PH/D01 - Bridge
While she waited for the scans results, Black stole a glance at the feline newcomer. How things had changed. Only a few hours ago, he'd have been part of her department. Doubling the team in one go.

She shook the thought quickly. She was no longer the head of science. If she'd ever been it at all. The helm was her domain again.

A gentle ping, and a blinking indicator informed her that the interlock manifold had been unrestricted, and she began increasing the speed of the ship incrementaly, a bit at a time.

The scale gently began to creep fractions above nine point six. They'd be on the Cardassians in seconds at this rate, provided that the pylons bearing the nacelles could hold and not buckle. With a small smile, she increased the SIF in the key locations to compensate.

At these speeds, information was key. And entering a hot zone without that information was suicide.

The Cardassian had declared they were under attack. Sensors weren't apparently seeing anything. Black had half a mind that given their original mission to Parhelia was to avert a potential false flag operation, how were they to know that this was also maybe a similar operation?

The Cardassian enters Federation space carrying Federation citizens, and the Philadelphia was to be the unwitting means of destroying them, causing a diplomatic incident that would make the Tomed incident look like a picnic.

Leaning back she said; “Can someone please got me eyes on what we're heading into before we get there and find we brought the wrong dish to this pot luck?”

== Anyone? Beuller? ==
As the Philadelphia began to shudder T'Lari remained standing next to the borrowed station. The sensor data began to flow in and the Tactical officer reviewed it with a practiced eye.

"Lieutenant, Captain," she said, having to raise her voice somewhat over the sound of the ship's engines going past their limits, "34 life signs are registering aboard the Cardassian vessel. Half are from Federation member species, but the cargo bays of the ship are shielded and can not be scanned at this point. I'll attempt to find out further information."

The half-Vulcan wondered if that would be enough legal proof for the Captain to act directly, or whether the away team would still need to beam over. If they did it would likely get very dangerous very quickly.

T'Lari took a seat and quickly loaded the Tactical display onto her new console so Shadowhunt could continue to use her station without playing, as the humans called it, 'musical chairs.' She pulled up a tactical assessment on the enemy ship and prepared to attack if... when the word was given.

== GM Input: Were the scans able to determine anything about weapons, shields, etc? T'Lari will light them up again if necessary to get as much information as possible. ==
==Joint CO and GM post, made with GM-01 permission.==

With the Philadelphia now increasing velocity even without Black's input n the controls, they were well within the firing envelope of both ships' weapons. That nobody had fired yet was testament to how far both Captains were willing to maintain the fiction that this was a routine customs inspection and wasn't going to turn very nasty, very quickly. However time was running out, and with the warnings flashing on the various consoles, Jenny had no idea how long her little ship would endure the beating she was taking before she turned into a light-year long streamer of fire, debris, and crew bits.

It was now or never.

"Mister Shadowhunt, deploy the graviton pulse."

The pulse fired on command, and both ships dropped out of warp immediately. The crash translation from faster-than-light to sublight speeds was a little rougher on the Philadelphia than usual, as her inertial dampeners struggled to compensate for velocities they had not been calibrated to sustain.

"Open a hailing frequency. Cardassian Freighter, this is Captain Braggins of the Starship Philadelphia. You are in violation of established velocity limits set down by the Hekaran Treaty of 2370. Heave to and prepare for boarding."

Though it was a simple request, grounded mostly in commonly-accepted interstellar law, Jenny knew that a freighter capable of such velocities would have no compunction to follow Jenny's orders. If the ship's weapons had been upgraded to the same extent as their engines, the little Scout was in for a tough time.  It only took a few moments for Jenny to receive her answer, as the freighter suddenly pitched upwards relatively to the Philadelphia, and let rip with a trio of purple-hued energy beams. Passing effortlessly through the shields, two struck the superstructure around the Bridge, carving deep furrows in the hull but fortunately not breaching the inner bulkheads. The third struck the port nacelle head-on; the ramscoop cover deformed and warped under the heat, and minor secondary explosions rippled down the nacelle.

What the fuck? Where did they get Polaron weapons?

