Star Trek: Defiant

"The Federation Strikes Back" - Part Nine

Written by Daniel Clark

Risa System

Two hours later

The Defiant hung like a wounded bear over the former resort world. Its primary hull was as battered and scarred like Earthís Moon. The formerly smooth finish gave way to exposed EPS conduits, twisted bulkhead, and even the odd crew quarters. In comparison its secondary hull was reasonably undamaged, and still fired atmospheric torpedoes at the planet at regular intervals. Defiant was battered, bruised, and bleeding, but it was still alive - still defiant.

40,000 kilometres from the nose of the great ship four nanite ships clustered together like children in the school yard. With there bows all pointed together they looked alive, like a football team receiving instructions from a quarterback.

Between the two ships were the lifeless hulks of three former Federation starships that Defiant had already rendered useless. The fight would have been over long ago had the nanites not received reinforcements by way of the USS Liddy and the USS Magnifique.

"What the hell are they doing know?" demanded the Captain.

Kliemann looked up from the ops console he now manned. "From the amount of data being passed between those ships I would conjecture that they trading status reports and maybe even discussing strategy. I suggest we use this time to do the same."

The Captain smiled briefly, "Good idea. Status reports! Mr. Kílarn how are we doing with the launches."

Kílarn, covered in plasma burns, looked up from the auxiliary bridge station he commanded, "Well, we lost aft launchers when the J power conduit blew an hour ago. It took thirty minutes to shunt the power through auxiliary conduit L, and ten minutes to bring the systems back on line and resume the sequence. Frankly all we need to do know is make up for those lost forty minutes."

Before the Captain could reply, the first officer interjected, "However, that may be a moot point. I have analyzed their attack strategy and I believe we can hold out for a maximum of fifteen minutes. We have just 15% forward shields left. We still have not restored full power to the phaser banks and because of that their flanking maneuvers are allowing them to successfully attack more of the ship. It is only because of Commander Matuteís use of the quantum torpedoes as a diversionary device that they havenít gotten a clear shot at the aft launcher.

"At last count we have fifty dead. Reports show we have over one hundred twenty casualties. We have hull breaches on twelve decks, that are barely being held by containment fields. All non-essential personnel have been moved to the secondary hull. To make matters worse we are down to our last twenty quantum torpedoes."

The Captain nodded as Kliemann gave his report. "Whatís the status of the cloaking device?"

Barak answered over the comm system. His voice sounded scratchy and distorted. Comm systems were damaged too, "Sir, as per your orders all parts of the cloaking system have been surrounded by level one shielding. Its been battered, but its still fully operational."

The Captainís jaw tensed, "All right. Its time for plan B."

At that moment Mak stuck his head from the Jeffreys tube where he was trying to restore life support to deck two. His two operatives were also on repair duty as intelligence was of little use to the Captain at the present moment. "Plan?" he said, "You mean thereís actually a plan?"

Mak allowed himself just a moment for a chuckle before he returned to work.

Without having received the report Bridges knew just how desperate the situation was. His bridge was a mess. Slowly but surely the Defiant was losing its ability to defend itself. The ship had been designed to face down a Borg cube, but seven starships was proving just too much for it.

The Captain knew that among the dead were his good friend Myah Wolfrom who had had a console explode on her. She had been taken down to sickbay, but no word had been returned. Middy Harvey who had done such an excellent job keeping the shields positioned had been killed when a power conduit overloaded. Even the sturdy Longshadow was dead. Four tons of bulkhead had crushed his head into pancake and left only a damp spot in some anonymous corridor.

The Defiant looked like a battered baseball catcher who had spent its day trying to fish sliders out of the dirt. Exhausted and battered the player bravely faced the last three outs, but it was still the seventh inning with lots of game left to play. How would the ship stay together.

The Captain stared at his friends Adam Lebin and Chad Mackowick who both lay unconscious on the floor where they had gently but firmly been moved by the first officer. The medics were just too busy to come collect them.

Suddenly Kliemannís voice called out, "Captain, we have another incoming ship. Its readings are very faint. Its moving at high warp, on an intercept course, sir, sheís cloaked."

Then, right before, the Captainís eye a ship decloaked on his viewscreen. The visage of Bridges first ship filled them all with a new resolve. Moving like a panther on the hunt the prototype Defiant leapt at the remaining nanite ships. It made a strafing run at first the Nimitz and then the Churchill. Both ships exploded as Defiantís powerful phaser blasts cut through the already weakened shields like butter. The Defiant quickly returned to stand beside the battered ship.

The Defiant and the Defiant stood together like reunited brothers. Although universally different in size, shape, and design, they were joined by two important bonds: they were both free Starfleet ships, and both enjoyed the legacy of having been captained by Jeffrey Bridges.

The two ships stared across space at the two remaining nanite ships. Unlike the Nimitz and Churchill the Liddy and the Magnifique were still reasonably fresh, but as the two ships prepared for the final encounter the idea of who would win the day was no longer in doubt. On its best day the prototype Defiant could stare down the most powerful ships in the quadrant. With one such ship beside it, and only an Ambassador class and Nebula class starship in its path, the Defiants were ready for anything.

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