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Alpha Section Mission

Posted on Mon Jul 17th, 2023 @ 6:03pm by Commander Amaya Lance & Ensign Alex Brewster & Lieutenant Commander Savin & Lieutenant Didrea Zade & Lieutenant Bharani Gupta & Senior Chief Petty Officer Mason Malone

Mission: Wrath of the People
Location: Main Bridge
Timeline: MD08
1999 words - 4 OF Standard Post Measure

Bharani sat at the science station wishing for the hundredth time that she was back in your safe and quiet stellar cartography lab. She understood Lieutenant Ryan's reasons for wanting someone manning this station and helping with navigation, and she was qualified, but it didn't mean she was happy about it all. "We're receiving telemetry from the shuttle, Beta module standing by to enter the field, and the Gamma module will enter after us as planned," she reported to the bridge.

Savin looked towards the captain, curious to see how she would respond. He had spoken about his support towards her in their private conversations, and he would continue to do so in the hope to make the woman surer of herself in her new command position. She needed the faith and the trust of the crew, and so far in his opinion she'd done nothing to not earn it.

"The Passive Focus Inverter is operating within normal parameters," Zade reported from her station. While deflector dish status was more of an operations thing, the Inverter would prove useful for tactical response, if needed. The Trill was tense, unsure of what to expect from the field but knowing that any lapse in her attention to detail could spell trouble. Ideally, hopefully, it would be some routine search where the other stations gave reports and she'd just have the task of simply being prepared for nothing. At her workstation was a smaller version of the viewscreen, and she watched the targeting sensors jump around, determining if the rocks before them were objects of concern or merely rocks. Thanks to the work of Conrad and Fenn, the sensors no longer overloaded at the idea of thousands of tiny objects around the ship, but she would have to be on her toes, ready to provide input.

"Very good, Lieutenant," Amaya nodded calmly. "Ensign Brewster, one-quarter impulse power. Let's not rush yet, shall we? Slow and steady." It was maybe her own philosophy to take things more cautiously than most, but hopefully in this case it would prove prudent. "Ms Gupta, begin the triangulation. We take our lead from the shuttle now."

"Aye Ma'am," Bharani said from her position. "Triangulation complete. Sending vector navigation coordinates to the helm, Ensign you should have the heading now."

"Received. One-quarter impulse."

The Alpha section, forming the wedge-shaped 'top' of the Athena's total structure, eased forwards through the fringes of the asteroid field, using the telemetry from the shuttle guidance as their navigational aid.

Time felt like it passed at a crawl, particularly at such reduced speeds. The deflectors eased the larger asteroids out of their path, but with some minor corrections from the helm and staying in relative proximity to the other sections, it wasn't a significant challenge to maneuver.

"Losing voice comms with Gamma section, Commander," Brewster noted after a while. He glanced over at Gupta. "I'm still getting telemetry from the shuttles though; is it the tachyon radiation?"

"I don't think so," Bharani said as she tapped away on the computer. "Engineering planned for the excess radiation when they enhanced the systems for the mission." She ran a diagnostic from her station and saw that the communication array was working as it should do and the radiation levels were well within the boundaries of the computer model they had run earlier. "Lieutenant Zade, I could be wrong but it looks as though communications are being blocked from an outside source. Can you verify?"

Briefly letting habit take over, Zade diverted her eyes from the screen showcasing the targeting sensor's interpretive dance to verify. It took a couple seconds, but eventually she had an answer. "Confirmed-"

The Alpha section suddenly rocked.

In reflex, Savin grabbed the edge of his seat to prevent himself from being thrown. "What was that!" He called out.

Zade grabbed the console to keep her balance, then looked back to the first screen she was watching. The targeting sensors were angry as they bounced around, and the console lit up with warnings as information started to come in. "That was weapons fire. Shields holding," she reported. Briefly turning to Mason, she jerked her head toward a free workstation nearby and added, "Malone, I need a second set of eyes to monitor sensors."

Nodding, Mason hurried towards the indicated station. "Scanning," he said, fingers flying across the console. "Readying weapons to return fire."

Bharani's eyes wildly followed the information on her screen as she secretly wished she was back in her lab, running her experiments. The ship rocked violently again as the enemy fired for a second time. "Forward shields down to eighty-nine per cent," she reported, figuring that the tactical stations would be too busy to do so. "Orders Captain?" She asked Commander Lance, wondering if the woman had froze being caught in a battle situation.

Amaya's mouth went dry, the sudden change of circumstances sending her normally ordered thoughts into disarray. She gripped the armrests of the command chair tightly, straining to tune-out the sound of explosions hitting the shields. "Can we open a hailing frequency? Maybe we can talk them down..."

"They aren't in a talking mood, Captain," Zade pointed out, urgency in her voice. Their mystery attacker appeared on sensors, finally, and she read the analysis. "Sensors indicate it's similar in firepower to a Klingon Vor'cha class battleship. Another couple hits will take out shields!" Looking at her console, she began assisting the targeting sensors to lock on to the ship, so all Mason would have to do is press the button.

