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2375—The Dominion War—The Battle for the Shipyard
Cardassian Rasgălor of Lessek
Metal glowed and groaned with each disruptor pulse from the Jem’Hadar firing at the door to the shipyard’s computer core.
Rebek and T’Ruveh stood between the injured Iymender and the weakening door. Te-Mae-Do took point right at the door, hoping her non-cardasdanoid height and proportions would catch the first few attackers off guard.
“Status, Iymender!” the lady gul snapped.
“Getting there—I just need a few more minutes!”
Gul Rebek scrutinized the door with the aid of the hunter array—temperatures were steadily rising past the tolerance threshold of its duranium lining. Beyond, she spotted a contingent of three Jem’Hadar, five Cardassians. “We don’t have a few more minutes, Riyăk
…at this rate, we’re going to have company in less than one!”
The metal began to glow visibly in an ovoid pattern the height of a Jem’Hadar. T’Ruveh squinted as the glow grew more intense. Rebek, on the other hand, stared every bit as intently as before. This would be a huge test of the adaptiveness of her modified hunter array.
Even with a potentially overwhelming force about to blow through the door, the tinkerer in Rebek grinned—for just as the blazing light threatened to grew too painful to look at, the array reacted perfectly, selectively dimming the light just barely below the tolerance threshold of Cardassian eyes.
The gul of the Romac
raised her rifle.
A metal sheet clanged violently to the floor, propelled by a massive Jem’Hadar boot.
Rebek fired. The Jem’Hadar dropped, a plate-sized hole incinerated from his chest.
And from there it was chaos…one after the other—five more assailants, no time for anything but to react: to shoot and claw and kick and shield, and for Iymender…hopefully, hopefully, to keep up his critical work before someone thought to take a disruptor to his head. Rebek entered the peculiar time dilation of battle; the difference between a minute and an instant so blurred as to be one indistinguishable now
, united by the primitive fury of a burning planet deep within her heart:
For Septimus—for all Cardassia: traitors and alien aggressors alike would die by her hand!
She swung her rifle around yet again—
” Cardăsda words…clear, analogue, no translator distortion: Please! Don’t shoot!
Hands waved—empty hands, grey hands…
“Rebek! No!” Te-Mae-Do growled in her clipped manner. “Allies!”
Rebek paused, took stock of the situation. Dust wafted in the light, drifting to the floor like the remnants of a Hăzăkda sandstorm. All three Jem’Hadar lay dead, as did two of the Cardassian intruders. The other three still stood; T’Ruveh, Te-Mae-Do, and Chedrigan had lowered their weapons.
“We have these men to thank for our survival,” T’Ruveh declared.
The senior of the trio, a gor
according to his cuirass inscription, bowed. “My name is Sholketh; these are Holor and Trivash. And we are no friends of the Dominion.”
Rebek, standing down now, bowed her thanks, then turned to issue orders. “Iymender is with us; his safety is mission-critical. He’ll need to be carried when we move out—shattered ankle.”
Sholketh nodded. “Consider it done, Gul. I should warn you,” he added, “the Vorta’s got another batch of Jem’Hadar headed this way…this one without any of us. He suspects—but I don’t think he realizes just how many of us there are. How soon will Riyăk
Iymender be done?”
“Just a couple more…” Iymender mumbled under his breath in a half-reply. “Hm…make that one
more...” The programmer’s finger stabbed triumphantly into the screen, so hard Rebek half-feared he’d punch through to a plasma conduit. “Done!
“Well?” Rebek prodded. “Have we got the ships?”
, hopefully explosion-free, awaiting our command!”
Rebek rolled her eyes and tried not to think too much on what Iymender meant by ‘hopefully.’
“Let’s move, let’s move!
And the chaos descended upon them again.
“I hear voices in the conduits,” the Andorian hissed, “headed this way!”
“Any signs Speros has attacked?” Macet asked.
“Difficult to tell,” Crewman Burakgazi replied, “but hearing much shouting and cursing above, I am. What say you?” he asked zh’Thessel.
