Offense Force Alpha: USS James T. Kirk
Summary: The Federation declared war with the Nygleians, a species from the far reaches of the Beta Quadrant, in 2406. Almost immediately thereafter, Offense Force Alpha, an elite group of single-pilot fighters, was commissioned in order to change the face of the war. When four years went by without any change--positive or negative--the USS James T. Kirk was built to serve as the flagship of OFA.
Disclaimers: I obviously do not own the Star Trek franchise. There are also some characters in here that I don't own. Too bad. I'd be pretty rich if I did.
A/N: I tried to make this fit in with canon as much as possible (as far as it extends; obviously, this story takes place many years after Voyager returned to Earth). Don't hesitate to point out if there are some things I messed up on.
Anyway, enjoy the story.
Alpha Quadrant, sector 001
Cadet Abbey Paris stepped up to the chalking station and reached into the bowl, covering her hands and grips in the white powder. Removing them, she rubbed the powder against her bare feet, shaking off the excess. The entire process was so routine, she never thought about it anymore. She reached into the bowl again, again coating her hands in the chalk.
She glanced over to the team area, seeing the other girls talking amongst themselves, drinking from their water bottles, reliving great and terrible moments that had happened only moments before. Only one was looking back at her, Ezera, her fellow first classman and the one she beat out for team captain. The expression on the Zevian's face was not a pleasant one, and Paris quickly looked away.
She saw her coach head back to the team area from the judge's table. His eyes fell on her, and he nodded his head. She nodded in return. It was the coach's job to inform the judges which vault the gymnast was performing. She hoped he told them the right one.
She clapped her hands together and watched the small particles of chalk explode from her hands and slowly drift to the floor. She took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves, and began counting down from fifty, in Klingon, another familiar ritual she performed before each event, without fail, for as long as she could remember.
Right around thirty-five, she glanced up, her eyes slowly ascending through the audience until they fell on a small group of three people. Her aunt Navi and cousin Christopher weren't planning on watching the prelims of her gymnastics championships, but it provided a much-needed diversion from John Torres' illness. She was glad they were there; when she was a kid, Navi was more of a mother to her than her own mother had been. She was eight when Christopher was born and had been afraid, in that typical eight-year-old manner, that Navi and Harry would forget about her in favor of their own son, but that hadn't been the case, and Christopher had been more of a younger brother than a cousin to her. Jake was also not originally planning on coming until finals, but his Nova Squadron leader had changed their scheduled time to go to the Academy Flight Range, and this would be the only chance he would have to see any of her competition.
Christopher was talking excitedly to Jake about one thing or another, making Abbey smile thinly. Ever since she announced her engagement to the half-Bajoran Nova Squadron navigator and parrises squares corner, Christopher had gone out of his way to try to impress Jake. In a way, Cadet Ren Jacosi was everything Christopher aspired to—successful Starfleet Academy cadet, talented pilot—and in the end, the good guy always gets the girl, she mused.
She pushed all thoughts of her family, both present and future, out of her head, turning to face the runway with a deep breath, rubbing excess chalk from her hands on her thighs. As focused as she was on her routine, she barely registered the announcer's words—Abigail Paris, senior. Difficulty level 12.3. Paris entry, full turn on, backward triple salto with two and a half twists in the straight position off. It was the highest difficulty vault in existence, and everything about it was hers, from the entry she invented—double salto onto the springboard with a turn and a half onto the vault—to the turns through the air, to the blind landing she sometimes stuck, and she was the only one in the known universe able to perform it. Unless there were other short girls out there with the strength of a quarter-Klingon, it would remain that way.
When she reached zero, she took another deep breath, rolled her shoulders back, raised her chin high, and extended her right hand above her head, her signal that she was ready to begin. A few seconds later, the green light above the judge's table went on, and she was off. Faster, faster, she willed herself as she sprinted down the runway. Round-off, back handspring, turn to the left, block. To the audience, the event lasted only seconds. To her, it was an eternity, a lifetime of training building up to those few seconds.
