Spiderweb

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine- “Spiderweb” by Jehan Jaleel

Rating: PG-13

This story takes place during the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Part I

Major Kira Nerys entered Ops with a heavy heart, there were many
problems on her mind. The biggest concern at the moment was the recent
Dominion/Cardassian alliance which threatened the alpha quadrant and
especially Bajor. Now that Bajor’s deadliest enemies had joined forces, Kira’s
home planet faced a very grim future indeed she thought as she sat at her post
in Ops.

Kira did not say a word to the other officers in Ops, rather she just began the
work of Deep Space Nine’s commanding officer. Kira was in charge of the
station now that Captain Sisko was away overseeing repairs done on the
Defiant at Starbase 112. Neither Sisko nor his ship would be back for a week.
She missed them both.

The Defiant was one of the most powerful ships in the quadrant, and DS9
was always more vulnerable to attack when it was away, these days the
possibility of a Dominion attack seemed more and more likely. Kira also
wished that Sisko would return soon, because she hated the extra work. Fear of
Dominion attack, Dukat’s recent betrayal, Odo confessing his love for her, all
this made Kira too depressed to run the station.

She was glad when Dax interrupted her and said “Kira, you should take a
look at this.”

“What is it Jadzia?” Kira asked, as she too looked at Dax’s monitor.

“I am picking up a subspace echo,” Dax replied “It could be anything from
natural stellar phenomena to a ship’s warp signature.”

“Well at least it would give us something to do, let’s check it out”

“I am getting more information now,” Dax said “it is definitely not natural.
Looks like a subspace transmission of some sort. It’s very weak and distorted.”

“Can you filter it out?” Kira asked.

Instead of hearing Dax’s reply, Kira heard the message itself which answered
her question. It was an automated Federation distress call, and it was so weak
it was hard to make out. But what Kira did hear troubled her.

“This is the Federation starship Barkman, we have been attacked by Jem’Hdar
fighters, our main power has failed. Our main power has failed, we require
imm ….”

Part II

There was a time, not long ago when Julian Bashir would have been
overjoyed to be called to the briefing room for a dangerous mission. That was
when he had first arrived on this station, now that he was older and had
realized how dangerous the universe can be he was not so enthusiastic. In fact ,
he almost wished he was not walking to the briefing room right now.

Bashir entered the room and saw that all the other senior officers except
Sisko and O’Brien were present. They all had solemn expressions on their
faces, then again there was not much to smile about these days anyway. Kira
was at the head of the table, in Sisko’s absence and Bashir took his seat.

“Glad to see you could make it Doctor,” Kira said “Fifteen minutes ago we
received a distress call from the USS Barkman, they were attacked Jem’Hdar
fighters.”

“The Barkman is a Miranda class starship with a crew compliment of fifty
three last assigned to map the Trinson nebula,” said Worf.

“But that is nowhere near Cardassian space,” Bashir offered.

“We know,” Kira replied “and if the Barkman was indeed attacked it could
signify a new Dominion offense. The Trinson nebula is nowhere near
anybody’s space, and closest Federation or allied outpost to the Barkman is
DS9.”

“Major, you can’t seriously expect us to mount some kind of rescue,” Bashir
said ” Both the Defiant and General Martok’s ship are away. All we have now
are runabouts, surely there are some starships in the area that could go to the
Trinson nebula.”

“Unfortunately with the Dominion threat of war closer than ever these days, all
Federation starships have been assigned to protect key homewards and solar
systems,” Worf said “and the same could be said for our allies in the Klingon
and Romulan Empires.”

“So you want us to take a few runabouts into unknown territory with a
powerful enemy that is hunting us at every turn”.

“Not a few runabouts Doctor, one runabout,” Kira replied “I need the rest of
the runabouts to help protect the station and Bajor now that the Defiant is
gone.”

“I like a challenge,” said Worf with a smile “I volunteer for the mission.”

“Excellent, Dax will be in command and Dr.Bashir will join you as well,” Kira
said as she got up from her seat “you leave within the hour.”

“Nothing like being assigned to a suicide mission to liven up your day,” Bashir
said.

Part III

Being the commander on this particular mission, Jadzia Dax had to check
up on some last minute details before she went to the runabout. When she
finally arrived on the runabout Mahaweli she saw that her entire crew was
already there, ready for the mission and waiting for their commander.

Lt.Enrique Alvarez was at the runabout’s helm, he was one of the best
runabout pilots on the station and Dax wanted him at the helm on this
particularly dangerous mission. The science station had been left empty for
her, and next to it Bashir sat in his chair with nothing to do at the moment.
Then there was Worf who sat at operations, he had an angry look on his face
and tried to keep himself busy with his console.

Dax walked up to Worf, put her arms around him and kissed him on the
cheek. But he just gave her a stern look, which made Dax back away and take
her seat at the science station. She knew this was not easy for Worf, the threat
of war had everyone on edge but there was something more.

Maybe it was because Kira had put her in command of this mission and not
Worf even though was the senior officer on the station. Maybe Worf did not
like taking orders from a female, especially one that was his lover. Whatever
his difficulties were Dax thought, he had to deal with it because this was not
going to be an easy mission. Suddenly Kira voice over the radio interrupted her
thoughts.

“Runabout Mahaweli, this is Ops. Pad doors are open and you are free to
engage your engines.”

“Acknowledged Ops,” Dax replied “Lt.Alvarez set course for the Trinson
nebula and engage at maximum warp.”

“Aye sir,” Alvarez replied and as his finger danced on the console, the
runabout responded and leapt forward into the depths of space and all the
adventure and peril that lay await.

Meanwhile, on board the station Quark the bartender waited impatiently as
his brother worked on the controls for the holosuite. It seemed to Quark like he
had been standing there waiting for Rom to finish his work forever. Quark had
no time for this, he had a bar to run and customers to look after, not to mention
all the people waiting for this holosuite.

“Will you hurry up,” Quark snarled in his ever detestable tone.

“I am going as fast as I can brother, besides you are not the only one who has
somewhere to go. I was supposed to meet Letta over an hour ago.”

“I don’t care about Bajoran wife,” Quark replied “You know what I don’t have
the patience for this. Just fix the holosuite and go back to her”

With that statement Quark began to make his exit. He was almost to the
doors when something happened. Suddenly the exit doors disappeared, and
were replaced by trees. Then the walls turned into trees, and the entire
holosuite became some kind of forest.
Something had gone with holosuite, Quark thought, again.

Part IV

The bright pink and blue colors of the Trinson nebula against the vast
darkness of space looked beautiful thought Jadzia Dax from the cockpit of the
runabout. The Mahaweli had just dropped out of warp and was now
approaching the nebula at impulse power. But Dax knew that there was
nothing beautiful about the possible dangers that waited for them inside the
nebula.

They had made through their entire journey from DS9 without encountering
any Jem’Hdar or Cardassian vessels, but Dax knew that the most likely place
for an engagement was inside the nebula. Because there was a good chance
that whoever attacked the Barkman was still in there with her.

“Do you have anything yet Worf,” Dax asked from her station.

“Nothing yet, there is too much interference from the nebula. We have to get
closer.”

“The gases in that nebula are strong enough to disrupt our shields and
communications as well as our sensors,” said Dax as she read the information
on her console “But we are no help to the Barkman sitting out here.”

“Jadzia,” Bashir began “the odds that the Barkman could have survived both a
Jem’Hdar attack and that nebula are one in forty eight at best I calculate.”

“Spare me your genetically advanced statistical outcomes Julian,” she replied
“If there is any chance the crew of the Barkman has survived we must
investigate.”

“I know. Just wanted to let you know the odds against us.”

“Lt.Alvarez,” Dax said “take us into the nebula.”

In a matter of minutes those bright colors of the nebula filled all the
windows of the Mahaweli. The endless vastness of the nebula engulfed the
small runabout, as it traveled seamlessly through the gases. Dax saw that all
the viewscreens on board the runabout became distorted as proof that the
sensors were not working.

