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Part of USS Pioneer (Archive): Mission 1 – Operation: Shadow Strike and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

O:SS – Chapter 4

U.S.S. Pioneer
March 2401
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Cassian sat staring at his empty glass in the mess hall, the stars going by at maximum warp in the window beside him. It had been an grueling day in sickbay helping Naran with the preparations, sixteen hours to be precise. He knew he probably shouldn't be pushing himself this hard, but it was easier to stay focused on the task at hand than wait for the inevitable confrontation. Besides, even though he was a counselor and should know better, he was never comfortable with the clam before the storm.

“Thought I'd bring you a refill.” Naran said, approaching the table and extending his arm to offer the full glass of what looked like some dark color Bolian drink. 

Cassian took the glass and looked down at the liquid, “Thanks, though I try to make a point of knowing what I drink before I actually drink it." He tilted the glass a bit, watching the thick liquid barely move.

“Why ask the question when you could just-” Naran motioned towards his head with his pointer finger, “-pop in and find the answer?”

"You know I don't do that unless I have permission." He looked down at the thick liquid again, “But even if I did have permission, I'm not convinced I'd want to know what this is.” Cassian laughed as he put the glass on the table in front of him and sat back in his chair. “Did you finish the last of the triage kits?” He asked. 

“Yeah, we are all set. Now comes the hardest part, the waiting.” Naran took a sip of his drink, then looked down into the glass. 

Cassian, though he didn't read his mind, knew what Naran was thinking and what he was feeling. He felt it too. “The calm before the storm.” He said softly, looking out the window at the stars going by. 

Naran nodded, “Without a doubt, the worst part of the job.” He took another sip of his drink.

Cassian got up and put his hand on Naran's shoulder, “I'm going to turn in, goodnight my friend.” He managed to catch Naran's nod before he headed out of the mess hall for his quarters. 

“Report.” Ginell said as she entered engineering, walking up to Beya. 

“You're just in time, we are just about set here, Commander.” The chief engineer said, furiously working away on the console. Beya had done some truly remarkable work in her career, but this may have just been the most important, not to just the Federation, but also to her very life. After all, one ship alone against the entire enemy fleet wasn't exactly how she saw her life ending. Getting these refractive shields online before the Pioneer entered Dominion occupied space was almost an impossible task, but through hard work and determination, her team managed to pull it off. 

Hitting a few more controls, the modifications were completed. Beya turned towards Ginell and said, “Refractive shields are ready to come online.”

“Great work, Commander. Active the shields.” Ginell ordered through a smile. 

Beya pressed a few more controls on the console and within milliseconds, the Pioneer's shields rose. Pressing a few more controls, she began to modulate the frequency of the shield generators to emit the refraction technology, projecting the refraction into the shield bubble itself and effectively rendering the ship invisible to all incoming sensor scans. 

“Refractive shields are online and operational. The Pioneer will be invisible to all incoming sensor scans, the only way someone would be able to tell we are out there is if they look out a window.” Beya said wryly. 

“Well, I suppose it's a good thing those Dominion attack ships don't have any.” Ginell laughed, patting Beya on the shoulder, “Truly excellent work everyone, well done.”

Cassian rubbed the side of his neck as he exited the turbolift, heading down the corridor to his quarters. It had been such a long day, he was itching to get in the sonic shower and then crawl into bed. Normally he'd read a while or work on his appointment schedule for the rest of the week, but today he was just plain tired. 

He entered his quarters and kicked off his shoes, then undid his uniform jacket. He made his way into the restroom and just managed to get his shift off before the door chime rang. Letting out a short groan, he gave a small shout to enter to whoever it was at the door. Rounding the corner, he saw Jack Sanders entering his quarters, the door closing behind him. 

“Oh, good evening Commander.” Cassian said, “Apologies for my appearance, you caught me right before the shower.”

Jack said and did nothing, save for stand there in the middle of the room and stare at him. Cassian raised an eyebrow, “Are you alright?” 

“Are you alone.” Jack appeared to look around the room, stoically. 

Cassian blinked and took a few more seconds to answer than he normally would, “What is this about?”

Under normal circumstances, Cassian would never invade someone's privacy and read their minds without their consent. But, this was damn peculiar, and the more Jack stood there, the more Cassian couldn't help feel unsettled. He used his abilities and attempted to peer in to Jack's mind, but something was wrong. For some reason, he couldn't read him, which didn't make sense since he's never had any trouble reading humans before. And then it hit him. 

“Who the hell are you. Where is Commander Sa-”

He never got the chance to finish before Jack's arm extended clear across the room and wrapped around his throat, squeezing so tight it was cutting off his airway and ability to speak or scream. Cassian's first reaction was to try and loosen the grip of the arm, or hand, whatever it was that was squeezing around his throat, but it was no use. The grip was so strong, he couldn't fight it or break free. 

Slowly, Jack started walking towards Cassian, grabbing a small needle from his jacket pocket with his other hand. Cassian did everything he could to fight back but in the end he just wasn't strong enough to break free, and there was nothing within reach that he could grab to help fight off his attacker. He could do nothing as Jack took the needle and injected the liquid substance into his arm. 

Only a few seconds went by before he immediately started feeling groggy, his eyes feeling so heavy he could barely keep them open. A few seconds later, Cassian was unconscious. Jack released his grip and just let Cassian fall limp to the floor before turning around and exiting the counselor's quarters. 


  • Refractive shielding is an awesome idea to utilise! Especially against older foes who wouldn't have any experience against it, or have developed countermeasures. And dang, a Changeling so early in the story too! Straight into it aren't you? I love the shock and surprise from Cassian as he realises he's in trouble. Smart move to remove the one guy on the ship that can see right through disguises. But now I'm wondering how and when Cassian will reappear triumphantly.

    June 3, 2023