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The Battle Begins...

Posted on 06 Mar 2017 @ 10:58pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Lieutenant Commander Arjin Djinx & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D. & Lieutenant Jarith Roshe & Lieutenant JG Felix Langston & Lieutenant JG Michael Griffin & Lieutenant JG Catherine Cooper & Ensign Shay Mitchell & Chief Petty Officer Tarsa Rogers

Mission: Endgame
Location: New Bajor / Deep Space 11
Timeline: MD 17 || 1000 hours

Harvey could not stand still. The ship, like the rest of the fleet, had been on red alert for most of the day. As soon as they were six hours out from New Bajor, Consortium raiding parties emerged from hiding places to try and distract the fleet. The attacks were quickly repelled, but they did manage to shake up the Starfleet crews. They had to keep moving forward, or so demanded Commodore O"Connell. This had to end, and stopping would only give the Consortium more time.

As he paced the bridge, Harvey tried to take deep breaths. This was it. The moment that it all would end. How exactly it would end remained to be seen, especially since sensors detected other ships called to Deep Space Eleven's defense. They were just a couple minutes out, and it was now time for a sound off. "All departments, report," he requested. Engineering and Sickbay would hear him as he'd ordered a comlink to remain open between the three departments.

Ensign Shay Mitchell stood on the bridge just off the Captain's side. This was the first time she'd ever set foot on this part of the ship, auxiliary or otherwise, and she had to admit that given the circumstances... it was a bit nerve wracking. Still, she was glad to be out of sickbay and walking on her own again. But being on duty again... that's what made her the happiest.

She took a deep breath and let it slowly, pushing the nerves away. If things got out of hand, she'd protect the bridge officers... especially the Captain... without question. For now, she remained silent, knowing she didn't have anything to report given her current position.

Cooper stood at the tactical station on the bridge as her people fed information from their stations at the torpedoes and tactical operations center. The Captain's call went out, "Tactical reports full readiness." She replied, focused.

"All stations report ready," Teixeira offered from the Operations station. He hadn't spent much time behind an Ops panel in the last decade, when he was Ops Chief on the Allegheny.

"Science department is ready, Sir", Djinx replied.

"Helm reports ready," Lt. Felix Langston said, steely gaze fixed on the view screen ahead. This was not the time for second guessing or hesitation. One wrong move could spell the end not just for the Black Hawk, but for the rest of the Quadrant. Felix braced himself for the adrenaline surge that would soon rush through his system. "Approaching Deep Space Eleven. Ready to drop out of warp on your mark, sir."


===[SICKBAY]===

In Sick Bay, Jayla glanced around to make sure everything was in place and everyone was in position. She hadn't been happy about Bast going on some hair-brained mission against the Selamat, but had reluctantly agreed that it was a good plan. It really was, too. She just didn't like the idea of someone who had so recently been close to death putting themselves in danger so soon.

With a deep breath, she finally said, "Sick Bay reports ready. Or as ready as we'll ever be."

Although Avery possessed no psionic abilities, she could tell Jayla was just as worried about Bast as she was. Like the doctor, Avery was deeply concerned about sending Bast on such a dangerous mission after all he'd been through physically and mentally, but both women couldn't dispute the logic of the plan, nor could either of them come up with a better alternative. Still, here they were preparing for battle once again, the vulnerability of the entire crew, and one specific individual, heavily on their minds.

Lieutenant Jarith Roshe did not mean to sneak up on Kij and Stewart, but he seemed to startle them both. He placed a hand on each of their arms to reassure them. "As a being with psionic abilities," he explained, "you are aware of all of the people who are around you and think they are aware of you as well." He knew also that they were concerned with Lieutenant Commander Bast, but there was little any of them could do. Jarith had thought he should have been included in the team, but he was not in command and had to rely on their ability to know what was best.

"It's okay," Jayla assured him. "We should probably pay closer attention to what's going on around us, even if it's not medically related."

