"Escape" Chapter Four by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

After the prison break, aboard the Odyssey

Tom Eckles had successfully completed the transport from the surface of Bajor. Ro stood atop the transport pads alongside Tahna, Aric Tulley, Alea, and two other Maquis from the Ronaran cell. One of those Maquis was the Bolian named Thool. Thool was Ro’s Chief Engineer for her ship, the SS Indomitable. All Eckles knew for certain was that Thool was helping him and Heidi Darcy in the Odyssey’s engine room.

“Need a hand, Tom?” Thool cheerfully asked.

“I’ve never turned down help a day in my life,” Eckles chuckled. “Let me just inform the Captain you’re all aboard.”

Eckles tapped his surplus comm badge and informed Macen that the Maquis guests were now aboard. Macen in turn spoke to his CONN officer, Tracy Ebert. “Tracy, break orbit and set a course for Valo II.”

“Won’t that be suspicious?” Ebert wondered.

Macen gave her a wry look. “Please just plot the course.”

Ebert sighed. “Okay. It’s only our funeral.”

Eckles signaled again, “Captain, Ro and Tahna are headed for the bridge.”

“And the rest?” Macen inquired.

“They’re stowing their gear in the cargo bay and then headed for the galley,” Eckles answered.

“Acknowledged,” Macen signed off. Macen turned to his weapons officer, Christine Lacey. “Chris, could you give Tulley and the rest a hand?”

Lacey smirked. “You want me to spy on them, you mean.”

Macen looked wounded. “Did I say that?”

“You didn’t have to,” Lacey replied with a healthy dose of humor lacing her voice.

The lift doors opened to reveal Ro and Tahna. Lacey slipped past them and entered the now empty turbolift. Ro eyed that happenstance with some confusion.

“Won’t you need a weapons officer?” Ro wondered.

“This isn’t Cardassian space or even the DMZ, Laren,” Macen replied. “We’ll be safe enough.”

“You never told me a human was in command of this vessel,” Tahna said to Ro with obvious disgust.

“He isn’t human,” Ro replied. It was obvious that Tahna was already on her nerves. The truth was, she’d only rescued Tahna as a favor to the architect. Svetlana Korepanova’s identity as the chief strategic planner for the Maquis was a closely guarded secret. One of which Ro was privy to.

“Captain Macen and his crew are trusted allies,” Ro informed Tahna, “and personal friends.”

Ro’s voice held an edge that warned Tahna off from making another comment. Instead he shifted gears. “I’ve seen pictures of Federation starships. This looks like a Starfleet vessel.”

“That’s because once upon a time it was,” Macen shared.

“Then you should be fighting Cardassians with it!” Tahna almost shouted.

“And why should I be doing that when I can provide information that leads to dozens of Maquis strikes every time I return from Union space?” Macen dryly asked.

“Coward!” Tahna spat. “You’re nothing but a filthy collaborator. I should kill you and purge the Maquis of your treachery.”

“You’re certainly welcome to try,” Macen suggested.

Tahna lunged forward with his left fist thrown in a punch. Macen caught the outstretched arm and twisted it behind Tahna’s back as he rolled around Tahna’s flailing body. Tahna found his arm pinned behind his back and a phaser shoved under his chin. Ironically, it was a Militia issue phaser.

“Now, should I purge the galaxy of your idiocy?” Macen asked.

“Brin, don’t,” Ro requested.

Macen shoved Tahna away. “Try to behave, Tahna. Or we’ll revisit this moment.”

Macen turned to Ro. “As things stand, I believe it is best if Tahna Los leaves the bridge. We’ll be at Valo II in a few hours. Try the galley. Tom Eckles is an excellent cook and there are always leftovers.”

Tahna shot Macen a sullen glare as Ro ushered him back to the turbolift. As the lift doors closed, Macen turned to see his Trill XO, Lisea Danan, studying him with a smirk. Macen looked upon her with a wry expression.

“I suppose you have a comment, Lees?” Macen asked.

“Need I remind you the war is over?” Danan inquired.

“The war has merely begun,” Macen commented.

“Maybe against the Cardassians,” Danan replied, “but the Bajorans are our friends. Behind humans, Bajorans are the largest racial group in the Maquis. And they have a history with the Cardassians that makes the Federation’s pale in comparison. So give the guy some slack.”

“That ‘guy’ tried to collapse the wormhole regardless of the fate of the aliens that create it and reside within it,” Macen reminded her. “Not to mention, the fact the Bajorans revere the aliens as gods.”

“Maybe he’s an atheist,” Danan quipped.

“You’re too funny,” Macen drolly remarked.

“Which is why you love me,” Danan teased.

“Well, there are other reasons,” Macen said thoughtfully.

“I’m so glad to hear it,” Danan said with satisfaction. “Now, I suppose you want me to give Chris a hand minding our guests.”

“If you would,” Macen requested.

“The things I do for you,” Danan pretended to grumble as she left the science station.

“Don’t forget the things I do for you,” Macen urged.

“Yes,” Danan’s eyes twinkled. “Some of those are rather nice.”

“Get a room,” T’Kir called out from ops.

Macen gave the unstable Vulcan an amused look. Danan disappeared as the turbolift doors shut. Macen headed for the raised dais in the rear of the bridge. Through its rear door, the briefing room that also served as Macen’s office could be reached.

“Tracy, you’re in charge. Call me if there’s a problem,” Macen instructed.

“Besides the one sitting next to me?” Ebert wondered.

“Hey! When am I going to be left in charge?” T’Kir suddenly yelped.

“Case in point,” Ebert muttered.

“T’Kir, you’ll be left in command when you can get a certified statement from a mental health professional that you aren’t insane,” Macen informed her.

“Why the double standard?” T’Kir asked. Macen suddenly knew his resident hacker had sliced into his Starfleet personnel jacket.

