UT:TFV - Part II - Scorched Earths

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Gibraltar, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    And the award for the best single line in this story so far goes to:

    “Yes, Commander,” Shanthi deadpanned. “I am hot cyber-death incarnate.”

    Also, Tiedermeyer is a bit of an idiot, isn't he? Either that or he still has a lot to learn. Preach, Pava, preach.
     
  2. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    UT:TFV - Part II - Scorched Earths (Chapter 4)

    Chapter 4

    What remained of the brutalized saucer section drifted away, lifeless and without power, as the drive section of the starship Galaxy left the greater mass of its former self behind.

    Yet another encountered with the enraged Voranti had resulted in the already battered saucer taking multiple hits from beam and missile weapons that had overwhelmed their failing shields. The three Voranti ships had taken significant damage themselves in the exchange, but all were still advancing on the increasingly battered Galaxy.

    Captain Scott had evacuated the last of her personnel to the drive section, to include Admiral Jellico and his staffers from the Taskforce Operations Center. Jellico wasn’t happy, but at least he was keeping his own counsel as to Scott’s command decisions regarding the continuing hostilities with the Voranti.

    Now she sat in the comparatively claustrophobic battle bridge, watching events unfold on the abbreviated forward viewer as they tried to outrun their persistent attackers.

    “Auto-separation complete, Captain,” Ops announced. “Saucer section is falling behind.”

    The Voranti squadron advanced, skirting the abandoned husk of the great disc as they maintained pursuit of the stardrive.

    “Open fire when they come in range,” Scott advised the Tactical officer. “Discontinue our efforts to knock out their weapons and engines, this has gone on too long,” she added grimly.

    “Kill shots, sir?” the lieutenant asked.

    “Affirmative,” Scott confirmed.

    As the retreating stardrive launched a wave of scintillating phaser fire and photon torpedoes at its pursuers, a glimmer of life returned to the discarded saucer section that now drifted behind the Voranti.

    The Voranti reinforced their forward shields to meet the stardrive’s onslaught, sapping power from their rearmost screens.

    The unexpected flight of quantum torpedoes from the saucer caught the Voranti by surprise, punching through their compromised aft deflectors to envelope each of the craft in a destructive corona of energy. All three vessels were annihilated in seconds, reduced to subatomic debris by the awesome conflagration.

    An incoming hail transformed into an image of Commander Worf occupying the center seat on Galaxy’s bridge. “Your gambit was a success, Captain,” Worf noted with approval.

    “We survived,” she countered tersely. “Having to destroy them wasn’t optimal.”

    Worf was unmoved by her reluctance. “We have shown restraint at each encounter, sir. They chose to back us into a corner, and they have suffered the consequences.”

    She accepted the logic of his argument grudgingly. “Perhaps so. Make preparations to reconnect with the drive section, Commander.”

    “Aye, Captain.”

    *****
     
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    The Voranti fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book. Of course playing possum takes on a whole new dimension when you've got a separable Galaxy-class ship to contend with.

    Of course the real victory here would be a peaceful resolution to this conflict born out of treachery and misunderstanding. Now that the Baron appears to be on the ropes, that may not be a pipe dream any longer. We'll see.
     
  4. TrekkieMonster

    TrekkieMonster Commodore Premium Member

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    Very nice. You completely fooled me. I thought you were going to blow up the saucer or something but, the way you so artfully crafted your narrative, it never occurred to me it might still be functional. In my head I heard a distinctive voice saying, "... and not so wounded as we were led to believe." :cool:
     
  5. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    UT:TFV - Part II - Scorched Earths (Chapter 4 continued)

    Chapter 4 <cont'd>

    His return to consciousness was languid, as though waking on a day off when no insistent alarm demanded his attention. He began to concentrate on the sounds around him, the hum of atmospherics, the gentle tones of medical diagnostic displays, and hushed conversations. Sickbay. He was in Sickbay. He tried to locate his last cogent memory, but his recollections were a fuzzy soup of fever dreams and bizarre mathematical equations whose purpose escaped him.

