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Ghdar
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Bloody Claws
by Martin “ASC-Saurian” Shaffer

This article originally appeared in Hailing Frequencies issue 4. It has been recreated here from the original material.

Junior Commander Massalik, of the Gorn Confederation Navy, gave his full attention to the GCS Raptor's tactical display. The fleet destroyer and her crew had been waiting just inside the edge of a thick asteroid belt for two hours at battle stations, while a crippled freighter at the edge of the belt broadcast a distress call. Two Orion raiders had been operating in this area for a month now and were taking a heavy toll on shipping. Unfortunately, due to the tension along the Romulan border, the only ships available for escort were old police frigates... until now. Fresh out of dry dock, the Fleet Destroyer Raptor had just finished her shake down cruise when the Fleet Commander dispatched GCS Raptor and her new Commander, Junior Commander Massalik, to bloody their claws on the Orion carrion eaters. The plan was simple; a Q-ship would fake a massive engine failure and broadcast a distress call in the vicinity of the latest pirate operations. Meanwhile the Raptor would wait in the asteroid belt for the Pirates to take the bait. It was the oldest trick in the book, but then, there was a reason it was still in the book.

"Commander, I have two unidentified ships closing fast on the Clan Provider at maximum sensor range," reported Junior Lieutenant Rakalth, the sensor operator. Massalik's eyes didn't leave the tactical display as he replied, "Very well Rakalth, maintain passive scan only. Let the carrion eaters come closer, we will stalk them and pounce once they are preoccupied with the Clan Provider." The bridge crew grew more excited, their jaws opening and closing, displaying wicked serrated teeth, like the ancient Terran dinosaurs they were often compared with. As the two unidentified ships closed the range, the scanners positively identified them as the Orion pirate vessels which had been hunting in this area for the past month.

Junior Commander Massalik's low growl rumbled with satisfaction deep in his chest. One way or another the waiting would soon be over. "Weapons officer, bring all weapons online and set the Plasma G in enveloping mode and put the type three phasers on point defense. Science officer, bring the ECM up to maximum on my command and reinforce all shields. Helm, standby to accelerate out of the asteroid field, once clear bring speed up to 20." The crew prepared their consoles rapidly and soon reported ready as Massalik watched the two pirates line up for their attack on the Q-Ship.

"Commander they have begun their attack on the Clan Provider and she has dropped the pretense of damage and is attempting to combat the pirates now sir," reported Rakalth. "Ensign Krakan, bring us out now, close on the Clan Provider. Science officer Rakalth fire probes at both ships. Engineer, bring defensive tractor beams online." Massalik's plan was working, the carrion eating Orions were too involved trying to capture what they thought was a simple freighter to see the Raptor approaching from her hiding place in the asteroid belt, until now. "Commander, they have just scanned us. One enemy ship has fired a probe at us sir. Our own probe data has returned. The Orions are both PR class frigates. Designating the closest as target Alpha. It is equipped with a drone launcher and phasers. Designating the second target Bravo. Bravo has a photon torpedo launcher in addition to its phaser array."

Very well Junior Lieutenant Rakalth. Senior Lieutenant Slathat, target Alpha first, it is the greater threat. Rakalth bring the ECM up now, that will negate the photons unless we get too close." Massalik depressed an intercom button on his command chair, "Master Sergeant Grakon, prepare your marines for a hit and run raid. I want you to take out that drone launcher."

"As you command!" Grakon hissed. Massalik knew that Grakon would give the Orions something to worry about. Grakon was the best Gorn Marine to come out of the academy for generations, she was also a member of the Shadow Guardians. The Raptor closed quickly, soon coming into close torpedo range. Raptor's point defense phasers easily swatted away the Orion's first drone launch. Massalik leaned forward staring intently at the view screen, like the ancient predators his race evolved from, gauging his timing perfectly. "Fire one pseudo torpedo at the drone ship for his point defense followed by a full torpedo strike, first the type G enveloping then both type F torpedoes...NOW!"

The Orion fired uselessly into the decoy, her computer controlled defenses responding automatically before the ship's weapon operators could override them. The Raptor's type one phasers then fired, slicing through the drone ship's shields, leaving her defenseless as the Raptor's torpedoes smashed into her hull. Atmosphere could be seen streaming from the stricken ship, while she reeled away, slowing rapidly as her engines lost most of their power. "Sir, the drone launcher is destroyed and the boarding party has returned safely", came the voice of Sergeant. Grakon. "Now for your hunting mate" thought Massalik, as he bared his huge ripping teeth in a feral grin. "Helm slow to speed 5 while rearming torpedoes, take us in next to the Clan Provider so the carrion eater will think twice about coming in close to her. "Commander, we are receiving a communication from the Clan Provider", stated Ensign Ssslatak, the ship's communications officer. "They report Orion boarding parties on the ship in force sir and don't know how long they can hold out," she continued. "Grakon, beam over to the Clan Provider and reinforce them. Ensign Krakan, take us past the Clan Provider's down shield. No sense in having them lower a fresh shield for the Orions." the Helmsman nodded affirmative as his clawed fingers danced over his console.

