ST: Independence 09 "The Expropriation"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dnoth, Nov 24, 2007.

  1. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Here's number nine. Thank you, everyone for your continued support; especially the authors of our shared universe, United Trek. Our interaction helps keep me motivated to continue writing.

    I hope everyone enjoys it...
     
  2. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence.
    ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn



    Stardate: 53764.5 (6 October 2376)
    USS Independence, “The Game Room”
    Alpha Quadrant, Occupied Cardassian Territory


    A week ago, long put off plans came to fruition. The new “Game Room” was officially christened. Originally, Captain Aurelia, Tactical Chief Bin Nadal, and Counselor Kimula brought their toys over from the Midas and put them in a small, unused crew’s quarters. Over time, word spread about the “game room.” The quarters proved to be woefully inadequate for the foot traffic.

    At first, the aforementioned ‘toys’ were a table used for Dungeons & Dragons and a dart board. Slowly, members of the crew brought more and more: a 3D chess board, a Tellarite strategy game, kal-toh. Larger things began to get replicated, including dom-jot and pool tables. It was time to move to a larger location. None of the crew objected to using the main lounge. Half of the tables and chairs had to be moved, but no one seemed to mind.

    Sintina Aurelia sat casually sat at one of the remaining tables near one of the large windows. She watched with pleasure as her Andorian friend, and ship’s counselor, taught Jinal, the ship’s engineer, and some other junior officers, the finer points of casting defensive spells.

    The captain took a sip of some warm spice wine when Karim Bin Nadal and Nicole Chase, the operations officer, requested to join her. She accepted.

    The Persian security officer started, “Nicole told me something I didn’t know, Sintina.”

    Aurelia took the cup away from her mouth. “Is that supposed to impress me?” she jested.

    “Nice,” Nicole chuckled. She raised her cup in tribute. The captain returned the gesture.

    Karim conceded the good jibe, “No. She told me about a planet called Aurelia.”

    “Oh, wonderful,” said Aurelia as she leaned back, “Here it comes, go ahead. Get it out of your system, Karim.”

    Chase commented, “I take it, you’ve heard about it.”

    She unenthusiastically confirmed, “Uh-uh. My fifth grade teacher thought it was a good idea to announce that fact to the class and then taught us all about it.”

    Karim shrugged, “What’s wrong with that?”

    “Nothing,” she rejoined, “when you’re dealing with people that have some sense of maturity, but not with children.”

    “What happened?” Nicole asked.

    Sintina sat up and took another sip. “You know that Aurelia has a form of sentient life, right?”

    “Yeah.”

    “They’re avians,” continued Aurelia, “Most of them are yellow and skinny and look like giant canaries.”

    “So what happened?” egged Karim.

    Sintina cleared her throat, “The insults started. At first, it was light-hearted. Some people began calling me ‘birdie,’ and I was fine with it. But then it got worse and got on my nerves…”

    “Imagine that,” chided Bin Nadal. A mock evil stare forced him to dip his head in submission.

    She continued her story, “One boy even called me ‘bird-brain’ once.” She leaned in seriously, “…but just once.”

    Nicole covered her mouth and dropped it slightly, “Did you beat him up?”

    “In my defense,” said the captain, “I was a bit of a tom-boy.”

    Karim slipped in, “Another shocker.”

    Aurelia looked at Bin Nadal. “Speaking of such things,” she asked, “don’t we have a sparring match in two days?”

    Karim laughed, “Actually, we do.”

    “I hear the crew is pretty evenly divided on their bets,” commented Chase.

    “Bets?” came from the captain.

    Karim gently slapped Nicole’s hand, “Shame on you for telling.”

    Sintina smiled. She looked up to the overhead and recited unemotionally, “As captain, I can not condone such actions, bah, bah, bah.” Then she leaned in, “I need to get in on that. Who do I talk to?”

    Karim and Nicole both burst out in laughter. After it died down, Bin Nadal jested, “I wouldn’t bother. I’m planning on throwing the fight.”

    “Not if I do first!” boosted Aurelia.

    In the midst of their mirth, the com activated. “Bridge to Lieutenant Chase.”

    The noise subsided, “Go ahead, bridge.”

    “A personal communiqué is coming through for you.”

    Nicole responded, “Ok, I’ll take in my quarters.” She kissed Karim on the cheek and said, “I’ll see you later.” Then, she excused herself.

    Once she was gone, Sintina asked, “You’ve passed the six-month mark. What do you think?” Gesturing to the door Chase had just gone through.

    “Not many women would tag along on a dangerous situation blindly like she did,” said Bin Nadal, referencing to last month’s incident when he stole a shuttle, recovered Uhura, and helped prevent Norah Satie’s assassination.

    “She’s defiantly latched on to you,” observed the captain.

    The security chief considered, “Is that a bad thing?”

    Sintina shrugged as she took another drink.

    *****

    The door hissed open. Nicole entered her quarters. She noticed her computer had a flashing icon. She sat and touched it. A dark-skinned human appeared. His short hair had a touch of grey, as did his mustache. He said, “Security protocols active.”

