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Old July 27 2012, 09:22 PM   #8
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "To the Bitter End"

Chapter Four

Dominion Heavy Cruiser 9-47

Suba’toran Torgroth briefed Sadok’toran Yelgrun on the latest combat operations. While he summarized the reports very smoothly, he remained distracted by the presence of the two Breen Thots standing behind the higher-ranking Vorta. True their great stature made them as mean and intimidating as the Jem’Hadar, but Torgroth still felt threatened by the presence of the Breen since they hid what they looked like underneath those refrigeration suits. Yelgrun knew, of course, while Torgroth couldn’t help but wonder what the Breen were hiding if the reports that the Breen home planet was a frozen tundra were not entirely accurate.

“While the Federation Alliance was largely victorious on all three fronts,” Torgroth informed his superior, “our forces suffered the heaviest losses at Zhamur. That can largely be attributed to the Breen’s complacency.”

Thot Drelf, standing on Yelgrun’s left, let out a piercing buzzing noise, suggesting he was offended by the younger Vorta’s choice of words. Yelgrun raised a hand to assure him that Torgroth meant no disrespect. “He said ‘complacency’, not ‘overconfidence’,” he assured the Breen.

Thot Jroln emitted what sounded like a mechanical cackle, possibly the Breen equivalent of a snicker. Drelf then made a buzzing noise that could have been interpreted as, “Oh, shut up!”

Ignoring the bluster between the two Thots, Yelgrun turned his attention back to Torgroth. “You were saying, Torgroth?”

“The Breen were the most selective at Chin’toka,” the younger Vorta continued. “And while we had more ships, the outcome was still largely the same, as Alliance forces were able to use the unusually close proximity of the eighth and ninth planets coupled with planet nine’s largest natural satellite to their advantage. The surviving ships have retreated deeper into the system.

Jroln emitted a low buzzing noise. It was a statement Drelf grudgingly agreed with.

“Yes, they are regrouping for another confrontation,” Yelgrun confirmed. “We can’t promise much with the rebuilding of the Monac shipyard going slower than expected.”

Jroln buzzed an impatient, “Why?!”

“The residual radiation levels are still dangerously high after the artificially induced solar flare earlier this year,” Yelgrun explained.

Drelf buzzed again, which Yelgrun interpreted as a helpful suggestion.

“Great idea,” Yelgrun replied. “Inform the ships to stay in tighter formations to try to soften them up. And how long before we reach Daxura?”

“Just under an hour,” Torgroth plainly replied, keeping his eyes away from the two Breen.

“Inform me upon arrival. In the meantime, I will confer with Hentek’toran Weyoun and the lead Founder on Cardassia Prime. Dismissed.”

Torgroth turned around and headed for the exit. He quickly found himself stuck between the two Breen Thots on his way out of the office. He still did his best to hide how nervous he felt standing between them as they were arguing with each other and gesturing emphatically.

***

Yelgrun later visited crew quarters occupied by a male Changeling. This Founder was hiding in a dark corner of the room, continuing to wither away from a disease that had afflicted his entire race. His face was hideously disfigured, as if it had third degree burns, and in some portions, his face had the appearance of skin completely burnt and peeled off. His hair was raggedly unkempt. Pieces of him were scattered throughout the floor. His whole body was like a fractured lump of stone that could crumble apart at any minute.

“Do not come any closer,” the Founder instructed Yelgrun once the doors closed behind the Vorta.

“I’ve just spoken with Headquarters, Founder,” said Yelgrun. “The Hentek’toran and the lead Founder have informed me that if we cannot expel the ongoing incursion, we will have no choice but to fall back to the Cardassian Union’s core sectors.”

“She has told me the same thing,” the male Changeling rasped. “The battle of the three suns does not go well. Will your presence on the line turn the tide back in our favor?”

“We will fight to the last soldier, Founder. I promise you that.” Even as he was doing his best to appease one of his gods, he still believed the situation was hopeless.

“And if we cannot prevail, it could be the end of us.”

Yelgrun would have been moved to tears by those words if Vorta clones had tear ducts. “I would never allow a god to die,” he assured his Founder.

“I expect nothing less from a loyal subject of the Dominion. Even if we are defeated, then as the human expression goes, we will see these Solids in hell.”

“I will make sure of it,” Yelgrun deferently assured the Changeling, even though he was greatly disturbed that the Founder was resigned to his race’s inevitable extinction.

***

First Mirak’tiral conducted a full survey of all the bridge stations, while monitoring ship movements in the Daxura system on his eyepiece. He nodded to Yelgrun once the senior Vorta and two Breen had entered the bridge through the guillotine-sliding door in the compartment’s aft. “We have arrived in the Daxura system,” he informed the Sadok’toran. “No enemy vessels in the immediate vicinity. Our long-range scans do indicate battle groups in all three asteroid belts.”

Yelgrun latched an eyepiece that Torgroth has just handed him to his shoulder. The display on its screen indicated Starfleet, Klingon, and Romulan logos spread across a schematic of the system. “I see them,” he informed his subordinates. “Break up into smaller battalions and spread out across each asteroid belt.”

“Should we draw them out or trap them in?” Mirak’tiral coldly inquired.

“Do whatever you can to box them in,” Yelgrun replied. “Thots Drelf and Jroln, order your ships to do the same.”

Both Thots nodded in acknowledgment and marched off the bridge while Yelgrun called up a tactical display of his battle group on his eyepiece.

Swarms of Jem’Hadar, Breen, and Cardassian light cruisers and fighters broke off from the fleet and headed off in three different directions. The capital ships and heavy cruisers stayed in formation while still following along with the smaller ships, the battalion and squad leaders ready to issue further orders to the captains and pilots of the smaller ships.
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