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Old May 14 2011, 02:41 AM   #61
Enterprise1981
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Note: Contains reference to 24 novel Vanishing Point and a tie-in to DS9 episode "Little Green Men".

Chapter Seventeen

Julian Bashir entered Quark’s quickly sauntering towards a table already occupied by Sam Bowers, Prynn Tenmei, and Nog. With a triumphant grin, he showed them an isolinear rod containing a new holosuite program the four of them had been eagerly awaiting. “Is that it I hope?” Bowers gleefully inquired.

“It took awhile,” Bashir replied. “These usually come out the last Tuesday of the month.”

He took a seat between Bowers and Tenmei, setting down the rod in his right and a padd tucked away under his left arm. Nog snuck a glance at the padd from across the table, seeing the name of the role he would play in the program. “’Morris O’Brian?” he read aloud. “Perhaps an ancestor of our Chief O’Brien?”

“It’s a fairly common Irish name,” Julian retorted. “But this one spells it with an A not an E. Sam, you’re Curtis Manning and Prynn, you’ll be Jamey Farrell.”

“Why am I always the socially awkward computer nerd?” Prynn grumbled.

“It suits you,” Julian replied with a half wink. Ignoring Prynn rolling her eyes, he continued. “She and Morris provide technical assistance to Manning and Jack Bauer in stopping a mole from leaking top secret government information contained in a military base designated Area 51.”

Quark caught the tail end of Bashir’s synopsis of the program as he strolled by with the group’s drink orders. Hearing of Area 51 seemed to pique his interest while setting down the beverage glasses one at a time. “’Area 51’?” the barkeep repeated.

“What do you know about Area 51, Quark?” Julian curiously, but suspiciously, asked, thinking the Ferengi’s inquiry might be related to his visit to Earth’s past.

“Just rumors that it was being used to reverse engineer alien technology found in Roswell, I think,” Quark said with an embarrassed chuckle. Looking straight at Nog, he added. “That’s where we ended up because of your father’s hair-brained ideas.”

“He saved our lives, Uncle,” Nog insisted, recalling his trip to Earth upon his acceptance into Starfleet Academy. Quark and Rom had volunteered to ferry Nog to Earth. As it turned out, Quark’s cousin and longtime rival deliberately gave him a ship with defective computer components, so Rom had to formulated a plan to force the ship out of warp that had the unintended side-effect of leaving the trio in Earth’s past.

“Still would have nice if he had kept us in the correct time period,” Quark huffed, walking off with the empty drink tray.

Meanwhile, Bowers’ eyes widened when he called up the profile of his character in the holosuite program. Looking at the photograph on the padd was almost like looking at a mirror image of himself from his days in the Starfleet Marines. “Wasn’t Curtis Manning the one Jack Bauer killed when he took some terrorist-turned-peacemaker hostage?” Bowers asked in regards to vague recollection of the name of his character.

Julian had read firsthand accounts of the incident Bowers spoke of. In fact, this “terrorist-turned-peacemaker”, rumored to have used his conciliatory initiatives as a ruse to attempt a political assassination, may have been an ancestor of Julian’s. Though he held no malice towards the man who wove a bizarre conspiracy theory that Julian was Hamri al-Assad, he did not wish to be reminded of that incident. “That’s nine years after this story,” he said with a futile reassurance.

“Find someone else,” Sam insisted, while getting up to leave.

Before Julian could respond, the comm chimed. “All Defiant personnel,” came Dax’s voice over the speakers. “Report to your stations.

“Guess you two will have to resolve this later,” Nog teased while the group headed for the main entrance.


Dax was left in command of the station while Kira and the rest of the command staff were on the Defiant. She had just seen Kira off when a red indicator blinked on one of the main consoles on the Ops table. She entered a few commands to gauge the reason for the warning light. “Pendleton,” she called to the operations officer on duty. “What do you make of this?”

Emiko Pendleton received Dax’s quick station-to-station text message about a sudden power drain. She squinted her dark brown eyes at a readout screen. She then accessed a set of power consumption logs to confirm the acting commander’s findings. “I’m getting a two percent drop in power in one of the pattern buffers,” she said with a confused frown. “We just replaced those ODN circuits.”

“The transfer will take place in ten minutes,” said Ezri glancing over at the ensign with black hair pulled back to conform to uniform regulations and light tan complexion indicating mixed European and east Asian ancestry. Creases around her lips and her eyes indicated she was a few years older than Ezri. “Should this be a problem?”

“Unlikely,” Emiko replied with a hint of doubt in her facial inflections. “I’d better run a level one diagnostic just to be sure.”

Ezri nodded and looked back at her console with a look of worry that the relatively raw junior officer was just telling her what she wanted to hear. She took a quick look at the transporter protocol to be carried out when Verad would be transferred from the station holding cell to the prison ship. Ezri then tapped her combadge to hail the security office. “Dax to Escobar. Is everything ready to go on your end.”

“So far, so good, Lieutenant,” Escobar eagerly replied over the speakers. “We’ll be ready to energize as soon as you give the word.”

“We’ll keep you posted,” Dax said while rolling her eyes thinking the acting chief of security sounded too eager to please regarding a usually mundane activity.


Below decks, Benjamin Sisko was reconfiguring a circuit housing underneath a transporter padd. Runold was closely watching his every move while not having the first clue as to how all of this high-tech gadgetry actually functioned. That was fortunate for Sisko, allowing him to have something up his sleeve.

He removed a circular piece from inside from inside the console and slipped it into his left hand and into a pants pocket. He then quickly noticed a screen on the control console that read, “Rematerialization buffer not at optimum levels. Subject may not rematerialize at desired location. Do you wish to continue?”

Sisko quickly selected “Yes.” The console’s chirping still caught Runold’s attention. “Don’t worry,” Sisko assured him. “One of the pattern buffers was out of alignment.”
“Whatever,” Runold scoffed impatiently. “Just get it fixed before the prisoner transfer takes place.”

“You’re not very good at this are you?” Sisko said while going back to tinkering with circuits underneath the pad. “For all you know, I could be curtailing this whole operation.”

“More is at stake for you this time,” Runold explained. “You mess this up, your son gets fried. I just want Verad for costing me my commission.”

“Is that what this is about?” Sisko retorted, placing an access panel back on the pad circuit housing. “The payment you were promised? How much more are you getting for his hit?

“I may not have always approved of the actions of the Maquis, but they stood for something. The Bajoran Underground sought the liberation of their home from the Cardassians. For however misguided Section 31 can be, they act for the preservation of the Federation. What are you after? Latinum? Rare gemstones? Do you even care that only one in a thousand Trills can be joined to a symbiont?”

“Not really, Runold answered with a shrug. “But a guy’s got to make a living. You done wasting time with chit-chat? Let’s wrap this up.”

Benjamin raised both his hands while setting down a tool on the control console. “If you say so,” he said half sarcastically. He then went to realigning circuits and couplings in the console.


IKS Sword of Kahless

Sulvek was escorted into General Grelik’s private chamber by the ship’s chief of security. Worf was also awaiting the arrival of the two officers standing to the general’s right. The security officer shoved Sulvek against the desk promoting the engineer to spit in the man’s face.

Grelik raised his index and middle fingers pointing to two guards flanking the double doors. “Leave us,” he instructed. Then to the security chief, he added, “You may wait outside.”

The three security officers methodically exited the room as instructed. Sulvek glared at them as the door closed. “What is the meaning of this outrage?” he demanded of Grelik. “I have served this ship, its captain, and the chancellor with unwavering loyalty for three years. Why am I being treated as a criminal?!”

Grelik slid a padd showing schematics of the ship’s cloaking device across the desk. “Three hours ago, this ship became visible to anyone in range of our long range sensors,” the general explained. “It was the result of an interruption in one of the starboard EPS couplings.”

“A random malfunction,” Sulvek lied, rolling his eyes.

“Then how do you explain yesterday’s maintenance diagnostics?” Worf chimed in, towering over the engineer. “All circuits functioned within normal parameters.”

Grelik raised a hand indicating for Worf to back off. “If it was sabotage,” Sulvek offered, “That doesn’t prove I was responsible. I suggest you question every engineer on duty.”

Grelik quickly stood up, sending his chair to the ground. He then lifted Sulvek upright grabbing him by the collar. “If you hadn’t served under me for this long,” he growled, “I would kill you where you stand. Your insolence itself is still enough have you reduced in rank, Do you presume to tell me how conduct this investigation, Sulvek?”

"No, sir,” Sulvek breathed, trying to keep from choking.
Grelik shoved Sulvek back into his seat. Worf then picked up the padd and called new sets of data. “Forensic examination of the couplings indicates that you were doing some rerouting. Several witnesses spotted you on Deck Twelve, aft section three-two-egma… near starboard power couplings. Furthermore, you made several transmissions to an individual being observed by Imperial Intelligence.” Worf entered a command on the padd, and then presented Sulvek with an image of Kur’Tok. “Perhaps you recognize him.”

Sulvek shot a dismissive glare at Worf and then looked back at Grelik. “Why is he here?” he demanded of his captain. “He is just a Federation puppet.”

Worf exchanged a quick glance with Grelik. Was this an admission of guilt? Maybe not after Grelik voiced concerns the crew might have had regarding a Federation ambassador’s involvement in a sabotage investigation even if Worf was recognized as the chancellor’s brother. “Then you admit to having misgivings about my involvement in this investigation into what is a Klingon matter,” Worf offered. “I only seek to bring to justice those who ordered this cowardly assassination attempt.”

“He is only your brother because he took pity on you,” Sulvek hissed. “Gowron saw you for the tok’vaht you are despite your support of his rise to power. And with Martok out of the way, who in the Empire will stand by you?”

Worf snorted and turned his back to Sulvek, not wanting to get into a philosophical debate with one of his skeptics. “Martok is also unworthy of the name Klingon,” Sulvek added. “The Federation helped us prevail against the Dominion. The Empire gains nothing from a continued alliance with them.”

“The evidence against you is quite clear,” Grelik proclaimed, circling around his desk. He then grabbed Sulvek by the collar to force the man upright. “Your authorization code disabled the security sensors in the chancellor’s chambers. Sulvek, son of Mik’Vaad, for attempting to assassinate the Chancellor of the High Council of the Klingon Empire, you are a traitor.” Grelik then slugged Sulvek’s right cheekbone with the back of his hand.”

“Guards,” Grelik called, squeezing the communicator on his left arm. The chief of security promptly entered the chamber awaiting the general’s orders.

“Place Sulvek in solitary confinement and prepare for his execution,” Grelik instructed. “Any last words?” he asked the chief engineer.

“I am a loyal soldier of the Empire,” Sulvek sneered. “It is you who has betrayed the Empire.”

Grelik snorted and turned away from Sulvek. He raised a hand in the direction of the security officer. “Get him out of my sight,” he growled.

The security chief did as instructed, escorting Sulvek out of the room. Worf stood in silence, staring at Grelik. The ambassador was now intuiting that while Sulvek was guilty of sabotage and attempted assassination of the sitting leader of the Klingon Empire, he was the real mole. Flushing out engineer seemed far too easy. Without exchanging words, he knew that Grelik agreed the real mole on the Sword of Kahless had even bigger plans.

The silence was interrupted when the comm-system chimed. “Bridge to General Grelik”

“Go ahead,” the general replied.

“We have intercepted the Gorkon, sir. Captain Klag is hailing.”

“Set up a secure line in my private chamber.”
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Old May 14 2011, 02:47 AM   #62
Enterprise1981
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Note: Contains a tie-in to DS9 episode "Extreme Measures". Special thanks to Rush Limborg's "Sloan Lives Theory".

