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Old November 17 2011, 11:19 PM   #91
Ln X
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 7, part 2

Day 8, 1725 hours

Inside the shuttle, Kira urged the ship to travel faster as she approached the Furillian atmosphere. At any time the villagers of Viyara would detonate the explosives, destroying the dam, and sending a wall of water that would kill Max and Holo instantly.

Kira would have contacted Max the moment she left the Defiant, however the sub-space communications blackout meant she had to revert to basic ultra low frequencies on the light spectrum. But these were easily scattered inside the Badlands, so she would have to be within the planet’s ionosphere to successfully send the transmission.

Once entering the atmosphere, Kira slowed down the shuttle’s speed and began the descent downwards. There was another five hundred kilometres remaining before the shuttle entered the ionosphere.

Finally having entered the ionosphere Kira contacted Max. If the dam was already destroyed then she would get no response, but she prayed to the Prophets that the dam was still standing. “Max are you receiving my communication?”

I hear you loud and clear colonel,” replied Max.

Kira felt relieved, but only to find that relief disappear and followed by even more tension. “You've got to find higher ground, the Viyara villagers are about to detonate explosives which will destroy the dam and send a massive wall of water down the valley!”

Shit!” said Max out aloud. “We've got another 750 metres to climb up, we’ll never make it!

“I'll be able to beam you up in about five minutes time,” said Kira quickly as she made course corrections. “I'm just entering the planet's ionosphere. If you're still using that bio-dampener device then turn it off, because I need to detect your life signs. I'm going to have to take this runabout very close to the planet's surface to get a lock on your position.”

Just as Kira was about to end the comm link Max spoke up. “Oh yes colonel make sure you beam up Nofron, he’s the marauder and the third person with us.

“Understood,” said Kira. “Kira out.”

Now Kira focused upon the pilot controls, she wanted to get to the strip mine as quickly as possible. But she had to reduce the shuttle's speed considerably so that when the shuttle was ten kilometres above the planet’s surface her speed was about two hundred metres per second.

Not only that she had to get the positioning right, she directed the shuttle so that it would level off about a hundred metres above the dam and travel down the valley. While she piloted the shuttle, she also rerouted transporter controls to the helm.

She only had one attempt at beaming Max, Holo and Nofron out of the strip mine, and she figured giving the radiation the maximum distance she could lock onto was about twelve kilometres above the planet’s sea level. This gave her at most one minute to lock onto Max’s, Holo’s and Nofron’s bio-signals and beam the three onto the shuttle.

Satisfied with her course, Kira set the final portion of her course onto auto pilot when the shuttle was twelve kilometres above sea level. After that she would be focusing solely on getting a transport lock on the away team.

Though right now Kira had to get her current course as accurate as possible to make sure the shuttle’s trajectory was correct when the auto pilot engaged. Otherwise the shuttle would end up ploughing into the surface…


***


When Max received the news from Kira that the Furillians were about to blow up the dam, a sense of numbness came over him. At any time the explosives would go off and in a matter of minutes a huge wall of water would sweep himself, Holo and Nofron away.

The only bit of good news was Max and his companions had managed to climb out of the gorge, and they were walking up the steep scree slopes. Unfortunately the bad news was that they had to climb up a further 750 metres in height to safely avoid the wall of water.

By Max’s calculations at a walking pace this would take at least 45 minutes. But in a desperate attempt to cut the time, all three started running up the steep slope. As Max ran his legs seized up in less than a minute, but still he pushed himself. Sweat was poring from every gland in his skin, and he was burning up, though he still pushed himself.

For Holo it was effortless running up the slopes, just behind Holo was Nofron, and Max could tell that even Nofron couldn’t maintain this pace for much longer.

“Come on faster!” shouted Holo, as he ran up the slope, twenty metres ahead of Max and Nofron.

Despite being so out of breathe Max managed to squeeze out a few words. “Humanoid bodies aren't… designed to… run… at full speed… going up mountains!” he gasped.

Holo turned around and came to a stop, looking down at Max. “The more height we get the higher the chance of our survival!”

Max couldn’t believe what Holo was asking of himself and Nofron, they could never maintain this pace. Clearly Holo had completely forgotten in his haste to dash to safety, that for organics running up hills was extremely difficult.

Still Max pushed on, driven by a mixture of fear and adrenaline. As he ran he wondered if Holo would be killed if the wall of water struck him. Suddenly Max realised that Holo would be killed in a manner of speaking, as all that water would go through Holo’s projected body and collide with the holographic emitter.

With all that force the holographic emitter would be crushed and if it wasn’t, then it would be whisked along smashing against everything that the water swept away in its path. One way or another the holographic emitter would be irreparably damaged, and Holo’s program would be lost, and that would be the end of Holo’s life.

This explained to Max why Holo was so desperate to gain as much height as possible. Holo was in fear of his life just like any other mortal would be when faced with such a situation.


***


After his speech, Sotron was given a handheld detonator by one of the villagers skilled with explosives. Sotron was about to detonate when Jacorda unexpectedly contacted him and told him there would be a twenty minute delay as a group of Furillians were in the water’s path. This group only had a further two hundred metres to go before they reached a safe level.

So Sotron waited, he was yearning for the moment when he would pull the trigger to the detonator activating the explosives. Bringing down the dam which was an absolute monstrosity and travesty to mother nature. The hand guard of the detonator chafed against his skin but Sotron didn’t care, he wasn’t removing it until he had pulled the trigger.

Sotron’s communicator then buzzed and he realised Nofron was contacting him. Taking out the communicator, Sotron placed it close to his mouth.

“Is everything all clear for the detonation?” he asked Nofron breathlessly.

Affirmative, you may detonate at your own discretion.

Closing the communicator and placing back it in his trouser pocket, Sotron raised the hand carrying the detonator, and with his left hand he pressed a button to turn off the safety jammer.

There was complete and absolute silence from the villagers, nobody even breathed as Sotron stood their looking at them. “For Furillia,” he said quietly.

His index finger pulled back and firmly squeezed the trigger guard. There was a small beep that came from the device, and Sotron turned around to look at the dam.

A second later there was a series of little explosions that ran across the length of the dam, little puffs of dust could be seen coming from the detonation points. Even from up here Sotron could feel the vibrations.

Finally a truly colossal explosion burst from the central turbine room, Sotron instantly placed a hand to his eyes as the bright blue light nearly blinded him. A massive air shock wave ran along the dam before hitting the steep slopes, the air blast bounced upwards displacing all the loose rock and raising huge clouds of grey dust.

The air blast rapidly dissipated while the blue light faded into a red and yellow fireball that lasted for many seconds, it rose rapidly into the sky. Momentarily the ground shook hard as the sheer kinetic energy travelled through the layers of rock beneath Sotron's feet.

As the fireball faded, leaving behind a plume of dust, debris and rock. Sotron noticed massive cracks running up and along all parts of the dam. They spread in a fan shape, and chunks of the dam were falling to the ground.

Suddenly a low but intense vibration could be felt, and Sotron heard a very menacing low humming sound coming from the rocks below his feet. It gradually got louder and then a massive jet of water gushed out from the centre of the dam. The jet got bigger, until suddenly the whole dam simply disintegrated before Sotron’s very eyes, breaking up into huge blocks of metal and ceramics.

With the water free to escape, the sudden drop in pressure caused the dam to momentarily collapse inwards, but soon the raging torrents of water dragged huge portions of the dam forwards. A truly almighty roar could be heard as a wall of water a kilometre high sloshed downwards breaking and scattering every loose thing along the valley’s floor.

The water behind the non-existent dam slowly decreased in height while successive portions suddenly lost their flat surface and collapsed.

Everything in front of the water was washed away, huge boulders and buildings were tossed along as if they were made of straw. Everything that was artificial and impure was being swept away, and it was such an amazing sight to Sotron. He couldn’t help it, but a few tears spilled from his eyes as the sheer emotion of the event overwhelmed him.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old November 17 2011, 11:21 PM   #92
Ln X
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 7, part 3

By some miracle Max was still running, though now his legs were seizing up in protest at his exertions, and his entire body was covered in sweat. He jerked his head right when he saw a bright light out of the corner of his eye. It was a massive explosion right in front of the dam and Max’s heart sunk in despair. It was all over, they still had five hundred metres to go.

Holo came to a stop and looked aghast at the sight of the explosion. “We're to late!” he said in a hollow voice.

Even Nofron had stopped running and he bent over, his hands resting on his knees, while he looked at the dam.

Suddenly Max heard a colossal bang and that must have been the shock wave from the explosion, a powerful breeze rushed against Max before dissipating.

When the dam crumbled all Max could feel was numbness, he was too shocked to feel scared or frightened. He simply sat down on the ground and watch the water spew from the dam. “How long will it be until the water reaches our position?”

“About two minutes maybe less,” said Holo, he seemed to be in a total daze, seemingly unable to comprehend the incoming oblivion…

Nofron though didn’t look shocked, he seemed to accept what was coming next. “Let's stop and sit down, I can’t walk any more, my legs have seized up...”

Holo nodded in a distracted manner. “Your right there's nothing more we can do but wait...”

For a moment Holo remained standing before he came down the slope, and then sat down next to Max.

Even though Max knew that Holo was going to be killed, he had to ask Holo the question that was almost too terrible to ask. “Will your holographic emitter survive being swept away by a few billion tonnes of water?”

Holo looked down at the ground, he was rolling a stone between his hands. “I don't think so, if it is destroyed then my program is obliterated.”

Nofron walked over to sit next to Max and Holo. “Do you two have any family?” he asked in a surprisingly gentle voice.

Max nodded. “A brother, but we’re estranged… Holo here doesn’t have any family.”

Strangely Nofron looked at Max in a pitiful manner. “I’m sorry to hear that, being estranged from someone you once cared for is a terrible burden to carry.”

Such sentiment from Nofron totally surprised Max, though he reckoned when faced with imminent death a person’s behaviour was bound to rapidly change as they considered everything that happened in their life.

As the wall of water came steadily closer, Max decided out of vain curiosity to ask Nofron about what happened to the person the marauder was estranged from. “If you don’t mind me asking, who was the person you were estranged from? Was it someone close?”

Nofron simply stared at Max before responding. “It was my wife, I haven’t talked to her in four years, the only thing I regret about dying is never making amends with her…”

After that Nofron lapsed into silence, and he looked deeply sorrowful.

Max was taken aback by the fact that Nofron had a wife, for such a tough and wild looking person, Max could not imagine Nofron being married.

The water was at a distance where its roar could be faintly heard, and Max looked at it and his gut tightened from nervousness. Would it hurt to die? Would it be a quick painless death or would he die in sheer agony?

Holo placed a hand on Max’s shoulder, trying to comfort Max, while the roar grew louder. “Don't worry you won't feel a thing, the sheer volume of water hitting you will knock you out immediately.”

Max could not help it but he tore his gaze from the rapidly approaching water and looked at Holo’s face. It was such a comfort for Max seeing those blue eyes and the calm demeanour of his friend’s face. He was going to die with a friend at his side, and the incoming oblivion strangely made sense to Max.

The wall of water rose up and cast a shadow over Max, and the flecks of water soaked him instantly. Just as the water was right next to his face, everything faded from view and Max closed his eyes certain that he was now dead and floating away to whatever lay beyond this life.

His body had no form and all that existed to Max was his consciousness, he didn’t dare open his eyes fearful of what he might see.

Suddenly Max could feel his body, and his feet made contact with what seemed to be a flat surface of some kind.

“Are you three all right?” said a voice.

This was a voice that seemed very familiar to Max, and it sounded like Kira’s voice. He opened his eyes and realised that he was standing in the cockpit of a shuttle, and there was Kira sitting there by the helm looking at him with some concern.

“Am I dead?” said Max with absolute conviction.

Kira’s eyebrows rose slightly in apparent amusement. “No your very much alive, I got you out of there before it was to late. You're not hurt are you?”

Max became aware that he was drenched to the skin, his shirt and trousers clung to him and water was dripping off his body. He looked around and saw a soaking wet Nofron, clearing water from his eyes. While Holo looked completely untouched.

After a while Max answered Kira’s question. “My arm's still broken but apart from that I'm fine and just a little wet,” he said and he glanced at Holo enviously. “I sometimes wish I were a hologram...”

Briefly Kira smiled widely, before swivelling around in the chair to control the helm. “Let’s get you three back to the Defiant.”

The cockpit's view of the Tiyona valley vanished as the shuttle tilted upwards, heading for the sky and beyond...


***


Day 8, 1800 hours

After fifty minutes of battle, the Defiant had taken an absolute beating. Fires were burning inside the bridge, smoke covered the ceiling, two more bulkheads had collapsed, debris and shrapnel were scattered all over the bridge.

Ezri twisted and turned the Defiant every which way she could to avoid the Cardassian weapons. All she was concentrating upon was piloting the ship. To her left Megan was doing one hell of a job giving the Cardassians an absolute drubbing, Megan was holding her nerve as were the four other officers around Ezri.

Right now Ezri couldn’t have been more prouder of them.

“Our shields are gone captain!” shouted Megan, against the backdrop of the roaring fires.

Simultaneously Ezri dodged the Defiant out of harm's way, while briefly looking at the screen on her console which showed the positions of the Defiant and the Cardassian ships. “Launch a flux torpedo at the Cardassian ship behind us!”

Megan looked at Ezri in a desperate manner. “The auto-targeting system is destroyed!”

“Then use manual targeting!” shouted Ezri angrily. “And this make this torpedo count, it's our last flux torpedo!”

Megan stared at the screen in a transfixed manner as she sorted out the manual targeting. While two of the crew members had taken out fire extinguishers and were bringing most of the fires under control.

“Firing...” said Megan.

The moment Megan said that the Defiant lurched heavily, a plasma conduit at one end of the bridge exploded and fires leapt up ten metres behind Ezri. She could hear the bulkheads groaning and she realised the structural integrity was close to failure. Yet other bulkhead collapsed, this one was wide and covered nearly the entire width of the bridge. It crushed the commander's chair and flattened the consoles beneath, making a terrific crunching noise.

Ezri looked around and was relieved to see Megan was still alive, the fallen bulkhead had missed Megan by less than a metre.

Megan was sat at her station as if nothing had happened. “The torpedo hit, the Cardassian ship is destroyed!” she said, jubilation in her voice.

That moment of celebration was premature as the Defiant shook again. “Captain we can't take any more of this!” shouted Megan, her voice sounded absolutely raw from emotion. “The ablative armour is down to ten percent strength and ten more Cardassian ships are heading our way!”

Ezri though remained looking fixedly at the console she was using. “The Cardassians won't stop firing until this ship has been destroyed, and I'm not leaving this ship!” she said fiercely, she was sounding beyond reason or rationality. “We're fighting to the bitter end!”

Suddenly a look of relief shone from Megan’s face. “We may not have to captain! Fifty Starfleet ships have arrived!”

From the depths of Ezri’s heart, she was immensely grateful for the reinforcements, it seemed admiral Ross had taken her suggestion after all to close down the strip mines. If Ross was here right now Ezri would have kissed him.

“Contact the lead Cardassian ship!” Ezri ordered, there was a somewhat maniacal expression on her face, as she felt that the battle would soon be coming to an end…

“Hailing them,” said Megan, her hands skimming over the controls quickly. “They're responding.”

On the view screen was the sight of a Cardassian gul, Ezri recognised the insignia around his collar, but she had never such a ferocious looking Cardassian in her life. In the background was the orange lighting in the Cardassian ship’s bridge, while the walls were that dull golden brown colour. There seemed to be some smoke lingering at the ceiling and one bulkhead had collapsed and was protruding into the floor.

“This is Gul Messek, commander of the 76th fleet, cease hostilities and surrender!” said Messek loudly and menacingly.

Ezri stared right into Messek’s eyes, and in that stare she poured all of her hatred and determination. “In case you haven't noticed Messek you are in no position to make demands. If you attack the Federation fleet then you will be starting a war between the Cardassian Union and the Federation. And all the resources in the Badlands aren't enough reason to declare war upon the Federation!”

Messek looked furious, and his nostrils flared with anger. “The Badlands belong to Cardassia!” he shouted. “We will do whatever it takes to protect our claim to the Badlands!”

“And fight both the Ferengi and the Federation?” said Ezri incredulously. “The Cardassian Union would be heavily outnumbered and outgunned, you can't fight a war on two fronts and expect to win!”

These words seemed to have a considerable impact on Messek. All of his anger and bravado seemed to diminish, and he remained silent as he was clearly thinking about what Ezri had said. Finally he turned his head to the left to talk to one of his officers. “Tell all Cardassian ships to break off engagements with the Starfleet ships, focus on the Ferengi ships!”

