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>> Star Trek fan fiction >> Columbia >> Valor and the Horror, The

Valor and the Horror, The

Commander Mitch Davis gave up the command chair as Captain Rees walked on the bridge. She looked haggard. Davis was worried. The usually jovial Rees he'd come to know over the last 3 years seemed somehow muted. After the complete loss of convoy SC-17, she became an angry person. Then last week, word of the destruction of the Merrimac nearly brought her to tears. Rees was good friends with the Captain of the Merrimac, and that loss was a particularly hard blow.

Davis hoped a few days of R and R would help. The Columbia was on the way to Starbase 429 for repairs. The ship would be in spacedock for a good 3 days, and everyone but engineering would have very little to do. So, for 3 days, the crew could let down thier gaurd. 429 wasn't exactly Risa, but Davis thought they'd find a way to have a good time anyway.

Rees took her seat, Davis sat to her right. He asked, "Get any sleep last night? You look bagged."

She rubbed her eyes in response. "Not much, I'm dog tired today my friend. Anything to report?" With that, it was back to ships buissness.

"Nothing really. There was a fight in the lounge last night. Two crewmen, Anders and Wol the Bolian."

Rees shook her head, but understood. The crew was under too much pressure of late. "You've dealt with it then?"

"Yessum, they're confined to quarters when they're off duty for one week. I've also told them they're not to leave the ship when we get to 429."

"Recind the last part. These guys obviously need a break. Let'em go, they can serve thier punishment after we leave."

Davis didn't mind. "Aye Captain. We're at warp 6, we should arrive in 2 hours."

"Excellent. Any Dominion activity being reported?"

"No sir, not a whiff. Not even around here, which is strange, considering how close we are to the front."

Rees didn't like it. "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. I hate it when the Dominion is quiet. It usually only means they're coiling for another strike." She shook her head, and got up. "I'll be in my ready room. You have the bridge number one."

Just as she sat at her desk, she was paged by Raj Ramast, her Brikar tactical officer. "Captain, incoming message from Starfleet medical for you."

She closed her eyes and waited. It could only be bad news about her mother. She had been struck with Pratts syndrome a year ago. It was a debilitating neurological disorder. Patients would exhibit symptoms of confusion, wild emotional outburts, and extreme depression. It was incurable. Rees was supposed to get leave to visit her mother 2 weeks ago. The war had made sure she could not go.

Ramast tried again. "Captain, do you want the transmission in there?"

She snapped out of it. Maybe it was good news. She'd had her share of bad lately. "Yes, please put them through."

Her monitor lit up to reveal Admiral Julianna Martin. The second in command of Starfleet Medical. She wasted little time. "Captain Rees. I have news of your mother."

Rees actually crossed her fingers. "I hope it's good Admiral."

Martin looked down for one second. In that second Rees knew. When Martin looked up she said, "I'm sorry Captain. We did all we could. Your mother had a seizure at 04:20 this morning. Despite the best efforts of the finest physicians in the Federation, you mother passed away. I'm very sorry."

Rees composure held. She would not cry. "Thank you Admiral. It so happens I have some time available, so I will be able to attend the funeral."

The Admiral broke in. "Are you alright Captain? Is there anything I can do?"

"No Ma'am, thank you. I'll want to talk to you on my arrival at Earth. Thank you again." She cut the transmission. She hardened herself. She could feel herself withdrawing. "Mr. Davis," she said over the comm," prepare the runabout. I'm leaving for Earth."


Act 1

Davis watched Her pack. She didn't take much. 2 standard uniforms, her dress uniform, and a civilian jumpsuit. "Ensign Mishu has asked if she could catch a ride with us. Her sister is getting married in Luna city in 2 days. Is it ok with you Danni?"

Rees didn't respond. Mechanically, she continued packing without so much as a glance.

He tried again. "Danni? Is it ok?"

Finally she seemed to realise he was talking. "Ya, yes, of course. She'd better be on time. I'm leaving in exactly 20 minutes."

