Ramir stood in front of his team. They were tired, bloody, and heartsore. Three days of fighting had taken its toll on them all.
B'Eler leaned heavily on her mate's shoulder, her wounds bandaged but still hurting. Ramir could see that Trevana was in pain as well. There was a tightness around her eyes and she breathed in short, labored huffs, but she would not relax her stance. To the side, Nevven, the Lethean who served as helmsman of the I.K.S. Hegh, leaned against the wall to rest his injured leg. Others sprawled in their chairs, exhausted. There were more still in sickbay, which luckily had survived the last Herald attack.
Other parts of the ship were not so lucky. The engineers said it would be six hours before the warp drive was back online, and longer for the shields. Until then, they were practically helpless.
What his team needed was a barrel of bloodwine and three weeks leave on Qo'noS. What they would get would be more blood and death.
He took a deep breath and faced his teammates.
"I know you are weary," Ramir said. "I know the loss of friends weighs on you. Kahless, our leader, is gone. But I do not grieve for the fallen. They are in Sto'Vo'Kor, and there they will feast and fight forever as honored warriors of the Empire.
But it is not yet our time to join them." Ramir continued. "The Iconians still stand in striking distance of our Qo'noS. They still harass our ships and invade our worlds. They think they are our rulers. They think they are gods. They will learn how wrong they are.
"We are House Pegh! We are the knife in the darkness. We are the silence before the strike. We are the left hand of the Empire. And we may be bloodied, but we are never defeated."
He paused to scoop a mug off the table in front of him and took a long drink. "Kagran tells me that the Alliance has a weapon they can use against the Iconians, but that they need time to prepare it. We will give them that time.
"B'Eler, call up the charts. Find me a target that will to draw the Heralds away from the gateways to the Delta Quadrant. As soon as this ship is operational, our next battle begins."