John Tower-Playing To Win

Discussion in 'The Workshop' started by Dayton Kitchens, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Tower surveyed the two boards with a growing sense of dread. Colonel Noran had outwitted him thoroughly so far. Especially in the space based portion of the conflict which was very frustrating. Tower glared at the upper board as Noran leaned back in his chair with a confidence swiftly turning to outright cockiness. The onlookers who had bet on Tower were muttering among themselves as well. He had been the favorite. Thus, they gave Noran's people three to one odds to attract some action.

    Tower's position in the space battle continued to deteriorate as Noran entered another series of orders. At the core of his force, two 40 km. wide Berserkers held position flanked by more than two dozen Imperial Star Destroyers of various types. His left flank was guarded by the U.S.S. Saratoga and the 58th Squadron (Wild Cards). His right flank was equally well guarded by the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus.

    Tower's forces were neither as large nor as well positioned. A Hatak class pyramid ship along with its full complement of Alkesh and Death Gliders protected the center. Moving up fast were a number of Honor Harringtons superdreadnoughts along with their usual support elements. Tower had no illusions as to how long these would last once the battle was joined.

    On the planetside board, Tower was in much better shape. The main part of Tower's forces were centered around a Mark XXX Bolo Combat Unit supported by the tanks from Hammer's Slammers Regiment. Against them Noran had a full division of Imperial Walkers with Stormtroopers plus a group of T-800s. Eagles and Hawks from the nearby Moonbase: Alpha were providing air support for Noran's troops, and SeaQuest DSV was providing long range missile fire from a nearby cornfield (Tower still had not figured that one out). Tower wasn't worried about events on the planet. Imperial Walkers couldn't do a thing against Hammers tanks.

    Noran tried a bold move. He sent Alpha Regiment of Wolf's Dragoons on a sweeping attack around Tower's flank, but Tower had anticipated the move. He sent Optimus Prime and a squad of autobots into action and quickly pinned down the Dragoon 'mechs.

    Now, while Noran was focused on the surface, Tower sprang into action! On the space board, he sent his Omega class destroyers and Whitestar class ships commanded by Ivanova into Noran's flank, led by the Deep Space Vehicle Liberator commanded by Blake himself. Liberator destroyed Galactica and Pegasus in short order clearing the way for Ivanova to smash into the Star Destroyers.

    There was nothing that said Tower had to wait for a countermove by Noran. He ordered the Hatak full ahead and to attack while Harrington's superdreadnoughts turned and fired full spreads of missiles at the Berserkers. The Berserkers began to respond but then Tower brought the Mark XXX Bolo's legendary hacking capabilities into action. The Bolo quickly infiltrated the Berserkers computer minds and disrupted their systems. The battle of machine versus machine continued while the Berserkers took more damage from the Superdreadnoughts.

    Finally Noran had enough. He sacrificed the 58th to cover the withdrawal of the remainder of his forces.

    In three more moves it was all over.

    Noran stood up and Tower grasped his hand briefly. "I thought for sure I had you there Admiral" Notan said smiling. "I guess I focused too much on retaking lost ground planetside that I lost track of the Babylon-5/Blakes 7 force that you had moving around" he finished.

    Tower returned his smile. "It is an easy mistake to make. One I've made myself many times. Still you played a great game."

    "You'll have to give me a chance to get even in the future" said Notan. "Though I suspect it won't be for awhile. Are you still shipping out the day after tomorrow?".

    "Actually tomorrow, you know how the fleet is. Right now I'm just killing a little time while my gear is beamed aboard" Tower said as he looked around for the wall chonometer.

    "You still travel pretty heavy don't you sir?" Notan said knowingly.

    "Hey, you get 20 years in and see how much baggage you tote from ship to ship" Tower exclaimed in mock annoyance. "But yeah, I've got quite a pile" he finished.

    "Good luck Admiral"

    "Same to you Colonel"


    Tower looked up from the football magazine he had been reading. He had noticed a shadow moving over the house and became abruptly aware that clouds were starting to build up despite the 30 degree centigrade plus temperature outside.

    Thunderheads were blossoming in the southwest so Tower decided to play it safe an unplug the mainline feeders in the poultry broiler houses. He put down the magazine deciding that contemplating the state of the Cardinals offensive line for the fall season could wait.

    He marched out the backyard gate and up the slight hill to the broiler house. As he did he noticed an even more impressive thunderhead back east. He opened the door on the western end of the 100 meter long broiler house, shooed numerous chickens away and unplugged the large electric motor that brought feed into the house. He then worked his way to the far end of the chickenhouse, taking about a minute to cover the 100 meters and unplug the three feed line motors.

    As he exited the chickenhouse, Tower decided to walk up the steep rise to the pasture that plateaued to the north. Once there he took a closer look at the towering thunderstorm formation to the east. Even as he watched he saw a flicker of lightning in the uppermost reaches of the formation. "Strange to see a storm approach from the east", Tower said out loud, but he could see the storm was at least 20 kilometers off. The one in the southwest was even further off and aside from darkening sky didn't show much life.

    "Beautiful by human standards isn't it?" said the Borg who had suddenly appeared behind him...

    Tower ignored the Borg following his every step as he walked back down the hill, past the broiler house and back through his yard. He walked around the house then up the unpaved main road to the second and more modern broiler house.

    Without a word, the Borg continued to follow.

    Tower reached the other broiler house and entered on the east end, quickly unplugging the three feed line motors. He then strode the 100 meters to the other end to unplug the large motor. Tower exited the broiler house the same way he came in. As he did, a distant clap of thunder announced that the thunderstorm approaching from the southwest had stolen a march and won the race with the one in the east.

    "You're determined not to speak to me aren't you?" the Borg asked in a most unBorglike manner. "Could you at least drop the projection while we're here" Tower answered with massive annoyance.

    "Sorry" Mik said as he reverted to his true form which was an aging Jem'hadar, "But I felt the Borg form was useful in reminding you of your duty.

    And reminding you that you are late" he finished.

    Tower walked out into the road as the air turned cool with the approaching storm. He gazed intently across the big hay field to the north.

    "What is the Enterprise going to do? Leave without me?" Tower snorted.

    "No, but with so many depending on you I would bet that Starfleet will be asking questions about any aberrant behavior. Need I remind you that we don't need too many questions raised at this point" Mik finished.

    "Right" Tower admitted, "just wait a few more moments though".

    Mik stopped and followed Towers gaze.

    A twenty third century era Klingon heavy cruiser now drifted into view about a kilometer above the hay field...

    U.S.S. Enterprise- Federation class
    Ten Weeks Later
    Beta Quadrant
    Engaged with the enemy

    Enterprise twisted and weaved as it desperately sought to evade the Borg cutting beams. Her aft weapons pounded at the monstrous armored cube trailing behind her with unrelenting fury.

    But the Borg kept coming.

    "No good sir!" Commander Pearson said from the Conn. "I can't get us out of range."

    "Out in the middle of nowhere with no cover. First Officer Goldstein grumbled with rising anger. "No gaseous anomalies, no planetary atmospheres, nowhere to hide and wait them out".

    "I have no intention of hiding" Admiral Tower said. "I play to win."

    "We have barely more than 60% ships power available John" Goldstein continued. "Sure, I would like to see this bastard torn out of space. But we need some serious reinforcements to make the attempt. At least two battlegroups would make it a fair fight!"

    The Enterprise was jarred severely. "More than half of the aft weapons arrays are down sir" the chief weapons officer reported "Continuing to engage with remaining systems"

    The CWO was understating the damage. Near the fantail of the Enterprise, a single torpedo tube continue to spit ordnance at the Borg cube. Pebbles against a rhino.

    On the bridge, Admiral Tower seemed to release a breath he had been holding. As though a vital decision how now been made.

    "Don't worry" Tower said rather tiredly. "You can cease all weapons fire. We won't need the arrays to finish the Borg this time"

    Goldstein and the other officers simply looked at the admiral incredulously. They all knew the admiral had suffered a number of severe injuries in recent weeks. Just when he seemed to recover from one another battle inflicted damage to his battered body. And he was now working on 72 hours without sleep. This seemed proof that the strain was finally getting to him.

    "Commander Pearson, I'll take the Conn for the next few minutes" Tower told the officer as he stepped down into the sunken station. Pearson didn't hesitate and slid smoothly from his seat.

    Tower cleared his throat and ordered "Computer! Reconfigure the Conn station. I want all primary, secondary, tertiary and emergency navigation and manuevering controls available at this station. Including all manual overrides. Also configure the console with primary engineering controls including those for sublight and FTL systems"

    The computer using the molecular suspension system quickly reconfigured and rebuilt the Conn station. All the controls requested would not normally fit at the Conn so the computer added extra panels and readouts.

    Glancing at the newly reconfigured Conn, Tower sat down and leaned to the edge of the chair so he could reach the majority of the controls at once.
    He changed the course of the ship quickly and the Enterprise seemed to heave as it charged at high warp speed down the path that the admiral had set for it.

    "Commander Goldstein!" Pearson whispered urgently, "The course the admiral has set will take us dangerously close to a black hole!"

    "I noticed commander, but I'm not going to second guess the admiral at this juncture"

    Chief Weapons Officer Hadley glanced over at Science Officer Newman wondering what she was thinking. "Probably looking forward to getting a good (and last look) at the black hole" he thought to himself.

    The Enterprise dropped out of warp dangerously close to the black hole. With the sublight engines seeming to almost howl, it then thrust itself even closer. The Borg ship dropped out of warp behind Enterprise and continued the close pursuit.

    Admiral Tower now began to play the controls like an insane pianist. Barely glancing at the readouts. Flying the massive starship more on instinct.

    "My God!" Newman said quietly in a voice that still seemed to echo throughout the bridge. "I know what the admiral is doing. He is going to orbit the black hole at high speed. If he is successful, we'll slingshot around the black hole with incredible velocity. So fast that the Borg can't react quickly enough to track us"

    "And if he is unsuccessful?" Hadley asked.

    "We probably won't feel a thing" Newman replied.

    Tower's hands played over the controls relentlessly. Finally he thrust himself back in the chair as though he was worried about touching another control and altering the course he had set. Tower reached for Pearson's hand who helped him away from the console.

    In just a fraction of a second it was all over. Enterprise whipped around the black hole and was flung away at tremendous speed. So quickly that the Borg were unable to react.

    Of course, the Borg had their own problems.

    Following the Enterprise so closely, the Borg found that they were unable to brake safely or veer away without suffering severe damage to their vessel. So the Borg chose to duplicate the manuever of the Enterprise. Surely, tens of thousands of Borg should be able to duplicate the manuever of a single human.

    But the Borg have a hive mind and for once that was their undoing.

    As the Borg began their manuever, the time dilation effects of the black hole began to effect the Borg crew. The Enterprise has been guided by a single human mind but the Borg ship was being guided by more than forty thousand minds.

