DS9: A continuation

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Ln X, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Flashback 1

    In the commanders office Kira sat behind her desk, she was busy writing up a series of reports. It was another ordinary day for her, there was nothing special about it, and why should it? The last year had been rather uneventful on DS9, though as DS9's commander Kira was glad it was like this. After the Dominion war, she wanted nothing more than a quiet and peaceful life.

    The only major event was Bajor's admittance into the Federation, she had gone to dozens of meetings negotiating the terms of Bajor's membership. She had conversed with Shakaar many a time over that topic, both she and Shakaar managed to successfully convince the Federation to allow Bajor to keep the Bajoran militia and for Bajor to develop it's own planetary fleet specifically for Bajor's defence. The Federation had been remarkably generous and lenient in allowing Bajor to build it's own defences.

    The night before in her quarters, she had prayed to the Prophets, asking them to guide Odo, and to watch over him. Everyday she prayed to the Prophets, and she thought about Odo and what he was doing in the Great Link. At first when Odo had left, it felt like there was a huge hole in her life, but she had gotten over that.

    She bore no resentment towards Odo whatsoever, what he was doing was very important and highly worthy in her opinion, and by the looks of it he had been successful. For there were no Dominion fleets in the Alpha Quadrant and no Dominion attacks. Kira still loved Odo, but she had come to terms with the fact that he was probably never coming back to DS9.

    It was all so very bittersweet as Odo had been so vague about how long he would be staying in the Great Link. Kira figured that if Odo hadn't returned back to DS9 or contacted her in over a year, then Odo would be staying in the Great Link indefinitely. It was nearly a year since Odo had returned to the Great Link, and slowly Kira was coming to the realisation that she had to move on.

    Odo was gone, it was time she was truly glad for the time she spent with Odo, and to stop yearning for more time, although that was something she wasn't prepared to do. She wanted to move on from Odo but she couldn't, some part of her still hoped that he was coming back. Even if she got over this yearning, she wasn't sure if she wanted a relationship with another man, what she had with Odo couldn't be replaced.

    But at least she and Odo had separated on good terms, and with no hard feelings. Unlike poor Ezri, only a week ago Ezri had separated from Bashir. Kira couldn't understand why the two had broken up, they had seemed so happy being together. Though whatever happened must have been horrible, as Ezri had left the station.

    A few days ago Kira had received a message from Starfleet telling her that Ezri had taken shore leave, and that Ezri's request to be transferred off DS9 had been approved. Kira's whole heart went out to Ezri, she managed to have one brief conversation with Ezri before she left DS9. Never had Kira seen Ezri look so hurt and upset, though she got the distinct impression that Ezri wanted to put as much distance between herself and DS9 as possible.

    The door chimed interrupting Kira's thinking, and Kira who was still working said, “Come in.” She didn't look up, as she was finishing a sentence to a report.

    “Hello Nerys,” said the person who came in the room.

    That voice sounded very familiar to Kira, and she looked up. It was Odo, and he was dressed in dull civilian clothes. Shock went through her whole body, this can't be real she thought, I must be dreaming! Her mouth became wide open from the shock. “Odo?” she said at last in a voice rife with disbelieve.

    Odo smiled at Kira in a comforting manner, however Kira felt terribly shocked, for Odo had simply walked into her life again, and without warning. She didn't know what to say to him. “What are you doing here?” was the first thing she could think off.

    Casting his eyes downwards a little, Odo briefly smiled at the question, before looking at her steadily in the eyes. “I've come here to see you,” he explained. “My work in the Great Link is now finished.”

    Kira's mind was racing, if his work was finished... But what did that mean?

    Odo seemed to sense her confusion. “Nerys, perhaps I didn't explain myself properly. For close to a year now I was the shapeshifter leader, but I've stepped down from that post. I rejoined the Great Link to teach them what I knew about solids and to change the Dominion into a more peaceful civilization. I have accomplished both, and so my task is complete.” The steady expression on Odo's face then changed into sadness. “However, in that year I missed you greatly, and that is why I've come back to DS9.”

    Tears were brimming in Kira's eyes, and she blinked rapidly to stem them, she couldn't believe that this was happening, as this was what she had so badly wanted. “I've missed you so much you know,” she said quietly.

    “How long are you going to be staying here?” she asked, although she dreaded the answer. She supposed that she should be deeply grateful that she was talking to Odo right now, but if he were to leave again...

    The smile on Odo's face faded, he walked around Kira's desk, and he gently grabbed both of her hands with his own. “This isn't a one-off visit, I'm staying here onboard this station indefinitely. I know you weren't expecting this, and for that matter neither was I. When I left I gave you the distinct impression that I was never coming back to DS9. The truth is at the time I didn't know how long it would take to teach my people about humanoids, until there attitudes and feelings towards them became more positive. Though it took remarkably little time to do so, that is why I have returned.”

    Something like joy was building up inside Kira, but there were a few niggling concerns. “What about the Great Link? I thought you wanted to spend your time with your people?”

    “I have been with my people for nearly a year, though in the Great Link time has little meaning. What I experienced in the Great Link was momentous, it is simply beyond description, but what I had with you was also comparable to the Great Link, and more. I still love you Kira, and I want to be with you again, I hope you can allow me back in to your life.”

    Joy flooded Kira's heart, while happiness emanated from her eyes, she could not believe her luck. “I love you to Odo.” She let go of Odo's hands and placed hers behind his shoulders; she then kissed him, and he was kissing her. The two kissed like they had never kissed before. Kira had forgotten the feel of her lips against Odo's...

    It was a moment of bliss, the two then let go of each other. There was a deep and satisfied silence between the two, as each contemplated what had just happened. Finally Kira broke the silence. “I think I should you give a tour of the station,” she said, smiling widely.

    “That would be great,” said Odo happily.

    Together they left the office, Kira noticed the officers in Ops staring at her, but she didn't feel embarrassed. “Back to work then,” she ordered.

    The officers turned back to their stations, and some were smiling, clearly they were deeply amused by what they had witnessed.

    Kira and Odo entered the turbolift. “Promenade,” said Kira.

    The turbo lift doors closed shut, and she smiled to herself, indeed she couldn't stop smiling. The reports could wait, and even the matter of reinstating Odo as chief of security could wait. For nothing was going to detract from what was probably going to be the best day of her life...
  2. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 3

    Day 2, 1600 hours

    Three hours after the Defiant had gone through the wormhole, it was now cloaked and heading towards the location of the Founders homeworld. Ezri had called for a senior staff meeting inside the mess hall. Megan, Max and Odo were there waiting for Ezri and the shapeshifter leader to turn up.

    Megan was uncomfortable with having a Founder on board the ship. She had once studied the history of the Dominion war in Starfleet Academy, and the more she found about the Dominion the more she despised the Founders. They were little more than racist tyrants, who had no regard for humanoid’s lives.

    But Megan had to act courteously towards the shapeshifter leader, he was a guest on board the Defiant. When Ezri and the shapeshifter leader, who as always was accompanied by his two Jem’Hadar guards, entered the staff room, Megan put on her best neutral expression. Though by the looks of it, it seemed Ezri and the shapeshifter had been arguing, as Megan detected a strained silence between the two. While the shapeshifter stood rigidly next to Ezri, and he looked rather impassive.

    Ezri began the meeting. “To those of you who don't know, may I introduce the leader of the Founders.” Ezri briefly held her right arm to emphasise her point. “He has some issues to discuss.”

    While Ezri sat down, the shapeshifter leader continued to stand, he then folded his arms. “As you all know there are many disgruntled Jem'Hadar in the Dominion. However the relationship between the Jem'Hadar and the Founders has deteriorated further. Tren ships and Jem'Hadar ships, who are working with the Tren, are providing on an increasing scale, vaccines to remove the remaining Jem'Hadar's addiction to the white. Current estimates suggest that up to forty percent of the Jem'Hadar are now independent of the white. The Dominion is facing a full scale Jem'Hadar revolt, their could be up to 25000 Jem'Hadar ships that are not controlled by the Dominion. Some of those ships could possibly head to the wormhole.”

    Ezri elaborated upon some of the shapeshifter’s points. “And this is what we must find out; how many rogue Jem'Hadar ships will come to the wormhole. If there is an organised command structure between these ships, then this could pose a serious threat to the entire Alpha Quadrant.”

    For all the talk about the Jem’Hadar, Megan wondered why Ezri had omitted to mention the threat from the Tren ships. “What about the Tren?” she asked Ezri. “If they're helping these rogue Jem'Hadar do we consider the Tren to be enemies, should the renegade Jem'Hadar ships attack the Federation?”

    “We will only engage the Tren if they directly attack this ship or any other Federation property.”

    Briefly Megan wondered how wise it would be to ask her next question, but she had to ask it to ease her concerns. “How can we be sure that this shapeshifter is telling the truth?”

    The shapeshifter bristled at Megan’s question. “If I were lying, why would I be telling you about the Jem’Hadar revolt? As hard as you find it to believe, I am telling you the truth, you have my word.”

    “Your word,” said Megan nastily, her face was contorted somewhat in anger. “Which means very little-”

    Anger flashed in Ezri’s eyes. “Commander!” said Ezri warningly. “You will watch your tone of voice!”

    The shapeshifter glanced at Ezri. “Don’t take offence captain, I was expecting hostility from your crew.” The shapeshifter turned his head to look at Megan, his gaze was very icy and the tone of his voice was even colder. “Changelings have a low opinion of humanoids because you don’t trust us and you have always tried to persecute us! You are just another small minded humanoid who thinks that she is right!”

    Despite the insult Megan remained silent, she had crossed the line once and she wasn’t stupid enough to do so again. There was an awkward and tense silence inside the room, though the Jem’Hadar guards seemed totally oblivious to the mood.

    “Are there any further questions?” asked Ezri, the tone in her voice seemed to dare anybody to do so. There was another silence. “Dismissed then,” said Ezri.

    Megan stood up and briefly looked at the shapeshifter, he merely stared at her in an arrogant manner. The moment passed and Megan was outside of the mess hall, she wished she hadn’t made that stupid retort to the shapeshifter. It had probably reinforced his xenophobic and very racist views about humanoids.


    Day 2, 2300 hours

    Odo rested on the bunk bed inside his crew cabin, it was nearly 2300 and soon he would have to revert back to his gelatinous state. He glanced at the bucket, whenever he was on the Defiant he preferred to reside in the bucket when he regenerated. Although Odo was all alone in the cabin, he was not comfortable with oozing all over the room. If someone came in and saw him oozing around... it didn’t bare thinking about.

    Only Kira saw him in his gelatinous state, and that's the way he intended to keep it. Odo was thinking about regenerating early, when the door chimed. “Come in!”

    The shapeshifter leader entered the room, Odo stood up and gave a cold stare to the shapeshifter.

    Despite Odo’s coldness, the shapeshifter eyes were full of warmth. “Odo it has been to long! We have missed you greatly in the Great Link!” The shapeshifter glanced at the bucket. “I see you are still using that bucket.”

    Odo ignored the shapeshifter’s attempt at making conversation. “What do you want?” he said coldly.

    The shapeshifter came a step closer to Odo. “To know you better… Link with me Odo!”

    Odo noticed the shapeshifter’s outstretched hands, and the urge to link became almost unbearable for Odo, despite his people killing all of those Jem'Hadar, that urge remained. “I can't...” said Odo after a while.

    “Can't or won't?” said the shapeshifter shrewdly. “It's Kira isn't it? Why do you stay with her Odo? Why do you place her above your own people?”

    “I love her, and it seems that is something you still cannot understand!”

    “Then link with me!” said the shapeshifter in earnest. “Show me everything about your relationship with Kira, then maybe I will understand!”

    Despite the temptation to link, Odo shook his head. “I can't share something so intimate with you, that is between only Kira and me. I would be betraying Kira's trust in me if I shared that information with you.”

    The warmth vanished from the shapeshifter’s eyes. “She is a solid!” said the shapeshifter bitterly. “And she would not know if you shared your thoughts and feelings of her with me!”

    Odo could not believe the insensitivity of this shapeshifter, he did not seem to grasp the bond between himself and Kira. “But I would know!” replied Odo. “And that is your problem! You take linking for granted, you fail to comprehend that linking is not the only way to share your feelings with another person!”

    “The other ways are inferior,” said the shapeshifter in an arrogant manner. “This conversation is going nowhere. I see that you have lost sight of your true identity because of your love for that solid Kira!”

    The shapeshifter put as much contempt and malice as he could into saying Kira’s name. Immediately the shapeshifter turned around, apparently disgusted by Odo and he walked out the room.

    Odo sat down on the bunk bed, he was deeply shaken by the conversation. He thought he had made his people understand why solids and changelings had equal rights, and why the solids form of communication was just as powerful as linking. Or was it a concept that his people could not grasp? Did they hate the solids so much, that nothing Odo could say would change his people’s minds?


    Day 4, 1100 hours

    After nearly two days of travel, the Defiant and the Jem’Hadar battleship had reached the outskirts of Dominion territory. The mood inside the Defiant’s bridge was very tense, no one knew what to expect, aside from the shapeshifter leader. The shapeshifter was standing at the back of the bridge, just behind him were his two Jem'Hadar guards and they were standing in the least obstructive place on the bridge.

    Ezri was sitting in the captain’s chair, her hands were resting on the chair’s armrests, her eyes looked expectantly at the view screen.

    “Entering Dominion territory captain!” Max said from the helm.

    “Any Jem'Hadar or Tren ships?”

    “Negative captain.”

    “What about long range sensors, Ms Felpes?”

    Megan was gazing intently on the readings coming from her console. “There are no ships and no tachyon signatures...” Megan turned around in the chair to look at Ezri. “Tren ships can cloak you know.”

    The shapeshifter didn’t look to pleased with the lack of a welcoming party, he moved closer to Ezri until he was at her side. “This isn't right, there should be border patrols, it's standard Dominion defence protocol.”

    Ezri looked briefly thoughtful, before addressing the shapeshifter. “Let's maintain our heading to your homeworld.”

    “Agreed,” the shapeshifter said with a nod. “If you don't mind, captain, I'd like my flagship to break position.”

    “For what purpose?” asked Ezri suspiciously.

    “I will be taking command of the vessel, I shall be looking for renegade Jem'Hadar ships.”

    Odo watched the conversation from his station at communications. “With all due respect, Founder, you are safer onboard the Defiant! The Defiant is cloaked whereas the flagship cannot, the renegade Jem’Hadar could intercept the flagship and destroy it!”

    The shapeshifter turned around. “You are right Odo, very well.” He tapped on a communicator placed on his left wrist, and raised his wrist close to his mouth. “Weyoun!”

    Yes Founder?” said Weyoun from the flagship.

    “Break position from the Defiant, and head to the omicron sector of Dominion territory. Muster what ships you can, and get all loyal Jem'Hadar to carry out my orders! Any rogue Jem'Hadar ships you encounter on the way, then destroy them. Tell the ships of the loyal Jem'Hadar to rendezvous at the Great Link.”

    As you wish Founder.

    Ezri shot a suspicious glance at the shapeshifter, before turning to face the view screen. “Maintain course Mr Weatherby, Ms Felpes activate the cloak.”


    Day 4, 1600 hours

    Weyoun stood on the centre of the bridge in the Dominion flagship, he was wearing the headset and monitoring the situation from outside of the ship. The Dominion flagship had fifty Jem’Hadar ships travelling with it, and so far this fleet had not encountered any renegade Jem’Hadar ships.

    The revolting Jem'Hadar deeply worried Weyoun, he was not worried for his safety but for the safety of the Founders. They were his gods, if they died then he would have no reason to live. Weyoun was determined to track down every last disloyal Jem'Hadar and have them eliminated; for it was a heinous crime indeed to revolt against one's gods.

    “Commander,” said the Jem’Hadar second at the helm. “There are a hundred Jem'Hadar ships approaching us!”

    Weyoun raised a finger to his head set, and the eye piece focused on the Jem’Hadar ships steadily approaching at impulse. “I see them, raise shields and weapons.”

    “The lead ship is hailing us commander!” said a Jem’Hadar at the communications station.

    “Patch the transmission through!” ordered Weyoun.

    Through the eyepiece, Weyoun saw the bridge of a Jem’Hadar vessel. There was a Jem’Hadar directly in his sight, Weyoun felt a sense of foreboding as the Vorta commander was not present. “This is Weyoun, to who am I speaking to?”

    “I am First Koi'tiza, I am the commander of this ship and of the 28th fleet.”

    “What has happened to the Vorta commander?”

    An ugly look came across Koi'tiza’s face. “We executed him for his disloyalty to the Founders.”

    “Am I to take it you have sided with the Founders?” inquired Weyoun.

    “We are Jem'Hadar,” said Koi’tiza passionately. “We serve only the Founders!”

    “What happened to your fleet?”

    “It was ambushed by renegade Jem'Hadar ships, but the 28th fleet stood its ground and eliminated every enemy ship!”

    Weyoun carefully looked at Koi’tiza, and noticed something rather alarming; the vial of white was missing from Koi’tiza. Like every Vorta, Weyoun’s sight was abysmal, otherwise he would had have spotted this feature sooner. “You've received the vaccine haven't you?” said Weyoun suspiciously. “Now that you are no longer dependent on the white, how can I trust you?”

    Koi'tiza bristled with anger. “The Founders are our gods! You are wrong if you believe that all the Jem'Hadar free of the white are the rebels! The Jem'Hadar's only purpose is to serve the Founders, that is the order of things!” Koi’tiza paused, and looked intensely at Weyoun. “Obedience brings victory!”

    “And victory brings life!” said Weyoun automatically, now he was convinced of Koi’tiza’s loyalty to the Founders. “First I order you to bring the 28th fleet to the Founder's homeworld, for the protection of the Founders!”

    Koi'tiza looked suspiciously at Weyoun. “How can I trust you?” he said heatedly. “I've killed one disloyal Vorta, you will be next if you are sending the fleet into a trap!”

    Anger visibly manifested itself from Weyoun’s face. “You dare to question my loyalty to the Founders?” he said loudly. “Need I remind you that I was at a Founder's side during the end of the war in the Alpha Quadrant. I live to serve the Founders, and right now the Founders have ordered me to gather together all loyal Jem'Hadar ships for the defence of the Great Link!”

    Koi'tiza nodded once in apparent satisfaction that Weyoun could be trusted. “Understood, my unit will fight to the last man to eliminate all of the disloyal Jem'Hadar!”

    Weyoun was pleased to hear this. “Excellent, Weyoun out.”

    The life feed on Weyoun’s eyepiece changed back to show the Jem’Hadar fleet. A moment later the Jem’Hadar fleet moved as one, and travelled in the direction of the Founder’s homeworld. Suddenly the entire fleet went to warp, and disappeared from Weyoun’s view. Weyoun wished all Jem’Hadar were like Koi’tiza, fiercely loyal to the Founders and obeying orders without question...


    Day 5, 0700 hours

    As the Defiant approached the Founders homeworld, inside the bridge there was absolute silence from everyone present. The Defiant was cloaked, and only a hundred million kilometres away from the Founders homeworld.

    On the bridge, Megan was constantly analysing the sensor readings. “I'm detecting Jem'Hadar ships captain! There's hundreds, no... thousands of ships!”

    Ezri leaned forward in her chair, her elbows were braced against the hand rests. “Activate the view screen, show me the Founder's homeworld!”

    On the view screen there was the Founder’s homeworld, it dominated most of the screen. There was tiny pinpricks of light that appeared and then suddenly vanished. Ezri squinted at the image. “Magnify, a hundred times!”

    With the increased magnification, the orange coloured planet filled the entire screen. Jem’Hadar ships could just be seen, there were hundreds of ships all of which were engaged in a ferocious battle. Phaser fire and torpedoes were being constantly exchanged, and every few seconds a Jem’Hadar ship was destroyed. It was impossible to distinguish between the Jem’Hadar ships and the renegade Jem’Hadar ships. As such it was unclear who was winning the battle.

    On the bridge both the shapeshifter's and Odo's gaze were fixed upon the screen, before their very eyes the fate of their people was being decided and there was nothing they could to determine the outcome.

    Ezri tore her gaze from the view screen. “Ms Felpes are there any signs of Tren ships?”

    Megan frowned at the odd readings she was getting from the sensors. “It's unclear, I'm picking up faint tachyon signatures. I must say that these Tren cloaks are good... they are very hard to spot.”

    In any case Ezri was convinced that the Tren ships would be observing the battle just like the Defiant was doing. “Mr Weatherby, bring the Defiant to a stop and maintain position… And now we wait...”

    “Wait for what captain?” asked Max.

    “To see how the fate of the Dominion plays out...”
  3. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 4

    Day 5, 0730 hours

    After half an hour of observing the battle, it still wasn’t clear which side was winning. Ezri was almost lulled into a false sense of security, but she realised that if the Defiant were to be detected, it would be intercepted by the Jem’Hadar ships. At that point Ezri would have no other choice but to abort the mission and take the Defiant back to the wormhole.

    “Captain!” exclaimed Megan, her eyes were wide, with what was probably fear. “Twenty Tren ships are decloaking!”

    “Confirmed,” said Odo. “They're heading straight for the Defiant!”

    Could the Tren ships have detected the Defiant’s cloak? Ezri wasn’t sure, but right now she had to take the Defiant out of harm’s way. “Mr Weatherby, plot the shortest course back to the wormhole, maximum warp!”

    “Course set, warp drive engaged.”

    “This is odd...” said Megan, while she glanced intensely upon the sensor readings.

    “What is it?” asked Ezri, fearing the worst.

    “It looks like the renegade Jem'Hadar ships are following the Tren ships. They are all heading to the wormhole with a warp speed of... 9.5. We’re travelling at the same speed, if we arrive at the wormhole then the Tren ships will be right behind us!”

    The shapeshifter leader looked triumphant. “Ha! The renegade Jem'Hadar ships are fleeing from the Dominion reinforcements arriving at my people's homeworld!”

    “Ms Felpes is that true?”

    “Confirmed, I detect the Dominion flagship along with two thousand other Jem'Hadar ships.”

    Though it seemed that the Founders homeworld was safe for the time being, Ezri had been dealt with a new problem. The renegade Jem’Hadar ships were following the Tren ships back to the wormhole, and would be entering Federation territory. Ezri used the console next to her chair, to send an encoded subspace communication to DS9.

    The shapeshifter noticed this. “What are you doing captain?”

    “Sending a message to warn DS9,” said Ezri as she imputed the message. “It looks like the worst case scenario has happened...” She turned around on the chair to look at the shapeshifter angrily. “No thanks to you...”

    The shapeshifter leader looked deeply insulted. “Captain what are you-”

    Ezri rose from her chair, she was incredibly angry and some of that anger showed on her face. “We need to talk, let’s go to the mess hall.” The shapeshifter looked like he was going to refuse to do so.

    “Now!” said Ezri loudly, everyone on the bridge briefly looked at her.

    Reluctantly the shapeshifter followed Ezri, as she walked out of the bridge. The journey to the mess hall was very uneventful, there was silence between the two. Once inside the mess hall, Ezri walked slightly ahead of the shapeshifter. While the shapeshifter stood rigidly next to a table. “Captain what is the problem?”

    Ezri turned around to confront the shapeshifter. “I'll tell you what's the problem!” she said loudly. “The Tren ships decloaked the instant they detected this ship! Lo and behold they come straight for the Defiant, and then the rest of the renegade Jem'Hadar ships followed us! So what is going on here?”

    The shapeshifter looked smug, as if he was pleased that he had deceived Ezri. “The Founders have known for some time now that the Tren are seeking to use the Jem'Hadar. The Tren started this Jem'Hadar uprising, and the first place they'd strike would be my people's world! I could not allow this to happen. So I had to lure the Tren and the renegade Jem'Hadar ships away from my homeworld. The Tren couldn't risk being spotted by a Starfleet ship, and I knew they would have to leave the Dominion, along with the Jem'Hadar who had sided with them, to ensure their plan would work.”

    “And what plan is that?” said Ezri angrily.

    “That must surely be obvious to you!” said the shapeshifter in a patronising voice, complemented by the arrogant and superior look on his face. “I suppose it isn't?”

    He paused, and Ezri was on a knife edge, the shapeshifter seemed to sense that Ezri was listening to his every word. “The Tren are planning some sort of invasion of the Alpha Quadrant, though they want the Jem'Hadar to do their dirty work for them, and it's something many Jem'Hadar would not pass up lightly. The Tren are giving the Jem'Hadar something they were born to do: to wage war and fight!”

    “You deceived me!” shouted Ezri. “You have used this ship as a bait to protect your people!”

    The shapeshifter simply stared at Ezri in a neutral way, he didn’t seem bothered at using Ezri. “If I have hurt one solid's sensibilities just to protect my homeworld then so be it...”

    “So all of this, contacting the Federation, asking for her help, was simply a ruse to dump your problem onto the Federation?”

    “I am still sincere in my request for Federation help, even though the Dominion has won one battle with the renegade Jem’Hadar, the outcome of this civil war has yet to be decided. The Great Link maybe threatened again, not only from the Jem’Hadar but from races eager to attack a weakened Dominion! Surely the Federation values life; would it really let the Great Link be destroyed?”

