“Our fleet should reach the Bajoran system within the hour.”
Revok had contacted Turrell back on Deep Space 9 regarding their role in the planned assassination. Turrell used a Cardassian-issue desk monitor in his possession hooked into the station’s subspace communications system to prevent security from monitoring the transmission. After all, now that security knew he was involved in the planned assassination, any transmissions from quarters to Cardassia would be monitored. “How many ships?” he asked Revok.
“Four Galor-class warships. That’s all we could spare for now. I would suggest you prepare your troops immediately. The fleet will then be in a perfect position to secure Terok Nor.”
Admiral Ross stepped off the starboard turbolift in the operations center. He headed straight for the commander’s office, but no one was inside. “Where’s Colonel Kira?” he asked, first looking at Nog at the main engineering station, then at Major Cenn at the command console.
“She got called away on some urgent business on Bajor,” Cenn answered. Ro walked over to a side panel on the main console to assist in upgrades to the communications system.
“I didn’t’ hear anything about that,” Ross said walking down the steps from the office towards Cenn.
“This is an internal matter that is no concern of Starfleet’s,” Cenn replied without looking up from his console.
“This is a Federation starbase under my general command. I should have a right to know when its commander is indisposed.”
“With all due respect, sir,” Cenn growled looking straight at Ross, “the Bajoran militia does not report to you in matters of state.”
“Got it,” Ro reported. She had finished connecting the communications systems to the listening device Kira was secretly carrying.
“I should have known you were involved,” Kira said to Tahna. “I heard you got out of prison a few months ago.”
“Then congratulations on putting it all together,” Tahna quipped. “But how little you think of me, Kira. You see, I found the Prophets after that unfortunate incident seven years ago.”
“Clearly the Pah-Wraiths have tricked you like they tricked Kai Winn.” The spiritual leader of Bajor had a vision from what she thought were the beings residing within the Wormhole during her last visit to the station. These beings later revealed themselves to be the malevolent Pah-Wraiths, who led her to a Bajoran later revealed to be Dukat. Having become disillusioned with the Prophets, Winn turned to the Pah-Wraiths, and her efforts ultimately led to her demise.
“Oh, come now,” Tahna huffed. “I belong to a sect who interprets the religious texts differently, one that does not believe the Prophets would send us an alien
“The Prophets themselves confirmed that Captain Sisko is their chosen one.”
“How do we know for sure? And for that matter, what good has the Federation done for Bajor?”
Kira had been skeptical, herself, of the Federation presence in the Bajoran system after the end of the Occupation. But she understood the importance of the Federation relief effort. But after standing on the precipice of Federation membership, very few Bajorans questioned Federation intentions. “Why, after all this time, would you ask that question?” she asked. “We have built ourselves back up after a half-century of Cardassian rule.”
“Since then, the Federation has dragged the entire quadrant into a war that could have doomed Bajor. And because the Federation does not execute its prisoners, the Butcher of Bajor escaped, and was able to deprive us of our gods for a short time. Now, it hopes for a peaceful solution with the Breen. Those thugs live to pillage and plunder whatever they can steal. In that regard, they’re worse than the Cardassians.”
“Would you prefer to be under Cardassian rule? Is that why Turrell is in on this?”
“Of course, not. By assassinating Pirak and laying the blame on the Breen, the Federation and the Cardassians will have a pretext for taking more aggressive action.”
The crew in Ops heard Tahna’s last words. Then Kira’s voice came through when she said, “So that is what this is about. You would kill an advocate of peace in order to justify pre-emptive action against the Breen?”
“What’s going on?” Ross asked. “Where’s that coming from?”
“Colonel Kira let herself be captured by the Kohn-Ma,” Nog replied. “We knew you wouldn’t approve of such a dangerous plan.”
“Damned right I wouldn’t,” Ross snapped. “You’re a Starfleet officer, Lieutenant, so you’ll follow my order to get her the hell out of there.”
“Sorry, sir, but they’re using a transporter scrambler,” Nog lied.
“Ask yourself one thing, Tahna,” Kira said through the listening device. “Do you really think the Cardassians will be content to leave Bajor alone once the assassination is carried out?”
