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Old April 2 2015, 11:12 AM   #1
Bry_Sinclair
Commodore
 
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Location: Tactical withdrawl along the Klingon border
Star Trek: Four Years War - Renown - Across The Line

Star Trek: Four Years War
U.S.S. Renown: 1.04
Across The Line


Cockpit, Treyr
Archanis System

His stomach lurched as the Treyr’s warp field collapsed just within the gravity well of the moon. Had his skin not already been a deep shade of jade then he would’ve most definitely been green about the gills. Taking a deep breath he looked over the numerous sensor and communications screens and saw that all was clear, before glancing at his companion.

She looked across at him, a bright white smile against her vibrant green skin. “Sorry about that, these controls are a little over-sensitive.”

“Well it looks like it worked, no sign the Klingons spotted us. Now comes the tricky part.”

“Because dropping out of warp in orbit is such an easy thing to do.”

“It is with the right person at the controls.”

His companion blushed. “Thank you, Commander.”

Kanu Shanthi gave Robbins a quick wink then looked back at the bank of screens and controls before him—which he’d been consciously transfixed by since they’d left the Renown, otherwise he’d spend too much time admiring the junior lieutenant—who was dressed in little more than a couple of handkerchiefs and a loincloth (he could only imagine the number of cases of whiplash and cardiac arrest she would’ve caused on the ship). The Treyr was the Orion shuttle he had been given by Starfleet Intelligence to perform undercover surveillance and reconnaissance, as such he had to go in disguised as a mercenary just in case he attracted any unwanted attention.

Normally, he worked alone when on such assignments, but for the run to Archanis, he had to give his full attention to gathering as much information as possible and look out for a very specific signal that the computer might have overlooked, so he’d needed someone to act as his pilot and navigator, a role Robbins was amply qualified for. After clearing it with the Captain, and giving the young officer her new orders, she’d reported to sickbay for her disguise before reporting aboard the Treyr—all without question. Even when she’d seen her attire she had barely raised an eyebrow. It was only when she was changed and they had left the hangar bay was he able to give her any indication of just what they were doing, even then he couldn’t give her the full details of their mission—she had been deemed in the ‘doesn’t need to know’ column along with Captain Naya and Doctor Raal, who just followed the orders he had handed to them, signed by Commodore Benq.

Focusing once again on his mission, his eyes flicked over all the screens, noting the number and type of Klingon ships occupying the former Federation system, he assessed which ones were static and which were on patrol, monitoring their routes. He would’ve liked to have gauged their reaction times, but there was nothing out of place that would draw them away from their assigned duties.

As he worked, Robbins remained quiet and checked over the ship’s systems—all of which were operating on severely reduced power, to ensure they remained hidden for as long as possible. He didn’t like leaving her in the dark, but orders were orders and he understood why; she was still just a junior lieutenant and, if anything went wrong and they were captured, she wasn’t trained to resist and endure torture. The biggest issue he had was that he’d been pulled from his duties on the Renown after only two months; he had been hoping it would be a little longer before his skills were called upon.

They had been sitting quietly for almost an hour when the communications panel chirped. He looked at it and immediately saw what he’d been after, a faint blip in the E band—so insignificant as to be mistaken for background EM interference. His head snapped to the sensor display, but none of the ships had moved or shown any signs of picking up the covert signal. Of course it could all be a ruse, the signal could be a plant by the Klingons on the surface to try and assess just how good Starfleet Intelligence was.

He shook his head. Kanu couldn’t think like that, for if they knew about the E band signal it meant they had broken Matthew Lochley. Though an engineer by trade, Lochley had done some work with SI trying to find a way to send and receive beacons and signals that couldn’t be tracked by the enemy. The E band method was one he had devised and was now widely used by SI operatives across the quadrant. Lochley was strong-willed and tougher than he looked, though had his family been at risk he would’ve laid down his life to keep them safe.

After the first blip, the signal would transmit intermittently for ten minutes and then go silent again for anywhere between fifty and seventy-five hours. That meant they had to make their sweep now; the longer they spent on the dark side of Archanis IV’s moon the greater the likelihood of them being spotted.

“You ready?” he asked, looking at his companion.

“Strafing course to Archanis and exit trajectory are both locked into the navcomp, impulse and warp ready.”

“Before we hit the atmosphere I’ll shunt all available power to the shields, but they won’t hold for long against Klingon military-grade disruptors—you’ll need to stay sharp.”

“Got it.”

“Take us in.”

She gave a single nod and then the shuttle was moving. The Treyr’s inertial dampeners weren’t up to Starfleet spec, which meant he could feel the sudden movement and acceleration. Robbins’ eyes were focused straight ahead, her fingers dancing across the panel with the practiced ease of someone who’d been flying the ship for years and not days. Kanu kept looking across the multiple screens, as once they hit the upper atmosphere he had to try and gather as much data as he could on the situation on the ground (number of troops, amount of damage, state of infrastructure), try to ascertain the position of Lochley, and send a coded reply letting those on the surface know that their call for help had been heard.

Multiple alerts sounded as the shuttle was pinged by every Klingon sensor in orbit of the planet. Kanu watched as the nearest ship, a Bird-of-Prey, broke from its patrol route and headed straight for them. Though Orion ships were a common enough sight in Klingon space, the privateers and mercenaries were faced with the same hostility the Klingon military had for any other alien ship.

