Part IV - Beta takes command as the Battle for Earth continues
|Stardate: Sept. 02, 2096
The Vorcian ship sustained repeated hits to it's tubular shaped hull, weapon ports, and engines before finally breaking apart and exploding, debris scattering in the same direction as the ship. It's likely the Vorcian Crew never knew their shielding was neutralized, the maximum power setting of the Stargazer's laser canons destroying the enemy vessel after half a dozen volleys of cannon fire. The element of surprise achieved by the cloaked Galactic Starships caught the Vorcians completely off guard, other Galactic Fleet Battle Cruisers attaining similar results as they destroyed more than a dozen enemy ships before the surviving Vorcians finally realized their shielding was inoperative. Vorcian vessels still capable of operating ultimately responded by taking evasive action and initiating counter attacks, two immediately challenging the Stargazer as they turned, heading directly for the bow of the Battle Cruiser.
"Navigator, hard about, bearing 340 mark 15," Foxwell quickly ordered.
"Aye, sir, heading 340 mark 15.
"Lt. Warwick, make ready starboard energy torpedos; target both vessels; prepare to fire on my command," Captain Foxwell directed as he leaned forward in his command chair, focused on the forward viewing screen.
"Energy Torpedos locked on the Vorcian Ships, Captain," the Weapons Officer confirmed.
"FIRE," the Captain shouted.
Both Vorcian Ships were destroyed.
"Two enemy vessels approaching our stern," Beta announced loudly as she turned her chair in the direction of Foxwell. The Captain swung his chair around and stood in response to his Second Officer's announcement. Before he had a chance to reply, the Stargazer was rocked by repeated shockwaves, the aft approaching Vorcian vessels firing disrupter blasts striking the top of the Stargazer near the bridge.
"Everyone, hang onto something," the Captain yelled out.
Additional disrupter fire was deflected by the polarized hull plating, the Vorican ships firing at random.
"Forward hull polarization at 60%," Lt. Warwick hollered, his voice breaking from the violent vibration of the ship.
Two large metallic supports broke loose on the bridge ceiling, one falling and striking Foxwell, driving him to the floor and rendering him unconscious, the other support falling on top of the first one.
"Medical team to the Bridge," Beta hailing the Stargazer's Medical Department for assistance, Lt. Xuriya leaving her station to attend to the Captain.
Beta stood and locked eyes with the Weapons Officer. "Target their disrupter cannons, Lieutenant."
"Vorcian weapons targeted Commander."
"Aft Laser Canons, 'FIRE, she yelled.
"Disrupter cannons neutralized," Lieutenant Warwick reported.
"Lock Aft Energy Torpedos on their hulls," she further ordered. "Continue repeated volleys until both vessels are destroyed."
Beta moved in the direction of the Captain; using her bionic arms to lift, and her legs as bracing, she removed the first support, then the other.
Emergency Medical personnel exited the turbo lift and rushed to aid the injured Captain. "He needs to be moved to sick bay," the lead medic stated, the others preparing Foxwell for transport to the Medical Department.
"Both Vorcian ships destroyed," Lt. Warwick declared.
Beta realized she was now in command of the Stargazer. She quickly surveyed the bridge crew. "Lt. Xuriya, damage report," the First Officer's order helping the Communication's Officer regain her composure as she returned to her station.
"All Departments report minimal shockwave damage; several crew members treated for minor injuries. Engineering reports hull intact; propulsion units online and functional," Xuriya reported.
"Lt. Warwick, weapons and polarization status?"
"All weapons systems intact and operational, ship's hull polarization re-initialized, current level 48% and rising.
"Acknowledged," Beta replied. "Lt. Xuriya, connect me to the ship's Public Address system."
"PA system linked to the command chair companel, Commander."
Beta walked to the Captain's command chair and sat, then keyed the PA system. "Attention all hands. This is Commander Beta. We have destroyed five enemy vessels with minimal damage and minor crew injuries, with the exception of Captain Foxwell, who has been moved to sickbay. I have assumed command pending the Captain's status. We will remain at, 'Condition Red' until further notice."
"Commander, Earth Defense Command and Galactic Fleet Combat vessels report more than a hundred Vorcian Vessels destroyed or damaged. All enemy offensive operations within Earth's atmosphere and Earth orbit have ceased; eleven remaining enemy vessels appear to be fleeing," Xuriya reported.
