Just a warning this does deal with issues concerning the effects of terrorism and oppression of freedom.
Disclaimer:These characters are obviously property of Paramount and such related peoples. I'm just borrowing them briefly to get this ugly troll of a story out of my head.
This tale is rated R for scenes of graphic violence and may not be considered suitable for all readers.
"All these years we've fought to win
And sometimes almost died
I tell you now we won't give in
without a vicious fight
we've been battered and left for dead
we've been beaten and we have bled
versus the world"
Versus the world - Amon Amarth
It has been 48 standard hours since the message was sent and about as long since Kira had rested. After much preparations, tactical planning and training of the new resistance she had hoped for a brief moment to get some peace in sleep. But peace is too much to ask and soon her dreams take her back to a fateful day in her childhood. A nightmare from the past that molded her future.
"It's been activated. We should go."
Turning to her side the Bajoran girl instinctively grabs her friend's hand. Moving through the industrial factory's dark and poorly lit halls they weave swiftly between the drudging workers who move mechanically to their workstations; exhaustion and malnutrition evident in their tired bloodshot eyes.
Paying little attention to the sight before her Kira leads her comrade to the exit mentally calculating the amount of time left, knowing how rapidly its slipping away.
"I can't believe we did it! They were right, the spoonheads don't suspect a thing."
Anja whispers with a smile, only to receive a sharp look from Kira. Understanding the silent expression she promptly goes quiet. Of course they don't suspect anything Nerys thinks to herself wryly. We're just children; innocent and incapable of harm. The thought brings a smile to her features. Never underestimate your enemies she learnt, for this is what happens when you do.
Nearing the gated entrance they both catch sight of a guard standing idle. A look of concern crosses the auburn haired girl's brown eyes briefly as she inwardly wishes they didn't have to travel so light. But it was necessary to keep up this facade as much as they didn't like it.
For Anja's the sight of the man causes a bolt of fear to run down her spine. Did the bribe not go through? Shouldn't he be gone by now? Unable to resist a quick glance to Kira she can't help but feel a little envious. If she was worried it certainly didn't show on her relaxed features.
Standing relaxed obviously bored with his duty; the Cardassian's expression is neutral as he notices the two children approaching. He doesn't like to admit it, even to himself that the sight of such young workers is unsettling. Children in this place aren't uncommon and are considered necessary for the upkeep and calibration of the sensitive machines. Their fingers are far more agile and less shaky then their more mature counterparts. But the chemicals used for this terrible job was violently toxic and very few would survive this place long enough to reach maturity.
Even if they are just Bajorans they are still too young to be spending a lifetime here he thinks darkly before quickly pushing such thoughts out of his mind.
He states to the two girls who stand in front him looking eager to get out. They comply to his request with baited breath as he scans their information. Only mere seconds remains Kira thinks to herself frantically while struggling keeping up her calm facade. Once the bomb went off they would be lucky to have two seconds before the factory's main reactor would explode taking everything with it.
Resisting the urge to run both Kira and Anja watch the Cardassian intently as they wait for their false Indentichips to be processed. As their superiors predicted their identities was carefully masked and passed security with ease.
Just one of many reasons why the factory was chosen for Anja to prove her worth to the Shakaar cell. Not only was the factory located in a fairly remote location, its environment made it hard for the enemy to access quickly. Being located in a valley also made it the perfect wind tunnel. Between that and its severe winters made even the hardiest of Cardassians avoid this place at this time of year. Leaving security in a constant state of a skeleton crew.
The guard gives them a slight nod as their permits are accepted before motioning them onward. Moving as casually yet as quickly as they can the two girls leave the plant. Once out of the guard's sight they run at top speed hoping to put as much space between them and the factory.
Suddenly an incredible force of heat lifts them both off their feet sending them soaring as if they are weightless. The deafening roar of the explosion reaches their ears just as they are pitched unceremoniously into the hardened snow.
Winded and gasping for air Nerys struggles to stand ignoring her aching body as she calls out in a sharp whisper.
As soon as she says her name she gives up. After the deafening roar of the explosion they were both good as deaf. Before she has a chance to do anything further her eyes catch sight of a shadowy figure moving weakly in the snow. Remaining frozen for a moment watches the form before sighing in relief as she realizes that the object of her search is the figure in question.
Moving as fast as they can they soon find a hiding place in the craggy rocks nearby. Knowing it's safer to lay low for a while, they remain hidden as they watch the carnage unfold before them.
