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Enterprise1981 August 14 2011 10:20 PM

Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Historian’s Note: The main events of this story take place shortly after “The Siege of AR-558” (DS9) and are a continuation of "True Lies".

And now the conclusion...


PROLOGUE

If I could do it over again, I would have gone to look for my son after hearing of the attack on Tevlik’s moonbase. Instead, I put the Maquis ahead of my own child. By some misguided need to avenge those thousands slaughtered mercilessly by the Dominion. I abandoned him. I convinced myself that my highest priority was to consolidate what was left of the Maquis and escape to safety. Even if I do find him alive and I bring him home safe and sound, will he ever forgive me? I know I will never forgive myself no matter the outcome for having ignored a basic maternal instinct.

Not that I should expect a happy ending. I’ve had so few of them in my life. For all I know, the rest of my team is dead. How foolish of me to think I could sneak aboard a space station so deep behind enemy lines and free my son from the clutches of Crell Moset. All I’ve done now is to doom Yanith, myself and six others who accompanied me on this fool’s errand.


Those were the thoughts of Limis Vircona as she was sprawled across the deck in a corridor of Sentok Nor barely conscious. On a mission for Starfleet Intelligence to the Cardassian space station orbiting the Dominion-occupied Betazed, Section 31 had arranged to have one of their Cardassian informants bring her there. She was also acting on a hunch that her son was being held there. But that backstabber Thalek must have sold out her and her team. The Starfleet Marines who accompanied her were ambushed almost immediately. She quickly lost contact with the other recon teams and the other members of her team were captured and being tortured for information.

The biggest challenge at this moment was making sure not to actually losing consciousness while hoping to incapacitate a passing guard. She took a piece of shrapnel to the back of her head—a small piece, but one that hit her hard. Her mind was flashing back and forth her actual surroundings and an old style hospital room with two human male doctors standing at the foot of her bed. One was an older looking man whose golden blond hair was slowly going gray. His voice sounded eerily similar to that of Crell Moset, the Cardassian scientist infamous for performing experiments on living people while he was stationed on Bajor. The other man, who had thick dark hair and large nose and spoke with a very acerbic tone, she did not recognize. Maybe he was also a Cardassian in reality. Both of them were dressed in lab coats over more formal outfits and reviewing notes written on antiquated pads of paper.

“Her genetic profile is almost an exact match to our other subject,” the human Moset look-alike said.

“Good,” the other male human replied. “Put her with the other subject. She’ll be happy to know her child is still alive in spite of what she was told. In the meantime, prepare the next series of tests.”

The setting flashed back to the corridor of Sentok Nor. Two Cardassians were slowly approaching. In the hospital room, she was seeing two orderlies walking towards her. “You should sedate her first,” the human Moset suggested to the two orderlies.

One of the Cardassians kneeled down towards her while running a scanning device over her seemingly unconscious form while the other was still standing upright, pointing his rifle at her.

In an instant, her eyes blinked open, wrapping one leg behind the leg of the guard hovering over her knocking his legs out from under himself. She ducked out of the way of the other Cardassian’s phaser fire and then stunned the first guard with her neural truncheon. The second guard was giving her no time to grab the first guard’s sidearm, and she bolted down the corridor.

The guard continued firing as Limis turned at an adjoining hallway. The guard ceased firing and quickly gave chase; taking notice of a door he heard slide open. He slowly stepped in the adjoining hallway to see two open doors on both sides. Which room had she entered, he wondered. He slowly walked towards the door on the right, keeping a close eye out for anyone in the vacant, unfurnished crew quarters. So far, no one was inside.

From the side of the corridor opposite the room the guard entered, Limis tiptoed through the door and jammed a knife in the back of the Cardassian’s neck. The guard swung around and hit her with the butt of his rifle. She gathered herself delivering a right hook to his jaw. During all that, the guard slowly collapsed having choked to death.

With barely an extra moment to spare, Limis grabbed the guard’s rifle from his hands and the disruptor pistol in his holster. For all she knew, all her colleagues who accompanied her were dead or captured. The mission to destroy Sentok Nor from within had failed. But as long she was on this station, she would try to free her son from Moset, or die trying.


Enterprise1981 August 16 2011 08:32 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter One

A swarm of a dozen Klingon Birds-of-Prey uncloaked in front of a wing of three Galor-class Cardassian cruisers patrolling the outer planets of the Beta Veldona system, firing their disruptors at the larger enemy vessels. As the Klingon ships quickly moved past their targets, the Cardassian ships swung around and opened fire. Each of the three cruisers took out a single Bird.

The nine ships left standing were soon nose-to-nose with wings of Jem’Hadar fighters. With a barrage of disruptors, the Jem’Hadar hit the Klingons hard, tearing off the wings of two of the Birds. Nearly crippled, both of those two rammed a Jem’Hadar ship, incinerating the attacker and the target. The rest of the Klingon ships continued firing at the Jem’Hadar while moving off to starboard. As expected, the Jem’Hadar fighters gave chase drawing off their regular patrol route.

***

Elsewhere in the Beta Veldona system, three Galaxy-class Starfleet vessels were nose-to-nose with five large Dominion heavy cruisers firing swarms of phasers and quantum torpedoes. The enemy cruisers fired swarms of plasma torpedoes inflicting considerable damage to the Starfleet ships’ secondary hulls.

Flanking the larger vessels on both sides were smaller ships—refitted Miranda-class and fighter shuttles along with Akira, Steamrunner, and Saber class Federation ships against Jem’Hadar and Cardassian attack fighters. These smaller vessels faced off against each other firing phasers back and forth. A few of the Mirandas and Akiras along the outer formation moved in on the heavy cruiser, firing quantum torpedoes at the apparent weaknesses in the shields and the hull, and then moved off. The heavy cruisers, with their more than ten torpedo launchers managed to incinerate a great number of those attacking ships as if they were no distraction to taking on the Galaxy-class ships.

Those three ships continued putting up a valiant struggle against ships twice their size with triple their individual armaments. In the end, the Dominion heavy cruisers were able to take out the two flanking Galaxy-classes. The one left standing swerved past two of the heavy cruiser, blowing apart one of them with aft quantum torpedoes. A swarm of a dozen of the smaller Starfleet warships brought up the rear, taking out a second heavy cruiser with what was left of their armaments before moving deeper into the system.

###

Gul Tajor entered the office of Supreme Gul Lemec on Sentok Nor. Kelnor, the senior gul’s Vorta counterpart stood behind desk conferring on the latest incursion. Tajor exchanged a contemptuous stare with the Vorta before he handed the commander of the Cardassian forces stationed in the Beta Veldona system a padd containing the latest battle updates. “We’ve managed to repel the latest attacks along the outer reaches of the system,” Tajor explained to his superior. “Several enemy vessels got away; we have patrol ships in pursuit of them. They will not get far.”

“See that any and all intruding ships are destroyed,” Lemec replied with a stern gaze. “You’re dismissed, Tajor.”

Tajor nodded to Lemec, and then to the Vorta Kelnor, who had been eyeing him suspiciously, before exiting the office. He usually did not take it personally since the Vorta remained ever vigilant of all Guls during the war. In this instance, however, it was as if Kelnor suspected him of having betrayed the Dominion to the Federation Alliance even though he had no cause for such suspicion.

“They must know that they would need at least three of their fleets in order to break our hold on Betazed,” Kelnor suggested once Tajor was gone. “Yet they continue to try with far fewer ships.”

“It’s consistent with what humans would call a ‘cavalry raid’,” Lemec replied, continuing to look away from his Vorta counterpart.

“They will have to launch a more concentrated offensive sooner or later, knowing of our ability to threaten Federation core systems. The capture of our communications array at AR-558 should give them ample opportunity.”

Lemec tapped a computer interface to call up a holographic display of the latest ship activities. “These last two attacks have drawn a number of squadrons off of their regular patrol routes,” he said, noting a Cardassian Union insignia and a Dominion insignia. “We are prepared to intercept any ships trying to break through the holes the enemy has opened. And I have dispatched additional ships to the Moreska and Zhamur systems to stage our own ‘cavalry raids’.”

“Very good,” Kelnor sarcastically replied, rounding the desk to face Lemec. “And what of the Starfleet intruders your security teams captured?”

“Neither of them is speaking,” Lemec ruefully answered. “But we have ways of making them reveal their plans, disclose the location of the Bajoran who was with them, and identify any other accomplices.”

“So you say,” Kelnor said with a skeptical chuckle. “Do what you must to contain this security breach. Otherwise, I may need to reevaluate this station’s command structure.”

The Vorta marched out of the office while Lemec stared pensively in his direction. As a commander in the Cardassian military, he knew of the necessity of being able to trust those under his command. That was one redeeming quality of the Jem’Hadar, he also mused, even if they were genetically engineered to fight and die for their Founders. The Vorta, on the other hand, trusted no one other than the Founders.

Still, Lemec remained deeply motivated to contain any threats to the Dominion’s hold on the Beta Veldona system.

###

Some time later, Lemec entered an area of the station’s infirmary designated for the torture of prisoners via a back door. Manuel Amaros and Goris misch Rev were both hanging from the ceiling, their clothes torn and tattered in various places and covered in soot and ash resulting from explosions and weapon fire. A young male technician was organizing an instrument tray consisting of portable electrocution devices, empty hyposprays, and vials of various truth serums and other psychotropic drugs. Both prisoners had been extremely groggy after hours of torture at the hands of their capture. Lemec had been informed that the last does of drugs had worn off, but the two prisoners were still drifting in and out consciousness.

He removed one of the rectangular electrocution devices from the table and jammed against the right side of M’Rev’s chest. The Tellarite convulsed painfully until Lemec yanked the device back and threw clumsily back on the instrument tray. M’Rev was now fully conscious and shooting a hate-filled glare into Lemec’s eyes. “There, that’s better,” the Cardassian said, squeezing the Tellarite’s mouth and chin. “I’m told stimulating that particular nerve cluster in a Tellarite’s cardiac region can briefly awaken even the most comatose of your species. But since the first regiment of ours should have worn off by now, let’s talk, shall we?”

“I have nothing to say to you, spoonhead,” M’Rev hissed. “And for a race that values rigid conformity and order, one would think your breath wouldn’t smell so bad.”

“Yes, we do value personal hygiene,” Lemec replied. “But we can still emit odors offensive to most species, even those who do not possess an acute a sense of smell as we do. And since you Tellarites thrive on insult and argument, let me say you also emit a countless number of offensive odors.”

M’Rev’s only reply was to roll his eyes and sneer in the arrogant Cardassian’s direction.

Lemec gave a taunting smile while wondering what M’Rev was accomplishing with his silence. He remained confident that sooner or later, he would force one of the prisoners to talk. He then sauntered over to Amaros, patting the human’s left cheek in order to coax him awake. Amaros’s eyes opened with a glare of contempt directed at Lemec.

“You look very familiar,” Lemec said with a wry grin. “Have we met before?”

“You tell me,” Manuel quipped. “Don’t you spoonheads boast having photographic memories?”

“Not always as ‘photographic’ as you may think. But you have information I need. How many others are part of your Starfleet strike team?”

“Dozens. You won’t be able to find all of them before they blow this place to bits.”

“That is quite impossible. We would know of any uninvited guests on this station.”

“The two of us slipped aboard, didn’t we?” Amaros sneered with a light chuckle.

“Courtesy of your friend, Thalek,” Lemec said triumphantly.

M’Rev’s eyes widened at the mention of the Cardassian who had been smuggling operatives of Section 31 aboard Sentok Nor since the station became operational. He glared at Lemec wondering whether the Gul was saying that Thalek had been detained and swiftly broken. Not likely since Thalek was a former agent of the Obsidian Order who did not easily succumb to torture. That left only possibility that Thalek had betrayed them. Lemec’s facial expressions and body language gave no clues as to which alternative was correct. M’Rev then scowled at Amaros, furious at his former Maquis colleague, a trained Section 31 operative, for having trusted a Cardassian so easily. He just breathed slowly, not wanting to give anything away to his opponent in this battle of wills.

“Now,” Lemec continued, directing his gaze back at M’Rev. “Where is the Bajoran woman? And where can we find the other four who were part of your aborted assault.”

“Sorry,” M’Rev replied snidely, giving away in his angry stare. “Doesn’t ring a bell.”

Lemec looked to the medical technician requesting another dose of truth serum. The technician filled two hyposprays and handed one to Lemec.

“We’ll soon know if you are telling the truth or not,” Lemec warned, injecting the serum into the center of the Tellarite’s chest.

###

Crell Moset entered the main living area of his quarters after a long day of work. He threw a padd down on the desk and turned on the flat screened monitor to check his messages for that day. He had only received two, both of which were from colleagues at the University of Culat on Cardassia Prime, from where he was on sabbatical. He entered a few commands on the desk’s user interface, setting those messages aside to easily access at a later time. “Begin daily log,” he then ordered the computer.

The computer chirped starting an audio recording.

“Permanent documentation file,” he dictated. “We have determined that the subject is, in fact, a direct descendant of Bajor’s first Kai ten millennia ago based on the genetic samples procured by Cardassian military personnel during the occupation of that planet. Various artifacts and historical texts of that time period also indicate that the spiritual leader of Bajor had been in constant communion with the entities residing in the Bajoran wormhole, also known as the Prophets of the Celestial Temple in Bajoran theology. We will move on to determining how the subject’s genetic code can be harnessed to manipulate the beings believed responsible for the disappearance of two thousand, eight hundred Dominion vessels last year.”

During his dictation, Moset thought he could hear footsteps in the adjacent bedroom, and he twice looked towards the door wondering if that was truly the case. He thought on a few occasions while recording the log that someone else’s shadow was creeping up on the wall in front of him. Before he could continue speaking he felt the butt of Starfleet phaser on the back of his neck.

Limis had been waiting in his quarters for him, pointing a phaser at him with the right hand and holding the lapel of his shirt with the left. “Make a sound,” she hissed, “and I blow your head off.”

Showing no visible signs of fearing for his life, Moset pushed a control pausing the audio recording.

