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The Hydra class used in this chapter was used with the permission of Bernd Schneider, and my thanks goes out to him. Same for Sean Tourangeau's Badger and Olympus class class and Greg MacDonald's Pulsar class.
 
 The America class is an old design from something called Entente Systems. You will be seeing her in the future, as well as the Olympus class. The Scorpion class is an old Andrew J. Hodges design.




Chapter 3: "You Do Realize: This Means War!!!"






<Optional Background Music: [MEDIA=youtube]FkrqnTfvTwk[/MEDIA] Nailin The Kelvin; Artists Note: I love this track, and couldn't wait to use it>

The shields of the Portsmouth and all surrounding ships and stations snapped on automatically to repel the incoming fire.

 "Sir, they're firing! Detecting the launch of fighters! Sensors detect 370 squadrons in total!!!"

 That was a total swarm of 4,440 fighters. Portsmouth only had a total of 432 starfighters (36 squadrons), plus two squadrons of Talon-class Scouts. It was fortunate as it was that her complement rose as a result of the Dominion War.

 "Return fire! Tell all ships to engage, scramble all fighters! Target their weapons and maneuvering thrusters. And I want that bastard on the horn, NOW!!!", Choulder snapped out his orders. And those under his command rushed to carry out his orders. "And how are we on the evacuation?"

 "Half of the station's civilian population has been evacuated, sir," Lieutenant Pond replied.

 "Damn! We need to speed up the evacuation! I authorize the use of shuttles! Get those civilians off this station! Zha President, it looks like negotiations have failed."


***


 At the very same time, the patrol fleet and all ships in the vicinity were powering up and preparing to engage the Imperial Ships. Those that were already on patrol were weaving and jinking, lobbing off torpedoes from a distance. The Paris, the Galaxy class U.S.S. Milky Way (NCC-70643), Kaneda, and Fearless were readying to leave, as were the Excelsior class U.S.S. Standing RockAmbassador class U.S.S. Needle (NCC-60157), and Olympic classes U.S.S. Flax (NCC-58124) and the Pasteur. In the latter four cases, they were being used to help evacuate the station, the former two due to being older and  as a result probably not as useful for assisting in the fight, even though they had upgraded reactors and transphasic torpedoes. The crew of the Standing Rock especially wanted to stay and fight the good fight, but they knew the civilians needed to go to safety, and better than to test their luck, knowing the number of Excelsior class casualties from the Dominion War and Borg Invasion.
 
 The Flax had been loaned from the 23rd Fleet originally to help give humanitarian aid to the Romulans, and but had been diverted to help with the evacuations just in case.

 The Zodiac class U.S.S. Aegis (NCC-74802)Akira class U.S.S. Altair (NCC-80216), Avenger class U.S.S. Champion (NCC-75903), the Badger class scouts U.S.S Mongoose (NCC-80586) and U.S.S. Weasel (NCC-80587), the Paladin-class Destroyer Star Trek Blueprints: Paladin Class Scout Destroyer U.S.S. Paladin (NCC-13980)Saber class U.S.S. Pincer (NCC-71394)Pulsar-class Patrol Vessel Journal of Applied Treknology - Starships O-Q U.S.S. Zeus (NCC-82174), the Prometheus class U.S.S. Bastion (NCC-80759), and the Hydra class Ex Astris Scientia - Hydra Class U.S.S. Hydra (NCC-70071) had already engaged from a distance.

***

 At this very same time, the fighter bays area where all starfighters were kept and pilots lived (those who didn't live with families in the main Habitat section), activity also bustled. It was no different in Fighter Bay 7. When Red Alert sounded, like throughout the rest of the station, the 3 squadrons of pilots that were waiting in the nearby briefing room leapt into action. Fighter Bay 7 housed the Wardogs, Slime Devils, and the Ankylosauruses.

 "Okay, I guess the politicians failed, so now this is where we step in, and teach this Galactic Empire what for!" announced Captain Kieth Bartlett, as he got up. Clapping his hands "Okay, everyone to their fighters, double time! Come on, those boogies aren't gonna wait for us to scramble!!!"

 For many, this would be their first experience fighting actual hostiles. Not for Captain Bartlett, who had lost his family to the Dominion War, and was a veteran of that very same war. As a result, he took the moniker Heartbreak One. Most of the squad captains had also fought during the Dominion War, a few in the Cardassian Border Wars, and one had even served on the U.S.S. Typhon during her 2377 campaign.

