Starship Essex #1 - Take Notice

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Rat Boy, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. Count Zero

    Count Zero No nation but procrastination Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Location:
    European Union
    I also thought there would be something on the planet. Very bad timing - or very good one on the part of the Klingons. I suspect they were following the Essex. So, now Dumont will have to show her command skills.
     
  2. Esirprus

    Esirprus Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2015
    Location:
    Our galaxy is good enough
    I don't have time to read the whole thing. But it's definitely interesting. I prefer looking to the future in ny writing. But I'm hoping for a CBS contract. But I like your writing style. Too verbose at first. But as you got into the dialogue it got better.
     
  3. Rat Boy

    Rat Boy Vice Admiral Admiral

    Chapter Eighteen






    Over the third planet of System G-181 the sleek and deadly shape of a Klingon D7 battle cruiser continued to approach the starship Essex. The Federation starship had started to break orbit to face the surprise intruder; her stern facing the planet and her main phaser banks and photon torpedo tubes trained towards the incoming hostile. But on the planet’s surface, Captain Sean Thorton was unable to do anything about it. He cursed himself for many reasons: not anticipating an encounter with the Klingons this far into deep space, not being on the bridge when the Essex was going to battle stations. Thorton had wondered since beaming down if his first officer felt almost helpless up in orbit and unable to affect matters on the ground. Now the situation was reversed starkly.

    “Captain,” Dumont said over the communicator, “we can still beam you aboard if…”

    “Negative, Exec!” he interrupted. “Do whatever is necessary to defend the ship. Leave orbit and get some maneuvering room, if you have to. Do I make myself clear, Commander?”

    “Perfectly, sir.”

    “Good luck, Thorton out.”

    “Now what?” asked Doc said as the captain returned the communicator to his belt, who was probably hoping that history wasn’t going to repeat itself in the landing party finding themselves trapped on the planet for the next four days or longer.

    “Everyone into the woods!” Thorton ordered sharply. Okug, Gregg, and Sharif needed little encouragement as they quickly sprinted towards the trees with the three most senior officers of the landing party jogging behind them.

    “Captain, the woods will not protect us if the Klingons fire on us from orbit,” Thalla pointed out.

    “Yeah, but if we can get to that magnetic anomaly of yours, we might be able to hide from their sensors. Keep a five meter spread and set your phasers to stun; Thalla, take point.” Each of them did so with the captain trailing right behind her. He removed his pistol from his belt and double checked to ensure it was on a non-lethal setting, knowing full well that Klingons didn’t believe in such measures.

    “I believe the anomaly will confuse their sensors, but only briefly; we will have a better chance of being concealed from an enemy landing party,” commented the science officer, who was the closest to where the captain had situated himself. For a moment Thorton thought that their tactical situation was somewhat bleak; only three phaser 2’s among the group against who knew how many Klingon disruptor weapons and only two officers to his knowledge with combat experience: himself and Doc. “That is if they deem it necessary to send one.”

    “Noted,” he commented. If for no other reason, this at least gave the landing party something to focus on other than whatever was going on in orbit. Not that Captain Thorton could distract himself from it…

    …Meanwhile, on the bridge of the Essex, Astrid Dumont had tuned out the high-pitched blaring of the red alert siren from almost the moment it sounded. She was also cursing herself not being more diligent in preparing for a scenario like this. With all the warnings from other starships and vessels about encounters with the Klingons trickling in over the past month, it was in hindsight foolish to assume that such showdown would not be possible and worse with the captain off of the ship.

    “All decks report battle stations manned, Commander,” Ortiz reported.

    “Deflectors at full power,” reported Boone.

    “All phaser banks energized and photon torpedoes standing by,” added Fatima.

    “Any reply to our hails, Mr. Ortiz?” Dumont asked.

    “Negative, Commander, they’re refusing all challenges.”

    “And why shouldn’t they?” Yang half-muttered. “Not like we own the place yet.”

