Chapter 5, part 2
Ezri sat on the commander’s chair, concentrating upon writing up a report on a padd, she didn’t pay any attention when she heard the door to the bridge swish open. However some moments later she lowered the padd when she sensed that someone was standing in front of her. It was Kira, the sight of that dirtied uniform really caught Ezri’s attention.
“Colonel, I thought doctor Taylor told you to rest,” said Ezri rather sternly.
Kira looked anything but willing to rest, her face was drawn and very tense. “I couldn't rest knowing that DS9 was being attacked, and wondering whether my children were safe. Just what has happened to DS9, and what are the Romulans doing there?”
Briefly Ezri held Kira’s gaze, and she knew if anyone deserved an explanation for what was going on, Kira certainly did. “I'll explain to you in my ready room.”
Ezri removed herself from the chair, and with Kira at her side, they left the bridge, coming to a stop only when they were inside the ready room.
While Kira stood close to the door, Ezri moved a few more steps forward before turning around to face Kira.
“To answer your questions colonel, the Romulans came to DS9 four days ago with a fleet of thirty ships. Initially they ignored our hails, but then the fleet's commander, general Keelin, explained to me that he was here to give to me a set of demands from both his government and the Breen Confederacy.”
“Demands?” asked Kira a little shrilly.
“Changes to the Treaty of Devron, and the peace treaty between the Breen and Federation. I told him that I would need time to consider all of this, and that the final say would come from Starfleet Command and the Federation High Council itself. Anyway Keelin was simply a messenger, and once the Federation entered into formal negotiations with both the Breen and Romulan governments, I told Keelin that his fleet needn't stay at DS9.”
Kira averted her gaze from Ezri, she seemed to be having a hard time coming to terms with all this news. “Don't tell me,” she said, gazing at Ezri again. “Keelin kept his fleet right at our back door to pressurise you?”
“Precisely,” said Ezri, smiling rather bitterly at Kira. “The Defiant had to leave the station cloaked to carry out the rescue mission to free the surviving members of the Federation delegation on Breen. All of this as part of a mission given to me by admiral Ross.”
“Which explains how you arrived...” murmured Kira, her eyes unfocused while she processed all this information. “Do you know why the Romulans attacked?” she added rather sharply.
“I don't know the precise reason but...”
“Yes?” said Kira slowly, who was hanging onto Ezri’s every word.
Briefly Ezri readjusted the back of her jacket’s collar in a distracted manner, what she was going to say next would not be to Kira’s liking. “The officer at this bridge's tactical station, Talor Voran, opened fired on the Breen homeworld.”
The reaction was instant; Kira’s mouth fell open in horror, and she stared at Ezri with bewilderment mad. “What? Did you order him to-”
“Of course not!” said Ezri angrily. “For reasons I cannot explain, he fired five flux torpedoes directly at the Breen's biogenics factory.”
Kira’s confusion grew. “The Breen have a biogenics' factory?”
“They do,” said Ezri, nodding once at Kira.
“I still don't get it, what's the connection between the destroyed biogenics' factory and the Romulans attacking DS9?”
Ezri sighed when she realised just how behind Kira was on the current situation. “The Breen and Romulans have recently signed a defensive pact. If one is attacked, the other gets involved to protect its ally.”
“By the Prophets...” breathed Kira, and only now did she seem to be comprehending what had transpired. “So much has happened... Are we at war with both the Breen and Romulans?”
“I don't know,” replied Ezri honestly. “To my knowledge there has only been two incidents; the destruction of the biogenics factory and the Romulans attacking DS9.”
“But surely this is only the beginning...” said Kira in rather hushed tones.
“Let's hope not...”
There was a small pause…
“Captain, request permission to work at my station.”
“Request denied,” said Ezri, “you need to rest and recuperate.”
Now Kira became even more strained, she was bordering on desperation. “Captain let me work at the tactical station, I have to do this. I have to do something to protect DS9, to do something to protect my children.”
Her voice began to rise with each word, and each syllable was laced with desperation. “The thought of doing nothing and sitting in some quarters, waiting for the outcome of a battle-”
Kira stopped to compose herself. Having found some strength, she looked at Ezri seriously in the eye. “I'm the best tactical officer you've got, so please Dax, let me man my station.”
Ezri considered this, and she fully understood why Kira was desperate to do something. For a woman like Kira to do nothing while her friends and loved ones were in danger must have been inconceivable to her. Simply put, Ezri could not do that to Kira, to her first officer, and closest friend.
