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Part of USS Cantabras: The Array and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner

Bridge, USS Cantabras
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Alex stood at the Command console, eagerly awaiting an update from the away team. It always caused feelings of apprehension to send a team with little information, but this time it was half his crew. If they didn’t make it out… No, Alex immediately shoved those feelings out of his mind.

“Will you stop doing that? It’s becoming irritating,” Logan said.

Alex shook his head to clear it, realizing he was drumming his fingers on the console. “Oh, sorry,” he said, taking his hand off the console. “Has there been any word from the away team?”

“Not since the last five minutes you asked,” Logan responded. “But the communications are transmitted throughout the Bridge.”

“Have you figured out a way to track-”

“Not since the last five minutes you asked,” Logan answered without looking away from his console.

“Do you see anything on-”

“No,” Logan said with irritation. “I haven’t figured out a way to track them through the Array and there’s nothing on sensors, long or short-range.” He turned around, “Why don’t you get a cup of tea or walk to the back of the ship? Something besides asking me if I’ve accomplished what I’ve been trying to do for the last twenty minutes.”

Alex sighed, “I’m sorry Carter, I’m just-“

“Me too Commander, but there’s not a whole lot we can do right now. We can’t lose them; I’d make a crappy engineer and your science is… not good.” Logan’s console beeped. He turned around and looked at his console, “I’m picking up something on long-range. It’s a Jem’Hadar ship.”

Alex’s body tensed, “Red Alert, take us on the opposite side of the Array as the ship.”

The Red Alert klaxon sounded. Logan’s fingers flew across the console, “Moving into position…”

“Keep the ship on our starboard side, but be subtle about it. We don’t want them knowing we’re weaker on that side.”

“So keep them away from our weak side, without revealing we have a weak side,” Logan chuckled wryly, “That sounds easy enough…” His console beeped, “Ship within viewing range.”

“On screen.”

The viewscreen blipped and showed a Jem’Hadar fighter dropping out of warp.

“A single fighter? That’s it?” Logan said, unimpressed.

“You can be offended later. It’s probably a scouting ship to find out what happened on the Array. We should be thankful, that ship alone has enough firepower to take care of us.”

“We’re being hailed,” Logan said nervously.

“They came all this way, there’s no sense in being rude.” Alex motioned to the viewscreen, “On screen.”

The viewscreen was replaced by a Vorta woman, “I am Loumah 4, commanding officer of this Jem’Hadar vessel.

“I’m Commander Alexander Benson of the USS Cantabras. What can I do for you?”

Commander, you misunderstand. It is we who can help you. This structure is Dominion property. If you do not depart, we will be forced to fire-”

Incorrect. The Liakso Array is the property of the Federation. They built it for scientific surveying purposes.”

The Dominion discovered it was insufficiently protected so we have secured it. That makes it Dominion property.”

“Unfortunately, the Federation Charter doesn’t have a ‘Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers’ clause in it. I know, I’ve looked.”

The Vorta’s expression became deadly, “Your final warning Commander, depart or we will destroy your ship.” And the viewscreen returned to that of the Jem’Hadar ship.

“Well, that wasn’t very nice,” Alex said.

Logan’s console beeped, “They’re moving into an attack position.”

“Keep the Array between us. They won’t risk hitting it to get to us.” Alex pulled up the Tactical console, “Bring us around for an attack run.”

The Cantabras emerged from the other side of the Array, launching itself at the Jem’Hadar fighter. Both ships exchanged phaser fire, ending in a stalemate between each other’s shields.

“Shields still holding at 84%. Carter, switch to manual controls,” Alex yelled.

“What? Why?” And all at once the realization hit him. “Oh no, no no!” Logan protested.

“Yes… set a course for the Cluster. Maximum warp.”

“Do you remember that time we almost died and left our ship completely crippled? That was fun, right? Imagine that, but with Jem’Hadar breathing down our necks!” Logan yelled over the commotion. He sighed and activated the controls, “Course laid in. The Jem’Hadar ship is firing torpedoes.”

“Evasive maneuvers,” Alex replied. He fired a stream of phaser blasts at their torpedo launcher. As predicted it did little damage but kept them interested in the Cantabras. The Jem’Hadar ship kept pursuit.

“We’ve reached the Cluster,” Logan reported as the ship dropped out of warp. “Are you sure about this?”

“Trust me, I have an idea.” Alex split his display between Science and Tactical consoles. “Take us in, I’ll watch the sensors.”

“Taking us in,” Logan moved the ship into the Cluster. “Dangerous, hostile conditions to the front of us, and deadly Dominion fighter behind us… what could go wrong?”

Alex pulled up the logs from their last journey into the Cluster. “Carter, I’m sending you coordinates.” His console beeped, “Hard to starboard!”

Logan quickly moved the ship as a singularity appeared and stole a glance at his console. “Are you nuts!?”

“The enemy of my enemy, Carter. If you have a better idea, I’m all ears.”

“We’re about to be all atoms…” Logan said, moving the ship to the designated coordinates.

Alex looked at his console, “There you are… I have an anomaly roughly 200 kilometers out, bearing 93, mark 0.”

“The Jem’Hadar see it too. They’re moving to engage.”

Alex changed the viewscreen to that of the Jem’Hadar vessel. He watched as they engaged the jellyfish life form. The ship launched a barrage of torpedoes at it. This slightly slowed the creature, but not stopping it. Suddenly, as if decloaking, two more jellyfish emerged from the space near the life form.

“Okay, that’s horrifying,” Logan said, watching the two join in the attack.

An urgent beep drew Alex’s gaze to his console. “The Jem’Hadar’s warp core is overloading. Carter, get us out of here!”

“You don’t have to tell me once!” Carter said, maneuvering the ship back out of the cluster.

Alex watched the viewscreen as the Jem’Hadar ship shined brightly, and explode.

“We’ve cleared the cluster, Commander,” Logan said with a sigh of relief.

“Stand down from Red Alert. Carter set a course for the Liakso Array, maximum warp. We have to pick up something we left behind.”