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Old February 2 2014, 08:28 AM   #61
Gibraltar
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Re: UT-TFV: "No Win Scenario"

CeJay wrote: View Post
Last desperate actions. Let's hope they'll make a difference.
This... this exactly.
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Old February 2 2014, 09:03 PM   #62
DarKush
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Re: UT-TFV: "No Win Scenario"

************************************************** ***************

Main Bridge
USS Ariane

“Firing the tricobalt devices, for all warp vehicles,” Commander Rhizzo informed her crew. Her fingers moved deftly over the inset arm controls and she raptly watched as the spears of energy punched through the onrushing spheres.

Thankfully they could not withstand the onslaught and were demolished. The bridge cheered, but Rhizzo kept her satisfaction to herself this time.

That was only the preview. “Training the warp vehicles on the seed ship,” she said. Turning to Atwell, she ordered, “Prepare the isolytic burst. We’ll fire them at the same time.”

“Aye sir,” her first officer had long given up arguing with her. She smiled at him, thankful for the surrender.

“It’s ready,” he said moments later.

Rhizzo leaned back in her seat, confident in her course of action. “Fire.”
************************************************** ***************

Main Bridge
USS Empress

“The K’mpec has less than a minute before a full warp core breach,” Chief Thav informed the captain. On the main viewer she saw the Akira-class ship driving toward the Kothlis’Ka attack cruiser, seemingly unfazed as the alien craft blasted chunks of its hull away.

“They’ve lost shields, and all major systems, including life support,” Lt. Aarti said. “They’ve also started ejecting escape pods.”

“Drop shields and beam anyone who is still on that vessel, off of it,” Erasia said without hesitation.
************************************************** **************

Main Bridge
USS Ariane

“My God,” Commander Atwell gasped as space opened up and devoured the seed ship. The combined might of the Ariane and the warp vehicles had opened a massive subspace tear that cleaved through the Kothlis’Ka fleet. The surviving ships scattered, trying to avoid oblivion. Commander Rhizzo pumped her fist and a larger shout erupted across the bridge.

“Take that,” the Zakdorn crowed. Composing herself, she then said, “Open a channel and give offer them the chance to surrender.” It wasn’t enough to drive the Kothlis’Ka from their space; they also had to pay for murdering Captain Landau.

“Sir,” Atwell protested.

“Not now,” Rhizzo snapped, “Do as I command.”

“It’s not that sir,” Atwell snapped back. “We’re being drawn into the subspace tear.”

“What?” Rhizzo glanced at the screen before looking at him. “Reverse engines, maximum warp.”

“I wouldn’t recommend that sir,” Atwell pointed out; “The subspace tear is drawn to our warp core.”

“Switch to impulse then!” Rhizzo barked. She felt the tug of the ship towards the gaping mouth. She could feel doubts clawing at her edifice of certainty.

“Impulse won’t be strong enough,” Atwell said, his eyes clouding for a moment. “Perhaps we could jettison the core, ignite it and neutralize it. It has been done once before, in the Briar Patch.”

“I don’t want to be this far out without a warp drive, but if that’s the only thing that can save us,” she paused, waiting to see if anyone else had any better ideas. There were no takers. “Then do it.”

Klaxons went off as she felt a deep rumble from the heart of the ship. “Warp core has been ejected,” Atwell informed her.

“Destroy it,” she ordered. She could see the hole in space growing larger, the mouth widening as the ship drifted towards it.

The main viewer was overwhelmed and the ship was buffeted by shockwaves as Atwell carried out her order. Blinded momentarily by the intense flash, Rhizzo’s vision returned in blotchy patches.

“Has the subspace tear been eliminated?” She asked, unable to see for herself.

“Not quite,” Atwell answered, his tone somber.

“What does that mean?” Rhizzo rubbed her eyes, willing her sight to return.

“The tear was too large. Our actions merely created fractured it,” the first officer replied.

“Damn,” Rhizzo said. “What is our situation?”

“That’s the bad part,” Atwell began. Rhizzo never heard what else the man had to say.
************************************************** *************
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Old February 2 2014, 09:49 PM   #63
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Re: UT-TFV: "No Win Scenario"

The words Pyrrhic victory come to mind.
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Old February 3 2014, 12:44 AM   #64
DarKush
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Re: UT-TFV: "No Win Scenario"

************************************************** ****************

Main Bridge
USS Empress

“How many did we get?” Captain Erasia asked. Sheppard shook his head, a sorrowful cast over his features.

“Only forty-seven,” he said morosely. “They’re in the auxiliary cargo bay.”

