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USS Pandora (NCC-80114) Vs The Carnage: Part One

Posted on Tue Feb 13th, 2018 @ 3:47am by Captain Nycolas Temple & Balek The Butcher & Lieutenant Mindo & Lieutenant Cailus Griffin & Lieutenant JG Vecon Fick & Chief Petty Officer James Frost & Tisar Zemel

Mission: Into The Wild
Location: Bridge
Timeline: Current

It was finally time. As the turbolift doors opened onto the Bridge, Lieutenant Cailus Griffin strode out, taking everything in at a glance. Looking at the ensign on Tactical, he asked, "Time until weapons range?"

"Five minutes, sir," the Bajoran man reported crisply. "The enemy ship has charged weapons."

"Very well," Cailus replied as he walked into the command alcove, eyeing the viewscreen warily. The angular, predatory Carnage was there as it had been for a while now, its bow and giant cannons aimed directly at its prey. "Well, let's do this. Red alert, all hands to battlestations."

The second order was mostly irrelevant given that the crew had been ready for over an hour, but regulations had to be followed and so the klaxon blared and the red lights duly came on to indicate that the ship was expecting battle. Opting to stand rather than sit in the Big Chair, Cailus glanced at Frost who was sitting in what was normally Nash's seat, the lieutenant working hard to stay professional and not allow any trace of discomfort to enter his expression. "Chief, how are the crew doing?"

"They're ready to go Sir." Frost said, straightening up a bit. He'd forgotten how uncomfortable these chairs could be. "All stations report green."

"Good," Cailus replied with a firm nod. With that, he stepped up to the helm console. "Ensign Vecon, are you ready to implement the maneuver that Lieutenant Brennan briefed you on?"

"Ready as I'm gonna get, Lieutenant." He glanced at Cailus over his shoulder. His gaze suggesting that he was chomping at the bit ready. This jump would be difficult and in some ways counterintuitive for a pilot. Most of the time the object was to go, but this time it was the stopping that was going to be the tricky part. It was very, very difficult to stop something when there was nothing to resist its forward motion. Although, it wasn't so much a stop as trying to remain perfectly in tandem with the big, ugly Carnage.

Carnage was the correct name for the ship on his viewscreen. It was indeed a carnage of ships welded together every which way. It sort of looked like a place that ships went to die. Fick wasn't sure if they were intentionally creating the stuff of nightmares or if that happened organically around the Ravagers obvious lack of organizational skills when it came to ship building. It was amazing to him that the giant, hulking thing could fly at all and didn't just crash land into whatever close to it had the most gravity pull.

"Then it's time to stop running away and fight," Cailus said firmly, watching the Carnage with a stern gaze. "Mister Vecon, come about and execute Lieutenant Brennan's maneuver. You have full control of the airlock. Do not wait for my order to depressurise it when you achieve the optimal alignment. Ensign Tinmei, lock phasers on the Carnage but hold fire until I give the order." Then Cailus reluctantly turned around and sat in the Big Chair, taking a deliberate breath. "Ensign Pek, hail the Ravager ship."

Frost leaned over to Cailus and said in a low voice. "I've taken the liberty of programming some new attack maneuvers into the tactical computer. I doubt we'll need them but it's always nice to have a backup plan for your backup plan."

"Very good," Cailus replied curtly to Frost. He forced himself to relax, to look comfortable even if it was the farthest thing from the truth. With Nyx's team on the Carnage, Shae about to pull some instant stunt to rescue and the Pandora about engage an enemy that outgunned was all coming to a head.

"No response from the Carnage, Lieutenant," Ensign Pek reported from the Ops, the Vulcan's accent sounding curiously similar to Spanish. On the viewscreen, the massive Ravager battleship seemed to come to a stop close to the Pandora, the two ships finally facing each other after days of hunting. "They are not doing anything at all, sir. They are simply sitting there with weapons powered up.

"Then let's not waste the time they're gifting us," Cailus said with forced calm, knowing full well what was about to happen in one of the airlocks. "Mister Vecon, you have your window. Do your thing."

Fick's fingers flew over the console. This sort of maneuver wasn't something that he could set up in advance like the last time he'd done something tricky. Everything had to be done manually or they risked running into the Carnage. The Pandora eased over to the Carnage almost like it was going to dock. Fick had to make sure that the ships were lined up perfectly and that was no small feat. Steering a starship was not like driving a vehicle. Each movement was made through calculations and math.

The Carnage was not an easy ship to get close to. Things jutted out from it at angles that were unexplainable. While he was trying to match speed and parallel their pathway he nearly impaled the Pandora. Not wanting to be a permanent fixture on the side of the Ravager ship, Fick corrected his error quickly and in correcting it put himself in a better position then he had been. When he was certain that they travelling as close as they could get and in tangent, he waited for the precise moment that he thought they were as close as they could safely get, which was probably a lot closer than most, he released the airlock.

Not long after Fick had completed his delicate maneuver, Ensign Pek piped up from Ops. "Lieutenant, the Carnage is hailing us."