“It seems the Ferengi are retreating Gul!” said the voice of an unseen Cardassian officer.

Messek straightened up and gazed at Ezri with a very intense expression, his eyes were almost bulging with rage. “Very well there will be a cessation of hostilities,” he said spitefully, his eyes seemed to bulge some more. “But I warn you captain, if Starfleet ever sends a fleet of ships into the Badlands again, then the Cardassian Union will consider such action as a declaration of war! Gul Messek out!”

The transmission ended and Ezri leaned back into her chair, looked upwards and let out a huge breathe of air. She heard the sound of the chemicals coming from the fire extinguishers, and the cessation of the sound of fires burning. These sounds further calmed her mood.

Ezri was covered with grime and soot, her uniform was soaked with sweat and she stank to high heaven. For just a moment she felt ecstatic that the Defiant was still standing. She turned around to look at Megan, and she saw that Megan looked just as dirty and as sweaty as Ezri. Briefly Megan gave Ezri a toothy smile, but it disappeared rapidly and Ezri knew exactly why.

How many crew members had died and how many more were injured? Faced with this loss of life, Ezri controlled her emotions though it was hard to maintain a professional detachment at this moment.

“Is the Defiant in any shape to leave the Badlands?” asked Ezri hopefully.

Megan went over to the operations console, and looked at the readings. “The warp drive is off line, it looks like we're going to be towed back to DS9.”

“Any sign of the shuttle Kira was on?” said Ezri, her stomach churned as she awaited Megan’s answer.

Megan went over to the science station and checked the sensors, she looked visibly worried, and Ezri knew that Max was a close friend of Megan.

“I detect it,” said Megan. “There are four life signs; one Bajoran, a human, a hologram and a Furillian!”

Relief and joy intermingled in Megan’s voice, and momentarily Ezri shared her jubilation.

But Ezri’s moment of joy quickly faded, and she tapped her comm badge, she was dreading what she had to ask next. “Dax to the sick bay. Doctor Bashir, how many casualties are there?”

There are at least seven dead crew members,” said Bashir, his voice was seemingly devoid of emotion. “And ten other injured crew members, is the battle over captain?

“It is,” said Ezri wearily, it was hard to keep the anguish from her voice.

Thank God,” said Bashir sounding relieved. “Another five minutes and we would all have been dead, Bashir out.

Seven dead, this was a figure that Ezri dwelled upon, seven Starfleet officers who had given there lives to help the Furillians. The loss was like shrapnel piercing her heart, to lose so many fine men and women. Ezri couldn’t help it but she buried her head in her hands, though she shed no tears, it was for her the equivalent of grieving, as she dealt with the loss before burying the pain.

She was a captain and maintaining a stiff upper lip was all part of the job, she could grieve for the dead officers in the privacy of her quarters, and that was after she had written up the reports concerning how they died.

“Captain are you alright?” said Megan gently, she looked at Ezri in a worried way.

Slowly Ezri turned to face Megan, her face was lined with grimness and sorrow. “Seven officers lost their lives protecting some backwater planet, it's a high price to pay.”

Megan looked at Ezri in a sympathetic and compassionate manner. “Captain we had to do this, at the very least RH Mining's operations are closed down on Furillia!”

Even though Ezri’s plan had worked, such success was little comfort when it came at the expense of seven officers. She further composed herself, and buried the pain and the regrets deeper, there was work to be done repairing the Defiant. But first she needed Bashir to heal the wounds on her face, left arm and upper torso.

Standing up, Ezri glanced at Megan. “I'll work out the ramifications of my decision when I'm back on DS9, I'll be down in sickbay so that Bashir can patch up my face. You have the bridge commander.”

As she walked out of the battered and broken bridge, Ezri also felt some sorrow for the punishment that the Defiant had taken. In all of its years it had never taken a beating like this, but it was a tough ship just like its captain, and it endured against all the odds…
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old November 18 2011, 11:34 PM   #93
Ln X
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 8, part 1

Day 8, 1850 hours

As Ezri proceeded to the sickbay she felt a steady throbbing pain build up around the left side of her head. It was like something sharp jarring against her skull. She did not understand why she hadn’t felt this pain earlier, but she had been pumped up with adrenaline as she piloted the Defiant.

Now with the adrenaline gone and the endorphins fading, the pain grew steadily worse. Soon all that mattered to Ezri was getting to sickbay, she would worry about the aftermath of the battle and the casualties later. Something was seriously wrong with her but she was determined to keep walking on, if she was going to collapse then it would be in the sick bay.

It was to her great relief that she saw the sickbay doors. Upon entering, Ezri staggered through the doorway, her eyes registered the ten injured crew members but her brain didn’t notice.

Already Bashir was walking over towards her, and Ezri could have sworn that just for a moment there was concern and worry in Bashir’s eyes. Then again her eyes could be playing tricks on her, as her whole brain felt fuzzy.

Ezri got to one end of the biobed and then she collapsed, the front of her body slumped against the width of the biobed while her arms dangled over the other side.

A nearby nurse immediately lifted Ezri and carefully placed her lying down on her back upon the bed.

Bashir was standing right next to Ezri, and he had taken out his tricorder scanning her, though his tricorder mainly lingered around the vicinity of her head. When Bashir looked at the readings his eyes widened slightly, and Ezri took that as a bad sign.

“You should have come to me sooner!” said Bashir angrily. “There's a piece of shrapnel lodged in your brain, it is a miracle it didn't penetrate any further and pierce your brain stem!”

Despite the fuzziness Ezri still had the strength and the clarity to explain herself. “I had a ship to protect doctor! Besides I thought the injury was superficial.”

Immediately Bashir placed a cortical regulator on Ezri’s head, while the nurse was preparing the operating table.

Bashir looked at a medical console just behind Ezri’s head, and he was carefully studying the scans of Ezri. “You'll need immediate surgery, to stop the internal bleeding.”

As Bashir continued looking at the scan results he started muttering to himself. “Superficial... half of your face is peppered with shrapnel and she calls it superficial!”

Just when Ezri felt like letting go, Megan’s voice came from the comm channel.

Captain there's an incoming transmission from the star ship Phoenix, it's for you!

Ezri tapped her comm badge. “Route it through to the sick bay.”

Against her better judgement Ezri got to her feet and walked over next to a screen by the doorway. It was hard to walk, she sort of hobbled over, and she focused upon putting one foot in front of the other.

Bashir came hurrying over towards her. “Captain you’re in no state to walk,” he said in a tone that suggested Ezri was insane. “You can’t exert yourself and I need to carry out this operation immediately!”

Turning around Ezri couldn’t believe the expression on Bashir’s face, it was so mother-like it was unbelievable. Though Bashir was absolutely right, Ezri was going to resist his mollycoddling for just a bit longer. “You'll treat me after this transmission,” said Ezri in a forceful tone.

She tapped a few commands on the screen, and there appeared a Starfleet captain sitting on a chair in his ship's bridge.

The captain noticed the horrendous wounds on Ezri’s face and winced. “That looks bad...”

“It's nothing,” said Ezri, in a tone full of bravado. “Why do you want talk to me?”

“My ship found a Federation shuttle craft trying to leave this scene, they didn't answer my ship's hails and this aroused my suspicion. So I tractor-beamed the ship and transported the occupants onto my ship. Turns out it was Ron Harding and his secretary who were trying to flee... I've detained Mr Harding and I was wondering what you want me to do with him?”

Through the fuzziness Ezri felt a grim satisfaction, it seemed Ron Harding was going to be brought to justice after all. But she wanted to handle the pre judicial proceedings, she wanted to be the one who handed Harding to the Federation Supreme Court. It was vital she made her intentions clear, before she lost the ability to string two words together.

“Transfer him to DS9,” said Ezri somewhat distantly. “I will see that Harding is nailed to the letter of the law for his crimes.”

The Starfleet captain looked at Ezri with some concern, but he didn’t say anything. “And what about his secretary? She claims she wasn't responsible for anything that happened on Furillia.”

Ezri paused for a moment as she thought about the secretary, it was getting harder to think. “She wasn't… responsible for anything because she was Harding's office clerk, however she… is a witness and so send her to Deep Space Nine as well.”

She was breathing deeply, the pain was becoming agonising, and she just wished the conversation would end.

“Captain my scans of your ship show that you are in no condition to return to Deep Space Nine. Since my ship will be travelling to DS9 to escort two Federation citizens, it would kill two birds with one stone if my ship were to tow your's back to DS9?”

The captain looked at Ezri in a sympathetic way, and she was deeply grateful for his generosity, because it gave her one less thing to think about. She tried to summon up a smile, but her mouth barely moved. “That is… most generous captain, but I before I do so… I have to take a Furillian back to his village.”

There was no objection from the captain, and he simply nodded. “Sure take all the time you need, my ship will be staying here for at least two days to help evacuate the workers and people from the orbital extraction facility. I hope you recover soon, Gregory out.”

Just as the transmission ended, Ezri felt a terrific jarring pain inside her head, and her face scrunched up in agony. “Ahhh!” she moaned, breathing deeply. Her hands were pressing against the sides of her head in an attempt to reduce the pain. “I think you are right doctor, I do need surgery...”

Though she wondered how she was going to get to the biobed, she could barely stand let alone walk. An arm came around her back and the hand rested just below her right arm pit. While the second hand grabbed onto her left hand, she realised it was Bashir, and he was supporting her so that she could lay down on the bed.

After a while, Ezri was finally rested upon the bed, she saw Bashir coming and she lolled her head to the right looking at his face. “How long before I will be up and about?”

Bashir looked at Ezri in a neutral manner. “The surgery will take three hours, and you will need at least twelve hours rest.”

Ezri nodded once, and she gazed up at the ceiling. At this point she trusted Bashir absolutely with her life, and she sensed that Bashir’s defensive stance against her had been momentarily lowered.

She knew Bashir wouldn’t say anything, but she was now certain that Bashir still cared for her. Perhaps there was a chance that she could mend the rift between herself and Bashir. This was a happy thought, and it was the last thing she thought of, as Bashir had placed a hypospray to her neck and she lost consciousness almost immediately.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
Ln X is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 18 2011, 11:35 PM   #94
Ln X
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 8, part 2

Day 9, 1000 hours

After being discharged by Bashir from the sick bay, Ezri headed to the sonic showers to clean herself. She felt a lot more better, and when she was fully clean she felt physically back to herself again. Mentally though Ezri was not all right, the names of the ten officers who had died constantly circled around in her mind.

When she returned to her quarters she found three padds, laying on the bunk bed. Ezri presumed Kira had placed them there, she sat down and checked each padd in turn. After quickly reading the titles, each padd had an individual report. One was the casualty report, the second was the damage report and the third was the general status report.

Ezri decided to ignore the casualty report and proceed straight to the damage report. Scrolling through the long list, Ezri realised that the Defiant had taken far more punishment than she had imagined. It was a captain’s thing with ships, but she felt proud of the Defiant, it had survived one of her most audacious missions to date.

She then looked at the status report, it was most pleasing to find out that the fifty Starfleet ships patrolling this sector had detected no signs of Cardassian or Ferengi ships. Another piece of good news was that most of the occupants living on the orbital extraction facility had been evacuated.

Suddenly Ezri realised that she had asked captain Gregory some spare time so that she could personally take Nofron back home. “Computer locate Nofron.”

Nofron is on deck four, compartment fourteen, in his quarters.

Ezri left her quarters and went to Nofron’s quarters. Outside the door to his quarters, Ezri tapped the door chime.

“Enter,” said Nofron.

Proceeding through the doorway, Ezri walked in and to her left saw Nofron standing by a window and looking at the view. The Furillian planet took up most of the view, and Nofron seemed to be gazing at it with something akin to wonder.

“Have you come to take me back home?” asked Nofron, while keeping his back turned to Ezri.

“If that's what you want,” said Ezri gently. “I also want to say thank you for protecting the lives of my two officers.”

The corners of Nofron’s mouth became more pronounced and turned into a frown, he seemed deeply troubled by something. “They're brave men, few Furillians have the bravery it takes to become a marauder.”

Ezri moved a few steps closer, but still maintaining a respectful distance from Nofron. “But with the strips mines closed I don't think there will be any need for marauders.”

“Perhaps,” said Nofron sounding doubtful. “Though if marauders are not needed anymore I'm not sure what I will do with my life.”

This struck Ezri as a little defeatist, surely Nofron was exaggerating. “You are a resourceful man, why not put your talents to use by rebuilding the Furillian habitats?”

“I suppose so,” said Nofron wearily.

He turned away from the window, and still folding his arms, he looked grimly at Ezri. The silence lengthened and it was apparent that Nofron was building up the courage to say something probably quite personal to Ezri. “It's ironic that the thing I've wanted most has now come and now I've got to confront the problems I've been running away from.”

Ezri remained motionless, and Nofron had the look of a man who was lamenting over a major mistake and agonising over how to rectify it. “What do you mean?” she said cautiously.

Nofron’s eyes became rimmed from pain. “I became a marauder so I could ignore the pain and grief I was feeling at the time.”

Now Ezri felt uncomfortable, for some reason people had a habit of opening up to her, and she couldn’t explain why. “You lost a member of your family?” she said gently.

Nofron bowed his head slightly. “It was my son Hiltin, he was only nine and he died from an waterborne illness. My wife Narfareea loved our son very deeply. I remember when he was ill, my wife stayed at his bedside constantly.”

Briefly Nofron smiled in a reminiscent manner. “She put all of her being into looking after Hiltin, it was two months, two months of watching my son slowly die. Of course Narfareea refused to accept that our son would die.”

The smile faded replaced with a miserable expression on Nofron’s face. “Finally when Hiltin did die she was devastated, Hiltin was our only child and to lose him was unbearable to her and to me but I didn't show that at the time. I couldn't stand seeing my wife so upset, she was constantly in tears and sobbing, I just couldn't cope.”

Nofron closed his eyes, it seemed what he had to say next was highly painful for him. “So I left her and decided to become a marauder, and that was four years ago…”

“I'm so sorry,” whispered Ezri.

She felt sick because she didn’t want to hear this, but it seemed Nofron had reached an inflexion point where he could no longer keep quiet about his true feelings. It was just Ezri’s bad luck that she had to be witness to this.

It seemed the more Nofron talked the more of his inner secrets came spilling out. Ezri wondered if Nofron was opening up now to someone who would understand just to ease his guilty conscience.

“Don't be,” said Nofron. “I left her because I couldn't come to terms with the loss, I was hurt and upset but I didn't have the courage to admit it to her. Instead I used the anger that I felt to suppress my pain, that's why I became a marauder to ignore the responsibilities to my wife.”

“What happened to Narfareea?” asked Ezri, though she wasn’t she wanted to hear the answer.

“I did some checking and found out that she was still living in Viyara, but I can't come back to her, it's to late for that.”

Tears briefly built up in Nofron’s eyes before he wiped them away with his hand.

Now Ezri realised that Nofron was indirectly asking for advice, but why he was doing so was something Ezri couldn’t figure out. Perhaps she looked like the family type, but she knew her record and knowledge on love, relationships and family was patchy at best. For she had had some rotten luck and bad experiences with all three of those things. But one thing did come to Ezri’s mind; that truth, honesty and openness were the bedrock behind every successful marriage.

“Maybe so,” said Ezri reluctantly. “But she still deserves the truth and an explanation for your behaviour.”

Nofron sniffed, and as he did so he grimaced in an ugly manner. “And that's the worst part, Sotron told me on numerous times that she has forgiven me and that she only wants me to come home.”

“So what's stopping you now?” asked Ezri, she realised she was coming close to touching upon Nofron’s biggest personal problem.

“Because I told Sotron to tell Narfareea that I'd only come back when the strip mines are closed down, and now they are...”

There was silence. Nofron looked pale and clammy, for such a tough guy the matter with his wife was really hurting, and tearing, him to pieces.

“You're afraid of returning,” said Ezri slowly, she shook her head trying to clear some of the disbelieve from her mind. “I don't get it, for a man who has risked his life as a marauder and faced death so many times, you can't come back to your wife?”

“As I said before I've got to confront the problems I've been running away from and that scares me,” said Nofron, his eyes were wide whether from fear or grief Ezri wasn’t sure.

Despite Nofron’s confusion, Ezri had a simple question to ask him, one that would truly determine Nofron’s feelings for his wife. “Tell me what would you regret more: leaving your wife or coming to terms with the grief you felt for losing your son?”

She gazed seriously into Nofron’s eyes. “Do you really want to lose your wife?” she asked fervently.

