Star Trek: Lambda Paz

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Enterprise1981, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Two

    The three injured officers were referred to the station’s infirmary. Lambda Paz chief medical officer Aurellan Markalis tended to Kozar and Carson, who had minor injuries, in the main exam room. The doctor applied a dermal regenerator to a cut on Carson’s forehead. At the reclined patient chair, a Bajoran female nurse applied a hypospray to Kozar’s neck.

    “You suffered minor injuries, Lieutenant,” Markalis told Carson. “You’re free to go now.”

    “How is Commander Morrison?” Carson asked.

    “He suffered multiple shrapnel wounds from what I’m told,” Markalis demurely replied. “Doctor Bashir is treating him, but he should be fine.”

    “How chivalrous of him,” Carson quipped.

    “I wouldn’t say that,” Kozar offered. “He saved me as well.”

    “Heroic then?” Carson suggested.

    “He did his job,” Markalis stated, “to assure the safety of his fellow officers.”

    “Thank you, Doctor,” Carson muttered rolling her eyes.

    Carson walked into the primary intensive care unit adjacent to the main waiting area where station CMO Julian Bashir tended to Morrison. The security chief lay face down so the doctor could treat the wounds where he absorbed the shrapnel. Bashir used a set of tweezers to remove each bit of shrapnel from Morrison’s bare back.

    “You were fortunate that none of these bits hit a vital organ,” Julian stated. He then sarcastically added, “You should be a little more careful looking out for the safety of your fellow officers.”

    After removing each piece of metal debris, Bashir applied a dermal regenerator to the flesh wounds. The process took about five minutes. Carson watched at the entrance to stay out of the doctor’s way. Once finished, Bashir entered some notes into a main console. “I suggest taking the next few days off,” he said.

    “Will that affect our holosuite visit?” Carson asked, slowly walking towards the biobed. “I’d hate for us to have to cancel it with our ship having no holodecks.”

    Morrison grinned while sitting up. He then grabbed a gray sleeveless tank top and put it on. “I’m sure that won’t be a problem,” he said, “as long as I don’t have to knock my fellow officers out of the way of more explosions.”

    Both exchanged smirks. Morrison then grabbed his gold tunic and black and gray uniform jacket, and the couple bolted out the door. “You’re dismissed, Commander,” Bashir jokingly muttered without looking away from his console.

    Quark sat in the security office acting befuddled as he always did whenever his nemesis Security Chief Odo brought him in for questioning. For almost nine years, Odo was obsessed with finding a reason to throw the Ferengi entrepreneur in jail, even for something as little as failure to conform to safety regulations. “I must protest, Constable,” he innocently stated. “Surely my contributions to the resistance during the Dominion’s occupation entitles me to some benefit of the doubt.”

    “It wasn’t the first time you’ve tried to ingratiate yourself hoping we’d look the other way for awhile,” Odo sternly replied, while partially seated at the front of the desk. “We’ve had this conversation a few times before. You neglect much needed maintenance until someone gets hurt, and you end up having to pay a small fine.”

    The usual banter between the two adversaries was interrupted when Captain Limis entered the security office, accompanied by Morrison. “Security Chief Odo,” she said, “Captain Limis Vircona of the Lambda Paz. This is my head of security, Lieutenant Commander Mandel Morrison.”

    Odo immediately knew that Limis was going ask about his progress in the investigation. Although he was answerable to the station commander (whether that was Gul Dukat or Captain Sisko), he preferred a high degree autonomy when conducting a major investigation. He did not care for having to deal with Starfleet bureaucrats; especially those who he felt were trying to usurp his authority.

    “No,” he said, “I don’t have any leads so far, Captain. Besides, this does not concern you. It is a matter of station security.”

    “Three of my officers were injured in that explosion,” Limis shot back. “That makes it my concern.”

    Odo sighed and walked behind his desk. “Quark, you’re free to go,” he announced.

    Quark leapt up out of his chair. “Feel free to ask for my help in finding whoever is responsible for the loss of business today,” he said to Limis before walking out of the office. Odo grinned, seeing right through the façade.

    “And, Captain,” Odo continued, “I will let you know of any leads I come across.”

    “I will be functioning as Captain Limis’s liaison in this investigation,” Morrison stated.

    “As long you understand this is my investigation, Commander,” Odo replied.

    Morrison nodded an approval. “That shouldn’t be a problem,” Limis said, looking at Morrison. Then to Odo, she said in reference to her deceased Maquis colleague Michael Eddington, who served as DS9’s head of Starfleet security (assigned by Starfleet because they didn’t trust Odo) prior to his defection, “I’ve heard from Michael how you prefer to operate. So what do you have so far?”

    “Chances are this incident is not as simple as Quark not keeping up with his maintenance schedule,” Odo replied. “I keep him in check though. Given the damage inflicted on the station at the end of the Occupation five years ago, we may have stumbled on another Cardassian booby trap.”

    “This time, however, the Cardassians had far less time to evacuate,” Morrison offered.

    “That’s true,” said Odo. “But I’ve learned never to underestimate Cardassian ingenuity. It could’ve been something that was lying dormant for many years.”

    “Keep me posted on your progress then,” Limis said to both chiefs of security, before walking out of the office.

    Lieutenant Shinar sh’Aqba crawled through a Jeffries Tube to make investigate a power fluctuation. This layover at Deep Space Nine, which had been seized by the Dominion four months earlier and then just returned to Federation control, was hardly for her and most of the engineering crew. A number of crewmembers were away on shore leave, and so the senior most engineering officers had extra repair and maintenance work. Granted, station chief of operations Miles O’Brien could spare members of his crews to lend a hand. However, those engineers were not entirely familiar with the latest technological innovations the Lambda Paz featured.

    Lieutenant junior grade Erhlich Tarlazzi, the Rigellian assistant engineer was working on an access panel down the tube. Sh’Aqba’s eyes widened as if he was not supposed to be there, and she moved towards him faster. “You do not have authorization to work in this area, Lieutenant,” she said calmly, but sternly.

    Tarlazzi looked at his Andorian superior with a smirk. “I’m a member of this crew,” he answered. “That’s authorization enough, isn’t it?”

    “Maintenance on the navigational sensors is not on today’s assignment roster,” sh’Aqba explained. “You should have checked with me or Commander Logan before making changes in scheduling.”

    “Relax, Lieutenant,” Tarlazzi said with a chuckle. “I didn’t do any harm.”

    “On the contrary,” sh’Aqba responded, crawling over to look at Tarlazzi’s work,” I scheduled a warp engine diagnostic for this morning while you were re-routing power. We have lost hours of work because of this.”

    “When you put it that way,” Tarlazzi quipped.

    “You are, of course, still in on the job training,” said sh’Aqba. “But your cavalier attitude worries me, Mister Tarlazzi.”
    Sh’Aqba’s right antenna turned slightly. While not looking directly at Tarlazzi, her quadroscopic vision, supplied by her antennae, sensed that Tarlazzi’s skin had flushed and his pupils had dilated. She quickly dismissed what her mind was telling her. “You’re dismissed, Lieutenant,” she said harshly.
    “Yes, ma’am,” Tarlazzi replied, before crawling down the tube.

    Elim Garak was once again the only Cardassian residing on Deep Space 9. Unlike the end of half-century long Cardassian occupation of Bajor five years earlier, the return of the station to Starfleet control this time around seemed like a smoother transition. Much of the station’s Federation and Bajoran population had initially been suspicious of the Cardassian who owned a tailor shop on the Promenade. He had done much over those years to assuage those suspicions, although he was more comfortable not being trusted.

    One remaining reason for suspicion was that he did not want a security escort to accompany, given that many Bajorans and Cardassians had wanted him dead. His own father and former mentor had hired an assassin to eliminate him three years earlier, but he remained tight-lipped to station personnel investigating the attempt on his life. He paced through the corridors of the habitat ring of the station. A hooded man who bumped into him from behind sidetracked him. “Pardon me,” the man mumbled, while looking down at the floor.

    The hooded man’s brick red robe piqued Garak’s curiosity, as the man’s clothing looked vaguely familiar. As an agent of the Cardassian intelligence agency the Obsidian Order, he had used the trick of pretending to bump into someone he and his fellow were keeping track of. He turned a corner and saw the hooded man who passed him. Two other men were with him, wearing the same brick red robes with large hoods on their heads. They all had their faces covered with peach colored masks.

    Garak had heard of a Bajoran extremist group whose undercover operatives had dressed in this manner. Its numbers had diminished, however, four years earlier when evidence was revealed that the Cardassians had sponsored its attempt to rid Bajor of all foreign influences. “May I help you, gentleman?” Garak asked in a humorous tone.

    The man in the center of group took two slow steps closer to Garak. “The Prophets say this is a holy time,” he rasped. “B'tanay, the time of awakening. Return to that dark place where all life springs. Mind awakens and focuses on its task. Pagh’tem’far b’tanay.”

    Pagh’tem’far b’tanay,” the other two masked men repeated in unison.

    “I seem to have taken a wrong turn,” Garak replied. “Carry on.”

    Garak turned around and began to walk away when two of the masked men grabbed him by both arms, and then pushed him against a wall. One of the men punched Garak in the jaw sending him to the floor. The mysterious assailants then held the Cardassian down while the third masked man moved towards them. He took a cylindrical device out of his pocket and jammed it against Garak’s forehead.

    Down the corridor, Mandel Morrison stepped off the turbolift and saw what taking place. He tapped his combadge to call for reinforcements. “Security to the habitat ring, level four, section five-three alpha,” he called. He then ran towards the fracas and bowled into one of Garak’s attackers. The masked assailant threw Morrison aside. He stood up and ran off with the other two masked men.

    Morrison quickly got back on his feet to check on Garak. The Cardassian slowly sat up feeling blood trickling down the side of his mouth. Two Bajoran Militia security deputies stepped off the turbolift with phasers in hand. They immediately upholstered once they saw Morrison attending to Garak.

    “Are you all right?” Morrison asked Garak.

    “I’m fine,” Garak replied, feeling his spot on his forehead where he was branded.
  2. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Three
    In the Infirmary’s main exam room, Doctor Bashir held a dermal regenerator to left side of Garak’s mouth where one of the masked men punched him. Odo, Limis, and Morrison gathered around discussing the latest incident. Limis had heard of her security chief’s latest heroics.

    She was even more curious as to why a group of extremists opposed to Bajor’s entry into the Federation was again wreaking havoc on Deep Space Nine. For years, she did not care for the Federation very much. She and fellow colonists on Volan Three were left to fend for themselves after the Federation signed a treaty with the Cardassian Union ceding that planet to the Cardassians. Then that same Federation condemned the actions of the Maquis, fearing that the anti-Cardassian terrorist group would jeopardize the peace.

    Opposition to the Federation was fairly common amongst her fellow Bajorans shortly after the end of the Cardassian occupation. In fact, one such group opposed to Bajor’s membership in the Federation nearly succeeded in overthrowing the government and driving off the Starfleet presence on the station. The Circle, as it was called in those days, quickly lost credibility once evidence was uncovered that the Cardassians had provided its members with weapons through a third party.

    The benefits of Federation membership became much clearer to the people in subsequent years. Bajor would have become a Federation member a year earlier if not for Captain Benjamin Sisko’s cryptic warning that Bajor would be destroyed unless it stood alone. In spite of a non-aggression pact Bajor signed with the Dominion to assure the planet’s safety during the Dominion War, a very large majority of the Bajoran people knew that eventual Federation membership was still preferable the oppressive rule of the Dominion and its Cardassian allies.

    “I’m just as curious as well,” Garak stated. “If these xenophobic Bajorans wanted to send a message by attacking a Cardassian, surely they’d have gone after Gul Dukat when they had the chance.”

    Odo scoffed. When Garak was first exiled to the station, very little was known of him outside of his seeming cover profession as a tailor. His contributions to Starfleet since the beginning of the Dominion War disabused many of the station’s residents of the notion that he was a spy. This was not Garak’s signature insistence of being a “simple tailor.” “For once, you’re right, Garak,” the constable stated.

    “Besides that,” Limis added, “the Circle has not taken these kinds of actions in four years. Their numbers have declined since their coup failed. And Federation membership will just be a formality.”

    “Assuming the Federation wins the war,” Odo replied. “In the meantime, Bajor’s non-aggression pact with the Dominion only guarantees the planet’s safety during the war. Perhaps some of your countrymen are dissatisfied with the Federation, especially now that it has taken back control of DS9.”

    Bashir, meanwhile, had successfully removed the tattooed insignia of the Circle from Garak’s forehead. “There,” the doctor declared. “Good as new.”

    Garak stood up from the reclining examination chair. “How do I look, Captain?” he jovially asked Limis.

    “Like a credit to your race, Mister Garak,” Limis half-heartedly responded. She nodded to Morrison for him to accompany her as sauntered out of the infirmary.

    Garak instinctively felt his forehead at the former location of the tattoo. He looked at Bashir, then at Odo. “Now that was uncalled for,” he said.

    Ronnie Kozar sat in his office preparing crew evaluation reports. The executive officer had the responsibility of preparing these reports every three months, but larger responsibilities on the front lines in the last four months got in the way of that. The layover at DS9 meant he had a lot of catching up to do. So much for shore leave.

    He took a sip of green tea when the door chimed. “Come in,” he said, keeping his gaze on the desk monitor.

    Logan stormed into the office with sh’Aqba close behind. “Ronnie,” Logan huffed, “this is the last straw.”

    “You said that the last time Tarlazzi drove one of your prized antiques off a cliff,” Kozar retorted.

    “All I did,” Tarlazzi stated, walking into the office, “was suggest that we could use the plasma regulators more efficiently if we routed power through the EPS conduits on Deck 17. But once again, that goes against almighty Starfleet rules.”

    “Safety protocols call for no more than 15 giga-watts,” sh’Aqba fired back. “Any more than that, and you risk an overload that would knock power on three decks.”

    Kozar stood up and raised both hands to ask that the three engineers calm themselves. “I’ve got too much on my plate to comprehend engineer techno-babble right now,” he said. “I heard about the incident this morning. No harm done. But this is war, and this ship will be needed back on the front lines in a week. We don’t always have the luxury of following every minor safety protocol. Just keep a close eye on the power flow of that tech thing. Use your own good judgment, Mister Logan and Miss sh’Aqba.”

    “Understood, sir,” Logan and sh’Aqba both answered.

    “And try to work out squabbles within your department yourselves,” Kozar added. “You don’t need me to keep playing referee. You’re both chief engineers. Act like it. Dismissed.”

    The engineers then quietly filed out of the office. Kozar sat back down looking back at the crew reports, which were only distraction from the wars on and off the ship.

    For the first time since being called into Starfleet service, Captain Limis was able to get a full night of sleep. Of course, night and day were fluid concepts in interstellar space, so eight consecutive hours of uninterrupted sleep was good enough for her. She set her alarm for 0500. The computer chimed at the set time. “The time is 0500 hours,” the computer’s feminine voice stated.

    Limis immediately got out of bed and headed for the shower. After five minutes, she dried herself and got into uniform. Just as she was about a order raktajino from the replicator, the computer chimed once again.

    Captain Limis. Incoming message. High priority.

    “Put it on the monitor,” Limis replied.

    The large monitor screen behind her desk lit up. The symbol of the Republic of Bajor filled the screen. Ancient Bajoran script appeared across the screen. Limis immediately recognized it as This is a holy time.

    A raspy male voice was then heard in the transmission. “Focus on the task at hand,” it said. “Pagh’tem’far b’tanay.”

    The Bajoran insignia was then replaced by a set of fractal images. Limis had the foresight to close her eyes and raise one hand to shield her eyes. She then unshielded her eyes when the transmission ended.

    Limis suddenly felt a chill, as if she had seen a ghost from her past. “Computer, place a Level 9 encryption on that last transmission,” she said. She then tapped her combadge to call sickbay. “Limis to sickbay.”

    “This is Doctor Markalis,” a dispassionate and almost robotic sounding voice on the other end replied.

    “Can you come to my quarters, Doctor?” she requested.

    “Okay,” Markalis reluctantly replied with a sigh.

    Limis was busy trying to trace the transmission at her desk using tricks she had learned from her time in Starfleet Intelligence when the doctor entered. Limis smiled even knowing Markalis rarely ever smiled. “Hope I didn’t interrupt your beauty sleep,” Limis joked.

    “I was already on duty, Captain,” Markalis replied quietly. “ I would be neglecting my duties had I been sleeping.”

    “Of course,” Limis relented, feeling for a minute that she wanted to explain the joke. But then she remembered that Markalis did not always know when someone was making a joke. “I know you prefer not to make house calls,” the captain continued, standing up and walking towards the sofa. “But I just need you to take a few scans.”

    Markalis set down her med-kit on the glass coffee table. She then sat down at the captain’s left and pulled a medical tricorder out of the kit. “That is what is so different from being just a surgeon,” she remarked.

    “Why did you decide to become a doctor?” Limis curiously asked. Since taking command of the Lambda Paz, she found the chief medical officer to be the most curious of crewmembers. Markalis’s service record indicated she gravitated towards assignments requiring minimal interactions with colleagues outside the medical department.

    “Combat situations are very chaotic,” Markalis explained. “My job is to clean up the mess in an orderly manner. I bring order to chaos.” She opened her medical tricorder and began scanning, while training the hand sensor over the captain’s head.

    “How very Borg-like,” Limis quipped.

    “Only I don’t rob people of their individuality,” the doctor replied.

    “Was that a joke?”

    “I was merely pointing out the flaw in your metaphor.” Markalis closed the tricorder and tucked it away in the med-kit. “I can tell you I found nothing out of the ordinary.”

    “Nothing to indicate hypnosis?” Limis asked with a hint of disappointment.

    “I would’ve detected elevated neurotransmitter levels in your cerebral cortex. I’d have to do a more detailed workup in sickbay.”

    “That’s quite all right, Doctor. I’d be more worried if he had left evidence behind. He’s not that careless.”