Chapter Seventeen (continued)

Deep Space Nine


Escobar stood outside Verad’s cell awaiting a signal from the prison ship. Ensign th’Helek and Petty Officer Yndar accompanied the acting head of security to the main cellblock, all with phasers in hand. The chances of Verad escaping were almost nothing. On the other hand, Verad had faked his death according to Sisko and Dax, so nothing was impossible with this prisoner. As a security officer, Escobar knew to expect the unexpected.

“We’re ready to begin the transport,” the male pilot said over comm-line.

“We’re ready on this end as well,” Escobar replied with a tap of his combadge.

As planned, the cell’s forcefield shut down and Verad dematerialized within a fraction of a second. “Transport complete,” said Escobar, once Verad was gone.

We don’t have him though. Are you sure you programmed correct coordinates?”

“Stand by,” Escobar replied. “Escobar to Ops. Kalon beamed away as expected. But the transport doesn’t have him.”

“Put the station on Level One security,” Dax replied from Ops, “Lock down the docking ring and the landing pads.” Dax then sprung from the main console up the stairs to Ensign Pendleton’s station. “Did he at least rematerialize somewhere on the station?”

Pendleton fingers stumbled they pushing buttons. Dax wanted to voice her frustrations at the ensign, but then felt now was not the time to place blame for any slip-ups. She found the right controls that allowed her to see if the transporter carried out its expected function. “The rematerialization did happen,” she stuttered. “But, but…” She then sighed in frustration as if her mind was going blank.

Ezri began to wonder why a more competent officer was not on duty. Again, this was not the time. She, herself, had gone through a phase of intense security prior to being joined. But Emiko had been in Starfleet longer than Ezri, yet was fumbling around the controls like a first year cadet. Given how much more urgent Verad’s escape was, Ezri decided to lend a hand with the controls. “Energy consumption logs indicate power was rerouted from the Ops transporter to transporter room six,” she said. “How did you miss that?”

“I’m sorry,” Pendleton replied repentantly.

“Don’t worry about it,” Dax assured, quietly chastising herself.

“Where the hell is he?” Runold demanded upon seeing the transporter pad was still vacant.

“I’m not sure,” Sisko disingenuously replied leaning over the control console. He looked away from Runold momentarily, and then kicked the burly Trill in the abdomen.

Runold quickly recovered and lunged at Sisko pointing a phaser pistol at him.

“How’s the shoulder?” Sisko taunted, slapping the pistol out of the Trill’s hand. He dove after the weapon as Runold grabbed him by ankle forgetting that his shoulder that Sisko had dislocated was still sore. Sisko spun back and incapacitated Runold with one shot.

Knowing that hostage takers were instructed to kill the hostage if a colleague failed to report back after a set time interval, Sisko removed the communication device from the right side of Runold’s waist. He entered a set of commands to send a message to his son’s Nausicaan captor. Hopefully, that would keep Jake alive and keep Kasidy and Rebecca safe.

That was all he was concerned about, even more than his former Starfleet career. He had given up Starfleet nearly two years ago. He had faced many dangers and he had lived among the entities within the wormhole. Benjamin did not fear the consequences of his latest actions whether they were in the form of criminal charges or reprisals from the Orion Syndicate. At least his family was safe.

For right now, though, he had to locate Verad. The component he had removed from the transporter pad was a key piece of the rematerialization buffer. Without that component, a subject would rematerialize within a hundred meter radius of the programmed coordinates. Sisko opened a storage locker and removed a phaser and a tricorder. He then locked down the transporter with a random encryption and locked the door once he stepped out into the corridor.

Sauntering into the corridor, Benjamin entered commands on the tricorder to locate Trill life signs within a hundred meters. While that scan was in progress, he programmed the tricorder to emit a locator signal to draw the attention of station security.


A red indicator flashed on a schematic of the station on the Ops table. “It’s a locator signal from a Federation issue tricorder,” reported Thelev, a portly Tellarite lieutenant junior grade manning one of the main Ops consoles “Habitat ring, level fourteen, section twenty-three alpha just outside transporter six.”

“Any Trill life signs?” Dax asked.

“Affirmative,” Thelev replied. “I can’t an exact fix though. The surveillance sensors are still a little erratic.”

“Dax to security,” Dax called over comm, “Concentrate your search on level fourteen, section twenty-three alpha and all adjacent sections of the habitat ring. You have Ops, Mister Thelev.”

Thelev nodded as Ezri removed a phaser from the storage in the Ops table and headed for the starboard turbolift.


Verad awoke in a corridor still feeling dizzy from as result of Sisko’s transporter modifications, as well as the partially functional rematerialization buffer dropping him off in a random venue. He groaned while feeling his forehead. He looked around with confusion, knowing this was not an escape he had planned. He was even more startled when he heard a familiar voice call his name.

“Verad,” Sisko called. “We have to get out of here.”

“Benjamin?” he gasped, helping himself upright. “What happened? Where are we going?”

“Just follow me. One of your colleagues tracked me down and coerced me to break you out.”

“Was it Runold?” Verad asked coyly. “He was suspicious of you from the start.”

“I would guess the Orion Syndicate has a bounty out on you after you cost them plenty of money.”

“Who can blame them? I promised some of their bosses a few thousand credits if they could spare a few assassins. Are you still sending me to prison.”

“You’ll a hell of a lot safer in a Federation penal colony.”
“Until one of the Syndicate’s moles finds me, at least. What about you, Benjamin?”

“As if you care about my well-being. All that matters is that my wife and children are safe.”

“Whatever little part of me that’s still Dax cares. This little experience should demonstrate how relentless they are.”
Now that’s reassuring, Sisko wanted to say as he rolled his eyes. Their banter was interrupted when a forcefield appeared in front of them. Sisko and Verad looked back the way they came, but another forcefield appeared right on cue. They could hear footsteps in an adjoining corridor getting louder. Dax and Yndar then stepped before the two fugitives on the other side of the forcefield up ahead armed with hand phasers.

“Benjamin,” Ezri gasped. “What’s going on? Why are you helping Verad escape?”

“It’s a long story, Dax,” Benjamin replied, raising a hand. “Right now, I trust you’ll want Verad on the prison ship. You’ll find my ‘co-conspirator’ locked in transporter room six.”

Dax tapped her combadge to hail security. “Drop forcefields on corridor J.”

The forcefields quickly fizzled out while two additional Bajoran security officers-- one male, one female-- arrived at the scene. They walked over to Verad ready to escort him back to the prison ship. He suddenly dematerialized. The other two raised their rifles, while Dax was ready to draw her hand phaser. It was an instinctive, yet futile move.

Dax tapped her comm-badge. “Dax to Ops. Kalon has beamed away. Can you locate him?”

“We’re running a full sensor sweep now, sir,” Thelev replied.

“Keep all outgoing ships locked down,” Dax instructed.

“Ops,” Sisko added. “Scan our position for residual electro-static charges. I’m willing to bet you won’t find any such evidence.”

The security officers shot Sisko confused glances, mostly wondering what he was getting at rather than the former Starfleet officer’s request.

“Do it,” Dax said to confirm the request.


“You couldn’t have got me out any sooner?”

Verad materialized in a dark chamber. A Vulcan woman with hair in a short coiffure sauntered up to him. She was flanked by two male human agents. All three of them were dressed in black leather jumpsuits. Verad sat down in a silver-colored metal chair. “I thought for sure I was dead.”

“We did not count on Sisko breaking you out,” L’Haan calmly replied. “Otherwise, we would have extracted you in a more clandestine manner.”

The two humans applied laser devices to the Trill’s spots on both sides of his face. Slowly, the markings disappeared. With the lasers trained on the rest of his face, his features slowly changed. His skin was less scrunched and wrinkled. Rather than projecting a reserved and withdrawn demeanor, he now projected self-assuredness. He was no longer Verad Kalon. He was now Luther Sloan, a senior agent of Section 31.

Sloan placed his hand over the former locations of the Trill markings. “Glad to be rid of those spots,” he said. “They really left my skin itchy. But I can safely say mission accomplished. Everything is in motion to stop the Omega device, I assume?”

“You assume correctly, Sloan,” L’Haan replied, nodding to the medical technicians. They slowly walked out of the room leaving the two senior agents to confer privately. “The Defiant is on course to Nimbus to intercept the Ku-Vok-leth. This seemed liked an overly elaborate plan to elicit the attention of Doctor Bashir and his colleagues. Perhaps if you had contacted the good doctor yourself…"

“No,” Sloan interrupted. “He has to think I am dead; that I killed myself rather than divulge the antidote for the Changeling virus. Besides, as much as he may dislike our methods, this will help him see that we exist to preserve the Federation.”

His voice did not give off a hint of doubt that Section 31’s operation would succeed. In his mind, though, Sloan knew too many things could go wrong. That was also the case on a very delicate mission inside the Romulan Neutral Zone during the Dominion War.
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Old May 14 2011, 06:54 PM   #63
Rush Limborg
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

As Spock would say...fascinating!

Nice twist--something I would not expect.

You're welcome for the theory, BTW.
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Old May 14 2011, 11:43 PM   #64
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Giving credit where credit is due. I had planned on having Verad be revealed as a Section 31 agent in disguise as a way to explain his willingness to immediately accept an old nemesis into his ranks and appearing to sell out his own terrorist organization. Having that agent Sloan then seemed like a nice way to segue into a past mission of his that relates to the overall story.
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Old July 11 2011, 08:26 PM   #65
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Interlude: Flashback Four

Contains characters and storylines featured in the short story “Twilight’s Wrath” by David Mack and ties together the back stories of the TNG movie Nemesis and DS9 episodes “In the Pale Moonlight” and “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges”. Sloan’s alias in this chapter is William Sadler’s character on the current edition of “Hawaii Five-0”.

Stardate 52437 (Earth year 2375): Federation-Romulan Neutral Zone

The starships Damocles and Apollo came to nose to nose with three Jem’Hadar fighters. The two Akira-class ships fired swarms of quantum torpedoes at the two flanking fighters as they were about to break formation. The center fighter sped up and fired its disruptors, just grazing the two Starfleet warships, to which those responded with phaser fire. The three enemy fighters then swept past a larger battleship, and then swung around into a formation alongside the battleship.

The bridge of the Damocles rocked hard as it took a volley of plasma torpedoes. Captain Ramiro Sanchez grabbed the arms of his chair to keep from sliding to the floor. “Evasive pattern epsilon,” he called to the helmsman. To the tactical officer stationed on his right, he added, “Mister McGarrett, return fire with a full spread of torpedoes and divert shield power to the forward dorsal.”

Luther Sloan was serving aboard the Damocles as executive and tactical officer under the alias Jack McGarrett in order to gather intelligence on ship movements within the Neutral Zone. He quickly carried out the captain’s orders by entering the proper commands. “Shield strength is now at seventy-one percent,” he reported. “Minimal damage on the battleship’s port fore-quarter.”

“Call in fighter squads three, six, and twelve to back us up,” Sanchez ordered the Deltan female communications officer. “Helm, maneuver us towards one of the sensory blind spots. Tell the Apollo to do the same. McGarrett, keep laying down phaser fire.”

The two Akiras arched downward dodging torpedoes from the battleship and disruptor fire from the fighters as phaser beams grazed hulls of each of the ships. Three Miranda-class cruisers swooped in on the aft of the battleship firing swarms of phaser and quantum torpedoes. In the midst of that three Klingon Birds-of-Prey uncloaked. The fighter on the battleship’s aft took out the opposing Jem’Hadar fighter with disruptor, while the Birds to port and starboard fired at the Jem’Hadar fighters. The battleship responded with torpedoes that destroyed the Klingon ship aft and two of the Mirandas, while the fighters inflicted damage on the two remaining Birds. Meanwhile, the two Akiras fired its phasers and quantum torpedoes at the battleship’s ventral while maneuvering through its blind spots.