    The shapeshifter was being manipulative towards Ezri, and Ezri really resented the hypocrisy of this shapeshifter. “Don’t presume to lecture me on morality and humanitarian rights, your people ordered the extermination of 800 million Cardassians! Besides the Federation does not get involved in another culture’s affairs!”

    Far from admitting that he was in the wrong, the shapeshifter gave Ezri an intensely furious stare. “Spare me your holier-than-though sermon, the Federation tried to exterminate my people, but you just got someone else to do your dirty work and that was Section 31!”

    Of all the things the shapeshifter could say, Ezri wasn’t expecting this. She knew about Section 31, but she never knew that Section 31 had tried to exterminate the Founders.

    “What?” said Ezri, sounding surprised.

    The shapeshifter looked triumphant, for he had really shocked Ezri. “You look surprised, I hope I haven’t shattered to many of your illusions about the Federation?”

    “I don’t believe you,” said Ezri automatically. “The Federation would never commit genocide.”

    “We found out from Odo about Section 31’s attempt to destroy the Great Link! When my people heard about this we very nearly decided to wage war on the Federation again. But Odo showed us the wisdom of not retaliating, frankly captain the Federation owes it to my people to protect them!”

    Ezri wasn’t sure how to respond to this, she didn’t know the full facts, though she did feel a tiny bit of sympathy for the shapeshifter. He walked out of the room, leaving Ezri to think about the shocking information she had just heard. If it was true then why had nobody told her?

    Odo, Benjamin Sisko and Bashir must have known about this. She had heard about Section 31 from Bashir, during their relationship. What the shapeshifter had told her had been so shocking, that Ezri realised she had to keep this a secret. For who could she talk to? Admiral Ross, or any other Starfleet admiral for that matter, would deny everything about Section 31, and Bashir was still as cold and as distant as ever...


    Day 8, 1330 hours

    Kira walked on the lower level of the Promenade, it was completely deserted, and all the shops were closed down. Since Ezri had left, Kira was in command of DS9, she hadn’t been in command of DS9 for nearly fifteen years. Though fifteen years ago she had decided to settle for second in command to find the time to raise her first child Mia.

    It had been three days since Kira issued an evacuation order of DS9, now there were only the station’s officers left. She had sent her children to the Koma temple, after vedek Talrik offered to shelter them. Aside from Shakaar, Talrik was the of the few Bajorans Kira could really trust.

    The thought of the incoming renegade Jem’Hadar did worry her somewhat, but DS9 had two previous battles before and the odds were similar. At least Starfleet had recognised the danger, and for once provided a decent sized fleet. One thing she was deeply grateful for about Bajor’s membership into the Federation, was the top notch protection and security provided by Starfleet.

    Even so with this incoming battle, even the might of Starfleet could not be enough to protect Bajor. She wasn’t foolish enough to admit she was never afraid, but fear became almost redundant if you had been a member of the Bajoran resistance for over thirteen years.

    As she walked further down the Promenade, she noticed Quark’s bar was still open. The only two constants on the Promenade were Quark’s bar and the Bajoran temple. When she entered Quark’s bar she noticed Quark talking to Morn, she had never understood what attracted Morn to Quark’s bar.

    Quark who was standing by his bar, broke off his conversation with Morn when he saw Kira enter, Morn though looked rather forlorn and hurt.

    “Colonel what can I get for you?” asked Quark.

    Kira sat down on a chair, directly facing Quark. “Tarkalean tea please.” She nodded to Morn. “Hi there Morn.”

    Morn though looked away, and returned to sipping his drink.

    “Here's the tea,” said Quark. “I wouldn't talk to Morn right now.”

    Kira took a brief of the tea before answering, she really liked the slightly bitter taste and it rejuvenated her low blood sugar level. “Why not?” she asked, after a while.

    Quark leaned in close to Kira and whispered to her. “He's very nervous about this fleet of renegade Jem'Hadar ships coming our way.”

    Personally, Kira was starting to get quite weary of all this talk about the renegade Jem’Hadar fleet. It was perfectly understandable why everyone wanted to talk about it, but she didn’t like the rumours going around amongst the crew. Some crew members seemed convinced that the Founders were starting a second war with the Federation. Perhaps Quark started some of those rumours. “Shouldn't you be on one of the evacuation ships?” said Kira, lowering her voice to make sure Morn wasn’t listening in to the conversation.

    “This bar is my livelihood colonel!” said Quark passionately. “It's all I have, a Ferengi without a business is a like a dog without fleas! Though sometimes in days like this I wonder why I bother.”

    Kira knew that this was typical of Quark, his fear about leaving the bar overrode even his fear of the Jem’Hadar destroying the station. “Even Jake left his restaurant, your staying here to protect your latinum!”

    Quark though deflected the accusation. “And giving Morn a shoulder to cry upon!” He paused, and his tone of voice became more serious. “Are things really that bad, I mean this Jem'Hadar fleet... is there any hope of stopping them?”

    “The Federation fleet is outnumbered six to one, but the Jem'Hadar will have to come out of the wormhole, and when they do so they will be tightly packed and make easy pickings for the Starfleet ships!”

    “And what if the Federation fleet is destroyed?”

    “Then DS9 will be destroyed, and afterwards Bajor...” said Kira calmly, though she was becoming weary of this conversation, and she sped up her sipping of the tea. “Can we talk about something other than the Jem'Hadar?”

    Quark didn’t seem to be listening to Kira, he sighed. “To think I've devoted thirty years of my life to this bar.” He shook his head as if to dispel his doubts and regrets. “And what do I have to show for it? A few bricks of gold-pressed latinum and some friends, I mean why did I bother?”

    Kira thought that was a bit rich of Quark, he had made a decent living here and had made a name for himself. However, she wasn’t going to tell Quark this; they both maintained an outward appearance of pretending not to be friends. “Friends are more important than gold-pressed latinum.”

    She thought Quark looked slightly wounded by that comment, in a way the two were friends. Quark remained silent, while Kira had finished her tea. “Thanks for the tea...”

    She rose from the chair and left Quark’s bar, from the corner of her eye she saw Quark walking over to Morn. Clearly Quark was going to have another depressing conversation with Morn. Kira had occasionally talked to Morn, though every time she regretted it; he was a pleasant guy with a big heart but he moaned to much, way to much...


    Day 8, 1330 hours

    With less than a day to go until the Defiant approached the wormhole, Ezri had finally received an encoded message from admiral Ross telling her what to expect when the Defiant exited the wormhole. One thing was for certain, the Jem’Hadar ships would be walking into a very deadly trap. Ezri had called for a brief senior staff meeting, to explain to them what awaited on the other side of the wormhole. As she entered the mess hall, she saw Megan, Max and Odo gathered around a table.

    Ezri came to a halt close to Megan, Max and Odo. She sat down on a top of a table. “Admiral Ross has told me that 1200 Starfleet ships have surrounded the other side of the wormhole, the moment the Tren and Jem'Hadar ships reach the other side of the wormhole a barrage of photon torpedoes and phaser fire will destroy those ships.”

    “It will be a massacre,” commented Odo

    Ezri wasn’t sure if Odo was simply stating the obvious or if he inwardly disapproved of this battle plan. “The threat to the Federation is to great to simply let these rogue Jem'Hadar ships pass through the wormhole unchallenged. From the latest sensor readings, there are about 7000 rogue Jem'Hadar ships following us. If all goes to plan, most of them will be destroyed.”

    “What about the Defiant?” asked Max. “The Tren and the rogue Jem'Hadar ships are incredibly close to us! We'll be hit by friendly fire!”

    “Then Mr Weatherby it will be up to you to guide the Defiant to safety.”

    Max nodded in agreement, he suddenly looked more serious, as everyone would depend upon him for their safety at the exit of the wormhole.

    Megan spoke up. “Wouldn't all those torpedoes collapse the entrance to the wormhole?”

    “That is a distinct possibility, if that happens the Jem'Hadar threat would be no more. If the wormhole entrance does not collapse and the Defiant exits on the other side in one piece, then it will join the Starfleet fleet. Once the Defiant has joined with the Federation fleet, we will be helping them to destroy the rogue Jem'Hadar ships...”

    Ezri looked at the three officers before her, and she was glad to see that they had no objections to this plan. The mood was grim, but Ezri could sense that her officers trusted her judgement. “Dismissed,” she said.

    Megan, Max and Odo left the room, while Ezri remained where she was. The truth was she was nervous about the Defiant exiting the wormhole, there was a good chance the Defiant would be blown to bits. What worried Ezri was not dying, but sending her crew to their deaths.

    The Defiant was either going to be destroyed by Federation torpedoes or destroyed by the Jem’Hadar ships. The third option of surviving seemed like a remote possibility for Ezri; it all came down to Max and whether he had the skill to manoeuvre the Defiant away from hundreds of incoming torpedoes…
  4. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 5

    Day 9, 0840 hours

    “Ten million kilometres to the entrance of the wormhole,” reported Max from the helm.

    “Drop out of warp now, and go to half impulse,” ordered Ezri, while her hands gripped onto her chair's armrests. She then addressed Megan. “Are the Tren and Jem'Hadar ships still following us?”

    “Affirmative,” said Megan.

    So it had come to this, after three days of retreating from the Jem’Hadar fleet, once the Defiant reached the other side of the wormhole and rejoined the Federation fleet, a huge battle would commence. Ezri felt moderately hopeful about the battle’s outcome, from the scans of the Jem’Hadar ships it seemed the Jem’Hadar were still using polaron weaponry.

    Starfleet ships shields had been modified many years ago in 2373 to absorb polaron beams. However, Ezri knew this merely evened the odds, the Federation fleet’s only chance of victory was if they could keep the Jem’Hadar close to the wormhole. The focal point of the torpedoes would rip the Jem’Hadar ships to pieces.

    “Entering the wormhole captain,” said Max. “Going to thrusters... now.”

    The view screen showed the wormhole opening up, various colours of blue and gold rotated around the centre. When the Defiant was inside the wormhole, there were various streaks of blue and white coloured energy hugging to the cylindrical structure of the wormhole. While in the distance there was a golden light emitting circular bands of pale yellow energy.

    Megan turned briefly to glance at Ezri. “The ships following us are doing the same.”

    “Switch to the reverse view,” replied Ezri.

    The view screen showed a similar view of the wormhole, except this time there were hundreds of ships following the Defiant from behind. Even from this distance the dozen Tren ships looked very distinctive, with their semi-circular wing bending inwards towards the front of the ship.

    Behind the Tren ships, were hundreds of Jem’Hadar ships. Most of the Jem’Hadar ships were fighters, some were battleships, and Ezri thought she could make out one of those Jem’Hadar dreadnought ships. This was how Starfleet classified these behemoths.

    “Switch back to the normal view,” said Ezri.

    She walked over and came to a stop at Max's left side, she placed her right hand on the top left edge of Max's chair. “I think it's time Mr Weatherby for you to dazzle us all with your amazing piloting skills.”

    “Let's get the show on the road...” said Max to himself, he then spoke a bit louder. “Brace yourself everyone, this is going to get very bumpy!”

    Ezri returned to her chair, she sat down and gripped tightly onto the chair’s armrests. She was bracing herself for whatever might happen. On the view screen the wormhole opened up and Ezri saw hundreds of Starfleet ships, a moment later she saw little pinpricks of light coming from the ships. As she saw the torpedoes approaching the Defiant, all Ezri could do was look intensely at Max’s back. She hoped Max was indeed the amazing pilot that the Starfleet records claimed him to be.


    The Starfleet ships were gathered around the mouth of the wormhole, about 250 of those ships were to lay down fire into the wormhole. The rest of the ships were stationed in a long series of parallel lines next to DS9. The ships were organised into rows one on top of the other, and they were spaced out into a diamond formation.

    The 250 ships close to the mouth of the wormhole were arranged in concentric circles. They fired volley after volley of torpedoes, the torpedoes were fired in a sequential order, and the torpedoes converged towards the wormhole in a series of enclosing spirals.

    Against the entrance to the wormhole, the Defiant looked tiny, it swerved upwards and spiralled wildly to avoid the enclosing net of torpedoes. For a moment it looked like the Defiant wouldn’t escape, then it broke through as the first of the torpedoes entered the wormhole.


    Back on the Defiant, Ezri was relieved that the Defiant was in one piece. She would thank Max later, right now there were more pressing concerns. “Ms Felpes scan the wormhole, what is happening to the Tren and Jem'Hadar ships?”

    “There's some sort of interference, I can't tell.” Megan looked at the sensor readings intently. “In fact I'm not even sure if the photon torpedoes are even hitting the Tren and Jem'Hadar ships!”

    Ezri was momentarily puzzled, if the photon torpedoes weren’t hitting the Tren and Jem’Hadar ships then what had happened to them? It was Odo who provided the answer.

    “The Tren ships are coming through the entrance of the-” Odo eyes widened in surprise. “Captain they're deflecting the photon torpedoes!”

    Ezri couldn’t believe it, but right now all that mattered was avoiding the photon torpedoes. “Max get us-”

    The Defiant lurched suddenly upwards; Max had taken immediate action to avoid getting hit by the photon torpedoes. As the Defiant continued to make the sharp upwards turn, Ezri felt like she was going to throw up, she could almost feel her breakfast climbing up her wind pipe.

    She still occasionally suffered from space sickness, and sudden manoeuvres like this were guaranteed to give her an upset stomach. The Defiant suddenly righted itself, and on the view screen, Ezri saw the Starfleet ships break formation to avoid their own torpedoes. It was a horrible sight to see. “Report!” she demanded, while trying her best to avoid being sick.

    “No damage to the Defiant,” said Odo. “The Jem'Hadar ships are breaking through, they're still following the Tren ships. 64 Starfleet ships were hit by their own torpedoes, most have suffered minimum damage, two of those ships were destroyed... The Jem'Hadar are engaging the Starfleet ships!”

    Ezri now realised why the Tren were crazy enough to walk into a clear trap, they had turned the Federation fleet's trap against its own ships. “Odo send a message to all ships, tell them to follow the Defiant, and engage any Jem'Hadar ship they encounter! Max set a general course to follow the Tren ships, dodge any Jem'Hadar ships that approach the Defiant and maintain course, to keep tracking the Tren ships!”

    She was still holding onto the chair as if her life depended upon it, while she mentally prepared herself for the long battle that was to come. She wished she didn’t feel so queasy, but she ignored that distraction. Right now the only thing that mattered was to destroy as many Jem’Hadar ships as possible. She would not let the Jem’Hadar destroy DS9 and Bajor…


    Day 9, 0900 hours

    Ten minutes into the battle, and the Defiant was holding up well. It had destroyed 21 Jem’Hadar ships, at times Ezri caught glimpses from the view screen of DS9. Every time Ezri saw just a brief glimpse of DS9, her gut tightened from nervousness, she wondered how long it would take for the Jem’Hadar to take out DS9’s shields. If that happened DS9 would become easy game for the Jem’Hadar.

    Already the Defiant had expended a third of its torpedoes armaments and phaser reserves were down to sixty percent, if the battle were to continue for too long, the Defiant would run out of armaments. Ezri had never seen so many enemy ships in her life, they were swarming all over the view screen. Lieutenant Patrick, who was in charge of the weapons, was targeting the Jem’Hadar ships at his own discretion.

    Occasionally Ezri gave out the odd order to move to a different position. On a console to the left of her armrest, Ezri watched the tactical display of the Defiant and the ships around it. The Defiant had it's own little icon, while the Starfleet ships were indicated as blue elongated triangles, while the Jem’Hadar ships were shown as red elongated triangles, the Tren were coloured grey. The positioning of the triangles indicated the ship’s direction, every second the screen updated giving Ezri a constant stream of tactical information.

    So far Ezri hadn’t seen the Tren ships engage the Starfleet ships, the Tren ships were simply watching the battle from afar, though right now they was a small distraction from a much bigger problem. Ezri feared that the Jem’Hadar would win this battle through shear force of numbers.

    “Captain!” said Megan suddenly. “The fleet of rogue Jem'Hadar ships are being attacked from behind! It's Weyoun, and his Dominion flagship, there are about a thousand Jem’Hadar ships. It looks like he managed to find an whole army of loyal Jem’Hadar!”

    “The Tren ships are going to warp captain, the Jem’Hadar ships are following the Tren!” reported Max.

    “Keep following them!” ordered Ezri, she suddenly felt hopeful, did the renegade Jem’Hadar think they couldn’t win the battle?

    “Why do they flee?” said Odo quietly, after the Defiant had gone to warp, he seemed to be talking to himself.

    Ezri turned her head to the left to look at Odo. “What's that Odo?”

    Odo moved in his seat to face Ezri. “It's just unusual, if the Tren really are invading the Federation, why don't they engage us directly? Besides I have never seen the Jem’Hadar retreat from a battle, they fight to the death unless ordered otherwise.”

    The point Odo made was a valid one, and the Jem’Hadar behaviour baffled Ezri. “Let’s be thankful that the renegade Jem’Hadar are retreating. We need to drive them out of Federation territory, and we will continue to pursue them until they reach their destination, wherever that may be.”

    Odo returned to monitor his console, while Ezri relaxed into her chair. It wasn’t quite a victory against the renegade Jem’Hadar, as for some reason the Tren decided to retreat. What Ezri didn’t understand was why the renegade Jem’Hadar followed the Tren ships. The shapeshifter leader had told her that the Tren were planning an invasion of the Alpha Quadrant, either the Tren plan had failed miserably, or the Tren had a different motive for bringing the renegade Jem’Hadar to the Alpha Quadrant…

    Despite these mysteries, two things did comfort Ezri. One was that DS9 and Bajor seemed to be out of the danger zone, the second thing was the Defiant’s crew. They held up well in the heat of battle, and Ezri was proud of her crew. Yes they were Starfleet officers trained to follow their commander's orders, but even so they placed their trust in Ezri as a captain to keep the Defiant in one piece and give the Jem’Hadar a bloody nose. Ezri was glad she had not let down their trust…
  5. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 6

    Day 9 2200 hours

    Inside his quarters, the shapeshifter leader was busy reviewing Dominion intelligence files from a padd. The padd had an in-built subspace receiver, and every hour it was updated, giving the shapeshifter the latest in Dominion intelligence. He doubted that the Defiant would detect these sub-space signals, even if the Defiant could do so, it wouldn’t be able to break the encryption to the data stream. The latest intelligence suggested that the renegade Jem’Hadar were being pushed out of Dominion territory, so in the short term the Great Link was safe.

    He had also made some subtle changes to the communications panel, next to the bunk bed. Now it could receive subspace transmissions; a small red light flashed on the panel, and he realised Weyoun was trying to contact him. He felt annoyed, he had explicitly told Weyoun not to contact him unless in an absolute emergency. Standing up, he stretched his hand to activate the comm link. “What is it Weyoun? This had better be important.”

    Weyoun seemed to flinch slightly at the commanding and disapproving tone in the shapeshifter’s voice. Weyoun bowed his head slightly. “Founder forgive my intrusion, but I wondered when you would be leaving the Defiant.”

    “That Weyoun is none of your concern, I am staying on the Defiant for my own personal reasons.”

    Weyoun looked pained and somewhat disappointed to hear this. “If you don't mind me asking, what are those reasons?”

    Despite the humble way Weyoun asked the shapeshifter, the shapeshifter was deeply annoyed at Weyoun’s intrusion into his own privacy. “That is none of your concern,” he said coldly.

    Weyoun bowed his slightly in shame. “Forgive me Founder, I am merely concerned for your safety, if the Defiant were-”

    The shapeshifter was getting tired of Weyoun’s presence. “Enough,” he said commandingly. “Your concern for my safety is touching. However, you should focus on other things aside from my safety. I need you to send the thousand Jem'Hadar ships back to Dominion territory, while you and the Dominion flagship will stay on DS9.”

    Weyoun bowed his head, in reverence. “Yes Founder.”

    “That will be all.”

    The transmission ended and the shapeshifter sat down, and returned to his study of the Dominion intelligence reports. In the back of his mind, he felt strange sitting down. As a changeling he had little use of the furniture that solids so loved to use. He also felt somewhat lonely, holding this solid form was something of an inconvenience, he wished he was back in the Great Link. However he was the leader of his people, there were certain duties he must perform and sacrifices he had to make...

    Just when he was beginning to relax, the door chimed. He slammed the padd he was holding onto the table, he had specifically ordered his Jem’Hadar guards to turn away anybody, except for Ezri or Odo. “Enter!” said the shapeshifter in an annoyed voice.

    Odo walked into the room, and the shapeshifter’s mood brightened. “Odo, come in!”

    However Odo maintained some distance away from him. “I wanted to talk to you about you staying on board the Defiant.”

    Typical Odo, thought the shapeshifter, he is always so formal. “That's funny because I had a similar conversation with Weyoun just now.”

    Odo dropped some of the formality, and it was replaced with a more urgent look. “Listen I urge you to leave the Defiant, this ship could be pursuing the renegade Jem'Hadar fleet for a very long time, at any moment the Jem'Hadar ships could turn around and attack! As long as you stay on this vessel, your life is in grave danger!”

    “That is touching Odo, I'm glad you still care for our people.”

    “Of course I've cared!” said Odo indignantly. “I have always cared, even when we were on opposite sides!”

    The shapeshifter wasn't to go tell anybody why he wanted to stay on the Defiant, except for Ezri of course. However Odo was a changeling, and he couldn’t keep Odo in the dark about his intentions. “But you should know that I'm staying here firstly to find out where the renegade Jem'Hadar ships are heading, and more importantly I'm staying here to give you company. You haven't linked with a shapeshifter in over seventeen years!”

    Now Odo looked cautiously at the shapeshifter. “You want me to return to the Great Link don't you?”

    “Yes I do, by returning you can further enlighten us about the solids!”

    “The answer is no, I have obligations to my family.”

    Since Odo arrived, the shapeshifter felt the slight pangs of annoyance creep in, why couldn’t Odo willingly return to his people? “What about obligations to your own people?”

    Odo briefly glanced to the left, he looked exasperated. “I have told you everything that you need to know about humanoids! You need to ask yourself why you still consider humanoids inferior life forms, if you can't answer that question then I cannot help you!”

    Turning around, Odo then left the room, and the shapeshifter was going to call Odo back but something stopped him. He didn’t want to argue with Odo, for it would boil down to Odo’s love for the solid Kira.

    There was a time when things were so easy for him, a time where it was easy to follow the precepts which Odo had laid down. But he was getting weary of those precepts, in a time when the Great Link was threatened, the old ways worked so much better. The shapeshifter thought that the galaxy had if anything became more chaotic since the Dominion became a peaceful state. If Odo did not return to the Great Link, his people would eventually abandon Odo’s precepts, and follow a much simpler precept: impose order to a chaotic galaxy, and control the solids by any means necessary.


    Day 10, 0900 hours

    Entering the Defiant’s bridge, Ezri was simultaneously walking and reading from a padd. The padd contained an important message from Starfleet, and Ezri was studying it carefully and considering the implications for the Defiant. As Ezri approached, Megan, who was in charge of the bridge crew, vacated the commander's chair. “What are you reading captain?”

    Ezri looked up from the padd. “Starfleet has issued orders to recall most of the Federation fleet to the border, if the Jem'Hadar fleet leaves Federation territory. However the Defiant and fifty other Starfleet ships will continue to pursue the Jem'Hadar.”

    She sat down on the captain's chair. “What is our current status Ms Felpes?”

    Megan had now returned to her station, and was checking the sensor readings. “The Jem'Hadar fleet is maintaining its speed of warp 9.5, the Defiant and the Federation fleet have gained slightly on the Jem'Hadar fleet, but the gain is negligible, it's about less than a kilometre.”

    Max suddenly spoke up. “Where, oh where are these Jem'Hadar going? I'm starting to quite sick of looking at their tail-end.”

    Ezri decided to remind Max why they were pursuing the Jem’Hadar. “It's a sight you better get used to, we're following the Jem'Hadar ships until they arrive at their destination.”

    For a moment Ezri thought about the Starfleet message, she then realised there was one thing she had forgotten to do. She got up from the chair and moved over to Odo’s station. Ezri braced herself against the bulkhead with her hand, she wanted to have a private discussion. Odo glanced up as he noticed Ezri’s shadow.

    Ezri kept her voice quiet as she issued to Odo some orders. “Odo I want you to send a message to DS9, tell colonel Kira that the Defiant will continue to pursue the Jem'Hadar fleet, even if it leaves Federation territory. Send to Kira the Defiant's current course and the predicted course that the Jem'Hadar fleet will travel. Also tell her that the threat to DS9 is gone, and that the civilians can return back to the station.”

    “Captain, what should I tell Kira concerning when the Defiant will return home?”

    “Tell her that the Defiant will be gone for at least two weeks, and that it will only return when it has tracked down the destination of the Jem'Hadar fleet. That will be all.”

    Leaving Odo’s station, Ezri returned to her chair, she suspected that this chase could last for a few days and become very boring. But she wouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security, at any point the Jem’Hadar fleet could turn around and attack the Defiant. If the Jem’Hadar fleet reached its destination, there may be dozens if not hundreds of Tren ships awaiting the Defiant and the fifty Starfleet ships. If that happened, Ezri was going to high tail it all the way back to DS9.


