Limis was still reading the padd she was handed when she heard Admiral Jellico’s voice on the comm. “Captain Limis,” he called. “Report to your ready room.”
Jellico and the Constantinople
were light years away. Still, Limis shoved the padd into Kozar’s lap and headed for her office as if being summoned before the school principal. Upon reaching the ready room, someone else was occupying the chair behind the desk. He was a youthful-looking blonde man with a slightly bigger build than Jellico.
“Commander Johns,” Limis gasped. “Where’s Admiral Jellico? Does Captain Lenaris know you’re missing?”
“You needn’t concern yourself with that right now,” the commander replied with triumphant grin. “What’s important is the safe return of your medical officer and stopping the Augments.”
“You won’t get any argument from me. How did you get in here anyway?”
“I’m here, aren’t I? And I got the good doctor into this mess.”
It all made sense to Limis now. He was the Section 31 agent who visited Markalis in her quarters in the middle of the night one day. Limis had a hunch that he was Cole when first seeing him as Lenaris’s first officer. Now it was confirmed. “You’re Cole,” she said plainly.
“Guilty as charged,” he quipped, nudging a padd to the end of the desk. “This will help you slip aboard Darcen’s ship.”
Limis rolled her eyes as she whisked the padd off the desk. “A single person inside a Class-eight probe?” she read aloud.
“With specifications for scrambling sensors,” Cole added, standing up and heading for the side door. “Do you think we go into places we’re not welcome just by evading ‘stupid questions’? You feel personally responsible for the peril she’s in. And you don’t want to risk any more of your crew.”
Cole confidently strode out the door. Limis sauntered over to a drawer behind the desk to grab a phaser. She walked through the same exit into a corridor. But no one was in her field of vision in either direction. Returning to the ready room, Limis was left to ponder a similarly dangerous effort save Rebecca years back.
Vircona's head landed softly on the table-top after her son left for school. Between her long shifts at the manufacturing plant and her undercover missions for Starfleet Intelligence, she was only getting two to three hours of sleep a day. She was grateful for a quick cat nap until her next factory shift.
A rhythmic pounding on the door shook Vircona awake. Maybe Yanith forgot something, poosibly his house key if he was knocking. She slowly trudged towards the door and unlatched all three locks. Upon stepping outside after opening the door, she found no one at her doorstep or down the street in either direction.
Vircona was about to close the door when she heard a chirping noise from the doorstep. The sound came from a padd waiting for someone to activate its message. She picked up the padd and pushed the activation key with her right thumb.
The blinking red letters reading "Activate" were then replaced by a message in blue capital letters.
We have your friend Rebecca. If you wish to see her alive again, then deliver thirty kilos of rhodium nitrite to us by 1700.
Vircona hit the activate key again to read the rest of the message, which instructed her to make the delivery and warned that failure to comply would result in Rebecca's death. Such instructions left Vircona confused since rhodium nitrite was an abundant low value substance used to protect humanoids from the radioactive properties of deuterium. Whatever the reasoning, she certainly could not take a chance with Rebecca’s life.