“Our shields are gone too,” said Worf from his station stating the obvious.

“No sensors, no shields. We will have to find the Barkman using visual
contact, Don’t count on weapons being that much use since we can’t get target
lock and will have to fire manually,” said Dax.

“Well Worf, you wanted a challenge,” said Bashir “You got one.”

Part V

“Rom, Rom, ROM,” Quark yelled to the illusionary forest around him but
there was no answer. This must have been the hundredth time that he had
called out for his brother and only heard the silence of the forest Quark
thought. He was furious at his brother, not only was being trapped in this
holosuite a torutores experience but Quark’s bar was probably suffering as well
without him there to tend for it.

This is not the first time that this accident has happened. People had been
trapped on holodecks before, Quark never expected himself to be one of those
people. Every command he had yelled to the computer to shut down had
failed. Efforts to contact security or anyone to get him out of here had also
failed. Worst of all, blood that Quark spilled after pricking his finger on a
thorn proved that the holosuite safeties were not working either. Typical.

As Quark walked on into unexplored territory, he saw that the forest around
began to grow thicker. The path that he had been walking on all this time seem
to diminish, and it was harder to walk through the outgrowth of shrubs and
bushes. He also saw that the sun was setting and almost all the light was gone.

Quark was both tired and disheartened. His legs began to ache and his eyes
could not see the path before him anymore. He found a rock and sat down.
“How could this possibly get any worse,” he asked himself. And then from out
of the trees his answer came.

It leaped out of a group of trees some distance form where Quark was sitting.
But it was moving very fast and straight towards him, he did not even wait to
see what the creature was but just ran.

Quark ran through the forest with all the speed his little legs could muster.
He could not see where he was going, but it did not matter. That terrible
creature was right behind him and Quark had to get away. He could hear the
creature’s footsteps and it’s howl and the seemed to get closer every second.

Then suddenly there was a bark from a fallen tree which Quark did not see
until the last minute. By the time he did notice the bark, it was too late. He
tripped on it and fell on his stomach, he turned around and saw the creature’s
eyes in the dark forest coming ever closer. The creature leaped and was about
to grab Quark when a bright flash of light struck the creature and it fell to the
ground.

Quark knew that the light was from phaser fire, he thought station security
had found him and he was rescued. But then he saw it was only his brother
Rom coming out of the forest.

“You idiot, what have you done to my holosuite,” Quark said upon seeing his
brother as he rose to his feet.

“That is how you thank me for saving your life brother,” Rom replied “Besides
I didn’t do anything, this is all your fault.”

“My fault, how is it my fault?”

“A holosuite is a very advanced piece of machinery Quark. You are supposed
to take care of it, now over the years I have been patching your holosuite up
anyway I could. But without proper upgrades and parts which you never spent
the latinum for, something like this was bound to happen. I suppose it is irony
or even the will of the prophets that this happened the when you were in the
holosuite, so I ask you again brother whose fault is it.”

“All right,” Quark replied “let’s stop bickering about whose fault this mess is,
how can you get us out of it?”

“The only way is to find the holosuite arch,” Rom replied.

“Okay where is the arch?”

Rom just pointed to the dark, dangerous and vast forest around them
“Somewhere out there.”

Part VI

In the cabin section of the Mahaweli Dax and Worf sat across each other for
a quiet lunch. Their search for the Barkman had not gone well, it had been
over five hours and there was still no sign of her. The runabout was traveling
at only a quarter of impulse power searching the nebula carefully for the lost
Starfleet vessel or it’s attackers. Since there was no sign of the latter, Dax
thought perhaps it was not that bad after all.

Dax then looked across the table and saw Worf. She could see that his
solemn mood had not improved because he did not eat his food, rather he just
drove his fork into the meat. One thing about Klingons she thought, you can
always tell when they are upset.
Maybe that is one reason why she loved him so much, she had to break the ice
between them.

“So I hear the Captain and Chief O’Brien won’t be back for at least another
week,” she said.

“Repairs on the Defiant are taking longer than expected,” Worf replied
unemotionally, not even bothering to make eye contact.

“Well what do you expect after the way she has been treated this past two
years. One impossible battle after another and all we did was patch her up for
next day. I will be suprised if they ever get the Defiant as good as new.”

Worf just grunted in reply, obviously in no mood for idle conversation.

“What is the matter with you Worf?” Dax asked “Is it because Kira put me on
command over you.”

“Jadzia, I prefer not talk about it. I am done with my food, let us go see what
the doctor and Lt.Alvarez have found,” Worf said and with that got up and
made his way to the front of the ship.

Jadzia loved Worf but he could just be so stubborn sometimes. She then got
up herself and disposed of both their meals in the replicator. After checking
her face in the mirror, she headed for the control room herself. There she
found Alvarez and Bashir busy at work and Worf watching over them.

“What do you have so far Julian?” she asked as she went up to his console.

Bashir tapped his keypad and a computer grid of the nebula appeared on the
screen “The Trinson nebula is larger and more dense than others. It also has a
powerful star at the center. At the rate which we are going, I calculate it will
take three days, six hours, and twenty one minutes to search the entire nebula.”

“Three days in this blasted nebula, searching for a ship which is probably
space dust already,” grumbled Worf.

“I wouldn’t speak so soon sir,” Alvarez said “Look.”

They all turned to the main window of the runabout and looked. First it
looked like just a shadow in the bright nebula, but as they approached closer
the silhouette of a Federation Miranda class starship could easily be seen.

Part VII

The runabout Mahaweli was now directly over the Barkman, scans from
any distance greater than this was impossible due to interference from the
nebula. The four member crew of the Mahaweli each sat patient and alert at
their station.Dax sat at command, waiting for the scans from the Barkman to
come in.

“Is there still no response to our hails Worf?” she asked.

“None.”

“There does not seem to be any physical damage to the Barkman,” said Bashir
from the science station “but I am not getting any power readings or life signs
from her either. It almost seems…”

“seems like what Julian?” asked Dax after hearing his voice trail off.

“Seems like there is interference to our sensors coming from the Barkman
itself.”

“I am getting a power build up from the Barkman,” said Worf.

The entire crew looked at the Barkman from the main window to see a small
bright light leave the vessel. It did not take them long to realize that it was
indeed a photon torpedo the Barkman had fired at the runabout. Dax did not
know why they were being attacked but she did know she had to protect her
ship.

“Evasive maneuvers Lt.Alvarez,” Dax shouted “hard to port”.

“Hard to port aye,” came the reply and the Mahaweli skewed to the right but
the Barkman had taken them by suprise and they were too close to the starship
to completely evade the torpedo. It exploded only a few feet from the runabout
and everyone on board was knocked off their feet.

“Federation runabout surrender,” came a voice over the open comm channel.
Dax could not recognize the voice but she knew it was a human female
speaking.

“Not on your life,” Dax replied and then turned to Worf “target their engines
and fire.”

Worf did not reply instead he just ran to his console at lightning speed, his
finger slammed the keypad and soon phaser fire lanced out of the Mahaweli
and hit the much larger starship.

“Direct hit,” Worf replied.

“Excellent,” Dax said “Lt.Alvarez get us out of here full impulse.”

Dax looked at the Barkman and saw that they were not following which
means Worf did in fact get their engines. She saw that Bashir was still on the
floor and the last one to get up on his feet.

“What the HELL just happened,” the doctor shouted.

Part VIII

The thick forest which Quark and Rom had to trek through for three hours
had given way to an endless desert. At first Quark was glad not having to walk
thorough the thick of the jungle, the desert was much easier to walk in. But
then the desert sun started beating down mercilessly and Quark felt very warm
and very thirsty, soon he found himself wishing for the forest to return.

“What the hell is going on Rom,” Quark yelled.

“It seems the holodeck is rotating different programs. Who knows where it will
take us next,” Rom replied “but relax brother. The arch should be much easier
to find in this envoirment.”

