The USS Defiant
was at high warp on its way to Nimbus Three.
The furthest thing from Kira’s mind was the resistance Lieutenant Bowers and his strike team would face when they stormed the deuterium plant while on the bridge in a communiqué with Worf. His most recent message to the station indicated he was also headed to Nimbus Three to rendezvous with Captain Klag and the IKS Gorkon
to apprehend a person of interest. With the Vaughn and Ro expecting reinforcements from the Defiant
, Kira and Bowers were discussing a plan with the ambassador to pool their resources.
“At last report, Vaughn and Ro were conducting low level reconnaissance of a deuterium plant that isn’t even registered on the planetary database,” Kira explained to Worf, whose image was on the bridge’s main viewscreen.
“Based on Captain Klag’s intelligence files,”
Worf replied. “The man in charge of the facility is a Klingon civilian engineer named Kur’Tok. We are uncertain as to how strong his ties are to the
Ku-Vok-leth. If this plant is a cover for terrorist base, sensor readings of the area may not be entirely accurate even at close range.”
“We had the same thoughts,” said Bowers, as he inputted new data into a padd. “Vaughn’s experience as a field operative should come in handy once we storm the compound. He’ll know deceptive readings when he sees them.”
“Anything you are able to provide will be helpful,”
Worf replied with a nod. “Just remember, Imperial Intelligence wants Kur’Tok taken
alive. Though I doubt he will be very cooperative if he strongly believes in the
“Our strike team will certainly keep that in mind,” Kira said. “Defiant
out.” Once Worf’s image was replaced on the viewscreen with a logo of the Klingon Empire, she turned to Lieutenant Tenmei, who was manning the conn. “ETA at Nimbus Three, Lieutenant?”
“Seven hours, twenty-three minutes,” Prynn replied.
“Mister Bowers,” Kira added, seeing Sam return to the starboard tactical station. “See what’s available in the Starfleet databases on a Kur’Tok.”
“Aye, sir,” Bowers replied, preparing to access the requested information.
Kira then seated herself in the command chair, leaving herself with about seven hours to contemplate all the possible outcomes of this mission. During her time in the Bajoran Underground, she would never have considered using Omega as a weapon. But since these Klingons were willing to use Omega advance their own political agenda, that made them far more dangerous than any Bajoran resistance fighters determined to win back their home.
Ro Laren looked through a set of field glasses to see three uniformed Klingon soldiers guarding the plant she and Vaughn had been surveiling. Zeyner Antis was also still tagging along, at least until Vaughn and Ro could confirm the accuracy of their informant’s database. Three against three
, she immediately thought. Piece of cake getting inside.
“Only three of them guarding the compound,” she said, handing Vaughn the field glasses. “Like those odds.”
Vaughn took a quick look into the magnifying device and nodded in agreement. “Of course, if we start shooting immediately,” he said plainly, “it could trip all kinds of alarms.”
“You should know to be a little more discreet in these kinds of strikes,” Zeyner teased.
Ro gave a snort of derision. “I’m a little rusty,” she retorted. “Having a desk job does that.”
“Rusty at betraying your colleagues for a higher calling?” Zeyner half-jokingly asked. “I’m still an expert at that. Still glad you brought me along?”
Ro just rolled her eyes, having once found his self-deprecating humor charming. Now it was nothing more than an attempt to lull her into false sense of security. It could be worse, though. A Cardassian could also have been present to brag about his or her ability to better handle the brutal desert heat than most other humanoids.
“That’s enough, you two,” Vaughn chimed in. “We need a more subtle approach.”
Zeyner skulked along the fence separating the deuterium plant from a pedestrian walkway. Cradling a Starfleet issue phaser, he considered that he was the least trustworthy and the most expendable. But if he really was expendable, he thought to himself, then he’d be taking on the Klingons in hand-to-hand combat rather than firing a phaser from a long distance. Either, the plan seemed sound one given the tendency of Klingons to shoot first and ask questions later. He tiptoed over to a hole in the tall mesh fence that was the closest to the building’s main entrance he could get without raising any suspicions. He then slowly walked across the street and fired his phaser just above the door.
As expected, that caught the attention of the guards, who began shooting in the direction of the phaser beam. The Klingon stationed right in front of the door moved slowly towards the gate, ordering his colleagues to stay behind in case this was a diversion. Vaughn and Ro, meanwhile, snuck around the corner and came at the two other guards on the two sides of the door, incapacitating them with Starfleet Marine issue neural truncheons. Seeing the third Klingon who was headed for the gate turned back to confront the Starfleet team, Ro pulled her phaser and fired taking out the last guard in one shot.
Vaughn walked over to the gate and unlocked it to let Zeyner inside. He quickly relocked the gate, watching as Ro attached a cylindrical device to the front end of her tricorder in order to access the front door lock’s entry code. She smirked when she heard a lock unlatch. She slowly opened the door and waved Vaughn and Zeyner over. All three of them then slowly slipped through the open door before relocking it.
“How much longer before we can safely launch?!”
