Part of USS Denver: Eye of the Storm and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

Gone to Hell in a Handbasket

Earth
March 5, 2400
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In orbit

Sukitha sat in the center seat as she looked at the viewscreen. A bluish-green marble of a planet filled the screen as she sat there. This planet sickened her as it was too green for her liking. She turned her head and looked at her Combat Officer. The look was all that was needed as the two had already discussed their mission to capture the crew and destroy the ship that had eluded them.

Back on Earth…

Jolie looked at her wrist-sling at the Data that had been transmitted to it. “Just as you thought Dougal,” she said as she looked back at her Combat Specialist. “We are currently surrounded, but here is the kicker.” She fully turned and brought up the holographic imagery of their enemy; Romulans.

“Bloody hell!” Dougal grumbled.  “What are those bastards doing here?”

Jolie shook her head, “If I didn’t know any better I would swear that they were here on purpose.”

“We should return to the ship and reevaluate,” Dougal suggested.

Jolie couldn’t agree more. Reaching up she contacted the Pike and then ordered all of the strike team to return to the ship. As she tried to contact the Pike again she realized that all she was hearing was static, “Damn it,” she said under her breath as she looked at Dougal for a moment before trying again.

Seeing Jolie struggle to contact the ship Dougal tapped his own combadge. “MacDonald to Zebulon Pike.”

Nothing but static.

Dougal glanced at Mikaela,  “I hope ye are as bonnie of a pilot as ye claim ta be lass o’ this is gonna be a wee bit hairy.”

Mikaela gave Dougal a sideways glance. “I’ll get us there, no problem” she mutters under her breath. “Strap in or hold on everyone! It’s about to get a bit…interesting!” she shouts to the rest of the rescue team. She then deftly begins flying the shuttle evasively, jinking and rocking it side to side to make it a harder target. Finally, she’s able to break through the interference and barely has time to send out a “get us the hell out of this shuttle before really bad things happen” message before the shuttle’s communications are jammed again. She prayed silently that the Pike had received the message.

Pike…

On the Pike, Audren stared at a Romulan ship…. The same Romulan ship that they had encountered when they first entered this infernal reality. “Carolyn contact our away teams.”

Carolyn quickly tapped on the console and frowned, a cold feeling forming in her gut, “For the love…we’re getting jammed and pretty heavily too!”  Her fingers dashed across the console as she tried to reestablish contact but the console buzzed with a negative response each time.

Audren swore in her own language.   “See if you can cut through the Romulan’s jamming signal.” Sliding into the helm position she entered the blue alert sequence and started prepping the ship for atmospheric entry. “I really don’t want to take us down, so I hope you can get through so we can beam everyone back to the ship.  If not… how does Ethan say it?  Our asses will be in the wind?”

Carolyn growled at her console, “Come on girl, don’t fight me this early in our relationship.”  She played around with the power levels within the ship and each time the computer buzzed at her about how it wasn’t going to work.  She tapped her fingers on a nearby console and searched for the limits on the Raven class and its systems.  She grumbled as she scanned quickly through the various pieces and parcels that governed how the ship ran and how far you could push her.  It took a second longer and then she was back to her console, “If we overload this,” she tapped out a complex set of commands, “…and spike their sensors with this…,” she layered in the commands and programming, “…theoretically the Pike will hold together and not blow out every EPS conduit we have.”

“Any other way?  With that kind of an energy spike, I don’t know if I can keep us hidden.”

Crawford shrugged, “It’s this or we show them our asses…and they blow them up.  I like my butt unburnt.  So…hold onto your butt.”  She tapped the button to engage her command strings.  She watched as each part of the Pike worked in concert and in tandem…when suddenly the Romulan jam failed.  “Jamming down.  Audren, energize!”

“I got transporter locks on Ethan and Aimee,” Audren replied. “I can’t find the others.” Her fingers danced over the console.  Giving up on the others she completed the transporter cycle bringing their commanding officer and medical officer to the ship.

Carolyn continued to work the console as a few EPS conduits on the bridge sparked until one of them blew and began smoking under the pressure.  The CEO ignored it for now.  She had calculated how many of the conduits they could lose and stay alive.  She turned to Audren, “We got everyone?”