Two more squads of Federation and Klingon ships arrived from both forward and aft of the Dominion battleship firing unending swarms of phasers and quantum torpedoes at the enemy ships. The fighters went down relatively quickly, while the battleship managed to survive the onslaught. Its plasma torpedoes managed to destroy four more of the ships bearing down on the large battleship, including the Apollo, while heavily damaging five other ships.. The ships left standings moved off, and then swerved back sending swarms of phaser and torpedo fire. Without the maneuverability of the smaller opposing fighters, the battleship erupted in huge fireball.

Cheers erupted among the younger officers on the bridge of the Damocles at the sight of the exploding ship. Sloan, however, remained blank faced, as he was watched sensor readouts from the corner of one eye. “We’re not quite out the woods yet,” he informed his subordinates.

“What have you got, Commander?” Sanchez asked, ascending from his chair.

“At least five more squadrons of Jem’Hadar ships along the outer reaches of the system,” “Lieutenant Commander McGarrett” replied. “Each of them led by one of those bad-ass battleships. They’ll be in firing range in ten minutes.”

“Move us into standard orbit of the fourth planet,” Sanchez ordered his helmsman. “We’ll do what we can dress our wounds.” Looking over to the communications officer, he added, “Call in the rest wings we have in this sector.”

###

During the lull in combat, Ensign Paulsen sat at one of the aft auxiliary stations reviewing the sensor logs gathered from active and passive scans from the last twenty-four hours. Under Captain Sanchez’s orders, science officers and sensor analysts were charged with relaying sensor data gathered on planets in the Neutral Zone to the first officer. As far as the crew was concerned, “Jack McGarrett” was a legitimate member of Starfleet Intelligence taking advantage of an opportunity to gather data on the border between the Federation and the Romulan Star Empire.

Sloan sauntered over to Paulsen’s console while the youthful red-haired human male was sifting through endless sets of raw data and graphic representations. A sudden sensor spike represented by a jumbling of a normally straight green line similar to readouts on a heart monitor caught Sloan’s attention. “Wait, go back,” he instructed.
Paulsen reversed the readout presentation on the monitor and paused it when Sloan instructed. “A spike in the tertiary EM band,” the young man observed aloud.

“Route this data to the computer terminal in the quarters, please,” Sloan replied, keeping his eyes glued on the screen’s readout. “You know the drill. There’s to no official record of this discovery, Ensign.”

“Understood, sir,” Paulsen answered with a curious stare at Sloan. He had heard of an extremely lethal form of electromagnetic radiation that could cause instant cellular necrosis. As far as he knew from his theoretical physics classes at the Academy, this radiation was only theoretical.

###

General Valnor of the Tal Shiar stood in a dark underground tunnel awaiting the arrival of an operative from Starfleet Intelligence. Although the clandestine message did not specify as to nature of this requested meeting, Valnor was quite certain it would be about the thalaron radiation generator on the Goloroth base. With Starfleet and Klingon forces on the verge of breaking the Dominion’s hold on the system, their allies would soon discover the illegal technology. For all of the Tal Shiar’s suspicion of the Federation and its opposition to an alliance with the Federation, its leadership knew of the importance of that alliance against the Dominion. The Federation’s discovery of thalaron radiation would be as disastrous as the Dominion getting its hands on a thalaron generator.

Out into a strongly lit area of the tunnel stepped a blond-haired human male of early middle age. Sloan had changed out of his Starfleet uniform, and he was now dressed in the black leather jumpsuit of Section 31. “Hello, General,” he said plainly. “Glad you could make it here on such notice. I’ll come right to point. I know all about the thalaron generator.”

With an almost Vulcan-like calmness, Valnor’s right eyebrow twitched upwards, curious as to how Starfleet Intelligence would respond to this violation of interstellar agreement.

“We keep quiet about the thalaron generator on Goloroth,” Sloan continued. “And you assist us in our own thalaron research.”

“I don’t follow,” Valnor skeptically answered. “In return for not reporting a violation of the Treaty of Algeron to your superiors, you would ask us to assist Starfleet Intelligence in further violations of the treaty?”

“Those are my exact terms. As our ships and troops push deeper into Dominion territory, the enemy will become increasingly determined to fend off attacks. Thalaron weapons may become a useful asset. And I am not speaking on behalf of Starfleet Intelligence. I am part of a more autonomous covert operations group. One that is willing to do whatever is necessary to protect the Federation by any means necessary.”

Valnor shot Sloan a sly grin, wondering what other kinds of damning secrets the Federation had, secrets that would validate the belief of more extremist elements within the Senate and the military that the Federation was a genuine threat to the survival of the Romulan Star Empire. That the Federation continued to expand its borders almost indefinitely in the name of exploration was enough cause for concern. But the idea of a black ops organization sanctioned by the Federation still seemed absurd. “Many in the Tal Shiar felt the ‘accidental’ death of Senator Vreenak came at a rather convenient time for your people,” he recalled of the late chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “His political opponents dismissed the notion of such an organization as unfounded paranoia. Despite your Federation’s misguided idealism, I know your people don’t resort to clandestine political assassinations.”

“Let’s just say, General,” Sloan answered with a smirk, “I and others in my little group allow us our ‘misguided idealism’. Of course, should you or Chairman Koval decide to reveal the details of our conversation to the Senate and military leaders as a means of diplomatic blackmail after the war is over, I shall report my findings here to the Starfleet Joint Chiefs, as well as Koval’s role in the death of Vice-Admiral Fujisaki.”

“The deputy chief of Starfleet Intelligence,” Valnor replied, almost gloating. “I heard he died of food poisoning last year. How unfortunate.” Though it was one of the Tal Shiar’s proudest moments, Valnor was well aware of the negative consequences of such a revelation. The sudden death of Fujisaki took place when the Romulan Empire had a non-aggression treaty in place with the Dominion. Because the Empire was neutral, news that they were deliberately trying to undermine the Federation’s ability to win the war would negatively impact diplomatic relations down the road.

On the other hand, Sloan had no solid proof that the Tal Shiar was behind the food poisoning death of Fujisaki. He knew, though, just the threat of exposing such a secret would sway the Tal Shiar. “Do we have a deal, General?” he asked, his face showing no signs that he was bluffing.

“I will make the proper arrangements,” Valnor affirmed. “I will contact you again within the next twelve hours.”
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Old July 11 2011, 09:38 PM   #66
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Interesting. This helps explain why Sloan would work with Koval, despite Koval duping 31 in Mike and Andy's Rogue--namely, Sloan found something he had on the Chairman...the threat of revealing his involvement in the assasination of Fujisaki. I'd wager he found this out some other things he could use for blackmail shortly after Rogue...and used it to ensure Koval's full cooperation.

It's nice to see it wasn't because Sloan "trusted" Koval, or anything--he was, and still is, playing a kind of game with him. I scratch your back, you scratch mine--but let's get straight that I've got the upper hand, should you try to snooker me.

"I'll get you a seat on the Council...provided you change your stance against the Alliance. And should you decide to dump on us..."

Well done.
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Old July 11 2011, 11:04 PM   #67
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

^ And it put pressure on the Tal Shiar to destroy their own base just in case someone "obligated" to report it to their superiors would stumble across their illegal research.

And on the subject of Section 31, one of my novella-length stories alludes to 31 having agents in the Maquis, not to turn in its leaders, but to make sure the Cardassians held up their end of the bargain and see that the Maquis did not go too far in terms provoking another war.
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Old July 16 2011, 09:08 PM   #68
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Chapter Eighteen

The USS Defiant was at high warp on its way to Nimbus Three.

The furthest thing from Kira’s mind was the resistance Lieutenant Bowers and his strike team would face when they stormed the deuterium plant while on the bridge in a communiqué with Worf. His most recent message to the station indicated he was also headed to Nimbus Three to rendezvous with Captain Klag and the IKS Gorkon to apprehend a person of interest. With the Vaughn and Ro expecting reinforcements from the Defiant, Kira and Bowers were discussing a plan with the ambassador to pool their resources.

“At last report, Vaughn and Ro were conducting low level reconnaissance of a deuterium plant that isn’t even registered on the planetary database,” Kira explained to Worf, whose image was on the bridge’s main viewscreen.

“Based on Captain Klag’s intelligence files,” Worf replied. “The man in charge of the facility is a Klingon civilian engineer named Kur’Tok. We are uncertain as to how strong his ties are to the Ku-Vok-leth. If this plant is a cover for terrorist base, sensor readings of the area may not be entirely accurate even at close range.”

“We had the same thoughts,” said Bowers, as he inputted new data into a padd. “Vaughn’s experience as a field operative should come in handy once we storm the compound. He’ll know deceptive readings when he sees them.”

“Anything you are able to provide will be helpful,” Worf replied with a nod. “Just remember, Imperial Intelligence wants Kur’Tok taken alive. Though I doubt he will be very cooperative if he strongly believes in the Ku-Vok-leth’s cause.”

“Our strike team will certainly keep that in mind,” Kira said. “Defiant out.” Once Worf’s image was replaced on the viewscreen with a logo of the Klingon Empire, she turned to Lieutenant Tenmei, who was manning the conn. “ETA at Nimbus Three, Lieutenant?”

“Seven hours, twenty-three minutes,” Prynn replied.

“Mister Bowers,” Kira added, seeing Sam return to the starboard tactical station. “See what’s available in the Starfleet databases on a Kur’Tok.”

“Aye, sir,” Bowers replied, preparing to access the requested information.

Kira then seated herself in the command chair, leaving herself with about seven hours to contemplate all the possible outcomes of this mission. During her time in the Bajoran Underground, she would never have considered using Omega as a weapon. But since these Klingons were willing to use Omega advance their own political agenda, that made them far more dangerous than any Bajoran resistance fighters determined to win back their home.

###

Ro Laren looked through a set of field glasses to see three uniformed Klingon soldiers guarding the plant she and Vaughn had been surveiling. Zeyner Antis was also still tagging along, at least until Vaughn and Ro could confirm the accuracy of their informant’s database. Three against three, she immediately thought. Piece of cake getting inside. “Only three of them guarding the compound,” she said, handing Vaughn the field glasses. “Like those odds.”

Vaughn took a quick look into the magnifying device and nodded in agreement. “Of course, if we start shooting immediately,” he said plainly, “it could trip all kinds of alarms.”

“You should know to be a little more discreet in these kinds of strikes,” Zeyner teased.

Ro gave a snort of derision. “I’m a little rusty,” she retorted. “Having a desk job does that.”

“Rusty at betraying your colleagues for a higher calling?” Zeyner half-jokingly asked. “I’m still an expert at that. Still glad you brought me along?”

Ro just rolled her eyes, having once found his self-deprecating humor charming. Now it was nothing more than an attempt to lull her into false sense of security. It could be worse, though. A Cardassian could also have been present to brag about his or her ability to better handle the brutal desert heat than most other humanoids.

“That’s enough, you two,” Vaughn chimed in. “We need a more subtle approach.”

***

Zeyner skulked along the fence separating the deuterium plant from a pedestrian walkway. Cradling a Starfleet issue phaser, he considered that he was the least trustworthy and the most expendable. But if he really was expendable, he thought to himself, then he’d be taking on the Klingons in hand-to-hand combat rather than firing a phaser from a long distance. Either, the plan seemed sound one given the tendency of Klingons to shoot first and ask questions later. He tiptoed over to a hole in the tall mesh fence that was the closest to the building’s main entrance he could get without raising any suspicions. He then slowly walked across the street and fired his phaser just above the door.

