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Writer's Block

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So, I had some free time and decided to start the next story I had in mind.  The prologue rolled off me nice and smooth.  But I have no idea where to take this one.  I don't think I want to do a typical Section 31 story like I've done before.  I want to come at this one differently.  I'm just not sure how.

Any suggestions?

Opening quote:

“L. Cassius ille quem populus Romanus verissimum et sapientissimum iudicem putabat identidem in causis quaerere solebat 'cui bono' fuisset”. 

“The famous Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a very honest and wise judge, was in the habit of asking, time and again, 'To whose benefit?'” -- Roman orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero



Stardate: 54607.4 (10 Aug 2377)

Kaleb Sector, near the Romulan Neutral Zone

Unregistered Smallcraft

“Come on, come on.”

Clayton Easton desperately viewed his sensor display.  He was traveling at warp 8.794, as fast as his limited vessel could go.  The cockpit was made humid by his sweat.  The engines had been redlining for several minutes.  His one saving grace was that he got a head start.  The pursuer out matched his speed by far.  If they got within weapon’s range before he reached the Steamrunner’s sensor range, it’d be over in a fraction of a second.

The light-skinned human made minute adjustments to his course, shaving a tenth of a second here, a eighth there.  It would be close. 

His opponent would not be detected by his savior.  There were only a handful of sensors in the quadrant that could see the threat. 

The enemy was gaining.  At this rate, he’d be little more than carbon molecules floating in space.

As a last ditch effort, he broadcast on an emergency channel.  “Starfleet vessel, Starfleet vessel:  my warp core is about to go critical,” which wasn’t far from the truth.  “Please rendezvous as soon as possible!”

The response came, after what seemed like an eternity.  A confidant, female voice informed him, “This is the Federation starship Independence.  We have received your mayday and are on an intercept course.  Confirm.”

“Confirmed,” Clayton quickly replied.

The icon that represented the Starfleet ship began moving toward him.  Good, he thought.  They must have gone to maximum warp.

His rival, shown on his display as a simple, red dot, continued.  They wouldn’t let him go easily, but were they willing to fight Starfleet over him?  He didn’t think so…he hoped not.  If he was wrong, this whole race would be for nothing.

Easton’s hands became clammy.  The controls became slippery as a result.

Intense seconds became unbearable minutes. There was nothing left to do but to play his contest out. 

The hostile would be in weapon range in seconds.  He would, likewise, be within the Independence’s sphere of protection.

Surely, they wouldn’t destroy a starship over me.  I’m not worth the attention that gets.  Right?  God, let me be right.

He was now in weapons range.  He was dead.  Ironically, he had provided the perfect cover story for his own death to Starfleet.

“This is the Independence.  Prepare for emergency transport.”

All he could do was hold his breath.  There was probably a phased torpedo heading his way, right now.  He felt the tingle of the transporter.



USS Independence, Main Bridge

Kaleb Sector

Captain Sintina Aurelia watched as the small vessel exploded into a fireball on the main viewer.  Her eyes met her first officers, Karim bin Nadal.  She didn’t hold out much hope.

It was Karim that asked what had to be asked, “Transporter room, did you get the pilot?”

There was a moment of stillness on the bridge.

“Yes sir, we have him.”

Before they could break out into a smile, another voice interrupted the transporter operator, “Captain, you must raise your shields!  Call for a red alert!”

Sintina scrunched up her jet black eye brows and almost had a look of amusement on her face.  She began, “This is Captain Aurelia.  Why…”

“Please captain, now!”

She looked to bin Nadal for his opinion.  He gave a shrug of the shoulders.  The Latina threw up her hands, “Hey, why not?”  She said rather calmly, “Red Alert.”

Immediately, the lighting changed and the ship came to a defensive stance.

She turned to the Andorian security chief, “Lieutenant, would you be so kind as to escort our visitor to my ready room.”

Jonin Faltyne nodded and proceeded off the bridge. 



USS Independence, Captain’s Ready Room

Kaleb Sector

The doors parted for Clayton.  The captain was a petite, yet athletic looking woman.  Her black hair was in a simple pony tail.  She sat behind her desk, looking at him expectantly.  Her first officer, a Persian, looked back from a chair as he entered.

Sintina dispensed with the pleasantries.  She asked, in a remarkably polite tone, “Why did you have us go to red alert?”

The door closed behind Clayton and Jonin, whom had not been relieved of his charge, yet.

The man approached the desk and explained chaoticly, “Because there’s a ship out there.  It blew up my vessel, not the warp core.  I wonder if they’re still out there?  You weren’t fired upon were you?  No, of course not.  We wouldn’t be talking, if you had.  If they know I made it to your ship, they’ll tail us.  They might attack still, but I doubt it…at least not directly.”

