SEASON 3: EPISODE 04
TO DELIGHT IN THE INHUMAN WORD: Part Seventeen
“FOR THE EMPIRE!” bellowed Thopok as he charged onto the bridge.
Mon’kor roared his support as he stepped around the edge of the door. Never in his life had he felt like this. He had fought other Klingons in personal combat and seen action on starships but this was different. He had never had any delusions of his place in the Empire. He was close to the bottom and as such not much was ever expected of him, apart from dying for the Empire. Mon’kor had never had a leader he followed because he respected them or saw greatness about them. He followed others because he knew his place and what he had to do.
In his service Mon’kor had never exceeded in his tasks. He just did the minimum of what was needed. That was how things were, no one expected him to do more because they did not care. They did not care because he did not matter. When Thopok had joined the MalbeB he was the first to expect more from them. That did not go down well with the others. It was not long before it was discovered by someone why an officer like Thopok was on a ship like the MalbeB and Mon’kor had used the information to put Thopok in his place. They were on an unimportant ship crewed by barely competent warriors, which was what they were, what they always would be. Mon’kor had made sure Thopok knew that his place was with them, if not below them. Mon’kor had been wrong about that.
Thopok was better than them. His place was not on the MalbeB, it was in places like this, leading warriors into glorious battles not wasting time until he died. Mon’kor felt pride in following after Thopok. Thopok was a true warrior, a person Mon’kor would like to be.
When did I notice that? He wondered. Maybe I always have and that’s why I hated him so much. I knew he was above us but dragged him to our level anyway out of jealousy, spite and because I am a fool.
Thopok had made his way to the Jem’Hadar at the back of the bridge manning what was probably the tactical station. Mon’kor went to target the Jem’Hadar in the command chair but saw that he was already responding, swinging the chair so its back was pointed towards him as the Jem’Hadar dived out of it. Mon’kor judged that a shot at this Jem’Hadar would likely miss so he quickly changed target.
He adjusted his aim to the two Jem’Hadar at the fore of the bridge. Both had turned to at the sound of Thopok’s warrior call but only one made an attempt to get out of his chair, Mon’kor guessed it was not the flight controller. He fired a trio of blasts from the pistol. The first struck the Jem’Hadar in the mid-section; the second went off to the Jem’Hadar’s right while the third hit the Jem’Hadar high in the chest.
As that Jem’Hadar fell he reoriented his aim to the one he suspected was at flight control. That Jem’Hadar remained at his post but he could see that the Jem’Hadar was pulling out his pistol. Mon’kor quickly fired several blasts. The first two missed, with one striking the back of the chair. His third hit the Jem’Hadar squarely in the side of the head and it immediately collapsed onto the console.
Mon’kor switched his aim again and glimpsed at Thopok. He saw a flurry of movement and the glint of blades as Thopok was encompassed in a bloody haze. Mon’kor had no doubt that the Jem’Hadar was dead.
Mon’kor saw a flash out of the corner of his eye. Mon’kor rolled away, back behind the door’s edge. He felt the heat of a disruptor blast as it nearly grazed his skin and saw the blinding flash as it erupted against the hull opposite him. Two more eruptions followed.
Fear flooded Mon’kor’s being. The Jem’Hadar had come within centimetres of killing him. He wanted to just put his hand around the door edge and fire blindly but knew he was just as likely to hit Thopok as he was the Jem’Hadar. Mon’kor had to step out and aim if he wanted to hit the Jem’Hadar. He also knew that if he paused too long it would give the Jem’Hadar time to turn to Thopok and kill him. The longer he waited the worse it would be. The Jem’Hadar knew where he had to attack from, but Mon’kor would not know where the Jem’Hadar was until he exposed himself. Mon’kor forced his fear aside and set his disruptor to kill. If he only got one shot at the Jem’Hadar before he died he would make sure it killed the servant of the Dominion. Mon’kor raised his disruptor and stepped out from around the cover of the door.
FOR THE EMPIRE! Echoed in Mon’kor’s mind as he steeled himself for the sweet embrace of death.
He was not prepared for the sight he saw. Mon’kor’s jaw dropped as he watched what could only be a heroic and suicidal action. As if he was some legendary hero of old, Thopok stepped onto the chair of the tactical station and threw himself over the station and at the remaining Jem’Hadar. Thopok’s arms were high above him, a d’k tahg in each hand and both coated in blood already. Thopok roared as he flew at the Jem’Hadar.
The Jem’Hadar seemed surprised by such an insane move. The Jem’Hadar swung its weapon at Thopok. As such a close range it would be next to impossible for the Jem’Hadar to miss. Mon’kor targeted the Jem’Hadar with his disruptor hoping to fire before the Jem’Hadar could. Unfortunately he was not quick enough. The Jem’Hadar let loose two shots at Thopok that struck the flying Klingon. However, physics were Thopok’s ally and his momentum continued him towards the Jem’Hadar. Mon’kor fired just as Thopok hit the Jem’Hadar. The impact of Thopok spun the Jem’Hadar and Mon’kor was not sure if he hit the Jem’Hadar or missed, he could not even be sure if he had hit Thopok instead.
