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"Zenith" is the first chapter of the first volume of Star Trek: Final Voyages, written between April and May 2014 and published on 7 May 2014 by CaptFredricks.

The USS Enterprise-E is sent to the Denab system for a routine exploratory survey. Unbeknownst to the crew, a dangerous foe lies in wait.

Teaser Edit

William T. Riker, recently promoted to the rank of captain, gazes nostalgically around the bridge of the USS Enterprise-E before heading to the USS Titan, his new command. Another officer, who introduces himself as Martin Madden, enters the bridge and states that he's Riker's replacement as first officer of the Enterprise. Madden, nervous about meeting Captain Jean-Luc Picard, asks Riker for insight on his personality. Riker says that the captain is quite casual with the senior staff, and that Madden should call him by his first name. Worf and Geordi La Forge, both accustomed to Riker's practical jokes, see through it, though Madden does not.

Picard exits his ready room, and Madden approaches him. Picard welcomes Madden and asks him to join him for dinner in his quarters so they can discuss matters further. Madden replies with "[s]ounds good... Jean-Luc..." which takes the captain by surprise. He pretends to be angry at the embarrassed Madden, but he is really not. Picard then tries out the new restraint system on his captain's chair, indicating that "[i]t's about time" that the seats have restraints.

He then informs Madden of their new assignment, in the Denab system. When Madden asks if Picard has ever been there, he simply responds that "[i]t's a place where [...] no one has gone before."

Log entries Edit

Memorable quotes Edit

"Uh, sir... I haven't met Captain Picard yet. What's he like?"
"Well, he's not exactly a by-the-book type officer – he likes to keep things very casual with his senior staff. In fact, the best way to get on his good side is to call him Jean-Luc."

Martin Madden and William T. Riker


"Captain Picard does not 'keep things casual'."
"The commander doesn't know that, though."
"Ah, I see. Captain Riker wished to fool him as a... practical joke."
"Exactly."

Worf and Geordi La Forge


"This, sir, is the Mark VII. It's got state-of-the-art ergonomics, command interfaces—"
"Captain, I told him that you were content using your old chair."
"Let's give it a try, shall we?" ... "Well, it's... comfortable."
"Try this button, captain."
(after discovering the new built-in safety harness)
"Oh. It's about time."

— An ensign, Worf, and Jean-Luc Picard


"Commander, our first assignment will be in the Denab system."
"Sounds good, captain. Have you been there before?"
"No. It's a place where... a place where no one has gone before."

Jean-Luc Picard and Martin Madden


"How'd you get this assignment?"
"By Commander Madden's recommendation. He had confidence in me when nobody else did."
"Oh... I was sent here as a replacement helmsman in the event that something happened to the head conn officer. I was on a long list of names – I really don't know what made them pick me."
"I guess you're special. To be hand-picked for the position from a roster by none other than Jean-Luc Picard is a testament to your ability."
"Thanks. I hope I can live up to the hype."

Joanna Faur and Dina Elfiki (a vague reference to Branson)


"Now, I understand you are skilled in physics and astrometric sciences, correct, Miss Elfiki?"
"Aye, captain."
"Good. It's been some time since the Enterprise had a proper science officer, and I think you'll do quite well."

Jean-Luc Picard and Dina Elfiki (a reference to Spock)


"Strange."
"What is it?"
"For a moment, I was reading trace amounts of polaric radiation in Cargo Bay 2."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, lieutenant, but isn't the use of polaric ions prohibited because of their instability?"
"I believe you're right, captain."
"Lieutenant, what effect would polaric ions have on internal sensors?"
"It's possible that they could disrupt them... long enough for a small away team to beam over while our shields are down."
"Commander, be careful down there. I have no idea what you may find."

Dina Elfiki, Martin Madden, and Jean-Luc Picard


"Welcome to the IKS GhIqtal. I am Kardok."
"Hello, captain. Are you well? I was informed that you had been injured..."
"I'm quite well, doctor, as you can see."
"Where are the injured then?"
"I'm afraid there are none."