    Day 11, 1600 hours

    It had been over two days since the battle with the renegade Jem’Hadar fleet. While Kira was relieved that the station and Bajor was safe, she was worried for the Defiant. There had been no word from the Defiant ever since the battle. Since Ezri was gone, Kira was in command of the station, she made sure that Quark was on his toes and didn’t try to steal everything that wasn’t nailed down.

    The evacuation order was still in place, and Kira missed her children, as they were on Bajor. She trusted that Mia would take care of Deru. For the past two days Kira had been trying to contact admiral Ross, she hoped that Ross would have some more information about the Defiant. Today she managed to procure some time to contact Ross, with the renegade Jem’Hadar fleet still in Federation territory, Ross was a busy man.

    In the commander's office, Kira was at the desk, gazing into the laptop displaying the comm link. “Admiral, has there been any word from the Defiant?”

    Ross looked very tired, it seemed he hadn’t slept for over two days. “No, but deep space sensors indicate that the Defiant and the Federation fleet are just on the outskirts of Federation territory.”

    “Will the Defiant be returning home if the renegade Jem'Hadar fleet leaves Federation territory?”

    “Sadly it won't be. If the Jem'Hadar fleet leaves Federation territory, then most of the ships in the Federation fleet will maintain position along the border. However, the Defiant along with fifty other Starfleet ships will be pursuing the Jem'Hadar fleet.”

    “Are you sure that's wise admiral?” There was a tremendous amount of caution in Kira’s voice. “No one knows where the Jem'Hadar are heading, they could be going into Tren territory! Not only that, the Defiant will come very close to Breen territory!”

    Ross looked somewhat annoyed by Kira’s mild objection. “I don't believe the Jem'Hadar fleet will enter Breen territory. Besides this is an opportunity to find out where the Tren originate from in this galaxy! The Tren ships have to be taking the Jem'Hadar fleet to a base of theirs, if they do so then the Federation will have some idea of how close Tren territory is to the Federation! Remember colonel you should be thankful that the Jem'Hadar didn't attack DS9 or Bajor! Ross out.”

    Kira jabbed a keyboard command on the laptop to turn it off, the moment her conversation ended, did Nog enter the room. He seemed to have been waiting for Kira’s conversation with admiral Ross to finish.

    Nog was holding a padd. “Colonel, I received a message from the Defiant, it's addressed directly to you.”

    He gave the padd to Kira. She took it and read the message, after reading it she could not believe the foolishness of what Ezri was doing. With slightly shaking hands she lowered the padd and placed it upon her desk.

    “Is something wrong?” asked Nog.

    Some of her true feelings must have showed on her face, if Nog could glean her emotional state. “The Defiant is going to be away for at least two weeks, it will be accompanied by fifty other Starfleet ships as they pursue the Jem'Hadar fleet.”

    “You don't approve of what Ezri is doing?” said Nog shrewdly.

    Disapprove was mildly putting it for Kira. “I think it's incredibly dangerous, the Defiant will be entering unknown space, for we all know there could be a vast chunk of Tren territory, an empire or something! It will be a perfect opportunity for the Jem'Hadar or the Tren to ambush the Defiant!”

    “Your concerned about Ezri and Odo aren't you?”

    Nog had touched upon Kira’s real concern. “Yes I am, Ezri is my friend, and if she dies she would have thrown away her life and Odo’s for nothing.”

    “Ezri is not stupid, I don't think she will indefinitely follow the Jem'Hadar fleet. She won't deliberately put her crew's lives at risk for a doubtful reason.”

    Nog left the room, while Kira admired his faith in the captain. She thought that the captain was taking a risk in pursuing an opportunity to find out where the Tren were based. She hoped Ezri had the sense to back down when the stakes became to high and to dangerous.


    Day 18, 1230 hours

    It was lunch break, and nearly all of the Defiant’s crew were in the mess hall. Usually the atmosphere was a lively and content one in the mess hall, but not so today. Megan was eating with Max and Odo, though Odo of course wasn’t having anything, he simply joined for the company.

    Megan looked up from her lunch. “Look at this crew,” she said quietly. “They're so nervous and tense, you can see it in their eyes.”

    Max looked around before resting his eyes on one particular crew member. “They don't look nervous to me.”

    “Just listen for a moment...”

    With a sight, Max moved his eyes upwards slightly, before listening to the room. “It's quieter...” he said, after a moment.

    “Precisely,” said Megan, she had to get this point over to Max. “People are whispering because everyone is on red alert mode and waiting for trouble to happen!”

    Max’s eyebrows rose in apparent doubt of Megan’s observation. “What do you think Odo?”

    “Megan's right, I've never seen the mood like this before, it seems the crew's faith in Ezri is faltering.”

    There was a somewhat nervous expression on Max's face. “Are you saying there's going to a crew mutiny?” He added a small nervous laugh, as if trying to pretend that a crew mutiny was just wishful thinking on Odo's part.

    Megan held unto her fork, and as she spoke she used it to emphasise her points. “Look at this way, the Defiant is far from Federation territory and it's been chasing the Jem'Hadar fleet for over a week, there seems to be no end in sight to this pursuit! The deeper we go into unknown territory the greater the danger to the Defiant! No wonder nerves are getting frayed, it doesn't help with the shapeshifter on board. What do you think he's doing Odo?”

    At the very mention of the shapeshifter, Odo seemed to suddenly tense up. “He's staying here because he is curious about where the renegade Jem'Hadar are travelling to.” Odo paused, before continuing in a rather stiff and uptight voice. “Also he seems to think that I need some company with my own people.”

    Megan thought the shapeshifter’s observation was an accurate one. “You have been away from the Great Link for about seventeen years, I mean it is your home and you must miss it surely?”

    Odo seemed positively tense, he was not liking where the conversation was going. “I'd rather not talk about my people at the moment, excuse me, I must return to duty.”

    With that Odo got up and left the Mess Hall.

    While Max stared at Odo in apparent surprise, Megan was brooding, she held her hands against her chin. She could not understand Odo’s hostility towards a member of his own race.

    “What was that all about?” said Max, after a moment’s silence.

    Megan looked wearily at Max. “I think it's not only the crew that are tense, look at Odo, I've never seen him so... I don't know... brooding and almost hostile.”

    Max looked understanding, and Megan gave him a small smile and Max returned it. She always liked to talk to Max, he was a very level guy, and sometimes humorous at times. If anyone could make Megan laugh it was Max, she was deeply glad that she had Max for a friend.

    Without Max, she would have been incredibly lonely, though now she was starting to feel more comfortable talking to other people besides Max. Always though in the back of her mind, were the memories of Bordak and the Tau Primia prison, she was slowly coming to accept the pain of those memories, and they now didn’t feel so raw and terrible.
  6. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 7

    Day 22, 1400 hours

    On the Defiant's bridge, Megan had been constantly monitoring the flight path of the Jem'Hadar/Tren fleet. Ever since leaving Federation territory, the fleet's course had become steadily more erratic, going through nebulas and other spacial features. It was like the Jem'Hadar and the Tren wanted to shake the Defiant off there tail. Megan was convinced that very soon the Jem'Hadar/Tren fleet would reach their destination. Despite this she could feel the tension coming from everybody, even the captain seemed to be wavering from continuing to pursue the Jem’Hadar/Tren fleet.

    “Why do they keep running away from us?” said Max, in a sudden frustrated outburst.

    “Patience lieutenant,” said Ezri in a soothing voice. “They will stop, just give it time.”

    “Looks like they're luring us into a trap in my opinion,” replied Max.

    Megan thought that Max was almost retorting against the captain.

    Odo spoke up before Ezri could have a chance to respond to Max’s comment. “Captain, Max may have a point; the behaviour of these rogue Jem'Hadar baffles me. Wherever they're heading it must be to rendezvous with other Tren ships! We should call off the pursuit.”

    “Perhaps your right,” said Ezri. “The Defiant is hundreds of light years away from Federation territory, and we don't know this area, we should-”

    Megan thought it was time to voice her opinion, for she deeply disagreed with what Ezri had said. “If we retreat now we lose track of where these rogue Jem'Hadar are heading!”

    Ezri looked somewhat exasperated by Megan’s outburst. “They're heading somewhere well away from Federation territory! It's to risky to venture further out into an unknown region of space!”

    “Then you are a coward, who is not prepared to take a risk!” said Megan heatedly.

    “I beg your pardon?” said Ezri in an ominous tone.

    Inwardly Megan groaned, perhaps the tension was getting to her more than she realised. She shouldn’t have made that clumsy remark, perhaps all of this pursuing the Jem’Hadar/Tren fleet had gone to her head.

    Even so, Megan thought that she had to argue her point over to Ezri. “Just because the stakes are higher, the gains are greater. To me it is tactically inconceivable that we just let a huge and dangerous enemy fleet simply vanish from our sights! We are closing in on their destination! Their course has become more erratic, they are trying to shake us off, so we can't quit now not when we are so close!”

    For a few seconds, Ezri considered both Odo's and Megan's arguments.

    Max broke the silence. “I hate to interrupt captain, but a hundred Jem'Hadar ships have broken formation, they're heading straight for us!”

    “Battle stations!” said Ezri.

    This sudden attack, made Megan convinced that her hunch was right. “This is a distraction captain! We have to break through and follow the rest of the fleet!”

    Ezri seemed swayed by Megan’s argument. “Agreed; Mr Weatherby set a course through the incoming Jem'Hadar ships, dodge enemy fire at your own discretion, and head for the rest of the Jem'Hadar/Tren fleet!”

    There was a small pause. “Oh and Ms Felpes?”

    Here comes the reprimand thought Megan. “Yes captain?” she said politely.

    Ezri looked menacingly at Megan. “Don't you ever publicly insult me again, you were out of order. Understood?”

    “Yes... captain,” said Megan, and she now felt somewhat ashamed by her nasty remark towards Ezri.

    The rocking of the Defiant from enemy fire brought Megan back to her senses. She glanced at the view screen and saw six waves of Jem’Hadar ships approaching the Defiant. For two minutes, the Defiant twisted and turned as it battled it's way through the Jem’Hadar ships. Finally after two minutes, the view screen was clear of Jem’Hadar ships and the Defiant went to warp. Megan was relieved that the Defiant had broken through, now the pursuit of the Jem’Hadar/Tren fleet could resume…


    Day 22, 1430 hours

    After the battle, Ezri was becoming more and more convinced that the Jem’Hadar/Tren fleet was finally reaching its destination. Even the shapeshifter leader had come up onto the bridge, like Ezri he seemed to feel that the chase was coming to an end…

    There was one more pressing concern for Ezri. “Ms Felpes, are they any Starfleet ships following us?”

    “Negative, they're all engaging the Jem'Hadar ships behind us.”

    “Damn,” said Ezri quietly, and to herself.

    Ezri noticed Max hunching his shoulders slightly, and she realised something was irking Max.

    “Captain,” said Max a few moments later. “The Jem'Hadar and Tren ships are disappearing!”

    That description sounded to vague for Ezri's liking. “Are they decloaking?” asked Ezri, seeking clarification.

    Max frowned at the readings he was getting from his console. “I can't tell, in fact I'm not even sure if the Jem’Hadar/Tren fleet are in this space-time continuum!”

    “What!” exclaimed Ezri. “But that's impossible, they can't have just literally disappeared! Maintain course Mr Weatherby!”

    A moment later, and Max still seemed bothered. “That's odd...”

    “Yes?” said Ezri rather tensely; she wanted to get to the bottom of this mystery.

    Max elaborated on his brief comment. “This ship's speedometer tells me I've maintained the ship's velocity and direction. But according to sensors, this ship is travelling in the opposite direction.”

    Ezri wasn’t the only one to look completely puzzled, even the shapeshifter looked mildly confused. Despite her previous host’s knowledge on subspace and particle physics, Ezri could not understand what was going on here. “That is...”

    “Impossible captain?” inquired Megan, she turned around in her chair to face Ezri. “Perhaps not so. I'm detecting unusual distortions in sub-space, it's as if we've ran straight into a taut net and bounced off.”

    “Bounced?” said Ezri in a hollow voice.

    “In a manner of speaking,” said Megan, she seemed to be carefully considering her words. “Somehow these Tren ships know how to navigate this phenomenon, and by the looks of it this phenomenon extends for many dozens of light years in front of us, and to our left and right.”

    “Is this subspace phenomenon natural or artificial?”

    “Natural, it isn't artificially possible to bend sub-space, or distort it to a degree like this.”

    There was conviction in Megan’s voice, but Ezri wasn’t so sure, perhaps the Tren knew how to bend sub-space… Disappointment filled Ezri’s heart, it seemed the Tren had finally thrown the Defiant off their tail. In a matter of hours, the Jem’Hadar/Tren fleet could be anywhere.

    Recognising defeat, Ezri realised that it was now time to return home. “There's nothing more we can do here, Mr Weatherby return this ship back to the Starfleet ships.”

    “Yes captain.”

    Ezri suddenly understand the strange behaviour of the Jem’Hadar/Tren fleet. The Tren knew that they could shake off the pursuing Starfleet ships, this was why the Jem’Hadar ships didn’t turn around days earlier to attack the Defiant and the fifty other Starfleet ships. Ezri had to admire the cleverness of the Tren, for they had acquired a seven thousand strong Jem’Hadar fleet, and took it through Federation territory with minor losses. While at the same time, the Tren had nothing done to directly attack the Federation.

    She strongly suspected that the Federation hadn’t seen the last of the Tren, it seemed the Tren were acquiring military resources, she wasn’t sure for what reason, but she feared it could be for the conquest of the Federation. In any case the Tren were turning into an adversary just as intelligent as the Dominion. If this was so, then Ezri shuddered to think what the true military capability of the Tren really was…
  7. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 8, part 1

    Day 35, 1900 hours

    After nearly two weeks of travel, the Defiant had finally arrived back at DS9. Ezri realised she had left the station for over a month, though it was good to be back. Even after a few months, Ezri felt an attraction to this station, despite she and Bashir still avoiding each other, she still liked living on board this station.

    The moment Ezri walked out of the docking bay doors, from where the Defiant was stationed, she was greeted by admiral Ross. She suddenly remembered that Ross was reviewing the shapeshifter leader’s request for Federation protection.

    Ezri, Ross and the shapeshifter leader proceeded to Ops. The Jem’Hadar guards were walking behind the shapeshifter, Ezri was looking forward to the day when she didn’t have to see those two Jem’Hadar, for they reminded her of everything that was bad and evil in the Dominion.

    When the party entered the commander's office, there were two Starfleet guards accompanying Ross. The shapeshifter leader, who seemed to have a far more retentive memory than Ezri’s confronted Ross over the decision. “Well then has the Federation come to a decision concerning the Dominion's request for assistance?”

    Ross was standing stiffly next to Ezri’s desk, while his poker-like face was impeccable. “The Federation has decided not to help the Dominion.”

    “And why not?” the shapeshifter inquired, every syllable of his voice was rife with anger.

    Ross stared coldly back at the shapeshifter. “It goes against Federation principles to help or endorse an interplanetary state that commits genocide against it's own people or other races. Your attempts at exterminating the Jem'Hadar are deplorable in the eyes of the Federation. The fact is even if the Founders hadn't tried to exterminate the Jem'Hadar, the Dominion's regular abuse of humanitarian rights would greatly hinder it from receiving Federation support should the Dominion ask for it!”

    For a moment it looked like the shapeshifter was going to explode with anger, in his rage the shapeshifter looked very menacing. “I'm asking for the Federation to protect my people, because the Dominion is now to weak to properly defend itself! Are you going to casually sit by and watch as our enemies wipe out my people?”

    “The Federation's decision is final.” Ross’s tone was absolutely serious, he then removed his comm badge and placed it on Ezri’s desk. “This is off the record, but I need to say this. If you want Federation support then give your subjects proper humanitarian rights and freedom! Free the Vorta and the remaining Jem'Hadar!”

    The shapeshifter goggled at Ross, it seemed to go completely against his principles. “Are you insane?”

    Ezri who was standing by her desk, added her voice to Ross’s argument. “It is your only option, don't you get it? Your old methods of control have failed, ultimately the Jem'Hadar revolted because they wanted freedom and that is something that you have never given them!”

    The shapeshifter took a step backwards from Ezri and Ross, he seemed almost afraid of what they’re were saying. “Then my people would be at the mercy of our subjects! We are shapeshifters and we don't listen to the concerns of solids!”

    “Have it your way,” said Ross silkily. “Though the concerns of solids should be your concern.” He picked up his comm badge and put it back onto his tunic. “It was a pleasure talking to you, but I must go now...”

    The shapeshifter simply stared at Ross as the admiral and the two security guards left the room.

    Ezri became acutely aware that she was alone with a shapeshifter and two Jem’Hadar guards, armed to the teeth, in her office. She felt slightly nervous, though she trusted the shapeshifter not to do anything crazy and attack her.

    When Ross was gone, the shapeshifter turned to look at Ezri. “Does he really mean it when he says to democratise the Dominion?”

    Ezri ignored the shapeshifter’s question, she had a question of her own that she had wanted to ask for a long time. “Why do you consider the solids to be so inferior?”

    Some of the disbelieve was removed from the shapeshifter’s face, it was quickly replaced with arrogance and contempt. “Because they are nothing compared to shapeshifters, they are limited and stunted little creatures!”

    “Those 'stunted little creatures' are sentient beings like you and me!” Ezri retorted back. “We have an equal right to exist!”

    “Do you?” said the shapeshifter, he was almost leering. “The fact that shapeshifters were once persecuted tells me that solids realised shapeshifters were a superior form of life, and the solids did everything they could to stop us from becoming the dominant race!”

    ‘The dominant race’; Ezri began to realise exactly why shapeshifters were racist towards solids. It was time she gave the shapeshifter a small warning. “History has shown that alien races who consider themselves the 'master race' and 'superior' are warlike and genocidal. In the end their race suffers from the ravages of the wars they continually fight, and all they do is to limit themselves and ultimately get conquered by their enemies. If I were you see that the same thing does not happen to your race!”

    Ezri thought the shapeshifter would readily dismiss her argument, but he didn’t. There was no angry outburst, and he instead looked very thoughtful. He left the room without speaking to Ezri, along with his two Jem’Hadar guards. Ezri breathed out a sigh of relief, the shapeshifter would be finally leaving the station. Unless of course he had some further business with Odo…


    Day 35, 2300 hours

    Odo rested back into the sofa in his living room, it was good to be home. Seeing his children and there big smiles as they greeted him. Having Mia and Deru was one of the most amazing experiences of Odo's life, for they defined him and always they were at the centre of his thoughts.

    He wanted Mia and Deru to grow up and to become productive members of society. Sixteen years ago he would have never believed it possible to have children with Kira, and it brought unbelievable happiness for him. Of course there were concerns and some niggling worries about his children, but he could live with that...

    And of course there was Kira, she probably didn't quite realise it, but Odo loved and admired her far more than she realised. Having Kira had completely changed Odo's life, she gave him happiness that he could not have imagined living with humanoids far away from his own people. Through his friendship and then relationship with Kira, she taught him the meaning of living, and how to value the things in life other than justice and his job.

    He glanced around when he heard Kira leaving the children’s bedrooms. Kira approached Odo, staring at him rather passionately, she was still wearing her Bajoran uniform. “The children are fast asleep you know.”

    Odo recognised the hidden suggestion, he looked at Kira's slim and attractive figure, for all these years it hadn't changed one bit. Eventually his gaze rested upon Kira’s beautiful face. She sat down on the sofa, the two held hands and stared at each other. For some reason Odo thought that Kira looked more prettier than usual. “I’ve missed you so much, at times on board the Defiant it became quite lonely.”

    Kira smiled. “I’m here now.”

    Odo felt a powerful attraction as he looked into Kira’s brown eyes, the warmth they displayed was intoxicating to him, and he moved steadily closer to her face. They were inches from each other, and Odo could see every detail of Kira’s face. The two kissed, Kira moved over and rested her whole body against Odo’s torso, she placed her hands on Odo’s cheeks, while Odo wrapped his arms around Kira’s back. Odo felt a raw animal like pleasure, as he let go off all restraint and inhibitions...

    Just when Odo felt totally content and lost in Kira’s body, the door chimed. Odo moved his head away slightly to talk. “I wonder who that is?”

    Kira though was still trying to kiss every square inch of Odo’s mouth. “Ignore them, maybe they’ll go away.”

    For a moment, Odo returned to kissing Kira, but then the door chimed again. He broke away from his embrace with Kira, and his intimate mood was gone. “I’m sorry, but I have to answer it.”

    Gently he placed his hands on Kira’s shoulders and pushed her away slightly so that he get up off the sofa.

    Kira looked mightily disappointed, it was so obvious that she had been looking forward to having sex with Odo. “Who would call at this time in the night?”

    Odo made a mental note to make it up to Kira the next day. “We’ll find some time for ourselves tomorrow.”

    In a glum way, Kira nodded, and slumped herself back onto the sofa.

    Odo walked over to the door and tapped a control on the pad to open the door. Whoever it was had better had a good reason for interrupting, otherwise he would be giving them an absolute mouthful.

    The door opened revealing the shapeshifter leader and the two Jem’Hadar guards, Odo had never seen the shapeshifter look so troubled. “What do you want?”

    There was a moment’s hesitation from the shapeshifter, he seemed to find it difficult to look into Odo’s eyes. “I want to talk you in private, I need your help.”

    Odo turned his head to look briefly at Kira, she looked very annoyed at the shapeshifter’s intrusion. Odo figured that it would probably be wiser to have a private conversation somewhere out of his quarters, for Kira would never allow the shapeshifter and his two Jem’Hadar into her home.

    “This won’t take long,” said Odo, he then addressed the shapeshifter. “Would this station's wardroom be private enough for you?”

    “That would be satisfactory.”

    Odo turned around to face Kira, he rolled his eyes to show his exasperation and annoyance that the shapeshifter had just ruined an intimate moment.

    Kira though looked suspiciously at Odo, it was as if she expected Odo to simply run off with the shapeshifter and head back to the Great Link. “I’ll be right here, when you get back.”

    When Odo left his quarters, he and the shapeshifter proceeded to the wardroom. There was complete silence between the two changelings, and when they had reached the entrance to the wardroom, the shapeshifter addressed his Jem’Hadar guards. “Wait outside.”

    At once the Jem’Hadar flanked the doorway, there eyes were careful not to look at their gods. Once inside the room, Odo and the shapeshifter stopped and turned to face each other. Odo remained silent, waiting for the shapeshifter to speak.

    “Odo... I need you to return to the Great Link.”

    Odo felt very annoyed, if the shapeshifter had called him here just to say that… “The answer is still no.”

    Now the shapeshifter looked truly desperate. “Odo I beg of you...” He then rested on his knees, and prostrated himself before Odo. “You have to help me...”

    “Are you talking about your conversation with captain Dax?”

    The shapeshifter held his hands out, he seemed to be pleading with his whole soul towards Odo. “The Federation refuses to help our people, Odo!”

    Immense anger filled Odo’s mind, the shapeshifter seemed to have no regard for other life forms other than his own race. “We should be ashamed of ourselves!” raged Odo. “When I heard that the Founders had killed off all those Jem'Hadar, I was absolutely disgusted! All the things that I taught you about the solids you have utterly forgotten and thrown out of the airlock!”

    “Forgive me Odo!” lamented the shapeshifter, he looked imploringly at Odo as if asking for forgiveness. “But I had to protect our people, I couldn't have the Great Link destroyed just to uphold some noble cause!”

    “If you had given the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar proper freedom the Great Link would never have been threatened in the first place!” said Odo harshly.

    “Then help me Odo! Help me to democratise the Dominion. Teach our people, teach me, about the reason why we should consider solids our equals!”

    Odo felt torn between two obligations: family and the Great Link, but was it worth it returning to the Great Link? “You haven't learnt anything have you? I can't teach you if you refuse to learn and secretly disagree with what I believe in!”

    The shapeshifter looked absolutely desperate, it was as if he was depending on Odo with his very life and soul. “I can't do this alone. Please give me, give our people a second chance, this time we will learn. You have to help us.”

    “Why not help yourself first?” retorted Odo. “You know what to do, so why do you resist the changes you must make?”

    The shapeshifter stopped prostrating himself, and got to his feet. “So you are not rejoining the Great Link?”

    “I will think about it...” said Odo, he tried to make his intentions as vague as possible.

    “The Dominion flagship leaves at 0900 tomorrow as will I.” The shapeshifter looked sadly at Odo. “Good day to you Odo.”

    Turning around, the shapeshifter left the room, leaving Odo with a serious dilemma. Never in eighteen years had he so badly wanted to return to the Great Link. It was like someone had a lit a fire in his head, he couldn’t get the Great Link out of his mind. He wanted to return to be with his people again, but that was the only reason he could think off. Odo wasn’t sure if he could help his people, if they had rejected his precepts once, what would stop them from rejecting them again? With these depressing thoughts still swirling around in his mind, Odo miserably walked back to his quarters.
  8. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 8, part 2

    Day 35, 2330 hours

    Odo returned to his quarters, he looked to the left and saw Kira standing against the doorway to their bedroom, she was in her blue nightdress.

    Kira looked sympathetic as she read the expression on Odo’s face. “Odo?” she said gently.

