[General Hu'ler | Command Post | First City | Qo'nos ] Attn: @jreeves1701, @RyeTanker, @Tae, @Auctor Lucan
Atop a tall building in the First City, General Hu'ler and her staff were thoroughly occupied in the business of war. Equipment ringed the rooftop, Klingon warriors working various portable consoles or other devices. The mobile command post was being well used today.
On one side, General Hu'ler and a half dozen of her warriors stood, looking down on the city below. The battle was still raging, the air thick with the sound of disruptor fire and explosions. Smoke rose above the city, testament to a civil war that showed no signs of abating.
"QI'yaH," Hu'ler swore under her breath as she watched a business center collapse, crushing two dozen Klingon commandos as they tried to charge the Sabine. The unlamented Nev'rov had died in his diversionary assault, much as Hu'ler had expected. The hard part however was that the real attack, the commandos, had been caught completely offguard as the Federation shuttle floated up in the air, rapidly spinning around and ripping apart the commandos.
"SIj'ejyo," Hu'ler grumbled. She glanced back at her staff who were manning the comms and sensors. "What word of our warriors to the south, and to the northwest?" she called out, her voice carrying easily despite the tumult of battle.
"Both advancing, General," one of the comms specialists reported sourly. "Martok's forces have been crushed. Leph'bor reports that they should have the entire riverfront secured within an hour. General Fuv's brigade has secured the MIqta district. We now control most of the city."
"Most," Hu'ler said darkly, glancing out at the Sabine, which still defiantly held out against assault. Red phaser fire could still be discerned even at a distance, but the Klingon assault was clearly faltering. Hu'ler sighed. Fighting against Jem'hadar and Cardassians had been so much simpler, cleaner. Fighting against Starfleet and her fellow Klingons, however, always left a foul taste in her mouth.
"General!" one of her aides said, his voice still carrying enthusiasm as he gestured out at the Sabine. "Should we not order another assault? They will launch soon!"
Hu'ler shook her head even before he finished talking. "For what purpose? Ives and Martok are not there. That was just some deception by the Medusan. There is no strategic reason to capture that area, and we have lost too many warriors already. No. There is only a fool's glory to be had in a meaningless battle. Let the Starfleeters have their victory. They have earned it. We have other objectives if we are to take the city."
With considerable reluctance, Hu'ler turned away and moved back to the center of her command post. "Order our assault troops to fall back. Abandon the assault on the Sabine." One of officers manning a comms station turned around, appalled at the order, and Hu'ler glared at the younger woman until the officer backed down. "The assault troops will regroup near the Monument of Caleb. We will need them for the push on the Great Hall. Order the artillery in the east to-"
Hu'ler was suddenly interrupted by a loud cry from the warrior manning a sensor station. Unimpressed by his lack of discipline, Hu'ler strode up behind the warrior and smacked him on the back of the head. "The next time you shout like that, you had better have a good reason," Hu'ler hissed at the warrior, who rubbed the back of his head gingerly.
"Yes, General," he said sheepishly, his eyes still on his display. "The Ta'rom, it is crippled. They have lost a nacelle. Main power is offline. House K'tal and the Federation ships have ceased fire. The Ta'rom is out of the fight. The Theurgy is still battleworthy. Our reinforcements are almost inside weapons range. They...the Theurgy has hailed them."
Hu'ler waited patiently, glancing out around at the burning First City. "I wish someone would destroy that wretched dreadnought," she muttered to herself. "Typical Starfleet. Build the most powerful ship in the quadrant, then let the cursed thing be stolen by a traitor and completely fail to hunt them down."
"General!" the warrior said loudly. "We have received word from our reinforcements. They are...they are quitting the field."
"What!?" Hu'ler said in shock. "Cowards!"
"The commander claims that...'destroying an empire to win a war is no victory, and ending a battle to save an empire is no defeat'." The warrior sounded deflated. "They have gone to warp. We are on our own. There is no word from Gorka, not a long time now."
Hu'ler just stood there for a long moment. Finally she took a breath, realising what needed to be done and hating herself for it. "Attention! All of you! We have lost control of orbit. The enemy have space superiority, and soon air superiority. We cannot hold the city against that, or else we will no longer have a city after the fighting is done." Hu'ler tried to look into the eyes of her warriors as they looked back at her, all true Klingons, all what the inevitable next order would be. "We must disperse, or the enemy will pick us off with orbital bombardment. All forces are to disperse. All brigades, companies and platoons must fragment into squads and fireteams. We must spread out into the countryside before the enemy have a chance to destroy us. From the countryside, we can mount a real resistance when Gorka gives the order."
Assuming Gorka was still alive, of course, but Hu'ler didn't voice that. "The commandos and assault troops from the Sabine battle will regroup at the Monument of Caleb. They are to advance on the Great Hall and reinforce Gorka, and capture the fool Martok, if they catch him. All other troops, disperse now. Give the orders, warriors, then take your disruptors and go. Leave the equipment. We will have no need of it."
The Klingons, unhappy but professional, went about their duties. Hu'ler sighed, stepping back to the edge of the roof where she had watched the Sabine battle continue. Her personal team of elite warriors were still there. Some of them had been with her since the Dominion War; others, since the war with the Federation that had preceded it. Others had been with her since the first civil war, thirteen years past. They were the finest warriors in the Empire, a mere six warriors who could do the work of a hundred, and they waited for their general's orders.
