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Old December 5 2012, 09:01 PM   #25
Enterprise1981
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath Episode 2 (updated version)

Chapter Eighteen

The USS Defiant was at high warp on its way to Nimbus Three.

The furthest thing from Kira’s mind was the resistance Lieutenant Bowers and his strike team would face when they stormed the deuterium plant while they were on the bridge in a communiqué with Worf. His most recent message to the station indicated he was also headed to Nimbus Three to rendezvous with Captain Klag and the IKS Gorkon to apprehend a person of interest. With Vaughn and Ro expecting reinforcements from the Defiant, Kira and Bowers were discussing a plan with the ambassador to pool their resources.

“At last report, Vaughn and Ro were conducting low level reconnaissance of a pergium plant that isn’t even registered on the planetary database,” Kira explained to Worf, whose image was on the bridge’s main viewscreen.

“Based on Captain Klag’s intelligence files,” Worf replied. “The man in charge of the facility is a Klingon civilian engineer named Kur’Tok. We are uncertain as to how strong his ties are to the Ku-Vok-leth. If this plant is a cover for terrorist base, sensor readings of the area may not be entirely accurate even at close range.”

“We had the same thoughts,” said Bowers, as he inputted new data into a padd. “Vaughn’s experience as a field operative should come in handy once we storm the compound. He’ll know deceptive readings when he sees them.”

“Anything you are able to provide will be helpful,” Worf replied with a nod. “Just remember, Imperial Intelligence wants Kur’Tok taken alive. Though I doubt he will be very cooperative if he strongly believes in the Ku-Vok-leth’s cause.”

“Our strike team will certainly keep that in mind,” Kira said. “Defiant out.” Once Worf’s image was replaced on the viewscreen with a logo of the Klingon Empire, she turned to Lieutenant Tenmei, who was manning the conn. “ETA at Nimbus Three, Lieutenant?”

“Seven hours, twenty-three minutes,” Prynn replied.

“Mister Bowers,” Kira added, seeing Sam return to the starboard tactical station. “See what’s available in the Starfleet databases on a Kur’Tok.”

“Aye, sir,” Bowers replied, preparing to access the requested information.

Kira then seated herself in the command chair, leaving herself with about seven hours to contemplate all the possible outcomes of this mission. During her time in the Bajoran Underground, she would never have considered using Omega as a weapon. But since these Klingons were willing to use Omega to advance their own political agenda, that made them far more dangerous than any Bajoran resistance fighters determined to win back their home.

###

Ro Laren looked through a set of field glasses to see three uniformed Klingon soldiers guarding the plant she and Vaughn had been surveiling. Zeyner Antis was also still tagging along, at least until Vaughn and Ro could confirm the accuracy of their informant’s database. Three against three, she immediately thought. Piece of cake getting inside. “Only three of them guarding the compound,” she said, handing Vaughn the field glasses. “Like those odds.”

Vaughn took a quick look into the magnifying device and nodded in agreement. “Of course, if we start shooting immediately,” he said plainly, “it could trip all kinds of alarms.”
“You should know to be a little more discreet in these kinds of strikes,” Zeyner teased.

Ro gave a snort of derision. “I’m a little rusty,” she retorted. “Having a desk job does that.”

“Rusty at betraying your colleagues for a higher calling?” Zeyner half-jokingly asked. “I’m still an expert at that. Still glad you brought me along?”

Ro just rolled her eyes, having once found his self-deprecating humor charming. Now it was nothing more than an attempt to lull her into false sense of security. It could be worse, though. A Cardassian could also have been present to brag about his or her ability to better handle the brutal desert heat than most other humanoids.

“That’s enough, you two,” Vaughn chimed in. “We need a more subtle approach.”

