The deck heaved violently under foot as the Trafalgar’s shields tried, with limited success, to absorb a series of disruptor blasts followed by a barrage of torpedoes from the aging K’t’inga-class battlecruiser that had ambushed them by emerging from the Azure Nebula. “Shields down to eighty nine percent.” Lieutenant Commander Ross announced from her position at Tactical just over the CO’s left shoulder.
“Return fire.” Commander Thomas Forrester ordered, his hands gripping the armrests of his chair tightly as the deck lurched violently once more. This was supposed to have been a simple mission; deliver the Commander of Task Force 86 and his staff to their new Headquarters on Starbase 86 near the Triangle. “Helm, attack pattern alpha.”
On Forrester’s left, Task Force 86’s Commander (and one of the Trafalger’s former COs), sat watching events unfold. From the way he was leaning forward in his chair, rubbing his knees, Captain Branson was working hard not to step in and begin issuing orders. Thomas appreciated his old friend’s restraint. The last thing they needed in that moment was confusion reigning from two command officers issuing contradictory orders.
On the viewscreen, watched as the Trafalgar let out a single orange beam of phased energy. The battlecruiser’s shields lit up as it impacted them. Ross quickly unleashed a spread of photon torpedoes from the weapons pod, four in total, which all found their mark. “Direct hit on their port nacelle. They’re venting plasma.” Ross reported. “Their shields are down to seventy seven percent.”
The digital scream of a computer console demanding attention filled the Bridge. “Sir! Four more ships are emerging from the nebula.” Lieutenant Daly announced from the science station.
“More Klingons?” Forrester asked, a logical conclusion given it was a Klingon ship they were currently tangling with but he wanted confirmation.
The deck lurched again as Daly paused to consult the sensor readings. The sound of Trafalgar launching her torpedoes could be heard seconds later. “No sir. These four are mercenary ships. Heavily armed.”
“Outnumbered and outgunned.” Captain Branson murmured.
Forrester nodded in agreement with the Captain’s assessment. “What is it they say about discretion being the better part of valour?” He asked rhetorically in a low voice with a glance to his left. “Helm, get us out of here. Maximum warp.” Thomas ordered, raising his voice to a more commanding level.
The CONN officer quickly laid in a course of Starbase 86 and engaged the warp engines, pushing the Trafalgar past the light speed barrier. The K’t’inga was in no shape to give chase and the mercenary ships wouldn’t be able to come close to matching the Akira-class starships top speed. “XO, I want a full damage and casualty report.”
To Commander Forrester’s left, Captain Branson let out a long sigh before he spoke up. “A K’t’inga-class ship backed up by mercenary vessels operating out of the Azure Nebula. That’s not something you see everyday.” He let out a second, shorter, frustrated sigh. “Looks like life out here’s gonna be very interesting.”
“Maybe the Klingons know something.” Forrester offered. “The other side of the nebula comes out into Klingon space. They could have seen similar attacks. At the very least they may be able to use our sensor data to determine which ship it was and who’s in command. That’ll allow you to develop your response.”
Branson agreed. “I’ll contact SFI and see what they can tell me or find out from their Klingon counterparts.” The ghost of a smile crossed the Captain’s lips. “You sure you don’t want a position on my staff?”
“Not a chance.” Forrester scoffed. “I’ve been working my entire career to command a Starship. I just got this job and you’re trying to take it away from me already.” His tone modulated to a more sincere one. “I appreciate the offer, Skipper. I’m right where I want to be. Where I need to be right now. I’m not built to be a staff officer.”
Branson understood. Relinquishing command of the Trafalgar had been a difficult decision to make, but the choice was between the Trafalgar or his marriage and ultimately he’d made the right choice. “Let me know when we’re approaching Starbase 86. I’m going to go see what SFI can tell me.” Captain Branson stood and strode into the nearest turbolift.
As the Captain left, Commander Forrester sat back and relaxed into his command chair. This had been one of the more eventful milk runs of his career and certainly an interesting start to his command career.
Task Force Updates
I apologise for the lateness of January’s report. I’ll endeavour to get these out in a more timely manner in the months to come. January saw several of Task Force 86’s members being promoted and receiving merit awards. They were as follows:
- UnknownParticipant was promoted to the rank of Commander
- Minnow Raydor was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander
- beth.ardner was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade
- QuadEroSpero was awarded the Jonathan Archer Order of Merit
- DaveP was awarded the Silver Palm
- reecesavage was awarded the Silver Palm
That’s it for January from Task Force 86.