The Young General: Rise of a War Hero

Joshmaul
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The Young General: Rise of a War Hero

Postby Joshmaul » Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:36 pm

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Major General Jonathan Franklin Ross, SFMC
"Starfleet's Angel of Death" - Circa 2384

Prologue

Just before the outbreak of war against the Dominion in 2372, the Reydovan Empire under Kiran Joshmaul I joined the Federation's alliance against the Gamma Quadrant invaders and their Cardassian lackeys. At that same time, a 25-year-old Reydovan Marine captain named Jonathan Ross, feeling disenchanted with Imperial service and underused in the grand scheme of things, requested a transfer to the Starfleet Marine Corps. His commander, General Jeremiah Neill - who also happened to be his maternal uncle - agreed to allow it, with the condition that Ross return at his current rank at the conclusion of the war and leave whatever honors he won in the Federation behind. At the time, the Reydovan public's opinion of the Federation was still somewhat low, mostly by continued "news reels" about it by Joshmaul's propagandists, denouncing them as reckless expansionists. "We are content with our own current sphere of influence," one propagandist was reported to have said. "But the Federation wants the entire galaxy."

Once Ross entered Federation service at the rank of Marine captain - which made sense, as he was at that rank in Imperial service as well - he saw the propaganda reels as what they were: propaganda. The Federation truly seemed to have the best interest of its citizens at heart, and Starfleet and its sub-branch, the SFMC, would defend the people with their lives. Completely different from Imperial service, where self-servitude gained advancement. Ross would not serve himself, but the greater Empire. His egocentric comrades laughed at this. But little did they know that once he was in the SFMC, his service to the Federation would make him a general before the war was out...

War's Beginning
"He was everywhere at once during the fiercest battles, and he fought like a madman. I suppose it makes sense....after all, they don't give six Purple Hearts to sane people."
-Admiral William Ross, the general's paternal uncle

Reydovan Prime - February 15, 2372

Jonathan Ross felt a lump in his throat. He had asked for a private audience with the Emperor and General Neill together, but he was not sure if the Emperor would respond. For that matter, he didn't think his uncle would, either. But both of them did, so now he was nervous...he knew what his uncle's response to this would be, but what would the Emperor say?

Finally, he entered the Emperor's throne room, and before him sat Kiran Joshmaul I, the Emperor of the Reydovan Empire, with General Neill standing at his left. At his right, an appropriate position, was the Chancellor, Joshua Underwood. He knew what this was all about, but remained silent. Ross came directly before the steps leading to the throne and bowed before the monarch. The Emperor regarded him with a cold, calculating stare. "Rise, Captain. You said this was urgent. Speak."

"My lord Emperor, war is coming to the Federation, and I wish to become involved more actively. Since you are attempting to keep the Empire out of the war as long as necessary, but still preparing our forces..." Ross looked hesitant. "Sire, I wish a transfer." The Emperor understood, and his eyes widened. "To Starfleet? To their Marines?" he asked. But he looked thoughtful. Neill's reaction, however, was much as Ross expected it. "Outrage! That is treason you speak of, young captain."

"Be silent, General," Underwood snapped irritably. "My lord Emperor, the captain has discussed this with me, and I think it would be to our benefit. Consider; we have had no contact with the Federation since the war. Suddenly, a major conflict erupts, and the Federation is desperate for allies and manpower. I think we should allow it."

Neill was furious. "No way in Hell will I--" He was quickly silenced by Joshmaul before it would degenerate into a rant. "Enough, Jeremiah," the Emperor said. "The Chancellor is right. I have my own misgivings about this idea, but I think that in the interests of peace and goodwill, we will allow it. Any more objections, General, or will you shut your mouth and accept the decision of your Emperor and Chancellor?"

