"Betrayal" Chapter Eight by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Sisko and Dax beamed down to their intended destination half a kilometer away from the farm.  The entire group had transported back to the Rio Grande earlier before gearing up.  They’d armed themselves with phasers.  Dax also carried a tricorder.

“Shall we?” Sisko gallantly made a sweeping gesture to indicate the direction they should go.

“Let’s,” Dax curtsied and started down the road.  Sisko accompanied her.  She took readings as they approached the farm.

“I hope Julian made it down all right,” Dax fretted.

“O’Brien is an expert.  He’ll set the doctor down where he can do the most good,” Sisko remarked.

“I am surprised, though,” Dax admitted. “I thought you found him to be too inexperienced for a task like this.”

Sisko chuckled. “I trust Bashir to stand back and provide cover fire.  Have you ever looked up his proficiency ratings at the Academy?”

“Of course not,” Dax said with indignation. “That’s a CO’s purview.  Although I bet Kira’s looked it up.”

And Odo,” Sisko’s good humor grew.

“Is there a point to this conversation?” Dax asked with a longsuffering air.

“Bashir has some of the highest scores on the range of any cadet in his class.  He’s good.  Not phenomenal, despite his feelings regarding that matter, but he is good,” Sisko shared. “So while he is inexperienced, his role is to lay down suppressive fire to inhibit movemen,t not to pick off targets.”

“So, he has impressed you,” Dax ventured.

“I respect the Doctor’s professional skills,” Sisko clarified. “I still don’t think he’s fully qualified as field personnel and there’s no reason to expect him to be.”

“Yet you brought him along,” she pointed out.

“I was expecting casualties,” Sisko confessed.

“You didn’t expect Hudson to come quietly,” Dax surmised.

“Cal and I have stretched the boundaries of friendship to the breaking point and beyond.  We areadversaries now and will treat each other accordingly.”

“Do you think he would kill you?” Dax asked softly.

Sisko let go of a heavy sigh. “I don’t know.  He’s proven himself to be a killer.  Why should I be immune if I stand in his way?”

“Well, he…” Dax began, but Sisko stopped abruptly, so she did as well. 

Sisko’s feelings were very raw as he spoke. “Cal Hudson is a terrorist.  He’s not a soldier any more.  He certainly kills military targets but he also indiscriminately butchers civilians for no crime greater than working for the Cardassians.  What is a man like that capable of?”

Dax let out a mournful sigh. “We’ve seen it too many times, Benjamin.  He has to be brought in for his own good, not just the safety of others.  You know what will happen to him if he has to live with himself.”         

“Exactly,” Sisko agreed with new resolve. “So let’s keep walking.”

“One question though,” Dax insisted. “Why didn’t you involve the local constabularies?”

Sisko gave her a pained look. “They’re Cardassians.”

“I thought that’s why we were cooperating with them in the first place,” she dryly remarked.

“Cal’s a Maquis and the local police are Cardassians.  How well do you think he would be received?” Sisko put it baldly.

“Gotcha,” Dax caught on. “Just asking.”

“We’re running late,” Sisko commented. “Care for a jog?”

She grinned, “Try and keep up.”

Bashir found himself in a peaceful wooded glen…and totally surrounded by armed strangers.  One of them, whom he guessed was the authority here, strode towards him.  She, at least, didn’t wave her phaser at him.  She let her companions do that for her.

“Drop the phaser rifle,” she ordered, “And the phaser on your hip and you will hand over your comm badge.”

Bashir suddenly had a wild thought of tapping his comm badge and calling Sisko.  The woman saw it in his eyes and smiled. “On second thought, I think I’ll take that comm badge.”

She removed it from his chest and handed it off to a young woman with violet hair. “Put this someplace safe, Alea.”

The younger woman blinked. “You shouldn’t have used my name, Kalinda.”

This amused Kalinda, “I’m sure Doctor Bashir here would be accurate enough in his descriptions of us for Starfleet Intelligence to identify us…particularly with that hair of yours.”

Alea blushed and moved off.  Kalinda motioned for Bashir to step aside.  When he did so, other Maquis retrieved his weapons.  He scowled as they did so.

“Cheer up, Doctor.  You’ve contributed to a noble cause,” Kalinda assured him.

“I don’t see how arming terrorists is serving a noble cause,” Bashir said spitefully.

“I see.  You’re an expert on local conditions and politics then?” Kalinda asked.

“Of course not,” Bashir admitted.

“Then keep your mouth shut about things which you have no scope of,” Kalinda warned.

“Or what?  You’ll kill me?” he baited her.

Kalinda tried to be reasonable. “No, but I will stun you for the sake of everyone here.  Your voice carries, Doctor, and the occupiers have itchy trigger fingers.”

“I thought that pertained to your group as well,” Bashir smarted off.

“Do you see us storming the castle?” Kalinda dryly asked.

Bashir had to admit she had him there. “So what now?”

“Now we sit very quietly and see what your commander flushes out,” Kalinda explained.

“Now see here!” Bashir protested.  Kalinda clamped a hand over his mouth.

 “Quietly, Doctor!  I won’t warn you again,” Kalinda stressed. “You can sit back and observe or you can take a nap while we do our business.  Your choice.”

“Just how did you get here before us?” Bashir wondered.

Kalinda smirked, “It wasn’t that hard.  The Maquis get things done while Starfleet holes up in hotel rooms.”

Bashir’s cheeks burned.  Kalinda pushed him towards a nearby tree. “Sit.”

He planted himself on the ground and she motioned for another Maquis to take her place.  He noticed with some satisfaction that it was the woman with the unusual hair.  She squatted across from him and frowned.

“Why are you smiling?” she asked suspiciously.

“I’m just admiring you.  I’ve never met anyone like you.  Captain Rionoj comes the closest,” Bashir observed.

“She’s a Boslic,” Alea commented.

“Are you?” Bashir inquired.

Alea smirked, “No.”

 “Then what are you?” Bashir asked after a moment’s hesitation.

“I’m me,” Alea said snarkily.

Kalinda came over. “I said to watch him, not to romance him.”

Alea gave her an angry stare as Kalinda went back to her preferred location.  Bashir tried a more conciliatory tone. “I didn’t mean to get you in trouble.”

“Just shut up,” Alea sullenly demanded.

“Really, I…” Bashir quieted down as Alea aimed her phaser at him.

“Not.  Another.  Word,” Alea grated.

Bashir settled in and wondered if he’d achieved something by becoming the Maquis’ first prisoner of war.

Kalinda flipped open an old surplus communicator and called Ro. “We’ve captured a Starfleet officer.  The doctor of all people.

Well, it’s not like this wasn’t expected,” Ro commented. “Any sign of the others?

“None yet, but they can’t be far behind…” Kalinda trailed off. “Wait, they just came jogging up.  Literally.”

What are they doing?” Ro inquired.

“Catching their breath and heading for the front door of the bunkhouse,” Kalinda reported.

Kalinda could imagine Ro’s eye roll as she responded, “Keep an eye on the situation.  We’re roiling in now.

Kalinda knew that Ro and the assault team were a kilometer away on a side road. “Roger that.  We’ll be ready and waiting.”

Starfleet ought to pay us for rescuing their tactical geniuses,” Ro snorted before she cut the transmission.

Kalinda felt the same way.

Dax scanned the bunkhouse and frowned. “They’re not exactly hiding, Benjamin.  We have human life signs mixed with one Vulcan and an Andorian.  I mark a dozen Cardassians.”  She put away the hand scanner. “What do you want to do?”

“Let’s knock on the door,” Sisko suggested.

As they approached, the door flew open and two armed Cardassians stepped out.  More came jogging around the building.  Given there were twelve inside the building to begin with, the four that had been on external foot patrol made sixteen.

“I’m Commander Benjamin Sisko,” he said. “I’m here to take Calvin Hudson into custody.”

The Cardassian everyone seemed to defer to suddenly laughed. “I heard comedy was a dying art among your people, Commander.  But you seem to have a fine grasp of it.”

“It’s not a joke,” Sisko said sternly.

“It’s not?” the leader asked.

“Not even close,” Sisko assured him.

 “Then we have a definite problem,” the leader informed him. “In that case, you will surrender your weapons and communications gear and step inside and join the other prisoners.”

“Are you suggesting that you’re taking us prisoner?” Sisko asked.

The Cardassian shook his head. “No Commander, I’m informing you that I am.”

“Your government will hear of this,” Sisko warned him.

The Cardassian chuckled. “Commander, I doubt they’ll even realize you’re gone before we have you on Cardassia Prime.  It’s amazing how efficiently prisoners can be lost there.”

Sisko tried one last gambit. “This is an act of war.”

“So were the Maquis attacks on our colony.  Consider this a counterstrike,” the Cardassian declared.

 Sisko grated, “What is your name?”

“I am Feron,” he said. “That’s all you need know.”

Sisko reached for his phaser and Feron tucked his disruptor’s emitter end under Dax’s chin. “Ah, ah, Commander.  You’re willing to lose your life but what about hers?”

Sisko dropped the phaser on the ground. Feron turned to Dax. “And now for you.”

Her eyes met Sisko’s and he nodded.  She dropped her phaser and tricorder.  Feron then plucked their comm badges off of their uniforms.

He motioned inside with his disruptor. “Come in here.”

They disappeared into the bunkhouse.

Outside, Kalinda swore and flipped open her communicator again. “Ro!  Where are you?  Starfleet just got taken prisoner.”

We’re five hundered meters away.  You’ll see us in any second,” Ro advised, and in a handful of minutes later, the scout car came sliding across the gravel and the Maquis deployed even before it came to a halt.

“Ben,” Hudson scowled.

“Hello, Cal.  This isn’t the reunion that I had planned,” Sisko admitted.

“No, you intended to grab me at phaser point and slap binders on my wrists,” Hudson corrected him.

“Something like that,” Sisko said darkly.

“Now I suppose you’ll be joining us on Cardassia,” Hudson predicted.

“Not her.” Feron pointed at Dax. “Gul Evek is always looking for new comfort women.  His supply of Bajorans has dried up.  I’m certain he’d like to try an exotic Federation creature.”  He laughed at seeing Dax’s revulsion. “Never fear, my pretty.  Evek takes good care of his lesser lifeforms.  As long as they please him.”

“I guess I’m going to be awfully mistreated then,” Dax warned.

The sound of crunching gravel interrupted Feron’s retort.  He pointed at the door. “See what that is.”

The door opened and two Cardassians exited.  The sound of phaser fire filled the air.  Feron ordered his troops, “Alpha Team with me.  The rest of you, fan out and deal with the intruders.”

The others went out a back door.  Seconds later, more phaser fire could be heard.  Feron called to certain Cardassians on his wrist communicator.  There were no replies.  He summoned reinforcements from the main house.

Heavy weapons fire sounded after that, as well as cries of pain.  Feron called out repetitively but no one ever responded.  Not even a wounded man, if there was such a thing.

Phaser fire rained down from the roof.  The other four Cardassians fell to the ground.  Feron had enough time to look to the roof and see a Bajoran woman and a human male on the rafters and crossbeams above.  The woman had him in her sights and he knew that death had found him at long last.

After Feron was dealt with, Ro and Tulley climbed down.  Tulley immediately aimed his phaser in Sisko and Dax’s direction.  Ro checked in with Hudson.

“Are you all right?” she asked. “Can everyone move?”

“We can but how will we…” Hudson started to ask.

Ro squeezed his arm. “We have a military grade transport outside and a ship at the port.  We are leaving, trust me.”

Hudson suddenly knew what Chakotay saw in her.  Macius had been the one to take a chance on Ro and that belief had just paid itself back a thousand fold.

“I’m afraid that isn’t possible,” Sisko insisted. “Commander Hudson is my prisoner.  He will stand trial…and so will you, Lieutenant Ro.”

Ro met his statement with an incredulous stare. “You are aware of the fact that you’re essentially myprisoner right now?”

“The Maquis don’t have the legal right to take prisoners,” Sisko argued. “Starfleet does.”

“And just how are you going to take us prisoner?” Ro wondered.

 “I have a Federation warrant for Commander Calvin Hudson,” Sisko clarified. “I can get one for you, Ro Laren.  In the name of expediency I’m willing to let the others go for now.”

Ro grinned. “Then it’s a good thing we’re not in the Federation.”

“Excuse me?” Sisko wasn’t certain he’d heard her correctly.

“We’re in the Demilitarized Zone, Commander,” Ro countered. “Show me a warrant from the central government of the DMZ and I’ll gladly turn myself in.”

Sisko was caught and he knew it as he admitted, “The DMZ lacks any centralized government.”

“Then I guess we’re free to go,” Ro sarcastically opined.  She turned to Tulley. “Keep them here while I gather the others.”

Ro stepped away, flipped open her communicator and began speaking into it.  Hudson turned to Sisko. “I’m sorry it had to be this way, Ben.  But just to warn you, I’m not going to be brought in.  Not now, not ever.  Even if you manage to capture me somehow, I’ll never break and I’ll never talk.  You can put me in the stockade on Jaros II until I die.  I’ll never betray these people.”  He smiled, “And now I think you can see how far they’ll go for me.”

The rear door opened and Kalinda marched Bashir in.  He looked distraught to see Sisko and Dax overpowered as well.  He miserably spoke to them.

“I’m sorry.  I transported down and they were everywhere,” he lamented.

“Don’t take it personally, Doctor,” Kalinda reassured him. “Your friends were captured with ridiculous ease as well.”

Bashir brightened a bit until Sisko scowled at him. Sisko turned to Hudson and said, “You won’t be able to leave.  I have a ship in orbit.”

“And how do you think my people arrived?” Hudson asked scornfully. “That they walked here from another solar system?”

Ro pulled Kalinda aside. “Have everyone gather up the Cardassians’ weaponry.”

“What about Starfleet’s?” Kalinda asked.

“Theirs too,” Ro answered. “Waste not, want not.”

Kalinda went outside and began issuing orders.  A few moments later, she paged Ro with her communicator.  Ro ordered Kalinda’s squad to mount up and take off for the spaceport.

Ro turned to the Starfleet officers and showed them their comm badges in her hand. “I’ll drop these off alongside the road at a safe distance.  By the time you get back to your runabout, me and mine should be long gone.”

Sisko angrily stared at her and she shrugged, “I wouldn’t step out of that door until you hear us drive off.  We’ll just stun you and it’ll take that much longer to return to your ship.”

A few hours later, Sisko and his companions found their comm badges sitting alongside the road as promised.  Sisko wearily requested a transport.  O’Brien beamed Sisko and Dax aboard and then grabbed Bashir.  He was full of questions but Sisko derailed him with a question of his own.

“Have any ships lifted off in the last three hours?” Sisko wondered.

“Sure,” O’Brien answered. “At least half a dozen.”

“Were any headed for Ronara Prime or thereabouts?” Sisko clarified.

“I don’t know.  I wasn’t tracking traffic.  I suppose we could extrapolate it out of the sensor logs,” O’Brien offered.

“Never mind, Chief.  Just head us towards home,” Sisko blearily ordered.

“Do you mind, Lieutenant?” O’Brien asked Dax before taking the CONN.

“Be my guest, Chief,” Dax said. “I’m going to crash on a cot in the lounge.  Don’t wake me until we get there.”

Sisko sat at Ops, but he wasn’t saying anything.  He seemed lost in thought and O’Brien didn’t want to disturb him.  He had an alternate resource anyway.

“So Julian, what happened down there?” he asked.


Within twenty four hours the Maquis had spirited Hudson off of Ronara and onto another colony.  The move was in case any of the Cardassian tracking stations put their movements together and sent more paramilitaries or even regular forcers to try to apprehend the Maquis Commander once again. 

Ro actually thought it unlikely.  She’d given the Cardies quite a bloody nose on this one.  It would be some time before they crossed paths with her again.

Thinking about all of these events, she entered the Old Biddy.  What she saw surprised her.  She rather liked it.  It was so much livelier than the drab sterility exuded by the place where she’d been recruited.  That dive was becoming known as her cell’s favored meeting place.  Perhaps it was time to move on after all.

