Star Trek: Lambda Paz

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

  1. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    If you liked the first installment of Star Trek: War Aftermath, I am also introducing a quasi-prequel to the events of "The True Way" featuring of the crew of the U.S.S. Lambda Paz. The heroine is partially inspired by New Frontier's Mackenzie Calhoun, having been a freedom fighter during her adolescence. Another goal in mind is to make up for where Voyager went wrong. Janeway and Chakotay got along almost from the start. There's going to be some animosity between captain and first officer because differing Starfleet and Maquis philosophies. Although the ship sees a lot of action on the front lines, it won't be all Dominion all the time.

    Star Trek: Lambda Paz
  2. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant


    Bajor: 2351

    An eerie quiet was heard throughout the TamulnaMining Facility as the sun crept below the horizon line. What appeared to be a quiet night on the outside of the main building was anything but on the inside. Cardassian overseers and Bajoran slaves were busy preparing a load of ore for shipment. The ore would be shipped to the Cardassian station Terok Nor, orbiting Bajor. Once delivered to the station, the ore would be purified to form an alloy for the hulls of Cardassian starships.

    A cargo shuttle landed on the tarmac and unloaded supplies sent from Terok Nor. A member of the freight crew left behind a seemingly innocuous container labeled “self-sealing stem-bolts” after setting it down with an anti-grav harness. The lid popped off. An adolescent Bajoran girl emerged from inside the container and removed her breathing apparatus from her face. If only being a stowaway wasn’t so cramped, she thought.

    A member of the Bajoran resistance, Limis Vircona was sent to make sure that ore shipment did not reach Terok Nor. She quickly climbed out of the empty container and crept behind a long row of containers just as two Cardassians passed by. Once the Cardassians were out of sight, she was about to tap a communication device on her sleeveless vest. She caught a glance of the nasty bruise on the end of her right shoulder courtesy of her last Cardassian client. Vircona reminded herself that selling Cardassian military officers sexual favors was how she found this mining facility in the first place, and she tapped the communication device. “I’m in position,” she whispered.

    “Understood,” said Yanith, a young Bajoran slave, who was pushing a mining cart down a hallway.

    “And just what do you understand?” the Cardassian behind him asked.

    Yanith ignored his overseer even as he was being poked in the back by the overseer’s rifle. He continued pushing the cart, while removing a small cylindrical device from underneath his left sleeve. It was a transponder used to alert members of the resistance. The slave was apparently not surreptitious enough as the Cardassian overseer wrapped his right arm around his neck. The Cardassian yanked the transponder out of the slave’s hands. “What is this?” the Cardassian demanded.

    The slave did not answer.

    The Cardassian slammed the Bajoran to the ground and kicked him in the right ribs.

    Vircona’s colleagues in the resistance found a network of underground tunnels the miners used. An adolescent boy climbed up a mineshaft and slid out of an access hatch. Arnit began shooting as soon as he became visible to all those in the room. Cardassian guards raced to the scene, but more resistance fighters came sliding out of the hatch.

    Vircona, meanwhile, made her way out to the tarmac and shot the two guards standing at the cargo shuttle. She trained a small scanning device on the starboard impulse nacelle. The scanner beeped revealing a critical component inside the nacelle. She removed an explosive device from the side of her rubber trousers and placed it on the nacelle. A timing device on her belt was then attached to the explosive to set a three-minute delay.

    A Cardassian phaser was fired in her direction. She turned around to see a Cardassian pointing a phaser at her. ”Who are you? What are doing to that ship?” the guard demanded.

    “There must have been a mix-up on the assignment roster,” Vircona attempted.

    The Cardassian snorted. He didn’t buy it.

    Limis began contemplating either being killed here and now or being tortured for information regarding the resistance. Either fate was hardly desirable. Within a split second, the guard was shot from behind by Arnit. “Let’s get the hell out of here,” the boy commanded.

    Two older Bajoran men brought up the rear with Yanith. The plan was for Yanith to allow himself to be captured and enslaved at this mining facility to get a lay of the land. Once he received a message from Vircona, he alerted the other resistance members. Vircona was horrified to see that Yanith had been brutally beaten.

    Upon returning to their subterranean base camp, Vircona contemplated the price of making sure that ore shipment did not reach Terok Nor and arranging the destruction of the Tamulna Mining Facility. Knowing that she was serving a greater good in her cover profession did not take away how disgusted she felt about degrading herself to the Cardassians. Like most Bajoran children during the Cardassian Occupation, circumstances forced her to grow up a lot faster. She had turned to prostitution during early adolescence following the deaths of both her parents, and soon afterwards, the resistance became her family.

    Even worse, Yanith was badly beaten and close to death. Vircona and her colleagues in the resistance had learned to devalue the lives of their Cardassian overlords. But was their cause so important that they had learned to devalue the lives of their fellow Bajorans? Lives were given in the noble cause of one day liberating their world from the Cardassians. They were not machines, but people with hopes and dreams who had friends, loved ones.

    “I’ve known him since we were infants,” Vircona told Arnit who stroked her jet-black hair.

    “He knows what is at stake as well as any of us,” Arnit replied, wiping off a tear that rolled down Vircona’s right cheek with the back of his hand.

    Vircona turned around to face her lover. “That doesn’t make it any better, and you know it, Arnit.

    “The spoonheads treat us like dirt,” she continued. “We have been forced to sacrifice our age-old traditions. You and I have sacrificed our childhood. We’ve all sacrificed our dignity and for what? So that we can one day be free of those butchers? Who knows if that day will ever come? Can’t some things be just for me? For you? For both of us?”

    Arnit put his hands on Vircona’s cheeks and kissed her lips. She smiled and returned the kiss. She stepped back, and unzipped her one-piece jumpsuit. It fell to the floor, and she stood naked in front of Arnit. She then unbuttoned Arnit’s shirt. He sat down on the bed and lay back. Vircona lay down on the bed next to him, and they made love.

    For now, the Occupation was light years away. For now, the young couple truly felt content. Their service to Bajor would resume tomorrow, but for now, they could have one thing for themselves.
  3. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Sector 21505 (near the Cardassian border): 2366

    The forty-year Federation-Cardassian border conflicts had become a war of attrition, especially in the last decade. Each skirmish that ended in a stalemate was more discouraging to Federation politicians and Starfleet officers. Without a big decisive victory, the Federation Council felt these confrontations would continue until the two sides could no longer defend the region where the two powers’ territories converged.

    The U.S.S. Horatio Nelson was part of a fleet of ships diverted to Sector 21505 to achieve that victory. The Cardassian Central Command had gradually increased its fleet deployments into that disputed sector creating apprehension among the colonies and UFP member worlds in the adjacent sectors.

    Sitting in the center seat on the bridge of the Horatio Nelson, Lieutenant Commander Ronald Kozar began thinking the name of his ship certainly fit this occasion. He looked over to his right where the tactical officer, Lieutenant Mandel Morrison, was stationed. “Anything on long-range sensors?” Kozar asked him.

    “Same as when you asked a minute ago, Ronnie,” Morrison asked. “No enemy ships in range. Fleet command will be ready to issue orders if that changes.”

    “I know. Captain Jellico is no slouch. These Cardassians can strike at any moment. We have to remain vigilant.”

    The entire bridge was quiet. Every officer was monitoring his or her station either monitoring communications chatter or waiting for a perimeter alert. Ensigns Leslie and DeSalle kept a firm hand on the conn and ops stations. Second lieutenant Shirnar sh’Aqba, the Andorian communications officer listened very thoroughly at communications by the Starfleet ships and any other subspace activity would indicate the presence of Cardassian ships.

    An alarm on the Morrison’s board sounded, catching everyone’s attention. Sh’Aqba’s antennae straightened to report her findings. “I’m reading Cardassian subspace activity, Commander. Distance: five billion kilometers.” The communications station signaled an incoming hail. “Message from the fleet commander.”

    The voice of Captain Edward Jellico aboard the U.S.S. Cairo piped through the bridge’s speakers. “All ships, this is Captain Jellico. Assume attack posture."

    The Horatio Nelson and fifteen other light frigates broke off from the rest of the fleet. The ships came head to head with a plethora of automated Cardassian dreadnaughts. These dreadnaughts were a recent innovation in artificial intelligence—a computer system capable learning and adapting to military strategy. Because these ships did not need crews, they could run kamikaze maneuvers on enemy ships.

    The Starfleet frigates fired at point blank range upon the dreadnaughts. The frigates veered starboard in order to draw the dreadnaughts away from the larger Starfleet vessels. That was a strategy that analysts at Starfleet Tactical had devised. The dreadnaughts continued towards the larger ships.

    “They’re not falling for it,” Morrison reported.

    Kozar turned his glance over to the helm. “Hard about, Mr. Leslie.” Then looking back at Morrison, he said, “Prepare a spread of photon torpedoes.”

    “Torpedoes ready, sir,” Morrison replied.

    The Nelson and four of the frigates turned towards the dreadnaughts firing a full spread of photon torpedoes. The dreadnaughts took damage to their aft thrusters. The Cairo and two other Excelsior-class ships fired three photons each. The forward shields of the dreadnaughts absorbed the impact of the torpedoes. The dreadnaughts fired plasma torpedoes at the Starfleet ships, inflicting heavy damage to the saucer modules. A full section of the Cairo’s forward saucer was blown off.

    “Jesus Christ!” Morrison exclaimed, seeing the damage. He then looked over to the young Vulcan science officer on his left. “Mister Chulak, run a full scan of those dreadnaughts. Draw whatever specs we have on them in the library computers. We have to know what makes them tick.”

    Chulak complied with order, displaying a schematic of the automated dreadnaughts. In the meantime, two dreadnaughts collided with the secondary hulls of the ships flanking the Cairo, destroying both ships. The Cairo itself got out of harm’s way as the dreadnaught just grazed the dorsal of the secondary hull.

    The rest of the fleet held its own against the fourteen Galor-class destroyers. That hardly mattered with the dreadnaught’s able take out ships at will. “Son of a bitch,” Kozar sniped as he saw two Nebula-class ships destroyed. He looked over to the science station. “Anything, Chulak?”

    “Nothing yet, sir,” the Vulcan replied.

    “Well, work faster!”

    “I cannot absorb information faster than I am presently doing. I do not see the logic in demanding the impossible.”

    “Well, the Cardies don’t always give a vole’s ass about logic,” Morrison snapped.

    “That may be true,” Chulak responded, “but I fail to see what relevance…” His screen readout beeped. “I may have something, sir. Their guidance systems are controlled by remote from the Galor-class warships.”

