Chapter 5, part 2
In the Defiant's sickbay; Bashir was busy treating the prisoners when out of the corner of his eye he noticed Megan who was sitting up and looking at him.
“What's happening?” she said. “How come we've stopped?”
“A Tren ship has decloaked; they've stopped us and the other ships,” explained Bashir.
Megan's eyebrows rose. “Did you say Tren?”
“Yes,” said Bashir.
At that moment, Megan leapt out of her bed and strode over to the sickbay door.
“Wait you can't just leave,” said Bashir incredulously.
Megan paused and turned her neck slightly towards Bashir. “Your captain doesn't know what she is facing... but I do,” she said and she left the sickbay, still wearing her tattered Starfleet uniform.
Bashir sighed. “It's just not my day,” he said, and left the sickbay to pursue Megan.
Ezri sat down on the top of one table, while Kira, Holo, Max and Nog were gathered around in front of her. She was not sure what to do concerning the Tren ship, but she was certain the senior staff had some ideas. “Suggestions?” she asked them.
“We could attack them,” suggested Nog, “if we can't reason with these Tren then attacking is our only option.”
“Maybe we should just ignore their demands and go our merry way,” said Holo, though everyone seemed to ignore that suggestion.
Kira was clearly thinking about Nog's idea. “I wouldn't recommend attacking these Tren. I've checked the rebel Cardassian ship armaments, and they're literally duplicates of the weaponry that Tren ship has. If five Cardassian ships could do that much damage with adapted Tren weaponry, just imagine how powerful actual Tren weaponry would be.”
“We outnumber them fifteen to one!” Max said, sounding exasperated as if everyone was going about this problem the wrong way.
“Eleven to one, if you count the total amount of ships with functioning weapons and shields,” remained Ezri. “Let's not forget the 39 missing prisoners, it's more than likely they're on that Tren ship. I guess it comes down to-”
Ezri stopped speaking, when she heard the door open. She saw Megan briskly walking towards her, closely followed by Bashir.
In her tattered, dirty and bloodstained uniform, Megan was quite a sight.
Bashir looked mightily embarrassed about the whole incident. “I'm sorry captain but when she heard about-”
“The Tren will not attack this ship captain!” said Megan in a loud voice, interrupting Bashir.
Kira looked suspiciously at Megan. “How could you know that?” she demanded.
Megan turned to face Kira. “Because when Bordak was torturing me, sometimes he was interrupted by Abarzjid.” Megan's voice became slightly quieter. “They didn't trouble to keep their voices down and I heard things...”
“Such as?” inquired Ezri.
Megan turned her gaze to Ezri before answering. “The Tren are scouting this region and Bordak was working for the Tren. I'm certain Abarzjid said there was only one Tren ship supplying Bordak. Now, if that is true then Abarzjid is bluffing, and so there are no Tren reinforcements or to be precise no immediate Tren reinforcements coming our way.”
Ezri tried to keep the doubt from her voice. “And you are absolutely certain about this?” she asked Megan.
“If the Tren are scouting the Badlands, then they will not suddenly attack us. So I'm saying to you captain to ignore Abarzjid's threats and proceed to DS9!”
It was a convincing argument for Ezri and the best idea she had heard of. At the very least, this idea did not involve directly confronting the Tren ship. More importantly Ezri did not want to start a war between the Federation and the Tren Empire. Because of her decision, it would mean that the Tren would be the ones starting a war if they decided to intervene. “Fine I'll take your advice, it's the best suggestion I've heard so far... Now I need to speak to Doctor Bashir and Colonel Kira in private, staff meeting adjourned!”
Megan walked out along with Max, Holo and Nog back to the bridge.
Ezri turned around in her chair to face Kira. “What do you think Kira?”
Kira frowned slightly. “Well Megan's information changes everything, but this whole situation doesn't seem right to me.”
Ezri played dumb. “How so?” she asked, while noticing Bashir exchange a significant glance with Kira. It was apparent that both Bashir and Kira seemed quite suspicious of Megan's knowledge about the Tren.
Bashir answered Ezri's question. “It's Megan sir. For someone who has been tortured for two years, who has suffered unimaginable cruelties, she seems remarkably composed after such an ordeal.”
“I've noticed,” said Ezri, “so what are you suggesting?'
“Her attitude seems unusual...” Bashir paused looking briefly uncomfortable before continuing on. “The other former prisoners are incredibly emotionally injured, especially the Starfleet prisoners. That's to be fully expected, and others are in a complete state of shock, whereas Megan seems so calm. I know that people have different ways of coping with severe emotional trauma, but it's as if she has been trained to cope with situations like this.”
“Supporting the theory that she's a Section 31 agent,” said Ezri.
Kira's gaze sharpened, and she jerked her head around to look at Ezri. “Section 31 agent?” Kira repeated ominously. “Captain we could have a much bigger problem on our hands than just a Tren ship!”
It was a fair observation, but Ezri considered the Tren ship as the main problem. “We'll deal with Megan later,” she told Kira, “right now what matters is the Tren ship blocking our path. Dismissed.”
Bashir and Kira left the conference room.
Ezri was deep in thought, and despite her suspicions concerning Megan, she still believed that calling the Tren's bluff was the best option. She would deal with Megan later. Another thing that concerned Ezri were some of the serious ulterior motives behind the Federation/Cardassian joint strike operation.
Was the operation just an elaborate cover for getting rid of Bordak? Did Section 31 want to repatriate their missing agent? Out of all this, Ezri wondered just how Megan fitted into this complicated puzzle.