Chapter 6, part 1 Day 3, 1500 hours Nearly three hours after the attack, Megan entered the Infirmary to find Bashir. She had to talk to him about Section 31, because he was the only person who knew as much about Section 31 as Ezri did. She walked past the first room, and then continued into the patient ward. There she finally found Bashir taking some medical readings of a patient. “Julian!” she said, “I need to talk to you in private!” “Now's not the time,” said Bashir, as he frowned at a vial of blood he was holding up. “I have twenty people who are in critical conditions.” Megan folded her arms in an impatient gesture. “The medical staff can do without you for a couple of minutes. Besides this is really important, it's about the attack on the station!” “All right,” said Bashir, looking mightily grumpy about leaving his patients. “But five minutes of my time only, and not a second longer!” Bashir and Megan walked over to the medical storeroom, and when they found it deserted, Megan closed the door so that no would eavesdrop on her or Julian. “Listen Julian there's something you need to know.” She took a deep breathe, as she thought about what she was going to say next. “I think I know why DS9 was attacked.” She then launched into an explanation about Ezri’s hunch, Section 31, Apocalypse and the conversation she had with admiral Ross. “-so two days after contacting Jack, this station is attacked!” Bashir remained silent, and simply looked at her with narrowed eyes. Megan was not sure what Bashir thought of all this, so she decided to tell him what she had been fearing and suspected ever since the attack. “Julian I think my message was intercepted by the abductors and that they have an agent inside of Section 31!” “That's highly unlikely,” replied Bashir. “Section 31 have very stringent measures when they recruit their agents, it stops Section 31 from being infiltrated.” It did not matter how unlikely this was, because Megan was convinced she was right on this matter. “Well it is a remarkable coincidence that only two days separate the time between me contacting Jack and the attack on DS9. I think Jack or a different Section 31 agent is working for Apocalypse.” Bashir had his fist against his chin, as he was concentrating intently on the conversation. “Admiral Ross would know far more about Apocalypse than we do, have you told him about this?” “Everything except my suspicions about Jack, something is not right here.” “Your right about that,” agreed Bashir, and he removed his fist off his chin. “But I don't see what we can do, we can't contact Jack as he may or may not be the Section 31 mole. There are no means to contact or infiltrate Apocalypse unless we go AWOL which is out of the question. No matter which way you look at it there is nothing we can do.” “I know!” said Megan angrily. “That’s the problem, there is nothing we can do to help Max, Dax and the others!” *** Day 3, 1800 hours Megan was walking to corridor seventeen, section five, level nine in the station core, after lieutenant Dieter Blank contacted her and told her that he had found an unusual device in one part of the corridor. One part of her hoped that this device would provide the explanation of how the station’s computer was sabotaged. Even now her chief of security was still purging from the computer alien code which had proliferated around every system which had deactivated. The only bit of good news was that the weapons and shields could now be accessed. But this was small consolation for the fact that the captain and four others had been abducted. Megan still could not believe what had happened, and at times she found it strange to be the commanding officer of DS9. When she entered the corridor, she found lieutenant Blank examining the secondary interlink port. Numerous panels were strewn over the floor, while various fibre optic cables jutted out slightly into the corridor. “What is it lieutenant?” she asked. Blank looked around, and moved away from the secondary interlink port. He opened his right hand revealing a device. “I found this imbedded into the secondary interlink port...” He gave to Megan the device, and upon closer examination Megan realised what this device was. “It's a quantum encoder,” she said, sounding a little surprised. Blank frowned in confusion. “I've never heard of a device like that.” Megan though had, and with one last look at the device, she wrapped her fingers around it, the quantum encoder explained everything. “Starfleet Intelligence is aware of this device, it's used mainly by criminals, most notably the Orion Syndicate. This device stores a series of algorithms and code, and then when it comes into contact with some hardware, which is part of the main computer, it then interacts with the data flow and produces repeatedly the algorithms and digital protocols it stores. “Any computer system is quickly fooled by these false set of codes, and so implements what the code is telling it to do. This explains how the station’s computer was sabotaged, and why we couldn’t access weapons or shields” She then passed the quantum encoder back to Blank. “Give this device to