Captain's log, Stardate 53006.5: We have finished an astrometric scan of the area and are currently analyzing the results. In the past couple of weeks, our search has been getting quite a bit harder.
"Whoever is running that cloaked ship, they know what they're doing. Lately, they've been able to change the temporal variance of the cloak as fast as the computers can seek it out. They either know we're searching for them or they are assuming that we are. Either way, I'm pretty much at square one every 45 minutes."
"Do you think you have information to project an approximate path?" Harmon asked.
"It may take a while, and it may not be accurate enough."
"Harm," Patrick added, "If we can get within 6000 kilometers of the hostile, they won't be able to tune out our scans."
"I see," he answered. "I need to check in with Admiral Bennett."
"I understand. How about we meet in my ready room at, say 1300,"
"Fine by me," Harm replied.
"Commander, I'm reading an unusual reading off our Starboard bow."
"Bridge to Astrometrics," Jaimie began. "We may have your hostile off the starboard bow. Care to give us an active scan."
"I'll start pinging."
"Laura, hold course. I don't want them to think we're onto them."
Laura was having trouble concentrating. "What did you say again. I must have zoned out or something."
"You're not feeling well. Report to sickbay ASAP. Kim, take over the helm."
"Aye," Laura replied as she stood up to leave the bridge.
Patrick entered sickbay, "I heard you nearly passed out on the bridge. Are you all right?"
"I don't see any sign of brain damage, but I can't guarantee whether or not it will recur," the doctor answered.
"I had some sort of vision. Something suggests that whatever we found out there a few minutes ago is going to cause us trouble. I don't know why, but I saw Dr. Bratney and Dr. Bashir dead on the floor."
"Possibly a premonition?"
"Yes. Captain, I suggest we tread carefully."
"Captain, Baldwin has set their sensors to active."
The captain sat in the center of the bridge with his face covered in shadow. "Have they altered course or speed?" he asked.
"Negative," the helmsman replied, "But she may be able to see us. We're too close."
"So, what did Admiral Bennett have to say?"
"He allowed me to stay aboard. Officially, I will be serving at the squadron JAG - meaning I would be the first to investigate mishaps and incidents aboard all ships in your squadron."
"And unofficially, you're here to help verify that the attempted assassination of Dr. Bashir was a job of Section 31."
"If that is what you're ordering me to do."
"So ordered. Lieutenant Bennett had a vision about an hour ago. She suggested that there may be another attempt at Dr. Bashir - and this one may be successful and take someone else in the crossfire."
"I would recommend that you warn Dr. Bashir. We know that Section 31 has him as a marked man. I would be careful, however. If Section 31 finds that you are interfering with them, they may place you on their hit list."
"Thank you for helping out with taking my patients while I was on leave."
"No problem," Neil responded. "Those of us in the medical profession have to take care of each other. Besides, Wildfire was scheduled for in dock time here anyway."
"Ops to Dr. Bashir," someone stated over the intercom in the infirmary.
"Go ahead," Bashir responded.
"You have a call from Baldwin."
"I'll take it in here," Bashir said as he tapped the comm link. "Captain Ingrum, this is a surprise."
"How secure is your line?"
"I have your encryption protocols. I'll engage them now."
Patrick's display suddenly appeared scrambled. He pressed a button to clear the transmission. "Sorry for the security, but I have information that may be of pertinent interest. I have reason to believe that Section 31 may make another attempt on you."
"Were you able to intercept that transmission."
"Yes. I would need time to decrypt the information, but my guess is that he was warning Dr. Bashir."
"We must accelerate our timetable then. Set a course for Deep Space Nine, maximum warp."
"Allison to bridge,"
"Go ahead, Sarah," Jaimie responded.
"Our bogey has jumped to warp 9 and has shifted course."
"Either they are very adept at decryption, or they assumed that I've tipped Dr. Bashir off. Either way, I'm not taking any chances. Kim, match their course and speed."
"You have the bridge, JP. I'm going to try to get a little rest before we get there."
Patrick awoke from his sleep to find that, instead of being in his bed, he was in some sort of holding cell. A strange figure walked into the room. "What the hell do you want from me," Patrick blurted.
"Staying out of our business would be a start," said the other man.
"Don't tell me, you're section 31."
