Did Rebek make it?...No word yet…Any of the others?...Nothing.
Arid heat permeated his awareness. Hell?
…we have to raise them soon and coordinate the transfer—they can’t stay long.”
It can’t be hell.
The hard floor upon which he was slumped hummed ever so slightly, the nearly undetectable, ever-present vibration Spirodopoulos had come to associate with a starship—though if it was the Petraeus
, the feel of it suggested mechanical trouble. Unless, of course, there’s been a dispatch error in the hereafter and I’ve been sent to the Black Fleet instead.
“What happened to the sensor mask? Ă’—
burn that! There’s no time for explanations. I officially don’t care what
you have to do—get it back to optimum, now! You know what it means if we don’t!”
“I obey, Gul.”
“And if you can’t stop staring at the Bajoran, then get out! I need you to put aside your personal problems and focus if we’re going to have any chance.”
His temple stung on top of a deep, throbbing headache with a sensation an awful lot like carpet burn where that Cardassian’s microscaled knuckles had scraped away the top layer of skin. Every muscle stiffly screamed in protest as he shifted into a seated position. Folani is here? Alive? On a
Cardassian ship…? ‘Screwed’ doesn’t even begin to cover this
“It won’t happen anymore, Gul.”
Spirodopoulos opened his eyes, hoping to catch a glimpse of his sister-in-arms.
A scaled hand clapped down immediately on his mouth. “Quiet!” hissed the Cardassian to whom it belonged, a bearded man with an uncanny resemblance to Dukat. “The sensors will pick up any speech in an alien language and report it to the Vorta. If you need something, you’ll have to gesture for it unless you know our words.” Spirodopoulos fought to stand, but found his right wrist bound by a cord tied around a metal loop protruding from the floor, perhaps to strap down cargo in its proper use. “Stop that—you’ll pull your shoulder right back out of its socket, the way we found it. There’s no need to struggle…you’re safe for now. You’re aboard the Trager
, and we’re taking you somewhere to wait out the war. I apologize for the restraints, but they are necessary for the moment: we dare not divert power to erect a forcefield.”
Spirodopoulos traced several V-shapes across his nose. What about Folani?
“Though you cannot see her, she is here with you.” The Cardassian responded to an involuntary twitch of Spirodopoulos’ facial muscles of which he was hardly aware. “She is in stable condition and I will not permit any of my men to change that except for the better. Her life is in no danger,” he quickly added. “The crisis passed hours ago; of that our doctor is quite certain.”
Spirodopoulos frantically dug through his satchel, which with the exception of his phaser and tricorder, had been left intact. His hands latched onto a tattered piece of paper, which he extracted and turned towards the Cardassian. The shadows around the other man’s eyes deepened and he pressed his lips together before he replied. “Unfortunately, we cannot notify your family. Any attempt to do so on our part risks putting us all in jeopardy. The only thing you can do for now is be strong for them and allow them to do the same for you, wherever they are.”
Poor Stasya...what if Starfleet tells her I’m dead?
The Cardassian officer reached for Spirodopoulos’ shoulder—the one that did not throb with the pain of unremembered injury. The Greek officer retaliated by wrenching violently away. Macet waited patiently and then reached for him again, this time clasping his upper arm. The grip was strong, but not threatening. Spirodopoulos supposed he meant it to be reassuring. Coming from him? Not likely
. “I’m sorry. I truly am—I have my own and someday they may hear the same of me. Soon, the way things are going. There is a reason for all of this…you wouldn’t have had a chance if we had not intervened. You must simply be patient and trust me.”
So there had
been something to the Cardassians’ strange maneuver in his last seconds on AR-558. They were definitely up to something, but what? Like everyone on Starfleet’s front lines, Spirodopoulos had heard the terrifying tales from Federation-Cardassian War veterans of just what went on in Cardassian interrogation chambers. Spirodopoulos pointed at that armor-plated chest, raising a cynical, questioning eyebrow. Just who are
you to make such a promise?
“I am Macet, gul of the Trager
—and I take complete responsibility for all of this. That is the word you may carry to your superiors, if someday you must.”