Kardok and Beverly Crusher


"You honestly haven't figured it out yet? Perhaps you should have your visor checked, commander. I 'invited' you here to witness the destruction of your precious Enterprise. Your captain will join you shortly, and we will take a trip to see... the Master."
"Who is the Master?"
"He is the one who sent us here, to lure the flagship of the mighty Federation into our grasp. Picard will make an excellent bargaining tool to attain what we want."
"Which is?"
"How do you Humans say it? The... keys to the castle?"
"If you think the entire Federation is just gonna lay down arms to serve this master of yours, you're sadly mistaken."
"Hah! You make me laugh, Human. Your puny Federation is nothing compared to the might of the Zenith Alliance. You've never heard of us, I'm sure... but we've been growing in the shadows. Members from various races in the galaxy, including Humans, have already joined our ranks."

Kardok, Beverly Crusher, and Geordi La Forge


"Ah, captain! Welcome to the IKS GhIqtal. I've been expecting you."
"Who are you? Why am I here? I demand to see a neutral representative!"
"I am Kardok. You are here because I wish it. Of course you do. Unfortunately there are no such representatives available."
"By your actions, I can see you are obviously not a part of the Klingon Defense Force. What faction are you affiliated with?"
"The Zenith Alliance."
"I am unfamiliar with them."
"Soon, captain, you will be very acquainted with us."

Kardok and Jean-Luc Picard


"What does this man want, what is the Zenith Alliance, and why the hell is a Breen manning the conn on a Klingon ship?"
"We know about as much as you do, sir."
"I intend to get to the bottom of this. Whoever these people are – I will find out."

Jean-Luc Picard and Beverly Crusher


"Send a distress call to Starfleet on a secure channel. Inform them that this may be the last message sent by the Enterprise."

Martin Madden


"Any last words for your valiant crew, captain?"
"Even in light of this new threat, we shall rise up against it. Even if we all perish, our struggle will not be in vain. Evil will always be triumphed by good in the end. Whatever you seek to gain by doing this, Kardok, will ultimately be for naught."
"How touching. I can feel the nothingness of my endeavors creeping in already. It is glorious!"

Kardok and Jean-Luc Picard

Background and trivia Edit

  • A precursor to the main plot of this chapter was written by CaptFredricks in 2010 under the title "Lego Star Trek". It was meant to be a short "film" of sorts that he would make with his LEGO minifigures, but it never came to fruition. He preserved the story, though, and reused some of the plot details in this chapter.
  • Several characters were taken from the original "Lego Star Trek" story, and renamed.
    • They include: Martin Madden, formerly John Benson; Miranda Kadohata, formerly Ensign Turrell; Joanna Faur, formerly Lieutenant Jordan; J'dan, formerly Telnok; Maglus, formerly Klingon Gunner; Dagan, formerly Klingon Officer; Nen, formerly Klingon Helmsman; Graal, formerly Klingon Engineer; and the Master, formerly X. The IKS GhIqtal also was renamed from the original, IKS Pak'tu.
  • The teaser for this chapter adapts a deleted scene from Star Trek Nemesis.
  • This chapter received an extensive revision in August 2018.

Continuity Edit

Notes and references Edit

  1. Chapters 1 - 3 of Star Trek: Final Voyages were originally written in present tense. Late in 2015, Capt changed this practice and began writing all chapters in past tense.

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Newly-promoted Captain William T. Riker took one last look around the bridge of the USS Enterprise-E before leaving for his new command, the USS Titan. As he headed for the turbolift, another officer exited onto the bridge.

"Hello, sir. I'm Commander Martin Madden," the officer introduced himself.

"You're the new first officer, I take it?" Riker asked, extending a hand.

"Yes, sir," Madden replied, shaking his hand. "It's an honor, captain."

"Good to meet you, but I'd better get going. Would hate to be left behind by my own crew."

"Uh, sir..." Madden hesitated. "I haven't met Captain Picard yet. What's he like?"

Riker chuckled. "Well, he's not exactly a by-the-book type of officer – he likes to keep things very casual with his senior staff. In fact, the best way to get on his good side is to call him Jean-Luc."

