Chapter Eleven (cont.)
The flashing lights of red alert greeted Matt as he rematerialized onboard Republic
. Aided by Beck and Roberts, he hopped down from the transport pads and then took hold of the console, thumbing the intercom. “Chan, we’re all aboard,” including the body of our dead, he thought sourly. “I’m on my way to the bridge.”
The Captain turned around to face Beck. “Lieutenant, I want the cells of the Ambassador’s aides flooded with anesthizine.”
“We’re going up against a top of the line Klingon battlecruiser, Erwin. There might be power failures—and I want those two unconscious and unable to take advantage of any opening that may give them. They’ll wake with a migraine from hell, but that will be the end of it.”
“Aye, aye, Sir.”
“Get to your stations, people. Chief Sandler, do you have . . . thank you,” Matt said with wry smile as the transporter chief handed the captain his real
cane. The doors to Transporter Room One opened and Doctor Talbot stepped in, carrying his medical kit, even as Chris, Becket, the Counselor, and the Marines exited.
“How’s Emerson?” Matt asked as the old doctor opened the kit and extracted a hypo-spray.
“He’ll live,” the doctor answered, tapping the vial of fluid before he jabbed it into Matt’s thigh.
The Captain flinched and grunted. “And Sepak?”
“He’s dying, Matt. Vulcan physiology is just not able to handle long durations of emotional overload like this. His internal organs are on the verge of collapse, and I can’t stop it—hell, I can’t slow
it. Is the pain fading?”
Matt slowly nodded as the overstressed leg slowly stopped cramping. “Help me to the turbo-lift, Quincy; I need to get to the bridge.”
Taking one of Matt’s arms around his neck, the Doctor helped the Captain to the turbo-lift, and then inside it. “No lecture?” Matt asked.
“I’ll wait and find out if we have a ship left before I a tear a fresh strip out of your hide, Matt. How hard-pressed are we going to be, here? The truth, Matt?”
“She’s newer, faster, more maneuverable, and she can cloak. We carry roughly the same amount of firepower, but hers is concentrated mostly in her forward arc, with just a single torpedo covering her rear—and none on her sides. That means she can hit us with more guns than we can reply with. Our shields are better, and Republic
can sustain a much heavier amount of damage than she can, and we’ve got five torpedo tubes to her two. But honestly, Quincy? It’s a coin-toss.”
The doctor nodded. “I’ll be in sickbay, then, getting the surgery ready,” he finished with a grimace. “And remember, Captain Dahlgren,” he said as the turbolift came to a halt and the doors whistled open onto the bridge. “You can command this ship sitting down
, and it is my professional opinion that you do exactly that.”
“I’ll bear that in mind, Quincy,” Matt said as he limped onto the bridge, using the cane to take more of his weight than normal. “I have the conn, Mister Chan.”
“Captain has the conn,” the XO replied as he stood. “IKS Val’qis
has just left the Lorsham shipyard. Captain Krull is hailing us.”
“Miss Montoya, plot us a course to the nebula wall; flight time at Warp 9.5?”
“Eleven minutes, seventeen seconds from our current position.”
“Prepare to take into warp on my command, Miss Montoya.”
Chan grinned. “Val’qis
is hailing us again; they seem rather upset that we have not yet responded.”
“On screen,” Matt said as he sat. The main viewer blanked and then the red-lit and steam-filled interior of the Klingon battlecruiser appeared on the display.
“Captain Krull, how may Star Fleet assist a cruiser belonging to House Mak’vegh today?”
! Premier Vorshun has informed me of your desecration of the Cathedral of Ordan! Surrender your vessel, and I will allow your crew to live!”
“Captain Krull, I remind you that your actions will have severe consequences for the House of Mak’vegh. Are you certain you wish to start a war today?”
“Today is a good day to die, heretic. And it is you that shall awaken in Gre’thor
The screen returned to its normal view.
“Miss Montoya, NOW,” Matt said as he buckled a safety belt across his waist, holding him securely in his command chair.
“Aye, aye, Sir,” the helmsman said as she pivoted Republic
on her axis and the ship leaped forward into Warp speed, just as the Klingon battlecruiser rounded the limb of the planet.
“Holding steady at Warp 9.5, Captain,” she called out.
is pursuing, Captain Dahlgren,” Chan reported. “And closing.”
“Mister Malik, take the core to 125% of rated power,” Matt ordered. “Miss Montoya, increase speed to Warp 9.754. What is our ETA at this speed?”
“Two minutes, Captain,” the helmsman said as she increased power.
is matching our speed increase, and closing. She will be in torpedo range in seventy-five seconds from . . . mark,” Chan added.
