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Old April 26 2013, 11:37 PM   #65
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Shadow Puppets (Revised)

Sorry I've been away so long, but real world stuff and then a bout of writer's block got in the way.

Thanks for the last comments. I did want to keep the idea of a morally compromised captain and the affair from the previous version of this story. I enjoyed that part of the old story a lot so I wanted to retain it.

Though there were many things about the old story that I didn't like-which I guess is kind of obvious since I'm rewriting it (duh, I know right?)-but anyway, one of the things I think the old story got a bit away from was the focus on Samson, Ousanas, and Daneeka. The following passage was my way of trying to remind myself of that.

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Imperial Romulan Cruiser Aidoann

Samson Glover stood up, his knees creaking as much from disuse as age when he heard loud, insistent footfalls in the hallway, heading toward the cell.

Whatever was about to happen, the former admiral wanted to face it standing. He flicked his eyes in Ousanas’s direction. The older Romulan continued to look dejected, staring off into space, not even meeting his gaze. Concern and disgust roiled in Samson’s gut.

He had never seen the hardy, resourceful Romulan so disconsolate. Part of him wanted to wrap his arm around his shoulder and prop him up with words or by just being there. Another part of him wanted to give the man a good swift kick.

While they were literally in the belly of the beast, now was certainly not the best time to flake out. Before Samson could call to his old friend, the door opened and a beaming Gakket strode in, followed by a younger woman quick on his heels. Samson never could’ve imagined that such a handsome face could be so evilly contorted.

Behind them shambled two Remans, each holding a limp, unconscious Daneeka by her arms. Samson gasped, his heart catching in his throat at the one’s bruised and torn body. Thin drops of blood trailed her dragging feet.

Glover heard a rustling behind him, and then spoke with a voice as forbidding as the Vulcan Forge, “You are going to pay for that Centurion.” It was Dar. Samson’s chest swelled even as his heart continued to break at Daneeka’s condition.

“Drop her,” Gakket ordered and the Remans complied, tossing the woman like a sack of laundry onto the floor. The woman didn’t move, and Glover couldn’t tell if she was still breathing. Both Samson and Ousanas advanced on the prideful Romulan. Gakket held his ground. A determined cast settled over the woman’s features, her muscles tensing, preparing for attack. But neither pulled the disruptors at their hips.

It was his Reman guards who pulled their sidearms, each aimed at the Starfleet officers. Dar placed a hand on Samson’s shoulder stopping him from continuing. The ex-admiral thought about shoving it away, but then realized such a gesture would be futile, even if it would feel good doing so. He could never reach the centurion in time before the Remans opened fire.

“Let’s not pretend that I don’t control everything and everyone on this scow,” Gakket crowed. “The traitor understands that Admiral Glover, and soon so shall you.” Samson noticed that Gakket’s aide, a lieutenant by her rank insignia, was not enjoying this exercise of power as much as the centurion was, or probably hoped she would be. Perhaps the brutality Gakket had visited upon Daneeka had curdled her blood too? Maybe it had created a fissure that the admiral could take advantage of at some future date, the thought flittered through his mind.

Gakket motioned and the Remans stepped around him, their weapons still trained on Samson and Dar. “You know Admiral,” Gakket prattled on, “Your Bolian told me all that I needed to know,” he chuckled as Samson’s blood ran cold. “I know the exact nature of the weapon, and I understand now why Commander Volok kept it from me,” he nodded, his smile widening as his eyes took on an infernal glint.

“Such power, such beautiful destruction,” His voice filled with demented wonderment. “We could return your Earth to its Stone Age in a matter of hours, without losing the thousands of soldiers and ships a proper invasion would take, and also without provoking retaliation from the other Federation worlds. They would all tremble at our new weapon!”

“You don’t know what you are dealing with Gakket,” Dar warned, “None of us do.”

The centurion snorted. “I should vaporize you right now traitor, but I am certain that some senator would reward me handsomely for you. Perhaps they’ll put you in a cage to put on display in one of their manses.” The arrogant man laughed. No one else joined in.

“No, death is too good for an oallea like you,” he spat. “And speaking of bugs, Oallea, why haven’t you taken the human into custody yet?”

Samson thought about resisting as the two Remans rushed to grab him, each locking vise like grips onto his biceps. But he could tell from their grasps that he didn’t have the strength to make much of an impact. He just hoped he could hold out longer than Daneeka did, though he doubted it. Daneeka was far younger and in much better shape than he.

Instead he steeled himself. He wouldn’t give the insolent Romulan the satisfaction of seeing any trepidation.

