The Bold Front

 

 

THE BOLD FRONT – by Christopher Awuku

My son, Benjamin, you are of Bajor. Bajor
must not fall
.

‘Is Bajor in danger? Tell me, mother, I need to know.

Your Federation is danger.

‘Is the Dominion planning to attack?’

Those from beyond the Celestial Temple are subdued, for now.
Pre-empt the ally.

‘Pre-empt whom? Mother, I don’t understand!’

Those whom you tricked into combat.

Station Log: Stardate 54567. Colonel Kira Nerys reporting.

Today is a memorable day. Bajor will officially take its place
among the United Federation of Planets. The signing of the Articles of
Federation is held here on Deep Space Nine and many dignitaries have
been invited, including the Federation President. On a more solemn
note, the first anniversary of the end of the Dominion War took place
yesterday. We’ll be holding a two-minute silence for those who died to
protect our freedom.

“So Mr Bashir,” It was Peregrano, the Columbian
assassin hired to kill Julian Bashir. Secret agent. “Tell your Prime
Minister that La Corunnada will not hand over the arms to Britain!”

Julian, in his customary tuxedo that he always
wore
in the holosuite, was in peril. Yes, the holosuite safeties were on,
but Bashir needed the gun Peregrano held under his right foot.

“The United Kingdom does not need the arms,” a
quick
retort from Julian. “But my Government will not tolerate secret funding
to our enemies.”

“Well, Bashir, the Soviet Union is the future.
We just want to wipe away your ‘stiff-upper-lip’ government!”

“What the hell is a ‘stiff upper lip’?” the
assassin didn’t speak. But Julian knew that voice. It was his lover
after all.

“Ezri! Ever heard of a little word
they call ‘privacy’?”

“Computer end program.”

“Hey!”

“Oh come on, Julian! Signing’s today, remember?”

“How could I forget. You can’t go anywhere
without bumping into some politician or ambassador.”

That last remark brought a smile to Ezri’s
face.
“Speaking of ambassadors, Worf’s coming to the signing. Do you know
Starfleet gave him his own ship? Some Defiant class vessel. USS
Everest, I think. I promised to greet him at the airlock.”

“Worf? Hmm. I guess it would be good to see him
after…..what is it now? A year after the War ended?” Julian’s lover
turned to exit the holosuite. “Where are you going?”

“The Everest docks at 1300. I’ve only got 10
minutes to get to the airlock.”

“But my game…it was going so well.”

“It can wait Julian. Come on already!”

Bashir heaved a huge sigh. A sign of defeat on
his part. “Alright Dax. Lead the way.”

As the two lovebirds left the holosuite they
noticed
Quark was not his happy self. The Ferengi was conversing with his
ever-faithful barfly, Morn. Things were not the same as they used to
be. Captain Sisko was around. Bajor was independent. And before that no
hew-marns! Even worse, his idiot brother is the leader of ALL
Ferengi!

“So tell me, Morn, it seems an innocent Ferengi
can’t
escape the almighty Federation. Andorian, Tellarite, Bolian,
Vulcan….Hew-marn. They are all here. I mean, fine, they defeated the
Dominion and the entire Alpha Quadrant must be grateful. This
situation…all this…is total bullshit!”

Morn didn’t understand. He raised his finger to
point out what Quark had just said.

“Oh, it’s an old hew-marn expression. It means
nonsense. See! I’m even speaking like a hew-marn!” That disgusted
Quark. OK, he didn’t ‘hate’ humans per se, but he just abhorred
the Federation’s methods. “My brother. The idiot Rom. He couldn’t earn
much profit in his lifetime but look at him now! Grand Nagus of the
Ferengi Alliance! Good times. The bribes. The respect. Receiving the
‘supreme propositions’. It’s all right for some.” Morn had to leave. He
stood up, patted Quark on the shoulder and left Quark’s. Supposedly
Morn had a new ‘lady friend.’ Just as Morn and his Risian partner left
the establishment, two Nausicaans came closer to the bar. Bluster,
aggressiveness and all.

“Are you Quark?” said one of them.

Quark immediately toadied up to the men. They
were twice his size after all. “I’m Quark. What can I do for you?”

“Someone wants to see you!”

The Nausicaans looked towards the door. ‘What
the
hell are they looking at?’ thought Quark. ‘Like I can see something!’
Then there was a great thud on the ground. It was the Nagal spectre.
Rom had come to visit.

“Hello, brother. Miss me? As the head of state
and
head of government of the Ferengi Alliance, the Federation Council
invited me to the signing. Don’t mind the Nausicaans, I do need
protection after all. Moogie sends her love.”

“Miss you? Ha! While you’ve been running the
Ferengi
economy and giving rights to females, I’ve been stuck in this bar
serving root beer! But it is good to see my little brother,
nevertheless.”

Quark kissed the Nagal spectre, the customary
greeting of the Grand Nagus.

“Did you receive the 300 bars of latinum I
sent?” Rom had always possessed a generous nature.

“Yes. And I invested it in the Stock Exchange.
My shares in Lakee Communications have gone up threefold!”

“And that’s all thanks to me! Er, I guess. The
Gross
Domestic Product of Ferenginar grew by three percent in my first few
months as the Nagus. Inflation is low and the new social security
system is working out fine. I hired some hew-marn economic experts to
help me.”

Quark was shocked. “Hew-marn? Economics? Do the
two go together? Talk about oxymoron!”

“No, it’s true brother. The Federation may not
have a
capitalist economy but those experts studied ancient hew-marn society.
Apparently, Earth had a thriving capitalist era.”

“Hmmm…if you say so.”

Rom’s Nausicaan minders nudged the Nagus. “I
have to
go now, brother. There is a short gathering before the singing. I
promised to donate 2000 bars of latinum to the Bajoran people as a
gift. I’ll come back later.”

