UT10 - Star Trek: Orion - Reunions

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Bry_Sinclair, Jul 5, 2016.

  1. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    This ain't good.

    I'm a gonna go and bet my bottom dollar that whatever Pathfinder has come across is related to larger things back on DS10.

    Curious to see how the Starfleet Investigative team will play out. Common wisdom tells us there will be some conflict between them and the local personnel. And talking about conflict, Cardassians investigators? Yeah, that's going to go real well.
    Bry_Sinclair likes this.
  2. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    Phew, had me worried there for a moment :)
  3. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Just in case though allow me to clarify to dispel any possible misunderstandings:

    This ain't good for Pathfinder.
  4. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    ^ As I read on I took that to be your meaning, lol.

    That being said I'd rather have an honest critique, if something wasn't good or didn't make sense.
  5. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    Chapter Four

    Location: Classified

    Power throughout the ship had been cut back to minimum, to the point that the lighting was barely enough for her to see the viewscreen five meters in front of her chair or hear the atmospheric processors cycle clean air. But it needed to be this way, they couldn’t risk being discovered—their mission was too important. Despite the significance of the operation, the likelihood that they would never see home again, even she wasn’t fully aware of the full details. She didn’t even know if they were alone or if others would be on their own trajectory, which meant she didn’t know if there would be anyone else to complete the mission should the worst happen and they were stopped.

    She shook her head. She couldn’t dwell on such thoughts; her focus had to be on their success—at any cost. She and her crew of sixteen were all ready and willing to give their lives for the cause, knowing it would bring a brighter future. They may not have the chance to enjoy the fruits of their labour, but they all took comfort in knowing that their actions would secure it for all others.

    The thought made her smile and quietened her busy mind.

    A chirp from the helm caught her attention. The helmsman looked over the readouts then looked back at her.

    “We’ve passed the outer marker. Another eighty hours to target.”

    She nodded. Eighty hours and they would be in orbit, then all they needed to do was wait for the signal—their only radio contact from headquarters—once they received it then they would begin, and bring about a new order.

    * * * * *

    Bridge, U.S.S. Pathfinder
    G-765-4D, Dozaria Sector

    Jurex’s head was pounding as she opened her eyes to murky darkness. Taking a deep breath, she coughed as bitter smoke filled her dry throat but didn’t let that stop her. Pushing herself to her feet she quickly looked around at the battered bridge, though the momentary fear she felt eased as she saw numerous others starting to move, coughing and groaning.

    “Report!” she croaked, making her way towards the consoles at the front of the deck, where the Captain had last been standing.

    Lieutenant Ngo was clambering back into his seat, but Taua was slumped beside her seat, gasping. Jurex stopped beside the Lothran and crouched down to assess her condition, which was clearly displayed on the display on her right breast. Several indicators were in the red with others dropping fast, which meant her suit was compromised.

    She slapped her combadge. “Medical team to the bridge.”

    “Internal comm is offline,” stated Ngo, “I’m rerouting.”

    Taua’s eyes fluttered open and almost immediately she knew something was wrong, her expression one of panic as her mouth gapped, trying to draw in a breath.

    “Try to stay calm, Lieutenant. Your suit has been compromised and self-repair system looks to have been damaged as well. We’ll get help for you very soon,” she assured the younger woman.

    She shot Ngo a sharp look, but he was still working fervidly.

    Someone appeared on the other side of the conn officer, setting down a medkit (one specially outfitted with equipment for her unique physiology). Jurex glanced up and felt a flood of relief to see Reihyn by her side, as he opened the kit and she pulled out the tricorder.

    “I’ve got shipwide comlink bypassed, it’ll be patchy but it’s the best I can do.”

    “Jurex to sickbay. We have a medical emergency on the bridge.”

    “A team is on the way,” replied Doctor Ad’u.

    “Sir, we’ve got massive damage throughout the ship. Main systems are either barely functioning or unresponsive, secondary and emergency backups are in the same condition. We’ve also got multiple hull breaches and fractures. I’m amazed we’re still in one piece.”

    Reihyn stood up as she scanned the junior lieutenant. “I need facts, Lieutenant. Breach locations and severity. DC response. Casualties.”

    “Aye sir, I’m trying to compile all that now, but the main computer is barely operational.”

    As she located the worst of the tears in Taua’s envirosuit and applied an emergency sealant, which would at least keep her condition form worsening, Reihyn headed aft. She listened to him as she focused her mind on helping to keep Taua calm.

    “Commander, what hit us?” he asked Moq, who stood at tactical once again, cradling his left arm.

    “I don’t know, sir. There was nothing on sensors, definitely no ships.”

    “Some form of booby trap, then—mines perhaps?”

