Sunday, 16 January 1994

The Empire Saga Chapter Four

    The Valkyrie was in orbit around Mentarka Three, delivering supplies to the monitoring station there. After their work was finished the away team returned to the ship, and Magus stayed on the planet’s surface to visit “old friends”.

    On the bridge of the Valkyrie they awaited Magus’ return. They continued their usual duties when something happened.
    “Captain, I’m picking up a distress signal.” reported Amarus at Tactical. “From the Bajoran system.”
    “On screen.” Watt ordered.
    The image of Commander Sisko appeared on the screen.
    “This is Commander Benjamin Sisko of station Deep Space Nine. We are under attack from the forces of the Galactic Empire. Our forces here are heavily outnumbered. We will fall in a manner of minutes. We need help urgently.”
    The screen went blank.
    “It was a recorded message.” said Amarus.
    “Are there any ships in the Bajoran system?” asked Watt.
    Amarus checked the long range sensors.
    “We are too far away for the sensors.” he said.
    “Then we will have to assume that there is not.” said Watt.
    “Then we’d better set a course for DS9.” said Pendragon.
    “Unwise.” said a voice from the turbo life.
    Pendragon and Watt turned round to see Magus standing in the turbo life.
    “When did you arrive back on board?” asked Watt.
    “A few minutes ago.” Magus replied. “I sensed something was wrong in a distant system. A change in the forces there.”
    “DS9 has been captured by the Galactic Empire.” said Watt. “We’ve just received a distress signal.”
    “Captain, I am receiving another signal, from Starfleet Command.” said Amarus. “On a secure channel.”
    “On screen.” said Watt.
    The image of Admiral Lethbridge-Stewart, an old friend of theirs, appeared on the screen.
    “I was just about to contact you, Admiral.” said Watt. “We’ve just received a distress signal from Deep Space Nine.”
    “So have we.” said the Admiral. “We feared that the Galactic Empire would use the wormhole to enter the Alpha Quadrant.”
    “So what is our course of action?” asked Watt. “If I know the Empire they would have attacked DS9 with a Star Destroyer, and they carry over two thousand. The Valkyrie alone would be hopelessly outnumbered.”
    “I’m afraid there are only two ships within easy distance of DS9. That is why you are to rendezvous with the U.S.S. Enterprise. They are carrying an expert in the weaponry of the Empire. The co-ordinates are being transmitted to you as we speak.”
    Tompkins looked down at his helm panel.
    “We are receiving them, sir.” he said.
    “I’m sorry we couldn’t get more ships to aid you, James. But I am giving you and Captain Picard the authority to use any means necessary to re-capture DS9. Lethbridge-Stewart out.”
    The screen went blank.
    “Lay in a course on those co-ordinates.” said Watt. “How long should it take us to rendezvous with the Enterprise?”
    “At warp six five hours and thirty minutes.” said Tompkins.
    Watt walked back to his chair.
    “Very well, Ahead warp factor six. Engage.”
    Magus turned to Watt.
    “Our presence will put paid to any chance of negotiation. We left the Empire with a bloody nose the last time we met.”
    “I doubt if the Empire are interested in diplomacy, Phineas.”

