Chapter 4, and the first part:
Part 1: Chapter 4
Day 7, 1300 hours
On board the Defiant's bridge, Ezri sat in the commander's chair. She was simultaneously using the console on the chair's armrest and keeping her ears, and eyes, open for the first sign of trouble.
This was her first time commanding the Defiant, and when it came to the matter of command Ezri knew the two most important rules; always have a steady and clear voice, and more importantly make sure you were doing something constructive when you sat upon the captain's chair.
The Defiant had just reached Tau Primia, and Ezri wondered what she would be facing.
“Captain!” Kira suddenly said, a note of urgency in her voice, “five Cardassian ships are decloaking next to the Bajoran ships!”
“Raise shields!” Ezri ordered, her voice was strong and commanding, “arm phasers and quantum torpedoes. Mr. Weatherby take the Defiant around Tau Primia clockwise so that we can hit the rebel Cardassian ship's from behind. We'll give these Cardassians a taste of their own medicine.”
“Aye sir,” Max replied, his hands were busy over the console, as he guided the Defiant smoothly around Tau Primia. Aside from being a competent officer on board DS9, Max was also one hell of a pilot.
“Three Bajoran ships have been destroyed,” Kira reported to Ezri, “whatever weapons the Cardassians are using they're cutting straight through Federation shields!”
“How is that possible?” Ezri asked.
“The Cardassian's phaser fire has an incredibly high level of energy,” explained Kira. “It's literally punching a hole through a ship's shields and directly hitting that ship. It was as if the shields were non-existent!”
Did the Liberty meet it's fate like this?
Ezri thought, was it simply a Cardassian ambush that crippled the Liberty?
“Evasive maneuvers Mr. Weatherby, do whatever it takes to avoid the enemy's weapons!” she ordered. “Colonel fire quantum torpedoes at the closest Cardassian ship!”
Ezri watched through the view screen as the torpedoes hit the Cardassian ship's shields, hopefully the torpedoes had done some serious damage. “Have we inflicted any damage upon the Cardassian ship?” she asked Kira.
“Minimal damage to the Cardassian ship,” said Kira, “the ship's shields have dropped to eighty percent.”
“Eighty percent?” said Ezri incredulously. “Mr Weatherby, position the Defiant behind the Cardassian ship! Colonel fire when we are behind the Cardassian ship!”
Ezri had a plan, and any Starfleet captain worth their salt always had a plan B...
“Two more Bajoran ships destroyed,” Kira reported, momentarily disrupting Ezri's thinking, “and five more ships are critically damaged!”
“It's a massacre!” Nog said out aloud.
Ezri ignored the comment, instead focusing on the view screen, where the Defiant was facing the rear of the rebel Cardassian ship. Now was the moment to strike...
“Colonel! Launch two flux torpedoes at the Cardassian ship we're behind!”
The flux torpedoes sped through the open space and penetrated straight through the ship's shields. A few milliseconds later, the torpedoes detonated, destroying the Cardassian ship in a matter of seconds.
“Yes!” Kira said to herself, before giving Ezri the obvious news. “Direct hit captain, the Cardassian ship has been destroyed!”
Ezri was in her element. “Mr Holo send out messages to the rest of the ships to fluctuate the phase band of their phasers and disruptors!”
Holo's hands flew across the communications panel with inhuman speed. “Message sent!” he said.
Just briefly Ezri looked at the control panel on the left side of her chair, and she studied the sensor readings displayed on a small screen.
Ezri looked for the next Cardassian ship to target. “Mr Weatherby take the Defiant to the nearest-”
The Defiant lurched wildly as the sound of the phased tri-cobalt torpedo exploding deafened everyone on the bridge; the Defiant's hull roared in protest. Ezri clung on to her chair for dear life as various panels exploded and at least one bulkhead fell to the floor with a massive crash.
Smoke drifted upwards towards the ceiling and the emergency lightening activated on the bridge. Some of the crew next to the exploded panels had burns all over their bodies; they lay upon the floor groaning. “Damage report!” said Ezri, after the Defiant had stopped shaking.
“Shields are down to ten percent!” Nog said, looking at the stream of data appearing on his console. “Damage to the left of the ship; decks four to eleven have been destroyed on the port side! The left warp nacelle has been ruptured!”
“Port phasers and torpedo launchers are offline!” reported Kira.
Max slapped his left hand against his partially functioning console. “Port thrusters are offline!”
“Mr Nog,” said Ezri, “send repair teams to all critically damaged decks, erect shields to all parts of the ship exposed to outer space! Colonel! Launch two more flux torpedoes at the closest Cardassian ship!”
Kira's whole face was rigid with concentration as she aimed the two torpedoes at the Cardassian ship. “Direct hit!” she said, “their weapons, engines and shields are all knocked out! Two more rebel Cardassian ships are now destroyed! The fifth one is surrendering!” Kira looked up from her console. “We've got orbital superiority over Tau Primia captain!”
“Casualty report!” said Ezri.
“Five crew members are dead. Ten crew members are critically injured, and nine others have minor injuries,” reported Holo.
With so many crew members injured and dead, Ezri knew there would be fewer personnel to capture the Tau Primia prison. “Damn,” she said quietly. “Colonel, how many ships did this fleet lose?”
“A total of seven ships were destroyed captain, this includes five Bajoran ships and one Cardassian ship. Finally, the Starfleet ship Nebraska was also destroyed. Six ships are critically damaged; they have no shields, weapons or propulsion.”
Ezri did not have the time to brood about casualties; the operation had to go ahead. “Mr Holo tell the ships which are functional to send down away teams to Tau Primia. Send to them the coordinates of the beam down point.”
“Yes sir,” said Holo.
Kira looked disapprovingly at Ezri. “With all due respect captain,” she said heatedly, “we've virtually lost half of the planetary assault team. We don't have enough people to send down to Tau Primia to secure the prison. The five Cardassian ships inflicted a lot of damage upon this fleet.”
“Objection noted,” said Ezri, “but I think the prison will have a small contingent of guards for one simple reason. Most of the guards must have been operating the rebel Cardassian ships. No colonel, the operation goes ahead as planned albeit with fewer people.”
Kira opened her mouth slightly; she looked ready to continue on arguing with Ezri, but she instead backed down. “Max and Nog, your part of the away team, let's get ready.”
Max and Nog left their stations and followed Kira off the bridge. Kira was one of the away team leaders responsible for capturing the Tau Primia prison.
Ezri stood up and walked over to the console which Kira had been using. The damage to the fleet was considerable; the Bajorans ships had borne the brunt of the rebel Cardassian attack. All of those Bajoran lives lost... Ezri suddenly wondered whether it was wise for Kira to command the Defiant's away teams down on Tau Primia.
, she thought, Kira is older and wiser now, she won't do anything reckless or stupid, hopefully...