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Crisis Management

Posted on 16 Sep 2017 @ 11:55am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Callam Jaxer & Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Lieutenant Gemma Alexander & Lieutenant David Moreau Jr & Lieutenant Danyl Adan & Lieutenant T'Pai & Lieutenant JG Felix Langston

Mission: The Finnean Crisis
Location: USS Black Hawk
Timeline: MD 6 || 0920 hours

Throughout the ship, the alert klaxons sounded. With communications to the planet unavailable, Harvey could only assume the worst; that the Finneans had revolted and overthrown their Selubassari oppressors. Over 100 shuttles and other small crafts had launched from the surface and set sail for Deep Space Fifteen. Both the station, and all of the small craft, had charged weapons. This wasn't going to end well, especially if the Rakhari decided to join with their eight starships.

Harvey's mind, however, was thinking differently than everyone else, searching for ideas on how to quickly and peacefully end this conflict. They were, however, just one ship, and it wouldn't take much for this situation to sour in any direction. Every action, every decision had to be calcuated carefully. If only he'd be allowed to do it...

David remained at his station on the bridge and checked the status of the phasers and torpedo banks, even though the Captain hadn't told him to arm the torpedoes. He reached up to tap his combadge. =^=Moreau to Metsker, make sure that everything in Tactical on deck twenty-three is hot and ready. We have over a hundred bogies inbound.=^=

Joey continued to stand at her station, but she knew that all over the ship, people were racing to get where they needed to be since Red Alert had sounded. This situation was touchy at best and disastrous at worst, but even feeling less than optimistic lately, she had hope the situation could be rectified. The question that remained now... would the Finneans allow themselves to be reasoned with? Or would they attack? No matter how angry they were, they had to understand they were seriously out gunned, right? Between the Black Hawk, the squadron and the planetary base, they didn't stand much of a chance in those shuttles.

Felix's blood ran ice cold as he saw the multitude of shuttles coming from the ship's surface. What happened down there? he wondered as his hands ran over the helm console. He overheard Tactical's command to ready weapons and steeled himself, preparing for whatever conflict that lay ahead.


Lieutenant Adan had been eating a casual lunch when the klaxons sounded. Placing his tray in the recycler, he hurried out of his quarters when the unexpected gappened. As he raced towards the turbolift, the doors parted. There stood Jarith Roshe. Their meeting was inevitable, but Danyl had hoped it would be under better circumstances.

Jarith smiled. "Need a lift?" he asked the smile broadening.

Danyl stepped inside. "I'm headed for the bridge."

"I am going to Sickbay myself. We can share the ride."

So, Jarith didn't realize who he was. That was good. Soon, arriving on the Bridge, Danyl put the incident in the back of his mind for now and took his position at Ops.

===Flight Deck===

Terry had been doing a walk-through on the Flight Deck when the Red Alert sounded. Three of Alpha Flight's fighters had been on the Combat Air Patrol for almost an hour already, but everyone knew that was about to change. Being a fighter pilot meant that you had to be able to go in the blink of an eye. To his knowledge, the scramble order hadn't been given, but the Red Alert had. That was when his combadge chirped. "Flight Deck Ops to all Three-Twenty-Fifth personnel, Condition Red. Hostile threat is imminent or a combat situation is quickly unfolding. All fighter squadron senior staff and pilots report to the Flight Deck immediately. Flight Deck maintenance, bring the squadron to hot standby and prepare combat launch."

Terry was already running across the Flight Deck to the pilot's locker room to gear up. He passed dozens of other personnel, pilots and maintenance alike, running to their stations. He ran by a couple of birds that had four team members rushing to put hull plates back on. The ops tempo had definitely increased.

Gemma was in a simulator dive bombing an enemy when the simulator went into emergency shut down. She had a split second to wonder why then the lights flashing red inside the cockpit mock up and the console in front of her flashed red alert. The cock pit popped open at the same time and she slapped at the restrains to open them then leapt out beating feet for her duty station.

