Star Trek: War Aftermath (my own DS9 relaunch)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Enterprise1981, Oct 24, 2008.

  1. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    This is my response slow paced the DS9 relaunch novel series is. This will be the first installment of four stories that address the effects the Dominion War had on various Alpha Quadrant powers and on the Dominion.

    Episode 1: The True Way

    Historical Note: The main events of this story take place in mid-2376, roughly six months after the end of the Dominion War as seen in "What You Leave Behind."

    Chapter One, Part One
    Cardassia Prime: Capital World of the Cardassian Union

    The Cardassian Union, once a great Alpha Quadrant power, was now in a state of uncertainty in the aftermath of the Dominion War. Its capital world, Cardassia Prime, lay in ruins as retaliation for a popular uprising against Dominion rule. Nearly a billion civilians lost their lives in the genocidal attack. The future of this once powerful empire was in question.

    Cardassia City was the site of a diplomatic conference to discuss the future of the Cardassian Union. Humans, Vulcans, Andorians, Klingons, Romulans, and Bajorans were among the various Alpha Quadrant races in attendance meeting with representatives of Cardassia’s new democratic provisional government and various members of the Cardassian diplomatic corps. Within the crowd, a large dark-skinned humanoid stood amongst a slow-moving line of people. He visually surveyed the large auditorium-sized meeting area. The right side of his face was fitted with what appeared to be a metal brace with a thin rubber tube jutting out towards his lips. Various dignitaries pointed at him suspiciously, noting no change in his facial expressions as he acknowledged orders from whomever he was communicating with.

    The crowd of people in front of the suspicious humanoid began to disperse, and he began to pace towards an innocuous wall panel. He effortlessly yanked off the panel revealing a large carrying case inside the wall. He removed the case and set it down on the floor. Two Cardassian security guards dressed in civilian attire to avoid looking conspicuous approached the mysterious humanoid. The guards removed rectangular badges bearing a red Cardassian Union logo from their equipment belts. One guard then verbally identified himself and his colleague. “Central Guard, sir,” he said. “Several people here have reported suspicious activity. We’re going to need you to come with us.”

    The unidentified alien opened a velcro pocket on one side of his trousers and pulled out a long gun-like weapon. He fired two energy projectiles into the guard’s chest, turned to right, and fired two more into the other guard’s chest. A large group of onlookers gasped in horror. The alien fired his weapon towards the ceilings to fend off the crowd. He then opened the case to reveal an explosive device and pushed a large button at the top of it. A fireball enveloped the entire meeting area. In place of the shiny brown walls and humanoids of various races were walls covered in ash and partially incinerated charred corpses.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2008
  2. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Interesting teaser.
  3. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

    Jan 25, 2008
    San Diego
    I agree...I know the relaunch books cover some of this stuff, but to honest, I like the fan fic attemtps better...good luck Enterprise 1981...

  4. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    The final section illustrates how fighting terrorism is more difficult than conventional warfare. They are harder to identify than military personnel of an enemy state, as a lot of them have innocuous jobs. And in various cases terrorists/resistance fighters will invoke teachings of their religions.

    Chapter 1: Parts 2-4
    Federation Starbase Deep Space 9

    Sparks came gushing out of a pulsating plasma conduit. The petite Ferengi engineer attempting to repair the conduit quickly jumped out of harm’s way and hissed in disgust. The conduit then went dark. “What happened?” a voice called out.

    “Must be another plasma coil overload,” Lieutenant Nog answered slamming his laser torch down on the floor.

    Deep Space Nine’s chief of operations, Lieutenant Aiman al-Rashid jogged towards the open wall panel. He trained a scanning instrument on a segment of the conduit. He whistled in amazement when the instrument let out a high-pitched whine. “Well, there’s your problem. This whole conduit is fried. It’s a wonder it held out this long. We’ll have to replace it.”

    “That could be a problem, sir,” Nog responded. “Dismantling the conduit would completely shut down the primary security grid for this section. We don’t have that luxury with the conference tomorrow.”

    “And what alternative would you recommend, Lieutenant?”

    “Well, sir, we could assign extra security to this location and bypass through the adjacent power distribution manifold. The security grid would not be as effective, but it would be more useful to us than if we dismantled these conduits.”

    He gave a quick back and forth visual survey of the conduit layout. Someone was hoping to gather information by examining the plasma coils through Rashid’s eyes. Rashid’s contact quickly uploaded the data received and sent back instructions. As far as the Starfleet engineer was concerned, nothing unusual took place. Little did he know that acknowledging his Ferengi assistant’s suggestions were programmed instructions.

    Rashid nodded his head approvingly. “That would be a fine short term solution. We’d still have to refit this whole network eventually. Get started on it immediately.”

    "I’m on it, sir,” Nog answered enthusiastically. He then sauntered off towards to begin necessary modifications to adjacent power distribution systems.

    “O’Brien sure taught you well, Nog,” Rashid said, referring to his predecessor Chief Miles O’Brien, who served as a mentor to Nog prior to his departure to teach at Starfleet Academy.”

    Nog stopped to acknowledge the complement he had received from his superior. “He was a good teacher, sir. Making the Cardassian power core compatible with the Starfleet issue technology can be quite a challenge.”

    Part 3
    [LEFT]Lieutenant Ro Laren stood in the station’s security office updating the criminal bulletin screen. Ro had replaced Odo as the station’s top law enforcer after the latter rejoined his fellow Changelings following the Dominion War. She was diverted from her on that aspect of station security when the doors to the office slid open. Colonel Kira Nerys stepped inside with an inquisitive, but concerned look. “You wanted to see me?”[/LEFT]

    [LEFT]Ro looked away from the bulletin screen displaying the latest criminal profiles in response to the station commander’s arrival. “Yes, sir,” she said walking towards the desk to grab a PADD. “Rashid is finding those repairs to the surveillance system a lot harder than expected. He’s asking for extra deputies in these sections.”[/LEFT]

    Ro handed Kira the PADD. Kira looked over the display on the screen.

    “Looks like a lot of us could use some leave time after this conference,” she quipped. “Are these personnel transfers going to be absolutely necessary?”

    Ro sighed, sensing Kira’s annoyance. “Unfortunately. Neither the Diplomatic Corps nor the Bajoran Council is willing to delay this conference so much as a day. Getting the Breen to the negotiation table is nothing short of a miracle. Rashid is even willing transfer some of his crew to security. I’m already working out the duty roster.”

    Kira grinned recalling stories from the recently departed Chief O’Brien and Lieutenant Commander Worf about Ro’s constant clashes with superior officers while those three served on the Starship Enterprise together. As far as working security, Ro did not possess Odo’s strict sense of discipline and devotion to protocols, but she was just as capable and efficient as the departed constable. “Security seems to be a perfect fit for you.”
    “What can I say? Having that kind of seniority means having plenty of autonomy.”

    Just don’t let it go to your head, Lieutenant.”

    Both Bajoran women smirked at each other before Kira left the office and Ro began entering commands into her desk’s computer console.

    Part 4

    Solarin was deep into analyzing a PADD displaying Deep Space Nine’s schematics. A middle-aged Bajoran man, he looked like one of the guerilla fighters from Cardassia’s occupation of his home planet even though the occupation was over: long, unkempt hair and a partially shaved beard. His concentration almost resembled a hypnotic trance, which he was pulled out of by the chime of the doorbell. He slammed down the PADD and took a few deep breaths. The doorbell chimed two more times. He pulled a phaser pistol out of a drawer underneath his desk and aimed at the door to the station’s guest quarters. “Enter,” he shouted before letting out an exacerbated sigh.

    The door slid open, and Ronnick, another middle-aged Bajoran man wearing standard engineering coveralls, entered, not realizing that the quarters’ occupant was pointing a weapon at him. Upon seeing this was the case, he reflexively held his hands up. “Is that any way to greet your brother, Solarin?” he asked in a half-joking tone.

    Solarin grinned in response to his sibling’s quip, while lowering his pistol. “With all these security arrangements for the upcoming conference, we can never be too careful.”

    That’s exactly what I came here for,” Ronnick replied. “Extra security officers have been assigned to areas where we sabotaged the surveillance sensors.”

    Solarin stood up slowly while stroking his curly red ponytail. “Then the situation calls for us to modify our plan.”

    Ronnick was not as convinced as his brother was. “The extra security will make carrying out that plan difficult. They’ve been ordered to report any suspicious activity.”

    Solarin looked over at Ronnick and walked over to him. “We’ve been planning this for months,” he hissed. “Nothing has gotten in our way. We cannot back out now. We only need to make a few changes. Do I have your support?”

    Of course, brother. I serve the Prophets.”

    “As do we all. The Prophets will not let us down.”
  5. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    I doubt the Prophets subscribe to the idea of rogue assassins. You've got a good bit going here-keep it up!
  6. hellsgate

    hellsgate Commodore

    Jan 10, 2002
    Surrey (Vancouver) B.C. Canada
    Any chance of "Bluegill" infiltration, seeking any leverage to unsettle the new golden era of re-dedication to Starfleet exploration & Founder blood screenings, etc.? (TNG - "Conspiracy".)
  7. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    The U.S.S. Lambda Paz was the lead ship in a fleet of Federation warships escorting relief aid convoys to Cardassia. These were normally routine relief missions. Never knowing, though, when pirates or the more violent political extremists would strike, Starfleet Command wanted to err on the side of caution. The Lambda Paz was one of the first of the Luna-class destroyers thought to be decommissioned after the war, but instead they were assigned to these types of peacekeeping missions.

    Captain Limis Vircona, a Bajoran national, had a distinguished war record as one of the former Maquis rebels granted a Starfleet commission at the outbreak of the war. She was given command of the Lambda Paz during the Dominion War for her courageous leadership along the front lines.

    “Helm, how much longer to the Cardassian system?” Limis asked while glancing away from a PADD she was reading while in the center seat on the bridge.

    Second Lieutenant Sara Carson reported from her piloting station near the front viewscreen. “One hour, thirty six minutes, Captain.”

    First officer Ronnie Kozar seated at the captain’s left suddenly had a look of concern on his face. He had been assigned the position after his years commanding the Starfleet frigate Horatio Nelson, first during the border conflicts with the Cardassians, and then after the Klingon Empire invaded the Cardassian Union. He knew when a captain was feeling uncertain since he had once been one. “Something’s on your mind, Captain,” he said.

    Limis maintained a stoic demeanor while staring at the vast expanse of space seen on the viewscreen. She had almost come to expect an attack, especially after hearing about the bombing of a diplomatic conference on Cardassia Prime. “Something is not quite right,” she mused. “No welcoming committee, no random and unprovoked attacks from the usual hostiles. The region hasn’t been this quiet even after the war ended.”

    Captain’s intuition, members of the bridge crew thought. Limis quietly considered the situation before looking over at the tactical station on her right. “Anything on tactical, Mister Morrison?”

