The Dogs of War - Part 5 "Cry 'Havoc'"
Posted on Mon Feb 1st, 2016 @ 2:29am by Captain Oliver Lee PhD
Edited on on Mon Mar 20th, 2017 @ 4:36pm
Episode 3 - The Future That Was
Location: Caldran System
Timeline: Late 2416 (Alternate)
[Previously in The Dogs of War - Part 4 "Boldly They Rode . . . and Well"]
. . . . . .
Daeli struggled back to his feet. “It’s too late, sir. The fleets have already engaged. There’s no time for formation.”
Just as the Trill Captain finished speaking, the tactical station behind him exploded and the resulting force threw the officer on duty back against the wall. The impact shattered the master system display and dislodged the dedication plaque next to it, sending it crashing down onto the deck.
“Ensign K’Tor has been incapacitated.” Calmly reported the V.I. as the cohesion of her holographic projection was disrupted momentarily by a falling conduit tube. “Assuming control of tactical.”
Oliver struggled under constant tremor and finally opened a fleet-wide channel. “This is Lee to all ships, target only weapons and propulsion. Repeat, target only weapons and propulsion!”
Falling back into his chair, he buckled in and watched hopelessly as the battle dissolved into chaos. There was no room for tactics or strategy. There was only bloodshed.
. . . . . .
People think space battles are ones of noise and chaos. It’s not true. Despite what the holonovels tell their audience, space is a vacuum, and in a vacuum, no sound scan travel. In the cold and silent void of the cosmos, not a sound could be heard, quiet as a tomb. And that was exactly what it was becoming for countless men and women as the many vessels on both sides fought for their very survival and the survival of their cause.
On Admiral Lee’s side, the USS Miranda suffered a catastrophic hit on her port nacelle, the engine fizzed and crackled with energy briefly until it imploded, taking a chunk of the Miranda’s port hull with it in its death knell. To her credit, as she died, the stubborn old vessel sent four quantum torpedoes streaming towards her foe and her murderer, the USS Achilles. The torpedoes impacted all along her hull. The Achilles’ saucer section separated from its main hull from one such impact, before the remainder did their deadly work. The Achilles, and all 800 men aboard, vanished in an inferno as it exploded, sending debris out into the void. Some of this debris impacted against the already crippled and listless Miranda, which sent her over the edge. She exploded as well, another 400 souls added to the tomb of the cosmos.
::Bridge, USS Bunker Hill - B, 5th Fleet::
“Dammit, I ordered no lethal fires! Why did Achilles countermand me!?” Adlerstein howled for answers.
Captain Krage spoke up “Sir, Achilles reported that her targeting scanners were malfunctioning; they must have accidentally hit the Warp re-energizing system.”
Hans slammed his fist down on the armrest of his chair. ”Gott verdammt es!”
Adlerstein’s USS Bolero was facing down Lee’s USS Hermes, and it was not going well for the Hermes. The Bolero had her on the ropes, and was firing repeatedly into her surely crippled form. The Hermes’ saucer had at least a dozen holes punched into her, making her look like Swiss cheese. The final blow came when a photon torpedo hurtled towards the bridge, hitting her head on from the top of the ship. The deadly projectile punched through two decks before exploding, creating a gaping hole in the middle of the saucer. The Hermes’ lights flickered and died as she drifted, dead in space.
Lee’s USS Icarus and USS Kennedy each faced the USS Faust, but the Faust was one of the newest and most deadly class of warship Starfleet had designed specifically for ship to ship combat, and she far outclassed the two smaller ships. Although she herself had a few gaping, burnt holes in her hull, she fought on. As the Icarus attempted to maneuver for a clear line of fire, the Faust open fire, it’s phaser hit puncturing and destroying the Icarus’ deflector and navigational array. She begun to drift on her course, which took her into the path of the Kennedy. It almost seemed as if the USS Icarus lived up to her namesake, as she seemed to come out of the sun, her wings clipped, as she slammed onto her side into the USS Kennedy. Bulkheads met, scrapped and dislodged from each other in the impact, and dozens of decks were now exposed to the cold vacuum of space. The Faust opened fire once more on the Icarus’ damaged deflector, this time igniting its volatile dish, which exploded, separating the saucer section of the Icarus from her main hull and splitting the main hull in two. The Kennedy lost most of its starboard side to the blast, her warp nacelle detaching to drift lazily in the ebony well, and half of her saucer gone, disintegrated.