“There are degrees to instability,” Macen reminded her, “and I’m already captain. That means I make the rules.”

“This sucks,” T’Kir complained.

“Doesn’t it though,” Macen mused as he stepped into the briefing room.

Six hours later…

The Orinoco landed near the main settlement of Valo II. The passengers disembarked. Odo eschewed a weapon, as usual, but Kira and Nerrit were armed. Nerrit had procured a Militia issue phaser rifle from the security office’s armory back on Deep Space Nine. Nerrit had seemed surprised to find Bajoran arms aboard a Cardassian built space station, which only served to irritate Kira and Odo all the more.

Keeve Falor stood on the settlement’s outskirts; a lone sentry arrived to greet the world’s new visitors. Kira observed that Keeve seemed infinitely sad. When Bajor had been liberated, Keeve had volunteered to shepherd those settlers that wished to remain on their rugged world. Only now, his flock had truly gone astray.

“And why has Bajor suddenly sent military officers and a peace officer to Valo II after ignoring it for the past two years?” Keeve wondered aloud. Noting Odo’s appearance, “And you aren’t even Bajoran, yet you wear the Militia Constabulary’s uniform.”

“Are you Keeve Falor?” Kira inquired.

“Yes, yes I am,” Keeve admitted with a weary sigh, “and you would be a…Major. Am I correct?”

“Yes sir, Major Kira Nerys,” she answered. “This is Lt. Nerrit Wen and Constable Odo.”

Keeve wore a sad smile. “I wasn’t certain I’d get that right. It’s been sixty years since I last saw a Militia uniform and insignia.”

“We fought hard for the privilege to wear these uniforms again,” Kira stated.

“You fought in the Resistance,” Keeve realized. He eyed Odo. “And you’ve always been a lawman, in one guise or another.”

He turned to Nerrit. “And you were Starfleet.”

Nerrit bristled and Kira chuckled. “How did you know that?”

“I’m very familiar with Starfleet’s air of superiority,” Keeve recalled. “However, I met a starship captain named Picard that was an exception to that rule.”

“This one, however,” Keeve nodded towards Nerrit, “her way is the best and only way.”

At that moment, Kira decided she liked Keeve. Keeve finally asked, “Why have you come?”

“We’re to offer amnesty to the Kohn Ma in exchange for laying down arms and returning to Bajor,” Kira explained.

“It won’t happen, Major,” Keeve said mournfully. “The thirst for vengeance consumes these people. All they drink is Cardassian blood and all they consume is the flesh of their enemies”

“Well, we really need to try. At the very least, Tahna Los is coming with us,” Kira pledged.

“I doubt that,” Keeve said remorsefully. “Tahna is one of the Prophets to the settlers here.”

“The Prophets only live in the Celestial Temple,” Kira rebutted. “Not amongst the people.”

“I wish I still had your faith,” Keeve said wistfully. “You’ll find Tahna in the public house. You can’t help but find it. It is surrounded by drunken revelers celebrating Tahna’s return.”

“Thank you,” Kira said, “We won’t be long.”

The settlement was surprisingly small. It wasn’t quite the shanty town of the Occupation days but it was still threadbare. It still bore the air of a refugee center, not a colony. Of course, the colony on Valo II predating the Occupation had been marginal as well.

As the trio approached, Kira detected a rising smell wafting in the air. “What the kost is that smell?”

“Fermented cillipods,” Nerrit explained. “They’re native to Valo III. The colony there survived by exporting seed stock to other colonies and refugee camp worlds. When the grain pods are distilled, they make a rather harsh ale.”

Kira frowned as they came upon bodies littering the courtyard. Nerrit smirked. “The ale is also quitepotent.”

“Major, if I may have your tricorder,” Odo requested.

He took several scans of prostrate bodies and shook his head. “Lt. Nerrit is right. They’re all heavily intoxicated.”

“Which is better than you will be if you don’t leave,” Tahna announced as he and a half dozen comrades exited the pub.

Kira had known every member of the Kohn Ma before the Cardassians withdrew. The only one she recognized now was Tahna. “It seems you have a few new recruits.”

“They’re old hands now, Kira,” Tahna informed her. “So why are you here? To take me back?”

“You’re under arrest, Tahna,” Kira told him.

Tahna laughed and all of his cohorts joined him. Kira knew these were the professional terrorists. The others were cannon fodder but these six…these six were the soldiers of the group.

“You won’t take me alive, Nerys,” Tahna warned Kira.

Nerrit swung her rifle to her should and fired at Tahna. He slumped to the ground, dead before he hit the dirt. Nerrit aimed her rifle at Kira.

“I wouldn’t move, Major,” Nerrit warned, “and you can forget any of your shapeshifting tricks, Constable. She’ll be dead before you reach me.”

“Enough!” Keeve shouted as he strode up to their location. “Release the Major, Lieutenant, and I’ll be leaving Valo II to your mercies.”

Nerrit smirked again. “A tempting offer.”

She lowered her rifle even as the five terrorists drew their weapons. Kira was incensed. “So this was your plan all along?”

“This was my plan. It was always my plan,” Nerrit boasted. “The Kohn Ma knew, from me, that Tahna was going to sell them out. But he handed over his contact information before we arrived. So everything can proceed as it was going before even after his death.”

“So should I inform Colonel Hassup his mole is in place?” Kira sniped.

“You can tell the good Colonel I resign,” Nerrit replied. “All he knew is that I was running agents amongst the Kohn Ma and the Maquis for Bajoran Intelligence. He didn’t know anything beyond that and he didn’t care how I was acquiring the information. And it’s amazing how much information guns can buy from a group of ‘freedom fighters.’”

“You…!” Kira started moving forward and the Kohn Ma raised their weapons.