***

Zeyner skulked along the fence separating the pergium plant from a pedestrian walkway. Cradling a Starfleet issue phaser, he considered that he was the least trustworthy and the most expendable. But if he really were expendable, he thought to himself, then he’d be taking on the Klingons in hand-to-hand combat rather than firing a phaser from a long distance. Either way, the plan seemed like a sound one given the tendency of Klingons to shoot first and ask questions later. He tiptoed over to a hole in the tall mesh fence that was the closest to the building’s main entrance he could get without raising any suspicions. He then slowly walked across the street and fired his phaser just above the door.

As expected, that caught the attention of the guards, who began shooting in the direction of the phaser beam. The Klingon stationed right in front of the door moved slowly towards the gate, ordering his colleagues to stay behind in case this was a diversion.

Vaughn and Ro, meanwhile, snuck around the corner and came at the two other guards on the two sides of the door, incapacitating them with Starfleet Marine issue neural truncheons. Seeing the third Klingon who was headed for the gate turn back to confront the Starfleet team, Ro pulled her phaser and fired, taking out the last guard in one shot.

Vaughn walked over to the gate and unlocked it to let Zeyner inside. He quickly relocked the gate, watching as Ro attached a cylindrical device to the front end of her tricorder in order to access the front door lock’s entry code. She smirked when she heard a lock unlatch. She slowly opened the door and waved Vaughn and Zeyner over. All three of them then slowly slipped through the open door before relocking it.

###

“How much longer before we can safely launch?!”

Kur’Tok impatiently stormed down a set of metal stairs towards the cargo deck containing the magnetic resonance chamber. A number of Klingons, as well as persons of several different races were gathered around the large chamber putting in the finishing touches. One of them was Markalian, many of whom were often hired as mercenaries for various smuggling and terrorism operations. Far across the cargo deck, a number of Klingon and Thallonian engineers were preparing a shuttle for launch once the resonance chamber was aboard.

“The final diagnostics should take at least two hours,” the Markalian engineer replied, monitoring the stability of the single Omega molecule.

“We don’t have that kind of time,” Kur’Tok insisted. “Forces loyal to Chancellor Martok could be here before we know it.”

“This molecule is extremely unstable and unpredictable,” the Markalian replied. “One misstep could destroy half of this planet.”

Kur’Tok growled angrily as he grabbed his Markalian cohort by the collar. “I don’t need to be reminded of how unstable Omega is,” he hissed. “You assured me this resonance chamber would do its job keeping Omega stable for as long as we needed it to be.”

“It will. If all safety precautions are taken in the allotted time. Being allies with the Federation should’ve taught you Klingons patience.”

Kur’Tok let out a hissing exhale and shoved the Markalian against his console. He had no strong sentiments towards the Federation. So he did not particularly care to be reminded of the long-standing alliance with the multispecies coalition that had weakened the Empire over the last century. “If I did not value your contributions to this operation, I would kill you where you stand for your insolence,” he huffed. “Just do what you have to do and quickly.”

Another Klingon went racing down the stairs hoping to catch up to Kur’Tok. “Sir,” he called, getting his superior’s attention. “The three guards outside the main entrance were found unconscious. We may have an intruder.”

“Sound intruder alert,” Kur’Tok shouted at one of the engineers.

###

Vaughn and his team snuck through a hallway, quickly turning a corner when they heard footsteps. Fortunately one of the engineers passed through an adjoining corridor down the tunnel-shaped hallway. Seeing that the passing Klingon was out of his field of vision, he gestured for Ro and Zeyner to tiptoe down the corridor with him. At that moment, an alarm sounded accompanied by a masculine voice saying, “Intruder alert.”

The trio sped up down the hall, while still being careful to avoid any of the engineers working in the plant. They made a beeline towards a nearby emergency access port. Once they got there, Vaughn increased the setting on his phaser and fired it at the wall panel next to it to trigger the manual release. He and Ro slid the door open while Zeyner stood watch in all directions. He threw himself against the wall when Klingon disruptor fire came his way. He fired his phaser towards the Klingon shooting at him. “Move quickly,” he shouted, as more disruptor fire came at him from both sides.

