Chapter 8 <cont'd>
Lar’ragos drove a high knee into the sternum of one of the hulking Reman, forcing the soldier backwards as the El Aurian slashed out to the side with a knife-hand strike to the escorting centurion’s throat. The gagging arrain stumbled back into the other oncoming Reman soldier, tangling him up for the brief second Lar’ragos needed to get some breathing room.
Lar’ragos vaulted over a nearby console, while kicking out at its operator. He landed awkwardly, fell and rolled beneath another console abutting the outer bulkhead. Having thus unintentionally caged himself, he foot-swept the first Romulan who approached, sending the man crashing to the deck.
An instant later as he tried to clamber out from under the station, a disruptor beam set to stun lanced into his defensive hidey-hole and incapacitated him.
Sub-Commander Chalois holstered her weapon as she gestured for Lar’ragos to be collected and brought to her. A moment later, Lar’ragos knelt before her, held upright by his arms, his head lolling.
“Just what were you hoping to accomplish by that?” she inquired acidly.
Lar’ragos finally began to reassert control over his body, forcing his eyes to focus on the Romulan captain. “See—seemed… like a good… idea… at the time,” he rasped.
“I rescue you and your people, and this is how you repay me?”
“Can’t… can’t let you destroy the Ferou. They’ve done... nothing wrong.”
“They’re a threat!” Chalois shouted. “Their intent is irrelevant. Their mere presence endangers the Alpha Quadrant. You warned them to change course, did you not? You told them there would be trouble ahead.”
Lar’ragos had now recovered sufficiently to raise his head and glare up at Chalois. “If this is how your people intend to conduct themselves out here, then you might as well cast aside our alliance. We won’t have any part of it.”
“Your own people have launched brutal attacks against the incoming aggressor species.”
He nodded. “Yes, against those proven hostile and unwilling to negotiate. We were involved in active negotiations with the Ferou when you ambushed them without provocation.”
Chalois sighed. “Enough of this. Take him back to MedBay. If he resists, kill him.”
“Lar’ragos one-four-nine-zed-zed,” he blurted for no discernible reason.
A computer interface tone chimed softly somewhere on the bridge. ‘Authorization confirmed.’
Lar’ragos ordered, “Stun everyone on the bridge but me.”
There was a near-instantaneous series of greenish flashes and everyone save Lar’ragos crumpled.
He stood slowly and walked across the compartment to kneel down and retrieve his combadge from where he’d placed it beneath the console he'd been hiding under. "Thank you, Mister Shanthi. Very helpful indeed," he murmured.
Shanthi had spent weeks working on the cybernetic-pathogen that had overwritten Vexam’s
programming and given control of the ship over to the registered owner of the combadge. While Europa’s
personnel had assisted Vexam’s
crew with repairs some months earlier, they had covertly mapped the ship’s data pathways, defenses and neural substrate. The invasive program had been loaded into the combadges of all Europa's
senior officers in case of just such an eventuality involving the mercurial Romulans.
On his way to the command chair, Lar'ragos stepped over the unconscious form of Chalois. He looked down at her, a grim smile forming on his lips. "One of these days, people might just stop underestimating Starfleet. I hope not, though."
He glanced up in deference to the omnipresent 'ship.' "Switch all systems over to emergency automation and flood all decks except the main bridge with… what’s the Rihannsu equivalent of anesthazine?”
, the computer replied helpfully.
“Right, flood all other decks with maroptacine and transport all Rihannsu life forms on the bridge to the nearest cargo bay.”
‘Confirmed. Orders executed.’
Lar’ragos lowered himself into the command chair. “Set an intercept course with Europa
and open an encrypted point-to-point comms channel to the ship. I’ll provide the cypher…” he entered the information by hand into the abbreviated console affixed to the command chair.
“Initiate data-mining inquiry. I want to know what additional threats the Rihannsu have planned for the Ferou.”