"Black, evasive manoeuvres! T'Lari, return fire; focus on their fire control scanners, put out their eyes. Shadowhunt, Ichika; if either of you have any ideas for getting their shields down without turning this into a slugging match I'm all ears!"
Ktan could smell it. He could smell the tension on the bridge as various officers worked in tandem to come up wit their final plan to deal with the Cardassian ship. They all wanted to rescue the Federation citizens on board. They all wanted to solve the mystery of how this seemingly normal freighter had managed the kidnapping. They all wanted to resolve the situation peacefully and avert war. They all wanted to do what was right - but none of them quite knew what that right course was.

It had taken Ktan a long time living in Federation territory to learn how to discern the mood of its citizens. The differing biologies and cultures all results in different body language, different expressions, and different scents given off when dealing with strong emotions. But Ktan was a quick study, and he knew this feeling. They were reaching a tipping point.

"Mister Shadowhunt," the captain finally answered him, watching as the Cardassian ship came into range. "Deploy the graviton pulse."

Without hesitation, Ktan initiated the pre-programmed sequence. At high warp, this was not the safest maneuver, and immediately both ships slammed back to impulse speeds, the Philadelphia's hull shaking and groaning at the sudden change. Ktan gripped his console and swung out his tail behind him to keep his balance.

As soon as the inertial dampeners caught up with them, the captain righted herself and began hailing the Cardassian ship. It was a forceful, though restrained, order to stop, disarm, and prepare for a legal inspection. Ktan would have commended the captain for her discretion, if he'd had the time.

Instead, the Cardassian ship started firing on them, and not at all with the low-powered phasers usually equipped on their freighters.

Bright, purple energy beams lashed out from the freighter, striking the Philadelphia through her shields and hitting the top of ship near the bridge. The Philadelphia held, by the grace of the gods, but the Cardassians' intent were clear. They intended to kill the command crew.

The captain's orders came on quick.

"Black, evasive manoeuvres! T'Lari, return fire; focus on their fire control scanners, put out their eyes. Shadowhunt, Ichika; if either of you have any ideas for getting their shields down without turning this into a slugging match I'm all ears!"

"Aye sir!" Ktan shouted, in unison with not a few other officers.

First day on the job, and someone's already trying to murder me.

Ktan rapidly flicked through the known schematics for a Groumall class freighter, looking for vulnerabilities. The most obvious would have been their limited armament, but that idea was obviously out the window. Based on the color and effectiveness of the energy weapons, Ktan could only guess they were using phased polaron beams. Ktan's father and brother had described the awesome and unique power of these weapons in detail after their return from the Dominion War. These Cardassians must have kept a few around after the Jem Hadar went back through the wormhole. Convenient.

It was here, though, that Ktan struck on a potential vulnerability. The Groumall's had notable power problems, requiring certain systems to shut down to get the maximum power out of their meager phaser banks. That weakness went throughout the power system. They couldn't generate much power, and their circuits and relays couldn't handle too much pumped through all at once. If this ship was somehow firing off phased polaron beams, then they must have hacked in an alternative power system. Something none standard. Something unique. Something that may be vulnerable, given that the ship wasn't at all designed to handle it.

"Captain!" Shadowhunt reported. "I'm scanning the enemy ship for signs of a non-standard power system. If we can detect how they are powering those polaron beams, we may be able to devise a way to disable it!"

== Special thanks to Memory Alpha on this one. GM Input: What you got for me on the Cardassian's power supply? ==
Black didn't need telling twice, as she was already inputting the commands to evade a potential fourth volley of weapons fire from the Cardassian in the milliseconds between the impact of the first polaron beam and Braggins' order.

Diving the Philadelphia down and banking slightly away to port to protect the damaged nacelle, she moved the ship further away, as from what she knew of polaron weapons they became less effective at range.

Some Starfleet vessels had been upgraded during the Dominion wars to be fitted with adaptive shielding that would withstand such weapons, but they had been mostly frontline vessels, not ships like this. At least someone had had the sense to put ablative armour around key structures though, such as the bridge she thought with a sigh of relief.

However without the more intense scans she'd hoped they'd have acquired before they ended up in this mess, there was no way to know what other surprises this Cardassian had hidden away for them.

So she manoeuvred the ship into what she hoped was the effective blind spot to the 'purple penetrator', a rather uncouth nickname that polaron beams had gained for their ability to ignore shields in the early days.