As expected, that caught the attention of the guards, who began shooting in the direction of the phaser beam. The Klingon stationed right in front of the door moved slowly towards the gate, ordering his colleagues to stay behind in case this was a diversion. Vaughn and Ro, meanwhile, snuck around the corner and came at the two other guards on the two sides of the door, incapacitating them with Starfleet Marine issue neural truncheons. Seeing the third Klingon who was headed for the gate turned back to confront the Starfleet team, Ro pulled her phaser and fired taking out the last guard in one shot.

Vaughn walked over to the gate and unlocked it to let Zeyner inside. He quickly relocked the gate, watching as Ro attached a cylindrical device to the front end of her tricorder in order to access the front door lock’s entry code. She smirked when she heard a lock unlatch. She slowly opened the door and waved Vaughn and Zeyner over. All three of them then slowly slipped through the open door before relocking it.

***

“How much longer before we can safely launch?!”

Kur’Tok impatiently stormed down a set of metal stairs towards the cargo deck containing the magnetic resonance chamber. A number of Klingons, as well as persons of several different races were gathered around the large chamber putting in the finishing touches. One of them was Markalian, many of whom were often hired as mercenaries for various smuggling and terrorism operations. Far across the cargo deck, a number of Klingon and Thallonian engineers were preparing a shuttle for launch once the resonance chamber was aboard.

“The final diagnostics should take at least two hours,” the Markalian engineer replied, monitoring the stability of the single Omega molecule.

“We don’t have that kind of time,” Kur’Tok insisted. “Forces loyal to Chancellor Martok could be here before we know it.”

“This molecule is extremely unstable and unpredictable,” the Markalian replied. “One misstep could destroy half of this planet.”

Kur’Tok growled angrily as he grabbed his Markalian cohort by the collar. “I don’t need to be reminded of how unstable Omega is,” he hissed. “You assured me this resonance chamber would do its job keeping Omega stable for as long as we needed it to be.”

“It will. If all safety precautions are taken in the allotted time. Being allies with the Federation should’ve taught you Klingons patience.”

Kur’Tok let out a hissing exhale and shoved the Markalian against his console. He had no strong sentiments towards the Federation. So he did not particularly to be reminded of the long-standing alliance with multispecies coalition that had weakened the Empire over the last century. “If I did not value your contributions to this operation, I would kill you where you stand for your insolence,” he huffed. “Just do what you have to do and quickly.”

Another Klingon went racing down the stairs hoping to catch up to Kur’Tok. “Sir,” he called, getting his superior’s attention. “The three guards outside the main entrance were found unconscious. We may have an intruder.”

“Sound intruder alert,” Kur’Tok shouted at one of the engineers.

***

Vaughn and his team snuck through a hallway, quickly turning a corner when they heard footsteps. Fortunately one of the engineers passed through an adjoining corridor down the tunnel-shaped hallway. Seeing that the passing Klingon was out of his field of vision, he gestured for Ro and Zeyner to tiptoe down the corridor with him. At that moment, an alarm sounded accompanied by a masculine voice saying, “Intruder alert.”

The trio sped up down the hall, while still being careful to avoid any of the engineers working in the plant. They made a beeline towards a nearby emergency access port. Once they got there, Vaughn increased the setting on his phaser and fired it at the wall panel next to it to trigger the manual release. He and Ro slid the door open while Zeyner stood watch in all directions. He threw himself against the wall when Klingon disruptor fire came his way. He fired his phaser towards the Klingon shooting at him. “Move quickly,” he shouted, as more disruptor fire came at him from both sides.
On cue, the others were able to get the door open, and all three of them went through the access hatch and sped down the ladder towards the ground floor. Upon reaching the ground level, a forcefield went up at the exit to the outside and the floor hatch to the basement. Two latches clicked sealing the door to the inside of the building. “Looks a standard twenty-third century design,” Vaughn commented of the forcefield sealing them inside the building.

“And that’s supposed to help us?” Ro quipped.

“Sure it does,” said Zeyner. “It means we know how to break them in the twenty-fourth century. Isn’t there some trick Starfleeters can employ with a tricorder?”

“Then that’s probably your area of the expertise, Commander,” Ro offered, handing Vaughn her tricorder.

“I wouldn’t get our hopes up,” Vaughn retorted, opening the scanning device. “Our would-be captors probably still know every trick.”

Zeyner smirked at Ro, pleased that she was willing to listen to one of his suggestions. Ro just looked away not wanting to give him any satisfaction. Vaughn entered a set of commands into the tricorder to send out a sonic pulse that would knock out the forcefield. When the desired frequency did not interrupt the forcefield, he shook his head in disappointment.

“Hurry,” Zeyner demanded when the locks on the opposite side door unlatched.

“Just saying it won’t make it happen,” Vaughn replied. The forcefield still came down after a slight recalibration. Just as one door slid open, the trio rammed right through the exit door. A firefight ensued all the way to the fence. And it continued as they all climbed the fence one by one. The three Klingons shooting at them grunted in frustration when they landed safely on the other side.

“So did you find you were looking for?” Zeyner asked with feigned enthusiasm.

“Oh, yes,” Vaughn answered, as he was being helped down by Ro and Zeyner. “Whole bunkers filled with subspace explosives.”

“Including Omega?” Zeyner inquired.

Vaughn scowled at Zeyner grabbing him by the collar. He quickly let go when he reminded himself that the Bajoran was trying to bait him. Ro winced, wondering what had provoked that strong a reaction from the commander.

“What do you about that?” Vaughn calmly demanded.

“Not as much as your flag officers,” Zeyner replied, “but enough to know that one unstable molecule can be catastrophic. But since you found what you’re looking for, I’ll be on my way. That was the agreement.”

Zeyner started walking away, but Vaughn grabbed his arm and shoved him against the fence. “This is the new agreement,” the commander replied. “Unless we’re able to stop to whatever they’re planning with Omega, I’ll make sure you’re put back in prison.”

And yet you don’t what they’re exact plan is,” Zeyner taunted. “Not sure I like those odds.”

“I’m keeping you with us as our guarantee you don’t pull anything before the Defiant gets here.”

“Ample incentive to continue to cooperate,” Ro added with a sly smile.

Zeyner sighed as if disappointed that he wasn’t able to use this opportunity to try and get away.

###
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Old July 16 2011, 09:23 PM   #69
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Chapter Eighteen (continued)

Nog briefed Bowers and his team in the Defiant’s transporter room on landing coordinates. Also included in the briefing, via audio comm.-line, were Captain Klag on the Gorkon and Ambassador Worf on the Sword of Kahless. Vaughn and Ro had also contacted the ship from the planet’s surface. The Ferengi engineer indicated a schematic of the compound on a readout screen. A circle surrounded the graphic representation of the structure symbolizing the magnetic shield inhibiting transporter function.

“It’s a very outdated forcefield,” Nog explained. “It’s similar to one used on Rura Penthe in the late 23rd century. The sonic pulse Commander Vaughn used to escape the structure could overcome it, but that would take a lot longer and at a lower orbit.”

“We might attract too much attention,” Vaughn chimed in from down on the surface. “Especially if they call in reinforcements.”

“Exactly,” Nog replied. “We’ll have to uncloak just to use the transporter and its range is stretched as far it can go.”

“We’ll have to beam down at least a kilometer from the forcefield’s periphery,” said Bowers. “We’ll set down from the southwest. Klag’s team will come in from the north. Worf and Rodek will come at them from the east-southeast.”

“Just remember,” Vaughn added. “We were able to trigger the alarms, so they know we’ll bring reinforcements. Expect heavy resistance.”

“Transport coordinates have been received,” Klag said from the Gorkon transporter bay. “We’ve prepared simultaneous transport of my party and for Rodek’s meet with the ambassador. With three squadrons, one of them should certainly get through.”

“No offense, Captain, but I plan on coming out of this alive,” Bowers quipped. “Are you ready over there, Ambassador?”

“Of course,” Worf replied. “Today is a good day die. Qa’pla!”

“Let’s go,” Bowers told his six-person team. In addition to Bowers, three other humans were part of the team—two male, one female. An Andorian female and a Bolian male were the last to step onto the pad.

***

Worf exited his quarters aboard the Sword of Kahless and quickly headed for the transporter bay. On his way there, General Grelik caught up to him down the corridor.

“General,” Worf said with a quick nod. “We are ready to proceed,” the ambassador plainly stated, wanting to avoid another conversation about any reservations either Klingon crew might have about assisting a Federation diplomat. He had gotten dismissive looks from Sword crewmembers who had assisted in his search for the mole. Despite his title and his history as the only Klingon in Starfleet, Worf was still certain that he was acting in the name of justice for the House of Martok.

“Are you sure you don’t want any of my crew to accompany you?” Grelik asked, as the set of double doors parted to admit him into the transporter room.

Worf gave a reluctant sigh once he stepped inside and turned to face the general. “With all due respect,” he said calmly, but firmly, “Identifying Sulvek as a mole happened rather easily. For all we know, he has an accomplice waiting for the right moment to undermine us. I cannot be certain whom can be trusted.”

“But you trust Klag and his crew?” Grelik asked with a hint of skepticism.

“With my life,” Worf confidently responded. He gave an affirming nod to the transporter technician upon stepping onto the pad. “Worf to Gorkon, ready for transport.”

“Standing by,” the transporter operator on the other Klingon ship replied.

Worf and Grelik exchanged one last look as the ambassador dematerialized. “Transport successful, General,” the technician reported.

“You are dismissed, bekk,” Grelik replied.

The technician obligingly stepped outside. Grelik then stepped over to the control console to send an encrypted message.

***

“Worf, son of Mogh,” Rodek declared, once the whole team had materialized on the surface. “I stand ready to assist the House of Martok.”

“I am in your debt, Rodek, son of Noggra,” Worf replied, his face betraying none of his emotions, acting as if the two were not well acquainted. The two had now crossed paths for first time since Rodek had his memories of his life as Kurn, son of Mogh, erased.

“That is the response I would expect from my older brother,” Rodek heard his own voice say. It was his own voice, but he felt it belonged to another person.

Qa’Pla!” Worf proclaimed.

Qa’Pla!” Rodek and the rest of the eight person team replied.

They all raised their bat’leths and marched off towards battle. From a faraway ravine, two Klingon warriors dressed in twenty-second century military jumpsuits stood watch waiting to strike. Aiming his disruptor, one of them fired in the direction of Worf’s team, clipping the soldier on the far right and the one on the far left. Flurries of disruptor fire came at them from behind in all directions.

“Move out,” Worf grunted. “Lay down cover fire.”

Rodek and the rest of his party dispersed hoping to make taking them all out more difficult while firing in the direction of enemy disruptor fire. While they continued firing back and forth, four Klingons materialized behind them catching Worf’s attention. Two of the attackers knocked two from Worf’s team with bat’leths. The three Klingons shooting at his team joined in the battle armed with mek’leths. Four against seven did not look like very good odds for Worf, Rodek, and the other two from their party left standing.

Determined to die on his feet, one of the downed warriors upended one enemy attacker with a bat’leth, and then jammed his dagger into his opponent’s chest. He barely had a few seconds to stand up and continue on the prowl when he took bat’leth strike in the back of his neck. “You will not have this day,” he struggled to groan while twisting around to see the face of the coward who had just killed him. He got a quick at his killer choking out his last breaths while jamming a knife into the man’s abdomen. Both bodies then fell to ground, now empty lifeless shells.