"She'll be there. I'd also like you to take Lt. Ramast."

Rees looked confused. "Why does he want to go to Earth?"

Davis stood and looked at a painting of a planet on the wall. It was the Columbia, scanning a beautiful purplish nebula. "He wants to go to protect our Captain. I want him to go too."

Rees looked dubious. "I don't need protection. I'm a Starfleet Captain. You don't get to my position by being weak." She walked to the washroom to collect some things.

Raising his voice to be heard, Davis replied. "Danni, you know I don't think you're weak. I'd just feel better if you brought your chief of security along. We're about a half a light year from the front. You never know when a 500 pound Brikar might come in handy."

Emerging from the head, she replied. "I'll only be close to the front for the first few hours, but whatever. I don't care. He won't be needed on 429 anyways. Tell Ramast to meet me in the shuttlebay."

Davis smiled thinly. "He's already there."

"You two worry too much." Her bag packed, Rees nodded her thanks. "Well, I'd better get going."

Davis reached out and held her hand gently in his. "For what it's worth, I'm sorry Danni."

She tried a smile. "It's worth alot my friend. Thank you." She stood on her toes to kiss him lightly on the cheek. Turning to walk out, she said, "Keep her in one piece Mitch."




Nicely away from the Columbia, Rees thought she was about ready for a nap. Maybe if she laid down now she'd sleep without a nightmare for once. "Anything on long range sensors Mister?"

Ramast's impossibly deep voice came back. "Not a thing Captain. Why don't you get some sleep."

"Sound advice Lt." At that, Rees left the cockpit.

"If you want Sir," Ensign Mishu said, "I could pilot. I don't get much of a chance to do that kind of thing in Stellar Cartography."

Ramast didn't need to be asked twice. Piloting on long trips like this was awful. "Be my guest," He said as he got clumsily out of his chair. I'll be in my cabin. Let me know the second you get anything on long range sensors." Though they were still relatively close to the front, they were going to be heading away from it soon. There was little chance of any contact with the emeny.

"Understood Lt."



Rees laid down on the hard bed in the closet like cabin. No decorations, no replicator, no blinking panels. No distractions. And almost utter silence. All that could be heard was the dull thrum of the little ships warp core. It was soothing. It was putting her to sleep.

As she entered the realm between sleep and wakefulness, she could hear a new sound. Whoooop....Whoooop....Whoooop...This sound was not so comforting. She was dreaming that dream again. Wasn't she? Whoooop...Whoooop....and now a new sound. A voice. Calling her.


Ensign Mishu was having a great time. She knew Lt Ramast would probably find this boring in the extreme, but she loved it. Making minor course corrections, shaving off a few thousand kilometers here and there. Sometimes she thought she should've gotten into Security or Command. Sometimes. She knew she wasn't the commanding type though. Only 5 feet tall, and with a tiny, squeaky voice. She'd always had visions of her crew giggling behind her back. So she compromised. Starfleet, but something alittle more sedate. Stellar Cartography.

She was about to plot another tiny course correction when she heard a strange beeping. Looking around her panel, she found out what it was. Long range sensors had detected a ship. A big ship. A Cardassian ship. On an intercept course.

She fought down her panic, and immediately turned the shuttle to a heading opposite of the Cardies. Trying to sound authoritative, she tapped her commbadge. "Lt Sir, um, you'd better come up here please." She cringed. God! She sounded like a scared child.

She could hear Ramast's footsteps pound closer. Upon entering the cockpit he thundered, "REPORT"!

Mishu was feeling better, now that someone was ready to help. "A Galor class cruiser just showed up on long range sensors Lt."

"Has it spotted us?" Ramast knew the answer, but hope made him ask.

"I think so Sir. It's changed course to intercept."

Lt. Ramast looked at his console. It was not good. The Danube class ship was only able to sustain warp 4. Perhaps 4.7, but only for a short time. The Cardassians were at warp 9.5. He asked the computer for an intercept time.

