Revenge of the Talarians
Posted on Sat Jan 2nd, 2021 @ 7:55am by Captain Nycolas Temple & Commander Owen Nash & Lieutenant Commander Mindo & Lieutenant Ziara Rrareth & Lieutenant Declan Roderick & Lieutenant Riaan Rrareth & Lieutenant James Smith & Lieutenant Krysia Kaleri-Smith & Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick
Location: Bridge / Pandora
The Pandora had been sailing at high warp for several hours now. They had exited the Hesiod Region and made a wide circle around the Expanse, hoping to cross through the general vicinity occupied by Paradise Outpost. The manoeuvre would add more time onto their journey but would ensure the ship was able to make contact with some friends if need be. With every enemy of the Pandora on the hunt for her, they needed a safe haven should the worst occur and they couldn't make it out of the Expanse. They were still days away from being close to Paradise, however, which only added to the sense of urgency.
Nyx sat pensively in the command chair - aware that he was gripping the armrest but unwilling to move. He had stayed this way for the past few hours - unmoving, ever-watching, ever vigilant. The Bridge glowed with the bright hue of Yellow Alert. Every sensor blip and long-range scan was read out loud and announced to the crew. Every instance of a ship in the distance was a possible early warning sign of an imminent attack. Even if they disappeared off the radar as quickly as they had come, providing a moment of relief for the tense situation; they knew there would come a time when the "blips" would start to come closer.
"Ship identified in sector ninety-six-mark-twelve, eighteen light-years in the distance," Crewman Milkovich reported, cutting into the silence. He was standing at the secondary Ops station, watching his designated area of long-range scans with due diligence.
"Origin?" Temple asked immediately.
"Ferengi," Milkovich replied, as the computer confirmed the species.
Nyx chewed this over. "The Ferengi wouldn't come hunting for us unless there was money to be made," he thought out loud. "Though it's possible the Alrakis Pact have put up a bounty on our heads... Or would they want the prize themselves?" He couldn't quite decide.
Owen leaned in as he heard Nyx working over for the possible reasons as tpo why a Ferengi ship would be shadowing a Federation Starship out here in the Expanse.
"It's a trade ship, Sir," Milkovich quickly replied, hoping this would relax some. "Not a scout or fighter."
"Every one of them is a scout or fighter at the moment," Nyx remarked, more to himself.
Krysia had been off the bridge for a while trying to put her feet up and rest but the tense atmosphere wasn’t making for an easy rest period. Making her way back to the bridge she stepped out of the turbolift and walked over to her seat. “The air on this ship is filled with tension Captain, it’s not a good way to be.” She sat down and made herself as comfortable as she could be given how tense everyone else’s emotions was making her.
"Agreed," Nyx replied with a hesitant sigh. "We'll be in safer waters soon."
James decided to stay in Intelligence as the ship continued to make their way to Paradise Outpost. He had deployed a few extra sensors that Intel had at their disposal to try and scan for danger. The last thing they needed was to be surprised by any of their enemies. His team had picked up the Ferengi ship and were busy running checks to see if they could identify it.
Down in the core, the Engineering department hurried to modulate shields and enhance weapons systems as well as reinforce the warp core. For the whole ship, it wasn't a matter of if they were engaged in battle, but when. It was times like these that Mindo was reminded of an old submarine film from Earth, "Das Boot". The film accurately portrayed the feelings of dread and horror one faces when crammed inside a moving vessel surrounded by emptiness. During the Pandora's time in the Inconnu Expanse, the ship had faced much adversity, from Talarian space battles to navigating dark matter to landing on a planet. None of those crises equalled the danger the Pandora faced now.
Stationed at Ops, Roderick was overseeing the docking extensions which would be in use once they had arrived at Paradise Outpost. Given the circumstances, he was ready to couple and de-couple from the outpost at a moments notice. He continued to review the current status of all operations onboard, expecting the unexpected.
Fick watched the viewscreen as he made minor adjustments to their flight path. He had a lot of things on his mind and some of them were not their current location or where they were headed. Of course, he knew and kept the ship on track, but his thoughts were on more personal subjects. He wasn't often one to let himself get distracted. Piloting a ship this size was all about careful computations at a moment's notice, but today, he was really not paying attention to anything going on around him.