    “So,” a familiar voice asked from beside him, “how are you feeling?”

    Sandhurst cracked an eyelid to find Lar’ragos seated in a chair next to his biobed. He cleared his throat before murmuring, “What are you… doing here?”

    “I came to visit you,” Lar’ragos explained patiently, Sandhurst’s confusion evident.

    The captain craned his head, looking all around Sickbay. “Okay, then. What am I doing here?”

    “You called up to the bridge two days ago and announced that you’d finished your grand project. We were unable to raise you after that, and sent security to investigate. They found you unconscious in your cabin.”

    “My project?” Sandhurst looked lost.

    “You’ve apparently redesigned our warp propulsion system. You don’t remember that?”

    “Not really, no.” Sandhurst dropped his head back down onto the pillow. “It’s all a big, confusing blur.”

    “I’ll bet,” Lar’ragos replied. “It seems you’re suffering from a Grade-Amon hangover, sir.”

    “Yeah,” Sandhurst answered with a sigh. “Though, this is the most human I’ve felt since I returned.”

    “That makes sense,” Taiee’s voice intruded into the conversation as she appeared at the foot of the bed. “Your biometrics have all returned to normal, Captain. Whatever exotic energies your cellular structure had been marinating in while you were among the Amon appear to have been completely metabolized.”

    “I think you burned it all up in your five-day non-stop design extravaganza,” Lar’ragos added with a smirk.

    “Five days,” Sandhurst echoed numbly. “Without sleep?”

    “Apparently,” Taiee responded.

    Lar’ragos cast a glance over his shoulder towards a team of two Marines and two security personnel guarding the door to a secured ward. “You also took quite the souvenir, sir.”

    Sandhurst raised his arms, staring at the plastic-looking film of synthiskin coating both forearms. “Please tell me I wasn’t tattooing schematics on my own body.”

    “Uh… no.” Lar’ragos gave Taiee a look that requested privacy.

    “I’ll check back in on you later, sir,” Taiee said with her customary smile before stepping away.

    “You received some pretty horrific burns, Donald,” Lar’ragos revealed as Sandhurst looked up to meet his friend’s eyes.

    Sandhurst shook his head. “Did you guys let me phaser-weld or something while in my manic state?”

    Lar’ragos shook his head lightly. “No. The Baron paid you another visit. As it happened you were less hospitable to him this time than last.”

    Sandhurst merely stared at Lar’ragos, awaiting more details.

    “You apparently attacked and disabled him, though you suffered those injuries in the process. He’s being held in that secure ward just behind me.”

    As he tried to absorb this momentous news, Sandhurst mumbled. “He must be very unhappy.”

    “Very confused is more like it,” Lar’ragos conveyed. “I don’t think he knows where he is. Hell, from what my senses tell me, I don’t think the Baron genuinely knows who he is.”

    Sandhurst was skeptical. “I hit him that hard?”

    Lar’ragos chuckled at that. “In fact, you may have. We recovered some kind of headpiece that we think he was wearing when he transported aboard. Science and Engineering have looked it over, and the going theory is that it’s some kind of advanced cerebral data node. Without it, the bastard’s not much more than a drooling simpleton.”

    “Unless he’s playing you,” Sandhurst cautioned.

    “He’s not,” Lar’ragos countered. “I interrogated him thoroughly.”

    “Oh,” was all Sandhurst could think to say at that unwelcome revelation.

    Lar’ragos sighed. “Not like that. I spoke with him at length, and I detected no deception from him. He truly has no idea where he is or what’s happening to him. Taiee’s mapped his brain, and she confirms that somewhere in the vicinity of sixty-five percent of his memory-related neural structure has been compromised.”

    “By what?”

    “No idea,” Lar’ragos said with a shrug. “Whatever’s responsible, it’s no less than the monster deserves.”

