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Old May 6 2013, 03:23 AM   #75
Rear Admiral
Re: Dark Territory: Shadow Puppets (Revised)


It seems you're the President of the Volok Fan Club .

I want to thank our fellow UT writers from Full Speed Ahead for the use of Starfleet Intelligence operative Giellun Tei.

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Merria Cosmopolis

Quaestor Helveid entered the room, reluctance evident in his gait and on his face. High Commissioner Selene McCall sprang from her chair, not giving the Romulan lawman a chance to speak. “I demand to see Lt. Commander Meldin at once!”

The man put up his hands, either by design or coincidentally approximating the human gesture for haplessness. “I do not have that authority,” he conceded.

“Then why are you here!” She snorted, crossing her arms as she planted her feet.

“I came to inform you that the Federation Council has been contacted,” the constable began, but McCall cut him off.

“That’s something I could’ve done, if I had been allowed access to a communications console!” She snarled. “But your fascist friend Vorot has confined me to this cage!”

“This isn’t a cell,” the man looked around at McCall’s spacious, well-furnished quarters. “This is the room that was assigned you during your stay.”

“A gilded cage is still a cage,” McCall riposted. “And I distinctly recall armed guards not being posted at my door.”

Helveid shook his head and gave her a small smile, “The reach of our security forces was perhaps a bit longer before this murder investigation, but believe me, you were always within our reach.”

“Murder investigation?” McCall questioned, “Feh! This is a railroad job!”

“Railroad? I don’t understand,” Helveid looked at her sidelong. “Please elaborate.”

“I will do no such thing!” the woman huffed. She knew she was acting unseemly, and extremely undiplomatic. Her behavior was playing right into the Romulans’ hands, but Selene couldn’t help herself. She was concerned about Meldin and nervous about her own prospects. And Selene preferred lashing out to cowering in fear.

“We have received word. Starfleet has dispatched a starship that will escort you back to Federation space. Major Vorot had deemed that you were not involved in the murder of Commissioner Morah.”

McCall squelched her inner sigh. She didn’t want the Romulan to see her secret relief. “And what of Lt. Commander Meldin?”

“He remains a person of interest,” Helveid replied. “And he will remain in our custody.” Veins throbbed in Selene’s temples. She could feel herself becoming apoplectic.

“That is not acceptable!” She bellowed, pushing past Helveid. “I demand to see Vorot right now and if I have to barrel through an entire phalanx of Romulan marines, nothing is going to stop me!”

With surprising fluidity, the Romulan slid around her and in front of her. He placed strong hands around her biceps, his fingers clamping into her flesh with surprising strength. She yelped in pain before kicking the man.

Helveid grunted, but held firm. “For your own safety, not to mention galactic diplomacy, I advise you not to pursue this course of action,” his voice was infuriatingly steady.

“Screw galactic diplomacy,” Selene ripped back, “I want to see….” McCall stopped as both she and Helveid heard the thunderous noise at the same time. He released her as deep worry dawned on his face. Seconds later the floor beneath them trembled and the walls rattled.

“What is that?” Selene asked. “What’s happening?” She looked around, frightened as the walls began to buckle and floor beneath her started to give way.

Helveid didn’t answer. Instead he rushed to door. He had almost made it before it blew off its hinges, meeting him instead. McCall screamed as the man was flung into her, their bodies becoming a tangle of limbs, pushed on by the mangled metal door. Before McCall could fully grasp what was happening, the mass slammed against a wall.

She heard the crack, felt the buzz saw of pain, saw an intense white light, and then nothing more.
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USS Rushmore
Chief Engineer’s Quarters

“Torkill, this is a surprise,” Lt. Commander Miranda Drake put on her most pleasant expression. Truthfully she really didn’t want to see anyone right now, least of all someone as suspicious and perceptive as her Fenarian paramour. The meeting with Dylan had taken more out of her than she cared to admit.

The muscular Security Officer was sitting on the edge of her couch. He was dressed in civilian clothes, a rustic brown leather sleeveless vest with black breeches. Off duty, Torkill preferred to go barefoot. In one paw he clutched a glowing orange cup of Fenarian Lava Water.

The replicators could never duplicate it so he brought barrels of it from Fenaria. She had allowed him to store one of the barrels at her place. On the old-style vid player facing the couch, an old Earth drama about gladiators was playing quietly.

Torkill had developed a fondness for Miranda’s vids, particularly the historical dramas. He had been surprised at how bloodthirsty human history had once been, compared to Earth’s 24th century evolved sensibilities.

The Fenarian believed that conflict was essential to the improvement of the sentient condition. His views had been the cause of much conflict initially between them after he had joined the crew, and they had some great rows. Miranda’s knee jerk reaction had been to disagree, but she had admitted to herself, and later on to Torkill that deep down she agreed with him. They had begun making love shortly thereafter, with the intensity that they had once brought to their debates.

“Where have you been?” Torkill asked. “It is long after your shift ended.”

“Are you my nanny now?” Miranda said, not hiding her annoyance. “I am the chief engineer aboard a starship, shift times are extremely flexible.”

“But you were out past your normal flexible schedule,” the Fenarian pointed out. He placed the cup of Lava Water on the coffee table in front of him.

