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Posted on Wed Apr 22nd, 2020 @ 12:45am by Lieutenant Commander Jennifer Jurot & Lieutenant Thaddeus Scott & Commander Zack Hawkins
Edited on on Thu Apr 23rd, 2020 @ 1:14pm

Mission: Episode 1: Armageddon - The End of All Things
Location: USS Nogura, DS5 Repair Facility
Timeline: Day 4 at 1350

Her hard-soled boots tapped loudly on the deck-plating as she walked the corridors. The few crew who were still aboard moved out of her way as she stormed around them. Jennifer Jurot moved fast; she always moved fast. The fact that she was reading from her PADD didn’t slow her down a bit, but it gave others a reason to watch her more closely. Commander Hawkins was a charming man, an intelligent man, but not a detail-oriented man. Whenever she brought the tedious details regarding the refit of the Nogura to his attention, his bright blue eyes seemed to go dull and he drifted to his own private dreamland. She fucking hated that.

Almost all of the work had fallen to her; she was good at it, but she couldn’t shake that stereotypically “Jurot” feeling that she should be the one running the show. She stepped off of a turbo lift and entered the bridge of the Nogura. She had served there as XO for only eight months, but she was sure they were some of the most productive eight months in the ship’s history. She had the refit crew working like clockwork; no rest for the weary. She walked to the command area and her eyes fixed on Commander Hawkins.

“We’ve finished the refit of the thruster assembly and have moved on to the impulse drives. I just need your approval, and we can get the warp drive overhaul underway” she said, pressing her full lips together and holding her data PADD out to the Commander.

Hawkins looked up from the PADD of information that he was reading, regarding the construction details of the new Polaris-class starship to be launched, and then looked away again. He hated talking about the refit, even if it meant the Nogura would be like a new ship in a few weeks time – patience was not his strong suit. “Did you know that they ditched the refits of several vessels to speed up construction of the new Polaris-class vessels?” he eventually spoke, placing the data PADD he had been reading on the vacant Counsellor’s chair. “Do they really think a refit is all this ship needs?” he shook his head as he took the PADD his XO wanted him to look at. He reviewed its contents with a raised brow and signed away on the proverbial dotted line. “There’s a reason a Commander is in charge of the Nogura, not a Captain…” he added in frustration.

“I hadn’t heard, no. I’ve been a bit distracted...” she said, clearly cross with him in a way that only a lover could be cross. She took her seat next to him, her head turned slightly to the side as he signed the PADD. She’d been working on that report for the better part of five days, and all that he had done was sign his name. With any other CO, she would have been all “yes sirs” but with him, she looked on with a bit more frustration.

She leaned in and lowered the volume of her voice so that only he could hear her. “I know you’re not exactly thrilled with the Nogura, but at least you have a command. People would kill for an opportunity like this.”

After she finished with a furrowed brow, she slid another data PADD onto his knee for reading. “These also need approval, sir.” she said louder, a painted grin on her face.

“What are they?” he queried as he picked them up and started to flick through the contents. He hated being put in his place by the XO, even if she was right. It was understandable to be less than enthused about a bucket like the Nogura, surely? Suddenly something on the clipboard caught his attention. “When did this happen? Who turned down Smyth’s promotion to Lieutenant?” he glanced across at his XO, a less than impressed look on his face.

She arched an eyebrow and looked at him wordlessly for a few seconds. “Smyth has been late for his shifts five times this month as a result of… late night activities. I’ve had to run him around the ship as punishment.” She pursed her lips; he probably didn’t mind so much, considering he had been the one drinking with him. “Sir, we talked about this last night. Ensign Smyth, in my opinion, isn’t ready for more trust and responsibility.”

Anyone who knew her was aware that when she said “In my opinion” it meant to her “In fact.” She looked at him with challenging eyes, but looked away when she realized that they had caught the attention of one of the bridge crew.

