Auxiliary Control, Kazon-Degra Destroyer Skadra
In Orbit of Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant
The destroyer Skadra
rocked, the results of a smaller ship exploding to just ahead of them. Jal Mekhad watched the sensor data from where he stood in the auxiliary control room. Though all main ship controls were handled from the bridge, the backup facility was kept manned going into battle and handled support duties, whilst those on the bridge got to enjoy the battle firsthand. All Mekhad could really do was watch as they fought against the single station.
He tried not to look at the desert world it orbited, the memory of his disgrace was still fresh in his mind—which his shipmates would never let him live down. Defeated by an elderly female Ocampa—it didn’t get much worse than that. His skull still ached whenever he thought of that night.
“Have any of you tasted their females?” Hagadd bellowed from the weapons console. His question was met with a number of negatives. Mekhad kept quiet and shook his head. “You don’t know what you are missing! They are sweet and soft, so small and fragile; too much pressure and you might break something.”
!” Tuerk challenged. “You’ve never had one of their females! They are reserved for those closest to the Maje.”
“Guard duty has to have some perks!”
There was a ruckus of laughter. Once again, Mekhad stayed quiet. The other men in the room ignored him, so if he drew attention to himself he would face their scorn and harassment—and he had suffered more than enough since that night.
As the others laughed and goaded Hagadd to give them more details, Mekhad stayed quiet, watching the sensor display, though listened to the intimate description Hagadd regaled the others with, feeling his own interest grow—females of any species were a mystery to him (yet another thing the males around him knew and took great pleasure in belittling him about). The topic of conversation wasn’t a new one, they often gloated about their conquests with the females of the Sect, or others they had seized in raids, so Mekhad knew that they would soon turn on him and start berating him for his lack of experience. He hated to do anything that might attract their attention sooner, but when the sensor readings suddenly changed he spoke without thinking.
“What the vejah
“Got something to say little man?” Hagadd demanded.
It was only then Mekhad realised he had spoken, and now faced eight pairs of eyes boring into him. Hagadd and Tuerk moved in closer to him, the fully-grown males looming over him, blocking out his view of the rest of the room. They shoved him into the console and pressed in tighter, almost growing at him, the smell of stale sweat filled his nostrils, and he could hear the others moving in behind the two Dohka—none of them wanting to miss his latest humiliation.
“He can’t be called a ‘man’,” Tuerk corrected, “he still hasn’t experienced the true right of manhood. He is nothing but a boy—how he passed the challenges is a mystery to me.”
“I bet he made himself available to the Maje,” Hagadd grunted with another shove to emphasise his point. “Is that it? Is that why you’ve never bhaked
a female? You want to be the one on your back!”
Mekhad shook his head. “No Dohka.” His voice was little more than a whimper, which made his tormentors and their audience laugh.
“That’s no protest!” Hagadd sneered.
“I think you’ve found him out,” added Tuerk. “He is nothing more than a yaniki
With that Hagadd spat on his cheek and slammed him into the console, bending him back until he whined in pain at the pressure of his spine against the metallic surface. The demeaning laughter only got louder.
That was until alerts began sounding from every station. In seconds the auxiliary control room was filled with noise, which stopped their torment. Hagadd released him and as he slumped to the cold deck, went over to the weapons console. Mekhad propped himself up as the others quickly followed their superiors lead and went back to their posts. He saw a look of confusion cross each of their faces.
“What the vejah
?” Hagadd said slowly.
Mekhad knew what they were seeing, as he had seen it moments ago. Their assault ships were no longer targeting the station, but rather turned their weapons on one another. The main bulk of their fleet was decimating itself!
After their confusion, it took a few moments before they began angry and panicked. The auxiliary control crew were trying to make contact with their escort ships, demanding answers or telling them to resume their attack on the station. All were met with static. Then started the shouts and accusations over the intercom, no one seemed to have a clue what had happened, but none were willing to suffer the wrath of the Maje.