"At current speed, intercept will occur in 6 minutes."

Ramast looked at Mishu. "Get the Captain."




Gul Renat was content. It was supposed to be a quick incursion into Federation space, to test thier readiness in the sector. He found the Federation wanting. He couldn't even find a single fighter! It spoke volumes for the condition of Starfleet. He said so to his X.O, Prenit.

Prenit replied, "I cannot wait till our forces reach Earth." His eyes showed he was imagining it. "I wonder...will be be allowed to rape and pillage? Or will it be orbital bombardment? I can tell you what my vote would be."

Renat didn't have to ask. That was why he liked his number one so much. They were very much alike. He continued the thought. "The capture of Earth. Ahhh, such grand dreams. Perhaps I could kill the Federation President with my own hands." He shook his head. "BAH, the coward would run when the first Cardassian ship arrived."

Prenit laughed too loudly. "Well, we can dream sir, we can dream!"

"CAPTAIN!" It was the tactical officer. "I have a Federation ship on long range sensors."

That got Renat's attention. "What type?" If it was anything tougher than an Excelsior, he'd run.

"Ohhh, we need not worry Sir. It's a shuttle." The officer replied, shaking his head.

Renat shook his head. "Mighty starfleet meets my ship with a shuttle! Well, we shall give them a grand battle! They will sing songs of us!" He said with a flourish, doing his best Klingon immitation, to the laughter of the entire bridge.

"We could have them in seven minutes. Should we intercept Sir?" The conn officer asked over the dinn.

"Yes, yes, let's do that. I'd like to capture it intact if we could. I may have some questions for the officers."

"Shall I prepare your chamber for 'questioning'" Prenit asked with a smirk.

Renat smirked right back. "Yes, of course. Make sure all my equipment is laid out."

Prenit almost felt sorry for the hapless Starfleeters. Almost.




"They're on us!" Ramast shouted needlessly as the first phaser blast connected with the aft shields. "Returning fire."

The little ship did fire back, but it was no use. Type 5 phasers had little effect against the cruiser. The shuttle was rocked again.

"Dammit! Shields already at 38 percent. You got the distress call out?" Rees asked.

Mishu replied. "I did Captain, I hope it got out anyways. They started jamming shortly after."

Another short blast connected with the weak shields. Ramast reported. "12 percent, one more and we're done."

Rees didn't think they would die. Not right away."They don't want to kill us. They want to capture us." They had to hurry. "Computer, initiate auto destruct, authorization Rees, beta beta tango one."

Ramast began speaking without a thought, just as the shields buckled after another phaser blast.. As he opened his mouth, he felt the tingle of the transporter, and knew they were too late.


Act 2

"Ensign, could you get me a new coffee?" Davis asked as he almost reclined in Columbia's command chair.

"No problem, Captain. Be right back." The young ensign replied as he took the wide based starfleet mug.

Captain. Commander Davis like the sound of that. Even if it was temporary. "Lt. Thievin, how long till..."

Thievin interrupted him. "Captain, I'm getting a distress call."

Davis stood, and took a step closer. "From whom?" He knew on instinct. It was Rees.

"It's from the Souris, they're being chased by a Cardie Cruiser." Thievin pounded a few buttons. "That's the extent of the message, the rest is static. They were being jammed Sir."

"You have the co-ordinates Lt?"


His voice was near a whisper. "Helm, as fast as you can."





When Rees materialized, she recogized where she was almost immediately. A Cardassian ship. She reached for her phaser, only to find it gone. Of course, Cardassians weren't dumb enough to transport thier sidearms with them.

Directly in front of them were 20 Cardassian soldiers. All had weapons leveled at them. Rees spared a glance at Ramast. He looked ready to take them all on right now, his massive muscles flexing, expanding. They nearly tore his uniform.