As expected, Macen sat at a table waiting for her.  He’d opted for a table in the middle of the room rather than the privacy of a booth.  She complained about such as she sat down.

He wore a merry smile. “Then people think you’ve something to hide.”

“I do,” Ro wryly reminded him.

“But why advertise that fact?” he asked jovially. “So what do you think of the place?”

“It’s nice.” Ro wasn’t certain what was expected of her.

“The owner is very accepting of anyone that has coin in their pocket,” Macen shared. “He also insists that conversations remain discreet.”

Now Ro understood where Macen was going with the conversation. “I think I can swing some business his way.”

“So how are you settling into your new job?” he asked.

“I actually think I may be a good fit for it,” Ro admitted.

“You’re a natural,” Macen assured her. “But then, I’ve always thought so.”

“I’m not sure I’d be as certain about you,” Ro confessed.

Macen shrugged. “You’re bound to think so.  It comes with your new job.”

“Do you honestly think you can pull this off?” Ro wanted to, no needed, to know.

“What did you think of our first collaboration?” Macen asked.

“It was perfect,” Ro admitted. “But how long will you be able to keep your access?”

“I don’t need access to Starfleet files.  I did the job for fifty years.  I’m pretty valuable on my own,” Macen countered. “Starfleet just pads the résumé.”

“Okay, let’s really look at this though.” Ro stated, “I can’t give you access to my cell.  Not until you’ve proven yourself, really proven yourself.”

Macen chuckled. “Have I ever asked for anything?”

That gave Ro pause. “Well, no.”

“And that’s the way it’ll stay,” Macen promised her. “My people are a self-sustaining operation.  Tells us what you need and we’ll do our best to get it.  If we can’t we’ll simply say so.  Deal?”

Ro thought it over.  She really didn’t have anything to lose.  She smiled at long last.

“Deal,” she said.

Sisko contacted Nechayev again.  She was a little terser this time around. “I didn’t expect to hear back from you, Commander.”

“Why is that, Admiral?” Sisko asked.

“You didn’t exactly succeed, now did you?” she asked crossly.

“The Maquis arrived.  Amazingly enough, they seemed to have all of the same intelligence that we had.” Sisko left the accusation unspoken.

“What, precisely, are you implying, Commander?” Nechayev asked sternly.

“You said that you had a contingency in play and lo and behold, the Maquis drop in,” Sisko explained before cutting straight to the point. “Where they your contingency?”

“Commander, you know the Maquis are considered criminals by Starfleet, and Starfleet is not in the practice of working with criminals,” Nechayev said archly.

“Starfleet has made notable exceptions in the past,” Sisko reminded her.

“The past is the past, Commander.  Nowadays we don’t have cowboys for starship captains or admirals.  You’re speaking of a bygone era,” Nechayev assured him. “I suggest you focus on your area of command and let others who are more attuned to the DMZ work within the DMZ.  We have experts for a reason, Commander.”

“The DMZ is near my operational area.   I feel…” Sisko began but was cut off.

Commander, you have two frontiers.  You are further out into the interior of the Alpha Quadrant than any other Starfleet commander and you have access to the Gamma Quadrant.  Quite frankly, between those and overseeing the reconstruction aid to Bajor, you have your hands quite full.” Nechayev cut to the quick. “I don’t think you need to gallivant about and do some adventuring where you’re frankly not needed.”

Sisko bristled, “Yes, Admiral.”

“So you’ll leave the DMZ alone unless you’re ordered to return?” Nechayev demanded to know.

Sisko tried to remain civil. “Yes, ma’am.”  Nechayev’s brusque manner wasn’t helping.

“Good.” Nechayev cut the transmission.

Sisko leaned back in his chair and thought over the events in the DMZ again.  The Maquis had received help from an outside source.  That source had obviously obtained information from Starfleet.  He recalled the so-called “information broker.”  He filed a report with Starfleet Security flagging Macen’s operation.  He thought about filing one for Starfleet Intelligence, but reconsidered it.  Macen had spent his career in intelligence.  He undoubtedly still had friends there.  Friends that would tip him off.

Sisko knew this hadn’t ended.  In fact, things had only begun because he now had a vested interest in events in the DMZ.  He would keep a close eye on that region from now on and one day, he would move against the Maquis again.


Thanks go to Bernd Schneider for designing the Blackbird-class scoutship. 

Thanks also go to the contributors at Memory Alpha Wiki as well as the writers and editors of the Star Trek Encyclopedia 3rd Edition.

Geographic and spatial data was provided by Star Trek Star Charts.

Information was also gathered from the Deep Space Nine Technical Manual.


Please send feedback and other correspondence regarding this story to Brin_Macen at yahoo dot com.

"Betrayal" Chapter Seven by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

The Rio Grande assumed orbit over Solosos.  Dax had requested an orbital insertion rather than a reentry glide path.  Sisko wanted the runabout in position to be a more effective tool in tomorrow’s operation. 

He’d chosen to move in the local morning.  Since the suspect farm was only sixty kilometers away from Zyrex, the closest city with a spaceport, he’d opted to spend the night in local accommodations and leave the runabout where it was.  The ship’s systems would be locked out from any potential boarders.

They beamed down to the local streets and began wandering, looking for shelter.  After being rejected by several proprietors, one warily agreed to let them stay.  Although they carried no luggage, the guests were first shown to their rooms.  They had three altogether.

O’Brien gave Bashir a rueful look. “Looks like we’re bunking together.”

“It’ll be interesting,” Bashir said.

O’Brien merely grunted in disgust. “I’d rather be aboard the ship.”

Sisko suggested that they try the local cuisine.  They moved on to the attached pub.  It was quite a contrast to the Old Biddy.  For one thing, the bulk of the patrons were Cardassian.  They noted that their uniforms drew a lot of hostile attention.  They took a seat and ordered a meal from an indifferent server.

The Starfleet officers drew sullen stares from all of the Cardassian patrons.  Although, to be fair, even the Federation colonists seemed embittered towards them.  They ate quickly and returned to Sisko’s room.

Sisko retrieved his PADD and the others groaned but did likewise.  They reviewed Starfleet’s intelligence again.  Dax voiced the opinion that there had to be more.  The picture was too incomplete.  Bashir suddenly brought up the idea that Starfleet shouldn’t run an operation within an operation.

“I mean, what if we end up working at cross purposes?” Bashir wondered.

“Admiral Nechayev is famed for her efficiency.  She may see the overlap as just another surety of success,” Sisko tried to defend the official line.

“Curzon didn’t think much of her,” Dax revealed.  All eyes turned to her. “He saw her too concerned with results to worry about how she got them.  They butted heads on several occasions.”

“And how’d that work out?” O’Brien was curious.

“Let’s just say in the end it was probably a draw,” Dax admitted, “And Nechayev has a long memory.   She’s a political player with capital to burn.  It may have made her arrogant.”

“I remember hearing about her coming aboard the Enterprise.  Seems even Captain Picard walked on eggshells around her,” O’Brien shared.

Sisko was impressed.  His impression of Picard was that the patrician officer wouldn’t easily bend for anyone.  He’d received a similar vibe off of Nechayev.  He wondered what it had been like for two unmovable objects to collide.

“I agree,” Sisko admitted. “Admiral Nechayev has potentially set us at cross purposes with another Starfleet team.  Our assignment has gotten immeasurably harder rather than easier.”

“What if they’re not Starfleet?” Dax asked.  Everyone cast her wary looks.  She shrugged in return. “Nechayev was a big booster for ramping up Starfleet’s civilian corps of intelligence gatherers and she plays favorites.  Any one of them could now be in the DMZ getting ready to effect a rescue.”

“Let’s not forget the portion where she said that Hudson would be silenced one way or another,” Bashir reminded everyone.  They had all seen the copy of her transmission with Sisko.  While that statement had unsettled them all, it seemed to especially bother Bashir.

Sensing the need to change the topic, Sisko stood and announced, “Let’s take break.  Check in here in four hours.”

“Commander?” O’Brien seemed hesitant.

“Yes, Chief?” Sisko tried to be encouraging.

“Seeing as how this is now primarily a Cardassian colony, I think we should treat it as hostile territory,” O’Brien suggested. “We should travel in pairs and within sight of the group.”

“What about our rooms?” Dax asked suddenly.

“I don’t follow you,” O’Brien admitted.

“Well,” her eyes danced mirthfully, “If we’re to stay in pairs and within sight of the group, we’re going to have to share one room.  And it suspiciously sounds as though the boys all want to get in bed with me.”

O’Brien blushed and Dax laughed. “Why Chief, is that a little guilt showing?  Don’t worry, I won’t tell Keiko.”

Dax noted the Irishman’s immediate relief.  However, Bashir looked a little too intrigued by the possibility. “Julian, you can forget it.  I’m sleeping alone tonight.  Although, I’d prefer it to be otherwise.”

“I’ll be alone as well,” Sisko decided, “But you and the doctor can still share a room, Chief.”

O’Brien detected Sisko’s humor at play.  He nodded, “Yes, sir.”

“But what is there to do?” Bashir lamented.

“Well, if you’re so interested in sharing a bed, you could check out the local women,” Dax suggested.

“Indeed!” Bashir brightened.

Dax was happy to see Bashir wasn’t sullied with prejudices, but he seemed a little too eager. “What do you have in mind, Julian?”

“Well,” he began slyly, “There is the mystery of the ‘third spoon.’”

“The what?” O’Brien made the mistake of asking.

 “Well we all know that Cardassians bear a physical mark resembling a spoon on the foreheads.” Bashir was still grinning.

“Yeah, that’s why we called them ‘spoonheads.’” O’Brien remarked, “So did the Bajorans.  So what?”

“Well, Cardassian women also bear another mark where their clavicle bones join together,” Bashir continued.  He could see his audience wasn’t very receptive yet, but he’d saved the best for last. “There’s a rumor that there’s a third spoon on Cardassian women’s bodies.  I’d like to find out where it is.”

“Bloody hell,” O’Brien muttered.

Sisko didn’t quite trust himself to react.  Dax, on the other hand, was totally amused. “Trust me, Julian.  You can’t handle that truth.”

“I’m just as much a scientist as you are,” Bashir sniffed.

Dax broke into a fit of laughter.  When it had ended, she was flushed and so was Bashir. “Good luck with that, Julian.  Really.  I mean it.”

She began to chortle again when Bashir turned to O’Brien. “Ready, Chief?”

“Ready for what?” O’Brien asked defensively.

You did suggest that we travel in pairs, Chief.  It was a good idea.  I think we should stick with it while we’re in public areas,” Sisko said dryly.

Bashir gave O’Brien a baleful look.  The Chief rolled his eyes. “Oh for the luvva…  All right.  I’ll go, but stop looking at me like a wounded puppy.”

Bashir cheered up immediately. “Too right!  Follow me, Chief.”

Bashir practically sprinted out the door while O’Brien ambled after him.  He could be heard calling, “Slow down, Julian.  No one is going anywhere.”

Dax bemusedly looked to Sisko. “Is it really wise letting Julian loose on Cardassian women?”

“Given the traditional xenophobia displayed by Cardassians in general, do you really think he’ll get anywhere?” Sisko humorously asked.

“Well, the Cardassians do take ‘comfort women’ everywhere they go,” Dax pointed out.

“Comfort women,” Sisko repeated. “Have you ever heard of ‘comfort men?’”

Dax snickered. “No.  Poor Julian.”

“I believe the good doctor asked for this of his own accord,” Sisko grinned.

“Now what?” she asked eagerly.

“Now we pour over the materials again and see if there’s anything we missed,” Sisko said.

Dax pouted.  Sisko ignored her so after a moment she began asking questions regarding if Sisko remembered certain events with Curzon.  Sisko played along for several minutes but then redirected back to the task at hand.

“Okay,” she sighed. “I liked it better when was the senior official and you did my fetch and carry.”

“That was another life, Old Man,” Sisko chuckled.

Dax smiled warmly. “So it was.”

Roughly four hours later, Bashir and O’Brien returned to Sisko’s room.  Bashir was downtrodden, but the Chief was pretty upbeat.  Bashir’s uniform was also covered by an oily green substance.  Dax took a whiff and smiled, “Kanar.”

“What happened?” Sisko was desperately trying not to laugh.

“Wonder Boy here tried to romance every woman in the bar,” O’Brien recalled. “It seems a few of them, although they rejected him, felt put upon by his simply switching to a new target when shot down.  They surrounded him and poured their drinks all over him and stormed out together.  At that point, the proprietor kicked us out for chasing his business away,” O’Brien happily shared.

“Oh, Julian,” Dax said sympathetically, “I did warn you though.”

“Thank you, Jadzia,” Bashir said. “Commander, could I return to the Rio Grande and replicate a new uniform?”

“No,” Sisko replied, still trying not to laugh out loud.

“But Commander!” Bashir whined.

“No,” Sisko said much more forcefully. “We have an ops plan and no one is going anywhere until we’re reviewed it.”

Even O’Brien sighed over that.  They gathered chairs and sat in a circle around a table stand.  They’d surrendered their PADDs to Sisko earlier.  He redistributed them now.

“You’ll find the plan loaded on each PADD,” Sisko shared. “Chief, it could still use some refining.  If I remember correctly, you served on Solosos during the war.”

“That’s right,” O’Brien replied uncomfortably.

“Is there anything you can share about the target area?” Sisko wondered.

O’Brien looked pained. “Look Commander, I spent most of my time keeping my head down and our unit’s equipment running.  I can tell you that these farms are a dime a dozen.”

“I’m not sure I follow you,” Sisko admitted.

“They’re all the same.  It happened because the colony relied upon prefab construction materials.  So every house looks like every other house and it’s the same with the bunkhouses,” O’Brien shared. “I can give you a rough outline, but the orbital views we got from Starfleet will spell out the terrain a lot better that I can.  I can’t say I’ve ever been there but I can tell you that, except for the terrain, it’ll look just like its neighbor,” O’Brien elaborated.

Sisko nodded. “Thank you, Chief.  We’ll need your knowledge of the interiors in a moment.”

Sisko stated that they’d be transporting to the Rio Grande in the morning and from there to the farmhouse.  Sisko and Dax would try the front door while Bashir rested in a nearby grove of trees as back up.  Sisko turned to O’Brien.

“Sorry, Chief.  You’re staying aboard the runabout to man the transporter,” Sisko informed him.

O’Brien looked irked. “The runabout’s computer can handle the transporter, like usual.”

Sisko gave him a wry look. “Humans are faster with the transporter than a computer any day.  You’re even faster than most because you excelled at being a transporter chief.  I need you aboard the Rio Grande.  Our lives could depend upon it.”

“But you need someone in the trees to provide cover fire if the Cardassians call reinforcements from the house,” O’Brien argued.

“That’s where Doctor Bashir will be stationed,” Sisko said.

O’Brien turned to gaze at Bashir.  The doctor was elated to be trusted with the responsibility, yet was unsteady all at the same time.  O’Brien had seen that same expression hundreds of times on the front lines.

“All right,” he skeptically said to Sisko.  Turning to Bashir, he added, “I’ll give you some pointers tomorrow.  Just to be sure.”

Bashir wore a grateful smile. “Thanks, Chief.”

Sisko went on to describe the plan as it stood.  He then asked if everyone understood.  Everyone nodded.  He noticed O’Brien still wasn’t happy but he’d do his duty unflinchingly. 

“Good night then,” Sisko dismissed them. “We’re setting out at 0800 local time.”

“See ya, boys,” Dax said as she strolled out of the room.

Bashir looked to Sisko imploringly. “Can I have my own room as well?”

O’Brien looked affronted and Bashir sheepishly explained, “No offense, Chief.  But you snore.”

“I do not!” O’Brien insisted.

“Chief, Keiko has come to me and asked if a separate living module could be added to your quarters and if we could soundproof it,” Sisko revealed.

“Of all of the…” O’Brien muttered as he rose.  He turned to Bashir. “Coming?”

Bashir looked to Sisko one last time and the commander nodded.  Bashir had a defeated air as he followed O’Brien to their room.  Sisko chuckled as he went to the bed and tested it.  He lay down and switched his PADD’s displayed document to a book he was reading.  Almost unconsciously, he switched it back to the operations plan and began to read through it again.   