“I concur,” she said.
Macet weighed his options—and decided. “We attack, before our pursuers can warn them. I’ll throw the hatch—everyone prepare to fire immediately, weapons on setting two!” This setting, while lethal to cardasdanoids, would avoid unnecessary damage to base infrastructure, some of which they might need to free Dalin
Zopreg and prep the Hide’eki
for launch. He pointed at zh’Thessel. “You go first.”
The Andorian mumbled an acerbic something under her breath—it sounded an awful lot like, “Figures.”
That did it. He had made all the allowances he could, but that sort of sullen compliance would not do, not when everything could turn on this moment. “Drop it—time is short!” Macet snapped from pure instinct. “We are outnumbered, we need them to hesitate, and you are the most likely to make them do it! Now put your personal problems aside and help us deal with the one at hand!”
Macet cast a sidelong glance at the rest of his team. Ador was focused and ready as a Cardassian soldier ought to be under such circumstances, hand already lifted to the hatch. As for Burakgazi, his expression was difficult to read. Does he hold his silence because he wishes to back zh’Thessel but does not out of deference to my rank—or because he sees that I, a Cardassian, am right to overrule his commanding officer?
Either way, further disunity could not be tolerated…not now. Not when even he
was beginning to hear the faint clicks and clangs down the conduit that signaled someone’s approach.
” he shouted the instant zh’Thessel fell into position. Let’s go!
Disruptors discharged the instant the Andorian’s head cleared the opened hatch; judging from the indignant howl, one of zh’Thessel’s shots had connected—and the victim was Cardassian. Ador reached over and gave the Andorian a boost as she clambered up into the command center, then leaped through the opening himself.
The rate of disruptor fire was increasing exponentially, erupting from far too many sources and felling far too many to be coming from zh’Thessel and Ador alone. They’re rebelling!
he realized. Burakgazi was pushing for the opening, but Macet shoved him out of the way. “I’m going next—give me a boost!”
The Hăzăkda gul crouched, then leaped up and into a symphony of sparks and shouts. “Those who stand for Cardassia—rally to me!
” he commanded the instant he rolled onto his feet.
Then he spun on his heel. He saw nothing but he felt
it nonetheless, a presence, a whisper of air and bioelectric energy impossibly close. No time to aim: he swung the butt of his rifle in an arc, until—crack!
The impact snapped one of the disruptor rifle’s plasteel covers loose, and the force slammed through Macet’s entire skeleton as though he’d lashed out at one of the great stone memorial statues of the capital. The air wavered like a desert mirage and before the Jem’Hadar could fully unshroud and defend himself, Macet reversed his rifle and squeezed the trigger. Heat washed over Macet as the Jem’Hadar and the air around him superheated at point-blank range.
Another set of patina-green scales flew through the air at Macet; he ducked and lashed out with his fist. Here Macet’s earliest combat training served him by instinct—hit with the grain of your own scales, against the grain of your opponent’s
. The Jem’Hadar’s scales were each far larger, and in the hyperawareness of combat he could see each and every one of them, each the size of the rugged macroscales at his temples…and much harder and sharper than the tiny microscales of his knuckles. Still, his technique paid off: a few of them peeled free from the Jem’Hadar’s jaw and stuck down deep into Macet’s hand.
He had no time to register the pain, for the Jem’Hadar showed little sign of his own. There was no time to draw his pistol, insufficient distance to sweep his rifle forward. Something shined as it flew through the air towards his throat—the dreaded kar’takin
blade, the symbol of a Jem’Hadar’s ‘honor’ and the final sight of many a Dominion victim—
—his right shoulder slammed hard onto the metal deckplate and the next thing Macet knew, a Cardassian corpse shielded his body, the handle of the kar’takin
sticking out at the temple just between the hairline and the hook of the eye ridge. The Jem’Hadar lay motionless as well, felled by a well-placed disruptor blast from—
—Crewman Burakgazi turned from his last target towards a fleeing grey-white blur with the pallor of Upper Rivçal and fired just as his target shot one last glance behind him with those unnaturally-bright green eyes…
“The Vorta is dead!” Macet snarled. “Mrotoc Cardăsa!
