((Bridge, USS Montreal))
Rosek: ::pauses:: Red alert. ::presses her thumb to the comm button on the arm of her chair:: =/\=All hands to battle stations. This is not a drill. Repeat. All hands to battle stations. This is not a drill.=/\=
::Her heart raced, thudding rapidly against her ribcage and her breathing grew shallow as she stared at the screen in front of her. The order had sounded stranger hearing her voice giving it and she almost felt like an observer, the sounds around her sounding like a faraway echo. Even the initial tones of the red alert klaxons, which typically grated on her ears, were deafened by the messages her body was sending her brain.::
::Adrenaline coursed through her veins even as she worked to remain focused on the task at hand.::
Rosek: ::smiles wanly:: The first time I sit in this seat and we’re going up against the Tholians? Not my top pick for my first battle as first officer, but I suppose it could be worse.
Mei’konda: There’s still a chaance that this might not turn hostile. A miiniscule chaance, perhaps, but one worth taaking.
::That was true. But given her past experiences with them, she wasn’t holding out much hope. The list of names from the incident aboard the Victory--both the injured and the lost--was forever ingrained into her memory. On top of which they’d almost lost Ayiana and a few others. Lael liked to think that she had gained a better control over her emotional reactions, but there was one thing that definitely hadn’t changed. When someone messed with people she cared about, they’d better damn well be ready for the consequences of that.::
::She exhaled a sigh, pushing the thoughts away and composing herself.::
Rosek: Could have been the Borg.
Tel-ar: Borg are more predictable, simple tactics, just attack, attack, attack. At least the Tholians make it interesting.
::Lael rolled her eyes. It just figured that their Security/Tactical Chief wouldn’t be phased by a fight with the Borg. She shuddered, recalling training scenarios she’d been through. The Tholians didn’t phase her nearly as much as the Borg, despite her past experiences with the former species. The Tholians didn’t have the power to take every ounce of her humanity like the Borg did. For her, the thought of being trapped in her own body while someone else controlled it was far more terrifying than any physical torture the Tholians could devise.::
Galven: ::to Vardai:: Close the rift, ensign. We don’t want anything else coming out of there.
Vardai: Rift? Oh... Apologies, Sir. I was sidetracked by the completion of the decryption algorithm. I will review the data now.
::She heard the comment in passing, still focused on the readouts being fed to the screen in front of her from the science and Engineering stations. It gave her an advantage being able to see both sets of data...observing the ship’s systems while also getting a peek at what was going on outside the ship. Shaking her head, she entered a line of code to adjust the sensors, wishing like crazy not for the first time that the compound she’d been working on to protect ship’s systems from the tetryon radiation in the Shoals had been completed by now.::
Cattan: ::to Captain Mei'Konda':: Captain, you asked for me?
Mei’konda: Yes, Counselor. I’d liike you to access the Starfleet databases and give me any insiights you can think of that we could use to attempt a… diplomatic solution to this.
Rosek: ::grimaces:: Good luck, Lieutenant.
Cattan: Yes, Sir. :: Cattan nodded at him, then settled down nearby at an open station. ::
Mei'konda: Thank you, Counselor.
Rosek: ::to Tel-ar:: We could use your skills and knowledge of the Tholians at tactical, Commander.
::It had been a suggestion more than an order...partly out of respect for the fact that though she was First Officer, the man still outranked her pipwise. Also partly out of respect for his experience in his chosen duty post. A strongly emphasized suggestion...but a suggestion nonetheless.::
Tel-ar: As you wish. ::Tal replied as he spun to face the young woman sitting at that post, before moved over towards her. ::
Mei’konda: Agreed. Commander Tel-ar, arm all weaapons and raaise shields.
::And damn if it didn’t boost her confidence more than a little bit to see her pseudo-order taken to heart not only by Tel-ar, but by Mei’konda, too. A smile turned up the corners of her lips as she returned her focus to the task at hand.::
Tel-ar:: Weapons on line, fire control active, forward starboard shield still only at 63%, all other shields holding at 94.723%
Rosek: ::to Cattan:: If you know anything that could give us an edge here, Lieutenant, it would be appreciated.