"Ship identified in sector one-eight-zero, sixteen light-years distance," came Milkovich's voice to break into the silence.
At this, the Captain stirred. "One eight zero?" he asked intently, leaning forward.
"Correct, Sir," the ensign replied, his tone stale. "Exactly due south from our current position, directly from our point of origin."
Owen stood up and moved over towards the Secondary Ops station, nodding to Roderick as he walked past. He was keen to find out more about this new contact.
A sense of dread grew within the Captain as he looked at the scanner readings for himself. The vessel appeared on the outer rim of the Pandora's scanner range but it was unmistakably there - a small dot that apparently followed the same trajectory as the Pandora. Given the extensive trade routes and large, empty distances of this area of the Expanse, the possibility that another ship would just happen upon the Pandora's route and happen to the follow the exact trajectory were slim. It was beginning to look like they were being followed.
"Species?" he asked.
Ensign Milkovich looked up from his screen, eyes meeting with the Captain's, but he had no answer to give. "Unknown, Sir," he simply said, letting the weight of the moment hang in the air.
"Mr. Fick, alter our course." Temple tried to remain calm as he spoke, hoping an angular change in direction would show if the mysterious vessel was actual in pursuit. "Head directly to sector seven-two, mark nine."
Krysia looked at Nyx then at the viewscreen, she couldn’t help but feel afraid. If anything happened to the Pandora... she was afraid for the safety of her unborn twins. She knew Nyx and Owen would do their upmost to keep everyone safe and get them home, but they had a long way to go.
Declan maintained general systems, evaluating all current operations and shipboard activities. As thus, he was monitoring tactical and long-range sensors arrays, bringing them to full operational status. Roderick was ready to divert power levels to associated weaponry and shields at a moments notice.
Fick nodded. "Aye, Captain," he replied, as his fingers set to work. "Course altered. New heading, sector seven-two, mark nine."
Owen kept an eye on the sensor readings as Fick altered course as ordered and checked to see if the contact followed suit. It took at least half an hour given the distance the Pandora was from the ship but, as if on cue, the contact also altered course to continue its supposed pursuit of the Pandora.
"Well, whoever they are, they are intent on making sure that they follow our course, they've adjusted to match our course but are maintaining speed and distance," Owen reported before making his way back down to the main area of the bridge.
"Captain, I'd say that we have ourselves a tail, who may or may not want to be noticed," he added before sitting back down.
"Red alert." Nyx ordered and the Bridge dipped into the emergency lighting. He stood forward from his chair, watching the view screen. "What are our options?"
"Sir, another vessel on the scanner." Milkovich replied, trying to temper his tone despite the nerves he was feeling. "This one is Talarian. Sector 15, mark 2. Right ahead of us, sir, on an intercept course."
"Evasive tactics." Nyx ordered, "Change heading."
Without wasting a second, the Pandora turned course once again, hoping to head away from the incoming vessels.
"Another Talarian. This time coming from sector 25, sir." Milkovich reported. "And another... It appears there is a fleet of Talarian fighters in this region."
Nyx looked up at the view screen, his lip turned up in anger. "They're circling us, trying to box us in. Typical Talarian tactics. Arm photon torpedoes. Raise shields to maximum."
No sooner had the word came when four Talarian heavy fighters dropped out of warp around the Pandora, hanging in the air like silent tanks. They did not, however, open fire immediately.
Onboard the lead Talarian ship, Captain Gavar, commander of the Fleet, smiled to himself. "At long last, we have found them."
At his position at helm, Nirden nodded, "No signs of other Federation vessels, sir. The Pandora is alone."
"We will see them punished for their attack upon on." Gavar smirked, "And we will remove the Federation from our territory!"
"Aye sir!" Shouted the Talarian bridge.
Nirden stared at his console as a message came through, "Sir, they are hailing us."
Gavar laughed, "To beg, I assume. Open a channel, audio only."