Enterprise1981 September 4 2011 10:36 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Two

If I could do it over again, I would have tried harder to save those people in that burning building. I had to have at least tried harder. The Cardies were massacring the whole settlement on Setlik Three without a single care as to whether their targets were military or civilian. Even those kids being escorted to safety with me were slaughtered. Those Cardassians put those people in that kind of peril, not me. But, by God, I found them by accident, and it was still my responsibility to try to save them. Instead, I was too overly concerned with my saving my own life. I gave in to the most primal of human fears.


But why am I beating myself up over this thirty years later? I was just a kid nowhere near as courageous the man I am now. I’ve faced death countless times since Setlik Three. But it might have set a pattern in motion that has manifested itself throughout my service in Starfleet. I aced the psych-test when I applied to the Academy, having been in the position to order one of my subordinates to his death. It made my cowardice on Setlik seem like a distant memory. I was given no warning that what I was about to face wasn’t for real. Still, I did what I thought was necessary to accomplish the mission. That was only one person who “died” during that unannounced exam. At Coridan, though, my people were dropping like flies. Fifteen hundred miners trapped below ground. We had a duty to try to save them. But not one of them made it out alive. None of us would have made it out alive either. I should have tried harder,
damn it!

I guess I never truly overcame such a fear. That much became clear after my own carelessness got Major Davis killed. I couldn’t bear to live with myself should Neeley meet her demise the same way even if our personal relationship is only friends with benefits. As third-in-command, I could potentially have to make those choices on a larger scale. As we get closer to Zhamur, I know the Jemmies will make us fight hard for every cubic millimeter of the system. I can’t second-guess myself now. I have to face each situation as it occurs and focus on the mission at hand. As much as I want all of the troops under my command to come back alive, I know that’s not realistic. Knowing that in the hypothetical sense is one thing. Putting it into practice never gets easy. I should keep reminding myself of what the captain told me after the Coridan incident; that Bajor would not have defeated the Cardassians settling for twenty percent casualties.

***

“Mister Morrison,” he heard a voice call to him. “Fire!”

Mandel Morrison was brought back to reality—the battle scarred bridge of the USS Lambda Paz. His thoughts had briefly gone back to the Setlik Three Massacre, as well as his decision to scrap a rescue mission Coridan, and the death of a fellow officer that haunted him for nearly a year. And now, the Seventh Fleet was battling the Jem’Hadar in close quarters just outside the Zhamur system. Once again, he was in a very dangerous life and death situation. The enemy had already destroyed fifteen small fighters and nearly a dozen Akira and Steamrunner-class destroyers. A number of dead and unconscious bodies were sprawled across the deck throughout the bridge. What Mandel was responsible for now was assuring that lives could be saved by defeating the relentless Jemmies in this particular battle.

“Aye, sir,” Morrison stammered. “Quantum torpedoes targeted. Dispersal pattern tango.”

A swarm of torpedoes erupted from the ship’s dorsal sensor pod and spread across a formation of three attacking Jem’Hadar fighters. All three of the ships absorbed most of the hits, while a few torpedoes slipped through the shields tearing into their hulls. The fighters continued firing disruptors at the Lambda Paz and surrounding Akiras and Klingon Birds-of-Prey. The Starfleet and Klingon ships responded with phaser and disruptor fire. The Lambda Paz then broke formation while the surrounding ships spread out to confront Jem’Hadar fighters in squads of three and four head-on.

The Lambda Paz entered a formation with four other Luna-class ships, along with half a dozen Akira and Defiant-class ships along the outer formation to confront a large Dominion heavy-cruiser.

“How close, sir?” Sara Carson asked, keeping a firm grasp on the helm.

“Right up his throat,” said Commander Ronnie Kozar, the acting captain in Limis’s absence. He then exchanged approving glances with his acting first officer, Commander Chaz Logan.

“Morrison, ready all weapons,” Logan added. “Fire on the captain’s command.”

“Weapons lock calibrated,” Morrison said calmly. “Ready to fire, sir.” He looked in Carson’s direction while she kept her glance on her station. They had been separated for almost a year, but he still deeply cared for her as much as his current significant other. And while he and Lisa Neeley were having nothing than a physically intimate relationship without romantic love, her welfare, as well as Sara’s was of greater concern to him than the welfare of any other fellow officer’s.

Kozar gave a firm at the tactical display on the console to the right of his chair to coordinate with the other ships in the formation. “Now,” he snapped. “Fire all weapons. Helm, move us off!”

The tactical and helm officers on all ships in formation carried their orders with clockwork precision. The ships fired swarms of phasers and quantum torpedoes at the heavy cruiser at close range while quickly veering off.

“Moderate damage to forward sections,” Morrison reported as the bridge continued rocking from enemy weapons fire.

“Keep pouring it on,” Kozar insisted. “These ships are as resilient as Borg cubes. We don’t want to let up.”

“Shields are buckling, sir!” Willis Huckaby shouted over the myriad of explosions and shaking throughout the bridge.

Carson dodged an eruption of sparks at her station, as well as shrapnel that came her way from the port engineering station. The human male officer at that station wasn’t so lucky, falling hard to the deck. Morrison glanced over in that direction with a brief feeling of guilt that he was more concerned for Sara than the ensign who may have just perished. He also felt thankful that he was not giving the orders to keep firing despite the condition of his ship.

The Lambda Paz and the surrounding ships moved in for another pass with continuous bursts of phaser fire in order to at least inflict minimal damage to the heavy cruiser. The heavy cruiser was just as relentless in firing its plasma torpedoes destroying two Akiras and two Defiants.

Morrison’s hands danced around the console, continuing to fire the ship’s phasers and coordinating various sensor readings with the other ships’ tactical officers. The bridge rocked hard and an officer at the starboard mission ops station on Morrison’s right fell to the deck. He smacked his console in frustration when one of his commands failed to compute. He looked in Sara’s direction again while attempting a manual recalibration.

“I see a weakness in their structural integrity,” Logan remarked from the mission ops station previously occupied by one of the incapacitated officers.

“Got it,” Kozar replied inputting commands on his panel. “All other ships, target all weapons on the following the coordinates.”

The Lambda Paz and the remaining Starfleet ships in the formation were joined by three Negh’Var-class Klingon attack cruisers to port and three D’deridex-class Romulan warbirds to starboard. All the ships confronting the Dominion heavy cruiser fired continuous swarms of phasers and torpedoes, not stopping until the large ship was completely destroyed.

###

Shinar sh’Aqba and her four-person engineering team materialized in the transporter room of a Klingon Bird-of-Prey. Commander Karlek promptly arrived in the chamber to greet the Andorian chief engineer of the Lambda Paz and the rest of her group, which consisted of a human male, a Tiburon male, and a Ktarian female. With much of the Klingon vessel’s engineering staff either dead or in the medical ward, officers from other Starfleet and Klingon ships came aboard to offer assistance during even brief lulls in combat.

“At last,” said Karlek, giving sh’Aqba a firm pat on her left shoulder. Then to the other Starfleet engineers, he added, “My engineering staff… rather what’s left of it… will guide you to the areas of the ship most in need of repairs.”

Three other officers followed Karlek and escorted the three ensigns off the transporter pad. One of them greeted the Tiburon male with a friendly arm around the shoulder, to which did not entirely take kindly. “Come join us,” another Klingon growled to the human male.

“Yes,” the third Klingon added, addressing the Ktarian. “Help fix our vessel so it can fight again.”

Sh’Aqba could tell that the rest of her team was not exactly thrilled by the high level of enthusiasm from the Klingon officers considering the damage the vessel had taken. They would certainly welcome any assistance if their ship rendered derelict, but they probably would not be in that kind of mood. It was a trait that sh’Aqba about Klingons. A positive attitude despite heavy losses at least demonstrated that the warriors aboard the vessel were willing to continue to fight. Many of the greatest Andorian warriors from the pre-Federation Imperial Guard were just as mentally resilient.

“And how goes the battle on your ship, Lieutenant sh’Aqba?” Karlek jovially asked, putting his arm around the Andorian woman’s shoulder as walked through a corridor, weaving through Starfleet and Klingon medical personnel carrying corpses on gurneys.

“Our warp drive was badly hit,” sh’Aqba answered with the same air of optimism. “But I trust my assistant not to make it worse,” she added in reference to Erhlich Tarlazzi and his rather care-free, make-it-up-as-he-goes attitude.
Karlek laughed raucously with a nudge of sh’Aqba’s shoulder. “I have nothing but the utmost confidence in your gallant engineering crew,” he said.

“And I in yours, Commander,” sh’Aqba said. “I cannot stay long, though. I’m only here to give an assessment of your repair needs and delegate reassignment of personnel.”

“I am appreciative of any assistance you can provide, so every vessel that is still intact and every able-bodied warrior can destroy the enemy or die honorably in the field of battle. Do you not agree?”

Chech chew jaj-Vam jaj-kak!” sh’Aqba said, echoing the Klingon slogan, “Today is a good day to die.”

###

Back on the Lambda Paz, Rebecca Sullivan was supervising the work of a skeleton crew in engineering. Many of the department’s personnel were either helping to repair ships with far worse damage or conducting repairs in other sections of the Lambda Paz. While reviewing a repair schedule on a padd with a human male petty officer, Rebecca saw Sara enter the engineering section through the main entrance. She gave the lieutenant a light nod and turned back to reading the padd and highlighting various items on the readout screen with a stylus. “Make replacing the graviton stabilizers in those sections your priority,” she instructed the engineer as she handed him the padd and stylus. “The crews repairing the field stabilizers won’t do such a good job if the gravity keeps fluctuating.”

“Yes, ma’am,” the enlisted man replied.

“Rebecca, we have a problem over here,” another human male called to her, while working on the dilithium articulation frame.

Rebecca raised her forefinger in Sara’s direction to indicate she would be with her in a few moments while walking over to the warp core. The ensign handed her two small dilithium crystals that had been cracked in many different places. “They still came out that way even after recrystallization process,” he explained.

“Oh, yeah, they’re shot,” Rebecca affirmed holding one crystal in each hand. “Try to make as much use out of the good ones as possible. Meanwhile, I’ll see if Lieutenant Tarlazzi can lend a hand.” She then handed the crystals back to the ensign and quickly attended to Sara.

“Did he just call you by your first name?” Sara asked.

“Maybe you should report him and me to your ex-boyfriend,” Rebecca quipped. “For someone with messy quarters, you’re sure a stickler for protocol. Let me guess, the helm command processors are acting up again?”

“That and the thruster controls,” Sara replied. “I’d work on it myself, but my crews are too busy with the deflector.”

“Don’t worry, Sara. I’ll get on it myself as soon as I can be spared.”

Sara’s eyes widened at hearing a subordinate officer address her by first name while on duty, but she chose to ignore it, meaning one less interaction with said ex-boyfriend.

“Sullivan to Tarlazzi,” Rebecca said, tapping combadge. “Get your ass back down the engineering, Lieutenant.”

“That’s no way to speak to a superior officer, Ensign,” Tarlazzi half-jokingly replied.

“Nevertheless, we need our dilithium maintenance specialist in here, which is you.”

“All right, Becca. When you put it that way…”

Sara slowly headed for the exit, thinking that Commander Kozar would not respond to such rudeness with the same lenience. But she couldn’t help but envy Rebecca’s rather cavalier attitude towards these relatively trivial infractions.

###

Crell Moset sat in a chair with his hands behind his back, his wrists tied together. Limis was now in the process of bounding his ankles together. Once she was certain the knots were secure on both sets of rope, she seated herself on the sofa. She removed her phaser from its holster and pointed in Moset’s direction, close enough for him to see that it was set to kill—not high enough to vaporize him, but enough to blow his head off as she had threatened.

“Any setting above level eight will set off the security alarms,” Moset taunted with a cheerful grin.

“Do you think I’d be foolish enough not to disable them?” Limis rhetorically asked with a cold stare.

“Of course not. You knew to disable the primary and the secondary sensor nets before I got here. But Cardassian computer systems are so unpredictable. You might have tripped a dozen silent alarms already.”

“I guess I’ll have to take that chance,” Limis fired back with a sly grin. “Still, I feel honored right now. A descendant of Bajor’s first kai. I had never considered that.”

“How highly someone who doesn’t even believe the entities inside the Wormhole are gods thinks of herself. How do you know it’s not the boy’s father who is descended from ‘the first person touched by the Prophets when they first revealed themselves?’” Moset then let out a snicker wondering if that would provoke a response.

Limis just rolled her eyes, making sure to keep the phaser trained on Moset. “And just how is using my kid’s genes going to reopen the Wormhole to Dominion reinforcements?” she asked, standing up and pointing the tip of her phaser straight at Moset’s forehead.”

“It’s complicated,” Moset plainly stated. “My expertise is in the exobiology portion of the field tests. I don’t think I can explain the rest of it to you.”

“Try me, sir,” Limis hissed poking the phaser against Moset’s left forehead ridge. She did not for one minute buy his attempt to evade this line of questioning. “Surely, you know something before you went all mad scientist on my boy.”

“You portray me as some kind of witch doctor, Limis. I cured a rampant outbreak of the Fostossa virus on Bajor.”

“Using live suspects!”

“Yes, many died in those experiments, but I saved a lot more lives because of my work.”

“And you expect me to give you a goddamn metal for that?” Limis snarled, squeezing Moset’s neck. She then slammed him against the back of the chair.

“Now let’s be honest with each other, Limis. You sacrificed a few of your countrymen for the benefit of the entire Bajoran populace.”

“I didn’t subject them to the kind of torture you did. But we’re not talking about me. As of now, your little ‘witch doctor’ experiments are over. You will release my son. Then you will surrender yourself to me as a prisoner of war.”
Moset let out a long, sustained snicker “And how do you expect to get off and safely back to Federation space?” he asked completely beside himself. “The rest of your strike team is either dead or captured. Station security is after you. You are on your own against the entire Betazed occupational army.”