She settled him with a few words. "Not yet. Patience. Wait for my signal." Rees thought the Cardassians may not know about Brikar resilience to stun phaser beams. It could be used later. Right now though, against 20 Cardies, even a Brikar wouldn't stand a chance.

When she looked at Mishu, she saw abject horror. Obviously this wasn't what she'd signed up for.

They were waved off the transporter pad, just as an authoritative looking Cardassian walked in. He said, "I am Gul Renat. Under Cardassian Military law I claim you as my prisoners, to do with as I please."

Rees couldn't help herself. She shivered. Renat noticed. His tone became light. "If you answer my questions properly, it will go well for you." He looked directly at Mishu, and lowered his voice. "If not...." He didn't finish. He didn't have to.




"How we doin Telar?" Davis asked the Vulcan impatiently.

"I have extrapolated what I believe will be the Cardassian ships course, based on previous experience, obstacles, and maximum speed."

Lt. Thieven looked over, incredulous. "You guessed!?"

"Hypothesised". She intoned.

"Go on" Davis said.

"Here is the last postition of the Souris as tracked by Columbia's long range sensors." A small dot flashed on the display. She continued, and another point of light came up. "That is the origin of the distress call.

It would not take long for a Galor class ship to catch a runabout. However, I must assume they would take an opposite heading. I have calculated a pursuit time of 5-8 minutes. Which would place them here, when they were captured or destroyed." Telar looked up. "Captain, I have a course that should allow us to catch the Cardassian vessel a short distance behind thier lines."

A new blue line was overlayed on the display. Thier course. It intersected at almost a 45 degree angle with the orange line of Telar's best "hypothesis". It did so behind a fat red line. The front.

There were several variables to consider. The risk to the crew, the possible capture of his ship being formost in his mind. Despite those risks it took him 1 second to decide. "Go."




They were led through a sliding door with an almost graceful archway. Inside was a large, rather bland room, in the Cardassian tradition. Rees looked around. She saw two chairs, made of what looked like duranium. Each had heavy metallic bands attached to the arms and legs, obviously restraints. A large table was in the center, with various instruments carefully put in place. Some were modern, rather sterile looking. Others...cruel and midevil. There were only three lights. One above the table, and one each above the chairs.

Renak spoke to a guard. "Take the little Ensign away."

Mishu was obviously distressed. Rees wanted to give her something to hold on to. "Be brave Laura. Hold as long as you can. For me."

That seemed to encourage her. As Rees watched the guard lead her out, Mishu gave a small smile. The doors closed with an echoing thud.

Renak ordered the two strapped to the chairs. They were led by the table, for a closer look at the instruments of torture. Rees sincerely hoped the older ones were only for show.

As Ramast was strapped in, he surveyed the situation. He thought he could break free from this chair. The problem was breaking the straps, and overcoming the gaurds. Brikar were resistant to stun settings, but not immune. He estimated he could withstand 5 or 6 shots to the chest area before he lost consiousness. When he did break out, he would have to be quick. He conveyed all this to Rees in one simple look. Rees only nodded.

Renak smiled widely. He didn't do it to intimidate the Starfleeters. He did it out of pure enjoyment. He was fully in his element. He turned his palms upward, as if imploring them to be reasonable. "My friends, it's like I said previously. Answer my questions, and you'll spend your life in a Cardassian labor camp. An admittedly short period of time, but nonetheless...." He walked to the table. "Resist me..." he picked up a wicked looking blade. "And I will destroy you."

"Now, Captain. Your shuttle wiped it's memory when we attempted to bypass it's security protocols. So, we'll have to start with the basics." He walked behind Rees with some kind of instrument. "Your ship, the Columbia. What fleet is it attached to?"

Rees sneered. "I will NEVER tell you any...YYYAAGGHHHHH" She was screaming. It felt like someone else, but it was her. He'd jabbed some kind of neural stimulator into her neck. Every nerve was aflame. She couldn't breathe, or think. There was only the pain. How long could it go on? She knew she was about to die.