    “Can’t argue that,” Sandhurst agreed, stifling a yawn.

    Lar’ragos raised a curious eyebrow. “You want to see him?”

    There was no hesitation in Sandhurst’s drowsy response. “No. I’m not ready for that just yet.”

    “Okay,” Lar’ragos said with a supportive smile. He sensed Sandhurst’s growing weariness and moved to leave his friend to sleep.

    “Pava,” Sandhurst reached out to grasp the sleeve of Lar’ragos’ uniform, stopping the man in his tracks.

    Lar'ragos glanced back. “Yes, sir?”

    “I’m glad you were the one to tell me,” Sandhurst said awkwardly as he sank towards unconsciousness.

    “Always, Captain-my-captain.”

    *****

    “Are we every happy to see you,” Captain Scott said with a tired smile.

    “The feeling’s mutual,” T’Ser replied, her voice tinged with relief. “We’re standing ready to beam over engineering and medical teams. What’s your status?”

    “It’s bad,” Scott admitted. “Most of the saucer section is uninhabitable, our warp nacelle is still compromised, and we’ve got more hull breaches than I can count. We’ve exhausted our supply of quantum torpedoes, and we’ve launched so many photons we’ve nearly emptied our anti-matter reserves. We’ve lost eighty-seven killed, and another two-hundred and seventeen injured.”

    T’Ser’s eyes narrowed in an unconscious gesture of shared loss. “Our Sickbay facilities stand ready to accept as many of your wounded as you need to offload, Captain. Our industrial replicator is busy fashioning components for a new warp drive, but we can put that on hold while we replicate whatever repair provisions you require.”

    Scott nodded gratefully. “I appreciate it, Captain. It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to get us back to a mission-ready footing. We’ve crunched the numbers, and with your assistance, I think we can restore enough operability to Galaxy in the next week that we can make it back to our warp-sled for more substantive repairs.”

    “Understood,” T’Ser replied. “Be advised that the first wave of crew/cargo-modules has arrived, so you’ll have some replacement personnel awaiting you in stasis at the sled.”

    “That’ll help,” Scott said morosely. “God knows we’ve lost more than our fair share.”

    Loath as she was to bring up the subject, T’Ser inquired, “Seeing as there are still numerous Voranti ship in the area actively looking for us, what should our response be if we’re attacked again?”

    “I’ve consulted with Admiral Jellico, and he agrees that we’ve exercised as much restraint as we can, under the circumstances. Any further hostile contact with the Voranti will be met with immediate lethal force, up to and including authorized use of our Alpha Weapons stores.”

    T’Ser nodded once, curtly, saying, “I understand, Captain. However, we suspect that the Voranti’s animosity is due to a rogue Starfleet vessel that attacked their fleet some weeks prior to your First Contact encounter with them. I’m transmitting the details over to you now.”

    Scott’s eyes darted from the viewer to a nearby display as she scanned the incoming data. “Defiant-class,” she noted. “That explains a lot,” she observed wryly. “Have we tried explaining that to the Voranti?”

    “We tried,” T’Ser explained. “They weren’t in a listening mood.”

    “That makes what we’ll have to do all the more tragic,” Scott said, her expression hardening.

    “Indeed, Captain,” T’Ser agreed heavily. The fourth pip on her collar suddenly seemed to weigh several metric tons.

    *****
     
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    Sandhurst appears to be back. For good? Who knows. Tellingly he doesn't remember anything he's done over the last few days so let's hope the Baron is truly defeated as there might not be an encore ass-kicking. Something tells me another card is to be played here.

    The real challenge for T'Ser and Scott is if they can find a way not to have to kill every last Voranti out there.
     
  7. TrekkieMonster

    TrekkieMonster Commodore Premium Member

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    Wow. A lot going on here. I agree with CeJay regarding the Voranti, but I can't help suspecting that their greater challenge will be dealing with an avenging Liana Ramirez seeking the return of her "mentor".

