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The end is near

Posted on Thu Apr 1, 2021 @ 3:48pm by Commander Ajani Carter & Ensign Jak Summers & Lieutenant JG Maximillian Schott & Master Chief Petty Officer Etzel Hannis

Mission: Episode 3: Dark Tides
Location: Bridge
Timeline: MD07
2642 words - 5.3 OF Standard Post Measure


Going to warp within a star system is never a good idea and is often a bad one, but when done right it can really give a massive advantage. Jak had spent six hours with the navigational computer plotting everything bigger than his fist, the large Jovians cleaned up the system well, however, warp speed would still subject the Eagle to millions of impacts from tiny objects. So he plotted a course that would arc them up out of the systems plane and then back in. Even so engineering had boosted the power to the main deflector to add extra protection and take any extra stress off the shields.

The Torpedoes were due to hit their targets in a few minutes, the warp in system will take less than a minute so the Captain had ordered that a timer be set, they would appear on the enemies sensors seconds after the torpedoes hit.

Carter had spent the last hour in her quarters having a quick meal and a coffee, now with just minutes remaining she reappeared on the bridge and took her seat.

"We all ready?" she asked, as before most of her senior staff were else where, preparing for the battle ahead.

"Helms ready, Captain," answered Jak. He checked his programs and course were ready, he had preloaded a dozen attack and evasion patterns.

At the Operations console, the Master Chief picked a PADD out of her satchel. Holding it out like a plate, the Andorian slid her index and middle across the top multiple times. With each gesture, a transparent card-like window slid off the PADD and integrated into the holographic display. Each window brought up a separate camera view centred on Operations officers who were scattered around the Eagle. One at a time, each of them gave a thumbs up, after which each of their visuals faded away.

Etzel kept her report to the Captain brief, glancing back as she said, “Green light.”

Ajani Carter was expecting her new senior pilot any moment now. She had decided that she wanted him on the bridge but for this battle. She wasn't in doubt of their skills, but Jak had spent a time getting to know this system and she wanted him to continue his work, it would give Max a chance to see him fly as well. The Eagles bridge didn't have a dedicated XO chair or one for an advisor either, but she was sure the young man would find a place to ride out the battle.

Max entered from the turbolift and looked around the bridge, smiling broadly. It was a little different than he was used to, but definitely sleek. He looked curiously past the captain toward the helm and saw another officer at the station. He moved forward to present himself at the captain's chair and started to speak when he reached the stairs.

"Lieutenant Maximillian Schott, reporting for duty," he misjudged where the stairs started and stumbled forward, barely catching himself from face-planting. He ended up on one knee looking up at the remarkable older woman in command, like he was about to swear her fealty, "...sir." Max's face flushed and he hid it in one hand, trying to suppress laughter. So much for first impressions.

She couldn't help but smile, "No need to kneel Lieutenant, I do not require fealty from my officers in this manner," she gestured for him to get up, "I would rather Captain," she added. "I do hope you will forgive your exclusion from the helm on this mission. Mr Summers has put in a good deal of work," she glanced at the back of Jak's head and then back to Schott, "You will get to prove yourself soon enough."

Max lowered his hand and stood up, "Yes, sir. Captain," he corrected himself and looked toward this Summers character, "A little rivalry can be a good thing," he flashed a friendly thumbs up at the ensign when he got a quick look. "Is there somewhere I should stand?"

"Here is just fine Lieutenant"

Max moved to the side and tried to stay out of the way, without looming over any particular station. He settled on the railing to the captain's left, within view of the helm and overlooking the engineering bridge station. He wrapped an arm around the railing to keep himself steady.

"By my calculations, if Karadis and I calculated the programming of the torpedo's properly, Sir," Finchley began, "they should be re-activating and acquiring their targets," he finished.

Ajani nodded, she gave the order and the Eagle jumped into warp. On the view screen the main star sped towards them before quickly disappearing over the top. As they dropped to normal space the hum of the engines changed pitch and 12 bright flashes could be seen. She took a deep breath and under her breath she muttered something.

"Pick your targets, Mr. Kerr, and fire." As the Captain all she had to do was to maintain understanding of the battlefield and everything happening within it, "Easy," she muttered. "Master Chief, please keep our shields up, pull power from any none vital system you need."