There was another silence and Nofron looked at Ezri, in a pained stare. “No...” he said in a choked voice.

“Then you know what to do...” said Ezri lightly.

Although nothing seemed to change in Nofron's face, perceptively she could tell that Nofron was coming to an understanding about what he had to do. “Are you ready to travel down to Furillia?”

It was a question with two meanings but Nofron nodded nonetheless. The pain was now receding from his face, replaced with a serious determination in his eyes.

Ezri lead the way while Nofron followed slightly behind her, as the two headed to the shuttlebay.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old November 18 2011, 11:35 PM   #95
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 8, part 3

Day 9, 1100 hours

It was another bumpy ride in the shuttle for Ezri as she sat in the cockpit, watching the orange streaks of light blow against the front of the shuttle. Even with Max’s skills at the helm, the shuttle craft rocked to and fro. This was starting to make Ezri space sick, and she took out a hypospray from her trouser pocket and pressed it to her neck. In a few minutes time her upset stomach would have settled down.

Being space sick still occasionally embarrassed Ezri, she was the captain of Starfleet’s most heavily armed warship and she still occasionally felt space sick at times. After ten minutes of descent, the rocking stopped and the shuttle was now flying a few kilometres above the valley where Viyara was located.

When the shuttle came to a rest in the centre of Viyara’s square. Max left his station and came over to Nofron, he held his hand out to Nofron. “I didn't get the chance back on the Defiant, but I want to thank you for saving my life and protecting me and Holo back in that strip mine. Without you I wouldn't have made it out of there alive.”

Ezri watched Nofron closely and saw him reluctantly take Max’s hand and shook it, for Nofron it was very obvious that hand shakes were alien to him.

“You would have the done the same for me,” said Nofron.

When the three walked out, Ezri noticed there was a smaller crowd gathered around. It seemed seeing a Starfleet shuttle land in the centre of Viyara, had become something of a novelty for the villagers.

While Nofron disappeared into the crowd, Sotron was in front of the rest. Gratitude shone from his eyes, he was looking at Ezri with something like pride. “Captain, Furillia is in your debt, you helped us remove RH Mining from this world, if there is anything you need just ask for it.”

Ezri didn’t need anything per se, but she appreciated Sotron’s generosity. “All I want is for relations between the Furillians and the Federation to improve, though admittedly that seems unlikely.”

The smile disappeared from Sotron’s face and in that moment the obvious gulf between the Furillians and the Federation was all to apparent. “I think it's best that Furillia remains isolated,” said Sotron cautiously. “Though of course whether that is possible when alien races like your own want our resources remains to be seen.”

Sotron’s gloomy outlook seemed unlikely to Ezri. “Trust me,” she said confidently. “The Cardassians, Ferengi and the Federation will be avoiding the Badlands. All three came close to an all-out war, as long as all three sides feel that the political dangers outweigh the strategic advantages, then your world won't be seeing any alien visitors for a long time.”

This seemed to uplift Sotron’s mood. “Then let us hope it stays that way for a long time, perhaps by then Furillia will be more prepared for races like your own arriving in our territory.”

Something changed in Sotron’s face, it was like an aura of finality and Ezri knew the conversation would be coming to an end.

“Goodbye captain,” said Sotron eventually. “I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for us.”

“Good luck with rebuilding your world,” said Ezri, as she smiled at Sotron.

With nothing more to say, Ezri turned back and walked up the landing ramp to the shuttle.

Max was leaning against one of the hatch's pillars, his arms were folded.

“I think Mr Weatherby it’s time to go back to DS9.”

Max though looked disappointed. “I don’t suppose there is any chance of returning here? It’s such a beautiful planet-well the bits that haven’t been strip mined are-and the people once you know them, and once they trust you, are quite friendly.”

Ezri sighed, she felt the same way as Max, but she didn’t share Max’s optimism about returning. “To be honest Mr Weatherby I don’t think the Furillians ever fully trusted us. I think they don’t want anymore offworlders visiting their planet, and from their position I can understand why.”

When Max had returned to the cockpit, and piloted the shuttle out of the planet’s atmosphere, Ezri sat back in the comfy chair and remained silent. All she could think about were the Furillians, and she hoped that everything did work out for them. For it was no more than they deserved…


***


Day 10, 1500 hours

With the Defiant docked at DS9, as Ezri walked through the docking bay she had completely forgotten about breaking Starfleet orders. However the sight of admiral Ross standing outside the docking bay doors reminded Ezri instantly about what she had done. She was certain that this was the end of her career, but she had no regrets about her actions in the last seven days.

Stopping at the doorway Ezri directly confronted Ross. “Are you here to court martial me admiral?”

“We’ll discuss that matter in your office,” said Ross curtly.

His expression was unreadable, he gestured with his hand for Ezri to follow him. She walked by his side, while two security guards took up the rear. What she was going to face she wasn’t sure, the fact that Ross hadn’t arrested her on the spot said a thousand things to Ezri.

Once inside Ops, the two security guards waited outside of Ezri’s office. Inside the office the two came to a stop, facing each other in front of the desk.

“Has the RH Mining company been closed down?” asked Ezri calmly, she didn’t give a damn what Ross thought of her and she acted accordingly in a casual manner.

Ross barely moved his lips, it seemed he was restraining himself from baring down hard upon Ezri. “Yes it has, the Ferengi have withdrawn their support of RH Mining, and the Federation is confiscating all of RH Mining's financial accounts... The rest of RH Mining's operations in the Furillian star system have been closed down. I've also sent Federation supply ships to provide the Furillians with additional aid to clean up the environmental damage.”

A somewhat guilty expression flitted across his face. “It is the least we can do to help them.”

There was pretence from Ross, and Ezri couldn’t stand this, she just wanted Ross’s verdict on her breaking orders. “If you going to court martial me than just do it,” she said in a defiant tone of voice. “I will not stand here and explain myself, I broke your orders for ethical reasons.”

Rage broke across Ross’s face, Ezri seemed to have pulled a nerve. “You did more than break orders,” shouted Ross. “You absconded with the Defiant, engaged in planetary affairs outside of the Federation, broke the Prime Directive, destroyed a vital strategic interest and endangered the lives of hundreds of Federation citizens!”

He paused briefly glowering at Ezri. “Need I go on?”

Ezri’s face was full of mock understanding, she took an almost perverse pride in angering Ross. “I think that sums it up,” she said lightly and casually. “Permission to speak freely admiral?”

“Granted,” said Ross sounding gruff.

The casual aura Ezri was portraying vanished, she became deeply serious because it was time for her to reprimand Ross. “I broke orders to save lives,” she said fiercely. “And to stop RH Mining decimating Furillia! Hundreds of thousands of Furillians were being harmed by contaminated water, and thousands died because of it! The company is to blame for what it did, it broke the law and the high ethical standards which the Federation and Starfleet demands from its citizens regarding humanitarian conduct and laws. I was simply preserving the Federation’s moral integrity.”

Ross started shouting again. “You broke orders and went against the chain of command!”

Briefly his nostrils flared before then calming down, he looked standoffish as if he recognised Ezri was right but he couldn’t quite admit it. “But if I were in your position I would have done the same thing.”

Suddenly Ezri understood why the Starfleet ships had arrived in the Furillian star system. “Is that why you sent the fleet to Furillia, to protect Federation honour?”

The anger had all but gone from Ross’s face. “Something like that,” said Ross with a sigh.

He looked at Ezri honestly, and there was no pretence or standoffish in his stance, just a somewhat humble and apologetic expression on his face. “You made me realise that the Federation is based upon principles, and they can’t be waived when circumstances become unfavourable to us.”

One of Ross’s hands rummaged in a trouser pocket and he pulled out a medal. “I'm giving you the Starfleet medal of honour for your outstanding bravery and valour in protecting Furillia. Though you deliberately disobeyed orders, you put your life on the line to help others, and risked everything to protect the Furillians.”

Slowly Ezri took the medal, her face was full of surprise, if Ross was going to punish her why had he just giving her Starfleet’s most prestigious medal? “Thank you admiral,” she said, before giving him a puzzled stare. “Does this mean I’m not going to be court martialled?”

Ross bowed his head slightly. “There will be no charges brought against you. But I must caution you captain, if you ever do disobey orders again and abscond with the Defiant you will be court martialled.”

There was a menacing tone to his voice, and Ross looked at Ezri very sternly. “Do I make myself clear?”

Ezri stiffened up, recognising the verbal chastisement. “Yes sir,” she said seriously.

She paused before asking a question that had suddenly come to her. “What will the Federation do now that it has lost a major supplier of primary minerals?”

Ross simply shrugged. “It's a big galaxy I’m certain there will be other locations where there are massive deposits of dilithium, duranium and other minerals.”

Ross then walked out and was halfway to the door, when he stopped and looked at Ezri. Surprisingly there was something like pride and admiration on his face. “You performed exemplary deeds out in the field Dax, it would take a lot of courage to do what you did, and for that I commend you.”

With that Ross left the office leaving Ezri somewhat confused but at the same time reassured that she wasn’t the only captain or admiral out there who took the Federation’s moral integrity seriously.

The medal was still clutched in her hand. No doubt because of this she would become well known and admired for her actions, but Ezri thought she didn’t really deserve such attention. She was getting all the glory and admiration, when really it should have gone to her crew, and especially to those that had died under her command.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old November 19 2011, 11:32 PM   #96
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 9, part 1

Day 10, 1600 hours

One of the things that Ezri had been most looking forward to was talking to Harding. Upon arrival Harding had been placed in a detainment cell, where in Ezri’s opinion he rightly belonged.

She along with Odo, walked into the detainment block. Inside the room and directly in front of her was Harding, he seemed uncomfortable with the hard seat, and this pleased Ezri. “Take's a bit of getting used to doesn't it living in a detainment cell?” she said almost gleefully. “It's far removed from the creature comforts you're used to.”

There was a very sour and sullen look on Harding’s face. “I wish I had never contacted the Federation,” he hissed. “Of all the ships they had to bring it had to be the Defiant...”

Odo let a a brief 'huh' of amusement. “Tell that to the magistrate,” he said nastily. “Perhaps if you plead guilty he may knock a few years off those multiple life sentences!”

A bewildered look then came across Harding’s face. “But I didn't kill anyone!” he said in a tone of voice that implied he was innocent. “And I didn't use the Furillians as forced labourers to work the mines! It was the Furillians who agreed to sign the contract I offered to them!”

All the amusement vanished from Ezri, she stepped forward towards Harding’s cell. “Do you know how many Furillians died from illnesses relating to contaminated water that came from your company's strip mines?”

Her every syllable was laced with anger, and it seemed to cow Harding. Ezri was determined to say her bit, because she despised Harding for what he did to the Furillians.

“It came to nearly 250000!” she said loudly.

She decided to change tack and really try to hurt Harding, if he still had a conscience then what Ezri was about to say was going to hurt him. “When you ordered the expansion of the strip mines did you stop to consider the ecological consequences?”

A deeply uneasy look appeared on Harding’s face. “No,” he said quietly.

“And did you do anything to minimise the ecological damage?”

“No,” said Harding again, his head was lowered in apparent shame.

“And when it became apparent how many Furillians were becoming ill from drinking contaminated water, did you even think about closing the strip mines to stop more contaminated water seeping into the water table?”

Now Harding looked plain wretched, it seemed he was feeling remorse for his actions. “No I didn't,” he said in a somewhat choked voice.

“Of course not,” said Ezri furiously. “Because you were more interested in making money than worrying about how it was made! And that is why you are responsible for all those deaths, and why you are facing charges of gross negligence and why after you are charged, you will spend the rest of your life locked away in a penal colony!”

Harding leapt off the seat and came inches to the force field containing him, he looked absolutely desperate, his eyes seemed almost mad. “I couldn't do anything to close down the strip mines!” he shouted. “It was Strart the chief executive of Depton Mining Inc who wanted the expansion of the strip mines, he forced me to break the contract my company had with the Furillians!”

Odo interrupted, and he was looking at Harding in a most disgusted manner. “That's not true because I checked the company records,” growled Odo. “You contacted Strart because you wanted the firepower necessary to frighten the Furillians into submission while you decimated their world! You thought it was an opportunity to make money, but it seemed you sold your soul to the devil.”

“So I lied,” said Harding in an uncaring voice. “I saw an opportunity to make money and I took it! I just didn't count on a Starfleet captain to be so determined and bloody-minded to destroy my company. However you captain broke orders and destroyed a vital Federation strategic asset!”

He pointed at Ezri furiously, seemingly deeply aggrieved by what he perceived to be unfair treatment. “Shouldn't you be in here with me facing a court martial for breaking orders and doing serious damage to Federation property?”

Ezri though simply smiled in a superior way, and she removed the Starfleet medal of honour from her trouser pocket. It was time to really rub it into Harding. “I'm off the hook,” she said in a satisfied tone of voice. “In fact I got this medal for outstanding bravery! It seems the Federation rewards people who do the right thing...”

With one last look of Harding, and noting the fury on his face, Ezri left the room while Odo followed her out. She took pleasure from infuriating Harding, but admittedly it did little to ease her regrets concerning the deaths of seven crew members under her command.


***


Day 10, 2000 hours

Inside the living room to her quarters, Ezri sat down on the wide sofa, she was simply thinking and she had been doing a lot of that in her spare time. When the door chimed Ezri became aware of her surroundings and sat up a little straighter on the sofa. “Enter!” she said.

Kira came into the room, her right hand gripped onto a padd. Her face looked surprisingly grim as if she were the barer of bad news. “Here's the report on the Defiant's repairs and the list of crew members who lost their lives on the last... mission.”

Ezri took the padd from out of Kira’s outstretched hand, and simply read the names of those that had died. Now it was twelve names and Ezri guessed that Bashir wasn't able to treat them of their injuries. She was so distracted by this that she forgot to dismiss Kira.

However Kira was simply standing their watching the reaction on Ezri’s face.

“Isn't that the Starfleet medal of honour?” asked Kira, pointing to the medal that was lying on top of a stand next to the sofa.

Against her will, Ezri tore her gaze from the names to look at Kira. “It is strangely enough,” she said sarcastically. “I break orders, destroy a vital strategic resource for the Federation, and they reward me with a medal!”

An equally sarcastic expression came upon Kira’s face, though she did look slightly amused. “It's good to know Starfleet appreciates what you had to do.”

A more serious expression came on Ezri’s face. “But was it worth it though, breaking orders to protect Furillia from RH Mining?”

Kira looked rather neutral, possibly to hide her true emotions. “The Furillians would definitely think it was worth it.”

A sigh came out of Ezri’s mouth, it wasn’t the answer she was looking for from Kira. “But the Federation came so close to war with the Cardassian Union, I nearly triggered that war. I should have spotted that danger...”

Walking over to the sofa Kira sat down, and this was the action of a friend not a fellow officer. She looked intently at the side of Ezri’s face. “You regret losing so many people under your command don't you?”

Ezri couldn’t look at Kira, she instead kept her gaze to the floor. “The worst part is I have to explain to their families how they died.” Now Ezri turned to look at Kira, and she couldn’t help not look anguished. “Nerys what do I say to their families? They died because of my actions!”

Kira nodded slowly before answering. “Yes they did,” she said quietly, before her gaze sharpened up. “But those crew members knew exactly what they were getting themselves into.”

This did nothing to console Ezri. “But I feel so guilty for their deaths,” she said miserably. “There's supposed to be a professional detachment from one's subordinates but that's virtually impossible to maintain.”

These words seemed to resonate with Kira, something in her eyes seemed to suggest that Kira was remembering all the battles she had fought in. “I know what you are getting at, they're colleagues or comrades take your pick. But these are the responsibilities of command, you and I both know that.”

Ezri returned her gaze back to the floor. “It doesn't make it any easier,” she said quietly.

Glancing up to the ceiling, Ezri let out an airy laugh. “You know looking back, I have no idea what I was thinking when I decided to help the Furillians, was it the right course of action to take?”

A pitiful look came on Kira’s face, she seemed to feel what Ezri was feeling at the moment. “I can't tell you whether you are right or wrong, but I personally think that closing down the strip mines on Furillia was the correct thing to do. Thousands of Furillian lives have been saved and now Furillia can start to repair the damage wrought by RH Mining. I think that is a decent outcome even if it comes at the price of twelve Starfleet officers.”

“The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...” commented Ezri in a distant tone of voice.

“Perhaps,” said Kira cautiously.

She then placed a hand on Ezri’s right knee, to comfort Ezri, it was a very friendly action. “If it makes you feel any better, I will be praying for the twelve officers who lost their lives, I'm certain the Prophets will guide them.”

