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Myth Confirmed

Posted on 13 Aug 2016 @ 5:41pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Lieutenant Jonathan Kilmartin & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Lieutenant JG Samantha Lopez & Lieutenant JG Felix Langston & Lieutenant JG Catherine Cooper & Captain Vaanika Suresh & Ensign Aurilia Moretti & Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Rasputin & Ensign Kelly Khan
Edited on on 13 Aug 2016 @ 7:51pm

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Various
Timeline: MD 6 || 1335 hours

===[SPACE]===

The events of the last few hours had put him on edge. He was no longer tired, well, at least as much, and was more alert. The Black Knights had been on patrol around the ships since they had been taken. The loss of two pilots during the battle had been hard. But he knew that it was part of war. And whether or not anyone would admit it, in his mind, they were at war with the Consortium.

Blinking in order to bring himself back to where he needed to be, Terry looked out of his canopy. Even though, things seemed to have quieted down, he expected that the rest of the squadron was just as antsy as he was. They all knew, based on the briefings and the rumors, that something else was out there. Something lurking in the multi-colored swirls of the nebula. Something dangerous. Very, very dangerous.

Terry had just lifted his head from the monitors to look about again, when he saw it. Out of the gases flew the Romulan Valdore...heading straight for them. He activated his comm, "Rocco to Actual! Valdore dead ahead and moving fast! Activating external camera!"

=/\= "Acknowledged," =/\= came Harvey's voice over the comm channel. =/\= "Get all of your birds in the air and assume a defensive perimeter." =/\=

"Understood. Rocco out." Terry closed the channel to the Captain and opened it again to the rest of the squadron. "Rocco to Black Knights, we have our orders. All Flights assume defensive perimeter between the ships and the Romulan Valdore. Standby all weapons ready. On my mark."

"Galahad acknowledging." He said seriously after the comm closed muttered an ancient Bajoran prayer, its cadence helping calm the adrenaline rush and keeping him focused.

"Archer Online, Arrow ready for target..." She said her attention focused on bringing her craft into its proper place behind and to the left of Rocco. She double checked her systems and her eyes fell briefly on a small picture of her family, jammed into a corner of the console. "For hearth and home..." She muttered the ancient motto from her Earth British fore bearers.

"Discord, confirmed," The Vulcan was grinning again. After so long in a defensive perimeter he was eager to get back into combat. Pulling high and to the left, he slipped into formation above Galahad where he could watch his wingman's back. Discord began to relax, and sung softly to himself. "I'm not a fan of puppeteers..."

"Striker here, Charlies in position and ready to kick some ass!" Sam said, activating her tactical HUD.

"Rocco, Sunbeam. Bravo in position," Kilmartin confirmed over the comm array.




===[BRIDGE]===

=/\= "Geisler to bridge. Red alert. Sound battlestations." =/\=

Thiago didn't even need to say anything; the crew on the bridge immediately went to work. The lights shifted from the standard 'daytime' setting to a darker, more serious tone, complete with the pulsing red illumination from the alert lights. Around him, consoles that had been previously unmanned now found themselves with an operator. He glanced over to see that Di Pasquale was at Tactical.

"Readiness report," he called out, stepping forward to a position in front of Geisler's empty chair before wheeling around to face Bast at the Operations console.

Bast's hands hovered his station, his fingers pushing keys faster than his eyes could see. The adrenaline was rushing through his veins. "Sensors are picking up signs of thalaron radiation. I can't pinpoint the source, but the radiation levels are high enough to punch through the nebular interference."

He pressed a few more keys, and brought up the report detailing the ship's current status. "We still have multiple unsealed hull breaches, all over the ship. Microfractures in the hull. Structural integrity at seventy-eight percent. Photon launchers off-line. Phaser banks at fifty-six percent. Life support is down in the forward sections of Decks 6, 7 and 8. Impulse drive..." He punched a few keys. "At least the Impulse engines are functioning perfectly."

Ensign Aurora Michaels was sitting at the helm when the call for battle stations sounded. Her blue eyes widened with shock, she had never flown the ship in a combat situation before. She did her best to keep focused on flying the ship; without Lt. Langston or Cadet Khan around, she would have to step up. "Helm ready, captain," she reported while swallowing the giant lump in her throat, ready for evasive maneuvers.