The Trill was gauging when she'd take action without orders, and that moment was fast approaching. They were at a disadvantage in the asteroid field. They couldn't stray too far from the shuttle's trail, otherwise they'd end up in a stickier situation, but they were easy targets if they stayed in place. Zade spared a quick glance toward the center chairs, hoping for one of them to take charge, even something small like tell the helm to try and evade. "I got a lock on the ship, but I can't hold it for long! We need to fire back!!"

"Firing phasers as soon as i get the order!" Mason called back, his eyes fixed on his controls and not chancing a single look up.

Saving leaned towards the captain. "I recommend showing we have teeth first ma'am," he suggested quietly. We cannot talk if we are no longer alive to initiate a conversation. Some cultures need a show of power, before they are even willing to converse. Tactical is waiting on your order to fire."

"!" Amaya called. The moment of hesitation in her voice likely did little to inspire confidence, but her hope had been that they could at least communicate with their attackers somehow. "Can we reach the other sections, try to regroup with them?" she asked, looking around.

"Firing!" Mason echoed the order, "sensors are being iffy but I think it's a direct hit." He looked up at Zade, briefly. "Can you confirm?"

"It hit, but their shields are holding," Zade reported, watching the ship quickly fly away to avoid another hit. She developed an effective strategy to locating the ship: widen the range of the targeting sensors, locate the ship, narrow the range to ensure a lock, then fire. It was inefficient, but better than nothing.

"No luck from the other sections," Bharani reported. "The Gamma section is out of range and I'm getting nothing from the Beta module at all. No comms, no sensor readings, nothing." She tried to keep the worry out of her voice but everyone knew what that probably meant. Either the Beta section had a catastrophic power failure or she was destroyed.

"Take evasive action. We need to try to get out of their weapons range until the other sections can catch up..." Amaya urged.

The news about the Beta module sat heavy in Zade's stomach. She wanted to worry about them, but she knew she couldn't do anything for them. Focus now, mourn later. Eyes locked onto the console, the Trill worked to get a lock again, knowing that Mason would see the alert when the system finally locked on. She knew the rough size of the ship, which helped filter out the asteroids, but there were just enough asteroids the same size as the ship to keep throwing off the targeting sensors. It was so close, but the ship was using the field to its advantage by weaving between the larger asteroids. After a moment, both her and Mason's workstations beeped, a signal that they had another lock on the ship, as delicate as that targeting lock was.

As soon as he was alerted, Mason pressed the trigger and bright beams shot forth from the section's bow. "Continuing fire," he said, "scanners are blind, I don't know if anything struck home."

The ship rocked hard as weapons fire from the pirate vessel collided with the Athena's shield. It was unclear if Mason's shots had hit them but what was clear was that the pirates had found their target. Bharani could feel the deck plating under her feet vibrate, a sensation she had only experienced in battle simulations; a mixture of smaller internal explosions and a weakening of the inertial dampeners. "Forward shields are weakening," she reported to the conn, knowing that Brewster would do his best to keep the port or starboard of the ship in the line of fire.

Zade couldn't tell if the weapons fire hit the other ship, nor did she have time to check when the ship was hit in return. Behind her, she heard a console explode, and she braced herself to avoid falling into the console. "Shields can't take another hit, Captain! We must retreat!" Until Lance or Savin made that call, Zade continued to aid the targeting sensors because she sure as hell wasn't going to wait for orders when lives were at stake.

Mason continued to fire in the hopes of striking their attacker. He was grateful for Zade's assistance on that. His console sparked and he yanked his hands back just in time. "Port phaser array is out," he reported.

Savin watched intently, keeping an eye on Jerant from the corner of his eye. Line of sight wasn't necessary as the Betazoid was given him a telepathic run if the ongoing conversations. But, the man was the only civilian on the bridge and somehow he knew Leiko wouldn't be very pleased if something were to happen to him. "Recommend retreat captain," he suggested before the next volley threw him from his seat. He grimaced as he rolled with his fall, then crawled back to his seat. "We cannot sustain this much longer."

"Starboard phaser array disabled," Mason reported as he made a valiant effort to work his smoking station.

"That last volley damaged the shield emitters," Bharani said as she pushed her hair from her eyes. "Auxillary power and the ablative hull armour are compensating but..." Before she could finish her sentence a new sound filled the bridge, a sound they all knew only too well from the weekly drills they had been forced to endure. "Captain! Intruder alert, decks seven, four, and two."

It was happening again. Amaya's hand tremors almost sychronised with the pounding of her heart in her chest. The smell of acrid smoke as something burned in the background; the darkened lights of the bridge; the distant sounds of people reporting yet more damage.

"I..." she hesitated. Again. I can't do this. The thought was pervasive, the outside stimuli pervasive. "Prepare...prepare to abandon ship..." she said. Too quiet for most of them to even hear. But by that point it was likely too late. There were sounds of boots on deck, of disruptors and phasers going off. As she sank to the deck, the bridge spinning around her, she wondered just how many more lives she had been responsible for losing...again.


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