“Why couldn’t the program take us to Risa or even an Orion slave girl
mansion?” Quark complained.

“The prophets are punishing you for your sins brother. What kind of
punishment would Risa be?”

“You are spending too much time with Bajorans Rom, their stupid beliefs are
beginning to rub off on you”

“Don’t mock the prophets Quark,” Rom said for the first time with anger in his
tone.

“Do you know what religion is Rom, it is one big sham.Written by people a
long time just to make some cash, I know. Because I found out that is what the
rules of acquisition were. Just a best selling book, that was so popular it
became a way of life for an entire race.”

Rom just shook his head in reply.

“All the prophets I call on you to harm me, harm me. I have been very bad,
punish me,” Quark yelled to the desert.

Suddenly Quark saw figures arise from the dunes. They were large
humanoids and they carried big guns, he could not make out what they were
because they had masks and wore robes. They came from everywhere and soon
surrounded the foolish Ferengi and his brother.

“Why can’t you just learn to keep your mouth shut,” Rom said.

Part IX

The runabout Mahaweli cut through the gases of the nebula as it sped away
from it’s attackers as fast as it could. Plasma leaked from the left warp nacelle
, the hull was exposed and a large area on the left side was covered in black
soot from the damage of the torpedo. But inside the runabout, the crews hearts
were in even worse shape than the Mahaweli herself.

“We don’t know what’s going on Julian,” Dax replied to Bashir’s question “all
we know is that the Barkman attacked us.”

“But why?” asked Worf.

“Before we go into that, we have an even more serious problem,” Dax said
“like the extent of damage to the Mahaweli and how we can get out of here.
Well Mr.Alvarez how does she look.”

“The torpedo completely took out the left warp engine,” Alvarez replied “so
we can kiss warp power good-bye. There has been some damage to the
auxiliary systems as well so I don’t know how long we can keep up full
impulse.”

“Enough power to get us back to DS9?” Bashir asked.

“Doctor I don’t even think there is enough to get out of this nebula.”

“Leaving the nebula would be suicide anyway,” Dax said “once we are out in
open space the Barkman can pick us off easily. Our only advantage is the
nebula. At least here the odds are somewhat even.”

“I disagree,” said Worf “we should leave this blasted nebula as soon as we can.
If we do run into the Barkman we make a stand.”

“I am one in command here Mr.Worf,” Dax said and gave her lover a stern
look.

“Lt.Alvarez full stop and hold position here. There is something about this
nebula’s star I think can help us,” Dax said and got to work on the science
station. Alvarez obeyed his commander and then the three of them just stood
there and watched as Dax worked on her console.

Part X

Bashir noticed as he walked into the cabin section that Worf seemed very
depressed. The Klingon just stared at the nebula outside with a solemn look on
his face. The anger that was there before seemed to have gone, and there was
no sign of fear in there desperate hour in the Klingon’s eyes, only sadness.
Bashir knew who the source of Worf’s sadness was, the person who he loved
more than anyone else.

“That green trail of plasma out there is like the Mahaweli’s blood,” Bashir said
“there seems to be a lot of it out there, which can’t be good for us.”

“This would not have happened had I been in command,” Worf said.

“You can’t blame her, she did the best she could. All that is left is for us to help
her get this ship home in one piece.”

“I would not expect you to understand Doctor,” Worf replied “It is a Klingon
matter.”

That last statement made Bashir furious. There was a time not too long ago
when he would have given anything to have Jadzia Dax by his side and in his
bed every night. Worf does not realize what he has, Jadzia’s love is too
precious to lose on Klingon ideals Bashir thought. He was about to give the
Klingon a piece of his mind when the intercom interrupted him, summoning
them both to the bridge.

After Dax saw Worf and Bashir enter the room, she punched up the
computer. The entire crew gathered around her console and a computer image
of the star at the center of the Trinson nebula came up.

“There is no way to repair the damage to our runabout,” she began “so we have
to evade the Barkman until DS9 can launch some kind of rescue. I think our
best shot lies here in the Trinson nebula star. I am going to take the Mahaweli
into the star.”

“Jadzia, are you sure you didn’t bump your head a little too hard during the
attack,” Bashir said.

“The plan is to not fully enter the star. But close enough that the Barkman
would not detect us. We can use a form of metaphysic shielding to protect us
from the sun’s radiation.”

“Metaphysic shielding is still highly experimental,” Alvarez offered “even if
we can get it stable. Where can we come up with enough power to keep it
running till the rescue comes. We barely have enough power for primary
systems now with the mains down.”

“That is where yet another experimental procedure comes to play,” Dax
continued “Spiderweb is a procedure Dr.Peter Katz invented. It is where a
small ship or probe can draw raw power to function from a star. The only
problem was surviving the star’s radiation which we have already solved using
Dr.Ryega’s metapyhsic shielding.”

“You want use to take the Mahaweli into the Trinson star and then hold
position there for maybe days until a rescue comes and use the star itself for
power,” Bashir said “I think the probabilities that either of these highly
experimental procedures will work and keep working until rescue comes is…”

“We don’t want to know Julian,” Dax cut him off “Mr.Alvarez set course for
the Trinson star, full impulse.”

Part XI

The desert sun which loomed above Quark did not seem to go down even
though he had been traveling for what seemed like hours now. The strange
figures in white robes had ordered Quark and his brother to follow them by
just pointing their guns. Now Quark had been traveling with these desert
marauders through the dunes of this unforgiving desert. He just wished they
would reach their destination.

Quark hated the desert and the heat, he had removed most of the heavy
ornamental clothing he wore when he first entered the holosuite, but he still as
if he was going to perish from the heat.

Just when all hope seemed lost, the desert raiders lead Quark through one
more dune at the end of which Quark saw a settlement. The settlement was an
oasis in the desert, several tents had been placed around a small lake. There
were also lots of people walking back and forth, more than an oasis in the
desert, it was almost a village.

There people walked around without the protective masks, and as he got
closer Quark could make out what kind of people they were. Their tall slim,
figures, hair on their heads and light complexion meant only one
thing-Humans. Always the Homans Quark thought.

When the people in the oasis caught sight of the two Ferengi, they seemed
awe-struck and they were all quick to keep their distance, but it almost seemed
out of respect than fear. Quark then noticed that there were no women or
children in the settlement that he could see, they were all men who seemed to
serve as soldiers like the one escorting him or workers who carried digging
equipment.

Before Quark could gather anymore information about their captors, he and
his brother were taken inside the largest tent. Inside it was much cooler and
Quark was relieved, there were comfortable chairs inside, and a table filled
with all kinds of food and drink. The guards left the two of them in there, and
exited the tent.

“Brother, we have to find a way to get out of here,” Rom whispered in an
urgent tone as soon as they left.

“Rom,there is no way we are just going to sneak out in broad daylight, there
are so many people outside and we are so different from them we’d stick out
easily,” Quark replied “besides I am dying from this heat. Let us rest here for a
while.”

“Need I remind that the holosuite safeties are not working and they could kill
us for real if they wanted to.”

“If they wanted us dead, they would have killed us already. Besides there is an
even bigger chance we would die from that horrible desert and the heat. Now
relax for a while, the holosuite will probably switch to another program soon,
so let us enjoy these desert humans’ hospitality while we can,” Quark said as he
poured himself a drink.

“You should listen to your brother Rom,” came a voice from the other end of
the tent. A figure came out of the shadows and walked towards them, Quark
could easily tell by her lovely curves that she was female. He couldn’t wait to
see her face, but when he did he so shocked that he dropped his drink.

“Kira,” Quark and Rom shouted simultaneously.

Part XII

“Major thank goodness you found us,” said Rom as he walked up to the
woman that was in the tent with them.

Quark on the other hand was not so sure this was who so she seemed.
Everything about this woman from her voice to her clothes to the way she
walked was so different from Major Kira. And the woman’s reaction to Rom
confirmed his suspicions.