 Like many other veteran squad captains, over time, he had been offered XO positions aboard multiple starships. However, he was among those who liked the independence that came from being Captain, and taking a number two position meant he'd officially be a Commander, which was a sort of downgrade. At this point, he had applied for the captaincy of a warship, such as an Akira class or Prometheus, or better yet, an Olympus Meet the U.S.S. Ares or America-class www.shipschematics.net/startre… Battleship, or a Supernova-class Battlecruiser. He had been offered command of a few explorers, even a Galaxy class at one time, but he had declined. The Galaxy class was a fine starship, not to mention a formidable battleship, but he didn't want to be assigned a 5 year mission outside of Federation space, where if she came under attack, he would be years away from being able to fight against it's enemies. God Forbid he rush back, only to find the Federation he loved chaffing under the yoke of some hostile power. He was open to taking command of a Sovereign class, but even with the advent of the Vesta class, requests command of one for those were exceptionally high. It could be a few more years before he got the command he wanted, and he probably could have gotten it by now if he had taken a number two position, not that he cared.

 "Okay, right, all we have to do is mop up any fighters, right?", commented Ensign Elvis Davenport.

 "Depends on the number of fighters, and how they perform compared to ours. Also depends on how effective their supporting starships are", replied Kal'ya Nagasai, a half-Terran half-Vulcan ensign.

 "I don't know, what do you think, huh Kid?", Davenport asked Jace Thomspon.

 "I think the next hour will be very interesting", replied Thompson

 "Hey, I hear that!", said Davenport with a chuckle.
 
 Thompson had earned this moniker from Bartlett during practice flights, due to being the youngest by far member on the team. Even though his officially designation was Starblaze, the moniker stuck. He was 18, and had applied a year ago to due to wanting to one day fly the larger starships that flew in and out of the station. His father was captain of the USS Milky Way, and he had successfully filed for transfer to her to live with is mother, younger sister and brother, pet selat and pet dog, as well as serve under his father. Starfleet has anti-nepotism policies, so it took a lot of work to prove that he was more than qualified for the job as much as anyone, which was to act as professional shuttlecraft pilot. One pilot had volunteered to be reassigned to one of the Glenn class. He didn't mind working on a smaller, more advanced starship.
 Thompson would miss flying his agile and fast Gryphon. The Milky Way already had her half squadron of support fighter pilots filled out, and though he could act as a back-up pilot, there wasn't enough hanger room aboard to carry his fighter with him. He had heard of an idea where additional craft could be suspended in a specialized transporter buffer, but this was only in the testing phase.
 Serving on a Galaxy class was a promising way to work up a promising resume, and he missed his father. His family had chosen to stay on Portsmouth, since this was the Milky Way's assigned waystop between her 5 years missions exploring the Beta Quadrant. Now, they'd all be together for once. Assuming they all survived this.

 Davenport on the other hand had earned the moniker of "Motormouth Chopper", but he refused to answer to any other moniker but "Chopper", and that stuck too. This came from him talking habitually. A lot.

 "We'll find out the sitrep when we get out there! Now shut up, strap in, and throttle up nuggets! You have some boogies with your names on them!", said Bartlett as he rushed to his fighter.
 
 His was a Peregrine, the same that he had used throughout the Dominion War. While most pilots had opted to trade their Peregrines for newer fighters, due to them being over 30 years old by now, Bartlett was attached to his old bird.

 While technicians looked over the fighters one last time and helped the pilots strap into their seats, the pilots did their systems check, and then powered up their fighters. The small warp drives powered up with their characteristic hums.

 Within minutes, the canopies had lowered and pressurized, taxied to the runway, were all given the final okay to launch, which they did with their powerful impulse drives at a speed that without the inertial dampeners would have made most beings black out.

 25 additional squadrons of Space Superiority Starfighters and 8 other squadrons of Assault Fighters also launched.
 In addition to the both squadrons of Gryphons and the one squadron of Valor Heavy Starfighters Photo by Donald McKelvy from Fighter Bay 7, 17 additional Gryphon, 5 Valkyrie, and 3 Javelin Javelin Class Starfighter - Star Trek: Armada Files squadrons also rushed out, in addition to 3 additional squadron of Valors, 3 squadrons of Scarabs trekazoid.files.wordpress.com/…, and 3 squadron of Scorpions Banshee Squadron - Banshee Fighter.

 Once in flight, all squadrons were assigned targets.

"Look at all of those targets! Are we expected to bag most of them?! Or Great Bird forbid, all of them?!!", said Chopper, as he began looking at the boogies heading quickly towards them.

 "Not quite Chopper. Wardog, Crimson Selat, and Slime Devil, you are to escort our 9 escort squadrons to their targets", said the Portsmouth's flight coordinator.

 "Aw man! We're stuck baby sitting?!! Is this a joke?!!"

 "This is Slime Devil One, call sign Megalodon. We'll try not to take offense to that".

 "Are you kidding me?! That was so immature!", said a female voice from Slime Devil Five.

 "Look on the bright side, at least we won't have to destroy all of those fighters," Kid responded

 "Yes, but I expect that they will send many fighters to intercept us", said Nagasai, callsign Edge.

 "Has anyone ever told you that you have a tendency to take the bright side of something, and turn it black as night?", asked Chopper sarcastically.

 "No", Edge simply responded.