Gratitude shone from Ezri’s eyes. “Thanks,” she said softly.

Kira gave Ezri’s knee a brief squeeze before she got up. There was an unspoken goodbye between the two, but nothing more needed to be said. As she watched Kira leave the room, Ezri was deeply grateful for having such a good friend, someone she could talk to.

With Jadzia the friendship with Kira was more of companionship and mutual respect, mingled with some fun, humour and gossip. Twenty years on, that type of friendship had been retained with Ezri, though now the friendship was turning into something far more deeper...
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old November 19 2011, 11:35 PM   #97
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 1, part 2

Day 11, 1100 hours

It had been two days since Nofron had returned to Viyara, in that time he was building up the courage to return to his wife. Nofron had no more excuses left for not visiting Narfareea, all that stopped him was his fear of what Narfareea would say to him.

Finally unwilling to delay any longer, Nofron approached the house that was once his home. He opened the low front gate, and walked up the stone pathway to the front door. Knocking twice on the door, he waited for Narfareea to reply.

A moment later the door opened, and it revealed Narfareea. Nofron had forgotten how beautiful she looked and wondered why he had ever left her. Narfareea though simply looked shocked at seeing Nofron standing there.

Doing his best to act as normally as possible, Nofron found the courage to simply talk to his wife. “Can I come in?” he asked hopefully.

The shock had worn off Narfareea’s face, it was replaced with a cold expression. “What makes you think you can come in?” she said icily.

Unable to control his emotions, Nofron looked at Narfareea pleadingly, the regret poured from his face. “I'm so sorry, I-”

“I don't want to hear your excuses,” said Narfareea sounding dismissive. “Why did you come back?”

Nofron simply stared in a loving way into Narfareea’s eyes. “Because I still love you, I deeply regret leaving you.”

For a moment Narfareea’s frosty expression warmed somewhat, before returning with full force. “Kneel,” she said sternly.

At once Nofron got to his knees. It was Furillian tradition for the husband to prostrate himself before his wife, after he had made a major faux pas, and to beg for her forgiveness. It was considered in Furillia that the women were far more wiser and trustworthy than the men, and at this moment Nofron could see exactly why. For he had made a huge faux pas, and severely hurt Narfareea’s feelings.

“Lower,” said Narfareea harshly, her mouth was taut with anger.

Humiliation almost devoured Nofron’s heart, he rested onto his hands and knees. He had never felt this bad in his life but he knew that he deserved this punishment. Looking up to Narfareea, tears were pouring from his eyes and he was virtually begging her to forgive him. It was the ultimate humiliation on Furillia for a husband to prostrate himself outside the doorstep of his home to his wife.

However it seemed Narfareea took no satisfaction in seeing Nofron grovel. The anger was almost gone from her face, and replaced with sadness. “Why did you leave me?”

Nofron couldn’t look up to her anyway, for it was to painful to do so. “Because I was afraid of showing my emotions to you, I wanted to act strong in front of you, but seeing you grieve just made things worse for me. I couldn't stand the pain that's why I ran away from you.”

“Stand up,” said Narfareea gently.

Slowly Nofron rose to his feet, he noticed the look of yearning in Narfareea’s eyes. Even after all that he had done to Narfareea, she still wanted him back in her life. Nofron knew that many other Furillian women would have made their husbands beg and plead for far longer. However Sotron was right, somehow Narfareea had forgiven him, and this just made Nofron feel even more guilty.

Tears had started to well in Narfareea’s eyes. “If I upset you because I was so grief-stricken then I'm sorry,” she said softly.

“Don't...” moaned Nofron, how could she do this to him? “Don't apologise, the fault resides with me.”

Nofron looked intently into Narfareea’s eyes, to show just how seriously he considered their relationship. “But I just want you to know that I'm here now and despite my absence, I want to be a part of your life again, and I promise never to make the same mistake again.”

Narfareea made some sort of sobbing sound, before hugging Nofron very tightly. “I've missed you,” she said whispering into his ear.

She let go of Nofron and held his hand with one of her own. Pulling him in, Nofron followed without resistance, through the door and once he was inside the home, Narfareea closed the door with her other hand.

Instinctively Nofron moved forward expecting to kiss his wife, but Narfareea's free hand blocked his mouth. Suddenly Nofron realised he was going to have to do a lot more to woo Narfareea.

She let go of his hand, and moved away from him, as if teasing him. “Before I even think about you kissing me, you have a lot of jobs to do.”

Narfareea was scrutinising Nofron, as if wondering what she could force him to do. “First of all get rid of that ridiculous beard and clean yourself up!” she said fiercely.

Automatically Nofron’s hand went to his beard, he liked having that beard, but duty called…

However Narfareea was far from finished with Nofron. “Then I want you to scrub this house down and clean it until it is spotless. Finally for tea I want you to cook my favourite dish, Stomartian stew, and it hast to be just right. I trust you remember the recipe, and if you do all of that and I feel satisfied, then maybe just maybe you can lie in my bed.”

Staring at Nofron defiantly, it was as if Narfareea expected him to complain and protest, but Nofron was wise enough to comply without resistance.

“Is that understood?” she said commandingly.

“Yes,” said Nofron humbly.

Nofron’s torment was far from over, Narfareea then looked at him very seriously, to remind him that she still resented what he had done. “I may have forgiven you but I haven't forgotten what you did. When you left it felt like I had lost Hiltin all over again, and I don't ever want to experience that kind of grieve again...”

She paused, and sniffed the air, she grimaced somewhat at was apparently Nofron’s body odour. “One more thing, I do hope you know where the bathroom is?”

Nofron laughed nervously, before nodding, he was expecting Narfareea to pile on some more tasks and duties but there was simply silence. Narfareea was looking at him, and in that brief moment he realised she still loved him, and he could have sworn that she had given him a small smile.

Narfareea left the living room and Nofron headed up to the bathroom. The house had barely changed, and memories of what it was like four years ago came back to Nofron. It was a time when he had a family, a happy family, perhaps there was a chance Narfareea would want another child or two. In any case there was plenty of time for deciding that, Narfareea would remain child baring for many years to come.

It was good to be home again but Nofron felt terribly guilty for leaving Narfareea, it was something that was going to haunt him and Narfareea for years. Right now though Nofron looked forward to proving himself worthy of Narfareea's affections. He would make this house spotless, and afterwards he would cook Narfareea the best Stomartian stew of his life.

Maybe afterwards Narfareea would be impressed enough to allow him into her bed. Physically he was desperately longing to hold Narfareea's body and kiss her...


***


Day 23, 0900 hours

Standing on top of Fraginar's Point, Sotron watched the sun steadily descend as it hovered above the western side of Tiyona valley. It had been two weeks since the strip mines were closed down, and already things had changed remarkably in Viyara.

For one thing, thanks to the Federation supplies and equipment to clean up the water, the horrible acrid smell had finally disappeared from Viyara after about a week. To smell fresh air in the village, was a truly wonderful experience for Sotron. The villagers looked healthier and even the crops seemed to have picked up thanks to the now clean water flowing through Viyara.

However it had taken ten years of hardship and suffering to get to this point. Only now did Sotron realise just how grim and miserable things were, they had all just got simply used to the difficult conditions. Now Sotron wondered how they ever put up with the smell and the contaminated water. Of course there were the people who given their lives trying to protect Furillia, Sotron would never forget the 54 villagers who died. He was determined to make sure that their sacrifice was not in vain.

Now came the time for rebuilding and for the healing process to commence. It was a sign of the times that there were now hardly any marauders left, even Nofron had given up the wild life, and had now returned back to his wife. More than anything Sotron felt really glad that Nofron had done this, at times when Sotron had talked to Narfareea, he couldn’t help but feel anger for what Nofron had done.

But that was the past and looking ahead to the future Sotron knew what his next long term project was. Looking down at Tiyona valley, most of it was barren rock, Sotron though was determined to change this. The Federation had been kind enough to provide soil reclimators and numerous replicator units. Using all of this equipment, the first task would be rebuilding the layers of soil and planting basic plants and grasses to bind it together.

This would take years but when it was done, the Tiyona valley would become inhabitable again and then the trees could be planted. After about fifty years the trees would be fully grown and the Tiyona valley would finally be restored to its prime ten years ago. By that point Sotron would be an old man, and he hoped that he would live to see those days.

One person that he would always remember was that Trill Starfleet captain, Ezri Dax. Without her none of what had happened would have been possible. Her actions showed to Sotron that perhaps the Federation wasn’t as opportunistic, manipulative and negligent as he first imagined it to be.

Even so it would be a long time before Sotron would ever feel comfortable with having off-worlders coming to Furillia. What Furillia had were once beautiful habitats and landscapes, and they were something that every Furillian was proud of. No off-worlder could ever understand the Furillian desire to protect nature and to work with it as much as possible.

Indeed such a desire would be the reason why Furillia would remain in its isolated state for centuries to come. There was always the danger that off-worlders would come back like the Cardassians or the Ferengi, and try to exploit Furillia’s resources once again. Hopefully by that time Furillia could properly defend itself from those aliens.

This threat remained in the back of Sotron’s mind, and somehow he doubted that Furillia could remain being isolated without some off-worlders coming to investigate. All he had was hope, and a cautious sense of optimism that things would work out just fine. Ironically Sotron realised that perhaps the greatest protection Furillia could have for the preservation of its habitats was Federation membership.

It had been a Federation company that had defiled Furillia, and yet Starfleet, a Federation organisation, had helped to protect Furillia. Maybe that was Furillia’s future to be a member of the Federation. Sotron knew that the government would be thinking about Federation membership and how Starfleet would be a powerful defence against anyone trying to extract Furillia’s natural resources.

The possibility of Federation membership was just that; a possibility. Despite everything that had happened Sotron could only hope for the best, and maybe Furillia’s luck had now permanently improved.

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

Well that is the end of Gold Rush. Feel free to comment, review, criticise (constructively) this story, and the other stories of my series.

Here are links to the rest of my stories (which are listed in chronological order in terms of my series plot):

Season 1:

Secrets and Lies

Shallow Rights


Vacation

Bad Blood

Outlier

Devolution

Gold Rush

Medical Pariah

Commitment

Ménage ŕ Trois

Tip of the Iceberg


Season 2:

Survival

High Stakes

Running the Gauntlet

The Price of Sanity
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Old November 20 2011, 06:33 PM   #98
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Re: DS9: A continuation

I'm taking a five day break from publishing these stories. On the Friday the publishing resumes, and I'll publishing the next five stories...
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Old November 26 2011, 10:27 PM   #99
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Here is the next story Medical Pariah

Summary: When the Defiant discovers an abandoned Dominion retrovirus factory, an awayteam comprising of Kira, Max, Nog, Holo and two engineers are sent down to salvage spare components. However when Kira and Max accidently trip a security device, a deadly virus is released leaving the humanoid members of the away team to fight for their lives. While Bashir struggles to find a cure, the away team are quaranteened to a shuttle. In there Holo must care for the away team, while he watches them all slowly die...

Medical Pariah, Chapter 1, part 1

Stardate: 71111.2


Captain's log, Stardate 71110.5. The Defiant is returning to Deep Space Nine after a weeklong mission patrolling the Federation colonies of Prophet's Landing, New Bajor and seven newly established colonies close to the Dominion border. No Jem'Hadar ships were detected next to the border. I take this as a good sign, as it seems the Dominion are more focused upon internal matters, predominantly the issue of Jem'Hadar dissatisfaction about the Founders.


***


Day 1, 1400 hours

Megan and Kira were walking along a corridor travelling to the bridge. They had just been in the Mess Hall and the two had had lunch together. Afterwards Megan couldn't help but notice that Kira looked more cheerful than usual. “You look pleased about something,” commented Megan.

Kira smiled to herself as she walked along. “I'm just glad to be returning home.”

“And?” inquired Megan, sensing another reason for Kira’s good mood.

“And last night Odo contacted me,” said Kira, and the smile widened on her face. “He said that Mia won the Bajoran youth excellence award in mathematics and science, for her research on the sub-space rift just outside the Bajoran star system.”

“You kept that quiet,” said Megan sounding slightly surprised.

Kira shrugged off Megan’s comment. “Oh Mia wanted her award to be kept quiet so that she could tell you herself.”

“I'm proud of her,” said Megan. “She wanted to accompany me on a mission to the sub-space rift six weeks ago. I thought it would be a good opportunity for Mia to apply her knowledge to a real scientific mission, and she really proved herself.”

The smile faded from Kira’s face. “Without you mentoring my daughter, Mia's accomplishment wouldn't have been possible,” she said seriously.

This wasn’t exactly true, and Megan felt Kira was overestimating her influence on Mia. “All I did was motivate her,” said Megan somewhat humbly. “It was Mia who did all the hard work, not me. At the rate she's going I reckon she'll be applying for Starfleet Academy sometime in the next three years.”

Kira glanced at Megan, and looked surprised to hear this. “You think so?”

“Definitely,” said Megan confidently. “Mia hasn't exactly told me her intentions, but she does have a keen interest in Starfleet. Whatever she does with her abilities, she has a bright future ahead of her...”

The two lapsed into silence, and Megan thought some more about Mia’s accomplishment. She was more than proud of Mia, more like relieved to know that Mia was finally putting her talents to good use. Megan considered letting Mia go on more scientific away missions, for it seemed to be doing Mia some considerable good.

Close to the doorway by the bridge, Kira came to a stop and Megan obliged, she wondered what else Kira wanted to talk about.

“One more thing,” said Kira. “Odo is throwing a party in our quarters tonight at 1900 hours, and I just wondered if you wanted to attend it?”

“That would be great...” said Megan happily, she felt honoured to be invited to such an event.

The two women resumed their walking, they entered the bridge and then manned their respective stations.

Some moments after Megan and Kira had sat down at their stations, Max spoke up. “Captain I'm detecting a planet which is emitting unusual tachyon readings, it is point seventh of a light year away from our position.”

Ezri looked vaguely interested by this weird phenomenon. “Where exactly are the tachyons coming from?”

Max’s fingers tapped on a few more commands to triangulate the location of the tachyon particles. “They're coming from the southern tip of one of the continents around the equator, whatever is down there must be very geologically unusual.”

“Colonel,” said Ezri turning her head slightly to the left. “Check for any Dominion ships in the planet's star system.”

“Scanning,” said Kira, a look of concentration came upon her face. “There are no Dominion ships, or any other ship for that matter, it appears this planet could be deserted”

“I'd say we should check out what is generating these tachyon readings,” said Max eagerly.

There was one moment of hesitation as Ezri’s face became mask-like and unreadable.
“Very well, we can make a quick detour, set a new course to the planet.”


***


Day 1, 1530 hours

As the Defiant approached the planet, Ezri felt a slight trickle of scientific curiosity run through her. Her former host Jadzia had been a scientist, and it was thanks to Jadzia that Ezri had a solid grasp of physics, biology and sub-space mechanics. Currently Ezri was wondering what natural phenomena could cause tachyon readings from this planet, presuming of course that the tachyons were naturally generated.

The Defiant came out of warp and on the view screen was the image of the planet. It looked almost earth-like though it had substantially more landmass than Earth. There were dozens of interconnecting continents and this suggested to Ezri that this planet had many more fault lines and plates than Earth did.

“Going to thrusters captain,” reported Max. “We’re now in a standard geosynchronous orbit.”

Now came the interesting part for Ezri; finding out what was causing the tachyons. “Ms Felpes can the sensors determine what is generating the tachyons?”

Megan was carefully studying the sensor data, after a moment she reported back to Ezri. “It's a cloaking field of a hemispherical shape covering an area of about 75 kilometres square, there could be anything down there...”

At the mention of the cloaking field, alarm bells went off inside Ezri’s head, this was once Dominion territory and had the Defiant encountered a Dominion base? “Red alert,” she said commandingly. “Raise shields. Colonel check again for any signs of ships, ion trails, anything at all.”

While Kira was busy scanning away, Megan didn’t look to concerned about the situation. “Captain,” said Megan calmly, “I don't think there is anyone on that planet.”

Ezri thought that Megan was joking with her, and she fought to keep the disbelief out of her voice. “And why do you say that?”

Megan turned around in her chair to address Ezri. “Because we can detect the cloaking field, a properly functioning cloaking field doesn't release the amount of tachyons the sensors have been detecting. Whatever is generating that cloaking field is starting to break down, which suggests the generator hasn't been repaired in a long time because no one is on this planet to repair it.”

Though it was a sound argument, Ezri wasn’t going to take at face value the assumption that this planet was deserted. “That may be true but I'm not taking my chances, if we knew exactly what was behind the cloaking field...”

