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|April 23 2015, 08:06 PM||#1|
Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
Long-time lurker/poster under a few different names here. A couple years ago I began posting an alternate-history fiction about the Federation losing the Dominion War. Real life and a bunch of laziness got in the way of things for a while there, but I'm rewriting the story and carrying on with it. I'd like to share it with you here.
So if some of this is already familiar, I apologize (although it's been a couple years, so hopefully it will all be fresh). So...here it is, again.
|April 23 2015, 08:08 PM||#2|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
The Changeling abhorred the humanoid form.
Maintaining it was no great hardship, of course, but it was by no means a pleasurable experience. This was unfortunate, for shape-shifting was supposed to be a joyous, liberating act. Like all members of the Great Link, the Changeling relished the chance to take on myriad forms and did so as often as possible. By assuming other forms, a changeling assumed the very essence of life itself. Indeed, one could spend a lifetime imitating everything from a simple shape to a Zirellian octopus and never feel anything but complete, perfect bliss.
But imitating a humanoid? That was different. The act of assuming the humanoid form perverted the sheer joy of shape-shifting into something ugly…something sinister. Taking on the shape of the despised enemy was a truly repulsive concept to any Changeling.
In the end, however, ample experience had proven that humanoids could only truly relate to others like them. The Changeling remembered the great persecutions of the past, and like all the other members of the Great Link, it was determined to never let them happen again. There was no doubt in the Changeling’s mind that humanoids had an instinctive hatred of shape-shifters. History had proven that the fundamental differences between Changelings and Solids could simply never be reconciled. Left unchecked, the humanoid species of the Galaxy would snuff out the Great Link. Therein lay the need to conquer their civilizations, to subjugate their populations, and to deprive them of any chance to harm that which they could never understand. If the price of security included the occasional inconvenience of an unpleasant form, then so be it.
Security. The need for security was the very raison d’etre for the Dominion. The Dominion existed solely to protect the Great Link. The safety of the Link was always paramount, and the only way to guarantee its safety was to impose order on any and all threats. Humanoids could never be trusted, so they must be kept under the yoke of the Dominion. That was the order of things.
The Changeling had journeyed all the way from the Gamma Quadrant to personally assume control of the former capital world of the late, great United Federation of Planets. It was a task the Changeling did not look forward to. Spending a great deal of time among solids would be immensely taxing. The Changeling already yearned for the comfort of the Great Link.
No matter; Earth and the business of consolidating the Dominion’s hold over the conquered Federation beckoned.
But the Changeling had other business to attend to first.
Jupiter Station, Sol System, Dominion Occupied Territory
Stardate 57121.1 (September 18, 2380)
Flanked by two Jem’Hadar guards, the Changeling entered the interrogation chamber of the sprawling space station. Once, this room had been used as an office for a Federation Starfleet admiral, or so the Changeling had been told. It did not matter. By serving its current purpose, it served the Dominion. That was all that mattered.
In the center of the room, a naked human woman was shackled by the wrists to a steel suspension rack attached to the ceiling. A spotlight shone on her still, slumped form; the rest of the room was shrouded in darkness.
The Changeling could barely conceal its annoyance. “Turn on the lights,” it ordered, and one of the Jem’Hadar said in a low monotone, “Computer...lights.”
As the chamber filled with light, a door swished open on the opposite side of the room. A Cardassian military officer strode into the chamber, followed closely by a Vorta field supervisor.
“Founder!” The Vorta approached the Changeling, bowing his head slightly and reaching out his hands in supplication. “You honor us with your presence. Is there some way we may be of service?”
“You may explain what has transpired here,” the Changeling replied coldly.
The Vorta turned to the Cardassian and gestured at the human woman. The Cardassian said, “Three days ago, a Jem’Hadar squadron on patrol in the Oort Cloud detected a spatial anomaly. Upon investigating, a rogue Starfleet vessel was found and captured.”
The Changeling circled the human woman, noting her pallid skin. “What was the nature of this spatial anomaly?”
“It appeared to be a wormhole, most likely originating somewhere in the Delta Quadrant.”
The Changeling couldn’t help but show a small amount of surprise. “Is this wormhole stable?”
“No, Founder,” the Vorta replied. “The wormhole collapsed only seconds after it was detected by the Jem’Hadar. The Starfleet vessel’s warp signature was picked up immediately after the anomaly was picked up on sensors; there’s no doubt the vessel traversed the wormhole.”
“Are you sure only one ship came through the wormhole?”
“And would you mind enlightening me how this vessel survived the war, let alone how it was able to travel back and forth across the galaxy?”
“From what we can tell, the ship was in the Delta Quadrant before the war began,” the Cardassian said. “The ship is called Voyager. It was reported lost in the Badlands nearly ten years ago and presumed destroyed.”
“Founder, we are very hard at work researching the captured Starfleet archives for more information,” the Vorta said. “If this ship is more than what it appears to be, you will of course be the first to know.”
The Founder could not help but feel unsatisfied. “Where is the ship now?”
“The vessel is currently docked at the Utopia Planitia shipyards, not far from here,” said the Cardassian.
“Interestingly enough, it was constructed there as well,” the Vorta commented cheerily.
The Changeling pointed at the human woman. “And who is this? A member of Voyager’s crew? I would expect that interrogating surviving crew members would prove more fruitful than...researching archives.”
The Vorta nodded nervously while the Cardassian folded his arms and smirked. “That,” the Cardassian said contemptuously, “is the captain of the Voyager, Kathryn Janeway…or at least, it was. It was my understanding—based on personal experience, I might add—that Starfleet captains were made of sterner stuff. This one barely lasted through one interrogation session.”
The Changeling choked back anger. “You let the captain of this vessel die?”
“I’m afraid so, Founder,” the Vorta replied. “Legate Madred’s methods of interrogation proved to be somewhat…extreme, considering—“
“There was nothing wrong with my methods of interrogation,” the Cardassian said sharply. “The human simply proved too weak for—“
“She was already wounded,” the Vorta snapped. “Surely you—“
“Enough!” The Changeling turned away from the human woman and stared directly at the Cardassian. “I earnestly hope you have more prisoners from Voyager to interrogate, Legate Madred, or I’m afraid we may have to…reevaluate the rank structure in this facility.”
“Of course,” the Cardassian replied. “The rest of the command crew and many of the lower-ranking complement remain alive and are currently imprisoned in this station’s brig.” The Cardassian took note of the Changeling’s withering glare and noted, “No harm shall befall them until you give the order, Founder.”
“Good.” The Changeling turned its attention to the Vorta. “You would be wise to exercise more control over the ‘methods of interrogation’ that our Cardassian allies are practicing in this facility."
The Vorta lowered his head. "Of course, Founder. Rest assured that I will supervise each interrogation personally."
The Changeling nodded. "I would hope so. I want to know everything about this vessel. I want to know how it reached the Delta Quadrant. I want to know the nature of the wormhole that brought it back to the Alpha Quadrant, and I want to know how this crew was able to harness it. Am I making myself clear?”
“Perfectly clear, Founder,” the Vorta said. “We will redouble our efforts to obtain information from the Voyager crew immediately.”
“Good,” the Changeling replied. “I will be on Earth. Contact me when you have obtained some…useful information.”
“Of course.” The Vorta once again bowed his head slightly. “Good day, Founder.”
The Changeling nodded, took a moment to glare once again at the Cardassian, and left the interrogation chamber.
En route to the Jem’Hadar vessel, the Changeling reflected on the ingenuity and skill of Starfleet personnel. It was hard to imagine anyone else being able to find a way to cross a galaxy in mere minutes. Certainly the simple-minded Cardassians or the obsequious Vorta would never be able to accomplish such a feat!
No. Starfleet, and humans in particular, had proven to be worthy adversaries… and a small part of the Changeling couldn’t help but admire them. But in the end, all of their ingenuity and skill had not saved them from the onslaught of the Dominion invasion.
It was just as well. The Federation had clearly posed a great threat to the Great Link—much more so than the comparatively weak Klingons or Romulans. Their protestations aside, the humans and their allies had been a grave threat to all that the Dominion stood for. The conquest of the Alpha Quadrant was just one more step in securing the Great Link from all external threats. One day, the Dominion would reign supreme over all the humanoid species of the galaxy…and then--and only then--could the Great Link finally breathe a collective sigh of relief.
Truly, that was the order of things.
As the Jem’Hadar ship carried the exalted Founder to occupied Earth, the Changeling took the form of a Tarkalean hawk and flew masterfully throughout the spacious corridors of the warship. It felt so good to be free!
|April 23 2015, 08:09 PM||#3|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
In Orbit of Planet Terra Prime
Stardate 57133.7 (September 19, 2380)
Admiral Jean-Luc Picard sat in his ready room aboard the flagship of the Federation’s Seventh Fleet. For all Picard knew, it was the last remnant of the Federation Starfleet in existence. Under Picard’s command were twenty seven ships, four of which were ships of the line. And here they were, refugees in this distant solar system nearly three million light-years from home.
Picard glanced out of the ready room window at the star that the Seventh Fleet now claimed as its own. Interesting. If he were back home, on Earth, the light he was now seeing would not be visible for another three million years. If he had been able to see Sol from his vantage point, he would have been seeing light that emanated from the star long before the dawn of civilization. Long before.
Data would have been able to give him the exact figures. But Data was not here.
The Seventh Fleet had arrived in M-33 three years ago, after the fall of Earth. Picard remembered the final battle well. Starfleet and their erstwhile Klingon allies had fought hard, destroying most of the Cardassian attack wings before simply being overwhelmed by waves of Jem'Hadar cruisers. The Mars Defense Perimeter had performed admirably, but once it had been broken it was all over for Earth. Picard had attempted to defy Admiral Leyton's order to retreat, but it had been Riker who had convinced him to go, to follow the tattered Federation Alliance forces out of the system as Earth fell to the conquering Dominion.
Riker. He was not here either.
After Andoria and the final collapse of the Federation government, the recently promoted Admiral Picard was ordered by Starfleet Command to initiate Project Longshot. In the event of the Federation's collapse, Starfleet had ordered several contingency plans be set in motion. Project Longshot was just one such plan, and it was just that--a long shot. No one knew if Wesley Crusher could (or would) help evacuate a fleet out of the galaxy, and no one knew where they would end up if he did.
Still, Picard had initiated Longshot on schedule, as ordered. Contacting young Crusher had proven a simple task; it was convincing him to help that had taken a great deal of effort. Picard remembered being frequently irritated with the boy all those years ago, back when he was merely human and a youngster obsessed with sitting in the captain's chair. Now, he was to be the instrument of their salvation.
But Crusher had nearly balked at the idea of interfering in the affairs of lesser races. He had not said as much, but Picard knew what he had meant. The powerful always regarded the weak with condescension. It took an impassioned speech from Picard to convince the boy-god that saving the Seventh Fleet would be one last way to fulfill his duties as a former Starfleet officer--and, Picard recalled guiltily, he had not failed to mention that it would be a way to atone for the fatal actions that had nearly gotten Crusher drummed out of the fleet some years before. But it had only been by invoking the name of the late Jack Crusher--Wesley's father and Picard's best and most trusted friend--that the powerful young man had agreed to help. It was a low-handed tactic, but entirely necessary. Picard still found a small part of himself regretting what he had said, however. Old habits die hard.
So with the young Traveler's help, the ships of the beleaguered Seventh Fleet had prepared to use the same method that had sent the U.S.S. Enterprise-D careening off to the edge of the universe.
But as the final preparations were set into motion, Dominion forces entered the nebula in which the fleet was hiding. Dozens of Jem'Hadar ships appeared on thirty-seven Federation starships' viewscreens, and they were completely uninterested in negotiation.
Picard had desperately hoped the fleet could have made it out of the galaxy before the Dominion had located them, but alas. With steely resolve, he ordered ten ships to engage the Dominion forces as the other twenty-seven made a run for it. It was the only strategy that made sense. Twenty-three ships were packed full of civilians, refugees from Earth and other occupied worlds; Picard figured he could spare four ships of the line to protect them once they evacuated from the Milky Way. The rest would have to stay and fight in order to cover their retreat.
Even then he had known that once those ships broke off to engage the Jem’Hadar, they would not be leaving the galaxy with the rest of the fleet. Attacking the Jem’Hadar was not a winning proposition, but a maneuver to gain time. A pity, Picard thought as he reflected back on the battle. It would have been extremely beneficial to have all thirty-seven ships present here in M-33, where nothing was known and everything was unfamiliar.
Admiral Picard had given the order to engage the enemy on the bridge of the U.S.S. Venture, his Galaxy-class personal flagship. He had fully intended that his former command, the U.S.S Enterprise-E, be part of the four escort vessels leaving the galaxy. So he was surprised when, seconds after giving the order, he received a hail from the Enterprise.
The face of Captain William Riker, his former first office and new commander of the Enterprise, appeared on the Venture’s viewscreen. “Admiral,” Riker said urgently. “The Sentinel is experiencing issues with their main phaser relay. We have to take it out of the attack formation.”
Picard shook his head. “No, Number One. Alert the Sentinel to join the attack formation and bring the Enterprise to—“
“Admiral,” Riker interrupted. “The Sentinel is the only other Sovereign-class ship in the fleet. Without its firepower, we may not be able to cover your retreat.”
“What do your propose, Captain?” Picard snapped. “That we send the Enterprise in its place?”
“Yes sir, and quickly.”
“No,” Picard said flatly. “I need the Enterprise when we leave the galaxy. I—“
“Jean-Luc,” Riker said gently. Picard fell silent. “This is the only way we can make Project Longshot work, and you know it.”
Picard would have liked to have called a conference with his senior staff to discuss this turn of events. A meeting of the minds could have produced a better solution. But time was a luxury he simply no longer had.
“I—very well, Number One.” He turned to the Venture’s communications officer. “Lieutenant Jones, alert the Sentinel to fall in line with the escort vessels .”
Riker nodded and moved to end the communication. But Picard held up a hand. “Will—wait.”
Riker met Picard’s gaze. “Yes, Admiral?”
Picard could not help but notice the lump forming in his throat. “Good luck, Number One. It was an…honor to serve with you.”
Riker grinned. “I wouldn’t have traded it for anything, Admiral. Now get out of here while we show the Jem’Hadar what this ship can do.”
Picard smiled wanly and Riker cut the transmission.
“Crusher to Bridge,” Picard’s communicator chirped.
“Go ahead, Wesley.” Picard rubbed his temple as he contemplated a now even more uncertain future.
“Cap—I mean, Admiral, we’re ready to begin. I’d just like to put a little more space between us and—“
“Incoming Jem’Hadar attack cruisers!” Lieutenant Polk, the tactical officer, shouted. “Bearing 9847.2!”
“We’ll try our best, Mr. Crusher, Picard out.” Picard sat down in the command chair. It wasn’t a good sign that some Jem’Hadar had already made it past the Starfleet attack wing. “Initiate tactical plan Picard-Alpha-Gamma. Have the other ships fall into line.” He glanced down at his chair PADD. “Wait until the Jem’Hadar are within visual range.”
“Aye, sir,” Polk replied. “Ten seconds until visual range.”
“Picard to Engineering.”
“Go ahead, Admiral.”
“Commander Gomez, I’m going to need more power to the forward phaser relays. Can we spare the—“
“Inadvisable, Admiral,” Crusher cut in. “I need as much power as I can get.”
“The enemy is within visual range,” Polk reported.
“Fire aft photon torpedoes,” Picard ordered. The bridge shook as the ship took a direct hit.
