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Old December 19 2012, 09:05 PM   #33
Enterprise1981
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Re: Star Trek: War Aftermath Episode 2 (updated version)

Chapter Twenty-Six

Worf entered his brother’s guest quarters, not certain whether he would answer to Kurn or Rodek. Since he knew they were brothers, he would probably identify himself as Kurn. On the other hand, his memories as Kurn were very fragmented. And he still identified himself as the weapons officer of the Gorkon.

Doctor Girani and two other medical personnel were examining Kurn. Girani scanned him with a medical tricorder while adjusting monitoring devices on Kurn’s forehead. The two other medics--a human male doctor and a Bajoran female nurse--were working at portable computer consoles to analyze the readings that appeared on their screens. Worf patiently waited for doctors and nurse to finish the exam, and once it was, he requested that they step outside while he had a private moment with his brother.

“How much longer before I can return to my duties?” Kurn asked.

Worf recognized Kurn’s raspy voice all too well, as well as his often grumpy demeanor. If people thought Worf was seemingly always brooding, Worf knew that was more often the case with his brother. “Captain Klag has authorized a leave of absence for as long as the Gorkon is at the station undergoing repairs,” the ambassador explained.

Kurn scoffed, suggesting to Worf, he was not comfortable with being on a leave he did not request. “I have been examined by Starfleet doctors for three hours,” he huffed. “All these tests they’ve been running while I have to sit still during that time; it’s all very disconcerting.”

Worf nodded in agreement, but was careful not to offer sympathy, a human trait Kurn was not too fond of. “How much of your old life do you remember?” he blithely inquired.

“‘My old life’?” Kurn dismissively repeated. “I do know of our family history and that our father was one of the unfortunate casualties of the treachery at Khitomer and that we fought side-by-side against the House of Duras to restore our family honor. Most of these new memories still seem disjointed, as if they are my own but still seeing through the mind of another person. The doctors tell me I may experience more of these memory flashes and that integrating these new memories will be a difficult process. But who am I now, Worf? What do I do with my life now? Do I continue serving on the Gorkon or do I once again become your brother?”

“What you decide in the next days is entirely up to you.”

Kurn grunted and quickly stood up. He took a few steps closer to Worf and looked at him straight in both eyes. “You should have killed me, Worf,” he hissed, “as you once tried before! I could’ve been among the honored dead in Sto-Vo-Kor. But instead you chose to erase my memory and let me live a lie for the rest of my natural life.”

“You approved the procedure,” Worf calmly reminded his brother, remembering Bashir’s adamant disclaimer that Kurn had to approve of a memory wipe before going through with it.

“I was told it would be permanent; that I would likely never regain any of those erased memories. I knew that regaining some of my memories of this other life might happen. But what do I do now that it has actually happened?”

Worf was about to speak, but was at a loss for words. That was because the person who had to approve what he was about to suggest was not yet conscious.

###

Jonas Escobar paced back and forth in front of the holding cell where the Section 31 sentry was being detained. Over the last hour, Escobar had been unable to get any information out of the youthful blond haired man, even his name. He had refused to answer what he was doing in the morgue or what information he had extracted from Cole’s cortical implant, in fact remaining completely silent through the entire interrogation session.

Escobar sauntered over to Nog, who was seated at the table in center of the cellblock, attempting to decrypt the data storage device the sentry had used. The engineer had been applying various tools to the device while it was attached to several cords connecting the device to a miniature computer console. “Any luck?” Escobar asked him.

“No real progress yet,” Nog said with a frustrated sigh. “I break one level of encryptions and the next one becomes harder to break. One thing we can be sure of is that all the data on it is still intact.”

“Well, the captain wants us to keep at it,” Escobar reminded him. “Hopefully, there’ll eventually be some way to break through.”

“Highly unlikely,” the sentry chimed in. “You don’t think others have tried what you’re attempting? Many have attempted to expose us to the outside world. All of them have failed because we’re always three steps ahead of them.”

Escobar scoffed, both annoyed and amused that his detainee chose to speak now. “Hey, shut up!” he snapped at the prisoner.

“‘Shut up’?” the sentry repeated. “Just a few moments ago, you were bombarding me with questions. And now you want me to shut up? Make up your mind.”