"Very good. Luther Sloane is who I would be."
"I thought you were - "
"Dead? It's amazing what the Vorta can do with a little creative genetics. You know, I could go on to live forever."
"And I supposed you have some sort of vengeance factor that would be your motive for assassinating Dr. Bashir?"
"I have to admit, that is one of my reasons."
Laura was awakened by the ringing of the doorbell. She slowly walked to the door to see who was outside. "Stephanie, this had better be good to wake me in the middle of the night."
"I had a strange vision of the captain being kidnapped. I tracked his last known location — I think it's probably my turn to be clairvoyant."
"You think Section 31 had something to do with his kidnapping?"
"First thing that comes to mind."
Stephanie and Laura stood in the ready room with Jaimie and Harm. "I was able to confirm that the Captain is not aboard."
"We may have gotten a little sloppy in our attempts to neutralize this Section 31 threat," Jaimie commented. We need a new plan."
"I had requested a junior officer to assist me in squadron affairs. I can request her to divert to DS9."
"So, what do plan to do with me?"
"I intend to make you watch me take care of Dr. Bashir, and anyone else who stands in my way."
"You're not going to try to implicate anyone else this time."
"Half the staff of DS9 is aware of our existence. I wish to send a message of warning — never interfere with our mission to protect the Federation. If anyone gets in my way from here on, they will be promptly eliminated."
"Excuse me, would one of you be Dr. Bratney?" a young lady asked as she entered the infirmary.
"That would be me, lieutenant. May I help you?"
"I'm not sure if I understand this, but I was asked to report to you."
"And you would be?"
"Sorry, sir," she stated as she came to attention. "Lieutenant Sara Jackson reporting as ordered!"
"As you were!" Neil said, observing her red uniform. "You aren't in the medical corps, I have to wonder who sent you."
"No, sir! I just finished two years of legal training for JAG corps. Captain Rabb was somewhat cryptic as to why I was diverted here."
"I believe he felt that what he had to say was too sensitive for subspace," Dr. Bashir commented, "perhaps we can fill you in. I'm Dr. Julian Bashir, Chief Medical officer of Deep Space Nine."
"Commander," Stephanie started, "with your permission, I would like to take a runabout and see if we can find the Captain."
"Section 31 probably wouldn't suspect them, unless there's something I don't know about," Harm advised.
"Lieutenant Bennett has demonstrated high skills in piloting and a strong extra-sensory ability," Jaimie replied, "and Stephanie was linked with Patrick when he experimented with a new device based on Borg technology. If there's any team that could track Patrick down, it's these two. Stephanie, make it so."
"It's a long story..."
"Do you know what kind of weapon this is?" Sloane asked.
"It appears to be an old TR-116 rifle, modified for displaced targeting," Patrick followed.
"Exactly. I can stand right here and kill someone ten kilometers away without them ever finding the source of the hit."
"Why didn't you try that the first time?"
"I was hoping to eliminate Captain Traficant as well," the unofficial representative of Section 31 retorted, "His attitude is a threat to our organization. He would seek to dismantle us if he ever got the opportunity."
"So, I've been sent here to, in essence, check up on you and to keep an eye out for potential Section 31 operatives?" Sara asked.
"That is correct, Lieutenant," Neil replied. "Basically, we needed someone that knows more that what others are led to believe."
"I hope that wasn't a wisecrack about blondes."
"I doubt it," Bashir replied. "I must admit, however, you are a very beautiful young woman."
Laura and Stephanie entered Neosho's forward compartment. "You really think we can get to the captain before Section 31 reaches DS9?" Laura asked.
"I certainly hope so," Stephanie replied. "Neosho to bridge, we're ready."
"You're cleared for departure Neosho," Jaimie replied. "Good luck, and safe journey."
"Understood ma'am. Laura, you got any idea on where the captain's kidnapper went?"
"I think I have a good idea, and I can figure out a shortcut. Setting course."
"Just navigate carefully. The last ride I took in a runabout was very rough."
"Understood, engaging at maximum warp."
"Sloane to bridge, how far are we from our destination?"
"We're about 45 minutes away," the officer of the bridge replied.
"Good," Sloane finished before turning to Patrick, "In about an hour, the staff of D.S. Nine will no longer be a threat."