Hu'ler looked out at the Sabine. The fighting had died down as the Klingons retreated, giving the Starfleeters some breathing room...and that gave Hu'ler an idea. The Sabine was still floating just above the ground, but was still stationary, clearly visible from the rooftop, a distance of a kilometer, at most.
An idea came to Hu'ler, and she grinned with deep pleasure. "Our troops will need a distraction if they are to find safety before the enemy start bombardment," she said to her team, seeing them smile back as they recognised the glint in their leader's eyes. "What better distraction can we manage than by finally taking that accursed shuttlecraft? Gugi, do you think you can get a stable zipline shot on the Federation shuttle from so far away?"
Gugi laughed, a deep belly-clearing sound. "You know I can, old woman. This will be fun!"
The team didn't waste any time setting up the zipline, even as their comrades abandoned the rooftop and began moving downstairs. Hu'ler hummed merrily as she checked her blades and disruptor pistol, then set herself in the line. All seven Klingons stood, one in front of the other, the zipline anchored by a tall post behind them, waiting for Gugi to do his usual magic. Gugi knelt down on the very edge of the roof, a large rifle aimed carefully out into the city, and after a few seconds, Gugi fired the grapple. He was rewarded as, over a kilometer away, the grapple hit the Sabine, magnetically latching onto the craft.
"Today is a good day to die!" Hu'ler cried out, grinning fiercely as she latched herself onto the zipline, and without further prompting, the seven Klingons leapt off the rooftop, howling madly into the wind as they flew into one final assault on the Starfleet defenders.
"QI'yaH," - a strong Klingon curse
SIj'ejyo - 'clever Starfleet'
[ Cmdr. Brody Miller | Codename: Mason | Rena Resistance Bivouac | Dalaria City | Betazed ] Attn: @Swift
If it came down to it, Brody thought, there wasn't really a separation that could be made between soldiers and civilians, as much as the distinction of colloquial terms suggested. There were civilians who could fill the role of a soldier more passionately and befittingly than any trained professional. Because it was not the training and skill required to fight, but the profound detachment from the individual struggle, that defined the perfect warrior. The need to rise above the ramification of immediate action, such as snuffing out a potential father, brother or husband, potentially an entire bloodline, with one random shot. Condensing an entire history into one bolt of superheated plasma. Those who weren't capable of doing that, where the real threat to victory. A determination Bishop himself was - at times - teetering dangerously close to fulfilling. His pitfall wasn't the lack of proper training and psychological conditioning, but the personification of the war into each and every one of these individuals. For the fight was not won with all the little victories, individual lives saved, but the commitment to the grander cause, at all costs. A distinction at which the two men greatly differed.
A thousand cells like the Rena, spread across the planet, could not rival the combined power of the fleet - physical or symbolic. They were a rash, born from desperation, that paid more in lives - compared to its victories - than any planned out large-scale attack by a proper military ever would. An unpopular reality that the other man seemed to slowly come to terms with ... again. A truth that you could hate, for the simple fact that it was the truth. And it seemed to have pushed the man into the favorable position of being open to a compromise, as he beckoned him to the side.
To put it in terms his wife would use: He had him by the balls. Though Brody did not thoroughly enjoy the visual implications of the metaphor.
His initial hope for reciprocation was, however, quickly disarmed by Bishop's almost adorable inability to admit error. Which prompted the former operative to raise his brows in obvious disbelief, though giving the man the benefit of a few more seconds to circle back down to the reality of it all. And he would also let the part slide where he wasn't the best thing that ever happened to this entire mission, for now. Yet as he listened on, waiting for any kind of indication that the past hours weren't just a bunch of toy blocks, Bishop could reorganize to fit his narrative, the man was horrifically disappointed. Disbelief turned into annoyance, turned into gently simmering anger.
Eyes narrowed at the man, as he went on, describing his final demands. Which were an audacity to even ask, in their own rite. The admission of Brody 'having' Bishop, however, almost made him break the dense fog of seriousness with an inappropriate chortle. He had him every second of the way, if he wanted to admit that to himself, now or ever, or not. Then came the condition and with it that tiny spark of delight fell back into the dark abyss of duty. He'd been indulging the man's delusional idea of being in charge of his own fate for long enough. It was what had led them right into this mess in the first place. There was no way he'd follow that lead to jeopardize the outcome of his own mission on the fool's errand of concluding Bishop's.
"Not gonna happen." Brody contemplated in his mind. The words already dancing tango on his tongue, as Ebirone stepped closer, diverting his attention slightly past that of his bearded companion. So he listened. Some more apologies and demands, that didn't really mean anything to him. He hadn't taken Aatrah's "betrayal" personally. Why should he have? All the shit they were quite literally knee deep in, at this point, was because certain individuals - dark eyes briefly flickered back at Bishop - took everything so damn personal!
"Oh good, so we got THAT settled." Brody commented, slightly sarcastically, pushing past both men with his grip tight around the matte black phaser rifle by his side. The water gushing around his feet and lapping up against the curved perimeter, before he turned to face both once more, his back now to the rest of the group.
"If you really think I am going to sacrifice myself for your crusade or this midget rebellion, then you're more deluded than I gave you credit for. Both of you." He proclaimed loudly, intent on having anyone hear it, if only to snuff out that last remaining spark of defiance with which each and every one of them put themselves into unnecessary danger. A danger that now he was expected to alleviate. Not - gonna - happen!
