“Captain on the bridge!”
That seemed like an odd statement for Morrison to make regarding a civilian who had just stepped off the turbolift. Nevertheless, the crew had been informed of their new CO. The ship was getting underway in less than a hour, so some protocols had to be bent.
Morrison stood next to Kozar among a crowd of officers and technicians gathered in the center of the bridge. Logan was among those officers, as was the Andorian shen
Shinar sh’Aqba, Kozar’s communications officer on the Horatio Nelson
, who was now serving as a warp drive specialist.
Limis held up a padd containing orders from the admiralty, knowing the sooner she started this silly ritual the better. “To Limis Vircona, stardate 51067: you are hereby granted a Starfleet battle commission of captain. You are further requested and required to assume command of the USS Lambda Paz
as of this date. Signed Vice-Admiral William Ross, Starfleet Tactical’s Strategic Branch.”
The others on the bridge gathered around their new captain to shake her hand. Kozar was the last to shake her hand. “Computer,” he said, “transfer all command codes to Captain Limis Vircona, authorization Kozar 4-7-3 Alpha Red.”
The computer chimed in acknowledgement. “Transfer complete. USS Lambda Paz
now under the command of Captain Limis Vircona.”
“Now that that’s over with,” Kozar announced to the rest of the bridge crew, before looking straight at Limis, “we’ve prepared quarters for you on Deck Seven, Section Fourteen, Room 2-5-0-8. Commander Logan will escort you.”
Logan walked with Limis back to the turbolift she had just stepped off just minutes ago. The crowd dispersed across the bridge, but Kozar and Morrison stayed put. “Ronnie, a word in private,” Morrison whispered.
The two officers stepped into the observation lounge, where thankfully no one was working maintenance. “What’s on your mind, Mandel?” Kozar asked after a quick visual survey of the room.
“What is Ross thinking?” Morrison huffed. “Assigning a Maquis as captain?”
“I don’t like it either,” Kozar stated. “Right now, we have to learn to co-exist with them. Admiral Jellico has assigned me to keep an eye on her. If she steps too far out of line, I’m authorized to relieve her and assume command.”
Kozar walked out of the meeting room, but Morrison stayed and contemplated the situation. But his concern was not about Limis, but about Kozar. His friend had more than earned a starship command, so he would probably let his own ambitions affect his judgment. For now, all he and the other Starfleet vets could do was accept the admiralty’s decision.
Gul Skrain Dukat stared at the baseball Sisko left behind after abandoning Deep Space Nine, which reverted back its Cardassian designation of Terok Nor. Sisko had left it behind in his office, now once again Dukat’s as a message that he would one day return. Dukat saw the baseball as a window into his adversary’s personality, as a way to determine Sisko’s next move against him. He appeared oblivious to what his top Dominion consultant, the Vorta Weyoun, was saying.
“Now that the station is back up and running,” Weyoun stated, “the next priority is to take down that minefield cutting us off from the Gamma Quadrant.”
Dukat’s failure to answer led Weyoun to believe the Cardassian’s mind elsewhere. “Dukat, are you listening to me?” he snapped.
“Of course,” Dukat replied, still staring at the baseball. “The minefield is a top priority.” The smug little Vorta’s condescension was the one constant since Dukat had allied Cardassia with the Dominion. Since the seizure of the station, Weyoun hassled Dukat and his crew day after day about expediting repairs to the sabotaged system, as if the constant badgering would speed things up.
“Sisko is no fool,” Dukat continued. “Those are cloaked, self-replicating mines out there. But rest-assured , our best engineers and scientists are working tirelessly to solve this puzzle.”
The baseball fell out of Dukat’s hands when the doorbell chimed. “Enter!” he shouted.
Dukat’s second-in-command Corat Damar stepped into the office and placed a padd on the desk. “Our listening posts in Sector 21607 have reported an increase in Federation and Klingon reconnaissance activity.”
Dukat made a split-second glance at the padd, the looked up at Damar. “Nothing of value is in that sector,” Dukat insisted. “Let them continue to chase false leads.”
“One message said something about a Jem’Hadar breeding facility,” Damar responded, looking over at Weyoun. “It came directly from a Cardassian patrol. But we have no such facilities there.”
Weyoun, looking at the padd, redirected his gaze to Damar. “Actually, one is about to go on-line in a week,” he said.
Dukat shot Weyoun a befuddled glance. “I was not informed of this. Damar, will you excuse us?”
Damar obediently bolted out of the office. Weyoun spoke once the doors closed again. “Until now, the Cardassian military did not have a ‘need to know’.”
“How many other secret bases do you have?” Dukat demanded.