Camila had just returned to the bridge after making sure the prisoners from the Chimera and Cochrane were secured when the red alert sounded. This is it she thought as she charged the weapons and wished like hell they had shields. =^=Di Pasquale to Torpedo Bay, load the device=^=

=^=Torpedo Bay to Di Pasquale. We're having problems with the tubes, Lieutenant.=^=

=^=Prepare it for transport, then=^= Camila ordered and hoped nothing else would go wrong as she got an affirmative response.

Teixeira's gaze shifted again to the Security Chief, looking to get confirmation that she was ready to go. "Lieutenant," he asked, hoping to draw her eyes to his own. He didn't think he'd need to say anything more, that she would understand.

Camila looked over her shoulder. "Torpedo tubes are offline, Commander," she said. "Preparing the tricobalt for transport."

Moments later, Harvey exited the turbolift and made a beeline for the helm. He'd forgotten Lieutenant Langston and Cadet Khan were aboard the Cochrane and Chimera, and he hoped whoever was manning the Black Hawk was up to the task. "Hail Captain Suresh," Harvey demanded, taking his position.

"Hailing the Valdore," replied Bast, accessing the communications systems. He tried for thirty seconds, on multiple frequencies, before turning his attention back to the Captain. "No response."

He looked at the thalaron radiation readouts. "Sir, based on the current progression of the thalaron radiation curve, I estimate four minutes, thirty seconds before the weapon is ready to fire."

In the future, Harvey would look back at this day and be absolutely surprised that the color did not drain from his face. His resolve had never been more absolute. He had hoped to reason with Suresh, but it was clear she intended to kill over eight hundred people, and enough had died today.

"Miss Di Pasquale," Harvey told her without turning to face her. "Fire the tri cobalt."

"Unable to comply, Captain," Camila reported. "The torpedo tubes are offline, but the tricobalt is prepare for transport when we're in range."

Harvey's eyes closed as he muttered, "Shit." Opening his eyes, he issued new orders. "Helm, intercept course. Alpha One, Actual. You are cleared to engage. Get the Valdore's attention."




===[SPACE]===

Terry hit his comm, "Alpha One acknowledges. Rocco to Black Knights, engage the Valdore! Let's get their attention! Fire at will! Weapons free! Weapons free! Rocco to Archer, let's light the bastards up! Attack pattern Beta-2!" Terry brought his fighter within ninety-thousand klicks of the Valdore. He then jinked starboard, dove beneath and fired all along their port ventral side. The pilot watched as every phaser shot landed, but did very little damage. At least the squadron would be drawing their attention.

"Aye Rocco, Arrows away!" Archer replied, "I got your back Bossman" and tapped the small device strapped to her left knee and music began to play. March of Cambreath. She sang along as she flew. Archer moved the craft like an extension of her own body, thought and action one as she followed Rocco letting the Valdore have a broadside. It knocked at the door and she'd done a fair job of hitting roughly where Rocco did though the damage wasn't what they'd hoped, still they knew someone was here and that was the point.

"Galahad to Discord, let's light ‘em up! Living forever is for Grandma's!" He called giving proper support as Discords wingman, dodging around but staying near to Discord.

Ant-Man, the Andorian pilot in Bravo Four, smiled as he neared the Valdore. "Torpedoes away!" He shouted over the comm as he neared the Valdore. All of his torpedoes shot out of his fighter, ripping away at the old, pitted Romulan hull. He was disappointed to not see a large explosion. The Valdore must not have been fully functional, and he likely just decompressed a couple compartments.

What he wasn't expecting much above all was the itching that ran up his legs and arms. "What the...?" He said over the open comm as he tried to bank away from the target. Within seconds, he felt his hands stiffen and seize up. He realized all too late what had happened. "Nnnnoooo...." He started to shout before the radiation overtook his body. His face seized, forever imprinting that syllable in his gaze. With his dead soul now unable to alter its course, his fighter slammed into the belly of the Valdore, exploding in a brilliant flash of light.

Galahad temporarily lost control of his craft as his light sensitive helmet shield blacked out for a moment then adjusted for the bright flash. He cursed trying to regain control.

