Day 6, 1230 hours
On the Promenade, Kira walked almost aimlessly towards the Replimat. She didn’t feel like eating, and her mind constantly strayed to her fear of losing her children. Ever since receiving the death threat, Kira had constantly worried for the safety of her children. She feared that if the Reformation movement stepped up it's operations, her children would be in grave danger if they stayed on board DS9.
Her fear was heightened by the daily death threats she received, in the form of sub-space messages sent to her laptop. It seemed Tamar had realized her deception and now considered her a enemy to his movement. Kira wondered what she could do to protect her children, as she approached the Replimat she spotted Holo and Megan sitting at the same table. An idea suddenly struck Kira...
She walked over to the table where Megan and Holo were sitting. “Am I interrupting?”
Megan looked up at Kira. “Not at all, sit down,” she said in a friendly manner.
Stiffly Kira sat down, her preoccupied nature did not go amiss with Holo and Megan.
“What's the problem?” asked Holo, he sounded genuinely concerned. “You look a million light years away.”
Kira felt as if she had the weight of the universe on her shoulders. “I'm worried about my children. Major Dolsur's murder has really rattled me, and I just think with the Reformation movement increasing it's hold on Bajor, my children are in grave danger on board this station.”
“What made you come to that conclusion?” asked Holo who sounded sympathetic of Kira's concerns.
“I've been receiving death threats,” said Kira quietly.
Megan looked aghast. “No!” she said angrily.
Kira had reached a decision, and she decided to ask Holo and Megan for their help. “I've got to do something to protect my children. The Reformation could attack DS9 with the Bajoran fleet, and if that happens then it is simply to dangerous for my children to stay here. So what I'm asking of you is a favour. Take my children off DS9, and send them to the nearest Federation starbase. They should be safe there.”
Megan looked uneasy with Kira’s request. “But I'm supposed to be on duty, have you cleared this with Dax?”
“Not exactly,” said Kira.
The shiftiness on Kira's part only seemed to further increase Megan’s reluctance. “Well I'm sorry, I can't just abandon my post, so I can't help you-”
“Megan!” said Holo disapprovingly, and he glared briefly at Megan. “Sure we'll help you Kira.”
With Holo agreeing to help out Kira, Megan’s reluctance started to fade. “Well I suppose I could help you. I could break the rules for a noble reason, like protecting your children.”
Inwardly Kira was mightily relieved, all her worries about her children seemed to vanish. “Thank you for doing this, when will you be leaving?”
“2200 hours at most,” said Megan. “I've got to finish this report, and arrangements have to be made for the runabout, however that shouldn't take to long. Don't worry colonel, Holo and I will take good care of your children.”
Day 6, 1500 hours
Now that Ezri realised who was behind the murders, of those eighty majors and colonels, she had to inform admiral Ross about the Reformation movement. As she entered her office, Ezri hoped that admiral Ross would come up with a plan to deal with the Reformation movement. She sat down at her desk and activated her laptop. She sent a secure transmission to admiral Ross and waited for him to respond.
Two minutes later, the image on the laptop screen changed from the Federation insignia to a video-feed of admiral Ross sitting behind his desk.
“Admiral I'm calling because I've found disturbing evidence of a military coup being plotted on Bajor. I believe the murders of eighty high ranking Bajoran officers is related to this planned military coup.”
Ross nodded once somberly. “These murders appear to be a systematic attempt at destabilizing the Bajoran military. Though I wouldn't go as far to say that a military coup is about to occur.”
“Here me out admiral. I think I've find the reason behind these murders...” Ezri paused as she was carefully wording her next question. “Admiral, have you heard of a Bajoran organization called the Reformation movement?”
Ross frowned his incomprehension. “No I haven't, what exactly is the Reformation Movement?”
“It seems to be a rogue movement inside the Bajoran military, the movement's aims are for a Bajor independent of the Federation, a stronger Bajoran military and the removal of the Vedek Assembly.”
In a brief slip of his composure, Admiral Ross looked taken aback. “How willing is the Reformation Movement in using violence to accomplish its goals?”