“Shields holding,” Polk said. “The Sentinel has taken heavy damage in its engineering section. The—“
“Target the lead Jem’Hadar ship,” Picard interjected. “Attack pattern Picard-Zeta-Three.”
“Ready phasers, sir.”
The Venture fired five short bursts of phaser fire aimed squarely at the engineering section of the Jem’Hadar cruiser. It exploded in a huge ball of flame and plasma.
“One down,” Picard muttered. “Picard to Crusher, how long until we can initiate the jump?”
Crusher sounded woozy. “At current speed….three minutes.”
The ship shook again as the surviving enemy cruisers lashed out against the Starfleet vessels.
“Shields down to seventy-eight percent,” Polk cried out. “Heavy casualties on Deck Eight through Thirteen.”
“Fire at will, Lieutenant.” The communications officer screamed as her console exploded in flames. Picard looked over at the young woman. Her neck was twisted far too abnormally; she was dead.
“Direct hit! Shields down to sixty-one percent.” Polk continued to fire the ship’s weapons. The Sentinel is reporting their phaser banks are inoperable, Admiral. The Lexington and the Chekov are—“ Polk was suddenly knocked backwards by a power surge.
Picard got up and ran quickly to the Tactical station, leaving an ensign to check on the injured Polk. “Helm, set course 7651 mark 0501. Bring us around hard to port. Engage!”
The Venture maneuvered and faced a Jem’Hadar cruiser head-on. Picard concentrated fire on the enemy’s forward hull. The Jem’Hadar cruiser blossomed into a fiery cloud of destruction.
“Picard to Engineering!”
“Just give us one more minute, Admiral,” Gomez cried over the comm system. “We’re that close.”
Picard grimaced as the final Jem’Hadar cruiser began concentrating its fire on the Sentinel and the Lexington. Behind him, an ensign cried out, “Seven more Jem’Hadar cruisers have broken through the line, Admiral! They’re headed straight for us!”
Failure? Now? When they were so close? He stared at the tactical screen, suddenly wishing Data were present. “Helm, move the formation in tighter and prepare for warp bubble initiation.” If they could just hold out for thirty more seconds—
But the Jem’Hadar were suddenly upon them, like raging jackals. Lethal energy beams struck several of the Federation ships.
“Engineering! This needs to happen NOW!”
“Fifteen seconds, Admiral!” Gomez’s voice cracked. “Give us—“
The ship rocked violently as the Venture took three direct hits. The shields were down to thirty-nine percent. “Helm!” Picard shouted. “Set course 62—“
Picard looked up in shock as his ship, the Enterprise, swooped out of nowhere and engaged the Jem’Hadar vessels. The powerful vessel drew the fire of the Jem’Hadar as the rest of the fleet moved further out of the nebula.
“Bridge, we’re Initiating the warp bubble!” Gomez shouted over the comm. “Ready enhanced warp drive in 3…2…1…”
Picard watched as the Enterprise took a brutal beating from the enemy vessels. “Thank you, Will,” he whispered. “Godspeed.”
And in the blink of an eye, twenty-seven Starfleet vessels winked out of existence and left the galaxy.
Above Terra Prime, the M-class world where the refugees of the Seventh Fleet intended to make their new home, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard ordered a cup of tea from the replicator and reflected on his new life. So much had changed. So little was known about the dangers of this region of space…but so little was known about the possible wonders, too. He looked around his ready room of his flagship, the recently rechristened U.S.S. Enterprise. The name must live on. The dream, the ideals that constituted the United Federation of Planets must live on.
He peered out at the unfamiliar constellations dotting the skies around him. Hopefully, one day, the descendants of this ragtag fleet could find out what was out there, resume Starfleet’s mission of peaceful exploration, and rebuild what had been lost.
But for now, safety and building a new home were the priorities. And like a good Starfleet officer, Picard was going to rise to the challenge…whether Starfleet still existed or not.
|April 23 2015, 08:10 PM||#4|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
Alpha Zone One Headquarters, Sector 84-A, Sol III (formerly known as Starfleet Command, San Francisco, Earth)
Stardate 57126.2 (September 20, 2380)
The Vorta stared at the newly rebuilt, beautifully gleaming bridge spanning the majestic bay. The skies above him buzzed with the activity of Dominion shuttlecraft and surveillance drones.
"I'm afraid I just don't understand," the Vorta sighed.
The tall Cardassian legate standing beside the Vorta on the observation post rolled his eyes. He knew very well where this conversation was going. "And what exactly don't you understand, Weyoun?"
The Vorta tilted his head sideways as if trying to look at the bridge from a different angle. "A bridge is a utilitarian construct, is it not? It simply must get someone from one destination to another. Why add all those extra frills?"
"We rebuilt the bridge to its original specifications because it reminds the humans of their recent subjugation," the Cardassian replied testily. "Did you not receive the memorandum I sent on this very subject?"
The Vorta waved his hands dismissively. "Of course, Dukat, of course. 'The humans will gaze upon the bridge, rebuilt by their masters as a symbol of what they have lost and will never regain.' Poetic, perhaps, but quite nonsensical."
"It actually makes a great deal of sense," the Cardassian snapped. "This bridge was a great symbol to the humans. It meant that they could meet any challenge, that they were more than a match for whatever their world, and then the galaxy, could throw at them." He smiled. "But they could not match us, and rebuilding that bridge will remind them of that. Forever."
"Do you not think the bridge might serve as a rallying point for future resistance on the part of the humans?"
"Of course not. Within several generations humans will be a servile farmer race, whose only purpose in life will be to supply food for the Occupation Zone. Their descendants will gaze upon this bridge and think only of the mighty power of the Dominion."
"You seem so sure," said the Vorta.
The Vorta shrugged. "I was merely referring to my confusion regarding the aesthetics of the bridge design. It seems frivolous. But if it was, as you say, a symbol to the humans who designed it, unfortunately I can only understand that concept on an intellectual level." The Vorta glanced at the bridge ruefully. "I'm afraid I simply cannot appreciate it aesthetically. The Founders did not see fit to include that ability in my genetic design."
"A shame," the Cardassian sneered. He enjoyed the weaknesses of others. "It is almost Cardassian in its design. I quite like it. It must be...disheartening to not be able to appreciate beauty."
The Vorta nodded. "Indeed. Well, it is as the Founders intended, so who am I to complain?" After a pensive moment, he chuckled and said merrily, "In any case! The Founder will arrive soon to assume command of the Alpha Quadrant's integration into the Dominion." The Vorta rubbed his hands together in anticipation. "It will be wonderful to have a Founder among us again!"
"Yes, indeed," the Cardassian said with only the slightest bit of sarcasm in his voice. "Although I--you and I are doing very well on our own."
The Vorta looked at the Cardassian with what appeared to be grave concern. "Dukat," he said, "you have been invaluable from the moment you led Cardassia into the Dominion. Do not think of the Founder's arrival as an intrusion. Think of it as a validation of all the wonderful work we have done." The Vorta patted the Cardassian gently on the arm. "Together."
And before their eyes, the female Changeling and four Jem'Hadar guards beamed down onto the observation post.
"Founder," the Vorta said effusively. "You honor us with your presence. Welcome to Sol III."
"Weyoun," the Founder acknowledged simply.
The Cardassian bowed his head and said tonelessly. "Welcome to Earth, Founder."
The Founder nodded. "Thank you, Legate Dukat." The Founder began walking towards the administration building, with the Jem'Hadar in tow. Weyoun and Dukat followed closely.
"We should all strive to not use forbidden words," said the Founder to no one in particular as she walked. "Old habits are sometimes hard to break, but we must set the proper example for the humans."
Dukat began to speak but was quickly cut off by Weyoun. 'Of course, Founder. You are absolutely right." He glared at Dukat. "A simple slip of the tongue, I'm afraid."
"Yes," Dukat muttered. "I apologize."
"No need," the Founder said. "I am eager to commence working on the integration efforts."
"Do you require any time to settle in, Founder?" Weyoun asked. "We shall be at your disposal whenever you are ready to begin."
"No. Let us begin the situation report now."
Dukat led the way a the small conference room. The Founder took a seat at the head of the table; Weyoun sat two chairs over from her while the Jem'Hadar flanked the table on both sides. Dukat walked to the front of the room, where a large viewer dominated the wall.
"You may begin when ready, Legate Dukat."
"Computer, activate view, program Dukat-Beta-Three."
The viewer sprang to life with a three-dimensional rendering of the Alpha Quadrant. Dukat lightly touched one of the myriad stars, and a representation of the planet formerly known as Earth was suddenly prominently displayed.
"As you know," Dukat began, "Ear--Sol III was one of the last Federation holdouts to fall during the war. The planet and its system withstood the combined assault of Dominion and allied vessels for over six months before finally surrendering."
Dukat switched the view to a slowly rotating globe, a representation of the conquered Earth. "Once we took control of the system, it took eleven months to pacify the outlying solar colonies. Earth itself was not purged of organized military resistance for over a year and a half. Once this task was complete, however, we found the occupation to be a much simpler affair than we had originally anticipated."
"Elaborate, please," the Founder said.
"Of course. Our intelligence reports indicated that once we wiped out the last organized military resistance, the humans would splinter into small insurgencies much like we--the Cardassians encountered on Bajor some years ago. However--"
"However," Weyoun interrupted, "when we broadcast the news that the...former interstellar government of which Earth was a part had fallen, we found that the humans became overwhelmingly docile."
"Indeed," Dukat said, determined to wrest control of the briefing back from the Vorta. “The fall of the Federation and the subsequent liquidation of the Federation Council on Andoria proved to be a most effective psychological tool in the pacification of this planet."
Dukat adjusted the projection, placing Earth's sphere onto an icosahedron dotted with tiny red spots. "These red markings indicated where we have set up re-education camps for those who are having trouble adjusting to the new order of things. We have been fortunate, however, to find many humans that are quite willing to collaborate with us. Nothing helps break the spirit of an occupied people quite like having their own turn on them."
"That is always useful," the Founder commented.
"It is indeed."
"How many humans have you found it necessary to liquidate once the war officially ended?"
Dukat glanced at Weyoun. "When we destroyed the last of the organized military resistance, Earth's population stood at 5.8 billion, with over 7 million non-humans still on the planet. That number now stands at 4.1 billion, with no known non-humans present."
"Admirable restraint," the Founder noted. "The planet's main function is now to provide food for the Occupation Zone, correct?"
"Correct. By converting the human race back into a species of uneducated, illiterate farmers, we intend to create a malleable population that will simply not comprehend the idea of resistance."
"How long will this take?" The Founder turned to Weyoun. "What is your estimate?"
"Uh…the latest estimate is several generations, at the very least," Weyoun replied haltingly.
“That is far too long,” the Founder replied coldly. "Do all that you can to accelerate this process." She looked back at Dukat. "We did not completely eradicate the human species based on your recommendations, Legate. I want the ability of humans to even contemplate the idea of resistance wiped out as soon as possible. If enough time passes without sufficient progress, they will meet the same fate as that of the Klingons." The Founder stood up. "I have heard enough for today. We will meet tomorrow at 0900 to discuss these matters further."
Dukat switched off the viewer as Weyoun got up, stretching out his hands in supplication. "Thank you, Founder, for blessing us with your presence today. If you require anything, anything at all, I am at your service.”
Dukat bowed his head. "Until tomorrow, Founder."
Flanked by her Jem’Hadar guards, the Founder exited the briefing room as Dukat and Weyoun looked on. Dukat turned back to Weyoun and smirked.
“That went well, wouldn’t you say?”
|April 23 2015, 08:10 PM||#5|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
Stardate 57138.6 (September 25, 2380)
Dr. Julian Bashir quickly jogged along the rock-strewn path that led to the top of the mountain. Well, perhaps the term ‘mountain’ was generous. On Earth, it would have been nothing more than a large hill.
But here, on Erewhon, geology had not played such an active role in shaping the terrain. At this point, Bashir didn’t mind; he’d been running for almost an hour and was growing more and more weary by the second.
He reached the top and rested, kneeling down onto the grass. Mt. Khitomer, as it had been named, overlooked a bustling settlement simply known as ‘Starfleet Command.’ No one had proposed naming the settlement anything. It seemed…too soon. Too permanent.
A voice called up from down the trail a ways. “Doctor? Doctor Bashir?”
Bashir sighed. He spent his days (and many nights) constantly dealing with people’s needs; it was nice to get away from it all for a while, even if only for a couple hours a week. But it seemed as if there was no such thing as true solitude anymore, even on this relatively empty world. “Up here, Garak.”
A Cardassian (of all things!) male appeared out of the brush and walked onto the ‘summit,’ as it were. “Why, good morning, Doctor,” he said cheerily. “I was hoping we could have breakfast together.”
Bashir looked over and saw that the Cardassian was carrying two ration packs. “Did you follow me up here? I certainly didn’t hear you behind me.”
Garak sat down next to the doctor and handed him a ration pack. “Doctor, I’m afraid my steadily advancing age precludes me from making such long ascents these days. No. I beamed in.”
Bashir tore open the ration pack. “I’m beginning to feel as if there’s no such thing as privacy anymore.”
Garak nodded sagely. “These are…interesting times.” He took a bite of the ration. “And these are horrifyingly disgusting meals, I must say.”
Bashir shrugged. “Once we get agriculture up and running, we won’t have to rely so much on ration packs. They’ve even begun cloning animals for consumption.” He grimaced. “It will be difficult to get used to that.”
“Why, I don’t know, Doctor,” Garak said, “It might actually be refreshing. We’ve all lived on replicated food for so long. I’ve always found that something is simply…missing from replicated foods.”
“What? Things such as germs? Bacteria?”
Garak smiled. “One must make compromises in the face of adversity, my dear Doctor. Starfleet Command is not the only settlement on the face of this fair planet.”
And that was the simple truth. After the final collapse of the Federation at Andoria and the Battle of Tellar, all Starfleet vessels not destroyed in the retreat or engaged on other missions had escorted the many refugee ships out of the Alpha Quadrant. All of the vessels had been equipped with cloaking devices; the crisis of the war with the Dominion had rendered some treaty obligations moot. The ships had also been fitted with experimental propulsion engines, and fortunately they had only lost three ships during the escape due to engine failures or warp core breaches.
And they, this disparate batch of Federation remnants, had come to this world, far from what was now Dominion space. There were many tiny settlements on Erewhon; some named, some not. It was now necessary to go back to the old ways in order to feed everyone, for replicators required an energy expenditure far beyond what Starfleet could now offer. The post-scarcity era was over; now not having enough was simply a fact of life.
“You’re right,” Bashir said as he ate the last of his ration. “But no one said we have to like it.”
Garak offered the rest of his ration pack to Bashir and the doctor waved him away. “I’m not very hungry.”
“Understandable,” Garak replied. “It has been a very stressful week.”
Bashir allowed himself to relax a bit. That was the point of trekking up here, after all. “Indeed. There’s been at least two breakouts of Herellian fever in the Vulcan camps alone.”
“Have there been any deaths?”
“Not yet,” Bashir closed his eyes. “But unless we find a better way of obtaining medical supplies, that won’t be the case for long.”
“Have faith, Doctor,” Garak replied. “I have found that Starfleet is much more adaptable than I had previously thought. After all, we’ve made it this far. It seems premature to give up hope so soon.”
“Perhaps.” Bashir gazed out at the settlement below. “Sometimes when I wake up, I can’t believe this is all really happening. I close my eyes and hope that when I open them again, I’ll be back on Deep Space Nine, and I will discover that all of this was just a bad dream.”