"Jean-Luc? Alright, thanks, sir," Madden said appreciatively.

"No problem, commander." He nodded. "Geordi," he said, waving to his good friend, Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge, one last time before leaving.

"See you, comm – I mean – captain," La Forge replied, chuckling.

Lieutenant Commander Worf looked at La Forge in bewilderment at Riker's 'advice' to Madden. "Captain Picard does not 'keep things casual,'" he mused.

"The commander doesn't know that, though," La Forge responded with a smirk.

"Ah, I see. Captain Riker wished to fool him as a... practical joke."

"Exactly," La Forge nodded.

Just then, Captain Jean-Luc Picard exited his ready room.

Madden nervously made his way over to him. "I'm Commander Martin Madden, sir – the new first officer."

Picard extended a hand. "Welcome aboard, commander. I certainly hope your sudden transfer from the Talos didn't catch you too much by surprise."

"Not at all, sir. I'm privileged to serve on the Enterprise."

"Well, as you can see, there is much work to be done before we can leave. I'd like you to join me in my quarters for dinner at nineteen hundred hours; we have much to discuss." Picard began heading for his chair.

"Sounds good... Jean-Luc..." Madden stuttered.

Picard stopped and turned around with an unamused look on his face.

"Captain Riker was just pulling my leg, wasn't he?" Madden asked, embarrassed.

Picard turned back around, mouth forming a small grin. He took a look at his chair, which seemed different than the last time he sat in it.

"What's this?" he asked of Worf and a young ensign, who were standing by the chair as he walked up.

"This, sir, is the Mark VII. It's got state-of-the-art ergonomics, command interfaces..." the ensign began.

"Captain, I told him that you were content using your old chair," Worf interrupted.

Picard looked it over for a moment. "Let's give it a try, shall we?" He sat down. "Well, it's... comfortable."

The ensign leaned down toward him. "Try this button, captain." He pointed to a button on the chair's armrest.

Picard pressed it, and a harness immediately strapped him down in the chair.

"Oh," he chuckled. "It's about time."

The ensign smiled confidently at Worf, who replied with a frown. Picard pressed the button once more and the harness disengaged.

"Thank you, gentlemen," he said, and the two walked away.

"Commander," Picard said, beckoning Madden over. "Our first assignment will be in the Denab system."

"Sounds good, captain. Have you been there before?" Madden asked.

"No. It's a place where..." he paused for a moment and grinned. "A place where no one has gone before."

"Captain's log, stardate 56950.3. It has been six weeks since our battle with the Reman warbird Scimitar in the Bassen Rift. In spite of Praetor Shinzon's coup d'état, it would seem we have been left with several possible avenues for peace with the Romulans. Meanwhile, the Enterprise's orders are to proceed to the Denab system for a routine survey mission."

Picard and Madden were seated at the table in Picard's quarters, finishing up their meal.

"Thanks for the dinner, captain. It was really good," Madden said with a slight stutter.

"You're welcome, commander," Picard replied. "Getting to know you has been quite... insightful."

Madden hung his head. "I-I'm sorry about earlier today on the bridge, sir. I meant no disrespect..."

"Oh, it's quite alright, commander. Mr. Riker was partially correct – I am casual with the officers that I have come to know and trust. In time, I'm sure you will join them."

"Thank you, sir," he smiled. "Oh, I almost forgot about the remaining unfilled officers' positions," Madden suddenly changed the subject, handing Picard a PADD.

"Operations manager, science officer, and conn officer," Picard read aloud. "Hmm. I believe Mr. Data had recommended Ms. Miranda Kadohata as his successor at ops," he remarked.

"Alright."

Picard continued reading over the list of candidates for the other positions. "Joanna Faur served as a training pilot at the Academy. She's received three commendations for her service there."

"S-Sounds like a good choice for the conn."

"Indeed. Do you have any recommendations for a science officer?"

"I'd like to offer Dina Elfiki for you to consider, sir. She's got multiple degrees in physics and astrometrics, and… I've met her personally. She's got a good head on her shoulders, sir."

