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>> Star Trek fan fiction >> Columbia >> Historical Revision

Historical Revision

Captains Personal log, Stardate 54510.6

It's come to this. A desperate, and probably hopeless stand. This war is now more than four years old. Right now I'm looking out at our fleet. It's a ragged bunch. We've managed to assemble 800 ships. It's hoped if we can win this one engagement, we can perhaps rebuild a small part of Starfleet, and hold out again. For a year, maybe two.

Vulcan is subjugated. Romulus conqured. The Klingon homeworld is under Dominion control. The Klingon fleet is wiped out. All that is left is Starfleet. It's not enough. Not anymore.

The Dominion knows this is our last gasp. They will send everything available, and I'm afraid this fleet will be crushed. We cannot fallback, there is nowhere else to go. We must hold now or die. Or perhaps a third choice....

"Captain to the bridge." Lt. Raj Ramast said over the conn.

Rees walked onto the bridge and headed immediately for the tactical station. Ships were dropping out of warp, all around them. Hundreds at first, then thousands. She looked at the top left portion of the display. It read, "4306 threat vessels identified."

To her credit, she didn't swear, or even shake her head. She was as cool as a Vulcan on Breen. She said simply, "Shields up, Red alert."

That shook everyone out of thier initial shock. Rees looked fondly at her crew. She was entirely in love with all of them. Through four years of war and destruction, they'd never let her down. She knew they'd do thier jobs well. But were the odds just too long today?

"Here they come." Davis said, emotionless.

The Columbia was situated in the middle of the fleet, relatively safe. For a few seconds. On the outer edges, Starfleet ships were already taking a horrifying pounding. The odds were nearly 5 to 1. It was showing. A Galaxy class's brilliant destrution before 8 Dominion battle cruisers was all the evidence Rees needed. "It's really hopeless," she whispered.

The Columbia was in the fight now, desperately manuvering, trying to evade multiple poleron blasts. It was nearly impossible. A console exploded aft as Commander Davis called out, "Sheilds at 62 percent!"

Lt. Telar was a masterfull pilot, but there was nothing for it. There were just too many.

"Captain" Ramast called, "We're being hailed by the Shadow Horseman."

"Acknoledge that".

He did. Rees could hear the unmistakable voice of Captain Gorman through the static. "Go ahead Gorman." She replied.

"You know what we have to do." He said.

"Understood, follow us in. Rees out." She looked at Telar. "Find us a backdoor."

"Aye Captain."

The Columbia was on the sharp end of it now. They had get clear for this to work. The Horseman followed close behind, and behind them was the USS Enterprise. The Columbia managed to find some gaps in the inner encirclement of the attackers, but further out it became thicker. Finally they were surrounded, with no obvious escape. Then Telar saw a slight gap between two Dominion fighters. The old Excelsior class was taking an awful pounding. So were the Horseman and Enterprise. Stubbornly, they held course.

Telar made for the weak spot in the Dominion net. Ramast fired phasers at the port fighter, and two photons at the starboard vessel. Both ships were now spinning off wildly in separate directions. It gave The little task force just enough room to slip through.

They were nearly in position, but they were also nearly beaten. The Horseman was limping, The Enterprise was losing its shields. The Columbia was down to 12 percent. It had to happen now.

It did. The ship was bathed in blue light. As it was swallowed in the vortex of chronometric particles from the Enterprise, Rees asked for an aft view. Now she swore. "Oh shit, hurry." It was more a prayer than anything.

It looked as though Gorman wouldn't make it. The little Prevaricate class was being hit hard from the side. Rees shook her head in resignation. Then she saw a Katana class ship seal the flank. It was the Missouri, and it took a hellish pounding for its intervention. She stared disbelieving as the ship absorbed torpedo after torpedo. Finally the shields fell, and there was a massive explosion. When it cleared, the Missouri was still there. In two pieces.

The Horseman barely squeezed through. The legendary crew of the Enterprise, however, wouldn't make it. Her shields down, several Dominion Battleships cruised around her like vultures, firing at thier leisure. The starboard nacelle was hit. It began to flash, the first sign of a nacelle explosion. Rees looked past the Enterprise, just in time to see Earth under bombardment. Dozens of torpedos rained down on the planet. There would be two asteroid belts in the Sol system soon. As the E-E's deflector dish was hit, it exploded. The vortex winked out.

The bridge was silent for too long. Rees broke the chill. "Welcome to the past everyone." She said loudly. "And perhaps...Our future."

Act 1
Present Day
Stardate 51881.5


"More coffee?" Davis asked.

"Do I ever turn it down?" Rees replied as Davis brought her her mug. He sat on her couch in the ready room, and sipped his decaf.

He decided to bring up a delicate subject. "How's the arm feeling?" He asked. It was the first time he'd mentioned the injuries she'd sustained from the Cardassian torture of a few weeks ago. Her right arm had been in the worst shape.