    Odo though didn’t respond, there so were many conflicting desires and obligations in his head, he wasn’t sure how to respond. Slowly he entered the bedroom and sat down on the bed, Kira looked on hopelessly, she seemed unsure of herself, and she cautiously sat down next to Odo.

    Finally Odo found the strength to explain to Kira about his problems. “I have a dilemma Nerys... If I leave DS9 and join the Great Link, I'll be helping my people. However, I'll be leaving you and the children, for how long I'm not sure. But if I stay, the urge to return to the Great Link will only increase, until it becomes... unbearable.”

    Kira’s face became very taut, as she bottled in her emotional pain, she then averted her gaze from Odo. “Have you decided upon what to do?”

    “No I haven't.” Odo turned to look at Kira, his expression was full of anguish and pain. “Please Nerys let me go to the Great Link, if you would just approve of my decision and not fight it, then it would be so much easier.”

    All of a sudden Kira grabbed onto one of Odo’s hands, and she gazed steadily into Odo’s eyes. “Odo, if I could trust your people, I wouldn't have any problems with you joining the Great Link from time to time. But I don't trust them, I don't want you getting hurt! Your people have manipulated and abused you on more than one occasion.”

    “I'll be fine! You worry to much!”

    Despite Odo’s bravado, Kira didn’t look convinced, she let go of Odo’s hand. “What would your people gain by your return to the Great Link?”

    “My knowledge of humanoids and my views on humanoids, I have to teach my people, to make them respect all sentient life forms.”

    Kira looked aghast. “By giving to them all of your experiences and memories? What about our marriage Odo? Are you going to share to your people all of your intimate memories of me? Are you going to show them everything?”

    Inwardly, Odo flinched at the disappointment and pain in Kira’s voice. “You don't understand, everything is shared in the Great Link, no shapeshifter keeps secrets to himself.”

    “And that makes it alright?” said Kira indignantly. “What we have with our relationship is between you and me Odo, to share that with your people, would be improper. Why not share me with another man?”

    Suddenly Odo stood up, he felt deeply angry by that remark. “It is not like that!” he said heatedly.

    Kira jumped to her feet as well, her anger matching Odo's. “But it is!” she said fiercely. “That's the whole point of marriage, to share something which only we can share! It's a matter of privacy, I wouldn't want people prying and asking about the intimate things we do together! At the time when you returned to the Great Link I wasn't aware of this, but from the moment that shapeshifter spoke to you I realised he knew everything about our relationship eighteen years ago. If you go to the Great Link, they'll know everything about this marriage! It's a complete violation of the bond we have together!”

    Odo wasn’t sure how to make his wife understand, without talking about his experiences in the Great Link. This was something he was not going to do in front of anyone, even Kira never asked him, because he would be telling her things about his people he would rather keep secret.

    He grabbed Kira by the shoulders trying to force her to understand. “Listen to me Kira! I'll be sharing memories and feelings in the Great Link. That is what happens when two or more shapeshifters link with each other. You cannot understand it unless you are a shapeshifter.” Odo calmed down somewhat and he let go of Kira. “But to reassure you I'll hide all of my memories and intimate feelings of you when I'm in the Great Link.”

    Despite Odo’s reassurance Kira still looked unconvinced. “But what stops the other shapeshifters from forcibly looking at those memories?”

    Reluctantly Odo had no choice but to explain to her what had happened before in the Great Link. “I've never told you this... but the last time I went into the Great Link I showed my people nothing, absolutely nothing of the relationship I had with you! All they sensed was my love for you and that was all. You are wrong when you claim that the shapeshifter leader knows all the details of the relationship we had eighteen years ago, he knows absolutely nothing about this relationship!

    “The same applies for all my people, they have had no idea and that's the way I intend to keep it. I wasn't going to share what I had with you to anyone, not even my own people and they understood that! They respected my wishes, and never pried into my memories of you!”

    Tears built up in Kira’s eyes, she looked deeply touched by what Odo had said. “Do you really mean it, your people know nothing about our relationship?”

    “Of course I did! I would never do anything to harm your feelings, or your privacy!”

    “I deeply appreciate that, though I still think you shouldn't go to the Great Link.” She looked imploringly at Odo, as if begging him not to go. “Your people are desperate and they may try to manipulate you! They once tried to change you into a Founder on this very station, and for a time I nearly lost you! Besides have your people redeemed themselves? They still hold a contempt for solids, and they have exterminated thousands of Jem'Hadar!”

    Odo walked a few paces, the issue with the extermination of the Jem'Hadar was the main problem with returning to the Great Link. He turned his back on Kira, as he tried to summon up the courage for what he had to say next. “I know and it seems unlikely that I could change my people's attitudes. But they have redeemed themselves somewhat, and they need my guidance, now more than ever!”

    Kira swallowed, and her face became very rigid and determined, it was an obvious show of strength, to say the words which were so difficult to say. “Listen Odo, if you really want to rejoin the Great Link, I won't stop you, the children are old enough to understand why you are leaving them. But please take care, the Great Link isn't as secure as it once was...”

    She paused, and walked up to Odo before hugging him firmly, she rested her head against his chest. “I don't want to lose you...”

    Briefly Odo closed his eyes, for some reason Kira allowing him to return to the Great Link made him less eager to return to it. Slowly Odo was coming to a decision about what he should do. Right now he would have liked nothing better than to return Kira’s hug, and to hold her in his arms, but he still had some more thinking to do. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to be on my own, in the living room, I’ve got some thinking to do.”

    Kira let go of Odo, her face was full of sadness. “Of course.”

    Odo walked out of the bedroom, the door closed behind him and he proceeded to rest on the sofa. Over the next few minutes, he finally came to a decision, it was the best option in the short term…


    Day 36, 0850 hours

    It was close to the shapeshifter’s deadline and Odo was briskly walking towards the entrance to docking bay two. Taking a left turn at a T-shaped corridor, Odo spotted the shapeshifter waiting by the docking bay doors. As Odo approached, the shapeshifter saw him coming and walked towards Odo, the two came to a stop facing each other. “I presume you have decided to rejoin the Great Link?”

    “No I'm staying here,” said Odo and he knew the shapeshifter was going to take this badly.

    “But you are staying away from your home!” protested the shapeshifter.

    “This is my home,” explained Odo. “Where my family stays I stay.”

    There was an ugly look on the shapeshifter’s face. “It's your unrequited love for Kira isn't it?” he hissed. “And those wretched children of yours!”

    “Leave Kira and my children out of this!” said Odo angrily.

    “It's one thing to marry a solid, but to reproduce with it! It is simply...” The shape shifter paused while he tried to find an appropriate word. “Hideous!”

    Odo could not believe how disgusted the shapeshifter looked, the shapeshifter’s reaction could be only have been caused by one thing: racism. “What I have with Kira far outweighs anything you could give me!”

    The shapeshifter looked mightily aggrieved by Odo’s comment. “Is that so Odo? Believe in what you like, that is your decision, but know this: the urge to return to the Great Link will only grow. It has always been this way with shapeshifters, they need the company of fellow shapeshifters, as it is part of who we are. You may have deluded yourself into thinking that this doesn't apply to you, but it does Odo.”

    Inwardly Odo agreed with the shapeshifter, though he would never openly admit it. “Being with my family is like being in the Great Link.”

    “Then it is a poor substitute for the Great Link. I must leave now Odo... perhaps we will meet again.”

    The shapeshifter turned away from Odo and entered the docking bay. The Jem’Hadar guards followed and when the docking bay doors had closed, Odo was on his own.

    What really hurt Odo was not the shapeshifter condemning Odo’s family, but the cold disappointment in the shapeshifter’s voice at the very end of the conversation ‘Then it is a poor substitute for the Great Link.’.

    Unfortunately the shapeshifter was absolutely right. The only way Odo could satisfy the urge of joining the Great Link was to do exactly that; to join it, since there were no half measures or compromises.

    Odo could not understand why he felt so attached and attracted to Kira. She was a solid, physically she was completely different from Odo, and yet he loved Kira. He loved her personality, and everything about her. When she smiled at him, he felt so happy, and when Kira was sad it tore a hole in his heart. Of course there was the physical attraction, having sex with Kira gave him the same pleasure as having sex with a female changeling.

    Kira had always been a friend, someone he deeply respected, and Odo had never fully understood the reasons why he loved her, but did that matter? However, Odo wondered why he constantly placed Kira’s interests above his; she wanted him to stay and he wanted to go the Great Link… Odo feared that he was staying with Kira and their children, not out of love but out of a sense of obligation…

    One thing Odo was sure about was his responsibility to help his people. They were wavering in their commitment to keep the Dominion as a peaceful state, and in their believes that solids and changelings had an equal right to exist. To think seventeen years ago, Odo had left the Great Link absolutely certain about his people's future...
  9. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Flashback 2

    Odo stood on the little island surrounded by a sea of liquid goo which was the Great Link. It had been a remarkable year for Odo, not only had he saved his people from extinction but he had caused a remarkable turnaround in his people's attitudes towards solids.

    Inside the Great Link was an experience beyond description, he was simultaneously an individual and yet everybody else. Images, emotions, concepts and so much more was exchanged each and every second. Ideas spread like wildfire across the entire Great Link in a matter of minutes; Odo found it a truly remarkable process.

    Of course in the Great Link there was a hierarchy, there were a few thousand individuals who regulated the information exchanged around the Great Link, as there were so much information flying around it needed structure. Since there were billions of minds linked together the neural capacity was staggering, but it had to be organised. Otherwise confusion would arise as conflicting and often repeated information would get carried around the Great Link. Being the leader of his people, he biased the general ideas and information that was exchanged.

    While his people learnt a lot as he explained to them about how solids and changelings had an equal right to exist, and about love. They taught him about shapeshifting and the history of their race. He also found out about his race's physiology. For instance changelings could live for hundreds of years, and sometimes up to 2000 years, since there cells were silicon based, the cellular decay process was delayed.

    Another interesting aspect was the fact that his race was gendered. But the biology behind shapeshifter procreation was radically different to that of humanoid reproduction. For while shapeshifters linked, when procreating there was a super link, where both the male and the female not only shared memories they also shared DNA. While the males had the cellular structure to merge with the female's cells, the females had a special kind of silicon lining, in essence a womb, which could retain DNA.

    After a few hours a new set of DNA was complete, and the first few cells of the new shapeshifter were created and transferred to the mother. Only the mother could carry these cells, as the silicon lining protected the new shapeshifter from attack by the mother's immune system. Any alien DNA, virus or other forms of cells, which didn't belong to the shapeshifter was always destroyed by its immune system. Of course when procreating both shapeshifter's immune systems merged.

    Despite his new found shape shifting abilities, Odo chose to retain the face he displayed before his time in the Great Link. He could look perfectly human, but he preferred his usual face. There was a certain element of pride to his decision, which was based upon his need to stand out from humanoids.

    His race's history was remarkable, there were memories tens of thousands of years old still residing around the Great Link. While it was unclear how exactly his race had evolved, what was clear was that his people had explored the galaxy for many thousands of years. They had encountered all kinds of humanoid races and even witnessed the early origins of the Borg.

    Despite being peaceful explorers his people had encountered hostility, suspicion and even violence for them being changelings. Eventually his people had become so fragmented from the constant exploration of the galaxy, that they were in danger of extinction as race after race tried to hunt them down and kill them.

    It took over 500 years but Odo's people finally banded together and came to a remote location in the Gamma Quadrant, in the Omarion Nebula. At that point though, Odo found his people's history very disturbing, for over 2000 years they started war after war conquering nearby humanoid races to bring about order to a chaotic galaxy. Sometimes his people even exterminated certain humanoid races, and at those times there contempt for humanoid life was truly remarkable.

    His people's attitudes were the biggest challenge Odo faced when he returned to the Great Link. At first it was hard for his people to accept Odo's philosophies and teachings. He remembered the weeks of constant debate and argument over his precepts, but eventually his people came to a new-found understanding towards humanoids.

    Since he was the leader of his people, he was also in charge of the Dominion. Odo's first objective was to get the Dominion to declare a cease fire on all nine wars it was fighting in the Gamma Quadrant. This was all part of his objective to turn the Dominion into a peaceful organisation.

    He also made it a Dominion policy to provide reparations for all the worlds that suffered substantial damage due to a Dominion takeover or invasion. Another important step that he took was to reduce the Dominion's influence in the Gamma Quadrant, the Dominion subsequently left many hundreds of worlds and star systems.

    Odo looked around at the Great Link from on top of the island. He had accomplished so much, and now he felt it was time to step down as the leader of his people. Odo had always considered his role of leading his people as an interim measure; he would have stayed on as leader until his people and the Dominion were no longer a direct threat to humanoid races in the Gamma Quadrant. Now with his work complete, Odo wanted to return to DS9.

    The main reason for doing so was to see Kira again. He still loved her, and in his time in the Great Link he deeply missed Kira. Though his people noticed his love for Kira, Odo was careful not to show them anything of his relationship with Kira. For that was something that only he and Kira shared. Another part of him missed his old job as DS9's head of security, he wandered if it was possible to return his old job, but right now that didn't matter.

    One part of Odo hoped that Kira had remained single. It was a guilty hope, as Odo believed it to be highly likely that Kira was in a relationship with another man. Probably definitely likely as Kira presumed Odo would be gone forever.

    He wished that when he had said goodbye to Kira he had given her a clear timeline for how long he would be gone for. However, at the time that was nigh on impossible, as Odo had no idea how long it would take to transform his people and change the Dominion.

    If Kira was in love with another man, he wouldn't begrudge her or be resentful for it, since Odo only wanted Kira to be happy, with or without him. For nearly a year he hadn't contacted Kira, though it wasn't exactly feasible giving he spent all of his time divided between staying in the Great Link and running the Dominion.

    But now it was time to go back to his second favourite home. The Dominion flagship would be escorting him to the edge of Dominion territory, and from there a Karemma freighter would take Odo back to DS9.

    Now Odo felt proud of his people, they had changed and they now had a bright future ahead of them. He had never felt so certain about anything in his life...

    That was his last thought, before a transporter beam enveloped him, and he took one last look at the Great Link before he was removed entirely from the planet.
  10. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 9

    Day 37, 0100 hours

    Ezri was sleeping on her bed, her arms were spread out against the pillow. She tossed and turned, and there was a lot of rapid eye movement; it seemed that Ezri was having a nightmare. She suddenly woke up and sat bolt upright, she was certain that she had heard something. Resting her feet on the floor, Ezri took a glass of water lying upon a stand and gulped all the water down.

    The door chimed, and Ezri realised that must have been the sound that had woken her up. She walked into the living room. “Come in!”

    Megan walked in, she was still in her Starfleet uniform, while Ezri was in her night clothes; a black tank top and shorts. Ezri noticed the grim look on Megan’s face and the padd grasped in Megan’s hand. “Commander, do you mind telling me why you feel obliged to talk to me at 0100 in the morning?

    “Take a look at this…”

    Ezri took the padd from Megan’s outstretched arm, the pad contained various charts and cartographic information. Each image was divided in half, the top half showed clusters of dots in a region of space close to the Deep Space Three station. While on the bottom half, there were spikes in sub-space emissions from warp engines. Ezri recognised those sub-space emissions; they were from Jem’Hadar ships. The images were organised in a chronological order, starting from the initial detection of the sub-space emissions to the final detection.

    Finally when Ezri had glanced at all the images, did she look up from the padd. “Are you sure this is accurate?”

    “I’m absolutely positive about its accuracy. Ever since I got back to DS9, I wanted to analyse the subspace distortions further. I got special permission from vice admiral Daytona, to use the Aegis subspace observation pod in Deep Space Three. I suspected that the Jem'Hadar might leave the area of subspace distortion, and they did.”

    Briefly Ezri looked at the pad to recall one of the images. “But you have detected hundreds of Jem'Hadar ships! Do you have any idea where they're heading?”

    “I’ve worked out a general direction to their course; they're heading to the Kilibro sector.”

    “And why the Kilibro sector?”

    Megan shrugged her shoulders. “I have no idea, it's a normal sector of space; with the usual smattering of stars, planets and nebulae. There doesn't seem to be anything special about it.”

    It was just what Ezri needed; another thing to worry about. “Thank you commander for this report, dismissed.”

    After Megan was gone, Ezri headed over to her desk in the living room, activated the laptop on the desk and proceeded to write up a report concerning Megan's findings. It took about thirty minutes to complete the report, after some checking Ezri was satisfied with the report's contents. She then sent the report directly to Starbase 74 in the Tarsus star system.

    With the report out of the way, Ezri returned to bed. She wondered how she was going to sleep tonight when there were renegade Jem’Hadar prowling around just outside of Federation territory. Ever since she found out about the renegade Jem’Hadar, she had difficulty sleeping. She always kept worrying about what would happen to DS9 and the Federation.

    Ezri had a tendency to worry about things, most of the worry was in regard to personal matters. While she hid her worry well from everyone else, when she was by herself occasionally her worries and doubts threatened to overwhelm her. The renegade Jem’Hadar could at any time attack the Federation, all Ezri could do was tell herself that she had prepared herself and DS9 for all contingencies; this kept the worries at bay.

    Entered her bedroom, Ezri laid down on the bed, she forced herself to close her eyes and empty her mind of thoughts, doubts and worry... She steadily became more drowsy, and before she realised it she was on Trill. There were Jem'Hadar soldiers running around everywhere killing people. Fear gripped her, as she fled from the Jem'Hadar, and each second seemed like an eternity...


    Day 37, 0900 hours

    After a troubled night's sleep, the first thing Ezri did after breakfast was to head to her office and contact admiral Ross. She hoped that admiral Ross may have information on the Kilibro sector. Arriving in her office she sat down at the desk and activated the laptop, and sent a transmission to admiral Ross. A minute later the screen showed admiral Ross sitting inside his office.

    “Admiral did you receive my report on renegade Jem’Hadar activity close to Deep Space Three?”

    “I did, thankfully the renegade Jem’Hadar are heading away from Federation territory. Unfortunately any inhabited star systems on the Jem’Hadar’s course are in grave danger.”

    Ezri proceeded to ask the question she was dying to ask. “I am curious to know what lies in the Kilibro sector. The information concerning the Kilibro sector is surprisingly... sparse, given that this sector is only 200 light years from Earth.”

    Ross looked very seriously at Ezri, he seemed to be weighing up how trustworthy Ezri was regarding the disclosure of sensitive information. “What I'm about to tell you is confidential.”

    “I understand.”

    Ross sighed before proceeding to explain the confidential information. “The Kilibro sector is a huge expanse of space, dozens of light years long. A Starfleet deep space mission into that region discovered a highly dangerous organisation called Apocalypse.”

    The name Apocalypse was vaguely familiar to Ezri. “Apocalypse? I’ve heard of that name before, doesn’t it broadcast martial arts shows to the Federation's holovision network?

    “Huh! Apocalypse does a lot more than just broadcasting martial arts shows. The simplest description would be that it is a gladiatorial organisation, it has dozens possibly hundreds of warships at its disposal. In effect Apocalypse controls most of the Kilibro sector. Aside from that, this is all the Federation knows about Apocalypse, the Starfleet ship that accidently discovered a space station, located in the Pushui star system and controlled by Apocalypse, was destroyed.”

    Suddenly the Jem’Hadar activity made a lot more sense to Ezri, were the Jem’Hadar joining Apocalypse simply to look for a good fight? “And now hundreds of Jem'Hadar ships will be entering Apocalypse controlled territory!”

    Ross nodded wearily, he seemed distinctly unsettled by this possibility. “Their intention is unclear, but should they help Apocalypse, Apocalypse's power will multiply tenfold, and could even threaten the Federation. Remember this is all confidential, Ross out.”

    The screen reverted back to the Federation insignia, Ezri then turned off her laptop. She leaned back into her chair and she felt a new worry stray into her mind. If Apocalypse, the Tren and the renegade Jem’Hadar were all working together, then was it all part of a plan to attack the Federation? It was a powerful combination, of course the question of what had happened to the remaining renegade Jem’Hadar was still unanswered.

    At the very least DS9 wasn’t directly in the danger zone, though there was still the possibility of another Jem’Hadar revolt. It seemed to Ezri that her job of managing this station had become more complicated. There were now constant issues and concerns in the background, and any one of them could threaten DS9.

    It was a big responsibility, but Ezri wasn’t about to give up, she was a Starfleet officer and a captain; she knew how to tough it out.


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

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

    Season 1:

    Secrets and Lies

    Shallow Rights


    Bad Blood



    Gold Rush

    Medical Pariah


    Ménage à Trois

    Tip of the Iceberg

    Season 2:


    High Stakes

    Running the Gauntlet

    The Price of Sanity
  11. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Gold Rush is the seventh story of my series DS9: a continuation and this is the biggest story I've written to date. It comes to 55000 words, and took about twenty days in total to complete. Six days for the scripts, and fourteen days to add 50000 words to finish it all. This is my personal favorite story of the first season of my series. Feel free to review/comment on this story.

    Now here is the summary:

    When the Defiant is given a mission to provide sensors for a Federation mining company operating in the Furillian star system, deep in the Badlands. Ezri discovers shocking evidence that the company is decimating the Furillians home world. Soon she becomes embroiled in a three way struggle between the Furillians, Cardassians and the Ferengi for control of Furillia and the vast amount of mineral resources it contains...

    Warnings: Some strong graphic violence/gore, occasional strong swearing, adult situations, mortal peril and occasional sexual references.

    And here is the story:

    Gold Rush

    Chapter 1, part 1

    Day 1, 0100 hours

    In the middle of the night, Monzo sat down on a smooth rock by a grassy patch just next to the top of Fraginars Point, resting his phaser rifle against his legs. He was part of the 57 people who came from the Viyara village to take part in the raid. When he heard from his best friend a month ago about a raid of the strip mine being planned, Monzo jumped at the opportunity for getting even with RH Mining.

    Even now before the raid, Monzo found it hard to believe that just beyond the watershed on the other valley there lay a massive strip mine. While things were bad in Viyara, Monzo knew it was nothing compared to the ecological problems faced by the inhabitants of the Tiyona valley. For that strip mine had stripped that valley of everything that was green and good.

    Monzo waited impatiently for the two marauders who were organising the raid to hurry up with their last minute checking of the incoming raid's implementation. He was not the only one who was restless, some of the other villagers seemed agitated, though Monzo sensed they were only dealing with their fear. Personally he wasn't afraid, only excited, and right next to him, Delletrin, his best friend, looked just as ready and as eager as him.

    Delletrin moved over and sat down next to Monzo. “The sooner the marauders finish the better, I’m getting tired of waiting around.”

    “Don’t be too harsh on them, they’re marauders and they wouldn’t have survived as long as they have without a sense of caution.”

    “Wouldn’t it be good to kill one of the guards?” asked Delletrin.

    “I’d kill anyone who was working in that mine, and bring justice to all those who have died because of strip mine 6-c.”

    “I wonder how many mine workers and guards the marauders have killed?”

    A dreamy look crept onto Dellatrin’s face, and Monzo knew Dellatrin was imagining what life would be like as a marauder. In some ways Monzo wished he were a marauder; there were no rules, just plain survival. They were harsh and rough people, who were prone to some very foul language, but they had to be as hard as nails when they scouted the strip mines and quarries.

    It was more than likely though that Monzo was going to end up as a farmer, tilling the land around Viyara. However he wanted something more, he was seventeen, and he had just reached the age of maturity, he was certain he could prove himself in this raid and impress the marauders.

    Finally the two marauders had stopped using their pads, and walked over to address the entire group. They were both very grizzled looking men, scarred, mucky, dour and with wild looking beards. The tallest of the two spoke first. “Jacorda and I have worked out the route, would all the people carrying bio-dampener devices step forwards.”

    About fifteen people walked forward, they were carrying rucksacks, some of them looked nervous, the rest looked very serious.

    “Each of you are carrying the explosives, I trust you know where your targets are. Before we begin may I say that anyone who doesn’t have the stomach for this mission should leave now, as from this point on there is no turning back.”

    The marauder looked intensely at the people around him, he seemed to be waiting for someone to leave, but no one did.

    “Good, anybody who tries to run away will be shot.”

    Jacorda stepped forwards. “Each explosives carrier has been assigned with two escorts, at no times are the escorts to leave the carrier, if the carrier falls then one of the escorts will take his place and destroy the target assigned to the carrier.”

    Walking to the left, Jacorda stopped at the person to the far left of the row. Jacorda then took out his pad, and started reading off names. “Hytige, Zawasda, your with Grada.”

    Jacorda gave a quick jerk of his head to Grada, and she stepped forwards, and separated from the row while Zawasda and Hytige joined her.

    One by one Jacorda continued in this manner. All the while Monzo wondered if he would be selected to escort an explosives carrier. Otherwise he would be assigned to guarding the dam, while all the real action was taking place on the other side amongst the ore processing buildings.

    Jacorda came to a stop at the last person. “Delletrin, Monzo, your with Hedon.”

    Excitement flared up inside Monzo, not only was he an escort but he would be fighting along side with Delletrin! When Monzo came to Hedon, he was surprised by Hedon’s reaction, Hedon looked almost insulted by the escorts assigned to him.

    The other marauder organised the remainder of the people. “The rest of you will be protecting the whole group, stay on the outside and keep your eyes open, at any point we could be ambushed.”