That was a solid thump as Thopok slammed into the floor. Mon’kor saw no signs that Thopok even attempted to soften the impact or prepare to roll and get back to his feet. That was not a good sign. The Jem’Hadar stumbled for two steps; the impact of Thopok had not been enough to knock the solid warrior to the ground. The Jem’Hadar’s back was to Mon’kor and it started to turn back to face him.
Mon’kor readied to deal the killing blow targeting the Jem’Hadar with his pistol. As the Jem’Hadar turned Mon’kor hesitated as he saw the look on the Jem’Hadar’s face. The Jem’Hadar had an unfocused and distant look in his eyes, his face a mask of disbelief. Mon’kor then saw a d’k tahg in the Jem’Hadar’s side. The Jem’Hadar stumbled and Mon’kor spotted the second d’k tahg jutting out of where the Jem’Hadar’s neck joined with his shoulder. The Jem’Hadar coughed up blood as it completed his turn to face Mon’kor. As it did Mon’kor saw the smoking mess that was its chest. Mon’kor had hit the Jem’Hadar. With possibly three fatal wounds the Jem’Hadar dropped to its knees. It mumbled something before it fell face first onto the floor, dead.
Mon’kor lowered his disruptor. No one on the bridge was left standing and the smell of death wafted to Mon’kor’s nose. They had succeeded.
“Are they dead?” called out the Starfleet lieutenant.
Mon’kor did not turn to face him and instead simply nodded. He surveyed the sight before him. At the front of the bridge the two stunned Jem’Hadar did not move, one still seated at the flight control station. He looked to the one that had manned the tactical station; it was covered in blood as was the station from the Jem’Hadar’s multiple knife wounds. He could not tell which the fatal one was. The final Jem’Hadar lay dead in the centre of the bridge with Thopok lying just to the side. Mon’kor was about to lament the loss when he saw Thopok move.
Mon’kor rushed over to the warrior. He grabbed Thopok and turned him over.
“You live!” Mon’kor exclaimed.
“As I said...today is a good day to die for the Jem’Hadar,” Thopok said weakly.
“I have never seen...I am sorry for what I have said of you and the disrespect I have shown you,” apologised Mon’kor. “I sought to expose you as unworthy of being a warrior and all I exposed was the fact I am a fool. You are a true warrior of the Empire, worthy of Kahless himself.”
He grasped Thopok’s hand and squeezed tightly. Thopok returned the gesture but his grip was not as strong.
“It is easy to kill and die for the Empire. It is living for the Empire that can be difficult,” Thopok coughed and blood appeared on his lips. “I feel that my time may be coming to an end.”
“If you die you shall die with honour,” voiced Mon’kor. “And my respect. I was honoured to have fought beside you.”
Thopok smiled a bloody smile and at the moment Mon’kor felt that he and Thopok were truly brothers.
Suddenly the door that went to the ready room opened and several Starfleet Marines charged into the bridge, weapons raised.
“Mon’kor? Thopok?” asked one of the Marines. Mon’kor recognised him as one of the squad leaders but did not recall his name. “What the hell are you doing in here?”
“Looks like they’re taking the bridge back,” said another Marine. “Or that should be they’ve taken the bridge back.”
“Check the bodies,” ordered the squad leader.
“The two at the front are stunned,” offered Mon’kor.
The marine leader sent one of his marines to check. The marine leader then approached them.
“We thought you were both killed when the pylon explosives went off. Is the captain with you?”
Mon’kor shook his head. “He has been captured by the Jem’Hadar.”
“So the pylon explosion?”
“I believe the captain activated the explosives prior to his capture,” said Mon’kor. “The others in our group were killed. Thopok will join them if he does not get medical attention,” Mon’kor said.
“I don’t have a medic with me but I think I can help stabilise him for the moment.”
“We have three in the lounge,” called out a marine. “Two injured...sorry, three injured only one conscious.”
“We liberated them before he attacked the bridge. There is a fifth Jem’Hadar in there as well. He is dead.”
The Marine leader whistled as he went about treating Thopok’s injuries. “Five Jem’Hadar between you. Impressive.”
“It is six. Thopok killed the Jem’Hadar First when they captured Captain Masters.”
“That makes eight down. That’s half of the minimum number we know are on this ship. The rest are probably in engineering, which the colonel is in the process of reclaiming. We thought that the Vorta would be on the bridge.”
“We have not encountered a Vorta in this area, Lieutenant Lee,” said Thopok weakly.