She flexed. There had been some concern that she would never regain the feeling in her fingers. Dr. Ortega had it almost as good as new now. Almost. "It's feeling ok, actually." She tried a smile.

Davis nodded slowly. "How are you...otherwise?"

She snorted. "Well, I'm not crazy anyways. The councellor at Starbase 429 said as much." She gave him a wild look. "Although I do have an insatiable desire to destroy Cardassian ships."

Davis chortled. Her humor was a cover. He recognized she was hiding alot of pain. There were things she still wouldn't talk about. Maybe never would. He wouldn't force her. He decided to change the subject. "So, you excited about getting to meet these shadowy Special Ops guys?"

He was being sarcastic. Starfleeters and Special Ops had thier...differences. Most Special Ops personel thought Starfleet was too beaurecratic. Most Starfleeters thought Special Ops were just a bunch of cowboys. The truth was, as always, somewhere in between. "Normally I wouldn't bat an eye. But this bunch..."

She didn't finish. Instead she got up and looked out at the streaking stars.

Davis was miffed. "Hello? This bunch what?"

"It's more the Captain. I know him."

His brow furrowed, Davis charged on. "You know him. In the Biblical sense?"

She rolled her eyes and turned from the window. "Is everything about sex with you?!" she asked, exasperated.

He shrugged his shoulders "Well, ya. It is."

Shaking her head, she said, "Ok. Fair enough. To answer your question..."

She was interrupted. It was Ramast on the bridge. "Captain, we've arrived at the rendevous."

"Thank you Lieutenant. We're on our way." She headed for the door, coffee in hand.

"So, what about you and Gorman, did you guys..." Davis finished the sentence with several disgusting hand motions.

Rees decided to let him stew. "You're gross. We'll talk later. Duty calls."

Davis growled like a Klingon.



As soon as she stepped on the bridge, she was asking questions. "Any enemy activity to report?"

Ramast answered. "No Sir, not at all, and it looks like the Shadow Horseman is late."

Rees walked over to his Tactical station. Nothing on passive scans. "They aren't late. Gorman is never late. He's here, hiding. And he's doing it just to piss me off."

Thievin turned at his Ops station. "Captain? Why would he try to anger you?"

She didn't want to explain. She didn't have to either. "Captain Gorman and I have previously met. I can assure you he's having a good yuk about this. I can also assure you that his strategy is working. He's really pissing me off." She decided to find him herself.

"Mr Davis." She asked, "is there any way to detect a Prevaricate class ship under cloak?"

He shook his head. "Not really. We could try all the standard stuff. Tacyon sweeps, that kind of thing. It helps that we have a specific rendevous point. It narrows things abit."

Rees looked at Thievin. "Get busy Mister. Find me that ship. I wanna piss him off for a change."

He got right to it. Rees went to the secondary science station to help. She was confident. This Excelsior class refit had an excellent sensor package. There was a chance. It helped greatly that they knew the Horseman was somewhere very close by. Normally they'd have no chance.

"Captain" Thievin said a few minutes later. "I'm detecting a slight phase variance bearing 005 mark 002."

"A cloaked ship?" Rees asked.

"It could be" Thievin replied. "Perhaps they've got a bit of a plasma leak or something."

Rees was suspicious. "That's sloppy for Gorman." She studied the display. "What do you think Mr. Davis?"

He shrugged. "It sure as hell looks like a plasma leak from a cloaked ship."

Rees thought for a second. "Raise shields. Arm torpedos."

Ramast did so immediately, then questioned. "Captain?"

Rees looked devious. "He wants to play, let's play. I'm gonnna do this by the book. Starfleet tactial operations to be exact. I quote chapter 8, section 2 paragraph b, rule 33. 'When encountering what is suspected to be a cloaked ship, immediately raise shields. Treat any cloaked vessel as a threat."

Davis frowned. "Alright Captain, but we know the Horseman is supposed to be here. That rule was written for unknown situations."

She turned her palms upward, signaling surrender. "You're right of course. But we're beaurecratic Starfleeters. We do everything by the book. My hands are tied." She smiled widely.

So did Davis. "I see." He looked at Ramast. "Mr Ramast, target photons on the area of the phase variance."

He did. Nothing happened.

"Mr Ramast." Rees said quietly. Set phasers to one percent. Target the anomaly."

Ramast was confused. "At one percent it would only be a lightshow."

She didn't explain. "I know. Fire phasers only."

Ramast shook his head. "Firing phasers."

The orange beam didn't get far. It struck the Shadow Horseman, which immediately decloaked.

A smiling Thievin said a Ops "We're being hailed Captain."

"I thought we might. Onscreen."

It was Gorman. He looked fantastic. As always.. She pushed down her excitement at seeing him. Why was she excited? Before she saw him again, she'd been certain she hated him. Intellectually maybe. Emotionally, physically was a different story. He was the first to speak.

"Nice one Danni. You didn't actually expect me to panic and decloak at the first sign of trouble did you?" He was smiling.

