A Mirror Shattered #100&101 - "The Other Side of the Mirror"

-={On}=- [Starfleet Headquarters, Location unknown]

The Admiral came down. A scarred man, in his mid fifties, leaning slightly on a wooden walking cane that's also seen it's best days. His uniform was clean, but showed signs of repair work, patchwork. He had a tired look about him. He halted in front of Caelen and company, looking them over for a moment. "Well ? What's your story ?" he spoke as he narrowed his eyes a bit.

"Alex... I..." Caelen was struck with disbelieve, this couldn't be true, Alexander was alive... he then snapped out of it and tried to straightened up "...I am Commander Caelen LaBrie of the Starship USS Pegasus NCC 49885..." he said with a straight back.

".. You will address me as Admiral or Sir, Commander." he spoke, tiredly. He looked like an old man. Not because of his age, though. No, it wasn't the years, it was the mileage. "You are aware that that ship no longer exists, commander ?" as he turned and headed towards a nearby briefing room, apparently expecting Caelen to follow him.

"I am sorry Sir, but where I come from..." Caelen started but knew it could wait until they were in a more private place. He motioned T'Rell to stay behind. He stepped inside the briefing room and awaited the Admiral to sit down before he did the same "...I am not from around here Admiral..."

The Admiral did sit down, on the chair at the head of the table. "And you know a version of me, in your own universe, apparently. But I am not him, Commander. And I will expect you to remember that. Now, your report, please."

"Report, sir?" Caelen was a bit confused, did the Admiral really think that changing universes would be neatly written down and handed to him on his earliest convenience "I am sorry sir but between stumbling into this universe, saving one of your vessels and running like hell I didn't really have much time to write a report... so you better ask me what you don't know yet and I can answer... I do assume that Kayim Falor has been debriefed"

"Don't you have oral reports in your federation, Commander ?" Was Alexander Grey's simple reply. "I'm very curious to what happened, to bring you here. Yes, I have Mister Kayim's report, but I'd like to hear your version of the events, please." <tag>

"We were on the way to our patrol area, in our universe, when we picked up a distress call from a Federation vessel under attack by a Jem'Hadar vessel..." Caelen started to recite the chain of events "...in our Universe this is weird as we defeated the Dominion over the battle of Cardassia almost a decade ago..." he explained why this would be so special "...so we went in to investigate, it was an anomaly which emanated the distress call, but it seemed urgent nonetheless..." he thought a bit "...so we set a course to the distress call, through the anomaly"

Grey listened, resting his elbows on the table, his fingertips together and his nose near said fingertips, looking pensive. ".. And that anomaly brought you here. I see." He furrowed his brows a bit and looked thoughtful for a moment. "If you have any sensors logs of that anomaly, we might cross-reference it with known star charts and charted anomalies in Our universe, and maybe find you a way home a way home .. unless .. you want to stay and help out."

"We might want to try doing both Admiral..." Caelen said decisively "...even though we are in another universe we still swore to protect the Federation... and from what I figured, no matter what the anomaly will most probably be in Dominion territory"

A slight, tired smirk from Admiral Grey. "Dominion Territory .. That describes almost seventy percent of the alpha, beta and gamma quadrants, Commander. Tell me, how much do you know about our current situation, here ?"

"The Federation all but destroyed... in a last effort and hope for freedom retreated to the badlands and set up a defense perimeter, combined with the natural plasma flows they held back the dominion..." Caelen half knew and half guessed "...I have also heard about some Vulcan Renegades... and how the Pegasus was destroyed protecting the last convoys"

Grey gave a nod. ".. You .. might find it interesting to know that you were not commander of the Pegasus - Our Pegasus - when it was destroyed." Though there seems more behind this remark than the admiral lets on. "In fact, you weren't even onboard. If you want, and can produce a manifest, I will have it cross-referenced against our own files" The Admiral coughed a bit, tapping his chest some, before continuing. "All but destroyed .. I assume that Your federation has tens of hundreds of worlds ? Thousands of ships ? Millions of crew ?" He paused a moment, to let those numbers sink in. ".. We have three worlds, Commander. A grand combat fleet of no less than six space-worthy vessels .. And not enough crew between them to fully man a Galaxy class."