“We expected Thalek to sell us out. That’s why we have reinforcements on the way. And that’s no bluff.”
It was a bluff. But it was the best bluff she could come up with in order to assure Moset’s cooperation.
As if on cue, the doorbell chimed. “Doctor Moset,” a masculine voice called on the other side of the door. “Are you all right in there?”

“Answer it,” Limis whispered, untying her hostage. “Say you were fast asleep. And don’t try anything because I’m the one holding the gun.”

“Be right there,” Moset shouted towards the door after the third chime.

Once the door slid open, a Cardassian officer stepped inside while a Jem’Hadar guard remained in the corridor. “Is everything all right here, Doctor?” the Cardassian asked, taking guarded looks around the cabin. “You weren’t answering your comm. And we were told one of the intruders would come after you.”

One of the intruders, Limis silently repeated to herself while concealed underneath a cloth-covered table. Then maybe some of the others can still carry out the original mission to destroy the station from the inside.

“No one else has been here,” Moset replied shaking his head. “I was fast asleep. Long day, you day. Must not have heard anyone’s pages.” He then looked around the main living area to see if Limis was in any position to carry out her threat. “Oh, but the Bajoran is here by the way,” he said in a hushed tone.

The guard walked further into the room and gestured for his Jem’Hadar colleague to come in as well. The Cardassian tiptoed over to the table under which Limis was hiding. Before he had a chance to raise the cloth, the table flew off the floor and knocked him over. The Jem’Hadar raised his rifle and fired three plasma bolts, all of which missed with Limis rolling towards the sofa. She threw off the cloth, aimed her weapon, and fired a lethal blast at the Jem’Hadar’s chest.

The Cardassian composed himself and grabbed Limis by her uniform collar lifting her on her feet. During this commotion, Moset walked over to the desk and loaded a hypospray. Before he could get near her to administer the sedative, Limis poked the guard’s right thigh with her neural truncheon, loosening his grip. She then grabbed the dead Jem’Hadar’s disruptor pistol and fired killing the Cardassian guard.

“I’ll need this place re-carpeted,” Moset said of the burns left behind by the Jem’Hadar’s weapons fire.

Limis fired her disruptor four times at the ceiling sending down a grate to the air vent above. “Shut up and get inside,” she instructed. “I have a more lethal gun this time, so don’t try anything foolish.”

Moset obligingly stepped onto the chair and climbed up into the air vent. Limis then climbed onto the chair and followed her hostage into the air vent.

Enterprise1981 September 9 2011 10:18 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Three

Manny Morrison sat on the floor, huddled up against the wall. He swore he could here explosions and the anguished cries of soldiers being hit by enemy weapon’s fire. One of the Starfleet Marines insisted that it was in his imagination since he was now on a Starfleet frigate in orbit of the planet, far away from all the combat. Even so, after all that the boy had experienced, watching the Cardassians massacre civilians, many of them children, those imagined sounds were all too real to him.

He was among five adolescent boys and girls who had been rescued by a team from the USS Rutledge and moved out of harm’s way. He and his peers were placed in one of the vacant crew quarters. Medics were tending to minor cuts and bruises. The room was cramped; each person in the cabin having barely enough room to move around. The two girls in the group were huddled together in the bottom bunk while a female medic attended to their wounds. One of the other boys had gone into shock and was curled up in a fetal position on the floor near Manny. Another female medic was covering him with blankets from the top bunk to keep him warm. The other boy was being escorted into the lavatory by the lone male medic as he began retching. The lavatory was not even a separate room, just an alcove in one corner of the cabin. How could the crewmembers on this ship live like that? Manny kept asking himself. At least the ship had separate bathing and showering facilities for the men and women, he overheard one person say, but that still afforded people very little privacy.

One of the Rutledge crewmembers, whom Manny recognized from the planet below, entered the cabin. He had a mane of long curly red hair tied up in a ponytail and was dressed in the red and beige jumpsuit of a Starfleet trainee. He was not that much older than Manny, but he seemed more emotionally disciplined even after having witnessed similarly traumatic events. Manny envied this young man who was but a few years older than him. If only he had been as fearless when he saw those women and children in that burning building.

The Starfleet crewman set down a carrying case on the floor and opened it, passing around field ration packs for the teenage survivors. “Starfleet field rations don’t offer much in the way of taste,” he told them, speaking in a very thick Irish accent that caught Manny’s attention. “but they meet most of the basic nutritional needs. I would imagine you all are awfully hungry after everything that happened down there.”

One of the girls nodded while the crewman handed two packs to her and her companion, whose face seemed locked in an expression fear.

“How are you holding up?” the crewman asked Manny while handing him a ration pack.

“I’m doing okay,” Manny said in hushed tone before biting into the food ration, which tasted almost like potting soil. The others also reacted in disgust, but they kept eating it, desperate for some kind of sustenance.

“I should have done more to help them,” Manny lamented. “But I was too afraid for my own life. Those poor kids are dead. I should have saved them.”

“You can’t blame yourself. The chances of saving them were slim. No one could have asked to put yourself on the line when you don’t having the training and the discipline we Starfleets have.”

“I want to learn,” Manny breathed, his eyes flowing with tears. “I owe it to those people I saw die.”

“Starfleet welcomes that kind of determination,” the crewman said with a wide smile. “Name’s O’Brien, Crewman third class. You can call me Miles, though. What’s your name?”

“Manny Morrison,” Manny replied as a lone tear escaped his eye.

“So, a fellow Irish lad, eh?” O’Brien retorted with a pat on Manny’s shoulder.

“Mister O’Brien,” came a voice on the comm. Manny recognized the slight southern American cadence as the voice of the Starfleet captain who came to his rescue on the planet. “Report to the transporter bay for away party duty."

“On my way, sir,” O’Brien said, tapping his combadge. “Good to meet you, Manny. Keep your spirits up, kid.”

Kid? Manny silently scoffed. He’s just a bit older than me, albeit far more fearless than I was down there.

***

As Mandel Morrison kept his attention on the tactical readouts on his station, he began recalling something Miles O’Brien had said about the horrors of war nearly twenty years after the two had crossed paths. By this time, Miles’s hair was a darker shade of red and cut a lot shorter than it was during his youth. His accent had faded somewhat during those years as well.

“We can hope we never get used to it,” Miles commented while he and Mandel reminisced over a pint of Irish lager. “Having to see suffering on that scale, I mean. You can’t help but feel empathy for the children, the mortally wounded, the untrained civilians suffering at the hands of butchers who don’t follow the same rules of war as we do. But at least people like you and I have the mental and emotional strength to put ourselves at risk and keep the innocent out of harm’s way.”

***

The USS Lambda Paz was tasked with protecting the mortally wounded from further harm during a lull in combat. Five Olympic-class hospital ships had to intercept the combat ships to move the dead and wounded off the field of battle. Because the standard medevac shuttles were filled to capacity and not fully equipped to deal with the casualties they were taking aboard, some of the hospital ships had to be present to assist in evacuations of the most critically wounded. As per protocol, each of the hospital ships were flanked by two Akiras even though the hospital ships were carrying full arsenals. That was what reminded Morrison that the Jem’Hadar did not hesitate to fire on hospital ships and medevac shuttles. The Jemmies and the Cardies deserved each other as far as he was concerned.

He took another look at his readout screen and saw another wave of Jem’Hadar ships headed towards the Seventh Fleet. By his calculations, the nearly fifty ships would be in weapons range in five minutes while the hospital ships nowhere close to moving out of the battle zone.

“USS Paracelsus,” said Morrison, while opening a communications channel to one of the hospital ships. “What is your status?”

“We’ll need at least five more minutes to bring aboard the wounded,” a feminine voice replied on the comm-line.

“Sir,” Willis Huckaby called from Ops. “I’m picking up another squadron of ships is on the outer reaches of our short-range sensors; traveling at Warp Two. Estimated time to intercept: three minutes, thirty-six seconds.”

Logan was assisting an officer at the port engineering station when he heard that report. “Tactical display on main viewer,” he ordered while heading for the command chairs.

Morrison inputted the data on his tactical display allowing the graphic readout to appear on the main viewscreen. Huckaby then inputted his data adding more blips to the display on the viewscreen. The graphic representations of ships that Morrison was monitoring filled the top right-hand portion of the main viewscreen. On a center right portion of the viewer were a dozen Cardassian and Dominion logos indicating the newest group of approaching vessels.

“Instruct the medevac shuttles to move out now,” Logan snapped. He then accessed the status of the five hospital ships on a control panel to the left of the first officer’s chair. “The Charcot and the Senva are ready to get underway. Clear them a path to our fallback position. Mister Huckaby, have Akira and Saber wings four through seven take up a position flanking the Pa’Trell, the Babinski, and the Paracelsus. They’re going to need to fight their way out of here. Captain to the bridge.”

***

Three Galor-class Cardassian destroyers lead the way out of an asteroid field with high levels of electromagnetic interference that impaired long-range sensors. Bringing up the rear was a combination of Jem’Hadar fighters, attack cruisers, and battleships, with Keldon and Hideki-class Cardassian cruisers along the outer reaches of the elliptical formation.

The Galors swerved in on the Lambda Paz and five other Lunas in a horizontal formation in the hope of making the enemy’s access to the evacuation ships more difficult. The Cardassian ships then spread further apart and fired disruptors at the Starfleet vessels. Those Luna-class ships targeted phasers at the port and starboard maneuvering jets while quantum torpedoes plowed through the hulls of the three attacking vessels. Two of the ships were heavily damaged, while the third broke through and fired on the two medical ships moving out. Those ships returned fire with phasers while trying to move out of weapons range. Fortunately, the Cardassian ship was focusing on the Akiras and Sabers up ahead. Three squads of three Jem’Hadar fighters moved in on the Lunas while the outlying attack cruisers and battle ships provided support with swarms of plasma torpedoes. The three Lunas at the center of the formation took on those three sets of fighters while the two on the outer formation moved off to lend support to the ships confronting the larger Jem’Hadar ships.

***

“Here they come!” Morrison reported upon seeing that the larger wave of fifty Jem’Hadar fighters he had been tracking.

Those ships broke into squads of three and four and fired indiscriminately at any Starfleet vessels in their paths, even hitting the three hospital ships trying to move out. The Lambda Paz fired bursts of phasers and torpedoes at each fighter that passed by in a single file formation.

“Let’s pull out our ace in the hole,” Kozar said with a nod in Huckaby’s direction.

Huckaby obligingly inputted two commands on his console, activating a series of mines and sending a message to the rest of the fleet that read, “Blow their houses down.”
Within a matter of a few seconds, Jem’Hadar and Cardassian vessels were exploding throughout the battle zone. Of course, surviving ships kept pressing on trying to inflict as much damage as possible on their enemies before meeting their destruction, courtesy of their own subspace mines dubbed “Houdinis.”

The bridge officers on the Lambda Paz all passed along triumphant grins watching those dreaded “Houdinis”, which claimed so many lives on their side so suddenly and so randomly, now dropping enemy vessels in the same fashion. “They’re spreading further apart,” Morrison said. “And moving in a little slower this time.”

“Never thought the Jem’Hadar would be scared of anything,” Kozar remarked. “But don’t expect them to let up.”

“I hear you, sir,” Morrison replied, entering commands to keep firing at any ships that came their way.

The battle would continue with back and forth exchanges of phaser fire. Ships on both sides were destroyed a few at a time. The remaining Jem’Hadar and Cardassian fighters were laying down cover against the Starfleet ships allowing the larger vessels to gather together and move away.

“The rest of the ships are moving off, sir,” Huckaby said with pleasant surprise.

“Open a channel to all ships, Mister Morrison,” Kozar instructed taking in one last look at one of the most unusual sights on the viewscreen. As a rule, the Jem’Hadar did not retreat unless ordered by a Vorta or a Changeling, as was certainly the case when Starfleet took back control of Deep Space Nine. With their own subspace weapons being against them, the Dominion was on more a defensive posture. “Nice job, everyone,” the commander continued. “I never thought I’d say this, but we have the Jemmies on edge.”

The fruits of their victory were short-lived when one of the hospital ships was suddenly destroyed.

“What the hell?” Logan gasped rising from his seat. His display screen indicated one of the Starfleet insignia disintegrated.

“The Paracelsus has been destroyed, sir,” Huckaby somberly noted.

“It hit a Houdini,” Morrison huffed. “One we missed.” He then left his station and stormed off the bridge through the starboard turbolift doors.

“Morrison,” Logan futilely called to the senior tactical officer.

“Let him go,” Kozar insisted, sensing equally sour moods from everyone else on the bridge. All that had been accomplished seemed to be purged from everyone’s memory the second the second a medical ship tasked with moving the dead and critically wounded out of the battle zone exploded. As much as they all had hoped to prevent tragedies like this, they still happened. Even knowing that difficult truth, the euphoria of victory had quickly disappeared.


Enterprise1981 September 9 2011 10:19 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Three (continued)

“It would appear your hypothesis has been proven correct,” Gul Lemec told Kelnor, upon the Vorta’s entry into the prefect’s office. Lemec then handed his counterpart a padd containing after-action reports of the battles at Zhamur. “I had always wondered how five columns of Jem’Hadar were defeated by one Starfleet unit at AR-558, but now we’re certain. Our subspace mines are now being used against us.”

Kelnor slid the padd closer to the edge of his side of the table and skimmed the display screen. From what he had absorbed, it was the usual mundane information in after-action reports; nothing of immediate importance. “How are your efforts to counter their overrides proceeding?” he then inquired.

“We have engineers working around the clock to design stronger communications firewalls,” said Lemec. “And we’re running simulations of anti-viral protocols to allow the reprogrammed mines’ original programming to reassert itself.”

“How long before you these upgrades can be implemented.”

“I can’t say with all the substandard circuitry. But that is the price of doing business with the Son’a.”

Kelnor squinted in annoyance at Lemec’s remark. “You Cardassians should appreciate the psychological advantage these mines give us,” he said with restrained derisiveness. “Of course, subspace weapons are illegal in this quadrant, and with good reason. So we have to make do with what we can obtain. Don’t use that as an excuse for not having the improved mines ready for use within the next solar day.”