Moving her head to the right she addressed Megan. “Would it be possible to disable the cloaking field?”

Briefly Megan’s eyes moved upwards as she thought about Ezri’s question. “We would need to modify the Defiant's deflector dish to generate significant amount of anti-protons to neutralise the cloaking field. Once the field is down, we can then disable the generator.”

“Do it,” said Ezri firmly. “Mr Weatherby you can assist her.”

While Megan and Max left the bridge to go to the engine room, Ezri stared once more at the planet shown on the view screen. She was going to get to the bottom of this mystery…
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Old November 26 2011, 10:28 PM   #100
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 1, part 2

Day 1, 1715 hours

It had taken Max less than two hours to modify the deflector dish, the work proceeded a lot more quickly thanks to Megan’s expertise. Max was always impressed by Megan’s almost encyclopaedic knowledge of physics, astronomical phenomena, sub-space and quantum mechanics.

With the deflector dish ready, Max returned to the bridge. He was standing by the science console where Megan was stationed. Even Bashir was on the bridge, which showed just how interested everyone was about the discovery of this cloaking field, and what it hid.

When Ezri arrived and sat down in the commander's chair, Max knew it was time to put his modifications of the deflector dish to work.

From behind his back Ezri addressed him. “Is the deflector dish ready Mr Weatherby?”

“It is captain,” said Max, and he glanced briefly at Megan. “Activate the deflector dish Megan.”

While Megan was readying the deflector dish, briefly Max was amused by the fact that only he could get away with addressing Megan by her first name while on duty. It was a sign of their friendship and how much Megan liked him.

“The deflector dish is ready captain!” said Megan.

“Fire!” ordered Ezri.

A slight hum came from the ship as the deflector dish powered up and then discharged. From the view screen an orange beam could be seen and it was laced with little flecks of white light. The beam directly hit the tiny blue cloaking field which could just be seen on the view screen. With a small flash the blue cloaking field disappeared.

“Captain,” said Max. “The cloaking field has been deactivated!”

Max returned to his comm console, and awaited further orders from Ezri.

“Ms Felpes,” said Ezri, “scan the surface in the area around the former cloaking field, see if you can locate the cloaking field generator.”

There was a small pause on Megan’s part. “I’ve found the cloaking field generator, the coordinates are two five six mark one four five.”

“Can you disable it?” asked Ezri.

“I can,” said Megan. “I’m sending an EM signal aimed directly at the field generator, the generator should be down in a matter of seconds... It’s down captain, I’m deactivating the deflector.”

From behind his back, Max could tell that Ezri was deeply interested by what this planet contained. He also knew that Ezri’s former host Jadzia was a scientist and this explained Ezri’s curiosity.

“Now that the cloaking field is gone, what is down there commander?” asked Ezri, sounding slightly tense, possibly excited.

“There's a massive structure,” said Megan. “And it seems to be some sort of factory. Some of the power units are barely functioning, but they are definitely Dominion power sources. There are no life signs inside the building or the surrounding area, however some of the silos next to the factory contain some unusual and unfamiliar microbes and viruses. Though it is hard to get clearer readings because of the materials inside the containers walls.”

Bashir spoke up from behind Ezri. “We've found an abandoned Dominion retrovirus factory,” he said softly.

The first thing Max thought of was excitement at finding such a building, here was a scientific opportunity. “Then we should investigate it,” he said eagerly. “Who knows what technology lies in there?”

“That's out of the question,” said Bashir sharply. “It would be to dangerous-”

“Gentlemen,” said Ezri firmly, with a hint of warning in her voice. “That is enough arguing, we will investigate this factory but only after we are absolutely sure that there are no biological hazards. Ms Felpes launch a class five probe and send it to the factory, that way we'll get more detailed information concerning the microbes and how safely they are contained.

“Doctor when we get the results from the probe I want you to thoroughly examine them, if you believe it is safe then I'll send an away team down to the factory. Colonel I want you to prepare an away team, this will be a salvage operation-”

At that point Max had to add his voice to the captain’s orders, he so badly wanted to investigate this retrovirus factory. Turning around he looked at Ezri. “Forgive the interruption captain but I would like to lead the away team.”

Ezri stared at him in a neutral manner, and Max couldn’t tell if she was annoyed by his interruption. Max was certain that Ezri was weighing him up, and deciding whether he was fit for taking command of the away team.

“For what reason?” she asked, somewhat blandly.

Though he felt just a little awkward having to explain himself to the captain, scientific curiosity overrode any embarrassment Max felt. “I was the one who discovered this planet, and also I think this should be more than just a salvage operation. There must be a computer core in that factory, and whatever information it contains could potentially advance the Federation's knowledge of bio-technology. Besides I've lead a dozen away team missions before, this one will be no different, albeit we'll just be more careful because of the biohazards.”

There was a pause, as Ezri looked at him squarely in the eyes, it seemed Ezri was trying to psych Max out. However Max didn’t break eye contact, and he sat there holding his breathe.

“Very well,” said Ezri. “You will be in command of the away team.”

Just when Max felt like celebrating, Kira had turned around in her chair and what she said really dampened his mood.

“Captain are you sure that is wise, giving the dangers-”

There was a hint of annoyance in Ezri’s eyes, it seemed Kira had crossed the line. “I trust Mr Weatherby's ability to take every precaution when down in that factory, and in this away mission you will follow his orders understood?”

“Yes captain,” said Kira, though she still didn’t look convinced.

While Max appreciated Ezri’s confidence in his abilities to command, he felt somewhat hurt and annoyed by Kira’s objection to him leading the away team. More than likely Kira thought that she was far more experienced to handle this mission. Though whatever her reasons, Max still disapproved of what she had said, perhaps on the away mission he would have a few words with Kira...


***


Day 1, 1820 hours

When Max materialized into a dimly lit intersection of two corridors, the first thing he did was to activate his wrist mounted torch. Looking around he saw Kira, Holo, Nog and two Starfleet engineers, inwardly Max was relieved as he felt nervous enough without a transporter mishap.

Almost at once Max started giving out orders. “Tilvin, Girk; I want you to scout this factory, look for any energy sources: power nodes, hydrogen isotope tanks and so forth. Just locate them; Kira and I will salvage them. Nog, Holo try to reactivate the factory's computer core and see if you can download anything of interest from the computer...”

While the four away team members headed in their respective directions, Max looked at his tricorder to work out which part of the factory he wanted to investigate. When he had come to a decision, he turned around to face Kira. “Come on, let's drain the primary deuterium tank on this floor.”

Kira though was glancing around at the dimly lit corridors, she looked distinctly unsettled. “Are you sure about this Max?”

Max managed to stop himself sighing from exasperation. “Myself and doctor Bashir have double checked and triple checked the Defiant's sensor readings of this factory. There are no unidentified viruses or microbes lurking outside of the silos.”

A look of annoyed bemusement flitted onto Kira’s face, though the light from the torch seemed to exaggerate her expression. “This is the Dominion we're talking about here!” she said disbelievingly. “How can you be so sure?”

Taking out his tricorder, Max scanned the surrounding corridors, there was no sign of any microbes or viruses. “Because this place has been deserted for years, any virus stored in those silos are either dead or dormant.”

Kira raised her eyebrows in apparent concern. “Dormant?” she said ominously. “What if it comes alive again?”

“Listen,” said Max impatiently. “I've checked this mission over with Bashir, if he thinks there is little risk of catching something nasty, then you should to. Now let’s head to the primary deuterium tank.”

Though Kira followed him, Max noticed out of the corner of his eye that she was shaking her head momentarily. This did nothing to ease Max’s frustration towards her, if she was going to doubt everything that he did…

Walking along the corridor, Max noticed that many of the purple strips of lighting were broken and strewn across the floor. On the grey walls, phaser marks could be seen, and Max realised that sometime ago there had been a massive fire fight down this corridor.

Using his tricorder to guide him, Max navigated the almost maze-like number of corridors to get to the room containing the deuterium tank. Along the way he passed numerous doors, but there were no windows, and Max could only wonder what was behind those doors.

“Stop!” said Kira suddenly, her left arm came across Max’s chest restraining him.

The sound of urgency and alarm in her voice, made Max considerably apprehensive.
“What is it?” he said quietly, he felt Kira’s arm move off his chest.

“Do you see those bodies on the floor?” she said.

Max squinted at some point on the floor and shone his torch light on what seemed like debris on the floor. “What bodies?”

Kira took out her disruptor from a holder attached to her belt. “You wouldn't last one day in the Bajoran underground,” she said bitterly, before she then moved forwards and Max followed her.

“Now do you see them?” said Kira irritably.

Looking at the bodies made Max’s stomach churn slightly, and his breath caught in his throat. “They're Jem'Hadar, but it looks they've been dead for at least a month.”

He tapped his comm badge, it seemed only himself and Kira had found dead Jem’Hadar. “This is Max to the away team, myself and Kira have encountered dead Jem'Hadar, it looks like they've been here for a while. Even so take care, and keep your phasers out at all times! Max out.”

Despite walking next to dead Jem’Hadar, Max felt marginally better, at least the rest of the away team would know what to expect. He was also getting used to seeing the dead bodies, and they were obviously no danger to him. Unless he tripped over one of them and sprained an ankle...

As Kira walked along, she occasionally glanced at some of the bodies. “They could be the renegade Jem'Hadar, there are phaser wounds all over their bodies.”

“Possibly,” said Max, though he barely opened his mouth as he didn’t feel like talking much. “Perhaps they wanted to remove some of the microbes from the silos...”

When they were past the Jem’Hadar bodies, the two walked together, Kira had her disruptor trained on points in front of her, while Max had his tricorder held out.

Kira glanced at Max, and there was a slightly gentler expression on her face. “Is something bothering you? Ever since we've arrived you've been giving me a wide berth.”

Resentment built up inside Max, he didn’t need Kira to hold his hand… “What's bothering me is why you disapprove of me leading the away team.”

Despite the resentment in Max’s voice, this didn’t seem to bother Kira in the slightest. “I thought at the time captain Dax was making a mistake.”

“And now?” asked Max, he waited for Kira’s answer.

“I was wrong to question Ezri's decision,” said Kira, she sounded slightly apologetic. “I expected trouble in this factory but so far nothing has happened to harm us.”

“You sure do itch for a fight,” said Max without thinking.

Kira’s stern gaze rapidly came onto Max’s face, and Max knew he had said something really stupid.

“You're wrong about that,” said Kira sharply. “If you knew me better then you would realise that I don't look for a fight. I'm just super cautious and vigilant in situations like this.”

“What could get us, the ghosts of the Jem'Hadar?” said Max jokingly.

Kira’s gaze reverted to the stretch of corridor in front of her. “Joke all you want, but do not underestimate the danger of what we are doing.”

All Max could do was sigh, he personally thought Kira was taking this away mission far too seriously. He had everything under control, and yet Kira seemed convinced that death and danger were lurking around the next corridor...
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Old November 27 2011, 10:46 PM   #101
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 2

Day 1, 1900 hours

After twenty minutes of navigating through numerous corridors, Nog and Holo finally managed to reach the factory’s computer core. When Nog first entered the room it was pitch black and this did nothing to ease his fear of this place.

Walking past dead Jem’Hadar bodies was bad enough, but with his sensitive ears every tiny little creak could be heard and it made him jumpy, though Nog did his best to hide it. He was glad that Holo looked totally at ease, as this reassured Nog and gave him the courage to venture further along the dimly lit corridors.

Once inside the computer core, Nog placed a few portable generators on a console, and the room lit up. For a room it was surprisingly small, while square columns, containing the computer terminals, split up the room. All around him were consoles with Dominion symbols, and despite his expertise it would be a challenge trying to access the files in the factory’s database.

While Nog repaired various circuitry and components inside a computer terminal, Holo was working from the console adjacent to the terminal. Nog let Holo do the hard work of shifting through dormant security programs and data barriers, as Holo had far quicker computational reflexes. The two worked in silence, talking only when they had to pass components or tools to each other.

As a precaution Holo had left the door into the room open and kept it wedged with a dislodged computer console. If any security program activated, the door wouldn’t be able to fully close, allowing Nog and Holo to escape.

The down side to this was that out of the corner of his eye Nog saw the dark corridor, and what made it really bad was that any creak that came from nearby rooms, bulkheads and wall panels could be heard.

When Nog heard another creak, he couldn’t stop himself as he had to talk to Holo. “Don't you feel just a little spooked by this place?”

Holo turned his head to face Nog, while simultaneously punching in commands on the console. “No,” said Holo blandly. “I don't get 'spooked' and there's no reason to be afraid. There's nobody here but just us.”

Nog could not believe how calm Holo seemed, it was like this factory never existed. “And the dead Jem'Hadar,” he reminded to Holo.

“There's nothing to fear from a dead body,” said Holo calmly. “That is a thing I've noticed about you humanoids, you don't like seeing dead bodies or like being in the darkness.”

That was easy for Holo to say, Nog wondered if Holo actually had fear subroutines built into his program. “Well you are not mortal like us, dead bodies remind us humanoids that death gets to us all, and it can strike us down prematurely occasionally.”

Holo’s eyebrows rose in apparent surprise by Nog’s remark. “Just because I have immortality of a sort, doesn't mean I'm invulnerable. I don't chance or tempt death if that is what you are saying.”

Inwardly Nog kicked himself, of course Holo wasn’t vulnerable, there were things out there which could easily kill Holo. However Nog was glad to know that Holo was just as keen to avoid danger, injury and death just as much as he was. Nog returned to work, the faster he did this job the sooner he would be out of this wretched factory…


***


Day 1, 1930 hours

Kira and Max had spent the last hour inside the room containing the primary deuterium tank attempting to gain control of a computer terminal. This computer terminal would give them full control of the deuterium tank, but only if they could get past the terminal’s security programs.

Try as he might Max couldn’t get this problem figured. His mood wasn’t much helped by the room he was working in, it was dimly lit and there were seven Jem’Hadar bodies stacked in one pile. Himself and Kira moved the bodies into one pile so they could have better access to the computer terminal.

The terminal itself was an oval prism-shaped object, it was surprisingly wide and to its right hand side was a lowered portion of the floor to access the inner workings of the terminal. A ladder provided easy access from the floor to the lowered platform below.

Currently Kira was flat on her back, the right side of her body was partially underneath the terminal, and she was busy removing small nodules and components, before reconfiguring and then attaching them back into the terminal.

Max meanwhile was trying to stay one step ahead of the security programs that were shutting down his every attempt to break the cyber seal in the system. Hopefully Kira might be able to bypass the security programs, and he could finally break the cyber seal.

Frustration got to Max, finally he slammed both his hands down on the console. “I don't get it,” he said angrily. “For a computer terminal that controls the deuterium tank, this has a surprising amount of security defences.”

“Perhaps the Dominion were afraid that someone like us would one day come to salvage their equipment?” said Kira from the platform, there was some amusement in her voice

Max could only laugh, and right now he needed to laugh to ease the tension and pressure he was feeling. “Whatever you think of the Dominion, you have to admire how security conscious they are… Try bypassing the secondary relay controls.”

While Kira did that, Max looked up to glare at the deuterium tank. It was a menacing object, a huge cylindrical like barrel, supported on its curvature, numerous pipes protruded outwards from the ends of the tank and extended up to the ceiling. Eventually Max would gain control of this deuterium tank, and he always solved any technical problem that came before him.

“There,” said Kira.

Something suddenly exploded and sparks flew out from where Kira was working. “Ahh!” yelled Kira.

Max came around looking down from the railing. “Are you all right?”

Standing up Kira was clutching her hands together, her face was slightly contorted in pain, but other than that she didn’t seem to harmed. “It's just an electric shock,” she replied irritably.

She stretched out her hands and examined them. “Nothing's burnt or broken...”

With Kira apparently unharmed, Max returned to the console. He did the same routine of inputting codes to break the cyber seal. After some moments the cyber seal broke and he could now access the console controls. “It's worked,” he said excitedly. “I've got full control of the deuterium tank.”

“Good,” said Kira, she still looked annoyed by the electric shock. “Let's get this out of the way, the sooner we leave this place the better I will feel.”

As Max and Kira continued to work, unnoticed by them was a container five metres behind their position. This was a bland-looking cylindrical container, two metres tall and very thin. The seal had been lifted slightly by only a millimetre, and a tiny amount of pressurised air was being released…


***


With full access to the deuterium tank, Max found that the deuterium was of a high grade quality. So he had contacted the Defiant asking for a dozen sealed storage containers. Crudely Max managed to connect a flexible pipe to one of the valves on the outside of the tank, and he began filling the containers with deuterium.