Sensing movement to his side, Samson spoke without looking, “Don’t Ousanas.”

“Samson,” Ousanas’s plea was low in his throat, the tone dangerous. He was glad that Dar was sounding more alive, even if a bit unhinged.

“Gakket will have his comeuppance,” Samson said, glaring at the centurion. Gakket threw back his head and guffawed.

“You humans have such imaginations,” Gakket said. “Once I deliver this Iconian weapon to the Tal Shiar, you won’t see me again, but your precious Earth will: at the head of an invading armada.”

“Sir,” the lieutenant interjected, and a flash of annoyance shot across Gakket’s face. “We are supposed to bring the prisoners and the device back to Benzar, to Commander Volok.”

He rounded on the woman and struck her. She fell to the deck and Samson strained futilely against the Remans restraining him. Oblivious to Glover’s useless struggle, Gakket loomed over the downed woman as she struggled to get back to her feet.

“Never interrupt me again Didia,” the centurion warned. He kicked the woman savagely in the gut, knocking her back down to the ground. She crumpled with a pained exhalation. Still hanging over her, Gakket brayed, “The Tal Diann doesn’t have half the power and prestige of the Tal Shiar. This is finally my way in and beyond. If you stick with me, and remember your place, you will ascend at my side.”

He turned away from her before she could answer. Samson saw a brief well of hatred in the woman’s eyes as she got to her knees. Pull your disruptor, the admiral mentally pleaded, wishing he were Betazoid. End this sack of space garbage right now.

“Now, where were we?” Gakket asked as he casually tugged down his tunic and rolled his shoulders. He was comfortable in the role of bully, and it didn’t really matter who his victim was, human, Bolian, Reman, or Romulan. All he needed was someone he could lord it over, someone he could terrorize.

Unable to control himself, Samson spat in the man’s face. His confident demeanor vanished in a nanosecond. Gakket lunged at Glover, murder in his eyes. Instinctively, Samson shrank back, and then he felt himself being thrown backward.

He slammed into Dar, both men grunting at the collision. While still getting his bearings, he saw a white whir and then heard quick movement. Steadied by Ousanas, Samson turned back to see that the Remans were now aiming their weapons at Gakket.

“What are you doing?” He snarled at them. “I’ll have you flogged until you beg for death!” He roared.

“No,” the one called Oallea said. He aimed his gun downward. A green spout of energy consumed Gakket’s left leg a second later. The man fell to the ground, howling with pain, spewing invectives. Both Remans sidestepped him easily.

“What have you done?” Lt. Didia screamed, though her expression was a mixture of fear and relief. The second Reman shot her without answering, his disruptor bolt punching cleanly through her skull. The dead woman fell on top of the still shrieking Gakket, causing the centurion to wail even louder.

Seeming immune to the man’s anguish, Oallea turned to Glover. He gave a small bow. “Our apologies about your colleague,” he said, his voice filled with regret. “There was little we could do until we received the word.”

“The word?” Ousanas said. The man had stepped forward, ready to push Glover behind him if the Remans turned their pistols on them next.

“The partisans,” Oallea explained. “I am part of the resistance. We were expecting the deliverers, but we did not know it was you until Gakket extracted the information from the Bolian.”

“And if we hadn’t been the ones you were expecting?” Glover asked, unable to shackle his anger. How could anyone sit idly by and allow another being to be tortured?

“Just thank whatever gods you believe in that that was not the case,” Oallea curtly replied. He turned his back to the Starfleet officers. Walking past the writhing Gakket, Oallea stopped to kick the man’s head and face. He didn’t stop until there was a sickening crack, and the centurion went silent.

Samson winced, a phantom pain shooting through his own face as he saw the man’s unhinged jaw. Verdant blood poured from the man’s nose and mouth. Oallea bent down to roughly shift the insensate Romulan’s nostrils and mouth away from the growing pool.

“We’re not going to let you go so easily veruul,” Oallea promised. “You have many crimes to pay for.”

“N’Clado’s death will be avenged,” the second Reman declared. Both Samson and Dar took the momentarily interlude to check on Daneeka. The admiral sighed with grateful relief that the feisty Bolian was still among the living, though her breathing sounded ragged. She would need medical attention, the sooner the better.

“So, what now?” Dar asked, looking up from Daneeka.

“We’re going to take this ship,” Oallea said. “You can come with us if you wish,” He offered, though his eyes told them he doubted they would accept.

A bit ashamed of his bloodlust, his need to exact some payback for what the Romulans had done to Daneeka; Samson left the injured woman and stepped forward. He had no doubt that Ousanas would follow. “We’re with you,” Glover declared.
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