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[2007: NOV-DEC] Tell Our Mothers We've Done Our Best


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Waste deep mud. Muck, silt and scattered bones strew across a battle field so bogged down from constant rain and flash pack explosions from above it looked like the pockmarked skin of an adolessant. Driving, acidic rain pelted the line of soldiers, the sky lit by flashes of lightening and artillery explosions. No one moved a muscle. Some slept, some whispered to each other, all were miserable and loved every moment.

A fist darted out from the collection of leather and metal armor, briefly hitting a raw recruit along his chest plate. When he looked up, it was through rain soaked hair and tiny wisps of youngling beard. “Wipe the blood off and hand me that Bat’leth.” The gruff voice of a Sergeant-at-arms whispered the apparent owner of the jutting fist.

The only portion of the recruit that moved at the Sergeant’s order were his eyes. They moved, blinking away the rain, till they fell upon the upturned blade of the Bat’leth, imbedded in the decomposing body of a Jem’Hadar warrior. It was unfortunate that the arm and hand of the Klingon soldier who’d been the owner of the double edged weapon was still equally attached to the handle.

An explosion of fireworks played above their heads, lighting up the trench and field they lay in. The light exposed them briefly to the enemy, but quickly dissipated into darkness once again. It was a very good thing that these warriors were wearing their battle armor, for it blended well with the mud and muck, making them almost un-seeable in the gloomy, dank night.

The recruit moved his hand towards the Bat’leth, but was stopped in mid grasp by a more delicate, but firm grip. When he looked up at the Klingon sitting next to him, his eyes went wide. The Klingon next to him wasn’t Klingon for there was no typical Klingon forehead. Another flash of lightening or artillery, it was hard to tell now, outlined the pixie-like pointed ear of a Vulcan female.

The cobalt blue eyes of the Vulcan blinked suddenly and looked directly at the Klingon recruit. Over the cacophony of noise that the rain, thunder and artillery were making, he heard her said, “If you want to live till tomorrow, I suggest you leave that be.”

---

It was 2374. The Klingon Defense Force’s forward Infantry units held a stretch of battlefield that expanded several hundred miles to the left and right of Central Command’s HQ. They called this entrenched spot, the Destrus Line and the Klingons had been holding the line for over two months.

Constant attacks by shrouded Jem’Hadar had whittled down capable command officers. Somehow the Dominion was able to move right through the Klingon line and assassinate each and every officer. Many times the officer was killed while witnesses stood helpless. The Klingon lines were stretched so thin and command was decimated to the point that a mere Lieutenant now stood as the leader of the Infantry. And there was little hope of relief on the horizon.

“Dig in. Protect Command. Attack when ordered. Remain alive till Sto-Vo-Kor. Today is a good day to die!” Those had been the orders from the Klingon High Council. Every unit was given the same instructions over and over again. But that had been a phrase uttered since the beginning of the Dominion conflict. Now it was just an overture for destruction and an early grave.

---

The Klingon Bird-of-Prey, K’al’ak, orbited motionlessly over the remains of the Vulcanis sector. Even from this distance, the smoldering heap of dry scorched land was completely visible to the naked eye. What remained was slowly burning what little vegetation remained. Federation, Klingon, and Vulcan aid vessels orbited the planet in such a way that the K’al’ak’s helmsman had to be constantly vigilant in order to maneuver the ship as to miss hitting other ships as they awaited word from the surface.

“I grow restless!” The barrel voice of K’Mog, ship’s Captain, echoed throughout the bridge. “We should be fighting, not sitting.”

The entire crew nodded and grunted their agreement with his frustration. What had transpired on the planet’s surface was not honorable. The Dominion had already tried to take 40 Eridani VI once, had lost, and at a costly price for both sides. Starfleet, along with Klingon Defense Forces, had all but lost their entire forward fleets to the Dominion. In the end, the Dominion was only pushed back two light years. This time, they had come back stronger than ever. The planet below had felt the brunt of their onslaught, but again Starfleet proved too much. The Dominion had retreated like a targ with its tail between its cowardly legs.

The K’al’AK orbited the dieing planet, dodging other vessels as it moved. This was not to K’Mog’s liking. He disliked the Dominion. He hated the Cardassian Empire for joining leagues with the Dominion. His heart beat with constant rage that only a dual to the death with a Jem’Hadar warrior could quench.

Slamming his hand upon the chair’s metal arm, K’Mog arose, chest seething, and ran his rock hard fist into the stomach of his first officer, To’PeCH. The FO grunted lightly, flailing to grip the corner of a consol or perch of some sort, before his heavily Klingon frame hit the metal decking.

K’Mog spun around the bridge, his long salt and pepper hair flinging with his movements. “Find me something to kill.” When no one moved, K’Mog thrust his foot into To’PeCH’s stomach, who in turn spat blood onto the decking as he rose to his feet. That got the attention of the rest of the crew who began grunting, reporting their station’s readiness.

“Sir! Message from High Council. They have need of commanders in the Destrus Belt. Massive build up of Dominion Forces suspected.” The Communications officer all but jumped to his feet as he made the announcement.