“Major, I’m formally requesting a ride to Bajor,” Keeve interjected. “Valo II is no longer my home.”

Kira studied him. Keeve was trying to keep her alive, just as he’d tried to provide for and shelter the Valo II refugees and colonists for over fifty years. She nodded her assent and she thought she spied Odo heave a sigh of relief.

“It would be our pleasure, Minister Keeve,” Kira said.

“I haven’t been a Provincial Minister for decades now, Major,” Keeve demurred.

“You’ll always be a hero to the Bajoran people,” Kira promised.

That said, they proceeded back to the runabout.

Later, aboard the Orinoco, Keeve began to ask questions about Bajor since its liberation. First he asked what form of government Bajor had now. Kira told him about the Provisional Government and suggested that he could return to his post as a Provisional Minister.

“No, thank you,” Keeve said. “I just want to help Bajor rebuild as best I can. But this new equality sounds intriguing. I always wondered how our society would function of the d’jarra were broken. It will be a strange new world for me.”

“Well, the Occupation left a lot of scars,” Kira admitted. “The Provisional Government is torn by too many agendas and too many secrets. And that might be appropriate since our people seem to be easily swayed by radical ideas.”

Kira noted Keeve’s concerned expression. “But most people just want to live in freedom and worship in peace again.”

“Sounds like the Bajor of my youth,” Keeve wryly admitted.

“I just don’t understand why someone like Nerrit, who never sat foot on Bajor until it was free, would be twisted by such anger,” Kira admitted.

“The decades on Valo II showed me the power of hate,” Keeve admitted. “Those that escaped Bajor and made it to the Valo system were oftentimes unable to settle in because of their hatred for the Cardassians. Ro Laren was one such soul. She’d been a troublemaker and an agitator from the moment of her arrival. And then she stole our last warp capable shuttle and took off for the Federation only to reappear some years later at Captain Picard’s side.”

“But I saw today that she’s with the Maquis,” Keeve said quietly. “So, I suppose the hate got the better of her in the end. I fear she has dark days ahead of her.”

“Minister Keeve,” Kira began.

He held up a hand to ward her words off. “Please, it’s just Keeve.”

“Very well, Keeve,” Kira smiled. “Tell me about Bajor before the Occupation and I’ll fill in any detail you’d like about its present.”

“That sounds like a present past time,” Keeve admitted. “Then I can reconcile my memories with the present.”

“So tell me, what was worship like before the Cardassians came?” Kira wondered. “They tried to exterminate the faith on Bajor. Yet we clung to it as our lifeline. Was it always that way?”

Keeve wore a rueful smile. “Well, back in the days when we first made contact with the Cardassians, things were different…”


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

"Escape" Chapter Three by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Nerrit uncomfortably shifted under the weight of the stares bearing down on her. Even Eddington was looking at with an intense scrutiny she hadn’t expected. She fought the urge to lash out to back everyone up.

“Yes?” she managed to ask with some pretense of assurance.

Kira got straight the point. “Why do the Maquis care about Tahna Los?” Nerrit was finding this an increasingly damnable character trait that Kira had.

“You may not be cleared for this information,” Nerrit attempted to veer off the topic.

“Nice try,” Kira retorted. “Colonel Hassup said you’d reveal what we needed to know and I’m telling you right now, we need that information.”

Nerrit tried to retake the high ground. “And why is that?”

“Because it establishes Ro Laren’s motive for rescuing Tahna Los from prison. And that motive will determine where she decides to take him next,” Odo spoke as if to a simpleton.

“So, basically you can catch Tahna at this point or simply let him go,” Kira added.

Nerrit weighed hr options carefully. “Very well. But not in front of Starfleet.”

“Starfleet is the Militia’s ally,” Odo reminded Nerrit.

“Take the deal,” Nerrit advised, “It’s the only one you’ll get. Either Commander Eddington walks away and forgets everything he’s heard until now, or I willfully let Tahna slip from your grasp.”

Kira was out of Odo’s chair. “Whose side are you on?”

“Bajor’s,” Nerrit said coolly. “Whose side are you on?”

“Don’t even try that stunt,” Kira warned. “I fought and bled for Bajor while you were cozying up in some Federation refugee camp. They saw you got fed regular meals and access to medicine. On Bajor, we were half starved most of the time and facing an enemy that would just as soon kill you as look at you after they got down working to the point you wanted to die. So don’t go there.”

Nerrit looked away from Kira. “Commander Eddington? It’s your move.”

“It’s been nice but I think I’m not wanted,” Eddington said jovially and exited the security office.

“Seal the door,” Nerrit instructed, “and turn the security recorders off.”

“There had better be a good reason for these requests,” Odo advised.

“There is,” Nerrit responded. “I’m about to reveal why the Maquis are desperate to get Tahna Los back and Starfleet will not appreciate the answer.”

“Very well,” Odo conceded as he slid behind the desk. “Your conditions have been met.”

“Is anyone in the holding cell area?” Nerrit asked.

“No one is being held there today,” Odo said, “but the day is young.”

Nerrit ignored the veiled threat. “So none of your deputies are in there?”

“Why would one of my deputies be guarding empty holding cells?” Odo found the notion to be incredulous.

“Very well.” Nerrit straightened her shoulders. “You already know that Tahna had contacts with the Duras family. Through them, he established relations with both the Klingon Empire and the Romulan Star Empire. They are both willing to recognize an independent Maquis confederacy and are willing to supply material to make it happen. Included in these weapons shipments are working cloaking devices — older models — but fully functional.”

“How do you know this if Tahna hadn’t talked?” Kira wondered.

“The Haalavet cell provided the details in exchange for amnesties,” Nerrit divulged.

“And why hasn’t Starfleet been told?” Kira wondered.

