SEASON 3: EPISODE 04
TO DELIGHT IN THE INHUMAN WORD: Part Sixteen
Thopok and Mon’kor had crawled and climbed their way through the ship faster than anyone before them. They had travelled only over four hundred metres but most of it had been on their knees through the tight confines of the Jefferies tubes. Even Mon’kor who had a leg injury had not slowed down their progress.
Before they had made the journey Mon’kor had helped bandage Thopok’s knife and disruptor wounds from his fight with the Jem’Hadar. They had also checked on the two other members of their group. The marine was dead, his neck broken. G’Ethza has also been killed. It appeared the Jem’Hadar had simply ripped the breathing tubes from her mask and she had suffered a slow agonising death from suffocation. It was no way for a being to die. Thopok had actually come to not mind the small alien. G’Ethza was not a warrior, that much was undeniable, but she was brave and had courage. She showed it by the fact she followed them through the ship and had beamed over to help them set up the explosives. She had deserved a better death than the one she had received.
Unfortunately there was little in the way of weapons either. The Jem’Hadar had taken all but one of the phasers and had even removed the dead Jem’Hadar’s disruptor and other equipment. Thopok had seen the marines store weapons in some sort of transporter buffer but he had no idea how to access the dead marine’s buffer. They had also tried to use the marine’s communicator to contact the other marines but it had either been damaged or the explosion and damage was somehow interfering with their ability to communicate. They could have gone to the shuttlebay to see if the marines were still there but Thopok knew they would probably not let them help them any more after the captain was captured under their guard. If Thopok and Mon’kor wanted to get even with the Jem’Hadar they would have to go it alone.
They finally came to their location.
“Do you know where we are?” asked Mon’kor.
“This should be the entrance to the lounge off the bridge,” said Thopok.
Crawling through the belly of an unfamiliar alien ship was an easy way to get lost. However, Thopok had enough of a grasp on Federation Standard that he was able to read signs and markers as to their location.
“We aren’t assaulting the bridge directly?”
“The Jefferies tubes do not access the bridge directly. We have to come through one of the side rooms,” explained Thopok. “Plus having to fight out of such a small opening would make us too easy a target.”
Thopok opened the hatch to the lounge and was shocked when he spotted several Starfleet officers. One was on the floor and appeared injured the two others were seated at one of the tables. He was about to call out when he spotted a large boot of a Jem’Hadar. Thopok froze. Fortunately a table was over the hatch which masked his presence and its opening from the Jem’Hadar.
Thopok had not expected to find the room occupied by anyone, least of all a Jem’Hadar. That presented a problem. Thopok had a Federation phaser, however, the use of the weapons would alert the bridge of the presence and their attack would be over before it began.
Thopok held up his hand behind him to signal Mon’kor to keep quiet. To his surprise Mon’kor was loud enough to get the attention of one of the Starfleet officers. Facing them was the ship’s first officer, Commander Core, who Thopok recognised despite the nasty facial bruising she was sporting. She was facing in their direction; the other person at the table had their back to the Klingons. A look of surprise came to Core’s face as she spotted Thopok’s head poking out of the hatch. She quickly masked it.
Thopok gestured to Core that he needed her to distract the Jem’Hadar. Core was trying hard out to be seen to be looking at him and did not seem to get the meaning of his signals. Thopok tried to make it more obvious until Core gave him a slight nod.
Core suddenly started to cough loudly and violently.
“Are you okay?” asked the Starfleet officer with his back to Thopok.
“I just need a glass of water,” Core replied and stood.
“Do not move,” called the Jem’Hadar.
Thopok had no idea what Core’s plan was but he was prepared to leap into action.
“I just want a drink of water.”
“Sit,” ordered the Jem’Hadar.
“Look, I just need some water. You can get it for me if you don’t trust me not to replicate myself a deadly salad or something.”
“If you sit I will get you your water.”
Core gestured to the other Starfleet officer to move to her old seat, while she moved so to be seated side on to Thopok. The other Starfleet officer quickly spotted them but a quick signal from Core saw the officer clam up and return to a neutral look.
Thopok watched as the Jem’Hadar made his way to the replicator to get the water, Thopok was about to move into the room but Core signalled for him to stay put. Whatever Core’s plan was his part in it was still to come.
When the Jem’Hadar turned back to the Starfleet officers he paused. “If you are trying to irritate me with some sort of game it will not work,” said the Jem’Hadar commenting on the officers’ seat switch.