    “Who is not that careless?”

    “An old colleague in the Maquis.”

    Fifteen minutes later, Limis had changed into civilian clothes. She summoned Kozar to her quarters who arrived while Limis was packing up a duffel bag. “Are you coming to your senses and resigning?” he half-jokingly asked.

    “Very funny, Kozar,” Limis replied curtly. She could not believe her first officer had the gall to make a joke like that a month after an incident that prompted Kozar to relieve her of command. Limis had used torture to obtain crucial information. She, furthermore, caused the death of a civilian. Both would ordinarily have her booted out of the service. However, the Judge Advocate General’s office elected not to take any disciplinary actions, and she was quickly reinstated.

    “I’m letting you know I received special orders from Starfleet,” the captain continued. “You’re in command while I’m on Bajor.”

    “Bajor?” Kozar repeated. “What is the nature of this mission?”

    “I’ve said all I can,” Limis answered, zipping the bag shut. She then hung the duffel bag on her right shoulder. “Just hold down the fort until I get back.”

    Limis quickly made her way to the runabout Allegheny, docked in the main shuttlebay. To her surprise, Morrison was already occupying the primary pilot seat. Like his captain, he was also out of uniform as if volunteering to accompany her. He swiveled his seat around to face Limis, phaser in hand.
    “Do you know how many regs you’re violating pointing a phaser at your captain?” Limis sternly asked.

    “I have a good idea,” Morrison retorted. “Commander Kozar asked me to do some checking. You never received any encrypted messages, no Code 47 transmissions. In fact, you deleted a message from Bajor this morning.”

    “Do the words ‘captain’s eyes only’ mean anything to you? I’ll add that to the list of charges.”

    Morrison picked up a padd balanced at the end of the console. “Not if Commander Kozar gets this first,” he warned.

    “Blackmail?” Limis aghastly asked. “You’re trying to blackmail me now?”

    “Unless you allow me to accompany me on this so-called mission of yours.”

    “If it assures you I have nothing to hide,” Limis grumbled, throwing her duffel bag aside and sitting down in the secondary pilot seat, “but only if you delete the contents of that padd immediately.”

    Morrison entered a command into the padd, deleting the information on the screen. He smiled and showed the blank screen to Limis.

    “The let’s get underway.”

    After both pilots ran through all the pre-flight checks, the outer shuttle door opened. The runabout then slipped through the protective forcefield and veered downwards on a course for Bajor.
  3. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Four

    In Captain Limis’s absence, Commander Kozar had the responsibility of chairing staff meetings among other command responsibilities. He was accustomed to these more mundane aspects of command, as he expected to become captain of the Lambda Paz. The assignment of Limis as CO and relegation of Kozar was a proverbial slap in the face. Hopefully, Morrison would learn something incriminating on Limis during this mission on alleged special orders from Starfleet.

    Since the ship docked at DS9, the senior staff held daily briefings regarding the latest repair needs and how to prioritize them. The repairs were proceeding smoothly, but finding replacement personnel was more difficult. The ship had suffered heavy casualties during a counter-attack at the Betreka Nebula that coincided with Operation Return with enemy forces largely diverted towards holding onto the station.

    Chief engineers Logan and sh’Aqba were seated on one side of the table at Kozar’s right. Doctor Markalis was seated at the acting captain’s left. Representing the security department in Morrison’s absence was the Triexian deputy chief, Lieutenant Tirun Ra Hoth, who was next to the doctor. Relief tactical officer, Bolian ensign Jovis Ren was seated next to Ra Hoth.

    “First item is the status of the engines,” Kozar stated, looking at a padd in front of him. “Mister Logan?”

    “Impulse engines are at peak efficiency,” Logan answered. “Dilithium realignment still requires a few more days of work.”

    “Very good,” said Kozar. “Sh’Aqba, how are you coming with those ODN relays?”

    “Some of the gel packs on Deck 10 blew out,” the Andorian lieutenant answered. “Replacements are hard to come by, so we’re converting to isolinear circuitry.”

    “What about weapons?” Kozar asked, looking over to Ren.

    “We now have a full compliment of quantum torpedoes,” Ren answered. “We’re still having trouble with the phaser emitter crystals.”

    “Make that a top priority then,” Kozar replied. “Regarding replacement personnel, we lost a lot of our security officers when the Jem’Hadar boarded during the last engagement.”

    “Commander Morrison has been searching for replacement MACO commander,” Ra Hoth added. “None of our current troops have enough leadership experience.”

    “I think he has Lisa Neeley in mind,” Kozar offered. “She was the Defiant’s weapons officer, but that position is likely going back to Commander Worf.” He then looked to Doctor Markalis. “What about sickbay?”

    “Two of the stasis units are still off-line,” the doctor replied.

    “I can get someone to take a look, Doctor,” sh’Aqba offered. “And I believe the EMH is experiencing some kind of optronic error.”

    “Good,” Markalis shot back. “Keep him that way.”

    “Look into the problem with the EMH, Lieutenant,” Kozar chimed in, ignoring Markalis’s comment. “Dismissed.”

    Each of the other officers filed out either through the bridge entrance or the side entryway behind the monitor screen. “Doctor Markalis, please stay,” the first officer called out.

    When all the other officers in the briefing were gone, he motioned with his hand for the doctor to sit. He decided to give it to her straight, even though Markalis complied with Kozar’s directive with a child-like look of repentance on her face.

    “You were responsible for that optronic error,” Kozar stated.

    “Yes,” Markalis remorsefully answered. “But he’s a jerk. I don’t care for some trick of light arguing every little medical diagnosis.”

    “This is war, Doctor. We need all the officers and crew we can spare. Hell, an ex-Maquis outranks me. That ‘trick of light’ is a walking talking medical database. At least try to get along with him.”

    “Yes, sir,” Markalis deferently replied.

    “At ease, Doctor,” Kozar said calmly and with a smile. “It’s human nature to think of doctors as larger than life, but they’re not indestructible. And we have to make do with our EMH. I’m just asking that you try to accept him as a member of this crew.”

    “I will try,” Markalis replied. “Am I dismissed, sir?”

    “Of course,” Kozar answered. He looked out the viewport as Markalis departed and mumbled, “And I should start to practice what I just preached.”

    Jaro Essa sat in a cell at Kran-Tobal Prison on Bajor, writing on a sheet of paper. Nearly a dozen sheets of paper filled the floor of the cell. He spent the last four years at this prison since leading a failed coup d’etat against the Bajoran government. After the coup failed, Jaro confessed to his role and immediately resigned from the Council of Ministers in disgrace. As a private citizen, he was then tried and convicted of treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government. Writing was one way to pass the time. At first, the wardens had his controversial philosophical and religious treatises. That was until Jaro reminded them the Bajoran people fought for a century to end that kind of tyranny.

    Two male Bajoran militia guards escorted Limis and Morrison to Jaro’s cell. They both sat down in front of transparent screen. Jaro slowly walked to the screen smiling as he sat down to face his former Resistance colleague. “To what do I owe the pleasure, Vira?” he pleasantly asked.

    “You’ve put on weight, Essa,” Limis observed.

    “Being in prison does that you. Surely, you didn’t come to reminisce about old times.”

    Limis shot a candid glance at Morrison. “Will you excuse us, Morrison?” she said.

    Morrison obliged with a nod and walked away. Limis then looked back at Jaro. “Earlier today, I received a transmission from Teero Anaydis trying to get me to join his little group. Thankfully, I shielded my eyes. And yesterday, members of the Circle attacked Deep Space Nine’s resident Cardassian. They may also be responsible for sabotage that injured three of my officers.”

    “And so you came to me,” Jaro replied. “What do you expect of me, Vira? Am I supposed to tell these radicals acting in my name that Teero has it all wrong?”

    “Nothing so grandiose. You know how Teero thinks. You can take him into confidence and find out what his next plans are.”

    “I may not agree with his methods, but I support his position.”

    Jaro sighed and stood up slowly. He paced back and forth in the cell. “I am a changed man, though,” he continued. “I have to come to know the love of the Prophets. I and much of my former supporters have come to see we were led astray by the trappings of power. Federation membership will not cause us to lose our cultural identity, which is more than we can say regarding fifty years of Cardassian rule.

    “For right now, the Federation is playing a dangerous game with Bajor. How can we truly stand alone if Starfleet is now back in control of Deep Space Nine?”

    “The Council of Ministers is debating abdicating the non-aggression pact,” Limis offered.

    “While politicians are doing that, our people are in a very precarious position.”

    “You’ll give my request some thought, at least?”

    “Even if I knew where Teero was hiding, why would I share that with you and your Federation colleagues?”

    “The Federation has reminded us that words can sometimes be more effective that guns, because peace at the point of a gun is no peace at all.”

    Jaro raised an eyebrow at hearing his own words quoted. “’By taking up arms against our brothers and sisters,” he said finishing the passage of one of his published works, “we became the enemy we sought to defeat!’”

    “First Minister Shakaar is considering my request for a furlough,” Limis stated. “He should have his answer tomorrow.”

    She left the visitor section of the cell block leaving her old mentor to contemplate his choices.

    The following morning, Limis used the prison warden’s office monitor to communicate with First Minister Shakaar Edon. She remembered he had longer hair from photographs of Bajoran Resistance leaders. The shorter hair and clean-shaven face was more appropriate even for a soldier-turned-politician.

    “You understand if I’m still a bit skeptical, Captain,” the First Minister stated. “Plenty can go wrong when dealing with Teero Anaydis. If anything did wrong as a result of granting your request. I would have to answer for it in the next election.”

    “I can appreciate your position on this, Minister,” Limis replied. “Jaro knows how Teero thinks. They were close colleagues during the Occupation. He can find out what his next move might be.”

    “Even so, the plan you are suggesting is too dangerous. I regret to inform you the request for a furlough is denied.”

    That was hardly much of an obstacle for Limis. She later returned to the main lobby asking to visit Jaro again. “You’ll have to surrender your weapon,” the male guard told her. “You know the drill.”

    Limis slowly removed her phaser from her holster. She then quickly fired the phaser, stunning the guard. A second guard at the cellblock drew his phaser. Limis turned and stunned him.

    Limis then used the stunned guard’s own fingers to tap his combadge. She grabbed the badge, opened the casing and removed the transtator. She placed it inside the door control to get inside the cellblock.

    She reached Jaro’s cell without further resistance,. Jaro was speechless as he noticed Limis with a phaser in hand. “Stand back,” she commanded him. She fired her phaser at the cell door opening it.

    “Why are you doing this?” Jaro curiously inquired, slowly walking out of the cell.

    “My request for a furlough was denied,” Limis replied.

    “I see your time in Starfleet—however short it’s been—hasn’t softened you.”

    “Limis to the Allegheny,” the captain said, tapping her combadge. “Two to beam up.”

    The two of them dematerialized.
  4. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Five

    Mandel Morrison sat at the primary pilot seat when the doors to the aft compartment opened. Limis and Jaro stepped into the cockpit. “Take us to the planet’s magnetic pole, Commander,” Limis ordered. “I’ll explain later.”

    “Whom exactly are we hiding from?” Morrison asked.

    “Just set the damned course, or I can do it myself.” Limis stormed towards the secondary pilot seat at Morrison’s right and entered the course change. “You remember former Minister Jaro,” she said, more calmly.

    Morrison swung his chair around to greet their runabout’s newest passenger. “Minister,” he said with a blank nod.

    Jaro sensed that the human officer would mention his role in the attempted coup four years earlier. That was the one and only thing that he had been for in the interim. That one disgrace erased years of heroic accomplishments during the Occupation.

    “Despite what history might say about me, Commander,” he said, “I was a victim of circumstance, as many of my followers were.”

    “So why are you here, sir?” Morrison inquired.

    “Because Teero is a fanatic. His use of mind control is too dangerous. I’m still not fond of the Federation now that Bajor is caught up in a destructive war. We still depend on them to protect us from the Dominion.”

    “We can debate this later gentlemen,” Limis chimed in. “Right now, we need to find Teero Anaydis.”

    “That’s where I come in,” said Jaro. “We were part of the same resistance cell. We often hid in the mountains of Ilvya Province.”

    “That could be the first place the Bajoran government looks,” Morrison suggested. “In fact, we have no way of knowing if he is still in Bajor.”

    Limis began entering commands to open a communications channel. “Yesterday morning,” she explained. “I received a transmission from Bajor. Teero tried to recruit me. I’m going to let him think he succeeded.”

    She sent a printout message to the Ilvya mountains saying she had stolen a Starfleet runabout and was wanting to meet with Teero. Jaro then entered a random set of words that was then translated and transliterated into ancient Bajoran. “We used a set of codes to assure our colleagues the Cardassians were not tricking them into giving away their positions,” he explained to Morrison.

    “An Underground Railroad,” Morrison commented.

    Both Jaro and Limis glanced at Morrison, not understanding the term.

    “Five hundred years ago on Earth,” Morrison explained, “escaped slaves communicated meeting locations through song.” Turning his console, he said, “I’m now piggy-backing the transmission to Bajoran carrier frequencies.”

    “Now, we wait,” Limis quietly remarked.

    Almost immediately, the communications panel at Limis’s console chirped. Teero sent a printout message instructing Limis to beam down to a set of coordinates included in the message. “That was a little too easy,” she murmured.

    Limis left her seat and walked over to the cockpit’s aft consoles. Once there, she pulled out an emergency med-kit from the bottom hatch. “Before we beam down,” she said, “we need to be prepared.”

    She removed a hypospray from the kit and injected herself on the side of her neck. “First a neural inhibitor in case Teero tries to brainwash us.” She then injected Jaro with the same drug. “And sub-dermal communicators.” For those, she took a rectangular device and injected hers and Jaro’s left wrist.

    “Meanwhile, I’ll be up here eavesdropping,” Morrison sarcastically remarked.

    “But I want you to land the ship in a secluded area of the planet,” Limis added. “Make it look like it crash-landed with ships chasing it from here to DS9.”

    “Understood,” Morrison sighed. He was now wishing he hadn’t undertaken this fool’s errand. He was only here to help Kozar dig up dirt, but now he was embarking on a possible mission of no return.

    Limis and Jaro materialized in a dark subterranean cavern. It was just like all the other caverns where she and her resistance colleagues convened to plan strikes against the Cardassians. The soft breeze created an eerie howl. It was an ominous reminder to Limis that she was here to undermine a terrorist group rather than support one.

    She trained her wrist beacon ahead of her to see in front of herself, and felt a sudden chill. “Something doesn’t feel right,” she mused.

    “Are you suggesting we abandon the mission?” Jaro inquired.

    “Not at all.”

    Limis was ready to pull her phaser, when heard footsteps that were not her own or Jaro’s. A gray-haired Bajoran man slowly walked over to them. He was still a few decades younger than Jaro, and he kept his hair slightly long as a reminder of his greatest achievements. He stared at Jaro to make sure his eyes were not deceiving him. His old friend had been incarcerated, and he was thinner when they last crossed paths.

    “Essa?” he gasped.

    “It’s me, Anaydis,” Jaro confirmed. “Of course, your newest recruit had to break me out of prison.”

    Teero smiled and walked over to Limis. “Captain, you’ll make a valuable addition,” he said. “A Bajoran former Maquis now in Starfleet. You have information that can be helpful.”

    “Thank you, sir,” Limis replied. “I’ll do my best to serve you.”

    “Come to my chambers,” Teero declared. “Let’s have a drink.”

    The living area Teero led them to reminded Limis of the one-room tenement housing on Volan Three. The walls were made of rusted metal. The furniture was run down and worn out. Anyone not knowing any better would think this room was a crashed freighter. “I’m sorry if the accommodations are not to your liking,” Teero stated. “We all had to settle for this throughout our lives.”

    “It doesn’t have to be that way now,” Limis offered. “The Occupation has been over for six years.”

    “True. But I have gotten used to being a hunted man. I never really fit in anywhere. Even the Maquis rejected me.”

    Teero sauntered over to a counter and picked up a pitcher containing a blue liquid. He poured it into three glasses. He handed two of them over to Jaro and Limis. He picked up the third and raised it in a toast. “To fight lost causes.”

    The three Bajorans tapped their glasses together. Limis then took a sip and winced. “Is this Romulan ale?” she asked.

    “I have connections with smugglers,” Teero explained. Then to Jaro, he said, “Essa, you understand my position of all people.”

    Jaro nodded in confirmation.

    “We have a non-aggression pact with the Dominion,” Teero continued, “despite the actions of a few malcontents. But Starfleet once again controls the space station.”

    “Yes,” Jaro agreed. “It is a volatile conflict of interest. The Federation presence makes this star system a tempting target everyday. That is why we must stand alone per the Emissary’s warning.”

    “I met him a few times,” said Limis. “He cited my leadership skills and creative thinking in combat when recommending me to command the Lambda Paz. Now I see, I don’t owe the Federation a damn thing.”

    Jaro took a sip of ale and inhaled slowly. “I feel I must inform you, Teero,” he said, “that Captain Limis was not affected by your hypnosis. She’s selling us out to Starfleet.”

    Limis was about to deny the statement, but the look of surprise in her eyes gave her away.

    “I know,” Teero replied. “Which is why I dispatched a Bajoran interceptor to shoot down her shuttle.”

    Teero snapped his fingers. A door in an alcove off in a corner of the room opened. Two unkempt, disheveled Bajorans shoved Mandel Morrison inside. Blood down the left side of his lips. He and Limis gazed at each other in horror.
  5. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Six

    “You lying son of a bitch!”

    Limis was furious with Jaro’s sudden betrayal. She could have killed him had she not been disarmed at the same time Morrison was brought in.

    “I’m very sorry,” Jaro coldly replied. “But I could not allow you to completely undermine Teero’s efforts.”

    “All that about being a born-again believer of the Prophets,” said Limis, “and not harming our brothers and sisters. That was all a lie?”

    “I was taking advantage of a rare opportunity.”

