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Ensign
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 24
# 24
04-10-2013, 12:17 AM
"Captain, the distress signal just cut off."

"Thank you, Mr. Iwaguchi. What's our time to intercept?"

"Seven minutes, Captain."

Gorel nodded and leaned back in his command chair. In theory, the differences between it and the similar seat on the Paris were minor: a slightly higher back, and slightly different interface. There was an entirely different presence to it, though: on the Paris, he'd felt as though he were sitting high on the back of a faithful beast, plodding along while he surveyed the environment, while on the Yorktown's bridge, he felt like he was perched in front of the dorsal fin of a Tethian carcharodon, the most vicious and determined predator in a sea of methane.

He pressed a key, and a viewscreen on an arm quickly extended from the chair's back. In more peaceful times, a holoscreen would have simply projected itself, but under combat conditions, the simpler and more robust physical screen was the first option.

"Security."

"Pasakun, I want security teams stationed at every critical system. If there are Jem'hadar present, they love to board, and we can't be sure if our shields will keep them out."

"Sir."

The link died; she was distant and professional, exactly how he wanted her to be.

"Iwaguchi, when we reach the target, I want us at red alert, with weapons armed and shields up the moment we drop out of warp."

"Aye, sir."

"Chief, what's our status?"

"Damage control teams are suited up and ready. The battery banks are charged, we can go to full military shields and weapons systems for twenty minutes, or we can get another 20% power for ten."

He pressed another button, and Megan's face sprang onto the screen, her eyes slightly squinted and shoulders hunched, as though she were expecting to be physically struck.

"Status?"

"All equipment and experiments locked down and safed, Captain. We're echoing the sensor data for analysis, and the crisis team is ready to go."

Gorel imagined that it had to be an odd experience to be a science officer aboard a ship going into combat. There may not be any experiments to run, but a quick analysis of sensor readings could find an enemy weakness or weapon that tactical officers would ignore.

Without a First Officer, he brought Tad up on his screen, despite the man being only a few meters away.

"Anything I'm forgetting?"

"No sir, I think that covers it."

It seemed like no more than a few calming breaths passed before Tadao spoke again.

"Thirty seconds, sir."

Gorel nodded.

"Take us in, Ms. Decata."

"Aye, sir. Dropping out of warp, going to impulse."

The calming faux-starfield of warp travel abruptly vanished, replaced with an immense gray-green gas giant that filled half the view. Gorel sat calmly as the rest of his bridge came alive, processing the incoming sensor data.

"Two contacts, sir. The Lissepian freighter, and one Jem'hadar attack ship. They're close enough for transporters."

"Thank you. Lock on to the attack ship and open a channel." Tadao smiled thinly; no attempts to hail before locking weapons, decidedly against standard Starfleet operating procedure. After all, the attack ship could simply be responding to the same distress call they had. The freighter could, theoretically, have been reporting being attacked by an entirely different attack ship. For his part, Tadao was glad that his captain had a slightly more realistic appraisal of the nature of reality than regulations did.

"Open."

"Attack ship, this is Captain Gorel Karn of the Federation starship Yorktown. Respond or you will be assumed hostile."

He waited several heartbeats.

"Attack ship, this is your final warning. Respond."

After another few moments, he made a chopping gesture with one hand; Tadao pressed a few keys.

"Channel closed, sir."

Gorel cracked his knuckles as the Yorktown hurtled towards the close-lying ships, the attack ship like a bloated tick against the blocky outline of the freighter. With a few keypresses, he opened channels to all his senior officers.

"Alright. I want us brought within 20k of the freighter, between it and the attack ship. As we move in, I want the transporters prepared and locked on to all the lifesigns we can detect; at 20k, we'll drop the shields on that quarter and beam them all aboard. Put them all in the brig, segregated by species; we can sort them out afterwards.

"I want to go to full military power when we're 25% beyond the known range for an attack ship. Once we hit optimal firing range, I want controlled beam fire on the attack ship to drive it back. Hold off on the torpedoes; we don't want to risk striking the freighter until the crew is off it. Once we've got them, open up, but prioritize shields and weapons; I want that ship neutralized, but if we can cripple it for analysis, that'd be better."

There was a chorus of acknowledgements, and Gorel cut the channel. The gas giant began to swell in the viewscreen as the Yorktown settled into its new course.