Roderick had opened the communication channel direct to the Talarian lead vessel. "Communications channel open, Sir. The lead Talarian vessel." He taped in his console.
Nyx nodded and stood, "This is Captain Temple of the USS Pandora. We are merely travelling through this region. We have done no harm and caused no violation of the Inconnu Access Agreement."
"Lies!" Gavar cried in response. "I am Gavar of the Talarian Republic, defender of the Alrakis alliance, warrior supreme of this territory. It was your fighters that attacked my ships in the Hesiod Region."
The Battle of Hesiod Blue had occurred while the Pandora was grounded on Hesiod Green. The Valkyrie fighters that Nyx had sent to patrol the region had set up a base on the Blue planet, so they could continue to monitor the region while the Pandora was vulnerable. Sensing a threat, the Talarians had tracked them down and engaged the Valkyries in combat. Despite using borrowed Tzenkethi cannons, the Talarians were out-gunned by the Valkyries and one was destroyed. The Talarians had left promising revenge; now it appeared they had come to make good on that promise.
"Your ships fired upon my fighters, Gavar, who were merely protecting a temporary resting place on Hesiod Blue." Temple replied quickly. "We defended ourselves."
"And where was your ship at the time, Captain Temple?" Gavar asked, "Why were your pathetic fighters in the Hesiod Region at all?"
"We were investigating a scientific phenomenon, as is our stated purpose." Nyx lied. "Your ship would not have been destroyed had you not attacked us first."
"Your continued lies are an affront to the Talarian Republic! And you greet us with an aggressive posture, Pandora." Gavar remarked, snorting with laughter. "The Alrakis Pact has every right to consider that a threat to us."
Nyx stood forward, breathing heavily through his nose as the anger boiled inside of him. "You can try every justification you can think of, Gavar, but we both know why you are here. And I will not be goaded into firing first. If you want your revenge, you will have to come get it."
Turning to Roderick, Nyx gave the signal the end the transmission.
Roderick acknowledged the subtle gesture from Captain Nyx, securing the comm channel closed.
Sitting down again, Nyx pressed his comms button. "Bridge to Engineering. Full power to the engines."
=/\= Aye, Captain! =/\= Mindo said over the comm. In less than five seconds, the power readings on the engines were at one hundred percent. The newly reinforced core had never been better.
"Mr. Fick, maximum warp. Nine point nine." Nyx ordered. "Let's see them try to chase us."
With a flash, the Pandora disappeared in a streak of two burning blue lines in space, leaving the Talarian ships in their wake.
Zooming through space, all that was in front of them now was the familiar tunnel of warp energy streaming past the viewscreen. The crew couldn't relax for long, however, as the Talarians quickly began their pursuit. Nyx's goal was to out-run their attackers, given Talarians do not possess the technology of Starfleet and the Pandora could travel at maximum warp for 12 hours, more than enough time to leave them in the dust. However, through their affiliation with the Alrakis Pact, the Talarians had received some upgrades to their ship's engines and now they were able to maintain a steady distance from their target.
"They are chasing us, Captain," Ensign Milkovich reported, "At present velocity, they will not able to reach us, but we are in firing distance."
Suddenly there was a large explosion in the vicinity nearby, as a torpedo exploded around 5 kilometres away from the ship. Another explosion followed quickly a few moments later, this one on the other side of the Pandora. These were not the easily-defended merculite rockets that the Talarians were known for; but instead quantum torpedoes borrowed from the Tzenkethi. They exploded with fiery ferocity and purpose not far from the ship's hull, causing the Bridge to shake with every near-miss.
"The Talarians are firing wildly in our direction." The Ensign reported, "They can't get a target lock so they're shooting around us."
Nyx looked over to the Ops Console, "Mr. Roderick, full power to aft - "
The command was interrupted by a torpedo's explosion at the rear of the starboard side of the ship. The Talarians had learnt quickly. The Pandora was jolted off course by the sudden blast and fell out of their warp tunnel. The ship careened out of control for a few spins before impulse engines were able to stabilise her again. On the Bridge, the rapid deceleration sent people flying, as Fick, Griffin, and Rrareth were tossed from their stations and came crashing hard to the ground. Nyx held onto his chair for dear life as he tried to stop himself from being ejected from his place as well.