The marine finished his work. “Best I can do. It will slow down the bleeding but you’ll need actual medical help, which is something we’re a bit short of. We have revived a doctor to help treat another injured crew member. It would probably be best if we beam Thopok to sickbay, hopefully the doctor can do more down there.”
“Better add Rosetta and Commander Core to that list.” The lieutenant from the lounge joined them on the bridge. “Rosetta took a close range phaser hit and hasn’t regained consciousness and Core is pretty badly injured, internal bleeding, lung punctured.”
“I’m sure the doctor will love his patient list quadrupling,” said Lee. “Do you need any medical help, Mon’kor?”
“I do not require immediate medical assistance,” stated Mon’kor.
Lieutenant Lee looked to the Starfleet lieutenant. “I think you’re the ranking officer, Lieutenant Misi. That makes you acting captain at this point. Plus you’re the only one who is qualified to even touch these consoles.”
“With engineering in enemy hands it’s going to be difficult to do much. I’m going to have to be careful not to attract their attention or they could lock out the entire system,” said Misi.
“Well, whatever you do, do it quickly before that other ship notices something is very wrong over here,” said Lee. “We don’t want to waste the victory Thopok and Mon’kor have won us here.”
“I have finished running the simulations,” reported one of Zafast’s men.
“What do they reveal?” Zafast asked.
The Nausicaan mercenary handed him the PADD. “Using force fields and the structural integrity field we have strengthened the pylon so that it will be able to withstand up to warp 4.5,” he explained. “However, due to the damage to the power distribution system we can only safely maintain a warp field up to warp 3.1.”
“We can’t go any faster than warp 3?” asked Zafast displeased.
“Not with the damage, it would likely overload the power distribution system once again. Any more damage to the system would also threaten the power to the structural reinforcements holding the pylon to the ship.”
“Can the power distribution system be repaired?” Zafast asked.
The Nausicaan brought up the section of the ship on the Master system display screen.
“This is the main plasma conduit to the nacelle,” said the Nausicaan. “As you can see it is separated here, where the hull has been ruptured. The nacelle is drawing power from secondary conduits, here and here. They are also supplying most of the power to the fields holding the pylon together. Increasing power to the nacelle will weaken the fields.”
“Making it a trade-off between speed and hull integrity,” realised Zafast.
The Nausicaan nodded. “Repairing the main conduit would take...a day at least. It would probably be better to repair these other damaged conduits, while smaller they would allow for a possible increase in warp factor by two.”
“Contact the bridge and inform them of what we need to do. You will take two others with you to repair. Do not work alone; there are Starfleet forces lose on this ship. If you come across any...”
“Zafast, I cannot raise the bridge.”
“Then hail the Vorta.”
There was a whirl of a transporter. Zafast spun to the transporter platform, his hand reaching for his weapon. His second in command materialised on the pad.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
His second-in-command did not reply. There was something odd about the Nausicaan. His head was drooped and his posture looked too relaxed. As if reading his mind the Nausicaan suddenly collapsed to the floor. The closest Nausicaan to the second-in-command rushed over.
“He is unconscious.”
Zafast did not understand what was going on. Why was his second-in-command unconscious? Why had he beamed over from the other engineering room?
“Contact the other team. Check on their status,” he ordered.
Suddenly from out of nowhere a phaser blast struck the Nausicaan seeing to his unconscious second. Another blast that seemed to just materialise out of thin air, cut across the room downing another of his men.
Zafast’s disruptor was quickly in his hand as he fired at the source of the phaser fire. At least two other Nausicaans did the same. Their disruptor fire crisscrossed the area but did not seem to hit a thing.
From a different position another phaser blast dropped another of his men. He aimed his disruptor again and fired. Once again they seemed just to be ionising the air.
Zafast signalled to the two remaining Nausicaans to flank around engineering. They cautiously moved forward searching for their invisible attacker. Two phaser blasts lit up the room and the last of his men fell. He fired in the general direction and dived for cover behind the warp core.
Zafast knew that at it stood he had no chance of defeating the cloaked attacker. He could just blindly fire around him until his disruptor ran dry. He needed to even the odds. He remembered that he had smoke grenades on him. He armed both of them and threw them around him. They released the vision obscuring smoke into the air. He stood and ran to the nearest downed Nausicaan, he fired blindly around him and dived. A phaser cut through the air behind him. He landed on the Nausicaan. He could not see anything but that also meant his enemy could not either.
Zafast froze. Someone, likely the bridge was after a report from him. He needed to warn them that the enemy had likely taken the other engineering room and was poised to do the same here.
“Engineering, report on your status.”
Zafast knew that to respond would be suicide. He needed to distract his enemy so that he could do what he could. It was likely the other main engineering was lost and the bridge would be the next target. He could not stop them but he could hamper their efforts to take the ship back.