    “Even cloaked, mines can’t pass through our shields,” stated the Tellarite, though with something in his voice that caught her attention. She looked up to the freestanding console behind the command arena. She saw him scowl and quickly start entering commands.

    “Before I was thrown from my station, I did see something on the sensor display,” he explained as he tried to access the damaged computer.

    Just then the turbolift opened and a medical team entered, comprising of two corpsmen and two security guards, pushing anti-grav gurneys. She waved one of the medics towards her, as the other headed to another injured crewman at the aft consoles.

    Senior Chief Petty Officer K3 Brown scuttled over to them, her attention immediately drawn to the distressed officer on the deck, making soft, soothing clicks as she aimed her tricorder at the flight controller.

    “Her suit has been damaged, auto-repair isn’t responding, nor is the purge system. Internal atmosphere has been compromised and at dangerous levels,” Jurex told the non-com.

    “Thank you, Commander, I’ll take care of her. You have other things to address.”

    She gave the senior chief a nod and slipped into Taua’s vacant console, she could assess their situation first hand, provide support for Ngo and try to work on answers directly. Beside her, Taua was lifted onto one of the gurneys and whisked towards the lift.

    “I’ve got it,” said Moq, after what had felt like hours. “Sensors registered multiple phase shifts. It looks like we were in a field of cloaked mines, though no normal cloaks. I’d say they were out of phase, at least enough to pass through our shields.”

    “Phased-cloaked mines,” Reihyn thought aloud.

    The operations officer in Jurex was immediately intrigued by the notion of such technology, but this wasn’t the time or place she reminded herself, as she tried the patch the navigational controls back to the helm, so she could at least learn where they were.

    “Captain,” Ngo called out, “we’ve got hull breaches on decks four, six, seven, eleven, eighteen, nineteen, twenty-one, twenty-three and twenty-five, as well as A and B decks of the pod. Emergency forcefields are at fifty percent in the engineering section and no higher than twenty in the saucer, but the pod is open to space. Bulkheads have sealed off affected sections up there. I’ve not heard anything from three of our damage control teams, but the others have all been dispatched.” He paused for a moment, swallowing heavily. “Injury reports from all decks, sickbay estimates at least three hundred and thirty crewmembers are wounded, though no indication as to severity. Nineteen confirmed dead. Forty-one are unaccounted for at present.”

    Jurex cast a look at the ops manager then back at the Rigellian-Enex. Though she was trying hard to keep her metal barriers up, just as she did in all emergency situations, it didn’t take a telepath to sense the anguish that came from him. Reihyn fought tooth and nail to keep his crew safe, taking any loss to heart—it was something some may have seen as a failing but, to her at least, his unyielding commitment and dedication to his crew was something she had always admired.

    Including Lieutenant Texil’Vehn’s newest arrivals, the crew complement of the Pathfinder had stood at 761. Now, sixty were either dead or missing and almost half of those who’d survived were in need of medical attention. Things couldn’t get much worse.

    Her bypass for the navcomp came to lift with an alarm. Looking at the external sensor readings, she immediately kicked herself for jinxing them.

    “Sir,” she started, trying to keep her tone level, “our momentum and trajectory will take us into the atmosphere of the planet in under a minute.”

    “Can you stop us, Commander?” he asked, his voice hollow, as though he already knew the answer.

    She shook her head. “Impulse, thrusters and helm control are all inoperative, sir.”

    All eyes shifted to the Captain, who stood beside tactical, well aware of the situation they were in and the burden that was on his shoulders. He took a single deep breath. “Commander, take Ngo, Patel, Reese and ch’Thuun below and help with repairs. Focus on propulsion, even if it’s enough to level our descent so we won’t burn up in the atmosphere, as well as subspace communications and external sensors. Kusanagi, Martino, you’re at ops and conn. I’ll co-ordinate from here. We just need to get to limping, then we can try to figure out how to get out of here.”

    “Aye Captain,” she confirmed, trying to project the same strength and resolve he did.

    * * * * *

    Operations Centre, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector

    Kara Drezner had always had a knack for tuning out background noise and focusing on what she needed too, growing up the oldest of nine had made it a necessity if she’d wanted to get any studying done. It was a skill that had seen her ace every exam in school and then on to Starfleet Academy, and seen her in good stead during her career in Intel. So even in the middle of the din that was the ops centre, she was able to stay on task with practiced ease.

    She sat at the command table, in the middle of the maelstrom, with a sector display on her monitor as she accessed the stations communications array directly. As the strategic operations officer, it was her responsibility to keep apprised of all ship movement in the space surrounding DS10, so her display tracked all Starfleet, Federation, Cardassian, and all other species ships—though her security clearance, from her days as a pure intelligence operative, gave her access to far more information on those ships than anyone else onboard, including Captain Jachim. She knew exactly what class and type of ship each blinking icon was.