The SS Indomitable flew through space at impulse as it entered the star system containing Solosos.  Ro sat at the helm and flew her ship herself, just as Chakotay commanded from the CONN.  Kalinda sat at ops beside her.  She monitored the ship’s systems despite Thool managing things in engineering.  Tulley manned the weapons console to Ro’s left.  The final station was taken by Alea.  She monitored the sensors and she’d just gotten a hit.

“Ro, I’m detecting a Cardassian shuttle.  Just like you said,” Alea reported.

“Transfer its position to the helm and keep a running update to the navigation systems,” Ro replied.

Kalinda grinned over at Ro. “Good call.  They’re coming in straight from the Cardassian border, just like you predicted.”

Ro grimaced. “Don’t thank me yet.  That shuttle will be armed and we haven’t tested the Indie’s weapons or shields.”

“I think we’re about to get that test,” Kalinda smirked.

“Right,” Ro agreed grimly. “Tulley, arm weapons and raise shields.”

Tulley acknowledged the order and Ro’s status indicator shifted.  The shuttle was up on the navigational sensors now.  Ro angled her ship for maximum effect.  She gave the order to fire and Tulley unleashed a volley from both wingtip-mounted Type VIII phasers.

Ro fired the thrusters and halved the impulse output.  The Indie pulled a tight Immelman turn and came back at the Cardassians.  They managed to return fire this time.  The shields took a hit and deflected most of it, but some of the energy bled through and systems aboard the Indomitable overloaded.

“Damage report!” Ro snapped.

“Some primary systems have gone down and auxiliaries have engaged,” Kalinda reported. “But the backups are unstable.  We may lose them if we take another couple of hits.”

“Tulley, load photons,” Ro ordered.

“We only have four,” he reminded her.

“So load two of the damn things, use one, and see if we need to use the other.  Okay?” Ro argued.

“Photons loaded,” he reported.

“I’m lining us up.  Take the shot ASAP because we’re going to be taking fire and I want to angle us away as soon as the torpedo is off,” Ro explained her plan.

Tulley grinned. “At your command.”

The scoutship was bucking from disruptor strikes and the shields were rapidly losing efficiency and strength.  Ro ordered the strike.  The port launcher yielded a photon.  It streaked straight and true into the Cardassian shuttle.

The shuttle’s shields were already failing when the photon warhead totally overloaded them.  The shuttle wasn’t destroyed, but that was by the barest of margins. 

“The shuttle is crippled.  She’s lost structural integrity and is venting atmosphere,” Alea informed Ro.

Ro fell silent.  Kalinda looked over at her with some concern. “We can’t handle prisoners until we run the operation.”

 “And where would we hold them anyway?” Ro asked bitterly.

“Orders?” Tilley inquired.

Ro set course for Solosos. “Let nature take its course.”

They all fell silent at that.  A staple of interstellar travel was rendering aid to a crippled ship.  They’d just crossed a line they could never walk away from.

“On to our real mission,” Ro said as she piloted the ship towards the planet.

Ro landed the Indie at the appropriate spaceport.  She was three times the size of a standard runabout. but she was still much smaller than some of the freighters that had touched down here.  It was close to dawn.  Ro checked in with Thool.  His engineers would man the ship will the strike team went out.

“Your friend will be ready for us?” she asked archly.

“Belieze is waiting for you,” Thool assured her. “She’ll have everything ready for you.”

 “And how much is this going to cost us?” Ro wanted to know.

Thool grinned, “It’s on the house.”

Ro shared his grin. “My kind of price.”

They met Belieze at her shop, where she ran an equipment rental agency.  She had heavy equipment of all types and places of origin.  She brought Ro and the Maquis to two six wheeled rovers.

Kalinda sneered. “Those are Cardassian military scouts,” she complained.

“They’re the civilian model,” Belieze retorted, “And unlike most Cardassian equipment, they’re utterly reliable.”

“We’ll take them,” Ro said gratefully.

“Hold on.” Kalinda drug Ro off to the side. “They’re Cardassian!”

Ro shrugged. “So’s the disruptor you’ve been using for the last six weeks.”

Kalinda was stymied and she knew it. “Do you even know how to drive one of things?”

Ro smirked. “Of course.  The Cardies drove all over Bajor in these monsters.  I was stealing them before my twelfth birthday.”

Kalinda grimaced. “Well, I don’t know how, so you’re going to have to show me.”

It actually took Ro only a few minutes to show Kalinda the basics.  Hopefully, they wouldn’t need any fancy driving.  Ro doubted the average garresh or gorr knew how to copy moves Ro had been performing in these vehicles since her youth in the Resistance.

They loaded up and took off.  Kalinda was tentative at first but she quickly got the hang of things.  So they tore down the public road towards their target.


Many thanks to Bernd Schneider of for designing the Blackbird-class scout vessel mentioned in this story.


Please send feedback and other correspondence regarding this story to Brin_Macen at yahoo dot com.

"Betrayal" Chapter Six by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Ro rose from the desk and approached Macen.  He simply sat there, studying her.  Finally she smiled.

“Oh, get up so I can say hello to you properly,” she insisted.

Macen stood.  He knew that Ro’s height had a tendency to intimidate most men.  Many of the women she’d served with had been bothered it by it as well.  The first man who didn’t seem bothered was Picard.  It didn’t bother some people just because they were taller than her.  Will Riker and Worf fell under this category.  Macen knew he also belonged to this group.  He’d wondered, while she loomed over him, how he’d react if he knew she was actually taller than him.

He shrugged the thought aside.  It was a moot point anyway, but it was a factor that could affect him with someone else, so it was important to keep in mind.  He held out his hand for her grasp it after he’d stood and she smirked.

“Am I allowed to hug you now that we’re both out of uniform and you don’t outrank me anymore?” she asked.

Macen smiled. “Sure.”

Ro warmly embraced him and then stepped back, but she gripped his shoulder. “Prophets, it’s good to see you again.”

This amused Macen since they’d only met once before.  He’d been the mission specialist on a mission she’d led.  It had been her first command experience and she’d outperformed herself.  Afterwards, Macen had suggested to Picard that she attend Advanced Tactical Training.  This surprised Picard.  The captain had already considered her, but he also had a few other candidates in mind.  When Riker endorsed her as well following the mission, Ro turned into the candidate of choice.

“We only worked together once, Laren,” Macen downplayed her happiness.

“But we kept in touch until I went AWOL,” Ro countered. “And your constant advice to follow my conscience is why I abandoned Starfleet.

Macen grinned ruefully. “I wouldn’t advertise that fact.”

Ro nodded her understanding.  She eagerly posed the question on her mind. “So what are you doing in my neighborhood?  Did you come to sign up?”

“I came to help,” Macen admitted.

“Why do I get the feeling that’s not an answer?” Ro asked warily.

“I can help, just on your terms,” Macen informed her.

“What does that mean?” There was an edge to her voice now.

“Nechayev recruited me to recruit you,” Macen revealed. “A fact you are not supposed to know.”

“I bet,” Ro snorted.

“Look, the arrangement is fairly simple.  You wouldn’t report to Starfleet.  You wouldn’t report to Alynna.  You’d be free to do as you wish,” Macen assured her.

“I have that now.  Why do I need Nechayev crawling up my backside?” Ro was bitter.

“She’s only the source.  I’m the pipeline,” Macen stated.

“The pipeline for what?” Ro suspected a trap.

“I can provide intelligence from Starfleet.  That kind of data can expand your operations.  I can give you enemy troop movements, ship deployments, and the location of Cardassian paramilitaries,” Macen disclosed. “And I can provide details of when Starfleet is closing in on your operations.  All you have to do is accept my offer and act upon the intelligence I provide.”

“What makes you think you can get all of that information on a consistent basis if I accept?” Ro narrowed the question down.

“Because I’m licensed to operate within Cardassian space.” Macen dropped that bombshell as though it were nothing.  Ro was understandably stunned.

“How did you manage that?” Ro asked. “The Cardies are paranoid bastards.  Why would they let a so-called ‘information broker’ into their territory?  Civilian or not?”

“Because they see me as primarily being a purveyor of luxury items from locations they no longer have access to,” Macen grinned.

“You’re a smuggler?” Ro couldn’t believe it.

“Look, a few baubles here or there won’t tilt the economies of either side, and if it grants me the access that I need…” He let the thought hang. “I’d say that’s worth it.”

“Okay, say I’m taking this seriously, which I’m not yet.  What do you have to offer?” she inquired.

“Give me an hour and I’ll have your answer,” Macen assured her.

“An hour?” Ro was skeptical.

“It took twenty minutes to get here,” Macen replied. “It’ll take twenty minutes to get back.  Figure five to ten to get somebody from the Odyssey to beam us up.  I will require the release of my first officer.  Twenty minutes to load the data onto a PADD and five to ten to return to the surface.  Then I can meet with your goon squad again.”

“Okay, but I haven’t told you what information I’m looking for,” Ro reminded him.

 He smiled. “You want what everybody wants: the location of Cal Hudson.”

Ro tried not to visibly react. “And you can get that?”

“I already knew where they took him after the kidnappers left Umoth.  I just don’t know if they’re still there,” he shared.

“Starfleet knows where he is?” Ro snapped. “Then why the hell is Sisko running around asking about it?”

“Starfleet knows.  They’ve always known.  They’re just not telling Sisko,” Macen revealed.

“But why?” Ro was flabbergasted.

“Because someone cut a backdoor deal with the Cardassians to eliminate the ‘Maquis problem,’” Macen divulged.

“Why the hell isn’t Nechayev going along with this?” Ro wondered. “It seems to be her style.”

“Alynna didn’t broker the deal.  If she had, she’d be more than happy to let Hudson hang,” Macen admitted.

“Lovely,” Ro sardonically quipped.  “All right,” she sighed. “If you know the problem you also know we have to move fast.”

“Faster than you think,” Macen warned. “Evek will be in position to launch a long-range shuttle in twenty hours.”

“Why the hell is he waiting for twenty hours?” Ro cried out in exasperation.

“Evek purposefully took the patrol route furthest from Solosos,” Macen grinned. “That’s where Hudsonwas taken, by the way.  Anyway, it offered him plausible deniability when Sisko started trying to track Hudson down.”

“All of this cloak and dagger idiocy is giving me a headache,” Ro complained.

“Never fear, all will be well,” Macen replied jauntily. “Summon your minions have me dropped off in Enara again.”

“You’d better not screw with me,” Ro warned.

Macen looked hurt. “Believe me, Laren.  We’re actually on the same side.  I share the goals of the Maquis.  I can just do more damage to the Cardassians on the periphery of the fight than in the middle of it.”

“That remains to be seen,” Ro said skeptically.  She pressed a button on her desk and Tulley and his partner in crime entered in.  The other Maquis put the hood over Macen’s head and shoved him out of the office space.

Ro motioned for Tulley to step closer. “Take Alea with you.”

“Why?” Tulley sounded dubious.

“I need her to read over the information Macen is going to give us before you return to base,” Ro said snippily.

“Problems?” Tulley asked.

“The Cardies are moving a hell of a lot faster than we’d hoped for.  We have to be ready to move as soon as possible,” Ro explained.

“I’ll send Kalinda your way,” Tulley informed her.

Ro patted him on the arm. “Thanks Aric.  I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Tulley exited the space wearing a genuinely happy smile.

Sisko sat in the Rio Grande’s cockpit while the others sat in the rear crew compartment.  They’d enjoyed a meal and now O’Brien and Bashir were playing a game of darts.  They’d brought a spare board and darts that they’d squirreled away in case the one at Quark’s was taken down.  Dax downloaded some material into a PADD and returned to the cockpit.  She sat at the conn reading while Sisko navigated Starfleet Command’s hierarchy from ops.

Dax smiled to herself as he navigated the depths of Starfleet Security’s command structure.  She had to give him credit when he arrived at the Director of Starfleet Security’s desk twenty minutes later.  Admiral Furrst gazed back at Sisko with some irritation.

“Well, Commander, you’ve thoroughly disrupted my staff to the point they foisted you off on me.  What can I possibly do for you?” Furrst asked with some irritation.

Sisko came straight to the point. “I need the whereabouts of Calvin Hudson and the identities of his captors.”

Furrst smiled.  As a Caitian, that revealed a healthy set of fangs. “I see.  And who will you contact when I tell you to go to hell?”

“Excuse me?” Sisko couldn’t quite believe what he was hearing.

“Hudson is dead or will soon be wishing he was,” Furrst replied. “Measures have already been taken since Hudson’s defection to the Maquis, so his loss will be negligible.”

“Admiral, I was ordered to capture Hudson, not to hand him over to the Cardassians,” Sisko pointed out.

“So?” Furrst wondered. “The end result is the same.”

“Not for Hudson,” Sisko grated. “Surrendering him is tantamount to a death sentence even if the Cardassians sentence him to a labor camp.

“Calvin Hudson knew the risks he was taking when he resigned his commission.  Frankly, I don’t believe Starfleet owes him anything,” Furrst shared.  He studied Sisko. “You’re bound and determined to go over my head, aren’t you?”

“Yes, Admiral,” Sisko confirmed. “I’d like to speak with Admiral Marne.”

Furrst smiled again. “Marne recently stepped down.  He was replaced by the newly-promoted Fleet Admiral Nechayev.  Good luck swaying her.”

The screen shifted to a Starfleet Command symbol.  Within minutes an ensign answered.  She looked distinctly harried, but she promised that Nechayev would get back to him as soon as possible.  Sisko settled in to wait.

While he waited, he recalled what he knew of Alynna Nechayev.  She had risen through the ranks in Starfleet Intelligence Operations.  SI Operations frequently worked alongside Special Operations Command.  They were the “dirty tricks” department of Starfleet.

Nechayev rose quickly while developing a reputation for getting the job done.  She also developed a reputation as the “Ice Queen” of Starfleet Command upon achieving flag rank.  She and Edward Jellico had been friends for years.  It galled Jellico that she had risen to Starfleet Command before him, but also had risen to Vice Admiral and now Fleet Admiral while he had just made flag rank himself rather recently. 

Jellico put the delay in his promotion to Nechayev’s supposed interference.  Now Jellico was Chief of Operations and it seemed Nechayev had assumed Marne’s old role as the overseer of both Starfleet Intelligence and Starfleet Security.  She effectively wielded the twin swords that protected interior and exterior security.

The screen shifted and Sisko refocused.  A woman with Slavic features, pale blonde hair, and cool eyes hardened with resolve. It was Nechayev.

“Commander,” she said in a neutral tone.

“Admiral, I need to discuss an important matter with you,” Sisko began without preamble.

“Yes, Admiral Furrst has been discussing the very same matter,” Nechayev remarked snarkily.

“Then you know what I want?” Sisko asked.

“Yes, you want Calvin Hudson’s whereabouts,” Nechayev supplied. “I can tell you that your request is denied.  But you rather expected that didn’t you?  So who will you appeal to now?  The C-in-C herself?”

“Admiral, I received my orders from Admiral Bill Ross of Starbase 375,” Sisko pointed out.

“And may I remind you that I outrank Admiral Ross?” Nechayev scoffed. “You have to give me a reason to approve this request.  A well-rationalized argument, not an appeal simply because he is your friend.”

 “If I can bring Hudson in, I guarantee that we can get him to give up the Maquis’ secrets,” Sisko promised.

“But the Maquis operate on a cell by cell basis,” Nechayev retorted. “Surely Major Kira has explained the concept to you.”

“She has.  But unlike the Bajoran Resistance, the Maquis do have central command figures privy to all of their secrets,” Sisko reminded the admiral. “Hudson is one of the people just as Svetlana Koraponova is another.”

“Are you also offering to bring in Koraponova?” Nechayev asked.

Sisko shook his head. “No.  She’s undoubtedly gone to ground by now.”

“And how would you convince Hudson to betray his comrades?” Nechayev wondered.

“Simple.  We offer him a choice between us or the Cardassians,” Sisko explained.

Nechayev studied him. “And if he chooses the Cardassians over us?”

