DT: Hero of the Federation (Revised)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by DarKush, May 8, 2011.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Is this what I think it is? Whatever is attacking the away team, somebody better wise up quick and find a way to fight this thing before all is lost.
     
  2. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay I wonder what your guess is. I got a feeling its probably not what I have come up with. I got my idea from one a DS9 episode.

    ****************************************************************
    CSFV Adamant
    Command Bridge

    Captain Haas dashed onto the bridge, “Glinn Keta, prepare for immediate beam out to the cargo bay!” She called as she reached for her combadge. She paused when she didn’t hear the usual snappy response. Justine looked toward the aft section of the ship, where Keta had been stationed. It was empty. Frowning, the captain thought that maybe the junior officer had jumped the gun and already transported to the trouble spot.

    But that didn’t sit right with her either. Though Keta was relatively new to military life according to her file, she seemed steeped in protocol. Something’s not right, Haas thought, as she unlatched the holster securing her phaser.

    Her hand had just grabbed the weapon’s grip when she heard a low, animalistic snarl behind her. In one swift motion, Justine pulled out her weapon and turned, aiming it at the source of the noise. The sight before her froze her. Keta was crouched low, her muscles quivering with anticipation, her face a mask of rage.

    “Die human!” She spat, leaping before Justine could pull the trigger.
    ********************************************************************

    CSFV Adamant
    Cargo Bay

    The terrible misfortune that had befallen both Lieutenants Rudd and Leighton had saved Dr. Murakawa’s life. She tried not to think of the writhing man, clutching his severed arm or Leighton, her head twisted at an unnatural, fatal angle.

    It took everything in Denise’s ethical code not to switch the phaser setting from stun to kill. She settled at a hard stun setting. The doctor fired, the blast hitting the rampaging Cardassian soldier square in the chest. It did nothing to him.

    She struggled to get over her shock as he turned his attention to her. His eyes were as black and pitiless as the void. She aimed her weapon at him, clicking to kill mode. The site of the emitter cone didn’t sway the Cardassian. He kept coming.

    Denise knew what she had to do, but the thought of taking a life, even to save her own, curdled her stomach.

    The Cardassian was almost upon her while she was still wrestling with her decision to end his life when that decision was taken away from her. The man’s head exploded in front of her, coating her face with blood, bits of bone, and brain splatter.

    “When phasers don’t work, TR-116 projectiles do the trick,” Major Laxx said, sweeping past her and the falling hunk of dead soldier. He took aim at one of the muscled soldiers wrestling with Petty Officer Triese. Before he fired, Triese was able to get by the man’s defenses and apply a forceful Vulcan neck pinch, one that cracked the soldier’s neck bones.

    He sunk to the ground, clutching at his broken bones and found himself greeting a fierce knee from the Vulcan-Orion hybrid. The man slumped over.

    “Two down,” she heard Laxx say, but Denise was already making her way to Lt. Rudd. She could let the security team handle the psychotic Cardassians, she had a life to save.
    ******************************************************************
     
  3. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ******************************************************************
    CSFV Adamant
    Main Engineering

    The level of carnage hadn’t been too significant in Engineering so both Chief Engineer Jadon Tol and Lt. Maldin had removed their masks as soon as enough breathable atmosphere had been restored. Tol had just shaken the Benzite’s hand, thanking him for a job well done on reviving life support when the junior officer turned his head quizzically and sniffed deeply.

    “There’s something about the air…it doesn’t smell right.” Tol took a whiff.

    “Smells fine to me,” he shrugged, “Absent the faint smell of death. I would assume that most Cardassian vessels are a bit stuffy due to their preference for heated climes.”

    “It’s not that,” the Benzite said, reaching for his tricorder. When Benzites had first began serving on Starfleet vessels they had to wear respiratory devices to help them breathe. Rapid advances in sciences had allowed for the removal of the devices, yet Jadon realized the man probably could detect the various gases in the air that seemed natural to him, so he decided to encourage his inquiry.

    “Check your tricorder,” he urged. He hoped there wasn’t some type of gas leak that was permeating the air. That meant they would have to shut off life support again and start from scratch. Jadon really didn’t want to do that.

    “This…is not good,” Maldin said a few minutes later.

    “What is it?” Tol asked, looking over the man’s shoulder. He blinked and then shook his head disbelievingly. “You’ve got to be kidding?”

    “This has nothing to do with Earth children or marsupials,” Maldin remarked, completely oblivious to Tol’s choice of phrase. If this were a normal situation, he would’ve had a good chuckle at the man’s innocent obtuseness. But this situation was anything but normal.

    “Tol to Haas,” he said, tapping his compin. There was no reply. “Really not good.”

    “That’s an understatement, Trill,” a serpentine voice slithered from above. Both men looked up to see a cadaverous Cardassian standing on a catwalk above them. He held a disruptor, “Which of you alien scum wants to die first?”
    ******************************************************************

    CSFV Adamant
    Command Bridge

    Captain Haas moved quickly to the side, but not quick enough. Even though the flying Keta missed crashing into her chest, she fell on the woman’s leg. Haas went down, her leg making a sickening wet snap. Waves of agony slammed into Haas and darkness limned the edges of her vision.

    “Not now,” she muttered as he sought to remember where her phaser was. She forced her fingers to curl, and was relieved to find she still held the phaser. She bought it up. Keta had turned toward her, on all fours, a feral grin on her face. In her hand flashed a serrated knife. Haas fired, but not before Keta planted the knife in Justine’s chest, and the flames of that pain flared her out to nothingness.
    ******************************************************************
     
  4. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ******************************************************************

    CSFV Adamant
    Cargo Bay

    Dr. Murakawa held her emotions in check. She cradled Rudd’s damp forehead in his lap and listened to his last exhalation. She was too late, he had lost too much blood. She sat in a deep pool of it now. There was no time for an emergency beam out, she knew, but she still berated herself for not ordering that immediately. “Suck it up,” she told herself. There were more lives that needed to be saved. She reluctantly, and carefully placed Rudd’s head on the bay floor.

    Still on her knees, she looked around. It was a charnel house. Bodies, both Starfleet and Cardassian littered the floor, fresh blood to add to the paste still coating the walls. Major Laxx was leaned against a crate, blue blood seeping through his fingers from a wound in his abdomen. She ran to him and he waved her away, “Attend to the others,” he rasped, breathing heavily, “This is…a scratch.”

    Murakawa was about to argue but realized that if the man was well enough to still be macho he was tough enough to be attended to later. She went to the next patient, a security guard suffering severe disruptor burns. She placed a hypo at his neck, and made sure he was dozing off before she went on to the next patient.

    She was glad to see Triese still walking and helping. In fact the Vulcan-Orion was leaning over one of the Cardassians who had survived. She was moving her hand awkwardly over the man’s face. “Triese?” Denise asked, too intrigued to ignore her.

    “I’ve never been good at this,” Triese said, as she splayed her fingers against the man’s cheek and temple. “But who gives a flying frinx if it causes this bastard some mental discomfort right?” She asked, before inhaling sharply, her body going rigid.

    “Triese?” Murakawa asked again, this time more concerned. The hybrid’s eyes rolled back in her head and she fell backward, mumbling insanely. The doctor went to help her, and was totally unprepared for the vicious backhand that knocked her off her feet and crashing into a stack of crates.

    Denise ignored the pain wracking her body as she looked back at Triese. “Petty officer, what’s wrong?”

    “Die,” Triese yelled as she rushed toward her.

    “Not again,” Murakawa muttered.
    ****************************************************************

    CSFV Adamant
    Main Engineering

    “Doesn’t this idiot know if he hits the warp core he could kill us all?” Commander Tol said, ducking as another orange beam sizzled by. Unfortunately both he and Maldin were using the warp engine for cover, since it was the largest object in the room.

    “We have to draw him away from the warp core,” Maldin replied.

    “It’s all open space from here, it will be suicide,” Tol protested, followed a second later by, “I’ll go.” But the Benzite had beaten him to the punch.

    “Lieutenant get back here, that’s an order!” He snapped, but Maldin ignored him. With surprising speed the Benzite took off for the exit. The Cardassian picked him off in seconds. “No!” Tol snarled, rolling out from the safety of the warp core. Mid-roll he pulled out his phaser and it was already aimed, his finger on the trigger when he completed the roll. He fired without hesitation, stitching the catwalk.

    He riddled the Cardassian with phaser bolts. The man fell from the catwalk and hit the top of the cylindrical core with an unpleasant, but satisfying crunch. Tol ran to Maldin. Kneeling down, he was relieved to see that the disruptor bolt hadn’t hit in square in the back like he had thought, but had sliced off a significant portion of the man’s shoulder. He was going to live, granted he got immediate medical assistance.

