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Star Trek/Star Wars – Galaxy at War: Part Twenty-Six The Drumbeat of Doom Part I
Star Trek Dimension - July 2375 C.E.
A Sith Imperium Science Station orbiting a Ringed Gas Giant somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant
An elderly male Vorta named Hoyaat oversaw operations on Medical Research Station KL-9724 the largest and most advanced in the region. Today he was personally monitoring the condition of his most important and problematic patient. In a large transparent tube that stretched from floor to ceiling around which Vorta Technicians and Medical Droids constantly moved floated the unconscious form of a species previously unknown to the galaxy. More than anything else the semi-bipedal being resembled an overgrown Earth arachnid of the tarantula subgenus. The right side of its body including much of the head had been replaced by extensive cybernetic implants due to unrepairable damage. Not an ideal solution Hoyaat knew, however, it was the only viable option if he wished to preserve the being's life. Normally in such causes of excessive trauma an important solid would be cloned and their memories implanted, by a process now only to a select few such as the Vorta, into a pristine body. In this case, such action was not an option because Harch DNA had yet to be successfully cataloged by Imperium Scientists. In their defense, there had been never been a need to do so until now.
Hoyaat turned his head when he heard the whisk of an automatic door opening behind him. Into the chamber stepped a rather surly even by the standard of his people Jem'Hadar First. Arata'kem was the highest ranking Jem'Hadar in the sector and also in several surrounding sectors. Other than the incapacitated being in the tank, he was also the highest-ranked military officer in the region. By the absence of a feeder tube, one could easily identify Arata'kem as one of the new breed of Gamma Quadrant Jem'Hadar who were not dependent on Ketracel-White for nourishment. Disdainful of the old ways of the vanished Founders these "New Jem'Hadar", as they were colloquially known throughout the former Dominion territories, were loathed by their predecessors Jem'Hadar and Vorta alike who remained steeped in tradition which naturally led to tension between the two factions. These New Jem'Hadar were fanatical admirers of the warrior ethos espoused by their Sith Overlords. Although no Jem'Hadar old or new had yet been found to be Force Sensitive, nor had any Vorta for that matter, the New Jem'Hadar emulated the traditions of Sith Acolytes as closely as they could. Many went so far as to adopt lightsaber pikes as their melee weapon of choice. Arata'kem was one of these. The young Jem'Hadar's skill with his crimson bladed lightsaber pike, which he kept slung on his back at all times, was second only to Force Users or the legendary General Grievous, or so rumors claimed.
"Has there been any change in the Admiral's condition?" Arata'kem asked the silver-haired Vorta in the typical brash manner of a lifelong soldier who was use to getting what he asked for.
"None I'm afraid." Hoyaat diligently reported adjusting his holographically enhanced spectacles. The glasses had an annoying habit of slipping of his noise. While he was overdue to trade in his current all but physically worn out a body for a fresh new cloned one Hoyaat resisted the call. He enjoyed being old for all its nagging problems. "Admiral Trench remains in a nonresponsive coma."
"The Admiral has been in a nonresponsive coma for nearly two months now," Arata'kem growled. "We require his strategic guidance if we are to successfully crush the insurgency. These disgraceful traitors must be brought to heel for the greater glory of the Sith Imperium."
"I'm sorry but I've done all I can. I don't know enough about the Admiral's physiology even with input from the medical droids of his home galaxy to try anything else. You must understand his injuries are very severe. Honestly, I am unsure how he is still alive. I-," Hoyaat said. He soon felt the vice-like grip of the Jem'Hadar's hand around his neck.
"No excuses Vorta. Do more, quickly," Arata'kem said before he released the Vorta. "I will not fail in my defense of this region. If I should fail through now fault of my own, I promise you'll regret my disgrace more than I. Do you hear understand Vorta?" He leaned in close.
"Yes," Hoyaat croaked.
