SEASON 2: EPISODE 06
A DREADFUL OPERATION: Part Five
In the cargo bay of the freighter Colonel Lazenie was giving a hurried briefing to his troops.
“Change of plans. We are hitting a drydock facility instead. No where near as hard as the main facility but we still need to be careful. It should have half a dozen guards and a dozen personnel to run it from the command centre. There should be two guards at the docking port and the rest should be in the command centre. We’ll split into two groups, I’ll take a group of eight and go and take the command centre, the rest are to stay at the docking port and guard the ship. Captain Daley, organise a squad of six to accompany Pratt and me. Page, you have command of the rest of the group. I want the people going with me to arm themselves with the TR-116. Clear?”
There was a chorus of affirmatives and the group quickly split and Captain Daley grabbed her squad and they all got their weapons. The TR-116 was an unusual weapon as it was not an energy weapon. It was a weapon that relied on a chemical explosion to accelerate a piece of metal to a point where it could penetrate objects. It was a fairly primitive weapon compared to a rhaser rifle but that was the point. It was designed to be used in situations were energy weapons were useless. The Klingons had shown a tendency in their recent conflict with the Federation to use energy dampeners to negate technologically advanced weapons as phasers and then attack with their bladed weapons, which was an arena that the Klingons excelled at. This weapon would not be affected by energy dampeners and give the user the ability to kill at range. In recent battles with the Borg the weapon had also shown promise as an anti-Borg weapon as the Borg shields did not stop solid matter, meaning they could not modulate their shields to stop the metal slugs from damaging them.
The downside to this weapon was that it had only one use: to kill. The weapon could wound, but it was designed to kill beings. It had no stun setting and it could not vapourise its targets. Its lack of adaptability was probably what stopped Starfleet from making this weapon a major part of its arsenal. Of course the design was still around and SOC had found a use for it.
On most ships and stations as soon as an energy weapon was used internal sensors detecting this and notified people that weapons were in use. The TR-116 had the advantage of not setting off any alarms. When fired normal sensors did not register the event as that of weapons’ fire. This meant that SOC commandos didn’t have to worry about disabling sensors and they could still shoot hostiles without alerting everyone.
Lazenie checked his TR-116 was loaded with ammunition as Pratt, Captain Daley and her squad waited around him at the docking point.
“We have to be quick. Our bio-dampeners will only keep us off their sensors for a few minutes. Pratt will take point.” The colonel felt a slight shudder as the ship docked. “Open doors.”
The door started to open and was only half open when Pratt moved through with his TR-116 raised. Lazenie was right behind him. The two Cardassian guards who were already travelling down the docking tube looked surprised and did not stand a chance. Pratt quickly fired two rounds and both Cardassians fell. The TR-116 was a very quiet weapon, even quieter then the phaser. The designers had created it so that it made as little noise as possible. It made a ‘pfft’ noise but that was it.
They moved out of the tube into a wider room which was clear. Pratt immediately started towards the command centre at a jog. It was a fairly short trip from the docking ports to the command centre. Cardassian berths did not have much in the way of facilities for people to use. They approached the door of the command centre and Pratt slowed to a cautious walk. Lazenie turned to the Marines behind him. He pointed to the back two and signalled them to stay and watch the hallway. Then he signalled two to go left and two to go right when they entered the room. He tapped Pratt on the shoulder and signalled to him that they would go straight in. He made sure everyone knew that if it moved shoot it.
The Cardassian in charge of Drydock Seven had only just finished talking to an officer at the main facility. He had been surprised when a Karemma freighter had approached and requested to dock. He did not have any ships scheduled to dock to his berth today, but could not stop it since it was an automated process. He had hailed the main station to ask what was going on.
He had got a hold of the officer who instructed the freighter to do so, a Glinn Emar. At first he was not happy with this unexpected event and was even less happy when he heard that proper procedure was not been followed. The other officer had been convincing with his reasoning for not following protocol.
He would have liked to tell the Glinn off for not following protocol and turn the freighter away and the other officer had sensed that. But the threat of having the accursed Vorta then come to him and complain to him about been behind schedule because he turned the freighter away was more then enough incentive for him to ignore this transgression by the other officer. But he warned the other officer to not let it happen again.
