Literary Challenge #41 : Call to Arms
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Join Date: Jul 2012
04-09-2013, 11:49 AM
Bryan was studing the displays of various frontlines in the Athena's strategic command center when one small report in the Orion sector caught his eye.
"Athena?" he called out, and the AI's new holographic image, a beautiful women with light brown hair, gleaming blue eyes, and pale skin, shimmered to life in front of him.
"What do you need, sir?" She asked.
"What sector is that?"
She stood thinking for a second. "Starbase 24, sir." She said at last.
"Any communications from that sector?"
"Playing now sir."
At first there was nothing but static. After a second however, the signal finally cleared up enough to get through. "Repeat, this is Starbase 24, we are under attack by the Klingon Empire! We need immediate assistance! Our defense grid cannot hold them off much longer!"
"Athena, tell them that the 1st Assault fleet will respond and will be there soon. What is the threat estimate for the sector?"
"Very high, sir. The 10th fleet has already responded, but they're outnumbered more than four-to-one."
"Send the signal for the fleet to gather. We have a long day ahead of us."
Bryan stood with the other senior officers of the fleet, looking at the holographic display showing the battle near Starbase 24. The 10th was in bad shape. They were unable to hold their ground against the seemingly implacable Klingon armada, and were losing ships faster than they could eliminate them.
"Bryan, if you could handle the briefing?" Leyla asked.
"Yes ma'am," he replied, before turning to the other senior officers, "At 0914 hours today, Starbase 24 was attacked by Klingon forces under the command of General D'ald. At present, the 10th is engaged in defending the base, but they are out numbered four to one. I'm sure some of you have reservations about facing such long odds, but Starbase 24 is vital to the Federation supply lines. In addition it serves as the server housing for some of Starfleet's most classified data. As a result, we can't let the base be destroyed or fall into Klingon hands. Now, even with our aid, the fleet will still be outnumbered about two to one at best. At worst, the 10th will be wiped out by the time we arrive and we'll be out numbered by about five to one."
"Now then," he continued, beginning to manipulate the hologram to illustrate his plan, "here's the plan. When we warp in, we'll be warping in from their flank, so we'll have the advantage initially. We can drop out of warp, and immediately hit them in the side. That advantage won't last long, so we need to do as much damage as we can in that time. Once we lose the element of surprise, we're going to try and turn it into an all out melee, and draw the Klingon armada away from the base. The Klingons have already boarded the Starbases according to latest intel, so I want to prevent them from getting any reinforcements aboard. In addition, while we're en route, we will launch assault shuttles to deploy MACOs to reinforce the Starbase security forces. It will be a risky maneuver, especially considering the fact that we will still be moving at high warp when the shuttles are launched, but I have confidence that we will be able to do it."
Bryan 'tapped' the hologram, zooming in on the battle. "Battle plan will be as follows: Battle groups alpha, beta, delta, gamma, psi, and omega will be the main body for the attack. Their goal will be to move right into the middle of the fight and push the Klingons out. Battle groups epsilon and rho will guard the flanks, making sure no Klingon raiding vessels can attack from the side. The carrier group will hold back and deploy fighters to any sector they're needed. Support vessels will be tasked with detecting cloaked vessels and giving their positions to the battle groups. Rules of Engagement are weapons free once we enter the sector. Any questions?"
Vice Admiral Valensiya, captain of the Venture class Dreadnought U.S.S. Aspire, and flag officer of battlegroup gamma, raised her hand. "What do we do if we can't break the Klingon advance?"
"Glad you mentioned that," Bryan replied. "Athena, would you mind explaining your plan to them?"
"Of course, sir," The AI said, her hologram shimering to life to Bryan's left. "Once we arrive, I will begin backing up all of the data to the servers at Starbase 1. In addition, if the Klingons do break through, then I will set the data transfer protocol to be my highest order process, which should speed up the process exponentially. Once the backup is done, and we are unable to hold, I will wipe the servers clean and fill them completely with junk data. That should result in the Starbase being completely useless to the Klingons."
"Anyone else?" Bryan asked, but nobody else spoke up. "Very good. What's our ETA to the staging area, Athena?"
"About five minutes, sir."
"All right. Remember the plan everyone. Good luck to you all."
The Athena dropped out of warp near the 1st Assault fleet's starbase, known as Nova Prime to find most of the fleet already gathered there. A handful of ships had yet to arrive, but the vast majority had arrived and were ready for battle. The Athena took her place at the front of the fleet's battle group Omega, the most battle-hardened group of the entire force.
"It's a grand sight, isn't it Bryan?" Ibalei said, walking up to him in the observation room.
"It sure is," he replied. "We've never done an operation on this scale before. Should be pretty impressive to behold."
