Rising to the Occasion – A Character Fiction



I was sitting in the mess hall looking at the opening moves of the old Kasparov vs. Big Blue game when the Ghettysberg rocked with weapons fire from an unknown alien vessel. I had never been in an actual ship to ship battle before, and no amount of tactical simulations

could ever prepare you for the chaos of the real thing. I know that Starfleet officers are

supposed to be calm under pressure, but when you have a blown out console and a couple of screaming crewmen with third degree plasma burns, let’s just say that calm usually flies right out the airlock.


I picked myself up off the floor and tapped my comm badge. “Mirtoh to Sickbay, medical emergency in the mess hall.”


“I’m sorry Ensign, but there are medical emergencies in three other sections. Please care for the injured as best you can until I can get there.” Came the response. I swallowed hard, trying to remember my anything I could from first aid. Lucky for me, there was a medical

crewman there who began wrapping the burns and stabilizing their condition. I left immediately for the bridge.


When I arrived, the Captain was at the Conn and the XO was at Ops, trying to keep their ship together. Dave, the former Conn officer lay dead on the floor, a nasty burn covering 80% of his face. I watched his blank stare for a split second before Captain Gerrard

was barking orders. “Tactical!”


I looked over and this battered crewman, with blood streaking down his temples, was trying to rise…giving all he had into getting himself up to that station. It was the bravest thing I’ve ever seen. I ran over to him and helped him up. “Get yourself to sickbay, crewman.

I’ll take it from here.”


The Ghettysberg was in sad shape. Shields were down to 39%, our phaser banks were nearly depleted and we had lost warp capability. I relayed the information to my commanding officers, but I didn’t know what the hell they were going to do about the fact that we had

lost nearly all tactical capability, and were very near dead in the water.


In desperation, I looked at all the ship systems, trying to decide which one to draw power from to strengthen the shield grid, but I knew that would only delay the inevitable. I ran over to the Science station, and read the data there. It seemed that the alien ship was

Using disruptor-based weapons that were slicing right through our shields. Quickly, I reversed the shield polarity and re-sequenced the harmonics, providing us with the temporary protection we needed. Far more promising even than that was the data the Science officer had gathered on a nearby J-Class Planet.


“We have partial shields, at least for a few minutes!” I said. “Sir, I am reading a J-Class planet very close at high impulse. If we can gain the upper atmosphere, we may stand a chance. There are high concentration of Metrion gasses that may help shield us from their



Gerrad nodded. “Do it, Ensign!”


I temporarily routed power from life support to boost the impulse drive and got us the hell out of there. Of course, the alien vessel wasn’t about to let us just walk away and gave chase. When we entered the upper atmosphere, they pursued us foolishly, despite the

fact that they were flying blind, and right into a trap.


You see, in my senior year at the Academy we studied several of the classic ship battles in Starfleet history. One night close to the end of my term I had, by the luck of the Irish, managed to get a date with Petty Officer Shiela Johnson from astrophysics. Now, I was a bungling fool when it came to women, but my buddy Ralph knew her and told me that she loved to hear about these old Starship battles. So I was there in class, taking notes furiously about the Battle of Vorimon III, where Captain Festoon had piloted the USS Jamestown into the upper atmosphere of a Gas Giant to escape from his pursuers.


Well, the date with Shiela was a disaster despite my best efforts to impress her by reciting the entire battle from memory. As it turned out, she abhorred violence and Ralph was trying to set me up to fail because HE wanted to date her!


So there we were, flying through this Gas Giant with an alien vessel right on our tail and I suddenly remember the outcome of this ship battle. I told Gerrard and the XO, and they jumped to the helm and the science station while I run back to tactical. With a lurch, Gerrard piloted the vessel up through the atmosphere and out into space while I dropped our last two photon torpedoes into the atmosphere, igniting several pockets of Metrion gas around the alien vessel. The damage it sustained was too much for it, and their warp core overloaded.


Let me tell you, I don’t like to see people die…but the sight of that ship blowing up was

one of the sweetest I had ever seen.

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