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"Please remain calm," a loudspeaker announced to holding pens filled to capacity with Cardassian State civilians. "You are being relocated to the Romulan Star Empire to support the alliance and ensure the continued prosperity of Cardassia. Your service to your people is noted with the highest gratitude."

Several thousand Cardassian men and women huddled on the frozen dirt and mud floors of the enclosures, but they were far from calm. This icy hell was far from suited for the reptilian nature of the Cardassians. None had brought winter clothes. Many had already succumbed to frostbite. The survivors prayed for this to end, even if it meant transport to Romulus. They had no idea that their salvation was currently entering the upper atmosphere of this desolate planet.

A Cardassian State Gul wrapped in a heavy coat and fur hat walked with purpose out of the central command center on the far side of the holding pens. A Glinn was following with a portable comm unit.

"I thought the fleet was supposed to hold them in orbit!" the Gul shouted angrily.

"Several Klingon vessels decloaked and assisted the Republic ships," the Glinn replied with desperation.

"We'll have to fight them off here," The Gul said climbing a set of metal steps leading to the top of the compound's permacrete walls ringed with razor wire. "What is our troop status?"

"I've brought the order to full alert. With our prepared emplacements, I believe we can hold off an infantry attack, however Sir, this compound was built to keep people in, not out."

Several sonic booms echoed out of the sky. All the Cardassians looked up into the icy haze of Leminora's atmosphere. An eerie silence fell over the entire compound.

"They're coming…" the Gul said. "Get into position! "

Cardassian State soldiers shimmied up ladders to the four armored guard towers that towered over the compound. Hundreds more ringed the walls and began emplacing phaser cannons. Just as they finished their work, six heavy Klingon landing craft dropped from above. The Cardassians fired their particle weapons wildly skyward in a futile attempt to shoot them down.

The six landing craft leisurely circled for about a minute before landing two kilometers away on the flat, snow-covered moor.

"Those idiots!" the Gul said overcome with glee as he examined the ships with a pair of binoculars. "This plain is about to become a killing ground. Our phasers will cut them to pieces before they get within five hundred meters of the wall!"

The silence returned over the compound. All that could be heard was the muffled cries of the civilians, confused and terrified by what was happening. Then, the front ramps of the landing craft dropped and the 25 tanks of the Pheban Hussars roared out onto the ground. Their metal tracks grinded, screeched, and threw up huge clods of mud, snow, and ice as they charged forward with tremendous speed. Within moments, they formed a vast wedge that pointed straight at the compound.

The Gul aimed his binoculars on the center tank and zoomed in to full power. The Pheban regimental commander was hanging out of the hatch on top of his turret. One of his tentacles held a lit Klingon cigar as his other tentacles expertly manipulated his subspace radios and target scopes.

"By Ailam…" the Gul muttered as terror gripped him. "Fire everything we have! Shoot them, dammit! Shoot them before they get in range!"

The Cardassian State soldiers opened fire with heavy phasers, sending hundreds of bright, yellow beams directly toward the Klingon tanks, but their energy weapons were meant for dismounted forces at much closer distances and bounced off the ionized hulls of the charging panzers as harmlessly as drops of rain.

As the tanks reached their primary firing range, the Pheben commander triumphantly raised one of his tentacles and shouted into his radio: "BaH!"

The main disruptor cannons of the tanks unleashed hell on the compound. Giant green blasts ripped holes in the outer wall, blew the perimeter towers to flaming rubble, and sent hordes of Cardassian State soldiers flying through the air as chunks of singed flesh.

"Sir!" the Glinn shouted to the Gul. "We have to retreat to our escape vessels!"

"No!" the Gul replied, "If we run, they'll shoot us down like voles. They can't take this compound with tanks, only level it. With the civilians here, we at least have a bargaining chip."

