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Flight Time

Posted on 25 Feb 2024 @ 4:15pm by Ensign Peris & Commander Terry Walsh & Ensign Aurilia Moretti

2,484 words; about a 12 minute read

Mission: Return to Razmena
Location: Asteroid Belt
Timeline: June 14, 2390 || 1400 hours

Three hours after the Black Hawk had left Gavara, it had arrived at the dense asteroid field where she would be conducting some shakedown testing. The squadron would not be involved in the Black Hawk's tests, but would instead be running some practice drills of its own in a live environment.

Lieutenant Kemm and the engineering team had also outfitted several probes with holoprojectors to allow both the fighter pilots and the Black Hawk some target practice and sensor testing.

Michael was in his fighter, taking the lead position in formation. "Okay," he said into the comms of his flight helmet, "sensor testing and target practice are the focuses of our drills today. We've got holoprojectors attached to probes for our targets. But the probes are controlled by our friends on the Black Hawk who know Starfleet tactics all too well. So while we use those tactics ourselves, don't be afraid to think outside the box. We're here to practice for ourselves, but if we can test the probe pilots, let's do it."

"Copy that," Aurilia responded, amazed that Commander Walsh was back. She was also pleased and hoped to learn more from the experienced pilot. While he wasn't lead this time out, she knew she had a lot to learn and checked her Valkyrie's instrument panels and gave a wing waggle to her wingman.

"Flight Operations to Lieutenant Kenmore, you've been ordered back to the ship," came the voice over the comm system. "Per Medical. Commander Walsh will be taking your place for the duration of the drills. Please acknowledge."

"Damn," said Michael. "That flight restriction was supposed to have been lifted before I left the starbase. I did everything they wanted me to do."

"I'm sorry, Lieutenant," came the response from Flight Ops. "Doctor Kane requests your immediate presence in Sickbay. Flight Operations out."

The frustrated pilot broke formation and headed back to the Black Hawk. He had to get this whole mess settled as soon as possible so he could get back in the seat. As he entered the Flight Deck, he flew by Commander Walsh exiting.

"Ensign Moretti, brief me on the Lieutenant's plan and we'll go from there," said Terry. He brought his fighter to bear on the formation and took position as lead.

Aurilia responded immediately. "Sensor testing and target practice, Sir," she said. "New holographics testing and thinking outside the box. Give it everything we have and make up new as we go, Sir"

Terry nodded at the quick rundown. He appreciated the succinctness of the briefing. "Sounds like a good place to start and keep moving forward. That said, I'm all for making up new stuff as we go," he said to the squadron. "Who knows, if your idea is sound and it works well, you could make it into some fighter tactical manuals. I do want you all to review what I'm about to send you before we officially get started." He tapped a few commands into a console and transmitted a full tactical explanation of a maneuver to the squadron. Asteroid fields were perfect for this one.

"This is called the Khan-Boom Maneuver," said Terry. "I've seen it in action, it's not been around for decades, and it might take the new crew of the Black Hawk by surprise. I recommend we hold it in store, but I want you all to familiarize yourselves with it if you aren't already. It's perfect asteroid fields."

"Who's sacrificing their core, Commander?" Aurilia asked.

"Sacrificing a warp core?" asked Ensign Peris, comfortable in the cockpit of her own fighter. Peris had been with the squadron for a few months, and while she had heard of the risky and explosive maneuver, the Deltan had never considered the possibility that she'd ever see it in action.

"Yep," said Terry. "I'd be happy to take a volunteer first. Before I have to order someone to do it. We still have that fighter that was replaced by the one I flew in. I'm pretty sure it still has it's warp core. So no worries on waiting for a replacement."

"That's your fighter, Boss," Aurilia came back over the comm.

Wouldn't that be something better left in a simulation? Peris wanted to ask. It was a hell of a time to experiment on a warp core, but she supposed with all of these pirates that they were hunting, now was as good of a time as any to learn some new tricks. She looked at her monitor and replied over the comm, "Understood. Waiting on your order."