“Helm, get us away from the fireworks! Maximum warp!” The captain ordered as the ship came hard about. Tan wanted to watch the conflagration from as safe a distance as possible. Thanks to the deft efforts of her flight control officer, Empress was able to do just that. The main viewer dampened the violent explosion as the K’mpec collided with the Kothlis’Ka attack cruiser, impaling the ship before both were vaporized.

“Sweep up all of the survivors in the escape pods,” Tan ordered after a moment, unwilling to let her surging emotions engulf her.

“Aye captain,” Sheppard replied, setting immediately to work.

“Aarti do a sweep for the Ariane, let’s see if she’s somewhere in this mess.” The three way battle had littered the space around them with fragments and hulks of starships.

“Yes sir,” the capable Andorian said.

“We’ve recovered another two hundred fifty survivors,” Sheppard said after an interminable time.

“No sign of Ariane,” Aarti said, right on the man’s heels.

“Could it be interference from all this space junk?” Thav asked his bond-mate.

“It could be…but I don’t think so…Captain, I’ve detected massive isolytic readings from multiple subspace tears off of our port bow.”

“Gods no Rhizzo,” Tan breathed. “She didn’t. She wouldn’t. How could she? Where did she?” The questions poured from her. And she didn’t know what frustrated her more, never getting the answers or deep down knowing she should’ve asked these questions long ago. She trusted Rhizzo to give up all of her weapons, and trust was a condition the woman hadn’t earned.

“A Kothlis’Ka warship is on an attack vector,” Lt. Quim informed her.

“Prepare to meet them,” Erasia ordered, though she didn’t know how much damage her ship could take.

The oncoming ship stopped before it came within reach of Empress’s weapons. “Captain, the Kothlis’Ka vessel is hailing us. Audio only,” Lt. Aarti said, the shock clear in her voice.

“On speakers,” Tan said, and immediately regretted her decision. A harsh screeching blared through the speakers, resolving into a guttural garble. It vaguely reminded her of the Breen speakers.

“Can you make that out?” She asked the operations officer. Aarti frowned.

“It’s a melding of several Beta Quadrant languages,” she said after a moment. “I think the rough translation is ‘Fought. Well.’”

“Kothlis’Ka vessel,” Tan spoke, but the ship began to turn away from her. It joined the remaining ships, far fewer in number, and the armada continued on its inexorable quest.

Erasia sat in her seat, stunned. “Sir do we pursue?” Commander Sheppard asked.

Tan looked at him with a jaundiced eye, “And do what exactly?”

“Well, I-um-I’m not sure sir,” he admitted.

“No, we search for the Ariane and see if there are any survivors, and after that’s done, I’m relinquishing command and giving the ship to you.” Now it was Sheppard and her crew would wear the dumbstruck looks on their faces.
************************************************** *************
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Old February 3 2014, 02:11 AM   #65
DarKush
Rear Admiral
 
Re: UT-TFV: "No Win Scenario"

************************************************** **************

Captain’s Ready Room
USS Empress
Two days later…

“Captain, we have not found any survivors or a trace of the Ariane,” Commander Sheppard reported.

“Lost with all hands,” Tan grimly shook her head. The two settled into an uneasy silence as they contemplated the loss of the Ariane. Eventually, Erasia placed her hands on her desk and pushed up from her chair. “That’s that then,” she said. “This office is yours.”

“I’m sorry sir, but I can’t accept this promotion,” Sheppard shook his head. “I won’t accept it sir. The Empress has a perfectly good captain as it is.”

“If I’m so perfect why did I let Rhizzo countermand my orders and use outlawed weapons?” She charged, her anger coming to the fore. “Why was my only plan one that signed the death warrants of hundreds of my fellow crewmen?”

“Sir, the Kothlis’Ka presented us with a no win scenario,” Sheppard said. “There was little to be done that was different than what you did. I’m sure that Captain Tanaka told you the same.”

Erasia laughed bitterly. She had indeed gotten a similar talking to from Captain Tanaka. Empress had been able to beam out the K’mpec’s bridge crew. It had been one of the few wins from the battle.

“Don’t worry I’m not going to hunker away. I think I can still be of some use. With Dr. Segen’s loss, you are in need of a chief medical officer.” Unfortunately the Mazarite had been sucked into space through one of the hull breaches perforating Empress’s hull.

“You’ll be of more use to us in the center seat,” Commander Sheppard declared.

“I’ve already informed you of my decision,” Tan stood ramrod straight. “If you can’t handle the big chair, say so now and I’ll promote Lt. Moeller or hand off the reins to Captain Tanaka.”

“I think Captain Tanaka feels the same way I do,” Sheppard ventured. “He won’t accept them.”