“Because the Haalavet swore us to secrecy,” Nerrit said, “and besides that, the scattered Resistance cells and many of the Maquis are Bajorans. Bajorans fighting the Cardassians. It was felt that leaving them to it was a greater asset for securing Bajor’s security than if the Maquis were trampled underfoot and the Cardassians could concentrate on Bajor again.”

“How many times do I have to remind you that Starfleet is our ally?” Kira was exasperated.

“No offense to your so-called colleagues, Major, but Starfleet is a group of aliens,” Nerrit retorted. “They and their false Emissary don’t have the first clue as to what it means to be Bajoran and so their concern for our well-being is secondary to guarding the Celestial Temple.”

“You used to be part of Starfleet.” Kira hoped the irony would shock Nerrit back into reality.

“And they trained me well enough that I can now serve Bajor,” Nerrit replied. “Even if you have a problem with this scenario, Major, I can have the First Minister giving a personal order to remain silent in less than ten minutes’ time.”

Kira knew she should have been surprised that this secret was held at such a high level. But then again, what else could she expect from the Provisional Government? She wanted to ask Nerrit a question, but the younger woman spoke first.

“What happened to you, Major?” Nerrit inquired. “You had no love for the Federation before being assigned to Terok Nor. What corrupted your thinking?”

“I’ve worked with Starfleet,” Kira opted to explain. “They can be deluded fools, but at least they try to live up to their ideals. We used to do the same before the Occupation.”

“The Cardassians taught us the price of living in a dream world,” Nerrit retorted.

Kira had had it. “There you go again. You talk about the Occupation as though you lived through it.”

“I did!” Nerrit’s temper flashed. “I lived every single day hearing about Bajor and the Prophets and wondering where the hell my so-called ‘gods’ were. Why was I a second-class refugee treated like trash in a ‘benevolent’ and ‘enlightened’ society? So I bit my tongue and said all the right things and got the training that would make it so I could help Bajor free itself. Only then it actually happened and Bajor was liberated before I could personally do anything. So, I came ‘home’ to a planet I’d never seen and decided to do my part.”

Kira realized two things then. The first was that Nerrit truly was as much a victim of the Occupation as Kira herself. The second was that Nerrit had no love or faith in the Prophets, which meant she lived a hard, cold, and sterile existence. Kira pitied her.

“Spare me your pity, Major.” Nerrit’s anger threatened to boil over. “I don’t need it.”

“I’ll just say one thing,” Kira spoke. “Faith keeps one alive and one’s hope burning bright even in the middle of an Occupation.”

Nerrit was stone silent, glaring at Kira. Odo spoke up. “Here’s something interesting.”

Kira turned to him and saw he was perusing the traffic logs Eddington had given him. “What is it, Odo?”

“The Odyssey broke orbit over Bajor and transited the system shortly after Ro liberated Tahna,” Odo reported.

“Odo, the Jem’Hadar destroyed the Odyssey,” Kira reminded him.

“Not the U.S.S. Odyssey,” Odo corrected her,. “The S.S. Odyssey. It’s a civilian scout sharing the name, although ‘civilian’ may be a misnomer. It’s a decommissioned Starfleet scoutship and her commander is a former Starfleet officer.”

“So?” Kira knew Odo was going somewhere with this, but she just wished he’d hurry up.

“The Odyssey’s captain, Brin Macen, joined Starfleet in 2303,” Odo shared.

“So he’s retired,” Kira ventured.

“In a sense. Macen took early retirement. He’s over four hundred years old and in the prime of his life,” Odo shared.

“So he’s not human,” Kira surmised.

“No, he’s El-Aurian,” Odo said with distaste.

Kira knew Odo’s mood was shaped by his recollections of Martus Mazur. “But Macen wasn’t a con man. You said he joined Starfleet.”

“I wouldn’t be so certain,” Odo advised. “Macen arrived in the Alpha Quadrant in 2293. Afterwards, he spent ten years wandering before returning to Earth and taking an accelerated course at Starfleet Academy.”

“That’s rare,” Nerrit suddenly piped in.

Kira shushed her with a glare. “Why did Starfleet feel Macen was qualified for that?”

“It seems Brin Macen was an accomplished historian and the equivalent of a Starfleet archeology and anthropology officer. He’d been a member of the El-Aurian Exploration Corps for a century before the Borg assimilated his world.”

“So why is this leading to something suspicious?” Kira wondered.

“Macen spent the better part of his decade before joining Starfleet on the Federation’s growing border with Cardassia. It’s rumored he spent over five years on Cardassian worlds,” Odo explained. “When Macen graduated from the Academy, he served for one year aboard a starship as its A&A Officer. Then he was moved to Starfleet Intelligence. From there, the picture gets a little murky.”

“How murky?” Kira asked because now it was getting interesting.

“His activities with Starfleet Intelligence are classified, but it was theorized he was the leading analyst of the Cardassian desk. But in the 2350s, he disappeared entirely. He didn’t surface on official records until 2369, after the Federation signed a peace treaty with the Cardassian Union. And one year later, he resigned. But he left with a decommissioned scoutship and another Starfleet officer who suddenly resigned after speaking with Macen.”

“Macen immediately proceeded to the DMZ and recruited a crew. He then began offering his services as an information broker and a sometime supplier of exotic wares to the Cardassians,” Odo divulged, “but the turnabout is, his chief customer is the Maquis.”

“I’m surprised the Maquis deal with him if he’s a collaborator,” Kira admitted.

“I think Macen is being more subtle than that,” Odo stated. “He lived a nonexistent life for nearly twenty years during the Border Wars. I think Macen knows what the Cardassians want, supplies their greed, and sells everything he gleaned from his time in Cardassian space to the Maquis.”

“What makes you say that?” Kira wanted to know if there was any evidence to support Odo’s theory.

