Hasara and his team were on the move. The command center on the Mackenzie had transferred authority to the Janoor III center, given the damage they had endured. Now Kiazas Vol was ‘Command Actual,’ her steady voice directed the various strike and response teams to locations where the Jem’Hadar soldiers had landed or been transported. One ship had been blown apart. Vol reported that before its destruction, there had been one hundred or so transporter signals engaged around the city of Polaris. The Cardassian Gul listened carefully as she directed him down an empty street, around two corners, and into cover overlooking an overgrown field. He clicked his channel open, “I count fifteen. No Vorta in sight.” He motioned his team to slowly spread out along the embankment they’d claimed.
Vol clicked back, “We’ve got two more transport sites in the city confirmed. Dread and Crawford are taking one – clear this one, and the second one is yours.”
The Gul grinned and tapped signaled to the team. They stood and fired all at once, phaser rifles set to the highest setting. The Jem’Hadar spun to return fire, but it was too late. The Starfleet team of fifteen sent the fifteen enemy bodies to the round, smoking from the intensity of fire. None of them glanced at the downed bodies as Hasara signaled to the group – they were on to the next location.
“Move, move, move.” Crawford pulled a sputtering ensign as the blasts from the Jem’Hadar rifles scorched the air around them. They’d been sent to a business district just off the city center and run into fifty Jem’Hadar restlessly looking for people to shoot. Pete’s fifteen crew were secured with him, while Dread’s fifteen were shifting directions to meet up with him. They’d run up against a smaller group of Dominion soldiers, and it had taken them some time to dislodge the attackers. He tapped at his ear, “Command Actual, we’re thirty for fifty…can you give me some backup?”
There was a pause, and the voice of the Mackenzie Ops Chief replied, “Read you, Crawford. Working on getting you Cards in the mix – they jumped ship before home blew. Advise they’re five out and hungry.”
Pete smiled and closed the channel. The Cardassians they’d been assigned had performed beyond any expectation. They were not the soldiers of the first Dominion War. These were the sons and grandsons of the warriors that had fought for the Dominion. It gave the Olympic captain some hope for the situation on Janoor IIII. He tapped at his PADD, watching the arrangement of the Jem’Hadar. They were moving up. He gave a nod as Captain Dread’s team hustled into the alive and gave her a high five as she moved to the front, glaring at him.
“I am not built for leading strike teams, Pete.” Her group watched on, amused.
Crawford pointed out her team, “They seem to disagree, Helena. You seem perfectly suited to kicking ass, taking names, and kicking more ass.” He ignored the roll of her eyes, “Your team is back up and cover fire for us as we move to push them back.” He nodded, and she sighed, walking back to her team to discuss the plan. She would never admit it, but the intensity and reputation of Dr. Dread were easily transferred into the world they were in at the moment. He turned his attention to his team, “We’re going to leapfrog our way – you four take the right, you four take the left, and you two are with me. We’re going to push and push hard. Set your weapons to the highest setting. Don’t think about them or their lives…Jem’Hadar don’t have any other purpose other than killing you and me. Shoot first, and don’t ask questions.” They all nodded, and he gave them the go order. The two officers with him tensed up as he leaned out and was rewarded by a blast, “They’re still there. Phaser grenades.” Each of them handed him one, and he quickly pulled the pin, throwing them deftly up the street with a grunt. There were some shouts, and the resounding explosions shook the ground. Crawford pushed out and was rewarded by the cover fire by his team as they pushed forward through the alley taking cover in alleys and behind vehicles. Two bodies of Jem’Hadar lay sprawled ahead. The grenades had done their work. Crawford and his group hustled forward.