He was supposed to liberate the planet from the deputy seat of a flagship, at the head of a task force, fighting bigger threats than stray Jem Hadar platoons and communication stations. And goddammit with a place to go shower once in a while! Threats that if extinguished would actually make a difference. Threats that could easier and more effectively be snuffed out with the knowledge Bishop had acquired on this rock. So, if there was a crime, it was that he had the foresight to see what really mattered down the line, not only as far as he could throw a grenade. The kind of holistic view that wasn't trained, or even desired, in an intelligence operative. The kind you got once you stepped out of that fabricated reality that was drip fed to you by your handlers. Shackles that were hard to shake, for sure, even after the crackling intercom voices were long gone. But an insight he hoped Bishop would be able to achieve before it consumed him.
"But we are getting out of here, the two of us." The man subsequently admitted, voice trickling down to a low rumble, rather than a roaring rapid. "You guys go ahead, I'll give you guys 5 minutes before I blow the passage behind you. Whether the Jem Hadar decide to follow us instead then is entirely up to them. But for their own sake I hope they think about that course of action real hard."
Shifting his posture into a demanding stance, he was hoping that little concession was enough to wipe that puppy look off Bishop's face, that was irritatingly starting to grow on Brody.
[ Lt. Cmdr. Rutherford | Counseling Complex | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @Havenborn
Samantha nodded slowly at the Lieutenants rather poetic interpretation of the concept of fate. It wasn't a quality she would've readily attributed to the man from the cusp of meeting him the first time. Smug smile and handsome features belying the apparent existence of depth. Which ultimately turned the question of whether there was any hidden extent to his character into what exactly it was that remained obscured in the dark beneath the surface.
It was a thought process requiring more time and more empirical evidence, in order to come to a concrete conclusion about the matter. Time that would soon - despite fate's most persistent intervention in the form of a comm call - become allocated for more pressing matters. Such as the stake of the galaxy and that.
Nodding with a reverent dip of her dainty chin, the diplomat granted Havenborn his requested excuse. Perking a single Vulcan brow at the honey-like voice dripping from the speakers laced with passionate spice. The formal phrasing seemingly hiding a deeper connection. As was verified shortly thereafter.
Blue eyes widening ever so slightly, as long lashes framed growing pools of innocent white, the blonde pressed her lips together in a futile effort to conceal a growing mix of bemusement and awkwardness, at apparently being witness to a booty call in progress. One she had no intention of coming into the middle of. The subsequent phrasing of 'paramour' however, unleashed a short chortle from plush lips, that should've probably remained private.
Contemplating the necessity of defining Ensign Dove's role in his life so vividly, Samantha nodded without judgment or ill-will.
"Absolutely." she replied succinctly and with a definitive nod. For there was a certain curiosity about the peculiarity of language with which he chose to convey his almost alien views on the universe. And even if it wasn't exclusively personal interest, there certainly was a kind of professional inquisitiveness into the matter that seeped into more private indulgences.
So yeah, she'd at least see if there was time to get to the bottom of what it was this particular specimen was about. If the galaxy wasn't going to come crashing down around them soon.
Which it subsequently did.
[ Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Fisher | Holding Cell | Deck 13 | IKS Ta'Rom ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan
Fisher was exhausted.
Utterly and completely so. His body was beaten, broken, and bruised. His ribcage ached almost as badly as his surgically repaired back, and he was hastily getting sick of the taste of his own blood being coughed up from what he presumed to be a punctured and partially collapsed lung. All of this was dictating a desperate personal want to just abandon the fight and surrender this proverbial game of chess to General Gorka. The thing is, he was more than aware that in his profession, to surrender this early would certainly lead to the aforementioned elevation of interrogation techniques, and therein lied the real battle that Fisher had yet to wage, and which he had serious doubts about. It was rare when circumstances and conditions were right for someone like him to forge an effective defense in the face advance interrogation, and as such, Fisher knew he had to stall for as long as he could. He knew that he needed to keep moving his King, and whatever pawns were left on his side in a mostly futile effort to stave off Gorka's eventual checkmate; maybe even push for stalemate. Winning was little more than a fool's gambit at this point since any pieces of value had long since been lost when Fisher had been captured.
Or he could try and shove Gorka to a breaking point and elicit that slit throat that would keep his friends and secrets safe from exposure. Maybe instead of trying to goad Gorka into a stalemate, a thought once more occurred that he should be trying to lead him into a hasty checkmate.
Of course, that hinged entirely on the colossal prick's temper getting the best of him.
"Martok... Martok the traitor!?" Fisher derisively spat out the moniker that Gorka tried to ascribe to Martok, an incredulousness and impetuousness clearly evident in the mocking tone he used to echo the General's words. Even if he hadn't now been trying to push Gorka over the edge, he might have reacted in such a manner, as he had held Martok to high esteem. The Klingons had fought with such ferocity and bravery alongside the Federation and it's allies during the Dominion war, and Fisher had born personal witness to the ways Martok had inspired them. He was a war legend in every way and had more than earned his reputation and status as a leader of the Klingon Empire during the War; a position he eventually won. It boggled Fisher's mind that anyone could legitimately challenge the Chancellor's loyalty to the Empire, and to it's Alliance with the Federation. "Martok... he, emb-- emboldened the spirit of your people!" It still hurt Fisher to try and speak aloud, an effort which was costing him even more precious oxygen as with each passing minute the capacity of his lung lessened.
