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Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 10: Blood Dilithium Part II (A Price Paid in Blood) and Bravo Fleet: Blood Dilithium

CH15: A Plea Answered

Stardate 240011.22, 2110 Hours
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Nervous energy had filled the bridge of the Ulysses, all eyes on the viewscreen at the fore of the room. The tension was palpable as the Hirogen vessels seemed to regroup for another pass at the mighty explorer’s failing shields. There was a sense of foreboding among many that this may be their last hurrah.

But as in so many tales through history, just when all seems lost, hope appeared across the horizon.

USS Sarek Stardrive Section; Bridge

“Attack pattern kappa ten!” Commander Elbon ordered before the Sarek even dropped out of warp.

In the space of a blink, the Cherenkov radiation of streaking stars on the viewscreen was replaced by a flash of blinding light.  A moment later, an impending massacre became the dominant imagery on the screen.  Blocky scorpion-shaped warships were closing in on, and firing upon, a Galaxy-class starship’s deflector shields.  Judging by the flares of spatial distortion from those shields, they weren’t anywhere near peak condition.

Orange phaser beams from the Sarek visibly lanced out across the screen, landing true against two of the nearest warships.  Elbon had been about to congratulate the tactical officer when Ensign Dolan at the science one console provided a timely analysis.

Plainly horrified, Dolan said, “According to my sensor scans, the hulls on those Hirogen warships are plated in monotanium.  Our phasers had no effect on their power levels, maneuvering, or weapons strength.”

“Evasive maneuvering, Ensign Aloyye,” Elbon ordered the flight controller.  A heartbeat later, the stars on the viewscreen began to spin in response to the Sarek rolling away from the USS Ulysses and her attackers.

“Aft torpedoes,” Elbon said next and the viewscreen flipped to a sensor image of the melee the Sarek was running away from.  Slicing a hand through the air, Elbon ordered, “Fire as soon as you have a target lock.”  

He had barely got the words out when Hirogen phaser fire rained on the Sarek‘s shields, which rocked the ship, sending Elbon bouncing to the left.  Gripping his armrests, Elbon planted his feet and planned his next move as he watched three quantum torpedoes hurl toward the nearest Hirogen attacker.

USS Sojourner; Bridge

“How much longer?” Kirin asked as she sat at the edge of her seat. The frustration at the predicament was clearly evident in her voice.

“ETA, two minutes,” Belania answered. “The Ulysses is taking a beating…and the Sarek, its stardrive section at the least has just warped in and is now engaging the Hirogen but even with that they are hard pressed.”

Kirin looked back at her and nodded, “Looks like a bit of a reunion then for the Kunhri taskforce.” She paused for a moment before speaking, “Ril, get as much information as you can on those Hirogen. They are meant to be tough but not invincible; fine me a weakness. There is always a weak link. I want us to drop out of warp and hit them with the phase cannons at full power. We may not be a warship but let us show them the Sojourner has teeth.”

A calm anticipation settled over the bridge as everyone counted down the seconds in their heads. The soft red glow of the lights added to the underlying tension everyone felt. “15 seconds,” calm the calm voice of Belania.

“Ready all weapons. Ril tell m you have something for me?” Kirin asked.

“One second…” she responded, “Got it, one of the ships has a fluctuation in their shield. I have marked them as HV-alpha. If we hit it hard we should be able to punch through.”

Kirin nodded just a Belania spoke again, “3, 2, 1.”

The view screen flashed and resolved into an image of the imposing Galaxy-class vessel along with the stardrive of the Sutherland-class. Their shields flared as Hirogen ships rained weapons fire down on them but it was far from one-sided. Streaks of orange light flashed from both ships striking the attacking vessels just as a volley of quantum torpedos shot froth from the Sarek.

Without waiting for an order the dual-mounted phase canons on the Sojourner opened fire accompanied by two torpedos. The phaser raked along their predetermined target, the port nacelle. Its shields flared as it tried to negate the incoming fire but flickered and failed just as the torpedos struck home, the force of the blast steering the nacelle off causing the vessel to spin wildly as secondary explosions erupted along the ship. The Sojourner shot past the vessel at full impulse before but didn’t escape unscathed as it passed by the Hirogen vessels.

“Target’s weapons and shields are disabled,” Ril said as she held on to her console for ear life as the ship shook violently. She continued, “Incoming fire, shields at 65%. Damage reported on decks 1 thru 6 and an EPS conduit exploded on deck 6. Repair teams en route.”

Kirin nodded, “Target the vessel that the Sarek and Ulysses are firing on. Belania, get me Captian Taes and Captain sh’Elas.”

USS Sarek Stardrive Section; Bridge

“Shields are down to eighty percent!”

If the tactical officer’s shouted report wasn’t enough, pathetic fallacy emphasized the point.  Commander Elbon leaned back in the captain’s chair as he felt the deck rocking from another barrage of phaser fire from three different Hirogen ships.  For a moment, it felt to Elbon like the deck was falling out from under him.  His eyes cut to the holographic LCARS monitor on his left and he watched an adjustment being made by the operations manager, which brought Elbon’s experience of gravity back to normal.

Elbon swiped at the holographic panel to review the tactical read-outs for each of their Hirogen attackers.  He too spotted the vessel that lost shields and weapons between the combined attack of all three Starfleet vessels.  Elbon stabbed at the hologram of the vessel and gestured for its coordinates to pop up at the tactical and flight control consoles.

“Target this vessel,” Elbon ordered, “two more quantum torpedoes.  Helm, put us in position!”

In position was necessary, because the research cruiser Sarek could only fire torpedoes from the forward- and aft-facing probe launcher in the mission pod protruding from the stardrive section.  Ensign Aloyye swiped his hands over the flight controls and it sent the Sarek into a controlled spin.  The stars on the viewscreen streaked sideways and so Elbon put his gaze on his LCARS monitor.

As the forward launcher approached optimal position, Elbon said, “Fire!”

Elbon turned back to the viewscreen to watch the Sarek‘s quantum torpedoes join the Sojourner‘s in destroying the disabled Hirogen vessel in a brief flare of light.

“We’re being hailed by the USS Sojourner,” reporting Ensign Dolan.  Given the reduced crew on the Sarek‘s secondary bridge, the science officer was monitoring communications to avoid distractions for tactical.

Elbon nodded.  “On screen,” he said.  A heartbeat later, Captain’s Tarken and a Tellarite appeared on the viewscreen, their bridges divided in a split screen.

No doubt catching the two commanding officer’s unawares, the Tellarite on the bridge of the Ulysses addressed their rescuers first. “Captains! Your assistance is timely, and appreciated. Apologies if you were expecting Captain sh’Elas but she is currently dealing with matters in sickbay,” the pig-faced man smiled a toothy grin.

The image of Kirin nodded, “Glad we were able to arrive when we did, Commander Elbon. Is everyone ok on your end? Once we drive the Hirogen off I can send over medical and engineering teams.” As she spoke the bridge around her shook as the Sojourner took another hit.

“Our defenses our holding over here,” Elbon replied.  “We’re only really built for hit-and-run, but we can keep this up for a while longer!”

“Then, let’s teach the Hirogen that today is a very bad day to mess with Starfleet,” Vasoch’s grin evaporated to one of utter seriousness. “At your leisure, my friends!”

Sitting in space and watching as the events beyond the safety of the Galaxy-class starships bulkheads transpired, the tension evaporated in an instant. The sight of two of their own coming to their aid in a moment of crisis and chasing off their aggressors filled the bridge crew with elation.

But if they had known what was to come, they would not have been so quick to cheer…