Lieutenant Melar held his disruptor steady and aimed down the corridor. Without their tricorders, the Fedies would have to stick their heads around the corner to see what was going on, which meant that he would have another chance to kill one of them. Or they could learn the mirror trick, but that was a little low tech for this Starfleet.
A head peaked around the corner. He squeezed the firing stud of his disruptor and a beam of emerald energy blasted through the Earther's face plate and burned through his skull. The body fell. Melar ducked down, so he wasn't quite in the same place as his last shot.
Something bounced off the wall and clattered along the floor towards him. It took him a moment to recognize it. It was a federazhon hand phaser and he realized it was probably set on overload. The Human Fusion dived back and rolled away. Several seconds later, the phaser exploded. The concussion battered him and his suit, but he lived.
He tried to get to his feet. The Feddies were learning. They would follow up an secure that corner, which meant phaser rifles pointing where he was lying now. A powerful hand reached down and pulled him to his feet.
It was Tachero, one of the Golethi in his platoon. Nothing short of a Kinshaya or a Gorn could physically overpower a Golethi. Pulling a marine in full armour up and around the corner was easy for them. Two more marines of his platoon covered the retreat.
Starfleet came. Phaser blasts smashed off the walls. A disruptor blast struck an Andorian in the chest and he fell. One of the marines covering the retreat was struck twice in the chest. He fell. Smoke rose from the charred holes in his armour.
Metnar bounced a frag grenade down the corridor, to keep Starfleet's heads down. Melar got back to his feet and sent a signal back to Force Leader Memneth. Coms were only line of sight, but every suit acted as relay, as did several modules the marines had adhered to the ceiling when they had taken the facility. "Lost corridor G2," he reported. "Holding at H1. One fatality."
"Understood," said Force Leader Memneth. No one had to say they were running out of men. They had to hold. Down here, not even the naked stars would remember.
Sweden slid around the moon, leading the remaining Starfleet vessels after Lancer. The Klingon battlecruiser was already moving at full impulse, circling the moon with with its own lethal purpose. It had not escaped Kardon that the Bellerophon had been kept to the rear and that meant while the other ships were chasing Lancer around the moon Lancer could arrange an encounter of its own with the straggler if the battlecruiser was swift enough.
Lancer was more than quick enough. Bellerophon was trailing and not attempting to play the game of hide and seek so it could open up with torpedoes the moment Lancer was flushed from behind the moon. That Lancer chose to loop back and attack was a surprise.
Bellerophon struck Lancer's formidable forward shields with a direct phaser hit. Lancer's fully charged main batteries opened up with a continuous volley of disruptor bolts. The Intrepid's battered shields had only partially recovered. They failed under the battlecruiser's merciless fire and the bolts tore open the light cruiser's secondary hull.
The warp core breached in a brilliant explosion. Lancer rode the blast wave and began to turn back towards the moon and the rest of the Federation ships. They had not been idle.
The Sweden had continued to follow the battlecruiser and fired upon Lancer with the phaser cannon mounted in the front of its narrow nose. The surviving parts of Cerebus came over the top of the moon, firing quantum torpedoes at Lancer's port side. At Lancer's helm station, Krevon began evasive maneuvers.
There are limits to what even a skilled helmsmen and a swift ship can accomplish. Sweden burned through Lancer's collapsing aft shields to damage shield generators located on the battlecruiser's starboard wing. Two quantum torpedoes struck Lancer's port shields and phaser beams followed up adding to the punishment that Lancer's already battered shields had absorbed. Lancer's aft and port trinaries fired back, but against the undamaged ships the only result was moderate damage to their shields.
"Hard to port!" Kardon ordered. "Port side mains, target Sweden. Torpedoes, on my mark!"
Pain shot through Melar's body and his strength seemed to be draining away. He was able to keep his rifle steady though and that was enough. He walked disruptor fire across the wall and into the Earther in front of him. Two bolts to the chest were more than enough. He toppled.
Melar looked down. He had been hit in the gut. It looked ugly. Automatic drug injectors or shock was keeping the pain from him. Either way, he was in a bad way. "Fall back," he ordered and then realized there really wasn't much left to fall back to. Another Earther came poked around the corner and fired at him. The Human Fusion was hit in the left shoulder and chest. He slumped into darkness.
Memneth walked into the control room. "How much longer?" he asked.
"Shouldn't you be busy fighting?" Arkehd asked. "I've almost go it."
"The fighting is almost here. We're out of time."