"I agree. The full capability of the fleet is finally being brought to bear."
Bryan turned to face his wife. "Have you said goodbye to your family yet?"
She paused for a moment and closed her eyes before answering. "I didn't. And I'm not going to because of what they did shortly before Zizania and I were Joined."
"Right," he replied, brushing a strand of deep red hair out of her eye. "Sorry, I nearly forgot your parents didn't approve of us being together either."
She looked into his eyes sadly. "Don't worry about it. It's not like I really had much of a choice in the matter."
"Well, maybe when this war is over we can-"
"Sir," Athena said, appearing right beside him. "The fleet is almost ready."
Bryan sighed. "Well, I guess it's time. Let's get up to the bridge."
"Admiral on deck!" Justin called as Bryan stepped off of the turbolift and into the Athena's bridge.
"All sections, report." He called, tapping the intercom button on his chair.
"Tactical here," Lieutenant Commander Kerry Avalrez called from her station, "We are good to go."
"Engineering is ready and able, sir," Six called.
"Operations," Lieutenant Syfil said, "Scorpion fighters are ready for launch and hazard systems are online."
"Medical reporting," Syiseda called through the intercom, "We are ready to go."
"Science is good to go, as always," Ibalei said to Bryan's left.
"Preparations are complete. We are ready for battle. Aara, signal the flagship that we're ready."
"Sent, sir," the Orion called.
They all waited in silence for a minute. Bryan could almost picture preparations on the other ships as the prepared for the coming battle. MACOs getting their gear together, fighters being moved to the flight decks of the carriers, crews making last minute adjustments to their ship systems. Eventually, Leyla finally came on via intercom. "Attention all ships, this is Admiral Leyla Blaze on the Seraphea, You are cleared to warp to Starbase 24. Remember the plan, stay with your command ships, and don't let the Klingon fleet through. All ships, engage!"
At that, all 160 ships of the fleet warped out, leaving no trace of their presence behind.
The fleet had been traveling at warp 20, a benefit of the fact that the entire force had been equipped with Asynchronous warp field generators, for about half an hour, when they finally began getting reports from the battle. What they heard was not good. Even though they were only about a minute or two out, the 10th fleet would be effectively depleted by the time they arrived.
"Mayday, this is the 10th fleet!" An extremely worried voice came over the intercom, "We need immediate assistance! We are heavily outnumbered by a Klingon armada at Starbase 24! Fleet is down to 25 percent strength, and the Klingons have boarded the Starbase! Repeat..."
"10th, this is Vice Admiral Bryan Mitchel Valot of the U.S.S. Athena, we are coming in to assist. We are less than one minute out. Just hold on a little longer."
The fleet dropped out of warp, and the joined the battle in earnest. The leading groups of ships from the 1st warped in right on top of the Klingon's flank, driving into them like a spear. Ships exploded left and right as cannon blasts, beams, and torpedoes all shot away from the federation ships, tearing apart the Klingon fleet and giving the 10th some much needed breathing room. The ships of the 1st fought as if each individual ship were four, savagely tearing into the Klingon's fleet, driving them back and inflicting immense losses. The Klingon fleet was caught completely off guard by the sheer force of the assault from the Federation fleet, giving ground as their ships were torn apart.
The entire battle seemed to simply open up like a book in front of Bryan. He could see exactly what ships were where, what areas needed the most help, which ships were the keys to unraveling the Klingon fleet, and so much more. Bryan immediately began calling out orders to his ship and battle group, and they surged into the Klingon force, carving a path into the heart of the Klingon formation. pushed the Klingons, not giving them inch, and pressing them back further and further. Slowly, the Klingon forces began to attempt to pull away from the battle as more and more ships fell to the onslaught brought by the 1st Assault Fleet.
"Sir, the Klingons are attempting to pull back!" Athena said.
"Good," Bryan replied, still studying the patterns in which the battle flowed as astutely as if it had just begun. "How are the assault teams doing on the Starbase?"
"Admiral, this is the ground team." Justin called over the intercom, right on cue, "We have successfully cleared all control rooms. My best teams are getting ready to move in on the server room right now, and in addition, the device you asked us to secure was retaken as well."
"Very good. Casualty report?"
"Approximately forty present injured, with twenty percent of injured being removed from fighting. In addition, approximately four percent KIA."
Bryan winced. "Anything else to report?"
"Not right-" A blast cut he transmission out for a few tense moments. "Get up off the floor you lazy-" the transmission cut for another brief moment. "I said return fire, not cower behind cover like a little girl!"
"Justin, is everything alright?" Bryan asked.
"Yeah, Klingons ambushed us is all. Two injured, but otherwise we're all still here."
