Hideki Attack Fighter Drav
Garesh Tarub observed his display, trying to co-ordinate all attack fighters not to let chaos take over the operation. He had divided his small fleet to three groups, each with a different task. The first one was to keep the Klingons busy; they rained torpedoes and phaser fire at the enemy warships. The second one was to target and destroy Klingon torpedoes before they reached their targets. The last one was to offer supporting fire for the Damar
However, seeing how the situation progressed, be decided that the Damar
would have to stay on its own for a while.
“Sopar,” he said to his co-pilot not taking his eyes from the display, “Order our team to move to the forward port side of the Radalar
. Their shields are down.”
” Garesh Sopar confirmed the order and then relayed it to the other fighters.
Lorrun forgot about the fear long time ago. He had no idea that one was not afraid in the heat of a battle, he had thought one would be very scared just right then. He hadn’t even shielded his head when tertiary tactical console had exploded over him. He had barely noticed that it had. “Gul!” he shouted to draw Toral’s attention. “Shields of one of Vor’chas are fluctuating.”
“Concentrate fire on that ship!” Toral ordered.
Lorrun’s fingers entered necessary commands. If they’d take down this ship, there would be one less to fight. Tassar tried to keep the unshielded side of the Radalar
away from the enemy and Lorrun was grateful for attack fighters that helped to defend it.
“Tassar, if you’re trying to protect out weak spot, forget about it.” Toral’s voice had a growling note. Initially, Lorrun had thought that it was anger targeted at the officers, who were not meeting Toral’s standards of performance, but he had quickly realised that Toral had entered a ‘battle mode’ and that was the reason why his demeanour changed so significantly. “We need to use the opportunity and destroy that ship. It’s not the time to play cautious.”
“Yes, Gul,” Tassar said.
“Lorrun, inform Jabat of incoming casualties.”
“Yes, Gul.” Lorrun nodded and contacted the chief medic. It sounded terribly, awfully cold—there were no casualties yet but Toral already expected people to be injured and die. So cold, so calm, such a disregard for lives of his own soldiers. After a short moment he realised that his judgement was unfair; Toral wanted to make sure Jabat was ready to receive wounded and to start to act immediately to save lives. The young tactician’s cheeks grew hot with shame. It only reminded him how inexperienced he was.
He concentrated on his work. He scanned the Klingon ship, trying to find its weakest shield and target most of the fire at that spot. Maybe he’d get lucky.
Brenok observed the screen, his eyes not leaving Toral’s warship. The Radalar
fought its own battle with one of Vor’cha ships and was taking quite a beating. It was clear even without computer assisted detailed readings that some of Radalar
’s shields were down and enemy fire was reaching and piercing the hull. Brenok wished he could help but he knew he had his own problem—the huge Negh’Var. At least, Toral’s opponent wasn’t in much better shape than the Cardassian warship.
“Gul Brenok!” Dole’s voice was higher than Brenok ever heard. “Rayak Nor
’s shields are down! All of them!”
Brenok growled. “Concentrate on the Negh’Var, they are a bigger threat.” He believed that the Klingon mini-fleet was coordinated from the biggest ship. Hopefully, after destroying it the other two would be easier targets. He sighed; he didn’t really believe it would make a difference.
Toral wished he could stand up and issue orders on his feet but he knew keeping balance on his falling apart bridge under constant attack would be completely impossible. So he kept sitting in his chair, the arm-rests in his strong grip, as keeping balance even in the chair was not much easier than standing, and yelled orders trying to be louder than the surrounding noise.
He had already made a decision: if there would be no other choice and his ship would be failing, he would order to ram the Klingon Vor’cha. He would do everything to protect the station and one enemy ship less should help Brenok and whoever commanded the defence of Rayak Nor
. She was dead but he’d rather die than let anyone kill her only child. This was personal for him; he didn’t know if it was wrong or not, he didn’t know if it made him a bad Cardassian that he cared more about one woman and one young man than the whole Union, but that was how he felt.
