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Desperate Times...

Posted on Tue Aug 13th, 2019 @ 10:29pm by Captain Liarra Von & Colonel S'er'in'e & Lieutenant Commander Walter Prescott & Warrant Officer Marcus Lazlo & Commander Titus Livius Drusus PhD

Mission: Starbase 332, Where Are You?
Location: Main Operations

It was controlled chaos throughout the station as the red alert sirens sounded through the corridors. Officers and crew members rushed to their stations, preparing to take on the latest emergency. With the civilian residents and as many of the docked crews as could be convinced safely away in the shelters, located away from the outer hull, it was just left to the Starfleet crew to see them out of the crisis.

Captain Liarra Von stepped off the turbolift near her office, and entered the station control center from the back entrance. The main operations staff was already hard at work assessing the situation. She made a beeline to the situation table, which was already displaying a holographic wire-frame of the station and the surrounding space. It was eerily devoid of other ships, though that had been the case since they had emerged from the wormhole. “Status report?” she asked no one in particular.

"The swarm has entered sensor range and closing, numbers are considerable." S'er'in'e reported.

Outside the station, the swarm approached, driven by a singular hive-mind with one thing in mind: devouring. Lost in the vacuum of space was the clicking of their chitinous armor, and the thunderous rush of their wings as senses that had long since replaced blind eyes brought them closer and closer to their food. The could sense the energy from within the station from light years away, drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Their purpose became even more driven and clear as they neared, their prey ripe to claim.

The swam broke into three segments, their steel-teethed mouths snapping in anticipation, each group heading toward the station as fast as they could go.

Von nodded along and took a deep breath. It was all coming down to this. “Commander Prescott, what is the status of our defensive countermeasures?”

Not as good as I'd like, Prescott thought to himself. Even though they'd had the benefit of advanced warning, there'd been relatively little time to actually implement many of the countermeasures they'd discussed. Shoring up the defenses while also working on what was needed for their attempt to return home had been difficult. In some respects, their preparations seemed far less than adequate for what they were about to face. Still, Prescott knew there was little use at that point in worrying about what could or should have been.

"Ready as we'll ever be," he replied aloud.

“Colonel, work with Commander Prescott and activate those countermeasures.”

"Understood." As ordered S'er'in'e did just that, with the station about to become under assault it would be a ranged battle before it became a knife fight.

Satisfied that their defensive efforts were in capable hands, Von made her way to the science cluster, where Commander Drusus was checking his console. “Commander, how are we coming with the plan to attract the wormhole?”

“Almost ready, Captain,” Drusus reported, gesturing to his display. “Modifications to the tertiary deflector are complete and we’re charging the verteron burst. Charge is currently at thirty-seven percent and rising at the anticipated rate, but we’ll need more time before it’s ready to deploy.”

Liarra nodded. "Time may not be something we have, but we'll try to hold out as long as possible. Let me know as soon as we're ready." She wandered back to the situation table, the display now showing the approaching insectoids. They were on a collision course with the station, and did not appear to be slowing down.

"Swarm have entered weapons perimeter and closing." S'er'in'e reported as he looked at the display before him.

Von nodded. She could sense that all eyes in the room were on her, even if her gaze was focused on the holographic display. If she gave the order to open fire now, she could be firing on peaceful creatures. But if she was wrong, and waited until they displayed hostile intent, it could be too late. “Colonel, you are clear to engage.”

S'er'in'e had set the phasers for sweeping arcs instead of pin point accuracy. Torpedoes were set to proximity detonation for its blast effect acting as a sort of old earth style flak against aerial attacks. S'er'in'e had seem combat before many times, some he was fortunate to walk away from, others down to luck but this time he got to see the raw firepower of a Stardock class starbase in all its fury.

The weapons fire came with little warning, burning many of the creatures out of the sky, but their resolve didn't falter. Moving with a singular grace that only a hive mind can grant, they darted around the phaser fire and torpedoes, only slowing their approach faintly, as the continued to drive toward their prey. This new food source was tricky, but they'd win the day. They always did.

The swarm split again, rushing toward the station in six groups now, hoping to confuse the firing patterns of the station.

A few hundred lighter than when they started, but still thousands in number, the swarm hit the station with the impact of a bomb, immediately gnawing into transparent aluminum and tritanium like the flesh of an animal. They focused their attacks where they could sense the most energy near the surface, chewing through and seeking out their bounty.

Liarra braced herself against the situation table as the station shuddered around her. It was an odd feeling to not feel the impact of torpedoes, but still feel the station rock from exploding power relays and hull breaches as the swarm tore into the hull. “Damage report!” she barked in the direction of Prescott.

The engineer's hands danced across his workstation's surface as reports flooded in. Twice already, he'd had to re-organize the display to keep from being overwhelmed. It wasn't as if he hadn't been in urgent situations before. Under normal combat conditions, however, there was often a predictable pattern as to when and how the different systems would fail depending on the size and scope of the attack. This was different. These creatures were attacking everywhere at once, anywhere they could gain a foothold.

Angry red indicators flashed all over the readouts in front of him. Failures cascaded through multiple, unrelated systems and the mechanisms that should have been kicking in to back them up were failing, too. "We can't take much more of this, captain," Prescott called back, "Shields are having no effect, weapon systems are failing. Structural integrity is down to...less than forty-percent. Emergency forcefields are not responding..."

Von shook her head and pivoted towards her chief science officer. “Drusus, how much longer on that wormhole.”

Drusus looked oddly calm, almost disinterested, as he checked the display on his console. “Ninety-eight percent charged,” he said. “We’ll be able to deploy momentarily, but I have to remind you, Captain, that there are no guarantees this will succeed.”

"Do it now," Prescott said, not daring to look away from his station. Things were coming apart rapidly now. Even the stream of reports he had been getting only moments earlier was showing signs of interference as a result of damaged systems. It was anyone's guess how much longer they'd be able to hold together before something went critical. "If we don't, that swarm is almost guaranteed to tear us apart."

The room around her seemed to slip into slow motion while the weight of the moment hung over Von. Pulling the wormhole might take them home, but it could leave them stranded anywhere in the universe, if it even worked at all. On the other hand, these insects were ripping into the station's hull piece by piece, and if they didn't act, there wouldn't be anything left anyway. It was a gamble, but Liarra knew they only had one chance at survival. "Do it."

Without hesitation, Drusus jabbed his finger at the activation control, unleashing a tremendous torrent of verteron particles that flooded the space surrounding the station.

In an instant, a bright flash of light enveloped the station as the wormhole opened up right on top of them. As quickly as the mouth of the wormhole appeared, it had closed again, swallowing the station whole. The crazed swarm flitted around the empty space, searching for its lost meal.

Captain Liarra Von
Commanding Officer
Starbase 332

Colonel S'er'in'e
Marine Force Commanding Officer
14th Battalion and Airwing 17

Commander Titus Drusus, PhD
Chief Science Officer
Starbase 332

Lt. Commander Walter Prescott
Chief of Operations
Starbase 332

Swarm played by Warrant Officer Marcus Lazlo


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