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Old May 8 2012, 10:08 PM   #211
Ln X
Fleet Captain
 
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 7, part 2

For many hours Kira and Odo continued their walk through the forest, now though it was becoming dark, and in such an alien place this unnerved Kira. She was used to roaming out in the night, she did that all the time in the Bajoran resistance, but that was Bajor, this was Breen. One thing that always remained in her mind was the notion that what you didn’t know tended to kill you in situations like this.

They were not going to walk for the rest of the night, they couldn’t because Odo would need to regenerate. Right now they were walking close to a cliff, not quite vertical, and lined with trees. Apparently Odo spotted a place to shelter, though Kira thought he was seeing things.

“It's becoming to dark to keep walking...” she said, glancing up into the evening's sky. “Are you sure this cliff has a few hollows to rest under?”

“Positive,” said Odo, while the tricorder’s light illuminated some of his face.

Kira had a strong sense of foreboding about the night, what if the Breen were nocturnal and continued their search into the night? There was no answer to that question and this worried Kira, but there was no feasible way of walking on without separating from Odo.

As she continued walking, the darkness really started to set in, and with the dense trees, Kira could just make out their outlines. Thank the Prophets there would not be another snowstorm, since being outside in the freezing cold and the total darkness, was not her idea of good conditions.

“Here's the spot,” said Odo at last.

Kira looked at the hollow in the cliff-face, and it did penetrate into the cliff for a few metres so it would provide some shelter. “Not much,” she finally said, giving her conclusion, “but it'll have to do. It'll keep out most of the elements.”

“You stay here, while I'll get some wood to light a fire.”

While Odo departed, passing to Kira the tricorder, she went inside the hollow and was surprised to find it rather earthy and dry. She rested her rucksack on the ground, and then crouched down having found a flat bit of the hollow. Finding a few stones, she cleared some of the earth before her to make a rough circular patch on the ground, lining it with stones.

When she completed this, she simply waited, folding her arms, and tucking them tightly against her chest. The temperature started dropping again. Though she felt warm for most of the day, that chill was ever-present, and now it would become far worse as the night descended.

With Odo gone, Kira became vastly more aware of her surroundings, and for some reason the forest seemed to become a bit more alive. There was the occasional howl, the infrequent rustling, and sometimes the grunting sounds of a beast. Her fear dominating her desire to keep warm, Kira reached out for her phaser rifle, and placed the gun butt close to her chest, while aiming the rifle outwards.

It was not quite pitch black, but all she could see now were simply the presence of trees, black blobs against a slightly brighter evening. How Odo could see was a mystery to Kira, and she found it amazing that after being married to him for over seventeen years, some parts of her husband still puzzled Kira.

A sudden thrill of terror coursed through her body when she heard commotion close up. She held onto the phaser rifle, her heart beating wildly, and she saw the black outline of a humanoid figure approach her.

“Don’t shoot! It’s me Odo!”

Kira lowered her rifle, and breathed out deeply as she overcame her shock. “Next time warn me earlier!” she replied angrily, as she remembered the similar situation last night when Odo had returned to her.

She could not make out the expression on her husband’s face, and she presumed Odo’s silence was simply him trying to diffuse the situation. Even though it was almost pitch black, Kira watched as Odo crouched down, and she heard some soft thuds. She deduced that must have been the branches Odo collected, hitting the ground onto the circular patch she made. With another thud, a little further away, Odo dumped the rest of the wood.

“Have you got anything to light it up?” she asked.

“No, but I'll shapeshift, and provide a spark, like I did last time...”

For a few moments there was only blackness, then a small ball of fire appeared, lighting the immediate surroundings. Kira quickly realised that small ball of fire was actually Odo’s transformed right hand, and she watched intently, as Odo placed the fire ball against one of the logs.

Pretty soon one part of the log caught fire, until half a minute later all the branches and wood were on fire. The warmth generated was immediate, and Kira gratefully placed her hands closer to the fire to warm them up. “Nice, haven't seen you do that one before.”

Odo smiled a little at her compliment. “I thought you did last night?

“Nah, I wasn't paying attention to what you were doing.”

“Oh,” said Odo, and he looked uncomprehending. “Anyway I've got some more branches to stoke the fire.”

Now that she was warm, Kira opened up her medkit, and in there she saw half of the kit’s space taking up with the various edible fungi and mushroom-like vegetables she collected. “Damn...”

“What?” asked Odo, gazing at Kira with a little concern.

“I wish I had brought along some ration packs, it would have been better than eating this fungi...”

“We should have hunted down an animal instead.”

“If we could find any,” said Kira, the frustration creeping into her voice. “I mean aside from a few odd-shaped birds that was all I saw...”

With a sigh, she resigned herself to the worst, picked up one of the orange mushrooms and put it to her mouth. It was so chewy, so squidgy and bitter, but she persisted in chewing. The taste was bad, but the worst part was that it lingered in her mouth for hours afterwards.

She had downed over twenty mushrooms and various bits of fungi, when she noticed Odo reading a padd. “What's that your reading?” she asked, pointing towards the padd.

Odo looked up from the padd. “A list of names, suspects, concerning the criminal smuggling operations that happen between the Cardassian/Federation border.”

With a snort of laughter, the half-eaten bits of mushroom flew from Kira’s mouth. She could not believe it, and to her it seemed absurd, yet so funny, and she laughed some more.

Odo who was trying to concentrate on the padd, ceased in his efforts. “What's so funny?” he demanded, giving Kira a stern look.

“We're running for our lives, and you're...” Kira paused, catching her breathe from the laughter. “You’re… you're reading criminal activity reports!” She laughed even harder, before calming down. “And they say you don't have a sense of humour.”

Pretending to be serious, Odo bristled at the remark. “For your information, this isn't just any old criminal activity report. This-” And he held the padd high, like it was a scared religious text or something. “-is the reason why I came to Breen.”

The laughter died away, and Kira calmed down. “Oh...” She wiped her eyes of the tears from her laughter. “So that's why you contacted your source...”

Odo nodded, and then, having decided it was safe to do so, returned to his padd.

Summoning up her iron will, Kira devoured a few more mushrooms, until finally she had enough. Resisting the urge to throw them all away, she closed the medkit, and stashed it back into her rucksack. With nothing better to do, she moved around the fire, and then sat down next to Odo.

There she snuggled up to her husband, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and rested her head against the base of Odo’s neck. It felt so comfortable, sitting there and feeling the warmth he generated. Kira looked into the fire, thinking about the last 26 hour’s worth of events, and coming to terms with the surreality of the situation. Last night she occupied one of the Imperial Palace's quarters, now here she was out in the wilderness, avoiding the Breen, and braving the unknown and serious danger.

“I'm glad I have you Odo...” she murmured, while she gently rubbed her left hand against Odo’s shoulder. “I don't know what's going to happen to us tomorrow, or the day after, or for the whole week. But being next to you, this doesn't seem so bad...”

“Same here...” said Odo, with equal conviction.

Odo then lowered his padd, and turning his head around, he looked at Kira. In that moment the two exchanged a brief kiss, before Kira resumed her gazing into the fire, and Odo returned to his padd.

“I really need to regenerate,” said Odo after many minutes of silence.

“Two hours...” said Kira, while she moved away from Odo and returned to her previous spot. “If the Breen find us and your still regenerating...”

“If that happens then leave me, and save yourself,” implored Odo. “Don't worry about me, just stay alive and out of the Breen's clutches!”

“You really think I'll let the Breen capture you, without putting up a fight first?”

Odo though was not swayed by Kira’s passionate promise. “If you do that, the Breen will kill you. Just promise me that if the Breen do come, and I'm still regenerating, you run away as if your life depends upon it?”

Though what Odo was asking ran contrary to what every fibre in Kira’s body urged her to do, she eventually relented, recognising that Odo wanted to make this sacrifice-if the worst happened-and how could she refuse?

She walked over to Odo, and took up his left hand. “I promise,” she said, before bringing the hand to her mouth, and giving it one long constant kiss.

When she let go of Odo’s hand, her other hand rummaged in one of her thermal jacket’s pockets to search for her tricorder. After a few moments searching, she found it, took it out, and began fiddling with it.

“What are you doing?” said Odo.

“Creating a proximity beacon,” replied Kira, as she focused intensely upon the tricorder. “If the Breen come within three kilometres of our position, the tricorder will emit a loud screeching sound to alert us. That way I can get in a few moments of sleep, in-between times when I'm on watch.”

“Are you sure you can rely on that tricorder?”

“I have no choice!” answered Kira, and she looked up from the tricorder. “If you were humanoid I'd wake you, so you would take watch, but you're not. Try as I might to stay awake, I will eventually fall asleep, and I need something to do the watching for me!”

Silence followed, until Odo moved somewhat away from the fire. “Well... good night Nerys...”

“Yeah good night Odo, watch you don't ooze into the fire...”

“Don't worry about me, I've already planned for that.”

Sure enough Odo placed a log in front of him, and lowering himself, the bits of ground the log did not cover he filled in with earth. Finally Odo reverted to his gelatinous form, and Kira watched him as the shape of a crouching man, collapsed into a big thick dull brown-like treacle. The log held, and Odo’s mass, slowly oozed outwards, away from the fire.

With Odo regenerating, Kira sat down, a bit closer to the fire, and took watch. For many minutes she thought about her husband’s ingenuity at keeping his form away from the fire. Those thoughts quickly changed into a long period of reminiscing, as Kira considered the good times she experienced with her family.

It didn’t seem possible to her, that her children were on DS9, perhaps currently sleeping, blissfully unaware of the danger she and their father were in. But very soon, they would know, and sadness made Kira’s heart ache. She did not expect any miraculous outcomes from all of this, and she prepared herself for the very strong likelihood that she would never see Mia or Deru again.

It was a very depressing thought, one that made her eyes burn, so she thought about something else. Though nothing really came, a series of distorted images flashed in her head, and all the while the tiredness crept in. The noises of bigger creatures, the howls, yelps and sounds of other animals kept her awake and reasonably alert.

She kept glancing at the tricorder, it seemed to be functioning, and the warning sound she rigged had yet to go off. Maybe the Breen were not going to track her and Odo down in the dead of night. That gave her a little hope, but it was dwarfed by the sick feeling inside of her. This was not going to end well, the Breen were going to eventually track her down.

Whether to kill or capture she did not know, and worrying thoughts popped up in her mind. Horrors, based on rumours about the Breen, lingered and made her feel a bit more nervous. Through all her feelings, the tiredness steadily crept up on her unnoticed, and then she felt it. But it was to late, she could not stay awake forever, she was simply so exhausted from the day’s walking and the small amounts of food she had for sustenance.

Just as she was about to fall asleep her eyes caught a small floating yellow light. Immediately her senses sharpened, as she worried that this light was somehow coming from an incoming Breen soldier. But then more floating lights appeared, mainly yellow, but she saw green, orange and red.

The lights were drifting around in the darkness, and just when she thought she could not be any more surprised, she heard a slight harmonic hum come from the lights. Kira then began to realise that these lights were actually a type of firefly, and she listened intently to the simple harmonies these creatures made. It sounded ever so pleasant, and it was the first beautiful thing she witnessed on Breen.

Eventually her interest faded, and her tiredness returned with a vengeance. Her eyelids drooped lower, and her will to stay alert dropped lower as well. Now her eyelids were mainly closed, and her mind drifted. Though when she did open her eyes, she found herself back on DS9, her children were there, running towards her in their home to greet her…

With a soft thump, Kira fell onto her side against the ground, her phaser rifle askance. Her breathing was shallow and contented, and a faint smile formed on her lips. She was home!
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old May 15 2012, 10:11 PM   #212
Ln X
Fleet Captain
 
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 8, part 1

Day 7, 1300 hours

The next day was more walking, and further periods of long silences between Odo and Kira. Odo thought that after 25 years of knowing each other they would have rather a lot to talk about, unfortunately Kira wasn’t in the mood for talking, save when it was only necessary.

Trees, trees and more trees was the view for most of the time, and sometimes Odo checked the tricorder to scan the nearby surroundings, but he had no real idea of where he was going, just that he and Kira were going deeper into this forest. Walking down a slope, Odo thought he heard the sound of river, sure enough, a few hundred metres later, he came across one, a very wide river indeed.

“Damn!” said Kira, coming to a complete stop and staring at the iced up river. “A dead end!”

“We could cross the river as the ice looks thick enough,” suggested Odo.

“Yeah 'looks' being the operative word,” added Kira sarcastically. “Are you out of your mind? Some parts of the ice sheet are going to be thin, and if I fall in...”

There was a pause as Kira thought about that possibility. “The water must be below freezing, submerged in that, however momentarily, and I'll be chilled to the bone. I would probably get hypothermia, and be dead in a matter of hours.”

“We can't stay in this side of the river,” explained Odo, “we're still too close to the Breen capital, but on the other side...”

“Well why not transform yourself into some massive Alterian eagle, carry me, and fly over the river?”

It was a good idea, so Odo shapeshifted and he was in the shape of a big eagle, but try as he might he couldn’t solidify such a massive form. His metabolism didn’t have the energy to hold such a huge form, and he eventually gave up and reverted to his previous form.

“I can't...” he told Kira, sounding deeply disappointed. “The cold is already starting to affect my shapeshifting, the form is simply to big to hold.”

Kira though didn’t seem to take that for an answer. “We can't walk across the ice, it's to dangerous.”

“Well it's risking death or being captured,” reminded Odo, and he decided to really stick it up Kira’s face. “Though I suppose we could try to find ourselves a bridge to cross?” he added somewhat humorously.

“Oh very clever,” snapped Kira, “if there are any bridges then the Breen will surely be guarding or monitoring them.”

“It's your choice Nerys; we either stay on this side of the river, or cross it.”

Fuming some more, Kira became silent, and her eyes glazed over as she thought about it. “We cross the river,” she said, sounding as if a death sentence had been cast upon her. “But I pray to the Prophets that the ice doesn't give out!”

Taking the lead, Odo stepped onto the ice, where it appeared to look very sturdy. His whole weight was upon it and he didn’t feel the ice moving in any way whatsoever. He took a few more steps, stopped to feel how the ice was holding up. Turning round, he nodded encouragingly to Kira, and reluctantly she stepped onto the ice, following the steps Odo was taking.

And so it continued for five minutes, Odo lead the way, careful with each step. When the ice creaked, he got nervous, not for his safety but for Kira’s. However the end seemed in sight when they were more than three-quarters of the way across the river. Stepping his foot on one bit of the ice, Odo thought he heard a slight groan, but he decided it was nothing serious and moved on.

A few steps later, he heard a crack of ice folding, and then a splash. He spun round on the spot, careful to keep his balance, and his heart sank when he saw Kira deep in the water, submerged up to her chest.

“Odo!” she cried out in a stricken voice.

Odo moved as fast as he could, without weakening any more of the ice. He came to within a foot of where the ice ended, and crouched down. “Grab onto my hand.”

Kira grabbed his hand, but her hand slipped. “I c-c-can't grip yor-your hand!” she said through clattering teeth.

So Odo lowered himself some more, and with both hands grabbed Kira by the elbow and pulled up her up onto the ice.

Laying down on her front, every bit of Kira below her neck was sodden, and she shivered violently, while her breathing was deep but very shaky.

“Oh my! Oh my!” she gasped. “That w-w-was so cold.”

Carefully, Odo lifted Kira onto her feet. “Can you stand?” he asked, while supporting her upright by her armpits.

“Just...” said Kira, tremulously nodding.

Slowly Odo moved his hands, he expected Kira to collapse, but she didn’t. “Let's move on, before the ice weakens anymore.”

Kira nodded more vigorously, and the two resumed their trek over the ice. They finally made it to the other side, and at that point, Odo felt glad the crossing was done. He started making his way up the forested slope, while nightmare scenarios popped up in his head. Was Kira going to get hypothermia? If so would a fire be enough to warm her up?

No was the answer that came to his head. Kira needed to take off her soaking wet thermals but that was out of the question giving the bitter cold. So what could he-

“Odo,” came Kira’s weak voice some distance behind him. “I can't walk.”

Odo turned around and he saw Kira slumped forwards upon the ground, her face almost buried in the snow. He ran down the slope, his boots digging into the snow as he tried to reach Kira as quickly as possible. “Then I'll support you!” he told Kira the moment he was by her side.

Kira forcibly flipped herself around so that she was lying on her back. “No!” she replied in a strong voice. “I w-would slow you d-down too much.”

“I am not leaving you!”

A sad expression came on Kira’s face, and her eyes found Odo’s face. “Odo, you have to,” she said gently. “Please, just save yourself, the Breen are tracking us down, I'll be captured but at least you won't.”

“Like hell I'm leaving you!” growled Odo. “You'll be dead before the Breen get to you!”

Kira seemed to have difficulty breathing, yet she found the strength to shout back at him. “Don't make me order you to leave!”

“Stop pretending that we're just officers,” chided Odo, “we're husband and wife, and I will not leave you here to die!”

He bent down, and took the rucksack off Kira, before placing it around his back. Next he got an arm around Kira's shoulders and lifted her up, so that she was standing. His arm supported his wife, and he would do the walking for both of them. “We're going to keep walking, and find some accommodation!”

“Odo, even if we keep moving, I'm still going to die from exposure.”

Odo ignored his wife’s accurate point, and he whipped out his tricorder, and looked at the map readings. “There's a small building about a kilometre north from our position, we'll head there and try to warm you up.”

“But if there's Breen inside-”

“We'll deal with that problem when it arises. Now what I need from you is some of that old stubbornness and fiery will to stay alive.”

“You're right,” agreed Kira, as some of her strength returned to her voice. “When this is all over I'm going to give you the berating of a lifetime!”

“Really?” asked Odo, sounding half surprised half amused.

“I need something to motivate me!”
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
Ln X is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 15 2012, 10:12 PM   #213
Ln X
Fleet Captain
 
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 8, part 2

A snowstorm was brewing, and Odo moved as fast as he could. He couldn’t believe how slow it was to move just one kilometre carrying someone along. Unfortunately time was not what his wife had at the moment. At first Kira had looked alert but steadily, as her energy sapped, she looked drowsy and now to Odo’s alarm, Kira looked ready to fall asleep. But she couldn’t do that.

He sometimes prodded her to keep her awake, and he just wished the building he was walking towards would come into sight. Finally he saw the faint outline of the building, and this made him even more determined to keep moving. “We're nearly there Nerys, do you see the building? We're nearly-”

Taking one look of Kira’s face, he was shocked by how white it had become and by the fact that her lips were turning slightly blue.