"Good," Arata'kem said he then hastily departed
Hoyaat rubbed his tender throat. He coughed a few times. Damn the Jem'Hadar and their unreasonable demands he thought. Still, they all served the Sith Order. Without further thought or comment he returned to his current medical conundrum.
Deep Space Nine Alpha Quadrant, afternoon
Barriss Offee's hand flew to her stinging cheek. Her eyes widened in disbelief. She could not believe what had just occurred. In front of everyone on the promenade her master Luminara Unduli slapped her following a heated argument precipitated by the fact Barriss was not clad in traditional Mirialan dress when they two again met. Barriss wore a simple formfitting dark grey tunic without a cape or headdress and black boots. Her lightsaber hilt clipped to her belt. When Barriss told Unduli that what she wore had been the last thing on her mind after recent events of Risa all hell broke loose. The elder Mirialan struck her charge an event that shocked everyone present. Geordi La Forge then stepped in by saying Unduli had gone too far. When Unduli told Geordi that what went on between her and her student was none of his business. Geordi countered by saying that as Barriss' fiancee he would not allow such abuse of her by anyone. Unduli then accused Geordi of "morally corrupting her student". A shouting match between the pair lasted until station security broke it up. Unduli's parting words were that she would be reporting Barriss to the Jedi Council for immediate disciplinary action. Barriss told her to go ahead. Barriss felt deeply embarrassed by the whole affair. She had planned to tell Ahsoka before they made a public announcement of their engagement which occurred not long after the Invasion of Risa. Geordi had planned to ask Barriss to be his wife at the end of their trip but the attack had ruined those plans.
"She was scary." Jarandi the Risan girl who Barriss and Geordi had rescued from the doomed resort said tugging on Barriss' sleeve.
"She sure was, but she's gone now," Geordi said scooping the girl up into his arms which was met with a giggle. "Let's get settled shall we?"
"I think that would be lovely." Barriss said.
Barriss smiled at Geordi and Jarandi. They were her world. She would do anything to protect them. Barriss and Geordi had already started the process to adopt the Risan orphan. Barriss paused for a moment taking everything in. Sometimes she could not believe the Invasion of Risa had been only a week ago. So much had happened since then. Her life had changed so much in such a short length of time.
Geordi placed Jarandi down between Barriss and himself. Each of her future parents took one of the child's tiny hands in his or her own. The small proto-family walked away from the docking ring together.
Kira Nerys was disheartened by what she saw. In the months since the terrorist attack on the Station by the The New Path a splinter sect called the "Disciples of Winn" had formed. They contended Kai Winn was more than a mere Winn she was, in fact, the "Celestial Guide" promised by a group of obscure Bajoran monks whose prophesies had been written during the darkest days of the Occupation. The "Celestial Guide these writings claimed would usher in a new era of enlightenment, religious renewal, and prosperity for Bajor. The movement rapidly gained adherents throughout every level of Bajoran Society until now fully one-third of all adults were either members or else sympathetic to their doctrine. As proof of Winn's divinity, the Disciples offered up a series of rumored "miracles" Winn had supposedly performed in recent months. Winn remained quiet regarding the matter until last week when she had unilaterally approved a petition by a group of Vedics who wished to form an Order around the movement. Her action prompted a crisis within the Vedic Council that many assumed would end with Winn's dismissal form the post of Kai, however, that was not the case. Before a vote by the leadership could be held Winn's most bitter detractor mysteriously died in a grisly boating accident along with half of his entire order. After that opposition not surprisingly melted away until few dared openly oppose Winn's wishes.
Now Kira stood watching one of these Vedics a young woman outfitted in white robes trimmed in gold, created in inverse imitation of those wore by their hero the present Kai, protected by a group of Winn's personal bodyguards with their latinum-plated electro staffs gleaming in the dime light, give a speech before a large crowd of eager followers. In truth, the speech was little more than a proclamation of undying adoration for Winn and a denouncement of the old ways along with the "ineffective", "alien" Emissary who "could not even protect his own son" from hostile forces. Whenever Sisko's name was mentioned the crowd booed in contrast to their cheers which accompanied the mention of Winn.