“I’ve already made that choice.  I offered him a chance to rejoin Starfleet or to choose the Maquis.  I let him ruin his life that day.   I would do the same again.  Make no mistake, Admiral,  I’m offering him a choice between life in the stockade or being handed over to Cardassian torturers.  I think that any rational man would choose prison,” Sisko said sadly.

“Ah, but you’re assuming he’s still rational,” Nechayev commented.  She pondered Sisko’s offer.  Weighing her options, she began, “I can tell you Commander, that Starfleet arranged for the capture of Calvin Hudson by Cardassian forces.”

Sisko was visibly shaken as she continued. “I haven’t run down who is responsible, but I believe that any person deserves a better fate than what Hudson will receive at the hands of the Cardassians.  I can also tell you he’s on Solosos.  I’ll send you what I have and you can decide on whether or not you will proceed.”

“Thank you, Admiral,” Sisko said gratefully.

A thin smile blossomed on her features. “Success makes the greatest of thanks, Commander.”

Sisko noted that she hadn’t cut the transmission as she normally would have and asked, “Yes?”

“I do have a contingency plan,” Nechayev informed him. “Even if you choose not to go, it will be in play.  Do you understand?”

“Understood,” Sisko confirmed.

“Good, because Hudson will be brought in or silenced one way or the other,” Nechayev warned him.

The transmission was cut at that point, leaving Sisko pondering the implications of that last statement.  Sisko looked to Dax as he loaded the navigation data into her board.  She lifted the runabout off of Ronara Prime and heads for Solosos, announcing that they would arrive in a few hours.

Macen and Danan met Tulley and Alea at the Old Biddy.  They sat at the same table where the information gatherers had met Sisko and Dax. The three other Maquis sat at the adjacent table just as O’Brien and Bashir had done.

Upon introduction, Macen took Alea’s hand and lightly kissed it.  Alea blushed and turned to Danan, “Does he always do that?”

“Only with me,” Danan wryly admitted.

“I’m sorry, but your reputation precedes you,” Macen gushed.

Alea suddenly looked very uncomfortable.  Macen gave her an almost imperceptible nod and she relaxed a little bit.  Macen would keep the young Idanian’s secret but it came at a price.  She had to sell his data to Ro.

He’d contacted her after he’d left Starfleet and was gathering his crew.  Alea was part of the Maquis as an undercover military advisor and intelligence asset.  She’d never intended to be thrust into the limelight.  Macen’s offer of assisting Ro made Alea’s cover more plausible.  

Alea reviewed Starfleet’s records, the very same records Sisko was perusing while on his way to Solosos.  Alea gave Tulley an approving nod. “The information is solid.”

“However, there’s a new wrinkle,” Macen suddenly brought up the potential bad news. “Commander Sisko has also been given this data.  Odds are he’ll make a play too.”

Tulley scowled, “We could do a lot with a ship like yours.  Why aren’t you picking up a phaser and helping out?”

Macen looked bemused. “First off, the Odyssey is very distinctive.  Every Cardassian outpost and sweeper is watching her at every moment.  Second, I haven’t been invited yet.”

“I’ll pass that along,” Tulley said menacingly.

“You do that,” Macen nonchalantly replied.

Back at the Maquis compound, Alea made her report and Ro began devising a plan.  Pretty soon, she had a rough sketch but she needed hard intel from a former resident.  Kalinda pointed out that Thool was originally from Solosos.

The Bolian engineer reported in.  Ro began asking questions about the target area.  Thool asked for the map and filled in the blanks.  The target was a farm with a house and a bunkhouse for the hands.  It turned out Thool started his working life as a mechanic on a similar farm. 

“The farmhouse will likely be occupied by the new occupants who have taken over the farm.  The bunkhouse would be ideal to hold prisoners in.  It was meant to house sixty people in a communal living space.  It would also have restrooms and a kitchen,” Thool explained.

Ro studied the orbital view. “Well, this particular bunkhouse is vulnerable to an approach from the west.  There’s a grove of trees that grow right up to the structure.”

“I also have the names of a few contacts,” Thool promised. “We’ll be able to get ground transports and we’ll need them.  This farm is sixty kilometers from the closest town.”

“Why would we need to go to ground when we can simply beam down?” Ro wondered.

Thool looked a little embarrassed. “The Indomitable is a fine ship, but she needs quite a few hands just to keep her in orbit, much less in flight.  You’re going to need those hands for the fighting.  That means you’ll have to land the Indie.”

“The Indie, huh?” Ro grinned.  She couldn’t think of a better nickname for her brand new command.  TheIndomitable was a Ju’day-class scout, one of a few that had entered Maquis service.  Chakotay had received the first.  Several more were in the pipeline for other cells.

Chakotay’s Zola had been the first ship that Eric McMasters had refitted for the Maquis.  McMasters’ next project had been the Indomitable.  Ro hadn’t given the ship a good field test yet and wondered if now would be that time.    

Ro also had to inwardly grin at referring to the Indie as a “new” ship.  Her hull was fifty years old and the engine components for the class were no longer manufactured, so McMasters had to rebuild the engine and call it good.  The Zola had proven herself in combat a few times now.  Hopefully Ro could coax the same kind of performance out of her ship.

“Point taken,” Ro conceded.  She revised her ops plan and presented it to Kalinda and Tulley.  They both approved, so she gathered her potential crew and laid it out for them.  They all understood the basics and bought into the plan.  For one brief moment, Ro missed Starfleet.  The simple “yes, ma’am” that was a way of daily life in Starfleet would make prosecuting a war that much easier. 

She sighed. I knew what I was getting into when I defected.  Or at least I thought I did.


Many thanks to Bernd Schneider of for designing the Blackbird-class scout vessel mentioned in this story.


Please send feedback and other correspondence regarding this story to Brin_Macen at yahoo dot com.

"Betrayal" Chapter Five by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

As the Rio Grande flew across celestial boundaries, Dax took a moment to describe to anyone listening the differences between Umoth and its closest inhabited neighbor. “Ronara isn’t like Umoth.  Where Umoth is arid and dusty; Ronara Prime is lush and forested.”

She paused to let that comparison sink in before continuing, “Ronara is covered by sixty-four percent surface water.  It has one ‘super continent’ which has vast mountain ranges which produce rich, verdant valleys between them.  A few of those valleys make up the settled areas of the colony.  The capital, Enara, rests in the largest valley and houses more than seventy percent of the population.”

“What’s the local industry?” O’Brien asked.

Dax smiled. “Nice of you to ask, Chief.  Ronara has two major industries.  One is agriculture.  Most of the planet’s valleys are cultivated.  Caretakers oversee them, but the bulk of the labor force commutes from the cities to fields.”

“They must not rely upon ground transports then,” O’Brien opined.

Dax’s smile grew. “You’re right.  The planet boasts the highest concentration of air travel of any Zone colony.  They need the infrastructure to navigate the rough terrain.

“They must be quite industrialized then,” Bashir suddenly spoke. “I mean, air transports require a lot of manufacturing and maintenance.”

“He’s right, Lieutenant,” O’Brien supported. “We’re not talking a simple cottage industry here.”

Dax was positively delighted. “Which makes part of Ronara’s manufacturing capacity.  They not only specialize in the construction of antigrav vehicles, but the bulk of their output is in retrofitting spacecraft.”

“And I just bet the Maquis are all over the retrofitting shops,” O’Brien commented.

“That’s the theory, Chief,” Sisko confirmed. “Starfleet Security and Starfleet Intelligence are working on that angle.”

“Can I ask what the name of any the shops are?” O’Brien wondered.

Sisko reviewed a padd. “I believe the most suspect shop is McMasters Retrofit.  Owned by…”

“Eric McMasters!” O’Brien suddenly blurted.

Sisko was momentarily startled and then smiled. “You know him?”

O’Brien shook his head. “Only by reputation.  McMasters designs and builds custom racing shuttles and refits runabouts and other small craft into sporting models.”

“No wonder the Maquis have an active interest in him,” Sisko realized.

“Starfleet’s right to be worried.  McMasters could easily refit and weaponize Peregrine-class couriers and other similar ships like what we saw when we last faced Hudson,” O’Brien ventured.

“But why would he?” Sisko wondered.

“Sir, McMasters was born and raised in these parts and now he works here.  I’d say he has just as much as a right to be disgruntled as anyone else,” O’Brien shared.

“Chief, the Demilitarized Zone was established to end the violence and help these people,” Sisko stated.

“Yeah, but that’s an outsider’s perspective.  I think the Major was right.  She should be here.  She could tell you how these people fought for almost two decades only to have their hopes and dreams tossed back in their faces.  I guess if it were me I’d be disgruntled too,” O’Brien admitted.

“What are you telling me, Chief?” Sisko’s voice got very low and O’Brien knew he was treading a fine line here.

“Sir, you can’t have served in the Border Wars, particularly the front lines, and not empathize with the colonists,” O’Brien confessed.

“Empathize but not sympathize?” Sisko saw the distinction the Irishman was making.

O’Brien shook his head. “No sir.  The Federation did what they could.  They couldn’t satisfy everyone, so they made the best compromise that they could.  But that compromise hasn’t sat well with some.  Still, it’s no excuse killing and terrorism.  People from Ireland know that better than anyone.”

A light flashed in Sisko’s brain. “Lt. Hathaway mentioned something about an ‘Irish Republican Army’ movement that was like the Maquis.  Care to elaborate?”

O’Brien grew sad as he explained Ireland’s divided twentieth century history.  When he finished describing the history of the IRA, he expanded into general history. “Of course, Ireland was united under the flag of the Republic nearly a hundred years later, after the Third World War.  By then, people wanted to reach out to one another because they were sick of the fighting.”

O’Brien struggled to explain what was on his mind. “The Irish know what it’s like to be twisted up by hate and we know it’s not worth it.  The Maquis are in that boat now.  Hopefully it won’t take them as long to figure out it isn’t worth it.”

“Nice sentiments, Chief,” Bashir piped up.

Dax smirked as she shook her head. Leave it to Julian.

“Yes, they are,” Sisko said drolly.  He turned back to the OPS station and smiled. “It seems we’re almost there.”

“We’ll be in the system in less than five minutes,” Dax said happily. “But who knows how long it’ll take traffic control to let us set down.”

“It shouldn’t take that long,” Sisko offered. “After all, it’s just one out of the way colony.”

Dax gave him a longsuffering glance.

In the end, their transit of the solar system to Ronara Prime took an hour.  Ronara was the fourth planet in the system — not quite out of the habitable zone but drifting towards it edge.  Starfleet’s data on the world said it was cooler than most Class-M worlds.  Even Bajor was warmer and Sisko found that world cooler than Earth.

There was an unexpected amount of traffic throughout the system and in orbit above the planet.  Dax commented on this and Sisko noted it as well.

“It makes it easier for the Maquis to slip in and out this way,” he deduced.

They landed at Enara’s main spaceport.  There were three, actually.  Each of the auxiliary fields served the refit shops and engineers moved ships from the fields to their individual shops and back out again when the work was finished.

Downloading a map from the planet’s InfoNet database, the Starfleet crew set out.  The Old Biddy wasn’t far from the spaceport, but it was near to the other side of it.  Dax quipped that they’d see who would pass their Starfleet yearly medical exam tonight.  Bashir thought so highly of the idea he went back inside theRio Grande to get his medical kit.

The local night was very cool.  Sisko was actually pleased with the literal hike across the port.  Dax was thrilled by the weather since her native Trillius Prime was even slightly cooler than Ronara.  O’Brien mentioned that it was a lot like home.  Bashir, though, was quite unhappy.  Born in raised in Sudan on Earth, he’d learned to tolerate other climes, but it didn’t mean he favored them.

Bashir was quick to point out the old carved wooden sign above the door of the Old Biddy.  They entered in to find a quaint public house.  O’Brien was the first to mention the décor.

“It’s like the pubs back home,” he said, grinning from ear to ear.

Everyone in the establishment suddenly went silent.  Sisko observed that it seemed more to do with their uniforms than anything else.

“Perhaps we should get a drink,” he suggested.

“Thank God,” O’Brien sighed.

They approached the bar and the owner simply stared at them.  After sixty seconds of silent scrutiny Sisko finally asked, “Could we get some drinks?”

“What’ll you be having?” the bartender asked.

O’Brien spoke first. “A Bushmills. Make it a double.”

O’Brien noted the baleful look Sisko was giving him and rationalized, “It’s been a helluva day.”

Sisko had to agree but wished O’Brien had ordered synthale so he could shrug aside the inebriating effects of the alcohol if need be.  Judging from the hostility in the room, they might actually have to fight their way out.

“And what’ll you lot be having?” the bartender asked warily.

“What do have in the way of synthale?” Sisko inquired.

The host shrugged. “Just about everything.”

“Try a Frenner’s,” a new voice said.  They all looked to the left and saw a man dressed in civilian clothes standing at the counter.  He grinned, “It’s a local brew.  Helping the local economy will buy a little goodwill.  Not much, but it’ll be a start.”

The barkeep served up their drinks and asked for payment in Cardassian currency.  Sisko was stunned. “I thought this was a Federation colony?”

“It was,” the barkeep growled, “Now it ain’t.  No freebies for Starfleet types that ain’t smart enough to carry some coin either.  Pay up or take off.”

The stranger handed the barkeep some coins and told the Starfleet officers, “Don’t worry.  This one is on me.”

“It seems we’re in your debt again, Mr…?” Sisko asked.

The man smiled, “Macen.  Brin Macen.  But you must have suspected that by now.  I heard you were looking for me.”

Sisko studied Macen.  Most Starfleet Intelligence officers that he’d encountered, even former ones, exuded an air of caution.  Macen didn’t.  He seemed surprisingly open and relaxed.  Just like Martus Mazur had.  Sisko immediately decided he didn’t like Macen.

Macen suddenly smirked, “No fair comparing me Martus.  He’s a very misguided individual.”

Sisko suddenly wondered if Macen had telepathic abilities.  No reports regarding El-Aurians indicated the species possessed such abilities.  But then again, they were a highly enigmatic race.

“What makes you say that?” Sisko guardedly inquired.

Macen looked amused. “Everything about you is screaming it, Commander.”

O’Brien tugged at Sisko’s sleeve and pulled him aside.  In hashed tones the Chief conferred with his commanding officer, “Sir, the lead bartender in Ten Forward aboard the Enterprise was an El-Aurian.”

“Guinan?” Sisko asked.  Seeing O’Brien’s momentary confusion, Sisko shared with him, “I travelled to DS9aboard the Enterprise, remember?  I spent some time in Ten Forward.”

O’Brien nodded. “Guinan did things like that as well.”

“Like what, exactly?” Sisko pinned him down.

“Huge intuitive leaps,” O’Brien answered. “She’d figure everything there was to know about you upon first meeting you.  Sometimes it was stuff you didn’t know about yourself.”

“I see.” Sisko and O’Brien rejoined the others.

“The Chief reminding you about Guinan?” Macen inquired.

“I take it you know her?” Sisko bristled.  The situation was spiraling out of his control and he had no idea where this conversation was headed.

“Of course I know her,” Macen revealed. “It was Guinan’s idea for our group to head to Earth.  She said we could blend in there.”

Sisko looked to O’Brien, who nodded. “We found out that Guinan had visited Earth in the 1890s.  It could’ve been her idea for the El-Aurians to come here.  She seems to like humans.”

“This is all well and good, but it doesn’t answer the question you really have,” Macen ventured.

Sisko felt the metaphorical rug slipping again as he asked, “How did you know I wanted to find you?”

“Open secrets, remember?” Macen smirked again.

Sisko remembered Captain Haewoo using that same expression.  He’d certainly file a report questioning Haewoo’s loyalties.  Macen shook his head in disappointment.

“You really should leave the good captain alone.  He did you a favor,” Macen suggested.

“How so?” Sisko wanted to know.

“Are you sure you don’t want to sit down for this?” Macen asked. “My associate has saved a few tables in the corner.  You could all join us.”

Sisko looked to Dax.  She nodded.  O’Brien agreed, as did Bashir.  Sisko considered their input.

Macen looked exasperated for the first time. “Look, we’re the only friendly faces in here.  It’s us or the cold outside.”