Swords continued clanging together with neither side getting a decisive advantage. Worf had two attackers with which to contend, while the rest went one-on-one. Though it was often too bulky for its own good, Worf’s bat’leth kept the two mek’leths at bay. He thrusted the two warriors away from him, and then landed a killing blow into the chest of the man on his right. He then took a strike in his left arm from other enemy soldier. He gently nursed the wound, while seeing that his opponent was about to land a killing blow.

###

A squadron of twelve Ku-Vok-leth soldiers gathered in the cargo deck of the deuterium refinery once word had gotten out that enemy soldiers were storming compound. Whatever was about to take place in the next few minutes, these soldiers’ orders were guard the resonance chamber and the freight shuttle carrying it with their lives. The lead soldier walked over to the staircase as he saw Kur’Tok storming down to receive any orders before heading into battle. “Two squadrons on their way here,” he reported. “One is Starfleet and the other is Klingon Defense Force. We are vastly outnumbered.”

“Do what you must,” Kur’Tok grunted. “We must make sure the shuttle is ready for launch.” He then motioned the Markalian computer technician over to him to issue instructions. “Get that resonance chamber on the shuttle now!” he barked.

“We haven’t completed the safety checks,” the Markalian insisted. “I warned you what can happen if Omega should destabilize…”

“To Grethor with safety checks,” Kur’Tok bellowed. “We are out of time! Move!” He then grabbed the technician by the arm and shoved him in the direction of the shuttle to punctuate his instructions.

An explosion momentarily blinded everyone in the room. A Starfleet team that included Vaughn, Ro, and Bowers stormed onto the catwalk. One of the human officers motioned for Zeyner to stand aside and stay out of the way of the shooting. He just snickered at the notion that he would follow those instructions to the letter. That officer and the rest of his team spread out along the catwalk laying down phaser fire against the unending swarm of Klingon disruptor fire.
A side hatch blew open and Klag’s team of eight soldiers ran through in a single file wielding mek’leths. One of the Ku-Vok-leth soldiers ran towards them shooting at them. Four others headed for Klag’s party armed with mek’leths. As hand-to-hand fighting ensued, the Markalian technician and a Klingon technician placed anti-gravity harnesses onto the resonance chamber and moved it towards the shuttle.

“They’re loading the resonance chamber,” Vaughn remarked to Bowers and Ro. “Bowers, cover us. Ro, with me.”

Bowers pointed his rifle in the direction of a soldier at the bottom of the stairs and fired to get his attention. The Klingon fired back, diverting his attention to the stairs, which allowed Vaughn and Ro to straight. Others were shooting in their direction, but they countered with phaser fire of their own.

Amid all the chaos, Zeyner tiptoed down the catwalk to a ladder along the wall. He grabbed one of the rungs with both hands while wrapping his over the railing and climbing down. Upon reaching the bottom, he made a beeline for the shuttle.
Ro saw him in the corner of her eye while continuing to fire her phaser in the direction of two Ku-Vok-leth soldiers.

“Zeyner,” she shouted. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” She fired at Zeyner, clipping him in the right ribcage area. He stumbled and fell to the ground. Ro was not able to get clear shot since a mek’leth struck her in the right shoulder. That Klingon then took a kick in the stomach from Vaughn, who then shot him in the chest with his phaser.

The roar of an engine then caught Vaughn’s attention while taking a look at Ro’s stab wound and making sure Zeyner didn’t try to make a run for it. The cargo shuttle Kur’Tok wanted launched at all costs moved straight up towards the sun roof and tore through plexi-glass shield. The Ku-Vok-leth soldiers still standing then ceased firing, and Bowers signaled his troops to do the same.

“Vaughn to Delphi,” Vaughn called tapping his combadge. “Computer, three to beam out.”

Zeyner removed a device from his pocket as he, Ro, and Vaughn were dematerializing. That kept him from completely dematerializing while Vaughn and Ro had beamed up.
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Old July 18 2011, 03:11 AM   #70
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Chapter Nineteen

He was certain he would be on his way to Sto-Vo-Kor.

The Ku-Vok-leth soldier who had just overpowered Worf was about to land the killing blow with his mek’leth when a green phaser beam felled him. Worf sat up, looking in the direction of the phaser. He now knew with complete certainty that a Romulan weapon had saved him as Romulan soldiers were now shooting at the Klingon assassins. This sight still did not seem possible to Worf. From recent history, Romulans were usually on the side of Klingons who opposed any alliance with the Federation.

Rodek and his team used the distraction to get an edge on their opponents. The Ku-Vok-leth soldiers could not believe their eyes either. They had not expected Romulans to be on the side of every Klingon traditionalists’ favorite target. On the other hand, they had also been taught that Romulans were notorious for switching allegiances whenever that suited their goals. Rodek jammed his d’k’tag into the back of the man who had deserted him for a different target. He hardly had time to gloat when another Klingon charged him with a mek’leth from the right. In that brief moment, he had a flash of a memory that he was certain was not his own.

“He is my brother,” this other person whose life Rodek was remembering said. “I will not betray him.”

“Then you will die for him,” a Klingon who called himself Duras replied.

This other Klingon whose memories Rodek was reliving-- Worf’s brother Kurn-- was then ambushed by two assassins from both directions. Kurn put up a valiant struggle, but he was quickly stabbed in the abdomen.

The tip of the blade grazed Rodek’s right arm. He was spared further injury when Worf swooped in jamming a mek’leth into the assassin’s chest.

“Brother,” Rodek gasped.

Worf did not let that appellation distract him from two Klingons charging at him from both sides. He was able to deflect both swords with his mek’leth. He delivered a kick to the abdomen of the man on his right and then stabled the man on the left in the chest.

The remaining two Klingons who had ambushed Worf and Rodek were in combat with Romulans. Bat’leths and Romulan combat pikes clanged against each other. That was until Worf and Rodek intercepted, landing blows to both enemy soldiers with the bat’leths of fallen warriors.

The two Klingons and three Romulans exchanged awkward stares for a brief moment. From the corner of his eye, Worf noticed two additional Romulans, one male and one female sauntering towards them. The female commander was a woman of average height and with a lithe figure. She looked relatively young for someone of her rank compared to the tall man on her right with graying hair.

“Ambassador Worf,” the youthful woman said, “Commander Donatra of the IRW Valdore.”

“Commander,” Worf replied, still at a loss for words.

“You must not have expected Romulans to do Klingons these kinds of favors without asking anything in return,” the commander continued. “It has been a rarity even during the Dominion War, or when our peoples were allies against the Federation.”

“No,” Worf deadpanned hoping to avoid offending the unusually heroic Romulan. He had often had a tendency to stereotype alien races from Ferengi to Romulans. As a diplomat, he had tried harder to hold his tongue. But here, he was also careful not to be deceived by her charming nature. “Can I assume you are asking something in return?” he asked skeptically.

“You are the Federation ambassador to Qo’Nos. I know of your distrust of my people since Khitomer Massacre. But I do not ask anything in return. I am here as a gesture of good will.”

Worf nodded silently, needing a moment to let Donatra’s charitable act to sink in. As he understood, Romulans did adhere to a code of honor similar to that of the Klingons, but only as long as it beneficial to themselves, their extended families, or for the glory of the Empire. While achieving such ends was commendable, such an honor code was invoked to rationalize cowardly acts during Worf’s lifetime from the sneak attack on the Narendra Three outpost to the Khitomer Massacre to secretly supporting political enemies of the last two Klingon chancellors. “But at great risk to yourself,” he offered. “Your superiors may be displeased with what you have done here.”

“You needn’t worry,” Donatra replied. “I have friends in ‘high places’ to quote a human expression. Do you or your ships require further assistance.”

“No, but thank you. You have acted… honorably here today, Commander.”

“’Honor’ is a term to which many of my people have forgotten the meaning. Qa’Pla, Ambassador.”

Jolan tru, Commander.”

###

Nog strode across the Defiant bridge from the starboard tactical station to the port forward engineering station making sure all tactical sensors were in perfect working order. After all, the area could have been swarming with cloaked ships on the side of the Ku-Vok-leth whose crews were trying to penetrate the cloaking shields of the Defiant, the Sword of Kahless, and the Gorkon. He had matured considerably in the last three years on his way becoming chief engineer of DS9 and the Defiant. He didn’t worry so much about saying the wrong thing to a superior or pressing the wrong button. The rest of the bridge crew could see he was still visibly nervous being in the proximity of someone as tall as Ardolis Muren’Thol. He was manning the science station, and Nog caught a brief glimpse of the Martoisan exchange officer, whose cold stare was even more chilling than the scowls of Worf or Martok.

“No sign of any ships cloaked or otherwise,” Nog reported to Kira, who was looking over Prynn Tenmei’s shoulder at the conn. He took notice of Julian Bashir entering the bridge from the port egress. “If the Romulans are providing assistance to these Klingons, why isn’t in the form of their most advanced warbirds?”

“It’s gamesmanship, Nog,” Bashir answered, seating himself at the sensor station on Nog’s left. “They want plausible deniability and to say that we violated neutral space first.”

“So they appear to be defending themselves against invasion,” Nog added with a dismissive snort. After a brief pause, he said with a slight stutter, “But what if you’re wrong? What if a whole armada is lying in wait now?”

“Relax, Lieutenant,” Kira chimed in, sauntering towards the command chair upon hearing the comm chime.

“Bowers to Defiant: a cargo shuttle carrying some kind of magnetic resonance chamber has just launched. Vaughn and Ro just beamed aboard the runabout and are in pursuit.”
“Understood,” Kira replied. “Get the away team back aboard, Mister Nog. Take us to battle stations. Mister Muren’Thol, status of the sensor modifications?”

“The shuttle’s hull is composed of an alloy our sensors can’t penetrate,” Ardolis plainly replied, “I am attempting to compensate, as well as increasing the range by at least a light year.”

“Do what you can,” Kira replied, while entering commands at the control panel on her left, to assure that any sudden detection of Omega did not lock out the main computer. “Prynn, give him a hand.”

“I prefer to work alone,” Ardolis calmly insisted as he saw Prynn ascend from her seat at the helm. “I have a better understanding of the technological specifications.”

“And my crew has a better understanding of this ship’s technological specifications,” Kira shot back. “The work will proceed a lot faster if it’s done properly.”

“Understood,” Ardolis relented. To Prynn he added, “Provide whatever assistance to which you are able, Lieutenant Tenmei.”

“No problem,” Prynn muttered, walking over to the science station.

***

Vaughn had not yet fully materialized when he ordered the Delphi’s computer to skip through pre-flight and activate the ascent thrusters. He then headed for the transporter control station to retrieve the emergency medkit stowed in a bottom drawer to tend to Ro’s wound while flipping open his tricorder.

“Where the hell is Zeyner?” Ro wondered aloud, having quickly noticed their traveling companion’s absence.

“That’s not important now,” Vaughn replied, holding the medkit in one hand and coaxing Ro towards the piloting stations with the other. “Computer, extrapolate the course of any vessels departing the coordinates uploaded from my tricorder and lay in a pursuit course. Full impulse.”

“Confirmed,” the computer’s feminine voice responded.

“It’s not as bad as it looks,” Ro lied, as Vaughn applied a cloth tourniquet to her wound. “We knew that bastard would pull this kind of crap and he still got away.”

“Looks like you’ll have to wait another day to finally settle the score with ‘Doctor’ Zeyner,” Vaughn retorted, while applying a dermal regenerator to the lieutenant’s wound.

Defiant to Commander Vaughn,” Kira called over the comm chime.

“We’re on its tail, Captain,” Vaughn replied. “Recommend you move into a lower orbit to intercept that shuttle should it escape the planet’s atmosphere.”