    “Take them below,” Teero ordered the two guards. “Prepare them for the mind alteration.”

    Limis and Morrison were taken into a dank and musty room below Teero’s residence. Water was dripping from the rocky ceiling. The only lighting came from a fixture dangling from the ceiling blinking on and off.

    “Just after you beamed down,” Morrison deadpanned, “a Bajoran interceptor came right at the runabout like it knew where to find me.”

    “I really thought he had changed, “ Limis lamented aloud. “I would have thought he had learned he had seen that he was turning on fellow Bajorans after what we all fought for together.”

    “Well, I hope you’re happy,” Morrison scowled. “I tried sending out a distress call, but I don’t know if it got the Deep Space 9. Now we’re going to become that lunatic’s newest sleeper agents.”

    “I never asked you to come on this mission,” Limis shot back. “This was a mission ordered by Intelligence.”

    “You never mentioned your ties to Starfleet Intelligence.”

    “You, of all people, should know agents of Starfleet Intelligence do not reveal themselves to just anyone. And my captaincy give me the privilege of keeping a few things to myself.”

    Morrison rolled his eyes and began pacing back and forth in a the small room having barely enough room for walking. “All this advance technology, but we don’t have the means to get out of this cellar,” he grumbled.

    “So what are your plans for you to force the Federation to withdraw from Bajor?” Jaro asked Teero while sharing another round of Romulan ale.

    “All in good time, my friend,” Teero grinned, raising his glass. “The explosion in the Ferengi’s bar and the attack on the Cardassian spy sent a message that we will not be toyed with.

    “The hypnotic message I sent your protégé was just a test to see what kind of improvements I must make.. My first target is Shakaar.”

    “I should remind you the First Minister is not an autocrat,” Jaro offered. “His supporters “His supporters and his opponents will soon catch on.”

    “Patience is an important factor,” Teero replied. “I have operatives gathering information on his top supporters and opponents.”

    The friendly conversation was interrupted when both men heard the sound of weapon discharges and explosions. Both listened carefully to be sure that was what they were. Both them stood up, when they heard a man cry out. Teero grabbed a phaser rifle under the kitchen counter and threw it Jaro. He then picked up another rifle for himself.

    Teero darted for the door to lend hand to his colleagues. Jaro followed slowly, but then he turned back to the cellar entrance when Teero was far enough away.

    Limis and Morrison expected they were going to be mind altered when Jaro entered. “I know of another way of these catacombs,” he announced to them.

    “Don’t let him fool you, Captain,” Morrison whispered.

    “It’s better than waiting to be mind altered,” Limis replied.
    As they were walking up to the main living area, three Starfleet troops entered armed with phaser rifles. Limis and Morrison recognized the Triexian as Ra Hoth and the Brikar in a MACO jumpsuit as Mik Tannin. The tall red-haired human woman was unfamiliar to them, though.

    “Looks like everyone here is all right,” she declared, upon seeing Limis, Morrison, and Jaro uninjured. “Lieutenant Lisa Neeley, Deep Space 9,” she said, introducing herself to Limis.

    “I recommended her as the new MACO commander,” Morrison said to Limis.

    “Looks like you earned the job,” Limis candidly replied.

    Captain’s log, stardate 51245.1: A team from the Lambda Paz, with the help of a group of Bajoran Militia retrieved Commander Morrison and me. Jaro has been returned to Kran-Tobal Prison. No sign remains of Teero, but extra firewalls have been put in place on the communications frequencies of members of the Council of Ministers.

    Limis later explained a few matters to Morrison while sauntering through the corridors. “I did receive a transmission from Starfleet Intelligence,” she stated. “They also contacted Shakaar asking him to deny my request for a furlough.”

    “So he would have plausible deniability if anything went wrong,” Morrison finished.

    “Plus, I had to make my effort to join Teero’s little cabal appear convincing.”

    “And Jaro was there to appear to betray at the right moment.”

    “The was his idea. We both could’ve ended up dead if Teero began to suspect we were working for Intelligence.”

    “I still don’t understand one thing,” Morrison said, while they stopped at the door to his quarters. “Wouldn’t this operation constitute unlawful interference in Bajoran internal affairs?”

    “Under a new General Order,” Limis replied. “Starfleet can use any means necessary to neutralize threats to Deep Space 9, given the station’s strategic importance during the war.”
    Morrison silently nodded.

    “Good night, Morrison,” said Limis. “See you on the bridge at 0700.”

    Morrison entered his quarters to see Sara Carson seated on the sofa to his confusion. “I used the transporter,” she said in anticipation of Mandel’s query about how she got in.
    Morrison sighted in regret. “We had a holosuite appointment,” he remembered. “I had an important mission.”

    “Save the excuses, Mandel,” Sara shot back. “You volunteered for this mission. The captain didn’t need your help.”

    “I sent the distress call that allowed her to be rescued.”

    “That is beside the point. We’ve been together long enough to have an understanding of where our relationship is going. You don’t know if I’m just another one of your conquests or someone you are genuinely in love with.”

    “I never said this was an exclusive partnership.”

    “You never said it wasn’t. You obviously have a fear of commitment. I can’t wait for you to get over that fear. I’m sorry.”

    Carson stormed out of the quarters, leaving Morrison at a loss for words.

    Limis’s desk in her ready room was cluttered with padds containing various status reports. She had a lot of catching up to do after two days on Bajor.

    The door chimed while she was reading two padds at once. “Come in,” she said, without looking away.

    Kozar entered. “We’ll be ready to get underway in another couple of days,” he reported.

    “Good,” Limis replied setting down the padds. “There’s another matter. Sit down.”

    Kozar sat in one of the guest chairs eager to hear what Limis had to say.

    “I understand you asked Morrison to do some snooping around,” Limis candidly stated. “He even blackmailed me letting him accompany me.”

    Limis paused for a moment, and Kozar began to speak.
    “Hypothetically speaking,” Limis continued, “if you were captain and I was first officer, you’d be well within your rights to throw me in the brig for behaving that way?”

    “Correct,” Kozar replied.

    “So from now on, if I even suspect anyone on this ship of conspiracy to commit mutiny, I will personally throw you in the brig. Understood?!”

    “Yes, ma’am… sir,” Kozar stuttered.

    Teero Anaydis sat in a chair in a dark room. The only lighting was from light fixture shining straight down on him. A raspy feminine voice was speaking in his mind.

    Everything has failed.

    Teero was communicating telepathically with this mysterious presence. I never expected Jaro Essa would sell us out.

    Of course, and that is why all our plans are on hold.
    We will continue however. We will eventually deal with First Minister Shakaar Edon in our own way.
  6. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    The Tides of War, Part I (Season Finale)

    Historians Note: Part One takes place concurrently with the events of “Sacrifice of Angels”. Part Two takes place during and after the events of “In the Pale Moonlight”. Part Three takes place concurrently with the events of “Tears of the Prophets.”

    Part One: Mysterious Enemy

    Chapter One
    The first Betreka Nebula counterstrike

    [LEFT] The Lambda Paz fired its main ventral phasers at the dorsal of a Jem’Hadar heavy cruiser. After getting off more shot with the secondary hull’s ventral phasers, it moved on to two smaller battleships. A fierce volley of quantum torpedoes crippled both ships.

    The bridge rocked violently sending its crew to the deck. Captain Limis Vircona stood up quickly and sat down in her chair to enter commands into the side console on her right. Three blips appeared on the panel.

    Ensign Goris M’Rev, the Tellarite at Ops, confirmed what was on the captain’s screen. “Three Jem’Hadar fighters approaching off the port bow,” he called out.

    First officer Ronnie Kozar and tactical officer Mandel Morrison kept a close eye on the tactical station’s readouts. “Target each of those ships with a simultaneous spread of phasers and quantum torpedoes,” Kozar ordered.

    “Helm, get us within five hundred meters,” Limis added.

    “The Sisko Maneuver,” Second Lieutenant Jonas Grabowski remarked. The ridges on his nose were far less pronounced than those of the captain’s, indicating he was only one-quarter Bajoran. A light smattering of spots from the temples indicated some Trill ancestry. “Attack pattern laid in.”

    All three enemy fighters fired phasers simultaneously at the ship’s forward saucer. Three quantum torpedoes pierce through the center ship while the dorsal phasers plowed through the port and starboard ships.

    The Lambda Paz closed in on two Jem’Hadar battleships bearing down on a Vorcha-class Klingon attack cruiser from behind. The Klingon ship, meanwhile was concentrating on the heavy cruiser in front of it.

    “Let’s take some heat off their tail,” said Limis. “Fire.”

    Two quantum torpedoes tore the starboard nacelle off one battleship while the aft torpedoes of the Klingon cruiser slowed down the second battleship.

    Morrison’s communications panel chirped indicating a message from the fleet commander. “Message from Admiral Jellico,” he reported. “Two ships are moving away from the fleet. He’s asking us to pursue.”

    “Probably trying to move past the jammers,” Limis replied. “Helm, punch it!”

    The Lambda Paz and one other Luna-class ship brought up the rear behind an Intrepid-class ship. The two Jem’Hadar heavy cruisers continued to pick up speed. They were slowed down only by phaser fire from all three Starfleet vessels. Before any of those ships could fire torpedoes, two ships emerged from out of nowhere.

    These ships were neither Dominion nor Cardassian. They were spherical with shining silver hulls. They fired tiny silver pellets, which did considerable damage to the forward saucers of each Federation ship.

    Consoles exploded all across the bridge of the Lambda Paz. Grabowski fell to the deck leaving his whole face with heavy burns. Two technicians raced onto the deck to put out a fire near the port auxiliary stations. Kozar raced over to the helm. “Where the hell did those ships come from?” he demanded.

    “Ops can analyze the sensor readings later,” Limis barked. “Right now, their torpedoes are ripping right through our shields.”

    As quickly as the mysterious ships appeared, they seemed to disintegrate. The Jem’Hadar heavy-cruisers continued firing. Before the Lambda Paz bridge crew could blink, the intruder alert roared.

    “Security team to Deck Fourteen,” Morrison shouted into his comm-panel. He and Kozar then bolted for the starboard turbolift. M’Rev raced across the bridge to assume the tactical station. Two junior bridge personnel vacated port and starboard auxiliary stations to take over ops and conn respectively.

    Kozar and Morrison, along with four security officers marched down a corridor armed with phaser rifles. They joined Major Jonathan Davis’s six-person team of MACO’s. They were already in a firefight with the Jem’Hadar. Each of the soldiers was pinned against the walls.

    Neither side had a decisive advantage. That was until three Jem’Hadar soldiers materialized behind the security team. Just as two of the Starfleet troops turned around, two of the Jem’Hadar impaled each of them through the chest with kartokins. Two more Starfleet troops and one of the MACO’s began deflecting the enemy’s swords with their rifles.

    The first team of Jem’Hadar began laying down cover fire while coming at the remaining seven troops. Two more Starfleet security officers were clipped by weapons fire. Kozar, Morrison, and Davis were soon in hand-to-hand combat with the intruders in the narrow corridor.

    “Isn’t a plasma coolant tank in this section?” Kozar asked Morrison.

    “Yes,” Morrison replied, “Running through the ceiling of this corridor.”

    “All right, everybody out!” the first officer shouted.

    The other six still standing began trying to drag the four troops who were taken down. Kozar, Morrison, and Davis stood where a perpendicular corridor intersected to oversee the evacuation. Morrison and Kozar did not notice Davis being tackled by a Jem’Hadar soldier unshrouding. Morrison then fired his Type-2 phaser into the ceiling.

    The plasma coolant tank came pouring out. Kozar and Morrison retreated into the adjoining corridor and closed off the emergency bulkhead. They soon noticed that Major Davis was not amongst the MACO’s. “Where the hell is Davis?” Kozar demanded.

    He and Morrison soon realized what had happened. Morrison left one of his own colleagues perish along with the enemy soldiers. Even if other members of this security team died, at least they died by the Jem’Hadar’s weapons. This one death would surely haunt Morrison for a long time to come.
  7. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Part Two: Dangerous Alliances

    Chapter Two
    Six Months Later

    Yelgrun stood in front of a large star-map on a wall-mounted monitor. The map detailed Dominion and Federation Alliance fleet deployments in the Kalandra sector and surrounding sectors. On the Vorta’s right was Tor Vot, a representative of the devious Sindareen. This particular Sindareen was an information dealer providing important nuggets of information to the Dominion on enemy activities.

    “As you can see,” said Tor Vot, “The Federation continues to ignore the fleets massing in the Kalandra sector.”

    “The Kalandra sector is ten light years from the nearest supply line,” Yelgrun added. “It’s part of a strategy of massing ships in one region to catch the enemy off guard. The Federation is still not taking the bait at Kalandra.”

    “Additionally,” Tor Vot hissed through nictitating membranes on his neck, a distinctive trait among Sindareen, “the Tenth Fleet is normally charged with defending the Beta Veldonna star system. Half of their ships are running training maneuvers near Wolf 359.”

    Yelgrun nodded and grinned viciously, training his gaze on the Starfleet insignias around the star system labeled “Beta Veldonna.” “This gives us an opportunity to hit Betazed and put us in striking distance of the Federation’s core systems,” the Vorta mused.

    “We were lucky to have stumbled across this strategic weakness,” Tor Vot replied. “We do not care for telepaths. Most Sindareen can block telepathy, but they can still be a major nuisance.”

    “Your people have become a valuable asset, Tor Vot,” Yelgrun stated, pacing across the meeting room. “Once we have won the war, the Sindareen can take their place as valued members of the Dominion.”

    Of course, any race regularly practicing piracy was trouble, he thought to himself. The preceding incarnation had fallen victim to Ferengi trickery a few months ago. Nevertheless, dealing with such deceitful beings was a small price of winning this war.

    “We do owe much to the Federation. They saved us from complete ruin. But they only do enough so that we are less of a threat.”

    “They were doing the same with the Cardassians after the last war. Any enemy of the Federation is a friend of the Dominion’s.”

    If gullible enough, that is.

    After Yelgrun left, Tor Vot retired to his private chamber. A red indicator light blinked on a console on the right of the door, which produced a loud thud when it closed. The indicator light was a covert way to communicate an incoming message from a very important contact.

    He pushed a button next to that indicator to respond the message. A holographic generator hummed to life, and a black silhouette of a humanoid appeared on the far side of the chamber. “Your report?” the humanoid figure asked in an ominous baritone voice.

    “I forwarded the fleet deployments to the Vorta,” Tor Vot replied. “The Dominion invasion of Betazed is now underway.”

    “Good. Expect to be greatly rewarded. I have another assignment for you. Have your forces bring me the captain of a Federation starship.”

    “Which starship?”

    “The Lambda Paz.”

    “That will be difficult. Your ships could do it without a problem.”

    “Our ships can exist in your time for but a brief period. You will find a way if you want access to the cormaline deposits on Makar Six.”

    Months after the incident that led to the death of Major Davis, Mandel Morrison was in counseling. For a few weeks, he tried to purge what happened from his memory. He tried to rationalize it as one more casualty of war. Bust as time went on, he found himself unable to look Davis’s successor, Lisa Neeley, in the eye.

    The Emergency Medical Hologram suggested a group of holographic counselors in the absence of a full-time counselor. Morrison was referred to one such counselor after numerous instances of dereliction of duty. During three different encounters with the Jem’Hadar, Morrison prematurely ordered his unit to retreat to avoid putting himself in a position to order a soldier to his or her death.
    Unlike holographic doctors, the holographic counselors were not facsimiles of Starfleet officers. The EMH contended that creating civilian counselors would create a less intimidating atmosphere for those needing counseling.

    The counselor Morrison visited had the appearance of a blonde human woman of approximately forty Earth years of age. She was dressed in a short-sleeved pink turtleneck and a black knee-length skirt.

    “You have a distinguished record,” the hologram said in the compact junior officer quarters reserved for these counseling sessions. “You’ve led soldiers into battle with a strong determination to accomplish the mission, while minimizing casualties.”

    “But now I have gotten gun shy,” Morrison added with a sigh. “I am too afraid to take risks necessary in war time.”

    “It goes back to the incident six months ago. You did everything possible to make sure your people were out of harm’s way.”

    Morrison arched his head backwards and growled. He then stood up and paced towards the door, then back to his chair. “I doubt that is any consolation to Davis’s family.”

    “Everyone who enlisted knows the risks of serving in Starfleet,” the counselor replied. “Their families know of those risks.”

    “Those risks don’t include a superior officer’s incompetence,” Morrison shot back.

    “A board of inquiry cleared you of any wrongdoing. Everyone who has ever fought in a war has done something they are not proud of. We can discuss this at our next session.”

    The comm chimed before Morrison could respond. Kozar spoke over the audio channel. “Senior officers to the observation lounge,” he said. “Mission briefing.”

    “Same time next week, Mister Morrison,” the counselor said, Morrison headed for the door.

    “Of course,” Morrison replied. “Computer deactivate holographic therapist.”

    Commander Kozar stood in front in the main display screen in the briefing room. The star map on display was of an area where the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Star Empire converged. Insignias representing those three powers indicating recent skirmishes with the Dominion filled the screen.

    “It seems the Romulans’ entry into the war caught the Dominion off guard,” Kozar explained to the rest of the senior staff. “Since stardate 51721, the Romulans have liberated H’atoria, Lambda Hydrae and the Careya system.”

    “I guess the Dominion had the same projections Starfleet tactical analysts had,” Doctor Aurellan Markalis mused.
    The captain shot Markalis a curious glance, not expecting the doctor to make such an observation. The officers on Limis’s right, Morrison, Triexian Lieutenant Tirren Ra Hoth, and Commander Chaz Logan, had similar reactions. “The Romulan Senate would vote to abandon their non-aggression pact at next year’s plenary sessions,” Markalis explained. “I read those reports during my off-duty hours.”

    “Perhaps the Senate felt it could no longer sit and watch after Dominion victories at Beta Thoridor and Adelphous,” Morrison suggested.

