And here's Act I of DtT!3
Lieutenant Wilson Nieves led the discussion in the observation lounge to the rear of the bridge, while the enlisted technicians worked on converting the probes. Although he had been designated as the chief of the tactical and security division aboard the ship, it was in an acting capacity until they returned to Federation territory. Under other circumstances, he might've found the situation a bit cruel considering that the position was one that he coveted greatly. For now, he put that aside to wrestle with the more important issues.
So far, the discussion was not going well.
"I don't see how a stand-up fight results in anything less than total destruction. Which, I don't need to remind you folks, is a bad thing."
Lieutenant (jg) Franklin Pinkerton complained, "If we could use the phaser arrays..."
"Even if we could," replied Wilson, "the modifications would likely take more time than we've got."
Ensign Yvonne Colby pointed out, "What if we didn't have to use the phasers to attack them?"
"You have a plan to attack them without using the phasers?"
Colby shrugged. "Maybe..."
Any other time, he might have given them room to grow into more confident officers. Unfortunately, that time was not now. His frustration with their hesitation wore his patience thin, and with a heavy sigh, he told them, "Out with it. This is no time to hide your light under a bush."
Colby and another ensign, Iris Wu, shared a glance. "Sir, Iris and I..."
"Sir, it's probably won't work," Wu said.
They weren't about to get away with that. Wilson narrowed his eyes at the pair and intoned, "I'm waiting, Ensigns."
"You tell him," said Colby, quietly.
Wu gave Colby the briefest of shocked looks before it eased and she accepted the responsibility. "Fine. Sir, I was just playing around with the notion that we could modify the navigational deflector to output a high-energy graviton pulse that might cause damage to a crystalline hull structure."
"After Lieutenant Bartlet finally finished repairing the deflector, you want her to go back and fuck it all up, again?" asked Wilson, though his heart wasn't in his tone. It was a good idea, one he had been considering, but the extent of the damage to the deflector prevented him from pursuing it. "What's your plan?"
Wu continued, "Yvonne, er... Ensign Colby and I, we feel that we can use the deflector as our new primary weapon. A directed pulse might give us the edge we'd need to use against them. In concert with the damage of our photon torpedoes..."
Wu looked at Colby briefly and asked, "Two?"
"Four, maybe," Colby replied, with a shake of her head.
"Two to four hours, if we cut corners."
Wilson slapped his combadge. "Nieves to Engineering."
"Engineering. Bartlet, here."
He smiled at the two ensigns. "Lieutenant, can you spare someone who knows the deflector dish like the back of his or her hand?"
Ariel picked up one of the holographic pieces off of the board and used it to knock away one of the captain's pawns. The white pawn formerly occupying the square skittered away until it "fell off" and disappeared. Shortly after, she returned her attention to the pass in her hand.
Leone frowned at the move, realizing that Ariel's knight was now in a position to attack part of the defensive strategy she worked hard to build at the beginning of the game. "I hate it when you do that," she muttered.
"Do what?" Ariel asked innocently.
"Knock the piece off, like that. It's damned unsportsmanlike."
"Stop making it so easy to take your pieces, then. Mate in six, by the way."
"What the hell?"
Ariel grinned. "If you can't see it, might as well resign, now." She never lifted her eyes from the padd.
It annoyed the hell out of Leone, but before the captain could even open her mouth, Ariel asked, "Come up with anything, yet?"
Leone shook her head. "Nothing worth mentioning. You?"
"A couple of ideas, but one requires more pilots than we have..."
"Using the shuttles as fighters? I thought about that, too, but we don't have a full crew aboard to really make that happen." Leone picked up another pawn and moved it one square up.
Ariel's rook came forth and knocked the pawn off in the same manner as before. "The other idea I had, which might be more plausible, is making modifications to the phaser array by way of the deflector dish."
The increased frustration over her friend's manner of capturing pieces dissolved instantly at the prospect of a good idea. "To do what?"
