Patrick sat in his ready room with a soft drink in hand when his communicator beeped. “Bridge to Captain, we are receiving a message from Admiral Ross.”
“Put it through,” Patrick replied. Admiral Ross’s face appeared on Patrick’s desktop monitor. “How may I help you, Admiral.”
“I’m going to hold you on Earth for a while,” Ross replied. “Yesterday, we engaged the Dominion in the Chin’toka system.“
“Let me guess, the results were not good.”
“That would be an understatement. The Breen have some sort of energy damping weapon. It neutralized our systems. Only a single Bird of Prey made it back to D.S. Nine.”
“That is not good. I’ll assume that you will need some assistance in developing a countermeasure.”
“I’m sure I can keep the squadron engineers busy on that. Meanwhile, Im going to check out the rebuilding of San Francisco. I’ll be available if you need me for any reason. Ingrum out.” As Patrick exited the ready room, he saw Laura at the helm position. “Laura, it looks like you were right.”
“The Breen have a energy-damping weapon. It neutralized almost all of the ships.”
“I didn’t think that was possible.”
“Basically, our squadron is going to be sticking around for a while. Care to join me.”
A young man stood at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge. He was watching the reconstruction of the bridge when Patrick showed up behind him. “Hey, Neil, how’s the reconstruction going.”
“Its progressing nicely. I’d say they’ll have this thing as good as new by the end of the week.”
“Let’s hope we don’t have to do this again. Anyway, this is my skilled helm officer, Laura Bennett. Laura, this is Lieutenant Neil Brantley. He’s the chief medical officer of the Wildfire.“
“Nice to meet you, Neil.”
“Thank you,” Neil replied. “I’ve heard the news about Chin’toka. Looks like the Breen weren’t playing with all their cards here. Do you think we can come up with a countermeasure.”
“We had better. Meanwhile, the Klingons are our only line of defense.”
“However, like this bridge, the Federation will survive this. Speaking of which, Neil, would you care to help me out performing a song.”
“Maybe, what are you thinking.”
In an arena in San Francisco, Patrick took the middle of the floor. “I’m glad everyone could show up tonight. I’m going to start out with a song from the 20th Century, by Hank Williams, Jr. The story is about being able to survive by using his own means. I’ve asked Lieutenant Brantley to help me out in singing this piece. Its called A Country Boy Can Survive.”
“He’s pretty good,” Amanda said of Neil as he started to sing.
“You realize that we’re next,” Sarah replied.
After the song, Neil reached for the Microphone. “Next up is a group of our female ship mates from the 10th Squadron. They love music and dance, and I think that it will show through. Ladies and Gentleman, the 10th Squadron Dance Troupe.”
“That was a good intro,” Patrick stated as he grabbed his camera.
“Thank you,” Neil said. “Just curious, why do you take pictures of their routines.”
“They like to have something to critique their performance.”
“I see,” Neil stated. “Personally, I think Commander Stacey looks pretty good in that outfit.”
Patrick exited his kitchen into the mess hall with a dish. “And now, the final dish for our little thanksgiving dinner. Waldorf salad, it’s an old family recipe.”
Neil took a bite of the salad. “This salad is very good. Is there anything you can’t do?” Neil asked.
“Maybe, but there are some things I won’t do. Could you hold this for me for a second?” Patrick handed Neil a small box, then turned to the entire crowd in the Mess Hall. “If I can have your attention please. I have a special announcement. Would Commander Stacey please step forward. Amanda stood up and walked over to Patrick and Neil. Amanda, you have done an excellent job in command of the USS Wildfire over the past five months. I’ve recommended you for a promotion. I finally got the papers back from Starfleet Command. As of Stardate 52616.2, I hereby promote you to the rank of Captain, with all the rights and privileges associated with that rank. Congratulations, Captain Stacey, you have earned it.”
“Thank you, sir,” Amanda replied as Patrick opened the box and placed the enclosed rank pip on her collar and followed up with a hug.
Captain’s Log, stardate 52618.3: The rebuilding of Earth has progressed quite rapidly in the past week. The Golden Gate Bridge has been restored, as has much of the Starfleet Academy complex.