    And that was a very nice little scene between Donald and Pava. Perhaps we're seeing a bit of a resurrection of their long-standing friendship.

    I must say that I was very interested to see that there was, indeed, a bit of a "Spock's Brain" Teacher element to Sandhurst's creative fugue state. I like the tip of the hat to TOS ... and am straining my arm just a little patting myself on the back for recognizing the potential plot point you had in mind; especially since your thinking so completely eluded me in the previous section. :lol:
     
  8. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    UT:TFV - Part II - Scorched Earths (Chapter 4 continued)

    Chapter 4 <cont'd>

    “Captain to the bridge,” Lightner called out, his voice carefully controlled. “The Voranti have found us.”

    It had been nearly a week since Galaxy and Europa had rendezvoused inside the nebula, and in that time the engineering teams of both ships had worked tirelessly to patch the larger vessel as best they could.

    T’Ser strode out of the ready room, moving to slide into the command chair as Lar’ragos gracefully vacated it.

    Shanthi spoke up from the Science station. “I’m detecting eight confirmed Voranti ships, and another possible six in what looks to be a potential envelopment maneuver at the edge of our sensor range.”

    T’Ser remained expressionless as she toggled the comms to Galaxy’s bridge. “Captain Scott, we’ve detected inbound Voranti hostiles. Eight confirmed, six more probable. We’re sending you our sensor telemetry.”

    “Acknowledged, Europa,” Scott confirmed via audio. “We’re initiating auto-separation sequencing now. I’ll be commanding the saucer-section while Commander Worf heads up the battle-section. We’ll need the saucer’s additional torpedoes and phaser arrays.”

    On the verge of arguing the point, T’Ser accepted the logic that with Galaxy’s starboard warp nacelle still under repair, there was no outrunning the Voranti at impulse. “Understood, Galaxy. Europa, out.”

    She exchanged a brief, grim look with Lar’ragos who was seated to her right before activating the intraship and ordering, “All hands, stand to battle stations. Support personnel assemble at secondary action stations and prepare for emergency medical response and damage control duties.”

    T’Ser called back to Verrik at the Tactical arch. “I want a full spread of photons loaded fore and aft. We’ll save our remaining quantums for when their shields are depleted to twenty percent or lower.”

    Ashok surrendered the Engineering console to an enlisted rating and addressed the captain as he moved for the aft turbolift. “I’ll be monitoring the reactor core personally, sir. I would remind you that even with Captain Sandhurst’s assistance, the existing reactor assembly is still very fragile and prone to stress-related damage.”

    “Copy that,” T’Ser replied. “We’ll try our best to minimize the strain on the core, Lieutenant.”

    The two starships thus became three, maneuvering back to back into a triangular formation, facing outward towards their incoming opponents.

    On Captain Scott’s command, a repeating message was broadcast from all three vessels, explaining the unfortunate circumstances leading up to the lethal misunderstanding that now threatened to consume all of them in a catastrophic spasm of violence. If the Voranti heard and understood the transmission, they gave no indication.

    Despite Starfleet’s protests and warnings, the Voranti fleet crossed the invisible line in the sand that Scott had drawn at five-hundred kilometers distance from them. Still, they waited for the aquatic species to initiate hostilities, so that posterity could record that the Federation did not begin what might well be the final battle of the Voranti people.

    At four-hundred twenty kilometers, the Voranti unlimbered their weapons and opened fire.

    Europa’s phasers fanned out in lightening-quick succession, intercepting and destroying over ninety percent of the incoming missiles targeted on the explorer. Verrik replied with a brace of photons that savaged the forward shields of three incoming cruisers and left a smaller patrol craft adrift, holed amidships.

    Now Verrik modulated the ship’s phaser resources, tasking some at lower power to automated missile intercept, while others were directed at full power to hammer the deflectors of the approaching craft.