"Ehm Five sir..." Caelen kind of corrected the man without really wanting to "...the Pegasus-F is not really space worthy anymore..." a small sigh "...what ships are left, if I might ask, sir"

"The Pegasus-F is space and combat worthy, Commander. Even what's left of it. It has impulse engines and a warp nacelle. It has shields. It has phasers. We're hurting enough, for ships, to consider that combat worthy." Grey frowned. "We have the Enterprise- H, an Excalibur class .. One sovereign, the William Tell .. One Prometheus, the Grey, and the defiant class Paris, named after Admiral Tom Paris."

"So Voyager made it back here as well huh..." Caelen said absent mindedly "...what about the Klingons? Romulans? Can no-one stand agains the Dominion?" he really wondered what happened to all the alliances, all bonds of fellowship.

"The Romulans tried to cover their own asses - as per the norm - and have signed a non aggression pact. But they've lost considerable territory to the Dominion storm. The Klingons fought - and died - with honor. There are two or three rogue Klingon fleets left, that breeze through Dominion war-fleets every now and then, destroying ships left and right, but Qo'nos is under Dominion control. The Ferengi tried to establish trade negotiations with the Dominion and were all but wiped out. The Vulcans have been enslaved - except for the handful of renegade ships that you mentioned earlier. Let's see .. The Bajorans are enslaved .. The Cardassians nearly wiped out, scattered .." Grey sighed heavily, rolling his shoulders some, wincing slightly as he did. <tag>

"Didn't the Cardassians join the Dominion?" Caelen wondered, since that was what started the Dominion War on in his own universe.

A deep sigh. "At first, yes. That's what started the whole thing. Then they rebelled, thinking that their 'mighty' fleet was powerful enough to stop them dominion on their own, and one of the founders ordered their massacre. The stories I've heard make me almost feel sorry for them."

Caelen nodded slowly "almost..." he repeated the Admiral "...well I think we have enough background..." he then said, getting really quite depressed from all this "...I have a copy of my manifest, you said something about crosschecking?"

Grey nodded. "Yes. Give me the copy, I'll cross-reference the names with those in our database. Just .. Keep in mind that we have only a fraction of the population we once had, spread out over three worlds. Chances that any counterparts of you or your crew are here are .. small. But I know that you will want to try and see, anyways. I know I would." He stretched a bit, wincing again, reaching up to rub his right shoulder some. "In the meantime, I'd like to station an observer on your ship, Mister LaBrie."

Caelen frowned a bit "to what purpose Admiral?" he asked, "we are both Federation... if we can't trust each other who can we trust..."

"We are both federation, but from different universes, different backgrounds, and - I suspect - many more small differences. Imagine yourself in my place, though, if you will. Even though your story sounds entirely plausible, we know about the existence of at least one mirror universe, and Mister Kayim's report matches with yours .. There is always a small chance of a Dominion plot." He narrowed eyes a bit and leaned in closer. "Besides .. Trust is earned - not given."

"See it from my position though, I come here, save a ship of yours... I have a Federation vessel which has been destroyed years ago in your time and I wear your uniform, abide by your rules and even try to help you out with the little humanitaran aid I can give" Caelen shook his head slightly "Isn't that enough to earn the trust of an Admiral of a broken Starfleet"

".. Perhaps .." Grey responded, after a few moments of silent deliberation. "We'll see how it goes, Commander. Now, was there anything else you wanted to know ?"

"That manifest... and the outcome of the crosscheck..." Caelen simply said, after which he rose to his feet "...permission to leave sir"

".. Granted." Grey reluctantly admitted. "Oh .. Commander .. I have a supply run scheduled to leave tomorrow for a nearby system, and I need a combat ready ship to babysit it .. "

"I will see what I can do, Admiral, but no promises... the ride here was less then pleasant..." Caelen replied with a nod before turning on his heels and walking towards the exit. The crosscheck shouldn't take more then an hour, he would stay on the planet trying to see where he could help out.


Cmdr. Caelen LaBrie Commanding Officer USS Pegasus NCC 49885


Admiral Alexander Grey (Mirror) Fleet Commander (NPC by Kristiana Petrova)