    “Hardly like the Romulans to do the Klingons any favors,” Limis added.

    “As the doctor pointed out,” Kozar stated, “the Dominion didn’t see it coming as they had to call in reinforcements from their holdings in the Donatu system.”

    “Now that the Romulans have opened a new front,” Limis declared, “the Seventh Fleet is being redeployed back to the Betreka Nebula.”

    “It won’t be the Inchon-inspired strategy it was six months ago,” Morrison offered.

    “True,” Kozar replied, sauntering to his seat on Limis’s left, “but that’s the main staging area for attacks into Klingon territory. The Fourth and Fifth Fleets will be backing us up this time. And now that we have a new ally, we can launch some major counter-offensives.”

    “We’ll be arriving at the nebula in three days,” Limis announced. “We have till then to prepare the ship.”

    “Lieutenant Neeley and I have scheduled battle drills for each shift,” Ra Hoth reported. The deputy chief of security was now chief after Morrison was temporarily relieved of that responsibility. Morrison was still second officer and senior tactical officer. Though he understood the reasoning, he still felt left out.

    “Mind if I lend a hand?” Morrison asked.

    “I still need you to review the tactical systems,” Limis answered. To the engineer she said, “Mister Logan?”

    “I’ll begin overseeing diagnostics on all major systems,” Logan replied, “with emphasis on maneuvering jets and impulse drive.”

    Limis then shot a glance at Markalis. “Doctor, you know the drill,” she said.

    “Of course,” Markalis quietly replied. “Have sickbay ready for the casualties I will be sent.”

    “What about the Jem’Hadar corpses?” the captain added.

    “I’m getting close to finding a means of detecting shrouded Jem’Hadar.”

    Limis was about to dismiss the group when the comm chimed. Second lieutenant Sara Carson called from the bridge. “Sorry to interrupt, Captain,” she said. “I’m picking up a probe on an intercept course.”

    Limis, Kozar, and Morrison stepped onto the bridge from the observation lounge’s port egress. Carson was already manning the conn when she delivered an additional report while reminding herself not to look in Morrison’s direction. While she had dissolved their romantic affiliation six months earlier, a level of awkwardness still existed between them.

    “Probe bearing two-four-six, mark two-four,” she reported. “In visual range.”

    “On screen,” Limis replied.

    The bridge crew quickly recognized the probe as Cardassian by the bright copper hull. Ensign Willis Huckaby at Ops still reported its origins. “Energy signatures indicate it is Cardassian.”

    “Has it made any threatening moves?” Kozar asked Morrison.

    “Not that I can tell,” Morrison replied.

    “Put the shields up just in case,” the captain ordered.
    Huckaby’s communications channel chimed. “Captain, you are being hailed,” he reported, “by name.”

    That report raised the eyebrows of both the captain and first officer. “Let’s see what it wants,” said Limis. “Open a channel.”

    A blue scanning beam then erupted from the front of the probe. “It’s trying to transfer a holographic data stream,” Huckaby explained.

    “Let it through the shields.”

    A portly Cardassian in a military uniform appeared in front of the viewscreen. From the streaks of gray in his otherwise black hair, he was of early middle age. “Hello, Vircona,” the hologram declared. “You do not recognize me, but you have met my brother. In fact, you caused his death. He was a non-combatant who was subjected to torture. I can think of no more fitting reprisal than to end the life of one of your family.

    “Your son, Limis Vircona, is as good as dead.”
  8. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Three

    Limis retired to the ready room after receiving that cryptic message. The probe self-destructed almost immediately after the message played. She was now reminded of the incident seven months earlier when she placed a Cardassian the crew had captured inside an airlock and decompressed it. She had hoped to extract information that would help the Federation achieve any type victory at a time when the war seemed like a losing effort. The Cardassian died shortly after divulging the needed information. She had long forgotten that incident now that recent events caused renewed optimism.

    Now another Cardassian claiming to be this man’s brother appeared on her bridge wanting to exact revenge. Targeting family made sense when trying to coerce members of the Bajoran resistance or the Maquis into capitulating. But she was no longer affiliated with either group. Maybe it was empty threat to set a trap for her. Either way, she would not allow harm to come to her child, assuming he was still alive.
    Limis called up the files on the survivors of the massacre at Tevlik’s moon base. It was used as a safe house for families of Maquis operatives. She had asked the computer to search the passenger manifests of refugee ships for the name Hasin Yanith. In the event that he was traveling under an alias, Limis requested information on any Bajoran males in their early twenties. She had no luck on either search when her door chime sounded.

    “Yes, come in,” she snapped.

    Usually, Kozar visited to deliver a report. This time, he was empty-handed. “I am sensing this is not a formal visit,” Limis remarked.

    “You caught me,” Kozar quipped. “I’m guessing you’re gonna want to go looking for you son. The last time you tried to undertake such a dangerous mission yourself, you nearly became a sleeper agent for religious fanatic.”

    “Ensign Sullivan will be joining me to meet with a friend of her late husband’s.”

    “All I am saying,” Kozar replied, taking a seat in the guest chair, “is you should let us help you.”

    Limis looked up from her monitor. Since taking this assignment, Kozar seemed to go out of his way to second-guess her. In fact, Kozar had once relieved her of command after torturing the Cardassian. “Has my first officer been replaced by a Changeling?” she asked.

    “I can submit a blood sample,” Kozar retorted. “Not that the test isn’t foolproof. I can tell you, as a parent, I can tell you that I’d be willing to risk my career if my daughter’s life was in danger.”

    “I didn’t know you had a daughter.”

    “I haven’t seen her in five years, though.”

    “This ship has responsibilities. I can’t ask every member of this crew to drop everything for one person. I wanted to go looking for my son the second I learned of the attack on Tevlik’s moon base. I’ve spent the last year not knowing if he was dead or alive. But Gul Hadar’s quarrel is with me, not him.”

    The runabout Potomac departed the Lambda Paz’s main shuttlebay. Limis and her former Maquis colleague Rebecca Sullivan had planned to travel to Farius Prime to meet with a Lissepian merchant, who provided information to Rebecca’s late husband Michael Eddington and other cell leaders. The Lissepian would then contact the refugee center to track down any Bajorans fitting Yanith’s description.

    Since the trip would take twelve days by runabout alone, they had arranged to rendezvous with a Kobheerian freighter that could get them to Farius in one day. The two women sat in an awkward silence after their runabout departed. One looked at the other planning to say something, but quickly became tongue-tied.

    “It’s me he’s after, not Yanith,” Limis blurted out ten minutes into the trip.

    “Who?” Rebecca asked.

    “Gul Hadar. I killed his brother. Eventually, I would have to answer for it.”

    “A terrorist with a conscience?” Sullivan quipped. “That’s a new one.”

    “If we had won, we’d be revolutionaries. On Bajor, it was about hurting Cardassians. The Maquis was about correcting a grave injustice.”

    “So justice is why you now want to go look for your son a year after his disappearance?”

    “Where would I have looked without Starfleet’s resources at my disposal? It may be wishful thinking, but my maternal instincts tell me he is alive. Now, Hadar’s threat has created a new sense of urgency. Nothing else matters until I know Yanith is safe.”

    Twelve hours after departing the mother ship, the Potomac came within communications range of the Kobheerian freighter. Limis had just replicated a mug of raktajino when Sullivan reported the freighter’s arrival.

    “We’re in hailing range of the freighter,” the ensign reported.
    “They’re early,” Limis observed. “Open hailing frequency.”
    “Open,” Sullivan replied.

    “This is the Federation ship Potomac, requesting permission to transport aboard.”

    “Permission granted,” a baritone voice replied. “Prepare to beam aboard when in range.”

    As the runabout inched closer to the freighter, the freighter’s hull appeared to be disintegrating. In its place appeared a smaller shuttle. The shuttle then fired a blue pulse at the front of the runabout. Both Limis and Sullivan were rendered unconscious and transported away.

    Some hours later, Limis and Sullivan came to in the cargo hold of the alien shuttle. Two Sindareen walked towards them armed with phaser rifles. “Get up!” one of them demanded.

    The two Starfleet officers complied. The guards escorted them down the corridor of the Sindareen mother ship. Limis and Sullivan were then taken to the meeting chamber of the ship’s captain.

    Tor Vot stood up from his chair behind his desk, grinning smugly. “I see I have a pair of gifts,” he remarked. “I am Tor Vot of the Sindareen Confederacy.”

    “I’m getting that there was no Kobheerian freighter,” Limis suggested. “And that Gul Hadar sent you to capture me.”
    “You are correct on the second statement,” Tor Vot shot back, walking around his desk towards Limis. “And we intercepted your communiqué with the Kobheerians, so we beat them to the rendezvous.”

    “What about my son?”

    “He’s not here. I don’t know if my employer has him nor do I care. I admire a mother’s willingness to die for her child.”

    “Since your… employer is after me, you can let my colleague go.”

    Tor Vot laughed maniacally. “On the contrary,” he answered, “as a former Maquis, she is wanted for crimes against the Cardassian Union. And since the Cardassians could never capture Starfleet’s favorite traitor, I know of many who would pay plenty for his widow.”

    The Sindareen reached out a hand and squeezed Rebecca’s cheeks. “That or I could sell you to the Orion Syndicate,” he hissed, “… after I tried the merchandise for myself.”

    Rebecca shoved the hulking alien away. “Pig,” she sneered.

    Mandel Morrison took out his emotional baggage he had been carrying for six months on a punching bag in the gymnasium. He imagined he was beating a Jem’Hadar to death. If only he could do that to the soldier who came out of nowhere and tackled Davis, preventing his retreat to safer location.

    Kozar passed behind Morrison, also dressed in a sweat suit. “At least you’re taking it out on the bag,” he remarked to his friend.

    Morrison continued hitting the punching bag mercilessly without reacting to Kozar. Ronnie paced closer to Mandel and circled around him. “Doctor Markalis is close to learning a way of detecting shrouded Jem’Hadar,” he continued.

    “Whoop-dee-freaking-do,” Morrison replied. “Will that bring Davis back?”

    Kozar squeezed Morrison’s fist before he could hit the bag again. “Of course not,” Kozar answered. “But he would not want you doing this to yourself."

    “During my first command, one my troops was killed by friendly fire. My friendly fire. I thought I had no business leading troops in battle. I had to learn to accept that I was ordering men and women to their deaths on a regular basis.”
    Morrison pulled his fist back free of Kozar’s grip. “You’ve told me that many times,” he huffed.

    “It’s one of the harsh realities of war, Mandel,” Kozar replied. “We try our best to assure minimal fatalities in battle. Inevitably, people still die. At least you and I are not completely desensitized to it. That’s what separates us from the animals.”

    Morrison smiled, as if Kozar had accomplished in six seconds what the counselors could not in six months. The moment of silence was interrupted by the communications chime.

    “Bridge to Commander Kozar,” Lieutenant Ra Hoth called.

    “Go ahead.”

    “Message from the Kobheerian freighter. The say the runabout never arrived at the rendezvous point.”

    Fifteen minutes later, after a quick shower, Kozar changed back into uniform. He then used the desktop monitor to contact Admiral Edward Jellico, commander of the Seventh Fleet.

    “I am quite busy, Ronnie,” Jellico stated. “This hail better be worthy of the ‘urgent’ label.”

    “Sir, Captain Limis gone missing,” Kozar replied. “I request permission to break off from the fleet to conduct a search.”

    “I’m curious as to why your captain is AWOL in the first place. Is she on another one of her vigilante missions?”

    “That mission to Bajor was on orders from Starfleet Intelligence.”

    “I’m sure it was,” Jellico murmured, looking away from his screen. He then turned another stern look at Kozar. “My answer is no. You are one ship, but what if every ship in the fleet made your request? And you would only be enabling your captain’s reckless behavior.”


    After a short pause, Kozar remembered another point he wanted to bring up with Jellico. “I’m sorry to hear about Leslie Wong.”

    “Me too. She was one of the best officers to serve under me. I knew I was leaving the Cairo in good hands when I was promoted to Admiral. Part of me had trouble believing that she might be gone since she hasn’t been confirmed dead. But we’re going to lose far more people before the war is over. I have a responsibility to a great many people. Just remember, the person is expendable. The position of CO is not.”

    Kozar later paid a visit to engineering where Lieutenant Shinar sh’Aqba was working the late shift to prepare the ship for the coming battle. Her antennae perked up at the sight of the first officer’s presence.

    “This isn’t a surprise inspection, Lieutenant,” Kozar assured her. “I need to discuss something with you off the record.”
    Sh’Aqba removed her combadge and threw it on the diagnostic console. Kozar did the same. “I want you to create a warp coil malfunction,” Kozar whispered.

    “What for?” sh’Aqba curiously inquired.

    “The captain has gone missing, and Admiral Jellico denied me permission to plan a search for her.”

    “Since when do you disobey orders for the captain?”

    “Since I suggested to you that you try to accept Tarlazzi as a member of this crew. I felt I should start to practice what I preach. If this a problem for you, let me know.”

    “One defective warp coil coming up.”

    “Send a printout message to the ready room when that’s done.”

    After six hours, the Lambda Paz arrived at the scheduled rendezvous for the Potomac and the Kobheerian freighter. No other ships were present, nor was any debris. Kozar sat in the command chair, tightly grasping the arms. He glanced nervously at Morrison, who was manning the tactical station and then shot a glance at Ensign Tor Makassa, a Kobliad at Ops.

    “Anything of not on sensors?” the commander asked.

    “No other ships within five million kilometers,” Morrison replied.

    “Any debris?” Kozar asked Makassa.

    “No, sir,” Makassa answered. “Nor am I detecting any residual ions from the runabout or any other ships that many have been here in the last twenty-four hours.”

    “Have you calibrated the sensors to detect electron residue left by subspace backwash?”

    “Forward and lateral sensors are still scanning.”

    Morrison’s tactical display began flashing. “Captain, two Sindareen battle cruisers entering sensor range,” he reported. “They’ll intercept us in one minute.”

    “Hail them,” Kozar ordered Makassa.

    “No response,” Makassa replied.

    Two rectangular shaped ships with spires jutting out from all sides closed in on the Lambda Paz. Both were about the length of the Starfleet ship’s saucer. “They’re charging weapons,” Morrison reported.

    “Shields,” Kozar called.

    The Sindareen ships began firing large silver energy projectiles that resembled Jem’Hadar plasma torpedoes.
  9. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Four

    The Sindareen ships continued firing at the Lambda Paz. The Federation ship returned fire with dorsal phasers at both attacking ships inflicting considerable damage.

    “They’re sure packing some heat,” Kozar observed. “But their shields seem antiquated.”

    “The energy signatures of those torpedoes are consistent with Jem’Hadar plasma torpedoes,” Morrison added. “They’re coming around for another pass.”

    The Sindareen ships arched around and began firing at the aft shields of the Lambda Paz, knocking them out with three phaser shots from each ship. “Aft shields are gone,” Morrison reported.

    “That quickly?” Kozar asked.

    “Their phasers are tuned to our shield frequencies.” The bridge rocked again. “That was meant for our aft torpedo launchers,” Morrison added.

    “Helm, move us off!” Kozar shouted. “Ops, reroute emergency power to the launchers.”

    “No can do,” Makassa replied. “Those EPS lines are down.”

    “Damn it!” Kozar exclaimed. “It’s like they know the layout of the ship.”

    “Number four shield nearing failure,” Morrison reported.

    “Open the aft launchers and release four quantum torpedoes,” Kozar commanded.

    “What do you have in mind?” Morrison inquired.

    “You’ll see. Wait until the Sindareen are within two-thousand meters.”

    The two Sindareen ships moved in on the stray torpedoes assuming they were no threat. Morrison closely watched the tactical display. “Twenty-five hundred meters,” he said. “Two thousand.”

    “Fire aft phasers at the torpedoes,” Kozar ordered. “Helm, take us to full impulse.”

    The phasers tore into each of the four torpedoes causing an explosion that crippled both Sindareen ships. The Lambda Paz then moved off at full impulse to avoid the shockwave.

    Aboard the Sindareen flagship, Limis and Sullivan were sealed in one of the main detention cells. They both visually inspected the door looking for some type of flaw in the locking mechanism. “Looks very well sealed,” Sullivan observed.

    “We’re not giving up that easily,” Limis replied.

    “Jumping the guards didn’t work,” Rebecca huffed, pacing back and forth. “The ‘Guard, my cellmate is ill’ trick didn’t work either.”

    “Considering the fate awaiting us, Becca, getting the hell out of here is of the utmost importance.”

    “What do you have in mind, Vira?”

    Vircona was silent.

    “I thought so.”

    Suddenly, the whole room shook. Explosions were heard in the distance. People were shouting and running down the hallways. The two prisoners were now hoping that escape was imminent.

    Outside the cell, two phaser discharges stunned both guards. Sparks flew around the doorframe before the door slid open. A humanoid figure walked into the cell. His face was that of a man who was supposed to be dead.

    “Grabowski?” Limis gasped. “You’re supposed to be… “

    “Dead?” the human-Bajoran-Trill hybrid finished. “I’ll explain everything later. Right now, we have to get off this ship.”

    Grabowski tapped a communication device on his left arm. He, along with Limis and Sullivan dematerialized.

    The three of them materialized in the cockpit of the runabout Potomac. Sullivan immediately sat down in the pilot seat, and Limis sat in the copilot seat on Rebecca’s right. “I suggest we get out of here,” Grabowski declared.

    “No argument there,” Limis replied. “Maximum warp, Rebecca.”

    “What course?” Sullivan asked.
    “Set a course to rendezvous with Lambda Paz.”

    The Potomac streaked into warp. The Sindareen ship quickly gave chase. “This ship’s top speed is Warp 6,” Limis reminded Grabowski. “The Sindareen will surely overtake us.”

    “Not to worry,” Grabowski replied. “With a few modifications to the weapons, I was able to damage the warp drive.”

