“Sir!” Karama shouted not raising his head from his console. “The Radalar
just came out of warp!”
“It’s good when a Cardassian is in love,” Brenok muttered, ignoring his aide’s asking look. “I assume you can’t hail them either.” His words were directed to Tari; he was sure the dampening field didn’t cover only the station but this region of space, rendering both Cardassian warships’ communication systems useless.
“This will make co-ordinating our battle patterns interesting.” Brenok knew it wasn’t funny, he knew. “Dole, concentrate on those thin necks of theirs. If they are stupid enough to build ships with such obvious weak points, let’s use it.” ‘Stupid’ as opposed to not-at-all-vulnerable bridge section of a Galor, Brenok thought bitterly with irony.
The Mar’kuu class had never been tested in a real battle before. It was a massive warship, armed to teeth with most of its power consumption intended for the shields and armament. Was it enough to beat a Negh’Var? The Cardassians were just about to learn.
“The fighters are out,” Dole reported, informing Brenok that his earlier order was just executed.
“Good. Keep the Klingons busy and irritated.”
Captain Klesh wasn’t a patient man. He waited for the signal. And waited. And waited. And waited even longer, he waited endlessly. He could clearly see the Cardassian petaQ station on his main viewer and impatiently shifted in his command chair. Waiting was worth of a Romulan, not a Klingon warrior. They should attack, now. What were they waiting for?
He knew what for. Another Romulan-worthy trick—kill the station’s commander and then attack it, when the station is in chaos. Whose idea was it, anyway? Did they think he was so incapable that he needed havoc on the station to capture or destroy it? On the contrary, he wished he could have everything in perfect condition, if only to prove that the Cardassians were honour-less and weak petaQ. He spat and growled.
Still, it would be a glorious battle.
“My lord, we have detected an explosion as planned,” reported his weapons officer.
“Activate the communication dampening field,” Klesh said. “Don’t let them call any reinforcements.”
The three warships under his command were enough to destroy this Cardassian wheel of a human child’s bicycle, but Klesh was not stupid—he knew even Klingon warships were not a match for a whole Cardassian Order and there was one patrolling this region, including their flagship.
“Contact the other warships!” he barked to his communication officer. “Assume formation kUch’kog
and prepare to drop the cloak!”
“I obey, my lord.”
His Negh’Var, the KoQ’suH
, moved slowly to face the station. One of its pylons seemed to target the vessel and Klesh had an impression that it was a horn that tried to pierce his ship. He knew the other two ships, IKV Lok’marH
and IKV sOopot
, would take positions slightly below his vessel, flanking it from both sides. He planned to take down one of shields of the station and then keep firing at the exposed ring and pylon until they would explode with a satisfying boom
His weapons officer nodded, which meant that the other two ships were in position, so Klesh hissed, “Decloak!”
Blood in his veins was replaced by adrenaline. It’s been too long since he had been in a battle, it’s been too long since he could serve his empire and destroy its enemies, it’s been too long since he drew some Cardassian blood. He stood up, excited, his greying hair swaying over his shoulders when he turned his head to his officers to issue orders.
“Concentrate fire on the connection between the pylon directly in front of us and the ring. Order the sOopot
to attack the pylon and the Lok’marH
to attack their turrets. We need to penetrate their shields to inflict any significant damage and we need to do it fast.” He was certain he could win but he was no fool, he did not underestimate his enemy. He knew that as long as the station’s shields were up, his small fleet was at tactical disadvantage. Not forgetting that undoubtedly the Cardassians would eventually detect the weapons fire and send reinforcements.
shook under Cardassian weapons fire and the Klingon captain rejoiced. This was going to be a glorious battle, worthy of a song and a few barrels of blood wine.
I’m merely an engineer, I’m merely an engineer
, Zamarran kept thinking, running to the tactical centre. The sound of his heavy boots was accompanied by dozens of other, as the whole station was at tactical alert and everyone, who was not there yet, was rushing to their posts. The gul pressed his wristcomm. “Demok, where are you?”
“On my way to the infirmary,
” replied the sub-archon.
“Negative. Gather every civilian and take them to the panic room!”
“They are already there, only Captain Ronus refused to join.
Perfect, what Zamarran needed right now was a stubborn Federation officer to deal with. “You should be there too.”
“Demok, you can’t help her!”
A beep of closed channel was the only reply he received. He muttered a mild curse but continued to his initial destination.
The tactical centre was busier than the command centre at any normal day. Garesh Dalar stood at the big tactical table in the pit and issued orders with his strong, deep voice. He didn’t waste time to call names, he pointed to the direction of an officer and told him or her what to do. Zamarran was relieved to see that the station’s defence was in good hands.
“Don’t waste torpedoes,” Dalar shouted. “The Klingons will not give up easily so we must have enough to take them down. It’s either us or them and we have no option to run. We have to destroy them or they will destroy us!”
