7 EXT. SPACE
The Gamma exit of the wormhole bursts open in its giant blue flower of energy, and the six Starfleet capital ships and three runabouts shoot out of it. The varied vessels look tough and ready for business.
8 EXT. EAV’OQ TEMPLE
As numerous Eav’oq flounce gently about in the background, VAUGHN and OPAKA sit side by side on one of the low stone walls that trail through the city.
I wonder if this tension between
you and Benjamin is simply that
of an atheist versus a believer.
That’s not it.
It’s simply a matter of trusting
in the judgement of something
greater than yourself.
And I do. I believe in the good
of the Federation. The difference
is accountability. Understanding
that the decisions that come to
you are the result of discussion
and compromise between people
who have an at least similar view
of the world as you. Who knows
what the Prophets are thinking?
No-one does, Elias. Not really.
I wouldn’t trust anyone who
said he did. But I do trust
that They know best.
Why? How can you be so certain?
I’m not certain, Elias. I don’t
pretend to ever know the full
pattern of the universe. I
doubt anyone ever will. But I
trust that that pattern exists.
And I learn more of it all the
time. That’s all I need.
Kira to Vaughn.
Pleasantly surprised, Vaughn taps his combadge to receive.
Captain, you’re back. Everything
went to plan?
So far. But there’s a lot more
plan yet to come. I need you
up here on the double.
Understood. Stand by.
He turns to Opaka. He takes her hands, looks into her eyes. Neither of them is willing to say the words, but they don’t have to. They know.
That done, Vaughn stands and straightens himself.
Vaughn to Defiant. One to
Keeping his eyes on Opaka, Vaughn disappears in a transporter beam.
9 EXT. SPACE
The six Starfleet capital ships and three runabouts fly together at warp, the Defiant
10 INT. DEFIANT - MESS HALL
A mission meeting of all the fleet’s captains:
Cpt SPILLANE of the Gryphon
(Scandinavian female human)
Cpt SOLOK of the T’Kumbra
(Vulcan male, "Take Me Out...")
Cpt AKOLKAR of the Cerberus
(Indian human female)
Cpt KUWAHARA of the Gorkon
(Japanese/British human male)
Cpt THANN of the Blackthorne
Kira is leading the meeting, stood by the display screen on the wall. Vaughn and Sisko are with her as advisors.
If the Ascendants are indeed as
mysterious as you say, Captain,
how do we expect to find them?
This is classified information.
But the Ascendants have already
made one attack – against the
Dominion... or rather their gods.
You mean the Founders.
No - it turns out the Founders
had a god of their own. They
called it the Progenitor.
Had? Past tense?
The Progenitor is dead. The
Ascendants blew up a star to
irradiate it to death.
Odo had the remains hidden away
inside the Omarion Nebula, with
a constant Jem’Hadar presence.
They think they’re just there to
protect the Founders’ original
home world. But they’re not.
Meanwhile, the Vorta have been
quietly pulling together all the
rumours, hearsay and seemingly
innocuous readings they can to
try and track the culprits. They
gave us that data. Our conclusion
is that the best place to start
looking... is the Omarion Nebula.
They’re keeping an eye on their
The Dominion is probably the
biggest target the Ascendants
have ever taken on. They may be
zealous, but I’m betting they’re
not stupid. They’d make sure.
Now, we don’t know what level
of technology we’ll be facing.
If they can blow up a star, it
must be pretty advanced.
Not necessarily. One well-placed
isolytic subspace weapon can
easily make a star go nova.
Those weapons were banned in
the Khitomer Accords.
Which the Ascendants did not sign.
They also tend to be a solitary
people, spread out to cover as
much ground as possible while
they search for their Fortress.
So hopefully that will play in
our favour as well.
But if it doesn’t, we’ve got a
strong fleet here. The Cerberus
is one of the most advanced
ships in all of Starfleet. The
Blackthorne has the fastest
reactions. Gryphon is the most
heavily armed, Defiant has the
smallest profile. You’ve all
got positives and negatives, so
work together to even them out.
Keep your sensors at full power
too. We still need more data, and
we’ll never get a better chance.
I think we’ve covered everything.
Return to your ships, Captains...
prepare your crews... and pray
to whatever you believe in that
we don’t need them.
The captains file out of the room and into the corridor, where a security random leads them away. Last to leave is Spillane, who offers a reassuring squeeze of the shoulder.
Keep your chin up, Nerys. You
handled the parasites, you’ll
handle this. We’re behind you.
Spillane follows the rest, leaving Kira, Vaughn and Sisko.
11 EXT. SPACE
Spillane’s right, Nerys. Trust
your instincts, trust your crew...
and know that they trust you.
The purplish-blue wisps of the Omarion Nebula are in the background... the Starfleet armada holds station in the foreground. Focusing on the Defiant
Ship’s log, Captain Kira Nerys
recording. We’ve been waiting
here at the Omarion Nebula for
hours. Waiting’s always the
hardest part. But it finally
paid off. The Blackthorne has
detected the Ascendant warp
signature a couple of light
years away. Gryphon confirms.
So this is it.
The Starfleet ships all jump to warp, away from the nebula.
