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Personal Log | Lt. Shi'iara Stivi | "New Beginnings" part 2

Posted on 10/25/2021 @ 2:53pm by Lieutenant Shi'iara Stivi

Mission: Genesis
Location: Cold Station Theta
Tags: Cold Station Theta, Shi'iara Stivi, Holodeck, Stormcrow, Klingon Restaurant

Shi'iara inhaled sharply as she became aware of her surroundings. She sat up in the bed and massaged her temples with her index and middle finger on each hand, cradling her head with a thumb on each side of her jaw. An exhale. A beat. She released her head from her hands and looked up and around the room again. The flashbacks had returned again. She had been on scads of missions over the last four years and none of them had affected her like this. The baffling thing was, why this mission? It was successful.

Post traumatic stress disorder was a very real thing among ground forces, especially when it came to violent combat and loss of life. But "Night Sword", the unit she had been attached to for the last four years were as good as they came. And she told herself again, that, the Rivonoan liberation was successful. The sheer volume of special forces operatives the Federation had thrown at the standoff ensured the success of the mission. Night Sword was swift, well-trained, decisive. The usurpers at Rivonoa were ragtag, and ill-trained. The only thing that made them dangerous was their fervor. And it could be argued that their fervor had been whipped into a frenzy by Damar Valencit.

Shi'iara's commanding officer would want her to talk to a counselor. Unfortunately, she wasn't near a counselor she trusted. Nor did she want to spend her remaining post-action leave sitting on a couch waxing philosophical about her problems. No, the Lieutenant was still willing, ready, and able to perform her duty.

"Computer, state the time."

"The current time is 0430 hours."

Unbelievable. Shi'iara sighed audibly, her face twisting into a grimace. Even on her days off she couldn't sleep in. She "blamed" it on her training. It wasn't the flashbacks. The flashbacks were correlation, not causation. Still, she wanted to get to the bottom of it and rid herself of these flashbacks. They were unproductive.

"Computer, cancel pending alarms. I need a -- diversion. What does this station provide in the way of entertainment?" Shi'iara already knew the answer to the question. She'd researched the station thoroughly prior to her arrival. But it was early and she was still trying to shake off the effects of the nightmare.

"Pending alarm canceled. Cold Station Theta has two promenades. The upper promenade contains sports, exercise and training facilities, a theater and cinema complex, holodecks, museums, galleries, and libraries.

"The lower promenade contains clubs, bars, and restaurants. The promenades are connected by a large arboretum with varying species of flora and fauna from across the Federation."

"Computer, does the arboretum contain a desert biome?" Shi'iara stood from the bed and moved to her wardrobe.

"Negative."

"A Risian Spa?"

"The Risian Spa, 'Horgaaaaaaa'hhhhhn', will not open until 0700 hours."

Damn it. Eventually things would go her way. "Computer, reserve a single person holodeck for 2 hours, ready in 15 minutes."

"Complete. Reservation available on deck 626, suite 15."

Shi'iara put on her thermal athletic gear, black with cornflower blue accents. They fit her lithe frame perfectly. They would also help her retain some heat for the sun bathing she had planned.

***



The holosuite doors swished open and Shi'iara was greeted with the sight of her home planet. The heat radiated out into the hallway and caressed her face. She walked in slowly, opening her arms toward the sky, soaking in the artificial sunlight.

Rocks littered the landscape, and the light from the red giant of And'vor warmed them perfectly. The Andivorans made their homes in the rocks and caves. The wealthiest of them had homes deep under ground where active geothermal vents were prominent. Shi'iara stepped forward and laid out on a monolithic rock exposed to the sky and buried in the sand.

After 30 minutes of laying out on the rock Shi'iara heard the thrum and whine of an engine approaching. The bones surrounding her ears vibrated and clarified the sound. She'd know it anywhere. It was a Stormcrow. The dark hull of the assault runabout was clearly silhouetted against the red sky. Its gear lowered and set down 30 feet from her.

Shi'iara sat up on the rock as the loading ramp for the Stormcrow lowered. A Marine in full battle dress jogged down the ramp over to the Lieutenant's position on the rocks.

"Lieutenant, sorry to interrupt your rest. Vanfoor is under siege. Jem Hadar forces have the research outpost blockaded. They’re starting to land troops and they're in danger of being overrun."

Partway through the briefing, Shi'iara had stood up. She was already walking back with the Marine to the Stormcrow. Vanfoor. Vanfoor. Then it hit her. It was one of the early battles of the Dominion war. She liked having the computer throw her into random battles across history. It kept her on her toes. "What's the play? Are we running the blockade? Landing troops?"

"Aye, Sir. Well, attempting to, anyway. Previous reinforcement attempts have been repelled by Jem Hadar ground-based anti-air emplacements."

The ramp closed behind them as they entered. "And what makes you think we'll be successful? What's changed?"

"3rd Fleet has bombers en route. They're targeting the emplacements in order to open the corridor and start additional landing actions."

