Historians Note: The main storyline takes place during the week between the events of "Sacrifice of Angels" and "You Are Cordially Invited…"
Captain’s Log, Stardate 51241.3: The Lambda Paz is docked at Deep Space 9 for repairs, following the successful Operation: Return. With a lull in the fighting, my crew is enjoying some much-needed time off before returning to the front lines.
One of the hardest duties of Starfleet officer was ordering his or her crew to their deaths. Limis was put in that position during her time in the Bajoran resistance and in the Maquis. On numerous occasions, she questioned whether the causes those groups fought for were worth laying down the lives of her cohorts. While not a believer in the Prophets, the mysterious non-corporeal beings inside the Wormhole, like most Bajorans, Limis did find solace in memorializing those who had made the ultimate sacrifice as a reminder that they were people and not machines.
Nearly two dozen crewmembers gathered in the forward most section of the ship’s saucer section to say their goodbyes to those who lost their lives in the four months since the Dominion War began. From the destructive Siege of Sector 21607, where Starfleet was lured into a Dominion ambush, to the Betreka Nebula counterstrike, designed to divert enemy forces from the battle to retake Deep Space Nine, the Lambda Paz
had suffered heavy casualties among its officers and crew.
Captain Limis Vircona, Commander Ronnie Kozar, Lieutenant Commander Mandel Morrison, and Commander Chaz Logan stood before the front viewport wearing full dress uniforms. Among the others present was Shinar sh’Aqba, Erhlich Tarlazzi, Rebecca Sullivan, Sara Carson, and Aurellan Markalis.
“Since this war began,” Limis proclaimed, “we have lost so many ships and so many lives. But our cause in battling the forces of tyranny and oppression remains a just one. It is important that we remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice. We are gathered here today to honor their memories.”
A procession of caskets exited the ship from the forward torpedo launchers. They were accompanied by a shuttle escort on both sides. Kozar then began to read the names of the deceased on a padd in the order their caskets were ejected.
“Nowitzki. Hayes. Mitchell. Prieto. Hawkins. Jones. Compton. Sonak. Yar. Grabowski. Monroe. Tomlinson. Hawk. Branson. Th’Ralt. T’Mirra. Davis. Munoz. Kaplan”
“From the stars we came,” said Limis, “and to the stars we shall return.”
For the first time in as long as he could remember, Quark was actually glad to see his establishment on Deep Space 9 crowded with Starfleet officers.
During the four months when the station was under Dominion control, the Ferengi admitted while drunk that he missed the Federation. Though Federation and Ferengi values were in conflict, Quark found he preferred Starfleet over the Dominion and the Cardassians.
He personally delivered the beverages ordered by three members of the Lambda Paz
crew. Commander Ronnie Kozar, Lieutenant Commander Mandel Morrison, and Lieutenant junior grade Sara Carson sat at a table near the bar and to the right of the Dabo wheel. Morrison took a sip of his alcoholic beverage before looking over at Kozar, seated on the other side of the table. “So where do you think we’re going next?” he matter-of-factly asked his friend.
“I’d rather not think about that for the next few days,” Kozar sighed before taking a sip of his beverage.
Carson, seated at Morrison’s right, smacked her lover’s arm with the back of her left hand. “Can’t you have you think of something other than work for one minute?”
“I disobeyed orders to save your life,” Morrison retorted.
“That’s fair,” Carson replied. She then looked away from both men while rolling her eyes.
Kozar still knew that incident was a topic Carson was not comfortable with. After her shuttle crash-landed on a planetoid during their ship’s maiden voyage, the captain decided to lead an away team to locate Carson and her copilot. In the midst of a firefight with the Jem’Hadar, Limis decided to abandon the rescue, but Morrison went off to save Carson anyway.
That incident was Ronnie’’s first clue about the nature of Mandel’s relationship with Sara. He did not know for sure until one morning when they were late for their duty shifts. “So, what is the nature of your relationship?” he asked them.
“We haven’t exactly defined it just yet,” Mandel stated. “We’re taking it slowly.”
“We’re just two people who enjoy each other’s company,” Carson added.
Kozar smirked as if he didn’t buy what the two of them were a saying.
Carson looked over the table at the floor hearing a humming noise. She did not hear it until a lull in the conversation. And it was getting louder. “Do you hear that?”
Kozar turned his head to listen for the noise to which Carson was referring. “Yes,” Kozar answered. “It’s like a humming noise.”
Kozar and Carson both stood up and slowly tiptoed towards the source of the noise. The hum was then replaced by a swishing noise. Morrison stood up and knocked over the table in the process of tackling his two colleagues. A fireball erupted from the floor. Most of the debris that accompanied the explosion caught Morrison, as all three of them were knocked unconscious.