On a Knife's Edge
Posted on Tue May 14th, 2019 @ 1:53pm by Captain Charlotte Reynolds V1 & 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
Episode 5: Better Angels
Location: Defiant Bridge, Orbit over Qo'nos
Timeline: During/After the Events on Qo'Nos
Several lights flashed on the science console. Caroline Isley had been distracted thinking of the shuttle crew and what they were facing, but her attention was suddenly focused back on her panel.
"I'm reading two more Klingon vessels on an intercept course," the blonde said as she punched a few keys. "Both are B'Rel-class Birds-of-Prey. I doubt they have friendly intentions."
The sensors aboard Defiant pinged to indicate the approach of a variety of new vessels. With Indomitable's assault over, the Klingon forces had begun regrouping. Now, seeing a lone functional Starfleet Vessel and a disabled Dreadnaught, they were getting more ambitions. The Indomitable would prove to be quite the prize, if they were able to capture it.
All eyes fell on the XO, the Chief Counselor's included. Once the battle had ceased Niamh had urgently made her way to the bridge under the pretense of offering medical support. In truth, she wanted to feel more useful. So, like a hawk she watched from besides the turbo-lift entrance, waiting to dispense reassurance when needed.
Maralen did not alter his expression even the slightest, but internally, he was frowning slightly. His eyes moved from the study of his crew he had been doing to take in the view on the forward screen. As he watched the Klingons, he spoke to the Tactical Officer. "Mr. Lindholm, please run a tactical analysis and report?"
Elias nodded, "Aye sir." He then pulled up his tactical scanning readout and targeted the two approaching Birds-of-Prey. He made sure to keep his sensors in the passive mode so as not to potentially provoke the two ships. He knew that they had more than likely discretely observed the battle which had just concluded before. His readout told him the two ships were on an intercept course with the Indomitable. Both ships were running with weapons charged but in passive targeting only.
Elias hit a few buttons that switched his sensors to check the status of the Klingon's shields. His readings indicated they were charged. He then looked up from his readings to report, "Two B'Rel class Birds-of-Prey. They are on an intercept course with the Indomitable. Both have weapons charged and shields raised. However, I'm not detecting a target lock on either us or the Indomitable. It appears they have their targeting sensors in passive mode."
"Speak with them," Niamh suggested as she abandoned her post at the turbo-lift and headed to stand beside Maralen. "Appeal to their sense of honour. We defeated the Indomitable and by rights it's ours. Brief them as far as we can without violating protocol. There's no honour in attacking those that would provide aid willingly," the counselor suggested thoughtfully. She'd read plenty on Klingon culture, but this would mark her first encounter with the race.
Being brought up in the Realm, Maralen had learned one thing very quickly: never waste a resource. He had learned strategy and tactics, but those had been against the enemies of the Realm. He had learned to adapt to his enemy, but Klingons were a new foe he had not encountered before, and he did not have enough data for a proper analysis.
The counselor, however, spoke with authority on the subject. She was a resource he intended not to waste in this instance. "You have studied them, Lieutenant?" he asked her quietly as she came to stand beside him.
"Yes, Commander" Niamh confirmed, "I admit I know only the fundamentals, but I imagine I know enough to assist. Just don't offend them or insinuate that our strength is greater than theirs, they'll see that as a challenge"
He nodded. "Stay near; I may need your knowledge again." he said softly to her before raising his voice to speak to the communications officer. "Ensign Sh'shraaqir, open a channel to the Klingon vessels, please."
Thyra punched a few buttons and then said to the commander, "The channels is open, sir."
"Klingon vessels, this is the Defiant. We recognize and honor your prowess on this battleground. We also offer any aid you may require. The disabled Federation vessel, however, we claim as spoils of war." He kept his voice even, calm, but strong, presenting the image of calm strength but not overbearing, no challenge to their honor. He hoped that he had not misspoken, glanced sidelong at the counselor with his eyes but not moving his head.
There was a brief pause. The Klingons did not react with immediate violence which was good. But they did not concede either. “That remains to be seen, Starfleet,” one of the commanders retorted over the comm channel. “But I would not stake any claims while your own fortune is being decided.”
