December 2009 Writing Challenge: A Single Act
The Second Foundation by Joel Brown
(40 years after the events of Sacrifice of Angels
Commandant's Log, Dominion Date 178567.9
We are now seven weeks into our exploratory mission of the Delta Quadrant. My ship and most members of my crew have proved themselves admirably in the various tasks I have assigned them, all to the glory of the Founders.
Although so far we have done little except record gaseous anomalies and confirm the location of various M-class worlds, last night our long range sensors picked up an interesting anomaly. A Federation-type transponder signal coming from over 50 light years away. As far as we are aware, no Federation ships have ever travelled this far and it is a mystery we are intrigued to resolve.
I have thus ordered my navigation’s officer to plot a wormhole jump to the location of the signal so that we can investigate.
Dominion Ship 89010
Somewhere in the Delta Quadrant
The ship hummed beneath Vorta Peekar as they sped through the artificial wormhole.
His ears thrummed softly as he glanced around his bridge. All around the circular bridge module stood Alpha Jem'hadar, their genetic structures improved after the war with the finest warrior DNA from the now extinct Klingon and Gorn races. Peekar smiled at the sight - a true testament to the greatness of the Dominion. Take the best from your enemies... and then destroy them ruthlessly.
The rest of his crew, taken from other, more amenable Alpha and Beta Quadrant races, remained concentrated on their tasks. The pilot was an Orion, the weapons officers were a Romulan and a Cardassian, while a Ferengi manned the sensor station. Peekar himself was the result of an experimental Dominion program aimed at better integrating the Alpha and Beta Quadrants into the Greater Dominion - his genetic code was a mingling of Vorta, human and Vulcan, providing him with the greatest possible genetic code to carry out his duties.
The human side of him was currently highly excited. Exploration had always been a major part of the human psyche, something that the Founders - in their wisdom - had harnessed to expand the Dominion into unknown territories. While the Delta Quadrant remained a key part of those plans, great fleets of ships had also been despatched beyond the galactic barrier itself, carrying order to the void.
His thoughts were interrupted suddenly by the sound of a harsh beeping coming from the sensor station behind him. Peekar turned, calling up the readout from the station on his viewfinder as he did.
"What is it?" he asked.
The Ferengi - whose name Peekar was still unable to pronounce correctly - kept his eyes fixed to the console. "We are detecting weapons fire coming from our destination."
Peekar frowned. "Why did we not detect this earlier?"
"It may be a new battle or we may have been too far away to pick it up."
Grunting, Peekar turned away. The Vorta side of him wished to dispose of the Ferengi for his failure, but the human side held him back. It was hard, sometimes, balancing the different impulses. Not that he would ever question the Founder's wisdom in making him this way.
"How long until we arrive?"
The Orion pilot did not turn from his station. "Two minutes, thirty five seconds."
"Raise shields, arm weapons. I don't want us to be taken by surprise."
The tension on the bridge rose a few notches and even Peekar felt it. He closed his eyes, accessing the calming waters of his Vulcan heritage, bringing his emotions under control. After a few moments, he opened his eyes again, knowing that their violet hue would have taken on a lighter, blue tinge. Much better.
The next two minutes passed in silence, and then the Ferengi spoke up. "Sensors confirm two ships engaged in a battle. One definitely has a Federation transponder signal, though the configuration is unknown. The other..."
Peekar turned, frustrated at the hesitation, allowing his anger to momentarily escape his Vulcan control. "What?" he snapped.
"The other ship is Borg."
All three parts of his genetic heritage suddenly felt very, very cold. The Borg. They hadn't been heard of in the Alpha, Beta or Gamma Quadrants since the Dominion swept the last flames of resistance aside at the Battle of Sol. Still, Peekar held the memories of every Vorta who had come before him and he knew exactly how dangerous those deranged cyborgs could be.
"Ten seconds to aperture," the Orion pilot said.
Peekar gripped the console in front of him until his hands turned white. Then the wormhole collapsed around them, propelling them out into the middle of a firefight.
Through his viewfinder, Peekar could clearly make out the cubic form of a Borg ship. The other ship was much less identifiable. Though the nacelles were clearly of Federation origin, the body of the ship held the distinctive markers of at least five other races - Peekar recognised Hirogen, Kazon and even Krenim technology.
"Unidentified ship's transponder signal claims it is the CSS Enterprise."
Peekar knew the name, very well in fact - a large part of his human heritage had been stolen from the deceased Federation captain Jean-Luc Picard and he shared some of the man's memories, a graft that it was believed would increase his command capabilities. Picard had long been a thorn in the Dominion's side, one of the last to fall at the end of the war.
Peekar was about to order his ship into the fray when the Enterprise fired a massive particle weapon from its forward hull. The beam struck the side of the Borg ship and a massive explosion shook the cube. Before Peekar could say anything, the Borg vessel exploded entirely, leaving nothing but a debris field behind.
"By the Material Continuum," the Ferengi swore. Normally Peekar would have punished him for blaspheming against the Founders, but he was too shocked by what he had just seen to react.