"Bombers? Why bombers? We can disable those emplacements and land troops at the same time. If this is to succeed it has to be decisive. The Stormcrow is a big girl, but she's nimble. And she's more precise than a bomber."

The pair had walked through the personnel hold where the complement of Marines was prepared for their landing deployment. They continued on toward the cockpit.

"I'm inclined to agree with you LT," the Marine said.

"There's a but there. Out with it, Marine."

"The other landing craft didn't make it, Sir. We've lost two flights. That's 336 souls, Sir."

Shi'iara could do the math. 4 ships per flight, 40 Marines and 2 pilots per ship. "They were Stormcrows?"

"Gryphons."

The craft were similar. The Gryphon just lacked some of the extra oomph the Stormcrow possessed. Still, sending a Gryphon for a clear blockade situation didn't make sense. Shi'iara crossed the threshold into the cockpit and took her seat at the OPS console. "We're secure for takeoff, CONN."

She motioned to the Marine to sit at the tactical console. "Show me the situation. Where are the emplacements? Where is the research station?"

The Marine tapped a button on the console and a 3D holographic display of the topography appeared. "The emplacements form a triangle here, here, and here. They're embedded deep."

"That makes the firing solutions difficult. Are we looking at flak? Polaron pulse cannons?"

"Every indication is polaron cannons, Sir. Research station is here." It was in a valley, and unfortunately, easily able to be surrounded. "Projections place Jem Hadar troops around 200 in number."

"So, once the emplacements are dealt with, and you and the boys go boots on the ground, We'll have to loiter and give you fire support."

"I'm sure the boys would appreciate that, Sir." He smiled wanly. "I still don't see how this is going to work, Sir."

Shi'iara drew a path on the overlay. It showed the entry point and a rapid descent with nap of the earth flying, finally popping up and attacking each of the emplacements in a circuitous pattern. She drew optional egress routes back down to the ground after the first and second emplacements.

"That should do it. Computer, analyze current plan."

"Current plan shows 65% likelihood of success."

Shi'iara grinned. Not bad for a first pass. "Optimize. Bias for optimal weapon delivery and emplacement destruction."

The path Shi'iara had drawn changed, the suggested edits appearing in Federation Blue. Shi'iara looked at them and studied them momentarily. In the heat of the moment it wouldn't go to plan anyway, but the important thing was to hit those optimal weapon release points. "Apply edits and import into the flight director. Well, Chief, I think we have a plan. You and the boys will be hot dropping into the zone between emplacement 2 and 3. I'll call it over the intercom. Good luck."

The Chief gave a curt nod before standing and returning back to the drop-bay. Once there he started shouting the updated battle plan to his troops.

***



The Stormcrow exited warp 150,000 kilometers from Vanfoor Prime. The consoles flashed warnings of enemy signals. Three Jem Hadar Fighters and a Jem Hadar Cruiser.

"I have the CONN," Shi'iara said. "Yellow alert. Rig the ship for stealth. Initial dampeners off. We'll coast in. Hopefully we'll enter the atmosphere undetected. The fighters can follow us into the atmosphere, but we'll have the advantage."

"There's still the emplacements to worry about."

"I know. That's where our rapid descent comes into play." She thumbed on the internal communications. "Marines, this is the Captain. We're on approach to Vanfoor Prime under stealth. Inertial dampeners are off. Strap in and brace."

"100,000 kilometers and closing."

Shi'iara watched the targeting console. So far, there was no sign they'd been detected. Their shields and weapons were down to keep their energy signature as faint as possible.

90,000 kilometers. 70, 000. They were well within weapons range. The Jem Hadar hadn't moved. They hadn't been scanned. 40,000. Shi'iara was preparing for their descent into the atmosphere. 20,000.

The Jem Hadar fighters broke their formation. The purple of their engines flared as the ships came to life. One each flew to either side of the cruiser, the third underneath it. Their weapons systems were charging.

"We've been spotted, Sir!"

"Shields up! Charge weapons! Re-engage inertial dampeners. Full impulse. Red alert! We're going to charge straight at them. Target the lower fighter. It's separated from the group."

Shi'iara rolled the fighter to the right in a lazy banking maneuver, drawing the lower Jem Hadar fighter away from the cruiser and its other support. The phasers and pulse phaser cannons opened fire catching the fighter in the dorsal field junction. Another volley. It returned fire just before it exploded.

The other two fighters joined the fray. Their polaron beams fired. Shi'iara initiated evasive maneuvers. Two of the blasts hit. Their positions changed and danced around one another trying to score a fatal hit on the Federation fighter.

"Shields at 55%!"

"Return fire. All power to aft shields. Our only chance now is to get into the atmosphere."

Shi'iara rolled the fighter to the left dipping the nose, before pulling the nose back up hard. She kicked the tail to the left with right rudder and added a slow roll to the right. Shi'iara finished the roll as Vanfoor's gravity began to take hold.