"All non-vitals are already shut down, backup power stim reported ready in engineering."

Finchley looked down at his Tactical display. Already he could see that the pirate ships were beginning to desperately avoid the torpedo's that continued to track them and...he had to double check the readings...yes, he'd read it correctly, there was a small space station!

Shaking his head, he cleared his thoughts and began tracking the enemy vessels.

"Helm, bring us about, heading two two six mark three" Finchley called out, "Head for the Cheyenne Class vessel, she's already venting anti matter from her port nacelle which means their speed will be compromised and their shields will be weaker there."

Summers did a handbrake turn, and by that he activated the subspace anchor and brought the ship around in a tight arc and aimed the ship at the old federation ship. It was a shame such a ship was being used for nefarious reasons. But Kerr was right, she was an easy target and it would cut down the number of people shooting at them.

Max lived vicariously through Jak's piloting, subtly shifting his shoulders to indicate which way he would have moved the ship in response to the situation. The ensign did surprise Max a few times, but there were also several times Max thought one of his moves would have worked better.

"Steady now, they're trying to turn us, try to keep us on their port side!" Finchley called out as his fingers quickly danced over the Tactical screen, trying to lock onto the nacelle that was damaged. The Eagle rounded out and the shot lined up.

"Phasers locked, firing..." he said, pressing the sequence. The Eagles phasers stretched out before them and slammed home on their target. The first volley didn't seem to have much of an impact, but the shortly followed up second volley hit home and an explosion tore half the nacelle from the ships structure and sent it whirling off into space. The Cheyenne class ship lurched and dropped to a hellish angle as the Eagle 'sailed' across it over it.

"They're dead in the water" Finchley called out, then rounded back to his Tactical station. To his horror, he found an old Klingon 'D' seven class was heading towards them, phaser port open and making ready to fire."

"Helm, maximum shields to port side now," he called desperately, "Klingon 'D' class approaching us quickly and ready to fire, evasive maneuvres!!!"

With a surprising amount of fire power the Klingon ship opened fire, Carter knew right away, from the colour and intensity of the incoming disruptor blots that they were firing with new weapons. Maybe even current KDF standards. "Brace," she called out gripping the arms of her chair.

Each one slammed into the weakened port shields, the Eagle was a warship and she took each one on the chin, it was that final blot that penetrated the shields and slammed into the hull. At the same moment the helm station exploded in a shower of white hot sparks. Jak Summers was thrown back, he had burns across his face and chest but was alive. The Duty medic rushed forward to treat him, "Max, find a working console and take the helm."

Max had been lifted slightly off of his feet by the blast and held himself tightly to the railing. He looked around for an empty console and saw the one right behind the captain's chair. He hopped up the stairs and tried to take over helm as quickly as possible. He scanned the viewscreen ahead of him to make sure he was reading everything correctly.

"Here we go," he whispered to himself, then called, "Everybody hold on!" In the Academy, instructors called it three dimensional thinking, but in practice usually people just called it crazy. Max thrust his fingers into the commands and the Eagle rotated on its longitudinal axis as they turned into the oncoming battlecruiser. Max wondered what the other pilot must be thinking as his target went from side-on to upside-down coming at him from above. The narrowest firing arcs for the older Klingon designs were vertical, and they flipped over to just above it, lining their dorsal phaser banks up for a strafing run at the vulnerable top of the pirate.

When they reached the tail end of D7, Max did a half-loop to curve them around the engines and bring them underneath for another pass at the suddenly vulnerable battlecruiser. He was thrilled with how much more manoeuvrable the little ship was compared to the behemoths he'd been plodding around in. Sure, they could go to higher warp, but they had nothing on this one for what he could pull in a system.

The Master Chief was still at her station at Ops, seeming unphased by the explosion that had rocked the pilots' world. Her fingers moved with precision across the power distribution display. Even as the systems themselves were flickering in and out, she paused when necessary then resumed the moment they reappeared, not skipping a beat. "I'm keeping the weapons fully charged for the next attack run. Ethan, we need that shield stim, use up all the batteries you have."