“I used to feel the same way on Deep Space Nine,” Garak mused. “I imagined that I would wake up back on Cardassia, and all would be well again. Alas, it was not to be.” Garak looked pointedly at the doctor. “As is now the case for you.”
Bashir met Garak’s stare and then returned his gaze to the settlement. “Tell me, Garak, do you think Deep Space Nine is still there?”
“If it is, it has certainly returned to its old designation of Terok Nor,” Garak said. “Perhaps Dukat has had it towed to Earth.”
“I miss Quark’s,” Bashir said, ignoring Garak’s comment. “I never thought I would say that, but I do.”
“Please don’t ever repeat this, Doctor, but sometimes I miss my tailor shop,” Garak said with a hint of wistfulness. “It always felt like a prison to me, back in those days, but now…now I would almost give anything to be back there.”
The two sat quietly for a moment, reflecting on a past now lost to history.
Bashir’s communicator chirped. “Pulaski to Bashir.”
Bashir sighed again. Back to work. “Go ahead, Doctor.”
“We have what appears to be a case of Jauntaride influenza in one of the human refugee camps, located about seventeen kilometers from Starfleet Command.”
Bashir slowly stood as Garak remained seated on the ground, staring out at the horizon. “Acknowledged,” Bashir said. “Could you please have the transporter chief beam me back to Main Sickbay?” He looked over at Garak. “Are you coming?”
“No thank you, Doctor,” Garak replied. “I think descending down the mountain might be an easier and quite necessary exercise for me.”
Bashir nodded. “That will be one to beam over, Doctor Pulaski.”
“If I’m back in time,” Bashir said, “Would you care to have dinner, Garak?”
“That would be most enjoyable, Doctor,” Garak responded cheerfully.
“All right, then. Goodbye, Garak." And just as he finished speaking, the transporter beam caught him up and took him away to the next crisis in an unceasing, unending series of them.
And Garak, the exiled Cardassian who was now among a multitude of exiles, spent a long time sitting at the summit of Mt. Khitomer looking out at his new home. Yes. These were interesting times.
|April 23 2015, 08:11 PM||#6|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
Alpha Zone One Headquarters, Sector 84-A, Sol III (formerly known as Starfleet Command, San Francisco, Earth)
Stardate 57144.5 (September 27, 2380)
“Founder?” Weyoun entered the room that served as the temporary quarters for his changeling master. No matter how many times he’d attended to a Founder in their living spaces, he was always surprised at the Spartan quality of the rooms the Founders chose to inhabit when not in the Great Link. The furniture and décor were so…sparse. Surely the rulers of such a great interstellar empire could install some lavish carpeting at the very least!
‘Come in, Weyoun,” the Founder called out. Weyoun looked up at the ceiling, where a large Utretrian moth fluttered towards the floor, gracefully shifting shape back into that of a humanoid.
Weyoun bowed his head. “How may I be of service, Founder?”
The Founder pointed to a couch in a corner of the room. “Tell me, Weyoun,” the changeling said as they sat, “how are things really going on this world?”
Weyoun sized up the situation. A week had passed since the Founder had arrived on Sol III, and all of the information provided to the changeling had been in the form of action reports, mission briefings, and Dukat’s interminable lectures. Here now was an opportunity to finally be of some use to his master—and if he could settle some scores of his own while doing so, well, all the better!
Weyoun smiled pleasantly and said, “Founder, as you well know, we have experienced many triumphs over the course of this past year. However, I would like to personally express some concern over Legate Dukat’s plan to convert the human species into a race of…simple farmers.” Weyoun adopted a regretful look. “As you wisely stated…the process is simply taking too long.”
The Founder did not change expression, which always offset Weyoun somewhat. He was a master of reading nonverbal language, and could adjust his tone or delivery as needed or required; but when talking to a Founder, one could never be sure what they were thinking. It made his job slightly more difficult, he found.
At last, the Founder responded. “I agree. Share your reservations with me, Weyoun.”
“As you wish, Founder. You see…I believe that Legate Dukat may be…a bit too restrained in his approach to dealing with the humans,” Weyoun said. “It seems to pain him greatly when we must liquidate large groups of humans for criminal behavior. I fear his commitment to the task at hand may be somewhat…compromised.”
The Founder trusted Weyoun as much as a changeling could trust any solid, but one flaw in the Vorta’s genetic programming was a complete inability to simply get to the point.
“Compromised by what, Weyoun? Not compassion, I hope.”
The Vorta took care to look as pained as possible. “I do not believe Dukat could ever be accused of compassion. Instead, Founder, I believe the legate restrains his behavior based on an egocentric desire to be admired by his subjects…perhaps even loved.”
The Founder blinked. “Weyoun, we knew that about Dukat from the moment he approached us with a plan to ally Cardassia with the Dominion. His behavior during the Bajoran occupation is all the proof of your theory that one would ever need.”
“Indeed, Founder. That is quite an astute analysis,” Weyoun simpered. “However, I feel this time that the situation is very different.”
“Different how? Are you suggesting Dukat is dragging his feet on completely pacifying this planet?”
“With all due respect, Founder, I simply do not feel qualified to judge Dukat’s performance in that regard,” Weyoun replied. “All I can tell you is that where a heavy hand is required, Dukat will often choose a less punitive measure. Where an opportunity arises to stamp out some troublesome element of human culture, Dukat seeks to appropriate it for his own uses, although he is quick to claim it is in the Dominion’s best interests. It is…a troublesome pattern.”
The Founder nodded. “We have indulged Dukat in implementing his philosophy regarding the treatment of conquered enemies on Sol III, and we will continue to do so as long as it is useful to us. I suppose the question is, then: has this plan’s usefulness run its course?”
Weyoun bowed his head deeply and did not answer; he recognized the question as rhetorical.
The Founder recalled the Vorta’s previous comment. “You mentioned there was a difference between Dukat’s approach towards the Bajorans, as opposed to the humans. Tell me, Weyoun, how are the humans different from the Bajorans in this particular case?”
Weyoun sighed. “Founder, Dukat looked at the Bajorans as his children—as a father might look upon a wayward child, that is.” Weyoun leaned in towards the Founder and said in a conspiratorial whisper, “But the humans are different. I believe he sees them—and this whole unpleasant business of occupation--as a challenge which ended before it could truly begin.”
“Because organized resistance folded so quickly,” the Founder surmised.
Weyoun was relieved. The Founder understood. “Yes, Founder. I believe that is very much the case. I feel Legate Dukat may be prolonging the process of assimilating the humans into the Dominion so that he is not denied his chance to…effectively subjugate them. Dukat could never exercise the kind of control over Bajor which you have seen fit to grant him here on Sol III. So rest assured that it pains me greatly that he does not seem to be willing to take advantage of such an…ideal situation.” Weyoun spread his hands out. “But what can I do? I am only an adviser, after all!”
The changeling felt the stirrings of alarm. This was not orderly. But before the Founder could press the issue, the room’s comm system beeped. A Jem’Hadar’s gravelly voice said, “Founder. A message from Jupiter Station. Priority One.”
Weyoun made as if to leave but the Founder said, “No, Weyoun, stay. This will only take a moment.” The changeling pressed a button on the table beside the couch. “Patch it through.”
The wall in front of the couch shimmered and was replaced by an image of Legate Madred.
“Ah, Madred,” Weyoun greeted the Cardassian. The Founder merely stated, “What is it, Legate?”
Madred looked as if he had just seen a ghost. “Founder…” he stuttered. “The Voyager…the crew…the captain’s body….they’re gone.”
The Founder stood up. “Gone? Gone where?”
Madred held up both of his hands. “They…their…their remains…they lost molecular cohesion—but the ship--the ship…the ship simply...” Madred ran out of words. “They melted, Founder!”
|April 23 2015, 08:23 PM||#7|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
Planet Terra Prime
Stardate 57151.9 (September 30, 2380)
Three of the Starfleet vessels that had fled the Milky Way--the U.S.S. Orion, the U.S.S. Majestic, and the U.S.S. Constellation--had already been dismantled and used to create settlements on Terra Prime. Finally, it seemed, refugees who had not signed up to spend their life in space could disembark and get on with their lives.
Admiral Picard and his core group of advisers—whom residents of Terra Prime, in a rare instance of black humor, had dubbed ‘The Federation Council’—decided upon arriving in M-33 that ten of the twenty-seven vessels were not fit for further space travel and could successfully be converted into planetary habitats. In addition, seven ships were to be cannibalized for parts in order to refit the remaining fleet.
So when all was said and done, the Starfleet contingent in the M-33 galaxy would stand at ten ships in good condition…and one poorly defended planet.
It was not an enviable position.
The population of Terra Prime was ninety-three percent human; while a few non-humans had made the journey out to M-33, the refugees were overwhelmingly of Terran origin. It made sense. As the Dominion had conquered its way through Federation space, only a few species had been targeted for what the Dominion had referred to as ‘special treatment.’ Klingons, Vulcans, and Humans—their surrender was to be unconditional and unequivocal. Others were encouraged to seek more favorable terms from the Dominion—but not as part of the United Federation of Planets.
And at first, the Federation had stuck together. Betazed had fallen, and the union stayed strong. Rigel, Bolarus, Risa, Minos, Galor IV—all of them fell to the Jem’Hadar onslaught and the worlds of the Federation had stuck together, determined to fight to the end as one.
It was a year and a half into the war—when the Dominion wiped out Qo’noS and occupied Vulcan—that the Federation began to splinter and the resolve of its member worlds started to weaken. Planets that had not been part of the Federation for long had seceded and sued for peace. Many of those individuals whose homeworlds had left the Federation also left Starfleet. The Dominion eagerly accepted what amounted to the seceding worlds’ surrender and placed a token Jem’Hadar garrison where necessary. More force was not needed; at least, not yet. Fear had driven the secessionists into the Dominion, and fear would keep them in line until they could be properly integrated into the new order.
As the war inexorably led to a total Dominion victory, the Federation’s membership dwindled. By the time the Solar System fell, Earth and Andoria were the only founding members of the Federation still standing.
Unfortunately, that state of affairs had not lasted long.
And so it was that when the fleet that was to initiate Project Longshot had set out for M-33, most souls on board the vessels were human. Their world conquered, their dreams shattered, they embarked on this mission to another galaxy to try again—to build another Earth: Terra Prime.
The non-humans in the fleet had not objected. Perhaps one day a new version of their world would flourish in this far-away galaxy, too.
At the head of this new human endeavor was one man—Jean-Luc Picard. Born and raised on Earth, Picard’s career in Starfleet had been nothing short of legendary. After a long stint as commander of the U.S.S. Stargazer, Picard had commanded one of the most historic missions in Federation history—that of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC 1701-D. Voyages to this very galaxy and beyond, the first official encounter with the Borg, first contact with the alien race known as Q—there was nothing that ship had not accomplished. Captain Jean-Luc Picard was the calm figure in the center seat, the man who had defused the Klingon Civil War and had saved the Federation from an attack by renegade Borg and Soong-type androids.
When the Enterprise-D had been destroyed in a battle above Veridan III, Picard received another command—the Sovereign-class U.S.S. Enterprise-E. A year after the new ship’s maiden voyage, the Borg had attacked Earth. The Enterprise-E had played a crucial role in defeating that incursion, and had also prevented the Borg from altering history during Earth’s First Contact with the Vulcans by traveling back in time with the Borg to 2063.
Within months of that triumph, the war with the Dominion had begun.
This time, the Federation’s troubles could not be solved by a single starship. The Enterprise-E was just one ship of many desperately trying to hold back the barbarians at the gate…and failing.
In the end, even the legendary vessel that bore such a storied name was presumably just another burning hulk somewhere in the Alpha Quadrant.
And while Admiral Picard had insisted on renaming his flagship the Enterprise—no A, B, C, D, E, or F—he knew this new Enterprise was something different. It was a beginning, not an end. That was why he had been chosen for Project Longshot by the surviving Starfleet brass. If anyone could make the Federation diaspora to the M-33 galaxy a success, it was Picard.
And as Jean-Luc Picard beamed down to the surface of Terra Prime to attend to an urgent matter, he keenly felt the weight of this new world on his shoulders.
He was flanked by four bodyguards, crisply dressed in what had been Starfleet regulation uniforms and carrying phaser rifles. Perhaps there was little need for such caution millions of miles away from the Dominion, but no one was completely sure what dangers lurked in this particular cosmic neighborhood.
“Admiral Picard!” The loud, braying voice of James Henderson greeted Picard as he materialized on Terra Prime. His security guards kept their weapons low, but looked on warily.
“Mr. Henderson,” Picard genially replied, albeit with a bit of effort. “It’s a pleasure to see you again.”
“Same,” Henderson replied jovially. James Henderson had been a construction engineer on Mars when the Dominion forces had broken through the inner Solar System. Fortunately for him, he found a berth on a refugee ship and had made it out to M-33. Now he was one of the main architects of the new settlements on Terra Prime and a major, completely oblivious pain for Picard.
The two men shook hands. “Been a while since you’ve been dirtside, Admiral,” Henderson said with a smile. “You must be busy up there in orbit.”
An understatement, Picard thought drily. “Yes, indeed I am, Mr. Henderson,” he replied. “So you must understand that when I get an urgent distress call from the surface that apparently only I can handle, I can only hope it was in good faith.”
Henderson laughed. “Oh, believe me, you will want to see this,” and with that Henderson headed down the hill towards a small encampment. “If you’ll follow me, Admiral.”
Picard and the four security officers followed Henderson. In the distance, Picard could see the outskirts of the town of New Paris.
“The town is thriving, Mr. Henderson,” Picard said. “It is a testament to your work that so many have chosen to call it home.”
Henderson chuckled as he neared the main tent. “I don’t know how much choice they actually have, Admiral. Human beings weren’t meant to live in space. We have to have some terra firma beneath our feet eventually, right?”
Not all of us, Picard thought. Especially right now. “Agreed. So, this urgent matter?”
Henderson held up one bony finger and disappeared in the tent for a moment. A few civilian workers milled about, gawking at Picard. The admiral’s face burned. Celebrity did not suit him.
Henderson came back out holding a large standard-issue Starfleet container. “This, Admiral, is the urgent matter. My team and I were out here, scouting out potential sites for a water-treatment plant. Very important to get that kind of thing right. Anyway, we were walking along this riverbed when we picked up something…interesting on our tricorders.”
Picard’s curiosity was piqued. “What is it, then?”
Henderson nodded and set the container down. “It was buried a few meters underground, so we were able to get at it pretty quickly.”
Picard was now very intrigued. An archeological find on what appeared to be an uninhabited world? What could it possibly be?
Before Henderson could open the container, one of the security officers blocked him and scanned it.
“I’m not reading any explosives or other dangerous objects, sir,” the bodyguard said, “But I recommend we have some Starfleet scientists look at this thing first.”
Henderson smirked. “Please. If it was dangerous, it would have affected me and my team, right?” He looked up at Picard. “Should I open it?”
“Your concerns are noted, Ensign,” Picard said to the security officer who had made the suggestion to wait. Waiting was not an option, not now. “Open it at your convenience, Mr. Henderson.”
Henderson pried open the container and reached inside. “Here it is, Admiral,” he said proudly. “One authentic Bajoran orb.”
Picard was stunned. Forgetting decorum, he kneeled on the ground to examine the object closer. The orb rested inside a decorative box, adorned with what appeared to be ancient Bajoran text; Picard was careful not to actually touch the orb. “This is impossible,” he breathed. “Is there any way we could have brought this with us somehow?”