On the other side of the table, opposite Dalar, stood Ronus. The Trill studied the display with a deep frown on his face. Zamarran had no idea why the captain chose to join them here. He didn’t expect Ronus to help the Cardassians; after all, the Klingons were the Federation’s ally and he could not fight against them. So what was he doing here? Hopefully, there would be a chance to ask him that later, as now it was not the time.
The gul joined Dalar at the table and looked at the display.
“Sir, we have three Klingon warships,” Dalar reported. “One Negh’Var and two Vor’cha class. There is no way to call for reinforcements as they use some sort of dampening field and we’re cut out from everyone.” Zamarran nodded, acknowledging. He decided to leave the tactical command in Dalar’s capable hands and take care of the dampening field himself.
“My lord!” Klesh looked at his weapons officer annoyed; why did that man sound so scared? “A ship just dropped out of warp!” The Klingon looked at his captain. “It’s the Mar’kuu class.”
So, the battle was just about to become more challenging. Klesh smiled. But then he realised something. “How did the station call for help?” he asked, turning to his communication officer.
The man shook his head. “I do not know. The dampening field is still active and appears to work within parameters.”
“Obviously, your ‘parameters’ are not sufficient!” Klesh growled, grasping his chair’s armrests not to fall out after another violent shake Cardassian torpedoes caused. The mysterious Mar’kuu class. The captain wondered is the ship was as dangerous as it appeared or the Cardassians counted on the intimidation without a real bite. “Tell both Vor’cha ships to keep attacking the station, we will dance with this girl.”
“It’s their flagship, sir.”
“Even better,” Klesh growled, showing his spike-y teeth in a smile.
Garesh Aladar joined the commanding team at the tactical table in the pit of the tactical centre.
“Where have you been?” Dalar barked to him.
“Convincing Demok to enter the panic room, Garesh.”
“How did you convince him?” Zamarran glanced at the non-com.
“I used an argument difficult to argue with.” Aladar looked at his right hand, stretched his fingers and clenched them into a fist only to stretch them again. “The bruise should be gone within a few days.”
Zamarran only shook his head but didn’t comment and Aladar was grateful. Even if later he would have to face some consequences for striking a civilian, he had done his duty and made sure that particular civilian was where he should be—in a save capsule that should withstand a possible destruction of the station. He would not fail in his duty of protection ever again.
“Another one,” Captain Ronus pointed to a new spot with Cardassian markings that had just appeared on the tactical table.
“It’s the Radalar
,” Dalar informed the Trill.
“How do they know?” Ronus asked, then turned to Zamarran who worked at the main engineering console. “Did you manage to punch through the field?”
Zamarran only shook his head, not interrupting issuing orders to Kapoor who worked just next to him.
No one seemed to bother to answer the Trill’s question and Aladar wouldn’t dare to do something that his superiors didn’t. Not that he knew; he suspected that the Damar
had arrived after Gul Brenok had learned about the assassination attempt, but the Radalar
? Did Brenok call Toral to join him? But why? Perhaps, however unlikely it seemed, they had detected the fight and came to protect the station.
If not the busy soldiers, Aladar would never guess they were under attack. The tactical centre was so deep in the guts of the massive station that it barely trembled under enemy fire. The garesh glanced at Zamarran, thanking him in his thoughts for designing such an efficient construction.
Brenok was sitting on the edge of his command chair, leaned forward. His braid slid into his armour and long black strands found their way out of the neatly braided hair. He kept blowing them away each time they fell in front of his nose. He could hear Gil Tosen growling under her breath each time the Damar
made a turn. “A problem, Gil?” he asked her.
She shook her head. “No, sir.”
“Gil?” If she had a problem, they all had a problem.
She sighed. “We’re just so frustratingly slow.” He felt that too—the Mar’kuu class lacked Galor’s manoeuvrability.
“Imagine you dance with a very fat legate and keep us away from walls.” A legate that also tried to jump uncontrollably. That was the part Brenok hated most about battles: the constant shaking, exploding consoles behind his back, noise...all those things were terribly distracting and annoying.
She chuckled. “I’ll try, sir.”
Brenok turned to Dole. “Status of the enemy ship.” He feared to ask about his own, especially casualties. Bad news wouldn’t help him concentrate.
“The Negh’Var’s shields are holding but for not much longer. They have to stand our and the station’s attack.”
“How are we?” Brenok asked.
“Shields still holding but they concentrated on our ventral side. Only ten percent left there.”
“They concentrate on the other two Klingon ships. They seem to be doing well, but—” Dole silenced. “Their forward port shield is down.”
Brenok turned to look at the screen. Toral’s warship indeed looked like a fat, drunk legate that tried to turn and lean against a stable wall. It was obvious that the Radalar
attempted to hide its now vulnerable side by turning it to face the station. The Klingons would have to approach the ship from the other side and move nearer Rayak Nor
to take advantage of Toral’s weakness, however nearing to the station would be too dangerous for them and they couldn’t risk it. The enemy must have come to the same conclusion as their attack intensified; they seemed to be determined to inflict as much damage as possible before Toral would hide his hull from their fire power. Brenok knew there was no way he could help Toral.