"I hope you're not a betting men, because my crew has never let me down before. I'm sure that my crew is coming up with a plan to thwart your efforts."
"The Neosho is really cobbing it," Stephanie commented.
"Thank you," Laura replied. "I have a feeling for subspace currents. I've managed to get us flowing in a quick-moving one."
"I gotcha. It seems to have worked. I'm picking up a ping on the sensors. It looks to be our bogey."
"Moving to intercept. I've got a QT with their name on it."
"Setting temporal variance," Stephanie answered. After a few seconds, she continued, signaling "Torpedo ready."
"What are you waiting for?"
Sloane was setting up his rifle when the ship rocked. "Bridge, what is the problem?"
"We took a direct hit."
"If you know what you are doing, it is possible," Patrick commented.
"Can we return fire?"
"Negative, sir. We would have to decloak, and that shot took out our weapons."
"Looks like we got their weapons, now let's try to slow them down," Laura said. "Looks like a refitted science vessel. I should be able to target the main engines."
"I'm setting a message to D.S. Nine on the secure channel. D.S. Nine, Neosho, D.S. Nine, Neosho." Stephanie transmitted.
"Go ahead," Kira replied.
"We've got a cloaked bandit coming it quick."
"How long before we're within range."
"20 Seconds," the helmsman said as the ship took phaser fire.
"That should be enough to get a good shot ready," Sloane commented as he put the view finder in his eye. "I see our doctor is in the infirmary with, I believe, Dr. Bratney. I have to wonder who the pretty lady is. It's such a shame I will have to eliminate her, too. I can't leave any witnesses."
Neosho scored a direct hit on the Section 31 ship, causing critical damage to main power. "She's decloaking," Stephanie stated. "I've Identified the vessel as the U.S.S Pueblo. Pueblo, Neosho: surrender and prepare to be boarded."
"Not before I get my mission accomplished," Sloane replied.
Laura paused as she saw the image of Slone preparing to use his weapon. "Stephanie, he's about to fire. The captain is right there, but he's behind a force field."
"Targeting power conduits to the brig," Stephanie replied.
As Sloane prepared to fire, the power to Patrick's cell lost power. Patrick took advantage, lunging toward Sloane shoulders first. A swift kick knocked his weapon out of his hands as Stephanie beamed in. "You have an impeccable sense of timing, Lieutenant."
"Thank you sir," Stephanie commented. "Did we make it in time?"
"To be honest with you, I'm not sure. I managed to dislodge his weapon just as he was ready to fire. He may have been able to get a shot off."
"Neosho, Taylor" Stephanie said, "Two to beam over."
"Laura, can we lock them in a tractor beam?" Patrick asked as he stepped off the transporter pad.
"We have Pueblo," Laura replied. "Towing her to Deep Space Nine."
"Dr. Bashir," Patrick said as he entered the infirmary, "Is everything all right?"
"Unfortunately, it is not," Bashir answered as he motioned towards one of the bio-beds.
"This must be Lieutenant Jackson," Patrick said. "Sloane was right, such a shame. Cause of death?"
"She was hit with a modified TR-116. It's weird though, she was shot through the heart, but not at point-blank range like i would expect."
"Probably because I caught him off guard," Patrick commented. "I guess the next step would be to -"
The chime of the station's intercom interrupted Patrick's thoughts, "Bennett to Ingrum."
"Go ahead Laura."
"The Pueblo has sent an encrypted message, then undocked."
Patrick moved out toward the windows outside the infirmary. He saw the captured vessel back away from its pylon, then explode in a ball of flame. "They must have activated a self destruct protocol.
"Probably sir," Laura answered, "however, I managed to download some information. You might want to take a look at some of this."
"Understood. Keep Lieutenant Jackson on ice until we can look over the information."
Captain's personal log, Stardate 53009.2: Baldwin has arrived at Deep Space Nine. The events over the past few days has lead me to believe that Section 31 is much more of a danger than I realized, and must be kept in check. The only question is, how do you keep in check an organization that has worked in shadow for centuries?
"Anything interesting in the encrypted transmission?" Harm asked.
"Mostly a message intended for Sara's parents explaining that her shuttlecraft was destroyed en route to the Baldwin. It's probably also an message to the receiver that the mission was a failure."