“Stick with me,” he urged Kira. “Come on Nerys you are too stubborn to die!”

“The building...” mumbled Kira.

“I know, we're nearly there...” responded Odo, trying to put as much hope and conviction in his voice to chivy Kira along.

Kira though just mumbled, and the more she mumbled, the more Odo became convinced that she was very close to death. Finally he reached the one-story building, it looked like a house, with stone walls, a two-sided sloped roof, and a few small windows. Quickly he checked his tricorder, there was a Breen inhabitant, but he had no choice but to knock at the door.

“What are you doing?” asked Kira in a sleepy voice.

“I can't blast the door down, the Breen will detect the phaser burst, but I can't prise it open either...”

The door opened, revealing the Breen living in the house. He looked deeply angry, and his mandibles were clicking menacingly. “Get out!”

Odo though took out the phaser rifle, attached to a belt on his trousers, and pointed it at the Breen. “Shut up and let us inside otherwise I'll kill you!” he shouted.

The Breen though didn’t seem perturbed, and behind the door, his hand slowly crept along a table to pick up the rifle (unseen to Odo) mounted against the wall. “Bluffing; your Federation. Federation; don't kill in cold blood.”

“I'm a shapeshifter, a Founder, and they do kill in cold blood!”

Suddenly the Breen made his move, but Odo launched himself upon the Breen, knocking the rifle out of the Breen’s hands. Odo didn’t have the energy to shapeshift too rapidly so he resorted to fisticuffs to knock out the Breen.

But the Breen was far stronger than he looked, and he then pinned Odo against the wall, his hands were trying to throttle Odo, without knowing that Odo could not be choked to death. Odo didn’t have the strength to push the Breen back, and the part of his mind that wasn’t engaged in fighting the Breen, was desperate to return to Kira, who remained outside probably freezing to death.

There was a loud thud, the Breen’s eyes widened in surprise, before his hands slackened and he fell to the carpeted floor with a bump. To Odo’s surprise he saw Kira on her feet, standing over the Breen, holding a phaser rifle like it was a club.

“Thanks a lot,” said Odo.

Kira nodded in a slow manner. “That was the-” She then slumped slowly down a wall, as her strength gave way. “-the least I c-could do.”

Odo closed the front door, before bending down next to Kira, and taking out some of the medical supplies stashed away in her thermal’s jacket. Kira seemed out of it, and she didn’t seem to mind Odo rummaging the contents of her jacket. He found what he was looking for; a hypospray loaded with sedatives.

Walking back to the Breen, he placed the hypospray against the Breen’s neck, and discharged the contents. “He'll be knocked out for the rest of the day,” commented Odo with some satisfaction.

“I'm s-still so cold!” moaned Kira, who had her arms wrapped tightly around her as she shuddered away violently. “Doesn't t-this place have a-a heat generator or c-central heating?”

“I'll find what warms this house, but right now we need to get you out of those thermals.”

As quickly as possible, Odo removed the thermal jacket and trousers from Kira, which were still soaked, and finally her uniform’s jacket, which was just as damp and wet.

“Stay there,” he told her, “and take this-” He passed to Kira the phaser rifle. “-in case our Breen friend wakes up.”

“The tri-tricorder, is it still working?”

“It is,” said Odo, as he examined his tricorder, before he quickly walked off and searched the house.

He arrived in what looked like the kitchen, where cabinets were attached to the walls and the skins of various animals placed like trophies above the cabinets. Finally he found what he was looking for, a unit that regulated the house’s heating. It took some time for him to work out the Breen language on the console unit, but he managed to work out that the current temperature was three degrees centigrade.

So he tapped in a few commands, and the temperature rose to what was-if he had translated it correctly-25 degrees centigrade. Sure enough, he heard the power generator inside the heating unit whir up slightly, and almost at once Odo could feel a slight rise in the temperature.

With the heating sorted out, Odo’s eyes fell upon some cords hung up on a wall. They would be handy for tying up the Breen. So he returned back to Kira, tying up the Breen, binding his hands, arms and legs. Kira looked like she was sleeping, but Odo picked her up regardless, while her legs and head hung limply. This house had to have a bathroom of some kind, and a bathtub or shower unit. The fastest way to warm up Kira was to douse her with hot water.

“Kira are you still with me?”

Kira’s eyelids barely flickered open. “I feel so... so sleepy.”

“Don't nod off, you need to stay awake, do you hear me? Stay awake Nerys!”

“I'll... try.”

“Where's the bathroom to this place?” muttered Odo, while he resumed his search of the house.

He searched the various rooms, until in the last one he came across this small pool. It had to be about three by four metres across, filled to the brim, and on the top of the water's surface floated chunks of ice. If the Breen bathed like this, then it was certainly a weird way of doing so. Odo carefully rested Kira against the floor, and he took out his phaser, and fired at the pool to warm it up. He checked his tricorder and he thought forty degrees centigrade was a decent temperature.

Lowering himself, he prodded Kira in the arm to wake her.

“Ow!” she said rather sleepily, but her eyes opened and she looked angrily at Odo. “W-what was that for?”

“To make sure you're still awake.”

Odo then switched the tricorder’s mode so that it emitted a radiation type that broke down the nitrogen. He ran the tricorder around the perimeter of the pool, until the nitrogen levels in the water were at safe levels.

“Nerys,” he said, and he prodded her, but there was no response.

So Odo picked Kira up in his arms, and then stepped into the shallow end of the pool. He then carefully lowered Kira into the slightly steaming water, until her whole body became submerged in the water. Slowly he dipped her head in, while being careful of not submerging her face.

He stood there, the water up to his thighs, holding Kira. Removing his right hand, he let her legs lower to the pool floor, while he supported her upper half with his left arm. His right hand felt Kira’s pulse, and alarm gripped him after sensing how weak it was. “Come on, wake up,” he told her softly, “please wake up!”

Some nerve-wracking minutes later, and Kira’s eyes opened. They moved rightwards to look at Odo’s face, a few moments later and a smile formed on Kira’s mouth. “I think I dozed off,” she said softly.

“You did,” said Odo in an equally soft voice. “Do you feel warmer now?”

“Loads... But I feel really light-headed.”

“It's the rewarming shock; your blood pressure must have lowered as you warmed up, I'll check the medkit, there could be some medicine to raise your blood pressure.”

Odo moved Kira to the shallow end of the pool, before bending down and carefully resting her against the pool’s surface. It took a while to sit Kira down, but eventually Odo managed. When Kira nodded to Odo, she told him she would be alright on her own.

Stepping out of the pool, Odo walked back to the house’s front door.

“Where are you going?” asked Kira.

“To bring the Breen inside this room, so we can keep a close eye on him, and also to get all of our possessions. The contents of the medkit are still in your thermal jacket.”

It was a two way trip, first Odo dragged the Breen just outside of the pool room, and the second time he came back with his arms loaded with Kira’s thermals, her red jacket and the phaser rifles on top. He dumped the contents he carried on Kira’s side of the room.

Rummaging through Kira’s thermals, he found another hypospray and a vial full of jilterine. He slotted the vial into the hypospray, and entered the pool again. Bending down he injected the jilterine* on Kira’s neck. “That should do it.”

Finally with everything sorted out, he sat on the pool edge, his feet and shins dipped into the water. With each passing minute Kira looked more healthier, her skin reverted to its pale complexion, and the redness had returned to her cheeks. She was no longer shivering, and she was now out of the danger zone.

Kira stayed silent for some time, perhaps she just wanted to warm up, or maybe she had a lot to think about. “I'm sorry about being so tense,” she said abruptly and quietly. “It's just...”

Odo knew what Kira was referring to. “There's no need to explain, it was a very tight situation, it still is...”

Kira turned her neck to look at Odo, and she appeared unusually apologetic. “Even so I may have seemed ungrateful for you rescuing me, twice, but I want to thank you.”

A big smile came on Odo’s mouth, it was about time she thanked him for saving her, twice. “How do you feel? Far more warmer I hope?”

“Yeah for the first time I'm warm...”

The silence returned, as the two contemplated the day’s events.

“Do you think we can keep evading the Breen?” asked Kira.

“We've lasted for about two days and a bit, so who knows? May be we can remain one step ahead of the Breen.”

“Perhaps,” said Kira but there was little conviction in her voice.

The two both knew that they were either going to end up captured or dead, but for Odo he would not dwell on such a matter. Survival and keeping two steps ahead of the Breen was far more worthy of his attention and his thoughts.

“I just don't know what's going to happen...” murmured Odo, while he looked downwards at his legs.

“I just wish you hadn't come to Breen, at least our children would have one parent left.”

“Don't talk like that,” replied Odo sharply, “we don't know how this will turn out.”

“We're on Breen, and there's a saying; 'no one has seen a Breen face, and those that have wind up dead'.”

Odo though shook his head, he didn’t quite share his wife’s gloomy take on their condition. “The Breen want us alive, why I don't know, let's be thankful for such small mercies. And despite what has happened, I would rather be here on Breen with you, than be on DS9 constantly worrying for you.”

“I wouldn't have made it without you...” said Kira, and the tenderness of her voice surprised Odo.

He stepped into the water, sitting down right next to Kira. The desire to get closer with Kira consumed Odo for they were sharing a moment, something important between them where words were not needed.

“You could say we're on vacation,” joked Odo, after thinking about a response to what Kira had said.

“Hmm... the most dangerous vacation in the universe. You, me, a horde of Breen soldiers and the freezing weather...”

“Some vacation huh?”

“By the Prophets, I could do with a vacation!” exclaimed Kira. “We haven't really had one for over two years now. Maybe if all of this had a fairy tale ending, and if we somehow get back to DS9, we should take some shore leave, and have a family holiday on Bajor.”

What Kira was suggesting seemed amazingly wondrous to Odo, when he thought about the dire straits they were in at the moment. “That would be nice, going to Dahkur province, renting out that house... Just you, me and the children.”

Kira nodded away, before shifting herself so that she rested on her knees so as to directly face Odo. She placed a hand to Odo’s cheek and started stroking it very gently. “And when the children go out, it would be just you and me.”

“Like now,” said Odo quietly, the cheek which Kira was caressing burned on fire with her pleasant touch. “Just think about all that time we would have...”

Without really thinking, Odo moved forwards and kissed Kira, he supported her by the shoulders, while her fingers rested against Odo’s cheeks. It was the first time in over three days that they had really kissed.

They then stopped, and Kira’s eyes were gleaming, while her hands remained loosely around Odo’s cheeks. “I'll hold you to that promise,” she finally said.




*Jilterine is a drug to increase blood pressure.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old May 26 2012, 05:21 PM   #214
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 9, part 1

On board the Romulan flagship, Toshen was in one of the ship’s bigger and more stately quarters. It had an outside view of the vessel, and such a room was for more important people like himself, and he had spent the last hour going over Tal Shiar intelligence reports. All the while he thought about the coup, and all the people he had contacted and gained their support from. It was only a matter of time before he initiated the coup.

His plans were almost finalised, he just needed a little more support to be absolutely certain, and then he could carry out the coup. At that stage what he needed was a trigger, a catalyst for getting things into motion.

The door to his quarters chimed, disrupting his thoughts, and Toshen looked up from his console. “Enter!”

His personal assistant walked in. “Sir, you have a incoming call from Fellet Jret.”

“Patch it through to these quarters, secure channel.”

With a small bow, the assistant walked out.

The moment the assistant had left the quarters, Toshen inputted some commands on his console. He then found the channel which Jret was contacting from, and with some more commands he entered the various encryptions, to ensure that only he would see this transmission. With all the security measures in place, Toshen activated the channel.

“Fellet Jret, have you decided upon whether to help my cause or not?”

Slowly Jret stiffly nodded. “Your cause; will help you. Condition; must carry out your military coup immediately, it must succeed. Military coup; if it fails the Breen Confederacy will withdraw all support.”

“Fellet,” responded Toshen, a little discomfort in his voice, “the coup can't simply be rushed through, it takes-”

“Your problem,” answered Jret, and he looked obstinate. “To be our ally; serious effort is required. Our support; dependent on your coup's success.”

“I need more time!” insisted Toshen.

“Time; like sand in an hour glass,” said Jret, he seemed to be mocking Toshen. “Your request; denied.”

“But-”

The channel closed, and it left Toshen with a lot to think about. Could he carry out the coup now? Yes he could, but it was more risky. The risk being that the whole coup action would divide the Romulan military in two, and start a civil war as the two sides vied for control .

But that wouldn’t happen, not when he had senator Darak’s support. She would get the Romulan senate and the Continuing Committee in line, and once the senate supported Toshen, the military would quickly follow him. Still there was the matter of dealing with the small number of troops and ships loyal to Praetor Pelak. He could cause trouble, but not much, when he realised just how much power he had lost, should the coup go smoothly.

Then of course there were the Breen. There role in this was to support the Romulan Star Empire after the coup, since the empire badly needed trade with other interplanetary states. The Breen would be the perfect remedy, and both he and Fellet Jret had devised a cunning plan to force the Federation to hand over its thin and patchy strip of territory between the Breen Confederacy and the Romulan Star Empire.

That would mean more resources to the empire, and with Darak running the daily affairs, it would mean feeding the tens of millions of Romulans who were malnourished. Toshen saw great good coming out from the coup and the alliance with the Breen.

The supernova of the Romulus' sun and the destruction of Romulus, had reduced the empire to a third rate power. But no longer, every part of Toshen’s being was committed to restoring the glory of the empire. He would be its leader, its new Praetor, and he vowed to make the empire’s long-standing enemies, the Federation, the Klingons, to once more tremble in fear at the very mention of the Romulan Star Empire.


***


“Captain!” exclaimed the Vulcan lieutenant at the science station, her eyes were focused on the readings from her console’s screen.

“Yes lieutenant?” asked Ezri.

“Take a look at these long-range sensor readings.”

Removing herself from the commander’s chair, Ezri walked across the bridge over to the officer's station. “What about them?”

“I am detecting thousands of Breen ships moving inside of their territory, it is like the Breen are mobilising there ships and preparing to attack...”

“Hmm... attack the Federation?” mused Ezri, while she focused on the Breen fleet symbols shown on the screen. “It could all be posturing...”

“There way of threatening the Federation after the collapsed trade negotiations?” suggested the lieutenant, looking up from her console.

“Could be...” said Ezri a little vaguely. “Keep monitoring the Breen ship’s activity, any substantial change, or any Breen ship’s approaching the Defiant, report it to me at once. I’ll be in the ready room…”

Ezri walked back to her chair, picked up a padd, and headed out of the bridge. She had been reading all of Starfleet Command’s reports on Breen tactics and fleet deployments in the Corneria war, as she attempted to assess if the Breen were doing something similar in the present.

So far though, it was unclear what the Breen were doing. Ezri hoped this meant the Breen were angry enough to kick out all Starfleet ships from their space, but not angry enough to declare war on the Federation. However this was a very fast moving situation, and Ezri suspected there would be more surprise moves coming from the Breen over the next few days…


***


After such a close brush with death, Kira had forgotten what it felt like to be comfortable again. Despite being hungry, the strong warmth in the room overrode her rumbling stomach. In fact the room temperature felt almost stuffy. Sitting on the stone floor, she remained stationary while Odo ran a thermal drier over her body. She could have done so herself, but she knew Odo wanted to help her, so she took his assistance without grumbling.

“Feeling better now?” he asked.

“Much,” replied Kira.

Odo stopped running the thermal drier and got back onto his feet. “Your Starfleet thermals and your jacket are dry, plus I found two pairs of Breen thermals, wrap them around the Starfleet issue thermals and you will be toasty warm.”

“That would make a change...” said Kira, while she stood up. “What about the Breen? If we're staying here we'll have to keep him tied up.”

“I've already done that. We should stay here for the time being, I don't detect any Breen in a radius of ten kilometres, so they've lost track of us.”

“For a day or so...” pointed out Kira, despite her new-found comforts, it was all very transitory when it came to pure survival. “Even with the tricorder masking our life signs, they are still managing to follow us.”

“We're at least two steps ahead of them,” said Odo, “but we can't stay in this residence forever.”

“How is the Breen holding up?” asked Kira. “I mean can he withstand this room temperature?”

Now Odo looked somewhat sheepish. “I er... didn't bother to check, I was so concerned with you...”

He picked up his tricorder and phaser rifle, and together with Kira, they left the room, and came to a stop outside where the Breen still remained slumped against the wall.

“If I didn't know better I'd say he's overheating,” commented Odo, as he ran the tricorder over the Breen.

“What was the room temperature when we entered this place?” asked Kira.

“About three degrees centigrade, right now the temperature is about 25 degrees centigrade.”

Moving slowly, Kira approached the Breen, and lifted the hood which obscured most of his face. She moved backwards a step when she saw firsthand the hideousness of the Breen face. “By the Prophets! The Breen look horrible!”

“Don't judge a race by its looks...” reminded Odo, who looked a little aggrieved by Kira’s brash remarks.

Kira ignored this, placing a hand against the side of the Breen’s face, she then proceeded to check his pulse. Eventually she found the part of the Breen’s neck that exposed a pulse, and when she felt it, it thrummed very faintly. “He's glowing, perspiring like mad, and his pulse is very weak.”

She bit her upper lip slightly as she wondered what to do, though the Breen were her enemy, the humane part of her didn’t want to see this Breen suffer on her behalf. “We need to lower the temperature.”

“So soon?” said Odo ominously. “You've just recovered from hypothermia, to go into the cold again...”

“I'll live, but he won't, not like-”

The Breen’s right hand shot forwards towards Kira’s neck, and it squeezed tight, until Kira could barely breathe. She tried removing the Breen’s hand, but his grip was incredibly strong.

“Hurt me; she dies!” said the Breen in a dazed voice, though every word was clearly spoken.

“Odo lower the phaser rifle!” hissed Kira, which was all she could do as the Breen continued to strangle her.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw Odo lower his phaser rifle.

“What do you want?”

“Temperature; lower it!”

“Let go of Kira and I'll do so!”

“Unacceptable,” hissed the Breen, and his mandibles started clicking away in anger.

“I'm warning you, if you kill Kira, I'll kill you!”

Kira’s head was starting to spin, and she thought the Breen would not let go. But then the hand slackened, and Kira gasped air in greedily, while coughing at the same time. She felt Odo’s hands pull her away from the Breen, and she was kicking herself for not carefully checking the cords which bound the Breen’s hands.

