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Irene Mincine


Lt. j.g. Carillon sat uneasily in her Peregrine fighter. She was flying patrol in the Chin’toka system, recently retaken from the Dominion and the scene of heavy fighting. Over her shoulder was her mothership, the Nebula-class USS Greenland. Surrounding, in every direction, were Federation, Klingon, and even a few Romulan starships, of every size and shape.

“Omega flight, Greenland control,” the subspace radio buzzed in her helmet. With all the jamming and counter-jamming going on, even close-range transmissions sounded like two tin cans and a string. “Sensors picking up incoming small craft. Transmitting vector, intercept and destroy.” 

“Greenland control, Omega 1. Understood, intercepting,” came over the radio. Carillon, flying Omega 3, took off with the rest of her squadron toward the incoming targets. The fighter’s sensors linked into the Greenland’s automatically, letting her see targets that were minutes away even at maximum impulse.

The sensor readings resolved into eight Dominion fighters. The purple, beetle-like craft always scared the hell out of her, even after she’d blown 40 of them out of the heavens. The way they glowed, the way they moved unnaturally, the way they’d get behind you and there was nothing you could do. With the losses they inflicted on the Allies, everyone should have been afraid of them. Most pilots were.

Twelve Federation fighters against eight Dominion fighters still wasn’t fair odds, she thought, as the dogfight began. Twenty ships in an elaborate dance of death, phaser blasts and torpedoes and disruptor blasts and compression beams shooting in every direction.

Lt. Carillon and a Dominion fighter circled, twisted, curled. Her hands moved the controls with the grace of a seasoned combat pilot. One phaser blast and it was over - the Dominion fighter exploded in a cloud of plasma and metal fragments. She didn’t have time to celebrate - two more were on her. Only the quick intervention of one of her wingmen was able to save her life, one fighter vaporizing while the other broke off.

In the chaos of the dogfight, another transmission broke through on the priority channel. “USS Nova, we’ve… some kind of… energy weapon…”

The transmissions kept on coming. Ship after ship, hit by an energy weapon. All power down. Unkown Breen warships on attack vector. An entire Dominion fleet out there, destroying ship after ship. Panic and chaos. And in her fighter, there was nothing she could do to help.

Her concentration broke when the Greenland disappeared from her tactical link. Disappeared. Gone. Vaporized. She had no time to process this fact before her fighter shook. Purple light shot by her viewport. She did exactly what she wasn’t supposed to do - she panicked.

There was a loud bang from behind and her fighter began to spin out of control.  A junction box exploded to her right, showering her in green plasma fire. Lt. Carillon, overcome, screamed and pulled the ejection handle.

Her fighter split in two, the cabin section rocketing away from the rest. Her visor fogged from sweat and heavy breathing. The cabin, lighter and with a new center of gravity, continued to spin. The atmosphere of the cabin vented, extinguishing the plasma. The last thing she remembered before blacking out was the Dominion fighter zooming by her cockpit…

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