Thoroughly disappointed in her fellow Bajorans, Kira slipped away unnoticed. She just knew Winn had engineered this mess, but how? More importantly, what could she do about it? If only she dared break her vow to the Prophets then she would tell somebody, likely Captain Sisko, about Winn's confession. If she did so surely corroborating evidence of those heinous acts must still exist, somewhere. With that evidence they could put an end to Winn's schemes once and for all. Who was she fooling. She could never violate her promise. Her faith in the Prophets was to strong. The thought of betraying their trust sickened her. She found herself in a no win situation. There was nothing she could do. Her hands were tied in spite of how much this gnawed at her soul.
Monac Shipyards and Battle Droid Foundry
"We're venting plasma!" Nog advised from his station. Sparks showered down onto the bridge which rocked violently.
"We've lost fifty percent of our Ventral platting," Worf advised from his station.
"Oh, great a swarm of Buzz Droids has landed on our dorsal section," Iollan said from his station gripping it tightly with his hands so he did not tumble over.
"We must retreat," Pel said from the command chair. "Get us out of here Nog!"
"No," Kor bellowed from his position beside Pel his eyes blazed with madness. "Stay in the system! Our target is nearly within range! Prepare to deploy the bomb!"
"You old fool we've lost." Gaila scowled. "They were ready for us. There is no other explanation."
"What do you mean?" Quark who was seated next to Pel asked.
"Why else would the entire Magenta Order be laying in wait for use when we came out of cloak in the sensor shadow of the Monac parent star?" Gaila reasoned.
"But how," Leck wondered aloud. "Only those of us onboard knew the mission details."
"Shields have failed," Iollan announced.
Suddenly the bombardment of the stricken Equal Opportunity ceased. Everything became eerily quiet. The bridge crew exchanged worried glances. Iollan's artificial right hand drifted to the hilt of his lightsaber. The hands of the Ferengi and Worf likewise drifted to their sidearms. No one dared move. You could have cut the tension with a knife.
The ominous sound of multiple transporter beams was heard. Soon dozens of Jem'Hadar, Cardassians, Bx Commando Droids, and a cadre of IG MagnaGuards materialized. The MagnaGuards parted to reveal the smiling figure of none other than Darth Tyranus.
"Hello, Skywalker," Tyranus said to the young Jedi Knight who had already activated his purple energy blade with a snap-hiss.
"Dooku," Iollan said his expression dark.
"Fiend, my path to Sto'Vo'Kor shall be assured by your demise!" Kor cried.
Kor pulled a D'k tahg dagger from a sheath on his right knee. He got up from his seat and lunged at Tyranus who appeared amused by the whole situation. Before the old warrior could reach Tyranus, however, Iollan stepped between them burying his lightsaber in Kor's torso. With a fiendish grin, Iollan bisected Kor with a flick of his wrist the sizzling halves of the slain Dahar Master landed at Iollan's feet.
"RRRRRRRAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWRRRRRRR," Worf roared in anger. He charged at Iollan who effortless repulsed Worf with a Force push by extending his organic left hand. The MagnaGuards used their electro staffs to shock the prone Worf into submission who howled in agony all the while until he passed out from the pain.
With minimal thought, Iollan used his lightsaber to then decapitate the nearest Ferengi who just happened to be Gaila. " I hate negative people," Iollan said his grin remained in place. The remaining Ferengi were taken prisoner by the Jem'Hadar, Cardassians and Commando Droids which soon surrounded them weapons drawn.
"You traitor," Pel said tears in her eyes. "I thought you believed in our cause, in justice. Why have you done this? Tell us why?"