Rom left Quark’s accompanied by his
minders. Quark was left, virtually alone, with a glass of snail juice.
“Donations? Gifts? What IS
Ferengi society coming to? I know what will cheer me up. A round of
Vulcan Love Slave Part three! I just love the seductive logic!”

Ezri and Julian had arrived at the airlock
where the
USS Everest was docking. The door opened. Ten or so Starfleet personnel
exited followed by a tall Klingon. It was Worf. Ambassador Worf.

“Worf!” Ezri was so delighted to see the
ambassador. The memories of Jadzia’s relationship with the Klingon
flooded back.

“Ezri,” Worf responded. He walked up to her and
the two hugged.

“Hello, Ambassador. Long time no see!”

“Doctor. It’s good to see you.” The two shared
a firm handshake.

Laughing. Loud laughing. It could be heard from
afar.
“Oh, Galaxy class! That was Jean-Luc’s ship? You do know Jean-Luc
Picard, don’t you?”

Worf recognised the female voice. Where did he
here
it before? The voice became louder, as if the woman was approaching.
“Did you know my daughter Deanna serves with Picard?”

Picard. Galaxy class. Deanna. Daughter. It all
came into place now.

“Oh my God!” Worf was terrified. “I must hide!
Now!”

“What’s wrong?” Ezri was concerned yet
perplexed.

“Hide? Hide from whom, ambassador?” Bashir was
too confused.

The woman, along with a Starfleet captain,
walked into the corridor.

“Oh! Mr Woof! I haven’t seen you in years! How is
Alexander?”

Total embarrassment shrouded Worf. Julian and
Ezri could not but help laugh, or at least contain their amusement.

“Mrs. Troi. Yes…er…..yes. It is nice to see
you. Er, Alexander is fine on the Klingon homeworld.”

“It’s Ambassador Woof now! How
wonderful! Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friends?”

Worf has happy that Lwaxana’s attention went
off of
him. “This is Lieutenant Ezri Dax an Dr. Julian Bashir, DS9’s Chief
Medical Officer.”

“Well how do you do? It is so nice to
meet some of Woof’s friends.”

“It is Worf, madam.”

Mrs Troi took Worf by the arm and led him to
the observation lounge for the singing.

Julian was beaming. “I guess the singing won’t
be bad after all.”

The President of the Federation, an Andorian
named
Kail Darex convened the mass of diplomats, heads of states and
Starfleet personnel for a brief speech. As the President of the
United Federation of Planets, I welcome all of you to the admission
ceremony of Bajor. Ever since the founding of the Federation, we have
sought to grow and learn about other cultures. The admission of Bajor
into our family will add a deep spiritual facet to us all and will be
wholeheartedly welcomed. As President, it is a great honour to welcome
new allies and members of the Federation. We need no reminder of the
hardships of the last two years. It is good to return to peaceful
duties after such loss of life. May I now ask all present to observe a
two-minute silence for all that perished in the Dominion War.

It went to plan. Everybody was quiet. The many
Starfleet personnel that had attended the event had lost some people
they knew in the War; it was a special moment for them. Notably for
Worf. He was still living with the pain of his lost beloved and this
prompted Ezri to hold the ambassador’s hand. The ambience of the room
started to change. It felt cold. Colder than normal. It also started to
get brighter and brighter. This light was so bright that it blinded
everyone. Then it disappeared. A man was lying, dazed and
disorientated, in the middle of the room. He had a shaven-head. He had
a goatee beard. He wore a Starfleet uniform and he was a Captain. It was
Benjamin Sisko.

“DAD!!” Jake Sisko was covering this event for
the
Trans-Federation Times. His father had come back to him! “Dad! Can you
hear me? Are you OK?”

All in the room were in shock. Ben Sisko had
come back. The Wormhole aliens had released him. But why? Was Bajor in
danger?

“Everybody, give him room!” Dr. Bashir was
quickly on the case. “Sir, its Julian. Everything will be alright.”

“Doctor. Worf. Ezri. Colonel Kira. Kassidy.”
Everyone
Benjamin from before knew was present, bar Odo and O’Brien. Ben, on the
floor, turned to look at his son and smiled. “Jake! How have you been?”

Jake could not hide his delight and happiness.
His
dad had returned. He could only go and give Ben a huge hug. Tears of
joy ran down Ben and Jake’s faces. Benjamin was well enough to stand.
“Mr. President.”

“Captain Sisko?” Darex was stumped. “How? Why
have you…….”

“I’m sorry to interrupt you Mr President, but
the
Prophets sent me to destroy a threat to the Federation. And I intend to
do so.”

CHAPTER TWO –

The Federation President attempted to control
the
crowds, who were evidently shocked at Sisko’s return. “Ladies,
Gentlemen! Please let us continue with the singing.” The crowd came to
order. Shakaar, the First Minister of Bajor, and DS9’s CO Colonel Kira
walked up to Ben to greet him.

“Emissary. You honour us with your presence.
Endorse
the signing today. Please.” Shakaar had hoped the day would be perfect
and with Benjamin’s arrival, it was.

Sisko was sharp in his response. “I shall
endorse
anything that benefits Bajor or the Federation. And today’s signing
does both.” Darex was eager for the ceremony to move forward smoothly
and invited Shakaar to sign.

“First Minister Shakaar, I present to you the
Articles of Federation. Will you honour us by signing it?”

“It’s my pleasure,” replied Shakaar. The
document
contained the signatures of every planetary leader that lead their
world into the Federation family. The President of the united Earth and
Lord of Andor’s marks were listed, dated 2161. Shakaar saw the Federal
Duke of Betazed’s signature, the High Chief of Trill and the Sage of
Tellar. From the one hundred and fifty plus signatures, all in the
native mother tongue, Shakaar signed his name in Bajoran at the bottom.
It was complete. Bajor was a Federation member, at long last.