“I think you must have mistaken me with someone else, I am sorry to
disappoint you,” she said in a friendly tone.

“You have to excuse my brother,” Quark said suddenly “this desert heat has
gotten to him. Now Rom if you would just wait outside.”

“But brother…” Rom began.

“Now!” Quark snapped back and with that Rom made his way to the tent’s exit.
He then did feel remorse for getting angry at his brother, but these are a
dangerous people and with the holodeck safeties not working both their lives
were in real danger. Rom did not fully comprehend the magnitude of their
situation, so it was up to Quark to get them both out of this predicament.

“I must apologize for him once again,” he said turning once again to face his
beautiful companion “I am Quark and you are?”

The magnificent woman who looked just like Kira smiled in response and
turned away. She went to the table and began to pour drink into a glass and
then said “I am known by many names by my people, but for now you can
address me at The Intendant.”

“Must we be so formal?” Quark asked as he took the drink from her.

“For now we must,” she replied “that is until you do something for me.”

“I am sorry, but me and my brother have to find something important in the
desert. So we have to get going I hope you understand.”

“Oh but you are not going anywhere my wide eared friend,” she said in a tone
that was not as friendly as before. The fact that she recognized Quark as alien
could only meant more trouble.

“Since you put it that way, I would be happy to help,” Quark lied “what did you
have in mind.”

“My men and I were sent here by the Regent Pavos in the land of Arkus which
is some distance away,” she began “the Regent learned of giant pyramids in
these deserts, pyramids which were supposed to hold the greatest of treasures
inside them. He charged me with the task of recovering those treasures.”

“With all the man power you have and your great intelligence Intendant, that
should by no problem. What do you need me for?” Quark asked.

“Now my men have found the pyramid and a week ago I bid five of my best
warriors to go inside and recover the treasure for me. Two days passed and
they did not return and so I sent a second group of warriors and they
disappeared into the great pyramid as well. Even though they would obey my
every command I wish to send no more warriors in there, for the sole reason
that it is a waste.”

“Tough break,” Quark replied.

“And that is where you come in,” she said as she put down her drink and
approached him. “I want you to enter the great pyramid and recover the
treasures for me,” she said as she gently began to stroke the Ferengi’s lobes.

Part XIII

Because he was the doctor on this mission, many would say that Bashir was
the least likely person to man the engineering station of the runabout
Mahaweli, but he was who Dax had choose because he was the only person
qualified. Now that the Mahaweli was connected to the Trinson star in a
Spiderweb, someone had to monitor all the raw power coming from the star
into the runabout and use it for necessary systems and dump the rest out.

It was a tedious task indeed thought Bashir as he worked the computer padd
in front of him. Only an android like the Enterprise’s Commander Data or a
genetically enhanced human like himself could keep it up. There was more
than enough power for the runabout flowing from the web that connected it to
the sun, the problem was controlling that power.

Bashir first had to transfer power to the metaphysic shields or else they
would all perish from the sun’s radiation and heat, he then had to transfer the
power to life support, sensors and other key functions. Finally he had to send
all that remaining power back along the web to the sun or the whole runabout
would overload. He had to keep repeating these steps at a rapid pace until
rescue arrived or the Barkman gives up her search and leaves the nebula.

The sensors having been enhanced themselves from all this power began to
work despite the nebula’s interference. The Barkman could now be see clearly
as a red dot on the tactical display. They will still some distance away doing a
random sweep of the nebula searching for the runabout, just like it had been
done vice versa when the Mahaweli first arrived.

Even if the Barkman came near the Trinson star, Bashir doubted they would
spot the runabout because their sensors still did not work. That was not his
main concern, his main concern was that though he had the hand/eye
coordination of an android, he himself was not a machine. And there is just so
long even an Enhanced Human can stay without sleep.

Meanwhile in the cabin section of the runabout, Dax and Worf sat at a table
to discuss their situation. Dax told Worf her plan about staying in the
Spiderweb for about the tenth time, and still he refused. Now all she wanted
was get some sleep, but Worf was persistent.

“Dr.Bashir can not maintain the Spiderweb forever,” he said.

“I know Worf, but Julian is strong and I have faith he can hold out until our
situation improves.”

“How can it improve?” Worf asked his voice rising “The Barkman will either
destroy us without us getting a fair fight or this cursed star which looms above
will take us in our sleep. We will not die in battle with honor.”

“Is that all there is to it. Is honor they only reason you want to leave the
nebula?” Dax asked “I know it can’t be, Worf I know you are beyond that.”

“It is personal,” Worf replied back.

“Tell me.”

“No.”

“I order you to tell me or else we will not leave the Spiderweb.”

“This is not the way a Klingon’s mate should speak to him,” Worf shouted.

“I order you Commander!” Dax shouted back.

Worf’s rage took over him and he hit Dax in the face with all his might. Her
body was thrown at least five feet and she hit the bulkhead hard, Jadzia felt
blood trickle down from her lip and smiled. “Computer lock cabin door and
dim lights,” she said as she licked her own blood and began to unbutton her
uniform.

Part XIV

As Quark and Rom made their way up yet another dune, they were now
dressed in the same white robes as the desert raiders they had encountered.
Though these robes trapped much less heat than his bartender’s suit, the desert
was already getting to Quark again. Once more he had to travel the treacherous
sands and bare the unforgiving sun, this time in search of some giant pyramid.

Kira’s holosuite double who called herself the Intendant had allowed Quark
and his brother only a few hours rest before she sent him away to recover the
treasure she had spoken of. She had given directions on how to reach the great
pyramid which held these treasures and charged him to return with them or
face certain death. Quark knew that even if he reached this treasure, it was
only a holosuite image. He only wished the program would change to a
different setting already so he could leave this damned place.

That wish was not granted but as Quark stepped over the next dune he saw
his brother staring in awe. He stood next to Rom to see what was so special,
and it took his breath away also. The great pyramid loomed below the two
Ferengi, most of it was buried under the sand but even the portion they saw
was massive. The top portion was made of stone and at least fifty feet wide,
the rest of it had sunk underneath the desert sand like an iceberg in the ocean.
There was an opening at the zenith and a rope descending down.

“This is madness,” said Quark “Let’s just keep going and hope security rescues
us or at least the program change before she finds us.”

“Be quiet brother,” Rom said as he looked at his tricorder which he had taken
out to examine the pyramid.

“Will you forget it? There is probably all kinds of traps in there and they will
get us just like it got her men with holosuite safeties down.”

“Yes I knew it,” said Rom with delight.

“What?”

“There is a lot of electrical activity down there. Which means there could be
computers,”

“So?”

“Don’t you see. That means the arch could be down there,” said Rom and begin
to descend the steep dune to reach the pyramid “Let’s go Quark.”

“Will you get back here? It’s not safe,” Quark shouted and saw his suspicions
were right again as Rom lost his footing and began to fall into the abyss which
had already claimed the great pyramid.

Part XV

After hours maintaining the Spiderweb, Julian Bashir finally felt as if he had
lost all his willpower. He had to fight to keep his concentration as sleep began
to creep up on him. The calculations for the Spiderweb had to be precise, he
could not even rest his eyes for a second or else the crew of the Mahaweli
would face certain death. When he finally thought he had lost, when it was
time he could not fight his human body anymore, that was when the cabin
doors swooshed open rescuing him.

Out of the doors stepped Worf and Dax. Their appearance confirmed
Bashir’s suspicions as to what they were doing all this time. Only a Klingon
mating ritual could have produced the sounds he had heard from the cabin the
past few hours. Both of them had messy hair, fluttered uniforms and traces of
blood on their face. Probably each others. Bashir did not mind because they
were happy and seemed to have worked out their differences, if anything their
appearance gave him a reason to stay awake since Alvarez had drifted off into
sleep hours ago.

“Julian how far is the Barkman form us?” Dax asked.