"Lt. Xuriya, open a secure channel to Galactic Fleet Command, the Vulcan ships, and all Galactic Fleet Combat Vessels."
"Secure channel opened."
"This is Commander Beta of the Galactic Ship Stargazer. I have assumed command. Captain Foxwell has been injured and is currently incapacitated. Request permission to pursue enemy ships and engage."
"Commander Beta, secure message received from Admiral Perry as follows: Permission to pursue and engage remaining enemy vessels granted. The following Galactic Fleet Vessels are ordered to accompany the Stargazer as a task force:
SS Parthia, SS Centurion, SS Orion, SS Reprisal, SS Valiant, and SS Yorktown. Commander Beta of the SS Stargazer will assume overall command." All other Combat Vessels and Vulcan ships will remain in Earth orbit until further notice. End of message.
The channel still open, Beta wasted no time. She directed navigational and speed data to be transmitted to the assigned task force. As soon as it was confirmed the data was entered, she stood in front of the main viewing screen in reciprocal view of the assigned task force star ships. "Execute, " she ordered. Separately, one after the other, each star ship accelerated at light factor 6.5 in the direction of the fleeing Vorcian ships.
"Bridge personnel, I'm on my way to sick bay to check on the Captain's status," Beta announced. Change our alert status to, 'Condition Yellow.' "Lt. Xuriya, you have the bridge," as she began walking in the direction of the turbo lift.
"Commander, may I please accompany you?" Xuriya requested.
Beta turned and exchanged gazes with the Communication's Officer.
"Commander, I'll take the conn," Lt. Warwick volunteered.
Beta nodded. "Navigator, fill in for Communications until we return."
"Aye, Commander," he replied.
The turbo elevator proceeded in the direction of Sick Bay in response to Beta's voice command. She and Lt. Xuriya exited, walking through a short corridor before arriving at the Medical Facility. A Medical Assistant escorted Beta and Lt. Xuriya to Captain Foxwell's assigned cubicle. A nurse was checking several IV lines and reviewing overhead monitors above the front of his diagnostic bed. His head was wrapped in several layers of gauze.
"The Captain's condition is stable," the Chief Medical Officer divulged, speaking privately with Beta and Lt. Xuriya. "He sustained a severe concussion and a very badly bruised right neck and shoulder, as well as a laceration that required thermal suturing. He's currently sedated, but we'll start him on neural wave therapy tomorrow to help reduce swelling and inflammation; that and bed rest should see him back on his feet in about three days, complications notwithstanding."
"Thank goodness it wasn't any more serious than it was," Xuriya quickly commented. "Those supports that fell him were so heavy. If it were not for Commander Beta, he might not have ..... "
"Thank you, Doctor," Beta interrupted, purposely raising the volume of her voice. Are any other crew members being treated?"
"Just one, Ensign Weber from Engineering. He's in another cubicle; back pain - we're treating him with analgesics and heat therapy."
"Can you take me to him," Beta requested.
"Certainly," the Doctor replied.
"May I stay with the Captain for a few minutes?" Lt. Xuriya pleaded.
"If the doctor has no objections?" Beta answered, deferring the answer to Dr. Rivera.
"It's okay, just don't disturb him."
Xuriya smiled, nodding as Beta and Dr. Rivera proceeded in the direction of Ensign Weber. She stood next to the Captain for several minutes, quietly slipping her hand into his, her eyes moistening. "I still love you, Jon Foxwell," she said as she leaned slightly over him. "I hate that it has to be like this so I can tell you." She leaned over further and kissed him, removing her hand from his and placing it gently back on the bed. "Bye my Love." Xuriya walked slowly, reluctantly away from the Captain's bedside, rejoining the Doctor and Beta as they exited Ensign Weber's cubicle.
"Commander, Lt. Warwick is hailing you," another Medical Assistant informed the 2nd Officer. Beta walked to the interior communication's companel and keyed the speaker. "Beta here."
"Commander, sensors indicate the fleeing Vorcian ships have detected our pursuit, and are incrementally reducing their light speed. Task Force ships have confirmed the same. They may be preparing to turn and fight."
"Acknowledged. Contact our accompanying ships and instruct them to implement phased speed reductions, prepare for possible engagement. Lt. Xuriya and I are on our way to the Bridge. Reset alert status to 'Condition Red.'