Darex was clearly excited. “It is now my great
duty
and delight to officially recognise Bajor as a full member of the
United Federation of Planets!”

The whole room erupted in cheers and applause.
Benjamin Sisko had witnessed what he was sent to do eight years ago. He
had steered Bajor from brutal occupation and possible Dominion invasion
to be a part of the great Federation clan. Suddenly, colours were
visible outside. It was a fireworks display. A tribute worthy of the
occasion.

The lounge had beverages from across the
Federation; Champagne from Earth, Ale from Vulcan and a piquant drink
from Risa called Sirt’ethen. Everybody
wanted to see Sisko. The various Starfleet Admirals and Captains, even
the Petty Officers. It seems all of Starfleet knew of his heroics
concerning the Dominion. “It’s an honour to meet you, Captain.” “Sir,
can I have your autograph?” Sisko was an idol, obviously not just in
the religious sense.

The party ended after five hours and the old
crew,
bar Miles and Odo, were standing alone in the lounge along with
President Darex and an Admiral Mbesa. “Captain Sisko,” Mbesa had
something to ask. “Whilst you were away, the situation with the
Romulans took a turn for the worse. After the end of the War, they did
give us back Betazed and Benzar, though a discovery made six months ago
by the Enterprise showed they are arming in unclaimed space near our
border. Is it too much trouble for me to ask you to take the Defiant to
investigate?”

“Admiral, it would be no trouble at all.” Sisko
savoured returning to his old ship. Colonel Kira was puzzled over
something. “So, sir, will we rendezvous with the Enterprise?”

“Yes,” replied Mbesa. “The Enterprise is
currently
stationed in the Gamma Dorodis system, five light years from the
Neutral Zone. You will rendezvous with them there.” Mbesa turned to
Sisko. “It IS good to see you, Captain.”

The President and Admiral left the lounge,
headed for
their quarters. The crew came together in a spontaneous hug. They
thought they would never be together again. “It is so good to see you
ALL!” Ben exclaimed. The crew agreed. “So, Worf how are things on
Kronos? Julian? Ezri? Is the relationship going well? Nerys? How IS
Deep Space Nine?” Ben so wanted to know how things were.

“My duties on Q’onos are fine, sir. Chancellor
Martok is a skilled leader,” replied Worf.

“Good.”

“Well Benjamin, Julian and I are very happy.”

“Yes, sir. And I spoke to Miles the other day.
He, the kids and Keiko have settled down in Hong Kong.”

“Excellent, old man. Send the O’ Brien’s my
regards, Julian.”

“We did install some quantum torpedo launchers
last week. And we’re sending weekly convoys to Cardassia Prime.”

“I do hope the Cardassians can recover. And
Jake, how is the writing going?”

“I finished Anslem!”

Ben was ecstatic. His son had completed his
project, albeit overdue. “I MUST read it! Is it published?”

“Of course,” replied Jake in a smug fashion.
“And
it’s available in bookstores across the Federation. The critics liked
the lead male character. Remind you of anyone?”

“Hmm….I may have met on some occasion.” Jake
and Ben often shared this joke. The character was based on Ben himself.

“Kassidy.” Ben gave his wife a kiss and felt
true happiness at the sight of his new baby son.

“Benjamin….meet your father,” Kas’ eyes were
filling up. “I named him after you.”

This was an emotional moment for all concerned.
Ben
senior had met Benjamin Junior. The infant was so cute and adorable. He
had Ben senior’s eyes. Ben senior could not let the baby go, even for a
second. He was eager to get on with this mission. “Is everybody ready
to start the mission?”

“Yes, sir.” The feeling of eagerness was
unanimous.

“Well, let’s go.” The crew followed their
beloved leader to the Defiant.

To Benjamin Snr., the Defiant looked exactly
the same
way as it did when the War ended. He remembered the narrow corridors,
Spartan mess hall, and tight and cramped quarters and badly wanted to
see the Bridge and sit in the CO’s chair. Ben had a wide smile on his
face as he came to the door of the Bridge. He composed himself and
entered.

“Captain on the bridge!” a new Lieutenant, whom
obviously Sisko did not know, sounded his arrival. The crew broke out
to applause, thanking Sisko for his presence. Ben was feeling a little
embarrassed.

“Welcome back, sir,” Nerys said.

“Thank you. Thank you all. It’s good to be
back.”
Time to get down to business. Ben sat himself down in the CO’s chair,
ready to command. “Exit the station. Aft thrusters only.”

“Aft thrusters. Aye, sir,” replied the female
Helm
Officer. A Deltan. It did not take much time for the Defiant to clear
the station. “We’ve cleared DS9, sir.”

“Very good. Set course for the Gamma Dorodis
system. Warp Eight.”

“Course plotted and laid in, sir.”

“Engage.” Sisko was revelling in it. He was
back, aboard his old vessel, ready to defend the Federation again.

Gamma Dorodis was 80 light years from the
Bajoran
system. It didn’t take too long to travel to the rendezvous point. When
Sisko ordered the ship from Warp, everyone was shocked to still find
debris left behind from the War. It was ships from all parties.
Federation, Klingon, Romulan, Dominion and Breen.

“Scan for the Enterprise, Ambassador,” ordered
Sisko.

“Aye, sir. There is a Sovereign-class vessel
three million kilometres away. Bearing 078 mark 245.”

“Hail them, old man.”

“Yes, Captain.”

Sisko was a little hesitant to speak with
Jean-Luc
Picard, the captain of the Enterprise. Ben had forgiven Jean-Luc for
Wolf 359, even though the loss of life was not Picard’s fault.
Nonetheless, Sisko felt strange. He saw Picard’s face on the viewscreen
and started to speak. “This is Captain Benjamin Sisko of the starship
Defiant. We have rendezvoused as ordered by Starfleet.”