    “No ships on short or long-range sensor, sir, “Lieutenant Commander Mandel Morrison responded.

    An alarm sounded from the control readout he had begun to divert his gaze from. “Hold on; there’s a perimeter alert: seven ships traveling at warp six point two on an intercept course at bearing 2-3-6, Mark 4-0.”

    “Time to intercept?” Commander Kozar asked Lieutenant Carson.

    “Eight minutes, thirty-six seconds,” Carson responded.

    “That could be the welcoming committee,” Limis suggested. “But have weapons and shields ready just in case, Morrison. And take us to yellow alert.”

    Morrison acknowledged the order with a nod. Various crewmembers began vacating the bridge in response to the alert. Other crewmembers stepped off the port and starboard turbolifts to assume vacant secondary stations throughout the bridge.

    Kozar sauntered towards the Mission Operations station situated behind the primary Ops console on the port side. Seven blips indicating the approaching ships were displayed on a readout screen. An identification of those ships appeared below the representative blips: CARDASSIAN, HIDEKI CLASS.

    Hideki Class, “Kozar reported. “They’re a transport convoy—the equivalent of Starfleet runabouts.”

    Some of the bridge crew was relieved. Short-range survey and transport ships wouldn’t dare challenge a supply convoy protected by Luna-class destroyers. But something did not sit well with higher-ranking officers, especially Morrison. “No Galor-class escort vessels to match our armaments?” he inquired.

    Kozar looked over to Ensign Willis Huckaby manning the Ops console standing next to him. “No, sir,” the young ensign timidly replied.

    Limis contemplated the situation. Starfleet vessels would not attack a lesser-armed group of ships without provocation. But the instability in the region demanded that these convoys have warships as escorts for the same reason ships such as the Lambda Paz were protecting Federation convoys. “Raise shields,” she commanded. “Red alert.”

    Kozar was puzzled. Despite Morrison’s suspicions, even he found the decision hasty. “Is a red alert necessary at this time, sir?” he asked.

    Kozar walked over to the centers seats to confront the captain. “They haven’t entered weapons range,” he snapped, while hovering over Limis. “Even if their intent was hostile, they wouldn’t be any match for even one of our destroyers.”

    This was not the first time the first officer had shown this level of irritation with his captain on the bridge. To quickly put out the flames, Limis stood up and looked her second-in-command straight in the eye. “In the Maquis, we survived by knowing guerilla tactics when we saw them,” she proclaimed. “These ships of theirs would not go it alone if they had no chance against us. They have something up their sleeves. We have to be prepared for it.”

    “Fair enough,” Kozar responded. “But as first officer, I would have preferred begin allowed to offer my suggestions before such action had been taken. Raising shields could be, in itself, construed as hostile.”

    “Agreed. We can ask the convoy to send us their clearance code while we gradually increase our speed. Satisfied?”

    Kozar could detect sarcasm in the tone of Limis’s voice when he asked if he was satisfied. But he soon calmed himself to avoid continuing to make a scene. He then turned to the viewscreen to order the course change. “Lieutenant Carson, increase our speed to warp six point five, but slowly.”

    Carson and others on the bridge crew had turned away from their stations to see how this latest disagreement between captain and first officer would play out. Carson returned her attention to the helm to carry out Kozar’s order. “Aye, sir.”

    Morrison’s tactical display showed Starfleet insignias indicating the Starfleet destroyers moving faster. An arrangement of smaller triangular blips represented the supply ships, which the Starfleet ships surrounded. Those ships matched the course change. The moving blips representing the Cardassian ships started moving faster.

    Morrison walked over to the mission operations station behind his tactical station and then reported. “No response from the convoy. And they have increased speed to warp seven.”

    “Tactical display on-screen,” Limis requested. “Keep hailing them, Huckaby.”

    “No response,” Huckaby reported in response to the captain’s last line of orders.

    “They’re closing,” Morrison reported. “Now at warp eight.”

    Clearly, these vessels’ intent was not friendly. The next course of action was up to Limis. “Protecting that convoy is our top priority,” she told her first officer. “Agreed?”

    “Agreed, Captain,” Kozar calmly responded.

    Limis looked over at Ensign Huckaby. “Contact Europa. We’re breaking formation to go after those ships.”

    The two Luna-class destroyers, the Lambda Paz and the Europa, approached the seven Cardassian scout ships at high warp. When the two sets of vessels came face to face, they all dropped out of warp. Most of the bridge crew was calm as they were not expecting a fight. But Limis was still suspicious.

    The tension level went down even more when the tactical station chimed. “We’re being hailed,” Morrison reported.

    “Now they want to talk?” Limis responded. “Open a channel.”

    As soon as Morrison opened the channel, the lights went out. Consoles were flickering on and off. Crewmembers scrambled to remedy the situation. “What the hell?!” Limis exclaimed as she and Kozar rose from their seats.

    “By opening the channel, we must have picked up a virus that crashed our comm system,” Huckaby explained. ”It immediately jumped to all adjoining systems.”

    "Weapons and shield are gone, “Morrison reported. “We’ll need at least another minute for them to reset.”

    'Get down to phaser control to fire the phasers manually!” Limis shouted over all the commotion on the bridge. “And see if they can expedite matters.”

    "Warp and impulse engines are off-line,” Carson added. “I’m switching to manual override, so we at least have thrusters.”

    “Once that’s done, back us off,” the captain responded.

    Before the order could be carried out, the bridge rocked. The Cardassian scout vessels fired a volley of torpedoes at the two defenseless Starfleet ships. But these small ships’ arsenals were not equipped with conventional photon torpedoes. Rather, the torpedoes were plasma-based weapons that Jem’Hadar ships were equipped with.

    By this time, any good news was considered positive. “Phaser control reports that phasers can be fired manually,” Kozar, who was now manning tactical in Morrison’s absence, “but targeting scanners are still down.”

    "Tell them to keep firing until they hit something,” Limis ordered.

    Such an approach was a shot in the dark, but the only possible option at the moment. Both the Lambda Paz and the Europa fired quick phaser bursts in half-second intervals. The smaller, more maneuverable scout ships were able to evade any phaser fire. The enemy ships continued to evade any phaser fire. The enemy ships continued to fire volleys of plasma torpedoes.

    The more hits the Lambda Paz took, the more in shambles the decks of the ship were. Metal girders and electronic wire fell from the ceiling. A fire erupted in front of the schematic display on the aft of the bridge. Two crewmen trained fire extinguishers on the blaze, putting out the fire. “We just lost the fire suppression system,” Huckaby coincidentally reported when the bridge rocked once more.

    Kozar had even more bad news. “Hull breaches on decks four, nine, and twelve. Primary and secondary life support has failed."

    With the hull of the ship falling apart and the inside losing atmosphere, the move was obvious. “Abandon ship,” Limis announced. “All hands to the shuttles and escape pods.”

    One by one, escaped pods were jettisoned from the collapsing ships. The Cardassians fired two more volleys of torpedoes destroying the two Starfleet ships. Two pods were engulfed in the fireball. Another escape pod was destroyed by enemy fire.

    Part 2

    Aboard one of the Cardassian scout vessels, the captain gave an order to cease fire. His control panel readout indicated the other six ships had carried out the order. The tactical officer on his ship, however, continued firing indiscriminately. The captain jumped from his command chair and shoved the subordinate crewman away from his station. “I said cease fire!” he growled.

    The weapons officer appeared dumfounded. He thought their plan was to defeat the Starfleet vessels and prevent their crews from returning home safely. His captain said nothing of leaving escape pods intact. “Sorry, sir,” he said only half apologetically. “Your orders were …”

    The captain cut him off before his weapons officer could continue. “Remember your place, gunner. You are expected to follow my explicit orders, not to interpret the meaning of those orders outside their precise wording.”

    The weapons officer offered no further defiance. Like an obedient Cardassian citizen, he deferred to his captain’s judgment. Yet, he could still be curious about what his superior officer’s wishes were. “My apologies for attempting to circumvent your orders. What exactly are your plans, if you do not mind my asking?”

    The captain faced away from his subordinate and walked slowly towards the center seat. “If we were to destroy the escape pods, then the Federation would send more ships after their missing colleagues.” The captain then turned back around to face the two officers occupying the bridge’s forward consoles.

    "We must make it clear to Federation and Starfleet that we have no desire to become their next subject race. For that we need bargaining chips. They value the lives of all their citizens on an equal basis. Saving the lives of hostages will be more important to them. Knowing the enemy and its weaknesses is the key. All of us, on the other hand, are expendable in the interests of our cause… of the True Way.”

    Speaking those words made the captain of the rogue Cardassian ship remember a meeting with Starfleet representatives four years earlier. As adjutant to Legate Skrain Dukat, then chief military adviser to the Detapa Council, he met with members of Starfleet Tactical’s strategic division following the Klingon Empire’s aborted conquest of Cardassia. While Dukat was open to suggestions on defeating an occupying army, Gul Revok found the idea of mimicking Bajoran guerilla tactics detestable, if not insulting.
  8. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Nasty mess. Wlecome to Iraq-I mean, Cardassia.
  9. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Interlude: Flashback 1​

    Stardate 49035 (Earth year 2372): Two weeks after the First Battle of Deep Space 9

    “Legate Dukat, a pleasure to meet you.”

    Two human male Starfleet officers stepped into the office of Legate Dukat. The officer who greeted Dukat introduced himself as Marshall Robison, deputy director of Starfleet Tactical’s strategic division. Starfleet sent these officers following the Klingon incursion into Cardassian territory. Following a fierce battle at Deep Space 9, the Klingons halted their advance towards Cardassia Prime, but refused to relinquish the colony worlds they had already annexed.

    Robison shook hands with the tall Cardassian in accordance with human greeting rituals. He looked Dukat straight in the eye to hide his feelings of apprehension was shaking hands with the notorious butcher of Bajor.

    The other Starfleet officer, Robison’s adjutant Lieutenant Harim Musaref, also stood on Dukat’s eye level while shaking with the Cardassian government’s strategic adviser.

    Right behind them stood a middle-aged man closely resembling a human with the exception of ridges along both temples. He appeared somewhat intimidated having to arch his chin upward to look Dukat straight in the eye.

    "I believe you already know Ilon Tandro from Klaestron Four,” Robison declared.

    Dukat nodded approvingly. “Yes, I understand the nationalist faction on your planet has started another uprising."

    “What they fail to understand is that our world’s economy depends on trade with both the Federation and the Cardassian Union,” Tandro replied. “We hope to demonstrate our good will by helping your people weather this latest crisis, Legate Dukat.”

    Gul Revok stood quietly next to the desk in Dukat’s office eagerly waiting to be introduced. I set up this meeting, so surely I am just important as Dukat, he thought.

    “I am sure you three know Gul Revok, my chief of staff,” Dukat stated to complete the formal introductions. “Let us sit down, shall we?”