    Kozar swiveled his chair to the left and looked over at sh’Aqba’s station. “Sh’Aqba, can we block that signal somehow?”

    “I believe so,” the Andorian answered. “We can flood the area with a high frequency scattering field.”

    “Give her a hand, Chulak,” Kozar commanded.

    The Vulcan walked across the bridge to render assistance to the communications officer. Within a minute, Chulak reported the scattering field ready. The dreadnaught’s power shut off, allowing the fleet to effortlessly destroy them. With the dreadnaughts unable to provide support, the Galor-class warships withdrew.

    When the communications chime sounded, Morrison reported, “Incoming message from the fleet commander.”

    Captain Jellico appeared on the screen. “You’ve done well, Ronnie,” he said. “Hopefully, this victory will turn things in our favor.”

    “Thank you, Ed,” Kozar replied. “Something tells me we haven’t seen the last of the Cardassians. But they might think twice about causing trouble.”
  4. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    The Badlands: 2373

    Jem’Hadar fighters were in hot pursuit of a convoy of recycled old Federation transport ships at the outermost edge of the Badlands. Though these transport ships were equipped with outdated engines, the Maquis had added more updated weapons systems to these old and battered ships to mount a defense against the Cardassians in the Demilitarized Zone. Though the Maquis outnumbered the Jem’Hadar eight to one in ships, the three Jem’Hadar fighters were armed enough to destroy a single ship with one shot.

    Limis Vircona, long removed from her days in the Bajoran resistance and a woman of close to early middle age, piloted one of the ships that was still standing. The convoy of just over two-dozen ships was one of the last remaining of the Maquis, ferrying survivors of a mass slaughter the Cardassian Union allied itself with the powerful empire from the Gamma Quadrant, the Dominion.

    Her copilot was the slightly younger Rebecca Sullivan. The apprehension was made clear by the deadpan expression on her face. “We won’t make it at this rate,” she said.

    “Don’t say that,” Limis implored. “How’s Tarlazzi coming with that cloaking device?”
    “He’s still having trouble making head or tails of it.”

    “The Klingons just gave us the cloaking devices and didn’t tell us how the hell to use them. That doesn’t sound very honorable.”

    The cockpit of the shuttle continued to take a pounding. Other smaller ships were being destroyed all around them. But Limis’s ship continued to hold its own with experimental multiphasic shields recently stolen from a Federation supply depot. The smaller shuttles were unmanned piloted by computers similar to those of Cardassian dreadnaughts. They were nothing more than target practice for the Jem’Hadar.

    “These multiphasic shields are holding,” Rebecca reported, “but they won’t hold for long.”

    Limis opened a communication channel to another section. “Tarlazzi, how is that cloaking device coming?”

    Erhlich Tarlazzi was on the lower deck applying various instruments to a small, but complicated, piece of technology designed to cloak a ship. The dark-haired Rigellian had figured out how to connect the cloak to one of the power conduits. Each tool he poked at it caused an electric shock. “I’m still working out some of the bugs,” he said over the com. “I may be able to cloak part of the ship.”

    “That will have to do,” Limis responded.

    Sullivan gave Limis a skeptical look. What good would partially cloaking the ship do? “What are you planning, Vira?” she inquired.

    “You’ll see,” was the Limis’s only answer.

    The ship appeared to be disintegrating into the nothingness. It still remained partially visible. The Jem’Hadar took that as a sign the Maquis were futility attempting to cloak the ship as a final desperate act. The three fighters moved in for the kill. “Drop the cloak and lock quantum torpedoes on the dorsal of their warp nacelles,” Limis commanded.

    The ship became fully visible once again. Three quantum torpedoes struck the lead Jem’Hadar fighter at point blank range destroying it. The shockwave of its destruction enveloped the other two ships in very close proximity. The remaining fifteen ships reached the plasma storms unfettered. Limis and her crew were forced to abandon when they reached their fallback position.

    Athos Four was one of the few Maquis colony worlds to survive the Dominion massacres. They knew the Jem’Hadar would not give up easily. The Maquis did not refer to this planetoid by name, only by code, which Limis and her compatriots would buy them some time while waiting for a rescue. Sullivan and Tarlazzi used their emergency communications unit to send a coded signal to Rebecca imprisoned husband Michael Eddington to alert him of their arrival at their primary fallback position.

    “Michael, I hope you get this message,” Rebecca declared. “We’ve launched the missiles. They should reach Cardassia in thirteen days. It may not bring back our dead, but they will have a lot of company.”

    Limis stood ten feet away from Sullivan until she completed the message. “Are you sure that will get a Starfleet rescue team here?” she asked. “He’s in jail now thanks to his former CO.”

    “He still believes in certain Starfleet’s principles,” Sullivan replied. “He would not allow mass destruction to hit any planet, even one inhabited by the enemy.”

    “I hope you’re right, Becca. Because if the Dominion traces that transmission, we’re all dead, and all of this was for nothing.”

    The Jem’Hadar did find their way to Athos in the next three days. Many of the fleeing Maquis were slaughtered. They knew they were asked to sacrifice themselves so that key leaders could survive. Vircona and Rebecca were grateful, but still mourned their deaths. One death that really hit Rebecca hard was Michael Eddington’s. He gave his life when he accompanied Captain Benjamin Sisko to rescue the few surviving soldiers of the noble cause.

    Rebecca silently mourned her husband’s death while seated as Sisko’s right at the secondary piloting station. When the runabout cleared the plasma storms, she spoke to the captain. “I hope you’re happy now,” she said. “You pursued him relentlessly for almost a year. But having in jail wasn’t enough.”

    Sisko had always stood by his reasoning. Eddington betrayed his oath to Starfleet. Sisko said that over and over again, but he could not bring himself to say that this time. His only response was, “I’m terribly sorry for your loss.”

    “Even when you say that,” Rebecca answered, fighting back tears, “you are glad he is dead. And you killed him.”

    Limis entered the cockpit as Sullivan was ranting. She tried to restrain her hearing the murderous rage in her voice. “You killed him, you son-of-a-bitch!” Sullivan continued.

    Limis grabbed Sullivan by both arms and led her into the aft compartment. Once they were outside of the cockpit, Sullivan embraced Limis and began sobbing. “It’s okay, Rebecca,” Limis whispered. “Just let it all out.”

    Sisko did not hear what the two women had said, but he reflected for a minute over the last few days. While he did not entirely agree with what the Maquis stood for, one thing was undeniable. Eddington and most of the other Maquis who died were human beings like him. Sisko was remorseful of their deaths.
  5. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Historians Note: The main events of this story take place three months after the events of “Blaze of Glory” and one month after the Second Battle of Deep Space 9 as seen in “Call to Arms.”


    Chapter One

    A garbled visual transmission filled the display screen of a Starfleet briefing room. The quality of both the visual and audio feeds was poor. Communication technicians had done their best to filter out the imperfections, so that the Starfleet officers watching the transmission could comprehend the words of the sender.

    The man sending the transmission looked human when his face was discernible, even the left side of his face was in darkness. An earring on his right ear indicated his Bajoran heritage. “This could be a gold mine,” he said. “A huge gold mine! We’ve heard rumblings of some kind of Jem’Hadar breeding facility on this planet. Knocking it off before it goes online would huge with them cut off from the… “

    The transmission ended mid-sentence. The three admirals and one captain were certain this anonymous source would say Gamma Quadrant. Ever since Starfleet mined the entrance to the wormhole, the Dominion was forced to concentrate on shipbuilding and troop breeding in the Alpha Quadrant. “That message was intercepted at 0800 hours this morning,” Admiral William Ross stated to a more senior admiral seated across from the meeting table.

    “Any clue as to the transmission’s origin?” Fleet Admiral Alynna Nechayev inquired.

    “A communications scrambler is making that difficult,” said Edward Jellico, now a lower-half rear admiral, who was seated at Nechayev’s left.

    Captain Benjamin Sisko was seated opposite Jellico and to Ross’s right. “The Dominion knows better than to put all of its eggs in one basket,” he offered. “Even destroying one of those facilities would turn things in our favor. The Dominion is preparing for the possibility that dismantling that minefield may take months, or even years.”

    “We still have to find out if this transmission is genuine,” Ross added. “Technicians at Intelligence are analyzing it now, as well as narrowing the source of that transmission to a few sectors.”

    “If that is all, we’ll move to the next item,” Nechayev declared. She looked directly at Sisko stating, “Normally, starship command assignments are reserved to the admiralty. As former commander of Deep Space 9, you have great expertise on the Dominion, Benjamin. So your insights on the most qualified candidates can be helpful.”

    Sisko perceived emphasis on the word “former,” being forced to give up the station situated at the mouth of the Bajoran wormhole. Deploying the mines provoked an attack on the station. Given the difficulty in dismantling the minefield and the tactical situation, Sisko saw no other alternative than to evacuate all Starfleet personnel.

    He ignored this perception and could only say, “I feel honored.”

    “The Federation Council has officially pardoned all Maquis in custody last month,” Ross announced. “They would be useful assets as intelligence operatives and to remedy troop shortages.”

    “There’s also the matter of assigning qualified officers to command ships launched in the last month,” Jellico added. He opened a carrying case on the table and removed a padd, which he handed to Nechayev. “Here’s a list of ships needing capable commanders.

    “I’ve already recommended Ronald Kozar for the Lambda Paz. He can think on his feet; something that helped at the Battle of Sector 21505 seven and a half years ago.”

    “With all respect to Kozar’s abilities as a tactician,” Sisko replied, “we’ll need out-of-the-box thinkers to beat a formidable opponent. Limis Vircona is one of them.”

    Jellico gave Sisko a stern look at the mention of an ex-Maquis. “You can’t be serious,” he said.

    “Pardoning the Maquis survivors was a very controversial decision,” Ross added. “Giving one of them starship command is out of the question.”

    “Hear me out, sirs,” Sisko answered calmly. “She’s a capable leader who can inspire loyalty of those under her command. And we’re going to need scrappy players out on the field.”

    “Quite frankly,” Nechayev said, “I’m surprised, Benjamin. Your obsession with bringing Michael Eddington to justice is legendary.”

    After the former Starfleet security officer defected to the Maquis, Sisko was determined to see Eddington pay for his treachery. Eddington even compared himself to the protagonist in a once-famous Earth novel, and Sisko to the villain.

    “He betrayed Starfleet and got what was coming to him,” Sisko explained. “But I also saw in him unadulterated loyalty to as cause he passionately believed in. No one deserves the kind of tragedy these people have endured in the last six months.”

    “We’ll consider your suggestion,” said Nechayev. “That will be all, gentlemen.”

