L'goth, son of Bartok, crouched down and eased his head around the corner.
In a quick glance, he took in the three security officers stood outside the main entrance to the brig. One Klingon, one human, one Ferengi. Ducking back into hiding, he began to calculate rate of approach, points of impact and threat levels of each officer. He had spent too long hiding in the shadows, playing the scared little lamb. It was good to be a warrior again.
Doctor Keene was dead. L'goth was reborn.
After leaving Jasto Dax's quarters, L'goth had fled to the nearest airlock, throwing away the phaser so as to better confuse anyone who might be coming after him. Then he had ducked into a hydroponics bay. Surrounding by plant life, the scent of moist earth and flowers filling his lungs, he had tried to figure out what to do next. His mission had seemed compromised, even impossible. Various scenarios had played through his mind - sabotage the ship, get into the armory and detonate a bomb, get to a communication's relay and try to get a message through to the Laurentii offering them an alliance... None of them had satisfied him. Again and again, his mind had cycled back to the same person.
Kalara. She had been his initial target, the person Lady J'tar had instructed him to replace. Astrid Williams had destroyed any chance of that happening by having Kalara take the fall for the message he had sent to the Klingons. As he had hidden in the hydroponics bay, though, L'goth has slowly realised that his uncovering by Doctor Malok might actually have been a blessing in disguise. If he could get through the next few hours.
L'goth allowed himself another look around the corner. He would need to take out the Ferengi first. Once she was down, the human would be left vulnerable. He could him as a shield against the Klingon. He would need to be fast, though. The ship was still swirling with chaos in the aftermath of the battle, but that would quickly change. He needed to have achieved his objectives before that happened.
Taking a deep breath, L'goth tensed and prepared to attack. The moment before he turned the corner, though, he heard the swish of an opening door.
"... be back in the morning, alright? I'll bring Ianto. He thinks that he will be able to do something to help. You try to sleep, ok?"
L'goth peered around the corner in time to see a scruffy looking human leave the brig, passing between the three security officers. The Ferengi broke away from her two companions and followed the human down the corridor towards the nearest turbolift.
Damien. Kalara's human husband. L'goth felt a twisting in his lower belly at the thought. No matter his hatred of Kalara, she was a glorious specimen of Klingon womanhood. That she was wasted on such a man...
A thought occurred to L'goth. A way that he could achieve his objective in a much simpler way. He allowed a small smile to crease his face. Yes. This could solve everything.
Retreating back down the corridor, L'goth headed for the nearest turbolift. He had an appointment to keep.
Prin hurried after the floating gurney, her eyes never leaving Kane's pale burned features. The medic who had met her in Engineering looked around frantically for someone to help, but the entire sickbay staff seemed to have descended into chaos.
Officers and medics, doctors and nurses, all raced around in a frenzy of ceaseless activity. Voices raised in pain struggled to be heard over the ear-piercing screeches of overwhelmed medical equipment. The sour stench of blood hung in the air, laced with traces of burned flesh and smoke.
Seeing a doctor in a white labcoat with a Starfleet uniform on underneath, Prin swerved around Kane and the medic. Reaching the other man, she grabbed his arm, stopping him in his tracks and spinning him around. A middle-aged human whose short brown hair, beard and moustache were strained with grime and sweat looked back, his eyes wide with surprise.
"Excuse me, I'm-"
"Are you a doctor?"
"I- Yes. I'm Doctor Howard."
"What's your rank, doctor?"
Howard seemed as though he was about to say something, then his eyes slid across the command laurel on her collar and he swallowed. "Lieutenant. Lieutenant Jack Howard, sir."
"Well, Doctor Howard, congratulations. You've just been promoted to Lieutenant-Commander and Chief Medical Officer of this ship."
"What? No, I- I mean Doctor Malok is- And I'm just a-"
"Doctor Malok is dead." She hated to announce it in such a harsh way, but there was no time for anything more. "I need a CMO and you're it."
"No. I can't. This isn't- I wasn't supposed to-"
Prin took a step towards him. "Are you refusing a direct order, mister?"
Whether it was the words, the tone of her voice, or the look in her eyes, something got through to Howard and his back straightened. "No sir."
"Good." She softened her tone a little. "I know this isn't ideal, doctor, but this is an emergency and I need someone to instill a little order in this place. We can sort it all out later and if you still don't feel up to the task, we will find another solution. But for the foreseeable future, I need your help. Can you do that?"
"Of course, commander. Anything you need."
"Good man. You see the man lying on the gurney behind me?"
Howard looked past her, saw Kane and blanched. For a moment, Prin thought he was going to start blabbering again, so she was pleasantly surprised when he nodded firmly.
"That is our chief of Engineering. He is also a Free Borg drone. He was connected to that space station when something overloaded his implants. Your first job as the new CMO is simple."
Prin caught and held Howard's gaze. When she was sure she had his attention, she said, "Do not. Let him. Die."
After delivering her orders, the commander turned and walked out of sickbay, leaving Doctor Howard to clean up the mess that had been left by their battle with the Laurentii. Starting with a Borg drone who seemed to have lost all of his implants.
Howard shook his head. This was not what was supposed to happen. When they let him choose this as the place of his punishment, it had been under the strict proviso that he keep out of the way. That he not get involved again. And now, because of one unlucky encounter, he was in charge. All he had wanted was to be left alone.
A female voice echoed in his head. Just do your best. That's all anyone can ever ask of you.
The words forced his head up and his back straight. At the end of the day, when he had asked them to exile him here, it had been because he believed he could help people. And that was what he was going to do.
And to hell with the consequences.
He had a job to do.