“That is unimportant. After Toros Three, the Founders felt more subtle approaches were needed.”
With that, Weyoun sauntered out of the office. Dukat wondered how much the Dominion was holding back from him. But that was a matter to worry about after the Federation was defeated.”
was at red alert.
Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax tightly grasped the arms of the command chair. The Dax symbiont’s other hosts had been in numerous combat situations. Jadzia herself had experienced going into combat. But for only the second time in her Starfleet tenure, she was commanding a starship going into a potential battle.
While surveying one of the sectors from Hasin Arnit’s message may have originated, the Defiant
received a distress signal from an old Federation shuttle within Dominion-held territory. The shuttle used a forty-year old distress frequency, so the pilot was most likely a Maquis survivor operating behind the lines to slow the Dominion’s advance. It could’ve been a perfectly designed Dominion trap, however, since a few ships had been lost in this manner since the war began. The more sound tactic became sending one ship to reduce such losses in the future.
“Visual range in two minutes, Commander,” reported Ensign Cecil Haaj, from the helm who spoke with a mixed central Asian and British accent.
Dax nodded in acknowledgement. She then looked to her right at the Ferengi cadet at communications. “Cadet, can you try and raise the shuttle again?”
Cadet Nog entered the command sequence to open a communications channel. The console buzzed indicating the signal was being jammed. Jamming the enemy’s sensors and communications was a typical Dominion tactic. Starfleet had to keep developing new ways to jam the jammers. “No, sir,” Nog answered. “I’ll try to clear it up.”
“Status of weapons and shields?” Dax asked the officer seated at tactical on Nog’s left.
“Phasers charged, quantum torpedoes ready at your command,” the tall red-haired Lisa Neeley reported.
“Shields are at full intensity,” Chief Miles O’Brien added from the portside engineering station. “We’ll be ready to put the shields around the shuttle at a range of eight-thousand kilometers.”
“In visual range in one minute,” Haaj reported.
“Take us out of warp once in visual range,” Dax commanded. “O’Brien, stand ready to beam the pilot aboard. Doctor Bashir to the transporter bay.”
emerged from subspace with its phaser cannons lighting up. The multi-targeting phasers enveloped one of four Jem’Hadar fighters firing at the old Starfleet shuttle. Two of the remaining ships turned and fired phasers back at the Defiant
Those two ships whizzed past the compact Starfleet warship intent on drawing it away from the shuttle. “They don’t want us to rescue this pilot,” Neeley observed of her tactical display, as the bridge rocked from another phaser hit.. The status board showed the ships were trying to draw the Defiant
out of transporter range of the shuttle.”
“Helm, take the bait,” Dax shouted. “Course 2-6-4, mark 9-7.”
made a full 180-degree turn. The starboard fighter turned for another pass towards the shuttle, while the Defiant
fired two quantum torpedoes at the port fighter.
“Cadet,” Dax said looking over at Nog. “Lock a tractor beam to get it out of the line of fire.”
emitted its light blue tractor beam. The shuttle’s shields immediately deflected the beam.
Nog growled in frustration. The old style shuttles were not equipped with multiphasic multi-layered shields designed to resist the Jem’Hadar’s phased polaron disruptors. The Maquis, on the other hand, were very resourceful. “His shields are deflecting the beam. I’ll try hailing him to ask him to lower his shields.”
Nothing but static filled the comm channel. Lieutenant Neeley reported. “His shields won’t hold out for much longer.”
“We sure as hell aren’t waiting for the Jem’Hadar to knock them out,” Dax retorted. “Fire low-frequency tachyons bursts to reset the shields.”
The nose of the Defiant
fired two burst at the shuttle immediately knocking the shields out.
In the transporter bay, O’Brien’s display showed the shuttle’s shields going down. O’Brien immediately energized the transporter. A humanoid body materialized for a split second, but the beam quickly fizzled out.
“Oh, hell,” O’Brien muttered. “He’s got some kind of transporter scrambler,” he told Julian Bashir, looking over his shoulder. “I can compensate if I lock in on anything organic. Modesty be damned.”
“May the Prophets forgive you,” Bashir quipped.
The Bajoran male piloting the shuttle was able to fully materialize as the shuttle exploded. Upon seeing his lack of coverings, the Bajoran man quickly crouched down to conceal his nudity. “What in the Fire Caves kind of transporter sorcery is this?” he snarled.
“We were trying to save your life,” Bashir replied, “but you weren’t making things easy for us.”
A female medic took the blanket off an anti-grav stretcher and placed it around the newest passenger. “And with good reason,” he said. “The information I have is too valuable for the Dominion to let fall into Federation hands.”