Then it stopped. It felt to her like it had lasted days. In fact, it was 5 seconds.

"That was the mildest setting." Renak said, almost glumly. "This shouldn't take long at all."


Act 3


Ramast felt awful. He looked awful. His breathing shallow, his eyes hard and staring.

He had not, however, been touched. He had watched. For four and a half hours, he'd watched his Captain, the woman he loved, tortured by the most sadistic Cardassian in the quadrant.

Renat may have been sick, but he was also wiley. He saw Ramast's concern for his Captain early on. Perhaps he even saw the love there. That was why he was forced to watch. That was a worse torture than anyone could inflict.

He had motioned to Rees several times. He pleaded with his eyes. Still, she would not call out for help. She seemed to be waiting for the right time. There were still two guards at the door. And the door was 30 feet away, which might be enough time to stun even a Brikar. It would have to be done several times, but it was possible.

The last round of interrogation had been the worst. Renat had used a new instrument, he called it...what? A tissue dissociator. Something like that. He hadn't been paying attention, and couldn't hear well anyways. Her screams drowned him out. It appeared to separate skin layer by layer from the body. What was left were exposed nerves and excrutiating pain. Renat was speaking again. His arrogant tone more overbearing than ever.

"Captain, you surprise me. I must say you seemed an easy mark when I first saw you. Nothing but a tiny human female. I've tortured dozens and dozens of species you know." He said it in such a conversational tone now, he might have been talking about how many Parises squares tournaments he'd won.

"The Romulans are easy. Fearsome warriors, but when it comes to pain..." He shook his head sadly, "they'll sell thier own mother." He walked in a circle around Rees, hands behind his back. She seemed incoherent. He continued. "Klingons are very very difficult. The whole honor thing, you understand. It makes them accept impressive amounts of...stimuli. Orions, they're a hard bunch. Bolians, somewhere in between. Vulcans!" He shouted, "Vulcans are my nemisis. They retreat into themselves. Dissassociate from the pain. Impressive. I once phasered an elderly Vulcan's arm right off! He didn't even open his eyes. He was hiding somewhere in his head." He tapped his temple for emphasis. "I've since discovered several drug and stimuli combinations that deaden that ability. Still, formidible opponents. Humans on the other hand." He looked as though he were pondering a difficult mathmatical question. "Humans are difficult to decifer. Some merely look at my instruments, and faint away. Others, like you my good Captain, are a bit more stubborn."

Rees managed to speak. "Go to hell, bastard." It took alot of her strength to say that.

Renat only chuckled, and walked over to the water bucket. He'd done this several times. Two hours ago, the Cardassian had injected Rees with a dehydrant. She seemed to be dying of thirst. Renat noisily stirred the water around with the ladle. Danielle looked up hopefully.

"This is certainly thirsty work." Renat said, and drank deeply from the ladle. Then he looked at her. "I'm sorry, where are my manners?" Taking another scoop, he held it to Rees mouth, just out of reach. "Would you care for a big drink of cool water?"

Her resolve broke. She had refused every time previously, but now she gave in. "Water." Ramast hardly heard her.

Renat smiled warmly. "Good. Goooood. You can have the water, if you tell me where the 5th fleet's reserve is currently located."

Her head slumped slightly forward. After a few seconds, it was held high again. "Go to hell, bastard!"

He poured the water on the floor at her feet, and turned to the table. "Now, where did I leave my dissociator?"

Ramast looked at Rees. Rees looked at the unmoving soldiers She shook her head, just as Renat went back to work.





"Captain." It was the 77 year old chief engineer, Dalhousie.

"Go ahead Commander." Davis replied on the bridge.

"Captain, we've been running at warp 9.65 for 4 and a half hours. This ship was supposed to get a minor refit. We cannot continue this pace indefinately. I've got a red light on one of my plasma injectors, one of the reactant injectors is acting up, and we just finished patching a rather serious coolant leak. How much longer are we going to have to maintain this speed?"