Nodding, Cailus ordered, "Onscreen."

"Paaaaannndooooraaa!" Came a low, menacing growl over the comms. It was like a hyena's call in the night, a mocking cry to a stalking victim.

On screen appeared Balek the Butcher in all his resplendent glory - lauding himself over this throne made from skulls and bones, a cape made of rusty brown leather draped casually over his left shoulder, while he gripped a long dagger in his right hand. He had the snarl of a confident King, the boastful sneer of a man who knew he outgunned the Federation vessel, and with his surprise reveal waiting just off screen.

"So rarely do my victims walk towards their fate." Balek smirked, "But I welcome your surrender, Starfleet."

“Handsome fellow isn’t he?” Frost muttered sarcastically to Calius. “He certainly leaves an impression.”

Cailus nodded in agreement, eyeing Balek as one would a curious specimen. "Indeed," he agreed quietly with Frost, knowing how insulting it was to be talking like that in front of Balek. "Pirates do love to overcompensate. They dressed ridiculously in my time too, but the bravado stops as soon as they're in the Brig."

Then Cailus stood, looking the very picture of disdain. "Balek, I am Lieutenant Griffin, acting captain of the Federation Starship Pandora. As gracious as you are to offer surrender, I'm afraid that I must decline. However, should you you wish to surrender, I will promise you fair treatment in accordance with Federation law."

"Federation law!" Balek exclaimed and he divulged into callous laughter. From off screen, his Ravager crew joined him in a haughty round of menacing laughs. "You forget where you are, Pandora. You're not in Federation space now. You're in my space, and I never give fair treatment."

The Butcher's statement was rejoined by another round of taunting howls from the Carnage crew, Balek's obvious belly jiggling as he chuckled.

While the Ravagers laughed, Cailus simply stood there and waited, looking supremely bored. "Balek," he said coldly when the laughter had died down, "take a long, hard look at us. We are the Federation. We are the people who humiliated the Klingon Empire, defeated the Dominion and drove back the Borg. Do you really think your little band of incompetent pirates is anything compared to the enemies we've beaten before?"

Balek wheezed into his breathing mask and laughed again. "I see one ship, all on it's own, lost in my kingdom. But do not despair Pandora, not all of you will die today. Some of you may be of use, as slaves and entertainment. And your vessel will be used to bring unending glory to the Ravagers."

"This is the Mendazians' star system," Cailus said with that same, emotionless tone, his eyes locked on Balek's,"not your 'kingdom', and make no mistake, Balek. Salvaxe is defended. If you choose battle, we will smash your oversized, overweaponed trash heap of a ship and you will spend the rest of your life in a Federation prison. You aren't the first fat pirate I'll have beaten, and you won't be the last."

Balek glowered back at the man, upper lip curled arrogantly. "Everything around here is mine. Or at least it will be." He paused, his mouth now turning to a smirk. "Including your Captain."

Realising what Balek meant, Cailus felt an awful sinking feeling in his stomach, but he maintained his disciplined, distinctly unimpressed expression. "You obviously believe that you have some critical advantage, Balek. Get on with it."

The Butcher didn't break his gaze as he muttered his order. "Show them."

After a moment, the view of the Carnage widened to reveal the whole Bridge. First Balek's throne, sitting heightened and dominating in the centre of the room. Then two consoles just below this, old as they were but diligently attended by a Ravager crewman on either side. And then, standing in a small annex to the screen's left, there was Captain Nyx - kneeling on the ground with his hands behind his head, with Tisar Zemel pointing a weapon to the back of his neck.

"Why is it always the Cardassians..." Fick muttered. Considering his Bajoran heritage, it made sense.

“Alright, I’ll bite.” Frost bluffed while raising his eyebrow. “Who’s that guy?”

"It's your Captain." Balek growled.

“My job is liaison between captain and crew.” Frost interrupted. “Do you really think I don’t know what my captain looks like? Give me a break.”

The Butcher leaned back in his throne and cast a sideways glance to the man currently holding Nyx, "Tell them Tisar."

"This is undoubtedly your Captain Temple. He might look a little rough right now, but he didn't give us much of a choice." Tisar grinned wickedly. He pressed a little harder on Nyx's injured leg.

"Your Captain came onboard with two others from your ship in some pathetic attempt to infiltrate my sovereignty." Balek added, "And now he gets to watch his ship get torn apart, and you get to watch him die. I can't think of anything more poetic than that."

Still Cailus just stood there looking supremely unaffected, even a little bored. It wasn’t entirely a facade. The lieutenant forced himself to be disciplined, to bury his worry about Nyx and Shae deep down, and with those concerns buried, he genuinely was disdainful of the disgusting creature on the viewscreen.

“Balek,” he scolded quietly, as one would an unruly pupil, “do us the courtesy of assuming that we’re not idiots. A Starfleet captain is a valuable commodity, one that you won’t risk harming. He would know a great deal about the ship and its crew, and more importantly, Starfleet’s strategic assets in the Inconnu Expanse. That knowledge would prove critical in hunting down other Federation ships and avoiding counterattack.”