Hawkins bit his tongue and resisted the urge to counter her response when he too realized that they were drawing attention their way. He looked at the nearby crewman with a scowl. “What?” was all he said. He valued the “facts” of his XO, but god damn it she got under his skin sometimes.

“Sir,” the nervous looking Petty Officer began, “we’ve been asked to transfer another batch of officers to the starbase,” she concluded as she passed over a new clipboard of information.

“What?” he genuinely looked confused now as he glanced over it and then slid it to the XO. “How are we supposed to function at all if they keep taking our people?” he quizzed, certain this wasn’t something he had forgotten or let slip by him.

“There was a message yesterday from th’Zorati, requesting that we take a hit for the good of the fleet.” Jennifer responded. “We’re set to receive new transfers in a few weeks when the refit is nearing completion. The Admiral felt that there was no point having such a large crew holed up here when they could be put to better use elsewhere.”

Hawkins looked at the XO with a raised eyebrow and mustered a quiet “Hmph,” in response.

“I’m sure everything will be fine sir,” Jennifer said, her authoritative tone filling the bridge. “I’ll be in engineering if you need me.”

“You may want to hold off on that Commander,” a different voice spoke as a new figure emerged from one of the other stations at the aft of the bridge. “I’m sorry to disturb you, but we’ve picked up a priority one alert message from Fleet Headquarters,” he informed, a worried expression on his face. It was unusual for transmissions to be transmitted with encryption protocols, but it was the content that worried him the most.

“Priority one?” the Commander queried as he held out a hand for the message to be passed his way. He read through it and then passed it over to the XO. “They can’t be serious?” he asked as he looked at her for her opinion. If what the message said was true, he needed to know and fast. “Mister Scott, get me Starfleet Command. In the meantime, verify that message,” he ordered.

The man who had brought the original message nodded and sped off back to his raised platform and the communications station there and set about verifying the contents of the transmission.

Jennifer scowled as she read what was on the PADD. Her heart began pounding in her chest and adrenaline coursed through her. She looked at what it said and a more fierce scowl crossed her face. She looked up at Zack with big eyes. “If this is true, it means we’re at war. If we hurry, we might be able to get Nogura battle ready. We need to get the engines back online.”

“Lieutenant!” Zack called as he rose to his feet and looked back towards the communications station, an almost pleading expression on his face. If he was to give his next order, he needed confirmation of the transmission.

Lieutenant Thaddeus Scott, Tad to his friends, looked up from the communications station with a nod. It was all the confirmation the Commander needed to spring to action.

Hawkins lifted his hand and tapped his commbadge, his gaze falling on to the XO as he spoke and never moving. “=/\=All hands, this is the Captain. Moments ago, this ship received word that a Borg attack against the Federation’s core worlds is underway. We do not yet know the size, disposition or strength of the enemy forces… but all indications point to a massive assault against homeworld defenses. Admiral th’Zorati is readying a fleet, here at Deep Space Five, ready to strike back. How this could’ve happened, why it happened — none of that matters right now. All that does matter is that as of this moment we are at war,” he declared before tapping his commbadge and terminating the transmission.

Gasps, audible shock, even some tears could be seen around the bridge, but still the Commander’s gaze remained on his XO, his loved one. The disagreements, the banter, the down right annoyance no longer mattered. “Jennifer…” he whispered, “battle stations.”

She looked at him, genuine fear in her eyes, something he had likely never seen before. There was a moment where she felt so encountered by those feelings that she forgot who she was and where she was. It was only a second, before she remembered the lessons of her upbringing. Her father had taught her well, she had to be a warrior now; they all did. She quickly turned to the Tactical station, the fear in her eyes melting away to a coldness like steel. “Battle stations!” she said clearly, pointing to him.