K’Mog wasted no time. He stomped to his seat, sat down heavily and looked at the Helmsman. “Go. Now!”

There were no messages to and from the ship as it broke orbit and streaked out of the system. There wasn’t a need. They were going to answer the call of the Council. Besides, K’Mog knew that he would finally be able to kill someone or something. “It has been too long.” He muttered under his breath.

K’Mog wanted to kill his First Officer, To’PeCH, just because the man infuriated him, but now was not the time. They had never been friends, it was a known fact.

To’PeCH had never voiced opposition to K’Mog’s decisions, save one. K’Mog had married a non-Klingon. T’Pen, a Vulcan-Klingon half breed, had been K’Mog’s mate for a number of years and she was, in To’PeCH’s eyes, an abomination. Yes, she was a strong fighter. She could more than hold her own in a fight, but she wasn’t pure blood and that turned To’PeCH’s insides every time he glanced at her. She served as K’Mog’s Science Officer, so her presence was always felt on the bridge.

To’PeCH spat on the floor again as he walked across the bridge to his station near K’Mog. “Fool.” He thought as he keyed in his code to the consol. “Going to get us killed.” He had no love for any of the members of this ship’s crew. He was an addition, an unwanted variable which K’Mog was over looking every single minute of the day. In the end it would be his eventual downfall. To’PeCH was making plans. There were Klingons like him that wanted more than to just serve the Empire. They were the Brotherhood and they wanted power, influence, money, and women. Humans had a term, Pirate, which To’PeCH had read up on. It fit him perfectly. When the time came, he would make his move and no-one, not K’Mog or T’Pen would stand in his way.

---

Two days later, the Klingon warship passed into the area known as the Destrus Belt. As they sailed in, the Tactical Officer was forced to raise the ship’s shields. Thrown out before them, like a game of jacks, lay pieces of starships. Not large chunks or half-hulls, but minute particles, shards and shreds of what had once been many vessels.

K’Mog slammed his open fist onto the arm of his chair. “What has happened here?” His hair waved around as he twisted his head in T’Pen’s direction. “Speak.”

T’Pen looked at her consol, tapped keys and looked back to the view screen. “An entire fleet has been destroyed here.” She looked back at her consol then turned to the screen again, which showed the present course of all the STARFLEET and Klingon Defense Force movements. The 10th Fleet was a total loss after the Battle for Batezed. The 14th fleet was on its way to Alpha Centauri; the 2nd and 3rd Fleets were still licking their wounds and reestablishing their defense line around the Bajoran Wormhole. A movement on the screen captured their collective attention. A blip that should not have been there. “Breen?” She said with a sideways glance and [...] of her eyebrow.

The general consensus was that the Breen had intercepted communications from the Klingon High Council and the fleet. As the fleet arrived, the Breen attacked and took out every last ship in the Belt.

“So where are they now?” To’PeCH grunted, as he scanned the area in hopes of finding some survivors. Seconds went by, the questions still hanging in the musty air, until the scans picked up a lone blip on the third planet. “There is a survivor.” The view screen changed to show the blip.

T’Pen looked up from her readings to confirm To’PeCH’s assessment. “The planet is called Destrus, part of the planetary body that makes up the Destrus Belt. Rock and Rain are its constants.”

K’Mog didn’t think for more than a second, for to do so would show himself weak in thought. “Take us into orbit and we’ll beam down. Whether they are Klingon or Breen, we shall see for ourselves.”

---

When K’Mog, To’PeCH, T’Pen and several others from the ship beamed down to the planets surface, they were inundated with pelting rain, constant thunder and lightening and gale force winds. Finding survivors was going to be a struggle, not only for the survivor him/herself, but also for the rescue team. Mud pits sucked at their boots, deceiving puddles of water that could pull a man under in a matter of seconds. All equally treacherous and killing off the Klingon rescuers as they trekked along.

After a time, they found the remains of ten Klingons, the shuttle they’d used to escape the battle, and what appeared to be the remains of Jem’Hadar and Breen. From the look of the bodies, they’d been there several days; the elements having taken their toll. As T’Pen bent down to examine the bodies closer, a phaser blast dropped G’eKt, one of the security personnel who’d followed them down and managed to survive the pits and holes. He fell heavily to the ground; blood splattering the ground; a clap of thunder and lightening lighting up the field.

Everyone fell, disruptors and knives flashing out as quickly as the lightening overhead. No one new where the shot had come from, but there was no use trying to get G’eKt back to the ship. He was already entering the gates to Sto-Vo-Kor before his body thudded to the muddy surface. Another shot announced the Jem’Hadar’s close proximity, which both relieved the Klingons but also made them wary of just how close their enemy really was.

K’Mog grabbed his communicator and called the ship for re-enforcements. Whether someone up above had the bright idea or not, as re-enforcements beamed down from K’Mog’s ship to help in the fight that seemed to be coming, an automatic beacon messaged the Klingon High Council, who immediately flooded the Destrus Belt with even more ship.

The crew of the K’al’AK took up a defensive posture, firing their disruptors when the opportunity presented itself. But as time went by, they seemed to become more and more dug in, rather than ready to go on the offensive.