Sisko relented and Macen guided Sisko’s crew to the tables he and Danan had saved.

Dax saw Danan and cried, “Lees!”

They each ran to the other and embraced.  They seemed to exchange hundreds of words in a few seconds time.  Sisko and the other were totally surprised.  Macen was decidedly amused.

“Well, that’s unexpected,” he quipped.

Dax and Danan were chatting away when Sisko cleared his throat.

“Dax?” Sisko sought to remind her they were here on business.

“Lees, we need to talk with these nice people.” Macen was a little more insistent with Danan.

“What?” the Trills said in stereo.  They looked back at each other and laughed.

“We have business to finish, Lieutenant,” Sisko insisted.

“Later,” Dax said happily to Danan.  They each took a seat at the table.  Sisko was somewhat irked to discover they sat beside each other.  Macen merely smiled, shrugged and then took a seat at Danan’s other side.  Sisko filled out the complement at that table.  Bashir and O’Brien took the nearby table.  They could overhear but they were relegated to the sidelines.

O’Brien began sampling his whiskey as Bashir stirred. “Leave them be, Julian.  They have some talking to do.”

“But who is that strange Trill woman?” Bashir fretted.

“Dax will share if she feels we need to know,” O’Brien reassured him.

“So, you want to know where Cal Hudson is?” Macen mused.

“First I want to know more about you,” Sisko demanded.

Macen wasn’t offended. “Tell me what you already know.”

“You’re a former Commander in Starfleet Intelligence.  You served for seventy years and then resigned to become an information broker.” Sisko’s disdain at the last was clearly evident.

“And you look much better with a mustache and goatee rather than a full beard,” Dax opined.  She gave Sisko a What? look as he shot her an annoyed glance.

“Doesn’t he though?” Danan threw out there. “It took a few hundred years off.”

That only served to remind Sisko that Macen was over four hundred years old, despite looking like he was in his thirties.  Turning to Danan, he continued, “And you’re formerly Lt. Commander Lisea Danan.  Your last assignment was as the Starfleet liaison to the Amagosa Observatory.  You suddenly resigned your commission without warning and departed the Observatory with Commander Macen.”

“Please, it’s Captain now,” Macen quipped.

Sisko wasn’t amused. “Neither of you gave any indications of leaving Starfleet before your sudden resignations.  On your way out of Starfleet, you managed to obtain the recently decommissioned Starfleet scout, the USS Tiberius, and next you have a crew and are operating in the DMZ.”

“It’s the SS Odyssey now and I detect an accusation,” Macen mused.

Sisko came out and asked the question lingering in his mind. “Are you working for the Maquis?”

Macen looked taken aback. “Commander, I work for everyone.”

“Even the Cardassians?” Sisko baldly demanded to know.

“If they can meet my price,” Macen replied smoothly. 

“That’s odd considering what the Cardassians did to you,” Sisko opined.

Both Dax and Danan were suddenly very alert.  Macen shrugged. “It was war.”

“But how did you manage to escape your interrogators?” Sisko wondered.

Macen smirked. “I do believe that is classified information.  It’s ‘need to know.’”

“I am a deep space commander and I have a need to know,” Sisko asserted.

“No, you don’t,” Macen dryly retorted. “I’ll tell you what though, I’ll warn you off of trying rescue Hudson.  He’d beyond your reach.”

“How do you know that?” Sisko inquired.

Macen grinned. “Because I know what Starfleet knows.”

“I was told they didn’t know anything,” Sisko admitted.

“You just haven’t asked the right person,” Macen suggested.  He rose to leave and Danan said her goodbyes to Dax.  As they stepped away from the tables, Sisko asked them one last question.

“How will I find you if I need to talk to you again?” he wondered.

“Try coming back here.  I’ll hear about it.  After all, the entire planet is watching you right now.  Civilians, the Maquis, the Cardassians, and even Starfleet,” Macen explained and then left.

Sisko motioned for Bashir and O’Brien to join him and Dax.  He asked for opinions.  Dax was quick with a comment.

“It seems that wheels have been set inside of wheels.  Curzon dealt with a lot of machinations like this, enough so that I know we aren’t being told the full story by anyone,” she said.

“I agree with you,” Sisko confessed. “I think we need to get back to the Rio Grande and there I can crawl my way through Starfleet Command and find out just what the hell is going on.”

They finished their drinks and headed for the spaceport.  Unbeknownst to them, they were followed by several different groups.  They returned to the confines of their runabout and most of the groups set up various camps to observe the Starfleet team.  One pair moved away.

Macen and Danan were stopped by Aric Tulley and three Maquis as they began to depart.  Tulley wore a thin smile. “Going somewhere?”

“Apparently wherever you’re taking us,” Macen retorted.

The Maquis separated Macen from Danan.  He was taken to an air car and had a hood thrown over his head.  He tried to count off how many minutes they’d been in the air before they landed.  He was then escorted, hood on, through the Maquis base.  Finally, he was deposited in a chair and the hood was yanked off.  He blinked as his eyes adjusted to the light.  He was only marginally surprised to discover sitting opposite him, behind a desk, was Ro Laren. 


Many thanks to Bernd Schneider of for designing the Blackbird-class scout vessel mentioned in this story.


Please send feedback and other correspondence regarding this story to Brin_Macen at yahoo dot com.

"Betrayal" Chapter Four by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

While Hathaway used Dax’s data rod to run down the identification of the as-of-yet unnamed corpse, they were all hoping that she was registered in the Starfleet Intelligence database.  Sisko was confident that she was.  Bernstein had to ask why.

Sisko’s mood grew a little less grave. “As you know, Cardassian women are generally relegated to scientific pursuits and support roles.  A notable few have risen through the ranks in the Militia…or other services.” He let the implication hang as he continued. “But women in a military style unit are enough of a rarity to register as a blip on the radar.”

“Uh…Commander?” Hathaway suddenly called out. “We may have a problem.”

Sisko moved over to the terminal granted to Starfleet by the constabulary. “What is it, Lieutenant?”

Sisko noted Dax’s look of frustration and he repeated the question.  His science officer answered, “We’ve hit a roadblock from Starfleet Intelligence.  The information we want requires a level seven clearance.”

Sisko was impressed.  He had a level seven clearance — a fact that Dax was privy to.  But he had only acquired that level of clearance upon accepting command of Deep Space Nine.  As a regional commander, he required it.  He also knew that theoretically there were only ten levels in total, but he had heard rumors of the “ultraviolet” levels within Starfleet Command itself.

“Excuse me, Lt. Hathaway,” Sisko said as he took her place at the station.  Level seven required the standard voiceprint but it also needed a retina scan.  He gave the computer what it required and a file came up on the screen.

A hazy image of the Cardassian in life appeared.  It was a scene of utter carnage and she seemed to be in the midst of it.  Details of the incident were included as well as her name.

“Illya Galan,” Sisko mused. “Why does that name sound familiar?”

Dax was skimming the file. “It says that Galan was a suspected operative for the Obsidian Order.  That has never been confirmed, just as her ouster was never verified.”

“They threw her out?” Sisko was surprised. “I thought the Obsidian Order lived by the motto, ‘once in, never out.’”

“You’re thinking of the Maquis,” Bernstein chuckled.

“Or the IRA,” Hathaway blurted.  Seeing every eye turned towards her, she grew embarrassed. “You know?  The Irish Republican Army from twentieth century Earth.”

“I vaguely remember them from my course work when I studied for this job,” Bernstein suddenly recalled. “The Maquis share a lot with them.”

“Didn’t they eventually buy into the political peace process?” Hathaway asked. “Something about a power sharing arrangement in their territory?”

“At least most of them did,” Bernstein corrected. “Splinter factions kept the sectarian violence alive for decades afterwards.  Fortunately, they only had a few followers, not much funding, and didn’t rack up a heavy body count.”

Sisko glared at her and she planted her fists on her hips. “What?  I’m trying to look at the upside here.  If the Maquis really are similar then the similarities may hold out as time goes by.”

 “The Maquis aren’t interested in peace.  They’re only out for revenge,” Sisko declared.

Bernstein’s eyes went flinty. “Some, maybe.  But the majority want their homes to stay their homes and not be forced out of them.”

“If they truly wanted that, then they would trust in the system,” Sisko argued.

“Why?” Bernstein demanded to know. “The system screwed them.”

“Are you a sympathizer?” Sisko suddenly asked.

“Excuse me?” Bernstein was affronted.

“You heard me, Chief Constable.” Sisko emphasized her title in a derogatory way.

“Maybe,” Bernstein allowed, “Or maybe I’m just tired of covering up murders committed by the Cardassiansettlers in our city.”

“What are you saying?” Sisko’s anger was totally derailed.

“Oh, they’re not really murders.  They’re accidents,” Bernstein sneered. “But the Cardassians are really good at accidents and they happen every day.  Hell, they’re practically an hourly event now.”

“Have you told the Federation’s DMZ representative?” Sisko wondered.

“What do you think?” Bernstein asked sarcastically.

“How did they respond?” Sisko wanted to know.

“They sent you,” Bernstein spat.  She collected herself and said, “Gul Evek said the problem is that the Maquis exist.  As long as they’re free, the Cardassian settlers will kill at the slightest provocation in ‘self defense.’ So, the Federation representative contacts Starfleet and you magically show up.  Don’t you find it a little coincidental that Cal Hudson was abducted before you arrived?”

“Yes,” Sisko admitted.

“And don’t you find it the slightest bit odd that occurs on the same day you shared Hudson’s location with Gul Evek?”  Bernstein had to wonder.

“Yes,” Sisko said again.

“Then just don’t sit there!” Bernstein urged, “Do something about it!”

“I intend to question Gul Evek about his part in these events,” Sisko announced.

Bernstein threw her hands up in the air and stormed out the room.  As she left she shouted back, “Fat lot of good that’s going to do!”

Sisko turned to look at Dax.  She was giving him a sympathetic smile but there were doubts in her eyes.  Sisko could empathize because he shared those doubts.  He suddenly realized Hathaway was still standing behind him, playing like a hole in space.  He turned to her.

“Do you have something to add?” He inquired a little more sharply than intended.

“No sir!” she said crisply.  She hesitated a moment, then plunged ahead. “Actually, I do.  Permission to speak freely, sir?”

“If I didn’t want your opinion, I wouldn’t have asked for it.” Sisko tried to be encouraging.

“I think the Commander is being taken for a fool, sir,” Hathaway suddenly threw out.  She waited for an eruption but instead Sisko smiled.

“And why is that, Lieutenant?” He asked.

“I’ve seen what the Cardassians do first hand.  There’s never been a case of ‘self defense.’  All the forensic pointed to the Cardies being the aggressors if not downright killers, sir,” she shared.

“I see.” He pondered this. “You are aware that Starfleet no longer tolerates the term Cardies, are you not?”

“A slip of the lip,” she riposted. “It will happen again.”

Sisko appreciated the young woman’s sudden audaciousness.  She was a relatively junior officer, yet she was also senior on a posting with little to no support behind it and she was a witness to events that would make the most experienced men or women go mad from frustration.  He’d “enjoyed” similar circumstance during the conflict with the Tzenkethi.  Fortunately for him, his circumstances had only lasted a few weeks.  Hathaway was here until her duty rotation was up.

“Tell me, Lieutenant, how long have you been stationed here?” Sisko gently inquired.

“Since the Zone was established.” Hathaway confirmed his suspicions. “I guess that would make it nearly twenty-four months.”

Sisko inwardly winced.  A standard rotation was eighteen months.  Not only had Hathaway been given a dismal assignment, they’d buried her in it. 

“I know what you’re thinking, Commander.” Hathaway wore a rueful expression. “I was kind of thinking that Command had forgotten about me as well.  The plain truth is that they can’t find anybody to replace me.  Dezuron is in the same boat.”   Her expression turned a little more aggravated. “It’s not fair what they’re doing to Ilk though.  He had a transfer lined up to serve aboard your station.  Those orders were rescinded because we’re serving in such a heap of natural fertilizer that no one will take our place.  I can cope, but Ilk’s just out of the Academy and has enthusiasm to burn.”

Sisko wondered what had happened to Hathaway’s enthusiasm, although he was sure he already knew the answer.  Too many scenes like the one at the housing quad had eroded her idealism. 

“I’m going to get answers.  I promise,” he assured Hathaway.

She gave him a dubious look. “Good luck with that then.”

Dax ushered Hathaway to the other side of the room where O’Brien had silently witnessed these events.  Dax noted that O’Brien had a rather dour mien.

“Problem, Chief?” She asked.

“The Commander’s wasting his time.  Gul Evek is gonna deny everything and blame it on us,” O’Brien stated.

Dax felt the same way, but she had to play it out the way Starfleet wanted. “Maybe, Chief.  But we have to try.  No one wants another war.”

O’Brien grimaced. “And Evek is enough of a prig he’d start one just for the helluva it.”

Dax smiled.  She may not have put it quite so bluntly, but O’Brien had captured the gist of it.  Chuckling, she agreed with him. “Exactly.”

Sisko’s conversation didn’t even begin well.  Evek demanded to know why Starfleet had allowed a Cardassian citizen to be killed. “Weren’t you supposed to be there?”

Sisko grated.  He found Evek to be officious at the best of times, and this wasn’t one of those. “My officers and I arrived precisely on schedule.  However, elements within the Cardassian settlers moved before we arrived and attacked the residents of that housing bloc.”

“That’s not what I heard.  I was told that the poor woman was duped into joining the Federation settlers that resided there and they killed her in cold blood,” Evek blustered.

“And how do you account for the deaths of the residents?” Sisko wanted to know.

“She defended herself,” Evek said as though it were incontrovertible fact.

“She killed nearly fifty people before they managed to overwhelm her and kill her?” Sisko was incredulous.

“On Cardassia, we teach our women how to defend themselves,” Evek huffed.

“They’re obviously trained very well, especially when they are agents of the Obsidian Order,” Sisko baited Evek to see how he’d respond.

“I wouldn’t know.  The Central Command and the Obsidian Order each run their separate affairs and departments,” Evek countered.

“So, you’re not denying that this Illya Galan was an Obsidian Order agent?” Sisko tightened his grip on the conversation.

“Why would I deny it?” Evek acted as though he were affronted. “I have no idea if this woman really is who you claim she is or if she was an agent of the Obsidian Order.”

“So you’re saying that she was a former agent of the Order?” Sisko asked.

“Of course she is a former agent!  She’s dead.  Everything about her life is in the past tense.  And her blood is on your hands!” Evek grated.

“Gul Evek, is the Central Command running weapons into the Demilitarized Zone and training paramilitaries in how to use them?” Finally, Sisko got to the question he’d been dying to ask.

“No more than Starfleet is supplying the Maquis,” Evek snapped.  Evek saw that he had achieved a verbal superiority of sorts. “I’ve rendered what assistance that I could, Commander.  But your inaction cost the life of one of our citizens.  We will have justice.  One way or another.”

“Wait!  What do you…?” Sisko abruptly stopped as Evek cut the transmission.

The others across the room began talking softly amongst themselves.  Sisko could tell his expression had completely given him away and that things had proceeded as they’d expected.  Not wanting to give up, Sisko reached out to his last potential ally among the Central Command.

It took several moments for Gul Dukat to respond, but when he did he looked most pleased. “Why Commander, I haven’t been expecting a message from you.  How are things on Terok Nor?”

Sisko didn’t respond.  He couldn’t imagine Dukat being so out of the loop that he wasn’t aware of Sisko’s present location.  But then again, Dukat had been caught out in the cold regarding the Central Command’s arming the Cardassian settlers in the DMZ in the first place.

Dukat suddenly had a crafty look in his eye. “But you’re not aboard Terok Nor.  Rather, you are in the Demilitarized Zone and things have not gone your way.”

“There have been murders, Dukat, including the death of a Cardassian woman,” Sisko shared.

Dukat nodded gravely, yet Sisko has the feeling he was being toyed with. “Indeed.  Poor Illya Galan.  She will not be missed.”

“Wait!” Sisko almost yelped, “You know who Illya Galan is?”