Neill fumed angrily. "I will accept it, Sire. But I wish to place a condition: that he return when the war has ended, regardless of rank and honors won." Neill looked his nephew in the eye. "Do you accept?" Hell, no, Ross thought. But he said, "Yes, sir." Then the Emperor nodded. "Very well, General," he said. "Captain Ross..." Joshmaul leaned forward to look him over. He was young, strong and cocky, but he had the look of a leader, a tactician about him. This one will go far. "Never forget who you are, and where you come from."

"In anyone's service, I am a Reydovan, a servant of my Emperor. I will do you proud, my lord," Ross said boldly.

"I know you will, Captain. Good luck. Now leave us." Ross stood, bowed, and made his way out of the Emperor's throne room. Once he was gone, he glanced at his two best leaders. "Thoughts?"

"I don't think he will come back," Neill snarled. "The Federation is more enchanting to him, more exciting. He will betray us."

"Maybe if you had promoted him based on his ability rather than his ambition, you'd have more men like him in your command instead of the inept idiots you have now," Underwood retorted.

"Listen here, you pompous ass, I don't need YOU telling me how to run my Marines," Neill shouted.

"Enough, both of you." The Emperor rubbed his temples, feeling the onset of a headache. "If he does not return, then he does not, and we will have to deal with it." But Neill shook his head angrily. "I will not accept it, Sire," he vowed. "Not while I draw breath." With that, he stormed away. Underwood sighed. "I seem to remember when he was a cold, cocky little boy himself," he said. "Seeking adventure, that sort of thing. Back then, we had a lot more to do."

"Perhaps, Josh," Joshmaul conceded. "But Ross needs to make his own decisions. His ambition was not for himself, but for his Empire. Neill wants only people like himself. Egocentric, self-promoting. If Ross wants to stay in Starfleet for whatever reason, then that is the future we must accept."
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Postby Joshmaul » Fri Aug 05, 2005 9:38 pm

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Lieutenant General Daniel Longstreet (Ret.), Starfleet Marine Corps. He established the Imperial Marine Corps in 2296, and was its commander until he transferred to the SFMC in 2372. He retired in 2381.

The Transfer
"The best way to describe General Ross would be like this: a lightning bolt in a clear sky. Comes out of nowhere, and disappears just as quickly. Reckless? Definately. Effective? Hell, yes."
-Lieutenant General Daniel Longstreet (Ret.)

Zero Hour - Dominion War - Reydovan Prime

"So, these are the people who will join me, eh?" Daniel Longstreet, formerly Commanding General of the Imperial Marine Corps, now a lieutenant general in the Starfleet Marine Corps, surveyed his men. "I hope you kids know what the hell you're doing, because if you don't, if the enemy doesn't get to you, I WILL!" Longstreet shook his head. The only senior officer here other than him was Captain Ross. He was young - he was only 25 - but he still had some potential. "Captain, get them onto the ships."

"Yes, sir! ALRIGHT, MEN! Single-file, get your asses moving! NOW!" Longstreet nodded in approval. Rash, and quick with his orders. This boy will go far. Due to Ross' taskmaster attitude, the men were loaded onto the ships quickly. Ross then approached his commander and saluted. "The men are ready, General."

"Well done. Longstreet to all ships! Head to the Bajoran system immediately."

Ross looked puzzled. "The Bajoran system, sir?"

Longstreet nodded. "Yes, indeed. Admiral Ross is directing the war effort there." He frowned for a minute. "Ross....any relation?"

The young captain looked embarassed. "Yes. He's my uncle. Father's youngest brother." Longstreet was surprised. "I didn't know Alexander had siblings," he said. "Especially not one who was a Starfleet vice admiral. No matter! Are you ready, Captain?"

"Ready and able, General."

"Good. Please accompany me."


Deep Space Nine, four days later

"Alright, listen up." Ross addressed the men under his command. It was a small group, but formidable, if armed - and used - correctly. "We have received our orders from our commanding general, and they are as follows: We are to enter and destroy a vital staging point for Dominion troop movements here." He pointed to a location on the map. "We have to be swift and silent. Get past Cardassian patrols without them raising the alarm, into their base, and plant charges near vital power points. Make sure to keep your squads together, because once the charges are set and we escape, we will not wait. Understand?"

