All the characters and places belong to the powers that be at Paramount. No infringement or profit meant. The story and the characters of Ensign Marle, Lieutenant Davies, Smith and Ensign Carey, however, are all mine. Ambush takes place after "Change of Heart" and before "His Way."
This part of the story was written under the inspiration of two great CDís
- Sarah Brightmanís "Dive" and Madonnaís "Ray of Light."
Then, the snap of a twig and a rustle in the leaves reminded her that she could not let her guard down for a second. She turned back onto her stomach and peeped through the leaves. Three JemíHadar soldiers were moving through the undergrowth. Their brisk but efficient sweep of the forest sent a shiver down Daxís spine; she knew with certainty that they knew she was lying somewhere in this forest and with her broken leg and fractured wrist, she knew that she certainly wouldnít be going anywhere fast.
Benjamin is going to get an earful when I get back, she vowed as she watched the Jemí Hadar move cautiously.
She caught a glimpse of the anti-coagulant weapon and shuddered, remembering her own experience with the weapon.
"Come on, Dax," she whispered to herself. "This isnít the time to lose your nerve."
The JemíHadar moved out range and Dax pulled herself forward on her elbows, inching along slowly. The branches whipped her in the face and some of the thorns drew blood. Still, she clenched her teeth tightly to keep from crying out when the branches whipped at her face, and somehow, she managed to keep dragging herself along the ground. Her motivation, despite the pain, was very simple: the longer she stayed on this planet from hell, the more danger she would encounter and the prospect of imprisonment or even death was enough to keep her going. Finally, after a tedious three-hour crawl, she reached the runabout.
Before leaving the brush, she scanned the area with her tricorder for JemíHadar and discovered the nearest soldier to be a mere 100 meters away.
"Youíve got to be fast, Jadzia," she whispered to herself. Carefully, she pulled herself up and put all her weight on her right leg and moved as fast as she could, leaning against trees and finally, she reached the runabout.
She punched the code in and the doors flew open and Dax fell into the runabout. She hauled herself painfully inside and then shut the doors. Leaning against the walls of the runabout, she managed to make it to the pilot seat.
"All right," she murmured as she grabbed a hypospray and pressed it against the side of her neck. She punched in the course with her good hand, almost with fainting with relief. "Letís go home," she said, before closing her eyes and passing out from the pain.
"You would have loved it, Worf," Dax smiled at her husband as he helped her
off the examination table. "It was hot and sticky and damn uncomfortable. More
than enough suffering to go around."
Worf did not smile in return; instead he wore a worried expression as Dax struggled to stand.
"Ow!" Dax yelped and she fell into Worf. He held her steady and for a moment, Dax was content to lean on him and draw strength from his commanding presence.
"Okay, Worf," she said. "You have to let me try this on my own."
"Be careful," the Klingon cautioned.
Dr. Julian Bashir looked up as Dax finally got to her feet.
"Stay off that leg as much as possible, Jadzia," he warned. "It will still take a couple weeks to heal. That means no fighting honor battles or dancing the night away on the holodecks."
Dax pouted, leaning against Worf for support, "Julian, you take the fun out of everything."
"Jadzia, Iím serious."
"She will stay off of her feet," Worf promised.
"If you had your way, Iíd be in a wheelchair," Dax protested. "Worf, really, itís only a broken leg. It could have been more serious."
Worf gazed at her for a moment and then said, "Yes, I know."
"Worf, really, Iím fine," Jadzia protested. "And right now, Iím entirely too
As it was, she felt numb from the painkillers Julian had pumped her with earlier and now Worf had tucked her into bed, covering her high with blankets.
"Iím sorry," he said apologetically. "I forget you like it cool."
She smiled and sat up for a second, "Come here."
He came obediently and sat by her.
"Thank you. I love you for all this," Jadzia said quietly. "I will be all right. Itís just a few minor injuries." She leaned over to hug him. "But, damn, I really missed you on that planet."
"I worried about you."
"Iím sorry. It was supposed to be a routine mission. It just went all wrong. I wouldnít have gone if I had known it would turn out like this. You have to believe me."
"You could have been stranded on that planet or imprisoned or worse."
"I know. But thatís a chance I had to take. The information I gathered will be useful to Starfleet."
At that moment, the door chimed and Worf sighed for a moment and then said, "Come in."