    “Tol to Sickbay,” he said, hurriedly activating his compin. “Emergency beam-out!”
    **************************************************************
     
  5. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Ok, yeah, I guessed wrong here. Could this be the same thing that turned Garak into a killer once upon a time? It would make sense seeing that he is a big part of what is going on in this story.

    More importantly, things are going to hell quite quickly, aren't they. When all this is over and if Triese should survive, somebody should give her a lecture about initiating ad hoc mind melds. Clearly there is a palpable danger there.

    I really hope Haas is going to come through this, I kinda like her, even if she is the lackey of a Cardassian undercover agent.
     
  6. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    CeJay,

    You are correct about the psychotropic drug from "Empok Nor". I really liked that episode and I thought it would be cool to do something with it here. I hadn't thought about Garak's ties to it at first, but I guess it is very appropriate since he is one of the puppet masters of the events unfolding in this story.

    I'm glad you like Haas. Justine always surprises me. I have an idea of how I want to portray her, generally more villainous, but she always comes out being more sympathetic.

    ***************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Main Transporter Room

    Fleet Admiral Grace charged into the room. He gripped a phaser rifle. His tactical vest had been thrown on so quickly that it flapped unfastened. “With all due respect sir, where are you going?” Lt. Commander Harrison asked, inadvertently pointing the barrel of her rifle at him. Harrison, also wearing a vest with bandolier of stun grenades, shared the pad with a five member security detachment.

    “Like you even have to ask,” he said, “Make space for me.” He imperiously demanded.

    “Sir, we don’t know the situation on the Adamant, and I will not put the head of Starfleet needlessly at risk,” Harrison stuck to her guns. “God forbid if some terrible fate has befallen Captain Haas and the rest of the away team, this crew, the entire Fleet, will need you safe and sound on Sutherland.”

    “You need me down there,” Grace said, stepping forward. Harrison looked at the rest of the security team and they held firm, not giving him entrée. “I’ll have all of you brought up on charges.”

    “Do what you feel you must, but at least I will be comforted by the fact that you are alive and well enough to do so,” Harrison said. She glanced at the transporter technician. “Energize.”

    All Grace could do was grumble as the team vanished.
    ****************************************************************

    CSFV Adamant
    Cargo Bay

    Dr. Denise Murakawa backed up, fumbling for her phaser and dropping it. “Damn,” she mumbled, immediately chastising herself for the profanity. You’ve got bigger things to worry about, she told herself as a screeching Triese rushed toward her. Her fingers were curved liked daggers ready to pierce Denise’s flesh. The half Vulcan was now babbling nonsensically, the rage contorting her normally placid face nearly impossible to fathom.

    Instead of attempt to bend down and take her eyes off Triese to pick up her weapon, Denise hastily pulled a hypo from her case. She weakly held it up, knowing the slender medical device would not deter the furious woman.

    It didn’t. Triese kept coming, her dark eyes burning like coals. Denise knew she would only have a few seconds, at best, to inject Triese with the sedative. If she missed, or if the dosage wasn’t strong enough, Triese would kill her. But Denise was concerned that too strong a dosage would kill Triese and she didn’t want to do that.

    Her strategy went out the window as Triese crashed into her, her hands reaching for Murakawa’s throat. Slender, strong fingers encircled her neck and began to squeeze, cutting off Denise’s air. She began to gag and wretch, struggling against the hybrid’s death grip.

    With fading strength, she placed the nearly forgotten hypo against the woman’s neck. Triese was unfazed as Denise released the sedative into her system. Dropping the hypo, Murakawa tried to wrench Triese’s hands from around her neck. Failing in that, she began punching the sides of the woman’s head. Nothing affected her.

    Black waves swam before Denise’s eyes, rocking her to a final sleep. She thought of Morgan, of her family, and friends, of her regrets…

    I can’t believe this is it, she said, glaring into the face of the woman murdering her. There was nothing familiar or sentient there. It was pure animalistic hatred. It couldn’t end this way, she said, marshalling her strength to drive the heel of her boot into Triese’s foot. Triese winced as she staggered, breaking her grip. Denise fell back, gasping wildly, the air she sucked in burning her chest.

    Denise dropped to her knees, so hungrily sucking in air that it was hard for her to keep her mind on Triese. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Triese rounding on her again. The woman took a step and then trembled. Denise smelt the burnt ozone a nanosecond before she saw the flash. Triese staggered, turning away the doctor toward the source of the blast. Two beams hit her in quick succession and the woman crumpled to the ground.

    Lt. Commander Harrison kept her phaser aimed at the woman, but she spoke to Dr. Murakawa, “Doc, are you all right?”

    Denise rubbed her bruised throat, unable to speak. “Get back to the ship,” Harrison commanded, “We’ll handle the clean up.” Murakawa shook her head and pointed at the injured crew and then to the medical kit she had dropped during her tussle with the mad Vulcan. “All right then,” Naomi said, catching on, “Carry on then.”

    Battered, but relieved, Murakawa got back to work.
    ****************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Sickbay

    Fleet Admiral Grace peered over the biobed. Captain Haas smiled weakly. She tried to rise, wincing with pain. “Don’t,” he urged, adding, “That’s an order.”

    “I take it I’m back aboard Sutherland?” She asked, her bleary eyes adjusting to the harsh lighting. She tried to remember the environs of the Sutherland infirmary. It wasn’t like she had been inside it long enough before assuming command that she could tell right off. But she was certain that she wasn’t in a Cardassian facility. The silver and white décor gave that away. Everything on Cardassian vessels were colored gray, brown, or burnt orange it seemed.

    “How…many did…we…lose?” Haas croaked. Her tongue was swollen and her throat was dry as sandpaper. Sensing her discomfort, the admiral poured a glass of water from a waiting pitcher. He placed a straw in the glass and held it carefully up to her lips. She took in a refreshing sip and sighed as the cool water soothed her parched throat.

    “Several I’m afraid,” Grace was dourer than usual. “Including Lieutenants Rudd and Leighton.” Justine closed her eyes and evoked a silent prayer for their loss. She had barely gotten to meet the officers under her charge and now she would be sending communiqués to their families informing them of their sacrifices. Those letters were the absolute worst part of command. Not being responsible for that dreadful duty was the one saving grace of not captaining a ship during the Dominion War. She suspected she would’ve had to write dozens or more.

    “Why?” Was the second pressing question on the captain’s mind, “What…happened?”

    “It appears that the Adamant survivors rigged a psychotropic agent to be released if anyone found their nest of stasis tubes,” Grace replied. “A defensive mechanism certainly if they were found by an enemy vessel. The drugs gave them enhanced strength, but unfortunately extreme xenophobia and paranoia.”

    Justine planted her head back against the pillow, her memory of Keta and how suffused with anger the young woman had been. “So, that’s what it was?”

    “Yes,” Grace nodded. “I had heard about such experiments before, but I thought they had been discontinued. From what I know, the soldiers turned out to be a danger even to other Cardassians.”

    “Must have been…extremely desperate,” Haas said, “To do something like that.”

    “It appears so,” the admiral concurred. “Mr. Maldin has recovered and decoded the final logs of Gul Dien, the ship’s commander. Unfortunately he was put away when he attacked Maldin and Commander Tol in Engineering. But the logs reveal that he suspected a saboteur had compromised the ship’s systems, and he wanted the survivors to be strong enough to handle any of the saboteur’s colluders.” The captain shivered, remembering the chilling conversation she had with Tol and Maldin right before Keta assaulted her.

    “I guess that makes a twisted kind of sense,” Justine said, shaking her head sadly. It was a horrible thing to not be able to trust your crew, or to be betrayed by them. Dien’s last moments before he brought the madness upon himself must have been heart rending. She knows that it would’ve been for her.

    Justine also wondered how Sutherland’s crew must feel with a new leadership structure foisted upon them. Haas could fall back on the truism that the military was not a democracy, but she knew that hard won trust between a captain and her crew could literally move mountains, and the Sutherland needed all the miracles it could get.

    “Keta, how is she?” Grace frowned at the mention of the woman. He was still having a hard time letting go of his prejudices. Justine could chastise him, but what was the use? She hadn’t lived under the whip of the Cardassians as he and her father had and if anyone had license to be prejudiced against the Cardassians, certainly it was Admiral Grace. The Cardassians had taken so much away from him. It was an example of the rarest magnanimity on his part that he even wanted to be part of Urlak’s inauguration.

    “Her wounds are being attended...in the brig,” Grace said. Haas tried to sit up again, her leg buzzing in protest.