Smog filled the bridge and his eyes watered. It seemed that the filtering systems were offline. Perfect. What he needed now was suffocating bridge crew. He realised Lorrun was not at his post; he quickly left his chair and ran to the tactical station to see the young glinn scrambling to his feet. The tactician’s left hand was burnt.
“Report to the infirmary,” Toral ordered.
“I can’t.” Lorrun shook his head. “I will not leave my post.”
“You’re useless with only one hand, go to the infirmary. I’ll take tactical.” Lorrun still hesitated. “Go!” Toral shouted and the glinn reluctantly left the bridge.
One glance at the main tactical console was enough to see that it was totally fried. The gul turned to the secondary one. He quickly ran a basic check-up to see if everything was operational and then concentrated on his work.
It’s been over twenty years since the last time he operated weapons. It felt like it was yesterday...
Dalar could only imagine what was happening in the outer ring of the station. He knew that the outer ring—the weapons ring—had double plating and additional shielding, but he also knew that after a prolonged attack every construction, no matter how durable, would start to fall apart. The calmness of the tactical centre wouldn’t fool him—there was hell in the other parts of the station, especially the sectors most exposed to the attack.
“Dalar, we’ll lose our shields any moment!” Zamarran warned him.
The garesh was impressed that the shields stood that long. “Prepare for being boarded!” he shouted and a second later he heard Aladar relaying the same information through general comm to all troops. Dalar knew he already lost and was going to lose a lot of good soldiers. Too many soldiers. He also knew it was barely the beginning. The Klingons didn’t attack just to stretch their warrior muscles, they wouldn’t withdraw and say ‘oops, sorry, just playing.’
Purple markings around the station’s representation on the tactical display disappeared. The shields were gone. Dalar wondered if the Klingons would choose to board and take the station, or destroy it to make their point. He could see on the display that the Radalar was as defenceless as the station, as its shields were also down. The garesh admired Gul Toral’s bravery—he did not stop fighting, he did not slow down, he did not attempt to withdraw; he took all torpedoes in and kept answering with his own.
Aladar moved closer to him. “All sectors report that the Klingons are not boarding,” he said.
So destruction was their plan, then. He looked at the display, seeing that the Negh’Var was dividing its attention between the station and the Damar
. He considered that a tactical error on the Klingon captain’s part and didn’t intend to let the opportunity go. “Concentrate the attack on the biggest ship,” he said to Aladar, who would replay the order to the weapons ring. He continued without a pause, even seeing that the symbol representing one of the Vor’chas, the one that fought the Radalar
, went blank.
“One down, two to go,” he heard Aladar commenting and couldn’t stop his small grin. He liked that garesh. At first he had thought that Aladar was too soft for this job, but he quickly understood that softness shouldn’t be mistaken for weakness. Aladar was smarter than many officers and Dalar comprehended why Jarol and Brenok had fought over him about two weeks earlier. She had won and with her, Dalar too, as Aladar joined his troops as his right hand. A very skilled right hand.
“Concentrate the phaser fire at their shields and target our torpedoes at their weapons systems,” Dalar ordered. “Sections Atch
, attack the Negh’Var, sections Desh
target the remaining Vor’cha.” Each section was in fact a quarter of the tactical ring.
” Aladar confirmed and relayed.
Dalar eyed Aladar’s black armour. You certainly deserve golden markings
, he thought, meaning the golden colour on the seams of armour that was a privilege of the best of the best among troops. And you’ll have them...if we survive this
, he added. If any non-com here deserved an honour of becoming a member of the Damar Guard, then it was Garesh Aladar.
Klesh listened to his warriors’ singing with pleasure. They had a right to express their satisfaction, they had deserved that right. The station, now without shields, was ready for destruction; the other two Cardassian ships meant nothing.
“Target their ops,” he ordered. Whoever was in command there, his skills seemed to be as good as the killed gul’s, but it didn’t matter any longer. The victory was one step closer.
“My lord! The Lok’marH
structural integ—” The weapons officer didn’t finish. He didn’t have to. The song faded, replaced by a howl of anger. Brave warriors found their way to Sto’Vo’Kor and joined the greatest heroes of the Klingon Empire. They had nothing to be ashamed of, the Cardassians occurred to be a formidable opponent and dying at their hands was no shame. However, their station would be the price Klesh wanted them to pay. The captain didn’t know if the Cardassians had any Sto’Vo’Kor to go to after their deaths, but he intended to send as many of them there as possible.