Dread ran with her team as they took a different alley path, cleaning as they went. She led from the middle of the pack, and they moved effortlessly, taking note of Jem’Hadar scouts with a resounding blast following each call out. She kept them moving with her commands, and they paused at each intersection, following her direction to clear the space before moving on. It took them five minutes, but they’d circled the leading Dominion group and started moving forward on the street, keeping silent aside from Helena’s crisp one to two-word commands. They halted at a burnt-out fountain, glancing back to Dread. She tapped her ear, “Crawford, we’re ready to run when you are.” There was a burst of cacophony as blaster and phaser fire filled the air. Helena didn’t wait for a signal, “Forward and weapons-free, move, move, move!” She felt the silent dread as her fifteen hurried forward, firing as they moved, dodged, and slipped down the path, the air thick with the burns of flesh and fauna. Dread dodged several blasts as two of hers went down, unmoving. She knew the Jem’Hadar way – they were dead before they hit the ground. It took all her strength to push back her instinctual medical training as she rushed forward, letting loose covering fire as she went.
Kiazas watched as the last fighters broke free and fled for the planet. All that was left was the battlecruiser. She softly slammed her fist down on the arm of her chair. The Mackenzie was at 30% shields and falling. One Galor class cruiser remained. And she was running out of torpedoes. There was only so much they could do, and they were pouring on the phaser fire. Suddenly Ensign Morrison shouted, “Five fighters, coming our way!”
Vol snapped her fingers, “Retask the closest phasers and engage!” She stood from her chair. The refit missile silo had been a good choice with a depth of one hundred feet. The daring decision had been made to focus efforts elsewhere and not put a shielding system in place. Kiaszas wished they’d had more time, more people, or just more of everything to prepare for every eventuality. Her symbiote gave her gentle advice as she worked, doing his best to soothe her nerves as the world unwound around her.
The bunker shook as Morrison screamed in utter fear and promptly apologized after a stare from the Ops Chief, “Report.” She stared at the flickering viewscreen.
Kelly found a semblance of emotional control as his shaking hands worked the console, “Two fighters are down, and three are coming back for an attack run. Phasers are actively firing, but they’re dodging them pretty well.”
The Mackenzie’s Ops Chief grumbled, “Godddamn Dominion. Transfer control of the phaser banks to local teams. They have their orders. Activate our hybrid towers and set them to auto-fire until exhausted.” Okada and her team had installed five weapons platforms that were hybrid emergency systems designed to auto-fire phasers and a small number of torpedoes until they were either destroyed or the power cabling had burned out. It was to be a last-ditch attempt. Vol was frustrated and furious they had been pushed to this point.
Kelly tersely warned, “Incoming!” They all braced and were showered in sparks as the first hits came, consoles exploded on the second hits, the ground shook with the third, and support beams started to fail. Morrison shook his head, reading from the only functional console left. It’s display was in its death throes, “Still two fighters left.” The room was soaked in smoke as the fires grew and spread.
Lieutenant Vol kicked one of the consoles, “Damn it. Not much use to us now. Let’s get the hell out of here!” The others picked up their emergency response kits and marched after their commanding officer into the escape tunnel a mile away from the site. Moments later, the fighters returned and leveled the silo as it collapsed into itself and erupted in a blazing explosion that rattled everyone within a hundred miles.
In the tunnel, the crew didn’t pause. They were still alive, and victory was life. They kept running until they burst out of the escape tunnel door. Only then did they take a breath. Vol tapped her badge, “Polaris Actual, get us to you.” They vanished seconds later in the bright beams of the transporter.
“Shields at 20%! Battlecruiser is at 30%. They’re turning towards the planet, captain!” Kondo brushed at the bandage around his head. Longfellow worked his way around the bridge with a trauma response team as the attack continued. They’d made it to the bridge minute before, reporting that sickbay was nearly overrun. The Mackenzie and her crew were fighting as hard as they could.
Wren coughed, her lungs burning with the smoke that lay silently above the bridge. The fans had been another casualty in the attack. Engineering was working to restore warp power. Everything else was a secondary concern. “Can we get in her way?”
Castillo tapped at her console with her left hand while the Chief Medical Officer worked on her right. It had been burned by an explosion of fire from above and hanging loosely at her side while she gritted her teeth, ignoring the surging pain. “We have impulse. I can get us close…or closer?” She didn’t turn around but caught the frustrated click of the doctor’s tongue as he worked. The Chief Helm officer sighed, “I don’t think we have a choice, Doc.”
