Sunday, 16 January 1994

The Empire Saga Chapter Six

        Major Kira called a meeting aboard the Valkyrie. They assembled in the conference room. Picard, Riker, Data and Worf represented the Enterprise. Captain Watt, Tamar Amarus, Sutek and Pendragon represented the Valkyrie. Magus and Ambassador Watt attended as the political representatives of the Federation.

    “My idea is simple.” said Kira. “We strike at the Empire before they can bring the Death Star through the wormhole.”
    “I hardly think that is a viable option.” said Picard slowly.
    Watt nodded his assent.
    “The problem of getting a large enough force through to Empire space would be almost insurmountable. We would have to cross Sontarran territory to get there, in addition we have very limited time before they begin their plans.”
    “If we do not act now then the Empire will do to Bajor what the Cardassians did.”
    Magus had remained silent this long time. He steeped his fingers and gazed long and hard at Kira over his spectacles.
    “The diplomatic position at this current juncture in time would be strongly against an attack upon the Empire. I believe that the interstellar community would not object to a Federation action to free DS9. After all, it belongs to a Federation protectorate. But to attempt a military action against the Empire, particularly one which involves crossing the territory of an unfriendly power such as the Sontarran Empire is unwise.”
    Ambassador Watt agreed.
    “I could not sanction such an action in either my current diplomatic status or in my Presidential status.”
    Picard nodded.
    “I think Captain Watt will agree with me. We will not pursue this course.”

