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Old January 19 2014, 10:48 PM   #14
Rear Admiral
Re: DT/DS9: Signs & Portents

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New Rakantha, New Bajor Colony
Gamma Quadrant

He found her in a refugee camp outside of New Rakantha. When Defiant had arrived, the colonial capital was still in flames. The reunion had been brusque, but no less heartfelt. His wife’s smooth brown skin was blackened by soot and her clothing was singed but she was thankfully none the worse for wear. Kende had had to pull herself from Jatarn’s embrace to continue tending to the injured, which were streaming in in droves.

Jatarn ordered most of the Defiant crew down to the surface to help Dr. Girani and his wife, while ordering the starship to fly around the planet and assist the Dominion where they were needed.

He got to work himself as part of a search and rescue team, disoriented by the sight of Jem’Hadar and Vorta helping rescue trapped colonists. Some of the survivors were rightly frightened by the fearsome appearance of the Jem’Hadar soldiers, usually harbingers of doom and not salvation.

Time stretched into infinity and still they worked. Finally overcome by his humanoid limitations, Jatarn returned to the refugee camp. He found his wife, who was also fatigued. After stealing away to Dr. Girani’s makeshift office, they fell into each other’s arms.

“Kende, I thought I lost you,” he murmured into her ear before he kissed her sooty, sweaty forehead.

“You’re not getting rid of me that easily,” she smiled, her humor still present. He laughed, needing it and her more than ever.

“What happened?”

“These ships came from the sky and men materialized, their faces hidden by helmets. They had these crossbow things and they just begun shooting anyone they encountered,” she shuddered. “It was ghastly.”

“Did they say why? Did they even talk?” Jatarn gently asked.

“Evil doesn’t need a reason, you know that,” Kende said knowingly, and both of them shared a knowing look and dark memories of the Occupation.

“It makes no sense,” he said, angry with himself, for no reason other than needing to direct the frustration somewhere.

“What didn’t make sense was that some of the people hit dematerialized like they were caught in a transporter beam. More were slaughtered, but others were whisked away,” Kende said, shaking her head. “I don’t understand, but I fear more for those poor souls than the dead.”

Jatarn’s face hardened, “I think I know what the fate of those captured might be.”

“What?” Kende looked up at him, with fearful eyes the size of small moons.

“The Dominion believe that the attackers came from a species called the Drai,” Jatarn informed his wife. “They incurred into the Alpha Quadrant once before, in pursuit of a captive. It appears that these Drai fancy themselves hunters.”

“Oh Prophets,” Kende whispered. She looked toward the sky and in the direction of the Celestial Temple. She mouthed a silent prayer. Jatarn joined her and then they continued holding each other for a long time.
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USS Defiant
Two days later…

Only a will as forceful as Chief Engineer Roger Koenig’s could pull Jatarn from the planet. Koenig had offered to take Defiant back to Deep Space Nine to inform Starfleet and get more assistance himself, but Jatarn knew that was his duty.

He wished that the Drai hadn’t destroyed the subspace com net preventing more information from getting back to the Alpha Quadrant. Bajor and the Federation needed to know what happened here and could soon happen on their side of space.

Keilan had told him that the Drai were powerful, so powerful that the Dominion had never sought to annex them, but merely coexisted with them.

Until this point the Drai had never shown an expansionistic ambition so the two powers had warily circled the other. Keilan couldn’t fathom what had prompted the attack on New Bajor.

To figure out the motive was beyond his station, but Jatarn just hoped that the Defiant was chosen for the taskforce to return to New Bajor and also to demand answers from the Drai. He would forcefully argue to return to the devastated colony. He wasn’t going to leave Kende alone any more than he had to.

Keilan had promised to watch over the colony until Defiant or other Starfleet vessels returned, and while the woman was confident that the presence of the Dominion warships would deter any more Drai attacks, Jatarn wouldn’t feel truly comfortable until Kende was back on Bajor.

Pulling himself away from his own thoughts, Jatarn asked, “What’s our ETA to the Celestial…worm hole?”

“One hour,” Commander Koenig barked from an aft console. The man didn’t hide his annoyance. The crusty engineer was serving as his executive officer. Lt. Cruz and most of the ship’s personnel had stayed behind on New Bajor. Defiant was piloted by a skeleton crew, just enough to get them through into the Alpha Quadrant.

Jatarn wished that Koenig had stayed behind on New Bajor. Admiral Covey, the station’s previous commanding officer, had brought the cantankerous human along with her to the station. He had hoped he would’ve left with her.

But he had chosen to stay aboard, the creaky Cardassian space station providing a wealth of things to fix and inspiring him with admittedly innovative solutions.

“Sir, I’m receiving an anomalous power reading right off our starboard nacelle,” Ensign Zroht said, pursing her deep blue lips.

“What is it?” Jatarn asked, looking in the Bolian’s direction. The woman had bent over her console, nearly nose deep into the readings.

Seconds went by before her head snapped up, “Sir! Evasive maneuvers!” She cried.

“Do it,” the colonel snapped at the helm.

Before the harried Betelgeusian could respond the ship rocked violently left. Jatarn was flung from his seat. Smacking against the floor, his head spun as the ship did. Grasping on to consciousness, Jatarn called out, “What?”

He spit out blood and his jaw felt wrenched out of place. He struggled to get to his feet, but the ship was still gyrating.

“Koenig?! Zroht?!” He tried to yell out, but the words came as a rasp and then were squelched by pain.

Only able to sit up, his head still reeling, Jatarn blinked back the darkness. He saw Zroht at her post. Though his hearing was muffled, he made out the woman screaming, “Cloaked gravitic mines!” Through the smoke, he gratefully saw Commander Koenig on his feet, at his post, but he was looking in Jatarn’s direction.

The engineer barked again and seconds later hands clamped around his arms and lifted him gently back to the command chair.

“How is he?” Koenig snapped and Jatarn saw and felt the young human giving him the once over.

“I think he might be suffering from a concussion,” was the answer.

“Get him to sickbay,” the engineer ordered.

“Wait a moment,” Jatarn tried to say and spat up more blood. He latched onto his seat and refused to move. “I can still help.”

“He’s not leaving his seat sir,” the man trying to pry him from the seat said in frustration.

“Four ships on long-range sensors,” Zroht called out.

“Dominion?” Koenig asked with surprising hopefulness. The colonel was angry that Koenig had beaten him to the question, but his brain felt like sludge.

“No sir,” the Bolian said, color draining from her face. She added, “Commander, we are being hailed.”

“By whom?” Both the colonel and the chief engineer said at the same time.

“On screen,” Koenig ordered.

A gaunt humanoid with pale yellow skin and a corrugated forehead glared at them with an anticipatory gaze.

Koenig being no fool said, “I take it those mines were yours.”

“The Drai,” Jatarn spat.

The alien smiled, “Let the hunt begin.”
************************************************** *************

Author's Note: This concludes this round of vignettes. I hope you enjoyed reading and I also hope to return to Dark Territory's take on Deep Space Nine soon.
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