 "This is Pachyderm. We're ready to warp to our targets". In the background, other squadrons confirmed their orders.

 "Stop yer griping Chopper! Wardog, prepare to jump with our bombers", said Heartbreak.

 "Yes sir", replied Chopper in a sing-song voice.


***


<Back ground music: optional as always:
[MEDIA=youtube]uLb15SgAR5c[/MEDIA]
 Preferably, from 0:00-0:53 then switch to this:
[MEDIA=youtube]4ViQGlwVKMI[/MEDIA]
 Writers note: I had thought of using Enterprising Young Men. It didn't work for the feeling I was trying to convey.


 At the very same time, it was busy in the docking bays. What Starfleet vessels weren't already in formation and making hit and run attacks upon the attacking Imperial vessels were being prepped to leave, as were the vessels slated to help evacuate Portsmouth's resident civilians.

 The Stellar Queen was was one them. Docked in Docking Bay 4, Dock 3, civilians were being rushed aboard the 1,100 meter Starcruiser.
 
 One of them was the Thompson family. Elizabeth Thompson tapped her wrist comm, and selected her husband, Eric Thompson, recently made Captain of the Milky Way when his captain was selected to take command of one of the newer Vesta class Slipstream cruisers, and at his former commanding officer's recommendation, had inherited the Milky Way. The 4.5 million metric ton starship's warp drives had powered up, the blue warp grills shining a brilliant blue.

 With her was her 14 year old daughter Sarah, and her 10 year old son Timothy, and their pet selat and soft-coated wheaten terrier.

 "Hey honey, I guess you're heading out?" She didn't need to ask what was happening. She understood why they were at Red Alert. She was among the families who had opted to wait and see if the situation resolved itself. Many knew the defensive capabilities of a Pensacola-class Starbase, and knew it would hold up for some time, even against formidable vessels like the ones outside. Besides, there was no shortage of civilians who were willing to take her place to travel to safety. But now, evacuation was no longer an option. She had taken the what the family had packed up ahead of time, took a list of personal belongings to be replicated later if necessary, and the three left.

 All that answered was his voice. Starfleet officers didn't normally have holographic wrist comms like civilians. They weren't necessary. His voice brought comfort enough for her though.

 "Hey sweetie. Yeah, we're just waiting for all small traffic to get out of the way, making final systems checks while waiting."

 Timothy grabbed onto his mother's arm, and had to ask, "dad, are we still going on that five year trip"?

 "Of course kiddo! We'll go fishing and hiking on strange new worlds, just like I promised!".

 "Probably not anytime soon. Theseguys have just committed an act of war, and the Milky Way is a front-line starship. I doubt we will be going on that voyage today, or anytime soon, if this is anything like the Dominion War", said Sarah.

 "Aw!!! Dad!!!", Timothy groaned.

 "Hey, where's Jace at?", said Eric, trying to change the subject. "Hey, mind hailing him", he asked the Triexian communications officer.

 "Not at all. Hailing Ensign Jace Thompson".

 "Hey Kid, you nervous?"

 "Yeah, kinda."

 "Just trust your training and skills, and you'll do fine."

 "I love you two. Jace, honey, you two be careful, and look out for each other. And go kick their asses back to where they came from!"

 For coordination purposes, the background chatter from all of the different combatants could be heard from all of the different fighters, starships, and starbase crew. Background chatter consisting of farewells, wishes of luck to comrades, and last minute tactics streamed across the comm channels.

 This included Wardog.

 "Hehehe, if anything, if our training is anything to go by, it's Kid who will be watching our backs!" Davenport chimed in.

 "Mrs. Thompson, if Kid performs as well as his training has seems to hint he will, he'll be just fine. Honestly, I think he is one of the most promising pilots that I'm currently training, and that's saying a lot, since my current batch is all pretty promising.", Bartlett added.

 "Don't worry mom, I'll be careful!", Jace replied. His teacher's admission that he showed promised helped his confidence. Bartlett rarely showed a soft side, and was pretty tough on his cadets, so his admittance had taken him aback.

 "Okay, we're ready to leave, gotta go honey. Sarah, you take care of Mommy and your little brother, and get to safety."

Captain Thompson pressed an icon on his one of the chairs of his arm, and a boatswain sounded throughout the ship.

 "As you all probably know by now, we are about to engage in battle against the ships that appeared on a doorstep a day ago, and now they have turned hostile. I know that for many of you, this will be your first experience in battle, and you're all nervous. But I want you to know that I believe in you, and want you to believe in your training. I also know that many of you were looking forward to a 5 year mission. Well, that has been postponed, for who knows how long.
 This Galactic Empire might have started this, but we will finish it. We'll just have to fight for that 5 year mission, and of course our families and our Federation."

 "Woohoo!, long live the United Federation!", said the helm's British tactical officer. Instead of a glare, Eric gave the blond Brit a smile with mirth in his eyes. He had decided to run an easy ship, since he would have hundreds of families aboard, including children. Plus, it was more enjoyable that way.

