Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by doublegoodprole, Nov 21, 2012.
I could care less what you think...
This tale is complex, with believable, intricately drawn characters and a strong narrative that keeps the reader fully engrossed.
Damn fine work!
You’ve got me hooked, and I can’t wait to see where you take this marvelous story.
I'm very glad to hear it.
I could care less what you're very glad to hear.
So in other words you do care at least a little, or you're just an illiterate fool who thinks his attempts at sniping are somehow witty and/or intelligent. FYI, they're not but I'm glad we've covered that now.
Moving on, when are we going to see an update?
When are we getting more story?
Is there any need to resort to such name calling? Such abuse wounds me deeply.
Perhaps if you didn't keep so clumsily attempting to bait me, you might experience it less.
That's a clumsy attempt at an apology for calling me unkind names. Not to worry though.
Is there any more of this on the horizon?
I'd be interesting in reading more about the survivors escapades in this other galaxy.
Re: Angry Fanboy
what he said
Stardate 57381.06 (January 1, 2381)
“Happy New Year, Benjamin.”
Jadzia Dax picked up the holopicture frame. Ben Sisko, with his arm around his son Jake and a winning smile. There they were, on the DS9 Promenade, posing for a picture just as the great Bajoran wormhole opened. It was an incredible shot, and it was one of the personal items Dax had made sure to grab during the frenzied evacuation of Deep Space Nine years earlier.
A lifetime ago.
Such an interesting role reversal, Dax thought. Once upon a time, I—well, Curzon—was the one giving advice to an impetuous young man named Benjamin Sisko. And now, here I am in another body, another life, wishing for just five minutes to speak to that man again and hear the wisdom of his words.
Dax placed the picture back down on the table. Another long, hard day beckoned. A day of reviewing sensor logs, reading reports, and updating star charts—well, no one had ever said a life of exile would be fun.
Dax dressed quickly and left her quarters. As she made her way to the Operations Center, she prioritized her list of duties and tried to push the image of Ben Sisko out of her mind. Focus.
The core of the Operations Center was, in actuality, the stripped-down bridge of an old Constitution-class ship, the Exeter. Interestingly, the ship had been abandoned over a hundred years before during a deep space mission. Someone had finally gotten around to salvaging the vessel and eventually Starfleet had reactivated her during the last desperate days of the Dominion War. After serving with distinction in several battles, Exeter had been one of the refugee ships that had fled the Alpha Quadrant.
That’s how desperate things were at the end, Dax thought to herself. Raiding the Starship Museum for ships fit to fight.
As she entered the Operations Center, some of the Starfleet personnel snapped to attention. “At ease, everyone,” Dax said. She turned to the officer on duty, a Bolian commander named Holl. “Is Admiral Ross in his office, Commander?”
“Yes, sir,” the Bolian replied. “I have to warn you, though, Captain. The Old Man isn’t in a very good mood today.”
Dax couldn’t help but smile. “Well, I suppose that wouldn’t make today much different than any other day, now would it?” The Bolian smirked. No one could remember a time when Ross had been in anything resembling a good mood.
“Dax!” Admiral William Ross stood at the door to his office, the former ready room of some 23rd century Starfleet captain. “In here, please!”
Dax shot a knowing look at the Bolian commander and said, “Yes, Admiral, of course.” She strode into the office, the door swishing shut behind her. Ross wearily sat at his desk. There were no other chairs in the office, so Dax stood at attention, hands clasped behind her back.
“One of our cloaked sensor buoys picked up an intriguing reading early this morning,” Ross said. He tossed a PADD in Dax’s direction. “What does that look like to you?”
Dax picked up the PADD and studied the readings for a moment. “That’s strange. It looks like the warp signature of a Starfleet vessel.”
Ross nodded gravely. “It’s too far out to make a positive identification. All of our vessels are accounted for, and we can’t risk contacting the ship without giving away our location.”
There was only one way to be sure, Dax surmised.
“I want you to take the Defiant out there,” Ross said, confirming Dax’s thought. “Take a skeleton crew and make visual contact with that ship. If there is even a slight chance it’s a Dominion trap, do not make engage that ship--return to Erehwon immediately.”
The Defiant. Dax felt a tinge of sadness, mixed with the excitement of going out on a deep space mission for the first time in years. The Defiant was Ben’s ship.
She wouldn’t let him down.
“Aye, sir,” Dax said. “When do we leave?”
“As soon as possible,” Ross replied. “Not a word of this to anyone not selected for the mission, Captain. I don’t need rumors spreading panic throughout the base.”
“Of course, sir.”
Ross turned to his computer terminal. “Notify me when you depart, Captain.”
“Yes, sir.” Dax turned to leave the office.
She turned back around. “Sir?”
Ross looked up at her and smiled wanly. “Good luck, Jadzia. Godspeed.”
Dax smiled and exited. As she made her way out of the Operations Center, the Bolian Commander cleared her throat. “Um, everything all right, Captain?”
“We’ll see, Commander,” she replied. “We’ll see.”
In Orbit of Planet Erewhon
Stardate 57385.37 (January 1, 2381)
The U.S.S. Defiant was not one of the vessels that remained cloaked in orbit of Erehwon at all times, ostensibly to defend the settlements on the planet below. The energy requirements for such a task were simply too enormous for this particular branch of Starfleet-in-exile. The crew of the Defiant had landed the ship in a canyon about 150 miles from Starfleet Command when the fleet had arrived at Erehwon; not to hide it from view, but simply to protect it from the elements. Any hostile conducting the most basic sensor sweep of the planet would have picked up such an overpowered vessel sitting there on the surface.
Of course, any hostile that close to Erehwon would already have the Defiant shooting quantum torpedoes down their throats.
