I.Cardassia Prime: Capital World of the Cardassian Union
The Cardassian Union, once a great Alpha Quadrant power, was now in a state of uncertainty in the aftermath of the Dominion War. Its capital world, Cardassia Prime, lay in ruins as retaliation for a popular uprising against Dominion rule. Nearly a billion civilians lost their lives in the genocidal attack. The future of this once powerful empire was in question.
Cardassia City was the site of a diplomatic conference to discuss the future of the Cardassian Union. Humans, Vulcans, Andorians, Klingons, Romulans, and Bajorans were among the various Alpha Quadrant races in attendance meeting with representatives of Cardassia’s new democratic provisional government and various members of the Cardassian diplomatic corps. Within the crowd, a large dark-skinned humanoid stood amongst a slow-moving line of people. He visually surveyed the large auditorium-sized meeting area. The right side of his face was fitted with what appeared to be a metal brace with a thin rubber tube jutting out towards his lips. Various dignitaries pointed at him suspiciously, noting no change in his facial expressions as he acknowledged orders from whomever he was communicating with.
The crowd of people in front of the suspicious humanoid began to disperse, and he began to pace towards an innocuous wall panel. He effortlessly yanked off the panel revealing a large carrying case inside the wall. He removed the case and set it down on the floor. Two Cardassian security guards dressed in civilian attire to avoid looking conspicuous approached the mysterious humanoid. The guards removed rectangular badges bearing a red Cardassian Union logo from their equipment belts. One guard then verbally identified himself and his colleague. “Central Guard, sir,” he said. “Several people here have reported suspicious activity. We’re going to need you to come with us.”
The unidentified alien opened a velcro pocket on one side of his trousers and pulled out a long gun-like weapon. He fired two energy projectiles into the guard’s chest, turned to the right, and fired two more into the other guard’s chest. A large group of onlookers gasped in horror. The alien fired his weapon towards the ceiling to fend off the crowd. He then opened the case to reveal an explosive device and pushed a large button at the top of it. A fireball enveloped the entire meeting area. In place of the shiny brown walls and humanoids of various races were walls covered in ash and partially incinerated charred corpses.
Federation Starbase Deep Space Nine
Sparks came gushing out of a pulsating plasma conduit. The petite Ferengi engineer attempting to repair the conduit quickly jumped out of harm’s way and hissed in disgust. The conduit then went dark. “What happened?” a voice called out.
“Must be another plasma coil overload,” Lieutenant Nog answered slamming his laser torch down on the floor.
Deep Space Nine’s chief of operations, Lieutenant Aiman al-Rashid jogged towards the open wall panel. He trained a scanning instrument on a segment of the conduit. He whistled in amazement when the instrument let out a high-pitched whine. “Well, there’s your problem. This whole conduit is fried. It’s a wonder it held out this long. We’ll have to replace it.”
“That could be a problem, sir,” Nog responded. “Dismantling the conduit would completely shut down the primary security grid for this section. We don’t have that luxury with the conference tomorrow.”
“And what alternative would you recommend, Lieutenant?”
“Well, sir, we could assign extra security to this location and bypass through the adjacent power distribution manifold. The security grid would not be as effective, but it would be more useful to us than if we dismantled these conduits.”
He gave a quick back and forth visual survey of the conduit layout. Someone was hoping to gather information by examining the plasma coils through Rashid’s eyes. Rashid’s contact quickly uploaded the data received and sent back instructions. As far as the Starfleet engineer was concerned, nothing unusual took place. Little did he know that acknowledging his Ferengi assistant’s suggestions were programmed instructions.
Rashid nodded his head approvingly. “That would be a fine short term solution. We’d still have to refit this whole network eventually. Get started on it immediately.”
“I’m on it, sir,” Nog answered enthusiastically. He then sauntered off towards to begin necessary medications to adjacent power distribution systems.
“O’Brien sure taught you well, Nog,” Rashid said, referring to his predecessor Chief Miles O’Brien, who served as a mentor to Nog prior to his departure to teach at Starfleet Academy.”
Nog stopped to acknowledge the complement he had received from his superior. “He was a good teacher, sir. Making the Cardassian power core compatible with the Starfleet issue technology can be quite a challenge.”
Lieutenant Ro Laren stood in the station’s security office updating the criminal bulletin screen. Ro had replaced Odo as the station’s top law enforcer after the latter rejoined his fellow Changelings following the Dominion War. She was diverted from her attention on that aspect of station security when the doors to the office slid open. Colonel Kira Nerys stepped inside with an inquisitive, but concerned look. “You wanted to see me?”
Ro looked away from the bulletin screen displaying the latest criminal profiles in response to the station commander’s arrival. “Yes, sir,” she said walking towards the desk to grab a PADD. “Rashid is finding those repairs to the surveillance system a lot harder than expected. He’s asking for extra deputies in these sections.”
Ro handed Kira the PADD. Kira looked over the display on the screen. “Looks like a lot of us could use some leave time after this conference,” she quipped. “Are these personnel transfers going to be absolutely necessary?”
Ro sighed, sensing Kira’s annoyance. “Unfortunately, neither the Diplomatic Corps nor the Bajoran Council is willing to delay this conference so much as a day. Rashid is even willing transfer some of his crew to security. I’m already working out the duty roster.”
Kira grinned recalling stories from the recently departed Chief O’Brien and Lieutenant Commander Worf about Ro’s constant clashes with superior officers while those three served on the Starship Enterprise together. As far as working security, Ro did not possess Odo’s strict sense of discipline and devotion to protocols, but she was just as capable and efficient as the departed constable. “Security seems to be a perfect fit for you.”
“What can I say? Having that kind of seniority means having plenty of autonomy.”
“Just don’t let it go to your head, Lieutenant.”
Both Bajoran women smirked at each other before Kira left the office and Ro began entering commands into her desk’s computer console.
Solarin was deep into analyzing a PADD displaying Deep Space Nine’s schematics. A middle-aged Bajoran man, he looked like one of the guerilla fighters from Cardassia’s occupation of his home planet even though the occupation was over: long, unkempt hair and a partially shaved beard. His concentration almost resembled a hypnotic trance, which he was pulled out of it by the chime of the doorbell. He slammed down the PADD and took a few deep breaths. The doorbell chimed two more times. He pulled a phaser pistol out of a drawer underneath his desk and aimed at the door to the station’s guest quarters. “Enter,” he shouted before letting out an exacerbated sigh.
The door slid open, and Ronnick, another middle-aged Bajoran man wearing standard engineering coveralls, entered, not realizing that the quarters’ occupant was pointing a weapon at him. Upon seeing this was the case, he reflexively held his hands up. “Is that any way to greet your brother, Solarin?” he asked in a half-joking tone.
Solarin grinned in response to his sibling’s quip, while lowering his pistol. “With all these security arrangements for the upcoming conference, we can never be too careful.”
“That’s exactly what I came here for,” Ronnick replied. “Extra security officers have been assigned to areas where we sabotaged the surveillance sensors.”
Solarin stood up slowly while stroking his curly red ponytail. “Then the situation calls for us to modify our plan.”
Ronnick was not as convinced as his brother was. “The extra security will make carrying out that plan difficult. They’ve been ordered to report any suspicious activity.”
Solarin looked over at Ronnick and walked over to him. “We’ve been planning this for months,” he hissed. “Nothing has gotten in our way. We cannot back out now. We only need to make a few changes. Do I have your support?”
“Of course, brother. I serve the Prophets.”
“As do we all. The Prophets will not let us down.”