    Nicole tapped on her console, “Confirmed.”

    The man wore a black suit. He templed his hands, “It’s time to move to contingency plan omicron. The incident with Satie pushed them over the edge.”

    “Understood,” said Nicole, somberly.

    The man continued, “Interrogate the tactical chief first. I want to know about any other contact he’s had.”

    “Yes sir,” she rejoined, “How may I proceed?”

    “There is a natural source of hyperonic radiation near your location. It hasn’t been added to the official charts yet. Make sure the ship goes through it, with their shields down. The details, I’ll leave up to you.” He reached to something off screen and the display returned to the United Federation of Planets insignia.

    ‘Lieutenant’ Chase could see her reflection in it.

    END OF CHAPTER 1
     
  3. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Btw, that whole "Aurelia" thing is true. I did a search of it on Memory Alpha, and it really was a species/world. They were shown in TAS.

    I just searched for Spanish names and found "Aurelia," originally. It's an interesting coincidence. :vulcan:
     
  4. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Great start! I wonder how Karim will react when (if?)he discovers what Nicole is doing. I'm pretty sure I can already anticipate Captain Aurelia's reaction. :evil:
     
  5. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER 2

    Stardate: 53765.7 (7 October 2376)
    USS Independence, Tactical Officer’s Quarters
    Alpha Quadrant, Occupied Cardassian Territory


    Karim roused himself awake. The first thing he saw was Nicole’s radiant face. Her golden hair was in chaos. He stared at her for a few minutes before she began to rustle.

    Lt. Chase stretched and sighed deeply, exposing her bare breasts from the sheet. She rolled on her side and looked at her lover. “Morning sweaty,” she said, still waking up.

    He offered, “We have a few hours until our duty shift.”

    Nicole understood the implications. “True,” she said, caressing his face, “But I have a project I want to work on. I want to get an early start.”

    Bin Nadal sighed in half-mock disappointment, “Alright.” He kissed her, then rolled away to get up, “I’ve been slacking on my training anyway. I can’t have Sintina embarrassing me too early in the fight.”

    “I take it,” she concluded, “you’re going to be in the holodeck.”

    He nodded, “If one is open.”

    *****

    Kimula sh'Somachanar sat across a small glass table from Jinal. They ate assorted fruit for breakfast. She watched him eat. He, was of course, keenly aware she was looking. Every bite he took seemed rehearsed. Occasionally he glanced up. She found it amusing.

    The Andorian had always found Jinal to be an enigma. She served with him for nearly a year on the Midas. He was distant and aloof. She, on the other hand, was one of the most outspoken people on the ship. During the war, many people found comfort in the arms of a shipmate, but not Jinal; at least, not as far as she knew. He worked his duty shift, often put in extra hours, and retreated to his cabin.

    Once they were both assigned to the Independence, she resolved herself to reach out to him. She wasn’t sure if her interest was that of a friend, therapist, or more. Her feelings for him had become more intense once Jinal was stabbed at Starbase 17. The sudden emotion surprised her. Jinal had been injured before during the war; but this time, something was different.

    Kimula decided to be more aggressive, as Andorian females have a reputation for being. It was difficult to get passed his guard. ‘Why should two people be alone when they don’t have to be?,’ she reasoned. She didn’t know where this relationship would go, but she wanted to find out.

    She started noticing his reactions immediately. At first, she attributed it to his inexperience with intimate relationships due to his Vulcan upbringing. Soon, she suspected something more.

    Many Vulcans showed some level of emotion. She wasn’t overly concerned with that, itself. It was the emotions he was showing that concerned her. Jinal was almost always tense and jumpy. Kimula diagnosed him with some form of anxiety disorder awhile ago. She hoping to get him to open up about what specifically was causing it, but he never took the bait. The closer she got, the more nervous he seemed. Months passed, he still seemed afraid of talking about anything very personal, especially his family.

    Eventually, she backed off. The relationship settled into a predictable pattern: they ate breakfast in the morning, went to the “Game Room” after their shifts, and then he went back to his isolation for the rest of the night; nothing more. It was now more of a habit, and a desire to help, for Kimula than a desire for romance.

    Lately, she had done some research on Vulcan culture and a possibility entered her mind. She wanted to bring it up in conversation, but an opportunity never presented itself. She decided it never would, so she would have to create it. The Andorian finally said, in the most casual tone she could muster, “I didn’t realize how relatively common V'tosh ka'tur were among your people.” Kimula cringed immediately for her lack of tact.

    Jinal’s response was not what she expected. In fact, he seemed to be searching his mind for the term.

    She added, “You know, ‘Vulcans without logic.’”

    “Ah, of course,” he responded. Then, he took a moment to think back and apply the comment to himself. A hint of nervousness broke through, “You think I’m too emotional?”

    “Well, no…I mean I’m not complaining,” Kimula backpedaled. “It’s just…I can see how much strain you put yourself under; always reading tech manuals and journals.” She stumbled, “I mean…I know you want to be the best engineer you can be…that’s a good thing. But, you’re already a great engineer. You don’t have to put yourself under all that pressure. I can see it affecting you, Jinal. I’m worried about you.”

