|Star Trek Online: Valkyries episode|
|"The Best Revenge"|
|Original post date:||2014-07-14|
"The Best Revenge" is the first story published in the Star Trek Online: Valkyries fan fiction series. It is also the introductory story for main character Carlin Agran and the first story in which the USS Nautilus is featured.
As an Ensign fresh out of Starfleet Academy, Carlin seeks to prove herself worthy of the father who abandoned her and to humiliate him. But when a rescue mission goes horribly wrong, she is must face one of the most dangerous aliens in Starfleet history and decide whether or not her quest for revenge is worth it.
The story opens with Carlin Agran's graduation ceremony at Starfleet Academy. She is completely focused on meeting one man: Admiral Jorel Quinn, her estranged father who abandoned Carlin and her mother in order to pursue joining through the Trill Symbiosis Commission. Carlin's entire Academy career has been aimed at proving herself worthy of him and making him feel guilty for abandoning her, all of it leading up to this moment.
However, when the moment comes, Jorel seems genuinely pleased and congratulates Carlin on her many accomplishments. He acknowledges her as his daughter and tried to get her to warm up to him, but she rebuffs him, insulted by his assertion that abandoning her and her mother was the right decision at the time. She, in turn, insults him by picking Drel as her field docent for the Symbiosis Program, an inexperienced Trill that Quinn personally dislikes.
Her decision made, Carlin is given the rank of Ensign and posted to the USS Nautilus, where she meets Commander Antori Drel for the first time. While they are initially attracted to each other, they are both unsure of their positions: Carlin because she did not investigate Drel's character or personality before requesting him, and Antori because neither he nor any previous Drel host has been a field docent before.
Antori seeks advice from the ship's captain, Sokar, and with his permission, he includes Carlin in senior officer meetings (despite her junior status) in order to better observe her character. At one such meeting, Carlin impresses both Drel and the Captain by suggesting a rescue plan for a Ferengi freighter trapped in a protostellar nebula. Following her plan, Carlin and Lieutenant Frost take a shuttle into the nebula and beam aboard the disintegrating freighter, planning to use pattern enhancers to beam themselves and any surviving crew back to the shuttle.
But the plan begins to fall apart, as things are not as they seemed aboard the freighter. While searching the engine room for survivors, Carlin finds that the freighter's warp core has been sabotaged and its crew brutally murdered. She collects genetic samples from one of the victims and beams back aboard the shuttle just before the freighter breaks up. Lieutenant Frost beams back with her, reporting that she was unable to rescue the freighter's captain, but she is acting strangely: forgetting details from their previous conversation.
Back aboard the Nautilus, Carlin delves into an unauthorized investigation of what happened to the freighter. She determines that the freighter was destroyed not by the nebula but by a bomb planted on the bridge and that genetic samples of the killer belong to the Undine (otherwise known as Species 8472). She calls Lieutenant Frost down to the holodeck to discuss her findings with her, but Frost becomes increasingly agitated during the discussion, eventually revealing that "she" is an Undine infiltrator who murdered and replaced the real Frost while aboard the freighter. Thereafter the infiltrator attempts to murder Carlin but is stalled when Carlin creates a holographic maze to separate them.
Antori arrives on the scene to help Carlin defeat the infiltrator. He arms himself and deletes the maze only to find himself facing two identical "Carlins." Each attempt to persuade him that she is the real Carlin and the other is the duplicate. The real Carlin confesses her relationship with and hatred for Jorel Quinn in the process, and the infiltrator is finally outed when Drel realizes that "she" is still wearing Frost's combadge. Carlin and Antori attack the infiltrator, which reverts to its true form, and it is finally killed by the timely arrival of Captain Sokar and well-armed security detail.
Later, Antori and Carlin discuss her application for a symbiont and her fruitless pursuit of revenge on Jorel. Antori suggests that living a good, fulfilling life despite her abandonment would be "the best revenge" on Jorel, and Carlin agrees to start living for herself. She withdraws her application to the Symbiosis Program and begins a romantic relationship with Antori.
An epilogue was added to the story one month after it was published. It features an unnamed female officer aboard the Nautilus covertly communicating with Franklin Drake of Section 31 about the appearance and nature of the Undine infiltrator, regretting their inability to obtain better samples and information.
- "Things didn't exactly go as I'd planned. I graduated, of course, crossed the stage to shake Jorel Quinn's hand and rub it in his face—that I, the daughter he hadn't even seen fit to acknowledge, had not only graduated from Starfleet Academy but had actually done better than he had in his own Academy days. But his reaction was totally unexpected. He actually seemed…pleased. He invited me to join him in his office later, right there in front of everyone. I have no idea what's going on or what he really wants, but an invitation from a Rear Admiral simply cannot be ignored…"
- — Carlin Agran's Personal Log
- "So much for good first impressions."
- — Carlin and Antori, privately remarking on their own performance when meeting each other
- "You're out of uniform 'ensign.'"
- — Antori to the infiltrator when its incorrect combadge is beamed away, just before he shoots it
- "There's an old Earth poet who once said, 'Living well is the best revenge.'"
- — Antori delivering the titular quote