It was standard Starfleet policy in this new era to keep all of its ships—the meager few that were left, anyway—on constant stand-by alert. So even with Defiant on the ground, it only took Captain Jadzia Dax a couple of hours to select a crew, debrief everyone on their mission, and lift the ship into orbit.
“Status report, Commander Nog,” Dax ordered.
The young Ferengi —barely a cadet when the war began, now a battle-hardened Lieutenant Commander—looked up from his console. “All systems are functioning at full capacity, sir. All departments have reported in and are ready.”
Dax was amused. “All departments, Nog? There are only fourteen people aboard this ship.”
Nog stared at her and blinked twice. “Nevertheless, Captain, all—“
Dax held up her hand. Levity was like a muscle. If you didn’t use it, you would lose it. “Never mind, Commander. Very good.” She sighed. “Helm. Set an intercept course for the bogey. Warp nine.”
The helm officer, a young Vulcan, nodded briskly. “Course laid in, sir.”
Dax sat back in her chair. “Engage.”
The Defiant, for the first time since the fleet’s arrival at Erehwon, leaped into warp. Dax swore she could feel it do so, and she smiled broadly.
“The old lady’s still got it,” Nog cried out happily, clapping his hands together.
“You had better not be talking about me, Commander,” Dax said. In spite of himself, Nog laughed, a hearty Ferengi guffaw that reminded Dax of home. She grinned at him and felt a warmth she hadn’t experienced in a long time. There was a time when camaraderie like that was the norm on Defiant…back when…no. Dax pushed the thought out of her head. Focus, Dax, focus.
The Defiant raced towards the unknown Starfleet vessel. It would take about seven hours to intercept the ship. Dax found herself wondering about the nature of the ship. Was it a temporally displaced vessel from the past? A Starfleet ship from an alternate timeline? A lost ship that had never heard of the Dominion? Or was it a Dominion trap, baiting someone to come out and reveal the location of the hidden Federation base at Erehwon? In a universe this harsh, the latter possibility was probably the correct one. Dax couldn’t help but feel optimistic, though. For some reason, Federation starships had a strange tendency to pop up in places they simply shouldn’t be.
The turbolift doors opened and Elim Garak walked onto the bridge. Captain Dax had selected Garak to be a part of the crew hoping that if the bogey was a Trojan Horse, Garak would be able to see through the ruse quickly. Perhaps a Betazoid would have been better, but none had accompanied the fleet to the Delta Quadrant. Even without a Betazoid in the fleet there were probably more qualified personnel for this mission, but it felt good having a familiar face aboard.
“Garak,” Dax acknowledged.
“Hello, Captain,” Garak replied. The Cardassian looked slightly queasy. “I must say, I have not missed the rather claustrophobic feeling of riding aboard a starship.”
“Have you talked to Julian?” Dax had made sure to select Dr. Julian Bashir for this mission—familiar faces.
“I don’t believe there will be a need to avail myself of the good doctor’s services.” Garak stood by the captain’s chair. “Surely this mission won’t take up too much of our time.”
“All you have is time, Garak,” Nog grumbled from the ops station. “What is it that you do when we’re planetside, exactly?”
Garak glanced over at the Ferengi and murmured sotto voce to Dax, “You know, I find myself missing the young, enthusiastic Ferengi boy I once knew.”
“I heard that,” Nog snapped, turning back to the ops panel.
“Well, I think we all miss our younger, more enthusiastic selves,” Dax said wistfully.
Garak shrugged. “Perhaps I just have the dubious advantage of living in exile long before all of you. I suppose I am simply…more used to feeling displaced.”
“Speaking of displaced,” Dax said, changing the subject, “where do you think this Starfleet vessel is from? Or when?”
“I’ve no idea. If it isn’t in fact a Dominion trap, there are several hundred options from which to choose—and that’s just Starfleet’s list of vessels that have been declared missing in the last several hundred years.”
“The long-distance scanners are still too out of range to pick up anything more than a warp signature,” Nog interjected. “Once we get closer, we’ll be able to make out more details. The ship is traveling at warp six, so it won’t be too long.”
“If it is in fact a Dominion trap,’ Garak said, “what exactly do you plan to do, Jadzia?”
“Follow orders to the best of my ability,” Dax replied. “If we get the willies, we’ll turn tail and head home. There’s no sense risking everything for one ship.”
“If indeed this vessel is a trap, it is quite an ingenious one,” Garak commented. “We escort it to Erehwon, and a Jem’Hadar fleet follows. Simple, but devastatingly effective.”
“The good news is, there aren’t any signs of Jem’Hadar anywhere in this sector,” said Nog.
Garak shook his head. “I don’t think underestimating the Dominion would be a very wise choice.”
“Me either,” Dax agreed. “I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see.” She stood up. “I’m going to check on Julian in Sickbay. Care to come along, Garak?”
“Good. Commander Nog, you have the bridge.”
Nog stood up. “Aye, sir.”
As Garak and Dax entered the turbolift, the Cardassian whispered, “Did you ever think you’d be leaving Nog in charge of anything, let alone the bridge of a starship?”
As the doors closed, Dax smiled. Nog sat down in the captain’s chair.
“I heard that,” the Ferengi mumbled to himself.
Stardate 57385.50 (January 1, 2381)
“What I wouldn’t give for a decent cup of raktajino right now.” Dr. Julian Bashir leaned against a biobed. “Freshly brewed.”
“Iced,” Dax added. “With extra cream.”
“A truly vile beverage,” Garak said. “The Klingons may have been great warriors, but their coffee was nothing short of dishonorable. Now, a hot cup of Rokassa juice…well, that would certainly be a welcome treat. However, Cardassian refreshments are in…understandably short supply.”
“Yes,” Bashir murmured. “They are at that.”