“Of course,” Dukat said silkily. “Galan was a suspected member of the Obsidian Order.  Of course, it is only a theory.  If it is true then Galan was an assassin, quite an accomplished one from all reports, but she enjoyed her work a little too much.  The Obsidian Order prefers skullduggery to bloodbaths.  Massacres tend to get noticed.”

You should know, Sisko thought.  He also noted that Dukat wasn’t condemning Galan’s actions on moral grounds, but rather practicality when it came to covert operations.

“So how did Galan end up in the DMZ?” Sisko inquired.

Dukat spread his hands in an expansive gesture. “Perhaps she wanted a new life?  Who knows?  What matters is she’s dead and the Cardassian people will want an answer for that death.”

“Dukat, she was part of an operation to kidnap Cal Hudson,” Sisko divulged.

“Hudson?  The Maquis leader?” Dukat sounded surprised but Sisko could see in his eyes that this was old news to him. “Weren’t you on your way to arrest him?”

Sisko nodded and Dukat kept the game in play. “And someone beat you to him?”  He shook his head sorrowfully. “Really, Commander, I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Dukat, I need to find Hudson,” Sisko insisted.

Anger appeared in Dukat’s eyes. “You had your chance with him, Commander.  You gave it, and him, up in a moment of sentimentality.  I warned you then that you were being a fool.  This is the price you must pay for that foolishness.”

Dukat looked at him without remorse. “I suggest you let things take their natural course.”

“But the Cardassian paramilitaries will hand Hudson over to Evek,” Sisko tried again.

“No, they won’t.  The Central Command has no affiliation with the paramilitaries.  You saw to that,” Dukat countered. “These are private citizens who have taken the law into their own hands.   I suggest that if you want a solution to the problem, you convince your government to allow my government to move in and deal with the perpetrators.”

 “You’re suggesting we allow military units into the Zone?” Sisko wasn’t certain he’d heard him correctly.

“Temporarily, of course,” Dukat assured him.

Sisko’s temper started to flare. “No deal.”

Dukat spread his hands again. “Then there’s nothing that I can do. Good day, Commander.  Call me if you change your mind.”

The screen shifted to a UFP symbol.  Sisko called Hathaway over. “What are Starfleet’s assets in the DMZ?”

“You’d know that better than I would,” she admitted.

Sisko asked who Hathaway’s superior officer was and she referred him to Starbase 211.  Captain Haewoo took the call in short order.  He seemed rather interested in Sisko.

“I’ve heard of you and your command,” Haewoo admitted. “Aren’t you a tad junior to command a deep space station?” 

“I leave those decisions to Starfleet Command,” Sisko riposted.

Haewoo smirked. “Good answer.  Especially when it concerns the DMZ.  Now, how can I help you?”

“I need a list of your undercover Starfleet assets in the local area,” Sisko explained.

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” Haewoo replied. “Those officer’s lives are at stake.”

“But I need intelligence on a developing situation,” Sisko divulged.

“You mean Calvin Hudson’s capture?” Haewoo asked.  Seeing Sisko’s surprise, he chuckled, “Everyoneknows of your mission, Commander.  It’s the biggest open secret in the DMZ.”

“I still need to acquire that intelligence,” Sisko insisted.

Haewoo sighed, “I’ll tell you what, there is a new player on Ronara Prime.  Contact him and see what you can find out.”

“Is he Starfleet?” Sisko didn’t like the sound of this already.

“Word is he was.  He runs a scoutship now.  Both he and his first officer were Starfleet.  The rumor is they’ve gone into business for themselves.”

“What’s their business?” Sisko hated to ask.

“Information,” Haewoo revealed, “which you need and they might have.”

“A mercenary?” Sisko didn’t relish that thought.

Haewoo weighed his answer. “More of an information broker.”

“Does this ‘broker’ have a name?” Sisko grated at being reduced to this level.

“Brin Macen,” Haewoo supplied. “And watch out, he’s an El-Aurian.”

Sisko inwardly groaned. Sisko had only encountered one El-Aurian, and was a con artist who made life on the station difficult for a time.  He was now in jail and the situation had been stabilized, much to Quark’s relief.  Having a rival bar and casino owner aboard DS9 had cut into his profits.

“So noted,” Sisko replied. “Where should I look?”

“Ronara Prime only has one spaceport.  A favorite tavern for the assorted crews that gather there is the Old Biddy.  Go there,” Haewoo suggested.

“How will I find this ‘Macen’?” Sisko wondered.

“Trust me, Commander.  He’ll find you.  Open secret and all that,” Haewoo chuckled again and signed off. 

Sisko rose from the station. “It seems we’re going to Ronara Prime.”

“We’ll need to collect Julian,” Dax reminded him.

A flood of voices could be heard as several constables returned from their patrols.  Two figures stood out as they approached.  One was Bashir.  The doctor looked tired and frustrated.  His crewmates assumed it was because he’d lost too many patients for his taste.

Beside him was a young woman roughly Hathaway’s age.  She saw Hathaway and positively glowed.  She moved into Hathaway’s body space.

“Hey sexy.  Miss me?” she asked.

Hathaway stroked the other woman’s cheek where a smear of blood was crusted on.  The woman smiled. “Don’t worry, it’s not mine.”

Sisko had just enough time to register that the stranger was a medic when the two women kissed.  Hathaway turned to Sisko. “Commander, this my wife, Desiree Johnson.”

“A pleasure,” Sisko said with a smile.  Hathaway introduced Dax and O’Brien to Johnson as well.

Johnson gave Sisko a warm smile. “Any chance you could swing a transfer for my darling wife?  I’d love to dust this mud ball off my feet.”

Sisko’s smile became beaming.  He could remember his wife, Jennifer, following him from posting to posting over the years.  Eventually Jake had been born and the entire family traveled to new assignments.  Of course, Jennifer had died in Sisko’s line of duty.  He could only hope the same wouldn’t happen to Johnson.   

“I’m sorry.  There’s nothing I can do except put another good word in,” Sisko ruefully admitted.

Johnson pouted as she turned to Hathaway, “We’re gonna be stuck here forever.”

Hathaway caressed Johnson’s cheek and gently kissed her again. “We’ll get out, sweetie.  Trust me.”

“What have I missed?” Bashir suddenly interjected.  The couple grinned wryly at having their moment interrupted.  Dax smiled at the awkwardness that was totally in Bashir’s character.  O’Brien merely rolled his eyes at his youthful friend’s indiscretion.

Sisko was amused but he was properly somber considering his reply. “You’re just in time, Doctor.  We’re leaving.”

“Oh, are we retuning to the station?” Bashir asked hopefully.

Sisko let him down easy. “No, we’re headed for the nearest inhabited world. We have a meeting to keep.”

“Really?” Bashir sounded surprised. “With whom?”

“I have no idea,” Sisko balefully admitted.


Many thanks to Bernd Schneider of for designing the Blackbird-class scout vessel mentioned in this story.


Please send feedback and other correspondence regarding this story to Brin_Macen at yahoo dot com.

"Betrayal" Chapter Three by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Ro situated herself in front of her comp/comm.  It was a portable version of the desktop mounted units that had proliferated in Starfleet.  Starfleet also used the occasional portable model, but they were more frequently employed by civilians.  The Maquis had “acquired” several cargo holds’ worth of these units from a sympathetic merchantman who claimed pirates had taken his whole cargo after the Maquis kindly shot up his freighter. The damage was enough to disable the warp drive but not enough to cripple the venerable ship.  Both sides had won that day.

The real trick was the encryption protecting the subspace transmission.  Hudson and Koraponova had recruited several Starfleet cryptologists.  Ro herself was a fair hand with codes, but the specialists made her skills seem rather feeble in comparison.  This was good because Starfleet Intelligence monitored the bulk of the DMZ’s transmissions with the Argus Array.  Their code breakers worked overtime against their former peers. 

Added to the dilemma was the fact the Cardassian Obsidian Order also monitored every transmission in the Zone, not only through their border outposts but also through passing ships that cruised within the DMZ itself.  Some humans made jokes that the nondescript Cardassian freighters would claim to merely be “fishing vessels” if boarded.  Ro didn’t get the joke.

Ro activated the comp/comm.  She keyed in her cipher for the comm unit.  The screen first activated to show the red symbol of the Maquis Council.  Kalinda had once warned Ro that could prove incriminating if the unit was captured.

Ro had replied with gallows’ humor, “If they’ve get this far, I think they’ve already figured out who we are.”

Numbers flashed across the bottom of the screen as the incoming message was accepted into the memory.  The numbers stopped and Ro activated the playback.  Sveta Koraponova’s features suddenly appeared.  Despite being a fairly striking woman, Ro was jealous of Koraponova’s looks.  She’d never admit, it of course, but the pang was there nonetheless. 

“Laren, I hope you get this in short order.  I’ll be holding on for the next two hours awaiting your reply.  The reply cipher is attached to this file.  Use it as soon as you can.  If it’s already been two hours then we’ve switched to our secondary option and more lives will be lost.” Koraponova was dead serious as she spoke. “Call me.”

Ro checked the time stamp on the message.  It had come in while the cell was travelling back to base but she still had a few minutes before the deadline was up.  It would be close though.

She triggered the attachment and the comm automatically replied.  Ro fidgeted while the signal was being accepted at the other end.  Finally the picture shifted and Koraponova gazed back at her.

“Laren!  Thank God!” Koraponova practically sagged.

“Sveta, what’s going on?  You made it sound like life or death,” Ro forced Koraponova to focus.

“It is life and death,” the Maquis Chief of Operations replied. “The cell on Umoth was hit.  Dozens are dead, most of them innocent bystanders whose only crime was to host our cell.”

“Who did it?” Ro said in an eerily cool voice.

“The survivors saw Cardassians.” Koraponova held up a hand to stop Ro from venting her outrage. “They weren’t Militia.  They were paramilitaries.  Although, their precision indicates that they had military training.  One of them was killed.  Our contact in the local constabulary is trying to get us an ID.”

“But why Umoth?  That cell has been quiet lately,” Ro wondered.

Koraponova looked stricken. “Cal has been based off of Umoth for the last six weeks.”

“Oh, hell,” Ro lamented. “They have him?”

The Architect nodded, not trusting herself to speak.  Ro grimaced, “I suppose you want me to go after them?”

“I’d ask Chakotay but Seska was able to get a feeler on the supply route the Cardassians have been using to smuggle arms into the DMZ.  He and the crew of the Zola are ‘taking care of the problem,’ or so he said.”

Ro snorted. “If anyone can, it’ll be him and his crew.”

“Which leaves you rescuing Cal Hudson and the command staff of the Umoth cell,” Koraponova said as though it were nothing.

“I’m honored Sveta, you have to know that, but I don’t know if we can pull it off.  Santos was just killed and I’ve been made brigade commander,” Ro confessed.

“So you’ll be in a better position to get results,” Koraponova assured her. “Look, I know you’re new, but you’re the most capable asset that I have now and I need you.  The Maquis Council needs you.  You can do this.”

“All right.” Ro held up a hand to ward off any more encouragement. “I never was one for pep talks.  I’ll do my best to bring them back.”

“If you can’t,” Koraponova’s voice turned glacial, “then you have to eliminate them.  Cal in particular.  Hecannot be taken to Cardassia.”

“You think that’s where he’s headed?” Ro inquired.

“It’s the only thing that makes sense.  Evek wants Cal in order to show how effective he’s being at ‘suppressing’ the Maquis.  He’ll hand off Cal to some monster like Gul Madred.  They’ll break him.  Oh, it’ll take a while, but eventually he’ll crack and the whole movement will suffer for it,” Koraponova explained.

Ro nodded.  She’d been in similar circumstances in her youth in the Resistance.  She put a phaser to the head of her only friend on the world and fired.   She would do it again if the mission called for it. 

“I understand,” Ro said with an air of finality.  There was an instant understanding between the two women. “Any idea where they took him until they can hand him over to Evek?”

Koraponova looked crestfallen. “I haven’t a clue.”

Ro suddenly broke into a fierce smile. “Well, my intel chief has wanted to impress me.  Now’s her chance.”

“Good luck,” Koraponova said. “However this plays out.”

“Thanks, Prophets know we could use a break,” Ro said.

That amused Koraponova, “I thought you were agnostic.”

“Being dead changes one’s outlook,” Ro quipped.

Koraponova gave her a quizzical look.  Ro waved it aside, “Never mind.  Look, some aliens inside of a wormhole want to play god?  Fine.  I’ll humor them.”

“Whatever,” Koraponova said dismissively. “Just get it done.  I don’t care how or how high the body count is.  Get it done.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Ro nodded.

The screen went dark.  Ro contemplated the task at hand.  Was Alea up to her part?  They’d find out.  Ro had a contact in Starfleet Intelligence.  It was time to call in some markers and try not to get arrested in the process.

The Rio Grande arrived at Umoth.   Her presence was recorded by the Cardassians’ Outpost 61 and passed along to Gul Evek.  He ordered them to continue monitoring the area and keep him apprised of the runabout’s movements.

Dax sat the ship down at Alores’ principal spaceport.  Terrestrial capable craft of all shapes and sizes were parked there.  Traffic Control alerted the city’s constabulary to the Starfleet team’s arrival.  Two peace officers presented themselves. 

The Superintendent of the Constabulary was a shifty fellow that owed his appointment more to his ability to coddle Cardassian feelings than actually manage an investigation.  The “power sharing” arrangement between the Federation colonists and the new Cardassian minority reflected many instances of this effect across the DMZ.  The Superintendent blustered about this was a bad business for all and that heads would roll. 

The political official left and a real police officer presented herself.  She held out a hand to Sisko. “Hello Commander, I’m Chief Inspector Bernstein.  Lt. Hathaway and Ensign Dezuron told me to be expecting you as we began our investigation.”

“I trust that the two officers have proven useful?” Sisko asked.

“Of course they have,” Bernstein let go of a bitter laugh. “Unlike most of my force, they know what the hell they’re doing.”

Sisko blinked and the others remained quiet as Bernstein waved the comment aside, “I’m sorry.  Local politics.  Let me get all of your names.”

“As you’ve probably been warned, I’m Commander Benjamin Sisko.  This is my Science Officer, Jadzia Dax.  This is my Chief of Operations, Miles O’Brien.  And this fellow is my Chief Medical Officer, Julian Bashir,” Sisko revealed.

“Aren’t you a little young to be a Chief Medical Officer?” Bernstein eyed Bashir skeptically.

“I assure you I’m fully qualified,” Bashir insisted.

“We’ll see,” Bernstein said warily.

“Excuse me, Inspector,” Sisko began to say.

Bernstein unexpectedly laughed, “Just call me, Sarah.  Our force isn’t big on formalities.”

“All right, Sarah, you sound as if something has happened,” Sisko surmised.

“You wanted us to watch that suspected Maquis hideout, right?” Bernstein asked.

“Yes,” Sisko replied.

“Well, it’s now a confirmed Maquis base,” Bernstein revealed. “Or at least it was.”

“What do you mean ‘it was’?” Dax inquired.

“Somebody blew the holy hell out of it,” Bernstein explained. “They tore through the housing bloc the Maquis were holed up in and killed anyone who got in their path.”

“How many were injured?” Bashir’s interest was suddenly galvanized.

“We don’t have an exact estimate yet,” Bernstein admitted. “We’re still figuring that out.”

“And the fatalities?” Sisko grimly inquired.

Bernstein sighed, “We’re still figuring that out, too.  All we know for certain is that both numbers are high.”

“Can you take me there?” Bashir suddenly blurted.  Knowing he may have overstepped his bounds, he turned to Sisko. “Commander, I may be able to help.”

Sisko nodded. “Let’s see what we all can do.”

Bernstein brightened a little bit. “Follow me and I’ll take you to the scene.”

They walked towards a large box-like vehicle.  Bernstein flashed them an embarrassed smile as she said, “I’m sorry.  Ground transports are the best we can manage.”

“Bajor relies upon ground based transports as well.  Most of them were left behind when the Cardassians withdrew,” O’Brien reassured her.

Bernstein stopped when she reached the vehicle and patted its chassis. “Well, this baby is a local product.”