    “Admiral, I…”

    “No, I’m not going to hear it this time Justine,” he snapped. “She damn near killed you. Until we know that her system has been flushed clean, she stays under armed guard.”

    Haas shifted her jaw, wanting to protest, but suddenly feeling too weary. “Good that you are starting to see some reason,” Grace nodded in satisfaction, “Now I want you to rest up so you can return to the bridge.”

    Justine sighed as she found a hidden pocket of resolve. “I am relinquishing command of the Sutherland,” she said.

    Grace’s bushy gray eyebrows rose in shock. “Now is the not the time for jokes Justine.”

    “I’m not joking sir,” Haas said, “I’m in no condition to finish this mission. My first time out and I left a trail of bodies behind me. Whatever trust this crew was willing to place in me vanished on the Adamant.”

    “Now is not the time to feel sorry for yourself,” Grace rumbled. “You know that death is a part of our business, and the crew knows it too.”

    “I can’t help but wonder now if they will wonder if Captain Shelby would’ve done things differently, if she would’ve made different calls, if she would’ve bought everyone home.”

    “Who cares? She’s not in command. You are.”

    “No, no I’m not,” Haas said, “Shelby is far more capable, more experienced. This is her crew.”

    “I don’t make mistakes,” Grace remarked. “Shelby is too headstrong. This mission requires a delicate touch.”

    “Perhaps…at one time it did, but now that blood has been shed, the Sutherland needs the commander that got them through the Dominion War.”

    “No,” the admiral buckled down, “I won’t allow it.”

    “I’m sorry sir, but I’m not giving you any choice. I’m not going back to the bridge, except in an advisory capacity.”

    “Then I’ll promote Harrison,” Grace retorted. “She showed some gumption in stamping out the rest of those drug-addled soldiers.”

    “Sir,” Justine paused, looking into the man’s deep, brown eyes. An inner fire burned in them and he had a stubborn jut to his chin. “Even you would not have Shelby languishing in the the brig while you had Harrison occupying her seat. And I don’t think Harrison would allow you to either.”

    Grace’s resolve cracked a bit. He chuckled, “That Harrison is a spitfire,” he nodded. “She will make a great captain one day.”

    “But not today,” Haas slid in.

    “Fine,” the admiral sighed heavily. “I’ll reinstate Shelby. All things forgiven…will that make you happy?”

    “It’s a start,” Haas smiled, her dry lips cracking, “but if you really wanted to make my day, how about a little bit more of that H2O?”
    **************************************************************
     
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    See, now you are just making it plain impossible to hate on Haas. And Shelby clearly owes her big time. It's gonna be good to see her back in the big chair where she belongs. And hopefully she'll be able to do her part to expose the impostor.
     
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Yeah CeJay, damn it Haas! Why can't I stay mad at you?

    ***************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Detention Center

    “I don’t think I heard you correctly?” Admiral Grace asked, surprise evident on his face.

    “Me either,” Commander Lavelle added. Lt. Sito fidgeted nervously. Captain Shelby looked at the superior officer with a hard, steady gaze.

    “I will not accept your offer.”

    Grace was exasperated, “You mean to tell me that you would rather stay locked up than return to command? I’m setting you free here.”

    “I, nor Commander Lavelle or Lt. Sito should have never been here to begin with,” Shelby replied.

    Grace shrugged, “Consider it a misunderstanding.”

    “And if I reclaim command, how do I know we won’t have another misunderstanding?”

    “She’s got a point there,” Lavelle added. He blanched when Shelby turned her hard stare on him.

    “So, what do you want me to do?” Grace asked, his tone peppered with annoyance.

    “One, you expunge this entire episode from our records,” Shelby began, “Two, you return complete control of Sutherland’s operations over to me. I understand your need for jurisdiction over the Urlak kidnapping, but all other matters should remain in the hands of me and my senior officers.”

    The admiral sighed and rolled his broad shoulders as he contemplated what she said. “Fine,” he remarked. “Anything else?”

    “I want to be in the loop about any operations to resolve the abduction that will involve this crew,” the captain said.

    “Just hold on a minute,” Grace replied.

    “Sir, you saw what just happened when the captain or the rest of us were not involved,” Lavelle couldn’t help himself. And Shelby let the younger man vent. It was tragic what had happened on the Adamant, and even though Elizabeth knew better than to second guess the actions of a colleague, the tragedy had befallen her crew, it had taken away people who she knew, kids who had been under her charge. Shelby couldn’t help but think that things might have gone better if she hadn’t been removed from command.

    The admiral glared at Lavelle, but Sam held his ground. “I’ll consider it.”

    “That’s not good enough…sir,” Lavelle said tightly.

    “Well, that’s all you are getting Commander,” Grace barked. “And be lucky, extremely lucky at that.”

    Shelby put a calming hand on Sam’s shoulder, but the man had one more thing to say, “What about Keta?” He asked, jerking his head toward the cell beside them. The trio had seen them bring her in, but hadn’t been able to talk to her due to the soundproofed wall. “Release her.”

    “No,” Grace said, “She attacked Captain Haas. She remains incarcerated until we get to the bottom of it. End of discussion.” The captain squeezed Sam’s shoulder hard and the man finally relented. One battle at a time, she thought to herself. Lavelle glanced back at her as if he could read her mind and he dipped in his head in retreat.

    “I accept your terms, Admiral,” Shelby said. Grace nodded briskly, before turning to the guard at the control console. “Release them.”
    ****************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Chief Medical Officer’s office

    Dr. Denise Murakawa had had the holoprojector installed a corner of her office in case she needed medical consultation and demonstrations that couldn’t be effectively displayed on a desktop computer screen. But now she used it for an entirely different purpose.

    Admiral Morgan Bateson wrapped an arm around her as he stroked her hair. Denise leaned into him, closing her eyes and imagining he was really in the room with her, though the cold photonics could never really generate the warm vitality of living flesh, though they came scarily close at times. But she knew more about living tissue than anyone aboard, and perhaps about death to unfortunately, and she knew the difference. “I wish I could be there, with you,” Bateson said.

    “I do too,” Denise admitted. She didn’t like being vulnerable, she didn’t like relying on anyone, but she needed the barrel-chested man’s strength right now. It had been hours ago, but she still felt like her face was coated with blood, brains, and bone. She had scrubbed it off and then rewashed her face dozens of times, but she didn’t think she would ever get the taint off. And when she closed her eyes all she could see was the demonic mask of the Cardassian’s face exploding and beyond that the contorted features of Triese. And then Triese’s steeled fingers around her neck and the black ocean whose waves had lapped at her, drawing her into their eternity.

    “I have scheduled a meeting with the ship’s counselor,” Denise replied.

    “Good,” Bateson said softly, stroking her hair again. “You need someone there, to talk to about this as well.”

    “I know,” she said, though she doubted Max Freedman would be able to help her get through this. Right now, he had several more severely impaired crewpersons to attend to. At least Denise was able to still function. In fact, she needed her job, retreated into it. But now that most of the stitching and patching up had been done for the Adamant fiasco and things were starting to return to semblance of normality, she was left alone, with her thoughts, and her waking nightmares.

    “It just must have been awful,” Bateson said.

    “I have seen death, you know that,” Denise said, “but after the war, I was hoping to never see young kids get cut down so needlessly again,” her thoughts flashed back to the war and one of her old colleagues, Lt. Nyota Dryer, another young woman cut down in her prime, just like Jamie Leighton.

    “It is a part of our lives, but never a welcome one,” the admiral said soberly, “You handled yourself admirably.”

    “Yeah, for what it’s worth,” Murakawa shrugged, “Admiral Grace has even recommended a commendation for me.”

    “That’s something,” Bateson said.

    “More like a condemnation,” Denise replied, echoing some of the whispered sentiments of her crew. “If it hadn’t been for him and his ego stroking, Captain Shelby would’ve been in command and maybe this wouldn’t have happened.”

    “You can’t be sure of that,” Morgan countered.

    “So, are you defending Grace now?” The doctor pulled away from him, just enough to look at him with deep disbelief.

    “I didn’t say that.”

    “So what are you saying?”

    “It’s just that going down this road of accusation is not healthy,” Bateson remarked. “A decision was made and lives were lost as a result of it. Even Captain Shelby might not have been prepared for to handle a group of drugged Cardassian soldiers.”

    “I’ve served with Shelby for years, I know she would’ve been more than capable, so would Sito,” Denise thought, perversely jolted by the idea of watching Jaxa mow down those monstrous soldiers.

    “That very well may be,” Bateson said, wearily, clearly not in the mood to argue, “But that doesn’t change the fact.”

    “Or the deaths,” Murakawa said darkly.

    “No, it doesn’t change that either,” Morgan admitted. “As soon as this mission is over, I want to see you.”

