Star Trek Helix: Phantoms, Part II

STAR TREK: HELIX
Episode: “Phantoms” by Todd Kelley

What is Star Trek: Helix

Orginally, everything was not as it seems.

In this timeline, where the Borg actually conquered the
Alpha Quadrant, the humanoid survivors waged their final
fight against The Collective. Alas, the Borg were too
powerful and the resistance was overwhelmed and quickly
destroyed. Alex Garrett and his crew aboard the HELIX were
the only ones to survive. There only hope was to use an
experimental transporter system called THE FOLD to
transport the Helix safely away from the fight. But a freak
mishap tossed the ship and it’s crew back in time. . .

The Helix’s trip back through time somehow changed the
course of history and Borg were defeated by the USS
Enterprise at Sector 001. The ship and crew are found by a
Starfleet rescue unit headed by Admiral Cynthia Porter, a
top operative for a group known as THE PROGRAM. Feeling the
crew’s fighting experience and the Borg-enhanced starship
could be an asset to her, she enlists their help. But
unknown to her associates and crew, she had a deadlier
agenda which would decide the fate of the Alpha

———

CHAPTER THREE: ABDUCTION

“Fultona-6 Control?” Katherine Brooks hailed the space station’s
command center from her Runabout. “This is the Rushmore ready for
departure.”

“You’re clear for departure, Rushmore.” the space traffic
controller called back. “God speed.”

“Acknowledged.” She slowly backed the small ship from it’s docking
clamps until there was enough manuevering room to go to impulse.
The Runabout quickly accelerated to impulse as it passed by two
arriving starships and a shuttle. Her rear view sensors showed the
giant science station quickly shrink to a speck on her monitor and
disappear behind the large planet fragment as she changed her
course and pushed the small ship into warp.

“Computer, open a priority channel to Admiral Cynthia Porter on the
U.S.S. Craven. Authorization Brooks 772435A.”

The computer made two attempts to process the command. “UNABLE TO
COMPLETE TASK.”

“Explain?” Kathy said puzzled.

“SUBSPACE INTERFERENCE FROM UNKNOWN SOURCE IS DISRUPTING SENSORS .
. . .”

“Interesting…” Kathy quickly ran a sensor sweep of the area. But
before she could get an answer, the shuttle to struck hard causing
the Rushmore to bank hard to the left. Kathy braced herself against
the console until the runabout steadied itself.

“WARNING: IMPACT HAS DESTABLIZED WARP FIELD! HULL INTEGRITY AT 64%”

Kathy watched the stream of stars turn to static light points as
the runabout staggered to impulse. She had to act fast. “Computer!
Raise shields! Evasive maneuvers: Pattern Delta!”

The computer acknowledged the command and the craft again banked
hard to left. “Arm phasers!” she ordered.

More bad news came back. “WEAPONS OFFLINE.” The Rushmore was
blasted again. This time, equipment in the rear of the ship sprang
to life with sparks and dark smoke. “SHIELDS OFFLINE.”

That’s when she saw the insect-like fighter crafts on the
viewscreen pass over the runabout and take a offensive position
ahead of her.

“Computer prepare to. . . ” before she could finish. Three
transporter signals materialized in the back part of the cabin. On
instinct she went diving to the other side to ship for her phaser.
With it firmly in hand, turned to fire. Her twirl was met with a
hard slap to her gun hand. The phaser went flying across the room.
She paused for a second to study her attackers. One of them kept
his self in the shadows while to two larger creatures came after
her. They were large hulking figures which resembled reptiles.
Their movements were clumsy but strong. She knew who they were from
Admiral Porter’s secret briefings.

The lead creature put a firm grip on her neck to immoblize her. She
could see her phaser on the floor a few feet away. Without
thinking, she flailed her arms until she could find something grab.
Her grasp met tube protruding out its neck and she violently ganked
it outward. The tube ruptured and white hot liquid sprayed her
uniform. The creature screamed in pain releasing its grip.

With a forceful push she knocked her attacker sideways and the
lunged for the phaser. As her hand grasped it firmly, she tried to
get to her feet. But she didn’t count on the second creature acting
so quickly. He unholstered a large knife and used it with pinpoint
accuracy. At first, Kathy didn’t feel the blade stab her in the
back of her shoulder until it passed completely through lodge into
the floor panel. She screamed in pain, flailing when she realized
the blade had her pinned to the floor.

“Fighting is pointless, Commander.” the third creature said as he
emerged from the shadows. “I am really impressed, though. Imagine!
Killing a Jem’Hadar in your first meeting. Not many people can say
that.”

Katherine looked up to see who was speaking, but she quickly passed
out from the pain.

———

The Helix reached their destination within four hours. The cloaked
ship came out of warp and quickly found itself in the midsts of
wreckage as far as the eye could see. Alex sat at command studying
the scene on his viewscreen.

“We’ve dropped out of warp and holding our position.” Ian reported.
“This is the point where I detected the residual traces of weapons
fire.”

“Just as we suspected…” Mia called out from the science station.
“..we’re getting the same readings as the other incident. I’ve even
got traces of a Federation Starship.”

“What?” Alex said. He quickly jumped from his seat and joined Mia.

“It’s a Federation ship alright. But it has the exact molecular
structure as the Romulan and Klingon debri. Another fake…”

“Does anything here check out as real?”

“About a half of the Klingon dibri and remains of a Cardassian
warship fit the right criteria.”

“Which means some poor Klingons walked into something he knew
nothing about.” As Alex started to pace, Ian turned to face him.
“Cappy, I don’t think you’re gonna like this.”

“What?” he asked impatiently.

The youngster ran his fingers over the console. “I’m picking up
some weird distruption patterns out there.”

“What do you mean?” Alex crouched down so that they were at eye
level.

“I’ve got circular disruption patterns around us. Four in front,
the others in back.”

Alex turn to Kyle. “Cloaked ships?” Alex asked. “Do you think they
know we’re here?”

Kyle smiled. “Well, the way we shot here like a bat out of hell,
I’d have to say they definitely…”

Suddenly, Mia’s console brightened. “We’ve got company! Seven Bird
of Preys decloaking! They have us on a weapons lock!”

“Drop the cloak and Shields up!” Alex command. An instant later,
the Helix was rocked by two phaser shots. The jolted slightly and
Alex made his way to the command seat.

“Weapons ready!” Tash said.

