Literary Challenge #48 : The Long Road
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Join Date: Jun 2012
08-22-2013, 03:47 AM
The ship rocked hard to port.
"DAMAGE REPORT!" Captain Donovan demanded.
"Minimal, Sir. Shields are holding at 98% and reports are showing no structural damage."
"What hit us this time?"
"It looks like a tricobalt mine, Captain." Keating replied after a few taps of his console.
"It appears to have been cloaked Captain" T'Pal interjected before adding "I suggest we lower our speed and begin passive tachyon sweeps, we would be better off dealing with the threat at hand than having to dodge more blasts like that."
"Do it, reroute all available power to the shields and begin evasive maneuvers."
With that, the ship slowed but began a more erratic flight pattern, guided heavily by the sensor array. A large heavily armed cruiser pursued it steadily through what was now, more than likely, a highly volatile minefield. As to what kind of cruiser it was, was hard to tell given that it was heavily modified from it's original Gorn specifications. This ship was mercenary, through and through, so whom ever was pulling the strings had deep pockets. Money like that usually meant a ship like this wasn't going to be the only one had the U.S.S. Geist not been jamming any outward communications.
Another shot rocked the ship as they pushed their way through, closer to the station. One of the problems was that the larger ship had managed to warp in right behind the Geist, meaning that they knew about the attack beforehand, something that James Donovan had not been very happy about seeing how his orders usually came from Section 31. A leak like this wasn't something that just..."happened". Normally, the Geist would be able to out turn the heavy cruiser, but the mines were making that exceptionally difficult. With shields ebbing passed 75%, the Captain was open to taking suggestions when a mine altered its position and struck the ship.
"What happened to that sensor sweep?"
"The closer we get to the station, the more dense the field becomes."
"How can we use that to our advantage Lieutenant Davers?"
At that moment another mine detonated dropping the shields to 39% when the Science console exploded killing the poor woman out right.
"DAVERS!" he hit a console on his chair "Emergency medical to the bridge!"
Captain Donovan began running a few calculations and scenarios through his personal console. There was a possible chance that he could at least slow down the enemy boat long enough to get some distance. He sent his specs down to the armory and before long the order was given to fire. The plan was simple: overcharge a matter/antimatter warhead, killing the charge effectively making it a short range dud, but as it traveled it would put off one hell of a beacon to any and all nearby mines. A quick check on the trajectory and the torpedo was fired from the front of the ship as the Geist dropped power to the engines. Slowly the torpedo made a wide arc and headed back towards the Gorn ship.
As planned, it bounced off the shields like it was nothing, but it was what happened next that the merc boat didn't anticipate. Mine after mine drifted into the larger vessel, each setting off a large explosion until the shields couldn't help but buckle. Once the explosions stopped, the Federation ship jumped back to impulse, turning to face the enemy ship before unloading on it with its full forward arc. Each burst of energy hitting directly into the Gorn hull. A few moments later the enemy ship was disabled, pitching slightly as its thrusters failed and it only had enough power left to run life support.
The next biggest challenge was the station itself. It was heavily armored and had multiple turrets to aid in it's defense. What ever they'd been hiding on this station, must have been something big, because normally stations weren't this heavily guarded, and never under private security. It took a little doing, but the Geist was able to take the stations outer defenses with relative ease. Heavy shielding, a few small turrets, a singular phaser array around the top of the station, a quantum torpedo launcher on both ends, all of which the ship had little trouble taking out with minimum difficulty. It would seem that the minefield and heavy cruiser were the primary defense for the station, which was a good thing given that the Geist had taken quite a beating already.
Beaming into the station, the various strike teams were pleased to find only a small group of heavy security, but little else in terms of armed response. This allowed for the second leg of the mission to finally warp in, the U.S.S. Denning, a large science based cruiser. The Geist would be sent in first to deal with any defensive measures and secure the station, the Denning was there to handle any of the science they found inside. From the reports, this station was an unregistered genetics laboratory working both in enhancement and augmentation experimentation. It had taken months of work to get this far: sting operations, armed conflicts, negotiations in less than political settings, taking this station was the culmination of months of work by Section 31. The Geist had personally lost a few outstanding crew members during this investigation, so Captain Donovan was going to be personally happy that this final operation would be the end of it.
The Denning, being a much larger ship, transported all non-cooperative crew to their brig, even going so far as to convert a few cargo bays into make shift holding cells. Once cleared, the Geist's teams would sweep the station for any other threats as well as keep an eye on the remaining staff. Things went as well as planned, the security teams found a few hostiles, but were able to stun them with little damage to systems. The computers were the first things inspected, all files were transferred to the Denning, and their teams were split up and assigned security as they went from room to room cataloging the various experiments.
In one room there were numerous plant samples, some of which were cross breeds, many were modified in terms of advanced nutritional value, toxicity, or medicinal purposes. One team found a lab with various biological samples and a few genetically enhanced specimens locked in shielded stasis pods, one of which seemed to be a litter of tribbles that had been altered to feed on other tribbles. The science types got a good laugh over that one. Then finally they hit exactly what they were looking for: Weapons development. Laboratories that had been designing and testing biological weapons, some were mutagenic, some viral, and a few were even meant to enhance their patients. One of which was designed to be a sub-dermal poison gland, secreting a poison through the skin to be absorbed through touch.