"Respectfully, we haven't come here to provoke you. To the contrary we have just risked our own lives in the defense of your home world," Niamh replied despite herself, "In return for our assistance all we ask is that we're able to apprehend that ship and it's crew in order to provide them with sufficient punishment for their crimes. As always, we come in peace" she added at the end, almost regretting it the moment the words left her mouth.
There was a lengthy pause as they seemed to mull this over. After a moment or two, a Klingon voice came over the comm. "This is B'koth of House Duras. We recognize the honor of your actions. We will withdraw."
A string of additional replies followed.
"Grelhak of House Kozak will also stand down. The traitors are yours to take."
"Krug will stand down, along with the rest of house Kor."
"I, General Dat'oz of House Mo'Kai, cede control of the vessel to you."
"I am Ker'at of House Noggra. The vessel is yours. May their justice be swift."
Maralen had not moved, his expression steady and calm, while Niamh had 'taken control' of the situation. Normally, she should be reprimanded for side-stepping him, but he was inclined to let it pass for one very important reason: she had more knowledge of and experience with the Klingon culture than he did. Secondary was the fact that it had apparently worked.
"Justice will be swift indeed." he assured. He then made a motion to the communications officer to cut the channel. No more needed to be said, and he felt that if they did, they might risk what they had just gained. Best to let it stand the way it was. Looking to the side to the counselor, he studied her for a moment before speaking. "Well-handled, Counselor." he finally said, simple, straightforward and yet acknowledging the good she had done.
As the conversation ended, Thyra noticed a notification light go on, on her console. She closed the channel with the Klingons and opened another channel. "Sir, the shuttle is contacting us, would you like it on the main screen?"
Maralen took a single moment to be grateful that this had not immediately ended badly with the Klingons. His eyes then turned to the communications officer. "On screen."
The Captain’s face appeared overplayed on the viewscreen, albeit distorted a bit. “Shuttle Kepler to Defiant. We’re on our way back up. I’ve also received confirmation from the away team that they are ready to beam back aboard. Our talks with the Klingons could have gone worse, but I’d say they still aren’t thrilled with us. Aside from bringing the crew back aboard, you’re going to want to keep those shields up.”
Maralen wanted to sigh but didn't. His mask of calm stayed solidly in place. "Understood, Captain. We await your return." He would give her the details of their encounter with the Klingons when she returned. For now, he issued the requisite orders to have the bay opened for her shuttle and for Transporter Control to beam the away team back. "Tactical, lower the shields only long enough for the team to be transported back, no longer." he also ordered. The Klingons had said they were backing off, but he was just paranoid enough not to take chances.
--Several Minutes Later--
Outside the viewscreen, nearly two dozen Klingon vessels drew even closer. Their prize, Indomitable was sitting lifeless in space, and vulnerable. The bridge was tense as Charlotte Reynolds made her way from the turbolift toward the center chair. “Status Report,” she called out.
Maralen had been watching the Klingons with narrowed eyes. Other than that, his expression was unreadable. Standing from her chair, he spoke in calm, measured tones. "We were informed that they cede the Indomitable and its crew to us. However, they have not left the area. In fact, as you can see, they have closed the distance just slightly. We have maintained location and posture until your return, neither backing away nor approaching." He paused for a single beat. "Awaiting your orders, Captain."
The Captain checked her watch, pushing one of the buttons to pull up an alternate mode. A time had been running for quite some time now, since they’d sent a distress call during their fight with Indomitable. And if her timing was right…
“Thyra, open a channel to the Klingons,” Charlotte said, getting a bit more comfortable in her chair.
Thyra had been looked to the screen as well as listening on all frequencies. There was nothing unusual going on than just noise and chit chat. She reached over the console and tapped a button. "Channel is open, Captain," She said as she looked to the screen.
Charlotte cleared her throat and spoke in the most authoritative tone she could manage. “Attention, Klingon vessels. This is Captain Charlotte Reynolds of the USS Defiant. Per the decision of your High Council, hostilities between our people are over. As such, we will be leaving your system and taking the renegade vessel with us. You are to stand down immediately.”
A gruff reply came over the comm. Korev, the commander of one of the Birds of Prey. “I am afraid that will not be possible, Captain. The warriors of House D’Ghor will be claiming that vessel. Consider it…reparations for your transgression.”
