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Battle of Veridian III

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Battle of Veridian III
USS Enterprise-D evades the Duras sisters' Bird-of-Prey.jpg

The D-12 in combat with the Enterprise.

The D-12 in combat with the Enterprise.
Date: 2371
Location: Veridian
Result: Pyrrhic Federation victory, the fall of the House of Duras
Belligerents
United Federation of Planets House of Duras
Notable commanders
Captain Jean Luc Picard
Commander William T. Riker
Lursa
B'Etor
Tolian Soran
Strength
USS Enterprise D12-class Klingon Bird-of-Prey
Casualties and losses
USS Enterprise
Minimal casualties (crew rescued)
Klingon Bird-of-Prey
All hands lost

The Battle of Veridian III was a confrontation between the USS Enterprise-D and a renegade D12-class Klingon Bird-of-Prey in orbit of Veridian III in 2371. Under orders from Dr. Tolian Soran and in revenge for previous affairs with the Federation, the Bird-of-Prey, commanded by the Duras sisters, opened fire on the Enterprise. Although the Enterprise would have easily destroyed the Bird-of-Prey under normal circumstances due to its substantially superior weaponry and defense systems, the crew of the Klingon ship exploited a key weakness in the Enterprise's defenses and was thereby able to inflict severe damage on the Federation flagship before they were destroyed. However, the Enterprise's victory was a Pyrrhic one, as she was lost in the process.

Prelude

Following the fall of the House of Duras at the end of the Klingon Civil War of 236768, the Duras sisters, Lursa and B'Etor, sought incessantly to regain power and take control of the Klingon Empire and in 2371 they forged an alliance with Dr. Soran. Soran had developed several trilithium weapons, one of which was used to destroy the Amargosa star in order to redirect the Nexus energy ribbon to bring himself closer to returning to the paradisaical reality. In exchange for providing him with the trilithium (courtesy of theft from the Romulans) and escorting him to several different locations, Soran provided the Duras sisters with the specifications to build the trilithium missile. With such a powerful weapon, they would be able to take control of the Klingon Empire.

On an inspection of the Amargosa observatory by Lieutenant Commanders Data and La Forge, Dr. Soran assaulted La Forge and captured him, transporting them to the Duras sisters' ship. The ship set a course for the Veridian system, where Soran planned to destroy the Veridian star which would result in altering the course of the Nexus energy ribbon to come into contact with Veridian III, allowing Soran to return to the Nexus.

After Data and Captain Picard discovered that Dr. Soran was next planning to destroy the Veridian star, the Enterprise set a course for Veridian III at maximum warp. Upon intercepting the (cloaked) Klingon ship, Picard warned that any missiles fired at the Veridian star would be destroyed. Soran ordered the destruction of the Enterprise but B'Etor pointed out that their ship was completely outgunned by the Galaxy-class starship and Soran ominously replied "I think it's time we gave Mister La Forge his sight back", eyeing La Forge's VISOR. Soran performed some modifications to the VISOR, giving Lursa and B'Etor a live video feed from La Forge's point-of-view. The Bird-of-Prey decloaked and hailed the Enterprise. Demanding the return of his chief engineer to the Enterprise, Picard agreed to exchange himself for La Forge, but only on the condition that he could speak to Soran (who was on the surface of Veridian III) first, and in person. The sisters agreed and returned La Forge to the Enterprise while Picard was transported to Veridian III.

The Battle

Duras sisters b-o-p and Enterprise-D, Generations

The renegade Bird-of-Prey fires on the Enterprise

USS Enterprise-D fires on Duras sisters b-o-p

The Enterprise fires on the Bird-of-Prey

When La Forge returned to engineering, the video feed from his VISOR gave the Duras sisters exactly what they were looking for. A freeze-frame revealed that the Enterprise's shields were operating on a frequency modulation of 257.4 megahertz. They adjusted the frequency of both the ship's photon torpedoes and disruptors and the Klingon ship fired a spread of torpedoes at the Enterprise, which passed through the shields, impacting on the flagship's secondary hull. In retaliation, the Enterprise returned fire, but the phaser blast had no effect on the Klingon ship and the Klingons fired disruptors at the Enterprise, severely injuring the conn officer. Counselor Troi took the conn officer's place and brought the Enterprise out of orbit.

