Chapter 6, part 2
“If you will not be persuaded then so be it,” said Feldrek silkily. “Soldiers, line up every enemy officer against the wall below the viewscreen.”
Megan was about to move when Feldrek addressed her again. “Oh no, not you commander. You are going to watch them die.”
“You murdering bastards!” raged Megan, she shook from a terrible fury, loathing every bit of Feldrek.
“Their blood is on your hands for being so stubborn,” replied Feldrek.
“You’re the one who is going to kill them!” shouted Megan.
A minute later, the Ops crew were transferred out of the engineering pit. They all stood there, their backs to the wall, facing half a dozen Romulan soldiers.
Megan could not believe it was ending like this, violence had blighted two years of her life, and now finally she would die under the most horrendous of circumstances. First watching her crew die, then it would be her facing those cold-blooded killers.
Feldrek stood a few feet behind the soldiers, gazing dispassionately at the Ops crewmen, both Bajoran and Starfleet officers. “Soldiers, take aim-”
“Commander!” exclaimed Retal.
Megan’s heart skipped a beat, was there some hope after all?
“Halt!” said Feldrek, at once the six Romulans lowered their phaser rifles. “Do not fire until I give the order to do so!”
Retal had climbed out of the engineering pit, approaching Feldrek with a great urgency. “Commander, if these readings are correct, this station has discharged both its phasers and photon torpedoes at our ships!”
“That can't be right...” muttered Feldrek.
“Commander we need to leave immediately,” said Retal urgently, “this station has not been captured, and our ship's shields have to come back up otherwise they will be blown to bits by this station's weaponry! Our reinforcements are arriving shortly, we can capture the station then-”
“No!” stormed Feldrek. “We are so close to capturing this station! They must have moved the command centre, and we have to find-”
At that moment Keelin’s voice blared out of Feldrek’s wrist-mounted communicator. “Commander Feldrek, get yourself and your boarding parties off the station immediately without delay!
Megan couldn’t believe it, were the Romulans really about to retreat?
Feldrek gnashed his teeth in an angry manner before responding. “Sir we are so close to victory!”
“By which time fourteen of our ships will be destroyed!
” said a very impatient Keelin.
“Leave us here, and tell the commander's of those ships to raise shields!”
“I can't do that either,
” replied Keelin. “Starfleet vessels are coming to this station in less than twenty minutes! I will not have over two hundred Romulan soldiers be captured by the Federation!
“But our reinforcements will arrive, and defeat the Starfleet vessels,” protested Feldrek, who was almost howling in rage.
“I have just received government orders, from Praetor Toshen himself, to retreat from Deep Space Nine when the bulk of the Starfleet ships arrive.
With those words, all the fight seemed to vanish from Feldrek, now he just looked bitter and almost defeated. “Understood sir, I will signal to all units to beam back to their respective ships...”
A beat later, Feldrek tapped his communicator twice, one to end the audio channel to Keelin’s ship, and the other tap to address the Romulan soldiers still on board DS9. “This is commander Feldrek to all boarding parties, prepare to be beamed back to your respective ships!”
Megan remained very silent, she was careful not to provoke the Romulans in any way. She then noticed Feldrek approach her, and for one horrible moment, she felt convinced that Feldrek would kill her right there and then.
Feldrek stopped until he came offensively close to Megan’s face. “I swear to you Ms Felpes,” he hissed, “one day the Romulan Empire will conquer your puny Federation and when it does I hope you are captured and put to a slow, agonising death!”
Ignoring the insult, Megan stared placidly back at Feldrek. He could curse and provoke her all he liked, but she refused to let Feldrek bait her.
Finally the Romulans started transporting back to their ships, and Feldrek was the last one to leave, he continued to glare at Megan, even as he dematerialised.
The moment Feldrek had gone, Megan picked up a Starfleet issued combadge from a pile of combadges around the science station. “This is Felpes to Nog, come in...”
“You can unlock the computer systems in Ops, the Romulans are all gone, they beamed back over to their ships...”
” said Nog sounding rather upbeat, “the Romulans on the Promenade have been beamed out about half a minute ago.
“Where are you?” asked Megan.
“I'm in the security office.
The station shook again, and Megan realised the fight was not over yet. “Return to Ops immediately!”
” said Nog.
Megan returned to the situations table, when she saw the consoles light up again and all the command functions activate, she felt just a little bitter about the situation. “Felpes out,” she said.
She tapped her combadge once to close the audio link with Nog, and then she tapped her combadge again. “This is Felpes to Bashir.”
“Doctor send medical teams immediately over to Ops,” she said, while a security officer took over the tactical station she vacated. “Lock onto my combadge and carry out an emergency medical transport to the Infirmary.”
“I'm sorry commander but the transporters are down.