    Worf sat in the command chair on the bridge of the Klingon Bird-of-Prey IKS Rotarran. Since the evacuation of Deep Space 9, the only Klingon in Starfleet was now Starfleet’s liaison to the Klingon Defense Forces and the Rotarran’s first officer. He glanced at the other officers and crew on the bridge and he felt out of place. They were all Klingons; only Worf wore a Starfleet uniform.

    He was lost in the thought of how he had always walked a fine line between the Klingon Empire and Starfleet when an alarm chimed. The grizzly old helmsman reported. “Incoming message from Starbase 275,” said Leskit.

    Worf rose from the center and walked towards the starboard monitor station on the bridge. “On this monitor,” he said.

    The face of Captain Sisko appeared on the monitor screen. “I have a new assignment for you, Commander,” he said. “We’ve received a transmission from an unknown source about a Jem’Hadar breeding facility.”

    “Can you determine if this message is genuine?” Worf inquired.

    “That is what we’re trying to find out. The message wasn’t broadcast on any Starfleet Intelligence frequency. We’ve narrowed the source to three sectors. The Rotarran is one of those sectors. I’m sending you and General Martok all the specifications.”


    Hassin Arnit sat in a dark room. He could barely see two centimeters beyond the computer panel in front of them. He didn’t mind. He spent long hours in poorly lit rooms from his days in the Bajoran resistance and as a member of the Maquis. He had all he needed with this outdated, but sophisticated computer.

    With this computer, he had hacked into a number of monitoring stations and communications relays in order to track ship movements across many sectors. A blip indicating a Klingon Bird-of-Prey was moving toward sector 21607. “They’re taking the bait,” he thought aloud. “Now send an anonymous message to Terok Nor.”

    “Establishing link with Relay Station 3-9-7,” a robotic sounding masculine voice responded.
  6. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Jan 25, 2008
    San Diego
    I have only read part one THUS far, but I will read the other two. I like your writing style, and it flows like an episode. Can't wait to see where you take this...

  7. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Just finished 2351. very good portrayal of the Resistance and the lengths they went to to defy the Cardys.
  8. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Some of this opening story is inspired by the format of the opening novel of the New Frontier series. The flashbacks are to establish how various characters got to where they are in the present day. The captain was once a resistance fighter. The first officer feels like he's more than earned a starship command. Jellico is the admiral viewers/readers love to hate.
  9. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Jan 25, 2008
    San Diego
    yes..I totally dig that style..reminds me of LOST..and you do it quite well..keep it up!!!

  10. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    I'm caught up-its been a good read. I like the way you mixed your characters in amongst canon characters and episodes. You might want to edit a little heavier-you had a few sentences that looked like mash-ups of 2 or more.
  11. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Two

    “No, no, no. This will not do.”

    Commander Ronnie Kozar stood on the bridge of the Lambda Paz reading a status report from Chief Engineer Charles Logan. He had an urge to slam the padd in his right hand onto a table before noticing there was no table in front of him. He glanced at Commander Logan on his left and Lieutenant Morrison on his right. He then sauntered towards the conn station and stared at the station’s status board. “And they expect us to launch in 24 hours?” he asked, letting out a frustrated sigh.

    “Starfleet needs all the ships it can muster,” Morrison offered, even knowing that was of little consolation. Anything less than perfection wounded a CO’s pride even if Kozar had not been officially named this ship’s captain.

    “We’ve had three years to prepare for a war with the Dominion!” he shouted across the bridge. “Add to that, the continuing Borg threat. And Starfleet is sending out substandard ships?”

    “With all due respect, sir,” Logan offered, “the Luna-class starship was initially designed for exploration rather than war.”

    “I don’t want to hear excuses, Mr. Logan,” Kozar replied gibing the engineer a stern look. “See what progress you can make in the next 24 hours.”

    Logan nodded and headed for the port turbolift. Kozar took another look at the padd muttering, “I’d like to give Doctor Ra-Havereii a piece of my mind.” Looking up at Morrison, he said, “Morrison, I need you to see that the phaser and quantum torpedo guidance systems are up to specs. I don’t want to run into any problems at our first run-in with the Jem’Hadar.”

    “I’ll see what we can do,” Morrison gently replied. He headed for the tactical station on the starboard side of the bridge just as the communications board chimed. He peered over to see whom the message was from. “Message from Admiral Jellico, sir.”

    Kozar had been expecting this communiqué from Jellico for a while. The admiral had recommended him for starship command, and this call would be confirming that. “In the observation lounge,” he said, brimming with confidence that his promotion came through.

    Kozar sauntered into the observation lounge to see two human male engineers at the main computer terminal far to his right. “Take a break, guys,” Kozar commanded.

    Once the repairmen vacated the room through the side door on the right of the terminal, Kozar pushed a control to the right of the terminal. The face of Edward Jellico appeared on the screen, maintaining a professional and stoic demeanor almost resembling that of a Vulcan. He was like that even when he was making personal conversation. Kozar was still sure Jellico had good news.

    “Commander, what’s your status?”

    “We should be ready to launch in 24 hours,” Kozar replied, “although I’m not certain everything will be up to par.”

    Jellico grinned. “Sometimes I think engineers don’t know the difference between expediency and efficiency. I also have important news.”

    Kozar braced himself for the announcement of his promotion, though his expression remained neutral.

    “I’m afraid you’ve been passed up for command,” Jellico continued.

    That hit Kozar like a punch in the stomach. “There must be a mistake, sir.”

    “I wish that was the case. Limis Vircona was given the job as Lambda Paz CO.”

    “Sir, I have been with this ship every minute of every day. Not to mention, giving an ex-Maquis command of a starship is ludicrous.”

    “I raised that objection myself, but the decision’s been made. Her leadership skills and experience behind enemy lines are major assets. The good news is you’ll stay on as first officer.”

    First officer? But I’ve been a captain already. At least that was something. The new captain would need guidance from someone who knew the ship well. “I am granting you expanded executive autonomy,” Jellico added.

    Kozar’s eyebrows rose. “What sort of expanded autonomy?”

    “You have my authorization to relieve Captain Limis of command if you should deem it necessary. No questions asked. She’s a loose cannon whose first Starfleet career was a short one.”

    “Got it,” Kozar calmly replied. He drooped his head contemplating this grave injustice. He had earned a captaincy, yet Starfleet Command shortchanged him.

    “Good luck, Ronnie. Starfleet out.”

    Jaros Two was a drab barren planet, barely able to support humanoid life. Its initial inhabitants were survivors of a long lost Earth prison ship that crashed there during the late twenty-first century. Like the first English colonists in Australia, this band of criminals from the last world war took the first steps in creating a hospitable environment out of a hellish one.

    In accordance with the current Earth paradigm that any criminal could be rehabilitated, prison facilities were built on Jaros to honor those colonists once considered unredeemable. That philosophy was one of many Terran philosophies Limis Vircona found too idealistic. The Cardassians were oblivious to the suffering they had inflicted on her people. Worse, the Jem’ Hadar were utterly beyond remorse and redemption as the amoral servants of the Founders.

    She had continued to undergo counseling at the prison facilities, along with a crash-course in Starfleet protocols and rules of conduct a month after the pardons were issued. The prison therapists deemed her filled with anger and bitterness. My desire to hurt the Dominion and the Cardassians the way they hurt me would be an asset to Starfleet, she thought as she read the Federation News Service reports about the war.

    Her “prison cell”, if one could call it that, looked more like military living quarters with a comfortable bed, a desk with a computer terminal, and sonic shower in a side alcove. She probably wouldn’t show the spoonheads that kind of mercy. She was lost in that thought when Captain Sisko stepped in accompanied by a civilian guard and a Starfleet security officer.

    “Captain Benjamin Sisko,” she said, immediately recognizing the Starfleet officer who came to her rescue three months ago.

    Sisko grinned at the mention of his own name. “You know, you’re one of the few Bajorans…”

    “Who doesn’t call you ‘Emissary’,” Limis answered, rolling her eyes at the title other Bajorans gave Sisko when he first set foot on Deep Space 9. “I never believed that nonsense,” she huffed, flinging a padd on the desk.

    Sisko turned to the guards. “If you will excuse us.” The trim male Starfleet security guard nodded and stepped outside. The heavy-set civilian guard followed with the doors closing behind them.

    “I guess Starfleet sent you to pick me up,” Limis said, thinking that she still resented Sisko for his nearly yearlong hunt for Michael Eddington. “I’m not that excited about returning to Starfleet. But at least this’ll get me out of those damned counseling sessions. ‘You should accept that you lived. Embrace life.’”

    Sisko was all too familiar with that cliché while mourning his wife’s death at Wolf 359. Hearing that even during feelings of survivor guilt got tiresome after awhile. “I know what that’s like,” he said. “But I’m not just here as an escort.

    “Three days ago, Starbase 375 intercepted a message you might find interesting.” He lifted up the padd in his right hand. Limis grabbed it and pressed the activate button.

    The message from Hassin Arnit appeared in the same sloppy condition as when Sisko first viewed it. Three sentences into the recording, she harrumphed and hit activate button again stopping the playback. “My ex-husband is a fool,” she sneered. He always gets in way over his head. He never knew the difference between taking a risk that could pay huge dividends and just being reckless.”

    “Speaking of taking risks that could pay huge dividends,” Sisko replied, “the Dominion didn’t count on Starfleet cutting off their supply line to the Gamma Quadrant. They need time to prepare for a long sustained conflict that is confined to the Alpha Quadrant. We need to continue to hit them when they’re most vulnerable.”

    “I’ve read the reports, Captain. They remain very resourceful, as their attempts at creating artificial wormholes will attest to.”

    “You don’t strike me as the giving up type. That’s why I recommended you for this commission in the first place, along with your ability to lead others in fighting against difficult odds.”

    “I left that in the Badlands when the Jem’Hadar persisted in wiping out what was left of the Maquis.”

    The time for tact was over. “Fine,” Sisko huffed. “Stay here and wallow in self pity.”

    Limis stood up and looked straight at Sisko. “I’ll lead this mission,” she said, “on the condition that two of my most trusted colleagues are also on board. And understand that I am not doing this for Starfleet or the Federation. I want the spoonheads and their new allies to pay for destroying the only thing that mattered to me.”

    Rebecca Sullivan rubbed trickling sweat off her forehead with the back of her hand while performing maintenance on one of the weather control circuits. She wanted to curse the warden for telling her this planet’s heat was a dry heat. As if that made things better. Though the pressure domes and environmental controls made the environment more bearable, the scorching sun still made parts of the artificial habitat ridiculously hot. She actually longed to be traipsing through the damp jungles of Sindorin.