Adlerstein’s USS Zhukov faced the USS Tremaine. The smaller vessel managed to outmaneuver its larger cousin, inflicting crippling damage to her by way of its pulse phasers, gauging large holes into her underbelly along the engine room and compartment. The Zhukov started to expel plasma and deuterium until she stopped moving and began to drift, alive but crippled. The Tremaine had no time to celebrate, as a blast from the Bunker Hill managed to destroy both of her engine nacelles. She too, joined her sister ship in its lazy dance through the raven-colored prairie.
:: Bridge, USS Themyscira, 7th Fleet::
“Report!” Oliver shouted through the thick fume as a medic tended to his broken left arm.
“Themie is offline.” Responded a blooded Commander Fatima Karim from the auxiliary tactical console, one of the few still functioning work stations on the bridge. “Shields down to 21%. Structural integrity at 46%. We are out of torpedoes, and only ventral phasers are still working. There are breaches on decks 6, 8, and 11 through 13, emergency force fields are holding.”
Oliver frowned. The Luna Class ship was not built for war. Like most of her sister ships it was design after the First Dominion War at a time when it seemed that Starfleet would once again return to peaceful exploration, and many of the weapon upgrades she did receive following the outbreak of the Second War were removed to make room for command-and-control equipment so that she could more properly serve as his flagship. She was not meant to engage in intensive combat for any prolonged period of time. But at the moment, there was an entire fleet that demanded his attention.
“And the fleet?” He asked.
“Only 28% of the fleet is still active and operational. We have lost Destroyer Units 72 and 75. Sovereign Wing 71 is down to the Resolute and the Wheelock. . . Make that the Wheelock."
“We should have brought the 3rd and the 12th with us, sir.” Said Captain Daelis as he wiped the sweat and blood that were dripping from his right cheek.
“That’s a moot point, Captain. The President’s order was clear. Now, signal the Freeborn, and tell Cap. . . . . .”
“The Freeborn is gone, sir.”
“. . . and the Martok?”
“She’s still in the fight.”
“Then tell Captain Borges and the rest of the fleet to fall back to the Anga System. We will stay behind with Battle Group Theta to buy them some time.”
“Aye aye, sir.”
It was practically suicide, but there was no hesitation in Daeli’s acknowledgement of his order; nor did anyone else object. It was necessary, and everyone knew it.
[Approximately One Hour Later]
As the USS Ayala exploded into a fiery inferno, the Bunker Hill and the Faust were left to smash into the Themyscira. Their withering fire smashed repeatedly into the poor ship, her shields glowing emerald and angry at each blow. Soon her shields sputtered and died. Despite her maneuvers, the ship affectionately called Themie was overwhelmed. Her fire eventually crippled the navigational deflector of the Faust, as she too drifted in space. But Themie had faced her final foe; the Bunker Hill rained torpedo after torpedo onto the Luna class ship, each impacting in a vital area, propulsion, main engineering, photon torpedo bays. It was only by luck that her deflector was missed by meters as well as her nacelles. Her primary power reactor was hit by the last shot, exploding internally as parts of two decks ceased to be amidships. Her primary power stolen from her, her own running lights gave out, and she ceased moving.
The battle was over, the contents of these ships and the men and women who crewed them floating now in the darkness, illuminated only by the starlight, now giving silent testament to its ferocity.
::USS Bunker Hill - B, 5th Fleet::
Major General Adlerstein eyes were wet, and he felt not the least bit of shame. The casualties, despite his best efforts to direct fire to non-critical areas of the opposing fleet, had to be at least 3-4,000. The battle was over, and Hans had had enough of bloodshed.
“Order all ships to cease fire.” he said.
“Sir?” Krage inquired, bordering on the disrespectful.
“Not one more ship fires without my orders in writing; this bloodbath is over. Any ship found firing on any vessel from this point on will be fired upon for breach of the articles of war, am I understood Captain?” the German growled to his subordinate.
Krage looked very unhappy at Hans’ attitude and his order, but she keyed the comm.
“All vessels this is the Bunker Hill: cease combat operations, I say again, cease fire.”
Adlerstein went to the communication console and pushed the button, assuming direct control of the comm.