Ariel handed over the padd. "I think we might be able to do some beam damage to their ships, if we can tie in the deflector's graviton emitters to the tactical system. The phasers could be modified to carry a graviton pulse, but we'd only be able to fire one shot at a time."
"Shit, this actually has some promise," agreed Leone, her eyes scanning the padd quickly. "I like this. How long do you think?"
"That's the problem. I'd estimate five to six hours."
The intercom sounded before Leone's reply. Greg's voice called to her, "Bridge to Captain."
"Sir, we have movement by enemy contacts."
Without hesitation, both officers left the ready room and entered the bridge.
Greg slipped out of the executive officer's seat and took over for the ensign at the helm. "Two more enemy contacts have appeared at the facility, and now one ship is moving on us at high speed, sir. We designated the contact as Sierra-Two."
"ETA?" asked Leone.
Ariel did not relieve the lieutenant seated at ops, and moved to take the seat next to the center chair. "Think maybe they're a little afraid of us?"
"I would be," muttered Greg.
Leone ignored him. "How soon until they're in weapons' range?"
"Sierra-Two will be here in thirty minutes, if they maintain their present speed," replied the chief warrant officer at tactical. "Orders, sir?"
The captain settled into her seat. "Beat to quarters, Mister Reynolds. All hands to battle stations."
Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Reynolds chuckled at the use of the archaic naval term. "Aye, sir. Beating to quarters." His fingers tapped against the console and the ship responded accordingly with the wail of the red alert siren. Scarlet lighting sprang to life as the overhead illumination dimmed dramatically, allowing the consoles to light up the bridge.
The doors leading back to the observation lounge parted and Wilson arrived, along with the tactical officers and Lieutenant Bartlet. Wilson took over for Reynolds, while Petra took the engineering console.
"Engineering, transfer to bridge," she ordered the computer.
"Shields activated, all weapons systems are online," reported Wilson.
Ariel lifted her head to look at him. "Status on the probe conversions?"
There was a pause as he checked. "We're half-done, so far, Commander."
Leone tapped her fingers on the side of her chair, lost in thought. The viewscreen magnified their vantage of the incoming enemy ship; its angles seemingly menacing in the great distance between the ships.
"You're tapping again," whispered Ariel. "If you want to go fight them, let's go."
"You think that's a good idea?" asked Leone, matching the low tone of her friend's voice.
"We were counting on being outside their sensor range, and obviously, we're not. They were just waiting for backup to arrive so they could come get us."
"Maybe they want us to go after them."
"Maybe they want us to go away."
Leone glared at her. "Fine." In a louder voice, "Greg, move to intercept approaching enemy contact. Bring us into torpedo range."
"Aye, sir. Jumping to warp seven."
"Wilson, I want two of the torpedoes to be double-yield."
They heard the grin in his voice as he replied, "Double-yield, aye, sir. Two minutes to reload."
"I'll hold you to that," replied Leone.
Ariel snorted, folding her arms across her chest. "I guess we're about to show them that we're not fucking around."
Leone smiled, but said nothing in response.
Greg reported, "Captain, entering weapons range in sixty seconds."
"Looks like we're going to be about a minute late, then. Greg, evasive pattern beta."
"Aye, sir. Pattern beta executing in forty-seven seconds."
Wilson raised his voice, "They're firing. Two projectile contacts, bearing three-five-seven and zero-zero-one. Impact in twenty seconds."
Ariel breathed, "That was stupid of them. Helm, drop to impulse power."
"Captain?" asked Greg, turning his head.
Leone replied, "You heard her, Greg."
"Aye, sir." The viewscreen showed the drop from faster-than-light propulsion.
"Torpedoes have slowed to sublight. Impact in four years, seven month, eighteen days," reported Wilson. "I think we have time to prep those torpedoes."
Ariel shared a grin with Leone. "Just like the Cardassian border, eh?"
The captain nodded. "Distance to target?"
"Twenty-five million kilometers," reported Wilson. "They'll be on top of us in fifteen seconds."
