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Bravery And Sacrifice

Posted on Nov 15, 2015 @ 1:49pm by Captain Kassandra Thytos
Edited on on Nov 15, 2015 @ 1:53pm

Mission: Civil War

"Bravery and Sacrifice"

(Cont. Gravity)

* * *=/\=* * *

Location: Elandipole System

Stardate: 2.151114.2302

Scene: The Loyalist Fleet

The enemy fleet hung in the viewport, blotting out the glimmers of starlight, their bellies underlit a warm yellow by the light of the Elandipole system’s small yellow star. They had fanned out in all directions to form a cup around the Loyalist fleet that would allow all firepower to be brought to bear on the much smaller forces the moment time ran out.

Though outwardly waiting, inert, inside, each loyalist vessel was a flurry of activity; Torpedoes were being armed, shuttles were being programmed, phaser banks prepared. On the USS Phoenix, the shuttle bays were full of security personnel, Marines, shuttle pilots, and a handful of brave volunteers from the engineering department. All told a hundred of the crew was busy packing weaponry, tools, and people into shuttles. As they filled with people, the shuttles took off, slowly and inconspicuously strafing the curves of the USS PHOENIX and aligning themselves just behind the torpedo tubes.

The Marine Commander and The Security Chief were the last to go. Their faces betrayed a grim determination: This was a hail Mary pass, and both of them knew it. One desperate attempt to stop further bloodshed, a last ditch pawn sacrifice to try and ward off the nearly inevitable. As they entered the last runabout and sat down in silence the Marine Commander pulled out a small piece of stone which she turned over in her fingers. The Security Chief caught a glimpse of it, it appeared to be some sort of religious icon. He thought about asking the Marine about it, but she her attention was on the object in her hands, her lips moving in a silent dialogue. She looked up briefly and smiled, tightly: No atheists in foxholes.

A countdown began, and suddenly the viewport of the runabout was filled with the blinding light of a torpedo being launched. The small vessel launched into motion, hiding in the tail of burning fuel as it arched towards the Neo-Essentialist fleet. On the floor behind the cockpit, the suited form of an engineer wrestled with the shield frequency modulators. She and the security officer manning the co-pilot position were yelling back and forth to each other as she tried to get the shields of the runabout in synch with that of the USS CENTURY. As the countdown began, the Marine Commander’s eyes flicked nervously to the forward viewport, her lips never stopping in their invocation of luck from a higher power. The torpedo in front of them collided against the defenses of the Neo-Essentialist flagship, dimming the bright nimbus of the shields for a moment, and causing the runabout to shudder and shake, the alarms and klaxons sounding to indicate a flicker in shield power.

The Engineer yelled one last encouragement at her work, hand caressing the shield unit gently like a parent encouraging a child off to the first day of school, and the runabout’s shields collided with the larger ship’s fusing, like two soap bubbles meeting, and suddenly the runabout was on the other side of the shield, still moving at high speed towards the USS CENTURY. The Engineer whooped and turned to give an ebullient thumbs up to The Marine Commander whose face immediately lost the scowl of determination and relaxed into a fond, reassuring smile. The Security Chief’s heart sank a bit as he suddenly realized why The Engineer looked so familiar when they’d first been introduced. She was The Marine Commander’s niece.

The Security Chief’s eyes met those of The Marine Commander and he realized that it was all but a foregone conclusion that she would not be surviving this mission. When she set up the first checkpoint within the Century she would never leave it. Any other Engineer but this one and she might have fallen back as she became overwhelmed, but the sheer chance that had put the two of them on the same team had sealed her fate. She would hold the checkpoint with her life to buy time for The Engineer. He opened his mouth to say something, but she glowered at him for a second and then leaned forward, grabbing his hand, and shoving the little piece of stone into his hand. He looked down at the piece of milky green jade at a small carving of a woman seated on a flower of some sort, a piece of grass and a vase of water in the other. The Marine Commander shrugged, and her eyes flickered meaningfully over to The Engineer’s back.

The Security Chief understood. She was trusting the life of her niece to him. He tucked the talisman into one of his utility belt pouches, and then the Runabout touched down on the hull of the ship. Everyone was on their feet then, readying to exit onto the smooth metal of the USS CENTURY.

With military precision, the Marines laid down explosives, breaching the skin of the CENTURY. In the initial blast of decompression, bodies of the crew came spewing outwards. The Marines caught those they could, ushering them quickly into the runabout where the pilot secured them and repressurized the internal atmosphere. But there were still some that went pinwheeling off into space. The Engineer turned her face away, and The Security Chief could see tears running down her cheeks. The Marine Commander tracked the bodies as they flew out into the void, her face cold. Each one of them was one less enemy to fight.

Quickly the small team entered the breach before the automatic systems set up energy fields to shore the breach. As they all began down the hall, a force field sprang up behind them, and there was a hiss as atmosphere was restored. First there was silence, then slowly their footsteps became the whisper of raindrops, then louder, until they clattered and clanked quickly along as air returned.