    There was no sign of the Cardassian Alliance yet, other than one of the freighters heading out to Kohbeeria, though she knew it wouldn’t be long before the Alliance did dispatch a cruiser or warship. The Keldon Empire’s deployment along the border remained unchanged. Whilst there were fifteen non-aligned or neutral ships within their sensor perimeter, none of which were making any unusual movement. Whilst all reports from along the Breen frontier stated that the Confederacy was remaining quiet, just as they had done for the last five years.

    As for Starfleet forces, they were spread somewhat thin on the far side of the former Union. The closest was the Resilient, just over an hour out, but with a Federation Councillor onboard they would have standing orders to remain out of any tactical operations unless absolutely necessary, which meant the station couldn’t rely on her for defence. There were two Sabre’s that could reach the station in eight hours and the Akira-Class Griffin would be on site twenty minutes before the Cardassians arrived, after which the next ship to arrive wouldn’t be for another fourteen hours. Whilst only another two ships were within two days travel of the station, even the Pathfinder, once she went to maximum warp, would still be at least three days away.

    That was if she could contact the task force flagship.

    Worry was trying to get it’s icy talons around her stomach, but she kept it at bay, after all there were any number of reasons why the ship wouldn’t be answering hails, with only a few of them being something seriously wrong. But still, a whisper echoed from the darkest recesses of her mind.

    She turned to face Van Heerden. “Johannes, are we having any problems with the comm on our end?”

    With a narrowing of his piercing blue eyes, the closest he got to showing annoyance, the communications officer quickly looked over the system diagnostic. After a pause he looked back at her. “The last routine check showed everything to be fully functional. Is there a problem?”

    “I’m having trouble contacting the Pathfinder,” she admitted.

    Van Heerden slipped his earpiece in place and tried himself, his hands deftly moving over the controls, trying every frequency and bandwidth far quicker than she’d be able too. But all his efforts came up short as well.

    “The last report we got from them said, they were altering course to answer a badly distorted distress call,” he said, glancing at the communications log. “There may be some form of disruption in the system that impacts subspace signals, which could account for the poor condition of the emergency broadcast.”

    “Perhaps,” she admitted, not sounding overly convinced. “Thanks for trying. I’ll keep at it.”

    “There is a subspace buoy a few light-years from their last reported position. I can try to boost its output from here; that might cut through any regional interference—though it may take a couple of hours.”

    “That’d be appreciated.”

    “You got it.”

    Drezner turned back to her display, though still didn’t feel right. She tapped on her sector display and zoomed in on the Pathfinder’s last known location, looking for any ship near to them that could be able to relay a message. The first one she saw was a Ferengi merchantman, though didn’t hold out much hope of them being overly helpful in the situation, but as she looked a little further away she located a Starfleet vessel on patrol along Breen space.

    When she called up the data on the vessel Drezner smirked. I couldn’t be more fortunate, she told herself as she opened up the communications system again.

    * * * * *

    Bridge, U.S.S. Orion
    Breen Border, Dozaria Sector

    Commander Vincent Okonedo sat in the command chair, legs casually crossed, as he finished off his Romulan vadha root tea—a beverage he’d quickly developed a taste for after the trading embargo had been lifted. It had a sharp, bitter taste, and gave him a far greater boost than any coffee, even the strongest raktajino the replicator had on offer. It was an acquired taste, though not one most stuck with to appreciate, as such there weren’t many others who liked it—other than Romulans of course.

    Though they were on patrol of Breen space, since the last great incident involving the secretive Confederacy in late 2380, they had withdrawn to their old borders and not made a peep since. Some were of course worried that they were simply biding time to regroup and strike out once again, but Okonedo was always a ‘glass half full’ sort so chose to enjoy the quiet whilst it existed.

    He swirled the last mouthful of the indigo coloured liquid in the bottom of his mug, before lifting it to his lips and savouring it, smacking his lips appreciatively once it was finished.

    “Enjoy that, Vin?” Counsellor Linnis asked from the seat on his left.

    Okonedo flashed a wide grin at the Ocampa, the first of her race to enter Starfleet since they’d arrived in the Alpha Quadrant eight years ago. “How could you tell?”

    “You’re not a hard person to read.”

    He chuckled, admiring the young junior lieutenant’s flawless face, pixie-like haircut and pointed ears. A lot about her reminded him of Enan Lanalli, which automatically made him think about how lucky his best friend and former roommate, Alek Jachim, was. Though he’d never seen himself as the marrying type, Okonedo would have considered it with Enan—or someone like her.

    Quickly, he shook his head. The last thing he needed was a relationship with the ship’s counsellor, even if she was smart, beautiful, with a wondrous outlook on life, a smile that lit up any room—

    Knock it off! he scorned himself.

