Counter Attack (Part 3B)
Episode 1: Hellbores and Hieroglyphics
Location: Main Conference Room, USS Defiant
Timeline: Following "Hostile Encounters"
The Defiant floated silently inside the gaseous nebula, as Hydran fighters scanned not far away.
Chris had been reviewing the tactical data from their engagement with the Hydran Kingdom in the Eta Dosi system. The Defiant had performed admirably, but the Hydrans had an advantage over them. The fighters provided a difficult target that kept the phasers from being used against the main enemy craft and the gatling phaser meant the Defiant's torpedoes were often intercepted before they could hit. He needed to pull together a few ideas quickly to help even out the terms of the next engagement, before the ship was able to locate them in the nebula.
He pushed the comm panel on the wall in the Conference Room. "Ensign Surovec, Lt. Holmes, and Lt. Gunnar. When able, I need the 3 of you to meet me in the main Conference Room."
Surovec was no tactical officer. However, what she lacked in tactical skill, she made up with her knowledge of engines. She was going over the sensor scans of the Hydrans ships and fighters and to determine possible course of action to aid tactical. When the captain paged her, Lt. Holmes and Gunnar. The Ensign returned the page that she heard it and was on her way. A moment later, the Tellarite chief entered Conference room with an data padd in hand.
"Acknowledged," Jerry said as he heard the call for the officers to assemble in the conference room. He wondered what that was about, probably the situation they were in. Luckily the wounded still being treated was at a minimum now and he wasn't really needed to stick around sickbay for the moment. He left and headed for the nearest turbolift and stepped aboard it when the doors hissed open ordering, "Deck 2."
The turbolift let the Doctor out on Deck 2 where he proceeded to the Main Conference Room. Once in there, he took his seat directly to the right of Chris.
The young Tactical duty officer followed the Doctor in and chose one of the more distant seats. He settled in and tried not to call too much attention to himself.
Once his officer's had met up in the briefing room, Chris turned and addressed them. "Thanks for coming, all of you. I wanted to try and pool our ideas before we need to engage the Hydrans again. The Defiant's phasers did some damage to the their vessel during the engagement But because of the fighters, we were forced to use our phasers for point-defense. That gatling-like phaser the Hydrans have made quick work of our torpedoes, even in a full spread. So having more overall firepower than them, we weren't able to land many hits, and they were free to hit us with whatever the hell that cannon was." He shrugged. "We need to either identify some weakness in the carrier or find a way to deal with the fighters so we can focus our fire on the main ship."
Surovec knew that some history about the doctor named Gatling. He, design an artillery piece in Earth past in attempt to stop war. However, that wasn't the case with his piece, which soon found it's way over time to an flying US Air Force flying tank call the Warthog. 'Hmmm...I wonder if the A-10 designer was a Tellarite?' she thought to herself. She reviewed the data of the fighters, which, from the look and design of the craft, nearly match the out anti tank weapon of the United States aircraft.
"Sir, there is one. Ion exhaust." the Ops chief stated "The Hydrans have temporally drop their shields to vent their Ion from their impulse and warp engines into space. Sure, it's harmless and all, but from the stand point of our sensor reading, it would appear that the Hydrans have issues with these Ions. I think being trapped inside the shields, it warms up fast. Cases damage to their hull. Secondly, if I recall my earth history class, didn't the US Navy have some sort of anti-aircraft device aboard their ships?"
Chris thought for a moment. A momentary drop of the shields would provide quite a window. Even if they had to ignore the fighters for a moment, that could allow the Defiant to focus their fire directly on the Hydrans hull. It also provided a siege-type strategy. If the Defiant could ever force the Hydrans to keep their shields up, the ion damage could be used to weaken the other vessel. "That's an excellent discovery you made with the shields, Ensign. I can think of a few ways to utilize that. As to the second point, I think looking at Earth naval history might not be a bad idea. Replicating anti-aircraft missiles would be difficult and time consuming to say the least, and our torpedoes don't have the maneuverability to chase individual craft so we couldn't use them for that. But perhaps their is a way we could approach this differently. Mr. Gunnar, is there a way you could work on with Surovec to replicate an old-Earth flak gun?"
The Tactical duty officer spoke up. "I think we could pull off a temporary countermeasure for the fighters. We can use our space micro torpedo launchers and place them on a few key points around the saucier section. They were meant to be used as replacements for the ones aboard the shuttles, but a few quick modifications should make hem functional, at least temporarily. If I place modified charges in them, they should act like the old Earth flak cannons. It'll make flying fighters near Defiant much more difficult. That would free up the phaser and main torpedoes to focus on the main craft."