    His eyes wandered, “I see.”

    She found her justification, “As ship’s counselor, I just want you to relax a little.” She reached out her hand and placed it on his, “I don’t know what burden you’re carrying, but I would like to help you with it.”

    Jinal’s face became flushed with green. He became very unsettled. “I…I’m needed in engineering.” He left his plate.

    “Jinal, please, let’s talk,” pleaded Kimula.

    He made a dash for the exit, “Perhaps later.” The hatched closed behind him.

    *****

    Karim Bin Nadal’s hands made a small circle around his chi point, just below the navel. He sat on his lower legs, meditating. A few meters away, another, much smaller, man sat. The tactical officer knew it was a replica of the grandmaster of Isshin-ryu, Tatsuo Shimabuku. The Persian dwarfed the Japanese man.

    They seemed to be in a dirt courtyard on Earth. Both wore the traditional gi. Karim had been there, motionless, for nearly half an hour. Suddenly, the small man rolled and struck Bin Nadal’s throat with a knife hand strike. He was caught totally off guard by the attack and choked. He began to stand but Shimabuku swept his legs out from under him. The dirt puffed up when he landed.

    A small, bare foot landed on his chest. Tatsuo then, stepped back. He spoke in English, but with a heavy accent, “You let your guard down, karate-ka.”

    Karim finally sat up, “I’m sorry, sensei. I have no excuse.”

    “It is always good to be relaxed, but never good to be unaware. Do not confuse the two,” explained the grandmaster.

    Bin Nadal curtsied, “Yes sensei.”

    “Now,” said the Okinawan, “let’s practice Seisan Kata.”

    *****

    Lieutenant Chase entered the bridge with a cup of hot coffee. She looked over, at the center seat; Captain Aurelia occupied it. She was reading a padd, most likely containing the repair status of the hull. It took damage in their battle against the Philadelphia and later when a bomb exploded in the ambassador suite.

    Nicole looked over the bridge. Virak, Karim’s Vulcan second-in-command, was at tactical. A Denobulan cadet manned the helm. Petty Officer Dorian was at ops. Windslow was off-duty; as was Kimula and Tang. Another officer was doing research at science station one.

    Chase walked over to the operations alcove. “Wanna get out of here a little early?” she asked Dorian. He eagerly accepted the offer and left.

    She placed her beverage on a safe spot and sat. With a sigh, she began her work. Within a few minutes, her preparations were complete. It was time to begin. Again, she looked over at the captain. Aurelia suspected nothing.

    Chase was sympathetic to the captain. She never really bought into the existence of Section 31. Aurelia was simply doing what she thought was best. Just then, Nicole decided to take the unusual step of exposing herself.

    Nicole Chase began to make verbal commands to the computer. There was no going back now. “Computer, I’m thinking of a number. It’s a prime number.” She was talking loud enough to gain the attention of the bridge crew.

    Aurelia looked over, “What are you…”

    The ops officer returned her gaze but continued, “That number is thirty-one.”

    Instantly, all of the bridge stations, with the exception of operations went totally dark. The computer stated, “All ship functions have been transferred to your command.”

    The captain shot up, “What the hell?”

    “Computer,” ordered Chase, “erect a level 10 forcefield around my station.” A flash of light went around Nicole.

    Aurelia stomped closer, “Computer, return bridge functions. Authorization: Aurelia Gamma-Xi-Echo 489.”

    The familiar feminine voice of the computer was silent.

    “Computer, respond!” yelled the captain. She blazed at Nicole, “What the hell have you done with my ship!”

    Chase swiveled in her seat to address Aurelia. She seemed calm and collected, “Relax, Captain. If you behave yourself, I’ll explain.”

    If I behave myself,’ fumed Sintina. She strode to the weapons’ locker and grabbed a phaser. The captain aimed at the forcefield.

    “Captain, that won’t do any good,” advised Chase.

    Aurelia pressed on the trigger…nothing. She lowered her aim. A look of confusion crossed her face.

    Chase reached over and took a sip of coffee. She then, offered, “I’ve remotely deactivated all the phasers on the ship.”

    Unable to find another use for it, Sintina ripped the phaser at Nicole. It was, of course, ineffective, but it felt good. The phaser bounced off the energy barrier. She spat, “Who are you?”

    “If you didn’t have such a terrible case of denial,” began Nicole, “you would have figured that out already.”

    Sintina simply shot daggers at her.

    The lieutenant continued, “I’m a Section 31 operative, captain. I was sent here to observe. We found out about Karim’s knowledge of us and wanted to know how much a threat he was. Unfortunately, you have him to blame for all this. If he hadn’t asked so many questions, he wouldn’t have caught our attention. I’m sure, he’s told you about it as well.” She rested her mug, “Now, who did Karim say sent him on the mission to get Uhura?”