“No! Disarm weapons.” Alex interrupted. “That was just a love tap.
Their trying to get our attention.” They watched as two more
Klingon Bird of Preys decloaked in front of them.

Mia quickly scanned them. “Full scan confirmed; their the real
deal…and their hailing us.”

“On screen.”

A young Klingon appeared with two older ones standing behind him.
They snarled at the camera, an obvoius a tactic of intimidation.
The young one spoke. “I am K’Lones, new Commander of the
Chi-Ro-Haa. What is Starfleet doing this far in Klingon space!?!”

Alex stepped forward. “We are not a Starfleet vessel. I am
Alexander Garrett of the Terran Transport Helix. We are a mercenary
team on a mission to investigate strange incidents which may have
repercussions for our employers, who…have ties to the
Federation.”

“We are on a similar mission for the Empire, and we are not pleased
to find Starfleet conspirators in our space!” the two Klingons
behind the Commander grew agrivated.

“Again, we are not from Starfleet! We have performed honorable
tasks for the High Counsel, which gives us conditional access to
Klingon space!”

The Klingon consorted with themselves for a moment. “Do not attempt
to leave, while we verify this…” With that the viewscreen change
to show the Klingon crafts infront of them. Alex sat back and wiped
his face. He knew the Klingons had already gone through the
wreckage and have all the data they would need. And believe it or
not, due to the involvement in their space, the Klingons are the
only ones they could come close to trusting at this time.

After a few minutes K’Lones was back. “I have checked our databanks
on you, Garrett. It’s seems you have fought bravely at the side of
the Empire on numerous occasions! Gowron himself proclaims you the
descendant of a strong house of human warriors!”

“Yes.” Alex answered. “One of my ancestors, Starfleet Captain
Racheal Garrett fought and died with honor defending a Klingon
outpost from the Romulans.”

“Then I welcome you, Garrett. What is your status?” K’Lones’ two
aids quickly disappeared from the screen and the youngster settled
into his seat.

“Like I said, we’re investigating these strange occurances. We have
detailed information from numberous sources which I believe would
be useful to the Empire”

“Yes, as do we. We have found information which implicates the
Romulans AND the Federation in this treachary!”

Alex walked to the view screen. “K’Lones, it appears that
everything isn’t what it seems. We’re dealing with an enemy which
is trying to plunge the quadrant into biggest of wars. I think it
would benefit both of us if we work together. Would you agree to an
exchange of information?”

After a pause. “Agreed, Garrett! We will prepare to beam you
aboard!” Again the screen went blank and Alex headed for the
transPorter bay.

“Mia has the comm. Try not to blow up the ship” Alex walked to her,
and she smiled. “I need you to run the telemetry data through the
computer again. See how the weapons residue is tied to Bromethium.
We’re gonna need some answers on why this is happening. I want
everyone working double time on this. Oh, and tell Kyle to get the
Doc her supplies. I got a feeling we’re gonna be using them pretty
soon.”

———

Within the Helix’s cramped medical facility, empty containers lay
scattered across the floor. For roughly an hour, Doctor. Jann Jaxa
had been storing the new supplies and equipment delivered from
PROGRAM SUPPLIES. The low hum of the ship’s engines had always been
a soothing sound to her, so she decided to take advantage of some
downtime.

“Coffee: medical preset.” she spoke into the newly installed
replicator. In an instant, she was sipping on a nice mocha blend at
her desk. As she reclined and took a deep breath, she was startled
by her reflecion in the window glass.

…smiling…

If anyone from the crew had seen her, they would’ve thought
something wrong. To most people who know her, Jann didn’t have a
soul. She was as close to an android as flesh and blood could come.
It was hard to believe that she was (and still is) a religous
person. As much as she tried to hide it, her Bajoran heritage
helped shape her into a caring, feeling medical assistant devoted
to her people and their struggle.

But the Cardassians changed all that. Years of beatings, rapes, and
slavery turned an innocent young girl into a cold, precise killing
machine. The first years of her exposure to the Cardassain
Occupation of Bajor were on the orbital station called Tarok Nor.
She thought she could help her people by healing their wounds and
maintaining their faith in salvations through peaceful solutions.
But time peeled away the layers of her gentle soul and shrouded it
in a blanket of hate and an appetite for destruction.

The hatred was compounded by the death of her family by the
Cardassians. She parents died during the Occupation as slaves
aboard Tarok Nor when she was a baby. Her three brothers died
during their tour of duty as part of the underground resistance.
And most of all, her sister Sito died as a Starfleet operative
during a undercover mission against the Cardassians.

It was her thirst for vengence which pushed her to develop the
OGUN, which became one of the unsung victories of the Bajoran
resistance. Ogun was a virus which was designed to be DNA specific.
When she discovered a Cardassian fleet’s plans to raid a resistance
safehouse, she manage to use Bajoran slaves as carriers to spread
the virus throughout the Cardassain fleet.

They never made it to the safehouse. By the time the sickness was
contained, 80% of the fleet’s officers were dead. Although no one
in the resistance ever knew how it happened, she took solace in
knowing they would live to fight another day.

She stared out the window and watched the hipnotic dance of the
endless stars past by her at warp speed. The coffee warmed her
stomach and for a second, she felt a sense of content. A feeling of
finally finding where she belonged in the vast universe. But just a
swiftly came the visions of things to come.

The dreams began haunting her the day she mistakenly touched the
Prophet’s Orb Of The Future.

It begins with finding herself floating within the void of space.
She looked in horror as war rages within the heavens. Klingon
against Romulan, Human against Ferengi, Bajoran against Cardassian,
etc… A million ships unleashing a fury of weaponry upon each
other; leaving debri thicker than an asteroid field. Their are no
allies, no friends; just contempt for anyone or anything different,
and an underlining instinct to destroy all you once held sacred.
“Armageddon…” she softly whispered rubbing her eyes as if the
wash away the thoughts of a madwoman.

A hail whistle startled her. Her coffee cup Wobled on the edge of
the table as she straighten herself in the chair. “Come in.” she
said.

As the door rumbled open, Kyle entered carrying three large boxes.
He quickly dropped them to the floor and leaned against the nearest
examining table. “These boxes were mismarked. Turns out their your
missing vaccine compounds.” He glance down at her desk. “Mocha,
huh? Somebody’s been sleeping on the job.” he stared at her waiting
for some response.

