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Old October 19 2012, 06:41 PM   #31
Enterprise1981
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Re: Star Trek: Lambda Paz-- "To the Bitter End"

Chapter Twenty-Four

Day 39

He is not here:
For he is risen, as he said,
Come, see the place
Where the Lord lay
(Matthew 28:6)


Dominion heavy cruiser 9-47 limped towards Cardassia Prime at low warp. Mirak’tiral never doubted that his ship would reach its destination. This class of heavy cruiser had seven redundant power cores decentralized throughout the ship, making any system-wide sabotage of the ship from the inside or the destruction the ship in one fell swoop from the outside nearly impossible. Those redundancies kept warp drive functioning even after the insurgents barricaded themselves in main engineering.

The size of a Dominion heavy cruiser made it one of the most intimidating classes of starships in the quadrant. As long as the weapons arsenals were intact, this ship would participate in any battle for the duration of the war. Its large size was also a drawback, as it allowed saboteurs to hide almost indefinitely.

“Approaching Cardassia Prime,” Ikan’irral reported.

“About time,” Mirak’tiral replied. He turned to Turak’miron asking, “What did the diagnostics of the weapons systems turn up?”

“All weapon systems are functioning normally,” answered Turak’miron.

Mirak’tiral activated his eyepiece, which showed a tactical display of ships on both sides. “Signal the rest of the attack fleet, we stand ready to join the biggest battle in Dominion history. For all of us, victory literally is life. Either the enemy fleet obliterates us, or we obliterate them. Win or lose, we will fight to the last man no matter what.

“Send out all the fighter wings to conduct reconnaissance along the first moon’s perigee. All battleships and heavy cruisers, hold the line around the planet. Make sure nothing gets through.”

***

The counter-insurgents were gathered in main engineering, preparing to take back the ship. Seventh Trok’dalon did a full survey of the compartment, requesting status reports from Vorta and Jem’Hadar at various consoles. Once he heard from each of them, he sauntered over to the Founder in the center of the room.

“We’re ready to crash the main computers,” he informed the Changeling.

Other Jem’Hadar gathered around the leader of the counter-insurgents, plasma rifles at the ready, eager to storm the command deck and execute the traitors. “Make sure your personal transporter uplinks are in working order,” the Founder instructed them. He was struggling to keep his balance, eliciting the concern of his devoted servants, who worried that his whole body would crumble and turn to ash any second.

Trok’dalon clasped the Changeling’s arms, trying to keep him standing. “Perhaps you should return to your quarters and rest,” he suggested.

“I will see this through until the mutineers are punished for their treachery,” the Founder blithely replied.

“We’re in position to storm the command deck,” said a subordinate Jem’Hadar.

Trok’dalon strutted towards the main console and pushed a button. He triggered a computer virus that caused the lights go out all over the ship.

###

Babylon 5 episode “Endgame” montage featuring Beauty & the Beast by Nightwish

Ships were massing outside the orbit of Cardassia Prime’s outermost moon.

Despite the colossal risk involved, a wing of fifteen Romulan starbirds dropped out of warp and decloaked very close to the Blind Moon’s surface to knock out the unmanned sensor stations. The moon was known as Blind Moon because it never appeared in Cardassia’s sky on its own--only with one or both of the other moons. Coincidentally, the Allied fleet was firing at Blind Moon in order to partially blind the enemy’s perimeter sensors.

Ground-based weapon platforms lit up and destroyed two of the attacking fighters. The rest of the starbirds continued descending towards the surface while continuing to fire swarms of torpedoes at the sensor platforms. Twenty Jem’Hadar fighters in groups of three and four swooped around the moon and fired disruptor salvos at the attack ships, sending three more ships spiraling towards the surface. Two Romulan warbirds and four light cruisers broke formation and laid down supporting fire as the surviving ships ascended from the moon.

A large group of Allied ship sped up towards the planet and took a wing of Dominion and Breen battleships by surprise. Groups of Klingon attack cruisers and Akira and Steamrunner-class ships fired salvos of torpedoes that plowed into the hulls of five Jem’Hadar battleships. Three Breen battle ships broke off and fired rounds of plasma torpedoes, damaging the saucer section of one of the Akiras.

***

“Looks like they were taken by surprise.” Kozar reported on ship-to-ship comm. “We’ve managed to punch a hole in their outer lines.”

Limis paced across bridge from the command chairs to the helm while taking quick glances at the officers at ops at tactical. “We’re coming in right behind you,” she told Kozar. “Helm, stand by parabolic interception course.”

