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Old January 1 2013, 07:42 PM   #101
Rear Admiral
Re: UT: Refugee Crisis/Dark Territory-"Stealing Fire"

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Jov’k Tholis
Calcite-class battlecruiser

“Warp engines are primed,” the Operations Officer informed the commander. Narskene looked at the viewer, watching the Starfleet vessel struggle to catch up to them.

“Starfleet ship is moving to intercept,” The Weapons Officer stated the obvious. “And is powering…diverting power to forward torpedo bays.” S/he said, glancing up from hir terminal. What s/he wanted was evident.

“Take us back to Tholia,” Narskene ordered.

“But shouldn’t we…disable the Federation vessel first?” The Weapons Officer suggested.

“Carry out my order,” Narskene barked, ignoring the bellicose weapons master. In reply to hir command, the cruiser turned from the glacially advancing Starfleet vessel.

“Activate warp drive,” Narskene said.

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USS Erickson
Main Bridge

The Tholian vessel began to stretch across the main viewer as the warp effect began to take hold. Tai knew they only had seconds, if that, to stop them. “Fire whatever operable quantum torpedoes available!”

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USS Erickson

Almost at the Auxiliary Shuttlebay, Andraste felt the walls quiver. She recognized the vibrations. Tai had just fired torpedoes. So they had regained some control over the ship’s systems, the Angosian realized. She also guessed that the focus of her exes’ ire would be Burning Claw. The woman guessed that was the epitaph for her fellow buccaneers.

There was no one on that bucket she would shed tears for, which made the decision she had already formulated that much more vital to undertake. Reaching the entrance, she tried the manual interface. Still disabled, she used her fingers to pry the paneling open and then rewired the interface to open the doors.

Crossing the threshold, Andraste grinned at the fleet of gleaming silver-white shuttles now at her disposal. “Stop right there!” She heard a hard voice coming from the pool of shadows to her right. A strapping young Grazerite, holding a phaser in one meaty hand, strode forward. Andraste’s smile grew wider.

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Jov’k Tholis
Calcite-class battlecruiser

As the engines hummed around them, the warp field embracing the vessel, Narskene barely registered the weapons master’s shrill warning. “Commander, Starfleet vessel has just fired two quantum torpedoes.”

The commander didn’t worry too much about it because the torpedoes would merely puncture the space where Jov’k Tholis had just been. Even if they made contact, the cruiser’s shields were strong enough to handle the initial volley, and it would give hir enough justification to vaporize the Starfleet vessel. None of the Federation advocates would be able to argue that Jov'k Tholis had not acted in self-defense.

As space began to stretch before hir eyesight, Narskene heard the Weapon Officer’s second report. “First torpedo missed.”

“What of the second?” Narskene asked, still not concerned. The stars were stretching to infinity now and the harmonics of the engines as the warp factored increased was like music to the commander. It was what s/he loved most about breaking the warp threshold.

Enjoying the excitement of being on the cusp, Narskene held in hir bantling delight as the ship flung forward, piercing subspace. The moment was shorter than it usually was because of a terrible, uncommon rattling that shook the ship and threw it off course.

Using her multiple limbs, Narskene maintained her poise. “What was that?” S/he asked, already knowing the answer.

“One of the quantum torpedoes hit our portside nacelle,” the Weapons Officer’s tone was accusatory. For the time being, Narskene chose to ignore it.

“Any significant damage?”

“No,” the weapons master seemed not to want to admit. “The shields held.” The commander could hear the warp engines still humming. The Starfleet ship had even been ineffective at slowing them down. Their best shot hadn’t been good enough.

“Well then,” Narskene said, with renewed confidence. “Helm, best speed to Tholia.”

“I don’t think that will be possible,” the pilot soberly replied. The viewer, s/he added mentally. Look at the main viewer commander.

There was a sickeningly Terran-like gasp from the Sensor Officer who had gazed at the main viewer without the mental prompting. Narskene’s eyes widened.

A large, dark band hung before them, a massive subspace rupture like a grinning mouth, a hungry gullet. While the Starfleet ship had not damaged Jov’k Tholis, it had knocked the ship off course and nearly right down the maw of a monstrous tear in space.

“Reverse engines,” Narskene nearly cried. “Reverse engines!”

“It’s too late,” the Weapons Officer said, and Narskene had to have imagined there was a morbid self-satisfaction in the subordinate’s tone. As if hir words were prophecy, dark tendrils lit by infernal plasma lashed out at the ship, smashing into it, battering it about as if the large cruiser were a mere plaything.

“Increase power to shields!” The commander barked as the ship continued getting tossed about, spidery cracks appearing throughout the bridge as Jov’k Tholis itself seemed to stop listening to hir. Klaxons blasted while the engines’ harmony had turned to cacophony.

At least hir crew, including the weapons master, worked feverishly to avert destruction. But the great mouth of the rupture was only getting closer, and the assault against the ship was draining its power. The cruiser was struggling like a trapped beast, and it was losing.

Narskene knew the battle was lost, but could at least be satisfied that the Assembly’s secret would stay safe and that hir crew had performed ably. That was all that a commander could ask for, and it was a fitting sum total for the brief mortal thread s/he had been given. Accepting hir fate, Narskene stared into the breach and dared it take hir.

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