The cadet stepped into the Senior Instructors office with a bit of unease. Why had he been summoned here today of all days? In just a few minutes, another simulator run was scheduled to begin.
“You seem to be the wisecracker of your group,” the instructor started. “You like being the class clown?”
That's unfair, the cadet thought, all he was trying to do was relieve some of the tension in the classrooms!
“Well, let's see if the class clown can be the class leader, hmm?”
Class leader! But that means...
“Get to the simulator, or you'll be late for your battle, Cadet Captain!”
The Cadet threw a sharp salute, mumbled something under his breath, turned and raced out of the room.
A few doors down, the Cadet entered the simulator and quickly took in the tactical situation as he crossed to his bridge seat. He couldn't help overhearing several snide comments but ignored them.
He was on the bridge of a Federation heavy cruiser. He quickly determined that this was a newer version with the Phaser-3 and ADD for Drone defense. Drones! We haven't covered that tactical module yet!
The screen showed his opponent. The instructors were not being cute here, just a regular Klingon D7.
“This is a straight up duel,” the speakers boomed. “You have only 10 minutes until Klingon reinforcements arrive. Your mission is to disable or destroy the D7 before that time. Simulation begins...NOW!”
“Arm photons, bring us in slow,” the Cadet Captain ordered. The D7 was approaching at a medium speed. Well, they didn't have to load photons like he did. “Weapons, ready to fire....now!” The D7 fired simultaneously, and his bridge share almost shook out from underneath him.
“Shield 6 hit, but holding,” the weapons officer called out.
“The D7 appears to have suffered only limited shield damage to its forward shield.” That was the science officer-wannabe. He tried to be very Vulcan-like but only ended up being annoying.
“Science, keep your reports short! Helm, ahead slow and weapons, are my photons ready yet?” A quick glance showed the weapons officer nodding affirmative.
“Helm, bring us to port and lets get that Klinker!” But the D7 was keeping its speed up and flashed past the Federation ship. But then the Cadet Captain's ship turned to starboard.
“Helm, what are you doing?!”
The helmsman sighed and turned to face the Cadet Captain. “Look, our number six shield is damaged so we need to turn that shield-face away, right? So we go to STARBOARD, got it?” It was too late to do much else, the D7 was coming up directly astern.
“Weapons! Fire what we can. And Helm...I am the CAPTAIN here!” The tension on the bridge held for a moment, that is until the hits from the D7 shook everyone and they all turned back to their consoles.
“Helm, slow ahead and continue our turn to starboard.”
“Captain, sir. Your photons are ready.” The weapons cadet smiled, and one would swear she even winked at him before she turned around again.
The screen showed the D7 turning to starboard. Aha! Turning tail already! But...it has to be a trap. Oh, his shields facing me are hurt so he is turning away to bring fresh shields to bear. The D7 was still moving fast, and getting away.
“Weapons, fire before he moves any further away!” The photons sped away. One missed, but the other hit clean.
“Now listen everyone, he is hurt and facing away from us, but we need to rearm. Helm, ahead slow and come to port. We reload and then get ready to overrun him.”
Science called out. “The D7 appears have suffered damage on multiple shields and is moving away, probably for repairs.”
Repairs! That's what he forgot! The Cadet Captain stabbed a button on his chair. “Engineering! We need to repair our shields!”
The engineer made no effort to hide his sarcasm.“While you've been busy up there playing spacer, my gang down here has been repairing your shields already. Haven't you noticed that we have almost no damage left on any shield?”
The Cadet Captain could feel his face turn red. He looked sharply around when he heard a snort. Had to be the helmsman, again. Well, I can show him!
“Helm, ahead flank. Weapons, ready to fire! Try for a forward shot, and make sure you shoot before he slips out of your arc!” The simulator hummed with the sound of engines working up to speed. And not a moment to soon; the D7 was turning to face the now rapidly approaching Federation cruiser.
The range closed, but not fast enough. The Cadet Captain looked at his power repeater, there was really nothing to get more speed from unless he took power away from his weapons and, well, he really needed those now.
“This is going to be close,” the science officer shouted.
And close it was. The D7 was trying to slip into the number 6 shield arc but helm was doing a good job of slipping and keeping the Klinker ahead. The Cadet Captain was ready to admonish weapons again but stopped short as he noticed the intense look of concentration on her face. Sure enough, at the very last second, at a range of only 20,000km and just before the D7 slipped out of arc, she stabbed at her console with a ferocity that surprised the Cadet Captain.
His revelry was short-lived though. The D7 had also been waiting. Gee, the Cadet Captain wondered, I never knew the simulators could throw you around that much. And how do they make that much smoke too?
Science reported first. “Shield 1 down. Massive internals. We pretty much have lost everything except power systems, weapons, and a few control spaces. Fortunately, the D7 looks to be in similar condition to us.”
Engineering buzzed. The Cadet Captain hit the button. “Engineering here. No more repairs to shields right now. We used all our power on that last pass.”
What to do?
“And that is when you disengaged?” The Cadet, no longer Cadet Captain, was standing in front of a long table with several Star Fleet officers.
“Yes, sir,” the Cadet tried to sound confident. He couldn't be sure, but it almost sounded like he squeaked.
“Your mission,” started a REAL Star Fleet Captain, “was to disable or destroy the enemy. Instead, you disengaged? In violation of your orders?”
This was it. The end of a career. So who cares anymore. “Sir,” the cadet sounded much more confident, now that he could tell the end was near, “I elected to disengage and save the ship. I judged it was too risky to continue the fight and the Fleet would rather have a damaged ship to repair for another fight than 450 funerals to take care of!” There, it was done. Now he could go home.
“Interesting.” The real Captain stared intensely at the Cadet. “There may be hope for you yet.”
This game was run using Federation Commander: First Missions.