"Section 31 seems to be well adept at covering their tracks," Harm stated. "Anything else?"
"Yes. Our good friend Mr. Sloane has had access to Vorta cloning technology. Even though he has been killed twice now, he'll be back."
"So, what's our objective?"
"We'll, we can't just go in and try to kill people, they'll just come back from the dead," Patrick said as the doorbell rang. "Come." A young woman entered the ready room. She was not one of Patrick's crew, "May I help you, Lieutenant?..."
"Katia Leigh, sir," she answered, "I'm from the Wasp, and was a friend of Sara - excuse me, Lieutenant Jackson."
"Please accept our condolanc-" Harm started before Patrick interrupted.
"How close were you to Miss Jackson?" Patrick asked.
"We've been friends ever since high school," Katia answered. "I heard lots of rumors about what happened. I heard you were somehow involved, so I requested shore leave so that I might find the truth, both for myself and Sara's parents."
"I understand," Patrick stated, "but answers are going to be a bit hard to get a hold of. Computer, get me the Wasp on a secure line."
"Captain Ramsey," Patrick said as the Wasp's commanding officer appeared in his personal viewer.
"What can I do for you, captain?" Ramsey asked.
"I have one of your junior officers here, a Lieutenant j.g. Katia Leigh."
"Yes. I gave her leave so that she could help with the arrangements for a friend who was lost in a shuttle accident."
"I know. Lieutenant Jackson was on her way to rendezvous with the Baldwin. We haven't found any trace of her shuttle; technically, she is classified as 'missing'. However, I would appreciate it if you could allow Miss Leigh to serve TAD on the Baldwin so that she may assist with the search."
"Technically, you don't have to ask, but I think we can do fine over here without her for a while. She's all yours."
"Thank you, captain. Baldwin out," Patrick said to end the transmission, then turned to Katia and Harm. "At this point, that is the official line. Do I make myself clear?"
"Aye sir," Katia replied. "Permission to speak freely."
"You're wondering what really happened to Sara? If you can follow me to sickbay, I'll try to explain."
"Yes sir," Katia said as they left the ready room for the turbolift.
"Sick bay," Patrick ordered the computer, before turning to Katia. "By the way Lieutenant, permission granted."
"Doctor," Patrick turned to Kay as he entered sickbay, "could I have a moment in the stasis chamber."
"Sure," Kay answered as Patrick led Harm and Katia into the chamber room. Patrick opened the capsule containing Sara. Patrick moved the blanket, revealing her wound.
"That definitely is not the result of a shuttle accident," Katia commented.
"It was the result of a particle weapon, a TR-116 modified for displaced targeting."
"Why would anyone want to shoot her?" Katia asked as she started to cry.
"She was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and for that I take full responsibility."
"An operative of a secret organization called Section 31 attempted to kill Dr. Bashir from a distance," Harm continued.
"I managed to stop him, but not before he pulled the trigger - with Sara in the crossfire."
"So, what's going to happen?"
"As I was explaining to Captain Rabb, Section 31 has access to Vorta cloning technology. To attempt to eliminate or apprehend then would be futile, as they can simply activate their clone to continue their mission."
"Are you suggesting that Sara be cloned?"
"In a manner of speaking. I have the plans for a cloning chamber." Patrick noticed an expression of doubt on Katia's face. "I can understand where you are coming from. Eighteen months ago, a band of Jem'Hadar stole the DNA of this ship's company. We did not know why they did so, but we have to assume that they were up to no good. We managed to destroy the evidence before they could do anything with it."
"Still, this clone, she wouldn't be the same Sara, I'm not so sure."
"on this ship, i've learned to trust my instincts and those of my crew. perhaps if you slept on it, it would help. i'll have stephanie arrange quarters for you."
That night, Katia awoke from her slumber to find what appeared to be her fallen friend standing in front of her. "Sara?"
"Katia," the spirit replied. "It's been too long." She observed a frightening look on her face, "What's wrong?"
"This can't be real. You're... supposed to be dead,"
"Maybe I'm a ghost. Then again, maybe I'm just a figment of your imagination. Either way, we have been close friends for a long time, and I can tell that we need to talk."
"It's this whole cloning thing. Captain Ingrum has this crazy idea that he can, in essence, bring you back from the dead by utilizing Vorta cloning technology."