Cattan ::she softly shakes her head:: I don't have any experience with Tholians. Never encountered them before, so I'm sorry ::she blushes::
Rosek: ::to Mei’konda:: Should we at least try to talk to them?
::There was a good chance it wouldn’t go over well at all. In fact, she’d wager every bottle of top shelf brandy she owned that this would result in a shooting match despite their best attempts to extend an olive branch. But it was the right thing to at least try avoiding a war. In the end, she’d know she hadn’t gone into this mess with her heart in the wrong place. God taught compassion and patience. If the other side didn’t want to make peace, there was only so much she could do. Turning the other cheek only got a person so far.::
Mei’konda: Captain Rahman, first. Counselor, hail the Veritas. Tiight beam, and maake sure it’s encrypted. Audiio only.
Cattan: ::she nods:: will do so ::she started the hail was encryped and she put it on audio:: got them, when you're ready Sir.
Mei’konda: =/\= Veritas, this is the Montreal. We’ve piicked up a temporal riift near your locaation - and we’ve had some luck interceptiing communicaations from Tholians. We don’t haave a defiinitive read on their position yet, but they’re closing in. =/\=
Rahman: =/\= We’re sorting it out, commander. How is your ship and crew? Able to handle a few Tholians? =/\=
::She was only half focused on the conversation between the two commanding officers, the remainder her attention split between the information updating near constant on her screens and German working with her. This was the first time they’d worked side by side in a situation like this. Something about it seemed so different from their brief captivity at the hands of the Malacosladae. Here, they were both in their element, each doing what they did best.::
Mei’konda: =/\= We’re at a much hiigher operational efficiency than we were several daays ago, but the crew is still getting to know their shiip. We’ll liikely need the Veritas baacking us up. =/\=
Rahman: =/\= All right, go ahead and make your way back towards our position. We’ll move to join you once we’ve wrapped up here. =/\=
Mei’konda: =/\= Understood, Captain. Montreal out. =/\=
::The cutting of the comm got Lael’s attention and she looked up, her brow furrowed as her gaze went from Mei’konda to the viewscreen. The adrenaline was still causing a physiological reaction, though she’d managed to subdue the more severe symptoms and stay focused. The thought of what was out there waiting for them caused a reaction of a different sort--nervousness.::
Mei’konda: Ensign Chatva, lay in a course to intercept the Veritas. Speed at your discrretion, but get us there quiickly.
Chatva: ::nods and enters a series of commands into the console:: Aye, sir. ::glances at the viewscreen:: Full impulse engaged. Distance at 5000 kilometers and closing.
Galven: ::to Vardai:: Since visuals are online now, check to see if we are able to scan for any Tholian ships in the area.
Vardai: ::To Galven:: Once the rift is closed, certainly. An anti-tachyon pulse from the Deflector Dish should achieve that, Sir. Ready to execute the procedure on your mark.
::This was certainly a first. She’d heard the theories at the Academy and had even simulated them herself for a final or two. But this would be the first time she’d see it put into action in an unplanned situation. She prayed that nothing could go wrong. They couldn’t afford to make any mistakes right now. With the ship barely holding together, they couldn’t use power only to have them fail. God only knew what that rift represented and she hoped they’d never find out.::
::To her relief, she saw from the scans that the rift was closing.::
Mei’konda: Looks good, Lieutenant, Ensiign. Please turn your attention to the Tholian ships, and get me as much informaation as you can.
::Lael entered a series of commands, switching the feed for the science station to a monitor closest to German while keeping her eyes on the ship’s systems. If any part of the ship was in danger from an overload or a hit from the Tholians, she’d know it instantly. The use of Tholian webs on any part of the ship could cripple the little vessel and leave them sitting ducks. They were already running close as it was.::
Vardai: Detecting.. Three Meshweaver Class Frigates inbound, Bearing 022 Mark 150 Distance 20km.
Cattan: Do we know anything about their hostility? Are they armed?
Vardai: They’re armed with Tetryon arrays and Thermionic torpedoes - standard Tholian armaments. Captain - Thermionics have power draining capabilities. Should I transfer the visual range of the scan onto the viewscreen?