The scans of the Treyr intensified as the cruisers and escorts in their path assumed attack positions, whilst the ship on their tail swooped in closer with every second. None of them even attempted communications, they must all have been under orders to shoot and not ask questions. He kept cool and worked on their sensors, ready for what he needed to do. Robbins held her course, almost daring the Klingons to take a shot.

Another panel blared. “The Bird-of-Prey is in weapons range. Incoming.”

The lieutenant held her bearing for several long heartbeats, before pitching them hard to port, clearing the disruptor blasts with only centimetres to spare. Her steel-blue eyes stayed locked on target, her smooth brow dry, her face determined. She evaded the next volley just as easily, swooping the ship up and around in an arch. Her manoeuvres were by no means Starfleet, taking full advantage of the ships size and superior handling—Orions didn’t have nearly as many safety regulations as Starfleet did when building shuttles, as such it could do things even the best onboard the Renown couldn’t.

“Thirteen seconds to atmosphere,” he counted down, just as they came into the range of the nearest battlecruiser.

The enormous warship forwent its disruptors and opened fire with photon torpedoes. Kanu had to swallow down the lump in his throat. Their shields could take a disruptor blast or two, but torpedoes were a different matter. He had hoped the patrol ships wouldn’t waste them on a shuttle—obviously they were facing a captain who didn’t want to take chances.

Robbins saw the projectiles and started rocking them back and forth, ducking and weaving between the scarlet balls of ferocious energy, pushing them harder. When they hit the upper atmosphere they felt it, the shift in pressure and gravity made the little ship groan and rattle.

“Drop us down further, the ionisation of our engines in the atmosphere should impede their weapons lock for a few seconds.”

She gave a single nod and angled them down towards the planet’s surface, fighting to keep her hands on the controls, her raven-black hair falling over her face. After several long moments she pulled them back and sent them in a spiral course around the colonies capitol.

Kanu set to work, using their upgraded sensors to gather all the data he needed. It would take several seconds, preferable uninterrupted. The proximity alert chirped. Their tail was following them into the atmosphere, though the battlecruiser had stood down for the moment. The commpanel flashed with the incoming E band signal. He locked onto it and sent the covert reply, giving a silent prayer that Lochley would be the one who would receive it.

As he worked, Robbins kept her eyes on the Bird-of-Prey. “They’re firing.”

“Hold position,” he instructed, they couldn’t afford to lose the link.

The Treyr buckled, klaxons screaming. “Deflectors at sixty-three percent.”

“Just ten more seconds.”

The shuttle took another direct hit, forcing it to plummet several meters before Robbins could recover. “Screens at twenty-nine percent and dropping. Impulse has been compromised.”

The sensors chirped as they completed their task. “That’s it, get us out of here!”

Robbins jolted them forward just in time to miss the next disruptor blast, but the damage was already done. The shuttle was limping, struggling to regain altitude, its sluggish movements nowhere near enough to stay ahead of the Bird-of-Prey that was almost on top of them, let alone the other ships that had gathered in orbit above them.

“Can you get us clear?”

She looked over her displays then glanced at him, a hint of concern in her eyes. “We can go to warp now.”

He held her look for a moment. He’d heard of tests being done for low orbit warp, though they had always gone poorly, with the ship involved being severely damaged, or the test pilot was injured due to the strain on the inertial dampeners, or a failure in the navigation system resulting in the ship not arriving where it was intended, once the ship had been destroyed with the loss of the pilot. But with few options, they had to take the chance.

“Engage, Lieutenant.”

Robbins tapped the control stud. The damaged shuttle shuddered and creaked as it leapt to warp; out of the atmosphere of Archanis IV, past the hostile ships in orbit and out of the system, all in the blink of an eye. The Treyr continued to shake and rumble, pushed well beyond its design limits but miraculously holding together.

They held their course and speed for eight minutes, which brought them near to the Frenk Nebula, a small and unremarkable dust cloud that would provide them with some cover, so he ordered them back to impulse. The last thing they needed was for their warp drive to fail whilst in Klingon occupied space. In the nebula they could assess their status and carry out essential repairs before heading to the rendezvous point.

In the silence of the cockpit, they both took a deep breath and let them out slowly.

“Nice flying, Lieutenant.”

“Thank you, sir. Did you get what you needed?” she asked, gesturing at his instruments.

“The analysts will have to look over it, but I hope we did. I doubt anyone else will be able to get as close as we did for a long time.”

Robbins looked out the viewport, her gaze towards the region of space that once belong to the Federation but now lay in enemy hands. When she spoke, her voice was softer than he’d ever heard it, a hint of fear in her usually confident tone.

“Do you think we can help those people?”

Kanu suspected that the young officer wasn’t just talking about the inhabitants of Archanis or the other systems along the border, but rather everyone who had been caught up in the conflict so far and those who soon would be as well.

“I sincerely hope so,” he told her, unable to hide the doubt in his voice.

END
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Avatar: Captain Naya, U.S.S. Renown NCC-1415 [Star Trek: Four Years War]
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Old April 3 2015, 12:55 AM   #2
DarKush
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Re: Star Trek: Four Years War - Renown - Across The Line

A nice suspenseful little story. You packed a lot within a short amount of space.
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Old April 5 2015, 01:36 AM   #3
TheLoneRedshirt
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Location: The void between my ears
Re: Star Trek: Four Years War - Renown - Across The Line

Intense! That was a sweaty-palmed bit of espionage work. Kudos to Lt. Robbins who managed a magnificent bit of evasive flying in a strange craft while clad in green paint and little else!
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