They reached the first critical junction, and the Marines dropped some of their gear, speedily setting up a checkpoint. Phaser proof plating was erected to provide Kassandra cover, as well as several one-way shields. A large stationary phaser turret joined that as well as several blocks of explosives, gas grenades, and other munitions. This junction would be the first that security forces reached when they arrived to try and stop the interlopers from reaching the main bridge. With any luck, the other teams would have already accomplished their missions: Destroying the communications array, internal sensors, the main phaser banks, and shutting down all non critical power to the ship. That way their enemy would hopefully be blindly ignorant of The Security Chief’s team, and they’d be able to get The Engineer to the main computer core where she could override the entire system and take control of the ship. After that, all surviving teams would converge on the Bridge and take down Marxx.

The Marine Commander calmly took her place at the phaser turret. The Engineer went to her side and said something softly so only she could hear, and embraced her. The Marine Commander in return rapped the top of The Engineer’s helmet lovingly with one knuckle, spun her niece gently around and gave her a shove down the hall.

The Security Chief tapped on The Marine Commander’s shoulder, and she gave a him a thumbs up. He was about to leave, the image of her standing alone in that hallway ready to take on whatever came her way burned into his mind forever, when she grabbed his hand. She took her helmet off, and fumbled with his. She tossed their helmets casually down the hallway and grabbed a handful of his hair, pulling his lips down to meet hers. With her free hand she fumbled with the attachments to his armor, undressing him with an urgency that matched the ferocity of her kisses. Her hands strayed down to his greaves, and waist and she unsealed his environmental suit, allowing his manhood to spring free and…

“... screw me right there, you big strappin’ hunk of a man, because hey, I ain’t goin’ outta this world not having gotten any for like, two years, and you’re my type: Alive and breathin’... … ... Well damn, I do believe you’re right, Mister Silsby, he AIN’T actually been listenin’ to a damn word I said! Earth to Jebediah Chastity? You wanna join the rest of us?”

Silsby snickered gently from beside him, and smiled at Barton, a look of cherubic innocence spread across his face. Across from him Kass’s second, the oversized and craggy Sergeant Bellecotte had a slightly long suffering expression like he wished she would be slightly more couth mixed with a hint of something that Barton didn’t quite understand, but interpreted as a very low grade hostility towards Barton. Mackenzie Procter rolled her eyes wildly, the expression on her face implying that she could barely believe any of the people present outranked her.

Barton massaged his eyes and blinked at the redhead who glared at him and aimed at none-too-gentle punch at his upper arm. His mind had still been on last night and Siobhan Reardon, long dead children, and guilt. The Marine crossed her arms and cocked her head at him, her blind eyes glassy, waiting for him to say something.

“Sorry, I was thinking.” Barton said lamely, hoping that she wasn’t going to jump on that particular statement. She cut her eyes at him, and then shrugged. “You want to run the short version by me, preferably without the ending where we make a major tactical error by getting rid of our armor in the middle of a firefight?”

She outlined it again. Fly a couple runabouts to the CENTURY masked in the afterburn of their torpedoes, bypass the shields by modulating the runabout’s shields to the same frequency, allowing them to merge with the shields, take out the communications array, the power, and the weaponry, take over the computer core, then strike to take Admiral Marxx.

“That’s a hell of a lot of ‘ifs’ there, Kass,” Barton frowned. It would do as a last ditch plan, but only under an extremely desperate situation. “Main problem I can see is I don’t think there are enough pilots that could carry off that maneuver you’re talking about in the beginning, maybe BaShen, but I’m not sure about the rest of the Phoenix’s pilots.”

“Ah know that,” her exasperated sigh indicated to him that she thought the reasoning behind that should be obvious. “I jus’ didn’t have much ideas, and you came in all quiet like, barely a peep outta you. Once we get on board, I ain’t got a problem with strategy there. Space battles, I ain’t really been in many of them, I’m usually strictly boots on the ground, small unit tactics an’ all that. Give me the willies and all that, it’s jus’ a whole buncha waitin’ an’ button pushin’ an’ consoles explodin’ everywhere, an’ nothin you can do about it, mostly.”

“Fighting a space battle is similar to fighting on the ground, just on an enormous scale, if you think about it.” Barton suggested. She gave him a ‘you’re an idiot’ look, but he shrugged it off. “Bring back that schematic of the battlefield as it is right now, would you?” Her hands moved across the controls of her display, and she brought up the schema of the battlefield as it stood. Barton studied the display, and took over the controls. Mackenzie Procter seemed to read his mind and began to bring up statistics on the firepower and capabilities of each type of vessel in the Neo-Essentialist fleet. He pored over the information while Silsby and Kassandra made idle chitchat in the background.
* * * =/\=* * *

NRPG: A Short post, but I had a sort of gimmicky idea, and decided that dragging said gimmick along would be too much.

Alix Fowler
Kassandra Thytos
A Hypothetical self-sacrificing martyr


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