    The Borg in the part of the ship closest to the black hole began to experience time at a slower rate than the Borg in the other portions of a ship. A hundred thousandth of a second difference at first, then ten thousandths. Minute differences but enough.

    Differences in the passage of time for different parts of the hive mind led to confusion among the Borg. Confusion led to delay. And delays led to the Borg ship slipping too close to the singularity and its fate was sealed.

    The differences in gravitational pull on portions of the Borg ship rose rapidly. The portion furthest away from the singularity were experiencing only a single gravity. The portion closest were pulled by 10Gs, then 100, then 100,000, then 1,000,000. Gravitational stresses that no ship ever built could withstand.

    Huge chunks of the Borg ships armor were suddenly torn from its hull. Then the entire vessel seemed to twist and compress until the entire ship was turned into a single impossibly long, impossibly thin thread of metal and flesh spiraling into the event horizon.

    The bridge crew simply stared apalled. Only Science Officer Newman remained at her station. She had noticed that flare of radiation from near the event horizon. The only sign that the Borg ship ever existed. "The Vulcan Science Academy will love a recording of that" she thought happily. Newman was always cheerful when able to get some science done on a combat mission.

    Goldstein recovered first "Computer! Reduce speed and prepare to come about! Return the Conn to the basic configuration. Mr. Hadley, get the admiral to his quarters and have a medical team meet you there. He needs some food and a long rest." Goldstein noted that Admiral Tower had finally collapsed from the stress and strain of the last few days.

    Pearson retook the Conn and shook his head amazed, mumbling to no one in particular.

    "Incredible! Maybe the news people are right. Maybe he is all we really have..."

    Eighteen Hours Later...

    "I'm really feeling much better Frederick." Tower said addressing Commander Goldstein. "A fourteen hour nap and a leisurely breakfast does wonders."

    "Still, I'll remain on duty till the next shift change" Goldstein said firmly. "All those lingering injuries will heal faster if you are rested."

    "Thanks commander, I'll take things slow for a while." Tower said gratefully.
    "Call me if the war heats up before the shift change" he said as the First Officer smiled and exited the Admiral's quarters.

    Tower waited a few minutes. "Computer. Seal cabin door until further notice" Then he opened the closet and took out one of the few changes of clothes that he took from posting to posting. He changed quickly out of his uniform into the best set of civilian clothes he had with no indication of his rank or position.

    He went to the computer and brought the terminal up. "Computer, no record is to be kept of this session. Authorization Tower14".

    As the computer connected to the top secret site, Tower was pleased to note that six of the eight members were already there. The other two had duty assignments and couldn't get away.

    "I guess this will be all of us this week." Tower said to the images of the six people appearing on the screen. "Looks like we are holding our own in numbers".

    The various people connected to Tower shared various greetings and made small talk until it was time to begin

    First, Lt. Formri led several songs. Then CPO Robinson led the opening prayer. His wife then presented a tape of a sermon from a highly respected evangelist back on Earth. The group then studied the Book of Acts. The part covering Paul's first missionary journey. Tower used an old but well maintained Bible. He could've called up hundreds of different Bibles from the ships library but that would've left a record that he couldn't erase. And anyone repeatedly looking at Bibles from the ships library would arouse a lot of suspicion unless it was known they were doing historical research.

    The group ended the regular lesson and spent about half an hour just talking about what was going on in their lives. Thoughts about the ships mission. Problems with fellow crewmen. Suggestions about who they might approach to join the church. Crewman 3rd Class McInally wasn't at the service but the Robinsons said he was making slow but steady progress with someone in his department and might be able to get them to attend the virtual services soon.

    Tower considered this a good omen. A year after he took command of the Enterprise, he was quite surprised to find a fledgling church aboard of four Christians. Tower had been the fifth and with two years of solid effort, they had expanded their number to nine. Tower thought he might carefully broach the subject with Hadley but he would have to be careful. Finally, all of the members present took communion secretly delivered to their cabins the day before.

    Tower delivered the closing prayer and the service was over. The group of seven out of nine Christians aboard said heartfelt goodbyes and promised to be back next Sunday.

    Nine Christians aboard out of a crew of 7,551 with a couple of hundred civilian contractors and dozens of civilian scientists.

    Certainly a far cry from just a few centuries ago. But in the 22nd century, when humans rapidly began establishing colonies in other solar systems, a vast number of those leaving Earth were the more religously inclined. Now Earth's population was largely atheistic with those still professing some belief in God mainly deist. Strangely, some Wiccans with their beliefs in a living universe and all that stuff managed to hang on as well.

    Tower went back to his bunk and closed his eyes for that nap. He had to admit that the possibility of expanding the congregations numbers excited him even more than taking down the Borg cube the day before.
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  2. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Coran VII
    Eleven Years Earlier...


    Commander Tower decided to sleep in his Class D battlemech that night. It would be more comfortable than any place else in the forward operating base for his company not to mention safer. With his helmet off and the seat reclined, the cockpit was actually pretty comfortable. The cockpit heater kept the chill out of the air. Rain started to pelt the transparent aluminum of the cockpit canopy quickly lulling the commander to sleep.

    Two of his companys twelve battlemechs were active and on patrol. A class C unit with antiaircraft weapons and a class B specializing in antiinfantry work. The two mechs slowly walked the perimeter of the base, their sensors scanning far further than human eyes could see.

    Tower was much more comfortable on the bridge of a starship. Let the Starfleet Marines handle this ground war stuff. But the Marine Corps company had lost a man to illness several days earlier, and Tower was the only person on hand that had both extensive combat experience and was checked out on one of the massive, 85 ton Class D mechs.

    Unfortunately, the Class C mech that was scanning the skies around the forward base had developed a fault in its sensor systems. It didn't detect the incoming flight of primitive aircraft until they were nearly within range.

    An ominous warning tone startled Tower out of his sleep! He instinctively grabbed his helmet, strapped it on and brought the mechs systems online. "Multiple hostile aircraft inbound from the north!" he heard as the sentry mechs gave a belated and largely unnecessary warning. By this time the automatic systems in his own mech had detected the flight.

    Tower started to start the mech forward, warning horns on the ankles of his mech blasting out a warning. But Tower looked down as a precaution and saw the tiny figures of a large number of infantryman scurrying near his mechs massive feet. "I can't risk stepping on one" Tower said out loud, "especially if the air strike is just a test of our defenses".

    Instead Tower brought up the arms of his machine and tracked the aircraft coming in from the north. A small group of five led several dozen other craft. Strangely, the lead group did not appear to be carrying any external ordnance. They still had their internal guns though. And Tower wasn't planning to let them get close enough to use them on the infantry and support troops nearby.

    He raised the mechs right arm, locked the pulse compression cannon on the closest enemy aircraft and fired. He expected to see the aircraft explode instantly.

    What he didn't expect was to see all five of the enemy aircraft explode together!

    A moment later and a moment too late he learned the truth. The first group of enemy planes wasn't supposed to survive. The explosion of all five including their small fusion powerplants created a crude electromagnetic pulse that was already starting to foul his long range targeting sensors.

    As the smoke and debris cleared from the explosions, Tower saw the REAL attack force. Twenty four aircraft, each one carrying at least eight air to surface missiles was bearing down on the base. He heard the shouts of surprise from the other battlemech pilots over the radios.

    There was no time to lose! Tower quickly triggered all the available weapons he had. Firing in the general direction of the incoming strike. He also started to move the massive mech to the left hoping to avoid some of the missile storm.

    Tower was gratified to see most of the missiles miss the battlemech company. One hit the upper left leg of his armor and holed it but did little internal damage.

    The mech to his right was not so lucky. Sargent Hoskins had just started to move his own class C mech when a missile impacted directly on his cockpit canopy. Tower could hear the beginnings of his scream which cut off abruptly as the molten metal of the shaped charge warhead burned through his cockpit.

    Then the missile storm was over. Tower was gratified to see that his wild firing had apparently downed and incoming plane and that members of the company had apparently hit a couple of more. The infantry using shoulder launched weapons had scored as well. All in all, only 18 of the 24 planes carrying the missiles had escaped unscathed.

    But where had all the missiles gone? Tower quickly radioed Private Noran who was piloting a lightweight Class A mech nearby. He ordered him to dismount and go to the rear because Tower hadn't heard anything from the support group or the tanks since just before the attack began.

    Tower dismounted himself and began checking the condition of the company first hand. He didn't have to inspect Hoskins machine. "Pilot dead, mech salvagable" was his only remark made into his recorder.

    Tower had almost completed his walk around when Noran came sprinting up the trail between the hundred meter trees that separated the mechs from the support group and armor.

    "Commander! Commander! They're all dead! All blown away! Nothing left!!" Noran shrieked between gasps for air.

    Tower jogged toward him. Noran had to be exaggerating. The support group had probably gotten hit hard and the kid had simply overreacted. A few dozen bodies and some fires burning could look like armageddon to a green soldier.

    Tower considered going back and getting his mech but chose not to. He would have to take the machine down the narrow road to the support area and he did not want to be confined to the road in case another attack came.

    The support area was now less than 200 meters through the trees. He joined the still babbling Private Noran in heading back in that direction to investigate further.

    They didn't have to go 200 meters.

    After jogging little more than half that, Tower entered an area of utter devastation. All the trees were blown down and debarked. Of the support area, nothing remained standing more than half a meter high except for the partially melted remains of the six tanks. Not a single thing moved. There were no sounds except for the occasional crackling of fires. No wail of a wounded survivor . The devastation was so great that it had killed even the guards around the perimeter.

    Hundreds of the missiles must have hit this area Tower realized.

    Noran finally caught up to him. Staring at the devastation for the second time, he doubled over and began vomiting violently....


    Earth
    One hundred and fourteen years later...

    Retired General Almirch Noran walked slowly into the academy lecture hull leaning heavily on his cane. Today he was feeling all of his one hundred and thirty seven years. He would die of an assortment of ailments within the year. He was not entirely unaware of this fact but neither was he overly concerned. He had lived the years that he had to live.

    The Florida sun had seemed to be beating down on Noran's ancient skin. He was glad to be inside the cool Starfleet Academy lecture hall even if it was only to give a brief lecture he had given thousands of times before to hundreds of thousands of young cadets.

    The fifty cadets all rose to attention in respect for the former general though he had not been on active duty in more than forty years. Even without his Starfleet Marine Corps record, Noran's accomplishments in the academic world alone merited the massive respect he was held in.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "You may be seated." Noran announced curtly. "Today we will examine the most decisive and important turning point battle in Federation history. Who among you can tell me what that even was?"

    "The Battle of Terra in 2413." The entire class stated in almost perfect unison. After all, the subject of the lecture was hardly a secret.

    "Very good" Noran responded. "I see everyone is checking the annoucements with regularity" he finished earning a few muffled chuckles from the assembled cadets.

