Rating: M

"Redeemed" Chapter Five by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Earth had been struck by Breen and many of the Maquis, even those that had never set foot on humanity’s birth world, were dazed and fearful. Riker just looked distraught. Sito tried to be accommodating but she finally threw up her hands in disgust.

“Come on, Tom, life hasn’t ended,” Sito cajoled him.

“Maybe it has. The Klingons never struck Earth and the Romulans never succeeded, but the Dominion has,” Riker lamented.

“Tom, the Xindi hit Earth centuries ago and that was before there was a Federation,” Sito argued, “but it sets a precedent. No planet is immune from sneak attacks.”

“But…” Riker began.

Sito held up a single finger. “Stow it. Whatever feeble excuse you’re about to come up with, just stow it.”

Riker had never seen her in this light as she pressed on. “You survived Nervalla IV. You survived Letau. You’ve survived the last three years as a security specialist. You know what that says to me? You’re a survivor. So act like it!”

Riker was almost afraid not to. “Why do you still look after me?”

That irked her even more. “How can you ask that? I watch your back and you watch mine. That was the deal, right?”

“Yes, it was,” Riker agreed, “but I’m aboard the Indomitable now and you’re still flying the Razorcat.”

“But I still watch your back,” Sito promised. “Never doubt that.”

“You two!” Ro yelled across the paddock. “We’re lifting off.”

Riker and Sito jogged over to Ro’s side as she started down the flight line. Ro addressed Riker, “I’m hopping a ride aboard the Indomitable. Do you have an objection?”

“No, but I’d like to know if you’re assuming command,” Riker admitted.

“No, I’ll be in charge once we reach the ground,” Ro assured him.

“What’s the op?” Sito wondered.

“Orions have taken hostages on Golana,” Ro informed them. “The IndomitableNathan Hale, and Valhallaare lifting off with the Razorcat and heading there straightaway. Two Orion Wanderer-class-V blockade runners have landed on the planet and two more are in orbit. The Constabulary had them held down in the town hall. We’re coming in as support.”

On Golana’s surface, Tulley led the Indomitable crew in aiding the constables holding action. The Nathan Hale and the Valhalla stayed in high orbit in case more Orions arrived. The Razorcat strafed the Orion ships on the ground before she landed and they were no longer space worthy.

The Indie crew was specifically helping block the path to the shuttleport. Six ships were currently landed there: The Indomitable herself, the Razorcat, one civilian runabout, three civilian Type 6 shuttle analogues, and a number of Bajoran interceptors. The Orions were demanding passage to the shuttleport, access to the ships, and a withdrawal all under the cover of hostages. And to make matters more interesting, The militia’s response had been to send Ro in to “negotiate.” Her preferred method of talking was sneaking around back and committing a full incursion in order to disable all of the Orion pirates.

Ro reached the rear entrance to the hall. The pavilion was used for bazaars, town meetings, and religious festivals. With her phaser drawn, she went to one side of the door. Sito and Riker took the other side.

The constables that Ro was fending off had initially objected to Riker’s participation in this part of the intervention. The chief constable had wanted one of his own deputies to be included. Ro simply told him off and insisted she use someone she’d worked beside for years. She then asked if the Maquis hadn’t done a good job defending Golana for the last three years, and if so, why couldn’t they be trusted now?

Ro signaled the Nathan Hale, which in turn contacted the Valhalla, and the two Maquis raiders each beamed up two Orions. The Orions were stunned as soon the annular confinement beams of the transporters released them. The Orions on the ground flipped on their transport inhibitors at that point, realizing that help from their fellow pirates wasn’t coming.

The Maquis in orbit signaled Ro and updated her. She smiled as she spoke to Sito and Riker. “They took the bait.”

“Which means they’re coming to us,” Sito nodded.

Ro contacted the chief constable. His deputies pulled out and circled around to flank the Orions, should any get past Ro’s triad. Sito sounded off that the Orion life signs read by her tricorder were now down to eight and there were still one hundred Bajorans. So at least none of them had been killed yet.

Ro had noted Sito’s improved confidence since she enlisted in the militia. Like so many coming out of the Occupation, Sito felt a need to contribute to Bajor’s well-being. Her assignment with the Maquis was just a more practical application of helping than serving in Starfleet — or so Sito argued. Ro just felt Sito had gotten a raw deal out of Starfleet and was looking for new horizons from her own people.

Riker towered over Sito as she stood poised with a two-handed grip on her militia-issue phaser. She was crouched while Ro stood opposite her with a similar grip on her own phaser. The locks on the door cycled and Ro silently nodded at Sito and then Riker. Everyone was ready for anything.

An Orion poked his head out and Ro shot him in the temple. Even if she’d set her phaser to “stun,” a head shot would have been lethal. But Ro wasn’t playing by such niceties. She was sending a message to the Orion Syndicate and that message was “stay away.” The Orion dropped and his head, lying in the door track, prevented it from closing.

Two Orions tried to drag the body away. Ro swung into the building and killed both pirates. The pirate chieftain bellowed for Ro to disarm or hostages would start dying. Ro tossed her phaser aside and raised her hands.

The Orion captain sneered as he took aim at Ro. Sito swung around the corner has Ro dodged to one side. She shot the Orion captain in the forehead and he fell dead before his crew. Sito ordered the Bajoran hostages to hit the ground as the Orions panicked and Sito tried picking them off one by one.

Ro had dodged in the direction her phaser laid and she scooped it up and added her firepower to the fray. Riker was late to arrive and only targeted the very last Orion as he was drawing a bead on Sito while she killed another Orion. Sito grinned at him.

“Nice to see you still have my back,” she said jovially.

Chief Constable Erim Veld rushed his deputies in only to find the hostages liberated and the Orions dead. He gushed to Ro that he admired her style…among other attributes. She smirked and gently told him patience was a virtue.

When Ro reached the shuttleport, she found an excited Tulley. Korepanova had announced that the war with the Dominion was over. The Dominion and the Breen had surrendered. The Cardassians had turned against their allies and Cardassia Prime was being occupied by the Federation Alliance.

Ro told him to calm down and quickly got on the horn with Korepanova. Once she had Sveta Korepanova’s attention, she quickly reminded the former Starfleet officer of a few facts. “Sveta, we’re criminals in the eyes of Starfleet. They have long memories when it comes to things like that. The chances of us getting to return to the DMZ are highly unlikely. The only place Federation justice is going to send us to is a penal colony or two.”

“But Bajor…” Korepanova clung to her last hope.

“Will extradite us if the Federation presses too hard. The only exceptions to that rule are Sito and I. We’re both Bajorans. We’re both militia officers, and Sito has the added virtue of never having been a Maquis. And despite their making an exception for Odo, the militia is a Bajoran force and it’s going to stay that way,” Ro calmly let her friend down.

“The militia generals have spoken to you about this day, haven’t they?” Korepanova realized.

“They have, and so has First Minister Shakaar,” Ro informed her. “Shakaar has a legal trick to play that he hasn’t shared, but he’s advised me to warn you to evacuate Bajor and get to the outer colonies.”

“We’re leaving now,” Korepanova promised.

Ro and the Maquis with her listened in to Shakaar’s communication network-wide message. In short, any and all Maquis inhabiting the Bajoran Sector would be extradited to the Federation organs of justice. That explicitly left the outer colonies as safe havens. Everyone knew that Starfleet would be howling over this proclamation.

In the end, Ro and Sito got some official instructions regarding their next assignment. Riker, Tulley, Thool, and the crew of the Indomitable would be heading out into nonaligned space in order to continue to offer their services as freelance security specialists. Half the Maquis were going with them. The other half were spreading out across Free Haven, Golana, and Dreon VII and forging new lives as colonists.

Korepanova was leading the colonial faction and Riker was heading up the spacer faction. He tossed away Sito’s objection that he was merely becoming a mercenary. “Sorry Jaxa, but you could say I was a mercenary for the last three years. As you know, we’ve all become very good at providing convoy escort services so that’s what we’re going to continue to do. And at the same time, we’ll put down stakes in some world or worlds along the way.”

“Good luck, Tom. I can’t follow you this time,” Sito said.