Terry saw a flash of light from an explosion as he came from around the Valdore. "What the hell was that?" he exclaimed. He brought his Valkyrie around to the area and did a quick visual sweep. Fighter parts floated nearby. "No!" he cried out. "Alpha One to Acutal, we've lost a fighter to the hull of the Valdore. My pilot's don't crash, Actual."

Kilmartin said a silent prayer as he heard the cries of sadness at the loss of their first colleague. He also made a mental note, albeit a quick one as his mind raced during the action, to speak with Galahad and Discord when they got back to the ship. For now, his thoughts swiftly reverted back to the attack, Bravo Flight following in his footsteps as he continued to strafe in and around the Warbird. Torpedoes flashed from their tubes and slammed into the hull of the massive vessel, lances and pulses of phaser fire rapidly following.

Galahad regained control swiftly, blinking rapidly, denied the chance to mourn the loss of one of their own as he moved swiftly to support Discord. He had slipped out of alignment and moved back in firing for all he was worth into the Valdore.

In the middle of an attack run, the flash came quick and terribly bright. Momentarily blinded as his visor flashed black, Discord pulled back onto an angle that he guessed would clear the Valdore. He closed his eyes and felt for the feedback from his machine as he rode the explosions turbulence. Being blind, it was better to be straight and let everyone fly around him than to try anything. "Watch your fire! That torp nearly took us out! Galahad you level?"

Discord heard a muttered curse, "Yeah I'm level, bastards are gonna pay for that. One of our went down." He promised, coming into full alignment with Discord.

Turning back to the target he raked the Romulan vessel with phaser fire and fired a three torpedo spread that smashed into the wing struts of the larger vessel.

Galahad matched his lead shot for shot, pulling hard on controls that had gotten a little sluggish.




===[FLIGHT DECK]===

Aurilia worked frantically on the flight deck as Valkyrie after Valkyrie was serviced, loaded with ordnance and launched. She wished she could be out there with them, but she knew she had to earn the Squadron Commander's trust and her wings back. She regretted blowing up on him in her first meeting, but resolved to do much better in the future. She grabbed another pallet of torpedoes on an anti-grav cart and headed for the next batch. "Hand-off in three...two...one!" she passed it to another crewman and turned to grab a spanner from a toolkit and headed to a Valkyrie that needed service before it could go back into service.




===[SICKBAY]===

The red alert had only sounded moments ago, and Joey all but knocked Doctor Abrams over on her way out of sickbay. The giant of a man hadn't even gotten the chance to tell her he wanted her on light duty for the next twenty-four hours as he watched her quick retreat. For some reason, he had a feeling he might be seeing her again before the day came to an end, but he hoped he was wrong. He never in a million years would have expected anyone to nearly knock him off of his feet, but there was a first time for everything. He pulled his uniform down and cracked his neck before making his way into the main part of sickbay. It was time to begin preparing for the next wave of patients.

The second she cleared sickbay, Joey ran toward Security. It didn't matter to her that she was wearing the twenty-forth century equivalent of a hospital gown. This wouldn't be the first time she wore something quite revealing while racing through the corridors of the ship in the past twelve hours, though, she had enough since to hold the back closed as she ran.

The alert could only mean one thing. The Valdore had been found, and there was absolutely nothing she could do, either. Her fate, as well as the fate of everyone else, rested in the hands of the bridge crew now. Swallowing a lump in her throat, she made a beeline for the locker room to quickly dress in her uniform, then put her belt around her waist. What was she going to do now? Pulling her phaser from her holster, she moved toward the isolation cells of the brig.

In a private room in Sick Bay, Jayla sat on the edge of the bio bed, attempting to decide if she felt well enough to help. She felt okay now, but how would she feel if she stood up and started running around? Only one way to know. She pushed herself off the bed and landed on the floor. She stood there for a moment, making sure the room was not going to spin and once she was satisfied that it would not, she took a few experimental steps. Everything stayed put. Her head still ached, but she could deal with that.

She was about to leave the room when she realized she was still in her pajamas- turquoise short shorts and a black camisole top. She didn't really mind, but she knew humans were more modest, so she looked in a few cupboards until she found some of those hospital style pants, which she pulled on over her shorts. She had to roll the cuffs up as the were about a foot too long, but it would do for now.