This was a slow process because of the volatile nature of deuterium, it had to be gradually transferred. Out of the corner of his eye Max noticed Kira sitting down on the top of a console, she looked unusually sweaty.

Kira was rubbing a hand over her forehead. “Is it just me or is this place quite warm?”

Now that she mentioned it, Max suddenly realised how warm he felt. “Your right I hadn't noticed that...” he said absentmindedly.

He returned his attention to the pressure readings of the deuterium inside the tank. “Anyway we're nearly there, if you could just unlock the clamps to the 8th-”

The sound of Kira retching made Max stop and turn around, he saw her bent over with her hands on her knees. Tiny flecks of vomit were still coming from her mouth. “Kira? Just sit down…”

While Kira sat down with her back against the console, Max had taken out his tricorder and was scanning her.

“Well?” demanded Kira, however sick she felt, she still had the focus to give Max an incredibly sharp stare.

Max frowned at the bio-readings he was getting, and he then started scanning the entire room. “It seems that when we were unlocking the primary docking clamps, we also unsealed that container over there.”

He pointed with his thumb at the container, upon further scanning Max saw something that made his eyes widen. “Something is escaping from the container! But what it is I can't tell...”

“We should get out of here,” said Kira urgently.

Standing up she waited for Max to follow her. “Come on-”

This time Kira retched more violently and it was horrible for Max seeing a brown/white watery mush spill from her mouth onto the floor. At once he walked over and placed an arm around her shoulders. “Here I’ll help.”

Max was glad to find that Kira complied without resistance, with his free hand he tapped his comm badge. “This is Max to the away team regroup at the beam-out point immediately! Max out.”

Tapping his comm badge again, Max started walking and he was glad that Kira was keeping up. He used his free hand to hold the tricorder to guide them back to the beam-out point. Along the way Max had to stop when Kira retched some more, at this point Max wondered how much more was left inside Kira’s stomach.

Briefly he looked at Kira, and he wasn’t pleased to see a pallor come across her forehead, and beads of sweat drip from the roots of her hair. He was so busy helping Kira that he didn’t notice how he was becoming steadily warmer and of the queasy sensation that was slowly building up inside his stomach.

When he and Kira arrived at the beam-out point, Max was glad to see that the other four away team members had already arrived.

Nog approached Max, though he was looking at Kira with some concern. “What's wrong with Kira?”

“I’m not sure,” said Max testily. “She's got a fever and she's nauseous, I'm beaming her and all of us back onto the Defiant.”

Max removed his arm around Kira’s shoulders, at once she sat down on the floor. Her knees came to her chest, and her hands were over her bowed head as she sat there simply breathing deeply.

Ignoring the sight of Kira, Max tapped his comm badge to contact the Defiant. “This is Max to the Defiant.”

Defiant here,” said Ezri’s voice.

“Request permission to transport back.”

Granted...” said Ezri, there was the faint sound of another person talking. “Hold on a minute,” said Ezri suddenly.

“That's odd...” said Nog ominously.

Max though simply waited, wondering what the delay was, he just wanted to return to the Defiant and get Kira to the sick bay.

I'm patching you through to doctor Bashir,” said Ezri after a minute’s silence.

Max,” said Bashir, “your away team cannot beam over to the Defiant. I've checked your bio-readings you have been infected with an unknown virus.

For a moment Max wondered if he had heard all of that correctly. “Only Kira is ill doctor,” said Max in somewhat exasperated voice. “The rest of us are fine!”

I can't run the risk of bringing an unknown virus aboard the Defiant,” said Bashir, he sounded deeply concerned.

Bashir was starting to really irritate Max, why was Bashir so hell bent on confining the away team to this factory? “Well screen the virus out when we're materialising in mid-transport!” said Max heatedly.

I can't do that either, it may not work. Listen; I'm beaming down six med-packs, that's about all I can do.

Max turned to look at Holo. “What about Holo? He can't be infected.”

It's an air borne virus Max,” said Bashir impatiently. “The transporters will beam the air that passes through Holo! I'm sorry-

Ezri cut in. “We'll find a way of removing you off this planet. Until then, just stay where you are.

“Affirmative, Max out.”

Max tapped his comm badge and looked around at the away team, the looks on their faces told it all; they were somewhat scarred and troubled. What Bashir had told them didn’t bode well.

To Max’s surprise, he saw that Kira was standing up, despite how ill she looked, Max was impressed by the determination and grit that was locked onto her face.

“It's time that I take command,” said Kira. “For one thing the away mission is technically over and I do outrank you all.”

Although Max agreed to this, one look at Kira told him that she would probably collapse at any moment. “Are you sure you are fit to do this?”

There must have been a slightly patronising tone to Max’s voice because Kira’s nostrils flared in indignation. “A little sickness won't stop me,” said Kira lightly. “Besides very soon the rest of you are going to be as ill as I am, so what difference does it make?”

“Agreed,” said Max.

The last thing he wanted was to fight with Kira, he didn’t want to face that fiery temper of hers that she occasionally displayed. Max sat down next to Holo, though Holo remained unusually quiet. Everyone was quiet but Max couldn’t blame them, there was nothing to talk about in this situation, all they could do was find out what was wrong with them...
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old November 29 2011, 12:58 AM   #102
Ln X
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 3

Day 1, 2000 hours

Walking inside the mess hall, Ezri whipped around the moment Bashir and Megan had entered the room. All she knew was that something was very wrong with five of her crew members, aside from that she did not have a clue what was going on, and she wanted answers fast.

She was angry, and the only thing she could do to vent the anger, was to press her lips together hard. “So what is wrong with the away team?”

Her eyes were on Bashir as she asked that question.

“I did a brief check of Max’s tricorder readings,” said Bashir calmly, seemingly at ease with his captain's thirst for information. “The entire away team has been infected with a virus that was released from a container in the room housing the primary deuterium tank. It seemed Max and Kira accidently tripped some sort of defence mechanism.”

“Well?” said Ezri somewhat tensely, her arms were folded. “Can we beam them off the planet?”

The dead pan look on Bashir’s face said it all. “The simple answer is no.”

Megan though looked at Bashir doubtfully, she didn't seem convinced by Bashir's blunt answer. “We could try various screening techniques,” suggested Megan. “But I don't know what to screen against.”

Bashir turned to face Megan, his lips were locked in a frown, clearly he didn't like Megan's idea. “I wouldn't recommend screening the virus out with transporters. It has been artificially created, and as such it could elude many, if not all of our sensors.”

“So we need to scan the virus,” said Ezri, gesticulating momentarily with her right hand. “But we can't do it when the we're orbiting the planet...”

“What we need is the shuttle!” said Megan, her eyes were wide with what seemed to be excitement. “We can beam the away team to the shuttle, while they may be a bit cramped at least in that way we can find out exactly what we're facing.”

Megan gazed at Ezri's thoughtful face. “The virus will be contained in only one shuttle!” she added.

Bashir was now looking at Ezri, and at that moment Ezri realised they were both thinking the same thing.

“I think,” said Bashir, “the most obvious thing to do is to contact the Dominion, they created this virus so surely they must have designed an antidote!”

Although it was a sound idea, Ezri had massive reservations against it, she couldn’t help herself but she grimaced in frustration. “Unfortunately contacting the Dominion is not a good idea at the moment. The latest Starfleet intelligence reports indicate that the civil war is still ongoing inside the Dominion. Besides it seemed the renegade Jem'Hadar attacked this facility in an attempt to acquire some of the microbes and retroviruses from the factory's silos… The bottom line is we can't rely on the Dominion to help us, and even if the Dominion was not in a civil war, I doubt the Founders would help us. It's up to you doctor to find a cure.”

Megan gazed sharply at Ezri, in situations like this nothing missed Megan’s attention. “So we're going to transfer the away team to the shuttle?”

“Yes,” said Ezri with a nod. “The sooner we scan this virus, the easier it will be for you doctor to work out what we're dealing with here. Prepare the shuttle at once!”

With a nod to Ezri, Megan then promptly left the room.

There was only Ezri and Bashir in the room, though right now Ezri didn’t feel the usual embarrassment as the situation was too serious for such petty personal issues. “Let’s just say doctor that I’m counting on you to find a cure, I don’t want to lose five personal, least of all a close friend of mine.”

Bashir stared seriously into Ezri’s eyes. “I promise I will not rest until I have found a cure, none of those away team members will die, not under my watch.”

The intensity of Bashir’s expression took Ezri aback, before she had time to think about this, Bashir had already left the room. She wondered if Bashir was making a promise to her or to himself. One thing she knew about Julian was how he would do anything to keep the patient alive…

Thinking back Ezri realised that Julian seemed less hostile towards her. Perhaps it was because Julian had gotten used to her on board DS9, or maybe Julian was trying in some subtle way to reach out to her and make amends. The temptation came to Ezri to simply visit Julian’s quarters, after this whole affair had blown over, and unreservedly apologise for breaking up with him.

But would Julian listen? Something was stopping Ezri and that was the fear that she would somehow make things worse between herself and Julian. Yet she so badly wanted to make amends, something had to give, either she would talk to Julian or he would talk to her…


***


Day 1, 2140 hours

When the away team had been beamed off the factory and onto the shuttle orbiting the planet, Kira was relieved to be out of that factory. Sure things were cramped in the shuttle with six people on board, and her health had deteriorated some more, but she would rather crumble apart inside a Starfleet shuttle than in an abandoned Dominion retrovirus factory.

The first thing Kira did was go to the cockpit to check over the shuttle’s systems, Nog assisted her. She let Max temporarily do her job of keeping morale up.

A small red light flashed on Nog’s console. “Kira there's a message from the Defiant, it's from Julian!”

Kira turned around to face a screen on the cockpit wall to her right. “Patch it through to my console!”

On the screen was Bashir, the expression on his face was unreadable. “Julian we need some good news and fast!”

“I'm afraid that's unlikely,” said Bashir looking somewhat crestfallen. “As I speak the shuttle's onboard sensors are gathering information on the virus that you are infected with. The medkits on board will relieve any pain, nausea or bleeding which you may suffer from. Unfortunately until I know exactly what this virus is, there is very little I can do to help.”

This wasn’t what Kira wanted to hear, but she maintained a brave face. “How long will it take for you to determine what we're infected with?”

“At least two hours, but when I get the results I will contact you as soon as possible. In the mean time I want all of you not to exert yourselves and to keep calm.”

The look on Bashir’s face was if Kira and the away team were already dead, and this did nothing to lift Kira’s spirits. “Leave that to me,” she said briskly. “I'll keep everyone calm.”

“Good, Bashir out.”

The transmission ended and Kira returned to her console, she could tell from Bashir’s face that she was infected with something very dangerous and possibly fatal. She wasn’t afraid of dying, what did upset her was how her children would react to her death…

Kira was so transfixed upon her console that she didn’t hear Max come into the cockpit.

“Can I have a private word with you Kira?”

Turning around in her chair, Kira was momentarily surprised by how close Max was to her, she looked up into those wide apprehensive eyes. “Are you finished here Nog?”

Wisely, Nog nodded and left the cockpit without another word.

Max was standing very rigidly, and if Kira didn’t know him better he looked afraid, it all showed in his eyes, a certain hopeless look in them. “What is it Max?”

There was a small pause before Max burst into speech. “This is all my fault!” he said in an anguished voice. “I should have checked that computer terminal's security systems more carefully. If I had, we wouldn't all be infected with this virus!”

Standing up, Kira placed her hands on Max’s shoulders, she was not going to let Max fall apart. “Listen to me,” she said sternly. “You can't blame yourself for what has happened. I didn't realise at the time that the container was rigged to activate when we tampered with the computer terminal's controls!”

The pained expression still lingered on Max’s face. “But if we die-”

“We are not going to die,” she said forcibly and her hands shook a little. “Have you got me?”

Max nodded and seemed marginally more upbeat.

Kira took this as a good sign and she removed her hands away from Max’s shoulders. “Not if Julian has anything to say about it and he's the best doctor I know. If anyone will find a cure it is Julian.”

All the anguish and fear had subsided from Max’s face, and he returned to the other compartment. Kira though sat down on a chair, closed her eyes and breathed out deeply. She didn’t believe in anything that she had just said to Max, but it didn’t matter what she felt, the crew morale was more important than her feelings.

Now that she was all alone Kira contemplated meditating briefly, and asking the Prophets for their assistance in helping Bashir to find a cure. Just as she was about to slip into a meditative state, she suddenly started coughing, there was something heavy inside her lungs.

Her hand covered her mouth, and with each cough her lungs burned in pain. When the coughing was over, she lowered her hand only to notice flecks of blood on her palm. She couldn’t help it but she gasped out aloud, this virus was attacking her lungs and was spreading all over her body…

A sore feeling lingered in her lungs, it didn’t feel as bad as the queasiness which was now gone, but she knew that the pain in her lungs would steadily build up. It was now clear that this virus was fatal, how long she had to live she wasn’t sure, and she hoped with all her heart that Bashir was speedy with the scans he was conducting of the virus.


***


Day 1, 2210 hours

In the sickbay Bashir waited for the computer to finish analysing the composition of the virus. The computer was taken an unusually long time to analyse the virus, and this was an ominous sign to Bashir. Knowing the Dominion, he reckoned this virus could be just as difficult to treat as the Quickening.

The Quickening was bad enough, and it came close to shaking his confidence as a doctor, a healer of people. There was of course a personal element to it, in that he stayed on the world to try to treat Ekoria, a female Teplan. Though he didn’t manage to treat her, by accident he managed to find a cure that rendered her baby immune to the blight.

That experience really tugged on Bashir’s heartstrings. Now he was in a similar situation, except this time his friends were in danger. Above all else he would do everything he could to make sure Kira and Nog didn’t die, especially Kira. She had a family and Bashir was determined to make sure Kira wasn’t another casualty of the Dominion and their weaponry.

For sure enough this virus was a weapon, and Bashir could only wonder what other biological weapons the Dominion possessed. He shuddered to think about what would happen if the renegade Jem’Hadar managed to acquire this virus. The very fact there were recently dead Jem’Hadar in the retrovirus factory, told Bashir that the renegade Jem’Hadar desperately wanted the Dominion’s biological agents of mass destruction.

“Scan complete,” said the computer. “The virus cannot be biologically classified.”

Bashir stood at the console and was deeply puzzled by this. “Please clarify.”

“The virus has a metallic shell comprised of tritanium, duranium and fourteen other unknown metal alloys. The scans were unable to penetrate the shell, hence the virus cannot be classified.”

At first Bashir couldn’t believe this, he had never imagined a virus being protected in such an elaborate way. Next he cast aside his disbelieve and thought furiously about how to penetrate the shell. There had to be a way to penetrate it, and if he couldn’t then there would be nothing he could do for the away team. Faced with the bleak prospect of losing five people, Bashir only pushed himself to think even harder, and he used every iota of knowledge in that genetically enhanced brain of his.


***


Day 2, 0200 hours

It had taken Bashir over three hours to determine the composition of the virus. He had never seen such a formidable looking virus, this was the second Dominion virus he had encountered and unlike the quickening virus there was no obvious solution to destroying this virus.

It all came down to the tritanium alloyed shell, nothing organic could penetrate it, and he had to use lasers the width of a nanometer just to borrow inside and retrieve a sample of the nucleus. The good news was that this virus chromosomes could be broken down, there were some vulnerable DNA strands that could be used to unravel the entire genome.

Unfortunately trying to get the antibodies inside the viruses nucleus was to Bashir looking nigh on impossible. This was why he had called for Megan to arrive in the Sickbay.

When Megan arrived in the Sickbay, Bashir turned around and noticed that she looked more serious than usual. Of course her best friend Max was on board that shuttle, and just like Megan, Bashir also had a best friend in serious danger.

Megan stood quite rigidly, her hands were behind her back. “You asked for me doctor?”

“This virus is more complicated than I thought,” he said grimly.

Walking over he activated a wide screen on a console next to the operating table. “Here have a look,” he said, waving a hand to the screen showing an image of the virus.

Megan walked to about two feet from the screen, she leaned forwards and positively squinted at the image. “It's a bionic virus?” she said quietly, sounding somewhat stunned.

“Yes,” said Bashir, he tapped a few commands and the image on the screen changed to show the components of the virus, components which he had painstakingly mapped out. “It has a tritanium shell and other unknown alloys, an organic part in the centre, and various nanites resounding inside the shell. No conventional medical vaccine could destroy a virus like that.”

