Savik’s brow furrowed as she stepped forward to stand next to the Captain’s chair. Her brown eyes roved around the bridge, attempting to interpret and process all the information the screens were displaying at once. The engineering station showed no major damage to the Tesla, as the shields had held up well against the enemy onslaught.
The enemies’ tenacity was just as normal as any other encounters that Michael had encountered with the Klingons who fought the Federation. The thing that worried him was the fact that this could be the end of the Tesla if they kept sustaining the firepower from the cruiser. Michael swung around and looked at Ruvok.
“Lieutenant, how are the shields holding?” he asked calmly.
Ruvok’s eyes darted up at the Captain and darted back down to the displays. He was staying calm as most Vulcans are supposed to, but the half-human in him was terrified. He shook his head and sighed “I hate to bear the bad news, Sir, but if they keep firing at this rate we won’t last another twenty minutes.”
Michael nodded and looked at Savik who was trying to get a grasp on the situation, as she was new he was giving her the benefit, but he was hoping she would fall into the role soon. He was hard on her and butted heads with her, but he wanted her to succeed. As Michael’s mind began to wander he snapped back to reality when the bombardment ceased and he watched the Klingon cruiser cloak and disappear. The action immediately put him on high alert that was never a good sign and not something he felt good about.
Michael had been ordered Kennedy to use the skirmish tactic which had done little to no damage on the cruiser. The ships seemed to have been modified to withstand more damage, which was not normal and it seemed like the cruiser knew what the Tesla was going to do before Michael had ordered it, which worried him. That information was not easy to gather as Michael constantly changed his tactics. HE put it in the back of his head, as he heard Dorner’s announcement.
Savik’s eyes flipped to the screen displaying the enemy vessel. She was surprised that the Captain’s tactics had not proved fruitful, fully expecting them to bring the opposing ship down. A slight tension floated down to rest lightly on the shoulders of the Tesla’s commanders. This fight was not going to be so easily won as they had hoped.
“Captain, we no longer have eyes on the enemy vessel!” Dorner announced with dismay.
Kra’vaak gave a knowing nod with pursed lips. “As I predicted, Captain, the gas around Praxis III is interfering with our sensors and providing them with the perfect camouflage.”
The glance Savik threw at Captain Ryder was a quick one, but it was rather sharp. She knew she should never question a commanding officer, and prayed her own headstrong nature would not take control of her lips as it so often did. She immediately determined to push her issue out of her mind, and hoped it would not resurface at a later time.
Michael nodded and looked at Kra’vaak and Savik “I need you both to meet me in my ready room now.”
He immediately went to his ready room with Kra’vaak and Savik on his tail. He waited till they entered and looked out the small window in his ready room. “This is not good.” he scanned the empty void of space knowing there was either one cruiser or multiple looking towards the ship. “The way they ambushed the ship and knew what I was going to do worries me. I always change my tactics so one attack is never the same as another. There is only one person who knows my trick of books and knows how I react. The Klingons knew just where to hit us to slow us down but not cause significant danger. The Klingons could have torn us apart, but they didn’t instead they flexed their might and left.” He looked at Kra’vaak and nodded “Only one person knows that information and could calculate my every move.”
Kra’vaak’s eyes widened and he shook his head “No that’s not possible…why would she do that…why would she betray Starfleet?”
Ryder nodded as he was wondering the same thing. He hoped with everything in him it wouldn’t be true. He hoped that it was all wrong, but the evidence pointed to the worst possible scenario. In Ryder’s many years as a Starfleet officer he worked with chief strategist Commander Michelle Oliver. Oliver was not only smart, but she had learned Ryder’s tactics and studied them to make any test for Michael more difficult than expected. Michael always outwitted her, but she came close. She had a tendency to speak about how she disliked the way the Federation did certain things, but she always seemed loyal to Starfleet. There were two options. She was being forced to do this or she was doing it for her own personal gain, regardless Michael needed to discover what it was.
“Let’s get back out there, but keep this under wraps for now.” He replied as he headed back onto the bridge. As he looked at the display he ordered Savik. “Prepare for a skirmish. If we are hit your on the bridge as Kra’vaak and I will be taking a shuttle out.” He said firmly, as he did he saw the glance from Savik and gave a disapproving shake of the head.
Once they were back on the bridge, Ruvok lifted a finger from his right hand to gain their attention as he leaned over the comms, his left hand tightly pressing against his earpiece as he strained to hear any signals.
“We are detecting a faint signal which seems to be coming from the surface of Praxis III,” Ruvok reported. “It’s no sort of modern communication but seems to be an antiquated form of distress call. Perhaps we caught these raiders as they were just finishing up an attack on a settlement.”
Michael thought for a second back to his past encounters with the Klingons and he remembered a past encounter where the Klingons tried to distract his ship from the real issue.
“No, do not pursue the signal. I want you to search and refine that signal Ruvok. Let me know what you find out. Commander Savik, my ready room now.
Yet again Michael had seen Savik try to refuse his command. He didn’t mind her doing that in private however in front of the rest of the crew it did not sit well with him at all. He made his way into the ready room and turned around looking at Savik firmly.
“What is your problem not listening to my orders XO? Why would you look at me so disapprovingly in front of the rest of the crew? If you have a problem you address that in private. Never question my authority like that. I know you’re new, but this can’t happen again, am I understood?”
Savik gave a quick intake of breath as she straightened. “Understood, Captain.” She realized she would have to watch herself closely in the future.