“Ro said you two received a new assignment,” Riker recalled. “Can you share what it is?”

Sito smirked. “It seems the militia wants Ro’s and my Starfleet service record to work for them. So with Colonel Kira in command of Deep Space Nine, Ro is being assigned as its executive efficer and as the Bajoran liaison. I’m taking over Constable Odo’s position as chief of security.”

“That’s wonderful, Jaxa!” Riker enthused.

“Yeah, but it’s going to be weird being on a space station and not out there,” Sito admitted.

“You’ll do great,” Riker assured her. “You’ve always been more of a detective than a simple gunfighter. And the mysteries you couldn’t solve, Ro pitched in and you solved them together. You’ll both do great.”

“Glad you think so,” Ro said dryly from behind Riker.

“I guess we’re leaving now,” Sito surmised.

“Yes, we’re on the clock now,” Ro informed her. She turned to Riker and offered her hand. “Take it easy, Tom. Just remember you’ve got nothing to prove. You’re one helluva a man and your brother would be lucky to accomplish half as much under similar circumstances.”

“Thanks.” Riker shook Ro’s hand and then hugged Sito. “Thanks for always being there.”

“Good luck, and don’t do anything stupid,” Sito admonished him.

“Would I do that?” Riker grinned.

Sito rolled her eyes and then followed Ro to the Razorcat. “I can’t believe they’re letting us keep her.”

Ro gave her a rueful look. “They’re not. We’re handing her off to the militia when we reach Bajor. Deep Space Nine is sending a runabout to take us to the station,” Ro explained.

“I just hope I’m up to my new job,” Sito fretted.

“Tom was right. You’ll do fine.” Ro paused. “As long as your first official order upon arrival when Starfleet tries to arrest me is, ‘release her.’”

“They wouldn’t!” Sito protested.

Ro gave her a wry look and Sito shrugged. “Okay, so they would. I’ll keep it in mind.”

“Just remember, you’re in charge of the holding cells,” Ro chuckled. “If Starfleet is unwilling to see reason, Quark owes me a favor. You get me out of the detention center and Quark will get me off the station.”

“It won’t come to that,” Sito said with iron resolve. “I’ll see to it.”

Ro gave her an appreciative smile. “Somehow I don’t think it will.”


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

"Redeemed" Chapter Four by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Sito evaded a disruptor bolt. “Where are they getting the power for weapons and shields?”

Riker had informed her of the power drop off that occurred every time the isokinetic cannon fired. “They’re routing power from their impulse engines to feed their weapons systems.”

“Doesn’t that eliminate their impulse drive from active service?” Sito rolled away from a trailing staccato of particle beam fire.

“Yes, they’re pretty much limited to RCS thrusters while their EPS conduits are rerouted,” Riker explained.

Sito wore a wry grin. “You could simply say ‘they can’t maneuver right now.’  Okay?”

The ship suddenly bucked and Riker sardonically replied, “Maybe you should spend less time chastising me and more time evading disruptor fire.”

Sito suddenly threw the Razorcat into a violent set of rolls, jerks, and loops. The inertial damper couldn’t keep up and neither could Riker. “I take it back!”

“Wimp,” Sito deadpanned. Riker always had to marvel at the breadth of the interstellar slang she’d acquired while on Earth, and it always revolved around someone named “Nick Locarno.” The former leader of Nova Squadron still weighed heavily in Sito’s memory. But instead of it being a positive one, it was a reminder of what kind of ethos not to fall prey to.

The Breen ship suddenly fired into the distance. Riker checked his readouts. “They’re firing on theIndomitable.”

“Really? And here I thought the Enterprise was inbound,” Sito quipped.

“Smart ass,” Riker replied.

“I bet you say that to all the girls,” Sito grinned.

She flew the Razorcat in on a tight approach on the Q-ship’s port side. Pulse phasers flared to life as she released two microtorpedoes. They detonated against the Breen ship’s shields as the courier banked away. It took several more seconds before the Breen disruptors began to fire again.

“You just reduced thirty percent off of their shield rating,” Riker reported.

“Watch me fly,” Sito advised.

She came up over the privateer ship in a spiraling loop. Breaking out of the loop, she reengaged the target from the port side again. She randomly threw in jukes to the right and left and up and down before bearing down on her last target site at the last second. She repeated her previous strike.

“Photon signatures!” Riker called out.

The Razorcat dove along the Breen ship’s z-axis. Two photon torpedoes flew past where they had just been. Sito smirked.

“That should be the last of the torpedoes from the port side,” Sito predicted.

“How can you say that?” Riker wanted to know.

“This is a Breen Lemba-class freighter. They converted a cargo hold into being a photon launcher. This class of freighter is known for its small holds — which, by the way, are supposedly ideal for turning into detention cells. They’re the most popular model amongst the Breen privateers.”

“I still don’t get something,” Riker admitted as Sito flew them away to start another attack run. “The isokinetic cannon is eating up all the power from their warp core. The impulse reactor is fueling their defensive systems. Where are they getting the power for life support?”

“They aren’t!” Sito suddenly realized. “They’re running without life support. That’s why they’re in a hurry to finish us off and start boarding the Bajoran convoy ships.”

“So if we keep pounding at them, they’ll eventually run out of air and freeze,” Riker surmised.

“You must be a tactical officer,” Sito dryly remarked.

“Stow it,” Riker warned as he contacted the Indomitable.

Alea gave Ro Riker’s report. Ro ordered Tulley to “pour it on” as soon as they reached optimal weapons range.  Alea now acted as Ro’s eyes on the primary sensors. Ro had the nav sensors and Tulley was tied into the targeting sensors. Since Alea had little else to do, she had every other system reading at her Ops station.

“Energy buildup from the Breen ship,” Alea calmly warned.

Ro barrel rolled hard to starboard. The isokinetic weapon’s discharge flew by where the Indie had just been. Now the crew knew they had at least thirty seconds before the cannon could fire again. That was a veritable lifetime in a battle such as this.

“We’re in weapons range,” Tulley announced. “Trim us out so I can get a shot.” 

Ro obliged him and he released two full sized photon torpedoes. Ro suddenly ordered, “Aric, hand over phaser control to me.”

Tulley happily did so and the two wing-mounted Type VIII phaser cannons were Ro’s to command. Ro began taking potshots at the Breen freighter. Alea interrupted the concentration of both bridge officers.

“The Razorcat is attacking the Breen ship’s port side. They’re taking fire from standard disruptors,” Alea informed them.

“Which means that the isokinetic cannon isn’t built as a strip emitter and that the Breen’s power is solely dedicated to their weaponry,” Ro theorized aloud. “Scan the ambient temperature of the freighter’s interior.”

“It’s zero Celsius and dropping,” Alea announced.

“Alea, warn Sito against attacking the ship’s dorsal plane,” Ro instructed. “We’re going to make a run along that aspect.”

“She acknowledges and stands advised,” Alea said crisply.

Finding themselves in a combat role, the newly-minted Militia officer and her Maquis weapons officer found it easy to sit back and forget about Alea’s admissions. Her veracity could be double-checked later. Right now, Alea was in her zone and her zone could save their lives.

Ro considered it and it had always been obvious that Alea had combat experience. She was not only a well-trained intelligence gatherer and analyst, but she was an above par tactician and something of a strategist. In the Maquis, Korepanova had always been the premier strategist while Ro was the leading tactician. Ro had appreciated Alea’s input because it stretched her planning into the long term repercussions of their intended actions.

Ro saw the flare from the Q-ship’s RCS thruster firing. Alea was on it. “Target is initiating an aspect change.”

“They’re trying to target us,” Tulley ventured.

“No, they’re angling away from us,” Alea corrected him.

“They’re targeting the Bajoran freighters!” Ro realized. “Sonuvabitch! They just destroyed one!”

“Those ships are all crippled,” Tulley assessed. “That weapon can slice an unshielded freighter in half. If they hit the right spot, the inner pressure seals won’t be able to properly deploy.”

“Lieutenant, Sito wishes to speak to you,” Alea informed her commander.

“Patch her in,” Ro ordered. “Sito, you want to talk?”