Callam was playing his baby bass when he heard the Klaxons go off, then heard Walsh over the intercom. He carefully set his instrument back in its place.

"Computer," he said. "Please advise Joker, Thumper, Shamrock, Peanut, Red Tail, Bacon that they are to report to flight ops RFN...I mean immediately."

"Working," the Computer replied. "Notifications have been sent."

"Thank you, Computer," Callam replied.

"You are welcome, Lieutenant Callam Jaxer," the Computer replied.

Callam raced down to the flight deck and directly to his locker, where he changed into flight suit, grabbed his flight helmet, and ran to his fighter. The others were on the deck already.

"Mount up and prepare for launch," Callam said. "We'll brief in the black."

Bravo flight acknowledged his orders and ran for their birds. Callam did a quick preflight walk around, abbreviated out of necessity, and then climbed into the cockpit. As he continued his preflight checks, he contacted Walsh.

"Rocco, Jax," he said. "Bravo is mounting up now and awaiting launch orders. We'll be ready to go once we complete preflight."

"Roger that, Jax," Terry spoke into the comm. He was already had his helmet on and was settling into his fighter.

Gemma rushed on the flight deck, after a stop to grab her helmet and other gear. People rushed to and fro in the pre combat controlled chaos. With a kind of gracefulness she ran toward her fighter, dodging people and equipment like a fighter dodging phaser fire as some others did the same.

Terry watched one of his screens as the indicators for the Squadron turned green by twos and threes. In a matter of seconds, they would be ready. "Alpha Flight will take point on combat take-offs. We go four-ship, to fighters side by side, and then two more right on their sixes. Bravo will follow, same format, and then Charlie." His team was good and quick. And that was a good thing, because that's exactly what situations like this called for. "Alpha One to Actual, Black Knights report hot standby, squadron ready to launch on your command."

Archer acknowledged the order, as she went through the combat prelight check after strapping in. Her hands flew over the controls for the check. She would be ready when the time came.


Like another Vulcan officer more than a century ago, T'Pai could have stated "the odds" of the Finneans succeeding in their revolt (if that was indeed what was happening). Though not her main area of interest, T'Pai was conversant enough in the fields of game theory and probabilities that she could confidently give an opinion on the matter.

But for the moment, her primary focus was in the physical well being of the Black Hawk. And, as in other places of the ship, Engineering was awash with red lights, klaxons, and individuals quickly heading to their stations. T'Pai noted though, with something akin to a logical satisfaction, that there was a purpose to the movement of the personnel in her department. There was no anxiety in their actions, only focus and heightened awareness.

With a brief nod to no one in particular, T'Pai found her own place, waiting for the current crisis to unfold.


Harvey shifted in his chair, having decided on his first course of action. "Commander Teixeira," he said. "Instruct the Khitomer, Chanett and T'Pol to join us here. Also, hail Deep Space Fifteen."

Quietly, Thiago entered a message into his console. Once crafted, he dispatched it to the Khitomer, Chanett, and T'Pol. The message was short and simple, report to DS 15 immediately.

"You're on with the station," his accented voice intoned as he keyed open a channel to the starbase.

"This is Captain Geisler of the Black Hawk," he announced, looking down to one of his armrest panels and called up a quick systems status as he spoke. "We're moving to assist. Acknowledge." He tapped a couple more controls, before his ears heard something strange. Harvey glanced up towards the viewscreen where the station simply laid in front of them. But they hadn't responded.

From everything Harvey knew about Commander Krasa, the Bolian who just assumed command of the station, Harvey knew something was amiss. Something must have happened on the station in the last few minutes, and Krasa was no longer in command.

Joey moved her fingers over the console in front of her. The bugs she planted seemed to offer up something she found rather surprising. Sadly, she wasn't able to access the visuals until she returned to her office, but she was able to access the audio. "Captain, the Finneans have taken the Selubassari hostage on the surface," she stated. Once upon a time, she'd encountered many situations like this, but those days were behind her.