    "The Battle of Terra in 2413 was the closest the Federation came to being defeated outright. Not to mention the closest Earth ever came to actual destruction. As it was, nearly ten million people on Earth perished anyway, largely from simply being in the crossfire of the larger battle"

    "Question Professor Noran?" a cadet announced as he stood up. Once Noran acknowledged him he said. "Wasn't the Earth and Federation closer to destruction in the earlier attacks by the Borg in 2367, 2373, 2380, and of course 2381?"

    Noran thought this over for a long moment.
    "Yes, all those earlier attacks by the Borg were indeed threatening." Noran agreed. "But in each of those conflicts, the Borg were stopped by unconventional means. False commands entered into the Borg hive mind. The Borg being forced to route their power through a poorly defended power conduit that Captain Picard noticed thanks to his earlier time as Locutus which he then had the fleet target. Virus programs entered into the Borg systems.............."

    "But all of those were wild, long shot efforts." Noran said. "Nothing that could be repeated again and again with the Borg. Besides which, by the time 2413 rolled around the Borg were immune to any of those kinds of attacks. It would take proper strategy, sheer firepower, and tremendous leadership to take down the Borg. Not tricks and gimmicks."

    Another student rose and was acknowledged by Noran. "But what is wrong with 'tricks and gimmicks'" he said, "as long as they win the battle?"

    Noran had expected this line of questioning. "Because a trick or gimmick might win a battle, maybe even two or three. But you can't win a war that way."

    Noran took a long drink of water from the podium. "I assume all of you still study Earth military history? Very good, then you remember the famous 'Dolittle Raid' on Japan by the United States in World War II? The raid raised morale in the United States and embarassed the Japanese. In many ways it was a major success."

    "But it couldn't win the war. Nor would a hundred raids like it". Notan said his voice starting to trail off. "In fact, had not Admirals Fletcher and Spruance carried the day at Midway months later, the raid might've been little more than a historical footnote." he said finishing.

    The cadets mulled this over. They didn't expect the linkage of the struggles with the Borg to Earth's World War II.

    To the cadets, World War II was ancient history more than a third of a millennia ago.

    But then again, the conflicts with the Borg were ancient history to most of them as well. Something you studied in connection with those portraits of honored Starfleet heros that lined the halls.

    The Borg hadn't been an enemy of the Federation in decades. Far from it. There were a number of Collective and Noncollective Borg attending Starfleet Academy. Though as some cadets suddenly noticed, none of either were presently in the lecture hall...
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  3. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    "Of course," Noran continued "the key to the battle was Admiral Tower's effective destruction of the Borg fleet"

    "For nearly two years, the Borg had pushed their way through the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. The Romulan and Klingon homeworlds, Ferenginar, Risa, Tamar...all invaded, occupied and put to use by the Borg." Notan stated almost sadly as though those long ago battles were yesterday.

    "Only a last ditch effort by Admiral Tower saved Vulcan. Tellar and Andor had been invaded and were hanging on by a thread. The Borg had crushed their way halfway across the Federation and in October of 2413 they made their way to Earth."

    "They would go no further"

    "One hundred and forty two Borg ships of various types invaded the home system of humanity and capital world of the Federation." Notan said continuing.

    "Less than six hours later, only three greviously damaged Borg ships would manage to flee the Terran system..."

    "Sir?" said one of the assembled students said as he rose, "Hasn't it been a well established fact that Admiral Tower was only part of the team of officers who stopped the Borg? That his contribution while major was not decisive?"

    Noran smiled. He always received this question and it never failed to amaze him just how little history people actually studied.

    "In a word NO!" Noran said losing his smile completely. "While it might be a 'well established fact' it is in fact still false. Take Admiral Tower out of the equation and Earth is conquered by the Borg and the remainder of the Alpha and Beta Quadrants of the galaxy fall within three years tops. With the resources of the Alpha, Beta, and Delta Quadrants the Borg would then have swept through the Gamma Quadrant and all remaining pockets of opposition very quickly."

    "Why then does the Federation downplay Tower's importance to the victory?" a second student said as she rose.

    "Because the Federation has always hated to admit that the fate of the galaxy hinges on just one person." Noran said. "And especially in the case of Admiral Tower. To put it bluntly, a lot of people did not like him. I did not like him. He was a difficult man even in the best of times."

    "Why was he so difficult to like?" an older student asked.

    "For one thing because Admiral Tower was pretty much completely and utterly against what many felt Starfleet to be" Noran continued as he got more and more into the lesson.

    "Tower wasn't an explorer. He wasn't a diplomat. Nor was he the least bit interested in either role. Aside from exploring to find new weapons or negotiating to find new allies. He was attracted to Starfleet for the soldiering aspect of it and he quickly proved to be not only a great soldier, but to relish that life."

    "Tower even had the saying:

    Battle and bed, that's where I perform best!"

    The students laughed softly at such sentiments being openly expressed by a top officer.

    "In addition to those sentiments which he wasn't shy about expressing, Tower was a very hard man. He had no regret whatsoever about sending people under his command out to die while protecting his own life.

    "Unlike most Starfleet officers who prefer to lead 'from the front', Tower had a very calculating and cold blooded opinion of his own self worth. He honestly believed that due to his experience and abilities that his life was worth far more than that of a nameless security guard or navigator serving under his command. "

    "And though this alienated many in Starfleet, Tower was probably correct. His experience was a valuable resource that Starfleet needed. So his interest in keeping himself safe and living was actually in the best interests of Starfleet and the Federation".

    "But that never stopped the grumbling from other officers."

    "Sir?" yet another of the students said as he stood. "You seem very familar with Admiral Tower personally though it is my understanding that you never served with him for any length of time."

    The student had obviously come prepared.

    "How is it that you know Admiral Tower so well despite this?" he said finishing.

    "A good question." Noran said thoughtfully. "But although I never served with Admiral Tower I did encounter him a vast number of times over the long years."

    "In fact, I can tell you about our first meeting. It was peacetime, though definitely on a field of battle................

    ........the Pirate offense broke the huddle and jogged to the line of scrimmage. Tower, at left defensive tackle, stared at the opposing linemen from his position on one knee and quickly considered the proper tactic.

    The Wolverines had come out on fire and jumped out to a 14-0 lead over the formidable Pirate team but after halftime the Pirates had come out with guns blazing. They had driven fifty five yards for a touchdown after a short Wolverine punt to close the score to 14-7. Now after a sustained drive had fallen short, the Pirates took over on downs and were driving again with consecutive first downs.

    But the Wolverine defense was up to the challenge and threw the Pirates back for a loss of three yards on two running plays. Now the Pirates faced third and thirteen from their own forty three yard line.

    An obvious passing situation, Tower moved into a three point stance and glanced at the ball in the centers' hand. He planned a full on power rush past the Pirate right guard, Markinson, while at the same time Tony at left end rushed hard inside the Pirate right tackle.

    A flicker of motion in the corner of his vision alerted Tower to the snap. He lunged forward as low and as hard as possible as though the offensive guard wasn't even in the way.

    But he was.

    The rock hard collision of helmet and shoulder pads sent Tower reeling back. Markinson had anticipated this pass rush and met him with a massive rising blow of his own rather than try to fend him off with hands and arms. A clever tactic that Tower used himself.

    As Tower staggered back from the collision, a tall lanky player brushed into him from the left. It was Tony. The massive Pirate right tackle had simply grabbed him and thrown him down inside like a doll.

    And Tower suddenly saw his opening.

    In turning to throw Tony aside, Clovell the right tackle had left his outside exposed. Plus, by turning inside he was inadvertently screening Tower from any further blocks by Markinson.

    Tower had a direct path on the outside to the quarterback. After two steps he was already at full speed and went roaring by the offensive line completely untouched. Clovell and Markinson both saw what he was doing but could only lunge ineffectually at him.

    Tower was now roaring down on the Pirate quarterback.

    Noran

    Noran meanwhile had locked on to his primary receiver, had the ball up and was poised to pass in just over a second. But Tower would get there first.

    Noran sensed more than saw Tower closing on him. He instinctively tried to pull the ball down and safe it but was too late. Tower instinctively flinched at the moment of impact. This was not a form tackle. Noran was too short for that. This was going to be a full on collision at chest and head level that might maim both of them.

    Tower plowed into Noran and drove him into the ground in a collision that knocked both of them off their feet.

    Tower sensed Noran drop the football but with pain roaring through his head and upper body he could do little about it. But Wolverine linebacker Rick Anderton, who had been guarding against a draw or dump off in the flat scurried in and scooped the ball off the ground one handed and turned toward the goal line. Markinson and Clovell both gave spirited pursuit but Anderton knew how to run and no mere offensive lineman was going to catch him from behind.

    Tower heard the fans on the Wolverine side roar as Anderton sliced past the goal line for the touchdown. The fan roar almost, but not quite, muted out the moans and grumbling from the Pirate side.

    Meanwhile on the ground, Tower and Noran stared at each other for a couple of long seconds. Then Tower and Noran both extended a hand and helped the other to his feet.......


    "Let me get this straight sir?" yet another student said standing. "You met John Tower in a football game? I was under the impression there was a considerable age difference between the two of you?"

    "Only two years" said Noran. "But John Tower entered the academy some six years before I did. As you might remember, I chose to take a shot at the academic world before Starfleet. It turned out that I was about five decades too early. I completed my half century in the fleet before returning to academics.".

    "At any rate, that six year gap in entering the academy meant that Tower was a far higher ranking officer than I for the time period we are discussing."

    The students stirred a bit. None of them seemed to be able to follow just which way this lecture was going.

    One of the students near the back tuned out Noran's lecture for the moment.
    He had been doing research on Admiral Tower and happened upon a decades old memory chip that contained a fascinating entry...

    ...Tower stared at the Klingon D-7 cruiser hanging above the hay field. He stared until a Constitution class heavy cruiser arrived and hit the Klingon ship with three quick shots from the forward phaser banks.

    The Klingon cruiser fired a single disruptor burst then turned sharply back to the east, disappearing over the neighboring hay field.

    Two weeks later.

    John Tower slowly backed the big manure spreader down through the now empty poultry house. The John Deere tractor he was driving was sleek and new. They passed by the Montana tractor with a front end loader. Cleaning out the massive poultry houses was a rare treat. Done this thoroughly only about three times a year. There was great satisfaction in all the highly detailed tractor work. Including maneuvering inside in very close quarters. And working in the shade was always a plus.

    As he rolled the spreader and tractor over the mounds of chicken litter, Tower pulled the steering wheel hard to starboard. As a result, the spreader jerked hard to port and angled about eighty degrees to the tractor before Tower clutched and halted the machine.

    Now he was ready for the really fun part.

    Ensign Worthen stared anxiously into the campfire. He then cursed himself for risking his night vision and pulled his phaser rifle closer. He scanned the treeline some 50 meters away with worried glances. Six of his men were out there getting a quick survey of the local area while his two engineers were working feverishly on the damaged engine of the shuttle.