Davis didn't want to hear it. "At least another hour, just hold her together."

"Captain, unless we slow to at least warp 9, we could have a major system failure. I recommend..."

"We cannot slow one meter per second, do you understand!" Mitch said, his voice rising. "In case you didn't notice, we're on a tight schedule here. We are only abit faster than the Cardies now. I don't care what you do Dalhousie, but you WILL keep this ship at warp 9.65 until I tell you to stop. Tie it down, and keep us going. Do you understand me?"

Dalhousie, obviously angry, but understanding said only, "Yes Sir."

As Davis sat in the center seat, he thought he felt Columbia vibrating under his feet.





Renat was just about to offer the good Captain Rees another drink, when his first officer interrupted. "Could I see you for a moment Sir?"

"Of course," He replied smoothly. Shaking a finger at Rees he said, "now, don't you go anywhere. We have much to discuss." With that they left the room.

"What is it Prenit?"

"We are pursued."

"By what?" Renat snorted. "A Federation garbage scow?"

"No sir, an Excelsior class. She's gaining."

This was an unexpected difficulty, Renat thought. "How long?"

"About 15 minutes. We will be across the border, and I've hailed assistance." He looked at his boots. "However, it appears the Starfleeters will catch us before our reinforcements have arrived."

"Most interesting." He rubbed his chin. "I'll step up the interrogation. Just in case."

"Would you like me to bring in the young Ensign?" Prenit asked.

"You read my mind. By all means, bring her along. You deal with the Federation ship. I'll handle the questioning. I'm not to be disturbed."






Ten minutes later, a terrified Ensign Mishu was brought before Captain Rees. Danielle was a broken woman. She'd already decided she could take no more. One more interrogation session and she would tell him everything. Oh, she'd give Ramast the signal first. He might even overcome Renat and the gaurds. But then what?

Rees knew she had big trouble when Mishu was brought in. She could sense it.

Renat wasted no time. "Captain. if you do not give me the current location of the 5th fleets strategic reserve in 10 seconds, I will shoot your Ensign."

She couldn't do it. If the Dominion knew the location of the reserve, it would almost certainly spell disaster for the fleet. Because the fact was, the 5th fleet had no real reserve to speak of. She decided to try a lie.

"Please," she said thickly, "I'll tell. The 5th's fleet reserve is located in the Narendra sector."

"You are a poor liar, Rees." Renat turned and shot Mishu in the stomach. She went down in a lump.

"NO!!!" Rees screamed. "I told you where it was!"

"Captain. If you tell me the truth, your wounded Ensign will get medical attention. She may even live." He pointed his phaser at Laura's head. "If you lie again...."

How did he know she was lying? Could she afford to lie again? How long could this go on? She could hear Mishu, moaning in pain. She made her desision. "The 5th fleet reserve...."

The ship shook, and everyone standing was knocked to the ground. Hard. Rees didn't even have to say anything. Ramast's bindings exploded like they were clay, as he made his way to Renat, who had dropped his weapon. The Columbia had arrived.


Act 4

"In range, Sir" Lt Purvis said at Tactical.

"Fire photons, target engines." Davis said.

Two orange points of light converged on the Galor class's aft shields, then two more. The Cardassians returned fire. A photon merged with the Columbia's shields. "Shields holding" Thievin said from ops.

"Fire at will, let's get'em out of warp first, then get the shields down." Even as he said it, he knew they may not be able to do it. The Columbia had nearly come apart in the race, and now she was taking a pounding. The Cardassians would be more than a match for her. They had to find a way to get the shields down.

The next 4 photons collapsed the aft shields for just a second, and the ship shuddered out of warp. At impulse now, the Galor class turned and really came to life. Front heavy weapons opened up on the Columbia. They had an effect.

Purvis shouted, "Forward shields at 79 percent, returning fire."

