Chapter 4, part 2
Day 5, 1700 hours
Bashir moodily stirred the contents of his Tarkalean tea with a spoon. He was sitting around a table with Megan, Dawson and Paulson in Quark’s bar. It was sort of like an unofficial tradition that DS9’s senior staff-except for the commanding officer-got together once in the day after a shift.
Today though Bashir and his colleagues did not feel like talking. Though after seeing a recording of Team UFP’s arena match he did not feel like talking either.
“What are you three so gloomy about?” asked Paulson, after a lengthy silence. “It's been twenty minutes and I've seen more life in a graveyard than from you three.”
Bashir looked up from his drink. “Haven't you seen the match?” he asked disbelievingly.
“What match?” said Paulson looking confused.
“The Apocalypse match,” said Megan irately, “the one where our missing colleagues fight tooth and nail just to reach the end of a death course...”
“That sounds horrible,” said Paulson, pulling a disgusted face. “How could you watch something like that?”
“Because it shows that our friends are still alive...” Bashir answered.
Megan nodded her agreement. “I hear that Quark is going to provide us with more recordings, if he can hack into the Apocalypse channel again, so we can watch what happens to Team UFP.”
“How morbid is that?” asked Bashir, as he could not stomach the idea. “Watching one match is bad enough, but seeing more of them?”
Everyone except Tanya did not seem inclined to watch any more of these matches. “Well I'm going to keep watching to see if those commentators make any further mention of Max. Apparently Max is our colleague’s mission controller...”
“I'm not surprised about that,” replied Megan, “because Max's twin brother, Coplin, runs the place.”
“How do you know that?” Paulson demanded.
“It was at the start of the recording,” explained Megan. “It made mention of Coplin, Apocalypse's chief executive.”
“I don't know how Max can work with his brother,” murmured Bashir. “After all Coplin's organisation kills dozens if not hundreds of people everyday!”
Megan though shook her head in disagreement. “Personally I only think Max works for Coplin, because he's using it as an opportunity to gather information on Apocalypse. Information that could be used for himself and the rest of Team UFP to escape!”
In an angered motion Tanya slammed her mug against the table, getting everybody’s attention. “Would you stop calling Max and the others under that ridiculous name?” she hissed.
“Sorry,” said Megan, looking a little put-off by Tanya’s outburst. “But I think it's easier to say Team UFP to refer to collectively Max, Ezri, Nog, Holo and Jake.”
“Let's just be grateful that our friends are alive,” said Bashir diplomatically.
“But for how long?” asked Tanya sceptically. “The next arena matches won't get any easier, I don't see how they will survive.”
Bashir was half tempted to copy Tanya’s outburst but he thought better of it, though he did think Tanya was being too pessimistic. “They will survive as long as Dax has something to say about that. She knows how to look after herself and she is a very tough cookie, she'll get Team UFP through that.”
Tanya winces slightly at hearing the phrase ‘Team UFP’, but she quickly regained her composure. “I guess I'm just going to have to get used to hearing that name,” she said sadly.
Paulson was looking a little shifty, and he leant forwards a little closer, as if about to broach something top secret. “I don't suppose one of you three could lend me a recording of Team UFP's first match?”
“Why do you want to watch it?” asked Megan, her eyes narrowed.
“This may sound a little macabre and insensitive, but by studying that video I could find ways of improving security as it seems Team UFP goes through one firefight after another.”
“Are you sure it's not morbid fascination of violence?” replied Megan, sounding a little harsh.
“Of course not!” exclaimed Paulson, looking angered by the very possibility. “I'm watching it on a strictly informative basis!”
Bashir was convinced that Paulson was telling the truth, even so the mood felt tense and a little fractious. So with nothing better to do Bashir returned to sipping his tea, he noticed that the silence had returned and he thought it was no bad thing…
From inside his office Coplin was watching his holovision, taking notes on his padd. He was watching the same match over and over again and this was Team UFP’s debut match. This was not recreational viewing as he was watching to understand Team UFP’s tactics, methods and style. All very important if he was to make them Apocalypse’s new mascots. The first thing he would do was to get the Apocalypse media to spruce up Team UFP’s bad boy and hard as nails image. This equated into improved advertising and more latinum.
Coplin was so transfixed on the holovision that he did not hear Nemoltz come inside.
