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Black Hawk Down

Posted on 21 Mar 2017 @ 2:19pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira

Mission: Endgame
Location: USS Black Hawk || Auxiliary Bridge
Timeline: MD17 || 1040 hours

“Eerie” was not the most apt description of how the abandoned bridge felt to Harvey, but it seemed to be the most fitting at the moment. The evacuation alarm continued to drone throughout the blackened room. Though there was the urge to join the crew in the evacuation, what Harvey saw on the viewscreen concerned him the most.

The ship was hurtling towards New Bajor like an orbital missile. Her unfortunate target was the Capitol City. Though it was already burning, undoubtedly thanks to the Consortium wanting to hurt Starfleet and the Federation as much as it could before defeat was declared, hundreds of thousands were still in the city. Harvey could not allow the mighty ship to cause unwarranted death and destruction in her final moments.

Harvey approached the vacant helm and began to examine the controls. The port impulse engine didn’t register, likely blown away with the damage to the catamaran. The starboard engine was fixed at one-quarter impulse, unable to respond to helm commands. All of the RCS thruster pallets would not respond either. In fact, the helm itself appeared to be locked up entirely. Perhaps if he could force the console into a reset, he might have enough time to push the Black Hawk away from its chosen target.

From the now vacant operations console, Thiago monitored the evacuation. Some pods had been damaged in the battle. This limited the number of people that could utilize them for escape. Morbid though the thought was, he knew that the recent casualties the ship had experienced would help alleviate overcrowding for the functional pods.

Looking up, he saw Geisler at the helm. “You need to get out of here too,” he yelled over the klaxons.

Harvey turned around at the shout. Until that outburst, Harvey thought he was alone. “What are you doing here, Thiago?” Harvey demanded, turning back to the helm, working to undo the lockout.

“My job: take care of the ship and her crew. Have to make sure everyone gets out. That includes you.”

Harvey grunted, finding himself smirking at the response. “Haven’t you ever heard that a Captain goes down with his ship? Besides, I can’t leave. Not until I know the ship isn’t going to be a danger.”

“The only time a captain goes down with the ship is if the Exec is already dead. Or is bad at his job,” Thiago said bluntly. “Get to a pod. I’ve got this.” His fingers moved across the panel facing, trying to restore some semblance of system normalcy, at least long enough to get the crew off the nearly-dead ship.

“There’s only two ways you’ll get me off this bridge, Commander,” Harvey declared, moving under the console to fiddle with the relays. Perhaps if he reset the power feeds, it would kick into gear. “Either kill me, or help me make sure this ship doesn’t land in a populated area.”

“If I had a working connection to the transporter, I would beam you into a pod and jettison it from here,” the Brazilian quipped. That he didn’t have a way to access the transporters troubled him. Some of the transporters were still online, though less useful given the greatly diminished power levels.

The benefit of their current situation was that the Sovereign was leaving them alone. Instead, they were engaging the Cochrane. Somehow, that battle was favoring the smaller Intrepid-class. The ship managed to fall in behind the larger ship and lay into it with everything they had. The Sovereign’s nacelles flickered out, and the ship stopped dead in space. It hung there, atmosphere streaming out from various hull breaches on its aft quarter.

“Black Hawk, this is Wilfa-Udal,” came a voice over the speakers. Thiago was surprised the comm system was still functional, but was glad to hear the voice of the Grazerite Commander who had replaced him as CO of the Cochrane. “We’re pretty beaten up, but able to render assistance.”

He didn’t bother to look to Geisler, opting to do what he was trained to do: safeguard the ship and crew. “If you’ve got working transporters, lock onto the people in the muster areas and get them out of here.”

“Of course, Commander,” Wilfa-Udal replied.

Harvey heard the communications exchange, finding himself relieved that the crew would be okay. It was a wonderful bit of irony really. Just a few weeks ago, the Black Hawk had been ordered to seek out and destroy the Chimera and Cochrane. A week later, it was the Black Hawk who then had to come to the aid of the Cochrane.

Perhaps, he mused, irony was not the correct word. The term “full circle” seemed to apply very well here.

The Captain continued to manipulate the inner workings of the makeshift helm, adjusting relays and cycling isolinear chips. Finally, he heard a hum as the console flickered out and then back into life. Standing to his feet, he tapped a couple non-essential controls to see that the panel had been restored to full working order, though he did not know for how long.

With a single swift motion, he cut power to the impulse engine. It didn’t matter anymore as the ship was now caught in New Bajor’s gravity. Harvey fired the RCS thrusters, hoping that a minute adjustment at this point in time would cause significant changes to their trajectory. “How’s the evacuation?” Harvey called out.

“Slowly,” he replied, offering no other explanation. Instead, he remained actively engaged in trying to redirect what little power they still had the best he could to keep the evacuation moving. And, for now at least, life support online.

The Cochrane’s assistance was proving useful; there was no way the evacuation would be going this quickly without them. But still, Thiago was worried. They were falling towards the planet at an increasing rate. “How good of a pilot are you?”