The doors slid open, revealing Captain Benjamin Sisko.
"Hello, Benjamin," Jadzia sat up, drawing her blanket closer around her bare shoulders. Worf nodded,
"Captain. Please, sit."
"You and I need to talk, Ben," Jadzia said. "Thatís the last time Iím going off on some foolhardy quest by myself.
Even as a favor to you."
Sisko smiled at the Trillís indignation, "I am sorry, but with the latest Bajoran crisis and the impasse with Gowron, I could not spare either Kira or Worf to accompany you."
"I know, Benjamin, but you owe me this time."
"Not a problem, Old Man," Sisko smiled. "How do you feel?"
"A little sore, but fine, really."
"Youíre right. I shouldnít have sent you to Mora IV alone. That was a bad judgment call on my part. It was supposed to be a routine mission. Iím sorry about all this that has happened to you."
Dax shrugged, "Benjamin, if I had been a little steadier on my feet, it would not have turned as precarious as it did."
"Still," Worf began to argue and then he stopped. For a moment Sisko and Dax looked at him questioningly, but Worf could not speak. He could not explain the worry he had felt when Jadzia had been sent alone to a far off planet to check on the rumors of a Cardassian and JemíHadar training camp. He had wanted to protest at the time Jadzia had informed him of the mission, but he had not wanted to act the part of the over-protective husband. And when she had returned, seriously injured and exhausted, it was all he could do to contain his anger and frustration over the fact he had not been there to protect and help her.
"Worf," Jadzia placed her hand on his shoulder. "Worf, itís all right. Iím back and everything is okay."
He nodded, still not able to speak.
"Did you read my report?" Dax asked, turning her attention back to Sisko.
"Yes," Sisko said quietly. "How many JemíHadar and Cardassian soldiers do you think are on that planet?"
"About two hundred. But from the size of that compound, I would speculate that those numbers will grow," Dax said. "I think the training camp has a capacity of about five thousand. Right now, itís all pre-fab construction. Temporary, I suppose, until the Cardassians and the Dominion can get the resources together to put a more permanent structure together. I donít know how long that will be as Mora IV is quite far from the nearest Dominion or Cardassian outpost, but still, we ought to be alert for any increase in activity."
"I do not like the idea of Cardassians and JemíHadar are training together. It makes me wonder what the Dominion has in mind," Sisko mused.
"Well, it doesnít look good, no matter how you look at it," Dax said. "You need to make a decision, Ben, and you need to make it soon. Right now, I donít think the base would hurt the Federation but there is potential, over the next few months, for it to grow. And with Alpha and Gamma Quadrant JemíHadar training together along with the Cardassians, this training camp could potentially be a source of strategic advantage for the Dominion."
Sisko turned to Worf, "What do you think, Commander?"
Worf considered carefully, "I think Jadzia is correct. The surveillance video indicates a potential for the Dominion to launch an attack from that planet. Itís a perfect jumping-off point for attacking Bajor."
Sisko nodded, "That is exactly what I am thinking. Mr. Worf, please prepare the Defiant for departure. We leave in two hours."
Sisko left and Jadzia leaned back against the pillows.
"I donít suppose I would be coming with you," she said wistfully.
"No," Worf said. "You stay here and rest. We will be back soon."
"I wonít stay away," Worf said quietly. "I will come back as soon as possible."
"Good, because Iím going to be dreadfully bored while youíre gone. But you know, this might be a good time to catch up on all those new Klingon operas you ordered the last time you were on Qíonos?"
"You must promise to be careful with them, Jadzia," Worf answered sternly. "Please, do not ruin them. You do,
"And if I do?" she asked with a smile. "What will you do then?"
Worf considered, "We have had this conversation before, Jadzia. Please, just say whatever it is you want to say to me."
"I would greatly appreciate it. I have been honest with you."
"Then, I just have this to say. You have to promise to be careful, Worf. Donít try to be too brave, okay?" she
Suddenly the Klingon laughed, "Look who is worrying now."
"Iím serious, Worf. I was on that planet for three days and look what happened to me."
"You were alone. If I had been thereÖ"
"Worf, promise me."
Worf eyed his wife, suddenly realizing the laughter had vanished from her eyes.
"I will be, I promise," he said seriously.