    “Could you hand me that laser drill?” she asked Erhlich Tarlazzi on the catwalk hauling up tools that would later be used to reinforce the dome’s transparent aluminum alloy. The middle-aged Rigellian showed no visible signs of fatigue.

    “Do you ever break a sweat?” she asked. She knew Rigellian physiology could endure great heat. She still couldn’t help but envy him.

    “As an offshoot of Vulcans,” Tarlazzi stated, ”Rigellians have a higher tolerance for heat. I’ve told you this before.”

    “I know. That can be irritating sometimes.”

    Limis sauntered up to their work area catching the last bit of the conversation. “You won’t be on this god forsaken planet for much longer.”

    Rebecca’s eyebrows perked up. “And how did you arrange that?”

    “The vaunted Captain Sisko made an appearance,” Limis explained. “He’s getting approval from his superiors, but I said I would only accept this particular mission if the two of you accompanied me.”

    “Not that I’ve complained of the conditions on this planet,” Tarlazzi declared, “but serving on a starship is far more appealing.”

    “I’m in as well,” said Rebecca. “If it gets me off this planet.”

    The runabout Rio Grande streaked into warp upon leaving the Jaros solar system. Limis, Tarlazzi, and Sullivan accompanied Sisko on the runabout. But none of them said a word to each other for four hours. Perhaps it was the awkwardness of again being on a Starfleet vessel the captain was piloting.

    Sisko ordered a raktajino from the replicator in the back of the cockpit. When he returned to the pilot seat, the status board indicated the runabout would arrive at the shipyard housing the Lambda Paz in six hours. Six more hours of silence.

    “Captain, if I may ask,” said Limis, seated at Sisko’s right, “why did you recommend me for this command? You were never too fond of the Maquis. I’m sure there are Starfleet veterans more qualified.”

    “That’s true,” Sisko replied, “but if this war turns out to be a long, drawn-out conflict, we’re going to need people who were able to survive against tough odds with far less resources.”

    “What’s interesting,” Tarlazzi chimed in from the aft station behind Sisko, “is that the Federation turned its collective back on those colonies turned over to the Cardies, and now the Feds want our help.”

    “Think of it as an opportunity for redemption,” Sisko suggested.

    Sullivan, seated behind Limis, smirked. “That works for me,” she said. Turning to look at Sisko, she said, “Captain, I should apologize for my outburst. You admired Michael more than I gave you credit for.”

    “It’s quite all right,” Ben responded, turning his seat to look at Rebecca. “Seeing Jennifer from a parallel universe die was like losing my wife all over again.”

    Six hours later, the runabout arrived at dry dock that housed the Lambda Paz. Work-bees and technicians in space suits were putting the finishing touches on the exterior of the ship. From the Rio Grande’s cockpit, Tarlazzi and Sullivan stood up and crouched down slightly to peer out the front viewport.

    “Behold the Lambda Paz,” Sisko declared. “Twenty decks, crew compliment of approximately 700. Luna-class."

    "Luna class,” Limis repeated. “Weren’t they the fleet of explorer ships built after the discovery of the wormhole.”

    “They were re-allocated towards a potential war effort with the growing Dominion threat,” Sisko explained.

    Limis gazed in awe. She had commanded many missions before, but in older smaller ships. This ship was a whole different story.
  12. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Three

    “Captain on the bridge!”

    That seemed like an odd statement for Morrison to make regarding a civilian who had just stepped off the turbolift. Nevertheless, the crew had been informed of their new CO. The ship was getting underway in less than a hour, so some protocols had to be bent.

    Morrison stood next to Kozar among a crowd of officers and technicians gathered in the center of the bridge. Logan was among those officers, as was the Andorian shen Shinar sh’Aqba, Kozar’s communications officer on the Horatio Nelson, who was now serving as a warp drive specialist.

    Limis held up a padd containing orders from the admiralty, knowing the sooner she started this silly ritual the better. “To Limis Vircona, stardate 51067: you are hereby granted a Starfleet battle commission of captain. You are further requested and required to assume command of the USS Lambda Paz as of this date. Signed Vice-Admiral William Ross, Starfleet Tactical’s Strategic Branch.”

    The others on the bridge gathered around their new captain to shake her hand. Kozar was the last to shake her hand. “Computer,” he said, “transfer all command codes to Captain Limis Vircona, authorization Kozar 4-7-3 Alpha Red.”

    The computer chimed in acknowledgement. “Transfer complete. USS Lambda Paz now under the command of Captain Limis Vircona.”

    “Now that that’s over with,” Kozar announced to the rest of the bridge crew, before looking straight at Limis, “we’ve prepared quarters for you on Deck Seven, Section Fourteen, Room 2-5-0-8. Commander Logan will escort you.”

    Logan walked with Limis back to the turbolift she had just stepped off just minutes ago. The crowd dispersed across the bridge, but Kozar and Morrison stayed put. “Ronnie, a word in private,” Morrison whispered.

    The two officers stepped into the observation lounge, where thankfully no one was working maintenance. “What’s on your mind, Mandel?” Kozar asked after a quick visual survey of the room.

    “What is Ross thinking?” Morrison huffed. “Assigning a Maquis as captain?”

    “I don’t like it either,” Kozar stated. “Right now, we have to learn to co-exist with them. Admiral Jellico has assigned me to keep an eye on her. If she steps too far out of line, I’m authorized to relieve her and assume command.”

    Kozar walked out of the meeting room, but Morrison stayed and contemplated the situation. But his concern was not about Limis, but about Kozar. His friend had more than earned a starship command, so he would probably let his own ambitions affect his judgment. For now, all he and the other Starfleet vets could do was accept the admiralty’s decision.

    Gul Skrain Dukat stared at the baseball Sisko left behind after abandoning Deep Space Nine, which reverted back its Cardassian designation of Terok Nor. Sisko had left it behind in his office, now once again Dukat’s as a message that he would one day return. Dukat saw the baseball as a window into his adversary’s personality, as a way to determine Sisko’s next move against him. He appeared oblivious to what his top Dominion consultant, the Vorta Weyoun, was saying.

    “Now that the station is back up and running,” Weyoun stated, “the next priority is to take down that minefield cutting us off from the Gamma Quadrant.”

    Dukat’s failure to answer led Weyoun to believe the Cardassian’s mind elsewhere. “Dukat, are you listening to me?” he snapped.

    “Of course,” Dukat replied, still staring at the baseball. “The minefield is a top priority.” The smug little Vorta’s condescension was the one constant since Dukat had allied Cardassia with the Dominion. Since the seizure of the station, Weyoun hassled Dukat and his crew day after day about expediting repairs to the sabotaged system, as if the constant badgering would speed things up.

    “Sisko is no fool,” Dukat continued. “Those are cloaked, self-replicating mines out there. But rest-assured , our best engineers and scientists are working tirelessly to solve this puzzle.”

    The baseball fell out of Dukat’s hands when the doorbell chimed. “Enter!” he shouted.

    Dukat’s second-in-command Corat Damar stepped into the office and placed a padd on the desk. “Our listening posts in Sector 21607 have reported an increase in Federation and Klingon reconnaissance activity.”

    Dukat made a split-second glance at the padd, the looked up at Damar. “Nothing of value is in that sector,” Dukat insisted. “Let them continue to chase false leads.”

    “One message said something about a Jem’Hadar breeding facility,” Damar responded, looking over at Weyoun. “It came directly from a Cardassian patrol. But we have no such facilities there.”

    Weyoun, looking at the padd, redirected his gaze to Damar. “Actually, one is about to go on-line in a week,” he said.

    Dukat shot Weyoun a befuddled glance. “I was not informed of this. Damar, will you excuse us?”

    Damar obediently bolted out of the office. Weyoun spoke once the doors closed again. “Until now, the Cardassian military did not have a ‘need to know’.”

    “How many other secret bases do you have?” Dukat demanded.

    “That is unimportant. After Toros Three, the Founders felt more subtle approaches were needed.”

    With that, Weyoun sauntered out of the office. Dukat wondered how much the Dominion was holding back from him. But that was a matter to worry about after the Federation was defeated.”

    The Defiant was at red alert.

    Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax tightly grasped the arms of the command chair. The Dax symbiont’s other hosts had been in numerous combat situations. Jadzia herself had experienced going into combat. But for only the second time in her Starfleet tenure, she was commanding a starship going into a potential battle.

    While surveying one of the sectors from Hasin Arnit’s message may have originated, the Defiant received a distress signal from an old Federation shuttle within Dominion-held territory. The shuttle used a forty-year old distress frequency, so the pilot was most likely a Maquis survivor operating behind the lines to slow the Dominion’s advance. It could’ve been a perfectly designed Dominion trap, however, since a few ships had been lost in this manner since the war began. The more sound tactic became sending one ship to reduce such losses in the future.

    “Visual range in two minutes, Commander,” reported Ensign Cecil Haaj, from the helm who spoke with a mixed central Asian and British accent.

    Dax nodded in acknowledgement. She then looked to her right at the Ferengi cadet at communications. “Cadet, can you try and raise the shuttle again?”

    Cadet Nog entered the command sequence to open a communications channel. The console buzzed indicating the signal was being jammed. Jamming the enemy’s sensors and communications was a typical Dominion tactic. Starfleet had to keep developing new ways to jam the jammers. “No, sir,” Nog answered. “I’ll try to clear it up.”

    “Status of weapons and shields?” Dax asked the officer seated at tactical on Nog’s left.

    “Phasers charged, quantum torpedoes ready at your command,” the tall red-haired Lisa Neeley reported.

    “Shields are at full intensity,” Chief Miles O’Brien added from the portside engineering station. “We’ll be ready to put the shields around the shuttle at a range of eight-thousand kilometers.”

    “In visual range in one minute,” Haaj reported.

    “Take us out of warp once in visual range,” Dax commanded. “O’Brien, stand ready to beam the pilot aboard. Doctor Bashir to the transporter bay.”

    The Defiant emerged from subspace with its phaser cannons lighting up. The multi-targeting phasers enveloped one of four Jem’Hadar fighters firing at the old Starfleet shuttle. Two of the remaining ships turned and fired phasers back at the Defiant.

    Those two ships whizzed past the compact Starfleet warship intent on drawing it away from the shuttle. “They don’t want us to rescue this pilot,” Neeley observed of her tactical display, as the bridge rocked from another phaser hit.. The status board showed the ships were trying to draw the Defiant out of transporter range of the shuttle.”

    “Helm, take the bait,” Dax shouted. “Course 2-6-4, mark 9-7.”

    The Defiant made a full 180-degree turn. The starboard fighter turned for another pass towards the shuttle, while the Defiant fired two quantum torpedoes at the port fighter.

