From the Outside
Posted on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 @ 3:57am by Lieutenant Li Ling Meifeng
Edited on on Fri Dec 14th, 2018 @ 7:42pm
On the Horizon
Location: USS Yorktown
Tags: flashback, meifeng, introduction
Senior staff in ten minutes.
One thing that Meifeng was going to have to mention in her reports to the Executor was Starfleet’s love of meetings. Senior staff, department, tactical team, hazard team… all regular meetings, half things that could as easily have gone into a report or bonding better done over a bottle of bijou in the (excellent - Starfleet meant luxury) lounge or a few tumbles into bunks. Though given Federation norms regarding bunk-tumbling… perhaps the meetings were necessary.
It wasn’t that Meifeng had an instinctive dislike of meetings. She simply disliked Starfleet meetings, meetings where everyone else in the room wore the same uniform and could trade stories of the same school experiences and shared the beautiful, incomprehensible warrior-philosopher ideals and had known one another for months or years.
To be the only newcomer in a room full of comrades was difficult enough. To be a foreigner to all of them, even those with whom she shared a genetic and historical heritage…
The nearest to another newcomer there would be the captain, because no matter the service, taking command changed who a person was in the eyes of the crew. A new captain…
One Year Ago
The smoke of battle filled the bridge, and Meifeng’s helmet was closed to keep her breathing clear. She was down one impulse engine and Guns was short the aft tube, but main power somehow held stable in spite of the pounding they took as she dove the ship between two very determined Breen cruisers, drawing their fire off Seldon and giving the Star Navy’s prize cruiser the breathing room to press her own attack.
Captain Hark Yuan had faced combat four times - three as a gunnery officer, once as second on the Freedom’s Promise, none in command. “Li Ling, come about on Beta. Guns, ready.”
Front toward enemy. The unofficial motto of the pilot aboard one of the Ashigawa-class frigates. Cutting power hard from the impulse engines and pushing the starboard maneuvering thrusters to the edge of their design tolerance, Meifeng spun Tianma nearly in place before flaring the engines again to close with her target. The center ship and likely command vessel of a three-frigate wing, target beta was centered. With a thought, Meifeng transmitted the target vector and her next course change to Guns across the link between their neural implants.
“Fire!” Captain Hark’s voice filled the bridge, above the din of a near-miss from Breen disruptors. And Guns obeyed.
The ship shuddered as its main weapon came online, a carefully-controlled inertial field generated through the length of her core. Within that field, twenty immensely powerful electromagnets fired in sequence, propelling a ten-kilogram antiproton shell - its inertial mass cut to near-zero by the field - out of its containment field and into space at a velocity approaching 0.2c. It was a dumb weapon, the sort the more “civilized” and “advanced” military powers of the galaxy had long since left behind the use of and the Star Navy itself was in the midst of phasing out. Without guidance, without a remote disarm, it would continue through space until it hit something or its mass burned off over the course of millennia through contact with stellar dust.
It was brutally effective. Its velocity allowed it to easily penetrate the damaged shields of the frigate, and the impact and subsequent M/AM detonation simply obliterated the enemy vessel.
The cruisers were still on them, still firing, and against lightspeed weapons there was only so much clever maneuvering could do, especially on one non-centered impulse engine. Meifeng accelerated to punch past the frigates and rejoin the Constitution and her group.
“Li Ling, ready an attack on Epsilon. Guns, rearm main cannon.” There was excitement in the Captain’s voice, an almost contagious enthusiasm after their kill, as she gave the order for them to turn on the larger of the two cruisers in pursuit.
Turn toward the cruisers, and away from the sanctuary of the fleet.
She felt Guns’s grin at the idea of bringing down on of Thot Varprem’s new cruisers, could almost taste Xia at ops’s delight.
In hindsight, she was never sure if she’d realized the captain’s mistake the moment before or the moment after she executed the turn. If it was before, she followed orders anyway - to disobey in the heat of a fight would cost more than an error in command judgement. She definitely knew it when she saw the lights of Zeta’s mine launch on her console. Too many to avoid.
Knew it still more deeply as Seldon pitched in a way that would have her engineering crew checking every rivet on the hull for months to come to their rescue, cutting off her attack on the Breen command vessel.
Meifeng shook herself as she approached the turbolift. This place was what she had chosen, the job she’d taken. The service she’d committed herself to. To be the first Lagashi in the Delta Quadrant… it was a job no soldier with a family could be asked to do. No proper wife or husband would agree to have their wife risk dying somewhere so far from home.
So it fell to the soldier with no family. The soldier whose home had turned out not to be a home.
Li Ling Meifeng, whose life could fit in those agoraphobic Starfleet quarters.
She offered a nod to the doctor as she stepped into the turbolift, her implants pulling data from the ship’s computer about the woman that Starfleet’s habit of color-coding its officers made largely unnecessary.