 "That's the spirit. Helm, take us out!"

 "Yes sir!"

 The Galaxy class launched out of the starbase like a bat out of hell, and gracefully swooped around the station to join the rest of the ships. They had fallen back to regroup with the Milky Way. Now they were given permission to use their transphasic torpedoes as necessary.
 
 
***


 "All fighters and starships are in position", one of the coordinating sensor officers said.

 "Our bombers, escort fighters, and starships are Warping towards the enemy fleet", said another. "Our other fighter squadrons are readying to engage theirs".

 "One of what I assume is one of their Ships of the Line and two smaller flanking escorts are approaching the Fearless and Kaneda".

 In a moment, all forces would begin their clash for supremacy.

 "Divert the AltairBastion, and Aegis to engage their three ships, and give the Fearless and Kaneda time to leave dock", ordered Choulder.

 "I think this will be the area where the fighters will meet and engage", said a female tactical sensor operator, pointing to the area on the 3D tactical display.

 
<Continuing to use the Battle of Hoth Part One. Skip to 0:38 [MEDIA=youtube]uLb15SgAR5c[/MEDIA]

 The Regretless began to move towards the two dry-docked Akira class vessels, flanked by the Ardent and Virtuous. On board, the crews on the two Akira-class Heavy Cruisers were powering up the systems, and preparing to leave. The power reading coming from the large approaching grey arrow-shaped behemoth 3-4 times their size plus their escorts gave them extra incentive. Their 12 respective Valkyries had launched, along with the Altair's own half squadron, and were readying to engage the incoming enemy starfighters along with the other 25 squadrons assigned in space superiority.

 First came the TIE Bombers.

 As part of their post-Dominion War upgrade, all dry-docks were equipped with Phaser arrays. The Federation had expended much time to make Phaser arrays as accurate as they were now. The earliest prototypes iterations weren't as accurate, and it took a couple of decades for them to be able to accurately track multiple targets, but all that research and development paid off.

 Not only were most of their ordinance shot down, but a few TIE Bombers that got too close or thought it would be a good idea to make a strafing run like this were some simple Rebel base got at shot up for their trouble. The Alphas and Skiprays faired better, their shields protecting them, and giving them ample time to go on strafing runs with ion and laser fire, and close in torpedo and missile fire, straining the drydocks' shields, and even causing systems damage. One of the phaser arrays weren't so lucky either. And that was only the first run. There were also enough of them that the Phaser arrays weren't able to hit them all.

 "All fighters with ORS installed, you are authorized for stand-off torpedo fire", one of station's tacticians said.
 Admiral Choulder wanted those that had limited ordinance to save them, just in case, for the enemy starships.

 "Rodger that! Fox 3!!!", one pilot said. And many others followed.

 Hundreds of blue torpedoes streaked off. The TIEs responded by letting off chaff, redirecting the deadly projectiles.

 Some of the fighters responded by warping after the evading TIEs, surprising them by suddenly jumping on top of them with Phaser fire.

 "What in the Seven Hells?!! They've just made a micro-jump on top of us!!!", one of the TIE pilots said

 "Are they crazy?!! They could have jumped right into us!!!", another said. There was a reason why making any jump into Hyperspace was dangerous, even a small one's risk was not to be underestimated. It was quite possible they could have jumped into real space, and destroyed a fighter or two!

 "Hold on, targeting", one of them who weren't being shot at said. He and many others stared trying to tail them, only for the rest of the fighters jumped in as well, chasing after more TIEs, and ripping any they could.

 But the Starfleet fighters were outnumbers a hundred to one.

 "Youch!!! Shields are down to 48%!!! Watch it folks, their weapons pack a wallop!!!", one Valkyrie pilot remarked. "I'm breaking off to recharge and then re-engage!"

 Another pilot wasn't so lucky. He was ganged up upon by 11 fighters: 4 TIE/LN, 6 TIE/IN, and 1 Skipray, and shot up before he could warp out.

 But for now, it seemed for every victory that the Imperials had, the Federation struck back.

 A couple of TIES were shot down by a pair of Valkyries and Gryphons, for example.

 "Computer, analyze their weapons", one of the pilots requested.

 "It appears their weapons consist of a form of rapid phased laser", the computer responded.

 "You mean like what the Federation used after the formation of the Federation over 200 years ago?", her wingman asked.

 "Affirmative", responded the onboard computer.

 "Individual shots don't seem to do much, but it appears that they fire so quickly, they quickly overwhelm shields if given the chance. They seem to basically work off overpowering shields, and then, you know."

 "Then working destroying what the shields protect".

 "Exactly".

 "Transmitting to the rest of the fleet, assuming they don't know what we now know. We need to be careful".