    Abruptly he stood and headed over to the replicator with his empty mug to recycle it. With a hum, it vanished into thin air. He turned back to the centre of the bridge and decided that he needed to stretch his legs a little, so began to wander from station to station, checking in with each of the crewmembers, all of whom he knew personally, many having served onboard for a number of years. Having been onboard for the last decade, he’d seen many faces come and go, fortunately most were still out there somewhere, living their own lives—hopefully enjoying where they’d wound up.

    Ten years ago, had he been told that he would be the Orion’s first officer, he would have laughed. He’d never been that interested in chasing command—that was definitely more Alek’s dream—as he had only ever wanted to be a science officer. But after he’d been promoted to second officer, he’d found himself enjoying the new challenge the role presented, so when the Captain had offered him the open billet of XO, he’d agreed.

    He was just approaching ops when Ensign Naomi Wildman, the chief operations officer, looked up at him, a soft scowl on her horned brow.

    “Sir, we’re receiving a priority signal from Deep Space Ten.”

    Before he could reply, the turbolift beside her console opened and the Captain stepped onto the bridge—her timing immaculate as always. She took one quick look at their faces and knew something was up.

    “Problem?” Captain D’Kehra asked, looking at him.

    “Priority channel from DS10, Cap.”

    She looked at Wildman. “Onscreen.”

    As the image of the star field vanished, D’Kehra moved to the banister behind the command area. Okonedo by her side as Lieutenant Commander Drezner’s face appeared, an unusual look on her typically composed visage.

    “Commander, what’s wrong?” began D’Kehra, all business—which was out of character for her as well.

    “Captain, it may be nothing, but we’re unable to contact the Pathfinder. I’m sending you through their last known position, the heading they were on, as well as their ultimate destination. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be something to be overly concerned about, but we have a situation developing here for which we may need the flagship.”

    D’Kehra glanced at Wildman, who nodded as the data transmission was received.

    As she focused on the viewscreen again, Okonedo moved to join the half-Ktarian as she looked over the information they’d been sent. There wasn’t much to look through, especially nothing that might have given some indication as to what had happened to the Nebula-Class ship.

    “Don’t worry, we’ll see what’s keeping them and lend a hand if needed.”

    “Thank you, Captain.”

    “We’ll be in touch. Orion out.”

    The green-skinned Orion turned from the viewscreen as the streaks of stars once more filled the display. Okonedo had already transferred the co-ordinates to the helm, so all they were waiting for was D’Kehra to give the order.

    “What does it look like to the two of you?”

    He shared a look with Wildman, who shrugged slightly, then turned back to the Captain. “From what I can see there’s nothing that should interfere with communications, at least nothing from these readings. This is either a technical fault with the Pathfinder, or something serious has happened to them.”

    “Agreed. I want a full analysis of the system, see what we can determine from here. Once we arrive, we’ll go in at red alert and be ready for anything.”

    “You got it, Captain.”

    D’Kehra turned to the conn. “Endaro, alter our heading and take us to maximum warp.”

    * * * * *
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  6. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Ah, what would a Orion reunion story be without a starship called Orion. Good to see more familiar faces as well.

    As for Pathfinder, turns out I was right, things are looking pretty dire. I'm still wondering about the connection. There's gotta be a common thread here ...
    Bry_Sinclair likes this.
  7. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    Chapter Five (1/2)

    Security Office, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector

    The latest update from the forensics team filled the screen, but it told Jeremy Aster nothing. Though they were still going over everything in the guest apartment, but so far there had been no foreign DNA, fibres, or energy signatures, nothing that could give him a lead. That being said, he was beginning to believe that the lack of evidence was evidence in itself—obviously the killer was well versed in forensics and security protocols, which unfortunately brought up the very real possibility that the killer was a member of Starfleet. If that was the case, then what started off as two murders could escalate into all out war.

    He let out a heavy sigh and started to roughly massage the muscles in the back of his neck, which always tensed up with stress. The fate of the entire region was resting in his lap, but he had no answers for how to resolve it. The ongoing examination of surveillance had revealed nothing, speaking with residents around the scene of the crime was just as fruitless. He’d even interviewed the last member of the Cardassian Alliance delegation, Jil Sarat, personally to see if she had anything else to add. She was emerging from her state of shock, though understandably upset and had started to ask him what had been leant—she was definitely tougher than she looked.

    His terminal chirped with the preset alarm, which meant only one thing; his reinforcements were here. Securing his computer, he left his office and headed through the main security complex, which was lightly populated (most of his people were out on patrol or working on the investigation). From the main office he headed to the nearest turbolift and ordered it to hangar deck one, where the shuttle with the SCIS team would be landing.