“New heading: four-seven mark one-seven-three,” Carson reported.

“All light cruiser and Luna wings, form up behind us,” Limis instructed. “Take out any scouting wings along the way. Ready all torpedo tubes to target oncoming capital ships.”

“All ships report ready,” said Sterns, the bleached-blond ensign at ops.

“All weapons arrays standing by,” added Raldon, the Benzite at tactical

“Then take us in,” Limis commanded.

***

The Lambda Paz, along with four other Luna-class vessels and flanking light cruisers, arched to port and glided upward to intercept the first wave of ships. A large fleet of Cardassian warships, led by the Pakar, formed up alongside the Starfleet battle group. They fired alternating rounds of phasers and torpedoes at heavy cruisers and smaller fighters alike. The orbital weapon platforms fired almost unending rounds of plasma torpedoes, effortlessly destroying Hideki-class patrol vessels on the outer formation. Dozens of Starfleet light-cruisers and Klingon Birds-of-Prey swooped in on the platforms and fired at them. Each round was deflected by their almost impenetrable forcefields. A line of six ships then broke off, giving way to another line of ships that continued firing to no avail.

The Galaxy-class USS Manchuria and four flanking Excelsior-class ships fired both phasers and torpedoes from deep range as a third line of light cruisers moved in. The onslaught of weapons fire eventually weakened the forcefields on five platforms. The group of ships led by the Manchuria then fired simultaneous torpedo spreads that destroyed those platforms. That allowed a group of ships led by the Lambda Paz to escort squads of fighter shuttles closer to the planet’s upper atmosphere.

###

The first wave of fighters and light cruisers were promptly shot down by the automated orbital defenses. Jem’Hadar and Breen fighters joined in and managed to disable or destroy a few more fighter shuttles. A second wave of shuttles got through while firing alternating rounds of phasers and torpedoes.

Nave dodged a few sparks erupting from the port side of the cockpit. She tightly gripped her console with one hand while her fingers skidded across a set of keys to plot a new course. Other fighter shuttles around hers were blown out of the sky over Cardassia. One of the scout ships was one she quickly recognized as it was spiraling towards the planet’s surface.

“Truxia,” she whispered, realizing she had lost yet another friend in recent months. But, just as when Matt Herron died, she had no time for mourning. She still had a job, and that was to soften up orbital defenses and open a big enough window to transport troops down to the surface.

More explosions took place in the back of the cockpit. Those caught Nave’s attention, but she quickly turned her attention back to piloting the vessel. “All units,” she said, activating a comm panel, “prepare to beam down.”

###

Led by Morrison, a team of security and Marine officers materialized in a recently razed city. With their rifles pointed ahead, they marched through the streets, dodging falling debris from broken buildings. They turned a corner at a back alley, taking care to look all around to make they would not be individually ambushed by Jem’Hadar or Breen soldiers.

Morrison noticed in the corner of his eye Calliope Morales quickly jumping out of the way of a corpse. Upon a quick glance as she passed by the dead body, and she saw it was that of a frail old man with his face locked in a terrified expression. “My, God,” he heard her gasp.

As he watched her stare at the body of a man who was most likely in no position to fight back, he was reminded of similar atrocities committed by Cardassian soldiers. Now they were victims of mass murder, including an elderly man who was probably not part of any organized rebellion, and who likely never fired a weapon in his life. Yet the Jem’Hadar who murdered him most likely did not show any hesitation, did not show any remorse while ending his life.

“Some more over here,” called Tafiq Nasir, the security officer who had taken point once the group had landed on the surface. Others gathered around him very near a street intersection.

Individuals of all ages--adults and children alike, the sick, injured, and infirm, elderly who couldn’t walk or even feed themselves--had been dragged into the alleyway from their residential tenement units and brutally slain. One of them was a mother, who had tightly held her infant child until their last breaths.

While Morrison had seen this type of casual brutality firsthand during the Setlik Three Massacre, many in his unit had not seen a sight so morbid--people killed by the millions, perhaps hundreds of millions, and their bodies left to rot in the streets as an example to anyone thinking of defying the Dominion. Those traumatic memories soon gave way to a greater determination not to let something like this happen on Earth or Vulcan or Qo’Nos.

“I know it’s hard to look at,” he assured his troops, “but we have a mission to complete, and that’s to make sure this doesn’t ever happen on a Federation world.”

“Yes, sir!” some of the troops shouted in unison.

“Then let’s keep moving!”

And they pressed on, continuing their march towards a nearby Jem’Hadar base camp.
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