And as they did eat, he said,
Verily I say unto you,
That one of you shall betray me.
On the bridge of the Pakar
, most of the officers and crew stared at the viewscreen as a public announcement was made by Weyoun on Cardassia Prime. Inira had stumbled across it while monitoring communications chatter across core sectors. Orlak had asked her to play the message on the main viewer after she had heard it in its entirety.
“We know these disgraceful acts of sabotage were carried out by a mere handful of extremists,”
Weyoun coldly declared in his message. “But these radicals must come to realize that their disobedience will not be tolerated. That you, the Cardassian people, will suffer the consequences of their cowardly actions. Which is why I must inform you a few moments ago, Dominion troops reduced Lakarian City to ashes.”
Maret lowered his head and grumbled in disgust. Orlak took a momentary glance at him, remembering that Maret’s immediate family resided in Lakarian City. He was certain that other members of his crew lost friends and relatives in this attack.
“There were no survivors,”
Weyoun went on. “Two million men, women and children gone in a matter of moments. For each act of sabotage committed against the Dominion, another Cardassian city will be destroyed…”
The coldness in the Vorta’s voice, his business-as-usual attitude created a morbid chill throughout the bridge. Though growing up believing that Bajorans and other subject races were inferior, he now felt a level of empathy for the victims of the kind of casual brutality Weyoun and the Dominion were practicing on his race.
Latham stepped onto the bridge from his office as soon as the message concluded. Orlak was unable gauge his gul’s state of mind. His facial expression remained neutral and he maintained a strongly professional demeanor.
“You heard?” Orlak inquired.
“I did,” Latham plainly replied.
Orlak rolled his eyes. Over the last decade, he was more than willing to carry out Latham’s orders without question. At this moment, though, he could no longer keep his objections to himself. “Two million dead in the blink of an eye,” he rasped with cold rage. “What are you going to about that?! Defeating the rebellion was one thing. But surely you’re not going to sit by while millions of non-combatants die at the hands of our so-called allies!”
His voice began to carry across the bridge, catching the attention of many of the bridge crew.
Latham shot the officers and crew disarming stares, indicating that they should get back to work. “Keep your voice down, Printus,” he told Orlak with a hissing whisper. “We don’t know how many listening devices she has hidden on the bridge. You’re right that such cowardice demands immediate retaliation. First, we must get rid of the Vorta and the Jem’Hadar under her command. And I have a means to do that.”
He turned his attention to the chief engineer, who was writing up status updates while analyzing a schematic of the Pakar
on the master display screen. “Dalin Thomar,” he continued, “is the acoustic dampening field in my quarters in place?”
“Yes, sir,” Thomar replied, looking up from a padd in her hand.
“Good,” Latham said with a light nod. “Orlak, if you do not hear from me in one hour, institute emergency security protocol five-eight-nine-ultraviolet. And I have further orders encrypted in my office’s desktop monitor.”
As the gul stepped off the bridge through the port egress, the rest of the bridge crew exchanged skeptical glances amongst one another. Orlak seemed just as skeptical. He knew that times like these required great discretion and that specific plans could not be revealed to just anyone. He still wished he knew something—anything about how Latham planned to get rid of that tyrannical Vorta and her thugs.
Arek Latham entered his quarters, seeing two Jem’Hadar guards standing at both sides of the doorway to his bedchamber. They stared blankly at him as he removed his weapon holster. He hesitated for a brief moment, wondering if one of the guards would kill him the instant he threw down his disruptor pistol. They still remained oblivious to their surroundings, so he let the holstered weapon fall to the floor. Continuing to stare in the direction of the two guards, Latham crouched down and removed his backup gun from his left boot. He wondered if those guards would even care if he kept the second pistol on his person while he joined Diralna in his private bedchamber. On the other hand, the Jem’Hadar showed no indications of satisfaction that he was unarmed.
He took slow steps to the doorway, keeping a close eye on both Jem’Hadar and resisting the temptation to grab one guard’s gun. If he did that, he’d be lucky to kill that guard before the other one killed him. That would have to wait, of course, until after his business with Diralna was completed. He slowly slid the double-doors open, completely unprepared for what might await him.
“I’m ready to go if you are,” Diralna matter-of-factly stated with her hands rested on her hips while standing in the center of the room fully nude.
Latham’s jaw froze in shock and awe as he thought that he might have stepped into a holosuite with one of the more erotic programs still running. He was again reminded that, like the Jem’Hadar, the Vorta were simply bred to do the Founders’ bidding. This particular Vorta was one of many females of her race bred to use sexual attractiveness as a means of manipulation. She was still, in all likelihood, not fully versed in how various humanoid races experienced physical intimacy.
Latham stammered, at a complete loss for words. He simply stepped into the bedchamber and slid the doors shut. Diralna took quick steps towards him and snapped off the armored portion of his uniform. She firmly grasped his arms and ran her nose and chin along his neck ridges.
“We should slow this down a bit,” Arek suggested, grabbing Diralna’s arms and coaxing her away. He looked up and down at her naked body, seeing no aberrations from the basic humanoid female anatomy.
Diralna rolled her eyes and sauntered suggestively towards the bed. She sat down on the bed in a kneeling position, both hands on her thighs. “It makes no difference to me,” she said. “I am familiar with multiple sexual techniques, though I do find all the foreplay rituals a bit redundant.”
“They do add some extra enjoyment to the experience,” Arek explained with a slight stutter while loosening his trousers. He stepped out of his boots while sliding off his trousers, and then kneeled on the edge of the bed.
