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Part of USS Mariner: M1: Into The Gamma Quadrant and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

27) The Highway to Hell – Part 2

Various Locations
March 2401
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– USS Mariner

The ship shook a bit as it pushed through the fire barrage. “Shields dropping to 57%!” Drata yelled as the ship took another hit. “Make that 55%” The Bolian did his best to keep everything in check, but this was too much for him as the acting Chief Operation Officer. “Commander Valerio is only ¼ through the system. He states that the shaking is not helping!”

Sazra rolled her eyes. “Yea like I can help it…” She mutters “Miki I am going to pitch your advice and I bet you know what I want to hear….but is it possible to redirect power from the weapons to the shields to give us more time?” Another one almost hit them “K’Nala girl I am depending on your skills…”

The Caitian was doing her best to focus on this, but she did hear her captain and simply nodded to that giving another swing to avoid another shot. But a few people got dropped to the ground. Thought the Dominion team stayed their ground and were quite enjoying it.

“I would highly advise you not to do that Captain, but seeing that is not what you want to hear…I can advise redirecting fire to certain weapons to shields, just not all” Miki replied in a slightly demanding tone.

Nodding to that “Make it so…” Sazra was interrupted

“Captain…I got USS Valhala, USS Andromeda, and USS Serenity en route to our location” Asipa stated as she noticed the ping. “But I am still unable to contact them about the situation. Do you think they will help?” Looking at her Captain as another hit got the shields.

“That is 47%” Drata announced.

Narrowing her eyes “I can only hope they are not here to believe the words of Deep Space 9, Because that would mark me suicidal in the given situation” Sazra pointed out. “But the distraction is a welcoming sight if I am honest. It will break away the pressure on us…K’Nala focus on that battleship!”

“Well Captain, if you look at the given situation it is a suicidal situation to go up against the glorious powers of what these warriors are showing,” Rahis said with a smile on her face. “But I applaud you for your bravery in doing what you deem required”

“Indeed, I have not seen such courage in a long time” Dezod had his arms crossed over each other looking at the screen.

“Glad you are enjoying the entertainment,” Sazra said not trying to be distracted. “Well we are riding like thunder through this madness, and we shall hit the lightning at our destination as if we are the storm” Sazra felt a bit poem vibe for what was happening. The Mariner didn’t back down as it pushed further into the combat zone. A trail of explosions would be seen from a distance on the path the Pathfinder class took. Readings would expose that Mariner on this condition would not hold out for much longer or even reach its goal of the large battleship.

– USS Andromeda – 

Captain Órlaith Murphy stared down at the display before her as the battlefield opened up before her.  A single Starfleet icon surrounded by multiple Dominion icons.

“It appears for some reason the Mariner is trying to reach the battleship,” Órlaith observed.

“Yeah, and getting a beating for their efforts,” Lieutenant Commander Erin Hayden added. “Their shields are at forty-seven  percent.”

Órlaith frowned.  “We’ll swing in wide.   Keep us hot and fast.  Let us skim right over the Mariner’s bridge.  Hit the Dominion with whatever we got.  What can we use to signal them?”

“What if we illuminate the registry beacon? I think I can rig it to flash in Morse code,” Amanda Wheeler suggested from operations.

“Do it.”

“Aye captain.”

“Erin,  send our plan to Admiral Reyes and Captain McKenzie.”

Erin entered to plan into the system and transmitted the information to Serenity and Valhalla.  A bleep came back almost immediately from their squadron commander with just two words, “God speed.”

“Helm adjust course 214 mark 5.”

“Aye captain. Course laid in,” Ensign Vass responded.

The Andromeda thundered over the top of the Mariner and unleashed a full volley of phaser fire as quantum torpedoes launched forward and aft striking two separate Jem’Hadar fighters.  The Mariner had already badly damaged one and the Andromeda’s weapons finished it off leaving nothing more than a cloud of debris.

The second fighter veered away having lost the immediate numerical advantage.  As it did Andromeda fired one last phaser burst as it swung on to regroup with its fellows.  As it did so Andromeda fell in alongside the Mariner, its registry beacon flashing intermittently illuminating the name and registry number along the forward part of the saucer.