    Five and a half hours later the Valkyrie neared the Enterprise.
    “Enterprise coming into range now, Captain.” said Amarus.
    “Open a hailing frequency, Mr. Amarus.” Watt ordered.
    Amarus pressed his computer panel and the image of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commanding officer of the Enterprise, appeared on the view screen.
    “Hello, Jean Luc.” said Watt. “It’s good to see you again.”
    “Likewise, James.” Picard replied. “I only wish it could have been under better circumstances. May I suggest that you and Commander Pendragon meet me here on the Enterprise. I also understand Ambassador Magus is with you. Would you ask him to join us as well?”
    “Certainly.” said Watt. “You can expect us within a few minutes. I’ll being Commander Sutek along as well. Valkyrie out.”
    A few minutes later Watt, Pendragon, Sutek and Magus appeared in the transporter room of the Enterprise. They were greeted by the second office of the Enterprise, Commander Data.
    “Welcome aboard, Captain.” he said.
    “It is good to see you again, Mr. Data.” said Watt. “Of course, you know Commander Pendragon, Commander Sutek and Ambassador Magus.”
    “I’ve known Data for most of his sentient life.” said Magus.
    “Indeed.” said Data. “Ambassador Magus taught me much during my early years. The others are waiting for us in the Observation room.”
    They left the transporter room and started to make their way to the Observation room.”
    “Tell me, Data.” said Watt. “Who else is going to be at this meeting.”
    “I will, of course, along with Captain Picard, Commander Riker and an expert on the Galactic Empire who joined us in a class nine probe.”
    “Who?” asked Watt.
    “He asked me not to say, Captain.” Data replied. “But from what I understand the class nine probe was the only thing faster than him.”
    A smile appeared on Magus’ face. He knew who Data was talking about. A few seconds later they were in the Observation room. As soon as they entered Picard and Riker walked over to them and greeted them.
    “You have a fine ship here, Jean-Luc.” said Watt.
    Picard directed them to the table.
    “So where is this expert on the Galactic Empire?” asked Watt.
    “He should be joining us anytime now.” said Riker.
    Riker was correct. A few seconds later the doors opened. Watt was surprised when he saw Ambassador James Watt, his great, great, great, great grandfather and namesake entered. Watt, as usual, was pleased. He got up from his seat and greeted him.
    “I didn’t thin you’d be out here.” said Watt. “By the way, congratulations on your election win as Federation President.”
    “Thank you, James.” said the Ambassador. “I’m not due to take office for another six months, so this will be my last ‘mission’ so to speak.”
    “So how come you are the expert on the Empire?” asked Watt.
    “It is a long and complicated story. I’m afraid I cannot tell you how I have come to know so much about them. Well not yet, anyway.”
    The Ambassador sat himself at the table.
    Picard, as commanding officer, sat at the head of the table. Magus, in deference to his vast age, sat to Picard’s right, Ambassador Watt to his left. Captain Watt sat at the other end of the table.
    “Well it appears we have a problem. A Federation-run station has been taken over by hostile forces. How do we go about freeing it?”
    “Let us review the current situation.” said Data. “We know that there is a Star Destroyer protecting the station. We also know that both Grand Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader are aboard.”
    Magus inclined his head gravely.
    “I would counsel against an all-out attack. My knowledge of Imperial weaponry is not as great as that of my esteemed friend, but I do know that a Star Destroyer is more than a match for both our vessels.”
    “What options do we have?” asked Riker.
    “I would suggest some for of covert landing, organise resistance from within.” said Pendragon.
    Ambassador Watt nodded.
    “Imperial Storm Troopers are trained to show no mercy. If we try an all-out attack they will not hesitate to kill all those on board.”
    “It seems then that subversion is our best bet for now.” agreed Captain Watt.
    Picard nodded his assent. The meeting broke up. Ambassador Watt walked over to Magus.
    “Tell me, Phineas, why didn’t you accept the nomination for Federation President?”
    Magus smiled.
    “I am a politician in name only. The Federation, I believe, only gave me the title to keep me out of the way. Besides, can you imagine the reaction of Gowron of the Klingon High Council if I were to become President? I did turn his predecessor, Kempec, into a slug you know.”
    Watt became more serious.
    “Have you told anyone what you know yet?”
    Magus shook his head.
    “I have decided to obey the First Law of Time on this occasion. I thought it more prudent.”
    Watt nodded in agreement.
    “I have the feeling that before this thing is through it’s going to be quite like old times.”
    “Speaking of which, my boy, is there a bar upon this vessel? I’m rather thirsty.”

    The detention cells on Deep Space Nine were close to overflowing. All of the military personnel, both Bajoran and Federation, had been rounded up and put into custody. Many of the civilians were locked up in their quarters. In the detention wing, next to Odo’s office, Sisko sat on the bed that had been assigned to him. He was deep in thought. He then heard a noise and looked up. It was the sound of footsteps. Two Storm Troopers then entered. They approached Sisko’s cell.
    “Not him.” said one of the Troopers. “Tarkin wants the woman.”
    The Storm Troopers walked away from Sisko’s cell and moved along to the others. In the next cell were O’Brien and Odo, and in the one next to them was Dax.
    “This one.” said the Trooper. “Release the field.”
    The other Trooper pressed the computer panel, and the containment field was down. They then walked into the cell and pulled Dax to her feet.
    “You’re coming with us.” said the Trooper. “Put the restrainers on her.”
    A pair of handcuffs were put around Dax’s wrists. They then dragged her out of the cell.
    “Where are you taking me?” she asked.
    “Grand Moff Tarkin wishes to see you.”
    The Storm Troopers took Dax across the Promenade. From his bar Quark could see what was going on. The Ferengi feared for his safety, but he was thankful that he had not been taken into custody, mainly because his bar could provide refreshments for the Storm Troopers.
    A few minutes later the Storm Troopers and Dax arrived in Operations via the turbo lift. The sight that greeted Dax was a different one to what she was used to. Instead of the usual men and women in Federation and Bajoran uniforms they had been replaced by men in the black uniforms of the Empire. There were also many Storm Troopers standing in certain areas. In the centre of the room she could see the tall figure of Darth Vader studying the main control panel. Next to him was a shorter man with grey hair and thin features. Then the Storm Troopers escorted her down the steps. The man next to Vader turned to face her.
    “Greetings, Lieutenant Dax. I am Grand Moff Tarkin, second in command of the Galactic Empire. I trust the quarters that have been assigned to you are comfortable?”
    “Why have you brought me here?” asked Dax.
    “I have brought you here because you are the science officer of this station.” said Tarkin. “I have studied your file in depth. It shows that you have a great deal of experience in scientific matters, an experience that has been gathered for over a century. Your knowledge and experience far outstrips that of any of our scientists. That, my dear, is why I have brought you here. Take her to her station and take off the restrainers.”
    Dax was lead to her science station by one of the Storm Troopers. Her hands were then freed. Tarkin then approached her. In his hand he held a small computer chip.
    “In this chip I have the technical schematics for the most powerful weapon in the known universe.” he said. “It’s weaponry is as powerful as fifty of your starships. With this station we will take control of your Alpha Quadrant, and then control your petty Federation.”
    “So what do you need me for?”
    Tarkin placed the chip into the computer port. The screen in front of Dax suddenly came to life.
    “I want you to find a way of bringing this station through the wormhole.” said Tarkin. “Because of it’s size there are likely to be some problems. I want you to see that there are no problems. You are to begin at once and only stop when you are finished.
    Tarkin began to walk away from Dax.
    “And Lieutenant, you must find a way of bringing out station through. Otherwise you may pay with your life!”