Jann fought back a grin. Even though Kyle was the only part of the
team she feels totally comfortable around, she still doesn’t like
the show too much emotion. The resistance taught her it was a fatal
weakeness.

“That’s O.K. Doc, I knew you were smiling inside.” he said walking
to window. From where she was sitting, Kyle’s frames was engulfed
by the large window’s view of the stars.

“So…” she spoke. “Any leads with this Bromethium business?”

“Not sure” a replied. “Alex is meeting with the Kligons as we
speak.”

“Isn’t it funny?” she asked Kyle, taking a sip of coffee.

“What?”

“On almost every mission we get, we just happen to be in the right
place at the right tme. Or we stumble on the large clue by chance.
It’s almost as if we’re suppose to be doing this.”

“Or someone’s using us for idiots.” Kyle replied. “I’ve never
trusted THE PROGRAM. They’re playing with us like puppet soldiers.”

Jann walked over the stand beside him at the window. “Or we’re
taking part in a much grander scheme. Maybe we’re following
destiny?”

Kyle paused for a second. There’s only one reason she’d be asking
that way. “You’re having the dreams again?” he said without looking
at her.

“No.” she replied after taking another sip. “Their more like
flashes now. No longer images across my mind. Now I can smell the
photon discharges. I can feel the coldness of space. I can feel the
hopelessness in everyone.” she bowed her head. “There’s dark days
coming.”

Kyle gently placed his hand on her shoulder. “If that’s true Kid,
you won’t face it alone. None of us will, ’cause we watch out for
our own.” Jann cuttled under his arm like a daughter, and Kyle
embrace her like a father. “We’re all in the same boat, Kid. I
trained Alex to lead us into hell and back, and I have faith in
him…like I have faith in you to help him anyway you can.”

———

When Kathy regained consciousness, she found herself in a large,
dark storage room. She could hear the roar of engines so she knew
she must be on an enemy craft. Her shoulder wound had been treated
and dressed. They must’ve also gave her a stimulant because there
was no pain.

“We expected you to be out for at least a day.” a voice came from a
darkened corner.

“Who are you?” Kathy called out. She was surprise at how much
energy it took for her to get those words out. She knew she wasn’t
going to get out of her cell alive. But she wasn’t going to give
her captives the pleasure of seeing how scared she was.

A figure stepped out of the shadows. His eyes for a light blue and
seemed to burn holes in her. His skin was a bright tan and his
large ears seemed to follow the contours of his skull. “Let me
introduce myself. My name is Kyan. I’m from a race known as . . .
.”

“The Vorta.” Kathy finished with a grin boarding on psychotic. “The
lapdog servants of The Dominion.”

“You mean ‘humble servants’.” his transparent look of concern was
almost comical to Kathy.

“So when are you planning to kill me?” she asked.

“That depends, Ms. Brooks.” Kyan began to circle her, but kept a
good distance away from her. “If you can answer a few . . small
questions, we’d be incline to let you go.”

Kathy shook her head. “No questions, Vorta. I took a oath to
Starfleet that I would protect the people of The Federation with my
life. The last thing i’m going to do is give you any influencial
information against my people.

Kyan smiled. “We will see. We accessed your mission logs on your
ship. We know about the Bromethium shipment and are currently
enroute as we speak.” he stopped in front of her. “The great thing
about it is, we appear to be a Ferengi trade ship so no one will
suspect our true intentions, now will they?”

“We’ll fight you.” Kathy said viciously. She tried to hold back her
tears but her emotions were overflowing. “We will fight you until
our very last breath. And I garantee that if you do succeed in
destroying us, there won’t be anything left to claim!”

Kyan smiled even more. “We’ll see.” he walked to the door and a
Jem’Hadar soldier entered. “She is yours to play with. But don’t
kill her. We will use her to obtain the Bromethium supply. Without
it, this ship is terribly vulnerable.”

Kyan gave her one last smile and exited the room. And as the big
soldier approach her with an large knife in hand, she said a silent
prayer for the Admiral and her friends on the Helix.

She wasn’t going to die without a fight. . .

———

The hour passed quickly for Alex and K’Lones who spent all their
time in the Klingon science lab. After merging their information
into one database, they discover the missing pieces they were both
looking for.

“Fakes!” K’Lones screamed and through his message pad against the
wall. “How more dishonorable can you get! The information proves
it!”

“Whoever’s behind this seems to be clever enough to elude our
intelligence networks” Alex said taking a sip of the vintage Blood
wine.

“More importantly, why are they randomly attacked ships in Klingon
space?” a Klingon officer quickly handed K’Lones’ a message pad.
The Commander read it aloud. “Ha!! We may be able to track our
enemy’s next move!”

“Explain”

“Since Bromethium is so unstable, it can be ignited in space using
a specific process only where the stellar conditions are correct.
The metal alloy from the alien ships is composed of a mineral which
has a high content of forging properties, but isn’t structurally
sound enough to use for prolonged space worthy construction. It
seems that Bromethium, processed correctly increases the structural
integrity of the fake metal. There are seven such areas like this
in Klingon space that make it safe to use Bromethium – metal
contact. Two of them have been used, and the next logical space
would be about six hours from our current position. The Kodak
Nebula.”

Alex stood up and started to collect his things. “We are scheduled
to pick up a shipment of Bromethium from the Ferengi. Maybe we can
find an a way to use it as a weapon.

“We will present our findings to the high counsel enroute to the
Kodak Nebula for investigation.”

“As soon as we’re done, we join you for the fight.” Alex smiled.

———

HELIX LOG: Captain Alex Garrett recording . . .
We are proceeding at maximum warp to the moon of
Obinous. It’s conclusive that our investigation has
turned out to be some deadly game between two greater
powers. Lt. Katherine Brooks has sent a distress call
to us enroute from Fultona-6, but odds are we’re too
late as it is. We’ve just entered Ferengi space and
have cloaked to avoid any unwelcomed guests. As of this
moment I am instructing my crew to treat any unknown
persons as a hostile.END TRANSMITION.

Alex was studying the information he retrieved from the Klingons
when he received an incoming message. He quickly let the signal
through, hoping it was his friend Joshua with more information. But
when the image came up, it was a young Bajoran woman wearing the
colors of the Maquis. He looked puzzled.

“Why are sending transmissions on this frequency?” he asked her.
“It’s reserved for…”

“You are Alex Garrett, correct?” she interrupted him.

