Posted on Sun Apr 7th, 2019 @ 12:21am by Captain Charlotte Reynolds V1 & Ensign Claire Lafayette & Lieutenant Commander Kenna Wolff & Lieutenant Commander Maralen Seitha & Lieutenant Elias Lindholm & Lieutenant Dante Rawlins V1 & Lieutenant Caroline Isley & Lieutenant Commander Niamh O'Donoghue V1 & Ensign Thyra Sh'shraaqir V1 & Ensign Colby Pierce & Lieutenant Commander Summer Gallagher & Lieutenant JG Ephraim Deveraux
Episode 5: Better Angels
Location: Orbit over Qo'nos
Timeline: MD 6
Charlotte did not like waiting. Defiant was mere moments away from Indomitable, and yet every second of delay made her more worried. The vessel been able to stay less than 4 minutes ahead of them. But it had exited warp over Qo'nos, and while it might be engaged with the Klingons, those minutes brought them ever closer to the annihilation they needed to prevent.
The Captain turned to her helm officer, drumming her fingers impatiently. Her eyes were glued to the starscape ahead of her. "Mr. Rawlins, estimated time until arrival?"
Checking the eta readout on his console Dante called out over his shoulder, "Approximately two minutes, Captain. Beginning preparations to drop out of warp in orbit of Qo'Nos.", he said, his fingers moving quickly, pressing switches and buttons to ensure they would enter at the best possible position according to the sensor readings he was getting.
"Lt. Isley, I need a status report on the Indomitable. I want to know what we're about to warp into," the captain said. She checked the read out to make sure their cloak was still holding. Thankfully, it was. If Indomitable detected them at all, they'd suspect it was an approaching Klingon craft.
Isley could feel tension forming on her brow. She couldn't really believe that they were about to do this. She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself and then punched a few keys on her station.
The blonde science officer then blinked. "Um, we're about to warp into something not good, captain." She confirmed the data. "It looks the Indomitable is there, of course. Along with a D-7 battlecruiser and at least two escorting Birds of Prey. It's a small fleet." The last part was mostly said to herself, but loud enough for anyone to hear.
Elias sat at his console scanning his readouts. He changed the range on his sensor display, when he got an alert message pop up on his readout. "Captain, I'm detecting the Indomitable in orbit of the planet," Elias said with his tone taking on a more urgent tone, "Their torpedoes are armed and ready to fire!"
“Shit!” Reynolds gritted her teeth. They’d have seconds to act. But there was no chance they’d make it in time to intercept those torpedoes. Unless...
She didn’t let herself second guess it. She shot a look at the weapons officer. “Lindholm, how good a shot are you?”
Elias looked back at his captain with a slight smile playing across his face, "Just tell me where and how much damage you want."
The captain simply nodded before settling into her seat and bracing herself. "Mr. Rawlins, change of plans. We're not dropping out of warp just yet."
--Orbit of Qo'nos--
A torrent of flame erupted from the missing segment of wing as the Klingon Bird of Prey spiraled out of control away and away from the massive Federation vessel. The USS Indomitable had taken a few savage hits but it was pushing forward recklessly, heedless to the damage it was taking. It could last long enough to pull off its mission.
A Klingon D-7 rounded on the vessel, loosing a barrage of disruptor fire that slammed against the weakened shields of the Dreadnaught class and carefully steering clear of the massive turret on the lower side of the saucer. The D-7 crew had witnessed the damage it could do first hand, and were being sure to stay out of its firing arc. As the battlecrusier veered off, the Indomitable changed its trajectory, no longer heading for the vessel. It had found a new target.
The bridge was in worse shape than when they'd left Arcadia, but Brigadier General Rebecca Javier sat unmoving in her chair. Her gaze was locked on the planet ahead of them.
"General, we are entering firing range now. Torpedo is prepped and ready on your command."
Javier nodded at her tactical officer as a sickening smile spread across her face. "Let's bid farewell to the Klingon Empire."
