Prelude to the upcoming Foundry mission "The Hydra's Head", which I am very lucky to have been a consultant on. "The Hydra's Head" is written, produced, and created by starswordc.
Lieutenant Commander Rachel Connor, UFP MACO Corps: Demi Moore, from "GI Jane".
Gul Kerani Ocett, CO, CDS Vetar: Gina Torres.
Jagul Hogue Marritza, fleet commander, Cardassian Fourth Order: Eric Etebari.
Gil Lekor Tarak, Cardassia City Public Safety Department: Sean Maher.
Dalin Sorin Figler, Cardassia City Public Safety Department: Alan Tudyk.
Druk, Ferengi moron: Dylan Posti. That guy annoys me beyond reason.
Captain Trenek, CO, USS Patagonia: Stephen Lang.
Cardassia City. Cardassia Prime.
"Oh, Cardassia, this is not going to go well," said Gil Tarak, watching the scraggly crowd of True Way supporters crawl up towards the Great Hall of the People.
"Just stick close to me, I'll keep you safe," said the MACO on his right, strapping on her helmet. "Besides, Gul Ocett's a good woman. She'll keep it under control."
"Yeah, her family's pretty well-known. Her aunt helped discover the first Preserver archive, before the Dominion War."
"I know. Here comes the Rupert."
"Dalin Figler," said Tarak with a salute.
"At ease, Gil. Lieutenant Commander, thanks for the help."
"No problem. Starfleet's always happy to help."
"Thanks. Just dropping by to say that Jagul Marritza's sending the Fourth Order, Second Ground Battalion over here to help, they'll be here in fifteen minutes in case this gets violent."
"Roger that, sir."
"Good. Stay strong for Cardassia out there."
He moved on. Tarak checked his phaser's power cells again and made sure it was set to stun.
"Damn shame we don't have more backup," grumbled Rachel. "Then again, what with half the First Order turning traitor and the Second and Third getting their rears kicked..."
"We're the Fourth Order, though," said Tarak. "Defending the motherland is what we do."
"And you do a damn good job. But the Fourth Order's outnumbered, and you and I both know it."
"True," said Tarak with a sigh.
"Hey, it could be worse. Trenek called up Command, they promised to send help. So we will get assistance sometime."
"It'll take about three days for the message to get to the Klingons and the Romulans, four days for the Romulans to decide to do something, and a week to move a good-sized fleet out here. If we're lucky we'll get t'Thavrau or D'trel."
"What about Starfleet?"
"A week for one ship as humanitarian aid, a week after they get slaughtered for Sugihara to remove his head from his sphincter, two weeks for Janeway to remove her head from HER sphincter, and four days to get a few dozen battleships and support craft out here to bash Morag's TRIBBLE into the dirt. SFC's a bureaucratic morass these days, we're damn lucky we survived the Ha'ni invasion."
"Wow. Riot shield ready, sir?"
"Good. Here they come."
The protesters approached. Tarak licked his lips, nervous.
"Remember, kid, don't fire unless they attack us, and nonlethals only."
"Got it, sir."
"Victory to the Third Empire!" shouted a protester over the roar of the crowd.
"Down with the treaty!"
"Cardassia for Cardassians!"
"Death to the Bajorans! Down with the Federation!"
"Dukat was right! Peace is the path of weakness!"
"Down with the Council! The Third Empire will rise!"
Tarak tensed. Rachel nudged him.
"Stay calm, kid."
"Friends! Friends!" shouted a short, screechy-voiced Ferengi carrying a large sign marked with "Praise Dukat!" written on it. "Why do we fight?"
"For the Third Empire!" shouted a number of Cardassians in the crowd.
"Yes! The Federation weaklings have made Cardassia weak! They have denigrated the virtues of heroes like Gul Darhe'el! Remember the ingratitude of the Bajorans at the Gallitep re-education camp! Remember the hatred the Federation scum leveled on the sacred hero Darhe'el!"
"Yeah!" roared the crowd. "For Gallitep! For the Third Empire!"
"Death to the police!" screamed a man near the front, throwing a stone. Rachel pulled up her shield, and it bounced off.
"Death to the police! They collaborate with the Federation!" screeched the Ferengi. The Cardassians roared in agreement, and more stones began to fly.
"**** that *******," snarled Rachel, blinking her helmet communicator on. "Dalin, permission to engage?"
"Nonlethal force only. Permission granted."
"Yes, sir," said Rachel, and pulled up her phaser.
"Kill the Bajoran-lovers!" exhorted the Ferengi. "For the hero Dukat! For the hero Dar--"
A dozen phasers set to stun hit him at once.