Finally, she made her way into the main Sick Bay and looked around for Doctor Abrams. She didn't think it would be smart to take charge, but she could most certainly help with triage.

Lucas looked to Jayla when she joined him in main sickbay. He was a bit surprised since he hadn't released her for duty just yet, but with some of their personnel on the Chimera and Cochrane, he needed as many able bodies as he could possibly get. He loaded two hyposprays, one with 0.4ccs of Trianoline to negate her concussion, and another with 2ccs Hydrocortilene to knock out the headache. He pressed each of them to her neck, knowing they'd take effect almost immediately. "Get yourself together, Doctor, and run your department." Without another word, he made his way to check on their already critical patients and keep them comfortable. After all, he had no idea if any of them would be alive in the next five minutes.

Well, Jayla hadn't been sure she'd wanted to actually take charge again, but okay. She'd thought maybe she could help out in triage, maybe even just fetch pillows or blankets. But take charge? Well, yeah, okay, so there was probably less chance of her hurting herself if she was running the show than there was if she were following orders. "Okay," she said, blinking a couple of times. "I can do this."

Deboarah was one of the blueshirts buzzing around Sickbay in preparation for what was to come. Beds cleared, blankets folded, biobed monitors to ready.
She spied Doctor Kij looking very worse for wear but present for the action.

"Welcome back, Ma'am." Deborah said. What a time for an entrance.




===[ELSEWHERE]===

A woman in Command red flew down the corridor on deck four, her long brunette hair streaming out behind her, a white German Shepard easily keeping pace beside of her as they came to a turbolift. She entered it with the canine and took a breath. "Deck Six," she ordered the computer and looked down at the dog. "Is to be okay, Rico," she said as the turbolift descended down the two decks before it came to a stop.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Mila Anastasiya Rasputin emerged from the turbolift and made for the administrative offices with the K-9 Officer by her side and entered the offices. "I want administrative locked down and I mean now!" She barked, all traces of her Russian accent gone. "Secure the data transfers and eliminate all non-essential actions. Crewman Takahashi, put your lunch down before I shove it where the sun doesn't shine! This is red alert, not lunch time! Transfer all critical information to the backup system and pull it offline, now!" She looked down at Rico. "You. Go to my office and wait," she told the K-9 Officer and pointed at the open doorway and surprisingly, Rico obeyed more out of a grudging respect for the woman than a desire to follow her orders.

Cooper was in the Security offices when the Red Alert Klaxon went off she immediately began to organize procedures to ensure readiness as reports came in they'd found the Valdore... or in this case the Valdore had found them. Reports came in and went out, COB was in the admin offices, Lt. Corwin was securing the brig, the Chief on the bridge. The entire department operating like the well trained machine it was...expect for the torpedoes. Cooper mentally cursed at that and if they survived she meant to examine fully what just happened, personally, but for now there was a job to do as they waited to find out if the Chief's plan would work and her heart went out to the pilots fighting so hard to buy them time.




===[BRIDGE]===

Harvey frowned when he heard Walsh's voice stress that his pilots don't crash. He whipped around to Bast. "We're still getting the uplinks from the fighters, right? What's going on?"

Bast's fingers were flying over his console, trying to do too many things at once. He was trying to process the telemetry from the fighters. "Thalaron radiation surges," he said. "The radiation pattern is unstable. It's lashing out like a searchlight."

The telemetry from another fighter disappeared from his monitor. "We've lost another one," he said. "Fighter Charlie Three."




===[VALDORE]===

Suresh was seething. The Black Hawk's fighters were inflicting light damage to the Valdore. Nothing to worry about, yet - but if they tried to focus their fire on the Valdore's impulse engines, then she could become angrier. Thankfully though, the Black Hawk would be dealt with before they had a chance to inflict too much damage. Another three minutes, and the weapon would be ready to fire.

"See if you can reinitialize the weapons systems," she ordered Simoneau. She would enjoy swatting out those fighters like flies.

Simoneau nodded, and turned to his panel. He accessed the weapons grid. There had been some radiation damage to the power conduits, but he could reroute power through auxiliary systems. They might not be able to attain full power, but at least it would be enough to knock out some of the fighters.