 Another 5 TIEs tried to shoot down a Javelin. Things didn't go so well. Javelins are among the fighters deployed by Starfleet that have Phaser arrays, making them very effective for defense. Most fighter craft in the Milky Way have shields, so they don't get shot down by this defensive weaponry. The Empire on the other hand had never encounters starfighters with effective defensive weapons, especially ones as accurate as those equipped on the likes of the Javelin.

 "Hey, where did that beam come from?!", one asked as his wingman suddenly was shot at, and then promptly exploded.

 "It came from the rear of the enemy fighter!!!" said another, shortly before his left solar panel was shot off, and he went spiraling out of control.

 "Break off!!! Break off!!!", said another.

 Tied into her enemies comm channel, he retorted with a wisecrack. "Aw, what's the matter boys?", she tried to say in a sexy voice. "To pooped to party? Or perhaps you left your shields in your hanger bay!"

 While this was going on, the Regretless was trying to position herself between the Fearless and Kaneda. By then, the fighting had extended between the capital ships, with fighters trying to use the capital ships and dry dock as cover, and trying to snipe off fragile bits from the enemy. At least for the Starfleet fighters and shielded Imperial fighters. The TIEs quickly learned to stay away from the Starfleet vessels. Having a few dozen of your fellow pilots shot down with precision had a tendency to leave that sort of impact on a pilot.

 The Aegis and Altair engaged the Ardent and the Virtuous respectively, while the command ship for the Portsmouth's defense force was trying to keep the Regretless away from the Kaneda and Fearless while they left.
 
 The Regretless managed to get in a few volleys of turbolaser fire, causing damage to their already weakened shields on the two dry-docks, as well as causing damage, since all three Starfleet vessels only started off with a volley of Quantum Torpedoes, Phaser fire, and pulse phaser in the case of the Aegis. They only had enough Transphasic Torpedoes for several volleys, so orders were to conserve them if possible.

 But most torpedoes were shot down, and so as the three Starfleet crews saw, a few torpedoes from each wasn't going to cut it.

 But the Imperials were also surprised when Gryphons started to snipe off weapons emplacements with close in Micro Transphasic Torpedo launches...which went through their shields like they weren't there, and slammed into their targets, annihilating them outright with blue catastrophic releases of zero point energy.

 "Most torpedoes have been destroyed by their defensive fire. Enemy shields are holding."

 "Take us about, and fire a full spread of Quantum Torpedoes from each tube", the commanding officer of the Bastion said.

 "The Altair and Aegis say they are coming about on their targets as well", replied the communications officer, passing it to tactical for coordination.

 One especially pesky Alpha was blown apart as her shields finally failed. She had been trying to shoot up the Bastion with Proton Torpedoes, but in the end, her pilot underestimated the power and accuracy of a Prometheus-class Tactical Cruiser's Phaser arrays.

 "This is the Fearless. Will you please just get rid of them? They're liable to turn us into a fireball if this keeps up!"

 As part of the post-Dominion War upgrades, the older dry-docks also had received shield. The Jem'Hadar had destroyed one too many ships while still in dry dock, hence the phasers and shields. But these shields were weak, and if not for the two Akira's adding their shields to shore them up, they would have been shredded by the green deadly bolts of phased plasma energy. The newer dry-docks meant to resist firepower from heavy Dominion warships and the now no-longer-a-threat Borg were different. There was even the possibility of pulse phaser and torpedo turret upgrades Unfortunately, those were in the core Federation systems, and slowly being replaced throughout the Federation.

 This time, several Quantum Torpedoes made it through, having some effect on the shield. But a large part of them were still shot down by the anti-fighter defensive laser cannons. Zero Point Energy detonations are powerful, and they went off with cerulean blue explosions. But it wasn't enough. But the Regretless finally decided she had enough, and decided to turn all of her weapons on the Bastion. Trouble was that only a bolt here and there made glancing hits, but for the most part, they proved to be too fast, rocketing at full impulse to stay ahead of them, while stabbing back with Phasers. Fortunately for the Regretless, her powerful shields held the phased Nadion energy back from the hull as well.

 "Would you please stop messing around? Our shields have dropped below 50%! You have Transphasic Torpedoes! We'd do it ourselves, but we don't want to hit the docks!"

 "Understood Fearless. All ships, Transphasic free!"

 The Kaneda was the first to haul ass, leaving her at this point heavily damaged dry dock. The Fearless on the other hand barely left in time, her shields taking a 5% hit from the less fortunate dry dock which fell apart around the Fearless as she left, due to a combination of fire from the Regretless, some shots from the Virtuous, and marauding Alphas and Skiprays.

 But at the same time, the three active Starfleet vessels came about on their targets yet again, this time adding Transphasic Torpedoes to the mix. The Kaneda and Fearless ran off to lick their wounds and recharge their shields, waiting until their massive arsenal was really needed, especially the Fearless, who only had 34% of her shields left. The Kaneda was more fortunate, and all it would take was 5 minutes to fully regenerate her shields.