“Lt. Ro, we’ll keep the Breen occupied so that they will concentrate their firepower on us. That will free you into disabling their warp core and their impulse reactor,” Sito spoke.

Ro hesitated. “We won’t be able to assist you. You’ll be on your own.”

“Understood. I don’t think we have much choice,” Sito replied.

“We’ll try to hurry,” Ro assured her.

“That would be appreciated,” Sito confessed.

“This is nuts, Jaxa,” Riker complained.

“Trust me,” Sito said smugly. “When have I ever led you wrong?”

“You said that with the Nausicaan raiders at Golana,” Riker ruefully reminded her. “I ended up with six broken ribs and a punctured lung.”

“But you lived, didn’t you?” Sito argued. “Look, this is simple. These civilians don’t stand a chance. The Breen want us, not them. They’re simply baiting us so we get in range of fire, so I’m simply obliging them.”

“You’re talking like a Starfleet officer, Jaxa,” Riker pointed out as she positioned them away from the freighters but close enough for the Breen to easily swing into position to fire at them.

“You were a Starfleet officer too, Tom,” Sito shot back at him. “All I’m saying is we’re supposed to guard these people. That could mean with our very lives. And if it does, we’ll walk with the Prophets.”

“I’d rather not spend my eternity, if there is one, with stodgy old wormhole aliens,” Riker countered.

“But I hear they’re nice wormhole aliens. They’ve certainly been with my people,” Sito postulated.

“The Cardassian Occupation notwithstanding,” Riker quipped.

“Look, we’re doing this,” Sito said firmly.

“That’s a very cold comfort, Jaxa,” Riker protested. “This isn’t a potential sacrifice. It’s a guaranteed suicide.”

“It is what it is,” Sito said grimly.

The Breen powered up their isokinetic cannon again. Riker grew alarmed. “They’re not targeting us. They’re targeting the freighter ID’d as the Prophet’s Glory.”

“Damn it.” Sito threw the courier into action.

“Too many prophets hanging around today,” Riker grumbled. “Wait a minute, what are you doing?”

“We’ll never be able to stop them from firing,” Sito spoke with an eerie calm, “but we can interpose ourselves between the Breen and their target.”

“You said this weapon can slice a starship in half,” Riker recalled. “We’re not even a starship.”

“An unshielded starship, sure. We’ll have shields though,” Sito countered.

“Oh, the hell with it,” Riker said in resignation. “Hurry up and put us in harm’s way.”

The Breen targeting sensors locked onto the Razorcat and the cannon fired. Having found a way to insure their victim would simply evade the shot, the Breen watched with satisfaction as the Razorcat survived the blast but was dead in space. They waited for the isokinetic cannon to recharge in order to blast the courier into atoms.

“Holy hell!” Tulley blurted. “The Breen just killed Riker and Sito!”

“Negative,” Alea interjected. “My scans indicate there are still two life signs aboard the Razorcat. However, two of their four warp cores are offline and the ship seems to have suffered overloads in every system. I doubt they’ll ever get their shields up again.”

“But the stinking Breen will still target them again just to be sure,” Tulley grated.

“Hold on.” Ro changed the Indie’s vector as they came in for a strafing run. “We’re giving them something new to shoot at.”

“Sounds like something Captain Sulu would say,” Alea quipped.

“Which Captain Sulu?” Tulley asked. “Hikaru or Demora?”

Both Sulus had charted out major portions of what would later prove to be the Cardassian and Tzenkethi borders. They’d proven themselves to be heroes to the colonists living there time and time again. Hikaru Sulu had even been part of the first contact team that met the Bajoran colonists in the Valo system for the first time.

Ro curved the Indomitable around the Q-ship as the Indie passed over it. She bade Tulley to avoid using photons even as she hammered at the ship’s shields with the raider’s phasers. Heading out towards the stricken Bajoran freighters and defender, Ro committed herself to an Immelmann loop and rolled the ship so its dorsal plane was situated along the Q-ship’s.

“Hammer the bastards,” Ro ordered.

Tulley was all too happy to comply.

Sito awoke to the sound of wracking coughs. Then she realized she was the one coughing. And so was Riker.  Thick smoke hung in the Razorcat’s cockpit.

“Gimme a second and I’ll get this cleared up,” Riker managed to rasp between coughs. He engaged the filtration system and the smoke dissipated.

“I take it you’re alive,” Sito wryly said to Riker.

“No, I’m not,” Riker grumbled. “I’m officially dead.”

“The Indie is engaging the Breen,” Sito could make out on her distorted sensor board. “We need to get operational and help out.”

“Jaxa, life support is barely operational.” Riker was running a damage assessment program. “We have two warp cores offline. The impulse reactor scrammed, our primary systems are fused and in some cases we’re running on the auxiliaries of the auxiliaries. I don’t know how long it’ll take to get us mobile again.”

“Just don’t sit there! Find out!” Sito demanded.

“God save me from Bajorans,” Riker muttered as he slipped back into the access way.

Sito could hear Riker making makeshift repairs and she saw her sensor board clear up. The Breen had fired off the isokinetic cannon at the Indomitable but Ro had neatly evaded the shot. Sito’s body was practically ready to burst from the need to do something.

“Haul ass, Tom.” she called back to Riker. “I’m not going to die because some Breen slaver thought I was target practice. We need to get moving before something bad happens.”

“Bad versus what?” Riker asked in a serious tone.

“Bad as being taken alive by the Breen and spending the rest of our miserable lives on a Prophets forsaken mining colony. Think Letau on steroids,” Sito conjured the image.

The auxiliary systems suddenly came to life and Riker reentered the cockpit. “Am I good or what?”

“And oh so humble too,” Sito dryly remarked.

“On my better days,” Riker said as he returned to his seat. “We don’t have warp drive and the impulse engines are still down, but you do have RCS thrusters.”

“It’ll have to do,” Sito decided.

“Isn’t this a lot like being a lame turkey at a shooting match?” Riker wondered.

“Are turkeys the ones that gobble?” Sito suddenly asked.

“Yes,” Riker sighed as he slipped back into the access way. “Let me know when we’re about to die.”

“Would I lead you to certain death?” Sito teased.

“Yes, I thought that was your whole damn point a few minutes ago,” Riker retorted. “You went gallivanting off to send us straight to the Bajoran version of hell.”

“That would be internment in the Fire Caves,” Sito said primly. “There we would be tortured for all eternity by the pah-wraiths.”

Riker began cursing and Sito couldn’t tell if it was directed at her or the ship. Her impulse control board flared to life and she yelled back, “You did it!”

She engaged the impulse engines as Riker came back to the cockpit and Sito happily said, “This is going to work.”

“What is?” Riker asked dubiously.

“I’m not going to tell you,” Sito replied, “You won’t like it.”

Riker scowled and decided he didn’t like it already.

“Ro, we’re running out of torpedoes,” Tulley suddenly announced.

“What’s our remaining inventory?” Ro asked.

“Two,” Tulley proclaimed.

“And you’re just now telling me about this?” Ro was somewhere between incredulous and livid.

“We have two forward launchers with six round magazines. Add to that our two round aft launcher and we’ve got eight torpedoes to start with. At this point, we’ve used up everything but two forward rounds,” Tulley rattled off.

“I know that, Aric,” Ro snapped, “but why are the Breen still fighting after that much munitions expenditure?”

“Actually, they’ve lost shielding to every compartment but their bridge module,” Alea reported, “and their EPS network is wildly fluctuating. Every time they fire the isokinetic cannon it overloads the EPS conduits.”

“The cannon is charging,” Tulley warned.

“Aim right at it,” Ro ordered.

“Alea, tell him when to fire,” Ro instructed.

Alea automatically understood that Ro meant to overload the cannon by hitting it with the torpedoes when it was firing and the shields protecting it were weekend. She watched the buildup and then calmly said, “Now, Aric.”

Tulley fired as the Indomitable veered off center from the Breen ship. Explosions burst throughout the freighter as systems overloaded in a cascade effect. One last disruptor bolt fired from the Q-ship has its impulse reactor failed and it was left to fend for itself on its battery system.