“Acknowledged,” Kira replied. “Good luck, Commander.”

“Vessel approaching,” the computer warned. “Two thousand kilometers ahead, bearing…”

“I see it, computer,” Vaughn interrupted, noticing a shuttle emerging from the clouds. He quickly took over the main piloting controls in order to more precisely maneuver the runabout.

Three green bolts emerged from the aft of the cargo shuttle and struck the nose of the runabout. Those hits rocked the cockpit and sent sparks flying. “Romulan plasma torpedoes,” Vaughn remarked aloud.

“On a civilian freighter?” Ro asked.

“Don’t tell me the Bajorans didn’t try to reverse engineer Cardassian weapons onto those sub-impulse ships of yours.”
“It got very messy, though. Turned out to be more trouble than it was worth.”

“Tell them that,” Vaughn quipped. “Do you have phaser lock?”

“Locked onto its port thruster. Firing!”

Two phaser beams erupted from the dorsal emitter, the first grazed part of the hull and the second was deflected by the shuttle’s shielding.

“Those are Romulan shields, all right,” Ro commented of the new sensor readings on her console’s readout screen. “I’m reading a weak point on starboard ventral. If you can get us below them.”

“I’m pouring everything we’ve got into the engines,” Vaughn replied, “even any residual ions from the sonic showers.”

“What sonic showers?” Ro snapped, reminding herself she hadn’t showered in days since departing Deep Space Nine on this fool’s errand, especially not with a hated ex-lover aboard the runabout.

Vaughn just gave devilish smirk while trying to maneuver the vessel below the target and dodge enemy weapon’s fire at the same time.

The runabout swooped in below the cargo shuttle. A swath of phaser knocked out the ventral shielding. A volley of photon torpedoes erupted blowing apart the shuttle’s aft. The runabout cleared the explosion’s shockwave as quickly as it could while what remained of the shuttle spiraled down towards the surface.

With the shuttle’s hull heavily compromised, the Delphi’s sensors now could scan its interior. Vaughn’s right eyebrow twitched when he noticed a peculiar reading. “Vaughn to Defiant,” he called, opening a ship-to-ship communications channel. “It was a dummy bomb. The real one is on a ship that might have already left the system. Damn it!
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Old July 23 2011, 10:35 PM   #71
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Chapter Twenty

“It was you all along.”

Worf stormed into General Grelik’s private chamber without even ringing the bell. Accompanying was the first officer Major Tarkan wielding a bat’leth. Grelik chuckled wryly as he threw down a padd he was working. He had a joke about Worf having returned alive on the tip of his tongue, but he chose in the end to say nothing. He just silently expressed amusement that Worf was foolish enough to walk into an ambush. That is, unless Worf had purposely allowed to Grelik to eavesdrop on his communiqués with Klag and the Federation Embassy. In that case, then the joke was on him. He stood up and slowly strode around the desk to face Worf. “Was it really that hard?” he deadpanned.

“I was able to access to the comm-logs of one the assassins’ communicators,” Worf explained, showing a communications device usually place on the upper left arm of Defense Force soldier. “You had communicated instructions to them on an hourly basis. The last of these messages was immediately after I transported to the surface.”

“Would I not have tried to cover my tracks a little better?” Grelik curiously asked. “That seems rather careless to leave behind such an obvious trail.”

“You did become careless after your conversation with a member of the High Council. I suspected when you insisted upon distancing me from the shipboard investigation. In order to be, I contacted a Starfleet Intelligence informant at the Embassy. You spoke to Councilor Ru’qel, Martok’s most vocal political opponent in the High Council.”

Grelik opened his mouth to speak, but again held his tongue. His expression still said enough to Worf. Just communicating with Ru’qel was not proof that he was the mole any more than Ru’qel’s opposition to Martok proof that he was a Ku-Vok-leth sympathizer. He should not have been surprised that such communiqués were not highly incriminating. After all, breaking to the most secure of personal databases came with the territory of being an intelligence operative.

“You arranged the ambush shortly after our departure from Deep Space Nine,” Worf finished.

“So once again, you use your position as a Federation diplomat to effect change in Klingon politics,” Grelik taunted. “But are you Klingon enough to execute me for my treachery?”

“That is not for me to decide. That is Major Tarkan’s decision.”

Worf stepped aside and allowed the major to face his captain. “You are an accessory to a dishonorable assassination attempt against the leader of the Klingon Empire,” Tarkan proclaimed. “That makes you unfit to serve as commander of the chancellor’s flagship.”

“There can only be one answer to that,” Grelik replied, walking over to his bat’leth hanging on the wall.

Tarkan stood ready, forearms out, his sword ready to deflect the first blow from the opponent’s bat’leth. Worf retreated into one corner of the room to allow the fight stay between the two combatants. He had been tempted to kill Grelik where he stood upon his return from the planet’s surface. But to punish him for his dishonor in such a way would, itself, be dishonorable. Throughout the history of many planets, including Qo’Nos and Earth, various individuals had taken it upon themselves to exact their own brand of justice outside the boundaries of what was considered legal. But societies that allowed the practice of vigilante justice would ultimately descend into chaos and cycles of violence that dragged on for centuries. Among warrior races such as Klingons, ironically, revenge killings, long-standing blood feuds, and assassinating ones way up the ranks had been made more civilized under a strict legal code. This was Tarkan’s fight now. He would seize command of the vessel or die trying. And Worf was just a spectator.

The two swords continuously clanged together, fending off one potential blow after another. Grelik held his bat’leth high above his head with one hand and swung towards Tarkan’s forehead. Tarkan deflected the sword with his own horizontally in front of his face. Grelik pushed his sword, and Tarkan pushed back. Neither would give way. Grelik then delivered a kick to Tarkan’s abdomen, which nudged him away. He then swung the bat’leth at Tarkan’s shoulder, impaling his opponent and bringing him to his knees.

Grelik prepared to deliver the killing blow, raising his bat’leth. Tarkan then slipped his bat’leth from his right hand to his left and slipped a d’k’tag from its holster. He lunged towards the general and jammed the dagger into his chest. He let go of the knife and delivered one more blow with the bat’leth.
Gagging, Grelik fell backwards to the deck. He tried to speak, but before any words could come out, he was dead.

***

With Grelik’s body now a lifeless shell, the corpse was jettisoned into the vacuum of space. After floating through space for a very long minute, the dead body was suddenly enveloped by a Starfleet transporter field. It fully dematerialized and was transported to who knew where.

###

Kira rose from the command chair upon receiving Vaughn’s page. The cargo shuttle his runabout had been pursuing was only a diversion to give the ship ferrying a single Omega molecule extra time to get away. It could be light years away by now. She paced over to Ardolis’s station hoping he had some good news. “Tell me you have something, Lieutenant,” she said calmly.

“I have the ship we’re looking for on long range sensors,” Ardolis replied. “Approximately half a light year. I will attempt to extrapolate its course.”

“Prynn, set a course,” Kira barked. “Relay the coordinates to the Sword of Kahless and the Gorkon. We may need…”

“Tachyon surge,” Bowers interrupted from the tactical station. “Ships decloaking. Klingon Birds-of-Prey.”

“Shields up,” Kira commanded. “We should have no problem shaking them off.”

Two vessels uncloaked in front of the Defiant, as it was breaking orbit and fired its disruptors grazing its forward hull. The Defiant then returned fire with its multi-targeting phasers. To the surprise of some of the bridge crew, both attacking ships sustained minimal damage.

“Someone has been upgrading their defensive systems,” Nog observed, as the ship took more hits from enemy fire.

“Helm, project the fastest route out of the system that will allow us to pursue our target,” Kira said. “Prepare to go to warp inside this system if its necessary.”

“Already on it,” Prynn answered, dodging an electrical surge on the left side of her console.

“Mister Bowers,” Kira added, “ready a spread of quantum torpedoes on both vessel’s engines. “That might slow them down.”

“Done,” Bowers said, programming the torpedoes to the appropriate specifications. “Firing.”

The port and starboard aft torpedo tubes firing two projectiles each hitting the ventral of both Birds, doing damage to the warp drives of both vessels.

The Sword of Kahless and the Gorkon emerged from the far side of the planet to lend some assistance as the Defiant continued its route out of the system. The two allied Klingon heavy cruisers fired disruptors and torpedoes at the smaller ships. From behind the heavy cruisers, two rippling effects were moving closer. From the shape of those ripples, they appeared to be partially cloaked Birds-of-Prey. Those two ships crashed into the ventral of the two heavy cruisers inflicting considerable damage to the two vessels.

The two Klingon vessels that had attacked the Defiant swung back around towards the Starfleet warship as if about to ram her as had happened with the Klingon heavy cruisers.

“That looks like a reason to go to warp right now,” Kira observed upon hearing from Bowers that the warp drives of the Sword of Kahless and Gorkon were disabled.”

“Yes, sir,” Prynn replied, engaging the warp drive.

The Defiant then streaked to warp before the two Birds-of-Prey could get anywhere near it.

###

The Defiant was at warp in hot pursuit of the ship carrying the resonance chamber. The Klingon Bird-of-Prey belonged to an older model, so it was traveling at a slower warp speed to wherever it was going. That allowed the Delphi to catch up to the Defiant in order to provide some support should a long battle ensue. From the crews of both Starfleet ships had observed, these older D-12 type ships’ weapons and shields had updated to more recent specifications, possibly Romulan in origin.

Kira was in communication with Vaughn and Ro on a monitor in the bridge’s aft situation area. A translucent screen was lowered in front of the master situation console to provide some degree of privacy while still allowing easy access to the rest of the bridge. “Once we catch up to this Bird-of-Prey,” Kira told the two runabout pilots, “we should expect them to put up more of a fight. Ideally, we’d be more than a match for a D-12 class.”

“Not what we’ve seen so far,” Vaughn replied. “They’re even willing to lay down their lives to take out a superior ship.”

“Speaking of which,” Kira added, “how badly were the two heavy cruisers on our side hit.”

“Their warp engines are shot,” Ro said, taking a quick at a readout on her console. “They’ve taken heavy casualties. Captain Klag and Major Tarkan were adamant that they could handle repairs on their own without our assistance.”

“Klingons can be incredibly stubborn,” Vaughn remarked. “But what more could the two of us do? How long before you catch up to our target.”

“Another hour, two at the most,” Kira answered. “I’ve asked Ezri to compile a list of the most likely destinations based on the ship’s current course… and her clearance level.”

“Yes, sir,” Vaughn said with a nod, knowing what Kira meant by the reference to the lieutenant’s clearance level. “Of course, these are not ideal circumstances. Normally, a team of Starfleet experts would be tasked to handle this. If these guys plan to use this thing as a weapon, we may not have that luxury.”

“You guys wouldn’t care to let me in on what exactly you’re talking about?” Ro quipped.

“No,” Kira and Vaughn both said. “In the meantime,” Kira added, “I’ll contact Starfleet Headquarters and apprise them of our situation. Kira out.”

***

As the Defiant remained in pursuit of the Bird-of-Prey, Kira had gathered much of the senior bridge crew in the mess hall, while setting up a teleconference with Dax back on Deep Space 9 and with Vaughn and Ro on the Delphi on a Code 47 frequency. After a brief conversation with a high-ranking admiral at Starfleet Headquarters, Kira had been officially authorized to brief her higher ranking officers on the Omega molecule. In addition to informing Dax, Ro, Nog, Bashir, and Bowers. of the ability of one unstable Omega molecule to destroy subspace throughout an entire solar system impossible, Kira added that warp travel in the Narendra system had already been rendered impossible by an Omega detonation. Vaughn, of course, was already in the know, as was Ardolis after Kira’s conversation with him in the station’s ward room.