"Do you want me to fire a warning shot across the bows of the shuttles approaching us, Captain?" David asked.

After hearing the questions, and the extra information from Intelligence, Harvey straightened his posture. It was time to act, and until someone from Deep Space 15 spoke up, he had to consider it an enemy. "Helm, put us in between the station and the Finneans. Commander, instruct the other ships to join our blockade. Scramble the squadron, no one fires until I give clearnace. Mister Moreau..." Harvey's voice trailed off, considering the consequences. "Aye."

"Flight Deck Ops to Black Knights, scramble order has come down! Launch! Launch!" The officer in charge pulled up video from the Flight Deck. He watched as the engineers scampered out of the way and the first four fighters sped out of the bay. Then the next four, and so on. "Good luck out there," he muttered to himself.

David made a quick calculation before he brought the Black Hawk's phaser array to bear and fired off two short bursts across the bow of the lead shuttles. While the shots were close, they were also powered down to a fraction of the full output, but the bald chief figured that it would be enough of a warning. "Now to see if they back off."

The warning shot did little to deter the Finneans. It did, however, prompt the Rakhari to fall in beside the species they were so fond of protecting.

Harvey frowned, watching the eight Rakhari ships enter formation on the viewscreen. With Deep Space Fifteen not responding, Harvey had to consider themselves surrounded. Surrender wasn't an option, especially since there was nothing to surrender. "Alpha One, Actual. Alpha and Charlie to assume defensive positions around us. Bravo on standby to circle Deep Space Fifteen." If the Selubassari had taken the base, it was unlikely that they'd have full access to the station's weaponry.


"Roger that, Actual," Terry replied. "Rocco to Alpha and Charlie Flights, take up position around the Black Hawk. Bravo Flight, standby to circle Deep Space Fifteen. No one, I repeat, no one is to open fire unless ordered. And that is the only time I'm going to say it. Rocco out."

Callam and Bravo Flight moved into position around DS15. He wasn't quite sure what Bravo was going to do at the moment. The moment the station raised its shields, it would be impervious to the small weapons at Bravo's disposal. And if they activated their point defense system, Bravo was going to be in real trouble. Still, despite how young some of its members were, Bravo was a solid squadron. Callam knew they'd straighten up and fly right.

"Rocco to Charlie One, take up position port and ventral around the Black Hawk. Alpha will cover starboard and dorsal. Bravo One, make sure no one gets near that station."

The Betazoid man who was currently leading Charlie flight gave a confirmation over the comm and moved his flight into place. "Charlie Flight, place yourselves at a safe distance from the ship. That will give them more maneuverability so they won't have to worry about hitting us." Triza was more than a bit of a micro-manager.

Terry was almost in position when he turned to look for Gemma. "Rocco to Archer, how are you sitting?"

Archer slid into one of her favorite positions, her hands moving over the controls as she kept an eye on her HUD. "Archer to Rocco, I've got highbird on your left." Which is to say she was above (roughly 45 degrees from Rocco) and to the left of Rocco close enough to support but giving her (combined with Rocco) wider angles of fire. "Unless you want me to shift it?" She asked, she had chosen this position because of that but other one posts would work as well against different targets. Her systems constantly updated the HUD grid, sensors looking for any sign they were going to be fired upon.

Terry checked his readouts. "Negative Archer, continue on station. Looks good. Rocco out."

Archer gave a mental nod as he closed the com and kept her station, her body relaxed and mind focused as she breathed in and out slowly. It helped keep her focused and ready without the jittery nerves aspect possible combat could bring.

=^=Bravo is in position,=^= Callam replied. =^=In case there is a delay for us going weapons free, I've had my flight researching and practicing the use of some very strong language that may hold our attackers at bay long enough for the weapons free order to be given. One of my favorites comes from Earth's Netherlands. It translates into Standard as 'may you be snuffled by rabbits'.=^=

Terry rolled his eyes and was about to say something regarding talking them down, which seemed to always be a topic of discussion in the middle of combat. Then he chuckled. Snuffled by rabbits, he thought. Not as bad as I thought.