“What’s it called?” Dax asked enthusiastically.

“We call it a ‘van.’” Bernstein said with pride.

“Can I drive?” Dax eagerly asked.

“I…” Bernstein floundered, “Are you qualified?”

“I have previous hosts stretching back three hundred years,” Dax said merrily. “I remember driving vehicles like this.”

Bernstein looked to Sisko for advice.  He smiled, “It’s your call.”

Bernstein looked at the imploring look in Dax’s eyes.  She also saw something while Dax met her gaze.  The Trill looked to be in her late twenties, yet her eyes were ancient.  She’d heard stories about Trills and their arcane knowledge, but this was the first time that she’d encountered it. 

She decided to take a risk. “Climb in.  I’ll ride shotgun.”  She rolled back the cargo door. “Gentlemen?”

They climbed aboard.  Bernstein keyed the biometric ignition with her thumb and they were off.  A Heads Up Display gave Dax direction after she’d queried the van’s computer.  Bernstein filled in Sisko and his crew on some of the details that they knew so far.

“Witnesses claim the attackers were Cardassian,” Bernstein shared.

“Wouldn’t surprise me,” O’Brien commented.

Sisko gave him a pained look and the Chief managed a “sorry.”

Bernstein grinned, “Normally we’d take that info with a grain of salt.  The Cardies are the boogeymen of the planet, so there’s a lot of hyperbole regarding their ‘crimes’.  Add to that the fact that these people sheltered the Maquis.”

“Which also makes them a prime target for this kind of attack,” Sisko realized.

“Bingo,” Bernstein said.  Seeing the blank stares that she got in return, she added, “It’s a game.”  There was still no recognition, so she plunged on. “You collect numbers and when you get the right ones you…oh, never mind.”

“Sounds like Quark trying to explain tongo,” O’Brien chuckled.

“Actually Chief, tongo is very easy to learn once you master the rules of acquisition,” Dax shared.

“Spare me,” O’Brien muttered.

“What was that?” Dax cheerfully asked.

“Nothing,” O’Brien replied.

“I’m sure Keiko believes you every time you say that too,” Dax teased.

O’Brien blushed and Dax laughed.  Sisko looked towards Bernstein and asked, “You have more evidence than heresy to point to the Cardassians, don’t you?”

Bernstein reappraised Sisko. “Very good, Commander.  We have direct physical evidence linking Cardassians to the crime.”

“And that would be?” Bashir wondered.

“A body,” Bernstein revealed.

Bernstein wouldn’t elaborate except to say they were running the corpse’s identity down through the usual channels.  Sisko asked if the Cardassian Militia liaisons were assisting.  Bernstein grimaced and admitted the Cardassians were throwing up more roadblocks than assistance.

They arrived at the scene and Bashir plunged ahead where the planet’s emergency medical services staff labored.  Bernstein brought them into the courtyard.  Bodies littered the area.  She explained that they’d had to move the bodies from the entrance in order to get their medical equipment in.

Dax looked horrified.  O’Brien’s expression badly gave his opinion away.  Sisko had to admit to dismay as well.   He’d seen the atrocities of war against the Tzenkethi and the Borg, and this was a massacre that rivaled any of those.

Bernstein called over an inspector from her department.  He grabbed Hathaway and brought her along as well.  Hathaway smiled out of relief upon seeing fellow Starfleet officers.

“Commander, you are a sight for sore eyes,” she said a little shakily.

“I know the Chief Inspector mentioned your name before, but you’ll have to refresh my memory,” Sisko admitted.

Hathaway nodded. “Lt. Diana Hathaway.  Ensign Ilk Dezuron is my counterpart.”  She turned to Bernstein. “I’ve organized everyone as best I could.  Most of the deputies are taking statements.  Dezuron is helping with forensics.”

“So Charlie told me.  Found anything conclusive?” Bernstein asked.

Hathaway wore a wry smirk, “You mean besides a Cardassian body?”

Bernstein grimaced. “What are our Cardassian liaisons doing?”

“They’ve established a perimeter around the corpse and won’t let anyone near it.” Hathaway tried to keep the anger out of her voice.

“What?” Bernstein began to share Hathaway’s anger, “Has anyone informed them when need to ID the body and find out who she was?”

“Repetitively,” Hathaway’s frustration was mounting, “But they’ve claimed jurisdiction over the body and are waiting for one of their transports to haul it away.

“They don’t have any jurisdiction.  have jurisdiction.  It’s my damn planet!” Bernstein snapped, “Of all the unmitigated gall!”

She stormed off to confront the Cardassians.  Sisko turned to Hathaway, “Lieutenant, how would you like to assist us in getting some scans of the body?”

Hathaway genuinely smiled for the first time. “I’d love to.”

Bernstein was in the leading glinn’s face.  His subordinate, a garresh, stood by as she grew livid.  The glinn nodded in all the right places but his reply left something to be desired.

“The murder victim was a Cardassian national.  As such, her remains fall under my jurisdiction.  We will determine her identity and process her remains as per her legal arrangements.  Afterwards, we will hand over her identity so that you can investigate, apprehend, and prosecute her killers.” The glinn smiled coldly. “Unless you’d like to see Cardassian justice done.”

“Murder? The forensic evidence all points to the fact that she was one of the killers,” Bernstein sputtered.

“And who did she kill?” the glinn wondered.

“Aren’t the bodies littering this courtyard and the corridors evidence enough of murder?” Bernstein asked.

“Nonsense.  This was a food riot and these people killed one another.” The glinn pointed at Galan’s corpse. “She was lured in here expressly for the purpose of slaying the lovely woman.  Yet another evidence of the racism that pervades your Federation.”

Sisko, Hathaway, and O’Brien joined Bernstein.  They’d moved into the Cardassians’ body space so the two junior officers shifted position.  The Starfleet representatives repeated their move and the Cardassians moved yet again, but this time they fiercely glared at the Starfleet team as if to challenge them to try it again.

“Do you mind explaining to Commander Sisko what you’ve been suggesting to me?” Bernstein hotly demanded.

“I would love to share.  I-” A beep cut the glinn off.  Suddenly he and the garresh realized that Galan’s body was now behind the humans.  They each darted to a side to find Dax rising to her feet while holding a tricorder.

“Give that to me,” the glinn requested.

“I don’t think so,” Dax replied sweetly.

“You will give that to me now!” the glinn shouted.

Dax looked to Sisko, who nodded.  She shrugged and handed over the device.  The glinn turned to Bernstein. “I believe we are done here, Chief Inspector.”

Bernstein bristled but Sisko took her by the shoulders and began to steer her away. “I believe we should visit the Constabulary station.”

“Why?” Bernstein was puzzled as Sisko guided her towards the van.

Sisko looked to Dax. “Do you have it?”

She held up the isolinear data rod from the tricorder.  She’d palmed it before handing over the hand scanner. “Oh yeah.  I’ve got it.”

Her grin was infectious.  They reached the van and Sisko spoke, “Now we need to be out of here before those two figure out what we’ve done.  Lt. Hathaway, are you coming?  We could use your help.”

A sudden roar of outrage filled the air.  Hathaway nodded. “I’m in.”

They piled into the van and its tires squealed as Dax stomped on the accelerator.  Bernstein entered in the destination request and Dax’s HUD shifted.  She wore a mischievous grin as she drove through the town.  It was only a matter of time before the two Cardassian officers joined them at the Constabulary station.  With luck, they’d have the mysterious Cardassian woman’s name and history by then.

Bernstein turned to face Sisko and Hathaway. “Diana, Dezuron was helping my people with forensics.  Had they found anything?”

“Ilk and I were composing a battlefield analyses,” Hathaway reported.  Seeing Bernstein’s curious look, she explained, “We were trying to establish how much training the killers had and what their motive was.”

“And did you?” Sisko inquired.

“Possibly,” Hathaway hedged. “They set up a rooftop sniper and then came through the front door while others of their unit flanked the other access points and killed the guards there as they tried to respond to the main assault.  That speaks of a high degree of training and coordination.”

“So they were soldiers,” Bernstein growled.

“Maybe, maybe not,” Sisko countered. “Intelligence reports have the Cardassians recruiting ex-military personnel and relocating them into the DMZ and newly acquired Federation colonies.”

“And into the paramilitary units,” O’Brien added.

“So you don’t think this was the Cardassian Militia at work?” Bernstein asked.

 “I don’t think it was an official arm of the Central Command,” Sisko clarified. “But the Central Command was supplying the paramilitaries with arms and training until recently.  Officially, it has stopped.”

“Yeah, but unofficially the bastards are just sneakier about it,” O’Brien opined.

“Belay that, Chief.  We aren’t here to worry about the Cardassians.  The Maquis are our focus.  The Central Command believes Starfleet is smuggling in weapons and training to the Maquis,” Sisko warned.

“But they only believe it because they’ve done it themselves and are probably still doing it,” Dax chimed in.

“Be that as it may, it still doesn’t answer the why of this attack,” Sisko reminded everyone.

Hathaway spoke up. “Commander, surviving witnesses claim the Cardassians took prisoners.”

Sisko’s blood ran cold.  He retrieved a PADD out of his pocket, activated it, and scrolled through the information until he reached a file photo.  He handed it to Hathaway.

“Did any of the witnesses describe the capture of this man?” Sisko asked sharply.

“They mentioned him by name,” Hathaway confirmed. “All they could talk about was how Cal Hudson had been taken.”

Bernstein whistled, “The Big Kahuna himself.  He wasn’t among the bodies so I assumed he got away.”

“You knew he was there?” Sisko demanded.

“Yes,” Bernstein warily replied.

“You knew and didn’t tell me,” Sisko growled.

“You already suspected he was there or you wouldn’t have come all this way,” Bernstein fought back. “And in case you hadn’t noticed, I have one helluva crime scene back there.”

“And what were you going to do when it came time to arrest Hudson?” Sisko angrily inquired.

Bernstein smiled slyly. “Let’s just say Cal Hudson would’ve been on another rock before you reached him.”

“I could have your badge for this,” Sisko threatened.

Bernstein laughed. “How?  You don’t have much more jurisdiction that our Cardassian friends.”  Seeing Sisko’s sudden dawning of realization, she added, “You have what authority I give you.  No more.  No less.  Right now I think your quest for Hudson will lead me to my killers so I’m willing to give you some rope.”

Hathaway looked perturbed, “What I want to know is: if the locals kept Hudson’s location from Dezuron and I, how did the Cardassians get it?”

 Sisko suddenly looked gut punched. “They know because I told them where to find him.”


Many thanks to Bernd Schneider of for designing the Blackbird-class scout vessel mentioned in this story.


Please send feedback and other correspondence regarding this story to Brin_Macen at yahoo dot com.

"Betrayal" Chapter Two by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson           

The scoutship slipped into the DMZ.  Registered as a civilian scout and transport, the NDS-741564 SS Odyssey was innocuous enough to slip past Starfleet’s sensor net with barely a ripple.  Of course, theBlackbird-class ship had started life as Starfleet’s NCC-14274 USS Tiberius.  Her hull was laid in 2318 and she’d been decommissioned from active service in 2369 at the close of the Cardassian War.

The Blackbirds had seen heavy action along the Cardassian and Tzenkethi borders.  They’d become unpopularly known as the “Death Birds” amongst Cardassian military officers.  The Tzenkethi probably had a name for them as well but no one was asking them what it was.

The Blackbird-class was essentially a diminutive hybrid between the then-existing Excelsior-class and the forthcoming Ambassador-class.  In simpler terms, it was a crossbreed between the Enterprise-B and –C.  The ships’ dimensions were a length of 104 meters, a width of 80 meters, and a height of 20 meters.

The Odyssey, like all ships of her class, possessed five decks.  Deck one was comprised of the bridge and the briefing room built behind the bridge.  Deck two was made up of living quarters and the deuterium tanks.  Deck three boasted the forward torpedo launchers and their magazines, science labs, the shuttlepod hangar, sickbay, and two storage compartments.  Deck four was entirely made up of the engineering compartment, and the aft torpedo launcher.  Deck five was devoted to the antideuterium pods.

The ship had a course plotted for Ronara Prime.  Her crew intended to join the Maquis, albeit in their own unique way.  Despite the ship’s design specifications for a crew comprised of twenty-two officers and crewmen, the Odyssey made do with a crew of seven.

Brin Macen owned and commanded the ship.  Lisea Danan served as his executive officer and manned the science station.  Tracy Ebert sat at the CONN while T’Kir manipulated the OPS panels.  Christine Lacey stood at the tactical station, what sat behind the captain’s chair on an elevated platform.  This rounded out the bridge crew.  Below decks in engineering, Tom Eckles served as the chief engineer and Heidi Darcy was his sole engineer’s mate. 

The crew was mostly comprised of humans.  T’Kir was obviously Vulcan and Danan was unmistakably a Trill.  But Macen was also a non-human despite all appearances to the contrary.  The crew didn’t know that he had been born in the Delta Quadrant and travelled to the Federation in the doomed Lakul.  That freighter had been destroyed by the energy ribbon known as the Nexus, which had swallowed up hundreds of fellow El-Aurians and deposited them into their own personal paradises.  Macen and a mere seventy-six refugees had been “rescued” by the crew of the Enterprise-B.  Most still regretted it.

Macen had studied his new home for seven years before entering Starfleet Academy.  He was given an accelerated course since he was already qualified as an archeology and anthropology officer and had conducted deep space missions for his people’s expeditionary forces.  Graduating in two years versus the usual four, Macen served a tour aboard a starship as the A&A officer.  After that, he was tapped by Starfleet Intelligence.  They’d been impressed with his initial studies of the newfound Cardassian people and inquired as to whether he wanted a seat at their newly-established Cardassian desk.

Macen agreed and became an analyst.  He sat at that desk for nearly forty years before being called out to the field as the Border Wars began between the Federation and the Cardassian Union.  He’d served on the front lines amongst the colonists during the entirety of that conflict.  When tension erupted into an official war between the two powers, Macen was still in the trenches.  The treaty ending the war was welcomed, but handing over colonies to the Cardassians was a betrayal of everything that Starfleet had fought for.  The creation of the DMZ was a black eye in the honor of the soldiers and colonists that had fought and died.

Macen had officially resigned his commission as a Commander in Starfleet.  Unofficially, his status was shifted into that of a reservist.  He was now a civilian operative of Starfleet Intelligence, and as such, he was completely off the books.  Fleet Admiral Alynna Nechayev had personally seen to it that Macen received a ship.  He’d had his choice from a collection of freshly decommissioned ships.  He’d admired the Blackbird-class ships during their service along the Cardassian border, and selected the Tiberius because of its connection to James T. Kirk.

Kirk was Macen’s personal hero.  Kirk had sacrificed his life in order to save the El-Aurians and theEnterprise-B.  Despite his misgivings regarding being plucked from the Nexus, Macen couldn’t fault Kirk’s courage and lifetime of service.  However, Macen strongly suspected that Kirk was now enjoying the fruits of the Nexus, so he didn’t feel all that bad for the adventurous human.

Macen had helped shepherd Nechayev through her career in Starfleet Intelligence Operations.  They’d remained friends as she passed him in grade and eventually achieved flag rank.  Now that she oversaw Starfleet Intelligence and Starfleet Security, she was in a position to do something tangible regarding the Maquis situation.

Nechayev personally sympathized with the Maquis.  She’d also sympathized with the Bajorans, her duties having taken her to Bajor on the eve of their “acquisition” by the Cardassians.  But now, as then, her duties forbade her from supporting either cause. 

Federation policy was crystal clear: The peace must be preserved at all costs.  If that meant sacrificing the Maquis, then so be it.  This policy had been dictated by a concordant of the UFP President, the Federation Council, and the C-in-C of Starfleet.  However, Nechayev had dropped a discreet word in the C-in-C’s ear about shaping and utilizing the Maquis. 

Her feelers indicated that the as-of-yet unrevealed security organ that defended Federation interests was taking a hand in arming the Maquis.  Ostensibly, the goal was to keep the Cardassians distracted with the rebellion in the DMZ and their newly acquired colonies while Starfleet and other forces moved behind the scenes to undermine Central Command’s ability to strike at the Federation.  Nechayev took this idea and ran with it.  If the Maquis were a charged phaser, then that phaser had to be aimed.   

