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Old August 3 2013, 01:27 AM   #20
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Staring Into The Abyss

Thanks Admiralelm11! It's always great to hear new comments. I'm glad you are enjoying the story and hope you will continue to do so.

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Starship Cuffe
Main Bridge

Glover was a hair too late. Amidst the tumult, the ship shaking to its duranium skeleton, cables were unloosed from a cracked bulkhead above. They swung down, writhing like snakes, coiling with lethal energy. Commander Konall had been so focused on barking orders that he had been oblivious to the doom descending upon him.

Barely thinking, Terrence leapt toward the unsuspecting Klingon and electric doom. He tackled the Klingon hard, his shoulder cracking into the man’s armored side. But Glover wasn’t fast enough to prevent some of the cords from connecting.

Konall’s surprised grunt quickly morphed into short enraged scream that too quickly, and frightfully gave way to silence. The man jerked spastically for a few horrific seconds. The stench of burned hair and cooked flesh overwhelmed the captain’s nostrils, and the Klingon fell to the deck.

Glover fell on top of him, no doubt adding to the man’s pain, if he could feel anything at all. Terrence quickly rolled the insensate man over. Most of the hair on the right side of Konall’s head and been seared off. That half of his face received even worse, with part of his nose and mouth melted into his face. The captain held his nose as he gingerly touched the ragged flesh at the man’s neck.

Terrence sighed in relief. There was a pulse. It was weak, but steady. The captain didn’t know how much longer that would be, and if to prove his point, Konall’s body twitched wildly. But the man remained unconscious. He was going to need medical attention and soon.

But so was just about everyone else, Glover darkly thought as he scanned the bridge. The forward shields had crumbled shortly into the Borg assault and they had been relentless ever since, just unloading on the crippled starship.

The bridge was wrecked and Terrence didn’t want to imagine how badly the rest of the ship looked. A thin acrid film permeated the bridge, stinging his eyes, a mixture of smoke, dispelled smoke and fire suppressor residue.

The new fires breaking out were being contained with handheld extinguishers, wielded by the few crewmen still on their feet or alive.

Terrence didn’t have time to check if Nyota was among them. Instead he rushed to the unoccupied flight control terminal. He glanced down at the still form of Ensign Ximenes and silently prayed for the young man. There wasn’t time to inspect the El Aurian for injuries or a pulse.

Glover also prayed for himself before he ran his hands over the console’s smooth surface. Ensign Ximenes had been gripped in a power surge that had emanated from the innocuous looking terminal moments after the Borg had sprung their trap.

Terrence did a quick systems check and nodded approvingly. Despite the hell going on around him, it did feel good being behind the steering wheel of the ship. He felt the most comfortable at the helm. It was the closest connection he could have on a starship to actually directing it where to go. It reminded him of being in the driver’s seat of his life.

He nodded at the suffering Tunepp. Glover admired the man’s dedication. “Keep going Mr. Tunepp,” Terrence said, with surprising jauntiness. “We’re going to get out of this.”

Tunepp nodded in affirmation, but the opaque coloring of his eyes told a different story. Terrence looked back at the helm and rerouted all control to the station. He hated stealing away protection from other parts of his ship, but the Borg was directing the majority of their fire at the primary hull and the bridge had to be protected.

There was a good trembling underneath his feet and he saw several red spears of light cut a furious path, from below, towards the cube. From above, golden fire rained from the superstructure over the primary hull. It had been outfitted with a phaser bank for this mission and someone, hopefully Nyota, had been able to get it back online. All the salvos impacted; their crimson and gold clashing against the Borg’s verdant shielding.

“Direct hits,” Lt. Dryer said and Terrence was relieved to hear her, and for her voice not sounding the worse for wear. He didn’t chance a look at her. His fingers were too busy flying over the companel. With only one functional torpedo tube they needed additional firepower. What power Glover wasn’t stealing for forward shielding, he diverted to the navigational deflector. He didn’t know how helpful a punched up deflector beam would be, but he had to do all that was within his grasp to save his ship or give the Borg one hell of a final fight.

“Minimal damage to Borg vessel,” Dryer said glumly.

“We’re not down for the count yet Lieutenant,” Glover said, still not looking back. His fingers skated over the controls. A coiled, crackling blue resonance burst blazed from the deflector dish.

Without needing to be told, Dryer sent more torpedoes the cube’s way. His heart rose as he saw the Borg’s shielding beginning to crumple. It forced the drones to break off their attack as they took evasive maneuvers.

Terrence felt the smallest sense of victory that they had stanched the Borg onslaught momentarily. “If only we had some juice in our engines,” he muttered, “I want to stick these bastards to the wall.” But what he didn’t voice was that he didn’t want the Borg to simply angle behind them and slice into Cuffe’s unprotected stern.

On cue his compin coughed. Glover activated it. The only word from Hwang that he made out was impulse. He checked his console and grinned. The chief engineer had restored impulse.

“Hwang I could kiss you,” he said, prompting a curious look from Tunepp. His smile turning a bit sheepish, Glover announced, “We’ve got impulse power back.” The rest of the crew didn’t seem quite as stoked about that as he did. The situation was still pretty grim, but now that Cuffe could move their chances of survival had increased exponentially.

“Moving to counter Borg vessel,” Terrence said again. Even though he was directly controlling the ship instead of sitting back and giving orders, he felt the need to vocalize what he was doing or wanted done. A captain was a captain no matter where they sat.

Terrence felt a pang at the creaky sounds the starship made as it slowly turned to keep pace with the Borg and to protect its aft section. “Keep firing at them,” Glover ordered, “Rotating modulation for torpedoes and phasers,” Terrence said, reminding the tactical officer, more for his own benefit than for her.

“Captain,” Tunepp intruded, prompting a scowl from Terrence. He was more dreadful than annoyed this time though, at the interruption. He knew that the Raisiinian would only be interrupting him to impart bad news.

“What is it?” Glover asked, not taking his eyes off the screen and the Borg scout ship.

“I’m picking up something on long-range sensors.” The captain didn’t have to look at the man to hear the frown in his voice.

“Well, spit it out man!” Terrence snapped, his irritation now besting his trepidation.

“Two vessels have just entered the system and are on an intercept course,” the Operations Officer said, “their transponders identify them as Cardassian warships.”

“Cardassians?” That did draw Glover’s attention. The captain pinned Tunepp with a questioning stare. “Did I hear that correctly?”

“Yes sir,” Tunepp nodded, “And they are making their way here at maximum warp.”

“That’s a good thing right?” Nyota ventured, “We certainly can use the assist.” Both men shared a knowing look. Tunepp dipped his head respectfully, giving the captain the floor.

Terrence finally looked back at Lt. Dryer. The athletic young woman was standing tall at her post, though her uniform and face were heavily smudged. Terrence hoped none of the dark spots marring her natural ebon beauty were dried blood.

“With the Cardassians you never know,” he said, his words sown with hard-bitten experience. “You just never know.”
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