“Well hurry!” Megan said, as she approached Tanya and the other wounded officer slumped next to Tanya. “Dawson and another officer have serious injuries, Dawson has sustained severe head injuries, while the other officer has multiple phaser wounds!”
“Medical teams are already on their way commander,
” came Bashir’s quick reply.
“Good! Felpes out.”
Tapping her combadge, Megan stopped when she was close to Tanya. “Don't worry Dawson, help is on the way.”
“I know...” said Tanya weakly, suddenly her legs gave out, and Megan gently lowered Tanya until she was sitting on the floor.
Tanya grimaced away in pain, her left hand was cupped against the head wound. “Don't worry about me, just protect the station and everyone on it!”
Megan simply nodded and returned back to the tactical station. She was worried not only for Tanya, a friend of hers, but for hundreds of other officers and civilians on the station. When would the Romulans cease in their attack, and just how many people had died? Died as she lead the defence of DS9…
With her own eyes, Mia watched as the Romulans were beamed away, and she lowered her phaser.
“I don't believe it,” exclaimed Raris, “those Romulan bastards have gone!”
The station then shook, and Mia’s heart plummeted once more, the Romulans had not gone, far from it...
“They’ve gone back to their ships,” said Quark angrily, glaring at Raris. “And now they're even more intent upon obliterating this station!”
Raris turned around, giving Quark a frown. “Quark stop moaning...”
“Moaning...” repeated Quark with some sarcasm. “We're fighting for our lives here, and he says I'm moaning...”
Quark walked off moving deeper into his bar still muttering to himself.
Mia watched this without comprehending, she felt numb; the phaser slipped from her loose fingers and hit the floor with a clunk.
Her eyes moved downwards until they took in the orange-coloured Bajoran phaser lying on its side by the metal floor.
Two hands picked it up. The man who picked up the phaser straightened and looked at Mia with some concern. Mia simply stared back at Raris’ face with wide eyes for she felt so horrible.
“How are you holding up?” asked Raris. “You aren't injured?”
“No,” said Mia in a trembling voice.
Raris gave Mia a reassuring smile, indeed he was looking at her with pride. “You did good you know for someone with no combat experience.”
Mia gazed upwards into Raris’ eyes, as she tried to appear strong. “I didn't want to let you or the other guards down...”
“You did great,” he replied softly, “you would have made a good member of the Bajoran resistance all those years ago.”
Some of what Mia was feeling finally broke through the numbness, it was sheer anger and self-loathing. “I don't want to be talented at killing people,” she retorted angrily.
“I didn't say that,” replied Raris calmly, “but you did a very brave thing...”
After that Raris walked off to talk to some of the other guards in the bar, taking with him the phaser Mia had used.
At that point Mia swore to herself never to use such weapons again, to her it felt like there was blood on her hands, Romulan blood. She had definitely killed one Romulan and that deed began to tear at her emotionally… In a slow manner, Mia walked back to Deru who simply reflected her shock and horror at recent events
No matter how terrified or horrified Deru felt, Mia knew that her brother would never suffer the pain she currently endured. He did not have to contend with the knowledge of killing somebody in cold blood.
“ETA until the Starfleet reinforcements get here?” asked Ezri.
“About ten minutes captain,” said Holo, “and then the first wave of twenty ships will arrive.”
Ezri stared intensely at the viewscreen as she mulled this over. “So it's just this ship and the station against the Romulans for the next ten minutes...”
“Battle stations,” she added after a pause. “What is the status of the cloak Mr Holo?”
“The cloak is fully functional,” reported Holo while he tapped in with his fingers more commands to bring up the cloak's readings on his console. “The Romulans can't detect us.”
“Good...” said Ezri calmly, she now glanced at the console to her right, which showed the tactical display. “Mr Weatherby, go to course two-one-six mark three-seven-zero,” she said, studying the display’s readings. “Move us within three-hundred metres of the cruiser. Mr. Holo, at those coordinates drop the cloak. Colonel open fire, full spread of quantum torpedoes.”
“At those coordinates the Romulans will be right on top of us,” Kira commented, turning her neck around to give Ezri a meaningful stare. “We'll get pretty shaken up!”
“Not as shaken up as the Romulan flagship,” said Ezri firmly, her eyes back to looking at the viewscreen.
“Arriving at the coordinates,” reported Max, whose hands imperceptibly shook from nerves.
“Lower the cloak,” said Ezri, “raise shields, and open fire!”
From the viewscreen, a dozen quantum torpedoes homed in onto the Kresh’Torek. Half of the torpedoes were absorbed by the shields, while the rest slipped through, making sizeable dents to parts of the ship.
Kira immediately reported the results. “Direct hits to the Romulan flagship's aft torpedo launchers, primary impulse drives and ventral disruptor banks.”
Ezri though returned her attention to the tactical screen. “Helm, set a new course of eight-two-zero mark one-six-seven. Bring us around for another assault.”
