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Lt. Cmdr Baylen Anders

Commander Taybrim - Cry Havoc

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((Bridge - USS Albion))

::There comes a time when life slows to a standstill, and the hyperactive brain starts making commentary on the action around you. Something in the subconscious becomes a play-by-play announcer, wondering if this next decision will be the thing that propels you to victory or kicks you into the void.

Sal felt like he was on a see-saw, balancing on a highline several hundred meters above a hard concrete. One wrong move and everything would tumble, and he would end up a meaty vaguely Betazoid-shaped smear on the pavement of history.

Despite that, his resolve was solid. It had to be - they took all your pips away if your curled up into a ball crying on the bridge. Not that pips motivated Commander Taybrim. The lives of his crew, his duty, doing the right thing and all the other lofty ideals that made Starfleet stand out for over a century were the same things that pushed him forward.

Gods of the galaxy, he hoped he was right.::

Taybrim: Now Falcon! Do it now!

Falcon: oO Close enough! Oo

::Sal gripped the edges of his seat so hard his knuckles turned white. The Albion was certainly taking a beating, though curiously enough they had escaped without much structural damage. Engines, weapons - all targeted, but the Stormcrow aimed at leaving them toothless, not gutted.

Why that fact clarified in his mind as the Albion spun giddily in the star field, he never knew. But it was something that lingered with him...::

Malcolm: ?

Falcon: Swinging now!

Tatash: Beams primed, I've got them. ::he exclaimed, his console flaring to life as he silently thanked Theo, weapons, all be it limited starting to respond once more::

Taybrim: Target the main power relay! ::The schematics had already been called up when they cooked up this plan::

Vondaryan/West: ?

::The whine from the Albion's engines was a terrified sound. Though the deck plating it sounded like a muffled screaming as they pushed the ship to her limits - and beyond. In the flare of the red alert, the bridge crew struggled to keep focus on their duties as the ships did a sickening pirouette around one another.::

Falcon: Ready! Cut tractor!

Tatash: Tractor detatched!

Bridge: Response?

::Sal held his breath as there was a shift in momentum, and the Albion slowed as the Stormcrow accelerated. It was magnificent and dizzying, with the backdrop of the asteroid field, the Cheyenne class ship careened towards the mines like a lemming towards a cliff.::

Taybrim: Set the pulse wave! Hit him with everything we can muster!

Falcon: oO I am a black belt in Starship Jujitsu, and don’t you dunderheads ever forget it! Oo

::Sal held in a smirk, eyes flickering towards Falcon. He appreciated her humor.

Little did he know that raft of humor would be his last oasis for quite some time.::

Anders: Filling the tubes with Hot Plasma, there may be a bump. ::under his voice:: and a mess to clean up.

Vondaryan: Responses?

::The pulse wave lanced out, cutting through the blackened sky. It disrupted the Stormscrow's power. A [...] for a tat, it took her weapons offline. They watched as her shields flickered, with a sickly green corona.

Green? Sal's head twitched. That wasn't what he was expecting, but there wasn't enough time to point that out. The Stormcrow twitched against the minefield, explosions going off around her hull that drained her already battered shields. The lights on the Cheyenne class cruiser guttered in a quick succession.

And yet she had fight in her. Sal imagined Arrhimen was picking up the pieces of what he had, because the Stormcrow steadied herself and the torpedo tubes glowed blue for a split second before Tatash's quick hand pre-empted them.

A single torpedo lanced out from the Albion, impacting at point blank range.

What happened next was not what Sal Taybrim expected. Shields were down, the hull was breached, and the torpedo, which he expected to tear through the engine core of the Stormcrow and leave her dead in the water - something they could easily tow back to StarBase 118 - impacted with a brilliant white corona.

The engines shuddered and were pulled inwards before they exploded out into the asteroid field with a force so hard that it threatened to tear the Albion into pieces. The shields of the Excelsior class starship groaned and crackled, as Sal shielded his eyes. The viewscreen was engulfed with fire.