    Once he noticed this damage, Tor Vot contacted his benefactor from the future in the holographic chamber. Tor Vot knew this mysterious humanoid would not be pleased. Of course, the Sindareen had done most of the dirty work in order to have access to new riches. A little help from his benefactor was not too much to ask.

    “They escaped,” said Tor Vot. “And their rescuers damaged my ship. I cannot overtake them.”

    “I will see what I can do.”

    Two spherical ships just like the ones the Lambda Paz encountered six months earlier appeared above the runabout. The ships from the future fired a barrage of torpedoes. Only this time, the shields absorbed the torpedoes.

    “Let me guess,” Limis said to Grabowski. “Modifications to the shields?”

    “Exactly,” Grabowski replied. “These ships are from the future. They will phase shift back into their native time period momentarily.”

    As expected, the time traveling ships disintegrated, returning to their future time period. With the present danger over, Limis now wanted some answers.

    “Now, would you mind telling us who you are Mister Grabowski?” she demanded.

    “For a dead man,” Sullivan added, “you sure got us out of a lot of trouble.”

    “I am from, by Earth’s calendar, the thirty-first century,” Grabowski stated, “seven hundred years in your future.

    “I belong to an organization that monitors the timeline. Those ships we just encountered are from one of many factions in a temporal cold war, attempting to alter history in their favor.”

    “Temporal cold war,” Limis repeated. “I cannot even begin to understand temporal paradoxes resulting from time travel.”

    “Then that makes this request easier,” Grabowski replied. “I must ask that you keep these tactical modifications on a need-to-know basis. Removing just one grain of sand can alter the course of history.”

    “But isn’t helping us with superior technology contaminating your history?” Sullivan asked.

    “We are dealing with people trying to contaminate my history, Ensign,” Grabowski explained. “My job is to prevent or at least minimize the damage they cause.”

    “Do I ever find my son?” Limis asked, thinking she should at least try.

    “Sorry,” Grabowski answered. “Temporal Prime Directive.”

    Gul Enic Hadar received a message from Tor Vot regarding the latest turn of events. Hadar snorted angrily upon receiving this information. “I was really looking forward to having two of the most wanted Maquis terrorists in my custody,” the Cardassian growled. “You can provide our Dominion allies valuable tactical information, but you can’t hold on to two people?!”

    “I could not have anticipated the events leading to their escape,” Tor Vot implored. “Some modifications were made to quickly disable my ship and withstand attacks from the mysterious ships that have been helping the Dominion.”

    “I knew hiring the Sindareen was a mistake,” Hadar grumbled. “Using your kind as bounty hunters makes as much sense as hiring Ferengi as hitmen.”

    Hadar then shut off the transmission. Tor Vot’s image was replaced on the screen by the logo of the Cardassian Union.

    A young Bajoran man, tied to a chair and gagged, fidgeted in his chair. Hadar removed the cloth covering the young man’s mouth. “Looks like the tearful family reunion is on hold,” Hadar mused.

    “Just kill me already,” the Bajoran snarled.

    “Can’t do that, boy. You are far more valuable to me alive.”
  10. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Five

    Two Months Later

    “We’ve made considerable progress in the last eight weeks,” Morrison’s counselor told him.

    “Have we?” Morrison asked with very little enthusiasm.

    “Yes. We reached the conclusion that your perceived negligence is one incident among many that you regret. And you try to punish yourself for them, all the way back to Setlik Three.”

    “When you put it that way… “

    Morrison and the holographic therapist exchanged blank stares for a few seconds. Sensing that this session would be his last, he began to see an attractive woman rather than a therapist. The more rational part of his mind then began to remind him this “woman” was just a holographic representation of a human female.

    “It looks like my work you is finished.”

    “Then, I thank you for your services.”

    The door then chimed just as another awkward silence was about to set in. “Enter,” the therapist commanded.

    To the surprise of both of them, Limis walked into the office. In the eleven months she had been aboard, man of the crew began to suspect Limis was one person who prided herself on not requiring the services of a professional psychologist.

    “I’m sorry to interrupt,” the captain said.

    “We were just finishing, Captain,” Morrison replied.

    “Good. I need to speak to this counselor. That is, if you are free.”

    “Of course,” the counselor answered.

    “Am I fit to resume my duties as chief of security,” Morrison rhetorically asked.

    “It’s more personal than that, Morrison.”

    Morrison nodded and stepped out.

    “This is a surprise, Captain,” the counselor stated. “According to your service record, you consider counselors to be ‘overrated'. Can I assume this is not something Ensign Sullivan can help you with?”

    Limis nodded and sat in the chair that Morrison had previously occupied. “Ever since the search for my son reached a dead end, I’ve had trouble sleeping. The EMH suggested I talk to a counselor before he prescribed any sleep aides.”

    “That is a problem,” the counselor quipped. “I cannot prescribe any medication, but we can discuss the problem in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational environment. First, tell me how you lost touch.”

    Limis then explained the massacre at Tevlik’s moonbase, how the Bajoran who set up a colony there later betrayed the Maquis to the Dominion, and how she wanted to kill Arak Katal with her bare hands. The only thing that stopped her from going on such a manhunt was the fact that many others would be waiting in line.

    “Why did you not decide to look for your son then?”

    “I felt more was at stake. I had to make sure some of the Maquis survived after my cell leader was captured. So I ignored one of the most instincts in any living being: a mother’s need to protect her offspring.”

    “And you want to make up for that. What changed?”

    “A Cardassian threatened to kill him. And I don’t know if he’s alive or dead, or if Hadar can make good on his threat.”

    “You feel you abandoned your child.”

    “No, of course not.”

    “But you feel you need to do what you should have done a long time ago.”

    “Okay, yes. Because only because Yanith is innocent in all this. Hadar just wants revenge because I killed his brother.”

    “That is a heavy burden for anyone to carry. As a starship captain, you have to weigh the good of the many with the good of the one. A single life is significant, though. I cannot tell you exactly what to do. All I can do is tell you that whether or not you forsake your duties to look for your son, you need to let yourself be content with your decision.”

    Limis silently considered the hologram’s words. The silence was interrupted by the chiming of the comm. “Red alert,” Kozar called. “Captain to the bridge.”

    Limis got out of the chair and bolted out the door.

    Limis entered the bridge from the starboard turbolift. Kozar and M’Rev both stood at the operations station analyzing a set of sensor readings. Limis felt a little disappointed the ship was not under attack, as she expected when the alert was sounded.

    “Where’s the fire?” she jovially asked.

    “Mister M’Rev was able to create an early warning system for those ‘death stars’ we’ve had a few encounters with.”

    “’Death stars’?” Limis dumfoundedly repeated.

    “Twenty-first century Earth science fiction,” Kozar explained.

    “In the instance eight months ago and then again two months ago,” the Tellarite ensign stated, “the lateral sensors detected instabilities in the space-time continuum.”

    The time-traveling ships, Limis recalled to herself. She remembered Grabowski had requested that she keep those ships’ origins and the tactical updates on a need-to-know basis. This situation now certainly gave the bridge crew a need to know.

    Limis glanced over at the Bolian ensign manning the tactical station. “Mister Ren, you’ll find a program in the tactical systems that will modify the shields and weapons.”

    “Yes, ma’am,” Jovis Ren answered.

    Kozar’s eyebrows perked up. Normally, a captain had the privilege of keeping some secrets. In Limis’s case, Kozar flet any secrecy on her part was cause for alarm. “What’s going on, Captain?” he inquired.

    “These ships are from the future,” Limis explained. “They belong to a faction intending to tamper with the timeline.”

    “Who told you this?”

    “Remember Grabowski?”

    “Killed eight months ago during the first Betreka Nebula engagement.”

    “Or so we thought.” He’s part of a watchdog organization from seven-hundred years in the future.”

    “Two ships on approach,” M’Rev reported. “Configuration: spherical.”

    Two spherical ships appeared alongside the Lambda Paz, which was traveling at low warp. The two spheres fired torpedoes at the port and starboard nacelles. The update shields absorbed those hits.

    “Minor damage to port and starboard deflectors,” Ren reported.

    “Let’s show them they’re not as tough as they think,” Limis proclaimed. “Fire phasers.”

    The port and starboard dorsal emitters shot two beams at the attacking vessels. Within a few seconds, the spheres disappeared back to their native time frame.

    “We’re not out of the woods yet,” Ren reported. “Two Cardassian warships off the port bow.”

    “Looks like the strategy is swoop in, slow us down to buy the Dominion time to catch us,” Kozar observed walking towards Limis.

    “Conn, take us out of warp near those ships,” Limis ordered. “Looks like Hadar is doing his own dirty work.”

    The Lambda Paz dropped out of warp just in front of two Galor-class Cardassian warships. The two hostile vessels then fired phasers at the forward saucer.

    “Forward shields are down ten percent,” M’Rev reported.

    “Mister Ren,” Limis called, “target engines and weapons. Fire quantum torpedoes. Dispersal pattern sierra.”

    Four torpedoes spread out form the Lambda Paz and tore into the forward phaser emitters. The Lambda Paz then streaked into warp and resumed its previous heading.

    The Lambda Paz continued on its course to Starbase G-6 for a brief layover. In the meantime, Goris M’Rev presented information on the time-traveling ships compiled form the volumes of sensor data. He presented these findings at the afternoon staff meeting.

    “From what we can tell,” M’Rev said to Limis, Kozar, and Morrison in the observation lounge, “these ships use the principle of folded space transport.”

    The Tellarite, seated at the captain’s left, handed Limis a padd containing the relevant data. “The L-way theorem?” Limis asked. “Starfleet Intelligence experimented with such a transporter device.”

    M’Rev nodded. “Only these aliens fold time rather than space. After brief intervals, though, these ships seem to phase shift into their native period.”

    “I’ve forwarded the phaser and shield updated to the ships in the Second and Ninth Fleets heading for the Chin’toka system,” Morrison reported. “For whoever is trying to alter history, the coming battle will be pivotal to the outcome of the war.”

    “That’s probably a good idea,” Limis answered. She then looked to Kozar on her right. “Have you found anything in the database on the Temporal Cold War?”

    “Not much,” Kozar stated. “Any details are likely events in a potentially infinite number of alternate timelines. All that is available is that the NX-01, under the command of Jonathan Archer two-hundred years ago encountered various factions trying to alter history in their favor.”

    “Now that I think of it,” Limis mused, “it’s hard enough keeping track of events in this timeline."

    “Thank you, everyone.”

    Just as the other officers headed for the exit onto the bridge, Limis asked Morrison to stay for a few minutes. “I read your counselor’s report,” she continued. “She’s satisfied she’s gotten to the root of your problem and found a remedy.”

    “That and some coaxing from Commander Kozar,” Morrison replied.

    “Then you’ll be happy to know I am reinstating you as chief of security.”

    “Thank you, sir.”

    Morrison was at a loss for further words. He knew he would eventually regain his position as chief of security. But with the stresses of war, he had gotten used to reduced responsibilities. He was about to speak when the comm chimed.

    “Captain to the bridge,” said Kozar.

    Kozar and M’Rev stood at Ops when Limis and Morrison entered the bridge. “Captain,” Kozar continued, “we’ve received a distress call from the freighter T’Planahath.”

    “The message said the freighter was under attack by Sindareen raiders in the Briar Patch,” M’Rev added. “We’ve been unable to reestablish communication.”

    “Mister Morrison,” Limis called to Morrison at tactical, “send a message to the nearest ship. We’re not in the best shape to mount a rescue.”

    “We’re the only ship in range,” Morrison replied.

    “Helm, track the source of the distress call and set a course at maximum warp,” Limis commanded. She turned to Kozar and M’Rev. “We’ve been dealing with the Sindareen quite a bit even though the haven’t been in much of a position to threaten anyone in recent years,” she said. “Something is not adding up. Mister M’Rev, see if that ship’s transponder matches that of that of the T’Planahath in our library computer.”

    “Yes, ma’am,” M’Rev answered. “This will take a few minutes.”

    “Take your time,” said Kozar. “We won’t get there for another hour.”

    Captain’s log, stardate 51925.6: We’ve confirmed that the distress call came from a Federation freighter. That the Sindareen are involved and that wer are heading into the Briar Patch seem suspicious. To that end, I’ve requested that Starbase G-6 send a few ships as backup.

    Limis sat in the command chair quietly contemplating the coming battle. Kozar sat at Limis’s left analyzing sensor data on his side console. An eerie quiet filled the bridge even with various stations buzzing with activity.

    “In visual range, Captain,” M’Rev reported.

    “Put it up,” Limis replied.

    The viewscreen hummed to life with the image of two Sindareen battle cruisers attacking an Antares-class freighter. “Hail the Sindareen,” Limis ordered. “This is the Federation starship Lambda Paz. Break off your attack or we will take retaliatory action.”

    After a few seconds, Morrison shook his head when seeing no acknowledgement on his display. “No response,” he said.
    “Can you raise the freighter?” Kozar asked.

    “Trying, sir,” M’Rev replied. He entered commands into his console. He winced when the display showed readings he was not expecting. “This is weird. The transceiver is missing.”

    “Then how the hell did they send a distress call?” Limis wondered.

    “Unknown,” M’Rev stated.

    Acting on a hunch, Limis requested, “Scan for lifesigns.”
    “None, captain,” M’Rev reported. “The Sindareen have also broken off their attack.”

    At that moment, a perimeter alert chimed on Morrison’s console. “Ships emerging from the metreon clouds,” he said.

    A Jem’Hadar heavy cruiser emerged flanked by two battleships and two Galor-class Cardassian warships.
  11. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Six

    The five ships crept slowly towards the Lambda Paz. On the bridge, the captain sounded red alert. The entire bridge crew stood at attention over their respective stations. As Limis expected, the Ops console chimed.

    “Captain,” said M’Rev, “you are being hailed, by name.”

    “Put it up,” Limis replied, ascending from the command chair.

    Gul Enic Hadar appeared on the viewscreen, standing proudly on the bridge of the Dominion heavy cruiser. “Hello, Captain Limis,” he said ominously. “I’ve waited for this moment for nine months.”

    Hadar snapped his fingers. Two Jem’Hadar appeared on the screen with an unkempt blonde Bajoran boy. Limis instantly recognized the young man as her son.

    “You will transport yourself aboard my vessel,” the hulking Cardassian declared. He then pointed a Jem’Hadar hand phaser at Yanith’s head. “Or your son dies.”

    “You’re bluffing, Hadar. You and those four other ships can easily take out my ship.”

    “Bajorans do not surrender even if the odds are against them. Do you really want to take a chance with your child’s life?”

    “I know you didn’t plan all this to discuss adversarial strategy. But if you want me, you’ll have to pry me off my cold dead ship. End transmission.”

    Limis walked slowly back towards her chair. “Captain,” said Kozar. “Rule of acquisition number sixty-two: the bigger the risk, the bigger win. But an addendum to that rule should be not gamble away what you cannot afford to lose.”

    “You know the Rules of Acquisition?” Limis curiously asked.
    “I am a graduate of Starfleet Academy.”

    Limis did not understand the humor behind that response. She shot quick glances at the officers manning tactical, ops, and conn. “Take the conn, Kozar,” she commanded. “Try and back us off.”

    Kozar stood up from the first officer’s chair and relived the human male ensign at conn. He then entered commands to move the ship out of the metreon clouds that distinguished the Briar Patch. The enemy ships began firing barrages of phasers and plasma torpedoes.

    The brige took heavy damage. One auixiliary station on the port side exploded sending an officer to the deck. Much of the remaining bridge crew had to tightly grasp their consoles with each hit the ship took.

    “Damage report?” Limis requested.

    “Hull breaches on Decks Five, Eight, and Ten,” M’Rev responded. “WE have plasma leaks in the starboard EPS lines. Attempting to bypass.”

    “Fire dorsal and ventral phasers,” Limis ordered Morrison, “with a simultaneous spread of quantum torpedoes.”

    The dorsal phasers of the saucer fired in three beams at the Jem’Hadar, while the secondary hulls of the ventral phasers fired in two beams at the Cardassians. A spread of torpedoes tore into the hulls of all five ships. Unencumbered, they all returned fire.

    The bridge rocked violently. “Forward shields are down twenty-eight percent,” Morrison shouted over the commotion.

    “How deep into the Patch are we?” Limis asked of Kozar.

    “Five million kilometers,” Kozar replied. “We’ll need at least another minute before we can form a stable warp field.”

    “Gul Hadar’s not going to very accommodating,” Morrison offered.

    “Keep firing, Morrison,” Limis ordered. “Try to do as much damage as possible. Bridge to engineering.”

    “Logan here,” the chief responded while feverishly monitoring the antimatter containment.

    “We can’t go to warp,” Limis stated, “but can we saturate the region with low level warp particles?”

    “Yes, but given the volatile nature of metreons, the resulting eruptions could encompass us.”

    “Never mind the risks, Logan,” Limis snapped. “Get it done!”

    “Yes, ma’am!”

    The metreon gases around the warp nacelles began whirling. Electrical crackling filled the area. One Cardassian and one Jem’Hadar ship were destroyed. The crackling also plowed into the hull of the Lambda Paz.

    Some of the ceiling on the bridge gave way. The display of the master situation monitor toppled over the command chair. Limis had to dive out of the way.

    She quickly gathered herself and stood up. “Open a channel to the lead ship,” she told M’Rev.

    “You want me, Hadar?” she sneered at the barely functioning viewscreen. “I’m beaming aboard spare my crew.”

    “A wise decision, Captain,” Hadar gloated.

    Kozar stood up from the conn and walked towards Limis. “Captain,” he said, “is this really necessary?”

    “If there was another way,” Limis replied. “While a single life is significant, I cannot risk any more lives for just one person.

    “Besides, Kozar, You’ll get the starship command you always wanted.”

    “If only it wasn’t under these circumstances,” Kozar replied.

    Limis stepped onto the port turbolift. She told the computer to take her to Deck Four. The lift stopped at the lower deck as instructed. She walked through the doors and was blinded by a bright light. She shielded her eyes with her right arm. She turned around and saw no turbolift doors.

