In the Maje's Wake

Posted on Fri Apr 14th, 2023 @ 1:50am by Captain Björn Kodak

Mission: Predators and Prey
Location: The Bridge
Timeline: Mission Day 1 at 1230

[The Bridge]
[USS Sojourner]
[MD1: 1230 Hours]

The Sojourner shook again, harder than the last time. The Chameloid Captain grit his teeth as he – along with the rest of the Bridge crew – rode out the shock, his hands white-knuckle gripping the arms of his chair. Around him, the command center of the ship was dimly lit, crimson-trimmed lights flashing slowly to denote the ongoing red alert.

“Shield status?” Kodak asked, watching the Kordra-Lisrit on the main viewer. The Kazon vessel was turning in an effort to match the Sojo’s own manuevers, which were being carried out gracefully by the Trill at the helm in front of him.

“Shields are down to 67% but I think I can get us a bit more,” came the voice of Ensign Samla. The Bajoran Operations officer was busy trying to manage the Sojourner’s energy grid, shunting power away from non-essential systems to bolster the shields. Seeing the results of her handiwork, she nodded and turned back to look at Kodak. “Make that 84 percent, sir,” she said, smiling.

“Good work, Ensign,” Kodak half-smiled back in response. "Tactical,” he turned to toss a look over his shoulder, “what’s the status of our shuttles?” Captain Kodak raised an expectant eyebrow at the blue-hued man stationed behind him.

“The Kazon are still at it,” Ensign Nevek reported back, his antennae waggling with irritation. “Every time Opportunity or Spirit try to descend into the atmosphere, those Kazon shuttles force them back up. At least our ships are more nimble than theirs,” the Andorian grumbled. “I don’t see how Oppy,” he used the shorthand name, “and Spirit are going to make it down there unless we can fly over and intervene somehow.”

Captain Kodak leaned back in his chair and quietly sighed to himself. Over the last hour, First Maje Subrek had been busy effecting repairs on his ship. Even with their weapons down, however, the Kazon had managed to stifle – and continue to stifle – the Sojo’s promised attempts to send aid down to the away team. With no way to contact t’Nai and the others, Kodak could only hope that they were fending for themselves well enough to return to orbit on their own. Now that the Kazons’ weapons had been restored, his priority had to be the Sojo.

The Chameloid’s thoughts turned to the Kotra board sitting on the coffee table in his Ready Room. Just like in his ongoing game with Commodore Valyn – with moves traded by subspace messages – the Sojo and the Kordra-Lisrit were locked in an almost even-keeled back and forth, with neither side possessing enough of an advantage to outright end the conflict. Instead, both ships seemed to be taking turns in trading defense for offense, rotating in and out of attack runs and evasive patterns. The result was that they’d been in extended combat for quite some time with no end in sight, it seemed.

There had to be some way to gain the upper hand, Kodak thought to himself, but how? If things kept up as they were, shield strength would eventually hit zero and then all bets were off. There might not be a ship for the Waverider to come back to if the situation didn’t change favorably soon.

“Options…let’s hear them,” Kodak said, trusting in his people to aid his thinking. Captains didn’t have to have all the answers, after all: they just needed to leverage the strengths of their people to help drive solutions. He hoped the third-string Bridge crew might offer some sound ideas. After several long moments – stuttered by another volley hitting the Sojo’s shields – voices finally began to speak up.

“What if we faked a severe hit to our power grid? Pretend to go dark,” said Ensign R’Mol at Engineering, “and let them swoop in to finish us off. Then, you know… surprise shooty shooty pew pew?”

Kodak chuckled at that particular terminology, despite the direness of their situation – a stress-relieving response to be sure. He gave the half-Klingon, half-Tellarite’s idea some thought but almost immediately discarded it. “My guess is they’d just keep picking at us from afar. No reason to get up close and personal if they don’t have to.”

“There’s always the faux-surrender trick,” Sohlare said, turning back to look at Kodak from the helm. “I mean, the Kazon did try to steal Voyager once. They might bite at taking our ship.”

The Captain gave that, too, some thought. He didn’t like the idea of showing weakness – even if it wasn’t real – but if it got them out of the situation, it wasn’t the worst idea. Still, he doubted Subrek – with his own advanced ship – would fall for such a blatant ruse, though it was possible. “A bit old school but not out of the question. Let’s keep that one in our back pocket for now, though. What else?” he asked to the Bridge at large.

“Sir, I believe I may have a solution,” came a voice utterly devoid of any emotion whatsoever. It was Lieutenant S’lin, the Vulcan at the Science station. “Their engines are currently operating at minimal levels. We could use the deflector dish to saturate the Kazon vessel’s shields with graviton particles. While the particles would not pass through their shields,” she explained, “a build up of particles around their shield shell would increase their vessel’s relative gravitic strength. And,” she continued archly, “in such close proximity to Shaddam IVa, the gravity wells from both the moon and the ship would exponentially effect each other.”