Lemec felt the urge to tell the Vorta of slim chance of meeting but such a deadline. Instead, he nodded with an unenthused grin. “As you wish,” he deadpanned.

“Security to Gul Lemec,” the station’s chief of security called over the comm.

“Go ahead, Thalek,” Lemec replied, looking away from Kelnor’s disapproving stare.

“Sir, Doctor Moset is missing. He’s not responding to our hails and the team dispatched to his quarters has not reported back.”

Lemec headed for the main office door certain that the leader of the Starfleet strike team had abducted Moset. He diverted his gaze from Kelnor hoping to avoid any further deriding from the Vorta. “Meet me in the doctor’s quarters,” he instructed while tapping his wrist communicator.

He was halfway through the doorway when he felt a hand grab his left arm. “Make sure the remaining intruders are neutralized,” Kelnor said with a cold stare. “Or I may just consider letting you meet the same fate as the Tellarite and the human in our custody.”

Lemec yanked his arm away from Kelnor’s grasp and stormed off with a scoff. This was not the first time the Vorta had threatened to have him executed. And it would certainly not be the last.


###

Lemec entered the residence of Crell Moset where a number of Cardassian doctors and security officers were examining the room. Four of the doctors carried away the Jem’Hadar and Cardassian corpses away on stretchers. The other doctors were conferring with the security officers in the cabin regarding who else might have been there and other any others clues as to where Moset had been taken from cell residues to transporter traces, just in case the open air vent was a diversion. One officer stood on an anti-gravity lift while scanning the ceiling vent crawl space where Moset had most likely been taken. He ran a scanner designed to locate and identify cellular residue over the ceiling grate, but seemed perturbed by the results of those scans.

“This is rather odd,” he mused aloud as Thalek passed by. “Moset did indeed climb into this crawlspace. But I read no evidence of any others having climbed in with him.”

“The intruders are using bio-dampeners similar to those in the Obsidian Order,” Thalek replied. “They may also prevent leaving behind cellular residues. And bring in teams to search that crawlspace and its adjoining conduits.”

“Surely you know the field amplitudes of these bio-dampeners if you supplied them yourselves,” Lemec said in an accusatory tone.

“The intruders would be smart to alter them,” Thalek replied, trying to ignore Lemec’s assertion that he was continuing to provide to the enemy. He then gave a quick visual survey of the rest of his security team. “But these dampeners leave a very specific electropathic field,” he told them. “Watch for it. And do a thorough search of the areas of the station where the internal sensors are not in perfect working order— level by level, section by section.”

Lemec then grabbed Thalek’s neck. Thalek was terrified for his life seeing a murderous rage in the gul’s eyes. “If I should find that you are still trying to undermine us,” Lemec hissed, “I will personally see to the execution of your wife and children.”

***

Security teams consisting of Cardassians and Jem’Hadar ran through the corridors of the habitat ring, stopping at each empty room to conduct thorough scans. When scans came up negative, the guard would place a security tag on the door that would trip a silent alarm in case an intruder decided to take refuge in that room once it was cleared. Unknown to one of the team, Limis was watching them from a crawlspace in the ceiling, staring through the grate while training her phaser to the back Moset’s neck.

In another section of the habitat ring, a Jem’Hadar and a Cardassian were following the same procedure, scanning an empty room and then tagging it once the scan came up negative. They were about to move on to the next room when the Cardassian guard’s scanner beeped. “I may have something,” he whispered to his Jem’Hadar colleague. The Jem’Hadar removed his disruptor pistol from his holster as the Cardassian led him to the location of the electropathic signature.

They slowly stepped into an adjoining corridor only to find a Starfleet issue stun grenade, emitting the electropathic signature the teams were instructed to search for. The Cardassian calibrated his scanner to find out if the device was armed. The Jem’Hadar moved in closer to grenade expecting not to be incapacitated by the device. He reached a hand out to pick up the device when it suddenly detonated.

The Cardassian was knocked unconscious by the grenade while the Jem’Hadar quickly gathered himself after he fell backwards to the deck. A humanoid figure quickly lunged towards him, throwing him against the wall. Unfazed, the Jem’Hadar sunk his claws into Limis’s chest. Keeping her composure, she jammed a knife through the back of his neck, severing a major artery. He collapsed to the deck, loosening his grip on Limis.

“Move,” she weakly instructed Moset, who was waiting in the vacant cabin nearby. She leaned against a wall to catch her breath while Moset compliantly walked out of the room, uninhibited by the restraints around his wrists. Limis then wiped the blood off of the knife’s blade and placed it back in the holster. With one hand grasping the back of his neck and the other training a phaser at the Cardassian scientist with the other, Limis coaxed him down the hallway to wherever it was they were going.


Enterprise1981 September 16 2011 07:13 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Four

Limis sorted through various wires from an open circuit housing. She applied a quantum flux regulator to each of the wires before placing them back in the housing. She ran an ODN decoupler through numerous different circuits. During these modifications to the communications circuit, Moset impatiently paced back and forth, trying to loosen his restraints and wondering if he should try to make a run for it. With the door locked and his wrists in restraints, he probably would not get very far before getting his captor’s attention. Instead, the best he could do was to find exactly what Limis was hoping to accomplish.

“Do you really hope to get a distress signal out?” he asked calmly. “Security will find you in a heartbeat.”

“I’m not looking to send out a distress signal,” Limis said while keeping her focus on her modifications. “I’m trying to get in touch with the rest of my team.”

“Using the station’s internal comm-system? Again, you won’t get very far with twelve levels of encryptions to break through.”

Limis turned around and grabbed a knife-like brace coil perched on a cargo container. She gently slid the blade end against Moset’s right cheek. “You ask a lot of questions for someone in handcuffs,” she observed.

“What can I say?” Moset retorted. “I’m trying to distract myself from wondering what you eventually plan to do with me.”

“As I’ve said,” Limis snapped, yanking the tool away from Moset and slamming it back on the cargo container, “when all is said and done, you will come back with as a prisoner of war.”

Moset smirked when he heard the demands Limis had made of him when she first took him hostage. “But what why me?” he asked, raising his hands in a habitual gesture, forgetting he was still wearing restraints. “Gul Lemec would be a much more valuable prisoner.”

“But you have Yanith,” Limis said concentrating on her work. She attached one of the wires to her tricorder. “He is more important to me than any mission Starfleet sends me on.”

“That didn’t seem to be the case when the mass slaughter of the Maquis started,” Moset replied, maintaining a conversational tone. “You plan on contacting what’s left of your team and use me as a hostage to rescue your son. How very predictable. And how do you plan to get off this station. I doubt Thalek will just beam you back from wherever you came.”

Limis set the tricorder down on the cargo container. She then removed a tiny access panel on the tricorder to alter the device’s communications circuitry. Hearing the name of the Cardassian informant then diverted her attention. “All right, shut up,” she snarled, grabbing Moset by the throat and flinging him against a wall. She then stomped towards him, grasped his throat, and swung his head against the wall. “I’m still curious about how exactly you plan to use my son to bring in reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant?”

“The Orb of Souls,” Moset struggled to say between breaths.

“What about it?” Limis demanded, letting go of his throat. She then placed the tip of the coil brace below his left eye.

She had hoped to continue to provoke fear in him. Moset knew Limis would not deliberately try to kill him here and now if he was more valuable to him alive. She could still make a nervous twitch and kill him anyway. His fear was an instinctive reaction built into the genetic makeup of all sentient beings. But his higher reasoning skills also hoped he would be killed, removing himself from whatever Limis was planning in order to free her son.

“Kai Dava, and many of the spiritual leaders after him, used that Orb to seek guidance from the souls of the dead. This Orb is said to be a doorway into alternate realities, which is why it has been studies more exhaustively by our scientists than any other Orb.”

“Alternate realities?” Limis repeated, lowering the coil brace. “As in parallel universes?”

“Parallel universes,” Moset said with a nod. “Alternate quantum realities, where all the possibilities that can happen do happen. In at least one of them, Sisko never acted on a daring plan to take on almost three thousand Dominion warships with one ship.

“And what does that all have to do with my son’s ancestry? My ancestry.”

“Again, you prematurely assume that Dava is your ancestor and not your former spouse’s. But contained within Yanith’s genome is a genetic turn-key passed down from each generation that could allow us to harness the Orb’s powers.”

“’Could’?” Limis acerbically repeated. “You’re gambling a whole hell of a lot on ‘could’.”

“You were a terrorist once, Limis,” Moset retorted. “You know that even the slimmest chance of defeating a difficult enemy is worth the risks.”

Limis looked away from Moset gritting her teeth. “Oh, yes,” she breathed. “I understand that, all right.” She then punched Moset in the jaw and in the abdomen. “But your little freak show is over,” she added. “You release my son, and I will let the legal system decide what to do with you rather than present you to every Bajoran who wants a piece of you.”

“You think I care about my own well-being?” Moset shot back. “If I die by your hand or the hand of any other Bajoran, I will die serving Cardassia, just as many of your people died serving Bajor.”

“So be it.”

A chirp in her jury-rigged communication device caught Limis’s attention. She did not even time to consider Moset meant by “difficult enemy”. The Dominion had been the superior power since the war began. Even with the recent entry of the Romulan Star Empire into the war, the Dominion was still resolved to make the Federation Alliance fight hard for every cubic millimeter of their territory. But by Moset’s implication, something had the Founders more on edge. Something that had them grasping at proverbial straws. But what?

Limis applied a quantum flux regulator to tricorder to try and boost the signal. She then applied a miniature tool to her combadge’s power cell. Once she had detached from the tricorder’s front imaging diodes, she placed the casing back on the badge. “Limis to M’Rev,” she said, tapping the device.

No answer.

“Limis to Amaros.”

Again, no answer.

“Bowers, do you read?”

***

Sergeant Samaritan Bowers was crawling through one of the access tunnels while his partner, Sergeant Mik Tannin was falling further behind. Standard Cardassian crawlspaces were not much bigger than the average size of most humanoid species. The more statuesque Tannin would have a hard time squeezing through the raised rim that would appear every so often. “Just a few more meters,” Bowers assured him while scanning the area ahead with a tricorder.

“How many times have you said that while we were in one of these cramped spaces?” Tannin grumbled.

“They’re usually designed for Cardassians and similarly-sized humanoids,” Bowers explained, slinking out the open hatch and into a standing room work area. “With a few accommodations for the Jem’Hadar, of course.”

“I’d still hate to be a Jem’Hadar on his last drop of white trapped in one of these things,” Tannin retorted, trying to squeeze his way through the hatch. Bowers took the Brikar’s right hand and helped him slip out of the hatch. Sam then flipped open his tricorder and scanned a nearby circuit cluster. It was similar to the various circuits he and Mik had been sabotaging to make locating them with the internal sensors more difficult. Now that they had been sold out by Thalek, station security was monitoring them and the rest of the strike team. Staying one step ahead of the enemy was now more important than carrying out the original mission to cause a controlled implosion in the station’s reactor core.

“Bowers, do you read?”

Bowers looked in Tannin’s direction even knowing the feminine voice clearly did not belong to him. “Bowers here,” he said as he tapped his combadge trying not to get his hopes up that he was actually hearing Limis’s voice. “Is that you, Captain?”

“Good to hear your voice, too, Bowers,” Limis scoffed. “I’m encoding this signal in the station’s incoming and outgoing comm traffic. I have captured Moset. What is your current position?”

“Sergeant Tannin and I are just outside service junction L-twenty-two on level thirty-seven of the central core,” Bowers answered while applying a miniature laser cutter to one of the circuits.

“Any sign you are being pursued?”

“We’re doing everything to stay two steps ahead of them,” Bowers said while consulting his tricorder for technical schematics stored there. He entered a set of commands into the scanning device to check for evidence of enemy pursuers in that section of the station. He then applied the circuit cutting device to another wire.

“M’Rev and Amaros have most likely been captured or killed. I will try to contact Ortega and Patal and get to back you, Bowers. You are to carry out your original plan to smash the wicked queen’s magic mirror. But do not proceed until I give the official go-ahead. Do you understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

***

“Very clever,” Moset remarked of Limis’s clandestine effort to contact her colleagues. “How exactly did you break through all those encryptions so quickly?”

Limis checked her tricorder again to make sure the communications signal was optimum intensity before contacting Corporals Paolo Ortega and Rata Patal, who had been assigned to scout the docking ring. “You don’t expect me to answer, do you?” she asked, rolling her eyes.

“No more than you should expect me to surrender to the authorities,” Moset retorted.

***

Gul Lemec entered the science lab where M’Rev and Amaros were being held. He instructed the two lab technicians to wake the prisoners. Once they had done so, Lemec let his right hand hover over one of the control consoles. “All right, let’s try this again,” he said. “Your team leader has taken Doctor Moset hostage.”

“What a damn shame,” M’Rev scoffed. “Too bad that scum wasn’t captured sooner.”

Lemec keyed a command sequence sending an electrical shock through M’Rev’s body. “What does she plan to do with him?” he demanded, increasing the voltage on both M’Rev’s and Amaros’s electrocution implant.”

“How the hell would we know?” Amaros replied. “That wasn’t in the mission itinerary. Don’t waste your time asking us.”
“Does that mean you are willing to tell me what was on the mission itinerary?” Lemec asked, strutting up to Manuel with a taunting stare.

“When targs fly,” Amaros spat.

Lemec walked over to M’Rev and tugged at the Tellarite’s scraggly beard. “Thalek has been willing to disclose the names of all his Cardassian informants in exchange for amnesty,” he said with gritted teeth. “I would be willing to extend the same generosity to the two of you.”

“Not on your life,” M’Rev shot back.

Lemec released his grasp on M’Rev facial hair with a grunt. “I was seriously hoping for your cooperation. Of course, your fate is still your choice.”

He headed back to console controlling the electrocution implants when Lemec’s attention was suddenly diverted by the sound of static originating from the two communications monitors in the lab. The garbled image appearing on the two screens slowly resolved into the face of Limis on both monitors. “This is Captain Limis Vircona to the commander of Sentok Nor.”

