Day 9, 0840 hours
“Ten million kilometres to the entrance of the wormhole,” reported Max from the helm.
“Drop out of warp now, and go to half impulse,” ordered Ezri, while her hands gripped onto her chair's armrests. She then addressed Megan. “Are the Tren and Jem'Hadar ships still following us?”
“Affirmative,” said Megan.
So it had come to this, after three days of retreating from the Jem’Hadar fleet, once the Defiant reached the other side of the wormhole and rejoined the Federation fleet, a huge battle would commence. Ezri felt moderately hopeful about the battle’s outcome, from the scans of the Jem’Hadar ships it seemed the Jem’Hadar were still using polaron weaponry.
Starfleet ships shields had been modified many years ago in 2373 to absorb polaron beams. However, Ezri knew this merely evened the odds, the Federation fleet’s only chance of victory was if they could keep the Jem’Hadar close to the wormhole. The focal point of the torpedoes would rip the Jem’Hadar ships to pieces.
“Entering the wormhole captain,” said Max. “Going to thrusters... now.”
The view screen showed the wormhole opening up, various colours of blue and gold rotated around the centre. When the Defiant was inside the wormhole, there were various streaks of blue and white coloured energy hugging to the cylindrical structure of the wormhole. While in the distance there was a golden light emitting circular bands of pale yellow energy.
Megan turned briefly to glance at Ezri. “The ships following us are doing the same.”
“Switch to the reverse view,” replied Ezri.
The view screen showed a similar view of the wormhole, except this time there were hundreds of ships following the Defiant from behind. Even from this distance the dozen Tren ships looked very distinctive, with their semi-circular wing bending inwards towards the front of the ship.
Behind the Tren ships, were hundreds of Jem’Hadar ships. Most of the Jem’Hadar ships were fighters, some were battleships, and Ezri thought she could make out one of those Jem’Hadar dreadnought ships. This was how Starfleet classified these behemoths.
“Switch back to the normal view,” said Ezri.
She walked over and came to a stop at Max's left side, she placed her right hand on the top left edge of Max's chair. “I think it's time Mr Weatherby for you to dazzle us all with your amazing piloting skills.”
“Let's get the show on the road...” said Max to himself, he then spoke a bit louder. “Brace yourself everyone, this is going to get very bumpy!”
Ezri returned to her chair, she sat down and gripped tightly onto the chair’s armrests. She was bracing herself for whatever might happen. On the view screen the wormhole opened up and Ezri saw hundreds of Starfleet ships, a moment later she saw little pinpricks of light coming from the ships. As she saw the torpedoes approaching the Defiant, all Ezri could do was look intensely at Max’s back. She hoped Max was indeed the amazing pilot that the Starfleet records claimed him to be.
The Starfleet ships were gathered around the mouth of the wormhole, about 250 of those ships were to lay down fire into the wormhole. The rest of the ships were stationed in a long series of parallel lines next to DS9. The ships were organised into rows one on top of the other, and they were spaced out into a diamond formation.
The 250 ships close to the mouth of the wormhole were arranged in concentric circles. They fired volley after volley of torpedoes, the torpedoes were fired in a sequential order, and the torpedoes converged towards the wormhole in a series of enclosing spirals.
Against the entrance to the wormhole, the Defiant looked tiny, it swerved upwards and spiralled wildly to avoid the enclosing net of torpedoes. For a moment it looked like the Defiant wouldn’t escape, then it broke through as the first of the torpedoes entered the wormhole.
Back on the Defiant, Ezri was relieved that the Defiant was in one piece. She would thank Max later, right now there were more pressing concerns. “Ms Felpes scan the wormhole, what is happening to the Tren and Jem'Hadar ships?”
“There's some sort of interference, I can't tell.” Megan looked at the sensor readings intently. “In fact I'm not even sure if the photon torpedoes are even hitting the Tren and Jem'Hadar ships!”
Ezri was momentarily puzzled, if the photon torpedoes weren’t hitting the Tren and Jem’Hadar ships then what had happened to them? It was Odo who provided the answer.
“The Tren ships are coming through the entrance of the-” Odo eyes widened in surprise. “Captain they're deflecting the photon torpedoes!”
Ezri couldn’t believe it, but right now all that mattered was avoiding the photon torpedoes. “Max get us-”
The Defiant lurched suddenly upwards; Max had taken immediate action to avoid getting hit by the photon torpedoes. As the Defiant continued to make the sharp upwards turn, Ezri felt like she was going to throw up, she could almost feel her breakfast climbing up her wind pipe.