“Regrets,” said the Breen after some moments. “Should have continued strangling the Bajoran.”

Kira got to her feet, and when Odo quickly checked her over, he passed to her his phaser rifle.

“Nerys you guard him, I'll lower the temperature.”

Training the rifle directly at the Breen’s head, Kira stood there, still breathing deeply, and still feeling shaken by her near strangulation. “Were you going to kill me?” she asked the Breen.

The Breen showed to Kira something like a grin on his face, before displaying his hands to her. “Breen grip; very strong. Bajoran neck; very weak.”

“I'll take that as a yes then.”

Kira continued to look at the Breen, the face of her enemy, the one that had been pursuing her for the last 48 hours.

“You; the first alien I've seen, outside of Breen Confederacy.”

“Haven't you seen other alien races?” asked Kira, sounding surprised despite herself.

“Breen Confederacy; a collection of races,” replied the Breen, and he sounded proud. “We Breen; rule over them all.”

“You didn't answer my question, have you seen other alien races before?”

“Yes; while shopping in a slave auction.”

“You have slaves?” asked Kira disgustedly.

The Breen though didn’t seem to mind her revulsion about slaves. “Slaves; very useful, do ones dirty work. Bajorans; would make poor slaves. To thin. To puny.”

“How would you know?” demanded Kira, her anger growing.

“Previous occupation; Breen military,” responded the Breen, and his voice was now rife with pride. “For them; was a soldier in the 56th fleet. My role; shock trooper.”

Kira did not know what to make of the Breen. On hand he was so vile and had such horrible views, and yet he took pride in it all. “You helped to invade other worlds and occupy them?”

“Other worlds; rightfully Breen. My former role; eliminating enemy ground defences.”

“There are rumours your race massacres the people on the worlds you conquer.”

Shrugging, the Breen clicked his mandibles in what seemed a chaotic way. “Other races; of no significance.”

“Even if you need their help?” asked Kira.

Before the Breen could respond, Odo arrived. “I've turned down the central heating, it'll be three degrees centigrade in about five minutes. You'd better get those thermals on.”

“Shapeshifter; are you a Founder?”

“No I'm not, but I was once the leader of my people.”

The Breen stayed silent, while Kira passed to Odo her phaser rifle. She returned to the pool room, to put on her thermals, leaving Odo to guard the Breen. When Kira was in her thermals, she returned to Odo and glanced briefly at the Breen.

“We can't stay in this house for any longer, not when we have to watch over him.”

“You're right we should leave...” said Odo.

A loud cackle of laughter burst out from the Breen’s mouth. “Fools; where would you go to?”

“Away from here,” replied Odo simply.

Showing his teeth, in a kind of smug superior smile, the Breen was leering at Kira and Odo. “Breen infantry divisions; will find you.”

“Shut up!” snapped Kira.

“Go ahead; kill me!”

“I'm warning you!” she hissed, pointing the phaser rifle straight at the Breen’s face.

“Nerys! Calm down, he wants you to do something stupid!”

“We're leaving here!” she said tensely.

“Agreed,” said Odo, and he rested his rifle on the ground, far away from the Breen, and took out another hypospray from his rucksack. “I'm sorry I have to do this, but I must.”

“My people; when they get to you, you will beg for death; in the end!”

That was all the Breen could say, before Odo sedated the Breen, and he slumped unconscious.

“His face emulated his attitude; revolting,” said Kira, frowning down at the Breen. “Honestly what kind of civilised race practises slavery and believes other races are inferior?”

“My race did...” said Odo heavily.

“I can see why the Breen signed that pact with the Dominion all those years ago, the two share a huge amount in common.”

“Not really; it was an alliance of convenience, at the time the Founders saw the Breen in the same light as any other solid; to be used at their convenience.” Odo paused and looked around the corridor. “Let’s stock on supplies, this person must have food, water, and a pair of Breen thermals.”

So the two spent over ten minutes, stocking up on Breen food supplies, and water, and much to Kira’s delight, she found a pair of Breen thermals.

When they were ready to go, and when Kira wore both the Federation and Breen thermals, she opened the door and stepped outside into the sunlit forest, while Odo followed from behind, after closing the door.

Even being wrapped up so warm, Kira still felt a little of the freezing temperature, and she shuddered somewhat. “I don't think I'll ever get used to this cold.”
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old May 26 2012, 05:22 PM   #215
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 9, part 2

Fellet Jret was pacing around his office as Fjort summarised to him about the Breen military’s attempts to captured Kira and Odo. Jret did look happy, and on a few times his mandibles clicked, in quick succession, in impatience. When Fjort was done, only then did Jret stop pacing, who stood behind his desk, gazing at Fjort with mean eyes.

“My patience; growing thin. Fjort; how could a Bajoran and a shapeshifter elude capture for so long?”

“Elude capture; that is incorrect,” replied Fjort angrily, his mandibles clicking away. “Kira and Odo; my troops are closing in upon them. Jiliterozok ice canyon; our fugitives heading there.”

“Your troops; have they surrounded the canyon?”

Fjort nodded, his eyes gleaming in satisfaction. “Canyon; a trap for Kira and Odo.”

Looking momentarily taken aback, the anger in Jret’s eyes vanished. “My accusation; hasty and unwarranted. Your skill; greater than I realised.”

Despite the compliment, Fjort still looked somewhat insulted by Jret’s previous outburst. “Kira and Odo; will be captured within the hour.”

When Jret nodded to Fjort, in a gesture of dismissal, Fjort retired from the room immediately. Jret remained standing, and after a few moments, he walked over to one of the walls, examining the stolen treasures of other worlds, hung up on the wall. No doubt Jret was wondering what kind of Federation treasures his forces could plunder, if there was to be a second war between the Breen and the Federation…


***


After more hours of walking, Kira and Odo reached the end of the forest, and they walked out of the clearing, were the ground was now littered with shrubs.

“The forest ends here...” muttered Kira, looking around before her eyes came to rest on the ice canyon. “My, my! Now this is a sight to behold!”

In front of Kira a huge U-shaped depression dug into the ground. The upper sides were lined with cliffs and the occasional steep slope, while the bottom was covered with huge ice-like boulders.

Low cloud hung above the canyon obscuring terrain features beyond it, but towards the opposite end of the canyon, the start of a huge forest could just be seen. On both of the lower sides of the canyon were gentle snowy slopes, and they provided hardly any cover from the elements or for hiding.

“Impressive,” said Odo, once he had taken in the whole sight. “Having said that we haven't got any other choice but to go into the ice canyon, to travel to Taijahraro forest, about fifteen kilometres ahead of us as it provides the best means of eluding the Breen's sensors.”

Kira though turned around, and shook her head. “But the Breen could so easily ambush us and cut us off!”

Odo turned around as well. “Have you got any other ideas to elude capture?”

“No,” admitted Kira, while she pulled a frowning sort of face. “But I've got a bad feeling about this, we should go back.”

“That's probably what the Breen want us to do! We can't go back!”

Thrusting her hands to her hips, Kira’s cheeks reddened with anger, as her temper frayed. “Odo you may be an amazing constable, but you've never been involved in guerilla warfare. You don't have the experience I do, and I'm telling you, every fibre in my body is telling me that this canyon is a trap.”

In response Odo folded his arms and stared defiantly back at Kira. “Well every part of my body is telling me the Breen are losing track of us. All that time in those woods, I had the constant feeling of being watched, but that feeling is receding.”

Kira though simply stood her ground. “I'm not going into that canyon.”

Odo lowered his arms, as his temper ratcheted up a notch. “Nerys, don't make me force you to go in there.”

“Well you go on ahead, get yourself captured, but I'm staying in the forest, it seems safer there.”

“Just because your gut is telling you so?” asked Odo, who sounded almost derisive towards Kira.

“It is not that!” shot back Kira, her voice rising, “it is because I think it is the right thing to do!”

“It's the wrong thing to do, Breen soldiers are in Gadansjik forest, they'll capture you if you go back in!”

“And you seem to be forgetting that the canyon is such an obvious place to be ambushed!” shouted Kira, pointing at Odo in an accusatory sort of way.

“Argh! Curse you Nerys!” raged Odo, his eyes mad with anger. “Why are you so maddeningly stubborn?”

“Because I'm more right about this matter than you are!” answered Kira loftily.

There was a silence between the two, and it seemed they had vented out their bad feelings to each other. Kira continued to stare at Odo, looking more resolute than ever, while Odo looked back into the canyon.

“I'm not going into that canyon alone,” said Odo in a calmer voice, “and we're not splitting up!”

“I don't want to split up any more than you do, but you're leaving me no choice!”

Odo let out a loud ‘huh’ sound, and started pacing around the spot. “Well that's just great, we both believe we're right!”

The impasse continued until Kira’s firm expression slipped, and she looked far more open to Odo’s suggestion. “Odo...” she said gently, “I'm simply warning you that if we go into that canyon we're going to be making a terrible mistake.”

“I don't see what other options we have...” Odo then turned around, and a pleading expression appeared on his face. “Please Nerys, I don't want to go ahead alone, please trust me on this one.”

For a moment Kira didn’t seem convinced, but finally her shoulders drooped as she gave in. “Fine you win. But I'm warning if we do get captured, you won't have to worry about the Breen killing you…” Her voice then took on a rather vicious streak. “Because I will.”
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old May 30 2012, 10:52 PM   #216
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 10, part 1

Day 7, 1800 hours

It was hard work for Kira as she followed Odo along this winding route that was anything but a path. This was the most horrendous and treacherous path she had ever walked upon in her entire life. She thought even the Breen weren’t foolhardy enough to follow in her footsteps...

But despite carefully clambering over boulders, sliding down mini ice fields, and carefully traversing scree slopes. The scenery was indeed impressive, she reckoned that the canyon had to be at least one kilometre deep, with massive mountain ranges towering above her, both to the left and right. She only knew a little geography, but from the glacier in the distance, she realised that this gorge was properly carved out by the glacier many hundreds of years ago.

Of course that was when she could see the scenery, the snowstorms were far more fierce now that she walked out in the open. When the blizzards came, she and Odo stuck close together, lest they separate and become lost. Even with Breen thermals, and Federation ones underneath, Kira still felt a little chilled. One part of her brain that was not affected by the cold wondered how long the food supplies she carried would last.

She was so hungry, and walking around in such freezing conditions took it out of her. But despite the rumbling of her stomach, she couldn’t shake off the horrible feeling that they were being followed.

“Freeze!” came a Breen voice from the whiteness. “Your weapons; drop them! Afterwards; turn around slowly!”

The voice originated from behind, and Kira dropped her weapon, as Odo did the same, and she slowly turned around. She squinted her eyes until finally they caught the vague outline of a Breen.

All of a sudden the air next to the Breen shimmered, and now Kira could clearly see the Breen. Even so, the Breen’s uniform was amazingly camouflaged with the white armour plates. Kira realised, to her surprise, this Breen was female for she could see the bulge in the Breen’s chest armour plates, where this alien woman’s breasts were.

“Great plan Odo,” she muttered, while she scowled at the Breen.

The Breen soldier came closer, and now a dozen more soldiers followed from behind. Her rifle was constantly trained on Kira and Odo, and she finally came to a stop about five metres from them. “Capturing you; gave me and my men quite a manhunt. Humanoids; not one of them can elude capture on Breen.” She paused before addressing the soldiers under her command. “Search them; remove any objects of interest!”

“Shapeshifter; he isn't safe to approach,” commented another Breen soldier.

“Crotor; you are correct,” answered the Breen commander. “Shapeshifter; attack my unit and your wife dies! Understood; yes, no?”

“I understand,” replied Odo.

Kira flicked her gaze to Odo, and she saw that he looked just as angry as her, if not more so. No doubt Odo was kicking himself for deciding to traverse the canyon.

“Unit; train your rifles on Kira,” ordered the commander. “Shapeshifter; if he moves shoot Kira!”

Through thickly padded gloves, Kira’s hands curled into fists, what she wouldn’t give to fighting these Breen. But the opportunity was lost the moment she dropped her phaser rifle. Her reactions had definitely slowed now she reached her fifties, she could have made a run for it, but something stopped her. Inwardly she knew this, and so did Odo, as he to laid down his arms as well without fighting.

She glowered at the two Breen soldiers who approached her, some moments later they had grabbed her firmly around her arms. So strong was their grip that Kira couldn’t move her arms. “Why do you want to capture us?” she asked of the Breen commander.

“Silence!” came the harsh reply, the mechanical voice made the commander’s warning even more menacing.

“You're not going to silence me, you Breen scum!”

“Nerys-”

Odo stopped talking when two other Breen soldiers grabbed his arms, and had their rifles trained on his torso.

The Breen commander walked over to Kira, and Kira couldn’t tell how angry the Breen looked underneath that helmet. When the Breen reached Kira, she raised her rifle and gun butted Kira hard in the face.

With a small crunch, Kira felt her nose break, and hot blood spewed out from her nostrils. No sooner did she feel the blood, than a hand wrapped around her throat, and literally lifted her off the ground.

“Go on; bait me and I'll break your puny little throat!”

Kira scowled with all her venom at the Breen, while her fingers uselessly clawed against the hand squeezing her throat. “You kill me and your superiors won't be too pleased!” she choked out.

“Your death; could be made to look like you were in a fire fight.”

“Don't tempt her Kira,” warned Odo, “it's not worth it!”

At once the Breen commander released Kira, and turned her head a little to face Odo. “Shapeshifter; how smart. My unit; we go back to base immediately! The prisoners; stay silent or get badly hurt!”

Retching and coughing on the ground, Kira had barely found her breathe when gloved hands lifted her onto her feet, and then forcibly pushed her along. Still breathing deeply, Kira walked forwards, consciously aware of the two phaser rifles pressing against her back. In front of her she saw Odo with his head bowed down, and Kira knew her husband would be utterly berating himself for them being captured.

In a way Kira couldn’t blame Odo, she always knew that it would come to this. She did not fear dying, or being tortured, what she feared was being separated from Odo. That would be torture for her, not knowing if he was alive or not. There was no hope, they had been lucky that the Breen wanted to capture them, but in some ways she wished the Breen had simply killed her and Odo. It would have been a lot quicker and far less painful…


***


With a brisk pace Ezri left her ready room and headed straight to the bridge when she received Nog's call about Breen ships approaching the Defiant. The moment she arrived on the bridge, she went to Nog's station.

“Report,” she demanded.

“Captain there are about twenty Breen ships heading in our general vicinity,” replied Nog, his eyes were glued to the readings on his console screen.

That was all Ezri needed to know, and she took a few steps until she was at the centre of the bridge. “Mr Voran is the cloak fully functional?”

“It is fluctuating ever so slightly,” reported Voran, who was at the primary tactical station.

“Mr Nog what is the cause of the fluctuations?” asked Ezri.

“Unknown, the Breen haven't focused their sensors upon us, and there is no unusual spacial phenomena. I'd hazard a guess that something is being emitted from the moon's core, and that is producing the fluctuations.”

Briefly annoyance cropped up in Ezri’s mind, had the cloak being fluctuating for all this time? She ignored her anger, anger at her decision to hide the Defiant behind the moon now looking terribly flawed. “Could the Breen detect us if they came close up?”

“It is a possibility-”

Ezri almost lost balance when the bridge suddenly shook. “What was that?” she asked, while she sat down on the commander’s chair.

“Some sort of tachyon wave,” said Nog.

“Captain the tachyon wave is disrupting the cloak!” warned Voran.

“Incoming enemy torpedoes, type unknown,” reported Nog.

For a split second Ezri weighted up her options, there was nothing for it; the time to retreat had arrived. “Helm set a course to Federation territory, maximum warp.”

She turned around to her right, and raised the shields and readied the phaser banks on the console before her.

“We're at maximum warp captain,” said Max, “ETA to the Federation border, one day and 22 hours.”

Ezri swivelled back around again so that she was facing the viewscreen. “How is the cloak holding?”

“It has stabilised,” said Voran, “the Breen won't be able to detect us.”

To herself, Ezri nodded slightly in satisfaction. So they couldn’t be detected, but the Breen were a smart race, and their ships may already be pursuing them along the Defiant’s course back home. Max had taken the most direct route back to the Federation border, and Ezri wondered if the Breen assumed this. If so, it became a question of whether the Defiant could outrun Breen ships…


***


After Jret's ultimatum, Toshen had spent the last day deep in thought. This coup would either make, or break, him. But the time for planning, scheming, and positioning had passed. Now was the moment for action, to bring about change, not only to the empire, but to a substantial part of the Alpha Quadrant.

The power was in his hands, and all he had to do to start the coup, was send out a few encoded messages from his office, and events would be set in motion. Events which once started couldn't be stopped, and even if everything he hoped for from the coup were to succeed, the responsibility of leading his people felt to him an immense one. He didn't want it, but leadership seemed the only way to preserve what he fundamentally believed in: a strong empire, a powerful military, a government which could provide for its people, and for all Romulans to be proud of who they were and of their state. That had been lost since the black year of 2387, with the destruction of Romulus. But it could change...

Finally Toshen overcame his hesitation, and sent out thirteen prepared messages, one for Darak, one for Borak, one for Jret, and the remainder to ten captains, senior-ranking Tal Shiar agents and generals he trusted the most with the coup. It was all so simple, simply inputting the commands in his console. He was changing the Romulan Star Empire from the comfort of his office, on the Romulan flagship, and that somewhat disturbed him.

But he would live with his discomfort, finally there was one more message to send out. However with this one, he decided to check it over one more time. In some ways he regarded this as one of the more important messages. With a few commands he brought up the message he finished to general Keelin, and read it over again.

Operation Cloak and Dagger goes ahead. The coup has gone ahead, and we need to speedily annex the Badlands. I-and our side-will not have the time to contact the Federation for many days, while we remove the current Romulan government. You, Keelin, are this side's only hope of getting Romulan, and Breen, demands to the Federation. The Breen will not do anything, so we must show them our faith and trust, and carry out such bold and audacious measures ourselves.

When you have annexed the Badlands, send out some of your ships, and head for the major Federation outpost, closest to the Badlands, Deep Space Nine. Surround the station, do not engage in open hostilities unless fired upon, and contact the station's commander, Ezri Dax. Contact captain Dax from the moment you have received direct confirmation from me that the coup has succeeded.