    Aurelia reflected for a moment. Chase was right about one thing, it was Karim who brought 31 to her attention. About six months ago, D’nas, Tang, and Jinal were arrested. It turned out to be all a rouse to gauge Aurelia’s personality. It was then when, Karim introduced her to Admiral Nechayev. She was part of a covert group that attempted to undermine Section 31’s efforts. Aurelia was dubious about this ‘group.’

    She didn’t want to believe the Federation could have an organization like 31. Even if it did, perhaps it was justified. Maybe Nechayev, Uhura, and Bin Nadal were ultimately doing a disservice to Federation security. It was a view Sintina had held…until a few seconds ago.

    Aurelia crossed her arms in defiance, “You don’t honestly expect me to answer that.”

    “No,” said Nicole, “but it was worth a shot. I’ll just get what I need out of Karim.”

    The captain shot back, “He’d never tell you!”

    She smirked, “We’ll see.”

    “Give me my ship back, you bitch!” Sintina blurted.

    “Sticks and stones...” rejoined Nicole. “Besides, it’s not that easy,” she continued, “you’ve upset some very powerful people. They were willing to overlook your involvement in exposing Admiral Whatley and General Wo’toth’s little plot to embarrass the Romulans.” She stood up in the containment field, “But then, you helped prevent Satie’s assassination. You have no idea how much time and resources went into that plan. Now, the Federation will have an uncontrolled element in its highest office. It will take years for the organization to fully recover from that failure.”

    Aurelia began to understand how dire the situation was, “Are you going to kill us?”

    The agent sighed, “Before I answer that, I want you to know the respect I hold for you. The Midas was responsible for 26 enemy kills during the war. That’s rather impressive for an Ambassador-class.” She shook her head, “It’s a shame, really. You were chosen for this assignment because of your skills in battle. But then, Karim put a seed of doubt in your mind, and he dragged you down with him. He was your undoing.”

    Again, the captain demanded an answer, “Are you going to kill us?”

    “Not really,” she stated, “I’m just putting you to sleep.” Nicole added, “The radiation I’m taking the ship into will kill you.”

    Sintina pounded a fist onto the forcefield. It gave her quite a shock, but her rage overrode the pain. “I’ll kill you!”

    Chase tilted her head, “I’m afraid you won’t have the opportunity.” She shrugged, “But look on the bright side, you won’t feel a thing.” She raised her voice slightly, “Computer, isolate holodeck one with a level 10 forcefield and begin pumping the Tal’Shiar compound into the air, 30 parts per million.”

    By now, all the bridge crew was standing around the operations station. Aurelia moved to within centimeters of the field. She screamed, “I will hunt you down. I swear it!”

    Chase frowned, “I was hoping for something a bit more colorful than that, captain.”

    Sintina began to get light headed. She felt like she was floating for a moment. The deck felt like a cloud on her face.

    END OF CHAPTER 2
     
  6. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    US Pacific Northwest
    Holy crap! :eek: Quite the little reveal there. Chase isn’t so big on the ‘subtle’ now that her plan is underway. I loved Aurelia’s reaction, so very typical of her but in the best way. :lol: It’s going to be very interesting to see not only if the crew can get out of this one, but if so… how?

    Oh, and thanks for the S-31 encoded activation reference, utilized to perfection. :thumbsup:
     
  7. DavidFalkayn

    DavidFalkayn Commodore Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2003
    Whoah! Chase moved fast. I have a feeling she overplayed her hand though.

    Also, some very good character work with Kimula and Jinal--she's getting closer, sooner or later, she's going to put two and two together...
     
  8. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Very good dialogue throughout for all the characters. I too like the character moment with Kimula and Jinal. And Chase is turning out to be very resourceful. I like her plan to kill off the Indy's crew. Very creative. :bolian:
     
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2006
    What a way to open a story. I thought there was something off about Chase ever since she insisted on going along with Karim's secret mission. But I haven't really suspected her latley, so it came as somewhat of a suprise to me. Very well done.

    She must have read the obligatory James Bond villain handbook though, the way she neatly explains everything before dooming the ship ... Aurelia: "Do you expect us to talk?" ... Chase: "No captain, I expect you to DIE!" Mwhahaha :evil:

    Seriously though, it was well done and I'm eager to find out how they gonna get out of this one. My guess, Karim is going to have a role to play.
     
  10. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    :lol:
    ...I thought of something similar when I was writing it.
     
  11. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER 3

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Main Bridge
    Alpha Quadrant, Occupied Cardassian Territory


    Nicole hummed slightly. She sipped her coffee behind her protective barrier for several minutes; ensuring that all aboard were now unconscious…all but Karim in the holodeck. Finally, she ordered, “Computer, remove all the Tal’Shiar compound from the atmosphere.” A hissing sound emanated from the vents.

    The computer informed her the air was clean.

    “Computer, drop the forcefield,” she continued. As the ship responded, she got up and stepped over Aurelia and the others. As she left the operations station, it darkened. “Computer, set a course for 238 mark 117, and engage at warp 6.”

    *****

    Bin Nadal threw a vertical punch at his opponent. It was blocked and grabbed at the same time. The holographic grandmaster put an intense amount of pain on Karim’s hand, forcing him to his knees. The Persian tapped out.