He ran his hands firmly up and down her shoulders as he softly kissed her neck. Diralna arched her head away from him hoping to take in less of the revolting odor that emanated from a Cardassian’s breath.
She firmly grasped the backs of his shoulders with her hands and then dug the fingernails on her right hand into his graying hair while running the other hand down his lower back. She slowly let out a pleasured groan as her chin arched upward and her shoulders stretched further apart. She breathed heavily, looked him in both eyes and nudged his shoulders, letting him land softly on his back. Her breasts gyrated as she firmly grasped his wrists. She laid herself down with her head rested on his chest.
They rolled over across the bed, so that he was on top of her. His right hand crawled up her chest and right shoulder and over to a nightstand. He grabbed a hypospray that caught Diralna’s attention. She grabbed his wrist, hoping to maneuver the hypospray towards his neck. “I should have known,” she sneered.
She struggled with all her might, but he was stronger. He jerked the hypospray back towards her and promptly jammed the tip of it underneath her chin.
“What have you done?” she wheezed, gripping Latham’s neck with one hand. Her other hand then found the Cardassian’s neck as she hoped for him to die with her. He grabbed her wrists, hoping to force her hands off his neck. She let go by herself as she felt her own life draining away. As if a machine had slowly shut off, all Diralna’s neural function stopped—her eyes and mouth still open at the instant of death.
There was a creature in human mythology known as a succubus. To spend a night with such a creature meant death to any unsuspecting males. Diralna was very much like a succubus or the equivalent being in the ancient Hebitian mythos. Latham knew that going into this exercise and was fully prepared.
Latham slipped out of bed and threw on some black undergarments lying on the floor. While completely covering the Vorta woman’s nude corpse with a sheet, he stared coldly at her lifeless face. He felt neither triumph nor remorse for ending her life. He simply saw her as an obstacle to his greater goals. He put on the black vest that he usually wore under his uniform armor that was draped over a chair. He grabbed the communications device on the left wrist and tapped the large middle button.
“Report to my quarters, Doctor,” he said. “The bitch is dead.”
The double doors slid open a crack and a grenade rolled out. The Jem’Hadar made a quick visual inspection of it before it exploded, sending them backwards. Latham emerged from the bedchamber, partially in uniform with the exception of the armor, and used the moment of distraction to kill both guards. Some shooting was heard out in the corridor, as Cardassians and Jem’Hadar were exchanging weapons fire.
Doctor Ereb Pretac then entered the suite, accompanied by two security guards, shortly after the shooting outside had stopped. While he was a military officer like almost all of the crewmembers, Pretac was dressed in more casual, albeit rather bland attire. He wore a black vest containing the Cardassian Union logo and a semicircular turquoise crest on the right symbolizing the Union’s medical consortium over a long-sleeved light gray shirt, along with black trousers and boots.
“You know what to do, right?” Latham asked his medical officer, as if he had already been briefed on his plans.
“Yes,” Pretac answered with a brisk nod. “Extract her termination implant and neutralize the homing device. And if you wish, I can create the appearance that she died from cardiac arrest brought on by her copulation with you.”
Latham flashed a devilish smile, certain that no one, not even a Founder or a Jem’Hadar, loved Diralna enough to question that. “Even better,” he said. He then tapped his communications device again to hail the bridge. “Bridge, this is Latham. You know what to do.”
“In order to minimize losses on our side,” Pretac added. “I’ve prepared a virus that’s tuned to certain genetic markers found only in Jem’Hadar. It should accelerate symptoms that are the result ketracel-white withdrawal. Dalin Thomar is working on releasing it into the environmental ducts as we speak.”
Latham was reminded of Pretac’s work with the biological warfare division. He detested the idea of using genetically-engineered viruses as a means of wiping out entire populations. By the standards of other races, Pretac was a criminal. Given the current circumstances, however, such a maneuver was necessary. After all, no one would shed any tears over a few dozen more dead Jem’Hadar.
“Why was I not informed of this earlier?” Latham curiously inquired.
“Plausible deniability in case anything went wrong,” Pretac blithely replied.
Latham smiled and patted Pretac on the left shoulder. “Your initiative is appreciated,” he said. “I will recommend you for a special commendation if we survive the next few days.”
In the engineering section, six Jem’Hadar were keeping a close eye on the Cardassians to make sure they did not surreptitiously sabotage any key system. All of sudden, two of them began writhing in pain and soon collapsed on the deck. The other four tried to rush to their aid, but were too late. Two of them suddenly began feeling intense pain throughout, feeling an urge to kill everyone else in the room.
Gorr Dronnek, a Martosian who dwarfed even the Jem’Hadar, marched towards the two guards still standing, using the moment of distraction to snap one soldier’s neck. He then grabbed the wrist of the other Jem’Hadar, who was wielding a knife. A Cardassian male then fired a lethal disruptor blast at the last remaining Jem’Hadar.
Glinn Orlak relinquished the command chair when he heard the port egress door open. Gul Latham entered with Doctor Pretac right behind him. Their safe arrival on the bridge meant that they had succeeded in removing all the Vorta and Jem’Hadar on the Pakar
. He didn’t have to ask if their mission was a success.
“What’s our status?” Latham inquired.
“We’re on course for the Minakus system as ordered, sir,” Orlak deferently replied. “But if I may ask. Why are we headed there instead of holding position at Sarpedion?”
“The termination implant acts a locational transponder,” Latham explained. “Killing her alerted the Jem’Hadar that something was amiss. And we’re not in much of a position to fight off an attack. We’re also not sure if all the squadrons of Galor
-class destroyers are just as willing to defect. Some of us need to regroup before the next major engagement.”