    “Cadet,” Dax said looking over at Nog. “Lock a tractor beam to get it out of the line of fire.”

    The Defiant emitted its light blue tractor beam. The shuttle’s shields immediately deflected the beam.

    Nog growled in frustration. The old style shuttles were not equipped with multiphasic multi-layered shields designed to resist the Jem’Hadar’s phased polaron disruptors. The Maquis, on the other hand, were very resourceful. “His shields are deflecting the beam. I’ll try hailing him to ask him to lower his shields.”

    Nothing but static filled the comm channel. Lieutenant Neeley reported. “His shields won’t hold out for much longer.”

    “We sure as hell aren’t waiting for the Jem’Hadar to knock them out,” Dax retorted. “Fire low-frequency tachyons bursts to reset the shields.”

    The nose of the Defiant fired two burst at the shuttle immediately knocking the shields out.

    In the transporter bay, O’Brien’s display showed the shuttle’s shields going down. O’Brien immediately energized the transporter. A humanoid body materialized for a split second, but the beam quickly fizzled out.

    “Oh, hell,” O’Brien muttered. “He’s got some kind of transporter scrambler,” he told Julian Bashir, looking over his shoulder. “I can compensate if I lock in on anything organic. Modesty be damned.”

    “May the Prophets forgive you,” Bashir quipped.

    The Bajoran male piloting the shuttle was able to fully materialize as the shuttle exploded. Upon seeing his lack of coverings, the Bajoran man quickly crouched down to conceal his nudity. “What in the Fire Caves kind of transporter sorcery is this?” he snarled.

    “We were trying to save your life,” Bashir replied, “but you weren’t making things easy for us.”

    A female medic took the blanket off an anti-grav stretcher and placed it around the newest passenger. “And with good reason,” he said. “The information I have is too valuable for the Dominion to let fall into Federation hands.”
  13. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Jan 25, 2008
    San Diego
    Wow..where has this story been. I actually remembered reading this and went back and started at the top. This is a real good story, and wow, reminds me of how much I miss DS9.

    And a very good cliffhanger!! DONT wait several months to continue!!

  14. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Four

    The newly commissioned Captain Limis Vircona looked at herself in a mirror making minor adjustments to the Starfleet uniform she was now wearing—first the collar where she felt four pips, then the cuffs on her sleeves. It felt snugger than any of her civilian outfits. She almost wanted the uniform to be tight fitting.

    She took several small through the Spartan crew quarters when the communications chime caught her by surprise. “Bridge to the captain,” Kozar called.

    “Yes,” Limis answered with some hesitation. That’s no way to make a good first impression, she thought.

    “Message from the starship Defiant,” Kozar reported. “They found a Bajoran man named Hasin Arnit who says he will only speak to you.”

    Limis sighed loud enough to be heard on the comm. She divorced that hothead years ago, but he was still a big part of her life in the Bajoran resistance and the Maquis. “I’m on my way,” she said. “How long until we get underway.”

    “Ten minutes,” Kozar replied.

    Limis needed five minutes to make her way to a turbolift leading directly to the bridge. She didn’t want to embarrass herself asking a crewmember for directions. She mapped out a route from her quarters. Along the way, she had to turn back having gone too far the wrong way.”

    This maze of a Federation starship was something she would have to learn on the fly. It was something the Maquis was used to. Upon stepping off the turbolift, she noticed vacant stares from several of the officers. She quickly dismissed them as getting used to a new CO. Kozar, she was told, had been with this ship since it was rushed into action.

    “Captain on the bridge,” Morrison again stated. That was a cue for officers at various auxiliary stations on the port and starboard side of the bridge focused back on their tasks. Two technicians in gold technician jumpsuits went to back to clearing various pieces of equipment out of people’s way.

    “Get us underway, first officer,” Limis said to Morrison.

    Morrison looked over at Kozar not sure how to respond.

    “I’m the first officer,” Kozar stated. “Commander Kozar, ma’am.”

    “All right, Commander Kozar,” Limis replied, while turning around to face him. “Get us underway.”

    “Ensign Huckaby, hail the dock master,” Kozar said to a young human male at the operations station on the port side of the bridge. “Lieutenant Carson,” he said to the young human woman manning the conn at the center of the bridge in front of the two command chairs, “take us to one-quarter impulse and set course to clear the ship traffic.”

    Ensign Willis Huckaby reported from “Dock master has given the all clear,” he said. “Transferring heading to the helm.”

    “Course set at bearing one-three-six, mark twelve,” Sara Carson added.

    “As soon as we’re clear of the ship traffic,” Limis commanded, “set course to rendezvous with the Defiant at warp eight.”

    “Aye, Captain,” Carson obligingly answered. We’re clear.”

    Kozar moved toward the center seat on the starboard side of the bridge, but then remembered who was captain. “That’s your chair, ma’am,” he said.

    Limis then sat down and gave the final order. “Engage.”

    Commander Logan and Lieutenant sh’Aqba began a tour of the engineering section for the other two Maquis now serving as engineers. Chaz Logan had been a part of the constructions crews of a number of Starfleet vessels. He had even risen to the position of chief engineer of one of the first Galaxy-class starships. As one of the senior supervisors of construction of the Luna-class starship, which began after the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole. This class of starship was to be utilized for exploratory purposes. He didn’t expect these ships to be fighting in a war. For that reason, he was given the role of senior chief engineer in accordance with the practice of having multiple chief engineers on new classes of starships the first year of operation.

    Logan had to resist the urge to deck Erhlich Tarlazzi who contradicted everything he said. “Don’t open that” and “Please leave that alone,” were imperatives Logan imagined giving a child, not an adult. He would have a few more gray hairs by the time this war was over anyway, so he figured he’d better swallow his engineer’s pride.

    “Are you sure this articulation frame is aligned properly?” Tarlazzi asked from the console right in front of the warp core at the entrance to the warp core maintenance area.

    Sh’Aqba looked away from her conversation with Rebecca Sullivan about the warp engine schematics. Both she and Rebecca wondered if they would have to restrain their respective colleagues.

    “Yes, I am sure,” Logan calmly replied. “I, myself, recommended these specs to the Corps of Engineers. This configuration regulates the creation of a warp field that is less damaging to the fabric of space-time.”

    “That sounds interesting,” Tarlazzi answered with a hint of skepticism.

    “You don’t agree?” Logan asked rolling his eyes. “Yes, our warp field does still leave what colloquially are called subspace footprints, but environmentally sound warp drive is still in an experimental stage.”

    “Gentlemen,” sh’Aqba began, stepping between them. “I was just about to explain to Miss Sullivan how our biological how our bio-mechanical circuitry functions.”

    Logan hesitated for a second then caught his breath. “With our developments of bio-neural circuitry,” he said, “the SCE has created hybrid circuitry.”

    “I’ve heard of bio-neural circuitry being used on some of the new classes of Federation starships,” Sullivan replied, recalling her late husband’s time in Starfleet.

    “Yes,” sh’Aqba affirmed. “Bio-neural components help speed up response time, but traditional isolinear circuitry has still proven more advantageous in the pinch. They both complement each other in particular situations.”

    “I look forward to taking those circuits apart,” Tarlazzi joked, just to see how Logan would react.

    “A word in private,” Sullivan whispered to Tarlazzi.

    The two former Maquis stepped out into the corridor. “These Starfleet engineers don’t take kindly to criticism from less experienced officers,” Sullivan then continued.

    “He supervised construction,” Tarlazzi insisted. “He didn’t build this ship with his bare hands all by himself.”

    “Nevertheless,” Rebecca replied. “Have I told you about when Michael resolved a major crisis on Deep Space Nine?”

    “Many times,” Erhlich relented.

    Rebecca was referring to when Eddington had command of the station in the absence of the rest of the command staff. When he had to beam his colleagues off their runabout, he was forced to preserve their transporter patterns in the station’s computer core. He then had the patterns transferred to the Defiant to rematerialize them. Seeing the shape the ship was in, Eddington knew Chief O’Brien would not be pleased, and he was right. Erhlich had indeed heard that story enough times.

    While Tarlazzi and Sullivan were receiving a crash course in the ship’s systems, Morrison gave Limis a tour of the rest of the ship to quickly familiarize her with locations of key facilities. One stop was the sickbay.

    Doctor Aurellan Markalis was at the moment the only medical doctor on staff aboard the Lambda Paz. That was bad enough without being heavily inundated with patients needing to be back on duty quickly. She was quite capable of making these decisions. She just released a male human paitent when the captain and Morrison entered.

    “Doctor Markalis,” Morrison called to the doctor. “I’d like you to meet our captain, Limis Vircona.”

    “A pleasure to meet you, Captain Limis,” Markalis replied. “Why is Ronald Kozar not captain?”

    “Starfleet Tactical assigned me instead,” said Limis, who couldn’t help but notice the quick and methodical manner in which she walked and the monotonous sound of her voice. The youthful blonde’s lack of a smile was also peculiar. “Mister Kozar is first officer.”

    “I apologize then for my absence from the change-of-command ceremony,” Markalis stated with no change in her facial expression.

    “That is quite all right, Doctor. You are the only MD aboard. Your hands are full.”

    A blonde-haired human male entered the primary ICU from a back door connecting with secondary facilities. He gave Limis a befuddled look as if she was an intruder. “What the hell are you doing in my sickbay?” he demanded.

    “Excuse me?” Limis asked. “I don’t believe we’ve met.”

    “I am programmed to identify every member of this crew,” the human responded. “You are not one of them.”

    “Computer, deactivate EMH,” Morrison commanded.

    “I have a lot of work to do,” the blonde man insisted as he fizzled out and disappeared.

    “He is supposed to have a better ‘bedside manner’ than the Zimmerman, but he is just as rude as Zimmerman,” Markalis stated, in reference to the designer of the medical holographic program who modeled his first EMH after himself and his cantankerous personality. She walked away towards the CMO’s office.

    The comm chimed and was followed by Kozar’s voice. “Bridge to the captain. We’ve reached the rendezvous coordinates.”

    “On my way,” Limis replied with Morrison close behind.

    “If I may ask,” Limis continued as they exited sickbay, “why holographic doctors only? What about holographic engineers or security officers.”

    Morrison grinned at the thought of holographic soldiers. “If we could create those things,” he said, “we’d win this war in a heartbeat. Medical personnel are as likely to be incapacitated or killed as any other crewmembers. The EMH is available, if such a contingency ever happened, to address immediate medical needs.”

