Chapter 5, part 1
Day 13, 2100 hours
With each passing hour, Megan grew more confident that the threat from the Romulans would blow over. Once the fifty Starfleet ships arrived, the Romulans would be outgunned and have no choice but to retreat should they attack. Megan couldn't see what would trigger the Romulans to attack between now and the time when the reinforcements arrived...
“Commander, the Romulans are charging their disruptor banks!” said Paulson.
Megan didn’t even have time to feel nervous, she looked up at the viewscreen and saw the warbirds begin to swoop inwards. “Dawson hail the Romulan flagship, request to Keelin to stand down-”
The warbirds on the outer formation broke off and began firing at the docking pylons, while the battleship fired its plasma torpedoes at the habitat ring and upper central core. Semi-transparent shields flared up around the habitat ring, while protecting the central core from the green phaser bursts and plasma torpedoes. The armour plating around the station pylons held despite the Romulan armaments being concentrated there.
“Shields are holding,” said Paulson, and when the station shook, he leaned in a little, bracing his hands against the console to steady himself.
“Is there any response from the Romulan flagship?” asked Megan, while she focused on her console.
“It's no good sir!” exclaimed Tanya. “The Romulan ships are jamming my hails!”
Paulson looked up from his console, and glared in an impatient manner at Megan. “Sir do we fight back?”
“What choice do we have?” said Megan rhetorically. “Mr Paulson, activate the weapons array and launch a spread of torpedoes from the upper docking pylon launchers, pattern eta. Fire!”
The weapon port hatches opened up on both the upper and lower docking pylons, and cylindrical pods moved sideways from their respective pylons. When the weapon ports on the upper docking pylons were fully deployed, the top part of the pods rotated around, discharging torpedoes in groups of threes.
Racing forwards, the torpedoes hit some of the Romulan ships, who were now taking evasive action, and a few torpedoes breached the shields of D’Deredex warbirds, and smashed into their hulls generating a small explosion, but nothing serious to cripple the warbirds.
Now some of the warbirds were regrouping, and preparing to make another pass at the station. The Kresh’Torek, the battleship which was twice the length of a galaxy-class starship and shaped in a chassis resembling a Vor'cha-class Klingon ship, maintained its position laying down quantum torpedoes aimed straight at the central core of the station.
Megan studied the tactical display on her console with immense focus, as she tried to anticipate the Romulan ship’s next moves and attack patterns. “Fire phasers and torpedoes from all three weapon sails, pattern Lambda!” she ordered to Paulson.
Ten Romulan warbirds headed for the central core, and their disruptor banks were charging up again. Likewise so were phasers in the weapon sails, attached to the habitat ring. Both ships and weapon sails fired at the same time. Orange phaser fire struck the warbirds, weakening their shields, as did most of the torpedoes launched from the station.
Most of the disruptor fire was absorbed by the station’s shields, however half a dozen bursts slipped through momentary holes in the shields, making big dents to the armour plating protecting one of the weapon sails and the surrounding decks between the sails. There were holes, all burnt and black looking, in the armour, however the disruptor fire had not managed to penetrate beyond the armour.
Again the warbirds moved away from the station, to avoid further phaser fire and torpedoes.
Now Megan was ordering Paulson to fire at will, though she continued to watch the tactical display, she came up with fewer orders which she thought would be more useful in destroying the Romulan ships.
Two consoles had already blown out, and the station’s shaking seemed to get worse for Megan. She grew more and more frustrated as the Romulan ships were coming in waves, attacking the station, quickly retreating and avoiding most of the station’s armaments. Try as she might, Megan could not work out a strategy of increasing the accuracy of the photon torpedoes or phasers.
Her only hope was for the station somehow fighting on -- holding out against attack after attack -- for over two hours until the Starfleet reinforcements arrived. She already ordered Tanya to send out another distress call, and maybe that would force the fifty ships to take up an even higher warp and cut down the two hours journey...
Again the station shook, causing Mia and Deru to be thrown against the floor. Mia quickly got up and hurried over to Deru who looked really shaken. She helped her brother onto his feet, all the while clutching his hand to comfort him.
“Don't worry, I'm here...” she told Deru.
“We're going to die!” said Deru in a panicked voice.
The station shook again, but not so violently, though Mia had enough. No longer content with waiting in this living room while a battle took place, she decided a better option would be to leave their quarters, and ask someone where the civilians were sheltering for evacuation.
“No we're not,” Mia then firmly said, with her mind made up she headed to the door, taking Deru with her. “We're going to survive this-”
The front door opened, one second later a tall but thin Bajoran security guard entered. “I'm here to escort you out of these quarters,” he said to Mia and Deru.
“You see,” said Mia as she followed the guard out. “We're going to be safe.”
Deru didn’t appear convinced and Mia stayed silent as she ran out of ideas to reassure her brother.
As the two followed the guard, Mia noticed the other civilians both in front and behind her. “Were are we going?” she asked to the guard.
“To the Promenade,” he explained. “You two are going to Quark's bar where the other children are being sheltered.”
The journey to the Promenade was eventful with the station shaking at infrequent times. Each time though Mia tightly gripped onto Deru’s hand. All that mattered now was protecting her brother, her parents were gone, presumably captured by the Breen. Despite the pain of losing her mother and father, Mia had a duty to fulfil and that was to Deru.
It allowed Mia to ignore her fears for everything happening around her and focus on the essentials. When they arrived on the Promenade, Mia felt a little relieved but she knew the danger and risk remained as high as ever.
“We're nearly there...” she muttered to Deru.
“It's still not safe...” said Deru numbly.
Mia couldn’t help but agree with her brother’s simple assessment of the situation. Before she could respond they arrived at the entrance to Quark’s bar.