As he worked, an alarm sounded from the thalaron control panel. Suresh turned to it.

"The device is destabilizing," she read out, frowning.

"And lashing out at those fighters," replied Simoneau, a broad grin on his face. "Three down already." He indicated his display. Two of the fighters had crashed on the Valdore's hull, while a third seemed locked on a trajectory that was now leading it away from the battlefield, in a perpetual spiral that would continue until the craft lost power, or it collided with one of the derelict ships in the nebula.

"Looks like luck in on our..." began Simoneau, before a breath caught in his throat. He could feel a tingling sensation in his legs, creeping up to his knees.

Suresh turned to look at the thalaron generator. The pattern of the green swirling waves was clearly unstable, shifting and tilting at odd angles, and the previously subtle hum the device emitted was now closer to a groan.

She heard a painful scream coming from Simoneau. She turned to look at her First Officer, just in time to see his face, contorted with pain and fear, turn to ash, locked in a deadly grimace. As Suresh watched in horror, his body tilted forward, and he collapsed to the deck, disintegrating into a pile of ash, leaving nothing but an empty uniform.

She ran to the device. It was now clearly unstable, emitting radiation surges in randon and completely unpredictable patterns.




===[BRIDGE]===

There was no time now to mourn for the loss of the pilots. The clock was ticking away faster than he would have liked, and with the recently discovered instability, who knew if they actually had the full clock. The way Harvey saw it, it was now or never.

Moving back to the center seat, he began to issue orders. "Alpha One, emergency recall. Get your birds back to the Black Hawk now. Commander Bast, coordinate with Chief Rasputin and begin evacuating all outer compartments. Commander Teixeira, get to Main Engineering and standby to assume bridge functions from there. Everyone but Helm, Tactical, Ops and myself, leave the bridge now."

Thiago nodded and bolted for the turbolift. As the doors closed, he announced his destination. He also tapped his comm badge and ordered several people to meet him in Engineering. If things went south on the bridge, he needed to have a trained bridge team with him to take over.

Bast hit the communications panel "Bridge to Chief Rasputin. Evacuate all outer compartments immediately. Radiation surges coming from the Valdore," he offered as an explanation. There was no time to go into further detail.




===[ELSEWHERE]===

In the Admininstrative Offices, Mila exploded into action and sounded the general evacuation alerts to all outer compartments. "All hands in out compartments, evacuate immediately. I repeat, evacuate immediately." She began issuing orders and personnel flowed like an unstoppable river with no obstacles to stop them as the orders were carried out.

Everyone in the outer compartments immediately responded to the authorative voice that issued shipwide, stopping only to grab loved ones. Everything else could be replaced but life was precious. The outer corridors filled in a fashion that was both orderly and panicked at the same time; a rush of bodies that did not try to run over each other, but moved like a herd of animals that knew danger lie behind them and safety lay ahead.




===[SPACE]===

Terry had either watched or heard the reports of the other fighters exploding. He'd had no time to celebrate the lives of the pilots and all they had sacrificed for the Federation. That would come later. Now it was time to follow through. He had acknowledged the Captain's message and opened communication to the squadron. "Rocco to Black Knights, emergency recall to the 'Hawk. That's an order. And we'll be going in hot. Combat landings people. No tractor beam or anything. Get in, find a spot, and take it." He then sent a message to Flight Ops that the entire squadron was coming in fast with combat landings.

"Archer right behind you boss..." She turned to follow, though there was no hesitating in her bearing she disliked breaking off the fight but orders were orders.

In the middle of his bank for another run, Discord found the Valdore soundly between his position and the Black Hawk. Growling with frustration, he fired from the hip and launched another spread of three torpedo's towards the Warbird without bothering to achieve a target lock as he increased speed and raced towards the Black Hawk. "Confirmed Rocco, Discord complying."

"Galahad, enroute" he fired as well and made a rude gesture as they swung around to head for the Black Hawk.

"Striker on route, coming in hot!" Striker replied, having been clipped by a phaser blast.