    Ensign Collins ran his medical tricorder over the still form laying under the blankets on the ground. It was still warm even though the the planets sun had already set. But the temperature was supposed to drop to near freezing in just a couple of hours. And the howling winds that were supposed to be part of the local weather would force them all back inside.

    Right now the engineers needed the extra space to get their work done.

    Worthen was running over the events of the last four hours. Hearing and feeling that the command bridge of the ship was hit along with nearly everything else. Piling the people he needed into the shuttle and flying around the drifting hulk of the flagship even as the Borg fleet closed in. Using the shuttles phasers to cut into the damaged bridge. Being horrified when he saw that the shuttle phasers had cut the conn officer in half and that the poor guy was certainly still alive when it happened.

    The desperate escape with their prize. No way the Borg should've known about their passenger but three ships came howling in pursuit. Fortunately, Worthen knew of a trick one could do while in warp drive to evade pursuers. Unfortunately, that trick had trashed the drive and they had to set down on the nearest halfway habitable rock.

    Now Worthen watched as Collins scanned the figure lying on the makeshift stretcher.

    "How is he?" Worthen finally asked after not being able to restrain himself any longer.

    "Bad enough", said Collins. "Massive internal injuries. It's a miracle I was able to stabilize him. If we don't get to a starbase hospital. A very advanced starbase hospital within the next 72 hours then all of this will be for nothing".

    "We'll make it, somehow" Worthen said with conviction that he didn't feel as he stared down at the very still form of Fleet Admiral John Tower...



    Two thousand, four hundred and twelve starships closed rapidly on the nebula where the Borg fleet was massed.

    Commander Townsend counted down the time until probable contact before reporting.

    "The enemy force should be detectable anytime now Admiral" she reported.

    "Thank you commander" Admiral Tower replied. "Signal all ships to continue as planned. Inform me of any changes."

    "Nothing unusual sir. Looks like everything is going as plan---" Townsend's voice cut off as the long range sensors picked up something emerging from the nebula.

    "Borg vessel sighted!" she reported. But before she could analyze it another Borg vessel emerged. Then another. Then two. Then five. Then dozens.

    In awe she watched as a seemingly unending stream of Borg ships emerged from the nebula. The entire plan had been based on encountering two hundred Borg vessels. At least that many had appeared already and still the stream continued. Finally Commander Marsden broke the silence.

    "I make it at approximately 320 Borg ships Admiral." he announced to the shocked crew.

    And the Borg ships were not just moving. They were emerging in assault formations. Each ship covering its companions. "Admiral Carstairs scout fleet must have been detected after all" Collins, the fleet intelligence officer said.

    Townsend couldn't believe it. Her finger poised above the control to send the prearranged abort signal to the fleet. They had barely a 5% chance of survival against a fleet of that size without the advantage of surprise. Against the fleet they had prepared for, caught unawares in the nebula, they had enjoyed a nearly 40% chance of survival and mission success.

    But Admiral Tower hadn't given the abort signal. Nor was he even giving an indication of considering it.

    A great turning point approached and then passed. The fleet was now committed to battle one way or the other. Townsend released the breath she had been holding now that the decision had been made.

    "Signal all ships we will be using fire plan Baker-Three with Retrograde movement number 2 by fleet elements 4 through 9. Go for the heavies!!"
    Admiral Tower ordered. Such a simple sentence yet it threw seven weeks of training and planning out the window.

    The fleet surged toward the massive Borg force. Enterprise led a force of smaller ships, mainly Galaxy, Nebula, Valkryie, and Sovereign class vessels toward the heart of the Borg formation, but the larger Fortress, Oceana, Dauntless and Liberator class vessels held back. Their weapons continued to track the Borg though. Tracking and waiting.

    Admiral Tower stared at the tactical display intently and then spoke without emotion.

    "Fire"

    With eruptions that seemed to bend space, the larger warships that were trailing cut lose on the right flank of the Borg fleet. Walking their fire toward the center. Then switching their fire to the left flank before the Borg could react.

    Townsend watched with awe as some of the Borg ships actually disappeared from the display. Moments later, the Enterprise cut lose with her own barrage of beams, torpedos, and exotic weapons. A barrage that equaled that of the Starfleet ships already firing striking on its own at the center of the Borg fleet.

    Every ship was now firing. And every enemy answering. Vessels from both sides exploded and were lost though fewer now than later...

    Seeing the Borg flanks in disarray, Tower upped the ante.

    "Small boys, attack!" he ordered.

    More than forty Defiant type starships broke away from the main body of starships and plunged toward the Borg ships in the heart of the formation on suicide runs.

    The ships were still called "Defiant types" due to their small relative size and massive firepower, though the original Defiant class had not been in service for years.

    Four streams of ten starships each aimed themselves at a Borg ship. Shedding lifeboats and escape pods, the ships made their final runs under computer control.

    The first small starship was blasted apart by Borg energy beams. The second suffered the same fate but managed to get closer. The third was closer still. The fourth sideslipped past the explosion and rammed into the Borg shields and detonated with staggering force. The Borg shields overloaded.

    The fifth ship plunged a hundred meters deep into the leading face of the Borg ship and blew up. Ripping a half kilometer hole into the side of the giant cube. The sixth ship reached all the way to the very heart of the Borg vessel, its explosion splitting the giant in half.

    The seventh ship was following too closely behind to be retargeted, so its net effect was in reducing the Borg ship to ever smaller fragments.

    The ninth and tenth ships veered pasted the destroyed Borg vessel to assist the others in hunting down other prey.

    Admiral Tower smiled with grim satisfaction as he watched the Defiant suicide squad take out five Borg assimilation cubes. Even as he watched, the follow on Borg vessels surged past the ashes of their comrades. In moments they had overtaken the escape pods and lifeboats.

    The pods and lifeboats exploded in deadly sequence engulfing six Borg vessels in a series of antimatter explosions. The Borg had anticipated a suicide attack. They had not predicted a double suicide attack. The crews of the forty starships having evacuated via long range transporters while the pods and lifeboats were packed with antimatter charges.

    The charges didn't destroy the massive cubes outright. But they stripped the Borg of their shields and blinded their sensors. Before they could react, the Enterprise and a phalanx of Fortress class ships opened fire on the six Borg vessels with their massive hyperphaser systems along with antiproton beams.
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  4. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    As Tower was taking it all in, the bridge was rocked by a crushing impact! Tower wasn't secured in his command chair. He was thrown violently to the deck. His last memory being the curious taste of blood in his mouth...

    ... Fleet Admiral John Tower stood on the balcony of the hotel in Montreal. He was impatient. Sylvia should be here by now. He couldn't help thinking that her tardiness was one more way of gaining the emotional upper hand. Stringing him along to gain some advantage.

    Tower pushed his anger aside. If this had any chance of working, he couldn't let his anger show.

    "Sorry I'm late. As you assumed, it was totally deliberate." Tower heard her say before he could turn from the balcony.

    "You don't have to resort to tricks like that with me." He said carefully. "We're not enemies Syv."

    "I would not call us friends either Tower." She replied, deliberately using his last name instead of his first. Syv loved to play up the emotional distance she claimed she felt.

    "Do you have to call me that?" he replied with an edge creeping back in to his voice. "We were married for 13 years. Hell, we're still married legally. I haven't signed the papers."

    "Another month and it won't matter what you sign. Don't think I don't know why you asked to see me." Sylvia replied. An edge creeping into her own voice.

    Tower moved very slightly toward her at an angle. If he stepped directly toward her he was worried she might clam up and simply leave.

    "Is it that wrong to want to save our marriage? Tower said softly. He wanted Sylvia to be the one doing most of the talking. Despite the distance between them, he knew that Sylvia was better off if she talked herself around to his side. It had worked before.

    Not this time.

    "Not our marriage Tower. YOUR marriage. It stopped being ours years ago. Even before those two years in that Dominion prison camp. You changed then and you know it. But the man I married had already changed and I wouldn't have stayed married to you anyway. Face it. We've been holding on for the last four years hoping things would be back to the way they were but those days are gone forever."

    It was the longest statement she had made to him since she left last year.

    She wasn't through.

    "I married a man. A heroic, brave, intelligent man but still just a man. You stopped being only a man years ago. Now you're a symbol. Of Starfleet. Of the glorious Federation's inevitable victory.

    You're a great many things. But you aren't a husband anymore."

    "Things will change." Tower began, "When the war is over-"

    "WHICH WAR!!" Sylvia finally shouted, her reserve cracking. "This war? The next war? The war after that? Whichever war you happen to be fighting? You are a soldier. Probably the best Starfleet has ever had or will have."

    "Be honest with me! Can you ever really just walk away from it? Can you avoid your duty while people you know are out there dying? I thought not." Sylvia concluded.

    "You were Starfleet Security." Tower replied with questions in his voice. "Surely it occurred to you that part of your job might involve actually fighting. Are you saying turning your back on your duty was that easy?"

    "I walked away while I still had a chance and some measure of sanity John" finally relenting and using his first name. "I joined Starfleet thinking I would spend my years protecting scientists on some far flung world. Or guarding diplomats at some conference."

    "I never figured to be fighting brutal hand to hand combat with hordes of aliens. Not fighting wars I can barely even understand! "

    A tear suddenly appeared in the corner of Syv's eye.

    "We had a big wedding John. Only thirteen years ago.

    Do you have any idea how many members of our wedding party are still alive?"

    Not the question Tower anticipated at all. He thought quickly.

    No, that bridesmaid died when Risa was obliterated. His candlelighter? Died defending Starfleet Academy in the ground portion of the invasion.

    Finally he said simply "No".

    "My niece. One of the servers at the reception. And she lost both legs and is assigned a desk job on Starbase 171."

    "I hadn't realized." Tower said quietly.

    "Of course you wouldn't." Syv said with a hint of bitterness. "Individuals in a time of a major war are just numbers. You're an admiral. Why should you spend time obsessing over a handful of people?

    "But that handful meant everything to me John. I finally decided that I wasn't going to continue serving until I became just another number on a PADD that you sign off on"

    "Why didn't you ever ask me to join you?" Tower began "Don't bother answering. We both know the answer. You had to walk away and I never could. Once we, hell once I win this war you're right. I'll just spend my time preparing for the next".

    She had her chance to speak, now I'll take mine Tower thought.

    "Good luck Sylvia. Go and enjoy the happiness and peace of mind that I'm out there purchasing with my blood and those I command. Maybe you're right. I'm a warrior always looking for the next war. But just remember that I fight so that people like you won't have to and might one day have a future."

    "I've been willing to sacrifice a lot of things to win this war. You're right. I do see the big picture. Sacrificing a marriage doesn't seem like that big a deal when you look at it that way."

    "Whether I fight because I enjoy it or simply think it is necessary, I still fight and I hope and pray that I'm doing the right thing."

    "I just hope you remember our time together and have some happy thoughts" he concluded.

