7th April, 2631
Doctor Malok was dead.
Standing in the shattered remains of Jasto Dax' quarters down on Deck 9, Prin Ly'et could only shake her head. Two security guards dead, along with the ship's chief medical officer. All of them killed by an unknown assailant who had seemingly escaped without a trace.
How had this happened?
Three murders in the space of half an hour. And two officers left in some kind of self-induced coma she only barely understood.
When she had left the bridge, Prin had been sure that Jasto had been behind whatever had happened, or rather the former Dax host Jasto had claimed was able to take control of his body. Instead, it seemed that Jasto had been a victim here. As she had arrived at his quarters, a group of medics had been rushing Jasto and Ensign Q'sar off to sickbay.
Leaving her without a navigator as well as a CMO.
"The causes of death are different," Vareen said from her place next to Malok's body. "Ensign Chin seems to have received a fatal dose from a poison administered by that hypo." She pointed one chitinous limb at a gleaming medical hypospray lying next to the young human officer. "Ensign Varta was killed by a phaser blast. Ensign Chin's phaser is missing."
"And the doctor?"
"He has multiple contusions to the groin, temple and chest. The cause of death appear to be a broken neck."
Prin swallowed. "You mean to tell me that whoever did this to him did it with their bare hands?"
Vareen emitted a clicking sound that Prin took to indicate assent. "A formidable opponent."
Who, though? That was the question no one had been able to answer yet.
"Do you have any idea who did this?"
"Not yet. However, I cannot imagine they will get very far. We are in a closed environment, sir. There are only so many places they can hide."
"What are you doing to track them?"
"I was about to run a sensor sweep for Ensign Chin's phaser. If the assailant still has it with him or her, we should be able to locate them."
Unless he or she has thrown it down the nearest refuse chute
. Prin waved a hand, though, indicating that Vareen should continue with her search. The insectine Xindi stood, towering over Prin, the antennae on her head brushing the ceiling. Her two compound eyes glowed silver, a sign Prin had learned to recognise as excitement.
Without waiting for further orders, Vareen darted over to the ruins of the room's single desk. Using her raptorial legs, she lifted a small personal computer out of the shards of plast, setting it on the bed. Two smaller limbs located just below began to manipulate the controls, bringing up a search pattern.
While Vareen began her search for the missing phaser, Prin looked around at Dax's quarters. She had not been down to see the former Ops officer since he had been relieved of duty. Now she berated herself for that lack. She knew that Doctor Malok had been looking into alternative ways to help him, other than drugs, but she did not have a clear idea of what that entailed. As much as she tried to tell herself that she had been busy - with the mission, with the situation with Kalara, with the battle they had only just escaped from - she could not help but feel guilty. As if her presence might have changed the fate of the five officers caught up in this dark event.
A series of clicks brought her attention back to Vareen. The security officer shook her head from side to side, making a buzzing sound.
"What is it?"
"The murderer... They knew what I would do. The phaser, Ensign Chin's phaser, is right over there."
She pointed a forelimb at Ensign Varta. Prin studied the dead Romulan for a moment and then shook her head.
"He or she switched the phasers. Run a search for Ensign Varta's phaser."
"I am. I have also located the recording from the cabin's holo. I am accessing the minutes before the phaser fire."
Prin moved over to join Vareen in front of the small screen. Within moments, a view of the very room they were in appeared. Prin frowned. She saw Jasto and Q'sar in one corner, facing one another, each of them with a hand on the other's face. Stood in the doorway was Doctor Malok and between them...
Prin knew very little about the human doctor. He had made little impression on her during her time in sickbay when she first came onboard. What was he doing in Dax's cabin? More importantly, where was he now?
Vareen seemed to be thinking along the same lines. "Computer, located Doctor Keene."
"Unable to comply."
Prin frowned and tapped her comm badge. "Prin to bridge."
"Bridge here, Commander."
"What is happening with the sensors, Lieutenant?"
Barani took a moment to respond. "It looks like one of the last attacks knocked out most of the sensor relays on Decks... 8 through 12. Engineering are on it."
Vareen and Prin shared a glance. Perfect. Their assailant could be anywhere, perhaps with Doctor Keene as a hostage, and they had no way of finding them.
Malok spoke, bringing her attention back to the recording. "Ensign Chin, please join us."
The two security officers stepped into the room, hands on their phasers. Why had Malok felt the need to call them in?
“Is there a problem, doctor?” Chin asked.
“That is what I’m trying to ascertain. I found Doctor Keene administering some unknown compound to my patient.”
An unknown compound? What had Keene been doing? For the first time, Prin wondered whether he could be the assailant.
As she watched Keene try to talk his way out of whatever he had been doing, Prin's suspicions increased. By the time Keene had grabbed Chin and pressed the hypo he had been hiding in his hand against his neck, she was hardly surprised. What the hell was he playing at?
“What do you think you are doing, doctor?” Malok's voice echoed from the display, an eerie sound considering that the doctor himself lay dead only a few feet away.
The next words Keene said send chills running down Prin's spine. “My job, shuvoth'shu.”
"A Klingon insult," Prin said, her eyes glued to the screen, while her memory was replaying a similar recording she had watched over and over mere hours before.
“You heard me, shuvoth'shu," Keene was saying now. "I know what you are, what you’ve done. You’re a traitor to your race, dressed in your white coat like a lamb. I may have filed my fangs to pass amongst these humans, but I still have fangs where it counts. In my warrior’s heart.”
"Prophets have mercy," Prin said. "It was him."
Malok echoed her thoughts. "You betrayed the ship to the Klingons?”
“I betrayed nothing. I gave our people a glorious victory.”
The two argued back and forth for a few more moments, but Prin hardly heard it. She paid minimum attention to the rest of the recording, she could guess what was going to happen. Still, she was taken aback by the sheer ferocity of Keene's - or whatever his real name was - attack. Both of them watched as he killed first Chin, before using the young human's phaser to kill the other guard. A brief scuffle brought Malok down and Prin winced as the sound of the Klingon doctor's neck snapping filled the air.
As Keene left the room, Prin turned to Vareen. "Tell me you were able to trace Ensign Varta's phaser."
"I was, but unless the Doctor is hiding in a depressurised shuttle bay, I think he has disposed of it. I have sent a security team to check."
"And with the sensors out..."
"We have no idea where he may be."
"Find him, Vareen. I don't care if you have to use every hand on this ship. Find him before he kills someone else."
Vareen nodded, her antennae clicking together. "I will, Commander."
"Keep me posted."
As she headed towards the door, Vareen called out to her. "You should take a security detail with you."
"Don't worry, Lieutenant. There is all the security I need where I am headed."
"The brig. I need to have a conversation with one of the prisoners." As well as an apology. It looked like Ianto had been right.
Prin had hardly taken a few steps out into the corridor, though, when her comm badge chirped.
"Commander, Engineering. I... I think you should come down here."
"Can it wait? I know the repairs are important, but there are-"
"This isn't to do with the repairs, sir. It has to do with Commander Kane. He's alive."