On cue, the others were able to get the door open, and all three of them went through the access hatch and sped up the ladder towards the ground floor. Upon reaching the ground level, a forcefield went up at the exit to the outside and the floor hatch to the basement. Two latches clicked sealing the door to the inside of the building. “Looks a standard twenty-third century design,” Vaughn commented of the forcefield sealing them inside the building.

“And that’s supposed to help us?” Ro quipped.

“Sure it does,” said Zeyner. “It means we know how to break them in the twenty-fourth century. Isn’t there some trick Starfleeters can employ with a tricorder?”

“Then that’s probably your area of the expertise, Commander,” Ro offered, handing Vaughn her tricorder.

“I wouldn’t get our hopes up,” Vaughn retorted, opening the scanning device. “Our would-be captors probably still know every trick.”

Zeyner smirked at Ro, pleased that she was willing to listen to one of his suggestions. Ro just looked away not wanting to give him any satisfaction. Vaughn entered a set of commands into the tricorder to send out a sonic pulse that would knock out the forcefield. When the desired frequency did not interrupt the forcefield, he shook his head in disappointment.

“Hurry,” Zeyner demanded when the locks on the opposite side door unlatched.

“Just saying it won’t make it happen,” Vaughn replied. The forcefield still came down after a slight recalibration. Just as one door slid open, the trio rammed right through the exit door. A firefight ensued all the way to the fence. And it continued as they all climbed the fence one by one. The three Klingons shooting at them grunted in frustration when they landed safely on the other side.

“So did you find you were looking for?” Zeyner asked with feigned enthusiasm.

“Oh, yes,” Vaughn answered, as he was being helped down by Ro and Zeyner. “Whole bunkers filled with subspace explosives.”

“Including Omega?” Zeyner inquired.

Vaughn scowled at Zeyner grabbing him by the collar. He quickly let go when he reminded himself that the Bajoran was trying to bait him. Ro winced, wondering what had provoked that strong a reaction from the commander.

“What do you know about that?” Vaughn calmly demanded.

“Not as much as your flag officers,” Zeyner replied, “but enough to know that one unstable molecule can be catastrophic. But since you found what you’re looking for, I’ll be on my way. That was the agreement.”

Zeyner started walking away, but Vaughn grabbed his arm and shoved him against the fence. “This is the new agreement,” the commander replied. “Unless we’re able to stop to whatever they’re planning with Omega, I’ll make sure you’re put back in prison.”

“And yet you don’t know what they’re exact plan is,” Zeyner taunted. “Not sure I like those odds.”

“I’m keeping you with us as our guarantee you don’t pull anything before the Defiant gets here.”

“Ample incentive to continue to cooperate,” Ro added with a sly smile.

Zeyner sighed as if disappointed that he wasn’t able to use this opportunity to try and get away.

###

Nog briefed Bowers and his team in the Defiant’s transporter room on landing coordinates. Also included in the briefing, via audio comm-line, were Captain Klag on the Gorkon and Ambassador Worf on the Sword of Kahless. Vaughn and Ro had also contacted the ship from the planet’s surface. The Ferengi engineer indicated a schematic of the compound on a readout screen. A circle surrounded the graphic representation of the structure symbolizing the magnetic shield inhibiting transporter function.

“It’s a very outdated forcefield,” Nog explained. “It’s similar to one used on Rura Penthe in the late 23rd century. The sonic pulse Commander Vaughn used to escape the structure could overcome it, but that would take a lot longer and at a lower orbit.”

“We might attract too much attention,” Vaughn chimed in from down on the surface. “Especially if they call in reinforcements.”

“Exactly,” Nog replied. “We’ll have to uncloak just to use the transporter and its range is stretched as far it can go.”

“We’ll have to beam down at least a kilometer from the forcefield’s periphery,” said Bowers. “We’ll set down from the southwest. Klag’s team will come in from the north. Worf and Rodek will come at them from the east-southeast.”

“Just remember,” Vaughn added. “We were able to trigger the alarms, so they know we’ll bring reinforcements. Expect heavy resistance.”

