Sisko handed Lek the last of the explosives, which looked like metallic dynamite sticks. Lek placed the devices on a small ledge in the construction of the fusion reactor while continuing to train a phaser on Sisko. The Orion placed a clamp on the explosives that would heat up the ultritium.
Lek had taken his eyes off Sisko during this final task. Benjamin removed a metallic cylindrical device, from his right pocket, which flashed a small red light.
Nog’s station in Ops chirped. “Sir,” he called out to Kira. “Signal from a command transponder. Reads as Captain Sisko.”
Kira turned to look at Nog, as did Vaughn, who was manning the science station to monitor the evacuations. “Can you locate it?” Kira asked.
“Central core,” Nog replied as the readout was slowly appearing on his monitor. “Level thirty-four, section twenty-eight.”
“Security to L-34, S-28 of the central core,” Vaughn commanded, tapping a comm panel.
Sisko and Lek ran down a corridor to a safe distance from the center of the explosion. They turned a corner and leaned up against a wall, closing their eyes to shield them from the explosion. When the timer had elapsed, no such explosion happened. The two of them slowly opened their eyes, curious as why they didn’t hear an explosion.
Lek jammed his phaser pistol against Sisko’s chest. “You did this,” he growled.
“That’s not all,” Sisko replied, slugging Lek in the left jaw. He then grabbed the Orion’s phaser and kneed him in the wrist to loosen his grip. Sisko grabbed the phaser hoping that would deter Lek from making any other threatening moves. For a second that seemed the case, but then Lek whipped out a second pistol from a back holster. Before he could fire, Sisko fired his pistol, sending the Orion to the deck.
Sisko reached over to the comm panel on the opposite wall. “Sisko to security,” he called. “I need teams to level thirty-four of the central core, sections twenty-eight, thirty-three, and thirty-nine. I’m headed for thirty-three.”
Verad and Abbit were just as perturbed that they heard no explosion. The two Trills slowly walked back towards the venue where the detonation should have taken place. They stepped inside the chamber housing the fusion reactor to find clumps of black gel on the walls. They both looked at each other in confusion as to what went wrong.
“Stay right there,” a voice called from behind.
Sisko was in the corridor, phaser in hand. They turned around to face their possible captor.
“I knew you were behind this,”” Abbit snarled. Then to Verad, “And you let it happen.”
Abbit trained his weapon on Verad. Sisko was then able to get off a shot, stunning Abbit.
“Benjamin,” said Verad with a grin. “You still saved my life. I’m flattered.”
“Don’t read too much into it,” Sisko hissed.
Two gray-haired Bajoran security officers arrived at the scene. The man on Sisko’s right grabbed Verad by the arm and escorted him down the corridor, while the other man helped up Abbit. Sisko, meanwhile, stared in disbelief, both relieved and confused at what had just transpired.
The Sword of Kahless was now en route to Bajor. In the event that Deep Space Nine was compromised, Martok’s conferences with Bajoran and Federation officials were relocated to the planet.
The chancellor sat in his chambers, sorting through padds and contemplating the irony of the situation. Deep Space Nine had been one of the most secure facilities in the sector. Now it would most likely fall to a faceless enemy. He found he could not concentrate on personnel reports and schedule council debates with these possible upcoming meetings. He was hoping to postpone them in order to address possible threats back home. He threw one padd on the desk in frustration.
The doorbell woke him out of his trance. “Enter,” he snapped.
Martok sighed, relieved to see Worf enter. “You wish to see me, Chancellor?” the ambassador deferently asked.
“Ah, yes. Worf,” Martok stuttered. “Have you been able to contact the other ambassadors?”
Worf let out a slow sigh, not sure how to deliver the bad news. “Ambassador Krim will be leaving for Earth in two days for an emergency session of the Federation Council and won’t be returning for another month. Ambassador Hawkins will not postpone these meetings either.”
“This is what I hate the most about being chancellor: dealing with this diplomatic posturing.
“Our borders are vulnerable, Worf. You and I should be addressing these external and internal threats, not dealing with menial tasks.”
“Those ‘menial tasks’ are still part of our duties to the Empire.”
That suddenly made sense to the chancellor. He was thirsting for a chance to face enemies on the battlefield. But duty had many other meanings for a politician. “Worf,” he began to say with a chuckle, “you have an interesting way of…”
Martok rose from his chair to listen for a pulsating noise in the ceiling. Worf slowly stepped over towards the sound, which was getting louder. The pulsating was then replaced by a high-pitched whine.
An explosion sent shrapnel across the room. Both Klingons were knocked unconscious. Worf had only a gash on his left cheekbone, while the body of Martok was covered in cuts and bruises.