Archer gave a surprised but brief snicker, she couldn't help it. That was not expected and actually kind of funny. She kept her eyes on her HUD and made a mental note to suggest, 'May your crouch be infested with the curse of a thousand fleas and your arms to short to scratch'...oh my god a insult contest...if we survive this...note to self, party ideas.Then she shushed, but would remember, that part of her brain as she continued prepare to react to the field around her.


Time to be proactive. "Open a channel to the Rakhari and the Finneans," Harvey demanded.

"Channel has been opened, Captain," Joey said once she'd finished moving her fingers over he console in front of her.

"This is Captain Harvey Geisler of the USS Black Hawk," Harvey began, still sitting. "Stand down. We are here to provide assistance to the Finneans."

Harvey's plea was immediately returned by an image of a Finnean behind the helm of a small transport. By his expression, Harvey could tell that he was far from convinced. "I am Praava Kazki, leader of the Finnean Steadings. If you truly mean to help, why have you not contacted us?"

He'd expected that response. "We were prevented," Harvey replied, simply. "The Selubassari enforced their claim on the planet, all the while forcing us to pick up the pieces they'd reduced our Starfleet elements into."

"Likely story, Captain," said Praava. "But our concerns are not with Starfleet. Stand aside, and allow us to deal with our oppressors."

"I can't do that," Harvey declared. "We have personnel on the starbase, not to mention the civilians that will be caught in the cross fire."

"Then you leave us little choice." With that, the screen cleared.

Captain Geisler frowned. "I need options, people!" he shouted to his bridge crew. The clock was ticking, and the moment the first shot was fired was the moment everyone lost.

"So much for warning shots. The Rakhari and Deep Space Fifteen are targeting weapons, Captain," Moreau said as he monitored the sensors. "On us and the Finneans."

Okay... this situation was getting worse as the seconds ticked by, and it needed to be diffused relatively quickly. The Captain tried communicating with the Finneans once, and it hadn't worked, but that was rather impersonal. Something of this magnitude needed to be handled fave to face. "This situation warrants a face to face discussion with their leader, Captain," Joey said. "They're angry, and have every right to be, but what we need now is to stop the downward spiral before it escalates to the point where none of us makes it out of this situation alive. I volunteer to speak with Kazki one and one so it seems less threatening. Because all of this...." She gestured with her hand, meaning the Black Hawk, the Rhakari and DS15. "Comes across as a huge threat."

"Couldn't hurt," David said as he watched all the assembled ships and monitored all the weapons on the field. "These people are outgunned in their shuttles even with the Rakhari and if Corwin has helped them in the past, it may lead to a smoother future. She could be the intermediary."

Adan spoke up, "Sir, I can transport Lieutenant Corwin directly over to their bridge. I also believe I can send one more over with her, if that is advisable."

At least she wasn't the only one that thought it was a good idea. "A face to face on DS15 may not be a bad idea, Captain. With the Finnean leader there, the rest of them are less likely to attack without word from him first. Not only that, but we may be able to get control of the situation there at the same time. Two birds, one stone," Joey spoke. "It's the best chance we have at getting him calm enough to see reason. You and Moreau would be the best choice for accompanying me."

"Your call, sir," Teixeira started. "Given the odds the Finneans have, whatever we can do to protect them....," he let his voice trail off.

Harvey didn’t have long to think. He agreed very much with what Lieutenant Corwin said about this being a downward spiral. This had to be diffused without weapons. And, while he didn’t approve of the idea of sending a team to meet them face to face, her idea sparked a different sort of inspiration.

Captain Geisler rose from his chair and took in a deep breath. After exhaling, he said calmly and firmly, “Lieutenant Moreau, power down weapons and lower shields.”

"They have enough weaponry combined to turn us into dust," Moreau objected, yet he carried out his orders, but prepared to hot load everything when it was going to be needed."

“Open a channel to the lead Finnean ship,” Harvey ordered next.