“Yes I am. Who are you?”

“T’Leyan. I’m with the Maquis.”

“I can see that.” he replied. “But why are you using Joshua’s
priority line?”

“Joshua’s dead.” she said sternly. The statement caught Alex off
gaurd. His face froze as he watched the young woman study his
expression

“What happened?” he asked in shock.

“We don’t know for sure. We picked up a distress signal from his
fighter just outside The Badlands. By the time we reached him, he
was already dead. Whoever it was beamed aboard, cut his throat, and
cleaned every bit of data from the record banks.”

“God…” Alex whispered. “What the hell have we gotten into?”

“That’s not all…” she paused. “It seems before he died, he
managed to give us a signal of sort. He used his own blood to write
something on the floor beside him.” His display screen split in
half to give the incoming image room. It showed Joshua’s finger
soaked in redness, and a series of symbols written at his side.
“There is a possibility the killers left this to throw us off their
trail.”

“No…” Alex said leaning in closer. He squinted. “Those are
symbols only Josh and a few others would understand. He obviously
didn’t want everyone to read this.”

“Do you understand them?”

“Not off hand. But I can have them decifered in a few hours.”

“Was there any information we can use?”

“Yes. He managed to transmit the information before his signal was
blocked. Transmitting now…”

Alex wiped his face. “Dear Lord Joshua. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry…”

“Don’t blame yourself, Sir. He died the way he wanted. Fighting for
what he believed in.” She watched her words take no solace.
“Josh..told us about you. I’m gald to have you as an ally.”

He look raised his head to meet her gaze. His eyes were red with
sadness and rage. He tried to contain them both. “I promise you.
Whoever did this will pay…with extreme predjudice.”

T’Leyan nodded. “If you require assistance, we can be reached on
this channel.”

With that, the screen displayed the information that got his friend
killed. It seems that the Ferengi freighter that was destroyed
belonged to a DaiMon Y’walen on the moon of Obinous. He had sent
his brother to sell the Bromethium to Cardassian Extremists.

Alex switched off the screen an wiped his face again. He began to
realize that all the evidence, and all the inconsistancies were
linked somehow. Someone was giving them a trail of debri to follow
like breadcrums, and all the time staying just out of reach. They’d
been setup.

“No more…”

———

Obinous was a beautiful Class-M asteroid which had become one of
the most popular Ferengi places of commerce. Even though it had
been nearly depleated of every natural resource for profit, it
still was the prime spot to rendezvous with ‘unsavoiry’ business
partners.

Kyan stood next two three armed Jem’Hadar in a small rocky clearing
just outside the main city of Wey-Nalm. Kathy Brooks lay battered
and broken next to an old Ferengi man who was also badly beaten.

“DaiMon Nezek!” Kyan spoke to him. “I do hate using violence. But
I’ve discovered it’s a very efficient motivator. All mt friends and
I want is the Bromethium shipment.”

Nezek may have been alot of things, but a coward he wasn’t. “They
are not the hu-mons i was suppose to meet.” he said with a grin.

Kyan grew impatient. “But she is.” he pointed to Kathy. “And she
works for me. Now where is it!”

The Ferengi looked at the battered woman lying next to him and
decided to cut his losses. He slowly pulled out a small objected
and activated it. After a few seconds, a small spherical object
rose a couple hundred yards from where they were standing. “The
Bromethium is ready to go.”

When Kyan and his enterage turned to watch the sphere approaching
them, Nezek suddenly felt a hand slithering under his belt and
grabbing his gun. Before he could do anything, Kathy was on her
feet and stumbling into position.

“UNTIL OUR LAST BREATH, VORTA!.” she said as she pointed the weapon
at the sphere and fired. The sphere erupted on impact blowing all
of them backwards.

Kyan furiously rose to his feet. He stormed over to Kathy lifeless
body and turned it over to find her neck and face torn apart by
shrapnel. But the Vorta was more infuriated by the sarcastic smile
on his prisoner’s face when she died.

He had to at least admire her foolish attempt. “Last breath,
indeed. . . ”

———

At that moment, three transporter signatures materialized within a
small valley a few kilometers away. Alex, Mia and Kyle stood back
to back in a triangular formation; weapons raised. These were the
coordinates that Kathy had given them for their rendezvous, but
there was no one to be found.

Mia opened a tricorder and surveyed the area. “I’m picking up faint
traces of various energy signatures…there was a massive
Bromethium dischart.”

Kyle ran his fingers along the rockface. “Yeah, there’s unnatural
lacerations along these rocks; definite fallout burns. The surface
is still warm. It must’ve just happened.”

“Alex, I got something.” Mia said. “Five bodies, due south…” They
followed a small trail within the rocks until they came to a small
clearing. Within it, their lay four bodies face up with gaping
burns in their chests.

“Ferengi” Alex said with surprise.

Instinctively, Kyle caught movement to his left. Without thinking,
he put lifetimes of battle training to work. “Incoming!!!” he
yelled dashing for cover. The others quickly followed suit when a
barrage of phaser fire erupted around them. Rock fragments bruised
Alex’s face as he stumble a fell over a large boulder. As he looked
back, he saw three human figures recklessly opening fire.

After thirty seconds, the attack suddenly died. Alex took a peak
from his hiding place just in time to see the faint remnance of
dispursing transporter patterns. Their attackers had left just as
suddenly as they had appeared.

“Everybody alright?” Alex called out.

Kyle and Mia appeared quickly and joined him.

“Cappy, did you see…” Mia started.

“Yeah, I saw them. You know what they were? ”

“No. I’ve never seem any race like that” Kyle said as he worked to
secure their area. “I got movement, people. I think it’s injured.”

It took them roughly a few minutes to scaled the dangerous
rock-faces and climb down into the small valley. They found a
wounded Ferengi lying in a pile of his own blood. Mia quickly
scanned him with the tricorder while he quietly moaned.

“Massive internal bleeding. He’s not going to make it.” she said.

Alex knelt beside him as Kyle propped him into a sitting position.
The Ferengi squealed in pain. His eyes widened and when saw the
three humans, he shielded his face in fear.

“We’re not here the hurt you. My name is Alex Garrett. Are you
DaiMon Nezek? The man we were suppose to see about the Bromethium?”

The Ferengi slowly nodded. Another wave of pain hit him and he
squealed again.

“Who attacked you?” Alex said.