– USS Serenity

The bridge on the USS Serenity was abuzz with crosstalk as everyone prepared for the hell that waited for them just seconds away. Yet again, they were engaging the Dominion, but the situation here was different. They weren’t playing a game of hide and seek, nor executing a hit and run. This time, they were charging straight at a far superior force, and the USS Mariner was a complete wildcard.

Andromeda is right on top of the Mariner, splitting the focus of the fighters,” reported Lieutenant Commander Eidran.

“Fifteen seconds out,” Ensign Rel reported from the conn.

“Red alert,” declared Admiral Reyes. The bridge illuminated with the bright red hue that signaled it was time to fight. “Shields to full, all weapons hot.” She looked over at her old friend, Commander Lewis, who sat to her right.

“I thought you told Jori we were going to bring the ship back intact?” he said.

“Yeah, well maybe I lied,” laughed the Admiral.

And then the ship tore out of warp right on top of one of the Jem’Hadar battlecruisers, and the battle was on.

– USS Mariner

On the view screen the Andromeda going over the bridge was seen as most officer’s eyes were distracted by it. “FOCUS PEOPLE, they are giving us leeway to get the job done” Silina tried to get them to focus on. She looked at her side “Serenity just out and opened fire upon the cruisers? They are not made for that kind of combat?”

“I think this is one of those moments that we are not going to judge a book by its front” Sazra pointed out. “We have no right to complain seeing we are not even meant to be here” Looking at Miki “What is the status of the Dominion…” Seeing Rahis raise a brow “The lost fleet I mean”

Looking from his console “Andromeda is firing upon the fighters, Serenity is taking the cruisers…” Miki reported that another hit got them “I have boosted our shields from almost all weapons” He was not happy about it, but if he didn’t do that, the cruisers would direct hit would destroy them.

“Confirm…Shields back to 59%, but not holding!” Drata stated as he saw a message coming in “Commander Valerio is halfway with the communication system” It was somewhat good news in the given situation. Another hit got the bridge crew shaken around “Shields down to 51%, getting reports from various decks of minor problems”

The Ferengi narrowed her eyes as she tried to focus and hold the ear device attached to her ear. She located the source, and Asipa looked at her Captain. “Captain, there is a beacon sending out some kind of code?” She tried to listen again and swiped her program aside writing on the console “R…E…A…D….” She spelled it out and looked up. “They are trying to communicate with us through morse code I believe”

Sazra narrowed her eyes and nods slowly to that news while turning her attention to Silina “Work with Asipa to get a message through them the same way….important mission, need to reach battleship go” She orders “K’Nala ETA?”

While the First Officer walked to Asipa to work on the morse code, K’Nala gritted her teeth “72 seconds if they clearrrr a path” She felt the frustration building up as she was moving through a wave of torpedoes and phasers. But the Mariner kept her course to the battleship and not changing course.

“Captain we only could sent partly the morse code! The beacon is destroyed” Silina reported while standing at the side of Asipa console and looking at Sazra.

– USS Serenity

Ensign Elyssia Rel flew the Duderstadt class vessel at the limits of what its spaceframe could sustain, treating it more like a Valkyrie class starfighter than a half kilometer long cruiser. The inertial dampeners struggled to compensate for the intense g-forces she was exerting on the ship with each command, but pushing its structural integrity to the limits was the only way to keep the ship from being blown to bits.

“Vampire, vampire, vampire, two six three,” reported Lieutenant Commander Eidran from the tactical. Rel pitched the nose hard, a trio of torpedoes arced towards them. Two narrowly missed, skirting between the secondary hull and the nacelles, but one found its mark. The ship shook hard.

“DC central, dispatch teams to port side amidship!” shouted Commander Lewis.

“Forcefields in place and holding,” replied Lieutenant J.G. Morgan from ops. “Damage control teams en route.”

“Helm, bring us about bearing one four zero mark two one zero,” Admiral Reyes ordered. “Get me a firing solution on that fighter!”

“One four zero mark two one zero, aye,” replied Ensign Rel as she continued to dive the ship, flipping it completely on its axis, now heading straight for the fighter that had just taken pursuit behind them after the low pass it had made over the battlecruiser.