“Shut that off,” Lemec demanded of the technician at a console in front of one of the monitors.

“It’s coming in on all frequencies,” the technician replied, futilely trying to shut off the transmission.

“As you already know, I have taken Doctor Crell Moset as a hostage,” Limis continued as the image on the screen zoomed outward to include Moset standing on her right with the tip of a knife being pointed at his chin.

Both M’Rev and Amaros could see the transmission from their team leader from where they were hanging from the ceiling. They grinned triumphantly even though none of the Cardassians in the room were looking in their direction. It was all they could do to keep their spirits up amid rigorous torture.

“My terms are simple. You will release my son, Hasin Yanith, and any other live subjects in your custody. Or Moset will die.”

The transmission abruptly ended with the logo of the Cardassian Union appearing on the otherwise blank screen. “Trace the call,” Lemec instructed the technician. “And don’t tell me she’s using a communications scrambler. I have a counter-proposal to make.”

***

Lemec made his way to another science lab down the hallway where Yanith was being held. He waved the medical technician at the biobed away. She and the three other technicians took that as a cue for all of them to vacate the lab.

The Gul then loaded a hypospray and used it to wake the young blond-haired Bajoran man. Lemec removed his disruptor pistol from its holster and placed its tip against Yanith’s left temple. “Captain Limis,” he said, tapping his wrist communicator. Afterwards he used his left hand to squeeze Yanith’s chin. “This is Gul Taolor Lemec. Do not presume to make such demands when we still have your boy and two of your officers in our custody. You will release Moset, or I will kill my hostages—starting with your child.”

“You’re bluffing, Lemec,” Limis confidently replied. “My son is more valuable to you alive than dead.”

“For a means of obtaining Dominion reinforcements that has a very slim chance at succeeding,” Lemec countered. “You were lucky that he was really a shape-shifter in disguise the last time you saw his life threatened. Do you want to take that chance again?”

Lemec raised his left wrist above Yanith’s face so that he could speak into the communicator. “Mother, please do as he says,” he implored, terrified that Lemec could end his life at any second. “Whatever this quest you’re on now, it’s not worth my life. You chose the Maquis over me. Don’t make that kind of mistake.”

“I suggest you head his suggestion, Captain,” Lemec taunted. “Release Moset and come to science lab four to surrender yourself. You have five minutes to decide.

All Lemec got was static. He tapped the communicator three more times but lost the transmission. He stuffed the pistol in the holster and shot Yanith a cold stare. “Let’s hope for your sake, she gives herself up,” he warned.

Enterprise1981 September 16 2011 07:20 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Four (continued)

Mandel Morrison stared out the window of the forward-most section of the Lambda Paz. Debris floated by the viewport. It was too small and too burnt to be able to identify as coming from a Starfleet or allied ship or whether it was the remains of an enemy ship. The war seemed so pointless when seeing so much death and destruction right outside the window of his ship. And for what? So that the citizens of the Federation who would survive this war could continue to live under the precepts of individual freedom and self-determination? How many would lose their lives before it was over? And who was to say whether the Federation and its Klingon and Romulan allies would win? Morrison asked himself over and over again whether, as the Borg would put it, resistance was futile.

His mind kept going back to the Paracelsus and how it struck a mine while trying to ferry the wounded and the dying out of the killing zone. Mandel learned a very painful lesson years ago that not all sentient beings believed in humanity’s long-standing rules of war. Inevitably, non-combatants were casualties of war. But that did not excuse purposely causing the deaths of such persons, nor did it stop him from feeling sick to his stomach that all those people on the hospital ship died so suddenly.

Lisa Neeley slowly approached the window. Mandel saw her reflection cast on the transparent aluminum and gave her a light grin while keeping his gaze at the vastness of space. “Sucks, doesn’t it?” she rhetorically asked.

Morrison smiled lightly, but that hardly assuaged his somber mood over the destruction of the Paracelsus and all the lives aboard it. He shook his head trying to shake off all the negative feelings that passing debris had triggered. “Is it worth it?” he asked, turning to face Neeley.

“You bet it is,” Lisa plainly answered. “We are fighting to preserve one of the greatest organizations ever conceived. How many times in Earth’s history have we been reminded that we have to fight for what we believe in against those who don’t share our sense of right and wrong?”

“I’ve heard the speech before,” Morrison said. “It never gets any easier though.”

“Are you able to return to duty?”

Mandel’s grin quickly became a suspicious glare. “Kozar sent you, didn’t he?” he asked, half-jokingly.

“Was I that obvious?” Lisa said with shrug. “Logan wasn’t too pleased that you left your post, but Kozar said you needed to vent in your way.”

“Logan,” Mandel said with a roll of his eyes. “Goddamned stickler. He’s glad that outranking me now actually means something ever since what happened at Coridan. He’s never aspired to be a starship captain, but he gets a perverse pleasure in reminding lower-ranking officers with more command experience that he outranks them.”

Lisa grinned, but found herself at a loss for words. His sense of humor was returning, which was a good sign. She and Mandel both stared out the window during a long and awkward silence, basking in the beauty of this expanse of space that wasn’t at all diluted by the passing scraps of debris. The two stared soulfully into each other’s eyes. Knowing what was coming next, Lisa diverted her gaze towards the window. Her ominous expression elicited Mandel to see what had her worried.

Several flickers of light that were not there before were growing closer and brighter. As if he had timed to the second, Morrison raised he heard Kozar’s voice after the chime. “All hands to battle stations.”

***

Further down a corridor, Morrison and Neeley soon reached a turbolift. The wait seemed to last forever. This time, they kept their gazes at the lift door to avoid any more awkward silences. But without warning, the ship rocked several times. Morrison was now hoping that whoever was at tactical could keep the ship in one piece until he could get to the bridge. Another hit, and the air was hissing out of the entire section. He and Lisa grasped the walls of the corridor as they held their breaths, hoping not to be blown out into the vacuum of space before the emergency forcefield kicked in.

Morrison wanted to run back towards the observation area to try to save the people he had seen pass by earlier. But Neeley was holding him back. They were beyond saving as far as she was concerned. All she could do was save herself and Mandel. Almost instantaneously, the flying debris that was destined for the vastness reaches of space fell to the floor as the area repressurized indicating the emergency forcefield had activated.

Before they could even gather themselves from that near death experience, the ship took another hit sending the two officers down different ends of the corridor. Another hit by enemy weapon’s fire sent Neeley to the deck, leaving her powerless to stop a girder from impaling her in the abdomen.

“Neeley!” Morrison cried out with a look of horror in his face. All that was on his mind in that brief moment was whether another Starfleet Marine commander had just died on his watch.

###

A team of engineers had taken the wreckage of a number of destroyed Starfleet, Klingon, and Romulan vessels aboard the Lambda Paz. The engineering officers and technicians were tasked with salvaging any usable technology from the destroyed ships to use as spare parts for any ships in the Zhamur system that were still functional. Each of them was in the process of either scanning the debris with tricorders or using padds to input inventory data.

Shinar sh’Aqba entered the bay with Commander Karlek close behind. He was one of a small handful of Klingon soldiers found in a passing escape pod after his ship was destroyed in a skirmish with the Jem’Hadar. Sh’Aqba had asked him to assist in the salvage efforts. Although reluctant because he had chosen to abandon his own ship, Karlek had decided to lend a hand in order to make himself useful. Sh’Aqba had further persuaded him as a way to repay her for allowing Karlek’s ship to last as long as it did.

“How many of my crew survived?” Karlek inquired, scooping a piece of debris that remained of his vessel.

“Ten from the escape pods we found,” sh’Aqba said while she reviewed an inventory taken by one of the officers. She then gave the human officer back the padd and ordered him to proceed with the repair schedule. “We’re still looking for others, but the longer the rest of your crew is missing… “

“They died with honor, Lieutenant,” Karlek interrupted. “Nothing more could be asked of them. In different times, I would have gone down with my ship. But we need our best warriors that are still standing to live to fight another day.”

“I’m glad you are still with us, Commander,” sh’Aqba said nervously.

She bit her lips trying not to sound like she was flirting with the Klingon. They were both officers who prided themselves on keeping their personal and professional lives separate. Shinar had even gone as far to forsake familial obligations in order to serve her ship and the Seventh Fleet. She had never believed in the rather archaic traditions of marriage on her home planet of Andor, but she understood their merits in the midst of declining birth rates threatening the survival of the species. The Klingons, she knew, had rather strict traditions as well and did not think Karlek would take kindly to being propositioned by someone betrothed to another, should he ever learn of her marital obligations.

“All hands to battle stations,” came the voice of Commander Kozar via a shipwide page.

“We’ll have to continue this at another time,” sh’Aqba told Karlek while watching the rest of the engineering crew quickly file out of the cargo bay. “Do you have a new ship assignment?”

“The Bird-of-Prey Tigoth needs senior officer replacements,” Karlak replied. “The captain is a capable leader, but he doesn’t have very much battle experience… “

The banter was interrupted the deck shook. Both sh’Aqba and Karlek were able keep their balance while seeing that everyone else in the cargo bay had left. Another hit rocked the room even harder. Karlek fell to his back while an eruption of sparks near the wide double-doors knocked out sh’Aqba.

###

The Lambda Paz was under heavy fire from plasma torpedoes of a Jem’Hadar battleship in front of her while two Jem’Hadar were firing disruptors at the ship’s warp nacelles from aft. Quantum torpedoes pierced the hulls of the battleship, but it kept coming. Though the Lambda Paz’s phasers and two flanking Birds-of-Prey were able to take out the fighters, another squad of three fighters picked up where the previous two left off.

The Lambda Paz was on her own against a large wave of ships with little in the way of reinforcements.


Sandoval September 19 2011 11:23 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Since I hate people posting page after page of their work with no comments I'll respond.

What I've read so far reads well enough, it is certainly a 'readable' piece of fanfiction, by which I mean it flows well and doesn't require much effort.

This is a good thing in case that is unclear, there is nothing worse than a fanfic that requires the services of an Enigma machine in order to understand.

It's always enjoyable to see some events through the eyes of people other than the usual Starfleet officers.

To sum up, this was an enjoyable enough read, written by someone with an obvious flair for writing Star Trek fanfiction.

Nicely done.

Enterprise1981 September 20 2011 08:28 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Thank you, sir. As a Deep Space 9 spinoff, a number of the characters have a darker side. And even those portrayed as idealists find themselves in difficult moral quandaries.

Enterprise1981 September 23 2011 09:05 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Five (Part 1)

Moset was sprawled across the deck, unconscious.

Three Cardassian security guards, led by Thalek, entered the storage bay, pleasantly surprised that they did not have to break any locks or force the door open manually. The two military officers carefully scouted the rest of the room in case Limis was lying in wait to strike while Thalek kneeled down to check Moset’s condition. “Doctor Moset?” he said, placing a hand on the back of the doctor’s shoulder.

Moset stirred for a moment and lifted himself up to his knees. “She used some kind of sedative to knock me out?” he groaned. “I sure hope for her sake and her son’s she’ll still acquiesce to Lemec’s demands,” he added, brushing off his tunic before standing upright.

Thalek looked to both of his deputies-- one of whom checked the room’s other entrance, while the other was inspecting the partially open hatch to the service crawlspace. They both shook their heads indicating they did not see Limis anywhere. Thalek then tapped his wrist communicator. “Gul Lemec,” he said, “this is Thalek. No sign of the intruder.”

***

Limis was listening in on Thalek’s communiqué, via a listening device she had left on Moset’s person, while leaning against a wall outside science lab four.

Inside the lab, Lemec tapped his wrist communicator to acknowledge. “Spread out your teams,” he instructed. “And redouble your efforts to find the other intruders in the central core and the docking ring. Whatever they are planning, it will probably be executed very soon.”

Lemec cut the transmission and silently considered what his opponent was now planning. She had freed Moset, but would probably force him to kill her son anyway. He walked back to the biobed and pointed his disruptor pistol back on Yanith’s head. “Your mother has still forced me to execute you,” he said coldly.

“I’m here, Lemec,” came a familiar feminine voice. “Don’t hurt him.”

He turned to his left to see Limis entering the lab and throwing down her phaser. She then reached around the back of her waist and threw down her dagger, her neural truncheon, and a pouch full of stun grenades. Lemec pulled his weapon away from Yanith and gestured his two personal guards towards Limis to take any other dangerous devices off of her person. Limis was more than happy to oblige, bending down to remove two devices from each of her boots, and then her earpiece. She then unzipped her uniform jacket and red tunic and removed a scanning device tucked away in her undershirt. A red light flashed from it, but it appeared to power down afterwards.

One of the guards inspected the device with his own scanner, but found nothing threatening about it. He then scanned Limis and was satisfied to find no other weapons or listening devices on her person. She had expected to be strip searched, but the guard walked away and showed the scan results to Lemec, who was in the process of removing Yanith’s restraints. She rolled her eyes, but chose not to complain that such an invasive search would not be conducted in her son’s presence.

“Because Cardassians value family as much as any other sentient race,” Lemec proclaimed while gesturing for Yanith to sit up. “I’ll let you have one last moment together.”

Without thinking to consider Lemec’s words, she ran over to her son and warmly embraced him. Her hands moved up to the back of his head. She stroked his dark blond hair and planted a kiss on his forehead, her eyes brimming with tears.

“You may send him in,” Lemec said quietly after tapping his communicator.

Limis clasped her son’s shoulders, staring into his tearful eyes and hoping this was not a dream.

And from the corner of her eye came a familiar heavyset Cardassian, entering the room from the opposite door. “Hadar,” she said, with her tears of joy becoming a stare of cold hatred towards her nemesis. One of her more extreme interrogation methods resulted in the death of Gul Enic Hadar’s brother a little over a year earlier. Since then, he had sought to avenge his sibling’s death. It seemed a petty reason for a Cardassian to seek vengeance since they did not hesitate to kill civilians themselves, and even assigned civilians to military installations. The chief of security of Sentok Nor was a civilian, after all.

