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Updated: Mar 18, 2023

The raptor once again climbed through the upper atmosphere and made for the edge of the Qo'noS system before jumping to warp. Once again however they found their path blocked, this time by a small armada of Klingon ships. Two Negh'Var's, a Vor'cha and two Birds of Prey sat ahead in formation. "It's not over until it's over...Lexi mused as she observed the situation unfolding on the viewscreen before looking around the faces of her Honor Guard; now serving bridge crew, "We will not go quietly into the night. If this is our time; then let us arrive at the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor as honorable warriors to the end... raise shields and charge the cannons! Today is a good day to die!" "Captain, more ships on sensors approaching at high warp!" Lexi looked back to her science officer as he informed this latest development, "And so it is..." she opened her mouth to continue with the order to attack but was cut short when the ships dropped out of warp. Another Negh'Var and two Somraw raptors - just like at the colony, and they formed up alongside the small black raptor. The two groups of ships sat motionless a moment; each baiting the other to make the first move. On her bridge, Lexi received another text only message from their ally - 'For Dronurr!' - and she knew in that moment that they had a chance. The enemy Negh'Var was the first to move as it crept forwards; the allied one following suit as its raptor escorts launched ahead and opened fire on the enemy cruiser, while it launched a torpedo head on at the allied cruiser. Lexi's raptor banked high and wide to sweep in across the Frey but was intercepted by the two Birds of Prey who forced it to break off and refocus on a skirmish with them. While the two Negh'Var's went head to head, the enemy Vor'cha engaged the allied raptors as the formations gradually broke into a chaotic ballet. The battle raged on relentlessly with both sides bent solely on surviving the day. Though outnumbered by the Birds of Prey; Lexi's raptor proved to fast for them and continued to outmanouver the pair before a sharp bank brought one into the sights of their main cannons. The raptor fired a volley and the Bird spiralled out of control before lighting up in a fiery explosion. The raptor ploughed through the explosion with fire trailing in its wake while it focused on the remaining Bird. As the two Negh'Var's continued to circle each other like a pair of Targ competing over territory - each battering the others shields with unforgiving fire - the enemy Vor'cha tore through one of the weaker allied raptors, which veered off course as its wing sheared off and collided with its partner raptor. Lexi's raptor - with the luxury of a single target focus - was quick to cut down the remaining Bird of Prey and turned to intercept the Vor'cha before it could tip the odds against the allied Negh'Var. Their aid was not needed however as the allied Negh'Var finally broke through the shields of the enemy and landed a direct hit on its engines, disabling them. "Captain, new contact on sensors; unknown configuration but its coming in hot". Lexi turned to her science officer at the update before returning her gaze to the screen as it shifted to show the new arrival. Her eyes widened as she took in the sight of the huge dreadnought appearing. It was like no vessel she had ever seen before and almost appeared to be made up of many different elements from different ships and origins, "What is this; a flying salvage yard?" She scoffed. "They're moving to intercept" warned her tactical officer. Lexi glanced back then looked to her pilot, "Let us not give them the chance; bring us about and set an attack vector!" The small black raptor turned sharp and sped towards the salvage ship. It's cannons glowed with charge and the sole torpedo launcher in the nose of the raptor lit up red as it was primed to launch. The salvage ship opened fire first however - despite its extreme range still - and hit the raptor with a shockwave of energy that rippled out in all directions; immediately overloading all their systems and leaving the small raptor helplessly adrift. The blacked out bridge was awash with frantic shouting and hustled movement as they tried to restore power while Lexi - once again - sat feeling helpless. They eventually managed to restore auxiliary power and the even dimmer emergency lighting flickered into life as consoles slowly powered back up, "Get weapons and shields back!" Lexi ordered at seeing the progress, "And someone get me a picture of what the Hell is going on out there!" With a little creative power management, her engineering officer was able to restore power to the viewscreen and a static-riddled image flickered into place only to reveal the scavanger ship bearing down on them. Lexi looked back to her tactical officer, who merely shook his head to the unasked question about shields or weapons. "And so it is..." Lexi calmly spoke, "It has been an honor - all of you. Helm... rammi-..." she did not get complete her order as a fiery explosion rocked the side of the dreadnought as it approached; quickly followed by another, then a third before it veered away. The allied Negh'Var stormed towards the dreadnought with all weapons on cycle fire as constantly pounded the flanking shield of the dreadnought's shields; forcing it to retreat and jump to warp. As the sudden stillness of the aftermath settled over them, a hail came in from the Negh'Var. Lexi squinted as she looked to the viewscreen; the Negh'Var must have been even more severely damaged than they were as the image was barely legible, however fragments of the audio made it through before the ship descended for Qo'noS "...- to help, is the lea-.... ...-could do for my ol-... ...-Dronurr. Until ne-... ...-your loyal bannerman-..." was all they could make out. "Stand down from battle stations..." Lexi ordered as she sat more relaxed in her seat, "...Full damage assessment and salvage what we can for repairs from the wreckage. It will not be long before people come looking into this" "And where exactly do you plan on taking us?" Tinith demanded as she entered the bridge. Lexi turned in her seat, "I do not know my Lady. We should speak to the High Council, this treason-..." "NO!" Tinith cut her off, "Here. You need to read this..." She said begrudgingly, handing Lexi a PADD which detailed a list of crimes against the Empire Dronurr had been convicted of. As punishment he was sentenced to execution while his House would be stripped bare; Mormesh being named as the House to carry out the sentence. At reading it, Lexi snarled and spat venomously, "That snake! He will pay for this!". Tinith showed a surprising sense of wisdom as she grasped Lexi's shoulders, "Think a moment! What will you do? Charge of in your little raptor and wage war against an entire House who are in the Council's favor?! And what of us you have on board - we are no warriors. No... you must play this smart Lexi - you are still Captain of our Honor Guard, and you have a job to do. Use that Trill intellect for once instead of pretending to be Klingon! We must protect what remains of House Dronurr - his heir - my son. We can not do that in the heart of the Empire..." Lexi glared at the large dark hands on her shoulder pauldrons before turning her gaze up to meet that of Lady Tinith, "We must find resources to look after you and the other survivors... and allies to help us get to the bottom of this and expose Mormesh's treachery. The frontier worlds... there we should be able to find all we need without being under the scrutinizing gaze of the KDF!" Tinith smiled a toothy grin and nodded, clasping her hands on Lexi's shoulders - an act most unfamiliar from all her years of service to the House - "You are our guardian and protector now Lexi; daughter of Norin - our QanwI'! You have proven to me today what my husband saw in you all these years; you indeed have the heart of a true warrior, and I would be honored to see you carry his blade". Slightly taken aback by this turnaround in attitude from Tinith, Lexi simply dipped her head as she pounded a fist against her chestplate, "I shall not fail you my lady" "I know" Tinith simply replied before turning and heading back to the heart of the small ship where her focus had quickly shifted to the wellbeing of their refugee crew. Lexi turned back to her Honor Guard - turned bridge crew - who all wore proud smiles and saluted Lexi in the same manner as she saluted Lady Tinith, "As soon as we are fit to warp, take us to the Narris system. There is a new Orion colony there of some description which should make for a good starting point" Lexi ordered before trailing after Tinith to better evaluate the condition of her would be crew.

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