“Very well. We’ll leave her to you then. My apologies for the state you’re receiving her in,” Charlotte said with a sly smile. Without turning, she called out to the tactical desk. “Mr. Lindholm, scuttle her.”
"Aye Captain," Elias said. He hit a few buttons on his panel and targeted the vital areas of the ship. He then pressed a few more buttons and targeted his phasers on secondary targets. "Firing," he said as he pressed the button to discharge the Defiant's weapons.
The once mighty vessel crumbled under thunderous assault from Defiant. Within mere moments, it was reduced to mere fragments of vessel, with the phasers lancing out and destroying the larger sections in quick bursts of brilliant blue.
As Elias sat and watched the fireworks display out of the main viewport, his console began beeping. He looked down and quickly scanned the readouts. What his panel was telling him was not something he wanted to know. The numerous Klingon ships had decided a change in posture was needed. "Captain, the Klingon ships are arming weapons and targeting the Defiant," Elias said loudly so the bridge was aware, but he kept his tone firm and devoid of any trace of panic.
Korev’s voice was seething. “Vile baktag! You think this solves your problem? We will simply claim your vessel instead. Such a shiny craft will look very nice with an Imperial Sigil painted across its hull.”
The science board suddenly looked like a Christmas tree. "I'm reading multiple incoming signals. Practically a fleet, captain," Caroline said quickly.
Charlotte didn’t turn to address it. She knew what was about to arrive. “I’m afraid you won’t be doing that either, Korev of House D’Ghor. We’re going home.”
Almost as she finished the last word of her sentence, a series of bright flashes appeared. In their wake, the frames of 8 Starfleet vessels appeared, forming up on either side of Defiant. Another moment and a few more ships appeared adding to the ranks of vessels surrounding the Defiant, creating a protective bubble around the cruiser.
Korev’s voice came one final time. “You have merely given us more targets to hit. We still out number you two to one.”
One final flash appeared, directly over the bridge dome of Defiant. The frame of the vessel cast a shadow across the hull of the ship, as it briefly blocked the light from Qo’nos’s sun. But it slowly moved forward and into view of the bridge. It was roughly the same size as Defiant, yet its frame seemed much more substantial somehow. The crew of Defiant’s bridge simply watched as the vessel moved ahead of the rest and moved to face the approaching swarm of Klingon vessels. As the vessel rotated to oppose the vessels of House D’Ghor, the light reflecting off Qo’nos lit up its saucer.
The newly launched USS Enterprise didn’t fire. It simply sat there, between the Federation craft and the Klingons.
Suddenly there was movement on Isley's panel. At first the blonde didn't believe it, but a second look confirmed that the enemy ships were beginning to move away. "Captain, the Klingons are . . . breaking off. I think they are retreating."
Elias checked his panel and smiled a bit, "Confirmed ma'am. All enemy vessels are powering down weapons and moving away."
Maralen did not seem to outwardly relax, but inwardly, he did. Klingons, he had learned very quickly, were going to be... difficult to work with or predict it seemed. At least, until he knew more about them. He would need to dig into the database and find what he could on them; this, he was sure, was far from the end of their... entanglements with this species, after all. But for now, the fact that they were backing off was something to be pleased about, and he was. His eyes flicked to Charlotte to gauge her reaction.
Charlotte gave a relieved smile as she flipped the comm button to ship wide. "Ladies and gentlemen, I just want you all to know that we just got rescued by the flagship of the fleet. So if you needed a morale booster, there it is."
Flipping off the comm, she slumped a little bit. "Alright. I don't know about all of you, but I think I've had enough adventure for now. Miss Wolff, coordinate a course with the rest of the fleet. Let's go home."
Kenna created the course and sent them to the helm. "Conn, Course is in your system." she said softly.
"Yes, ma'am.", Dante called out, immediately putting the necessary parameters into the helm and jumping them to warp. It wouldn't be a long journey, but after what they'd been through it was going to be one hell of a good time to just depressurize and let go of the pent up tension they'd all come to carry on their shoulders. Rolling his shoulders, and his head he let out a big sigh. "Feels pretty good to be on the way back.", he added as an offhand observation.
"Yes," Charlotte said with a bit of relief. "Yes, it does."