Aurilia heard the orders on the recall of the fighters, then heard the Squadron Commander's call for combat landings. "Clear the deck!" she called out at the top of her lungs. Already technicians, flight handlers, ordnance managers and other personnel had started to scramble. She grabbed an antigrav cart and loaded with everything it could handle before making a run with it to the back of the flight deck before she let go and let momentum carry it a bit further. She turned and made another run, grabbing toolkits, random things that had been dropped in haste and more to stack on another car.

A young fighter tech fell near her and she paused to help him to his feet. "No time to be taking a break," she joked as she made sure he was stable. "Get the deck cleared!" With that, she turned and began to do what she had told the others to do once more.

Dzhossen hated being first but he cranked the controls hard as he turned behind the Akira-class Black Hawk and dove for the deck, doing exactly what he had promised not to do only days before. The speed was low for a Valkyrie but, such things being relative, he flashed past empty spots as he slid his vessel hard into one of the magnetic ports near the back of the hanger. Thankful that someone had the foresight to clear the deck he jumped from the cockpit without removing his helmet as Tabayoyung and her 'kids' swarmed his bird.

"Reload the torps!" The little human shouted, "We'll worry about the strut later!"

Thrusting a bundle of spanners into the pilot's chest she looked pointedly into his visor. "You'd better fix that first, if you plan on coming home next time sir."

Nodding, Discord slid beneath his craft and began a repair that he was all too familiar and quick at. The pub claimed this was a thirty minute repair but Tabayoyung had made sure he was more than proficient at it.

Sam came into the Black Hawk way to fast. "Shit..." She said, slamming on the reverse thrusters to max. "This is gonna be close..." She muttered, sliding across the flight deck, closer and closer to the back wall, but luckily slowing down. She stopped metres before the back wall and hopped out of her cockpit, heading over to the magnetic lifter panel. "Urmmmm....i'll fix that later!" She shouted to Aurilia. She hopped onto the controls, and moved her fighter out of the way, to make room for other craft coming in.

Galahad cursed, his controls were still giving him trouble, "Flight! Controls on a bender! Slowing down an issue." He fought with the controls even as he hit the deck hard. He slid and shifted, managing to slide into a side wall and hitting it hard. His head snapped into the side of the cockpit, ringing his bell and he sat confused as his vision doubled.

Archer was still outside she didn't enter until the Boss did those were her rules. She swung around to watch his six as they sped toward the Black Hawk.

Terry hung back and watched the rest of the squadron land. They were short a few pilots now. And by the looks of the way some of them executed their combat landings, he might be short a Valkyrie or two. He shook his head and made a mental note to have Kilmartin re-do their training sessions.

As the last of the Valkyries went in, Terry punched it and headed toward the opening. He didn't have to notify Archer, she was good. She would be able to see that it was there turn and he trusted her to follow him in. After all, she stayed out there with him as he ensured that everyone else made it in.




===[BRIDGE]===

Looking directly over to Di Pasquale, the Captain told the Security Chief. "As soon as we're in range, get that torpedo over there. Don't wait for a sweet spot."

"The device is loaded and ready for transport, Captain," Camila said, feeling a knot of dread form deep in her stomach.

Looking back at Bast, he told the Ops Chief, "Establish open comms with the Chimera and Cochrane. Tell them to evacuate their outer compartments and start firing on the Valdore as soon as they're in range with everything they have left."

Bast tapped the commands into his control panel, and sent the messages to the two Intrepid-class vessels. "Both ships have acknowledged. They should be in firing range in two minutes."




===[USS CHIMERA]===

A message from Lieutenant Commander Bast came from the Black Hawk and on the bridge of the USS Chimera, Cadet Khan acknowledged the orders. "You heard the message," she said to her bridge crew. "Evacuate outer compartments. Assign any personnel that's standing to assist! Let's cook that Romulan bird!" The Intrepid class ship came about and began to close the distance to the Valdore class warbird and the Security officer started to manually calculate the firing ratios for torpedoes and phasers while the Operations officer read off the distance as it dropped.

"Fire at will!" she ordered. "Keep them off balance!"

Photon torpedoes were launched in volleys and every operational phaser array released deadly beams, but with the soup of the nebula interfering with sensors and rendering the weapons virtually useless, it was like they were doing a pyrotechnique display instead of actually trying to take the Romulan warbird down.