Constantly jinking port and starboard, she moved the ship into the rear quarter of the Cardassian hoping that they were just outside of the roughly known firing arc of such weapons while keeping their own main phaser banks in optimal position to execute a text book coup de grâce.

== And all together now... Pew! - Pew! - Pew! ==
Braggins' badge chirped:

[Jensen to Braggins. We're having a short delay due to personnel change. Won't be but a moment]
Polaron weapons? I should not be surprised.

The ship shook as the weapons carved gouges in the hull all too close to the Bridge. Another shot struck the port nacelle. Even as the captain gave orders the crew was already reacting. "Black, evasive manoeuvres! T'Lari, return fire; focus on their fire control scanners, put out their eyes. Shadowhunt, Ichika; if either of you have any ideas for getting their shields down without turning this into a slugging match I'm all ears!"

The young officer acknowledged the order. Black put the ship into a dive and turned to protect the damaged nacelle. T'Lari was experienced enough not to be surprised by the move and maintained her position, her fingers flying over the controls to target the enemy ship's fire control scanners. Rather than fire a single shot from one phaser array the Tactical officer used multiple short bursts from several arrays on the upper and lower saucer in an attempt to 'hole' their shields and do damage to that system. It was an old trick she'd been taught on the USS Nile, sacrificing overall damage to instead destroy a single target, and it had the added benefit of being much less likely to accidentally cripple or destroy the foe. There were Federation prisoners on that ship and they had to be saved, not accidentally killed by a gung-ho Tactical officer eager to prove herself.

It's likely that is an Obsidian Order ship. If it has upgraded engines and weapons then it is logical to assume that it has other upgraded systems as well. We should expect incoming torpedoes.

T'Lari was half-Vulcan and half-Romulan, and had never felt at home among her mother's people. She'd always had difficulty controlling her emotions, but even as the ship banked and she repeated her firing sequence she felt utterly calm, at peace, emotionless. Briefly she wondered if this is what the rest of her people felt all the time, the goal she'd worked for but never seemed able to reach. How odd that it should take place in battle when she should be fighting fear, anger, or other intense emotions.

She keyed in a quick command to bring the secondary phaser banks up. The Philadelphia had eleven banks in all, eight on the saucer, plenty to spare for another task. They'd been caught by surprise once, and the young half-Vulcan was determined that it wouldn't happen again. She keyed in a quick targeting solution for any torpedoes launched by the enemy vessel. It would be tricky; destroying a Cardassian torpedo too close to the enemy ship might damage it as much (or worse) than if the Philly itself had launched. And that wasn't even accounting for the difficulty of actually hitting the small, fast-moving targets.

A challenge, if nothing else.

== Tags ==
== GM Input: What is the result of T'Lari's shooting at fire control sensors? She will also attempt to destroy any incoming torpedoes, but not too close to the enemy vessel. ==
== Oh, and for me it's DAKKA DAKKA DAKKA! ==

The Cardassian ship's energy signature had spiked when it opened fire. The emissions coming from the core were closer to that expected from a Keldon-class Cruiser than a freighter.


T'Lari's phaser fire splashed across the Cardassian ship's shields, which appeared to have been upgraded along with its weapons and engines. Though they did not penetrate sufficiently to cause major damage, it would at least distract the other ship's sensors with flashes of appearing-and-disappearing shield flares.

Fortunately the freighter had not fired any torpedoes at them; whether it was capable of doing so was currently unclear, but a direct hit from a Phased Polaron Torpedo would ruin the Philadelphia's day.
Black watched as the perfectly placed phaser shots fired by T'Lari flashed ineffectively over the Cardassians shields.

Damn it!

The most sensible action from their point of view was to keep the Philadelphia as mobile as possible. Making it impossible for the Cardassian to acquire a target lock while still giving their own weapons the opportunity to do what they could to hinder any returning fire.

Until the port nacelle was repaired, all they had were impulse bursts and manoeuvring thrusters to flaunt about with.

Let's Dance, Gul Dee Locks. She thought to herself as she input the commands into the helm. Dodging left and right. Up and down, and rolling the ship gracefully as they flitted around the near stationary freighter.

A couple of the turns were a little tight, she had to concede as the inertial dampeners laboured a little, but this tango was just beginning.