    In fact, Limis was no longer aboard the Starfleet ship. From the light brown stone walls, Limis deduced that she was in a Bajoran monastery.” “The Ashalla Monastery?” she wondered aloud.

    Although, it looked different from the last time she had visited there shortly after the end of the Occupation. Debris and shrapnel were scattered throughout the floor. Table had been knocked over.

    “Not how it looked a few minutes ago,” a terrified voice replied.

    That voice belonged to Jonas Grabowski, standing in a corner. Instead of a Starfleet uniform, he was dressed in a partially tattered and torn black jumpsuit. “An orb was over there,” he said, pointing to an empty metal stand that normally housed one of the Tears of the Prophets.

    Ignoring him, Limis paced over to the open wall overlooking the surrounding city. It lay in ruins; buildings half destroyed and fires erupting.

    Back on the Lambda Paz, M’Rev reported a hail from the lead enemy ship.

    “On screen,” Kozar replied.

    “You’re playing a dangerous game, Commander,” said Hadar on the viewscreen.

    “I don’t follow. Captain Limis should be aboard.”
    “But she isn’t”

    Morrison looked up grimly from his tactical display. “He’s targeting the warp core,” he warned. “They’re all targeting the warp core.”

    Kozar tapped his combadge. “Bridge to transporter bay,” he called. “Did the captain beam aboard the lead Jem’Hadar ship?”

    “Negative, sire,” the male technician answered. “She never even got to the transporter bay.”

    Kozar and Morrison exchanged mystified glances.

    “Where the hell am I?” Limis demanded.

    “You’re on Bajor,” Grabowski answered, “in the thirty-first century. I was instructed to bring you here. And I ended up causing what I tried to prevent.”

    “And this just happened?” Limis asked of the citywide wreckage.


    “History has been changed.”

    “Then send me back if bringing here did this to Bajor.”

    “All the time transporters are gone,” Grabowski stated ruefully. “We can’t send you back.”

    Limis looked again at the city in ruins contemplating being consigned to a purgatory from which she could never escape.

    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  12. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    "The Tides of War, Part II" will be posted next week. While the ending of Part One resembles Star Trek: Enterprise's first season ending cliffhanger, but the resolution to this predicament will resemble that DS9 episodes "Image in the Sand" and "Shadows and Symbols", while also addressing the acrimonious relationship between the Cardassians and the Jem'Hadar.
  13. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    "The Tides of War, Part II"

    [LEFT] Historian’s Note: The main events of this story take place some time after the events of “Tears of the Prophets” (DS9).

    Two Jem’Hadar and one Cardassian warship were nose-to-nose with the USS Lambda Paz. Despite having put up a valiant struggle, which destroyed two of the enemy’s ships, the Lambda Paz was still outnumbered and outgunned. An attempt to ignite the metreon clouds that made up the Briar Patch also inflicted heavy damage to the Starfleet ship.

    Captain Limis Vircona had surrendered herself to the enemy fleet’s commander in the hope that the lives of her crew and her son, who was being held hostage, would be spared. She had failed to arrive on the lead Dominion heavy-cruiser, so Gul Enic Hadar wanted answers.

    “I’m sorry, Gul Hadar,” first officer Ronnie Kozar stated. “Captain Limis is not aboard this ship. I can’t explain it.”

    “She is not on my ship either,” the Cardassian captain growled. “You are obviously hiding her. She wanted to spare your lives. You are not making this easy.”

    Kozar walked slowly towards Mandel Morrison at tactical. He knew he was in no position to put up a fight. Kozar still figured he’d give Hadar the impression he had an ace in the hole while he contemplated his next move.

    “Sir,” Morrison whispered. “We’re being boarded. Intruders are in engineering and the cargo bays.”

    Kozar turned his gaze back to the viewscreen. “Computer, initiate auto-destruct sequence,” he ordered “Recognize Kozar, authorization one-one-seven Beta Bravo.”

    The computer chimed in response to the command. “Auto destruct is offline.

    Hadar gave a triumphant grin. As if on cue, Jem’Hadar and Cardassian troops materialized on the bridge. Morrison grabbed a phaser out from under his console and fired at one of the Cardassians. The human male ensign at conn pointed a phaser at the two Jem’Hadar in front of the viewscreen. One of them fired his phaser at the man’s chest.

    The enemy boarding party began removing officers from their stations, including Morrison and Ensign Goris M’Rev, the Tellarite at Ops and moved them to the center of the bridge. Hadar then materialized pointing a phaser at Kozar’s head.

    “Surrender, and no one else dies,” the gul declared.

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  14. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter One
    Limis Vircona was brought seven centuries into the future to prevent being captured by Gul Hadar. Jonas Grabowski, a half human, one-quarter Bajoran, one quarter Trill agent charge with policing the timeline brought her to the thirty-first century hoping to prevent history from being altered. Instead, he caused the damage he was attempting to avert.

    In this resulting alternate timeline, Bajor was in ruins, possibly because the Federation Alliance lost the Dominion War and Bajor soon fell. In any case, Limis had no way of getting back to her own time period. What was once one of Bajor’s oldest cities was now covered in rubble. Of course, Grabowski and his organization should not have existed.

    “If history has been altered,” Limis said to Grabowski, “then wouldn’t your ‘watchdog’ group have been affected.”

    “It’s not that simple,” Grabowski replied. “Several instances of time travel involved the travelers noticing even the minutest of changes.”

    “You’ve said enough. I promised myself when I joined the service that I wouldn’t get caught up in one of the paradoxes.”

    Grabowski appeared oblivious to that last remark as he walked around in a panic. “It’s not here,” he gasped. “It was just here.”

    “What?” Limis asked impatiently.

    “A monument of Bajor’s entry into the Federation.”

    “So Bajor will join the Federation eventually?”

    Grabowski did not respond while staring dejectedly.

    “Fine. Keep your missing monument to yourself.”

    Limis shuddered to think that this could happen to her home planet in the next seven hundred years. But since she did not belong in this century to begin with, she could hardly empathize with Grabowski’s sense of loss.

    Near the horizon line stood a large building closely resembling an old Earth museum. Both Limis and Grabowski recognized this ancient structure that was still standing for over ten millennia. “At least the library is still here,” Grabowski observed.

    “I know of it,” Limis replied. “It has some of Bajor’s greatest writings dating back several hundred millennia.”

    “Hopefully, we can find something on paper with everything stored electronically.”

    “You mean you got rid of all the books?”

    “Our most important writings that survived the last seven centuries are still in book form.”

    The two of them ascended up the front stairs and walked slowly into the large structure. Inside the library were bookshelves two stories high. They were filled with old damaged books, most of them with the binding torn off. Many other books were in big piles throughout the building.

    “They’re all books,” Grabowski aghastly observed.

    “And some of them should tell us what happened to the last seven hundred years.” Limis snapped. “We appear to have plenty of time.”

    A group of Cardassian and Jem’Hadar soldiers held phaser rifles to the bridge crew. Both a Jem’Hadar and a Cardassian were each pushing buttons at conn, ops, and tactical to make sense of the controls.

    First Ruaf’izod momentarily vacated the helm to report to Hadar. “We’re on course to take us deeper into the Patch,” he told the Cardassian gul. “We can only manage half impulse, so that could pose a problem if enemy ships follow us.”

    “It will have to do until we can get back to Dominion territory,” Hadar replied while visually surveying the dark bridge. “In the meantime, try turning on some lights. Surely that’s not a huge drag on ship’s power.”

    “So, this was all to seize this ship,” Morrison observed.

    “Starfleet’s talent for stating the obvious has no end,” Hadar retorted

    “What about Captain Limis’s son?” Kozar demanded.

    “Why do you care?” Hadar asked. “You were never very happy with her getting this command.”

    “I’m a parent myself.”

    “He was never with us. He was a shape-shifter in disguise.”

    To a Cardassian, the ends always justified the means. But to a Jem’Hadar, this particular means was completely unacceptable. All the Jem’Hadar on the bridge glared at Hadar.

    “You threatened the life of a Founder to get their attention?” Ruaf’izod growled.

    “He went along with it,” Hadar insisted.

    “Even so, if you had actually killed a Founder, you would be dead as well.”

    Glinn Perrek entered the bridge from the port turbolift. He was in charge of rounding up the crew and having them locked up in quarters. He had just completed the task and was reporting back to the bridge.

    “We have the crew in lockdown in their quarters and the cargo bays,” Perrek reported. “No sign of the Bajoran. Search teams did find a residual chroniton signature in that turbolift.”
    Perrek handed Hadar a padd containing the relevant information. Hadar read it to see that those chroniton emissions were indicative of time travel. “What do you make of this?” he asked Kozar, showing the padd.

    “I wouldn’t know,” Kozar lied.

    Hadar looked around to give nods to the Jem’Hadar and Cardassian guards. “Secure the rest in quarters,” he ordered. “And leave Kozar in the ready room. Anyone who resists, kill them.”

    The Starfleet crew on the bridge compliantly sauntered off armed escort. The capture crew and their guards filed into both turbolifts.

    Perrek walked to the operations station when the comm panel chimed. “Incoming message from the Vorta,” he reported to Hadar.

    “On screen,” Hadar answered.

    Yelgrun was activating his eyepiece headset when his image appeared on the viewscreen. An unseen Jem’Hadar reported on the Dominion that contact with the Lambda Paz had been established.

    “Hadar, Ruaf’izod, I see you’ve secured the ship,” the Vorta said with a hint of sarcasm. He was uncertain about involving the Cardassians after their experimental orbital weapon platforms failed to hold the Chin’toka System. After all, Hadar only seemed interested in quenching his thirst for revenge.

    “I must object to how the Founder was used in this operation,” Ruaf’izod interjected.

    “Keep your place, First,” Yelgrun snapped. “We should never question the wisdom of our gods. Gul Hadar, how long will you need to make repairs?”

    “I’m uncertain,” Hadar replied. “We do have another problem. “Captain Limis is unaccounted for.”

    “Then have the Jem’Hadar search the ship again,” Yelgrun scowled. “Our mission is to learn about the ship you just captured, not to quench your petty thirst for vengeance.

    “Might I suggest a group of the lowest ranking crewmembers to lend a hand. We don’t want a repeat of the Defiant fiasco.”

    “I will keep that in mind,” Hadar muttered. “Screen off.” Those last words calmed the urge he felt to want to throttle both the Vorta and his Founder.

    Tor Vot entered the hailing message to his benefactor from the 29th Century for the third time. The individual who provided this Sindareen information dealer with tactical data to pass on to the Dominion still did not answer. He was fired by Gul Hadar for failing to deliver Limis, but Tor Vot refused to give up after his future benefactor promised him a source of wealth.

    “He may still be angry with you,” Tor Vot’s lieutenant Jovithran suggested.

    “Nevertheless,” Tor Vot replied. “I need instructions. I will not throw away this once in a lifetime opportunity so easily. I can still do what was asked of me even if that Cardassian does not want my help.”

    Tor Vot sent the hailing message again with no answer. He hit the console in frustration. “No matter,” he growled. To Jovithran, he said, “Set course to intercept Lambda Paz. I will have that cormaline one way or another.”

    Limis and Grabowski had searched the central library on Bajor for several hours. Limis had taken a liking to the texts of the planet’s distant past, so Grabowski had to keep reminding her of needing to make sense of the more recent past. As tempted as she was to learn the outcome of the Dominion War, she did not wish to know if Bajor was one of the casualties of the war.

    Grabowski looked through the Federation records on the shelf behind where Limis was standing. “Everything looks about right until the 24th century,” he observed aloud. “But after the Dominion War, nothing looks right.”

    “A lot of people were involved in the Dominion War,” Limis replied.

    “We didn’t bring a lot of people here. Just you.”

    Limis then snuck a peek at a book relating to the near future as Grabowski passed by her to another set of shelves. “The Typhon Pact?” she read aloud.

    “You don’t want to read that,” Grabowski firmly replied.

    Limis shelved the book and followed Grabowski. “Are you saying I had a major role in the outcome of the war?” she curiously inquired.

    “I wouldn’t go that far. But you have a major impact in post-war Cardassian politics.”

    Limis quietly contemplated the irony of that statement. She was suddenly overcome by a bright light. She was still in the library, but an eerie glow filled the room. Grabowski was still present, but so were Commander Kozar and Gul Hadar.

    “You have a destiny to fulfill,” Grabowski stated.

    “I kind of figured that,” Limis replied.

    “But you have broken the rules of linear time,” Kozar added.

    “It wasn’t exactly my decision,” Limis insisted, not considering why Kozar and Hadar were now present with her and Grabowski. Then it hit her. “Wait, you’re the wormhole aliens.”

    “You must find that which transcends linear time,” the Prophet in the form of Hadar proclaimed.

    “And how do I do that?” Limis demanded. She knew these beings never gave a straight answer, but where was the harm in trying?

    “She is a non-believer,” the Grabowski Prophet announced, “but her skepticism will one day diminish.”

    The scene quickly faded, and she was back in the real world where the real Grabowski touched her shoulder. “Captain, are you all right?” he asked.

    “We have to find the Orb of Time,” Limis answered. “It’s here on Bajor.”
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
  15. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Two
    Ronnie Kozar took another punch in the jaw from one of Gul Hadar’s Cardassian henchmen. He was hanging from the ceiling of the ready room stripped down to a sleeveless tank and thigh length shorts. A second Cardassian injected him with another dose of truth serum into his carotid artery on the side of his neck. Hadar then grabbed Kozar’s chin and looked into the commander’s eyes.

    “I will ask again,” Hadar growled. “Where are you hiding your captain?”

    “You have this ship,” Kozar replied calmly. “Why do you want the captain?”

    “Do not play games with me, human. I know you do not particularly care for Limis. I can end this now if you tell me where she is.”

    “Why don’t you just stick me in an airlock and decompress it? You people love to follow that expression that turnabout is fair play.”

    Kozar hit a nerve. Hadar let go of him and paced towards the door. “If I wasn’t depending on you for information, I would kill you for making light of my brother’s death. I want her to watch someone she cares for suffer. You are not such a person.”

    Kozar let out a chuckle through his wheezing and coughing. “How flattering,” he retorted. “Your brother betrayed your people by supplying classified technology to the Romulans. What’s that Cardie expression? ‘Never let sentiment get in the way of your work.’”

    Hadar’s face reddened. He then removed his phaser pistol and fired it just above Kozar’s knee. Kozar clenched his teeth to muffle his screaming from the pain of bleeding out. “It’s a shame these walls are soundproof,” Hadar mused. “So your crewmates can’t hear your screams echo through this ship. My people believe that family is everything. Because Limis robbed me of a member of my family, I want her to witness the death of a member of her family.”

    “Hasn’t she lost enough of her family? Her parents? Her colleagues in the Bajoran resistance? Most of the Maquis? Hasn’t she experienced enough deaths in her family?”

    “This is justice!” Hadar thundered. “Now, where are you hiding her?”

    “An eye for an eye, eh?” Kozar replied with a wry grin. “That’s one of Earth’s oldest legal precedents, and it has been a justification for unending cycles of violence that spanned generations. But we haven’t taken it to those kinds of extremes in centuries. Where does that brand of justice end, Hadar?!”

    Hadar tapped the communicator on his left wrist. A female Cardassian technician wheeled in a cart from a side entrance. She activated a padd that allowed an electrical cable to hum to life. Hadar grabbed the cable and asked Kozar one more where Limis was being hidden.

    “Blow it out your ass,” Kozar answered spitting in Hadar’s face.

    Hadar placed the end of the cable against Kozar’s chest, sending an electrical current throughout his body. This time, he could muffle his own screams that were so loud, they could have been heard through the vacuum of space.

    “The Orb of Time is on Bajor?” Grabowski asked Limis. “How can you be sure?”

    “I just had a vision from the Prophets,” Limis answered. “They said I have a destiny to fulfill in my own time period. And I could do that by finding that which transcends linear time.”

    Grabowski was astounded by the grandiose claim Limis made after she momentarily fell into a catatonic state. Despite being one-quarter Bajoran, he did not believe in the Prophets. From what he knew from Limis’s biographical file, Limis did not believe in the Prophets either. Hence, she would not take their cryptic messages seriously. “From what I know of the Prophets,” Grabowski mused, “they aren’t very straightforward. How can you be sure they were referring to the Orb of Time?”

    “Without your time portals,” Limis explained, “I have no way of getting back to my own time. And that seems to be the only way to restore your history. We have a bit of chicken and the egg dilemma.”

    “Okay, then where on Bajor would it be?”

    Limis raised her right index finger while trying to gather her thoughts. “I’m trying to remember a set of coordinates,” she said. “Latitude north twenty-four point three-six degrees by longitude east fifty-eight point one-nine degrees.”

    Limis paced over to a shelf containing a set of rolled up maps. She unrolled a map of the province in which she was located. She quickly approximated the coordinates on the map. Grabowski also took a glance at the map, his eyes squinting at the idea of having to travel a long distance. “That’s over twenty kilometers from here. And we’d have to cross the Golar Desert.”

    “We don’t appear to have any other choice,” Limis insisted.

    “We still can’t be certain we’ll even find the Orb once we get there.”

    “I guess we have to take a leap of faith. And since you were responsible for bringing me here, we’ll go look for it together.”

    To assure that none of the captured crewmembers attempted to replicate a tool or a weapon, the replicators were taken offline. The internal comm system was also taken offline. The Cardassians and the Jem’Hadar could still use their own personal communication devices. Those obstacles did not stop senior chief engineer Chaz Logan from attempting to find a way around those problems. Various circuit components lay on the floor of his quarters as he attempted to coax the replicator back on.

    The computer above the replicator slot came to life for a brief moment. He gasped in anticipation hoping he had finally overcome the command lockouts. Then the panel again went dark. He sighed in frustration just as he could hear static coming from the doorbell speaker. He wondered if someone was trying to send a message through the doorbell.