 Once again, the Regretless and her two escorts focused her defensive fire on the incoming projectiles from the three incoming ships, shooting every nine in ten of them down. But every one in ten of them made it through the CIWS fire... And like with the smaller Transphasic Micro Torpedoes from the Gryphons, through the shields like they weren't even there... But on a bigger scale, and so pandemonium broke out.


 ***


One of President sh'Tarash's Presidential Service, a burly male Orion came up beside her. "The Admiral's right. Your ship is ready to leave, zha'President. It is no longer safe here."

 "And your safety is essential to the continued function of the Federation", said another PS agent, a female Andorian.

 "How are our shields holding up? If they are holding, it would be safer to stay on the station, right?", the President asked.

 "We're about the find out. Barrage contact, now", said one of the tactical officers, a female Indian officer. It took time to reach them, due to the Imperial task force choosing to stay at a distance. Booming thud noises sounded as the Empire's weapons hit the Portsmouth's shields, and the station vibrated a little. But for the most part, the station's inertial compensators kept her from violently shaking.

 "Shields are holding for now, but they are powerful, and one of their types of weapons appears to be some form of phased ionized plasma weapon. They are draining our shields." She turned her seat to face the President. "I don't think our shields are going to last long at this rate. Maybe ten minutes at the most. I agree with your Presidential Service agent. It's not going to stay safe here for long. You should flee like the civilians while you have the chance."

 "Target priority on those ionized plasma cannons! We need to buy ourselves more time! How long will it be until reinforcements make it here?"

 "We expect the first wave reinforcements to drop out of Slipstream in ten minutes, sir", the comm officer replied.

 "Okay, I'll leave this station, but I want to give the Admiral a minute to respond. I wish to talk with him too", replied the President

 "You know you can do that from the Federation One! On the other side of the Quadrant! Please zha President, don't make me order you to go to safety! As the Admiral of this station, your safety is my responsibility!"
 Admiral Choulder couldn't really order the President off his station. She was free to stay if she wanted, reckless though it was. Self-determination was a virtue that Federation held dear, and if that got her killed, then that was one of the reasons why the Federation had a Vice President. He watched as the shields dropped below 90%. Shit. I might just loose my command today. I hope that's all we loose today.
 "There isn't much time. I suggest that you leave with the civilians while you can."

 "Zha President, please, let us escort you to safety,", said another PS agent, a male Saurian.

 "Alright! Alright, I'll go!!! But on the condition that you all get yourself to safety as well if things go south, as the Terran saying goes! That's an order!"

 "Fine, deal! I promise that if we are overwhelmed, we'll evacuate the station too!"

 It was possible. Portsmouth had enough shuttlecraft to completely evacuate the station's complement and families. It wouldn't be as comfortable though as traveling on starliners, hence the attempted evacuation, though that was relative. The seats on the shuttlecraft might of been of a soft, conforming material, but they were also made to be used by the many member races of the Federation, which meant they weren't as body hugging as if they were designed for one species.


***


 At the same time that the Empire's turbolaser and long range missiles had begun to hit the Federation station and their weapons platforms, so too, did the Federation's counter attacks.

 "The Federation is returning fire. Projectiles and some manner of pulsed energy discharges incoming," the sensor officer reported from the operations pit.

 "Our gunners report they are engaging their torpedoes with CIWS operations", weapons control reported.

 Admiral Nyrok watched as every nine in ten of the quick cobalt blue projectiles were shot down. Nothing could be done about the orange pulses headed for them. The fleet was trying to maneuver away from them. Unfortunately, this left them further away from the option of retreating back through the Gateway Rift, not that Nyrok anticipated that the enemy Starfleet couldn't be handled. The enemies torpedoes had changed course, tracking his fleet as they spiraled in closer to the Portsmouth. The operation was mostly going as expected however.

 He was taking note once again of the Federation Starfleet's vessel designs. He had to admit, for the most part, they were aesthetically pleasing, if not perhaps works of art, but also functional. They came in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, but most had a few design elements in common: a forward hull, either circular or pointed in nature not unlike typical Imperial starships. He really liked the design of one that had an arrow-shaped hull with four pods. One however only had same engines/possible reactors-to-the-side and glowing forward mechanism that seems to act like some sort of deflector. A small and compact design. Perhaps an escort or corvette of some sort.

 And then every one in ten make it through the defensive fire... And past the shields like they weren't even there... And he was snapped out of studying his opponents vessels as he watched in horror as their cobalt blue weapons struck home.

 The Negotiator shook violently from dozens of direct hits, taking out weapons emplacements, and causing significant damage. He watched in further horror as the Regretless and her escorts were crippled by what appeared to be 2 cruisers and a corvette or frigate, the biggest of them only 1/3rd her size.

 The other two vessels, of the same class as one of the ships that attacked the Regretless retreated, no doubt due to damage to at least her shields, if not worse.

