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ACT THREE

 

FADE IN:

 

27 EXT. SPACE - ARGAYA ORBIT

 

The Cardassian ships, the Defiant, and the convoy...

 

28 INT. ARGAYA BASE - PUBLIC AREA

 

A general reception area. A XEPOLITE female, UWO, stomps unhappily into the room. EVIK turns at her arrival...

 

UWO
What the hell is Starfleet doing?

EVIK
Miss Uwo, I assure you that I am
just as frustrated as you.

UWO
I doubt that, Mister Evik. I have
been separated from my cousins on
Bajor for months. I came here with
you expecting to find them waiting
with open arms. But now I hear
they are forbidden to beam down?

EVIK
Not forbidden, just delayed. I’m
working closely with Legate Macet,
and I know that Commander Ro is
in contact with Starfleet Command.

UWO
(sarcastic)
Oh well, I’m sure everything will
be fine, then. Because Starfleet
never fails.

 

Evik does not appreciate that tone, but keeps his temper...

 

EVIK
Starfleet may fail, Miss Uwo, but it
always tries its best.

UWO
The obliterated Xepolite homeworld
begs to differ.

EVIK
You’re being unfair.

UWO
Very possibly. But there are a lot
of people in this galaxy who are
tired of being at Starfleet and the
Federation’s mercy. You should
keep that in mind, Mister Evik.

 

Uwo turns and stomps back out of the room again, leaving Evik worried about yet more unhappy people...

 

29 INT. DEFIANT - READY ROOM

 

Ro alone behind the desk, Admiral AKAAR on the screen...

 

RO
What is taking so long, Admiral?

AKAAR (screen)
The president is currently using
all the diplomatic pressure at her
disposal to resolve the situation.

RO
(roll eyes)
“Diplomatic pressure” - great. I
remember Starfleet’s “diplomatic
pressure” over the Cardassians’
invasion of my homeworld. How
about you get off your thrones
and do something, instead?

AKAAR (screen)
(blank, even)
I might remind you, Commander,
that the freedom afforded to you
by our personal relationship is
not infinite. Please take care
with your tone.

 

Ro bites her tongue, closes her eyes, takes a deep breath.

 

RO
I’m sorry, Admiral. You’re right.
But there are people, real actual
people sealed up in tin cans here
while Cardassia and the Federation
play their diplomatic games.
They just want to go home.

AKAAR (screen)
The president is keenly aware of
that, Ro.
(tiny smile)
Neither she nor I require a mere
commander skipping over multiple
links in the chain of command to
tell us what we already know.

 

Ro knows enough to recognise when Akaar is actually making a joke, not dressing her down for once. She shrugs...

 

RO
As Quark would say, what’s the
point of having contacts if you
don’t use them?

 

Off Akaar’s distinctly subtle amusement...

 

30 INT. DS9 - QUARK’S BAR

 

QUARK on the rampage, thundering towards the bar...

 

QUARK
Where have you been? You’re late!

 

HETIK steps behind the bar, checks a padd for any updates. For once, he will not submit - he gives it back full force.

 

HETIK
Don’t start with me today, Quark.
I am not in the mood.

 

Before Quark can launch into a top-level tirade in front of the lunch crowd, TREIR is there, pushing them apart.

 

TREIR
Hey hey hey - opposite corners.
Remember you’re in public.
(shoos Quark 
away)
Go.

 

Quark actually does as Treir tells him, reluctantly. Treir takes an equally reluctant Hetik by the arm and drags him to the quiet corner behind the bar, by the storeroom.

 

TREIR
What the hell was that?

HETIK
Nothing. I just don’t need Quark’s
usual crap right now.

TREIR
And I’m not buying it. Try again.

 

Hetik relents - he may as well confide in someone.

 

HETIK
John’s not coming back, not yet.
The Defiant’s having trouble with
the Cardassians. And... we had
another stupid fight.

TREIR
I’m sorry. But you’ve had fights
before, you always get through
it okay in the end.

HETIK
I know... but I keep thinking
about it, making myself angrier.
Why can’t he see what a bad idea
this whole Cardassian thing is?

QUARK (o.s.)
Maybe you just miss him.

 

They turn, caught out - Quark is stood at the break in the bar, listening in. But he is not mad - he sympathises.

 

HETIK
Of course I do, but -

QUARK
Then maybe that’s why you’re angry
at him, so you don’t have to think
about how much danger he’s in.

 

Treir looks to Hetik - maybe he’s right.

 

QUARK
When I’m worried about Laren... or
Nog... it helps to pretend I’m mad
at them. But deep down I know
it’s fear talking. Laren’s out there
facing off with Cardassians, Nath
went and threw himself into a
pile of traumatised refugees with
nothing but his damn principles to
protect him... and Gint only knows
where my nephew is right now.

 

Turns out, the three bar employees are all as worried and miserable as each other...

 

31 EXT. ANDOR - ATMOSPHERE PROCESSING PLANT

 

A large industrial COMPLEX built into the ground, near to an area of devastation caused by the Borg. Multiple PIPES extrude from the round, flat base and into the land around it, although not into the dead area - there is no point.

In the centre of the base stands a TOWER reaching up into the grimy sky, and at the top of this tower are several MOUTHS to suck in dirty air and blow out clean air.

