Part of USS Gagarin (Archive): Behind Enemy Lines and USS Saratoga: Behind Enemy Lines

2 – Behind Enemy Lines

USS Gagarin
March 2401
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The bridge of the Gagarin even though it was busy silence filled the room, no one was talking amongst themselves as they usually did. Most of the crew have never seen war, never been a part of the Dominion War. They only read about them in textbooks, now several hours ago they learned of the return of the Dominion. Hours since the Lost Fleet arrived to wreak havoc on the Deneb Sector, and the Breen were helping them again.

Tilana was sitting in the command chair staring off into the bleakness of the bridge though in no particular area. Having fought in the war, memories flooded back of that horrible time and now they were back. She seemed fixated on staring off into the void until a voice spoke up from beside her.

“Commander?” Aleish Trol asked as she sat down after having entered the bridge after running drills with her tactical team. Lieutenant Zain Kraha had been covering her station while she was not on the bridge.

Snapping out of her trance shaking her head before looking over to her left, “oh I didn’t realize you had returned Aleish.” Tilana said as she gave a smile, even though it was fake. There was nothing to smile or be happy about.

“You alright?” Trol asked with a bit of concern on her face.

She thought about lying and saying everything was just fine and dandy but in reality, things were not. “Is anyone alright?” She asked in turn as she looked around the bridge with a heavy sigh. “I have faced the Dominion during the last war, and here we find ourselves in a new war with the Dominion.” She replied looking at Aleish.

Taking a moment to look around the bridge, looking at everyone that was at their stations. The somber look seemed to be a trend on everyone’s faces, they were trying to keep their feelings hidden. Though, you could tell they were now being sent into a war that they had never seen before. 

“I have seen the toils of war, I was on Cardassia during the Dominion War I have seen what they can do.” Aleish said as she blew air out of her cheeks, “to think my people sided with them at one time.” She replied as she leaned back closing her eyes for a moment remembering the chaos that ensured that day during the Battle of Cardassia. 

She was a young adult, who had watched her parents get killed at the hands of the Dominion, “my parents were simple farmers, not soldiers, not politicians, just simple farmers.” Trol replied before opening her eyes and looking over at Tilana. “After the war ended I left Cardassia to find a better life and purpose, so I joined Starfleet. I have not looked back since,” she replied.

Tilana nodded as she looked at her, “what do you think of our current orders?” She asked as she shifted in the chair, she couldn’t get over the fact that they were about to go behind enemy lines. To take out an old Breen Fleet Yards that was used during the last war.

“Sir, I have finished running diagnostics of the ship’s weapons systems.” Zian Kraha interrupted as he looked up from his console just as Aleish was about to answer Tilana’s question.

Looking over at the Lieutenant for a moment before excusing herself from the commander who nodded before leaning back in her chair. She approached the tactical station, “what have you found?” Trol asked looking at the younger Bolian officer.

“Everything is within normal parameters of specifications,” Zian replied looking at her as she began to read the report.

After she finished reading and was satisfied with the report she looked back up, “I would like you to gather the security team and begin running drills in the holodeck against Dominion and Breen forces.” Aleish began to speak, “I want our team prepared for that what-if scenario of them boarding the ship.” She finished giving him his orders.

“Aye sir,” Kraha replied before he turned to leave the station heading for the turbolift.

Aleish began to slowly look around the bridge, each one was doing their job. One could feel the tensions in the air, they were on their way to a fight no one was guaranteed to walk away from.

“Commander?” Than asked as he looked over to see her glancing around the bridge.

Snapping out of it for a moment she looked at Than and gave a slight smile for what it was worth. “Yes?” She asked the Barzan officer that was standing at his station working on gathering any new intelligence that would help them in their mission. Waving a hand after realizing what he was asking, “I was just lost in thought Than.” Aleish replied as she looked at him.

Than nodded in agreement as he has spent the last while reading everything there was to know about the Dominion. Both from the past war and what they knew about the Lost Fleet of now which wasn’t much at the moment. He was worried, no he was downright scared but wouldn’t be one to show that fear. “I know how that is,” he finally replied as they both just went back to what they were doing.


Engineering was busy with engineers scrambling here and there working on getting modifications to the ship’s systems finished in time so they could travel through the Ciater Nebula. So far things were on schedule and nothing major seemed to be going wrong, well at least for the time being.

Ashatia was sitting in her office as was going over reports, she usually had a tough exterior. Not the friendliest of person but at that moment she looked vulnerable. She’s seen war though she was only a teenager when the Dominion War broke out, she knew occupation and to think of all those worlds within the Deneb sector that the Dominion conquered. Of all those people now living under the rule of the Dominion, it made her heart sink as a single tear managed to escape and run down her face at the thought.