"Good," Jadzia said. "In that case, I can rest peacefully."
"Do you need anything before I leave?"
"Just a good-bye kiss or two will be fine."
The Defiant pulled away from the station and Major Kira Nerys eyed it
with longing. More than anything, she would love to have gone on this mission
with Sisko, Worf, Odo and OíBrien. Even that annoying little Ferengi, Nog, was
able to go; however, as Sisko reminded her, someone had to stay behind and watch
the station. Kira sighed. According to Daxís report, this planet, Mora IV, would
provide a perfect base for the Dominion to attack Bajor and any threat to her
home worried Kira. She was very glad that Sisko had taken the Defiant for a
closer look at the potential dangers of Mora IV.
"Major," the doctor emerged out of the turbo lift.
"Julian," Kira turned. "Iím glad to see you. Iím actually starting to feel a little lonely."
Bashir surveyed the nearly deserted Ops. The lack of personnel was starting to become a familiar sight on the station and for Bashir, who was naturally gregarious, the gradual depletion of staff was a little disheartening, a tangible reminder that the war against the Dominion and Cardassia was not going well for the Federation.
"It is a little quiet. I havenít been able to get used to it," Bashir confessed. "With all the civilians leaving, itís almost like this station is really a military outpost. So much for what it was supposed to be."
"I know," Kira said quietly. "But itís better with everyone gone. It really is. That way we donít have to worry about civilians being hurt in case of an attack and in terms of procedure, we can be more efficient and effective this way without worrying about civilians who are on-board."
Bashir shrugged his elegant shoulders, "I suppose youíre right. It just feels odd to me, thatís all."
Bashir could not understand Kiraís calmness about the situation, about her equilibrium when it came to the non-military matters. And Bashir knew for sure that he did not like the quiet that seemed to pervade Deep Space Nine in the aftermath of the brief Cardassian-Dominion occupation. His thoughts were interrupted by the whir of the turbo lift. He turned to see who the new arrival was.
"Miss me?" Jadzia Dax limped out of the turbo lift. She smiled radiantly at Kira and Bashir.
"I thought I told you to stay off of that leg," Julian said, jumping to his friendís side.
"I know you did," Dax said. "But Iíve never been really good about listening to whatís good for me."
"That I know," Bashir said. He pulled out his tricorder. "The swelling has decreased, but I still detect slight fractures in the bone where the regeneration therapy did not reach."
"You never did tell me how you broke it," Kira said with interest. There was nothing important going on on the station, she thought, and a story about Daxís trials on Mora IV might lend some spice to an already dull day. "In fact, Dax, you havenít really talked much about Mora IV really. Between the good doctor and your husband, I havenít seen much of you. Even Quark misses you."
"Thatís sweet," Dax said with a smile. "But believe me, my injuries were less than heroic."
She took a step towards Kira and nearly fell over in the process.
"Here," Bashir said, rushing to her side. "Let me help you, okay? I donít want you to hurt yourself anymore. You really are a menace to yourself, Jadzia."
Dax took Julianís arm and leaned against him as he led her to her usual station.
"So?" Kira asked as soon as Dax was situated properly.
"I fell," Dax said. "The compound is built on the edge of a ravine. I had to come that way because it was not cleared so it afforded me some cover. But then, I slipped on some mud and tumbled down the slope. Certainly, nothing that would merit a poem or a song."
"All the same, it must have hurt."
"Yes, it did. Getting back to the runabout was a feat in itself, probably a story worth archiving in the annals of Starfleetís all-time stupid but heroic achievements. First, I couldnít walk, so I had to push myself along the ground. Never have I seen such an assortment of bugs and for some reasons, they wouldnít stop biting me. All the time I was crawling along, I thought the JemíHadar would spot me for sure. In fact, I really felt that their eyes were on me at every second. I think I gave myself a heart attack every time I heard a branch break or an animal move. But I was lucky and they only shot at me as I was getting away."
"Sounds exciting," Kira said glumly, looking out the blank view screen.
"At the time it was not exciting," Dax pointed out. "I was scared to death and I wasnít sure if Iíd make it back here."
She hopped out of her chair and moved over to check on a console, much to Bashirís consternation.
"I thought I asked you to get some rest," Julian said sternly. "You should be in your quarters, resting. Quietly. You should have stayed there. Believe me, Kira can run the station without you."
