Part of USS Polaris: Infiltrate and Liberate Nasera (The Lost Fleet – Part 1) and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Late Night Stroll

Nasera City
Mission Day 5 - 2330 Hours
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A confident Ferengi strode down the tenebrous thoroughfare, adorned in his finest of accouterments, the merchant of death unconcerned by the signs of the occupation that loomed all around him. A lithe young female clung to his arm, her head down, her demeanor subservient, a defeated creature submitted under the heavy yoke of her sorry reality.

“You two there,” shouted a Jem’Hadar soldier, pointing at them from where he stood guard keeping watch over the puny populace of this subjugated world. “State your purpose.”

“Why don’t you,” the Ferengi responded, waving his finger insolently at the soldier. 

The Jem’Hadar sentry stormed towards them. He towered over the pint-sized pair with his massive, genetically-engineered frame. His rifle stayed slung over his back, but only because he could break them with his bare hands should they provide an unsatisfactory answer. The Ferengi appeared unphased though, placing his finger on the barrel chest of the colossus.

“Do you know who I am, Mr. Jem’Hadar. I am Grok, enterprising merchant, master of the dabo table and the Ferengi futures exchange,” the little man declared with his chin raised proud as the Jem’Hadar scowled at him. “And consignor of the goods you need for your little war effort.”

At that, the Jem’Hadar soldier loosened up a bit. The Ferengi were like gnats, but the Vorta had been clear. They were not to be touched. “And who is that?” The brute pointed at the girl on the Ferengi’s arm. 

She glanced up at the massive man with a submissive expression and eyes that were dark and absent of any energy whatsoever. 

“She is my entertainment for the night,” Grok pronounced proudly. The girl reached up pitifully, lightly stroking his lobes. The Jem’Hadar soldier scoffed.

“Now if you would be so kind, we’ll be on our way,” Grok insisted, to which the Jem’Hadar sentry begrudgingly stepped aside. “And if you would be a darling, please radio ahead and tell the others that Grok is coming.” With that, the Ferengi puffed his chest and strode on by proudly, dragging the girl along with him.

The Jem’Hadar watched them go with deep disdain.

“Well, we know which of us can walk freely here,” Chief Petty Officer Ayala Shafir remarked quietly once they were out of sight, still not daring to relax her feigned posture. That was the eighth sentry they’d passed in as many blocks.

“The lobes work every time,” Grok agreed under his breath, his lips barely moving. “My ilk are regarded as a necessary evil. No one sees beyond the wares we provide.” He used his Ferengi heritage as a cloak of his true purpose, but he loathed everything his people had become, the perversion of their culture borne of the Rules of Acquisition and bent by the false prophets of the Grand Nagus and Ferengi Commerce Authority.

Together, the two continued to wander the streets, and now, the Jem’Hadar mostly left them alone. Maybe their friend from a few blocks back had called ahead. While keeping up their ruse, the two took mental notes of how the oppressed citizenry carried themselves, how the Jem’Hadar positioned themselves, and what state the city was in. All the while, they inched towards their objective.

Chief Shafir was taken aback by how intact the city appeared. The structures, streets and factories were all in working order, and there were no scars of battle whatsoever, neither craters from orbital bombardment nor burns from disruptor fire. If not for the ever-present Jem’Hadar and the absolute defeat on the face of every weary passerby, it was almost as if nothing had happened at all.

The governor must have surrendered almost immediately when the Dominion warships appeared overhead. The planetary defense system certainly hadn’t been put to any real use. According to intelligence, the speedy surrender came from a desire to avoid bloodshed, but if Ayala Shafir had been in charge, she would have asked every citizen to take up arms and fight to their last breath, to lay down their lives before succumbing to these wretched creatures. Could they not see how they’d now become an engine of the Dominion’s continued campaign? Their cowardice was the very reason more colonies would fall and more colonists would die. If not for the fact that liberating Nasera would strip the Dominion of a vital industrial hub, Shafir would have left these sorry souls to their fate.