    “I’m not sure that would be a good idea right now,” Denise said, not even believing herself. She had been thinking of taking time off to see Morgan for a while now, but the idea of lounging around with him, after what had just happened, felt wrong, selfish somehow. She was getting to enjoy life that was snatched so cruelly and unnecessarily from others.

    “But I thought you wanted to spend some time together,” Bateson said, taken aback by her response.

    “I do…but not now,” she said, “I just need some time…to myself.”

    “Oh, all right,” the admiral replied, not even hiding his disappointment. “I see.”

    “I’m sorry,” Murakawa said, “perhaps I should go.” She pulled completely out of his grasp.

    “No, please, not yet.” Bateson reached for her but the medic kept herself out of his orbit.

    “I’ve got things to do, and I know you’re a very busy man.”

    “Work can always wait when I’m talking to you.”

    Murakawa smiled, “That’s so sweet,” she said, “But I really should go.”

    “You know I don’t want you to,” the admiral intoned.

    “I know,” she said, “but you know how much better I feel when I am productive.”

    “Yes,” he smiled, “That’s the Denise I know…and love.” The word pinched her heart. She caressed his face.

    “My heart,” she whispered.

    “My hopes,” he answered back, before vanishing into the ether. Murakawa took a few minutes, wiping the moisture from her eyes as she composed herself.

    She glanced around the brightly gridded room, straightened her uniform jacket and proceeded to the door. She jumped back, startled, when the door opened. Commander Tol was leaning against the door, with a bottle of Romulan ale. His eyes widened in surprise and he smiled.

    “Denise, fancy meeting you here,” he said.

    “Jadon, the room is all yours,” she stepped around him, but he slid in front of her.

    “Hey, I’m getting ready to visit Argelius II, care to join me?” Murakawa looked at him primly. Sometimes she didn’t know how she had made it so long on the Sutherland. Though its reputation of being a party ship was overblown there were still too many officers like Mr. Tol, and even Denise had to admit, the captain too, that liked to engage in revels, even if they sometimes hid their pain behind merriment.

    So, it was an even bigger shock to her, when she said, “Yes, I have nothing better to do.”
    *****************************************************************
     
  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ******************************************************************

    Bajora One
    Private Quarters

    “I hate to do this,” Ezri said, pinching her nose.

    “Please, anything we can do to help,” Lt. Commander Diega Cruz smiled. “Besides, we are just coming back from the referendum on Devniad.” Cruz was Defiant’s current commanding officer. There had been a lot of shakeups recently on DS9, with the departure of Admiral Covey, but Ezri hoped things were settling down.

    “How did that go?” Dax couldn’t help but ask. Curzon had once participated in negotiations, at the request of planetary officials, to prevent the Cardassians from annexing the world. Even his formidable skills hadn’t been able to sate the Cardassian’s thirst for territory.

    With the end of the war and the near extinction of the Cardassians, some of the subject worlds were now demanding autonomy.

    “It went better than expected,” Cruz said. “The Devniad have already requested Federation membership.”

    “I’m sure the recent troubles on Cardassia Prime influenced their decision,” the counselor suggested.

    “I’ve seen the news feeds about the bombing,” the woman shook her head sadly, “Perhaps you’re right,” Cruz agreed, frowning, “The Devniad aren’t stupid. They recognize Federation stability and prestige can help them solidify the new planetary authority and ward off any Cardassians from seeking to reacquire their planet.”

    “So you are still in Cardassian space?” Ezri asked.

    “Yes,” Nadia leaned forward, her expression expectant. “What’s going on?”

    “It’s Julian…Dr. Bashir,” the Trill answered. “Dr. Bashir and Jake Sisko have left Bajora One.”

    “Why?”

    “I don’t know, but my intuition tells me the bombing was involved. I think they are headed to Prime.”

    “Do you want me to intercept them?”

    “No,” she shook her head, “I think they might need some backup.”

    “That we can do,” she said. “Any idea on their location?”

    “Nothing definite,” Dax admitted, “but I’ll submit my speculations.”

    “That’s good enough. We’ll find them.”

    “Thank you,” the Trill said, both relieved and reluctant. She wanted to be out there herself, watching Julian’s back. She was not pleased that he didn’t confide in her but she figured he had his reasons, but she would be damned if she left him, and Jake, out there alone. “Bring them back safe.”
    ***************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Private Quarters

    “Come on Triese,” Ensign Alvin Grace urged, “I’m not leaving until you let me in.” He knocked again, louder this time. “Triese, I’m really not going to leave.” He promised. The young man began rapping against the door again. “Seriously there’s a crowd gathering out here, someone’s going to call security before long.”

    The door swished open. Triese stood in the divide, looking flawless in a black robe with white Vulcan script running down the sides. “I am security,” she said dryly. She stretched her neck out and looked down the empty corridor. “As I suspected, there is no one out here but you.”

    Alvin grinned sheepishly and shrugged, “Hey, I had to get your attention someway. So are you going to let me in?”

    “Should I?” The half Vulcan challenged, “Let you in?” Grace was certain there was a hidden meaning behind the question, and he was willing to take on whatever the woman was implying.

    “Yes, you should.” He said, deciding to cross the threshold without her permission. She stepped aside.

    The room was dim, only lit by scented candles. “I’m interrupting your meditation time huh?”

    “Yes,” she said, as she walked past him and resumed sitting by the candelabra on the coffee table. She had removed the chairs from her living room area. She sat cross legged on a mat, with similar Vulcan script. “Please, sit.”

    The ensign eased himself down and crossed his legs, not as nimbly as Triese had. “I take it you’ve come to inquire about my emotional state?”

    “Well, yeah,” Grace said, “I mean, it had to be hell over there on Adamant. I heard about that mind meld and then the thing with Dr. Murakawa.”

    “I experienced bioelectrical feedback,” the woman admitted. “I was unprepared for the virulence of the man’s emotions. His anger…his rage…it was so pure…distilled. He wanted to attack us, even with his mind.” She shook her head and shivered. She cradled herself before she realized what she was doing and then she looked at her arms like they didn’t belong on her body. Her eyes flashed with uncustomary annoyance. She dropped them to her sides.

    Alvin had thought about reaching out to her, to offering a comforting hand or shoulder but was glad he had stayed put. “Captain Shelby has been reinstated as ship’s commander,” Grace said, hoping the good news would lighten Triese’s mood.

    Triese took the news impassively, prompting the ensign to fill the void, “That’s a good thing, right?”

    “There was so much anger, such hatred…” Triese said, turning inward. “That soldier, all of his memories were open to me,” she revealed. “The atrocities he committed on Bajor, his treatment of Maquis prisoners…”

    “He’s locked up now, along with the other survivors,” Alvin said. “He can’t hurt anyone anymore.”

    “Not until we give him back to Cardassian authorities, so he can be live free, safe and secure,” Triese said, as if speaking to himself. “His victims didn’t get that luxury.”

    “That’s for the Cardassians to handle,” the ensign offered. “We can’t make those calls.”

    “Why not?” Triese’s anger had suddenly ignited and it was turned on him. Alvin wanted to lean back in his seat, to avoid the heat. “I have all the evidence,” she tapped her skull, “right here to convict him.”

    “I’m sorry but I don’t think that’s going to hold up in a court of law,” Grace said.

    “You’re right,” she nodded and he smiled, hoping she would soon settle down and come back to her senses. “I must take the law in my own hands.”

    “No, no that’s not what I meant,” Grace hopped out of his seat to jump in the woman’s way as stood up. “Listen Triese, you’re not thinking clearly, you are still suffering some trauma from the mind meld. What you are proposing isn’t logical.”

    Her smile shocked him. “Logic isn’t everything,” she said. “I’ve tried so hard to fit my life into one box, one way of seeing the world, one way of being. In a way I’ve violated the IDIC principle that is supposed to be the cornerstone of Vulcan philosophy. The truth is I am Vulcan, but I am also Orion. And I am subject to the surging emotions of both species, as well as their cultural norms. Despite the cultural differences, it is the blood of both species which tells me to make that man pay for his crimes.”

    “I’m sorry Triese, but I can’t allow that,” Alvin said. The half Vulcan, her skin flushing a deeper green, laughed.

    “For a human, you are physically agreeable,” she said, grabbing him and planting a fierce kiss on his lips. Alvin was so stunned, he barely felt himself being lifted and gently placed to the side. The young man was still reeling from the kiss, the cinnamon taste of Triese’s tongue, as he helplessly watched the woman leave her cabin in a swirl of dark robes and darker intent.
    *******************************************************************
     
  10. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Alright, Triese is officially out of control. I hope Grace is right and this is all just the mind meld messing her up and no secretly buried personality trait that has resurfaced here. Either way, this is going to be trouble for Shelby & co.
     