Mekhad remained on the deck, watching the others pound their controls and shout into the companels. They were all so focused on themselves that none of them noticed the hatch opening. He looked back at the entrance and saw a slim grey figure step onto the deck. She was older than the first time he had seen her, but her eyes were the same, looking from one Kazon to another as though there were little more than tehga
When her steely gaze came to rest on him, he felt his insides go cold. Her eyes bore into him and he knew she remembered him as he did her. He had to get away from her. Glancing at the only other hatch on the door, it wasn’t far but he didn’t know how fast she was—but he had to try.
He clambered to his feet and started edging towards the exit. He had only moved a couple of steps when her voice filled his head.
*I told you to never return!*
Her voice was blunt with an edge that was more threatening than all of Hagadd’s bellowing, it stopped him dead. He turned his head away from the exit and back at her. She stayed just within the hatch, but it felt as though she filled the room.
From the corner of his eye he noticed Tuerk turn towards her, as well as a couple of the others. Slowly, one-by-one, they were all looking at her—Hagadd was the last to turn away from his console.
Did they all hear her?
Mekhad asked himself.
Hagadd puffed out his chest and narrowed his eyes. “Who are you?” he demanded, taking a step towards her.
“No!” Mekhad called out.
But it was too late. There was a sudden burst of light that forced him to shut his eyes, but a second later he could feel the burn of sun on his skin and the gritty taste of sand on the wind. Opening his eyes once again, he had to shield them for the harsh light in the cloudless sky. He stood in the midst of a throng of Kazon, in an endless sea of sand, with nothing on the horizon but shimmering dunes.
He was back on Ocampa.
Aft Cargo Bay 5, Kazon-Degra Destroyer Draxorr
In Orbit of Ocampa V, Delta Quadrant
Kes materialised into the cargo hold and slouched against one of the containers. After travelling from one destroyer to the next and transporting their crews down to the surface of her homeworld she was growing tired, luckily she was on the last ship. All around her she could sense the minds and thoughts of the Ocampa Tanis had gathered to target the smaller ships. He had managed to find one of his people for each ship, who in turn were targeting all of the Kazon bridge crews, implanting false images and thoughts into their barbarous minds, making them see enemies where there were none.
She had surmised that her idea would work, but she had never expected it to go so well. The Kazon’s natural paranoia and lust for violence were a dangerous combination, which made them highly susceptible to telepathic manipulation, but it seemed almost too easy to turn them against one another. But that wasn’t her immediate concern; she had one last ship to secure. Precognition wasn’t an ability she possessed, but during her time away from home, both on Voyager
and after she chose to leave, she had seen much and come to know the minds of many others. She knew that even after today her people wouldn’t be safe, not with the Kazon, Trabe, Vidiians, and any of a dozen other races nearby, each of whom would want the rich minerals her world possessed. All the while her people would hide under the surface of a world that was useless to them—even with Tanis’ help their future was a bleak one.
The destroyer rocked; most likely another assault ship had been destroyed nearby. She didn’t have much time. Taking a deep cleaning breathe, she pushed off from the container and focused herself once more. Though she had manipulated molecules at the subatomic level many times, it always took its toll on her—especially when she was using her abilities to allow her to walk through bulkhead and transport thousands of men from orbit down to the far side of Ocampa. She had chosen the dry seabed as it put the Kazon on the opposite side of the planet from their mines and the subterranean city. The conditions would be brutal, but they may survive long enough for someone to find them—that was if one of the destroyers managed to call for help.
At a steady pace she walked towards the metallic wall and through it into the corridor, blowing out a couple of power lines as went. Her progress remained constant, as she reached out with her mind and located every Kazon in the section she walked into, focused in on each of them and teleported them to the surface to join the rest of their bewildered and furious Sect. They were so focused on the battle and the actions of their other ships that they weren’t prepared for an intruder, as such any Kazon she encountered in corridors or rooms never had time to reach for his weapon before disappearing in a blink of light. That would change as she neared the front of the destroyer, when calls to the engine room or weapons control went unanswered and those still onboard would be ready for something and would shoot at the slightest movement.
Surprisingly, she met little in the way of resistance. By now she knew that the battle would be going very badly for the Kazon: seven destroyers adrift, thousands of crewmembers marooned in the middle of an endless desert, their escort ships destroying one another (most likely they were few still operational on the battlefield), whilst their target remained with only a few cuts and bruises. Kes suspected that the destroyer she stood on was the flagship, as she had yet to encounter anyone with the arrogance of a Maje. If this was his ship, then he would be more focused on punishing his own men’s failures than executing a plan of attack.