After another twenty minutes of wandering, the demeanor of the city shifted. Gone were the dark avenues with their dim lamps. Now, bright flood lights illuminated every inch of the wide boulevards. Grok raised his hand to shield his eyes, while Ayala Shafir pulled closer to her companion’s side, her dark hair falling over her face to block out the intense light.

Up ahead stood a massive fortified compound. Jem’Hadar soldiers ringed its outer wall, their rifles at the ready, their eyes darting back and forth searching for threats. They swiftly narrowed in on the Ferengi and his companion, and three soldiers broke from their posts to advance with rifles raised.

“This area is off limits to your kind,” the lead soldier barked as he came to a stop mere meters away.

“Apologies, apologies,” Grok said with an apologetic gesture, attempting to diffuse the situation. “My companion and I, we were just looking for a place to spend the night.” Then he winked at the Jem’Hadar.

The exanimate figure on his arm did not so much as look up, just some poor piece of trash picked up off the street by the gluttonous merchant. She had to play the part. It was the only way out that didn’t end with them dead in the street.

“Then you have come to the wrong place,” another soldier snarled. “This is a Dominion facility. There are no hotels here.” He used the muzzle of his rifle to pull back the hair of the companion to see the meek and timid face of a pitiful little girl. What the Ferengi planned to do with her, he didn’t care, but it wouldn’t happen down this block. This block was critical to their control over the populace.

“You and your, whatever she is,” the first soldier said as he looked the two over with disgust. “Go back the way you came.”

“If we could just pass this way.”

“You may not.”

“Okay, okay, we’ll just be on our way then,” Grok assured him. “Back the way we came.” The Jem’Hadar nodded, as the Ferengi had furnished the only acceptable answer.

The Ferengi yanked the girl around as he turned to make his exit. Now, his pace was quicker, almost dragging the girl along. That would be what they expected to see of him, a coward Ferengi retreating from the first sign of danger once his smooth talking had failed. But for the girl being dragged behind him, it also gave her a few extra moments to survey the control center.

The three Jem’Hadar watched them go, none the wiser to their real purpose.

When the odd couple was a good three or four blocks away from the compound, Grok finally loosened his grip on Chief Shafir, and she shrunk back onto his arm.

“We should have shot them dead,” he said under his breath.

“And then a dozen other rifles would have gunned us down where we stood,” she reminded him.

“You’re no fun Ayala.”

“One hundred meter long block, Jem’Hadar positioned equidistant at a spread of ten meters a piece,” the Chief rattled off. “With a three meter high wall ringing a twenty meter high compound at a five meter buffer.”

“And a half dozen visible cameras, with at least two rifles on the roof,” Grok added.

The Chief nodded lightly.

“Yeah, we’re not going to shoot our way in.”

“Nope.”

Almost an hour later, the two made it back to the safe house. The night was late, and most of the team were catching some shuteye. But Commander Lewis was still up, keeping watch for the night shift. He would not sleep as long as members of his team were unaccounted for.

“How’d it go?” Lewis asked once the pair was safely back inside.

“A direct assault is out of the question,” reported Chief Shafir, straightening up and coming back to life. “At least four dozen guards outside, solid duranium outer wall, multiple sniper teams, cameras, flood lights. They got that place buttoned up tight.”

Comments

  • I enjoyed this chapter as it gave an insight as to how grave things are looking on the planet, and how they looked like they were looking for shelter just to get a glance at their objective. Now I wonder with things being air tight sort to speak, how they are going to get into their objective without getting killed before getting in? Looking forward to what comes next!

    May 18, 2023
  • It is great to see the interaction between Dominion and Ferengi keep going, Grok has no filter that is for sure. But I can see how it keeps saving his ass in these situations. A recon mission in plain sight, wonderful job

    May 20, 2023
  • Jake Lewis

    Squadron Intelligence Officer
    USS Serenity Commanding Officer

  • Ayala Shafir

    Intelligence & Computer Systems Specialist
    Hazard Team Member

  • Grok

    Private Contractor
    Sebold Logistics