Varg stood upon his bridge, surrounded by sparking, smoking terminals. Even with all the forewarning they'd had from his secret informant, they'd been unable to stop the Indomitable. The leadership of the empire had been sluggish to respond. Suspiciously sluggish...But now was not the time for that speculation. He wheeled on his tactical officer when he heard the man cry out.
"Colonel, they have fired a torpedo of some sort...at Qo'nos!"
Varg didn't need details. "Can you stop it?"
The D-7 fired an urgent barrage of disrupter bolts after the torpedo, but it slipped out of range, narrowly avoiding one of the bolts. "Hu'tegh! It slipped away!"
Javier was on the edge of her seat, her grin now fully unhinged looking. She'd actually done it. All of that work. All of that preparation had actually paid off!
The torpedo, narrowly missing Varg's ship's attempt to stop it, cruised forward. Its outer casing shed as it prepared to drop its payload. The Indomitable weapons officer counted down. "Dispersal in 10...9....8...7...6...5...4...What the..."
One moment the torpedo glowed bright green, ready to disperse. Less than a fraction of a second later, the warhead was nowhere to be seen, but instead a small glittering debris field was seen, stretching millions of kilometers away.
Javier leapt to her feet, not understanding what had just happened but knowing what it meant, a primal scream escaping her lungs. "NO!"
"Nice shot, Mr. Lindholm!" Charlotte said, her eyes were so wide she could feel the air stinging at them, but there wasn't a chance she could have looked away from that. The insane maneuver they'd just pulled off had somehow managed to work... Her mind was still processing that. She'd been fully expecting to witness a genocide a second ago, and now her mind was euphoric. She'd have to remind herself to breathe.
It had been a beyond foolish plan, but they'd had no other option. Desperate times called for desperate measures. Instead of dropping out of warp, they'd maintained maximum warp, waiting until the last second to drop the cloak. In that split second, Defiant had fired a torpedo, while still at full warp, on an angle to exit the warp field. The calculations would have taken too long. It was the kind of shot that could only be done on instinct...and blind luck. The result was an attack that came so fast, it had detonated before breaking below the light barrier. Indomitable would have seen a torpedo one moment and a trail of debris half an AU long a moment later. The explosion itself would have been too fast to see.
However, Defiant wasn't done. Taking out the pathogen torpedo had been their main aim, sure. But conventional torpedoes could still do plenty of damage. They needed to stop Indomitable here and now. Even as the cloak finished dissipating, the Defiant curved along the orbital well of Qo'nos, using the planet's gravity to slow them down and bring them right back at Indomitable.
Charlotte spoke over the whining of their warp field. The ship was groaning under the strain. It hadn't been built to pull off this kind of move. The combination of speed and gravity were straining her. "Hold her steady, Lieutenant. We're almost there."
Dante was thankful for the inertial dampeners on a good day, and on a bad day, like the one they were living through he was even more so. However even with them he felt the strain as the ship completed the insane maneuver, whipping around the planet, just outside the atmosphere, shedding its cloak, and its speed as it did so. At the last second he applied corrective thrust to bring them out of the gravity well and into orbit.
"Orbit achieved, ma'am. Helm at the ready.", He called out.
The ship finished streaming around the planet and appeared from warp 90° off from the Indomitable. Charlotte turned to Comms. “Thyra, give me an open channel to Indomitable. And...include the Klingons too. I want them to hear this.”
Thyra punched some keys on her console. "Channel open, Captain, the Klingons can hear us too." She called to the center seat.
Charlotte adjusted her posture, sitting up straight, mostly for her own mental focus. "This is Captain Reynolds of the USS Defiant. You have stolen a Federation craft and her Federation crew, crossed into Klingon territory without authorization, and attempted a genocide. You have no allies here. Stand down immediately and turn over your vessel now. Failure to comply will result in your destruction. There will be no second warning."
She gestured to close the channel. She hoped the the Klingons got the idea too. "I don't expect them to accept our offer of surrender. Let's show them we mean business. Tactical, open fire on full yield. Don't pull your punches. Helm, keep us out of that turrets firing arc. Sciences, I want to hit them with some sort of particle burst to obscure their sensors. The harder it is for them to keep a lock on us the longer we'll last."