While the Bird-of-Prey continued its onslaught on the Enterprise, Commander Riker asked recently-promoted Lieutenant Commander Worf about the ship and its weaknesses. Worf pointed out that the ship was a D12-class Bird-of-Prey, which had been retired from service due to defective plasma coils. He did not see how the defect could be used to their advantage, but the coils formed part of the ship's cloaking device. Data informed Riker that if a low-level ionic pulse were to be targeted at the Bird-of-Prey's plasma coils it would reset the coil and engage the cloaking device. While the cloak engaged, the shields would drop, leaving the ship vulnerable for just a few seconds. While the Enterprise was still sustaining damage from the Klingon ship, Data began work on the pulse and eventually initiated it. Savoring almost imminent victory, the Klingons targeted the bridge of the Enterprise. Instead, their shields dropped and their cloak began to engage, at which time the Enterprise fired a single torpedo that hit home on the Bird-of-Prey, completely destroying it.

The footage of the exploding Bird-of-Prey was reused from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

Destruction of the Enterprise

USS Enterprise-D, warp core breach

The secondary hull of the Enterprise is destroyed in a warp core breach

Although the Enterprise had destroyed the Klingon ship, they were far from trouble-free. The magnetic interlocks were ruptured, and moments before efforts were made to repair them, a coolant leak began. The Enterprise was just five minutes from a warp core breach and nothing could be done to stop it. Faced with a no-win situation, Riker ordered the evacuation of the crew from the secondary hull to the saucer section and once the evacuation was complete, the saucer was to separate and get to a safe distance before the engineering hull was destroyed by the core breach. La Forge led the evacuation and completed it with less than a minute to spare. The saucer separation occurred and the saucer's impulse engines were engaged as soon as it cleared the secondary hull, but the warp core exploded sooner than expected, destroying the secondary hull and producing a massive shock wave that disabled the helm controls and propelled the saucer into a low orbit of Veridian III.

USS Enterprise-D saucer crash

The saucer section of the Enterprise grinds to a halt on Veridian III

The saucer continued to hurtle towards the surface of the planet, but Data had managed to reroute the auxiliary systems to the lateral thrusters, which leveled their descent. Riker called for all hands to brace for impact and the saucer crash-landed on the planet's surface, leaving a trail many kilometers long in its wake. The Enterprise's casualties were light but, unfortunately, due to the severe damage sustained by the primary hull, it was not salvageable and the Enterprise was declared destroyed. The ship's crew was rescued by a team of three vessels led by the USS Farragut.

A cut scene from Star Trek Generations established that rescue efforts led by Doctor Crusher following the crash lasted several days.

Aftermath

The deaths of Lursa and B'Etor reduced the House of Duras to just one effective member, Toral, who would later attempt to gain control of the Klingon Empire by claiming the Sword of Kahless. (DS9: "The Sword of Kahless") Commander Riker was disappointed that he never got the opportunity to command the Enterprise officially and Worf considered resigning from Starfleet following the loss of the ship that he held so dear. Following the loss of the Federation flagship, Starfleet began construction of the newly-designed and developed Sovereign-class starship. By stardate 49827.5, the Sovereign-class USS Enterprise-E was launched, with Captain Picard reprising his role as CO and selecting most of the former crew from the Enterprise-D, with the notable exception of Worf, who had been reassigned to Deep Space 9 earlier in the year. Station commander Captain Benjamin Sisko expressed regret on the loss of the Enterprise, claiming "it was a good ship." (Star Trek: First Contact; DS9: "The Way of the Warrior")

References

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