At first, it was hard to speak, but he tried. “Don’t know….. who
they were…… Took me from city….interrigated me….” he
coughed up blood. “….asked me about brother …..Jem…
Hadar…..”

“Jem’Hadar? Who are they?”

“…did not know….wo-man……knew……”

Mia’s eyes widened. “Woman? That’s Kathy! Where is the woman?”

The Ferengi’s gazed met hers, and before he opened his mouth, she
knew what his answer would be. “…dead…..” slowly his large head
slid downward and his last breathe escaped his lungs. But he manage
to point to the body lying a few yards away. They all rushed over
and saw Kathy’s limp body.

Mia had to turn and walk away. Alex took his combadge off and put
it on the the body. “Alex to Helix. Lock on to my signal. One…
body to beam directly to the medical bay. As the body disappeared
he wanted to comfort Mia, but he was abruptly stopped by Kyle

“She’ll be alright, Kid.” Kyle said walking beside Alex. “Right
now, we have more important things to worry about.”

“Yeah. I think it’s safe to say that those creatures were the
Jem’Hadar.” It was starting to set into Alex’s brain. “I’m scared,
Kyle.” he whispered, not wanting Mia to hear him.

“You’d be stupid not to be.” the large Trill-host answered. “The
question is what do we do now?”

“We got to find where their massing their forces. I think K’Lones
was right on the mark. Saddle up people. It’s time to kick some
ass…”

———

The Kodak Nebula was nestled in the heart of Klingon space. A
recent phenomena, it spanned almost four lightyears in diameter;
the resulting from the death of twin dwarf stars. It has been the
subject of recent investigation due to its unique attributes. A
large wave of subspace interference resided through the outer area,
but from within, there existed a place similar to a pocket
universe. The orange, gold and green haze which replaced the normal
black void of space made it one of the most unusual, and yet
beautiful occurances in a long time.

Too bad that beauty seemed to be waisted in Klingon space . .

Along the outskirt of the nebula, a Klingon warship and five Bird
Of Preys decloaked and dropped out of warp. The smaller ships then
preceded to form around the warship in a circular pattern as if to
erect some type of invisible defence.

K’Lones, Son of Kronag sat in the command center of his war vessel.
He was determined not let the other, more experienced warriors see
his nervousness. His father, who commmanded the ship in the past
was a great warrior. His taste for blood was known throughout the
Empire. It was only right that K’Lones was given the Right of
Vengence against the dishonorable enemy which took his life of his
father in battle.

His crew was sprinkled with great warriors which had served with
his father from time to time. They knew he came from a strong
bloodline-a strong house. But know he would have to prove his self
in battle and would not lead his family into dishonor by failing.

“Open a channel through to the fleet!” he spoke with great
vigorance-a great tribute to his father. “This is a message to the
crew. I know I may be. . . . young by command standards. I know I
may be inexperienced in the ways of battle . . compared to others
aboard. But I say to you . . . my blood runs hot with the thoughts
of vengence! Our enemies are dishonorable! They choose to hide
behind disguises to divert our rage from them! But it did not work!
We are too strong to fall for such feable minded tactics! All I ask
of you is to recognize me as your commander! . . .to follow me into
battle! . . . and if necessary, to die for me and The Empire! I am
K’Lones, Son of Kronag! And I claim The Right of Vengence!!!!!”

The cry of battle echoes throughout the fleet for almost ten
minutes. K’Lones had fired up the troops. They will be on edge and
ready to destroy anything that moves. He smiled and leaned back in
his chair. It was the call of the warrior. And in the words of his
great father, it was “Glorious!!!”

But the celebration was cut short when the navigator’s console lit
up. K’Lones leaned forward and watched is underling, a Klingon
almost twice his age, analyze the signal.

“Commander!” he spoke with surprise. “Two war vessels just
decloaked seven thousand kilometers ahead of us. They are . . . .
Federation vessels!” the crew grunted with skepticism.
“Galaxy-Class warships! ”

K’Lones smiled. “I guess that’s suppose to instill fear in us?” he
turned to the crew and they laughed heartily. He stood and walked
to his communications officer. “Switch to the scrambled frequency
and tell the fleet to execute phase one!”

His officer responded swiftly. In a matter of seconds, the five
Bird Of Preys navigated outward from the flagship like a blossoming
flower. They immediately spread their wings and cloaked into
nothing.

“Attack positions!!” K’Lones ordered and the bridge turned dark and
red. “They will feel the might of the Klingon Empire!” he laughed.
“Posing a Starfleet warships just makes it more . . . fun.”

“Commander?” the navigator spoke again. “Something is happening!”

Two more ships decloak directly behind the Starfleet vessels.
Romulan Warbirds materialized and took their place alongside the
other ships. But that was just the start. Three Cardassian ships
followed.

K’Lones’ smile turned to a grimace. “Raise shields!” he ordered.
That was when he saw the two dozen small ships pour out of the
Romulan crafts. “What are those suppose to be?”

“They are of unknown configuration!” the science officer responded.

The small fighter-style ships resembled beetle-like insects. Their
underbellies burned with a flourescent voilet color as did their
navigation nacelles. They were a fourth the size of a Bird of Prey
but still appeared to be menacing.

“That must be our enemies true form!” K’Lone walked back to his
chair. “We are outnumbered. No matter . . . We will still be . . .”

Before he could finish his sentence, the science officer spoke,
this time in an aggressive tone. “Sir! More ships decloaking off
our bow! Two Klingon attack cruisers!”

The crew roared aned K’Lones smirked. “Ah! Aft view!”

The two impressive ships dematerialized and took their place behind
K’Lones’ lead ship. He smiled with confidence once again.

“It is time to write history in blood! Tell the cloaked ships to
wait for my signal. Order our new attack criusers maneuver for
attack formation!!”

————-

At that moment, the Helix raced for the Kodak Nebula.

“ETA?” Alex said pacing the bridge.

“Twelve minutes.” Tash replied. “There’s still no signal from
K’Lones’ fleet. But that could be from the nebula’s subspace
interference and. . .” suddenly his console registered something
else. “I got seven small ships on an intercept course. ETA: two
minutes.”

“Two minutes?” Alex almost panicked. “How did they get so close?”

“Unknown. They must’ve been cloaked or . . . Sir, they’re
Federation ships… I think.”

“What’s wrong?” Alex walked over to the comm.