Lt. Hannibal Owens gave a knowing nod to the other officers in Sick Bay with him. He mentally prepared himself for the number of casualties that could potentially come through the doors as a result of the oncoming battle. "We can do this, Doctor," he offered as a sign of solidarity. He hoped it was enough.


===[BRIDGE]===

"We're approaching, Captain," Thiago called from his station. "Power prioritization for tactical systems and impulse. I've got extra reactors on hot standby."

Harvey returned to the center of the room. As the Auxiliary Bridge had been converted from its original duty as the Strategic Operations center, it lacked a true captain's chair. Instead, Harvey was forced to use what amounted to a stool that was welded to the floor. He certainly missed his armrests and the functionality they contained.

For that matter, he missed his bridge. When this was all over, he looked forward to returning to it.

"Drop us out of warp," he ordered. "Stay in formation."

The viewscreen demonstrated that Harvey's orders were followed as the starstreaks yielded to an image of New Bajor and a welcoming party consisting of Starfleet, Karemma, Dosi and Selamat vessels. The Dominion would engage this group, but it was clear the Black Hawk was going to have to go through it to get its set of ships to Deep Space Eleven, where another group of starships would await them.

"Deploy the squadron," the Captain ordered, nodding to the Flight Operations Officer who assumed one of the back consoles in the room.

After a minute, the officer reported, "Squadron deployed, Captain."

"Shields up!" cried out Harvey. "Let's do this."

"Shields up, Aye" came Cooper's steady voice as a shield strength of 1860MW snapped and hummed into place. The analysis of known enemy weapons already a part of it's energy nutation shift in frequency. This was with only 10 of the 16 shield grids operating, an additional 6 were held in reserve as part of the emergency shield system that could be looped in for a total of 2976. If that wasn't enough they could loop in the impulse power plans but personally Cooper hoped helm and tactical's efforts could keep them from having to commit full resources since she well knew that could be needed elsewhere. Though this was an all cards on the table kind of battle, if the other side lost here it would break the back of their plot and that was Cooper's hope. After all the suffering the Consortium had caused she wanted them broken and brought to to justice.

"Potential targets identified and linked into the tactical map." Cooper said as scan results came back to her console.

"Stand by to fire on the O'Carroll's signal," cautioned Harvey as he adjusted his stance on the stool. Within a heartbeat, the first lance left the USS O'Carroll, followed by a barrage of polaron beams from the Jem'Hadar. "Attack Pattern Alpha Two. Target the lead Karemma vessel."

"Understood..." Cooper replied to the Captain's first instruction then after his final order, "Attack Pattern Alpha Two, Aye..." Cooper replied and swiftly double checking the loads, energy levels and weapons lock she fired in accordance with the attack order, the power slicing through the silent cold of space to its target.

The Black Hawk's phasers met the shields of the USS Invincible. True to her namesake, the shields absorbed the blasts and promptly returned fire.

Harvey felt the ship shudder beneath his seat. "Damage report!" he demanded. "Helm, press on! We're not stopping until we get to DS Eleven! Cooper, keep firing phasers, and load aft torpedo launchers. Quantum torpedoes. Use them if the Consortium follow us."

"Understood." Cooper said calmly her hands dancing smoothly over the console. An order transmitted to the aft torpedo bays and the tactical team once again flew into action ensuring the proper loads. "Continuous fire Aye.." And while she didn't keep the hammer down, that would have been wasteful with missed shots, she did drop it repeatedly. The phasers slamming again and again into the shields as Cooper adjusted for the near constant movement of the target. Down in the aft torpedo bays the tactical crew were always careful but quantum meant the Skipper was serious, the tactical team grimly but effectively went about their tasks and readiness was transmitted up the chain. "Torpedos report ready." She reported, focused on her console and ruining their day. Just waiting to fire them if the consortium tried to follow.

Thiago's fingers moved quickly across his console. "I'm bringing another reactor online, Cooper. You should be able to go full power on multiple arrays now."