"Right, right," said Terry. "Seems like it's been forever since I've been in a combat situation. Even training." The Century class Black Hawk had flight simulators. This was completely different. And without a volunteer, "Ensign Chavez, it'll be your warp core during this combat training scenario, if and when we use the Khan Boom. Now let's get this show on the road. Standard search pattern for an asteroid field, tactical sensors to max, and weapons on standby. We go weapons hot at the first sign of trouble. Ensign Chavez, off to port. Ensign Peris, off to starboard. Ensign Moretti, you're with me straight down the middle. Eyes sharp, people. Let's rock and roll."

Oh yeah, Terry missed this part a helluva lot. And he was happy to back in it. He then signaled the Black Hawk that they were beginning.

"Copy that, Rocco," Aurelia said with a smile over the comm. "Tango copies five by five and on your tail."

"Roger that, Tango," answered Terry. "Chavez, Peris?"

"In position," Peris reported, having just rolled her craft to take up the starboard position. "Sensors are tracking multiple asteroids and weapons on standby."

"Roger, Commander," came Chavez's reply.

"Copy that," said Terry. "Let's do it." He moved his fighter into the center of the asteroid field and began scanning visually and with sensors. There were certainly multiple targets out there, but there were some that had holo-emitters on them. The tactical sensors alerted him to an incoming threat. One of the holo-emitters projected a Romulan Warbird from an asteroid. "Holy...Romulan Warbird decloaking dead ahead!" As it activated, a Borg Sphere came round from the starboard.

Peris could not contain herself and immediately deployed a human expression. "Holy shit!" she cried out over her comms. "Borg Sphere at zero-four-zero mark zero-one-five. Tagging tango two!"

"Cueball, you and Retro on that Sphere. Tango and I will join you as soon as we disable this Warbird. Stay to speak."

The simulated Warbird fire a spread of torpedoes at Terry and Aurilia followed by disruptor fire. Terry dodged a torpedo and watched at the green energy went right over the top of his fighter. He went in close to the ship's belly to make it harder for them to lock-on and give himself a few extra seconds. "Tango, options." He had a couple of ideas himself. But since it was combat training for the younger of the pilots, he wanted to hear what they could come up with. Including, outside the box.

"Hug it and chug it," Aurilia called over the comms as she veered right to avoid an impact and raced her fighter over the surface of the warbrird, firing her phasers and torpedoes at the known vulnerable spots. Vulnerable to a starship, but fighters were like gnats to those big birds, but she was a fighter.

"Copy that," said Terry. "Hug it and chug it." He brought his fighter to bear on the Warbird's port nacelle and then strafed the ship towards the impulse engines.

The Warbird returned fire as best it could on the insect-like creatures that were buzzing around it's hull. They were, unfortunately, to close to the ship itself. Getting a clean shot was difficult. So they started blowing up large asteroids that wouldn't harm the ship but hopefully be a pain to the fighters.

Aurilia stayed on Terry's wing, firing off her own salvo of torpedoes and phasers before executing a barrel roll to port. "Incoming fire!"

The blast from the Warbird skimmed the shields of Terry's fighter and caused a line of disgruntlement to escape the Commander's mouth. "Too freakin' real for a hologram!" he said as he rolled the opposite direction. Sensors showed the enemy nosing upwards and banking to starboard. "Watch out, someone programmed that thing too good."

"Copy," Aurelia responded as she had to veer off hard while firing a burst from her phasers, the fighters' alerts screaming in her ears and lighting up the control panel as she pulled through the turn.


The Borg Sphere immediately opened fire on the little fighters rather than beginning with their standard introduction. And neither did it stand still in space. It was on a collision course with the fighters...almost as if they knew the little vessels would pose no real threat and were content to simply ram them into oblivion. It was fast, aggressive and almost vicious. Nothing like what you would expect from the Borg.

"It's not altering its course," Peris reported, shifting her control stick into an evasive maneuver. "Bravo Flight, get out of it's flight path. Let's see if we can flank it on the port side where the asteroids are more concentrated."

"Nice, moving to port," said Chavez. And as he did, the holographic Sphere flickered in and out of view twice. "What the...something's not right." It flickered again and then disappeared. "Sensors are registering a small explosion on the asteroid where the projector and stuff was set-up. Can anyone confirm?"

"I'll take a look," Peris replied. Keeping her sensors in an active ping, she sped ahead to the asteroid where the holographic projector had been planted, only to find it a mangled mess. "Looks like some free-range debris took care of the Borg for us. Cueball, Boss. Care for an assist with the Tango One?"