Henderson shook his head. “No. Tricorder readings indicate this thing has been buried down here for…well, at least a millennium. Maybe more.”
Picard marveled at the hourglass-shaped orb, glistening even in the bright light of the sun. “As far as we knew, there were only nine of these,” Picard mumbled, mostly to himself. “When the war began, the eight orbs that had been taken from Bajor during the Occupation had at the very least been accounted for. The ninth had remained on Bajor, hidden during all of those years. But this…” Picard shook his head. “But this…well.”
Henderson looked thoughtful. “Does this one look familiar to you, Admiral? Is it one of the nine?”
Picard, startled, looked up at the architect. “No. It is most definitely not one of the nine orbs. If it is, in fact, an authentic artifact of the Bajoran Prophets…” he trailed off.
“Admiral?” One of the security officers gently tapped Picard on the shoulder. “Are you all right, sir?”
Picard snapped out of his reverie and stood up. “Yes, Crewman, thank you,” he said. “Mr. Henderson, this is indeed quite an invaluable find, and I am most thankful you brought this to my attention.”
Henderson stood up as well, clearly brimming with pride. “Well, don’t even worry about it, Admiral,” he said jovially. “It was my pleasure.”
Picard smiled in return, but his thoughts were elsewhere. The orb would be transported to the Enterprise, studied, and then…and then, Picard could only guess what would possibly happen next.
|April 23 2015, 08:34 PM||#8|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
Stardate 57381.06 (January 1, 2381)
“Happy New Year, Benjamin.”
Jadzia Dax picked up the holopicture frame. Ben Sisko, with his arm around his son Jake and a winning smile. There they were, on the DS9 Promenade, posing for a picture just as the great Bajoran wormhole opened. It was an incredible shot, and it was one of the personal items Dax had made sure to grab during the frenzied evacuation of Deep Space Nine years earlier.
A lifetime ago.
Such an interesting role reversal, Dax thought. Once upon a time, I—well, Curzon—was the one giving advice to an impetuous young man named Benjamin Sisko. And now, here I am in another body, another life, wishing for just five minutes to speak to that man again and hear the wisdom of his words.
Dax placed the picture back down on the table. Another long, hard day beckoned. A day of reviewing sensor logs, reading reports, and updating star charts—well, no one had ever said a life of exile would be fun.
Dax dressed quickly and left her quarters. As she made her way to the Operations Center, she prioritized her list of duties and tried to push the image of Ben Sisko out of her mind. Focus.
The core of the Operations Center was, in actuality, the stripped-down bridge of an old Constitution-class ship, the Exeter. Interestingly, the ship had been abandoned over a hundred years before during a deep space mission. Someone had finally gotten around to salvaging the vessel and eventually Starfleet had reactivated her during the last desperate days of the Dominion War. After serving with distinction in several battles, Exeter had been one of the refugee ships that had fled the Alpha Quadrant.
That’s how desperate things were at the end, Dax thought to herself. Raiding the Starship Museum for ships fit to fight.
As she entered the Operations Center, some of the Starfleet personnel snapped to attention. “At ease, everyone,” Dax said. She turned to the officer on duty, a Bolian commander named Holl. “Is Admiral Ross in his office, Commander?”
“Yes, sir,” the Bolian replied. “I have to warn you, though, Captain. The Old Man isn’t in a very good mood today.”
Dax couldn’t help but smile. “Well, I suppose that wouldn’t make today much different than any other day, now would it?” The Bolian smirked. No one could remember a time when Ross had been in anything resembling a good mood.
“Dax!” Admiral William Ross stood at the door to his office, the former ready room of some 23rd century Starfleet captain. “In here, please!”
Dax shot a knowing look at the Bolian commander and said, “Yes, Admiral, of course.” She strode into the office, the door swishing shut behind her. Ross wearily sat at his desk. There were no other chairs in the office, so Dax stood at attention, hands clasped behind her back.
“One of our cloaked sensor buoys picked up an intriguing reading early this morning,” Ross said. He tossed a PADD in Dax’s direction. “What does that look like to you?”
Dax picked up the PADD and studied the readings for a moment. “That’s strange. It looks like the warp signature of a Starfleet vessel.”
Ross nodded gravely. “It’s too far out to make a positive identification. All of our vessels are accounted for, and we can’t risk contacting the ship without giving away our location.”
There was only one way to be sure, Dax surmised.
“I want you to take the Defiant out there,” Ross said, confirming Dax’s thought. “Take a skeleton crew and make visual contact with that ship. If there is even a slight chance it’s a Dominion trap, do not make engage that ship--return to Erehwon immediately.”
The Defiant. Dax felt a tinge of sadness, mixed with the excitement of going out on a deep space mission for the first time in years. The Defiant was Ben’s ship.
She wouldn’t let him down.
“Aye, sir,” Dax said. “When do we leave?”
“As soon as possible,” Ross replied. “Not a word of this to anyone not selected for the mission, Captain. I don’t need rumors spreading panic throughout the base.”
“Of course, sir.”
Ross turned to his computer terminal. “Notify me when you depart, Captain.”
“Yes, sir.” Dax turned to leave the office.
She turned back around. “Sir?”
Ross looked up at her and smiled wanly. “Good luck, Jadzia. Godspeed.”
Dax smiled and exited. As she made her way out of the Operations Center, the Bolian Commander cleared her throat. “Um, everything all right, Captain?”
“We’ll see, Commander,” she replied. “We’ll see.”
In Orbit of Planet Erewhon
Stardate 57385.37 (January 1, 2381)
The U.S.S. Defiant was not one of the vessels that remained cloaked in orbit of Erehwon at all times, ostensibly to defend the settlements on the planet below. The energy requirements for such a task were simply too enormous for this particular branch of Starfleet-in-exile. The crew of the Defiant had landed the ship in a canyon about 150 miles from Starfleet Command when the fleet had arrived at Erehwon; not to hide it from view, but simply to protect it from the elements. Any hostile conducting the most basic sensor sweep of the planet would have picked up such an overpowered vessel sitting there on the surface.
Of course, any hostile that close to Erehwon would already have the Defiant shooting quantum torpedoes down their throats.
It was standard Starfleet policy in this new era to keep all of its ships—the meager few that were left, anyway—on constant stand-by alert. So even with Defiant on the ground, it only took Captain Jadzia Dax a couple of hours to select a crew, debrief everyone on their mission, and lift the ship into orbit.
“Status report, Commander Nog,” Dax ordered.
The young Ferengi —barely a cadet when the war began, now a battle-hardened Lieutenant Commander—looked up from his console. “All systems are functioning at full capacity, sir. All departments have reported in and are ready.”
Dax was amused. “All departments, Nog? There are only fourteen people aboard this ship.”
Nog stared at her and blinked twice. “Nevertheless, Captain, all—“
Dax held up her hand. Levity was like a muscle. If you didn’t use it, you would lose it. “Never mind, Commander. Very good.” She sighed. “Helm. Set an intercept course for the bogey. Warp nine.”
The helm officer, a young Vulcan, nodded briskly. “Course laid in, sir.”
Dax sat back in her chair. “Engage.”
The Defiant, for the first time since the fleet’s arrival at Erehwon, leaped into warp. Dax swore she could feel it do so, and she smiled broadly.
“The old lady’s still got it,” Nog cried out happily, clapping his hands together.
“You had better not be talking about me, Commander,” Dax said. In spite of himself, Nog laughed, a hearty Ferengi guffaw that reminded Dax of home. She grinned at him and felt a warmth she hadn’t experienced in a long time. There was a time when camaraderie like that was the norm on Defiant…back when…no. Dax pushed the thought out of her head. Focus, Dax, focus.
The Defiant raced towards the unknown Starfleet vessel. It would take about seven hours to intercept the ship. Dax found herself wondering about the nature of the ship. Was it a temporally displaced vessel from the past? A Starfleet ship from an alternate timeline? A lost ship that had never heard of the Dominion? Or was it a Dominion trap, baiting someone to come out and reveal the location of the hidden Federation base at Erehwon? In a universe this harsh, the latter possibility was probably the correct one. Dax couldn’t help but feel optimistic, though. For some reason, Federation starships had a strange tendency to pop up in places they simply shouldn’t be.
The turbolift doors opened and Elim Garak walked onto the bridge. Captain Dax had selected Garak to be a part of the crew hoping that if the bogey was a Trojan Horse, Garak would be able to see through the ruse quickly. Perhaps a Betazoid would have been better, but none had accompanied the fleet to the Delta Quadrant. Even without a Betazoid in the fleet there were probably more qualified personnel for this mission, but it felt good having a familiar face aboard.
“Garak,” Dax acknowledged.
“Hello, Captain,” Garak replied. The Cardassian looked slightly queasy. “I must say, I have not missed the rather claustrophobic feeling of riding aboard a starship.”
“Have you talked to Julian?” Dax had made sure to select Dr. Julian Bashir for this mission—more familiar faces.
“I don’t believe there will be a need to avail myself of the good doctor’s services.” Garak stood by the captain’s chair. “Surely this mission won’t take up too much of our time.”
“All you have is time, Garak,” Nog grumbled from the ops station. “What is it that you do when we’re planetside, exactly?”
Garak glanced over at the Ferengi and murmured sotto voce to Dax, “You know, I find myself missing the young, enthusiastic Ferengi boy I once knew.”
“I heard that,” Nog snapped, turning back to the ops panel.
“Well, I think we all miss our younger, more enthusiastic selves,” Dax said wistfully.
Garak shrugged. “Perhaps I just have the dubious advantage of living in exile long before all of you. I suppose I am simply…more used to feeling displaced.”
“Speaking of displaced,” Dax said, changing the subject, “where do you think this Starfleet vessel is from? Or when?”
“I’ve no idea. If it isn’t in fact a Dominion trap, there are several hundred options from which to choose—and that’s just Starfleet’s list of vessels that have been declared missing in the last several hundred years.”
“The long-distance scanners are still too out of range to pick up anything more than a warp signature,” Nog interjected. “Once we get closer, we’ll be able to make out more details. The ship is traveling at warp six, so it won’t be too long.”
“If it is in fact a Dominion trap,’ Garak said, “what exactly do you plan to do, Jadzia?”
“Follow orders to the best of my ability,” Dax replied. “If we get the willies, we’ll turn tail and head home. There’s no sense risking everything for one ship.”
“If indeed this vessel is a trap, it is quite an ingenious one,” Garak commented. “We escort it to Erehwon, and a Jem’Hadar fleet follows. Simple, but devastatingly effective.”
“The good news is, there aren’t any signs of Jem’Hadar anywhere in this sector,” said Nog.
Garak shook his head. “I don’t think underestimating the Dominion would be a very wise choice.”
“Me either,” Dax agreed. “I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.” She stood up. “I’m going to check on Julian in Sickbay. Care to come along, Garak?”
“Good. Commander Nog, you have the bridge.”
Nog stood up. “Aye, sir.”
As Garak and Dax entered the turbolift, the Cardassian whispered, “Did you ever think you’d be leaving Nog in charge of anything, let alone the bridge of a starship?”
As the doors closed, Dax smiled. Nog sat down in the captain’s chair.
“I heard that,” the Ferengi mumbled to himself.
Stardate 57385.50 (January 1, 2381)
“What I wouldn’t give for a decent cup of raktajino right now.” Dr. Julian Bashir leaned against a biobed. “Freshly brewed.”
“Iced,” Dax added. “With extra cream.”
“A truly vile beverage,” Garak said. “The Klingons may have been great warriors, but their coffee was nothing short of dishonorable. Now, a hot cup of Rokassa juice…well, that would certainly be a welcome treat. However, Cardassian refreshments are in…understandably short supply.”
“Yes,” Bashir murmured. “They are at that.”
A moment passed. Conversation did not come as easily as it once had, back when the universe made sense. There was a great deal of history between the three individuals in the Defiant’s sickbay, and Dax was well aware that even being in the same room together evoked some very uncomfortable memories.
But one had to push on into the future eventually. Captain Dax smiled at Bashir, exclaiming, “You know, it’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to really sit down and talk, Julian. How are you these days?”
Bashir shrugged. “As good as anyone, I suppose. I’ve spent the last few months helping eradicate a nasty mini-epidemic of Jauntaride influenza out in the camps. Honestly, it’s nice to get back out into space and away from that disease-infested planet for a while.”
“I heard about that flu,” Dax said. “As I recall, there were no fatalities.”
“Not this time,” Bashir sighed.
Dax couldn’t help but feel concerned at the visible change in her friend. When she had first met Bashir all those years ago on Deep Space Nine, he had been an optimistic young man brimming with energy, eager to practice what he had referred to as ‘frontier medicine.’ This man before her today was so different that he seemed like another person entirely. Older…beaten down. It was sad.
“Still, nice work, Julian,” she offered.
Bashir curtly nodded and managed a wan smile. “And you, Jadzia? Obviously you’ve made Captain.”
It was Dax’s turn to be ambivalent. “Yes…well. There are lots of captains in the fleet, but not a whole lot of ships.”
“You’re being altogether too modest, Jadzia,” Garak said. “From what I’ve heard, your work in organizing the various sensor arrays around the Erehwon’s system Oort Cloud has been nothing short of miraculous.“
Dax chuckled. “Well, thank you, Garak, but in all honesty it was extremely dull work. I performed more complex tasks as a student at the Academy.”
“All of our tasks have taken a turn for the mundane, I’m afraid,” Bashir said. “I suppose the days where we would gallivant around the galaxy searching for adventure behind every nebula are behind us now.”
“Perhaps,” Garak replied, “But we also must consider ourselves extremely lucky to be alive and free, as opposed to rotting in a Dominion prison camp somewhere.”
Bashir glanced at Garak, who met his gaze with a knowing look. The two had spent some time in such a prison camp before the war. It was there that Garak’s father and mentor, Enabran Tain, had perished. It was there that Bashir had languished helplessly while, back on Deep Space Nine, his changeling doppelganger had successfully completed his deadly mission.
“And hey, look on the bright side, Julian,” Dax said. “There may not be any nebulae around, but we’re out here in the galaxy, gallivanting.”
Bashir couldn’t help but smile. “So noted, Captain.”
Dax’s communicator chirped. “Nog to Captain Dax.”
“Go ahead, Nog.”
“Preliminary scans are coming in on the unknown vessel.”
“I’ll be right there.” She glanced at the two men. “Coming?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Bashir muttered.
On the bridge, Nog stood hunched over a mini-viewer at the Ops station. Dax sat in the captain’s chair as Garak and Bashir stood on either side of her. “What do you have, Nog?”
“It’s still a little fuzzy, sir,” the Ferengi replied. “But I can give you a visual.”
“On the viewscreen, Commander.”
The large viewscreen at the front of the bridge came to life. A tiny blob appeared in the middle of the screen, surrounded by tiny pinpricks of white light.
“Can you magnify that image, Nog?”
This time the image was clearer. Dax could definitely make out the lines of a Federation starship.
“Captain,” Nog cried out. “The bogey! It’s changing course.”
“Helm, adjust course to intercept. Nog, what’s the bogey’s new heading?”
Nog checked, and check again. Dax looked over at him. “Nog?”
The Ferengi met her gaze. “It’s on an intercept course for us, Captain!”
“This is certainly a troubling development,” Garak said.
“How could they have detected us?” Bashir walked over to Nog’s station to confirm his readings. “We’re cloaked!”
“Their long-range sensors must have picked us up despite the cloaking device,” Dax surmised. “If they have a bead on us, it doesn’t make much sense to run now.”
The Vulcan at the helm turned around and said, “Orders, Captain?”
