Future Past - Part 8 "The Dogs of War" (Flashback)
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Location: Caldran System
Timeline: 2419, A Future That Was
Most of the space battle scenes were originally written by Ryan (Hans) with some minor revisions by me.
- Roger (Oliver)
People thought that space battles were ones of noise and chaos. It’s not true. Despite what the holonovels told their audience, space was a vacuum, and in a vacuum, no sound could 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 Jalanda suffered a catastrophic hit on her port nacelle, the engine fizzed and crackled with energy briefly until it exploded, taking a chunk of the Akira class ship's port hull with it in its death knell. To her credit, as she died, the stubborn old vessel sent four quantum torpedoes from her weapons pod streaming towards her foe and her murderer, the USS Achilles. The torpedoes impacted all along her hull, from such one such impact the saucer section separated from her main hull, before the remainder did their deadly work. The Galaxy class battleship 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 Jalanda and 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, the Achilles reported her targeting scanners were malfunctioning; they must have accidentally hit the Jalanda's warp re-energizing system.”
Hans slammed his fist down on the armrest of his chair. ”Gott verdammt es!”
The 5th Fleet's USS Khitomer was facing down 7th's USS Hermes, and it was not going well for the Hermes. The Khitomer had her on the ropes, and was firing repeatedly into her already 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 frigate's lights flickered and died as she drifted, dead in space.
Lee’s USS Icarus and USS Kennedy each faced the USS Shariel, but the dreadnought and lead ship of her class was one of the most deadly warships Starfleet had ever built. Designed after the start of the 2nd Dominion War and named after the Vulcan god of war, she had one purpose and one purpose only: the destruction of her enemies, and despite a few burnt holes on her own hull, she far outclassed the two smaller ships. As the Icarus attempted to maneuver for a clear line of fire, the Sheriel let lose a barrage of destruction, it’s phaser hits puncturing and destroying the Icarus’ deflector and navigational array. The Intrepid class ship began to drift on her course, which took her into the path of the Kennedy. It almost seemed as if the Icarus lived up to her namesake, as she seemed to come out of the sun, her wings clipped, slamming into the starboard side of her sister ship. 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 Shariel opened fire once more on the Icarus’ damaged deflector, this time igniting its volatile dish, which soon exploded, separating the saucer section of the Icarus from her main hull and splitting the latter 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.
The USS Damar and the USS Amerind had once fought side-by-side against the Dominion at the Siege of Voris III, but now they fought each other with equal measures of ferocity and melancholy. The smaller Amerind 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 the adjacent compartment. The Damar 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 El'nar Ascendant destroyed both of her warp nacelles. She, too, joined her sisters in a 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. “Only two of the ablative generators are still functioning. 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 designed between the two Dominion Wars 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 Kell Tobin 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, hail the Freeborn, and tell Admiral T'Vok . . ."
“The Freeborn is gone, sir.”
“. . . and the Martok?”
“She’s still in the fight.”
"Then hail Captain Dash."
“Aye aye, sir.”
A brief moment later the commanding officer of the USS Martok appeared on the view screen. Behind him sparks flied from an exploding console.
"Captain Dash," said Oliver, his voice was urgent, but calm. "you have just succeeded to the command of the 7th Fleet. Fall back to the Anga System with the rest of the Fleet and tell Admiral Antos to initiate Operation Ragnarok. Battle Group Alpha and I will stay behind to buy you some time.
Operation Ragnarok was the contingency plan he had devised to keep President N'Verix and her cabinet safe from both Bolanus and the Dominion in the event he and the 7th failed to take Earth: the 3rd and the 12th Fleets would break through the Avalon Pass and secure a corridor for the arrival of Romulan reinforcement. It hadn't been easy to convince the Romulans to join the fray, but Proconsul T'Dan had pledged the Republic's support, and he trusted his friend.
"Admiral..." Kevan grimaced a little as another flurry of sparks rained down nearby. His face was taut, determined, as though chiseled by years of combat. "We're not about to leave you behind for those traitors. My squadron can still turn their flank and give you fire support. Without us you won't last five minutes, sir." The thought of losing their flagship and figurehead was unthinkable. Silently he was quite prepared to throw half of the 7th Fleet back into the fray to cover Lee's retreat, yet doing so without the man's orders was just as unfathomable.
A wry smile crossed Oliver's lips.
"That's exactly what Weyn said, Captain, right before I dislodged him from Cyon IV. I'll be fine, and I trust I'm leaving the 7th in good hands. Now, you have your orders, Mr. Dash. Carry them out."
Despite the confidence in his voice, Oliver knew deep down that Dash's assessment of the situation was accurate. They would be lucky if they lasted five minutes, but five minutes were all that the rest of the Fleet needed to retreat to safety. As for himself, he helped start this damned war, maybe this would be his last atonement.
Kevan stared hard at the old man for a long moment. After all of their time fighting together, he didn't have it in him to doubt Oliver's decision-making in a crunch like this. Finally relenting, he gave an assenting nod, motioning to one of his own bridge crew. "Commander J'Onn, signal the rest of the Fleet to break off and regroup at the Anga System, best possible speed." He gave Oliver one last look. "Godspeed, Admiral. We'll see you on the other side."
Oliver responded with a simple nod. There was no need for words; everyone knew what awaited them and the rest of Battle Group Alpha.
As the USS Ayala exploded into a fiery inferno, the Prometheus and the El'nar Ascendant were left to smash into the Themyscira. Their withering fire smashed repeatedly onto 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, but not before her last phaser spread crippled the navigational deflector of the El'nar Ascendant, leaving the Nomad class cruiser to drift in space. But Themie had faced her final foe; the Prometheus rained phaser blast after phaser blast onto the flagship of the 7th Fleet, each impacting a vital area and chipping away at what remained of her ablative armor. 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.
::Bridge, USS Bunker Hill - B, 5th Fleet::
Major General Adlerstein eyes were wet, and he felt not the least bit of the exhilaration that usually accompanied hard won victories such as his. The casualties, despite his best efforts to direct fire to non-critical areas of the opposing fleet, had to be in the tens of thousands. 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 communications console and pushed the button, assuming direct control of the comm.
“This is Major General Adlerstein. 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."
Moments 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 of ours; you are to use non-lethal munitions at all times and will only fire 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::
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 as well as two other crewmen he couldn't immediately recognize as they worked on a type 11 shuttle with their backs turned.
“Sir,” Fatima rushed over as she noticed that the admiral had awoken. “are you alright?”
“I’m still breathing, so I take that as good news.” said the old man, rubbing his temples with his bloodied 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 fix the shuttle, we will sneak out under cloak. Hopefully no one will be watching too closely.”
“Where is Captain Tobin? Where's Kell?”
Fatima bit her lower lip and shook her head.
Oliver sighed and allowed himself a quiet moment to mourn his friend, 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 them?" Taunted Sergeant Chokshi-Fox.
“No!” Oliver stepped forward. “We will surrender.”
“Sir?” Chok, as the Marine was affectionately known, 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.
Crewman Lance 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 shuttle 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 Part 9 . . .]
Major General Johannes "Hans" Adlerstein
Commander, 5th Fleet
Admiral Oliver A. Lee
Commander, Kalandra Sector
Captain Kevan Dash
CO, USS Martok
Captain Phaelo Krage
CO, USS Bunker Hill - B
(NPC - Hans)
Captain Kell Tobin
CO, USS Themyscira
(NPC - Oliver)
Commander Fatima Karim
XO/CO, USS Themyscira
(NPC - Oliver)
Major Laurence Renard
Starfleet Marine Corps
(NPC - Hans)