    Tatsuo released him. “You are too ridged when you throw your punch. You need to be loose until the moment of contact.”

    “Yes sensei,” Bin Nadal responded. He got up. He was only slightly relieved when he realized it must be near the time for his duty shift. “Computer, what time is it?”

    There was silence.

    “Computer, respond.”

    Again, nothing.

    “Computer, exit.”

    He exchanged a glance with Shimabuku, despite the fact the hologram was programmed to be unaware of such commands. Karim was beginning to regret not bringing his combadge.

    *****

    The Section 31 agent observed the events taking place in the holodeck, via a monitor on science station one. “Let the games begin,” she stated, darkly. “Computer, activate holo-emitters on all decks and disable safety protocols.”

    *****

    Lieutenant Commander Bin Nadal searched the dirt courtyard for the hidden control panel. It was a safe guard put in place since before the war. If one found themselves unable to call for the arch, an auxiliary panel was “hidden” by holographic objects, but could still be accessed.

    There were only so many places it could be. He moved to a loose brick in a nearby wall, but then he heard the familiar noise of the heavy holodeck hatch opening. A few meters away a seemingly magical doorway appeared. Someone was standing in the threshold. He moved closer.

    “Sintina,” he called once he recognized the figure, “What’s going on? The computer wasn’t responding to my commands.”

    “I don’t know,” she admitted. “I’ve been looking for someone…anyone, who wasn’t knocked out. You’re the only one I’ve found.”

    “Knocked out?” Karim repeated.

    Aurelia stepped back and ushered him into the corridor, “See for yourself.”

    The security officer left the holodeck. His unbleached, cotton gi was soiled with dirt on the back, elbows, and knees. He looked about and saw two crew members on the deck immediately. He turned back to his captain, “What happened?”

    She shrugged, “I know as much as you do. I was in holodeck two. When I came out, I saw this.”

    “So the holodecks protected us somehow.” conjectured Bin Nadal.

    “It seems that way,” Sintina said. “The computer isn’t responding to me, either. And I’ve been locked out of the bridge.”

    “I know you don’t want to hear this,” he began, “but it sounds like sabotage.”

    Her face was cold, “I know. But who could pull it off?”

    Karim sighed, “I’ve heard of the Maquis and some other groups using a cascade virus to wipe the memory core of computers before.” He added, “But if that where the case, how could the holodecks still be working?”

    “I don’t think the core’s been wiped. The computer is still up and running. It’s just we’ve been denied access somehow,” Aurelia responded.

    “This could be Section 31’s move against us,” ventured the tactical chief.

    She rolled her eyes, “Ah yes, your boogie-man, Section 31.”

    “Do you have a better theory?” he countered.

    Aurelia rested against the bulkhead. She conceded, “No.” The captain propped herself back up, “If it really is Section 31, just sending out a distress call won’t be enough. We need to contact your little opposition group.”

    “I don’t see what the admiral could do to help us in this situation.” He continued, “In my opinion, we should find someway to get to the bridge and regain control of the ship.”

    “Don’t you think I’ve tried that!” Sintina snapped. “I’ve tried every route I could think of to get access to the bridge and the computer. I finally got disgusted and came looking for help.”

    Karim put his hands out in concession. Then, he asked, “So you haven’t tried to send a distress call?”

    She cocked her head, “How could I, without access to the computer?”

    Bin Nadal smiled. He was something of a communications specialist, at least when it came to covert means. He spent two years in Starfleet Intelligence. It wasn’t a long stint, but it was long enough for him to pick up some tricks of the trade. Once he learned of Section 31, he had done some reprogramming of an auxiliary communications terminal on deck six. It served as his access to Admiral Nechayev and any other discreet communiqués he wanted to make. A sudden feeling of shame washed over him when he realized he now had to admit its existence. “I ah…I have a way to get a message out,” he offered.

    The captain crossed her arms and put on a small smirk, “I figured you might.”

    “It still runs through the main computer,” he explained, “but its access protocols are totally different from normal means.”

    “I’ll write you up later,” Sintina commented. She added, “Lead the way.”

    *****

    Jinal became aware of the carpet under his cheek. His eyes opened. Some saliva had escaped his mouth and now formed a small puddle. He wasn’t the only one on the deck. The Romulan pushed himself up. He was in engineering. Out of instinct, he jumped up to check a readout of the warp core containment field…it was stable.

    “Engineering to bridge,” he requested.

    Nothing.

    He sat on a stool, overlooking the M/AM reactor. “Computer, what’s the status of internal communications?”

    The silence was his response.

    Jinal moved to a consol to get some answers when he realized he couldn’t get the computer out of standby mode. He was effectively locked out. He looked around again at all the bodies on the deck.

    His mind was in chaos. What had happened? Why was he the only one? Why did it have to be him? Was he supposed to save the ship? Why was the computer not responding? Was everyone else dead? He realized he could find out the answer to the last question.

    Jinal went to his knees and checked the pulse of the nearest crewmate. She was alive. He moved to the next; again, alive. He rested back against some panels. At least they weren’t dead.