    That point suddenly made sense to Limis. Considering the complexities of Federation technology, that was all that was distracting her from soon having to confront an old adversary.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  15. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Five

    Captain Limis sat at the head of the meeting table in the makeshift ready room. Every once in a while, she looked up from the padds displaying personnel files to consider why the Lambda Paz was sent into action shorthanded. The Maquis had to make the most of the little resources they had. Starfleet knew of the threat the Dominion posed for three years. Last year’s conflict with the Klingons and the most recent confrontation with the Borg should have been incentive to redouble shipbuilding efforts.

    On the other hand, the Dominion’s ingenuity and resourcefulness caught everyone by surprise, including and especially Maquis. The idea that her former spouse had information that could end the war in one fell swoop seemed absurd. But despite their personal and ideological differences, Vircona had to hear Arnit out. Any change to kick a formidable enemy that destroyed nearly everyone and everything she cared about while it was down had to be taken.

    Two human male security officers entered through the side door behind the monitor overlooking the other end of the table. They escorted Arnit into the briefing room. “Vira,” he said with a smile.

    “Gentlemen, please wait outside,” the captain ordered the guards. They complied, and Limis stood up to walk towards Arnit. “No one has called me that in years,” she lied.

    “That uniform looks good on you,” Arnit said wryly, while thinking how much he had no love for the sanctimonious Federation.

    He placed his right hand Vircona’s left cheek. She began to fall into a trance. They began reliving one of their moments of intimacy. She felt as content as when they held each other in their arms when they were much younger. But she was seeing the middle-aged man with slightly grayer hair who had just entered the room.

    She pulled away from Arnit and slapped him in the side of his face. “Those merote herbs will kill you one of these days,” she stated, referring to a plant indigenous to Bajor that had hallucinogenic properties similar to LSD on Earth. No one could explain why someone who took them was able to allow others to experience their own hallucinations.

    “They kept most us going during the occupation, Vira,” Arnit answered. “You took them, too.”

    “I quit them when I damn near fell into a coma five years ago. But you came to me about a very important matter regarding the war.”
    Arnit grinned. He admired Vircona’s preference for people to get to the point. “Most of us who survived have done what we can to find any weaknesses the Dominion may have,” he explained.

    Arnit’s words piqued Limis’s interest, and she sat back down. Arnit sat in a chair on her left. “We bribe our way onto freighters from non-aligned worlds between the UFP and the Cardassian Union,” Arnit continued. “We provide whatever services we can, all the while gathering intelligence on Dominion-held territory.

    “As the whole Federation knows, the Dominion’s seizure of Deep Space Nine has been meaningless as long as they are cut off from the Gamma Quadrant. The Founders are scrambling to build more breeding facilities and ketracel-white manufacturing plants in the Alpha Quadrant.”

    “This breeding facility is on a Class-M planetoid in the Tong-Beak Nebula,” Arnit stated at a staff briefing also attended by Kozar, Morrison, and Logan. “They’re protected by automatic defense systems at the nebula’s perimeter. Only about five fighters travel in and out. The Cardassians may not know about it.”

    A star map of the nebula and the surrounding area was displayed on the monitor. Prior to the Defiant’s arrival, Arnit ejected his shuttle’s recorder marker. The Defiant then retrieved it after repelling the Jem’Hadar.
    Kozar, seated at Limis’s left, was the first to speak. “The Dominion isn’t being entirely forthright with their own allies,” he mused.

    Arnit rolled his eyes in annoyance. “Ah, yes, typical Starfleet officer who is hoping some kind of wedge can be driven the Dominion and the Cardassians,” he sighted. “The tactic does merit. Most of us have mastered Cardassian encryptions. The Cardassians are also more likely to defect. Keeping them out of the loop is an effective backup plan.”

    “We’re not concerned with that, Arnit,” Limis chimed in “Our immediate priority is entering the nebula safely without drawing attention to ourselves.”

    “Modifying our shields to protect us from the theta radiation won’t be that difficult,” Morrison offered.

    “Even so,” Logan added, “when the plasma exhaust bonds with the nebula’s disulphates, we’ll be lit up like a Christmas tree.”

    “That sounds like a challenge for you, Logan,” Limis retorted. “Morrison, consult with Doctor Markalis on the potential effects of theta radiation poisoning."

    “We’ll meet back here in three hours, gentlemen. Dismissed.”

    Kozar stayed behind after the others left. Limis immediately deduced he had wanted to address some concerns privately. “Something else, first officer?” she asked, raising an eyebrow.

    “Would the prudent action be to contact Starfleet and request instructions?” the second-in-command inquired.

    “What would be the point?” the captain asked rhetorically. “That may be the protocol, but we don’t know when that breeding facility will go online. When it does, taking it out will be much harder.”

    “We should probably still call for reinforcements.”

    “I’ll suggest having reinforcements wait at a secondary position. Sending one ship is still the best strategy because Arnit’s intelligence may not be entirely accurate. It could be a means of throwing us off. The Dominion knows the Federation does not desire a long and drawn-out conflict.

    “I appreciate your input, Commander. I may need it her and there, but going by the book is not always the best and most practical.”

    “Understood,” Kozar said flatly with a nod.

    “Set a course for the Tong-Beak Nebula, Mister Kozar.”

    “Yes, ma’am.”

    Following the briefing, Morrison spent the lull in action aboard the ship to conduct routine diagnostics of the security sensors. This included checking the communications logs for any unusual activities. Each of the logs looked perfectly normal, but then he scrolled over a gap in the log. He scrolled back up to confirm what he thought he saw. “This is strange,” he muttered.
    Kozar stood up from the captain’s chair and walked over to the station to learn what Morrison had discovered. “It’s some kind of unidentified transmission,” Morrison reported.

    “Can you localize the source?” Kozar asked.

    “No, sir. All I can tell is that it originated inside the ship.”

    “Ensign Huckaby,” Kozar said, looking over at Ops, “any idea where it’s being sent?”

    “Negative,” the young dark-skinned ensign answered. “It didn’t use any of the subspace antennas.”

    “Nevertheless, we should get to the bottom of this,” Kozar offered. “Run a signal correlation trace to try to recover that log.”

    A blip appeared on Second Ulin’talag’s status board. The text below it indicated a Federation starship was en route to Sector 21607. “First,” he called to the Jem’Hadar commander. “Another Starfleet ship is moving towards this sector. It’s on a direct course for the nebula.”

    “Only one ship?” First Teron’tokal inquired.

    “Yes, First. I don’t see why since they should know of our facility by now.”
    “They want to make sure their intelligence is accurate,” the First explained. “Then they will bring others. We must follow the plan the Founders have laid out for us. Obedience brings victory.”

    “And victory is life,” the Second finished.
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  16. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Six

    Captain Limis took a sip of raktajino while looking at a padd Logan and Morrison presented her with. She placed the padd on the circular coffee table in front of the sofa on the opposite side of the entrance to the bridge. “My understanding of starship operations is a little out of date,” she said. “You’ll need to explain it in layman’s terms.”

    “At 1317 hours,” Morrison replied, “my security sensors detected a subspace transmission not using any of the subspace antennas. It could not have gone far, but long range sensors detect no other ships, cloaked or otherwise.”

    “Cloaking technology is always advancing,” Limis offered.

    “There is more,” Logan added. “When Ensign Huckaby tried to recover the log, there was no log to recover. The message was sent through the ship’s power grid and encoded in the waste energy from the propulsion system.”

    "It’s a Maquis trick to make coded transmissions harder to trace,” Limis recalled. It was how Starfleet was able to receive our distress at Athos Four. So someone on this ship is trying to cover their tracks.”

    “Unfortunately,” said Morrison, “because of the illicit nature of this transmission, localizing it will be extremely difficult. This person has already demonstrated he will go to great lengths to destroy the evidence.”

    “Also at 1317, the warp field was amplified by 300 percent.”

    “So our warp signature was detected across a larger radius,” Limis finished. “To repeat your metaphor, Mister Logan, we were lit up like a Christmas tree.”

    “That’s hardly a coincidence,” Morrison bluntly stated. “We could have a mole on board.”

    “What’s the procedure for flushing out shapeshifters?” the captain inquired.
    “Phaser sweeps, blood screenings,” answered Morrison. “Of course they aren’t entirely reliable."

    “Get on it, though,” Limis commanded. “Logan, work with Tarlazzi and Sullivan to redouble your efforts to mask our warp trail. Dismissed.”

    Both men walked towards the door to the bridge. Logan stepped through when the doors parted, but Morrison stayed. “If I may ask,” he said, “why did you and Arnit divorce?”

    Limis had raised her coffee mug off the table, but then set it back down. “That’s a very personal question, Lieutenant.”

    “Your intelligence file said you and Arnit had personality clashes,” the security chief explained. “It could be a matter of ship’s security.”

    Limis stood up and walked towards Morrison. “Are you suggesting Arnit is a Changeling?” she snapped. “Or worse, he’s collaborating with those monsters?!”

    “We can’t rule it out. Many of the Maquis felt the Federation abandoned them. Some of them may feel the Federation doesn’t deserve their help.”
    “The alternative is to sit back and watch the Dominion conquer the Alpha Quadrant or help the thugs who wiped out the closest thing he and I had to family.

    “Our marriage may have been a hell worse than the one the spoonheads inflicted on us, but I can tell you he is no collaborator.”

    “Understood,” Morrison demurely replied, and walked out.

    Limis walked back to the sofa. A thought crossed her mind as she sat back down. Was she still in love with her former spouse? She dismissed the thought as quickly as it entered her conscious thinking. But everything else was true even if their feelings during youth had fizzled out.

    Outside the briefing room, Morrison stepped onto the bridge with a blush. That woman had a certain exuberance he found attractive. Of course, such a thought was not appropriate regarding his captain. He quickly composed himself and tapped his combadge.

    “Morrison to Major Davis,” he said, contacting the Military Assault Command Officer commander, “prepare your teams to conduct phaser sweeps and blood screenings. We may have a Changeling on board.”

    Kozar handed a padd he was reviewing back to Ensign Huckaby. “Changeling?” he asked Morrison.

    “We have a mole on board,” the security chief replied. “The sender of that mysterious transmission.”

    “The captain is showing her lack experience,” Kozar mused. “There have been no reports of Changeling infiltration in the past five months. The Dominion probably feels it can win this war without spies and saboteurs. The Klingon war set us back, as did the Borg’s attempt to change our history.”

    “We can’t rule it out,” Morrison insisted.

    “We’re about to take the ship into battle with a skeleton crew,” Kozar replied, tapping his combadge. “Kozar to Major Davis, disregard Mister Morrison’s orders.”

    “I’m following the captain’s orders, Ronnie.”

    “And I’m countermanding them. We can’t send our people chasing after a wild goose that may or may not exist.”