“She’s dead in the water,” Alea pronounced and then blurted, “Ro, climb up the y-axis. The Razorcat is coming in fast.”

Ro did as Alea instructed and the Peregrine-class courier flew by underneath the Maquis raider. Sito volleyed all four of her remaining microtorpedoes in sequence into the Breen freighter’s bridge module. Detonations destroyed the bridge as the Razorcat passed over the vessel’s dorsal plane.

Sito strafed the stricken freighter, further gutting it. Aboard the Indomitable, Tully had to chuckle, “I knew there was a reason why I was starting to like that kid.”

“Ro, the surviving Breen are signaling their surrender,” Alea informed Ro, “but I advise we move off instead.”

“Why?” Ro inquired.

“My people have had dealings with the Breen over the last few centuries.” Alea added weight to her statement. “When they’ve been hostile, the Breen rarely are captured alive. They tend to scuttle their ships rather than be taken prisoner.”

“Inform Sito to keep her distance,” Ro ordered Alea. “Tell them to conduct system patrols until relief arrives. Aric, gather up relief teams to assist the convoy crews.”

“We don’t have a sickbay,” Tulley reminded her.

“But we have lots of experience with combat injuries,” Ro reminded him. “The order stands.”

Tulley exited the bridge just as the Breen destroyed their own ship. Ro looked over at Alea. “Good call. Now let’s have a little chat.”

Alea was suddenly filled with dread.

Two Ju’day-class Maquis raiders relieved the Indie and the Razorcat. All of the freighters had to be towed out of the system and back to Bajor by warp tugs. The Razorcat was another casualty that had to be towed as well. Sito and Riker joined Ro’s crew aboard the Indomitable while she ran escort for the freighters.

The Bajoran Militia had sent disassembled Bajoran interceptors that would be permanently stationed on Free Haven. This bolstered the Militia military and constabulary units on the planet. Ro figured one could do worse than a year’s tour on Free Haven. Golana and Dreon VII were also getting interceptors and their crews.

Once on Bajor, Ro reported on the existence of the Mishrya to her Militia superiors. In turn, they had her personally brief First Minister Shakaar before he met with Alea herself. Ro spoke with Sveta Korepanova while Shakaar conducted his interview with Alea. If Alea were to stay with the Maquis, she was off of Ro’s crew.  

Korepanova thought it just as well that Alea was assigned to Militia expedition craft that took a Bajoran delegation to her home world. The odds were good that Ro would never have contact with Alea again and that’s how Ro wanted it.

But one good thing had come out of this all for Ro. She’d been promoted past captain and now held the rank of major. Sito had been coaxed into formally joining the Militia and now served alongside the Maquis as Ro’s deputy liaison officer. 

Ro knew her new rank came with a price. She’d be serving on Bajor alongside Korepanova. Sito would be the field officer. Ro tried to convince Sito to take her place aboard the Indomitable

Sito merely wore a sly smile. “The Razorcat has put out for me, so with all due respect, Major, I’ll perform my duties from aboard her. I know Tom will be glad of the reprieve.”

“Tom is taking command of the Indomitable,” Ro warned Sito. The younger woman’s face almost fell. “I thought you might want to consider that when making your decision.”

Sito rallied, “Thank you, sir. I will.”

Ro rolled her eyes as Sito walked away. So she was a sir now? Stranger things had happened in Ro’s life, so she figured she’d just roll with this one as well.


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

"Redeemed" Chapter Three by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

A few routine months went by before the Maquis saw action. Increasingly boring patrols were finally punctuated with a little excitement. It seemed that the drop off in piracy was a temporary measure owing in large part to the pirates’ general lack of resolve in facing an armed opponent. But with the inclusion of the Breen into Dominion’s camp, patrols around Free Haven, the Bajoran colony closest to the Breen Confederacy’s borders, were stepped up.

The day’s patrol began simply enough. Sito and Riker manned the refitted Peregrine-class courier Razorcatand were running scans of Free Haven’s near-space as they approached the colony world itself. Riker manned ops because his specialty ran in that direction and Sito was an inspired pilot. She’d finally told him about being a part of the elite Nova squad during her days in the Academy. She also told the torrid story of how she’d been disqualified from the team and had her flight status revoked.

Running a few light years behind the fighter craft was Ro’s “flagship,” the Maquis raider registered as theIndomitable. While the raider was more heavily armed, the courier had better sensors, so the Razorcat had pushed out ahead to scout around and warn the larger Indie of trouble.

Orions, Acamarians, and Cardassians had started harassing local shipping. Riker jovially referred to them as “freebooters.” Sito just drolly asked him one question.

“Why do people on your planet romanticize pirates?” she wondered.

“The spirit of freedom. No one telling you how to live — just setting sail and tacking into the wind in search of plunder,” Riker waxed poetic.

“They’re rapists, murderers, and thieves,” Sito said with a hint of danger. “Do you really want to go there with me?”

Riker fell silent and finally Sito sighed, “I can see now why you were drawn to the Maquis. You’re a romantic. A romantic idiot but a romantic nonetheless.”

Sito paused before asking, “Your twin is very rule oriented. What happened to you?”

“I spent eight years alone on Nervalla IV. I depended on me, myself, and I alone for survival,” Riker reminded her.

“You were all alone?” Sito smirked.

“For eight years,” Riker stressed.

“Then you must have become your own best friend.” Sito was having a hard time keeping a straight face.

Riker wondered where she was leading with that and said as much. Sito used the jerking motion eponymous with male masturbation and Riker scowled. “Very funny.”

“Oh come on, Tom,” Sito laughed. “We were in prison for two years together and you never once mentioned a woman to go back to. Was there anyone or do you prefer men?”

“I prefer women,” Riker grated, “but there haven’t been anything but fly by night encounters since I left Nervalla.”

Riker waited and then thrust the question back in her face. “What about you?”

“What about me?” Sito asked innocently.

“Any lovers in the Academy or aboard the Enterprise?” Riker posed the inquiry, “What about at Letau?”

“Tom, every member of the guard contingent was my so-called lover at one point or another, usually while being held down by two or three others waiting their turn,” Sito said angrily.

“I don’t know what to say,” Riker admitted.

“Neither do I,” Sito confessed, “but I’m coming to grips with it.”

Riker could tell by every cue she radiated and displayed that she was far, far and away from coming to grips with it. “Is that why you didn’t go back to Starfleet? They put in the Cardassian’s reach again while you were in harm’s way?”

“Mostly,” Sito shared. “That and I couldn’t watch your back if I’m aboard a starship or starbase.”

Riker was stunned. “I never wanted you to derail your career for me.”

“I haven’t,” Sito divulged. “I’ve just altered my career vector.”

“Jaxa, you’re not in love with me, are you?” Riker suddenly blurted.

It was the wrong question. Sito was instantly insulted. While Riker was glad to discover her feelings were strictly platonic, he was also a little let down.

“You spent eight years on Nervalla. I grew up on Valo II during the Occupation. In the Valo system, the three colonies leaned on each other for support just to survive. We grew up relying on the person next to us in a way that transcended love, duty, or honor. We trusted those around us with our very lives. Starfleet tries to teach that, but practical experience does the job better,” Sito said archly. “That’s what I thought we shared.”

“We do,” Riker desperately assured her. “Consider the matter dropped.”

“Good,” Sito huffed.

Alarms sounded in the cockpit and Riker locked his board down. He began scrolling over the communication burst that had come in. “It’s an SOS.”

“From whom?” Sito was suddenly all business.

“A freighter scheduled to be departing Free Haven.” Riker perused the flight plan logs. “It’s a convoy of six ships.”

“Did they send an ID on the attackers?” Sito was already boosting their warp factor.

“A Breen freighter that’s armed to the teeth,” Riker winced.

“A Q-ship,” Sito grimaced.

Q-ships were civilian vessels boasting military-grade armaments. This was frequently done illegally by civilians for defense or by government forces for covert actions. Others were equipped for blatantly illegal acts. The Breen in question qualified under the latter.

The Breen often times captured ships and took the crew and passengers as slaves for mining operations and other hazardous duties. The captured cargos were just a bonus along the way. Free Haven had been threatened by the Breen before, so the act wasn’t unexpected.