Cooper's eyes lit up at the serious metawatts pouring into the beam strength now, "Thank you Sir, max'ing out power levels." with an intense look in her eyes she quickly re-adjusted. The hard part was keeping the enemy ship in her sights, for they too were good at evasive maneuvers so her hands almost never stopped moving as she re-adjusted firing solutions, fortunately this time aided by the computer.

Keeping an eye on power distribution, Teixeira brought up a display to monitor the tactical sensors. It never hurt to have another set of eyes in situations like this.

The welcoming party did not break formation, but they were kind enough to light up the Black Hawk's shields with a volley from behind. Harvey frowned as the ship shook again. He was grateful that they wouldn't be followed to Eleven, but that only made him fear what was about to come.

"One minute until we're in Deep Space Eleven's firing range," reported the helmsman.

"Thank you," the Captain replied, knowing that there was a force of at least eight ships that awaited them. "Recommendations, Commander?" Harvey asked, hoping for a suggestion on an attack pattern.

He conferred with the tactical readout at his station. "This isn't pretty," he said quietly. "Epsilon-three-one..."

"Three-one?" Harvey repeated, arching an eyebrow at the XO's suggestion.

Thiago nodded. "And then we can swing around to bring the forward arc to bear on the larger ships. Think you can target fast enough, Cooper?"

"Yes Sir." She said her focused on the console in her front of her. All of her energy, her intensity, the fact her mind moved at warp was focused on the console her hands moving smoothly. There was enough attention on the outside world to do her job properly. If her hands were moving at chest height it would have looked like some kind of complicated magical spell. Not a movement wasted as she focused on the battle map, the computer speeding reaction time by taking on the complicated algorithms needed for the firing solutions. A chunk of Cooper's world were numbers of firing angles, energy levels, enemy locations. Dozens of factors whirled in her mind giving her the information she needed for action as she prepped for the new battle plan.

"We've got the targeting sensors working slightly better than usual," the Executive Officer informed Cooper. "Just slightly, but every little bit helps, right?"

"Aye Sir and I've got a blessed necklace, leave no stone unturned..." She replied, vaguely quipping thankful to the XO for his help in improving the systems and especially for the slightly swifter targeting, it made the need for speed targeting just that much more effective. Her attention on her work. Some said they'd rather be lucky than good, Cooper would rather be both.

Cooper's meaning was lost on Thiago. But that was unimportant. His focus, truly that of the everyone on the bridge, was on the battle they were in the midst of.

"Then let's do it," Harvey said, turning back to the viewscreen. Before them were not just Deep Space 11, but also nine starships, three of which registered as Selamat battleships. He was commanding a group of seven ships, including the Black Hawk. Harvey wished he would have convinced O'Connell to give him the Black Knights for this, but it would have to do.

"Mister Djinx," Harvey instructed, having previously notified the man that he would be acting as the communications liaison between the members of the fleet. "Instruct the Cochrane and the Valcour to take on the left flank. The Thunderchild and the Callisto are with us. The others are to get behind the ships that pursue the Cochrane and Valcour."

Arjin monitored the positions of the ships which were part of their small fleet. His fingers danced over the console as he relayed the Captain's orders as quickly as possible to them. On his viewscreen he followed the ships movements as they responded swiftly. Their crew as thouroughly trained as their own with lengths of Starfleet training making the manoeuvres deceitfully easy.
"Ships are following instructions and falling into position, Sir.", he responded.

"Let's do this," the Captain ordered, seeing that they'd entered firing range. "Helm, execute pattern Epsilon Three-One. Tactical, open fire on the Selamat ships."

The Black Hawk jumped forward, having increased speed by 20%, heading right for the Consortium flotilla. As the distance between them closed, the Hawk made a sudden turn to starboard and nosed down, dropping along the z-axis. The Thunderchild and Callisto followed suit, each ship attracting the attention of the Selamat warships.

"Keep hitting them," Teixeira called out. "We've got the split them up."