    The Starfleet officers and Tandro sat down on the large seating fixture housed right next to the office entryway. It did not feel as soft as what humans were used, but it was acceptable. Dukat sat in a chair facing almost perpendicular to where his guests were seated. Revok took a seat on the smaller version of the guests’ seating fixture straight across from them.

    “We’ve certainly had our share of problems here on Cardassia without the Klingons adding to them,” Dukat began.

    “Which is why we are here,” Robison continued. “Had the Klingons completely withdrawn their forces from Cardassian space, this meeting would not be necessary. However, because the Klingons are holding on to territory they annexed prior to the attack on Deep Space 9, special strategic measures are required.”

    Musaref rose from his seat and slowly walked towards a display screen all present could see from where they were sitting. He pushed a button next to the screen revealing a diagram on the screen. Several Klingon Empire emblems were on the diagram to represent star systems belonging to the Klingons. Smaller Cardassian Union emblems filled out the star map to represent Cardassian fleet deployments outside those star systems. “This is how your fleets are currently,” Musaref explained to Dukat and Revok.

    Dukat nodded an affirmation of the statement.

    “We are suggesting dividing these fleets into smaller units,” Musaref continued. “This way, your ships can be devoted to engaging in small scale hit-and-run attacks.”

    "Pardon me, Lieutenant Musaref,” Revok interrupted. “What good would smaller units do? We would stand a better chance with larger fleets for a concentrated attack against the enemy.”

    “By following that plan, however,” Robison responded, “the Klingons can eliminate a large number of your ships in such a confrontation. Smaller units can throw the enemy off-guard and slow its advance into Cardassian territory. Your forces will be better off in the long-term against an occupying force.”

    Dukat contemplated what was said for a moment, realizing he had dealt with such a strategy. “The Bajorans used such tactics against us during our occupation of their world,” he offered. “The idea is to extend fighting with the goal of exhausting a superior opponent.”

    Revok quickly rose from his seat, immediately knowing where this discussion was going. “You are suggesting we mimic Bajoran battle tactics?” he asked in horror. “Losing Bajor is not something our people are proud of, Dukat. You, of all people, are well aware of that fact.”

    “Of course, I am,” Dukat emphatically stated. “One cannot help but appreciate the Bajoran’s ability to hold out against a superior enemy force, nevertheless. That appreciation allows us to learn from our defeats. Is your pride more important than the future of our empire?”

    “He makes a good point, Gul Revok,” Tandro offered. “During my people’s civil war, the military leaders were baffled that the rebels could hold their own despite a considerable disadvantage in weapons and manpower. Our leaders are better prepared for similar uprisings, including the one taking place right now.”

    Revok was momentarily persuaded. But he still felt that Dukat’s empathy for an enemy was somewhat uncharacteristic. “What has happened to you, Dukat? You’re just as soft as the corrupt politicians you advise.”

    Dukat slowly rose from his seat giving Revok a stern look. “That will be all, Revok.”

    Dukat then looked over at his guest. “Perhaps we should adjourn for now.”

    Without a response, Robison, Musaref, and Tandro stood up and walked out of the room.

    Stardate 49301 (Earth year 2372):

    “A Cardassian separatist group calling themselves the ‘True Way’ has claimed responsibility for sabotaging the runabout.”

    Security Chief Odo provided this news to station colleagues inside a very dark station Operations center. He had been conferring with his Starfleet counterpart, Lieutenant Commander Michael Eddington, regarding a rather bizarre crisis. Their crewmates, returning from a diplomatic conference, had been beamed off the runabout Orinoco just before a warp core breach became critical. Chief O’Brien had discovered prior to the ship’s destruction that the necessary computer components for jettisoning the warp core had been removed. The runabout had been sabotaged.

    After the runabout’s crew was beamed off, the transporters could not rematerialize Captain Benjaimin Sisko, then-Major Kira, Lieutenant Commanders Worf and Jadzia Dax, and Chief O’Brien. Eddington and Odo were forced to preserve their transporter patterns in the station’s computers. The runabout crew’s physical bodies were generated holographically in a holosuite program that was running at the time. Eddington and Odo had summoned Quark and Rom, the civilian owners of the station’s holosuites, to Ops to discuss how to retrieve their missing crew.

    “Ever hear of them before?” Eddington asked.

    Odo considered the question for a moment. All he had known at this time was that the True Way’s fear of outsiders was consistent with an historical happenstance on many worlds with which he had been familiar. “They’re opposed to the peace treaty,” he offered. “They blame the Federation for Cardassia’s economic and political troubles, etcetera, etcetera. Until now, they have not committed any terrorist acts to support their beliefs.”

    Stardate 49302 (Earth year 2372):

    Gul Revok had attended the conference that Sisko and his crew were returning from. The conference was a gathering of representatives of various Alpha Quadrant powers regarding the recent situation involving the Klingon Empire. Revok had looked forward to presenting Dukat’s requests for more direct Federation involvement and an exchange of technologies. Because the Federation had established an uneasy truce with the Cardassians only five years prior, top decision-makers at Starfleet Command and the Federation Council, however, were still reluctant to share certain military technology with the Cardassian Union.

    Arrangements for a more official alliance with the Federation had been Revok’s hope in a new spirit of cooperation and friendship. Relations between the Federation and the Klingons had not always been cordial in the last two centuries. The Khitomer Accords of 2293 paved the way to smoother relations between the two powers, but the Klingons’ invasion had impeded this more peaceful relationship.

    Revok, not to mention of lot of Cardassians, was disdainful of Klingons even before this invasion, seeing them as primitive nomadic warriors. This invasion served to inflame anti-Klingon sentiment among the Cardassian populace. Revok and Dukat founded the True Way as a means of encouraging their countrymen to embrace their cultural distinctiveness and to reject foreign ideals. After the inter-planetary conference he had attended, Revok became just as disdainful of the Federation.

    "The conference was a travesty,” Revok told Dukat, who had been reduced to the Cardassian military title of Gul and reassigned to command of the freighter Groumall. His revelation of an illegitimate half-Bajoran daughter cost him his status as military advisor to his government.

    Dukat had been in the middle of a freight run when Revok contacted him. He stood in a small alcove at the aft of the bridge. A transparent soundproof door allowed him to receive the communiqué privately and prevented others from listening in.

    “The Federation representatives rejected every one of your suggestions, Dukat,” Revok continued.

    Where Revok was disappointed, Dukat was not at all surprised. “I warned you, Revok,” he stated in a chastising tone. “The Federation is devoted to peace and friendship on the outside. In reality, they are more concerned with protecting its interests at the expense of any neighboring power.

    “Their council may have explicitly condemned the Klingon invasion, but they have no desire to antagonize their allies any further. Many of them of them still have strong memories of the border wars with our people. Such scars do not heel quickly.”

    Revok had come to similar conclusions during the conference. You were right all along, sir, he thought to himself.

    “Which is why I took action,” he replied.

    Revok’s last words piqued Dukat’s curiosity. What sort of action had Revok taken, short of jeopardizing the fragile peace with the Federation?

    “I sabotaged the vessel that ferried the Starfleet representatives,” Revok explained. “Several engineers who were well-versed in Starfleet engineering specs caused a collapse in their antimatter containment system. They also removed several key computer components needed to eject their warp core.”

    During his time as military governor of Bajor, Dukat had dealt with similar acts of sabotage. But, for a Cardassian to try to something like this? He was almost speechless, “What?” was all he could get out.

    “The Federation may not have directly aided the Klingon invasion,” Revok continued. “Their current actions or inaction makes them just as guilty. They are as much to blame as the barbarians who have invaded our territory.”

    Dukat regained his composure and gave Revok a stern look. “Just remember one thing,” he said, angrily beaming at his former subordinate. “Cardassians do not become terrorists! Such cowardly acts will only weaken our credibility. And despite the Federation’s hypocrisy, we depend on it in this great time of crisis. Jeopardizing our truce is dangerous.”

    “As far as the Federation is concerned, the True Way is a fanatical extremist group that does not act rationally.”

    Dukat exhaled slowly. He was a little less angry at what Revok had just told him. “Fine, but no more attacks of this nature.”


    With that, their discussion ended. The image of Revok on the wall-mounted monitor was then replaced by the symbol of the Cardassian Union.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2008
  10. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    So the True Way becomes Dukat's foil, eh? I wonder what other "terrorist" acts they will commit.
  11. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Three

    "I see something moving,” said a voice with a British accent.

    A large armored vehicle could be seen through a set of digital binoculars. Upon magnification of the image, the vehicle could be identified as an Earth motor vehicle, what was referred in 21st Century dialect as a sport utility vehicle. “I see it, too,” said another faraway onlooker, also with a British accent, looking through a set of binoculars. “It’s stopping in front of the main house of the Drazen estate.”

    The vehicle did stop in front of the main entrance of a mansion-sized building. Emerging from the passenger side of the vehicle was a heavyset human male of advanced middle age. The onlookers dressed in all black knew from behind a bush on a steep hill overlooking the perimeter of the main house they had their man: Victor Drazen, one of the cruelest warlords of Earth’s 21st Century, Both onlookers were wearing black turtleneck shirts and black sweatpants in order to blend in with their surroundings.

    “That’s Drazen, all right,” said the team leader. He then pushed a button on the communication device on his shoulder. “This is Bauer. Hammer One. Repeat Hammer One.”

    “Roger that,” a voice on the speaker replied. “Hammer One ready to initiate. ETA: six minutes.”

    The two men watching the Drazen estate from afar could identify the arrival of a military airship by a loud rumbling in the sky. Soon to accompany the rumbling was a high-pitched squeal that became higher in pitch, suggesting a projectile falling out of the sky. A missile landed hard on the front section of the mansion. The mansion erupted in a fireball. When the explosion subsided, a large part of the mansion was covered in flames. The covert mission to eliminate Drazen was a success.

    The sound of gunshots began ringing through the air. Sensing his men were under attack, the man who identified himself as Bauer jumped to his feet. “Let’s get out of here,” he ordered his colleague. “We need to radio the chopper to pick us up sooner.”

    Bauer and his colleague hurried down the hill and out into the open valley. They were slowed when they heard high-pitched chime. “Ops to Doctor Bashir, “a voice with a small hint of a Scottish accent boomed.

    “Freeze program!” Bauer shouted. He was actually Doctor Julian Bashir of Starbase Deep Space Nine. His colleague was Raul Fitzpatrick, the station’s chief of Starfleet security. They were running a holosuite re-enactment of a famous Earth battle. The gunshots could no longer be heard once the program was frozen. The dust and debris from the explosion that was flying about appeared to be frozen in time. “Go ahead.”

    “I hope you’re not too worn out running from holograms, Doctor, a few Starfleet destroyers are on the way,” replied the voice on the other end, Commander Elias Vaughn in the station’s Operations center. “They have wounded.”

