A few days had passed, and the tension on the ship grew daily. But Cailra’s mind was not so much focused on that. It was more focused on what was in front of her. The purple lights of the outpost were hard to miss on the view screen. She had not made up her mind about what Lieutenant Shew had suggested. It was a dangerous suggestion by all means, as it would be court marshal per definition. Her eyes glared at the command team, who were talking among themselves. She didn’t know about Captain Kobahl or Commander Ruslanovna personally, but their record’s speaker for itself. The Liberation Incident, the Broken Wings breakout, and the Blood Dilithium Operation.
She looked back at her console to shove the next shift rooster to update all decks. The command team had endured quite a lot, and these two were a perfect match for each other to match their weaknesses and strengths. But they needed to realize that they were nothing without their crew. Cailra took a deep breath and hoped the Dominion wouldn’t return on the Captain’s outrageous request. But her wish was quickly crushed when the screen showed a battleship jump out.
“Captain, we have a Jem’Hadar battleship jumping out of warp. I advise you once again to raise the shields” Rami spoke out with his focus on his Captain. Would they disappoint him again?
“Once again, declined. Lieutenant I appreciate you are on your toes with this but raising shields will only provide a provocation to their goodwill to even talk to us” Sazra looked at Rami. “I remind you, we came to their borders and requested their aid. They have every right to ignore us or decline it. Ensign Asipa any hails?”
“No hail so far” Asipa looked at her console.
Another decline, Cailra could see the frustration with Lieutenant Shew that his act to defend this ship, this crew was declined again. But was she so bold to react in offense to her Captain? She had a record of standing up against what was wrong.
The wandering of her own mind broke off when she heard her name and looked in the direction of the Captain. “Sorry Captain, what can I do for you?”
“That is okay. Get Lieutenant Palema at the bridge asap” Sazra gave Cailra a soft nod and then looked back at Silina.
“On it, Captain” Tapping her fingers onto the console she sends the request to Lieutenant Palema to report to the bridge. But her focus was dwindling at best. She was thinking of the steps that Dominion was going to take. She was there when the Dominion attacked the outpost. The brutal showdown was burned into her mind.
“Captain They are hailing us” Asipa announced looking back at Sazra awaiting the command.
Looking at the screen and then hearing the door open from the turbolift, Sazra looked back at the lift and saw Palema. “Perfect timing, they are hailing us. Ensign Asipa on screen” She nodded to Palema and gave her focus back on the screen as that changed to a different screen. A known Dominion bridge layout was seen, dimmed purple and green consoles with Jem’Hadar soldiers standing there to operate them. But now two Vorta stood there next to each other.
Now it would come down to it all, what will they reply? If they responded to the Captain’s request how far would the Captain go in her plan? Cailra was concerned about what this would bring to the Mariner. She glared at Rami who was holding on to his frustration as she heard the voice from the Vorta that made her look back.
“Captain Kobahl I presume?” A male Vorta said with a grin on his face.
“I am indeed Captain Kobahl of the USS Mariner” Sazra replied formally and waved to her side. “This is Commander Ruslanovna my first officer and to my opposite side is Lieutenant Palema our ship’s Diplomat”
The male Vorta gave a soft nod to them both. “My name is Dezod and this is my twin sister Rahis” Dezod points at his side to a female Vorta who also nods in confirmation of what Dezod says. “Our gods sent us to give you a response to your request for aid”
“Does that mean you will listen to our request?” Palema might be a diplomat, but she was known to have a sharp tongue when it came to getting the information she needed without any delay. She looked at Rahis. “Because the reality is that we have been waiting for a few days and within those days we are losing lives to your comrades”
Giving a slight nod “Of course Lieutenant, we understand your need for response to this is quite high. But you also have to understand that after so many years of not having any contact with the Federation is a bit of ….as a human would phrase it, walking on thin ice”
“So please give us your request, and we as appointed representatives of the Dominion shall give you a proper response,” Rahis said smiling at the bridge crew. “Because as your Diplomat spoke, you have an urgency to discuss with us”
Palema looked at her Captain who gave a nod of approval and took a deep breath before looking back at the two Vorta’s. “A few weeks ago an anomaly happened within the Alpha Quadrant that has shifted our balance of attention drastically. A large fleet of Dominion ships appeared and start to attack colonies, outposts, and starships near and around Deneb. This fleet operates on the presumption that they are still at war with the Federation. We have reason to believe that these ships are the ones you lost in the Dominion War.” Palema took a second before she continues “We are sent here by Starfleet to request aid from the Dominion to stop them from fighting the Federation in a war that has already been concluded so many years ago”
Both Dezod and Rahis looked at each other for a brief moment and then back at the crew of the Mariner. “Could you provide any evidence that these ships have appeared in your quadrant?” Dezod requested the information, rightfully so as they needed something to confirm this story.