“I still can’t find the rescue team… no I found them!  They are on the shuttle.  It appears to be on an intercept course.” An alarm buzzed, “The Romulan ship is powering weapons!” She made a transporter lock on Jolie, Dougal, and Mikaela and beamed them to the ship before dropping the cloak and raising shields. “Evasive maneuvers,” Audren shouted as the Pike rolled left then right. “This is going to get ugly.”

Crawford swore under her breath as she restored the power balance throughout the ship and clicked over to manage the power as things got ugly.

Ethan entered the bridge with Aimee in tow after being beamed aboard.  He expected to see Jolie in command,  but neither she or Kovalev were present.   Instead, Audren was at the helm and Crawford was struggling to hold the ship together and return fire. “Where’s Jolie?” He demanded sliding into the center seat and bringing up the situation map of the area.

“She was leading an extraction team with Dougal and Mikaela back on Earth.  I just beamed them aboard,” Audren replied as she rolled hard to the right narrowly missing a green disruptor beam.

As soon as she materialized on the Pike Jolie was off and running for the bridge. As soon as the door slid to the side she was through it, “Thank you to whichever one of…,” her voice trailed off and then paused when she saw Ethan and Aimee were on the bridge. “Good to see you’re alive, cowboy.”

“Glad to see you,” Ethan replied.   “Take tactical from Carolyn. Carolyn, keep doing what you are doing. Hold us together.”

The Chief Engineer gave a nod as she shifted to her actual station and continued the work on the systems.  Raven Class ships were not Galaxy Class – they were small, compact, and not meant for a long fight.  She quietly hoped they wouldn’t find themselves trying to extend the ship beyond what she could handle.

Audren relinquished the helm to Mikaela and moved over to the communications panel where she normally sat when monitoring the cloak was unnecessary, and thankful for the relief.  She was no pilot,  and Starfleet ships were still alien to her.

“Mikaela we are more maneuverable than that Romulan ship.  Tuck us in tight and close.  This is the one time I won’t hold it against you if you scrape paint off the hull. Jolie fire at will.”

“Way ahead of you, Cowboy,” Jolie stated as all four of the phaser arrays rapid-fired phaser bolts down onto the Romulan ship. The bolts were followed by four quantum torpedoes which also found their mark along the spine of the Romulan ship.

“Moving now, sir!” Mikaela shouts her acknowledgement as she furiously tapped the console, propelling the Pike forward, and  as she was checking the field of fire, evading most of the projectiles, while still giving Jolie an angle to fire weapons.

“Ethan several ships are approaching.  Looks like an NX-class refit, NX-class, and two Daedalus-classAudren reported. The lead ship is hailing.”

“On screen,” Ethan demanded.

The face of Captain Rebecca Sandoval appeared on the main viewscreen,  “UEC Erebus to unknown Earth ship.”

“This is Commander Talon of the Federation ship Zebulon Pike.” He had to remind himself that this was not his step-mom and chose a neutral tone and conversation.

“I owe it to your father Ethan,” Rebecca said.  “It doesn’t matter if you are from my reality or not.   I still consider you a son. I failed my Ethan, I won’t fail you. Erebus out.” The screen switched back to the stars. Audren found another frequency and played it over the ship’s speakers. “This is Captain Sandoval to unidentified Romulan ship. You are in violation of United Earth space.  Stand down your weapons and prepare to be boarded.”

Sukitha could not help but laugh at what she heard from the human. “Captain I guess you need a reminder of your place in this universe.”

Suddenly the Romulan ship cloaked and at the same time locked its weapons on the four ships

“She’s insane,” Audren blurted, “There’s no way they are going to defeat that Romulan ship.”

“She’s a mother,” Aimee said a tinge in her voice. “I’ll be in sickbay preparing for casualties.”

Ethan glanced down at his monitor and frowned confirming what Aimee had said.  The four outdated and outclassed ships had raised shields,  polarized their hull plating, and brought weapons online.  It was a suicide attack and they had to know it.