Meanwhile, the squadron has remained at a higher state of readiness, and we have had a chance to catch our breath. Engineering teams from all of the squadron’s ships have banded together to take care of repairs and maintenance. I’m pleased to announce that we’re back at 100 percent — if only we knew where we were going.
“So, how are your cadets doing?”
“They’re ready to get into the fighting,” Admiral Belding responded. “I’ve been trying to make sure they know the fundamentals of Starfleet service.”
“They must be itching. I see they got your office back in shape in record time.”
“It’s looking pretty good. My computer terminal isnt quite working right.”
“Let me take a look,” Patrick said as he looked under her desk. “Ah, it looks like someone forgot to reconnect a wire,” he stated as the doorbell rang.
“Come in,” the Admiral stated.
“Have you seen Patrick?” Amanda asked as she entered the office.
“I’m underneath the desk. What do you need.”
“I just wanted to see what was going on down here.”
“I’m just trying to get this terminal connected with the computer system. There, I’m done.” Patrick got up from underneath the desk and faced Amanda. “How have you been.”
“All right,” Amanda replied as Patrick tapped on the console.
“Would you care in joining me for a little walk. I’m all done here.”
Patrick and Amanda walked the grounds of the Academy, “So, what’s the latest news?”
“The Klingons took a serious beating in their attack on Avenal. I never understood why Gowron would order it against the advice of the Federation and the Romulans.”
“Don’t look at me I’m no good at Klingon politics. I have heard that Colonel Kira is planning on swiping one of those energy-damping weapons.”
“You would really love to play with that, wouldnt you.”
“Captain,” Kim said, “you have an incoming message from Admiral Ross.”
“I’ll take it in my ready room,” Patrick responded. He stepped into his ready room and tapped his computer panel, “Yes, Admiral, what can I do for you.”
“We finally got our hands on a Breen energy-damping weapon.“
“That’s good news.”
“I would appreciate it if you can help test the device in order to determine the necessary counter-measure.“
“Absolutely, sir,” Patrick stated, “What would you like me to do?”
“USS Ellsworth will be arriving with the commandeered weapon. You will be responsible for testing it. We need to figure out just how this thing works.“
“Aye, sir. I’ll be expecting the arrival of Ellsworth. My squadron is at your disposal.”
“Good,” Ross replied, “we could use all the help we can get. Ross out.”
“Captain,” Laura said, “Ellsworth is in visual range.”
“Let’s see her, Laura.”
“Their captain is ready to transport the unit over.”
“I’ll be in the transporter room. Have Bridget meet me there.”
Patrick and Bridget watched the transporter pad as the Breen weapon was beamed over. “There’s our problem,” Bridget commented, “Now all we have to do is come up with a solution.”
“If theres any team that can come up with that solution, I trust this squadron. I think we should place the weapon on the Wildfire and test-fire out in the asteroid belt.”
Captain’s Log, Stardate 52626.2: We’ve installed the Breen weapon aboard Wildfire and are proceeding to run tests.
“You ready out there, Amanda.”
“About as ready as I’ll ever be.”
“Good. Donna, let’s deploy the probe.”
With the press of a button, Donna launched a probe out of Baldwin‘s front torpedo launcher. “Probe deployed, sir.”
“Amanda, shes all yours.”
“Maria, is the weapon, ready.”
“Aye, captain. Weapon is on-line and ready to go.”
The Wildfire shot out a burst of energy fire, striking the probe. “Patrick, how did it go.”
“Very interesting,” Patrick replied. “The weapon had no effect on the probe with the shields off. I’m going to raise shields on the probe. Donna, if you would, please.”
“Shields are up on the probe,” Kristl replied.
“Maria, you may fire when ready.”
The Wildfire fired another burst of energy, producing sparks around the probe. Sparks flew in the Wildfire‘s bridge as well. “Captain down,” Shandy exclaimed.
“I read you, Shandy, Patrick stated over the comm. “We’re reading an overload in the weapons systems. Do you need any assistance.“
“I think we’ll be just fine over here, but I think we’ve done enough damage for one day.”
“Agreed. I’ll have Bridget help analyze the results that we have so far.”
Patrick and Bridget stood at a panel in the warroom, analyzing the results when Shandy walked in. “How’s it coming.”
“Well,” Bridget replied, “apparently, the Breen weapon interacts with our shields in such a way that it produces an electro-magnetic pulse.”