"Hmm, yes. Her profile did stand out to me. Very well, commander. Inform the three of them of their new assignments."

"Aye, sir. Thanks again for the dinner."

Picard stood and saw him to the door. "It was my pleasure, commander."

...

Joanna Faur met Dina Elfiki in a corridor.

"Where you headed?" Elfiki asked.

"The senior staff meeting." Faur responded. "You too?"

"Yeah. I guess this means we're senior officers now."

"Guess so," Faur smiled.

They entered a turbolift at the end of the corridor.

"Bridge," Elfiki told the computer.

The turbolift began to whir.

"How'd you get this assignment?" Faur asked, breaking a momentary silence.

"By Commander Madden's recommendation. We've known each other for a few years; he must've put in a good word to the captain."

"Oh... I was sent here as a replacement helmsman in the event that something happened to the head conn officer. I was on a long list of names; I really don't know what made them pick me."

Elfiki chuckled. "There must be something special about you, though. To be hand-picked for the position from a roster by none other than Jean-Luc Picard is a testament to your ability."

"Thanks. I hope I can live up to the hype."

The turbolift halted, and the doors opened to the bridge. The duo proceeded to the staff conference in the officers' lounge. Picard, Madden, La Forge, Worf, Miranda Kadohata and Dr. Beverly Crusher were already seated and waiting for them.

Picard spun around in his chair. "Welcome, ladies. Please take a seat."

"Yes, sir." Faur nodded.

They both took their seats.

"It's very nice to meet both of you," Crusher said, smiling.

"Nice to meet you too, doctor," Elfiki responded.

"Now, I understand you are skilled in physics and astrometric sciences; correct, Ms. Elfiki?" Picard asked.

"Aye, captain."

"Good. It's been some time since the Enterprise had a proper science officer, and I think you'll do quite well."

"Thank you, captain," she answered, smiling.

"And Ms. Faur, you are an accomplished pilot, I take it?"

"Yes, sir. I served four years as a training pilot at Starfleet Academy," she responded.

"Very good. Now, for our assignment – we have been sent to investigate the Denab system. It will be a routine exploratory survey. Ms. Elfiki, as an astrometrics scientist, I'm sure you will quite enjoy mapping this system," Picard stated.

"Indeed, sir. Right up my alley."

"Right. Now that everyone knows their assignments, we shall proceed... to explore," Picard said, grinning. "Dismissed."

The senior staff stood up and began filing out of the room.

"Ms. Kadohata, one moment please," Picard said, turning in his seat.

"Yes, captain?" she inquired.

"I understand you served under Mr. Data before his death."

"Yes. He was an exceptional officer and a good friend, sir."

"He was an invaluable member of my crew for many years. I have only just begun to realize how much I had grown to depend upon him."

Kadohata chuckled. "He could always cheer me up when I was feeling down. It seems like that would be a difficult task for an android, but not Data. Somehow he always knew how to make your day a little brighter."

Picard grinned. "Data was one of the most human beings I've ever known. He was also one of the best friends I've ever had. If he had the confidence in you to take his place at ops, I trust his judgment."

"Thank you, sir. I will do my best."

"Good. Dismissed."

...

The Enterprise arrived in the Denab system.

"Drop us out of warp, lieutenant," Picard ordered.

"Aye, captain," Faur responded, disengaging the warp drive.

"Captain, I'm detecting an unidentified vessel in the system," Worf reported.

"Visual?" Picard asked.

The vessel appeared on the main viewscreen, but was too small to be recognized.

"Magnification factor five, Mr. Worf."

The vessel's size increased on the viewscreen.

"It appears to be a Klingon vessel, sir," Kadohata said observantly.

"Yes, it does, doesn't it?" Picard mused, stroking his chin.

"What are they doing out here?" Madden asked nervously.

"Unknown," Worf responded. "I recommend we proceed with caution."

"Well, let's not be rude. Mr. Worf, hail them," Picard said, standing and fixing his shirt. "Oh, and… take us to yellow alert status. I want to be ready for anything."

"Aye, captain. Yellow alert confirmed. Communication channel open."

