“Shuttle one to bridge: we’re on final departure sequence. Shuttle two, you’ll be clear to depart secondary hangar in sixty seconds.”
Kozar manned the port secondary pilot seat of an unmarked shuttle, usually flown by operatives of Starfleet Intelligence. This was the first of the shuttles exiting the Lambda Paz
’s hangar deck that had no markings that would indicate Starfleet origins and had transponder codes that could be easily altered in order to more easily infiltrate enemy territory.
Kozar’s team consisted of Rebecca Sullivan in the pilot seat and Tarlazzi at a starboard secondary station diagonally to the pilot seat. Six Marines and two engineering officers are seated at benches on the left and right walls. The Marines consisted of two human males, two Andorian males, a Xindi humanoid female, and a Xindi reptilian male. The engineers were a human female and a Trill male. All of them were dressed in black military fatigues, so they would not be easily identified as Starfleet officers and troops in the event they were captured.
“Understood, shuttle one,” Morrison replied on the comm-channel. “Beginning pre-flight sequence.”
The second shuttle was situated in a secondary hangar in the aft port saucer section, so as to approach its target from a different vector. His team, also dressed in black fatigues, consisted of Goris M’Rev at the starboard secondary piloting station and Ensign Dexter Hall in the pilot seat, while Morrison was at the port secondary station. The EMP device was housed in a Starfleet-issue cargo container right behind the piloting consoles. The rest of the team consisted of six security officers and crewpersons— two human males and a human female, a Caitian male, a Ktarian male, and a Deltan female-- along with two engineering crewmen— one Vulcan and one human.
The mother ship had positioned itself deep in the star’s corona, and was fortunately protected by metaphasic shielding that allowed a ship to hide near the surface of a star for a lot longer than was possible with conventional shields.
“Shuttle two has departed,” Willis Huckaby reported from the ops console.
Limis nodded in acknowledged and looked towards Carson at conn. “Hold to this position, helm,” she instructed, “but be prepared to fire up the engines at a moment’s notice.”
“Understood,” Sara answered with a firm hand on the controls.
“And Lieutenant sh’Aqba,” Limis added, looking at the Andorian woman, who was also at ops to Huckaby’s left. “Keep a close eye on the metaphasic shielding to see if it fluctuates even in the slightest.”
“No problem, sir,” sh’Aqba replied as she sauntered over to the port mission ops station. “I’ll be ready to transfer emergency power to conventional shielding if necessary.”
Kozar’s shuttle slowly approached a spherical housing that was considerable distance from the Dyson Sphere’s main entrance. Two asymmetrically shaped cylindrical bridges connected the smaller sphere to the outer walls of the much larger sphere. The top of the smaller sphere was sending out a continuous pulse that was sapping energy from the star in order to power the rest of artificial structure.
The shuttle fired phasers at the housing to the central power source, which were easily absorbed by a shield. The phaser fire also activated a dozen cube-shaped sentry pods that swarmed in on the shuttle, firing green laser bursts at the shuttle. The shield’s quickly buckled under the more advanced weapons fire, but the shuttle’s phasers and torpedoes were just as effective in neutralizing the pods. The shuttle then arched upward and away from the power core.
“Shuttle two,” said Kozar, after opening a comm-channel. “Proceed with phase two.”
“With pleasure, sir,”
Morrison gleefully replied.
The second shuttle closed in faster and faster towards a docking port, firing phasers in methodical bursts. Two sentry pods then activated and fired at the shuttle. The shuttle fired back, tearing both pods to pieces.
Morrison and his six-person security team beamed into a corridor of the Dyson Sphere where they intercepted a group of six Romulan soldiers running down the hallway to provide extra security at the main power core. Morrison and the other human male officers swung around and shot at the Romulans with their phaser rifles while the others pinned themselves against the wall to take cover from the onslaught of disruptor fire. Two of the Romulans were dispatched, while one of the human male officers was clipped in the shoulder. He managed to stay upright while Morrison was instructing them to keep on down the corridor.
As they proceeded down the corridor, continuing to counter the barrage of weapons fire, the Caitian officer sensed someone approaching down an adjoining corridor. He arched to the right, pointing his phaser rifle in the direction of the approaching Romulan, who was armed with just a disruptor. He quickly dispatched that Romulan, but another approached from behind. His tail swung towards the second Romulan, which lassoed his leg and pulled him down towards the deck. The Caitian then clipped the downed Romulan with a neural truncheon before following the rest of the team.
As they continued down the corridor, another six Romulans approached from ahead with rifles firing. The Ktarian and one of the human males at the two ends of the horizontal formation were quickly taken out. As the rest of them laid down cover fire, Morrison began arming two stun grenades. Upon seeing the first team they had confronted on approach, Morrison threw one of the grenades towards them, instantly detonating. He then hurled the second grenade to the attacking soldiers ahead, and the blast dispatched all six of them.
Morrison gestured his team to continue forward. Unbeknownst to them, one of the Romulans had managed to avoid much of the stun grenade’s blast and swung his arms around the human female officer. She managed to throw him down to the ground and clip him with a neural truncheon. And that was when she realized a knife had been jammed into stomach. As blood continued pouring out, she fell to the deck unconscious.