Pressing the command keys that switched helm control over to manual Dante grasped the joystick that came up with his left hand and the throttle with his right, moving them deftly as he brought the large hulking bulk of Defiant into line with the directions he'd just received from Captain Reynolds.
Watching the display on his board, making sure when the edges began to glow amber as a warning that the other ship's powerful turret was getting dangerously close to being able to lock on and blow a few holes through them that he quickly moved further outside its firing arc. With all of his concentration on his job he kept them constantly moving and shifting, but still well positioned to allow their own weapons to achieve maximum impact.
Elias shifted the yield output on his torpedoes and continued to fire at the massive vessel. Having scored a direct hit on the biological torpedo had greatly improved morale. He also felt that he had justified himself in the eys of his captain. However, he focused on the task at hand. He continued to fire his phasers while the torpedoes were reloaded. "Keep us broadside Dante, I've got a good lock on fore and aft phasers while my torpedoes reload," he said to the helm officer next to him.
Dante looked over and gave the other man a cocky smile, "You got it, give 'em hell!", he said, and then returned his attention to the display before him. It wasn't hard to do, with the Indomitable being such a big ship, and the controls on the Defiant being so intuitive he was able to make sure they stayed relatively safe and still give the tactical officer the best possible firing arc at the same time.
Elias checked his torpedo status board. All tubes showed loaded and armed. He programed the coordinates into his fire control panel. He then adjusted the warhead yield to maximum and fired both fore and aft torpedoes. Guided to their targets, each torpedo impacted with massive detonations. "Enemy shields at 80%," Elias reported to the captain.
Caroline couldn't believe that they had been successful so far. But she didn't let her relief get in the way of responding to the captain's order. She hit a few keys on her console. "Particle burst initiated, captain." The burst spread out from the ship's systems. The goal was to disrupt the dreadnought's sensors. The effect wouldn't last long, but it would hopefully keep shifting the odds in Defiant's favor.
The ship rocked as yet another torpedo spread struck them. Defiant was less armed, but she was a bit more nimble and that had kept her mostly out of Indomitable's firing arc. General Javier was seething. "Corporal, why haven't we hit them?"
A flustered Tellarite grunted as he worked the controls. "They've done something to our sensors, ma'am. Made them a bit more slippery. Can't get a firm targeting lock. I'm trying to clear the interference." A few quick clicks later, their sensor readings cleared a little. "There we've got them back...mostly. Firing now!"
Charlotte stayed rooted in her chair as the phaser repeaters slammed into Defiant's shields. A shower of sparks shot out of one of the power conduits, but otherwise the ship had escaped more savage damage. However, with Indomitable's sensors back online they were in a lot more risk. A banking maneuver allowed Defiant to make a close broadside strafing run. Indomitable began rotating to face her, but there'd be a few moments of respite as the ships repositioned.
Maralen's brown eyes flicked to where the sparks had come from, assessing the damage visually, then they moved back to his Operations board. "Minor damage to peripheral systems, Captain." he reported, though he suspected that that would change fairly quickly if Indomitable got a good shot.
"I doubt it'll stay that way for long," the woman said, turning to face him. "Pull additional power from whatever non-essential systems you need. Those shields are the only thing keeping us from becoming scrap."
Maralen nodded. That last bit, he felt was self-evident, but he didn't hold it against her. "Rerouting power from non-essential systems." he acknowledged. "That's only going to help for so long, though." he stated. That, too, was self-evident to him as they only had so many non-essential systems to route from. He would, of course, do whatever he needed to in order to keep the Defiant from becoming scrap as she had so colorfully phrased it.
"I know," Charlotte said, her voice trailing off ominously. The captain wanted to capitalize on their reprieve. "Sh'shraaqir, Wolff. I want the two of you to coordinate a message to the Klingons and any nearby vessels. Ask their assistance in disabling Indomitable. Let's see if we can't call in the cavalry."
"Yes, captain." Thyra began to tune to the right frequency of the Klingons. "This is the Federation starship Defiant hailing the Klingons and any nearby vessels. We request assistance in disabling the rogue vessel Indomitable. I repeat, we request assistance in disabling the rogue vessel Indomitable."