== Tag any and all, and my dance card is waiting... ==
As expected.

The phaser fire wasn't exactly bouncing off and it was doing some damage, but the upgraded shields on the Cardassian "freighter" were reducing their effectiveness significantly. The shots just weren't damaging the system to any appreciable effect... and they were running out of time. Lieutenant Black was performing intricate maneuvers to keep the ship from being hit and there was at least some hope that T'Lari's shots were overwhelming the targeting sensors in a minor way, but it was just a minor way. Sooner or later the enemy vessel would score a lucky hit. They simply needed more punch.

"Captain, permission to route shield power through the phasers? It isn't doing us any good right now."

There was a risk, of course. The emitters could be damaged, but that could be fixed and the Philly had quite a few emitters. There wasn't yet a cure for death. In the meantime the Tactical officer kept up her series of attacks, all targeting the same spot. And she kept her eyes open, ready for torpedo shots she suspected were likely.

== Tag Jenny ==
== GM Input: T'Lari will continue the same attack, hoping to at least temporarily blind the ship's firing if she can't actually destroy its sensors ==
Jenny flinched and let out a curse as the Philadelphia shuddered under the freighter's impossible barrage; Polaron weapons weren't standard to any Alpha Quadrant species, but Intelligence reports had long stated that they were being studied by most of the major powers following the Dominion War. Whether these were a new type of Cardassian version of the deadly armament, or had just been scavenged from one of the many battle sites, Jenny did not know; what she did know, was that they were in trouble. Despite her design lineage as a pathfinder design for the Defiant-class, the Philadelphia was no warship; she could put up a fight against most combatants her size or slightly larger, but ideally only until she could retreat or until help arrived.

But help was not coming, nor was she going to abandon Federation citizens to further Cardassian hospitality.

"Captain, permission to route shield power through the phasers? It isn't doing us any good right now."

"Do it!"

Jenny replied on instinct, despite the gnawing at her conscience that this kind of situation was exactly what Jensen had been angry about in the first place. There were still forty-odd people aboard the Philadelphia, all of whom stood to lose their lives if the Cardassians got the upper hand; and they were fighting for the lives of about half that. The numbers didn't match, and it didn't take a genetically-engineered intellect to know that part of this situation had more to do with pride than it did anything else. The morality of their actions would be forever debated, and she wondered if one day this would find its way into a new and improved Kobayashi Maru scenario.

Assuming they don't just drum me out of the service and redact the entire thing.

"Theresa, Evasive Pattern Delta; put some distance between us and that ship. Then bring us around, Attack Pattern Delta-Three. T'Lari, Quantum Torpedoes, full spread; we need to bring those shields down."

As her Tactical team went about their orders, Jenny opened a comm channel to the Transporter Room.

"Bridge to Jensen; the Cardassians are putting up more of a fight than we thought. Be prepared to go the moment shields come down, and be warned we might not be able to bring you back; your job is to get any of our people and escape by any means possible."

That done, Jenny switched channels.

"Bridge to Engineering; Altairi, I need all discretionary power you can give to the Engines and Weapons. I want your best damage control parties on-hand, this is going to be rough."

Orders sent, all Jenny could really do was sit back and trust in her peoples' ability to do their job competently and without fear; if they could do that, the ship had an even chance. If they failed, the Philadelphia's only legacy would be a slowly expanding debris cloud in some unnamed system in the ass-end of Federation space, and the true story of what happened here would never, ever be known.
[Copy, ma'am.]
"Theresa, Evasive Pattern Delta; put some distance between us and that ship. Then bring us around, Attack Pattern Delta-Three. T'Lari, Quantum Torpedoes, full spread; we need to bring those shields down."

“Aye-aye.” Replied Black banking the ship about hard, and setting a heading away from their prey still slewing from side to side to avoid target lock before coming about to head back in again.

If this had been an atmospheric dogfight. From the observers point of view, the Philadelphia would have looked to have launched vertically away from the freighter for some distance, then come to what appeared as a slow stall and final stop. Hanging briefly in space, before it gently fell backwards rotating on its own axis gracefully facing downwards and hammering back in the direction it had come from at maximum impulse speed.