"What was that?" he asked.
The Romulan weapons officer checked his screens before answering. "It seems to have been some kind of chroniton based weapon, Vorta."
Chroniton-based? That was impossible.
Before he could take the thought any further, though, the Ferengi spoke again. "Vorta, we are being hailed."
"Put it through."
The view of the debris field and the strange ship was replaced almost immediately by a darkened bridge, red lights flashing amidst thick smoke. A female humanoid stood in the middle of the battle scarred bridge, dressed in what Peekar instantly recognised as an old style Starfleet uniform, complete with the pips of a Captain.
"Unidentified ship, this is the Confederation Starship Enterprise. State your intentions."
"This is the Dominion vessel 89010, Vorta Peekar in command. We were on an exploratory mission in the Delta Quadrant when we picked up your transponder signal and decided to --."
"The Dominion?" the female captain cut him off. "The Dominion has no jurisdiction in Confederation space."
"I wasn't aware that there was a Confederation, Captain..?"
"Wildman," the woman said. "Naomi Wildman. And you're right in the middle of Confederation space, Dominion. You're not welcome."
"Captain Wildman, we are not an invasion force," Peekar said firmly. Not yet anyway
, he thought to himself. "Our only intent is to meet new friends and open dialogue with them. As such, I would be very interested in meeting and discussing with a representative of your ruling council."
"I'm sure you would,” Wildman responded, voice dripping with irony. “Well, I can't make that decision myself, Dominion. Hold station here, let me contact headquarters, and I'll get back to you."
Before Peekar could say anything else, the communication was cut. Both his human and Vorta instincts railed at the cavalier way he was being treated, while his Vulcan heritage told him to remain calm.
There really was nothing else to do but wait.
Captain Wildman was as good as her word. An hour later, Enterprise hailed them again and Wildman informed him that the ruling council of the Confederation had tendered an invitation for the Dominion ship to accompany Enterprise back to the capital world.
"I assume from your arrival that you have some kind of slipstream or wormhole technology?"
"We have the capability of creating artificial wormholes, yes," Peekar said with no little pride.
To his surprise, Wildman snorted. "Big deal, Dominion. Here are the coordinates."
Peekar glanced at the Orion, trying to hide his discomfort at Wildman's lack of reaction to news of their technology. His pilot checked his viewscreen, then nodded. Peekar looked at Wildman again.
"We have the coordinates. If you would like us to open a wormhole for you..."
"Don't bust a gasket, Dominion. We have our own way of getting around. See you on the other side."
The screen went blank, leaving Peekar looking at the strangely shaped Confederation starship. To his utter astonishment, the whole ship began to glow, light seeming to emanate from every particle. Before Peekar's rapidly widening eyes, the whole starship suddenly vanished in a flash of bright, white light.
"May the Founders forgive me," Peekar whispered. "How did they do that?"
"Our sensors didn't pick up any kind of energy reading," the Ferengi said. "We... We have no idea."
By the Founders
, Peekar thought. What exactly are these people?
A sparkling jewel of a world, all blues and greens and whites when viewed from orbit, the capital planet of the Confederation lay on the outskirts of what Dominion galactic maps identified as Hirogen space. It took the ship a good half hour to arrive through the artificial wormhole, while a rapid calculation made by his genetically enhanced mind informed Peekar that at maximum possible warp it would have taken them at least a day.
, though, had made the flight much more quickly. She was already in orbit around the planet, along with at least two dozen other Confederation ships, ranging in size from vast cruisers twice as large as Enterprise
to tiny tugs zipping in and out of the larger vessels.
Wildman hailed them the moment they dropped out of their wormhole. She wore an insufferable smile on her face.
"Nice of you to finally show up, Dominion," she quipped. "Sorry to have left you behind like that."
"How did you--" Peekar began.
"I'm afraid that's classified, Dominion," Wildman replied. "I've received instructions to have you beam over to Enterprise
and then to accompany you down to the surface. The President is looking forward to meeting you."
"Yes. Is that a problem?"
Peekar swallowed. "No, no, not at all. I did not expect to be dealing with your president directly..."
"He has taken a personal interest in this situation, Dominion. I'm transmitting the coordinates for beam over."
Again, the viewfinder went dark. Peekar was astonished to discover that he was sweating. It must be his human glands. It certainly wasn’t his Vulcan heritage.
"Vorta, I have received the coordinates," the Ferengi said from his post.
"Good. First Tlameraktaklan?"
One of the Jem'hadar, his brow slightly furrowed like a Klingon’s, stepped forward and snapped to attention. "I live to serve, Vorta."
"Choose three of your men to accompany me to the Confederation ship."
"I shall accompany you personally, along with my Second and my Third."
"Very well." Peekar waved a hand dismissively. He turned to the Ferengi. "Drop our shields and beam us over."
Moments later, the transporter effect surrounded him and the three Jem'hadar, throwing them across the gulfs of space to the waiting Confederation ship.