Chris smiled and gave an encouraging nod to the young officer. "That's excellent thinking. Get to it right away." He turned back toward the Operations Chief. "Ensign, how much information do we have on when they cycle those shields?"
"Ah" she replied to her question, went to write on her pad for an new defense weapon and then continued with her Ion statement "I don't have the numbers on how long it takes for the Hydrans to drop their shields and then bring them back up to full as of yet. But those damn fighters were maxing out the sensors to get a good reading. But at least we got a reading of them shutting down and turning their shields back on."
"Jerry, any thoughts?" Chris asked.
"Dammit, man. I'm a Doctor, not a Tactician. That being said, I would suggest we make take advantage of the ion issue by hitting them with a simulated ion surge from the deflector dish or something? I was also thinking about the fighters. They must use some sort of communications or shared sensor data to keep them from colliding with each other. Maybe we can jam it and hope for a mid-space collision between them?" Jerry replied.
"I think those all have merit. Ensign Surovec, see if you can impliment the doctor's ideas. The ion burst alone could prove useful. Lt. Gunnar, get started on those micro torpedo launchers. Take as many tactical and engineering teams as you need. We need to get this done quickly. It's only a matter of time before those fighters find us, and I won't feel comfortable until we've rescued the landing party." Chris stood up and gave them a final nod. "Good thinking, everyone. Let's get to work."
Surovec's idea was just an idea. However, she had to rework on a few of the way out there ones and drag them back in. She brought up, what she felt to be useful, on the Wet Navy system that was called Vulcan. Which she soon discovered was named after an greek god, not those of the world with the same name. She worked with the others to come up with a way to take care of the fighters, plus focus the Defiant's attention on the carrier itself.
Chris was sitting impatiently on the bridge, drumming his hands on the arm of his chair. He had heard that the modifications would be done momentarily and the last few minutes had seemed the longest yet. The Hydran fighters would locate the Defiant any moment now and he had no idea what the situation with the landing party was.
"I hope they're alright on the planet. I hate leaving them with no cover like that," Chris said to Jerry, who was seated at Summer's usual station.
Jerry sat in the chair that seemed alien to him. It was still a little weird for him to be sitting in the XO chair. He was looking around the bridge and at first didn't realize that it was him that Chris was talking to. Then it donned on him and he looked at Chris, "Hmmm? Oh... me too."
Finally, the turbolift doors opened and Surovec, Brian, and the young Tactical officer emerged onto the bridge, looking winded but alert.
When Brian emerged from the turbolift, he walked to the nearest science station and began scanning for Hydran fighters, he was bound and determined to make a good first impression in action to the senior officers. He whispered to himself "you can do this Brian, this is just like at the academy, except this is real." It was that last thing that he told himself that made him reflect on his training and wonder if his professors had prepared him for this moment.
The Tactical officer took his seat then addressed the captain. "Flak launchers are ready and loaded, sir. We're ready when you are."
Surovec went to her station to start up on what was talked about. Plus assign personnel to the cause as well. The tellarite ops chief looked to the command well.
"Sensor and weapons array are ready, captain" stated Surovec
"Thank you, Ensign." Chris replied. "I think it's time for us to get back in the fray. We might be able to catch the main ship off guard with few fighters to defend them. Mr. Davenport, think you can find us a smooth path back out of the nebula."
Brian responded to the Captain, "I am seeing a pattern in the fighters flight path, Sir. They are all in formation and flying in figure-eights just outside the nebula. If my calculations are correct, their backs are to us every 3.6 minutes. If we emerge when they are flying away from us, they will be able to come about quickly, but it will buy us some time to attack the main ship."
"Excellent work, Brian." Chris tapped the ship wide comm button on his chair. "All hands to battle stations. We are about to engage the Hydran vessel."
Switching off the comm, Chris began to call our orders. "Alright, everyone. I don't intend on waiting for them to find us. Ensigns Surovec and Davenport. I want you monitoring the Hydran ships shields the second we emerge from the nebula. We'll play like nothing has changed at first. Phasers will act on point defense, torpedoes at the main ship. The moment they lower those shields, I want to know! We'll flip the switch and they won't know what hit them."
Brian responded, "Aye Captain, monitoring the fighters and the main ship's shields simultaneously."
Surovec nodded her head "On it, captain"
"Alright, everyone. Here we go." He sat up straighter in his chair. "Turol, take us out of here. Full possible impulse. Tactical, have those weapons systems ready to go."