“From what I've seen, I would say that the movement is very willing to use violence. What we need to find out is how much control the movement has over the Bajoran fleet. Should the Reformation movement attempt a military coup in the immediate future, then orbital superiority over Bajor will be vital if the coup were to succeed.”
Now Ross was taking the possibility of a military coup on Bajor very seriously. “Have you informed First Minister Shakaar about the Reformation Movement?”
“I have, and I will be contacting Shakaar again regarding a plan to break up the Reformation Movement. However, I believe it is imperative that the Bajoran fleet should be impounded. This would prevent the Reformation Movement from accessing the Bajoran fleet.”
For a brief moment Ezri held her breath. If admiral Ross did not agree with her suggestion, then Bajor would be at the mercy of the Reformation Movement.
“Agreed,” said Ross after a moment’s silence. “I will deploy fifty Starfleet ships to Bajor, they should arrive in two days time.”
There was another silence. Ezri had another matter to discuss with the admiral, and this was a rather embarrassing one. “Another issue I want to discuss with you admiral is the petition for Bajoran sovereignty, which I sent to you five days ago. I want it rescinded at once.”
Now Ross looked just a little bit sheepish. “Well actually captain I never got around to reading the petition. Ever since the abduction of the three Bajoran vedeks, most of my time has been spent dealing with the crisis on Bajor. Is there anything else you wish to discuss captain?”
“I’ll contact you again when the Starfleet ships have arrived at Bajor, Ross out.”
The Federation insignia appeared on the laptop screen once more. Ezri deactivated the laptop and leaned back into her chair. She felt so stupid about sending the partition to admiral Ross. To think five days ago she thought everything was fine on Bajor! Ezri wished she had delved deeper into the political situation on Bajor, because she had made a hasty and flawed decision. One part of Ezri's mind told her to stop punishing herself, how could she have known about the Reformation Movement? Or about the secret tensions between the Vedek Assembly and the Bajoran military?
Day 6, 2300 hours
Late in the night, Kira, Ezri and Odo were holed away in the security office. Odo had finally made a breakthrough in the investigation of Bajor’s military. As usual Odo was behind his desk, Ezri sat in front of Odo, while Kira stood to Odo’s right. There were a dozen or so padds on Odo’s desk. Kira sincerely hoped that the evidence Odo found would bring the whole lot of the Reformation Movement’s members to justice.
“We're in luck,” said Odo. “As I studied the financial records of 250 particular colonels and majors, I began to notice unusual transactions within the records. Many of these colonels were responsible for allocating government money into the Bajoran military. Unfortunately with these 250 officers, some of that money stuck to their fingers... And they then proceeded to transfer it into a savings fund.”
Ezri’s eyebrows rose in apparent surprise. “A savings fund?”
This was a term that Kira had frequently heard of, and she explained to Ezri what Odo meant. “Sometimes the Bajoran government accidently grants too much money to various government departments. The extra money is retained by the departments, each department has a savings fund to store this extra money. Since government departments are funded on a yearly basis, the money in the savings fund is used by a certain government department, to pay for a proportion of the funding for the next financial year. This means the government can grant less money towards that particular department.”
Kira thought she could almost hear Ezri’s brain working away, as Ezri mulled the explanation over in her mind.
“Alright,” said Ezri. “So we know there has been dodgy accounting by these corrupt officers. How does this explain the Reformation movement's funding arrangements?”
“It get's better,” said Odo with a hint of irony. “The money in the savings fund was spent by the movement, now here is the clever part. The official financial records indicates that the savings fund was left untouched.”
Ezri looked rather puzzled, and was staring at Odo as if he were pulling her leg. “So how can we prove that the Reformation Movement actually purchased weaponry and other military hardware?”
A cunning look appeared on Odo’s face. “The Reformation Movement's spending is only revealed when you analyze the financial details of Bajor's exports. One part of Bajor's exports is weapons selling, this is of course perfectly legal trading. Bajor exports 750 million litas worth of weapons, but I discovered that fifty million litas of these exports have been classified incorrectly. Since Bajor sells weapons to thirteen inter-planetary states, the correct value of Bajor's weapons exports should be 700 million litas. But this is not the case.”