Yanith turned around to face Hadar and gave a similarly contemptuous look at one of his former captors. He had once had the young Bajoran man in his custody in the hope of luring his mother. “I remember you,” he said. “You got some kind of beef with my mother.”

“Your quarrel is with me, Hadar,” Limis insisted to the smugly grinning Cardassian. “Let him go and take me.”

“Take the son back to his quarters,” Lemec instructed to his personal guards. Then to Hadar, he added, “The mother is yours to do with as you please.”

The guards were prepared to comply, holding their disruptors to Yanith, asking him to come with them. He was ready to do so when an explosion emanated from the supposedly harmless device Limis had hidden underneath her uniform. Everyone in the room fell to deck. Limis then used the distraction to grab the pistols of both guards and fired them through the dispersing smoke stunning all four of the Cardassians in the room.

“Come on, son,” she instructed, nudging the still dazed Yanith’s shoulder.

He slowly gathered himself and followed his mother’s lead, as she retrieved her weapons and earpiece. The two of them then headed out of the lab and darted down the corridor.


Enterprise1981 September 23 2011 09:06 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Five (Part Two)

Two Jem’Hadar fighters came at the Lambda Paz from aft with a flurry of disruptor fire at both warp nacelles, which eventually blew out the port nacelle. Three Akira-class ships and four Klingon Birds-of-Prey were similarly occupied nearby with pairs of Jem’Hadar fighters firing disruptors and quickly moving off to evade opposing phaser and torpedo fire. Phaser fire from the port and starboard secondary emitters of the Lambda Paz managed to clip one of the two pesky fighters before both moved out of phaser range. The fighters then quickly moved off allowing a large heavy cruiser to take the Lambda Paz and the four other ships in formation with it head on.

The bridge of the Lambda Paz rocked back and forth as it took plasma torpedo hits while the ship was engaging in evasive maneuvers. Kozar held the arms of the command chair firmly while keeping a close eye on his tactical display and noticing that the gamma-shift tactical officer Ensign Calliope Morales was still on her feet. “Helm,” he called to Carson, who was working a double-shift. “Move us below that ship at a negative twenty degree pitch. Morales, fire all dorsal phasers. Alert all other ships in formation to do the same.”

The five ships slowly arched downward and closer to the heavy cruiser while firing phasers at the large and intimidating, though not very maneuverable, ship. The strategy was to try to inflict as much as possible with concentrated weapon fire while slowly moving out of range of the enemy’s torpedo swarms. Three Galaxy-class ships with pairs of Klingon Birds-of-Prey in front of each of them moved in on the heavy cruiser. The six Mirandas fired phasers at the hulking ship and quickly moved off while the three Galaxies moved in head on firing all its phasers and quantum torpedoes.

Logan and Huckaby monitored the sensory blind spots of the heavy cruiser from the Mission Ops station. Huckaby headed back to the primary Ops station to transmit a set of coordinates to the helm. “Move in on those coordinates at six thousand kph.”

“Aye, sir,” Carson responded while concentrating more on not falling out of her seat.

“Steady,” Kozar shouted, taking quick glances back and forth between his tactical display and the viewscreen. “Steady. Attack pattern epsilon one. And bring in our new friends.”
Morales entered the proper commands to detonate the Houdinis. A red error message flashed on the tactical console. She tried again, but the same message indicating that she was locked out appeared. “It’s not working,” she said nervously.

Before anyone else on the bridge could respond, the bridge rocked even harder. Auxiliary stations on both the port and starboard sides of the bridge exploded and shrapnel fell from the ceiling. An officer manning the port forward engineering station fell backwards to the deck. Another few hits and Carson was thrown from her seat and her head slammed against the deck. Kozar raced over to appraise her condition while Logan quickly took over the helm.

“Back us off, Logan,” Kozar instructed while able to coax Sara back awake. “Take it easy for a second,” he told her.

A torpedo hit tore into the forward saucer section while two of the ships on its outer formation were completely destroyed. The heavy cruiser also managed to tear the starboard nacelle pylon off one Galaxy-class and tear a big hole in the ventral of another’s deflector. Swarms of torpedoes also managed to destroy all six of the Birds. And even worse, those mines the Starfleet ships unsuccessfully tried to detonate where destroying Starfleet and Klingon vessels left and right.

“Hull breaches on decks four and five,” Morales reported. “Forward torpedoes launchers are shot.

Carson returned to her station and Logan raced over to the engineering station where an officer had gone down earlier. He attended to the barely conscious officer using provisions from an emergency first aid while trying to keep a close eye on engine readouts. Though he was now chief engineer of the entire Seventh Fleet, not just of one ship, he still felt a sentimental attachment to this ship and its engines.

“Warp drive is gone,” Carson said, while sneaking a look at the engineering station readouts. “So are impulse engines. We’re operating on thrusters only.”

Another hit sent Huckaby and a male human officer at mission ops lurching backwards. Huckaby landed hard on his back on the deck, while the mission ops officer’s right forearm caught fire. Logan raced towards the two injured officers with a fire extinguisher in tow. He put out the fire on that officer arm and bent down to check if Huckaby was alive.

Kozar, meanwhile, keyed a set of commands on his side console to prepare a recorder marker. “We’re being targeted,” he heard Morales say as he watching the intermittent image of the heavy cruiser on the viewscreen.

“Brace for impact,” Kozar said as he clasped both arms of the command chair, certain his ship was doomed.
But that next swarm of plasma torpedoes.

The Constantinople and two flanking Sovereign-class starships suddenly swooped in from the starboard stern, firing its ventral phasers at the heavy cruiser. Also in the formation were two Defiant-class starships firing its multi-targeting phasers and quantum torpedoes. Three Vorcha-class Klingon attack cruisers moved in on the heavy cruiser from the Lambda Paz’s port stern firing all disruptors.

The heavy cruiser did not back off, firing from all its torpedo tubes. The torpedoes tore a hole in the forward saucer section of the Sovereign on the Constantinople’s port and ripped apart the center Vorcha cruiser. The ships to its port quickly lost its port nacelle even though the enemy torpedoes barely piece of the starboard side.

The Dominion heavy cruiser then sped up faster than any of the Starfleet and Klingon still standing could move. The large and hulking then streaked into warp.

“It’s moving off, sir,” Morales somberly reported. Ordinarily that would be a good thing considering the pounding all the ships were taking. But where the Dominion was concerned, retreat was very often part of a much larger plan of attack. She attempted to extrapolate the enemy ship’s course when her communications board chimed. “Incoming hail from Admiral Jellico.”

“Put it up,” Kozar commanded, rising from the command chair.

“Glad to see you still in one piece, Ronnie,” Edward Jellico stoically remarked on the viewscreen.

“Seeing you is a pleasant surprise as well, sir,” Kozar retorted with a light grin. “This was Maxwell’s idea wasn’t it?”

“You know me too well, Kozar,” came a voice on an audio ship-to-ship channel. Kozar instantly recognized Captain Benjamin Maxwell, who was commanding the Defiant-class USS Vigilant, which required at least a week of repairs its last engagement three days earlier. “I had a hunch when I noticed something was a bit off about a few of the Houdinis we managed to hijack.”

“And your hunches often prove correct, Ben,” Jellico added, somewhat half-heartedly. That was certainly the case when Maxwell took it upon himself to launch preemptive attacks against the Cardassians less than a year after a peace treaty between the Union and the Federation. While his claims that the Cardassians were secretly arming for another possible war were correct, his actions cost him his command and, as far as Jellico was concerned, probably should have ended his Starfleet career. On the other hand, Maxwell’s style of leadership helped avoid further bloodshed.

“What about that heavy cruiser?” Jellico inquired. “It’s a threat to every ship and inhabited planet in this sector.”

“I have it, sir,” Morales said, looking from her tactical display. “Assuming what’s left of our sensors are accurate… it’s on a direct course for…”

A long pause followed. Logan looked in the direction of the tactical station while directing the traffic of emergency medics and the relief operations manager. Carson stopped in her tracks on her way back to the conn from ops. Just spit it out, already, every conscious officer wanted to say.

“For Starbase G-6,” Morales grimly finished.

Those words sent an eerie quiet through the bridges of all three ships. Even the sounds of various consoles chirping seemed light years away. A realization hit everyone who had just heard where the heavy cruiser headed that the enemy was hoping to lure as many Federation Alliance ships into the Kalandra sector and leave the Seventh Fleet’s primary base of operations vulnerable.


Enterprise1981 September 23 2011 09:09 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Five (Part Three)

Limis took slow steps down a corridor checking the computer system uplink on her tricorder. From what she could tell, the comm-link to the station’s communication system was still intact allowing her to encode communications within all outgoing and incoming transmissions. Limis then keyed a set of commands to access the communications logs to delete a set of randomly selected bits to create the illusion that partially deleted logs were result of various malfunctions still occurring on the station. “Looking good so far,” she whispered, looking both ways to see the way clear at an adjoining corridor. She turned around to make sure Yanith was still behind her.

She leaned against a wall and tapped her combadge. “Sergeants Bowers and Tannin, do you read? Come in.”

“Bowers here, sir.”

“Tannin here, sir.”

“Are you ready to proceed?” Limis asked while still making sure no one else was around.

“We’re in position,” Bowers replied. “Step one ready to implement.”

“Good. Corporals Ortega and Patal, do you read?”

“Affirmative, Captain,” Paolo Ortega replied. He was crawling through an access tunnel with his Deltan female partner Rata Patal close behind.

“We’re nearly in position, Captain,” Patal added. “Ready to implement step two.”

“I’m en route to locating Grumpy and Sleepy,” Limis said. “Once I signal, I will implement step three. Team leader out.”

Limis then gestured for her son to follow her down the long corridor. Yanith looked all around himself as he followed, not sure what to make of this whole situation. “What’s going on, mom?” he inquired. “How did you know to find me here?”

Limis removed the hatch to an access tunnel while still looking in both directions to make sure no one was following. She extended one arm indicating for Yanith to go first. He did, and afterwards Limis crawled in the tunnel and replaced the hatch. “Let’s just say it was a lucky guess,” she told her son. “And I was able become part of a strike team dispatched here by Starfleet special ops.”

“That explains the uniform,” Yanith retorted. “But I thought you didn’t care for Starfleet.”

“For right now, Starfleet and I have similar goals.”


***

Moset handed Thalek one of two hyposprays in his hands.

After he had been found safe and sound, Doctor Moset accompanied Thalek back to the section of the infirmary where M’Rev and Amaros. With Limis having escaped once again, Thalek was under even more pressure to apprehend the rest of the strike team. That much was clear when Lemec threatened to personally see to the execution of his family. The gul didn’t seem to care how difficult that task would be when Thalek did not know the exact details of the team’s mission to Sentok Nor.

“My studies of various species have allowed me to develop many different truth serums,” Moset explained. “The one in your hand is tuned to human physiology, and mine is tuned to Tellarite physiology.”

“Back to play with your toys, Moset?” M’Rev taunted. “How many Tellarites died in your experiments to create the perfect truth serum in the glorious service to the Cardassian state?”

“Nice to see you’re awake again,” Moset retorted, administering the hypo. “I would have hated to mix a stimulant with this.”

“Oh, would you?” M’Rev snorted, not buying the usual cliché about not wishing to do harm on others while doing exactly that.

Thalek then administered his hypo to Amaros, who gritted his teeth at the man whose treachery put him in this situation. “Now tell me what you didn’t tell me even when you thought I was on your side,” he demanded of his former partner. “What was the exact plan to destroy this station?”

“Can’t help you,” Manuel lied. “I was just given a set of instructions to carry out in my assigned section.”

“In the habitat ring,” Thalek recalled of Limis’s briefing. “Bowers and Tannin in the central core. Ortega and Patal in the docking ring. And do what?”

Amaros answered with a derisive scoff. Thalek then gave a concerned glance at Moset. “It’s not working,” he said.

Moset rolled his eyes in annoyance at Thalek’s impatience. “Just give it a few minutes,” he insisted.

“What about you, Tellarite?” Thalek said, grabbing M’Rev’s uniform collar. “Anything you want to share?”

“A bomb in the fusion core would have been too obvious,” M’Rev snorted. “We had planned something a lot harder to trace until it was too late.”

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Thalek taunted. He walked over to the instrument table, pushing Moset aside in order to load more of the truth serum into his hypospray. He then administered doses to both Amaros and M’Rev. He raised a hand, indicating to Moset that he knew the serum was tuned to one prisoner’s physiology and not the other’s. “How do you plan to destroy this station?” he demanded of the two prisoners.

“I’m no doctor,” he continued, clasping Amaros’s throat, “but I do know that enough this serum will put you in a state of delirium. You’ll lose your sense of reality and let something slip out. Are either of you willing spare yourselves that level of suffering?”

“If you must know,” Amaros slowly breathed.

“Yes?” Thalek said, loosening his grasp.

“I killed Cal Hudson,” Manuel said.

Thalek smiled wickedly. Cal Hudson was one of the top cell leaders in the Maquis. His death was a celebrated victory for the Cardassian Union. Ordinarily, a Cardassian would feel slighted to robbed of such an honor. But it explained a lot about Manuel, Hudson’ right hand man who was known to play the role of a terrorist too well. This newest information gave Thalek a new perspective on the Maquis and its members.

Enterprise1981 October 2 2011 04:05 AM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Six (Part One)


Aurellan Markalis administered Lisa Neeley another dose of platelets, applying a hypospray to the patient’s abdomen. She then took another look at the portable electrocardiogram monitor on which young human male intern kept his focus the entire time the chief medical officer tried to keep the lieutenant alive. Markalis shook her head in frustration, having seen no change in the readings. She then applied a laser dermal regenerator to the part of the wound not obstructed by the girder.

Neeley had lost consciousness long before the medical team had arrived, having already lost a considerable amount of blood. Morrison was in the process of using a phaser to vaporize the girder a little bit at a time after he had determined that doing so would not cause more of the ceiling to give way. No work crews were available to remove it, and Aurellan had determined that leaving the impaling object in was the safer course of action in the short run. “Blood pressure still seventy over twenty,” the intern grimly reported. “Pulse still thready, synaptic responses still failing.”