“Maintain an intercept course.”
The lieutenant at Tactical, an older human female, spoke up. “Captain, the bogey is now at warp nine. Estimated time of intercept…twenty-two minutes, sir.”
“Red Alert,” Dax ordered. “If this other ship comes in shooting, I want to be ready for it.”
The bridge was bathed in red light. “Commander Nog,” Dax said, “Now that the cat is out of the bag, perform an active long-range scan and get me some details.”
“Aye, sir. Scanning.”
An active scan would normally give away the location of any cloaked vessel. In this case, the point was moot. Defiant stayed cloaked, but extended its sensor reach to its full capacity.
Nog completed his scan "Captain. It’s an Intrepid-class vessel. The...U.S.S. Voyager, sir.”
“Voyager?” Dax looked up at Bashir, who had resumed his place at her side. “Do you remember a ship by that name, Julian?”
“Yes,” Julian replied matter-of-factly. “She docked at DS9 a couple of years before the war began, on a mission to locate a Maquis raider in the Badlands.”
“Confirmed,” Nog stated. “Starfleet last made contact with the U.S.S. Voyager on Stardate, um, 48307 while the vessel was on a search-and-retrieval mission in the Badlands. Voyager was declared missing in action on Stardate...48500.”
Dax’s eyes widened. “So that ship has been in the Delta Quadrant for almost ten years?”
“Give or take,” Bashir noted.
Garak frowned. “Ten years ago. Would our friends on Voyager have known about the Dominion?”
Bashir nodded. “Voyager docked at DS9 a couple of months after the Jem’Hadar destroyed the Odyssey. I’m sure they know about the Dominion…but certainly not about the war.”
“If they are who they say they are, that is,” Garak replied. “We still can’t be sure this isn’t some kind of Dominion ploy.”
The tactical officer called out, “The vessel is hailing us, Captain!”
Dax couldn’t help but wonder what Benjamin Sisko would do in this situation. Focus, Dax, focus, she thought to herself. Ben isn’t here. It’s your ship now.
“What the hell,” Dax muttered. “Onscreen.”
Stardate 57385.50 (January 1, 2381)
“Are you sure, Tuvok?” Captain Kathryn Janeway stared in disbelief at her Vulcan first officer. “A cloaked Starfleet vessel?”
“Yes, Captain,” Tuvok replied calmly. “The warp signature is unmistakable.”
“What would a Federation starship be doing out this far out?” The ship’s helmsman, Lieutenant Commander Tom Paris, swiveled his chair to face the captain. “And why would it be cloaked?”
“Captain, there is another fact that may be of some interest.” Janeway turned to face her tactical officer, Ensign Seven of Nine. “The unknown vessel is on an intercept course with Voyager, traveling at a velocity of Warp nine point—
“I get it,” Janeway interjected. “This is the first Starfleet vessel—well, possible Starfleet vessel—we’ve encountered since the Equinox. If it’s hostile, let’s meet the challenge before it meets us.”
The bridge crew turned to their stations. “Helm,” Janeway ordered. “Lay in an intercept course for that ship, warp nine. Engage.”
“Warp nine,” Tom said quietly.
“Shall I raise the shields, Captain?” Seven of Nine, characteristically, already had her finger on the console to do so.
Janeway paused. Ever since the Mutara Nebula Incident, it was standard procedure to raise shields whenever a fellow Starfleet vessel didn’t respond to hails. But considering the circumstances...well. Perhaps it was too early to jump the gun. “Let’s wait and see if they want to talk to us.”
Seven of Nine disapproved but did not voice her concerns. “We are now within hailing range, Captain.”
Janeway sat up straight in her chair. “Let’s see if they feel like talking. Hail them, Ensign.”
“The hailing frequencies are now open, Captain.”
“This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager.”
The visage of a middle-aged Trill female appeared on the screen. Janeway took a sharp intake of breath.
“This is Captain Jadzia Dax of the U.S.S. Defiant.” The Trill paused. “ I see you’ve found a way to penetrate our cloak.”
Janeway grinned in spite of herself. “We’ve been required to make a few… adaptations during our journey through the Delta Quadrant, Captain Dax.” Janeway stood and walked towards the viewscreen. “But I suppose you have as many questions for us as we do for you.”
The Trill raised an eyebrow. “I suppose you could say that.”
Janeway regarded the Trill carefully. There was something going on here, she thought. Something isn’t right. The Trill officer wasn’t being unfriendly, but she was definitely… guarded. Maybe it was nothing, but Janeway couldn’t shake the feeling the other captain was hiding something.
Janeway had survived for ten years in the Delta Quadrant by trusting her instincts; she wasn’t about to stop doing so now, even when faced with a possible way home.
“Mr. Paris,” Janeway said, “How long until we intercept the Defiant?”
“Nine minutes, Captain.”
“I’d like to propose a rendezvous point, Captain Dax.” Janeway sat back in her chair and tapped at a console. “Heading 193 mark 7.”
The Trill looked over at someone out of view. “All right, Captain Janeway. We’ll meet you there in…about fifteen minutes.”
“I look forward to it,” Janeway said. “Voyager out.”
Paris whistled. “They didn’t exactly lay out the welcome mat for us, did they?”
“I’ll say,” the Ops Officer, Lieutenant Harry Kim, replied. “She did look familiar, though.”
Janeway stood. “Arm phaser banks and photon torpedoes, but hold off on raising shields.” She stared at the viewscreen, with all the myriad stars of the Delta Quadrant streaking by. “Whatever is going on with the Defiant, I want to be ready.”
Onboard the Defiant, Captain Dax viewed the data the ship’s sensors had gathered about the rendezvous point. “Julian,” she said, “It looks like you may get your adventure inside a nebula after all.”
“Confirmed,” Nog spoke up. “The rendezvous point is just outside a Class 7 nebula.”
“Sounds like a perfect hiding spot for a Jem’Hadar fleet,” Garak said quietly.
Dax contemplated this for a moment. “That may be true. But it may also be true that Voyager wants to use the nebula as a possible escape route from us.”
“If the Jem’Hadar are hiding in that nebula, leading Voyager back to Erehwon would be suicide,” Bashir said.
Dax nodded. “Yes.” She stood up and paced around the front of the bridge, hands behind her back. There was a real danger here of falling into the depths of paranoia. Voyager could be exactly what it seemed to be—a lost ship, traveling through the Delta Quadrant on a course for home. If that were the case, the Starfleet base on Erehwon would gain a valuable new asset when Voyager discovered home wasn’t a friendly place anymore. If this was a Dominion ruse, however, one wrong move could mean death for the entire Starfleet remnant in the Delta Quadrant.
“We are coming up on the rendezvous point, Captain,” the helmsman reported.
“Slow to impulse,” Dax ordered, and sat back down.
“Voyager’s weapons are armed, but her shields are down,” said the tactical officer.
“Yellow alert. Decloak. Keep the shields down, but I want them up the second it looks like trouble,” Dax said.
The Defiant moved astern of Voyager. Dax couldn’t help but marvel at the patchwork engineering evident on the hull. If this was a Dominion trick, it was a good one. Voyager looked like she’d seen at least ten years without a visit to a starbase; but despite that, she still looked magnificent. Dax had seen several Intrepid*-class ships destroyed in the war, and none had made the trip out with the refugee fleet. It was pleasant to see one again intact…well, more or less intact, that is.
The tactical officer cleared her throat. “Voyager is hailing us, sir.
Captain Janeway appeared. “Captain Dax,” she said. “Thanks for meeting us.”
“My pleasure, Captain,” Dax replied. Janeway did not look as eager to see her as before. Maybe I need to brush up on my diplomacy, she thought to herself. Dax heard Curzon’s distinctive chuckle deep inside her psyche.
“Captain Dax,” Janeway said, “I apologize for arming my ship’s weapons, but surely you can understand my caution in approaching you so closely. Voyager has been traveling in the Delta Quadrant for nearly a decade now, and our last encounter with another displaced Starfleet ship was…not a pleasant one.”
“No apology is necessary. Tell me, Captain: how exactly was the Voyager displaced?”
“An entity known as the Caretaker utilized a displacement wave to bring us to the Delta Quadrant while Voyager was deployed in the Badlands. It’s…a long story. We were forced to begin the journey home from our starting point of nearly 75,000 light years from Earth.”
Dax quickly did some math in her head. Erewhon was a little over 29,000 light years from Earth, near the border of Beta Quadrant. “That’s quite an impressive distance to cover in under a decade, Captain.”
Janeway smiled. “We’ve taken some…interesting shortcuts along the way.”
Dax looked over at Garak, who had moved out of view. He gave a slight shrug.
“My crew and I are very interested to know how you made it out so far,” Janeway continued. “Have there been new propulsion technologies developed since we left?”
In a manner of speaking, Dax thought to herself. But was telling Janeway the truth a good idea at this point?
“We’ve…been displaced as well,” Dax said haltingly. Garak nodded in approval.
“I see,” Janeway said tonelessly. “When did you arrive here, in the Delta Quadrant?”
Who wants to know? Dax thought to herself. “A few years ago. We’ve been making our way back.”
Janeway looked slightly defeated. Dax wondered how many times she’d had the prospect of getting home dangled in front of her before, only to have it snatched away at the last moment. Or maybe the Founder is irritated we aren’t giving up the fleet’s position, she thought.
“Well, Captain Dax,” Janeway said, “it would seem like a prudent course of action to resume a course back to the Alpha Quadrant together.”
Dax contemplated her next move. If she revealed the truth to Janeway now, she could begin the chain of events that might lead to the destruction of the fleet. But if she refused to go with Janeway, and Voyager warped away, the fleet lost another valuable ship…and the crew of the Voyager would get a nasty surprise if and when they made it home.
Damn it, Benjamin, what should I do? Dax closed her eyes. She found herself wanting to trust Captain Janeway, and help her. Yes, there was a distinct possibility that Janeway and her entire crew were Founders, so dedicated to eradicating out the Starfleet holdout on Erehwon that they would construct this elaborate ruse to find it. Perhaps the Voyager crew was holographic, programmed by the Dominion to fool Starfleet just long enough to destroy it. Perhaps…
The Dax symbiont had lived through the life and death of its hosts for three hundred years and counting…and had been quite successful doing so. There was something to be said for trusting such finely honed instincts.
“Commander Nog,” Dax called out. Have sensors turned up any signs of Jem’Hadar ships?”
Janeway’s eyes narrowed. “Captain Dax?”
Dax ignored her. “Have sensor scans of Voyager returned any results out of the ordinary?”
Nog shook his head. “Not too out of the ordinary, sir.”
“What exactly is going on, Captain?” Janeway snapped.
Dax glanced over at Garak. The Cardassian met her gaze but said nothing. She looked at Bashir, who gave her a slight nod.
Time to make the call.
“Tell me, Captain Janeway…what do you know about the Dominion?”
|April 23 2015, 08:37 PM||#9|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
Alpha Zone One Spacedock (formerly Earth Spacedock)
Stardate 57402.74 (January 8, 2381)
More than three months had passed since the arrival of the Founder on Sol III, and the Vorta Weyoun had watched with some satisfaction as the presence of a god had leeched power away from Legate Dukat. Displeased with the pace of Sol III’s integration into the Dominion, the Founder had delegated many tasks that Dukat had once taken on personally to others--non-Cardassians, of course. And in no way did Weyoun feel diminished; on the contrary, his very nature made that impossible. Dukat, on the other hand…
Dukat was a pompous fool. Weyoun often regretted the many times he had convinced himself not to have Dukat killed in a transporter ‘accident.’ But really, what good would it do? Dukat was nothing if not typical. The Cardassians on the whole lacked a certain…finesse. It was quite a shame that they were such important players in the Alpha Quadrant. Still, Weyoun knew he was inextricably linked to Dukat; now more than ever, the two’s fortunes were linked--for better or for worse.
So when the Founder called on Dukat and Weyoun one morning to discuss ‘a new task’, the Vorta was not particularly surprised. Soon after the Founder arrived, Dukat had organized several effective security sweeps of the last remaining pockets of resistance on the planet formerly known as Earth. A few million humans had been liquidated, the last of their great cities levelled. Dukat had complained that they were moving too quickly, creating what he termed ‘islands of resentment’ amongst the population. Wishful thinking, perhaps? Weyoun could not comprehend why Dukat would want to prolong something as ugly as an occupation. The Founders had seen fit to allow the humans to survive as simple farmers. So let them become simple farmers, and take their place as happy, productive members of the Dominion!
And as Weyoun beamed aboard the Jem’Hadar warship that temporarily housed the Founder, he couldn’t help but be pleased to be in space again. Occupying conquered worlds could be such drudgery.
A Jem’Hadar soldier showed Weyoun into the small, cramped conference room. Weyoun glanced around disapprovingly at his surroundings. Jem’Hadar ships were wonderful for fighting, but terrible for having comfortable meetings.
“Founder,” Weyoun said, and held out his hands. “I am honored to be in your presence.”
“Yes. Sit, Weyoun,” the Founder commanded, a touch impatiently.
Weyoun did so as Legate Dukat entered the room, flanked by two Jem’Hadar soldiers. When the Cardassian moved to take a seat, Weyoun cleared his throat and whispered, “Legate Dukat.”
Dukat closed his eyes and smiled. “Of course.” He turned to the Founder and bowed deeply. “Founder. I am…honored to be in your presence.”
The Founder did not reply, but merely gestured to a seat.
“You may leave,” she said to the Jem’Hadar soldiers still standing at the doorway. As the door closed behind them, she turned back to Weyoun and Dukat.
“You are of course aware of the inexplicable ‘melting’ of the captured U.S.S. Voyager and its crew several months ago,” the Founder began. “Dominion scientists from all over the quadrant were convened to discuss how something so extraordinary could have occurred. After weeks of debate, a consensus has been reached. The Voyager and its crew were biomimetic copies of a real Federation starship, one that had presumably been lost before the war. Somehow, this very real copy had made it through an unstable wormhole back to the Alpha Quadrant—only to find the Federation crumbled into dust.”
The Founder pressed a console, and a screen sprang to life showing a map of the galaxy. “We know the Federation had been testing quantum slipstream drives before the war,” the Founder said. “Our intelligence indicates that a few ships may have escaped into other quadrants of the galaxy after Andoria.” Arrows indicating possible escape routes appeared on the screen.
“So, perhaps they did,” Dukat said dismissively. “But a few vessels scattered throughout the galaxy do not pose a threat to us.”
“So you say,” the Founder said softly. “But imagine those scattered vessels had conceived of a way to create biomimetic copies of Federation starships, and had pioneered the use of artificial wormholes to transport them to the Alpha Quadrant.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Dukat sneered. “I mean, you’re talking about ships that undoubtedly took heavy damage during the war. Surely they would not be capable of such a feat.”
Weyoun winced at Dukat’s tone. How the Founder hadn’t had him disintegrated into a particle mist was beyond his comprehension.
“Perhaps so,” the Founder said, her voice heavily laden with sarcasm and contempt. “But as I recall, these same heavily damaged ships were coming up with innovative ways to destroy Cardassian warships right up until the final surrender. Even with the Federation defeated, we must not underestimate the cleverness of whatever remains of Starfleet.”
Weyoun cut off the inevitable retort from Dukat. “Founder, your logic is, as always, irrefutable. What is it you intend to do, and how can we assist you in carrying out your plan?”
The Vorta noticed the Founder smile softly, a subtle gesture that the obtuse Dukat probably missed. “Legate Dukat, you will lead a fleet to the Delta Quadrant,” the Founder said. “You will retrace the steps of the biomimetic vessel to its origin point, based on the sensor readings we had the good fortune to record before the vessel’s dissolution.”