“They are pretty close. Only a five thousand kilometers away,” he replied not
looking away from his monitor “but I am sure they can’t detect us.”

“Are they in transporter range?”

“Yes but why…” Bashir voice trailed off “you can’t seriously be thinking of
transporting onto the Barkman, Jadzia.”

“She is not, but I am going to the Barkman,” Worf said.

“They tried to kill us Worf, If they catch you on board they will defintely do
the same to you,” Bashir said.

“I think not. I recognized the voice from the Barkman during the battle, It was
Captain Susan Itrail’s. She commands that starship and she was a former lover
of mine. Besides it is the only way we can find out what is going on.If it comes
to it, I am also willing to sabotage the Barkman. I can assure you Doctor that I
can take care of myself. Now if you will provide some power from the
Spiderweb to the transporters, I can beam over immediately.”

Bashir looked at Dax and she just nodded which means she had agreed to
Worf’s new plan as well. As painful as it might have been to send her lover off
on this suicide mission she motioned for Julian to activate the transported.
Worf stepped on the pad.

“Worf you must know that there are going to be risks even during transport.
Our runabout being attached to the Spiderweb and interference from the
nebula might prevent a stable pattern from forming on board the Barkman,”
Bashir said.

“I understand,” Worf replied “before I go I must apologize to both of you for
the way I have acted during this mission. It was more than just not getting the
command of the Mahaweli, I loved Susan very much just like I love Jadzia.
And like Jadzia she did not want the commitment Klingon couples had to go
through. Susan, Kehleyr, Deanna I had lost so many of my loves because of my
stubbornness. I was afraid I would lose Jadzia too if I confessed I knew the
Barkman’s Captain and told of our relationship. Now I know that is not true,
and I am sorry.” Silence followed for a few seconds and then Worf said
“Energize.”

It was only the light and sound of the transporter that woke Lt.Alvarez from
his sleep. “Have we been rescued,?” he asked eagerly.

“Not yet Enrique,” Dax said and made a silent prayer for Worf “Not yet.”

Part XVI

Worf materialized in what appeared to be one of the Barkman’s many cargo
bays. Not only was he thankful he had survived the transport he was also glad
he had materialized in a room with no people in it. If he had died in transport,
it would have been in service of his ship and so with honor, he would have
gone to Stovakohr and met Kahless. So Worf always expected a honorable
death in his missions and never feared it, but ever since he had met Jadzia in
the world of the living, Stovakohr didn’t look quiet so inviting as it used to.

Worf quickly ran to the nearest access panel he could find. He asked the
computer to show a schematic of the Barkman, he already knew the basic
outline of this class starship but he had needed more information if he was to
have any hope of sabotaging it, not to mention keeping out of sight. A detailed
map of the ship appeared along with the following information

USS Barkman, NCC-1885-B, Miranda Class
Commissioned: Stardate 37912
Commanding officer: Captain Susan Itrail
Crew Compliment: 73
Current Assignment: Charting Trinson Nebula

This confirms two things- the Barkman’s fake distress call and the attack on
the Mahaweli are part of some rouge operation because as far as Starfleet is
concerned they are supposed to be mapping this nebula, that’s it. It also
confirms that the voice he heard during the battle was indeed Susan. He still
found it hard to believe she would betray the Federation. Could she have been
forced into this by the Dominion? Could that not be Susan at all but a
changeling in command of this starship?

It was one of Worf’s very first assignments in Starfleet where they had met.
It was on board the Salvador, and he was only an ensign. Though he was
committed to his duty and happy to be in Starfleet he had felt very lonely on
that ship. He had no friends whatsoever on board because he was the first
Klingon in Starfleet and prejudice humans had toward his race still ran high at
that time.

That was when he had met Susan, she was the Salvador’s first officer. That
was a large ship and there were several others under her command but she
took special attention to Worf’s problems. She became the one friend in all of
Starfleet he had, and soon much more. They were together for two years, and
even after they separated she personally arranged for him to be transferred to
the Enterprise, the flagship which everyone wanted. All his adventures and life
long friends he met on the Enterprise was thanks to her and for that he was
eternally grateful.

However, Worf was so wrapped up in thought as he stood in front of the
access panel that it took him by suprise when the cargo bay doors opened and
two men entered. He quickly leaped into the darkness behind one of the
containers in the cargo bay. But he had forgot to turn off the computer and the
two men that entered soon noticed. They walked up to the access panel with
puzzled faces, it was only when he saw them reach for their comm badges did
Worf leap out of the shadows.

Worf had the element of suprise and that was all he needed. The two men in
the cargo bay could not even say one word, in a matter of seconds Worf had
overpowered them and they were unconscious. He took their comm badges
and dumped the two men into a storage container with air. He still had an
excellent image of the map for this ship and knew exactly where to go. He
opened the hatch for a Jeffries tube and entered with haste, because he knew it
was only a matter of time before those men awaken and he was found.

Part XVII

The second that Rom lost his footing on the chasm of the great pyramid
several thoughts began to go through his mind. The first of which is how
stupid he was for not listening to his brother, he was too eager to find the arch
that he did not realize how dangerous that ledge actually was. He then thought
about Letta and how he was never going to see her again because his own
stupidity had caused him to die in a holodeck. He prayed to the prophets and
that was when a hand grabbed him.

Quark reached and grabbed his younger brother’s hand in the nick of time
before the chasm claimed him. This must have been the hundredth time he had
saved Rom’s life since the years they had been born. Rom was much lighter so
Quark pulled the smaller Ferengi up with ease.

“Thank you brother,” Rom gasped trying to catch his breath.

“Now we are even,” Quark replied “there is a better way down there. The
Intendant told me about the entrance that her men used on the other side of the
chasm. I didn’t want to go through with it, that is why I didn’t mention it
before. But now that you say the arch maybe down there…” his voice trailed
off as he made for the other end of the chasm.

When they finally entered the great pyramid Quark saw that the inside of it
was no more pleasant than the unforgiving desert outside. It was almost as hot
inside as it was outside, plus there was very little light. The air seemed damp
and the halls reeked of an unpleasant smell. For once Quark was glad Ferengi
had heightened hearing and not heightened smell.

From what little light that did enter the pyramid Quark saw that they were in
a narrow hallway. Both the floor and walls were filled with dirt and looked
very unsightly. The hallway seemed to stretch out as far as Quark could see,
there were also some ancient writings on the walls. Quark did not bother with
it, but Rom seemed very interested and began studying it with his tricorder.

“This seems to be the access panel for the computer in here,” said Rom reading
the data from his tricorder “If only I can find a way to activate it we might get
some light and then some answers from this place.”

“Activate it?” Quark asked obviously annoyed ” Would you leave damned wall
alone and help me find the arch.”

“Just one minute, Quark”

Quark was growing ever impatient and was ready to leave his brother to that
wall when something happened. The writing on the wall began to change from
stone to bright lights. Then Quark saw the entire hallway light up as the walls
seemed to come alive with bright lights. It was like one giant computer all
around them.

Then something even more incredible began to happen, the walls directly in
front of the two Ferengi began to move. The opened like a doorway into
another chamber of the pyramid. Quark did not know what was beyond the
doors only that it was huge and created a bright almost blinding light. He had
to know, so he entered this newly opened chamber.

When his eyes finally adjusted to the light and he could see the entire
chamber, the image took his breath away. She was right, it truly was the
greatest of treasures. There were jewels, silver, works of art, precious ores but
most of all there was Latinum. Mountains and mountains of pure Latinum!
Never in his life, or in a holosuite or even in his wildest dreams did Quark
imagine seeing such treasures.

Even Rom seemed similarly awe-struck by all this wealth. “Glad I activated
it,” is all he could say.

“Rom, you know the woman we met here that looked just like Kira,” Quark
said.

“The Intendant?”