    Jacorda checked his watch. “It’s 01 30 Nofron, let’s move out.”

    “Agreed,” said Nofron, he turned around to face the whole group. “Follow me, and stay as close as possible to the route I take!”

    Nofron lead the way, followed by Jacorda. The explosive teams followed, flanked by the people guarding them. Now Monzo felt excited and pumped up, he put his night vision goggles on. When he walked over the mountain ridge, he got a spectacular view of the strip mine. All of the light came from the ore processing buildings and the dam. With the night vision everything dark looked red, but the bright lights coming the buildings and the dam produced a strong white mixed in with faded red for the buildings.

    Momentarily, Monzo took the goggles off to see the actual lighting. The dam was lit up, and the white light made it be seen for miles around. While the ore processing buildings were lit up with orange lightening. In the depths of the strip mine, little flashes of light could be seen. That must have been where the machinery was digging into the rocky cliffs extracting ores. After that brief indulgence, Monzo quickly put the goggles back on.

    It was a clear night, and the outline of the hills and mountains in the Tiyona valley could just be seen. Monzo kept close to Hedon, though navigating down scree slopes and boulder fields in the darkness was hard, even with night vision. At times the route became so treacherous, that the entire group had to go through certain points in single file. It would be highly embarrassing if a sprained or broken ankle incapacitated someone.

    Monzo wasn’t afraid of the darkness, but he wished he had a scanner device like the marauders. The route they were taking could be booby trapped, or there could even be a hidden sensor. However Monzo placed his trust in the marauders knowledge and experience of navigating these mines.

    Walking down the slope took at least two hours, and it was very uneventful. At long last the group reached the dam, they were careful to stop at the very periphery of where the light from the dam faded.

    Nofron crouched down, and took out his binoculars, he whispered to everyone. “Everyone wait here, I’ll sabotage the power grid for the dam’s lighting. Asfrin and Poltrit your with me.”

    Hedon sat down on a relatively flat rock, while Monzo and Delletrin crouched down next to him. While Hedon looked absolutely calm, Monzo noticed a slight frown on Delletrin’s face. Of course with the goggles it was hard for Monzo to read his friend’s expression, but he thought Delletrin seemed nervous. Whenever Delletrin frowned like that, it meant he was starting to realise just what he had gotten himself into.

    Even Monzo started to feel just a little bit afraid, now he was on the mission, a sense of responsibility and grim reality slowly overrode his excitement of being on this raid. Monzo started to realise just how dangerous this raid was, and how he was deep inside enemy territory.

    To relieve the building tension, Monzo turned to observe Nofron and his guards steadily advance to the small windowless building touching the dam. Nofron carefully approached the building, using the rocks to shadow himself. Asfrin and Poltrit followed Nofron’s lead, when the three came to the edge of the road, Nofron took out his binoculars and started scanning every square inch of the dam, after a while he seemed satisfied that there weren’t any guards nearby or watching.

    Bending low Nofron dashed across the road. Sheltering behind a boulder, he gestured to Asfrin and Poltrit to follow. With the three grouped together again, they continued their approach to the building. Less than twenty metres away from it they stopped, and Nofron took out something from his jacket and started fiddling with it.

    Hedon leaned over to Monzo. “I wouldn’t look at the building if I were you,” he whispered.

    “Why not?” said Monzo, he was watching Nofron prepare to throw what seemed to be a device in his hands towards the building.

    “You’ll get temporarily blinded!” said Hedon jovially.

    Hedon seemed to know what was going on, as Jacorda then whispered to the group. “Take your goggles off now!”

    Monzo was just about to reach for his goggles when he saw Nofron throw the device. Transfixed Monzo watched the device fly through the air before it hit the building. A moment later there was a powerful light that came from the device, followed by a small bang. The light flared and filled Monzo’s entire vision, instantly he took the goggles off, but as he looked around there were bright white spots in his vision.

    “I warned you about those goggles,” said Hedon, he seemed deeply amused by Monzo’s mishap.

    Feeling deeply embarrassed, Monzo was relieved to find that the white spots were slowly disappearing from his vision. At that moment things became far more darker, as the dam’s lighting suddenly went out.

    Jacorda stood up. “Let's get moving, the dam's lighting is down.”

    With the white spots now gone, Monzo put his goggles on and he followed Hedon. After a few minutes, Nofron and his guards had rejoined the group. It seemed to be an important phase to the mission, because when Nofron came to Jacorda, he nodded once.

    Jacorda seemed to understand the significance of the nod and he once more addressed the group. “Nofron will be staying here with five others to guard the dam, and to make sure the guards don’t flank us and cut off our only escape route. The rest of you follow me, once we cross that dam, expect to be detected by the guards. Move it!”

    As Monzo walked across the dam, he noticed the ceramic blocks jutting out on both sides of the walkway; so at least the dam had some cover. Monzo had seen the dam before in the daylight from far away, and he knew it was curved but he was surprised by how much it curved inwards. The tension built up inside of Monzo's chest, he was moving steadily closer to danger and death.

    Jacorda was dashing from one ceramic block to the next, each time he briefly paused, looked at what was ahead and then continued on. By now the workers at the mine must have realised that the dam’s lighting was sabotaged, or perhaps they thought it was just some kind of electrical fault...

    Once across the dam, Jacorda got off the road and walked on to the slag heaps, where it was immensely rocky and jagged. When Monzo got behind cover he felt a bit safer despite being so close to the ore processing buildings. Jacorda raised his hand to signal to the group to remain still, he then walked over, bent over and talked to Hedon. “Hedon, I want you to go ahead and blow up the pumping station, the rest of us will create a diversion to drive most of the guards away from the pumping station.”

    “The pumping station is going to have more guards,” said Hedon sounding unhappy. “I will need more than my escorts to get to the centre of that building.”

    “I know, but I need everyone else to assault the buildings around the storage bay.”

    Hedon looked grimly at Jacorda, before nodding. “All right you two follow me,” he told Monzo and Delletrin. “And keep your heads down!”

    Hedon lead the way, while Monzo and Delletrin were by his side. As they got closer, the pumping station seemed to grow taller and became far more menacing. From the outside it had no windows, and numerous pipes connected to the bottom of the building. While along the left side of the building were numerous air ducts and vents. It was lit up from the ground level, by powerful lights embedded into the ground. The lighting revealed the rectangular nature of the building.

    About 50 vozdrons away from the pumping station, Hedon came to a halt. He looked at both Monzo and Delletrin. “When we go through that door, expect the guards phaser beams to be flying over our heads. This is going to be tough and I won’t lie to you when I say I wish had better escorts than you two rookies.”

    Monzo bristled at this, he knew how to aim with his Cardassian phaser rifle, but he chose to keep quiet. After all Hedon was the village’s security chief, and he knew an awful lot about firearms and explosives.

    Hedon glanced again at his escorts, looking at them seriously in the eye. “Remember these guards aren’t going to show any mercy, they shoot at sight any Furillian trespassing in this mine!”

    Delletrin gulped in a nervous manner, and Monzo knew that Delletrin was starting to get really apprehensive about entering the pumping station.

    Hedon grinned at Delletrin’s nervousness. “Don’t wet yourself son, we ain’t dead yet!”

    Delletrin gave a small nervous laugh, while Monzo breathed a sigh of relief, it seemed Hedon was warming up to him and Delletrin.

    Standing up, Hedon adjusted his rucksack slightly to make it more comfortable to carry. “Right, follow me, and cover my back!”

    Hedon moved over to the a point just below one of the pipes that came out of the building. Monzo looked around, his eyes were pealed for any sign of movement. Following the pipe, the three came to the building. At that point Monzo removed his goggles, there was plenty of lighting to see clearly.

    Slowly Hedon walked towards the door, when he got there, he then took out his handheld communicator. “This is Hedon, I’m in position.”

    Stand by,” said Jacorda voice.

    A few moments later, a massive explosion could be heard, and immediately alarms went off. The sound produced by the alarms was a loud and screeching sound that repeated constantly. Then phaser fire could be heard, followed by smaller explosions.

    Hedon was absent mindedly tapping with his finger the back of the communicator. Monzo thought it was Hedon’s way of easing the tension, because once Jacorda spoke back, this was it, there was no turning back…
  12. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 1, part 2

    You're all clear, light her up!” came Jacorda’s voice.

    “Affirmative,” said Hedon.

    He snapped the communicator shut and placed it inside one of his jacket's pockets. “Let’s get moving, you two get to the side of the door!”

    Monzo dashed over to the right hand side of the door, while Delletrin covered the left side.

    Standing next to the door, Hedon took out what looked like some kind of pink coloured sticky adhesive. He slapped it onto the door’s magnetic lock, and then took out a small vial and poured a drop onto the adhesive.

    At once it burned and fizzed, punching a hole straight through the door’s locking mechanism. Hedon turned to look at Monzo. “Let’s get this over with.”

    Hedon kicked the door open and entered the building, Monzo followed afterwards and took cover behind a ventilation unit. He expected phaser fire to be coming from all directions, but there was nothing. Carefully Monzo raised himself up to see what was in front of him. This part of the building was dimly lit with pale blue lighting. There were more ventilation units and piping in front of him, and looking beyond down a passageway bound by one black wall, Monzo could see one part of what seemed like a huge room. This room was lit in neon orange lighting, while all kinds of pipes, beams and vents protruding outwards from the wall.

    When Delletrin had made it through the door, Hedon stood up and carefully advanced downwards going past the ventilation units, where the mild hum of air being sucked outwards could be heard. Towards the room in the distance was the sound of running water, and sometimes the occasional explosion went off outside.

    Monzo turned his head left and right looking for any guards, lurking in the shadows. There was no point putting on the night vision goggles, as a stationary guard could blend in easily to the surroundings. Some minutes later and the three had entered the room that must have clearly housed the pumping valves.

    Looking upwards, Monzo saw that the room was comprised of five stories, and there were railed platforms joined to the walls and clinging to the cylindrical pumping valves. The pumping valves stretched up right to the ceiling and were coloured white, there was a thin section of transparent material which showed the level of the water. While on the floor was one massive platform filled with all sorts of consoles and pipes.

    Being this close to the pumping valves, the sound of the churning water was almost painfully loud, so loud that it could probably block out the sound of phaser fire. Hedon took cover behind what appeared to be the tall computer console that controlled the nearby pumping valve, likewise Monzo and Delletrin did the same. Just then the sound of a massive explosion rocked the building, and the sheer vibration went straight through Monzo’s body, it shook up all the loose contents inside of him including the remains of his tea inside his guts.

    Monzo felt shocked, but he pulled himself together, the explosions were supposed to happen, and it meant that the raid was going according to plan. Try as he might, Monzo couldn’t spot any guards in the nearby vicinity or on the platforms above him. Something about this didn’t seem right, and Hedon seemed to feel the same way.

    Taking out some cannisters full of liquid from the rucksack, with optical tubing on the outsides, Hedon carefully placed them against the pipes that were carrying water into the valve. “This is liquid polysomian, it’s a Cardassian explosive, and it’s not to be messed with.”

    At that moment Monzo didn’t care what Hedon used to blow up the pumping valve, he was more concerned about getting out of here. “Hedon, this is to quiet, we should-”
    A canister dropped to the floor, and rolled towards Monzo.

    Hedon’s eyes were wide with surprise. “It’s a stun grenade, take cover!”

    Monzo turned away from the grenade and dashed out from the computer console. But before he could take cover, the grenade exploded and there was a very loud sudden bang, followed by a bright flash of light. The bang disorientated Monzo, he felt dizzy and his vision was blurred, he forced himself to take cover behind a very thick pipe.

    Instinctively he pulled up his phaser, expecting a whole horde of guards to come pouring onto the ground floor. The dizziness and blurred vision faded, he looked around the pipe, a phaser beam hit the pipe and he tucked his head behind cover. At least the phaser fire was not hitting his side of the pipe, to his left he saw Hedon already taking pot shots at the enemy guards.

    Hedon then took cover, he shouted at Monzo. “You and Delletrin cover me, I need to arm the explosives!”

    Monzo nodded, he went to the right side of the pipe, and instantly saw a guard standing against a bulkhead on the first floor's platforms. Taking aim, Monzo fired, to his surprise the phaser beam hit the guard’s upper arm, red blood splattered the guards’s grey uniform. Instantly the guard jerked out of the way and moved to cover.

    A beam of phaser fire came inches from missing the top of Monzo’s head, he ducked and decided he needed a better vantage point. To his left was a smaller computer console but it seemed to offer a better view of the ground floor and the floors above it. He bent double and ran over to the computer console, phaser fire burst all around him, but his luck held and he made it to the console without getting hit.

    Looking to his right, he saw Hedon fiddling around with some optic cables, a burst of phaser fire came dangerously close to Hedon’s upper back. Turning around, Monzo thought he saw the guard that had fired that round. Aiming down his sight, Monzo fired but the round missed. The guard moved rightwards into cover.

    When a few phaser beams came streaking in a flat trajectory just above Monzo’s head, he realised there were at least several guards on the ground floor. Briefly raising his head, Monzo lifted his phaser rifle and mounted it against the flat top of the console, he fired a few bursts hitting three of the guards who were advancing forwards towards Hedon's position.

    The five other guards dived down and remained low against some pipes running across the floor, behind them was some sort of wide bulkhead that stretched up all the way to the roof. Monzo was about to take cover, when he saw Delletrin take some ground and approach the guards, at this angle Monzo thought Delletrin was crazy, but he provided some covering fire for his friend, and took some shots at the guards on the first platform.

    It appeared that Delletrin was going to attack the five guards on the ground floor from the side. Delletrin would have succeeded if it weren’t for a guard on the ground floor, peaking up above the pipe with his phaser rifle drawn out and then rapidly firing his weapon.

    Delletrin didn’t have a chance to fire back, he was running and by the time he had lifted his phaser rifle, it was to late as six beams had struck his torso. It was a horrendous sight for Monzo seeing the phaser rounds go into his friend's body, and the bits of blood that burst out from the sites where the rounds had hit his body.

    Falling forwards, Delletrin smacked his face against the thinly segmented metal floor.

    For one brief moment, Monzo was too stunned to move, then suddenly a powerful rage consumed him which blotted out all sense of reason and rationality. He now didn’t care if he got shot or not, if he could get Delletrin behind his spot of cover, then things would somehow work out...

    He charged manically at the guards who were on the ground floor, he fired at the guard who had shot Delletrin. The round went straight through the guard’s head, cracking it open. Blood, bone and brain matter exploded out and the guard fell to the floor instantly dead.

    Monzo ignored Hedon’s shout of getting back to cover, and by some miracle the phaser beams that came from above seemed to miss him. He flanked the four guards and jumping across the pipe, he twisted around and saw the guard's surprised faces.

    Discharging round after round, it seemed things were moving in slow motion for Monzo. He felt pure animal pleasure in seeing the blood come pouring out of the guards twisted bodies as they were blown backwards onto the floor. He only stopped firing a few seconds after the guards had collapsed to the floor.

    Monzo had never seen such gore in all his life, as he stared at the phaser-ridden and mutilated bodies. The guard's uniforms were completely covered in blood, and Monzo could see all sorts from the innards of the guards; bones, guts, organs, muscles, all twisted and torn before his very eyes.

    But Monzo didn’t feel anything seeing the dead guards, he lowered his phaser rifle and hurried over to Delletrin and pulled him out of the line of fire and behind the bulkhead. Monzo pulled with a force unknown to him and in a matter of seconds Delletrin was behind cover.

    Turning Delletrin around, Monzo saw six phaser wounds around his friend's chest, stomach and thighs. There was blood all over Delletrin’s front, Monzo could see Delletrin trying to speak but no words came out, only bubbly blood did.

    Finally Delletrin managed to get the words from out of his mouth. “I don’t think it was a good idea joining this raid,” he said weakly.

    Monzo couldn’t help he laughed, even now close to death his friend could still crack a joke. Though the laughter quickly disappeared, tears brimmed in Monzo’s eyes. “Please Delletrin, don’t die, we’ve known each other for so long.”

    More blood tricked from Delletrin’s mouth, one of his hands grabbed onto Monzo’s shirt and pulled Monzo close. “Monzo just get of here, there’s nothing you can do for me… please…”

    The hand’s grasp weakened, and then the hand dropped onto its owner's chest and Delletrin’s eyes closed. Monzo was totally devastated, his best friend was gone, just like that. Placing his arms around Delletrin’s back, Monzo hugged Delletrin and tears poured from his eyes.

    Blood covered the front of Monzo's jacket, but suddenly nothing mattered to him, as he wasn’t going to leave Delletrin. He would rather die than lose Delletrin…

    Hedon’s loud and angry shout brought Monzo back to his senses. “Dammit Monzo I need you to cover me, what the fuck are you doing lying there?”

    Against his better judgement, Monzo left his friend’s body and made it back to Hedon’s position. Taking cover, Monzo noticed that Hedon had a phaser wound on the left side of his body. “Your injured.”

    “Well obviously, now the charges are armed, so get out of here!”

    Monzo had seen one person he cared and loved for die, he wasn’t going to let Hedon die. He moved forwards to pick Hedon up. “I’m not leaving-”

    Hedon batted Monzo’s outstretched arm out of the way with his rifle. “You’d never make it, this timer is on two minutes and counting! Save yourself, don’t worry about me! Here take my bio-dampener device.”

    Something made Monzo stay, he wanted to help Hedon, and he couldn’t simply take the bio-dampener device Hedon was offering to him.

    “Listen you did all right,” said Hedon proudly. “And you held your own, but just get out of here, I will hold off the guards…”

    Monzo nodded, took the bio-dampener device and clamped it on to his trouser belt. “Be sure to kill as many of those bastards as possible!”

    Hedon bared his teeth, in an angry gesture. “Don’t worry I’ll be sure to do that! Now go!”

    With a last glance at Hedon, Monzo stood up and ran at full speed back down the corridor. He heard phaser fire and Hedon was shouting profanities towards the guards who were approaching his position.

    At the end of the corridor, Monzo came to the door, he kicked it open, and dashed outside. Knowing there wasn’t much time left, Monzo put as much distance between himself and the pumping station. There was a sudden explosion which tore through the building’s roof, and a huge yellow fireball burst into the sky, before turning red and then dissipating.

    A pressurised wave of air hit Monzo and sent him flying into a scree slope. He then hit the slope with a sickening crunch, but thankfully the slope was full of tiny pebbles and not rocks or boulders.

    The sound of the explosion had made Monzo deaf, he opened his eyes and he didn’t feel any sharp pain in his body so he figured he hadn't broken any bones. Standing up, Monzo felt around for the night vision goggles that were against his head. He put them on and was relieved to discover that they were still functioning.

    He glanced to his left and saw there was a massive fire fight between at least twenty guards and ten villagers. But it seemed the guards were getting the upper hand, as the villagers were retreating.

    Panic filled Monzo, he had to get to the villagers before the guards cut off his escape route via the dam. The only way through was forwards and this would take him perilously close to the guards. But there was no other way, he would be flanking them and he did have the element of surprise on his side.

    Pure determination filled Monzo’s mind, suddenly he ran onto the road, and started firing at the guards. Five guards collapsed, before the rest realised what was happening, and when they did they dived to cover. This gave Monzo the space he needed to dash towards the villagers.

    He was only metres away from the villager’s cover, which was the outer most ceramic block on top of the dam’s walkway, and he thought he was going to make it. Suddenly his right arm burned in agony, he had been shot but somehow he kept running. Another phaser round struck his on the left side of his intestines, it was another burst of pain. Then his whole head exploded in agony, as suddenly his vision became all cloudy and it felt like his left eye had been gouged out.

    Monzo collapsed onto the floor, and the pain from his eye was so bad that he was screaming in agony. He couldn’t help screaming, the pain was impossible to tolerate and to bear. Monzo only wanted it to end, and for him to die to escape this pain.

    Hands roughly grabbed his shoulders and they pulled him away from the line of fire. Someone was holding a hand behind Monzo’s back and supporting him, and he thought he heard Nofron's voice.

    “Here shallow this, it will reduce the pain and the bleeding.”

    Pills were put into his mouth and without thinking, Monzo swallowed them. Almost immediately he felt more calm, the pain seemed distant, in fact everything seemed distant. He was happily oblivious to the voices urgently shouting at one and another.

    “Nofron let’s get out of here!”

    “Not without Monzo, come on Jacorda, this kid has given it his all in this raid, I’m not about to let him die! Let’s get him home where he belongs!”

    Strangely for Monzo, he felt himself be lifted and then he was resting against someone’s back, and the phaser fire was growing more distant… It all became to surreal for Monzo and he passed out and his head slumped onto the person’s back…
  13. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 1, part 3

    On top of Fragingiars Point, Sotron watched the raid taking place. A lantern was placed on the ground and the light it cast threw one side of Sotron’s face to brightness and the other to shadow, standing next to him were two doctors and a box of medical supplies.

    Sotron knew exactly what would happen, 57 people would go into that strip mine and very few would come back out. At first the raid seemed to be going successfully, as in a space of two minutes, there were a dozen explosions.

    And then came the phaser fire, Sotron constantly had his binoculars close to his eyes. He saw the strip mine’s guards pick off the villagers one by one. The instance of phaser fire became fewer and fewer, and the fire fights moved steadily backwards towards the dam.

    When the phaser fire had ended completely, Sotron feared the worst and he was convinced all 57 people had been killed, 56 of whom were from Viyara. He had devoted a large portion of his life to Viyara, and now a part of Viyara had died. It was bad enough that the village was slowly dying anyway from all the ecological problems but to lose all those people…

    Sotron sought to control himself as he felt the tears well in his eyes. He was still waiting at the mountain rim, because this was where the villagers and the two marauders would rendezvous after the raid.

    There was another thirty minutes to go until the rendezvous time expired, but Sotron wasn’t hopeful. He looked to his left and saw the two doctors who had come with him, they looked devastated.

    He knew the two personally, and they were a couple, Viyara was fortunate enough to have two doctors as permanent residents as the nearest hospital was twenty miles away. Hearing the woman weep into her husband’s chest simply compounded Sotron’s misery.

    After a while the woman stopped weeping, though Sotron wondered if the woman had ran out of tears to shed. Something caught his eye, just below him to the left were some people moving in the darkness.

    But it was hard to tell giving that inside the area of illumination, provided from the lantern, the darkness seemed to be even more dark. The male doctor had taken out a phaser pistol from his trouser belt, he pointed it at the incoming people.

    A moment later and six people arrived, one of them looked seriously injured. Sotron recognised the two marauders, somehow the two marauders looked even grimmer than usual.

    Sotron gazed at Nofron’s face. “Were all the targets destroyed in the raid?”

    “Thirteen targets were destroyed including the main target which was the pumping station. Two of the targets we couldn’t reach as the mine’s security was too tight.”

    Now Sotron had to ask the question he dreaded most. “Are there any other survivors?”

    Nofron shook his head. “No one else, but one of the villagers who managed to rejoin the group is injured. I think he's called Monzo, he was involved with the destruction of the pumping station.”

    Nofron clicked his fingers, and a villager carrying Monzo laid the young adult on the ground before Sotron's feet.

    The two doctors immediately hurried over to Monzo and attempted to patch up his injuries.

    Sotron looked around at the survivors, where was Hedon? Of all the people to survive, Sotron expected Hedon to survive. “Can you revive Monzo?” he asked to the doctors.

    The woman doctor looked up. “If you insist…”

    She placed some herbs around Monzo’s mouth, and Monzo stirred.

    Sotron was shocked by the look in Monzo’s eyes, it was the look of someone who had seen many terrible things over an entire lifetime. Crouching down, Sotron asked Monzo a question, a question he had to ask, despite everything that the young man had suffered from. “Do you know what happened to Hedon, the village’s chief of security?”

    Tears filled Monzo’s eyes, and in a choked voice Monzo answered. “He’s dead, he died in the pumping station along with my best friend…”

    At that point Monzo was beside himself with grief, tears spilled from his eyes.

    Sotron felt exactly the same way as Monzo, for he to had lost his best friend. Grief threatened to overwhelm Sotron, but he composed himself and turned around to address the doctors. “Give Monzo the best medical treatments you can provide, and make sure he gets the purified water.”

    The two doctors nodded, and they placed Monzo on a stretcher and carried him.

    Jacorda walked over to Sotron. “Me and Nofron will stay here tonight to observe the mine, I’ll talk with you tomorrow in the morning.”

    Sotron nodded and then followed the doctors back to the village. Briefly he looked at the three other villager’s faces; they look defeated and beaten as if they had given up all hope.

    This was completely understandable to Sotron. For ten years he watched Viyara suffer as RH Mining decimated the Tiyona valley, and the resulting water pollution fowled up the water table. People got sick, the crops became stunted and a horrible festering stench constantly lingered around the village.