Dukat’s eyes flashed with anger. “But—but this is preposterous! I have duties on this planet that cannot be simply…postponed…to spend years—decades!—searching for an ephemeral threat from a defeated enemy!” Dukat stood up. “Founder, I beg you, let—“
“The choice is not yours to make, Legate Dukat,” the Founder replied coldly. “The Dominion feels your duties on Sol III can now be transferred to the Integration Bureau.”
“But I--I disagree!” Dukat had cried out. “When the war began, I was promised Earth. And for over four years—“
“That will be quite enough, Dukat,” the Founder hissed. She did not yell, or even raise her voice, but the effect had been chilling. It was as if by speaking, the Founder had lowered the room temperature by ten degrees. In any case it had silenced Dukat, miraculously enough. He sat back down in his chair slowly.
“Should you succeed in this mission, Sol III will be waiting for you upon your return,” the Founder said contemptuously. “In the meantime, you will carry out your orders.”
“Of course,” Dukat whispered.
The Founder stared at Dukat for a moment, and then turned back to the screen. “The last thing we need is biomimetic Federation starships suddenly appearing in our territory with warp core breaches or self-destruct devices engaged. Such destruction would endanger the integration of the Alpha Quadrant into the Dominion.” She glanced back at Dukat. “Perhaps this threat is ephemeral. Perhaps the Voyager was just an anomaly. We cannot be sure until we see for ourselves.”
“A most wise course of action, Founder,” Weyoun said. Perhaps this was his opportunity to untangle himself from he and Dukat’s shared fortune. “If I may be so bold to ask…when will Legate Dukat be leaving with his fleet to address this potential threat?”
The Founder smiled grimly as Dukat glared at Weyoun. “We will be outfitting a combined Cardassian and Jem’Hadar fleet with captured Starfleet quantum slipstream devices, along with cloaking devices. Speed is essential, but there is no point in provoking the Borg, should they appear.” The Founder looked at Weyoun with something resembling warmth. “I need you to go with Legate Dukat, my loyal Weyoun. He will need a liaison between his crew and the Jem’Hadar, and I can think of no one better to lead the Jem’Hadar contingent to the Delta Quadrant.”
Weyoun could not help but feel disappointment, even in the face of a direct commandment from a deity. But he mustered up enough enthusiasm to smile and say, “A very wise choice, Founder. We will not fail you, or the Dominion, in the performance of this most important duty.”
“I should hope not,” the Founder replied, glancing at Dukat. "For that would be most unfortunate.”
Dominion Base in Orbit of Jupiter (formerly Jupiter Station)
Stardate 57407.77 (January 10, 2381)
Darkness engulfed the interrogation chamber.
The prisoner’s eyes welled with tears of relief. At last. For days—weeks maybe—the lights had continually illuminated the chamber. There was no rest in the light, and sleep had been next to impossible. The prisoner would have given anything for the darkness to have stretched out into eternity, into a never-ending oblivion…
The lights came back on.
The prisoner winced. How long had the lights been out? How long would they be on now? Fear began to nibble at the edges of the prisoner’s consciousness. So bright…
The chamber doors opened. Another interrogation session would soon be underway. The prisoner furtively sneaked a glance at the two figures entering the room. Cardassians, the prisoner noted. Not good. The Vorta interrogators were brutal, efficient; but one never got the impression it was personal to them. Interrogation was just a job, another task assigned to them by the Founders. But the Cardassians…they enjoyed interrogation. They took joy in every bruise, and basked in every scream of pain and horror. The prisoner hated them.
We should have wiped them out when we had the chance.
The Cardassians hovered over the prisoner. One of them leaned in towards her, a grotesque imitation of concern.
“What is your name?” The Cardassian asked, despite most certainly being aware of the identity of the prisoner.
“Ezri Tigan. Lieutenant, junior grade. Serial number TE-201-113.“
“Ah, yes. Name, rank, and serial number,” the Cardassian said. “How interesting that humans and their remaining allies insist on maintaining the pretense that anyone is actually following obsolete Starfleet conventions of war.”
The prisoner did not respond. Unfortunately, that did not seem to deter the Cardassian. “In any case, according to my records you are in fact ‘Lieutenant’ Ezri Tigan. Enrolled in the Starfleet Academy Medical Program on Stardate 49732, with the stated intention of becoming a…starship counselor. Why, that’s an…interesting choice of vocation.”
“I thought so at the time,” the prisoner murmured.
“Undoubtedly. On Stardate 50974 you were assigned to the U.S.S. Maine as a field engineer. Slight detour from your career plans, I see.”
“The exigencies of war,” the other Cardassian sneered.
“Indeed. Promoted to Lieutenant, junior-grade, on Stardate 52083. And that was your last promotion, as Starfleet collapsed before you could even make full Lieutenant. “
The prisoner did not take the bait.
“So ends your official service record. According to records compiled during your stay at this facility, following the destruction of the U.S.S. Maine on Stardate 53754 you transferred to the Freedom, which was then rather unromantically known as the U.S.S. Armstrong. There you stayed on as crew, even after the fall of the Federation and the legal end of the war. On Stardate 56706, the vessel upon which you were engaged in criminal and treasonous activities against the Dominion was boarded by Jem’Hadar soldiers in the Triangulus system. Your captain and his first officer were killed resisting arrest. You and several other so-called ‘crew’ were captured and sent to this location for interrogation.”
The prisoner stared stonily at the wall. The Cardassian continued, “Tell me, Ezri Tigan, would you say all of this is accurate?”
“You know it is,” Tigan spat out.
“Her spirit has not been broken yet,” the other Cardassian muttered. “I eagerly await the opportunity—“
“Enough,” the Cardassian said firmly. “Damar. Wait for me outside.”
The other Cardassian nodded briskly and shot Tigan a malicious look. “Until we meet again, Lieutenant.”
The remaining Cardassian sighed theatrically. “I’m afraid Gul Damar still has some unpleasant memories of the war with the Federation. Tell me, do you know who I am, Ezri Tigan?” The Cardassian’s voice almost sounded paternal. It made Tigan sick.
“No,” she replied. “What does it matter?”
“Why, it matters a great deal, I assure you,” the Cardassian said, “for I am none other than Legate Skrain Dukat, conqueror of Earth and devoted servant of the Dominion.”
Suddenly Tigan recognized the face, the voice. The scourge of every man, woman, and child in the Federation was in the same room as she, Ezri Tigan. The prisoner’s head swam. The restraints fastening her to the interrogation pallet seemed tighter than ever. She had to escape. She had to kill this man, this evil….but wait. Could she kill him, even if she were free? Would she even be able to?
“I see,” Tigan said in a small voice. What did someone like Dukat want with her?
“I’m glad you finally do,” Dukat said, as if greatly surprised by her lack of recognition. “Now, I’m sure you can understand that I do not usually take the time to talk to simple criminals like yourself. However, I believe I have something that you might want, Ezri Tigan.”
Tigan had heard the rumors of female Starfleet officers being taken as personal sex slaves to the victorious Cardassians. Proud women, free women, now kept as pets by a race of opportunistic chauvinists. Never, she thought. I’ll die first.
“If you want me to be some sort of…concubine,” Tigan stuttered, “I’m afraid I’ll have to decline. Kill me if you want to, but I won’t do it.”
To her surprise, Dukat laughed heartily. “Ah, Ezri,” he said in familiar tone that sent chills up the prisoner’s spine. “Rest assured that I am quite flattered by your suggestion! However, that is not why I’m here. Far from it, actually. I have another task in mind for you, one that will give you the opportunity to escape this miserable situation and salvage what little you can from the wreckage of your life.” Dukat smiled. “That can’t be so bad, now, can it?”
Tigan grimaced. Cardassians were not in the business of helping humans. Still, the prospect of spending the rest of her life rotting in a Dominion prison camp—or worse--was not a desirable one. “All right,” she said, her voice regaining strength. “What’s the catch? What do I have to do?”
Dukat looked her over, once again sending chills up Tigan’s spine. “I’ve been assigned to a deep space mission. I’ll be leading a fleet to the Delta Quadrant, retracing the steps of a ‘biomimetic life-form’ that appeared in this sector a few months ago.”
“Why—why do you need me for that?”
Dukat sighed. “I can honestly say with some admiration that even as Starfleet was losing the war against the Dominion, their level of technological innovation was quite impressive. The quantum slipstream drive—well—“
“That drive was never perfected,” Tigan interrupted. Her interrogators had been down this road before, many times. “We—“
Dukat brought his hand down fast, slapping her hard on the face. “Do not confuse my courtesy with genuine amity, Ezri Tigan,” the Cardassian snapped. “Do not forget that you are a slave, my slave, and nothing more. You will speak only when spoken to.”
Tigan’s face stung where he had struck her, and she thought it best at this point to play what cards she had. “I apologize…sir.”
Dukat’s mood, so quickly darkened, now turned sunny bright once again. “Yes. Well. You are correct that the drive was not perfected. However, the finest Cardassian engineers have been working on a version of the drive, salvaged from a captured Starfleet vessel. It is my understanding that you assisted in the development and testing of the original slipstream drive while you were stationed on the U.S.S. Maine.”
“Yes. That’s correct.” So that’s why Dukat was here. Knowledge of her experience, however slight, had made its way up the Dominion chain of command.
“That makes you a perfect candidate to help us use the drive to reach the Delta Quadrant,” Dukat said. “If you agree to accompany me to the Delta Quadrant, and help my ships make the journey quickly using the slipstream drive, I will grant you what you undoubtedly desire most--your freedom.”
This was too much. “Legate Dukat,” the prisoner whispered, “I am hardly qualified. I was a field engineer, barely—“
The Cardassian cut her off. “Make no mistake, Ezri Tigan. If you were to refuse to assist me, my fleet would still successfully make the journey to the Delta Quadrant. I offer you this opportunity merely because it gives me the slightest edge in successfully completing my mission. You are an insurance policy, that’s all.” Dukat leaned in close to Tigan again. “Of course, if you refuse, I will arrange for your comfortable existence here to end. I hear the new labor camp on Mercury needs all the manpower it can get.”
Comfortable existence? Tigan thought incredulously. Tigan realized she did not have a great deal of time to make a decision. On one hand, accepting Dukat’s offer would get her out of this so-called ‘comfortable existence’ and perhaps allow her a chance to escape—she was not fool enough to believe the Dominion would ever grant her anything resembling freedom. On the other hand, she really did know next to nothing about the quantum slipstream drive, and mistakes could prove fatal quickly.
But she was a Starfleet officer, and the chance to possibly sabotage a Dominion mission was not one she could pass up.
“I’ll go with you,” she said.
Dukat smiled. “I thought you would.”
Alpha Zone One Spacedock (formerly Earth Spacedock)
Galor-class Cardassian Warship Trager
Stardate 57409.65 (January 11, 2381)
“Well, Weyoun,” Dukat called from his command post on the bridge. “Are you ready to begin the next step of our glorious service to the Dominion?”
Weyoun, standing at a console next to a Jem’Hadar, faced the Cardassian and forced a smile. “Yes. I can only hope that you are fully committed to the success of this mission, Legate Dukat.”
Dukat laughed. “Why, of course I am, Weyoun!” But as the Cardassian joined him at the aft section of the bridge he said quietly, “However, make no mistake--I will return to Earth to continue the occupation, and I will do it my way.”
Weyoun did not respond, and Dukat said, loudly for everyone to hear: “In all honesty, I embrace the opportunity to return to space.” He gestured at the viewscreen. “The stars beckon, my dear Weyoun. Shall we meet them?”
Weyoun stared at Dukat incredulously. “I’m afraid I will never understand your taste for the…delusionally grandiose, Dukat.”
Dukat ignored this, and took his place at the command post once again. “Open a channel to Spacedock Control,” he ordered.
“Channel open,” a Cardassian officer replied.
“This is Legate Dukat, requesting permission to depart.”
On the viewscreen, a bored-looking Vorta, sitting at a control panel, nodded and said in a voice without inflection, “Permission granted. May the Founders be with you. Spacedock out.”
Dukat frowned. “Not quite the…grand parting words I expected.”
“This is a classified mission,” Weyoun said. “As far as he knows, we are just going out for wargaming exercises.”
“I see,” Dukat said, licking his lips. “Helm! Set a course for heading 750, mark 5, warp factor four. Have the fleet confirm heading and velocity.”
“Aye, sir.” The helm officer tapped at his console. “The fleet confirms, Legate.”
“Engage,” Dukat ordered. The ships leapt into warp.
In the Engineering section of the Trager, Ezri Tigan monitored the status of the fleet’s slipstream drives, which were now powering up in a synchronized fashion across the fleet. Two Jem’Hadar soldiers flanked her. Not taking any chances, she thought.
“Dukat to Engineering,” the comm system chirped.
“Engineering,” a bulky Cardassian answered. “All systems at peak efficiency, Legate.”
“Good. I wish to speak to the Trill.”
The Cardassian engineer rolled his eyes and walked away. Tigan tapped her communicator. “Tigan here.”
“Hello, Ezri,” the voice over the comm system practically purred. “I require a report on the status of the slipstream drive.”
“The system is powering up according to established parameters, Legate,” Tigan replied. How easy would it be to overload the system, and send this entire fleet to Hell? The thought quickly disappeared from her mind. The fleet would simply be replaced, and her death would be in vain.
“How long until we can engage the drive?”
Tigan checked her calculations. “Two minutes, thirteen seconds…” She gritted her teeth. “Sir.”
On the bridge, Weyoun stood next to Dukat at the command post. “Tell me,” said the Vorta quietly, “why did you bring this particular former Starfleet officer on board when there were other, perhaps…better-qualified prisoners to choose from?”
Dukat smiled. “I studied the dossiers on every single Starfleet prisoner we currently incarcerate, Weyoun. Ezri Tigan quite simply…stood out to me.”
“I see,” Weyoun said, although he did not. And as the fleet departed Sol System, one by one the Dominion vessels entered the slipstream. Within seconds, they were all on their way to the distant Delta Quadrant—and whatever lay there in wait.
|April 23 2015, 08:44 PM||#10|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
In Orbit of Planet Terra Prime
Stardate 57418.32 (January 14, 2381)
“Have you made any progress in accessing the Bajoran Orb, Admiral?”
Picard glanced at Data as he tapped more variables into the control panel. “I’m afraid not, Mr. Data. Perhaps only an actual Bajoran can tap into whatever energy powers this orb.”
“Such a supposition is not supported by the available evidence,” Data countered. “On Deep Space Nine, both Captain Benjamin Sisko and—“
“I’m aware of recorded non-Bajoran orb encounters, Data,” Picard snapped. He instantly regretted it. “I’m sorry, Data. I’m afraid I lose my temper quite…far too often these days.”
“Understandable, Admiral,” Data replied without emotion. Well, of course.
“I’ve been engaged in this task for three months now,” Picard said, leaning on the workbench upon which the orb rested. ‘I’ve called in every crew person with even a hint of psionic ability. But without an actual Bajoran, I fear that I will never be able to exhaust all avenues of speculation.”
Data was, as always, unmoved. “Have you attempted accessing Bajoran Database 1432?”
Picard nodded. “Of course.” The admiral threw his PADD down on the workbench. “Nothing.”
The door chimed, and both Picard and Data looked up. “Enter,” Picard said quietly.