“Increase blood oxygenation to eleven PSI,” Markalis instructed her subordinate.

The intern tapped a few buttons on the blood-gas infuser attached to Lisa’s right temple. “No change,” he said nervously, both his eyes wide with both fear and disbelief.

Aurellan handed him a set of cardiac inducers to place on Lisa’s chest while requesting a cortical stimulator from a Denobulan female nurse. “We’ll start twenty percent with five cc’s cordrazine,” she told her assistants. She then administered the drug, but saw little change. “Come on,” she grumbled. “Thirty percent.”

Another pulse from the cortical stimulators on Lisa’s forehead through her nervous system still had no effect on the EKG readings. Aurellan then unzipped Lisa’s uniform jacket and tunic and tore open her undershirt just enough to expose the middle of her chest. She thrusted both her hands on the patient’s heart. As she learned from med school and residency supervisors, non-technological means would sometimes help when technology was not helping. As counter-intuitive as that often sounded, manual cardiopulmonary resuscitation often worked as a last ditch solution. After exhaling into Lisa’s mouth five times, Aurellan saw that it had no effect. Another CPR cycle was unsuccessful, as were two more after that. The EKG readout was still flat lining.

Markalis took a few slow deep breaths in preparation for the part of her job she always dreaded. “Time of death,” she began.

“No!” Morrison interrupted. He removed what was left of the girder from Neeley’s abdomen and then shoved Markalis aside. “Don’t you die on me as well,” he hissed, thrusting Lisa’s chest with more vigor than Aurellan did.

Aurellan gathered herself, kneeling upright and clasping Mandel’s left shoulder to coax him away from the deceased. “Morrison,” she insisted. “She’s gone.”

“Not if I have anything to say about,” Mandel shot back, still thrusting Lisa’s chest and breathing into her mouth. “Come on. Come on!” He then yanked another hypospray loaded with blood plasma off its rack and injected it into her carotid artery. Aurellan gestured her two assistants to stay out of his way. She simply increased power to the blood-gas infuser while both hopeful and afraid for how long Morrison try to revive a person who was all but declared dead.

Morrison kept this up for several minutes, even throwing his fist down on Neeley’s left shoulder to stimulate blood flow. Almost without warning, Lisa let out a loud sustained cough. Aurellan was beside herself with shock and did not move for several seconds. This person should not have been alive, but she was by all appearances. Just a few moments earlier, Mandel refused to accept Lisa was dead. Aurellan was now uncertain whether or not Lisa was really alive. The tricorder and the EKG readout indicated she was alive. Aurellan just continued applying a dermal regenerator to the wound while staring in silent shock.


###

A wing of twelve Akira-class ships accompanied by fifteen fighter shuttles moved in on the lone Dominion heavy cruiser on fast approach towards Starbase G-6. The heavy cruiser fired swarms of plasma torpedoes at the fighter shuttles as they sped up towards it. Three of the shuttles were destroyed before they could even get off a shot while the other twelve fired both phasers and quantum torpedoes, which did rather insignificant damage to the cruiser’s aft hull. The shuttles veered away while the Akiras swooped in firing torpedoes at the vast enemy ship’s port and starboard warp nacelles.

To the Dominion cruiser’s port, a D’Deridex-class Romulan warbird, flanked by two Morgai-class warbirds, decloaked firing both disruptors and photonic torpedoes. On the starboard side, a Vorcha-class Klingon attack cruiser and two Birds-of-Prey employed the same maneuver. Without even slowing down, the heavy cruiser fired torpedoes from all sides, destroying the two Birds and the Morgai warbird to the D’Deridex’s port. The other Morgai had taken considerable damage to its forward primary while ramming a section of the hull where the shields were at its weakest. The ensuing explosion put a huge hole in the hull, but that did not slow it down.

The twelve Akiras, meanwhile, had veered out of the heavy cruiser’s weapon range and swooped back in with another volley of phasers and torpedoes. Again, no significant damage was done other than weakening its shields. More swarms of plasma torpedoes tore into the attacking ships. All six Romulan and Klingon ships were destroyed while the remaining Starfleet vessels were falling almost one at a time. With the wing of Akiras and fighter shuttles down to half of what it initially was, the surviving ships laid down cover fire while moving off before they all streaked to warp speed.

###

Ronnie Kozar had set up a conference call with Admiral Jellico and Captain Maxwell in the observation lounge. Of immediate concern was what to do about the Dominion heavy cruiser on its way to Starbase G-6 with very little opposition. From the reports the three ship commanders had received in the last hour, what was left of Alliance ships at Zhamur was unable to even slow down the heavy cruiser. It would just fire swarms of plasma torpedoes damaging and destroying attacking ships as easily as swatting a mosquito. “How long before it reaches the starbase?” Kozar inquired, even though he knew the answer to that question an hour earlier. Even in his adult years, hearing these kinds of time intervals on multiple occasions put his mind at ease and he did not have to implement too many last minute changes of plans.

“Six hours,” Maxwell somberly replied through an otherwise eerily quiet environment in all three meeting rooms. “The Vigilant, the Endurance, and what’s left of Akira-wings three, seven, and fourteen will intercept in roughly fifteen minutes. We can’t promise anything, but one thing’s for sure. It’ll take a hell of a lot more than a few ships firing graviton pulses at that thing. And who is to say they haven’t already found a defense against that tactic?”

“You do what you can, Ben,” Jellico instructed. “Right now, it’s all we can do to try to delay it as long as possible while we pull ships from the Eighth and Twelfth Fleets off other battle fronts. The commander of the Tenth Fleet is concerned that it may drastically undermine a delicate operation about to be carried out in the Beta Veldonna system.”

“Limis’s mission,” Kozar said in recollection of the details of his CO’s mission to Sentok Nor in orbit of Betazed.

“The very same,” the admiral confirmed.

“Then you can tell Admiral Pierce that we are all in this together,” Kozar snapped, “and that if Starbase G-6 falls, our ability to conduct the Kalandra Campaign would also be drastically undermined.”

“I have,” Jellico shot back while his teeth, trying to keep from chastising the commander for his insolence, as it would not be productive at this moment. “And he assures me his operation is just as important.”

“Understood,” Kozar relented.

“Good luck, Captain Maxwell,” Jellico said in a calmer tone.

Maxwell signed off. His image was briefly replaced by a Starfleet insignia on the right side of the video monitor. “Commander Kozar,” Jellico added, his face occupying the whole screen. “What’s your ship’s status?”

“We’re still in pretty bad shape, sir,” Kozar somberly replied, considering the great many people on the Lambda Paz dead or missing as a result of the last attack. “We’ve got crews working around the clock to get warp drive and weapons in working order.”

“Do what can so that you and the rest of your wing that intercept that heavy cruiser. Get it done. Jellico out.”

Kozar stared at the blank screen as he considered the arduous tasks ahead. He was alone with his thoughts when the doorbell chimed. “Come?” he said, as if welcoming the visit.

Chaz Logan and Erhlich Tarlazzi entered the briefing room from the bridge once the doors parted. Kozar’s enthusiasm was quickly tempered upon seeing the acting executive officer and secondary chief engineer. “What do you have, gentlemen?” he grimly inquired.

“We’re rushing repairs on the warp drive,” said Logan, “but it’s tough going. We should have Warp Four in less than an hour, but that’s not enough to intercept the heavy cruiser in time. I’d still rather be rebuilding the coil assembly at a shipyard.”

“We don’t have that luxury,” Kozar plainly stated. “We need every intact ship we can spare to stop that heavy cruiser. Mister Tarlazzi, make weapons and shields a priority as well.”

“Aye, sir,” Tarlazzi said with a firm nod. “I’ve been working on a way of enhancing the efficiency of the dilithium and antimatter regulators. If it works, I should give you Warp Eight for a few hours. That should be enough to intercept the cruiser with time and a half to spare.”

“Do you what you have to do, Lieutenant,” Kozar instructed, “don’t let any safety protocols stop you from shunting as much power to the nacelle’s emitters.”

“With all due respect, sir…” Logan started to say when Tarlazzi cut him off.

“I’d still be comfortable with help from Lieutenant sh’Aqba and her work crews,” Tarlazzi offered. “Where is she, by the way?”

“She was trapped in a cargo bay during the last attack,” Kozar answered. “The crews we can spare are trying to locate anyone missing in that section. For now, you are to operate on the assumption that Lieutenant sh’Aqba is not available to help you.”

“I understand, sir,” Tarlazzi said, lowering his head hoping that his colleague was still alive and that he would see her again. The last time they had crossed paths while off duty, Shinar told him he wasn’t her type. He had hoped to court her, but was mostly intending to offer his friendship to someone who had seemed very moody the last few days. She seemed more interested in the Klingon with whom she was arm wrestling before the Lambda Paz departed Starbase G-6. That was okay by him, as long as their awkwardness from their last encounter wouldn’t ultimately be unfinished business.

“Sir,” Logan interjected again, “we risk blowing this ship to pieces with all this jury-rigging.”

“And we may get blown to pieces trying to stop the most advanced Dominion warship,” Kozar added. “I know this ship is your baby, Logan. But we need every available resource at our disposal to keep us losing one of our central starbases. And you have responsibilities to many other ships. I would suggest you attend to them and not worry so much about one ship. Is that understood?”

“Yes, sir,” Logan replied, standing at attention.

“You’re dismissed.”

Logan made a swift beeline for the door and stepped onto the bridge, once again leaving Kozar to consider the heavy losses that he would incur before the end of this day.

Enterprise1981 October 2 2011 04:11 AM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 
Chapter Six (Part Two)

Karlek and sh’Aqba continued to try to force the cargo bay’s entry door open to no avail.

Sh’Aqba then tried to increase power to the emergency hand actuator that was attached to the door. The combined strength of a Klingon and an Andorian still could not slide the double door open even one millimeter. Once neither of them could muster any more strength, Karlek and Shinar stepped back and took slow and deep breaths. “With main power down in this section,” Karlek grumbled, “manually opening a door should not be this hard.”

“Ordinarily… I’d agree with you,” sh’Aqba said between coughs. She then removed a magnetic decoupler from an already open toolkit and ran it across the crevice in the door. After consulting her tricorder, Shinar shook her head in frustration. “As expected,” she huffed, “all the magnetic seals are down. But all the other locking mechanisms are in place. This door was programmed to lock after it closed to keep the cargo bay off limits to all but assigned personnel. We’d need a team of ten to manually release every one of those interlocks.”

“Can we use something salvaged from the wreckage to feed power to this door?” Karlek asked.

“I don’t see how,” Shinar said with a shake of her head. She walked over to cargo bay’s main console and took a glance at a padd containing the salvage inventory. “We took a fairly thorough inventory before the last attack.” A power consumption readout on the console had also caught her attention while she was scrolling down the list on the padd. “But a locked door is the least of our problems,” she added while momentarily shivering. “Life support just failed. We’ll run out oxygen in an hour, but we’ll freeze to death before that happens.”

Sh’Aqba’s antennae quivered as Karlek sauntered towards her. She quickly sensed a brief increase in the Klingon’s skin temperature. That said to her that he was considering the two of them huddling together for warmth, even to the point of stripping naked to share their body heat. “Don’t even think about it, Karlek,” she insisted sternly. “That would only work if the air temperature remained roughly constant.”

Karlek just let out a soft snort. He silently cursed how Andorian quadroscopic vision gave Shinar perceptive abilities most other humanoids did not possess. Sh’Aqba, meanwhile, was considering possible solutions to their current predicament while browsing the inventory list on the padd. “But maybe,” she said, pacing over to a cargo container. She opened the container and scanned the component with her tricorder to confirm that it was still in working order. “Yes, we can attach a phase modulator to a micro-optic drill.” She then pointed in the direction of a set of containers where spare tools were stored. “You mind finding a micro-optic drill?” she asked of Karlek. “One should be in a container marked laser tools.”

“No problem,” Karlek cheerfully answered. He quickly sauntered over to the set of containers on the other side of the bay and immediately found the container to which Shinar was referring. He effortlessly removed the lid and threw it aside, showing off his super strength.

Shinar rolled her eyes and shook her head, thinking he was hoping to court her. If that was the case, she was not so certain about rejecting his courtship and refusing to pursue him. In the days since she had received a message from Andor to return home to perform the sheltreth with her bondmates, she had been able to avoid acting on certain sexual urges, even if that meant she was more short-tempered towards her non-Andorian and non-Klingon colleagues.

Karlek found the drill he was seeking and handed it to Shinar while she was carrying the phase modulator to the door. “I will start working on integrating the phase modulator into the drill to widen the field,” she explained as she removed a circuit casing from the drill and set it aside on the main console. She then handed the inventory list to Karlek. “I need you to gather together all spare components we can siphon energy off of—phaser emitters, photon torpedo launch initiators, antimatter regulators. Once that’s done, I’ll try to link those into an energy converter.”

“Very good,” Karlek said with a quick browse of the padd. “We work well together. Perhaps you should mentor the engineers on the Tigoth, assuming it survived the engagement.”

“I appreciate the offer,” Shinar retorted with a smile as she kept her focus mainly on her immediate task. “But I have plenty of people to mentor on this ship.”

***

After nearly an hour of modifying various pieces of equipment, both sh’Aqba and Karlek were shivering. Not even the thermal blankets both of them had donned were enough to keep warm. Both struggled to keep their hands steady enough while having to align very small components. They still kept at it, knowing what needed to be done in order to escape the cargo bay alive.

Once sh’Aqba was finished reassembling the laser drill, she aimed it at the door crevice. Breaking through all the interlocks took about five minutes. During that time, she checked Karlek’s progress. He was still in the process of wiring various energy sources into an energy converter. “Winters on Andor aren’t even this cold,” Shinar remarked. “All things considered, I’d rather be on Andor than in here even if that means I would be asked to conceive a child with my bondmates.”

“You have a mate,” Karlek said, somewhat dejectedly. His teeth were chattering and his concentration barely on his work.