A moment passed. Conversation did not come as easily as it once had, back when the universe made sense. There was a great deal of history between the three individuals in the Defiant’s sickbay, and Dax was well aware that even being in the same room together evoked some very uncomfortable memories.
But one had to push on into the future eventually. Captain Dax smiled at Bashir, exclaiming, “You know, it’s been a while since we’ve had a chance to really sit down and talk, Julian. How are you these days?”
Bashir shrugged. “As good as anyone, I suppose. I’ve spent the last few months helping eradicate a nasty mini-epidemic of Jauntaride influenza out in the camps. Honestly, it’s nice to get back out into space and away from that disease-infested planet for a while.”
“I heard about that flu,” Dax said. “As I recall, there were no fatalities.”
“Not this time,” Bashir sighed.
Dax couldn’t help but feel concerned at the visible change in her friend. When she had first met Bashir all those years ago on Deep Space Nine, he had been an optimistic young man brimming with energy, eager to practice what he had referred to as ‘frontier medicine.’ This man before her today was so different that he seemed like another person entirely. Older…beaten down. It was sad.
“Still, nice work, Julian,” she offered.
Bashir curtly nodded and managed a wan smile. “And you, Jadzia? Obviously you’ve made Captain.”
It was Dax’s turn to be ambivalent. “Yes…well. There are lots of captains in the fleet, but not a whole lot of ships.”
“You’re being altogether too modest, Jadzia,” Garak said. “From what I’ve heard, your work in organizing the various sensor arrays around the Erehwon’s system Oort Cloud has been nothing short of miraculous.“
Dax chuckled. “Well, thank you, Garak, but in all honesty it was extremely dull work. I performed more complex tasks as a student at the Academy.”
“All of our tasks have taken a turn for the mundane, I’m afraid,” Bashir said. “I suppose the days where we would gallivant around the galaxy searching for adventure behind every nebula are behind us now.”
“Perhaps,” Garak replied, “But we also must consider ourselves extremely lucky to be alive and free, as opposed to rotting in a Dominion prison camp somewhere.”
Bashir glanced at Garak, who met his gaze with a knowing look. The two had spent some time in such a prison camp before the war. It was there that Garak’s father and mentor, Enabran Tain, had perished. It was there that Bashir had languished helplessly while, back on Deep Space Nine, his changeling doppelganger had successfully completed his deadly mission.
“And hey, look on the bright side, Julian,” Dax said. “There may not be any nebulae around, but we’re out here in the galaxy, gallivanting.”
Bashir couldn’t help but smile. “So noted, Captain.”
Dax’s communicator chirped. “Nog to Captain Dax.”
“Go ahead, Nog.”
“Preliminary scans are coming in on the unknown vessel.”
“I’ll be right there.” She glanced at the two men. “Coming?”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Bashir muttered.
On the bridge, Nog stood hunched over a mini-viewer at the Ops station. Dax sat in the captain’s chair as Garak and Bashir stood on either side of her. “What do you have, Nog?”
“It’s still a little fuzzy, sir,” the Ferengi replied. “But I can give you a visual.”
“On the viewscreen, Commander.”
The large viewscreen at the front of the bridge came to life. A tiny blob appeared in the middle of the screen, surrounded by tiny pinpricks of white light.
“Can you magnify that image, Nog?”
This time the image was clearer. Dax could definitely make out the lines of a Federation starship.
“Captain,” Nog cried out. “The bogey! It’s changing course.”
“Helm, adjust course to intercept. Nog, what’s the bogey’s new heading?”
Nog checked, and check again. Dax looked over at him. “Nog?”
The Ferengi met her gaze. “It’s on an intercept course for us, Captain!”
“This is certainly a troubling development,” Garak said.
“How could they have detected us?” Bashir walked over to Nog’s station to confirm his readings. “We’re cloaked!”
“Their long-range sensors must have picked us up despite the cloaking device,” Dax surmised. “If they have a bead on us, it doesn’t make much sense to run now.”
The Vulcan at the helm turned around and said, “Orders, Captain?”
“Maintain an intercept course.”
The lieutenant at Tactical, an older human female, spoke up. “Captain, the bogey is now at warp nine. Estimated time of intercept…twenty-two minutes, sir.”
“Red Alert,” Dax ordered. “If this other ship comes in shooting, I want to be ready for it.”
The bridge was bathed in red light. “Commander Nog,” Dax said, “Now that the cat is out of the bag, perform an active long-range scan and get me some details.”
“Aye, sir. Scanning.”
An active scan would normally give away the location of any cloaked vessel. In this case, the point was moot. Defiant stayed cloaked, but extended its sensor reach to its full capacity.
Nog completed his scan "Captain. It’s an Intrepid-class vessel. The...U.S.S. Voyager, sir.”
“Voyager?” Dax looked up at Bashir, who had resumed his place at her side. “Do you remember a ship by that name, Julian?”
“Yes,” Julian replied matter-of-factly. “She docked at DS9 a couple of years before the war began, on a mission to locate a Maquis raider in the Badlands.”
“Confirmed,” Nog stated. “Starfleet last made contact with the U.S.S. Voyager on Stardate, um, 48315 while the vessel was on a search-and-retrieval mission in the Badlands. Voyager was declared missing in action on Stardate...48500.”
Dax’s eyes widened. “So that ship has been in the Delta Quadrant for almost ten years?”
“Give or take,” Bashir noted.
Garak frowned. “Ten years ago. Would our friends on Voyager have known about the Dominion?”
Bashir nodded. “Voyager docked at DS9 a couple of months after the Jem’Hadar destroyed the Odyssey. I’m sure they know about the Dominion…but certainly not about the war.”
“If they are who they say they are, that is,” Garak replied. “We still can’t be sure this isn’t some kind of Dominion ploy.”