Picard’s former first officer, now officially named the captain of the Enterprise, entered the workspace. Picard had known the man for nearly twenty years, and had trusted him with his life many times over. And now, in this place of exile, Captain Worf was one of Picard’s closest confidants.
“Admiral,” Worf grumbled, ignoring the android. “We have completed sensor scans of the sector.” The Klingon, fitted now with a prosthetic arm, handed a PADD to the admiral. “As of now there is still no evidence of any spacefaring species within sensor range.”
“On the other hand, we have thirty-eight class-M planets,” Picard remarked. “So there is plenty of room to expand in the coming centuries.”
“It would appear so, sir."
Picard continued scanning the report. “Have you made any progress in selecting a breeding partner, Number One?”
Worf grunted. “No, sir. I’m afraid my duties have precluded such a…personal endeavor.”
Picard handed the Klingon the PADD. “I’m afraid it’s not so personal, Captain. Quite frankly, we need to introduce as much variety into our gene pool as we possibly can—and soon.”
“Captain Worf,” Data said, “Have you considered mating with any of the—“
“Computer, freeze program,” Worf barked. The android froze.
“Is something wrong?” Picard asked as he once again picked up the PADD containing all information gathered on the mystery Bajoran orb.
“I apologize, Admiral,” Worf said quietly. “It simply…bothers me to carry on a conversation with a simulacrum of a lost comrade.”
Picard nodded. “My apologies, Captain. I sometimes use Mr. Data as a sounding board for my more… unorthodox theories.” He glanced back at the frozen android. “Computer, end program Picard-47.”
Fleet Log, Stardate 57418.3: Under Captain Worf’s capable leadership, efforts to refit the remaining vessels in the fleet have proven quite successful and should be complete by the end of the year. Captain Gomez reports the planetary habitats can now accommodate one hundred more personnel. Captain Gomez also estimates that the Terra Prime colony will be self-sufficient and able to comfortably fit everyone in the fleet within just three years.
I’m afraid I have not made any significant progress on accessing whatever might be contained inside the Bajoran artifact so inexplicably uncovered on Terra Prime three months ago. The odds of such an artifact turning up in a galaxy almost three million light years away is quite literally astronomical. Adding to the mystery is the fact that the orb is the same age as the other orbs found in our own galaxy, near and around Bajor. Somehow, this orb has made the trip to the M-33 Galaxy in a manner similar to our own…
Jean-Luc Picard scanned the orb with a tricorder for what must have been the thousandth time. Probably a very low estimate, he thought bitterly. Picard half-seriously considered firing a hand phaser at it, just to see what would happen. But while satisfying, that would probably have been…unwise.
Picard put the tricorder down and rubbed his face. He considered starting up the Data program, but thought better of it. Perhaps Worf was right to be bothered by the idea of talking to a simulacrum of someone that was now several lifetimes away. It was an example of holding on to the dead past, and letting go of that past was something Picard had been exhorting all of the Milky Way exiles to do for the last six months.
“Practice what you preach, Picard,” the admiral mumbled to himself. Perhaps he should simply delete the Data program altogether.
But the urge to call Data back was hard to resist. How many times had Picard given the android counsel onboard the Enterprise-D, each time learning something new himself? How often had Picard marveled at how far the android had come, at how much potential there was for him to grow?
The Enterprise-D, Picard thought. Where the biggest problem was whether or not the damned holodeck would try to kill you. How he so deeply missed those times, though. How he missed sitting in that luxurious command chair, flying through space and meeting every challenge head-on. They had been legends—and perhaps, rightfully so.
But that ship had been destroyed, and the Federation hadn’t survived much longer. ‘All good things must come to an end, Jean-Luc,’ Q had whispered in his ear. Yes. Indeed.
“Sorry, Data,” Picard said to himself. “I think—I know you would understand.”
The slight hum of the ship’s engines was the only reply.
“Computer,” Picard said, closing his eyes. “Delete program Picard-47.”
“Program deleted,” the computer replied, without emotion. Well, of course.
The orb flashed suddenly, a burst of intense white light emanating from its center. Startled, Picard quickly scanned the orb with his tricorder and began feeding the readings into the Enterprise’s central computer.
“Warning,” the computer intoned. “Sensors detect verteron particles in the vicinity of Holodeck Four. Initiating Level Three safeguards.”
“Verteron particles?” Picard muttered. “That isn’t possible.” Verteron particles were only detected when a wormhole was in the general vicinity. And a wormhole opening in the holodeck would be very bad news indeed.
“Worf to Admiral Picard,” the Klingon captain’s voice rang out over the comm line. “Sensors-“
“Yes, yes, the verteron particles,” Picard said, cutting him off. “Worf, with safeguards in place, does the orb--or the veteron particles--present a danger to the Enterprise at the moment?”
A moment passed as Worf presumably consulted with his staff. “At the moment, no, sir. However, should the orb’s emanations exceed the safety limits, we will be forced to beam it into space.”
“Of course,” Picard agreed.
“Admiral, shall I join you again in the holodeck?” Worf asked.
“No,” Picard said, watching intently as the white light continued to burst from the orb. “I’m going to continue scanning. I’m not sure why the orb—“
And the world disappeared in a flash of light.
My eyes are open.
Where am I?
Is this an orb experience? Have I somehow triggered whatever mechanism causes these occurrences?
I look around. I’m on a bridge…no. I know this place. This is the operations center of Deep Space Nine.
“It is confused,” says a voice. I turn. It’s Troi! Oh, how long it has been—
“It does not understand,” says another. La Forge, in an old-style uniform, wearing the VISOR he had replaced before the war. Young…alive.
But these are not my old, long-lost comrades.
“You are the Prophets,” I hear myself say.
‘Troi’ cocks her head to one side. “Yes,” she says. “We are of Bajor.”
“Yes,” I reply. “The Prophets are of Bajor. But we are far, far from Bajor. Millions of light-years, in fact.”
‘Troi’ looks thoughtful. “Millions of light-years.” She phrases it as a statement, not a question.
“Yes,” I say. “The orb…the orb that brought me here was found on a planet in another galaxy, millions of light-years from Bajor.
‘Troi’ frowns. “No. You brought us here, millions of light-years.”
“I—No. We did not bring you here. We dug up the orb on a planet in this galaxy. It had been buried for centuries. We just arrived…” my voice trailed off. I knew time was a fluid concept to the Prophets. I needed to find a way to communicate more effectively.
‘La Forge’ steps forward. “Why do you come here? What do you want from us?”
I face him. “I come…seeking knowledge. I want to know why…and how…we find you here, so far from Bajor, so far from our home galaxy.”
‘La Forge’ shakes his head. “But why do you come here? To this place?”
Laughter booms from the upper level. “It fails to understand this most basic of concepts!” I turn at the familiar voice. Data!
I smile despite myself, and hold out my hands. “You are correct,” I say. “I do not understand. I realize that time holds a different meaning for you. But I have spent months trying to make contact with your orb, trying to make contact with you. Why now? Why do you choose to make contact now?”
“It asks the wrong questions,” says ‘Troi.’
“It does not understand,” ‘La Forge’ says, shaking his head sadly.
“Then please,” I implore them, “tell me. Make me understand.”
‘Troi’ touches my left ear between her thumb and forefinger. Some kind of energy flows between us, and she says, “You choose to be here, you have chosen, you will choose. All of these are true. We do not make contact with you. You choose to contact us.”
“I see,” and I place my hand on hers, over my ear. I look back at ‘Data’. “I choose to be here, in this place. Deep Space Nine.”
‘Data’ smiles, and I find myself feeling oddly uncomfortable at the sight.
”Well, yes…and no.” ‘Data’ sighs. “Your thinking is so…corporeal. You exist here, in this place. But you, of all corporeal beings, should understand that can mean so much more.”
‘Troi’ lets go of my ear, and clasps both of her hands behind her back. “We must show it what we mean.”
“Yes,” I say. “Show me, please.”
‘Troi’ nods, and smiles. Memories overwhelm me. My eyes fill with tears.
‘Data’ theatrically clears his throat, and winks at me. “As you wish…mon capitaine.”
My eyes widen--
And the world disappeared in a flash of light.
Picard stands face to face with Captain Benjamin Sisko. It was not another Prophet, not another Orb experience. It was him. He knew.
“Sisko,” Picard cries out.
The two men are surrounded by an eternity of white light. Sisko is dressed in the last uniform Starfleet ever issued, the one Picard currently wears. But the uniform is crisper, newer.
This is the past.
“Sisko,” Picard says again, more quietly. But he knows now that Sisko can not see him, or hear him. Sisko looks around, confused. He is wondering why he is here, Picard thinks.
Sisko calls out, “”Why have you brought me here? Show yourselves! What do you want?”
Picard watches as the Prophets take the form of Sisko’s friends and enemies and address him on some phantom version of Deep Space Nine.
“The Sisko has returned to us,” says Prophet-Odo.
“He arrives with questions,” says Prophet-Jake Sisko.
“There are always questions,” says Prophet-Kira with a hint of exasperation.
“I didn’t ask to come here,” Sisko objects.
“You desire to end the game,” says Prophet-Dukat, holding an old Earth baseball in his hand.
“What game? I don’t understand,” Sisko cries.
“You seek to shed your corporeal existence,” Prophet-Weyoun says.
“That cannot be allowed,” Prophet-Damar intones.
“The game must not end,” Prophet-Odo agrees.
“The game. You mean my life,” Sisko realizes. “Is that what this is about? You don’t want me to die?”
“The game must continue,” says Prophet-Dukat.
“You are the Sisko, “Prophet-Weyoun states, walking past him.
“Believe me,” Sisko says. “I don’t want to die, but I have to do everything I can to prevent the Dominion from conquering the Alpha Quadrant. If that means sacrificing my life and the life of my crew, so be it.”
“We do not agree,” says Prophet-Jake Sisko.
“We find your reasoning flawed,” Prophet-Kira says, approaching his left side.
“Insufficient,” Prophet-Odo mutters, at his right.
“I’m flattered you feel that way, but it doesn’t change anything. Now send me back to my ship,” Sisko orders.
A brief flash, and Sisko faces Prophet-Damar again. He is on his ship, but still in the Prophet-reality. Picard breathes.
“This isn’t what I meant,” Sisko says. “I want to return to my reality.”
“You are the Sisko,” Prophet-Damar pronounces solemnly.
Sisko stares straight ahead. “I am also a Starfleet captain. I have a job to do, and I intend to do it!”
“The Sisko is belligerent,” Prophet-Weyoun says.
“Aggressive,” says Prophet-Dukat, still holding the baseball.
“Adversarial,” Prophet-Dumar says.
“You’re damn right I’m adversarial!” Sisko barks. “You have no right to interfere with my life!”
Prophet-Kira steps forward and says authoritatively, “We have every right.”
Sisko considers this. “Fine. You want to interfere? Then interfere. Do something about those Dominion reinforcements.”
Sisko and all the Prophets stand in a circle around the Ops station. Picard stands back.
“That is a corporeal matter,” Prophet-Odo says.
“Corporeal matters do not concern us,” Dukat affirms.
“The hell they don’t,” Sisko objects. “What about Bajor? You can’t tell me Bajor doesn’t concern you. You’ve sent the Bajorans them orbs and Emissaries. You’ve even encouraged them to create an entire religion around you! You even told me once that you were ‘of Bajor.’ So don’t you tell me you’re not concerned with corporeal matters.”
Sisko walks around the assembled Prophets. “I don’t want to see Bajor destroyed. Neither do you, but we all know that’s exactly what’s going to happen if the Dominion takes over the Alpha Quadrant. You say you don’t want me to sacrifice my life? Well, fine. Neither do I. You want to be gods? Then be gods. I need a miracle. Bajor needs a miracle. Stop those ships!”
“We are of Bajor,” Prophet-Weyoun says intently.
“But what of the Sisko?” asks Prophet-Damar.
“He is intrusive,” says Prophet-Odo.
“He tries to control the game,” Prophet-Dukat says.
“The Sisko cannot control the outcome of the game,” says Prophet-Jake Sisko.
Prophet-Weyoun turns to Sisko. “Corporeal matters do not concern us,” he states. “You are the Sisko.”
“The game must not end,” says Prophet-Dukat.
“The Sisko cannot be returned,” Prophet-Kira says. “The Sisko shall follow another path.”
Sisko is speechless.
And the world disappeared in a flash of light.
Picard and Sisko faced each other, both bathed in the eternal white light of the Prophets.
“Sisko,” Picard said.
Sisko stared at Picard. “Captain…Captain Picard?”
Picard nodded. Correcting Sisko seemed somehow petty at the moment. “That’s right. Yes. I’m here, Captain.”
Sisko looked around for a moment, confused. “I’ll be damned.” He regarded Picard warily. “How are you here?
Picard shrugged slightly. “I…We are in an orb experience of some kind, Captain.”
Sisko sighed. “You don’t say.” He rubbed his eyes. “Okay. Why are you here?”
“We found a new orb on a…on a planet,” Picard replied. “I’ve been studying it, trying to find out its function. I talked to some of the Prophets, and then…” Picard trailed off.
“The Prophets showed me what must have been your last encounter with them, presumably before the Second Battle of Deep Space Nine,” Picard said. Sisko had officially been declared missing in action when he had disappeared; how much did he know?
“The Second Battle of Deep Space Nine?” Sisko said incredulously. “You mean—“he took a step back. “How long have I been…what is the date?”
Picard hesitated. “Captain Sisko—“
And suddenly Sisko was on him, grabbing the front of Picard’s shirt. “The DATE!”
“Stardate 57418,” Picard said quietly.
Sisko let the other man go and stepped back. “Stardate 57418…that’s…oh, my God. I’ve been stuck in here for seven years?”
“I’m afraid so, Captain.”
Sisko rubbed his temple. “It seems like…no. That can’t be possible. What you saw, that ‘last encounter’—that just happened!” Sisko looked up. “Where are you? Show yourselves!”
Picard and Sisko stared at each other for a moment, but the Prophets did not manifest.
“I told them I wanted to return to my ship,” Sisko said weakly.
Picard sighed. “Instead they kept you here, in this place. Wherever—or whatever—this place is.”
“The game wasn’t over,” Sisko agreed grimly. “Hell of a seventh inning stretch, though.”
The two men regarded each other, trapped in the eternal white light. They were still in the world of the Prophets, still insulated from reality.
“Seven years,” Sisko muttered. “My son…”
Picard did not reply. Sharing too much information in this strange world, where nothing could be done, seemed unnecessarily cruel. Not that much could be done in the so-called real world, for that matter.
“Much as I hate to ask, what happened next?” Sisko asked. “I assume the Defiant—but—but once the Jem’Hadar fleet reached the Alpha Quadrant, what…what happened?”
Picard nodded, and bowed his head. “The news, Captain Sisko…is not good.”
Sisko stared at Picard intently. “Tell me.”
And the world disappeared in a flash of light.
|April 23 2015, 08:44 PM||#11|
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
In Orbit of Planet Erehwon
Stardate 57609.20 (March 31, 2381)
Kathryn Janeway broke free from her reverie and cleared her throat. “Tuvok. Yes. Come in, please.”
Her Vulcan first officer entered the ready room. “Captain. It is 0900 hours. The crew is assembled in the Recreation Deck, as per your orders.”
Janeway nodded slowly. “Right.” She got up and stretched, taking a moment to look out at the bright blue planet below. Wispy clouds floated across a large stretch of ocean.
“I haven’t been looking forward to this moment, Tuvok.”