    The U.S.S. Resilient had stopped off just long enough to deposit the shuttle, before leaping back to high warp and travelling to a safe distance from the station. With a high-ranking Federation Councillor onboard, the ship couldn’t get involved in what was going on aboard the station, just in case the situation escalated as her safety couldn’t be assured either on DS10 or the Intrepid-Class ship. They would be close at hand, so that Councillor T’Vell could deal with the political and diplomatic fallout, but far enough away so that if the Alliance showed up in force they could withdraw quickly.

    Had he been an egotistical person, Aster would’ve taken great offense to the Captain’s requesting of the SCIS to join the investigation, but he wasn’t so knew that it was as much a political manoeuvre than anything else—which, given the uncomfortable truths Aster was starting to realise, would be best for all of them. If someone in Starfleet was behind the double murder, then having a civilian organisation involved should help ease the diplomatic tension, as it wouldn’t be Starfleet investigating Starfleet. But still, he wasn’t quite ready to hang that noose around the neck of every loyal officer and crewman onboard, not without some hard evidence.

    From the turbolift he headed for the arrival lounge. He entered just as the type-VIII shuttle effortlessly drifted through the bays forcefield, then the pilot expertly pivoted the craft a full one-eighty, before settling on the deck without a sound. Though the bay was pressurised (thanks to the forcefield) he had to watch the shuttles arrival through the viewport in the lounge, a safety precaution more than anything else, though he suspected that he would’ve been perfectly fine with the pilot of that shuttle at the controls.

    As the crafts engines powered down, he entered the hangar and headed for the entry ramp, which was already lowering. Though he could’ve had a junior officer meet the team and escort them to Security, he felt that he should be there in person, to give them the full rundown.

    He stood at attention as the trio exited. All three were in civvies, smart and practical, carrying items of luggage, and each had a phaser strapped to their waist (in accordance with SCIS protocols, their agents were always armed whenever they were on a case). That was where the similarities between the three ended. The specialists consisted of a silver-haired Vulcan woman, a Benzite female whose age he couldn’t place, and a human-looking (an unfortunate experience as an ensign had taught him, never assume that those who looked to be of Earth ancestry actually were) male who was several years Aster’s junior.

    “Welcome to Deep Space Ten,” he began, addressing the Vulcan, who had been the first off the shuttle. “I am Lieutenant Jeremy Aster, head of station security.”

    “Thank you, Lieutenant,” the Benzite replied, stepping forward, a sly smile curling the corners of her small mouth. “I am Special Agent Myza, I head up this unit.”

    He felt his cheeks flush slightly, once again making incorrect assumptions. “Sorry, Agent. Welcome.”

    She brushed his apology off. “Best not waste time with that, we’ll need to get to work.”

    “Of course, follow me please.” The quartet headed back on the same path he’d taken.

    “This is Doctor Savanna; she’s the best forensic scientist the SCIS has, who also happens to have doctorates in forensic anthropology and pathology. And not forgetting Probationary Agent Nathan Ames; an expert in computer science, communications systems and holography.”

    He nodded at each of them as they headed back up to the security complex. “I’ve compiled all the information we’ve been able to amass so far, unfortunately it’s left us with more questions than answers.” He hesitated for a moment, but knew they’d come to the same conclusion he had as soon as they started looking into the case in greater detail. “There is also the very real possibility that the perpetrator is a Starfleet officer.”

    Myza’s wide eyes narrowed as she looked at him. “What makes you say that, Lieutenant?”

    He quickly ran through his reasoning, trying to stick to the facts and not the supposition he’d started to draw from it. The turbolift stopped just as he finished, then led them towards his office. The SCIS team mused over what they’d been told in silence.

    Entering the main office of the Security Complex, his eyes locked onto the first guard he saw, a red-headed rookie called Beck. He gestured for the crewman to come over. Obediently, he stood before them in a matter of seconds.

    “Mr Beck, would you take the Agents’ gear to their quarters.”

    “Yes sir.”

    The agents handed over their personal luggage, though each kept hold of at least one piece—which he surmised was specialist equipment for their chosen field of expertise.

    “We can go into the briefing room and I can give you the full rundown of what we have so far.”

    Myza cast a quick glance at Savanna, though the Vulcan said nothing and made no facial gestures he could read. The team leader looked back at him. “I think it’d be best if Savanna and Nate got to work. You and I can go through the preliminaries.”

    “You got it.” He looked past her and caught the eye of sh’Thanar and Lennox. “Lieutenant, will you escort Doctor Savanna. Mr Lennox, get Agent Ames set up on our system.”

    “Aye sir,” they replied in unison and saw to their respective charges.

    “We can use my office then.”

    Myza nodded and followed him inside. She settled on the chair opposite his, her posture straight, her demeanour pleasant and disarming—not what he’d expected.