12 EXT. SPACE
I just can’t help thinking about
what the Tellarite councillor
said. About the last time we
tried something like this. The
Defiant’s first mission. I can
only pray this time goes better.
At a distance, we can just about see a small ship against the backdrop of stars. It’s an Ascendant vessel – tiny and silver and sharp, as first seen in 8x23 “Rising Son.”
With data tracking along the side of the image, the small ship is suddenly closer. We can see it in more detail.
13 INT. DEFIANT - BRIDGE
Kira sits in the centre seat, peering at the screen. She’s a little surprised that it’s such a small ship.
Is that it?
BOWERS, SHAR and PRYNN are at their respective stations. Sisko and Vaughn hover on either side of Kira, supporting.
That’s the source of the warp
signature, Captain. By the size,
it’s a single occupancy vehicle.
But no indications of it being
support for a larger ship.
So basically yes, that’s it.
Prynn glances away from her console, over to Shar. He feels her looking, and looks at her too. They wordlessly exchange good luck wishes, then turn back to their own consoles.
Send a standard greeting in all
languages and basic lingua-code.
We come in peace and would like
to meet to talk. The usual.
Aye sir -
Before he can even finish, a transporter effect forms at the front of the bridge, just in front of the view screen. It’s made out of flames, a spontaneous fire, until it blows away and reveals the figure of an Ascendant female.
Tall, willowy, a silver covering that may be skin or bio-armour. Large insectile eyes that seem to shine with fire. Clothes are something like a medieval knight. This is RAIQ.
Bowers is instantly on his feet, pointing a phaser at her. Shar likewise, holding out a tricorder. Everyone else is distinctly spooked, but Raiq just looks around, nonchalant.
Lieutenant Bowers, stand down.
She beamed through the shields.
No she didn’t. No life signs.
She’s still on her ship – this
is just a projection.
The other ships are reporting
they’ve got projections on
their bridges too.
Tell them to let me handle it.
Prynn nods and relays the message. Unhappily, Bowers lowers his phaser, but remains ready. Raiq begins to walk slowly around the bridge, taking in everything with an eagle eye.
Kira steps up to her.
I’m Captain Kira Nerys of the
United Federation of Planets.
I am Raiq, Archquester of the
I do not know these vessels.
Raiq is not really paying attention to Kira. Barely even looks at her. She’s more interested in exploring. She looks at one of the screens on the wall. It fritzes and begins to run with reams of data. She turns to another – the same thing happens. Shar checks his panels, worried...
She’s scanning our databases.
Kira steps forward again, trying to get Raiq’s attention.
Excuse me. If you want to know
about us, we’re happy to answer
your questions. There’s no need
to break into our computers.
Raiq glances dismissively at Kira, but doesn’t really respond. She turns away and the computer scan stops. She turns to Shar, looks the Andorian up and down.
I do not know your people.
I am Andorian.
Raiq turns away. She strolls to the back of the bridge, inspecting. Kira follows, trying to open the conversation.
We don’t know a lot about your
people, but we’d like to. Would
you be willing to meet with us
in person and tell us more about
yourself? We’re more than happy
to do the same in return.
Raiq ignores Kira and walks up to Vaughn. Right into his personal space. Looks him up and down.
Whom do you worship?
I don’t worship anyone.
As I said, we’d love to meet
you in person –
If you do not worship, then
you have nothing to fear from
the Ascendants. And we have
no interest in you.
Well, that’s a shame. I was
hoping that we...
But Kira trails off, because now Raiq has finally looked at her. The imperious Ascendant woman gazes into Kira’s face, seemingly fascinated. Cocks her head, looks again.
That face... I know you.
Kira is confused – what does that mean? The others on the bridge look at her, disquieted. Raiq begins to realize...
The priestess on the world
where I crashed. The prison
moon, with its primitives,
dependent on the broken
satellite network. The nurse
who returned me to health.
You’re the one who freed Opaka.
You are not she. But you are
the same people.
You shame the True.
Kira begins to worry... but then Raiq is swallowed up in another massive burst of flame. Kira flinches back, but it’s fake fire. When it burns itself out, Raiq is gone.
Scared, Kira turns to Bowers, who is checking his panels...
Her engines are powering up...
14 EXT. SPACE
Dwarfed by the six large Starfleet vessels, the tiny silver ship’s engines start to glow... ...but then in a big FLASH of white light, the Ascendant ship disappears. It’s gone.
15 INT. DEFIANT - BRIDGE
They blink, surprised. What happened? Kira looks to Shar. He’s working his panels hard, intrigued by what he sees...
A peculiar discharge of energy,
with an element of spatial
displacement... I cannot be
certain, Captain, but I believe the
entire vessel transported away.
Kira sags, somewhat disappointed, if relieved.
Okay... umm... well, at least
we didn’t have to fight. Signal
the rest of the fleet that -
But then the view screen relays another FLASH of light. Kira turns to see what it is... and Raiq’s ship is back.
Shar is looking at his panels, dismayed at what he sees...
16 EXT. SPACE
The tiny Ascendant ship is back with the Starfleet group...
...and then another FLASH reveals another ship appearing off to one side. And then another FLASH – another ship. And another... and another... and more, surrounding the fleet.
17 INT. DEFIANT - BRIDGE
On Kira’s horrified reaction...
END OF ACT ONE