"What does he think he can accomplish?"
"He says you were shot in the back by a Section 31 operative, and that he cannot kill or capture him because they can clone their way out."
"The way I see it, if the tables were turned, I wouldn't hesitate to go with this farfetched plan."
"I choose going into JAG corps because I believe in pursuing justice. If this Section 31 was able to clone themselves, they can manage to avoid judgement. Turning the tables on them, barring another alternative, would be the ultimite justice."
"I never thought of it that way, but you are right."
"I hope I was able to help you out," Sara finished. "See you around." With those final words, Sara's spirit faded into darkness and Katia gave a confident smile as she fell back to sleep.
The next morning, Patrick sat in his ready room as the doorbell rang. "Come," he said.
"Captain," Katia said as she entered the ready room, "I had a weird dream last night." Katia went on to describe her conversation with Sara's ghost. "No matter what, the thought Sara gave me makes a lot of sense. I think if we're successful at this, we can send a message to this Section 31 that we are just as capable of negating their actions as they are avoiding the consequences."
"In that case, we can begin as soon as possible, but first, we're going to need some additional help."
"Garak," Patrick said over the holo-communicator, "I need a favor out of you."
"I suppose you need me to design a new set of dance outfits."
"Actually, I don't. I need your help in acquiring some material; I'm working on a special project. I'm sure you have the contacts that can help me obtain them."
"This is an interesting list. I can have them delivered to you if you can meet near the badlands in 24 hours."
"Will do. I'll meet your courier there. Ingrum out."
Upon meeting the Cardassian courier, Patrick stepped into the transporter room. I'll take it from here," Patrick said as he took the controls of the transporter. He pressed on the touch panel. A small box of materials beamed onto the transporter pad. Patrick inspected the contents of his package. Seeing what he ordered in good condition, he took the package out of the room, satisfied.
As Patrick finished constructing the cloning chamber, Katia stepped into the room. "How is it going, captain."
"It's going just fine, Katia."
"Captain, I was just wondering, how the heck does this thing work?"
"As you know, most cloning methods copy a tissue sample. Any time you make a copy of something, you get degradation. The Vorta get around this by digitizing their DNA. This way, everything is essentially made from the same copy. This thing requires a little different method to create the tissue base. I managed to get the necessary materials from Garak. I owe him."
"Anyway, I'm ready to go. Are you?"
"Let's get started," Patrick said as he proceeded to activate the cloning chamber. "Ingrum to sick bay, prepare to transfer Lieutenant Jackson's body to my location."
"Understood." As Sara's body was beamed into the cloning chamber, Patrick began to hum a tune.
"What song is that?" Katia asked.
"It's called 'The River' by a late 20th Century country artist named Garth Brooks." Patrick began to sing the lyrics to the song.
"That sounds real beautiful."
"I've had some practice. Are you into music?"
"Maybe tangentially. Sara and I used to dance together in high school and a bit into college at Kansas."
"Were the two of you in ROTC?"
"I went into Officer training at the academy after I was done with college. Sara got into Cogley law school and decided she wanted to be a JAG."
"I see. You know, we've got a little Dance troupe going here on the Baldwin."
"Who's in charge of that effort?"
"That would be Lieutenant Taylor."
"I'll have to see her, then."
"It's going to be a while before anything changes here. I'll be on the bridge if you need me."
"Laura," Patrick said, "Set course 137 mark 4, warp 5."
"So, where exactly are we going?"
"By the time my little project is ready for me, this ship and I will be home. For the last stages of my project, I want to be planet side, and there's no better place than Aloran IV."
Patrick and Katia beamed down to the surface, along with the cloning chamber. "So, what's the next step?"
"We take Sara's memories and implant them into the clone."
"Is that possible?"
"Absolutely. Whether or not it actually works, we will find out in a few minutes."
Time passed quickly as the cloning chamber transferred Sara's brain patterns from her first body to her second. As the transfer was almost finished, Patrick indicated the next steps. "I'm going to bring the clone out of stasis and wake her up. I want you to the be the first thing she sees. I think she deserves the truth about what happened. I want you to be the one to tell her."
"Aye sir," Katia replied. Patrick pressed several buttons on the chamber's console. Patrick placed a hypospray on Sara's neck.