The beaten Cardassian warship that had destroyed the Lok’marH
slowly turned and faced the remaining two Klingon vessels. Klesh realised that both Mar’kuus targeted him and the station concentrated its fire on the sOopot
He had thought he hadn’t underestimated his enemy but he started to doubt that judgement. It seemed that the Mar’kuu class had teeth and could bite your head off if you weren’t careful. No one in the Klingon Empire knew how many warships of that class the Cardassians had, but Klesh was sure of one thing—a fleet of such ships would be a serious threat for the Empire, should the Cardassians ever attempt to attack.
He looked at the screen. The sOopot
’s left nacelle was struck be a volley of torpedoes and exploded. Captain Rotok had no longer any other choice than stay and fight till the end; not that Klesh expected this brave warrior to cowardly retreat. Small Cardassian vessels were circling the Vor’cha like flies around rotten piece of meat. Small explosions all over the ship were the best proof that the shields were down and one well-targeted torpedo would annihilate the warship. The Cardassians didn’t wait long: the flies moved away and one of station’s turrets fired a single ball of death. It reached the Klingon ship’s engineering section, punched through the hull and exploded somewhere near the warp core, taking the whole vessel with it. Sto’Vo’Kor will welcome more warriors this day. His warriors.
“My lord! They have destroyed one of our communication turrets!”
“Which one?” Klesh turned to his communication officer. He expected the worst.
“The one that supported the dampening field.” So it was over. They could call for reinforcements...not that they needed any. “We are being hailed.” His officer’s voice was full of surprise.
He saw a Cardassian gul who wore a half-silver, half-black uniform. His hair was kept in almost Klingon manner: long strands hung on both sides of his reptile face.
“This is Gul Brenok of the Cardassian Union Warship
Damar,” he said. “Withdraw now or be destroyed.
Klesh preferred the latter. He said nothing. The Cardassian gul, Klesh wouldn’t call him petaQ any longer, seemed to wait for his reply. Fine. “A Klingon warrior never withdraws,” he said.
“I suggest you do it anyway. And take this message to your chancellor: this action will not remain without a response.
Was the Cardassian threatening him? Warning him? Klesh’s failure in destroying the station would be the best proof of Cardassian strength, he didn’t have to bring shame upon himself and his warriors by running away like a Ferengi.
He looked to his weapons officer. “Target their bridge.” He had no idea where on this warship was the bridge, they didn’t have enough intelligence on this new class; he also knew his officer didn’t know that either, but it didn’t matter any longer.
“Don’t do this
,” the Cardassian said and Klesh had an impression the gul’s face expressed regret.
“I have to, Gul Brenok.” He paused and then said, “Fire.”
The image on the viewer shook slightly but Klesh knew no real damage was inflicted to the enemy ship. The gul’s hand went to his right ear, he slid it under his long hair, rubbed the ear and then stood up. “Dole, target their warp core.”
Klesh almost said ‘thank you.’ Someone behind him intoned a battle song, another voice joined and after a moment the whole bridge sang.
“Damn it,” Brenok muttered under his breath, sitting back in his chair. “Damn it, damn it, damn it.”
He tried to convince himself it was the right thing to do. He tried to hate that other commander, he tried to recall the terrible bat’leth falling toward his head, the pain of his ear and the neck ridge when the bat’leth had been slicing through them, but it didn’t help. It wasn’t a death in battle, it was an execution.
However, what scared him most was what that attack meant for the Union.
“Dock at the station,” he said, leaving his chair. “I’ll be there too,” he told Karama, passing by him. Seeing his aide’s look he stopped and said, “Ya’val, take command and coordinate the repairs schedule with Zamarran.”
Karama smiled and thanked with a single nod. Brenok knew he couldn’t go to find Demok to make sure the sub-archon was all right and deny Karama the same right regarding the aide’s wife. They left the bridge together.