    “I’ll be in the Infirmary in five minutes. Doctor Gharani should be on duty.” Bashir took a quick look at his surroundings and then looked at Fitzpatrick. “You can continue without me.”

    “What would be the point?” Fitzpatrick asked rhetorically. “Jack Bauer was the only person to survive this scenario.”

    Bashir suddenly realized his character was the only person of a team of six to survive this covert operation. “Quite right,” he quipped. “Computer, end program and save from this time index.”

    Bashir sauntered away as the surrounding area dissolved and was replaced by the walls of an empty holosuite chamber. Fitzpatrick followed close behind saying, “I get to be Bauer next time.”

    Bashir gave just gave thumbs-up to avoid slowing himself down. The program they had just run was one of a number of holosuite reenactments that his friend and former colleague Miles O’Brien had introduced him to. Fitzpatrick had the same interest in Earth history, Julian discovered when the former transferred from the USS Vera Cruz. The two became fast friends, and Raul soon became Julian’s new holosuite partner after O’Brien left to take position with the Starfleet Academy faculty.

    Upon exiting the holosuite, Bashir headed the main entrance on the second level of Quark's Bar and Casino. Lieutenant Ezri Dax happened to pass by the bar on the station's Promenade. Based on Bashir's clothing, Ezri concluded that he had been reenacting a major battle in Earth's history. Ezri, as well as the Dax symbiont’s previous Trill host Jadzia, knew very well about Bashir’s adventures in the holosuite with Chief O’Brien before the latter’s departure. In recent months, either new chief of operations Aiman al-Rashid, Fitzpatrick, or both accompanied him. “What was it this time,” she said. “Desert Storm?”

    Though Ezri had accumulated much of Jadzia’s knowledge and memories when the sluglike creature known as Dax had been transferred from the late Jadzia to Ezri, she was not as familiar as her predecessor host with Earth history. “Operation Nightfall,” Bashir responded. “A group of United States operatives are sent to take out a genocidal 21st Century warlord in a place called Kosovo.”

    “The mission is a failure I take it,” Ezri replied.

    Bashir grinned at that remark. He had gained an appreciation for the valiant struggles of the losers in famous conflicts. He was not the least bit enthusiastic, however, when O’Brien introduced him to a holosuite reenactment of the Battle of the Alamo where they would play the role of the defeated rebel forces. The fact that the rebels’ defeat was still instrumental in its eventual victory over the neighboring nation-state of Mexico still did not curb his frustrations at not being able to win.

    After O’Brien transferred off, Bashir had suggested Ezri accompany him to a holosuite reenactment of the Battle of Thermopylae. Again, while the heroes of this simulation lost this battle, it was instrumental in an eventual victory of Greece over the invading Persian Empire. The war between the Dominion and major Alpha Quadrant powers had historical parallels with these epic battles. While the Federation and its allies suffered many devastating losses, some of those defeats were just as detrimental to the enemy.

    Have you ever considered talking to a counselor about these annihilation fantasies?” Ezri once jokingly asked him.

    After taking Julian up on the invitations, Ezri experienced a moment of awkwardness. The two later agreed that this was something Julian should do with his male friends, not his girlfriend.

    “In some manner of speaking,” Bashir answered. “The men were ambushed. Bauer was the only survivor, but as far as the general public was concerned, Drazen had been assassinated as planned.”

    The two officers took a spiral staircase down to the first level of the Promenade and walked towards a turbolift. “Well, I’m needed in the Infirmary,” Bashir stated after a long pause in conversation. “I should probably get into uniform. Dinner tonight at Vic’s, remember?”

    “I haven’t forgotten”

    Captain Limis sat on the reclined examination chair in the station infirmary’s main exam room. Commander Kozar stood several feet away as Bashir scanned the captain with a medical tricorder. Her injuries were superficial compared to those of her colleagues placed in the primary intensive care unit adjacent to the main waiting area.

    Her black and gray-shouldered uniform tunic along with a wine-red turtleneck indicating command department was draped over the back of the chair. Bashir trained his tricorder’s small hand scanner on the side of her abdomen. “You have two broken ribs,” Bashir quietly observed. “Nothing I can’t handle.”

    Bashir looked over to the Bajoran female nurse setting items down on the instrument table. “Nurse,” he said, “another ten milligrams of morphinezine.”

    Ridiculous, she thought. She had endured worse injuries during the war when her ship’s medical facilities were fresh out of painkillers.

    Kira and Ro entered the exam room through the waiting area. Limis immediately recognized both Bajorans upon their arrival. “You must be Colonel Kira,” she said. “I’ve heard a lot about you from Captain Sisko.”

    That she had. Shortly after the Dominion War began and Starfleet was forced to surrender the station, Limis had helped foil a plot by her ex-husband to lure Starfleet into a Dominion ambush. Many of the Maquis who survived after the formation of the Dominion-Cardassian alliance were willing to help the Federation defeat their common enemy. A small number of the Maquis still felt bitter towards the Federation for having signed a treaty three years prior that turned their colony worlds to the Cardassian Empire.

    Limis had never met Kira before. What she knew of the colonel came from Sisko, as well as her personnel file. Kira recently become the station’s commanding officer after Sisko’s confrontation with Dukat in the Bajoran Fire Caves. “How do you like command?” Limis asked, oblivious to the nurse who placed a hypospray on the side of her neck to inject her with a painkiller.

    Kira considered the question for a second, and then gave a quick answer. “A lot more responsibility.”

    Limis had been well acquainted with Ro from their days in the Maquis. “I see Starfleet is taking its sweet time pardoning you, Ro,” she quipped, noticing the security chief’s Bajoran militia uniform.

    “The uniforms are looser fitting, though,” Ro responded.

    Kira quickly got to the matter at hand—the Lambda Paz’s destruction. “So what happened out there, Captain?” she asked.

    Limis lay on her right side and rolled up a portion of her sleeveless tank to expose a bruise where her broken ribs were. Bashir trained a laser bone regenerator on the wound. “Simply put,” Limis explained, “everything went to hell as soon as those escort ships hailed us. Then they came at us with a hard burst of Jem’Hadar plasma torpedoes.”

    “The Cardassians began outfitting their ships with Dominion and Breen weaponry over a year ago,” Ro explained to Kira. “But those ships were decommissioned when the current provisional government took over.”

    “That hasn’t stopped radical groups from using them,” Limis answered. “Various factions held in check by Central Command are now at each other’s throats.”

    “I warned that some of our tactics could have been construed as hostile,” Kozar offered. “But the captain was right… this time.”

    The tone in Kozar’s voice suggested he still disagreed with Limis’s maneuvering. Kozar sauntered out with Limis close behind, although Bashir was still treating her injury.

    “Captain…” Bashir began to say, but she had already left.

    At that moment the intercom chimed with Vaughn’s voice piping through speakers. “Ops to Colonel Kira: incoming message from Admiral Ross, sir.”

    Kira looked straight at Bashir while pointing towards the waiting area. Bashir nodded approvingly. “I’ll take it in Doctor Bashir’s office,” she responded.

    Crewman, first class, Marquez was one of the engineers now temporarily transferred to security to guard one of the key sections of the habitat ring. He had never had very many opportunities to wear a phaser since the war ended. His time in the Chin’toka system gave him some combat experience, but he was becoming bored at not performing maintenance or repairs. All he and his colleague, Ensign Magnaulty, were doing was standing a large door to make sure only authorized personnel went beyond it. “I’m almost hoping for something to break down,” he said matter-of-factly.

    “Yeah, just standing around is real hassle,” Magnaulty sarcastically replied. He preferred doing that to fending off enemy attacks.

    Someone get me out of here, Marquez thought to himself. A buzzing noise pulsated through the walls and the ceiling. He thought nothing of it, attributing the noise to the unusually quiet atmosphere. He heard it again; a buzzing noise that slowly got louder as it coursed through the plasma conduits behind the wall and above the ceiling and quickly dispersed down the corridor. “You hear that?” he asked Magnaulty.

    “It’s a pulsing buzz,” Magnaulty replied. “Does that always happen here?”

    “No. I’ll go check it out. One of the power taps might be misaligned.”

    Marquez pulled a tricorder out of his holster and began scanning. He paced slowly down the corridor until he reached an intersecting walkway. His tricorder began beeping loudly. The scans showed that the strange noise came from a wall panel. He opened the panel to see what set off the scanner. He turned a small switch that would correct the misalignment. Electric current passed through his arm. He pulled away, but it was too late. The electrocution killed him.

    Magnaulty heard the scream down the corridor. He then saw Marquez being thrown backwards. He ran towards him while removing a phaser from his holster. He looked to his left when he reached the intersecting hallway. He crouched down to feel Marquez’s pulse on the right side of his neck. Nothing.

    Magnaulty tapped his combadge. “Magnaulty to Infirmary, medical emergency, habitat ring, level four, section fifteen.”

    He had some familiarity with basic engineering principles, and decided to take a look at what killed the engineer. He felt around inside the open panel. The same electric current then struck him dead.

    Someone was watching what had transpired from a crawlspace above the corridor. The Bajoran engineer Ronnick was peering through a thin metal screen. He derived no pleasure from causing the deaths of two fellow crewmembers.

    His employer joined him in the crawlspace. Ronnick was not even aware of the employer’s presence until he spoke. “I see the test was a success,” he said.

    Ronnick quickly grabbed the screen and turned to avoid crashing into screen. “Not a good idea in these crawlspaces,” he said.

    “I decide what ideas are good and bad,” the employer replied.

    Of course, Ronnick knew not to question people he worked for too often. He still not find what he just carried out necessary “Was killing two innocent people necessary?” he asked.

    “Unfortunate casualties of war. Besides, everything has to work perfectly if we are to discredit the Federation. We cannot afford for anything to go wrong.”
  12. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    This was a very textured sequence. Good reading.
  13. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Four

    “This is a representative of the True-Way of the Cardassian Union to any Federation or Starfleet officials receiving this transmission.”

    His face was mostly covered by a dark-red scarf. The speaker was clearly Cardassian based on the ridges around his eyes, the only exposed part of his face. His voice had an ominous low pitch, suggesting he was using a voice distorter to prevent authorities from discerning his identity.

    “The puppet leaders of our world have allowed your Federation to ship relief supplies into our space. While the Starfleet vessels have not directly provided assistance to more radical elements in our political system, these radicals are more hopeful their subversive ideas will win out.”

    “As a result, we have taken drastic measures. We are holding the crew of a Starfleet vessel. The Federation is to cease sending relief convoys immediately. Every six standard hours our demands go unanswered, at least one hostage will die.”

    Admiral William Ross played this transmission for Kira. Ross then requested a teleconference with senior station personnel. As station CO, Kira normally sat at the head of oblong conference table in the station’s wardroom. Instead, she sat in the center of the table in front of the viewports to face the screen housed on the opposite wall of the conference area. Ezri, Ro, and Fitzpatrick were seated at Kira’s right. Commander Vaughn sat at the head of the table. Once the mysterious Cardassian finished making his demands, static filled the screen. The face of a Starfleet officer then appeared on the screen.