She was mad. He called her Danni in front of her crew. She would not be toyed with. "And you didn't actually expect me to believe you weren't here already, hiding out, playing your silly little games did you?"

He was still smiling. It was both endearing and maddening. "Of course not. I know you Danni. I figured you'd know I wouldn't be late."

She felt like screaming. He'd always had that effect on her. She looked around at her crew, who were looking back at her. "You will refer to me as Captain. Understood?" she may have been only 5 foot 2, but she could still sound intimidating when she wanted to.

He shrugged. "Sure, Captain. Aren't you gonna invite me in?"

"You mean permission to come aboard?"


She supressed another scream.




She waited in her ready room. She hadn't seen him for years, and now she would meet with him in the flesh.

Resisting the urge to look in the mirror, she sat at her desk and pretended to be engrossed with a datapad.

He walked in. He looked even better in person. She wanted to run up and hug him. Her emotions once again warred with her intellect. Her intellect won. She extended a hand. He shook it.

Without waiting to be offered a seat, Gorman sat. "Still driving this old tub around Danni?" He asked.

"This old tub" She replied, keeping her voice level, "Has saved my life more times then I can count."

She smiled thinly. "You still flitting about the Galaxy in that glorified runabout?" That knocked him down a notch.

He was about to reply, when she was called to the bridge.

"Report" she ordered, as Gorman followed her out.

Ramast answered. "We're picking up two Federation ships on long range sensors."

Rees was miffed. "So!?"

"One of them is a Prevaricate class ship."

She looked at Gorman. He looked confused. That worried her. Gorman walked to the Brikar's tactial station. "It's a Prevaricate alright. Except there's no way there should be one anywhere near here. In fact it should be on the other side of the alpha quadrant." He punched a few panels on the Brikars display. Ramast looked like he might break something. Maybe Gorman.

Ramast finally asked, in his deepest voice. "What are you doing?"

Gorman replied "I'm trying to get thier transponder signal, but this display is a mess! Who the hell sets up thier console like this?"

Ramast narrowed his eyes. "I do." He brushed Gorman aside. "You only had to ask.....Sir." He immediately set out to get the transponder signals of the mystery ships.

Rees whispered to Gorman. "Don't make an enemy of him. He might step on you."

Before Gorman could reply, Ramast had an answer. "This is very strange." He appeared to check a second, then a third time. "Captain, the transponder signals of those ships. They're identical to ours."

"What? That's impossible!" She looked for herself. "My God." She said simply.

"What is it? Who are they really?" Gorman asked.

Shaking her head she responded. "They, Mr Gorman, are us."

Act 2


Gorman left for the Shadow Horseman.

"We're being hailed by the 'Columbia' Sir," Ramast reported.

Rees turned to the viewer. "By all means Mr Ramast."

She was greeted by herself. It was like looking in a mirror. That illusion lasted only a few seconds when she absently stroked at a lock of hair that had fallen into her face. The mirror did not. Then the mirror spoke. "Captain Rees, nice to meet you."

"Who or what are you?" Rees said, cutting straight to it.

"I can assure you, I'm a who." She replied, not helping.

"Your assurances don't mean damn thing to me right now. I'm going on the assumption you are changlings for the moment. Would you care to beam over and have a blood test done?"

"Directly to sick bay I assume?"

"That should do nicely. In five minutes."

The mirror replied. "I'll be there."


Rees waited in sick bay with Dr. Ortega and several security officers. The mirror beamed in, and smiled. "Good for you, I thought you'd bring security." She looked at the Doctor. "Let's do it doc."

Ortega complied and took a vial of blood. She swirled it around, and after 10 seconds it was still red, human blood.

"In my humble opinion as Chief Medical Officer, this person is human."

Rees looked at her mirror. "That's a start then. But it hardly explains anything about you."

The mirror sat on the edge of a biobed. "It's a long story." She began.

"I'll make time" The Captain answered.


When the story was finished, Rees was in stunned silence. "Four years, and we're through." She stared at the coffee in her hands. "Just four years."

Nobody in the Medical lab moved. It seemed like a wake. Davis, who had been asked to join them during the story, was the first to get questions out. "If it's so bad, with five to one odds at the end, what good will 2 ships coming to this time do? What can we possibly change? It seems to me all the best strategic and tactical thinking in the galaxy can't save us. It's all about numbers."

The future Rees answered. "There is something we can do. Something that we think will alter things just enough. I believe we're getting together on the Horseman to discuss that very thing."




The two Captain Rees entered the War room of the Shadow Horseman. As she surveyed the room she saw both Gormans, seated at the table. There were also two Lapels and Tarbis', however there was only one each of Mirek and Allenby. Rees wondered absently about the fate of those two men.

One of the Gormans looked abit perplexed. "This is going to get very confusing.

"Don't stop on my account." Rees replied.