“All power forward shields,” Admiral Reyes ordered as a series of polaron blasts careened towards the Serenity. She didn’t flinch as they hit. She was completely focused on the target ahead. Take it out, and it wouldn’t be a problem anymore. “TAO, give me torpedoes, all forward batteries, kill track zero two zero.”

“Kill track zero two zero.”

“Fire, fire, fire!”

The Duderstadt class cruiser unleashed a full volley of torpedoes from all four of its forward launchers as it beared down on the enemy fighter. It was probably overkill, but there was no point in preserving munitions. Either they won this battle, or they’d all be dead anyway.

The Jem’Hadar fighter exploded in a bright light, but there was no time to celebrate. The ship shook again as two more Jem’Hadar fighters slotted in behind them. The Jem’Hadar fighters were like gnats, swarming them and their sister ships from every angle.

“We’re not going to be able to take much more of this Allison,” cautioned Commander Lewis from her side. “You know I’m all for going out in a blaze of glory, but what’s the play here?”

Admiral Reyes had no idea. The Mariner just continued to lumber towards the battleship, while the Valhalla, the Serenity and the Andromeda continued to take a beating.

– USS Valhalla

The Valhalla shook as it was pounded by weapons fire. “Commander Halstead, would you kindly take command of Section Bravo and Ms. Willis take command of Section Charlie.” Aoife ordered.

The two officers nodded as they stepped away from their positions as they headed for the turbolift they were summoning the officers to fill their bridge positions.   Valhalla’s computer was more than capable of directing the two sections in concert with the main bridge, but Aoife liked to have actual officers in command of those sections in case communications were disrupted… or in the worst case scenario, the saucer section is disabled or destroyed.

After a few moments, the replacement operations officer, an Ensign, spoke, “Commanders Halstead and Willis report they are in position.”

“Initiate multi-vector assault mode,” Aoife ordered.

After a computerized warning and countdown, the USS Valhalla separated into three sections. An unlucky fighter flew into the firing arc of all three sections and was immediately destroyed.

Aoife gripped the armrests as another volley of weapons fire slammed into the ship from a cruiser.

“Shields are at eighty-three percent and holding,” the ensign reported.

“Mr Talon,  move us into ³,position to back up Serenity.   Eddie full spread of quantum torpedoes at…” she read the sensor data.  Admiral Reyes’ ship had weakened a section of shielding.  She grabbed the coordinates and sent them to tactical. “Concentrate your weapons on those coordinates Eddie.”

“Weapons locked.”

“Fire!”

With the Starfleet vessels giving some weight in the battle and the Mariner pushing forward to the battleship. Something unexpected started to happen. The battleship engines started to spin online, and it slowly started to move in the direction of the combat that was occurring. The battleship would soon enter the fray, and it’s Jem’Hadar First was intent on ending this puny suicidal act once and for all .

– USS Andromeda

”They were responding,  but I only got a partial message before their beacon was destroyed,” Wheeler announced.

The ship shook and a console located at the back of the bridge exploded. “Shields at forty-five percent.  Hull fractures on deck nine and ten,” Tactical reported.

“Choi’s not going to be happy. He just got the hull repaired,” Erin quipped.

“What did you get from the Mariner, Lieutenant?” Órlaith said ignored both her XO and tactical officer. “Important mission stop Require deliverance. The message ends there.”

“Doesn’t tell us much,” Órlaith observed. “Forward that to the others.”

“Aye captain,” Wheeler replied.

– USS Serenity

“Admiral, we’ve got an incoming message from the Mariner, forwarded by Andromeda,” reported Lieutenant Morgan at operations. “Not sure what to make of it though. Just four words: Important Mission. Required Deliverance.”

“Captain Kobahl talks like a spook,” chuckled Commander Lewis. “I can appreciate that.”

“I think it’s clear enough,” Admiral Reyes replied. “Let’s give the Captain what she needs.” She looked ahead at the Jem’Hadar battleship that was now powering up and moving towards them, the Mariner charging straight at it with the Jem’Hadar peppering it with fire from every angle. Their hit and run tactics weren’t going to work any longer. “Reyes to all vessels. Form up around the Mariner and take the hits for her.”

She just hoped her faith in her fellow Starfleet officer was well founded, because if not, this was a one way ticket to the afterlife.