“I’ll keep trying,” Nog said without acknowledging the prisoner, “but it seems hopeless. We can’t decrypt the storage device and we won’t get anything out of him.”

“It’s all we can do to prevent a war,” Escobar reiterated.

“That still doesn’t seem possible,” the sentry taunted. “Maybe you should give up.”

Escobar rolled his eyes while continuing not to look in the direction of the incarcerated man’s cell. “Not on your life,” he said as he headed for the office.

###

Captain Kira and Lieutenant Dax were reviewing status reports when a communications chime sounded on the main Ops console. Dax set the padd in her hands aside to see who was hailing. Kira perched the padd she studying on the edge of the console, waiting to hear from Ezri who was calling.

“Captain, incoming message from Starbase 375,” Dax reported.

“That’s where Admiral Ross is stationed,” Kira remarked. “Isn’t he on the Cerebrus leading the invasion fleet at Tezwa?”

“He was,” Dax confirmed, “but there’s been no word on what’s happened there.” She took a quick glance back at the hailing indicator on her panel and added, “This hail is being relayed from the Starship Victory.”

“Admiral T’Nera’s transport? Why could she be calling?”

“Probably not a holiday greeting,” Dax offered, joking about how little the Vulcan deputy chief of Starfleet Intelligence socialized with colleagues.

“Put it on screen,” Kira commanded.

The image of a Vulcan woman dressed in a Starfleet admiral’s uniform appeared on the main viewscreen. Her hair was longer than those of most Vulcans, enough to cover her pointed ears. Her apathetic demeanor, the impassive tone in which she spoke, and her slanted eyebrows were sufficient clues, though to anyone who knew of her that she was Vulcan.

“Admiral, this is a pleasant surprise,” Kira continued, trying not to look worried that someone in Starfleet Command learned of her crews’ efforts to find out some of Section 31’s well-guarded secrets.

“Captain Kira,” the admiral said, rather pointedly, “what is your status?”

“Everything’s status quo right now. We’re just tying up a few loose ends regarding the Defiant’s most recent mission. We also have the Sword of Kahless and Gorkon undergoing repairs. Chancellor Martok and Commander Vaughn remain in critical condition, but both should make a full recovery. The details are outlined in Doctor Bashir’s reports to Starfleet Medical and the Klingon Ministry of Health.”

“That is very good news,” T’Nera indifferently answered. “Meanwhile, it has come to my attention that someone on your station has been attempting to break into classified Starfleet Intelligence files.”

Kira shot a somewhat nonplussed glance at Dax, who also appeared equally baffled. “I was not aware of this,” she unflinchingly declared.

“After your recent communiqué with the President,” the admiral replied, “he and the Joint Chiefs had concerns that you and your staff would attempt to investigate involvement of certain ‘rogue elements’ within the Federation in recent events at Tezwa and Nimbus Three. We will have to determine whether or not you or anyone on your crew authorized such an investigation. However, it is now my duty to inform you that you and your crew are under orders not to engage in any such investigation.”

The timing of that directive seems rather convenient, Kira mused. She continued, however, trying not to give off any hints of guilt such as dilated pupils or holding her mouth open agape. “For what reason?” she curiously inquired.

“I have none to give you, nor do I have any intention of divulging one. I am simply acting on orders from the Joint Chiefs. Furthermore, I will be arriving at the station within three hours to investigate this recent breach of security. It is in your own best interests to cooperate, Captain.”

Kira and Dax quickly exchanged confused glances, both of them similarly curious as to what T’Nera’s investigation would involve and whether they and the rest of their crew would be implicated in illegal activities. “Of course,” Kira deferently agreed. “If you don’t mind my asking, where is Admiral Ross?”

“Admiral Ross is in custody pending court martial. Rather than go forward with the invasion, he has submitted himself for arrest for his role in recent extralegal affairs. See you in three hours, Captain.”

The transmission quickly ended, leaving Kira to mull over what sorts of “extralegal affairs” had seriously jeopardized one of Starfleet’s most decorated Dominion War tacticians. Were she not Vulcan, T’Nera’s last words before signing could have construed as a taunt that other distinguished war heroes would soon meet their downfalls should they refuse to cooperate with the upcoming investigation.
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