“We’ll, see,” said Core.
The Jem’Hadar made his way back to the table and around to the position behind the chair the male Starfleet officer had been sitting. Thopok realised that the chair switching was to manoeuvre the Jem’Hadar so his back would be to Thopok. Thopok silently started to pull himself out from the hatch.
The Jem’Hadar put the glass down on the table. The Jem’Hadar was about to move away when Core picked up the glass and threw the water into the Jem’Hadar’s face. She slammed the glass down on the edge of the table and the sound of breaking glass filled the room. Core got to her feet and lashed out with the jagged edges of her broken glass. It sliced the Jem’Hadar’s face as he stumbled back.
The Jem’Hadar was quick to react. He grabbed Core’s attacking hand and pulled her towards him. With his free hand she delivered a powerful blow to Core’s ribs just under the arm he held. Core yelped and released the glass in her hand. The Jem’Hadar delivered another blow and Core was sent stumbling backwards.
Thopok used the distraction to crawl out of the tube and from under the table and charged the Jem’Hadar. The Jem’Hadar heard the sounds of his approach and turned to face him, but it was too late. Thopok drove his d’k tahg into the Jem’Hadar’s neck and ripped it out, allowing the Jem’Hadar to fall limply to the ground.
Thopok looked to Core who was also on the ground. The other Starfleet officer, a lieutenant, was rushing to her aid. He could see a severe chest wound where the Jem’Hadar had driven the glass he had disarmed from her into Core’s chest.
“There’s a medkit over there,” pointed out the lieutenant.
Thopok signalled to Mon’kor who had extracted himself from the Jefferies tube to retrieve the medkit for the lieutenant.
The lieutenant opened up the kit and rifled through the contents. The lieutenant was also injured, one of his arms with in a sling probably broken.
“Do you need assistance?” asked Thopok.
The lieutenant looked up and nodded. “Help me get this bandage on her wound to stop the bleeding.”
The two of them quickly managed to stem the flow of blood. Once that was done the lieutenant scanned Core with a medical tricorder he pulled out of the medkit.
“It’s a deep wound. Some bone damage, crap he broke one of her rips and it’s punctured a lung. She needs to get to sickbay,” said the lieutenant, his voice full of concern. “I can keep her stable but she needs a proper doctor.”
“Travel is severely restricted,” said Thopok. “We need to take the bridge if you want to get her to sickbay in a hurry. How many are Jem’Hadar are there on the bridge?”
“We’ve been in here most of the time. But they would need three or four to run the ship from the bridge.”
“Where would they be?” asked Thopok.
“One at flight control, tactical, Ops and maybe a fourth running the show, so they would be in the captain’s chair,” said the lieutenant.
Thopok drank in the information as a plan started to form in his mind. There was no signs from the bridge that their scuffle had been noticed so the element of surprise remained intact. Thopok picked up the Jem’Hadar pistol from the dead Jem’Hadar. He had hoped that the Jem’Hadar also carried a rifle but he did not. He handed the pistol to Mon’kor.
“Will you be fine with the commander and the disabled crewmember?” Thopok asked.
“For a while. Like I said she needs a doctor...they both need a doctor,” repeated the lieutenant also including the unconscious male officer also on the floor.
Thopok checked the charge of his phaser. “We will endeavour to secure the bridge quickly or die trying.” Thopok handed his phaser to the lieutenant. “If we fail it still might be possible for you to complete the mission. Or at least grant you and your comrades a quick death.”
A squeamish look came to the lieutenant’s face. Thopok was not surprised. Most of the species of the Federation did not accept death as readily as Klingons did.
“You’re putting a lot of trust in me,” said the lieutenant. “What’s your name?”
“Sol Misi,” said Misi.
“I know you will do your best or die trying,” stated Thopok.
“Yes, well...let’s hope that there is less dying by us and more by the Jem’Hadar.”
Thopok gave Misi a toothy smile. “That is something we can agree on.”
Thopok and Mon’kor made their way to the door to the bridge.
“We only have one disruptor,” pointed out Mon’kor. “Maybe you should not have given the Starfleet officer your weapon.”