"Iím aware of that," Dax answered patiently. "But, Iíd rather be here. Really, Iím fine."
"I donít want to have to order you back to your quarters, Jadzia."
"Oh, donít do that, Julian. I got bored. Thatís why I came here. Do you know what itís like to just like in bed hour after hour? Dull. Here, at least, I can at least make myself useful," Dax replied as she hobbled back to her station. "There are some experiments I was running before Benjamin sent me off on that mission and I need to evaluate the results."
"As long as you promise you wonít exert yourself. Worf will never forgive me if you get hurt again."
Dax smiled sweetly, "You have my promise, Doctor. I would not want your life threatened in any way by an angry Klingon."
The Defiant neared Mora IV, an obvious Class M planet, covered with
thick, leafy vegetation. Sisko rubbed his hands in anticipation.
"Anything, Mr. Worf?" he asked.
"Nothing on the scanners," Worf replied.
Sisko frowned, "OíBrien?"
The Chief looked up from his panel, "Sorry, Captain. Iím not picking anything up either."
"No sign of Cardassian or Dominion activity?" Sisko asked, puzzled.
"None that we are reading, sir," Worf replied. "No structures, no life signs, no nothing."
"Odd," Sisko said. "Are we at the correct planet?"
"If I remember correctly, Captain, you are the one who gave these coordinates to Commander Dax," Worf said.
"Those are the coordinates we put into the computer. I assure you, there is no mistake."
"This is quite odd," Sisko said. "Mr. Worf, bring us into orbit around the planet and keep scanning for any interference or unusual activity."
"Of course I didnít expect my date with Ensign Smith to go so well," Bashir
said conversationally. He was sitting in OíBrienís seat, one leg propped up
on the console and his chin resting on his hand. "So thatís why I asked Lieutenant
"Doctor," Kira said in exasperation. "Is there a point to your story?"
"Itís only that I have two dates with two different women tonight and I donít know what to do about it," the doctor said plaintively.
"You should have thought about it first before asking Carey out," Dax pointed out. "That i your problem. You just need to think a little before acting."
"If only all our problems were so trivial," the major sighed.
"Trivial!" the doctor swung around to face Kira.
"Julian, donít you have anything to do?" Kira asked. "Canít you grow some bacteria or something? Surely you have something you could be doing, other than simply sitting here, taking up valuable space."
"Well, Major, " Bashir said with exaggerated care. "I donít grow fungus or bacteria without cause. And seeing as the station is mostly empty and the only person really needing my care is seated right here, the answer to your question is no."
"Very well," Kira said. "But try not to fill the silence with prattle, Julian. Itís distracting, since we are trying to get some work done."
"Prattle?" the doctor asked, an expression of bewilderment crossing his face.
"Conversation of a trivial nature," Dax put in helpfully.
"Iím sorry," the doctor said apologetically, a hint of injury in his voice. He focused his glance on Dax, whose attention remained intent on her console. He hoped whatever it was she was working on was infinitely more interesting than his present situation. The flickering lights on her computer lit up her face and suddenly, in a moment of frustration, the Trill rapped her fingers against the console.
"Not what I expected at all," Dax mumbled to herself as she scanned the results of her experiment.
"Did you say something, Jadzia?" Kira turned to look at Dax.
"No, not really. Just talking to myself," a frown crossed the Trillís face as her console beeped loudly. "Nerys, are you expecting anyone through the wormhole?"
"Well, Iím reading elevated neutrino levels," Dax looked up. "Someone is coming through."
"On screen," Kira said. She and Dax watched as the wormhole opened in a radiant burst of light. The colors swirled together purple, red and blue, before the wormhole spit out a ship. Bashir stood, recognizing the vessel immediately, even as Kira moved quickly across Ops.
"JemíHadar," Kira said grimly. "Red alert!"
The red lights started flashing and that all too familiar mind-numbing siren began to ring in Kiraís ears. She turned to look at Dax.
"Heís not alone," Dax said quietly. "I read at least five more warp signatures behind him. This is not good."
"Marle," Kira turned to the yellow-shirted ensign who was filling in for OíBrien.
"Yes, sir?" Ensign Kyle Marle asked.
"What is our weapons status?"
"Fully operational," the ensign replied. "Our shields are at one hundred percent."