“It’d be like two magnets pulling each other closer…only, with their engine output so low, the moon would win,” R’Mol actually grinned, envisioning the Kordra-Lisrit plummeting down to the surface. “I like that idea. A lot,” the engineer nodded encouragingly at the Science officer.

“As long as – “ Kodak had been about to say more when an urgent beeping from Nevek’s console interrupted him. “What is it?” he asked of the Andorian.

“The Waverider is headed up,” Nevek said with relief. “They aren’t close enough to communicate with yet but I’ve got them on sensors. Those two Kazon shuttles – the two that went down to the surface, I mean,” he clarified, “are also burning for orbit. And…” he grew quiet as he regarded his readings, “one of those shuttles is firing at the other.”

“What the hell?” Kodak asked, rising from his chair. “It can’t be the shuttle they were originally chasing, can it?”

“No sir,” Nevek shook his head. “This is definitely one of the shuttles that were chasing it down into the atmosphere. I think I know why they’re firing on it, though,” the Andorian said. “I’m picking up a Starfleet combadge signal on that shuttle. It’s Doctor Wang,” he reported, confusion in his tone. “But I’m only picking up one life sign onboard and it’s definitely Kazon.”

Could the Kazon in question have stolen the Doctor’s combadge? Nothing was making sense but if it wasn’t Xex onboard, the priority had to be on getting the Waverider and its crew safely back onboard, Kodak thought. They’d figure out what to do about the Kazon shuttle after.

“Charge the deflector dish,” the Chameloid ordered, going back to S’lin’s suggestion. “Initiate the graviton beam once its ready. In the meantime, keep dodging,” Kodak urged Sohlare, grimacing as another hit shook the ship.

“Shields are down to 52 percent,” Samla said. “I’m afraid there’s no more extra power to shore things up. A few more hits and, well…you know,” she frowned, trailing off. Stabbing her nimble fingers at the floating holographic interface before her, the helmswoman initiated a sweeping veer to port, taking them out of the Kordra-Lisrit’s weapons arc for a moment.

“The Waverider has made orbit. They’re waiting for our signal before they attempt to dock,” Nevek explained. “Oppy and Spirit are moving to rendezvous. The Kazon shuttles that were bothering them are bugging out.”

“Deflector dish ready,” R’Mol interrupted, hope in his voice.

“By all means, then,” Kodak nodded, retaking his chair. “Go,” came his raspy order to initiate the beam. “Tell our shuttles to start heading this way,” he ordered.

The Sojourner continued its arc to port, coming around to face the Kazon vessel. With a flash, the deflector dish flared to life, a beam of viridian light streaming forward. Though the beam harmlessly splashed against the Kordra-Lisrit’s shields, the light cascaded around the shield bubble until it engulfed the ship entirely. With the saturation point reached, the beam ceased, leaving the imparted graviton particles to do their work.

At first, nothing seemed to happen. The Kordra-Lisrit continued forward, weapons firing. But as the moments went by, the ship slowed and slowed some more until, finally, it began moving backwards towards Shaddam IVa. This afforded the Sojo an opportunity to veer again – to port once more – and put some major distance between itself and the Kazon vessel: distance enough to lower shields long enough to let the intercepting shuttles and the Waverider begin their docking procedures.

“Once they’re aboard, our next priority is the Kazon shuttle with Wang’s combadge signal,” Kodak rumbled, already formulating a plan. “With Subrek’s ship being pulled towards Shaddam, we should be able to –”

“About that shuttle, sir,” Nevek spoke up again. “It just cleared the atmosphere and went to warp. The Kazon shuttles are warping after it and – incoming signal from Subrek, sir,” he said, antennae straightening. When the nod to put the message on-screen was given, he grabbed the holographic image in front of him and threw it at the viewscreen, where it appeared and magnified.

”A clever trick using gravity itself against us,” Subrek sneered. ”I’d expect nothing else from Federation cowards too timid to fight without the crutch of science.” His words were positively seething with condescension. ”As of now, the dissident on that escaping shuttle is more important than this little…skirmish,” he smiled wolfishly. ”But I promise you, Captain…when next we meet, science will not save you again. My reinforcements are headed here to protect our sacred ground. Were I you, I would not dally here,” Subrek warned before disappearing from the screen.

Left in the Maje’s wake on the viewscreen, the Kazon vessel engaged its warp engines – powerful enough to escape the effects of the increased gravitic attraction to Shaddam – and vanished in a blur of pseudo-motion.

Dissident? Definitely not Xex then. And given the status of their own systems, the Sojo was in no shape to chase after Subrek and whoever was on that shuttle. For now, they'd simply have to contend with what was already on their plate, Kodak mused, and hope that whoever Subrek was chasing could get away on their own.

“Once our shuttles are back onboard, set course and engage for our next planned stop,” Kodak said, rising from his chair and heading towards the rear of the Bridge. “Nevek, you have the conn. I’ll be in the shuttle bay finding out exactly what the hell happened down on that moon,” the Captain said, entering the hall off the Bridge and determinedly disappearing into the turbolift.

=/\= A post by… =/\=

Captain Björn Kodak
Commanding Officer
USS Sojourner

And a whole host of NPCs