"Sir, report from the Starfleet detachments to Omega force," Ensign Aara called from the comm station, "The Victory reports that they'll be here soon to reinforce us. ETA, one hour."
Bryan watched the battle as it occurred around the Athena. "Battle probably won't last more than twenty more minutes." He said. "Tell them to go back to their original posts."
"Are you sure, sir? We could use all the help-"
"Aara, in one hour, we'll all either be victorious or dead. Either way, Four of Ten's battlegroup won't be much help."
"Very well, sir."
The battle continued to rage on, at times feeling like an eternity, at others feeling like an instant. The Athena turned elegantly in the middle of the fight, phaser beams lancing out in all directions, torpedoes speeding away from their tubes to slam into Klingon warships. The ships had taken a lot of fire, but in spite of everything that had hit her, even with some hits making it through her mighty shields, the ship fought on.
"Sir, the Klingons are starting to pull back!" Athena called out.
"Good. Aara, get me the Serephea."
"Bryan, what is it?" Leyla asked impatiently.
"The Klingons are starting to pull back. Should we pursue?"
"No, we've lost enough ships already."
"We could trap the Klingon fleet here and force them to surrender if you want."
"An experimental device, on the Starbase, known only as Project Spider's Web. It's designed to be able to trap an entire fleet in a sector without causing damage to the ships or preventing our forces from entering or exiting."
"Aara, contact the Starbase. Tell them to activate Project Spider's Web."
"Done, sir," She replied.
Almost as soon as she did so, space seemed to ripple briefly outside the Athena's windows.
"Sir, my sensors indicate the Klingons are unable to form a stable warp field," Athena called.
"Caught like a fly in a spider's web," Bryan said, smiling a little to himself. "Aara, open a channel to General D'ald's flagship."
"You PetaQ'!" The Klingon general spat as soon as he appeared on the screen. "What have you done?"
"Trapped you here," Bryan said, carefully keeping his voice level. "I hereby request the surrender of you and your fleet."
"Nothing you say will convince me to surrender to you cowards."
"You call us cowards," Bryan replied, his voice dangerously quiet, "And yet you can't even engage us in a fair fight. Whenever you go to battle with us you out number us. Yet, somehow, we still hold the line against you."
"You have no right to-"
Bryan signaled to Aara to cut the channel. He stood smiling at the blank screen until Aara called "They're hailing us, sir."
Bryan held up his hand and slowly counted down on his fingers. When he got to zero, D'ald's face once more appeared on the viewscreen.
"You have a lot of nerve for a human."
"So, what's your answer, D'ald? Will you surrender and allow your men to live, or let them be cut down in an unwinnable battle?"
The entire bridge was silent for a minute. Bryan and D'ald stared at each other the entire time, neither one wavering in the other's gaze.
D'ald was the first to brak the silence. "Fine. You can have your victory. Just this once."
"It only needs to be this once," He replied icily. "You won't be going to war ever again."
Bryan sat staring at the computer in his ready room, finishing his report to Starfleet command about the battle that had just taken place.
"Sir," Aara said through his combadge, "There is an incoming transmission for you. Not sure from who though."
"Athena?" He called to the ship's AI.
"Unsure," she replied. "Can't trace it. It's almost as if the transmission is coming from nowhere at all."
Bryan sighed, already knowing who it was coming from. "Put it through."
"Franklin Drake." Bryan replied with a touch of annoyance. "What do you want this time?"
"I understand Section 31 has you to thank for protecting our classified intel."
"Not your classified intel, Drake. We were there to protect the Starbase, aid the tenth, and protect intel that belongs to Starfleet. That your undercover agent's roster is also stored there is only happenstance."
"How did you-"
"I have my ways. And the answer is still no Drake. I will not
join Section 31. You all have too much power. Power can be abused if not regulated. You all will never accept any form of regulation. Now then, if you'll excuse me, I have a ship to run."
"At least consider-"
Bryan cut the channel before he could finish the sentence. "No means no Drake," he muttered to himself. "Athena, check the entire system for traces left by Drakes' transmission. Chances are he wants to watch and see what I'm doing so that he can keep trying to recruit me."
"All ready done, sir."
Brya sighed. Ever since the Driffen's Comet incident, Section 31 had been deperatly trying to recruit him for their 'cause.' Every time they contacted him, he turned them down, stating the old adage about absolute power. And yet, each time, they continued with the same speech about the grater good.
Will they ever leave me alone?
Bryan thought to himself. Sighing, he finished the report and sent it to Starfleet command, knowing full well that Section 31 would end up reading it too.
Vice Admiral Bryan Mitchel Valot
Commanding officer: Odyssey class U.S.S. Athena
Admiral of the 1st Assault Fleet
Join date: Some time in Closed Beta