Part of Outpost Houtman (Archive): Start-up problems


USS Antietam - somewhere in deep space
September 2400
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The earthy smell of dirt, and decaying plant matter filled her nostrils.   The ground was wet, but not quite muddy and there were beads of water on the grass, and a chill in the air. Above her trees obscured the overcast sky above.

The young woman wore a gold Starfleet Uniform holding a phaser rifle sitting with her back to the trunk of a tree. Lieutenant Kat Donovan was average height for a woman. Her copper colored hair was pulled into a neat bun that showed off her soft chin and jade green eyes.  Traits typical, but not common of the Scottish Highlands.

Behind her five more Starfleet crewmembers sat concealed in the tall grass. They were all enlisted, and all with varying degrees of experience from the ten year veteran Chief Petty Officer Collins to the new recruit Crewman Torrith.

In an open field beyond were three disruptor canons firing into the distance.  Their heavy thumps of discharged energy made the hairs raise on the back of her neck.  Every time one of those canons fired Federation citizens were on the receiving end.  Whether it’s the landing skiffs or people already holding down the “beachhead”.  

For their part the Klingons were unaware of the Starfleet officers sitting mear yards observing them. They laughed gleefully knowing the damage they were inflicting on their enemy.   They called Starfleet weak and cowardly and some were already saluting to their victory and drinking tankards of bloodwine hidden within their trenches.  Something Kat thought was ironic.  They called the unprotected Starfleet cowardly while they hid in trenches.

Duck walking back to her subordinates she drew an “L” shape into the earth and spoke softly,  “Okay listen up.” She didn’t need to.  They already had their undivided attention on her.  “There are disruptor canons here, here, and here,” she said indicating their location with X’s.  “Each canon is crewed by two klingons.  There’s a command bunker here,” she said indicating that location with a circle.  Jones and G’thor I need you to provide suppressive fire from this position.  Chief Collins you attack this position from the woods over here.  Torrith and I will assault from the other end.  All we need to do is to tag those canons and the ship’s from orbit will take care of the rest.  We meet in the middle.  Don’t start your assault until Jones and G’thor start firing. We need ther Klingon’s attention drawn away from the canons.  We have to move fast once in the trenches.  There’s at least fifteen Klingons by my count.”

“So more than two to one?” the young Andorian Torrith replied.

“We have suprise, and they are spread out.  Hopefully their attention will be over here and they won’t notice the assault teams until it’s too late and we’re in the trenches.  Any questions?”

The others shook their heads. “All right, let’s go.”

The six split into three teams.  Using the woods and tall grass for concealment they moved into their respective positions.   Kat was close enough she could smell the Klingons now.  

There was a sudden burst of type 4 phaser fire as Jones and G’thor opened up.  The beam didn’t hit really anything because of their concealment , but it pounded the edge of the trench near where they had constructed their command bunker.

That was their signal and she and Torrith charged out of the grass and slid into the trench coming face to face with a very big and very surprised Klingon.   Without even thinking she fired her phaser and he fell to the mud.  Torrith dispatched the other crew member of the canon.  And they turned their attention down the line of the trench were four half-drunk Klingons were just starting to realize what was happening.   Kat and Torrith took them down.  

That whole series of events seemed like minutes, but the reality was that it took less than twenty seconds. “Tag the canon and let’s go!”

The moved down the trench clearing their way through the handful of side cuts making their way to the center.  As they neared the second canon she could hear heavy fighting and shouts.  Collins’ team was already there.  

Charging around the bend in the “L” she already had her phaser raised.   Drawing a sight picture on a Klingon with her back to her she shot the woman and she fell forward bat’leth making a wet thwack sound as it fell to the mud.  

And then it was over.  Kat collapsed to the mud panting.  Ten minutes of planning,  less than two minutes of shear terror, and one enemy combat position eliminated.  At least it would be when she contacted the Antietam.

“Computer end program,” a male voice announced.

Suddenly a muddy planet vanished leaving the clean grid of the holodeck in its place.  Kat scrambled to her feet.  He weapon had been part of the simulation and that was gone as was all the mud she had been covered in… yet she could still feel it’s chilling effects.  She looked forward to a cup of tea.

Lieutenant Commander Justin Davis stood near the arch as Kat lead the team up to the Commander.

“Congratulations you passed that test… finally,” Davis said.

“Yes sir,” Kat replied. The truth of the matter was she had tried four times to assault that position.  Each time she had failed.

Davis smile, “You are all dismissed.   Except for you Lieutenant.”

“Yes sir!” the crew said to the chief of security in unison.  They gave Kat a curious glance before exiting the holodeck.

David handed Kat a PADD, “When we’re you planning on telling me?”

“Sir?” Kat asked confused. “Oh….” she said after looking at the PADD and reading it.  “I didn’t want to make a big deal in case I didn’t get it.  I didn’t want you thinking I didn’t like it here or anything.”

“Nonsense,” Davis replied.   “I would be lying if I said I didn’t care if you went, the truth of the matter is Chief of Security is a big step and you are more than qualified to take that step.”

“Thank you sir. I didn’t know you felt that way… the being ready part.”

“I told Commander Ga that much as well,” Davis replied.

“You spoke to the CO on my behalf?”

“Not by choice.  He contacted me for a reference. It caught me completely flat-footed.  Thanks for that by the way.”

Kat blushed a bit in embarrassment, “Sorry about that… I uh…”

“You don’t know what to say?” Davis laughed, “You don’t have to say anything.  But, I will say, Congratulations Lieutenant.” 

“Thank you sir. I’ll try not to let you down.”

“See that you don’t,” the Antietam’s chief of security chuckled.