Now...back to Crolin, Crant--and Miss Holland.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
"From Risa With Love"
The makeshift base of operations for the Orion Syndicate on Risa was now on the top level of the Palais de Mystère. Crolin looked up from the desk of his office—fashioned out of one of the false rooms—to see Mr. Crant arrive with two most welcome prizes.
“The device,” Crant announced, handing it to his superior.
Crolin took it, and looked it up and down with a smile. “Well…none the worse for wear. Perhaps this wasn’t a complete loss—in time, we’ll be ready to try again.”
Crant’s second prize—the girl—said nothing, her lovely eyes blazing in contempt.
“Now,” Crolin grinned, “Perhaps you should make yourself at home, Miss…?”
“Her name is Cynthia Holland,” Crant said, with a smile of his own.
“Holland…yes.” Crolin turned to his subordinate. “So…may I ask how you located her?”
Crant beamed. “It just so happens, sir, that the good doctor injected ‘Miss Gabrielle’ with a homing device. He could keep track of her on his tricorder.”
Cynthia Holland stiffened, and looked as if she were fighting a look of astonishment.
Crolin chuckled. “I take it he didn’t tell you?”
No more reaction from her.
Oh, well. Crolin turned back to Mr. Crant. “What of the doctor?”
Crant’s grin widened. “Oh, I think he’ll be here…to rescue her
. And when he does—well, then…” he spread out his hands, “Whatever strikes your fancy.”
Crolin nodded. “Still…can we ensure he’ll arrive?”
“Oh, I’d say so. Remember,” Crant chuckled, “He did
spend the whole of last night in her
Crolin laughed. “Of course.” Turning to the girl, he added, “Romance is a most curious thing…wouldn’t you agree, my dear?”
The girl spat out a retort, in what was apparently her native tongue.
“Oh, we have no intention of doing that
, I assure you,” Crant replied with a straight face.
Crolin raised an amused eyebrow at his underling. “What did she say?”
Crant shrugged. “I doubt you’d care to know.”
* * *
Julian Bashir was unarmed—the Syndicate man, Mr. Crant, had apparently ensured that both his suite and Holland’s would be cleared of phasers. As he approached the Palais, making sure to keep out of sight, he weighed his options. He didn’t seem to have that many.
He checked the tricorder. She was at the top level. There weren’t any other life signs. Again—they doubtless had personal cloaks of their own.
The vast majority of his men were probably claimed by the explosion…but there’s no telling how many are left.
He let out a sigh. Well—I suppose I’d better take what I get.
He rushed to the secondary entrance—the same one, he noted, that he and Cynthia had entered through the night before.
He activated his cloak. It probably didn’t matter—the building’s sensors were probably shorted out. Still, better safe than sorry.
As he entered the main lobby, which still had a giant gaping hole, he had one destination in mind—a stairway, any alternative to the elevator which was almost certainly damaged beyond use.
His gaze caught a hallway to the left of the receptionist desk. Careful to stay close to the wall, he inched his way over, his ears sharp for anything or anyone coming his way.
The hall was fairly short, with a few rooms on either side. At the moment, of course, Bashir was more concerned with the stairway at the far end. Keeping his earing tuned for the slightest sound, he removed his shoes, one hand in each—and rushed across the hall.
He peered up the stairway, as far as he could, his hearing still tuned. Nothing.
Either there aren’t that many of his men remaining…or else they’re waiting for me.
Still, it didn’t matter which—he had to finish what he began. And so, still carrying his shoes, he began the long flight upward….
* * *
“He should be here quite soon,” Mr. Crant said, looking towards the hallway.
Crolin nodded, and turned to the girl, who was secured to the chair of the office. He smiled, brushing her cheek with his hand, as he asked, “Who are you, Miss Holland? Why are you
so important to use an assumed name?”
She said nothing.
Crolin chuckled. “I must admit…I was a little surprised that Starfleet would assign Dr. Bashir to such an investigation. Surely they would send an agent of…Starfleet Intelligence?”
“Are you his supervisor, then? His ‘handler’, if you will?”
“Fine, then. Say nothing. Still, I’m amused that someone like you
would be in charge of such a mission. Surely someone older…someone with more experience.”
At this, she turned to him at last, a smile coming to her face. “And what does that say about you
Crolin laughed. “Amusing…but pointless.”
“Is it? Someone like me—and someone like the doctor—we
were able to defeat you so easily?”
Crant snorted. “You forget, Miss Holland—we now have all we need to begin again, in time. You haven’t defeated us.”
Holland laughed, and leaned back in the seat, closing her eyes.
“Let her be, Mr. Crant,” said Crolin. “In time, we’ll properly compensate them both
or their insolence.”
* * *