She was upside down in the air, her head pointed toward the vault below, when her world began to fall apart in one concussive blast. She had been a competitive gymnast since she was four years old, and in those years had had some spectacularly bad landings for many reasons, mistakes that she had made that caused her to descend to the ground before she was ready. This time in, her execution was flawless, her height perfect. For the first time in seventeen years, it was the ground that reached her.
Ensign Omari Azad closed his eyes for a second, willing the destruction to be cleared by the time he opened them. No such luck. With a deep breath to steel himself, the fourth-year medical student grabbed one of his classmates and headed over to northern corner, which was buried under a pile of rubble.
"On three," he said, planting his feet as he got in position to raise a heavy beam. His classmate nodded, crouching to a similar position. "One, two, three." The two medical students lifted, moving aside the beam.
"I think we have someone here," Ensign Williams said. After seven hours of what had been billed as "search and rescue", he knew better than to get excited about that. There wasn't much rescuing going on in that athletic stadium.
Azad pulled out his tricorder to confirm that the tiny gymnast was dead. To his surprise, she wasn't. "She's alive!" he exclaimed. "Doc! Over here!" he shouted.
In seconds, the EMH appeared at his side, the only Mark-I still in operation, the former EMH from the U.S.S. Voyager. "What do you have?" he asked brusquely, not even wasting time for the answer as he continued to clear the rubble around the gymnast.
"I don't know," Azad admitted. "We were clearing out the rubble and saw her legs. I scanned her and found she's still alive."
The EMH nodded, barely hearing the words. "Oh, no," he murmured as he exposed her further. He recognized the gray and black leotard as one belonging to a cadet from Starfleet Academy San Francisco, just as he recognized the red stripe across her chest and upper arms as the markings of the team captain. Even without seeing her face, he knew it was Abbey Paris. He set his tricorder to her specific settings. "She has a ventricular bleed. We have to get her to the hospital immediately. Ensign Azad, contact Starfleet Medical, tell them we're bringing in Cadet Abigail Paris, then contact Dr. Naviana Torres and apprise her of the situation."
"Dr. Torres," the Doctor repeated, working to stabilize his patient. "Specialist in hybrid neurology. She's the CMO on DS4, but she's on Earth for a family emergency. She'll need to be in on this."
"Aye." He moved aside to comm the admitting service at Starfleet Medical, then attempted to reach Dr. Torres.
"Sir," he said, returning. "Starfleet Medical is ready for the patient. I can't reach Dr. Torres, though."
The Doctor sighed before tapping his own combadge. "EMH to Dr. Torres." There was no response. "That's odd. She always has her combadge," he murmured before trying again.
"Sir, I'm hearing something over here," Ensign Williams called out, indicating the lines of mortalities, covered in sheets by the medics. "I think it's a combadge."
If he had a heart, it would have been pounding out of his chest. Quickly giving instructions to Azad, the EMH raced over to the lines of deceased, again tapping his combadge. He heard an answering chirp from under a sheet, and pulled it aside.
With all the damage from the alien weapons, there wasn't much left his old friend, but it was enough for the Doctor to recognize the hybrid neurologist. He hung his head sadly for a second, remembering the woman he had known since she was an Academy cadet. He had helped train her to be a doctor, before watching as she became the leading expert in her field. He was there when she married one of his former crewmates, joined in her frustrations when she thought she couldn't have children, and celebrated at the birth of her son. Twenty-seven years of professional association, camaraderie, and friendship.
"What a waste," he muttered sadly before straightening, a resolute expression on his face. Turning to the two confused medical students, he began barking out orders again. "Prepare Cadet Paris for transport. I want to see her in the OR within twenty minutes, and contact Captains Paris and Torres."
"What should we tell them?" Ensign Azad asked.
The Doctor looked at him, his eyes blank. "Tell them their daughter is in surgery," he said brusquely. He glanced down at the body at his feet, taking the time to pull the blanket back over her head. "I'll be the one to tell them that Navi is dead." His gaze returned to theirs, taking a moment to meet each pair of eyes. "Welcome to war, gentlemen."