Kenna crossed her arms and rolled her eyes. ~Wow, guess coordinate is not in the Andorian Lexicon.~ She thought but she briskly stepped up and tapped in a number of things into the comm system. Basically what was sent was "Attention all Klingon vessels, the vessel Indomitable aims to destroy your home world. Much glory and honor to those who assist us in defeating this foe." She glanced at the ensign. "You have to appeal to their vanity and way of life." she said coolly before setting the message on repeat in formal Klingon.
The bridge rocked as another wave of phaser bolts struck Defiant's shields. They didn't manage to skirt the damage on this one as easily. Coolant started bursting from an overhead conduit as a prolonged shower of sparks hit the bridge. Captain Reynolds gritted her teeth. They couldn't keep this up. "We're going to need to even the odds here. Mr. Deveraux, try and burrow your way into their computer. I want them seeing double."
Ephraim's fingers danced over his console as he rapidly worked on finding a back door into the Indomitable's systems. Eventually though he managed to access the dreadnaught's sensor array and implanted the subroutine. If all went to plan the indomitable would begin to register a second Defiant within firing range.
"It's done, Captain. I can't be exact, but I estimate no more than five minutes before they shut us out," he said once he had received confirmation.
It was a better estimate than Charlotte had even expected. "Five minutes can be a very long time, Lieutenant. Stay in there as long as you can."
The sensors went wild aboard the Dreadnaught, with a second Defiant appearing as the ship banked. The weapons officers aboard Indomitable couldn't be sure which one was the real ship, and with both Defiant's outside the viewscreens visible arc, they couldn't use their eyes for verification either. What was worse was the fact that they couldn't even use damage to locate the real one. With the Klingons joining the fray alongside Defiant, they were taking damage in both directions.
"Clever move, Captain," Javier conceded. Tactical, keep firing at both of those ships. We might not know which one is real, but if we're hitting both, we're at least damaging the real one." And if the shields went down on one, they'd know very quickly.
The brief respite from direct fire gave them an opportunity to take charge a bit. Charlotte punched in a few commands onto her chair, prepping a system or two. "Helm, bring us around on a head to head approach. I want to face them down."
"Understood, ma'am.", Dante replied, maneuvering the ship into position, putting them directly in front of the massive vessel, wondering exactly what his commanding officer had up her sleeve.
As the helmsman got to work, the captain turned back to tactical. "Lieutenant, once we're headed their way, I want to hit them with everything we've got. But I want a torpedo spread prepped in our aft launcher."
“Aye Captain. All forward phasers are charged and ready, forward torpedo bays loaded,” Elias responded. He input the target coordinates into his fire control panel. He then input the appropriate commands into his aft launcher auto loader. He kept his mind focused on the task at hand. He was proud that the Defiant was holding her own, especially after he had seen the damage the Indomitable had inflicted on the battle group. His console pinged letting him know the aft launchers were ready. “Aft torpedoes standing by,” he reported
“Open fire forward weapons,” Charlotte said.
Elias hit the fire buttons on his console, "Aye Captain, all phaser banks firing. Forward photon torpedoes away." Elias said. He checked his targeting scanners to confirm the torpedoes had reached their target coordinates. He made sure that the forward phasers kept firing until they were forced to recharge. He keyed in a autoloading sequence for the forward launchers. Once the readout indicated they were loaded, he fired off a single volley. These torpedoes were unguided and flew line of sight at the Indomitable. Both torpedoes impacted against the forward shields.
Reynolds watched her display. Predictably, the Indomitable rerouted power to their forward shields to reinforce them against the hit. She doubted the inexperienced parasites would be able to think fast enough on their feet. They were relying on the brute strength of their ship.
A worried cry from the back of the bridge came as Ensign Lafayette saw her sensor screen light up. “Captain, incoming targeting! We’re about to cross into their torpedoes firing arc.”
“That’s correct,” Charlotte said calmly. “Bring the overlay up on the screen.”