“She is all I could ever ask for in a woman. She has Kira’s body which I have
been in love with ever since I knew her but in every other sense she is just like
me. Intelligent, Cunning, Devious, greedy for money and power. If I had her
and all this treasure it would be…”

“It’s not real Quark” Rom cut him off “She is not real, this treasure is not real.
None of this is real, and even if you could stay here all your life you will never
be happy knowing that.”

Quark just smiled at his brother and then said “You know you could be very
intelligent at times. You are right and don’t worry it was just a passing
thought.I guess you can’t always have what you want.” He then put his arm
over his brother’s shoulder and said “Now let’s go find that arch, I have a
feeling it’s somewhere around here.”

And it was.

Part XVIII

When Worf left the Barkman’s torpedo storage room he left behind three
unconscious ensigns and an unconscious Lt.Commander with a broken arm.
Worf did not wish to break his arm, but the Brealian was stubborn and Worf
was out of pateicnce, anyway he was sure a little surgery would make that
behometh as good as new.

Worf also left all of the Barkman’s one hundered photon torpedoes in sleep
mode. This was the mode torpedoes were placed in when the starship was
docked at starbase for maintenance or repair, so some of them could not
accidentally go off. Now there was no way the Barkman could launch it’s
torpedoes until they came out of sleep mode, which was a good thirty-six
hours. This required a Captain’s authorization or a Prefix code, and Worf being
the Strategic Operations Officer for DS9 had many starships’ Prefix codes in
his head, including the Barkman’s.

A Miranda-Class starship like the Barkman most powerful weapon was it’s
twin torpedo launchers on an arch at the end of the saucer section. However
the ship still had phasers it could use, if the torpedoes were not functional, like
now. The only way to remove a starship’s phasers was to take it out it’s warp
core thought Worf as he made his way to Main Engineering.

When Worf finally arrived at Main Engineering, he opened the Jeffries tube
hatch and looked out, and saw his fears were confirmed. Engineering was
much more crowded than the torpedo room, there were at least fifteen people
in this room and they all stood between him and the Barkman’s warp core.
There was no way he could take out all these people, no matter how good he
was with a phaser and hand-to-hand combat.

Then Worf got a new plan. If he could fire a light phaser beam at the warp
core, he might be able to trick the computer to believing there was a warp core
breach and it would automatically shut down the warp core. Time was not on
his side, so Worf took his phaser, aimed for the warp core, and waited for a
clean shot.

For a while he did not get that clean shot, because he was quiet a distance
from the warp core. There were always Ensigns or Engineers in his way, then
an ensign moved and he had the shot. Worf was about to press the trigger,
when a familiar voice went through the ships’ communications.

“Intruder Alert, Repeat Intruder Alert. Seal Warp Core, Repeat Seal Warp
Core,” came the voice of Captain Susan Itrail and the ships’ computer
responded by placing a forcefield around the warp core.

Worf cursed in anger, he thought it would take them longer to figure out that
he was on board and even longer to figure out his plan to disable the
Barkman’s weapons systems. Then he realized the fault was with him for
underestimating Susan Itrail whose intelligence and cunning he had known so
intimately. He quickly closed the hatch and made his way through the Jeffries
tube.

Worf hoped to make it to another cargo bay or a room with communications
where he could call the Mahaweli to the rescue. He was a big even for a
Klingon so it was hard to navigate in this narrow tube, but Worf crawled as
fast he could. Then suddenly he saw gas began to enter the Jeffries tube. She
knew exactly where I was, yes defiantly a mistake underestimating her he
thought as consciousness began to leave him.

Part XIX

When Worf awoke he found himself on a bio-bed in the Barkman’s sickbay.
He quickly rose to his feet and made for the exit, but he did not move more
than few feet when he hit the forcefield and was thrown back. He grimaced in
pain and for not anticipating that forcefield being there He struggled back to
his feet and soon a bald-headed man in a medical uniform come into his view.

Worf had seen him before on many starships including the Enterprise-E, and
on Deep Space Nine as well. He was only a hologram that was supposed to
take the place of a real starship doctor should something happen to him. Worf
wondered where the Barkmans’ real doctor was and why Susan had left only a
hologram with him in sickbay.

“I am glad to see you are awake, that was surprisingly quick considering the
strength of the toxins you inhaled,” the hologram said in an almost oblivious
tone. “Now how do you feel?”

“You are a hologram,” Worf replied.

“How perceptive. Are Klingons always this quick to catch on?”

“Where is the Barkman’s real doctor?” Worf asked with an urgency in his
voice.

“Let’s just say Captain Itrail relieved him off duty and then his life. Since then I
have assumed his role. Though I was designed for only a few days use, I have
been the Chief Medical Officer on board for over three weeks now. I think I
have the potential to carry on this role for years if it comes to it. Grow beyond
my programming, gain new experiences…”

“Yes, yes I am sure,” Worf said cutting his boasts off “but why did Susan kill
her CMO?”

“Let’s just say there came a time to choose,” the doctor replied “between the
rules of Starfleet or joining Captain Itrail’s little band of rebels. Doctor Varos
made the wrong choice. If you are smart and want to live I suggest you make
the right choice or els….”

“That’s enough out of you,” came a voice and soon Susan Itrail entered the
sickbay. She confronted the doctor and said “just what do you think you were
doing?”

“I was just trying to save the life of my patient, be it from disease, toxins or
you. Captain”

“I see,” Itrail replied , then bit her lip and put her hands on her hips “Computer
deactivate Emergence Medical Hologram and clear the system’s memory.”
The holo-doctor was about to protest but instead just vanished into thin air. “I
rather liked your personality doctor, but you forced me to turn you into a
mindless medical drone.”

She then turned to face Worf. He could see that she had changed since the
time he had known her. She still looked beautiful with short blonde hair, soft
white skin and deep blue eyes. But there was something in those eyes that was
not there when he used to love her, a fire. A fire of courage. A fire of
determination. A fire of evil.

“Well Worf, I should have known that you were the only one in Starfleet who
would transport though a nebula’s interference, take down five of my best men,
and put all of my torpedoes in sleep mode. All for that fucking uniform.”

“What’s going Susan? Why have you left the Federation? Are you spies for the
Dominion?”

“NO!” Itrail yelled back “We are trying to fight the Dominion, we are Maquis
Worf. And unlike the Federation, we will not sit back and play the peacemaker
while the Dominion and the Cardies slaughter Federation citizens in the
DMZ.”

“I thought the Maquis were all but wiped out,” Worf said almost to himself.

“Not all Maquis, we will never be wiped out,” Itrail replied “During the war
with the Klingons, the Barkman was one of several ships sent to patrol the
Cardassian border. While there I saw that the stories of Federation citizens
suffering at the hands of the Cardassians were true. So I secretly used the
Barkman to supply the Maquis with medical equipment and even weapons to
fight the Cardassian oppression. But when they recently joined the Dominion I
saw that it was time to bring the Barkman herself into the fighting.”

“If you and most of your crew were defecting to join the Maquis, then why did
you send that fake distress call?”

“I didn’t want Starfleet on my back. This way they could all think the Barkman
was destroyed at the hands of the Jem’Hdar. If anything it might compel those
bastards to finally fight, but I didn’t anticipate anyone receiving that call for
days. Let alone send a rescue so soon. That’s quiet an enthusiastic bunch you
have gotten yourself mixed up with on that Cardie space station, Worf.”

“Susan this is madness…” Worf began.

“Don’t tell me about madness Worf. The Fedaration\Klingon alliance may have
been restored but it is still not as strong as the Dominion. Each day more and
more Dominion ships enter our quadrant and even more are being built in
Cardassian ship yards. We must strike now before it is too late.”

“Then take your case to the Federation council, but don’t do this.”

“I am sorry Worf, but I will make a stand. And I don’t care if I have to face all
of Starfleet and the Jem’Hdar alone. Now are you with me?” Susan said with a
smile. “You can have command of the Barkman and me as well if you agree to
join us. Just think how glorious it will be, just like the old days.”