“Call it in,” Sito advised Riker.

Riker conferred with Ro. The Indomitable was already travelling at its max speed of warp five. She ordered the Razorcat to push ahead, so Sito pushed the small craft to its maximum emergency speed of warp eight.

The Razorcat dropped out of warp at the edge of the Free Haven system and then proceeded on at maximum impulse. Riker reported that the Bajoran freighters were crippled but they were still generating enough electrostatic shielding to prevent transporters from penetrating the ships, so the Breen hadn’t boarded the civilian vessels yet. And now the brunt of the Breen’s sensors were aimed at the oncoming Federation courier.

“The Breen ships’ shields just went up,” Riker read off his sensor display. “I’ve released weapons to your control.”

“Weapons, aye,” Sito replied matter-of-factly.

The targeting grid overlapped her navigational sensor display and the cockpit before her projected a smart display mirroring her displays. The armed courier possessed two pulse phaser emitters and six photon microtorpedoes.

While the Maquis had retrofitted the Peregrine-class couriers in their inventory during their struggle with the Cardassians, they’d never been able to field any as well stocked as they could now. The Bajoran Militia’s funding insured that the torpedo magazines were fully stocked and the phaser banks had been updated to the latest technology available to the Bajorans.

“Phasers locked,” Sito announced. “Sing out if they get hostile.”

Alarms sounded from the ops panel and Riker wore a rueful grin. “That count?”

“Q-ships can be tricky,” Sito recalled. “They rarely use standardized armaments.”

“Now they’ve locked a primary weapon emitter onto us and its charging and it…” Riker frowned. “What the hell?”

Sito paired the readout to the center console between pilot and operations officer. “Oh hell.”

“What?” Riker was suddenly worried. Sito rarely sounded this worried.

“They just armed an isokinetic cannon,” Sito revealed. “It’ll finish charging in ten seconds.”

“A what?” Riker was oblivious to that tech.

“Hold on,” Sito grimaced as she slowed so she could engage in a strafing run along the Breen’s dorsal plane. The Razorcat flew past the Q-ship’s aft quarter.

“Okay, we have a chance to talk while they try to realign the cannon,” Sito breathed.

Riker recognized that Sito was setting up an approach to attack the armed freighter’s starboard side. “What is an isokinetic cannon and why are you worried about it?”

“Worried may be an overstatement,” Sito protested.

“Jaxa, I’ve seen you face down Nausicaans armed with shivs barehanded and you didn’t break half the sweat you’re building right now,” Riker argued.

Sito scowled as she began a second strafing run on the Breen ship. “Damn it. We’re barely touching them.”

“Let me prep a tachyon burst to force their shields to remodulate.” Riker began punching commands into his console. “Meanwhile, talk.”

“Some Beta Quadrant merchants travelled to the Alpha Quadrant with weapons tech they claimed derived from the Delta Quadrant,” Sito spoke as she looped the courier around for another pass. “They gathered a consortium of major powers and some minor players when they gave a demonstration. A single discharge can effectively cut a Galaxy-class starship in half.”

“Ouch,” Riker winced.

“The Breen won the bidding and received the weapon and all its technical specifications. In order to insure they had a monopoly, the Breen killed the merchants. Good for the Breen, but bad for the merchants,” Sito said indifferently, “but the Breen never overcame the cannon’s primary limitation.”

“Which is?” Riker asked then changed the topic. “I’m firing the tachyon burst in five…four…three…two…one!”

This time the Razorcat’s pulse phasers tore at the Q-ship’s hull. Sito smiled as she resumed her tale. “The isokinetic cannon is a black hole power-wise. It may not be for whoever built it, but here it’s a one-shot weapon while you wait for your systems to restore power to your ship.”

“How do you know all of this?” Riker wondered.

“Lt. Worf was very thorough in his briefings.” Sito’s smile widened. “He also shared Starfleet Intelligence reports indicating the Breen had lost several ships while trying to adapt the technology to their vessels. Supposedly the Breen military gave up on it.”

“Are you sure this really is an isokinetic cannon?” Riker had to ask.

“They have a unique power signature. You’re not likely to forget something that pronounced.” Sito attacked the freighter again and nimbly danced away.

Riker had to admit it was like watching a supernova build within the ship they were attacking. Suddenly, the Breen ship rolled and fired her thrusters so her forward cannon could engage the Razorcat. And it did.

“Lieutenant, long range sensors are detecting weapons fire and an energy burst like nothing I’ve seen before,” Tulley reported.

Ro snorted. “Stop using my rank, Aric. You never have before.”

“Yeah, but back then you were a Starfleet lieutenant, not a Bajoran Militia officer,” Tulley remarked, “and you seriously have to check out these readings.”

“Patch it into my aux display,” Ro ordered. Seeing the energy wave form she frowned. “I’ve never seen anything like this. Has anyone else?”

Thool replied that he hadn’t from the engineering console. Alea fell silent and Tulley dryly remarked he obviously hadn’t seen the pattern before. Ro clutched at Alea’s silence.

“Alea, what aren’t you telling me?” Ro wanted to know.

There were a lot of things Alea hadn’t told Ro. Things like where she came from. She largely looked like a Bajoran, but her violet hair was more akin to a Boslic. Also, it was plain to everyone that Alea was a trained intelligence officer and investigator. But no one knew who had trained her or why she’d chosen to aid the Maquis.

“It’s an isokinetic cannon pulse,” Alea said slowly. “It’s weapons tech from the Delta Quadrant brought here through the Beta Quadrant. My people were interested in it at one time.”

“That’s a lot of quadrants,” Thool opined.

“Thool, get down to engineering and do something to bolster the shields,” Ro instructed the Bolian.

“How? Prepay the power bill?” Thool quipped.

“Just go,” Ro sighed.

Thool grumbled as he made his way towards the rear of the ship. Ro cast a glance over her shoulder. “Talk to me, Alea. And make it quick. We reach the Free Haven’s system’s outer boundary in two minutes and then we proceed on impulse into the system itself.”

Alea obviously struggled with what to say. “Let me start by assuring you my people are friends to Bajor and enemies of the Cardassians.”

Tulley asked, “Why? No one has ever seen anyone like you. We’ve all lost someone to the Cardies. Why would you be their enemy?”

“Because we’ve been at war with the Cardassians almost as long as they occupied Bajor,” Alea shared. “They found our world and colonies almost at the same time they discovered Bajor. Fortunately for us, we were a lot less peaceful and much better prepared so we weren’t occupied ourselves. Then between the violence of the Resistance and the border wars with the Federation, we were never attacked in strength, so we were able to hold our own until the Cardassians just felt it wasn’t worth it anymore. They didn’t know we were at the breaking point by then and would’ve collapsed had they invaded one last time.”

“But when my people arrived in the Alpha Quadrant, we arrived in the Bajoran system,” Alea stated. “That was over two centuries ago as the Federation reckons them.”

“You’re from the Gamma Quadrant?” Ro could hardly believe it.

“Yes, but our investigations on Bajor revealed we shared a common ancestor with your people, Lt. Ro,” Alea revealed. “Our bloodlines may have gotten muddied with Gamma Quadrant locals, but we originally came out of Bajor.”

“Ain’t that a helluva thing,” Tulle mused.

“Our histories showed that we were colonists in the Gamma Quadrant, but no one could account for where we came from besides an astrogation marker,” Alea recited from memory. “When we were later pushed out of our colony in the Gamma Quadrant, we tried to return to our mythical home. We ended up at Bajor.”

“I’ll be damned,” Tulley commented again.

“One more word out of you and you will be,” Ro warned. “So why didn’t you settle on Bajor?”

“Because our presence was disruptive, so we went looking for a world we could call our own,” Alea divulged. “We plunged deeper into what you consider unexplored Alpha Quadrant space and made a home for ourselves, but we never forgot our cousins on Bajor.”

“So what do you call yourselves?” Ro wanted to know.

“We’re called the Mishrya,” Alea shared.

“That’s a Bajoran word!” Ro yelped. “It means ‘sojourner.’”