The tactical officer called out, “The vessel is hailing us, Captain!”
Dax couldn’t help but wonder what Benjamin Sisko would do in this situation. Focus, Dax, focus, she thought to herself. Ben isn’t here. It’s your ship now.
“What the hell,” Dax muttered. “Onscreen.”
Stardate 57385.50 (January 1, 2381)
“Are you sure, Tuvok?” Captain Kathryn Janeway stared in disbelief at her Vulcan first officer. “A cloaked Starfleet vessel?”
“Yes, Captain,” Tuvok replied calmly. “The warp signature is unmistakable.”
“What would a Federation starship be doing out this far out?” The ship’s helmsman, Lieutenant Commander Tom Paris, swiveled his chair to face the captain. “And why would it be cloaked?”
“Captain, there is another fact that may be of some interest.” Janeway turned to face her tactical officer, Ensign Seven of Nine. “The unknown vessel is on an intercept course with Voyager, traveling at a velocity of Warp nine point—
“I get it,” Janeway interjected. “This is the first Starfleet vessel—well, possible Starfleet vessel—we’ve encountered since the Equinox. If it’s hostile, let’s meet the challenge before it meets us.”
The bridge crew turned to their stations. “Helm,” Janeway ordered. “Lay in an intercept course for that ship, warp nine. Engage.”
“Warp nine,” Tom said quietly.
“Shall I raise the shields, Captain?” Seven of Nine, characteristically, already had her finger on the console to do so.
Janeway paused. Ever since the Mutara Nebula Incident, it was standard procedure to raise shields whenever a fellow Starfleet vessel didn’t respond to hails. But considering the circumstances...well. Perhaps it was too early to jump the gun. “Let’s wait and see if they want to talk to us.”
Seven of Nine disapproved but did not voice her concerns. “We are now within hailing range, Captain.”
Janeway sat up straight in her chair. “Let’s see if they feel like talking. Hail them, Ensign.”
“The hailing frequencies are now open, Captain.”
“This is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager.”
The visage of a middle-aged Trill female appeared on the screen. Janeway took a sharp intake of breath.
“This is Captain Jadzia Dax of the U.S.S. Defiant.” The Trill paused. “ I see you’ve found a way to penetrate our cloak.”
Janeway grinned in spite of herself. “We’ve been required to make a few… adaptations during our journey through the Delta Quadrant, Captain Dax.” Janeway stood and walked towards the viewscreen. “But I suppose you have as many questions for us as we do for you.”
The Trill raised an eyebrow. “I suppose you could say that.”
Janeway regarded the Trill carefully. There was something going on here, she thought. Something isn’t right. The Trill officer wasn’t being unfriendly, but she was definitely… guarded. Maybe it was nothing, but Janeway couldn’t shake the feeling the other captain was hiding something.
Janeway had survived for ten years in the Delta Quadrant by trusting her instincts; she wasn’t about to stop doing so now, even when faced with a possible way home.
“Mr. Paris,” Janeway said, “How long until we intercept the Defiant?”
“Nine minutes, Captain.”
“I’d like to propose a rendezvous point, Captain Dax.” Janeway sat back in her chair and tapped at a console. “Heading 193 mark 7.”
The Trill looked over at someone out of view. “All right, Captain Janeway. We’ll meet you there in…about fifteen minutes.”
“I look forward to it,” Janeway said. “Voyager out.”
Paris whistled. “They didn’t exactly lay out the welcome mat for us, did they?”
“I’ll say,” the Ops Officer, Lieutenant Harry Kim, replied. “She did look familiar, though.”
Janeway stood. “Arm phaser banks and photon torpedoes, but hold off on raising shields.” She stared at the viewscreen, with all the myriad stars of the Delta Quadrant streaking by. “Whatever is going on with the Defiant, I want to be ready.”
Onboard the Defiant, Captain Dax viewed the data the ship’s sensors had gathered about the rendezvous point. “Julian,” she said, “It looks like you may get your adventure inside a nebula after all.”
“Confirmed,” Nog spoke up. “The rendezvous point is just outside a Class 7 nebula.”
“Sounds like a perfect hiding spot for a Jem’Hadar fleet,” Garak said quietly
Dax contemplated this for a moment. “That may be true. But it may also be true that Voyager wants to use the nebula as a possible escape route from us.”
“If the Jem’Hadar are hiding in that nebula, leading Voyager back to Erehwon would be suicide,” Bashir said.
Dax nodded. “Yes.” She stood up and paced around the front of the bridge, hands behind her back. There was a real danger here of falling into the depths of paranoia. Voyager could be exactly what it seemed to be—a lost ship, traveling through the Delta Quadrant on a course for home. If that were the case, the Starfleet base on Erehwon would gain a valuable new asset when Voyager discovered home wasn’t a friendly place anymore. If this was a Dominion ruse, however, one wrong move could mean death for the entire Starfleet remnant in the Delta Quadrant.
“We are coming up on the rendezvous point, Captain,” the helmsman reported.
“Slow to impulse,” Dax ordered, and sat back down.
“Voyager’s weapons are armed, but her shields are down,” said the tactical officer.
“Yellow alert. Decloak. Keep the shields down, but I want them up the second it looks like trouble,” Dax said.
The Defiant moved astern of Voyager. Dax couldn’t help but marvel at the patchwork engineering evident on the hull. If this was a Dominion trick, it was a good one. Voyager looked like she’d seen at least ten years without a visit to a starbase; but despite that, she still looked magnificent. Dax had seen several Intrepid*-class ships destroyed in the war, and none had made the trip out with the refugee fleet. It was pleasant to see one again intact…well, more or less intact, that is.
The tactical officer cleared her throat. “Voyager is hailing us, sir.