It took two days for fleet re-enforcements to finally arrive. When they arrived, so did the Jem’Hadar, the Vorta and the Changelings. With each passing hour, the Klingons became even more entrenched, bloodied and worn around the edges. Their ships were being destroyed in space, drop ships and shuttles streaked the skies as they battled each other for supremacy over the air. Infantries advanced, retreated, advanced again and again till the ground was littered with bodies of all involved.

---

T’Pen looked at the recruit, thinking “he can’t be more than two and ten.” She blinked again, trying to dislodge the image of dead and dieing boys, much like this youngling, from her mind. It didn’t work very well.

From across the trench, the Sergeant-at-arms grunted his disapproval of having his order countermanded. “Give it now,” he said as he began to move, his fist coming directly at T’Pen’s face. In that split second, the recruit could have chosen one of two paths. He could have chosen to follow T’Pen’s order and not pick up the Bat’leth, OR he could have picked it up and given it to the Sergeant-at-arms.

As it happened, the recruit grabbed the Bat’leth and thrust it into the hands of the Sergeant-at-arms, who brought the full weight of the weapon down on the recruits head, killing him instantly. The Sergeant rose from his position and, weapon in hand, began swinging the Bat’Leth left to right, slaughtering the Klingons, who sat motionlessly in shock. Some tried to rise to their feet. They were cut down by the blade. Others were cut down by Jem’Hadar snipers, watching for this sudden move by a loan Klingon.

There was no stopping the Sergeant. He seemed possessed. From behind T’Pen, she first heard foot steps; then saw the de-shrouding Jem’Hadar move out of the blackness across the battlefield. Phasers, disruptors, phase grenades, and mass artillery accompanied their progress across, then into the trench line. Shuttles streaked through, dropping more bombs, which exploded upon impact. Klingon and Jem’Hadar alike fell under the onslaught. T’Pen, along with K’Mog, To’PeCH and several others, rose to their feet, full of hatred for the dishonorable monsters.

T’Pen felt her leg give way under her; a solid, firm grip holding tight to her knee. She tugged with all her might, trying to free herself, but the hand held tight. Looking over her shoulder, she saw the madman eyes of the Sergeant-at-arms looking back. Spittle had formed on his lips and he was shaking like he was trying to dislodge something. T’Pen moved her disruptor from above her head to point down into the face of this man who’d only moments ago, exposed the entire line to the onslaught of the Jem’Hadar. What she saw made her scream involuntarily. The Klingon’s face began to literally melt away until a smooth, non-descript form, with a hint of a nose, two eyes and a mouth, appeared below her.

“CHANGELING!” T’Pen cried out. In a blind move, she brought down the disruptor and aimed it at the thing holding fast to her. Before she could pull the trigger, the Changeling morphed, slinking up T’Pen’s legs, waste, chest and face, till it appeared as a blanket tightly holding her.

T’Pen watched and heard the remainder of the battle, her eyes the only part of her body that was not engulfed in the Changeling’s grasp. All the while, the Changeling talked into her ear, telling her that she’d failed. She couldn’t tell what day it was. Days, weeks, possibly even years rolled past. It was all a blur, as the Changeling continued its hold upon her. “The Klingon Empire has fallen.” It told her, “Your husband is dead, your ship is destroyed.” Then there was silence for a time. Finally, it gently whispered, “The Federation has fallen, everyone is gone. Life as you know it will never be the same.”

T’Pen tried not to believe it; tried not to let the psychological effects of being completely cut off from everyone and everything she knew take its hold. But her Vulcan logic could not outweigh her Klingon rage. She fell asleep, dreaming horrible images of being smothered.

When she awoke, the Changeling was gone, but she wasn’t alone. She was sitting among several hundred other beings. A chain had been attached to her leg. She examined it closely, surmising that there was no way to get it off. Jem’Hadar walked up and down the rows of tightly packed prisoners, their “white” gurgling through its tube into their robotic bodies. Occasionally a Vorta would enter, walk the lines, and take a prisoner away. That prisoner never returned.

Time passed slowly; too slowly for T’Pen to count. She slept, ate, slept again in the same spot on the floor. There was not movement. There was no exercise. She watched when the doors would open and a Vorta enter. Covering her eyes with her hands against the harsh light, T’Pen almost missed the Vorta, as he stood before her. Nothing was said. No one cried out.

T’Pen wanted so badly to fight back. She wanted to kill the Vorta. Snap his neck. When he stood before her, all she could do was attempt to stand. T’Pen realized, with a little wimper, that her legs had atrophied. Hands lifted her from the floor, but she fell immediately. Trying to turn over, she saw and felt a sharp kick to her mid-section. Nothing more was said.

After a time, she convinced herself that this was all a dream. T’Pen heard the “white” gurgle, the sound of a Jem’Hadar’s blade and sheath, then a cutting noise as he ran his blade into her back, severing her spinal column and piercing her hearts.

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If you would like to find out what actually happened during the Destrus Line conflict, drop Captain T'Pen an e-mail at scb4k@yahoo.com. You won't be disappointed.

-DOC o:)

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