"Yes, sir!" echoed across the room. Ross smiled and nodded. "Very well, then. Let's look smart."


Planet Kyrador - fifteen LY from Bajor
Two days later

Ross unsheathed his Reydovan combat knife and snuck carefully behind a lone Cardassian guard at the entrance. Swiftly, he put his hand over the man's mouth and then slit his throat. The Cardassian fell to the ground, trying to shout out, but only causing blood to collect in his mouth. He thrashed on the ground, clutching his throat. Then the thrashing ceased.

Ross gestured to his men, all armed with phaser rifles. Pulling his disruptor - the standard sidearm of Reydovan military officers - with his other hand and keeping his knife at the ready, Ross led the men into the Cardassian base. "Sir, hold up," one of his men, holding a scanner, whispered urgently. "There are about fifteen soldiers down the hall here."

"Did they hear us?" he whispered back urgently.

The life signs moved away from them. "No, they're headed back down the hall."

Ross nodded in satisfaction. "Good. Then let's give them a little surprise." It was dark in this part of the base, so it was possible that the Cardassians would not see him. He picked up a photonic grenade, and looked around the corner with infrared goggles to guess the range. Fifty, maybe sixty meters, he thought. Setting the charge for five seconds, he threw it, then quickly moved back around the corner before they spotted him. He heard one of them shout, "Move! Get out of the way!" But it was too late, and the charge went off. Alarms began ringing. "Alright, boys. Time to get cracking. Move in!" He gestured for the men to follow him. He held his pistol at the ready....just as several squads of Cardassian troops came in. They started shooting at him and his squad. Surprisingly, none of them hit at that range...but as they got closer, it became more accurate, and men started falling around him. One blast hit Ross in the shoulder, causing him to double back against the wall.

Although it was very painful, Ross glanced at the wound disdainfully. "At least it didn't get my good arm," he said through clenched teeth. He set his sidearm to maximum power, raised it, and pulled the trigger. The Cardassian who had shot him vaporized, and the others were starting to fall to phaser rifle fire. Finally, the Cardassians fell back. "Okay, then," he said as his medic, 2nd Lieutenant Suzanne Anderson, treated the wound in his shoulder. "First squad, move in. Second, standby." He watched as Anderson worked. She had known Ross for some time, and knew his preferences - he didn't want his scars hidden by dermal regenerators and other high technology. She merely sealed it up, leaving the telltale scar. "There you go, sir," she said. Ross nodded. "Tend to the rest of them...at least, the ones who lived."

"Sir, visual on the first charge point," the squad leader at front said, pointing. Ross gestured to the demolitionists. "Set charges."


Several hours later...

"Last of the charges set, sir."

"Good. Let's get the hell out of here." The constant fighting had reduced Ross to fifteen men, left out of a hundred, with most dead or wounded - but at least twenty AWOL. But the mission was accomplished. They met surprisingly little resistance as they attempted to escape. Ross was hit again, this time in the lower part of his right leg, just below his knee. He was almost literally carried out of the base by Anderson and another Marine. Once they were out, the last remaining demolitionist stood next to him. Ross told him, "Detonate the charges."

The demolitionist looked at him quizzically. "Sir?"

Ross glared at him. "Do you have a problem with that order?"

"Sir, there are still men in there."

"You believe they are still alive. I believe they were found and killed by what's left of the Cardassian guards. Sergeant, do you remember what I said? Get in, set charges, detonate, escape. We can't wait. We could have Cardassian reinforcements on our asses in minutes."

"But, sir --"

"Sergeant, I have made my decision. I am in command here, NOW SHUT THE HELL UP and do as I tell you!"