    The Voranti’s advance was vigorous, fueled by their righteous anger and heart-rending loss, while Starfleet’s defense was a dispassionate counterpoint. The starships engaged in a mechanically efficient application of force that selectively whittled down the numerical strength of their opponents by exploiting weaknesses as they appeared.

    While the Voranti people had engaged in many running battles during their long sojourn from deep in the heart of the Delta Quadrant, and had proved quite successful in these engagements, they had never been forced into a cauldron of misery and destruction the likes of which Starfleet had survived in the Dominion War. Starfleet, despite all its protestations to the contrary, had become very good at killing when it proved necessary.

    Volleys of photon and quantum torpedoes raced outwards to sunder the second wave of Voranti ships, which by now were forced to evade the glowing wreckage of their first wave of comrades during their approach.

    T’Ser stood from her chair, her arms folded defensively across her chest as she watched the slaughter unfold. She sensed Lar’ragos rising to stand beside her. “They’re not going to stop, are they?” she asked him in a low tone.

    “No, Captain. They’re not,” he replied with just the right amount of regret in his voice. “If we allow this to go on much longer, they’ll realize it’s a lost cause. Then they’ll move to ram us, perhaps at warp speed.”

    T’Ser offered the smallest of nods in response. Taking a breath, she called out, “Computer, release level two safeties on Weapon Alpha One, authorization T’Ser-Tango-Charlie-Bravo-Seven-Oh-Five-One.”

    'Alpha Weapon level two safeties disengaged,’ the computer replied obediently. ’Enter command authorization to deactivate level one safeties and to arm Weapon Alpha One.'

    She did so via manual input on the XO’s console.

    'Code accepted, level one safeties disengaged. Weapon Alpha One is now armed. Enter executive officer counter-authorization to initiate weapons release for firing.'


    “Recognize Lieutenant Commander Pava Lar’ragos, launch authorization Aedeph-Nu’ar-Nox-It’zeam.”

    'Code accepted. Weapon Alpha One has been loaded into forward tube one and is ready for launch.'

    Lar’ragos took a step back, giving T’Ser the room, both physically and psychologically, necessary to make the decision to employ one of the Federation’s new nightmare devices.

    There was a brief pause during which the bridge was illuminated by the violent death throes of yet another Voranti ship meeting its end in anti-matter fueled entropy.

    “Mister Verrik,” T’Ser said slowly, drawing out each syllable. “Your target is the three vessel squadron at coordinates two-zero-nine, mark zero-four-zero.”

    “Target locked,” he answered crisply.

    “Fire Weapon Alpha One,” she commanded.

    The launch tube cycled and Verrik announced, “Weapon is away.”

    Seconds passed as the viewer’s tactical overlay traced the device’s trajectory towards its targets. Some fifty kilometers out from the three Voranti craft, the weapon cylinder stopped dead in space, converting its momentum into a single burst of energy that was invisible to the naked humanoid eye. The overlay registered a briefly lived sphere of gravimetric shear that encompassed all three ships for perhaps one-tenth of a second.

    The visual image of the Voranti formation was marred by a distortive flicker. For a moment, T’Ser’s eyes struggled to identify what she was seeing as the ships slowly but surely began to lose cohesion, dissolving into a micro-molecular cloud of constituent elements. They crumbled like day old sandcastles in gale-force winds.

    T’Ser appeared momentarily horrified, while Lar’ragos looked intrigued.

    “The three ships in the targeted area have been… completely neutralized,” Shanthi said quietly, not daring to look up from his sensor display.

    “Remaining Voranti vessels are coming about and executing evasive patterns, Captain,” Verrik advised.

    “Maintain fire with conventional weapons,” Lar’ragos ordered after a long moment in the face of T’Ser’s awkward silence.

    T’Ser retreated silently to her chair, sitting with exaggerated carefulness, her attention clearly someplace else.

    “Signal Galaxy that we are engaging a pursuit course if they should care to join us,” Lar’ragos instructed

    *****
     
  9. Blip

    Blip Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    *gasp*

    I can imagine T'Ser must feel... simply shattered by the weight of what she has just done.
     
