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Old June 16 2013, 08:01 PM   #3
Sran
Fleet Captain
 
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Location: The Captain's Table
Re: "A Fine Ship if Ever There Was One."

Author’s Note: I’d intended for “A Fine Ship If Ever There Was One” to be a single-post short story, but I’ve been inspired to write further. The following events take place during the Deep Space 9 episodes “Favor the Bold” and “Sacrifice of Angels,” concurrent with the actions of Captain Sisko and the crew of the USS Defiant.


***


Terrell Mayweather’s fingers danced across the helm console attempting to get a feel for the layout. The Akira-class vessel differed significantly from the Galaxy-class ship he’d previously served on. But Mayweather knew that any anxiety he felt would dissipate as he became more familiar with the Naptown’s systems. After all, he’d wanted this assignment. It wouldn’t do to complain about a problem that was correctable. The pilot suppressed a giggle as he brought Naptown into formation alongside the USS Sarek. If the forthcoming battle with the Dominion was any indication, he’d be much more familiar with his new vessel by the time the conflict was over. The Jem’Hadar and their endless supply of attack fighters would see to that.


“Something funny, Lieutenant?”


Mayweather felt his commanding officer’s eyes on him. He’d forgotten that Romulans had excellent hearing. “Sorry, sir.” He felt his shoulders hunch slightly in embarrassment. It wouldn’t do to anger his new captain, either. The Luna native kept his eyes on his console, both pretending to keep busy and hoping that his CO’s vision was less discerning. Captain Sran was highly thought of, but Terrell supposed he’d never be completely at ease serving under a Romulan. He decided to run another diagnostic on the phaser controls. It wasn’t his responsibility, but it would distract him long enough to get over the mild rebuke he’d received. He suddenly felt another pair of eyes watching him. Glancing to port, he found the familiar gaze of the ship’s tactical officer. Also human, Thea Baumgart offered him a sympathetic shrug before returning her own attention to her work.



If either officer was being watched, it wasn’t by Sran, who’d temporarily vacated the captain’s chair to confer with another crew member on the starboard side of the bridge, but by Naptown’s chief medical officer, Dr. Elizabeth Schultz. Nicknamed “Hawk,” the attractive woman’s deep blue eyes seemed to see everything. Schultz herself supposed they made her good her job, but she also knew they could make people uncomfortable. Still, she watched the interaction between her new shipmates with interest, hoping to glean whatever insight she could into their respective personalities. She preferred to do so by conventional means- coffee, conversation, and cookies- but that would have to wait for another time. The Jem’Hadar didn’t eat, she knew, so she surmised they probably had no appreciation for anything made with peanut butter. A shame, she thought. They don’t know what they’re missing. Her eyes found the captain’s, who offered her a polite nod as he returned to his seat.


Sran supposed this would be a good time to address his crew via the comm system, but the honor for big speeches wasn’t his today. That responsibility fell on Captain Sisko, the erstwhile commander of Deep Space 9 and the architect of the mission to reclaim it. The Romulan had never met Sisko but knew him by reputation courtesy of his tour of duty as executive officer aboard the Lakota. Captain Benteen worked with Sisko to defend Earth from a possible Dominion invasion in 2372 after the bombing of a diplomatic summit was found to have been caused by a Changeling. There had been no invasion, of course. The entire affair that followed the bombing was fabricated by Admiral Leyton and several subordinates as a means of wresting control of Earth’s government away from President Jaresh-Inyo and the Federation Council. Benteen herself was thoroughly investigated by Starfleet Intelligence but was ultimately found to have committed no wrongdoing in the matter. That she willingly stopped her attack on the Defiant and agreed to cooperate with Starfleet’s subsequent investigation likely saved her command. Sran hoped his former boss didn’t miss his services too much. Lakota was assigned to the third fleet, so she’d have time to break in another first officer while keeping watch over Earth. Sran’s thoughts were interrupted by a flashing blue light on his starboard console, the fleet-wide signal from Defiant. A man’s voice followed.

“To all ships,” it began, “this is Captain Sisko. Assume attack formation Delta 2.”


Sran’s own voice followed in crisp, clear tones. “Red alert! Raise shields and stand by all weapon systems.” Looking again toward the helm, he added, “Mr. Mayweather, how many ships are there?”


The younger man consulted a small readout monitor before turning to look at Sran. “Over twelve hundred,” he said, his voice betraying his astonishment. He stifled another giggle.
Sran paid his theatrics no mind. The captain looked to tactical. “The Dominion fleet is a mix of Jem’Hadar and Cardassian vessels,” Baumgart was saying. “The Cardassians are already on the move. Two Keldon-class cruisers are engaging our first wave of attack fighters.”