“I needed to relax after work so I walked around,” she shrugged.

“I’m here for when you need to relax,” Torkill countered.

“Not in the mood for bruises tonight lover,” Miranda said. She walked past the couch. “See your way out.”

The engineer walked on, into her room. She closed the door behind her. She leaned against the back of the door, her heart beating faster, anticipating that he would follow her. “What’s wrong with you?” The man said, the door muffling his voice slightly.

“I’m tired, I’ll talk to you tomorrow,” she replied.

“Miranda,” he started.

“Tomorrow,” she pressed. Miranda heard the hissing event through the door. Her heart caught in her chest as she thought the Fenarian would demand more of an answer. Instead she heard him huffing and then stomping his way out of her quarters.

The engineer sighed in relief, her entire body sagging. Miranda slid to the floor, seemingly boneless. Placing her head in her hands, she shook her head, “How did I get into this?”

She had lied to the captain-big surprise-about this being the first time Section 31 had activated her. But she wanted to maintain some level of trust with Dylan to bring him successfully into the fold. And Miranda reasoned that the best way to do that was to appear as innocent and put upon as she was prevailing upon him.

His greatest crime had been falling into her arms. Dylan was no saint. He had betrayed his vows, but joining Section 31 was a hell of a price to pay.

Miranda thought the organization was necessary, but it required a certain hardness of feeling that she didn’t think Dylan possessed. She had lain in his bed, wrapped in his arms, and she knew that in his heart the man was a simple horticulturist.

Why he had not gone back to civilian life after the war, Miranda didn’t know. She had urged him to, but he hadn’t listened. If he had heeded her advice, he wouldn’t be in this predicament and she would be putting the screws to whoever the captain was.

Perhaps Nandel and with her record of mental illness, there was fertile ground for manipulation. “Ugh,” she gasped, disgusted with her thoughts. The Halanan was one of the nicest people she knew and one of the best first officers she had ever worked under.

She hated how Section 31 made her see people as chess pieces, to be moved around to achieve some greater purpose. But that was the way the universe was and she would rather be moving the pieces than be one herself.

But still it took a toll on her. Miranda sat alone, for a long time, before she willed herself back to her feet. Her limbs had stiffened. The engineer shook it off before she stepped back into her living room area. She made her way over to her desktop console and activated it.

She tapped in a request, “Samson Glover, retired Admiral, Starfleet,” she muttered.
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Imperial Romulan Cruiser Aidoann
Control Center

The heaves finally overtook Samson when he stepped onto the bridge. Green blood was smeared across the walls and cords of Romulan entrails spilled from ripped open corpses filling the deck. Other dead Romulans were pinioned to their consoles, their sightless eyes trapping the violent terror of their deaths for eternity.

Above and beside them, bloodstained Remans maintained the ships systems oblivious to the abattoir. Oallea sat comfortably in the central command chair, a literal throne of blood. It amazed Glover to see how quickly the Reman had seemed to grow in stature, from a shriveled slave to formidable ship’s master.

Ousanas propped the Samson up from falling into the ocean of gore. He steadied him until the convulsions subsided. He hadn’t been fed in so long that there was nothing to eject from his stomach. “Was this necessary?” Samson asked, after he found his voice again. The two men carefully waded through the carnage.

“I know something of Earth history,” Oallea said, “and that of the humans of your phenotype. I know that many of your skin color also labored under the yoke of oppression and that there were many rebellions. This is no different. And it is a result of the violence that we have borne for centuries.”

“I don’t need anyone, least of all you telling me the history of my own people,” Samson said hotly, though the charge had rattled him. “And I won’t allow you to cloak what you have allowed to happen here within a tragic period on my planet.”

“So be it,” Oallea shrugged, “but despite your protestations I am certain there is some part of you that understands the reason for this fury even if historical remove can’t allow you to condone it.”

The former admiral couldn’t hold the man’s gaze. On some level he knew that the Reman was correct. He couldn’t really truly conceive of the horrors that had been visited upon his ancestors, but hadn’t he just a short while ago thundered from their cell, ready to exact vengeance upon the Romulans who had captured them and tortured Daneeka?

But he hadn’t found any alive. The Remans had efficiently butchered their oppressors. And it had reminded Samson brutally of the true end result of such vengeful thoughts. “Have your soldiers recovered any of personal effects?” Ousanas said, and Glover was glad for the shift in conversation. The Reman’s words had turned Samson down some dark corners.

“Why are you speaking to the captain Romulan?” A beefy Romulan bellowed from an aft console. “Your head should be mounted on a pike along with the rest of your accursed kind!” A chorus of agreement rumbled through the bridge. Samson’s blood curdled as the wraith-like beings stirred from their stations. Instinctively he moved in front of his old comrade.

“The Romulan's life is mine to take…or preserve,” Oallea said authoritatively, silencing the mob. “And he lives for now.”

“Our belongings,” Ousanas pressed.

“Will remain under safe keeping,” Oallea would not be budged. “Until we reach our new destination.”

“Where are you taking us?” Samson demanded. Oallea shifted his eyes forward to the main viewer. Without even looking at them, the Reman said.

“I had the Bolian moved. Perhaps you should retire to the medical station to check on the condition of your compatriot.” It wasn’t a request.
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