“Because after his last trip into Cardassian space, Macen supplied Commander Sisko with key details of events within the Cardassian Union. Events that could have a direct bearing on Bajor,” Odo revealed, “and when Sisko sought out verification of Macen’s credentials, Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev personally vouched for Macen’s credibility.”

“Okay, how does that tie Macen into recent events?” Kira inquired.

“Macen is at least sympathetic to the Maquis cause if not an outright member,” Odo concluded. “He’s been sighted with Ro Laren on at least two dozen occasions. They have an established working relationship.”

“But would Macen risk his ability to freely navigate in Federation space by assisting a known Maquis cell leader in a jail break?” Kira asked.

“That’s what we need to find out,” Odo stressed.

“So what did Macen file as a destination?” Kira queried Odo.

“Valo II,” Odo succinctly replied.

“You’re certain it would be Valo II?” Kira wondered.

“Ahem,” Nerrit cleared her throat. “Tahna Los would be headed for Valo II because that is where the Kohn Ma have been operating for the better part of a year.”

“You could have said something earlier,” Kira scolded Nerrit.

Nerrit shrugged. “It hadn’t come up.”

“Last I heard, Keeve Falor was still running the colony on Valo II,” Kira recalled. “He’d always kept the refugees out of the Resistance. So why start trouble now?”

“Keeve bet on the Federation. The Federation in turn ceded the Valo system over to the Demilitarized Zone. Wouldn’t you feel betrayed?” Nerrit offered as an explanation.

“So why did the Militia offer Tahna a deal?” Kira sharply inquired.

“Tahna agreed to convince the remaining Resistance cells to abandon the DMZ and repatriate to Bajor,” Nerrit shared. “Calvin Hudson would undoubtedly have issues with this.”

“How so?” Odo probed the issue.

“Tahna has already approached Hudson with the idea of arranging a weapons transfer,” Nerrit stated. “If Tahna were to abandon that idea and take a good portion of the Maquis with him when he left the DMZ, the Maquis would be the ones to absorb the losses.”

“And just how do you know this if Tahna hadn’t talked to anyone in the Militia?” Kira had to ask.

“Tahna Los is hardly the Militia Special Forces’ only asset in the DMZ,” Nerrit admitted.

“There’s more to it than that,” Odo surmised. “The Klingons and the Romulans would hardly support a ragtag rebellion. They’d have to be presented as a viable entity. Given that, they’d have to have a stable supply of arms and training. A decidedly Bajoran source. Or am I mistaken?”

Silence fell as Nerrit stopped answering questions. Odo snorted. “That’s what I thought.”

“Don’t you people realize that any support Bajor provides to the Maquis, openly or covertly, will be a provocation towards war with Cardassians?” Kira was dismayed at Nerrit’s ignorance.

“We beat them before,” Nerrit boasted.

“We fought a limited engagement. The Cardassians hardly threw any of their troops at us. This time, because of the Federation’s commitment to help defend us, they’d throw everything they had at us. We managed to bleed them dry before. But that was after they decided we weren’t worth the effort of keeping us. Bajor isn’t even self sufficient at this point. So where do you get off committing us to a war we can’t win?” Kira demanded to know. “And just where the kost were you when I was on Bajor fighting every single day?”

“You’ve become a Federation stooge, you know that, Major?” Nerrit accused.

“Better that then being so delusional I’ll pick a fight I don’t stand a chance of winning,” Kira retorted.

“I think it’s time we adjourn to Valo II,” Odo interjected.

“I agree,” Kira said tersely.

“I’m coming with you,” Nerrit demanded.

“Like hell you are,” Kira snapped.

“Do I really have to call Colonel Hassup?” Nerrit asked. “He’ll just flag the First Minister and have him order you to take me with you.”

Kira met Odo’s gaze. He subtly nodded and Kira relented. “Fine. Just stay out of the way.”

“You’ll hardly know I’m there,” Nerrit promised.

Kira could almost hear the “until it’s too late” behind that sentiment.


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

"Escape" Chapter Two by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Kira and Nerrit were nearly to the penal camp when explosions began to rip through the complex. It had just become visible to the naked eye when the first detonation occurred. Rather than decelerating, Nerrit gunned the engine.

“What are you doing?” Kira demanded to know.

“Do you want the prisoners to escape?” Nerrit shouted back over the road noise and the whining of the straining engine.

“No, but they’re not going anywhere while all hell is breaking loose,” Kira yelled back, “and we need to figure out what’s going on.”

“How difficult is it to figure out?” Nerrit was incredulous. “It’s a jailbreak.”

“But who is breaking prisoners out and how much support do they have?” Kira asked. “Do they have the capability to…?”

Kira suddenly lapsed and turned her head skyward. Nerrit grew impatient. “The capability to do what?”

“Do you hear that?” Kira suddenly interjected.

“Hear what?” Nerrit impatiently inquired as a crackling noise descended upon them.

An explosion ripped the ground beside the scout car apart. Nerrit wildly veered off. Kira took it with grim aplomb.

“The capability to do that,” she said with a sense of fatalism.

Nerrit course corrected and began to go forward again. Kira reached over and jerked the wheel hard over. As the scout turned, an explosion tore at the ground before the scout, exactly where it would have been if it hadn’t altered course.

“What did Starfleet teach you anyway?” Kira was angry. “Drive an evasive pattern or we’re both dead.”

“Starfleet doesn’t use ground based photon launchers anymore. They found them to be environmentally harmful,” Nerrit grated as she started wildly turning to and fro. Explosions bracketed the car.

“Well, the Cardassians weren’t so prissy,” Kira snorted. “They dropped these bastards on us every chance they got.”

“Lucky you,” Nerrit grimaced as another explosion almost flipped the scout car over. “You’re just making me more glad that I missed the…ahhh!”