The sergeant glared coldly, but he had no choice. "Yes, sir." He lifted his tricorder, set on the frequency to detonate the charges...and then pressed a button on it. The Cardassian base erupted in flames, killing what was left of the Cardassian guards. Ross was right, in the end; when the bodies of the twenty missing men were found - somewhat singed, but intact - in a lower level of the base, they were revealed to have been killed before the base detonated. But the sergeant who detonated the charges still felt guilty. Ross, however, remained stony-faced and impassive. "There are many sidelines to his profession that make us all warm and fuzzy...But they are all subordinate to one overriding responsibility, and that is to kill on demand," a general named Mackenzie once said. Ross felt this also applied with sending people to their deaths. He made the decision, and had escaped with only fifteen of his men left alive out of the entire company of 100...
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Joshmaul
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Postby Joshmaul » Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:01 am

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Ross' Gambit: The 26-year-old major, commanding the Defiant-class U.S.S. Vigilant, leads the Dominion fleet into a trap at Korolev Prime. His actions earned him his first Order of Reydovan, the first Starfleet officer to gain the Empire's highest honor. (He earned his second in 2384, when he ended the Imperial Civil War by exposing "Emperor" Jeremiah Neill's advisor Longstreet as a mind-controlled traitor.)

Rising Star
"Who knew that we would be giving away a rising general when we allowed him to accompany Longstreet? While I am glad he rose through the ranks so quickly, I wish he had done so here."
-Emperor Kiran Joshmaul I

Officer's Lounge, Starbase One - 2383

A curious Starfleet Marine walked over to a table with only one man, a somewhat serious looking one, seated at it. "Sir?" Jonathan Ross looked up from his Irish whiskey and noted the rank insignia on the collar. "Can I help you, Major...."

"Devaneaux, sir. Celest Devaneaux."

Ross' eyebrows rose at that. "Celest...as in Kieran's wife Celest?"

"Yes, sir."

Ross suddenly remembered that she had joined the SFMC too, and had risen almost as quickly as he had. "Well, then, sit down! Make yourself at home." Ross smiled a bit. He and Kieran Devaneaux were good friends. Kieran was the supreme commander of the Imperial military, at the rank of Grand Admiral - and he was even younger than Ross had been when he first got his general's stars. These days, rumors of trouble brewing in the Empire were spreading like wildfire, but Ross kept himself focused. "What can I do for you, then?"

"Well, sir, I was wondering. When I was in the Academy, we heard a lot about you and your actions during the war. One thing that confused me, and one they didn't detail all that well....Korolev Prime. What was that all about, sir?"

Ross was not surprised; Starfleet had not focused all that much on the only battle fought in the Reydovan Empire - and really, neither had anyone else. "I was a major back then, too, promoted after the Kyrador incident. I was about your age...a scout commander for General Longstreet - and also, it turns out, for my uncle..."


Ten years earlier...
Day 324 - Dominion War - Korolev Prime

"Chancellor, it is good to see everything has not gone to hell out here," Daniel Longstreet said, bowing to his Chancellor. Then he glanced at the taller man standing next to the Chancellor...

"This is a surprise, Mister Longstreet." The cold and arrogant voice of Jeremiah Neill chilled Ross' spine. What the hell is this "Mister" crap, anyway? he thought. They were good friends....or does the mighty hero of the Sha'kurian War feel betrayed by his own mentor? He glanced sideways at General Longstreet, who apparently felt the same way. "General Neill," Longstreet said in a low, calm tone, "I would appreciate it if you do not address me in so condescending a tone."

"I will address you how I wish, Mister Longstreet. I am in command here." Neill's voice sounded emotionless.

Ross was infuriated. "See here, Uncle, this is an outrage."