Coming in hot at only a small percentage of the speed of light, and discharging their torpedoes would give the ordinance significantly more penetrating power than a conventional launch Black knew. But would it be enough against the apparently enhanced shields?

She quickly gave T'Lari a sideways glance, and hoped at the very least, it would give the Cardies a well deserved headache they wouldn't forget for a while.

"Quantum torpedoes, full spread, aye," T'Lari replied, confirming the order. Lieutenant Black turned the Philadelphia upwards relative to the enemy, rotated, and nosedived towards the Cardassian "freighter." Delta followed by Delta Three. Braggins knew how to use maneuvers and clearly had a tactician's mind. Many Captains knew the commands but didn't have the correct mindset about how and when to use them. Space combat was a chess game where one had to think moves ahead. Black was giving the torpedoes extra 'punch,' something confirmed by the look she gave T'Lari. She nodded in return. They would soon find out if it was enough.

The Vulcan keyed in the order for Quantum Torpedoes, full spread, targeting the torpedoes to hit at equidistant points on the enemy ship's shields. A 'confirm' button appeared on the system console and she pressed it with her thumb, again impressed by the speed at which the system responded. The confirmation was required because the use of Quantums meant the ship's weapons were 'off the chain,' as the humans put it. It was an act easily capable of destroying ships that were less shielded than the Cardassians were, and when it came to space combat Star Fleet didn't accept 'oops' as an excuse.

The shots leapt from the twin fore-mounted launchers as the Philadelphia dove. T'Lari was already moving on to her next task, though she still kept track of the torpedoes. She rerouted power from the useless shields, noting the red lines on the phaser display, and keyed in the override command.

And she held. It would require timing. As soon as the torpedoes impacted she would stab out with the overcharged phasers in an attempt to fully blind the enemy's targeting scanners. It was a difficult shot at the speed they were traveling. T'Lari took a breath and held it, finger poised. She could only hope that they hadn't just sacrificed the Federation prisoners aboard the Cardassian ship.

== Tags ==
== GM Input: Results of the torpedo shots and the phaser strikes? And is there any damage to the phasers from the overcharge? ==
Peter's reply was straight to the point:

[Copy. Sounds like LZ is hot. Prepping standard defensive formation for transfer], he said, then held a brief pause, and then added in a solemn but serious tone: [Updated ROE?]
Ktan growled.

He had hoped, perhaps how all young officers hoped, that his seemingly ingenious analysis would provide a quick and easy solution to all their problems. He had, after all, quickly realized a potential weakness - one that was eminently exploitable. All he needed were the facts to back it up.

But the facts, to Ktan's chagrin, were stubbornly failing to provide a quick solution.

The Cardassian's ship's energy signature had indeed spiked when they first opened fire on the Philadelphia. Spiked so high, in fact, the their power core resembled something more akin to a Keldon-class Cruiser than a freighter. At the same time, though, Ktan didn't detect any obvious instability. Nothing so nakedly exploitable as what he'd been hoping for.

It's possible only the outer hull is constructed to look like a simple freighter. If so, then that energy spike is a feature of their design, not a bug. Just a means of masking their true firepower. But if my initial idea is correct, and the ship itself is full of the guts of a Groumall-class ship, then that power spike could be the vulnerability we need.

But if I've judged wrong, then targeting their power supply could drag out the battle, rather than bring it to a quick end.

Ktan was not a naturally indecisive officer. But here was a conundrum he couldn't solve. On a Kzinti ship, he would be expected to complete his analysis and gather more data before presenting the idea to his captain. But this was Starfleet.

And in Starfleet, the crew worked together.

"Captain," Ktan reported. "Sensors show a large energy spike in the Cardassians' energy core when firing the phased polaron cannons - much higher than a ship that size would normally be able to handle. If the internal systems on that ship are also those the Groumall-class, then we may be able to destabilize and knock out their power by targeting it. But I'm no engineer. I can't tell you if my guess is better than 50/50. If you or your tactical officers have better insights, now would be the time to use them."

== Tag All ==
T'Lari's increased barrage pierced a hole in the freighter's shields, and Shadowhunt's display revealed another energy spike as the freighter's power grid struggled to keep up with its overcharged power plant. Secondary explosions, like little flares, rippled down the freighter's spine as power conduits ruptured and relays exploded, and the shield bubble collapsed at the same time the light in her engines died.