Captain Janeway appeared. “Captain Dax,” she said. “Thanks for meeting us.”
“My pleasure, Captain,” Dax replied. Janeway did not look as eager to see her as before. Maybe I need to brush up on my diplomacy, she thought to herself. Dax heard Curzon’s distinctive chuckle deep inside her psyche.
“Captain Dax,” Janeway said, “I apologize for arming my ship’s weapons, but surely you can understand my caution in approaching you so closely. Voyager has been traveling in the Delta Quadrant for nearly a decade now, and our last encounter with another displaced Starfleet ship was…not a pleasant one.”
“No apology is necessary. Tell me, Captain: how exactly was the Voyager displaced?”
“An entity known as the Caretaker utilized a displacement wave to bring us to the Delta Quadrant while Voyager was deployed in the Badlands. It’s…a long story. We were forced to begin the journey home from our starting point of nearly 75,000 light years from Earth.”
Dax quickly did some math in her head. Erewhon was a little over 29,000 light years from Earth, near the border of Beta Quadrant. “That’s quite an impressive distance to cover in under a decade, Captain.”
Janeway smiled. “We’ve taken some…interesting shortcuts along the way.”
Dax looked over at Garak, who had moved out of view. He gave a slight shrug.
“My crew and I are very interested to know how you made it out so far,” Janeway continued. “Have there been new propulsion technologies developed since we left?”
In a manner of speaking, Dax thought to herself. But was telling Janeway the truth a good idea at this point?
“We’ve…been displaced as well,” Dax said haltingly. Garak nodded in approval.
“I see,” Janeway said tonelessly. “When did you arrive here, in the Delta Quadrant?”
Who wants to know? Dax thought to herself. “A few years ago. We’ve been making our way back.”
Janeway looked slightly defeated. Dax wondered how many times she’d had the prospect of getting home dangled in front of her before, only to have it snatched away at the last moment. Or maybe the Founder is irritated we aren’t giving up the fleet’s position, she thought.
“Well, Captain Dax,” Janeway said, “it would seem like a prudent course of action to resume a course back to the Alpha Quadrant together.”
Dax contemplated her next move. If she revealed the truth to Janeway now, she could begin the chain of events that might lead to the destruction of the fleet. But if she refused to go with Janeway, and Voyager warped away, the fleet lost another valuable ship…and the crew of the Voyager would get a nasty surprise if and when they made it home.
Damn it, Benjamin, what should I do? Dax closed her eyes. She found herself wanting to trust Captain Janeway, and help her. Yes, there was a distinct possibility that Janeway and her entire crew were Founders, so dedicated to eradicating out the Starfleet holdout on Erehwon that they would construct this elaborate ruse to find it. Perhaps the Voyager crew was holographic, programmed by the Dominion to fool Starfleet just long enough to destroy it. Perhaps…
The Dax symbiont had lived through the life and death of its hosts for three hundred years and counting…and had been quite successful doing so. There was something to be said for trusting such finely honed instincts.
“Commander Nog,” Dax called out. Have sensors turned up any signs of Jem’Hadar ships?”
Janeway’s eyes narrowed. “Captain Dax?”
Dax ignored her. “Have sensor scans of Voyager returned any results out of the ordinary?”
Nog shook his head. “Not too out of the ordinary, sir.”
“What exactly is going on, Captain?” Janeway snapped.
Dax glanced over at Garak. The Cardassian met her gaze but said nothing. She looked at Bashir, who gave her a slight nod.
Time to make the call.
“Tell me, Captain Janeway…what do you know about the Dominion?”
Interlude Two—Historical Documents of Interest, Part I
United Earth Instrument of Surrender, Stardate 54170 (July 2, 2377)
We, acting by command of and on behalf of the Prime Minister of United Earth, the United Earth Government, and the United Earth Defense Command, hereby accept the provisions in the Bajor Declaration issued by the heads of the Government of the Dominion on Stardate 51258.
We hereby proclaim the unconditional surrender to the Dominion of the United Earth Defense Forces, all United Federation of Planets Starfleet vessels currently in United Earth Space, the United Earth Defense Command, Starfleet Command and all associated installations in United Earth Space, and of all United Earth Armed Forces and all Armed Forces under United Earth control wherever situated.
We hereby command all Terran forces wherever situated and the Terran people to cease hostilities forthwith, to preserve and save from damage all starships, civilian spacecraft, and military and civil property, and to comply with all requirements which may be imposed by the Supreme Commander for the Dominion or by agencies of the United Earth Government at his direction.
We hereby command the United Earth Defense Command and Starfleet Command to issue at once orders to the commanders of all United Earth and Starfleet forces and all forces under United Earth and Starfleet control wherever situated in United Earth Space to surrender unconditionally themselves and all forces under their control.
We hereby command all civil and military officials to obey and enforce all proclamations, orders, and directives deemed by the Supreme Commander for the Dominion to be proper to effectuate this surrender and issued by him or under his authority; and we direct all such officials to remain at their posts and to continue to perform their non-combatant duties unless specifically relieved by him or under his authority.
We hereby undertake for the Prime Minister, the United Earth Government, and their successors to carry out the provisions of the Bajor Declaration in good faith, and to issue whatever orders and take whatever action may be required by the Supreme Commander for the Dominion or by any other designated representative of the Dominion for the purpose of giving effect to that declaration.
We hereby command the United Earth Government and the United Earth Defense Command to liberate all all Dominion Prisoners of War and civilian internees now under United Earth control and to provide for their protection, care, maintenance, and immediate transportation to places as directed.
The authority of the Prime Minister and the United Earth Government to rule the State shall be subject to the Supreme Commander for the Dominion, who will take such steps as he deems proper to effectuate these terms of surrender.