“Sorry to let you down,” Shinar retorted taking the cord from the energy converter and plugging it into a socket to the right of the entry door. ”Three mates. Andorians marry in groups of four. Our bondmates are chosen for us during childhood ever since our scientists learned we are in danger of extinction. I understand my responsibilities to propagating my species. We all understand the importance of our union. But I don’t love them the way two spouses of many other sentient species love each other.”

“How unfortunate.”

“It seems so unfair. How much must one give up for the greater good of a whole race, even if it is in danger of extinction.” She shook her head, fighting back tears. She felt a measure of relief pouring her heart out to Karlek, even if she had no intention of pursuing a romantic affiliation with him. She then turned her attention to the energy converter and keyed the activation sequence. “But I guess there is no honor in being someone’s lover on the side.”

Karlek was about to respond when the doors parted just enough for one person to squeeze through. Sh’Aqba sprinted over to the door with her Klingon colleague right behind her. Shinar pressed a button on the hand actuator and both used all their strength to slide the doors further open. She then trudged over to the computer interface panel across the hallway, hoping to reroute any emergency life support to that section of the deck. “The place should warm up very quickly,” she said with slow and deep breaths, savoring in the fresh oxygen.

Karlek fell to the deck and rolled over on his back. Shinar leaned on the wall and slid into a sitting position. They were both relieved to be out of the cargo bay and to be in an area with some breathable air. After a few efforts to hold in chuckles, they soon erupted in laughter.

“Starfleet engineers, the miracle workers of the quadrant,” Karlek proclaimed.

Qa’Pla!” sh’Aqba replied, still short of breath. After she caught her breath, the laughter had resumed, enjoying every moment of victory in a battle far from over.

###

Sara Carson felt another slight pain in her forehead while awaiting a cup of tea at the replicator tray. A cloth bandage was adhered to her right temple over the scar where she hit her head during the last confrontation with the Dominion. She took a brief sip and felt a tingling in her tongue felt worse than the throbbing pains all over her head. Her quarters were a mess with bits of debris and shrapnel scattered all over the floor. The articles of clothing that normally littered the floor, the tables and chairs, and the sofa gave off smells of burnt ash. Another sharp pain seared through her head that made her almost drop her tea cup when she heard a knock at the door. She took slow and deep breaths while setting the cup down on the desk to the left of the door. Slipping her fingers in the crevice, she was able to effortlessly slide the double-doors open.

Rebecca Sullivan was on the other side, carrying a pile of extra clothes and a tool kit in her arms. Rebecca then walked into the cabin without even being invited inside, and threw the garments onto the floor. “Life support in my quarters is down,” she matter-of-factly stated. “Mind if I crash here a while?”

Rebecca had already made herself at home, so Sara was not in much a position to refuse even though this cabin was her assigned quarters. “Not at all,” she said half-sarcastically. “As an ancestor of mine once would say, mi casa es su casa.”

“You don’t look so good yourself,” Rebecca commented of Sara’s injury.

“Sickbay is pretty booked up, so they sent me home for the day.”

“Would a kiss make it better?”

Sara rolled her eyes. Not since she was a little girl had someone made such an offer and that someone was her mother. As she got older, she knew that was not an effective means of anesthetizing her pain. “Oh, come on, Rebecca,” she snorted.

Rebecca then planted a quick kiss on the wound on Sara’s forehead.

Sara gave a light grin. “That does feel a bit better,” she said half-heartedly.

“Glad to be of help,” Rebecca retorted.

###

The Defiant-class ships Vigilant and Endurance flanked a pair of Galaxy-class ships, one above the other, as they moved closer to the Dominion heavy cruiser. Bringing up the rear were several dozen Akira, Saber, and Miranda-class ships. The two larger Galaxy-class ships moved in on the heavy cruiser firing primary phasers and torpedoes. The shields of the two ships absorbed enemy torpedo impacts while continuing to fire with ventral phasers from the secondary hull. The two Defiants’ fired multi-targeting phasers at the warp nacelles and quantum torpedoes at the secondary impulse engines. The rest of the squadron swooped in firing all weapons before moving out of the enemy weapons range.

***

Benjamin Maxwell sat rigidly in the command chair of the USS Vigilant, keeping quick glances at the tactical stations to starboard, the engineering and communications stations to port, and the conn ahead. All officers on the bridge firmly gripped their stations as the ship absorbed another hit while making a hard turn to port to move out of the line of fire.

“All ships,” move in for another pass,” called the captain of one of the Galaxy-class ships. “We have to try to slow it any way we can.”

“You heard him,” Maxwell ordered Tor Makassa, the Kobliad ensign at conn. “Come to course two-three-one mark three-six.” Turning his attention to Jovis Ren, a Bolian lieutenant at the primary tactical station, Maxwell added, “All weapons on full.”

***

The two Defiant-class warships on opposite sides of the heavy cruiser swung back around and continued firing all weapons with a dozen Mirandas following suit. Swarms of torpedoes tore through the hulls of three of those ships while rest of the ships continued a relentless attack on a ship twice the size and with five times the arsenal of a Galaxy-class starship while continuing to dodge and absorb endless torpedo hits.

Enterprise1981 October 5 2011 08:07 PM

Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "Especially the Lies"
 

Chapter Seven

Thalek was utterly speechless when he heard what Manuel Amaros had just told him. Amaros killed his cell leader Cal Hudson when as far as the general public concerned; Hudson was just another casualty in the conflict between the Maquis and the Cardassians.

“I had a feeling you had some kind of secret like that,” Thalek finally said. “But why? Why did you kill your own cell leader.”

“I was part of a group tasked with making sure your kind were honoring the peace treaty,” Amaros explained, as if completely under the influence the drugs he had been administered. “At the same time, we had to make sure the Maquis didn’t do anything that would escalate into war.”

“He’s distracting you,” Moset cut in, preparing new doses of truth serum for both M’Rev and Amaros. “Another few milliliters and he’ll tell us what we need to know.”

“Fine,” Thalek snapped, raising a hand. “But first I want to know what it was that led this man to take such extreme action.”

“But why?” Moset demanded. “The Maquis are defeated and it doesn’t really matter that one of their leaders didn’t die the way we thought he did.”

In one corner of the lab, Limis slipped out of a crawlspace and crawled underneath the nearest console. She made sure her son stayed in the crawlspace as she instructed and took a quick glance at the two prisoners, looking for just the right spot to fire her phaser at the restraints holding her colleagues.

“An incident like this,” Thalek explained, “demonstrates that while Starfleet did not outwardly endorse the Maquis’ activities, it is not as ‘morally superior’ as advertised.”

“Ah, yes, diplomatic and political blackmail,” Moset said with a roll of his eyes. “I can’t begin to tell you how overrated that is.”

“I serve the state in my own way, Moset. And so do you!”

Limis then decided this moment of dissension between the two Cardassians to make her move. While still in a crouching position to avoid drawing the attention of the two guards, she aimed her phaser and fired two bursts that released the two restraints. She then dove across the deck, landing on her back and shooting both Jem’Hadar guards dead in nearly a single motion.

Both of the prisoners landed on their feet, Amaros delivering Thalek a right hook to the jaw despite his still restrained wrists while M’Rev lunged into Moset, allowing one of the hyposprays in the doctor’s hand to inject the contents into his chest. “Looks like the shoe is on the other foot, huh, Thalek?” Amaros gloated as he loosened his restraints and flung them on the floor.

“No time for victory celebrations, gentlemen,” Limis cut in, gesturing her liberated colleagues to the crawlspace hatch. “We have to get out of here. Yanith, let’s go.”

Yanith crawled back the way he came allowing his mother room to crawl in behind him. Amaros grabbed Thalek by the lapel, disruptor pistol in the other hand, and shoved him towards the hatch. M’Rev then shoved Moset in the back, coaxing him towards the hatch.

***

In operations, Gul Tajor monitored various panels on the central console. He then trudged up the steps to the prefect’s office, quickly gesturing Lemec to step out of his office and then looked at the operations officer’s readouts. He then tapped a few keys on the engineer’s console and found similar readouts.

“Sir,” he called to Lemec, who just entered Ops with Kelnor right behind him. “I’m picking up increased power build-ups in the laser fusion initiators. We’ve also noticed a decline in the structural integrity fields of the docking ring and central core. A reactor core overload could happen any minute.”

“I’ll dispatch engineering teams,” Lemec said while his hand was fumbling for something in his holster. “Two enemy fleets are on the way. I need you with the task force, Tajor.”

“I can be of some help,” Gul Hadar offered, stepping into Ops from one of the side entrances.

“Dispatch as many of your troops you can spare,” Lemec barked. “She’s your bounty after all.”

At the same time, Lemec was ordering every other Cardassian to their assigned ships. Kelnor was also ordering the Jem’Hadar in Ops to do the same. The Vorta then gave an approving nod for his two personal guards to leave Ops. They still looked skeptical that their Vorta could handle Lemec himself, but still obligingly stepped onto the port turbolift.

“That was rather foolish,” Lemec muttered, removing a hypospray from his weapon holster. He then jammed it in the back of Kelnor’s neck, immediately sending him to the deck. Lemec then placed a transporter tag on the unconscious Vorta’s neck. Once it was activated, Kelnor was beamed away.

***

Limis sauntered down a corridor, her son by her side, and M’Rev and Amaros behind them with their hostages. “Starship Nautilus, this is Limis,” she said, tapping her combadge. She then opened her tricorder and accessed a set of coordinates recently programmed into the device. “Stand by for my signal. Beam the strike teams aboard on my command. I’m also transmitting sets of coordinates to lock on.”

The last command piqued Moset’s interest. As he was looking in Limis’s direction, M’Rev clasped both his shoulders and shoved him forward. “And what exactly are these coordinates of yours?” he wondered aloud, not expecting any answer.
“I told you that you’re little freak show was over,” Limis cryptically replied, stowing away her tricorder.

“Captain, whatever you plan to do to me?” Thalek chimed in as he and the others stopped at a control junction at the end of the corridor, “I want you to know that my family was in danger once I was caught.”

“Is that so?” Limis snapped, while fidgeting with a few circuits in the junction. “I guess I haven’t fully mastered the Cardassian concept of help.”

“No more than I have mastered the Tellarite concept of politeness,” Thalek quipped. “I did it to protect my family, just as you are here for the welfare of your son.”

“I can sympathize with your reasoning,” Limis said, keeping her focus on her work, “but for right now, you can shove it.” With one yank of a set of wires, the last phase of the plan to destroy the station was in place. The corridor shook hard, sending everyone in the area against the wall on their right.

Limis was about to tap her combadge when a phaser blast came her way. She ducked out of the way, while signaling the others to take cover. Amaros, M’Rev, and Yanith lay down cover fire at the attacking Cardassians while escorting the two hostages into an adjoining corridor. Meanwhile, Limis kept firing while keeping an eye on the junction.

In the midst of the unending firefight, Limis was tackled from the behind by Lemec. While she struggled to gather himself, Lemec gestured the rest of the troops to pursue the others. He then stood upright pointing his pistol at Limis. “If I die here, at least I’ll take you with me,” he hissed.

“Spoken like a loyal servant of the Cardassian state,” Limis countered, grabbing both his wrists and flinging him to the ground, while kicking away his weapon.

Further down the corridor, Amaros was clipped by phaser fire. M’Rev continued firing keeping the enemy soldiers at bay, while checking on his former Maquis cohort. “Leave me,” Manuel insisted.

“You’d just love for me to do that,” Goris shot back.

Goris then snorted in annoyance and wrapped Manuel’s arm around shoulder while he and Yanith were continuing to lay down cover fire, keeping a close eye on the two hostages. But almost without warning, Thalek ran towards Amaros and M’Rev and grabbed Manuel’s weapon. “What are you doing?” Goris demanded.

Thalek fired the pistol he had just grabbed, quickly dispatching the two Cardassians on both sides of the hallway. With barely a second to turn around, he took a flurry of Jem’Hadar plasma charges from behind. M’Rev and Yanith fired futilely in the direction of the two guards, who quickly took cover.

Lemec shoved Limis against the wall, tightly clutching her neck. She jammed her right knee into the Cardassian’s abdomen and delivered a right forward hook to his left jaw and a backhand hook at his right jaw, loosening his grip. Tapping her combadge, she called out, “Energize!”

In a split second, she and Lemec dematerialized, as did M’Rev, Amaros, Yanith, and Moset.

###

Outside the station, a Starfleet armada was in fierce combat with Jem’Hadar and Cardassian warships. Two Galaxy-class ships were firing phasers at two Galor-class warships, laying down cover fire for a squad of Miranda and Saber-class ships led by the Miranda-class USS Nautilus. The Nautilus fired both phasers and quantum torpedoes at the Galors and a pair Hideki-class fighters while swerving away from squads of Jem’Hadar fighters.

In the midst of all the ship-to-ship combat, Sentok Nor was falling apart. Ships on both sides were quickly moving away from the station before it exploded in a blinding fireball.


###

Limis and her team materialized in a cargo bay aboard the Nautilus. She quickly took in her surroundings and then embraced her son. Two years of not knowing whether her child was dead or alive and all the worry and fear that came with it now gave way to elation and tears of joy. She quickly composed herself, not wanting to be so emotionally vulnerable around subordinates, moving her head off Yanith’s shoulder while still stroking his hair.

Also in the cargo bay were M’Rev and Amaros, along with Bowers and Tannin. Gul Lemec had also been brought aboard, as were individuals of various races who were Moset’s experimental subjects. Medics entered the bay to attend to them while two security officers had Lemec escorted to the brig. Limis took one last look at the Cardassian she was fighting just a few short minutes ago. Lemec had the same neutral expression on his face, but their long stare was an acknowledgement of Limis’s victory.

Moset himself, however, was conspicuously absent, as were Corporals Ortega and Patal. Limis exchanged silent glances with each of her remaining officers. They all quietly the mourned loss of their colleagues, but couldn’t help but celebrate Moset’s presumed death.

Of course, for now, Limis was happy to be reunited with her son and hugged him again.


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