"Aye" Was Cooper's only reply and then only to show to she'd heard and acknowledge the order. Putting everything she had into a 3 feet by 2 feet console. Her hands danced as they called the lightening firing hot and heavy then quickly switching to a new target, hitting them before re-targeting. She kept up full phaser fire on multiple ships, doing the ship equivalent of punching someone in the face then their friends at warp speed, rinse repeat at random. The fire was heavy and it was fast, above all it didn't slacken. "Never give them time to to regroup..." An old Tactical mentor had often said. Well she didn't mean to.

Sparks flew out from an unoccupied console as the Black Hawk held her own under phaser fire. Harvey's eyes remained glued to the viewscreen as the Selamat shields were lit up by the barrage of phaser fire. "Mister Djinx, tell the Callisto to target that ship's weapons systems with everything they've got. Miss Cooper, fire those aft quantums as we pass by."

"Torps Aye.." Cooper replied and her hand routine shifted as she made sure what she needed was prepped. The results came back green.

"Callisto is hitting target full spread. Their shields are currently withstanding the attack."


===[SICKBAY]==

Meanwhile, in calls were coming in from all over the ship, requesting medics for those who were too injured to make it to Sick Bay on their own. Jayla was busy directing doctors and nurses all of the ship while attempting to tend to the injured who were pouring in through the doors, too. She didn't have time to think about anything except patching people up.


===[BRIDGE]===

Shay gritted her teeth as sparks flew from unmanned consoles. If that wasn't bad enough, the ship shaking under the barrage of fire she was taking made it hard for Mitchell to stay on her feet. This was her first time on the bridge, and if she ever wanted to set foot on it again, she needed to keep it together and do the job Lieutenant Di Pasquale had handed down to her.

As the three ships finished their attack run, two of the Selamat cruisers, both the size of Romulan warbirds, peeled off from the main group and entered a pursuit course. "Give them a bloody nose," Harvey instructed, inching towards the front of his seat.

"With Pleasure..." She replied, her focus on her console as the firing solution locked into place, all was right with her world and the stars aligned, she fired the quantum torpedoes with a small, evil little smile appearing on her face as she prayed for Murphy to keep his chaotic little hands off those torpedoes.

The cruiser's shields flickered under the torpedo fire. A couple more blasts, and they likely would have fallen. Harvey frowned. "Helm, bring us about. Djinx, have the other ships stick close to us and target the forward shield emitters on the right target. If we all fire together, we should be able to take this ship out. Miss Cooper, load all forward bays, photon torpedoes. Have a quantum ready for when the shields go down."

"Aye Sir, re-ordering torpedo loading and standing by." Cooper replied, moving swiftly to issue the needed orders to ensure everything would be ready as the Captain ordered.

"All ships are targetting the same target now. Shields are starting to fail.", Arjin replied.

Langston's brow furrowed as he deftly kept the ship maneuvering through enemy fire. "Aye, Captain, coming about" he said while furiously moving his hands about the console. The Black Hawk banked sharply and came around to bear its weapons upon the enemy. Give 'em hell, old girl Felix thought as the old ship brought her weapons to bear.

As soon as the Black Hawk and her escorts were in position, Harvey ordered, "Fire."

"Hits away." Cooper replied, calling up the firing solution. A few keys later and the photon torpedoes were streaking toward their target, slamming into the shields that flickered...then died. Cooper gave them no chance to dodge as she quickly shifted to the firing solution for the Quantum. "Shields down, firing Quantum..." She studied the readouts as it hit its mark, she managed to keep the cheer out of her voice...mostly as she continued, "Target dead in the water!"

Harvey smiled, grateful one target was down. "Commander Teixeira, care to call it for the second target?"

The ship rocked as it was bombarded by weapons fire. "Decision's been made for us," Teixeira pointed out, changing the viewscreen to show a visual of the Hammerhead and another of the giant Selamat ships lighting up the shields of the Black Hawk, Thunderchild, and Callisto.

"Split up. One of us should go after the Hammerhead while the other two work on the Selamat," he continued. "It's your call, Captain."

