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Old April 15 2013, 12:28 AM   #62
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Shadow Puppets (Revised)

Thanks a lot CeJay,

I thought using the holodeck could be an interesting way to tell Nandel's backstory without resorting to using a lot of exposition or a dialogue between some of the Rushmore character's or having Nandel just reflect on it. I've done all that before, and in fact, within this story so I wanted to do things a little differently in this instance. Plus it allows me to return to Terrence on the Cuffe (which is my favorite story period for him, so thanks for adding him to God Particle) and the Dominion War a little bit.

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USS Rushmore
Recreation Room

Lt. Torkill threw up his hands in triumph, bellowing in victory. He crushed the hand of the racquet in his hands as he looked down at his opponent, crumpled on the floor. “Too much for you eh, Mr. Jonda?” He laughed.

The Catullan rubbed his chest with one hand, while holding up a single finger with the other. His racquet lay far away from him, as if he had tossed it in complete abjection at his defeat. “One…minute,” the man wheezed, “Need…to…catch…catch…”

Torkill had already turned from him. His silver eyes scoured the rest of the denizens in the rec room. Some of the ones who had been paying attention had startled looks on their faces, others quickly turned away from him.

Sometimes Torkill thought that his fellow Federation citizens were a soft-kneed bunch. If they couldn’t handle a Terran game, there was no way they could survive a game from his planet. For those, he used a holodeck program.

He had hoped to do so tonight, but Commander Nandel was using it. So he decided to work out his frustrations in a far more natural way. And he had to admit, a satisfying one. He had already sent Lt. Daley to Sickbay, the woman claiming to have turned her ankle after Torkill had knocked her to the ground while pursuing the ball, and now it appeared that another patient would be checking in soon.

“Are you alright?” The Fenarian’s ears twitched at the familiar voice and his nostrils wrinkled at the memorable stench. Without gazing at the Chief Medical Officer, Torkill pointed with his racquet behind him, in the downed man’s direction. “Lt. Jonda is over there.”

“I’m not talking about him,” Dr. Zammit replied, angling to get in front of Torkill. He glared down at the smaller Bzzit Khaht, a hiss escaping his lips. On his homeworld such a gesture by another would be considered a challenge that merited a lethal response.

Torkill reined in his natural impulses. “What are you implying Doctor?” He brusquely asked.

“I’m not implying anything,” Zammit held his ground. “Why do you think I am implying something? There something you want to share?”

“I am down here, just playing racquetball,” Torkill said, holding up the battered racquet. He suddenly felt defensive, on the spot, and his anger began to simmer.

“No, you’re down here, hurting people, on purpose,” Zammit charged.

“Are you accusing me of assaulting my colleagues?” Torkill roared.

“Yes,” Zammit’s yellow eyes were as hard as latinum orbs. The Fenarian was impressed at the man’s courage.

“I am simply playing a game, and if weaker beings can’t handle it,” Torkill shrugged his broad shoulders.

“Is that it huh?” Zammit said, past Torkill. The Fenarian turned around. A nurse was attending Jonda. The Catullan was now sitting upright. The Algolian nurse was waving a medial tricorder over his chest.

The tall Algolian looked up, a scowl on his elongated face, “Lt. Jonda has suffered a severe chest sprain?”

“Just from a teeny ball?” Torkill was incredulous, “And I thought Catullans were made of stronger stuff.”

The amiable Jonda tried to laugh and winced. The nurse’s scowl deepened. “So you think it’s all just fun and games Mr. Torkill?” The doctor walked past him. He directed the nurse to take Lt. Jonda to Sickbay. Then he picked up the man’s abandoned racquet.

Torkill flashed two rows of teeth. “Are you picking up the fallen standard?” He mocked, disbelieving.

“My staff can take care of Mr. Jonda, and I have yet to have my daily exercise,” Zammit said, one edge of his mouth inching up in a smile. “Now let’s see how well you do against me.”
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USS Rushmore
Captain’s Quarters

“You’re not joking?” Captain North couldn’t believe the words Miranda had just spoken. The engineer leaned back on the sofa, throwing her boots up on his coffee table.

“I want you to leave the Memorial immediately and head toward the coordinates I’ve just supplied you,” Drake said. Just from entering his quarters until right now the woman’s entire persona had changed. A chill emanated from the woman and Dylan shivered. She wasn’t the same person that had been his friend for years and only recently had begun sharing his bed. It was like he had been sleeping with a stranger. All pretenses had been dropped and there was a cruel set to her features that had never been there before.


“That is no concern of yours,” the engineer replied. “Do it, and after this is complete, I will request reassignment and you’ll never see me again.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Believe me, its best that you don’t know more than what I’ve told you.” Drake slid her feet back to the floor and quickly hopped out of the seat. She planted both hands almost to the opposing edges of his desk and leaned close to him. At least her scent hadn’t changed. For a second, he saw a glimmer of the old compassion in her blue eyes. “Dylan, I didn’t intend for things to turn out this way, believe me I didn’t. But I have my orders, and a mission to carry out. I would rather do that with no painful revelations…or worse, but I have my orders.”

“Who gave you these orders?”

Drake sighed. “I can’t say.”

“Well then, I’m not moving anywhere then.” He sat back and folded his arms. They shared the same couch but were galaxies away from each other. “Not until you tell me what this is really all about.”

Miranda sighed more loudly. “Damn it Dylan, why do you have to be so stubborn? But time is of the essence. I want you know that my superior is not going to be pleased.” She replied. She walked around to his side of the desk, and used her hip to bump him to the side. She quickly activated his desktop computer. When the screen shifted from the UFP emblem to a shadowy figure, Miranda glanced back and him and whispered, “I’m sorry.”

On the small screen a stout, Andorian female, with an admiral’s bar adorning her collar, glowered at them both before leaning forward. “Captain Dylan North,” she rasped, “Welcome to Section 31.”
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