"I was hoping you would say that. Dax, hail the JemíHadar."
The Trill shook her head, "No response, Major."
Major Kira bit her lip, "All right. Keep trying. I want to know what they are doing here."
"Still nothing, Captain," OíBrien replied. "There are no Cardassians or JemíHadar
on that planet."
"Well, according to Daxís report, there should be about two hundred soldiers down there at least. Scan it
again!" the captain said forcefully.
"Still nothing, Captain. There is no one down there."
"There must be some mistake," Sisko said, not for the first time. "Some reason why thereís nothing down there." Daxís report very clearly stated there were buildings, soldiers, training facilitiesÖ there has to be an explanation."
"Iím sorry, Captain," OíBrien said. "There is nothing down there."
Worf bristled, "Jadzia would not lie."
"No one is saying or even implying that she did, Commander," Sisko said.
Odo, who had been standing silently to the side, said now, "Could they have cloaked the facility?"
"I doubt it," OíBrien said. "Itís difficult to cloak an entire building. And even if they did, our sensors would pick up the energy drain on the field generators. No, itís nearly impossible to efficiently cloak an entire building or group of buildings. And according to Commander Daxís initial report, the buildings were simple, not yet at the level needed to power up a cloaking device."
Odo shrugged, his uneven features bearing no expression, "There must be some explanation."
"We will continue this orbit," Sisko said decisively. "We must find out what is going on here."
The first blast of fire shook the station, sending Kira flying across Ops.
"That was not nice!" Dax snapped at the non-responsive JemíHadar ships. "Kira, I havenít been able to raise them yet."
"Well, they certainly have our attention," the Bajoran replied, as she dusted off her uniform in a relatively careless manner. Bashir immediately was at her side, with a dermal regenerator.
"Hold still, Major," he said. "That cut on your cheek is pretty bad."
The JemíHadar fired off another blast, shaking the station. Kira grabbed onto a railing for support, while Bashir attempted to keep his hands steady.
"Dax, fire!" Kira shouted as smoke began to fill Ops.
"Iím powering up phasers now, Major," Dax reported.
"Youíre all set, sir," Bashir stepped back for a moment to admire his handiwork. Kira immediately returned to her post. The JemíHadar hit the station two photon torpedoes.
"We just lost sections four and five," Dax reported. "Hull breach imminent. We should evacuate those areas."
"Doctor," Kira barked. "Make yourself useful. Get down there and evacuate those areas."
"Aye, sir" Bashir hopped into the turbo lift.
"Marle, report please."
"Shields are at 75 percent," Ensign Marle reported.
"Kira, I think we should send a subspace transmission to Sisko," Dax said urgently.
"At warp seven, he should be here in eight hours."
"How long will it take the message to reach him?"
"Do it," Kira said. "Letís just hope we can hold out long enough for the Defiant
to get here. Ready photon torpedoes."
"Gladly," Dax said. "Torpedoes ready."
Sisko pressed the tips of his fingers together, a pensive expression crossing
his face. He did not doubt Jadzia Dax for a moment; both the source and her
information were reliable. Yet, the absence of any Cardassians or JemíHadar
on a planet, where just a day ago Dax had counted nearly two hundred, was suspicious.
"Could it be a trap?" Sisko wondered out loud.
His words caught Odoís attention, "Sir?"
"A trap, Constable. Could this be a trap? Luring the Defiant all the way out here?" Sisko turned to face his chief of security. "With the Defiant gone, the station is vulnerable and therefore, the Alpha Quadrant is also. Could this all have been an elaborate trap?"
There was a moment of silence.
"It does have an element of Cardassian intrigue," Worf observed. "Devious, underhanded, sneaky, well-thought out. It could very well be a trap."
"Perhaps, Captain, we should send a message to Deep Space Nine," Odo suggested. "At the very least, we could find out from Commander Dax exactly what she saw and where she saw it at."
"Send the message, Mr. Worf," Sisko ordered.
"No need," OíBrien cleared his throat. "I believe you are correct, Captain. Kira has sent an urgent subspace transmission. She says that the station is under attack. According to her message, there are eight JemíHadar ships attacking the station. At the time this message was written, shields were at 75 percent and there was the possibility of hull breach on decks four and five. Evacuation is imminent."