As Sara woke up, the first thing she saw was the image of Katia looking back at her. "Is that you, Katia?"
"Yes. What was the last thing you remember?"
"I was talking to Dr. Bashir and Dr. Bratney."
"About Section 31?"
"Yes. That's the last thing I remember before waking up here."
"It worked," Katia whispered to herself. "I don't know how to say this, but you were... shot in the heart by Section 31 operative. From what I understand, they were able to shoot remotely. They missed the doctors, however. Anyway, Section 31 has access to cloning technology, so if we catch them, they can kill themselves to escape. Instead of trying to apprehend them, Captain Ingrum - "
"Are you saying that... I'm a clone?"
"Yes," Katia nodded as she motioned towards the neighboring bed, unveiling the first body.
"Somehow, if this Section 31 was able to clone themselves, bringing me back would be the best way to pursue justice," Sara answered.
Katia smiled knowingly. "There is someone here I would like you to meet, although I think you might want to put something on," She said, motioning toward a fresh uniform that the Baldwin had beamed down.
As soon as Sara was ready, Patrick entered the room. Before Sara could come to attention, Patrick stopped her, "As you were, Lieutenant."
"Captain Patrick Ingrum, USS Baldwin. Welcome to my house. Did Katia explain what happened?"
"Yes sir. It's not every day someone gets a second chance at life. What's our next step."
"That's very easy. We find Sloane and send him a little message - you."
"Makes sense to me," Sara said as proceed to leave the room. "What are we waiting for."
"Captain," Donna stated as she monitored the tactical station. "We've got an bogey - bearing 355 mark 20,"
"Possibly. I'd like to have an active scan."
"Ingrum to Allison. We've got a cloaked bogey I'd like to ping."
"She's an older shuttlecraft. She's cloaked - it's probably section 31."
"Captain Rabb and Lieutenant Jackson to the bridge ASAP. Kim, move us in behind her. Donna, target her engine. I only want to get Mr. Sloane's attention."
"Aye sir," they both respond.
As Harm appears from the turbolift, he inquired, "What's going on?"
"It's time to send a message to section 31. Lock phasers on target and fire when ready."
The Baldwin fired the phasers on its target. The shuttlecraft decloaked and slowed to a stop. "We're being hailed," Donna said.
"What would you expect when you just got shot at without warning. On Screen." Patrick expected a familiar face to appear on the screen, and he wasn't disappointed, "Mr. Sloane, what brings you to this part of the neighborhood?"
"That is none of your concern."
"It is if you are planning another assassination attempt on Dr. Bashir."
"Dr. Bashir is a threat to the Federation. He has willfully given aid to the enemy by -"
"By counteracting a pathogen that you helped created," Patrick retorted as Sara stepped out of the turbolift. "Mr. Sloane," Patrick continued, "I believe that you have met Lieutenant Jackson here."
"I suppose I have," Sloane replied, realizing what Patrick had done.
"Now, I could torpedo your ship and continue a cycle that would cause Starfleet to write a new chapter in the code of justice, or..."
"Or you can stand down, forget about Dr. Bashir, and admit that you've been checked."
"I would strongly suggest that you take his advice," Harm added. "If you kill Dr. Bashir, I would be more than happy to make sure JAG looks the other way when he uses his cloning chamber to undo the damage that you have done."
"I shall back down - for now," Sloane replied. "Know this, however. You will not be able to contain us indefinitely. One day, we will see the end of threats to the Federation such as you."
"On the contrary, I am not a threat. I simply intend to put keep an eye on you and see that you don't abuse your power and resources. Besides, there's things more threatening to the Federation. Until we meet again. Ingrum out."
"I think he got the message," Sara noted.
"I would have to agree," Harm added.
"That takes care of that. Ingrum to all crew: the events of the past few days shall be classified as top secret, level three. Under this condition, the actions over the past few days shall not be discussed by anyone. If you do, our new JAG officer will have to decide an appropriate penalty. Kim, set course for Earth, warp 8."
"Captain," Sara asked, "how do I explained what happened over the past few days?"
"The official line is that you were in a shuttle accident, and you were found adrift and barely alive. I'll explain further later. Kim, make it so."
"Aye aye captain," Kim and Sara both replied.