    “He’s entering weapons range,” warned Boone. At sublight speeds, weapons ranges were obviously far shorter than at warp. Furthermore, a fight within a star system, let alone confined to the orbit of a planet, was a precarious proposition, giving the advantage to an attacking ship approaching a vessel that had surrendered to the gravitational forces of the body they were above. A starship like the Essex was sluggish in maneuvering at impulse speeds, practically a sitting duck without some of cover like a moon or planetary ring to put between them and their attacker. Unfortunately, in order to engage warp drive, the Essex would have to put some distance between her and the gravity well of the planet and that of course would mean abandoning the landing party. Even if Dumont had been ordered to do so, she wasn’t going to make that her first maneuver of this encounter.

    And perhaps that was the Klingon commander’s plan, for almost as soon as the helmsman made his last announcement, the forward port of the Klingon ship started to glow a bright red, indicating that it was arming photon torpedoes. Two warheads fired out and headed directly for the Essex; the force of the impact of one of the torpedoes sent the entire bridge lurching forward at a sheer angle.

    Dumont and Yang were both tossed to the deck, the first officer nearly colliding with the chief engineer near a railing as the lights momentarily dimmed to near blackness. Once the inertial dampeners finally caught up, the bridge “righted” itself. Picking herself up off of the floor gingerly and with the aid of the red railing, Dumont used her free hand to assist Yang with getting back on her feet.

    “Commander, number 4 shield is gone and we’re losing power to number 3!” Sarkeesian warned.

    “We have some damage in the engineering section,” added Yang. “Reading minor power losses. Attempting to bypass…”

    “If they’re using photons, then they’re not bloody well fartin’ about,” Boone remarked, his accent more pronounced under duress. “They’re tryin’ ta kill us!”

    “Fire up the warp engines; factor one,” Dumont said sharply before sitting back down in the captain’s chair. If they Klingons were out to severely damage or even destroy the Essex now, she’d have to take the proverbial gloves off as well.

    “We’re leaving them behind?” asked the chief engineer.

    “You heard the captain’s orders. Let’s get some room to maneuver.”

    “Assuming we survive this…”

    “Warp 1, Commander,” Boone replied. The Essex’s main engines revved loudly, louder than normal to Dumont’s ear even though it had been a while since the warp drive had been activated. The starship snapped away from the planet and the attacking cruiser with a bright flash, but the first officer could tell something didn’t feel right. “Engines answering but she’s sluggish.”

    “Cass?”

    “We have some damage in the engineering spaces; something shorted out down there when we cut in warp drive,” she replied. “I’d better get down there…”

    “Nothing like going into battle with a limp,” the first officer remarked dryly as the engineer dashed into the turbolift.

    “The Klingons have engaged warp drive, Commander,” warned Sarkeesian. “Speed is now warp 3; they’ll be back within weapons range in twenty seconds.”

    “Warp 4, Mr. Boone,” Dumont ordered, but that of course assumed the engines were presently capable of that speed. “Lieutenant Nourredine, compute a course out of the system that’ll loop us back towards the target and lock weapons.”

    “Phasers and torpedoes locked on target, Commander,” Fatima replied. “Course set.”

    “We’re getting to warp 4, but she’s not accelerating like she’s supposed to,” Boone replied. Dumont found herself frowning in frustration when she normally tried not to visibly display her emotions during a crisis situation. The first shot from the Klingons had hobbled his ship and in space combat, speed and maneuverability were as essential as charged weapons and raised shields. “Now exiting the system’s limits.”

    “Give us a wide starboard turn, Mr. Boone,” the commander ordered. She doubted with the engines in the state they were in that the Essex would be a match for the Klingons in a turning battle even more so than normal. “Can you get the number 4 shield back up, Lieutenant Sarkeesian?”

    “I’ve attempted to tie in auxiliary power, Commander,” the acting science officer replied, “however I’ve only barely been able to restore number 3 as it is.”