The next munitions strike did indeed flip the car over. Kira braced herself and was prepared as the roll bar skidded across the rough terrain between her and the rocky soil. Unclasping her seat belt harness she ingloriously fell to the ground.

Kira knew it just a matter of seconds before the photon launcher would be realigned. Unfortunately, Nerrit seemed dazed. Kira swore as she unclasped Nerrit’s harness and began to drag the younger woman away from the car.

Hearing the distinctive sizzle of the photon mortar, she sheltered Nerrit with her body as the scout was destroyed. Kira suddenly heard coughing from underneath her. “I know we’ve just met and all, but don’t you think it’s a little early in our relationship to try bedding me?”

Kira raised up and backhanded Nerrit’s shoulder. “What the kost? You can joke at a time like this?”

“Never a better one,” Nerrit opined. She sat up as Kira leaned back on her haunches. “Bloody hell. I don’t think we’ll be making a difference in the prison break.”

“Didn’t Starfleet teach you how to march?” Kira asked derisively.

Nerrit groaned, “Yes, they did.”

“Then get on your feet!” Kira ordered, “and while we’re running, call in air support.”

Nerrit winced as she stood but she gamely followed the Major as Kira began a paced run towards the penal camp. Despite their irregular route, they’d actually closed most of the distance. They were close enough to witness a scout car, identical to their destroyed one, pull up at the camp’s gates.

Two figures emerged from the camp while one of the two aboard the scout laid down suppressive fire. Kira recognized the man coming out as Tahna Los. The raven haired female that everyone seemed to defer to was unknown to her. The scout car was driven by a woman, little more than a girl, with violet hair. She wheeled the scout around and went back into the foothills from which the mortar fire had erupted.

When Kira and Nerrit reached the gates to the Belava labor camp, they found them shattered by a photon discharge. Pockets of burning debris littered the courtyard. There were also still two ground cars still intact. Phaser fire could be heard resounding throughout the compound. A rather disheveled corporal approached Kira and Nerrit.

“State your purpose here!” he challenged.

“To catch your escapees,” Kira snapped. “Do those ground cars require pass keys?”

“Er…no,” the corporal managed to say.

“This time, I drive,” Kira declared to Nerrit.

“Feel free,” Nerrit flippantly replied.

As Kira made way to the foothills, Militia interceptors flew by overhead. Kira tapped her comm badge. “Flight Lead, this is Major Kira Nerys. I am in pursuit of the fugitives. Do you have eyes on them?”

“We have eyes on a vehicle, Major,” Flight Lead responded. “There also seems to be abandoned weapon mounts for photon launchers. No bodies or life signs are present.”

“Can you give me their coordinates, Lead?” Kira requested.

“Affirmative,” Lead recited the geographic coordinates and then spoke again. “Flight Two and I will stay on station in case it’s ambush.”

“Thanks, Lead,” Kira acknowledged.

She drove on, utilizing the planetary satellite system the Cardassians had deployed overhead to track the movements of the Bajoran people. Movements outside of regulated zones had attracted a military response. It had nearly crippled the Resistance. Bur Kira herself had been part of the solution that had deactivated the system before the withdrawal. Since the Cardassians left, the Bajorans had reactivated portions of the worldwide net, primarily using it as a global positioning network.

Following the path laid out by the satellite monitors, Kira honed in on her quarry. She signaled the flight leader again. “Lead, can you and Two give me a situation report on the perimeter?”

“Affirmative, Major,” Lead replied. “There is no movement and no life signs beyond your own. You should come upon the vehicle and the weapons emplacement inside of five minutes.”

“Roger that, Lead, they’re in sight,” Kira confirmed. “Please stay on station while we investigate the scene.”

“Copy, Major,” Lead replied. “Be advised, Special Forces units are en route to your position. A Constable Odo requests you secure the scene, but await him and a Constabulary forensics team to conduct the investigation.”

Kira smiled. “Inform Constable Odo I would be delighted to.”

“Major,” Odo acknowledged his reunion with Kira in his usual gruff way.

But Kira wasn’t fooled. Now that Odo had an active crime scene, he wasn’t as reserved with her. In fact, things were normalizing.

“Good to see you, Odo,” Kira said warmly. To give Odo credit, he didn’t wince or even respond to her statement outwardly. But she thought she saw a glimmer of pain in his eyes that wasn’t there before his meeting with the Founder. She wanted to comfort him somehow but he spoke before she could.

“Special Forces has locked down the penal camp,” Odo said briskly. “Perhaps you and Lt. Nerrit could take charge of discovering who broke Tahna Los out.”

“You knew?” Kira wasn’t surprised.

“The camp is run by the Constabulary. They are very good to talking to one of their own,” Odo revealed. “They’re expecting you.”

“Okay, we’ll get out of your way,” Kira remarked.

“That would be appreciated,” Odo admitted.

Nerrit was a bit ruffled, but she saw Kira’s smile and wrote it off. The ride back to the camp was a silent one. Kira saw a cordon around the prison composed of bodies in gray uniforms.

“I hadn’t realized there were so many Special Forces officers,” Kira admitted.

“There are more all the time,” Nerrit confessed.

“What exactly do you all do?” Kira wondered.

Nerrit smirked, “Now that would be telling.”

The warden brought Kira and Nerrit into a surveillance room. Several stations were occupied by techs frantically trying to get the system back up. The warden gave Kira and Nerrit a pained look.

“The last photon round detonated near our computer core. The core is a salvaged Cardassian model stripped from a labor camp,” he explained.

“At east it won’t forget anything,” Kira remarked. “Federation models can be overwritten by power surges.”

Suddenly the stations came to life. The warden brought them to a young Constabulary tech. “This is Tech Sergeant Tan. He’ll help you retrieve the data you require.”

