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Old January 19 2014, 10:44 PM   #13
Rear Admiral
Re: DT/DS9: Signs & Portents

“Chained to Life and Death”

USS Defiant
Gamma Quadrant
March 2377

This was the only time Colonel Jatarn Yaro wasn’t awed by the Celestial Temple. His thoughts were elsewhere, on what lay on the other side of the cosmic tunnel.

Instead of being entranced by the powerful currents and strong swirls of color inside the Temple, he prayed silently to the Prophets.

“Kende,” he murmured, half-realizing he had verbalized the object of his prayers. He had not wanted his wife to go to the New Bajor colony. The first settlement had been wiped out by the Dominion, but the planet had been resettled over the summer, this time with help from the Dominion.

Jatarn had inveighed on his wife not to join in the first group of new settlers but a recent and severe outbreak of Correllium fever had drawn several of Bajor’s top medics to the colony, and Kende had accompanied Dr. Girani.

Yaro had feared that the fever was another Dominion assault, like the plague they had left behind on Aaamazzaria or the Teplan blight Kira had told him about. However the Dominion had sent Vorta scientists to New Bajor to assist in finding a solution.

The cynical part of Jatarn had wanted to think the move was just a smokescreen but he had to admit that conjecture was irrational. Despite the actions of a few rogue Jem’Hadar the Dominion had honored the peace treaty. That being said, Jatarn would never fully trust them, just like he would never trust the Cardassians, no matter how few of them were left after the Dominion’s genocidal campaign.

Sometimes he felt that one Cardassian was one too many. Darkly, he wondered if someone hadn’t considered his own people’s excursion into the Gamma Quadrant along that same line.

He pounded his armrests, cursing the ship to go faster. And feeling silly for cajoling an inanimate object. Yaro’s frustration tightened his chest. He wanted to do something, hit something, but he settled for stalking around the small bridge.

He knew his behavior was adversely affecting the dedicated bridge crew, but he didn’t know what else to do.

“What is our ETA to New Bajor?” he asked his executive officer for the umpteenth time. The colonel came to stand behind the woman’s chair, unable to stop from looking over her shoulder to find the answer himself.

Lt. Diega Cruz, of Starfleet, was gratefully unperturbed. “Sir, we shall arrive in the Kotha Tremali system within two hours.”

“Not good enough,” he huffed before stalking back off. He circled the bridge again, before announcing, “I’m going to my quarters. Lt. Cruz, you have the bridge.”
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USS Defiant

Jatarn went to his quarters only long enough to change clothes. He then went to the recreation room. Yaro went through a full Suus Mahna workout, drawing as much sweat from his body as he was able to.

Toweling off, he then fell back on the Orion dancefighting he had learned while in the resistance, taught to him by an Orion slave woman, a concubine of one the Cardassian overseers. She saw something of her own plight in the oppression of the Bajorans and helped them whenever she could.

Jatarn’s body wasn’t as flexible as it once had been and his bones creaked and cracked as he put them through their paces. His will remained indomitable though.

Once he was finished he fell to a heap on the training mat. He was glad no one else was around to see the display. He was glad to have somewhere to expend his pent-up energy, but it hadn’t made him take his mind off Kende, or the last message they had received from New Bajor.

It had been a distress call. Mystery ships had attacked the colony. Adversaries had begun beaming down and pursuing the colonists. And then the message had abruptly cut off.

Kende could already be dead for all he knew. And he hated to think her last moments would be in terror, horror as someone stalked her.

He would do anything; give anything to prevent such a thing from happening. The thoughts pounded on him as heavily as the water did in the shower he took back at his quarters. He had forgone a sonic shower for one with water. He needed the sting of hot water on his skin.

Stepping out of the shower, he heard the buzzing of his intercom. Dropping his towel, he ran over to the wall communicator and activated it. “Jatarn here.”

“Colonel, we need you up here,” Lt. Cruz said. The Bajoran pushed the lump down in his throat.

“On my way.”
************************************************** *************

Main Bridge
USS Defiant

As soon as Colonel Jatarn stepped onto the bridge, he cursed the Romulans for taking back their cloaking device. On the viewer was a Jem’Hadar destroyer flanked by two smaller, but no less lethal, Jem’Hadar fighters.

The crimson lighting on the bridge told him that Lt. Cruz had already placed the ship on red alert. “Shield raised and weapons are primed,” she told him as she smoothly vacated the captain’s chair. There was a curious look on her face, “The Dominion ships have not done the same. And the lead ship is hailing us.”

“Curious,” Jatarn mumbled. “Put it through,” he ordered as he sat down in the center seat. A female Vorta greeted him.

“Colonel Jatarn,” she said, with a tight nod.

“How do you know my name?” He warily asked. The woman’s wan smile was just as tight.

“I am Keilan, of the Dominion,” she said. Similar to other Vorta the woman had nearly translucent skin, pale blue eyes, dark hair, and elfin features.

“I can see that,” he groused, his certainty growing that the Dominion in fact had been the culprits that attacked New Bajor. Why else would they be in this sector of space? And had they come to vaporize the Defiant to cover their crimes? “I assume you wish to talk about New Bajor?”

“Yes,” the woman said, “Survivors from the attack informed us that they had gotten off a message through the worm hole. We were coming to make sure you made it here safely.”

“Come again,” Jatarn nearly sputtered. He couldn’t believe he heard what the woman said correctly. Keilan repeated her statement.

“You’ve been to the New Bajor colony?”

“Yes, to render aid,” Keilan cocked her head to the side, a quizzical expression on her alabaster face. “We also received a distress call, and being that this is our quadrant and near Dominion space, we were able to respond quicker.”

“How many survived?” Jatarn nearly stumbled over the question, he was so eager to clasp any ray of hope.

“I don’t have the exact count, but roughly two thousand denizens survived, including the Vorta scientific contingent,” Keilan answered.

“My God,” Cruz muttered, “There were nearly four thousand colonists.”

Jatarn shook his head and said a prayer for the lost, while hoping that Kende was not among them. He thought to ask the Vorta but realized how stupid and selfish that would be. It’s unlikely that the Vorta knew the identities of any or many survivors. Then again, she did know him…

“There may be more among the living, and had yet to be recovered,” Keilan said, “However some were absconded.”

“Absconded?” Jatarn asked, his hopes failing again. “By whom?” He barked.

“The Drai,” Keilan answered assuredly.

“’The Drai?’” Jatarn parroted. “I’ve never heard of them.”

“As far as we know they’ve ever only entered your quadrant once, on Stardate 46477.5. They were in pursuit of a creature called Tosk when they attacked Deep Space Nine,” Keilan replied.

Jatarn tore his gaze from the screen to glance at Cruz. From her station, Cruz had swiveled around to return his gaze. “Tosk, the sentient they were pursuing, referred to them as the Hunters,” she said.

“Hunters,” Jatarn rubbed his chin. Now the message from the colony about being hunted was starting to make sense. His blood chilled, Jatarn feared that the hunters had found new quarry. Done with wasting time, the colonel barked, “Helm, maximum warp to New Bajor!”
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