“It does in our tongue as well,” Alea acknowledged.

“So why haven’t your people contacted us?” Ro grated. “Particularly during the Occupation.”

“My people absorbed losses against the Cardassians we couldn’t afford,” Alea deemed fit to share. “Our population stands poised to plunge over the tipping point into eventual extinction. But even with that, volunteers went out to help other worlds against the Cardassians. In my case, I chose the Maquis and the Ronaran cell in particular.”

“But if your people are well-armed, why didn’t you equip our cell with a fleet?” Ro demanded to know.

“We don’t have a fleet!” Alea snapped. “We never did. We had patrol and survey ships that could defend themselves. At the end we barely had any of those left. We were down to armed couriers and runabouts.”

“Sounds like the Maquis to me,” Tulley quipped.

“I don’t buy it,” Ro decided.

“I knew I shouldn’t have told you,” Alea complained.

“Then why did you?” Ro sharply inquired.

“Because I’m tired of lying to you,” Alea confessed, “and because I trust you all. I wanted you to trust me as much.”

Ro’s nav sensors chimed and Tulley straightened up and reported, “We’re coming into weapons range.”

“Ours or theirs?” Ro asked.

“Both,” Alea answered for Tulley.

“Dammit! The Breen are already targeting us,” Tulley alerted Ro.

Ro threw the Indomitable into a series of evasive maneuvers to avoid the isokinetic cannon’s wrath. “I hope Thool bolstered those shields.”

“It won’t do any good,” Alea direly predicted.


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

"Redeemed" Chapter Two by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

A long and arduous two years followed, but the incarcerated prisoners had no idea that the span of time was so short. All they had to measure time with was the death, release, or induction of prisoners. Brief spurts of brutality from either the guards or their fellow prisoners punctuated Sito and Riker’s daily existence.

But for both Starfleet officers, one listed as KIA and the other as AWOL, the spats of violence were nothing compared to what they had already endured at the hands of their captors. The Cardassian jailors actually adopted a “hands off” approach toward the Bajoran and human, which just enraged the gangs dominating life amongst the First Level dwellers all the more…which was Rokai’s intent all along.

Riker collapsed down onto a makeshift bench, utterly exhausted. Sito plopped down next to him. She surveyed the broken bodies strewn about.

“You’d think they would have given up by now. However long ‘now’ is,” Sito mused. “Prophets know however long we’ve both been here now.”

“It’s got to be at least ten years,” Riker grumbled.

Sito gave him a rueful look. “I don’t think so. You don’t have enough gray in your beard or hair for that.”

“But I do have some now. I didn’t before I got here,” Riker complained.

“But it gives you a dashing appearance,” Sito tried to console him. Riker’s self image as a ladies’ man had suffered while he was on Nervalla IV, and his dreams of a life with Deanna Troi had also been shattered afterwards, but he still knew he’d been a desirable male for most women.

“Yeah, but you’re the one who’s popular here,” Riker teased.

“Just the same, I’d prefer a little anonymity,” Sito sighed. “We seriously had to hurt them this time. The guards may take it out on them by not sending them to the infirmary this time — which would serve them right.”

Riker winced. “There are quite a few bones jutting out.”

Flashing lights flared to life and a siren began to sound. Cardassian guards lined up at the hatch leading down to the inner corridors of the administrative section. The airlock lay that way.

“Another new prisoner,” Sito said warily.

The hatch opened and a human male and a Bajoran female were shoved through it. The hatch closed behind them. Riker’s jaw dropped.

“I know them!” he blurted.

“Really?” Sito’s interest was piqued. The woman was familiar to her for some reason. “Should we do the meet and greet then?”

Riker grinned at Sito’s knowledge of Earth slang learned while at Starfleet Academy. “The woman is Ro Laren and then man is Aric Tulley. They were senior Maquis cell leaders on Ronara Prime. They planned my last mission.”

Now Sito remembered Ro. Ro had been the first Bajoran to ever serve aboard the Enterprise and Sito’s fellow officers had initially gauged Sito’s behavior by Ro’s precedent. Ro herself had been away attending Starfleet’s advanced tactical training course during Sito’s eight months aboard Starfleet’s flagship.

“So, are we saying ‘hello’ or what?” Sito impatiently asked.

“Follow me,” Riker chuckled.

Sito and Riker approached the Maquis pair. Ro greeted Riker with a smile. “It’s good to see you again, Tom. And you look healthy enough for a dead woman, Ensign.”

Sito digested the fact that she’d been declared KIA. “It’s just Sito now.”

Riker looked at Ro. “You wouldn’t know how long we’ve been here, would you?”

“You’ve been here two years.” Ro then looked to Sito. “And it’s been three for you.”

“How did they capture you?” Riker wanted to know.

“They didn’t,” Ro answered. “We surrendered.”

They went to Riker’s cell to explain. Sito’s sleeping mat had been moved into it years before, shortly after Riker arrived. Ro could tell from Sito’s body language that there was nothing overt about it. It was simply a measure of protection. And the broken and bleeding bodies outside the cell attested to the need for it.

“I think you’d better explain yourself,” Riker said.

“Watch your mouth, Riker,” Tulley snapped.

“Calm down, Aric,” Ro said quietly but with a measure of authority that made Tulley cower. Ro explained how the Maquis had blossomed while the Cardassians were losing a war against the Klingons, but then Dukat had come to power and had forged an alliance between the Cardassian Union and the Dominion.

The Maquis were subsequently butchered wholesale by the Jem’Hadar. Starfleet had then been pushed out of the Bajoran Sector and the Federation had been invaded while Dukat transferred his seat of power to Terok Nor and tried to learn how to destroy the self-replicating minefield sealing off the Bajoran Wormhole.

Starfleet had finally recaptured Terok Nor and had it redesignated Deep Space Nine again. Michael Eddington persuaded Captain Benjamin Sisko to undertake a mission into the Badlands. There, a handful of Maquis survivors were barely holding out against the Jem’Hadar. Eddington’s wife led them to safety aboard Sisko’s runabout, but Eddington himself died holding the Jem’Hadar shock troops off of the departing runabout.

In the weeks that followed, the Bajoran government had issued an amnesty offer to the Maquis survivors — not just to the Bajoran members, but all members regardless of race. Sveta Korepanova had led a bulk of the Maquis to safety on the Bajoran colony of Dreon VII near the Badlands. There, she spread the word and most of the Maquis had come in from the cold.

“Why is that significant?” Sito asked.

“Korepanova was code-named ‘the Architect.’ She was the primary unified mission planner, as well as one of the people who made the plan to break you out of here,” Ro stated.

“If there was a way out, we would have found it already,” Sito asserted. “All you did was trap yourselves in here with us.”

“You really think so?” Tulley scoffed.

“Yes, I do,” Sito challenged.

Ro suddenly posed the question, “Why weren’t we tortured before being brought here?”

Sito frowned. “I don’t know.”

“Think about it and get back to me.” Ro turned to Riker. “Think you could still handle OPS aboard a ship?”

“You know someone on the inside?” Sito blurted.

Ro nodded. “Which is how I knew about you even though Starfleet has you listed as ‘deceased.’”

“You’ll never get the rest of the Maquis out of here,” Sito warned. “They’re detained on the Fourth Level in permanent lockdown in their cells, they’re completely broken, and there’s only one spaceworthy craft and it’s a courier ship with room for four. That’s not exactly a transport liner waiting to be stolen.”

Sito challenged Ro. “Besides, I don’t think you can do it.”

“Are you certain you haven’t been broken as well?” Ro asked harshly.

“As long as I’m alive they’ll never break me,” Sito growled.

Ro nodded. “I like the attitude. You can come with us.”

Sito stared at her with an incredulous look on her face. For her part, Ro stood and started out of the cell. “Follow me.”

“Why should we?” Sito asked Tulley as he rose as well.

“Just do it if you know what’s good for you,” he said as he exited the cell.

Riker was already out the door. Sito caught up with him. “Who is she to come in here like she owns the place?”

“She’s Ro Laren,” Riker said matter-of-factly.

“That’s not an answer,” Sito said dourly.