Krysia had already been holding onto her seat for dear life, not wanting to end up being thrown from her seat in her condition she kept an even tighter grip as the ship was tossed out of the warp tunnel. She sat eyes shut for a few moments as the spin of the ship made her head spin then opened her eyes again as she watched Nyx assessing downed crew.
Quickly assessing the injured crew, Nyx grimaced. "Get them to Sickbay." He called out as Medical crew appeared and started to drag the injured officers off the Bridge. Nyx looked up to the view screen, knowing it wouldn't be long before the Talarians caught up to them again. "Nash on Helm, Milkovich to Ops, and Roderick to Tactical."
Owen hauled himself up and made his way to the Helm, getting seated at the station and seeing what the situation was now that the ship was back on a stable heading.
"Captain, I only have impulse engines and thrusters at my command, I'm getting no response from the Warp Engines at this time," Owen reported.
Declan accessed his OPS sub-routine controls. "Captain. Engineering has had a temporary power transfer grid loss." He paused, shaking his head. "Updates are coming in..."
Sitting back down, Nyx was trying to stop his head from spinning. He opened comms to Engineering, "Mindo, what's the damage?"
=/\= We've taken damage to a primary power coupling. I'm booting up auxiliary power now, but we won't have warp right away," Mindo reported. "We've had a few injuries too. =/\=
Nyx nodded, =/\= "I have Medical crews on the way to you. Can you get those warp engines back online ASAP?" =/\=
=/\= They're coming online now. I advise not to go above warp seven. Auxiliary power can't take the punishment." Mindo reported.
=/\= "Do your best, Lieutenant." Nyx replied, before ending the call.
Seeing that the warp engines were slowly back online and what warp power he had available to him, Owen looked back at Nyx. "Warp power is coming back online, I could take us to warp six if that's going to help out with our new neighbours?" He knew that without maximum warp, they were already at a disadvantage, but that hadn't stopped the Pandora before.
“They’re not going to stop coming Captain,” Krys looked at Nyx. “They’re minds are made up.”
"Just as I feared." Nyx replied with weighted tone.
"Incoming torpedoes, sir." Milkovich called out, "They're still firing blindly at us."
Fight or flight. The instinct born into every living creature; do they keep running and hope not to get hit from behind again, or try to out-gun the Talarians? Nyx knew that despite the upgraded missiles, Talarian technology was no match for the advanced Starfleet defences and weaponry. The Talarians may have momentarily slowed down the Pandora, but she was still agile enough to run rings around the fighters. Of course, it was just as likely that the attack was merely a diversionary tactic as well - something the Republic was known to do - until a larger fleet arrived to swarm the Luna Class vessel. Every second the Pandora was delayed from reaching home was another second in increasingly hostile territory.
Fight or flight.
Taking a deep breath, Nyx spoke clearly, "Roderick, fire phasers at the torpedoes. Defensive attack pattern. Nash, start evasive manoeuvres."
"Aye Captain," Owen replied as he started typing in various evasive manoeuvres for the ship to follow as they tried to evade the Talarians as they made their intentions clear. Whilst advantage was on the side of the Pandora, strength in numbers was also an old adage that applied in space combat even to this day.
Impulse engines blasted into life as the Pandora began to swerve and sway; the phaser strips around the ship's saucer illuminated with rapidly growing energy. The phaser beams blasted into space in quick succession; Roderick's rapid firing combining with the ship's constant movement to target the incoming torpedoes. One by one the torpedoes exploded in fury as the phasers hit them dead-on; turning the impending arsenal into a storm of wasted plasma energy. The incoming attack was thwarted.
The Talarians were unrelenting, however, as they continued to close the distance towards the Pandora, still determined to hunt their prey.
Back on the Bridge, Ensign Milkovich gulped as he received a new sensor update, "They're powering up torpedoes again."
Nyx gritted his teeth, "We're going to stand our ground and fight." He tapped his comms badge, =/\= Bridge to All Hands. Prepare for Battle. =/\=