“Based on this additional information,” Dax said from the station commander’s office, “they could target any number of star systems near or along the Federation-Klingon border of major strategic importance.”

Kira took a long look at the holographic display being transmitted from the station, which included eight Starfleet deltas as markings, while taking a sip of iced raktajino. “And not a lot of time to guess which one they might be hitting. Each one of those systems is either on a major trade route or houses a strategic listening post.”

“I noticed Tezwa is not one of the marked systems,” Vaughn offered. “It could be a prime time target.”

“Why Tezwa?” Kira asked, her eyes widening. “The Tezwan are neutral.”

“They’ve also become an important trading partner since the end of the Dominion War,” Vaughn added. “It could set back dilithium production considerably if our access to that system is cut off.”

Kira took another long look at the cartography display while considering Vaughn’s suggestion. Her mind went to the strategies the Dominion used. As the war dragged on longer than Dominion strategists had expected, both side realized that supplies and materiel would be more of a deciding factor. For that reason, the Dominion had targeted shipbuilding and energy production facilities and freight convoys, sometimes more so, than strategic outposts and other military targets. The Federation had suffered a number of supply shortages in the outlying systems since the war’s end. In all likelihood, the Ku-Vok-leth might have the same goals in mind. “Then Tezwa it is,” she said. “Bowers, Nog, how are those graviton torpedoes coming?”

“The explosive yield is strong enough to eliminate Omega without damaging subspace,” Nog responded.

“We should be able to put the finishes touches within the hour,” Bowers added.

“Doctor,” Kira said, addressing Bashir, “prepare to administer arithrazine the entire crew.”

“I’ve already initiated radiation protocol,” Bashir said, “I’ll start filling hypos right away.”

“I can’t emphasize enough the importance of stopping the Omega molecule,” Kira announced the whole gathering. “You all have your orders. Dismissed.”

“Bridge to the captain,” Tenmei called over the comm speakers. “The ship we’re pursuing has altered course, headed closer to the Klingon border.”

“On our way,” Kira said. “We’ll soon confirm your hunch, Elias.”

***

The officers in the briefing quickly entered the bridge and assumed their stations. Ardolis was at the science station, monitoring the sensor readings the Bird-of-Prey was emitting, while Tenmei kept a firm hand on the helm. Ardolis inputted new data into his console based on the change in course, seeing Kira in the corner of his eye striding towards his right. “Captain,” he said, “the ship is now on a bearing of two-eight-six mark two-four. Towards any one of three star systems Lieutenant Dax has conjectured.”

“Helm, set a course for the Tezwan system,” Kira ordered. “Increase speed to warp nine. Stand by to drop to quarter impulse within five million kilometers of the system’s Oort cloud.” Then hailing the runabout, she added, “Commander Vaughn, ready where you are.”

“Just say the word and we’ll be ready, Captain,” Vaughn replied over an audio channel.

###

The Bird-of-Prey the Defiant was pursuing fell out of warp near the Oort cloud of the Tezwan system. As it neared the outer periphery, the Defiant uncloaked and fired phasers at the vessel’s aft impulse engine, momentarily slowing it down. The Defiant then sped up and moved deeper into the Oort cloud. Taking the bait, the Bird-of-Prey gave chase once emergency propulsion systems kicked in while firing disruptors.

“Shields at eighty-six percent,” Bowers reported.

“Keep firing, limiting targets to engines and shields,” Kira ordered. Hailing the runabout from the command chair, she said, “Defiant to Delphi. Are you ready to proceed?”

“Ready as we’ll ever be, Captain,” Vaughn eagerly responded.

***

The Delphi emerged from a patch of dense gases firing phasers at the Bird-of-Prey. The small and maneuverable craft fired continuous precision shots while retreating into gaseous patches. It was almost as effective as a cloak-and-run maneuver with the Bird-of-Prey unable to get an exact target lock. It fired its disruptors in the hope of hitting something, but kept coming up empty.

“Hunter probe is ready for transport,” Ro reported, energizing the transporter. Anticipating that transporter scramblers were in place around the resonance chamber, the runabout’s pilots intended to transport aboard a modified pattern enhancer often used by Starfleet Special Ops to get a better transporter lock.

“Now we wait,” Vaughn said in a hushed tone.

Almost immediately, the console beeped indicating the hunter probe’s target had been located. “Ready for transport,” Ro said. “Energizing.”

The magnetic chamber keeping a single Omega molecule stable materialized on the miniature transporter just outside the cockpit. The cockpit then rocked from enemy weapons fire causing Vaughn and Ro to lurch forward in their seats. “Looks like they’re not being as generous as we were,” Ro commented. “A plasma flow regulator has ruptured.”

“Feed whatever power you can into the warp engines,” Vaughn said.

“Done.”

“We’ve cleared the gases. I’m going to warp.”

The runabout then streaked into warp as the Bird-of-Prey tried to get off another shot. The Defiant swooped in towards it and fired phasers knocking out the warp drive. The Starfleet warship veered clear of the Oort cloud and went into warp.

###
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Old July 23 2011, 10:42 PM   #72
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Chapter Twenty (continued)

With the runabout at warp and no signs of pursuit from enemy vessels, Vaughn and Ro headed for the transporter pad and scanned the item they had just pilfered with tricorders. From reports Vaughn had read, this device was a magnetic resonance chamber similar to one designed by the USS Voyager’s former Borg crewmember Seven of Nine. It was designed to keep Omega molecules stable for a potentially indefinite period of time. Just a few such molecules had the energy output of a single warp core. Given Omega’s unpredictable nature, Captain Kathryn Janeway still went ahead with the original mission after her ship had made contact with an alien race attempting to harness the power of Omega in late 2374. The tricorder scans had revealed this resonance chamber served the same purpose as any explosive device.

“Incredible,” Ro commented seeing how much energy the contents of the chamber were putting out. “If the Maquis or the Bajorans had something like this…”

“The same was said of nuclear energy on Earth four hundred years ago,” Vaughn countered. Quoting one of Janeway’s logs from that mission of four years earlier, he added, “’The final frontier has boundaries that should never be crossed. This is one of them.’”

Ro nodded, hoping to avoid a lecture about the dangers of terrorists using such powerful weapons. She was a terrorist once, after all. “It’s designed to destabilize Omega on remote command,” she said of the device, “but only at a very close range.”

“If I could just locate the transceiver,” Vaughn said, fiddling through the circuitry, “and disconnect it.” He found what he was looking for and quickly disconnected it. “We’ve eliminated that problem.”

“Have we?” Ro asked, having half-expected the bomb to go off if it was tampered with.

“We’re still here, aren’t we?”

Ro looked away from her superior and rolled her eyes when the ship-to-ship comm system chimed. Defiant to Commander Vaughn,” Kira said. “Come in.”

Vaughn quickly paced over the primary pilot seat to answer to page. “This is Vaughn,” he said. “We have the magnetic resonance chamber, Captain. It’s designed to explode on command, but I’ve disabled the communications transceiver.”

“Keep your eyes open, Commander,” Kira added, “We may not be out of the woods just yet.”

“No need to remind us, sir,” Ro said. “We’re ready to eject this thing into space once you’re ready to blow it to high…”

“Three vessels approaching,” the computer interrupted. “Klingon D-12 class Birds-of-Prey have locked weapons.”

“That was fast,” Vaughn remarked of the Bird the runabout had engaged just a few minutes earlier approaching from the port stern.

“He’s hailing us,” Ro said.

“Let’s find out if he’s all bark and no bite. On my monitor.”

A Klingon officer with an ominous scowl appeared on the monitor. “You have a weapon on your vessel that is the property of the Klingon Empire. You will return it immediately.”

“The same Klingon Empire that signed a treaty banning the use of such weapons?” Vaughn retorted. “Add to that, you’re commanding a vessel not authorized to be in Federation space. That’s two strikes against you.”

“The disruptors pointed at your puny vessel are all the authorization I need,” the enemy commander growled. “Return our property or be destroyed.”

“And risk losing that precious weapon of yours?” Vaughn taunted. “Your Empire wouldn’t like that.”

The Klingon commander hissed and cut the transmission.

***

The two Birds-of-Prey that had approached the Delphi from ahead, veered away and headed for the Defiant, while the one behind targeted the runabout. This time, the antiquated ships were inflicting some significant damage to both Starfleet ships using an arsenal that consisted of Romulan plasma torpedoes. On the Defiant’s bridge, Bashir leaped up from his seat to attend to injured crewpersons. “Looks like they’re showing all their cards now,” Kira said. “Have all weapons on full, Mister Nog. We’re shooting to kill this time.”

“Aye, sir,” Nog replied, who had taken on both tactical and engineering responsibilities with Bowers now below to finish the torpedoes designed to destroy the Omega device.

“Kira to Bowers,” the captain added. “Status of the graviton torpedoes?”

“Loaded and ready to launch on Commander Vaughn’s signal,” Bowers replied.

***

The Defiant fired both phasers and quantum torpedoes at the attacking vessels causing equally significant damage to both of them. The Delphi, meanwhile, was engaged with the third ship, firing phasers and photon torpedoes. “Prepare to transport the resonance chamber forty thousand kilometers off the Defiant’s port bow,” Vaughn ordered while the runabout took another hit that sent sparks flying through the aft of the cockpit.

***

“One ship’s number two shield has failed,” Ardolis reported from the science station.

‘Let’s even the playing field,” Kira said. “Take him out, Nog.”

“No problem, sir,” Nog said with a wry grin.

A quick swarm of phasers grazed the vessel’s hull. That was followed by a swarm of quantum torpedoes that tore one of the two attacking ships to pieces.

Delphi to Defiant,” Vaughn signaled on an audio channel. “We’ve jettisoned the chamber, Mister Bowers. It’s all yours. And whatever happens, Prynn, I love you. Don’t ever doubt that.”

Prynn took in slow deep breaths. How many times had she gotten those goodbyes only to see her father again? He wasn’t dead yet and she had a job to do. She was emotionally prepared, yet hoping these were not his last words. “Good luck, father,” she mouthed inaudibly.

The Defiant swooped in on the resonance chamber, shaking off Klingon disruptor fire with its phasers. With two specially modified torpedoes, the Defiant then destroyed the resonance chamber, creating an explosion doing no harm to subspace.

***

One Bird-of-Prey fired two plasma torpedoes towards a hole in the Delphi’s shields, knocking out its starboard nacelle.
“Inertial dampeners are off-line,” Ro shouted over the myriad explosions heard throughout the vessel.

“Warning,” the computer added, “Antimatter containment failure imminent. Warp core breach in one minute.”

“Oh, shit!!!” Vaughn exclaimed, expecting the runabout to spiral into oblivion. Another hit threw him out of his seat, his head slamming to the deck.

The Defiant fired its phasers destroying the Bird-of-Prey on its tail before swooping in on the runabout.

Ro scanned the unconscious Vaughn with a medical tricorder while hoping to be beamed to safety. The two of them were encompassed in a Starfleet transporter beam as their vessel erupted in flames. The Defiant then went into warp, while absorbing some of the explosive shockwave.
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Old August 12 2011, 07:01 PM   #73
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Chapter Twenty-One

IKS Sword of Kahless

Worf entered the holding room uncertain as to why Captain Klag had summoned him there. Kur'Tok was seated behind a rectangular table with the same cold stare on his face. Worf flashed a smirk of pleasant surprise that Kur'Tok was still alive. A Klingon would rather die than be taken prisoner, especially if he truly believed in the Ku-Vok-leth’s cause. Otherwise, this was the point where the prisoner would try to make a deal with the justice system.