SIGNED AT PARIS, FRANCE, AT 09:47 ON STARDATE 54170.
Abigail Black, Prime Minister, United Earth
By Command and in behalf of the Government of United Earth
By Command in behalf of the United Earth Defense Command
ACCEPTED AT PARIS, FRANCE, AT 09:52 ON STARDATE 54170, FOR THE DOMINION AND ASSOCIATED ALLIED POWERS.
Legate Skrain Dukat
Supreme Commander, Dominion Alpha Fleet Three
High Commander Tomalak
Romulan Republic Representative
Breen Confederacy Representative
Ferengi Alliance Representative
Coalition of Neutral Worlds Representative
I am SO glad to see this story back!!! I can't wait to see how things go...and the historical document you just posted is utterly chilling, especially when you see the evidence that even more worlds in the Alpha Quadrant came under Dominion control during the bitter last days of the war.
Just one funny question. Weyoun really let Dukat list his name first on that thing? If so, Dukat must've looked like the proverbial cat that ate the canary that day!
Thank you! In all fairness, the UE Instrument of Surrender is a search-and-replace copy of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender to the Allied Powers in 1945. I wanted something that sounded real, and that reflected the reality of the astropolitical scene in the Alpha Quadrant at the time (without giving too much away, of course).
And Dukat signing first is not a minor detail at all...
Dominion Base in Orbit of Jupiter (formerly Jupiter Station)
Stardate 57402.10 (January 8, 2381)
Darkness engulfed the interrogation chamber.
The prisoner’s eyes welled with tears of relief. At last. For days—weeks maybe—the lights had been continually illuminated the chamber. There was no rest in the light, and sleep had been next to impossible. The prisoner would have given anything for the darkness to have stretched out into eternity, into a never-ending oblivion…
The lights came back on.
The prisoner winced. How long had the lights been out? How long would they be on now? Fear began to nibble at the edges of the prisoner’s consciousness. So bright…
The chamber doors opened. Another interrogation session would soon be underway. The prisoner furtively sneaked a glance at the two figures entering the room. Cardassians, the prisoner noted. Not good. The Vorta interrogators were brutal, efficient; but one never got the impression it was personal to them. Interrogation was just a job, another task assigned to them by the Founders. But the Cardassians…they enjoyed interrogation. They took joy in every bruise, and basked in every scream of pain and horror. The prisoner hated them.
We should have wiped them out when we had the chance.
The Cardassians hovered over the prisoner. One of them leaned in towards her, a grotesque imitation of concern.
“What is your name?” The Cardassian asked, despite most certainly being aware of the identity of the prisoner.
“Ezri Tigan. Lieutenant, junior grade. Serial number TE-201-113.“
“Ah, yes. Name, rank, and serial number,” the Cardassian said. “How interesting that humans and their remaining allies insist on maintaining the pretense that anyone is actually following obsolete Starfleet conventions of war.”
The prisoner did not respond. Unfortunately, that did not seem to deter the Cardassian. “In any case, according to my records you are in fact ‘Lieutenant’ Ezri Tigan. Enrolled in the Starfleet Academy Medical Program on Stardate 49732, with the stated intention of becoming a…starship counselor. Why, that’s an…interesting choice of vocation.”
“I thought so at the time,” the prisoner murmured.
“Undoubtedly. On Stardate 50974 you were assigned to the U.S.S. Maine as a field engineer. Slight detour from your career plans, I see.”
“The exigencies of war,” the other Cardassian sneered.
“Indeed. Promoted to Lieutenant, junior-grade, on Stardate 52083. And that was your last promotion, as Starfleet collapsed before you could even make full Lieutenant. “
The prisoner did not take the bait.
“So ends your official service record. According to records compiled during your stay at this facility, following the destruction of the U.S.S. Maine on Stardate 53754 you transferred to the Freedom, which was then rather unromantically known as the U.S.S. Armstrong. There you stayed on as crew, even after the fall of the Federation and the legal end of the war. On Stardate 56706, the vessel upon which you were engaged in criminal and treasonous activities against the Dominion was boarded by Jem’Hadar soldiers in the Triangulus system. Your captain and his first officer were killed resisting arrest. You and several other so-called ‘crew’ were captured and sent to this location for interrogation.”
The prisoner stared stonily at the wall. The Cardassian continued, “Tell me, Ezri Tigan, would you say all of this is accurate?”
“You know it is,” Tigan spat out.
“Her spirit has not been broken yet,” the other Cardassian muttered. “I eagerly await the opportunity—“
“Enough,” the Cardassian said firmly. “Damar. Wait for me outside.”
The other Cardassian nodded briskly and shot Tigan a malicious look. “Until we meet again, Lieutenant.”
The prisoner remained silent as the Cardassian known as Damar left the chamber. She did not look forward to meeting him again.
“Do you know who I am, Ezri Tigan?” The Cardassian’s voice almost sounded paternal. It made Tigan sick.
“No,” she replied. “What does it matter?”
“Why, it matters a great deal, I assure you,” the Cardassian said, “for I am none other than Legate Skrain Dukat, conqueror of Earth and devoted servant of the Dominion.”
Suddenly Tigan recognized the face, the voice. The scourge of every man, woman, and child in the Federation was in the same room as she, Ezri Tigan. The prisoner’s head swam. The restraints fastening her to the interrogation pallet seemed tighter than ever. She had to escape. She had to kill this man, this evil….but wait. Could she kill him, even if she were free? Would she even be able to?
“I see,” Tigan said in a small voice. What did someone like Dukat want with her?
“I’m glad you finally do,” Dukat said, his voice filled to the brim with smarm. “Now, I’m sure you can understand that I do not usually take the time to talk to simple criminals like yourself. However, I believe I have something that you might want, Ezri Tigan.”