It dawned on him as Gorka continued, the hilarity of debating the finer details of Klingon culture in a moment like this, and he grinned ever so slightly, his crimson bloodstained teeth baring themselves between smirking swollen lips.
"Things... things are not so... so simple... Gorka." He added when the General mentioned Romulans testing the sovereignty of Klingon space, knowing more than Gorka did, but also knowing that it wasn't his place to expand on the matter. He wouldn't offer anything substantive during this exchange, instead he would try to lead him down an avenue which would either eat up some time, or which would cause him to lose control and act impulsively at Fisher's expense. "The council had grown... gr-- grown weak... grown stagnant by.... by infighting, and petty quarrels which split the Empire. Like... like what you're doing now." Swallowing hard, Fisher almost gave into an instinctual need to vomit as he gulped a thick globule of coagulated blood down his throat, it slithering all the way down his gullet until it settled into the pit of his stomach. "He... he focused your people. Brought them into the... into the war, where they won glory in battle." Gritting his teeth now, he felt a sharp internal pang in the left side of his abdomen that nearly toppled him over. "Made... made the alliance between the Federation and Empire stronger than... nngh... than ever before."
Fisher wasn't even sure if anything he was saying made any sense or not, as his recollection of post-war politics was hazy at best given how his head ached, and how the world seemed to keep spinning round him. For all he knew in the moment, he could've imagined the Dominion War in its entirety.
Still, the verbal repartee continued, which was a shade better than being foisted of unto the real interrogators, and whatever bags of tricks they had in store.
Or at least, it had appeared it would continue, until a strong vicelike hand wrapped itself around Fisher's neck, stifling any further retort from him as his windpipe was clenched down upon. Eyelids opening wide to reveal the sage green orbs behind them, the spy glared at his tormentor with defiance as he was forced back against the bulkhead behind him. Gorka's words soon resumed, and Fisher imagined they might be the last he'd ever hear; a tragedy in it's own right as this big bastard would have been very near the bottom of any lists of people he'd want to see or hear from as he passed over into the Final Frontier. It felt like a betrayal of fate in some respects, but Fisher could understand how his life as a spy might have justly landed him in the here and now. All the same, he remained resolute in his insistence to look death in the eyes, and not shirk or hide. Even as the edges around his vision began to blur, and color drained to shades of gray, he would not surrender to the innately human instinct to clench shut his eyelids and welcome the abject absolution of darkness.
'I'm sorry.' Fisher thought to himself as he approached the very precipice, wanting his last thought to at least be one of personal condolence to any and all the people he'd loved in life.
Grunting hard, it took a second for Fisher to realize that instead of plunging into the eternal abyss of peace and finality, he had landed on his side, having been thrown down by Gorka just prior to completely wavering. Instinctively he, he gasped deeply, desperately for air as his lungs burned, and his body yearned for precious oxygen. On exhale, he coughed up harshly again, spitting more blood out onto the steel decking beneath him as his neck strained and he searched the room for something to focus on, finding Gorka standing near the doorway which led out of his cell. The game. Fisher needed to extend the game. His attempts at toying around with the General hadn't won him as much time as he'd hope, and even worse, he hadn't been relieved of the battle to be waged next. But try as he might, Fisher couldn't find the will or the right set of words which might elicit a preferable outcome. He could only gaze up at Gorka, and for the first time in a long time, he had no witty or snarky response ready to go at the tip of his tongue.
Instead, he could only resign himself to the fate of further interrogation, and clench shut his eyes.
Last post by Swift -
[ Lt. JG Kate Foster | Intensive Care Unit | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Pierce @Griffinsummoner @P.C. Haring
Taking a step backward, Kate felt a visceral ache to stay with Tessa just a moment longer. A part of her subconscious screamed at her, telling her that she'd more than earned the chance to take a break, and be with her friend. However a more rational voice soon spoke up to remind Kate, that she'd already given herself a moment of respite, and that there were still yet others who were counting on her and her care. Gently, she let Tessa's hand slip free from her clasp, and offered another sweetly serene smile to the bedridden pilot. "Raincheck works." A wink escaped her, and she spun round on heel once, about to stride out of the ICU, but stopped another step or so later, and turned back as Tessa giggled again. "I like the sound of something private, yeah." Grinning broadly, she swung her hands out in an awkward arc, nearly toppling over an instrument table in the process. "I'll uhh... get you that extra pudding cup all the same." Reaching the door, she backed out it, but again turned back before it could finish swooshing shut behind her, shooting Tessa another broad grin.
"With whipped cream and a cherry on top!" she said simply before disappearing back through the door.
Slowly and steadily striding as she left Tessa to her rest, a feeling of warmth and happiness resonated throughout Kate as she replayed the sequence of events over in her mind, focusing on the tenderness of their shared kiss. It felt so wonderful to care for someone like this again. To allow herself the chance to open up to someone else, after having been so completely cut off from everything and everyone over the course of the previous three years. It was an odd thing to think, but despite all of the calamitous and terrible things that had happened to Theurgy since she'd arrived aboard it, Kate's life was somehow brightening up in a way she'd doubted it ever would. A thought came to mind, that Stellan would have found it absolutely hysterical and typical of Kate to find hope amidst a proverbial end of days; and while Kate normally would have been annoyed to no end at having even thought of him in the immediate wake of such pleasantness, for the moment she wasn't. Kate simply shook her head, and dismissed her brother from her thoughts, finding him and his presence replaced by the lingering warmth of Tessa.