Tuvok straightened, hands clasped behind his back. “It would be illogical for you to positively anticipate such an event, Captain. “
Janeway smiled. “That’s true.” She turned to face the Vulcan, a decade’s worth of worry and concern bearing down on her soul. “But this is the speech I’ve always dreaded having to make, Tuvok. To tell this crew, this family, that their journey must end here…it breaks my heart.”
“Considering the changes that have occurred in the Alpha Quadrant during our absence, your decision is in fact most rational, Captain.”
Janeway placed her hand on the window, gazing out at the planet below. “I never had any doubt that this ship would make it home. No matter what the universe dished out at us, we survived…and kept going. The Kazon, the Borg, Species 8472, the Korroalis...” Janeway trailed off.
Tuvok keenly felt the emotional loss that the Dominion victory over the Federation represented for both his people and the crew of the Voyager as a whole. He had read the Vulcan Instrument of Surrender to the Dominion, and it was only logical to assume that his family had either been killed or sent to a labor camp. Tuvok deeply felt their loss. He could feel the ancient Vulcan rage burning within him, suppressed only through the strong discipline of logic. Outwardly, of course, he exhibited none of this. Of course.
“Nevertheless, Captain,” said Tuvok, “the crew of this vessel have always trusted your judgment. Despite what has happened in the Alpha Quadrant, that one simple fact has not changed.”
Janeway closed her eyes and allowed her mind to drift homewards, if only for a second. “And you sincerely believe I am not betraying that trust?”
Tuvok raised an eyebrow. “My feelings are irrelevant, Captain. Based upon all available evidence, to believe such a thing would be quite illogical.”
Janeway smiled in spite of herself. No matter what happened, she knew she could always rely on Tuvok. He was her rock, her calm in the midst of this terrible storm…a storm that showed no sign of abating.
“Come on, old friend,” Janeway said quietly, approaching the waiting Vulcan. “Let’s go talk to them.”
On Voyager’s recreation deck, all of the ship’s personnel milled around in small groups. Some nervously made small talk while awaiting Janeway’s arrival; others simply waited quietly, waiting for confirmation of the inevitable. Finally, at 09:15 hours, the bosuns whistle sounded and the crew’s attention turned to the dais that had been set up on the deck.
Behind the dais, a turbolift door opened and Janeway and Tuvok appeared. The two mounted the dais and Commander Tuvok stepped to the podium, ahead of the captain.
“Captain on deck,” he called out sternly.
The crew—Starfleet and civilian alike—snapped to attention.
Tuvok briskly walked down the steps and joined the crew at attention.
Janeway gripped the sides of the podium.
“At ease,” she said.
All eyes were on Janeway as she contemplated saying the words that would most certainly change all of their lives forever. This was the moment.
“Good morning.” Janeway made eye contact with Tuvok, who nodded almost imperceptibly. She continued:
“On Stardate 57385, Voyager unexpectedly made contact with the U.S.S. Defiant while en route to the Alpha Quadrant. While it was a great relief to finally get back in touch with Starfleet, the circumstances that made our meeting possible were not the happy ones we had all dreamed about since our arrival in the Delta Quadrant.”
Janeway loosened her grip on the podium. “Two years after we were flung across the galaxy by the Caretaker Array, the Dominion invaded the Federation and our allies in the Klingon Empire. Aided by an alliance of Alpha Quadrant powers hostile to the Federation, the Dominion successfully prosecuted their war of aggression. Within five short years, the Klingon Empire had been all but annihilated… and the Federation had been dissolved.”
“Tragically,” Janeway continued, “the destination this ship and this crew have been striving towards for the last ten years is now an occupied world. Earth is in enemy hands. Our friends…our families…they are all now under the yoke of the Dominion.”
The assemblage stood in silent agony. Janeway took a deep breath and continued.
“If it had not been for our fortuitous encounter with the Defiant, this ship and crew would have continued on to Earth…only to wind up in the hands of a brutal and ruthless enemy…or worse.”
"Together, this crew has spent ten years trying to escape the Delta Quadrant. Now, as fate would have it, we find our exiled compatriots seeking refuge here. They have welcomed us with open arms. And much like us, they were forced to undertake a voyage to the unknown against their will. Is it simply coincidence that here, deep in unexplored space, we have come together?”
Janeway shook her head. “I refuse to believe it is. Ladies and gentlemen, I have always feared there would come a day when I would have to give the order to abandon our course for home. Nothing is or has ever been more important to me than making sure each and every one of you once again see the skies of your home world.”
Janeway confidently faced her crew. “But if Erehwon is to be where the place where we make a stand against tyranny, then we belong here. For now, this is our home. We know this quadrant. We have made many friends, and many enemies here. I firmly believe that the men, women, and children on this vessel can contribute to the war effort. We must help the fleet here at Erehwon recover its strength and grow. We must forge alliances. We must rebuild so that one day, we can take back what’s ours.”
The crowd was beginning to shake off the despair. People were roused. “I want you all to remember one very important thing. Voyager’s mission to return to the Alpha Quadrant is far from over.” Janeway smiled confidently. “Someday, this ship will return to Earth. That, my friends, is my solemn promise to you.”
The crowd erupted in cheers. Janeway smiled, and honestly could not tell if the lump in her throat was pride in her crew or a deep, abiding sadness.
Stardate 57609.20 (March 31, 2381)
The official story was that Erehwon, a class-M world located thousands of light-years from the Alpha Quadrant, had been discovered and surveyed by an unmanned Federation probe during the mid-24th century. This was the truth, but it was not the complete truth. When sensor readings of the Erehwon sector reached Federation space, the information was filed away in the appropriate memory banks for further study. Soon after, an agent of the secret organization known as Section 31 surreptitiously switched out the files on the Erehwon sector with false sensor readings.
A year after that, a prototype vessel crewed by Section 31 personnel departed for the Delta Quadrant and the Erehwon sector. The voyage was long, but considering how long the vessel remained cloaked, generally uneventful. Upon arriving at Erehwon, the Section 31 vessel completed a comprehensive survey of the planet. When they found an appropriate spot to do so, the crew blasted through the earth to form a very deep hole. Landing their vessel inside the hole, the crew dismantled their ship and built a base from its parts—much as the Starfleet refugees would later do on the surface. The ship’s cloaking device (also a prototype) was put to good use; once activated, the base was invisible to most sensors.
A scrambled subspace signal was sent to a secret location in Federation space from the new Section 31 base on Erehwon, which arrived several years before the war with the Dominion commenced. The signal received, another prototype vessel crewed by Section 31 personnel departed Federation space for Erehwon. This ship was significantly larger and much more powerful. Whereas the first Section 31 vessel had possessed a crew of fifty-three, this ship carried ten times that number. The first Section 31 vessel had been designed to be taken apart, to be a way station to another purpose. The second vessel was a dreadnought, a battleship. It was designed for war, and little else. There was nothing like it in Starfleet--nor in any competing Alpha Quadrant power’s fleet, for that matter.
Had this vessel been at the Battle of Wolf 359, the Borg cube that had so easily decimated thirty-nine Starfleet vessels would not have been able to withstand its power. But as the Borg were cutting a deadly swathe through Federation space, the Section 31 vessel was warping its way to Erehwon. It entered the Delta Quadrant shortly after the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole, and reached the Section 31 base on Erehwon around the time the U.S.S. Odyssey was destroyed by the Jem’Hadar.
Having arrived at Erehwon in good order, the Section 31 vessel completed a sensor sweep of the Erehwon sector and quickly liquidated several undesirable elements found operating in the area. Another subspace signal was sent to Federation space and received by Section 31 operatives. A signal was sent back in reply: the war with the Dominion had begun.
After the arrival of Dominion reinforcements through the Bajoran wormhole and the defeat of the Federation and Klingon forces at the Second Battle of Deep Space Nine, Section 31 replaced the false sensor readings of the Erehwon sector in Federation data banks with the real thing. With Federation and Klingon forces on the defensive on all fronts and various planets falling to the Dominion every day, Section 31 operatives in positions of power in Starfleet began promoting a plan to send a contingent of refugee vessels to the Delta Quadrant should the Federation fall. If the fight could not be carried on from there, they reasoned, at least some of the Federation would survive to fight another day.
While Starfleet had made several other contingency plans in case the worst came to pass, this was the basket in which Section 31 had placed all its eggs. The worst soon came to pass. After two years of desperate fighting, the Federation was losing the war. One by one, the core worlds of the Federation fell to the Dominion. The Klingons were wiped out, the Romulans closed their borders, and everywhere the Dominion advanced. Earth fell, and what remained of Starfleet was butchered at Andoria. Section 31 operatives signaled their counterparts in the Delta Quadrant: we are on our way. The refugee fleet set course for Erehwon, and arrived soon after. A contingent of Section 31 operatives remained in the conquered Federation, with new identities—or new genomes, as it were.
For three years, the Section 31 base and the dreadnought vessel that had followed it to Erehwon protected the Starfleet remnant on the planet. While the erstwhile Starfleet personnel made every effort to patrol the Erehwon sector, Section 31 did the heavy lifting in actually keeping the planet secure. Fortunately, the sector was fairly isolated and far away from any potentially dangerous spacefaring empires. Random pirates and marauders were dealt with ruthlessly by the Section 31 dreadnought. The Starfleet refugees were too busy surviving to notice the protective shield Section 31 had erected around them, and this of course was by design.
The discovery of the Voyager did not catch Section 31 by surprise. The Section 31 base had picked up the vessel the moment it had entered its sensor range, nearly a year before Starfleet’s long-range sensors did. The Section 31 dreadnought cleared a path for Voyager to follow to Erehwon by eliminating several threats that could have derailed the ship’s path through the quadrant. Once Voyager was safely orbiting Erehwon, Section 31 turned its attention to another, more pressing matter.
A Section 31 operative on Earth had sent an urgent subspace message to the Delta Quadrant through the secret relay system, as yet undiscovered by the overconfident Dominion. A biomimetic copy of the Voyager—complete with biomimetic crew—had reached the Alpha Quadrant. After its capture by the Dominion, the biomimeticvessel and its crew had reached the end of its life span and disintegrated. The Dominion, concerned that this was some kind of last-ditch Federation trick, had dispatched a small fleet to the Delta Quadrant to determine if this was in fact the case.
A scan of the real Voyager’s sensor logs revealed the truth—the biomimetic copy was a fluke, a random event that was unlikely to repeat itself. But a serious danger now presented itself. The Dominion was on its way to the Delta Quadrant. While this would not normally pose a problem—the Dominion fleet was small, and space was big—the biomimeticVoyager’s course to the Alpha Quadrant had passed dangerously close to the Erehwon sector. Section 31’s sensors had picked up the biomimetic disturbance when it had passed, but had merely logged it as another spatial anomaly. This had been an error. It was a certainty that at some point, the Dominion fleet would discover the Starfleet presence on Erehwon. And while the Section 31 dreadnought could easily handle a small Dominion force, it was also a certainty that the Dominion would send reinforcements to wipe out the Federation refugees. Sheer numbers could easily overwhelm even a powerful vessel such as the Section 31 dreadnought.
The Section 31 base on Erehwon sent a subspace message back to its operatives in the Alpha Quadrant. An operative was to be placed on the flagship of the Dominion fleet headed for the Delta Quadrant, obviously. The Section 31 operative on Earth was to keep tabs on the Dominion reaction to any news from the fleet, and keep the base on Erehwon apprised of the situation.
On Erehwon, a decision was reached. A cloaked shuttle was dispatched on a mission deep within the Delta Quadrant. If Erehwon and its refugee population were to be discovered by the Dominion, they would need help. Section 31 had been cultivating a certain relationship in the Delta Quadrant for many years. This relationship must now bear fruit. These allies would be more than willing to help, but there would be a price. Section 31 was willing to pay the price for survival, but was Starfleet?
And so it was decided that Section 31 would make contact with Starfleet and reveal its presence on the planet.
Naturally, it was with a great deal of shock that Admiral William Ross received an unannounced visitor from the Section 31 base in his quarters late one night. At first the admiral did not believe what he heard, but a visit to the Section 31 base quickly convinced him. Ross was aware of Section 31, but mostly as rumors heard before the war; but seeing so many Section 31 personnel and what they had wrought on the planet (and in secret, right under his nose!) both aggravated and impressed him. The revelation of the Section 31 dreadnought was even more of a surprise, however. Where had this vessel come from? The technology on display was far in advance of Federation science, Ross noted to his hosts.
Yes, they had agreed. The technology that had built the vessel was from the future, but it was a future that had not come to pass. Ross’s hosts declined to tell him how this technology was obtained, and did not seem perturbed by their blatant violation of Federation laws regarding time travel.
They did tell him about the Dominion fleet heading for the Delta Quadrant, however, and no, evacuating Erehwon was not a feasible option. Should the Dominion attack Erehwon, a stand would have to be made there. Section 31, Starfleet, and any allies that could be found would have to fight, and they would have to win.
But what allies, Ross had asked. The Delta Quadrant was unknown space. The only significant power the Federation knew about was the—
Not the Borg.
No, Ross’s hosts assured him. Not the Borg. These potential allies were something even more powerful than the Borg, something even more powerful than the Dominion. If they agreed to help, Erehwon might just survive.
Ross had asked several questions in response to this. Why would they help us, and why would the Dominion allow Erehwon to survive even so? Wouldn’t the Dominion just overwhelm them with Jem’Hadar attack ships? It was only one sector, after all.
And therein lies the catch, his hosts had replied. Our allies may require something from us that you are not willing to give.
Independence. Our allegiance to the United Federation of Planets. We would become part of a new polity. An attack on Erehwon by the Dominion would be an attack on all. The Dominion was a pragmatic power, and would soon realize making war on a powerful enemy in the Delta Quadrant was a fool’s errand. Erehwon would be safe.
Ross was stunned. The idea of ceding what remained of the Federation’s sovereignty to some unknown foreign power was…preposterous. Why not just surrender to the Dominion?
The Dominion is evil, his hosts insisted. Our allies are not. They would allow the Erehwon sector a great deal of autonomy. You could keep your vessels, your Starfleet ranks, all of it. They only ask for our allegiance. And believe us, they could simply come and take it! And yet, they do not. They wish us to join them voluntarily, much as the United Federation of Planets once freely offered membership to various worlds. They do not seek to conquer.
If we could only keep our presence here a secret, Ross had said. We could continue to rebuild. Keep our independence, keep our freedom. Perhaps, one day, we could even rebuild the Federation out here in the Delta Quadrant, and then take back what is ours.
We will try to avoid detection by the Dominion fleet, his hosts had agreed. That would be the most desirable outcome. But we must not be naïve. The United Federation of Planets died over the skies of Andoria, Admiral. The Delta Quadrant is not the Alpha Quadrant. The civilizations out here are older, more entrenched in their ways. There are dangers out here that you cannot even comprehend. Rebuilding the Federation out here would be like building a sandcastle before high tide. If we are to survive, it will either be as a small, obscure world forever hiding from the Dominion…or as part of a greater polity already in existence.
Even now, one of their ships is on its way to Erehwon, Ross’s hosts informed him. We will meet with them. We will work to avoid detection by the Dominion fleet as it passes by this sector, but a decision must be made…and soon.
Section 31 returned Ross to his quarters, where he immediately sounded general quarters and summoned all high-ranking Starfleet and civilian staff to meet with him as soon as possible. There was much to discuss.
|April 24 2015, 01:28 AM||#12|
Location: State of Mind
Re: Star Trek Parallels: The Dominion Triumphant
Guardian of Forever? Was it destroyed? I would think section 31 would use it if around
Is there going to be an in universe reason for not using time travel
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