((Meanwhile on the D’Kara))
The red glow of the normal bird of prey would impose any person, but the glow on the D’Kara was worse. The ship was one of the most dreaded in the D’Ghor’s fleet and its Captain Vilk’on was an imposing figure of a Kligon. Evenhis crew knew not to cross him because he would kill them and replace them before they could utter a word. His black eyes glowing like two lumps of coal below a prominently sharp brow displayed a sort of primal wrath, smouldering with an intensity that would cause most men to go weak in the knees.
“Have they bought it? Are they landing?” he growled impatiently.
“They don’t seem to have moved just yet. Perhaps the decoy distress signal is too weak,” the seated Kligon speculated.
“Khoo-vakh!” Vilk’on struck the side of the console with a heavy hand that made his comm’s officer jump. “Would they just fall for the bait.”
The Captain’s First Officer Krassix stepped forward. Not as imposing of a figure as the Captain, he stood a few hands shorter and would have been considered somewhat small for a Klingon. Yet none but the fiercest of the Hunters of D’Ghor would rise to a command position beneath the infamous Captain Valkon, and the crew viewed Krassix with the mixture of fear and respect they showed the Captain. “Can we boost the distress signal?” Krassix suggested.
“Leave it.” Vilk’on gruffly shut down the question almost before it was finished. “If we alter it now they may grow suspicious. We will simply have to wait and see if they fall for it.”
“If they don’t detect the signal or simply ignore it, we should at least take advantage of their inability to detect us and attack them from the cover of the gas cloud.” The way in which Krassix delivered this suggestion betrayed that it was a tactic which had been brought up before, but had been immediately shut down by the blood thirsty Captain.
“There is no glory in blasting them out of the sky.” Vilk’on threw his large arms in the air in frustration at this repeated proposal. “We have better things to do.” Before he could finish out ahead of him the Tesla pulled into a maneuver that blocked any warping out of the system. “What is that P’takh doing? Call in the honorable guest.”
Michelle hated being on a Klingon ship, but the ability to betray the ones who destroyed her life meant more to her than a smartly ship with some bad tempered allies. She was ushered to the bridge and saw on the view screen the newly commissioned USS Tesla under Captain Michael Ryder an old friend. I’m sorry old friend but business is business no matter who it is.
Vilk’on looked at the small human woman on his bridge, as much as he hated humans he feared her. She had a power about her that scared him and he didn’t want to cross her. “Ms Oliver can you tell me what this Captain is doing parking his ship like that.”
She looked at the Klingon and nodded “He is blocking you off from any escape. There is gas on both sides of him and that is the only way in or out. He is bottlenecking you.”
Vilk’on snarled “For a wretched Federation P’takh this Captain is a pretty clever one. Is there any way for us to get out of here?”
Michelle shook her head “No unless you want to decloak and fire again, but I wouldn’t put it past Mike to already have found the weaknesses in your new and improved systems. He is much more clever than most give him credit.”
“Well, what do you recommend we do?” Vilk’on asked impatiently.
Michelle stopped and looked at the viewscreen. “For now you wait. Let me try something. I will need open comms in my quarters to his ship, but I need you to make it look like I got through security to do so.”
Vilk’on nodded and made sure his men knew the plan. He already knew what she was going to do and it put an evil grin on his face. He took up his mug of bloodwine and finished it before standing up to leave the bridge.
Vil’kon looked over at Krassix and motioned him over “Take two of the best warriors and go to the point of the distress signal on the ground in case that Captain sends someone to investigate.”
Krassix saluted the Captain in the traditional Klingon way and was off to gather the warriors and head down to the surface to meet any possible enemies.
((On the Tesla))
Michael was weighing his options and currently, those were few and far between he had ordered the ship to block off the only way out of the gas cloud and to make sure no ship or ships could escape. He had ordered the crew to scan for any sign of the ship or others while his chilled tactician was scanning the ship from the engagement for any flaws in the systems. As he continued to work on a contingency plan the last thing he was wanting to think was popping up in his head. Michelle of all people, couldn’t believe it. She had been on many missions with him and he had shared some of his biggest tactics with her. If it was the case that she was behind this he had an enemy that knew his playbook. He smirked well most of it anyways.
Michael had always hidden his biggest secrets and the one he hoped to not have to use. A secret that he had never had to use, but if it came to that point Kra’vaak would be notified. The biggest thing now was to bait the enemy which required someone to go for the distress beacon. He looked over at the Commander perusing through Science records about the area’s gas clouds.
“Savik you will take one master chief and see what the trap is of this distress call. We should be able to mask the launch, but after that, it’s up to you Commander!”
“Captain,” Savik smartly clicked her heels to stand at attention. “With your permission, should the distress call be genuine I would like to have a doctor accompany us with medical supplies, but should it turn out to be a trap as suspected, I would like to take a few more officers to ensure we will not be outgunned.”
Ryder nodded, she finally made a sensible decision and he was glad she had finally done as a good Commander should. He felt this was going to get out of control and fast, but he wasn’t going to give up easily.
“Take the doctor and prepare for departure within the next few minutes I expect to hear you headed for the surface.” he commanded.
Ryder was not sure as to what was going on, but he felt uneasy and wanted to make sure that all angles were covered.
Savik nodded her head. “As you command,” she replied.
To Be Continued….
A joint post between:
Suz- Commander Savik
DarthCrusader – Captain Ryder