Jolie growled when the Romulan ship cloaked, “Audren can you track that ship?” She asked as her hands flew over the tactical console trying to find any tachyon particles, and coming up with nothing.

“Defeating a cloak is more art than science,  but I don’t think these Romulans have been forced by need to develop as sophisticated cloaks as our own.l Romulans. I’ll see what I can do, but there is one way to tell for sure. Wait for them to fire.”

Ethan was drumming his fingers on the armrest of his chair weighing his options. None of it was appealing.  He felt like he should help these weaker ships, but the Pike was only marginally stronger, but still no match for a warbird. “Suggestions people. I need ideas.”

Engineering

Crawford was in engineering, the channel open to the bridge as she listened.  An idea formed in her mind as she went to her console and started running through a few scenarios.  The Romulan cloaking systems in this universe would have been more rudimentary and as Audren said, they were probably less sophisticated than the Pike’s.  She ran a few test scenarios.  It might work.  She tabbed the console, “Crawford to bridge.”

“Go ahead Carolyn,” Ethan’s voice responded.

She tapped at the console and sent the information she had to the consoles on the bridge, “It’s an old trick that only worked a few times before the Romulans figured it out in our timeline…and it was a long time ago.”  She tapped the console, “Using a targeted power transfer stream, we can overload the cloaking system…and I took a few scans before they vanished.  If what I’m reading is right…they went for convenience in installing the cloak emitters snug up against one of the four power energizers.  We overload the cloak, and hit the energizer while their shields engage – the cloak’s done and their shields are down by at least 25%.  Gives us a chance against them with our new friends.”

Jolie looked over Crawford’s idea and then it hit her. “Carolyn,” she paused for a second as she looked at everyone on the bridge, “What is the one thing that we haven’t taken into count,” she looked at Audren, “This isn’t our timeline.”

Using what information that the Pike had gathered from its scans she looked at where the cloaking device was. “For all, we know the Narlin’s could have been the only species to have had the cloaking technology,” she stated as she finished her calculations. “Bingo,” she said as she brought up the power energizers. “They are using a Narlin Cloak, and the power energizers are shielded as well.” Jolie continued to look over the scan, and something didn’t look right. “There is something else here guys. Something that we have only seen once in our time. It looks like not only is this Romulan ship capable of cloaking, but that it can fire while cloaked and through its…shields,” her voice trailed off as she spoke.

We experimented with that in an attempt to gain an upper hand over the Gorvan,” Audren announced. “It was abandoned because the power consumption of the cloak, shields, and weapons meant neither system functioned adequately. A tachyon pulse should locate them, and a single torpedo would penetrate their shields.”

The Chief Engineer growled, “It’s never the easy way, is it.”  She thought for a moment, “Energizers and cloaks are notoriously problematic.  You can do what they’ve done, but you’ll have had to rig up a delicate balance of power with your weapons, shields, and cloak not to mention sensors and everything else.”  She tapped at her console, “There might be a way to orchestrate a temporary failure of their systems – push everything to the red line.  If they’re using a Narlin cloak that’s not native to Romulan systems – no matter the timeline or reality – it’s going to give them fits if pushed.  Let me see here,” she tapped at her console and had an answer in moments, “We’d need to coordinate with our new friends out there.”  She tapped out on the console and sent the schematics to the bridge stations, “If they concentrate irregular fire on these four points, we can bob and weave, overcharge their cloak while doing a little shooting ourselves…it’ll light up their energizers like a Christmas tree. Even if they drop the cloak, it’s still connected to the power system.”  She thought for a moment longer she called out to the bridge, “Jolie – there’s lots of known exploits with Narlin cloaks in the early days that they fixed once people figured it out.  One of them was the ability to engage the cloak using a reverse polarity signal piggybacked on a communications channel.”

Jolie looked over the data and input the suggestion, “That could work, but we would have less then .02 seconds to hit them here and here,” she said as she indicated two points on the ship. “Even then I don’t think that will be enough, even with the added assistance from our people here in this timeline.”

“Any ideas on how those UEC ships can reinforce their shields?” Ethan added.