“Very well,” said Ezri.
With a small nod, Kira silently thanked Ezri before leaving the office.
For over thirty minutes the battle had raged, and try every tactic she could, Megan could not believe how unrelenting the Romulan ships were. She had experience in tactical situations, but up against Keelin she felt like an amateur. Instead of directly attacking the station, Keelin’s ships were doing constant hit and run attacks. Megan still couldn’t work out the attack pattern, for it changed so randomly, and only half the photon torpedoes and phaser bursts were hitting the Romulan ships.
“What's the status of the primary shields?” she asked, clinging onto her console when the station shook ferociously.
“They're down commander...” said Nog, who was working overdrive at his engineering station. “I'm detecting multiple transport signatures in the Promenade, the docking bays, habitat section, Promenade...”
“Mr Paulson get down to the Promenade,” said Megan, while she approached Paulson’s station. “Defend the station by any means necessary! I'll take over tactical.”
Paulson simply nodded and headed for the turbolift.
In some ways taking over the station was a little easier, as Megan could directly apprise herself of where the Romulan ships were. But on the other hand the task became harder, because half her mind was at tactical, and the other half was thinking about the fast moving situation. “Chief, can you restore primary shields around the station core?”
“The damage to the shield generators is too extensive,” reported Nog, “it will take hours for the repair teams to sort it all out! Commander, incoming transporter signatures in Ops!”
“Take cover!” shouted Megan, instinctively she ducked down when she heard multiple sounds of Romulan transporter beams.
Phaser fire burst forth in two directions, and quickly looking up, Megan saw two batches of Romulans, six soldiers each. One batch positioned next to the commander’s office, and the other by the left side of the viewscreen.
The Romulans by the commander’s office were easy targets, and with two well aimed bursts of Megan’s phaser, set to kill, she struck down two of the Romulans. But it was the Romulans next to the engineering pit that were causing most of the trouble. They had the superior cover, already they incapacitated three of the crew in Ops.
Megan lost track of the time, she became solely focused on her survival. However she jerked her head around rightwards towards the sound of a console exploding. To Megan’s horror, she saw Tanya blasted backwards taking the brunt of the sparks and shrapnel from the console.
Before Megan had time to really comprehend this, the lights in Ops completely faded, and all the consoles deactivated, plunging everyone into darkness. Some seconds later though the emergency lighting kicked in, the luminosity reverting to half of what it was before.
Someone bumped into Megan, and quickly turning around -- her finger close to the trigger -- she saw Nog. “Don’t do that! I nearly shot you!” she angrily told Nog.
“I've locked down Ops,” said Nog, who now had his back to the console, while one hand carried a phaser.
“There's too many of them!” said Megan, when she yet again took cover after six more Romulans beamed some metres away close to the commander’s office.
Without even thinking, she removed the site-to-site transporter from a pocket in her trousers and thrust the device into Nog’s empty hand. “Get yourself out of here!”
Nog took the device and began fumbling around with the controls. “Great you could have set a better destination...”
Megan took one wild shot at a Romulan soldier, before dipping back into cover. “Can you reroute station controls in the security office?”
“It is possible... But I would need my toolkit.”
Toolkit… Megan cudgelled her brain as she sought to improvise. She knew a toolkit was always stashed away beneath the engineering station in Ops, but how could she reach it? Carefully poking her head upwards, she spotted a Starfleet officer, taking cover by Nog’s former station.
Once back in cover, Megan recognised the short brown hair, blue eyes, and Nordic appearance of ensign Bergfrid. Megan tapped her combadge, hoping that Bergfrid would respond. “This is commander Felpes to ensign Bergfrid.”
“Do you see a compartment under the main operations console?” asked Megan.
There was a pause, and Megan waited on tenterhooks for Bergfrid's reply.
” said Bergfrid.
“Open it up,” instructed Megan, “and you'll find the chief of operation's toolbox.”
” muttered Bergfrid. “You better cover me.
Each time Megan lifted herself partially from cover, she pressed the trigger to her phaser more rapidly, laying down suppression fire on the Romulans.
“Have you got it?” she asked, after half a minute of manic shooting.
” said Bergfrid, there was a small pause. “Do you need it?