There were only a few compartments left ahead of her, only a few dozen men still onboard. As with the other ships, her path from the aft section forward would end on the bridge. Before she got there, she wanted to make sure the rest of the ship was empty, so that she could speak with the Maje in person, to make her realise and understand who it was he was facing. She wanted to teach him that the Ocampa would no longer be slaves or servants to anyone, he would be the last one to make the mistake of thinking they were weak.
She entered the short corridor that would take her to the bridge; the solid doors were sealed ahead of her. On the decks above and below her she sought out the last few Kazon and removed them from the destroyer, leaving just twelve on board all in the one location.
Warping her way through one last door, the first thing she noticed was the smell of unwashed bodies, followed a second later by their hostility and rage. Like the other command centres, she stood on the upper level gangway, where only the ranking officer was permitted to stand (in this case the Maje), whilst the lower level had numerous consoles that faced outwards, with a couple freestanding nearer the front of the deck. It took her only a heartbeat to assess the room with all her senses, long enough to pick out each individual man and focus in on him—except for their leader, a tall and broad man with the same wild, unkempt hair the Kazon favoured.
All of them were oblivious to her entry. That changed after she transported them away, the multiple flashes of light followed by the stillness confounded the Maje.
“What?” he screamed, leaning over the railings of the gangway, his head whipping around, from console to console, trying to find some remains of his crew. He caught a glimpse of her and came to a stop, his sharp green eyes boring into her. In an instant he drew his disruptor.
Before he had a chance to squeeze the trigger, she focused inside the weapon and dissolved its molecular bonds, dispersing his firearm into particles smaller than dust. He looked at his empty hand, as though it would somehow have answers that he didn’t. He quickly fixated on her again. She didn’t need to read his mind to know that he thirsted for revenge against the Ocampa, starting with her.
“I will make you suffer old woman,” he hissed.
Faster than she would have thought possible for a man of his bulk, he launched himself towards her, roaring and snarling, teeth bared as though he were about to use them to rip her throat out. She didn’t flinch as he closed the short distance between them. When he was within a fingernail of her, she gave her hand the smallest of waves and lifted the Maje off his feet and propelled him backwards. He smacked into the console at the far end of the gangway.
Momentarily dazed, he shook it off and got to his feet, his anger building. Another roar escaped his lips, followed by a string of profanities she could only guess at. This time she didn’t let him get as close, stopping him in his tracks before he’d taken five steps. She lifted him clean off the deck and watched him writhe and lash out, barking at her.
“Maje,” she began, “I was willing to overlook all the Kazon have done, if you had simply heeded my warning and never returned to this world. But since you threaten my people, I have dealt with yours. Those who don’t kill each other in orbit have been transported to the surface.
“If you thought my world was difficult at the mining camp, you will find it brutal when cut off from even the most basic of resources you had there.”
“I will not be subjected to this jvatt shuk
from an Ocampan rekz
! I will slaughter each and every one of you for this! Your people will die screaming in agony, and you will be to blame!”
She stepped closer to him and lowered her voice. “I am willing to let you live on the surface, but threaten my people again and I will not be so forgiving.”
The Maje laughed. “Do you think I am afraid of a pathetic female like you? I will make you watch as I take every female under the surface, drenched in the blood of your men. They will be so ruined that they will beg for death!”
Kes’ eyes looked beyond the surface of the Maje, honing in on all the atoms and bonds that made up the basic elements within his body then, as with his disruptor, she shattered them. Standing alone on the gangway, she slumped against the railing, her body and mind drained. But for now her people were safe.
*Tanis, what’s the state of the Kazon fleet?*
*There are only three ships left operational,*
was his prompt response.
*Implant false memories into the crews, then send them away.*
*There has been enough death today, Tanis.*
Sighing heavily, she looked at the large viewscreen in front of her. “They’re safe now,” she affirmed to herself.
*But for how long?*
a powerful female voice resonated within her skull.