The Vorta assigned to this sector stared placidly into the eyepiece displaying images of the little Starfleet fleet. Just two ships. A Nebula-class and a transporter vessel. The transport was little threat, and with four Jem’Hadar attack fighters, neither was the Nebula.
Maveren was familiar with this ship. It had been the one to slip through her fingers at Tyra. It wasn’t in her to hold a grudge or even be vindictive about it. However, she knew her Cardassian counterpart did hold such emotions.
“First,” Maveren announced. “Close in on the Federation ships and prepare for the attack.”
The Jem’Hadar bowed his head, “Obedience brings victory. Victory is life.”
Bridge, USS Denver…
Rebecca watched as the blips of ships closed in on them. “Red Alert. All hands to battle stations. Peter, send out a signal to the task force requesting assistance. Mr. Tolly keep us between the Jem’Hadar and the Mariposa.”
Crawford keyed in the command for Red Alert as the lights on the bridge flicked over to red, and the klaxon rang out, warning all crew that things were about to get dangerous. With his other hand, he sent out the signal to the task force, requesting help. He felt his heart rate pick up speed as the reality of what was out there began to be realized. Four ships. Jem’Hadar ships were very probable at this point. He waited for the ships to appear, signaling the attack to begin.
Cheon leaned forward as the Denver slipped in between the advancing blips and the transport. Something felt off about this encounter being so close to the Task Force and, for that matter, the Federation’s borders. It also felt like this was intentional, like something that this crew had faced before, but for the life of him, he could not place where or who they had faced.
John’s eyes went wide as he looked up at the main viewscreen as he watched the Jem’Hadar seem to appear out of thin air. He had seen holo images of the ships before and had even gone against holographic ones in training exercises at the academy, but this was different. He muttered a curse under his breath before quickly moving back to helm control
Peter growled as the four ships slipped from their cloak, “Confirmed, four Jem’Hadar attack fighters decloaking and firing.” He braced himself against the console, hoping their helmsman was up to the task of taking the lumbering Nebula class through her paces.
Elisabeth had already activated the shields, and quickly, she targeted the new lasers on the Jem’Hadar attack fighters. The lasers easily kept pace with the quick-moving objects, and she had a targeting solution ready, but not engaged. She did not want to give away the Denver’s secret weapon until the last second. The lasers were all but invisible to the naked eye and to sensors, so by tracking the targets, she could maintain weapons lock and fire when she was given the order. In all honesty, though, she was about to follow through on the old Starfleet adage: “When in doubt, win the war!”
“Helm attack pattern Delta-One,” Rebecca ordered. “Ms. Chapman, target their engines and weapons. I don’t care about destroying them; just eliminate the threat. Hit the lead ship with everything you got. Throw the kitchen sink at them if you have to.” Rebecca chose to be aggressive. She hoped the enemy would expect a defensive posture, but there were four of them and one of her. Hit them hard and hit them fast was really the only viable option.
“Aye Captain!” Elisabeth acknowledged the order, and as the massive ship began to move into position, her targeting scanners had full weapons solutions for all four of the craft, thanks to the innovative solution she found. “Firing phasers!” she called out as she pressed the button. A phaser beam charged and hit one of the four hostile ships. “Direct hit, Captain.” She smiled as she configured a burst of torpedoes to eliminate a ship or cripple one at least. If she could knock out one or even two, it would be a fairer fight. Elisabeth held on as the ship shuddered under fire, then she got right back to work defending the Denver.
Tolly nodded “Aye Captain attack pattern Delta-one.” John took the controls trying to get the massive ship in position for tactical to get its shot while still evading the small more nimble craft.
Cheon could see that John was having a little bit of trouble with the maneuvering of the ship. Reaching over and turned the console that was in between his seat and the command chair and pulled up the helms console. He looked at how the helmsman had the console configured. A nod left the Commander’s head as he looked at how he could help the man in the future. He made a couple of mental notes and returned the console to the main view.
Standing up Cheon walked up behind John, “Don’t fight the ship, allow her to flow with you,” he said in a calm soft tone as he looked forward at the viewscreen as a green bolt hit the shields causing a cascade of light blue color to flash from the impact. The bridge bucked slightly as the impact had been a glancing blow.
Elisabeth held on to the panel as the ship shuddered. She could feel the ship’s structure groaning, but she knew it would hold. She continued her work, firing phasers at all the different targets. She fires a salvo of torpedoes, and true to the simulations she had run, the torpedoes found their mark, severely damaging one of the Dominion ships. “One down, Captain!” Elisabeth exclaimed with glee. The fight seemed a bit more plausible to win.
