Posted on April 29th, 2019 by T'Lira
In. Out. In. Out. Find target. Lock on. Fire. Target down. Repeat.
Fighter after fighter went down, their holoimages flickering out as the holographic projectiles hit them in key locations. She was so focused on the ships in front of her that she didn’t notice the small group behind her until it was too late.
The instructor, one Lieutenant Jay Ethridge, looked over.
“Seventeen down. Not bad, but you have to make sure to pay attention to what’s on your tail as well. Your sensors won’t always work the way you want or need them to. If that was a starship, you’d have had better luck, but shuttlecraft don’t have the shield generation power that a starship does. Still, seventeen Dominion fighter craft down is not shabby.”
The cadet made their way to the line of other cadets, tilting her head slightly as the professor spoke. Next to her, one of the other cadets leaned over and murmured, “You can modulate your shields to fool the simulation.”
“I would not partake in such an action.”
“No need. I’ll show you.”
“Cadets, anything to share?”
“No sir,” was the immediate reply from both. Ethridge shrugged and returned to his lecture.
“When it’s just you in a shuttlecraft, you’re most likely surveying something that your parent starship can’t reach. But sometimes, you’re going to wind up in hostile combat situations and you must be prepared, which is why I run these. Now, who wants to go next?”
The Betazoid cadet who had whispered about the sensors stuck her hand in the air and Ethridge pointed at her.
“Cadet Lyrsin. Step right up and test your luck.”
The cadet stepped into the shuttle and Ethridge started the simulation. Lyrsin was slow at first, mostly picking off ships that got too close to her. When the simulation picked up, including the ships attacking from the rear, Lyrsin managed to dodge them and attack what was in front of her.
“It seems she’s figured out the old ‘look over your shoulder’ trick. Let’s see what happens in an ion storm.”
The simulation shifted to include a simulated ion storm, one that would likely wreak havoc on any ship’s electronical systems. Yet, somehow, Lyrsin managed to stay one step ahead.
Ethridge frowned and looked down at his PADD, scowling when he noticed something.
“Computer, end simulation.”
Lyrsin stepped out of the shuttle and shrugged, “How’d I do, Professor?”
“Well, I’ll give you passing grades in hacking Starfleet property.”
“Oh, please, I wasn’t hacking. I just modified the parameters in a totally legal way. It’s not hacking if you know the right passcodes.”
“And how do you know those passcodes?”
“You have them written on the back of your PADD. Didn’t take long for me to memorize them.”
The cadets snickered amongst themselves as Ethridge’s face turned red.
“Cadet Lyrsin, you tread dangerously close to insubordination.”
“No, I don’t. You just don’t like the fact that any competent engineer could rework the shields to keep up with anything.”
The Betazoid folded her arms across her chest and waited.
“Could you do that in the field?”
“Absolutely. Any engineer could… any officer trained in computer maintenance could manage it, with a bit of guesswork. And we’re all sort of trained in computer maintenance, mostly.”
Ethridge nodded, “I’m going to start the simulation up again, and you’re going to show us exactly how you did it. I’ll have the monitor up so we can see what commands you input.”
Lyrsin grinned at the other cadets and stepped back into the shuttle to restart the simulation.
It had been a relatively simple technique, one that would come in handy years later.
T’Lira dodged another Xovul fighter and came around hard to port, getting a lock on another and firing. She knew her shields were low and dropping lower with each hit she took.
Throwing her fighter to port again to try and rid herself of her newly acquired tail, she reached over to the shield controls and recalled what Kyrembril had demonstrated.
Pull just a small amount of power from weapons, approximately half of the current power allotted to life support systems, and a portion of the power designated to thrusters. Combine the power streams and send them to shields, keying in a few commands that would tell the system to draw power gradually, in order to maintain shields at the current level of fifteen percent… and then return to combat.
She had not yet attempted this method in live combat, but saw no alternative as she watched her shields slowly drop.
With a final glance at her shield status, she threw her fighter into combat once more, moving towards the location Zorro indicated to take advantage of a weakness in one of the Xovul ships. It seemed highly likely that the power drain she had initiated would only last about half an hour, assuming that she managed to avoid approximately fifty percent of the fire directed at her. However, with so many Xovul fighters out, she could only guarantee a thirty-seven percent evasion rate, which granted her roughly eighteen minutes of extra shield power. That would be enough, it seemed, as it was all that she currently had to bolster her shields and still have enough power to retreat, if need be.