    “Lieutenant, can I ask what your feeling is about the killer—leaving aside your most recent theory.”

    “Who they are as a person and not what they do as a profession.”

    “Yes. What does your experience and instincts tell you about them?”

    He paused for a moment. “Intelligent, meticulous, disturbed. From what I saw at the scene I’d say that this isn’t their first kill, I’d say they took some pleasure from what they did—hanging the skins up to taunt and horrify us.”

    She nodded thoughtfully. “Why kill in this manner?”

    “Satisfy some deep-rooted sadism, perhaps.”

    “There are two reasons to flay someone; torture or revenge. They either wanted some information the victims were privy too, or they wanted to make their suffering last for as long as they could. I suspect the post mortem will identify a cocktail of drugs in their system, something to paralyse them but keep them fully conscious.

    “However,” she continued, pausing as she activated a PADD and studying it, “I get the impression they didn’t get any sort of pleasure or gratification from this. I can’t say just what the killer’s motivation was at present.”

    He scrutinised the pale blue agent who sat across his desk, wondering just where her insight was coming from. She must felt him staring as she looked up and gave him another small smile.

    “My specialty is in criminal profiling and psychology,” she told him. “Though I’ve never seen anything like this before, I’ve seen enough barbaric and brutal crimes to get the feeling that the same violence behind those cases isn’t at play here. I’ll need to have a look at the crime scene itself, and I’d like to observe the PM’s as well.”

    "I told Doctor Tenu that would probably be the case, he’ll be well into them by now—unless your ME has beaten us down there.”

    “Savanna will start at the scene; it’s where her main interest lies. If she feels you’re CMO missed something she’ll go in for look at the bodies herself.”

    “Tenu is always very thorough, though with everything that’s hanging over this investigation it wouldn’t hurt for a second examination. I’ll let him know we’re on our way.”

    * * * * *

    Morgue, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector

    Well before Myza had even set foot onboard the U.S.S. Resilient she had known who’d been assigned to DS10, after all it was one of Starfleet’s most important posts. On the far side of the former Cardassian Union, it was the only Federation installation in the region, so was always going to be high profile, which meant that the crew would be well known to all who paid attention to the Starfleet News Service. Officially its location, in neutral space close to the boundaries of the Cardassian Alliance, Keldon Empire, and Breen Confederacy, was to support both the Starfleet task force at work in the former Union and the Border Service cutters that patrolled the region—unofficially it was used as a reminder to all that Starfleet was very much present, monitoring all the goings on.

    When she’d been given the assignment to the Volnar Colony, where she was to give the local police a crash course on criminal profiling, she’d hoped that there would be time to stop at the station, so she could at least try to catch up with Jachim, who she hadn’t seen in almost four years. But now, with a serious case for her to handle, all thoughts of socialising were out the airlock.

    However, that didn’t stop her from grinning at Tenu as she and Aster entered the morgue anteroom, where he was entering some notes on a PADD. The towering, cobalt medical officer had been one of the new additions to the crew when Reihyn had first assumed command of the Orion-II, back when he’d been a nurse practitioner. He’d done well for himself since then, working to become an MD and a couple of promotions under his belt, then a posting to DS10. When he saw her, there was a look of disbelief and shock, before a wide smile brightened his square face.

    “Counsellor, when did you come onboard?” he asked, before Aster could make introductions.

    “About half an hour ago,” she told him, trying to focus on why she was here. “I’ve not been a counsellor for a while now.”

    “Of course, it’s Agent now. My apologies.”

    She waved it away. “No need, we’ve both got more important things to worry about.”

    “Indeed,” he intoned. He looked at Aster and bowed his head in greeting. “Lieutenant.”

    Before Tenu could begin the autopsy, she and Aster would need to go through proper sterilisation so they could observe without contaminating the evidence. From the anteroom, they stepped into a decontamination chamber, which used a combination of sonic and pulse treatments to remove anything that may affect the work they were there for.

    “You two know each other then,” stated the security chief.

    “We served together on the Orion.”

    “Another one, if I didn’t know better I’d swear the Orion was a Galaxy-Class ship, given the number of people who seemed to once serve onboard.”

    She chuckled. “We were a tight-knit group; it’s just a shame that it has to be something like this that brings us back together.”

    They stepped out moved into the exam room, where both bodies were waiting on tables. Tenu had stepped back in and, with a pair of aids, was collecting further samples for testing. Myza and Aster stopped next to the body of Envoy Skaris Marvek, who she could only identify thanks to the monitor beside the bed.

    Tenu turned back to them. “Right, where would you like me to begin?”

    Myza closed her eyes and tilted her chin to her chest. Though not a religious person, she was a respectful one, so offered up a short, silent prayer for the two men on the tables. When she opened them again, she found four pairs of eyes scrutinising her.