    What could I do?,’ he questioned. ‘Alright, calm down…calm down.’ Jinal had only just realized he was hyperventilating. He caught himself and relaxed slightly.

    The engineer returned to the stool. He exhaled, ran his fingers through his black hair, and rested his head on the useless controls. He was ashamed of himself…of his panic. It was just further proof of his complete failure to live up to Vulcan standards.

    END OF CHAPTER 3
     
  12. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Another bang up chapter. Chase's strategy to get Karim to tell her about Nechayev is very smart. Chase is shaping up to be one tough, devious, and nasty customer. You definitely do a good job with S31: Morgan, Visala, Collins, and now Chase. And I thought Gennaro Laurent was a bad dude, but he could learn a thing or two from your guys.

    With Jinal still awake, it opens up interesting possiblities for more exploration of this character. Looking forward to seeing how he responsed to this crisis.
     
  13. intrinsical

    intrinsical Commodore Commodore

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    Dnoth, yet again you've piqued my interest. I can't wait to find out what happens next, if Jinal's big secret is finally exposed to the entire crew.
     
  14. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Thank you for the compliments!

    DarKush, I'm particularly pleased to hear that you think I'm doing 31 justice.
     
  15. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    CHAPTER 4

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Deck 3
    Alpha Quadrant, Occupied Cardassian Space


    After catching his breath and regaining some composure, Jinal began moving to the bridge; besides engineering, it would be the next logical place to find out what was going on. He grabbed a small tool case and emergency door handle on his way out. The non-functioning lifts deterred him very little. He was now in a cramped Jefferies tube under deck two. Truth be told, he was rather comfortable in the small access tunnels. On particularly tough days, he sometimes hid out in the tubes to get away.

    The mock-Vulcan reached the overhead hatch. He would come up just outside of the first officer’s office. Then, he could take one of the twin stair cases up to the bridge.

    *****

    Nicole observed Karim and the Aurelia recreation move to the lower decks on the main viewer. The operative sat triumphantly in the center seat.

    The computer alerted her, “Approaching designated coordinates.”

    “Very well,” she said, “Slow to one-fourth impulse.”

    “Acknowledged,” the ship responded.

    “At current speed and heading, how long until the hyperonic radiation becomes fatal to the crew?” she casually inquired.

    “Three hours, twenty-nine minutes.”

    She began to say, “Plenty of time…” when she noticed movement out of the corner of her eye. Her head swished around. It was the chief engineer, Jinal. His jaw slacked and his eyes were wide open. He stared into her face. ‘How long had he been there?’ Too long, she concluded.

    Nicole got up slowly and began backing up, in the direction of the ops station. “Now… why are you awake?” she asked. It was more thinking aloud.

    “Why are you doing this?” Jinal asked in a quiet shock.

    She ignored his question, “I chose a very specific compound to disable the crew.” She continued to move back, “It was developed by the Tal’Shiar. They liked it for a simple reason. It affects nearly every Federation species, including Vulcans.” She quickly knelt down, grabbed the phaser off the deck, and pointed it at Jinal. “Computer, reactive the phaser I’m holding.”

    A confirmation tone sounded.

    Jinal froze. His best shot for cover was back down the staircase. He got the sense she wasn’t going to fire yet, so he forced back his flight response.

    The thirty-one agent continued, “It renders them unconscious for several hours.” She stepped closer; more confident with the weapon. “But it only affects Romulans for a few minutes.”

    Jinal felt nauseous. This was it. He could no longer hide. His lie was over.

    Chase examined him. Most Tal’Shiar operatives would have killed themselves by now. Jinal didn’t have the demeanor of someone in their ranks. She came to another conclusion about him, “I suppose you’re a political refugee and you lied on your Starfleet application.”

    The engineer was amazed at her powers of deduction, but he said nothing.

    “That’s too bad,” she commented, “Had you been Tal’Shiar, I would probably get you off this ship alive.” She adjusted the setting on the phaser.

    There was no more reason to stall, Jinal decided.

    Nicole re-aimed and fired, but the Romulan had thrown himself down the stairs in time to avoid the discharge. She ran after him and looked down the stairs. He was gone. ‘No matter,’ she thought. ‘The entire ship is my weapon.’

    *****

    Jinal had never moved so quickly on his hands and knees. Before he knew it, he was already on deck 4. He came to a junction and paused. His lips quivered and he breathed heavily. ‘She knows…she knows…what am I going to do?

    The engineer had only just begun to calm himself, when the com activated. The voice was a taunting one, “Jinal…Jinal. I know where you are, Jinal.”

    His mind was able to form rational thoughts again, ‘She has control of the computer. She's playing with me…How can I stop her?

    The torment continued as he moved, “I’ll make sure word gets out about you, Jinal. Anyone you know from the academy or from other postings will know you’re a…will know you were a Romulan. I promise you that.”

    He finally began to find some confidence, or perhaps it was a new found freedom to express himself. He responded, “I didn’t want to say anything before, but I always suspected you were a veruul.”