The older Gorman got right to it. "Captain Rees and I have prepared a recording of what transpired shortly before we arrived at this point in time." He tapped at a console and a holographic image appeared. Rees was intruigued. A Soverign class ship could be seen emitting some kind of a blue field. She realized it must be the chronometric radiation. She watched with a slight detactment as the Enterprise was hammered out of existance. She also noticed a Katana class sliced in two. The young Gorman was ashen.

There was silence for a time. Lapel spoke. "I don't understand how it could've gotten so bad. What the hell happened?"

Now Rees older version spoke. "It's not as complicated as it seems". About two months ago Starfleet learned of a Dominion infiltrator deep inside UFP Headquarters. By the time we figured it out it was already too late. We surmised the infiltrator was placed there from the beginning of the war, feeding our secrets to those Dominion bastards. In doing so they always held the upper hand. Gorman and his team eventually snuffed him out and took care of the problem, but by then it was already too late.

"How did you come to find out about the infiltrator?" The young Gorman asked.

"That's where I come in." The older version said. He steepled his fingers and looked slightly wicked. "Let's just say I had an opportunity to interview a Vorta."

Rees felt a chill. He couldn't mean what she was thinking. "What do you mean by 'interview'"? She was surprised by the sound of her voice.

"The Vorta was less than enthusiastic about being captured. He had to be....persuaded."

She felt herself losing control. A mix of horror and panic swept over her. "What!? You mean torture! You had to torture him to get the information!"

The answer was nonchalant. He waved a hand, as if discussing the weather. "Yes I used torture, intense and painful torture. I assure you it was most effective."

She stood and looked at this man, this mockery of a person. He wore a Starfleet uniform, he looked like a man, yet in that moment of time he seemed inhuman. A monster. Rees poured the rage of a tortured person into one punch. It landed squarely on his chin. He was flung backwards out of the chair, crashing unceremoniously to the floor.

Rees moved in to kick him, when she was restrained by her older self. "Relax...Captain. I had the same revelation you did. We both feel the same about torture, you know that. But I assure you, the ends justify the means."

She contained her rage once again. Pushed it into herself, holding it there. She glared intently at Gorman, who was gingerly picking himself up with the help of Tarbis. Tarbis spoke. "So what the hell made you decide to come back to this time? What do you plan to accomplish?"

The other Tarbis said, "That's simple, we plan to infiltrate Starfleet headquarters and take care of the spy before he has the chance to do any harm."

"Oh is that all." The young one said.

"No need for sarcasm Lt, we're all on the same page here."

"Oh really!" Gorman said. "Tell me, if we're going to take out a spy we can't even prove exists, you can at least tell me who the person is!"

The Gorman Rees punched had regained his composure. "The Deputy Secretary of Defence Administrator Admiral Johan Wilcox."

Rees stared stupidly ahead. How could the Dominion get a changling that close to the President? It had to be the most heavily guarded area in the Alpha Quadrant. Sweeps and checks were done daily, and surpise inspections were the norm. Obviously the Dominion had found a way to counter Starfleet technology. It was devastating news.

My God," Mirek said "That's the President's right hand man."

"Well then Lt," the older Gorman replied coldly, "I see you understand the urgent matter at hand."

Act 3


"Senior Staff to the Conference room" Both Rees said over the conn at the same time.

The older Rees laughed as they walked into the spacious room, "I guess 4 years of war doesn't change a person completely."

The younger version looked at her with disdain. "I hardly know you."

"What the hell does that mean?" she replied, anger creeping into her voice.

"It means," Rees said, walking over to her double. "Besides appearance, excepting that horrible haircut, that you are nothing like me"

"First of all, our hairdresser was killed at the Third Battle of Vulcan. Second, I am you with more experience. That's all."

"No. The ends justify the means? That is not something I would now, or ever say. Especially when it comes to torture. If that's what Starfleet becomes, then why should we fight at all? We'll eventually become the Dominion anyways! I utterly despise you."

The older Rees sat heavily, as if suddenly very tired. "The ends justifiy the means is in fact something you would say. It's something you will say after four years of war. That's a fact, because I have already said it." She rubbed her eyes. "If it helps you, I despise myself too. Things I have done...." She let the sentence hang.

"What things?" Rees asked.

But the older Rees was already shaking her head. "You hate me enough already, if I told you you'd probably draw your phaser. There is one bit of advice I have for you. Stay away from Lapel."

Rees' eyes narrowed. She thought him attractive in the extreme, but hardly considered him dangerous. "Why should I do that?"

"Just trust me. If you're alone with him, you'll get trouble."

She was about to ask more questions when the senior staff began to arrive. Two Ramasts, two Lt Thievins, Davis', Ortega's, Telar's and Dalhousie's. Some of them looked like twins, the only way to tell them apart was the slight difference in uniforms. Davis' double had a scar on his cheek, and a prosthetic eye. It was a slightly different color than his real one.

As they settled in Rees was struck by the fact that they were all alive. There should've been some casualties. Rees asked about that.