The flames erupt from its "prison" its tendrils reaching to the sky, as Anja watches mystified. The metal walls unable to withstand the heat finally succumb to the fire as it too "bows" to its powerful form.
The faint sounds of screams can be heard in Kira's deafened ears as she too watches in horror as survivors run frantically towards the melting snow as the flames feed off their flesh. But most do not make it as their charred forms fall dead into the rapidly evaporating puddles of water.
The once bright sky is now black as smoke fills the air adding to the surrealness. Lost in the moment Kira finds herself unable to stop watching as the images are forever etched in her mind. Barely maintaining control of herself she desperately tries to tell herself believe that the victims of this genocide are Cardassian; deserving of this macabre fate. But she knows better and this moment of victory gives her no comfort.
A soft whimper causes her to look over her shoulder as she catches sight of Anja staring back at her with wide and wavering eyes. Sensing the young recruit's brave resolve fading into panic, she gently places a hand on her shoulder.
"We should go." Kira states softly.
"But there are survivors. We can't leave them like that."
Anja remarks loudly but to her deafened ears it sounds like a hoarse whisper. Without waiting for her to respond she turns and runs back towards the inferno. Cursing under her breath Kira soon takes off after her hoping desperately that she won't do anything foolish.
The stench of death is overwhelming as they near the smoldering remnants of the Ore plant. The less charred bodies of workers stare up at them with expressions of unspeakable horror. But some are so badly burnt that neither girl can even make out what race or sex they once were.
Between the crackling of the still burning fire and the occasional explosion of back draft the young black haired Bajoran girl makes out the sound of soft whimpering. Pausing she is unsure if this is just a trick of her mind but noting some movement ahead she quickly rushes forward.
"Nerys, I found someone!"
Crawling slowly towards the puddles of now warm water the Cardassian guard struggles to maintain consciousness. Deafened by the blast he can barely hear the sounds of footsteps nearing him but not taking a chance he tries to call for help but only a soft moan escapes his cracked and bleeding lips.
Still to his elation the footsteps come closer to him until it finally it stops in front of him. Straining his hears he makes out the sound of a young female voice speaking in the eastern dialect of Bajoran. At the sound he inwardly cringes, if even half the rumors are true about the Bajoran resistance he would have been better off becoming one of the charred remains. But too desperate to ponder the thought any further he makes another attempt to speak but instead erupts into a fit of coughing.
Towering over the Cardassian Anja watches the barely breathing man in silence waiting for her friend to join her. Upon arrival Kira takes one look at the coughing form and curses softly.
"If only we had a phaser."
She mutters softly realizing that they now had a witness that would alert his superiors should they not take care of him promptly. Thinking fast she knows that only one option now remains.
"We'll have to take him with us."
The man attempts to look at his rescuers as they slowly lift him up from the ground, but is unable to, as his burning eyes seem too heavy to remain open. Shortly after he loses consciousness finally succumbing to the pain of his wounds.
Slowly making their way back to the place of their contact Nerys glances over her prisoners now limp shoulders catching Anja's somber expression though no words are exchanged it is evident they are sharing similar thoughts.
Can there be a price too high to pay for freedom?
Staring ahead Kira finds herself thinking of her family of her mother who "died" in the mining camps. How Anja's own mother became a collaborator, taking a Cardassian as her lover; how the young girl came home to find her own father hanging from the supports of their shanty. Whether he died from grief or other reasons she'll never know. Not that it matter for the answer is only too clear. Any victory, no matter how small or how great the sacrifice is worth the price if it meant freedom.
Awakened from her fitful sleep to the sound of the communicator bleeping Kira sits up with a start. Looking frantically around, for a moment she forgets where she is her mind still believing she is back in the past. But it takes little time before she soon realizes this isn't a Shakaar cell headquarters, there is no Cardassian prisoner and the Ore factory was destroyed years ago. It is then that she notices the incoming message from the communicator. Stumbling out of bed she ignores the cold sweat that now covers her skin, despite the fact the room chiller Damar gave her kept the temperature decent.
She already knows who the message is coming from and swiftly activates it hoping that the bait offered was taken. As suspect the response is text only and the sight of it causes her to smile slightly but that soon fades as a chill runs down her spine. It simply reads:
Have agreed to assist. When time comes you'll know where to find me.
Relief and elation is brief as she learns that the bait is taken. But it's short lived as Kira finds herself concerned about what would happened if she learn the truth to the lies. The answer is chilling but simple, she would not return alive. Staring as though in a trance to the message glaring back at her another question echo in her thoughts.
Is the freedom of your enemies really worth dying for?