    To think that Furillia was once a green paradise, and now twenty percent of the planet was a rocky hell hole devoid of forests, grasslands and rivers…

    And the worst part for Sotron was that he and so many other Furillians had been foolish enough to allow RH Mining onto their planet. What added insult to injury was that RH Mining claimed to be honest and ethical because it was a company that belonged to something called the ‘Federation’. Sotron had a vague idea of what this Federation was, but they seemed just as devious and as nasty as the Cardassians supplying Furillia with weaponry to attack the strip mines…

    Note: One vozdron equals 0.8239 metres to 4 significant figures. A vozdron is a Furillian metric measurement of distance.
  14. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 2, part 1

    Day 1, 0500 hours

    Gul Messek was watching the Furillian raid on strip mine 6-c from his ship's sensor room. He was sat down watching a screen, while four other officers were manning their stations. His Galor class type B ship was not only equipped with the best weapons the Cardassian Union could offer, but it also contained some very advanced sensors and monitoring equipment.

    Messek had been captain of this ship for over twenty years, and he had seen it change; different crews and of course the retrofitting after the Elim military forms of 2379. He was on a mission sent directly from president Garak to patrol the Furillian star system, and to arm those of the Furillian populace that there were desperate enough to carry out raids and sabotage the strip mine's facilities. Right now the ship was maintaining a geostationary orbit and covertly watching events on Furillia's biggest continent.

    As he watched the raid unravel, Messek had to admire the bravery of the Furillians. For a once peaceful and ecological-loving people, they knew how to fight. The first few minutes of the raid were eventful, there were twelve explosions in a short space of time, and from the three view types displayed on the screen, the infrared view really brought out the magnitude of the explosions.

    Aside from infra red, there was natural light and of course zeda waves. Whatever the zeda waves touched, there was a faint but distinct radiation signature generated by every atom and molecule. Taking the zeda readings back to the ship's computer, and it produced a spectacular see-through view of the entire ore-facility.

    Messek tapped in a few commands and the camera switched to the zeda view and then zoomed in on the pumping station. This was the main objective of the raid, though Messek doubted that the rebels would be able to successfully plant charges in that building. There were three people inside, and they showed as green and yellow blobs. One of them was at the blue/grey coloured pumping valve, he seemed to be bent down but with the bird's eye angle it was hard to tell.

    The other two Furillians were defending the first Furillian, streaks of orange flew across the screen. Messek was surprised by how disciplined the Furillians were, they rigidly kept position behind cover. Then one of the Furillians ran out, and from this angle Messek couldn't believe the stupidity of that action, very soon the Furillian was shot down. The Furillian defending the explosives carrier then ran out, Messek expected him to be shot, but it seemed the Furillian was lucky as he successfully flanked five guards and killed them, before bringing his comrade behind cover.

    It seemed the Furillian had totally forgotten about protecting the man planting the explosives. After a minute, the Furillian left his fallen comrade and ran over to the other Furillian. Messek knew exactly how long it took to plant liquid polysomian explosives, which was about two minutes, but it seemed the Furillian was using his own home-made detonator instead, this explained why he was taking so long.

    In a strange way, watching the raid in such close detail was highly gripping for Messek, though he retained his professional objectivity by studying the Furillian's battle strategies. For many months Messek had been giving out tactics and strategies for the Furillians responsible for planning these raids. At least with each raid the Furillians were slowly improving, but so was the security at the strip mines.

    When the Furillians started retreating over the dam, Messek had seen enough and he returned to his office. He would be filing a report to the Cardassian ministry of defence about the raids the Furillians had carried out last month. Though Messek had no love for Garak and his polices, he had to admit that Garak was using one very devious strategy for taking over the Furillian star system.

    The whole purpose of the raids was to make life for RH Mining as difficult as possible. Eventually RH Mining would ask for Starfleet to protect their operations, and the devious part of Garak's strategy was that it relied upon Starfleet enforcing it's laws and the Prime Directive. When Starfleet found out about the blatant ecological abuses that RH Mining had carried out, Starfleet would quickly liquidate the entire company and close the strip mines.

    With the Federation gone from Furillia, it would leave just the Ferengi and the Cardassians. Of course the Ferengi wouldn't stay in the Furillian star system for long, as without their Federation proxies to mine the ore, there would be no profit from the operation.

    Finally with the Ferengi out of the way, the Cardassians would swoop in and take over the strip mines. And when that day came, Messek's assignment would finally end. It was a day that Messek constantly dreamed of, there would be no more talking to those Furillian simpletons; he could not understand the Furillian craze for nature. Indeed they were a backward people, and they reminded him of the Bajorans.

    Messek constrained his hope and optimism when he returned to his office. Writing up the report removed Messek from his hopes and dreams very quickly.


    Day 1, 1000 hours

    Ron Harding was being giving a tour of a new asteroid mining station by the station's manager. What impressed Harding was the cheapness of asteroid mining, of course the returns weren't nearly as good as the strip mines on Furillia. But every little helped towards generating a profit. It was hard to generate a profit when the Ferengi took a cut of 85% from the minerals extracted. If it weren't for the rising prices in metals and minerals, Harding would have been out of business a long time ago.

    However just this once, Harding could momentarily forget about the business and admire the views from the station of the asteroid it was built on. The tour then came to the communications relay which was situated at the top of the station. From the observation deck, Harding could see the entire mining operation stretched out before him.

    At the base of the dull grey coloured station were wide pipes that came from various locations on the asteroid's surface and joined up as one single massive pipe. Inside flowed a molten mineral slush, slush was the only way to describe it as it had a bubbly and viscous nature to it. The asteroid itself was like any other, a dull brown rock, with craters, ridges and hollows.

    Mining on an asteroid was a lot cheaper because of the near zero gravity, a one thousand tonne container carrying duranium ingots could be just pushed by a human. The metal slush in the pipes only needed a little pressure, and it was away, heading directly to the purification facility.

    It was one of Harding's better business decisions to start mining on asteroids, his biggest mistake was asking the Ferengi to protect the strip mines on Furillia. Though of course what he was doing wasn't exactly legal, but it was an opportunity to make money.

    Just when the station's manager was about to leave the observation deck, Harding was contacted by his secretary and personal assistant Celicia. “Sir,” she said from a comm badge on his chest. “I’ve just received a communication from Mr Strart, the head of Depton Mining Inc, he says it is urgent.

    “Understood, I’ll return to my office immediately, Harding out.”

    He then addressed the station manager. “Unfortunately I must cut this tour short, I have urgent business elsewhere.”

    In a hurry Harding proceeded to the station’s transporter bay. Inwardly he was dreading speaking to Strart, no doubt Strart had heard about the latest raid on Furillia, though as a well-connected Ferengi it was not surprising that Strart had found out. Strart was a short and pot-bellied Ferengi, his appetite was almost unquenchable but his thirst for profit eclipsed even that.

    As Harding waited in the descending turbo lift, a terrible queasy feeling made his stomach churn. In some ways he was afraid of Strart because he owed to much to Strart. At any point Strart could leave Harding to the wolves, the wolves of bankruptcy and destitution.

    Harding's only trump card was that Strart needed RH Mining to ensure that his money making operation was well greased. The turbo lift came to a halt, and Harding walked as quickly as possible to the transporter bay. When he walked inside there was a station worker manning the console, it seemed the worker was performing diagnostics of the transporter pad.

    Harding walked over to the worker. “Beam me over to the primary orbital extraction plant above the Furillian surface.”

    The worker nodded, and readied the transporter while Harding stepped onto the transporter pad. “Energise,” he said.

    Shimmering blue and white light descended upon him, and he felt a bit fuzzy and the room disappeared, for a moment there was nothing but the lights. Then the image of the orbital extraction plant’s transporter room came into focus. A few seconds later and he had completely materialised.

    He immediately stepped off the pad, while not even acknowledging the person standing by the transporter controls. Leaving the room, Harding took the shortest route to get to his office. This involved walking right through the ore purifications rooms: the storage bays and the smelting unit.

    At least on this station he knew his way around, though he always prided himself on remembering the layout of every station RH Mining used. Walking along the storage bay was uncomfortable due to the sheer noise, he should have brought ear protection but he was in such a rush that a little tininess in his ears was something he could live with.

    Upon entering the smelting unit, he walked by on a platform very close to the four furnaces. The heat was something like fifty degrees centigrade, he should have put on a protection suit but that would be a delay of at least ten minutes, and Strart was so impatient and virtually impossible to please. After two minutes of walking through such heat Harding was covered in sweat, his hair was wet and his clothes clung to his body.

    After going through the door leading to the exit, Harding briefly thought about heading to the sonic shower room to clean himself up; he was dripping sweat all over his body. It was either presentability or punctuality, he chose the latter, fearful that if he delayed any further it would only serve to worsen Strart’s constantly dour and vindictive mood. Harding was so desperate to keep RH Mining running that Strart was exploiting him at every opportunity, and there was nothing Harding could do except to take the criticism and unfair treatment.

    He walked down a corridor until he reached a turbolift. “Deck one,” he said to the computer.

    Immediately the turbolift moved upwards, and Harding waited, he was so nervous he started fidgeting with his hands. When the doors opened he walked out, and proceeded along a plush looking corridor. It was surprisingly wide and there were pots containing plants and bushes.

    In the habitat section of the station, there were numerous recreational facilities for the workers. This was a place where there families stayed and as such there had to be the proper facilities. A school, clinic, shopping area, holosuites, swimming pools and even a massive arboretum.

    At the top deck was where the more privileged workers lived. It was also where Harding's office and quarters were located. Harding made a mental note to clean himself up in his quarters after his conversation with Strart. Being the chief executive of RH Mining, Harding had the biggest and most luxurious quarters, complete with a massive holovision set, an incredibly wide Jacuzzi and other expensive items.

    After a minute walking he came to the door to his office. Upon entering the office, his secretary glanced up and her eyes widened in surprise by Harding's wet appearance.

    “Your all wet sir! Shouldn’t you get yourself cleaned up?”

    Harding shook his head. “You know Strart, he hates any delay on my part.”

    Celicia looked like she was going to protest some more but she restrained herself, and returned to working on the laptop on her wooden desk.

    Seeing Cecilia always brightened Harding's mood, today she was looking beautiful in that red office suit and skirt she was wearing. Of course Cecilia was more than his secretary, it got lonely working by himself in his office. Aside from sorting out paperwork and managing his schedule, Cecilia could also provide other ‘services’ when running the business took it's toll on Harding.…

    When he sat down at his desk, he realised that his laptop was already activated, and on the screen he could see Strart’s irritated and impatient face. Though when Strart saw how sweaty and wet Harding looked, a nasty grin became etched on Strart’s face, the grin made Strart’s double chins bulge slightly more. “What happened Harding, did you and Celicia have sex in that Jacuzzi of yours again? Was that why you were delayed, because you had some unfinished business?”

    Harding felt unbelievably embarrassed. “Leave Celicia out of this, I was delayed because I was inspecting a new asteroid mining station.”

    The amused look quickly disappeared from Strart’s face. “Always remember the 56th rule of acquisition; pursue profit; women come later. Anyway I have heard from certain sources that there was another raid on a strip mine, would you care to enlighten me which mine was attacked?”

    “It was strip mine 6-c, next to a large village called Viyara.”

    The anger started to build on Strart’s face, a pulse was throbbing on one side of his wide and flabby neck. “This is starting to become very annoying; how badly did the attack disrupt operations?”

    Here was the part that Harding was really dreading. “One of the main pressure values for pumping water was critically damaged, while the four others were compromised, it will take at least a month to repair. As such production will be down by about thirty percent.”

    Strart’s nostrils flared in indignation and the pulse on his neck throbbed even harder. “Thirty percent!?!” he shouted. “How could it be so bad?”

    “Vast quantities of water are required to cool down the molten duranium ore, and other minerals, after they have been purified. Mr Strart these attacks are only happening because security at the strip mines is quite frankly inadequate.”

    Leaning forwards, Strart’s eyes were reduced to slits. “The security is more than sufficient. If you Harding had bothered to carry out greater maintenance of the strip mine's sensors, these Furillian attacks wouldn't be so serious!”

    Harding nearly cringed at Strart’s anger and shouting, but he had to get his point through to Strart. “And you know full well that my company's budget is stretched to breaking point, if you were to provide additional funding for more-”

    Strart slammed a pudgy hand onto his desk. “Not likely!” he hissed. “Your company haemorrhages money because of your 'ethical' obligations to look after your workers! Exploit them! Cut costs!”

    Finally Harding felt enough anger to overcome his fear and finally stand up for himself. “This is a Federation company not a Ferengi consortium! I have a better idea, why don't I contact Starfleet and ask them to provide more sensors?”

    He had been toying with this idea for a long time ever since the raids began, it was his only hope for staying afloat and protecting his business…

    However Strart didn’t seem to like the idea at all. “But Starfleet would then realise the extent, and the illegality of our operation if they sent a ship over to Furillia!”

    “Let me handle that; Starfleet doesn't need to know everything. Besides Furillia is in the Badlands, and it will be very hard for any Starfleet ship to properly scan the Furillian surface, or to beam down people.”

    For a moment Strart thought about it, and Harding held his breathe, surely Strart would listen to reason…

    “All right, call Starfleet,” said Strart through gritted teeth. “But if they find out, I will liquidate your entire company!”

    All the relief Harding felt about Strart’s decision instantly vanished. “But that would ruin me!” he said weakly.

    Anger once more returned to him. “You wouldn't...” he growled.

    Strart laughed out loud in a horrible manner, before finally calming down, he then gave Harding a menacing stare. “Try me.”

    The comm link ended and Harding felt considerably better, for the time being Strart was out of his hair, and contacting Starfleet would be a doddle. If his past dealings with Starfleet where any guide, getting them to provide five hundred sensors would be very easy. For some reason Starfleet almost seemed eager to help him, and it tended not to ask to many questions…

    Celicia came in, she looked apprehensively at Harding. “Did it work?”

    Harding nodded and Celicia gave him a big smile. “That’s great you know, you always manage to convince Strart in the end,” she said breathlessly.

    Lifting up his hand, Harding gestured to her to come over. “Come here, I feel like celebrating, soon all our immediate problems will be solved.”

    Automatically Celicia closed the door. “So will the strip mines become more secure?”

    “Absolutely, and with the portable cloaking devices I managed to purchase from a Bajoran smuggler, the mines will become so guarded that not even a mouse could enter without being detected.”

    Harding walked over to a sofa, and sat down, he looked up at Celicia taking in her beautiful and slender figure, finally his gaze rested on her blue eyes.

    Celicia walked over and removed her red jacket, it dropped to the floor, revealing her white blouse. She didn't seem to care how sweaty Harding was, indeed she seemed to like that. She then undid some of the top buttons on the blouse, and removed the braided bun bunching in her hair.

    Watching Celicia’s black hair drop down to the middle of her back was highly stimulating for Harding, though in the back of his mind he wondered what Celicia really saw in him. As Celicia came onto the sofa, resting on her knees, Harding reached over and placed an arm around her shoulders and pulled her in.

    The two then kissed very passionately and they were soon rolling around on the carpeted floor. At the moment Harding felt that for once his life was finally working out right. RH Mining would soon be solving it’s problems, this would mean some more free time, which could be spent with Celicia…
  15. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 2, part 2

    Day 1, 2300 hours

    In her quarters Ezri was fast asleep on her bed, she looked totally still and content. For once she wasn't having a nightmare and it seemed she was going to get a decent night's sleep for the first time since the incident with the renegade Jem'Hadar.

    Priority one transmission from admiral Ross,” said the computer.

    Almost immediately Ezri woke up, and she rolled off the bed and shuffled in a drowsy manner from the bedroom to the desk in her living room. Wearing her night clothes Ezri thought that Ross wouldn’t mind that giving the impromptu nature of his call. One of the perks of being a captain was being contacted at anytime of the day from an admiral or an officer who had to give to her immediately important information.

    She sat down by the desk, turned on her laptop and inputted her code to access the transmission.

    Code accepted,” said the computer.

    At once the laptop screen displayed the image of admiral Ross and his plush office. Ross seemed to look somewhat apologetic for waking Ezri up so early. “I’m sorry to wake you up so early captain but I have an important assignment for you to complete...”

    There was a brief pause, and Ezri who had snapped out of her drowsy mode, waited patiently for Ross to elaborate.

    “Have you ever heard of the Furillians before?”

    Ezri shook her head once. “No I haven’t, who are they?”

    Ross gave a small chuckle. “I’m not surprised to hear that. You see the Furillians live in the Badlands, on a M-class planet which orbits a standard G-class star. At first glance there’s nothing special about that, except the region of space the Furillians live in has relatively little plasma storm activity. More importantly the terrestrial planets and asteroid belts inside the Furillian star system contain significant quantities of duranium, dilithium and other strategic raw materials.

    “Ten years ago a Federation company called RH Mining was granted mining rights by the Furillians. Since then RH Mining's operations in the Furillian star system account for twenty percent of the duranium, tritanium and dilithium the Federation produces. Now in the past three months RH Mining operations on Furillia have come under attack by the locals.

    “The probable cause is their disgruntlement towards their government. Security at RH Mining needs to be increased, and only yesterday I received a transmission from Ron Harding, the chief executive of RH Mining, and he asked for Starfleet's help in improving security at the mining operations.”

    Ezri was surprised that she hadn’t heard of RH Mining before, giving the size of the company, but her mind returned to the assignment been given to her. “What kind of security does RH Mining require?”

    “All they're asking for is additional class five sensors. Now that may not warrant the use of the Defiant, but I also want you to take the Defiant into the Furillian star system to scout the region and monitor any Ferengi or Cardassian ship movements, as well as delivering the sensors to RH Mining. However should you see Ferengi or Cardassians ships entering Furillian space, keep a wide birth and avoid all necessary contact...”

    There was one more thing that Ezri had to clarify to Ross. “Admiral as part of this assignment should I meet with the Furillian government to discuss about their citizens attacking the strip mines?”

    For some reason Ross’s composure slipped slightly, as if he was afraid to answer Ezri’s question, though it was a brief change to his composure. “That won’t be necessary, your assignment has only two tasks: deliver the sensors to RH Mining, and then afterwards scout the Furillian star system for two days before returning back to DS9. Should the Furillian political problems continue then I will consider sending a diplomatic team to the planet.”

    “Understood admiral,” said Ezri.

    Ross looked satisfied and the transmission then ended, the screen showed the Federation insignia.

    At first glance Ezri considered this mission to be rather routine and simple, but one small thing she thought appeared odd was that the Defiant would be carrying a sizable amount of cargo to Furillia. When she had checked the Defiant’s mission logs, there were only one or two missions involving the carrying of cargo.

    But Ezri could come up with only two reason’s for admiral Ross’s decision to use the Defiant to carry the sensors: one would be the fact that in doing so only one ship would be needed and this was obviously an efficient use of Starfleet ships. The other reason could simply be that after nearly thirteen years of peace in the Alpha Quadrant, the Defiant's primary role as a warship was starting to become somewhat obsolete.

    After those ruminations, Ezri then used her laptop to browse the Starfleet database on information about Furillia and the Furillian star system. The information on Furillia was surprisingly sparse considering RH Mining had been on the planet for ten years. There were three references to Furillia: one was that of a late 23rd century probe, it had detected Furillia but didn’t investigate further as it was destroyed by a particular ferocious plasma storm.

    The next reference was from the starship Gregoria, it was an Intrepid class vessel, and it was on a mission which started on the stardate 54433.9. When it had found Furillia, it discovered a warp-faring civilization and the Gregoria’s crew made first contact. Ezri studied the first contact report carefully. Furillia it seemed was an ecological paradise, the Furillians had barely changed Furillia, and did their utmost to preserve the planet’s ecology. As such the population was small coming to about 9.57 million inhabitants.

    One of the things that Ezri really noticed about the report was the section on how passionately the Furillians loved nature, there love for nature almost bordered on a spiritual like connection. The more Ezri read from the report, the more Furillia sounded like a paradise even greater than Earth. The Furillians themselves were a friendly and welcoming people, though the report also added that the Furillians had strict laws concerning the regulation of their habitats and very strict birth control laws.

    A Furillian couple could have at most two children, and the minimum age for having a child was thirty. Plus if that couple wanted to have a second child, they had to wait for at least five years before it was legal to have their second child. However this system was required to keep the Furillian population at a level just below ten million.

    One thing that surprised Ezri was that Furillian females remained fertile up to the age of sixty, while the Furillians average life expectancy was about 120. Ezri could only dream of living to that age...

    When she had finished reading the report, Ezri could not understand why the Furillians had granted RH Mining the rights to mine on their planet. Even though the mining rights had incredibly strict guidelines, the fact that Furillians had allowed small scale mining to go ahead seemed to contradict their ecological beliefs.

    The third report was from RH Mining, and while it a had a very brief section on the actual planet’s geography, it did expand upon the Furillian culture and political system. Furillian politics could be summed up in two words: green democracy. The Furillians had a parliament with three hundred government members, and it was voted in every five years. There was no planetary army, but each settlement had its own proportionately sized police force. Though usually there were only a couple of officers responsible for the security of a settlement.

    Ezri was surprised to discover that the Furillians considered family absolutely important, and yet there were strict birth control laws, this seemed like another contradiction to her. Even though it was an odd system to Ezri she restrained herself from questioning it, this was the Furillian way of doing things after all.

    After reading all three reports, there was one thing that did concern Ezri, and that was how the Furillians had granted mining rights to RH Mining. There was no mention of why the Furillians granted RH Mining the mining rights, and this bothered Ezri because it seemed to be the actual information was been deliberately withheld…

    However Ezri reminded herself that this was a Federation company, RH Mining wouldn’t do anything to break Federation law concerning the protection of a planet’s ecology and safety…
  16. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 2, part 3

    Day 2, 0900 hours

    As they walked towards the wardroom, Bashir and Nog were arguing about a missing figure from their scale model of the battle of Thermopylae. The part of the battle they had built was the part where king Leonidas the 1st had made his heroic stand with his outnumbered units against ten’s of thousands of Persians.

    Both Bashir and Nog had repeatedly played the holosuite program of the battle of Thermopylae, and it was one of those battles that the two had started to become obsessed with. It had become so serious that the two decided to build the model.

    Bashir though was mightily upset by Nog’s faux pas of losing the figure of king Leonidas. “How could you lose the figure of king Leonidas the first?”

    “It's not my fault there are over 10000 figures, besides the model got so big we had to move it to a deserted cargo bay. Perhaps someone took one of the figures?”

    Bashir though was still fuming about the missing king. “That's your excuse, without Leonidas the battle of Thermopylae just isn't the same!”

    Nog shook his head in disbelieve. “Huh, you only say that because you take Leonidas's role! Why can't I play Leonidas for a change?”

    Suddenly Bashir came more defensive, it seemed Nog had come close to destroying one of Bashir’s fantasies. “Because I look the part,” said Bashir in a smug and egotistic manner. “Leonidas was the dashing, tall and brave figure portrayed in history...”

    Rolled his eyes in exasperation, Nog looked tired of Bashir’s ego. “This whole model is excessive and indulgent, why did we even bother to build it?”

    “Because you are endlessly trying to find a way to win the battle, or maximise the number of casualties the Persians take!”

    Nog shot back with a cutting remark. “And why are you so obsessed with a battle that can't be won, it's feels better to win!”

    Bashir had become so frustrated that he gesticulated forcibly with his hands. “That's not the point, it's about fighting to the very last man, and fighting for your country!”

    Unnoticed, Odo had been quietly walking behind the two. It was apparent that he had overheard the conversation because when he slipped between the two he gave a grunt of laughter.

    However Odo’s amusement had made Nog become even more irritable. “Do you find something funny constable?”

    Odo slowed down and walked along with the two. “Well I do find it amusing that two grown men like to play with toys, but there's nothing wrong with that.”

    “This is a model, not a toy,” reminded Bashir. “Myself and Nog only build them to maximise the experience in the holosuite.”

    The look on Odo’s face was full of amused curiosity. “If it really were a model then why are you complaining to Nog about your missing figure? You remind me of Mia and Deru when they were younger, sometimes they whined to each other about missing toys.”

    This seemed to be the last straw for Nog, he gritted his teeth in an infuriated manner. “It is not a toy, this is something far more serious.”

    There was silence between the three as they walked, and when they entered the wardroom the three split. Bashir and Nog sat together on one end, while Odo sat next to Kira.

    With the arrival of Bashir, Nog and Odo, the entire senior staff was in, they waited for Ezri to address them.

    After a small moment of silence Ezri started talking. “Admiral Ross has given us a relatively simple assignment. The Defiant will be travelling to Furillia, an inhabited M-class planet deep in the Badlands, we will be arriving at an orbital extraction facility at Furillia. This facility is managed by a Federation company called RH Mining. Suffice to say RH Mining is one of the most important Federation companies around as it produces twenty percent of the duranium, tritanium and dilithium which the Federation extracts.

    “On Furillia there have been a few security issues around their strip mines, including some acts of sabotage. The Defiant will be carrying five hundred class five sensors to the orbital extraction facility. When this is completed, the next part of the assignment is a two day patrol of the Furillian star system. Starfleet believes that we may find Cardassian and even Ferengi ships lurking around. However we are merely observing as this is a recon mission.

    “There is a remote possibility that the Defiant could be ambushed by a Cardassian vessel, in any case I want you colonel to join the mission, just in case we are ambushed or attacked. We will be leaving at 0800 tomorrow. Any questions?”

    There was another silence, Megan though then spoke up. “The last time we went on the Defiant the mission dragged on for almost a month and we had a few brushes with oblivion. Are you sure the same won't happen to us with this mission?”

