Bridge, CL Oaxaca, at Battle Station K4
       "Can you get a clear shot," Captain Kisper asked.
       "Negative, too much jamming," Weapons replied.
       "Take your best shot," Kisper ordered.
       "Firing photons," Weapons replied. "One hit on the target cruiser. I didn't expect that much. Not against this kind of jamming. Nothing in the tactics book says to expect that level of jamming except from an enemy base."
       "Oaxaca to K4," Kisper said, flipping a switch.
       "K4 Actual," came the reply. "Good shooting. Neither police ship was able to get a hit."
        "I saw that," Kisper said. "The jamming is too intense."
        "You noticed," the battle station commander said. "I never expected to see a Klingon fleet with that much electronic warfare potential. It's truly unexpected."
       "Can you give us any counter-jamming?" Kisper asked.
       "Not if I want to survive," the commander said. "It's taking all of the jamming I can push out to keep their volleys from wrecking us. They've already penetrated my shields and they're starting to cause internal damage. I've lost one of my heavy phasers, and a bunch of other systems. Damage state passed 15% after their last shot."
       The Klingons were not doing anything that Captain Kisper or the battle station commander expected. The "book" said that the Klingons would charge into the minefield in order to get overloaded disruptor shots, but then, the "book" said that the attacking Klingon force would be half this big and not have a scout in direct support. Instead, a larger-than-expected Klingon fleet was stopped just outside the minefield, putting their power into massive volleys of disruptor and phaser fire. At 160,000 kilometers, it was nowhere near as effective as it would be at half that range, but it was taking its toll. Worse, the Klingons were firing sheaves of drones through the minefield, and all of the mines set for drone-size targets had already exploded. The base had already  used two of its shuttles as wild weasel distraction birds.
       Another thing: the "book" said that the Klingons would first destroy the ships supporting the base, but they had totally ignored the two police ships and the Oaxaca and were concentrating their firepower on the base.
        "Can you get a shot at the scout with your big guns?" Kisper asked. "Maybe the key here is to cut their jamming."
       "Too far away," the battle station's commander said. "He's at 270,000 kilometers, and it would take too many volleys to knock down all of his shields." With no need to maneuver, the hovering scout could just turn all the way around, using each of its shields to the maximum potential.
       "Do you want me to go get him?" Kisper asked.
       "We both know you'd never make it," the battle station commander responded. "Just like we both know that this battle is not going to end well for our side."
       "How many more volleys can you take?" Kisper asked.
       "Five, maybe six," the battle station commander said, "if they stay at that range, which they won't. They've already cleaned out half of the minefield on that side. After two or three more volleys, we won't be able to stop them from bringing that minehunter up to the minefield and breaching it. I'll be out of drone defenses by then anyway. Four volleys is about it."
       "Captain!" came the voice of the sensor officer. "They just blew up one of the police cutters!"
       "This is new," the battle station commander said. "They've been ignoring the ships so far. At least that means one more volley before I reach retirement age."
       "They'll blow the other police cutter next," Kisper said. "What are your orders?" Both men knew what he was asking.
       "Break out and run for it," the battle station commander said. "Go now. We'll shut down the command mines on the far side. Don't wait. I'll tell the police cutter to run for it as well. I am transmitting my final reports and data files to you now."
       "What do you plan to do?" Kisper asked.
       "Absorb another couple of volleys, then ask for terms of surrender," the battle station commander said.
       "No point in dying for nothing," Kisper said. "May God give you strength in what's coming. Oaxaca, out." The second police cutter exploded as Oaxaca cleared the minefield.

Bridge, CA Valiant, Fourth Fleet, Near Battle Station K8
       "Klingon ships have crossed the border," Commander Francine Pendrake reported. "Battle Station K7 is under heavy attack, and K6 went off the air after reporting a Klingon fleet of more than a dozen ships. Kearsage has reportedly been attacked but has broken contact. Battle Station K8 reports no contact."
       "Very well," Captain Harmon K. Rankin said. "Get me every scan you can of the immediate area. If any Klingons come this way, I want to know about it." He only had to wait half an hour.
       "Klingon ships on scans," the sensor operator reported. "I can see two ships that are cruiser size, and one more that I cannot get a read on yet."
       "Red alert! Where away?" Rankin asked.