Once the coup has succeeded, the alliance between the Breen and our people will be formally completed, and announced to all in the Alpha Quadrant. Together with the Breen, we will become one of the more powerful interplanetary states to dominate the Alpha Quadrant. We have known each other for many years, and I know you will succeed, and I promise to you that our many months spent planning the coup will not have been wasted in vain.


It was rare for Toshen to be sentimental, but Keelin was his best friend, and most trusted confidant. He had to show, however limitedly, that he was grateful for Keelin's help. Finally Toshen felt satisfied with the message, and he encoded it, and then transmitted to Keelin's location in the Breen Confederacy.

With that, he had initiated nearly every part of his coup. Now was the time for him to play his role; to mobilise the 23rd fleet, and head to Talon to oust Praetor Pelak...
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old May 30 2012, 10:53 PM   #217
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 10, part 2

Fellet Jret was in the Breen military command centre, a tall and wide building, heavily guarded and built without architecture or prettiness in mind. This was a building of function, and from this building all the Breen fleets received generalised orders.

Currently Jret entered one of the meeting rooms, where the thots usually gathered, after inspecting Breen fleet positions in the primary logistics room. He then stood next to a long, thin and black coloured table, rectangular in shape. For each chair by the table, there was a small console built into the table.

Jret’s inspection of the Breen fleets had been interrupted by Fjort, and the two men went straight to this room to discuss matters.

“Fellet; Toshen is starting the coup,” said Fjort, offering to Jret a padd.

Jret took the padd, and after reading it, his mandibles were clicking softly in an impressed manner. “Toshen; has the audacity to carry it out!”

“The coup; do we help Toshen?” inquired Fjort, who seemed more interested in the coup than Toshen himself. “If so; we set ourselves against the Federation, the Klingons.”

“The coup; will succeed,” answered Jret firmly, “because I want it to succeed. Succeeds; we will form a pact with Toshen's new government.”

“Breen/Romulan pact; made stronger if the Cardassians sided with us.”

“Cardassians; will do no such thing. President Garak; he wants neutrality, he'll side with no one.”

Fjort though didn’t look happy to hear this, there was anger in his eyes, due to the fact that he barely trusted Jret with military matters. “Cardassians; the key to defeating the Federation.”

“Cardassians; will pick the winning side,” modulated Jret, now sounding a little impatient by Fjort not seeing the big picture. “Federation; we must make them look weak. Toshen; has given us an opportunity to do so.”

“Federation; will never agree to such demands!” said Fjort hotly, his mandibles bristling.

“It will,” said Jret, modulating Fjort’s anger. “The alternative; a war so destructive, billions of Federation citizens will die.”

“The war; something that will be very difficult to win.”

“Indeed,” admitted Jret, and he looked just slightly daunted by the prospect. “To win; a third pact member required.”

“Third pact member; will not be the Cardassians,” said Fjort, repeating the same fact as if to cast cold water on Jret’s plans.

“Third pact member; someone will come along. This member; powerful like us.”

Fjort though didn’t seem to believe this, and with a brief nod, he left the room. When Fjort was gone, Jret breathed out deeply, while his mandibles bent outwards, as he calmed himself. Jret was no thot, he may have studied military tactics, but he was a politician. A politician eager for glory and to make his name a famous one amongst the many Fellets that had brought glory, power and wealth to the Breen Confederacy.


***


Day 9, 1740 hours

“Report Mr Holo!” Megan said the moment she stepped off the turbolift into Ops.

Holo was moving around the engineering console, punching in commands, and gawping at the various screens and displays. “In the last five minutes I've been detecting unusual spacial distortions, emanating from around the station.”

Megan walked over to Holo's station. “Can you determine the type of spacial disruption?”

“If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say it is the spacial disruption generated by a Romulan cloaking device.”

“Are you implying there are cloaked Romulan ships surrounding this station?” asked Paulson, who was Starfleet’s head of security, while he glanced up from his console.

Turning around on the spot, Megan addressed Paulson. “Well explain how these spacial disruptions came about Mr Paulson.” For one moment she paused, before finally coming to a course of action. “Raise shields, and go to yellow alert. Holo see if you can find a way to disrupt their cloaking devices, if there are actually Romulan ships out there...”

“No need for that commander,” reported Tanya, who was at the science station, filling in for Max. “I'm detecting thirty Romulan ships decloaking.”

“Their disruptor banks are raised!” warned Paulson, as he manned the console at the situation table.

“Red alert,” said Megan at once, and she went down the steps and stopped next to the situation table. “Charge phaser banks, and arm photon torpedoes! Paulson conduct evacuation of all non-essential personal to the station core.”

“Aye sir.”

Megan now looked up at the viewscreen. “Ms Dawson, display the Romulan ships on the main viewer!”

Seconds later, the viewscreen showed up to a dozen D'deridex-class Romulan warbirds facing the station. It was an ominous sight, but Megan’s nerve held, there had to be a logical explanation for this… “Attempt to hail the Romulan ships...”

“Hailing frequencies open sir,” said Tanya.

Standing up more rigidly, Megan placed her arms around her back, while she contacted the Romulans ships. “This is commander Megan Felpes of Deep Space Nine, Romulans vessels please state your intentions and stand down from your hostile stance. For the sake of the treaty of Devron you are obliged to stand down.”

There was a moment’s pause while Megan waited for the Romulan’s response. “Did they get that?” she asked Tanya.

“They did,” said Tanya, and she pressed some more console commands, checking the comm channels. “I don't think the Romulans are in a mood for talking.”

“Keep trying to hail them,” ordered Megan, “record my message and keep sending it to them. Surely they'll listen to reason...”

“And what if they don't commander?” asked Holo. “What then?”

Megan tore her gaze away from the viewscreen and fixed it upon Holo. “Then DS9 will be the first battleground in a war between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire... When will the Defiant get back?*”

“About two hours from now,” said Tanya.

“Good,” said Megan, it was about the first good thing she had heard since arriving in Ops. “Send out an emergency distress call to all Federation space stations and Starfleet ships, tell them we need immediate support against the threat of an Romulan attack on the station.”

“Don't bother with that commander,” answered Holo. “The Romulans have set up a subspace dampening field across most of this sector. We can't send out any long-range communications, and we're limited to short-range, up to point one of a light year effective communications distance.”

“Damn!” cursed Megan, and she looked back to the viewscreen.

Just what were those Romulans up to? It didn’t make any sense, why such a hostile stance after fourteen years of peace? Megan had a horrible feeling inside of her, and it was that sort of feeling she paid attention to. Somehow she just knew this situation would not be resolved neatly, something horrible or disastrous would happen. She had this sort of feeling several times in her life, and the last time was on Tau Primia, and she knew how that turned out…


***


Much to Ezri’s surprise, the journey out of the Breen Confederacy had been very uneventful. Perhaps the Breen weren’t bothered with chasing the Defiant out of their territory, or maybe the Defiant could travel faster than Breen ships. Whatever the reason, Ezri was thankful that her luck, and the ship’s, had held.

But that was all she could be thankful for, her mood felt utterly black. Looking back at the whole trade negotiation fiasco, she realised the Breen had been toying with her and the Federation delegation. All that had been achieved was a collapse in Breen/Federation diplomatic relations, and Ezri lost two fine officers because of it.

She didn’t want to know what Kira and Odo must have been going through, because she imagined when they were captured, they would be facing horrors from the Breen. Torture no doubt; unimaginably cruel and sadistic torture. There was nothing Ezri could do to help Kira and Odo, and her anger of the Breen, anger that had always been with her, was now back with a vengeance.

What this meant for DS9 she could not tell, though the station appeared out of harm's way for the time being.

“Approaching Deep Space Nine,” reported Max, “dropping out of warp captain.”

“Captain,” said Nog, “I’m detecting a subspace dampening field in the Bajoran sector.”

This totally baffled Ezri. “Source?”

“Unknown…” replied Nog, “it seems to be centralised close to Deep Space Nine.”

“Mr Weatherby, maintain course to DS9, full impulse.”

“Full impulse, captain,” said Max.

Ezri sat back into her chair trying to make sense of this mystery. Having a subspace dampening field was a military tactic, used to block long-range subspace communications. It was the first prelude to surrounding a system and blocking off all outside communication. Her gut tightened uncomfortably, so why was the source of such a field emanating so close to DS9? What was going on?

Some minutes later, and Ezri’s questions were answered.

“Captain,” said Voran, “I'm detecting Romulan warbirds surrounding DS9!”

Romulans? Ezri’s confusion mounted, just what were the Romulans doing here so far from the empire? “On screen!”

She looked at the screen, and there for all to see, was a Romulan fleet surrounding DS9. The warbirds had circled around, positioned in a hostile way, and looked ready to open fire on the station.

“My God!” was all Ezri could exclaim, as now she had something far more pressing to worry about than second-guessing Breen motives.

///


To be continued in Cloak and Dagger, part 2!




*Megan knows this, because the Defiant returned to Federation space.
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old June 4 2012, 01:33 AM   #218
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Re: DS9: A continuation

And now the conclusion to Cloak and Dagger!!!

////////////////

Cloak and Dagger part 2
Chapter 1, part 1

Day 9, 2000 hours

“This is captain Dax to DS9, please respond,” said Ezri, and she waited with baited breathe for a response.

A life feed finally displayed on the viewscreen, it showed Megan stationed by her console. Her eyes bore a great relief upon seeing Ezri. “Captain!” she exclaimed. “Thank God you've arrived!”

“What is the status of the Romulan ships?” asked Ezri.

Megan’s gladness about the Defiant's speedy arrival quickly faded. “They're simply surrounding the station, I've tried to contact them repeatedly but there is no response. Captain, do you know of any other Starfleet vessels that will be arriving in this system?”

“There are no ships coming,” replied Ezri. “Many ships have been deployed to either the Breen border or the Neutral Zone. I don't know what's happening with the Romulan Star Empire... Anyway briefly lower shields so that the Defiant can dock, and I'll discuss to you further these matters.”

“Lower the shields?” inquired Megan as if she had not heard her captain correctly.

“The Romulan ships could have attacked at any time but they haven't,” pointed out Ezri. “We must assume whoever is commanding them wants to talk us, well to me... So lower the shields when the Defiant approaches the station.”

Megan looked a bit dubious by this, but she then reluctantly obliged. “Very well captain, Felpes out.”

The live feed terminated, and the viewscreen reverted to the front view of the station from the Defiant.

“Take her in Mr Weatherby…” said Ezri, she hoped her assumption was correct and the Romulans wouldn’t start firing the moment DS9’s shields were lowered.

“The station has lowered its shields captain,” reported Max.

Here was the moment of truth. Ezri waited for what she most dreaded but it did not come to pass. She took this as a good sign, though the threat still remained…

“Approaching docking bay five,” said Max. “Switching to aft thrusters… The station shields have been raised by the way.”

That was one small hurdle out of the way for Ezri, now the next one was trying to contact the Romulans, who had repeatedly ignored her ship’s hails…

///

Ezri stepped onto Ops before the turbolift came to a halt, and she marched over to Megan who worked at the situation table. “Any change to the status of the Romulan ships commander?”

“No sir,” answered Megan, while she continued to input some commands into her console. “They're still just maintaining position.”

Whatever the Romulans were doing, Ezri was not sure what to make of it. “We need to warn Starfleet of the situation and update them of it, because right now we're on our own...”

Megan turned away from her console to give her captain a very sceptical look. “How do we send out a long range communication when the Romulans have a subspace dampening field enveloping half of this star system?”

For one moment Ezri considered all the technical possibilities of overcoming the subspace dampening field, but then a smarter part of her mind realised there was a much simpler way of resolving the problem…

“Send a message to the Romulans,” she told Megan. “Tell them that if they don't drop the subspace dampening field in two minutes time, they will be violating the treaty of Devron, and I will have no choice but to open fire upon them to defend this station.”

“Do you think that will work?” asked Megan, who seemed a bit alarmed by Ezri’s course of action. “I mean what they did is a violation, but an act of war?”

“It is shaky ground,” considered Ezri, recognising Megan’s point. “But I refuse to play to the Romulan's games... Ms Dawson, send out the message.”

“Message sent...” said Tanya, who appeared to have been listening carefully to Ezri and Megan’s conversation.

“One more thing commander,” said Ezri, “have you rescinded colonel Kira's and constable Odo's command codes?”

Surprise momentarily crossed Megan’s face. “I haven't... They are still evading-”

“Delete their command codes,” said Ezri at once, her saying that made Kira's and Odo's absence all the permanent. “From this moment we must consider Kira and Odo captured by the Breen.”

Megan though looked a little mutinous being faced with such orders. “But they would never betray us and tell the Breen their security and access codes!”

“I know they wouldn't do that,” said Ezri testily. “But we must assume that the Breen have extracted that information from them by force.”

Finally Megan relented and followed Ezri’s orders.

Now all Ezri could do was wait for the Romulans to respond to her ultimatum…
The minutes stretched on, and to Ezri it seemed the Romulans thought she was the one bluffing.

“The subspace dampening field is still up,” reported Megan.

With the Romulan unresponsive, Ezri though it was time to raise the stakes a little, and she knew just the thing. “Mr Paulson aim a dozen or so photon torpedoes at the Romulan flagship...”

“Captain?” asked Paulson, his eyebrows raising in alarm to hear such an order.

“Do it,” said Ezri firmly, giving Paulson a strong stare, before returning her gaze to the viewscreen which showed some of the Romulan ships.

In the background Ezri heard Paulson input the commands, it reassured her that he was following her orders, no matter how strange they seemed to him.

“The field is still up...” said Megan, whose tone implied that the field would always stay up no matter what.

Ezri was running out of options to bluff, and just when she considered to carry out a more decisive action-

“The subspace dampening field is down!” Megan quickly reported from her console.

“At last!” said Ezri, finally things were going her way. “Ms Dawson send out an emergency distress call to all Federation space stations and Starfleet ships, tell them that DS9 is surrounded by thirty Romulan ships, and that we need immediate support against the threat of a possible Romulan attack on the station.”

“Message sent captain,” replied Tanya.

“Good...” said Ezri, and the next problem came to mind. “Now if only we can contact these Romulans...”

At this point Megan spoke up. “Well we know the Romulans are listening in a manner of speaking.”

“How so?” asked Ezri as she glanced to her left at Megan.

“They lowered the subspace dampening field,” observed Megan. “If they wanted to attack us they would have kept it up, but they backed down. So you are probably right captain, the Romulans do want to talk-”

“Sir!” interjected Tanya, “there's a long-range subspace communication... It's some sort of broadcast coming from the Romulan Empire, it's repeating...”

“On screen!” said Ezri.

Appearing the viewscreen was a Romulan, who stood in what Ezri recognised as the Senate room in the government buildings on Taron. The Romulan looked plain and physically unimposing, but his face was anything but. Indeed Ezri had never seen such strong and forceful features on a person until now.

This message is to all Romulans. You will be wondering why there has been a media blackout in the empire, and this is because the current government has been removed from power by the Romulan military and the Tal Shiar. Praetor Pelak has been removed, and all troops loyal to him have now pledged their allegiance to the new government, my government.

You will be asking why I had to take such a drastic course of action. Everything that I have done has been for the greater good of the empire. No longer will you have to put up with an inefficient and corrupt government. I swear to you that my government will quickly end the famines ravaging so many Romulan worlds. However to do this we must shed a little of our pride, and seek some outside help.


The Federation is already helping us but soon they will desist because they will refuse to recognise this government, and cut food aid to the empire in a deplorable act to oust my government from power. The Federation is willing to let tens of millions of people starve to death to keep the Romulan Star Empire weak. However we have a new ally and they are the Breen.


The Breen are no longer our enemies. I have successfully concluded negotiations with them and we are to form a pact. We will trade together, and the Breen have been generous in that they will supply replicators, fusion generators, their hydroponics technology, all of that and more. This will finally bring a speedy end to the famines, and I predict in no more than a year's time, nearly all of the famines would have ended, while most of our industrial base will be restored.


Another feature of our pact with the Breen is that we will defend one another. An attack on one side is an attack on both sides, both interplanetary states. With the Breen and Romulans together we will become just as powerful as the Federation and the Klingon Empire. After some years the Romulan Star Empire will be restored as a first-rate power, and you, the people, will look back at this day with joy, knowing that your lives improved from this day and forwards.


Thank you for listening, and long live the empire!


The speech was about to repeat again, when Tanya ended the transmission.

After Toshen’s speech, a powerful silence gripped Ops and made everyone motionless. The news was extraordinary, a coup in the Romulan Star Empire, a massive change of government…

“Well this changes everything...” said Ezri rather sardonically.

“There's another subspace communication...” Tanya said, her attitude revealed a weariness of all the calls coming to and fro the station. “It's from admiral Ross...”

“Why I am not surprised...” said Ezri to herself. “Patch it through to my office, apply communication encryptions, level one.”

///

“Captain what's happening in the Bajoran sector?” asked Ross urgently. “I've tried for hours to get a transmission through but it was being blocked...”

“It's the Romulans sir,” answered Ezri, “they had deployed a subspace dampening field in the Bajoran system, but they have just recently desisted.”

“Romulans?” Ross repeated in surprise. “How on Earth did the Romulans get over to your neck of the woods undetected?”

“I'm not sure...” said Ezri slowly. “But I can tell you there are thirty Romulan ships surrounding this station, and I urgently need reinforcements before the Romulans decide to do anything stupid...”

“Dang...” muttered Ross, in his indecision he started lightly tapping the knuckles of one hand with his fingers. “That's a problem, because Starfleet has mobilised most of its inactive fleets and positioned them close to the Neutral Zone and the Breen border. In case you haven't heard there has been a coup on Romulus-”

“I know admiral,” responded Ezri in a weary mantra, “the Romulans are broadcasting on all subspace frequencies the news.”

“It caught the whole of Starfleet Intelligence by surprise...” explained Ross. “The strangest thing is that the moment there was news of the coup on Romulus, the Breen started deploying their fleets close to the Federation border... Stranger still chancellor Martok has reported to me that large numbers of Romulan ships are gathering by their side of the Klingon border...”

Upon hearing this, Ezri’s ears pricked up, such news was alarming to say the least. “It sounds to me admiral like the Breen and Romulans really are working in coordination with each other.”

“I hope not...” Ross said, though he looked distinctly unnerved by the possibility.

“Returning to a previous question admiral, just how many ships will Starfleet bring to DS9?”

“Forty ships will arrive in about seventy hours time...”

“Seventy hours?” said Ezri more loudly than she intended to.

An apologetic look came upon Ross’ face. “I'm sorry Dax, that is the best I can do. Just sit tight and hope for the best, Ross out.”