Worf just shook his head in denial of her offer. She then nodded in reply as
well, she had a very sad face as she walked up to a console and punched in
some commands. The holo-doctor reappeared inside Worf’s forcefield, he had
a vacant expression his face which proved he was nothing more than a drone
now. He also had a hypospray in his hand.

“Don’t bother struggling Worf,” Itrail said “he is a hologram so you can’t touch
him. Don’t worry it is fast and painless, It is how I killed all the others who
didn’t want to join me. Be sure to say hello to Kahless for me when you see
him.”

She was right, there was nothing he could do to defend himself. Worf’s hands
just passed though the hologram that was now death for him. The hypospray
felt cool against his skin and he could almost feel the poison enter his veins.

Part XX

Kira drummed her fingers on the command desk in front of her, something
she had often seen Sisko do when he was upset like she was now. As if the
problems she had when this day started off were not bad enough, now she had
another worry, a huge one. It had been twelve hours since the last transmission
from the Mahaweli, and that could only mean trouble.

Kira knew there was bound to be interference from the nebula but Dax did
promise that she would check in every six hours. Not one word in all this time
could only mean the Mahaweli had run into trouble. Though it was a tough
little ship, Kira knew that it did not stand any chance against a Jem’Hdar
fighter or any starship for that matter. She kept telling herself that it must have
been the nebula preventing communications but deep down she knew there
was something more.

Kira thought about sending another runabout or two to the Trinson nebula
but knew that if there was something in there more powerful than the
Mahaweli a few more runabouts would make little difference. What she
needed was a starship. She had already contacted Captain Sisko but he had
said that the Defiant was literally in two pieces now so there no way it could
come to the rescue. Kira then sent a general distress call to any Federation or
allied starship in the vicinity of the Trinson nebula, all she could do now was
wait for one of them to answer. Until that time, the crew of the Mahaweli were
on their own.

Kira still had three padds full of personal reports to fill out but was too tired
and depressed now, not to mention worried about her people in that nebula.
She was about to call it a day when suddenly the lights in the ready room went
black, then just like that they came back on. And went out again, only to light
up again a few seconds later. She had enough of this and quickly ran out the
door and into Ops.

“Report Ensign,” she said as stepped out of her ready room.

“I don’t understand it Major,” said Nog from his station “It’s like the station’s
main power seems to be failing. Something is drawing enormous amounts of
energy, that the power network can’t keep up without moments of blackouts.”

“That’s all we need now is to be without power,” said Kira frustratingly “Can
you localize the source of this phenomena that is eating up our power?”

The Ferengi studied his monitor for a few seconds and finally said “Yes, It’s
uncle’s bar.”

“Good, keep trying to compensate for the power failures. Don’t let life support,
sensors and the defense systems be without power for even a second,” she said
to Nog then made her way for the turbolift as she tapped her comm badge and
said “Kira to Odo, meet me at Quarks.”

As Kira walked with haste down the promenade she thought about what
could be causing the power failures. Could it be a saboteur? Was this only the
first part of an eventual Dominion attack on the station? Was the old
Cardassian power core finally giving away? Or was it simply a publicity stunt
by that sleazy Ferengi since it was coming from his bar. Whatever it was Kira
hoped the problem could be solved because if there was ever a time that DS9
needed to be fully powered and ready for anything it was now.

Kira entered Quarks to see a lot of unhappy customers, all of Quark’s
employees not working and Quark himself was not there. She then saw Odo
and a group of Bajoran security officers near the holosuites. I knew that little
troll was behind this, thought Kira as she climbed the stairs to meet Odo, when
I get my hands on him…

“Major, glad you could join us,” said Odo when he saw her.

“What’s going on Odo?”

“Apparently it is this holosuite that is causing all the problems. Witnesses say
they saw Quark go in hours ago but he never came out.”

“I need to have a little talk with Quark, can you get it open?” asked Kira with
the anger apparent in her voice. She knew she might take out her problems on
Quark but he deserved it.

In a few moments, the Bajoran technician working on the holosuite finally
nodded and the doors swooshed open. Inside stood Quark and Rom next to the
holosuite arch, they were both wearing dirt filled white robes and they both
seemed very tired. But the moment that Quark saw the anger in Kira’ eyes, his
eyes lit up in fear. Then Kira saw Quark faint, for no apparent reason other that
what seemed to be fear of Her! Soon Rom burst into laughter as did Odo’s
security staff, even Odo let out a chuckle. Then Kira joined in the merriment
and laughed herself.

She needed that.

Part XXI

“Oh no!” was all Dax could say when she saw the information being
displayed on her monitor. The data caused her to be flooded by all kind of
emotions- first disbelief, then fear, then sorrow, and finally courage because it
was time to act. All this went through her mind in a fraction of a second and
so she was more than ready when Bashir posed the question “Jadzia what’s
wrong?”

“It’s Worf,” she replied “his vital signs are weakening.”

“But how could you know?”

“Before I let Worf beam on board the Barkman, I made him promise to take a
biometric telemeter that will relay his vital signs to me. Now I can see they are
falling fast, Julian we must save him, we must leave the Spiderweb.”

“With all due respect Commander,” said Alvarez joining the conversation “we
are no match for Barkman. If he is captured they probably have a forcefield
around him and then they only we can get to him is to defeat a ship that
out-guns us ten to one.”

“We have to try,” Jadzia insisted “Isn’t there someway we can use the
Spiderweb to enhance our weapons.”

“Raw power from the star could increase our phasers up to four times as
powerful as they normally are,” Bashir said “but containing that power is the
problem. Right now we have more than enough, and I am flushing all the
excess power back through the Spiderweb but if we try to store that power
instead, it could tax our reserves over the limit and result in chain reactions
that could destroy the Mahaweli.”

“We have to try Julian. Worf’s life is at stake,” Dax said “prepare to leave the
Spiderweb and then Lt.Alvarez set course to intercept the Barkman.”

“Course laid in,” Alvarez said from his station the fear apparent in his voice.

“Now charging our reserves,” said Bashir.

Dax looked at her monitor on the science station and saw their power
reserves increasing at a quick and steady rate. What they were about to do was
a risky venture, she would not have done unless Worf was not in danger. Had
this been another crew, they might have disobeyed her orders since they would
be putting their lives on the line for someone who willingly walked into
danger. But she brought a crew she could trust for a reason, soon she saw the
power levels climb beyond safety limits and the computer chimed in.

“WARNING-Power reserves above recommended levels. Severing power
transfer.”

“Computer allow for power transfer beyond recommended levels,
Authorization Dax Beta 22917″

“Authorization verified. Power transferring continuing,” came the unemotional
female voice.

Part XXII

At first when Jadzia Dax looked out the window of the runabout all she
could see was the bright white light of the Trinson sun, but soon it began to
give way to the beautiful colors of the nebula. This time however she was too
worried about Worf and afraid for her crew and ship to appreciate the beauty
of the nebula. Then as Alvarez swung the runabout around she saw it, it
loomed so large in front of them against the sun. Like a predator waiting for
it’s prey, the Barkman looked even more menacing than before.

“How are those reserves holding up Julian?” she asked.

“Just barely” came Bashir’s reply.

“Ok transfer all power to phasers,” Dax said as she put her fingers on the
weapons console. It was up to her to man tactical in Worf’s absence. She was
by no means a better shot than Worf, she even doubted she was better than
Julian or Enrique but they both had their jobs so taking down Barkman was up
to her.

“Transferring power to phasers,” Bashir said “She’s all yours.”

“Ok hold her steady Enrique,” Dax said as she tried to aim the phasers visually
at the Barkman.

“We are at all stop now Commander,”

“Now firing,” Dax replied and then saw the bright red beam lance out of the
front of the Mahaweli and strike it’s target. The phasers hit the aft section of
the Barkman and created a spectacular explosion on the hull. The starship then
immediately turned around, sensing their presence and came in for an attack of
it’s own.