“This is Major General Adlerstein, Commander of the Fifth Fleet. All vessels remaining will immediately begin recovery and rescue operations with all possible speed and effort. This order is not negotiable. Adlerstein out.”
He turned to Captain Krage.
“Who were you planning to lead a boarding party?” he inquired.
“Major Renard, sir.” Karge replied.
“Get him up near, now.”
::10 minutes later::
A Marine in full combat gear appeared on the bridge. He stood at attention and saluted briefly to Adlerstein.
“Major Renard, sir, reporting.” he said.
“Major Renard, I am holding you personally responsible for the lives of those people over there. They are one of ours; you are to use non-lethal munitions at all times and will only fired if fired upon. God help you if you don’t take these orders seriously, because I will not. Clear?” Adlerstein said in a low growl to the Marine.
“Crystal, sir.” Renard said. His voice sounded like he was verbally rolling his eyes. He sketched another salute, nodded at Captain Krage, as if on some pre-arranged signal, and was out the door.
::Auxiliary Shuttle Bay, USS Themyscira, 7th Fleet::
Oliver struggled to open his eyes, still dizzy from the blackout. It wasn’t until a few moments later was he able to make out his surrounding. He was in the auxiliary shuttle bay, together with Commander Fatima Karim, Sergent Chokshi-Fox, and Private Chester Dolan.
“Sir,” Fatima rushed over as she noticed the Admiral had awaken. “Are you alright?”
“I’m still breathing, and I take that as good news.” Said the old man, rubbing his temples with his bruised hands. “What happened?”
“You were knocked unconscious by a falling panel when we were boarded, sir. We fought our way here to the shuttle bay. Once Ensign Vor and crewman Lance fixe the shuttle, we will sneak out under cloak. Hopefully no one will be watching too closely.”
“Where is Teg? Where’s Captain Daeli?”
Fatima bit her lower lip and shook her head. There was no need for words.
Oliver sighed and allowed himself a quiet moment to mourn the Trillian captain, who rose from a mere crewman on the Bunker HIll to the captain’s chair of the Themyscira through nothing but his own dedication and hard work. He was a good man.
With Fatima’s help, Oliver slowly got back on his feet. "How about the rest of the Fleet? Did they make it out?"
Fatima nodded. "Most of them were able to jump to warp, and they should be arriving at the Anga System now."
The old man let out a sigh of relief and said to the young officer, who had just succeeded to the captaincy of what remained of his flagship. "Commander, if you would please . . . . . ."
A loud explosion interrupted him and blew open the secured shuttle bay doors. Through the smoke a team of marines rushed in.
Almost reflexively the two marines with Oliver raised their rifles and assumed defensive positions in front of him.
“Drop your weapons!” came the harsh, English-accented voice, presumably the commander of the boarding party.
"Why don't you come and take it?" Taunted Sergeant Chokshi-Fox.
“No!” Oliver stepped forward. “We will surrender.”
“Sir?” Chok, as the marine was affectionately known to his comrades, protested. “We can . . . . . .”
Gently but firmly the admiral said, “Too much blood has been shed today, Sergeant. Let there be no more.”
The Bolian marine exchanged a look with Private Dolan and lowered his phaser rifle. His heart wanted to fight and die a good death, but he would never disobey the admiral, who had earned the respect and esteem - some might even say the love - of nearly everyone who had served under him in this long war.
Two Marines rushed forward to take the lowered weapons, as the remaining officers were disarmed as well.
A crewman that was with Lee’s party held her hands out to prepare for the cuffs. The Englishman, who wore a Major’s oak leaf, simply smirked in a predatory fashion.
“Afraid that’s not the plan lass.” he said. His next action was to take his phaser rifle and use the butt to smash the crewman in the face. She crumpled to the ground, her face bloody, her shriek of pain echoing in the Hangar Bay.
Before anyone could react, the Marines had every member of Lee’s party covered by at least two phasers each.
“Take them to the gym!” the English brute ordered.
[To be continued in The Dogs of War - Part 6 "The Price of Treason" . . . . . .]
Admiral Oliver A. Lee
Commander, Kalandra Sector
Major General Johannes Adlerstein
Commander, 5th Fleet
Starfleet Marine Corps
Starfleet Marine Corps
(NPC - Hans)
Commander Fatima Karim
CO, USS Themyscira
(NPC - Oliver)
Sergeant Karo Chokshi
Starfleet Marine Corps
(NPC - Oliver)