Riker whispered to her a brief sampling of Ro’s résumé. Sito began to understand. “Okay, I may be a little impressed now. Over a third of the advanced tactical classes wash out every cycle.”

Riker smirked. “So she told me.”

Sito suddenly looked worried. “Did you ever sleep with her?”

Riker grinned. “Sort of.”

“Isn’t that typically a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question?” Sito was getting confused.

“She slept with my twin,” Riker relieved her bafflement.

“Commander Riker slept with her?” Sito was indignant.

“If you’re done talking about me, we can get to work,” Ro said from the edge of a corner. That corner opened into the hatch that led into the restricted zone housing the administrative center and eventually led to the shuttle bay.

“Why is it you seem to know where you’re going?” Riker asked Ro.

Ro smirked. “If you recall, Aric and I were conscious when we were escorted into the complex. And then there are all the briefings we attended. So you figure it out.”

Sito glared at Ro but Riker gave her a side hug. “It’s okay, Jaxa. You need to trust Ro.”

Ro reappraised Sito. “Anger’s good. It’ll keep you going strong. But don’t let it cloud your judgment or rush you into easy assumptions. Anger kept me going in the Bajoran Resistance, Starfleet Academy, and ever subsequent assignment and training. It can be a valuable tool if you know how to shape it and master its energy for your needs.”

Ro had just given Sito two valuable insights, the first into one aspect of perseverance and the other into Ro herself. Sito suddenly knew without a doubt not to underestimate the woman.

“Now we’re going straight into those guards. Your help would be appreciated but it isn’t necessary,” Ro informed them.

“Of course we’ll help,” Sito volunteered before Riker could even react.

Ro wore an honest smile. “Good to know. Just follow Aric’s and my lead.”

Ro led the contingent to the four guards posted at the hatch and Sito wondered just what the older Bajoran had in mind. The Cardassians challenged them. “Halt! This area is off limits.”

They came to a halt in front of the guards anyway. The garresh in charge snarled, “No admittance to prisoners.”

“I’m afraid cargo arrived during the prisoner transfer,” Ro spoke up. “We were detailed with bringing out of the cargo bay.”

“No, it didn’t,” the garresh argued.

“Sir, some cargo did arrive.” A gorr behind the garresh checked his padd.

The garresh snatched the padd from his subordinate’s hands and checked the display. Then he wheeled on the four prisoners. “Just don’t stand there gaping like simple primates. Get in there and unload that cargo!”

The squad escorted the “prisoners” to the cargo bay. Two gorrs joined them inside the bay while the garresh and another gorr stood at the entrance. But Ro went straight for a cargo container labeled in both Federation Standard and Efrosian marking. She popped the seal and the container opened.

The garresh began barking warnings while Ro lifted a metal sphere out of the container. Depressing her thumb on a small circle imbedded in the sphere’s surface, she sat it down. Tulley reacted by punching a nearby guard and ripping his disruptor rifle out of his hands. Ro smacked the palm of her hand into another’s nose.

Dragging the two bodies behind cover while the garresh and the remaining gorr opened fire, Ro gave her gorr’s rifle to Riker while she retrieved the fallen soldier’s pistol. Tully did the same for Sito. Then they gunned down the Cardassians who were still trying to get heir communicator cuffs to work.

“Aric and Tom, drag the bodies in here and get them under cover,” Ro ordered. Grabbing Sito, Ro returned to the cargo container. She plucked a padd out of it and handed it to Sito. “Guard this with your life.”

“What is it?” Sito wondered.

“Beyond the obvious, it’s our ticket out of here,” Ro informed her. Ro then fished a tricorder out of the container.

“So why didn’t the guards raise the alarm?” Riker asked after he and Tulley had completed their task.

“The sphere creates a subspace distortion field,” Tulley explained. “No FTL communications are possible while it’s on.”

Ro shut it down. “But if we leave it on it will be detected.”

Ro and Tulley returned to the exit. “Come on. We’re still just at the beginning.”

The quartet navigated the interior of the administrative hub. Neglecting to actually approach the operations center, Ro led the escapees to the troop barracks. There they gunned down the off-duty Cardassian troops. Sito discovered she had an almost orgasmic release from shooting her tormentors.

Ro checked on Sito afterward. “Are you all right?”

Sito was flushed but eagerly smiling with a satisfied radiance. “Never better.”

Ro’s party then moved onward to the shuttle bay doors. The Maquis gunned down the two Cardassian guards before they could react. Ro asked for the padd back from Sito.

She patched it into the door’s interlink with the prison’s computer. Activating one command sequence, she opened every secure door. That included the ones on Levels Four through Six. Alarms sounded throughout the complex as the lower levels rioted. Additional guards called on duty but they never arrived because they were all dead.

The Maquis prisoners entered the hangar. Riker went to the operations booth and cleared the courier ship for takeoff. Transferring all control functions to the fastboat shuttle, Riker boarded the ship. Sito and Tulley sat in the auxiliary station seats. Ro told Riker to sit down at the ops station.

Riker deactivated the force field keeping the vacuum at bay just as he released the artificial gravity. Ro pushed the ship’s impulse engines to their maximum thrust and the courier boat launched out of the hangar bay. Ro then handed off the essential padd to Tulley before concentrating solely on piloting the ship.

Tulley patched the padd into the courier’s comm array and transmitted a signal. Sito’s board registered a massive explosion in the prison’s first level originating in the cargo bay — an explosion that gutted the administrative wing and gouged a hole into the second level as well. Sito found herself grimly enjoying the prison’s fate.

Tulley then checked his board. “Central Command got a data squirt concerning the prison being overrun. Then they queried us. I ran Administrator Rokai’s ID past them so, for the moment, they believe we’re the prison officials running like hell from their worst case scenario.”

“Well, the names and places may have changed but it’s a fair assessment,” Ro grinned. Slipping free of Cardassia Prime’s gravity as well as clear of Letau and the other two moons, Ro slipped the ship into warp.

“Central Command is demanding we return to Cardassia Prime at once,” Tulley snickered.

“Give them our reply,” Ro ordered with a straight face.

Tulley hit the transmit key and blew the listeners a “raspberry.”

Outside of the former Demilitarized Zone, Ro dropped out of warp long enough for everyone to beam over to a Boslic freighter. The escape shuttle, operated by computer, lurched out towards the Badlands and streaked off, hell-bent to reach them. The Cardassians destroyed the vessel in short order. Tricorders had emitted falsified life signs and a liter of biomemetic gel would provide the organic residual matter, but there was still a chance the Cardassians would confront the Boslic captain.

This was a fact Captain Rionoj impressed upon her passengers. “If the Cardies get uppity and board my ship, I will hand you over without a qualm.”

“That’s what I understood at the beginning of this,” Ro assured her.

“Follow me and we’ll get you into the shielded smuggling bins,” Rionoj insisted. “The Cardassians won’t be able to detect you, but anything is possible for those damn Jem’Hadar. It doesn’t help that you’re late to begin with.”

“I never could keep a schedule,” Ro retorted.

“This is a hell of a time to discover your sense of humor, Ro,” Rionoj scolded her.

“Better now than when I’m dead,” Ro countered.

“Whatever,” Rionoj said dismissively as she opened a hatch door. “Just get in.”

The former prisoners did so.

The Cardassian border patrols did come alongside Rionoj’s freighter and scan her, but they didn’t find any trace of anyone that wasn’t listed on the crew manifest that was provided by the captain. Rionoj’s poise swayed the Cardassian patrol leader more than anything and the Boslics were sent on their way.

The freighter skirted the Badlands plasma storms until it neared the Rolor Nebula. Finally, it came within sensor range of the Bajoran colony of Dreon VII. This was her passengers’ ultimate destination. Rionoj escorted the liberated prisoners to the transporter room as the freighter made orbit and wished them luck as they beamed down to the surface. Rionoj herself followed them down but to a different location. She had business with the Colonial Governor’s Office. Ro and her party would be meeting with representatives of the Maquis survivors and the Bajoran Militia.

