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Old January 1 2013, 09:36 PM   #102
Rear Admiral
Re: UT: Refugee Crisis/Dark Territory-"Stealing Fire"

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USS Erickson
Main Bridge

There was a much needed cheer that went up on the bridge as the second torpedo struck. Commander Donar held back his pleasure, keeping his eyes on the screen. After the brightness of the conflagration had dissipated, there was no sign of the Tholian spacecraft.

Tai knew that the shot, which hadn’t even hit the Tholian battlecruiser head on, could have destroyed it. “Lt. Jilicia, what happened to the ship?”

“Scanners show that the ship was able to go to warp,” the Boslic answered, with obvious disappointment.

“At least we slowed it down,” Lt. French offered. “Maybe we can catch up to it.”

Tai shook his head, “No, Mr. French. By the time we are in a position to effectively take on that warship, they will be halfway back to Assembly space. Our first priority is here, taking care of ship and crew,” the Angosian remarked. His head dipping for a few moments as he calmed the bloodlust still beckoning, he said quietly, “Restore power to main systems.” The bridge brightened as energy was redirected from the torpedo bays.

He shifted his shoulders, the burden of failure rested uncomfortably on them. Though he had been unsuccessful in stopping the Tholians, it didn’t mean that another Starfleet ship couldn’t. “Lt. Jilicia, prepare a warning buoy about our encounter with the Tholians. I don’t want them waylaying any more ships. Also, if another Starfleet vessel happens upon them, they will have some inkling of what they might face.”

“Aye sir,” the young woman replied, quickly getting to work. Tai left the upper deck and strode into the command well. Captain Redfeather, her face a mass of cuts and bruises, had been propped up in corner of the room, near her Ready Room. Before the Angosian could reach her, a shaft of bright blue light appeared in his way. It resolved quickly into Dr. Narsan.

The Halanan clutched a medical tricorder in one hand, a hypo in the other, and a medical kit was slung across his shoulders. He coolly took in his surroundings, before turning in the captain’s direction without prompting from Tai.

He ran the blocky scanner over the woman, mumbled something unintelligible, and then placed the hypo on her upper arm. Before Tai could inquire about her condition, the chief medic tapped his combadge and the transporter beam enveloped both him and his patient.

Seconds later, several nurses, with similar equipment appeared on the bridge, and whisked away the most seriously injured crew members.

For the first time in what seemed an eternity, Tai allowed himself a little bit of hope that Captain Redfeather would pull through and that things would eventually return to normal, as much as that was possible with the gaping hole left in the command structure and the ship’s community by the deaths of so many well regarded colleagues.

Despite that, Donar was going to cradle the little ember of hope to keep the flame alive. He had Jilicia check in with Engineering and the other departments, getting a sense of how badly the pirates had hit them. After working out restoration timeframes for affected systems, Tai set about to deal with something that had been coiling in his mind, under a rock until the immediate danger had passed.

“Lt. Jilicia,” he asked the taxed Boslic. She answered crisply, with no hint of frustration. “I want you to check for Angosian life signs.” The nanoseconds before her answer were some of the most agonizing that Tai had experienced in his whole life, and after all the death he had seen and blood he had spilled, that meant a lot.

“I’m reading…two,” the woman jerked up from her terminal, her eyes wide.

“Where is the second reading?” Tai asked, his expression hardening, as tension built in his muscles.

“Auxiliary Shuttle…” Jilicia hadn’t even finished before Tai had clapped his combadge and ordered to be teleported there.
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USS Erickson
Auxiliary Shuttlebay

In hindsight, Tai realized he probably should’ve brought a phaser along. The floating shuttle turned around slowly to face him, Andraste in the cockpit. Below it, uniform rippling in the breeze was a Grazerite non-com, his head twisted at an impossible angle.

The Angosian’s insides froze and he gathered his strength. Andraste smiled, before speaking, via the shuttle’s communication system. “Open the doors Tai, or I’m going to blast them.”

“No,” he shook his head.

“You’ll get sucked out into space.”

“I’m not letting you go, not after what you’ve done, the murders you committed.” His heart ached as the woman shrugged.

“Come now,” she chided. “This is not your coddled Starfleet compatriots you are talking to, this is your wife, and even more importantly a fellow soldier. You know how transient life is, and how much it is an honor to die in service of something you believe in. The lives I’ve taken here today, they now have a meaning, a resonance that those with more humdrum existences do not,” his wife declared.

“That’s sick!” He snarled, his hands starting to twitch as the desire to lock them around his wife’s throat began to mount.

“Stop deluding yourself,” she said, “You know it’s true. Now, let me go, or I’m going to demolish a good chunk of your hull. Do you really think that this ship can withstand another breach?”

“I’m not letting you go,” he repeated, damnable moisture collecting at the corners of his eyes.

Andraste sighed audibly. “This isn’t about the crewmen at all,” she shook her head. “This is about you and me. You have to let me go, finally Tai. You can’t save me.” She paused, her voice growing surprisingly, disgustingly tender, “You never could. This is my life, these are my choices, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up about them any longer. You have to let me go.”

“You’re going to face justice,” he promised.

“Perhaps, but not today and you know it,” she replied with equal resolve. “You have a ship and crew to take care of, save our little dance for another day.”

He fought against each step, but the Angosian forced his legs over to the free standing operation console. The shuttlebay doors parted open slowly, the black vacuum beyond held back by a forcefield. While the field kept oxygen in, it did nothing for heat. A deep chill came over him as Andraste dipped the shuttle in a twisted gesture of respect or to say goodbye. She angled it around and then eased it through the shimmering forcefield and then out into space.

Tai slapped his combadge so hard it burned his chest. He wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t leave a chevron imprint on his pectoral. “Bridge, lock tractor beam on that shuttle, now!”

He waited anxious seconds for a confirmation that his order had been carried out. “Bridge,” he prompted after activating the compin again.

“Sorry sir,” the brunette at the tactical terminal said, “But we were unable to lock onto the shuttle. The pilot engaged in some unorthodox maneuvers.”

“Understood,” he said, “Donar out.” The Angosian knew it would be pointless to chew out the young officer. Andraste always had been a good pilot. It would take a very skillful hand to trap her with a tractor beam, and Tai wasn’t even sure he could have done it.

Contemplating what had just happened, Donar stood in the shuttlebay, with the dead non-com, watching the doors shut, clanging with a finality he didn’t feel. “I will see you again Andraste,” he stated simply, quietly, “I promise.”
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