Zhayva had finished working on the modifications to the ship’s systems, after running a full diagnostic to make sure things remained operational and within standards. She downloaded the needed information onto a padd for Aarven to review. The tension in the engineering room was at an all-time high, as they made sure that the ship would be prepared to enter battle when that time came.

Walking around the corner coming up to where Aarven’s office was located she pressed the door chime and waited for a response. Though the office had a large section of the wall was a huge window that allowed her to look at most of the department from where she was located. She glanced in the window right before hitting the door and could tell something was bothering the usually tough commander.

Ashatia didn’t even look up to see who it was, “enter.” She responded as the doors parted to allow Zhayva to enter. “Please have a seat,” Ashatia said as she motioned for her to take a seat at one of the chairs that were positioned in front of her desk.

Taking the offered seat, “modifications to the ship’s systems have been completed and I have run every test possible to make sure things would remain operational once we enter the nebula.” Zhayva said as she handed her the padd with all the information on it for her review.

Taking the padd she began to read the information while remaining quiet, once she finished reading the report she put the padd down on her desk. “Everything looks fine, thank you,” Aarven said as she went back to what she was doing before Zhayva entered.

Zhayva thought her demeanor was a bit off than it normally was, “is everything alright sir?” She asked with a concerned tone to her voice looking at her superior.

“I am fine,” Aarven replied shortly.

“Can I speak freely sir?” Zhayva asked.

Aarven looked up as she had shut off the holoscreen that she was reading, she huffed before replying. “Very well,” she replied.

She would probably get an earful but at that moment she wanted to get this off her chest as it has been building up for a while. “Why this tough exterior? Are you afraid to let anyone in?” She asked looking at her superior.

Aarven was caught off guard by her bluntness and for the first time, she didn’t know how to respond. Whether to be angry with her or impressed she’d have the guts to do so, letting out a sigh. She stood up from the chair she had been sitting at, walking over to the large window overlooking engineering she began looking out at officers who were busy working.

“Actually, yes I am.” Aarven replied as she worked her jaw back and forth, “it saves me from getting hurt or attached to anyone.” She softly added thinking about all those officers that might not make it out of this war. It’s not that she didn’t care, she just kept a distance.

Zhayva stood up and walked up to her, slightly behind her on the right side. “You know it’s ok to let people into your life we are all afraid of getting hurt. Keeping people out is not healthy, and it just leads to loneliness in the long run.” Zhayva said softly, “It is alright to have relationships. Yes, some people will come and go but that is just the way things are. We just have to move on as more meaningful relationships will come in its stead.” She added as she stood there.

Aarven looked down for a brief second as she chewed on her response to the Orion woman who seemed to be wiser than she realized. “I have been running my whole life, from the Cardassian occupation fighting to survive. Vowing never to allow myself to get hurt again, that it better that I keep everyone at arm’s length.” Aarven said softly as she looked at her for a moment before looking back out again. “Now we’re heading off to fight the Dominion again, and we all know not everyone will make it home by the end of this.” She said as she pointed out to her fellow officers that were under her guidance.

Zhayva was beginning to understand her more, “I know loss and pain can be something that is hard to deal with but you don’t have to do it alone. Let people help you,” she began to say. “Let me help you,” Zhayva said offering her friendship. “We will get through this, all of this together.” She said with a smile being sincere as to what she was saying.

Aarven turned around to face her, she could tell she was being genuine and not just saying things to make her feel better. For the first time since they were first assigned to the Gagarin, “I would like that,” she replied.

Zhayva smiled as she felt that she was finally starting to break the ice with the commander, “now I say we go get something to eat as everything here is being handled here just fine and we still have a few hours before we arrive at our destination.” Zhayva suggested as Aarven just nodded in agreement as she hadn’t had much to eat that day. The two walked out of the office and headed towards the lounge to unwind a bit before chaos would hit.


Ashev Ch’vhirol was on the holodeck as he began to create a program that would mimic what they would be doing once they arrived. Though Starfleet Intelligence didn’t have much information on what the command and control center looked like, he tried to get things as realistic as he possibly could. Though these were just drills they were running and things could go a different way, they would be as prepared as possible before they arrived.

Once he got everything set up, “alright we will be heading in on the shuttle to the command and control center. We will dock at one of their docking ports, get inside and take out any Jem’Hadar and Breen we encounter.” Ashev began to explain to his hazard team as well as a few security officers that would be joining them. “Once we have the place secure both Lieutenant Virahl and Savu will begin sabotaging their systems.” He said as the group listened to instructions.

“Once they have brought systems offline we will head back to the Gagarin, where they will break away from the Saratoga and begin destroying the Fleet Yards and asteroid bases as the Knight and fighters join once they have taken care of the weapons platforms.” He finished speaking, “any questions?” He asked.

When no one had any questions, “I know this simulation isn’t perfect as we don’t have all the information but will do the best we can to prepare. Let’s get to it if there isn’t anything else,” Ashev said as he began the program and they appeared in the shuttle.

