=/\= SD 240605.02, The TCV Nodlan, Du'Ji Cluster (five LYs from Trill) =/\=
The Nodlan's engines roared to life and the ship turned on it's axis, thrusters firing small bursts from the hull. She was remarkably agile for her size, and once Landon punched the acceleration, it shot out at full towards a planetoid.
"They're getting closer, Landon! I can't get a clear reading on their signature though. They just show up as some kind of unmanned probe to the computer."
"They're proximity drones." Neyes said plainly, his eyes not moving from the ship's controls.
Odalla moved from her position on a sitting bench to an actual position, deciding it best to man an ops station. She was cleared on basic ship functions, after all. "Why are we running from them? And where's Daeryx?"
Neyes continued to work the controls. This woman was obviously not grasping the nature of this little adventure they'd followed him on. "They have about four quantum torpedo warheads in their hull, Odalla. They' re designed to target ships and hunt them down. This ship isn't fast enough to outrun them." He looked quickly from one sensor reading to another as he worked. One of these had to be big enough for what he had in mind. "The Ferengi no doubt had them commissioned to track and destroy us once we left dock.
"Ferengi? Why? How do you plan to outrun them, then?" Greg asked, a little more than interested in why the Ferengi would be chasing them.
"You two. Worry about getting the ship ready for concussive impacts to the shields and hull. I'll need as much power to the engines as you can spare, otherwise. This isn't going to be fun, or terribly simple. So please, if you could, let me work." Neyes said, finally raising his voice a little.
The two members of the little trio looked to each other and then back down to their instruments. There was no reason to keep asking questions, they supposed. Especially if things were about to get a little bumpy.
"One's within 1 million kilometers and is closing WAY too fast! It'll intercept in about 20 seconds, Ensign." Odalla said, rising to the occasion. "We need to lose it!"
Landon nodded and worked the helm with a resolute intensity. His fingers graced the controls, hitting each command exactly when it needed to be done. The Nodlan banked to starboard, it's small winged-nacelles turning over each other, and then it dove down into a massive planet-sized asteroid. Smaller debris rushed past the vessel as Landon continued to pick up speed as they plummeted downward. A small but extremely well-armed , probe-like ship raced down after them, only deviating to sidestep obstacles. Greg clutched onto the controls, suddenly stricken by anxiety. The asteroid was coming up too fast to be safe, and the ship's Trill-designed deflectors weren't intended to repel any crash damage.
"Donny, slow dow--"
"If we do that we're dead." Landon cut him off.
"6000 meters!" shouted Odalla, a little panic creeping into her voice. She hadn't signed onto this assignment so she could be chased by suicide bombs, and now all she wanted was to get the hell out of there and go home.
The ship careened down toward the planetoid until it overtook the entire screen and then Landon bucked the ship upwards. It sho t from it's dive into a path parallel to a ravine about 2 kilometers wide, and slipped down inside. Alarms sounded on the helm, and Neyes quickly silenced them. The probe seemed to follow above them for a moment, then also took a quick turn and followed them into the canyon. The Nodlan's engines burned fiercely as Landon pushed them to their limit. The jagged walls of the canyon loomed closer and closer as the width of the chasm seemed to diminish. Greg tried not to look up at the viewers or the windows, since he worried he'd lose all sense of calm if he realized just how close they were to being crushed, then vaporized. Rocks and ships of metallic ore clipped the hull and pelted the shields. The sounds filled the cabin where the three crewmen worked to outrun the death-dealing machine. It still seemed to come after them, however.
"Hold on!" Neyes cringed as he executed the next maneuver.
The Trill ship fired a few thrusters, turned to port on it's axis, and the primary engines cut entirely, leaving the ship to turn to the side while still moving forward with the force of it's own momentum. She was too large to simply 'go' in one direction without inertial drift, but Neyes had a plan.
"Doesn't this ship have weapons?!" Odalla yelled out from the back.
Landon laughed. "Of course. Lets shoot a bomb that's nearly scraping away at our hull." He began to calculate as the few seconds he had left to think started ticking away. "All power to the shields, covariant f requency, and reinforce the wingtips on the nacelles.
"Computer. Activate helm manual interface. Setting 'Ki'djual dai heq'." The helm controls shut down and the panel rolled back into a recession at the bow, and they were replaced with a a few pedals and two complicated looking handle grips.
Greg's face lost some color. "Landon. You wouldn't."
A deviously thin smile lit up in the corner of the pilot's mouth.
As a split in the ravine came into view, Greg closed his eyes. Neyes breathed a heavy exhale through his teeth as he took the grips and slammed down into two of the pedals with his feet. The Nodlan practically screamed as her engines flared to life and accelerated at the opening. The small ship's hull moaned slightly and Odalla yelped as she was thrown from her seat by the torque. With a spin and a bright burst from the impulse thrusters, the Nodlan rushed in a new direction.
"Hold on!" Neyes cried.
The turn was proving too much for the ship, and the wall of the ravine was coming up far faster than it should have. With the inertial forces sliding her in the previous direction they'd headed, they were going to hit. Greg clutched onto his seat and braced himself for the worst.
A sharp deceleration and terrifying screech of metal against rock filled the cabin as the very tip of Nodlan's nacelle wing dove into the rocky wall of the canyon. Rocks split open in their path as the meat of the wing carved a line into the canyon, sending a flurry of debris cascading outward behind them. A sea of spar ks lit up the side of the ship and inside the cabin a conduit ruptured, pouring residual steam as it waved about the quaking deck. Landon had one of his feet braced against the helm, but cried out as he felt something give in his knee, and Greg was thrown against the primary controls.
Neyes bared through the pain in his leg and pulled them starboard, up and out of the collision. The Nodlan's engines hesitated at first, then met him with an abrupt response, yanking itself free.
The small probe giving chase swiftly fired it's maneuvering thrusters, diving out and away from several of the massive rocks that Neyes had ripped out. It's tiny, steely shell reflected the rocks and shards that leapt past it, but even as fast as it was it was unable to avoid them all. It clipped a smaller asteroid, tearing a piece of it off, and the probe immediately lost attitude control. Spinning out of control, it collided with the wall and exploded. With a deafening crack, the concussion ripped through the planetoid, and an explosion billowed up and outward, filling the rear viewers of the Nodlan with an intense mixture of blues and greens. A soft white line of fine dust shot out in a wave over the planetoid's surface, displaced by the massive explosion.
Greg pulled himself up and brushed a little blood from under his nose. Seeing the shockwave, he dropped power from the reinforcements at the wingtips and rerouted it to the aft defenses. Moments later, the Nodlan was bucked forward, its shields afire as they kept the destructive energy at bay. Landon managed to regain control of the ship, and took them up and out of the ravine.
"Now we can use weapo ns." He sighed, cringing for a moment as he nursed his knee.
Odalla practically hissed as she slid herself back into her seat after being tossed about the cabin. "They're all offline! Two more probes headed our way!" She threw a piece of severed piping at the back of Neyes' head. "What other recklessly bright ideas do you have up there?"
=/\= TBC =/\=