The President met them in the main reception hall of Republic Plaza, the chief government building.
Peekar was surprised to see that the man was dressed in a military style uniform. An ageing human - his Picard memories identified him as being of asian heritage - he walked with a cane, but Peekar could tell there was hidden strength in those arms and legs.
"Vorta Peekar, welcome to New Earth."
Peekar felt a slight shiver run down his spine. For a moment, he had a flash of his Vorta race-memory, specifically those of the now defunct Vorta Weyoun. He had stood on the bridge of the Dominion cruiser that carried out the burning of Earth six months after the fall of Bajor and the taking of the wormhole. Earth had since become a symbol of the delusional resistance cells in the Alpha Quadrant. To hear this place referred to as New Earth...
"The Founders send their greetings and their wishes to the peoples of the Confederation," Peekar said, repeating the message that Founder Odo had taught him before his departure.
The President smiled slowly. "I imagine you were surprised to find remnants of the Federation so far away from the Alpha Quadrant," he said.
Peekar could not resist nodding his head. "It was... unexpected."
"I'm sure it was. Come, I will explain as we walk."
With the three Jem'hadar trailing behind, Peekar followed President Kim, with Captain Wildman at his side, out of the reception room and into a large corridor. Everything was made of the finest marble and metals - this Confederation seemed to be a wealthy stellar nation. Peekar also noted a large number of armoured guards stood along the walls and hidden in the balconies that lined the upper walls. They all held very large weapons and their eyes followed Peekar and the Jem'hadar with intent.
"The Confederation exists thanks to an accident," the President began as they walked down the vast hallway. "You see, two years before the Dominion-Federation War began, a Starfleet ship was thrown across the galaxy to the far edge of the Delta Quadrant. That ship, the USS Voyager
, started on a generation-long trek across space in an attempt to get home."
The President glanced at Peekar. "I was a young ensign onboard that ship when the accident happened. Working together, we fought our way past Kazons and Hirogen, Borg and Vidiians, all in a desperate flight home. We shaved days, then months, and then finally years off our journey. We saw things..." He shook his head. "We saw things that no one has ever seen and will never see again."
"And then, three years into our journey, we came across a huge and powerful array. That array allowed us to communicate with our home, with the worlds we had left behind. And what did we learn?"
While they had been talking, they had reached the end of the hallway and stepped out onto a massive balcony. The President led them to the edge of that balcony and Peekar peered down into a vast open space, filled with trees and fountains. In the middle of the square stood a ship. It seemed tiny compared to the ones that the Dominion built now. Peekar's genetically enhanced eye-sight picked out the writing on the top of the saucer section.
USS Voyager NCC-74656
The President turned to look at Peekar and his eyes were blazing. "We learned that our friends had been killed. People we loved, we cared about, had been slaughtered by a new enemy. The Dominion."
Lifting his cane, the elderly statesman pointed it towards Peekar. First Tlameraktaklan took a step forward, growling, but Peekar lifted a hand, stopping him. Diplomacy, he thought. Diplomacy is the only way.
"This Dominion," and he spat the word, "had killed millions. We learned that they had come sweeping through the Bajor wormhole, that they had torched the planet and destroyed Deep Space Nine, before launching a brutal assault on the rest of the Federation. We learned that Earth was gone. Vulcan reduced into slavery. Andor, Orion, Ferenginar - burned and subdued. We learned that there was no hope."
Peekar could remember all of those events, both through the eyes of the Vorta and the eyes of the Federation Captain Picard. He felt a strange sensation in the pit of his stomach as he stared into the President’s eyes.
"The last act of Starfleet Command was to order us not to continue home. Instead, they ordered us to find a suitable M-class planet and to take refuge there. To build a new
home for ourselves."
The President swept out his arm, seeming to encompass not only the palace, not only the planet, but all the planets of this Confederation. "We built a new Federation out here amongst these stars. We found allies and we integrated their technology into our own. We found enemies and..." His voice broke. "And we used that technology to subdue them. We did things that we had never dreamed ourselves capable of doing. All to make sure that we would be strong when the day eventually came."
Peekar felt his heart began to beat faster. "When what day came?"
The President smiled. "This day, of course. When the Dominion would reach out into the Delta Quadrant. We knew that one day, you would come this way." He took a step closer to Peekar. "And we made sure we would be ready."
He heard a sudden sharp intake of breath from behind him. The First. He began to turn, but the President moved with sudden speed. Before Peekar could react, a blade snapped out of the old man's cane and tore through his clothes and his flesh. The pain flared for a moment, then faded.
President Harry Kim reached out and pulled him near. "The pain has already gone, hasn't it?” He smiled. “Poisoned blade. You'll be dead within seconds."
"My... my ship."
"Gone," President Kim said. "Destroyed. We were able to use our scanners to get clear sweeps of your technology. We know your defences, now, Vorta."
The darkness began to rush in around Peekar's vision. He could hear rushing in his ears. The last words he heard were the words of the President of the Confederation.
"If your gods are waiting for you on the other side? Tell them. We're coming."