Harvey didn’t reply. He’d flown shuttles and runabouts, like most Starfleet officers, but never a starship. Still, he didn’t think there was a single person on the crew that could perform this task better than another, not without working impulse engines and a way to level out. “We’re gaining too much speed,” Harvey stated, trying to use every working thruster to slow the ship’s descent.

Flames began to appear on the viewscreen’s image as the ship entered the atmosphere. Hull plating began to peel off in bits and fly away from the mighty ship. The structure began to groan, reverberating her cries throughout the bridge. Alarms cried out from various stations, resounding the failure of system after system.

“If you have anything left, reinforce structural integrity!” shouted Harvey as the Black Hawk actually started to move away from the capitol. He pressed harder on the thruster controls as if the pressure would produce actual results.

“You get reinforced SIF or thrusters. Your call,” Teixeira offered, the stress thickening his accent. The warp core was offline. Most of the fusion generators were also dead. And the backups were either damaged or severely depleted. Adding to the chaos was the number of blown relays, meaning that he was playing a constant game of ‘reroute the power flow’ in order to keep anything working.

The first to respond to the Executive Officer was the ship herself, groaning louder than before. Without warning, the groan vanished, giving the room a firm shake, something that Harvey hadn’t felt before, even with all of the torpedo impacts. New alarms cried out, drowning out the others.

“What the hell?” Harvey shouted, looking back at the Master Display and forgetting to answer Thiago’s question. Despite its flickering, Harvey could see that the port catamaran, the pod, and the port nacelle were replaced with a red outline and a hollow, dark interior. There could be only two reasons for the change. The first was the internal sensor grid, and the monitoring systems between the primary hull and the catamaran were interrupted.

Harvey believed the matter was something else entirely. The catamaran, having been breached and severely damaged during the battle, had been finally ripped from the hull, taking the pod and nacelle with it.

To make matters worse, Harvey could feel the inertial dampeners fail as the floor tilted to starboard. With the drastic change in weight and aerodynamics, the Black Hawk began to turn away from where Harvey was trying to steer it to. Harvey used what remained of the external sensors to calculate their trajectory, as well as the estimated time until impact. The Black Hawk would crash, in an unpopulated area, in the next ninety seconds.

“Gimme an update on the evacuation!” Harvey shouted, exercising futility as he tried to use the thrusters to level themselves out just to buy a few more seconds.

Internal sensors weren’t worth much anymore. Externally, Thiago could see pods still launching from the catamaran. He knew he needed to give people more time.

He killed just about every system, found every iota of power, and ran it through to the RCS thrusters. With the touch of one control, the functional thrusters fired, expelling the last of the Black Hawk’s power. He watched as the last of the undamaged escape pods blew clear of the hull.

“Black Hawk, we’ve gotten as many as we could find,” came Commander Wilfa-Ufal’s voice.

The deck pitched again, the thrusters having lost power. The remnants of the ship accelerated.

Sparks shot out from a nearby console, followed by all of the consoles on the port side losing power. The helm began to flicker and dim under Harvey’s fingers before it finally died. Harvey slammed his fist on the panel just before the viewscreen failed as well. The Black Hawk was more than his home and his ship. She had revitalized Harvey when he’d all but given up hope. It was a shame to lose her now, but that was not his choice to make.

The Consortium had made it for him.

“We’ve got about forty seconds,” Harvey told Thiago, standing to join him at the barely functioning Ops console. “Time to go.”

“Cochrane, last two,” Teixeira said. He hadn’t been on the Black Hawk for very long, but that didn’t mean it was any less painful to abandon her.

“Energize.”

As he was surrounded by iridescent blue light, Harvey turned for a last look at his first command. “Goodbye,” he whispered, unable to see much in the dark room.

When the transporter beams faded, the last bits of life had been removed from the Black Hawk. Unable to act under her own power or any external influence, the Black Hawk continued her tragic descent. Smoke bellowed from every open pore as more and more hull plating was peeled by the fast moving air.

The first contact with the planet came in the form of a mountain, barely kissing the hull, but giving the ship enough of an upward bounce to level out the ship and keep her from nose-diving. Her speed and rate of descent didn’t keep them in the air for too much longer.

Her belly hit the ground just a few seconds later. The spaceframe, still rigid on the ventral quarter, managed to hold together as the Black Hawk slid into a forest, razing trees as the planet began to force her to stop moving. Explosions rippled through the ventral hull, collapsing it as the ship sank towards the earth, allowing more and more trees to interfere with the ship’s movement. The starboard nacelle, weakened from the atmospheric plunge, was ripped away and tumbled to a rest a moment later, a mangled mess from its original design.

At long last, the Black Hawk came to a stop. Fire continued to spill out from her open wounds. In the distance, relief vessels streaked towards the fallen starship.

Their efforts would be fruitless. The ship was not just lifeless.

She’d never fly again.

 

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