“Of course!” exclaimed Ezri, she seemed to be having a moment of clarity. “The records show that Bajor sold more weapons to its trading partners than actually transpired! For instance say Bajor actually sold twenty million litas worth of weaponry to the Klingons, but the financial records said the value was 25 million litas. Those five million litas were added on, because they were actual sales, but the Klingons didn't receive the weapons, someone on Bajor received those weapons!”
Odo looked smug. “Precisely captain, it is a very clever accounting method.”
“Wait a minute!” exclaimed Kira, as she saw a clear flaw to Odo's argument. “Wouldn't the finance ministry notice these accounting discrepancies?”
The smug look faded from Odo’s face. “Not necessarily, the Reformation Movement must have government accountants under its pay roll. These accountants could make revisions to Bajor's trade balance, since these revisions total 150 million litas no one would suspect the accountants of fraud.”
Ezri looked considerably thoughtful. “Odo is right, every year the Bajoran finance ministry makes small revisions, due to accounting error, at the end of every financial year. A sum of 150 million litas is less than point one of a percent of the Bajoran government's total expenditure.”
There was silence between the three. Finally, Kira started to grasp the clever nature of the movement’s funding activities. It was no wonder that the Reformation Movement remained undetected for such a long time. “Alright,” she said after a moment's pause. “We now know how the Reformation Movement is funded. So how are we going to arrest the 250 officers who were responsible for funding the movement?”
“Let me deal with that,” said Ezri. “I'll contact Shakaar and send him the names of the 250 officers suspected of being members in the Reformation movement. After that, in a matter of hours these officers will be arrested; and in one move we will severely damage the Reformation movement.” Ezri then rose from the chair. “I want the two of you to continue analyzing these financial records. The more evidence we find of fraud and graft, then the easier it will be to prosecute our 250 suspects.”
“Understood captain,” said Kira.
Once Ezri had left the office, Kira walked around Odo’s desk and sat down. She looked grimly at Odo, they both knew that there was a huge amount of pain-staking work to be done.
Odo slid a pad over the desk to Kira. “Here... you check the military financial records, while I will check over the financial records of the 250 suspects.”
Day 7, 0100 hours
Megan and Holo were inside the cockpit of the runabout Turnstile. Megan was piloting the shuttle and checking the sensors, Holo was monitoring the runabout’s systems, while Mia and Deru were sleeping in another compartment. The mood inside the cockpit was tense, Megan was constantly glancing down at the sensor readings. While Holo seemed agitated, whenever possible he glanced at Megan, and this got on her nerves.
“Have we been detected yet by any renegade Bajoran ship?” asked Holo.
“Not yet,” said Megan, “we've nearly left the Bajoran star system, and we're approaching the last Oort cloud.” She paused and looked through the cockpit window. For a few moments she almost expected a ship to descend upon the runabout all of a sudden. “It's to quiet Holo.”
Her pessimistic mood only exasperated the tension, and Holo looked taken aback by her ominous remark. “But it would be so foolish for a Bajoran ship to attack a Federation runabout!”
“<i>Incoming vessel,</i>” said the computer's voice.
Megan didn't have time to track the ship down, and she had barely raised the shields when the runabout shook as the hostile ship's phaser beam pounded the Turnstile. “Damn it!” she cursed. “The shields are at seventy percent strength, we won't survive this kind of punishment for much longer! Holo, I want you to send out a distress call to DS9!”
A warning message flashed on Megan’s console. “It's a Bajoran fighter, it's coming in from a heading of 3-6-4 mark 5-2-1, they're firing!”
Holo’s fingers skimmed across the console, as he simultaneously sent the message and kept on top of the runabout's malfunctioning systems. “It's sent on all frequencies, but what-” The runabout lurched again as another phaser beam hit it again. “-will that give us?”
“A warning to DS9,” said Megan enigmatically, and she then turned around in her chair. “Holo get yourself, Deru and Mia onto a transporter pad I have a plan...”
While Holo woke up Deru and Mia, Megan turned the runabout around, so it was tailing the Bajoran fighter. When Megan was a Starfleet Intelligence agent she had learnt a lot about transporters. If she got this right, she would solve two problems with one simple action...