    Some of the staff members laughed out loud, while others exchanged smirks, for the last mission on the Defiant had been very eventful if not down right dangerous.

    Ezri smiled confidently at Megan, and there was some bravado in Ezri’s composure. “Don't worry that's not going happen this time around.”

    “When we finish the patrol are we going to pay a brief visit to Furillia?” Max asked Ezri, he looked very eager to travel to Furillia.

    “Unfortunately no,” said Ezri. “Admiral Ross's orders are quite clear that after the patrol the Defiant immediately returns to DS9. Of course if you are interested in Furillia, you can check it up on the Starfleet database...”

    Max looked somewhat disappointed, and he wasn’t the only one, Bashir and Nog seemed to be almost sulking, they both had frowns on their mouths. Another silence enveloped the room.

    “Dismissed,” said Ezri, she stood up and left the room in a rather brisk manner.

    No one was surprised by Ezri's haste to leave the room, they all knew that Bashir and Ezri tried to avoid each other whenever possible. One by one the remaining staff members filed out and left the room.


    Day 2, 0755 hours

    Max walked with Holo to the Defiant’s bridge, there wasn’t anything really exciting about this mission, other than the fact they would be entering the Badlands. Max really liked the orange and red colours of the plasma storms that continually battered the Badlands. When Max had entered the bridge and sat down at his station, something that was bothering him slightly came to mind.

    When Holo came over to check some of the diagnostics on Max’s console, Max find the opportunity to talk to Holo. “Why didn't you tell me after the staff meeting about Furillia, I thought you had heard of Furillia?”

    Holo was bent over Max’s console and was busy with the diagnostics and he didn’t turn to look at Max. “No I haven't actually.”

    This really surprised Max, though of course being friends with a hologram would generate a few surprises. “But I thought your program contains the entire Federation database on science, races, alien worlds and so forth?”

    Holo looked away from the console and stood up to face Max. “It does, and it's all in a file, I do have a photographic memory but my memory is divided into three classes: short term, permanent and compressed. I only use the compressed memory when absolutely necessary. So contrary to popular opinion I don't know everything that there is to know...”

    Once more Holo continued with the checking of the diagnostics. “Anyway it seems your console is functioning properly.”

    Just as Holo was returning to his station, Ezri arrived onto the bridge. Under Ezri’s command whenever she entered the bridge there were no shouts of ‘captain on the bridge’, and Max rather liked that.

    Ezri sat down on the captain’s chair, and stared at Max’s back. “Take her out Mr Weatherby.”

    As Max guided the Defiant, he finished off his conversation with Holo. “Well I'll be damned, but it is a nice touch, it brings you to the realm of us mere mortals...”

    Holo declined to comment but he did give Max a brief smile. When the Defiant was clear of DS9, Max set the course and brought the ship into warp. He really liked working on this ship, and with knowing the senior staff reasonably well, it made his job more pleasurable…
  17. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 3, part 1

    Day 3, 1000 hours

    For the most part Ezri had been in her ready room as the Defiant travelled to the Furillian star system. She used all this spare time to catch up on some reports. As a captain she was smart enough to know when she was actually needed on the bridge, not only was this good for crew morale but it was also good for her work schedule.

    Inside her quarters, she checked her chronometer and realised it was about five minutes before the Defiant arrived at the Furillian star system. She disregarded her padd containing a report and proceeded to the bridge. On the bridge, she sat down in her chair, and patiently counting off the minutes until the Defiant arrived.

    “We're coming to the outer edge of the Furillian star system,” reported Max. “Dropping to full impulse.”

    There was a brief look of surprise on Max’s face, as he first read the sensor readings and then looked at the image on the view screen. “God that's the smallest star system I've ever seen... One star, two planets and only an asteroid field?”

    This was no surprise to Ezri, but she waited for Megan to calmly explain to everyone why this was. Even without prior knowledge, Megan had a knack for explaining all sorts of undiscovered phenomenon.

    Megan was busy studying the sensor readings displayed on her console. “I'm not surprised by that, it seems this star is emitting some kind of powerful EM field, it's literally shielding this system from all the plasma storms. The outer most extent of the asteroid field traces the boundary of the ellipsoid shaped EM field.”

    That was about right to Ezri, though from her brief study of the three reports on Furillia, she seemed to skimmed over the fact about the shape of the EM field. Despite being a captain, traces of scientific curiosity still lingered inside Ezri, and she leaned forwards in her chair studying the image on the view screen. “Is there a part running along the pole's axis that is devoid of the EM field?”

    The question was vaguely directed, but Megan was astute enough to know who it was directed to. “There is captain, I'd imagine any plasma storms that do hit this star system would funnel there way down to the star. It would produce an aura borealis similar to that on Earth, but on a far greater scale.”

    Excitement shone from Ezri’s eyes. “Incredible an aura borealis inside a star system!”

    Over nine lifetimes she had seen many incredible things, this was one of them. It reminded her of Starfleet’s principle objective of exploring new worlds and life. Of course after the Dominion war, scientific exploration had been scaled back somewhat. Though Ezri was sure that feeling of excitement about discovering new things still resided in every Starfleet officer, even for the Vulcans…

    Max reported from his console. “We're about ten minutes away from the orbital extraction facility at full impulse captain.”

    The feeling of scientific excitement faded from Ezri. “Maintain course, and while your at it Ms Felpes be on the look out for any Cardassian or Ferengi ships, we might get lucky and bump into them by accident...”

    After ten minutes nothing eventful happened, though Ezri wasn’t really expecting anything to happen.

    “Slowing to a quarter impulse,” said Max, his fingers tenderly tapped on the consoles’s controls. “We’re about a hundred kilometres from the orbital extraction facility... Coming to a stop now, we’re two kilometres away from the facility.”

    The screen showed a massive station which slowly rotated around it’s vertical axis. It looked roughly diamond in shape, with long spokes which could only be docking bays protruding out from it's centre. There were a few lights on certain vertices of the station, though the lights did nothing to enhance the dull grey colour of the station.

    There were windows concentrated on the top half of the station. It seemed that was where the worker’s quarters were, while the lower half had to contain all the facilities, equipment and machinery necessary for ore processing.

    “Captain we're being hailed from the orbital extraction plant!” said Max.

    Ezri stood up and walked a few steps closer to the view screen. “On screen then.”

    The screen showed a middle aged human man, standing inside his office. At first glance Ezri thought the man looked tired and strained.

    “Captain I'm Ron Harding the chief executive of RH Mining. I'm a busy man so I'll keep this brief; you are here captain to deliver the sensors, but before you do so why not take a quick tour around this orbital extraction plant, and then get down to the matter of the sensors?”

    Such forthrightness surprised Ezri, though she kept her surprise contained save for raising her eyebrows slightly. “To be equally brief Mr Harding, I agree to your terms.”

    Harding gave Ezri a brief smile, though his eyes barely twinkled. “Wonderful. I'll give you the coordinates of the beam down point, which is one of the station's transporter bays. As soon as you are ready captain, beam over and I'll show around the facility.”

    The transmission ended, and the image reverted to the orbital facility.

    “Pleasant kind of guy,” Max commented dryly.

    Ezri admired Max’s sense of humour. “Don't let first impressions fool you Mr Weatherby. Mr Holo you're with me, I'm certain your technical expertise will come in handy somewhere in this tour...”

    Holo seemed just a little surprised by Ezri’s order, but he followed it without question. For some reason Ezri felt that this whole situation wasn’t quite right, for an orbital extraction facility this station was remarkably big, and there was only so much valuable ore that could be extracted from the asteroid belt.

    As Ezri walked closer to the transporter room, her sense of foreboding grew, she couldn't explain why but she was convinced that Harding was hiding something from her. Mind you she was by her very nature a somewhat questioning person, after nine lifetimes of experience she presumed her suspicious nature stemmed from the fact that she had seen so many deceptions and lies before. She was almost certain that Harding was hiding something…


    Day 3, 1010 hours

    Ezri and Holo materialized on a transporter pad, the first thing Ezri noticed was Ron Harding standing in front of them.

    Harding walked towards them and extended his hand to Ezri. “Captain… welcome.”
    Ezri was surprised by the strength of his grip, but she returned the handshake none the less.

    After letting go of Ezri’s hand, Harding moved over to Holo. “And you are...?”

    “Just call me Holo.”

    “That’s a funny name, you are human right?”

    Something imperceptibly changed in Holo’s face, like some kind of dark shadow. “I'm a hologram.”

    Harding’s outstretched hand was quickly withdrawn, he seemed to have lost complete interest in Holo, as if Holo was simply a prop. “Right,” he said distractedly.

    Recognising the impoliteness shown by Harding to Holo, Ezri stepped forward and was determined to remedy this situation. “Mr Harding, Holo is as sentient as you and me, see that you address him properly.”

    The sharpness and warning in her voice made Harding wince slightly, no doubt he was regretting the faux pas he had made. “Alright then,” he said somewhat shakily. “First take a pair of ear seals... if you would follow me.”

    Walking out of the transporter room, the three then came out onto a raised up platform. It was raised above the floor by at least five metres, on both ends of the platform there were sturdy rails, while the platform’s floor was made of segmented/trussed metal strips. There were dozens of platform’s running across the level Ezri and Holo were standing on.

    Holo took out a tricorder and started scanning, Harding heard the tricorder’s sound and turned around. “Do you really need to bring along a tricorder with you?”

    Looking as casual as possible Holo simply shrugged. “It just adds to the tour you know, I only appreciate things when I understand how they work…”

    Harding nodded once in an understanding manner, he seemed keen to avoid any kind of argument or confrontation with Holo. He then explained to Ezri and Holo just what exactly they were seeing. “This part of the station is the storage bay, well it’s actually a collection of storage bays. The main thing to notice is the circuit system you see on the floor.”

    While Harding walked on at a slow pace, Ezri glanced to her left and saw numerous railed tracks for the hoppers, she traced out the path the hoppers followed and realised it was one elaborately shaped oval-like circuit.

    Ezri noticed a few workers on the ground floor, they seemed to be inspecting the tracks, and their grey uniforms blended in remarkably well with the dull greys, browns and stone colours of this section of the station.

    Coming to a stop, Harding pointed to the slowly moving hoppers. “Note all the hoppers, if you look to your left you can see four large grey-coloured overhead containers. Each container carries one type of ore, which is either duranium, dilithium, tritanium or strontium. Notice one of the hoppers directly below the duranium container, any moment now the duranium ore will come crashing into the hopper.”

    Sure enough a few seconds later, the container’s hatches opened and the grey-coloured ore came crashing down onto the bottom of the hopper. The noise produced was staggering as tonnes of ore banged against metal and rock.

    “Following the hoppers around the circuit and you will notice four conveyor belts midway around the track. Each conveyor belt carries only one type of ore, the whole circuit is controlled by this station’s computer, and via brakes and the magnetic propulsion units running along the tracks. When a hopper has stopped adjacent towards the correct conveyor belt, an overhead crane lifts up the hopper before tipping it to empty the contents onto the respective conveyor belt.”

    Ezri watched as one such crane lowered its arm with four magnetic clamps at the ends. The magnetic clamps latched onto the sides of the hopper in a symmetrical pattern, and then in an almost effortless manner the entire hopper was lifted up. Upon reaching a height just above the conveyor belt, the wires holding two of the magnetic clamps retracted backwards. The hopper gained an angle bending towards the conveyor belt, until at the critical angle all the ore came tumbling onto the conveyor belt.

    This produced another loud crash, and Ezri was indeed impressed by such an intricate setup. “A remarkably efficient transport line if I may so.”

    Harding returned the comment with a hearty grin, before walking on again and taking platforms that ran parallel to the conveyor belts.

    At the end of the conveyor belts Ezri saw some elaborate looking machinery and it was causing an ear-splitting din. The machinery whirred, ground, span and vibrated, producing a sound which resembled an orchestra of jackhammers.

    Harding came to a stop close to the machinery and he had to shout to be heard. “All conveyor belts lead to the crushers, which are the walled platforms with the metal hand crushing the ore. After that there is the pulverising equipment, the ore travels into specially shaped pans and from beneath sonic frequencies shatter the rock further into finely ground particles no bigger than little pebbles.

    “Just below these pans are powerful sonic frequency generators, thankfully all the sound energy is directed at the ore. Otherwise the very vibrations themselves would shake your organs and insides causing extensive internal bleeding. When the rock is sufficiently broken down, then at the centre of the pans, a hatch opens and the ore goes through a chute which leads to specially shaped sieves and a series of chemical pools to separate the ore from the impurities.

    “Unfortunately you can’t see the chemical pools and sieves because they are in a contained structure. In there are some very dangerous chemicals, that just about sums up the storage bays, next we’ll move onto the smelting unit. While you are at it captain, you make like to put on your ear seals.”

    While Harding moved at a more quicker pace, Ezri and Holo lingered behind him slightly to have a private conversation.

    Holo didn’t appear to happy. “Why are we wasting time and been given a tour?” he said loudly over the roar of machinery.

    “Basic diplomacy commander,” Ezri shouted back. “By going on this tour we might gain Mr Harding's trust. Perhaps then he will become more talkative...”

    “Or it could be a delaying tactic on his part.”

    However true this was, Ezri wasn’t dissuaded from continuing on with the tour. “We still play along, Mr Harding is hiding something and we have to find out what that is. Keep scanning with the tricorder, I want to know just how much ore really goes through all these conveyor belts and machinery. Besides along the way we’ll see a few impressive sights.”

    Holo looked nonplussed, though Ezri suspected this was because Holo was wondering what he was doing here. The truth was she needed Holo to scan everything to look for anything out of place, what she was looking for she wasn’t sure. She jabbed in her ear seals when the sound became to unbearably loud.

    The platform the three were walking on then turned to the left and hugged a brown metal wall. Walking next to it Ezri could feel the heat coming off it, and she wondered just how hot things were inside the smelting unit.

    Harding came to a stop and opened a door, he let Ezri and Holo walk in first. It was a small enclosed room with no windows, on the other side was another door, and to the left were about a dozen heavy duty black-looking protection suits. Stepping inside Harding closed the door and walked over to where the suits were being hung up, while he pulled out the ear seals. “Before we go inside, you will need a protection suit since it is about fifty degrees centigrade in there.”

    Ezri looked at Holo and she wondered just how much heat he could actually tolerate. “I’ll be needing the protection suit but I doubt Holo will be needing one.”

    Holo looked suddenly smug. “That’s one of the advantages of being a hologram, you can survive in virtually any climate.”

    Walking over, Ezri put on the protection suit, it took at least five minutes, as everything had to be sealed up and shut tight. Once inside the suit, Ezri was surprised by how much mobility it offered, and she did some walking back and forth testing out the flexibility of the suit.

    When Harding had kitted up and sorted out his suit, he then opened the door and walked out onto a platform similar to the ones in the storage bay. Ezri followed him and she heard the clunking of her boots as she walked upon the metal platform.

    The smelting unit was far more impressive to Ezri, in a row to her left were four big furnaces, with big slits in the middle. In there she could see the inferno that raged inside, there were flames coloured white, red and orange and it was a truly mighty sight. Looking upwards she noticed massive lights hung from the ceiling, they projected a sodium orange glow though they barely illumined the platform Ezri was walking on.

    Most of the light came from the furnaces and it flickered in varying intensity, lighting up the black metal wall to Ezri's right. About ten metres below the platform there was pipes of all sizes running across the floor. The pipes were somewhat featureless because they were shrouded in darkness since the light from the furnaces didn’t reach that far down.

    Holo walked on in front of her, and Ezri marvelled at the sight of him. There he was in his Starfleet uniform with no protection, and there wasn’t a drop of sweat on him. Harding came to a stop and gestured to Ezri and Holo to do the same. When Harding spoke, she heard his voice through a communicator in her suit.

    “There is another series of chutes which leads to four individual furnaces to chemically smelt the ore and remove nearly all impurities from it. The chutes leading to the furnaces have a special two way hatch. The first hatch separates the ore from the furnace, while the second hatch blocks in the next batch of ore to be smelted.
    After smelting the molten ore drops to the bottom, while the impurities go to the top, once all of the ore has been purified.

    “A side hatch in the furnace then opens, and the molten ore goes through a series of cooling pipes, after some minutes the ore cools down and solidifies. It is then sent into specially shaped, and self-sealed, containers through the final series of pipes/hatches. Once inside the containers the refined ore is then sent to freighter ships, and that just about sums up the tour! We’ll head to the other side of this room, there’s a door that leads to the second protection suit storage room.”

    The three walked along the platform until they reached the other room. Once inside Ezri and Harding removed their protection suits, while Holo waited for the two to finish. When Ezri and Harding were done, Harding opened the other door and this revealed a bland and nearly featureless corridor…
  18. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 3, part 2

    Upon arriving at Deck one, Ezri was astounded by how luxurious and pleasant it looked. There were bushes and plants contained in pots that lined the corridors. Ezri had no doubt that on this deck the workers with the most important company jobs lived here.

    The three came to Harding's office and went inside, Harding introduced his secretary. “This is Celicia my secretary.”

    Celicia gave both Ezri and Holo a wide smile, and for a secretary she looked surprisingly beautiful. Ezri thought it was highly likely that Harding had a secretary for personal reasons… Looking around the room, it seemed to have numerous personal touches. Like the soft-padded chairs, or the paintings and other aesthetic features.

    There was a walled off compartment and this must been Harding’s actual office. Harding showed Ezri and Holo inside this room. Inside there was a desk, behind which was a window looking out into space. While Harding sat down behind his desk in a very comfortable looking armchair, Ezri and Holo were sitting on rigid metal chairs.

    Ezri decided to cut to the chase and get to the bottom of RH Mining’s request for sensors. “So Mr Harding why exactly do you need five hundred class five sensors? These sensors are normally used by Starfleet, rarely are they used by civilian institutions. Which brings up another question, why do you need such tight security?”

    A brief look of annoyance flashed across Harding’s face, before he regained his composure. “The mining operations on Furillia produce the vast bulk of minerals my company extracts. They're strategically very valuable, as such they need protecting from... hostile elements.”

    “Like the Furillian locals?” inquired Ezri.

    “Yes,” said Harding with a nod of his head.

    Still Harding had not explained to Ezri what was the cause of the local’s discontent. “But unless I'm mistaken,” she said sounding mock-puzzled, “the Furillians and their government benefit greatly from your mining operations, because you give them a significant proportion of your profits to them. Assuming the Furillian government is sharing out this wealth correctly, then the Furillians should be happy to have these mining operations on their planet…”

    Unless Ezri’s eyes were deceiving her, she thought Harding look slightly uncomfortable, and in that instance Ezri realised that Harding was definitely concealing something from her. Now it was time to bait Harding and witness his reaction… “Perhaps if I were to send down an away team to one of the settlements next to the mines, to gauge local sentiment, we might discover the cause of these attacks?”

    “That isn't necessary captain,” said Harding firmly. “You shouldn't trouble yourself with the Furillians, let my company deal with any of their concerns regarding the mining operations.”

    Harding wanted this matter to drop, and that’s what Ezri did to make Harding lower his guard. “If you don't mind, myself and Holo will return to the Defiant, to check over the sensors and make sure they are all properly functioning. I know from personal experience that there is nothing worse than faulty equipment...”

    Harding rose from his desk, in a gesture to indicate that he wanted the meeting to end. “Of course by all means.”

    Likewise Ezri and Holo stood and walked a few paces away from the desk. Ezri tapped her comm badge. “Dax to the Defiant, beam myself and Holo back to the Defiant.”

    As Ezri dematerialized she felt like she got one over Harding, for he had unwittingly fallen for her delaying measure. This would give her the time she needed to find out from the Furillians themselves why they were so aggrieved by RH Mining.


    Day 3, 1300 hours

    Having returned to the Defiant, Holo and Ezri walked back to the bridge. After the meeting it seemed all to apparent to Ezri that Harding was glossing over the situation concerning the Furillian attacks on the strip mines. Thankfully Ezri had managed to buy some time and she decided to use this time to do some investigating of her own…

    While walking along a corridor, Holo spoke up. “Harding is definitely hiding something. He positively rebuffed your offer of sending an away team down to Furillia.”

    “I know,” said Ezri with a sigh. “And unfortunately because of background radiation the Defiant's sensors are of no use when it comes to scanning the planet. I want you Holo to find out which mining operation was recently attacked, and then find the closest settlement next to that particular mining operation.”

    “I'll get onto it straight away; this shouldn't take long.”

    The two walked onto the bridge, while Holo walked over to his station, Ezri sat down on the commander's chair.

    Kira who was at her station, turned around to face Ezri. “Was it a boring tour captain?”

    Ezri jerked her head leftwards. “Far from it, I'm almost certain that Harding is concealing something massive from the Federation concerning the mining operations on Furillia. Which is why I'm sending an away team to Furillia, to find out just what RH Mining does on Furillia.”

    Holo glanced up from his console. “Captain! I've determined that the mining operation that was recently attacked was the 6-c strip mine. The closest settlement to it is a village called Viyara.”

    “Then that is where we'll start,” said Ezri. “Colonel has the Furillian government contacted this ship?”

    “No,” said Kira looking slightly surprised. “And that is strange, they must know we're orbiting their planet.”

    This was another small mystery, but Ezri cast that aside, right now she needed accurate information of the local situation regarding the strip mines. “I want you Kira to prepare a small away team and take the shuttle down to Viyara. Talk with the Furillians and find out what they dislike about these strip mines...”

    Kira nodded once, and rose from her station. “Max you're with me.”

    When Kira and Max left the bridge, Ezri decided to do the same and return to her ready room. “Mr Nog you have the bridge.”

    “Aye captain.”

    Nog left his console and sat down on the commander's chair. Briefly Ezri looked at Nog, she was studying his posture and she thought Nog fitted into the commander's chair quite well. If only Nog wasn’t so interested in maintaining DS9, for he had great potential as a commanding officer...

    As she walked back to her ready room, Ezri decided to study the Starfleet reports on Furillia again. This time she was going to comb through every word of those reports, looking for any detail that she might have missed.


    Day 3, 1340 hours

    Kira stepped out of the shuttle which was in a small forest clearing. From the open hatch, Max and two security personnel walked out. Kira had decided to land here two kilometres away from Viyara so as to not surprise the locals. Taking out her tricorder, Kira determined the way to go, and headed out in the north east direction, the away team followed her.

    As she walked through the forest, Kira thought it looked remarkably similar to the forests on Bajor. It was clearly a type of coniferous forest, the trees had very straight trunks, and sub trunks branched out in an upwards direction. The tree's leaves blocked most of the sunlight, and kept the forest floor quite cool. The grass grew to a metre high, and it was a pleasant sensation for Kira feeling the grass brush against her uniform.

    After a kilometre of walking, Kira could see a forest clearing, as she walked closer to the edge of the forest there was a mild but weird burning kind of smell. When she was clear of the trees, the smell suddenly intensified, and it was an awful combination of burning rubber and excrement.

    Max looked distinctly unsettled by the smell. “What is that smell?”

    Kira wrinkled her nose as the smell was starting to make her nostrils itchy. “It smells like industrial waste to me. Let's keep moving, we're going down this track, that will lead us to Viyara.”

    The away team proceeded down the dusty and sloping track, it was made of compacted rock. Kira felt herself warm up considerably as the sunlight shone upon her, and she could almost feel the track giving off warmth. She ignored the heat, and looked around at the spectacular scenery. To her left was a small steeply sloping valley with a stream gushing down, it was connected with another stream that came from a gorge that ran halfway up the mountain range. While to her right was the forest she had just walked out of.

    Coming around a bend in the track, Kira spotted a small village, this must have been Viyara. It was built on a flood plain next to a river that flowed along a truly massive valley, the mountains became steadily lower as Kira followed them leftwards and downstream from the river. On the other side of the river was a forest that clung to the edges of the river banks and climbed halfway up the mountainside.

    About half a kilometre away from Viyara, Kira passed by numerous fields, which were placed on the upper reaches of the flood plain. Kira noticed the irrigation channels and they were stepped against the gradual slope. All sorts of crops and flowers were being grown on these fields, but they looked stunted and weedy.

    Some of the Furillians working the fields looked up, and Kira saw some of them pointing at the away team, and a few Furillians dashed off the fields to go to the village. No doubt there would be some sort of welcoming party at the entrance to the village.

    The smell seemed to worsen, and Kira was beginning to realise that the smell was coming from the water itself. This didn’t bode to well for Kira, water should not smell like that, not unless it was contaminated with impurities and toxins…

    When the away team were close to the outer boundary of the village, Kira noticed five Furillians armed with Cardassian phaser rifles. The look on the Furillian’s faces told Kira that she and the away team were not welcome here. The V-shaped ridge that run up from the top of the Furillian’s noses, to the tip of their forehead, emphasised their angry looks.

    Ten metres from the village, the Furillians raised their firearms and trained them on the away team. The two security guard's hands flew to their phasers, but Kira stopped them. “Don’t take out your weapons,” she warned. “We don’t want to inflame this situation any further.”

    One of the Furillians stepped forwards, he appeared to be in command of the four other Furillians. “Company people aren't welcome here!” he said loudly and nastily.

    Kira held up her hands, and cautiously moved forwards. “We are not from RH Mining, we're Starfleet officers!”

