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"HOUSE OF CARDS Part 3"

Updated: Mar 18, 2023


The small black raptor hung in space; dwarfed by the dreadnought which sat before it. Lexi leaned forward in her seat, braced against the armrests with a tight grip from each hand as she looked ahead to the image on screen of a Cardassian Keldon class cruiser blocking their path, "Full burn, take us under them and go to warp!"


The raptors engines burned bright as they accelerated hard. Despite the close proximity of the Keldon, the raptor was still able to turn sharply under the dreadnoughts belly; skimming its hull as it passed by. They emerged beyond the larger ship and the viewsceen showed nothing but stars ahead as the pilot moved to engage the warp drive. The ship shook violently and bulkheads creaked under an opposing force. "Why aren't we moving?!" Lexi barked out. "They have a tractor beam on us!" Called out the ops. Officer, closely followed by tactical chiming in, "They're charging weapons!". Lexi looked around the bridge and knew she had failed them. They were held with their weapons facing away from the dreadnought and so sat powerless to act.


The science officer suddenly piped up, "Another ship is decloaking, no two... three!". "On screen!" Lexi ordered. The view soon shifted to see a Vor'cha assault cruiser appear, flanked by a pair of Somraw raptors. The two raptors sped ahead of their escort and opened fire; both unleashing a volley of torpedoes at the Keldon's tractor emitter amidst a flurry of canon fire as they strafed along the hull of the larger ship. The cruiser followed behind and moved in between the Keldon and Lexi's raptor as it opened fire; a text only transmission received by Lexi's comms. Officer, who promptly read it out, "Go! You can not avenge this treachery if you are dead. Save your House. Restore Dronurr's honor...for the glory of the Empire!"


Lexi could not fathom who was responsible for the timely intervention, but only silently thank them, "I don't need telling twice... get us out of here!" She called out, the pilot quickly setting a course home. The raptor jumped to warp while the three other Klingon vessels held the Keldon's attention. Though the dreadnought moved to retreat, they were relentless in their constant hammering of its shields as they gave chase.


As the raptor cruised at high warp; a gentle shuddering to the whole ship as they pushed the small warp drive beyond its maximum ability, Lexi was finally able to take stock of the situation, "A cloaked Keldon...?" She looked around her bridge to see all equally confused faces, "...clearly our foes have been sharing things they shouldn't in order to bolster their forces with new allies. This explains the sudden bold move...". She shifted focus to the pilot, "Hurry up and get us home while there's a house to save!" "She'll fly apart if we push the core any harder Captain..." the pilot warned. "Fly her apart then!" Lexi spat. Per her order, the small ship accelerated further and inertial dampeners began to fail under the stress. But they kept pushing across the sector regardless, and soon found themselves back in the Qo'noS system and made haste back towards their landing pad.


Before the raptor even touched down, the situation on the ground was apparent as smoke rose to the sky from the Dronurr estate and as they drew nearer; the view grew livelier with the flashes of weapons fire. Clearly their attackers had already begun their final assault, but it was far from over. "Ground assault; stand ready at the boarding the ramp - we're going in hot..." Lexi ordered calmly as she watched the estate draw nearer on screen, "...and remember; our sole purpose is to retrieve Dronurr's family and evac them" she threw a few warning glances around as she knew her warriors - much as she herself - had a thirst for battle and revenge at this point.


The raptors boarding ramp lowered before the landing legs had even settled and the Honor Guard flooded out behind Lexi who led the charge. Naturally being spotted on approach, they were met with heavy resistance, though this was soon pushed back to establish a beachhead for them as one of the forward turrets sat under the nose of the raptor opened up on the enemies position. "For the Empire!" Lexi shouted, raising one Mek'leth over her head as she pointed it forwards and began the charge. The fight in the open grounds was as brutal as it was chaotic with warriors a plenty on both sides falling to blades and disruptor bolts of their foes; clearly Dronurr's forces were hopelessly outnumbered, but they were all fiercely loyal and equally proud warriors - many of whom knew as soon as the battle started that it would be their last and so fought extra hard to ensure an honorable death and a place in Sto'Vo'Kor.


By the time Lexi's guard fought their way into the main house and through to the family's shelter, Lexi's blades were dripping with the blood of the fallen; all of her warriors exhilarated from the thrill of the battle. She found Dronurr's wife and young son exactly where they were meant to be in case of a situation like this and moved quickly to their sides, "Come, we must get you out of here!" She insisted, but they would not budge, "Where is my husband?". Dronurr's wife - Tinith - demanded. She was a proud and noble woman, and Lexi knew better than to insult her ladyship with anything other than the truth, "In Sto'Vo'Kor my lady. His dying order was that I get the two of you to safety; and I will not break the habit of a lifetime by failing him now of all days; so MOVE!" Tinith growled at the news as much as she did the tone of what she always saw as an insubordinate alien, but did not argue and ultimately respected Lexi's honesty. Pulling her young son up and holding him close she looked to Lexi once more, "What is your plan, Trill?"


Lexi narrowed her eyes on the older Klingon woman who - even with her relatively small noble frame - still towered over Lexi, "We have the QanwI' and a path cleared from here to there. Just... stay out of the way and let my warriors do what they do best!" With that, she drew her blades once more as she led the way back to the ship, albeit at a slightly more cautious pace. Save for a few scattered ambushes along the way; their route was largely still clear as the bulk of the enemy forces had already moved through to the far side of the estate where they now focused on destroying everything that stood untarnished. They managed to pick up a few straggling warriors and wounded along the way who Tinith insisted join them, along with a grouping of many house staff and servants they found in hiding as well. Begrudging the increasing workload and slowed movement speed, Lexi pushed forward and called the ship back in as they drew near to the pad. Sure enough, the raptor decloaked a short distance away and swooped down onto the pad where Lexi and her guard took up defensive positions while the few who remained on board the ship ushered the rescued family and survivors on board.


As Tinith and her son brought up the rear of the civilian pack, Lexi breathed a small sigh of relief at the sight of them heading up the boarding ramp. She stood to recall her guard and fall back to the ship as well, but paused as she heard a faint whistling sound which grew louder, and louder... "INCOMING!" she called out as she dove for cover. A mortar shell came soaring down onto the corner of the landing pad; obliterating the substructure and showering the remaining guards in debris. Another followed closely behind which impacted on the shielded wing of the raptor, "Go - go - GO!" Lexi called again, waving frantically as they all ran for the boarding ramp. Another shell came whistling down and landed squarely amid the last few of her warriors who had gone furthest out to begin with. She cursed under her breath as she reached the boarding ramp just in time to turn and see them get blown apart; tapping her wristcomp she ordered the ship to depart and they promptly rose from the ground as the boarding ramp pulled back up with Lexi stood at it's tip still. She wanted to capture every moment of the horrific day, lest she forget the brutality of the betrayal they suffered and the harshness of the justice she must render. As she stood - one arm wrapped around the pylon slowly pulling the boarding ramp up - she looked down over the smoldering remains of their proud house, whilst reaching back with her free hand to trace a finger across the curved blade of Dronurr's bat'leth which still hung across her back, "jupwI' ngo' lugh chenmoH maH..." (We will make this right my friend...) she spoke solemnly as the final glimpse of their estate disappeared from view and she turned to head up to the bridge through the suddenly very crowded ship.

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