    Logan could hear a faint voice through the static. “Hello?” he called out. “I’m having trouble understanding you. Please repeat.”

    The voice repeated, but was still incoherent.

    “Try again,” Logan replied. “Try modulating the wave guides.”
    Erhlich Tarlazzi’s was now coming in clearly. “To quote an old Earth advertising promotion,” he said, “Can you hear me now?”

    “I can hear you loud and clear, Tarlazzi,” Logan answered half-sarcastically. He never thought he’d be glad to hear the voice of the assistant chief engineer, who had been pulling his leg since coming aboard. “How are you contacting me with the comm down?”

    “I read about a little trick by a twenty-second century engineer,” Tarlazzi explained. “I’m routing audio transmissions through the EPS conduits. I’m also trying to rig up a tricorder to send printout messages to the personal desk monitors.”

    “Well, our captors will be kicking themselves for not turning off the library computers,” Logan quipped. “Any luck contacting any of our other crewmates.”

    “I can’t reach Commander Kozar. And I’m still trying to reach senior officers on other decks.”

    “Well, keep at it. We need to have a game plan for retaking the ship.”

    Limis and Grabowski trudged through the desert for several hours. They both lost track of how much time had passed. All they did know was that today was the same day as when they left the library to begin looking for supplies necessary for a long walk through the desert. Sunset was just a matter of a few hours with the glare of the sun right in their faces.

    Limis kneeled down when she began to tire. She had removed her black and gray uniform jacket and red tunic and wrapped them around her waist. She was risking severe sunburn on her arms, but she felt she her skin needed to breathe more easily without so many layers of clothing. Grabowski was still in his full uniform. She hadn’t felt this worn out crossing the Golar Desert while on the run from Cardassian pursuers. Maybe getting older was taking a toll on her. “At least the sun will be going down in a few hours,” she observed while taking a large gulp of water from her leather canteen, “and it won’t be so damned hot.”

    “I’m sure you know how ridiculously cold this place gets at night,” Grabowski replied.

    “Oh, yes. I remember Arnit was the only one of my resistance colleagues I felt comfortable huddling up for warmth with.”

    Grabowski sighed at hearing a reference to her late former husband. He then continued walking at a faster pace. Limis was still trying to catch her breath, but then she got up and started walking again.

    Shortly after sunset, the two travelers built a fire for light more than warmth. Limis held her hands above the flames and rubbed her hands together. Grabowski threw what little extra kindling he could find onto the fire. “At first, I thought the Federation was just a bunch of utopian societies overly dependent on technology,” she commented. “But I’m glad to see Starfleet trainees are still taught basic survival.”

    Grabowski grinned. “I read about the Occupation in high school,” he said. “Very tragic time, even though it was seven hundred years ago from my perspective. I came to admire you when I was briefed on your missions.”

    “I’m flattered that one day, I will become required reading for your organization,” Limis retorted. “Can you become joined?”

    “Joined?” he asked, kneeling down next to her.

    “To a symbiont.”

    “I never gave it a lot of thought. Only a small percentage of full-blood Trills can be joined. I suppose I could in an emergency situation, probably with different physiological effects. I know a human who was temporarily joined had his persona completely submerged.”

    “But you’d probably remember my century as if you had lived it.”

    They both exchanged a long, silent gaze. Limis then kissed Grabowski on the lips. That was followed by a longer, open lip kiss. Grabowski slowly nudged Limis down on her back while they continued their amorous embrace.
  16. fleetcaptain

    fleetcaptain Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 9, 2005
    Virginia Beach, VA, USA
    Loving this new story. A very interesting turn of events too. Can't wait to see what else you throw at Limis in the future.
  17. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Three

    Logan and Tarlazzi were soon able to establish audio contact with Morrison and Lieutenant Sara Carson. Those four had also managed to send printout instructions to Lieutenant Shinar sh’Aqba and Doctor Aurellan Markalis. They all had a plan for retaking the ship. The biggest obstacle to implementing that plan, however, was getting themselves out of their quarters. “It’s a standard Cardassian counter-insurgency program,” Tarlazzi explained to the others with whom he had audio contact, while tinkering with a tricorder to maintain the link with the ODN lines. “And by ‘standard’, I mean total pain in the ass. I was able to force the door open and a forcefield went up.”

    “Then we should concentrate on shorting out the forcefield generators?” Morrison suggested.

    “That’s where sh’Aqba comes in,” Logan answered. “She’s rigging up a few phaser power packs for that job. But we’d have to do it on the outside. Someone would have to get into the air ducts. A child could fit in there, or maybe… “

    “Carson,” Morrison suggested.

    “Oh, no,” Carson replied. “You know how claustrophobic I am, Mandel.”

    “So, I’m still Mandel,” Morrison quipped in regards to his ex-girlfriend addressing him by first name. “How flattering.”

    “Oh, go to hell!” Sara spat into her speaker. “You have the ego of a Cardassian.”

    “Can you put the divorcée quarrel on hold until after we’ve retaken the ship?” Logan asked.

    “Logan’s actually right,” Tarlazzi chimed in. “You’re the best for this job, Carson.”

    “Fine, I’ll do it,” Carson relented. “How far to sh’Aqba’s quarters?”

    “Forty meters,” Logan answered. “And Morrison’s another twenty.”

    “See you soon,” Carson sarcastically remarked to Morrison, removing the top two layers of the top of her uniform.

    Carson began crawling through the air duct with no room to maneuver her body, except forward. When she reached the Andorian engineer’s quarters, she banged on the ceiling grate. Sh’Aqba’s antennae stiffened upward at the noise. She stood on the coffee table to reach the ceiling and opened the grate.

    “Sara?” sh’Aqba called out.

    Carson reached hand through the hole to grab the power packs. “If you don’t mind,” she snapped, “I’d like to get this over with.”

    “No need to get snippy,” sh’Aqba shot back, placing two of the packs in Carson’s hand.

    “I’m in a passageway that I can barely fit in. I’ll get snippy if I damn well feel like it.”

    Less than a minute later, Carson was above the corridor outside Morrison’s quarters. It was a part of the ship she knew all too well, having broken into his quarters to surprise him before announcing she was breaking up with him. Now, she was breaking into his quarters for a different reason. She slipped her through the hole in the ceiling. But her sleeveless tank top got stuck as she slid down.

    Morrison opened the door to his quarters to see Carson holding her hands over her bare chest. He did not need to have an expression on his face for her to know what he was thinking.

    “Get your mind out of the waste extraction system,” she snapped, “and find me a shirt.”

    Two Jem’Hadar soldiers were busy knocking padds and hyposprays off the desk in the chief medical officer’s office in sickbay. They were checking to make sure nothing in the room was booby-trapped. They knew that was a Cardassian strategy, but they could never be too careful given Starfleet’s resourcefulness. And while the Cardassians were their allies, they were not to be trusted.

    Their ransacking of the sickbay was interrupted by the sound of the doors to the adjacent science lab sliding open, and then closed. One of the soldiers went into the lab, while the other walked to the door to the primary ICU in case the possible intruder in the lab was a diversion.

    The Jem’Hadar in the lab crept around to see if an intruder was waiting for the right moment to strike. He gave a quick visual survey of the consoles in the lab while listening for the sound of breathing. As he was turning around and creeping towards the door leading to the corridor, sh’Aqba snuck up from behind and jammed a dagger into the enemy’s soldier’s back.

    Unfazed by the effort of cutting through his thick reptilian skin, the Jem’Hadar lunged around knocking her over. Without looking up, sh’Aqba grabbed the phaser from her holster and fired a lethal blast into his chest.

    The melee caught the attention of the other Jem’Hadar. But before he could come to his colleague’s aid, Markalis burst out of the access tunnel leading directly to sickbay and fired her phaser. Because the phaser was set on stun, she needed to fire three times to incapacitate him. “Activate Emergency Medical Hologram,” she called.

    A youthful-looking blonde-haired man in a Starfleet medical officer’s uniform fizzled into existence. “Please state the nature of the medical emergency,” he said, per his programming.

    “We’ve been taken over by Dominion forces,” sh’Aqba explained, walking swiftly towards the main diagnostic console. “We need you to secure engineering for us.”

    “Excuse me, but I am a doctor, not a commando,” the hologram insisted.

    Sh’Aqba quickly accessed the available transport logs of Dominion personnel. She then added some of that data to the holographic doctor’s image projectors. The EMH partially disappeared, and then reappeared as a Cardassian. “You are now,” she retorted.

    The EMH disappeared entirely, having been transferred to engineering. Sh’Aqba then raced towards the hatch through which she entered the sickbay, with Markalis right behind her. Markalis was then tackled by the Jem’Hadar she incapacitated.

    Sh’Aqba tried to come to the doctor’s rescue, but the Jem’Hadar quickly stood upright and fired his hand phaser at her. She ducked behind a biobed. Markalis attempted to lunge at the large enemy solider. The Jem’Hadar then grabbed her the neck, holding her three feet off the ground, while firing more shots towards sh’Aqba. She crept up to fire her phaser, but it was shot out of her hand.

    “Go,” Markalis implored, weakly. “Save yourself.”

    Without a working phaser and going against a Jem’Hadar twice as strong, sh’Aqba compliantly dove into the hatch and closed the door.

    The Jem’Hadar guard loosened his grip on Markalis’s neck, sending her plunging to the ground. He tapped communication device on his left wrist to contact Ruaf’izod. “First, at least two of the crew have escaped,” he reported. “I have one of them in my custody.”

    “Bring that person to the bridge,” Ruaf’izod responded.

    Hadar ascended from the command chair and tapped his wrist communicator. “I will conduct the interrogation myself.”

    “Carry out my orders,” Ruaf’izod ordered the guard in sickbay.

    “The Vorta instructed me to keep you on a short leash,” Ruaf’izod told Hadar. “Now that your incompetence has allowed two of the Starfleet crew to escape… “

    My incompetence?” Hadar interrupted. “I employed one of the most sophisticated of computer programs to counter any tricks the Starfleets attempted.”

    “That is beside the point. We should have executed the crew the minute we took the ship.”

    “We should not waste time debating what could have been. Right now, we need to concentrate on holding this ship.”

    Markalis and her captor then entered the bridge through the starboard turbolift. That distracted him from wanting to deck his Jem’Hadar counterpart. “Take her the ready room,” he commanded. “I will show her the price of defying us.”

    Markalis was escorted into the ready room, where she gazed horrifyingly at Kozar hanging from the ceiling unconscious. Hadar then grabbed a hypospray off the desk and used to wake the first officer. He then asked the technician responsible for the torture device to prepare the equipment. To Markalis, he said, “Now, I don’t want to bruise that pretty face of yours. But you and your commander will suffer horribly if you do not tell me how many of your crewmates have escaped confinement. Isn’t your oath as a doctor to do no harm?”

    “Lieutenant Aurellan Markalis,” she responded. “Serial number two-six-eight-seven-three-five-four.”

    “You’ll regret that answer,” Hadar said, coldly, as he slapped Markalis on the left cheek. He then jammed the electrical cable from his torture device into Kozar’s chest, again sending electrical currents through his body.

    Limis was in the process of dressing while she stared down at Grabowski While the spots that distinguished a Trill were not as pronounced as on a full blood Trill; they spread all the way down his body. Limis now felt as devastated as the Bajoran in Grabowski was when he inadvertently altered history. She fought against an oppressive force that ravaged this planet, and she hated to think a similar fate to befall her home in the coming centuries because she was not present to make a difference.

    Grabowski was still groggy as he was waking up. “What time is it?” he asked.

    “Almost sunrise,” Limis replied. “We should get a head start before the temperature shoots back up.”

    “Right,” her traveling companion responded while visually locating his clothes.

    Limis and Grabowski continued their long march through the desert. They exchanged no words for nearly seven hours, even while stopping to take a break. When the silence became too boring, Grabowski spoke up. “Do you regret last night?”

    “No,” Limis answered while continuing to gaze ahead of her. “It happened. We can’t undo it, even though you are a master at time travel.”

    Maybe so, but she still acting out that age-old maxim that sex changes everything. “You haven’t said a word to me since this morning,” he insisted.

    “It’s a natural reaction. We got caught up in the moment and had a spur of the moment intimate encounter. It doesn’t mean anything.”

    “Of course not. We’re from different time periods.”

    Limis then came to a stop and gazed absently as if having another epiphany from the Prophets. “It’s very near here,” she said. “I can feel it.”

    “It’s still a desert,” Grabowski retorted. “How do you know where the Orb would be if you consider yourself an agnostic?”

    “Back at the library, I mentioned taking a leap of faith. Sometimes you have to when not afforded the luxury of coming to an informed decision. I tried it in the Briar Patch and may as well have destroyed my ship. I’d still rather take my chances in my own time period.”

    “Maybe the doctors are right,” a baritone voice said. “Those stories aren’t real. I should focus more on what is real.”

    “Did you just say something?” Limis asked Grabowski. That voice did sound like that of Benjamin Sisko’s, but Grabowski was the only other person present.

    “No,” Grabowski replied. “Maybe the heat is getting to you.”

    “I may be getting old, but I’m not quite ready for senility.”

    “I had this dream of a better world,” Sisko’s voice continued. “But that is four hundred years from now. Maybe it is just wishful thinking.”

    Limis suddenly found herself in a dingy eating area with Sisko sitting across a table from her. But he was not Benjamin Sisko and she was not Limis Vircona. “Don’t say that, Benny,” she said to Benny Russell.

    Suddenly, she realized that the world around her had changed. She was not on Bajor in the 31st century, but on Earth in the 20th. Limis was now Veronica Loomis, a human woman and a patient at a New York City mental hospital.
  18. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Four
    Limis seemed impervious to the fact that she was now a patient in a mental institution on Earth, four hundred years in her past. She did not question that she was now Veronica Loomis. She was committed when she began having delusions her son was still alive after he was killed in the Korean War. She quickly became acquainted with Benny Russell, who was admitted to the mental hospital when he began clinging to a science fiction world he created while working for a literary magazine in Harlem. He continued writing, even though the doctors were having the manuscripts shredded. He snuck copies of his stories into Veronica’s room for her to read. But now, Benny was slowly giving that up.

    “Don’t you see?” Benny insisted. “All I’ve had to show for clinging to this reality of mine is to lose my job and to be incarcerated here. Maybe now isn’t the time to start a revolution.”

    “Someone probably said that before the Civil War started,” Veronica retorted, “and when the Supreme Court ruled against Susan B. Anthony.”

    “I’ve now come to understand, though, the tremendous sacrifices needed to be made to change the world. I don’t know how far I’d be willing to go.”

    “Your stories provide a more optimistic outlook on the future, Benny. My grandparents came to this country from Russia to escape religious persecution. Your stories give us hope for a better future. You can’t change the world overnight, but your writings can be a start.”

    Two orderlies slowly paced towards the table escort Benny back to his room. “You’ve given me a lot to think about, Veronica,” Benny said, standing to go with the two heavyset men.

    “Don’t let them tell you you’re crazy,” Veronica replied.

    Grabowski touched Limis’s shoulders and nudged. “You still here, Captain?” he asked.

    Limis blinked to absorb that she was again her real self and in the Golar Desert on Bajor. She pointed ahead with her right arm. “We should go this way,” she said.

    Grabowski turned his head around to gaze at the mountains in the distance. “You sure?” he asked.

    “I had another vision,” Limis explained. “It was more convoluted this time, like I was a whole different person. Then I got this sense the Orb is very close.”

    They walked towards a row of dying sagebrush. One corner of a box was sticking out of those bushes. Limis threw aside some of the branches to reveal the Orb box. She absorbed her surroundings in a moment of nervousness about the next few minutes. She planted a kiss on Grabowski’s lips. “It’s been fun,” she declared, “but I need to get back to my own time.”

    Limis opened the box to reveal the rotating Orb. What looked like long tendrils reached out around her. A white light quickly enveloped her, as she felt herself being pulled into a timeless realm.

    The EMH in the form of a Cardassian was entering commands into the console in front of the warp core. He was constantly looking behind both his shoulders to make sure he was not arousing the suspicions of other Cardassians, and especially the Jem’Hadar, as he had been programmed with the knowledge that the Dominion was keeping a closer eye on the Cardassians now that the invasion of Dominion-held territory was underway. The holographic doctor-turned-commando’s task was to release anesthizine gas into the engineering section.

    He began to think he was in the clear when he was ready to key in the final command sequence. But then he heard a voice call out from behind him. “You?” a Jem’Hadar called. “Do you have authorization to work that console?”

    The startled hologram turned around to face the guard now confronting him. “Of course,” he humbly replied.

    “I don’t recognize you. Name and rank?”

    “Gorr, first class, Makesh.”

    “I will need the First to verify this.” He prepared to contact the lead Jem’Hadar.

    “Is that necessary?” the EMH asked. “Gul Hadar needs the warp engine diagnostic by 1600 hours.”

    “You will wait,” the Jem’Hadar growled upholstering his phaser, “until the First arrives.”

    Without looking at the console, the EMH entered the final command sequence.

    “What have you just done?!” the Jem’Hadar demanded.
    Gas began pouring into the engine room. Jem’Hadar and Cardassians all over the room began grabbing their own necks choking, and they quickly fell to the deck unconscious.

    Mandel Morrison was crawling through one of the corridors, seemingly delirious. He caught the attention of a Cardassian who happened to walk by. He tapped his communicator to summon reinforcements in case this was some kind of ruse. The Cardassian pulled his weapon and rolled Morrison onto his back. “Get up, Starfleet,” he demanded upon seeing his eyes partially open.

    Suddenly the Cardassian took two Jem’Hadar plasma projectiles in the chest. Sh’Aqba and Carson arrived on the scene armed with Jem’Hadar rifles. The two women threw themselves against the wall when two Jem’Hadar started shooting from down the corridor. Logan and Tarlazzi then emerged from a side door and quickly took them out with their Cardassian phasers.