“We do not need it,” stated Thopok. “There are at least four enemies in that room, spread out. We won’t be able to kill them all before they can respond. The doorway will act as cover but it is also a point where the Jem’Hadar can pin as behind. I will charge in and engage them in hand to hand; it will confuse them and give them two distinct targets. You will provide covering fire from the doorway. Together we should be able to defeat. Be careful not to cause too much damage to the bridge stations, we might require them to operate the ship.”
Mon’kor did not seem too convinced by Thopok’s plan but he nodded anyway. Mon’kor pulled out his d’k tahg and handed it to Thopok. “Today is a good day to die, brother.”
Thopok was momentarily taken back by Mon’kor’s statement and gesture. He took hold of the warrior’s dagger. “For the Jem’Hadar it is.”
Thopok stood by the door and prepared to open it. He looked to Mon’kor to make sure he was prepared. Mon’kor nodded back he was ready. Thopok pressed the door control.
“FOR THE EMPIRE!” Thopok yelled as he stormed the bridge.
Veeyel’tar ch’Quait or as most people called him, Yel’tar, reached up and inputted the code to open the hatch of the Jefferies tube. It opened up and he stared into an open space. One object dominated his view, the large pulsing form of a warp core. He slowly edged forward and looked out into engineering two. He was glad that the design of the room was so open. There were two levels in engineering, though the second level was only around the warp core. Yel’tar could see most of the engineering from his vantage point.
Yel’tar’s head still hurt a bit but his head had cleared up since his altercation with the Jem’Hadar in the holodeck. He had a slight skull fracture that the squad medic had patched up and he still had a slight headache but apart from that he was fine and ready for duty.
Yel’tar looked into the engineering room and was surprised when he saw the occupants, they were Nausicaans. He had expected Jem’Hadar. Given that the Nausicaans had not joined the Dominion he guessed that they were mercenaries. Yel’tar did not allow that fact to lower his guard, they might not be genetically engineered but Nausicaan mercenaries could be as tough as anyone.
Yel’tar counted four, three on the lower level and one on the second level near the warp core. Their scan of the room had revealed that there were six beings in engineering, which meant two he could not see. He watched the one of the second level closely and hoped he would not turn around. Unfortunately his luck was not that good. The Nausicaan turned and its eyes drift up to his position. Yel’tar slunk back into the tube and hoped the Nausicaan would not bother to investigate.
Again his luck was not good. He heard the Nausicaan noisy climb the ladder to the hatchway. Soon a cautious head popped up. It looked down the tube and directly at Yel’tar and through him as if he was not there. That was because as far as the Nausicaan was concerned Yel’tar was not there.
Yel’tar was wearing an isolation suit that the marines had appropriated from one of the ship’s anthropology labs. These suits were designed for the covert study of pre-warp civilisations and when worn made the wearer completely invisible allowing them to study the civilisation without the presence of “aliens” been noticed. That was due to the suit been equipped with a chameleon device; it made him visible to the naked eye.
The Nausicaan satisfied no one was there attempted to close the hatch. However, Yel’tar had damaged it so it could not be shut. The Nausicaan tried again but the hatch remained stubbornly open. The Nausicaan made a disparaging comment about Federation technology and disappeared down the ladder.
Yel’tar crawled back to the opening. He watched the Nausicaan that had inspected his tube and waited for him to be in a suitable spot where the Nausicaan would not be in good view of any of the other Nausicaans and then shot him. Yel’tar was carrying a Type 3S sniper rifle. It was next to soundless and its beam was, like the suit, invisible. The Nausicaan suddenly collapsed unconscious.
Yel’tar waited for any reaction from the other Nausicaans but none came.
“One down, rear upper walkway,” Yel’tar reported.
“Copy,” replied Tiki.
“I have two targets unsighted from my position.”
“Understood,” replied Tiki. “Continue with the plan.”
At one of the lower Jefferies tubes Tiki and Spearitt entered the room. They appeared as a slightly fuzzy red aura surrounding them due to the isolation suit. The face plate of Yel’tar’s helmet was specially designed to show any other active isolation suit, allowing cloaked groups to work together.
While it was a type of cloaking device it operated by projecting an image over the suit to mimic invisibility. The wearer was not invisible to sensors, just the naked eye. It apparently did not fall under the category of cloaking devices as set out by the Treaty of Algeron, which specifically banned the Federation from developing or using cloaking devices.
Yel’tar kept an eye on the hostiles he could see as Tiki and Spearitt moved into position unnoticed.