"Doctor Foster!" rang out a voice, and Kate spun round to find Nurse Ellison approaching her with a PADD in hand.
"What is it, Kitty?" Kate asked.
"We're getting some anomalous readings from Commander Hathev's bio-scan. I'm having trouble working my way though it, maybe you can take a look?" she held out the PADD to Kate, who accepted it with a nod.
"Sure thing." With that, Kitty smiled and stepped away to take care of other patients, leaving the PADD and the anomaly to Kate's diligence. Scrolling through the data, it seemed for the most part consistent and within normal parameters for a Vulcan, but there were some outliers that were indeed concerning. Furrowing her brow, Kate altered her course and made way for another Intensive Care Unit to run a diagnostic on the bio-scanner, and or conduct an additional test of the Chief Counselor in an attempt to remedy this quagmire. "Kitty, can you keep an eye on Tess-- I mean, Lieutenant Lance, and contact me if anything changes in her status? Thanks." With a sigh, she ran a hand through her blonde locks, noting to herself that they were starting to grow long as she tucked them behind her ear and started off once more, a stray thought crossing her mind that she remembered another important person she needed to look in on. "First Commander Hathev, then we can take a moment and find Scruffy." She whispered to herself, needing to verbally re-focus and retrain her thoughts.
Still, in the back of her mind, the glint of Tessa's blue and golden eyes lingered.
This thread contains a series of 'Personal Logs' dictated by Kate Foster, starting April 5, 2381.
APRIL 5, 2381
[ Lt. JG Kate Foster | Communal Estate Room | IKS Vor'Nak ] Attn: @stardust
"I swear if one more Klingon pinches my ass, I'm going to lose my proverbial shit!"
A nearby cough of Kate's roommate caused the petite blonde to pause in her personal log, prompting her to peer over at the drunken Pakled who had bumbled into the communal bunkroom a few minutes earlier, his already slow and pedantic speech slurring painfully prior to his collapse unto the hard-metal slab which would be his bunk for the night. He had been the third different occupant in three consecutive nights for it, and Kate thanked fate that thus far she'd managed to maintain her claim on this particular one. The thought of having to sleep in someone else's drunken stench was nightmare fuel, especially when it came to the lot that seemed to be sharing this small section of the ship. Once certain that he had returned to a state of unconsciousness, she let her tangerine-gaze trail back to the small Starfleet PADD she'd hidden away in one of her bags, and which had been helping her to pass the time during this lengthy journey from the edge of Federation space to the Aldean Prime System.
"Had I known in advance, that every Klingon Warrior apparently holds a life-goal of adding a human female to the list of things they've conquered, I might have asked for different travel arrangements upon accepting this assignment." Bringing a delicate hand to her the side of her forehead for a moment, she exhaled deeply through her nostrils in an attempt to quell the considerable annoyance plaguing her. "I guess I shouldn't be too upset over it. I mean, I'm not exactly in high-demand given... well, everything."
Slinging her long slender legs out over the edge of her bunk, she thought about standing to stretch but decided against it, instead leaning forward in a hunch as she continued.
"I can't believe I agreed to this."
With another sigh of impatience, she snatched the PADD from where it was barely visible in the bag and pressed her thumb against it to halt recording of the personal log. Soon after she began scrolling the internal memory banks for a particular old image until she'd found it and set it to fill out the whole of the small screen, her gaze examining it while a torrent of mixed emotions spung to the forefront of her mind. She stared at the image in near total silence, the ambient thrum of the ship's systems and her snoring Pakled friend the only audible noise in the background. "Stellan, you bastard." She said softly, her thumb idly tracing the outline of her half-brother as he stood aside a much younger version of her, her mother and their father flanking the both of them at either side as she tried to recollect the memory associated with the photo. It had been taken while on a trip to Luna, during one of the few times their father had actually been around, no doubt while on some kind of 'business' related trip that had brought him back to the Sol System. She could scarcely remember the specifics of it, given how young she was at the time, but clearly recalled her father arguing with her mother about having brought the two of them along.
"Apple sure didn't fall too far from the tree." She remarked, though regretted it immediately as it just as well could have applied to her and her life choices.
Aggressively she swiped her finger along the screen to dismiss the image and re-activated the log recording program. "Umm... so we're due in, in a little over thirty-six hours. I've read some of the files, at least the ones that weren't sensitive, regarding this ship and it's mission. Sounds kind of crazy if you ask me, but again, I'm not really in any kind of a position to be picky about it. Besides, I've let this thing fester for about as long as I could." Slowly she stood from the flat metal bunk, reaching a hand behind to rub away the numbness in her ass. "I'll lose my mind, what's left of it anyway, if I don't clear this up with some kind of a finality." Turning about in place, she glanced at the hard metal surface of her bunk and winced in reluctance of sitting back down unto it. "Who knows, maybe I can make something of this, I mean, like something good for me, or for my career. Anyway, I need to move around a little. I guess an occasional unwanted pinch is better than my ass getting ironed flat by this damned bed."