“EMPs can wreak havoc on a lot of power systems. It is not a pretty sight,” Patrick replied. “However, I think that it is possible to modify the shields to prevent the EMP effects. That would make the Breen weapon useless.”
“I’ll get to work on it,” Bridget replied.
“Meanwhile, I’d like to check in on Amanda.”
Patrick walked in to the Wildfire‘s sickbay with a bouquet of a half-dozen yellow roses. “How’s she doing, Neil.”
“Captain Stacey sustained a mild concussion with a short loss of consciousness, but my examination revealed nothing wrong. She ought to be back to herself in a few hours.”
“What do you think happened?” Shandy asked.
“I’d say the weapon recoiled,” Patrick answered. “Bridget’s making adjustments to the weapon right now. Where can I put these flowers so that she sees them when she comes to.”
“The second probe has been set.”
“Good. Bring the modified shielding online.”
“The new shields are up, Donna stated.”
“Ball is in your court, Amanda.”
“Maria, ready the Breen weapon.” A burst of energy shot from Wildfire toward the test probe, striking the probes shielding. Upon impact, the energy quickly dissipated.
“Bridget, you did a good job.”
“I’m looking at the probe readings.” I’m reading EMP levels at 0.01%.
“I think that we can do a little live-fire exercise. Bridget, prep Neosho, Ninnescah, and Verdigris. We’re going to need some good piloting skills. Laura, you take one ship, Lieuteant Baker will take another. Kristy, do you think you can handle a runabout.”
“Captain, we’ve got three small warships approaching quickly.”
“Let’s see it, Kristl.” The Wildfire viewscreen showed the three runabouts charging toward her.
“I’m performing evasive maneuvers, Anna responded.
Maria, prepare the weapon.”
“Ninnescah, Neosho, Laura stated, raise shields and charge phasers.”
“Acknowledged,” Kim replied.
“Verdigris, Neosho,” Laura called to the next runabout.
“Verdigris copies and acknowledges,” Kristy answered.
“Maria,” Amanda ordered, Fire the weapon.”
A burst of energy bolted from the Wildfire, striking the Verdigris dead on. “I’m hit,” Kristy stated, “looks like my systems are still up and running. I’m returning fire.”
“The weapon had no effect on the bandit,” Kristl replied. The Wildfire rocked slightly with the fire of the runabouts.
“Try again,” Amanda replied.
Another burst of energy jolted from the Wildfire, striking Neosho. “No effect,” Kristl stated.
“All right, let’s throw in the towel. It looks like we’ve got the basis for a new defense.”
Captain’s Log, stardate 52694.3: We’ve finished up final testing on the Breen Weapon. The squadron is currently being outfitted with the new shield systems, leaving me with more time to attend to personal matters.
“Spacedock is fitting the remaining ships with the new shielding as we speak,” Patrick stated.
“That’s great,” Amanda responded. “Do you have any idea when we would be ready to deploy?”
“I don’t know, but the Klingons are having trouble holding the line.”
“Hopefully, we can give them a little help. By the way, thank you for the flowers.”
“No problem,” Patrick said, “Boothby did a very good job on short notice.”
“Bridge to Ingrum, the comm system interrupted Patrick’s breakfast.”
“Go ahead, JP.”
“Admiral Ross is on the line for you.“
“I’ll take it in my ready room. Sorry, Amanda, duty calls. If it’s good news, Ill let you know.”
“All right,” Amanda said as Patrick gave her a hug.
Patrick stepped into his ready room and quickly sat down and tapped his computer panel, “Yes, Admiral, what can I do for you.”
“The Klingons have a hole in their defense perimeter. We’d like for you to patrol the area around the badlands.“
“We’ll be underway as soon as the shields are upgraded on the last ship. It shouldn’t be more than 45 minutes.”
“Let me know as soon as you reach the Badlands.“
“Aye, Sir. I think were ready to test our new shields on the Breen. Ingrum out.” Patrick turned around as the doorbell rang. Come.”
“How did your conversation with Admiral Ross go?” Amanda asked.
“We’ve been declared ready. We’re heading for the Badlands.”
“I’ll get back to my ship, then. So, Are we going to do a performance at D.S. Nine.”
“Dunno. I’m just glad we can get back to the front lines.”