    Then Sylvia did the completely unexpected. She lunged toward him, hugged him tightly and after what seemed like a moment that is both timeless and unbearably brief let go with a kiss on his cheek.

    "Take care of yourself John Tower." she said almost smiling. "Perhaps when you remember that I'm one of things back home you're fighting for will give you the edge you need." ................................

    .....blood.....Borg.....Sylvia.....blood.....Sylvia.....blood.....more blood....awareness flooded back to Admiral Tower. He was on the deck with the taste of blood in his mouth...

    ...."Admiral! Are you alright!....Speak to me sir!..." Tower could now make out the youthful form of the Enterprise Conn officer leaning down over him.

    "Just what the hell was he doing not manning his station" was all Tower could think. Then not waiting for a response, the young officer grabbed Tower and hauled him off the deck, sitting him upright in the command chair.

    "Don't they teach these kids anything about basic first aid" Tower thought. "Who in his right mind moves an injured, nonresponsive person?"

    "My god I can't feel a thing!" was the next thought Tower had.

    At least the young Conn officer, Hampton had the common sense to lock the restraints over Tower in the command chair saving the admiral from the embarrassment of sliding helplessly back to the deck.

    "Admiral! Can you hear me? How do you feel? Hampton continued to yell at the stunned John Tower.

    Tower still couldn't feel anything. He managed to rasp out a barely audible "fine".

    With gathering awareness Tower noticed that all three tactical officers were unconscious on one side of the bridge while Townsend was battling a fire at the aft consoles.

    Tower had to get control of the situation again. Gathering all the air he could muster in his lungs he blurted out in a rush,

    "Man your station ensign! Resume firing!".

    Hampton seemed relieved to receive orders he was trained for.

    "All weapons systems controls feed through Conn and Ops! Shut down all consoles not manned! Target nearest Borg vessels and commence fire!" Hampton ordered with a voice of authority that was beyond his years.

    Silent in the command chair, Tower had become a spectator in this battle for the moment.

    But only for the moment. He could breathe better now and feeling was returning to rest of his body. Just a couple of minutes more and he could probably get back in the game.

    As he watched Hampton lead the attack in the meantime Tower was swept by a warm feeling of pride.

    "I trained him well" he thought as the slightest hint of a smile crossed his face.

    Admiral Tower was finally back in command. He still couldn't feel his legs completely but above the waist he was okay.

    Senior Tactical Officer Hadley was back at his console and had taken over the shooting from Hampton. Allowing Hampton to get back to his evasive patterns. The two other tac officers were being attended by a med tech and Townsend had won her battle with the fire near the rear of the bridge. She and Collins were working with whatever consoles left to get Tower a better understanding of how the battle was going.

    Three additional viewscreens next to the main sprang to life. Tower instantly saw something.

    A Borg ship some distance away moving laterally, apparently trying to work its way around the Enterprise and attack from behind. Half a dozen virtually destroyed starships trailed in its wake. Including one of his massive Fortress class ships (it was too damaged for Tower to tell which one) and a Bastion class warship that was firing a single pathetic phaser beam at the Borg cube which now ignored it.

    But his crews had not died in vain Tower realized. They had taken a chunk out of the trailing side of the Borg ship. A huge battle wound that one could fly a Galaxy class vessel through.

    And apparently, the Borg didn't realize Enterprise was tracking them because the damage was fully exposed to her weapons.

    "HADLEY!!" Tower yelled incredibly loudly! Half the crew jumped as they hadn't heard the admiral say anything for several minutes.

    "I see it Admiral! I see it! Primary weapons arrays are recharging and reloading. Forty seconds before I can deliver an Alpha strike. Wait for it."

    The seconds crawled by. How long before the Borg ship realized the danger they were in or repaired enough of the damage?

    "Seven seconds admiral! Keep us lined up Hampton!"

    "Five!"

    "Four!"

    "Three!"

    "Two!"

    "One! And firing!!" Hadley announced at last.

    More than ninety torpedos of all types launched first. Just as they were about to strike the Borg ship, a dozen of the highest strength beams that Federation science could produce lashed out from the Enterprise.

    Every last weapon fired struck the Borg ship in the battle damaged area.

    For a moment nothing seemed to happend as explosions seemed to engulf the cube but it appeared intact.

    Then four of the beams slicing into the cube....emerged from the other side!

    The crew watching the monitors were transfixed by the Borg cube being run through by the Enterprise weapons.

    Only the titanic explosion of the cube less than a second later broke their attention.
    The Enterprise crews elation was short lived. Between Hadley's shooting and Hampton's flying, not to mention the exploding Borg vessels, the remaining Borg ships finally recognized Enterprise for the supreme threat she was.

    "Six Borg ships closing from dead ahead Admiral" Collins announced. "Three more closing from the forward port quarter!"

    "Reverse course Mr. Hampton. Get us some distance." Tower ordered.

    "Sir! A wing of Patton class destroyers are vectoring in to cover our withdrawal!" Townsend announced from the rear deck.

    "Oh God" Tower mumbled to himself. "Please don't let this happen again."

    The Patton class destroyers were technically "Borgbusters" like the Enterprise. Ships specifically built to fight the Borg.

    Technically.

    In reality, the Patton class ships were made of off the shelf technology that could be slapped together as quickly and as cheaply as possible. They featured downsized Galaxy type warp engines, engineering hulls that looked much like the front half of an Excelsior class , and primary hull saucers that were variants of the old Constitution class.

    Fast, manuverable, relatively few but fairly strong weapons. Decent shields. And most importantly, a crew of only 81. Meaning expendable.

    Expendable...
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2009
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  5. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Before the Patton class vessels could reach the Enterprise the Borg struck. Six massive cubes fired staggered barrages of disruptor shots and torpedoe fire. All of Hampton's formidable ability could not dodge the lot of them. Enterprise bucked and reeled from the impact of a score of hits. The shields held back much of the assault but not all it and as Tower watched the DCD half a dozen angry red lights indicated hull breaches.

    But the Borg were not finished. Far from it. Trailing somewhat behind the six cubes that had fired, a seventh Borg cube suddenly rose clear of its fellows. It did not fire a staggered barrage. Instead it fired a massive, sustained beam of intense energy at the Enterprise.

    The Borg fire was off by barely ten meters. They had aimed at area of the ship protected only by an overloaded shield grid. Instead they struck a section which still had full shields. The Enterprise shields flared and died under the intense assault but they repelled eighty percent of the Borg attack. The much weakened Borg beam plunged through the hull of Enterprise, digging in more than five decks deep before its energy was lost.

    Enterprise lurched ominously with the hit but emergency forcefields activated almost instantly. And within seconds, local damage control teams were charging into the damaged compartments.


    With the Enterprise reeling from the massive assault, Tower was relieved when the Pattons arrived though he was still horrified at the price he knew those small, flimsy vessels and their crews were about to pay.

    The ten destroyers quickly angled between the Enterprise and the closing force of Borg vessels. Their crews were well trained. Even as the took up positions to cover the Enterprise, all ten ships opened fired with their forward phasers at a single Borg ship while each launched torpedos at other Borg vessels.

    The lead Borg ship absorbed the phaser attack with few ill effects but it did slow its advance. The destroyer group quickly switched their fire to a second, then a third Borg vessel.

    But they couldn't combine fire on all of them. One of the Borg vessels which was untouched swept the destroyer formation with cutting beams and disruptor fire. It then launched salvoes of torpedos for good measure.

    Admiral Tower raised his hand to shield his eyes as the Enterprise main viewscreen became a sea of exploding starships. Half a dozen warp engines flew by Enterprise like so much confetti. Partially incinerated saucers and glowing chunks of engineering hulls added to the macabre display.

    When the viewscreen and sensors began to clear up, Tower noted that seven destroyers had been annihilated, two were drifting helpless while a single ship appeared to be untouched.

    Commander Olvera was captain of the U.S.S. Grant. While he was shocked by the eradication of nearly his entire squadron including hundreds of people he had worked with for months, he did not freeze. He knew that his lone destroyer could do nothing more to protect the Enterprise.

    But staring at his sensor readings, Olvera suddenly saw an opportunity...

    With a single sharp command from Olvera, the Grant shot away from the Enterprise and directly toward one of the leading Borg vessels.

    "Helm, bring us to the exact midpoint of the port side of the Borg ship. Activate forward tractor beams and bring the forward edge of the saucer to within 10 meters of the Borg vessels surface!" Olvera ordered.

    The entire bridge crew turned as one in shock.

    "You heard me!" Olvera snapped. "TEN METERS! Once we are in position stand by to fire forward phasers narrow beam, maximum power!".

    In seconds the U.S.S. Grant was in position though even with tractor beams, the helmsman was hard pressed to keep the ship precisely in place. Especially given that the Borg ship was manuevering on its own.

    And firing on them. Several disruptor shots sliced past the Grant but missed. Apparently the Borg had not figured on a starship willingly approaching them so closely.

    "FIRE!" Olvera ordered...


    The forward phaser banks lanced into the side of the Borg vessel. Even the phasers of a small, obsolete ship like the Patton class Grant were powerful enough to level a city in a single pass.

    Against a tiny ten meter square section of the Borg ships hull, the results were just as impressive.

    The phasers bored through the outer armor of the Borg vessel and gnawed a path into the Borg ship at a rate of twenty meters per second. In barely less than half a minute, the Grant carved a hole half a kilometer deep into the side of the massive cube.

    The rest was up to others.

    "Cease fire! Cease fire!" shouted Commander Olvera. "Fire a Class IV homing probe into the battle scar."

    Olvera himself opened a general channel.

    "U.S.S. Grant to all available ships! Fire torpedoes! Maximum yield! Any type available! Home in on this sign!"

    "Probe away sir!" the tactical officer shouted.

    "Release tractor beams! Conn! Hard to starboard! Hard to starboard! Full impulse! All hands brace for battle concussion!" Olvera shouted as he tried to secure himself to the command chair. Already he could see on the scanner dozens. No. Hundreds of torpedoes inbound.

    The Grant heaved itself to the side as swarms of torpedoes hurtled past it, seeking the signal put out by the probe.

    The massive detonations deep in the heart of the Borg vessel were more than any ship could withstand.

    The Borg ship begin to drift until a final series of explosions shattered it completely. Millions of tons of debris slammed into the U.S.S. Grant, damaging the small vessel beyond repair
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  6. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Olvera sat in the ruined bridge of his wrecked starship. The Grant had been showered with debris from the disintergrating Borg ship and the hull had been breached in more places than he could count.

    All they had left was minimal life support and a tractor beam. Even long range sensors and communications were gone so Olvera could tell little about the ongoing battle.

    With shields gone, Olvera was worried that the Grant might be easily picked off by a stray shot though given the actual vastness of space that did not seem likely. Still, he was taking no chances. A million ton chunk of the Borg ship he and his crew had helped destroy was drifting nearby. Olvera used the Grants one operational tractor beam to pull what was left of his ship alongside. While hiding didn't seem very honorable or noble, Olvera was more interested in providing some cover for the ship and his surviving crew.

