Wing and Talon by Komodo13
Summary: Captain Lorca has begun attacking Romulan listening posts along the Klingon/Romulan Neutral Zone in an attempt to draw the Romulans into the war against the Klingons. However, a crafty Romulan Admiral is watching and waiting, and has plans of her own for the USS Discovery.
Categories: Discovery Characters: Burnham, Michael, Ensemble Cast - Multiple
Genre: Action/Adventure
Warnings: Adult Language, Adult Situations
Challenges: None
Series: None
Chapters: 22 Completed: Yes Word count: 16346 Read: 606 Published: 10 May 2020 Updated: 19 Jan 2022
Chapter 11: The Run by Komodo13

Keyla knew something was wrong almost immediately after they began their run.

The arrival from spore space, her near instantaneous ignition of the impulse drive once they re-entered normal space all went fine, and there was a moment of something close to giddiness when Captain Lorca ordered, “Take us in!” and the ugly moon shifted and grew on the viewscreen as Discovery began what would be considered in an earlier era as a dive.

The plan was a good one, and she still stood by it. Lorca had been receptive to her ideas in a way that made her feel both affirmed and supportive in a way that was disturbingly intimate.

Discovery is a glider, not a jump-jet,” she’d explained to a silent chorus of blank expressions. “Her impulse drives are mammoth, so she can cover a lot of ground at sub-light, but she’s not built for sudden stops and course-corrections. Her nav thrusters are overpowered by a factor of about twenty to one. On the Shenzhou that ratio was, like, six to one. We could hop like a bullfrog. Discovery can’t. Those switchbacks inside the hollow moon are impossible for her to navigate, sir. She’s just the wrong ship for it.

“But here--“ and she poked a blip on the holographic display like she was putting out an enemy’s eye. “This control node is vulnerable from the moon’s surface. It’s buried in a canyon, but still exposed to space. If we could get in close enough, we can take that out with a torpedo barrage--“

“I’d go with phasers,” Rhys had opined and Keyla resisted the urge slap him upside the head.

“”or phasers. The point is, we could do it from space.”

Lorca looked over the moon’s profile thoughtfully, then turned to Rhys, whom Keyla was pretty sure was puffing his chest out. “Would that do any significant damage to the facility?”

“Yes, sir. Or rather, to the interior of the moon. That control node is processing and direction most of the energy for the shipyard. When that explodes, the whole interior of the moon will be rearranged. That shipyard will be torn apart. The difficulty, sir, will be getting into a optimal position to target and hit it.” He looked over at Keyla, who picked up the thread.

“It’s small and hidden deep in the canyon--about six kilometers. If we want to get in and out quickly enough not to be detected by the monitoring stations, we’ll have to take Discovery into that canyon nice and low. So, I recommend we make a planetary approach at these coordinates, here--“ she stabbed the display again, “use the big chunk of rock as a shield, then level out in the canyon.”

“But you said that Discovery doesn’t stop on a dime,” Lorca furrowed his brow.

“We won’t. We’ll have a lock on that node about two kilometers out and open fire. It’s a strafing run, sir. Like in that old movie from the 20th century they keep showing on the MWR channel. The one about the farm kid who flies his fighter into the trench of the evil empire's space station and blows it up.”

Lorca frowned. “The farm kid gets killed in that movie. His co-conspirators are all executed by the Empire.”

“I think we’re thinking of different movies. Anyway, we’ll make the run, knock out the node, then pull up. We can break safe-distance in about ninety seconds and jump.” She faced Lorca, felt his intensity surround her like a black hole’s gravity well. “We’ll be gone before that shipyard is done tearing itself apart.”

Lorca smiled, looked back and forth between her and Rhys, “Goddamn, you two are simply dangerous.”

But now, nestled deep within the dirty-grey groove in the moon, flanked by jagged peaks and fangs of rock, Keyla felt a snake of anxiety wake in her stomach and kill the lingering thrill of taking the massive ship nap-of-the-earth. She was suddenly ware of how low they were, how deep within the canyon. How exposed they were.

Her instruments flashed and wailed, begging for her attention, desperately announcing that the ship was not supposed to do this. She ignored them and concentrated on the small corner of her console that showed her the path ahead. This was the tricky part.

“We’re coming up on the narrows.”

“Shields on maximum and concentrated on our leading edge,” Owosekun announced.

“Everyone get skinny,” Lorca said a moment before the ship shuddered and moaned. On the viewscreen the canyon’s teeth closed around them, then cracked, crumbled, and tumbled away as Owosekun adjusted the shields to flow along Discovery’s flanks in a rolling sheath of protection.

“That wasn’t so bad,” Lorca said declaratively, as if putting to rest any debate there might be on the matter.

“We’re approaching the target,” Keyla said, keeping her gaze locked on the wireframe display of the canyon on her panel and the pulsing dot that was the control node.

Stay-on-target,” Airiam muttered loudly enough for everyone to hear, and bringing a cumulative chuckle from the rest of the bridge.

“Sir," Rhys yelped. "There’s some kind of energy build-up coming from the target point!” 

“What kind of build-up, Mr. Rhys?”

“I’m not…sir, energy readings have totally changed. They’re spiking!”

Keyla’s hands stabbed at the impulse-deck controls before she even knew what she was doing, her movements totally instinctive. In the back of her mind she thought that if the Discovery had a control stick she’d be yanking it back with all her might.

The canyon walls had just begun to fall away around them when they all saw the flash. A second later, before anyone could even verbalize a reaction, the bolt of energy--orange as the heart of a house fire--seemed to swallow them. Discovery spun like a top as Keyla’s console lit up frantically for a second, then died.

The bridge went dark.

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