Patrick sat in the center seat on Baldwin‘s bridge, waiting for the go-ahead signal. “Captain,” Laura said, “the Wasp is done with the shield upgrades.”
That’s the signal, Patrick thought. “Attention all ships: follow on course for the Bajor sector, Warp 7. Well be on patrol in the Badlands. Laura, set course.”
“I’m way ahead of you, sir.”
“In that case, lets roll”
“You wanted to see me, Sarah.”
“Yes, Captain,” Sarah replied as she brought up the latest intelligence data on the Warroom screen. “For the past few days, the Dominion has apparently been giving the Badlands a wide berth. However, this morning they’re apparently closing in on us. Sarah pressed a button on the panel, showing a small Dominion fleet routinely patrolling just outside sensor range. The last pass through showed the enemy ships moving closer to the Badlands.”
“Looks like they’re wondering what we’re doing out on the front lines. Ingrum to Bridge: go to Red Alert. I’m on my way back up.”
Moments later, Patrick exited the turbolift onto the bridge. “I assume we’ve got bandits coming our way?” Jaimie asked.
“Affirmative,” Patrick responded. “Donna, prepare to engage.”
“Enemy vessels are within weapons range.”
“Looks like were about to give these new shields the final exam. Ingrum to all ships, fire!”
Phaser fire blared from the fleet ships, striking hard on the enemy vessels. “Two bandits down,” Donna stated. “Looks like they’re powering up the Breen Weapon.”
The Dominion vessels fired the Breen weapon on the fleet. “Direct hit. The new shields are holding, Maria stated as Wildfire‘s shields were struck.”
“Good, otherwise, we would have done all that shield testing for nothing,” Amanda wittingly replied.
“Captain,” Laura stated, “I think the enemy has been surprised. They’re not sure what to do.”
“I know the solution,” Patrick stated. “Continue firing.”
The squadron blazed with phaser fire, striking the enemy ships dead on. “Captain, Donna said, “we’re down to one enemy ship.”
“I think we need to send a little message to the founders. Hold your fire,” Patrick replied. The Dominion ship warped away as predicted. “Ingrum to all ships: consider that the final test of the new shield system. I’d say we passed with flying colors.”
Captain’s Log, Stardate 52716.1: It’s been a little over a week since our first encounter with the enemy ships in the Badlands. Starfleet has refitted the fleet with our new shield systems, including the new Defiant. With the discovery that the Federation has successfully devised a countermeasure, they have withdrawn to Cardassian territory. Admiral Ross and Chancellor Martok have agreed that it would now be the best time to attack. The Romulans have concurred, so our plans are to begin the endgame tomorrow morning. Tonight, R and R prevails.
Patrick began to MC the Dance Performance, “I have it on good authority that the dance troupe has choreographed some new routines to present to you. I also promised Mr. Fontaine across the hall that I would not sing tonight. Well start with a performance from the Baldwin dancers.”
Sarah led the dance team on the floor. As the music started, Admiral Ross approached Patrick. “We’ve got the rest of the fifth fleet as well as the ninth scheduled to arrive by 2300. Well begin the engagement at 0500 tomorrow.”
“Aye, Sir,” Patrick replied as he started taking pictures.
Patrick was sitting in his ready room when the doorbell rang. “Come.”
Stephanie walked in, “You wanted to see me.”
” I thought that you would like to see the new pictures from your performance last night on D.S. Nine.”
“It’s as if you re -“
“Don’t go there,” Patrick interrupted, sliding a PADD her way.
Stephanie looked carefully thorough the photos. “These look pretty good. I can see that we were a little off. Anyway, what’s your thoughts on the upcoming attack on the Dominion.”
“I think that its not going to be a pretty sight. Well see a lot of casualties, but our ships are in good running order, and our wing will probably fare better than most.”
“In that case, it might be a good idea to get some rest before tomorrow morning.”
“I agree. I’ll see you tomorrow at 0500.”
Patrick exited the turbolift onto the bridge. “All right, what say we begin the endgame.” As he expected, Patrick saw the look of concern on everyones face. “This is our time to show the Dominion that we will stand for freedom no matter what. We’ve got a job to do, so lets not waste any time. Laura, set course for Cardassia.”