As the red alert klaxon rang out around the ship, many of the lights on the bridge turned from their usual bright colour to flashing red strobes, indicating their heightened state of alert. As Jurot turned and looked around the bridge, her Betazoid instincts caused her to zero in on the scared faces around her. Some moved slowly, some were so overwhelmed with shock they sat still and did nothing. Rage filled her; she was mad at them for being just as weak as she was. “HEY! Get your fucking heads out of your asses right now and get to work, people! It’s time!”

As the crew around them startled and then leaped into nervous action, she turned coldly toward the man she loved with eyes absent of feeling; she couldn’t afford to feel. Not now. “Your orders, sir?”

With battle stations sounded and the crew, what was left of them, starting to respond, the Commander considered his orders for a moment. This was it, the real deal. It was a moment he had been waiting for, even if it was much worse than what he had hoped for, it was his moment to show the crew he was the leader they needed. “Engineering; get the warp engines online. Helm, release the docking arms and get us the hell out of this berth, we’ll be of no use stuck in here,” he declared before stepping away from the command area and towards the aft mission operations stations. “We need to meet up with…” he didn’t get a chance to finish his statement before there was a severe rumble throughout the ship which threatened to throw them all off balance. The rumble was soon accompanied by the sound of several different alarms going off.

“My god…” Hawkins trailed off as he turned to the viewscreen which he had activated. Borg cubes. Four to be exact, all converging on the Starbase and its surrounding Fleetyard. The rumble, not severe enough to have been a direct hit to the Nogura, had to be feedback from an explosion somewhere on the station.

Jennifer looked over at the Tactical Operations officer. “Get those weapons ready for use, Lieutenant. Now.” she then reached for her commbadge. “=/\=Sickbay, this is the bridge. Stand by for casualties.” She terminated the comm channel before walking around the tactical rail to the weapons console herself, her cold gaze falling on the woman behind it. “How long until weapons can be loaded?”

“Uncertain, Commander-”

“Get certain, Lieutenant! We don’t have time. Get the answers we need, that’s your job.”

She turned and walked back to the command chair, still listening as the weapons officer coordinated with officers from around the ship. After a short moment, another voice spoke up again. “Commander Jurot, we should have warp power in a matter of minutes.”

“Mooring clamps released,” the Flight Operations Chief called from the front of the bridge. “Taking us out, full impulse power.”

Jennifer turned to Hawkins with a bit more feeling than before. “If we stay here, we’re dead. We need more time to get ready. We should do an in system warp jump.”

“No fucking way,” Hawkins shook his head swiftly. “Do you know how dangerous that can be?” He looked at the XO and saw the expression on her face. It was a case of “you know I’m right” and with a sigh, he reluctantly agreed. “If we are to do this we need to be clear of the station,” he told as he turned towards the Helm officer. “Helm, get us clear of the station and prepare to jump to warp,” the Commander instructed.

Whilst the officers around them worked, the feelings of grief subsiding whilst they had something else to focus on, the Commander leant in to his XO. “You sure this is a good idea?” he whispered, looking at the readings on his data PADD before glancing back at her. “If it goes wrong, we’re dead,” he reminded her.

“There are four Borg cubes closing on our position, Zack, and we are in no state to fight,” she said quickly. “If we don’t try, we’re dead. Let’s get our heads in the game. We’ve got to pay these bastards back for what they’ve done.”

Zack looked at her and eventually nodded. “Helm,” he called out. “Begin warp jump countdown!”

The officer at the conn nodded and started to call out the numbers that would count them down to their warp jump. As she did so, the ship rumbled again, this time much more severely, a Borg torpedo hitting the station much closer to the Nogura and the resulting shockwave impacting the ship.

“It’s now or never!” the Commander decreed over the noise.

“Belay the countdown, just jump to warp now!” Jennifer called out to navigation. Her right hand found Zack’s without her even thinking about it, and as she felt the warmth of his skin, she felt the fear she’d pushed away one last time.The navigator nodded and, in the tense seconds between her pressing the button and the warp jump commencing, the bridge was silent.


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