Star Trek The Next Generation: Ship of the Lineby Diane Carey
Ship Of The Line tells the story of the first voyage of the U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701-E, under the command of Morgan Bateson. Captain Bateson, a man from the 23rd century now living in the 24th, sees what no one else can see: that the Klingon Empire is building its forces and preparing to strike against the Federation. Seizing his one chance,/i>/i>… See more details below
Ship Of The Line tells the story of the first voyage of the U.S.S Enterprise NCC-1701-E, under the command of Morgan Bateson. Captain Bateson, a man from the 23rd century now living in the 24th, sees what no one else can see: that the Klingon Empire is building its forces and preparing to strike against the Federation. Seizing his one chance, Bateson takes the U.S.S. Enterprise on a mission to counter the Klingon threat, only to be thwarted by his enemy, a Klingon who has nursed a grudge against Bateson for decades. Standing in the way of Bateson's scheme and the Klingons' plan is Captain Jean-Luc Picard who, faced with the toughest decision of his career, must choose whether to take back command of the U.S.S Enterprise or let the torch pass to yet another next generation!
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Bridge of the Klingon Ship SoSoy Toj
"Today, my excellent warriors, our success will be etched on the gravestones of fifty thousand Federation dead. Today, my excellent warriors, you and I will fall upon nothing less than a fully populated and operational starbase."
Space boiled out before their supercharged warship, flickering on the giant forward viewscreen. The stars in the distance were the yellow and pink stars of civilization, orbited by planets bubbling with progress, the most populated sector of the settled galaxy. From this point on, all the space before them would be Federation territory.
And the commander's craggy face flexed with envy.
"Look," he said, moving his crippled hand. "Even their space is better than ours,"
He sounded deeply moved by what he saw.
Was he? Or were his words for the sake of the crew, who had never seen Federation space before?
The navigation panel was particularly warm in this overpowered vessel. A short reach -- the sensor grid controls also were throbbing.
Or perhaps I am the one who is too warm.
"Gaylon, look and appreciate what should have been ours."
"Yes, sir," Gaylon answered. Still perplexed then, he stole a moment to turn and look at Kozara, "Sir, how is their space better?"
"Look at it. A thousand luminaries displayed for the naked eye. Tails and sweeps and trunks, nebulae and storms, sparkling anomalies and ore-rich planetary clusters...they have everything. And took where we must live."
Gaylon peered at the distant suns, the nebulae, and tried to see what Kozara saw, but in truth the space before them looked like any other space he had ever seen in his career.
"We live where we have always lived," he pointed out, minding his tone. "The Federation took nothing from the Klingons. We live where we evolved, sir, I thought."
"Yes, but the Federation plots to keep us there, Gaylon. Never forget. Now...order the crew to begin scans. See if our plan is working...if we can move forward."
Gaylon nodded and threw a gesture to the sensor officer and the two crew members at the warship's complex helm.
No Klingon had ever piloted a ship like this one before. This was a refitted heavy cruiser, one of the old-style Klingon fighting vessels. Very old, very strong, thick, ready to fend off bolts of disruption from the earliest days of conflict with the Federation, in the days before modem shielding and advanced tracking sensors. Gaylon found himself envious of the helmsman and the navigator, the sensor officer and the tactical specialists here on the bridge. Of all here, he and the commander were the only crew who had no panel to man.
And he wished to touch this ship, to work it. There was something to be said for a lower rank.
The commander gazed at the open slate of Federation space and upon it, apparently, he saw etched his future.
"My new son will have a famous father," he murmured as Gaylon and the other bridge officers watched. "He will be Zaidan, son of Kozara, destroyer of an entire starbase, victorious disruptor of an entire sector...and all will bow before him."
Gaylon clamped his mouth shut. What was the point of speaking? Kozara was looking at glory and there was no turning his eye.
"This, warriors, is the culmination of months of preparation and plot," Kozara continued, not really speaking to any of them. "Starbase 12 is one of the Federation's longest established starbases. For months we have introduced operatives -- spies -- into the workings of the starbase. Our operatives have fulfilled their purpose now and have evacuated the station. Because of that work, Starbase 12 is experiencing a power shutdown. They are running on emergency power only, meaning...they have no weapons. Gaylon, inform the crew of the second stage of events."
"Yes, commander." Gaylon shook himself from his surprise -- he hadn't understood that his commander had shifted from hopeful reverie to an address of the bridge crew.
In any case, he turned to the other officers and struggled to gather his thoughts and speak.
"We have allowed it to leak out that there will be a border dispute in the Federation's Benecia sector, approximately two hours at maximum warp from this point and six hours from Starbase 12. Now all Federation Starfleet vessels in the sector are on their way to the Benecia border of the Neutral Zone, assuming battle is coming with the Klingon fleet. Our fleet is there, yes, but with no plans to cross the Neutral Zone. Their purpose is only to make sure the Starfleet commanders think there will be trouble."
"And stay there long enough for us to cut across the Typhon Expanse and decimate a great structure," Kozara filled in with relish. His eerie green eyes sparkled. "Even the Enterprise will be drawn away. And the night sky over Starbase 12 will be ours to light."
Kozara was not old, yet he was deeply experienced, and still over the years of service glory had escaped him. Most of his crew were somewhat disappointed with their assignment with him. Gaylon would not go so far as pity, but there was an awareness among the crew that their commander greatly needed a victory. And such as this -- monumental!
An entire starbase! In its place would be scattered bits of flotsam and shredded bodies forever in orbit, a bizarre museum of this day's conquest. And forever the Klingon Empire would be taken seriously by the Federation. The names of Kozara, Gaylon, and every member of this crew would be elevated in the imperial hierarchy.
Some of the commander's hunger infected Gaylon as he stood here only steps from Kozara. The ship was old, large, and powerful, and the bridge strictly utilitarian, most of the positions barely leaving room for elbows to move freely. Whoever designed this ship knew what ships were for, and that there was little sensible need for space in space.
Gaylon's thoughts were driven out as Kozara suddenly came to his feet, lifting his war-injured left hand as if it were a torch.
"Across the Neutral Zone!" he declared. "We have fifty thousand to kill, a starbase to shatter, and my son's legacy to ignite! Helm, plot a course across the Federation Neutral Zone. Enter the Typhon Expanse!"
Copyright © 1997 by Paramount Pictures
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