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Bry_Sinclair July 3 2012 09:44 AM

Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
In February 2377, after twenty years of uneasy peace following the Talarian Border Wars, the Talarian Republic launched a new offensive campaign against the Federation. Utilising superior weaponry, they caught the Border Service and Starfleet off guard. Over the eleven day conflict, as Starfleet mustered its forces, the Talarians gained ground before being beaten back to their previous territory, in an incident that would become known as the Talarian Incursion.

The Third Cutter Squadron played a significant role in repelling the Talarian forces, but their actions have never been fully recognised...until now.

Coming soon from Star Trek: Third Cutter Squadron:

Talarian Incursion
– The Coming Storm
– On The Sidelines
– No One Left Behind
– The Greater Good
– Standing Firm
– Down But Not Out
– The True Cost
– Find The Crack
– Final Push

The first story should be up in a day or two...

Gibraltar July 3 2012 10:11 AM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
Very cool! :D I always wondered if someone would pick up this story thread and run with it.

Can't wait to see what you've come up with.

Bry_Sinclair July 3 2012 11:03 AM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
STAR TREK: THIRD CUTTER SQUADRON


TALARIAN INCURSION


Cyclops – The Coming Storm



The direct hit to the Cyclops’ impulse engines made the cutter sluggish, every evasive sequence Ensign Inzi Tham tried felt lumbering and heavy, ineffective against the continuous barrage of torpedoes, phaser beams and disruptor blasts. She’d been onboard the Griffin-Class ship for two years, ever since she’d graduated from the Academy and the cutter had been assigned to the Third Squadron, and in that time she’d faced off against a number of smugglers and pirates and raiders, all battles that the Cyclops held the advantage. But now they were facing off against an entire battalion of Talarian warships, cruisers and frigates.

Her sensor panel cried out a proximity alert and her blue hands danced over flight control, trying desperately to squeeze a little more out of the wounded ship. Despite her best efforts the torpedo ploughed through their already weakened aft shields and tore into the scorched hull. The deck jerked and shuddered. Tham focused on her duties and not on the damage that’d been inflicted or the lives lost.

“Damage report!” Captain Jadus Yix called from his seat behind her.

“Hull breach, deck seven. We’ve lost the starboard power conduit, plasma fires reported throughout the deck,” Lieutenant Commander Keats replied from Ops.

Hearing the Ops Mangers report, Tham glanced at her status display and felt the knots in her stomach tighten at the flashing red readout. “Warp drive has been compromised. We couldn’t do more than a warp one jump.”

“Keep that as an option, Inzi,” her fellow Bolian told her from the Captain’s chair.

“Aye,” she called over her shoulder, remaining focused on her panel.

“Captain,” Commander Lelani spoke up from where she now stood at Tactical, whilst Lieutenant Gomez lay dead on the deck beside her, “Our phasers are having minimal effect on their shields and we’re down to our last six photons.”

Tham’s keen hearing allowed her to hear the XO’s statement through the din of the klaxons and various alerts that bleated. Starfleet history had been a favourite subject of hers at the Academy, especially wars and major conflicts, so she was well versed in details of the Talarian Border War. The Talarian Republic were a strange power in the Quadrant, they had always lagged behind others when it came to weaponry, if it wasn’t for their sheer numbers (during the Border War they had outnumber the Starfleet task force ten to one) then they wouldn’t be much of a threat to anyone. But now they had warship-grade shielding and weaponry that matched that of Starfleet.

“The jamming field?” Yix asked Keats.

“Everything I try keeps bouncing back.”

“If we can’t raise the alarm, then the Squadron doesn’t stand a chance.”

“We could try what that Nausicaan raider pulled on us at Drae’on,” Keats suggested.

“It had us,” Yix admitted. “Rig an antimatter pod and standby on communications, we may only have a few seconds.”

“I’ll be ready with a burst transmission, sir.”

“Commander, keep a torpedo in reserve, but keep throwing everything we have at them.”

“You got it,” the Napean promptly replied.

“Inzi, I need you to drop us back a little—let them get in closer—then be ready with a full blast from the impulse engines.”

“I’ll give you all she’s got, Captain,” she told him, though couldn’t help but think, I don’t exactly know how with one engine out and the other fluctuating.