"Are my torpedoes ready?"
"Ready and waiting."
"Good." Leone rose from her chair and walked to put a hand on Greg's shoulder. "I'm going to need a split-second warp jump from you on my mark. When I say go, I want you to take us to warp five, and put us as close as you can off their port bow."
Greg looked up at her, and made the necessary preparations. "Aye, sir."
"Put a tactical display on screen, please."
The viewscreen blinked to show a top-down view of the local region of space. Farragut sat some distance away from the flashing red dot marked as Sierra-Two, which moved quickly toward them. The grid marked off the millions of kilometers until the range dropped considerably and closed in to mark off the half-millions. Finally, the range closed tightly enough for them to...
"They're dropping to sublight, Captain. Seven hundred fifty thousand kilometers and closing at above full impulse," said Wilson quickly. "Looks like they have an advantage on us, there."
Leone's eyes never left the display, nor did she leave Greg's side. "Steady..."
"Five hundred thousand," counted off Wilson.
"Four hundred thousand. They're firing torpedoes!"
"Three hundred thousand. Impact in thirty seconds."
"Get ready, Greg."
Greg nodded. "Ready, sir."
"Two hundred thousand. Impact in twenty seconds."
He said nothing. The screen showed the sudden movement of the Farragut dot from one location to another. The torpedoes fired by the Tristnor ship lost track of them and it showed as they whirled around to locate their target again.
Leone turned. "Fire!"
"Torpedoes away, sir!"
"Switch to visual mode on main viewer."
Again, the viewscreen blinked and showed the torpedoes flying away. The close range of Sierra-Two made it nearly impossible to avoid the impacts. The first torpedo exploded against the hull of the ship, allowing the second torpedo to enter right behind it, just as they did with the first Tristnor vessel they encountered.
The captain quickly moved to her chair and tapped a finger on the console to her left to call up sensor data on the enemy ship. Her orders were rapid-fire, one word right after another. "Greg, relative course zero-nine-zero mark zero, warp nine. Engage!"
"Course laid in, sir. Jumping to warp nine."
Flaming debris from Sierra-Two swung out of view as Farragut's bow pointed away from the target. Without hesitation, the warp field generation distorted the sensor image slightly before the stars stretched long as soon as they stabilized their warp field.
"Sierra-Two is building up for detonation, sir. Looks like a self-destruct has been activated," reported Wilson calmly.
"As expected. Greg, alter course to take us to the facility. Let's get this thing over with, once and for all," ordered Leone.
"Altering course, aye, sir. ETA to the facility is now five minutes." The helmsman turned around after the ship's course changed. "If I might be permitted to ask, sir, where did you come up with a short warp hop like that?"
Before Leone could respond, Ariel chuckled. "That, Greg, was a little something called the 'Picard Manuever' and it was first pulled off at the Battle of Maxia about eleven years ago."
"That was a risky move," noted Wilson.
"How so?" asked Leone.
Wilson chuckled, "Well, didn't the Picard Manuever result in the loss of the Stargazer?"
"Y-Yes," stammered Leone, trying to sink into her chair a little bit to hide her blush as Ariel outed her tactic. She cleared her throat loudly. "Needless to say, the Nebula-class is of a far sturdier design than the aged Constellation-class. Also, I was relatively certain the Tristnor hadn't heard of that little trick, being all the way out here and all." With a bit more confidence, she told the bridge, "Let that be a lesson to you all to read up on your history a little more. You could learn a thing or two from the past."
Everyone seemed to find their own bit of amusement from the exchange as they turned their attention back to their respective duties.
Leone turned her head to look at Ariel with an arched eyebrow. "And you... why don't you inform Troopleader Bertas that his men should prepare for battle?"
Short teaser, but huge Act I! Hope it was worth the wait!
Act II is currently being written, but as soon as I have it done, I'll post it. Shouldn't be too long of a wait. You guys are getting these as soon as I'm done writing them.