       "I have a heavy, maybe a D7, bearing two eight five mark two range 1.2 million kilometers. I have another heavy cruiser, maybe a D6 or an older D7 by the flare of her engines, bearing three two seven mark one range 1.4 million kilometers. Third contact is smaller, not sure what it is, not a heavy cruiser, bigger than a frigate, bearing three zero one mark zero range 1.7 million kilometers. All of them are coming straight for us at Warp 6."
       Commander Pendrake started to observe that standard doctrine would call for the Valiant to retreat, to run for one of the battle stations since no other heavy ships were in the area. She was shocked at what she heard.
       "Arm photons, full overload," Rankin ordered. "Helm, point us straight at D7 two eight five, maintain whatever speed you can with the photons taking the power."
        "Captain," Commander Pendrake said, "if you go head-to-head with that one, the others will be here before we can finish it off. You can't kill it, not even with the overloads, and you may not even get a chance to fire before that D6 catches us."
       "He's not my target, Frankie," Rankin said. "I just need him to drop to battle speed and arm his weapons."
       "A feint?" Commander Pendrake said, somewhat surprised. So this is what a man with The Medal looks like when facing three-to-one odds, she thought.
       "Right," Rankin said. "I need more space between the two heavy cruisers, and the way I am going to get it to is get this one to slow down, then turn and bag the other one."
       "The D6 has closed to range 1.02 million kilometers," the sensor officer said. "The D7 has dropped to Warp 3. He must be getting ready to fight us. Range now 700,000 kilometers. Computer identifies the third target as a D5 light cruiser, one of those new ones. It is continuing to close."
       "Very well," Rankin said. "Emergency turn to starboard on my mark, head directly for the D6. Ready, mark!"
       The lights dimmed momentarily as the ship turned hard on its axis, the left engine running at overspeed while the right engine reduced power. The ship turned toward the new target.
       "Closing rapidly on D6," the sensor operator said. "Range dropping to 500,000 kilometers. The D7 is starting to speed up, but slowly. The D5 continues closing."
         "Target photons and all phasers on the D6," Rankin said. "Fly me right into his wing joint, right where the boom meets the rear hull."
       "I don't... yes, Sir!" the helmsman said. He knew that the destination the Captain had selected was nonsense, at least at this range, but then realized the Captain was clearly in his element. That's right, he has The Medal, he thought. I bet he's as cold as ice, probably doesn't even have a heartbeat.
       Rankin smiled at the viewscreen, watching the D6 grow larger. Of course, at this range, the scanners could not "see" the D6 except as an energy signature, but it presented the library image of a D6 on the screen in a scaled inset, centered on the point where the energy signature was located. The red ring around the scaled inset showed the range, the upper left part of the ring having steadily turned white. It was almost like watching the hands of an antique clock run backwards. The red portion now covered only the right half, indicating maximum photon range of 300,000 kilometers, and it continued to shrink, the white portion climbing the right side, past five then four o'clock. Then three o'clock.
       "Klingon ship is firing," the scanner officer said, "standard disruptors and three phasers. The forward shield is holding at 30%."
       "Idiot," Rankin said aloud without even realizing it. "He panicked. He should have waited."
       "Drones incoming portside," the science officer said.
       "Science, you have phasers three and four," Rankin said. Now just kill those things and leave me to my business.
       "Range one-twenty, one-ten," came the voice of the scanner officer. "One hundred, 90, 80, we are within overload range! Seventy!" Please fire! Please God, fire!
       "Hold," Rankin said. "Wait for it!"
        "Forty," the scanner officer said, "30 thousand!" My God, will the man just fire the bloody photons!
       "Fire!" Rankin said as the range clock passed 20,000 kilometers.
         The Valiant felt an unexpected jolt. "Klingon D7 hit us from behind at 160,000 kilometers," the engineer officer said. "Rear shield is holding."
       "Inbound drones destroyed," the science officer said, having honestly never expected to fire a weapon in combat. The Valiant rocketed past the crippled D6.
       "Helm, take us to the right as you can," Rankin ordered. "Nav, plot us a course to Z1 and let Helm know when we can go to high warp and get out of here. Comms, get me updated reports on this war. Engineering, did we take any damage?"
       "None at all," the engineer said.
        "Very well," Rankin said, "steady on course." It took Rankin another minute before he realized that question that had vexed him for years had been answered. I'm good at this, he thought to himself. He began to go over in his mind the steps, the math he had done in his head. I knew I could get the D7 to slow down, he thought to himself, and I knew that the D6 would panic, jump into the position I wanted him in and then panic and fire too soon. Combat veterans of the Kzinti wars, my ass. I haven't been in combat for 20 years and I took them down. Ha!