There was a brief time of frantic work; Keats readying one of their antimatter pods, as Tham slowed the ship down, allowing the Talarians to close in around them, and Lelani kept their phasers firing. The Cyclops bucked and shook, numerous systems screaming in distress and needing attention, but nothing could be done for any of them. Tham was only twenty-three, she had hoped for a long fulfilling career and a happy life, but even she knew a last stand when she saw one. The faces of Yix, Lelani and Keats only confirmed what she knew, none of them expected to see tomorrow—they would fight tooth and claw to do so, but ultimately they all knew that they were only fighting for one purpose, to warn every other ship in the region about what was coming.

Though she was terrified at the prospect of dying, Tham knew that if they could do just that one task then at least it wouldn’t be for nothing. Blinking back a tear, she entered evasive pattern alpha into the navcomp and the ship staggered into a tight roll.

“Pod prepped. Burst transmission ready,” announced Lieutenant Commander Keats.

“Last torpedo loaded, trajectory co-ordinated with Ops,” Lelani added.

Tham took a breath before stating, “Impulse drive ready.”

“Jettison pod,” Yix order calmly.

On her sensor screen, Tham saw a small circle appear behind them, quickly moving towards the large cluster of orange triangles that represented the Talarians. If the hostile ships saw the pod they gave no indication, none moved away from it, they just kept up the chase of the Cyclops.

After a few seconds, Yix barked, “Now!”

The second the torpedo was fired, Tham hit the impulse power control. The weakened sublight engines strained to get to two-thirds and no matter what she tried they couldn’t give any more.

Behind the cutter, it took only the blink of an eye for the lone photon torpedo to reach the antimatter pod. The effect was instantaneous. The explosion was blinding in the seconds it existed before the vacuum of space snuffed it out, whilst the shockwave it produced slammed into the closely packed ships and disrupted the thoron field they were sending out.

In the brief window they had Keats sent out their warning as well as a copy of the sensor logs, so that the rest of the Squadron and any regular Fleet ships nearby would know what was coming.

“Signal sent,” the Ops Manager reported, the relief in his tone was clear.

After the brief moment of respite all the proximity sensors called out at once. Tham glanced at hers to see the Talarians regrouping and coming straight for them, behind a volley of torpedoes.

“Hold on!” Lelani called out.

The impact was like an asteroid smacking into the back of the cutter, sending them spinning for a moment, before the stabilisers kicked in and steadied the ship. Lights blew out on the Bridge, as consoles exploded and crackled. Tham had been thrown from her seat but clambered back to her post.

She looked at the damage to flight control. “Impulse drive off-line, navigation disabled, RCS thrusters at twenty percent.”

“Aft shields have collapsed, phasers are out in the saucer section,” Lelani added.

Tham expected to hear Keats adding additional information from Ops. She glanced back to see him slumped across his console, unquenched flames engulfing his torso. Without needing to be asked, Tham accessed the internal sensors and saw just how badly the latest barrage had been.

“Hull breaches on multiple decks, we’ve lost main power, auxiliary holding at eighty percent, EPS taps and ODN relays have blown across the ship.”

“Talarians closing, weapons hot and they’ve all targeted us,” the First Officer stated, her voice hollow.

Yix rose from his chair and approached the Conn, his eyes fixed onto the viewscreen which showed the quickly approaching hostile ships, their triangular bodied bristling with weapons ports, whilst the tips of each wing ended with a torpedo launcher. He stopped right behind Tham.

After a moment he placed a fatherly hand on her shoulder. “Ensign Tham, set a collision course with the lead ship. Prepare for warp jump.”

She looked up at him. His eyes remained forward, jaw set. Two years ago, Jadus Yix taken a risk and accepted a rookie as his Conn Officer and in that time she had done everything she could to live up to the trust and faith he’d put in her, he was a man she held in the highest respect, so she wasn’t about to let him down now.

Looking back at her console, she nodded. “Aye sir. Course set.”

On the viewscreen the lead ship opened fire with her phasers, just as Yix began to say, “En—”

He never finished.

One moment his hand was on her shoulder and the next it wasn’t, and a powerful blast of wind—stronger than any of the typhoons she’d gone through on Bolarus—was trying to blow her towards the ceiling. Somehow, she couldn’t say how, but she managed to hold on to her console. She glanced up and in place of the utilitarian ceiling panels, supports and conduits, there were glittering stars, glowing brightly against the inky black of space, whilst debris and bodies floated away from the Cyclops.

