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... Two in the Bush - Part 1

Posted on Sat Mar 18th, 2017 @ 10:57pm by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Lieutenant Megan Atkinson & Lieutenant JG Amber Zuzan & Lance Corporal Thani th'Rrone & Lieutenant JG Kevran
Edited on on Sun Mar 19th, 2017 @ 12:23am

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: Bridge; Various
Timeline: Mission Day 69 ; 09:37

To say it had been a tense morning would be a drastic understatement. The Vindex was at Yellow Alert while en route to Veloz Prime to rescue its kidnapped crew, though not at maximum warp. They wanted to be detected by the outlying Bird of Prey that was presumably still in the vicinity. If fortune favored the bold, then that enemy vessel would become their Trojan Horse against the last castle of the Consortium.

All they needed to do was lure it out of hiding and subdue it before alerting the Consortium traitors back on Veloz Prime. In truth, Akiva admitted to himself as he rested his head in his hand, it was a crazy plan. Crazy enough to possibly work.

"Lieutenant Kevran, do long range sensors show anything yet?" Akiva asked half-heartedly. He had asked every five minutes for the past hour, mostly just to break the tension of waiting. Normally he adored the silence of efficiency, but these were different time. Every moment of silence decreased their odds of success, for if they arrived at Veloz Prime without encountering the enemy's wandering watchdog, then it would undoubtedly show up at their back during the ground assault.

"Negative, sir." Kevran did not look away from his panel, nor did his tone betray irritation at the incessant pestering. The way his mouth pursed together was not as successful.

"Stand by for Red Alert and ready phasers," Akiva said to Tactical. "We have got to be getting close."

"Aye aye Commander" Amber replied.

Amber prepared herself to take the Vindex to red alert and decided for now Yellow Alert would be a good idea - at least then they'd still be ready for action if necessary.

"At our current vector, we will reach Veloz Prime in 2.3 hours," the helmsman offered.

"Thank you, Ensign Fadil." Akiva shifted in the command chair as he regarded the eager Flight Control Officer. He was a calm yet energetic helmsman on loan from the Endurance, courtesy of Captain Holmes.
And, Akiva could not help but notice, the man was not unlike himself in many ways. Akiva's eldest sister Hadassah was an attache with the Pan-Semite Union on Earth--a fantastic, seemingly miraculous political organization that peaceably resolved the centuries of cultural and religious tension which plagued 21st century Earth before the launch of the Hebron generation ship.
Through his sister's work work, Akiva had been made aware of the strides and progress they had made. Somehow, they had achieved mutual satisfaction and tolerance, thereby turning ancient foes into friendly neighbors.
No truer evidence of that existed than the fact Ensign Siddig El Fadil followed orders from Akiva without prejudice, and that Akiva trusted him to do so without reservation. Many in Starfleet would not give it a second thought, but for Akiva, this arrangement stood above warp drives and Federation charters as their greatest accomplishment.

Ensign Fadil spared a moment's glance, perhaps sensing Akiva's stare, and nodded in acknowledgement of his recognition.

On a whim, Akiva contacted his Chief of Security.

=/\=Ben-Avram to Cusack. Lieutenant, are the ship's remaining Security personnel in position as discussed?=/\=
Akiva had been advised by both Martha and Storr that going on the offensive would leave the Vindex radically vulnerable to being boarded herself, but in the end he decided it was just a risk they would have to take.

Martha was in her office about to brief the two security officers who would be joining her on Operation Trojan Horse - the mission to capture the K'Vort-class Bird of Prey. It was going to be tough but Martha knew the away team would try their utmost best to be successful.

=/\="They are. Everything's working out just fine"=/\= Martha replied.

=/\=Very good. You may join up with Major Garlake's team when ready. Ben-Avram out.=/\=

With everything on the Bridge and Engineering squared away, Akiva decided to check in on the assault team.

=/\=Ben-Avram to Garlake. Are you prepared to attack?=/\=

Storr, A'zhor-Kain Malik, Thani th'Rrone, Johhny Dupont, and Vinar Shorinal all sat in the Armory, the large row of lockers opposite the weaponry storage racks separated by large benches that they all occupied in various states of boredom, anticipation, fear, dread, impatience, and excitement (or combinations thereof).