"Man, what a sh*thole," chuckled Rachel, rapidly stunning the True Way supporters. "Right flank, be careful, they're getting close!"
"Left flank in melee!" barked Figler over Rachel's helmet com.
"Dalin, I can assist."
"Negative, Lieutenant, hold your--"
A rioter got close. Rachel hit him judiciously with her shield, sending him flying backwards into six others and knocking them all to the ground.
"...on second thought, go to assist."
"Yessir," confirmed the augment, dropping her shield and leaping over the crowd and straight into the disorganized rabble who were engaging the left flankers.
Somebody hit her over the head with a heavy piece of wood, which would have temporarily stunned Rachel out of armor, but she was wearing fifty pounds of MACO-issue heavy infantry gear. The board snapped like a twig, and Rachel grabbed the person who had hit her with one hand, flinging him back into the crowd and causing more general disarray.
"They're wearing down!" shouted Figler over coms. "Vetar is in orbit!"
A hundred Cardassian soldiers in shining black armor beamed down, weapons readied. A warning volley sizzled over the crowd.
There was silence in seconds.
"This is Gul Ocett of the Fourth Order of Cardassia," snarled one of the soldiers, a woman with a set of ornate gold tracery around her armor's collar. "Stand down now and nobody has to get hurt."
"Now that's a woman I wouldn't mind getting to know better," muttered Rachel. "They sure don't make enough of 'em like that back home."
Conference room, CDS Vetar. In orbit of Cardassia Prime.
"Damn, that's almost funny," chuckled Jagul Hogue Marritza, watching the Ferengi get shot on the security feed. "Cardassia-cursed moron."
"Calling the Traitor Dukat a hero in front of a bunch of Cardassians?" said Gul Ocett in something near disbelieving awe. "Hogue, what do you think the old Gul would've said?"
"He wouldn't have said anything, just shot that moron in the face and dealt with the rest," Marritza replied.
"True. He was old-school, in a good way."
"Yeah, he was a good CO. Old-school and new-school both. Anyway. Trenek. We need backup, obviously."
"I have put through a request to Starfleet Command," said the Vulcan. "They are already sending a battleship, but Admiral al-Omari has assured me that Starfleet is 'making plans'."
"Who are they sending?" asked Ocett.
"Kanril Eleya," said Trenek.
Trenek nodded. "She is...a maverick. But an effective one."
Ocett looked to Marritza with a ghost of a smile. "They called the Gul a maverick after he took down those Jem'Hadar when Legate Damar ordered the liberation of Cardassia."
Marritza responded with a toothy grin. "I remember. They said the same thing when he hired Daran straight off of his little smuggling ship."
"Which reminds me that I need to pay him a visit sometime soon. Where is he?"
"With the Gul on Goralis. If the letter the Gul sent me is legit, they joined Bak'rikan last week."
"Ah, damn, I still owe him a house call."
"Bak'rikan?" asked Trenek.
"Old Hebitian for 'no surrender'," Marritza replied. "They're a militia, fighting the traitors. We don't know much about them, since they popped up on the far side of the Union during this last big advance by Morag's forces, but they seen to make up for their lack of numbers and firepower with Bajoran-style guerrilla tactics."
"I see," said Trenek, inscrutable as always. "I applaud their courage."
"Well, they aren't toothless. They have Aman Evek, the former Jagul--he sent me a message saying he joined last week. He's about the most rock-stubborn Cardassian patriot there is; him versus the filth Morag, I'd bet on Evek. Even so...according to our best estimates, the traitors outnumber the Bak'rikan and what forces we can muster by two to one, and although most of the cloning facilities have been destroyed and the New Link is on our side, the traitors still have a significant number of Lamat'Ukan's Alpha Jem'Hadar on their side."
"I know a man in the Klingon Empire who can get a Romulan Admiral out here with a fleet in two weeks. Would that be acceptable?"
"Whatever you can get," Marritza replied, scratching his chin. "We're outnumbered, outgunned--we really need at least a few good Captains to make the difference for our people, and for Cardassia."
"I agree," said Trenek. "I will make some arrangements with Admiral al-Omari."
Trenek took his leave.
If you're a Cardassian fan, play "The Hydra's Head" in-game when it releases later this spring. I've been very privileged to help consult on it, it's awesome.
Gul Darhe'el is a minor character featured in DS9: "Duet", a war criminal who oversaw a TRIBBLE- or North Korea-style concentration camp. Gul Dukat is of course the legendary traitor who sold the Cardassian Union out to the Dominion and violated sentient rights on a daily basis.
Hogue Marritza and Kerani Ocett also appear in the ongoing story The Mysterious Case of Neelix's Lungs, on fanfiction.net. Read it if you liked Voyager's ideas but hated its execution.
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