The tanks suddenly fanned out as they closed to within five hundred meters of the smoking walls. The Ferasans appeared from behind them. The felinoids sped forward at nearly a hundred kilometers hour mounted on armored hovercycles. The drivers kept the vehicles less than a meter above the ground as heavy disruptor gunners in attached side cars opened fire. Thousands of green disruptor bolts peppered the upper walls of the compound, killing every remaining Cardassian soldier stupid enough not to retreat. The civilians in the pens dropped to the ground, cowering in fear as they felt that the Klingons had finally come to kill them all.

The Ferasan hoverdragoons began circling the compound, picking off targets of opportunity. The surviving Cardassian State soldiers fled from the walls towards the outer gates of the pens. If they couldn't fight toe to toe with the KDF, they felt they could at least use their captive countrymen as humanoid shields.

The Gul and his Glinn ran towards the center of the compound.

"Get me a subspace link to orbit. I want to tell the Klingons that if they don't immediately break off their attack, I will start executing the civilians…"

He had barely finished his sentence when more sonic booms echoed from the sky. They looked up to see Klingon assault ships drop straight on top of them. They dropped to a hover less than a hundred meters of the base and their door gunners made quick work of the remaining Cardassians with any fight left. Then, the side panels opened and ropes dropped to ground. The San-Tarahans didn't need them…

The Gul watched in horror as a pack of giant wolves fell from the sky and began carving up his men with swords, knives, claws, and fangs. It was like something out of a nightmare. As the San-Tarahans distracted the remaining guards, Klingon marines slid down the ropes with bat'leths and disruptors at the ready. They ran up to the pens and cut the locks to the ground with their baakonite blades. Interpreters informed the bewildered Cardassian civilians they were now under the empire's protection until their Republic brothers arrived.

The Gul heard a terrifying shriek from behind him. He turned just in time to see the Glinn cleaved in half by one of the wolves wielding a giant sword. The Gul screamed in horror and attempted to draw his disruptor pistol. Colonel Te-Raw was faster. The San-Tarahan leapt forward, drove his razor sharp claws straight through Gul's belly armor, and then ripped out the Cardassian's throat with a bite from his fangs. The last thing the Cardassian ever heard as he choked to death was Te-Raw's fearsome victory howl into the frozen air.

As the last resistance was being decimated by the combined forces of the San-Tarahans and Klingon marines, one of the assault ships landed softly in the middle of the compound a few meters from corpse of its former commander. Colonel Te-Raw watched as Tigranian dismounted and calmly walked forward with his bat'leth lazily draped across a thick, klongat fur coat.

"You couldn't save any for me?" Tigranian asked Te-Raw in tlhIngan Hol as the colonel panted in front of him covered in a mix of war-paint and Cardassian blood.

"I never pass up the opportunity to earn a kill, General, nor do any of my pack. The Klingons should have come to San-Tarah sooner,"Te-Raw said yipping happily. "It is far more enjoyable killing things not of my world."

"Noted…" Tigranian said with a grin.

A Klingon officer emerged from the gap between two captive pens, walked up to Tigranian, and saluted.

"General, our forces have secured the civilians. No casualties among the Cardassian captives."

"Excellent work, Colonel," Tigranian said with a salute of his own.

A Pheban wearing a black tanker helmet and smoking his cigar walked side by side with a Ferasan through one of the holes blown through the outer wall. When they reached Tigranian, they both saluted.

"My men are securing the perimeter," the Ferasan said with a slight bow. "I have dismounts moving to the hill crests there and there," he said pointing towards a ridgeline a kilometer away.

"And my armor has the high ground to the west and north. We could hold off three orders by ourselves," the Pheban lisped confidently before blowing a cloud of smoke out of his narrow mouth.

"Hopefully the Republic will have the civilians evacuated before we have to test that Colonel Barukas," Tigranian said. "Besides, it's too cold on this chunk of ice. I don't want to stay here that long. You all performed flawlessly today. Glory to you and your houses."

"Long live the Empire!" Tigranian's subordinate commanders said in unison.

"Long live the Empire!" the general replied twisting his bat'leth around his wrists and into his shoulder. "Perfect Victory…"


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