“Evasive maneuvers Enrique, try if you can get me under the hull.”

“Aye sir,”came his reply and the Mahaweli leapt forward, but Dax soon saw
phasers come out of the starship to which she cried “Hard to starboard,” and
the runabout again skewed to the left knocking everyone of their feet.

Though she had to get up to find her seat, Dax was grateful because the
Barkman had missed. While a starship could sustain multiple phaser blasts, a
runabout with overloading power systems could probably be destroyed in one
shot. She knew she could keep punching holes in their hull all day, but Worf
had no time left. She had to get access to the warp nacelles underneath the
huge starship , if she ever hope to do any real damage.

Almost as if he read her mind, Alvarez said “Trying once again to get
underneath the Barkman, sir”.

“This time hold your course, no matter what,” Dax said “I will deal with their
phasers.”

“It’s a good thing they are not firing torpedoes or else we would be dead meat,”
Bashir said to himself “I think Worf had something to do with that.”

Once again the Mahaweli made a pass at the Barkman, and once again the
Barkman shot phasers at them, only this time Alvarez held the runabout on it’s
course. It was up to Dax to take care of the phasers. She looked for phaser
beams that had made it through the interference and came close to the
Mahaweli, and then used the runabouts phasers to counter them by firing
directly at the projectiles. If she hit, the two beams would cancel each other
out. The probelm was, she too had to fire manually the nebula’s interference
and it became like shooting through the eye of a needle.

On her monitor Dax a swarm of lines that represented the Barkman’s phasers.
Shooting wildly because they did not know where to hit, she waited for the
lines that came too close to the runabout before she fired. Then she saw two
lines coming dangerously close to hit their vessel, she fired the Mahaweli’s
phasers and it struck the first beam. They both canceled each other out.

Then Dax aimed and fired at the second phaser beam, but this one was
coming in at a difficult angle. Her counter-phaser beam missed that phaser
beam and it continued on to it’s target- The Mahaweli. For a split second she
raised her head and looked at Bashir and Alvarez, they were both busy with
their work. They did not even see death come in the form of that phaser beam.
They had put their life in her hands, as did Worf. And she was not about to let
any of them down.

She aimed and fired once more and this time it struck. The explosion from
the two phasers canceling each other out was so close that it produced a
blinding light and for a few seconds Dax could not see where anything was
outside the viewscreen. When the light finally subsided, she saw the giant
saucer section of the Barkman loom all around them above. They were
underneath the starship.

“Okay Commander, we are here,” said Alvarez.

“Firing phasers,” Dax replied and pressed the key which caused the phaser
beam to lance out and strike out at the warp nacelle of the Barkman. The
nacelle exploded in a brilliant spectral of light that seemed to set the whole
nebula ablaze. Without power to support it, the Barkman tilted to the side and
began to drift in the nebula like a derelict. The Mahaweli had won the battle.

Part XXIII

“Julian, you should be able to get a transporter lock on Worf now,” Dax said
from her station.

“I have it, Energizing.”

Soon Worf appeared on the transporter pad but he was not conscious so he
just staggered to the floor and collapsed. Bashir and Dax quickly ran to his
side and Dax took him in her arms and lifted up his head. Bashir took out his
tricorder and began scanning.

“How is he?” Dax asked desperately.

“He is not breathing and I am barely getting a heartbeat,” Bashir said still
trying to gather as much data as possible “looks like there is a toxin in his
system. His body needs oxygen, I have to get his respiration going.”

Bashir then reached in to his medikit and pulled out a hypospray. “This is the
most powerful stimulant I have, it is banned by Starfleet Medical but I keep a
small batch for emergencies. There is a forty-six percent chance it could kill
him instead of stimulating his lungs. But if he does not take it he will die for
sure.”

Dax just nodded and Bashir injected the hypospray. Then the waiting began
and minutes began to pass. During this time all Jadzia Dax could think about
was Worf. Not the overloading engines, not the menacing starship just outside,
and not the nebula. Only Worf mattered and she held him in her hands without
saying a word or even making a sound. The rest of the crew knew better than
to disturb her.

Then Worf began to breathe, slowly and barely audible at first but it became
heavier in a few seconds. His breathing was the only sound heard on board the
Mahaweli and only when his eyes fluttered open did everyone cheer.

“You are the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my life,” he said as he
looked up Jadzia.

“I though I’d lost you”, she breathed.

“I have been dead before,” he said with a smile “It will take more than some
Maquis poison to bring me down.”

“We still need to get you back to DS9 Worf,” Bashir said “there maybe side
effects of the toxin I can’t treat without my infirmary.”

“Well I don’t think the Barkman is going anywhere,” Dax said “Lt.Alvarez
contact the nearest Federation starship to come pick up our Maquis prisoners.
Then set course for DS9. We are going home”

“Yes sir, with pleasure” Alvarez replied.

Part XIV

It had been days since their ordeal in the Trinson nebula and Bashir sat
alone in a table at Quark’s thinking about what had happened. There were
many things on his mind, but most of all he thought about the Barkman’s
captain Susan Itrail. A Klingon battle cruiser came and rescued the crew of the
Barkman a few hours after the Mahaweli had left them, but they found Susan
Itrail dead. She had killed herself, and she had said she died for the Federation
and called for them to declare war on the Dominion before it was too late.

Bashir knew that there was a good amount of logic in Susan Itrail’s dying
wish. For one thing he himself had seen how Federation citizens suffered in
the Cardassian Demilitarized zone. Also he knew the Dominion presence in
the alpha quadrant was growing ever stronger, his statistical probabilities told
him that soon they would be too powerful to defeat even if there was war. His
thoughts were interrupted when Quark walked up to his table.

“A word with you Doctor?” he asked.

“Yes Quark, what is it.”

“My holosuites had a recent malfunction, because of which I discovered
several interesting programs that had one thing in common. Kira. Not Kira as
we know her, very different and calling herself the Intendant.They were all
your programs. Care to explain.”

Bashir just smiled, almost flushing, then confessed “About three years ago,
Major Kira and I were taken to a mirror universe through a runabout accident.
In that universe I met Kira’s duplicate and she was the Intendant. She was so
fascinating and unique that I couldn’t get her out of my mind for months. I
created several holosuite programs with her in it. Though I have gotten her out
of my system now, can I say the same for you?”

“She is fascinating to see the least, isn’t she Doctor. Tell me about her.”

And Bashir did.

Meanwhile on Starbase 93, Worf stood on the observation deck staring into
space. But the stars was not what he had his eye on.The torpedo was shot out
of the starbase in blaze of fire, and Worf watched it travel into the depths of
space. Even when the torpedo was long gone, the trail of fire remained for
several minutes, and Worf stared at it and thought about Susan Itrail whose
remains were on that torpedo. His thoughts too were suddenly interrupted by a
familiar voice.

“She will be surely missed, won’t she Mr.Worf.”

“Captain,” Worf said in amazement “Captain Picard, what are you doing
here?”

“I was a good friend of Susan’s too Mr.Worf. As a matter of fact, it was she
who recommended you for service on the Enterprise.”

“I know,” Worf nodded ” and you are right she will be missed. So how have
you been, how is everybody. I haven’t seen the crew since that encounter with
the Borg we had.”

“Everyone is fine. Commander Riker has yet to return from that undercover
mission on Romulus but I am sure he will. Other than that everything is
okay….” Picard’s voice trailed off and then he decided to stop with the ‘small
talk’ and say what was really on his mind. “You know Worf, Susan was right
about one thing, there will be war and soon. The Dominion grows ever
stronger, and we are losing the peace. You be sure and remind your Captain
Sisko of that.”

“I will sir.”

“Good,” Picard said with a smile. “Now let’s go have some tea and….. prune
juice was it? We have a lot of catching up to do.”

Did you enjoy this story? Did you think it was utter crap? Let the author know
about it: Email-Falc2199@aol.com

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