When the transmission ended, Ezri’s laptop showed the Federation insignia. Moodily, she jabbed with her finger at a command on the laptop’s touch pad, and the laptop turned off.

Ezri gaze swept over her desk, not really seeing anything, as her head was full of information and worry about the Breen and Romulans. She felt strangely powerless, as events in the Alpha Quadrant brought unprecedented problems and challenges to the tiny portion she controlled.

Her eyes strayed to Benjamin Sisko’s baseball, and for the time being she picked it up, squeezing the ball in a random way as she thought about matters. Benjamin always found a way through situations like this, and so could she. All she had to was play her cards right while not doing anything to provoke the Romulans until the Starfleet reinforcements arrived. But that was easier said than done…
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Caption contest: DS9
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Old June 4 2012, 01:36 AM   #219
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 1, part 2

After hearing news of the Romulan coup, Ezri half expected the Romulan ships to contact the station, but they still maintained their silence…

With the wait for a Romulan response lengthening, Ezri decided to return to her office and try to catch up on some paper work. It was virtually impossible to complete any reports, even the smaller ones, when she constantly worried about the fate of her station.

Captain, report to Ops immediately,” came Max’s voice from the comm system.

Ezri left her desk, walked out of the office, and came to a stop by the steps.

“Captain,” said Max, “we're being hailed by one of the Romulan ships, it's the Kresh'Torek, a battleship.”

“On screen,” said Ezri, and she was finally relieved that the Romulans were prepared to talk.

A male Romulan in standard military uniform filled up most of the viewscreen. From the insignia around his collar, Ezri could tell this man was a general. For a Romulan the man looked rather ugly, his forehead ridges were very shallow and unpronounced, his mouth was big while it possessed a certain leering quality about it.

“Captain Dax,” said the man in a surprising gravelly voice. “I am general Keelin, commander of the Romulan 31st fleet.”

“General, why are Romulan ships surrounding DS9?” asked Ezri.

“Surrounding DS9?” said Keelin pretending to be surprised. “We are merely stopping at this station to resupply before my ships move on to the Badlands.”

Despite Keelin being all smiles, Ezri did not buy his smooth explanation. “If you want to resupply your ships then why are they deployed in a standard assault configuration?”

The smile vanished from Keelin’s mouth, what replaced it was something very ugly “Are you questioning captain the right of Romulan ships to travel in Federation territory?”

Ezri was unfazed by Keelin’s challenging manner, and she responded back as calmly as possible. “I'm asking you why so many Romulan ships have gathered next to this station, in a fleet which is deployed in an aggressive stance.”

“The Devron treaty clearly states that Romulan warships can enter Federation territory, provided that the number of Romulan warships in Federation territory doesn't exceed one hundred. As you can see there are thirty warbirds plus my vessel, so the limit has not been breached.”

Such slyness angered Ezri considerably, though she remained impassive to try to throw Keelin off balance. “I understand that this display of force is designed to grab the Federation's attention, perhaps you want to make amendments to the Devron treaty?”

“How very perceptive captain,” said Keelin, giving Ezri what was probably his first genuine smile to her, but that did not last long. “In two hours time I'll dock this ship at your station, on board I will give to you the list of demands from the Romulan Star Empire and the Breen Confederacy.”

The channel ended, and Ezri's gaze remained fixed on the viewscreen. She raised her eyebrows a little, this general Keelin clearly had some nerve…

“They want to change the Devron treaty?” Megan said some moments later, sounding as if Keelin was insane.

Ignoring the view screen, Ezri then addressed Megan. “I know it sounds pretentious but at least the Romulans want to talk.”

“Depends on the changes they're demanding...” countered Megan.

“Diplomacy is usually always preferable to war,” reminded Ezri. “If a war is to happen between the Federation and the Romulans, then it will not start on this station!”


***


“The Romulan flagship is approaching us,” reported Megan, she then glanced at Ezri a little expectantly. “Should we lower shields?”

Ezri stood close by to Megan, from the momentarily frozen look, Ezri appeared to be quickly running over the likely outcomes of lowering the station’s shields. “What is the status of all the Romulan ship's weapons?”

“They're powering down...” said Max, who had taken over Tanya’s position at the science station.

“Lower shields,” said Ezri, “but at the first sign of any Romulan weaponry activating, power up the shields!”

“They would cut through the Romulan flagship!” said Nog with much alarm.

“It is a risk I'm willing to take,” replied Ezri calmly. “The Romulans are not going to take us by surprise.”

Megan whose attention was only half on Ezri, then read the message on her console screen. “The flagship Kresh'Torek, requests clearance for docking...”

“Give them clearance...” said Ezri.

At once Megan tapped in some commands to her console to hail the Romulan ship on audio. “This is commander Megan Felpes to the Romulan flagship, you've been cleared to dock at docking port two, please cut to minimal thrusters.”

Megan then closed the comm channel, and looked back at Ezri. “They're on minimal thrusters.”

“Good,” Ezri said as she moved away from Megan’s station. “At least they are cooperating, for the time being...”

She headed up the steps that lead to the turbolift. “Mr Paulson, assemble a security contingent and escort general Keelin to the wardroom.”

“Yes sir,” answered Paulson, who followed Ezri into the turbolift.


***


Ezri made herself comfortable resting upon the seat where she faced out to the length of the table. As part of standard security protocol, a holster containing a type-2 phaser was attached to a belt on her waist. Some minutes ago she ordered Paulson to make sure that all officers, Bajoran and Starfleet, were armed just in case the Romulans attacked and tried to board the station.

As the minutes dragged on, Ezri patiently waited for the general's arrival. The two Starfleet guards who stood sentry by the door were almost deathly silent. Ezri tried to not to show it, but she felt a definite tension in the air, and she could not entirely quell her apprehension about talking to general Keelin. The initiative was in Keelin’s favour, and so far for Ezri, she felt events had almost gone out of her control.

The door opened, and Keelin was the first to march through, accompanied with two Romulan guards. Behind the three Romulans, the other station guards stopped by the door.

Ezri dutifully rose from her seat and walked over to Keelin to formerly greet him. “General Keelin, sit down please...”

Without acknowledgement, Keelin sat himself down close to one corner of the table, as Ezri took up the head chair. She noticed the padd grasped in Keelin’s hands, rather quickly Ezri realised that Keelin was not here for any pleasant formalities…

“I want to have this conversation in private,” Keelin said, his expression turned unreadable. “Remove your guards, and I shall remove mine.”

It was a fair demand, plus Ezri could handle one Romulan… “If you insist,” she said, with a nod to the two Starfleet guards, she silently dismissed them.

When all four guards vacated the room, Keelin placed his padd on the table and slid it over to Ezri’s side. “This is the list of the Romulan Star Empire's and Breen Confederacy's demands to the Federation.”

Taking the padd off the table, Ezri spent a minute skimming over these contents. She looked at one page which summarised the demands. Much to her chagrin she discovered there were hundreds of other pages, all of which fully enunciated the demands in foreboding diplomatic and legal jargon.

After getting the gist of what Keelin had given to her, Ezri lowered the padd back down on the table. “Most of these 'demands' are minor changes to the Devron peace treaty. But allowing the Breen right of passage through Federation territory? Or the Federation to hand over sectors 1334 to 1341, and sectors 1232 to 1245? That's out of the question.”

Keelin appeared to have expected this stern rebuke, for he smiled coldly back at Ezri. “That is unfortunate, since the Breen Confederacy and the Romulan Star Empire have agreed to trade rights, but the quickest route from Breen to Romulan space is through those sectors.”

The general's proposal sounded fair, though Ezri could read between the lines... “And just what are you and the Breen trading amongst each other?”

“Food, medical supplies and metals,” answered Keelin rather innocently.

“And not weapons... perhaps?”

The features on Keelin’s face hardened as the question produced a somewhat disgusted reaction from him. “You insult me captain, the Romulan government would not consider breaking the tenets of the Devron peace treaty.”

“I'll take your word for it,” said Ezri, and she struggled to keep the sarcasm from her voice. “I will report to my superiors this list of demands, and I will need to consult with them to come to a correct decision.”

“Take all the time you need captain,” said Keelin pleasantly, and he vacated the chair.

With a small nod to Ezri, he then left the wardroom.

The meeting turned out to be not half as bad as Ezri expected, though she remained stuck with a big problem, albeit a somewhat changed one. It seemed to her that the Breen and Romulans were doing the diplomatic equivalent of blackmailing the Federation. If the Federation agreed to their demands, the threat of war would be lessened and the Romulan ships would leave DS9.

However Ezri saw the bigger picture here, and gut instinct told her that the Federation would never agree to such demands. Amendments to the Devron treaty? She had studied some of humanity’s history-which gave her a profound insight regarding diplomacy-and one thing came to mind; the Munich Agreement. The great European powers of the mid 20th century caved in to demands of the country Germany in the hopes of staving off war.

But the agreement failed miserably, and the second most worst conflict in humanity’s history occurred a year later; World War II. The similarities of the situation back then and the one she now faced were striking… Upon coming to this realisation, Ezri's stomach squirmed very uncomfortably as she contemplated the likely outcomes. It would surely mean a massive war for the Federation, undoubtedly DS9 would be where the first battle took place…
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old June 5 2012, 12:59 AM   #220
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 2, part 1

Day 10, 0900 hours

Working on various consoles around the holographic projector, in the astronomy lab, Max and Megan continued to analyse the sensor results from the Breen homeworld.

Max looked wasted from all the time spent analysing sensor data and he came over to where Megan was working. “Any luck finding a pattern?”

“I'm close,” said Megan distractedly, while she stood there partially hunched over the console. “And if I am correct it should accurately map out up to eighty percent of the readings.”

Peering over Megan’s shoulder, Max stared dubiously at her work. “I don't see a pattern to how the sensor results were scrambled.”

Megan continued on regardless. “It's a fractal pattern of some sort,” she muttered, “I just need to apply the inverse of the fractal pattern, I think I've discovered it and...”

Some seconds later, and Megan hands froze over her console as a look of triumph appeared on her face. “Got it!”

The holographic projector then reconfigured the pixilated imagery of what lay behind the cloaking field, and the program Megan had inputted changed the image into something recognisable. What was displayed revealed a series of buildings built upon a small mesa, close to a mountain range. Despite Megan’s best efforts there were still missing or scrambled patches to some parts of the image.

Max’s eyes feasted on the telemetry, he then whistled out aloud in an impressed manner. “Nice one! We've got a series of buildings... what about the spectrographic results?”

Tapping in some more commands to the console, Megan removed the image from the projector, her concentration unwavering despite spending hours slogging away. “I'm gathering up all the elements and molecules detected. Since the sensor sweep was non-invasive, we won't be able to detect anything substantial inside the factory, but...”

The console screen displayed a series of blob-like images, with exaggerated, and false, colours to highlight the key components of the molecules. “Take a look at this,” said Megan, after she had sharpened up the resolution.

Standing back a little from her console, Megan let Max study the molecular images. “If I know my biology correct, aren't they complex artificial protein chains?” asked Max.

“I'm boosting the resolution of the results...” said Megan, a second later the molecular chains became very distinct. “There's no doubt about it, these are the remains of viruses, genetically engineered viruses. Looks like we found ourselves a biogenics factory.”

“No wonder the Breen hid this from us...” murmured Max thoughtfully.

Both observed the molecule in silence, those moments of quiet were soon punctured when Megan tapped her combadge. “This is Felpes to Dax.”

Dax here.

“Captain, Weatherby and I have made a breakthrough with unscrambling the sensor results. We discovered a collection of buildings in the cartography scans, and genetically engineered viruses in the spectrography scans, I think you better see this for yourself.”

I'm on my way, Dax out.

Two minutes past by, and Max had returned to the work station he left, while Megan continued to study the images shown on her console screen.

The doors to the astronomy lab opened, parting sideways, and Ezri strolled inside, her curiosity was paramount.

“So, just what kind of viruses did you discover?” asked Ezri as she headed for the projector.

Megan moved back from the console to allow her captain to study the images of the molecular chains.

“I'm no biologist,” said Megan, “but going through the Federation medical database, there were no matches for the viruses discovered by the sensor scans. Plus the viruses were broken apart, so that made any matches even more impossible to obtain.”

After some moments of flicking through the images Megan had compiled, Ezri moved her gaze away from the console and rested it on Megan. “And you are certain they're genetically engineered, and not natural?”

“Positive,” said Megan with conviction, “the structure is clearly artificial.”

Ezri considered this information very thoughtfully. “In relation to the buildings, where were the viruses detected?”

“The viruses seemed to be stored in some sort of pool, located outside of the buildings. My best guess is the Breen were breaking down the viruses they created, for what reason I'm not sure.”

“All evidence that suggests of a biogenics factory...” suggested Ezri slowly, her expression hardening as she shot one offhand glance at the console screen's image of the virus. “How soon do you think you can have a report on my desk?”

“About two hours captain.”

“Good,” said Ezri briskly. “Because Starfleet Command is going to be very interested to hear about this!”


***


For some moments Odo watched as Kira spent the minutes pacing around the narrow holding room, its width was such that he could have almost stretched his arms (without lengthening them) and touched both parallel walls. Despondent thoughts weighed on his mind, so seeing Kira go back and forth in the holding cell did little to help. Despite this, he recognised the pacing around as his wife’s way of venting out her tension and restlessness.

Try as he might Odo saw no way out of this situation, he was not so much worried for his safety and well-being, but far more for Kira’s. Still he continued to berated himself for deciding upon crossing through Jiliterozok ice canyon. Perhaps if he followed Kira's advice they would still be out in the Breen wilderness, avoiding capture for one more day…

This had been a hot and bitter topic between him and Kira, for hours they argued about it in angry and whispered voices. Due to their less-than-adequate privacy, Odo reckoned without it there would have been a long shouting match between the two…

Kira suddenly stopped her pacing, where she faced away from the invisible force field. “There's only one good thing about being imprisoned; the Breen keep us warm.”

Odo lifted a head a little as he was yanked from his thoughts. “It is odd,” he agreed. “You would think giving their reputation they would have made things unpleasant. Say lowering the temperature below nine degree centigrade.”

Kira though displayed something half way between amusement and disbelieve. “So are you saying the Breen have some redeeming features?”

“I'm just saying that things could be much worse,” Odo calmly replied, careful not to fire up Kira’s angry mood.

Nodding slightly to his statement, some of Kira's moodiness receded, and she then sat down beside Odo on the bunk, gazing steadily into his eyes. “As long as we are together, then we could be going to hell, and it would still be bearable.”

A brief grunt of laughter spilt from Odo’s mouth as he appreciated Kira’s commitment to him. “That's another thing, surely the Breen know we are married, so why did they place us in the same cell?”

“Compassion maybe?”

“Huh!” laughed Odo, he was not sure the Breen were capable of compassion.

Kira though pressed on with her point. “They haven't got round to interrogating us... Yet.”

“We are going to be interrogated,” said Odo firmly, he knew this to be a stone cold fact. “And it seems they're saving the most important prisoners for last. Mr Amir over there has yet to be interrogated...”

Quickly Kira darted her eyes to one of the cells by the room's other side, the one which contained Amir. From their angle he could not be seen. But when he drifted close to the force field, his very dishevelled and beaten appearance came into view. Now he was a mere shell of the man who first arrived on Breen.

Just then the cell force field lowered with a faint but brief whine. At the same time two Breen guards walked in with their helmets, and suits, donned and neural truncheons at the ready. Immediately Kira sprung to her feet, looking ready to fight, and when one of the Breen forcibly manhandled Kira by her shoulders, she lashed out, sending a well aimed punch to the Breen’s helmet.

The Breen who manhandled Kira staggered back a little, while the second one, raised the thin and lethal looking neural truncheon and zapped Kira with it hard against her abdomen.

Kira let out a gasp of pain, but retained some strength to aim another punch. This time though both Breen guards repeatedly zapped her and Kira’s whole body went limp.

Odo refused to let the Breen take Kira away without a fight. So he launched forwards, stretching his arms outwards to throttle the Breen. The liquid looking-arms were inches away from one of the guards, when the tips of upper limbs shattered in a very painful manner. He couldn’t understand it, so he rushed at the Breen, his upper arms still liquid while the rest of his body stayed solid.

But instead of knocking the Breen over, Odo's front torso felt liquefied, and he bounced off the Breen. He could barely hold his shape, as the front of his body burned as if it was on fire. In aghast he gaped at the Breen before noticing a device wrapped around both Breen’s left upper arms. Something about the device had a familiar feel to it. With a disconcerting jolt, Odo realised this was the same device which Garak had used almost 24 years ago to torture him, and to keep him in a solid form.

Except the Breen had made some extensive modifications to the quantum stasis field generators. Odo's body felt immobilised. He was stuck lying down practically glued to the floor as he watched the Breen take his wife away. The force field reactivated, some seconds later Odo could move his form, while the pain receded.

Quickly he reformed himself to his usual appearance, and hurried over to the force field, trying to catch one last glimpse of the Breen and Kira. All he saw was the back of Kira’s limp body, as the Breen carried her along, with Kira’s boots dragging across the floor.

The door to the holding cell area opened up, revealing a corridor, though it soon closed after the Breen quickly marched through.

Odo sat back down on the bunk feeling utterly low. He had heard horror stories and rumours of the Breen’s cruelty and love of torturing other humanoids senseless. Just what horrors would his wife be facing? It didn’t bare thinking about, so he told himself repeatedly that Kira was going to come back, just like the rest of the Federation delegation.

They all came back, disorientated, a little injured, but they came back… He then jumped up onto his feet, and copied the exact same pacing Kira did as he tried to work off his anger, worry and frustration. Finally even pacing was not enough, and he stopped, before banging his fist hard against the cell wall.

His frustration ebbed when he heard the door leading to the holding cells open once more. There was the brisk clunk of Breen boots striding down the metal floor, and out of the corner of his eye, Odo noticed the two Breen coming to a stop by Amir’s cell.

Now Odo turned around because he knew what was going to happen. He wished he couldn’t hear Amir’s yells of pain and fright, unfortunately shapeshifters could always hear even when regenerating. After several repeated zapping sounds coming from the neural truncheons, Amir went silent, and Odo closed his eyes trying to detach himself from the terrible situation he was in…


***


Kira felt disorientated and queasy, she possessed little control over of her body, but she was conscious of the strong grip of Breen hands around her arms, the lolling of her head and the scraping of her boots against the ground. Where the neural truncheons had struck her, there lingered a nasty aching feeling and a sore numbness.

