Jake was startled by the familiar keen of transporters. “They’re beaming in!” Zene shouted. “We’ve been tricked!” He said, turning his weapon toward the multiple shafts of blinding crimson light forming within the cave.
“But the kelbonite?” B’dulla asked, stumped. The kelbonite ore lacing the rocks of the cave normally disrupted the transporter effect.
“That was the point for smashing the barricade, to beam in from within the cave,” Ceven groused. “Heck, that just makes the target practice easier.” Jake flinched as the irregulars tore through the first round of transports. Blood, flesh, and fur flew everywhere as the lupine soldiers met gristly ends.
But the beams kept coming, with greater rapidity and volume and eventually the guerillas couldn’t pick them all off. “My God, keep the recorder going,” Jake said as he posted up in a corner. He wished that he hadn’t given away the weapon Zene had offered him. Not only to protect Kall and himself, but to help the quickly outnumbered guerillas.
Imposing, heavily-armored Alshain warriors, armed with melee weapons, in addition to razor sharp teeth and claws tore into irregular and noncombatant alike, trampling over the remains of their fallen comrades. With growing horror, Jake realized that the first wave had been nothing more than fodder. The fighting was close quarters, the smells of carnage quickly flavoring the air.
Jake tried to continue reporting, “This…this is what our Alshain allies think of sentient rights,” he shouted over the din, ducking just seconds before the club swing would’ve dissected his head from his shoulders. The air from the club’s arc tickled his neck. He stumbled on the floor that was now slick with the mingled blood of the combatants.
Kall grabbed onto him to keep him upright and he clasped her in his arms, pushing her against a sea of writhing flesh. They pushed through the wall of bodies until they found actual rock to stand against. He knew it would be their last stand. Jake moved to plaster himself over her, to protect her as best he could, but he knew it was futile. “Dear Prophets,” he heard her whisper as they stood silent witness to the slaughter.
The irregulars fought valiantly, but they quickly began to falter. Their mounting losses only fueled the bloodlust of the Alshain. His stomach churned as he watched the canid warriors rip apart limbs, gut people with their claws, and even bite off heads, filling the enclosed space with the terrible crunch of bone and slick slap of meat. Hot blood sprayed everywhere, drenching them all.
Jake had survived combat with both the Klingons and Jem’Hadar, but he had never seen anything so savage. The Alshain had completely lost it. Their exultant howls shook not only the very foundations of the cave, but Jake’s soul.
“I-I can’t just allow this to go on,” Jake muttered after a few seconds.
“What?” Kall asked, the holorecorder propped on Jake’s shoulder, to give her a better vantage to capture as much of the melee as possible.
“I’ve got to help out,” he declared. The Bajoran-Vulcan hybrid grabbed his arm, with not surprising strength.
“No,” she said, “You’ll be killed.”
“You really think they are going to let us live, after this?” Jake snapped at her.
“We’re journalists,” Kall said, a plaintive tone in her voice, “We’re supposed to be objective, neutral observers.”
Jake shook his head. “Not when horror like this occurs, my God, what would Dad think of me if I just stood by…”
“Jake,” Kall said, her tenderness puncturing the shrieks and howls, “You’re father, the Emissary…”
“He’ll be back,” Jake cut her off, “and when he learns what happened here today, I want him to know that his son honored his memory, honored his family’s legacy of service, of sacrifice…just like him, just like Mom,” he voice choked at the few fragmented memories of Jennifer Sisko he still clutched onto, refusing to allow time to wash away. She had died at the Battle of Wolf 359, a victim of the Borg. His father had been a casualty of the Dominion. Though Jake believed with all his heart that Kasidy was telling the truth that his father had come to her in a vision and promised he would return. In fact, Jake almost could feel the presence of his father looking down on him now, from somewhere in the Celestial Temple.
“This is the right thing to do,” he said quietly, to himself and to Ben. He patted himself down, looking for a weapon. The only things on his person was an ancient writing pen, a gift from his father. Jake grabbed the pen and held it aloft like a dagger. “This will have to do.”
His scream was born of fear and anger as he joined the fray.