"And you be silent, you spoiled brat. You dare to call yourself a member of my family, much less an officer --"

"Oh, shut your flapping gums, Jeremiah. You're the spoiled brat here." Grand Admiral Underwood tired of Neill's arrogance. What is his problem, anyway? They do better service when they're not chained to his high and mighty throne, the Grand Admiral thought bitterly. Maybe if he got off his goddamn high horse... "You will address him as General Longstreet, and your nephew as Major Ross, and if I hear one more word of protest or condescension, I will relieve you of your command and give it to General Tycho - he will double as commander of the Army and the the Marines." Neill started to protest, but Underwood rose a hand. "And then I will place your wife as head of the House of Neill, and put YOU on the chopping block for disobeying a direct order from your Chancellor. Is that understood?" An added bonus for Underwood, as Neill's wife Sarah happened to be the Chancellor's daughter.

Neill fumed. "Yes, Your Excellency."

"That's better. Now, Daniel, do you know why I have requested your presence?" Longstreet did not, and he said so. Underwood glanced at Ross. "Jonathan?"

"Not an idea, Your Excellency," Ross said. "Unless you think the Dominion plans on invading here, and your forces" - he glanced at Neill as he said this - "are inadequate."

"Excellent deductive reasoning. You will make a fine commander one day." Underwood smiled. "That is exactly why you're here. We have never had a very...effective fleet system or command system in the Marines. With no disrespect to General Neill," he said, silently warning Neill to keep his mouth shut, "the Marine Corps has a good command system, but we need good commanders out here, and we simply don't have them. They're all on the front lines. Same goes for my Navy - the bulk of our military is fighting alongside the Federation alliance against the Dominion."

"What would you have us do, sir?" Longstreet asked.

"General Neill, leave us." Neill bowed stiffly, glared at the two "turncoats", then left in a huff. Underwood shook his head. "Someone needs to pull his head out of his ass," the Chancellor said, shaking his head. "No matter. A Dominion splinter fleet is making its way here, apparently trying to knock out the Imperial command structure - our boys must frighten them a little." Underwood grinned as he said this. "I understand you appointed Jonathan as the head of your scouting forces?"

"Yes, I did."

"Good. This will be a job for him, too. Computer, bring up a tactical map of the Korolev Expanse." One wall became a map of the Imperial border with the Federation - dominated by a nebula of gases similar to the Briar Patch - and just as volatile, if not careful. "The Imperial Gate is the only safe way into the Korolev Expanse, as you may be aware," Underwood said, indicating a "calm spot" in the nebular cluster. It was at least a kilometer and a half wide and a thousand kilometers long, a corridor through the Expanse - enough to potentially allow a fleet to go through. No one was sure how or why it was created... "All ships usually have to slow to impulse going through this point, so we can use that to our advantage. Their objective is here." He gestured around the room. "This is the command and control center of all border operations. If Korolev falls, the rest of the Empire will follow suit. Not without a fight, of course."

"What about some of these less dense patches?" Longstreet pointed at certain points in the Expanse, around the Imperial Gate. "We can use them to hide in, hit-and-run attacks....and plus, the major bulk of our forces can't be detected by the Dominion until they reach the other side. If they can't see us, surely our scout vessels could hide in the...'clearings', I suppose would be best to describe them."

"Interesting theory. Major Ross, are you up to it?"

"I think it could work, sir. Give the word."

Underwood glanced at Longstreet. "The fleet will arrive in about three hours. Your call."

"Major, return to your ship and enter the Imperial Gate. Input the 'clearings' into your nav systems, and give the info to your scouts. I will also give you some attack ships. Lead them into the Korolev Expanse, then hide in the clearings. Strike swiftly, then return, then strike again, and so on. Soften the fleet up. Comms still work, thankfully, so I will let you know when to end the attack and return to the main fleet. Then we will finish them."


The Korolev Expanse, three hours later.

Ross' Defiant-class vessel, the Vigilant, waited just outside the Imperial Gate, waiting. Suddenly, the science officer turned in his chair. "Major, picking up Dominion vessels coming out of warp."

Ross consulted his wristchron. "Right on time. Punctual sons of bitches. Shields up. Hard 180 degree turn....let's lead our cannon fodder friends to the cannons."

The helm officer chuckled. "Aye aye, boss."