The Stormcrow's phaser banks continued to fire as the Jem Hadar pressed their pursuit. The phasers struck the port Jem Hadar on its port nacelle. The sudden loss of propulsion caused the Jem Hadar fighter to spin uncontrollably. The spin carried it further into the atmosphere and away from the Stormcrow.

That was two down. One remained. And then there was the matter of the anti-air emplacements and liberating the research outpost. The Stormcrow screamed into the atmosphere. Shi'iara adjusted the flight path to match the computer's optimized flight plan from earlier.

Shi'iara monitored the altitude closely. The emplacements erupted around the Stormcrow, but its descent was too rapid for them accurately track the craft. The numbers on the altimeter ticked down rapidly. As the Stormcrow reached its ingress altitude for the emplacement strikes, Shi'iara activated the vertical maneuvering thrusters, at the same time she pulled the nose up and gradually cut out the vertical thrust.

"Marines, stand by. We're approaching emplacement one."

The Stormcrow was flying low and fast into the valley of the emplacements. Shi'iara rolled the fighter to the right following the flight director carefully. Around the next bend Shi'iara pulled the Stormcrow into a sharp vertical climb. At one kilometer, she leveled the fighter, rolling it right, pulling the nose of the fighter toward the emplacement and launched two micro torpedoes and two of the externally mounted micro torpedoes. Once the weapons were away, Shi'iara pressed the craft back into the canyon. Come Hell or high water, these emplacements were going to be destroyed.

The torpedoes streaked toward their target. Seconds later there were four impacts. The emplacement was destroyed in a shower of rock, rubble, and debris. Smoke rose in an inky black column, churning and roiling out of the ruined structure.

"Hot launch in one minute. Repeat, hot launch in one minute. Ready Marines."

The next emplacement fell in a similar fashion. And after diving back into the ravine, Shi'iara slowed the craft to maneuvering thrusters and dropped the landing ramp. The Marines rushed out the back of the craft. They were offloaded in less than thirty seconds.

"Stormcrow, we're clear. Boots! Boots! Boots!"

The valley erupted into phaser and disruptor fire as the Stormcrow raised its ramp and rejoined the fray. The biggest threat to the Marines was the Jem Hadar fighter still lingering above. While it was true that it was not very agile while in the atmosphere, it could still make strafing runs at the boys. And that just couldn't be allowed.

The Stormcrow climbed sharply back up into the sky. Shi'iara was operating on pure instinct now. Adrenaline fueled her veins, and her heartbeat pounded like a war drum inside her ears. "Ready phasers, cannons, and a micro-torpedo. Standby to fire."

Shi'iara maneuvered the nimble assault runabout into position above and behind the sluggish Jem Hadar fighter as a torpedo streaked past the upper starboard side. "Kill position is above and behind from the 6 o'clock," The voice of her flight combat instructor at the Academy sounded in her head. She was in position. "Fire!" She pointed the nose to bear on the enemy fighter, halting all forward momentum just long enough for the volley to depart from the Stormcrow. She increased the engines back to full power and dove to the ground. They were severely throttled while in the atmosphere, but that ensured the pilot had the appropriate reaction times.

"Target's been destroyed, Captain!" Her copilot's voice was followed shortly after by confirmation from the Marines. Shi'iara adjusted her course to setup the approach run for the final anti-air emplacement. The path on her screen turned to green when she was aligned, and she ordered weapons-free for the pockets of Jem Hadar resistance scattered throughout the valley while on approach.

The distance countdown reached five kilometers to the target, Shi'iara again pulled the Stormcrow sharply up into a climb, she leveled off at a kilometer in altitude, and this time, pirouetted the fighter on its nose, in a large sweeping circle around the emplacement.

The phaser cannons and micro-torpedoes rained down on the emplacement and absolutely eviscerated it. Explosions erupted from the site. More cheers raised from the Marines followed by calls for fire support.

Mission accomplished.

***



Shi'iara looked back over her shoulder and into the empty holosuite. The black and yellow grid a stark contrast to the interior of the Stormcrow she'd grown accustomed to. The computer graded the Lieutenant's performance at an 89%. There had been some Marine casualties shortly after the hot-drop. Next time, she'd likely clear the emplacements first and conduct strafing runs against the embedded troops to soften their numbers for insertion. The hot-drop wasn't optimal.

The other option would have been to transport the Marines directly into the research center, but that would have required both parties to lower their shields. It wouldn't have been much of a risk as long as the anti-air emplacements were offline, but it wasn't an acceptable risk if they weren't. It also would have taken too long. The transporters couldn't handle the full complement of 40 troops at once.

A beep sounded from Shi'iara's combadge. "USS-Vindicator arriving at 1930 hours."

"Computer, are there any Klingon restaurants on board?"

"The Klingon Restaurant Hoch 'ejyo'waw'vetlh bop; yIHmey pagh is currently open and serving food. It is located on the lower promenade deck 702."

"Excellent. I've got a date with some Pipius Claw."

Lieutenant Shi'iara Stivi
Intelligence - Special Operations
USS-Vindicator

 

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