Tash looked up at him startled. “The database registers them as…
Defiant-Class!”

“Tash, that starfleet configuration never existed.” Alex paced for
a second. “What the hell is going on? Open a channel.”

Tash signaled him when the hailing signal was open.

“This is Alex Garrett of the transport Helix. Approaching fleet, we
are on a pieceful mission. Please identify yourselves.” He quickly
took his seat again when Admiral Porter appeared on the viewscreen.

She smiled. “Hello Alex. Word’s going around that you need some
backup.”

“That’s an understatment.” he replied. “What that hell are those
ships?”

“Operation: Defiant has been a pet project of mine for awhile.
They’re still a number of design flaws in the specs, but there’s
enough fire power to level a small moon. What’s your status?”

“I’ve sent a emergency message to all ships in the area, but
haven’t gotten a response. The Klingon attack fleet is inside the
nebula so our sensors can’t pick them up.”

The Admiral sighed. “Then I guess we have to assume we’re it. Take
the center position in our attack pattern and cloak. The fleet will
continue under your command, understood?”

Alex nodded and the screen went blank.

The entrance way swung open and Mia and Jann entered
enthusiastically.

Mia spoke frantically. “I think we have something!”

Alex saw the look in Mia’s eyes and knew she wasn’t o.k. He looked
to Jann who shot him a worried look. But he couldn’t be burdened by
that right now. There were more pressing matters at hand.
“Explain.”

She handed him a tricorder. “Jann and I pooled the information we
got from Joshua and the Klingons with what we had and pinpointed
the origin of the metal from the wreckage. The only known place
this metal was found in it’s natural state was by a Federation
expedition on a small moon . . . in the Gamma Quadrant!”

Jann continued. “The scientist thought they found another element
to use for building spaceworthy crafts, but ran in to the problems.
The metal has all the aspects of Tritanium, but with one flaw.” she
leaned over Alex and showed him the Tricorder. “In extensive tests,
they found that the metal’s structural integrity breaks down at a
specific resonance pulse.”

“That’s it!” Alex said. “How many Omni-class torpedoes onboard?”

She thought for a second. “None. But I could configure one the
class-one probes to be just as effective.”

“Can you reconfigure it to detonate a resonence pulse on impact?”

She looked happily surprised. “It’s gonna take some jimmying, but
it’s possible. I don’t know how accurate the frequence will be.”

“It’ll have to do. You got ten minutes.”

She nodded and took off for the turbo lift.

Alex turned to Jann. “She doesn’t look so good.”

“She’s still in shock.” she replied. “Katherine’s death really hit
her hard.”

“It’s hit us all hard, Doc.” Alex replied.

“Of course . . .” Jann felt unconfortable. It was no secret that
she never trusted Katherine. She always figured her as the
Admiral’s eyes and ears aboard. But there never came a time to
voice her concerns. And now, it didn’t matter. “I’ll give Mia a
hand. And keep an eye on her.”

Alex nodded that Jann left, leaving him to once again begin pacing.
“Come on, K’Lones. Give me a sign that you’re still with us . . . ”

———

“Commander . .” the Klingon science officer called out. “The
cloaked Bird of Preys are ready.”

“Good!” K’Lones replied with the large grin. The two attack
cruisers formed on opposite sides of his ships with their weapons
fully armed. “Bird of Preys attack!!”

The five small Klingon ships decloaked just as they past the
Starfleet vessels and opened fire on the Romulan ships. They
swarmed the massive barges like mesquitos; raining photon torpedoes
along it’s hulls and disruptors shots at the warp nacelles.

“Tell the attack cruiser the hold for my signal! Weapons station,
target the lead vessel and fire full battery!”

K’lones’ warship unleashed a series of torpedoes which showered the
Galaxy-Class starfleet vessels. But their shields seemed the hold
steady and they replied with phaser fire.

The warship rocked with the impact. “Divert more power to the
deflectors!!” K’Lones watched chaos reign around him. His crew
frantically scurried from the place to place trying to keep the
ship intact. On the viewscreen, the two Federation Galaxy-Class
Starships continued their assault. But he knew they weren’t real.
They were fraudualant replications from a dishonorable enemy.
“Order the remaining attack cruisers to destroy the enemy!!!”

The attack cruisers powered the full arsenal and unleashed their
power. But to the Klingon’s surprise their target wasn’t the
Federation ships. Their disruptor beams attacked K’Lones’ warship
with incredible force. Their shield faultered for a moment; long
enough for the enemy fire to rip into the hull.

On the bridge, K’Lones watch as his ship seemed to tilt hard to the
right. Most of his bridge crew were thrown from their chairs and
rolling along the floor. The machinery seemed to rip up through the
floorboards. Sparks sprang from various comm stations.

The science officer managed to make it back to his console.
“Commander! Our new attackers cruisers! They attacked us!!!”

K”Lones rose to his feet. “THEY ARE FAKES!!!!” he stumbled to the
weapons officers as another attack rocked his ship. “Return fire!”

“Disruptors are offline!” the officer replied. “I’ve rerouted
impulse power to the disruptors but it’s gonna take a couple minute
to power up!!”

“We done have minutes!!!!!!”

On the viewscreen they watched the five Bird of Preys break off
their attack of the Romulan ships and return to help the flagship.
But they were met with the onslaught of the small insect ships. One
of them was destroyed instantly, but the other four manage to
redirect to enemy attack to them.

K’Lones tried to think. “We have to keep the Bird of Preys healthy!
Focus our attack on the Romulans ships until we can . . .”

Before he could finish, the science officer went crazy. “Commander!
More ships have apeared. They’re on an attack run above us!”

“No no no!!!” K’Lones violently yelled. “Put them onscreen!!”

They viewscreen change just in time to see the fleet of new ships
unleash their attack. The Helix and the Defiant fleet’s combined
firepower rained down on one of the fake Starfleet vessels. The
multiple phaser beams penetrated its shields and punched through
the saucer section. The massive explosion sent a chain reaction
through the entire ship.

The other Galaxy-Class vessel tried the manuever away from the
blast, but was met by another attack from the incoming ships. It’s
fate was the same.

K’Lones’ bridge crew roared in victory as the Helix and its fleet
began to engage the Romulan ships.

“Incoming message.” the communication’s officer said.

Alex Garrett appeared onscreen. “K’Lones. You know you could’ve
waited until we arrived before you started the fun!”