The scarred Davis answered. "You're right. In most cases ships that were around at the start of the war have somewhat different crews at the end. As a matter of fact, 77 percent of ships present at the beginning were destroyed by the end. We were at all 3 Vulcan battles, Typhon 2, Vega, Feriginar, there's too many to name. I have no other explaination for you than the one we heard from other ships all the time. We're the luckiest ship in the fleet."

"Let's hope it holds up." Rees replied, as she took her seat at the head of the table. "It's time to bring you up to date on the plan, at least as far as the Columbia's are concerned. It seems both the 'older' Captains are fearful we'll be found out. I think it's paranoia." She looked pointedly at her counterpart. "However, it can't hurt to be cautious. We will therefore operate as quitely as possible for the rest of the trip to Earth. No transmissions of any kind. Passive scans only. You know the drill."

The young Davis interrupted. "I'm curious, how do you suppose the Changling Admiral will discover us?

The future Ramast answered. "We believe this Admiral has tentacles everywhere in Starfleet. Perhaps the Dominion has Changlings on several ships as well. It's only prudent to err on the side of caution in this case. I have no doubt the Admiral would send Starfleet after us if he came to know of our existance. He would convince the attackers that we are Changlings, and must be destroyed."

Davis snorted. "There aren't any Changlings on this ship. We're too careful for that."

"If one can be put next to the President, why do you doubt one could be put on this old ship?"

Commander Davis answered with a frown.

Rees jumped back in. "Our role is quite simple. The Spec ops teams will have most of the dirty work. All we have to do is hold off Starfleet until the job is done."

Lt. Thievin reclined. "Well, it won't matter anyways. He'll never discover us before we get there."

None of the "old" crew shared his optimism.



Security Lt. Allison Gunderman had an important message to get out. She'd heard communications were soon to be cut off totally. She'd also heard that the two seemingly indentical ships were from the future and they had come to kill an Admiral, somewhere high up in Starfleet.

She sat at her console and dictated the following message:

"Shadow Horseman and Columbia from future have arrived. They know of your existance, and four ships are on the way to Earth. Prepare."

The message had to be small to help conceal it as she piggybacked it on regular subspace traffic. It was sent out with the last transmissions three minutes later.

Then Lt. Junior grade Allison Gunderman morphed into a persian cat and stretched out. "She" deserved it.



Admiral Johan Wilcox betrayed no emotion as he read the transmission from one of his operatives. With a couple of taps on his console he brought up a hologram of the Alpha Quadrant. He plotted thier course and figured in thier maximum speed. Then he hailed several Starfleet ships in the Sol system. He didn't have much time.


Commander Lapel walked into the room with a cocky gait. Rees looked him over appreciativly, but looked away before he caught her eye. What was it about this man? She grit her teeth and tried to move on, picking up a pad.

She tried to be non-challant, but he was staring at her. Looking her over. It seemed like minutes passed. She shifted uneasily, and broke first. "Can I help you Commander?"

Now he staggered and stammered. I uhh, brought you the... schematics for our plans to go over with your senior staff."

She waved a hand. "My staff has been briefed already. You could've just transmitted them to me."

"Too risky. This ship is rather large, and with all due respect there could be an infiltrator on board. We don't want the Admiral back home getting wind of our situation."

"Hmm," she said, as she got out of her chair to get the padd. Rees thought she heard him say something like "noticed that before." She was certainly noticing him now.

"Noticed what?"

He seemed abit out of sorts. "Umm, what? Uh, nothing."

She let it pass. "Commander, some of my senior staff felt the same way you did. I assure you the Columbia is as safe as it can be."

"Not that I doubt you Captain. It's just if the Dominion can get to the President...."

This traitor on board buissness was wearing on her. "Look!" She shouted. "We've taken all necessary precautions, we're cutting off all transmissions, using passive scans only...I don't think I need to go over all this with you. This is MY ship."

He replied alittle less calmly this time. "Yes but you forget the SO team has complete command over any mission, regardless of the situation."

She couldn't contain herself much longer. "NO, the S.O Captain has complete command over the mission. Last time I checked" She looked at the pips on his collar. "You were not the Captain."

He had a strange look on his face. "Well, maybe if I were the Captain, I would get to flirt and pretend that I wasn't."

She was infuriated and excited at the same time. She could feel her cheeks flush, her fists clench. She didn't know whether to kiss him or kick him in the groin. She felt an ache in her heart. She hadn't realized how lonely she'd been. She decided to try words once more. "How dare you Commander, the Captain and I..."

The next thing she knew, thier lips were together. She kissed him back for a moment, then realized something important. She hadn't asked to be kissed. She stopped, and stared into his eyes for what seemed like a very long time. Then she stepped back, and slapped him as hard as she could.

He was stunned, as he should be. Rees had done what she wanted. She'd gained alittle control over things. As he rubbed his chin, She said "there, now where were we?"