She managed to open her eyes only to make out the blurry vision of a corridor. “Where are you taking me?” she moaned, while her speech slurred a little.

“Quiet!” hissed the Breen, and his free hand reached for his neural truncheon before he jabbed it hard against Kira’s stomach.

“Arrgghh!” screamed Kira, and her stomach recoiled inwards from the pain.

The whole shock went straight through her body, and she went into limbo again, hearing sounds, feeling distant sensations…

She finally came to again, and she thought she heard movement behind her. So turning her head stiffly she noticed two other Breen guards, dragging along an unconscious Amir. This time Kira kept her silence so as to not provoke the Breen, and this all felt like a nightmare to her. But her physical strength returned a little, and at least she could now walk of her own partial accord, even if the Breen were carrying her along.

The Breen then sharply turned left to a doorway, which promptly opened, and Kira looked at what seemed to be an office of some kind. The office's temperature felt colder than she expected, only then did she become aware of her shivering for all this time.

Looking ahead, she saw three Breen, without their heads covered, and all three were talking animatedly. Despite this, Kira could sense a certain tension in the office. With a shock, she then recognised the insignia on one of the Breen’s chests; that was Fellet Jret. He looked even uglier and more revolting than your standard Breen with his short hair which took on a shade of black more darker than a black hole.

“The prisoners; better if they were beaten,” said a Breen with longer and brown hair. “Beaten; shows their subjection to us!”

Kira couldn’t make out the expression on Jret’s face, though his mandibles were clicking away in an odd manner.

“The broadcast; its public relation's impact would be greater?”

“Absolutely,” said the brown haired Breen with a strong vehemence.

“You people are crazy!” burst out Kira, as her anger reached boiling point. “You're talking about-”

“Silence; you Bajoran cockroach!” hissed Jret, and his mandibles clicked loudly matching his anger.

“Make me go silent!” said Kira, leering at Jret in a very contemptuous manner.

“Colonel, don't tempt them...” said Amir weakly.

“What are you going to do to us?” she asked to Jret.

Jret then broke away from the conversation with his two Breen advisors. “Bajoran; do you ever shut up?”

“Answer the question,” demanded Kira.

Something like amusement appeared on Jret’s face, and he slowly approached Kira, cocking his head a little to one side perhaps out of curiosity. “Fear; this Bajoran has none...” he said almost admiringly. “Bajoran; you will assist me in my broadcast.”

“Not likely,” Kira shot back, continually glaring at Jret.

Jret though smiled, it seemed he wanted to hear that answer. “Soldiers; beat the prisoners up. Careful; do not damage their brains.”

Kira was not going to be beaten up without a fight, so she managed to yank her right arm out of the grip of the Breen soldier to her right. He didn’t seem to expect Kira to act so rash. With her right arm free she positively clobbered the Breen to her left placing an upper hook below the Breen’s chin,

That Breen gave out a grunt of pain, and Kira felt his grip slacken against her left arm. The blood pounded through her brain as her body readied itself for the fight. With both arms freed, she turned around to confront the Breen to her right, but he got to her first with a well placed jab of the neural truncheon to her chest.

Kira’s whole body seized up, and she crumpled to the floor like a puppet with its strings cut. She couldn’t move, all she could do was hear Amir’s cries of pain as the guards absolutely pummelled him. The Breen soldier who had stunned her then dragged her upright, while the Breen she previously clobbered came over to her.

He ground one of his fists against the palm of his hand in a threatening gesture. Kira could only look on trapped by both her immobilised body and the Breen pinning her shoulders tight against his chest. She felt her arms go further limp as the blood flow was restricted by the Breen's powerful grasp.

The second Breen came to a stop less than two feet away from her and then walloped Kira with one powerful punch.

The blow shattered Kira’s recently healed nose, for the second time it broke and the blood began pouring out. The next blows were just as hard, and painful, and all she could do was simply grunt in pain. She could barely breathe, and when the Breen got in a few punches to her chest, all the breath was knocked out of her.

It took all her will power to look at the Breen hitting her straight in the face. She was not afraid of pain or torture, as the crazy part of her embraced it and the chance to show the Breen that they could break her body, but not her pagh.

“Stop!” ordered Jret in a commanding voice. “The prisoners; sufficiently beaten up.”

The Breen holding Kira eased his grip a little, and Kira felt herself on the verge of collapsing. Only the Breen kept her upright as Kira's body had taken too much punishment. Her face, chest and abdomen were limp from the pain, while hot sticky blood clung to many parts of her face. She could only open one eye, at best her vision was blurry.

“Good; now they will catch the Federation's attention,” said another Breen.

What happened next Kira could not tell, she suddenly felt a sharp prickling sensation on the back of her neck before she became totally out of it… Her being descended downwards into the consuming darkness…
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
Ln X is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 5 2012, 01:00 AM   #221
Ln X
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 2, part 2

Leaving her office, Ezri walked out into Ops. “You said this was urgent commander?”

Megan, who manned the situation table, nodded. “There's a subspace message broadcasting on all frequencies which is coming from Breen.”

“On screen,” Ezri said, her eyes drearily focused upon the viewscreen, which was mounted on a wall some metres above the floor, several metres in front of her .

The broadcast showed Fellet Jret standing rather imposingly in his office. A helmet covered his face and he wore a body suit similar to that of a thot's uniform, though its design appeared far more elaborate and stately looking.

To the Federation, in this message I have recorded, the language is in the style of Federation Standard for ease of your comprehension.

For too long have the Breen stood passively by while the Federation expanded and encroached upon the confederacy's territory. This will not continue for any longer, and we will not tolerate Federation interference in strictly Breen matters. Of all the entities the Breen have encountered, the Federation must be the most insidious and evil of them all. Without weapons it conquers races through their charm and values, it moulds races and twists their cultures to something conforming to Federation principles.

The Federation has attempted to do this on the Breen race however it will fail. To stand up against such a corrosive force, the Breen were in need of an ally, someone who hated the Federation just as much as we do. As of three days ago the Breen Confederacy and the Romulan Star Empire formerly signed a defensive pact, rights of passage through our respective territories, and trade rights.

Unfortunately a stretch of Federation territory, filled with a smattering of outposts and worlds, is a barrier between the Breen and Romulan territories, and for the sake of trade it would be far more convenient to go through that territory than around it. The Federation would never allow this in a devious attempt to strain the new pact between the Breen and Romulans. However I give to the Federation an ultimatum.

You are to relinquish the territory I mentioned-the exact sectors of which are given in this message-and to allow the Breen and Romulans to divide this territory fairly between ourselves. Failure to do so will result in the following consequences: firstly all 36 prisoners from the Federation delegation will be killed.


The camera turned to the right to reveal Kira and Amir, both of whom were unconscious and badly beaten. A Breen soldier each supported Kira and Amir respectively. It took all of Ezri's willpower not to grimace as the camera then focused on first Amir's face and then Kira's face, before reverting back to Jret.

The far more serious threat the Breen Confederacy will carry out is an invasion of Federation territory. Together with the Romulans, we will inflict devastating damage upon key Federation worlds: Bajor, Trill, Vulcan, Andoria, Tellerite, and even the much vaunted Earth. Tens of billions of civilians will die, and their blood will be on the Federation Council's hands for not complying with reasonable demands.

I finally address this to both the Federation and the Klingon Empire as a warning to them. With the pact between the Breen and the Romulans, both races will grow stronger, until our power is far greater than the Federation and the Klingon Empire combined. We will become the dominant power in the Alpha Quadrant, and in the long term, history will remember the glory of the Breen Confederacy, and Romulan Star Empire, long after the Federation has turned to dust!


The message ended. Ezri’s relief at knowing that Kira and some of the Federation delegation were alive became quickly replaced with more apprehension. So the Breen really were working with the Romulans, and the stakes were raised even higher for Ezri. If the Romulans attacked DS9, then the Breen would attack from their border, causing a chain of events leading to a full-scale war in the Alpha Quadrant.

Megan was the first one to speak, and end the stunned silence. “At least we know Kira and Mr Amir are still alive.”

Ezri ignored her dark thoughts and switched back to thinking about the present situation. “Commander, any change to the status of the Romulan fleet?”

“Nothing, they're staying put...” said Megan.

“Captain,” said Max, “we're being hailed from the Romulan flagship, it's general Keelin!”

This was the last thing Ezri needed, rather brutally she forced her brain to crank up into her diplomatic mode. “On screen,” she calmly ordered.

Once more Keelin was sat in the commander’s chair of his flagship. Furthermore, he brimmed with confidence as if he were in a position to boss Ezri around. “Captain, have you reached a conclusion regarding the demands I gave to you?”

“I need more time to think about it-”

“Stop delaying!” said Keelin angrily, cutting straight through Ezri. “Perhaps if I explained to you the reasoning for the demands, it may help you to reach a decision?”

Ezri half-expected Keelin to threaten her and the station, but this took her a little by surprise, and she fought to keep her composure straight. “If we're going to talk about such matters, then we are doing so in this station's wardroom...”

She stared confidently back at Keelin, daring him to protest. “Agreed?”

“Agreed,” said Keelin finally. “I'll arrive in ten minutes time.”

“Remember the shields will only lower when all of your ship's disruptor banks and phaser banks have been powered down,” warned Ezri.

“Of course...” replied Keelin, a somewhat wounded expression formed on his face, whether fake or not, Ezri couldn’t tell. “But do you really think I would stoop that low?”

“General, I have no idea what you are capable of so I wouldn't know...” answered Ezri lightly. “We follow the same procedure, any slight deviation on your part and this station's shields will be raised, regardless of whether your ship is in the shield's perimeter or not!”

The channel closed from Keelin’s end, which was Ezri's cue to head for the turbolift. “Mr Paulson, please escort general Keelin to the wardroom when he arrives at docking port two.”

Feeling a sense of déjà vu when Paulson arrived onto the turbolift with her, Ezri told the turbolift where she wanted to go… This whole situation verged on turning into something crazy. Admiral Ross recently told her that the Federation Council hadn’t managed to formerly contact the new Romulan government because of its silence. So here Ezri was, the Federation’s only informal contact with the Romulan government.

The sooner the Romulan government broke its diplomatic silence the better, because Ezri then hoped that Keelin would leave, as she assumed Keelin’s sole purpose for arriving at this station was to informally contact the Federation on behalf of his government. It smacked of a very odd arrangement, though Ezri reasoned it must have been something to do with the coup, and possibly Praetor Toshen’s way of contacting the Federation while he consolidated his new-found power.


***


Ezri stood by one end of the wardroom's briefing table waiting for Keelin to arrive. This meeting with Keelin would be interesting to say the least. However what troubled Ezri was the lack of news regarding the Romulan government formerly contacting the Federation. It seemed Keelin was a messenger, a messenger apparently under Praetor Toshen’s orders…

DS9 had now become the focal point of some kind of intrigue and power struggle between the Federation and the Romulans. Everything inside of Ezri told her all of this would inevitably end badly for her and the station.

The door to the wardroom opened, and Keelin walked in, like Ezri he was armed with a disruptor. “Captain, I am getting a little tired of your delays...”

Ezri walked towards him, keeping her face as neutral as possible. “Delays...” she muttered with some sarcasm, before continuing on. “Keelin you claim these demands are for maintaining the Devron treaty and keeping peace in the quadrant. And yet when I carefully analyse them, these demands amount to little more than extortion! You would ask the Federation to hand over sectors 1334 to 1341, and sectors 1232 to 1245.”

“Territory which is sparsely populated,” said Keelin rather arrogantly, “and there are many empty sectors in between. If you hadn't got there first, there would have been a border between the Breen and the Romulans, and a three way intersection of where the tip of the Ferengi Alliance, the Breen Confederacy and the Romulan Star Empire would have met!”

The time for pretence and hiding ones intentions was over, so Ezri decided to candidly reveal to Keelin her position on the whole matter. “Do you realise that the Federation would never agree to those demands! The number of sectors lost would amount to one tenth of the Federation's territory, gone!”

“Territory which has some relay stations, starbases and occupied worlds,” replied Keelin angrily, with each word his voice steadily rose and his hostile glare intensified. “You claimed a lot more territory than was appropriate, and simply placed Starfleet stations and outposts to stake your claim to star systems, nebulae and various expanses! You don't even conquer, you simply impede other interplanetary states ability to expand!”

“There is a clear difference between expanding territory and conquering it!” said Ezri loudly, returning Keelin's glare.

“Really?” challenged Keelin. “Your omnidirectional expansion threatens both the Breen and my people.”

“Your demands will never be agreed to!” retorted Ezri, and she was on the verge of shouting.

Now Keelin started leering at Ezri, he seemed to be enjoying every moment of the meeting. “Oh you won't agree to them, but Starfleet Command and the Federation Council will agree...”

“Otherwise it's war?” finished Ezri, though she sounded calm her insides were fuming.

“Precisely,” said Keelin, smiling one devious and wicked smile. “And in such a war, you would lose a lot more than some sparsely occupied territory. Many of your key worlds, Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, Trill, Bajor, Bolarus, Tellar, would come under attack. You think that Breen raid on Earth during the last months of the Dominion war was bad? Just wait until there are Breen or Romulan armies on your precious Earth...”

Ezri ignored Keelin’s threat and responded in like kind. “With the Klingons at our side, Starfleet could push your armies back to their borders.”

“Yes you could do that,” admitted Keelin, in that moment his bravado faded. “But the civilian deaths would mount so high, in there tens of billions, and the destruction so great, it would be a very bitter victory.”

“The Romulan Empire couldn't support such an endeavour, you can barely feed your own people!”

”But we are desperate,” said Keelin through clenched teeth, staring at Ezri with intense fervour. “And we have nothing to loose, whereas you do! Because of that you will settle for peace and a little humiliating compromise, rather than all out war.”

“You don't want peace!” Ezri spat out bitterly. “Even if the Federation agrees to such demands, where will it stop? Whatever stipulations, clauses and terms would the Federation have to further agree to, just to preserve the peace?”

“Can't you see it?” she asked Keelin a little desperately, as her anger faded. “War is inevitable if you and the Breen keep pressurising the Federation like this.”

“If any war were to happen, then it would be through your transgressions, not ours!” hissed Keelin, he went as far as to jab his finger forward against the top of Ezri’s chest in an angry way.

Though Keelin towered over Ezri, she squared up to the general, batting his hand out of the way feeling incensed by his physical posturing. “You claim the Federation has more to lose? Well it will be your people starving when the Federation inevitably cuts off the food aid we give to your state.”

Keelin then backed just a little away from Ezri, as he seemed to realise that he could not intimidate this woman. “You don't understand captain, the Breen/Romulan pact will make both sides stronger, and through it the famines in the empire will finally stop.”

Ezri sighed, and she shook her head, before moving some paces away from Keelin. “The Federation could have helped you resolve the famines, we could have given you so much more…”

She turned around returning Keelin's harshness with great somberness. “But you consistently refused to take our helping hand.”

The look on Keelin’s face turned positively obstinate. “I have nothing more to say to you captain. Tell your Federation that it has seven days to comply to these demands, otherwise there will be war.”

With a great angry aura, Keelin marched out of the room, leaving Ezri to wonder just what diplomatic means remained to prevent war. She felt adamant that the Federation wouldn’t agree to the Breen and Romulan demands, but if such an outcome occurred, then her station would be the first Federation position to be attacked should a war take place.

The most alarming thing was Keelin lack of bluffing. Ezri had studied similar Federation encounters with the Romulans, and always the Romulans were bluffing or looking for a fight but backing out at the last minute. This confrontation felt completely different. She could sense the confidence in Keelin, a confidence which stemmed from the fact that the Romulans were now allies with the Breen.

Ezri saw it as a potent union, one were even the combined powers of the Federation and the Klingon Empire might not be enough to stop it… Ezri would be reporting all of this to Starfleet, though she could almost hear admiral Ross’ answer; the price was too damn high for peace.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old June 9 2012, 10:30 PM   #222
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 3, part 1

Day 11, 0400 hours

Incoming call from admiral Ross, priority one,” resounded the computer's voice in Ezri’s bedroom.

At once Ezri woke up, and though tired she wasn’t really sleeping, just drifting in and out of consciousness. She left her bedroom, trying to remember the disjointed dreams of the night, but all she got were small jolts of worry and fear.

She entered the living room, dressed in her grey pyjama trousers and black T-shirt, and took up the chair behind her command console. “Transfer to this quarter's console authorization Ezri gamma four two lambda nine,” she said sleepily.

The console screen displayed the live feed from Ross’ office, and Ross himself looked almost as tired as Ezri. “Captain, sorry for disturbing you, but I have a mission for you to complete. I want you to take the Defiant back to the Breen homeworld, to free the Federation delegation. The Breen will say no, however they may change their mind if you threaten to destroy the biogenics factory we managed to locate on their homeworld. You will depart from DS9 at 0900 hours tomorrow, before departing you will cloak the Defiant, and then set a course for Breen. That way the Romulans will have no idea where the Defiant has gone to.”

Ezri’s brain had woken up, and she became more aware of what Ross was asking of her. “Getting to Breen will be no problem,” she said. “With the cloak, the Defiant should slip through the Breen border unnoticed. But bluffing with the Breen? They would know we're bluffing...”

“It's a risk I'm willing to take...” said Ross, though his eyes betrayed a little uncertainty about his decision. “For these last few days the Breen have been giving us their demands, I would say we turn it around upon them, and see just how far they're willing to raise the stakes...”

Ezri wholeheartedly agreed with Ross’ statement. “If the Breen do hand over the prisoners, the Defiant is going to have to retreat promptly. But it can outrun any Breen ship and the Breen can't detect the Defiant's cloak... It should be feasible to return to Federation space without being attacked.”

“Good...” said Ross, and any apprehension had vanished from his face. “You can also tell general Keelin, that the Federation's top diplomats are engaged in talks with Toshen's new government and high-ranking officials from the Breen Confederacy regarding the list of demands. Hopefully the general, and the ships he commands, will leave DS9 and return to wherever they came from.”

“I hope so admiral...” said Ezri a little wearily. “But somehow I get the feeling Keelin is going to stay put for as long as possible to threaten this station.”

Ross frowned to himself as he considered this. “To incentivise us to agree to the demands, otherwise he attacks the station...” he thoughtfully murmured. “I hope not captain, I really hope not. Ross out.”

Ezri got up, and left the console, rubbing her eyes as she did so. “Computer what is the time?”

