Literary Challenge #28 : Stranded
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Join Date: Jul 2012
10-01-2012, 12:01 PM
Captain's log, stardate 90323.11.
, Andrew Trent commanding.
Starfleet Command has finally pulled the
out of the Donatu sector, and temporarily reassigned us to star charting duties. It will be a welcome respite, to say the least, after three long weeks of wrestling with the Klingons. We were lucky enough to escape in one piece, but we lost four good ships in the Ker'rat and Zibal systems: the
, and the
There were two thousand men and women aboard those four vessels, and their captains were competent officers and personal friends of mine.
But this is war, and all we can do is move on.
Starfleet has ordered us to proceed to the Orellius Sector Block and collect samples and data from the Felczer Nebula. To a tactical-oriented ship and crew that spends most of its time on the front lines, this mission could be defined as monotonous?however, monotony is a luxury that is in far too short supply at the moment.
As a result, I have left the
in Commander Calar's capable hands and taken the Captain's Yacht to have a little time to myself. There have been some exotic spatial phenomenon reported in this region of space, so I intend to take a sightseeing trip and clear my head. It'll be a pleasant change to go more than six hours without hearing the Red Alert klaxon.
"Computer, increase the resolution of the lateral sensor array and initiate another scan."
The computer signaled an acknowledgement, and I sat back to watch the analysis flow in. Technically, I was only here to observe with my eyes, but three full-size comets traveling in a group was too rare for me to pass up an opportunity to take some scans.
"Analysis complete," the computer reported. "Parsing sensor data."
Resetting the sensor array, I took a last glimpse at the comet trio and began warming up the warp drive. I was about to set my course, when the sensors beeped an alert. "Warning: Breen warship approaching from sector space," the computer informed me in an impeccably calm tone of voice.
I raised shields, right as a hulking Sarr Theln warship dropped out of warp, almost completely filling the forward viewport. I gazed at the sight, forgetting to breathe for a moment.
"Starfleet shuttlecraft, this is Thot Kek of the Breen Confederacy," a cruel metallic Breen voice announced over the comm channel. "Lower your shields and prepare to be detained. If you do not comply, you will be destroyed."
"Computer, generate a feedback loop and transmit it over the comm," I instructed. No doubt there were more ingenious tricks I could have used rather than trying to assault Thot Kek's ears, but I can't say I was fully prepared to be attacked by the Breen on my vacation. My brain would need at least several more seconds to kick into combat mode.
Swinging the yacht away from the warship, I engaged the impulse drive and headed for the comets. They were my best and only chance of escape.
It took the Breen a moment to react to my maneuver, but their response was a volley of transphasic torpedoes to my aft shields. Upon regaining my posture, I rerouted power to the damaged shield face.
The warship opened up on me with its full array of weaponry, and a shower of sparks exploded from a panel behind me. I knew the yacht couldn't take much more pounding?whatever I was going to do, I needed to do it fast.
After a seeming eternity, my ship finally overtook the comet trio. I waited as long as I dared to gain a safe distance, then reached over to the tactical controls and sent a photon torpedo spread out the aft tube.
It was a shame to have to destroy such a beautiful natural wonder?but in the long run, I valued myself more than a stellar phenomenon. The comets exploded in spectacular fashion, sending fragments in all directions and obscuring the Sarr Theln warship in a thick cloud of dust. I sent the yacht into a dive and fed all power that wasn't supporting the shields or life support into the impulse engines.
For a few hopeful seconds, I thought I had lost them completely. An impact against my stressed shields quickly destroyed that fantasy, but the move did gain me a great deal of valuable breathing room. I was now outside tractor beam range, and I had a better chance of dodging torpedoes at this distance.
On the downside, now that I had proven to be slipperier than they originally anticipated, the Breen were likely to be a little more determined to turn me into space dust. And I didn't have a hope of outrunning that warship.
Searching for inspiration, I checked the sensors. To my surprise, by either pure luck or divine intervention, my new course was taking me near a small planet?Class L, by the looks of it, and it wasn't that far away.
I didn't need a Vulcan to tell me that the odds of reaching the planet intact were stacked against me, but Starfleet officers never say die.
I used every trick in the book to stimulate my shields, and invented a few more on the spot. But the yacht's defensive systems were not designed to withstand a sustained assault by a warship, and the shields finally collapsed as I entered the planet's atmosphere. I diverted my attention from piloting and tried to reassemble the shields, but it was to no avail.
I was nearly knocked out of my chair as a shot from the Breen ship's polaron array struck the yacht's unshielded hull. An emergency siren went off, followed by a dire alert from the computer: "Warning. Structural integrity compromised."
I braced myself against another weapon impact, and then another. My ship bucked and did its best to spin out and roll over. Fighting to maintain control, I continued my reckless dive through the upper cloud layer.
Dodging another polaron blast, I broke through the lower cloud layer and got my first look at the planet's surface. The terrain was mainly forest and mountains, with a temperate climate that looked to be just a little on the cool side. More importantly, the presence of common trees indicated an oxygen atmosphere.
My new and improved plan was to take cover among the mountains and dense foliage. If I could confuse my attackers' sensors long enough to put the planet's mass between myself and them, I would be free to escape to warp.
The tactical console began beeping frantically, drawing my attention to the aft sensors. I glanced at the screen, just in time to witness the Breen warship fire a transphasic torpedo?a fatal proposition for my unprotected yacht.
It took me three seconds to determine that my shields were fried and weren't coming back up anytime soon. It took me another three seconds to determine that there was nowhere to hide; the mountain range I was heading for was still half a minute away. At my current position, there was nothing but forest and hills.