"Acknowledged," said Adan, leaning over his console. His slender fingers glided across the board and opened the Commlink. To the Captain, he said, "Hailing frequency open, Sir."

“Praava Kazki,” Harvey said. “I would like to bring you and Commander Couric together to discuss terms.”

“We are not interested in discussions—“

Harvey instantly held both hands up, hoping the gesture would be symbolic enough to keep them listening. “I am perfectly aware of that. There is, however, someone you might be willing to listen to.” With that, Harvey nodded at Joey.

Joey moved away from her console and moved within sight of the viewscreen. "I am Lieutenant Joelle Corwin, former Close Protection Officer assigned to keep many of your leaders and dignitaries safe some months back," she began, hoping the name might jog some memories. "We understand that you are quite angry, and we can sympathize with that, but acting out in anger is not going to solve anything. It will only make this situation worse."

She paused, though only for a moment before continuing. "What happened to your people, as well as our own, is inexcusable, but starting a war is not the way to handle things. I'm quite sure you have lost some of your people recently, but if you continue on the path you're own now, more will lose their lives. I know you don't want that. I'm asking you to please stand down and let us help you work this out in a manner that will keep innocent people from dying."

Praava stared at the woman on the viewscreen for a few moments. She was familiar to him. He remembered meeting her just a couple times, but her name was indeed renowned among the Finnean leadership. "Very well, Miss Corwin. But what about your starbase? We've monitored your attempt to contact it, and we've noticed the target locks it has on both of us."

"That will be handled next, I assure you," Joey said, breathing a mental sigh of relief that she was able to get them to back down, but now... there was a matter of dealing with DS15. She had no doubt it had fallen once again, which made this situation critical. "Would you be willing to accompany our Captain to meet with Commander Couric to discuss matters? I will join you should you feel more comfortable."

The Finnean nodded, an action visible to the entire bridge crew.

Joey turned toward her own Captain. "Sir," she said, gesturing for him to take her place so he could speak to Praava if he wished to.

"We'll deal with the starbase, Praava," Harvey said, stepping forward with his arms by his side. "Get out of targeting range as soon as possible. Black Hawk out."

As the screen restored its image of the starbase, Harvey could hear the alarms sounding from different consoles, reminding him of the target locks. "Alpha One, Actual. Deploy the entire squadron to the station."

"Roger that, Actual," Terry said. "Rocco to Knights, reform around the station. Shields at max and weapons ready!"

Crossing his arms in front of him, Harvey said, "Hail the station again. Instruct them to lower shields and weapons, or we will do it for them."

"Aye, Captain," acknowledged Adan." He sent the message to the Starbase. Turning, he informed the Captain, "They are not responding."

The hard way it was then. Captain Geisler returned to his seat. "Helm, evasive manuevers. Raise shields and power weapons. Alpha One, Actual. Target the station's weapons array. Get them offline."

"Shields up and weapons online," David responded seconds later. He had been right to keep them in a state of readiness and now they were about to enter the playing field as a power. He checked the sensors for the stations weaponry and smiled. "There's nothing like a good fight to make you realize how alive you are."


"Copy, Actual. Black Knights, target Fifteen's weapons array! We will shut them down! Engage! Weapons hot! Fire! Fire! Fire!" Terry accelerated up and starboard, aiming for the nearest array.

Archer acknowledged and swung into action mirroring Rocco's moves like a shadow, her targeting computer pinging the sweet spot as she hurled towards it.


"See if we can get the prefix codes for the station," the Captain ordered next, thinking of the many lives on the starbase. "Commander, instruct our support vessels to target the primary power generator only. Let's disable the base, not destroy it. Mister Moreau, let's play some defense."

"Defense, heh," David said as he brought the three ventral and six dorsal Type XII phaser arrays up and locked on the generators. As there had been no orders to not fire, he opened fire and watched the phasers lighting up the shields in concentrated bursts. While they were firing, he put in a solution for staggered volleys of photon and quantum torpedoes and began to launch them at the same points he was hammering at with the phasers.