"This is bad." For the first time, Davis considered leaving Rees behind.





Ramast was on Renat in 2 strides. The Brikar picked up the loose weapon and fired on the two stunned Guards. Then Ramast held the Gul up by his neck with one hand. "Take me to engineering."





"Shields at 39 percent Captain."

Davis was about 30 seconds away from losing his Captain, but saving the ship. "What about the Cardies.?"

Thievin responded. "They are at 55 percent on the shields. They don't have warp again yet." Thievin looked over his console. "Cardassian reinforcements incoming. Six Destroyers. ETA, one minute."

Davis started counting down from 60.




Luckily for Ramast, Engineering was only one deck straight down. He'd only had to shoot 3 Cardassians, who were decidedly reluctant to shoot back with thier Captain in the way. When they reached Enginneering, Ramast set his Cardassian phaser on it's widest beam, and fired. All were dispatched quickly. He sealed the door.

"Lower the shields." He ordered, "and if you try one trick, I'll break your neck." He put his massive hand around his neck for emphasis.

Renat was no fool. He knew the Brikar was serious. He locked out the bridge control, and dropped his ships shields.




"They're here Sir." Thievin said with resignation. Six more Cardassian ships dropped out of warp. "They'll be in firing range in 15 seconds."

Davis said, "Helm, set course for starbase 429, best warp. Be ready to engage." He looked at the enemy ship, still with shields. "I'm sorry Danni. Helm...."

Thievin screamed from Ops. "Thier shields, they're down!!! They're down!!"

"Awwwright! Mr Thievin, locate our guys. Transporter room, prepare for emergency beam out directly to sick bay!"




Rees, barely consious, opened her eyes. Through the slits, she could see Ensign Mishu, crawling towards her. Pleading. Then darkness.



Ramast, seeing the shields were down, picked Renat up by the neck. This time he squeezed. Renat tried to bargain. "I let you go! I dropped the shields." His voice became a rasp, as Ramast squeezed his throat shut. "You're Starfleet, you can't do this. You don't have the gutsssss...."

Renat struggled uselessly. His feet dangling a full 2 feet off the ground, he pounded the Brikar on the shoulders. Ramast was oblivious. He would crush his throat, so he would be able to torture no more. Squeezing even harder, he began to kill Renat. It would be slow. He would enjoy it. He smiled.

A tingling sensation took hold. Ramast screamed. "NOOOOOO!" The Columbia was transporting him.

Before Ramast dematerialized, he got a last look at Gul Renat. It was he who was smiling now.


Thievin at Ops yelled. "We have them Sir!"

Davis didn't even have to give the order. Quickly Telar entered "emergency warp" on her console. The Columbia lept away from the Cardassian ships.

Thievin knew what Davis' next question would be, and beat him to it. "They are not pursuing, Captain."

Davis was on his way off the bridge. "Thievin, you have the bridge. I'll be medical bay." The turbolift doors whisked shut.


When Commander Davis arrived, he found a frenzy of activity. The fight with the Cardassians had caused an EPS conduit to explode in engineering. There were about 20 casualities. It was crowded and very noisy, as people moaned in pain, and medical staff shouted back and forth. Despite all that, Rees was easy to find. She was the one with the most bussle around her. The 6 foot 7 Brikar standing over her helped pick her out too. He made his way to her.

He was entirely unprepared for what he saw next. She looked near death. In fact, she was. There was a doctor and 2 nurses helping with Rees, despite the number of casualties. The Captain was in the worst shape.

"Cortical stimulator" Dr Angela Ortega called out. She talked as she worked. "Commander, I've never seen anything like it." She shook her head, as if she still didn't believe what she was seeing. Davis didn't believe it either.

The whites of her eyes were bright red. The blood vessels had all ruptured. Some areas of skin appeared to be missing, though they were now being covered by nurses. Some areas were brownish black in color. Her fingernails were missing. Davis turned away, not wanting to see anymore. "Doctor, can you..." He indicated they should walk a short distance away. She did.