The room was filled with nerves as they began to prepare for what lies ahead of them, you could see the tensions and nerves beginning to creep up on some of them. Other than Ashev who had fought in the last Dominion War, never knew what war was like only read it in textbooks. 

He knew that this wouldn’t be a walk in the park, that many Starfleet officers wouldn’t make it home by the time this was all over. He vowed to make sure their mission was a success so the other ships would be able to do their part, hindering the Dominion ships being repaired. They spent the next few hours going over everything multiple times, with different possibilities each time as things always seemed to go a different way than planned.

Comments

  • I really liked this chapter! You could definitely tell that this new conflict is dredging up a lot of old feelings and emotions that people are holding on to from the last war. I loved the dialogue and interaction between Zhayva and Aarven, it was nice to see the crew attempting to comfort one another. I look forward to the next chapter!

    May 11, 2023
  • Amazing job on this one. The Dominion War was a dark time in Federation history with untold horrors and needless death. You captured the gauntlet of emotions running through the crew from the tension in the air to the forced calm being projected. It was good to see relations improving between Aarven and Zhayva and this interaction was very enjoyable while still capturing the rawness of the situation. The holodeck simulation was a nice wee bonus. It's not often we get to see many simulations being played out on the holodeck and this was well done. Can't wait to see what you have in store for us next!

    May 11, 2023
  • I enjoyed the development around how the Garagin’s characters are processing the reality of going to war with the Dominion again, and I found myself wanting more about Aleish’s experience living through the Cardassian genocide the Dominion committed at the end of the war. Also thought it was very realistic, very reminiscent of how real world teams do it, the depiction of drill your best guess of the environment you’ll be in.

    May 12, 2023
  • Oh wow, this was deep and gave us a lot more development for the crew of the Gagarin - I'm really pleased to learn more about their backgrounds and deepest worries. Fear can certainly be a powerful motivator for many, and I think you put it across well in this story. Could they ever be prepared for what awaits them or will their fear get the best of them? I certainly hope it's not the latter, but I do wonder just how ready the crew of the Gagarin will be.

    May 14, 2023
  • I love the stark quiet you introduced at the beginning of the scene. It's such a wild difference in tone from the convivial way you normally write the Saratoga and Gagarin. It gave a gravitas to this mission against the Dominion being DIFFERENT. It also offered a keen perspective into the mind of Tilana. In fact, the lens of the Dominion War offered us new insights into a lot of these new characters I'm still getting to know. The building of a new friendship between Aarven and Zhayva was especially heartfelt.

    May 14, 2023
  • This is nice. Quiet and contemplation masking some very real trepidation and fear from the crew. I liked seeing how they’re all dealing with / preparing for what they’re about to face and a sweet spot with the beginnings of a new friendship. Looking forward to seeing where you take it!

    May 14, 2023
  • This is a really strong establishment of the Gagarin crew in the face of the Lost Fleet. Aleish comes off particularly strongly - being a Cardassian in a time like this is really complicated, and I think you convey that very well. Especially with her age; she wasn't complicit in the Cardassian alliance with the Dominion, but she sure as hell was a victim of it. The pressure of the situation is plainly getting to everyone, which is very clear with the scene between Aarven and Zhayva; the confrontation and conversation about letting people get close feels very true as the sort of thing to happen in a time of apprehension like this. Good stuff!

    May 21, 2023
  • I really liked the perspectives and dichotomy between the veterans, those who were teens, or kids during the war. Tha fake smile... haven't we all plastered on a fake smile? Great post.

    May 22, 2023
  • This was a pretty cool and deep examination of a couple of characters and their histories in light of the current situation. Aleish and how memories of the Battle of Cardassia and the massacre the Dominion inflicted at the end. Then Aarven and her comparison to the Occupation of Bajor at the hands of the Cardassians which ended only a few years before the Dominion War started. There's trauma here to explore and you've done well in starting off. Looking forward to more.

    June 3, 2023
  • Tilana

    Commanding Officer

  • Aleish Trol

    Executive Officer

  • Aarven Ashatia

    Second Officer
    Chief Engineering Officer

  • Ashev Ch'vhirol

    Officer of the Watch
    Hazard Team Leader

  • Zain Kraha

    Chief Security & Tactical Officer

  • Zhayva

    Assistant Chief Engineering Officer

  • Nolash Tal

    Operations Officer
    Hazard Team Member

  • Ch'Tor

    Security Officer
    Hazard Team Member

  • Enja Arime

    Security Officer
    Hazard Team Member

  • Savu

    Engineering Officer
    Hazard Team Member

  • Deeli Brea

    Paramedic
    Hazard Team Member

  • Than

    Former Second Officer
    Chief Strategic Operations Officer

  • Nilah Derohl

    Former Damage Control Specialist
    Engineering Officer