"Close in," Kelly started to order before a scream from the Operations officer screamed and she turned her head. The man was staring at his hands in horror as they turned grey and the effect spread under his uniform and to his neck. Kelly started to bark another order and the Ops officer pitched forward and exploded into a pile of ash.




===USS COCHRANE===

Felix heard the message from the Black Hawk loud and clear. Thankfully, so had the other team members from Black Hawk. Felix looked around and noticed that he had a skeleton crew on the bridge without anyone giving orders form the captain's chair. Alright, Gamble, he thought, time to put those Red Squad skills to good use.

"Ensign Davies!" he shouted as he moved towards the captains chair. "Take the helm. Close the distance to that warbird." The young woman in red nodded and rushed over to take the vacant seat. He turned to the enlisted crewman who was running Ops at the moment. "Get those outer compartments evacuated," he said. "Give an equal amount of the power we've got left to engines and phasers." Hearing a "yes, sir," come from Ops, he then turned to Ensign Turner, a recent Academy graduate at the Tactical station. "Arm phasers and torpedoes. Fire when ready," he ordered.

Ensign Turner looked at Langston, and swallowed hard. This was her first real posting, aside from the shakedown cruise, which had been a very run-of-the-mill trip from Earth to Vulcan, ferrying passengers. And now, a very short time later, she was in the middle of a nebula, her Captain had been arrested for being a traitor, and she was being asked to fire weapons on a Romulan warbird, carrying weapons of mass destruction.

"Aye, Sir," she said, her hand reaching out to her control panel. She tried to steady it and keep it from shaking. But the tingling sensation she felt in her hand went far beyond what her nerves would account for.

The tingling sensation quickly became painful, and she let out a scream. The breath caught in her throat, and she watched, unable to move, as her hand turned ashen grey, the pain overloading her brain. Then everything faded to black, and there was nothing left of Ensign Turner, but a pile of ash scattered over her console.

"Turner!" Felix cried out once he heard the ensign's scream. He watched helplessly as she turned to ash before his eyes. He turned away and put a hand over his mouth. He swallowed hard and gathered himself. He pressed the button on the captain's console to the left of the chair. The console flipped up and open.

"Computer!" he shouted. "Reroute weapons control to captain's console." The computer beeped affirmative as a condensed version of the Tactical HUD appeared on the small screen beside him. He calculated the distance from the ship to the warbird. "Come on, you sumbitch," he said quietly, "get some." The computer beeped affirmative as it obtained a firing solution. Felix mashed the fire command and unleashed fury on the Valdore.




===[ELSEWHERE]===

Cooper caught the warning for evac and immediately shifted all security personnel, pulling from excess tactical as well to move people inland. She grabbed a few security from the offices, safely deep inside the ship, and took off at a run to the nearest outer hull point to assist in the evac. To those still watching the 3D schematic of the ship, other security were doing the same. Moving swiftly to cover the outer areas like a bubble of little blue dots. Little green dots were the ones to be moved. The cleanness of the holographic 3D schematic ignored the reality of the running of the evac personnel, the calm and authoritative voices of the security herding people along like sheep dogs. Some even picking up slow personnel and running them inland. Cooper came across one officer who managed to twist her ankle and with another security officer in a fireman's carry hauled the person even as Cooper called orders into her commbadge.




===[ENGINEERING]===

The doors to the lift opened and Thiago marched down the corridor and into the engine room. He immediately spotted Sulvai.

"Lieutenant," he called out. "I need to commandeer a couple of consoles to be ready to take over command functions from the bridge."




===[VALDORE]===

Suresh looked at the tactical display in front of her. The fighters had begun to retreat, performing combat landings on the Black Hawk. The Chimera and the Cochrane were approaching fast, but wouldn't get close enough to her in time to do any real damage before the weapon fired. And so far, virtually all of their shots had missed their target – which was to be expected, given that they had no sensors to help them take aim, and they were still over sixty-five kilometers away, firing at a 700-meter target.

But she knew it was time to return fire. Right after Simoneau had collapsed, she had signalled Krex, and ordered him to prioritize the weapons systems. He'd already been trying to restore partial power to the disruptors.

"Krex," she called out, tapping her combadge. "Where are those disruptors?"

"Almost there!" replied the Tellarite. "I just need to reboot the power re…"

Suresh paused. "Krex?" she asked after a second.