Massalik watched as the second Orion vessel turned to make another attack run while his torpedoes were still arming. "Weapons, download the type G enveloping to a regular torpedo halfway through the arming cycle and target the Orion at range 5. We will at least have one torpedo waiting for him." The Orion closed fast, firing his photon torpedo which whipped past the Raptor, fooled by her Electronic Countermeasures. The Orion's phasers were another matter as they punched a hole through the forward shield and destroyed the shuttle bay and damaged one phaser bank. The Raptor shrugged off the damage and responded with her own bite, "Torpedo away sir. It has taken down the pirates number two shield, firing phasers now!"

Massalik noted that weapons officer Slathat acted quickly, and appropriately, taking advantage of the opportunity without wasting time waiting for his orders to fire phasers through the down shield. "Commander, the Clan Provider has just fired a torpedo at the pirate's rear shield", reported science officer Rakalth. The Orion ship shuddered under the impact of the close range torpedo, takeing massive internal damage as the torpedo's energy expended itself into the pirate's exposed hull. "The Orion is turning away sir and and attempting to escape". Massalik turned to his Engineering officer and nodded to him as Junior Lieutenant Glenthar activated the ship's tractor beam. "After him Krakan, I want to sink our claws in him so he won't squirm away while we rip out the throat of this wounded prey."

"Damage Control reports the phaser bank is back online and the shuttle bay will be repaired soon sir", came the voice of Engineer Glenthar. Meanwhile the Raptor's tractor beam reached out and gripped the pirate ship in its vice as teh range closed. "Now he cannot squirm away, all weapons fire as you bear," but the pirate vessel exploded in a blinding flash of antimatter, rocking the raptor and destroying her regenerated forward shield. "She must have feared capture and self destructed, Commander", reported Lt. Slathat. "No doubt they feared we would eat them," joked Massalik.

"Junior Lieutenant Rakalth, where is target Alpha?", barked Massalik. The science officer's head was bent over peering into his consol as her replied, "Cloaked sir and limping into the asteroid belt. Contact is off our starboard quarter at range 30, moving slowly at speed three Commander."

"Helm, bring us around at speed 15. I want you to close rapidly before he uncloaks and put him on our port bow facing number six shield. Engineering, standby to tractor contact Bravo, turn off the defensive tractors there are no more drones to worry about. Slathat, set phasers to disable, fire when he is at range three or less, target his engines and weapons. Master Sergeant Grakon, you will capture that carrion eater and we will have their ship as a trophy!"

The Raptor quickly closed the distance and swung around putting the ship off her port bow, her phasers lashing out into the space surrounding the pirate vessel. Normally this would have no affect on a cloaked vessel, but damaged as she was there was no protective shield, so even the reduced damage penetrated the pirate's hull and ripped into vital engineering and weapons compartments. "Commander, he is losing power and uncloaking now," reported Rakalth." The Raptor's tractor beam reached out and gripped the pirate with invisible claws of energy as the transporters whined and Gorn marines materialized in the control spaces of the Orion ship. The Orion Commander looked up, startled at the sight, Sergeant Grakon towered over him. Her 8’+ body shimmered slightly making it difficult it make out her features, until she smiled. Her teeth gleamed as she relaxed and dropped her chamleon effects, her pulse rifle pointed at the Orion. Still, the Orion Commander was brave and reached out for a covered blue button on his command chair. The Orion was brave, but not fast enough. Grakon's arm swept up and slammed the Orion from the command chair, throwing him half way across the bridge. He lay on the ground barely moving, Grakon thought him dead until he rolled over and fired, a Federation phaser set on stun. The beam hit Grakon, but the standard stun setting was not strong enough to slow the Gorn down. Reacting on instinct she fired, the pulse rifle spat out a stream of destructive energy engulfing the Orion, leaving only a pile of smoking ash."Commander, Sergeant Grakon reports the Orion ship is in her control, the self destruct is disabled, and the crew is either dead or captured sir." reported Ensign Ssslatak. Massalik's command voice cut through the bridge crew's roars of celebration, "Contact the Clan Provider and see if they need assistance, stand down from battle stations. Lieutenant Slathat, you have the bridge. I will be in my quarters drafting our victory message to Naval Command. Well done pack mates, well done!"

           

 

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