The station promptly returned fire, its multiple phaser banks targeting the attacking Starfleet ships and fighters. The deck plating shuddered as each phaser blast impacted the shields.

David grunted as he checked the regenerative shield matrix and saw that the power levels were going down slowly but steadily as he kept one hand locked on his console to prevent being thrown out of his seat with each blast. "Switching frequencies on the shielding," he said before an idea came to him. "Hey Corwin, can you get their shield frequency? If we can take them down without blowing up the station, they wouldn't know what hit them."

Joey's brow furrowed as the ship took the hit. She'd never done anything like that before, but there was a first time for everything. "I should be able to," she said, focusing on the console in front of her. Time was not in their side, and she needed to be quick.

Her fingers flew over the console before her, searching DS15's shield frequency. It wasn't easy considering how many craft were currently in the same area of space. After a few tense moments, and with sweat beading on her brow, the Lieutenant found the right one. Now... her task was to get their shields offline.

She chewed on the inside of her cheek, and continued to move her hands over the display screen in front of her. Joey had them, but whoever was on the other side seemed to be a step ahead of her. The shields fizzled out for a split second, but she was not going to give up. Not when this was a matter of life and death for so many others.

Not on my watch, she thought to herself as she continued to increase her efforts. Just when she thought all hope was lost... "Shields are down, Captain, but I don't know for how long!"

"Bridge, Engineering," T'Pai announced calmly over the commlink. "Nominal structural damage on decks eight and fourteen. Structural integrity field holding at ninety-eight percent. Damage control teams are on standby."


"Jax to all Bravos," Callam said. "Pair off and target the station's weapons and whatever you do, stay out of Blackhawk's firing solution!"

The Bravos all acknowledged and began targeting and attacking the station's weapons.

Though their shields had fallen, the station's many arrays continued to pulsate, attempting to destroy all twenty one of the fighters. Phaser energy fired in all directions, trying to track the fast moving craft.

"Got your back Bravo." Archer said to Jax as she moved in with Alpha. Her and her fighter were one being as she used its navigation algorithms to aid her own training to dodge the incoming fire that was trying its best to blow her into a fire ball. It was coming too fast to think, it was training and instinct as she moved the craft. Finally the targeting array locked and she dropped a full run at the weapons array she'd sighted on and spun around for another pass, making sure to keep pace and position, as best she could dodging, with Rocco.

"Appreciated, Archer," Callam said into his comm. He dodged and then came in low on a torpedo turret. He waited until the last minute and let loose a pair of micro torpedoes, then banked away.

"Direct hit, Boss!" Shamrock said.

"Your turn, kid," Jax replied. "I'm going to draw that phaser turret's fire and you're going to take it out. On, two, three!"

Callam didn't give Shamrock time to protest, which was a good thing, because Shamrock was scared out of her mind. Callam just issued his orders and then went right into action. Shamrock was scared, but she knew she couldn't leave Callam out there by himself. She had to move and move now. Following Callam's example, she came in low while the turret was otherwise occupied trying to kill her boss. Like Callam, she waited till the last minute to ensure she'd hit her target. When the time came, Shamrock let loose two micro torpedoes as well and then also banked to avoid collision. The resulting explosion reflected off of her canopy, confirming what her sensors were telling her. Direct hit.

"Way to go Shamrock!" Callam said. "Score another one for the good guys and gals and everything in between! Let's do that again. I'll wiggle my backside in front of the turret over there. You take it out. Ready? One, two,!"

Jax and Shamrock were able to repeat this little maneuver a number of times before the turrets began to compensate. That made things harder, but not impossible. They switched tactics and went for some torpedo turrets. Most of these were coupled with a phaser turret since full-sized torpedoes made for lousy point defense. Jax went for the phaser turrets, which cleared a path for Shamrock to take out the torpedo turrets.