Captain Picard was taken back. How did Sisko
come back? “Captain Sisko? How? I thought you were with the wormhole
aliens.”

“I was. For a time,” replied Ben. “May I come
aboard to discuss our orders?”

“Of course. Feel free to embark at any time.
Picard out.”

Sisko relaxed. “Colonel, you will have the
Bridge
until I get back. The Sovereign class looks impressive, doesn’t it? I
must ask their Chief Engineer her top warp speed.”

“I would imagine it’s quite high, sir,” said
Worf. “Colonel La Forge is a perfectionist as far as his engines go.”

“Hmm. I see. Well I shall you all in a short
while.”
Sisko left the Bridge for the transporter room. On his way through the
corridors, Ben recalled his first meeting with Picard. Jean-Luc sensed
his hostility. This time it would be different. He would greet Picard
and his senior staff and be civil; Wolf 359 was ten years ago. He, and
Picard, had moved on. On board the Enterprise, Picard was walking
around transporter room 1, waiting for Sisko.

“What’s wrong, sir,” Deanna had sensed Picard’s
thoughts.

“I’m apprehensive. The last time I met Sisko
was
before he took command of DS9. Our meeting was…well not civil. I
don’t mean for it to be the same again.”

“I think Benjamin Sisko is feeling the same
things,” replied Troi.

“Maybe, Counsellor.”

Commander Riker had entered the room. “Phew, he
hasn’t arrived yet. I’ve always wanted to know why the Klingon
restaurant on DS9 served such poor gagh. I’ll ask Sisko when he gets
here.” Another example of Will’s wit. Picard and Troi smiled at the
witticism.

“Captain Picard, we have an incoming transport.
It’s Captain Sisko.”

“Thank you, Chief. Energise.” The obligatory
blue
flash accompanied Sisko aboard the Enterprise. Two legendary Captains,
both whom discovered and helped thwart the Federation’s greatest
threats, were now in the same room.

“Captain Sisko, welcome aboard the Enterprise.”
Picard was willing to please.

“Thank you, Captain. This IS an impressive
ship.” The
two were civil and friendly towards each other. Memories of Wolf 359
had been put aside.

“This is my XO, Colonel William Riker and my
Counsellor, Colonel Deanna Troi.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you both,” said Sisko.
“So, Captain, is now a good time to talk?”

“As good a time as any!” Both Sisko and Picard
exited
the room to head for the observation lounge. They acted like they were
friends from the Academy. Both had mutual respect for each other’s
deeds.

The Captains came to a turbolift and entered.
“Bridge,” said Picard. “I was sorry that I could not attend the signing
of Bajor into the Federation.”

“That is unfortunate. It was quite a bash.”

“I can imagine.” Picard’s tone changed from
content
to sober. “Things have been quite onboard since the anniversary
yesterday. We lost a lot of good people in the War.”

Ben sighed, remembering Jadzia. “As did we at
DS9.”

The lift stopped at the Bridge. “Captain on the
Bridge!” said an Ensign.

“As you were,” Picard sounded. Ben accompanied
Picard into the observation lounge.

“Would you like something to drink?” asked
Jean-Luc.

“Do you have Raktajino? Klingon coffee.”

“I’ll check. Raktajino and Tea. Earl Grey,
hot.” Both
appeared from the replicator. “So Captain, I assume Admiral Mbesa
filled you in on the details.”

Sisko took a sip of coffee and answered. “Yes,
he did. Do you know what kind of arsenal the Romulans are building?”

“Not quite. Though reports from Starfleet
Intelligence show quantum singularity drives.”

“They’re building ships?”

“Perhaps, but this is more disturbing.”
Jean-Luc
handed to Sisko a classified Starfleet intelligence file. Benjamin read
it and was shocked immediately.

“Transwarp?! The only species I know who use
Transwarp are the Borg! How the hell did the Romulans get their hands
on this?”

Picard had a serious tone in his voice. “I do
not
know. But with this technology, the Romulans will have the strategic
upper hand in the Alpha Quadrant. We cannot let that happen.”

CHAPTER THREE

Captains’ Benjamin Sisko and Jean-Luc Picard
were in a mutual state of worry. The Romulans, the ‘Cold War’
enemy of the Federation, had gained the ability to travel at faster
than warp speed. Entire regiments of the Romulan armed forces could
land on any Federation planet within a very short time indeed.

“What do Starfleet Command intend to do about
this?” said Ben.

“They have ordered the Enterprise and the
Defiant to
observe the comings and goings of this area. If the Romulans are
suspicious of our presence, we will say we are performing tactical
manoeuvres.”

Just then Jean-Luc’s combadge sounded. “Riker
to Picard.”

“Picard here”

“We’ve located some transwarp signatures
emanating
from across the border. Judging by the vectors, we think they are
headed for Earth.”

What Commander Riker had told Picard and Sisko
was
grave. The Romulan Star Empire, with their new navigational technology,
had the chance to strike the heart of the Federation with rapid ease.
Both Benjamin and Jean-Luc headed for the bridge.

“Commander Riker, can you open a channel to the
Defiant?” asked Sisko. Riker nodded to a Lieutenant at Tactical. “Yes
sir,” responded Riker.

Colonel Kira’s face appeared on the
Enterprise’s
viewscreen. “Captain, is something wrong? We detected some transwarp
signatures that were headed for Earth!

“As did we, Colonel. I will beam aboard the
Defiant
and we shall set course for Earth at Maximum warp.” Sisko turned
towards Picard. “So we’ll rendezvous at Earth. Shall I inform Starfleet
Command of the new developments?”

“It’s quite alright, Captain. I’ll speak to
Admiral Mbesa directly.”

“I think it’s best if we also inform President
Kail Darex of what has happened too.”

“Agreed.”

“See you on Earth.”