Pressing a thumb against the PADD, Kate ended the recording before locking the device so that no one could access it without her biometrics. "Maybe I can find some food that isn't rotten or spoiled. Yeah right, dream on Kate." She said to herself as she exited into a corridor, immediately greeted by the untoward glances of several towering Klingon Warriors as they turned to face her.
"Damnit..." she cursed under her breath as she cautiously approached the gauntlet.
[ Lt. Andrew Fisher | Codename: Bishop | Rena Resistance Bivouac | Dalaria City | Betazed ] Attn: @stardust
Old masonry tiles laid down centuries before, that had barely clung to the lining of these sewers throughout that time now finally slipped free from their bonding in chain-reaction to the reverberating report of explosives left in the wake of this hasty evacuation. The Bivouac. Sariah Rena. Nearly a half-dozen others. All left behind, and only uncertainty awaited them and this fledgling resistance movement. In a veritable blink of an eye, the bitter-sweetness of a hard-fought victory over the Dominion had turned utterly and completely sour. Suddenly, it was becoming clear that any and all desperate hopes which Fisher might have previously held onto regarding the fate of these people, and their courageous efforts to turn back the tide were gone. They had been wiped away by desperation which not only rivaled, but far outmatched his own. A desperation born of an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, and worse, helplessness. It was a sentiment civilians championed out of inexperience, naivety, and ignorance. A sentiment he'd seen before; he'd even capitalized on it before, and now it had come full circle to bite him and everyone else in their asses. Fisher knew he should have been wary of it, but he had allowed himself and his better judgement to be blinded.
'War isn't a game for civilians. You think a soldier who's been cornered or surrounded by a mortal enemy is a dangerous animal? Try taming a helpless and war-torn parent, who's watched as their child has starved for days on end. No. It's not us that are the real threat in a conflict. It's them. All of them, and how they cling onto something as ludicrous as hope for a better tomorrow.' Hurley's advisement at the dawn of a prior undercover operation Fisher had been on came to the forefront of his thoughts as he stepped down past a few terrified refugees as they were holding onto each other for support. The man was an absolute prick. The kind of person that you wanted to forget the moment he left your presence, but his teachings and guidance had been instrumental in Fisher's life as a spy, and what was troubling, was how often his cynical words and warnings proved prudent. 'I'm telling you. It's that hope that will drive them to do great and horrible things. Drive them to compromise who they are today, for the promise of maybe being better tomorrow.' The sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach reminded Fisher just how much he hated Hurley as he approached the front of the pack.
Christine and Betrull were knelt over, checking a diagram of the sewer tunnel network, re-familiarizing themselves with the best path to take. Normally, Sariah and Ebirone would have taken the lead, but neither seemed to be in any kind of shape to do that. The big Betazed hadn't said a word since everything took a left turn, standing with a blank look on his face as he held a still inconsolable Aatrah by both arms.
"Okay! We've got our route. I think." Announced Christine as she stood, unslung her rifle, and approached Ebirone and Aatrah.
Peering back to Mason, Fisher gave him a simple and almost entirely imperceptible nod that only another spy would've picked up on. The gesture spoke volumes about the state of mind Fisher was in and signaled a moment to sidebar with his compatriot. Given how deeply buried they all were now, there was no imminent threat from the Jem'Hadar above, as the very reason they had chosen this place for their operating bivouac was this old sewer system and the logistics nightmare it represented to anyone trying to navigate it without any fore-knowledge. The only method which would provide immediate results, bombarding the entirety of the area until it was little more than a deep crater, was one the Vorta wouldn't allow the Jem'Hadar to take. No, the allure of capturing two Starfleet spies alive would ironically give Fisher, Brody, and the rest of the surviving resistance members their chance to slip away. Still, Fisher had his doubts as to just how safe their journey ahead would actually be, there were only so many winding sewers to get lost in, and there were thousands of Jem'Hadar to funnel into them in the hope that some might find the prize.
Stepping over and away from an earshot of anyone else as Christine began going about trying to ready everyone for travel, Fisher sighed heavily as he checked the status on his rifle instinctively. "Here's the deal. You and I aren't any good to these people... at least, not anymore." He added the qualifier an instant later, as though he was still trying to convince himself that his initial mission had done some good. "These sewers are, for the most part, relatively safe and secure. They should allow everyone to get away from here and hunker down somewhere until they can make contact with another resistance cell." There was an obvious tone in Fisher's voice, which betrayed a newly developed sense of disproval at the idea of any of them continuing the fight elsewhere. "You've definitely worn out any kind of a welcome at this point, and the same goes double for me I imagine." In truth, Fisher could envision a sense of resentment and anger being directed at both him and Brody, as misguided and misplaced it might have been. To these battered people, it was just as much the fault of these Starfleet spies that things had gone so bad so quickly, and in such desperate times people often needed someone to blame.