The engagement did not go all the Philadelphia's way, however. The damaged nacelle was hit with a second blast as the small ship closed on its target, this time completely destroying the ramscoop and some of the support equipment. As the Philadelphia moved past its target, ready for another run, a trio of blasts in quick succession tore into her: one grazed her starboard flank on Deck Seven, exposing the Astrometrics Lab and Lateral Conference Room to space; the second struck the Cargo Bay doors, passed through the bay itself, and expended its energy in the battery compartment; the third grazed the Impulse Engine, damaging the reactor room behind it, and sending the unit into emergency shutdown.

Power surges blew through damaged and overstressed conduits; the Mission Ops and Science I consoles exploded, throwing Ensign Ichika from her chair onto the deck where she lay unmoving with smoke rising from her uniform. 

With her sole engine offline, the Philadelphia was left to drift as a fraction of the speed of light, with only her docking thrusters to control her movement. The Cardassian ship was in much the same situation; two ships, damaged and adrift.

It was now going to be a race to see who got their ship fixed first.
He was too late.

The bridge crew had no time to respond to Ktan's report about the Cardassian ship's power core, before the battle came to a cataclysmic conclusion. Ktan held onto his console with a death grip as the Philadelphia was rocked by another series of blasts from the phased polaron beams, multiple consoles on the bridge exploding in a sea of sparks as power conduits failed. Damage reports lit up from all over, multiple areas of the ship being exposed to the vacuum of space.

Meanwhile, the Cardassian ship's power system had indeed overload, leaving it crippled just as badly as the Philadelphia was from the latest barrage.

The chaos thus ended just as quickly as it began, leaving both Federation and Cardassian ships drifting helplessly. All went still.

It was only in that stillness that Ktan noticed his fellow science officer laying motionless on the floor.

"Bridge to Sickbay!" Ktan shouted, tapping his commbadge as he knelt beside Ichika. "Medical emergency. Ensign Ichika is down!"

Gods, if I had only been faster. . .

Humbling hardly covered it. Ktan had doubted himself, doubted his own analysis. And this was the result. If the Philadelphia had been able to exploit the weakness sooner, then maybe only the Cardassians would be dead in the water, rather than leaving the two crews in a race to make repairs.

Please, don't make this my legacy here.
Alarm klaxons sounded as simultaneously, the Philadelphia and the Cardassian discharged their weapons at each other.

Maz watched on the screen as every one of T'Lari's shots found their mark, causing a chain reaction of explosions along the spine of their faltering target. But the returning fire was equally devastating for small ship.

Stations toward the rear of the bridge erupted in sparks as power relays struggled to cope with overloads. The whole deck shook in response to the impact of the polaron charge which circumvented the shields with ease. And briefly her console glitched as the impulse drive took a massive dump and shut down.

They were still heading straight for the freighter. Their own momentum driving them directly into a full on collision.

Without even thinking she activated the dorsal attitude thrusters to full power, thankfully deflecting their heading at the last second, just skimming under the freighters hull, but the outgassing of the hull breach on deck seven and the hydrogen tanks of the shattered ramscoop were countering her attempts to maintain a steady deceleration. Thankfully with a mixture of both skill and blind luck she managed to eventually bring the ship to a halt.

The hull stress indicators from the SIF readouts told her how close they'd just come to ripping off the entire port pylon too with the g-forces they'd just endured, and she took a moment to take a breath. It took a few seconds more before she realised she was shaking, and felt sick to her stomach.

Then she heard the feline tones of their newest recruit calling for medical assistance from behind her, and the blue shape on the deck.

Half of her wanted to rush over and help, but the other half knew she couldn't, and if she did it would be worse.

“Status of the Cardassian.” Said a voice. It took Black a moment to realise it was her own as she addressed T'Lari at the weapons station. Black's own fingers already moving on their own to re-engage the manoeuvring thrusters in an attempt to keep them mobile in case of further retaliation.
T'Lari's barrage was partially successful... it took the 'freighter's' shields down, blew power relays, and cut power to the engines. Unfortunately her attempt to blind the ship failed and the enemy ship stabbed out with its Polaron weapons again, this time doing significant damage to the Philadelphia. The small vessel rocked as the purple beams tore opened several hull breaches, and worst of all its impulse engines took a hit and went into shutdown mode.