Knowing that Macen was embittered by what he viewed as an inexcusable abandonment of the border colonists, Nechayev tapped him as her agent.  Knowing full well he could be hunted as a Maquis collaborator, he still agreed to the scheme.  Nechayev then set an elite group of agents into motion.  They registered Macen’s starship and got him fairly unique credentials.  They arranged contacts across the Federation, Bajor, and the Ferengi Alliance.

Nechayev wanted to place a crew aboard the Odyssey.  Macen refused.  He wanted the crew to be actual Maquis sympathizers so they couldn’t reveal his connection with Starfleet.  Nechayev still wanted an undercover Starfleet First Officer.  Macen relented.

He contacted Danan.  They had a complicated history.  He’d known a previous host of the Danan symbiont and they’d been friends.  When Lisea and Macen met, they’d fallen into each other’s arms.  She’d since been relocated to the Amagosa Observatory as Starfleet’s representative there. 

Knowing Danan’s expertise was in stellar cartography and astrophysics, Macen thought she’d prove an asset behind the lines.  He approached her with the idea of leaving Starfleet and joining him aboard theOdyssey.  She wanted to know why.

Macen gave her a wry look. “I can’t discuss that over an open channel.”

“Is this another Saltok III?” Danan inquired archly, “because I still have nightmares about that little ‘adventure.’”

Macen looked pained. “We shouldn’t discuss that over an open channel either.”

“How about Quatal?” Her words dripped scorn. “Can we discuss that?”

“No,” Macen hung his head, “but I can tell you you’re in the right neighborhood.”

“The DMZ?” she yelped. “But the only thing going on there but…  No!  You wouldn’t!”

“I probably would and am going to,” Macen replied.

 “Okay,” she relented a bit. “You want to run off and play hero.  Why do you want me to join you?”

“Because there’s something else involved and I think you’d approve of it,” he said nebulously.

She shook her head. “Nyuh uh.  There’s something else to it.  You could recruit from dozens of people, yet you’ve come to me.  Why?”

Macen hesitated and then plunged on in. “Because I trust you.  I trust you with my life and that’s what you’d literally be holding in your hand.  I don’t trust anyone else with that.”

Danan suddenly broke into a satisfied smile. “Finally!  You can admit it.”

“You still need to hear the whole proposal,” Macen warned.

Her eyes danced. “Did you just use the word ‘proposal’ with me?”

“Lees!” He used her familiar name out of frustration.

She threw her hands up in surrender, and then replied, “Have no fears.  I’m not expecting miracles yet.  But you can explain everything to me when you pick me up.

“You’re in?” He couldn’t believe it. “But you haven’t heard the rest of it.”

“I don’t need to.  You need me.  That’s all I needed to hear,” she asserted.

“You might regret this,” Macen gave her one last chance to back out.

 “I already do,” Danan sighed. “Now when can you be here?”

The rest of the crew had been signed at worlds in and around the DMZ.  T’Kir was one of the last survivors of Shial.  The Vulcan colony had been ceded to the Cardassians and the Cardies had slaughtered the population.  T’Kir had been spared because she had been away at school.

She was unusual for a Vulcan.  All of her fellow colonists had been.  They’d been dissidents who followed the tenets of Sybok rather than Surak.  They believed that emotional expression was the key to self-fulfillment as they sought out Sha-Ka-Ree.  Whether the fabled paradise was literal or metaphorical was open to debate, but everyone on Shial had believed in it and they’d died defending their homes.

T’Kir wasn’t just an emotionally expressive Vulcan; she was a broken emotional Vulcan.  Tales survived of the Vulcans’ legendary mood swings.  In the short time that they’d known T’Kir, the crew had been confronted with just that.  It went beyond that though; she seemed out of touch with the commonly shared reality.  She seemed to always be listening to things no one else could hear. 

Oddly enough, Macen was her biggest defender.  As such, he was the only one that she would easily listen to.  In fact, he was the only one she completely paid attention to.  With everyone else, it seemed as though she were listening to someone else in the background at the same time.  But she focused on Macen.  It was generally hoped that T’Kir wouldn’t go completely crazy and pose a threat to her crewmates.

The fact that everyone on the crew wore a sidearm didn’t help allay those fears.  Eckles and Darcy usually sat theirs aside while they tended to the engine space.  Everyone on the bridge was discreetly armed though.  The weapons were there even if they weren’t readily seen.

Ebert had been recruited on Starbase 129.  She was originally from Haldos II, which had also been handed over to the Cardassians.  She’d been the owner/pilot of a small transport during the troubles with the Cardassians.  She’d ferried colonists off of Haldos as the Cardassians pushed in and left the original settlers nowhere to run.  Ebert’s transport had been fired upon as it crossed into the DMZ.  She’d managed to set down on Ronara Prime, but her faithful little ship was a pile of wreckage now.  Wreckage that some of the refugees hadn’t walked away from.

Ebert had been on Starbase 129 looking for work.  Freighters and other transports were always looking for additional crew as other crewmen departed.  Macen had spotted several Maquis recruiters trolling the Starfleet installation and they were sizing Ebert up.  He’d simply moved in on her first.  When he told her his cover story, she readily bought it.

Lacey had been recruited on Topias.  The only survivor of a Maquis cell that Cardassian paramilitaries had clashed with, she’d literally run into Macen.  He’d calmed her down and explained why he was there looking for recruits for his ship’s mission.  She gratefully signed up.

Darcy and Eckles came as a prepackaged team.  They’d left the employ of a Boslic freighter captain named Rionoj at Starbase 310.  Ebert knew them as freelance engineers that hopped freighters in order to travel.  Their families in the DMZ had been deeply affected by the treaty’s repercussions.  Both of their families had suffered at the hands of Cardassian paramilitary strikes.  The Cardassians’ official line was that the Maquis were the only terrorists in the Zone while Starfleet claimed they had no jurisdiction. 

Macen promised them that they could make a difference and help prevent further attacks if they’d join him.  They leapt at the chance and Macen now had a crew of seven, including himself.  He set course for Ronara Prime with the intention of meeting with Ro Laren.  After all, they had a lot to talk about.

Ro Laren stared into the mirror and realized she looked as stunned as she felt.  The first time she’d looked like this was when the Cardassians made her watch as they tortured her father to death.  The last time had been upon Macius’ death.  Now she wore that look again, not because someone had died but because her cell had just made her its leader.

Actually, someone did die, Ro reminded herself.  Santos’ death had opened the door for choosing a new leader.  Ro had expected the reins of power to fall at Kalinda’s feet.  She’d been Santos’ second in command after all.  Instead a unanimous vote thrust that responsibility Ro’s way. 

She thought it was just the aftereffect of her getting the cell out of the scrape Santos had led them into.  Five Maquis, all good people and better soldiers, had died in that ambush.  Ro had pointedly advised Santos not to follow up on the intel they had received but he pushed ahead before verifying it through eyewitnesses.  The entire cell had paid for that mistake.

Ro marshaled the beleaguered Maquis survivors and they fought their way out of the neighborhood where hostile fire was raining down upon them from every rooftop.  They managed an orderly withdrawal while only losing minimal casualties considering the savagery of the assault.

The Cardassians only had enough personnel to man their rooftop positions.  When they remobilized to take advantage of the chaos on the ground, Ro had decisively set the Maquis into motion.  They pulled back while employing a two by two cover formation.  One withdrew while the other laid down suppressive fire.  Their tactic, added to by the ambient cover provided by an urban landscape, worked to get most of the cell to safety. 

The Cardassians had pursued to the end of the block when they ran into the cell’s reinforcements.  They weren’t much by military standards but neither were the Cardies.  Running headlong into phaser cannons mounted atop ground vehicles had been a surprise for the pursuing paramilitaries.  The cannons sweeping arcs of overlapping fire sent the Cardassians fleeing back to their bolt holes.

The Maquis had retreated to their base of operations.  They’d long since moved out of the housing quad they’d once occupied.  It had attracted too many attacks and resulted in too many losses.  Now they occupied a former defense post.  The Cardassians had insisted that Ronara Prime shut down all of its defense posts when the planet was consigned to the DMZ.  Starfleet and the Central Command had each sent representatives to oversee the shutdown.

Unbeknownst to them an official, one that predated the “shared” Federation/Cardassian government, had handed over the pass codes to the Maquis.  The cell now inhabited a command bunker carved into the living rock of a mountain side.  The base was fifty kilometers from the nearest city but they had ground vehicles and a couple of air cars so they made do.  The best part was that the base possessed a shielded hangar they could hide their “fleet” in.

The Maquis of the Ronaran cell had the drive back to base in which to consider their fortunes.  When they arrived, they immediately held a council.  Ro’s name was offered as a candidate for brigade commander.  She was excluded from voting but she received unanimous support.  They all remembered her words of caution before the ill-fated mission, and even more, they recalled her tactical skill and unwavering leadership during their retreat.  She’d shone immense personal courage.  So much so that even Kalinda, Santos’ heir apparent, bowed down before Ro’s natural propensity for the role.

The problem now was that Ro didn’t feel worthy.  She’d retreated to her quarters to ostensibly review who in the cell should be included in the leadership roles.  Several positions had opened up as key members died.  Ro skimmed over the scanty files she had on them all.   Mainly it came from memory.

Kalinda was the obvious choice for second in command, assuming she’d still want the role.  Alea should be her intelligence chief.  For the most part she’d proven herself reliable when it came to local traffic and enemy movements.  She just didn’t have a keen grasp on things beyond the DMZ.  That might eventually work against her, and by that virtue, the entire cell.

Emjin Thool should also remain the engineering chief of the cell’s technical squad.  The Bolian wasn’t a Geordi LaForge or a Miles O’Brien, but he was gifted in his own way.  The other addition to her staff that she was making was placing Aric Tulley as her security chief.  Tulley was a steadfast fellow.  He’d been a farmer on Haldos II before the Cardassians routed everyone.  They’d killed Tulley’s wife and three children in order to “persuade” him to abandon his land.  Instead he’d killed the garresh and the three gorrs that had committed the murders. 

Tulley had barely made it off of Haldos before a manhunt commenced.  The transport he’d been aboard had been fired upon and came to its final resting place on Ronara.  Tulley had quickly fallen in with the local Maquis cell and had proven himself utterly reliable ever since.  So much so that Ro considered making him her second if Kalinda declined.

Frowning, Ro decided it was time to share her decisions with her cell.  Her cell.  Those words had just taken on a brand new meaning.  Ro hadn’t really belonged in the Bajoran Resistance.  She’d always been an outsider and had only been accepted by one man who treated her roughly but fairly.  In the end, he regarded her as the daughter he’d lost during the purge of his village by the Cardassians.

After his death, Ro had left Bajor for Valo II.  The settlers on Valo weren’t actively fighting the Cardassians and therefore were largely ignored by them.  A bitter irony was that the Valo system was now incorporated into the DMZ.  The fight had come to Valo despite Keev Falor’s long term ambitions. 

Ro left Valo and headed into the Federation.  Once there, she took remedial courses to make up for her spotty education.  Funny, it had been hard to find teachers to follow her around while she moved all across Bajor.  Imagine. 

Joining Starfleet had been momentous.  She’d wanted a chance to serve a greater good and to prevent tragedies like Bajor from happening.  Despite her intentions, her reckless attitude put her at odds with her more cautious shipmates.  Although the full details were unknown, Ro had disobeyed orders and eight of her fellow crewmen had died while serving aboard the Wellington.

Offering no defense, Ro was sent to the stockade on Jaros II.  She sat there until she was tapped for a secret mission by Admiral Kennelly.  In order to accomplish her mission, she had to board the flagship of the fleet, the illustrious USS Enterprise-D, commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard.

Picard had been impressed with Ro.  He offered her the opportunity to stay aboard the Enterprise.  Over the course of the next eighteen months she convinced him that sending her to advanced tactical training was a suitable challenge for her talents.  She’d been floored when he suggested it and even more amazed when Commander Will Riker, the ship’s XO, had signed off on the recommendation as well.

Her first assignment after returning to the Enterprise had been to travel to Ronara Prime and infiltrate the very Maquis cell she now led.  Ordered to lead them into a trap, Ro sprang the trap early, alerting the Maquis to the Starfleet ships that awaited them beyond the zone’s borders.  Ro returned with them, having found a family and a home.

She snorted derisively at that thought.  “Home” was wherever she lay down.  It constantly changed and was always a challenge to find after the last one had been abandoned.

Ro left her quarters and approached Kalinda. “Look, I know you have no reason to stay on as my second, but I would really appreciate it if you would.”

Kalinda bit back a laugh. “Ro Laren, asking for my help?  What happened?  We make you brigade commander and you suddenly learn humility?”

Ro gave her a rueful look. “I probably deserve that.”

“Damn straight you do,” Kalinda insisted, “and before you give me that wounded puppy look again, my answer is ‘yes.’”

Ro smirked. “In that case, I’m putting you to work.”

“Is it too late to change my mind?” Kalinda wondered.

 “Yes,” Ro deadpanned, “Now get everyone gathered up.  I have a few announcements.”

Kalinda did as she was told and Ro announced her decisions over who would make up the cell’s command staff.  There was a general murmur of consent.  A few were put out that they weren’t selected, but they seemed willing to go along with things for now.

That was the inherent problem with the Maquis.  There was no sense of discipline.  People came and went as they wanted.  The movement was riddled with informers.  But then again, the Cardassians had even bigger mouths — A trait the Maquis used to their advantage.

Alea approached Ro.  Ro realized she wasn’t even certain of Alea’s species.  She had violet hair like a Boslic, but was lacking the cranial ridges found on that species.    Another disclaimer was the fact that the Boslics were neutral.  They ran shipments for both sides.  Ro decided that she needed to know more about her intelligence guru. 

“How are you doing, Alea?” Ro asked conversationally.

Alea wore a wry expression. “Just now realizing you know next to nothing about me?”

Ro sighed. “Pretty much.  That obvious, huh?”

“I can count the times we’ve spoken on one hand,” Alea grinned. “If you want those that have consisted of more than three words, it narrows it down to a couple of fingers.”

Ro grimaced. “That bad?”

Alea nodded. “Yeah, but don’t take it to heart.  Santos didn’t know much about me either.  Macius knew me though.  He recruited me.”

“He did things like that,” Ro said with a pang of sorrow.

Alea noted this and apologized, “I didn’t mean to dredge up bad memories. Why I found you is because you have a message from the Maquis Council.  A message from the Architect, to be precise.”

Ro knew this had to mean trouble.  She was one of the few that knew that Sveta Koraponova was the famed Architect.  Chakotay had introduced her when he and Ro had an impromptu reunion a few weeks ago. 

Ro knew she and Chakotay were tacticians while Koraponova was a strategist.  Ro thought three to five moves ahead but the Architect was twenty to thirty moves ahead in the game.  Hudson was good, but he wasn’t on Koraponova’s level.  For her to call meant that something was in motion and the Ronaran cell was about to take the brunt of it.

“Thanks,” Ro acknowledged Alea’s news. “Transfer the message to my quarters.”

Alea’s head bobbed, “On it.”

Ro watched as Alea disappeared into the crowd.  Was I ever that young? she wondered.  She knew she had been, and not that long ago.  It just seemed like a veritable lifetime ago.  The thought that she was brigade commander now didn’t help her mood any.  Sighing to herself, she made her way to her quarters and got ready to receive whatever bad news was waiting for her.


Many thanks to Bernd Schneider of for designing the Blackbird-class scout vessel mentioned in this story.


Please send feedback and other correspondence regarding this story to Brin_Macen at yahoo dot com.

"Betrayal" Chapter One by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Rating: K+

Synopsis: Calvin Hudson has been captured by paramilitaries.  Starfleet, the Cardassian Militia, and the Maquis all want him.  It’s only a matter of time before one of them acquires the prize.

Chronology: DS9 Second Season, 6 months after “Maquis Parts 1 & 2” and The Next Generation Season 7 “Preemptive Strike.”

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