"Can do!" Came the Operations Chief's voice from Engineering. "Drink responsibly!"

Etzel shook her head and rolled her eyes, cutting off the comm call. "Shields have been boosted back up to eighty percent." She informed the bridge.

Max looked around for other targets. He had gleaned some of the original plan, but had not been as involved since he was the new guy. He saw Jak getting examined out of the corner of his eye, and he seemed responsive. He checked the display for their shields and confirmed he should keep their port aft quarter away from any fire. He saw a burst of colour and rolled them toward it to find who was shooting them now.

As the Eagle came round and headed back into the fray, Finchley saw that two vessels had broken ranks and were looking to cut them off. His hands quickly moved over the screen in front of him, trying to verify their configuration, but he had already surmised they were enhanced Norway Class. The information came back to verify his suspicions and he called across to the Captain "Sir, there's two Norway Class ships baring down on us, but they've been upgraded. I can't give you specifics, but their phaser port configuration is larger and there's unusual readings coming from their nacelles, it's like a plasma leak, but not. They appear to be crisscrossing each other as they head towards us."

Carter was watching, her mind trying to come up with a way she could save the Eagle. She was a pilot, a damn good one at that but this was going to be a difficult one to escape. They had already taken damage and she could tell that they were a little sluggish.

Finchley watched as the two vessels continued on their crisscross pattern, neither of them making a run at the Eagle, but instead approaching in the weird pattern. Then they broke the formation and made a wide arc around the Eagle and came at them from the rear. Reading the escape vectors they had, none of them were good enough not to have them outflanked by the Norway Class ships and taking heavy damage...except one, straight through where the ships had been crisscrossing.

"We're in trouble if we stay where we are" Finchley called out "our Akira escort and their fighters, along with the Excelsior are in fights of their own, so we can't get them to help us right now. All trajectories taking us port or starboard leave our flanks open and we can't handle two Norway Class ships at once having a go at us and keep our shields up. It seems the only way out that gives us a decent fighting chance is straight ahead through the area the Norway's came from. It's your call Captain..."

"Max, bring us down and around, put us on a downward spiral then pull up hard, keep us drifting down though. Kerr, as soon as Max pulls the bow up fire the forwards weapons at the underside of those Norways. Chief Hannis, please find a way for us to meet back up with the other ships." The spiral pattern will buy them time, but unless they got help soon they were going to lose, the uprated Norways were a surprise. The Pirates shouldn't have that kind of technology, but then she hadn't expected a Breen ship to be sporting PPC's either.

Max nodded, "Yes, captain," and struck the commands. They went into a dive below the combat plane and Max counted off to himself. He disabled the routine on the inertial dampners so their momentum would continue in the right direction, making sure not to touch the internal systems. He twisted them so they helixed down. On the count, he stopped their twist, swung the bow up, and aimed it toward the oncoming Norways, "Take it, tactical!"

"Firing at the lead Norway, their shields are fluctuating!" Finchley replied. He fired their phasers and the Norway bought the brunt of the broadside, it's lower decks exploding and shoring debris into space. The next salvo from the Eagle tore along the Norway's hull taking out their shields. The final salvo from Finchley targeted their port nacelle and it cracked like and egg.

The second Norway was about to turn into the fight when the first Norway suddenly exploded out it's starboard side, this caused the second Norway to turn to port, driving into the first one. Both ships crashed into one another, but before the Eagle was caught in the blast, it sailed past them both and out into open space. A relieved Finchley turned to the CO and said "Both Norway ships are severely damaged and are sending out distress calls to their fellow pirate ships, we won't have any trouble from them again Sir."

Ajani sighed, she slumped a little in her chair and her eyes darted to incoming sensor readings. She was surprised, eyes widening she sat up. "Hail the incoming ships." A feel moments later and Commander Ael appeared on screen, "Carter" she said with a warm smile. "It appears you are in need of some aid"

Carter returned the smile "Ael, my dear friend, your arrival is most timely." The screen returned to the battle, the trio of Romulan ships wasted no time in joining the frey, the Valdore her friend commanded flanked by two modern bird of prey opened fire upon the cluster of ships attacking the Eagle.


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