    “You guys took your time,” Morrison remarked, standing up and picking up the nearby Cardassian’s weapons.

    “Now I got to come to your rescue,” Carson sneered, citing two references in which Morrison took credit for saving her life.

    The group then headed for the transporter room and beamed into engineering.

    “Finally,” the EMH huffed. To sh’Aqba, he said, “I think your modifications are starting to wear off.”

    “Then we’ll send you back to sickbay,” Morrison replied. “You’re work here is done.”

    “Thank you,” the EMH sarcastically stated before disappearing.

    On the bridge, First Ruaf’izod responded to the summons he had received to get no answer from engineering. “Bridge to engineering,” he called a second time.

    “Send a team down there,” Hadar ordered the Jem’Hadar at tactical.

    Ruaf’izod gave a confirming nod.

    “I have a plan that may coerce them into surrendering.”

    “I know what you have in mind,” the Jem’Hadar First growled. “I will handle the prisoners in the ready room. I want you to lead your men to the engine room.”

    “This is my operation,” Hadar insisted. “I am here in place of your Vorta. That was the arrangement.”

    “Not anymore,” Ruaf’izod replied. “I will not allow you to continue to foul things up.”

    Hadar wanted to strangle Ruaf’izod, but then he would likely be executed and he would not able to exact vengeance against Limis. He, instead, left the bridge and stepped onto the starboard turbolift with two other Cardassians.

    “Attention, insurgents!” Ruaf’izod’s voice boomed on the engineering intercoms. “We have your commander and your chief medical officer in custody. If you do not surrender in one minute, I will execute both of the prisoners. I know that unlike the Jem’Hadar, Starfleet officers do not consider their colleagues expendable.”

    All the monitors in engineering engaged to show two other Jem’Hadar guards pointing rifles at Kozar and Markalis. The officers who had secured engineering could only stare at their colleagues in disbelief. Morrison, Logan, sh’Aqba, Carson, and Tarlazzi all knew what might be asked of them in a situation like this, but they could not bare the thought of having to watch the cold-blooded murders of two of their colleagues.

    Kozar, of course, was prepared to lay down his life to assure his ship did not fall into enemy hands, if only the auto destruct could engage. He continued twisting his wrists, hoping to loosen the rope that had him hanging from the ceiling. And while Markalis had been a doctor longer than she was a Starfleet officer, she knew a moment like this would come. She never considered the possibility of meeting her premature demise until now.

    “Kill the woman,” Ruaf’izod ordered the guard who was pointing a rifle at Markalis.

    Kozar suddenly swung forward, kicking both guards in their respective chests. Markalis then dove underneath the desk to avoid Ruaf’izod’s phaser fire. She rummaged through a drawer to find a hand phaser, and then fired it at the ceiling to free Kozar. Kozar dove into Ruaf’izod, ignoring the fact that the Jem’Hadar had shot him in the shoulder. Kozar then fired Ruaf’izod’s phaser at one of the guards, and then fired another fatal shot at the First.

    The second guard swung around the desk, pointing his phaser at Markalis. But she was able to fire her phaser at him, sending his lifeless body to the deck. Markalis then remembered her phaser was still set to kill. She had never taken a life before. From an early age, she learned that humanity had overcome the need for such barbaric practices. Markalis let the phaser fall out of her hands, and she collapsed to the deck sobbing.

    Kozar walked behind the desk and crouched down to console Markalis. “Markalis, listen to me,” he said calmly. “ He would have killed you. You did what you had to do.”

    Markalis looked up at Kozar, tears streaming down both cheeks. “I killed him,” she murmured, remorsefully. “I took an oath to do no harm, but I just murdered a sentient being.”

    “Right now, you’re not a doctor,” Kozar told her. “You’re a Starfleet officer trying to take back your ship from enemy soldiers. Sometimes that means using deadly force.”

    “How are you, Captain Limis, Morrison, and the others so used to causing the deaths of other beings?”

    “You hope you never do get used to it.”

    The intercom then sounded. “Battle alert,” a Jem’Hadar on the bridge called.
    Kozar and Markalis were hopeful that Starfleet had sent ships to their rescue.

    The ship was red alert as a Sindareen battle cruiser approached the Lambda Paz. Glinn Perrek was at Ops, while Third Retan’ikron was at tactical. Second Jamat’hiron stood in front of where both command chairs used to be, staring at the viewscreen. Hadar stepped onto the bridge, after being summoned by the battle alert.

    “Where is the First?” Hadar asked.

    “He has not reported back to the bridge,” Jamat’hiron answered. “We can assume he is dead. I am in command now.”

    “We’re being hailed,” Perrek reported.

    “On screen,” Jamat’hiron and Hadar answered simultaneously.
    Hadar’s former business partner Tor Vot appeared on the viewscreen. “You,” Hadar sneered. “What do you want? I fired you after you failed to carry out my assignment for you.”

    “I remember quite well,” Tor Vot hissed. “I was promised a hefty bounty by another employer of mine, which I will not give up easily. You can keep your captured ship. Just release Captain Limis to me. If you do not comply in sixty seconds, I will open fire.”

    “You would threaten the Dominion?!” Jamat’hiron snarled. “We do not take such challenges lightly, especially from our former allies.”

    Hadar arched his head upward at the word allies. The last thing he, or any other Cardassian wanted to hear, was that their allies were secretly colluding with pirates such as the Sindareen. Now, though, was not the time to confront their partners about this betrayal.

    “He’s powering his weapons,” Retan’ikron reported.

    “Let’s grant his death wish then,” the Second replied. “Screen off.”
  19. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Five
    Tor Vot’s Sindareen battle cruiser fired a volley of plasma torpedoes straight at the forward saucer section of the Lambda Paz. The cruiser veered out of range of the Starfleet ship’s dorsal phasers. The Sindareen cruiser slowly moved back into its own weapon’s range to fire another volley at the saucer’s aft.

    “Take evasive action, helm,” Hadar barked to the Cardassian at conn.

    “That last volley took out both the port and starboard maneuvering jets,” the young male Cardassian pilot reported.
    “He’s moving off,” Retan’ikron reported. “Heading for a heavy concentration of metreons.”

    “His decision to attack the Dominion will still not go unpunished,” Jamat’hiron replied. “Lay in a pursuit course, and fire all weapons.”

    “Further into the Patch, sir?” the helmsman protested.

    “Do as he says,” Hadar half-snarled, knowing that the Jem’Hadar were far less tolerant of insubordination than Cardassians.

    The Lambda Paz closed in on the Sindareen ship firing both phasers and quantum torpedoes.

    “His shields are holding,” Retan’ikron reported.

    “Possibly because your Vorta gave Dominion weapons to those gutter snipes,” Hadar quipped.

    Jamat’hiron half-turned his head away from the Third, but did not answer Hadar’s jab. Looking back at Retan’Ikron, he stated, “Keep pouring on. I want that ship destroyed one way or another.”

    Down in engineering, Tarlazzi was entering commands into the console in front of the warp core. Logan looked over the Rigellian’s shoulder as he was attempting to raise plasma pressure levels above safety limits. He grimaced when he saw a peculiar set of equations appear on the readout screen. “I thought we were creating a fake core breach,” he insisted.

    “In order to get the Cardies off this ship,” Tarlazzi explained, “it has to be genuine. That we’re under attack and in the Briar Patch, the circumstances are certainly plausible.”

    “And if you can’t stop it,” Morrison started to say.

    “At least we’ll take our captors with us,” Tarlazzi finished.

    Danger. Warp core plasma pressure exceeding safety limits,” the Starfleet computer voice warned.

    “Have the teams had any luck taking back engineering?” Hadar asked Retan’ikron.

    “The insurgents have sealed themselves in,” Retan’ikron replied. “All other access points are blocked by force fields.”

    Danger. Exceeding reaction chamber thermal limit,” the computer proclaimed. “Warp core breach in four minutes.

    “Abandon ship,” Jamat’hiron announced. Then to Hadar, he said, “Looks like your foolish quest for vengeance will have to wait for another day.”

    Tor Vot entered his private chamber when the holographic communications device his benefactor from the future used came to life. He continued to monitor the battle from there, while at the same time trying to stabilize the signal. All he was hearing were incoherent whispers. “Please repeat,” he implored.

    Again, he got only a barely audible whisper.

    “I can hear, but I cannot understand you. Please repeat what you said.”

    Electrical crackling from around the imager began to fill the room. A humanoid figure emerged from the imager, but not the humanoid he was expected. Next thing he knew, Tor Vot was tackled and his head pinned to his console. “I said you’re an ugly bastard,” Limis spat at him.

    Limis glanced at readout on the console to see that Tor Vot’s ship was attacking her ship. Both ships were still in the perimeter cloud of the Briar Patch. From what limited sensor data on activity outside the cloud indicated a swarm of Jem’Hadar and Cardassian ships were about to intercept. “I would imagine the Dominion is really pissed at you,” Limis continued, remembering her escape from Tor Vot’s custody. “You’re going to send me back to my ship, and I let you go before the perimeter cloud is swarming with Jem’Hadar.”

    Back on the Lambda Paz, Morrison, Carson, and Logan had secured the bridge after the Jem’Hadar and the Cardassians had evacuated. Morrison and Logan were both monitoring the tactical display. But with limited sensors outside of the metreon clouds, they could not be sure whether or not the enemy was bringing in reinforcements.

    Carson was at Ops, monitoring Tarlazzi’s progress in preventing a warp core breach. When she saw that plasma pressure had fallen back to safe levels, she raced over to the helm. “Reports of this ship’s destruction have been greatly exaggerated,” she teased her superior officers.

    Carson was frozen in her tracks when a transporter beam appeared in front of her. Limis then completely materialized. Morrison and Logan looked up, pleased to see their captain’s safe return. “Captain,” Carson gasped.

    “At ease, Lieutenant,” Limis replied. “What’s our status?”
    “We were able to cause a near core breach to get rid of the Dominion,” Logan replied.

    “We’re on course out of the Briar Patch,” Carson added. “Engineering is working to fire up the maneuvering thrusters manually.”

    “Kozar and Markalis sustained minor injuries,” Morrison chimed in. “They’re recovering in sickbay.”

    The Lambda Paz emerged from the Briar Patch. Six Jem’Hadar fighters near the edge of the perimeter cloud pursued in a single file formation. Two additional fighters went inside the cloud to pursue Tor Vot. Now clear of the Patch, the Lambda Paz was now able to travel at full impulse.

    “Six Jem’Hadar fighter closing from behind,” Morrison reported from the tactical station.

    “Didn’t think they’d give up that easily,” Limis quipped. “What’s the status of the warp drive?”

    “We have warp five, sir,” Carson replied.

    “I’ll take it,” the captain proclaimed. “Any heading. Engage.”

    The Lambda Paz streaked into warp, but each of the Jem’Hadar fighters moved into a warp speed, so overtaking the lone Starfleet ship was only a matter of time. The six enemy ships each took turns firing phasers at the Lambda Paz. The Lambda Paz returned fire with dorsal phasers and aft quantum torpedoes.”

    “Direct hit to two ships,” Morrison reported. “Minor damage to forward shields.”

    The bridge rocked from another volley of phaser fire.
    “Two Jem’Hadar battle ships on approach,” Logan reported from ops. “One from port, the other starboard.”

    Two slightly bigger Jem’Hadar ships closed in from both sides. The two ships fired plasma torpedoes straight at the port and starboard nacelles. The Lambda Paz quickly fell out of warp. Three of the six fighters swooped over and took positions in front of the ship while continuing to fire phasers.

    “We’ve lost warp drive,” Morrison dejectedly announced. “And shields are gone.”

    Limis stared at the viewscreen, which was showing the three Jem’Hadar fighters off her ship’s bow. Maybe this whole venture was for nothing. Could Limis have traveled such a long distance on foot and returned to her own time period only to watch her ship be recaptured? Just as she was about to give the surrender order, Logan reported.

    “Sir, incoming printout message from Admiral Jellico,” he said. “It says, ‘Right in front of you.’”

    A Sovereign-class starship dropped out of warp. Two Defiant-class ships flanking it then appeared firing their multi-targeting phaser cannons. Two Akira-class ships flanking those three ships then appeared firing volleys of quantum torpedoes.

    The lone Sovereign-class ship’s fired phaser beams to both port and starboard, quickly incinerating the two Jem’Hadar battleships. The other four ships fired volleys of phasers and quantum torpedoes at the remaining fighters. Two of them exploded while the other four moved off and streaked into warp.

    “Incoming hail from the admiral aboard the Constantinople, sir,” Morrison reported.

    “Put it up,” Limis replied. As Jellico’s face appeared on the main viewscreen, she said, “Well, so help me, I’m actually glad to see you.”

    “Likewise, Captain,” Jellico replied. For the first time that Limis could remember, Jellico actually smiled. “Although you may have to answer to Temporal Investigations, welcome back.”

    “Just glad to be back, sir. I feel like I’ve been away for seven hundred years.”

    Captain’s log, stardate 51996.8: Engineering teams from the Constantinople have repaired the damage to our warp drive and the defensive systems. We won’t have the luxury of a full overhaul at Starbase G-6 with the Seventh Fleet needing a fresh set of ships.

    Limis stared at the desk monitor in her ready room. She was sifting through the engineering reports regarding on-the-fly repair needs. But too much was on her mind to make sense of the technical aspects of those reports. The events of the last two months began with a threat to her son. For all she knew, he was still in great danger, but all she now had nothing go on.

    The chime of the doorbell woke Limis out of her trance. “Come,” she stuttered.

    Rebecca Sullivan entered through a side door, smiling. Limis was in no smiling though. She just returned her friend’s gesture with a quick grin. “My bridge shift starts shortly.” Rebecca stated. “I thought I’d check up on you.”

    “I appreciate the gesture,” Limis replied, “but I will be all right.”

    “Even though your son is still out there, and still in great danger?”

    “All I can do is have faith. I may not believe in the Prophets as gods, but faith was often the only thing that kept those of us in the Maquis going. And the Prophets told me something that makes me wonder.”

    “What’s that?” Rebecca curiously inquired, taking a seat in one of the guest chairs.

    “They said I have a destiny to fulfill,” Limis explained. “One thing is certain. Whether or not the Prophets are gods, they do have a vested interest in what happens to Bajor.”

    “And since they are beings outside of linear time,” Rebecca added, “their so-called ‘prophecies’ have ways of coming true.”

    “I still like to think we make our own futures. And we can start by concentrating on the here and now.”

    “You’re officially a Starfleet captain.”

    “How so?”

    “That cliché you just recited.”

    Limis grinned at that observation, while ascending from her chair. She and Rebecca headed for the bridge.

    Hasin Yanith lay shackled to an examination table. Several Cardassian technicians placed various medical tools on trays on the side of the examination table. Those trays were on carts the technicians slid towards a circular console about ten feet away from the exam table.

    An elderly Cardassian male slowly strode towards Yanith, looking at the Bajoran man with a wry grin. “Prepare the next series of tests,” he ordered the technicians.

    Yanith fidgeted almost as if convulsing. He knew he could not escape, but as long he had the strength, he refused to give up trying.
  20. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Propaganda Under the Guise of Entertainment Inc. presents…
    An Enterprise1981 Production

    “Faces in the Crowd”

    Historian’s Note: The main events of this story take place one month after the events of “Tears of the Prophets” (DS9).

    Partial transcript of 5 February 2375 edition of Countdown: Cardassia, Federation News Service

    Mur Ol’Mav: Good evening from FNS headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. I’m Mur Ol’Mav. Today is the 47th day since the Federation Alliance’s seizure of the Chin’toka system. Moving beyond Chin’toka has become increasingly problematic with each passing solar day. Dominion forces continue throwing a substantial majority of its resources in the sector to driving out the Allied presence, all the while fortifying defenses within adjacent star systems.

    The first effort in taking out the Monac Four shipyards was an unmitigated disaster. Detachments from the Second and Ninth Fleets were vastly outnumbered. Less than a tenth of those ships deployed were able to fall back at Chin’toka. Not even the devastating losses in the Tyra System last year incurred such a high casualty percentage.

    Based on reconnaissance reports of a massive communications relay on the sixth planet of star system AR-558, the first contingent of troops was deployed today. Reports coming in over the last hour indicate that half the troop transports were lost just near the system’s Oort cloud.
    We turn now to FNS foreign affairs correspondent Velisa for more details. Good evening, Velisa.

    Velisa: Good evening, Mur.

    Ol’Mav: Velisa, of course, has covered various diplomatic sessions between the Federation and the Romulan Empire in the last few months. The Romulan entry into the war was certainly a major turning point. On the one hand, it did throw the enemy off balance, but on the other hand, they have a tight grip on all three fronts.

    Velisa: We’ve certainly seen in the last year that the Dominion has a remarkable resilience. Once the Romulans opened a new front, the Dominion set up a staging area and heavily fortified. We knock off a shipyard, a munitions depot, or a ketracel white plant, they immediately, as you said, fortify the neighboring star systems.

    Ol’Mav: And now they’ve taken that strategy up a notch now that we have a foothold in their territory.
    With the latest developments in mind, Velisa, how long would you estimate before we’re at the main house ready to bust the front door down?

    Velisa: I was really hoping you wouldn’t ask that. With this kind of defensive posturing we’ve seen again and again, strategic analysts are projecting heavy collateral damage even in victory with thirty to forty percent casualties for each major offensive. Right now, I would say a year is optimistic. This operation could take two years at the most, even with as radical a shift as an anti-Dominion coup on Cardassia.

    Ol’Mav: What a mess that will be before it’s all over. Velisa, great thanks for your time.

    This date in history, February 5th by the Earth Gregorian calendar. In 2010, the Aka-Bo language on Earth became extinct when its last speaker died. In 2062, a Vulcan space probe in Sector 001 reveals plans for a new faster-than-light prototype ship in Earth’s North American continent. And in 2268, the planet Coridan was officially admitted into Federation.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2010