The warden bustled off to further his crisis management efforts. Kira looked at Tan. “Aren’t you a little young to be doing this?”

“Weren’t you a little young to join the Resistance?” Tan fired back.

“Point taken,” Kira relented. “Show us who broke Tahna Los out.”

And the visual recorders began their playback.

Odo arrived at the penal camp to find Nerrit in the front office waiting for him. He studied her as he asked, “Why aren’t you with Major Kira?”

“I sort of refused to give the Major the details of the deal between the Militia and Tahna Los,” Nerrit confessed. “At that point, the Major threatened to ‘blow my head off’ if I didn’t wait for you to arrive.”

“Heh,” Odo was definitely amused. “That sounds like Kira.”

He paused and then queried Nerrit as to why she didn’t specify that the deal with Tahna Los was strictly Special Forces’ purview. She shrugged. “Does it make a real difference?”

“It might,” Odo warned her. “Now take me to Kira.”

The assorted techs were doing busy work as they monitored the Special Forces’ efforts to assist the site’s Constabulary members as they restored order. The military’s intervention had saved the camp from being overrun by the prisoners — a fact that the Constabulary wouldn’t forget even if the Special Forces leadership would allow it.

Nerrit brought Odo to Kira. He noted that she was displeased. Kira spotted Odo and tried to smile. It seemed more like a rictus to Odo.

“Major, I came when I could,” Odo assured her.

“I’m just glad you were able to come at all, Odo,” Kira confessed. “Sgt. Tan has spliced together the footage across the camp of the mastermind of this little escapade. I was hoping you could identify her.”

“I’ll certainly try,” Odo promised.

“Run the footage, Sergeant,” Kira instructed.

Tan tapped a control and the mysterious Bajoran woman’s arrival at the front gates was displayed. Odo grunted. “Ro Laren.”

“You’re certain?” Kira wondered. She’d heard the name from Chief O’Brien and Commander Sisko, but she’d never had a face to put to it.

“Excuse me, but who is ‘Ro Laren’?” Nerrit asked.

“You probably know a helluva lot more about her than I do,” Kira told Odo.

Odo related the facts. “Lt. Ro Laren is an AWOL member of Starfleet. Before leaving the Bajor Sector, Ro joined the Resistance at age eleven, which was practically unheard of, even amongst the various cells.Ensign Ro was convicted in the unintentional deaths of fellow officer due to her culpability from disobeying direct orders. She was later released and posted aboard the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise.”

Nerrit was surprised and it showed. “But why would she be here, breaking Tahna out?”

“Because after completing Starfleet’s advanced tactical training, then-Lt. Ro abandoned Starfleet and joined the Maquis. It is rumored she is the cell leader on Ronara Prime,” Odo shared.

“And Tahna is a member of the Kohn Ma, which are in turn affiliated with the Maquis,” Kira reminded Nerrit.

“So we need to return to Ashalla,” Nerrit voiced. “We can direct the Constabulary’s planetwide manhunt from there.”

“Oh, we’re going to Ashalla,” Kira assured Nerrit, “but then Odo and I are returning to Deep Space Nine.”

“But Colonel Hassup ordered you to debrief Tahna,” Nerrit protested.

“And I will,” Kira promised her.

Nerrit seemed confused so Kira refrained from rolling her eyes as she explained, “Do you really think someone as clever and resourceful as Ro is going to stay on Bajor if she has a way out of the star system? The Kohn Ma are supposedly based on Valo II. Valo II was ceded into the Federation’s Demilitarized Zone with Cardassia. Do I have to go on, or can you start putting the pieces together for yourself?”

“Very well, but I’m coming with you,” Nerrit insisted.

“Suit yourself,” Kira sighed. “Just stay out of the way.

The Orinoco docked at DS9 and Eddington met the trio at the landing bay. “Colonel Hassup has been calling for you, Major. He sounds quite put out.”

“He’ll be more put out after I talk to him,” Kira predicted.

She took the message in the security office while Nerrit stood by and Odo conferred with Eddington and his own ranking deputy, Sgt Bit Henna. As Kira had said, Hassup was more aggravated after she’d briefed him as to her progress. But Hassup still stubbornly clung to one complaint after everything had been said.

“Why did you leave Bajor, Major?” Hassup demanded to know.

“As I explained to Lt. Nerrit,” Kira grated, “Ro and Tahna won’t be on Bajor. They’ll be headed for the DMZ.”

“Then why the hell are you currently on Deep Space Nine?” Hassup growled.

“Because I haven’t been fully briefed. Have I, Colonel?” Kira said at long last.

Hassup suddenly looked as though he’d licked a sour jumja stick. “No, you haven’t.”

“Would you like to come clean, Colonel?” Kira pointedly inquired.

“Lt. Nerrit will dole out the facts as you need them, Major. Just find Tahna.” Hassup’s image disappeared.

“Well?” Kira asked Nerrit.

“You don’t need any information yet,” Nerrit declared.

Kira debated on popping Nerrit one just for good measure. She turned to Odo and Eddington as they approached. “Anything?”

“As I was telling Odo, I ran a list of the ships that departed from Bajor and logged in a course to the DMZ,” Eddington stated. “I also pulled up Ro Laren’s service jacket.”

He handed a PADD to Kira and one to Odo. He shrugged at Nerrit. “I wasn’t told you’d be involved, Lieutenant.”

“I’ll just peer over Major Kira’s shoulder,” Nerrit predicted. Kira glared at her and she backed off. Odo did the same and she sighed, “Or maybe not.”

“This Ro Laren seems like an insubordinate, headstrong, risk taker,” Kira finally commented after digesting the personnel file.

“You should appreciate her then,” Odo commented.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Kira asked a little too sharply.