 He watched the three ships that fought back against the RegretlessVirtuous, and Ardent as they maneuvered like oversized starfighters.

 Only the defensive lasers really hit their mark. Some glancing hits were made by her main weapons, but the Empire had never encountered a power with vessels that size capable of such agility and speed. Her main turbolaser batteries and some secondary turbo laser batteries, and indeed the hull sections nearby, had been completely destroyed, including her main portside and starboard engines. The secondary sublight drives were also offline. Fortunately, it looked like she hadn't lost Hypermatter containment, by some miracle. The even scarier thing was how fast they took out an Imperial class ship-of-the-line. The Rebel terrorists could never hope to achieve such destruction on an Imperial ship-of-the-line with only 1 small cruiser in the short amount of time the Federation Starfleet just did.
 
 The Ardent and Virtuous were more fortunate. The Ardent's forward main weapons were destroyed by well placed fire from the Aegis and some fighters, taking her bottom forward hull.

 The Virtuous's quad laser cannons ere wreaking havoc on the Altair's shields. The Vindicator and Nebulon-B series classes was better designed for taking on faster moving targets. At this point, they were batting away torpedoes and starfighters that were attempting to take out her defenses, as well as the Federation capital ships. But the two Imperial starships were slowly loosing, some of their weapons damaged or outright destroyed. The Virtuous had already lost three of her weapons emplacements, including one Turbolaser. But with assistance from TIE fighters, they were making her way back to the rest of the intact fleet, and had taken down a few enemy fighters, while damaging others that somehow managed to jump away, making it questionable if they were insane, desperate, or used a form of FTL different from standard hyperdrives.

 And then the Aegis and Bastion fired a series of torpedoes, taking out the forward most turbolaser on the Virtuous, and the front 30% of her hull with her. Instantly, many of her crew was exposed to secondary explosions and the harsh void free of the oxygen they needed to breathe and temperatures vital to survival. Those in the front section that was ejected from the explosion who survived the collapsing corridors and rooms who were wearing sealed helmets, such as stormtroopers, were left alive, but also left floating in the vacuum. One of her anti-capital ship missile launchers were also sealed by phaser fire.

 Things weren't much better among the remaining 6 ships, which were under attack by 12 fighter squadrons and 7 Federation starships, who had somehow micro-jumped into the fleet, and were now picking his ships apart piece by piece, similar to what the Rebels did when the opportunity presented itself.

 For example, one of their fighters had shot up one of the Durasteelclad's main turbolasers.

 He completely and totally underestimated their capabilities, and now his men were paying the price. Maybe he should have refused to obey the Emperor's orders. To avoid bloodshed on both sides. Now he understood why these people weren't intimidated. It was because they had this trick up their sleeve! He didn't really want to know what other technological horrors they had!

 "How are they doing that?!"

 "It appear their torpedoes are phasing through our shields somehow. We need to gather more data for the specifics, sir!", one of the sensor officers in the crew pits below him responded.

 "What about their other weapons?", the Admiral had to ask.

 "They appear to be made up on phased pulses of some form of energy particle that we are not familiar with. They appear to be draining our shields. It appears their ships use some sort of beam weapon that fires similar energy particles. The Ardent reports some heavy damage. The Virtuous reports extensive damage, and her forward hull is completely gone, and reports 8 of her weapon emplacements have been damaged. They have destroyed 2 enemy fighters however with assistance from out own squadrons. It appears their quad laser cannons are having more success against their capital ships then our turbolasers"

 "Move the fleet forward to assist the Virtuous and Ardent. Recall our Alphas and Skiprays to assist in support immediately!" It seemed that they were fairing far better than the TIEs, whose only advantage was that they outnumbered their rivals. They were even having some success harassing the Federation capital ships. But only some, due to the Federation starships' impressive acceleration abilities. "Target their torpedo launchers. I want them all destroyed!"

 "Admiral", the comms officer tried to get his attention. "We're being hailed!"

 The Negotiator shuddered from another hit from one of those accursed torpedoes. But she was doing far better than the rest of his forces, due to far heavier armor. Their overlapping defensive fire helped somewhat, but the Negotiator's large size made her a large target.

 "Put them on!", Nyrok replied. "And hail Imperial Command, and tell them we're going to need reinforcements! LOTS of reinforcements!!! Warn them about these weapons the Federation possesses! And their speed! We need fast support ships, specifically Vindicators and Lancers, and we need a lot of them to shoot down those torpedoes. If they can't, then I'm prepared to order a retreat!"

 "Yessir!"

 "Admiral, what the hell do you think you're doing?!!", the Admiral said, hitting the armrest on his chair in righteous fury. "I thought we had an agreement! There are still civilians on this station!!!" Admiral Choulder was pissed, and Nyrok had to admit he had every right to be so. "I swear, if any civilians on my watch get killed because of your actions, I will have your head!!!