The Vigilant turned sharply and headed into the Imperial Gate. "They're following us."

"Like pigs to the slaughter. Excellent. Stand by, Communications."

"Ready to send the signal on your command, sir."

The Vigilant entered the Korolev Expanse, and the Dominion vessels - not aware of what awaited them - followed eagerly. "Send signal....now!"

The Vigilant transmitted her coded signal, and the telltale sound of photon torpedo fire erupted out from both sides of the Dominion fleet. The attack ships flew through the Dominion fleet, weapons blazing....then vanished into the expanse again. The Dominion commanders were probably wondering where they came from, considering they did not detect them. Nor would they, until it was too late.

Ross smiled as his own ship went into a "clearing". "Order all ships to focus on the big ships. We were told to soften them up, so let's do it."

The comm officer waited, then said, "Fleet's responding, standing by."

Ross waited until the slower Dominion dreadnoughts passed by him. "Now."

Like ghosts in the ether, the Federation starships attacked again, this time focusing on the slower dreadnoughts. One well-placed quantum torpedo from the Vigilant smashed right through the impulse engines of one of the Dominion dreadnoughts and through into the engineering section. The vessel began to explode from within as the Federation ships disappeared again into the Expanse...

(Damn limit!)
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Postby Joshmaul » Tue Aug 09, 2005 1:02 am

Rising Star (Continued)

On the bridge of the U.S.S. Katana, on the other side of the Expanse...

General Longstreet smiled as he saw the explosion from deep inside the Imperial Gate. His XO whistled. "Damn, I'm glad that's not us."

"So am I, Colonel. Estimated time to breakout?"

"Two minutes, General."

"Standby on weapons. By God, it's working. Longstreet to all ships. Stand by."

Back on the Vigilant...

"Estimated time to breakout, one minute, thirty seconds, Major."

"Keep at it." One Dominion dreadnought had been completely destroyed by that well-placed shot, and it had damaged three others. Now they focused on the Jem'Hadar fighters, making sure few, if any, of the pests managed to make it out of the Expanse. Not one did; it ended up being just the dreadnoughts and cruisers. "Now. Break off and have them follow us. Order the others to keep nipping at their heels."

The Vigilant sped forward, and the Dominion gave chase, weapons firing. One blast hit just aft of the bridge, causing Ross to be thrown from his chair and against the helm console. He felt a snap in his left arm and painfully lifted it to inspect it. The bone had snapped. The helm officer looked concerned, but Ross glared at him. "Stay on course!" he snarled. Knowing better than to disobey this man, the helm officer kept his focus on his controls as Ross managed to get to his feet. His ever-present medic, now Captain Anderson, bound his arm. Ross was in incredible pain, but he gritted his teeth to keep from screaming. "Time to breakout?"

"Five seconds!"

"Ross to Longstreet.....we have a gift for you!"

As the ships exited the Korolev Expanse, their sensors made the Dominion commanders aware of their fate.

They were surrounded.


Spacedock Lounge, 2383

"This story became legend in the years following it - even my uncle, Admiral Ross, once said that I was everywhere during the fiercest battles, and this one was apparently no exception. I was told that captured Cardassian and Dominion prisoners called me the Ghost, one of few commanders in the Federation whose skill was feared by their leaders. I downplay all that, of course. I did my duty. We all did."

"They all did, sir, but not all of them are talked about at the Academy."

"Who else is?"

"The Admiral, Captain Sisko and the Deep Space Nine officers...we also hear a lot about Chancellor Martok and the Klingons, too."

"The Klingons were probably the best fighters in that whole war, let me tell you. They show you how to take pain: shrug, smile, and say, 'That the best you can do?'" Ross shook his head. "Hell of a motley crew we had back then."

"Do you have any other stories, sir?"

Ross smiled at the eager young Marine. "So eager for knowledge. Perhaps I might. But another time."
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Postby saucer_section » Sat Aug 13, 2005 7:54 pm

Nice! :)
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