    Limis, seated at the other end of the table immediately recognized the officer’s unkempt chestnut hair. Mandel Morrison, her tactical officer had been coerced into speaking.

    “My name is Mandel Morrison,” he stated. “I am the senior officer of this group of hostages. Our captors have assured us we will not be harmed as long as Starfleet Command acquiesces to their demands. They warn us; however, they are willing and able to carry out their threats.”

    Another Starfleet officer appeared on the screen. A gold disruptor beam of a Cardassian weapon hit the young male officer square in the torso. He incinerated almost instantaneously before everyone’s eyes.

    The officers in the briefing could only watch in horror. Limis was thinking only about Morrison though he was not her only crewmember being held. They had been a number of one-night stands, yet they had both agreed not to have a more committed romantic relationship given the fact their ship was on the front lines of the Dominion War almost everyday.

    The others watching were all too familiar with the casual brutality of the Cardassians, especially the three Bajorans present. Ro suffered deep emotional scars from being forced to watch as Cardassians tortured her father to death. Kira knew that was only part of it. Bajorans had been used for slave labor in hellish conditions. Anyone even suspected of belonging to the underground resistance was executed to make an example of others. Bashir, seated at Limis’s right, heard of the atrocities on Setlik Three from O’Brien. But they never resorted to taking hostages. That fact made them as honorable as Klingons even to those who fought against them.

    At Bashir’s right, Rashid had recalled battle against the Cardassians during the Dominion War. He could also recall that his ancestors on Earth 300 years ago had resorted to these acts of terrorism, and even concealing their faces when communicating with their enemies.

    The emblem of the Cardassian Union then appeared on the screen. The face of Admiral Ross then filled the screen. He had a very calm and stoic demeanor even knowing the final image that the officers witnessed. “That message was received at Starbase 375 less than two hours ago,” Ross stated.

    “I’ve heard of the True Way,” said Ro. “They came about shortly after the Klingon invasion of Cardassian space and have become more prominent since the end of the war. Last week, they bombed a diplomatic conference.”

    “Authorities are still looking into that,” Ross replied. “The True Way is only one of numerous terrorist groups officially or unofficially endorsed by each of the major political factions.”

    “I can remember during the Occupation,” Kira calmly replied. “Granted they offered to spare Bajoran lives if those they captured agreed to turn in their compatriots in the Underground. One redeeming quality was the Cardassian didn’t use people as bargaining chips in such a manner.”

    Limis turned her gaze towards Kira. She had gotten to understand the Cardassians as a people, especially political extremists. She was one during the Occupation and as a member of the Maquis. “To the spoonheads, the ends almost always justify the means,” she offered. “Some of them may think taking hostages is the best way to attain their goals.”

    “Nevertheless,” Ross cut in, “we have quite a conundrum on our hands. Those supplies are urgently needed on Cardassia. The plan is to send the Defiant under cloak.”

    “That’s going to be difficult,” Vaughn offered. “The Defiant is not exactly designed for freight runs.”

    He had seen the convoy manifests prior to the arrival of the Lambda Paz crew. The Defiant belonged to a class of starships originally designed to fight the Borg, following the Borg’s near conquest of Earth almost a decade earlier. The Defiant's predecessor had been assigned supply runs into hostile territory during the Dominion War, but the ship was not designed for this type of supply run.

    At the age of one hundred one, Vaughn had been involved in a number of dangerous missions. He was part of a team of special intelligence agents sent to sabotage a Romulan vessel during what became known as the Tomed Incident. The trip to Cardassia was just another mission.

    “I’m working with Rashid on modifying the medical bay’s stasis fields to preserve any perishable items,” Bashir responded.

    Ezri and Julian prepared for all the various contingencies. “The Cardassian provisional government has sent a list of items they absolutely need,” Ezri added. “The rest we scratch for now.”

    “Good,” Vaughn answered with an approving nod. “You’ve covered everything.”

    “If there’s nothing more, Commander,” Ross announced, “Godspeed to you and your crew.”

    The official seal of the United Federation of Planets filled the screen. Kira then continued the meeting. “This crisis coincides with an important conference here on the station,” she announced. “Admiral Ross and his staff will be arriving tomorrow morning. Lieutenant Fitzpatrick, I’ll assign Nog to head Starfleet security in your absence. Julian, you might want to get in touch with Mister Garak.”

    I’m a doctor, not a diplomat, were the words that came to Julian’s mind. Of course, the doctor had taken a strong interest in international politics and covert operations over seven years as Elim Garak’s weekly lunch partner. As far as most Starfleet and Bajoran militia personnel were concerned, Garak stayed behind after the Occupation of Bajor as a spy for the Cardassians. He had provided the crew with half-truthful and contradictory tales about his past during his time on the station. Following the end of the war, the enigmatic Cardassian returned to his home planet, although he remained in close contact with Bashir. Garak since then became chief of staff to head of state Alon Ghemor.

    Before he could acknowledge the suggestion, Bashir heard his name called on the comm. Line. “You’re needed in the Infirmary,” Doctor Zeyner Antis told him. “Medical emergency.”

    “I’m on my way,” Bashir responded. He stood up and looked over at Kira.

    “We’re finished here,” Kira said with an approving nod.

    Vaughn, Fitzpatrick, and Ezri rolled their chairs back and were half standing when Limis spoke. “I’ll be holding a briefing on the Defiant upon its departure she told them.”

    Ezri could hear an uneasy sigh from Vaughn. The rest of the officers in the briefing heard it, too, and they all left to allow the two commanders to resolve this issue. Vaughn was not concerned with Limis’s greater rank. His experience meant that even the highest-ranking admirals rarely pulled rank on him. He learned from recent Starfleet bulletins of Limis’s reputation for recklessness. Limis stood up and walked towards the other end of the table. “I know what you are thinking, Commander,” she said. “You needn’t worry. I know the Defiant is your ship. The mission’s top priority is the rescue of the hostages. The outcome is too important to me as their captain to stay on the sidelines. Besides, our missions have given us valuable intelligence on postwar Cardassia.”

    "That’s not my concern, Captain,” Vaughn began.

    Limis spoke before Vaughn could continue. “My first officer says I jump into decisions too quickly, often without his input. But he should go back to Starfleet Academy to learn about respecting the chain of command.

    “His experience as a veteran Starfleet officer has been helpful. We wouldn’t have survived the war, though, without getting our hands dirty. Surely, you are aware of that.”

    “I certainly am,” Vaughn replied. “Any insight you can provide will be helpful. I hope you remember who the captain is.”

    Limis just nodded, turned, and left the room.

    A Starfleet nurse trained a laser scanner on the charred body of one of the dead crewmembers. The Bajoran deputy chief medical officer, Doctor Zeyner,” was analyzing the readings taken from the other security guard from a medical monitor.

    Bashir entered the Infirmary’s primary ICU with Kira close behind. “What do have, Doctor Zeyner?” he asked before he had entered.

    Zeyner looked away from the monitor and handed Bashir a medical tricorder and micro-cellular scanner. “These crewmen were patrolling the habitat ring,” Zeyner explained. “Our readings show their central nervous systems were overloaded.”

    Bashir stared pensively at his tricorder. “It looks that way,” he said. “I’ll need you and Doctor Tarses supervising the autopsies while I’m away.”

    “Any idea what could have caused this?” Kira asked.

    “Lieutenants Rashid and Nog were upgrading the surveillance systems in that section,” Zeyner stated. “Mister Nog thinks an overload in the EPS grid may be responsible.”

    “I’ll have Ro and Nog run a few diagnostics on related systems,” Kira announced.

    Limis was walking through a habitat ring corridor when Kozar caught up to her. “Captain, I understand you’re returning to the scene of the crime.”

    “I wouldn’t put it that way,” she acerbically replied. “I’ll be on the Defiant as an advisor to the senior officers.”

    “Hopefully not to seek retribution for Malinson’s death,” Kozar quipped.

    Limis stopped dead in her tracks and turned around to look her first officer in the eye. “What is that supposed to mean?”

    “Only that your disdain for the Cardassians has often led you to take brash action even though such actions damn near undermined a few missions.”

    “Prophets damnit, Kozar, assuming we get another ship, I will recommend you to be transferred and demoted to midshipman so you can familiarize yourself with Starfleet rules of conduct. Starfleet gave me command of the Lambda Paz. Not you. Get over yourself!”

    Kozar had always resented not being given starship command when the Dominion War began. His experience fighting with and against the Cardassians earned him that right. He never let that resentment interfere with his duties. “That’s what you think this is about?” he asked with disgust.

    “Let me tell you something,” he continued. “Humans have evolved beyond petty and selfish behavior. I never thought of you as a qualified Starfleet captain. Now that the cards are on the table, I would welcome that transfer.”

    Spare me your Terran superiority complex, she thought. She wanted to deck him, but she’d look like a hypocrite after the dressing down she gave him. She silently thanked the Prophets she would no longer be putting up with this guy.
  14. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Interlude: Flashback Two

    Stardate 49545 (Earth year 2372):

    While being ferried to a diplomatic conference at the Cardassian outpost on Korma aboard the Groumall, Kira wound up teaming with Dukat after a Klingon Bird-of-Prey had destroyed the outpost. Though the freighter was tactically inferior to the Bird-of-Prey, Kira had suggested a guerilla warfare tactic of integrating the outpost’s weapon arrays into the freighter’s to take on the Klingons. The Bird-of-Prey was still able to overpower the freighter, but Kira and Dukat boarded the enemy vessel, beamed its crew to the freighter, and then brought the freighter’s crew to the Bird-of-Prey.

    Kira had accused Dukat of only having an interest redeeming himself to his superiors. He got in touch with the Detapa Council to inform the ruling body of his latest victory. He regained rank of Legate and position as senior military advisor. But he had bad news upon his return to the bridge. “You know something, Dukat?” Kira asked him. “These computer logs are even more valuable than I thought. They contain status reports on Klingon ships and outposts throughout Cardassian space. With information like this, Cardassia could launch a major counterattack against the Klingons.”

    “They could,” Dukat replied, “but they won’t”

    Kira seemed mildly amused by that statement because that didn’t sound like the Cardassians she once fought against. “Why not?” she asked with a grin.

    “The Detapa Council has something else in mind,” Dukat explained. “They’ve ordered me not to engage the Klingons in any further conflicts. The Council is looking for a diplomatic solution. They’ve ordered me to return to Cardassia Prime to resume my ‘post’ as military advisor."

    “What is the point of being a military advisor to a government that won’t fight? There was a time when the mere mention of my race inspired fear. Now we’re a beaten people, afraid to fight back because we don’t want to lose what little we have left.”