    The rest of the bridge crew looked away from their stations. The last thing this shorthanded crew needed was a mutiny, especially in the midst of a war.

    After two days traveling at warp eight, the Lambda Paz reached the nebula. It was a large red cloud that appeared to span nearly a light year. It was the gaseous remains of a million year old supernova which enveloped planets in various adjacent star systems.”

    Morrison had been pleasantly surprised to see no enemy patrol ships, even within one light-year of the Tong-Beak Nebula. “Maybe they’re all hiding inside the nebula,” he commented, watching his tactical sensors.

    “Were you expecting a big welcoming committee?” Limis asked sarcastically. “I though Starfleet officers prefer to avoid bloodshed.”

    “Just something we’re not used to seeing in the vicinity of a strategically important outpost,” Morrison explained.

    The comm chimed and Logan signaled. “We’re ready to begin shutting systems down,” he announced.

    “Set warp and impulse engine power output at ten percent of normal,” Kozar commanded. “We want to be able to get out of here at a moment’s notice.”


    Assault probes began closing in on the starship. Two of them rammed into the shields. “Quantum torpedoes, full spread,” Kozar ordered.

    A wave of quantum torpedoes exploded near the twelve other assault probes destroying them effortlessly. That was almost too easy to the bridge crew.

    “Conn,” said Limis, “take us to one quarter, and then let the inertia carry us in.”

    “Aye, sir,” Sara Carson answered from the helm. “We’ll enter the nebula in approximately two minutes.”

    “Huckaby,” Limis continued looking over to Operations, “shut down all non-essential systems.”

    Huckaby complied and the lights dimmed.

    From the edge of the Lambda Paz’s sensor range, a Jem’Hadar battle cruiser was tracking their course. A Starfleet delta representing the Federation ship on Ulin’talag’s status board began fading off and on. First Teron’tokal and the Vorta Yelgrun stood in the center of the bridge observing activity in the immediate vicinity through their headsets.

    “The Federation ship is getting closer to the nebula,” Ulin’talag reported. “We won’t be able to detect them once they’re in.”

    Teron’tokal walked towards the pilot, Third Otan’irix. “Extrapolate its course,” he commanded, “then lay in a parallel trajectory.”

    “Make sure we remain on the edge of their sensor range,” Yelgrun added.

    “We’ve reached the nebula’s perimeter,” Lieutenant Carson reported.

    “Kozar, get Arnit up here,” said Limis. “Let’s see what’s in there.”
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2009
  17. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Seven

    Captain’s log, stardate…
    Captain’s log…

    Limis sat in the command chair attempting to record a log entry. Each time she started, the recorder shorted out. She rolled her eyes after the second attempt and turned off the recorder on the control panel on her right. “Like this ship was put together by monkeys,” she mumbled.

    “What’s that, Vira,” Arnit asked from behind her. He had just stepped off the turbolift after having received Kozar’s text message.

    Limis rapidly stood up and turned around. All her years in the trenches gave her those kinds of reflexes. “If we were still in the Resistance,” she scowled, “I’d kick your ass for scaring me like that.”

    “Just making sure you still have those survival instincts,” Arnit replied, pacing towards the center of the bridge. Looking at the viewscreen, he said, “I see we’re in the nebula. Set a course bearing one-three-seven mark two-six.”

    Carson looked up from her console in confusion. “Captain?” she said.
    “What he said, Lieutenant,” said Limis.

    Kozar looked away from the mission operations station behind tactical. “There’s magnetic turbulence on that heading,” he reported. “You copy, Carson?”

    “I see it,” said Carson, entering a course correction.

    The ship still caught a piece of that magnetic turbulence and the bridge shook. “We went through worse in the Badlands,” Arnit complained.

    “We still should play it safe whenever possible,” said Limis. “We still need to have a ship to get there.”

    “Approaching the planetoid,” Carson reported.

    “Anything on sensors?” Kozar asked Morrison at tactical.

    “If there’s a base down there,” Morrison answered, “we wouldn’t know it. The nebular gases are still playing hell with the sensors.”

    “I would suggest going into a high orbit outside transporter range,” said Arnit taking a seat in Kozar’s empty chair upon seeing the first officer making a beeline to it.

    “He’s right,” Morrison replied. “I’m reading a warning buoy which turns on and off at random maneuvers. It’s a brilliant maneuver.”

    “Kozar,” Limis said, looking up at the commander, “We’ll use the shuttles to conduct reconnaissance. Assemble the designated pilots and have a plan in one hour.”

    Chaz Logan provided Erhlich Tarlazzi and Rebecca Sullivan a look at the shuttlebay to introduce them to a unique class of shuttles supplied by Starfleet Intelligence. These shuttles had no markings of any kind that would immediately give them away to an enemy. The locator transponder could be modified to appear to be any ship of their choosing.

    “Normally, only Starfleet Intelligence uses these shuttles,” Logan explained. “During wartime, however, these shuttles are important assets to any ship.”

    “Just out of curiosity, sir,” said Rebecca, “What is the point of distinct markings on a starship or support vessel? That seems self defeating.”

    “In the event a ship is destroyed,” Logan answered, “we can still identify it from a few pieces of debris.”

    “Of course, in the Maquis,” said Tarlazzi, “we could just scratch those markings off those old rebuilt fighters.”

    “Sorry to rob you of that honor,” Logan quipped.

    The comm chimed and Limis called. “Bridge to Commander Logan. Please report to the briefing room. Rebecca, I’d like you there as well.”

    “Acknowledged,” Logan replied. “Sh’Aqba,” he called to the Andorian engineer present in the shuttlebay. “Finish giving Tarlazzi the runaround. Make sure he doesn’t break anything.”

    Tarlazzi waited until Logan had left the shuttlebay before deciding to mock him. “’Make sure he doesn’t break anything’,” he said to sh’Aqba. “What’s the worst that can happen? I mistake an isolinear processor for an antimatter containment grid and the whole ship blows sky high?”

    “Your hypothetical scenario notwithstanding,” said sh’Aqba, “that is possible, but highly unlikely. Technology continues to advance, so you may not be familiar with the latest innovations.”

    “Fair enough,” Tarlazzi relented. “But he acts as though I could injure his child by pressing the wrong button.”

    “Starfleet engineers can’t help but be proud of their work, Mister Tarlazzi.”

    Logan and Sullivan arrived at the briefing room where Limis was waiting for them. Kozar and Morrison were also present, as was Sara Carson. Arnit was by Limis’s side. Why she stuck up for a man she divorced was peculiar. Maybe it was getting used to a new commanding officer. Logan, like the other Starfleet vets, still couldn’t help being suspicious of their guest.

    “Now that we’re all here,” said Limis, “we’ll be launching a reconnaissance mission to the planet to verify that there is in fact a Jem’Hadar breeding facility on the surface.”

    “Commander,” she continued looking to her right to Kozar.

    Kozar walked over to the display screen, which showed a topographical display of the facility’s vicinity. “We’ll be sending two shuttles to conduct massive scans of the surface,” he said to the group. “We’ll stay just outside of visual contact so we’ll appear to be one of their patrol ships.
    “I’ll lead one team,” he continued. “Mister Logan, you’ll lead the second team.”

    “Rebecca,” said Limis, “I’d like you to accompany Kozar. Consider this on-the-job training. Carson, you’re with Logan.”

    “I’d like to accompany one of those teams,” Arnit offered. “I know the terrain.”

    “We prefer not to put civilians in danger,” Kozar answered.

    “Was I asking you, first officer?” Arnit growled.

    Limis raised a hand to quiet the argument. “Gentlemen. This is one protocol I’m going to abide by, despite your knowledge of the planetoid.”

    Second Ulin’talag had taken command of one of the smaller Jem’Hadar fighters. Two of those fighters had been dispatched to monitor the activity of the shuttles that had just departed the Lambda Paz. After seeing the shuttles move closer to the atmosphere, he sent a message to Otan’irix, in command of the other fighter. “They’ve reached the atmosphere,” he announced. “I’m setting an intercept course.”

    “The First’s orders were to monitor only,” the Third replied.

    “I know the First’s orders. They cold take what they learn and bring others to destroy the facility. We normally shouldn’t question our gods. But their plan has no guarantee of success. Lay in an intercept course. Prepare to attack.”

    Shinar sh’Aqba supervised modification of the communication system on the bridge. Engineering teams had already made the necessary changes to the communications antennas throughout the ship. Now came bringing the bridge controls online. “Try it now,” she told a technician at the mission operations station on the starboard side of the bridge.

    Sh’Aqba then walked over to the operations console. “We now have audio communications with the two shuttles,” she reported.

    “Open a channel,” Limis commanded. “Lambda Paz to shuttles one and two. Can you read us, Commanders?”

    “We hear you loud and clear, Captain,” Kozar replied.

    Logan’s comm channel then piped through. “Getting a clear signal.”

    “We’re within sensor range of a large structure,” Kozar reported. “Lifeform readings detect a large number of Jem’Hadar and Vorta. Minimum power levels.”

    “What are your scans picking up, Logan?” Limis asked.

    “Closer range scans reveal what look like incubation units,” Logan reported.
    Static suddenly filled the comm channel before it cut out. “What’s going on?” Limis demanded of sh’Aqba. “Get them back.”

    “I can’t,” sh’Aqba responded. “Some kind of communications dampener.”

    Morrison’s console then sounded. “Two Jem’Hadar fighters entering the atmosphere from the far side of the planet,” he shouted. “Closing in on the shuttles’ position.”

    “Why are we just now detecting them?” Limis asked.

    “They emerged from a dense hydrogen pocket.”

    “Conn,” said Limis to Huckaby, now manning the helm, “set an intercept course. Red alert.”
  18. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Quite the epic you're building here. Lots of fun with the crew, too. More?
  19. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Eight

    Logan futilely tapped the comm panel several times after losing contact. “Lambda Paz, do you read?” he shouted.

    “Some kind of communications dampening field,” Carson suggested from the starboard co-pilot seat. “We’d better get up to the ship before… “

    A perimeter alert sounded from her station. “Two Jem’Hadar ships have entered the atmosphere,” Carson reported. “They’re closing fast.”

    “Try to evade them,” Logan replied.

    “Evasive pattern delta initiated.”

    The nose of the shuttle pointed upward towards the sky. The two enemy fighters were immediately nose-to-nose with the shuttle. The Jem’Hadar ships fired phasers back-and-forth while moving in its single file attack formation.

    Both Logan and Carson had to grasp their consoles to keep from falling out of their seats. “Inertial dampers failing,” Carson reported. “I can’t promise anything with these atmospheric thrusters.”