Tigan had heard the rumors of female Starfleet officers being taken as personal sex slaves to the victorious Cardassians. Proud women, free women, now kept as pets by a race of opportunistic chauvinists. Never, she thought. I’ll die first.
“If you want me to be some sort of…concubine,” Tigan stuttered, “I’m afraid I’ll have to decline. Kill me if you want to, but I won’t do it.”
To her surprise, Dukat laughed heartily. “Ah, Ezri,” he said in familiar tone that sent chills up the prisoner’s spine. “Rest assured that I am quite flattered by your suggestion! However, that is not why I’m here. Far from it, actually. I have a proposal for you, one that will give you the opportunity to escape this miserable situation and salvage what little you can from the wreckage of your life.” Dukat smiled. “That can’t be so bad, now, can it?”
Tigan grimaced. Cardassians were not in the business of helping humans. Still, the prospect of spending the rest of her life rotting in a Dominion prison camp was not a desirable one. “All right,” she said, her voice regaining strength. “What’s the catch? What do I have to do?”
Dukat looked her over, once again sending chills up Tigan’s spine. “I’ve been assigned to a deep space mission. I’ll be leading a fleet to the Delta Quadrant, retracing the steps of a ‘biomimetic life-form’ that appeared in this sector a few months ago.”
“Why do you need me for that?”
“I can honestly say with some admiration that even as Starfleet was losing the war against the Dominion, their level of technological innovation was quite impressive. The quantum slipstream drive—well—“
“That drive was never perfected,” Tigan interrupted. Her interrogators had been down this road before, many times. “We—“
Dukat brought his hand down fast, slapping her hard on the face. “Do not confuse my courtesy with genuine amity, Ezri Tigan,” the Cardassian snapped. “Do not forget that you are a slave, my slave, and nothing more. You will speak only when spoken to.”
Dukat’s mood, so quickly darkened, now turned sunny bright once again. “You are correct that the drive was not perfected. However, the finest Cardassian engineers have been working on a version of the drive, salvaged from a captured Starfleet vessel. It is my understanding that you assisted in the development and testing of the original slipstream drive while you were stationed on the U.S.S. Maine.”
“Yes. That’s correct.” So that’s why Dukat was here. Knowledge of her experience, however slight, had made its way up the Dominion chain of command.
“That makes you a perfect candidate to help us use the drive to reach the Delta Quadrant,” Dukat said. “If you agree to accompany me to the Delta Quadrant, and help my ships make the journey quickly using the slipstream drive, I will grant you what you undoubtedly desire most--your freedom.”
“Legate Dukat,” the prisoner whispered, “I am hardly qualified. I was a field engineer, barely—“
The Cardassian cut her off. “Make no mistake, Ezri Tigan. If you were to refuse to assist me, my fleet would still successfully make the journey to the Delta Quadrant. I offer you this opportunity merely because it gives me the slightest edge in successfully completing my mission. You are an insurance policy, that’s all.” Dukat leaned in close to Tigan again. “Of course, if you refuse, I will arrange for your comfortable existence here to end. I hear the new labor camp on Mercury needs all the manpower it can get.”
Tigan did not see any other way to avoid an unpleasant death, or worse. “I’ll help you,” she said reluctantly. “And you say that if your mission is a success, I will be free?”
“You have my word,” Dukat said solemnly.
Tigan wondered how much that was truly worth. “All right, then, “ she said, glancing at her restraints. “So when do we leave?”
Alpha Zone One Spacedock (formerly Earth Spacedock)
Galor-class Cardassian Warship Trager
Stardate 57415.84 (January 8, 2381)
Weyoun, Vorta diplomat and occupation coordinator extraordinaire, had absolutely no idea what he had done to deserve such awful treatment from those who possessed his eternal allegiance. Had Weyoun not served the Founders well in helping to prosecute the overwhelmingly successful war against the Federation? Had he failed in some way while negotiating the surrender of Earth? Where had he gone wrong?
Perhaps, Weyoun thought gravely, his conflicts with Dukat over how best to deal with the conquered population of Earth had displeased his masters. He regretted all of the times he had convinced himself not to have Dukat killed in a transporter ‘accident.’ The Cardassians lacked finesse, really. It was quite a shame that they were such important players in the Alpha Quadrant. Still, Weyoun knew he was inextricably linked to Dukat; now more than ever, the two’s fortunes were linked--for better or for worse.
All the more reason to succeed in this mission, Weyoun reasoned. After the inexplicable ‘melting’ of the captured U.S.S. Voyager and its crew several months before, Dominion scientists from all over the quadrant had convened to discuss how something so extraordinary had occurred. After weeks of debate, a consensus had been reached. The Voyager and its crew were biomimetic copies of a real Federation starship, one that had presumably been lost before the war. Somehow, this very real copy had made it through an unstable wormhole back to the Alpha Quadrant—only to find the Federation crumbled into dust.
But surprisingly, after its capture and initial study, the ship had simply…dissolved. The problem for the Dominion lay in the fact that until its dissolution, Voyager was quite real. Everything--its hull, its decks, and its weapons—all of it was very much real, until it wasn’t.
So one night, soon after this consensus had been reached, the Founder present on Earth had laid out an absolutely logical scenario for Weyoun and Dukat. It had been hard to argue with—not that Weyoun would have even dared.
“We know the Federation had been testing quantum slipstream drives before the war ended,” the Founder had stated. “Our intelligence indicates that a few ships may have escaped into other quadrants of the galaxy after Andoria.”
“So they may very well have,” Dukat had said dismissively. “A few vessels scattered throughout the galaxy do not pose a threat to us.”
“Perhaps not,” the Founder had replied. “But imagine those scattered vessels had conceived of a way to create biomimetic copies of Federation starships, and had pioneered the use of artificial wormholes to transport them to the Alpha Quadrant.”