 

32 INT. ATMOSPHERE PROCESSING PLANT - CONTROL ROOM

 

Like a starship’s main engineering - a dizzying array of control consoles, and the sense of machinery rising up into the tower far above them, and sinking down deep into the earth below. This is local Andorian tech, not Starfleet.

Nog is proudly showing Tenmei around, with the help of the local Andorian project supervisor, CH’PERINE. We can see a dozen other Andorian EXTRAS working in the background. 

 

NOG 
(points)
So the intakes at the top suck in
all the dirty air and feed it down
into the body of the tower.

CH’PERINE
The filtration units in the tower
itself are layered back and forth
repeatedly, so the huge surface
area can remove as many impurities
as possible. Then the clean air is
pumped back up and out the tower.

NOG
(points again)
Meanwhile the impurities are sent
down into the processing plant and
reprocessed into raw energy to be
fed out to the local communities.

CH’PERINE
So we’re providing power as well
as cleaning the atmosphere.

TENMEI
Very nice. It’s impressive work,
Supervisor ch’Perine.

CH’PERINE
Commander Nog and his team were
an invaluable help. If not for his
suggestion to install dynamic mode
power conversion modules to manage
the inconsistent energy flow, the
project would have never got off
the ground, so to speak.

NOG
(to Tenmei)
I got the idea from DS-Nine - we
have to use dynamic modules so the
Starfleet, Cardassian, Bajoran and
anybody else’s tech don’t explode
as soon as we plug them in.
(to ch’Perine)
But that was a last minute fix,
your team did all the hard work.

TENMEI
(grin)
Alright alright, don’t fight - you’re
both brilliant.

 

Suddenly, every SCREEN around the entire facility dissolves into a mass of STATIC... before going completely dark.

 

TENMEI
Well, that’s not good.

 

Nog and ch’Perine try various consoles - nothing.

 

ANDORIAN COMPUTER 
(male voice)
Attention. Unauthorised computer
system access, high clearance
memory. Terminate control mode.

CH’PERINE
What?!

TENMEI
We’re under attack again? Can your
security be overridden like that?

CH’PERINE
Not without specific authorisation
and decryption keys.

NOG
Well, it looks like somebody’s got
them. I’m completely locked out.

 

A new ALARM sounds. ch’Perine runs to check a display of old-fashioned, uncomputerised readouts - they are moving quickly from blue (safe) to red (very much not safe).

 

CH’PERINE
Uzaveh... the power conversion
modules are offline. There’s an
overload in progress.

NOG
That’s a lot of stored power. If it
blows, it’ll be catastrophic.

TENMEI
The Treishya would really blow
up this entire plant just to spite
us? Is there no way to stop it?

CH’PERINE
Not in the three minutes we’ve got
until critical. Even the emergency
discharge circuits are offline -
that shouldn’t even be possible!

ANDORIAN COMPUTER
Attention. System overload in
progress. Evacuate the facility
immediately. This is not a drill.

NOG
Sounds like a good idea to me.
(taps combadge)
Nog to Rio Grande - emergency
evacuation. Transport all life-
forms in the atmospheric plant
aboard, then raise shields.

STARFLEET COMPUTER 
Working.

 

As the ALARM continues and the HUM of machines grows...

...all the background Andorian extras DEMATERIALISE...

...followed by Nog, Tenmei and ch’Perine.

 

33 INT. RUNABOUT - COCKPIT

 

Parked on the ground outside the processing plant. Tenmei moves to her pilot station again, while Nog and ch’Perine both work on other panels...

 

CH’PERINE
Everyone is accounted for.

NOG
Prynn, get us out of here - we’ve
got less than three minutes.

TENMEI
This is getting ridiculous...

 

But as she starts to power up the engines...

 

CH’PERINE
Wait! Stand by...

TENMEI
Stand by?! It’s gonna explode!

 

But ch’Perine is checking the readouts in disbelief...

 

CH’PERINE
No, the overload has been aborted.
The conversion modules and the
discharge circuits are both back
online... and the core temperature
is returning to normal.

NOG
(off his own
consoles)
Checking... confirmed. But now
there’s a transporter-blocking
field around the entire plant.

 

Tenmei gets up from her pilot station, now that there is no longer an emergency. She is putting it together...

 

TENMEI
I guess that explains why they
didn’t block our comms this time
- they never wanted to kill us and
blow up the plant at all. They just
wanted to get us out of it so they
could have it to themselves.

CH’PERINE
So it would appear. Who the hell
do these people think they are?

 

An ALERT on Nog’s console - he checks it...

 

NOG
Looks like you’re about to get an
answer to that, Supervisor.

 

Off ch’Perine’s and Tenmei’s looks, Nog taps a control, and a VOICE, electronically processed to disguise it, issues...

 

VOICE (comm)
We are the Treishya, guardians of
Andor. We assume that sacred trust
in place of a government unwilling
to do what is necessary to protect
our people and their identity. For
too long we have been led by those
who insert themselves into matters
which are not their concern and
which they can never understand.

 

Reactions from Nog and Tenmei...

 

VOICE (comm)
Outworlders, our message to you is
simple. We do not want you here.
We did not ask for your help, and
we will survive quite well without
it. Leave us, and do not return.
If you choose not to do as we ask,
then know that we will do what is
necessary to make you leave. Any
casualties that result from this
...will be on your own heads.

 

Off everyone’s reactions...

 

BLACK OUT

 

END OF ACT THREE



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