    “Cardassians have a social taboo about off-worlders looking at their dead,” she explained. “Given how they died and everything else at stake, I was just paying them my respects.”

    “Very considerate of you,” said Tenu. “Shall I begin?”


    The Pandrilite physician bowed his head again. “Cause of death was blood loss from being flayed. Whoever removed the skin is clearly not a medical practitioner; their technique was crude and sloppy. They took their time, but the epidermis wasn’t as cleanly removed as it first appeared, there are a few small places that were left, such as the fingers and toes, as well as several tears and holes. The blade was incredibly sharp though, unfortunately they knew how to wield it, as there are no other blood or DNA traces anywhere on the bodies.”

    “What about species that don’t have blood, Breen or Changelings for example,” Aster interrupted.

    “You are correct, Lieutenant, and given their circumstances, neither would be able to leave genetic trace behind. Whilst I can’t attest to the Changelings, there are definitely no Breen onboard.”

    “The Dominion has abided by the Treaty of Bajor thus far,” Myza added. “Unless they left a Founder behind, then I doubt they would risk another conflict just to murder a Cardassian dignitary and his guard. Whilst we can’t exactly rule out one on the station, this crime seems beneath them. For all their power and military strength, the Founders were calculating and logical in their methodology—this seems like a more personal statement.

    “Plus, why would they leave the bodies to be discovered?” she asked the two officers. “I would’ve thought they’d have impersonated one of them, most likely the Envoy, to create more problems over time—seed suspicions and paranoia, even carry out sabotage or further assassinations.”

    Aster was nodding. “I’d agree with your reasoning, Agent, however I’d be remiss if it didn’t raise the possibility.”

    “I’ll go over my result again, just to make certain, but I’m confident that there is no Gamma Quadrant influence at work here, because of what the initial tox-screen has flagged up.” Tenu picked up a PADD and handed it to them. Aster took it and looked at the results as he continued.

    “Both men were given at least three distinct drugs. One is an anaesthetic, which would’ve knocked them out cold for up to an hour; the second would’ve impaired all muscle function, they wouldn’t have been able to move or even speak, all their bodies would’ve been capable of is cardiovascular function, breathing, and blinking,” he paused and looked down at the Envoy’s corpse, the exposed teeth gave him a creepy grin. “The last drug I can identify is something called velmitrox, which is only available through illegal sources. Most humanoid brains have a neurochemical that, when faced with intense pain, will render the person unconscious to end their suffering. Velmitrox blocks that chemical, leaving the recipient fully awake and conscious regardless of whatever agony they’re undergoing.”

    Aster looked at her. “Still believe whoever did this got no satisfaction from this?”

    Myza looked at him, then at the body. Though what the men had endured was horrific, forced to feel every cut until they finally died, something inside told her that wasn’t the killers’ motivation. Something just felt too ‘showy’, as if the macabre facts of the case were there to throw off investigators.

    “It is an angle we shouldn’t ignore, but I still think that there’s a disconnect between how horrible the murders are with why the killer chose this method of execution. Despite their lack of skill in carrying it out they were still clinical in their approach, taking their time,” she paused then looked at Tenu. “How long would this have taken?”

    “I’d estimate they took around three to four hours per body.”

    “So up to eight hours to skin then both,” she mused. “Miss Sarat saw them last at twenty-two hundred last night, then went looking for them at oh-nine hundred this morning, which gave the killer an eleven hour window, though they’d have no way of knowing when, or even if, anyone would come looking for them.”

    “Unless they were aware of the Envoy’s schedule and behaviour. The killer could’ve been keeping them under surveillance, then chose their time to strike knowing that the bodies would be discovered the next day when Marvek was late for the conference call.”

    Myza nodded with Aster’s assessment. The killer was most definitely methodical and organised, they wouldn’t have left the night of the murders up to chance. Though part of her did have to wonder if they had intended to kill both men, or if they’d been forced too due to their deadline—of course, disrupting the meeting with Councillor T’Vell might have had nothing to do with their action.

    “Autopsies show that Glinn Toren died first, T.O.D. was between 0030 and 0130. The Envoy died between 0330 and 0400. But the killer didn’t stop what he was doing even after death, they finished what they were doing once both men had succumb to blood loss.”

    “So Marvek watched his bodyguard die. If the killer was after information, I suspect the Envoy would’ve told them whatever they wanted after witnessing that, to save his own life if nothing else.” She filed that information away from further analysis.

    Tenu ran through the remaining highlights of his findings, though none of which were as insightful—though Marvek’s recreational use of a sexual stimulant would certainly have been embarrassing, there was nothing to suggest that their murders were as a result of some dalliance gone sour. The doctor he’d assigned to go over the skins hadn’t found any fibres, skin cells, or other trace evidence they could use, whilst their findings corroborated all Tenu had told them about the murders.