Her grip was slipping. Looking back at her board, she saw that the cutter was still pointed towards the approaching ships, what left of her warp drive powered and ready. All it needed was the one command to make it happen.

As the wind weakened it got harder for her to breathe and her vision became blurry. Before she succumbed to black maw of space above her, Inzi Tham reached out and brushed her finger on the warp activation button.

The U.S.S. Cyclops leapt to warp one for just point-four-six of a second, but she tore into three Talarian ships, destroying them outright, whilst the resulting explosions and debris took out another and crippled four other frigates.

* * * * *

Gibraltar July 3 2012 06:04 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
The sacrifice of Cyclops and her crew weren’t in vain, as they both got a warning off to Starfleet Command as well as savaged the Talarians with their last act. Excellent job of giving us characters that I found myself caring about even as I realized that this was one of those no-win scenarios like the cadets practice at the academy.

Well done! :bolian:

Bry_Sinclair July 3 2012 07:51 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
STAR TREK: THIRD CUTTER SQUADRON
TALARIAN INCURSION
Silverfin – On The Sidelines


“At 0817 this morning, a communications relay picked up a priority one communiqué from the Cyclops. Whilst on a routine security sweep in close proximity to the Galen System they encountered a Talarian fleet, on a direct course for Galen three. All contact was lost with the Cyclops following this transmission. We must surmise that the ship was lost and that the Talarians are going on the offensive once again,” Rear Admiral T’Rona, Commander of the Third Cutter Squadron, stated over the conference comlink—every other cutter CO under her command was hearing the breaking news together.

Susanna Leijten, of the Albacore-Class U.S.S. Silverfin, felt a cold shiver run down her spine. It had been twenty years since the Talarian Border Wars, since then things between the Republic and the Federation had been quiet. There were momentary periods of tension between the two, but since the peace agreement no shots had been fired. Now, they were not only invading, but they had destroyed a Border Service cutter.

“How long until they strike?” Captain Yolix of the Bonito asked.

“They will reach our outlying colonies within fifteen minutes.”

“My god,” gasped Captain Lowe of the T’Vor.

“I have spoken with Starfleet. Due to the scale of this strike force, the Third Squadron alone cannot repel them, so elements of the Sixth Fleet—under the command of Vice Admiral Bruce Coburn—are being dispatched. They will not arrive for at least four hours. In the meantime, we are to do all we can to protect evacuation operations and gather as much data on the Talarian forces as possible—”

“We’re not going to fight back?” Harrison Richards interrupted. The Peregrine’s CO had once served onboard the Silverfin, though before Leijten joined the ship in 2370, however, before he’d left he’d scratched his name into the underside of the Conn console, as a way of making his own personal mark on the ship.

“Combat should be avoided if at all possible; with the loss of the Cyclops we have been weakened. If you are in a tactical engagement, utilise delaying tactics and withdraw. I know that the Border Service does not run away, but until reinforcements arrive we are in a very compromised position and losing another cutter will only worsen the situation.”

“Understood Admiral,” Richards agreed, though a little reluctant.

“Thank you for your understanding, Captain,” said T’Rona, a hint of appreciation in her voice. She was a fifty-four year Border Service veteran, so she knew exactly what they were all going through, the only difference was that she didn’t show it. “Captain Verj, I would recommend that the Obion returns to Freedom. Your services may be called upon to tow damaged ships in for repairs once we retaliate.”

“We’re currently assisting a freighter with engine problems,” the Tellarite woman reported, “but once we’re done we’ll return to the station.”

“Good. Commander Ilahn, the H’krii will get as close to the Galen System as possible and monitor from there. Maintain radio silence and run passive scans so as to ensure minimal profile.”

“Consider it done.”

“The remaining cutters will pair up; the Bonito and the Cam Rahn Bay, the Peregrine and the T’Vor. Monitor and report back, assist where needed. Once the fleet arrives, you will all be assigned to different tactical wings so as to spread out our expertise and knowledge of the region. Until then, use that expertise to ensure your survival.

“Captain Leijten, please stay on the link, I will leave the rest of you to attend to your assignments,” T’Rona finished up.

It didn’t take long for the six other Commanding Officers to sign off and see to their assigned duties. Leijten was eager to get to work as well, they had a lot that needed to be done and she wanted to ensure they were ready.