“Understood,” Matt said as he typed two short messages into the touchpad of his chair controls. “Miss Biddle, transmit the first message up the sub-space buoy chain we laid, prepare to transmit the second message the instant I order it; Mister Roshenko, you are authorized to return fire the instant Republic
has been fired upon—don’t wait for my order.”
“Aye, aye, sir,” both officers answered, as the clock slowly ticked down.
“Time to nebula wall?”
“Forty-eight sec-,” the ship shuddered, interrupting Isabella, but she clung to her console, “-onds, MARK!”
Matt began to count, his lips moving soundlessly, and then he clenched his jaws, opened his eyes, and began to bark orders!
“Drop to impulse speed, and bring her about, Miss Montoya; I want her bow-on to the Val’qis
! Mister Malik, reduce core to nominal, all shields to full power!”
slowly and she spun around, completing her turn just as the Klingon battlecruiser dropped out of warp.
“She’s powering disruptors and torpedoes!” Grace barked out. Bolts of dark luminous green erupted from the prow of the Klingon cruiser, followed by the red glow of a high-powered torpedo. Without waiting for Matt’s instruction, Pavel fired a full spread of four torpedoes of his own, and three golden streams of energy shot out from the phaser array strips.
—as the full power disruptor cannons struck her forward shields, and then she trembled again as the photon torpedo slammed home behind them.
“Forward shields at 64%, Captain Dahlgren, damage reports on Decks 8 to 11,” Chan reported calmly. “Her shields are holding,” he added as two of the torpedoes and all three of the older and less powerful phasers Republic
fired flared against the battlecruiser’s shields.
“Ahead full impulse, Miss Montoya; put us right up against her, if you can.”
The two ships moved directly towards each, both spitting death from their weapon systems and shuddering under the impact of unimaginable amounts of energy.
“Forward shields at 37%, Captain—her shields are buckling!” Chan shouted as a feedback loop blew out the secondary Science station, injuring the rating manning the console. Matt didn’t look away from his displays as Amanda Tsien called for a medic to come to the bridge, and then his head suddenly snapped up.
“Lock the forward tractor on her starboard nacelle, Miss Biddle! Port engines full astern, bring her around Isabella, use the tractor as a fulcrum!”
The entire ship shuddered and groaned, and then she whipped around as the Val’qis
tore past, the mass of Republic wrenching her engine nacelle off-center and sending her spinning. More sparks flew, and the lights dimmed as the ship’s power drain soared.
"Forward tractor off-line—severe damage in tractor control!" Grace sang out.
And then the Val’qis
went into cloak, fading from sight.
“23% of nominal, Captain. Hull breaches on decks 5, 9, 10, 11, and 12—sealed by force fields and bulkheads. Sickbay reports multiple
“Mister Malik, can you divert power to the forward shields?”
“Not much, Captain; damn she hits hard for a ship her size!
“Do your best, Mister Malik. Chan, where is she?”
“Between us and the nebula, Captain Dahlgren—if she remained on or near her original course heading.”
Matt nodded as he tapped a series of numbers on his controls. “Mister Roshenko, target the following coordinates in the nebula and fire a twenty-second burst at 25% power—and polarize the beam negatively. Stand by on all other weapons.”
“Aye, aye, Sir,” the tactical officer crisply answered, even as he looked confused. “Firing now.”
The phaser beam reached out and tore through the dust clouds of the wall, and Chan began to grin as he saw the sudden ionization buildup within the clouds. “All hands, brace for impact!” he broadcast, just before the electrical buildup raced back down the phaser beam, struck Republic
’s shields and rebounded, ionizing every object between the Federation cruiser and the nebula wall. And then the Klingon ship reappeared, blue electrical sparks arcing over the hull from the sudden storm of ions.
“NOW, Mister Roshenko!”
Once again Republic
spat four torpedoes in rapid sequence, and a full-power phaser beam split the night of deep space—tearing into the unshielded hull of Val’qis
and sending air (and a few Klingon warriors) streaming into the vacuum. But then her shields slammed into place just
before the torpedoes struck home.
“Her shields are weak, but holding, Sir, and she’s coming about,” Chan said softly.
“All power to forward shields, Mister Chan. Miss Biddle, transmitte the second signal.”
“Aye, aye, Sir.”
Broken, battered, but unrelenting, the Klingon battlecruiser swooped in with her weapons emitters beginning to glow as they powered up, but suddenly there was movement within
the nebula and a third
“IT’S THE PHOENIX
!” Amanda squealed from her Science station.
-class ship emerged from the dust clouds and unleashed its own heavy phasers and photon torpedoes on the Val’qis
, catching Captain Krull completely by surprise, and throwing his shots at Republic
off-target. Two more of Republic
s torpedoes slammed home, and then Phoenix
fired her second volley—and the battlecruiser Val’qis