Picard nodded and Sisko walked to the
transporter
room, accompanied by Picard and Commander Riker. Ben was back aboard
his own ship and made way for the bridge of the Defiant. Whilst in the
corridors, he thought of getting to Earth. “Colonel, set course for
Earth. Maximum Warp.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Kira through the combadge.

It was obvious to Ben that the Defiant was at a
disadvantage. Warp 9.915 was not as fast as any transwarp speed. The
Romulans could place a whole squadron of ships in the Sol system
without difficulty or perhaps being detected. Benjamin thought of
contacting President Darex directly at the Office of the President in
Paris. He was uncertain of how Darex would respond to a threat to
Earth. Memories of how former President Jaresh Inyo handled Admiral
Leyton’s attempted coup immediately sprung to mind.

“Ambassador Worf,” asked Ben wanting attention.

“Yes Captain,” said Worf in response.

“Apart from the signing, have you spoken to
President Darex of late?”

“Of course. He attended a conference on the
Klingon homeworld two months ago.”

“I see. Will he respond favourably to a threat
to Earth’s security?”

“I believe so, sir. Andorians are formidable
warriors. With his heritage in mind, I think he will defend against any
threat.” Worf was sure of his opinion. The Ambassador words had also
quelled any fears that Sisko might have had and contacting Darex was
now of top priority.

“Old man, contact the Office of the President
on Earth. Get me President Darex.”

“Aye, sir.”

In a matter of seconds, a link had been made
over 100
light years. The President’s antennae and blue complexion were clear to
see on the viewscreen. It looked like a calm day in Paris; the Eiffel
Tower was visible in the distance, rebuilt in 2093 after destruction in
the Third World War.

“Mr President,” said Ben.

“Captain Sisko! It’s a pleasure to see you so
soon after the singing. What can I do for you?”

“I’m afraid I’ve got bad news for you, sir. The
Romulans are headed for Earth at transwarp. Although we have no way of
knowing for sure, they may be a fleet of starships on their way.”

The President was astounded. “Don’t they
realise this
means war? Neither the Federation or the Romulan Empire is in a fit
state to wage a conflict!”

“I am sure they do, Mr President.” Ben
concurred.
“But we need some safeguard to protect Earth. The Defiant and the
Enterprise are on their way, though I think we need a fleet of one
hundred starships. Minimum.”

“Captain Sisko, I do not want to be remembered
as the
Federation President who led the United Federation of Planets into
conflict so soon after the Dominion War. I will speak to Starfleet
Command and order 180 ships to converge at Sol immediately.” Darex was
solemn in his statement, but was truly sincere in saying that he wanted
to avoid conflicts at all costs.

“Thank you, sir. Would you be interested in the
data we compiled on the transwarp signatures?”

“Yes, of course,” Darex was cheerful. Sisko
nodded to
Bashir whom quickly sent them. “I have it, Captain and look forward
analysing it. Good luck. Darex out.”

“Lieutenant Nog, how much longer until we reach
the Sol system?”

The young Ferengi gave a quick reply. “19 hours
sir.”

Dax was feeling a little bored and wanted to
liven up proceedings. “Is anyone going to vote for Darex come the next
election?”

“I shall register my vote,” said Worf. “As a
member
of the Federation Conservative Party, I wholeheartedly support his
views on issues and await his manifesto.”

“Though I believe in his commitment to keeping
Starfleet at a level of battle readiness,” commented Julian, “is it
good to continue negative relations with the Romulans?”

“Romulans cannot be trusted! They are devious
and without honour!” Ambassador Worf proclaimed.

“Well I support Darex’s stance on Federation
enlargement,” added Nog. “The more members, the better in my view.”

“Naavok of Vulcan seems like a good choice in
my
opinion,” said Kira. “Though Starfleet should be battle ready, we must
avoid conflict when possible.”

Sisko had yet to add his opinion to the others
in the political discussion. “What do you think Benjamin?” asked Ezri.

“Hmmm….Darex’s viewpoints on certain issues
are
sound yet it is hypocritical of him to state that crime on Earth is at
a low when crime on his homeworld of Andor is at a high. Also what is
he going to do to quell the fears of the dilithium workers on Jarmads
III? The United Liberal Front leader, Kim Dahars, would make a good
President.”

“Federation Conservative Party, eh Worf?” joked
Ezri. “Little wonder you supported those ‘essentialists’ on Risa,
remember?”

Bashir chuckled, also remembering what Worf did
when
Jadzia, Leeta, Quark, Worf and he were on Riza. Worf was a little
embarrassed. “I still believe that the Federation must go back to the
essentials. We all know recent Federation history is less than rosy.”

“Perhaps,” stated Ben. “But the Federation
survived
the Borg, the Dominion, the Klingon war and confrontations with the
Romulans. We shall carry on.”

Dax had received a signal from her station.
“Benjamin, we are receiving a hail from the Enterprise. It’s Captain
Picard.”

“On screen. Let’s see what Jean-Luc wants.”

The Frenchman’s face appeared on the Defiant’s
viewscreen. “Captain Sisko, I have spoken with Admiral Mbesa at
Starfleet Command. He reports that there was only one transwarp
signature in the Sol system.”

“Only one?” Ben was surprised. “Then the
signatures we picked up across the border were faked.”

“It seems that way,” replied Picard. “We have
also reason to believe that some Romulans may be on Earth.”

Ben sighed and thought for a moment. “How could
Romulans transport on Earth? Were they detected?”

“Only for a short time. They could be anywhere
on the planet.”

“Is it wise, sir, for Romulans to be walking
around
on Earth? Won’t someone recognise they’re Romulan?” added Ezri,
directing her question towards Picard.

“It is possible they may have surgically
altered themselves to appear human,” said Bashir.