"Unidentified Klingon vessel, this is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise. We request that you state the reason for your presence here."

The only reply was static.

Worf shook his head. "Nothing, captain."

"Unidentified vessel, this is Captain Jean-Luc Picard..."

More static.

Picard sighed. "Not exactly the welcome I was expecting. Suggestions?"

"Sir, I recommend a warning shot across their bow," Worf suggested. "A show of force might—"

"No, we're not an enemy of your people, Mr. Worf. I wish to avoid a conflict if possible."

"But sir, they have refused to answer our hails. Surely..."

Picard turned to Worf with a look he knew all too well.

"Yes, sir," Worf complied.

Picard returned to his seat. "That said, we'll remain at yellow alert until further notice."

"Maybe their communications array is damaged?" Madden suggested.

"We can't rule out the possibility," Kadohata agreed.

"Alright, alright. Suppose their communications are down. How can we get a message to them?" Picard asked.

"Subspace communication is the norm for conversing between ships, captain," Kadohata pointed out.

"But I'm not looking for the norm, commander." Picard turned to the tactical station. "Mr. Worf, are your people familiar with the old Earth communication known as Morse code?"

Worf nodded. "Yes, sir. It has never been widely used by us, though."

"Can we relay a message to them using Morse code that they could decipher and respond to?"

"Perhaps. I will attempt to send them a message, sir."

"Good. Thank you, Mr. Worf."

"Now what, captain?" Madden asked.

"Now... we wait." Picard rested his chin on his hands.

Onboard the other vessel, the captain, a rather muscular Klingon, was sitting in his chair and staring at the viewscreen. A clicking sound could be heard from the tactical officer's station.

"They are attempting to contact us by means of an old Earth code," the tactical officer, a Lethean, informed the captain in Klingonese (the Klingon tongue). "Shall I respond?"

The captain stroked his beard thoughtfully. "Clever, these Humans."

"Sir, shall we attack?" the Klingon first officer asked. "We have them right where we want them."

"Not yet." the captain responded. He turned to the tactical officer. "Tell them that we have suffered a power failure and are in need of a new power core. Our engines are down, and we are operating on minimal life support."

"Understood, sir," the tactical officer complied.

"J'dan, prepare a boarding party," the captain told the first officer.

"Aye, captain," J'dan replied. "Dagan!"

Dagan, the Cardassian operations officer, followed J'dan to the turbolift.

"Maglus, tell them that we also require medical assistance. Once they drop their shields, you will disable their weapons array and warp drive. Do not destroy them," the captain told the tactical officer sternly.

"Yes, captain," Maglus replied.

"Songs will be sung of this day. The Klingon Empire will soon return to its former glory," the captain mused to himself.

...

"Sir, they have responded," Worf reported. "They request medical assistance, as well as a small engineering team with a replacement power core."

"This doesn't feel right," Kadohata said, caution in her voice.

Picard pondered the situation for a moment. "Until we have reason to believe otherwise, we must assume they are telling the truth. Mr. Worf, I'd like you to lead an away team over there with supplies and a power core for the Klingons."

As Worf started for the turbolift, Kadohata stood to face the captain.

"Sir, if I may... the Enterprise needs Mr. Worf at tactical – just in case this mission of mercy goes south."

"Are you volunteering to lead the away team, Ms. Kadohata?" Picard inquired.

"I am, sir."

Picard nodded. "Very well. Mr. Worf, resume your station."

"Sir..." Worf protested.

"You heard my order, commander."

Worf sighed. "Aye, captain."

Picard pursed his lips. "Proceed, Ms. Kadohata. Good luck."

"Thank you, sir," she replied before entering the turbolift.

...

Kadohata entered the transporter room where she was joined by La Forge, Crusher, an engineer, a security officer, and two nurses.

"Everyone good to go?" she asked.

"Ready when you are," La Forge replied.

She tapped her combadge. "Kadohata to bridge, we're ready down here, sir."

"Understood, commander," Picard responded. "Mr. Worf, tell the Klingons we're ready on this side."

Worf nodded. "Aye, captain."

"Drop shields," Madden added.