  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *******************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Private Quarters

    “I’m losing it,” Melek Urlak said, as he stared in the mirror, at a face not his own. This happened sometimes, when reality melted and he thought he was the human staring back at him. He had been in disguise for decades now and each year that passed he lost more and more of his true self. “It was a good thing I didn’t go aboard Adamant,” he muttered, even though the Grace aspect of his personality was still fuming that he had been checked by a subordinate officer. “If I had gone,” he told himself, “I would’ve been exposed.”

    The psychotropic drug that had been released would doubtlessly have affected him and everything would’ve been lost. He would’ve been imprisoned or worse and then Melken’s fate would’ve been left in the hands of others and he would never allow that.

    “Melken,” he muttered, trying to remember her. It had been so long since he had held her in his arms, patted her head, read her enigma tales; far too long.

    Instead duty had compelled him to take on another man’s skin and all of the responsibilities tied to it. And there was a part of him, a detested part that fondly remembered Grace’s family. And a wicked part of him that enjoyed having his wife, in addition to the accolades and sympathy of people he had sworn to destroy.

    Conversely there was also a gnawing guilt, something he hadn’t anticipated, over the destruction he would wreak. He never regretted eliminating Albert Grace. Grace was a soldier, and it was war, but extending that war to Grace’s family and friends, sullying the man’s reputation, was something Melek didn’t realize would be so hard to do.

    Taking over a man’s life was far more vicious than simply cutting them down on a battlefield or even torturing them until their hearts ceased functioning.

    But he did his best to comfort himself with the idea that his actions would soon payoff, his job was almost complete, Starfleet would be critically compromised, allowing the Union to reassert itself without serious opposition.

    “Admiral Grace,” the voice from the bulkhead speaker made him jump. He touched his face, pulling at the slightly wrinkled skin.

    “What is it?”

    “Sir, we have an encoded message for you, from Cardassia Prime.” Ah, it must be the coordinates for the hostage exchange.

    “Send it here,” he said, eager to read the contents. Whenever he got confused he liked to hurt things. Upon his ‘return’ Albert had taken up hunting, something the real Grace had never done before. It had given Melek a chance to vent his frustrations as well as keeping his predatory instincts keen. It reminded him of who, of what, he was.

    “Helm set a new course,” he ordered after ingesting the data. A new hunt had begun.
    *******************************************************************

    Bajoran shuttle

    The curved bow of the Galor-class cruiser dominated the shuttle’s small forward port. “Still think this is a good idea guys?” Kall Yano said from the auxiliary cockpit. Jake was at the controls.

    “This isn’t a major obstacle,” he said calmly. Kall’s looked at him with a heavy dose of skepticism.

    “You are as aplomb about this as Jake, Doctor Bashir?”

    “No,” Julian replied, lines of worry on his forehead. The slender medic was sitting at the aft operations console. The shuttle didn’t have armaments, only deflective shielding. And its best speed was warp five. They were vastly outmatched by the hulking Galor.

    “They are hailing,” the half Bajoran said, activating the speakers after checking with Jake. The small screen in the center of the shuttle’s flight panel switched from a smaller image of the Galor prow to a long-necked Cardassian woman with aquiline features.

    “I am Gul Hulet of the Sixth Order, you are in violation of Cardassian space. You will come to a full stop, lower shields, and prepare to be boarded.”

    “I am a journalist with the Federation News Service,” Jake replied, quickly submitting his credentials. Hulet looked down at the information. Her neck bones shook slightly as her vision narrowed. She looked back up.

    “You are Jake Sisko, son of Captain Sisko?”

    “Yes,” Jake said slowly, trying to extract the anxiety from his voice. The woman’s interest wasn’t something that set well with him. Some Cardassians saw his father as a liberator, while many others considered him a war criminal. Jake could feel Bashir’s eyes on his back. He sensed that the man also had a growing trepidation.

    “Mr. Sisko,” Hulet said his name with a strange sense of familiarity, “Prepare to be boarded.”
    ***************************************************************

    USS Defiant

    “Lt. Okala, have you picked up the shuttle’s warp trail yet?” Lt. Commander Cruz asked. She had asked the Bajoran science officer only a few minutes ago, and she was certain the hectoring wasn’t winning her any points, but she was concerned that the trail grew colder each nanosecond, and she didn’t want her first extended assignment to end in the loss of the station’s chief medical officer and the son of the station’s former commander, and not to mention Bajoran religious icon.

    “I’m sorry commander,” Lt. Okala Lahn replied. “We still haven’t picked up the trail yet.”

    “There has been a lot of traffic along this route,” Lt. Eason, from the tactical console, spoke up. Diega caught how Okala’s shoulders bunched at the sound of the man’s voice. Cruz couldn’t blame her.

    Eason’s twin, Easun, had previously served on DS9. He had been murdered nearly a year ago as part of the assassination of Natima Lang, the Cardassian premier. Eason had come aboard the station as part of the new batch of personnel that included Cruz.

    She personally found the tall, muscular, bald headed, brown-skinned Deltan to be a pleasant guy, not to mention sexually attractive, in keeping with the sway Deltans held over humans, but she could also understand how creepy his presence on the station must be for Okala. He was a constant reminder of what she had loss.

    “It appears we are facing a conundrum then,” Cruz spoke up. “Is it possible to narrow down the likeliest gaseous exhausts to ones emitted by Bajoran vehicles?”

    “Isolating unique plasma decay signatures?” Eason asked.

    “Exactly,” Cruz said. “I know that both Cardassians and Bajorans use similar propulsion systems, and the differences might be minute, but is it possible to magnify those tiny differences?”

    “I could check the grade of the dilithium used by Bajora One and her ancillary craft,” Okala said, warming to the idea.”

    “Certainly the dilithium wasn’t mined from the same location as any Cardassian vessels or others,” Eason added.

    “Both you, see to it,” Cruz said, wincing slightly at the sad cast of the science officer’s face. “And then extrapolate your findings to produce a projected course.”

    “Aye sir,” Eason said more readily than the Bajoran. Cruz’s heart went out to Lahn, but right now completing the mission was her primary objective. Personal feelings would have to be shunted to the side, and Cruz was confident that the science officer could do just that.

    “Helm,” Cruz swiveled in her seat from the science station. The sprightly Bolian at flight control turned around to look at her. Hanoj had transferred from the Gibraltar; Cruz learning that similar to Eason, the woman had also lost a sibling in service of Starfleet.

    “Yes captain,” the woman said.

    “I also want you working with Lieutenants Okala and Eason,” Cruz said, “Narrowing down the most logical routes the shuttle could’ve gone.”

    “Aye sir,” she said, turning back around to get to the task. Cruz exhaled in relief, hoping that Hanoj’s involvement would soften any potential rough edges in the Okala and Eason pairing. Sometimes being a third wheel wasn’t a bad thing.
    **********************************************************************
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2011
  12. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Are the Cardassians friends or foes here? Will the Defiant find Sisko & co? And how much longer will Urlak be able to maintain his cover? Lot of questions, looking forward to see how these plot lines develop.
     
  13. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Cejay,

    All will be revealed. Not sure if it will be soon though. I hope the ride is enjoyable.

    ***************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Main Bridge

    Captain Shelby couldn’t help but tear up when she stepped onto the bridge. Not much for ceremony, she had long eschewed being announced when she arrived on the bridge or even having her crew stand at attention when she left or exited a room. So she knew it was totally on the part of her crew when they silently stood in unison.

    The new minted Lt. Commander Harris smiled when she relinquished the center seat. “Good to have you back sir.”

    Shelby’s eyes lit on the young woman’s new pip. “I see some things have changed,” she said, squeezing her shoulders. Naomi’s joy wavered slightly. Shelby moved quickly to correct it. “Well deserved, though Captain Haas beat me to the punch.”

    Harris dipped her head slightly, “Thank you captain.”

    “Bring me up to speed,” she said, and Harris went right to business. Shelby nodded as Harris gave her a thorough rundown of the ship’s operations. Naomi was wrapping up as Lavelle arrived.

    “What did I miss?” He asked, easing into the seat beside Shelby.

    “Well, the world wasn’t upended during our ‘sabbatical’,” the captain remarked. Sam frowned.

    “I’m a little disappointed. I really didn’t think the Suthy could function without us,” he replied. Shelby chuckled.

    Lavelle leaned closer to her, lowering his voice. “So where is our illustrious Fleet Admiral?”

    “Cloistered in his quarters it appears,” the captain replied.

    “Good riddance,” Lavelle breathed a sigh.