“Two by the main console. One at the lower warp core console, front.”
“Other two are in side section to your left.”
That explained why he could not see them. They were in a side section that was just about underneath him.
“Take the two at the main console,” ordered Tiki. “We’ll take the rest. We’ll go when you’ve taken the first one out.”
Yel’tar relaxed and got a fix on the two Nausicaans. Both had their backs to him. He targeted the back of the taller one. Comfortable with the shot he fired. The Nausicaan stumbled forward, drawing the attention of the other. The Nausicaan looked confused at his collapsing comrade but before the other Nausicaan could say anything Yel’tar fired a second shot that incapacitated the other Nausicaan.
There was a whine of phasers below him as Tiki and Spearitt opened fire. Yel’tar quickly tracked back to the third Nausicaan he had seen but found the Nausicaan already falling to the ground. The phaser fire suddenly stopped. It all took under thirty seconds.
“Clear,” reported Tiki.
Yel’tar pulled himself out of the Jefferies tube and climbed down. He did a quick check of the Nausicaan to make sure he was unconscious before heading to the lower level.
Tiki was visible in his red suit; Yel’tar could tell the difference due the fact Tiki no longer had the spectral aura surrounding him. Yel’tar did the same and pulled off his helmet.
“That was easy,” he said. “Same plan for the next engineering?”
“No. You two are to remain here and protect Dyson.”
“You’re going to take the last one by yourself?” asked Spearitt.
“Yes,” confirmed Tiki.
“Is that wise, sir?” asked Spearitt.
“I can’t leave Lieutenant Dyson in here without protection. Plus we have three Nausicaans that need to be secured,” said Tiki gesturing to the stunned Nausicaans.
Yel’tar and Spearitt exchanged looks. They knew that arguing with the colonel would get them nowhere and would just waste time.
“You better hurry. We don’t know how long before they notice that we’ve take this room,” said Spearitt.
“Don’t worry about that. I’m taking the express route.” Tiki pointed a transporter pad. “These pads only beam between the two engineering rooms. I’ll use it to get into the heart of the other engineering.”
“I think they’ll notice if you beam in, even with your suit on,” pointed out Yel’tar.
Tiki gave them a wide, playful grin. “That’s why I’m not going alone.”
Masters hit the floor hard, winding him. He gasped for breath as his body ached. He crawled to his knees but a foot into his gut sent him back to the floor. He heard a low laugh and looked up at his tormentor.
“Didn’t think Vorta were much for fighting,” he gasped.
“Normally, no. However, I’ve had some extra training my predecessors did not have. It’s called rhutala. It is a form of combat popular in several regions of the Dominion and used by some Vorta. I must say I am a novice still compared to the true practitioners of the form,” she admitted. “However, I believe my proficiency is enough to guarantee me victory in personal combat with you.”
“So I guess you’re going to get your revenge,” forced out Masters.
Masters got to one knee and felt a sharp pain in his side. He guessed that at the least he had bruised ribs and at worst some were broken. The fight with Jasis had been decidedly one sided. Masters was larger and stronger but Jasis was faster. She used her speed to avoid his attacks and over used his own movements and attacks against him. He had severely underestimated her skills. At first she let him get a few weak hits in to make him gain confidence and then turned that against him.
“It does look promising. I must say I never expected to enjoy this so much,” admitted Jasis joyfully.
“This doesn’t seem very Vorta like, hunting me down like this. What do the Founders think?” Masters asked trying to distract her so that he could get his breath back.
“What do you mean?”
“They think there is something unstable about me that makes me unsuitable for service. As such they tried to kill me as they activated another replacement.”
“There are two of you?” Masters lamented.
“Don’t worry, she won’t come after you. She is a normal clone. I’ve come to embrace my defections because it has allowed me to get to this point. It allows me to enjoy this.”
“I think you have a roo loose in your top paddock.” Jasis gave him a confused look. “It means I think you’re mental,” cleared up Masters.
Jasis pulled out a large and dangerous looking knife. “Recognise this? I recreated it from memory and data from the mission. I thought it was suitable that the weapon you used to kill me would end your life.”
Masters looked at the blade. It was a replica of the weapon he had used to kill Jasis. Masters wanted to fight back but he did not feel that he had the strength. Jasis loomed over Masters prepared himself for death.
Jasis smiled sadistically at Masters. “Goodbye, Jonathan Masters.”