    “Not the Cardassians I know.”

    What Cardassians? They’re paralyzed. Beaten and defeated. I am the only Cardassian left. If no one else will stand against the Klingons, then I will.”

    Dukat had tried unsuccessfully to convince Kira to join his one-man war against the Klingon Empire. He even appealed to her past as a resistance fighter citing her ability to organize resistance cells and expertise in guerilla warfare. Dukat began to rethink his statement to Revok that Cardassians do not resort to the actions of terrorists. Losing Bajor was a humiliation to the Cardassian people and especially Dukat. He even sought retribution against a political rival by passing off Detapa Council member Kotan Pa’Dar’s son as one of the war orphans. But part of him admired the Bajorans and their ability to defeat a superior adversary.

    After dropping off Kira and his half-Bajoran daughter Tora Ziyal at Deep Space 9, he contacted Revok. The two hadn’t spoken since Revok’s sabotage of the Orinoco. That made Dukat’s communiqué somewhat of a surprise to him. Dukat had hoped to use diplomacy to his advantage in order to inspire others in a time societal change on Cardassia to join the True Way’s cause and looked to distance himself from Revok. After learning that the Detapa Council was not going to take aggressive action against the Klingons, he realized that more aggressive action was necessary on his part. After Kira turned down his offer, Dukat had no choice but to turn to Revok.

    “This is a rather pleasant surprise, Dukat,” Revok said with a sheepish grin. “We last spoke after that unfortunate business two months ago.”

    “A minor misunderstanding,” Dukat replied from the captain’s quarters of the Naprem, his name for his captured Klingon vessel after the late mother of his half-Bajoran daughter. “I’ve learned that despite scoring a major victory against the Klingons, our inept leaders will not strike back. We are on our own.”

    “We will be defying the Council’s authority if we went off on our own private war,” Revok warned.

    Dukat let out a loud laugh. Hadn’t he just described his own government as inept? “Please,” he said. “The Detapa Council is a group of political opportunists more concerned with keeping their political rivals from exposing their corruption than with the best interests of the Union. The Intelligence Bureau is not nearly as effective as the Obsidian Order. Even so, one ship is hardly a match for the entire Klingon Defense Forces”

    “I see your point, Dukat,” Revok answered. “I will contact several guls to find out who would be willing to support our cause.”

    “Even those claiming to support our cause may not be genuinely interested. Do not turn your back on them.”

    “But you just said how inept our government is.”

    “Overconfidence was my undoing on Bajor. I do not intend to repeat that mistake.”

    Stardate 50503 (Earth year 2373):

    Close to a year to the day that Dukat had seized the Naprem and embarked upon his one-person campaign against the Klingon Empire, numerous of military leaders joined the cause. As the Cardassian economy continued to deteriorate, and these rogue military leaders achieve inspiring victories, much of the population became increasingly disenchanted with the civilian leadership. Those who had been rallying for the rightful restoration of the Detapa Council’s political power were now calling for more effective and stronger leadership.

    Dukat had been reading reports of food riots in Lakarian City while the Naprem was on course for the Karmiat Nebula. Revok had called Dukat there for an urgent meeting. But why inside a nebula, Dukat wondered. Perhaps this meeting was regarding a matter so sensitive; he could risk involving a large number of people, especially those who may be secretly acting against them.

    Dukat was welcomed aboard Revok’s Hideki-class escort vessel for this all-important meeting that Revok said would determine the future of the Alpha Quadrant. That was enough to pique Dukat’s curiosity. His excitement was tempered by the presence of an old nemesis. “Gul Dukat,” Revok said with a smile. “Welcome aboard, I believe you know…”

    “Korinas,” Dukat said. He had met this cantankerous and self-absorbed middle-aged woman two years earlier when she was a member of the Obsidian Order. She was the Order’s official observer when Dukat, along with Sisko, coordinated the pursuit of the original Defiant when the Maquis had hijacked it. Dukat’s dislike for the Order even after it was responsible for his father’s execution resurfaced when Korinas was determined to keep the Cardassian fleet out of the Orias System, even have a Cardassian ship destroyed to protect a fleet being built to launch a pre-emptive assault on the home planet of the Dominion’s leaders.

    “We have met before,” Korinas said with her usual wry smile. “And I know you believe the Central Intelligence Bureau to be less effective than the Obsidian Order.”

    Dukat did not need to ask Revok. He already Revok let slip his remark about the Intelligence Bureau. “Nevertheless,” Korinas continued, “former members of the Obsidian Order are a valuable asset.”

    “Korinas’s knack for locating individuals keeping a low profile has put us in contact with the Dominion,” Revok explained of Korinas.

    “The Dominion?” Dukat asked. He didn’t know what to make of that. What business did they have with the Dominion? And why was a former member of the Obsidian Order involved? “And she is involved?” Dukat then asked of Korinas.

    “Times have changed,” Korinas answered. “The Order believed the Dominion to be too big of a threat to the Cardassian Union to wait for the first wave of Jem’Hadar warships to come through the Wormhole. Over the last year, our government and the Klingon Empire have done a better job of reducing Cardassia to a third rate power.”

    “That is one thing you and I have in common,” said Dukat, holding in a disgusted sigh.

    “And you will find that the Cardassians have a lot in common with the Dominion,” Revok added, “more so than you may be aware of.”

    Inside the conference room, a short stocky man waited for the delegation. He looked almost human except that his ears looked almost similar to cornhusks. His self-assuredness belied his small stature. “Ah, you must be Dukat,” he said. “I am Weyoun. I have looked forward to this momentous occasion.”

    Dukat looked over at Revok, uncertain of what to make of this verbose little man. “And what is so momentous about this meeting?”

    “Your colleague Gul Revok has told you this meeting will represent an important turning point for this quadrant,” Weyoun continued. “On behalf of the Dominion, I have a proposal for you that will usher in a new era for both our peoples.”

    Dukat still was not sure what to make of the situation. “What kind of ‘new era’?” he skeptically asked.

    “I understand how dissatisfied you are with what has taken place on Cardassia the last two years,” Weyoun explained. “Revok and Korinas have told me that the attack on our Founders’ homeworld was the idea of a group of misguided officers. Our two peoples have a common destiny, Dukat, and that destiny can be achieved better through cooperation.”

    Suddenly Weyoun was making sense to Dukat and gave an approving nod. “You are correct on all counts,” he said. “My people have lost our way since the change in government and the Klingon invasion. Many of us have been desperately searching for something to give us hope for the future.”

    “Exactly,” Weyoun replied. “Your people have risen from the ruins of an impoverished world to build a vast interstellar empire. That kind of accomplishment is worthy of respect. Once we eliminate your problems, we can come together to defeat our common enemies and fulfill both our destinies.”

    Stardate 50562 (Earth year 2373):

    A large armada of between fifty and one hundred Jem’Hadar warships and support vessels began pouring through the wormhole. In the event of a Dominion invasion of the Alpha Quadrant would lead to the first battle being fought at Deep Space 9. Though outnumbered, the station had to mount some kind of defense. Captain Sisko dispatched the warship Defiant, the runabouts Rio Grande, Volga, and Yukon, and the Naprem to face the Jem’Hadar.

    Upon entry into the Alpha Quadrant, the Dominion armada turned and headed for Cardassian space. The immediate assumption was that the Dominion was planning an attack on Cardassia, perhaps as retribution for the aborted attack on the Founders’ homeworld. One Founder had told Garak, “Your people were doomed the moment they attacked us.”

    Dukat soon set things straight. “Your concern is touching, Major,” he said to Kira, in command of the Defiant. “but unnecessary. I’m not attacking the Dominion fleet. I’m joining it.”

    “What are you talking about?” Kira demanded.

    “I’m afraid I have a confession to make. Over the past few months, I have been conducting secret negotiations between the Dominion and Cardassia. As of last week, Cardassia has agreed to become part of the Dominion.”

    “You can’t be serious,”

    “Goodbye, Major. You and me on the same side: it never seemed quite… right. Did it?”
  15. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Interesting fill-in on stuff we saw in the series.
  16. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Morrison lay down on the marble floor of a communal prison cell. He was one of fifteen crewmembers of the late Lambda Paz captured by the True Way. He was contemplating his fate after being coerced into delivering a message for his captors. Would he ever see Vircona again? Though she refused to commit to a more serious romantic affiliation, Morrison began to care for her very deeply as more than colleagues.

    Most of all, he could not stop asking herself one question. How, after, surviving countless encounters with the Jem’Hadar, could his ship be destroyed by lesser-armed escort vessels?

    A shadow formed over Morrison. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see a large intimidating Cardassian gul pointing a rifle at him. “Get up!” he ordered.

    Morrison blinked his eyes pretending to drift in and out of consciousness. The gul was not fooled. He leaned down and grabbed Morrison by the collar. “Get up!” he growled more emphatically.

    Morrison stood up on his own. “Mandel Morrison,” he groaned, “Rank: lieutenant commander. Serial number… “

    I’ve heard all that before,” the gul snapped. “Now, what are the Federation’s rescue plans?”

    “Go to hell!”

    The gul slammed his rifle right into Morrison’s already blackened left eye. “Cardassians have evolved beyond the need for religious supernatural figures,” he proclaimed with a chortle.

    A civilian Cardassian woman entered the cell at the same time the Starfleet officers backed off. Korinas whispered inaudibly to Hadar. He and the guards followed her out of the cell. The guards backed away with their phaser rifles trained on the prisoners to prevent any sudden escape attempts.

    Once the double doors closed, Korinas gave her report. “The Defiant will be leaving Deep Space Nine tomorrow morning, heading straight for Cardassia.”

    “Is the Bajoran terrorist on board?” Hadar asked.

    “Yes, the Lambda Paz’s captain is accompanying the Defiant’'s regular complement.”

    “Excellent. Now we begin to implement the next phase of our plan.”

    Diagnostics on the cloaking device all check out,” Ensign Prynn Tenmei reported from the situation area of the Defiant’s bridge. “That should expedite our departure.”

    Ezri stood at the helm station, inputting information from a PADD she held in her left hand. Throughout the bridge, officers and crew were busy loading the intelligence files that could be salvaged from the Lambda Paz into the Defiant’s computers. “Is this mission interfering with your social life?” she jokingly asked.

    Prynn was not at all amused. Jadzia had been known to crack jokes to lighten the mood during tense situations. She and Ezri inherited that characteristic from Curzon, although Ezri’s attempts at humor were not well received.

    “The sooner this mission is over, the better,” Prynn bluntly stated striding toward the starboard communications station. “Let’s leave it at that.”

    Ezri was well aware of Prynn’s strained relationship her father, Elias Vaughn, when Vaughn first reported aboard. What she didn’t know was that Prynn held Elias responsible for her mother’s presumed death during a confrontation with the Borg.

