Tor Vot’s Sindareen battle cruiser fired a volley of plasma torpedoes straight at the forward saucer section of the Lambda Paz
. The cruiser veered out of range of the Starfleet ship’s dorsal phasers. The Sindareen cruiser slowly moved back into its own weapon’s range to fire another volley at the saucer’s aft.
“Take evasive action, helm,” Hadar barked to the Cardassian at conn.
“That last volley took out both the port and starboard maneuvering jets,” the young male Cardassian pilot reported.
“He’s moving off,” Retan’ikron reported. “Heading for a heavy concentration of metreons.”
“His decision to attack the Dominion will still not go unpunished,” Jamat’hiron replied. “Lay in a pursuit course, and fire all weapons.”
“Further into the Patch, sir?” the helmsman protested.
“Do as he says,” Hadar half-snarled, knowing that the Jem’Hadar were far less tolerant of insubordination than Cardassians.
The Lambda Paz
closed in on the Sindareen ship firing both phasers and quantum torpedoes.
“His shields are holding,” Retan’ikron reported.
“Possibly because your Vorta gave Dominion weapons to those gutter snipes,” Hadar quipped.
Jamat’hiron half-turned his head away from the Third, but did not answer Hadar’s jab. Looking back at Retan’Ikron, he stated, “Keep pouring on. I want that ship destroyed one way or another.”
Down in engineering, Tarlazzi was entering commands into the console in front of the warp core. Logan looked over the Rigellian’s shoulder as he was attempting to raise plasma pressure levels above safety limits. He grimaced when he saw a peculiar set of equations appear on the readout screen. “I thought we were creating a fake
core breach,” he insisted.
“In order to get the Cardies off this ship,” Tarlazzi explained, “it has to be genuine. That we’re under attack and in the Briar Patch, the circumstances are certainly plausible.”
“And if you can’t stop it,” Morrison started to say.
“At least we’ll take our captors with us,” Tarlazzi finished.
“Danger. Warp core plasma pressure exceeding safety limits
,” the Starfleet computer voice warned.
“Have the teams had any luck taking back engineering?” Hadar asked Retan’ikron.
“The insurgents have sealed themselves in,” Retan’ikron replied. “All other access points are blocked by force fields.”
“Danger. Exceeding reaction chamber thermal limit,
” the computer proclaimed. “Warp core breach in four minutes.
“Abandon ship,” Jamat’hiron announced. Then to Hadar, he said, “Looks like your foolish quest for vengeance will have to wait for another day.”
Tor Vot entered his private chamber when the holographic communications device his benefactor from the future used came to life. He continued to monitor the battle from there, while at the same time trying to stabilize the signal. All he was hearing were incoherent whispers. “Please repeat,” he implored.
Again, he got only a barely audible whisper.
“I can hear, but I cannot understand you. Please repeat what you said.”
Electrical crackling from around the imager began to fill the room. A humanoid figure emerged from the imager, but not the humanoid he was expected. Next thing he knew, Tor Vot was tackled and his head pinned to his console. “I said you’re an ugly bastard,” Limis spat at him.
Limis glanced at readout on the console to see that Tor Vot’s ship was attacking her ship. Both ships were still in the perimeter cloud of the Briar Patch. From what limited sensor data on activity outside the cloud indicated a swarm of Jem’Hadar and Cardassian ships were about to intercept. “I would imagine the Dominion is really pissed at you,” Limis continued, remembering her escape from Tor Vot’s custody. “You’re going to send me back to my ship, and I let you go before the perimeter cloud is swarming with Jem’Hadar.”
Back on the Lambda Paz
, Morrison, Carson, and Logan had secured the bridge after the Jem’Hadar and the Cardassians had evacuated. Morrison and Logan were both monitoring the tactical display. But with limited sensors outside of the metreon clouds, they could not be sure whether or not the enemy was bringing in reinforcements.
Carson was at Ops, monitoring Tarlazzi’s progress in preventing a warp core breach. When she saw that plasma pressure had fallen back to safe levels, she raced over to the helm. “Reports of this ship’s destruction have been greatly exaggerated,” she teased her superior officers.
Carson was frozen in her tracks when a transporter beam appeared in front of her. Limis then completely materialized. Morrison and Logan looked up, pleased to see their captain’s safe return. “Captain,” Carson gasped.
“At ease, Lieutenant,” Limis replied. “What’s our status?”
“We were able to cause a near core breach to get rid of the Dominion,” Logan replied.
“We’re on course out of the Briar Patch,” Carson added. “Engineering is working to fire up the maneuvering thrusters manually.”
“Kozar and Markalis sustained minor injuries,” Morrison chimed in. “They’re recovering in sickbay.”
The Lambda Paz
emerged from the Briar Patch. Six Jem’Hadar fighters near the edge of the perimeter cloud pursued in a single file formation. Two additional fighters went inside the cloud to pursue Tor Vot. Now clear of the Patch, the Lambda Paz
was now able to travel at full impulse.