    One thing driving Olvera crazy was having virtually no idea about how the battle was going. If the fleet won out, he could expect some kind of rescue and recovery. But if the Borg won...


    Olvera had actually resorted to sending one of his crewman to the observation deck with the most powerful tricorder available to try to get some idea about what was happening outside. Now his communicator chirped to life...
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  7. shootER

    shootER Insubordinate...and churlish Administrator

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    I'm kinda liking this, but I really don't care for the "mixture" of hardware from the different SF universes. Takes me right out of the story. :shrug:
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  8. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    ... "Olvera here." the commander responded as he tapped the device.

    "Sir!" said the garbled voice of the crewman Olvera had sent to the observation deck. "You won't believe the message I intercepted!". Before Olvera could comment she played it back on her tricorder.

    "...and using the Grant Strategy, we've been able to destroy or disable eight Borg ships admiral. But the remainder are starting to close ranks. Still, that should give us better targeting..." the voice of the unidentified officer dissolved into static as he continued to report to Admiral Tower apparently.

    "Pretty great isn't it sir? The Grant Strategy though they should've probably called it the 'Olvera Strategy'".

    "That's okay Ramirez. I doubt the admiral's staff knows my name. I can live with 'Grant Strategy' but beyond that did you have any luck getting a message out?"

    "That is the other good news sir. I used the tricorder to boost my communicator and get a message to a recon probe that went by a few million klicks just a couple of minutes ago. I managed to upload our damage reports, fatality lists and the fact that we still have twelve wounded aboard in need of greater care."

    Olvera finally released the breath he had been holding. "Well done Ramirez." Stay where you are and keep monitoring. They should send us some help when the battle winds down. See if you can pick up anything else. And again, nice work. Olvera out".

    Commander Olvera's great fear was that his surviving crew might be forgotten and left to die out here in this mess. But the fact that the admiral's staff knew which ship had managed to bring down one of the Borg vessels and that the rest of the fleet had used the same method indicated he need not worry.

    "I hope it was worth it." Olvera said as he looked around his shattered bridge. Fourteen dead and another twelve injured out of a small crew to start with.

    Twelve injured. Technically that meant twelve injured badly enough to be confined to sickbay. Virtually every other member of the crew had burns, lacerations or broken bones that normally would have them seeking help as well. But everyone knew that the surviving medical staff was overwhelmed and the damaged ship required everyones efforts so they crudely wrapped up their injuries and manned a station.

    Olvera suddenly felt guilty as he remembered that he was the only one left on the bridge who didn't have significant injuries.
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  9. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    John Tower watched the vid screen and the multiple reports for some time. Both of his daughters had gone to sleep. Each of his arms cradling one of their sleeping forms. The twins were growing fast and looked a lot older than three. Fortunately they were not too old yet that they didn't like sitting in their daddys lap before bedtime.

    "The day will come when they probably won't even talk to me for days on end" Tower mumbled to himself.

    "Teenage years will come all too soon"

    He had gone through that stage of course but it was a little different. The next to youngest of eight children, much of what he said to his parents was filtered through the his older brothers and sisters. Very large families were not uncommon on Mars. A holdover from the first few generations after terraforming when large families were highly prized as more native born children meant less reliance on colonists from Earth. By the time he was born, such a need was a hundred years in the past, but human attitudes didn't change so quickly.

    Large families even on Earth had also become a sign of wealth. Any family that could afford to provide and care for a large number of children was seen as prosperous. Very much a "third world" style belief but one that had spread to the west in the 21st and 22nd centuries.

    Tower never figured he would have a family. Too much time away aboard ship. Too many horrific injuries both physical and psychological. The failure of his first marriage which survived his two year captivity by the Dominion but could not survive his sudden celebrity once he returned and took command of Enterprise. His first wife's subsequent death in the Global War of 2415 left him wondering whether he should feel like a widower or a divorcee with all the conflicted feelings of both.

    But he had gotten lucky. After nearly two years of campaigning in the Delta Quadrant he had returned for well need R & R. He had an opportunity to visit the U.S.S. Fearless, the modified Nebula class ship that was his second command.

    Fortunately, he had gotten to meet the new captain of Fearless as well...
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  10. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Tower relaxed in his quarters. Unofficially his quarters that is. Officially, his quarters were actually Cargo Hold 442D. He leaned back and picked up his hard copy of "Jane's Fighting Starships" and picked a page at random. It turned out to be a section on fighters.

    "There are actually three types of fighter craft. The first and most commonly known are called 'spaceplanes'. Spaceplanes are spacecraft that have wing or winglike structures that make them appear similar to atmospheric only small craft. Spaceplanes have traditionally captured public attention and imagination because they routinely operate in planetary atmospheres where most populations reside making them by far the most well known type of fighter spacecraft.

    Though most spaceplanes do not have faster than light capability, some in fact do mount small warp drives.

    But spaceplanes do not make up the majority of fighter spacecraft.

    The second type of fighter craft are called "spacefighters". Though less well known than spaceplanes, they actually outnumber spaceplanes by a wide margin and show a greater variety of design. One reason being that spacefighters include large numbers of armed shuttlecraft and other auxilary vehicles used for combat.

    Spacefighters do not resemble airplanes. They are often not aerodynamic and in some cases are not even symmetrical. The Klingons field a number of unsymmetrical combat spacefighters.

    Spacefighters lack aerodynamic features and generally do not operate in planetary atmospheres. Though most in fact can given they have more than adequate engine power to operate there.

    Spacefighters often mount small warp drives for interstellar travel.

    The third type of fighter craft are called "starfighters". Starfighters all have warp drive systems. They are often capable of faster than light travel near that of full sized starships.

    Starfighters generally look like minature versions of existing starships. Starfleet operates starfighters that look like Defiant class, Intrepid class, Norway class, and even Galaxy and Sovereign class ships to name just a few.

    Starfighters are of course larger than other fighter craft and require larger crews. Some require as many as six to eight crewman. While this sounds like a large crew for a fighter craft, one must remember that during Earth's Second World War, long range bomber airplanes often had crews of a dozen or more."

    Tower stopped reading. Though he could get the same fluff from his official intel reports Jane's always had an easy way of getting information across.

    He leaned back, rubbed his eyes, put "Jane's Fighting Starships" back in it's place on his desk and reached for "The Military Atlas of World War Three".
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  11. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Commander Collins reached the door to Admiral Tower's quarters and hesitated. Despite being considered an old hand aboard Enterprise he had never visited the admiral's personnal quarters. Admiral Tower tended to use the ready room near the bridge a great deal. In fact, he often slept there between shifts for several days at a time without ever returning to his actual quarters.

    Not that these were actual quarters. The relative luxurious admiral's stateroom was on Deck 18 had never been used by Tower. Instead, the lowest ranking members of the crew were allowed to bunk there on a rotating basis as a reward for exceptional work. Collins knew that had been Tower's idea and it made the often aloof and reclusive admiral very popular among those he commanded.

    Instead, the admiral was bunking in Cargo Hold 442D buried so deep inside the giant ship that only a single turbolift shaft serviced this area. Collins thought that might be one of the reasons why Admiral Tower chose it. There was virtually no chance of crewman or even officers dropping in on him without a damn good reason.

    But as Collins reached for the screen alongside the massive cargo door to announce his presence, another more sinister reason became apparent.

    Collins almost didn't notice it, but his skin began to tingle slightly. He had been in Starfleet long enough to know the feeling of very powerful sensors scanning him.

    What they were scanning him for became immediately obvious. A very slight, very brief warm feeling near his holster told him that his phaser had been disabled by the computer.

    For some reason Collins found the whole thing immensely annoying. "I'm one of his most senior officers and he has me shaken down like an alien he has never set eyes on!" he told himself. But Collins knew immediately he was overreacting. The security computer certainly scanned everyone. The admiral probably didn't even give it any thought.

    "Commander Collins here sir." he announced after touching the keypad.

    "Come in commander." he heard Tower's filtered voice.

    "I wonder what would happen if I drew my disabled phaser and charged in as though to bludgeon the admiral when the door slides open?" Collins mused to himself.

    Collins stepped through the cargo hold door and realized exactly what would've happened.

    If he had not been put on guard by the unexpected security devices, Collins would probably have never noticed it. But as he stepped through the door he suddenly had a feeling he was being watched. Closely. Glancing quickly to his left, then his right he counted no less than four. No. Six weapons ports very carefully concealed in the equipment and cargo containers along the walls on either side of the door.

    Most people would probably have never noticed them but Collins had worked as a consultant for a private security firm that installed systems very similar to this for the rich, famous, and those who simply did not like visitors.

    Such moonlighting was strictly against regulations but the fleet normally turned a blind eye to it. To Collins practiced and experienced eye, he knew that the admiral's personal security system was not only nonregulation but state of the art. Hell! It was beyond state of the art. Collins wondered if those stories about the admiral hoarding captured alien technology for his own use were true after all.

    As Collins walked the seemingly intermiable distance to the desk where Admiral Tower was sitting he took in everything about Cargo Hold 442D. While no doubt small for a cargo hold, it was undeniably huge compared to even the admiral's stateroom. Various portions of it had been sectioned off by temporary walls, but the overall feeling was still one of vastness.

    Collins glanced over at a large, modern looking cabinet and did a quick doubletake. The cabinet held at least thirty weapons of all types. Not family heirlooms or antiques, but modern standard issue hand weapons used by various branches of Starfleet.

    Collins hesitated and finally stopped dead and considered things. Between the security system at the door and the arsenal inside he wondered just what kind of attacker Admiral John Tower expected to force it's way in. And it wasn't like the admiral was vulnerable anyway.

    Tower was considered an incredibly formiable individual fighter in his own right.

    At that point, Collins noted that Tower was observing him intently.

    "Was this all a test?" He thought to himself. It sounded incredible but maybe the elaborate security procedures, hidden and not so hidden weapons was just for show. A mental obstacle course that allowed Tower to see how someone entering his quarters for the first time reacted to the truly unexpected.

    Perhaps the weapons and sensors were there to make a simple statement. That the admiral took his duty very seriously. Even considering the security of his personal quarters to be a matter of life and death.

    "No" thought Collins to himself. "I'm over analyzing it. The weapons cabinet might be for effect. But the sensors and weapons ports at the door can't be. They were too well concealed for that. Only an expert could notice them in the first place. No the only reasonable explanation was that Admiral Tower or his security detail had good cause to fear for his safety...."
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  12. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    The ferocious thunderstorm lashed at Tower as he groped his way through the gathering darkness. His way was illuminated mainly by the seeming nonstop flashes of lighting. Winds of more than 60 kph were driving the rain over the top of the nearby hill sending it swirling into the shallow valley below.