"Any sign of response from the attack ship?"

"Not yet, sir. Their defenses are active, but they have yet to move."

The tactical station chirped an alarm, and Gorel echoed its readouts on his display. He blew a breath out his nose in response.

"Captain, three ships moving out from behind the nearest moon at attack speed. One Galor-class cruiser, two Hideki-class attack ships. Their weapons are active and locked. Their communications seem to be using standard True Way protocols."

"Get them targeted. Will we be able to reach the freighter before they're in attack range?"

Tadao ran a few quick calculations at his station.

"We'll only have forty seconds, but we'll make it."

"Once we've got the freighter's crew aboard, I want those shields back up. Concentrate fire on the attack ship, then switch to the Galor."

"Aye, sir. The attack ship is moving, but only slowly." Tadao frowned. It looked like it was taking up station off the freighter's portside, but that didn't make any sense.

Until the sensor returns began to shift.

"Captain, the freighter isn't a freighter, it's another Hideki with a holoprojection array!"

Gorel leaned back and pressed one fist into the palm of the other hand.

"Well, that simplifies things wonderfully. Chief, I want that extra 20% put to weapons when we hit that mark. Mr. Iwaguchi, the targeting orders stand, but your weapons are completely free. Fire as you bear."

"Aye, sir."

Tadao's fingers moved over his console with practiced agility, refining targeting data, sending course plots to the conn, and double and triple checking the firing inputs.

"Reserve power released, weapons at 120% military, shields at full military," said Chief Macchia, tapping the great series of batteries within the Yorktown's secondary hull.

The Galor and its consorts arced in towards the Yorktown's starboard, while the attack ship and its erstwhile prey lay ahead and slightly to port. Tadao programmed in his final adjustments, set the release and waited.

"Firing range in five."

The Yorktown cut her path through the void, sensors and countermeasures dueling as weapons arrays began to cycle.

"Firing."

Polaron beams from the Yorktown's forward arrays lashed out, even as her forward torpedo bay spat forth the dully burning ember of a transphasic torpedo. The next was already cycling into place even as the first rushed madly towards self-immolation. The attack ship's shields sparked and quivered as the polaron beam tested them, its tetryon rider generating microfluxes in the shield pattern itself that drained its defenses even further.

"Enemy ships coming into range."

The Hidekis spread out, and within moments the three Cardassian ships were testing the Yorktown's starboard shields, the coruscating lances of spiral-wave disruptor fire cutting golden trails that ended abruptly at the violet-tinged blue of the Starfleet ship's shields.

"Taking fire, starboard shields holding."

Ahead, the Hideki added its own fire, although it accelerated away from the threat of the Yorktown's torpedoes, towards its portside. The Jem'hadar ship, however, merely waddled, returning fire as best it could as its power failed under the Yorktown's assault.

"Forward shields holding; the attack ship's polaron weapons appear to be having minimal effect."

Another spark of amber sped away from the Yorktown towards the Jem'hadar ship, even as her shields were alight with deflected energies, leaving a trail of St. Elmo's fire behind them while more lurid polaron beams reached out to claw at the at the attack ship. Photon and quantum torpedoes smashed into the assault cruiser's shields, detonating with quick flashes nearly invisible beneath another salvo of disruptor fire.

Tadao steadied himself as the ship jostled gently under the torpedoes' attentions.

"Torpedo impacts, shields holding at 87%; the hardening projectors are functioning within parameters, so there's been minimal energy spillage." He watched the Jem'hadar's sensor signature closely.

The first transphasic torpedo similarly struck the attack ship, but while the others had detonated with little harm against the Yorktown's shield matrix, this one managed to penetrate into the attack ship's shields before detonating. The difference in distance was minute, certainly nothing like when the first generation of transphasic torpedoes would pass through shields entirely; still, it was enough that when the torpedo exploded, nearly half its force slipped through the shield's barrier.

"Torpedo hit! Their shields caught most of it, but their forward hull shows significant stress and atmospheric venting."

The Yorktown rocked again, a bit more heavily, as the Cardassians to starboard struck them again. Tadao worked his controls quickly, rebalancing the ship's shields to maintain integrity against all their assailants; the extra power helped, but the Yorktown's defenses were outmatched against the attacks of five enemies on multiple attack vectors.