  10. TrekkieMonster

    TrekkieMonster Commodore Premium Member

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    Wow. Just wow.

    Where to start. First, I love the relationship you're developing between Pava and T'Ser. It is unique and very different from Pava's relationship with Donald, and entirely distinct from T'Ser's relationship with Joseph.

    Another thing I liked very much is how ... detached (for lack of a better word) ... and how "technically" you portrayed the entire confrontation, but especially the use of the Alpha Weapon. The simplicity of the narrative and the almost rote aspect of the crew's actions very effectively set in high relief the import of the acts themselves and, in a very interesting way, actually emphasized the emotional impact on the players.

    I read it through twice and was affected quite strongly both times.

    Well done, as always.
     
  11. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yeah, she's more than a little conflicted right now.

    Thanks for commenting! :)

    I'm glad that came across. :D I wanted to convey how easily these Dominion War veterans revert to their wartime experience, going in to a kind of 'autopilot' where combat is concerned.

    They may feel regret at their actions later, but in the moment they're very effective killers. The Klingons would be proud.
     
  12. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

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    What I really liked in this last segment was the rationale behind why Starfleet would ultimately come out of the fight victorious. Not reading merely another space battle sequence or hearing about how some weapons are more powerful than others, but drilling down to Starfleet's experience and the scary thought that yes, in fact, they have become exceedingly good at killing if they are left with no other choice.

    You Romulans and Klingons and all other 'tough' races out there who believe Starfleet to be soft. Take note.
     
  13. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

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    I'm not sure how I feel about the way Starfleet has conducted itself in this story so far. They're a too close to today's military for my taste.

    But as usual, well written with good character development and scenes that resonate. I also expect Ramirez to surface and it won't be pretty. :(
     
  14. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    That's the unfortunate truth. Starfleet has been forced to change to fit the times... and as we know, times are hard. And so Starfleet must be as well.

    Thanks for the review!

    And yes, Starfleet's mission in the Delta Quadrant is a military one. Exploration and contact with alien life play their part in Operation Vanguard, but both are secondary to the goal of protecting the Alpha Quadrant from being overrun.
     
  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    UT:TFV - Part II - Scorched Earths (Chapter 4 continued)

    Chapter 4 <cont'd>

    USS Europa


    With Admiral Jellico’s permission, the rout continued until Europa had successfully scattered the remaining Voranti ships farther into the heart of the nebula. There the cloud’s increased density would blind their sensors, jam their communications, and leave them confused and isolated long enough for the starships to make their escape.

    T’Ser had beaten a hasty retreat to her ready room, leaving Lar’ragos in command as she fought to find her emotional equilibrium. She had half expected the experimental weapon to malfunction, and despite what Starfleet Tactical R&D had boasted of as ‘unprecedented destructive potential’ T’Ser hadn’t been prepared for the almost casual lethality of the device.

    Before the vessels were out of range, Lar’ragos toggled the communications relay and broadcast, “This is Europa to the Voranti. We did not seek this conflict. We tried to explain to you that the Starfleet ship that originally attacked you was a rogue vessel, acting against our codes of conduct. You would not listen. When you attacked, we showed restraint, disabling your ships instead of destroying them. Still you came in overwhelming numbers until you forced our hand. Do not approach us again. We will not pursue your people, but if you come for us seeking conflict again, death is what awaits you.”

    Lightner cast a look over his shoulder from the Helm console, his expression a mix of wonder and more than a hint of intimidation. “You’ve got quite the gift with words, Commander.”

    Lar’ragos didn’t respond in kind to the mock joviality of Lightner’s observation. “It’s a lesson I dearly hope we won’t have to repeat,” he said with unaccustomed solemnity.

    “Sir,” Verrik addressed Lar’ragos. “We’ve lost sensor contact with the last of the Voranti ships.”