The Klingon smiled. “As a warrior you should know that battle waits
for no man! No matter! There is plenty to go around!” he opened a
channel to the fleet. “Remaining ships, attack!”

———

On board the Helix, Mia entered the bridge and took her spot and
weapons station. “The torpedo is ready.”

Alex leaned forward in his chair. The viewscreen showed a squadron
of small fighters swarming K’Lones’ warship. “Fire torpedo!”

The small projectile targeted nothing. It streaked from the Helix
and raced past the Defiants and the insect ships. It raced past the
Klingon and Romuland ships until it found a neutral zone. The
detonation was not spectacular. The small rupture created a
shockwave which expanded outward and engulf all the space crafts in
the areas. The Romulan ships were the first to get hit. As the
shockwave washed over them, their hulls became incredibly brittle.
Their warp nacelle power fluttered and then died. The same happened
as the wave engulfed the fake Klingon vessels.

Kyle scanned the area from the science station. “The enemy ships
have been disabled! Well, except for the smaller ships. But they’ve
broken off their attack of the and are retreating!”

———

“Commander! The enemy ships are vunerable!!” the Klingon weapons
officer cried.

K’Lones watched his attackers try to make a hasty retreat. “Destroy
them!!!”

One both sides of K’Lones vessel, disruptors open fire on the enemy
ship along side them. The brittle ships were ripped apart in a
matter a seconds. The mass of Klingon warriors began to rejoice in
victory.

———

“Alex” Tash called out. “Incoming message.”

“From who?”

Tash scanned the area. “I don’t know. It’s scrambled.

“Onscreen.”

When the image of the transmition source appeared on the
viewscreen, the bridge crew was shocked. They all stared in
confusion at Kathy Brook’s face, so warm and inviting. Everyone had
been totally blown away… for a quick second, at least.

“Nice try!” Alex exclaimed, trying to hold his anger in check. “WHO
– ARE – YOU?”

Kathy’s happy face suddenly morphed into some type of brown liquid
apparation, then reformed into another face. This time the being
had no features. Its face was a pasty tan with deep sunken eyes and
slicked back hair which seemed to be painted on its skull. Alex
knew this was the true face of the enemy.

And he was scared.

“What the hell are you?” he whispered.

The creature smiled. “What I am is of no importance, Mr. Garrett.
‘Who I am’ will be revealed in the very near future.”

Alex rose from his seat. “It doesn’t matter really. All that
matters is we stopped your invasion.”

The creature almost laughed. “I’m sorry if you misunderstood our
intentions. This was not an invasion force. If it were, you would
not be here now. This was nothing more than a scientific
expedition; a testing of the animals, so to speak. The Alpha
Quadrant lives in chaos, human. What my people want to give you is
what you all want, but cannot obtain… ORDER.”

“The only thing I want is to wipe you from existance.!” Alex
snarled.

“Your feelings are understandable.” The creature replied. “Young
Katherine was a trusted friend of yours. You would be proud to know
she didn’t cooperate with our… rigorous interrigations. At least
not consciously. She died like a soldier.”

Upon hearing those words, Mia turned away from the viewscreen and
gathered her composure. Alex, on the other hand didn’t flinch. He
knew the shapeshifter’s attention was focused on him and he didn’t
want to give it the satisfaction. He slowly returned to his command
chair and took a deep breath.

“Leuitenant Commander Brooks was an exceptional officer, a caring
person and most of all, a friend to this crew. She died fighting
for her people, and that’s O.K. But know this…” his eyes grew
red. “You’ve just made a deadly enemy. Know that all your little
plans are gonna fail due to the death of one woman. Remember what
I’m saying on the last day when I watch you DIE SCREAMING.”

The transmition was then terminated by Tash.

“Remember that . . .

———

HELIX LOG: Captain Alex Garrett recording . . .
It’s been four hours since the battle with the
shapeshifters. Kronag’s remaining fleet is currently
escorting us back to Federation space while the Admiral’s
Defiant fleet slipped away when no one was looking. Our top
priority now is to figure out what THE PROGRAM knows and
why we were kept in the dark. I fear that our next
encounter with Admiral Porter won’t be pretty. In any case,
the crew and I will be prepared END TRANSMITION.

K’Lones and Alex entered the transporter bay aboard the Helix as
the Klingon commander was ready to head home.

“A science team has been in the nebula for over an hour and they
haven’t found any trace of the enemy.” the Klingon said stepping on
a transporter pad. “We may never know who they were.”

Alex stood on the middle step. “I have a feeling we’ll see them
again.”

K’Lones smiled. “And the battle will be glorious.” he held out his
hand. “So long Garrett. You’ve done your House proud!”

Alex shook his hand. “As have you. I’m pretty sure your crew knows
you will honor your bloodline. God speed, K’Lones.”

With that, the transporter signal took the Klingon commander away.

Alex tapped his combadge. “Alex to Kyle.”

“Kyle here. . .” a voice answered.

“Plot a course for Hollis-Prime. Assemble the crew in the
conference room.”

“Understood. Kyle out.”

He knew that just asking Admiral Porter for information would be
pointless. There were going to have to be little more forthcoming .
. .

———

EPILOGUE: ABDUCTION

Admiral Porter’s onterage tried to survey the Hollis-Prime
landscape. But just like she thought, there was too much subspace
interference to get a reading on anything.

“Spread out.” she order four companions. “They’ll be arriving soon.
I don’t want them to think this meeting is hostile.”

“Too late…” voice called out to her.

The Admiral reached for her phaser, but before she could ready
herself, an intricate web of phaser shots flashed around her and
struck her four companions. Their lifeless bodies fell to the
moon’s surface, as she slowly backed away.

“Stay where you are, Cynthia!” Alex called out to her from behind.
That’s when she felt the ground under her feet start to shift. She
glanced at a near by rock and studied the complex bumps and grooves
slightly form what apeared to be a face. That meant if she was in
any harm, the shapeshifters would be her bargaining chip.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” she yelled watching Alex
and two others come from out of hiding.

“I was going to ask you the same question.” Alex replied. “Watch
the area.” he told Kyle and Mia. “I don’t want any unsuspected
guests while we straighten a few things out.”

As they left for their lookout points, the Admiral put away her
phaser and quickly approached Alex in rage. “You’d better have a
damn good explanation, soldier!! I could have you thrown back in
jail for what you’ve done!!!”

