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Old July 5 2012, 11:23 AM   #11
Bry_Sinclair
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Location: Tactical withdrawl along the Klingon border
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.”

* * * * *
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