    *****

    Nicole scowled at the comment. She was about to block Jinal with a forcefield, but the conversation on the main screen caught her attention. It seemed Karim was having his doubts. She had a moment of inspiration. The Romulan would have to wait.

    *****

    Bin Nadal sat at the small, out of the way terminal. “The last fleet movement report I read indicated there were Starfleet vessels in this sector, a few frigates and escorts. Some could be here within a few hours.”

    “Forget them,” rejoined the Latina captain, “we need to contact the admiral, so the group knows about our situation.”

    He chuckled despite himself, “You have the wrong impression about them, captain. They can’t just swoop in from nowhere and save us.”

    “Still,” she persisted, “we should give them a heads up.”

    Karim regarded Sintina. She was often headstrong and impulsive, but not like this. It wasn’t like her to so completely change her mind. It was even less like her to ask help from a group of people she essentially considered rogues. ‘Maybe this incident has changed her mind,’ he considered. A much more disturbing thought occurred to him, ‘Did she really try to go to the bridge?’ The security chief decided to gamble, “I’m going to send out a distress message first. Then, I can contact Admiral…” He caught himself, “…the admiral.” He might be worrying for nothing, he realized, but he always considered borderline paranoia to be a positive attribute.

    “Wait!” she grabbed his hand from initiating the communication.

    Immediately, Bin Nadal logged out of the station, stood up, and backed off. “Why wait,…Sintina?”

    She seemed at a loss. The doppelgänger began to mumble something, but was interrupted.

    “Commander, that’s not the captain!” yelled Jinal from a nearby junction.

    Karim nodded, “I’m beginning to figure that out.”

    The two men cornered Aurelia, she backed off in submission, and suddenly dissolved. It was immediately clear, she was a hologram. Less than a second later, a two meter tall ogre replaced her.

    “Oh, cute,” Karim commented, right before the creature lunged at him with a massive club. The security officer managed to roll away from the cumbersome attack.

    Jinal reached into his kit and retrieved a laser cutter. He’d have to get close to use it.

    The wooden club smacked into the deck, but once again missed its target. Bin Nadal kicked behind the monster’s knee. Its thick skin scratched his bare instep. The ogre buckled but stayed on its feet.

    It was the opportunity the engineer was waiting for. He ran up to the beast and plunged the laser into its neck.

    The creature bellowed in simulated pain and collapsed. It lay there motionless for several seconds before anyone talked.

    Karim finally stood and tightened the belt on his gi. He looked at the ogre, “Someone has a sick sense of humor.”

    “It’s Lieutenant Chase, she’s the one in control of the ship,” Jinal offered. “The real captain is unconscious on the bridge. I saw her myself.”

    “Nicole?” the Persian questioned in disbelief. “How do you know?”

    “She was awake and on the bridge,” he explained.

    Karim looked skeptical.

    Jinal added, “She tried to shoot me.”

    Bin Nadal returned to the communications terminal only to discover the power to it had been cut; halting their best shot at rescue. He dipped his head and mourned before turning to the engineer. “Then why are you conscious?” he asked.

    The engineer backed up to the bulkhead and slid down to sit on the deck. He looked up, “Nicole, she’s a section 31 operative.”

    “Impossible,” huffed the security chief.

    Jinal continued, “She told me the compound she used on the rest of the crew didn’t affect me the same because…” He drifted off for a moment. Then, he admitted, “well, because I’m Romulan.”

    Karim held his head. He could feel a headache coming on, “Is anyone who they say they are on this ship?”

    The Romulan got up and placed a hand on his fellow officer, “I’m sorry about Nicole.”

    The Persian shrugged it off. “Are you part of the military or Tal’Shiar?”

    Jinal pleaded with his response, “Neither, I’m the same person you’ve served with all this time. I just lied about being Vulcan.” He went on with veracity, “I swear it.”

    Karim took a moment for himself. Then, he looked up from beneath his hand, “Are you sure about Nicole?”

    Jinal nodded, and asked, “What do you want to do?”

    He and Nicole had been intimate for months. He didn’t want to believe Jinal, but something told him it was true. It was all a lie. Was he so gullible? Could Section 31 get so close and he not even suspect it? Or did he just ignore the signs? They got the best of him…she got the best of him.

    Over several seconds, bin Nadal’s disbelief mutated into fury. He straightened up and looked right into the Romulan’s eyes, “We’re going to the bridge and we’re going armed.” The security chief began to stride down the corridor.

    Jinal countered, “But she has the only active phaser.”

    He paused. The revelation took some wind out of his sails. Then, a wicked grin emerged on his face, “There’s one firearm on this ship she can’t deactivate.”

    END OF CHAPTER 4
     
  16. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    BrotherBenny
    You're killing me with this one. Great stuff.

    Chase is in for a real good ass whooping. And when Aurelia wakes up, if Chase is still alive, there's gonna one hell of a fight.

    Keep it coming.
     
  17. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    US Pacific Northwest
    Another great chapters. In the face of all that is happening, Jinal's 'outing' seems rather anti-climatic. Lucky guy, that. :D And I agree with the above, Aurelia's gonna be very unhappy with Chase.
     