    The preliminary discussions over, the officers of the Valkyrie returned to their ship. Both of them were over three days away from Bajor and Deep Space Nine, but they knew they could not run into anything without a decent plan.
    On the bridge of the Valkyrie Watt sat in his chair thinking over the previous discussion with Picard. The impending encounter with the Empire’s forces troubled him greatly. He remained deep in thought while Amarus tried to draw his attention to something.
    “Captain!” said Amarus.   
    “Oh…what?” said Watt. “What is it?”
    “Long range sensors are picking up a small metallic object.”
    “What sort of object?” asked Watt.
    “It appears to be an escape pod of some sort.” Amarus replied. “One life form aboard.”
    “It’s now coming into visual range.” said Tompkins.
    “On screen.” said Watt.
    The image of the object appeared on the view screen. Watt got up from his seat. Watt recognised the markings on it.
    “Bajoran!” he said. “It’s from DS9. Try to hail it, Mr. Amarus.”
    Amarus pressed his control panel.
    “No answer.” he said. “They are either unable or unwilling to answer.”
    “There is partial power in it’s cells.” said Tompkins. “Life support is failing.”
    Watt activated his communicator.
    “Watt to transporter room. Lock on to the pod and beam it directly to cargo bay two.”
    Watt turned to Amarus.
    “Assemble a security team and report to the cargo bay.” said Watt.
    “But this pod is from DS9.” said Amarus. “I hardly think a full security team is needed!”
    “The pod may be carrying an Imperial Storm Trooper.” said Watt. “As I said, Lieutenant, assemble your security team.”
    The escape pod was beamed aboard the Valkyrie. As it arrived a full security team waited to greet it’s occupant. The team stood, phasers in hand, waiting for someone to come out of the pod, and they were surprised when nothing happened. Amarus walked over to the pod’s hatchway and tried to prise it open. It was firmly stuck. He then took a step back and adjusted his phaser setting and began cutting the hatchway. After a few seconds he was able to pull the hatchway open.
    “It’s a Bajoran woman!” said Amarus. “She’s unconscious!”
    Amarus activated her communicator.
    “Amarus to Bridge. The pod contains a Bajoran woman in a military uniform. She’s in need of medical attention.”
    “Take her to Sickbay.” said Watt. “I’ll join you there.”
    A few minutes later Watt entered Sickbay. He saw the woman lying on the examination table being examined by Dr. Singh. He then saw the two guards that Amarus had posted. Watt dismissed them and walked over to the table.
    “How is she?” asked Watt.
    “She received a minor concussion, probably when the pod was launched.” Singh replied. “And apart from some other slight cuts and bruises she’s in perfect health.”
    “Can you revive her?” asked Watt.
    “I’m just about to.”
    Singh picked up a hypo-spray from the nearby table and injected the woman. She began to stir, and then her eyes opened.
    “I’m Captain James Watt. You are aboard the starship Valkyrie. Who are you?”
    “Major Kira Nerys of station Deep Space Nine.”
    Kira suddenly leapt up off the table.
    “We’ve got to get back to Bajor!” she said. “They’ve taken over the station.”
    “Take it easy!” said Singh. “You received a minor concussion, so be careful.”
    “We know of the Empire’s attack on DS9.” said Watt. “We, along with the Enterprise, are currently en-route to Bajor to try and re-capture the station.”
    “Only two ships?” said Kira. “But they have thousands at their disposal!”
    “We know that too.” said Watt. “But the Valkyrie and the Enterprise are the only ships within easy distance of Bajor, and we are more than three days away. Now, you must rest. There is much you can tell us, mainly about their armaments and so on.”
    Kira placed her hand on her head. Pain began to pour through her brain.
    “But something has to be done now!” she said. “They’re going to bring the Death Star through the wormhole!”
    “What is the Death Star?” asked Amarus.
    “Possibly the most powerful weapon in the known universe!” said Watt.