    “Very well,” Lar’ragos assessed. “I want gravitic mines with photon-yield warheads dropped in our wake. If they try and backtrack in order to attack us again, they’ll be in for a rude surprise.”

    “Time delay, sir?” Verrik inquired, concerned with leaving ordinance behind for a prolonged period that might inadvertently hurt someone other than the Voranti.

    “Set them to detonate in one-hundred twenty hours if they haven’t gone off by then.” He gestured to Lightner off-handedly. “Brett, take us back to Galaxy, best speed.”

    *****

    USS Masada

    “Status of Galaxy?” Ramirez inquired.

    “Their shields are hovering near fifty percent, sir,” answered Gavin, one of the few original Starfleet crew from Masada left alive.

    The Baron’s mental conditioning of these lesser subjects had been much less elaborate than hers, cruder and less delicately performed. Inevitably it resulted in neural degradation, madness, and death after less than a year.

    The rest of her bridge crew was comprised of various Delta Quadrant aliens, an assortment of brigands, mercenaries, and otherwise innocent wayfarers who’d fell prey to the compact warship.

    Ramirez stood and stretched, no longer clad in her ubiquitous uniform. She wore a long, dark leather duster-like coat over a tight-fitting black top beneath a tactical vest whose pockets were filled with a veritable arsenal of the Baron’s lethal toys. Leather-like form fitting leggings that offered surprising mobility trailed down to tall yet fashionable combat boots. A gun belt adorned her waist, supporting two menacing looking disruptor pistols of questionable provenance.

    She gestured to a smaller, bespectacled human dressed in anachronistic 19th century Terran clothes who was seated at an auxiliary console. “Let’s go pay our friends a visit, shall we?”

    The man stood, evidencing no enthusiasm. “As you wish.”

    She cast a look back at Gavin. “As soon as we’ve decloaked, hit them with the chronometric cannon. We’ll pop over and chat up the good admiral while they’re sorting themselves out.” She chucked the smaller man on the shoulder with a playful fist. “Come on, it’ll be fun!”

    Gavin appeared troubled. “Captain, we haven’t tested the weapon sufficiently since we slaved it to the navigational deflector. It may not work as intended.”

    “Then we’ll improvise,” she replied confidently, stepping into the ‘lift with her companion and vanishing behind the closing doors.

    The smaller man looked to Ramirez, his expression unreadable. “Our master is not aboard Galaxy. This attack is of no strategic value to us.”

    “The value, my too-linear friend, is that to strike dread into the hearts of our enemies, we must keep them off balance. My plan will do that by simultaneously decapitating their command structure and sewing panic and confusion into their rank and file. I used to serve this organization, and I know better than anyone how to disrupt it.”

    “And if our master is killed in the meantime?” he pressed.

    Ramirez laughed. “He couldn’t be in better hands. Sandhurst will bend over backwards to treat the Baron with care, if only to try and prove he’s the better man.”

    He observed, “An unwarranted gamble, and a reckless one.”

    The pair stepped out of the lift, walking a short ways to a cramped transporter room filled with large, heavily armed men with foul dispositions and questionable personal hygiene. “The debate is over. We attack.” She turned to address one of the brigands. “Don’t forget the morphic field generator.” Ramirez smiled broadly. “I don’t know how many of you knuckle-draggers paid any attention in school, but we’re going to be having some fun with science!”

    *****
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2012
  16. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    UT:TFV - Part II - Scorched Earths (Chapter 4 continued)

    Chapter 4 <cont'd>

    Main Bridge, USS Galaxy


    The chronometric blast from Masada’s main deflector was unlike anything Galaxy’s already taxed shields had been designed to withstand. Sub-atomic dissonance ensued, with individual protons shifting into the future as others vanished into the distant past. Unable to maintain cohesion in the face of this temporal flux, the shields collapsed, leaving the starship vulnerable to Masada’s formidable weaponry.