She still occasionally suffered from space sickness, and sudden manoeuvres like this were guaranteed to give her an upset stomach. The Defiant suddenly righted itself, and on the view screen, Ezri saw the Starfleet ships break formation to avoid their own torpedoes. It was a horrible sight to see. “Report!” she demanded, while trying her best to avoid being sick.
“No damage to the Defiant,” said Odo. “The Jem'Hadar ships are breaking through, they're still following the Tren ships. 64 Starfleet ships were hit by their own torpedoes, most have suffered minimum damage, two of those ships were destroyed... The Jem'Hadar are engaging the Starfleet ships!”
Ezri now realised why the Tren were crazy enough to walk into a clear trap, they had turned the Federation fleet's trap against its own ships. “Odo send a message to all ships, tell them to follow the Defiant, and engage any Jem'Hadar ship they encounter! Max set a general course to follow the Tren ships, dodge any Jem'Hadar ships that approach the Defiant and maintain course, to keep tracking the Tren ships!”
She was still holding onto the chair as if her life depended upon it, while she mentally prepared herself for the long battle that was to come. She wished she didn’t feel so queasy, but she ignored that distraction. Right now the only thing that mattered was to destroy as many Jem’Hadar ships as possible. She would not let the Jem’Hadar destroy DS9 and Bajor…
Day 9, 0900 hours
Ten minutes into the battle, and the Defiant was holding up well. It had destroyed 21 Jem’Hadar ships, at times Ezri caught glimpses from the view screen of DS9. Every time Ezri saw just a brief glimpse of DS9, her gut tightened from nervousness, she wondered how long it would take for the Jem’Hadar to take out DS9’s shields. If that happened DS9 would become easy game for the Jem’Hadar.
Already the Defiant had expended a third of its torpedoes armaments and phaser reserves were down to sixty percent, if the battle were to continue for too long, the Defiant would run out of armaments. Ezri had never seen so many enemy ships in her life, they were swarming all over the view screen. Lieutenant Patrick, who was in charge of the weapons, was targeting the Jem’Hadar ships at his own discretion.
Occasionally Ezri gave out the odd order to move to a different position. On a console to the left of her armrest, Ezri watched the tactical display of the Defiant and the ships around it. The Defiant had it's own little icon, while the Starfleet ships were indicated as blue elongated triangles, while the Jem’Hadar ships were shown as red elongated triangles, the Tren were coloured grey. The positioning of the triangles indicated the ship’s direction, every second the screen updated giving Ezri a constant stream of tactical information.
So far Ezri hadn’t seen the Tren ships engage the Starfleet ships, the Tren ships were simply watching the battle from afar, though right now they was a small distraction from a much bigger problem. Ezri feared that the Jem’Hadar would win this battle through shear force of numbers.
“Captain!” said Megan suddenly. “The fleet of rogue Jem'Hadar ships are being attacked from behind! It's Weyoun, and his Dominion flagship, there are about a thousand Jem’Hadar ships. It looks like he managed to find an whole army of loyal Jem’Hadar!”
“The Tren ships are going to warp captain, the Jem’Hadar ships are following the Tren!” reported Max.
“Keep following them!” ordered Ezri, she suddenly felt hopeful, did the renegade Jem’Hadar think they couldn’t win the battle?
“Why do they flee?” said Odo quietly, after the Defiant had gone to warp, he seemed to be talking to himself.
Ezri turned her head to the left to look at Odo. “What's that Odo?”
Odo moved in his seat to face Ezri. “It's just unusual, if the Tren really are invading the Federation, why don't they engage us directly? Besides I have never seen the Jem’Hadar retreat from a battle, they fight to the death unless ordered otherwise.”
The point Odo made was a valid one, and the Jem’Hadar behaviour baffled Ezri. “Let’s be thankful that the renegade Jem’Hadar are retreating. We need to drive them out of Federation territory, and we will continue to pursue them until they reach their destination, wherever that may be.”
Odo returned to monitor his console, while Ezri relaxed into her chair. It wasn’t quite a victory against the renegade Jem’Hadar, as for some reason the Tren decided to retreat. What Ezri didn’t understand was why the renegade Jem’Hadar followed the Tren ships. The shapeshifter leader had told her that the Tren were planning an invasion of the Alpha Quadrant, either the Tren plan had failed miserably, or the Tren had a different motive for bringing the renegade Jem’Hadar to the Alpha Quadrant…
Despite these mysteries, two things did comfort Ezri. One was that DS9 and Bajor seemed to be out of the danger zone, the second thing was the Defiant’s crew. They held up well in the heat of battle, and Ezri was proud of her crew. Yes they were Starfleet officers trained to follow their commander's orders, but even so they placed their trust in Ezri as a captain to keep the Defiant in one piece and give the Jem’Hadar a bloody nose. Ezri was glad she had not let down their trust…