sleeve. A hidden fleet was released as the Victory broadcast the word "Ryoica", chasing off the remaining elements of Krax's fleet. Something the Victory was glad to let them do, as the battered ship and crew made their way back to the starbase at their best possible speed.