    “Can it Sam,” Shelby warned. “I know you don’t want to get tossed back in stir.” Sam nodded and shivered.

    “Alright, my thrusters are cooled.”

    “Good, that sounds more like it,” Shelby said. “Go over Harris’s notes, they are quite extensive.”

    Sam turned around in his seat and flashed Harris a winning smile. The woman was occupying an aft strategic operations console. “Proficient and efficient as always,” he said.

    “Oh stop it you,” Harris winked.

    “I’m just saying, Trent is one lucky man,” Lavelle replied. “If I had met you first…”

    “You better not let Maria hear you say that,” Harris chuckled. Sam ducked his head and began nervously looking around.

    “Good point,” Lavelle said as he turned back around. He began scanning Harris’s report. He next turned to the captain. “So, we’re going to be the bagmen for this hostage exchange now, is it?”

    “It appears so,” Shelby said, her tone neutral. The situation had become even dicier and Sutherland was really on the hook if things went south. She smiled with realization. She wouldn’t want it any other way.
    ***************************************************************
     
  14. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    The boys (and gals) are back. Good to see that there are no bad feelings between Shelby/Lavelle and Harris, who did a decent job all things considered. I hope we get to see Haas again, too. I've taken a liking to her.
     
  15. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Thanks CeJay. It's a good bet that you'll be seeing more Haas. Just wanted to make a note. Harris is supposed to be named Harrison. I think I keep going back to her namesake, Naomie Harris, with all of this Bond news.
     
  16. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    *****************************************************************

    Diet Building
    Cardassia City

    Sancel failed to pull off trying not to be noticed while at the same time trying to be noticed by Illiana. He wanted her to know his hand was behind this surprise meeting, and she could tell from the man’s all too brief leering gaze how he expected to be repaid.

    Illiana wasn’t disgusted by the man’s lecherousness. She was too excited. She never thought she would get this close to the premier-elect, except as part of a suicide run.

    But there he was, sitting imperiously at his desk like an emperor occupied a throne, flocks of sycophants already surrounding him. Illiana had barely known Urlak when she was an Obsidian Order operative, but she never remembered him being so relaxed. There had always been restlessness there, a permanent pinched expression, wheels spinning behind his eyes.

    But that had been replaced by an aura of power, frayed slightly around the edges with weariness. She didn’t know whether to pity the man or be even more frightened of him.

    She displayed neither emotion as she meekly stepped forward and extended her hand. Urlak silently waved off his disapproving guards as he stood up. He glided around his huge baakonite desk and grasped the woman’s hand in a strong grip. “Elena Gilmore,” he said, “I’ve heard wonderful things about your efforts to save lives at the embassy. It is truly an example of the history I envision where our peoples will be twin partners for peace.”

    He held her hand a bit too long, but she didn’t mind. Urlak caught himself and gently released his grip. “My apologies.” He said, returning to his seat. “Please sit, care for something for refreshment?” Before she could answer, he nudged Sancel. “Go get some oceanleaf tea and Delavian chocolates.”

    Illiana couldn’t resist. “Well, you do know how to spoil a girl.” Urlak’s smile appeared genuine, and it chilled Ghemor back into business. She had to be on her guard at all times around him, especially when he was being amiable. Sancel hurried out the room, and Illiana’s heart beat a little faster.

    She was alone with the man now and she had to wonder if the toxin she had just injected into his system via the handshake would manifest itself in some way that would doom her. It was a slow acting killer, but who knew if Urlak hadn’t inoculated himself against it a long time ago, or if the man was just too formidable to eliminate.

    Thoroughly infected herself, Illiana hoped her body wouldn’t betray her before she could get to her antidote. Unfortunately the only bottle she carried had been lost in the blast. She knew that Garak would be furious with her, that he would feel she denied him his revenge, but Illiana’s priorities were bigger than one man’s vengeance, no matter how justified it was.

    The time of men like Urlak was over, it was truly an autumn of the patriarchs, the cold, gray men that had sent so many of her generation and those younger to their deaths for a lie, for a ‘greater’ Cardassia for some, but not all. So when confronted with their greed they just unfurled another ‘enemy’ or ‘inferior’ to be conquered and the bloody cycle started all over again. Illiana had bathed in blood too long, and even though it was too late for her, she would never be the artist she had once dreamed of being, she could still save the future.

    “Now, how about we start the interview,” the premier-elect said charitably, “I am unfortunately pressed for time.”

    “Yes, of course,” Illiana said smoothly, her mild perturbation over forgetting why she was there, cloaked by her steely journalistic mien. She pulled a tiny holorecorder out of her still soiled jacket. It had somehow miraculously survived first the bombing and then the manhandling of Urlak’s security forces. If only they had known that she herself was the weapon.

    She leaned forward, “Premier-elect, citizens of the Federation would like to know…”
    *******************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Detention Center

    Ensign Alvin Grace breathed a sigh as the doors opened to the brig and he saw Lt. Sito blocking Petty Officer Triese. That lasted all of a second. She’s losing it, he thought as he watched the pale green woman quivering with building rage. The smaller blonde Bajoran calmly stared her down, though Grace noticed her muscles had tensed and she her body language indicated imminent combat. “This is not good,” he muttered, wondering why he hadn’t already informed the captain, or even worse, his dad. But Alvin knew why. He hoped to sweep this incident under the rug. He liked Triese and didn’t want her to get in trouble.

    “Stand down Petty Officer Triese,” Sito’s voice had a threatening edge. She wasn’t going to repeat herself, Alvin knew. He moved toward them, to intercede, but one cold look from the Bajoran tactical officer froze him in his tracks. The Cardassian soldiers, also sensing a fight brewing, began banging on the walls, whistling and catcalling.

    The Bajoran turned to them, taking her eye off Triese for a nanosecond. The Orion hybrid struck, a hard blow to the woman’s jaw, followed by a push. Sito fell to the ground as Triese leaped past her. She hit the release on the cell.

    “No,” Grace shouted, running past Sito, as the Bajoran struggled to her feet. He reached out to Triese, but caught the woman’s elbow instead. She implanted it hard into his midsection, and Grace went down, clutching his stomach. Almost tenderly, Triese pushed him to the side. Fighting against his own pain, Alvin looked up to see the woman standing in the threshold.

    “Triese, what are you doing?” Glinn Keta asked from an adjoining cell. The ensign had no idea why Keta had been jailed. Dr. Murakawa had long since neutralized the drug that had drove the soldiers crazy, Grace thought. Then again, he couldn’t be certain that Triese wasn’t suffering some kind of after effect, maybe Keta had been too.

    She pointed a shaky finger into the cell. “Rondrig,” she called. “I know what you’ve done. I’ve seen you.”

    “Is that right,” a deep voice said from within the cell. “And what might that be?” The question was followed by a round of snickers. Despite the bravado none of the soldiers were approaching the woman. “You’re going to pay for what you’ve…” The hybrid’s voice hitched and her body pitched forward.

    She slumped next to Alvin. Sito was standing again. She looked down at him and offered a hand. He gratefully took it. “What did you do Lieutenant?” He asked, mystified.

    She flexed her fingers. “Vulcan neck pinch, if you would believe.”

    “I guess that was somewhat appropriate,” Grace remarked.

    “Get her out of her, back to her room,” Sito ordered. “I’ll set up a session with Counselor Freedman.”

    “That sounds like a plan,” the ensign said, reaching down to scoop the woman up. Grace was relieved that Sito had handled the situation so quickly and neatly, but he was fearful of what the future held for Triese. The mind meld with this Rondrig character had done something terrible to her mental state and he wasn’t sure it was something the ship’s counselor could correct.

    “I never forget a face,” Rondrig said. For a moment, Grace was confused. He hadn’t had much experience with Cardassians before this mission. “Especially one as pretty and willing as yours. Rejak’s? Remember?”

    A soft curse escaped Sito’s lips and a shadow fell across her face. Her jaw set and her shoulders bunched. Before Grace could react, the woman rushed into the cell.

    The ensign was just putting Triese back on the ground when the Bajoran kneed Rondrig, bringing the tall man down to eye level. She grabbed his head and attempted to yank it off his neck. The other Cardassian soldiers jumped to the man’s defense.

    Grace tapped his combadge. “Bridge, the prisoners are attacking Lt. Sito!” He yelped before jumping into the fray.
    ***************************************************************
     
  17. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    The prisoners are attacking Sito? Really, Grace? Because from where I'm standing it looks like it's the other way around. No matter, this is not going to end well unless quick, decisive action is taken.

    I like where this story is going and not just on Suthy. It's not often that I find myself rooting for the assassins.
     