“It’s not over yet Ms. Chapman,” Rebecca chided. Realizing her voice was too harsh she quickly added, “But excellent work. Keep it up.”
“Working on it, ma’am!” Elisabeth answered excitedly. She was in her element, and she kept up a heavy rate of fire from the phasers while lining up a torpedo shot with one of the others. But before she could fire, she felt the ship shudder. ‘Damn, they got one past me. Alright, then. If they want to play dirty, I will too.’ She immediately began to reconfigure the deflector to emit a jamming pulse. It was the 24th-century equivalent of chaff, though she hoped that it would give them a fighting chance. She would also be putting her own targeting scanners at risk, but the new laser guidance and targeting system she had put together, it should mitigate the consequences.
She hit the execute function on the deflector config. panel and a targeted EM burst spread from the Denver’s deflector dish, blinding the traditional targeting sensors as she had predicted, but the laser targeting system was still fully operational. She then fired phasers, and in the momentary confusion, fired three torpedoes at the next Dominion ship, destroying the craft in a brilliant explosion. “Captain, splash one more fighter.”
Cheon looked back at Chapman, “Nicely done, Lieutenant,” he said before returning his attention to John.
Tolly kept his eye focused on the view screen as his hands continued to dance over the control panel. The outside world seems muted at that moment it was just him and the ship. “Work with me girl,” he said under his breath
Another volley of phaser fire shook the ship. The lights flickered and the hull groaned in protest, “Damage report!”
Burkley stood in front of the warp core. His focus was on the console when he heard the call from the bridge. “Captain. I don’t know about you but we need to do something. This is straining the hell out of the core.”
Peter gripped the console and held himself in the chair as the ship shook slightly. Four ships had not been something they’d prepared for and the Nebula class wasn’t built for keeping this up very long. They’d either need to run, keep dodging or hope for a miracle. His CO spoke up as the ship shook again from the impact of fire from the Jem’Hadar.
“Peter, any word from the Task Force?” She hoped Nick was sending in the cavalry and they would be here soon.
Crawford tapped his console, “Task Force reporting they are twenty minutes away at best speeds.” He shook his head, “We may have to start fighting dirty, Captain.”
Rebecca sighed, glanced at Cheon, and nodded to the XO, “We brought a fighter wing on board for a reason.”
A devious grin slipped over his mouth. “Keep the ship together.” Reaching over he tapped a new icon on the command chairs console and a ship-wide alert was issued.
‘All pilots to your ships.’
He stood up and looked over at John. “Mister Tolly, with me,” he stated as he headed for the lift that would take them to the main shuttle bay where the fighters were stored.
Tolly sprang up from his seat following the XO to the lift.
“You heard the XO. Keep the ship together people. Helm adjust course 141 mark 3. Keep the shuttle bay away from the enemy.”
“Aye Captain,” the replacement responded.
Elisabeth focused on the next target, focusing phaser fire on the ship and preparing a new salvo of torpedoes to bring down the next target.
“Helm close in on the lead ship. Full impulse!” Rebecca shouted giving what would seem like a suicide run. “Prepare for a point-five second warp jump at warp one. Ms. Chapman as soon as we drop out of warp… unleash hell.”
The assistant flight chief swallowed and entered the commands into the helm, “Course plotted and set ma’am.”
Elisabeth prepared to unleash the full fury of the Nebula-class starship. She prepared the quantum torpedoes and set the phaser settings to provide covering fire for the fighters. Granted, it would be really difficult, but she would have to keep track of the friendlies and the targets. She was confident in her abilities, however, and took a deep breath to center herself as the ship prepared for maneuvers.
Main Hangar, USS Denver
Cheon, John, the flight crew, and the Denver’s fighter pilots had made it together in the main hangar. He had called for a quick briefing to deliver their mission package. They were to defend the ship at all costs and provide diversions where possible. He didn’t sugarcoat anything as he spoke.
“I won’t lie to you ladies and gentlemen, this is going to put a lot if not all of you in a high-risk situation. I won’t hold it against you if you want to turn back and stay aboard the Denver,” he stated as he paced in front of them.
A sudden jolt from an impact on the shields made some of the crew in the hangar drop to their knees. As they recovered he looked at them. He could see the resolve to get the mission completed and the willingness to sacrifice themselves if need be. He nodded to each one of them.
“Get to your shuttle’s, flight team. Pilots get to your assigned fighters,” he yelled out as he turned and ran to one of the Valkyrie class fighters that he had trained in while the Denver had been drydocked for repairs.