The Butcher gave a rueful laugh, "I appear to have done just fine without your valuable commodity. Any last words to your ship, Captain?" He jerked his head to Nyx with a delightful sneer.

Nyx just raised his eyebrows, and responded in a low growl, "I wouldn't give you the satisfaction."

"Such insolence today!" Balek remarked flippantly, "You Starfleet fellows will have to learn some respect. Dekker! Give them a taste."

"My pleasure." The Kzinti crewman responded with a smile. As he touched a few buttons on his console, the screen went blank again - the Pandora's view reverting back to the external image of the Carnage.

In the silence of space, a large rectangular panel on the top of the Ravager ship slowly raised open. From inside, a small blue light began to flash only just visible from the Pandora's distance. The blue light suddenly lifted out of the Carnage and drifted towards the Pandora - and it became clear the light was attached to a small round drone, with four sharp metal legs. The drone made a direct beeline towards the ship, it's blue light flashing menacingly as it approached.

“Lieutenant,” the ensign at Tactical called out, “they’ve launched a drone, headed for us. impact in forty five seconds!”

Cailus hesitated, examining Balek’s gloating, beady eyes. What the hell was the pirate doing? Damn it, he couldn’t fire, not when Shae might still be out there, but the drone could be a danger to the ship... he and Frost had dragged out the talking for as long as they could, but if they waited... Shae was in danger, but so was the ship...

Damn it!

“Destroy that drone,” the lieutenant ordered curtly, no trace of his inner conflict reaching his expression. Barely seconds had passed between the report and his subsequent order, but for Cailus, it was a horribly long time.

As the Pandora's phaser hit the drone with targeted precision, it exploded into a ferocious cloud of plasma energy, which sent a shockwave across the intervening space between the ships and caused them both shake noticeably.

"Lieutenant!" Fick called out, trying to keep the ship steady. "We're gonna have to move away!"

From inside the Carnage, another blue light appeared. Then another... and another... and another... until there were now ten of the flying plasma bombs powered up and lifting out from the vessel. It was the Ravager's Swarm, their favourite technique in overcoming a more powerful vessel - total bombardment with highly volatile explosives. And now a small army of the drones were heading towards the Pandora. Only this time, they weren't heading in a straight line. Now they were circling about, whizzing around each other like a plague of deadly insects.

"We're gonna have to move away now!" Fick yelled.

"Cease transmission," Cailus said sternly, and the viewscreen switched from Balak's cruel glee to an image of the Carnage itself, the drones swarming around it. Unable to resist any longer as battle commenced, the lieutenant stood, eyeing the viewscreen with a critical eye. It was just another tactical scenario, after all, and Cailus knew the classic response, a tactic that had been old even when he'd been at the Academy. it would require some creative editing on the fly, but it was viable.

=/\= Mindo to bridge, I've got the weapons modifications configured and ready for use. =/\=

"Target the drones with phasers and fire at will. Load aft torpedo bays and set for a full spread, but only fire on my order. Mister Vecon, attack pattern Omega-3. Fly rings around that ship, as fast as you can manage it."

Fick didn't have to be told twice. The Pandora moved away from the Carnage with much quickness. The Omega-3 was the perfect move, allowing them both a burst of speed and made it easier to escape out of range. When he was satisfied with their distance he started to circle. The Carnage might have them outgunned, but it had nothing on Pandora's speed.

[Carnage - Bridge]

“They hit another, sire. We’re down to seven now.” Dekker called out from his console, his tone lacking in patience.

From his spot kneeling on the hard metal floor, Nyx saw the Pandora’s movements and tried to repress a smile. Of course this lumbering tank of a barely welded together vessel wasn’t going to out pace or out manoeuvre the Pandora. Balek had some particularly nasty weapons and tactics at his disposal, but it was over-shadowed by his hubris and ego, believing himself unstoppable. Nyx also knew that if Balek hadn’t wanted to parade him in front of the Pandora’s crew, he would have been dead by now. Every second that he wasn’t was another step closer to gaining the upper hand.

“Time for phase two.” Balek muttered from his throne. “Have the swarm drive them around.”

The blue lights on the remaining drones blinked in unison and quickly the random swirling pattern turned into a more cyclonic movement, as the now spiraling drones moved to the outside of the Pandora and appeared to be chasing after them.

As the swarm drove the Pandora around in a clockwise direction, the Carnage made a sudden lurching turn and was now heading anti-clockwise straight towards the Pandora.

“Have it ready.” Balek ordered as he stared at the screen with a menacing sneer. “And broadcast the footage across our network. I want every Ravager in the Expanse to see us tear apart this Starfleet vessel.”

“Aye sir.” Dekker called back as he pushed his buttons

The Carnage headed towards the Pandora, the Pandora headed towards the Carnage. The battle had commenced.

To Be Continued...


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