Harvey thought for a moment. "We'll take the Hammerhead. Mister Djinx, instruct Thunderchild and Callisto to take down that Selamat cruiser."

"Preparing torpedo loads, analyzing data for phaser fire modification, re-targeting for firing solution..." Cooper's voice, her words flowing smoothly but efficiently as she shifted the Black Hawk's focus to the Hammerhead while trying to get the image of a grinning shark out of her mind.

"They're firing again," Teixeira warned.

The Captain did his best to steady himself as the ship was rocked by Selamat polaron fire as the Black Hawk streaked by to meet the Hammerhead. Sparks flew from overhead and the viewscreen even flickered for a moment. "Damage report!" he called out as he waited for the Black Hawk to be in position to strike the Nebula-class ship.

While his fingers moved across the console surface to consolidate damage reports from the various sections, Teixeira gave more directions. "Helm, bring us around. Delta-seven."

"Delta-Seven, aye, sir!" Felix's hands flew to the console as the old ship cut through space. The cut hard to starboard and then arced in a descent, picking up speed as it closed in on the target. Felix could hear the old ship creaking and straining under the force of the maneuver and hoped everything would hold together.

"They bypassed our aft-port shields. Minor hull damage. DC teams are responding," the Brazilian Commander reported. "Attempting to compensate for the shields, but if we can keep them off our ass until them..."

After he had relayed the captain's orders to the Thunderchild and the Callisto, he continued to monitor both ships as they went after their prey. The combined manouvering of both ships and their fluid dance across the dark skies would have been a feast for the eye if it wasn't for the gravity of the situation.

The combined spread of torpedoes and phasor fire had left its mark on the big Selamat ship. Where as their somwhat erratic targeting of multiple ships had left only small dent marks on the Starfleet vessels.

"The Selamat Cruiser's shield are failing Captain. It will be only a matter of time before they are dead in the water.", Arjin informed the Captain.

Satisfied with how thing were going nearby, he refocussed his attention towards the rest of their fleet. "Sir, the Cochrane and Valcour are now coming into base firing range. They seem to be clear of pursuers except for the Agamemnon. The T'Pava has been taken down, but it seems the Nelson is also disabled. The battle over there can still go either way."

"Have the Valcour and Cochrane about face and engage the Agamemnon," Harvey ordered. That Prometheus class ship had already entered Multi-Vector Assault Mode and was more of a threat now than ever.

"Belay that!" Thiago interjected. "Cochrane isn't up to it. Send the Hawk. Cochrane can go after the Bozeman."

Harvey spun to face the Brazilian Commander and arched an eyebrow. It dawned on him a moment later that fewer people knew the Cochrane better than the man who commanded her for a short while. Turning back to face the viewscreen, Harvey confirmed the belay. "Follow the Commander's orders, Mister Djinx. Bring us around for another pass on the Hammerhead. Shut that Nebula down!"

Arjin had frowned at the conflicting orders he just got. But at the Captain's confirmation, he relied the orders to the corresponding ships.

"Understood Sir..." Cooper replied, adrenaline pumping despite efforts to calm down. It didn't help as the old song 'March of Cambreath' started looping in her head. She tried to ignore the ear worm but it was to the words:

"Dawn has broke, the time has come,
Move Your Feet to a Marching Drum
We'll win the war and pay the toll,
We'll Fight as One in Heart and Soul
Midnight mare and blood red roan,
Fight to Keep this Land Your Own
Sound the horn and call the cry,
How Many of Them Can We Make Die!"

That the stars aligned once more, "How do you get rid of a shark? You punch it in the nose..." She thought as, following the Captains instructions immediately. No motion or time wasted as she focused on her duty. She let loose with every megawatt of power the full might of their ships phasers currently possessed, carefully aimed. Also carefully modulated, all the better to find weaknesses in their energy frequency, the beam hit just where it was meant. Right in a weak point in their shields, near the front of their vessel. The last batch of the phaser fire, that just didn't let up, cut through space like a knife through warm butter as the Hammerheads shields failed, "Shields down! They're venting atmosphere! Engines damaged. Targeting weapons...."