Kur’Tok impatiently stormed down a set of metal stairs towards the cargo deck containing the magnetic resonance chamber. A number of Klingons, as well as persons of several different races were gathered around the large chamber putting in the finishing touches. One of them was Markalian, many of whom were often hired as mercenaries for various smuggling and terrorism operations. Far across the cargo deck, a number of Klingon and Thallonian engineers were preparing a shuttle for launch once the resonance chamber was aboard.
“The final diagnostics should take at least two hours,” the Markalian engineer replied, monitoring the stability of the single Omega molecule.
“We don’t have that kind of time,” Kur’Tok insisted. “Forces loyal to Chancellor Martok could be here before we know it.”
“This molecule is extremely unstable and unpredictable,” the Markalian replied. “One misstep could destroy half of this planet.”
Kur’Tok growled angrily as he grabbed his Markalian cohort by the collar. “I don’t need to be reminded of how unstable Omega is,” he hissed. “You assured me this resonance chamber would do its job keeping Omega stable for as long as we needed it to be.”
“It will. If all safety precautions are taken in the allotted time. Being allies with the Federation should’ve taught you Klingons patience.”
Kur’Tok let out a hissing exhale and shoved the Markalian against his console. He had no strong sentiments towards the Federation. So he did not particularly to be reminded of the long-standing alliance with multispecies coalition that had weakened the Empire over the last century. “If I did not value your contributions to this operation, I would kill you where you stand for your insolence,” he huffed. “Just do what you have to do and quickly
Another Klingon went racing down the stairs hoping to catch up to Kur’Tok. “Sir,” he called, getting his superior’s attention. “The three guards outside the main entrance were found unconscious. We may have an intruder.”
“Sound intruder alert,” Kur’Tok shouted at one of the engineers.
Vaughn and his team snuck through a hallway, quickly turning a corner when they heard footsteps. Fortunately one of the engineers passed through an adjoining corridor down the tunnel-shaped hallway. Seeing that the passing Klingon was out of his field of vision, he gestured for Ro and Zeyner to tiptoe down the corridor with him. At that moment, an alarm sounded accompanied by a masculine voice saying, “Intruder alert.”
The trio sped up down the hall, while still being careful to avoid any of the engineers working in the plant. They made a beeline towards a nearby emergency access port. Once they got there, Vaughn increased the setting on his phaser and fired it at the wall panel next to it to trigger the manual release. He and Ro slid the door open while Zeyner stood watch in all directions. He threw himself against the wall when Klingon disruptor fire came his way. He fired his phaser towards the Klingon shooting at him. “Move quickly,” he shouted, as more disruptor fire came at him from both sides.
On cue, the others were able to get the door open, and all three of them went through the access hatch and sped down the ladder towards the ground floor. Upon reaching the ground level, a forcefield went up at the exit to the outside and the floor hatch to the basement. Two latches clicked sealing the door to the inside of the building. “Looks a standard twenty-third century design,” Vaughn commented of the forcefield sealing them inside the building.
“And that’s supposed to help us?” Ro quipped.
“Sure it does,” said Zeyner. “It means we know how to break them in the twenty-fourth
century. Isn’t there some trick Starfleeters can employ with a tricorder?”
“Then that’s probably your area of the expertise, Commander,” Ro offered, handing Vaughn her tricorder.
“I wouldn’t get our hopes up,” Vaughn retorted, opening the scanning device. “Our would-be captors probably still know every trick.”
Zeyner smirked at Ro, pleased that she was willing to listen to one of his suggestions. Ro just looked away not wanting to give him any satisfaction. Vaughn entered a set of commands into the tricorder to send out a sonic pulse that would knock out the forcefield. When the desired frequency did not interrupt the forcefield, he shook his head in disappointment.
“Hurry,” Zeyner demanded when the locks on the opposite side door unlatched.
“Just saying it won’t make it happen,” Vaughn replied. The forcefield still came down after a slight recalibration. Just as one door slid open, the trio rammed right through the exit door. A firefight ensued all the way to the fence. And it continued as they all climbed the fence one by one. The three Klingons shooting at them grunted in frustration when they landed safely on the other side.
“So did you find you were looking for?” Zeyner asked with feigned enthusiasm.
“Oh, yes,” Vaughn answered, as he was being helped down by Ro and Zeyner. “Whole bunkers filled with subspace explosives.”
“Including Omega?” Zeyner inquired.
Vaughn scowled at Zeyner grabbing him by the collar. He quickly let go when he reminded himself that the Bajoran was trying to bait him. Ro winced, wondering what had provoked that strong a reaction from the commander.
“What do you about that?” Vaughn calmly demanded.
“Not as much as your flag officers,” Zeyner replied, “but enough to know that one unstable molecule can be catastrophic. But since you found what you’re looking for, I’ll be on my way. That was the agreement.”
Zeyner started walking away, but Vaughn grabbed his arm and shoved him against the fence. “This is the new agreement,” the commander replied. “Unless we’re able to stop to whatever they’re planning with Omega, I’ll make sure you’re put back in prison.”
And yet you don’t what they’re exact plan is,” Zeyner taunted. “Not sure I like those odds.”
“I’m keeping you with us as our guarantee you don’t pull anything before the Defiant gets here.”
“Ample incentive to continue to cooperate,” Ro added with a sly smile.
Zeyner sighed as if disappointed that he wasn’t able to use this opportunity to try and get away.