    Two of the Furillians spat on the ground upon hearing the name of the company. If anything the Furillian talking to Kira looked even angrier. “What do you want? Make it quick, we have little patience for outsiders!”

    “We're here to find out why some of your people attack the companies mining operations.”

    The Furillian seemed even more insulted. “Are you totally blind?” he said furiously. “Can’t you see what the company has done to us? Isn't the smell reason enough?”

    For a moment, the Furillian eyed up Kira and the away team, he seemed to be determining whether they could be trusted. Apparently he could trust them, for he gestured to the away team to follow him. “Come with me, our administrator Sotron can fill you in on the finer details...”

    Kira followed the Furillian, while the four other armed Furillians walked behind the away team. Inside the village Kira looked at the buildings, they were small and no more than three stories high. The walls were made of some sort of grey stone, though occasionally it was yellow, while the roofs were flat.

    Indeed the village reminded Kira of Bajoran settlements, the dirt tracks, the rows of trees on the streets and the layout of the buildings, were deeply similar to a tradition Bajoran village. Many of the people were dressed in very dull attire, though Kira noticed that some of the young woman were wearing pretty silk dresses, or blouses, while some of the men wore more fanciful attire. It seemed there was a class system on Furillia, as most of the villagers must have been farmers, while some of the more well-off villagers would be running the shops at the centre of the village.

    One feature that was shared amongst all of the villagers was that they looked ill, there complexion was pale and pasty. Kira thought the villagers were a group of people trying to live a normal life as possible against adverse circumstances. One thing that did puzzle her was the reason for the foul smelling water, as it seemed to be the cause of the villager’s poor health.

    The armed Furillians came to a stop outside a prismatic shaped building, the sides were curved around in a circular arc, and sloped upwards, coming to a stop at the flat roof. Kira wondered if this building was some sort of government building. The Furillian who had talked to Kira before, turned around and came a step closer to her. “Wait here, I'll fetch Sotron for you.”

    Kira presumed Sotron was the village’s leader or mayor. A minute later two Furillians came out of the building, the first one Kira recognised, while the second one must have been Sotron.

    He was a short but thin man, and there was a welcoming look on his face. “Welcome strangers!” Moving forwards Sotron briefly grasped Kira’s hands with his own, Kira presumed this was the Furillian way of greeting someone.

    Sotron glanced around at the armed Furillians. “Forgive the village's guards,” he told Kira. “So I suppose you want to know why we hate the company so much? Follow me.”

    Finally glad that she was going to get some answers, Kira addressed the away team. “Max you're with me. Avery, Brooks, you stay here.”

    Sotron was heading to a small river which came down from the mountains, and it ran close to the village. “In case you haven't noticed many of the villagers are ill from drinking contaminated water from the river.”

    “Why is the river so contaminated?” asked Kira, while from the corner of her eye she saw Max take out his tricorder.

    The friendly look on Sotron’s face was replaced with a gloomy and somewhat resentful expression. “Unfortunately the waste material that the mining operation produces, a particulate form of toxic slag, seeps to the water table. The strip mine is on the other side of the mountain ridge.”

    He pointed briefly to the mountain ridge. “And all the water that comes down the slopes and through the base rock hits the level of the water table and becomes contaminated which feeds into the river. Unfortunately relative to our position the water table's average level is five hundred metres above this village. Scan for yourself the contaminants in the river.”

    At this point the three had left the village, and were walking up another track that ran through the fields. Max was busy scanning with the tricorder. “My God!” he said in a stunned voice. “There's more than slag flowing into this river, there is all sorts of diluted toxins, irritants even acidic compounds!”

    “We try to filter the water to the best of our ability, but it's not enough,” explained Sotron. “Worse still we have to use it to grow our crops.”

    Kira found it hard to believe Sotron’s explanation that the strip mine was contaminating the water. “But the strip mine would have to be massive, at least a kilometre square in area to produce such vast quantities of toxic waste!”

    Sotron stopped walking and turned around to face Kira and Max. “If you like we could climb up to the top of Fraginar's Point, and you can see for yourselves the scale of the strip mine. It will only take three hours to climb up.”

    Glancing upwards Kira thought it was a considerable distance to climb up, it had to be 1500 metres of vertical height at least, but she wasn’t put off. “Let's do it,” she told Sotron.

    At once Sotron walked at a brisk pace up the track, for such a small man he could walk very quickly, while Kira and Max trailed behind him. Sotron came to a stop outside of a small structure, containing all sorts of equipment. He rummaged around, before coming out and carrying three metal bottles. “You'll need these to fill up on water. Once we're above the water table, the water from the streams that come down from the mountains will be safe to drink.”

    Kira grasped the thin bottle, and for a metal it was surprisingly light. Sotron continued walking, and at the end of the track, he went upon a rocky path that continued on from the track. The path wound it’s way up to the top of Fraginar's Point. It was steeply sloping, and disappeared behind a forest before emerging again halfway up the mountain. Kira knew that after the walk, her legs would be wasted.
  19. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 3, part 3

    Day 3, 1500 hours

    It was considerably hard-going walking up the path, the slope was about 45 degrees throughout the walk, though in some cases it was steeper. After an hour of walking, Kira was sweating profusely, the back of her hair was dripping in sweat, and her entire back was covered in sweat.

    Kira hoped for a breeze or a gust of wind to cool her down, but that wasn’t going to happen in such a sheltered forest. She had already taken off her upper tunic, and tied it around her waist, while her white shirt clung to her body, it was stained slightly grey from all of her sweat.

    She looked at Max, he seemed to be finding the walk more difficult, as his face was red and he was even more sweatier than Kira. He had removed his jacket, and his entire shirt was wet with sweat. With all the sweat he stunk to high heaven. One of the things that Kira had noticed with humans was that their sweat was scented and it tended to smell revolting. Whereas Bajorans didn’t smell when they got sweaty.

    Kira was more suited to walking up mountains due to her time as a Bajoran resistance fighter, though the temperature was never as hot as this. This must have 25 degrees centigrade, and Kira yearned for a big gulp of water to cool her down.

    Unfortunately they was another hundred metres to go, before the water in the streams became safe. Kira was surprised by how easily Sotron walked along, he was barely sweating, clearly Sotron had acclimatised to this heat and was used to constantly walking around such mountainous terrain.

    A bit further along the walk Max took out his tricorder. “We’re above the water table, and at this point the water in this stream is now clean!” he told Sotron.

    Sotron though shook his head. “Let’s climb a bit further, I can still smell the stench of the contaminated water downstream.”

    After another fifty metres, the smell vanished entirely, and Kira suddenly realised just how fresh the air was. She could smell the grass, and the flowers and the plants, in doing so it made her appreciate just how beautiful the forest and the surrounding scenery really was.

    Sotron came to a stop and walked over to a stream. “We’ll take a break here.”

    Kira walked over to the stream and laid down on her front by the bank, squashing some of the little white and yellow flowers on the ground. She dipped the bottle into the stream to fill it up with water. When the bottle was full, she put the neck of it to her lips and greedily gulped down the water.

    It was so satisfying, afterwards she poured the remainder of the water of down her back, it was refreshingly cold. After some more water, Kira poured a bottle full down her front and then another bottle on her head. Finally she was starting to cool down, though she noticed Max was pouring bottle after bottle over his body to cool himself down.

    Sitting on a rock Sotron looked deeply amused by the amount of water Kira and Max were drinking and using. “Your not used to this heat are you?”

    The amusement on Sotron’s face really irritated Kira. “We’ve been walking non-stop up a mountain,” she said irately. “Nearly all humanoids would get very hot and sweaty after that.”

    “I guess we Furillians are made of tougher stuff,” said Sotron is a somewhat superior voice. “Are you done drinking water?”

    Kira looked at Max, he gave her a nod. “Yeah we’re done,” she said.

    As they continued walking, in the back of Kira’s mind were her concerns for Max. He seemed to be flagging out, and he was drinking more water than Kira was. However once they reached the end of the forest, a powerful breeze started up, and this started to really cool Kira down. Though there was another 700 metres to go, she found it more easier to walk. She glanced at Max and was relieved to see that the flushed look on his face had disappeared. After fifteen minutes walking in the powerful breeze, Kira was virtually bone dry.

    After walking up through a gorge, the final bit of the climb was a grassy slope. The grass was short and yellowish/green, and there were numerous bushes dotted all around, while similar looking small white and yellow flowers mingled with the grass. Finally the slope lessened, and Sotron who was ahead of them, got to the top of Fraginar's Point. “As you will see this is one giant strip mine.”

    When Kira reached the top she could see the entire valley, and there in the valley was a strip mine of gigantic proportions. It was like a huge grey gash on the landscape, there were scree slopes, rock faces and gorges everywhere. To the left, going upstream along the valley, Kira saw the biggest dam she had ever seen in her life, and on the other side were numerous industrial buildings. While looking to her right, beyond the strip mine was an empty river, it meandered downwards and all the plants and grass around it looked parched and yellow.

    There was a clear divide between the strip mine and nature, it was literally a line between forest and rock. Looking downwards Kira saw that the grass slope came to an end next to a battered metal fence that ran along the perimeter of the strip mine. On the other end of the valley the perimeter was not as high against the slope, and there was a vast forest running along the length of the perimeter.

    Kira’s mouth hung open in shock. “By the Prophets!”

    She had never seen such a monstrous sight in her life, it was an abomination to the landscape. Even during the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, the strips mines were one tenth of the size of this monster.

    Max was scanning with his tricorder. “This strip mine traverses nearly the entire width of the whole valley, about ten kilometres, and extends downwards by forty kilometres, and it has an average depth of about two thousand metres.” He looked up from his tricorder, to stare aghast at Kira. “Kira there is no way that a Federation mining company can legally excavate mines of this scale, not when there are people living in close proximity to this mine!”

    Sotron had turned his back to the valley, he seemed too disgusted to look any more at the strip mine. “There are hundreds of sites across Furillia where there are massive quarries and strip mines. It is decimating this planet's ecology, worst still if you look to your left, going upstream, there is a massive dam to keep back the water. This means everything going upstream from it, up to about 150 kilometres, is flooded up to the water level. While downstream the water supply is drastically reduced, to the point where the soil turns to dust. No one lives there anymore...”

    Kira looked at Sotron in a numb manner, she was totally aghast that the Furillians had simply let this happen. “How do you let them get away with this?”

    A terrible sadness filled Sotron’s face. “We were deceived, we signed the mining rights and at the time we believed that the money generated from taxes would be beneficial to Furillia's flagging economy. Then came the Ferengi ships, they threatened to attack Furillia if we didn't allow the company to expand their mining operations. That was ten years ago, and this mine back then was tiny, it was hidden by the forests that once existed. Now it's to late, no one gives a damn about us. The worst part is that we receive a meagre amount from the company to 'compensate' us.”

    Pure anger filled Kira, she sympathised absolutely with what Sotron was going through, as it was utter exploitation on RH Mining's part. From what little she knew about the Furillians, she did know that they adored nature and protected their habitats at all costs. What RH Mining had done was defile everything that the Furillians believed in.

    She had a tendency to sympathise with the underdogs and the downtrodden and this situation was no different. “I've seen enough,” she said harshly, her voice was rife with anger. “Let's return to the village.”

    Looking at Sotron, Kira gazed at him intensely because she felt so angered by what had happened to him and so many other Furillians. “Sotron I promise to you that I am not leaving this planet until that company stops all of its mining operations.”

    Sotron gave Kira a small sad smile. “I know you are sincere in your promise, but there is virtually nothing you can do...”

    The three walked back down the path and back to Viyara. As Kira walked she couldn’t get out of her head the strip mine and the faces of the villagers, upon further thought she realised there was a sense of hopelessness amongst the villagers.

    Her anger worsened when the smell of the fouled water came back, once halfway through the forest. What RH Mining were doing was so wrong, ruining the livelihoods of millions of Furillians, and Kira felt a similar rage for RH Mining as she once did with the Cardassians during the Bajoran occupation…
  20. Ln X

    Ln X Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 1, 2011
    The great gig in the sky
    Chapter 4, part 1

    Day 3, 1600 hours

    Inside his office, Harding was studying pictures taken by some of his Furillian informants. There was one such informant in Viyara and this person had taken these four pictures of a Starfleet away team. Three of the officers were human while the fourth one, in the lead was a Bajoran. She had the look of one who wasn't to be crossed.

    The presence of Starfleet officers on Furillia was very bad news for Harding. He now assumed those officers had found out about the strip mines, and had returned to their ship to report back. There was nothing for it, Harding had to inform Strart about this latest and troublesome development.

    Some minutes later and Harding was in contact with Strart via a comm link. Strart though didn’t look to pleased at seeing Harding so soon.

    “You again!” snarled Strart. “I had to leave an important business meeting because of you!”

    “I am sorry,” said Harding briefly bowing his head. “But you should know that my sources on Furillia have managed to take a few snapshots of a Starfleet away team who were in the village of Viyara. I’m sending you the pictures right now.”

    A moment later Strart was looking at the pictures, the anger on his face was growing with each passing second and Harding waited for the harsh words to come flying out of Strart’s mouth.

    Finally Strart had finished looking at the pictures, and he gave Harding an almighty glare. “You told me that Starfleet wouldn't travel down to Furillia!” shouted Strart.

    Harding did his best to deflect blame. “I thought the captain of the Defiant, Ezri Dax, had no inclination to investigate on the Furillian surface. At the time she seemed very friendly, clearly she has deceived me!”

    Strart looked at Harding as if he were someone exceptionally stupid. “Of course she did you fool,” said Strart harshly. “You have forgotten the 48th rule of acquisition: the bigger the smile, the sharper the knife! She must have realised that something was wrong, this whole idea of yours to ask Starfleet to provide sensors was a mistake! Now they know about the Furillian mining operations!”

    Despite the dire straits Harding was in, he did have one trump card which Strart didn’t know about. That was the Starfleet admirals who had looked the other way when it came to his company. “I don't think Starfleet would send in more ships to close down the mining operations! The Federation needs the ore I provide to them, they would be shooting themselves in the foot if they closed the mining operations!”

    “You don't understand these Federation types, they have a morality and no business sense!” said Strart bitterly. “Do you now realise that I have to call in a fleet of Ferengi ships to destroy the Defiant?”

    The colour drained from Harding’s face, he may be greedy, dishonest and negligent, but he not was prepared to directly kill anyone. If Strart carried out his threat, then Harding would have become an accessory to murder. He had to talk some sense into Strart… “Destroying the Defiant will only cause Starfleet to send in more ships!” he protested.

    Strart though grinned deviously, in a very Ferengi like way. “All Starfleet will discover was that the Defiant was caught out in a particularly vicious plasma storm. When the Ferengi fleet enters, the ships will block all sub-space communication. The Defiant will be surrounded and it won't be able to call in any reinforcements, and then the Ferengi ships will destroy the Defiant! Now that the matter of the Defiant has been resolved, I have a business deal to wrap up!”

    Strart’s company logo appeared on the laptop screen, Harding jabbed at a key to turn the laptop off. Pure panic was building up inside Harding, this whole situation was spinning out of his control. A Ferengi fleet, Cardassian ships lurking in the background, a vigilant Starfleet vessel and finally an angry local populace all added to his woes.

    Madness briefly consumed him and he thought of simply leaving, gathering up as much possessions and money as possible. Then getting out of this star system in his personal shuttle, he could probably persuade Celicia to come along…

    Harding then felt a modicum of calm; all was not lost. The strip mines were still open and fully functional (for the most part) on Furillia, captain Dax hadn’t made any moves yet and the Ferengi would protect the mining operations from any Cardassian attack.

    Harding then turned on his laptop and checked his schedule for today, all he had to do was file up some reports, but they could wait later. Right now Harding needed stress relief, perhaps Celicia could give him a massage, or perhaps she could come to his quarters… Harding decided upon the latter option, a bit of sex with Celicia always cheered him up…


    Day 3, 2000 hours

    When Kira had returned to the Defiant, and left the room containing the shuttle, she spotted Ezri waiting for her.

    “What did you find on Viyara?” said Ezri, the moment Kira had walked through the doors.

    Kira looked at Ezri grimly. “It’s not good, I don’t even know where to begin…”

    “Save your report for the staff meeting, right now the senior staff are waiting for us in the Mess Hall.”

    At that point Kira was ready to fire away to Ezri everything that she had found out down in Viyara, but she restrained herself. One thing that Kira did feel was a sort of restlessness, she so badly wanted to do something for the villagers of Viyara…

    Arriving at the Mess Hall, Ezri sat down on a table where the staff had gathered around. Max passed to Kira his tricorder, and she uploaded all the sensor information contained inside the tricorder and transferred it to the Defiant’s computer. She quickly organised the information, which included chemical analysis and maps, into a simple presentation which would be displayed on the console she was working on.

    When she was ready, she addressed everyone. It took about twenty minutes to present the whole report, and as the presentation progressed, Kira noticed that the senior staff looked more and more troubled and horrified by what they heard. When Kira had finally finished, there was a hushed silence in the room. She sat down, and waited for the flurry of questions to come.

    Ezri who had had her hand resting against one side of her face, sat up a bit more straighter after the report was over. She was the first one to speak. “And RH Mining wonder why the locals attack their operations?” she said incredulously. “This is a major problem...”

    “That's an understatement,” said Kira quietly, her voice was rife with suppressed anger.

    Ezri looked very stony faced, it seemed she was just as angry as Kira by what was going on. “This is a Federation company,” hissed Ezri. “Which is not only grossly violating the Prime Directive, but actually slowly destroying the planet!”

    There was a certain irate element to Ezri’s tone of voice, and her normally calm appearance was gone. “And it seems Starfleet has no idea of the illegality of RH Mining's operations...”

    “Or maybe Starfleet hasn’t bothered to check on RH Mining?” suggested Bashir.

    “The Furillian mining operations account for twenty percent of the primary minerals which the Federation extracts,” said Ezri bitterly. “Giving the strategic importance I don't think to many questions will be asked about how these mining operations are conducted.”

    It was starting to dawn on Kira, that Starfleet admirals probably knew about the situation on Furillia, but they chose to ignore it and she now understood why the Ferengi were protecting RH Mining. “Sotron mentioned that the Ferengi are protecting this company, that explains why RH Mining doesn’t need Starfleet and why Starfleet admirals don’t send in ships to this star system!”

    Ezri’s eyes were burning with anger, it seemed she was taking it very personally about the apparent negligence of certain Starfleet admirals concerning Furillia. “So in short it's just another way for Starfleet to hide the blatant abuse RH Mining has wrought on the environment and the people of Furillia!”

    “Then we have to shut down RH Mining operations!” said Max automatically, he looked deadly serious.

    However Ezri looked deeply uneasy. “That’s out of the question,” she said firmly. “We were supposed to be helping RH Mining, not to destroy it!”

    Kira’s anger came to bursting point, her last hope had been Ezri to do something for the Furillians, but if Ezri wasn’t going to do anything then who would? “So we're just going to leave these people to the mercy of RH Mining and the Ferengi?” she shouted.

    Ezri responded in an equally passionate manner. “I know it's terrible what's going on in Furillia, but I don't see what we can do to remedy this situation!”

    There was a pause and Ezri calmed down. “However I want you Kira to return to Viyara along with Bashir, and give them medical supplies, bring with you any crew members that you need. At that the very least the medical supplies will remedy the waterborne illnesses that the villagers are suffering from. I’ll also come down to Viyara and see for myself the extent of the village’s problems… meeting adjourned.”

    With the staff meeting over, Kira walked out of the mess hall. The result wasn’t exactly what she hoped for but at least Ezri was going to help the villagers, and go down there to assess the situation. Perhaps once in Viyara, Ezri would be persuaded to do more, like closing down the strip mines...

    As she walked back to her quarters, Kira realised just how tired, dirty and achy she was. She decided to have a sonic shower instead, and headed to the Defiant’s sanitation room. Inside a sonic shower room, which was an enclosed cubical. Kira locked the door, and stripped off. She opened up a drawer, which had a lit up platform and placed her clothes inside. When she closed the door, she tapped a few controls on the panel on the wall, to wash her dirty clothes.

    She then stepped onto the platform containing the sonic shower unit, and pressed a button on the wall to activate the shower. The water rushed from the top and wrapped around her body, cleansing every pore and fleck of skin. It felt deeply relaxing, though all Kira could think about were the villagers. Their faces haunted her, because they reminded her of the Bajorans in the occupation.

    She knew she would have difficulty sleeping tonight, especially when their were people suffering down on Furillia trying to make ends meet. Kira thought she would only sleep soundly when the strip mines were closed down and RH Mining had been kicked out of this star system.


    Day 4, 0900 hours

    From out of the sky the Starfleet shuttle descended downwards and it landed at the centre of the wide square in Viyara. Around the perimeter of the square, people were gathered around, many of them had never seen a shuttle before in their lives, and as such there was a great amount of interest watching the shuttle land.

    When the shuttle had landed, and the engines were cut off, inside Ezri opened the landing bay hatch. Having seen from the cockpit the number of people in the square, Ezri expected a whole crowd of them to be bunched around the shuttle.

    Sure enough, when the hatch was resting on the floor, the people flocked even closer. Almost immediately a horrible stench assaulted Ezri’s nostrils, Kira had warned her about this, but it was still unpleasant nonetheless. Ezri walked down the ramp, and she wondered how she was going to address this crowd. Behind her were Kira, Max, Holo and two medical officers.

    Just when Ezri was about to say something to the crowd, a Furillian stepped forwards. Out of the corner of her eye, Ezri saw Kira approach the Furillian.

    The Furillian grasped Kira’s hands in what seemed to be a sort of greeting. “Back again?” he said in a warm manner.

    Kira held out her hand to indicate Ezri. “This is Ezri Dax, she's the captain of the Defiant.” Kira turned around to face Ezri. “This is Sotron the administrator of Viyara.”

    Cautiously Ezri moved forwards, and she allowed Sotron to shake her hand.

    “Welcome,” he said. “Are these the medical supplies?”

    Ezri looked behind her, and saw Bashir and Holo carry on anti-grav pads, containers full of medical supplies. “Yes. I heard from Kira about the atrocious quality of the water you were drinking and using. Aside from medical supplies, we've also given you water purification units, so you will have clean drinking water. Also our doctor will be helping you treat any injured or sick people you may have in your village.”

    Sotron bowed his head slightly, in what seemed to be his way of expressing his gratitude. “How thoughtful captain. But these are only temporary measures, what must be done is to close every single mining operation on Furillia.”

    “Unfortunately even if I wanted to I can't,” said Ezri, and she noticed a look of disappointment on Sotron’s face. “The organisation I work for, Starfleet, assigned me to deliver sensors to RH Mining. Though now that I know what RH Mining are doing they will not be receiving those sensors.”

    This did nothing to satisfy Sotron, but it seemed he was going to ignore this for the time being. “I'll let this matter drop, feel free captain to walk around and see for yourself the suffering the company has brought to us.”

    The crowd that had gathered around dispersed, and that gave Bashir and Holo the room needed to offload the supplies. Sotron and some of the villagers started carrying some the medical supplies, and they headed to the hospital which was adjacent to the square.

    Ezri looked around at the square, and she thought this village was quite beautiful and idyllic, it was just a pity about the horrendous smell. Looking beyond the village she could see the mountains and forests, and Ezri thought the scenery put many other terrestrial planets to shame.

    Holo and Max passed by her, and Ezri was struck by a sudden idea. “Holo, Max!”

    The two approached her. “What is it captain?” asked Max.

    “I want you two to scout the strip mine, and check out what kind of defences the strip mine has. I'd say take a guide with you, there must be a Furillian in this village that knows the layout of the mine.”

    “Aye captain,” said Max.

    While Ezri watched Max and Holo walk off, she realised the implications of her order. Technically she shouldn’t even be on this world, and she was breaking Starfleet orders, but the thought of simply leaving these people was impossible for Ezri to stomach. She had to help them, and she knew the more she stayed, the more tempted she would be to disregard orders completely and use the Defiant to force the RH Mining workers off the planet.

    If she did that it would mean the end of her career. Absconding with the Defiant and destroying a vital Federation strategic interest would probably mean a few dozen years in a penal colony. Such consequences dampened her desire to simply go renegade and break every Starfleet rule just to help the Furillians.

    Right now she wasn’t ready to do that, and the conflicting interests of helping these people and protecting her career only served to give Ezri even more doubts. Ultimately she had a choice, of either leaving Furillia or staying there to help the Furillians.

    The first choice was morally questionable in Ezri’s eyes, for taken that course of action would mean asking Starfleet to sort out the Furillian situation. Though she doubted Starfleet would do anything, and she would have backed out of the opportunity to help the Furillians. She would probably never return to Furillia with the Defiant, and because of that she would have condemned a people to more misery and hardship.

    But helping the Furillians would mean the end of her career and a lifetime in prison, not only that every officer who would follow her would face the same thing. But what was throwing away her career and her life compared to helping the lives of millions of Furillians? She knew morally it was the right thing to do, and to do otherwise was simply being selfish and negligent on her part.

    Though one thing Ezri could do before she came to that decision, was walk around the village and the surrounding countryside, and see for herself what the conditions were like for these people. Perhaps doing that would make her come to a decision about what to do next.