Cooper had just taken out the weapons when the Hammerhead started to move, they must be pouring all they had left into the attempt because they were really starting to book. One would think they'd be trying to get away but the Captain, or whatever surviving bridge officer, of the Hammerhead had apparently decided to try to take the Black Hawk down with them because they were making to ram them. "Hammerhead on the Move! Attempting to ram us. Distance is still sufficient, allies safe distance, firing torpedo." She called in even tones, working with the computer to respond in time. If she waited even a few more seconds the Hammerhead would be too close to take out safely. She took no chances with the life of the Black Hawk's crew, she hit the engines as she meant and secondary explosions ripped through the Hammerhead. "Prepare for shockwave!" she called.

"Evasive!" Harvey shouted as the ship shook again. More systems in the auxiliary bridge sparked, leaving Harvey to wonder how much more the old girl could take. "Bridge to Engineering, how are we holding up?"


===[ENGINEERING]===

With the battle unfolding and damage being reported on several decks Marion had taken on the duty of supervising repair teams in the field while Michael had been left to maintain the Engine room.

Whatever they were doing on the bridge, Michael was definitely not liking it. The nearly constant changes in power were proving a very high strain on the department and if this was going to be kept up too long he feared the ship would be in serious trouble. They definitely needed everything up there too to make it through, and admittedly the battle could be going a lot better. All in all, and despite some consoles being rendered inoperable the damage so far was proving manageable.

Tarsa looked up from her console where she was trying to keep up with the demands the battle was having on the ship's systems. Commander Teixeira was doing a lot of tricky work moving power around, and it was wrecking some havoc for her attempts to keep the ship functioning as best as it could. She could see the Assistant Chief Griffin at the Chief's console. She quickly generated a snapshot report and sent it to Marion's console.

As the request from the Bridge came in Michael quickly looked over the various reports issued as well as giving the information flowing in a glance. "Captain, we're giving her all she's got. Systems are under incredible strain but managing. Damage has been reported on various decks but none critical" He responded before once again returning to delegating and helping more directly where needed.


===[BRIDGE]===

"Do what you can, Griffin!" Harvey shouted over the comm, wondering where Marion had gone off to. Harvey then turned to his Executive Officer. "Mister Teixeira, line up our next target. We need to get the base's shields down!"

"Helm, bring us around," Teixeira ordered. "We've got to disable the other Selamat ship." He tapped a serious of commands. "Head for it. Keep those phasers hot, Lieutenant. Captain, we'll need extra firepower."

"Aye, sir, bringing us around," Langston said. The ship responded immediately to the Lieutenant's commands but creaked and groaned under all the pressure and hits she was taking. The Black Hawk had sparks of life left in her, but she was slowly starting to show her age.

"Understood Sir, Weapons Hot..." Cooper replied preparing for the next target. She did a quick systems check, all within perimeters. As the ship shifted, she kept a running update of the firing algorithm.

"Have the Thunderchild and Cochrane form up on our right flank," Harvey ordered. Before anyone could execute the order, he watched as the Thunderchild lost a warp nacelle and was sent flying out of control, only to explode a moment later. The Captain cursed and then bellowed to his Executive Officer, "Get those Consortium bastards."

That was all he needed to hear. "Let them have it!" Teixeira roared, stepping away from his console and moving closer to where Cooper was working. "Langston," he said, "make some passes. Light them up Cooper!"

He looked at the ensign who replaced him at the makeshift Ops panel. "Keep the power flowing to tactical systems. No matter what." The young woman nodded nervously.

He wasn't thinking about the rest of the battle. He was focused on the task of retribution on the Selamat for destroying the Thunderchild. "Full torp spread. Make them hurt."