It was her turn, as she grabbed him and kissed him hard. So far he was doing everything right. Distantly she thought maybe they were made for each other. It seemed perfect, and for a time she forgot things like war, torture and pain. There was only the two of them.

He unzipped her uniform, and her jacket fell to the floor. That left her undershirt as the next obstacle. She was walking backwards, kissing and shedding her boots at the same time. The back of her mind said, "This really is just like riding a bike. Here's hoping I don't fall off." She giggled soflty. When they reached the desk Rees just shoved everything off into a pile. She'd seen it in Holonovels before and always thought it unrealistic.

Now she pulled his tunic off with what sounded like a low Klingon growl. She studied his impressive chest and smiled wickedly.

Phasers couldn't stop them now. The Captain in Rees was gone. She was just a person now. A person who needed to be held. She needed to be loved. She needed to forget, if only for a short while. She looked at him again, as if for the first time. "This man", she thought. "This man is someone I could love."


Act 4


Her smile was still there when she was on the bridge the next day. Davis was staring intently at her from the chair beside hers. Damn him.

"You O.K?" He asked.

"I do alright. You?"

"Don't dick around Danny" he whispered. "What's up."

She wrinkled her brow. "You needn't know everything about me Mitch." She whispered right back.

He studied her for a few seconds more. Then his eyes got very large. "You got laid!" He half whispered alittle too loudly. Rees scanned, and she was relieved to see no heads turning in shock.

"Shut up for God's sake." She shook her head and looked around again. "We'll talk about it later." She frowned. "On second thought, we won't. Here's something you're not going to hear everything about."

If there was one thing that bothered Davis it was being out of the loop. "But, you can't...I mean, you haven't told me about Gorman... and now this! I don't even know who it was!"

Thier conversation was broken up by an alarm from the Tactical station. Ramast reported. "Four Starfleet vessels on the edge of long range sensors Captain."

She studied her own display, then got to her feet. The Columbia's excellent sensors came through again. "Put me through to the Horseman. The current one."

The Brikar opened a channel.

"Gorman here, what's up?"

"We're getting close now Captain. We have four Starfleet ships on long range sensors. We don't think they have us on thiers yet, but you'd better cloak now anyways."

"Understood Captain. Try to keep'em occupied."

The transmission was cut, and onscreen she watched as both ships cloaked. The Columbia's sister from the future was now the only other ship on the viewer. Slightly beaten, but still beautiful."Get me Rees." It still sounded strange to her.

Her own image appeared once again. "You have something Captain?"

She was abit surprised. "You don't see them?"

"Our sensor performance is not what it was. We've had to divert the power for weapons and other nasty things."

Rees smiled ruefully. "I see. We have four Federation ships on long range...."She looked at her display. Two were changing course to intercept, while two more appeared to be headed for Earth. "Damn." Rees went on. "The jig's up. The two ships on the way to Earth are an Akira and Norway class. The Harbinger and the Oslo. The two heading for our current position are a Galaxy and a Sabre. The Cartier and Tigra." She shivered. More than a match for us.

Thievin spoke up. "I wish we could just talk to someone at Starfleet command, let them know they should give our Changling Admiral a good going over."

"We can't. We don't know who is, and who isn't a changling. We have to deal with this ourselves. As quietly as possible."

The other Rees saw them now too. "Ok, we know the deal. Ignore the danger to ourselves. We have to keep the S.O teams free of interference from Starfleet. No tachyon scans, nothing."

"We don't even know if they'll start shooting." Davis said.

"We're about to find out." Lt Thievin said at Ops. "They're hailing us."

A rather high pitched male voice was heard. "This is Captain Ladin. You are ordered to lower you shields and surrender your vessels. This is your only warning."

"The transmission's been cut." Thievin reported.


The Ops Lt. tried three times to contact the Cartier. "They don't seem to want to talk."

"Shields up, Red alert." Davis said.

Rees walked over to Tactical. "Let's keep these two to ourselves. Gorman will have to find a way to deal with the other two. Where's the rest of the fleet?"

Ramast studied his display. "They're coming. They were on a training exercise. Estimating arrival in 20 minutes."

Rees shook her head. "Training. You'd think we'd learn after what happened at Betazed. Lucky enough for us though."

The two Shadow Horseman were now well ahead, having gone to maximum warp. The Columbias slowed to intercept the Cartier and the Tigra. Then Davis asked a question no one had wanted to ask.

"What are we gonna do? Shoot at them?"

Rees answered by saying, "Mr Ramast, target thier warp nacelles. If they fire, return fire. Make sure the other Columbia does the same."

"Understood Captain." The big Brikar said. "They're entering weapons range now."

"Hold fire. Try haili...." She was stopped by the thump of a torpedo striking the shields.

"Report!" She yelled as she picked herself off the floor.

"They're firing. Shields holding. Returning fire now."

Rees looked at the viewscreen and saw photon torps hit the shields of the Tigra. It seemed unaffected.