A few clicks later and the targeting range of the turret was displayed on the screen, emitting from Indomitable’s lower saucer. As Defiant approached, weapons blazing, Indomitable was rotating to bring their heaviest weapon to bear on.
Charlotte was expecting as much. She felt a smile creep onto her face. The same smile she got when someone lined her up for a clean shot in pool. “Mr. Rawlins, prepare for a tactical warp jump on my mark. Lindholm, once we do this, fire that aft torpedo spread immediately. Hit them hard.”
"Tactical jump laid in, Captain.", Dante replied quickly as his fingers danced across his board and set the coordinates, and speeds necessary to achieve what she was requesting.
Elias checked his weapon status board. "Aft torpedoes loaded and dispersal pattern is locked in, standing by for your order," he replied. His fingers hovered, poised above the fire button, "Ready to fire on your command Captain."
“Not yet,” Charlotte said, lifting a hand as if to hold them in place. The screen became more and more red as the firing arc of the torpedo turret prepared to over take them. “Not yet.”
Warnings blared across the bridge as the impending target lock came ever closer. Charlotte’s hand stayed up. A few seconds more. Then the screen went all red. A warning claxon indicated the target lock had been established. “Mark!”
Reaching forward and hoping like hell he'd done this correctly Dante activated the preprogrammed warp jump, sending the ship shooting up and over the hulking Indomitable just as they were about to be slammed with the weapons fire of the advanced warship. A split second later they dropped back into normal space, all so quickly they'd barely even had a chance to see the flicker of a warp speed starfield, and found themselves just on the other side of the other vessel.
Elias stabbed down his finger on the launch button, "Torpedoes away!" Each torpedoe exited the aft lanchers in rapid succession. Aproximately 1.5 seconds after leaving the lanchers, each torpedoes guidance computer activated and adjusted the torpedoe trajectory to the appropriate target path within the spread. Within 5 seconds after launch, a wall of photon torpedoes approached the Indomitable and prepared to impact at the same target coordinates.
Indomitable didn’t have time to react. With their powers transferred to the forward shields, Defiant’s torpedo barrage found the soft rear shields. The first 2 hit, overwhelming the already drained shield grid. As the bright blue flashes sent a ripple of energy away, the next handful of searing blue lights found their marks on the hull of Indomitable itself. The shiny metallic hull plating cracked like cheap glass, erroding the facade of the vessels magnificence 2 of the projectiles connected with each nacelle, sending a cascade of plasma venting from the sides of it. Lights flickered across the vessels hull.
A few slammed into the impulse engines, causing the violet propulsion devices to flicker and go dark. A second barrage of torpedoes followed soon after, sending more fractures along the hull of the massive vessel, secondary explosions fanning out from them and blowing out power relays. One final overloaded system produced a sizable explosion along the saucer’s port side, and the vessel came to a flickering halt. The back of the beast had been broken.
Maralen's eyes flickered between his console and the forward viewscreen, watching the explosions tear at Indomitable a bit at a time. When she listed off to the side and flickered into stillness, he allowed himself a pleased little smile and a small purr. He was not happy that they had to do this, but he was pleased with his crew and their performance as well as that of the Defiant herself. But that smile was removed to be replaced by his normal calm expression, and the purr was silenced, in a few seconds. There was still work to be done, and he was not going to underestimate those on the Indomitable. The ship might be dead in space, but they could still prove problematic, so he was watching and waiting.
Dante restrained his desire to cheer at their victory. He knew there were too many people over there on that vessel that weren't infected. While they weren't totally innocent most of them probably had no idea how badly their commanding officer had steered them off course. While he was glad they'd disabled the ship he still had to keep in mind that some good officers had probably just lost their lives.
Elias took a moment to breathe a sigh of relief. He kept his attention focused on his readouts as he assed the damaged vessel. He knew that the next few moments were crucial. The Indomitable was still highly dangerous, much like a wounded animal. He punched in the commands which signaled the autoloaders to reload his torpedoes.
Captain Reynolds didn’t allow herself to bask in their victory too long. She composed herself, returning to a stoic position. “Miss Sh’shraaqir, open hailing frequencies. I imagine they’re going to be more open to listening to us now.”