Patrick sat fidgeting in his chair. Nearly an hour has passed since the fleet left D.S. Nine, and he, like everyone else, was not sure what to expect. His thought was interrupted by a call from the warroom. “Allison to Bridge.“
“Go ahead, Sarah,” Jaimie replied.
“I’m receiving a report that there’s been a communications disruption on Cardassia.“
“Understood, Sarah. I don’t know about you, JP, but I can only explain that in one way: Sabotage.”
“Do you suppose Damar is involved?”
“I would bet on it. What do you think, Laura.”
“I have a feeling that the Dominion is going to cause the fires to stir even more, and that the Dominion may try to wipe them out.”
“JP, do you think we can avoid hitting Cardassian ships without raising any suspicions.”
“We’re approaching the enemy, sir,” Betsy stated.
“Go to red alert,” Katy responded.
“Ticonderoga, Baldwin. Deploy your fighters.”
Several fighters were dispatched from the Ticonderoga. They immediately swarmed around the Jem’Hadar vessels and unloaded a round of phaser fire.
“We’ve lost three fighters. They’ve taken a enemy ship with them,” the Hood‘s tactical officer stated.
“Keep going for the enemy ships,” Captain Traficant noted.
Dominion and Breen ships charged for the Allied fleet. The Federation was getting good shots of the enemy, but not without taking a few of their own. “The Romulans have lost 6 warbirds already, we’ve got a hole in the line,” Kristy noted. “The Defiant is filling in with wings 64 and 65.”
“Have the Wasp and Tecumseh join them.”
The Wasp and Tecumseh swung around to fill the Romulan holes, shooting down any enemy ships. Several enemy ships were destroyed. Several more fired back.
The Ottawa was having problems with one Dominion ship of her own. “If you can’t beat them, surround them,” Jenna commented.
“Aye, sir, Susan replied, understanding what the Captain meant. The Ottawa immediately split, surrounding the enemy and laying down phasers from three angles.
The rest of the fleet wasn’t so lucky. “Our fleet is down one third,” Donna stated to Patrick.
“Whats our squadron’s status.”
“Weve lost 24 fighters out of 73. All of our ships are still intact.”
“Allison to Bridge.“
“Go ahead, Sarah,” Patrick answered this time.
“I thought you might like to know this. Im getting a report from Cardassia that the Dominion has leveled Lakarian City.“
“You got to be kidding,” Jaimie responded.
“Negative,” Sarah said.
“Captain,” Donna interrupted. “The Cardassians are turning on the Dominion and Breen vessels. We’ve got two Galor-class ships escorting us.”
“Thank you, Donna.”
“The Dominion is beginning to retreat to Cardassia.”
“They’re falling back, Patrick commented. “JP, I’ll be in the warroom if you need me.”
Sarah was surprised to see Patrick enter the warroom. “Captain.”
“At ease, Lieutenant. I think the next part of the game will be an intelligence gathering. Anything new.”
“I’m receiving reports that the Dominion has resumed rampaging Cardassia.”
“Sounds like the typical Dominion response to a rebellion: exterminate the rebels.” Patrick noted. “I would suggest you keep monitoring. Put any pertinent traffic on speakers.”
“Bridge to Captain, Admiral Ross has ordered us to proceed to Cardassia.“
“Understood. Set Course and relay the order.”
Kira, Damar, and Garek were sitting outside Dominion headquarters, laughing about the fact that the cargo door was too strong for their explosives. Their laughter turned to seriousness by the time the door opened, revealing two Jem’Hadar escorting the Cardassian puppet leader Broca outside to be executed. The Cardassians immediately open fire on the Jem’Hadar. The Company charged ahead, striking any Jem’Hadar that they came across. The Jem’Hadar returned fire, shooting down Damar in the process. “Remember his orders, we stop for nothing,” Kira commented after Damar was confirmed dead.
“Captain,” Sarah exclaimed, Kira has overtaken their headquarters. She’s hailing the Defiant.”
“Monitor it,” Patrick replied. He quickly added a comment, “You know, this almost feels like a standoff scene.”
“This is interesting, Odo is asking to be beamed down.”
“I’d put down four strips of latinum he’s probably going to try to convince the female shapeshifter to surrender somehow using the Great Link.”
“Do you think it would work.”
“Id say its our best chance to resolve this war.”