Chapter Three (continued)
“It would appear your hypothesis has been proven correct,” Gul Lemec told Kelnor, upon the Vorta’s entry into the prefect’s office. Lemec then handed his counterpart a padd containing after-action reports of the battles at Zhamur. “I had always wondered how five columns of Jem’Hadar were defeated by one Starfleet unit at AR-558, but now we’re certain. Our subspace mines are now being used against us.”
Kelnor slid the padd closer to the edge of his side of the table and skimmed the display screen. From what he had absorbed, it was the usual mundane information in after-action reports; nothing of immediate importance. “How are your efforts to counter their overrides proceeding?” he then inquired.
“We have engineers working around the clock to design stronger communications firewalls,” said Lemec. “And we’re running simulations of anti-viral protocols to allow the reprogrammed mines’ original programming to reassert itself.”
“How long before you these upgrades can be implemented.”
“I can’t say with all the substandard circuitry. But that is the price of doing business with the Son’a.”
Kelnor squinted in annoyance at Lemec’s remark. “You Cardassians should appreciate the psychological advantage these mines give us,” he said with restrained derisiveness. “Of course, subspace weapons are illegal in this quadrant, and with good reason. So we have to make do with what we can obtain. Don’t use that as an excuse for not having the improved mines ready for use within the next solar day.”
Lemec felt the urge to tell the Vorta of slim chance of meeting but such a deadline. Instead, he nodded with an unenthused grin. “As you wish,” he deadpanned.
“Security to Gul Lemec,” the station’s chief of security called over the comm.
“Go ahead, Thalek,” Lemec replied, looking away from Kelnor’s disapproving stare.
“Sir, Doctor Moset is missing. He’s not responding to our hails and the team dispatched to his quarters has not reported back.”
Lemec headed for the main office door certain that the leader of the Starfleet strike team had abducted Moset. He diverted his gaze from Kelnor hoping to avoid any further deriding from the Vorta. “Meet me in the doctor’s quarters,” he instructed while tapping his wrist communicator.
He was halfway through the doorway when he felt a hand grab his left arm. “Make sure the remaining intruders are neutralized,” Kelnor said with a cold stare. “Or I may just consider letting you meet the same fate as the Tellarite and the human in our custody.”
Lemec yanked his arm away from Kelnor’s grasp and stormed off with a scoff. This was not the first time the Vorta had threatened to have him executed. And it would certainly not be the last.
Lemec entered the residence of Crell Moset where a number of Cardassian doctors and security officers were examining the room. Four of the doctors carried away the Jem’Hadar and Cardassian corpses away on stretchers. The other doctors were conferring with the security officers in the cabin regarding who else might have been there and other any others clues as to where Moset had been taken from cell residues to transporter traces, just in case the open air vent was a diversion. One officer stood on an anti-gravity lift while scanning the ceiling vent crawl space where Moset had most likely been taken. He ran a scanner designed to locate and identify cellular residue over the ceiling grate, but seemed perturbed by the results of those scans.
“This is rather odd,” he mused aloud as Thalek passed by. “Moset did indeed climb into this crawlspace. But I read no evidence of any others having climbed in with him.”
“The intruders are using bio-dampeners similar to those in the Obsidian Order,” Thalek replied. “They may also prevent leaving behind cellular residues. And bring in teams to search that crawlspace and its adjoining conduits.”
“Surely you know the field amplitudes of these bio-dampeners if you supplied them yourselves,” Lemec said in an accusatory tone.
“The intruders would be smart to alter them,” Thalek replied, trying to ignore Lemec’s assertion that he was continuing to provide to the enemy. He then gave a quick visual survey of the rest of his security team. “But these dampeners leave a very specific electropathic field,” he told them. “Watch for it. And do a thorough search of the areas of the station where the internal sensors are not in perfect working order— level by level, section by section.”
Lemec then grabbed Thalek’s neck. Thalek was terrified for his life seeing a murderous rage in the gul’s eyes. “If I should find that you are still trying to undermine us,” Lemec hissed, “I will personally see to the execution of your wife and children.”
Security teams consisting of Cardassians and Jem’Hadar ran through the corridors of the habitat ring, stopping at each empty room to conduct thorough scans. When scans came up negative, the guard would place a security tag on the door that would trip a silent alarm in case an intruder decided to take refuge in that room once it was cleared. Unknown to one of the team, Limis was watching them from a crawlspace in the ceiling, staring through the grate while training her phaser to the back Moset’s neck.
In another section of the habitat ring, a Jem’Hadar and a Cardassian were following the same procedure, scanning an empty room and then tagging it once the scan came up negative. They were about to move on to the next room when the Cardassian guard’s scanner beeped. “I may have something,” he whispered to his Jem’Hadar colleague. The Jem’Hadar removed his disruptor pistol from his holster as the Cardassian led him to the location of the electropathic signature.
They slowly stepped into an adjoining corridor only to find a Starfleet issue stun grenade, emitting the electropathic signature the teams were instructed to search for. The Cardassian calibrated his scanner to find out if the device was armed. The Jem’Hadar moved in closer to grenade expecting not to be incapacitated by the device. He reached a hand out to pick up the device when it suddenly detonated.
The Cardassian was knocked unconscious by the grenade while the Jem’Hadar quickly gathered himself after he fell backwards to the deck. A humanoid figure quickly lunged towards him, throwing him against the wall. Unfazed, the Jem’Hadar sunk his claws into Limis’s chest. Keeping her composure, she jammed a knife through the back of his neck, severing a major artery. He collapsed to the deck, loosening his grip on Limis.
“Move,” she weakly instructed Moset, who was waiting in the vacant cabin nearby. She leaned against a wall to catch her breath while Moset compliantly walked out of the room, uninhibited by the restraints around his wrists. Limis then wiped the blood off of the knife’s blade and placed it back in the holster. With one hand grasping the back of his neck and the other training a phaser at the Cardassian scientist with the other, Limis coaxed him down the hallway to wherever it was they were going.