0400 hours, Bajoran time.

So much for sleeping Ezri thought ruefully. Heading back to her bedroom she undressed and put on her uniform, there was work to be done, lots of it…


***


“Ms Dawson, hail the Romulan flagship,” said Ezri.

“Channel open,” said Tanya.

The Ops viewscreen showed Keelin in his usual position on the Romulan ship. “Captain, has your Federation agreed to the the Breen and Romulan demands?”

“Not yet...” replied Ezri, and she calmly locked her gaze with Keelin's. “The Federation is in contact with both the Romulan and Breen governments and is negotiating such matters. So I see no reason why you need to speak with me, or why your ships must surround this station.”

As was so typical of Keelin, his face remained blank, and he seemed to have no reaction to this bit of news. “I heard about this development some hours ago, and I would have left your little station alone, but I have received a new set of orders where I am to hold position.”

“Hold position?” quoted Ezri.

“Yes captain,” said Keelin, and the smugness returned. “A rather simple set of orders, but they come from Praetor Toshen himself.”

“That is interesting...” said Ezri musingly, she sounded calm but inside her anger was raging.

“How so?” asked Keelin politely.

“Well you would almost think that having your ships surround this station is simply to pressurise the Federation into action. In others word this is simply a political move...”

The look on Keelin’s face became very fixed. “You can guess at the motives of the orders all you want to captain... However I resent you implying that I am here to attack Deep Space Nine should these new rounds of negotiations fail.”

“Actions speak louder than words general, but do not think for an instance that your ploys and schemes will lull us into a false sense of security. Dax out.”

“He's toying with us!” snarled Megan, the moment the channel closed.

“I know that commander,” said Ezri wearily, “but like us he is just posturing... Chief is the Defiant ready for departure?”

“It is captain,” said Nog, and he left the sentence hanging open… “Are you sure you don't want me on the Defiant? I know its engines and systems better than anyone else does.”

“No Nog, the offer is much appreciated, but I need you here in Ops, in case the worst does happen and the Romulans attack.”

Nog simply nodded, and Ezri turned her back to Nog, her mind on more urgent matters. “Commander, may I have a quick word with you?”

Without comment, Megan looked up from her station, waiting for Ezri to speak.

“In private...” added Ezri.

The two women departed to the commander’s office, and inside they came to a stop by the desk.

“What's on your mind captain?”

“The Romulans...” stated Ezri, before she looked at Megan very seriously. “Whatever may happen, do not give them a reason to attack this station. Should the worst happen, then it will be the Romulans who fired the first shots, and not us.”

“Of course I wouldn't do anything to provoke the Romulans!” burst out Megan, and she looked rather insulted by Ezri’s lack of confidence in her. “I wouldn't risk this station or the people who live in it by doing something that stupid!”

“I know you won't,” said Ezri quickly. “But the next forty or so hours are going to be critical. The peace must hold between you and the Romulans until the Federation reinforcements arrive. The Romulans know this, and if they're going to try anything stupid-”

“It will be before the reinforcements have arrived,” said Megan.

“Exactly...” said Ezri. “One more thing…”

Ezri went to the back of her desk, and opening a compartment from the underside, she removed from it her site-to-site transporter. “Take the site-to-site transporter. I won't be needing it with the mission I'm completing, but you might...”

“I understand...” said Megan, who took it from Ezri’s offered hand, and examined the device.

“Good luck commander,” said Ezri.

Megan broke her stare from the device, and looked straight into Ezri’s eyes. “The same to you.”


***


The Defiant was fully operational, and the crew were waiting for her orders. Ezri sat down in the commander’s chair, and after one brief moment of hesitation, she decided to set things in motion. “Mr Holo raise the cloak.”

“Cloak activated,” said Holo, while he gazed intently on the readings coming from the engineering consoles.

“Okay, Mr Weatherby take the Defiant out, nice and slowly. Bring her around 180 degrees clockwise.”

“Aye captain,” said Max who was at the helm.

Ezri averted her gaze from the viewscreen, to address the officer at the primary tactical station. “Mr Voran, what is the status of the Romulan ships?”

“No change in their position,” reported Voran. “Their weapon systems are inactive, and they are not conducting any invasive sensor sweeps.”

“So far so good,” said Ezri, and she now looked intently at the viewscreen, where the view now showed the Romulan ships.

“The ship is in position captain,” said Max.

Ezri nodded a little to herself, and stared at the view in front of her, where several Romulan ships filled up the screen. She rested her elbows against the chair’s armrests, while she clasped her hands together, carefully considering the situation. “Set a course of two-four-three mark one-nine-three between the two Romulan ships equidistant to the line of the course. Use thrusters, keep at them low power.”

“The Romulans shouldn't be able to detect such low thruster emissions when we're under the cloak,” said Holo.

“Let's hope not...” replied Ezri, her eyes still on the viewscreen.

The Defiant moved closer to the Romulan ships, and Ezri held her breathe wondering if Ross’ ploy was going to work. The Romulan ships maintained position, and Ezri could not tell whether the Romulans were aware of the Defiant’s presence or not. Finally a minute later the view of the Romulan ships was gone, and Ezri thought the trickiest part of setting off was over.

“We're past the two Romulan ships,” reported Max, “distance one kilometre.”

“Go to half impulse, and set a course for Breen,” ordered Ezri, and her hands lowered so they rested against the sides of the chair. “Once we're out of the Bajoran star system go to warp nine.”

“Yes captain,” said Max.

“Were we detected Mr Holo?” asked Ezri.

“I don't believe so,” said Holo, turning around in his chair to address Ezri. “If we had been detected, you would think that the Romulans would have engaged us or tried to surround us.”

“Possibly...” murmured Ezri.

With the danger past, Ezri returned back to her thoughts about the situation and the Romulans. She just hoped that when the Defiant returned back, if it came back from the mission, DS9 would still be standing in one piece.


***


Megan was using a console inbuilt into the situation table, in Ops, checking over sensors and various station functions. She was doing this to take her mind off matters, and all the time she went over through her head the explanation she was going to give to general Keelin about the Defiant.

One part of her knew that however well she lied or covered up, it was going to be hard to convince Keelin.

“We're being hailed by the Romulan flagship,” said Tanya, her eyes focusing on the console readings. “It’s general Keelin.”

Tanya didn’t sound surprised and neither was Megan. She walked away from her console and up the steps that lead to the commander’s office. Reaching the top of the mini flight of stairs, Megan turned around and her eyes were about level with the centre of the viewscreen.

“This will be interesting...” she told Tanya, while breathing out deeply to get her brain whirring away. “On screen.”

Keelin was sat in the command chair of his flagship’s bridge, and this time he didn’t look happy. There was no fake smile or pretend warm looks, he was now showing his true visage. “Commander, where is captain Dax?”

“Captain Dax isn't on the station, if that is what you mean,” answered Megan, sounding convincing with a calm and pleasant voice.

The frown on Keelin’s face deepened. “Don't patronise me commander, perhaps you would care to explain why the Defiant has cloaked?”

“It's part of an maintenance job, we're testing the Defiant's cloak to see-”

“Testing?” hissed Keelin, and he looked positively livid. “You expect me to fall for that lame answer? You are lying to me commander!”

Megan though smiled back, it felt strangely good turning the tables on Keelin, and being dishonest with him. “It is the truth, don't you conduct maintenance checks on your cloaks?”

“Don't evade the question,” replied Keelin forcibly, whose teeth were almost gritted together in anger.

But at that moment Keelin calmed down, some of that Romulan superiority and smugness returned to his face. “I want to ask you something commander. If you're really conducting these 'maintenance checks' on the Defiant, how come my ship's sensors detected fifty people vanish the moment the Defiant cloaked?”

Megan had an explanation ready made, but she now knew that nothing was going to fool Keelin, no matter how well she lied. “Well it is a big job checking-”

In one angry motion, Keelin was on his feet with his fists clenched. “You are not checking the Defiant's cloak!” he shouted. “You've cloaked that ship and it has left this station! I find it a remarkable coincidence that fifty people have disappeared, which is just below the Defiant's crew compliment.”

The smile still remained on Megan’s face, it felt good seeing Keelin lose his temper. “Coincidence general.”

Now Keelin turned very sour. “You know there is a way to test whether you are telling the truth, and that would be to fire on the position where the Defiant is docked.”

That was one threat Megan would not take lying down, she dropped her pleasant appearance and looked very seriously at Keelin. “If you do that then it will be considered an act of war on your people's part, and I will be forced to defend this station and the Defiant!”

“You are leaving me no other choice!” hissed Keelin, as his eyes brimmed with rage. “You are up to something commander, your captain has left the station and I intend to find out why!”

Megan decided to change tack, and threaten Keelin in return. “General Keelin think very carefully upon what you are embarking upon. If you open fire at this station, whether a direct volley or a warning shot, you would have committed an act of war. Thus scuppering the negotiations taking place between the Federation, Breen and Romulans.”

She paused, as she let those words sink in, she could almost see Keelin thinking and determining his options. “Now would your Praetor be very happy to hear that the reason why the negotiations failed was because of your reckless actions?”

There was no response from Keelin, and he looked well and truly cornered with this conversation. “Fine, have it your way,” he said very venomously. “But as a precaution my ships will raise their shields and activate their weapon's systems, just in case the Defiant decides to attack us.”

Megan’s tactic was now starting to backfire, if anything the stakes were once more reaching dangerous highs. “Isn't that a little extreme?”

“It is a necessary precaution,” replied Keelin smoothly, “since I have no idea where the Defiant is located.”

Keelin had now found his composure after his angry outburst. “Of course you could tell me where it is, and I won't have to take such a provocative step.”

A smile returned to Megan’s face, but it was a rather fixed one as she recognised her failure to fool Keelin. “The Defiant is still docked at this station general.”

“Indeed,” said Keelin, sounding warm and a little condescending, though his eyes were very cold.

The communication ended, and Megan breathed out deeply. That had been very hard, although the outcome was almost exactly what she expected. “Mr Paulson raise shields and activate the weapon systems!”

Tanya turned around in her chair, after covertly watching the dialogue between her commander and Keelin, to give Megan a somewhat glum expression. “The general didn't seem too convinced...”

“Well I tried,” said Megan in a slightly down-beat voice. “Though at least we know the Romulans don't know where the Defiant is.”

“I'll feel a lot safer when those Starfleet reinforcements come,” responded Tanya.

Megan briefly locked her gaze with Tanya, in that moment the two women shared their unspoken understanding. “Same here.”
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old June 9 2012, 10:30 PM   #223
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 3, part 2

In what seemed like no time at all Kira was awake again, and she became conscious of the aching pains in her face and chest. She blinked a bit to sharpen her vision, and she saw three Breen in their usual attire. Though she noted a subtle difference in their uniforms; two of them had a thin green stripe just around the upper neck of their suit/body armour while the third did not.

The two Breen with the green stripe were going through various medical equipment, and Kira realised they were doctors of some kind. So the third Breen must have been her interrogator. She tried to move forwards however her arms, legs and waist were restrained. Looking downwards she saw black cords tying her body against the wall she was standing against.

The third Breen, the interrogator, became aware that Kira was conscious and he advanced towards her before stopping three feet away. “Your options; answer our questions or we will extract the information from you.”

Kira just stared back defiantly at the interrogator trying to annoy him.

The interrogator though just cocked his head a little, whether in surprise or annoyance Kira could not tell. “Lie-detector pads; apply them,” he said to the two doctors. “Cortical stimulator; apply that to the prisoner.”

Quickly the two doctors came over and one rolled up the left sleeve of Kira’s uniform tunic, while the other placed a grey pad over her forearm. It was sticky against Kira’s skin, more than that the sensation on her skin felt very odd, almost as if her skin was coming off her.

“Get off me!” she told them but to no avail.

“Silence!” came the harsh mechanical reply from the interrogator’s translator. “Cortical stimulator; get it activated,” he ordered to the doctors.

“You won’t get anything out of me!” hissed Kira.

When the doctors finished applying the second pad to Kira’s right forearm, one of the doctors applied a small circular cortical stimulator against her forehead, and they then stood back, waiting for the interrogator to give them further instructions.

One of the doctors had a Breen style tricorder and Kira presumed this device controlled the cortical regulator.

The interrogator nodded to that doctor, suddenly intense pain flared up inside Kira’s head. It took all of her will-power not to utter anything from her mouth, but when the pain started spreading downwards from her head and into the rest of the body, she began softly moaning in pain. All of a sudden the pain stopped. Kira rested limply against the restraints, her head bowed down while her body still ached.

“First question; what are the command codes of Deep Space Nine?”

“You'll get nothing from me,” answered Kira in a defiant voice laced with pain.

“Your resistance; expected,” said the interrogator. “A warning; your lack of cooperation will result in over thirty minutes of agony.”

Kira forced herself to lift her head, to look at the interrogator straight in the face. “Well you're just going to have use your devices to extract the information from me, because I will give you nothing.”

“Very well,” said the Breen and he nodded to the doctors.

“This Bajoran; her brain structure slightly chemically different,” said one of the doctors, and he didn’t sound happy. “Recommendation; we apply the procedure for two hours.”

Despite showing no fear, inside Kira grew more and more apprehensive, just what was she facing? Would there be progressively more pain each and every time the cortical stimulator activated?

“The Bajoran; will she remember anything afterward?” asked the interrogator.

“Remember; nothing much of this experience,” said the doctor.

“Good; let us begin.”

A few seconds later and the pain returned to Kira’s head, except this time it was even worse. Whispered sounds of agony escaped from her mouth, she tried to control her mouth but it was no good. Soon she started screaming in pain and thrashing against the restraints in a desperate attempt to ease her agony. Once started she couldn't stop screaming as the pain erupted in every part of her body.

She didn’t care about her dignity anymore, she wanted the pain to stop, she wanted to pass out or die. Anything but the pain… Sights, smells and sounds were all drowned out, the only sensation was pain…


***


Never had Odo felt so restless and so helpless. Somewhere his wife was being interrogated possibly tortured, and there was nothing he could do to help her. Amir had returned back some hours ago, he appeared to be sleeping but muttering to himself. It had been like that with all the prisoners after they were interrogated, each time none of them remembered very much about the interrogation.

But this was no comfort to Odo, he always felt protective towards Kira, though she knew how to protect herself so Odo never worried too much. Not this time though, the thought of his wife being so helpless scarred Odo greatly and he did not want to know the hell that Kira was probably going through.

The force field came down. Seconds later two Breen guards pulled an unconscious Kira inside before roughly dumping her on a bunk opposite to Odo. This time Odo stayed motionless because he knew he could not touch those Breen, not when they had their quantum stasis devices activated.

Once the Breen were gone, and the force field came back up, only then did Odo move over to examine Kira. She was lying on her back moving her head a bit, occasionally she muttered at random saying words. Odo recoiled a little when he noticed how bruised and battered Kira’s face was, it seemed the Breen used her face as a punch bag. Odo then gently shook Kira trying to wake her, but she ignored him, and her muttering continued.

“Nerys, what have they done to you?” he asked softly, looking at the troubled face of his wife.

He went to the back of the cell, where the food and water dispenser was located. There were only two controls on the touch panel; one for dispensing that red, circular, chewy jelly and the other for dispensing a vial of water. He got two vials of water, removing them from a slot in the dispenser, and returned back to Kira.

With one hand he held Kira’s chin, to stop her head moving about, and with the other placed the unsealed water vial in her mouth. The water tipped inside Kira’s throat, from her lack of reaction she seemed incapable of swallowing, so Odo removed the hand from Kira’s chin, and placed it around her throat, to force her to swallow.

When he finished giving Kira water, he dumped the vials in a bin by the archway. There was nothing for it but to wait for Kira to come out of her troubled sleep…


***


With a horrified gasp Kira woke up, and she quickly sat upright, before staring around wildly at the surroundings through two very puffy black eyes.

“Easy! Easy!” Odo told her, and he placed his hands around Kira’s shoulders to restrain her a little, in case she made any more sudden movements.

“What happened?” Kira asked in a dazed voice.

“You were taken away for over six hours...” said Odo after removing his hands away from Kira’s shoulders, he then sat down beside Kira. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”

“Hurt?” Kira asked, squinting at Odo in a puzzled way.

“Your face; it's all puffy, bruised and bloody.”

“Oh that...” said Kira, gently her hands drifted upwards to touch her face. “Some Breen soldiers beat me up in Fellet Jret's office.”

“Why did they take you there?”

“I don't know,” replied Kira in a distracted way, and she then swung her legs off the bunk until her feet were resting on the floor. “I saw some sort of recording equipment, maybe Jret was making-” Kira then placed held clasped the sides of her head very tightly as her face contorted in pain. “Ooohh!” she exclaimed. “I've got such a splitting head ache!”

Odo showed even more concern towards Kira. “Did they do anything else to you?”

“No...” said Kira, she appeared a bit confused, though due to her facial injuries it was hard to tell.

Eventually Kira’s gaze sharpened up, she directed at Odo in a perturbed way. “Odo did you say six hours past by?”

“It's part of my body clock, six hours have gone by since you were taken away.”

At this Kira’s mouth opened a little in surprise. “But it feels like half an hour at most! How could so much time have gone by?”

“I don't know...” replied Odo, and he cudgelled his brain, trying to find an explanation. “Maybe you were drugged or something?”

“I remember now!” exclaimed Kira loudly, her eyes widened a little. “I was sedated and then I woke up here...”

She frowned to herself. “No that isn't right...”

With a small gasp, she then seemed to remember a bit more. “I was in some sort of interrogation room...” she slowly said, and her hands were moving of their accord as if she were trying to place imaginary things. “There were two Breen, perhaps a third one... And... And...”

“Go on...” said Odo gently.

Kira’s hands then rested on her thighs, and when she spoke, she spoke in little more than a whisper. “All I can remember is pain, like my body was set on fire. I don't know how long the experience lasted... It was all so confusing...”

Odo knew how hard this was for Kira given all of her exhaustion, fatigue and weariness. He wrapped an arm around Kira’s waist as he tried to comfort her in the only way he could. “Maybe it's better that you can't remember everything?”

“You're right...” said Kira, nodding a bit in agreement. “From what I can remember, I was probably being brutally tortured...”

“I like to see the Breen torture me!” snorted Odo, laughing a little afterwards.

“They might be able to...” murmured Kira, she glanced at Odo in a worried way. “Remember those devices attached to their arms? It stopped you from shapeshifting, you know what happened the last time you were tortured like that.”