For such a tricky problem Megan’s face remained rather neutral, as if she had no interest in how to destroy the virus. “Julian I'm no doctor-”

“But you are a chemist,” said Bashir, he looked at Megan rather intently. “That's what I need, if there's a way of destroying the shell, then I can destroy the organic component that resides inside.”

Now Megan looked interested, she made a brief gesture of rubbing the top of her nose with the tips of her fingers. “Max is the chemist, I’m not as skilled as he when it comes to developing compounds and materials…”

“Right now Max can barely stand!” said Bashir impatiently. “Let alone have the mental effort to solve this problem, he can’t help us!”

Megan frowned considerably, she seemed daunted by what she had to do. “Even so it will take hours, even days to find the correct chemical to neutralise this shell. How much time have I got?”

“I'm not sure...” said Bashir heavily. “But the sooner we get started the greater the chance that Kira, Max and the others will survive…”

There was a determined look on Megan’s face, and without a word she started working, while Bashir conducted more scans of the virus trying to work out how to break down the virus’ nucleus.

As he worked he noticed Megan was working with something of a energetic mania, she didn’t stop to rest. Bashir realised that Megan would only stop working when they had found a cure for Max and the rest of the away team. This only spurred Bashir to work harder, he would not let death take those five crew members away from him…

He suddenly remembered promising Kira to tell her what she was infected with when he had finished the scans of the virus. At once he stopped working, walked over to a console and contacted the shuttle...


***


A moment later the screen showed Kira inside the shuttle’s cockpit. She was looking dire, and her face was dangerously pale. “What's our prognosis doctor?” she said very seriously.

Bashir breathed out deeply, trying to compose himself. “The virus is causing the white blood cells in your immune system to attack any surrounding cells, as such there is a substantial amount of internal bleeding, and it's only going to get worse. All of you show the same symptoms, and given the rate of blood loss you have four, maybe five days left, multiple organ failure being the cause of death...”

After Bashir had finished with his prognosis, Kira’s eyes were shut tight, and Bashir had never seen Kira look so perturbed.

Finally Kira calmed herself and looked steadily into Bashir’s eyes. “There's no cure is there?”

Bashir shook his head. “Not yet but Megan and I are working on that. In the meantime, I want the away team not to exert themselves and to stay calm.”

Kira nodded slightly. “What about Holo?”

“That brings me to another point; but I need to discuss it with Holo in private.”

“Right,” said Kira, she got up and left the cockpit to find Holo.

A minute later Holo arrived he took Kira’s chair, and simply stared at Bashir, waiting for Bashir to speak.

“Holo,” said Bashir seriously. “If no cure can be found for this virus, then you are permanently confined to this shuttle.”

“I understand,” said Holo grimly, he looked as if he was going to cry though Bashir wasn’t sure if Holo could cry or not.

“The next few days will be... trying,” said Bashir heavily. “Kira and the others, are slowly dying, and as a physician I must do no harm to the patient. Having said that, if there is no cure, and they are close to death, and they are suffering agonising amounts of pain, then...”

He paused as he contemplated the concept of euthanasia and how it could loosely apply to this situation. “Then Holo I need you to minimise their pain, even if it means they die prematurely...”

Holo’s face was so still look he looked almost dead. “Right,” he said seriously.

Bashir rubbed his eyes, he was getting older and he couldn’t exert himself like he did when he was younger. “I'm placing you in charge of the away team, you have enough medical supplies for pain relief and so forth to last for at least a week... Incidentally does your program store any files on medicine?”

Holo sighed in what seemed to be exasperation. “There are numerous files on medicine stored in my program, I know what to do doctor,” he said rather testily.

With a last nod, Bashir ended the transmission. The very thought of prematurely ending one of the away team’s lives was a shocking one for Bashir. But if they were at death’s door, and there was nothing he could do to either help them or to ease their pain, then there could only be one option.

Do no harm to the patient was always Bashir’s guiding principle. However if the worst came he would be harming the patient if he tried to extend that life while the patient suffered horrendously from an ailment. Whether it was right or wrong, Kira, Nog and the others deserved to die with dignity should the worst happen, and if they only had a few agonising hours left.

Bashir thought back to the Teplan blight and Trevean assisting patients to kill themselves, he now understood perfectly why Trevean did this. It was all about easing pain, because to let the patient suffer needlessly was doing harm to the patient...
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
Ln X is offline   Reply With Quote
Old November 29 2011, 06:33 PM   #103
Ln X
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Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 4, part 1

Day 2, 1000 hours

The Defiant had just left the wormhole with the shuttle in tow. On the bridge, Ezri sat on the command chair and all she could think about was the away team. One person she was thinking about the most was Kira…

The door to the bridge opened, and glancing to her right, she saw a grim-faced Bashir entering.

“Any progress doctor?” she said, hoping for the best.

Bashir shook his head. “Nothing so far, both Megan and I are still working on how to penetrate the viruses shell, but we’re running out of ideas. Anyway I came here to ask permission to transfer the away team onto one of DS9’s runabouts. The away team will have more space, and it will be far more comfortable for them than in that cramped shuttle.”

“Agreed,” said Ezri. “I’ll see to it.”

While Bashir left the bridge, Ezri contacted the station. “This is captain Dax to Ops.”

“Lieutenant Vaughn speaking,” said the officer on the view screen. “You’re cleared for docking captain.”

“I want you to deploy the runabout Valencia in shuttlebay two, put it on auto pilot and send it to these coordinates.”

From the command chair, she punched in the coordinates on the console to her left.

“Understood captain,” said Vaughn while he briefly studied the coordinates being sent to him.

“The Defiant will be docking shortly, Dax out.”

With everything sorted for DS9, Ezri contacted the shuttle. “This is captain Dax to the shuttle, please respond.”

“I hear you captain,” said Kira from the view screen.

Somehow Kira still had enough good health left in her to be piloting the shuttle. Ezri was amazed by Kira’s tenacity even though she looked like she was at death’s door. “Colonel a runabout is being sent close to your position. When it arrives I want you and the rest of the away team to beam over to the runabout.”

“Understood captain,” said Kira.

The comm link ended, and Ezri sat back into her chair to get just a little more comfortable. When Nog had transported the away team onto the runabout, Ezri had a few more orders for the crew before the Defiant could dock. She had to dispose of the shuttle as it was a major contagion hazard.

Ezri walked over to the science station where Megan was. “Ms Felpes is the shuttle unoccupied?”

“Affirmative captain.”

With a brief satisfied nod, Ezri issued her next set of orders. “Lieutenant Constance, lock phasers on the shuttle and fire.”

When Lieutenant Constance fired the phasers, Ezri briefly looked at the view screen, and watched two phaser bursts almost completely vaporize the shuttle. There was nearly nothing left but with this virus Ezri couldn’t be to sure. “Scan the debris Ms Felpes, has the virus been destroyed?”

“I don’t detect any organic residue, the virus is definitely destroyed.”

“Good,” said Ezri, that was one minor problem taken care off.

She had done her bit and when the Defiant had docked at the station, it would be up to Bashir and Megan to find a cure for the away team. At that moment she didn’t envy their task, giving the pressure they were under as each passing hour brought the away team closer to death.


***


Day 2, 1015 hours

The moment the Defiant had returned from the wormhole, Odo dashed down to docking bay four. Yesterday he had been contacted by Ezri, and she told him that Kira and all five members of an away team had contracted a Dominion retrovirus. What really alarmed Odo was that the away team had been quarantined to a shuttle, and this made him wonder just how contagious and deadly this virus really was.

When the docking bay door opened, Odo waited impatiently for Ezri to come. She was the last one to come out, and at once Odo confronted her. “Captain what is really happening to Kira?” he said loudly and tensely. “You were somewhat vague when you said that she was infected by some sort of Dominion virus!”

“Keep your voice down,” hissed Ezri while she glanced around to make sure the corridor was deserted. “Yes that is true but doctor Bashir is doing everything he can to help her!”

Not for a second were Odo's anxieties lessened by Ezri’s reassuring words. “Bashir can't find a way of destroying this virus can he?”

Ezri looked a tiny bit sorrowful and this betrayed her reassurances. “So far he hasn't, but you know Bashir he won't rest until he has found a cure.”

“How long does my wife have to live?” demanded Odo.

“At least three days.”

“When can I see her?” he said urgently. “Is she on the Defiant?”

“She is on a runabout with the rest of the away team.”

Ezri wasn’t answering his question and this infuriated Odo. “But can I see her?” he said impatiently.

Ezri’s eyes were full of sadness, it was clear that she felt just as worried and pained as Odo. “I'm afraid not. There is a strict quarantine in place, nobody is to board that runabout. When the away team had been transported off the shuttle, it was destroyed, we cannot let this virus spread.”

A terrible hurting feeling wrenched something inside of Odo’s chest. He turned to look away, as he stood there with his emotions at breaking point. He could contemplate Kira dying, but to be unable to be at her side as she got steadily more ill and fell apart was unbearable to Odo.

“I'm sorry Odo for what has happened,” said Ezri sadly. “This will be a tough time, and if there is anything you need-”

“Don't mollycoddle me captain,” said Odo bitterly, he glared at her furiously. “I can handle this just fine!”

In a blind rage he left Ezri, not caring what Ezri thought of his rudeness. He couldn’t think straight and without realising it he was walking to his quarters.

When he entered his quarters, he realised a second to late that he was going to have to explain to Mia and Deru what had happened, and they wouldn’t let him go until he had given them a decent answer.

Indeed he saw Mia and Deru standing there in front of him, both were looking at him desperately, and Mia’s eyes were boring into the back of Odo’s head.

“What's happened to my mother?” she asked curtly. “I've heard these rumours that she and five other Starfleet members have been quarantined to a runabout because of some virus? Is this true?”

Odo held his hands up trying to defuse the situation. “Listen-”

“We don't want your excuses,” shouted Deru, his eyes were blazing with rage. “Or some attempt to water down what is happening to mum, we want the truth!”

Such a commanding tone forced Odo to pull himself together and to control his emotions. “Your mother has been infected with a Dominion virus, and doctor Bashir hasn't found a cure, but so far your mother's condition hasn't worsened. She and five other away team members have been confined to a runabout to stop the virus spreading.”

Mia’s arms were folded and she was looking at Odo in a sceptical manner, as if analysing every word he had said. “If my mother and those five people are being quarantined, then clearly this virus must be a lot worse than you are letting on?”

At that point Odo couldn’t help inwardly marvel at Mia's intelligence, his daughter was as sharp as her mother. “Things may look bad,” he said heatedly, “but right now it doesn't seem that your mother's condition is life-threatening.”

“And if mum gets more sick you will tell us right?” said Deru, staring intensely at Odo.

There was a moment's hesitation on Odo’s part before he answered Deru’s question. “I will,” he said firmly.

Both Mia and Deru seemed satisfied by Odo’s answer, and they walked into their bedrooms, leaving Odo rooted to the spot.

In a way Odo was proud of how attentive and intelligent his children were, they weren’t going to settle for any old answer. But despite all of this they were still children, and if Kira died they would be so hurt and upset.

It frightened Odo to think that in less than four days time there was a strong possibility that Kira would be taken from this world. How could he lose her now when there were so many years ahead of them? Kira didn’t deserve to die like this in such a horrible way, if Odo could cry he would have wept on the spot. However he knew Kira would be facing this nightmare with absolute bravery and calmness, and likewise Odo would be following her example. Kira’s strength was his own strength…


***


Day 3, 0600 hours

Bashir and Megan had been working for close to two days without rest, and it was starting to take its toll on both of them. They had gotten virtually nowhere and in all that time the away team had become steadily sicker…

Even in DS9’s Infirmary with its far superior facilities and equipment, the task of destroying the virus wasn’t made any easier. Bashir’s only breakthrough was discovering the tiny holes in the virus’ shell. He was working out how to get anti-bodies past the membrane, but this seemed harder than destroying the shell.

For two hours Bashir had been staring at a screen showing a cross-section of the cylindrical membrane, and he had tried combination after combination of anti-bodies and gene resequencing, hoping to find an anti-body that could penetrate the membrane without getting broken down.

Nothing worked, and at times one part of Bashir’s mind strayed to Nog and Kira, they were dying and there was nothing he could do to stop it… He searched nearly the entire Federation medical database looking for a case of something similar, but there was nothing…

“Any luck?” said Bashir, turning around in his chair to see Megan huddled over a small container where she was mixing various compounds.

Wearily Megan stood up, the bags on her eyes were pronounced and she looked almost dead from tiredness. “I can break down the titanium/duranium shell, but the acid I used was so strong it would kill the patient in a matter of minutes. Have you made any progress?”

Another setback, another dead-end for Bashir. In a frustrated gesture he ran his hands through his scruffy and untidy hair, forcing himself to think harder. “I've been through nearly all the possibilities for a treatment,” he said wearily. “Now I'm down to going through the Federation medical database looking for any similar cases...”

A tiny spark of hope lingered in Megan’s eyes. “And?”

“I haven't seen a case remotely like this one.”

Bashir paused, and he thought about the Dominion and the Vorta, or Founders, who had designed this virus. It was like they were mocking him for his failure to destroy their virus… “It's so typical of the Dominion to create viruses that have no cure,” he said bitterly.

Megan came over to Bashir, and leaned her body against a bulkhead with her arms folded. “You've seen other Dominion viruses before?”

Bashir’s mood darkened some more, it was déjŕ vu for him with this virus. “Nearly 22 years ago I came across a planet where the locals suffered from something they called the 'quickening'. Everyone had these dark legions all over there body, and the quickening could happen at any point. When it happened the legions turned red and the sufferer died within two weeks.”

Megan grimaced slightly in an appalled manner. “That's nasty.”

She was staring at Bashir, clearly noticing the frustrated expression on his face, and she looked at him sympathetically. “I know you are angry with yourself for not finding a cure, and I know you terribly concerned for Kira, Nog and the others. But you can't punish yourself like this.”

Bashir stood up, and all the frustration made him burn with anger. “Yes I can!” he said furiously. “It is my responsibility to care for them, to treat them, and I can't even do that!”

A surprisingly cold expression was on Megan’s face, when she spoke her voice was laced with a cold fury. “Has it ever occurred to you doctor, that there are some things in the universe that are insurmountable, and no matter what you do the problem cannot be resolved?”

Despite Megan’s criticism, Bashir wasn’t going to stop feeling angry and resentful. “Are you saying we should just give up on the away team?” he said heatedly.

“No I am not,” said Megan calmly. “But I am saying there may be no cure to this virus, or there is not enough time to find a cure.”

Bashir turned his back to Megan, he was too angry to look at her. His hands were spread wide across the console and he looked up at the screen showing the virus’ membrane. “Every virus has a cure, some sort of weak spot, and I'm not going to give up now!”
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old November 29 2011, 06:34 PM   #104
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 4, part 2

Day 3, 0900 hours

It was early in the morning, and Kira decided she couldn’t put it off any longer. She had to contact Odo, she hoped in doing so she would feel better about the whole situation she was in.

Alone in the cockpit, she sent a comm link over to DS9, a few moments later Odo responded. At first Kira couldn’t say anything, fearful that if she did she may lose control of her emotions, her anger and her fear.

Finally it was Odo who attempted to start a conversation. “How do you feel?” he said rather gently.

Kira looked at him in a glum manner. “I'm sorry Odo,” she said, it was all she could say.

“This isn't your fault,” said Odo in a sympathetic tone.

“It is,” lamented Kira, she felt awful and deeply guilty. “I should have been more careful, I should have realised there would be traps, hidden dangers...”

Odo looked just as pained as Kira. “Don't blame yourself, what is done is done, now-”

Suddenly Kira had another fit of coughing, her lungs felt like they were on fire every time she coughed. When she was done, she noticed some blood dripping out from her mouth. She pulled a disgusted face before wiping some of the blood with the back of her hand. “Sorry... Have you told Mia and Deru about what has happened?”

Odo looked very uncomfortable and he tensed up like mad. “Only some of the facts...” he said slowly. “I haven't told them that you're probably going to die in three days time...”

“Odo...” breathed Kira, she couldn’t keep the disapproval out of her voice. “They're old enough to know the truth...”

Meekly Odo nodded, he looked humbled because of Kira’s reprimand. Seeing Odo look so miserable only made Kira feel more angry about the whole situation; and most of all she felt like she had let her children down. She couldn’t stop blaming herself for what happened in the biogenics factory. If only she had paid more attention to what was going on around her...

“Damn!” said Kira loudly, as she slapped her hand against the console. “What do I say to Mia and Deru?” she told Odo, gazing at him desperately. “It's maddening; I die from some Dominion virus and I'm couped up in a runabout waiting for the inevitable, it should have been something more heroic...”