"Mr. Iwaguchi, see if you can break up their formation when they enter our broadside."

"Yes, sir."

Tadao's fingers flew as he set up the new firing solutions, cycling the starboard polaron arrays, while doing his best to optimize the tracking on the Jem'hadar in the meantime. Once he opened up against the Cardassians, the Yorktown's reserve of weapons power would dip sharply; he needed to make sure to do as much harm to the Jem'hadar while he could, and then to make his first broadside count.

The Jem'hadar ship reeled as the second transphasic torpedo tore a breach in its shields that lasted several entire milliseconds. While most of the Yorktown's fore array was still recharging, one emitter was able to spit a weak beam in response to Tadao's contingencies, programmed to allow for responses faster than human reflex. The attack scored a deep gouge into the ship's forward hull, and Tad spared a quick nod as the sensor returns updated. Another couple of hits like that, and the attack ship would be out of the fight for good.

When the Cardassian ships entered Tadao's engagement envelope, the polaron emitters began to cycle rapidly, sending a series of reduced-power beams on multiple projected vectors, bracketing the targets in a veritable rain of energy. While the cruiser weathered the storm, pressing forward arrogantly, the attack ships began to swerve and evade, their weaker shields and less robust power systems suffering heavily under the assault.

"Well done, Mr. Iwaguchi."

"Yes, sir. Shield integrity at 74% overall, refocusing fire on the attack ship."

The third torpedo battered the attack ship heavily, leaving it listing and venting plasma and gases. To Tadao, the evidence of damage was blood in the water. He quickly interrupted the polaron beams' firing cycle, allowing the forward arrays to sync up again, and adjusted the weapons' targeting and frequencies based upon the data gathered so far, with a little helpful refinement from the science section. After a few moments, the console chirped readiness, and he pressed the firing key.

Lances of violet fire cut a blazing trail, punching through the attack ship's depleted shields and deep into its hull. A moment later, a secondary explosion tore away one of the attack ship's wings, leaving both fragments whirling madly through space. The fourth and final torpedo wiped away the ship's main hull in a flash of plasma.

"Attack ship down! Refocusing fire on the Galor!"

The starboard emitters vomited forth their rain, but this time it was focused on the cruiser with frightening single-mindedness. Its shields buckled, then holed, microbreaches patterning its shield matrix like Swiss cheese. The Galor swerved, its shield generators laboring to compensate, but Ensign Decata's deft hand at the conn kept Yorktown in the cruiser's fore arc just long enough for the emitters to cycle once more. The already-battered shields collapsed entirely, and the polaron beams raked the ship, carving a gouge through the Galor's main deflector dish and savaging the port wing of the command section. Lights flickered as lingering polarons interrupted the ship's power grid; Tadao watched as one section of the cruiser's structural integrity field failed, then strain overloaded the next, causing a cascade that ultimately led to the damaged hull section shearing away entirely, trailing debris, atmosphere, and bodies. Tadao felt a mixture of pride and shame.

"Target well struck, forward shields down, damage to the hull and deflector, power grids disrupted. Another salvo should take them out."

"Excellent. Continue."

The console chimed. Tadao furrowed his brow in surprise.

"Sir, the Galor is hailing us." Gorel shared Tadao's reaction, pressing a few keys to bring up the commlink on his personal screen. The Cardassian on the other end was a shadow in a scene from the underworld.

"Gul Karam?"

"Sorry, Captain, but as much as I'd love to allow you to continue to use my ships for target practice, I think the realistic thing to do here would be to surrender." Gorel made a face.

"That's not something the True Way generally does, but I suppose it happens. Alright. Computer, end simulation, authorization Karn-Beta-182. Good work, everyone."

The bridge flickered, resetting to calm neutrality, and then again, vanishing. Cardassian holodecks used a pattern of pale orange hexagons laid into a base of material so darkly red as to be almost black. Gorel found it soothing, although he'd heard many non-Cardassians found the overall effect a bit menacing. He looked at his bridge crew with a satisfied smile.

"Well, if that specification data is accurate, I'd say the Yorktown will be able to handle herself quite well, and the same for her crew. Now let's go buy Gul Karam and his crew some lunch, now that we've finished beating up on them."

Last edited by thesciencer; 04-10-2013 at 12:41 AM.