Disruptor bolts from the the ventral trinaries and the main batteries mounted on the port wing and port side of the command pod hammered Sweden. The little Norway class vessel was tough, but not indestructible. Overload burn throughs resulted in two hull breaches, although the ship fought on. Sweden's phaser cannon pierced the damaged port shields, opened two decks to space, and destroyed a shield generator. Lancer's already battered and failing shields neared total collapse.
"Full speed," Kardon ordered. He marked the saucer section on the tactical display. "That one. All torpedoes."
There was a small moment of dead silence. Then came a single word. "Acting," said Kaan as he completed the firing solution. Lancer's bow and dorsal launchers spat death as phasers tore into her forward shields. Most of the torpedoes scored a direct hit on Cerebus's saucer section. Shields collapsed as crimson torpedoes scored direct hits and additional strikes blew through the ablative armour destroyed. almost a third of the saucer section. Atmosphere blasted out into space before emergency bulkheads closed, but that just meant that there were trapped survivors to rescue. The saucer section was mere floatsom now.
Sweden moved swiftly to stay in Lancer's aft-port arc where her shields were marginal as the battlecruiser passed the saucer wreckage and turned hard to keep the surviving stardrive section facing Lancer's starboard shields and guns. Disruptor bolts from trinaries and the starboard mains tore into the stardrive section's shields. Sweden fired. The beam from her phaser cannon scored a direct hit on Lancer's dorsal weapon pod. The battlecruiser had an armoured hull, but it wasn't the equal of Starfleet ablative armour. Flames and chunks of jagged metal shot into space as the phaser beam blazed through the pod and turned it to scrap.
The stardrive section wasn't idle either. It brought its quantum torpedo launchers to bear and fired. Three blue-white torpedoes smashed into the battlecruiser's starboard wing, collapsing shields and sending molten chunks of armour spinning off into space.
Memneth leaned slightly out of the doorway and fired his disruptor pistol. The Earthers ducked their head back. "Now or never," he snarled at Arkehd.
"Just about done," said Arkehd. He touched a last panel on the console. There.
Phaser blasts struck the wall next to Memneth. "Good. Now open a doorway to Lancer," he said as he fired back.
"Sending a doorway to a moving ship was the part I hadn't figured out yet," Arkehd said.
Memneth grunted and shot an Andorian. Then a phaser bolt struck him in the face as he fell. Arkehd saw the Force Leader fall and drew his disruptor. He could here the sounds of Starfleet boots. He spoke the words of the navy oath softly. "Mere life is not victory, mere death is not defeat."
One rolled across the floor as two others by the door fired blindly to give cover. Arkehd was in not in their firing arcs. He shot the rolling Human in face. The two by the door burst in, Human slow. Arkehd shot the first one twice in the chest. He shot the second one just below the neck and he dropped his rifle and began to fall.
A third human fired from the doorway and put three phaser pulses into the scientist's chest. The disruptor fell from nerveless fingers and Arkehd fell. Thirty seconds later, the reset Starfleet explosives went off as well, taking his killer and another seventeen Starfleet personnel to the Black Fleet with him.
Status and damage indicator boards on Lancer's bridge were lit up. Shield diagrams showed marginal readings all around the ship as overloaded generators struggled to provide a thin layer of protection. Lancer had dodged back behind the moon, but the Starfleet vessels would be on her again in seconds.
A distortion shimmered in front of the battlecruiser, appearing out of nowhere. Sensor readings spiked.
"Portal ahead!" shouted Arizhen.
"Overlaid signal mixed in," said Azrithel. "It's from Arkehd. Reads 'We will wait for you in the Black Fleet.'"
Kardon bit back a snarl of grief. "Helm. Full ahead into the portal. While we still can." The naked stars had not seen Memneth, Arkehd, and all of the other valiant marines die, but if Lancer lived so would their glory.
"Acting," said Krevon. Lancer slipped into the distortion in space just as the stardrive section was lining her up for another volley of quantum torpedoes.
"Sensors?" Kardon asked.
"Long range scans active," said Arizhen. "Scanning."
"Com traffic, Klingon military and civilian frequencies."
"Captain," said Arizhen, "we appear to be one light year from Klinzhai!"
Home. They were home. If this was the right universe.
"Language?" he asked Azrithel.
"It's klingonaase," she said.
"Arkehd, Memneth, kai kassai Klingon!" he cried out. Their victory had saved Lancer and might save the komerex.
"Kai kassai Klingon!" the rest of the bridge roared back. "Kai kassai Kardon!"
The Excellent Prismatic Spray. For when you absolutely, positively must kill a motherfucker. Accept no substitutions. Contact a magician of the later Aeons for details. Some conditions may apply.Librium Arcana