Sran nodded as he recognized Sisko’s plan. The Jem’Hadar wouldn’t be baited into a confrontation so early in the battle, but the Cardassians were less disciplined and might be coaxed out of position. It was a dangerous strategy under normal circumstances, but this battle would be different. Starfleet didn’t need to beat the Dominion so much as they needed to avoid them in order to reach Deep Space 9 before the minefield blocking the wormhole could be disabled. As the Federation fleet was facing an almost two-to-one disadvantage, any opening they could find would dramatically increase their chances of getting ships through the Dominion’s line. “Follow the Sarek, Lieutenant,” he said. “Match her course and speed.” Sran felt the deck-plates shift beneath his feet as Naptown accelerated to full-impulse power, the thrum of her engines increasing slightly in pitch with the change in velocity. The battle was joined.


***


The sound of another exploding console made Colos wish he’d stayed home. This isn’t going well, the Andorian science officer thought to himself. He ducked to avoid a piece of shrapnel flying in his direction, relieved when it missed his antennae. “Primary sensors are offline!” he called out. “Auxiliary circuits in danger of failure. Captain,” he said, “I recommend shunting additional power from the…”


“Not possible, Commander!” Sran shouted back. “We’re going to need the warp drive if we want to reach Deep Space 9 in time!” Rising, he stepped toward the helm console occupied by Mayweather. The dark-skinned human was sweating profusely, his hands moving at an almost frantic pace. Sran rested a hand on the back of his chair, leaning forward slightly. “Terrell,” he said, keeping his voice even, “adjust our heading to travel beneath the next set of Cardassian warships.”


“Sir?”


Sran continued, his tone patient. “I want to keep our ventral section from sustaining further damage until we can repair the shields in that part of the ship.” An impact nearly knocked him off his feet, but he remained standing. “Make sure each of your course corrections minimizes how often it’s exposed.”


“Understood, Captain.” Mayweather wiped his brow and continued working as Sran stepped back toward his chair. Another impact sent him tumbling backward into it. Annoyed, he tapped at a control on his port side console. “Bridge to engineering.”


“Engineering here, Captain.”


A voice he didn’t recognize. That wasn’t good. “Where’s Lieutenant Blix?”


“He’s in Sickbay with severe plasma burns, sir.”


“What’s the status of our starboard torpedo launcher?” he asked. A well-placed shot from a Cardassian cruiser had damaged Naptown’s forward torpedo launchers and guidance system. The port would need repairs at a starbase, but the starboard was still salvageable.



“We’re working on it, sir. Estimate two more minutes before it’s sufficiently repaired.”


“We don’t have two minutes, Engineer. You’ll have to work faster.”


“Understood, Captain. Engineering out.”

Sran leaned back in his chair, his fingers steepled in front of his face. The battle unfolded before him on the main viewer, the choreographed movements of Federation, Klingon, and Dominion vessels intermingling with one another in a complex and deadly dance of precision and skill. He watched as a Cardassian Galor-class destroyer raced past in pursuit of a Klingon bird-of-prey. The arrival of the Klingons couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Federation fleet now nearly matched the Dominion’s numbers one to one. From what he could tell, Starfleet’s ships were more heavily damaged than their Dominion counterparts, but the shift in momentum spurred by General Martok’s intervention had forced the Jem’Hadar to change tactics and widened an opening in their lines. If they applied enough pressure…


“Ghuy’cha’!” That came from Baumgart to his left.


“I don’t approve of crude Klingon curses on my bridge, Ensign,” he said. “Report!”


“A Jem’Hadar fighter is making a direct run at the Defiant,” she said.


“Go, Lieutenant!” Mayweather was already dialing Naptown’s engines to maximum.


The Naptown sprang forward as if shot from a cannon. Angling around two smaller vessels, Terrell continued to feed more power into the ship’s impulse drive. The ship in question was growing larger on the viewscreen, but so was the Defiant as the latter tried to shoot the gap in the Dominion formation. It was going to be close.


Sran’s console chirped. “Engineering to bridge. Starboard torpedo launcher and guidance system back online, Captain.”
Sran’s eyes whipped to Baumgart. “I have a clear shot,” she said.


“Fire!”


An explosion filled the forward viewer accompanied by an enormous tremor that rocked the bridge once more. The majority of the light was filtered out by the ship’s computer, but that didn’t prevent most of the bridge crew from shielding their eyes until the explosion dissipated. When it finally did, nothing was left of the enemy vessel.


“The Defiant?” Sran questioned to no one in particular. Again it was Baumgart who broke the silence.


“They’re clear, sir. It looks like they’re going to warp!”


Sran allowed himself a moment to relax, finally easing his grip on the twin armrests of his chair. There was still work to do, but the day might be won after all.
__________________
"Many things seem clever to an imbecile." --Captain Thelin th'Valrass, USS Enterprise-- "The Chimes at Midnight"
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