“YOU LIED TO US!!” Alex screamed. “You knew what this was all
about!! This wasn’t a damn recon mission to begin with! You set us
up!!!”

The Admiral stood her ground. “Alex, I did what I thought was
right….for the situation.”

He began to laugh. It was the only thing he could do to keep his
anger in check. “Right.”

Her tone became laced with sarcasm. “Look. My orders were for you
to get information and get it back to me. You disobeyed orders by
consorting with the Klingons in this matter!!! YOU crossed the
line, not me!”

Alex whipped around in the heat of anger. Admiral Porter staggered
back until there was some distance between them.

“You knew! You goddamn knew this was all about…, and you let us
go in unprepared!”

“We suspected, that’s all! It was a hunch that we had…” she
shouted

“And you didn’t tell us?! Lady, this isn’t a game! We just made
some serious enemies, and we don’t know who the hell they….” Alex
knew he didn’t have to finish the sentence. He saw more betrayal in
her eyes. “Oh God. You know who they are!?!”

Her lips studdered, yet her face remained stern.
“It’s….classified.”

Alex’s face went blank.

“Don’t do anything foolish, Mr. Garrett! Don’t even think about
crossing me!” she slowly walked toward him until they were face to
face. “I’m the one who pulled your miserable asses out of hot water
and gave you something to fight for. So don’t you dare curse me for
your own short-comings! This is a war, soldier! WE’RE ALL
EXPENDABLE!!!” she softly brushed his cheek. “Some of us are just
more expendable than others. Everything else is irrelevent!” she
started to walk away with bottomless pit in her stomach. And from
behind her, his hand clamped firmly onto her shoulder. He pulled
close to her and whisper in her ear. And that’s when she heard
something she never thought she’d hear again. It was a voice Alex
had buried within himself so many years ago.

“Irrelevent, huh? I guess that means Katherine was also, right?”

The words hit Cynthia like a phaser blast. She almost stumbled but
managed to keep her composure. She slowly turned around and saw
that Alex’s eyes were glassing over. It has fatal news.

“What… about Lt. Brooks? She’s suppose to be with you!”

She’s dead, Admiral. Your mystery assailents killed her. They
tortured her for information and then they killed her.”

The Admiral turned away and fought back the rush of tears.
“Kathy…”

Alex gave no sympathy. “I’m not letting this happen anyone else,
Admiral. I’m gonna do whatever takes to protect my people. And that
means from ANY threaten coming our way!”

She turned to face him and saw it in his face. A hint of the
darkness he had denied for so long. Unfortunately, her plan was
proceding according to schedule. Now, she needed to put on the
final touches.

“Katherine knew the risks of this assignment, and you should’ve
also. So do not threaten me, Garrett! I own you!”

“Like hell you do! As of this moment, our little arrangment is
done!”

“With a single word, I can have you and your little ship blown out
of the sky!”

Alex laughed out loud. “You can try! But we both know it’s a
longshot.”

He reached into his sachel and tossed her a message pad. “Here’s
all the data we logged in this mission.” As he started to walk
away, another thought came to him. He turned and stared at her for
a minute. “Oh, there’s one other thing I still don’t understand. A
good man was killed delivering that information to me. Before he
died, he scribbled a coded message to me. He used an ancient Vulcan
script to spell out ‘Talmari’ which translates as ‘Dominion’ in
Terran languages. Any comments?”

“I don’t know what…” the Admiral tried to interrupt.

“That’s what I thought.” he stared her with a gaze of
disappointment. “I don’t know how you ever talked us into this.
From this point on, this little unit is finished. We follow our own
agenda…” he tapped his combadge and a transporter beam commenced.
“…and may The Prophets have mercy on anymone who tries to cross
us again.”

And in an instant, he was gone. There was nothing left but a strong
breeze which helped to cover up his footprints in the sand.

She tapped her commbadge. “Lt. Hamil?”

“…go ahead, Admiral” a voice called back.

“What’s the Helix’s position?”

There was a slight pause. “It’s…gone, ma’am. It was there a
minute ago, they must’ve cloak when we weren’t paying attention.”

“That’s o.k. Keep me posted.” Cynthia Porter sighed. She knew this
day would come. She just hoped it was further down the line, when
she had enough information to explain everything to him. She knew
the mission had been compromised when she grew too attached to
Alex. And that was the most unfortunate. Because he was one of her
elite. Whether they knew it or not, they were going to still play a
pivotal role in the tipping balance of control in the Alpha
Quadrant.

The Founders were coming, and the Federation was goin to need every
resource to stop his onslaught…

Slowly, large rocks and bolders behind the her began to twist and
contort. And from the boulder rose figures with no features. Their
skin resembled clay and their stern posture commanded respect.
Cynthia watched the morphing shadows rise from behind her, and soon
she was in the company of seven other beings.

She sobbed. “I assume you heard? Those son-of-a-bitches killed my
Kathy.” She turned to face them. “They wanted to send a message to
us, that their coming and they did it by killing my…best friend.
And now Alex knows more than he’s suppose to. I think this is the
hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Her companions offered no facial
expression, but she could tell they felt sympathy for her.

“You had no choice, Solid.” one of the shapeshifters said. “It
would only be a matter of time before the Dominion would have
hunted them down before they were ready. This will only delay the
final battle for a short while longer.”

Another stepped forward. “This is a pivotal time. If we are to have
any chance of stopping the prophetic onslaught, we will need solids
like Garrett to be our footsoldiers. Cain has joined with my
people. That means they he has unlimited resources to pull from.
Once he gains his foothole on the quadrant, he will turn on my
people, -destroy them. Along with every living thing in the galaxy.
It’s his destiny.”

“I know.” she began to walk away from them. “It still doesn’t hurt
any less.”

One figure walked to her side. “What will you do now.”

“The only thing I can do…” she looked downward. “I’m going after
him. He’ll wait for the war to start. And when both sides are
depleated, he’ll step in and assume control. If my hunch is
correct, Alex won’t let pride pull him from a good fight.”

With a whisper, the shadows behind her were gone. And all that was
left was the Admiral and the gasping wind. She looked up into the
night sky and stared at M’harian-4’s hazy silhouette like she use
to stare at the moon on Earth. “I’m sorry, Alex.” she whispered
with genuine sincerity. “But it’s not time for you to know the
truth…”

THE END

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