Megan’s hands went back and forth over the tactile pad of the primary tactical station. Half of the station’s weapon pods were disabled as had one of the defence sails, making her job of defending the station all the more harder.
The whole of Ops shook very powerfully, the force of which caused some of the wall plating around the front door of the commander’s officer to dislodge as three bulkheads came loose. The beams swung outwards before crashing to the floor.
Shields dropped to a minimum level, Megan knew the Romulans were now starting to really tear into DS9 and the station seemed unable to endure for any longer. Just where were those damned reinforcements?
“Commander, I don't believe it!” exclaimed Nog. “The Defiant is here!”
“On screen!” said Megan.
Briefly Megan looked up and saw a grainy image, lined with static, but there was no mistaking that distinctive ship with its torpedo launchers blazing... She then focused on her console, maybe there was some hope after all.
“What is the ETA on the Federation reinforcements?” Megan asked Nog.
“Less than ten minutes...” said Nog.
“Then chief just keep the station together for those ten minutes...”
“Aye sir...” said Nog distractedly, while his hands worked at a manic pace on the various engineering consoles, hands spurred on by the recent swing in fortunes.
The Romulans ships were no longer carrying out their hit-and-run attacks on DS9, now they were diverting most of their firepower around the docking rings, the habitat ring and the central core. Small explosions erupted from the station from where Romulan plasma torpedoes hit. Many parts of the docking ring were heavily damaged, with twisted duranium plating, caved in decks, and twisted metal beams bending outwards from where a torpedo or phaser burst struck.
The Defiant was giving the Romulan ships grief, like a nimble fly, it flew around the Romulan warbirds, firing phasers and torpedoes, while the Romulan ships could only manage a few accurate shots. Arching above the station, the Defiant came down again heading for one of the Romulan warbirds. With a volley of quantum torpedoes from the Defiant, they hit the warbird’s right warp nacelle ripping it to pieces in a fiery explosion of yellow and green.
Secondary explosions came from other parts of the warbird, until the warp core in the aft of the ship exploded, and a huge fireball torn through the back of the ship ripping the green metal plating away. The explosion continued annihilating the left warp nacelle, before blowing to pieces, deck by deck, in quick succession, the front of the ship.
The Defiant though continued its course away from the battle, slowing arcing around to prepare for another swoop into the fray. DS9 was still valiantly firing torpedoes and phasers, but the warbirds maintained their attack regardless.
The bridge shook, and behind Ezri’s chair some of the consoles gave off a few sparks as plasma conduits overloaded. Ezri though gripped onto the chair all the more tightly, through all this she switched her gaze back and forth between the viewscreen and the tactical screen to her right.
“Colonel target the nearest Romulan warbird, fire phasers,” said Ezri, punching in some commands to the tactical screen to reconfigure the display. “How many Romulan warbirds are there colonel?”
“About twenty captain,” said Kira. “Ten have been destroyed by DS9 and this ship...”
“The Starfleet vessels have arrived,” said Holo sounding upbeat. “They'll be engaging the Romulans in less than a minute.”
Kira convulsed backwards in her chair, as a look of surprise came to her face. “I don't believe it! The Romulan ships are retreating to the Badlands, they've incurred critical amounts of damage.”
She paused, cocking her head a little to the left to garner her captain’s attention. “Should we pursue them?”
“No let them retreat,” answered Ezri, while she frowned at the readings from the tactical display. “What about the Romulan reinforcements?”
The feeling of victory on the bridge subdued considerably as it seemed everyone, in their gladness that the Romulans had retreated, forgot about the additional Romulan ships.
“They are reversing course and heading back to the Badlands,” said Kira, sounding once more relieved.
Again the mood considerably lifted on the bridge, victory was indeed sweet. However it was tempered by what the viewscreen revealed of DS9. The station looked utterly battered, with blown out decks, serious structural damage to the outer docking ring, and large chunks taken out from one of the docking pylons.
“Contact DS9,” said Ezri, “tell them we'll be docking.”
“DS9's communication array is down,” reported Kira, any jubilation or relief she once had was now gone.
Ezri sighed slightly to herself as continued to gaze at the viewscreen. “Then we'll have to do a manual docking,” she said.
Turning to her left somewhat, she checked the sensor readings from a console, looking for a docking bay or port that hadn’t been damaged by the Romulans. “Helm proceed to docking bay 5,” she finally said.
“Yes captain,” said Max.
Sitting back in her chair, Ezri allowed herself to partially switch off from the situation. By some small miracle DS9 survived the onslaught, what the station’s occupants endured was something Ezri could barely contemplate; she expected horrendous casualties. One thing that still vexed her was why the Romulans retreated.
Ezri took this as a hopeful sign that perhaps the Romulans were not keen to escalate the conflict, but she would know the outcome of today’s events by tomorrow. Peace it seemed looked very unlikely…