” Cardassia is rising!
The eye ridges of the Cardassian now taking aim at him went wide with fear at that announcement. As well they should be!
The gul’s eidetic memory immediately supplied his identity. “Traitor!
” he shouted, and an instant later, Garheç
Vergal’s head exploded.
And everything fell silent, save the whirring of the heater and the chirping of the computer. The terhăn
, Burakgazi, stood with hands on his knees, breathing hard, positively drenched in sweat. It felt a bit warm to Macet after the melee, but far from unbearably so—yet for a Cardassian, such symptoms would suggest the young man was hovering dangerously close to heatstroke.
“Gul—over here!” called one of the new rebels. The young garheç
was struggling to keep a female glinn’s hands pinned behind her back. He had seen this woman’s dossier aboard the Trager
months before this day, and recognized her immediately: Glinn Uradnen, the Dominion-appointed systems control officer and commander of the planetside base.
Macet slammed Uradnen against the wall, shoving his disruptor pistol under her chin. At the same time, he began a series of biofeedback exercises all Cardassians learned in primary school to bring even the slightest instinctive signals under his control. With luck, his control would be so exacting that even a trained observer would find it nearly impossible to spot the telltale signs of a lie. The gul had no intention of carrying out any of his threats save one…but Glinn Uradnen could never know.
“Where is Dalin
Zopreg?” he demanded with a low, menacing growl. “I am warning you, traitor—you are already dead, but if you hesitate for even one more second, I will make sure all of Cardassia knows your name and your actions. I will taint your entire family with your infamy…they will live forever under the eye of the Intelligence Bureau thanks to their association with you. And true Cardassians everywhere will shun them. You saw what happened to your precious Dukat when the word got out about his illegitimate child—your treason is far greater than that. Do you care to risk their well-being?”
Uradnen smirked even at gunpoint. Macet wondered if she’d seen it in his eyes somehow, that he held no malice for the half-Bajoran child Dukat had sired, that he only wore his cousin’s snide savagery like an ill-fitting mask. “Nice threat, Gul
—but I think you’re a little short on the means to carry it out.”
“You forget,” Macet hissed, “I have my patience, and that is my greatest resource of all. Make no mistake—I will
outlast your Dominion. And as a condemned woman, do you really want to take a chance on what I will do when the opportunity comes to make good on my threat? On the other hand…if you tell me what I need to know, I will see to your family. You, of course, will pay for your crimes against Cardassia, but I shall tell them
quite a different story. Your husband and children will hear instead of a woman who and died a hero of the Cardassian people. What story shall I tell, Uradnen? Where is Zopreg?”
“He’s…under guard in the conference room. The Jem’Hadar…were holding him until I could schedule the trial and execution.”
“Very good, Uradnen. You’ll come with us—I expect your utmost
assistance in clearing any and every obstacle we encounter or I will consider it a violation of our understanding and act accordingly.”
The subdued glinn responded with only a nod.
Suddenly a gold disruptor beam erupted from underneath a console towards Macet…and wobbled in an almost inebriated manner away from him and into the wall behind him. One of the aggressor’s former colleagues reached around Macet and fired back at maximum—vaporizing the chair…and a decidedly obese figure behind it.
The young gor
for Sorabec, ghentregămst
Macet unhanded Uradnen, but kept his disruptor pistol trained squarely on her. “Uradnen—you will release the lockouts on the conference room. Without
alerting the Jem’Hadar.” Macet paused. It was getting awfully loud in the corridor outside the command center. “And Ador—go see what all the noise is about!”
Ador lifted his rifle into the ready position and crept towards the double doors separating the command center from the rest of the base. About one terhăn
meter away, body angled to expose the smallest profile towards the oncoming forces, he stretched the tips of his grey fingers towards the keypad.
And found himself staring at the business end of a disruptor rifle.