    Aboard DS9 Vader took a message from one of the Imperial operatives.
    “Send this reply to the Death Star.” he said. “The time is not right. Await further instruction.”
    In his cell Sisko paced up and down. The highly trained Storm Troopers had easily captured Odo when he managed to escape. Sisko knew that he had to come up with another plan, another way of getting out. He then walked over to the wall of his call and tapped on it.
    “O’Brien, are you there?” he asked.
    “I’m not likely to be going back to Dublin, am I Commander?”
    “We’ve got to try and find another way of getting out of here.” said Sisko. “Odo, is there anything you can do this time?”
    “I’m afraid the Constable won’t be of any use to us this time, Commander.” said O’Brien. “He’s grown very weak. He won’t be able to last much longer.”
    “You mean he’s near his regenerative cycle?”
    “Yes Commander.”
    O’Brien looked back at Odo, who was lying on the bed. He looked very week. Then he began to change, slowly reverting back to his liquid form.
    “I only hope he’ll be alright without his pale.” said O’Brien.
    “This may provide us with our chance.” said Sisko. “Chief, alert the guards to Odo’s situation. We may be able to use it to our advantage.”
    O’Brien started banging on the wall.
    “Hey, guard!” he shouted. “In here! My friend needs your help!”
    A Storm Trooper came running into the detention wing.
    “What is it?” he asked.
    “It’s Odo.” said O’Brien. “He’s grown very weak and has had to revert back to his liquid form. Without his pail he may die!”
    The Trooper stood at the doorway and looked at Odo.
    “Weird.” he said. “What is it you said he needed?”
    The Trooper pressed the panel and the force field was dropped.
    “He needs to get out of here!” said O’Brien.
    O’Brien went behind the Storm Trooper and kicked him in the head, rendering him unconscious. He then removed the Storm Trooper’s helmet, and Odo managed to move into it. O’Brien then, carrying the helmet, left the cell and moved to the one that contained Dax. He soon released her. He then released Sisko. Sisko then picked up the blaster that the Storm Trooper carried.
    “Now all we have to do is get out of here!” said Sisko.
    “That’s easier said than done!” said O’Brien.
    Slowly they moved into Odo’s office. There was no one in sight, and Sisko moved towards the door. He looked out across the Promenade.
    “This place is absolutely swarming with Storm Troopers.” said Sisko. “This is going to be pretty hard.”
    Sisko looked around the office and then saw Odo’s pale.
    “I think I’ve got a plan.” he said. “Chief, transfer Odo to his pale.”
    O’Brien went behind Odo’s desk and transferred him into his pale. While he did this Sisko went back into the detention win. He emerged a few seconds later carrying the Storm Trooper’s armour.
    “What are you doing?” asked Dax.
    “You’ll see.” said Sisko.
    Sisko took the helmet from O’Brien and placed it on his head.
    “Now I see!” said O’Brien.
    A few seconds later Sisko, wearing the armour, emerged from Odo’s office. Dax and O’Brien were not far behind him. Sisko looked around the Promenade. He then began to walk forward. He seemed very unsteady.
    “I can’t see a thing in this helmet.” he said.
    Dax grabbed Sisko’s arm.
    “Easy.” she said. “I’ll guide you. Where do you want to go?”
    “The shuttle bay would be a good place to start.” said Sisko.
    Slowly they moved through the Promenade. Because he was having trouble seeing out of the Storm Trooper’s helmet Sisko was easily drawing attention to himself. The one who noticed it the most was Darth Vader. He stood on the steps near Quark’s bar. He watched as the three of them moved toward one of the exits. Then Vader walked down the steps and followed them. He soon caught up with them and stopped them.
    “Where are you taking these prisoners, Trooper?” Vader asked.
    Sisko turned to faced Vader. He hesitated.
    “Grand Moff Tarkin wishes to see them.” he said.
    “Odd.” said Vader. “I wasn’t notified of this. And also odd that Grand Moff Tarkin is currently in Operations.”
    Vader reached out and removed the Trooper’s helmet from Sisko’s head.
    “As I thought.” he said. “It is unwise of you to try and escape.”
    Sisko looked up at Vader and then, a second later, slugged him with a right hand.
    “Go! Get out of here!” Sisko shouted.
    Dax and O’Brien hesitated.
    “Get out of here!” Sisko again shouted.
    Dax and O’Brien began to run down one of the corridors while Sisko tried to fend off Vader. He was unsuccessful. Vader took out his light sabre, energised it, and struck Sisko in the stomach. Sisko let out a huge cry of pain and fell to the ground.
    Down the corridor Dax and O’Brien ran as fast as they could. Suddenly they heard the sound of Imperial footsteps behind them. Dax stopped to look back.
    “Hurry.” said O’Brien.
    They could not hurry fast enough. Suddenly half a doze Storm Troopers appeared in the corridor. The one in front stopped and aimed his blaster. He fired, and a stun beam hit Dax square on. She fell to the ground. O’Brien ran back to his fallen comrade.
    “Go.” said Dax. “If you can’t find a way to get off this station then maybe you could find a way of shutting it down!”
    O’Brien paused. He then looked up and saw that the Storm Troopers were approaching. He then continued on his way down the corridor. Two of the Storm Troopers stopped to pick Dax up and take her back to the detention wing. The others continued to go after O’Brien. They soon entered an adjoining corridor. They were surprised to see that the corridor was empty.
    “We’ve lost him.” said one. “There’s nothing we can do now. Report back to Lord Vader.”
    The Troopers went back down the other corridor. When they left they did not see the grate from the maintenance shaft moving. A few seconds later O’Brien jumped out. Dusting himself off he counted himself as one of the lucky ones. O’Brien knew the station like the back of his hand. He knew that he could hide in many places, but he did not know for how long.
    The Storm Troopers stood on guard outside Sickbay, and on the inside as well. Unlike the others Doctor Bashir had not been taken into custody, mainly because he was needed as a doctor. The doors of Sickbay opened and two Storm Troopers dragged the limp Sisko in. They were soon followed by Vader. The Troopers lifted Sisko onto the table. Bashir noticed the deep wound in Sisko’s mid-section.
    “What happened here?” asked Bashir.
    “Your Commander foolishly tried to escape.” Vader replied. “He paid the price for that attempt.”
    Bashir took out his tri-corder and scanned the wound.
    “What caused this?” he asked.
    “A light sabre.” Vader replied.
    Bashir continued his scan. When he was finished he put down his tri-corder and picked up a hypo-spray. Sisko winced slightly as Bashir injected him.
    “That should stabilise him for a few hours at least.” said Bashir. “But unless I can use my equipment he will die.”
    Vader looked down at Bashir.
    “Then he will die!”
    Vader moved toward the exit.
    “You can’t be serious!” said Bashir.
    Vader left Sickbay.
    “Barbarians” Bashir cursed.
    Vader was soon back in the detention wing. He saw the Troopers putting Dax back in her cell. Vader approached the Trooper.
    “Where are the other two?” he asked. “Where are the shape shifter and the engineer?”
    “The shape shifter is in his office. He has gone into a re-generative cycle. He can be found in a pale. The engineer, unfortunately, has escaped.”
    “Then conduct a search of this entire station.” said Vader. “Leave no stone unturned.”
    “But Lord Vader, that could take hours.”
    “I don’t care. You must find him!”

