Bridge, Norris

        The bridge tension ratcheted back up when Giles announced what looked like a plasmatic pulsar device forming directly in their arc! The addition of another drone rack in the overlapping arc facing them was nearly ignored, as the ship began to shudder under the energy lash. The G-rack firing in ADD mode was taking out the well-spaced drones, the captain was saving the phaser firepower towards better power efficiency as the Norris continued to close on her target. Harris had declined to use their available reserve power as reinforcement against the PPD, especially since with the computers so sluggish, he wasn't even sure that the command wouldn't be wasted. When that weapon discharge faded out of existence, so had more than half of Norris's front shield, as well as some front flank splashes, and Giles began to reconsider which ship might give out in an attrition match first. There was still a single drone closing on the Norris, and Giles had checked on the scatter-pack's progress. At current timing, it would release in three more cycles.
        He shook his head. This was one of the oddest battles he'd ever experienced, with a pace that had slowed considerably. Each side knew where the other was going to be and go, Igneous quite inexplicably. More like checkers than a chess game; he was much more used to the high-speed engagements normal on the Romulan front. He returned his full attention to his captain as Harris straightened in his seat.
        "All right, this will be a critical pass. We're about to pass beyond the range of Xanadu's ECCM, so begin level 1 ourselves. Maintain warp two. I want to end this cycle in the slot between Igneous's number one and number two arcs. Reinforce shield number two with all leftover power. Once we reach the designated position at 40 thousand kilometers, be ready for full stop and reverse course at warp one. I want to keep our relative positions to each other and begin blowing this thing to scrap in a place where it will only have two facing weapons, and whatever drones it makes, able to hit us. Giles, what is it imitating now?"
        Bending over the sensors, the XO began again to interpret the data as familiar patterns began to emerge. His fascination with how the Igneous could reconfigure all its weapons at will nearly distracted him, but his focus held. "Front arcs showing two drone racks and a phaser-1. I think it's forming a plasma-F torpedo launcher in the side arc, and . . . it's incredible! That's got to be an Andromedan tractor repulsor on the opposite side? This thing has been around, to have patterns for such wildly varying armaments."
        Captain Harris reacted instantly. "ADD crews, stay sharp! Phasers ready to pick off anything they miss; there will be a lot of incoming drones soon! But a predictable foe, even if strong, gives us a chance."
With outstanding marksmanship, the ADDs fired from the G-racks began annihilating the incoming hyperfast missiles.
        "Running low on anti-drone ammunition, Sir!" came the call from the weapons officer.
        "Acknowledged. Prepare full alpha strike when we reach 40 thousand kilometers, Guns." Somehow knowing where the Norris would strike, Igneous fired its facing phaser-1 as the police frigate finally opened fire with six phaser-1s and two fully overloaded photon torpedoes, both of which impacted solidly on the enemy.
        Harris clenched an excited fist. "Excellent shooting!"
        Giles quickly delivered more good news. "Damage sufficient to have destroyed the drone rack weapons apparatus on the number one arc, Captain." The bridge crew's spirits soared.
        Harris was quietly exultant. In this position, they would only have to face one weapons arc, plus whatever seeking weapons were created. "Recharge photons and phasers, refill the batteries if you can find the power. Be ready to dump those batteries into a photon if we get hit hard, Guns. Ready tractors." He was struck by a thought, and beckoned Giles over to his chair. "I know Iggy is too slow to set off mines, but can you position a transporter bomb in such a way that its own fast drones will set it off and damage the station as well? You know we're going to lose the number two shield sometime soon; we might as well take advantage of it if we can."
        Giles looked thoughtful for a moment, then nodded. "Can do, Sir!"
        "Execute, Commander," replied the grinning captain.
        The next cycle continued the good fortune of the Norris, as only a phaser-1 came to life in firing arc. Even that relatively minor weapon reduced the number two shield to dangerously low levels, though, as the power demands of rearming overloaded torpedoes reduced the Norris's ability to reinforce her shields. When Giles mentioned a worry about their steadily dropping shield levels, Harris irritably waved him off. "I know, but we just don't have the power to overload, keep up EW, hold the weasel, and still reinforce. It's going to get bloody, but if we go down, Xanadu is next, so we just won't go down."
        Giles wished he could share his captain's fire and optimism.