  18. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    **************************************************************

    Cardassian Security Forces Vessel Proficient
    Stateroom

    Kall gulped down the last of her hot fish juice. Jake couldn’t stomach the pungent stuff, and it had nothing to do with Gul Hulet’s answer. He gingerly put the over half filled glass back on the table between him and Kall.

    The young reporter leaned forward, “With all due respect Gul Hulet, the response from the Cardassian High Command is inadequate.”

    Dr. Bashir raised an eyebrow while Gul Hulet gave slight smile. “My orders are to return you to Deep Space Nine. You can understand the need to lessen traffic into the homeworld sector due to security concerns.”

    “I don’t think the three of us would present that much of a threat,” Jake huffed. Hulet’s expression became hooded.

    “You would be surprised,” Hulet remarked. “The massacre at the embassy might have been the work of one person, who knows what three could do.”

    “What are you implying gul?” Dr. Bashir asked.

    “Nothing, whatsoever,” she threw up her hands and smiled more broadly, “Merely an observation.”

    “But I citizens of the Federation need to know what is going on on Prime,” Jake replied. “So they can figure out how to better help your people.”

    “I think you have been ‘scooped’,” Hulet remarked, not hiding her relish. “The interview the Premier-elect gave to the young reporter was quite scintillating, and it also reinforced the need not to complicate matters on Prime at this moment. Despite your best intentions, you are likely to just get in the way and interfere with vital rescue operations.”

    “Are those operations more vital than the mass arrests of political opponents,” Jake smiled back, knowing he had drawn blood. “Care to comment on that Gul Hulet…off the record of course?”

    “I would not,” Hulet remarked. She stood up, “Now, if you would excuse me…” Jake didn’t want to leave, but Dr. Bashir coughed and the younger human got the hint. After the trio had left her office, Hulet opened an encrypted communications link.

    Gul Gavran grinned. Hulet smiled, “You know I was liking my perch inside the High Command, with command of my own ship and everything that comes from being a gul.”

    “A gilded cage is still a cage,” Gavran replied.

    “I’m well aware,” Hulet replied, though she shook her head in regret. “This is no sacrifice when you think how many of our compatriots have lost their lives.”

    “And more will if Urlak and the other collaborators continue to sell our people to the highest bidder.”

    “What do you wish me to do with our guests?”

    “I need them, hostages in case the thing with Melken Urlak doesn’t work out,” Gavran said, “I’m not so sure that Martell can be trusted.”

    Hulet laughed, “You just figuring that out.”

    “Can you deliver them to me?” Gavran asked, forgoing the small talk.

    “When and where do you need them?”

    *****************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Detention Center

    Commander Lavelle materialized right into a punch. His cheek gave way and bone connected with bone in a sickening crunch. The human fell to the ground, his world reeling. “Sam!” It sounded like the captain was speaking through water.

    He felt her hand briefly on his shoulder and then it was gone. Sam blinked rapidly, using his anger to push aside his pain. He spit out blood and a piece of broken tooth. Standing up, he looked for the first gray face to smash and he let loose.

    He didn’t know who or what had caused the melee but there was a part of him glad for it. Ever since the fleet admiral had come aboard, frustration had been building within Sam and he was finally glad for an outlet, and it helped that these monsters had slaughtered some of his crewmates.

    He didn’t care if they had been hyped up on drugs or not. From what he knew the psychotropic drugs only heightened extant xenophobia. It didn’t create it. That was already in those snakeheads’ cold hearts.

    Lavelle drove his fist into the kidneys of the closest Cardassian he could find. He was grateful their crab shell armor had been removed; if it hadn’t, he would have a crushed hand to go along with his shattered cheekbone.

    The Cardassian went down with a satisfying thump. The commander cuffed the man on the back of the head, insuring that he would stay down.

    He was momentarily entranced by Captain Shelby, as she took on two men at once, a dervish of nimbleness and deadly accuracy, as she utilized moves from the Vulcan Suus Mahna discipline. He was brought back into the thick of things when a body fell against him. Lavelle turned quickly, ready to waylay the assailant.

    “Sorry sir,” Ensign Grace replied through gritted teeth. He was doing his best to fend off a larger opponent, whose muscled hands were trying to close around his throat.

    “Let me help you out,” Sam offered, delivering a succession of quick strikes right between the man’s eyes. Each contact left more of Lavelle’s skin on the man’s knobby brow, but eventually the attacker fell back, and the two men finished him off.

    “Where to next sir?” The helmsmen asked, and Sam found himself impressed that he could be so jaunty in the middle of a prisoner breakout.

    The commander glanced around. Scores of security personnel had beamed in following him and the captain. The Cardassians were nearly all incapacitated. Except for the tall, muscled Cardassian Lt. Sito had hemmed up against a bulkhead. Lavelle gulped as he caught the flash of Sito’s knife pressed against the man’s throat.

    “Jaxa!” He called, but she ignored him.

    “Lieutenant, don’t do it,” Shelby didn’t shout but her voice quieted the room. All eyes, Starfleet and Cardassian shifted to the Bajoran tactical officer and her prey.

    “Do you know who he is? What he did…to others…to me,” she asked, through clenched teeth. Sito’s attention was set lethally on the Cardassian. When he tried to move she nicked him. The man winced and snarled.

    “Still feisty,” he leered. “I liked that about you.” Sito’s blade pressed deeper into the wound, shutting him up.

    “Think about what you’re doing Jaxa,” Shelby said, carefully making her way over to the younger woman. “Think about how far you’ve come. You don’t want to throw that all away now.”

    “She’s right Jaxa,” Sam spoke up. “Please, don’t let this vole bastard ruin your career.”

    “But he deserves it,” Triese said, rising like a specter. She pointed her finger at the man, “He committed atrocities, on Bajor, in the Demilitarized Zone, during the Dominion War. Women, children, the elderly, the infirm…so much death, such brutality…”

    “I am a soldier, I was doing my duty,” he said, wincing again as Sito’s knife bit into him.

    “You did more than that, you enjoyed it,” Triese rejoined, tapping her temple. “I know, because your thoughts are now my thoughts.”

    “And yours are mine…half breed!” he spat.

    “Shut. Up.” Sito warned and the man wisely complied.

    “I believe both you and Triese,” Shelby said, “But you know vigilantism is not our way. We have to be better than them.”

    “But why do they get to live, why do they get away with it?” Jaxa asked, damnable tears running down her face, “Time and again.”

    “Because the galaxy belongs to the stronger,” the soldier retorted. “We saw what we wanted…I saw what I wanted…and I took it. It is the law of nature, in every species. It’s your kind, and the humans, that pretend that it is not so. You are deluding yourselves.”

    “I told you to be quiet.”

    “If you were going to cut me you would’ve done so already,” the Cardassian glared at her with contempt. “This is nothing more than a show, for your crewmates, to display your vaunted compassion, or humanity,” he spat the word. “Now, remove that knife from my throat and return me to my cell…unless perhaps you wish me in your bedchamber instead.”

    The Cardassian’s rough laughter turned to a wet gurgle as blood sprayed from his neck. Sito jumped back, shocked, looking at the knife in her hand as it had magically appeared there. “Jaxa, no,” Sam said as the Cardassians body slumped to the ground.

    It took him but a second to see the hilt of another knife in the man’s neck. Shelby rushed to Sito and wrapped the woman in her arms, turning her from the site. “I-I don’t…It wasn’t…” the Bajoran babbled.

    “No,” Ensign Grace said, his face wreathed with regret. “It wasn’t Lt. Sito.”

    “It was me,” Triese stepped forward. She walked over to the corpse and pulled the knife out. She wiped it on her robe and gave it to Grace. The man didn’t want to take it, Sam could tell, but he did anyway. The Orion-Vulcan hybrid held up her wrists for cuffing. “I could arrest myself, but it would be more logical if someone else did.”

    Sito broke from Shelby’s embrace. She walked over to Triese. She gently pushed the woman’s arms down to her sides and hugged her. Triese gasped in surprise. “I am so sorry that I have to do this,” Sito replied.

    “I understand,” Triese was impassive. Sam heard a loud hitch coming from Grace.
    “Thank you,” the Bajoran told the woman, “for what you did to this scum. But it is my sad duty to inform you that you are under arrest.”
    ****************************************************************
     
  19. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    ***************************************************************

    USS Sutherland
    Observation Lounge

    Fleet Admiral Grace trumped around the room. “I’m starting to regret my decision to reinstate you Captain Shelby.”

    “You shouldn’t sir,” Captain Haas spoke up, prompting a heavy sigh from Grace. “Without the captain’s quick actions, there could’ve been significantly more bloodshed.”

    “Losing that Cardassian prisoner and Triese’s arrest are more than enough,” Shelby shook her head sadly. “What’s going to happen to her?”