“Transport coordinates have been received,” Klag said from the Gorkon transporter bay. “We’ve prepared simultaneous transport of my party and for Rodek’s to meet with the ambassador. With three squadrons, one of them should certainly get through.”

“No offense, Captain, but I plan on coming out of this alive,” Bowers quipped. “Are you ready over there, Ambassador?”

“Of course,” Worf replied. “Today is a good day die. Qa’pla!”

“Let’s go,” Bowers told his six-person team. In addition to Bowers, three other humans were part of the team--two male, one female. An Andorian female and a Bolian male were the last to step onto the pad.

###
Worf exited his quarters aboard the Sword of Kahless and quickly headed for the transporter bay. On his way there, General Grelik caught up to him down the corridor.

“General,” Worf said with a quick nod. “We are ready to proceed,” the ambassador plainly stated, wanting to avoid another conversation about any reservations either Klingon crew might have about assisting a Federation diplomat. He had gotten dismissive looks from Sword crewmembers who had assisted in his search for the mole. Despite his title and his history as the only Klingon in Starfleet, Worf was still certain that he was acting in the name of justice for the House of Martok.

“Are you sure you don’t want any of my crew to accompany you?” Grelik asked, as the set of double doors parted to admit him into the transporter room.

Worf gave a reluctant sigh once he stepped inside and turned to face the general. “With all due respect,” he said calmly, but firmly, “identifying Sulvek as a mole happened rather easily. For all we know, he has an accomplice waiting for the right moment to undermine us. I cannot be certain who can be trusted.”

“But you trust Klag and his crew?” Grelik asked with a hint of skepticism.

“With my life,” Worf confidently responded. He gave an affirming nod to the transporter technician upon stepping onto the pad. “Worf to Gorkon, ready for transport.”

“Standing by,” the transporter operator on the other Klingon ship replied.

Worf and Grelik exchanged one last look as the ambassador dematerialized. “Transport successful, General,” the technician reported.

“You are dismissed, bekk,” Grelik replied.

The technician obligingly stepped outside. Grelik then stepped over to the control console to send an encrypted message.

***

“Worf, son of Mogh,” Rodek declared, once the whole team had materialized on the surface. “I stand ready to assist the House of Martok.”

“I am in your debt, Rodek, son of Noggra,” Worf replied, his face betraying none of his emotions, acting as if the two were not well acquainted. The two had now crossed paths for first time since Rodek had his memories of his life as Kurn, son of Mogh, erased.

“That is the response I would expect from my older brother,” Rodek heard his own voice say. It was his own voice, but he felt it belonged to another person.

Qa’Pla!” Worf proclaimed.

Qa’Pla!” Rodek and the rest of the eight person team replied.

They all raised their bat’leths and marched off towards battle. From a faraway ravine, two Klingon warriors dressed in twenty-second century military jumpsuits stood watch, waiting to strike. Aiming his disruptor, one of them fired in the direction of Worf’s team, clipping the soldier on the far right and the one on the far left. Flurries of disruptor fire came at them from behind in all directions.

“Move out,” Worf grunted. “Lay down cover fire.”

Rodek and the rest of his party dispersed hoping to make taking them all out more difficult while firing in the direction of enemy disruptor fire. While they continued firing back and forth, four Klingons materialized behind them catching Worf’s attention. Two of the attackers knocked out two from Worf’s team with bat’leths. The three Klingons shooting at his team joined in the battle armed with mek’leths. Four against seven did not look like very good odds for Worf, Rodek, and the other two from their party left standing.

Determined to die on his feet, one of the downed warriors upended one enemy attacker with a bat’leth, and then jammed his dagger into his opponent’s chest. He barely had a few seconds to stand up and continue on the prowl when he took a bat’leth strike in the back of his neck. “You will not have this day,” he struggled to groan while twisting around to see the face of the coward who had just killed him. He got a quick at his killer choking out his last breaths while jamming a knife into the man’s abdomen. Both bodies then fell to ground, now empty lifeless shells.