Sisko sucked in his breath, "Commander, set a course for the station. I think we have been duped long enough. Maximum warp."
"Course laid in for Deep Space Nine," Worf answered. "Warp seven."
"We canít take much more of this!" Dax shouted as smoke poured into Ops. The
Trill choked as she tried to make sense of the radar readings. "I canít get
a lock on them."
Kira nodded as she held onto a railing for balance as the station shook from the force of the JemíHadarís onslaught.
"Shields holding at 30 percent," Marle reported.
Bashir erupted out of the turbo lift, medkit in hand.
"Evacuation of decks four and five complete. Iím getting injury reports from all over the station," he said. "Thatís a nasty cut you have there, Commander."
"Itís okay, Julian," Dax said, suddenly aware of the blood dripping down her cheek. "Help Lieutenant Davies
first. Heís badly hurt."
"Dax, any ideas?" Kira barked.
"Iím concentrating a burst of photon torpedoes at the cluster of three ships. If I can hit the middle ship in the warp core, the resulting blast will destroy that ship and severely cripple the others," Dax called back.
"Do it!" Kira shouted. For a tense moment, Kira took a deep breath, trying to calm herself. She put her hand on the phaser at her side, feeling a strange comfort in the presence of the weapon.
"Firing now," Dax said. The two women looked out at the view screen as the torpedoes flew towards the JemíHadar ships. The plan worked, as the middle ship blew up in a burst as orange.
"The other ships are severely damaged," Dax said. "We can take them out with the phaser array."
"Ensign," Kira turned to Marle.
"Aye, sir. Readying phasers now."
"On my mark. Fire."
Dax looked up grimly, "Thatís three down, five to go."
"How is the Lieutenant, Doctor?" Kira queried.
Bashir stood up, a trace of weariness in his face and his voice as he said, "Dead."
"I canít believe how foolish we were," Sisko said out-loud. "How much
longer to reach the station, Mr. Worf?"
"Seven hours," Worf answered grimly.
"Any word from Kira?"
"That canít be good," OíBrien said. "Kira would have informed us if the JemíHadar were gone."
"Well, Chief, letís hope for the best but prepare for the worst," the captain said, trying to inject a little optimism into the conversation.
"Computer, being program Kira Alpha one two eight seven," Kira said slowly.
She stood in the middle of Ops, trying not to breathe too deeply. She was aware
of Bashir in the background attending to Daxís many bruises and scratches. "Security
clearance beta three eight six."
"Program Kira Alpha beginning," the computer squawked back.
"Shields are at five percent," Marle reported. "Just barely enough to keep the JemíHadar from transporting on-board."
"Itís too bad the Chief isnít here," Dax said from her seat. "Iíve already rerouted all the possible power sources and still, nothing. Damn!"
"Well, weíre going to have to try something else. One more phaser shot and weíre done for until the Defiant gets here," Kira said quietly.
"We do have one advantage, Nerys," Dax said firmly. "We know the station; the JemíHadar donít. If it were the Cardassians, I would be more concerned. But the JemíHadar probably arenít as familiar with the workings of Deep Space Nine as we are. Iím sure the Vortas and the Founders only let them know on a `as need to knowí basis. Iím pretty sure we can claim that as an advantage."
"What do you propose? Some kind of guerrilla warfare?" Bashir asked.
"Why not?" Dax shrugged. "Kira knows the art well and Iím sure the rest of us can follow her example."
"I hate to point out to you, Jadzia, but you are seriously injured," Bashir said quietly. "I donít think you will be fighting any battles."
"We canít stand here and discuss this much longer," Kira said. "Letís find an EPS conduit and we can plan there."
"Oh, my favorite place to be," Dax said, rising. "So roomy, so comfortable."
"Jadzia," Kira said sharply.
Marle and Bashir both helped Dax to the turbo lift.
"One good thing," Kira said. "At least when the JemíHadar do finally beam aboard and they will come within minutes, they will find nothing operational on board."
"You do good work. Those scrambler viruses are a godsend. It took the Cardassians almost a month to get the station barely operational because of the last one Sisko implemented," Dax said with a worried smile as the turbo lift descended to level eight.
"I just hope it holds them off until Sisko gets here," Kira answered. "Otherwise, we have just handed over Deep Space Nine to the Dominion."
Go to Part II
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