"Nicely done, don't get cocky..." Was her joking reply to Jax's team even as she banked her own craft. That's all she had time for, unfortunately she had her own concerns as she dodged another bolt of instant death while trying to maintain her weapons lock. Her goals had narrowed 1-Try not to get blown up 2-Try not to let Rocco get blown up 3-Aid other craft as possible and most importantly, 4-Continue to mosquitoe the hell out of this monster until she runs out of ammo.

Terry came around and opened fire on a weapon system underneath the station. Dodging several phaser blasts, he managed to land several hits. It was then that he hit his comm. "Alpha One to Black Hawk, requesting assistance. The Squadron has taken out a few weapons systems, but we're only fighters after all. We need the big guns." Terry paused as he watched the phasers from the station land a direct hit on one of the fighters, taking out the shields. "And we need 'em now."

Moreau targeted the largest concentration of phaser arrays on the station and began to fire, cycling from one array to the next with heavy fire before he switched to the next. He watched with satisfaction as he took a couple out and opened an area for the fighters, then cycled through the arrays facing the station once more. Each small explosion left him feeling slightly sick, but he hoped that no Starfleet personnel were at the locations he was taking out.

Terry pulled around to take advantage of the open area, courtesy of the Black Hawk. He did a real quick 'wave' with his wing and opened fire on the next target. A volley of micro-torpedoes followed the phaser fire. He banked to avoid another incoming shot. These new fighters handled well. Better even than the simulators. He pulled out and behind the station, checking his instruments. Four more fighters from Alpha Flight had made a run on the same weapon system he'd just hit. And that was the explosion that he saw as he came back around from the opposite side, firing along the way.

Archer nodded to herself in satisfaction as multiple micro torpedoes took out the array. Rocco couldn’t blow it on his own, neither could Archer but 5 fighters all unleashing death on the same target? Even a goliath like this station would have to notice that. The interesting part about moving in space was there was no real direction of ‘up and down’. The only real landmark was the station, everyone else was moving hell for leather trying to hit and not be hit. She essentially shifted Arrow so her crafts’ targeting profile as low as possible she moved away from the station to have another go. Her eyes skimmed the HUD mentally updating what passed for her plan for the next few seconds, her craft continuing to respond like a dream.

Callam, who'd flown some of the first Gryphons to come off of the assembly line, was still amazed at how well the fighter handled in heavy combat. Still, Walsh was right. At the end of the day, the Gryphon was just a fighter, at best a fighter/bomber. They hadn't had time to hang and bang any full-sized photon or quantum torpedoes before they launched. Even if they'd had time, the squadron hadn't known whether they would be dogfighting or doing bombing runs. Rigging up as a bomber severely limited a fighter/bomber's maneuverability. The only way to counter that was to set up one flight as bombers and leave the other two as fighters to fly escort. But that requires advance planning, and there had been no time in advance to plan. Too bad, because doing bombing runs with full-sized torpedoes would be incredibly effective right now.

=^=Jax, Joker,=^= Callam said as he and Shamrock zigged, zagged, bobbed, weaved, and shimmied. =^=What's your status?=^=

=^=I am alive,=^= Callam's Vulcan second in command responded humorlessly. =^=As are Thumper and Red Tail, and we have destroyed several of the enemy's weapon systems. I believe those facts are indications of my status.=^=

=^=And people say you don't have a sense of humor, Joker,=^= Callam replied. He opened up on a phaser turret as he led Shamrock in for the kill. =^=Keep up the good work. Jax, Bacon, status report, please.=^=

=^=[Profanity]...kid, quit [Profanity] bothering us and let us do our [Profanity] jobs!=^=

=^=I copy everything is A okay with you guys. Keep up the good work!=^=

=^=[Profanity, Profanity, Profanity]=^=

=^=Kindly don't cast aspersions on my relationship with my mother old buddy.=^=


Terry clicked his comm as he dodged a phaser blast from the station. This was so not the time... "Black Knights, we are on an open, Starfleet, comm channel. We represent Starfleet and the Federation to anyone who may be listening. And if it just happened to be our very own Black Hawk or Bridge crew, I'll hear about it. And then heads will roll. Alpha One out." He came around again just in time for his fighter to shudder as another phaser lanced across his port shields, cutting their percentage to fifty.