"Chances are the allure of tomorrow in exchange for you and me will spread now that the idea is out there." He neglected to add how much he sympathized with such a shared sentiment, given all that these people had been through. "But Ebirone. Christine. Betrull. These people trust them. Believe in them. Everything bad that we represent, disappears when we disappear. I get that now." It was clear that Fisher was trying to convince himself, more than he was Brody or anyone else at this point. "So you've got me." He glanced back at Ebirone and Christine as they embraced each other, the former seemingly having gotten through to the former finally, and Betrull having replaced the big Betazed as the one to comfort and console the grieving Aatrah. "On one condition." Fisher added, a sudden spark coming to mind as though he had re-discovered some kind of a reason for his presence on Betazed. "We lead the Dominion on. Get them to follow us out of here, and as far away from them as possible. Once we're clear, we can beam to your shuttle, and you can complete your orders." Sage green eyes now shifted back to Brody, knowing that he was again asking a lot of the man, but there was a pleading to his facial expression as he hoped to elicit something as close to a positive affirmation as possible from the fellow spy.
Before he could get a response though, Ebirone stepped closer, rifle held tightly in his big hands as he looked to both Fisher and Brody in turn. "We're ready to get moving." To say there was an added seriousness and air of confidence to the big man's voice would have been an understatement, but there was something more that a seasoned poker-player could pick up on, hiding just beneath the surface of his expression. "I'm sorry about what happened back there. About what Aatrah did. About what he tried to do, to you. Both of you. I should have seen it coming." Fisher was about to interrupt and reassure the man that there was plenty of fault to go around for not having seen what was going on, but Ebirone continued before he could. "I won't let something like it happen again. It's my job now. My time to lead these people. She would've wanted it that way." It was true, that the elder Rena sibling had expressed a trust in Ebirone that went beyond the normal constrains of acquaintance, or even friend. No, Ebirone was every bit the big brother that Sariah and Aatrah never had, and it would fall to him to pick up the mantle of responsibility now that it had slipped from her shoulders.
Digressing back to the point, he shook any sentimental thoughts from his mind and looked to the two spies once more. "Are you two ready to go?"
Fisher looked to Brody for a determination on the matter.
[ Lt. Cmdr. Kai Akoni | Security Centre | Deck 07 | USS Theurgy ] @Auctor Lucan
The ship had been rocked by what felt like weapons fire, but Kai couldn't be too sure. The overhead lighting had flickered momentarily in his office but not enough for emergency lighting to kick in. The unmistakable sound of an explosion came from close by. Kai figured it may have been an EPS conduit that had ruptured, as he stood up from his desk. He walked out his door and looked around. That's when he heard it.
Screaming. Guttural screaming.
He rushed back into his office and grabbed his phaser from his desk. With it securely in his hand, he made his way towards where the screaming had been coming from. As he made his way smoothly towards his target, he checked the power cell on his phaser.
100%..perfect, he thought to himself subconsciously. He was moving on autopilot at this point.
As he reached the Brig, he witnessed carnage like no other. He looked around trying to gather as much information as much as possible. One of his brig officers was dead, almost ripped in half. His entrails and blood littered the deck plating, accompanied by the very strong smell of iron floating in the air.
Kai moved further down the corridor and saw two more bodies outside of Nicander's cell. That's when he noticed something else out of the corner of his eye. A body slumped down against the bulkhead. An unmistakable phaser wound to their chest, still smoking. He knelt down and immediately felt sick to his stomach.
"Fuck...Blue.." as he felt for a pulse on her, knowing already what he would or wouldn't find. The absence of a pulse didn't surprise him. He felt a rage start to build within him. As he started to stand he heard a clattering come from behind him. Kai stood up quicker and brought his phaser to the ready. Pointing directly to where the sound was coming from.
A Klingon suddenly appeared, making his way out of the door as quickly as he could. Kai immediately started to run after the Klingon while also informing the rest of the ship.
"Thea...Medical Emergency in the Brig." He started off with and then continued "Akoni to all security personell, we have a Klingon running. Heading for the Jeffries Tubes. Lock down all decks have Thea update you with our positions!" Kai managed to finished saying as he too had reached the Jeffries Tubes access and followed the Klingon into them.
The large man lamented his size at a time like this. Jeffries Tubes weren't the best under ideal circumstances, but chasing a Klingon definitely didn't qualify as 'ideal circumstances'. They were still on Deck 7 as best as he could tell, so Kai relayed information to his security teams to lock down decks 6, 7 & 8. As Akoni and his Klingon opponent made their ways through the narrow tubes, it looked as if he had an opportunity to take the assailant down. Kai stopped for a moment, aimed his phaser and fired. As it was dark, it was hard to see, but the only thing he knew for sure was that the phaser blast didn't have any affect. Either it hit the Klingon and didn't do anything or it impacted the bulkhead harmlessly. It was hard to tell. As he resumed the chase, Stark came on the comm channels.
"All hands, prepare for multi-vector assault mode".
Kai internally approved of the move, whether intentional or not from the bridge, as it would restrict his Klingon friend from reaching the shuttle bays.
As Thea neared the end of her countdown, Kai braced himself for the motion that temporarily overpowers the inertial dampeners.
Separation Sequence in Progress
CPO Victor vanVinter | Sabine Crash Site | Old Quarter | First City | Qo'noS | Attn: @jreeves1701 , @RyeTanker , @Griff , @Auctor Lucan
Victor was in a world of pain the likes of which he hadn't ever felt before. Getting hit with the glancing blows from the twin disruptor bolts. The pain narrowed Victor's vision to a tight slit through tightly shut eyelids, and then he's back to full consciousness. Victor had no idea what Zark had in those hyposprays, but the cocktail of adrenaline and other enzymes released as part of a pain response immediately had him at full alertness and in an almost stoned state of mind. All of the natural chemicals were still in his system, and then there was had just been pumped into him. So Victor was back on his feet, and he looked to Zark, nodding to the Andorian. He was still obviously woozy as hell, though, but he knew what needed to be done.