“I do!” exclaimed Megan, exasperated by Bergfrid's slowness. “Throw it over behind the science station, that's where I'm taking cover. Felpes out.”
Some moments later there was a clunk as the toolbox landed two feet away from Nog behind the tactical console. Next Megan heard a scream from Bergfrid, and in that instance she knew that Bergfrid was down.
“Nice aim...” murmured Nog, once he had scooped up the toolbox.
“Is that all you need?” asked Megan.
“Yes it is,” said Nog, after he quickly opened the toolbox to rifle through its contents. “Almost sorted out the site-to-site transporter.”
“Hurry up!” hissed Megan. “I can't hold them off much longer!”
“Got it!” said Nog a little triumphantly, he then dematerialised along with the toolbox he carried.
There was the sound of rapid footfalls approaching. Turning around, Megan saw three Romulan soldiers pointing their disruptor rifles straight at her.
“Lower your weapons! Now!” shouted the female Romulan soldier.
Megan dropped her phaser, and she heard two further clunks of phasers dropping to the floor. It was over, the Romulans had captured Ops, the nerve centre of DS9. Megan’s only hope rested with Nog being able to set up a temporary command centre and continue the fight against the Romulan ships.
“Stand up, slowly!” said the female Romulan, who bore the insignia on her grey tunic of a centurion. “Hands behind your heads!”
When Megan straightened up, the two other Romulans grabbed her roughly by the arms and pushed her forwards. “Can we at least take care of the wounded?” asked Megan.
“Silence!” hissed the centurion, she appeared to be commanding the soldiers responsible for capturing Ops. “Gather the enemy crew down by that viewscreen.”
As Megan walked, she spotted Tanya slumped against a bulkhead, feebly stirring. “Come on Dawson,” Megan told Tanya, while she helped Tanya to her feet.
“My head...” Tanya moaned, gently she rested one hand against a very bloody wound to the left side of her head.
“Don't worry a medkit will patch things up,” said Megan.
“No talking!” barked the centurion, before she then tapped a communicator device embedded on her tunic’s left sleeve. “Commander Feldrek, we have captured the station's command centre.”
“I'm beaming over,
” said Feldrek’s voice from the communicator.
A moment later, Feldrek materialised just in front of the doors to the commander’s office. His gaze first surveyed the whole situation, then he walked forwards to where the centurion was stationed. “Where is the commander of this station?” asked Feldrek.
“Down there below the viewscreen,” said the centurion, her eyes constantly on her commander.
“Soldiers, bring Ms Felpes to me,” ordered Feldrek.
Of her own accord Megan left the engineering pit, climbing up the small ladder. Two Romulan soldiers than took her arms, pushed her forwards. When Megan reached Feldrek, she silently glared into that grizzled and twisted looking face.
“Ms Felpes I am commander Feldrek of the warship Nora'enemt,” introduced Feldrek, who seemed welcoming, but his eyes manifested a cold hatred towards Megan.
“Commander,” said Megan, “I have ten wounded, two of them seriously wounded, if you could just-”
Feldrek stepped forwards and cusped Megan hard against her mouth with the back of his hand. “Be quiet,” he said rather softly. “You can treat your wounded if you provide me with the access codes to your systems.”
“I can't do that,” replied Megan calmly.
For one moment Feldrek appeared ready to hit Megan again, he must have thought better of it as he then changed tack. “Centurion Retal, try to hack into this station's computer.”
“You and you, with me,” said Retal, pointing to the respective soldiers she ordered.
While the three Romulans headed to the engineering pit, Megan looked back at Feldrek, and tried again to ask of his assistance. “Please commander, I ask of you to show some mercy and-”
Another blow struck Megan’s mouth, this time she felt blood trickle inside her mouth from Feldrek’s slightly harder attack.
“My, my!” he exclaimed. “You are impertinent!”
Megan though stood her ground, she wasn’t going to be bullied by Feldrek. “A crew member is going to die if her head injuries aren't treated, as will the other one from the wounds to her chest!”
“That is of no consequence,” said Feldrek in an uncaring voice. “However if you provide me with the complete command and access codes, you can treat this crewmen.”
“I'm not giving to you the command codes!” retorted Megan. “Not when Starfleet vessels are coming! Besides you've only captured a few areas of the station, by the time you figure out how to break the computer firewalls, it'll be too late.”
A very sour expression twisted Feldrek’s face as he gazed at Megan with disgust. “You will help us one way or another...”