The floor of the bridge shook from another weapons impact, this time causing sparks to fly from one of the side consoles. The technician went down, bloodied and dazed. Harvey watched the fight closely on the viewscreen, thrilled at the squadron's quick work of reducing the station's weapon systems. Of course, this would mean that the station would have to be defended by the Starfleet ships as soon as this was all over so that repairs could be affected. Right now the priority was the Finneans, and the fact that the Selubassari were doing a poor job of defending the station made this all the more easier.

Finally, the glimmer of hope Harvey needed arrived. The station ceased firing. "Cease fire!" Harvey called out, expecting Lieutenant Moreau and the entire squadron to follow suit.

David stopped firing on the station, but didn't lower the shields as it hadn't been ordered. "Aye, Captain," he said.

"We're being hailed from the starbase," said a yellow collared ensign from one of the side stations.

"About time," Harvey muttered, thankful that the station was now officially trying to communicate. "On screen."

The screen flashed to reveal Commander Couric, red with anger. "Captain Geisler, this attack is unwarranted."

"I don't care what you call it, Commander," Harvey spat back, his tone quite frank. "You should have responded to our hails. We would have loved to handle this peacefully all the way through."

The Selubassari prepared to speak, but Harvey immediately waved him off. "Commander, yesterday's negotiations are moot. You are in possession of Federation property. And it seems the Finneans have decided to reject your business deals. You might call it unacceptable. The Finneans would call it slavery, as would the hundreds of Starfleet personnel you put to work in your camps."

Harvey leaned back in his chair and made himself comfortable. He deliberately took the pause to let the statements sink in while he prepared his next move. "Now, I ask you, Commander. Should I hand you over to the Finneans? Or would you come aboard the Black Hawk and submit to mediation. The way it was meant to be in the first place?"

Couric was silent for a moment, his red skin glowing stronger by the second. This was not how he expected this to end, his calculations were terribly off. Very well, Captain," he said at last. "I will come aboard your ship."

"Excellent," Harvey replied. "You're welcome to an escort, but no weapons. Oh, and bring Commander Yuki. She may find surrendering is a better option than being sought. Black Hawk out."

As the screen blanked, Harvey rose from his chair. "Stand down Red Alert," he ordered. "Submit all damage reports to the First Officer. Mister Moreau, secure Deep Space 15. Miss Corwin, let's get Praava aboard and escort him to the Conference Room. The Squadron will remain deployed for the duration of the talks. Commander Teixeira, you have the bridge."

"Yes, Sir." David stood down the alert, got up and headed for the turbolift, another Tactical officer taking his place. He tapped on his combadge as the turbolift doors opened and he began to issue orders to his personnel and prepared an away team to carry out the Captain's orders to secure the station.

"Yes, Captain," Joey said before she rose to her feet and followed David to the turbolift.


Terry watched as the station's phasers stopped and then the Black Hawk's. "Rocco to Black Knights, cease fire."

"You heard the man," Callam said. "All Bravos stand down! Status report."

Bravo Flight acknowledged his orders, standing down and reporting their status.

=^=Rocco, Jax,=^= Callam said after everyone had reported in. =^=I'm sending two birds back to the nest. They're unsafe to fly in their current condition. We also need to rearm. I don't know about you guys, but my flight's running way low on microtorpedoes. In fact, I'm out. Can we rotate each flight in one at a time for rearm and refuel? Or even an element at a time? One element at a time will only take away two birds at a time.=^=

Terry watched as new set of orders came in. "The Squadron will remain deployed until further notice. Jax, sounds good. We don't need to lose anyone due to damages. And damage is the only thing that we rotate for. If anyone else has expended their thirty-six micro-quantum torpedoes already...nice job on the attack. As far as refuel, I'm fairly certain that the warp core has more years left on it than all of us put together. Begin the rotation one element at a time per flight. That's an order. Rocco out."


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