“Captain, what is the most recent estimate?”

“The report I had on my desk this morning said that everything would be done in two weeks, assuming that all the parts were available. I’m just about to go and speak with Lieutenant th’Shaan and see if we can get that timetable sped up.”

“Understood. Keep me apprised. T’Rona out.”

As soon as the Border Service delta appeared, Leijten was on her feet and heading for the exit of her ready room. Given the nature of the situation she would need to address the ship and let everyone know what was going on, but before that she needed to speak with Elak th’Shaan, her Chief Engineer. The Silverfin was docked at Star Station Freedom, undergoing an extensive diagnostic, overhaul and refit of several key systems—some of which they’d been putting off for three months due to their workload. It was all work that needed to be done to ensure the ship remained fighting fit, but having just docked the day before it had come at a very bad time.

She crossed the Bridge quickly, giving Lieutenant Commander Ling-Na a slight nod as she headed straight to the turbolift and disappeared below decks. Leijten couldn’t help but feel anxious about the invasion. The Dominion War was only fourteen months behind them, tensions in the former Cardassian Union were high, nothing had been heard from the Breen since the end of the war which made many worried, the alliance between the Federation, Klingons and Romulans was tentative at best—and they needed to work together so as to rebuild the Alpha Quadrant and ensure some manner of stability. The last thing then needed was another conflict—the state of the Third Squadron was not uncommon, every fleet, task force and squadron in Starfleet was undermanned for the amount of work it needed to do.

Luckily the turbolift made it from the Bridge to deck seven without any stops. Stepping out, it was only a few meters to the Engine Room which was bustling with activity. In the middle of the two-level high room the warp core stood, but instead of the numerous blue rings pulsing with energy, it was dark and quiet, whilst the two conduits which fed the nacelles that ran across the deck had been raised up and had at least three technicians going over each one in painstaking detail. The amount of diagnostic and analysis equipment in the room had quadrupled as they got to work, firstly on the entire warp assembly (injectors, core, conduits and coils), before moving out to the environmental systems, structural integrity generators, phaser pre-fire chambers, shield grid and computer central processor.

On the upper lever she spotted the two blue men she needed to speak with, huddled together looking over an assortment of PADDs, whilst junior officers and technicians peppered them with questions and queries. She climbed the ladder and when at the top her XO, Commander Amorin, was the first to notice her.

“Captain?” the towering Benzenite asked, his scowl masked by the goggles and breather mask he needed to wear in standard M-Class environments.

The rest all turned and looked at her, the rookies among them visibly stiffened in posture.

Fixing them with a look she politely asked, “Can you leave us for a moment?”

Obediently they scarpered, leaving just the three senior officers on the balcony. She obviously had Amorin and th’Shaan’s full attention, as once they were alone neither of them prompted her or badgered her with questions.

Looking at both of them seriously, she cut to the chase. “The Talarians have invaded. They’ve already destroyed the Cyclops and will be at our outlying colonies any minute now. We have to get out there, ASAP.”

Amorin and th’Shaan shared a look, before turning back to her. “I was just about to comm you, Captain,” th’Shaan began and by the tone of his voice, she knew she wouldn’t like what was coming. “The station’s maintenance teams have just completed a level one structural diagnostic of the warp coils in both nacelles. They’ve discovered that fifteen percent of them are suffering from micro-fractures, due to their age and the constant abuse they’ve taken over the years.”

“What does this mean for dry-dock time?”

“Another week,” Amorin added, “at best.”

“Damn,” she hissed.

“I’ll have all my people on double or triple shifts and call in as many techs as Freedom can spare for now,” th’Shaan quickly assured her. “But it’s a lot of delicate work that has to be done right or the new coils won’t last a light-year.”

Neither man padded their estimates or hyped up what needed to be done (th’Shaan had learned from Amorin who’d been his predecessor), so she knew that the work that needed to be done was vital and that it would take time to do right. She also knew that the best way to get results was to leave them to focus on the work and not badger them.

“What else do you need?”

“The new tech here and ready when we are and as many man-hours as possible,” th’Shaan told her.

She gave the Andorian a nod. “I’ll speak to Quartermaster Gornak and Commander Weir right now and make sure that you’ll have what you need. Anything else that will get us out there faster then comm me.”

“Of course,” stated Amorin with a slight nod.