    Ambassador Watt stood in the Observation lounge of the Enterprise, gazing out into space. The two ships were still over a day away from Bajor, and his thoughts were on the impending encounter. He had been thinking about taking some action of his own for some time. As he gazed out towards the stars he made his decision. Slowly he stepped towards the window and stuck his arm out of the window. Using his mutant powers, which he had acquired in the twentieth century, he was soon outside the Enterprise. He looked around and then, at incredible speed, he shot off ahead of the Valkyrie and the Enterprise.
    On the bridge of the Enterprise Worf noticed something on his panel.
    “Strange.” he said. “The instruments showed a hull breach, but then it was gone.”
    “Run a diagnostic of the sensors.” said Picard.
    Worf checked the control panel.
    “Nothing wrong with the sensors.” he said. “Probably just an energy surge of some sort.”
    He then picked up something else on his panel.
    “Sensors are picking up something moving at an incredible speed.” he said. “At a speed of more than warp ten.”
    “On screen.” said Picard.
    An image appeared on the screen. It was one of a bolt of light shooting across the void of space.
    “What is it?” asked Picard.
    “Unable to determine at this time.” said Worf.
    “It’s probably just a comet of some sort.” said Picard. “Nothing to worry about.”
    In Ten Forward Guinan stood looking out of the window. A smile appeared on her face. She knew what the strange light was.
    “Good luck Ambassador.” she said. “You’re going to need it.”
    Just a matter of minutes later Watt neared DS9. In Operations Vader picked up the strange reading on the main control panel. He then switched on the view screen and saw the bolt of light near the station. Grand Moff Tarkin joined Vader at the control panel.
    “What is it?” asked Tarkin.
    “A strange energy reading.” said Vader. “Travelling towards the station at a very high speed.”
    Suddenly Vader’s control panel went blank.
    “The reading has gone.” he said. “There is no trace of it.”
    Then from the science station one of the Troopers picked up something.
    “There appears to be a hull breach.” he said.
    Vader walked over to the science station and looked at the panel. A few seconds later the signal was gone.
    “No sign of a hull breach now.” said the Trooper.
    Then Vader looked up into the air.
    “Strange.” he said. “There appears to be something different about this station!”
    Vader then marched out of Operations.
    A short time later Vader walked along the corridor of the crew’s quarters deck. The quarters were currently being used as a form of detention cell, and it was very quiet. Suddenly Vader stopped in his tracks and looked all around him. He had a feeling that someone was in the corridor with him, watching him. Then after a few seconds he turned round and made his way back to Operations. As soon as he had gone a hazy sort of field began to appear in the corridor. A few seconds later Ambassador Watt could be fully seen. Watt looked around himself, trying to pick up his bearings. While on board the Enterprise he had studied the technical layouts of the station. He knew roughly where he was. Slowly he walked down the corridor. He came to an inter-section. There were now four ways he could go. He stood, looking around. But before he could move any further a phaser was pointed at his head.
    “I don’t know who you are but you’d better come with me.”
    Watt turned around slowly. The first thing he saw was the black and hold Federation uniform. Watt then looked up at the face. He recognised the face of Chief O’Brien.
    “It is not wise to threaten the next Federation President!” said Watt. “And your phaser wouldn’t work on me anyway!”
    O’Brien looked at Watt.
    “My God! You’re Ambassador Watt! How the bloody hell did you get here?”
    “It is a story that spans over three hundred years.” said Watt. “Now, if you don’t mind, please lower your phaser.”
    O’Brien did as he was asked.
    “The Valkyrie and the Enterprise are still over a day away from here.” said Watt. “If my guess is correct they’ll try and break into the station’s computer, try to lower the shields, and then beam an assault team across.”
    “They won’t be able to get in range.” said O’Brien. “Not with the Star Destroyer here.”
    “Magus will probably help them there.” said Watt. “But I want to try and help them here.”
    “We haven’t got long to do anything.” said O’Brien. “I managed to break into the computer from one of the replicators. The Death Star is near the other side of the wormhole.”
    “Then we’ll have to come up with some sort of plan, and soon.”

    One hour later the Valkyrie and the Enterprise arrived just out of range of DS9’s sensors. Watt and Picard ordered their respective ships to halt. Picard hailed Watt on the Valkyrie.
    “This is the point we agreed to stop, James.” said Picard. “It is now that we’d better make our final plans.”
    “Agreed Jean-Luc.” said Watt. “If we go with the plan we discussed between ourselves we’d better call a meeting of our most senior officers. Shall we say in your Observation lounge, five minutes?”
    “Five minutes it is. Enterprise out.”
    Five minutes later the Observation lounge of the Enterprise resembled a who’s who of Starfleet officers. Present were Picard, Riker, Data, Worf, La Forge and Troi representing the Enterprise, and Watt, Pendragon, Sutek, Amarus, Tompkins, Lom and Greenleaf representing the Valkyrie. Major Kira was also there representing DS9, as was Magus in his ambassadorial role. Magus in fact was the last one to enter.
    “Good.” said Watt. “We’re all here then.”
    “Ambassador Watt isn’t.” said Riker. “Has anyone seen him?”
    Those present shook their heads and looked at each other. Picard activated his communicator.
    “Computer, locate Ambassador Watt.”
    “Ambassador Watt is not on board the Enterprise.”
    “Perhaps he’s on the Valkyrie.” said Watt.
    Watt activated his communicator.
    “Watt to Valkyrie. Is Ambassador Watt aboard?”
    A few seconds passed.
    “He’s not on here sir.”
    “Then we’d better initiate a full search of our ships.” said Picard.
    Magus stepped forward.
    “I would advise against that, Captain Picard.”
    “Why?”
    “To launch a full scale search of both ships would take several hours. We have reached a crucial stage in our planning. We must continue with our plans for DS9, otherwise the station will be lost to us!”
    “I agree with the Ambassador.” said Kira. “We can’t worry about that old man now. We must finalise our plans.”
    Watt looked at Picard. Picard looked at Watt.
    “I’ve learned to trust Magus’ judgement.” said Watt. “And I have a feeling I know where he has gone.”
    “Very well.” said Picard. “We will continue with our plans.”
During the meeting Magus managed to slip out of the Observation lounge. As soon as he left he saw Guinan standing in front of him. She smiled at Magus.
    “You know where Watt is, don’t you?” said Magus.
    “I think you do as well.” said Guinan. “And I get the feeling we’ll be hearing from him again pretty soon.”