“That’s ridiculous,” Dukat had sneered. “I mean, you’re talking about ships that undoubtedly took heavy damage during the war.”
Weyoun had winced at Dukat’s tone. How the Founder hadn’t had him disintegrated into a particle mist was beyond his comprehension.
“Yes,” the Founder had said, her voice heavily laden with sarcasm and contempt. “But as I recall, these same heavily damaged ships were coming up with innovative ways to destroy Cardassian warships right up until the final surrender. Even with the Federation defeated, we must not underestimate the cleverness of whatever remains of Starfleet.”
Weyoun had cut off the inevitable retort from Dukat. “Founder, your logic is, as always, irrefutable. What is it you intend to do, and how can we assist you in carrying out your plan?”
“Legate Dukat, you will lead a fleet to the Delta Quadrant,” the Founder had answered. “You will retrace the steps of the biomimetic vessel to its origin point, based on the sensor readings we had the good fortune to record before the vessel’s dissolution.”
Dukat had railed against the decision. “This is preposterous! I have duties on this planet that cannot be simply…postponed…to spend years—decades!—searching for an ephemeral threat from a defeated enemy.”
“The choice is not yours to make, Legate Dukat,” the Founder had replied coldly. “The Dominion feels your duties on Sol III can now be transferred to another officer.”
“I disagree!” Dukat had cried out. “When the war began, I was promised Earth. And for over four years—“
“That is quite enough, Dukat,” the Founder had hissed. But the effect had been chilling; it was as if the room temperature itself had dropped ten degrees. Dukat, miraculously, had stopped talking.
“Make no mistake,” the Founder had continued. “Sol III will be waiting for you upon your return. In the meantime, you will carry out your orders.” The changeling appeared to deeply sigh. “The last thing we need is biomimetic Federation starships suddenly appearing in our territory with warp core breaches or self-destruct devices engaged. Perhaps this threat is ephemeral. Perhaps the Voyager was just an anomaly. We cannot be sure until we see for ourselves.”
“Yes, Founder,” Weyoun had agreed. “When will Legate Dukat be leaving with his fleet to address this potential threat?”
The Founder had smiled grimly. “We will be outfitting a combined Cardassian and Jem’Hadar fleet with captured Starfleet quantum slipstream devices, along with cloaking devices. Speed is essential, but there is no point in provoking the Borg, should they appear.” The Founder had turned to Weyoun. “I need you to go with Legate Dukat, my loyal Weyoun. He will need a liaison between his crew and the Jem’Hadar, and I can think of no one better to lead the Jem’Hadar contingent to the Delta Quadrant.”
For once, Weyoun had been rendered speechless. And now, months later, the Vorta stood on the bridge of the Cardassian vessel that would lead the Dominion fleet into the largely unexplored Delta Quadrant.
Weyoun expected no reward for his service, but did he really have to be punished?
“So, Weyoun,” Dukat had called from his command post on the bridge. “Are you ready to begin the next step of our glorious service to the Dominion?”
Weyoun forced a smile. “Yes. I can only hope that you are fully committed to the success of this mission.”
Dukat laughed. “Why, of course I am, Weyoun!” The Cardassian joined him at the aft section of the bridge and said quietly, “Make no mistake--I will return to Earth to continue the occupation, and I will do it my way.”
Weyoun did not respond, and Dukat said, loudly for everyone to hear: “But in all honesty, I embrace the opportunity to return to space.” He gestured at the viewscreen. “The stars beckon, my dear Weyoun. Shall we meet them?”
Weyoun stared at Dukat incredulously. “I’m afraid I will never understand your taste for the…delusionally grandiose, Dukat.”
Dukat ignored this, and took his place at the command post once again. “Open a channel to Spacedock Control,” he ordered.
“Channel open,” a Cardassian officer replied.
“This is Legate Dukat, requesting permission to depart.”
On the viewscreen, a bored-looking Vorta, sitting at a control panel, nodded and said in a voice without inflection, “Permission granted. May the Founders be with you. Spacedock out.”
Dukat frowned. “Not quite the parting words I expected.”
“This is a classified mission,” Weyoun said. “As far as he knows, we are just going out for wargaming exercises.”
“I see,” Dukat said, licking his lips. “Helm! Set a course for heading 750, mark 5, warp factor four. Have the fleet confirm heading and velocity.”
“Aye, sir.” The helm officer tapped at his console. “The fleet confirms, Legate.”
“Engage,” Dukat ordered. The ships leapt into warp.
In the Engineering section of the Trager, Ezri Tigan monitored the status of the fleet’s slipstream drives, which were now powering up in a synchronized fashion across the fleet. Two Jem’Hadar soldiers flanked her. Not taking any chances, she thought.
“Dukat to Engineering,” the comm system chirped.
“Engineering,” a bulky Cardassian answered. “All systems at peak efficiency, Legate.”
“Good. I wish to speak to the Trill.”
The Cardassian engineer rolled his eyes and walked away. Tigan tapped her communicator. “Tigan here.”
“Hello, Ezri,” the voice over the comm system purred. “I require a report on the status of the slipstream drive.”
“The system is powering up according to established parameters, Legate,” Tigan replied. How easy would it be to overload the system, and send this entire fleet to Hell? The thought quickly disappeared from her mind. The fleet would simply be replaced, and her death would be in vain.
“How long until we can engage the drive?”
Tigan checked her calculations. “Two minutes, thirteen seconds…” She gritted her teeth. “Sir.”
And as the fleet departed Sol System, one by one the Dominion vessels entered the slipstream. Within seconds, they were all on their way to the distant Delta Quadrant—and whatever lay there in wait.
Separate names with a comma.