It was over.
The torpedo barreled towards me. At the very last second, I threw the yacht's nose down and to the right, so the impact would occur as far away from the cockpit as possible.
The projectile struck my ship with bone-jarring force. The lights immediately blacked out, and the aft section was filled with the screeching sounds of the hull being annihilated. A chain of explosions resounded against my ears like a thunderclap.
The yacht spiraled downward and slammed nose-first into the ground, crashing violently through the forest end over end. I was thrown clear of my chair, and blacked out upon hitting the floor.
I don't know how long I was unconscious. Not very long, obviously, since I woke up on the floor of my ship and not on the floor of a Breen holding cell.
Light was streaming in through the shattered forward viewport, and a deep silence had seemed to settle over what was left of the yacht. Thick smoke curled lazily through the air, and a handful of still-functional emergency lights pulsated on and off.
I lifted my head and immediately wished I hadn't as pain shot through my temples. I fought through the agony and forced myself to get up until I was in a kneeling position. From there, I took stock of my situation. Aside from a concussion and several intensely sore locations along my ribcage and lower back, I did not appear to have any serious injuries?which meant I still had a decent chance of getting out of this mess, if I moved fast.
I rose to my feet and shakily made my way to the cockpit's stash of emergency supplies. I opened the locker and withdrew a survival backpack, medical kit, tricorder, and a hand phaser.
Loading myself down with equipment probably wasn't the best thing I could have done for my body in its delicate condition, but it was better than being improperly equipped to face the ecosystem of this alien world and the Breen forces that were sure to come looking for me.
I situated everything so it was more or less comfortable to carry, then opened up the yacht's hatch and surveyed my surroundings. The air was cool and comfortably breathable, and the surrounding terrain appeared to be easily traversable. Which was good, because if the engine whine I could hear steadily approaching my location belonged to a squadron of Breen fighters, I would need to beat a very hasty retreat.
I picked a direction at random and began running. After about a hundred and twenty meters, I figured I was at a safe enough distance and stopped to catch my breath.
The engine whines continued growing louder, and I turned around in time to see a trio of Bleth Chaos fighters do a flyby over the crash site. They fanned out and proceeded in different directions, sensors trained on the forest below. The metal content of the trees would protect me from detection unless one of them flew right over me, but I still needed to keep moving. Before I did so, however, I had to ensure that what was left of my ship would not fall into enemy hands.
Opening up my tricorder, I pointed it at the wreckage and tuned it to a wavelength I could use to transmit a self-destruct code to the yacht. I input the code with my personal authorization, and reached for the transmit button.
My finger froze as my eyes locked on the three Breen fighters. They had rejoined formation and were returning to the crash site, probably to use it as a central location to run a thorough scan of the area. They were moving slowly, at a tantalizingly low altitude. If they got close enough to the wrecked yacht?
I watched the fighters intently as they crept closer, estimating the distance in my head. Three hundred meters ? two hundred meters ? one hundred meters?
I triggered the signal, and my ship blew up in a spectacular explosion.
It was all I could have hoped for. One of the fighters was caught directly above the blast and incinerated on the spot. The second one spun out of control and crashed into the forest, detonating on impact. The third one survived the initial explosion and began to fall to the ground, but the pilot regained control at the last second and executed an impressive emergency landing.
As the fighter came to rest, it suddenly occurred to me that my ticket out of here may have just been placed within my grasp.
There was no time to spare. Putting away my tricorder, I sprinted for the downed vessel as fast as my legs would take me. How fortunate that I had not retreated too far from my crashed yacht.
In no time at all, I was approaching the downed Breen fighter. Taking care to stay out of sight of the cockpit viewports, I found a way to climb onto the vessel and did so quickly and quietly. Once I was on, I dropped to my belly and began crawling along the fuselage towards the cockpit.
I could see the Breen pilot now. He appeared to be running a diagnostic on his ship's systems, and was thoroughly engaged in his work. Drawing my phaser, I rapped my knuckles on the cockpit canopy to get his attention and crawled backwards out of sight.
I heard the whirr of hydraulics, and the hiss of pressurized air escaping the cockpit as the pilot, motivated by curiosity, opened the canopy. Within moments, a helmeted head popped up and peered in my direction.
I stunned the Breen with a single shot. The helmet receded, followed by a thud as his limp form tumbled out of the cockpit and onto the ground.
Holstering my weapon, I scampered forward and dropped into the cockpit.
The controls were all labeled in the Breen language, but I was familiar with the basics of their symbols and was able to identify everything with some difficulty. Canopy toggle?there. Cockpit pressurization?there. Engine startup?there.
The diagnostic the pilot had so thoughtfully performed for me indicated minor to moderate damage on most systems, but impulse engines were intact and the fighter's tiny condensed warp drive was still functioning. That was all I needed.
I engaged thrusters and brought the vessel above the treetops. Orienting myself away from the orbiting Sarr Theln warship, I throttled up to full impulse and jetted away.
Predictably, the warship contacted me. "Bleth Chaos 47, what is your status?" Thot Kek inquired. I had no intention of responding.
Angling the fighter up into the sky, I blasted through the clouds and into orbit.
"Bleth Chaos 47, return to the ship. Pilot, do you copy?"
"You lose, Thot Kek," I muttered triumphantly to myself. I set a course for the Felczer Nebula and, with a final look at the clueless Breen warship, I engaged the warp drive.
Last edited by generalgarm; 10-01-2012 at