    “He’s coming back into firing range,” warned the navigator. The Klingons didn’t waste any time as green pulses shot out from their warp engines towards the Federation ship, slamming into the Essex’s stern. While not as severe of a kick as a torpedo impact, it did give the bridge a decent shake.

    “Return fire!” Dumont ordered.

    “Phasers, fire!” The whoosh of the actuators echoed across the bridge and twin electric blue beams shot out from the underside of the Essex’s primary hull, striking the port side of the D7’s rear section as he continued to turn.

    “A hit, Commander,” Sarkeesian reported. “Minor damage to their number 4 shield.”

    “Helm, maintain your turn and increase to warp 5. Stand by photon torpedoes 1 and 2.”

    “Aye sir,” Boone replied, though frustration kicked in about a second later. “I’m getting only about warp four point six and she’s steering like a boulder!”

    Angrily, Dumont tapped the intercom toggle on the chair. “Engineering, what’s going on with the warp drive?”

    “Minor damage to them, probably from when they torpedoed us,” Yang replied. “This is about as much speed as I can give you, but maneuvering’s down to about a third of normal!”

    “Helm, reduce to warp 4.5. We’ll have to trade speed for maneuverability.”

    “Aye Commander,” he replied and the Essex finally started to move a little smoother. “It’s better, but still sluggish.”

    “They could still dance around us at warp 6,” Fatima half muttered just as the Klingons unleashed another disruptor volley.

    “Then let’s step on their toes,” the first officer concluded. “Fire phasers…!”

    … Meanwhile, back in the forest of the third planet, Sean Thorton was mentally ordering himself to not look skyward despite the futility of attempting to see into space through the planet’s atmosphere. Minutes had ticked by without any word from the Essex; the status of the standoff above completely unknown. Certainly if one of the ship’s had been destroyed by a breach of the antimatter pods, the flash of the explosion would have pierced through the midday sky. But so far nothing. Thorton’s ship was up there facing its Klingon counterpart without him where he needed to be on the bridge, facing the danger with his crew following him.

    “I shouldn’t have beamed down here,” he whispered to himself as they traversed deeper into the forest.

    “There was no way to know, sir,” Thalla replied quietly, though it did little to stop him from mentally kicking his backside repeatedly.

    “It’s my ship, Lieutenant; my responsibility. My place is on the bridge, not leading an expedition to study plants and animals.”

    “Regulations do not forbid you from doing so, Captain.”

    “Yeah, well, if this gets any worse they might change that,” he half grumbled. “Then some day my wife will be teaching cadets about the ‘Thorton Directive…’”

    “Captain!” Sharif announced suddenly. Thorton turned to see the geologist glancing at his tricorder’s screen. “I think I’ve localized the source of that magnetic anomaly.”

    “Is this really the time to rock hunt, Lieutenant?” grumbled Chief Okug.

    “Being closer to the center of the distortion will provide us a better screen against enemy scans,” Thalla said as she started to consult her tricorder. “Confirmed, I have a fix on the source; three hundred meters from our present position. Readings indicate…refined metal.”

    “What?” asked Gregg.

    “I thought the readings said there wasn’t any sentient life on this planet,” Parker added.

    “I guess someone must have visited here before we did,” the captain noted. And perhaps the Klingons if the situation in space took a turn for the worse. “Come on, let’s keep moving.”

    As the landing party continued onward, Thorton felt a breeze cut through the forest, a cold one that hinted at the possible threat of a looming snow storm. He looked up through what few gaps in the trees there were to see bright white clouds starting to blot the blue sky. He couldn’t help as much as he tried not to avoid doing so to see if he could peer into space and to know if his ship and crew were all right…

    …and Astrid Dumont would find confirming her captain’s unspoken question difficult at the moment. Both the Essex and her Klingon opponent had traded several more phaser and disruptor barrages, like prize fighters hammering each other with body blows, though nothing with sufficient force to knock the other down for the count. But as the next volley of enemy disruptors slammed into the Essex, it was becoming clear that the blows were taking their toll.

