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Benjamin Sisko was calm.

As he stood at his station behind and to Captain Janeway’s right, he allowed himself to savour the quiet of the bridge. In the few days since he had joined Saratoga’s crew, he had come to respect their dedication and work ethic. He knew that Kathryn Janeway had only been in command for a few months, but in that time she had managed to mould these officers into a well oiled machine.

The turbolift behind him slid open and Sisko turned his head enough to see Admiral Spock step out.

“Admiral on the bridge,” he barked, standing straight to attention.

“At ease everyone,” Spock said, his lips quirking slightly.

Captain Janeway stood and walked over to greet the Admiral. A palpable tension filled the bridge officers – it was not every day that they found themselves in the presence of a legend.

“Captain, we will be arriving at the coordinates in twenty seconds,” the young helmsman, an Ensign Hawk, announced.

“Bring us out of warp, Ensign,” Janeway ordered. “Admiral, if you would like to take your position,” she continued, motioning to the temporary seat that had been installed next to her own.

Sisko watched Spock follow Janeway, feeling a familiar tension growing in his gut. In moments they would be arriving at their destination within the Badlands and their fate would be sealed. He knew that Commander Worf and his ship would be waiting for them and in all probability, Saratoga would be destroyed. Along with all of these men and women. Along with Spock.

Jake, though, he reminded himself, would be set free. He trusted to Klingon honour enough to believe that.

He had to believe that.

Sisko felt a slight tremor as Saratoga’s warp bubble collapsed and they dropped back into normal space. The viewscreen filled with an eerie orange light, the plasma clouds of the Badlands swirling in a tumultuous dance around them. Sisko picked out the elongated shadow of a Cardassian Galor-class warship off to starboard.

But no sign of the Klingons. Yet.

“Captain, we are being hailed by the Trager. An Enabran Tain for the Admiral.”

“On screen, Lieutenant.“ She glanced at Spock, a smile playing briefly over her features. “You’re up, Admiral.”

“Indeed.”

Spock stood, pulling down on his uniform briefly. The viewscreen flickered to life. Unlike most Federation ships, the Cardassians preferred to focus their outgoing video feeds on a single person, hiding the rest of the bridge behind. Sisko found himself looking at the heavily lined faced of a middle-aged Cardassian.

“Admiral Spock. It is good to finally see you in person.”

“Likewise, Mister Tain. I hope our talks will prove to be-“

“Captain! I’m picking up a distortion in the plasma fields.” Sisko swung his head round to look at Lieutenant Idaris, the young Trill officer at tactical. He saw her eyes widen as she studied her controls. “It’s a Klingon Bird-of-Prey, decloaking off the port bow.”

They had arrived.


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