"Hurt, Aye..." Adrenaline and emotion riding her hard as well, especially over the loss of a fellow ship but she kept a professional control and had channeled them. Channeled them into unleashing bursts of phaser power from multiple emitters pulling smoothly from the impulse drive and auxiliary fusion generators. She had kept the phaser lock so as the Selamat ship moved so did the phaser fire lancing out from the Black Hawk, following them like a bad memory with teeth. Teeth that continuously bit into their shields, over and over again. Then the XO's second order came just as their shields were flickering and the torpedoes prepared by the tactical team deep in the basements of the ship came into use. A full load of multiple torpedoes' rolled toward their target like a tidal wave, programmed to alter course and stay apart to avoid enemy fire until they got close, then with surgical precision they pulled together then struck.

The Selamat shields lit up as the fireworks burst against them. The Cochrane and the Black Hawk gave the attack everything they had, and fortunately it was enough. The shields fell at last, and torpedo after torpedo and phaser lance after lance impacted its hull. This time, blood was exchanged as the Selamat cruiser exploded in a brilliant flash of light, spraying debris of all shapes and size against the Black Hawk's shields. The ship jerked violently, but they kept on their flight path.

Harvey did the math in his head. Including the Agamemnon's Primary Hull that just exploded, the odds were finally in Starfleet's favor. "Mister Djinx, assign the Callisto and Hawk to watch our backs. We're going for the station. As soon as we, and the Valcour and Cochrane, are in firing range, let them have it."

"Aye, sir," Felix said, "laying in a course." Felix's hands swiped and ran over the console, sending the Black Hawk on its course to the station. Felix's mind was racing, but his exterior showed a calm face, eyes fixed ahead and focused on avenging the Thunderchild.

"Bridge to Transporter Room," Harvey called out after tapping his badge. "Standby for transport. We won't have much time."

"Acknowledged," came the reply. "We'll be ready."

Thiago maneuvered to stand next to Geisler. "I'm sorry we lost the Thunderchild, sir," he said quietly.

"Let's make sure they didn't die in vain," Harvey said through gritted teeth. They all knew lives would be lost today, and he was certain the Black Hawk would see its share of death before the day was over. But they'd get through this. They had to.

He simply nodded and positioned himself beside the ensign manning Ops. The young woman made a motion like she was going to surrender the station to the Executive Officer. "Steady, Ensign. I've got your back," he said reassuringly.

Studying the display screens, Thiago did some figuring. Tactical thinking wasn't his strong suit, but he'd been an Exec long enough that he knew what he was doing. "Watch the rear port," he called out as the Bozeman made a run at them.

"Call up the Callisto on our rear flank!" he called out to Djinx. To Cooper, he added, "Let them eat a quantum torpedo or two." It was times like this that he hated that the Black Hawk had no phaser strips to cover its aft quarter.

"Aye Skipper, teeth kicking it is..." She said quickly adjusting the focus, she loved he Black Hawk but having more ability to slap at someone trying to jump them from behind would be great. Well Quantum Torpedoes would have to do. After Cooper got a weapons lock and the computer shot back its analysis of the target, she fired a few seconds later. 90 Isotons could destroy a hardened ground facility and 800 kilometers, but over a 100 isotons shot toward the Bozeman, in the form of two torpedoes: one for the shields another for follow up. Their flight path randomized to avoid enemy fire as they sped toward their target. She monitored them carefully prepared to send updated orders to their onboard computers should it be needed even as she kept her eyes on the basic readouts of the battle surrounding the Black Hawk.

The Bozeman's shields fell from the torpedo assault, but it didn't stop the ship from pursuing the Black Hawk. In fact, it launched three photons of its own from the rollbar that detonated on the ship's rear shields. Internally, the ship suffered. Harvey tried to ignore the alarms sounding from all around him, but he knew that barrage had delivered the worst damage yet. The Black Hawk wasn't invincible, but she wouldn't be able to hold out too much longer.

"Helm, Attack Pattern Delta Four," the Captain ordered. "We're heading for Hub 4, where their shields should be the weakest. Miss Cooper, target the connection ports for the hub. Give them everything we got. Mister Djinx, have the Valcour and Cochrane do the same."

