Chapter Five (Part Two)
Two Jem’Hadar fighters came at the Lambda Paz from aft with a flurry of disruptor fire at both warp nacelles, which eventually blew out the port nacelle. Three Akira-class ships and four Klingon Birds-of-Prey were similarly occupied nearby with pairs of Jem’Hadar fighters firing disruptors and quickly moving off to evade opposing phaser and torpedo fire. Phaser fire from the port and starboard secondary emitters of the Lambda Paz managed to clip one of the two pesky fighters before both moved out of phaser range. The fighters then quickly moved off allowing a large heavy cruiser to take the Lambda Paz and the four other ships in formation with it head on.
The bridge of the Lambda Paz rocked back and forth as it took plasma torpedo hits while the ship was engaging in evasive maneuvers. Kozar held the arms of the command chair firmly while keeping a close eye on his tactical display and noticing that the gamma-shift tactical officer Ensign Calliope Morales was still on her feet. “Helm,” he called to Carson, who was working a double-shift. “Move us below that ship at a negative twenty degree pitch. Morales, fire all dorsal phasers. Alert all other ships in formation to do the same.”
The five ships slowly arched downward and closer to the heavy cruiser while firing phasers at the large and intimidating, though not very maneuverable, ship. The strategy was to try to inflict as much as possible with concentrated weapon fire while slowly moving out of range of the enemy’s torpedo swarms. Three Galaxy-class ships with pairs of Klingon Birds-of-Prey in front of each of them moved in on the heavy cruiser. The six Mirandas fired phasers at the hulking ship and quickly moved off while the three Galaxies moved in head on firing all its phasers and quantum torpedoes.
Logan and Huckaby monitored the sensory blind spots of the heavy cruiser from the Mission Ops station. Huckaby headed back to the primary Ops station to transmit a set of coordinates to the helm. “Move in on those coordinates at six thousand kph.”
“Aye, sir,” Carson responded while concentrating more on not falling out of her seat.
“Steady,” Kozar shouted, taking quick glances back and forth between his tactical display and the viewscreen. “Steady. Attack pattern epsilon one. And bring in our new friends.”
Morales entered the proper commands to detonate the Houdinis. A red error message flashed on the tactical console. She tried again, but the same message indicating that she was locked out appeared. “It’s not working,” she said nervously.
Before anyone else on the bridge could respond, the bridge rocked even harder. Auxiliary stations on both the port and starboard sides of the bridge exploded and shrapnel fell from the ceiling. An officer manning the port forward engineering station fell backwards to the deck. Another few hits and Carson was thrown from her seat and her head slammed against the deck. Kozar raced over to appraise her condition while Logan quickly took over the helm.
“Back us off, Logan,” Kozar instructed while able to coax Sara back awake. “Take it easy for a second,” he told her.
A torpedo hit tore into the forward saucer section while two of the ships on its outer formation were completely destroyed. The heavy cruiser also managed to tear the starboard nacelle pylon off one Galaxy-class and tear a big hole in the ventral of another’s deflector. Swarms of torpedoes also managed to destroy all six of the Birds. And even worse, those mines the Starfleet ships unsuccessfully tried to detonate where destroying Starfleet and Klingon vessels left and right.
“Hull breaches on decks four and five,” Morales reported. “Forward torpedoes launchers are shot.
Carson returned to her station and Logan raced over to the engineering station where an officer had gone down earlier. He attended to the barely conscious officer using provisions from an emergency first aid while trying to keep a close eye on engine readouts. Though he was now chief engineer of the entire Seventh Fleet, not just of one ship, he still felt a sentimental attachment to this ship and its engines.
“Warp drive is gone,” Carson said, while sneaking a look at the engineering station readouts. “So are impulse engines. We’re operating on thrusters only.”
Another hit sent Huckaby and a male human officer at mission ops lurching backwards. Huckaby landed hard on his back on the deck, while the mission ops officer’s right forearm caught fire. Logan raced towards the two injured officers with a fire extinguisher in tow. He put out the fire on that officer arm and bent down to check if Huckaby was alive.
Kozar, meanwhile, keyed a set of commands on his side console to prepare a recorder marker. “We’re being targeted,” he heard Morales say as he watching the intermittent image of the heavy cruiser on the viewscreen.
“Brace for impact,” Kozar said as he clasped both arms of the command chair, certain his ship was doomed.
But that next swarm of plasma torpedoes.
The Constantinople and two flanking Sovereign-class starships suddenly swooped in from the starboard stern, firing its ventral phasers at the heavy cruiser. Also in the formation were two Defiant-class starships firing its multi-targeting phasers and quantum torpedoes. Three Vorcha-class Klingon attack cruisers moved in on the heavy cruiser from the Lambda Paz’s port stern firing all disruptors.
The heavy cruiser did not back off, firing from all its torpedo tubes. The torpedoes tore a hole in the forward saucer section of the Sovereign on the Constantinople’s port and ripped apart the center Vorcha cruiser. The ships to its port quickly lost its port nacelle even though the enemy torpedoes barely piece of the starboard side.
The Dominion heavy cruiser then sped up faster than any of the Starfleet and Klingon still standing could move. The large and hulking then streaked into warp.
“It’s moving off, sir,” Morales somberly reported. Ordinarily that would be a good thing considering the pounding all the ships were taking. But where the Dominion was concerned, retreat was very often part of a much larger plan of attack. She attempted to extrapolate the enemy ship’s course when her communications board chimed. “Incoming hail from Admiral Jellico.”
“Put it up,” Kozar commanded, rising from the command chair.
“Glad to see you still in one piece, Ronnie,” Edward Jellico stoically remarked on the viewscreen.
“Seeing you is a pleasant surprise as well, sir,” Kozar retorted with a light grin. “This was Maxwell’s idea wasn’t it?”
“You know me too well, Kozar,” came a voice on an audio ship-to-ship channel. Kozar instantly recognized Captain Benjamin Maxwell, who was commanding the Defiant-class USS Vigilant, which required at least a week of repairs its last engagement three days earlier. “I had a hunch when I noticed something was a bit off about a few of the Houdinis we managed to hijack.”
“And your hunches often prove correct, Ben,” Jellico added, somewhat half-heartedly. That was certainly the case when Maxwell took it upon himself to launch preemptive attacks against the Cardassians less than a year after a peace treaty between the Union and the Federation. While his claims that the Cardassians were secretly arming for another possible war were correct, his actions cost him his command and, as far as Jellico was concerned, probably should have ended his Starfleet career. On the other hand, Maxwell’s style of leadership helped avoid further bloodshed.
“What about that heavy cruiser?” Jellico inquired. “It’s a threat to every ship and inhabited planet in this sector.”
“I have it, sir,” Morales said, looking from her tactical display. “Assuming what’s left of our sensors are accurate… it’s on a direct course for…”
A long pause followed. Logan looked in the direction of the tactical station while directing the traffic of emergency medics and the relief operations manager. Carson stopped in her tracks on her way back to the conn from ops. Just spit it out, already, every conscious officer wanted to say.
“For Starbase G-6,” Morales grimly finished.
Those words sent an eerie quiet through the bridges of all three ships. Even the sounds of various consoles chirping seemed light years away. A realization hit everyone who had just heard where the heavy cruiser headed that the enemy was hoping to lure as many Federation Alliance ships into the Kalandra sector and leave the Seventh Fleet’s primary base of operations vulnerable.