Zafast checked his disruptor. It was low in power but it had enough. He picked up the Nausicaan and held him before him. He then fired several blasts into the haze. He ducked behind the man he was holding. He hoped that the enemy was not behind him or this would have been all for nothing. Thankfully a phaser blast replied from roughly in front of them and it struck the man he was holding. He stepped back and let the man noisily collapse to the floor.
He knew he had little time. He quickly prepared his disruptor and slipped it into the unconscious Nausicaan’s hand. He was careful to make sure the man’s finger was depressed on a button and placed the hand and disruptor under the Nausicaan’s body. That done he slipped off taking a wide arc from the direction of the phaser fire.
The smoke was clearing and he could see much more. He got to the nearest console and started to do what he could. If luck was with him he would complete this task and be the only survivor in the room.
Tiki cautiously approached the last Nausicaan. This part of the plan had gone well. Just as with the first engineering room the isolation suit provided to be a huge advantage. He did not expect the Nausicaan to pop smoke as he did. That was why after the Nausicaan had simply given away his position that something did not feel right. Tiki came across the Nausicaan. He was face down. Tiki lifted him and heard a clatter. He looked to see a disruptor pistol on the ground, which must have fallen from the Nausicaan’s hand. He saw the rapidly flashing lights on the disruptor and swore.
The disruptor exploded, its power cell set to overload. The force of the explosion was partly contained by the Nausicaan but enough force hit Tiki to throw him backwards. It felt like a punch to the gut as the pressure wave pushed out all the air in his lungs. Tiki crashed to the floor. His head hit the ground hard and ringing filled his ears.
Zafast ducked instinctively as he heard the explosion. He turned to see the aftermath. The smoke had lessened considerably and the explosion’s pressure wave had cleared an area making it possible for him to see a slightly hazy view.
He saw the smoking corpse of one of his men, the one he had used as a decoy. There was no doubt that the explosion would have killed him and Zafast was pleased that at least the Nausicaan had been unconscious for the ordeal.
At first he saw nothing and then his eye caught a flickering of red. The being was wearing a red coloured suit. It almost looked to be an environmental suit and Zafast wondered if that was how the wearer had avoided the initial gas attack. The suit was obviously damaged, given it was no longer cloaking the wearer correctly, he also saw rips and tears in it. However, the wearer was conscious and still mobile given their movements.
Zafast had to hurry, there was little time. He did not have enough time to lock out the computer completely. With the mission on the ship a failure the captured Centaur would attack and attempt to destroy this ship. He had managed to lock engine controls to prevent the ship from fleeing and now he was almost complete with the ship’s weapons. Next would be shields.
He heard more noise behind him. He had no doubt that the now visible enemy would soon stun him. He quickly executed what he could before he heard the telltale sound of a phaser whine and then nothing.
Tiki let out a painful groan. As he let himself fall back to the ground.
“Engineering one clear,” he reported.
He pulled his helmet off and threw it next to him.
“Damn, that hurt,” he moaned.
There was the telltale sound of a transporter and First Lieutenant Stark materialised in the room. Despite the all clear he had his phaser out and ready like a good marine. When he spotted Tiki he rushed over.
“I’m fine. Just got the wind knocked out of me,” Tiki dismissed Stark’s concern. He pointed to the last Nausicaan he stunned. “He was up to something on that console, best check that out.”
“Maybe I should get Calith...”
“No, my suits armour held and my minor injuries are getting seen to by the suit. Just check out what he was up to, Tyson.”
Stark went to the console. “Looks like he was attempting to lock out the computer.”
“So he failed.”
“Only partially. He didn’t lock the entire system out but we have no engines or weapons.”
“Can you unlock them?”
“I don’t know.”
“If anyone can you can, Ty. Contact Lieutenant Dyson and get his help,” Tiki let out a painful sigh.
“Will do. You sure you don’t want a medic?”
Tiki forced himself to his feet. “Yes, I’m walking so everything’s good. Has the bridge team attacked yet?”
“No, but that is because they didn’t need to. Those Klingons that were with Captain Masters beat them to it and took back the bridge.”
“The captain with them?” asked Tiki hoping for some good news.
“No, they reported he was captured by the Jem’Hadar. The head Klingon...Thopok, is pretty badly injured. They also found Core, Misi and Rosetta alive on the bridge. They’re pretty banged up and Lee sent them all to sickbay. No reports of that they found the Vorta in command.”
There had to be a cloud in the silver lining, lamented Tiki.
“Looks like we’ll be needing more medical staff soon. Do we have control of the transporters back?” Stark checked the system before nodding. “Contact Lee and tell him you’ll beam two of his soldiers to guard you here. Beam me to the bridge,” Tiki gave Stark a sly smile, “I’m going to play starship captain.”