"I couldn't hit the broadside of a barn right now, but I can still help fix the ship." That's when he heard sera shouting at him, something about the anti-gravity generators. Right, stabilize those, and they could get out of here. Seal any breaches with local containment fields. They didn't need to stand and fight. They needed to run like hell. That lurching, yeah, the Sabine could get off the ground. Getting to orbit would be a whole different matter.
Victor snatches up his toolbox and runs towards the nearby engine compartment, and he opens up the power management systems. Plugging in the diagnostic equipment he brought with him gave him some answers, at the very least. If he hadn't just been shot and had drugs coursing through his system finding a solution would be so much easier, but he was resilient. Zark getting him back on his feet had helped of course. But no obvious solutions were coming to him, this class of power core was only rated for a certain output, so why were the power readings so far beyond normal? Investigating further, Victor finds the ZPE.
"What in the name of the Prophets is that..." he'd found the ZPE providing energy to the ship, and furrows his eyebrows then thinks for a moment. With as much energy as that thing had, they could get to orbit. Victor immediately begins rerouting power to engines, structural integrity, and inertial dampeners. The power draw was slow as he shunted the energy to capacitors and worked on patching up the power systems simultaneously.
"Hey Sera, this is Victor, your mechanic. If we shunt all of this power to where it has to go, we can get the hell out of here in the next five minutes. We can either run like hell or stay and fight, and we can't do both. It looks like I can either give us full weapons and shields for ten minutes or engines and some structural integrity for the same, and we might be able to make orbit. At the very least, we can get away from here. One or the other, ma'am. This is your ship; pick one." Victor, for one, was dearly hoping that the pilot would pick 'run like hell' because if Lillee was right about the Klingons massing an assault, then it wouldn't end well for the what was it.. seven Starfleet officers? Great, a magnificent Seven situation just when they didn't need one.
Lt. JG Callax Valin | AC-409 Mk III Valkyrie | Wolf-11 | Near Qo'noS ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan @Nolan @Stegro88 @Nero @P.C. Haring @Havenborn @SummerDawn @Lathaniel
Once free of the Fighter Assault Bay, Callax had the chance to better get a feel for the Mk III in open space. Falling into formation with the other Wolves, his movements were initially somewhat imprecise as he slowly became more familiar with the flight controls and computer interface.
The fighter was undoubtedly impressive. Scanning through the computer readouts revealed the true depth of its firepower. In addition to the tactical specs, its other technical specifications were enough to make any pilot drool. Luckily for the ship's maintenance staff, Callax was far too preoccupied with flying and managing comms to drool. It would be one less mess for them to clean up; that is, if he returned at all.
Those thoughts, too, were luckily suppressed by his concentration on the mission. Beyond just becoming accustomed to the new fighter and surviving the coming engagement he had the added concern of not embarrassing himself in front of the others. Some he knew and had flown with on his previous mission but the others would be surely judging him more intensely.
Just don't make a fool of yourself and you will be fine.
[Wolf-02, this is Gemini. I'm on approach to form up, eta 45 seconds. Do you by chance have a flight designation for us?]
[Hey, Gemini, fancy vehicle. As for your designation, are you okay with Wolf-10? Archon, Wolf-11, Chaos, Wolf-12. We're going to catch up to our people at warp speed. When we get there, we'll get right down to business. Split up and find your targets, which our RIOs will give you. Focus on flying and fighting, let the RIOs survey the battlefield. Listen, I know you can do this, but these aren't brutal Klingons, they're shifty Romulans. Watch out for each other and we'll get through this in one piece.]
Callax keyed the designation into his flight computer. Wolf-11. It had a satisfying ring to it though he had no idea if it would be a designation he would keep beyond this mission. That would be a thought for another time as there was little time to think about the future when the present demanded everything of him. Moments later he was at warp...
...and exited onto a battlefield.
Flashes of weapons fire in varying shades of color lit up the darkness of space revealing the general state of events. A second later his targeting computer indicated that the Oneida had exited warp and joined the myriad of differently sized blips on his sensor readout. His fighter immediately accelerated to join the fray.
It was dogfighting like he had never experienced before. His computer screamed at him with a chorus of alarms and indicators as he piloted his fighter into the thick of it, narrowly avoiding oncoming weapons fire. Like a poorly choreographed game of cat and mouse, he would find himself briefly on the tail of an enemy strike craft before having to take evasive maneuvers as another enemy got on his tail. The sequence repeated itself until it became like a rhythm with neither side gaining the advantage.
Of course, it could not just be that simple. First a warning that the enemy possessed sensor dampening countermeasures--a fact Callax experienced firsthand just as he had acquired a torpedo lock. Second was the reveal that they were not only in pitched battle but also doing it within an apparent minefield. Had he been a smoker he was sure it would not have been a good day to quit.
[Wolf-11 to Wolf-10 and Wolf-12. We need to get creative. I have an idea.]
A fool's idea, perhaps. However, it was time to disrupt the status quo and turn the tide.