Thyra pressed a button on her console, and a small beep was heard. She had just watched as the whole thing unfolded on the bridge. Being on a station so long, this type of action she never really had. She wasn't sure how she felt, but she did sighed in relief. She turned to the captain as she said, "Hailing frequencies open, ma'am."
"This is the USS Defiant. Your vessel is crippled. You attack has failed. We will accept your full and complete surrender. Nothing less. Failure to comply will result in your immediate destruction." Charlotte gestured for the comm channel to cut off.
Maralen observed all that passed around him, noting the crew's responses both to the battle itself and to their seeming victory -- he knew it was not a complete victory... not yet.
A small alarm chimed on his board, and he glanced down at it. The sensors had detected something important. He looked up at Charlotte. "We have detected a transport from Indomitable to the surface." he reported, looking down once more to determine exactly where that transporter had set down whomever had used it.
"Why am I not surprised?" Charlotte asked. She didn't need confirmation to know who it was. "It's Javier. I can feel it. Whatever she's up to, it can't be good. Can we beam an away team down after her?"
Maralen nodded acknowledgment of her request but frowned slightly when the answer came up on his console. But even that frown vanished almost instantly. "Unfortunately, we cannot transport. The transporters are not fully functional. The systems took some moderate damage in the fight." It was not heavy damage, difficult to repair, but it was enough to prevent their use now.
He touched several more controls on his board. "It would appear that whoever transported down set themselves north of the capital, in the wilds there. I'm afraid I can't be more specific than that." Which annoyed him. Precision. Information. Clear and precise information. Those were what he did. But this time the universe was denying him that.
"Understood," Charlotte said, flipping entering a comm command on her chair's console. "Lt. Command Gallagher, we've disabled the Indomitable, but someone or something was beamed down to the surface. I believe it to be General Javier. Given your familiarity with her, I'd like you to command a small away team to pursue her. Unfortunately, we can't beam you down and we need this done covertly. So this is going to need to be an orbital jump."
Summer's voice came back."Thats fine with me Captain. If I can borrow a couple of your security officers, I will have a team ready to go in 5."
"You'll have it. They'll meet you at the port side airlock," Charlotte said, before deactivating the comm. She turned to her tactical chief next. "Mr. Lindholm, have Crewman Carter meet her at the airlock. The two worked together back on Arcadia. That previous work together should help them communicate in this exercise."
Elias nodded, "Aye Captain, might I recommend sending Chief Crocker as well. While Crewman Carter has worked with her before, I would feel better sending an experienced security officer along with them."
Charlotte nodded. "Agreed. Have him suit up and meet them at the airlock."
"Mr. Deveraux, I'd like you to join them as well. Your experience will prove useful in tracking Javier down," Charlotte said as she turned away from the Tactical Chief.
Eph rose from his console, "Yes, ma'am" he accepted with a nod before exiting the bridge.
As the team, rose to their feet and exited the bridge, Charlotte turned to face forward again. "Mr. Rawlins, prep a shuttle to descend to the surface. Lt. Acainus, Ensign Pierce, and myself will be heading to the surface to address the high council. I'd like you to pilot us."
Glancing over and nodding to his relief helm officer off to the side Dante stood. "Understood, Captain. I'll have a shuttle standing by in five minutes.", he replied.
Charlotte spun to face her XO. "Let's hope this goes well..." She had a look of apprehension in her eyes, but it didn't come out in her voice. "Commander Seitha, you have the Conn. Lt. Lindholm, I'm leaving you second in command."
Maralen did not miss the look in her eyes, and he reciprocated with a look in his that said that he had all faith in her. "Acknowledged." he said aloud, his tone its normal calm. He summoned another officer to the Operations board and approached the command chair. As he neared her, he spoke softly so that only she could hear. "Be careful, and good luck." He didn't really believe in luck, so, for him, it was more of a statement of his encouragement of her.
“Aye Captain, XO has the Conn,” Elias replied. He took a moment to turn and look at his captain. “Good luck ma’am,” he said. He then turned and began focusing on his sensor readings.