    Tower struggled slowly though steadily up the hill toward what appeared to be a cave close to the top. As he neared it he saw it wasn't a cave (which would've been odd near the top of a hill anyway) but merely a cavity in the surrounding rock and soil barely a meter deep surrounded by several bushes and large plants.

    "Even better," Tower said to himself. "I won't have to worry about some animal already nestled in the back where it can't be seen."

    Tower settled down on a handy pile of rocks along one side of hole. He was delighted to find that the rocks were worn away by years of wind and rain. Most of them were no bigger than his fist and there wasn't a sharp corner on them. Nothing that would tear his coat or make him uncomfortable. The rocks actually made a fairly comfortable and surprisingly dry place to lean back and sleep. Some huge plant petals that looked a lot like elephant ears served to conceal Tower and keep even more of the rain from him. His hood had the really nice feature of a small inflatable air bladder at the rear that served as a very effective pillow.

    Half reclining on the rock pile with his hood cushioning his head, Tower looked downslope in the light provided by the lightning flashes. He saw several dozen cattle bedded down near the bottom of the shallow valley. Despite their reputations, cattle were not dumb. They were bedded down on the leeward side of the hill while most of them had their backs to the wind as an added measure. The calves mostly lay leeward of the cows to increase their protection. The massive bull, half again larger than any of the cows, lay roughly in the center of the cows like a carrier in the middle of a task force. A few cows, disturbed by the lightning were still milling about.

    "Can't say they're dumb." Tower said to himself. "They found the best cover anywhere near from the rain and from the lightning. Not to mention that their lifesigns will help shield me from any scan that can breach the storm." Tower was close enough to the herd that his lifesigns would look like just a modestly sized calf to anyone looking.

    Tower was dead tired after nearly three days without sleep yet for some reason, despite being quite comfortable he didn't fall asleep immediately. He had never realized just how beautiful a thunderstorm could be, especially at night. And the lightning provided more than enough light for him to be able to enjoy the pastoral beauty of the......well, the pastoral beauty of the pasture. Despite the wind, rain, and lightning or perhaps because of it, he kept his eyes open for a good while taking in all the detail.

    Despite his bed of rocks and the violent thunderstorm, when sleep did come it was remarkably peaceful.
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  13. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    I just realized when transferring this story to hard copy that it is 35 pages long already.

    I could be one eighth to one ninth of my way to a decent sized novel.......
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  14. Scott Hamilton Robert E Ron Paul Lee

    Scott Hamilton Robert E Ron Paul Lee Straight Awesome

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  15. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    I guess I could claim that it wasn't Star Trek and self publish.
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  16. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey you can't spell hatred without "red hat"

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    the spacebattles weren't very good.
    and it doesn't seem like star trek. the title made me think it was a mac bolan'esque type thing.
  17. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    I'm not writing it just for space battles. I'm experimenting with a variety of characters, styles, and settings.
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  18. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey you can't spell hatred without "red hat"

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    When I was 15 and in 10th grade, I had an art teacher tell me to not waste my time pursuing an artistic career. He was also primarily an english teacher.

    Keep sketching. It doesn't have to be to everyone's taste too be good or successful. Nothing is a complete failure so long as you can improve upon the next endeavour.
    Improve isn't event the correct term-you just need to aim for it becoming "more".
    • Agree Agree x 1
  19. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Reminds me of what my dad said a couple of years ago. I was lamenting the fact that I had wasted so much time and money over the years on things that "were not important".

    Daddy said "If it was something you enjoyed, then it was important.".
  20. Spaceturkey

    Spaceturkey you can't spell hatred without "red hat"

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    Heh-
    I remember when I was 13, Pops telling me pretty much the same thing during the car ride home.
    "Whatever you do, enjoy it."
  21. John Castle

    John Castle Banned Writer

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    The mixed franchises make immersion really difficult, as do the scene transitions. I see definite potential, though. Those issues aside, well done so far.
    • GFY GFY x 1
  22. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    A monstrous bolt of lightning and its attendant thunder roused Tower from his rather restful sleep. The rain had increased yet again and two fairly good sized streams were now cascading down the gaps in the hills on either side of his hiding place. They merged not ten meters in front of him and combined to form a much larger stream that flowed through the area where the cows had bedded down. Several cows were now up and moving reluctantly to new spots in the pasture while some calves bawled fearfully at the storm.

    Despite the rain and wind, Tower was getting warm inside his suit. He unzipped the front of it a ways and began to cool somewhat. The small, but noticeable heat spike did not go unnoticed by a member of the execution party some three hundred meters away standing under the over hang of the farm administration building along with half of his platoon.

    Force Officer iChann had been called to duty only three days ago when it was clear that Admiral Tower of the Federation Starfleet was going to invoke his “Right of Flight” rather than stay in prison and appeal his death sentence. IChann thought it was a foolish decision by his Advocate Team. The Judsonian government was in no mood to blow away relations with the Federation by executing their most respected commander. In all likelihood, they would’ve kept the admiral in comfortable custody for a few years and then quietly let him go.

    Tower of course wasn’t really responsible for the loss of the planets entire somewhat primitive space force of 20 ships and 900 of their best crewman. Tower had asked to use the ships because the Judsonians had a rather unique weapon using a new type of cold fusion that was expected to surprise the Borg. Unfortunately, for once the admiral was wrong and the Borg blew the entire Judsonian force out of space before they fire a single shot and the public outrage demanded some form of action lest the government fall. And Starfleet considered Judsonian industrial strength to be a real asset in the future once their technology was updated so they consented to allow Tower’s trial.

    The Judsonian justice system was rather unique. Much of it held over from when the planet was colonized more than two centuries ago. Trials began kept going around the clock until a verdict was reached. Most trials then were over in hours. Towers had dragged on for more than 9 days. By the time it was over, the advocate teams on both sides were ready to drop from exhaustion.

    It was clear that Tower was not primarily responsible for the loss of the ships and crewman, but the prosecuting advocates had taken a very old law and used it to their advantage. Old Judsonian law allowed for the accused to be found partially guilty by assignment on proportional responsibility. Although Tower was held to be only 5% responsible, that made him effectively guilty of 45 of the 900 deaths. And mass murderers could get only one penalty on Judsonia…..

    But Tower’s team had not been sleeping (though they probably could use it after nine days). They found an even old and more obscure provision in Judsonian capital crimes law. The “Right of Flight” allowed a condemned criminal to escape his sentence and for that matter his official guilt if he was released and then able to elude capture for a set number of days with no outside assistance. The law dated by hundreds of years as well and was meant to enable a criminal to avoid punishment by proving their fitness to live and hopefully contribute to the colony. It was supposed to help keep costs of incarceration down. Not to mention that following such “flights” had at one time been a real entertainment treat for Judsonians. The “flight time” for a murderer was five days. Thus Admiral Carson Tower once released had to avoid recapture for that time. With no assistance from his ship or sympathetic Judsonians on the ground.

    IChann saw the heat spike on his scanner when Tower unzipped his survival suit. He noted the dozens of cows in the vicinity and considered that it might be a cow or calf. A calf judging by the size of the reading. But something about it made him think that they had by shear luck found their target.

    He started to report to the team leader who was having a loud argument with the farm administrator when someone to his right said “Don’t do it!”. iChann glanced to see Force Officer eJhonn glaring at him. To his other side, tMann looked at him in a manner that could not be described as friendly in the least.

    “If you report to Team Leader, we’ll be marching out into THAT!” eJhonn said. His massive arm sweeping to indicate the horrendous storm. “All just to find it’s a calf relieving itself because it’s terrified !” For emphasis a massive series of lightning bolts struck close by and a tremendous gust of wind splattered the team members with rain. “You might be one of the best scanner men on the continent. But you’re not dragging us out into that pasture just to find someone no one here cares about finding.” eJhonn continued.

    “It is our duty…” iChann began only to be cut off by tMann from the other side.
    “Hang our duty!” the other officer put in. “Our job is to put up a spirited pursuit for a few days until this high and mighty admiral gets out clean and everyone from the top down can wash their hands of the whole mess with a clear conscience.” tMann wasn’t through. “I’m for holing up here until the storm breaks then we’ll continue to follow the projected path the admiral was following. No one here signed up to be fried by lightning in a cattle pasture.”
    “Fine! Fine!” iChann conceded the point. After all, when this was finished he still had to work with these men. “It was probably just a cow like you said . These cows are Earth breeds so they’re probably sympathetic with the admiral anyway!”

    iChann’s little joke broke the tension and all three men laughed softly. IChann shut down the scanner and wiped the memory as was procedure.
    Admiral Carson Tower drifted back to a peaceful sleep never knowing how close he had come to discovery….and dreamed again. The same relatively enjoyable dream he had dozens of times before. Commanding a starship of course (what other dream could a man really have?) but not like commanding fleets like he did in the waking world. Back in day of James T. Kirk. Commanding a single Constitution class heavy cruiser on the frontiers of space. Knowing he truly operated alone and being thrilled to every minute of it. Kirk, Pike, Frederickson, Decker, Garson, Wesley, April, All the giants. When they measured greatness by who was sitting in the center seat.
  23. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Normally, Carson Tower had neither the desire nor the need to be unnoticeable. Nor was it easy. At more than two meters tall and over 120 kilograms, he stood out among the most genetically advanced and well fed humans. And this was without taking his massively developed frame and so called serial killer glare into effect.

    Still there were occasions on modern worlds where avoiding attention was not only a requirement but a vital necessity. To this end, Tower wore clothing that made him look obese rather than muscular. His glasses also marked him as not only having bad genes not improved by modern medicine but also being allergic to Retinax. His pants did not look outwardly baggy, but they concealed a bent leg walking style that made him look nearly 10 centimeters shorter. Finally he walked slightly slower than the average fellow pedestrian. The overall effect was the look of a run of the mill tall man who was prematurely aging for one reason or the other.

    Tower continued his far slower than normal walk. Seemingly weighed down by the bulky suitcase he was carrying. Though it did weigh more than 50 kilos, carry it required little effort for Carson. The heads up display on his glasses were giving him a near constant tactical update on any threats or potential threats within nearly 100 meters. His sensor net did pick up a couple of possible muggers on a side street up ahead and Tower briefly considered a detour to deal with them but he quickly ruled it out. He was on a tight schedule and his slow rate of advance didn't help matters.

    Perhaps they would still be hanging around when he came back by....
  24. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Tower finally arrived at his destination. He avoided the lifts just inside the front of the building and went to the emergency stairs. Once out of sight in the stairwell he had no need to pretend to be fat and feeble. His progress up the stairs was probably double his speed on the street. He came to the fifth floor, entered it and quickly found his way to the right door. Even as he approached he heard a voice within saying "Come in admiral" As he stepped quickly inside he hesitated before a second door which didn't open immediately. His skin tingled slightly as a security system scanned him thoroughly. From the feelings he was getting it was an older system than he was accustomed to yet obviously an efficient one. The scan stopped briefly, then restarted as it detected his concealed weapons and other equipment and notified the people on the other side. After another long moment the scans stopped and the inner door slid open. From the slight rumbling it made Tower could tell that despite its facade it was an armored security door that would stop most attackers.