    “Switch controls to manual,” said Logan, as the shuttle took two more hits. The ceiling nearly collapsed in on Carson. She covered her head shrapnel fell over her.

    “Atmospheric thrusters have failed,” Carson said after another hit. “We won’t be able to escape the atmosphere.”

    “Then find a place to set us down,” Logan suggested. “Transferring power to lateral thrusters.”

    The Lambda Paz moved into a low orbit. Huckaby kept a firm hand on the helm to maneuver a ship not normally designed for sub-orbital flight. “I have weapons lock,” Morrison reported.

    “Fire quantum torpedoes,” Limis commanded.

    Four quantum torpedoes erupted from the ship and struck both Jem’Hadar fighters. The two enemy ships then moved upwards and veered away from the planet.

    “The Jem’Hadar are moving off,” Morrison reported. “They’re not even putting up a fight.”

    “We’ll worry about this atypical maneuver later,” Limis replied. “Raise Commander Logan.”

    “I can’t” sh’Aqba answered after entering commands into her console. “I’ve extrapolated the shuttle’s exhaust trail.”

    “What about Kozar? Tell him to get up here.”

    “No need to tell us, Captain,” Kozar shouted over the comm channel. “We’re on our way. We’ll be in the shuttlebay in five minutes.”


    Limis then closed the channel. “Put us in a standard orbit, Mister Huckaby,” she said. “Sh’Aqba, have Doctor Markalis and a team of MACO’s report to Transporter Room One. You have the bridge until Kozar returns. Morrison, you’re with me.”

    The captain made a beeline for the starboard turbolift when Morrison stepped in front of her. “Captain,” he said, “Starfleet Code, Section 12, Paragraph 4 states that the second most senior officer should lead this team.”

    “I’m aware of the regulation,” the captain sternly answered. “Paragraph 5 then states the captain has discretion.”

    Without another word, both Morrison and Limis headed for the turbolift. Morrison raised another concern after they left the weapons locker and headed for the transporter room. “Should we bring the doctor with us?” he asked.

    “Our people may need immediate medical attention,” said Limis. “If I understand correctly, Starfleet officers are trained in basic combat. Are you suggesting she can’t handle herself?”

    After a brief hesitation, Morrison answered. “Not at all.”

    The other four members of their team had already arrived in the transporter room. Markalis was fidgeting with her phaser and tricorder holsters. Behind her were three Military Assault Command Officers conducting visual surveys of their phaser rifles. Their uniforms were quite different from standard Starfleet uniforms. They were black jumpsuits made of a heavier fabric with a red or gold stripe across the chest.

    Major Jonathan Davis was the MACO leader and so had a red stripe on his uniform. Hew was a tall heavy-set human who dwarfed everyone else in the room. He was as tall as the Brikar in the group, Mik Tannan, who came from a race much taller than the average humanoid. The third person in the group was Dinara Nowitzki, a tall tan-skinned human woman.

    “Let’s go,” Limis declared.

    The six-person team stepped onto the transporter platform. Markalis was now fidgeting with the strap on her medkit even as they dematerialized. The team materialized in a barren desert region of the planet.

    Limis, Morrison, and Markalis pulled out their tricorders and began scanning for human life signs. The captain tapped her combadge with the side of her left hand already holding her tricorder. “Limis to Commander Logan or Lieutenant Carson,” she said, “if one of you can hear me… “

    She was interrupted when alarms sounded on the tricorders. “Two life signs,” Markalis reported. “One of them faint.”

    “Any idea which one?” Morrison asked even though his tricorder was telling him the same thing.

    The away team moved single file towards a ravine to where the life sign readings originated. Upon reaching the ravine, they could see Logan limping and grasping the ravine walls. “Logan!” Morrison shouted. “Where’s Carson?”

    “She’s in the shuttle,” Logan answered. “She’s stuck under some debris I can’t lift by myself.”

    Markalis immediately stepped in front of Logan to scan him. She was feverishly pushing buttons to diagnose the engineer’s condition. “Third degree plasma burns, broken clavicle, punctured lung,” she said in her usual dispassionate voice.

    Before she could signal the ship, a legion of three Jem’Hadar materialized near the edge of the ravine. The three closest armed with kartokins impaled both Markalis and Major Davis in the shoulders. Morrison and Limis lunged towards those Jem’Hadar knocking two of them over. Tannin, who had the strength of five Jem’Hadar, grabbed the third soldier by the neck and threw him down. As that Jem’Hadar got himself back up, the Brikar poked him with a stick that delivered a small electric shock.

    Logan and the MACO’s left standing helped up Davis and Markalis up of the ground and led them into the ravine.

    Up in orbit, Kozar and Sullivan had just stepped off the starboard turbolift. Kozar was mystified to see a Bolian he recognized as Ensign Jovis Ren at tactical and Lieutenant sh’Aqba seated in the captain’s chair. “Where’s the captain?” he demanded.

    “She’s on the planet’s surface looking for the other shuttle’s crew,” sh’Aqba answered, standing up to face Kozar.

    “What?” Kozar snapped. “Is she out of her mind?!” For a minute, Ronnie considered that the captain might be killed. But wishing such a fate on a fellow officer for such petty reasons as being passed up for command was a notion no Starfleet officer should think of.

    “Get her team back up here now,” he demanded.

    Sh’Aqba took back the Ops consoled and attempted to comply. “Nothing doing,” she said. “Targeting scanners are too erratic to bring them all up at once.” She then bolted for the port turbolift to lend a hand in the transporter room.

    Down on the surface, Tannin and Nowitzki scrambled to help get their wounded colleagues further out of harm’s way. Nowitzki reached into Markalis’s medkit to find some cloth to use as tourniquets. Markalis talked the MACO’s through the process of applying the tourniquets to sufficiently stop the bleeding in both her shoulder and the major’s wounded shoulder.

    Limis and Morrison, meanwhile, were in fierce combat with the two Jem’Hadar using their rifles to deflect their opponents’ swords. With one strike from a kartokin from the side, Limis’s rifle flew out of her hands, and she lost her footing. Just as her opponent was about to go for the kill, Limis pulled her Type-2 hand phaser out of her holster and fired. Without looking to see the life drain from her enemy, Limis turned and shot Morrison’s opponent.

    As they retreated towards the ravine to join their colleagues, three more Jem’Hadar materialized. Limis and Morrison brought up the rear behind Tannin and Nowitzki. The Starfleet team quickly prevailed in the ensuing fire fight. Six more then materialized.

    “Limis to Lambda Paz!” the captain called. “Get us out of here!”

    While awaiting transport, the Starfleet team pulled further back towards the shuttle. Nowitzki took a flurry of Jem’Hadar plasma rifle fire.

    Aboard the ship, sh’Aqba worked the transporter controls. “I can get you up a few at a time if you stay in the same place,” she informed the away team. “I wouldn’t recommend taking refuge in the shuttle. I can’t even lock onto the life sign in there at this range.”

    “Just get us out before we’re all dead!” Limis shouted over the barrage of phaser fire.

    Morrison ran toward the shuttle hoping to get Carson out. “Get back here,” the captain called pointing her phaser at Morrison. “That’s an order!”

    “Sorry,” Morrison answered. “I’m disobeying that order.”

    Sh’Aqba energized the transporter beam and five figures fizzled in and out. She attempted a narrower confinement beam, and Logan and Markalis materialized. After energizing a second time, Davis and Tannin came aboard, then the charred body Nowitizki. Once they were safely aboard, sh’Aqba beamed them to sickbay.

    Limis and Morrison were still under heavy fire while moving towards the shuttle. They slipped through a large crevice in the shuttle’s hull. Carson lay unconscious slumped over the co-pilot seat with a heavy girder over her. Limis felt her neck for a pulse. “She’s alive,” she said. She then looked over at Morrison. “Why were you so determined to save her?”

    Morrison sighed. That was enough of an answer for his captain. He was too embarrassed to say it aloud, especially now that he was willing to disobey orders to save the woman’s life.

    “I see,” Limis said with a nod.

    “Would Arnit have abandoned you under similar circumstances?”

    Limis was running on too much adrenaline to recall any such instance while in the Bajoran resistance or the Maquis. The brutal beating of her resistance colleague two decades earlier was one incident that always haunted her to this day. “My people have a saying,” Limis stated. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.”

    “That’s not a Bajoran saying. Those were the words of Spock of Vulcan.”
    “If it works, use it.”

    Sh’Aqba had tried to bring Limis and Morrison aboard, but she quickly lost the lock altogether. “Bridge,” she said, tapping a comm panel, “recommend moving into a lower orbit f I have any chance regaining the lock.”
    “That’ll be difficult with another squadron of Jem’Hadar on the way,” Kozar replied. He then looked at Ren. “How long before they’re in weapons range?”

    “Thirty seconds,” Ren answered.

    “We can use an old Maquis trick that almost always worked,” Sullivan offered. “Of course, I’ll have to take the helm.”

    “Ensign,” Kozar said to Huckaby, “give her your seat.”

    Huckaby reluctantly ascended from his chair. He held out his arm to offer the chair to Rebecca. Rebecca sat down shooting a devious grin at the skeptical young man. She tapped a comm panel to hail engineering.

    “Sullivan to Tarlazzi,” she said. “Bring warp engines to full power and take us to Warp One.”

    “Warp speed?” Kozar asked. “Inside a planetary atmosphere?”

    “Think of it as flooring the gas when it’s still in park,” Sullivan replied. “Ops, route as much power as you can to lateral thrusters.”

    “At least you know this ship very well already,” Huckaby offered, although he did not fully understand the reference to primitive ground vehicles. “I’ll do my best.”

    The ship hurdled down towards the planetoid. The bridge rocked harder and harder as it got closer to the surface. Kozar’s eyes widened contemplating the imminent destruction of what had been his ship prior to its first, and hopefully not its last, voyage. “Watch the structural integrity, Huckaby!” the short-tempered first officer sang out.

    Down in the transporter room, sh’Aqba kept the targeting scanners locked on the general vicinity of the crewmembers still on the surface. Almost without warning, a readout indicated she had regained the lock.

    Effortlessly, sh’Aqba energized and brought Limis, Morrison, and the barely conscious Carson aboard. “Bridge,” she said triumphantly. “I’ve got them.”

    Upon hearing this, Sullivan tapped a control on the helm sending the starship back upward. The backwash of the sudden change in direction forced up a large amount of desert sand creating a massive dust storm that could envelope an entire continent. Once the Lambda Paz had cleared the atmosphere, it immediately streaked to warp before the Jem’Hadar battleship got off a single shot.
  20. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Rapid, exciting battle sequence. Now what?