On the Bridge multiple consoles exploded. T'Lari restrained her impulse to assist the wounded Ensign Ichika even as Ktan called to Sickbay for assistance; her place was at the weapons console. The Philly was still in weapons range, though drifting dangerously towards the Cardassians even as Black fought to avoid the collision using only thrusters. With the reactor offline and the batteries damaged the ship were unable to return fire with phasers. Torpedo launchers were questionable, and they were rapidly drifting out of position for a shot. Even if she could have shot torpedoes would likely destroy the enemy ship, killing the Star Fleet hostages aboard it. For now they were helpless.

“Status of the Cardassians," Black called out, an odd timbre in her voice. Fortunately sensors seemed to be working... for the moment. The Science I console near the Vulcan hissed and spit sparks, the blown conduit behind it still live, and T'Lari had to raise her voice to be heard above it.

"Shields and engines are down, spinal power conduits are blown and its power grid is offline! It is drifting as well!"

For all the chaos, T'Lari was feeling remarkably calm. She had been in minor skirmishes before, but this was a whole new level. Her emotions felt in check with no sign of the stress she often felt keeping them under control.


The console flared again, a smoky fire breaking out on the underside. The young Tactical officer grabbed a fire extinguisher and sprayed it with foam, trying to put the fire out as quickly as she could.

== Tag Theresa ==
== GM Input: Does the fire go out? And are the torpedo launchers functional? ==
Around Jenny, her ship was dying. It wasn't melodrama that made her think that; they'd all felt the impacts as the Cardassians' purloined weapons tore through her hull plating, and Jenny's own enhanced senses had felt the steady thrum of the Impulse Reactor die away as it went into automatic shutdown. She could still feel the slight vibrations of the Warp Core through the deck, so the ship wasn't totally dead, but she was in trouble. Reports began coming in straight away, and Jenny was silently proud of her Tactical team - nobody else had wanted them, they were both one more black mark away from being cashiered or imprisoned, but they were professionals and ranked among the few people Jenny trusted to pilot her around the cosmos.

"Bridge to Transporter Room; Peter, the Cardassian ship is disabled but so are we. Get there, get our people, and get back as soon as you can. Anything you can do to slow down their repair efforts would be appreciated. Good luck."

The lack of casualty reports coming from other areas of the ship was a good sign; it meant that despite her nacelle and reactor damage, none of the occupied areas had been hit. Unfortunately that also complicated repair efforts; the battery compartment would likely be filling with toxic fumes, and the Impulse Reactor could very well be spewing deadly radiation into the maintenance spaces if it had been breached.

"Theresa, if need be, how confident are you on getting us to warp on one nacelle?"

It was a loaded question; Jenny knew it was doable, but the Philadelphia had been designed to run with two nacelles. She could sustain low warp on one if required, but generating a stable warp field with only one functioning nacelle would require creativity, daring, and more than a touch of blind faith. Jenny had done it in simulation aboard the Artemis more than once as they prepared for their Delta Quadrant expedition, but that was only a simulation, on a ship far more advanced and with far more redundancies than her little Scout.

"Shadowhunt; keep an eye on that freighter, and for incoming ships. T'Lari, anything even so much as looks at us funny, blow them out of space."

Jenny knew that the tasks she was assigning were little more than make-work, but keeping her people busy was important; though they weren't drifting into deep space, or a black hole, they were still dead in the water and quite possibly permanently disabled. Keeping their minds active and focused on their tasks would at least keep them from catastrophising until the reports came back from Engineering and the Damage Control teams.


With nothing else to occupy her mind, Jenny began catastrophising for them as she ran the numbers on how far they were from the nearest outpost, their power consumption rate, and their stocks of emergency supplies.
== Gah, gotta remember to switch characters before I post. Will repost on T'Lari ==
== GM Input: Is there emergency power available to pop off a phaser shot if the Cardie ship fires a torpedo? T'Lari will steal power from a non-mission critical system if necessary. ==
"Shields and engines are down, spinal power conduits are blown and its power grid is offline! It is drifting as well!" Replied T'Lari.