=/\=Commander, the Two-Five is at your direction...just say the word.=/\=

Looking around, everyone agreed in their own way. Standing atop one of the benches, the MCO addressed his expanded fireteam.

"This is going to be unlike anything any of us have likely done or may ever do again. Marines of the Two-Five, Attention!" The four others immediately sprang to their feet and faced their MCO just as Jaya entered from behind them. Garlake's eyes flitted to her nubile form and then back to his Marines.

"You are about to embark upon a Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many weeks. We have lost and lost much...each of us. Personally. Though, know that the eyes of the Vindex, Endurance and Starfleet are upon you and the hopes and prayers of our friends and colleagues march with you as we face our Consortium foes. Our task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely, ruthlessly, and without quarter.

I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. I...your friends, family, lovers, and crewmates, will accept nothing less than full victory as your and their lives depend on it. Salkaan will fall, and it will be by our hand. Retreat, Hell!" Ending with the unit's motto, the five raised their fists in the air and repeated it at a full-throated yell.

Martha stood with Lucia and Chris whilst quietly preparing for their mission. Each of their belts held half a dozen stun grenades as well as a smaller sidearm - on top of their phaser rifles the trio from Security were extremely well armed.

"Alright everyone - the plan is we're going to beam aboard the USS Endurance and then the Bird of Prey. The plan is to take Engineering and then take the bridge - after which we'll take the ship to Veloz Prime and beam down to the surface. Any questions?" Martha said.

"I have one, ma'am," Jaya said with sober aplomb. "When do I get issued a phaser?"

"Have you passed firearms training Counsellor?" Martha replied.

"If I said yes would you take the time to confirm it?" Jaya's eyes sparkled as she kept her face neutral.

Martha's serious expression said it all.

"I'm the Chief Tactical Officer. I don't make a habit of giving members of the crew any weapons if I'm not certain of whether they're allowed to carry them or not Counsellor" Martha said.

"Fair enough." Jaya conceded to Martha with a friendly if smug turn of the mouth.

=/\=You all may proceed to the transporter room when ready=/\= Akiva said, presumably having listened to the entire speech and subsequent exchange. =/\=Ben-Avram out=/\=

Storr blinked and gulped as he finished triple-checking his fireteam's loadout. He hadn't meant for his little speech to be broadcast, let alone to ben-Avram. He had borrowed heavily from the commander of Earth's largest amphibious invasion as he felt the man's letter encapsulated their situation well but he always had a tinge of embarrassment when he did things like this; truth be told, he feared being seen as cheesy, uninspiring or both. Slapping his Andorian rifleman on the back and moving over to the Bajoran, he shook his head and began inspecting the man's phaser rifle. Whatever he worried about, it didn't matter now and especially wouldn't if they failed.

Everybody was in position and ready to go. There was nothing for Akiva to do but wait. After a moment of quiet, he could not resist with his now customary sensor report.

"Mr. Kevran, is there anything on long-range sensors?" The question was nearly droll.

"Negative, s--"

"Captain! A vessel is decloaking off the port bow!" Ensign Hall was practically trembling at the Ops station.

Akiva nodded with cool equanimity. The morning's tedium had long since drained his nervous reservoir. "Ms. Zuzan, put us at Red Alert and raise shields."

"Red alert...shields up. It's a Klingon Bird-of-Prey!" Amber called out.

The ship buffeted under enemy fire. It looked like the enemy had found them sooner than expected. Akiva knew the plan would have to change.

"How far out is the Endurance?" Akiva asked.

"They were already alerted," Kevran responded. "At maximum warp they will join us in just a few minutes."

Another volley of fire landed, and the Vindex had not even turned to face their enemy.

"There is no clean victory to be had here," Akiva said. The objective was to get the assault team aboard that vessel in order to capture it, and the more they time spent exchanging shots, the less effective the plan would become. He made a snap decision.

"Mr. Kevran, jam all frequencies. I don't even want a subspace signal getting out. Ms. Zuzan, divert all power to the forward shields. Mr. Fadil, set us on a collision course at full impulse."

