Lest we forget... – Final Decent
by Soghla' Jared & HoD Ro' Matlh & Sogh HoS Matlh & Ne' Leah Vien & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' Marie St. Helene & Eredh Hay'legh & Soghla' HIchop Matlh & Sogh Marla Varquis

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Title   Final Decent
Mission   Lest we forget...
Author(s)   Soghla' Jared & HoD Ro' Matlh & Sogh HoS Matlh & Ne' Leah Vien & Soghla' Terri (Tell) Hope & Soghla' Marie St. Helene & Eredh Hay'legh & Soghla' HIchop Matlh & Sogh Marla Varquis
Posted   Wed Aug 11, 2010 @ 12:28am
Location   The skies above Miletus
Timeline   Present
The F'Hew coasted it's way through the formidable defence grid, the crew watching the sensor readings carefully. True to Jared's advice, the satellite grid watched them impassively - weapon ports tracking them despite the cloak - but didn't fire.

The scene was odd. There seemed to be half a battle, frozen in time. Attacking and defending ships held position along the route. At one point along their approach route, a defender's cruiser was paused with three cannons pointing exactly at three gaping holes in an attacking troop-ship's hull.

And yet, it wasn't exactly a battle frozen in time. There was very little shrapnel or wreckage. And Ro was enough of a tactician to know that there were ships missing from this battle - a defensive perimeter of fighters around a vessle that wasn't there any more. An attack formation charging a target that now seemed to be missing. A capital ship with all guns focused on a single vacant spot.

Tell turned from her engineering station and gazed at the scene a cold shiver seemed to travel up her spine and settle itself at the base of her skull, she shook involuntary as if something unseen had walked past her.

"My God what happened here?" she asked.

"The missing ships have just drifted off," Jared explained. "The ships on both sides had very accurate orbital stabilisation systems. But the ones that were disabled have generally drifted away, or crashed into the planet."

"As for the rest... I don't know everything about what happened here. But I know it was one of those battles where in the end, both sides lost."

The F'Hew glided through the cold, dead battle scenes, and closed in on the planet.

They reached the final layer of orbital defence without incident, where a wedge of attacking ships had punched a hole - presumably for troop transports, and ground assault craft.

The F'Hew - finally now out of range of the defence grid, began it's decent. Jared began bringing up images from the planet's surface on the main viewer. Vast cities and infrastructure could be seen, although the state it was in was hard to tell from this altitude. The surface outside the cities also seemed rather... desolate.

"Where is everyone?" Ro' muttered. There were always survivours, no matter how devestating the war.

"No lifesigns," Jared said levelly.

"You mean just plants and wildlife?"

Jared shook his head.

"No... There's no lifesigns. No animal life. No plant life. No bacteria. This planet is dead. Literally."

"The primary assault will have been on the capital city," he commented, "near the primary command complex. That's where the most military hardware and ships will be concentrated. It's probably also where the defence grid is controlled from. I'm bringing it up on screen and feeding the coordinates to the helm now."

"The ground defences will have mostly been manned. Even if they're still operational, there's no-one to fire them, so we should be pretty safe now. Just in case someone needs to shoot at something."

A strange silence had come over the bridge as they had passed the silent hulks. Ro' Almost whispered, "Keep the weapons off line and take us in carefully helm. We don't want to trigger any twitchy auto-defences. Nothing about this feels right."

Tell had never experienced anything like this before and looked on in awe and horror almost afraid to speak above a whisper. She tore her eyes away from the scene and concentrated on her station checking and rechecking. The last thing she would want is engine failure on the way out of here. What ever the 'here' was.

As Jared suggested, The F'Hew picked up no hostile energy signatures or weapon locks as it glided in towards the capital.

The city was old. That much was clear from this height, even in the dull light of the system's red sun. It had clearly taken a beating from orbit, with scorched craters and burned out buildings dotted throughout. Long years seemed to have passed since then, and yet no-one had repaired any of the damage, or even cleared the rubble away from the streets.

The F'Hew made it's final approach towards a large complex of important looking buildings. The districts around had taken considerable damage, and yet the main buildings themselves seemed intact - probably protected by powerful forcefields at the time, long since burned out. Those with an eye for battle could see that the attackers had focused their efforts here - with many troop transports and assault craft on the ground, and many others crashed nearby. This had been the attacker's objective.

As they came close to ground level, they could see weapons and armour scattered on the ground...

... no, not scattered. Piled, in rather curious ways. One of the troop transports seemed to have armour and weapons piled in rows emerging from the troop-bay, as though the attackers had sent the armour in to fight without the occupants.

It was hard to tell from a distance of course.

Ro' pointed to a ragged hole in one wall that may once have been a door, "That was their target. Put us down next to that Lander. I will lead an away team into the centre while the rest of you sort through the stuff out here for anything salvageable."

He indicated two big metal statues either side of the open door. They and the wall behind them were spattered with weapons fire. "What are they?"

Jared, lost in sensor readings and other preparations, looked up. He looked at the sizable shapes with a puzzled expression. Then he smiled, and an expression of nostalgia came over him.

"Nephilim. I should have known there'd be a few of them here."

"Heavy duty exosuits, halfway between battle armour and a single man vehicle. They were the kings of the battlefield, back in the day."

He squinted at the squat shapes, surveying the damage.

"Those ones must have taken a ton of punishment to show damage like that. They had shields probably on par with a federation runabout and they're armoured like you wouldn't believe. You don't get military hardware like that any more. Once you'd seen two forces of those things go head to head, surface warfare never looks quite the same again."

Ro' narrowed his eyes, "That alone would have been worth the trip. We will have to see what we can take."

The F'Hew touched down in the ruddy half light, the clank of the landing struts touching the ground resonating though the hull.

Ro' stood up, "HoS, break out the weapons, and get two Beq to join the away team. Hichop, Tell, Jared, your with us, Leah too. Marla, you and Marie search the grounded Lander for anything worth taking. Hay'legh, stay here. it looks like they were expecting some sort of Romulan attack. I don't want to give them anything they can recognise to shoot."

Tell ran to her engine room to pick up her engineering kit bag, she had a feeling she might need it.

Marie looked up at the monitor hanging on the cargo bay wall. It showed one of the Nephilim seen from close distance.

Cute name, she thought. Yes, I can see how you could think of them as evil giants and the descendants of supernatural beings. Faced with them on a battlefield, that would be my sort of impression.

She turned her eyes away and got back to work. She was almost finished and Matlh would need a lot of space to accommodate those exosuits.

A thought occurred to her. She hit her commbadge. ‘,’Does anyone know if those Nephilim things can be disassembled? I could fit a lot more of them in here if we could take them apart.’,’

Jared's voice came back over the comms.

,'. Not in the time we've got. They're built in sections, but their structure is designed to resist direct artillery fire and heavy energy weapons. You're going to need more than thirty minutes with a shifting spanner and a plasma cutter to take one of those things to peices. ,'.