    “Number 3 shield is weakening, Commander,” Sarkeesian warned. “Another hit and we’ll lose them.”

    “Return fire, phasers only,” Dumont ordered. Unfortunately, with the Essex’s maneuverability hampered, she couldn’t unleash a full spread of photon torpedoes if she wanted to; the chance of missing would increase sharply.

    “Phasers, fire!” Another burst of the Essex’s primary weapons struck the D7’s aft section again and lingered momentarily before the phaser banks completed their discharge. “Direct hit, sir!”

    “They’ve lost their number 4 shield, Captain,” Sarkeesian said with what out of the corner of the first officer’s eye appeared to be a prideful smirk. “Minor damage to their number 3.”

    “Our turning rates are starting to match up, sir,” Boone stated.

    “We may have damaged their warp drive,” noted Dumont. “And if memory serves, Klingon disruptors run directly off of their warp engines. Damage them enough and they lose speed, maneuverability, and firepower.”

    “They still have photon torpedoes, Commander, and the willingness to use them,” commented the navigator.

    “Then let’s finish this,” the acting captain concluded. “Set phasers to maximum power; target their warp engines only.”

    “Engines targeted, Commander. Phaser capacitors at full.”

    “Fire.”

    “Phasers, fire!” The actuators whooshed again, but before the deadly crimson beams could erupt from the underside of the underside of the Essex’s main hull, the bridge lights flickered momentarily and there was a crackling sound quickly followed by the smell of ozone, the scent of something burning and thus going very wrong. “Phaser malfunction!”

    “Circuit overload, Commander!” Sarkeesian announced loudly before diving to an access panel below her station. Dumont turned to see sparks and flames along with a cloud of smoke coming from the panel she had torn off. “Total burnout. Overload appears to originate from below decks.”

    “How soon before we can repair it?” asked the first officer.

    “Not soon enough; look,” Boone warned. On the view screen, the Klingon ship was completing a turn to bring its bow and main weapons to bear on the Essex again. Dumont could almost see their torpedo port glowing again; another direct hit with a full spread could cripple the ship beyond repair.

    “I recommend firing a torpedo spread before they can, Commander,” Fatima said over her shoulder. “Even one hit would cripple them with the shields in their condition.”

    “Or destroy them outright, Lieutenant,” Dumont countered with concern in her voice. And there was a line that the acting captain hesitated a moment about crossing. While skirmishes between the Federation and Klingon forces had become unfortunately commonplace of late, engagements between ships had largely been inconclusive. Casualties had been sustained, certainly, and smaller vessels had been severely damage, battle between ships of the line had never gotten to that point. Hundreds had yet to be killed in a single engagement and the destruction of even one D7 would have lasting repercussions for the state of affairs of the galaxy.

    By the same token, though, so would the destruction of the Essex; the safety of the ship and the crew had to be of paramount concern. Defend them and let the rest sort itself out later. “Very well. Lieutenant Nourredine, photon torpedoes, full spread. Fire when ready.”

    “Aye Commander. Torpedoes, fire!” The actuators sounded again, twice for each warhead hurled at the Klingon vessel. The first missed cleanly, but the second struck the target and blasted through the other side of the cruiser’s hull before detonating, sending the Klingon ship careening out of control; the command section and boom being the portions of the ship drifting most dramatically. Boone and Fatima exchanged pleased looks right in front of the first officer, though he took no pleasure in what he had just done.

    “Status of target,” Dumont requested calmly.

    “Target’s number 3 and 2 shields obliterated, Commander,” Sarkeesian replied from the scanner scope. “Sensors indicate heavy damage to their engineering spaces. They would appear to be adrift.”

    “I think we’ve got him,” Boone concluded, albeit perhaps prematurely.

    “Recommend we use our remaining torpedoes to finish him off, Commander,” said Fatima. “We don’t know how long he’ll remain disabled.”

    “We’re not at war, Lieutenant,” the first officer said sharply.