“Lieutenant Cailra send them the latest data on Deneb Dominion ships” Sazra gave out the order.
For a second she hesitated but nodded in confirmation of her Captain’s request. “Sending information right now…” She slides her finger upwards with a confirmation beep of the console that the data was sent “Transfer complete”
Rahis looked at her side to a console where a Jem’Hadar was standing and then looked with a serious glare back. “It is indeed our ship’s signature. We have indeed lost these ships during the Dominion War. It is logical to bring them back to their home and inform them that the war is over” She looked at Dezod. “I think it is in our god’s best interest to assist the Federation in their request”
Giving a solid nod to that “You are right, you are very right in your keen observation sister” Dezod replied and looked at the Captain. “The state of business that is going on in the Alpha Quadrant is not in our best interest. We are gladly willing to help you, Captain. We can provide your ship with an encoded order for these lost comrades to return to the fold” Dezod clicked his fingers as a Jem’Hadar started working on it immediately “It shall be ready as soon as possible Captain”
Silina whispers to Sazra “Encoded or not….if we deliver that to the Lost Fleet, we have a 50/50 chance that they will make it out as forgery”
“Could you give us a brief moment?” Sazra spoke up in the direction of the Vorta who both nodded as she gave the signal to Asipa to cut the audio. “Suggestions, please. Commander Ruslanovna makes a valid point. The chances that the Lost Fleet will state that its forgery to deceiving lies is likely there”
Then their mission would have been a waste from the start. It was a logical thing to assume as a problematic outcome to what the Vorta was offering. “But are we even able to forge something like a Dominion codec?”Cailra spoke up about what was on her mind.
“We have to assume the logical way of this problem Lieutenant, the Dominion might give us the correct codec. But it doesn’t mean that the Lost Fleet will accept it. Especially when a Starfleet vessel will be the one delivering it” T’Path pointed out to Cailra.
Giving a nod “That is it” Palema replied pointing at T’Path “She gave us the answer to this issue. When a Starfleet vessel delivers the message is the issue by all terms. We can change that if we alter our terms. Let them deliver it?” Palema gave out the suggestion that gave out some tension in the bridge.
“Are you suggesting that a Dominion ship will deliver the message? Starfleet will have a field day when we knock at Opaka Outpost doorstep and a Dominion ship is next to us. Keep in mind we have lied to them about our true purpose in this quadrant in the first place” Rami counters the suggestion with some logical thinking. “Encoded or not, we can handle it, and we should take the chance while we can get the hell out of here”
The crew on the bridge got quiet for a second as K’Nala looked behind her “Captain, we shouldn’t think that big, why not let theirrr representative deliverrr the message? And we shall be theirrr escorrrt to Deneb?” K’Nala noticed the death glare of Rami and looked quickly back at the console.
Giving the signal to Asipa to resume the communication “I apologize for the wait. We have a concern with the suggestion you made” Sazra raised her hands slightly. “Now we are very appreciative that you are willing to help us. But your suggestion might pose a problem with an on-edge Dominion fleet alone. Forgery is one of those concerns”
“Forgery? Mmm, that sounds like a basic tactic that a Dominion soldier would assume” Rahis replied rubbing her chin. “The dear Captain has a valid point on that brother”
“Valid indeed” Dezod gave an agreeable nod to his sister.
“Yes, that is why we have an adaptable suggestion to your original one” Sazra continues. “It would be more believable if one of you would deliver the message personally to this fleet. The words of the representative of your gods would be more acceptable by a Dominion soldier than that of a Starfleet Captain.” Sazra just hoped her choice was not going to fail right now. “Therefore we shall escort you to this lost fleet so you can hand the orders over by yourself”
The two Vorta’s looked at each other once more and then nodded to each other before looking back at the Captain. “We see the reason for your alternation of our suggestion. But we both come on your ship and shall provide the lost brothers our message” Dezod finally stated.
“We shall be transported to your ship within an hour. We have some preparation to do on our side” Rahis finished her brother’s sentence. “Until then Captain” The screen went back to the outpost view.
Sazra sat back in her chair. “We did it….now we just need to get these two back to Alpha Quadrant unharmed. The Fourth Fleet and the Federation depend on it”
But Cailra was not so pleased with the outcome of this conversation. Being the deliveryman for the Dominion was one thing, but escorting two Vorta’s who slaughtered her people on that outpost was another. She looked down at her console and typed a message that sends to Rami without looking at him.
Rami looked down at the console seeing the message from Cailra that only stated she was in. He looked at his side for a brief moment until a few more messages started to pour in on his console with the same similar message and a small grin came on his face. Things were going to get heated on the Mariner, very soon.