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Old March 24 2013, 09:23 PM   #43
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Shadow Puppets (Revised)

Hey guys,

As always thanks for reading and your comments. It's been a while since my last post and I hope the interest hasn't died completely for this story. I've recently been caught up with moving and other things so it's hard getting back into it. One way I want to do that is make this part one and start a part two to help me get this back on track. I hope you like the close of part one.

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Merria Cosmopolis

Quaestor Helveid frowned as Major Vorot ripped back the sheet, exposing the naked corpse. Meldin noticed Commissioner turning a very Romulanesque shade of green as she clutched her stomach and turned away from the dead body.

“Was that necessary?” Lt. Commander Meldin snapped. He would rather give into his anger than his uneasiness at the moment. And he wasn’t certain what riled him more at the moment, the deathly gray, shrunken pallor of a woman he could’ve considered a friend under different circumstances, or the second violation to her person, this time at the hands of the major.

With the edge of the blue plastic sheet bundled in her gloved hands, the unfazed Vorot replied, “You both expressed some doubt…mortification at the news I delivered. Do you believe me now?”

“The mortification has doubled I think,” Helveid said, starring honor blades at the woman. “And is more than justified,” he added. Vorot smirked at him before returning to dissect Meldin with her gaze.

“The High Commissioner has reacted as I would suspect for a Terran,” Vorot noted, “but you Commander Meldin, your reaction thus far has been…interesting.” She thankfully recovered Morah’s corpse.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Helveid asked. She ignored him and continued staring at Meldin, her gaze inquisitive and hungry.

“Elaborate,” was all the Benzite gave her. He had faced down every threat from the Xenarth to the Jem’Hadar to the Breen; Meldin wasn’t going to allow the Tal Shiar operative to intimidate him. The woman smiled, up for the challenge. Before she spoke, he added, “Perhaps you should save yourself some time, remove one of your gloves and apply a mind meld.”

The woman’s smile evaporated. “You are from the Mind War division are you not?” Meldin pressed, keeping his face impassive and his voice even. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Helveid recoil slightly. It was apparent that the man hadn’t known what part of the Tal Shiar Vorot had truly come from.

Telepathy had been an atrophied genetic trait among the Romulans, more associated with their reviled Vulcan kin. From what Meldin knew of the Romulans, many felt the touch telepathy still practiced by their Vulcan cousins was a violation of the highest sort. It was that revulsion that made Vorot and other Romulan telepaths both desired and leprous.

“What does the Mind War division have to do with this?” Helveid demanded. The major ignored him.

“You continue to intrigue me,” Vorot said, nodding triumphantly. “I am certain you are the one she was seeking.”

“What are you talking about?” McCall asked, color starting to return to her face. “Mr. Meldin explain?”

“It appears that Commissioner Morah was in league with terrorists,” Vorot said, drawing stunned silence from her audience. “She had been under surveillance for months. We suspected that she had information about an imminent attack, something massive…”

“Terrorism? Morah?” Meldin asked, not believing it. That didn’t seem at all like the woman who had quasi-flirted with him mere hours ago. Then again, there were some, even among his own kind, who were masters of deception.

“Mr. Meldin, tell me what you know about the Benzite partisan movement?” Vorot asked. Meldin’s forehead furrowed at the mention of the resistance movement that had sought to end the Romulan occupation through violent means. What tie would Morah have to them?

“Don’t answer that question Mr. Meldin!” Commissioner McCall snapped. “I will not be pulled into another Romulan intrigue and neither will you!”

“I’m sorry but the time for games is over,” the major replied. “A serious crime has been committed, and a potential terrorist attack hangs in the balance. We don’t have time for any more niceties.”

As if on cue, several hulking imperial marines burst into the room, their disruptor rifles at the ready. Meldin wasn’t sure if they pushed Helveid out of the way or if the insignificant man merely faded into the background. Meldin’s muscles tensed as he calculated his odds against the crack Tal Shava unit.

He might be able to take a couple of them before being cut down, but the security officer held back, afraid that any such action might result in collateral damage, namely High Commissioner McCall. He knew the best way to adhere to his duty, which was keeping Commissioner McCall safe, was to do nothing. He was going to have to ride this one out and see how best to turn things to his advantage once the human was out of harm’s way.

“Lt. Commander Meldin, Starfleet, I am charging you with the murder of Commissioner Morah, Election Integrity Commission.” The Tal Shiar agent said, with mock formality. “You will tell me why you murdered the commissioner. Did she have second thoughts? Did she develop a conscience?” As she peppered him with insane questions, the marines slowly advanced.

“This is outrageous!” To her credit, McCall found her courage. She stepped in front of Meldin, her finger wagging at the nearest marine. “You lay one hand on him and it’s an intergalactic incident!”

The lead marine scowled but didn’t take a step closer. The others also stopped. Major Vorot merely smiled. “Your reasoning would be the case if Benzar was an independent planet or a member of the Star Empire, but it remains a member of the Federation, and Starfleet officers are subject to the laws of planetary members.”

McCall paled. Meldin swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat. “We are merely assisting the Benzites with their interrogation.” The major’s demeanor was the voice of probity.

Before either McCall or Meldin could rejoin, Vorot snapped, “Now, take him away!”
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