Longfellow pushed a hypo spray as the deck shook violently, and he grabbed onto her chair, staying upright. “We always have a choice, ensign. We can live to fight another day or die in a vain attempt to restore our battered pride.” He glanced at Wren, who stared at him. He’d seen to her wounds first and felt his worry rise at the sight of blood from her side injury pushing through the emergency gauze he had shoved and strapped to her. He wordlessly moved to her side and went to work as the deck heaved again.
Kondo shouted, “Shields at 15% – I’m running out of places to pull the power to keep the lights on, captain.” He was exasperated. They had given it their best shot. He’d been in the ring when he knew it was too late to win the fight. He’d kept on fighting, but it had done nothing but threaten his life and career as the gloves pounded his face and body.
Fowler alerted them, “They’re moving towards the atmosphere! Readings show a good portion of their Jem’Hadar are dead or injured.” She tapped at her console as it flickered, “Janoor Actual reports they’re out of torpedoes and are focusing their phasers on the battlecruiser…but it’s not going to be enough.” Another annoyed tap, “Sensors showing 300 Jem’Hadar are left…and they’ve begun transport. Another furious shake of the bridge, and this time the lights blinked out as the ceiling exploded from the final barrage of the dying battle cruiser. Silence fell across the bridge as bodies and debris crashed and fell.
A moment later, the emergency lights clicked on, revealing a chaotic bridge. Longfellow had strapped into a chair at the last moment and was picking his way across the bridge, nudging bodies awake as he want. Wren rustled out from beneath a pile of debris and gasped in pain. Her leg had been impaled, and she set her jaw with a deep grimace. Kondo’s breaths came long and hard as he tapped at a flickering console, “Shields at ten percent.” He glanced at his side, and the blood flow alarmed his usual calm and steady demeanor, “Doctor Longfellow….I need you.”
Henry made his way over to the chief tactical officer and went to work. He slowed the blood at first and then staunched it, “We’re going to need to get you all to sickbay as soon as possible – battlefield medicine can only do so much.”
Wren accepted the hypospray from one of the medical team, and they went to work on her leg. Two of them knelt and prepared her for the removal. It would hurt like hell, and they’d quickly seal the impact site and stem the bleeding. They would move quickly, but it was….
She interrupted them, “Cut the shit and do it.” They gave her a count of three. And pulled. She screamed into her arm as the pain slapped her brain and kicked her heart. The two were able to get the bleeding under control after a few anguishing minutes. They didn’t advise standing for the moment, to which she said, “Get me the hell up and get me something to lean on.” They glanced at Longfellow as he worked on an officer on the ground, and he nodded quietly. Wren accepted a makeshift cane in the form of a metal rod and leaned on it, “Report.”
Kondo stabbed at the console, “The Jem’Hadar battle cruiser entered the atmosphere two minutes ago. They’re transporting everyone onto the planet…and the ship will hit Polaris in three minutes.”
Even Longfellow paused in his work and asked, “How bad?” He felt his heartache growing.
De La Fontaine slammed his console in frustration and anguish, “It’s going to take out half the city…if not more. I’ve sent warnings to everyone on Janoor III as to what’s coming.” He turned in his chair, the helplessness eating at him. There was nothing to do but watch. Tractor beams had been disabled in the attack. Weapons would do nothing to the wreckage as it fell into the planet below. Transporters had been burned out. Shuttles would take too long to launch. He could do nothing but watch.
Walton inched her way to her chair and slowly lowered herself down, “Long-range sensors?” Kondo reported they were offline, as were most ship’s systems. The last sensor sweep showed nothing Dominion related in the system or as far as they could see. Wren wrapped her hands around the long metal pipe. How she wished she could take the makeshift cane to the genocidal Dominion, one hit at a time like a pinata until their blood burst in a shower of justice. She leaned back, and the pain brought a fresh grimace to her face, “Start the damage control and sickbay reports. And get the Olympic back here.” She watched the flickering viewscreen as the Jem’Hadar ship fell into the planet. The hell they had gone through would be nothing compared to what was coming for those on the planet. She muttered, “Goddamn Dominion.”