OK, small segment, guys...you get to see what's going on in space during the battle to get into the ground base...
2375—In orbit of Lessek
Dominion battle cruiser
“First Volet’aval!” shouted Retal’atan. “Reading anomalous energy discharges from the surface in the vicinity of the shipyards!”
“What is their nature?” Volet’aval snapped as he strode over to Retal’atan’s console.
“No way to say with certainty due to sensor interference from the surface,” Retal’atan reported. “However, their duration and intensity is consistent with one of three sources: mining operations, construction, or handheld weapons fire…almost certainly at full intensity, for it to read over the interference.”
Volet’aval narrowed his eyes. First that shield failure and now unexpected energy flares…the situation smelled like rebellion. Those four Cardassian ships weren’t moving—they acted as though they were unaware of anything unusual on the surface—but after the debacle at Rondac III and another, more recent raid by Damar’s forces, Volet’aval wasn’t so sure.
When he had first arrived in the Lessek system, that gul on the Trager
had explained the damage to his ship as the result of a Klingon ambush, but now that Volet’aval thought about it, that story didn’t sit right with him. Macet had implied his defeat came from a much smaller and weaker vessel, hence his reticence with the details, but he was a prominent gul of the Third Order—one of the three Orders that traitorous Damar had named in his ill-conceived call to rebellion. Every nerve in Volet’aval’s body screamed that Macet was one of the rebels.
Still, there was something else the natural order of things impelled him to do before he opened fire on an allied facility—no matter how much he despised the devious, slope-necked, half-hearted attempts at Jem’Hadar that called themselves Cardassians. “Metax’etan—get me a channel to the esteemed Vorta; I must speak with him at once.”
“Yes, First,” Metax’etan complied—or attempted to.
“Well?” Volet’aval barked after a few seconds. “Where’s Khenoum?”
“There’s no reply.”
“Keep trying! Make two more attempts and failing that, get a priority signal to the fleet in the Cuellar system.” He shifted his attention. “Retal’atan! Analyze our initial scan of the damage patterns on the Trager
and determine if it’s consistent with Dominion and Breen weaponry. I think they were at Rondac; I want confirmation. And if they were—we show Macet and the others, if they try to defend him, the penalty for resisting the Dominion!”
, regardless of whether he reached the Vorta, was data he’d be free to act on with impunity…orders to punish the rebel Cardassians had come straight from the Founder to all units. Even if he was as yet powerless to send teams to the surface, it would be an honor indeed to destroy the lying voles’ ships as soon as he proved his case.
2375—In orbit of Lessek
“Gul—I’ve got disruptor flashes,” Rota called from the sensor table. “Our people are exchanging fire with base personnel! And one of the Jem’Hadar battlecruisers is trying to signal the Vorta planetside.”
Berat swallowed hard. There was no way whatsoever the Jem’Hadar were missing that: weapons energy compared in intensity to cardasdanoid bioenergy like a fusion reactor to a gasoline engine. Whether they could identify it as readily as Rota could he had no idea, but he expected they soon would. And when they did, they’d surely send out a distress call when they couldn’t get through to that Vorta.
“We can’t wait any longer,” Berat declared. “We now have no choice but to go ahead and activate the jamming field. But before we do that—Mirok, are you ready with the strobe?”
The lead investigative officer nodded. “Yes, Gul,” she confirmed. “Message programmed; test pulse shows the lead probe trained on us.” The probes, floating out in space on minimal power, unresponsive to all but this strange method of communication, had appeared to the Dominion like nothing but space junk for all this time. There was no way, of course, to send them a subspace or even RF signal those Jem’Hadar ships wouldn’t intercept—so instead Berat and Mirok had come up with the idea of communicating with the probe by strobing one of the Sherouk
’s nav lights in a trinary code far too fast for the Cardassian eye to see.
“Send it now. Give it fifteen seconds and then—Rota, I’ll want you to engage the jamming field. Bring it on slowly; we want it to look as natural as possible.”
“Sent!” Mirok confirmed. She tapped a few buttons on the sensor table she and Rota currently shared. A holographic display sprang up over the table showing the locations of the four Gă’ălour
, the orbital drydock, and the three Jem’Hadar battlecruisers over the sphere of Lessek. A field of increasing strength radiated out from the probes, indicated by tiny dots spread through the space between Lessek’s upper atmosphere and the drydock. “Ionization process initiated,” Mirok reported. “We should have ourselves a nice little storm in another minute. Nothing major as far as navigation’s concerned—but quite disruptive for anyone trying to signal outside the Lessek system.”
“Jamming field engaging, Gul!” Rota followed.
“I estimate we only have a few minutes left at most. Yejain—see to it that all personnel brace themselves immediately for zero-g: all hazardous objects stowed or strapped down, all crew secured by harness or magnetic grips.” They still dared not signal an alert by conventional means lest the Jem’Hadar key onto it, or Berat would have paged the order shipwide.
“I obey, Gul.” Yejain bowed, then turned to signal his runners.
“That goes for bridge crew as well,” Berat warned, reaching carefully for the console at his right to trigger the seat harness. The other seated crewmembers followed his lead. Rota, Mirok, and Yejain activated the magnetic grips that came standard in the heavy boots of all Cardassian soldiers serving shipboard. “Computer!” he called. “Place all systems in hot standby for sequence Berat-Yejain Nine-Hănor
He glanced at his right-side console once more. The one-touch activation button had appeared in its center just as he had designed it. Berat turned his head towards Yejain. His first officer did not have to nod…his eyes spoke for him: the same trigger had appeared on his own console. Cardassian computers never accepted voice command alone for programs of this magnitude; therefore Berat had written a secondary authorization into the program for Yejain just in case.
“Be ready,” Gul Berat said. “Things are going to get rough.”