Talk about keeping up with the Jones's. Thought Black as she considered the symmetry of their situation.

"Theresa,” Said Braggins getting her attention. “if need be, how confident are you on getting us to warp on one nacelle?"

That was something of a unexpected question. On a good day, it was certainly possible. Early ships such as the old Saladin and Hermes or even the more recent Freedom class only had one nacelle, but they were specifically designed to run on one.

After a moments thought, she replied. “If we reconfigure the field bubble, we'd probably only be able to make small hops. And as long as Hydish's people can ensure it won't fall off on the way," She glanced again at the readings showing he stress warnings on the ships framework. "The environmentalists won't be too pleased with the subspace rip we'll likely make in the process, but yeah, I think we can do it.” She hoped she sounded confident in her assessment.

Or we'll all die. Smeared across several thousand miles of empty space.
Peter's reply was short and to the point:

[Copy, bridge. Audentes Fortuna iuvat.]
<<Previous Post: Sickbay<<

[Stay Calm Midshipman. Medical team is on the way.]

A minute or so later, the Jeffries Tube opened and two felines came out of the shaft, one holding a medical kit. R'Kaar and Jasoor looked for Ensign Ichika, and then approached her. R'Kaar had his tricorder in hand, and knelt down to scan Ichika for injuries, and to see if she was even alive. Jasoor was pulling out tools from the medical kit that would be necessary for any initial medical treatment that would need to be done on the spot.

"Jasoor, make sure that the cortical stimulator is ready in case we need it. I'm not feeling any movement from her, so best be prepared if something shocked her beyond her body's capacity to withstand." He pulled off the scanner from the medical tricorder and ran it over Ichika's body, doing a full scan to determine what was wrong.

==GM Input: What is the medical status of Ensign Ichika, as well as what injuries has she sustained?==

The fire sputtered and went out. Weapons were still currently online and at full capacity; the Warp Core was still functioning so the Phasers could still be fired at their normal effectiveness so long as the enemy remained in range. The Torpedo Launchers on the other hand, would be limited in their utility; though Torpedoes could be fired "off-bore", their internal guidance systems could only do so much, and the more tracking they had to do of their target, the quicker their propulsion units would burn out.


Ichika was unconscious; given her injuries, that was a good thing.

The console had caused severe plasma burns to her face and upper abdomen. Shrapnel wounds peppered her face and neck, one shard had pierced her left eye and another had nicked her Carotid Artery. The impact against the deck plating as her chair had been flung backwards had cracked her skull, causing an Intracranial Hemorrhage.

There was nothing that could be done for her on the Bridge; she was going to need immediate, intensive, and time-consuming surgery to repair the damage done, and even then it might not be enough.
By the grace of the gods, the response from sickbay was swift.

[Stay calm, midshipman. Medical team is on the way.]

Ktan nodded, calmed his nerves, and tried to do what he could while waiting for medical to arrive - but there wasn't much. Ichika was unconscious, burned, and bleeding. Ktan could feel the blood soaking into his fur as he tried to use what little first aid training he had to put pressure on the most serious of wounds.

"Come on, Ensign," he whispered, as the captain began barking orders around the bridge. "I didn't come here to replace you. I'm just an unwanted guest, remember? This is still your post."

"Shadowhunt!" Ktan suddenly heard the captain calling his name. "Keep an eye on that freighter, and for incoming ships."

Ktan was about to object when the medical officers suddenly appeared from the turbolift and took over the care of Ichika. Ktan barely had time to notice that they were both also of felinoid races before he drifted, as if in a trance, back to his console.

"Scanning, sir," he said, before sparing a glance back to Ichika as the medical team worked on her. They were both Caitian, by the look of the ears. Curious that a Federation ship should house so many felinoids, though Ktan was admittedly there by mistake. It was a small detail to notice in the midst of tragedy.

As he moved his hands down to begin his scans, he left little prints of blood on his console. Ichika's blood. In any other context, he would excuse himself. But the battle, while paused, was far from over. Whichever ship was repaired or reinforced first would win the day.

Gods be with us all.

== GM Input: Ktan is running continuous scans for both signs of repair on the Cardassian ship and for other ships that may be approaching. Requesting 1) an initial status report and 2) any changes to that status when you feel is appropriate. Thank you! ==

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