the chief of security, he’ll examine it further… Nice find lieutenant.” The compliment seemed to lift Blank’s spirits, and feeling that she had done everything she could do, Megan returned back to Ops. She could feel her command skills coming back to her, and she felt marginally more comfortable with her position as commanding officer of DS9. *** Day 3, 1900 hours Megan sat down at the head of the table in the wardroom, she sat there waiting for what was left of DS9’s senior staff and two other officers she had called. This was an emergency senior staff meeting, and after everything that had happened during the attack this was most warranted. Once Bashir, Paulson, Tanya and Blank had arrived, Megan started the meeting. “I've called this meeting because as you know we've lost four members of DS9's senior staff. We've lost our commanding officer, chief of science, chief of operations and chief of starship maintenance. I'm now, temporarily, the commanding officer of this station. When Kira is fit to return to duty, she will be the permanent commanding officer. “Before I begin there are a few promotions which I must give out. Lieutenant Dieter Blank you are now chief of operations, for the time being the post of chief of starship maintenance will remain vacated. Lieutenant Tanya Dawson, you are now chief of science. With that out of the way, I'll liked to discuss the first matter of the day. I'm afraid Starfleet will not carry out a rescue operation to find our missing officers.” The mood seemed to have lowered after that statement, and Paulson looked mightily angered to hear this. “Are you saying we just abandon the captain, and the three other officers?” Both Tanya and Blank nodded their agreement at Paulson's question. Before Megan could answer, Bashir did and he looked angrily across the table at Paulson. “We have no other choice Paulson, because Starfleet believes it is virtually impossible to rescue Dax and the others.” “Bashir's right,” agreed Megan, “and I'm afraid we're going to have to accept the fact that captain Dax is never coming back. I know it's a shock to everyone but we'll get through this, and we'll continue to run this station to the best of our ability just as the captain intended!” She looked around at her fellow officers and her words had managed to lift their spirits slightly. Feeling glad that the matter of Dax’s absence had been resolved, Megan delved into the other matters she wanted to discuss at this meeting. About thirty minutes later Megan was satisfied with the outcome, and she felt she had reached a consensus on how DS9 should be managed. With nothing more to discuss she dismissed the senior staff. She got up, and was halfway to the door, when she stopped and realised that Tanya had not moved a muscle. Megan knew what was going through Tanya’s mind, and she wondered whether she should say something to ease Tanya’s burden. Turning around, she walked over to where Tanya sat, and came to a halt a metre away from Tanya. By that time there was only herself and Tanya in the room. “Is there something else you want to discuss lieutenant?” Something seemed to tighten in Tanya’s face, and in a sudden motion she rose from her seat and confronted Megan. “You know what I want to discuss; Max. I can't believe we're going to do nothing to rescue him.” Megan suspected Tanya was going to say something like this, but her decision was final… “Tanya I know this is difficult for-” “Don't try to patronise me!” replied Tanya, she was literally seething. “You wouldn't be so ready to give up on Max if you loved him!” Such words made the pain of losing Max all the more raw and fresh for Megan, but she continued to stare as calmly as possible at Tanya. “There is nothing that I can do,” said Megan with a tone of finality. “Max may already be dead, and even if he is alive he cannot be reached. I'm sorry for what has happened, I miss Max as well as he was my friend, but we just have to accept the fact that he is gone.” Now Tanya look really hurt, it seemed she was only going to admit defeat when Megan told her the cold harsh truth. “It's not fair!” she lamented. “We had one month together, one amazing month, and now he is snatched from me just like that!” “Listen,” said Megan gently, “if you need a few days off to grieve just ask.” Tanya though did not appear interested in the offer. “I will grieve in my own time, but it will not affect my duties I promise.” Briefly Megan placed a hand to Tanya's shoulder and smiled at her. It was a friendly gesture and a way for Megan to convey without words that she understood everything that Tanya was going through. She held onto Tanya’s shoulder briefly before letting go, but it did the trick, as Tanya was no longer looking so angrily at Megan. With nothing more to say Megan left the room, to give Tanya some much needed privacy. Megan had suffered numerous loss, but she knew that the first loss always felt the most raw. But it was definitely all the more painful to lose a lover, and Megan felt genuine sympathy for Tanya. She no longer had any hard feelings for Tanya, as she had completely accepted that Max was out of bounds.