"Targeting Connection Ports Aye, everything we got, loading Proton for a full load with Quantum's on the back end." She said as her hands flew over the controls that responded like a thought. Cooper and the computer were as close to being one entity as was possible, her eyes darting to required data and hands responding swiftly but never panicked. "We have weapons lock, full phaser and torpedo spread on your order, Skipper." She called as her controls lit up green.

"I already gave the order!" Harvey snapped, not happy that the tactical officer waited to unleash her fury. Perhaps Give them everything we got wasn't clear enough. "Fire!"

"Aye" was Cooper's only reply as she focused. Fog of war could be an odd thing, she hadn't been sure if they were coordinating fire with other ships. She unleashed everything she had a full spread of torpedoes that followed repeatedly slammed into the connection ports. Again and again energy smashed into the same small area at which Cooper was aiming. Tactical teams worked to make sure new torpedoes are being loaded quickly, getting ready for the next volley. She modified the phasers as more data came back from the enemy shields to make the phaser fire more effective.

Prompted by the tactical miscue, Thiago silently saddled up beside Cooper. He peered over her shoulder at the console before her. "Shake it off, Lieutenant. Stay focused."

Cooper nodded at the XO with a small but distracted smile, appreciating the gesture even as she didn't take her eyes off the console.

"Elevens's shields down to forty percent," called out one of the many voices on the bridge.

"Keep at it," Harvey shouted back to Cooper as the ship recoiled from phaser fire from the starbase. Thankfully, weapons fire from other ships had ceased since the Callisto and Hawk were performing admirably in their roles.

"Lighting them up Aye..." Cooper replied steady at her station, she focused on the tactical systems, phaser fire, shield harmonics, isoton yield, and firing angles. She kept the pressure on, like a fire hose at full bore but in bursts as she adjusted for the Black Hawk's evasive maneuvers. It was important to keep the same central point but adjust the source angle for the firing solution or risk missing what one aimed at. Cooper mentally willed their shields to fall as she weathered the shakes that indicated their beloved Black Hawk had taken more fire.

Teixeira watched the status of 11's shields on his tactical display. It took a sustained barrage, carried out by Cooper, but the shields finally dropped.

"We're through!" he called out.

"Confirmed! Shields Down, ceasing fire. Shall I re-target?" Cooper asked, checking for other targets but not taking the weapons lock off the station spot she'd had it locked on just yet. She could relock and fire at any point in range in seconds she just needed a target.

"Drop our shields. Bridge to Transporter Room," Harvey cried out, "Energize!"

"Aye, captain," came the response. "First team is in transport!"

The ship shuddered before Harvey could respond. He didn't need anyone to report to him and tell him that blast came from the starbase. In fact, he watched the Starbase open fire with his own eyes. "Sneaky bastards," he muttered. It was evident the Consortium waited for the moment where they could inflict the most damage.

Reports of hull breeches were shouted behind him, but Harvey remained fixated on the boarding parties. The moment he received conformation that transport was complete, Harvey gave the order to raise the shields.

Shay moved over to one of the free consoles and began to move her hands over the screen, her brows furrowing. "Captain, I know now isn't really the time, but Security is reporting an attack in the primary computer control room with multiple casualties. There's a prisoner on the loose, Sir," she said with a frown.

"Deal with it," Teixeira ordered, spinning to face the security ensign.

Harvey felt differently. "Jackson..." he muttered, wishing he'd kicked him out of an airlock when he first had the chance. If that Major from the Chimera was on the loose, then Harvey knew the man would stop at nothing to take down the Black Hawk. "The bridge is yours, Commander. Don't let the Consortium turn the tide."

With that, Harvey left the bridge before Thiago had a chance to protest. No doubt the Brazilian would report this when it was all over, nor did the Captain look forward to the after action review with the XO. This would be branded as a careless move, but Harvey wasn't concerned with that. His ship was in jeopardy and with all of the ranking security officers no longer on board... he was going to need all the help he could muster.

~To Be Continued~

 

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