“That's not amusing,” said Odo grimly, Kira’s dark humour only served to make Odo look even more miserable.

Kira sighed aloud, she looked slightly downwards trying to avoid Odo’s eyes. “I know...” she said wearily.

Another silence lingered between the two, for there was nothing more to say.

“I'll let Mia and Deru talk to you,” said Odo after a while.

Kira nodded slightly, and waited for Mia and Deru to arrive. She composed herself and was determined not to look sad or cry, but to act strong and brave in the face of death. She didn’t want her children to see how emotionally fragile she really was.

When Mia and Deru sat down, Kira smiled at them, gazing into their anxious faces.

“How do you feel mother?” said Mia.

“I've felt better,” said Kira trying to sound cheerful but she couldn’t quite do it. “Holo is doing a good job of looking after me and the others.”

Deru was trying to avoid looking at Kira, finally he spoke up but he barely had eye contact with her. “Does it hurt to have this virus inside you?” he asked rather timidly.

Kira shook her head. “Thanks to the painkillers Holo is giving me I don't feel so bad-”

She then had another round of coughing, and inwardly she was furious with herself. While she wasn’t going to hide from her children the true nature of her condition, they didn’t have to see her literally fall apart. More blood dripped out of her mouth and Kira hastily wiped it away.

But the damage had been done, Deru looked aghast at seeing the blood, while Mia became very pale.

“How long do you really have to live?” asked Mia, her voice sounding hoarse from pain.

“About three days maybe less... I am so sorry for what has happened.”

Tears spilled from Deru’s eyes, though he wasn’t sobbing. “Can't doctor Bashir find a cure to this virus?” he said desperately.

Kira looked down momentarily as she fought against the burning in her eyes, finally she looked up and was able not to cry by clenching her jaw hard. “He hasn't found one yet, but he might do...”

“Dad lied to me!” shouted Deru, he looked to his right presumably at Odo and glared. “He told me your condition wouldn't worsen!”

Though Kira understood Deru’s anger, she had to protect Odo and explain for him. “He was only trying to spare your feelings...” she said gently.

“He should have told me the truth!” said Deru.

Deru’s anger was pushing Kira towards breaking point. “Deru I know you are angry, towards Odo, and towards me-”

“It's not fair...” whined Deru.

“I know it's not fair,” said Kira angrily, having finally snapped. “But there is nothing you or I can do to change things, and getting angry is not going to help things either!”

The harsh tone of her voice took Deru aback, and Kira’s harsh words brought more tears to Deru’s eyes. “I don't want you to die...” said Deru weakly.

At that point Odo entered the screen, he placed his hands on Deru’s shoulders trying to comfort him. “Deru,” murmured Odo softly. “If you are not comfortable with talking to your mother you don't have to, I'm sorry I didn't tell the whole truth.”

Slowly Deru got up and allowed himself to be moved away by Odo. Now there was only Mia left, and she was trying to maintain a brave face.

“I don't blame father,” said Mia quietly. “He only told a half-lie.”

“You are more forgiving than I would be...” said Kira.

For a moment Mia looked away, it seemed she was working up the courage to say something deeply personal. Finally Mia gazed at Kira with a warm stare. “I just want to let you know that I've always admired your directness and honesty, even when you were reprimanding me for being timid... It has taking me this long to realise it, but you've always been a source of strength for me.”

Kira couldn’t help it as her eyes became wet, and the burning sensation in her eyes intensified. She forced herself to pull it together and she quickly wiped her eyes with her hand. There was something she had to say to Mia, she gulped nervously. “Mia in case I do die, then I want you to look after Deru, as you've gathered he is more upset than he is prepared to admit over my illness.”

“I'll look after him I promise,” said Mia softly.

The resilience and strength shown by Mia deeply impressed Kira, Mia seemed to take after her when it came to hiding ones grief and pain. “I'm so proud of you,” said Kira, her voice was a little shaky. “Over the last few months you've advanced and matured so much, and in doing so, you've taken a lot off my mind. For many years I was worried for you...”

Mia smiled weakly at Kira’s praise. “Then I'm sorry I gave you so much grief.”

“Don't be,” said Kira. “What matters is that you have improved yourself and fought against your weaknesses, it takes courage to do that.”

Kira coughed again, all this talking was unsettling the fluid in her lungs.

“I think that's enough talking for one day,” said Mia rather wisely. “You need to conserve yourself.”

“Don't worry for me,” said Kira with some bravado. “You are more independent now... Just promise me that if I die you will move on with your life and not dwell upon me?”

Now Mia succumbed to tears, and she nodded slowly in a miserable way. “I promise.”

This was what Kira wanted to hear, she closed her eyes in a relaxed manner. “Thank you,” she whispered.

When she opened her eyes, the transmission had ended. She was alone in the cockpit and she had told everyone not to disturb her. She was deeply grateful for this privacy, because she couldn’t keep her emotions bottled up forever. Talking to her family had moved her so much that Kira began to cry, she rested her chest and her forehead against the console, while her arms were pressed tightly against the sides of her head. She sobbed in a quiet way, and in her pain her hands were clutching the hair on the back of her head.

She wished she never had this virus, there so much more to do and see: watching her children grow up and start their own families. And of course all the time she would have with Odo and growing old together. In the back of her mind she had been thinking about retiring when she was 65. After retirement she wanted to live on Bajor in the Dahkur province, and she and Odo could build their own home. It was such an appealing idea; now that would never come to fruition.
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Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
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Old December 1 2011, 12:02 AM   #105
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Re: DS9: A continuation

Chapter 5

Day 3, 1900 hours

It was a full time job for Holo looking after the away team, not only did he have to provide them with painkillers and injections of plasma/blood transfusions, but he also had to keep their spirits up. Sometimes that meant fulfilling some of their requests, like downloading one of their favourite books onto a pad. Other times it was simply food or drink.

The fact was that the away team had now become so ill, they could barely stand, and it was heart-wrenching for Holo to see these people simply die so slowly. Though he could manage to lift the away team’s spirits, there was nothing he could do to lift his own. Indeed he had dark thoughts and visions of himself being confined forever to this runabout, while he lived amongst five rotting corpses.

However Holo had enough self-discipline not to let his doubts and concerns distract him from his duties. He noticed Max wincing with pain and at once he came over to Max, taking a med-kit with him. Crouching down Holo took out a hypospray ready to inject Max with more painkillers.

“Another shot of triptacederine?” he asked Max.

Max was grimacing in pain, his hands were clutching his chest, despite the pain Max nodded vigorously. “The pain in my chest,” he said weakly. “It's getting worse, I can barely breathe.”

Holo pressed the hypospray against Max’s neck. “Is that better?”

“Yes,” said Max.

Now Max was more relaxed and his breathing became steadier, his hands now rested on his legs.

“Just keep breathing slowly and deeply,” said Holo.

Max nodded once. “Holo?” he said suddenly.

“What is it?” said Holo, sitting down next to Max.

A grin came onto Max’s face, and he leaned his head to the right. “You owe me five strips of latinum from our last tongo match.”

“I'm broke...” said Holo quietly, though he couldn’t help but smile.

“I’ve told you this for the dozenth time... You should realise never to-”

Suddenly Kira screamed in pain, and started writhing around in agony.

Holo leapt onto his feet and rushed over to Kira. “What's wrong?”

Kira was breathing heavily in pain, her chest was rising and falling, and her body was convulsing. She couldn’t even look at Holo, and there were tears pouring from her eyes. “My... spine,” she moaned.

Taking out a tricorder, Holo scanned her and was stunned by what he was reading.
“My God! The nerves in your spine are being broken down on the cellular level!”

Kira grabbed hold of Holo's arm, her grip was incredibly strong despite her pain, it seemed she wasn’t going to let go. “Please stop the pain,” she pleaded.

The desperation and agony in Kira’s eyes were unbearable for Holo to see. Holo admired Kira for her determination and strength, now here she was pleading with him, and it was surreal to watch. “If I give you any more painkillers you'll be dead in less than a day's time!”

“Just give me the painkillers!” screamed Kira, her eyes looked totally mad.

Her hand let go of Holo’s arm, and Kira continued to convulse in agony. “To-much-pain...”

Unable to take any more, Holo took out a hypospray loaded it with anesthizine and placed it to her neck. After a few seconds Kira stopped writhing around, her breathing stabilised and she then slumped sideways onto the floor.

“This virus is absolutely killing her!” said Holo to himself, as he conducted more tricorder readings of Kira’s life signs.

“Holo,” said Max out aloud. “If my condition worsens, I don't want to die in excruciating agony. I want to die with dignity; so if the pain gets too bad I need you to... ease my suffering so to speak.”

Holo moved over to Max, crouched down and looked into Max’s desperate eyes. “I'm not going to kill you.”

“Please,” said Max, looking at Holo seriously. “This is a personal request, promise me you won't let me suffer needlessly?”

Holo swallowed his imaginary throat. “I promise,” he said in a hollow voice.

This was all becoming to much for Holo, and he left the compartment and entered the cockpit. He was feeling grief and pain, and he could not understand it. These feelings were something he had never experienced before, and they were so strong and raw that his programming was making him cry.

Although he knew that his programming was so advanced that he could experience and show the full range of human emotions and reactions, he had never cried before. Holographic tears poured from his face, and he breathed deeply trying to control his emotions.

Slowly the emotional pain subsided, enough to make Holo stop crying. He felt weak and pathetic for crying, he was supposed to be a Starfleet officer, how could he buckle under the pressure and responsibility now? Finally he composed himself and rationality and logic asserted itself, the first thing Holo decided upon was to contact Bashir, and inform him of the disturbing new symptoms that Kira had manifested…


***


Day 3, 1915 hours

In the Infirmary, Bashir was still slaving away trying to find a way to penetrate the cylindrical membrane. Time was running out, and he was becoming more and more desperate with each passing hour. His friends were dying and he hadn’t found anything to cure them! He tried berating himself and getting angry, trying to force his genetically enhanced brain to come up with a solution, but all he found were dead ends.

On a console next to him, there was a flashing light. Upon analysing it, Bashir realised that it was a transmission from the runabout.

Activating the comm link, there on the screen was Holo’s desperate looking face. “Bashir the situation is getting worse!” he said loudly. “I've had to sedate Max in the last few minutes, like Kira he felt excruciating pain in his spine. Whatever your working on you need to implement it now!”

“I haven't got a cure so far,” said Bashir through gritted teeth. “And I'm out of options...”

“Well you better find a new option!” said Holo heatedly.

The transmission ended and this took out all the determination that Bashir had to find a cure. He had considered all the methods, conventional and unconventional, and short of breaking the law, there were no methods that worked.

All Bashir could do was lament the fate of the away team, they were going to die in a horrible manner and he had failed them. He could fully understand why Holo was getting emotionally attached to the away team; seeing people you know and care about die would do that to anyone. The worst part was that without a cure, Holo would be condemned to spending the rest of his life on that runabout, simply to quarantine the virus.

What really tormented Bashir was that he did have a potential cure, but he couldn’t use it because it was illegal. And such laws were there to protect the patient from harm, even if there was a chance that such illegal practises could make the patient better. He was torn between following the law and doing his medical duty to save five people.

Megan was staring at him, but Bashir didn’t care what she was doing. He placed a hand to his forehead trying to come to terms with his failure. “I can't think of anything... Anything to destroy this virus!” he said furiously. “All the possible avenues I've tried; the end result is nothing!”

He glared at the console, unwilling to move or to do anything else except just brood and sulk.

Still Megan was continuing to look at Bashir, her mouth slightly open as if she couldn’t believe what he was doing. “You said you have looked at all legal methods?” she said after a lengthy silence.

Bashir noted the heavy emphasis Megan placed on the word ‘legal’. “What are you getting at Megan?” he said irately.

Megan walked over, her arms were folded. “Have you considered any illegal methods?”

Having stopped brooding, Bashir turned around in his chair to face Megan. “No; though I know what you are getting at. But the law is the law; I cannot use those methods on the away team.”

“But have you checked these methods?” said Megan impatiently.

Bashir looked shiftily at Megan. “Briefly...”

“And?” said Megan.

“I found a method that could work...” said Bashir quietly. “It was the first thing I thought of when you said you were going to 'neutralise' the shell. I thought of nanites, but Federation law is absolutely clear; nanites are not to be ever used on people.”

Now Megan looked shifty, for both she and Bashir were treading on very shaky legal grounds. “I was going to suggest that to you...” said Megan slowly. “Only as an option of last resort of course... Though as you said it is illegal, and it will be hard hiding the fact that we used nanites...”

Finally Bashir had come to a decision, and to hell with the consequences of it. “Can you construct the nanites?” he asked, dismissing Megan’s comment.

“Easily,” said Megan confidently. “It will take about twelve hours or so, however if I were to do so, then I would be breaking the law.”

“I will take the blame,” said Bashir grimly. “After all I gave you the order to construct the nanites...”

“But...” said Megan sounding puzzled, she then caught on to Bashir's narrative. “Very well commander,” she said silkily. “I'll construct the nanites, but you should know that I will be filing a complaint to Starfleet, in what I consider to be a blatant disregard of the law.”

“I'll bear that in mind,” said Bashir. “But you have your orders and you will follow them!”

Pretending to look disapproving, Megan rigidly nodded and Bashir was satisfied with their little charade.

“Dismissed commander.”

When Megan had left the Infirmary, Bashir finally felt at ease with himself. Of course there was no guarantee that the nanites would work, but at least he was doing something to help the away team get better. He knew that himself and Megan would be caught red-handed using nanites, but only he would be taking the blame, while Megan would only get a reprimand at most. Bashir didn’t want Megan to be punished for helping to cure five very ill people, and that woman had seen more than her fair share of setbacks and punishments...


***


Day 4, 0815 hours

Twelve hours later and Bashir was watching Megan scanning five small vials, full of the nanites she constructed. The vials were full of a very fine metallic like paste and it seemed almost liquid like. Even though he was breaking the law, Bashir still wanted to be absolutely certain that no nanites would go rouge.

“Are you absolutely certain that you have correctly programmed these nanites?” asked Bashir for what must have been the seventh time.

“I’m positive,” said Megan sounding tired by Bashir asking the same question. “The only thing they're allowed to destroy is the virus. Any nanite that destroys anything else will automatically shut down.”

Bashir tried to convince himself that Megan was right, but he was worried, there was a reason why nanites were illegal to use on patients. Even if everything worked out, Bashir was still going to get into trouble. The moment the nanites were beamed over, a trace amount would escape. This was because nanites responded to transporter energy, and as such the transport confinement beam had to be of a very narrow bandwidth. Still that wasn’t quite enough to prevent a few thousand nanites escaping.

“There; they're ready,” said Megan, as she stood back from the vials

Bashir was waiting at a console, which he had reconfigured to transport objects. “Beaming them over… now!” he said, while tapping in many commands.

He looked behind to see the contents of the vials dematerialise, a few seconds later and the vials were empty. “Now we wait and see what happens...”

The two came over to another console. On a screen above was a reading of Max, Kira, Nog, Tilvin and Girk’s life signs. One piece of information that both Bashir and Megan were watching was the virus count inside each patient.

They waited for a few minutes, and the tension gradually built up as they both wondered if the nanites were working. Megan was closest to the monitor and she was waiting for the preliminary results of the nanite treatment. “Any moment now...” she said tensely.

Suddenly a deluge of data and results appeared on the screen, and the list increased rapidly.

Megan was busy collating the data. “The level of the nanites has remained constant; the amount of virus per million blood cells has decreased from 30000 parts per million to... 20000! The rate of change is increasing to!”

Bashir breathed out a sigh of relief. “It's working!” he said excitedly. “At the present rate this virus will be completely annihilated in about thirty minutes!”

He couldn’t help it, but he hugged Megan because he was so happy. This took Megan by surprise and her arms were opened wide from Bashir's unexpected hug. When Bashir let go he noticed Megan’s face had gone red from embarrassment.

“Sorry,” said Bashir cheerfully. “But I’m just so glad the virus is being destroyed!”

Megan though still looked awkward and Bashir turned away. Now he felt embarrassed because he remembered he still had feelings for Megan. Bashir’s jubilation steadily faded however as he realised that destroying the virus was only one step, the next far more critical step was stabilising Kira and Max. They were the only two in a very serious condition, and only hours away from death…

At once Bashir contacted his department’s surgeons, and ordered them to prepare two surgical beds and equipment. He had won the battle against the virus, now came the battle to save Kira and Max’s lives.
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Caption contest: DS9
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