“Commander Data came up with the same
hypothesis,”
stated Picard. “Another worrying aspect is that the Romulan government
deny any knowledge of a transwarp programme. They find the notion
‘absurd and ludicrous’, to quote their own words. Admiral Mbesa
informed me that Darex has spoken directly to the Romulan Praetor.

Benjamin still felt worried. “So, Captain what
do suggest we do now?”

“I think it’s best if we head for Earth and
speak with Starfleet Command.

“Agreed. Sisko out.” Ben needed time to think
for a
moment. The Romulans themselves have officially denied knowledge of
transwarp experiments, yet some of them are on Earth? In the heart of
the Federation?

The trip to Earth passed relatively quickly. It
was a
great sight to see Earth from a 300 km orbit. “It’s beautiful, isn’t
it?” said Bashir.

“It sure is. But Earth is never as wet as
Ferenginar,” joked Nog.

“What is Q’onos like, Ambassador,” asked Ben.

“Q’onos is cool for the large part. It can get
quite hot in the summer, reaching an average of 40 degrees Celsius.”

Everybody couldn’t believe it. Forty degrees?
Little wonder Klingons were so aggressive.

Colonel Kira had seen the Enterprise was in
orbit on her console. “Captain, the Enterprise has assumed an orbit of
Earth.

“Very good. Hail Captain Picard.” ordered Sisko.

“Aye, sir.”

Picard’s face appeared on the viewscreen,
again. “Captain Picard, when will you be ready to beam to HQ?”

“I am ready when you are Captain. Lieutenant
Commander Data, my second officer, and Commander Riker will be joining
me.”

Ben replied quickly. “Colonel Kira Nerys of the
Bajoran Militia and Ambassador Worf will be accompanying me.”

“Very good. We will see at Starfleet Command.
Picard out.”

“Mr. Nog, you will have the bridge until we get
back.” Sisko smiled when offering Nog his first ever command. Nog could
not appreciate what Ben had given him. Command, albiet temporarily, of
a Defiant-class starship! What until his Academy friends here about
this!

“Yes, sir,” said Nog.

Nerys, Ben and Worf transported outside
Starfleet
Command in San Francisco. “They’ve done their best to rebuild after the
Breen attack,” commented Ben.

“Captain Sisko.” Picard called out to Ben and
walked
over to him. A great smile covered Jean-Luc’s face when he saw his
former Security/Tactical Officer, Ambassador Worf. “Ambassador Worf!
How ARE things on Kronos?”

“They are fine, sir.”

Commander Riker and Mr Data were also happy to
see
their old friend. “Worf! It’s so good to see you!” Commander Data
seemed unlike his calm and staid self.

“Is something wrong, Commander?” asked Worf.

“Oh, don’t mind me! Just my emotion chip!”

“I see.”

Captain Sisko was smiling after watching the
mini-reunion. “Captain Picard, this is my station executive officer,
Colonel Kira Nerys.”

Picard shook Nerys’ hand. “It’s a pleasure to
meet you. And Captain, meet my second officer, Commander Data.”

“Doctor Bashir has told me a lot about you,”
said Ben.

“I hope Doctor Bashir is making breakthroughs
in his research,” replied Data.

“We’re scheduled to meet Admiral Chan,
Captain,” added Picard.

“Fine. Let us go.” The officers made there way
into
the HQ building to meet with the Admiral. Starfleet Command had
holograms of all of the famous figures in its history. Of course, it
had Captain James T. Kirk onboard the Enterprise Bridge. Everybody in
the party was shocked to learn of Captain Sisko and Picard’s inclusion
in the ‘hall of fame’. Data read the plaque of both exhibits. “For
outstanding service to the Federation in the modern era.”

After three or four minutes in the turbolift,
the
crew reached the area in which Admiral Chan’s office was located. The
door buzzed as they approached. “Come,” said a voice. All entered the
office.

“Captain Sisko. Captain Picard. Welcome.” Chan
was very courteous.

“It’s good to be here, Admiral.” Ben and
Jean-Luc simultaneously showed their approval.

“All of you, please, take a seat,” offered
Chan. “I assume you have spoken to the President and Admiral Mbesa.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Ben.

“Well, Intelligence has reported that some
Romulan dissidents have organised themselves on Earth. In Asia, to be
exact.”

All were shocked. “Colonel Kira Nerys, Bajoran
Militia. Does Intelligence know what they want, Admiral?” asked Nerys.

“Reports have suggested that these radicals
want the
Romulan Star Empire to declare war on the Federation, Colonel. It seems
they have come to Earth to commit sabotage. Ben, Jean-Luc, I am sending
you to the Starfleet base outside of Hong Kong. We believe that the
Romulans are in hiding in that area. We must find them and neutralise
them.”

“We understand Admiral.”

“Good. So Jean-Luc?” Chan changed the subject.
“How is the Enterprise?”

“She is fine, sir. She received new phaser
upgrades last week.”

“Excellent. And Benjamin, how is DS9?”

“The Dominion have kept to their side of the
bargain, so far. Do you know anything about the Female Shapeshifter’s
trial?”

Chan was downbeat and seem disheartened. “The
trial
is still ongoing. All of the witnesses to her crimes are dead or, in
the case of the Breen, in extreme isolationism. Well, I shall leave you
to take the shuttle to Hong Kong. It was a pleasure meeting all of you.”

Commander Data was troubled over something and
needed
to speak to Admiral Chan. “Sir, what is the situation regarding the
Breen?”

“As you know Commander, the Breen departed en
masse
after the final battle of the War and the Allied siege of Cardassia
Prime. No known trace of Breen activity has been detected since then.”

“Ah. Thank you, sir,” replied Data.

The party left the office and headed outside
HQ. “I
think it’s best if you beam back up to the Defiant, Kira and Worf,”
mentioned Ben.

“Yes, sir.”

