Star Trek Hunter
Episode 15: A Stitch in Spacetime
Scene 9: In With the New
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15.9
In With the New
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Ensign Tolon Reeves was in holosuite 2 on Star Base Eleven, evaluating the new tactical squad that had been assigned to the U.S.S. Hunter. Tactical Specialists Dasare Eba, Veri Geki and Ranni Neivi, under the supervision of Chief Tactical Specialist Rume Grace were in combat with a squad of simulated klingons. Two things became immediately apparent about the four tall young women as they fought silently: all four had clearly earned their E7 black belt rating in one of the most relentlessly violent of human martial arts forms – Krav Maga – which had been adopted by Star Fleet as the preferred martial arts training for combat units. Chief Grace was one of very few experts certified by Star Fleet Personnel as E9, the highest rating achievable.

Prior to First Contact, the highest level had been E5. Additional levels had been added to recognize the need for expert training in countering non-terrestrial physiologies, weapons, cultures and martial arts forms. Krav Maga focused on close fighting and grappling instead of flashy long-range kicks featured in other forms. The primary focus of Krav Maga was first and foremost, effective use of issued weaponry and, for unarmed combat, disarming armed opponents and using their captured weapons against them.

The Grace team also coordinated their fighting style without spoken word or gestures and focused on group tactics that created crossfire situations, causing their opponents to fight at added risk of injuring one another.

This exercise, pitting the four members of the Grace team against 20 holographic klingons, lasted just under five minutes and ended with two members of the Grace team having sustained heavy bruises and another one with a large, jagged cut that required use of a dermal regenerator to heal. Eighteen of the simulated klingons had been rendered unconscious. Two others registered as killed.

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Chief Grace approached Ensign Tolon. "Actually, our klingon allies are honored that we generally prefer to train against klingons," she said in answer to his unspoken concern. "They are the most difficult adversaries to take prisoner, which is our training goal – not to kill, but to capture alive. Capturing a klingon alive in heated combat is extremely difficult. Klingons do not lose consciousness easily and they do not surrender on the point of death unless honor or standing orders require them to. There are opponents that are harder to kill, but none that are harder to take alive."

The other three team members joined Tolon, and he found himself straining his neck a little as they were all nearly a foot taller than he was.

"No, actually we are all 100% betazoid, not hybrids," said Veri Geki, answering his unspoken question. "Rume was looking for a very specific set of physical, telepathic and emotional characteristics. I know you are aware betazoids are culturally opposed to violence, but there are those among us who recognize that it is occasionally unavoidable. I was seven when the Dominion conquered Betazed. I do not have fond memories of the jem'hadar."

"We were all part of the resistance," Dasare Eba added. "And we all lost friends and family members. My parents were committed to non-violence and non-resistance. It did not stop the jem'hadar from killing them in a training exercise."

"I suppose it will be impossible for me to get a word in edgewise around you – at least a spoken word…" Tolon said, provoking some light laughter among his new charges. He looked around the group again. "It appears that you were also selecting for height – you are all nearly the same height and build. It also appears you were looking for exceptionally attractive women."

"You find us distracting and because of this you are intimidated by us," Rume Grace said. "You have been doing a far better than average job of controlling your sexual attraction to us. It helps that you have a really cute girlfriend…" Tolon blushed slightly at that comment.

"In spite of that, I think you can see what a tremendous advantage that gives my team before the first weapon is drawn," Chief Grace continued. "It works on a large variety of species. I selected team members close to my size, shape, and facial features to make us harder for potential enemies to distinguish us from one another. Which makes it harder for them to target us effectively, throwing off their coordination. They have a harder time remembering which, if any of us is wounded."

"I suppose that accounts for the identical hairstyles?" Tolon asked. All four women had short, blonde hair a few shades lighter than their skin tone.

"We selected this color combination after significant psychological testing," said Ranni Neivi. "Humans tend to underestimate the intelligence and capabilities of women with blonde hair – that seems to test broadly across a majority of human cultures. Denobulans relax and let their guard down in the presence of people with skin tones darker than their hair and at the same time Romulans seem uniquely intimidated by that combination of features. We selected a skin tone and hairstyle preferred by changlings, which triggers a fear/obedience response among the jem'hadar. Klingons are about the only species for which we could not find any color coding or appearance characteristics that would give us an advantage."

"It seems counterintuitive, but klingons have so long been culturally committed to the meritocracy of combat, they are probably the most egalitarian culture we have encountered," Dasare Eba mused.

"So you dye your hair to get the same color?" Tolon asked.

"We made the skin tone and hair color permanent using genetic editing," Neivi replied.

"We also had surgery to alter our facial features. To make us similar, but not identical. If we were identical, that would hamper command and control by a superior officer," Grace concluded, tapping Ensign Tolon lightly on the chest.

"I am surprised that you chose to enlist instead of commissioning," said Tolon.

"This is a demonstration project," Chief Grace replied. "In order to demonstrate it, we need to be on the front lines. And recently, JAG is the command where tactical squads are used most often and receive the most dangerous assignments."

Tolon looked carefully at the faces of these intense, tall, telepathically endowed young women. They came to attention and fell silent and it took a moment for him to register that this was what he wanted them to do – not for disciplinary or demonstration reasons, but simply to give him a moment to think and mull over what he had just seen and heard.

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"Tell me," he said, after thinking for a few moments. He spoke quietly, measuring out his words, addressing Chief Rume Grace, giving her an evaluating look, "What is it that is motivating you to do this? You have really gone to extraordinary length to develop this project and push it through Star Fleet. Why?"

"You know that Betazed lost its only colony in the Third Borg Incursion," Grace responded. "Millions of us were lost when the Fesh colony was targeted by the borg. You can imagine what a disaster it would be if the borg could acquire millions of powerful telepaths. Fesh had a population close to 32 million. Only a few were taken alive. Over 31 million of my people committed suicide rather than be assimilated by the borg."

"Just a year later, the jem'hadar captured Betazed and enslaved all of us. Nearly a billion of my people died in that war – on our own home planet. Half of them were killed for sport and show trials. And still very few of us fought…" Grace stopped herself.

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Tolon could feel her mingled grief and anger welling up inside him as if it were his own, native emotion.

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"I'm sorry, sir" Grace said. "When we get really emotional, we tend to project a little…" She took a long breath. "The borg beat us because they're bigger than Star Fleet. The jem'hadar beat us because they're far better at small unit operations than Star Fleet. And a billion of my people died on the front lines of those wars without putting up a fight. Because they were committed to non-violence and non-resistance…"

Tolon could feel the anguish and bitterness in Grace's voice.

"Because they were counting on Star Fleet to do their fighting for them," Grace continued. "I want to change that. I want my people to have a fighting chance."

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15.9