    The room beyond was larger than Tower had expected with three people seated around a table and a couple of more off to one side. The oldest man, clearly in charge looked up with the vaguest hint of a smile. "We monitored you coming up the street Admiral Tower. Aren't you going overboard in the disguise department?" he said as his eyes took in Tower's elaborate get up.

    "I needed to keep in practice just in case Connor. By the way, there are a couple of probable muggers halfway down the 600 block of Pearl Street. Have one of your guys deal with them."

    "Jamar" Connor said to one of the men off to the side. Jamar needed no further instructions and headed for a door. Noticeably it was not the same one that Tower had entered.

    "Well? Did you manage to obtain them?" Connor said with considerable anticipation as he looked at the suitcase. "Not exactly." Tower replied as he began opening the security seals of the case. "But I think I've found something similar that will allow you to complete the mission here".

    Connor and his companions rather than being disappointed actually seemed even more intrigued by the suitcases contents and responded by hovering even closer.

    "What do you think?" Tower said as the suitcase cover finally slid open.
  25. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    "What are they?" Connor said after examining the three sets of devices in the shielded briefcase after awhile. "I asked for the latest model in personal cloaking devices".

    "PCDs are hard to come by right now" Tower explained. "There is a bit of a scandal back home due to them being used to violate certain people's privacy if you know what I mean. The bottom line is that there is a ton of scrutiny from a special committee of the Council about who is using PCDs and why. So I couldn't latch on to them."

    "And what are these and how can they replace PCDs" Connor insisted.

    "Quantum Breaching Devices" Tower answered. He looked around for an interior wall, noticing one and said "Allow me to demonstrate".

    Tower took one of the devices over to a nearby wall. He separated it into its two halves and placed one just over head height on the wall and another just above the floor and activated both. He then took out two pen sized objects, placed them about midway along the wall between the two devices and steadily moved them apart. To Connor and his teams surprise the wall drew apart as though it were a curtain. Once the gap had widened to nearly a meter at its greatest, Tower pushed both of the small "pens" into the edges of the wall and stepped back briefly. He then walked through the gap into the next room, turned and walked back through the gap.

    Connor walked over and stared in amazement. He then walked through the gap himself and turned as though to touch the "edge" of the quantum hole. "I wouldn't do that" Tower warned. "I'm not sure what happens but I was warned to take no chances".

    "The QBD can breach solid structures of up to 25 centimeters thick." Tower continued, "They can hold the breach open as long as the QBD remains charged which is about an hour. They do not damage the structure or hurt load bearing capacity so it will not set off alarms. Think you can use these on your mission?"
  26. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    At that point Jamar returned with Connor turning slightly and interrogating him "Did you do it right this time". "Got it chief" Jamar replied, mildly out of breath. "Plenty of cuts and abrasions. No serious injury but they'll be off the street a few weeks at least. Looks like they were jumped by some gang members."

    "Good" Connor said turning back to Tower. "A couple of months ago he took care of a couple of low lifes and everything about it said 'professional hit'" Connor finished.
  27. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Commander Goldstein made his way through the darkened Enterprise corridors to the bridge. Though technically darkened, there were plasma and phaser torches at work everywhere, cutting out damaged components and installing new or at least working ones. The flares of light cast a series of ghastly shadows everywhere and made the air ungodly hot.

    "If I believed in hell if might be something like this." Goldstein said to himself. Though thinking further he realized that he and the surviving crew might already be there. He didn't think he had ever seen so many torches at work at one time even in the shipyard. Some of the more capable crewman were even wielding two torches. An Arretian was handling two and using his third hand to hold a new segment of power conduit in place.

    Finally making it to the bridge Goldstein didn't bother with the captains chair and instead planted himself at the science officers station. He had just begun his scans when an urgent hail interrupted him.

    "Commander Goldstein or whoever is receiving on the Enterprise! Priority One! Repeating! Priority One!

    "I read you Commander Hawkins" Goldstein answered having recognized the CO of the destroyer Renfroe. "Report!"

    "Goldstein! The Leviathan and the other four Borg ships just tore out of orbit at Warp 8.9!"

    "Well for gods sake don't lead them back here!" Goldstein exclaimed. "Enterprise is in no shape for a fight".

    "Lead them! Lead them! Hey! He thinks we're leading them!" Hawkins said apparently to someone among his crew.

    "I assure you we're not leading jack! We're avoiding the sons of bitches the best we can! Right now they're going to overrun your position in about 63 hours and there isn't a damn thing can be done about it! You'd better haul ass while you still have some to haul!"

    Goldstein knew he was grasping at straws but he had to ask: "Can't you try to divert or distract them?"

    "Divert them!? Distract them!?. Get this LT, COMMANDER GOLDSTEIN wants to know if we can divert five Borg ships" Hawkins was again talking to someone on his end. Something Goldstein wished he would stop doing but in all fairness he couldn't blame the man knowing what had already happened.

    Hawkins resumed in a more reasonable though still exasperated tone. "No commander, we can't divert or distract them. You saw what they did to my best ships a few days ago. Smashed them like children's toys. I try to go head to head with them again and my crew will probably shoot me."

    "Hell, I'll probably shoot myself"

    "Okay, okay" Goldstein said trying to calm the rattled scout squadron commander. "Hourly reports hencefort if you can transmit safely and without revealing our exact positions. Goldstein out".

    Only one thing left to try Goldstein thought. He keyed the communicator for Chief Engineer Simon Reyes the only person aboard who was probably tireder than he was.

    "Simon, suspend all primary repair work and rig the ship for high speed towing. If you can maintain work on restoring shields and weapons".

    Goldstein turned to Lt. Ward. "Mr. Ward get me Star Fleet Logistics Command."
  28. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Sarnow finally found a weapon for Townsend. An archaic 38 revolver, the type of slugthrower common on a thousand worlds. She was annoyed at best. "Why do I end up with the smallest gun?" She said which Sarnow knew had to be largely feigned. She had to know just how lucky they were to find weapons for all of them in the hunting cabin.

    "It's bigger than Captain Tower's 22" Sarnow said. "And look what I'm stuck with?" he said as he retrieved the break open double barrelled shotgun that they had decided would be his. "Plus, I've only got six reloads. You've got three times as many"

    "Okay, I get your point. I'm just not that comfortable taking on a tactical team armed with railguns with this kind of stuff." Townsend explained.

    "Neither am I but we should probably thank God that we found a weapon for each of us in the first place. I doubt they planned for us to find an armory when they shot us down."

    "True enough" Townsend agreed.

    After a thorough search of the uninhabited hunting cabin they had finally come up with a weapon for each of them. The only really useful one was the 30-30 hunting rifle with a nicely sighted in scope. Sedek was carrying it along with the near full box of ammo they had found. Tower had a 22 semi automatic rifle. He would have to hit a humanoid target in the face in order to inflict serious injury. Fortunately he was the most accurate shot in the group which was why he decided to carry it. Sedek was the second best and could make the best use of the rifle which left Sarnow and Townsend somewhat short.

    In addition to the weapons they had cleaned out the leftover food in the cabin such that it was, swilled down the clean water, and made liberal use of the sanitary facilities. Sarnow had even found some gloves and boots that fit him.

    It was time to start out.
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 2
  29. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    Townsend and Sarnow led off followed by Sedek with their commander Tower bringing up the rear. They hiked through the gloom of the rainy, misty forest for more than an hour and covered probably 7 kilometers before Sarnow raised his arm suddenly motioning the others to stop. They came together with Sarnow speaking, "I saw movement at my one o'clock. Sedek can you make anything out?"

    Sedek quickly scanned the indicated area with the rifle scope and announced "Four man tactical team armed with rail guns. Moving toward us at a slighly obligue angle. If we wait for them I would say we have about half an hour before they come close enough to detect us but there is a narrow area in a ravine about 15 minutes ahead of their path that would be an excellent opportunity to take them all at once."

    "How do we coordinate it?" Townsend asked. "We have no comm gear."

    "I can see the location Sedek is talking about." Tower stated putting aside Sedek's rifle scope. "If you and Sarnow circle slightly to port. both of you can pass along a flat rock face where we can see you from here. Once we see you, Sedek and I can throw up a bunch of shots on the position of the tac team and force them to go to ground. You and Sarnow should them be able to take them by surprise on their right flank. Should be able to take them alive or with relatively minor injuries." Tower concluded.

    Sarnow listened to the brief plan, gave it a brief thought and apparently silently agreed with it without comment. Townsend was more skeptical that it could be pulled off so easy and started to protest but she realized that Tower's plan was almost certainly the correct one. She had never questioned one of his battle plans aboard ship and it seemed foolish to do so on the ground.

    "We'd better get moving now to get into position then" she said started out noting that Sarnow was already moving. "Remember" Tower called after them. "Don't expose yourselves until you hear our covering fire". To Sedek he said, "Let's get set up and ready. This won't be long in coming". "Agreed" Sedek said. "The quicker we get this done the better our chances of this operation succeeding." apparently already considering their higher purpose of escaping this world entirely.
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1
  30. Dayton Kitchens

    Dayton Kitchens Wonderful, Loving Husband & Father

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    It went off almost too well. Only one of the tactical team was injured before all four were subdued. Tower, Sedek, Townsend, and Sarnow netted not only the sophisticated rail guns that their enemies were toting, but their portaputer, comm gear, and even the field rations they were carrying which everyone but Sedek wolfed down with enthusiasm. That was supremely ironic give they had eaten pretty well not an hour before back at the cabin.

    Townsend bound and gagged the four soldiers giving special attention to leaving one of the bindings on one of them somewhat loose so he could get free after a few hours with considerable effort. She knew Tower had no intention of leaving the four of them there completely helpless.

    Sarnow quickly ditched his shotgun to carry one of the rail guns and Townsend did the same with her small revolver. Tower and Sedek chose to hang on to their rifles along with the more modern weapons. Sedek stood guard while the other two looked over Townsend's shoulder as she used the captured computer.

    "I've identified the approximate locations of the other three tactical teams as well as their ship." she said. "It looks like they left a four man team guarding their ship. Shouldn't be hard to take it with the advantage of surprise!" she finished finally not able to keep the new found optimism out of her voice.

    "Let's not get too much ahead of ourselves." Tower warned. "How long do we have? Surely they'll notice these guys missing." he said gesturing to the bound tac team.

    "We observed a routine check in just before we sprang our ambush sir. By what the computer says, they're supposed to check in every 3 hours. So we have two hours before the next one. Ships about an hour from here. Plenty of time." optimism still filling Townsend's voice.

    "Then we might as well get under way guys." Tower concluded. "Better to spring our final trap too early than too late".

    Once again the four of them marched off into the drizzling rain..........
    • TL;DR TL;DR x 1