Quark was standing at the entrance, his grim expression said it all to Mia, in particular she noticed a phaser pistol clutched in his right hand. Things must have been bad if Quark had armed himself Mia thought.
The guard escorting Mia and Deru, took notice of this, he glanced disapprovingly at the Ferengi. “Quark do you really think you’re going to need that Ferengi phaser?”
Quark took great umbrage at the guard’s stance. “My bar is my life, without it I'm nothing but destitute!”
Ignoring Quark, the guard headed deeper into the bar, coming to a stop by one of the dabo tables. “You'll be safe in here,” he told Mia and Deru.
“Even if the Romulans board this station?” asked Mia.
Something seemed to harden in the guard’s face; like a cold hatred gradually manifesting itself transforming his features. “We won't let the Romulans come anywhere near here to harm you or the rest of the children. Especially not you two...”
The last thing the guard said struck Mia as rather odd. “You know my mother personally?”
The guard nodded. “She got me out of a tight situation in the Cardassian occupation, I owe her my life.”
Mia nodded a little distractedly in acknowledgement of this. Some moments later, she and Deru sat down on a small flight of steps, close to the dabo table.
“My name is Raris,” added the guard, “if you need anything just ask me or Quark.”
“Yeah thanks...” muttered Mia.
Raris smiled briefly at Mia, before returning to the entrance.
“You see Deru,” said Mia, “we're going to be safe here.”
“I hope so-”
The station shook again, as did Deru's composure. Tears were silently running down his cheeks. Turning a little to her side, Mia pulled her brother in close against her chest, holding on to one of his hands.
She felt just as scared as Deru. Yet somehow she could cope with the fear and keep a clear head. Looking around, she saw the frightened faces of other children. Some of them were far younger than she, while others were about her age. Clearly they had never experienced anything like this before.
The silence became almost palpable, as everyone in the room waited, and waited, for whatever was in store for them.
When Ezri had received a comm call from Holo, she left her office and entered the bridge. “Report!” she demanded of Holo.
“Captain we're receiving a distress call from DS9!” Holo said, sounding a little worried. “The Romulans are attacking!”
“When will we arrive at DS9?” asked Ezri.
“In about ten hours captain,” said Holo.
Ezri turned her gaze to the viewscreen while horrible scenarios played out in her mind. “Helm increase speed to warp 9.9.”
“Aye sir,” said Max, gently tapping in the relevant commands to his console.
“That will cut at least eight hours off our journey,” pointed out Holo, “but that's if the Defiant will hold itself together for two hours of very high warp.”
“This ship will manage,” said Ezri with absolute conviction. “It has always been resilient.”
While Holo’s attention returned to his station, Ezri sat down in the commander’s chair. Her mind became plagued with worry as she thought about the action the Romulans had taken. Clearly this was a consequence of the Defiant destroying the Breen biogenics factory; either DS9 would be destroyed or captured by those pointy eared scoundrels. Neither outcome was acceptable to Ezri, she only hoped when the Defiant arrived at the station there would be something left to defend…
She forced herself to look detached as she thought about all the colleagues and friends in danger… Quark, Nog, Bashir… At the very thought of Bashir, Ezri’s mood further darkened. If DS9 was destroyed, then she was going to kill Talor Voran with her own bare hands. Despite such a reckless and murderous impulse, never had Ezri despised one man so much. Because of Voran’s terrible deed, the Federation was slipping irrevocably into war.
Each time the dermal regenerator went over a particularly tender bit on Kira’s face, she winced in pain. She didn’t appreciate just how badly the Breen had damaged her face, but after taking one look in a mirror, she then knew. The doctor healing her, doctor Taylor, had assured Kira that her face would be fully restored without any scars or deformities.
It felt so good to see friendly people again, once the doctor had mended her, Kira’s mind became dead set on returning to the quarters she and Odo had been allocated. Odo was waiting for her, and right now she fancied nothing more than just resting against Odo’s body, letting the weariness, tiredness and fatigue slowly drift out of her…
The sickbay door’s opened when another officer came in, and Kira heard another doctor speak to the recently arrived person.
“Jacobs you looked very worried about something, what is it?”
“I was on the bridge,” said Jacobs, “and I heard that the Romulans had attacked DS9, and-”
At this Kira turned around to look at Jacobs. “Did you say Romulans?” she asked him.
Jacobs returned Kira’s question with a puzzled stare. “Don’t you know colonel? The Romulans have surrounded DS9 for a few days, and now they've attacked with no warning.”
All thought of resting and taking it easy was quashed from Kira’s mind. “I have to go to the bridge-”
“Hold still colonel!” warned Taylor, who pushed Kira back on her rump against the biobed.
“Well hurry up then!” she snapped. “Because I'm gone the moment you're done!”
Taylor though looked unfazed by his senior officer’s impatience. “With all due respect sir, you need rest after your ordeal on-”
“You can't order me around!” snarled Kira. “Only the chief medical officer can relieve me of duty, and in case you haven't realised he is on DS9!”
“If you insist...” replied Taylor wearily, removing the dermal regenerator away from Kira’s face.
At once Kira sprung to her feet and marched out of sickbay. She was desperate to get to the bridge to find out more about what had happened to DS9, she would tell Odo later where she had gone. Some of the officers who past by Kira gave her the occasional surprised expression, and to Kira’s mild embarrassment, she realised she was still wearing her dirty and somewhat tattered uniform.
Unfortunately she had no spare change of uniform or any other clothes to wear, all of those clothes were still in the Imperial Palace on Breen. However a messy and dirty appearance aside, Kira didn’t give much of a damn…