Davis waited for her to explain her injuries. She seemed distant for a second. "I don't know why she's alive Commander." She shook her head, looking past him at her unconcious Captain. "Her nervous system shut down completely for awhile. It was a near thing for a few minutes." She bit her lip. "What they did. I don't know. I can guess, but it seems too horrible. You'll have to ask Mr. Ramast what he saw."

"I will" Davis replied wearily. "What's her prognosis?"

"She's comatose. I don't mind. I'm going to leave her like that for a few days, let the brain heal itself. Physically, I can fix her in about 2 hours. There will be some plastic surgery, you know. You should see her back." She shivered unconciously. "Emotionally. She may never be the same."

"Thank you Doctor. See to your patients."

"Yes sir." She moved off to help a crewman with a plasma burn.

"Ramast, over hear please." Davis called.

As Ramast left the stretcher, Davis realized he had been holding Rees hand. "Commander, I'm sorry..."Ramast began.

Davis held up a hand. "Please. What happened?"

Ramast looking at his Captain often, told Davis of their capture, the torture of Rees, and the shooting of Mishu, and thier subsequent escape. It took 20 minutes. Mitch never interupted the horror story once. There was something missing though. Davis asked, "What happened to Renat?"

He said nothing at first. As Mitch watched, he could see the normally affable Brikar change somehow. He tensed, and his eyes hardened. It was both exciting and terrifying. Ramast spoke. "He lives, by luck only. When he dies, it will be by my hand. I have pledged it to my Captain. So it shall be."

Davis looked past the big man, at Danielle. He made a vow too. He vowed to be there when he caught up with him.



Act 5


When Captain Danielle Rees awoke, she remembered nothing for a moment. Staring up at the dim ceiling, she was blissfully unaware of what had happened 2 days ago. She remembered her mother, and was at once saddened. When was the funeral? What day was it? As she looked, she felt a slight disorientation. This wasn't the ceiling of her quarters. Where was this place? She looked to the left, then right. Someones bald head, resting on her mattress, blocked her view. It was Ramast, seated by her bed. What the hell??? Then it hit her with a physical force. She'd been tortured. Hadn't she dreamed it? NO! She tried to sit up, but was too weak. Ramast was startled awake. "Captain, we didn't expect you to wake up yet." he said with concern.

"Where?" She replied, her throat dry.

"We're on 429, we're safe."

"The ship?"

"It's safe too." He wanted to hold her hand again, but held back.


Ramast said nothing for a moment, as if he were gathering himself. "She died shortly after being brought aboard. If she'd had immediate medical attention, the doctor says it's likely she would have lived."

Rees closed her eyes. She wasn't greeted with darkness, but with an image. Ensign Mishu, pleading with her to save her life. It wouldn't be the last time Rees would see it. She opened her eyes.

"Captain, while you were unconcious, I swore an oath. I pledge to find Renat, and kill him. I will do my duty with Starfleet. I will do what must be done in this war. However, If I get an opportunity to kill Gul Renat, I WILL take it. I am a Brikar." He said the last sentence as if it explained everything. Strangely enough to Rees, it did.

"I believe you Ramast. I do. I have one condition."

"Go ahead."

It wasn't what a Starfleeter should say, but it was what she felt. "I want to be there."

It looked as though the lieutenant was about to protest. He thought better of it. "It is more your vengence than mine. We will find him together."

Rees smiled thinly. She looked upon the huge man, who had risked his life to save hers. She knew he would die for her without a second thought. Not out of loyalty to Starfleet, or even out of duty. He would do it because he loved her. A feeling she did not return. At least, not yet. She reached for his hand, and he took it.

To him, it was a greater reward than any medal in the Federation.

Read more from Columbia and Jarret S. Ronning.
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Evil Must Be Opposed.
-- Vedek Yassim,

(DS9: Rocks and Shoals)
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