“I guess its Katrina’s ship then. As soon as she returns,” Erasia said. Hours ago, Aarti had informed her that the shuttles sent out to retrieve any Narcissus survivors were on their way to the battlefield, and thankfully with some survivors.

“Permission to speak freely Captain?” The human’s jaw was tight. Tan waved her allowance. “I can’t believe that a woman who just faced impossible odds and came out on top of them is a coward.”

“What did you just say?” Erasia’s hackles rose at the accusation. But Sheppard held his ground.

“Perhaps the big chair is just a little too big for you right now,” the first officer charged. “We’ve lost a lot, but we’ve also survived, and we’ve sent a message to the Kothlis’Ka that even got a response from them.

Despite Rhizzo’s controversial methods, it’s arguable that they played a role in the Kothlis’Ka leaving us in peace, not as a symbol of their dominance but as an equal foe, someone that had earned their respect. I don’t know what that could mean in the long term, but it was your plan that brought that about, albeit with some tweaking from Commander Rhizzo.

None of us expected to be alive after that battle, but here we are, arguing now. It’s a miracle. So suck it up and treasure it.”

“After you finished?” She asked.

“There’s more I could say,” he admitted, “but I don’t want to have to clean any more nacelles with a toothbrush.”

Erasia eased, “It’s just, the responsibility, the weight of this…it’s just very immense, and I can’t help but second guess myself, wondering if this whole thing could’ve been averted. I’m also worried about the response from the Tholians and especially the Romulans.” Aarti had projected that the remnants of the Kothlis’Ka armada remained headed toward the Hobus system in Romulan space.

“Let Starfleet and the Federation Council worry about that,” Sheppard offered. “We did our duty and that’s all that matters.”

“Maybe you’re right,” Erasia said, a weight lifting off her shoulders. “About that captaincy…can I have it back?”

“Actually,” Sheppard grinned, “The big chair is awfully comfortable.” The two shared a welcome laugh.

“Thank you Mark,” Tan said, holding out her hand. The first officer clasped it.

“The least I could do,” he smiled. “We all need a good swift kick every now and then.”

“Excuse me?” She raised a reproachful eyebrow.

“Proverbially speaking of course,” he quickly added.

“I guess I better get out there and inform the crew that I’m sticking around,” she smiled.

“I think that is for the best, I’m sure that they will be glad, though I’m going to be a little sad about having to cancel my party in the lounge.”

“So you were preparing a party to celebrate your promotion?”

“Well, ah, it was all for boosting the ship’s morale.”

“Yeah, right.”

“Seriously. Honestly Captain.” Sheppard said, starting to get perturbed.

“Just joshing Mark,” the captain said. The man exhaled in relief.

“That’s good to hear,” he replied.

“As was your talking to. It helped put things back into perspective. No more pity parties, I promise.”

“Aye, aye sir.”

“And don’t cancel your party. I think we all need to celebrate, we need to treasure our victory.”

“That’s a very good idea sir,” Sheppard said.

“Don’t push it,” Captain Erasia good-naturedly chided as side-by-side they stepped onto the bridge.


THE END
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Old February 3 2014, 02:12 AM   #66
DarKush
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Re: UT-TFV: "No Win Scenario"

CeJay and Gibraltar,

Thanks for commenting and sticking with this story. It wasn't an easy one for me to write. Surprisingly already knowing the outcome made it harder to write than I thought it would be. But I'm glad to be finished. I hope you and all the other readers enjoyed it.
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Old February 3 2014, 06:31 AM   #67
CeJay
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Re: UT-TFV: "No Win Scenario"

Well I for one am glad that you managed to find at least some light for this dark ending. Yes, the fleet has been destroyed but at least there are survivors, we've learned that the enemy is not invincible and we even got to hear from them, however shortly.

I think Erasia planning on stepping down as captain in light of recent events was worrisome. Especially in such an open manner. It's a good thing that her first officer talked her out of it but not sure how this will go over with the crew, knowing they're following a captain who is ready to throw in the towel when things get tough.

Otherwise this was an excellent, terse tale and I'm looking forward to meet these guys again in your other story where the outcome is yet to be determined.
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Old February 4 2014, 12:09 AM   #68
DarKush
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Re: UT-TFV: "No Win Scenario"

Thanks CeJay. I don't see it as a situation where Erasia threw in the towel. She was emotionally wrecked and just let everyone see it. She had a momentary loss of confidence, with the weight of command weighing very heavily on her shoulders. It is an interesting point though about how her crew might respond after seeing her blink. I think most have been through the wringer and can relate to Erasia's break down.
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