Cardassians? Kira’s inquiry caught Ross’s attention. “Check the long-range sensors,” he snapped. “See if a Cardassian fleet is on its way.”
Nog stood up and walked towards the long-range sensor station near the port turbolift. The display screen showed a map of the Bajoran system. The display zoomed outward while the Ferengi scanned for Cardassian ships. Four Cardassian Union logos appeared. Numerous circular blips surrounded the logos. “Confirmed, sir,” he reported. “Four Galor-class warships with support vessels. ETA: forty-eight minutes.”
A Bajoran security deputy walked over to Ro and handed her a PADD. It contained how Ronnick had died. “I have to go,” she said. “Security matter concerning the investigation.”
“Go ahead,” Cenn replied. “And get some security up here ASAP.”
Several levels below, Turrell and twelve other Cardassians marched towards the nerve center of what was once Terok Nor. First, they would take over Ops. Then they would secure other facilities and finally, send confirmation to their reinforcements.”
A Starfleet security guard lowered the forcefield on Solarin’s cell to let Zeyner inside to provide medical treatment. Ro stormed into the cellblock and reactivated the forcefield before confronting the doctor. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she asked.
“Treating him for his Dalphan’s syndrome,” Zeyner answered.
“Is that what Ronnick was getting ‘treatment’ for, ‘Doctor’?”
Solarin felt his stomach, pretending to wince in pain. “I need my meds,” he demanded. “I’m in a lot of pain here.”
“Shut up!” Ro sneered. He grabbed Zeyner by the left arm and dragged him out to the office.
“We didn’t find any poison on Solarin,” Ro continued shoving Zeyner onto a chair. “So I asked Tarses to perform a follow-up to your autopsy on Ronnick.
“He found high levels of tophrazan. In its pure form, it causes gradual death, but diluted, it desensitizes certain pain receptors. Am I correct?”
“Tophrazan is a controlled substance,” Zeyner added. “But it has been sold on the black market. That Ferengi bartender, Quark… “
“Nice try,” Ro interrupted. “But Quark is better at covering his tracks. One canister of tophrazan was missing from the Infirmary’s stock. You’re as bad as Cardassian doctors.”
“You may think I work for the Kohn-Ma,” Zeyner said. “But I’m actually working for the Ministry of Internal Affairs. I was ordered to gather information on the activities of Bajoran splinter groups on the station.”
“I doubt the medical review board will take that into account when they revoke your license. You can still help us by telling the Kohn-Ma’s plan for Pirak.”
“Once their original plan was derailed, they decided on a direct approach.”
Mirt, the Breen delegate strutted down the corridor towards Pirak’s quarters. Only thing was a Breen was not wearing Mirt’s refrigeration suit. One of the Kohn-Ma was moving in for the kill.
An explosion of sparks filled the front of Ops as the two doors to the right and left of the viewscreen slid open. Turrell and eight of his troops raced in expecting heavy resistance. But the place was empty. Or so they thought. Nog hid behind his station waiting to strike.
They wouldn’t have surrendered without a fight. Turrell and the others tiptoed slowly. Nog emerged from behind the tactical sensor station and stunned two of the intruders. “The remaining seven began shooting at Nog, but he ducked down.
Ross and Cenn emerged from behind the science station and phasered two more. The two sides then exchanged phaser fire back and forth, but kept missing.
Three Bajoran security deputies came out of the commander’s office. Phaser fire was being exchanged behind them inside the office, as the other four troops came in through the office’s side door. The deputies stunned two more Cardassians. The Cardassians fired, stunning two of the deputies. The third still standing dove out of harm’s way behind the engineering station.
The deputy, Nog, Ross, and Cenn all came at the three remaining Cardassians from different sides and managed to get all of them with their phasers. The intruders in the office had also been defeated. Four Bajoran deputies exited the office to haul the invaders off to security. Bajoran and Starfleet security officers entered from both turbolifts to help out.
The crew returned to their stations. “Mister Nog,” Cenn asked, “how long until our ships intercept the Cardassian fleet?”
“Four minutes, sir,” Nog answered. “Those Cardassians won’t get the warm welcome they expected.”