“I think he’s trying to say it takes one to know one,” Eddington offered. Kira shot him a glare that silenced him.

“Was that your opinion as well, Constable?” Kira wanted to know.

“To a degree,” Odo admitted. As Kira huffed, Odo explained his reasoning. “You have to admit, this Ro does emulate you in many ways. You have similar histories; you both have an affinity for independent action, and you both seem to have a disregard for authority. That implies that you should have an insight into Lt. Ro’s mentality.”

Kira was pacified but it was Nerrit that spoke next. “All I know is I wouldn’t want to meet Ro in a dark alley.”

“What do you mean?” Eddington inquired.

“Check this out, Commander.” Kira called up the Militia file containing Ro’s entrance into the prison compound.

Ro sedately passed the gates and accessed the cell blocks. She was brought into a solitary room with a table placed in the center of it. Two chairs were placed at the table to either side. They faced either entrance. One entrance was for visitors and the other for prisoners.

The prisoner door opened and Tahna was roughly herded inside. He sized up Ro and sat down. However, Ro remained standing. As the two guards escorting Tahna took their places at the back wall, the pair of guards with Ro did the same.

Ro gave Tahna a nod and he fell from his chair onto the floor. She swung a chair off of the floor and hurled it at a guard. A guard behind Ro came at her. A high mule kick landed in the guard’s chest and she went flying backwards.

The other guard near Tahna had his phaser drawn and aimed at his prisoner. The fourth guard dove at Ro. She slipped out of his grasp and helped redirect his momentum so that he went into the table. The table slid forward and smacked into Tahna’s guard.

That guard found himself thrown off his feet. Tahna had hold of his phaser and stunned the other guard, who shucked off the chair and then Tahna fired at the disarmed guard. Meanwhile, Ro slammed the sprawled guard’s head off the table and then wheeled on the woman rushing her.

Ro used the heel of her hand to smash the woman’s nose. Even with the vestigial bones protecting her upper nasal passages, the woman still teared up as the softer portion of her nose was smashed. Blood flowed and she staggered back.

But there was no respite to be found there. Ro’s round kick drove into the woman’s ribs and a violent chop to the back of the guard’s neck put her down for good. Ro pulled that guard’s phaser free from her holster and fired a phaser burst into the guard extracting himself from the table.

Ro disabled Tahna’s cuffs and then collected three of the Militia issued phasers. She tucked one into her waistband and held the other two. Tahna protested but Ro cut him off with a lashing motion of her hand. Tahna then went to the visitor’s door. Ro moved to it as well but shot the locking mechanism. She then moved Tahna back to the door he’d entered from and they slipped out into the prison facility.

The scenes that followed were of pure chaos and carnage. Ro was very careful not to kill anyone, but crippling strikes were not beneath her. She used an overloaded phaser to breach the outer wall while Tahna liberated his fellow prisoners.

Ro fought her way outside while Tahna trailed her. They’d made it to the courtyard when the photon munitions began raining down. It was obvious from the timing that a spotter had seen them and authorized the weapons fire. By the time the pair made it to the gate, the Cardassian scout car driven by Ro’s rescuers. One was now revealed as a human while the other was roughly human in appearance, save that she had violet hair, which could prove an affectation, but she also had bone ridge over her nose that descended slightly down its length. It was vaguely Bajoran in appearance in all the disturbing ways.

As Ro’s party disappeared, Eddington said, “That was…very impressive.”

“Very,” Kira said dryly. “Would Starfleet happen to know anything about the human that played vehicle gunner and the whatever the hell she is that was driving?”

Eddington mulled it over. To some it would have seemed he was searching his memory. Odo knew differently.

“Commander Eddington, I can access the criminal action reports and find their identities easily enough,” Odo reminded him. “You’d simply save me time and aggravation.”

“The human’s name is Aric Tulley,” Eddington relented. “He’s originally from Haldos II, which is now in the DMZ. Before he left Haldos in a forced relocation, the Cardassian Guard executed his wife and children to ‘persuade’ him to go. He, in turn, sought out the Maquis on Ronara Prime. He now acts as Ro’s security chief.”

“And the woman?” Kira inquired.

Eddington shrugged. “There’s not much to say.”

“There has to be something,” Kira grated.

“Rumors only,” Eddington clarified. “Some claim her name is ‘Alea.’ Others call her something else. The only consistency is the violet hair.”

“Is she a Boslic or something else?” Kira wanted to know.

“Oh, she’s something else entirely,” Eddington stated.

“Could you tell us where she’s from then?” Kira was losing patience with the Starfleet officer.

“We don’t know.” Eddington saw Kira’s annoyed glare and he held up his hands. “Major, Bajor is on the very edge of explored space. Most of the Alpha Quadrant is uncharted. If it weren’t for the wormhole, we’d be concentrating on venturing out from Bajor out into local unexplored space.”

“This ‘Alea’ may come from those regions. All we know is that she suddenly appeared in the DMZ and she seems to serve as Ro’s intelligence officer. But even that is speculation,” Eddington revealed. “Where Alea came from is a mystery. What she’s doing in local space, particularly the DMZ, is unknown. Frankly, she’s a thorn in our side on many levels.”

“So with Ro and her cohorts involved, the question becomes: Why is Tahna Los valuable to the Maquis?” Odo interjected.

Everyone followed his gaze as it fell on Nerrit. She gulped.


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

"Escape" Chapter One by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Rating: K+

Kira and Odo are called into an investigation by a superior officer in the Bajoran Militia. The Kohn Ma terrorist, Tahna Los, has information regarding a string of murders involving a rival Resistance cell. It soon becomes apparent that Tahna also has ties to the Maquis and that the victims could be considered collaborators by the Maquis. 

Chronology: Directly after the third season episode “Heart of Stone.”

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