“Commander, you will have the bridge until I
get back,” said Picard to Riker. “You and Data should get back to the
ship.”

Ambassador Worf, Colonel Kira and Commanders
Data and Riker beamed back up to their respective ships.

“So Captain,” spoke Ben. “On to Hong Kong.”

CHAPTER FOUR

The Starfleet shuttle, travelling at many times
the
speed of sound, reached Hong Kong in an hour. It was a sunny day and it
reminded Picard of a special occasion. When he met James T. Kirk.

“The way the sun is shining reminds me of a
time when I actually met James T. Kirk.”

“What? You met him too!” answered Ben.

“You met him? Where? How?”

“I was thinking the same thing!”

“I was on a mission on a remote planet when I
was caught in a temporal anomaly. I saw Kirk as an older man.”

“Well, the Defiant to was caught in a temporal
anomaly. I met Kirk onboard the Enterprise! In his prime!”

As the two continued trading stories, they set
their tricorders to scan for Romulan life-signs. “I’ve found
something,” proclaimed Sisko. “Romulans, a kilometre from here.”

“Let’s go.”

The two Captains reached the location quickly
and
found a house within a field. “Are you sure this is the place?” asked
Jean-Luc.

“The lifesigns are here.” Ben entered the
house. He was immediately taken back by disrupter fire. “Picard, get
down!”

Luckily, both were holding phasers, though they
could
not see anyone whom to return fire too. The thought occurred that they
should reason with the person, or people, who attempted to kill them.
“We are not here to harm you!” shouted Picard. “We just wish to speak
to you so we can resolve a threat to the security of the Alpha
Quadrant.”

A voice could be heard. “Tell the Romulan
government
to annex the Neutral Zone and everything in it for the Romulan Star
Empire!”

“You know that will lead to war!” shouted Ben.
“And
our governments in our present state are not prepared for another major
conflict.”

“We have the tactical advantage over you!” the
voice replied.

“But the Treaty of Algernon will be null and
void.
Think about it. What’s stopping us from developing our own cloaking
device?” Picard bellowed.

Things were quite for a minute or two. Sisko
and Picard had hid behind some furniture for protection. Then without
their knowledge, a bunch of Romulans walked into the open. A fainter
voice started to speak. “The Romulan Empire has been stagnant for too
long! We must claim the Alpha Quadrant for our own and then the rest of
the galaxy.”

“You don’t really believe that do you?” Ben
posed them a question.

“The only thing I believe is that two Starfleet
Captains hide behind furniture like Klingon fools.”

“You may shoot us!” shouted Ben.

“We are unarmed,” one of the Romulans replied.

“How do we know we can trust you?” asked
Picard. At that point, ten disrupters landed near Sisko and Picard.

“Because we ARE unarmed!”

Ben and Jean-Luc stood up, reluctantly. The
Romulans
were indeed unarmed and looked as if they wanted to talk. What did
these extremists want?

“We can’t let you attack the Federation! If you
do, we shall respond in kind!” exclaimed Sisko.

One Romulan smiled. “Captain Benjamin Sisko.
The man who started the Dominion War.”

“I didn’t start the war. The Founders did!”

“Whatever……we are called the Mone Surart;
to use a human term, you could say we are a…’right-wing’
organisation. We believe in the claiming of the Alpha Quadrant by the
Romulans. Starting with the Federation.”

“President Darex has ordered one hundred and
eighty
starships to this solar system. I hope the Romulan fleets are ready for
that!”

“Well, Sisko, we may be on Earth alone but we
have a sizeable fleet of starships and personnel within sector 001.
Goodbye!”

The Romulans transported away, leaving Sisko
and
Picard shocked. “Picard to Enterprise.” Jean-Luc wanted to know if a
ship was in the area.

“Riker here, sir.”

“Is there a Romulan ship in the area?”

“No, sir,” replied the Commander. “Though we
detected
Romulans leaving your position. I may be possible they have a cloaked
ship in orbit.”

“Damn!” said Sisko. After using mild profanity,
his combadge sounded.

“Kira to Sisko.”

“Go ahead, Colonel.”

“The Starfleet squadrons have arrived in the
Sol system, sir. They’ll reach Earth in minutes.”

“Excellent.” Both Captains were happy. “Sisko
out.”

Jean-Luc and Benjamin beamed aboard their ships
waiting for the battle to commence. Onboard the Defiant, Ambassador
Worf had told Sisko he had been in contact with Chancellor Martok.
Martok had agreed to send 80 ships to help defend Earth. The news
obviously pleased Sisko.

“Captain,” said Colonel.

“Yes, Nerys.”

“Sensors show that 150 renegade Romulan ships
have de-cloaked near Pluto. They will be here at Earth soon.”

“Red alert!” shouted Sisko. “All hands go to
battle
stations. Prepare to engage the enemy. Doctor Bashir, I need you in
sickbay.”

“Aye, Captain.”

It was a nervous wait for the Romulan ships to
get to
Earth. What was it? 10 minutes? It seemed like an hour. Finally they
came, disrupters and all. The initial barrage went well for Starfleet.
But even with the numerical disadvantage, the Romulans still kept
pressing. Who knows? Maybe another wave of cloaked ships was on their
way. Sisko had to know how the battle in general was going. “Old man,
hail the Enterprise.”

“Aye, sir.”

Picard was on screen and Ben started to speak.
“Captain, sensors show we have lost only 9 ships but we not punching
through. Any suggestions?”

“I had spoken to Admiral Danson, the leader of
the
task force, before now. He said the lower attack wings 10 and 12 should
aim at the centre of their lines.”

“Very well. We’ll join them. Sisko out. Mr.
Nog, make a rendezvous with attack wings 10 and 12.”

“Yes, sir.”

The Defiant flew across to the centre of the
renegade
lines with some Akira and Galaxy-class ships. The Defiant exchanged
blows with a lot of Romulan ships, often coming up the victor, but
Sisko had to await a surprise.