Swords continued clanging together with neither side getting a decisive advantage. Worf had two attackers with which to contend, while the rest went one-on-one. Though it was often too bulky for its own good, Worf’s bat’leth kept the two mek’leths at bay. He thrusted the two warriors away from him, and then landed a killing blow into the chest of the man on his right. He then took a strike in his left arm from another enemy soldier. He gently nursed the wound, while seeing that his opponent was about to land a killing blow.

###

A squadron of twelve Ku-Vok-leth soldiers gathered in the cargo deck of the pergium refinery once word had gotten out that enemy soldiers were storming the compound. Whatever was about to take place in the next few minutes, these soldiers’ orders were to guard the resonance chamber and the freight shuttle carrying it with their lives. The lead soldier walked over to the staircase as he saw Kur’Tok storming down to receive any orders before heading into battle. “Two squadrons on their way here,” he reported. “One is Starfleet and the other is Klingon Defense Force. We are vastly outnumbered.”

“Do what you must,” Kur’Tok grunted. “We must make sure the shuttle is ready for launch.” He then motioned the Markalian computer technician over to him to issue instructions. “Get that resonance chamber on the shuttle now!” he barked.

“We haven’t completed the safety checks,” the Markalian insisted. “I warned you what can happen if Omega should destabilize…”

“To Grethor with safety checks,” Kur’Tok bellowed. “We are out of time! Move!” He then grabbed the technician by the arm and shoved him in the direction of the shuttle to punctuate his instructions.

An explosion momentarily blinded everyone in the room. A Starfleet team that included Vaughn, Ro, and Bowers stormed onto the catwalk. One of the human officers motioned for Zeyner to stand aside and stay out of the way of the shooting. He just snickered at the notion that he would follow those instructions to the letter. That officer and the rest of his team spread out along the catwalk laying down phaser fire against the unending swarm of Klingon disruptor fire.

A side hatch blew open and Klag’s team of eight soldiers ran through in a single file wielding mek’leths. One of the Ku-Vok-leth soldiers ran towards them shooting at them. Four others headed for Klag’s party armed with mek’leths. As hand-to-hand fighting ensued, the Markalian technician and a Klingon technician placed anti-gravity harnesses onto the resonance chamber and moved it towards the shuttle.

“They’re loading the resonance chamber,” Vaughn remarked to Bowers and Ro. “Bowers, cover us. Ro, with me.”

Bowers pointed his rifle in the direction of a soldier at the bottom of the stairs and fired to get his attention. The Klingon fired back, diverting his attention to the stairs, which allowed Vaughn and Ro to head straight to the shuttle. Others were shooting in their direction, but they countered with phaser fire of their own.

Amid all the chaos, Zeyner tiptoed down the catwalk to a ladder along the wall. He grabbed one of the rungs with both hands while wrapping his legs over the railing and climbing down. Upon reaching the bottom, he made a beeline for the shuttle.

Ro saw him in the corner of her eye while continuing to fire her phaser in the direction of two Ku-Vok-leth soldiers. “Zeyner,” she shouted. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She fired at Zeyner, clipping him in the right ribcage area. He stumbled and fell to the ground. Ro was not able to get a clear shot since a mek’leth struck her in the right shoulder. That Klingon then took a kick in the stomach from Vaughn, who then shot him in the chest with his phaser.

The roar of an engine then caught Vaughn’s attention while taking a look at Ro’s stab wound and making sure Zeyner didn’t try to make a run for it. The cargo shuttle Kur’Tok wanted launched at all costs moved straight up towards the sun roof and tore through plexi-glass shield. The Ku-Vok-leth soldiers still standing then ceased firing, and Bowers signaled his troops to do the same.

“Vaughn to Delphi,” Vaughn called tapping his combadge. “Computer, three to beam out.”

Zeyner removed a device from his pocket as he, Ro, and Vaughn were dematerializing. That kept him from completely dematerializing while Vaughn and Ro had beamed up.
__________________
"Desperate Alliances" are forged.
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