Feeling annoyed Coplin raised a hand to silence Nemoltz. “Is this necessary?” he said without looking at Nemoltz.
“Someone on this station has sent an unauthorised communication out, if the Federation receives it they may come knocking at our door. I suspect it is Max and we should execute him and his team immediately!”
Coplin turned the holovision off, and got to his feet, he could not believe this. “With no evidence?” he said angrily. “You're going to have to do much better than that!”
There was a scowl all over Nemoltz’s face, Nemoltz was looking at Coplin as if he were a fool. “You are trying to protect your twin brother, your affection for him is clouding your judgement, you should execute him-”
“I am the one who has the final say on these matters!” said Coplin loudly and heatedly. “And don't think Nemoltz that because you formerly ran Apocalypse it gives you the right to tell me what to do! Under my leadership Apocalypse as expanded in size tenfold, and profits are astronomical, your good at security Nemoltz but you don't have the business sense that I have.”
“Getting sponsored by the Ferengi Alliance is one thing, but working with the Tren?”
Nemoltz shook his head and paced slowly forwards to Coplin’s desk. “I don't trust them, we don't know how many ships they have, and if things turn ugly we have no one to turn to for help.”
Coplin followed Nemoltz and was side by side with him. “The Tren offered me 70000 Jem'Hadar and 1100 of their ships, in exchange this organisation does some of the Tren's dirty work...”
He stopped when he reached the desk as did Nemoltz, both of them were staring out of the window. For some moments Coplin thought about the Tren and his dealings with them, he did not like dealing with them but the Tren offered considerable latinum and payment in exchange.
“Is the second Apocalypse station ready?” asked Coplin, as he cast aside his worries about the Tren.
“It is...” murmured Nemoltz, who still looked unhappy about something.
“Then that is all that matters,” said Coplin firmly. “I want a gradual relocation of Apocalypse ships, personal and gladiators to the new station, a month should be an amble amount of time.”
For a moment Coplin paused because he realised Nemoltz was right about one thing, Max was a potential security threat and certain precautions had to be taken. “Look into the matter of the unauthorised message, but I want concrete evidence that my brother has done some actual wrongdoing! And if you feel it is necessary to install your security devices in Max's quarters, then do so...”
“Thank you...” said Nemoltz sounding glad that the matter was out of the way.
There was one more issue that Coplin had to resolve with Nemoltz. “If you do find my brother guilty of sending out that message, then be sure to punish him for it. He may be family but I will not overlook or forgive betrayal...”
Out of the corner of his eye he saw Nemoltz nod and smile in a satisfied way. At the moment Coplin did not care what Nemoltz thought because he was more preoccupied with his brother.
Without another word, Coplin heard Nemoltz walk away and back to the doorway. Only Nemoltz could walk in uninvited because he was the only person Coplin could really trust. Coplin’s other important staff had the annoying habit of sucking up to him but he saw through all of that. He knew that any one of those staff would try to kill him if they had the opportunity.
But with Nemoltz, Coplin knew exactly what his colleagues motive’s were because Nemoltz was always honest, forthright and spoke his mind. Coplin took Nemoltz’s warnings seriously but he hoped for once that Nemoltz was wrong. Would Max try to sabotage or disrupt Apocalypse’s operations?
One of part of Coplin said yes, but Max was his brother and he felt an attachment to Max. Maybe they would not see eye to eye but perhaps they could have a productive working relationship. This was all Coplin wanted…
His chronometer made a beeping noise and Coplin realised it was time for his dosage of steroids, nanites and anti-depressants. He took these compounds for good reason, not only to double his muscle strength but together the three substances helped to keep Coplin focused, ruthless and on top of his emotions. Being the one in charge of Apocalypse meant you had to be totally ruthless, and yet be a crime lord and a businessmen at the same time.
Walking over to his desk, he pulled out a secret compartment close to his chair, and took out a hypospray. He placed it to his neck, discharged the contents and almost immediately he felt better. Some of the tension he had been feeling drifted away, while his small amount of guilt also receded.
Coplin told nobody this but he suffered from a guilty conscience, ever since he had ran out of home when he was sixteen he had been fighting on and off battles with his guilt. One part of it was upsetting his parents and his twin brother, the other part was what he had done while getting involved in organised crime. But feeling guilty made him weak, Coplin had to act strong and he cursed himself for having a guilty conscience.