Aurelia held up a hand to stop him, “Who is out there?”

It took a second for him to process the question.  To him it was too obvious to ask, but then again, she didn’t know.  “The Directorate,” he rejoined.

“Who?” repeated Karim.

Clayton stumbled, “There is no actual name for the Directorate.  That’s the whole point, they don’t exist.  Some people call them the Agency, some call them Section 31.”

At the mention of Section 31, Sintina pointed an accusatory finger at the commander, “For the love of god, Karim, if you got me sucked in to another goddamn shadow play…”

He put his hands up, “I haven’t talked to…our contact…for a month.  This is news to me.”

“Admiral Nechayev,” said Easton.

Shocked, both the captain and the first officer said, “What?”

Clayton acted like it was old news, and it was to him.  He was still breathing heavy, “Section 31 knows she’s a figurehead in the resistance.  They know you two have worked for her.  That’s why I came to you.”

“What do you mean?” came for Karim.

Finally, he took a deep breath, “About a month ago, someone leaked Admiral Nechayev’s name to a 31 agent.  I was stationed at Starbase 39-sierra…”

“Because of me,” interrupted bin Nadal.  He was almost talking to himself.

Clayton paused, “What?”

Karim sighed, “They know her name because of me.”  He attempted to defend himself, “A Chameloid tricked me…”

There was a short quiet.  Then, Easton piped up, “Don’t worry about it.  It happens to the best of us.”

The words didn’t seem to comfort the first officer.  Despite that, Clayton continued, “I was stationed at Starbase 39-sierra.  I monitored sub-space traffic within the Romulan Empire for the Agency.”  He added, as if to redeem himself, “I’m only a low level operative.  I’ve never killed anyone or destabilized any government…well, not directly.”  He wondered off for a second, then went on, “Anyway, I found out a long time ago the Directorate was overstepping its bounds.  A lot of people didn’t like it.  So when I was approached a few years ago to help the resistance, I agreed.  I mean, they only wanted me to pass on a message there, delete a transmission here.”  Again, he became distracted with his thoughts.

Sintina prompted him, “So let’s go back to the point in the story when you decided to drag us into it.”

“Well,” he said, “When they found out about Nechayev, they tracked her back to me.”  He laughed humorlessly, “I guess I didn’t cover my tracks good enough.”

Karim chimed in, “Do they have her?”

“Nechayev?” Easton asked.  “I don’t know.  I don’t think so.  Last I heard she was going to try to say as visible as possible.”  He remarked, “Staying in the public eye is really the best defense against the Directorate.”

“Will they try to assassinate her?”

“I don’t know.  They may just try to discredit her.”

Aurelia leaned in and said deliberately, “So, why did you come here?”

He paused.  “Well, you were the closest friendly ship I knew of.”

“That was your great plan to avoid Section 31?”  Sintina said harshly, “Come to my ship and bring even more attention to us?”

Clayton bit his bottom lip and looked away.

“With respect,” began bin Nadal, “Section 31 already knows we’re part of the resistance.  It’s not like it can get much worse.”

‘Part of the resistance,’ Sintina repeated in her head.  Goddamn it.  But there was no denying it now.  She was waist deep in it, probably more. 


Thanks for any ideas, guys.

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Good to see you writing agian.

Ths is a terrific, fast-paced opening you got here.

One thing that comes to mind, is to write a story from an outsider's perspective. That is to say to write it entirely from Easton's point of view. That could prove interesting if you want to tell a dfferent kind of story.

Considering what you've already revealed in the prologue, it's going to be tough writing this without a strong Section 31 angle. Of course you could always turn this into a character piece for Sintina or even better, Bin Nadal.

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A sharp opening.  I like CeJay's notion of writing the story from Easton's point of view--that would give a different perspective on the ship and its crew.  Good to see that you're working your way through your writer's block.

Now, if I can only work through mine...

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Wayhay! A new story - on the way at least. I can appreciate you wanting to write it from a different perspective as a writer but just to let you know as a reader I'm more than happy with the way you pull your twists and weave your tales. It did however, strike me as I read what you posted to do what CeJay then said, to write it from Easton's POV and how he views the Indy's captain, XO and crew and perhaps explore the ship from his outsider stance giving not so much a lower decks perspective but a visitor's. And of course, we the audience will be wondering about his observations and motivations. And as for Section 31 involvement, the fact their pursuers are cloaked means to say you actually don't need them to show up but give us a submarine type feel of being hunted by an unknown enemy - unlike Romulans, etc crew don't know if they can circumvent S31 shields, and keep looking over shoulder, building paranoia and tensions among the crew and all without the slightest whiff of an enemy. A sort of bottle ship episode.

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