Stardate 76398.5.7; May 26, 2399
Edited by Peter Bossley
Written by Chris Adamek
Lt. Commander Turathan Karalis
Lt. Commander Ian Meade
Commander Amy Robinson
“Enemy shields are failing!” Lieutenant Bator’s deep voice boomed over the roaring engines as the Starlight maneuvered around its adversary.
“Their warp drive is offline!” added Erin Keller a scant moment later, her deft fingers dancing over the surface of the operations console. “I’m detecting a minor hull breach forming along their secondary hull!”
On the surface, the sudden wealth of information seemed like good news. It seemed like the battle’s tide was turning, starting to favor the Starlight. But Alan Christopher knew better—looks could certainly be deceiving, and in this instance, he wasn’t going to take any chances. “What about their weapons?”
Bator checked the sensors. “They appear to be coming back online—phasers and torpedoes!”
“Take them out!” shouted Lucas Tompkins.
“And make it quick,” said Christopher, right on the heels of Tompkins’ proclamation. “We can’t allow them to reinitialize their weapon systems again!” The first instance had proven disastrous enough; Christopher didn’t even want to think about a second coming of this adversary’s arsenal.
But the news from tactical was not good. “They are constantly remodulating their shielding,” called Bator, just as the deck started to rumble. “I am having difficulty establishing a weapons lock!”
Christopher grabbed hold of the command chair—even though he suspected the Starlight was not in much danger. This battle had long ago left behind the raging classification… now it was becoming little more than a drawn-out game of cat-and-mouse. Unfortunately, when the mouse bared its teeth, the Starlight’s shields usually paid a hefty price. The enemy might have had extremely limited armaments, but they certainly packed a punch.
The Starlight was still in a far superior position. All they had to do was track down this vile adversary. Obviously, a task easier said than done. Wearily, Christopher shook his head. “People should know when they’re beaten…”
“Their tactics aren’t without merit,” said Bator between failed attempts to lock onto the enemy vessel. “The longer they elude our sensors, the more they can repair their ship…”
“Heh… that’s a luxury they can’t be allowed to have,” said Tompkins. His gaze briefly crossed paths with Christopher’s, and in that instant, both men knew what had to be done.
Christopher quickly took the initiative. “Neelar,” he called, hastily abandoning the command chair in favor of watching the Bolian in action, “how far away is our sneaky little foe?”
Drayge glanced at the helm display. “They’re currently running evasive maneuvers about three thousand kilometers off our port bow.”
“Any discernable pattern?” asked Tompkins.
“No,” said Drayge, shaking his head. “Their movements are completely random.”
Utterly random evasive maneuvers… Constantly remodulating shielding… And if this continued, the enemy would soon have weapons back. Of course, Christopher wasn’t about to let that happen. “Bring us closer, Neelar!”
The Bolian started to set a course, but he paused after only a few keystrokes. “How close?”
A devious grin fell upon Christopher’s face. “Metaphorically speaking… I want them to feel us breathing down their necks—technically speaking, that means really, really close.”
“Aye, Captain…” And Drayge hastily concluded his work. “Course set.”
“Engage!” said Christopher, nodding his approval—and quickly turning his gaze back to the tactical station. “Bator,” he called, “arm all phaser banks, and prepare to fire on my mark—use the manual targeting scanners if necessary”
Bator must have been anticipating the order, because his response was almost instantaneous, “Phasers ready!”
The battle was over. The decisive shots had yet to fire, but in his beating heart, Christopher knew that the end was definitely near—and a victorious smile subsequently fell upon his face. “Fire!”
Blazing streaks of vivid orange light sliced through the heavens as the Starlight hurtled toward its nemesis. At first, none of the countless phaser beams hit the little starship in the distance, but as the Starlight drew nearer, its hit percentage made a dramatic increase. Three… five… ten direct hits, all of them coming in rapid succession. For a moment, it was difficult to see the enemy ship amidst all of the explosions—but as the fiery haze began to clear, the Starlight’s target became all too clear: USS Columbia, NX-97502…