    “That we know of for a fact, Commander,” the navigator countered coldly. The debate for the moment seemed to be rendered moot by their adversary; the D7 righted itself and started to move fast and laterally away from the Essex.

    “I don’t know how with that gigantic hole in their hull, but they’re pulling away from us at warp factor 4, Captain,” Boone commented, sounding a tad exhausted from the ordeal.

    “Sensors indicate he’s pushing both of his reactors to the limits,” added the acting science officer from her scope. Dumont knew well enough that Klingon ship design was even more redundant than the Federation’s, with twin matter/antimatter reactors instead of the one aboard the Essex. “That may be the best he can do at the moment.”

    “Course, Navigator?” asked the first officer.

    “Directly for System G-184, Commander. It’s also not far off the closest route to the protostar.”

    “They may hope to use whatever’s in that system to hide while they affect repairs,” added Dumont tapping the intercom control. “Engineering, status report?”

    “In need of new shorts, Exec,” Yang replied slyly, somehow, “but enough about me. We have warp drive, but I wouldn’t recommend taking us above Factor Tres until we know just how bad the damage to the engines is and we can’t know that for certain until we shut them down.”

    “Just give us enough to get back to the planet so we can recover the landing party. Bridge out. Lieutenant, plot a course to the third planet.”

    “Aye, Commander,” the navigator replied. “Course laid in.”

    “Warp 2, Mr. Boone,” she ordered. “Engage.”

    “Aye, Commander,” he answered and the Essex awkwardly came around with a noticeable shudder through her deck plates and bulkheads. “Whatever’s going on, it’s getting progressively worse.”

    “Let’s hope she holds until we get back into transporter range. Mr. Ortiz, try to raise the landing party.”

    “Aye, Commander,” the ensign answered. “Essex to landing party, come in please…”

    …and as the starship continued to struggle to reach the third planet, Sean Thorton listened to the report from Dumont about the battle with partial relief. His ship may have suffered serious damage, but at least it sounded like the Essex could be repaired. Still, the captain held his open communicator in his left hand and his phaser remaining in his right, not entirely convinced that this was the last they’ve heard from the Klingons.

    “Did Cass give you a repair estimate on the engines?” he asked. Once the communicator had chirped, the landing party had stopped in their tracks, though after the three minutes or so it took the first officer to describe the Essex’s calamity, some of the science personnel had dispersed. The weather, meanwhile, had started to deteriorate even further, with the occasional snowflake falling.

    “She won’t know for certain until we shut down the engines and I’d rather do that while we’re in orbit, Captain.”

    “Agreed, Exec. As soon as you make orbit, transport us back aboard. Thorton out.”

    “Nice to know we’re not going to be stuck down here for half a week,” Parker mused. “Question is how long are we going to be stuck in this star system.”

    “Hopefully not as long as it takes the Klingons to repair their engines,” the captain said as he snapped his communicator shut, returning both it and his phaser to the belt underneath his jacket. “I’ve had enough of System G-181 to last me a while.”

    “Same here.”

    “Captain?! I think we found something!” Sharif called out from the distance with Thalla standing next to him. Thorton, Doc, and the others quickly made their way over to their location.

    They entered another clearing, smaller than the one they had beamed down to, and the captain quickly suspected why. Several of the trees had been broken, either part way up their thick trunks or their thick branches snapped right off as something clearly had smashed its way into this portion of the forest. Sitting on the forest floor half buried in the soil was the likely culprit: a large piece of metallic debris whose jagged edges denoted that it was part of a larger whole and was forcibly torn from it.

    Doc seemed to put the proper spin on the discovery by dryly commenting, “And here I was worried that this was going to be a dull day…”
     
  4. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Tense battle between Essex and the Klingons. Still wondering what they are doing all the way out there. It can't be just to harass a Starfleet ship. Could it be related to the landing parties' discovery?

    Nice way of building a mystery here.
     
  5. dief25

    dief25 Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2015
    What's up? Can we expect any more?