    Since she began realizing her potential as a joining of Ezri Tigan, the Dax symbiont, and all of its past hosts, Ezri was no longer a counselor in terms of her job, Ezri still could not help but psychoanalyze a gulf between parent and child. That was her life before getting the Dax symbiont.

    “How are those anti-virus algorithms coming?” Ezri asked. “Prynn, your father wouldn’t have chosen you if you were not such an exceptional pilot.”

    “Loading will require five more minutes,” Prynn answered. “I appreciate your attempts to counsel me, Ezri, but for now, I’d rather keep it professional.”

    The discussion was interrupted when the port door slid open. Fitzpatrick walked through with Bashir close behind. “Read Jack Bauer’s own personal accounts,” Bashir was insisting. “Hamri al-Assad’s conciliatory initiatives were genuine.”

    “Weapon calibrations completed,” Fitzpatrick reported to Dax, and then looked back at Bashir. “I’m not disputing Bauer’s accounts. He could have been duped as well.”

    Rashid stepped onto the bridge, behind them. “If his peace offering was just part of an elaborate plan to assassinate the President of the United States, “ he offered, “would he have helped to prevent his colleagues from detonating a suitcase nuke just outside of Los Angeles.”

    Those who knew Julian well, especially Ezri, knew immediately that the three were discussing a holosuite program. He was not that well versed in Earth history, but he familiarized himself with the historical context of these holosuite programs. “One of their holosuite programs, I assume?” Tenmei asked taking a seat at the helm.

    “He’s been into this stuff since O’Brien introduced him to that Battle of Britain program,” Dax replied.

    “I overheard an argument between those two about a Davey Crockett last year,” Tenmei whispered. “Commander Worf resolved it.”

    Fitzpatrick was standing at the weapons station to the right of the helm, making a few minor checks. He then turned to Bashir and Rashid. “The bottom line is we can’t be certain. The neo-conservative cabal could have tried to assassinate Palmer, but there’s no proof.”

    Vaughn stepped onto the bridge. Bashir and Rashid sat at the stations on the port side of the bridge. Dax and Fitzpatrick sat at the stations on the opposite side. “You all know the drill,” Vaughn declared. “Seal the airlock, release docking clamps, port and starboard thrusters at station keeping. Aft thrusters at one quarter.”

    The implant in Rashid’s brain was again triggered. This time, his contact was seeking out information on the Defiant’s tactical weaknesses.

    The Defiant pulled away from the station, turned around, and warped towards Cardassia.

    Admiral Ross arrived at the station aboard the U.S.S. Bellerephon at roughly the same time the Defiant had departed. Although higher-ranking admirals and civilian dignitaries would serve as principal mediators, Ross specifically requested to welcome the delegates himself.

    Kira did not enjoy the cordial relationship Sisko had with Ross ever since the incident at Derna. The Romulans had placed plasma torpedoes on the Bajoran moon over a year earlier. Kira, who had been promoted to station CO during Sisko’s three-month leave of absence, set up a blockade of outdated fighters inferior to just one Romulan warbird. It was only when Ross threatened to take action that the Romulans stood down. Ross again put Kira on notice when she gained command following Sisko’s disappearance in the Bajoran Fire Caves.

    Kira and Ross had to maintain a united front when welcoming the delegates. The Breen Confederacy had refused to relinquish Cardassian territory provided the Breen as part of their alliance with the Dominion. The Cardassian provisional government argued that the treaty was nullified after the Dominion was banished from the Alpha Quadrant. The Bajorans had a vested interest in the dispute, as the Breen were nothing more than interstellar pirates prior to the war.

    Both officers were at the airlock in full dress uniforms to greet the dignitaries. A Cardassian was the first to step through the airlock. “Ambassador Pirak,” Ross said. “Welcome to Deep Space 9.”

    “Admiral Ross, “Pirak replied. “Pleased to finally meet you in person. I regret Castellan Ghemor himself could not come. His position is quite fragile given the tense political situation.”

    “Allow me to introduce station CO Colonel Kira.”

    “On behalf of the Bajoran government,” Kira said, “welcome to the station.”

    The tall Cardassian who dwarfed even Ross smiled. “Thank you for the kind words, Colonel. I hope the war’s end can bring about a new spirit of friendship between our peoples.” He then turned and introduced his party.

    “This is my chief of staff, Legate Turrell.” Turrell represented Cardassia in treaty negotiations with Bajor shortly after the end of the Occupation. “And other dignitaries,” Pirak continued. “Ilon Tandro of Klaestron Four, Jolar of Kobheria, and Rigus of Lissepia.”

    Ronnick and Solarin watched the formal introductions from a crawlspace above the airlock. Ronnick pushed a few buttons on a data pad. A photo of a partially gray-haired Cardassian appeared on the readout screen. He pushed a button that activated a scanner. An identical photo appeared to the right of the first.

    “Yes,” said Solarin. “He’s our target.”
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2008
  17. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Oh, cute. Let's practice a little assassination diplomacy, eh?
  18. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    "His own vice-president said Palmer was soft on terrorism in his inaugural speech upon ascending to the presidency.”

    Fitzpatrick held a PADD with the information he was paraphrasing to Bashir. Both men were on their way to the mess hall during their coffee break.

    Julian threw up his hands almost as if he was surrendering. While Julian often had an optimistic view of the future and chose to see benign intentions in important historical figures, Raul was often more skeptical. These different views sparked interesting, and often heated, debated between the two.

    “I get it, Raul,” Julian huffed. “Wayne Palmer did not measure up to his brother. David Palmer became a martyr after his assassination, coupled with the fact that the incumbent candidate was his corrupt predecessor’s vice-president.”
    Their discussion was interrupted when the inside of the officer’s mess caught them off-guard. What was normally the officer’s mess was a communal bunkroom with four bunk beds lined up in a row. “What the bloody hell is this?” Fitzpatrick demanded of the four officers from the Military Assault Command Operations.

    The MACO’s were identified by jumpsuits made of a thick black fabric that made them more resistant to phasers and hand-held plasma weapons. The three male officers’ uniforms had a gold stripe on their uniforms across the torso. The lone female, who had been facing away from Bashir and Fitzpatrick while speaking to one of the other MACO’s, turned around. Her uniform had a red stripe indicating here status as unit commander. “Raul Fitzpatrick,” she said with a smile. “I’d recognize that voice anywhere.”

    Lisa Neeley rarely ever smiled, in fact almost never as far as Bashir was concerned when she served as the original Defiant’s chief security and weapons officer during the early months of the war. She spoke with a dispassionate tone of voice both on and off duty. “Captain Limis requested us, she explained. “Quarters would be close, so Commander Vaughn approved converting the mess hall and the shuttle-bay into bunkrooms.”

    “So where the hell am I supposed to get a raktajino?” Fitzpatrick asked.

    “That’s your problem. Klingon coffee isn’t on the top of this mission’s priority list.”

    “The point is, darling, I would have appreciated being consulted about the addition of new security personnel.”

    There was more to this than just a clash of personalities, Bashir began to sense. He interceded at that moment saying, “We probably should go somewhere else.”
    Fitzpatrick did not budge as Neeley responded to his last remark. “Ross ordered your captain to take us aboard. Our primary mission is the rescue of the hostages. Despite what you may think, I care about those men and women.”

    Bashir and Fitzpatrick left the mess hall turned bunkroom. Raul then explained to Julian that he and Lisa were romantically involved for three months before the war started while serving together on the Veracruz. She had seemed distant, possibly a fear of commitment from the risks of serving in Starfleet. When the relationship became more intense, the war began and Lisa did not wish to become too emotionally invested.

    Because the mess hall was also used for staff meetings, Limis’s briefing was convened on the bridge. All senior staff officers were seated at their stations. Vaughn occupied the center seat. Limis was operating a control console next Dax’s communications station to control the viewscreen.

    “Since we are entering a volatile sector of space,” Limis began, “Admiral Ross suggested you all be familiarized with the factions we’ll be dealing with, and Captain Vaughn agrees,” She never understood that Earth military tradition of referring to a ship’s CO as captain regardless of rank, but it seemed convenient for this mission.

    “The new head of state,” she continued, as the image of a middle-aged Cardassian male appeared on the viewscreen, “is Alon Ghemor, First Castellan of the provisional government.”

    “Tekenny Ghemor’s nephew according to Garak in one of his communi-qués,” said Bashir. “He’s the leader of the Reunion Project.”

    “Correct, Doctor,” Limis replied. “’Plain and simple’ Garak knows almost everyone worth knowing. Both Ghemors played important roles in the dissident movement.

    “Cardassian culture and politics preaches loyalty to the state. In theory, the military and intelligence answered to a civilian legislative body. Over time, the Detapa Council was just a puppet of the Central Command and the Obsidian Order. The decision to free Bajor was controversial in that the Council had no direct authority over the military in these matters. Tekenny Ghemor argued that the people had no obligations to follow two organizations with no legitimate political authority, and used his position in the Central Command to encourage dissent. Natima Lang represented the radical wing of the Underground.”

    “This is all very interesting, “said Vaughn, “but what does this have to do with the current political situation?”

    “I’m getting to that,” Limis explained. “The members of the Cardassian Underground who eluded capture when the Dominion took over formed a rebel government. The younger Ghemor’s ascension raised concern that his leadership will not fairly represent other factions.”

    Limis could see a look of fascination on Bashir’s face. Julian had been intrigued and frustrated at not being able to get straight answers from Garak. Limis wondered if she should let Bashir take over the briefing.

    “The other major political faction is the Directorate. They form an influential minority representing conservative elements within the military. The Directorate and the Reunion Project held a voting competition with the Reunion Project winning four of six districts. The Directorate has since tried to use the principles of democracy to its advantage.

    “The xenophobic group called the True Way is the more radical branch of the Directorate.” An image of Gul Revok appeared on the viewscreen. “Revok is one of the architects of an effort to remove all outside influences. The True Way played a role in making the Cardassian Union a Dominion protectorate. We have limited intelligence on which members remain loyal to the Dominion.

    “Finally, the Oralian Way has become more prominent in recent months.”

    “Garak told me about them,” Bashir chimed in. “They’re a deeply spiritual group, persecuted for what are considered primitive beliefs. Garak knows of a few Oralians willing to aide in our rescue.”

    “Of course,” Limis warned, “some Oralians are out for retribution. A few religious extremists suicide bombed a supply depot last week.”

    “So we’re dealing with Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds,’ Rashid offered.

    “Pardon?” Vaughn asked, not quite sure of the analogy to Earth history.

    “The two sects of Islam,” Rashid explained, “and Kurdish separatists in Iraq were held at peace at gunpoint under Saddam Hussein. Once he was removed, chaos erupted among those factions making a negotiated peace difficult.”

    “Then we should probably familiarized ourselves with that aspect of Earth history,” Fitzpatrick sarcastically suggested.