"Yes, sir." Kevran reacted as if Akiva had requested a cup of tea.

Amber looked over. She knew this situation had escalated but it surely wasn't at that point - and the Bird-of-Prey could probably avoid any ramming attacks due to its much smaller size compared to the Vindex. Nevertheless, she decided not to argue and did as she was asked.

"Forward shields reinforced..." Amber said.

"Sir?" Ensign Fadil hesitated.

"I want us at ramming speed, Ensign!" Akiva did not often raise his voice to another officer, but he would not suffer arguments this day.

The acting helmsman gaped for just a second, then turned back to the flight controls. "Aye, sir." He ran his fingers deftly over the conn. "Collision inbound in 12 seconds."

Akiva tapped his commbadge. =/\=Ben-Avram to assault team. I hope you're ready to deploy in the next 10 seconds. We're going to ram the enemy vessel, and I want you beamed through that gap in their shields=/\=

=/\="Ten seconds? Are you serious?"=/\= Martha replied.

=/\=At most. Ben-Avram out=/\=

An amused and nearly cruel smirk crawled across Garlake's lips. =/\=Nine seconds to spare.=/\=

"9 seconds." Ensign Fadil could barely still his shaking hands.

"Open me a ship-wide channel," Akiva ordered.

"Channel open, sir," Ensign Hall replied.

"This is your acting captain. All hands, brace for collision!"

"Impact in 6 seconds!" Ensign Fadil shouted.

Akiva his own advice and buckled himself into the command chair. A quick, silent prayer passed his lips.

"3... 2... 1!"

The Vindex came to a crashing halt of opposing deflector shields and metal. Akiva held a death grip on the arms of the command chair as the restraining harness nearly tore him in half with the inertia. It took a moment for the bloodrush to drain from his skull before he could speak.

"Damage report."

"There's reports of explosions across the ship. The way we're at this ship is going to come apart at the seams if we do anything like that again. Propulsion systems have failed!" Amber called out.

Akiva nodded. Better than dead, but just barely. "Did the assault team make it?"

"Scanning," Ensign Hall said, her face frozen in addled concentration. "Biosigns confirmed. They made it, sir."

"Barukh Ha'Shem." Akiva heaved a sigh of relief, then turned to Soren who had calmly endured the wild ride.
"Mr Himmel, it seems they could use your expertise in Engineering."

Soren nodded, "you're probably right, Commander." Soren got up quickly and rolled up his sleeves as he entered the turbolift.

Akiva returned to his chair and crossed a leg over his knee. It was now a defensive game. "Helm, reinitiate propulsion systems and perform evasive maneuvers. Tactical, target their weapons but avoid their engines. Everyone else... just keep our shields up as long as possible."

A round of aye's went up from each Bridge station.

Megan was giving out orders to the remaining Engineering staff who were rushing around frantically to keep the severely wounded Vindex in one piece. A large number of power systems had gone offline and now there was an even worse news which Megan really didn't want to hear.

" of the plasma conduits has ruptured on Deck 21. We have a plasma fire and the warp reactor shielding is already approaching a critical level. It'll breach the warp core shielding in ten minutes" Petty Officer O'Keeffe said.

Megan nodded. "Alright - tell Commander Himmel where I am when he gets here. I'll get suited up in decon and see what I can do from up there - the Vindex needs its acting XO more than it needs me right now"

=/\="Atkinson to Bridge. Your little ram raid ruptured a plasma conduit and started a plasma fire...we're looking at a core breach in ten minutes if I can't put the fire out. You need to evacuate Deck 20 and 21 immediately - and get all non-essentials off Deck 22 while you're at it"=/\= Megan said.

=/\="Acknowledged,"=/\= Akiva said. He relayed the evacuation orders to Ensign Hall.

Megan replied as she walked briskly towards decon. There was a lot going wrong right now and this was the last thing the Vindex needed - all Megan could hope for was that the fire was still relatively contained.

=/\="Try not to do any more damage in the meantime Commander. Atkinson out"=/\= Megan replied.