"He said he would only speak to you," Klag explained.

"Why?" Worf asked with a contemptuous glare directed at the prisoner.

"You have served both the Empire & the Federation honorably," Kur'Tok said with a wry grin. "I have information you might find useful."

"What kind of 'information'?" Worf skeptically asked. "The Ku'Vok'leth were not responsible for today's events."

“You will say anything to save your own life,” Worf sneered, needing all his mental energy to restrain himself from assaulting the prisoner.

“I would not lie to avoid death,” Kur’Tok insisted. “You know that would not be honorable.”

Worf effortlessly flipped the table on its side, coaxed Kur’Tok upright, and shoved him against the wall squeezing his neck. “You speak of following traditions of honor,” the ambassador snarled, “yet you still use dishonorable means to achieve your goals. Tell me the truth. How did you obtain enough boronite to synthesize an Omega molecule? And who are your co-conspirators in the Romulan Empire?”

“What will you do if I told you?” Kur’Tok wheezed. “Lodge a formal protest? The Senate and the Tal Shiar would just deny everything.”

Worf shoved Kur’Tok’s head against the wall with the hand squeezing his neck and then forced him back in the chair. Worf then whipped out his d’k’tag and held it to Kur’Tok’s neck. “Tell me what you know,” he demanded with a murderous rage in his eyes. “If the Ku-Vok-leth was not planning on using Omega explosives against the Federation, then who was?”

***

“This data chip will contains all the information you need,” Sloan told Kur’Tok, handing the Klingon a circular optical data reader. “Once the first field tests are underway in the Narendra system, you will have successfully infiltrated the Ku-Vok-leth.

“I understand,” Kur’Tok responded plainly. He took the chip from Sloan’s hand and placed it in a side pocket.

“Remember our agreed upon pass code. When we meet again, I will not be the person you are seeing now. You understand that this is not just about combating Klingon separatists still following to the old ways. We are looking to protect certain secrets, which if exposed, would give the Ku-Vok-leth and the political enemies of Chancellor Martok an excuse to stage a coup and declare war on the Federation. Such an outcome would be disastrous to both our peoples. According a Vulcan axiom, ‘The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.’ Your people believe that a warrior’s honor is more important than his life. And sometimes we need to sacrifice a few lives for the benefit of the greater whole, even they are your own countrymen. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Perfectly,” Kur’Tok sneered. He then quietly walked out of the room.

***

“What kind of secrets?” Worf demanded, pressing his dagger against Kur’Tok’s neck.

“He would not say,” Kur’Tok replied, trying to give no signs that he was afraid for his life. “We were to synthesize an Omega molecule and then ship the explosive device to the Tezwan system.”

“Does Martok know of this?” Worf asked, remembering that the chancellor sought out Kur’Tok as a “person of interest.” And Klag was sent to apprehend this agent. In all likelihood, Kur’Tok was an operative of Imperial Intelligence who was recruited into the Section 31, although the accuracy of that assertion was classified.

“As far he’s concerned, I’m just another enemy agent,” said Kur’Tok. “He had to be out of the loop so he could have plausible deniability.”

Worf opened his mouth to speak, but then held his tongue. He simply placed the knife in his holster and looked back at Klag. Condemning the actions of Section 31 would not have done any good. As much as Worf insisted that he was acting as a brother of the House of Martok in seeking to bring the chancellor’s would-be assassins to justice, he knew now that he had the same aspirations as Section 31—to assure the continuation of a regime that was an ally of the Federation. That was the result when he murdered Duras in order to avenge the death of Alexander’s mother. And then when Gowron was a threat to Federation interests, Worf killed him giving Martok the chancellorship.

“Do you have proof of this?” Worf asked, pulling the dagger away from Kur’Tok’s neck.

“Do you think these people leave behind proof that can be easily found?” Kur’Tok retorted.

Worf placed the knife back in its holster and motioned for Klag to him accompany out of the holding room. Worf sauntered down the corridor while Klag had to jog just to keep up with the ambassador. Worf gave a quick visual survey of the general vicinity to make sure no one was around to listen in on them. “What is the status of repairs?” he asked in a hushed tone.

“Warp drive will up and running within the hour,” Klag answered plainly, while still curious about Worf’s need for secrecy.

“I want you to make long-range communications a priority as well,” said Worf. “We have to warn Deep Space Nine. I believe everything that has taken place in the last few weeks was engineered by a secret organization working on behalf of the Federation that calls itself Section 31. They may have been seeking a reason to declare war on Tezwa.”

“The Tezwan are no threat to either of us,” Klag replied. “They have been a major source dilithium since the end of the war.”

“True, but the fact that an explosive device containing Omega was being delivered to Tezwa cannot be mere happenstance.”

“Then we should inform Starfleet Command or even the Federation Council.”

“No. They have neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such an organization in the past. Whatever the motives are, they are not honorable. We will have to take more… covert action.”


IRW Valdore

Commander Donatra entered Centurion Regol’s quarters accompanied by her personal guards. Her second-in-command just rolled his eyes as if she had tried many times before to arrest him on trumped up charges and returned his gaze to the desk monitor. He had on previous occasions been accused of trying to usurp her position only to be swiftly exonerated. This arrest seemed like more of the same.

“Centurion Regol,” Donatra announced sternly as a guard removed Regol’s personal sidearm, ”you are under arrest on charges of mutiny.”

“I don’t understand,” Regol replied with feigned ignorance.
Donatra removed a padd from a holster presenting evidence of his latest transgression. The Romulan justice system was not required to disclose all the evidence against a criminal defendant. In this case, however, Donatra felt she needed to demonstrate she had an airtight case against her centurion. “You have been in constant contact with the Tiralihaan. In fact, Suran followed us all the way to Nimbus Three.”

“Then I guess I’m guilty,” Regol taunted, rising from his seat and handing Donatra back the padd. Knowing that betraying a commander was a crime punishable by public execution, he added, “I await execution.”

That was probably what he was hoping for, Donatra mused, so that other moles aboard the Valdore could continue trying to undermine me. “Put him in the brig,” she ordered her guards. “High security priority.”

The guards immediately complied, leaving Donatra to consider how she would weed out the rest of Suran’s informants on the Valdore.


IRW Tiralihaan

Centurion Bralek triumphantly entered Commander Suran’s private chamber without even bothering to ring the doorbell. Fortunately for the commander, he was reviewing classified Tal Shiar reports. It wasn’t as if he didn’t trust his own centurion, but Bralek seemed rather determined to find something incriminating against Donatra. That kind of ambition meant that he might consider Suran an impediment to certain career. “We’ve got her,” the centurion proclaimed holding up a cylindrical data storage device. “She came to the aid of the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire and a team from one of the attack cruiser orbiting the planet. These are the sensor logs taken from our passive scans as well as from the surveillance drones.”

Bralek placed the device in a slot on Suran’s desk monitor. A holographic display of Donatra’s conversation with Worf appeared just above the desk.

“You are the Federation ambassador to Qo’Nos,” Donatra said in the recording. “I know of your distrust of my people since the Khitomer Massacre. But I do not ask anything in return. I am here as a gesture of good will.”

“But at great risk to yourself, “ Worf replied, “Your superiors may be displeased with what you have done here.”

“You needn’t worry. I have friends in ‘high places’ to quote a human expression. Do you or your ships require further assistance?”

“No, but thank you. You have acted… honorably here today, Commander.”


Bralek quickly removed the data storage device from the disk monitor, and the display instantly disappeared. “We have enough evidence to charge her with treason.”

Suran quietly considered the contents of the recording. He then turned off the desk monitor’s screen and slowly rose from his seat. “No,” he said plainly.

“But, sir, it’s something you’ve been waiting for five years.”

“If we were to accuse a Supreme Commander in the Star Navy of treason, there would be a full military tribunal. And our involvement will be revealed. Too many people will know that we informed the assassins of the arrival of the two Klingon vessels. That is a risk the Tal Shiar would not be willing to take.”

“Then why did we bother following Donatra to Nimbus?”

“It was simply a cover in order to keep the minor details of the mission itinerary on a need-to-know basis. I only tell you now because everything has already happened.

Bralek held his mouth in disbelief.

“Now, should Valdore fail to return to ch’Rihan intact,” Suran continued, “or if Donatra should be injured or killed, I will know you were responsible. Guards!”

The two personal guards quickly marched into the room awaiting orders from their charge.

“Escort the centurion to his quarters and confine him there.”
Bralek remained at a loss for words as the guards grabbed by the arms and escorted him out of the room.

Suran then returned to his desk monitor preparing to have the rest of his informants on the Valdore transferred off in the guise of orders from the khre'Riov.


Deep Space Nine

Doctor Simon Tarses ordered a cup of mug of tea from a replicator at Deep Space Nine’s Replimat during his noon break from the Infirmary. He saw Ezri Dax sitting at a table by herself while slowly working a padd and sipping her beverage. Simon grinned and quietly tiptoed over to her table. “Hello, Lieutenant,” he said cheerfully, while seating himself in the empty chair.

“Doctor,” Ezri replied with a grin. “Is that a Vulcan blend?” she asked of the familiar minty aroma of his tea.

“Not sure,” Simon replied. “It’s definitely not Romulan though.”

Ezri squinted her eyes, not sure how to react to Simon having a sense of humor about the lie that could have ruined his Starfleet career when he claimed to be one-quarter Vulcan as opposed to one-quarter Romulan on his Starfleet application. “At least you’re finally out of the Infirmary,” she said, “If only for a while.”

“Today’s a slow day, fortunately. So what’s happening with Captain Sisko?”

“Bajoran Freight and Shipping is still deliberating whether or not to press charges. But not if Kasidy has anything to say about it. The Vedek Assembly will also be giving them an earful. It’s all just formality, really. He was trying to protect his wife and kids.”

“Who’s to say you or I wouldn’t do the same under those circumstances.”

“Audrid might have. Tobin definitely would have. Of course…”

The banter was interrupted with a comm chime. “Infirmary to Doctor Tarses,” came a feminine voice.

“Go ahead,” Tarses said, after taking a sip of tea.

“The Defiant has entered the Bajoran system. Doctor Bashir has wounded on the way.”

“On my way, Standard triage protocol.” Looking back at Dax, Simon added, “Duty calls, Skipper.”

“Please don’t call me that, kid,” Ezri snapped back. Why she called him that when he was older than her, she was not exactly. Maybe it was a habit she picked up from one of the Dax symbiont’s previous hosts. The Curzon in her was often annoyed at young man who seemed too eager to please.

She looked back at her padd when the comm chimed yet again. “Ops to Lieutenant Dax,” Thelev called.

“Go ahead, Mister Thelev,” Dax answered with a tap of her combadge.

“The Defiant will be docking in five minutes. Captain Kira wants to see you in her office as soon as she’s disembarked.”

“I’ll be there as soon as I can,” Ezri retorted, knowing the trip to Ops wasn’t that long. She had five minutes to spare plus another five usually devoted to the de-embarkation process.

“Duty calls,” she muttered to herself taking another look at the padd she was studying.
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Last edited by Enterprise1981; August 12 2011 at 07:13 PM.
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Old August 13 2011, 12:11 AM   #74
Rush Limborg
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Nice!

"Kid" indeed...homage, good fellow?

(Of course, in my universe, Simon and Ezri do like their respective nicknames....)
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Old August 13 2011, 04:31 AM   #75
Enterprise1981
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Rush Limborg wrote: View Post
(Of course, in my universe, Simon and Ezri do like their respective nicknames....)
I'm sure Ezri gets used to it as a starship captain, but not as lieutenant and just CO of DS9.
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