"Copy that, Cueball," said Terry. "We'll bring the party to you." Terry's fighter rocked at the explosion of a Romulan torpedo that he'd dodged. "Rocko, Tango, let's draw this big guy to Cueball and the others."

"Ready and waiting, Rocko." Peris called to her wingman and adjusted her bearings so that they'd form a welcome party. "Rolling out the red carpet for you."

"They're coming in hot, Rocco," Aurilia called over the coms as she rolled her fighter desperately trying to avoid enemy fire as she headed for the target.

The two parts of the squadron joined up as they dodged incoming fire from the trailing Warbird. "Try to disable the defense grid for starters."

Aurila set her targeting reticule on the grid as she brought her fighter in light and fired off a burst of micro torpedoes and a full volley of phaser fire. "Lock and load!"

A disruptor blast glanced off Terrys shields. "Shields at forty percent...what the hell, man! Who programmed this training hologram at maximum deadliness?!" He dodged the Warbird as it seemed to make a dead run for his diminutive fighter. "First the Borg one and now this? Watch yourself, team." He brought his Valkyrie around for a follow-up pass on the defense grid where Aurilia had just targeted.

"Time to do the Khan Boom now?" Aurilla asked as she jerked her fighter through a series of hard turns to port, flipping it to starboard and then inverting along its axis before she shot down again and was glad that direction in space was mostly meaningless.

"Damn straight," said Terry. He quickly plotted a grid area in the denser part of the asteroid field and transmitted it to the rest of the team. "Head for these coordinates. Arm the micro-torpedoes and mine this area. Don't forget to set the detonators for metals found in Romulan ship and the size perimeter. The density of this area should make it difficult for the Warbird to track us initially and give us enough time. We also need to up the ante since it seems someone else did. Chavez, you just volunteered to sacrifice your warp core."

Chavez sighed. "Aye, Sir." The disappointment and dread could be heard in his voice.

"Place it here," Terry noted, and watched an icon blink on his monitor. "Once we start the chain reactions, a couple of us will tractor you back to the Black Hawk. Once everything is in place, we'll all tractor a smaller asteroid and prepare to sling it."

"We're going to what?" Aurilia came over the comm. "Did you say sling a asteroid?"

Peris shook her head, even though no one could see it. Her thoughts were in line with Aurilla's, thinking "Are we really going to throw rocks at the Romulans?" She refocused and checked her sensors. "I've got a candidate at bearing 3-1-0 mark 0-0-2. Three of us should be able to snag it."

"Yep," said Terry, as he transferred the specifics of the Khan-Boom Maneuver to the others. "Roger on those coordinates. If it were a small asteroid, sling could work. Technically, we'll be reversing the tractor beams as we push this larger asteroid forward towards the warp core .Move in and tractor."

"Copy that,": Aurilia came back as she made a few adjustments to her course and speed and the locations of the torpedo mines they would be spreading, where they would be throwing the asteroid and how long they had before a warp core explosion overtook them. While evading Romulans and the Borg. "I don't want to play this game anymore," she muttered to herself, but her comm was still on.

"Thank the great bird it's just a game," Peris replied, getting her bird into position. She and two others quickly found their spots behind the asteroid. "All right, Spades and Spots, time to push." She toggled her tractor beam on, as did the others. Slowly, the asteroid started to move. "Rock's on its way!"

Terry had followed suit. "Roger that. Maximum thrust and then let's get going. That's going to be a big boom that we don't want to be around for."

Peris and her flight group did as she was told and eased her throttle forward. If she tried to punch it, she would have overpowered the beam and crashed into the asteroid. "Be there in a minute, Rocco."

Aurilia kicked in the thrusters on her fighter and was grateful to the inertial dampeners as it pulled more G's than an atmospheric fighter or human could take as she rolled it over and headed out of the kill zone.

Terry pushed it with the others back towards the Black Hawk. He could hear multiple explosions behind him as the micro torpedoes detonated and sent asteroid particles hurtling towards the enemy. Moments later, the sacrificed warp core exploded. The Warbird disappeared as the asteroid the projector was attached to met it's demise. Another training mission done.


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