The Defiant's impulse engines flared and the vessel moved forward, quickly moving toward the edge of the Nebula. Even as the ship was exiting the nebula, the Defiant's weapons roared to life. Phaser beams slammed against the Hydran ships shields, but the torpedoes were mostly being intercepted by the Hydran gatling phasers.
From several locations around the nebula, the Hydran fighter squadrons came rushing back toward the Federation vessel.
"Mr. Davenport, how long until vessels are in weapons range," Chris said, over the call of the klaxons.
"They're moving fast, Captain! They'll be in weapons range in 45 seconds."
"Understood. Tactical, hold those flak launchers until their right on top of us!"
The small fighters converged on the Defiant, straiffing her shields in numerous runs. The Constitution class vessel responded in kind, tearing through the lines of drone fighters with her phase banks. Each wave seems more intense, despite the Defiant's phasers cutting down their numbers. The fighters began to create a tight spiral pattern, flying close to each other in endless loops around the shields. In this formation, their weapons were able to continuously fire on the Federation vessel. The result was nearly overwhelming the shields. Each passing minute was punctuated by the ravaging impact of the Hydran's hellbore cannons, wreaking havok on the Federation vessel's defenses.
The Tactical Officer was sweating profusely. He hadn't had much experience in general, let alone in such intense combat. "Sir, shields are down to 35%. We need to fire those flak launchers!"
"Not yet, crewman! Just another moment longer." Chris was on the edge of his seat as the swarm of fighters spiraled. Any second now...
"WE DON'T HAVE A MOMENT," Jerry yelled gripping the arms of the XO chair he was sitting in and trying without much success to keep the fear out of his voice.
Surovec spoke loud enough to be heard from her station of the chaos of the bridge "They drop their shields!"
Chris jumped forward so quickly, he essentially leapt from his chair to his feet. "Now!"
In what amounted to about 2 seconds, everything went wrong for the Hydran vessel. Their fighters had so overwhelmed the Federation ship, not a single phaser shot was aimed at the carrier anymore. Every single shot was being focused on the tightening swarm of fighters. When the ion alarm rang through the carrier's bridge, the Hydran commander felt little concern dropping the shields to vent. In that instant, everything changed.
In one bizarre flash which the Hydrans initially took for an explosion aboard the Defiant, thousands of pieces of metal went flying in all directions. A few dozen microtorpedoes has launched from various points on the saucer of the Defiant. These torpedoes carried a unique charge, one that disrupted electronic systems and scattered metallic debris in all directions. In the tight formation of the fighters, these pieces of shrapnel may as well have been hellfire. So many fighters were hit in the first barrage, they essentially created a magnified version of the torpedoes effect. Nearly half of the fighters were damaged or destroyed in an instant, leaving the carrier wide open.
Before a Hydran could react aboard the vessel, the bright blue beams of the Defiant's phaser arrays crossed the space between the two vessels, connecting with the Hydran ship's nacelles. The hull of the starboard nacelle quickly buckled and warp plasma began to vent out. A second strike of the phasers effectively knocked out one of the vessels hellbore cannons.
Brian reported, "Captain, my sensors show that the Hydran vessel has is leaking warp plasma and suffered a complete loss of warp and impulse engines. Her hull integrity is failing also and they are trying their best to seal off the leaking atmosphere. I'm unable to tell how many, but they also appear to have many casualties in the engineering compartment due to a fire."
Surovec shook her head as she read the sensor reports. it looked grim for the Hydran. She also added to Brain's own report. She stated hangar damage, shield array, weapons, several Hydran's adrift in the void, life support was holding. Of course the Tellarite Ops chief, gave and clear picture that the enemy vessel was out of the fight for weeks, if not months.
"...however, they're getting things under controls, captain"
"YES!" Jerry stood and made a motion of victory with his fist as he watched their plan into action form on the viewscreen. He turned around in a circle in place combing his sweaty hair back with his hands before looking around the bridge, "Good job. I could use a drink now..."
"So could I," Chris said, slightly under his breathe. Unfortunately, now wasn't the time to rest. At least not yet. "Good work, everyone! Now let's go get our people. Turol, set a course back to Eta Dosi III. Maximum warp."
Even as the confused Hydran squadron attempted to regroup, the warp foils of the Defiant's nacelles opened up. With a bright flare of the nacelles, the vessel rocketed away into a single flash of light.
Commander Christopher James
Dr.(Lt. JG) Gerald "Jerry" Holmes
Chief Medical/Second Officer (Acting XO)
Chief Operations Officer
Assistant Chief Science Officer