At the entrance to the power core, Morrison’s team was joined by Kozar’s, minus the two Andorians and the humanoid Xindi. M’Rev and the two engineers were alongside him as well. After the two team leaders exchanged approving nods, Kozar then slipped the entry keypad off and placed an isolinear chip that M’Rev was simultaneously handing him into the circuitry to force the door open. The large circular double doors slid apart slightly before another locking mechanism kicked in, leaving open a crack that wasn’t big enough for anyone slip through.
The two other engineers moved towards both side of the doors while dodging disruptor fire through the door. The human and Vulcan males attached manual release clamps and attempted to slide the door. Kozar and Morrison pinned themselves against the wall, laying down cover fire as the crevice became wider. Both men then hurled stun grenades towards the Romulans defending the main power core.
Kozar took point as he motioned both teams into the control room while Morrison brought up the rear, vigilantly looking down both corridors, and tapped a communication device on his left wrist. “The way is clear, Mister Tarlazzi,” he said.
Just a few seconds later, Tarlazzi and his team of engineers materialized in the control room with the EMP device. The four engineering officers spread out and removed access panels from each of the four walls, while Tarlazzi and M’Rev used anti-gravity clamps to remove at the explosive from the cargo container. While Tarlazzi was pushing buttons to arm the device, he saw something that elicited him to mutter, “Uh-oh.”
“This isn’t a good time for ‘uh-oh’, Mister Tarlazzi,” Kozar snapped.
“Like I don’t know that,” Tarlazzi shot back. “One of the detonator circuits was out of alignment, but I think I corrected it.
“You ‘think’?” M’Rev repeated skeptically.
“Right now it’s all we’ve got,” Tarlazzi attempted to assure his colleagues.
Disruptor fire suddenly burst through the doorway, dispatching the two human engineers and the Vulcan. Kozar, Morrison, and the rest of the security and Marine soldiers fired their rifles towards in the direction of the attacking Romulans, with neither side giving way.
“The virus is in place,” Tarlazzi, reported, looked up from the uplink set on his tricorder. “And the explosive is ready to arm.”
“Let’s get the hell out of here then!” Kozar barked over the barrage of weapons fire.
Kozar’s and Morrison’s teams continued firing their rifles as they moved out of the room one at a time. Tarlazzi and M’Rev drew their phasers and fired at the Romulans as well, dispatching two of them. Once they were all out of the control room, M’Rev whipped out his tricorder and entered the detonation sequence.
A massive electromagnetic pulse rippled through the Dyson Sphere, knocking out power throughout. The whole structure had emerged into normal space as it sent out more ripples.
Aboard the relay device the Dominion was investigating, the central control room began shaking. Yelgrun and the Founder looked around, terrified that the place would shake apart. The Jem’Hadar and the Breen looked around with similar curiosity while remaining calm and collected.
“What’s happening?!” the Founder bellowed.
“How should I know?” barked Yelgrun.
“And we don’t want to find out,” the Founder added. “We’re getting out of here.”
The Vorta, Jem’Hadar, and Breen all scrambled towards the center of the room. The Founder then signaled his ship, and they all dematerialized.
The Dominion capital ship and the two Breen heavy cruisers slowly moved away from the relay device as it was sucked into the same funnel from which it emerged. One of the Breen ships was pulled into subspace with the device as the other two streaked into warp.
“We’ve lost contact with both shuttles,” Huckaby gasped, as he looked up from his console. “And our probe propping open the door is losing integrity.”
“What?” Limis blurted out. She wanted to curse Grabowski, but now was not the time for blame. “Helm, plot a course that’ll take us to both shuttles and then the away teams. Sh’Aqba, get to the transporter bay. I’ll be relying on your wizardry.”
The Lambda Paz
emerged from the star’s corona and towards the outer wall of the Dyson Sphere. Two Romulan fighter shuttles closed in on the Starfleet ship from behind and fired disruptors at both nacelles. The Lambda Paz
responded with swarms of phasers and quantum torpedoes, disabling both ships.
“How long before the probe is crushed?” Limis asked Huckaby.
“Fifty-three seconds,” the ops officer calmly replied.
“And you’ve got about thirty of them, sh’Aqba,” Limis snapped through the comm channel.
Sh’Aqba did not acknowledge and kept working the transporter console. A male Denobulan technician on her left nodded approvingly. After entering a few more calculations, she counted backwards. “Three, two, one. Energize!”
Kozar, Morrison, Tarlazzi, and M’Rev were among those who materialized on the pad, along with Sullivan, Hall, and only five of the twelve security and Marine soldiers. “Bridge,” sh’Aqba triumphantly cried. “We have them!”
The Lambda Paz
swooped towards the entrance to the sphere. A line of quantum torpedoes plowed into the probe. The ship then sped up towards the rapidly closing double door and even tore through the edges, causing hull breaches on both sides of the saucer section.
The bridge rocked hard, sending bridge officers and debris from the ceiling to the deck. But Carson was able firmly grip her console and send the ship streaking to warp.