    “What do you think happens to murderers?” Grace hissed.

    “She was protecting me,” Lt. Sito interjected. The admiral stopped his pacing and brought the full intensity of his gaze down on the petite woman.

    “And you should be right in lock up with her,” he declared. “From all the reports I’ve read of this debacle, you lost complete control.”

    “There were extenuating circumstances Dad,” Ensign Grace said. “The soldier had…a personal history with Lieutenant Sito.”

    “I’m aware of the alleged violations of this Glinn Rondrig,” the admiral snorted. “But those crimes were for a court of law to judge, not Lt. Sito or Petty Officer Triese.”

    “But she mind melded with him, she knew the truth,” Lavelle pointed out.

    “So she says,” Grace rejoined.

    “You think she’s lying?” Lavelle hotly asked. Grace was unfazed.

    “All we have is her word, and her words would positively affect a judgment,” the admiral replied. “When was the last time mind melds were admissible evidence in a Federation court?”

    “They are on Vulcan,” Haas offered.

    “This look like Vulcan to you?” Grace retorted. He threw up his hands, “Enough with this! Once we return to Federation space, Petty Officer Triese will be remanded into the custody of the nearest Judge Advocate General I can find.”

    Haas breathed a sigh of relief, “So you have decided not to hand her over to the Cardassians?”

    “She’s…one of us,” Grace said. “She’ll be prosecuted under Federation law.”

    “Thank the Prophets,” Sito muttered.

    “Yeah, if those snakehead bastards got their clutches on Triese,” Lavelle shook his head.

    “There’s no place for biased sentiments like that in my Fleet Mr. Lavelle!” The admiral snapped and Lavelle’s cheeks grew rosy. But the younger man held his ground.

    “Sir we all know what the Cardassians are capable of, you perhaps better than just about anyone else in this room, with the exception of Jaxa.”

    The admiral gave him a small smile, “Commander you have no idea what Cardassians are capable of.”

    “Admiral,” Shelby wanted to angle the conservation back on a more productive path. “Have we received more information about the money transfer?”

    “Yes, we have been authorized to transport two million leks from the closest reserve bank, on Sunzek.”

    “That’s quite a haul,” Lt. Commander Tol said, “I wonder why they would want to lug all that bullion around?”

    “It makes sense if they don’t trust electronic funds,” Sito replied.

    “Lt. Sito is correct,” Admiral Grace said. “Despite the hassle of transporting and carrying all of those leks, the currency at least would be in their hands. It couldn’t be switched off or re-transferred at the click of a button.”

    “How long will it take to beam up that much money?” Haas asked.

    “Off hand, it should take no more than a few minutes,” Tol replied. “I’ll make sure we have enough space in the cargo bays ready, so that we can use the industrial transporters.”

    “That sounds like a plan,” Admiral Grace said. “Mr. Tol you are excused to set that up now.”

    The Trill looked at Shelby and she nodded. The man gave a short bow before he left the room.

    “And who will be delivering the money to?” Shelby asked.

    “Now it gets interesting,” Grace replied. He walked over to the view screen inset into the bulkhead facing the table. He activated it and the picture of a fleshy faced Cardassian appeared. His eyes burned through the viewer.

    “This is Gul Emst Martell,” Grace said. “One of the chief commanders in the Crimson Shadow. Second to the deceased Gul En’Roel, Martell was responsible for the most Allied casualties in the immediate post-war period, chiefly in the Romulan occupation zone. It can be said that Martell’s actions, in addition to other circumstances, led to the Romulans largely ceding withdrawing their forces.”

    “You sound almost proud of that,” Lavelle said with distaste.

    “Less Romulan meddling in Cardassian space is a good thing, no matter the source,” Grace said sourly. “But more importantly it speaks to Martell’s formidability. He is someone not to be taken lightly.”

    “This Gul Martell will be overseeing the exchange?” Shelby asked.

    “Yes,” the admiral answered, “We will beam over the leks and he will beam over Melken Urlak, and then we will part ways.”

    “We will not try to apprehend him once the hostage is secure?” Sito asked, disappointed.

    “Exactly,” Grace said. “We are expressly forbidden from doing so. The main objective is the safe return of Melken Urlak. After that, it’s an internal Cardassian matter as far as we are concerned.”

    “What’s our ETA to Sunzek?” Shelby asked. Ensign Grace leaned forward and tapped the panel inlaid into the long table.

    “Eight hours, five minutes, two seconds, at maximum warp,” the young man replied.

    “Then we’ve got a short amount of time,” Shelby intoned. The admiral looked at her askance.

    “What do you mean Captain?”

    “You don’t think I’m going to go into this unprepared?” She asked the admiral. “The Cardassians have drawn too much blood, from the Adamant to the jail break I want to be prepared in case things go south.” She turned around to Captain Haas. “Captain Haas I would like you to work with Lt. Sito.”

    “Absolutely,” Haas answered, “I’ll help in whatever way I can.”

    “I want you both to train an away team to storm the Cardassian ship to rescue Melken Urlak if things don’t go according to plan.”

    “Do you really think Martell will be underhanded?”

    “Perhaps him, or some other actor,” Shelby said. “What happened to this Gul Gavran character after all? Why is he off the board?”

    “The Cardassians told me that Martell is interceding on Gavran’s behalf,” The admiral replied.

    “All the more reason for us to be on the safe side about this,” Shelby said. “This Martell figure didn’t beat the Romulans by playing above board. There’s no way you’re going to beat the Romulans unless you are just devious, or more so, than they tend to be in war.”

    “I have to concur,” Grace rubbed his chin in contemplation, “A good observation.”

    “We can’t assume that Martell is going to live up to his word. Granted the deal seems cut and dried, it all sounds logical and a benefit to his movement. Two million for one girl, but at the same time, we can’t assume we know what Martell’s ultimate goal is. Maybe Melken Urlak’s continued captivity or murder might be of more value to him than the money.”

    The admiral winced, “One would hope not.”

    “Yes,” Shelby nodded, “One would hope, but we can’t assume he doesn’t have some ulterior motives in mind.”

    “You are correct,” Grace said. “Martell did insist on Sutherland being the only ship involved in the exchange. He didn’t want any Republic vessels around. Maybe he intends to embarrass the Federation as well. We can’t let him do that captain.”

    “We won’t,” she promised. “And to insure that, Sito I also want you to set up ship wide drills and I want everyone on duty armed until the exchange has been completed.” She paused and looked at the fleet admiral. “Is that acceptable to you sir?”

    He dipped his head, “I can’t find fault with it.”

    “Excellent,” Shelby pushed away from the table. “With your permission admiral, I would like to get started.”

    “The word is given,” he replied.

    “All right crew, let’s show ‘em what we’re made of,” Shelby replied.
    ******************************************************************
    Cardassian Central Command Vessel Varathun
    Transporter Room

    “Where is Gavran?” Gul Martell asked.

    “Busy,” Glinn Berced replied curtly. Martell smiled. He looked beyond the woman to the female nestled within the circle of Cardassian soldiers on the transporter pad.

    “Melken Urlak I presume,” he said, “Step forward.” Her guardians stepped to the side and Martell held out his hand. Melken took it and he helped her down from the pad. “You can transport back to Rlakar.” He told Berced. Now the woman smiled.

    “Do you think we trust you to deliver our funds? We will accompany you to the rendezvous.”

    “I made it clear to Gavran that only one ship would meet with the Starfleet vessel. Those were his conditions.”

    “My team will remain onboard…to insure that the exchange goes smoothly.”

    “You do understand that Varathun contains over two hundred officers, completely loyal to me,” Martell replied, with a raised eyebrow. “Any attempts to disrupt the transfer will be dealt with swiftly and not to your benefit.”

    “The warning was unnecessary,” Berced said, looking down at him from the pad. She wasn’t intimidated at all. Martell was impressed. “We are all Shadows after all.”

    “Yes, we are, patriots all,” Martell looked to his first officer, “Find them lodgings.”

    “We will bunk together, near Miss Urlak,” Berced said. The first officer shifted his jaw in perturbation.

    “Do as she says,” Martell said. The man nodded brusquely.

    “Follow me,” he grunted. Martell watched them exit. This request had surprised him. Martell didn’t like surprises. Gavran was up to something, and it was incumbent on Martell’s success to find out what that was.
    **************************************************************
     
  20. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    Imagine that, Cardassians are not trustworthy, who would have thought?

    Really liked the fisticuffs episode in the brig. Interesting that both Shelby and Lavelle beamed themselves right into the middle of that. Most senior officers would probably have left this to their security people. I kinda liked that Triese offed the Cardassian. She'll have to pay for it but I liked that she did.