::She rolled her eyes. Standard armaments? For Tholian ships, maybe, but those tetryon arrays could react badly to the tetryon radiation already attacking their systems near constantly. Those worried her most. It could definitely result in an overload. Getting hit with those would likely blow a hole in the ship the size of the captain’s yacht. The forcefield that would be required to protect whatever part of the ship that happened to would drain their precious power reserves even more quickly and put them in a really tough position.::
Mei’konda: Commander Tel-ar, any further insiights into that class of ship?
Vardai: Doing it now, Sir.
::The furrow in her brow deepened as three vessels that reminded her of post-WWIII Earth short-distance extraplanetary fliers, except clearly more alien in their design, appeared on the viewscreen. The formation they flew in seemed almost defensive, though it surprised her as it made them an easy target. If they’d wanted to, they could have destroyed the crafts with relative ease. The alert of an incoming hail had her glancing at German, arching an eyebrow.::
Vardai: So much for radio silence.
::Hell, she was surprised the Tholians would even consider talking. She was beginning to be glad that she hadn’t verbalized her bet as German likely would have taken her up on it.::
Cattan: Audio only Sir, I'll open the line if that's okay with you.
Mei’konda: Proceed, Counselor. Open a channel to Veritas as well. I waant them to be able to taake part in this conversation.
Tholian Commander Taroka: =/\= This is Commander Taroka of the Tholian Meshweaver Class Frigate, Vrusik. Surrender and prepare to be boarded. =/\=
::She rolled her eyes. No surprises there. She wondered if a negative response would send the commander into a monologue-style rant like the supervillains of 20th and 21st century Earth superhero movies. As tempting as it was, she kept the comment to herself. Now wasn’t the appropriate time to let her closet nerdiness out.::
Cattan: =/\= No need for hostility Commander Taroka... =/\=
Tholian Commander Taroka: =/\= At least with us your people will be allowed to live, those on your other vessel are about to be eradicated. =/\=
::She huffed. So no supervillain monologue. But maybe one of the most predictable lines she’d ever heard.::
Mei’konda: =/\= Vrusik, this is Captain Mei’konda of the Federation starship Montreal. We are in neutral spaace, not across the Tholian border. You haave no jurisdiiction here. I suggest all of our shiips contiinue on their way, so that we may avoid any unpleasantness. =/\=
Tholian Commander Taroka: Response
::The proximity alarms ringing out sent her pulse racing again, her eyes growing wide as she saw the spread of torpedoes speeding toward them on the sensors. She got to work, re-allocating all available power to the their shields as they braced for the impact. Their weapons, thankfully, were still fully functional (well, as functional as they had been when this whole mess had started).::
Mei’konda: Cut communicaations. Commander Tel-ar, shoot down those torpedoes. Ensign Chatva, keep our staarboard side facing away from those Tholians!
Chatva: ::nods:: Aye, sir. Executing evasive maneuvers.
Tel-ar / Any: Responses
::She was relieved when the last of the torpedoes had been struck down.::
Mei’konda: Good shooting, Commander. Taarget the lead enemy ship’s weapon systems. Fire full phasers when ready.
::The shudder of the deck beneath her feet had her grimacing. The tetryon beams. Her biggest concern. If those weapons hit the ship in the wrong spot, they were in for a world of hurt...both figuratively and literally. Her gaze moved from screen to screen as she searched desperately for even an ounce of power to divert to the more vulnerable place in their shields.::
Mei’konda: Shield status?
Rosek: ::shakes her head:: I’m diverting every ounce of power I can find, sir. They may be holding for now, but if the Tholians get in a lucky shot, it could cripple us.
Mei’konda/Tel-ar/Galven/Vardai/Cattan/Any on the Bridge: Response
Rosek: ::pauses:: If we could figure out a way to disable their ships, we might stand a fighting chance. But we need to do it while draining as little of the power that we have left as possible.
Mei’konda/Tel-ar/Galven/Vardai/Cattan/Any on the Bridge: Response
Rosek: We need to do it in one shot if we can. Maximum damage with minimum effort.
Mei’konda/Tel-ar/Any on the Bridge: Response
Rosek: ::glances at German and Vardai:: Lieutenant, Ensign...any ideas?