There were so many different experiments running all over the station, some of which seemed like they would be beneficial, but the egg heads aboard the Denning had deemed everything war based. A lot of which seems to be based on a series of hypothetical threats like the Dominion returning or dealing with the possible attack by Species 8472. Half of the experiments going on here were potentially capable of mass destruction of civilizations or entire ecosystems, yet there was no real explanation of why. There seemed to be no real species or government behind this station, though there were clear signs of various cultures involvement. The expense of which had to have been immense, both in terms of resources as well as monetary, and the more they dug, the more Captain Donovan didn't like what he was seeing. Once the Denning had everything they needed, the Geist would destroy the station entirely, something easier said then done.
The staff and security from the station were held aboard the U.S.S. Denning, any experiments confiscated were placed on the Geist along under the supervision of one of the Denning's top science officers, a Vulcan called Sabin. The Geist was making a final sweep of the station as the Denning was making its way through the minefield when a few smaller ships warped in just outside of the perimeter. The Geist wasn't able to beam its crew up in time to help as the mines decloaked and began bombarding the cruiser. It seemed to happen almost in slow motion as the hull began to separate, breaking off entire sections. The larger section began tilt before splitting again, sending off debris and a few life pods, which were then picked off by the ships as they made their way towards the station.
It was a move that Donovan and his crew wasn't really expecting. It was a senseless act that showed the experiments were more important to the benefactors than the teams working on it... All the more reason that he couldn't allow it to fall back into enemy hands. The last of the away team planted a viral program which would effectively wipe all data from the core as self destruct counted down. The Captain didn't plan on dying, but just in case, he was going to make sure the bastards couldn't pick up where they left of. The ship had every one accounted for so they raised shields and headed to meet their end.
There were three other ships, a mid sized escort and two smaller destroyer class ships which made a beeline for the station as the escort laid down some cover fire. With shields already damaged, the only real advantage they had was time... and that they were foolishly heading straight for the bow of the ship. Weapons were charged and what shields they had left were running as best they could.
"All weapons, medium spread."
The antiproton canons began bombarding the smaller ships as the Geist began reversing to keep them in its forward arc. Even then, the destroyers were doing a number on the shields and it wasn't long until they were hitting the hull directly. Captain Donovan ordered full power transferred from what used to be the shields to structural integrity and weapons. They jumped into evasive maneuvers and flew passed the ship which followed suit. As they were making their way to the opposite side of the station, the Geist gave chase firing with everything it had, trying to put the complex between them and the larger ship. The destroyers were heavily modified to deal heavier damage, but as far as scans showed, it was a rushed job, something these jobs were frequently cursed by. All effort had probably been into maximizing damage output, with minimal resources put into safety.
The Captain passed his idea over to the senior staff, which grew shorter once more as a second console exploded sending shrapnel into the ship's counselor and the ensign next to her. It met approval and the call was made to engineering to realign the ships shield emitters with a few minor adjustments. It wouldn't do much on its own, but coupled with a quick, well timed burst from the deflector, and what used to be a field used for warp travel or defensive barrier would send a feedback pulse along their own beams. Normally this would blow out a few relays and maybe take weapons offline momentarily as they rerouted power. However, luckily, Donovan was right and the ships safety wasn't its primary concern.
As the next barrage fired, the Geist activated its field momentarily causing the energy to pulse back along the beam and shoot through every power system on the destroyer overloading the warp core, destroying it and heavily damaging the other. The Captain took advantage of this just as the medium sized escort came around the station, hitting the second destroyer with everything causing it to explode. The Geist put all power from weapons to engines and pushed through the blast trying to outrun the other escort. While the Federation ship had the firepower to take the other vessel, it didn't have the means to defend itself. Being on the other side of the station left a wide open hole in the minefield that Captain Donovan could use to escape with what little they had acquired.
He'd timed the skirmish just right it would seem. As he flew through the burning remains of the destroyers, Captain Donovan ordered full impulse, shooting over the station and toward the hole in the minefield. Unexpectedly however, was the self destruct device used be the station. As the ship went for the hole in the field, all of the tricobalt mines decloaked at once and moved inward. The Geist cleared them easily, but were still too close to the Station as it exploded sending out a massive subspace wave.
As he came too, he checked the screen built into the arm rest of his chair. Damage reports were coming in from all over the ship, life support was still going, the communications array was shot, but weapons were gone as well as warp capabilities. The casualty list was forty strong, and the wounded were calling out from all over the ship. The blast had destroyed the upper nacelles, and with how far from civilization the station had been built, the trip home would be at least seven months, maybe a little sooner if Section 31 sent a ship to investigate. Months of investigation, months of hardships and sacrifice had finally come to an end leaving the U.S.S. Geist to limp home over the next few months.
As he assigned additional crews to aid in medical emergencies he couldn't help but think of all the good people he had lost over this. All the families he would have to notify, and not even be able to explain why or how many people they'd helped save by taking out those labs and their weapons and experiments. He couldn't help but be angry at the deaths of all those involved in this mission and how little had really changed. That was about to change though, in all reality, a lot of things were about to change. Science Officer Sabin had emerged, a little battered and bruised, from the Turbolift.
"Captain Donovan, there is a problem with one of the Specimens in the cargo bay. One of the stasis pods was damaged during the explosion."
"What's wrong with it that can't wait until we get everything under control Mr. Sabin?"
"It has begun the standard shutdown procedure and there is nothing I can do to stabilize the system, the damage is too extensive."
"Do I really need to worry about a tribble with sharp teeth, Lieutenant-Commander?"
"It was one of the larger containers brought on board, Captain. The one marked as Rre Deshaa."
"Rre Deshaa, sir. It is Angosian, it translates to 'The Wraith'."
Last edited by wraithshadow13; 08-26-2013 at