FELL SWOOP (short story)
Updated: Oct 24, 2019
By Nathan Warner
Commander Kru'k hunts for some Dominion prey.
“Sir!” Kor’Brun announced from his station. “Dominion battlecruiser entering the star system!”. Commander Kru’k turned quickly in his chair to the viewscreen of the Drak’onus. “At last!” he grinned, flashing his teeth. “Let me see it!” On the screen, the bat-like Dominion warship slowly came into view, moving across the star-field perpendicular to them towards a now derelict Karemma transport that Kru’k had disabled and boarded several hours ago – killing the Dominion loyalists aboard and activating the distress beacon to draw any Dominion ships in the vicinity to its aid. It was a classic gambit, but one that still proved useful if applied with enough cunning. Like a dragon preparing to swoop on unsuspecting prey from its high mountain roost, Kru'k's K’vort class cruiser waited to fall on the Battlecruiser from its perch just over the corona of the sun – invisible to sensors and to the naked-eye in the wash-out of the background radiation. They were not cloaked - a K’vort class cruiser could not withstand a star’s radiation in orbit while cloaked. Even with standard shields their present feat was impossible, for no Klingon ship was able to sink deep enough into a star’s atmosphere to avoid detection without being destroyed. Yet, the Drak'onus was nestled deeper in the star’s embrace than any Klingon ship had been before, owing to the Federation’s development of Metaphasic shields years before – something they’d eventually shared with their Klingon allies as the Dominion threat emerged. The new shields allowed a ship to safely penetrate deep into the atmosphere of a star with minimal side-effects – a decided advantage! It was a tactic Kru'k had lately devised - to position his Bird of Prey as close to the star as the shields could endure, drowning the ship’s signature in the background radiation of turbulent fusion “noise.” He knew the Jem’Hadar expected all Klingons to rely on their cloak and attack at close-range, and since the Dominion had the means to defeat cloaking technology in close proximity, they were unwisely confident in their approach to Kru'k's trap. “Arm Disrupters and prepare the advanced torpedoes!” Kru’k bellowed with relish. “I want a full spread on my command – target their Bridge!” It was all he could do to not leap up and punch the impulse controls to maximum. “Patience!” he muttered to himself. “Patience for honor! Patience for vengeance! Patience for a clean kill!” He pulled his beard into a point, tugging painfully at the thick wiry bristles. “Weapons are armed and ready!” Kor’Brun announced. “We will be able to close to within 60 kellicams before they will detect us.” Kru’k smiled. “Just within weapon’s reach!” he observed, mentally calculating how long it would take his ship to achieve firing range. “We will time our attack when their shields drop for their transporter beam,” he said, watching closely as the enemy warship approached teleportation range of the derelict ship. “Wait...wait...Now!” he cried. “Full impulse!” The Drak’onus dropped from its solar perch, pulsing down on its unsuspecting prey with its engines full out. Its throat glowed green with the new compliment of high energy torpedoes – devised in response to superior Dominion firepower. Like a Tiberian Falcon hunting a Gorian Vulture, the K’vort closed the distance, its talons flashing. “160 Kellicams…” Kor’Brun reported, “Now…100 Kellicams…80 Kellicams!” Kru’k drew his D’k tahg and held it above his head. Kor’Brun tensed, awaiting the order. The distance closed until he could see the hull-plating on the Dominion Battlecruiser. “60 Kellicams!” Kor’Brun announced, glancing to his sensor readouts. “They are lowering shields for transport!” “BaH!” Kru’k bellowed, metaphorically driving his knife through the air towards the screen. A surge of energy flooded the deck plates. Kru’k could feel the vibrations and he relished the power of his vessel! A stream of pulsed disrupter fire rained down on the battlecruiser, followed closely by the scintillating, sparkling green embers of destruction that were the advanced torpedoes – lagging behind only long enough to allow the disrupters to soften up the target. Kru’k thought he could see the Dominion vessel begin banking up to meet them as it detected the Drak’onus for the first time. It did not matter – it was dead already. And then the disrupters hit. Unshielded, the Battlecruiser was completely helpless. The green energy tore into the Bridge, eviscerating the hull, blowing the oxygen out in massive fireballs. The ship listed under the concussive blasts. Then the torpedoes struck home. One after another, biting deep into its very heart! A massive explosion lit the screen as the battlecruiser was deeply scored down the center-line – bits of flaming hull spitting out into space. The Drak’onus did not slow its advance. “Maintain speed and heading!” Kru’k ordered, watching the energy readings of the disrupters recharging from the first volley. They reached maximum. The deflector lit to full as they neared collision. “BaH!” Kru’k cried again and a new stream of disrupter fire lacerated the battlecruiser’s mortal wound. A secondary explosion lit the screen and the Dominion vessel was literally torn in half as the Drak’onus cut through its center-mass with deflectors and shields to maximum. The Bird-of-Prey bucked as it punched through the enemy debris, blowing it away, passing to the other side triumphant at the kill. Kru’k grinned at the sight of the reverse angle on the screen. Nothing was left living on that ship – there hadn’t even been time for a single escape-pod to be activated. Vengeance had been served.
It was Kru'k's personal calling to make the Jem'Hadar pay in kind for every drop of Klingon blood that they had shed since the conflict with the Dominion began. The account was steep for many noble warriors had been drowned by the cold-hearted deluge of this worthy adversary. He rose from his seat and strode to the Viewscreen where he etched another mark into the hull with his knife - joining the dozen marks that marched beneath the screen - a daily reminder to his crew of their revenge that had been satisfied and the space remaining to be filled in their quest to do or die in its completion.
“Victory!” he cried, turning to his crew and stabbing his knife into the air. “We have victory!” Immediately his men began to chant, pounding their fists on their consoles and the bulkheads: Hear! Sons of Kahless. Hear! Daughters too. The blood of battle washes clean The Warrior brave and true. We fight, we love, and then we kill. Our lives burn short and bright, Then we die with honor and join our fathers in the Black Fleet where we battle forever, battling on through the Eternal fight. While they sang, Kru’k waved his knife out towards the stars. “Maqcha!” he sang in rhythm with the song of his warriors. He closed his cold eyes, gripped his chair, and gave a silent prayer for his son, Kro'nus, who had died of disease in a Jem'Hadar POW camp. That dishonor would cost the Dominion greatly! He opened his eyes, and his warriors drew back in honor before his gaze, for it was aflame with fire blazing up from his burning heart.
"BortaS batlh je," he cried. Yes, for revenge and honor! The Drak’onus left the ruined carcass of its prey, banked to starboard, found a new star out of the billions in the eternal sea and leapt to claim it – warping into contested systems, hunting down new prey to pay the debt of honor to those who had died in the service of Kahless.