    “That’s not a bad idea actually,” Vaughn suggested. “ETA at Cardassia Prime, Ensign Tenmei?”

    “Four hours, thirty-six minutes,” Tenmei responded.

    Ezri had been skimming through Federation historical database files as Vaughn suggested. How did Fitzpatrick not see the historical parallels Rashid pointed to, she wondered. Three factions with three separate agendas were kept in check by a dictatorial government. With that government gone, unresolved conflicts resumed.

    She came across something peculiar while looking at information on prominent terrorist leaders in Earth’s Middle East region. She summoned Bashir, Rashid, and Fitzpatrick to her station. “You’ll never believe what I just came across when I looked up Hamri al-Assad.”

    A photograph was included in the biographical profile of the long-dead Assad. The face looked all too familiar. Pictured was a man who looked exactly like Bashir, only with a full beard.

    “That’s you, Julian,” Rashid observed.

    “Or rather... possibly an ancestor,” the wide-eyed Bashir corrected. “I had no idea.”

    “In orbit of Cardassia Prime,” Tenmei reported from the helm. “Castellan Ghemor has approved our request for beamdown.”

    “Very well,” Vaughn acknowledged. “Inform Captain Limis and Lieutenant Neeley to join us in the transporter room. Away Team with me.”

    Ezri vacated her station to assume the center seat. Fitzpatrick took one last glance at the on-screen display before exiting the bridge with Vaughn, Bashir, and Rashid.

    A thought went through his mind that he quickly dismissed. He remembered the notorious superhuman Khan Noonien Singh went into suspended animation after his downfall. Could Assad have done the same? Were Julian Bashir and Hamri al-Assad the same person? Of course not. Assad had died in his attempt to assassinate one of his enemies.
  19. Enterprise1981

    Enterprise1981 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 23, 2008
    Tethered to a large plant
    Chapter Seven​

    Colonel Kira spun the baseball on the desk in her office while listening to reports from Lieutenant Ro and Bajoran liaison officer Major Cenn Desca. It was a habit she picked up from Ben Sisko when he was station commander. The baseball became a symbol indicating that Sisko would one day return. When Starfleet surrendered the station to the Dominion, Sisko left the ball behind putting Dukat on notice. Sisko took the ball during his leave of absence after Dukat murdered Jadzia and temporarily sealed the Wormhole, cutting the Bajoran people off from their gods. No one knew what happened to Sisko when he confronted Dukat in the Fire Caves. He let his wife know he would return at some point in the future or the past, as the Prophets had no concept of linear time.

    “I asked Nog to run a diagnostic on the EPS relay system in the habitat ring,” Ro said. “They all checked out.”

    Kira detected frustration in Ro’s voice when emphasizing the word “all.” “That shouldn’t be possible, should it?” she asked.

    “No,” Ro flatly stated. “The power consumption logs show an overload possibly resulting from a misalignment.”

    “But the diagnostics would have indicated a misalignment,” Cenn offered. “Are you suggesting we have a saboteur on board? He may be planning to assassinate one of the delegates.”

    Admiral Ross stood at the right side of the desk. “Is postponing the conference possible?” Kira asked him.

    “Absolutely not,” Ross answered sternly. “We’re lucky the Breen are willing to talk. They’re interstellar pirates who steal whatever they can. They don’t care that one important provision of their treaty with Dominion is now null and void.”

    Kira then turned to Ro. “All right, you and Nog go over the engineering duty rosters. And look more closely at the scene of the crime. We cannot overlook anything,” she said, and then looked to Cenn. “Major, delay the departure of all outgoing ships. Dismissed.”

    Cenn and Ro left the office, but Ross stayed. “I may not have trusted Odo, neither did Admiral Rollman,” he said, “but he at least got the job done.”

    “What is that supposed to mean?” she asked of the accusatory statement.

    “He may not have been a team player who played by the rules, but he got results. During these investigations, the assassin could carry out his mission.”

    Kira stood up to look Ross straight in the eye. “What will you have me do? Put the station on lockdown? Detain the entire engineering staff. We have no solid leads yet.”

    “You know as well as I do the importance of this conference.”

    “Of course I do, Admiral. But I won’t send security on a witch-hunt until we have something more concrete. With all due respect, I am station commander unless Starfleet orders otherwise.”

    Without another word, Ross stormed out of the office.

    The Away Team from the Defiant materialized in the foyer of the new government facilities on Cardassia Prime. The room had a far less militaristic look than most Cardassian government facilities. The Starfleet officers expected to see large monitor screens with tactical displays. The floor was mounted with the emblem of the Cardassian Union. The dark-gold walls were bare with only two doors on either side.

    Garak came through the door on the officers’ left. “My dear, Doctor Bashir,” he said. “How good to see you again. And you must be Commander Vaughn.”

    “Commander Elias Vaughn,” Vaughn replied. He then introduced the others. “Lieutenants Rashid and Fitzpatrick. And from the late starship Lambda Paz, Captain Limis and Lieutenant Neeley.”

    “The Castellan will be seeing you now,” said Garak. “Come this way.” They all headed through the door Garak emerged from. “This is a difficult situation,” he continued while they walked through the corridor. “The challenge will be to determine who Ghemor can trust. Why call him a leader when not all the people he leads will follow?”

    You support him, Garak,” Bashir retorted.

    “True. During my days in the Obsidian Order, I wouldn’t have. He can lead my people on a new path assuming he can keep the other factions from assassinating him.”

    Garak was the first to enter Ghemor’s office, then Vaughn, then Bashir. “The Starfleet crew has arrived,” Garak announced. “I’ll leave you to them.”

    Alon Ghemor stood up from this desk to greet the Starfleet team. “Welcome to Cardassia Prime,” he said. He directed them to a meeting table to his left. “Please be seated.”

    Ghemor took a seat at the head of the table. Vaughn sat down on the other end. Limis, Neeley, and Fitzpatrick seated themselves to Ghemor’s right, while Bashir and Rashid sat at the other side.

    “You understand the difficulties involved,” said Ghemor. “Garak must have told you that I am not much of leader despite my title.”

    “We are also in a difficult situation as well,” Vaughn replied. “The True Way has demanded the convoys cease while they have these hostages. They have sympathizers within the government and the military.”

    “I am pleased to hear you are familiar with our political situation, Commander. The entire populace was untied when the Dominion began leveling our cities. Now everyone has new ideas. Damar, himself, called us the ‘true oppressors’ of the Alpha Quadrant. Many believe this situation a chance to achieve what we could not as members of the Dominion. Others have said the price of greatness has gotten too high. So you understand the difficulty in discreetly identifying those willing to help you.”

    “One wrong move and those hostages are dead,” Limis responded.

    “We must get moving quickly,” Vaughn announced to his crew “Doctor, you and Rashid coordinate the transport of the supplies.”

    “I’ve worked on a way to piggyback our transporters to the Cardassian system,” said Rashid.

    “Excellent,” said Vaughn. “Lieutenants Fitzpatrick and Neeley will need to work with Mister Garak on whatever intel is available.”

    “Actually, sir, I would prefer to prepare my security team,“ Neeley replied.

    Fitzpatrick looked at her believing Neeley wanted to avoid working with him. “Nothing personal, Raul,” she said.

    “I am still her CO,” Limis offered.

    “No problem,” Vaughn relented. “With your permission, Castellan, we can establish a link with your central computer, make the work go a lot faster.”

    “Of course,” Ghemor said with an approving nod.

    Nog opened a wall panel in a corridor in the habitat ring. He and Ro were told to inspect all the EPS conduit networks modified in the section for the VIP quarters. Nog began scanning with a tricorder looking for any evidence of tampering.

    An alarm sounded indicating unauthorized modifications. He waved the scanning device back and forth as the high-pitched whine got louder. The sound maintained its volume when the tricorder found a suspicious device. “A subspace crossover shunt,” he said.

    “Meaning someone is trying to control the EPS power taps from a central location,” said Ro, “and the assassin could strike at any time.”

    As if on cue, an energy surge formed inside the panel. An electrical arc struck the other Starfleet engineer present. Nog crouched down and felt for a pulse and the side of the engineer’s neck. “He’s dead,” he said.

    Ro looked up at the ceiling and pointed her phaser.

    From his quarters, Ronnick was watching the corridor Ro and Nog were inspecting on a desk monitor. When Ro fired her phaser, the image disappeared.

    Limis took a sip of raktajino while sitting in the mess hall turned bunkroom. “This is insane,” she said to Neeley, who sitting next to her on a bottom bunk. “We’re sitting here waiting while that so-called government on the planet below tries to assemble a rescue party that won’t sell us out.”

    “That’s part of being in Starfleet,” Neeley offered. That statement was little consolation. “We do have information on known True Way strongholds.” Neeley handed Limis a PADD with information Dax and Tenmei compiled.

    That was enough for Limis as she set the PADD down. “Assemble a team to beam down in twenty minutes,” she said.

    “What? We can’t go down guns blazing. We don’t know exactly what encampment our people are being held at or if they are at any of them we know of.”

    “We don’t have the luxury of time, Lisa. Someone with the True Way could soon get wind of the fact that we’re in orbit. The hostages could be executed while we’re waiting on an inept government.”

    “Okay, I’ll assemble four of my best soldiers.”

    Four MACO’s had assembled in the transporter room with Limis and Neeley. Those two were working the control console. “There’s a high level encryption preventing unauthorized transport,” Neeley said.

    Limis thought for a minute that Vaughn had anticipated such action. “That clever bastard,” she muttered.

    “I know a little about breaking encryptions,” Neeley said. She entered four digits into a keypad. “Damn!” she exclaimed when the display screen went blank. “It just triggered a security alarm.”

    All six of the soldiers in the transporter room were almost certain they would end up in the brig very soon. Limis remembered she could get away with a stunt like this when she was captain. That was not the case on a ship someone else, even someone of lower rank, captained.

    The doors slid open, and they expected armed guards. Neeley imagined Fitzpatrick arresting her. Instead, only Rashid entered.

    They were still apprehensive. “Don’t worry,” Rashid said. “If I was going to turn you in, security would be here. I don’t think we should be waiting around.”

    He seemed distant to Neeley. He was often more sociable around his colleagues. They were uncertain what to make of his neutral expression.

    "Feeling okay, Lieutenant,” Limis asked.

    “Never better,” said Rashid with a grin.

    The rescue team stepped on the transporter pad. Rashid entered a set of coordinates and energized.

    Only Limis dematerialized.

    She materialized inside a meeting room. Her phaser rifle was gone. She reached for the hand phaser holstered to her waste. That was gone, too.

    The door in front of her opened. Two Cardassian soldiers grabbed both her arms. The one on her left pulled her combadge off her uniform.

    Revok then walked in as the door closed behind him. “Welcome to Cardassia Prime, Captain,” he said. “We’ve been expecting you.”
  20. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    Wheels within wheels.....

    Pretty interesting tale you're spinning.