"I received a better offer. I'm tired of being a slave who never gets what he wants. I am stronger in the Force than any other than perhaps my so called 'brother'. Why should I eat scraps when I can have a feast? From now on I bow to no one save my new master." Iollan said glancing at Tyranus though in truth he meant not the old man who he started secretly corresponding with weeks ago but the Dark Side itself. Him reaching out to Tyranus had been prompted by an old Sith legend he accidentally stumbled upon while doing research on the Force, that of the Sith'ari. He deactivated his lightsaber then clipped the hilt on his belt. He fell to one knee his head bowed. "I pledge myself to the way of the Sith and the Dark Side of the Force my master." He said solemnly.
"This is an historic day. You should all consider yourself honored to bear witness. The Chosen One of the Sith the Sith'ari has come." Tyranus said. "The Force is strong with you a powerful Sith you will become. Henceforth you shall be known as Darth," Tyranus hesitated for a moment as the Force spoke its intentions to him, "Vader." He activated his blood red blade and gingerly placed it above each shoulder of Iollan. "Arise, Lord Vader, my new apprentice."
All across the galaxy and beyond those attuned to the Force felt a disturbing ripple of darkness passed through them which was gone as soon as it came. Only a few such as Jedi Grandmaster Yoda, however, were more than passingly troubled by the event. These select could not shake off the feeling of impending doom for hours or even, as in the case of Yoda, days to come.
"Thank you, master." The freshly minted Darth Vader said after getting to his feet.
"What should be done with these prisoners Lord Vader?" Tyranus asked the younger Sith Lord.
"Take these ones away. Put them to work for the enrichment of our Imperium. Place them were their hope will be extinguished and their spirits broken. Let their fate stand as an example of what becomes of those who dare oppose the Sith. But first have them interrogated for any useful information." Vader ordered the soldiers as his grin grew wider than ever.
"You'll pay for this Vader." Quark said before he was beamed away along with the others.
"Unlikely," Vader said.
In time Vader knew he would rule this galaxy perhaps the universe his "master" that pompous ass Tyranus could not live forever, or even much longer should he have his way. On that day all would bow before him. In the meantime he would make those who betrayed him pay such as his double, his wjore of a "wife" and his former friends in the Alliance. First, however, he would deal with his hated oppressors, the Jedi Order. Overseeing their ruination would bring him immense satisfaction.
"Where is Sela?" Vader asked Tyranus. "Remember she is part of our bargain. I want her as my partner for any future mission you may ask of me."
Vader had felt a nearly irresistible connection to the lovely Romulan-Human hybrid since their first meeting months ago. His recent dreams only served to confirm her importance to his future. He must have her by his side.
"My apprentices do not ask of me they obey my commands! I am the current ruling Dark Lord of the Sith! You had best remember that Vader!" Tyranus said. Without warning, Tyranus unleashed intense torrents of force lighting from his fingertips that engulfed Vader bringing the much younger Sith Lord to his knees.
Let the old fool have his way Vader thought enduring the pain without complaint or any attempt at a countermeasure. Someday soon I'll liberate his spirit from his body then I'll be the one inflicting pain on my subordinates. Vader gritted his teeth until the assault ended.
"I am sorry, my master. In my enthusiasm, I forget my place." Vader said rising again to his feet with some effort.
"I advise for the shake of for your health to never again make such an error in my presence Vader," Tyranus said.
"Yes my master," Vader said.
"Sela shall return soon enough, assuming she survives her latest mission," Tyranus said. "Come, Lord Vader, we have much work to do. Your first mission will be to spearhead our invasion of the Ficus Sector beginning with our planed occupation of Betazed. We must destroy the clone production facilities in the Mariposa System before the first batch of clone troopers is ready to be deployed for combat, which our sources indicate will be any day now, if we wish to swiftly end this conflict in our favor. They will not suspect your shift in allegiance. We can use this fact to our advantage."
"I understand master." Vader said. Vader, Tyranus, and the remaining soldiers vanished via transporter beams.
To Be Continued