When he could see again, all that remained was the saucer section. It looked like something had taken a large bite out of the disc, burning circuitry was visible from the jagged edges as it slammed into an asteroid and fell silent like a dying predator licking the cooling blood from mortal wounds.

Sal's eyes went wide, staring at the screen. An ice-cold numbness came upon him.::

Tatash: Target destroyed. Three lifeboats, life-signs aboard.

Anders: ::Looking at the view screen:: So much to a peaceful draw. Transporters are down sir, we can use a shuttle to round up the lifeboats.

Taybrim: Get all the remaining shuttles mobilized.

::He clenched his teeth, unable to rip his eyes from the screen. He didn't care if there were 24 crew onboard the Stormcrow or 240. How many were dead? how many were left?::

Anders: One of the pulse wave devices is stuck in the torpedo tubes, and it is over loading. ::running the number quickly:: it will over load in less than four minutes sir.

::That snapped him out of his reverie::

Anders: I can get down there and disarm it sir?

Taybrim: Get down there now. Let engineering know and co-ordinate with them! ::They hadn't survived so far only to get knocked down by a malfunction.:: Go! ::Silence settled across the bridge as Sal looked from station to station, and he finally voiced the question nobody wanted to ask:: What the hell just happened?

Tatash/Vondaryan/West/Falcon/Nira: ?


::He shook his head, casting a gaze at the injured Gorn. Tatash was an incredible officer, and he wasn't sure if it was the damage to his console - or the injury that had prompted the mistake in inventory. Sal's next word came out searching, not accusing::

Taybrim: The Albion doesn't stock quantum torpedoes, Lieutenant. She was never refitted with the new systems. ::he paused, letting that fact linger in the air::

Tatash: ?

Taybrim: I'm neither questioning your shot, nor what we saw. The fact remains that the firepower of the Albion should have disabled, not destroyed. And yet we just saw the Stormcrow get destroyed to a quantum blast. ::he paused, looking around meaningfully.:: I want to know how we fired it.

Tatash/Vondaryan/West/Falcon/Nira: ?

::The speculation was cut off by a screeching crackle from the commline. The Stormcrow's lifeboats were hailing.

Sal was halfway up the stairs towards the ready room when the call came through, and his directive into the diplomatic think tank was short and to the point::

Taybrim: Lieutenant Trel'lis, I need your team on the bridge right now. We have a call coming in from Arrhimen.

Trel'lis/Broi/Zinna: ?

::Sal turned, heading towards the center of the bridge::

Taybrim: Put him on screen. ::He waited until the screen came to a whitewash of static, slowly fading to a visible form:: Stormcrow, this is Commander Sal Taybrim of the USS Albion--

::A man that held his gravitas even though a bleeding temple and a insane twitch in his eye interrupted with a passion that rolled through the airwaves.::

Arrhimen: PROOF.... ::Pointing:: Proof I was right. I was trying to push you out of the way of a hidden Romulan Predator.

Taybrim: What? ::he furrowed his brows:: Captain Arrhimen, you attacked us...

Arrhimen: Dont be a fool, Commander Taybrim. Open your eyes, you did not destroy the Stormcrow, with all do respect your torpedo tubes are just to small and my knowledge gave me a greater battlefield advantage. The Stormcrow was destroyed by what we call target A.2 a hidden Romulan ship.

::Sal's jaw lolled for a split second. How could Arrhimen propose that they were 'protecting' the Albion by damaging her? Taking away her ability to flee or maneuver?::

Taybrim: Do you have proof?

Arrhimen: ?

Taybrim: ::he held up a hand:: How many of you crew are on the lifeboats?

Arrhimen: ?

::Three boats, only seven people. That was a tiny handful, even for a crew of only 24.::

Taybrim: ::His voice was tense, cautious:: There's no readings of a warbird any closer than a half hour at full warp. If you have proof, Captain, we can discuss it. We're sending relief shuttles and we'll check the remains if the Stormcrow for survivors.

Arrhimen: ?

~*~
tags/tbc
~*~

~*~

Commander Sal Taybrim
Executive Officer / Acting CO
StarBase 118 Ops / USS Albion

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