 The President of the Federation also cut in from her personal ship. "I hope Admiral that you realize you just committed an inexcusable act of war against the United Federation of Planets. I had to be escorted off this station to safety, and I am not happy about it. Nor is the fact that you are putting Federation citizens at risk with your unprovoked attack."

 "I told you we couldn't take no for an answer", Nyrok replied. "I don't remember promising no aggression".

 "And your ships don't take Transphasic Torpedoes very well, if our sensors are reading correctly. We have you outnumbered, and more ships are on the way. I suggest you surrender while you can", Choulder retorted.

 As if to drive home the point, a graceful alien-looking cruiser that looked more like a luxury liner passed by the Frontier, shooting a salvo of blue projectiles and orange beam weapons, the latter strangely from strips. She didn't appear to have cannons in any conventional sense. She had a ovular dorsal section, a strange looking neck and ventral hull, and a pair of those pods, attached to the secondary hull by a wing-like pylons. But she hit like an enraged Reek. One of them took out her starboard main Turbolaser batteries, and the nearby engines with them. Another salvo spat out her aft torpedo launched. Even with the combined defensive fire, one of them hit their target: the portside main batteries. The Victory class began to drift.

 "We also have reinforcements on the way. And now that the Empire knows how formidable your ships are, hundreds will be speeding on their way here, if not thousands. What about your forces Admiral?", Nyrok replied. "I really do regret the loss of life, but my orders come from the Emperor himself. This is for the common good. You'll see Admiral, assuming you live through this, which I hope you do by the way. You'd make a fine Imperial officer."

 "I'll try to take that as a complement", Choulder replied with sarcasm.

 "As you should."

 "I have an even better idea: surrender to Starfleet, and join us. Someone who would order you to fire on a city full of civilians certainly isn't worthy leadership, especially when we tried to seek a peaceful option. Starfleet could use more good officers, and no civilian casualties have been reported. It's not to late."

 Nyrok resisted the urge to show how much he was really touched by the offer, and wanted to think about it. But if the higher ups ever knew that he held such sympathies, he might as well hold sympathies for the Rebellion. And those who did had a tendency to die. In horrible pain. He couldn't even risk conveying that the offer was attractive if the Federation was what he thought it was. He'd surely be reported, and loosing his rank and command would be the least of his worries.

 "Admiral, we have readings coming from the rift indicating more ships are coming through!"

 "I'm afraid I'm going to have to pass. It looks like my reinforcements have arrived."
  • Listening to: Probably whatever is linked in this chapter.

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JESzasz
Joel Szasz
Artist | Student | Traditional Art
United States
Born in New York City, raised in Georgia, and now living in Florida, at this point in time, I'm taking classes to become a concept artist.
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:iconulimann644:
ulimann644 Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanx for :+fav: :)
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:iconjeszasz:
JESzasz Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student Traditional Artist
You're welcome
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:iconulimann644:
ulimann644 Featured By Owner 7 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
:) :) :)
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:iconulimann644:
ulimann644 Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanx for :+fav: :)
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:iconjeszasz:
JESzasz Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
You're welcome!
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:iconjamesf63:
JamesF63 Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Many thanks for the fave! :huggle:
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:iconjeszasz:
JESzasz Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
 You're welcome!
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:iconthe-combine-engineer:
The-Combine-Engineer Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
I just realized, I never favorited that car design of yours. No need to thank me for it. I actually like it, especially with the blunt end, you don`t see too many of those anywhere. 
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:iconjeszasz:
JESzasz Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2017  Student Traditional Artist
 I know how most people feel about thanking, and I'm aware I've earned your fave, but I still like to be courteous and considerate, as I consider faving to be.

 I like flat ends myself too, and I feel that they are underutilized nowadays. It's nice way to make the taillights flush with the car. I don't like it when they are sticking or bulging out. It makes it look like that part of the automobile was slapped together.

 Probably one of the reasons I like the current Ford Fusion (until they messed it up with that chrome strip. Don't they know less is more? Except for when they are the darkened variant, then it creates this cool contrast). The Ferrari Testarossa is another example has one of my favorite taillights. Same thing goes for the Lamborghini Countach. Not saying those were my inspirations in this case. Probably a mix between the typical round Ferrari taillights and a taillight strip that goes around the entire end, such as the Oldsmobile Aurora.

 Anyways, sorry about the rant. I guess I just like talking about art!
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:iconthe-combine-engineer:
The-Combine-Engineer Featured By Owner 5 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
I see. 

 I agree, now that I think about it. Flat ends are certainly much cleaner than those that aren`t. I find bulging lights look more like cysts on the car, messing with the look. 

 I agree with the tail-light strip across the rear. I haven`t payed much attention to Ford cars in recent times, so I can`t say much. 

 Hey, I`m alright with that. I like engaging in intelligent conversations with other people. No one really talks to me elsewhere. 
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