The two men headed for the ladders and slid down to the lower level, a new purpose and urgency to their movements. Leijten had faith in the two of them to get the Silverfin put back together and ready for launch as soon as the laws of physics permitted. She left the engine room through the deck six exit and made her way to the turbolift once again. She had one more duty to attend to, before seeing to the work she needed to.

The drive section was bustling with activity, as the assortment of the ships engineers and the stations techs worked on the overhaul. They were professional, but not in any particular rush. Somehow scuttlebutt about the invasion hadn’t to spread yet—more often than not, they heard about events by way of gossip and hearsay before and official announcement was ever made.

She stepped off onto the Bridge, which was just as she’d left it; Ling-Na in the central seat, Lieutenant Commander Kolanis Daezan at Operations on her right as she entered, Lieutenant Harriet Llewellyn-Smyth down at the Conn, whilst Lieutenant Mulligan sat at the Engineering console monitoring the works. As she looked around, she noticed Daezan look over at her, his usually smooth brown was furled as he no doubt picked up on the strong emotions that radiated from her.

Leijten moved to the middle of the deck and Ling-Na was immediately on her feet, ready to surrender her command of the Bridge. Leijten made no move to take her seat but glanced over at Ops.

“Commander, address intercraft.”

“Aye sir,” he replied, dropping the ‘skipper’ he usually addressed her as.

As the boatswain’s whistle sounded, she took a deep breath. “All hands, this is the Captain. At just after oh-eight-hundred hours this morning, the U.S.S. Cyclops was destroyed by a wave of Talarian ships entering Federation territory. By now, they will have reached several outer rim colonies. Effective immediately, the Squadron is at red alert. In a few hours, reinforcements from the Sixth Fleet will arrive and we will begin to bolster defences and co-ordinate our response to this act of blatant aggression.

“The Silverfin has a lot of work to get through before we can be ready to play our part, but I know that we can handle it and whatever else comes our way. Let’s get to it. Leijten out.”

For a moment there was stunned silence on the Bridge as all four officers looked at her. Before she could say anything however, Ling-Na was on the move towards Tactical.

En route she announced, “I’ll begin monitoring all transmissions and get on top of the weapons retrofit.”

On the other side of the deck, Daezan turned to Mulligan. “I can monitor things from here if you want to get below.”

The Assistant Chief Engineer nodded as she stood up. “Thank you Commander.”

Within a matter of moments the three remaining officers manning their station were busy with helping on the refit work, or monitoring the situation that was unfolding along the border. She knew that down below the rest of the crew would be getting to work as well.

Heading for her ready room, she had to hassle the Squadron’s maintenance officer and quartermaster to ensure that the Silverfin had access to what was needed.

* * * * *

admiralelm11 July 3 2012 08:11 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
I like where you're going with this, Bry. My condolences on the loss of the Cyclops.

TheLoneRedshirt July 4 2012 02:34 AM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
Great opening segments, Bry! The tension aboard Cyclops during her final moments was palpable. Kudos to the brave crew for getting off that warning message and taking a few Talarian ships with them.

It's obvious that the crew of the Silverfin is chomping at the bit to get into action. Bad timing to be in for major repairs, but worse still to head into action with kludgy warp coils. I think Captain Leijten is fully capable of keeping her crew focused - the bigger question is how the delay may affect the tide of battle.

Bry_Sinclair July 4 2012 06:19 AM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
Thank you for the comments so far gentlemen.

When I thought up these little snippets for the Incursion, I knew that two ships were destroyed and two more were badly damaged (thanks to TLR's notes), I also always had in my head that the Silverfin missed most of the action because of refit work, so now I get to play about with all of it (from a Border Service perspective).

Working on "No One Left Behind" featuring yet another tough little ship, hopefully have it up in a day or so.

DarKush July 4 2012 05:16 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
Two very good segments. The Cyclops story was very gripping. In a short amount of space you really made us care for those characters, which made the ending all the more tragic. It opened this story with a bang.

I must admit that I am not familiar with your Silverfin stories and the second segment did a good job of introducing the crew.

Looking forward to more of these segments. I think it's a neat way, and ambitious as well, to take on an event like the incursion.

Bry_Sinclair July 4 2012 06:24 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
Thanks.