The other officer had seemed anything but scared by his grandstanding. Glinn Emar had in fact closed down the transmission before he got to berate Emar more. The officer was still fuming and did not even hear the doors to the command centre opening. He did hear several quick short sounds he could not identify; it was almost like something flying through the air quickly. Before he could ask anyone if they heard what he heard he felt a small but sharp pain in his back and then almost immediately in his chest followed by a popping sound. He brought up a hand to his chest and touched his uniform. His hand came away bloody. He tried to say something but found he had no air in his lungs. His legs suddenly gave way and he collapsed. As she fell his head turned to the back of the room and with light rapidly fading he could swear he saw half a dozen Starfleet officers standing there with some very unusual looking and sounding rifles. As the Cardassian passed away he was surprised at just how quiet it was.
Daley lowered her TR-116. It was like shooting ducks in a barrel. The Cardassians did not notice them enter and the six Marines and SOC Commandos had quickly killed everyone in the room. These weapons were so quiet that none of the Cardassians responded when they opened fire. In the end fourteen Cardassians lay dead or dying on the ground.
“Secure the room,” ordered Lazenie.
The Marines moved through the room checking the bodies of the Cardassians. Most were dead, but several were wounded.
“Three are still alive,” reported Daley to Lazenie. “Barely.”
“We’re not taking prisoners today. Patch them up and then secure them. We’ll leave them here for the Cardassians to take care of after we’re gone…if they survive that long.”
She ordered the Marines in the room to take care of the Cardassians the best they could, they all had minimal medic training, but as the saying went, “Doctors stop you from dying. Medics make you feel more comfortable as you die”. Meanwhile Pratt had moved to one of the console and was rapidly collecting information.
“Looks like we got the entire crew of this dock,” he said. “The ship in the dock is labelled a dreadnought. It has a crew of ten Jem’Hadar and three Vorta. Plus another one hundred and thirty-seven beings just labelled as workers.”
“Can you hack into the system in the main complex?” asked the colonel.
“No. Not from here.”
The colonel sighed. “What about data on the dreadnought? The construction schedule would be just about as good as full detailed schematics.”
“I can’t find them!”
The colonel stared at Pratt. “What do you mean you can’t find them?”
“It is not in the system.”
The colonel moved to Pratt’s side. “That’s impossible, the only reason for there not to be one is if…” It dawned on the colonel. “The ship must be completed! Scan the vessel.”
Pratt scanned the dreadnought and the colonel analysed the data.
“Large sections of the interior do not appear to be finished. I can spot several places for weapons that are empty,” he said.
“Maybe it’s just ready for an engine test,” commented Daley. It was common practice for new vessels to have the bulk of their exterior completed so that it was space worthy and for the engines to be installed before taking out of the yards for tests. The tests were to see if the warp core was correctly configured and to test the space frame at the structurally demanding faster then light speeds.
The colonel accepted the point. “That might be true. That means she’ll be ripe for the taking.”
“You want to steal the ship now?” asked Daley in disbelief.
“Why not?” the colonel asked.
“It’s huge! I think the Dominion might miss it if you take it.”
“They have no warships in the system and like you said this ship is huge and it should be able to crash its way through the defensive platforms.”
“Who’ll fly it?”
“The crew of the freighter are familiar with Dominion vessels, I’m sure they will jump at the opportunity to crew that beast. We’ll learn a lot more if we take one of the vessels back for Intelligence and R&D to fiddle around with.”
Daley shook her head. It was an insane idea to try and steal a top secret Dominion warship from deep in Dominion territory. No one would be stupid enough to try, but the colonel was making sense…which frightened her.
“Do you have a plan?” she asked.
The Colonel gave her a wry smile. “I think I can come up with something.”
Colonel Lazenie’s antennae twitched as he held a hastily convened planning session in the command centre of the drydock. The Colonel, the four other SOC Commandos, the captain of the freighter, Wedge, Wing Commander Benton and Captain Daley all stood over the operations table, which as in most Cardassian stations was located at the centre of the room.
“The problem won’t be taking the ship,” explained Lieutenant Page. The young man was a recent addition of SOC who was poached from Starfleet’s Rapid Response Teams just two months ago. “We have enough personnel to subdue any opposition on the vessel, but getting this thing out of here will be a problem.”
“This thing is around five kilometres long, I don’t see how it could be a problem,” said Wing Commander Benton.
“Sorry, I meant getting it back to Federation territory would be a problem. A Dominion strike fleet is located a day away and if alerted they could make our exit very difficult,” clarified Page.
“Any suggestions?” asked Lazenie.