Kira was right, and Odo’s bravado faded, subconsciously he removed the arm placed around Kira’s waist, as he contemplated the prospect of such torture. “At least Garak was going to stop, but these Breen... They may stop me shapeshifting until...”

“Until what?” asked Kira, looking at Odo with some trepidation.

“Until my morphogenic matrix breaks down...” explained Odo, it was a horrible prospect to him because he knew how painful that would be. “Which would result in my death…”

A bleak silence followed afterwards. The two continued to sit next to each other, both looking at the adjacent wall and both looking lost in thought.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old June 22 2012, 09:47 PM   #224
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 4, part 1

Day 11, 2100 hours

“We're entering the Breen border captain,” reported Max.

So here was the moment of truth, and Ezri couldn’t help but shift a little uncomfortably on her chair. “What is the status of the nearby Breen ships?”

Voran who was at the primary tactical station answered that question. “The ones on patrol have maintained their course, while the ones guarding the border haven't changed their position. If they have detected this ship, they would have definitely intercepted us.”

“You are right,” said Ezri, though it did nothing to ease her nervousness. “Mr Weatherby maintain course.”

“Course maintained.”

It felt a little surreal to Ezri entering Breen space whilst slipping in apparently undetected. But she was growing a little more confident that if the Breen hadn’t detected the Defiant at the border, then they wouldn’t detect the Defiant a few dozen light years into Breen Confederacy territory to reach the Breen homeworld.


***


Day 12, 2330 hours

Reaching the Breen homeworld undetected was one thing, but now came the most dangerous and difficult part of the mission, and though Ezri had a plan, she didn’t know what the outcome would be.

She had not slept for over thirty hours, virtually everyone on the Defiant had not slept as the ship maintained a state of constant battle alertness. The fatigue gradually fastened its hold on Ezri, however she stayed alert by continually reminding herself about the dangerous situation the Defiant was placed in.

“Mr Holo drop the cloak, and contact the Breen homeworld, in a general subspace communication.”

For one moment Holo hesitated, looking deeply perturbed by the captain’s orders, but then he obliged. “Communication sent…”

“Breen ships are intercepting us captain!” said Voran, who sounded somewhat nervous. “Time of arrival, less than a minute.”

“Red alert!” said Ezri. “And raise shields.”

“Aren’t we going to activate the phaser banks, and arm quantum torpedoes?” asked Voran incredulously.

“We are here to talk Mr Voran,” said Ezri a little impatiently. “Not to attack the Breen…”

The seconds past by, and Ezri knew that if there was no response from the Breen, and the Breen ships arrived, she would have no choice but to high-tail it out of Breen territory. Everyone was tense, and the tension only grew as the Defiant simply maintained position a few thousand kilometres away from the Breen surface.

“They're responding!” said Holo.

“On screen!” said Ezri quickly.

Fellet Jret appeared on the viewscreen sat behind his desk, with his eyes initially betraying a little surprise at the Defiant’s presence. “Starfleet vessel; you are trespassing in Breen territory,” he hissed. “Consequence; to be boarded!”

Ezri though gave a Jret a very confident, brazen and aggressive look. “You even attempt to attack the Defiant and I'll open fire on your top-secret biogenics factory. It seems to be the only one you've got.”

The anger on Jret’s face ebbed and his mandibles began clicking in an uncertain way. “Biogenics factory; how do you know about it?”

Without deviation, Ezri maintained her expression, staring right into those beady eyes of Jret's. “This ship conducted sensor sweeps and encountered a rather large cloaking field, imagine my surprise when I discovered a biogenics factory on your planet. After thirteen years of peace with the Federation why would the Breen Confederacy need a biogenics factory? Unless of course you were planning an invasion where bio-weaponry will be used. I have good reason to destroy it...”

Just as Jret was about to respond, Ezri interrupted him. “Mr Voran arm phaser banks, ready the quantum torpedoes. Set coordinates at two-one-four mark nine-seven-one, and prepare to-”

“Wait!” exclaimed Jret, whose mandibles seemed to be shuddering from his apprehension and worry. “Demands; state them.”

“I want the release of all the Federation prisoners you are keeping, within the hour. Failure to do so and I will raze the biogenics factory to the ground. Furthermore your ships are to maintain a distance of one thousand kilometres from the Defiant. Any closer and I will open fire. You have thirty seconds to agree to these demands, or say goodbye to your biogenics factory.”

There was absolute silence on the bridge, and from Jret, while the seconds slipped by.

“The Breen ships are still approaching,” reported Voran.

Ezri though remained quiet, counting down the seconds until the deadline passed. She kept her face utterly rigid and poker-like, inwardly praying that Jret would fall for this bluff.

“Agreed,” said Jret, “in one hour the 25 prisoners will be beamed to your ship. My ships; will maintain one thousand kilometre distance from your vessel.”

The transmission ended, and Ezri waited for confirmation that the Breen ships were doing this.

“The Breen ships are breaking formation,” reported Voran. “They’re moving away from us!”

“They fell for it!” said Max rather gleefully.

“Let’s keep on our toes people,” warned Ezri. “Only once the 25 members of the Federation delegation are safely on board, do we promptly retreat out of here.”

“Captain what stops the Breen ships from pursuing us, when we have the delegation?” asked Max, who had turned around in his chair, to look at Ezri in a somewhat nervous manner.

“We can outrun the Breen ships,” said Ezri with confidence. “Not only that this ship is twice as nimble as any ship the Breen throw at us. We managed to escape from Breen territory once, and we can do it again.”


***


Kira sat in silence on the bunk as she let her body rest from the beating and torture she suffered from one day ago. If of course one day had passed… It was very difficult keeping track of the time, but Odo previously assured her one day had passed because his inner body clock told him so.

She felt so weary and she recognised to herself that the Breen had weakened her pagh. In the long silence she said prayers in her mind. The prayers were not only directed to herself, but also for Odo, her children, and the Federation delegation. Her faith gave hope when in all reality she saw none.

It was hard to talk to Odo because she had no privacy, and even when whispering, Kira thought the people in the corresponding cells would be able to hear her and Odo. So she couldn’t tell to Odo her worries, her feelings and all the things that she needed to say to her husband in a situation of such mortal peril.

Sometimes she tried to remember what transpired when she was tortured, but all she recollected were vague memories, screams and the feeling of pain. She knew she had been tortured but she felt like it had never happened to her, and she thought this was a good thing. Though she clearly remembered being set on by the Breen and the beating she endured.

Her face felt sore and swollen, and though Odo told her it didn’t look too bad, Kira was certain Odo had glossed things over. But she didn’t blame him for doing so, he was simply trying to keep her spirits up. When she was much younger, she would have gone mad from frustration and rage at being couped up like this. There still lingered that urge to do something, no matter how trivial or pointless.

But with maturity and age, Kira felt content with sitting here and waiting for whatever would transpire next. Maybe the Breen would interrogate or torture her again, perhaps she and Odo were going to be executed, and maybe, just maybe, there would be a way out of the situation she was trapped in.

She opened her eyes when she heard a door open. Listening carefully, she heard one set of footfalls upon the floor.

“To all prisoners; you will be freed,” said the Breen guard. “Your instructions; remain where you are. The Starfleet ship Defiant; will beam you out of here.”

Every prisoner was listening with baited breath. “Deception; there is none,” added the Breen, and he almost completely broke the optimistic atmosphere when he said ‘deception’ before it quickly returned.

The prisoners remained absolutely silent, as did Kira. She refused to believe what she had just heard and she didn’t dare voice her hope and joy. Only once the Breen guard left the detention room, only then did Kira feel that this was real. She was about to leave the Breen homeworld!

A muted reaction could be heard amongst the Federation delegation. Some of them were cheering, and thanking various deities or beings. Others were crying, some softly, while some were weeping.

“Oh thank the Prophets!” said Kira joyously, as the relief vented out of her voice.

“Thank captain Dax!” reminded Odo, though he to sounded upbeat. “I don't know how she did it...”

Kira got to her feet, taking one last glance of the small and dreary detention cell. “We're getting off this wintry and wretched planet!” she said out aloud, to convince herself this would be shortly happening.

There was the sound of transporter beams, Federation-sounding transporter beams, as one by one various prisoners dematerialised. Kira gazed at her husband, she could tell he looked just as pleased as her. Finally Kira limped a little over before she hugged Odo tightly. She didn’t want to let go, she would only let go when she was standing on the transporter pad back onboard the Defiant.

The blue lights shimmered around her, and her heart soared when she knew this ordeal was finally over. No more Breen, no more fear, no more of that bitter cold…
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old June 22 2012, 09:47 PM   #225
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 4, part 2

Ezri was fixated to her chair, her elbows braced against the armrests and her hands resting on her chin, as she waited for the transport of the Federation delegation to finish. She waited for over five minutes before Jret told her that the shields over the Breen prison had been lowered. Those were five nerve-wracking minutes for Ezri, and she constantly wondered if the Breen would simply call her bluff.

But they didn’t, and she felt temporarily relief when the prisoners were being beamed up into the transporter room. However she was still worried that the Breen may just suddenly attack the Defiant. One calm voice in her mind told her that the Breen ships surrounding the Defiant were not within striking range, plus there were gaps in the Breen ships where the Defiant could slip through.

The whole transport operation would only take two minutes, those were however the slowest minutes of Ezri’s whole life. Finally she couldn’t sit and wait any longer, so she tapped her combadge to check on the status of the prisoners. “Holo are all the prisoners onboard?”

“The last group of them have arrived,” replied Holo.

“Good,” said Ezri, and some of the tension eased in her mind. “Helm, take us out of here and back to Federation territory.”

“Aye captain…” replied Max, he was halfway through initiating the commands when he stopped, and frowned at the operational readings from his console. “Captain, this ship's torpedo launchers are activating!”

Ezri jerked her head around to look at Voran, who was inputting in a series of commands. “Mr Voran what is going on?” she asked.

Voran though didn’t respond and he was focused entirely upon his station, inputting unknown commands.

“The targeting sensors have locked onto the biogenics factory,” reported Max, now sounding nervous.

Ezri took out the phaser stashed in a holder around her waist, set the setting at stun, and fired it at Voran.

Voran slumped forwards, but Ezri already reached his station, shoving him out of his chair and onto the floor. She gazed at the status of the weapon’s systems; the launch sequence for the flux torpedoes was being activated. Her hands flew to the console controls, desperately hoping she could stop the sequence from completing.

“I can't stop the launch sequence, he blocked all of my command codes. I'm trying to close the torpedo bay doors.”

“But that would destroy us captain!” exclaimed Max.

“And prevent war between the Breen Confederacy and the Federation!” responded Ezri, the words flying out of her mouth as she inputted in new commands. “No!” she said loudly, slamming her hand against the console. “I'm too late!”

She could not believe this was happening, and in a trance-like way, she forced herself to look at the viewscreen and watch the green flux torpedoes streak to the surface of Breen. The torpedoes went out of sight, and then a few seconds later, there was a visible explosion on the Breen surface.

From this view it appeared small, but Ezri knew that an explosion of that size would raze to the ground an entire metropolis. The flux torpedoes had been reconfigured, their armaments altered, because Ezri knew that the current yield would never have produced an explosion of that size.

The terrible truth of the whole situation then struck Ezri; the Defiant had fired on Breen and in doing so committed an act of war. Everyone on the bridge was gazing in both shock and horror by what had occurred.

“Fellet Jret is contacting us captain,” said Max, trying to sound professional and detached, but the numbness still resided in his voice.

Briefly Ezri had the back of her hand against her mouth as she tried to overcome her shock. “On screen,” she said.

Jret was in his office; his anger truly terrible to behold. His mandibles were clicking away at a ferocious pace. “The Federation; despicable treachery on its part!” he shouted.

“Fellet Jret this is a terrible mistake, but-”

“Lies; I refuse to hear them captain,” raged Jret, and through the anger he looked almost as shocked as Ezri felt. “Breen warships; are coming this way to take your ship. Once done; I will have your head captain! The Federation; will pay dearly for its treachery!”

The comm link ended, though Ezri had no time to dwell on the ramifications, right now she had to get the Defiant to safety. “Mr Weatherby take us out of Breen space maximum warp.”

Max didn’t need telling twice. His hands moved with extraordinary speed as he set a course to slip through the Breen ships.

Briefly the Defiant shook, as the Breen ships -- which the Defiant was approaching -- took pots shots, but it was nothing serious. Finally the viewscreen became clear of Breen ships and the stars then streaked as the Defiant went to warp.

Ezri returned to the commander’s chair, relieved that the Defiant was out of danger for the time being. “Thank God we can outrun Breen ships...”

She rested her gaze on the unconscious Voran. “Security, confine Mr Voran to his quarters and keep a close watch on him!”

Two security guards picked up Voran, and supported him by his arms, while they dragged him out of the bridge.

Ezri was inwardly fuming at what happened. Just what on Trill was Voran thinking? The magnitude of his actions were unbelievable to Ezri, because of Voran he might have started a second war between the Federation and the Breen Confederacy. The satisfaction of retrieving the surviving members of the Federation delegation morphed into absolute dismay by Voran’s actions.

What would Starfleet say? How was she going to explain to Starfleet what happened? Would they believe her when she told them that an officer took leave of his senses and destroyed the Breen biogenics factory? These were horrible questions, and Ezri dreaded the possibility that she would be blamed for whatever was going to happen afterwards. For surely the Breen were going to retaliate, and attack the Federation, as revenge for the destroyed biogenics factory.


***


Day 13, 1000 hours

Once again the Defiant managed to evade the Breen, with its high warp speed and cloak. However the journey was made more complicated as Max had to make a dozen course changes to avoid Breen fleets, and groups of ships, that were in the way of the Defiant’s course. This time it seemed the Breen were conducting a more methodical search for the Defiant, however to Ezri’s luck, the Defiant’s cloak seemed impervious to Breen sensor scans.

“Mr Weatherby how long until we are out of Breen territory?” asked Ezri.

“About two minutes,” said Max.

The sooner the Defiant was out of Breen territory the better Ezri would feel. Two things though were still bothering her. One, what would the Romulan response to the incident be, would the Romulan ships surrounding DS9 attack? Ezri was unable to ascertain the outcome, though she suspected something ugly might happen. The next troubling issue was how to explain herself to Starfleet about why the Defiant destroyed the biogenics factory on the Breen homeworld.

Almost two minutes later, and Max reported the Defiant’s position, detaching Ezri from her thoughts. “We've crossed the border into Federation territory.”

“Lieutenant Marley are any Breen ships pursuing us?”

“Negative,” said Marley, the male officer at the primary tactical station. “They gave up thirty minutes ago...”

“I'm receiving a high bandwidth subspace communication, priority one,” said Holo.

“On screen,” answered Ezri.

The viewscreen showed a very angry looking Ross, standing in front of his desk and he seemed ready to kill. “Captain do you mind explaining why you destroyed a Breen biogenics factory?”

“Sir, I did not destroy the factory, it was-”

“Save your excuses,” cut in Ross angrily. “You are relieved of duty and lieutenant commander Max Weatherby will be taking over the Defiant.”

Ezri got to her feet, and she couldn’t help looking wounded. “I am not to blame for what has happened,” she said, coming closer to the viewscreen. “If you would allow me-”

“Alright captain,” said Ross bitterly, “you have one minute to explain yourself, and if I'm not satisfied you will be relieved of duty.”

Quickly Ezri took in a big breathe of air, before she launched into an account of her version of events. “The incident with the biogenics factory happened after all the Federation prisoners were successfully rescued. I threatened Fellet Jret with destroying the biogenics factory if the prisoners were not handed over. However it was simply a threat, I had no intention of carrying through with it. The moment all the prisoners were on board the Defiant, Talor Voran, the officer at the primary tactical station of the bridge, initiated a launch sequence for all five flux torpedoes aiming at the biogenics factory.

“Mr Voran was acting of his own accord, and I had no idea he would carry out such a dangerous and unbelievable course of action. I did my utmost to stop the launch sequence, even trying to close the torpedo launchers doors -- which would have destroyed the Defiant -- but I was unsuccessful. Five flux torpedoes were fired, and struck the biogenics factory, destroying it in a matter of seconds. I swear to you admiral, I gave no such order to fire or even hint to my senior staff that we were to destroy the biogenics factory!”

There was a long silence from Ross as he considered Ezri’s explanation, and Ezri herself prayed she had said enough to save her career and avert a court martial.

Ross suddenly considered Ezri with less suspicion, and he had dropped his accusatory stare. “Can any one of your senior staff members corroborate your account of the events?”

Another silence. Ezri slowly looked back and forth from the senior staff present on the bridge. Kira couldn’t testify as she had not been on the bridge, but Holo or Max could, and Ezri waited for one of the two to come to her defence.

“I can sir,” said Max, sounding somewhat nervous as he addressed Ross. “Lieutenant commander Max Weatherby, chief pilot of the Defiant speaking. I was about to move the Defiant from its stationary position, when I detected the ship's torpedo launchers activating. I heard no order to fire, and Ezri clearly asked Voran, who was at primary tactical, what he was doing. Voran gave no response, and Ezri stunned him with her phaser and tried to stop the launch sequence.”

The nervousness Ezri felt reached a crescendo, surely Ross would come to realise that she was not to blame?

“It seems I jumped to the wrong conclusion...” said Ross slowly.

Ross now looked a tiny bit guilty, a moment later he turned his gaze to Ezri. “I rescind my order captain, however I want a highly detailed report explaining exactly what happened.”

“I understand...” said Ezri, trying not to sound too pleased. “Admiral what is happening with the negotiations with the Breen and Romulans?”

“They're on the verge of collapsing,” said Ross, and some of his worry became revealed in his eyes. “Both the Breen and Romulans are mobilising their fleets close to their respective borders to Federation space. If the negotiations collapse then we will have a full scale war on our hands. Deep Space Nine could be the first position to be attacked and it must not fall.”

Ross looked at Ezri very seriously. “Do whatever it takes to protect DS9 should the Romulans attack. We cannot afford to lose that station, Ross out.”

The transmission ended. Eventually nearly every crew member on the bridge returned back to work, Holo though continued to stare at Ezri with some sympathy.

“That was close captain,” commented Holo, “you almost got framed for a crime you never committed.”

Ezri then became aware she was still standing, looking out to the viewscreen. Mentally she shook herself and returned back to her chair. “That's by the by now, all that matters is DS9.”
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Caption contest: DS9
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