“Captain Sisko.” Colonel Kira had an anxious
tone to her voice.

“What is it Nerys?”

“A squadron of fifty Romulan ships have
de-cloaked
near Mars.” Everybody feared the worst. The Romulans now had the
advantage, at least numerically.

“Ambassador, are there any signs from the
Klingons?” barked Ben.

“No, sir. Though as you know, Chancellor Martok
is a man of his word.” Just then a torpedo rocked the ship.

“We’ve lost warp drive!” shouted Nerys. “Sir,
Admiral Danson is hailing us.”

“On screen.”

“Captain Sisko, we’ve lost 40 ships and the
Romulans
have an extra wave coming in. I have called for reinforcements but they
will not be here for another half an hour. We need you to hold your
line!”

“Will do, Admiral. Some Akira class ships have
been destroyed but the Galaxies and us are alright.”

“Very good. We can’t afford to crumble in the
middle.
I would get the Enterprise to help you but they are under constant
fire. Danson out.”

The Defiant’s line withstood the extra Romulan
attack
with aplomb. They annihilated the opposing line but were facing wave
after wave. ‘This can’t continue,’ contemplated Ben.
‘Someone…something….MUST break the stalemate.’

The situation lasted for about 30 minutes, time
for
the Starfleet reinforcements to arrive. But this was countered with
renegade Romulan reinforcements. “This is ridiculous!” exclaimed
Benjamin. “Old man, try to raise Picard.”

“I’ve got him, sir.”

“On screen”

Picard looked relieved to see Sisko. “We had
not heard from you in a while,” said Jean-Luc. “I had started to think
the worst.”

“We had the same emotions,” answered Sisko.
“The two fleets are evenly matched. What can we do?”

“I’ll try to turn their flank.”

“Has your ship suffered damage?”

“We’ve lost secondary systems, but nothing we
can’t handle. I’ll ask Danson to send some more ships to help us.
Picard out.”

The Enterprise, along with five Intrepid-class
vessels, attempted to twist the Romulans battle layout. They exchanged
fierce phaser and torpedo fire with the Romulans but could still not
make a breakthrough. If things stayed like this, the battle would go on
for hours.

Onboard the Defiant, all personnel were worried
that
no progress was being made. Then Ambassador Worf, sitting at his old
console, discovered something. It looked like good news.

“Captain Sisko, some ships are de-cloaking. It
IS 85 Klingon warships!”

Everybody cheered. Now the Federation fleet
could
make some headway. Sisko now scented a victory. The Klingons flew
towards the Romulans at incredible speed, unleashing great amounts of
disrupter fire. In addition to the weapons fire from the Starfleet task
force, it was too much for the Romulans.

“Sir,” said Nerys. “36 Romulan ships have been
destroyed. Another 30 have suffered heavy damage.”

Sisko could see it on the viewscreen. The
Romulans
were now retreating.. According to sensors the last remnants of the
renegade fleet had headed towards unclaimed space near the Romulan
border. The battle had been won.

“Hail the Enterprise and Admiral Danson,” said
Sisko in a cheerful fashion.

“Channel open, sir.”

The Admiral and Captain’s faces were on the
viewscreen. “Although we’ve lost 20 ships and a few are heavily
damaged, we must give our deepest thanks towards the Klingons,”
proclaimed Danson. “Did the Defiant suffer heavy damage?”

“Our warp drive is unavailable, sir,” replied
Ben.
“But I trust my engineers will get it back in operation soon. How about
you, Picard? Is the Enterprise OK?”

“As I told you earlier Captain, we have no
secondary
systems. Though we’ve suffered no casualties,” Picard responded amidst
spurts of gas used to contain a few fires on the Enterprise Bridge.

“Very good, Captains. The fleet and my ship
will go
to Starbase 6 for repair. Danson out.” The three-way communication
ended. Sisko felt fortunate that his ship, warp drive notwithstanding,
had remained undamaged. Ben decided to go via impulse drive to McKinley
Station for assistance in repairing the warp drive. Thirty more
Starfleet engineers were transported aboard the Defiant to help, which
overall only took an hour or so. After the warp drive was operational,
the Defiant was receiving a hail from the Enterprise.

“On screen,” ordered Ben.

Jean-Luc Picard was beaming, standing beside
his
trusted XO Commander Riker. “Captain Sisko, I hope you have repaired
the damage to your vessel.”

“We have, Captain. I see the Enterprise is
looking
good herself. We will be leaving for Deep Space Nine shortly. I would
like to say, it has been an honour serving with you.”

“The honour is all mine,” responded Picard. “I
wish you good luck with your work at DS9…and with the Prophets.
Picard out.”

The Enterprise-E remained in orbit of Earth.
All Sisko needed to do now was order the Defiant’s trip back to DS9.

“Mr. Nog, set course for Deep Space Nine. Warp
Factor 8. Engage.”

“With pleasure, sir,” the young Ferengi helm
officer was eager to get back home.

Just as the ship was ready to break the light
barrier, Sisko was surrounded by a clear white ambience. His mother was
standing opposite and received a kiss on the cheek from Sarah. He was
in the Celestial Temple.

The Emissary has proven his worth, again. You have
saved Bajor and your Federation. But trouble is lurking near. Be
vigilant and all will be well.

‘Mother? Is the Federation under further threat?’

The Sisko must remain at the Gateway, for he is of Bajor. When
the time comes, he shall be ready to defeat the malevolence.

Ben was returned to the Captain’s chair of
the Defiant; the ship was now in full warp. What did the latest vision
mean? Must he stay at DS9? To protect the station, Bajor, the
Federation from what?

Even though the message was incomprehensible,
Benjamin realised that his work as the Emissary to the Prophets was not
finished yet.

THE END

 

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