The Bajorans had first settled Dreon VII before the Occupation. Relative hordes of refugees had settled upon the world when the Cardassians claimed Bajor as their own. A similar rush had been made to the Valo system where three Bajoran colonies had been established, one each on each habitable world. Valo I-III had received the greatest influx of refugees. Although Valo had been located in nonaligned space, the Federation had incorporated it into the DMZ and now it was occupied territory.

The Bajoran Militia’s offer to the Maquis was a simple one. In exchange for policing Bajor’s outer colonies, the Maquis would receive legal protection from the Federation and the Cardassians. Piracy had increased around the colony worlds and shippers were loudly proclaiming they would abandon their routes if Bajor didn’t provide a modicum of protection.

That being said, the Militia’s pool of warp capable craft was comprised of roughly three runabouts. The Maquis had over eight and most were the larger Ju’day-class raiders that the Maquis favored. Most of the rest were the modified Peregrine-class couriers retrofitted into fighter craft.

The list of colonies was fairly short. Bajor VIII, also known as Andros, was within the Bajoran system itself. Prophet’s Landing was the closest colony to the Cardassian border. Starfleet patrolled these regions for Bajor. Then there was the unfortunate Valo system. Until the Dominion’s lines could be broken, those settlers were cut off from Bajor.

But that left Golana, Free Haven, and Dreon VII. All were in nonaligned territory and all had become targets as of late. No troops were involved, despite rumors of the Cardassian Union hiring ex-soldiers to harass Bajoran shipping, but no standing military forces were engaged in piracy.

Ro had been formally offered a commission within the Bajoran Militia. She’d enlist with the rank of Lieutenant and be the Militia’s official liaison with the Maquis. Ro would also retain command of her Maquis raider, the Indomitable.

The Maquis, in turn, were being chartered as a private security firm incorporated on Bajor. As privateers for the Militia, they would be duly authorized law enforcement agents. A fact that would rankle Starfleet Command. In addition to that legal pretext the Militia would also supply funds for additional weapons and ships.

Sveta Korepanova would head the Maquis as their Commander. Since the vote was overwhelmingly to adopt the new post, Korepanova took Sito aside. “Ensign, I understand you’ve endured hell on Letau for the past three years. If you’d like, I can arrange for transportation to Deep Space Nine where you can report for duty.”

Sito grimaced. “If it’s just the same to you, I’d rather not throw myself under the treads of the war machine. I’d like to pitch in here instead.”

Korepanova smiled. “Well, I’m certainly not going to throw away anyone with your training and potential.”

Sito smiled as well.

The Maquis moved from Dreon VII to Bajor. Captain Sisko personally challenged them and Ro appeared on his viewer in Militia Special Forces gray. “Hello, Captain. Sorry to ruin your day, but we’re reporting for duty.”

“The Bajoran government and Militia Command has informed me of the so-called status of you and your Maquis, Ro,” Sisko said with an edge to his voice. “The legal trickery supposedly shielding you all from Federation justice will only hold up as long as the war lasts.”

“Maybe, but then again, maybe not,” Ro replied. “The Federation is going to have more on its mind after this conflict ends than a few privateers serving an allied government.”

“You sound like Michael Eddington,” Sisko grated. “When he died, he thought he was a hero.”

“Captain,” Ro said dryly, “to my people he was a hero. Are we going to have a face off with Starfleet now or can we transit the rest of the way into the system?”

“You’re cleared to proceed. Just watch yourself very closely because I will be watching you too,” Sisko warned her.

“I just feel all warm and cuddly now,” Ro said flippantly before signing off.

“Major, I want them observed every time they leave or approach Bajor’s surface,” Sisko ordered.

“Can I speak with you?” Kira wondered. “Privately.”

Sisko led the way to his office and as he sat down, he noted Kira remained standing. It was her usual posture for an impending confrontation. “Speak your mind, Major.”

“I don’t think you should be harassing the Maquis,” Kira stated baldly. “They’re providing a vital service to Bajor while Starfleet is refusing to engage the pirates.”

“The colonies in question are in neutral space,” Sisko replied. “Under peace time conditions, we’d be happy to oblige, but…”

“But there’s a war on and Bajor found a solution to our own problem,” Kira retorted. “Why do you object to it?”

“They’re terrorists,” Sisko said simply.

“So was I, yet here I am,” Kira reminded him.

Sisko struggled for a reply when his computer chimed to alert him that the communications officer had traffic for Sisko. “Go ahead.”

“Sir, we just received a resignation letter from one Ensign Sito Jaxa,” the comm officer reported.

Sisko knew it would fall on his desk because he was sector commander, but he was curious as to why this warranted his immediate attention and said as much. The comm officer was quick with a reply. “Sir, she was listed as KIA off of the Enterprise three years ago. Commander Dax triangulated the subspace message to its source and it’s a Maquis ship. If she’s dead, then what the hell is she doing with the Maquis?” Catching himself, he quickly added, “Sir!”

Sisko let the junior officer’s lack of protocol go. “Thank you, Blevins. I’ll look into it.”

“Major, does the Militia have a record of every Maquis that bought into this amnesty deal?” Sisko wondered.

“Probably,” Kira warily answered.

“I want it,” Sisko stated.

“Why don’t I look into it for you?” Kira asked. “I’m more inclined to be less…rude about it.”

Sisko almost laughed at this new reality where Kira considered herself more diplomatic than he himself. “Carry on, Major.”

A few hours later, Kira reported to Sisko. “The Militia is refusing to hand over a list of contracted ‘security specialists,’ but the general was willing to tell me that Sito Jaxa and Tom Riker were liberated from the prison complex on Cardassia Prime’s moon, Letau.”

Sisko repressed a shudder. Letau was as legendary as Rura Penthe and possibly even more brutal. Sisko knew Gul Dukat had revised the prison along the lines he would later employ on Bajor during his stint as Prefect. Having seen those results firsthand, he could only dare imagine what Dukat’s vision for a captive “society” would be when he had an unrestricted hand.

“Why won’t the Militia share the personnel files with us?” Sisko wondered.

“Does the Militia ask for the files on all of Starfleet’s personnel in the sector?” Kira retorted.

Sisko had to give her that one. “Very wel,l Major. What were your superiors willing to share?”

Kira handed him a padd. “These are the results of medical examinations of both Sito and Riker. I think they’re rather informative.”

Sisko perused the summaries and what he found made him glad he’d skimmed over the actual details, “I’m beginning to see Ensign Sito’s point of view.”

“Starfleet simply left her there to endure violation after violation. It’s no wonder she doesn’t want to return to active duty,” Kira ventured. “It wouldn’t matter to her that Starfleet thought she was dead. That sense of abandonment would still be there and then the Maquis came along and rescued her. She’d feel obligated to them just out of a sense of gratitude.”

“Are you authorized to tell me how she and Riker were rescued?” Sisko wondered.

“Not precisely,” Kira replied, “but I can tell you it was a two person infiltration of Letau led by Ro Laren.”

Sisko didn’t know whether or not to applaud Ro’s efforts or condemn her for them. To escape Letau, and then Cardassian space, while the Dominion was in a war footing bespoke of a certain amount of genius. Sisko suddenly worried where Ro would lead people like Sito Jaxa and Tom Riker. Certainly Ro answered to the Bajoran Militia now, but it seemed they were giving her free rein.

Sisko didn’t agree with Bajor’s position on the Maquis, but he wasn’t in a position to argue with the government over it. Starfleet needed Deep Space Nine and its strategic position, and he certainly wasn’t willing to abandon Bajor to the Dominion for a second time. So he would bide his time and wait until the war ended to see what the political climate was then.


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

"Redeemed" Chapter One by Charlynn Schmiedt

by Travis Anderson

Series: TNG, DS9

Rating: M (dark themes)

Synopsis: In the TNG season 7 episode "Lower Decks," the Enterprise detected debris indicative of a Federation shuttlecraft’s life pod’s destruction. There was no mention of organic material. In fact, the crew had to hear about the death of Sito Jaxa though Cardassian military reports. But again, no body was ever presented as evidence. Is Sito Jaxa alive, and if so, what happened to her?

Chronology: The following are a series of vignettes beginning in 2371 post-DS9 “Defiant” and stretching until post-DS9 “What You Leave Behind.”

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