"The Klingons have confirmed," Worf said. "Dropping shields."

"Energize," Kadohata told the transporter chief.

They dematerialized and moments later arrived on the Klingon vessel.

"Hello, Starfleet," the Klingon transporter chief said, pointing a disruptor at them.

The security officer put his hand on his phaser, ready to shoot the Klingon if necessary.

"Where's your captain? We were told he was in need of immediate medical attention," Crusher asked.

"Come with me," the Klingon replied, weapon still drawn.

They followed him out of the room.

...

Elfiki's console suddenly started to beep. "Strange," she muttered to herself.

"What is it?" Madden asked, turning to face her.

"For a moment, I was reading trace amounts of polaric radiation in Cargo Bay 2."

"Cargo Bay 2?" Picard questioned.

"Yes, sir."

"Strange indeed."

"What do you think it could be, captain?" Madden questioned.

"It could be nothing, but I'd like you to take a small security team down there and investigate."

"Understood," Madden replied.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, lieutenant, but isn't the use of polaric ions prohibited because of their instability?" Picard asked, turning to the science station.

"You're right, captain," Elfiki agreed. "Something's off down there."

"So that means the radiation wasn't caused by us," Madden said.

"Most likely not."

"Lieutenant, what effect would polaric ions have on internal sensors?" Picard inquired again of Elfiki.

"It's possible that they could disrupt them... long enough for a small away team to beam over while our shields are down," she blurted out, suddenly realizing what Picard had discovered only moments earlier.

Picard turned to Madden. "Commander, be careful down there. I have no idea what you may find."

Madden nodded and walked into the turbolift.

...

The Enterprise away team arrived on the bridge of the Klingon vessel.

The vessel's captain stepped forward to greet them. "Welcome to the IKS GhIqtal. I am Kardok," he introduced himself.

"Hello, captain. Are you well? I was informed that you had been injured..." Crusher inquired.

"I'm quite well, doctor, as you can see."

"Where are the injured then?"

Kardok grinned menacingly. "I'm afraid there are none."

"Then why the hell did you invite us over here?" La Forge asked, tension in his voice.

This elicited a laugh from Kardok. "You honestly haven't figured it out yet? Perhaps you should have your visor checked, commander. I 'invited' you here to witness the destruction of your precious Enterprise. Your captain will join you shortly, and we will take a trip to see... him."

"Him?" Kadohata questioned.

"Yes," Kardok grinned. "The Master."

"Who is the Master?" Crusher asked nervously.

"He is the one who sent us here to lure the flagship of the mighty Federation into our grasp. Picard will make an excellent bargaining tool to attain what we want," Kardok replied.

"Which is?" La Forge took his turn at questioning Kardok.

"How do you Humans say it? The... keys to the castle?"

La Forge shook his head. "If you think the Federation is just gonna lay down arms to serve this 'master' of yours, you're sadly mistaken."

"You amuse me, Human. Your puny Federation is nothing compared to the might of the Zenith Alliance. You've never heard of us, I'm sure... but we've been growing in the shadows. Members from various races in the galaxy, including Humans, have already joined our ranks."

The Gorn chief engineer walked onto the bridge. "Sssir!" he shouted, snapping to attention. "Engineering is at your disssposal."

"It is time. Bring main power back online," Kardok ordered.

"Aye, captain," the Gorn responded.

"Raise shields and ready weapons."

"Sir, we've got to do something," the away team's security officer said to La Forge. He pulled out his phaser, pointing it at Kardok, and in turn received several disruptors pointed at him.

Kardok chuckled. "Put your weapon away. It will only get you into trouble."

"Crewman, put the phaser down. We're outnumbered," Kadohata told the young, confused officer.

"I..." he hesitated.

Maglus unholstered his disruptor and fired it at the ensign. Kadohata and Crusher rushed to the ensign's aid, and La Forge and the engineer pulled out their phasers.

"Enough!" Kardok yelled. "Maglus, confiscate their weapons."

"Sir," Maglus complied.

Crusher examined the security officer. "He's dead," she lamented, gazing up at La Forge solemnly.