None of the segments will be that large, so hopefully it won't end up getting too big for me to work on. It's also just a little peak into the Incursion from the Border Service standpoint, which leave it open for others to work on from the Fleet or even a Marine POV.

Bry_Sinclair July 5 2012 11:23 AM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
STAR TREK: THIRD CUTTER SQUADRON
TALARIAN INCURSION
Peregrine – No One Left Behind


Below the cutter Peregrine, Zurdaan IV’s turbulent atmosphere swirled and flashed. Harrison Richards stood behind the forward Conn and Ops consoles, watching the volatile storm spread further across the eastern hemisphere. As unlikely as it seemed, the storm-riddled planet was home to an important research lab and terraforming station, where some of the Federations best and brightest were trying to transform the planet into a calm and lush world similar to Zurdaan II. But now, with the Talarian incursion into the region, both planets were under threat of attack.

The Peregrine was partnered with the U.S.S. Luckes, an Olympic-Class medical ship, to see to the evacuation of the outpost, whilst a convoy of eight colony transports were orbiting Zurdaan II to see to the better established colony. It fell to the lone cutter to ensure their safety.

Twenty-eight hours since the first ship had been lost to the Talarians and they weren’t fairing much better. In all, only twenty ships from the Sixth Fleet had arrived so far, so all they could so was stall the greater force of the Republic until more could arrive. But out of those twenty a further eight had been lost and the Talarians were claiming more space with every hour that passed. It wouldn’t be long before they reached Zurdaan.

Richards clenched his fists until the knuckles went white. He wanted to be on the front, giving the Little Cousins the thrashing they deserved, but instead they’d been relegated to escort duty. As a rational human being, he knew that the civilian population needed to be seen too and that the convoy needed protection, but his gut reaction was to charge into battle.

“Sensors,” he all but growled.

Lieutenant Tallulah Pryce winced at his tone, so far removed from his usual chipper manner. The Ops Manager shared a quick glance with Lieutenant Samyra beside her, then looked over her display before turning to him.

“My sweeps are still clear, sir.”

It took a moment for the hint of trepidation in her voice to filter through to him. He blinked and looked down at her, unfolding his arms and trying to relax his shoulders. Forcing a weak smile he gave her a nod.

“Sorry Lu. Stay on it.”

“Aye Captain.”

Turning away from the viewscreen, he headed back towards his seat. He took note of the vacant freestanding console on the starboard side, the place where his XO, Si Hrezel, usually stood. He’d known the Saurian since their days on the Silverfin, Richards had been the Conn Officer whilst Hrezel was at Ops and they’d been good friends since they’d met, so much so that when Richards was promoted up to Captain of the Peregrine his first act had been to poach Hrezel from under Captain Ja-Inrosh to serve as his Second Officer, then in time promoted him to XO.

The Saurian had an odd sense of humour that not many got, but Richards appreciated it as well as his pragmatic approach which kept him grounded. But for the time being Hrezel was on Zurdaan IV overseeing the evacuation, which had to be done using shuttles due to the atmospheric interference.

On the port side, Lieutenant JG Na-Veisek manned Tactical. Richards always found the long light-brown moustache on his face to be amusing, as it was just out of place on the baby faced Efrosian tactician. Oddly, though he had the facial hair, Na-Veisek kept his hair short, despite the cultural norm on Efros to let it grow.

Settling into his chair and trying not to fidget, Richards tapped the comlink panel. “Peregrine to Hrezel. What’s your status?”

“Hrezel here, Captain. Things are moving along slowly but smoothly. Some of the researchers seem more willing to stay here and face the Talarians than leave their work behind. But Senior Chief Tanaka is being suitably intimidating to get them to rethink their standpoint.”

Richards smiled to himself. “I’m glad to hear it. How much longer will you need?”

“I’d estimate another thirty-five minutes and we’ll be lifting off.”

“Underst—” a chirp from Ops caught his attention. He looked down at Pryce expectantly.

She took just long enough to glance at the sensor display before looking over her shoulder at him. “I have multiple Talarian contacts entering the system.”

Instantly Richards was on his feet. “Red alert, all hands to battlestations! Lu, number and type. Sammy, break orbit and move to intercept.”

“Captain?” Hrezel asked over the comlink.

“We’ve got incoming, Commander. I need you to shave off as much time as possible.”

“On it.”

“You’ll have to dock with the Luckes, we’re moving to engage.”

