- III -
“Are you quite sure about this?” said Alex Clancy as he stood outside the cargo bay doors, looking over the team of eight security officers in the corridor who besides wearing their standard sidearms also carried phaser rifles at the ready.
“You said we need to put on a show,” said Nora, also armed with a hand phaser but sans rifle.
“I didn’t say to prepare for battle with the Dominion.”
“Trust me, I’ve been a Marine,” she said. “There is nothing they understand better than a show of force.”
“Honestly, that’s what got me worried.”
She gave him a smirk. “You can always wait out here.”
He seemed to consider this for just a second but then shook her head. “The whole idea is to measure their reactions. I need to see this.”
“And you’re sure you don’t want a weapon?”
He shook his head again. “I’m playing the good cop.”
“Right,” she said and then turned to her men. “Let’s go.”
The heavy doors opened in front of them and the team stepped into the cargo bay which had been modified to serve as a combined parade ground and exercise facility for the Marines unit which had been stationed on Eagle
ever since the early days of the war. At the moment a group of about twenty Marines were in the middle of a calisthenics program combining hand-to-hand sparring with multiple other exercises. Nora recognized those drills from her days in the Marines.
The sudden appearance of over half a dozen heavily armed security guards had the intended effect and everyone in the cargo bay immediately stopped what they were doing and turned to the approaching Starfleet team with Nora confidently leading the way, Clancy by her side.
The Bajoran didn’t miss that quite a few of the Marines tensed up noticeably. None of them were currently armed, most weren’t even wearing combat gear but she understood well that these people prided themselves on the fact that they were always ready for battle, regardless the circumstances and would have fought naked if they had to. And every single one of them was a formidable fighter. Together they not only outnumbered her security detail, she knew they’d be more than a challenge even as unarmed as they were.
Yunta Fey was among those who was participating in the exercises and judging by her expression she knew they were here for her. To her credit she held her ground even while her fellow Marines closed in around her as if to shield her from an approaching enemy.
Nora smirked inwardly. She hadn’t expected anything less.
She and her team came to a stop just a few meters away from the main bulk of about twenty Marines. Nora had told her men not to point their weapons. Marines were well trained and disciplined. She was fairly sure they wouldn’t initiate a conflict but there was no reason to take chances.
“Lance Corporal Yunta Fey,” she called out.
For a moment silence was her only response. Yunta was hidden among her peers and the hardened Marines simply stared at Nora and her men as if to bait them to make the first move. After all there wasn’t a great love lost between Starfleet Security and the Marines. Sure, they both answered to the same Commander-in-Chief but other than that both saw each other as entirely different animals and usually more competent than the other. Nora, having been on both sides knew the arguments well. The Marines considered Starfleet Security as a wannabe army, not nearly well enough trained or equipped to protect the Federation from the dangers it faced while Security thought of the Marines as hammers who saw every problem as a nail needing to be pounded into submission. Nora knew they were both half-right.
The silence was beginning to become uncomfortable when Yunta finally appeared from within her protective cocoon, apparently unhappy to hide herself away like a scared animal any longer. “I’m here.”
“You are under arrest,” Nora said.
“On what charges?”
The question had not been posed by Yunta but by Major Caesar Wasco who had slipped into the room through a side door and was now approaching the standoff with long strides. “I thought we had reached an understanding,” he said once he had closed in on Nora, the veteran Marine seemingly unimpressed by the armed detail backing her up.
“That was before new evidence came to light,” said Clancy.
Wasco considered the man. “What evidence.”
“I think this is hardly the place to discuss this.”
“Agreed,” said the major. “But I’m not sure what you’re trying to accomplish with this display here. It is entirely unwarranted.”
But Nora kept her eyes on her fellow Bajoran. “We have already witnessed the corporal’s temperament once before. I’m not taking any chances this time.”
Yunta took a step forward and offered a smirk. “So you are afraid you can’t take me a second time, is that it, Lieutenant?”
“Attention!” Wasco barked and every single Marine, including Yunta snapped to instantly. Then he turned back towards the security chief. “You still haven’t told us the charges, Lieutenant.”
Nora’s eyes remained on her suspect. She stood perfectly still and at attention now but she could see the restlessness brewing under the surface. She had to fight herself to remain settled. She knew the feeling all to well. “Conspiracy to commit murder and suspicion of murder in the first degree,” she said and then gestured for her people to step forward causing the Marines to tense again. “Now, will you be coming with us or are we going to have a problem?”
“Marines, stand down,” Wasco said and once again they responded to his commands straight away. “There will be no problems here. Corporal, you will accompany these people and cooperate in every way, understood?”
Nora nodded with satisfaction and watched as two of her people put restraints on Yunta.
Wasco in the meantime stepped closer to his security counterpart. “I really hope you know what you’re doing, Lieutenant,” he said barely loud enough to be a whisper. “If this turns out to be nothing more than a witch hunt, we’ll be having some serious words.”
Nora nodded sharply. “Noted, Major,” she said and turned around as the team escorted Yunta Fey out of the cargo bay.