It wasn't long until Himmel strode into engineering, everyone in a frantic battle to keep the ship in operation. Soren approach a Petty Office, "O'Keeffe where is Atkinson, how are we doing on the plasma fire?"

"Sir...Lieutenant Atkinson has gone up to Deck 21 to put the plasma fire out. We've got about eight or nine minutes before it breaches the warp core shielding" O'Keeffe said.

Himmel swore under his breath. He approached the pool table and leaned over it tapping away at the station and pressed his combadge, =/\=Himmel to Atkinson, I don't need to lose my new deputy. We can eject the core.=/\= Himmel was bringing up the core ejection process when the computer chimed, =/\=ejection system offline=/\=

Himmel slammed his fist on the table, "damn it." He looked up to the ceiling and sighed, =/\=Atkinson, you better not die doing this=/\=

Megan had reached Deck 21 and the source of the plasma fire. The suit was holding up well but she had very little time to sort out the problem before it was too late.

=/\="Alright...this is worse than I thought. I'll do what I can in the next few minutes but we're looking at potentially decompressing this section of the ship to remove the plasma fire's source of fuel. Even if we shut down the conduit the fire seems pretty well established. Stand by Commander"=/\= Megan replied.

=/\= Do what you have to Lieutenant, I will keep her afloat.=/\=

=/\="You've got it Commander. Stand by"=/\= Megan replied.

The Vindex exchanged shots with the Bird of Prey. With the Vindex playing it safe and the Klingons playing for keeps, it was only a matter of time before the Vindex succumbed to the firepower of the smaller ship.

"How long until the Endurance arrives?" Akiva felt desperate.

"Two minutes," Kevran replied.

=/\="Vindex to assault team--report."=/\= Akiva felt desperate.

Martha replied. =/\="Stand by Commander. We're in a bit of a tight spot right now"=/\=

=/\="Back at you, Lieutenant. We're getting shot to shit out here. If you can't wrap it up quickly, then we're going to beam you out and let the Endurance blow those Klingon mamzerim to Kingdom Come."=/\=

With the fire dangerously close to breaching the warp reactor shielding Megan felt she'd ran out of options - it was time to decompress that section of the ship and save it from breaching the warp core shielding and destroying the wounded Vindex.

=/\="Atkinson to Bridge and Engineering. Decompress Deck 21"=/\= Megan instructed.

=/\="Acknowledged,"=/\= Akiva said, then turned to Ops. "Make it so, Ensign Hall."

"Emergency personnel are cleared from Deck 21," she said with nervous fingers flying across her console. "Deck 21 is now sealed, and decompression will commence... now." She swiveled in her chair and made the final keystroke with a flourish of her hand.

=/\="Lieutenant, please tell me that fire is out."=/\= Akiva kept his voice even despite the lump in his throat.

With a long pause before Megan replied she was more than happy to confirm the fire was out and the damage to the surrounding area was largely cosmetic rather than structural.

=/\="The fire is out Commander"=/\= Megan said.

=/\="Excellent. Please relieve Commander Himmel in Engineering. Ben-Avram out."=/\=

"Something is coming out of subspace!" Ensign Fadil practically jumped out of his chair.

"Oy vey," Akiva muttered at first, then effected the command tone he had been developing over the last few days. "What is it?"

"Sir, it's the Endurance." Kevran maintained his indifferent calm despite the intense concentration which glowed from his eyes.

"It's about time." Akiva heaved a deep sigh, then tapped his commbadge.

=/\="Vindex to Cusack. I hope you have some good news for me, Lieutenant, otherwise prepare for extraction."=/\=

Martha and the team had just taken control of the Bird of Prey when the call from Akiva came in. It had been a tough fight but one they had won - with a little persuasion.

=/\="No need for that. We have control of the ship...give us a little while and we'll be ready to go"=/\= Martha replied.

=/\="Outstanding, Lieutenant!"=/\= Akiva allowed himself a fist pump, but otherwise fought for composure. It had been a tremendous gamble, and so far it seemed to have paid off. =/\="Bring your new prize about when ready, and we'll assemble into our planned formation along with the Endurance. Vindex out."=/\=


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