Carolyn looked up from her console and quickly pulled up the scans she had on the UEC ships.  They were good ships built by the good people that built them.  What she had to do now was figure out how to push their systems just beyond the red line capacity.  “They can take all non-essential power and throw it at the shields in a supercharge kinda thing.  If they can strap in, they can take out the inertial dampeners, the stabilization systems, lighting, the whole lot.  They spread it through enough EPS conduits the extra powered shields won’t short out…plug in some power generators from wherever they can get them and balance out that incoming energy…you give them the extra time they need with it.

Understood. Transmit the specs to the fleet. Lasers and phase canons won’t help them but a torpedo hasn’t changed much in 200 years. Audren inform the fleet.  If they have the ability to generate a tachyon pulse have them do so, and have them follow our lead.  Mikaela attack pattern theta-one.”

Bridge

“Aye sir, attack pattern theta-one!” She tapped the consoles and kept the ship agile and maneuverable.

“Jolie, as soon as you have a firing solution hit them with everything we got,” Ethan ordered.

“Copy”, Jolie replied

“I’m picking up the Romulan ship, ” Audren said.  “Initiating the reverse polarity signal.” Almost immediately the sensors lit up like a Christmas tree as the hidden ship became fully visible to the sensors.”

“Fire damn it! Fire!” Ethan shouted knowing that they only had a moment’s window.

Jolie unleashed hell and fired on the two points as the Romulan ship came into view. At the same time, a massive explosion of weaponry was seen coming from almost every conceivable place on the wings, nose, and undercarriage of the Romulan ship. As it fired upon the small fleet of ships from Earth. one of the NX ships was cut clean in half, and the second sustained a massive hole right through its saucer section.

A second volley was aimed at one of Daedalus’ and at the Pike. A nacelle could be seen floating away from the hull of the Daedalus-class ship and it began to tilt to the side as the second nacelle flickered and then powered down causing the ship to enter into a death spiral. The shields on the Pike flared from the intense impact coming from the torpedoes and disruptor bolts but held.

On the bridge, Jolie’s knees buckled from the sudden bucking of the deck and she ended up on the floor for a moment. She was able to get back up to her feet a moment later and looked at the tactical console. “Ethan, we can not afford to take another hit like that. Our shields are down to 6%,” she stated as her left leg screamed out as searing and lancing pain shot up from her hip.

“Mikeala get us out of here! Audren as soon as we have moved out of weapons range cloak.” Ethan said leaping over to the tactical station.  He targeted the Romulan’s sensors and hit it with everything they could as the Pike sped away from the warbird.

“Working on it, Ethan!” Mikaela shouted as she was showered in sparks from the exploding console. She cursed, then maneuvered behind Jupiter.

Using Jupiter to hide them Audren activated the cloak.  After a few zigzagging maneuvers to make tracking them even more difficult Ethan walked to the captain’s chair and pressed the comm on the armrest, “Aimee medical emergency on the bridge.”

On my way.” His sister’s voice came over the speaker.  “Sandoval out.”

“Mikaela set course for Qo’noS best possible speed.”

After taking a deep breath, calming herself after the adrenaline high, after the chaos of the battle, she nodded. “Aye, sir. Setting course to Qo’nos, warp 5.”

“Carolyn… damage report?”

Carolyn picked herself up from the floor of engineering and dabbed the side of her head.  Her sleeve came back red and she growled as she hustled over to the first aid station and snagged out a bandage and slapped it on the side of her head and lumbered over to a console, “Shields are shot to hell.  We blew four EPS conduits doing all the fancy stuff we did.  Main power is holding on by a thread, but I can get that fixed in an hour or so.  EPS conduits are going to take a little more work but with the holographic crew, we can get ‘em at least stabilized.  There’s a few red spots on the hull but our decks aren’t buckled.  Warp engines,” she tapped at the console, “…can give us warp 5 at the moment.  Give me thirty minutes and I can get us up to warp 8…an hour we can be back to full cruising speed.”  She shook her head, “The Pike’s taking a beating, Ethan.  We’ll get her put back together as we go, but we need to avoid anything aside from orbiting the next nearest starbase.”

“It doesn’t appear that will happen any time soon,” Ethan responded.