Davis shook his head. "We should come out of warp, we can delay them even more at impulse."

Rees nodded.

"Tell the Columbia we're dropping out of warp in exactly five seconds Mr Thievin."

Five seconds later the stars stopped streaking by. As she looked out, Rees thought it was almost peaceful. Until the shields flickered before her, and she heard the now familiar WHUMP of torpedoes and energy fields colliding.

"Captain!" It was Ramast. "Something new on long range sensors. One of the Shadow Horseman has decloaked, and is leading the two ships away from Earth. They're being fired on." He looked seriously at his tactical console. "They can't last long."

Often times Danielle had wished she'd had another Columbia at her disposal. Now that she did, it still didn't seem like enough.


Onboard the future Columbia, they'd come to the same conclusion. As a quantum torpedo crashed against the ships weakening shields, Rees realised what she must do. "Hail our counterparts please."

Her other self appeared, looking alittle worse for wear. "What?" Straight to it.

Rees stood for effect. "Go help at Earth. They need more time. The Horseman won't last long."

"What about you? You won't last long against these two!"

The older Rees smirked. "I don't want to sound like the Borg, but we are...irrelevant."

She was unimpressed. "You'll die."

"Yes. But maybe you won't. I should be dead anyways. Or in a Cardassian labor camp under the tender mercies of Gul Renat." Another torpedo made a grazing blow against the shields. It was followed quickly by a long phaser blast from the Tigra. The Cartier stood off and pounded them, while the Tigra flitted around them like a mosquito.

"Shields at 78 percent." A harried Ramast called out.

The young Rees looked down for just a second. She made her decision. "We'll go then. Good luck...Columbia."

She only smiled again, and said, "Good to meet you." She then cut the transmission. On screen she could see the Columbia move out, as her ship covered for them.

"You'd think these assholes would've figured it out by now. Changlings wouldn't target engines only. Paranoid bastards. Keep firing on the Tigra."



"We're arriving at the moon Captain. The Horseman is still kicking." Thievin reported.


It was an uneven fight. The Prevaricate class is tough, Rees thought. Not that tough. The Akira and Norway were simply standing off from the striken little ship, pounding away with torpedos. "Take us in, attack pattern Sierra." Rees sat down again. It would be a bumpy ride.


"Attack pattern Sierra". The Rees from the future commanded.

Lt. Telar had to raise her voice to be heard. "Captain, impulse power is fluctuating. I am unable to complete that manuever."

"Understood, do your best."


Rees knew the end was near, but they'd already done thier job. They'd kept these two ships occupied for a much longer time then even she suspected was possible. They'd used the Galaxy class as a shield from the Tigra. Always keeping the Cartier between them, it had basically amounted to a fight between a Galaxy and a Excelsior refit. The end was not in doubt.

Thievin turned in his chair at Ops. "Shields failing."

"Impulse power is offline." Telar reported.

"It's over..." Davis whispered, as a photon from the Cartier slammed into the saucer section.


"How's the Horseman?" Davis shouted at Ramast.

"Shields are at 18 percent. Looks like they are making about half impulse."

Rees was on the comm. "Shadow Horseman, take cover behind us..."She paused as the Columbia was struck by a volley of photons from the Oslo. "You won't last long if you don't get mov...." This time she was knocked flat.

"Look, you'd better worry about yourself Cap'n." Gorman responded. "We'll keep moving here, we want to give them something else to shoot at. That's the last we'll hear about retreat. Understood?"

She wanted to strangle him. "Whoa, one sec. I'm not some Cadet here."

"Danielle, I don't give a shit. We're not retreating. We only have to give the S.O. Team a few more minutes. Just hold on!"


On the smashed bridge of the future Columbia, nothing moved. The only sound was that of ODN counduits sparking, and occasional plasma venting. Amazingly, the viewscreen was still functional. It was a dizzying sight. The stars whirled by, top to bottom, as the ship spun end over end. It was dead. Then on the bridge, a twinkling of light. Eight Starfleet officers matieralized, phaser rifles in hand. They fanned out.

"What ya got Dominichelli?"

He was knealing next to a fallen officer. "Sir, when changlings die, aren't they supposed to go to dust or something?"

"I've never seen it myself", the Captain replied. "But ya, I think so." He didn't get it.

Dominichelli grimaced. "These are dead people Captain. Humans. A Vulcan. A Brikar. Sir, we just killed our own guys."

Captain Ladin looked worse than some of the dead people strewn before him. He looked at the faces of his other officers, searching for an explaination. They stared vacantly at him.

"But I had orders...." He stammered. "Very specific. No communications. Outright destruction. How can this be?"

"Sir!" It was his CMO. "This one's alive. Thier Captain! She's waking up."

Ladin crouched beside her. "Captain," He said as she opened her eyes. "I'm so sorry..."

She grabbed him by the throat. "You....dumb.....shit....." Then Rees' eyes rolled in her head. She was dead. Not quite the epitaph she would've liked, but fitting nonetheless.