“Six Jem’Hadar fighter closing from behind,” Morrison reported from the tactical station.
“Didn’t think they’d give up that easily,” Limis quipped. “What’s the status of the warp drive?”
“We have warp five, sir,” Carson replied.
“I’ll take it,” the captain proclaimed. “Any heading. Engage.”
The Lambda Paz
streaked into warp, but each of the Jem’Hadar fighters moved into a warp speed, so overtaking the lone Starfleet ship was only a matter of time. The six enemy ships each took turns firing phasers at the Lambda Paz
. The Lambda Paz
returned fire with dorsal phasers and aft quantum torpedoes.”
“Direct hit to two ships,” Morrison reported. “Minor damage to forward shields.”
The bridge rocked from another volley of phaser fire.
“Two Jem’Hadar battle ships on approach,” Logan reported from ops. “One from port, the other starboard.”
Two slightly bigger Jem’Hadar ships closed in from both sides. The two ships fired plasma torpedoes straight at the port and starboard nacelles. The Lambda Paz
quickly fell out of warp. Three of the six fighters swooped over and took positions in front of the ship while continuing to fire phasers.
“We’ve lost warp drive,” Morrison dejectedly announced. “And shields are gone.”
Limis stared at the viewscreen, which was showing the three Jem’Hadar fighters off her ship’s bow. Maybe this whole venture was for nothing. Could Limis have traveled such a long distance on foot and returned to her own time period only to watch her ship be recaptured? Just as she was about to give the surrender order, Logan reported.
“Sir, incoming printout message from Admiral Jellico,” he said. “It says, ‘Right in front of you.’”
-class starship dropped out of warp. Two Defiant
-class ships flanking it then appeared firing their multi-targeting phaser cannons. Two Akira
-class ships flanking those three ships then appeared firing volleys of quantum torpedoes.
The lone Sovereign
-class ship’s fired phaser beams to both port and starboard, quickly incinerating the two Jem’Hadar battleships. The other four ships fired volleys of phasers and quantum torpedoes at the remaining fighters. Two of them exploded while the other four moved off and streaked into warp.
“Incoming hail from the admiral aboard the Constantinople
, sir,” Morrison reported.
“Put it up,” Limis replied. As Jellico’s face appeared on the main viewscreen, she said, “Well, so help me, I’m actually glad to see you.”
“Likewise, Captain,” Jellico replied. For the first time that Limis could remember, Jellico actually smiled. “Although you may have to answer to Temporal Investigations, welcome back.”
“Just glad to be back, sir. I feel like I’ve been away for seven hundred years.”
Captain’s log, stardate 51996.8: Engineering teams from the
Constantinople have repaired the damage to our warp drive and the defensive systems. We won’t have the luxury of a full overhaul at Starbase G-6 with the Seventh Fleet needing a fresh set of ships.
Limis stared at the desk monitor in her ready room. She was sifting through the engineering reports regarding on-the-fly repair needs. But too much was on her mind to make sense of the technical aspects of those reports. The events of the last two months began with a threat to her son. For all she knew, he was still in great danger, but all she now had nothing go on.
The chime of the doorbell woke Limis out of her trance. “Come,” she stuttered.
Rebecca Sullivan entered through a side door, smiling. Limis was in no smiling though. She just returned her friend’s gesture with a quick grin. “My bridge shift starts shortly.” Rebecca stated. “I thought I’d check up on you.”
“I appreciate the gesture,” Limis replied, “but I will be all right.”
“Even though your son is still out there, and still in great danger?”
“All I can do is have faith. I may not believe in the Prophets as gods, but faith was often the only thing that kept those of us in the Maquis going. And the Prophets told me something that makes me wonder.”
“What’s that?” Rebecca curiously inquired, taking a seat in one of the guest chairs.
“They said I have a destiny to fulfill,” Limis explained. “One thing is certain. Whether or not the Prophets are gods, they do have a vested interest in what happens to Bajor.”
“And since they are beings outside of linear time,” Rebecca added, “their so-called ‘prophecies’ have ways of coming true.”
“I still like to think we make our own futures. And we can start by concentrating on the here and now.”
“You’re officially a Starfleet captain.”
“That cliché you just recited.”
Limis grinned at that observation, while ascending from her chair. She and Rebecca headed for the bridge.
Hasin Yanith lay shackled to an examination table. Several Cardassian technicians placed various medical tools on trays on the side of the examination table. Those trays were on carts the technicians slid towards a circular console about ten feet away from the exam table.
An elderly Cardassian male slowly strode towards Yanith, looking at the Bajoran man with a wry grin. “Prepare the next series of tests,” he ordered the technicians.
Yanith fidgeted almost as if convulsing. He knew he could not escape, but as long he had the strength, he refused to give up trying.