“Acknowledged. Hzerel out.”

“We’ve got six scout-type ships in an attack formation,” Pryce stated once the channel closed.

“Scouts?”

“Yes sir.”

He looked from Pryce to Na-Veisek. “Dah’je?”

“That’d be my guess, sir,” the Tactical Officer confirmed.

Dah’je was a Talarian word, the closest translation for which was kamikaze. It was a tactic they used during the Border Wars two decades ago, sending scouts out to either ram into starships or packing them full of explosives and detonating them. The Peregrine was facing off against six ships and crews that had set off, knowing they would never return home.

“ETA?”

“They will be in weapons range in twelve minutes,” replied Samyra.

“Lu, get a status report from Zurdaan two and hail the Luckes.”

Pryce promptly had Captain Chatterley on the viewscreen as she contacted the transports orbiting the colony. Chatterley had obviously been told about the approaching ships and the Peregrine’s move to intercept, though her face was composed there was a hint of fear in her eyes.

“What’s the situation, Captain?” she asked, her voice surprisingly calm.

“We’ve got six scouts on approach. Going by their previous tactics we believe they are dah’je.”

“I thought they might be,” Chatterley admitted. “I saw the damage they can inflict during the Border Wars. They are small, highly manoeuvrable and utterly focused on their final task.”

“Understood. We will move to confront them and try to keep them occupied long enough for the evacuation, but if they get past us you have to be ready to bug out, fast.”

Chatterley gave him a sombre look before nodding. The Luckes was filled with almost one thousand people, whilst less than a hundred were still down on the surface, they needed to save as many as possible and not sacrifice so many for so few. Luckily, Chatterley was an experienced officer and knew that compassion had to give way to reason during times like these.

“We will stay in orbit for as long as possible. Good luck Captain Richards. Luckes out.”

The channel closed and he settled back down into his chair and gripped the armrests. Samyra and Na-Veisek were readying their stations for the battle, whilst Pryce was just finishing up with the transports.

“Sir, the Lakul reports that they have ninety-seven percent of the colonies population onboard. They say they need another twenty minutes to finish.”

“Three minutes to intercept.”

“Tactical status?”

“I’ve hooked emergency batteries to the shields, overall strength now at one hundred twenty-five percent. Phaser banks fully charged, photon torpedoes loaded in all four launchers, and pulse-phaser cannons are hot,” Na-Veisek stated.

“Just what I wanted to hear. Ready attack pattern sierra, I want those ships focused on us and not the convoy.”

“Aye sir,” Samyra and Na-Veisek replied in unison.

Richards watched the viewscreen as the small, triangular ships with their vertical and horizontal fins, grew larger. As hostiles went, they weren’t the most intimidating he’d ever seen, but as with many things in life, they were more than met the eye.

“Sixty seconds,” Samyra counted down.

“Hostiles maintaining formation,” reported Pryce. “They are raising deflector screen. No sign of weapons being charged.”

That was to be expected. Scouts had minimal armament (even by old Talarian standards) and deh’ja ships wouldn’t waste time shooting or evading, they would keep going until they hit a target.

“Thirty seconds.”

The Bridge grew quiet and tense, all of the officers and crew focused on their duties and what needed to be done.

“Ten seconds. Five.”

Harrison Richards, his eyes boring into the lead ship, ordered, “Fire.”

* * * * *

Gibraltar July 6 2012 06:04 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
The clock is ticking, and if Peregrine can't get the job done, a great deal more people than just her crew are going to die. Another fantastic Talarian Incursion vignette that shows the kinds of pressures those Border Service and Starfleet personnel were under during the conflict.

Bry_Sinclair July 6 2012 07:35 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
I was going to make the Peregrine piece longer and include their brave fight, but there are more battles to come so I thought it best just to have the build up to it.

My next piece is needing a rethink, so I'll be working on it this weekend.

Bry_Sinclair July 9 2012 02:35 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
My next story was going to be "The Greater Good", but I've decided to go in a completely different direction with it, so it is now "Cast Adrift".

Working on it now, so it'll be up soon.

DarKush July 15 2012 04:04 PM

Re: Third Cutter Squadron: Talarian Incursion
 
The end of the latest one reminded me of Riker's line at the end of BOBW Part 1, which is a compliment since that's my single favorite episode of Trek period. The latest passage was another tense, well put together piece.


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