    The escort’s pulse phasers flared, the bolts tearing through the abused superstructure of the saucer and opening gaping wounds atop the recently patched hull-breaches caused by the Voranti. Atmosphere and bodies erupted into the void, which was then lit by the crimson flash of a photon torpedo that shot forth to consume Galaxy’s starboard nacelle.

    As the shattered nacelle and it’s pylon spun away trailing drive plasma, a quantum warhead punched through the vulnerable neck of the stardrive section, wrecking the forward torpedo launcher before burrowing down into the engineering decks and detonating in a potent electromagnetic blast that blew out every power waveguide and corrupted most of the ODN network throughout the vessel.

    It was into this maelstrom of sizzling circuitry, buckling superstructure and flickering emergency lights that Liana Ramirez and her assault team materialized.

    Worf was bent at the waist, checking the unmoving Captain Scott’s carotid artery for a pulse when Ramirez regained solidity. The Klingon glanced up, his hand already moving with admirable quickness to the miniature phaser concealed inside his baldric. Ramirez’s disruptors were already extended in both hands, and she blew Worf off his feet with blast to his abdomen. Ramirez’s next shot decapitated a crew member as the woman rose from behind her console to engage the intruders.

    The boarding party used the Starfleet crew’s confusion and surprise to maximum advantage, and in less than thirty seconds the intruders’ weapons had silenced all opposition. Ramirez turned to the strange man in the anachronistic clothes and directed him towards the power distribution node in the port side computer trunks. “Hook the morphic generator up there, and set the timer for five minutes.”

    She called two of the mercenaries over to her, then touched a control affixed to her wrist causing the three of them to vanish.

    The man approached the trunk access panel, tearing the cover off as he set the exotic looking cylindrical device on the floor. He began attaching interface nodes into what little operable circuitry remained, joining them to the generator with optic cable.

    Behind him, Worf sprang to his feet without warning, driving his hatchet-like mek’leth into the back of the nearest brigand, severing the man’s spinal column and lacerating numerous vital organs. As the pirate collapsed, Worf lashed out with a leg to sweep another of the intruders off his feet before wheeling around to face the puzzled looking man in the charcoal gray town coat.

    Though Worf didn’t recognize the device in question, he made a split-second judgment that whatever it was, it wasn’t good. He jerked his mek’leth free from the dying man on the floor and swung an overhead strike down towards the individual attaching it to Galaxy’s systems.

    The man threw up his arm in a reflexive but clearly futile defensive gesture. There was a bone-jarring *crack* as the razor-keen blade sliced cleanly through the man’s sleeve to make contact with the crystalline composite that made up his outer dermal layer.

    Worf struggled to maintain a grip on the blade’s handle as the shock of the impact translated through his arms. His first thought was that the man was wearing some manner of concealed armor. The Klingon moved to reinforce his grip on his weapon and switch targets to the man’s unprotected head, but before he could strike the unassuming looking human drove an open hand into Worf’s chest that launched the warrior into the air and sent him soaring across the bridge to slam heavily into a console on the far starboard bulkhead.

    The nuisance having been neutralized, the android Parlan turned back to the computer trunk and resumed his work.

    *****
     
  17. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Just when you thought it was over ...

    I feel sorry for the crew of the Galaxy. Like they haven't been through enough already. Now the newly crowned Master of Evil, Liana Ramirez, is after them too. And with much more deadly precision and dispassionate ruthlessness than the Voranti could ever muster.

    This. Will. End. Badly.
     
  18. Count Zero

    Count Zero Says who? Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    European Union
    I think this has already ended badly for most of the Galaxy's crew. I'm intrigued by the newly introduced character, Parlan. Is this his first appearance or did I overlook him earlier?
     
  19. Cobalt Frost

    Cobalt Frost Captain Captain

    Holy cow!
     
  20. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    CeJay, unfortunately, I think that's a very good bet.

    This is Parlan's first appearance in this story. However, the character appeared previously in my story Geometries of Chance.

    No cow, no matter how holy, can help them now! :devil: