Part of USS Polaris: Infiltrate and Liberate Nasera (The Lost Fleet – Part 1) and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

When The Skies Became Fire (Part 1)

Nasera System
Mission Day 13 - 1800 Hours
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As an angry mob of colonists stormed the west gate of the governor’s mansion, Commander Jake Lewis gave the order to his team: “Execute.”

Four covert operators rose in unison from their crouched positions in the underbrush, moving swiftly from the east towards the palatial residence commandeered by the Vorta. Gone were their subtle disguises and subdued demeanors. They no longer needed to blend in with the oppressed denizens of Nasera. Now, in tactical gear with rifles at the ready, all subterfuge was gone. It was time for direct action.

A Jem’Hadar guard, distracted by the chatter on his communicator about the mob storming the west gate, didn’t even notice the easterly threat before Commander Lewis shot him dead. A second shot rang out as Dr. Lisa Hall killed another. Lieutenants Kora Tal and Jace Morgan moved tight on their heels, rifles sweeping for any sign of movement. Two years training together made the four Hazard Team members a well-oiled machine.

On a third floor balcony, a Jem’Hadar sentry turned when he heard the crack of phaser fire over the whispers of a quiet evening breeze. With the eyesight of a hawk, he instantly spotted the four figures approaching. But before he could so much as raise his rifle, a shot rang out. T’Aer’s aim was true. The coldblooded sniper killed him where he stood, a clean shot from 700 meters away, high on a hill where she was providing overwatch for the team.

The dead Jem’Hadar sentry tumbled over the railing, falling three floors, landing right in front of the team as they advanced along the perimeter of the mansion. Commander Lewis stepped over the body without glancing down. A dead body didn’t matter. He was completely focused on identifying the next threat.

A few kilometers away, three other members of the covert team waited for the call from Commander Lewis from the utility tunnels beneath the center of Nasera City. As soon as it came in, they moved swiftly, without hesitation. 

Ensign Elyssia Rel popped the bulkhead, and her two colleagues charged through. Lieutenant Commander Brock Jordan and Chief Petty Officer Ayala Shafir swept the room with rifles at the ready, searching for targets. But just as Shafir had found it prior, the network switch room was completely unguarded. They were now inside the heavily fortified control center of the planetary defense system without firing a single shot.

Ensign Rel and Lieutenant Commander Jordan took up defensive positions on either side of the room to cover possible points of entry, just in case a wayward patrol wandered down to the basement. Chief Shafir, meanwhile, dropped to a knee and pulled equipment out of her pack. She plugged a universal connector into the Console port on the back of the switch, and then got to work on her PADD.

“Time check?”

“T minus seventeen seconds.”

Chief Shafir was through the measly security of the network switch in seconds. The hacker had spent the better part of her life compromising systems far more complex than this, and the network was now hers to control. That was when it struck her. She wasn’t simply going to sabotage the planetary defense system as planned. She could do way better than that.

Across the vastness of space, the USS Polaris and her sister ships barreled towards Nasera. “Sensors report one cruiser, eight fighters, bearing 002 mark 5, directly over Nasera II,” came the call from the officer at the tactical station, piercing the nerves on the bridge. 

It was exactly as Commander Lewis’ team had reported. One Jem’Hadar battlecruiser, plus a fighter squadron, waited for them directly over the planet. Also from his intelligence, Fleet Admiral Allison Reyes knew there would also be a second battlecruiser and a few more fighters somewhere else in the system on patrol.

“54 AU and closing.” 

At warp 9.57, they’d come face-to-face with the enemy in fourteen seconds.

“TAO, eyes on the other cruiser?”

“Negative on eyes.” 

She knew the remaining ships were out there somewhere. Best guess, their signatures were occluded by one of the stellar bodies in the system. For now, they would focus on the nine bogies in their sights, and they would hope they finished that battle before the others appeared. 

It would be a tough fight with their ragtag band of ships, but facing only half of the Dominion’s forces at a time, it was winnable. As long as Commander Lewis came through on his end. If their covert ground elements failed to sabotage the planetary defense system or the orbital station, all bets were off.

“T minus five,” reported the conn.

Admiral Reyes watched as the streaking stars decelerated and grew still as a backdrop to the epic struggle that was about to begin. Nasera II lay directly ahead of them. Between the Starfleet ships and their destination was a Jem’Hadar battlecruiser and a squadron of fighters.

Reyes didn’t waste time hailing the Dominion occupiers. There was no point in pleasantries, nor in demanding the return of Nasera II. She knew the cold heart of the Dominion. They would not surrender, and they would not retreat. There was only one way this battle would end. Victory was life, and she intended victory to be theirs. That meant over the dead bodies of the Jem’Hadar.

“All ships, weapons hot. Break and engage!”

The Dominion fighters screamed towards the Starfleet squadron as polaron disruptors, phaser beams and quantum torpedoes cut through the vacuum of space.

As the only true warship of the group, the USS Diligent was the tip of the spear that pushed first into the swarm of enemy fighters. On its bridge, Captain Dorian Vox shouted orders, his pulse racing, his mind frantically tracking the information coming in from all sides. He was in his element, calling shots like the military commander he had trained to be.

“Track one eight seven, fire.”

“TAO, one eight seven, aye.”

The Alita class ship unloaded bow to stern. Phaser beams. Pulse cannons. Torpedoes. All firing in tandem as a brawl ensued. Around the Diligent, Jem’Hadar Beetles and Starfleet Valkyries bobbed and weaved, exchanging blows with each other and the warship.

“Track two three four, fire.”

“TAO, two three four, aye.”

As the Diligent blew past one of the fighters, a choreographed dance of phaser beams arced out from their emitters, attempting to slice through the enemy craft. The Jem’Hadar pilot dodged nimbly, taking only a glancing blow. It wouldn’t be that easy.

“Bring us ’round 210 mark 15.”

“Conn, bearing 210 mark 15, aye.”

The inertial dampeners struggled to compensate as the flight controller at the helm executed a turn so sharp the Diligent looked more like a single pilot starfighter than a 17 deck, 464 meter long beast. Officers that weren’t strapped into their jump seats had to grab hold of consoles, armrests, and pillars to avoid being thrown across the deck.

“TAO, go to the fourteens.”

“Fourteens, kill track zero two zero.”

The aggressive maneuver from Diligent caught the enemy fighter off guard. The dual Type-XIV heavy pulse cannons, a central feature of the Alita class, coughed out a volley, striking the Jem’Hadar fighter along the centerline. It exploded in a ball of fire.

“Splash one.”

Captain Vox smiled. First kill of the battle. He could smell the scent of Jem’Hadar blood. That wasn’t so bad, he thought. He was ready for more. But then the bridge shook violently as two Jem’Hadar beetles slotted in behind the Diligent, unloading a frenzy of polaron blasts against the Diligent’s rear quarter.

“Fighters, where the hell is my screen?!” the captain shouted. The Alita class ship was very frontloaded with its firepower, and its Valkyrie-class starfighters should have been covering its rear.

Back aboard the Polaris, Captain Devreux gave a sitrep: “Diligent splash one. Steamrunner on rear guard taking heavy damage from a pair of Jem’Hadar fighters that broke away. Remaining fighters from the Diligent are moving to support Steamrunner.”

“Nebula, come about and cover the Steamrunner,” Reyes ordered. The Nebula made a long lumbering turn, doubling back to support her sister ship. The Nebula wasn’t fast, and she wasn’t a warship, but she was a full-sized exploratory cruiser with the weapons and shields to match. Reyes knew she would give the smaller Steamrunner the relief it needed against two Jem’Hadar fighters that had pinned it down.

As soon as Admiral Reyes had changed the disposition of their forces to cover one weakness, another opened up.

“Diligent is being swarmed by six fighters,” Devreux reported. The Alita class was the best warship Starfleet had cranked out in a generation, but even she would struggle against that many simultaneous threats. The admiral didn’t want to lose their premier warship, especially not this early in the battle.

“Ingenuity, Norway, get on top of the Diligent! Cover its aft! Now!” Reyes ordered. The two light cruisers were not half the warship the Diligent was, but she figured their maneuverability would give them an edge to take some heat off the Diligent’s rear.

“And what about us Admiral?”

Admiral Reyes looked out the forward viewer at the imposing Dominion battlecruiser menacing towards them. “Bearing 010 mark 10, attack pattern echo,” she ordered, lining the Polaris up with the enemy flagship. “I want that cruiser out of our skies.” 

The bridge rocked as a volley of polaron bursts from the battlecruiser collided with her shields.

As they traded volleys with the battlecruiser, the tactical officer reported a problem: “Admiral, planetary defense system is coming online.”

Reyes cursed under her breath. They were depending on Commander Lewis’ team to have disabled that system. No ship in their squadron – not the Polaris, not the Diligent, and certainly not any of their seventies era relics – could survive a sustained volley from the dozens of satellites that made up the defense grid above Nasera.

“Is it in range?”

“In range of all vessels except Steamrunner and Nebula,” reported the tactical officer. 

A loud ping from the tactical console denoting active targeting sensors from the system.

“Vampire, vampire, vampire!” he screamed a moment later. “Three… six… twelve… sixty torpedoes, incoming!” Shock was evident in the tactical officer’s voice as he said the final count. He’d never faced even a tenth that many simultaneous incoming threats.

The battlecruiser was no longer their biggest problem.

Comments

  • I love the mix of Star Trek but also of Naval practice in there with repeated orders and how targets are viewed - it reminds me of movies like Greyhound and Midway with both vessel- and fighter-based combat - you've adapted it into the 2401s. It just reads perfectly from start to finish. They are all solid ships with solid crews, but victory is never assured - I like how you worked in the balance when ships moved from their planned place and how it shifted the weight of who was being attacked, where, and when. I do like how (I think) we know what's about to happen with the planetary defenses, but our characters don't. This is both fun and technically fun to read, as it had a great mix.

    May 23, 2023
  • The battle is on, the chess pieces are on the table and now everything comes down to it. Will Lewis succeed or will Reyes burn in orbit? It is a solid begin and I got to agree with Aaron on this that it feels very much like Midway and even Red Tails in some regards. Thought a point of improvement, it is rather confusing when you switch scene, make something marking the obvious transition so that the reader doesn't get confused. Other then that, keep it up!

    May 28, 2023
  • I am in awe of how you continually show off your skills, Jon. As Fontana said, in this there is a clear mix of ST and naval practice, and for me, that makes sense given the type of ship the Polaris is - its size, its crew compliment etc. Given the fact its the command ship of a squadron, a battle has the very real possibility of becoming confusing - but not this. Everything works seamlessly. You continue to inspire me with how you write conflict, and I will be taking pointers from you for sure moving forward. I'm the opposite of Sazra in regards to the transitions. They work perfectly. If we were to read a book, we wouldn't get those lines everywhere. If it works for you, continue doing it. For me, the lines are only kept in my chapters for my own sanity and ease of keeping track of events when I look back, or I wouldn't have them at all. I might well go back to not using them in a less time constrained mission. Keep up the good fight. I hope Hathaway gets to fight alongside Polaris squadron one day.

    May 28, 2023
  • From the combat taking place on the ground, the battle commences in space. Seems that each chess piece is carefully moving in strategic patterns. Carefully moving, though it seems they have now come to an impasse as to what their next moves are going to be as it seems that the weapons platforms have been activated. Makes me wonder if Ayala did her job or if something happen down there that caused her not to be able to complete that task. I can feel the tensions of those on the Polaris as those weapons started firing. Has me on the edge of my seat wondering what is going to happen next, great job at setting the tone for the rest of the chapters!

    May 29, 2023
  • Allison Reyes

    Squadron Commanding Officer
    ASTRA Director

  • Gérard Devreux

    Squadron Executive Officer
    Commanding Officer

  • Jake Lewis

    Squadron Intelligence Officer
    USS Serenity Commanding Officer

  • Dorian Vox

    Squadron Strategic Ops Officer
    USS Diligent Commanding Officer

  • Cora Lee

    Squadron Engineering Officer
    USS Ingenuity Commanding Officer

  • Lisa Hall, Ph.D.

    Squadron Counseling Officer
    ASTRA Lead, Cultural & Psychological Research

  • Ayala Shafir

    Intelligence & Computer Systems Specialist
    Hazard Team Member

  • Elyssia Rel

    Flight Control Officer
    Hazard Team Member

  • T'Aer

    Private Contractor
    Sebold Logistics

  • Grok

    Private Contractor
    Sebold Logistics

  • Brock Jordan

    Deceased; Formerly
    Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer
    Hazard Team Deputy Lead

  • Jace Morgan

    Deceased; Formerly
    Operations Officer
    Hazard Team Member

  • Ryssehl Th'zathol

    Deceased; Formerly
    Private Contractor & CEO
    Sebold Logistics