They'd managed to completely disable the Norway class. I floated peacefully away from the battle, tumbling.

The Harbinger was a tougher nut. It had decided to finish the pain in the ass Horseman once and for all. An orange streak lashed against the weakening shields, and then collapsed them altogether. A torpedo quickly followed. It mashed the ablative armor on the port nacelle. The Shadow Horseman awaited its doom.

"Get me some phasers! A torpedo! Transporters! Something!" Rees shouted.

Ramast was pained. "I'm sorry Captain. I have nothing to give." If he could've, Ramast would've walked over to the Harbinger and kicked the shields down himself. "We're receiving a message from Captain Gorman."


"Captain Rees, I have ...ething for you to pass on to my counterpart. Tell him this...'See you on the flip side.' Gorman out."

A pair of Quantum torpedos pummeled the poor little ship. Amazingly she held together for a second after the impact, but then a tremendous explosion signalled her end.

They watched with sadness and resignation as the Harbinger turned from the debris towards them. Commander Davis was grim. "Now it's our turn."

A phaser burned against the Columbia's weak shields.

"Shield failure in 5 seconds."Ramast reported.

Danielle sat in her favorite chair and crossed her legs. What a strange way to end.

She could hear a beep from Ramast's console behind her. It was the 'incoming communications' beep. She looked quizzically at her tactical officer.

"It's from Earth." He said. "It's being broadcast broadband, they don't want to miss anyone." He tapped a button, and the message could be heard on the speakers."

"This is the President of the United Federation of Planets. Immediately cease and desist all attacks on the Starships Columbia, and the Special Operations ship Shadow Horseman."

"Gorman did it!" Rees shouted.

"Captain, another message." Ramast said. " This one from the Cartier to the Harbinger. It reads, 'We have uncovered new informantion. Do not attack Columbia. Not changlings.'"

Rees looked at Davis and shook her head. "What a dumb shit."


Act 5


She was happy again. Doran Lapel was with her, and all was right in the galaxy. At least for now. Her new silk sheets were a rumpled mess at the foot of her bed. She was exhausted.

Smiling, Lapel said, "This has got to have been one of the best missions I've ever been on."

She smiled back. "If it weren't for this war, I'd make you take leave with me to Risa."

Lapel rolled over and sat on her, pinning her down. "Ohhhh, you'd make me. Show me how."

Showing impressive flexiblility, Rees thrust one leg over his shoulder and swept him off of her and to the side, and in one swift motion was sitting atop him. "Not bad for a wimpy little Starfleeter, eh?"

Doran had a devious look in his eye. No doubt he has some Spec Op trick planned. She braced herself....and was stunned to hear her door open. Gorman. He was standing in the doorway. It was a nightmare. Finally she realized her nakedness as Lapel struggled for a blanket.

"Ah, jeez um, Captain, I uhhh" Doran was trying to find some words.

Gorman turned and walked out.



"You're kidding!" Commander Mitch Davis exclaimed.

Rees shook her head somberly. "I wish I were my friend. There we were, naked as the day we were born, and my ex-hubby walks in." She shook her head at the memory. "I can't believe it."

"Serves you right for not locking the door. Whenever I'm with someone, which of course is just about all the time, I'm locked up tight. Security lockout and everything. An Orion hacker couldn't get close to me."

"Ya, well I'm NEVER with anyone, and my door is always open, so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised." She sighed. "I hope he's not to hard on Lapel."

"I wouldn't worry about the Commander." Davis said. "I'd be more worried about what you're going to do about Ramast."

"What? You think he'll find out?" Rees asked.

"Of course, and when he does...."

"Oh God. Computer, locate Commander Doran Lapel."

The monotone voice of the computer responded. "Commander Lapel is no longer onboard the Columbia."

Rees rolled her eyes in relief. "I suppose he'll be safe on the Horseman."

Davis only shrugged as if he weren't sure.

"I wonder if we'll be able to keep the two separated for alittle longer yet." Rees asked.

"Why? New orders?"

"Yup, we're to head for the Romulan/Cardassian border. Nothing specific, we're just supposed to go and await further orders. The Shadow Horseman is gonna hitch a ride once our repairs are complete."

"Well, looks like you and Commander Lapel are going to get your little vacation after all."

She tried her best not to smile, but lost. "Looks that way." When she thought of him, she forgot the pain she still sometimes felt.. It was more than she could've hoped to have from anyone. She got out of her chair.

"Where are you going?"

"None of your buissness, Commander." Rees replied with a crooked smile.


Thanx much to David Highlander of the USS Shadow Horseman for doing this with me. It was alot of fun, he's not nearly as evil as people say. Make sure to check out his side of the story!

Read more from Columbia and Jarret S. Ronning.
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Follow Captain Danielle Rees and the crew of the USS Columbia.

Evil Must Be Opposed.
-- Vedek Yassim,

(DS9: Rocks and Shoals)
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