Wedge raised his hand. “The key is the main complex. Jamming any communication is only good until we warp out of here, then they can call for help. If we disable the main station it should give us enough of a head start over any Dominion pursuit.”
“We’ll need to take down the freighters as well,” pointed out Benton.
“Probably better if we destroy them,” said Pratt. “Waste some war material.”
“The freighters are pretty spread out, there is a risk that one might get to warp before we can take it down,” commented Benton.
“A warp core breach,” said Captain Daley.
Everyone looked at the Marine captain following her unusual statement.
“Have you seen what happens when they suspect a warp core breach when a vessel is in dock?” she asked.
“They evacuate the dock and release the ship from its moorings. Another vessel, most likely a tug ship will then tractor the vessel away from dock,” said the captain of the freighter. “That would give us a believable reason for the ship leaving the dock.”
“Yes, but they move all ships away from the problem,” said Daley. Lazenie was not sure where she was going with this line of thought. “Warp core breaches are dangerous because they cause rather large explosions. The main complex will raise its shields to protect it, but not before moving the freighters into the shield envelop since that is the best way to protect them.”
Lazenie now saw where Daley was going. “Solving our problem of having the other ships spread out. It will also get our fighters close to the station to strike it hard and fast.”
Lazenie brought up a map of the shipyards. “Okay, this is what we’re going to do…”
Captain Rachel Daley and nine other Marines waited outside the entrance to the dreadnought’s main engineering. Two Vorta and seven Jem’Hadar lay beyond and the team had to take down all the hostiles if they wanted to gain control of this important area of the ship. They were waiting for the strike force hitting the bridge to capture that point before continuing. With the bridge under their control they would be able to make sure the engineering crew could not signal for help.
“Bridge secure,” said Colonel Lazenie from the bridge.
This was all the signal the Marine’s needed. They were arrayed in two teams of five to the right and left of the door. Daley was at the door control on the left and would open the door. She held up a hand to the Marine to her right and started to count down. When she got to zero she opened the door and the Marine to her right quickly threw two grenades into the room before ducking back out of the door. She could already hear the Jem’Hadar reacting to the move, but knew it would be too late.
The grenades that they were using were nicknamed ‘drum busters’. This was because they were of a sonic nature and were designed to burst the eardrums of almost any known species. This sonic assault would deal a significant amount of pain to anyone without shielded eardrums; it would disorientate the beings and confuse them. It was not lethal, though Ferengi had a significantly higher chance of dying, and had the added bonus of not causing any damage to the surrounding environment. The Marines had taken precautions to protect their ears, but she could still hear the tell-tale whine as the grenades released their arsenal.
Daley signalled for the Marines to move in. In pairs the Marines entered the room with their weapons raised. Rachel went in first with the Marine who had lobbed the grenades into the room. She quickly surveyed the room to pinpoint the beings in there. It was pleasing to see that no one was still standing. She spotted two Jem’Hadar were very close to the grenades when they released their payload. They were bleeding from their ears and both were sprawled on the ground holding their heads. Two further away were struggling to try and get to their feet. She could hear low moaning and since she had never heard a Jem’Hadar moan she guessed it was one of the Vorta.
The two Jem’Hadar that were the greatest distant from the grenades were making good progress. They had blood streaming from their ears but they had got to their feet and were already reaching for their weapons. Daley and the other Marine quickly approached these Jem’Hadar so to get a better field of fire.
“KEEP THOSE HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR WEAPONS!” she shouted. She did not know why she bothered, both Jem’Hadar either were incapable of hearing her or just ignored her totally.
The Marine next to her fired several blasts from his phaser rifle, killing one of the Jem’Hadar. Daley then fired her assault rifle and caught the Jem’Hadar in the mid-section. The Jem’Hadar faltered but did not fall. She continued to close the distance and fired again. She was much closer this time and could see the energy shards rip into the Jem’Hadar’s body causing massive internal injures, this time the Jem’Hadar fell and did not move. The other Marines had entered the room and she heard more phaser fire as they killed the Jem’Hadar. The Jem’Hadar were not the type to just give in and it was always safer to kill them instead of trying to take them prisoner.
“Secure the Vorta,” she ordered. Unlike the Jem’Hadar the Vorta were in many cases more then willing to surrender and play prisoner. They could also be useful for interrogation by Intelligence, so it would be prudent to try and keep them alive.
“Someone check that warp core and see if it is installed and ready to roll!”