She heard a scream from the other end, and then nothing.




===[BRIDGE]===

Harvey's ears barely heard the sound of the turbolift doors closing behind him. Aside from three manned stations, Harvey was alone on the bridge. Never before had he seen the room so empty, even during the Dominion War. The pulsing red panels illuminated the room perfectly, highlighting each of the vacant consoles. The Captain pushed the thought from his mind, knowing that he'd sent everyone away for their own safety.

It was a sobering thought, knowing that each second could be his last. If the fighters fell so easily to random bursts of Thalaron, then no one on the Black Hawk would be safe, including those on the bridge. Therefore, if these were to be his last minutes among the living, he had to make them count.

"Helm, full impulse power!" he ordered. Two minutes wasn't good enough, not if the radiation was already claiming lives. Seconds felt like hours as the Black Hawk closed the distance. Harvey rose from his chair to stand behind the helm with the explicit purpose to keep an eye on the distance meter. He kept glancing up and down, watching the Valdore grow on the viewscreen, and the distance between them shrink. Finally, they were within weapons range. With no expression on his face, Harvey uttered four simple words: "Let them have it."

Camila opened fire with every phaser array that was operational and watched as multiple hits scored the Valdore, but most of the shots were ineffective. She cursed the nebula and vowed to find a way to defeat the deadly soup if they ever encountered it again. "Multiple hits, but not effective," she called out.




===[VALDORE]===

The thalaron generator was beginning to spin out of control. Suresh could only watch as the aging technology was sucking more and more power from the Valdore's generators. She wasn't sure the crippled warbird could handle the stress.

Had she been in Engineering, she would have seen that in fact, the ship could not. The containment field protecting the quantum singularity that powered the ship was weakening, as the thalaron generator sollicited every bit of energy available. Until finally the containment field collapsed entirely, exposing the singularity to the nebular gasses that had leaked in through the hull breaches caused by the Black Hawk's fighters. The gasses fed the singularity, which started to grow as it sucked in more and more material.




===[BRIDGE]===

Bast's console suddenly registered the Valdore, as the ship had closed to within two thousand meters of its target. "We're in transporter range!" he announced. "Thirty seconds to Thalaron discharge!"

"Now, Miss Di Pasquale!" Harvey cried out. He'd wait to issue further orders until getting the confirmation he needed.

Camila took a deep breath and activated the transporter that held the Tricobalt device and waited. There was no way of knowing if it had been beamed into the Romulan warbird or somewhere else entirely and all she could do was hope that it had hit its mark. She counted down the seconds in her head from five, which is what the device had been programmed for before detonation when she had prepared it. Her eyes were glued to the display and she forgot to breathe as her mental countdown reached one.




===[VALDORE]===

The tricobalt device materialized in the Valdore's Engine room. Had Suresh been there, she would have seen the countdown displayed on the torpedo casing. But Suresh herself had no time to worry about such things, as a tingling sensation was beginning to make itself felt in her legs.

The tricobalt device detonated, causing an explosion that destroyed the Romulan ship, as well as the thalaron generator, before it could fire.

But the tricobalt device was too powerful, especially this close to a quantum singularity. The energy of the tricobalt intersected with the black hole, destabilizing subspace. A rift opened in subspace, vast and wide, fed by the unlimited energy of the black hole that was now beginning to feed on the nebular material. drawing in everything from light to nebular gases, the rift was monstrous, stretching for hundreds of kilometers in either direction.




===[BRIDGE]===

The viewscreen was filled with a brilliant flash of light as the Valdore exploded in front of Harvey's eyes. As it subsided, Harvey could not spot any debris from the Valdore. In fact, he couldn't spot a thing. The screen showed only darkness. At first he thought the screen, for whatever reason, fell offline.

What Harvey was not expecting was the sudden lurch from under his feet. Never before had he felt anything so violent, save for the gravimetric distortions they'd encountered that morning. The deck disappeared from under his feet, only to reappear moments later with a defining SMACK. Banks of consoles exploded under the pressure, as did lighting fixtures from above. Harvey lost consciousness before all power disappeared from the bridge, even the emergency lighting.

Only darkness ruled now.


 

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