  18. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    You continue to impress with this story. Keep it up.
     
  19. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    Thank you, everyone. Let the story continue...
     
  20. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Location:
    In the illusion, but not of it.
    CHAPTER 5

    Supplemental
    USS Independence, Deck 5
    Alpha Quadrant, Occupied Cardassian Territory


    Commander Karim bin Nadal moved with a purpose. His mind set on a single immediate goal: get to Sintina’s quarters on deck three and grab her gun. The newly revealed Romulan engineer was abreast of him; sometimes breaking into a run to keep up with bin Nadal’s pace. They walked in silence for several seconds.

    Jinal asked cautiously, “So what was that Captain Aurelia hologram doing?”

    “She was trying to get the name of my contact,” he said, without looking over.

    The engineer followed up with, “Contact for what?”

    “A type of resistance…” Karim slowed, “…group.” He stopped and seemed to be looking for something.

    “What is it?”

    The Persian paced slightly, “Why no forcefields?”

    “What?”

    Bin Nadal elaborated, “You said Nicole has complete control of the ship…so why hasn’t she stopped us?”

    The Romulan considered, “I don’t know. You think she’s leading us into a trap?”

    “Why would she have to?” he countered, “She could turn any part of the ship into a trap.”

    Jinal shrugged in bewilderment.

    Karim examined the Romulan for a tense moment. He put more distance between himself and Jinal. “Unless,” he started, “She’s still tricking me.”

    The engineer didn’t respond.

    *****

    “Damn,” commented Agent Chase. Via security monitors, she watched Karim and her ‘inspiration.’ The results were not what she had hoped for. She said to no one, “He’s too suspicious now. I’ll have to take a more direct approach.”

    The Section 31 operative walked up behind the command chairs. She couldn’t forget her other problem, “Computer, where is Lieutenant Jinal?”

    “Lieutenant Jinal is in Jefferies tube 3-C.”

    She dismissed the report, “No computer, search for his bio-signature, not combadge.”

    The correction came, “Lieutenant Jinal is in the computer core access room.”

    The response caught her off guard, “What!” She should’ve killed him first, then deal with Karim. It was a foolish mistake. She underestimated the passive Romulan. “Computer isolate that area with a forcefield and create holodeck characters to kill him.”

    “Specify hologram parameters.”

    Nicole thought for a moment. She ordered, “Tal’Shiar officers.”

    *****

    “I don’t know how to convince you I’m not a hologram,” pleaded Jinal’s duplicate.

    “How did Captain Camar die on the Midas?” inquired bin Nadal.

    Before the hologram could respond, it dematerialized.

    Karim wasn’t as shocked as he though he’d be. He knew he was in trouble now. Lacking a better plan, he ran down the corridor. The security chief didn’t get far. In mid-step, the deck ‘pulled’ him violently down. He was pinned to the carpet.

    A com line opened, “The gravity plating on deck five is now set at 15 G’s.

    He instantly recognized the voice…it was Nicole. Speaking was a struggle, but he managed, “Going to…torture me now?”

    I tried to do it the easy way,” she coyly responded, “but you weren’t cooperative.

    The Persian only grunted.

    And here is negative 15 G’s.

    Karim was flung from the deck to the overhead. He crashed into the lighting.

    Positive 15.

    He slammed into the deck once again. He was sure his nose had been broken, and he felt the crack of a rib.

    Should I even bother asking you anything yet?” thought Nicole aloud. “No,” she concluded, “I’m sure you haven’t been broken yet.

    *****

    The very bulkheads were a combination of isolinear chips, optics, and bio-neural gel packs. Jinal was amazed he made it this far. His mind was now focused on bringing down the main computer. The Romulan was glad to have something else to think of other than Nicole’s discovery. He thought of initiating a cascade failure, but that would take hours to do any real damage to the computer. He needed to crash the computer now. Maybe he could disconnect the ODN matrix to isolate the core from the rest of the ship. He opened his tool kit to start the sabotage.

    Before he could begin, he heard the distinctive sound of forcefields going up. He spun around. Jinal saw the Romulans materialize in front of him. They were armed with disruptors.

    *****

    Karim looked at a bloody tooth on the deck, next to his face. It was the only thing he could look at. His body was battered. The pain had become so widespread that he felt numb. Nicole must have anticipated the mercy of endorphins, because she changed nature of her smiting.

    He felt the gravity return to normal for a moment. The security officer could breath easily again. It was like heaven compared to the last few minutes.

    Ready to tell me who this admiral is?” an omnipresent voice asked.

    When bin Nadal tried to talk, he merely coughed up some blood.

    I guess not.

    Instantly and without warning, Karim found himself under water. He swallowed quite a bit before he realized what was happening. She was going to water torture him with a hologram. Out of instinct, he moved up; only to find no air. The water went all the way to the overhead.

    The water vanished as quickly as it appeared. Again, he fell to the deck. Seconds later, the process started again.

    END OF CHAPTER 5