    Myza and Aster thanked him for his time then headed for the anteroom, both with more questions than when they’d entered. Though she would need more information to draw together a more thorough profile, using old cases (both those she’d investigated herself and others in the SCIS archives) she could start to form some thoughts and conclusions. Regardless of Aster’s thoughts, her gut told her that although the person responsible was disturbed enough to commit two horrific murders in this day and age, they had carried it out for personal reasons—they hadn’t been after information—though hadn’t been after satisfaction of simply brutalising Cardassians. No, to her there was a sense of obligation, of duty, to what they had done.

    Unfortunately, that started to lead her towards Aster’s theory; the killer was either an active member of Starfleet or had been at one point.

    * * * * *
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  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    Chapter 5 (2/2)

    Guest Accommodation, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector

    Sarat’s shock and numbness had passed, giving way to anger, before she tried to clamp down on her turbulent emotions and figure out just what was going on.

    The official representative of the Cardassian Alliance, as well as a military officer, had been murdered on a Starfleet installation, just a day before they were to meet with a Federation dignitary, seeking a new agreement between the two, one that would bring them closer together. Everything just seemed off about it. Her mind started to whirl with notions of political assassination, sparking the worry that she would be next—which made her feel very unsecure with the two Starfleet guards outside her door.

    She shook her head. Why would anyone come after her? She was a nobody in the grand scheme of things, a glorified secretary who everyone always overlooked. She hadn’t been around long enough to make any enemies, either in or out of the Alliance—though that wasn’t to say that the motive wasn’t purely racial, she was the only Cardassian left of DS10 now.

    “But if that was the case, why didn’t the killer come for us before I left?” she asked her empty room.

    Silence answered.

    Had Marvek and Toren been killed just because they were Cardassian, then she would’ve been on the bed with them. No, she’d been spared. But why?

    To find them, a voice rang forth from the back of her mind. She’d been left alive because whoever had done it knew she’d go looking for the Envoy, knew she would find the bodies. Which made her just a pawn in the killer’s plan. A new surge of anger pulsed through her veins, making her ball her fists as she paced through the living space. Being insignificant and ignored was one thing, but to be used by the murderer in such a way was something else.

    A chirp from the coffee table interrupted her building fury. She stopped and looked at the personal terminal she’d brought with her from home, which mirrored the one on the Envoy’s desk. It had the best security encryption the Alliance used, as well as inbuilt subspace arrays that helped them bypass the station’s system—which was how she’d managed to inform the Alliance about what was going on, in the midst of her initial anger.

    She sat down and entered her security code, which activated the computer and brought up the communications system. The seal of the Representative Council appeared momentarily, before it vanished and was replaced with the stern face of the Executive of Security, Reguul. Sarat had only met the older woman twice before, but even that was enough to know she was a person best avoided. She sat up a little stiffer.

    “Executive,” she began, not really knowing what to expect.

    “Attaché Sarat, we have dispatched forces to recover you and take charge of the proceedings,” Reguul stated her voice sharp and pointed, much like her features. “Until they arrive, you are our representative on that station. It is imperative that you gather all the information you can.”

    “Yes sir. I will go to Security and—”

    “Unimportant at the moment,” she interrupted, leaning closer to her screen. “We need to know what ships they have in the area, their full armament, and any more data that will be of use.”

    Sarat felt the blood drain from her face as she realised what was being asked of her, and just what it meant. “I...I don’t know if I can get that information, Executive. It’ll be protected and I don’t have anything that will get around their safeguards.”

    “Glinn Toren was given the necessary equipment. Secure it and complete his objective.”

    She opened her mouth without any clue of what she would (or could) say, but knew that what they were asking of her was wrong—she was on a mission of peace, but now they wanted her to become a spy. But before she could lodge any sort of protest, the woman’s face vanished.

    Sarat sat in silence, once again numbed.

    * * * * *

    The Old Dogs Tavern, The Plaza, Deep Space 10
    Yaren System, Lazon Sector

    The Old Dogs was a tavern tucked away on the second level of the Plaza belonging to Rech glasch Tgohl, who was once a Lieutenant Commander in Starfleet though resigned once the stop/loss order had been rescinded. The burly Tellarite had come to DS10 as soon as the station was operational and promptly opened his own business, which had quickly become a favourite of many Starfleeters, both active and retired. Whenever they were in dock, Ramirez and Cam always made a point of having a night in the pub, liking the familiar atmosphere and sense of camaraderie, it was most definitely a place where ‘sir’ was left at the door. Having both left their combadges behind years ago (although technically Cam was a deserter) they fit in with many of the clientele—there were quite a few who’d quit both Starfleet and the Border Service after the war but stayed out in space on civilian ships.

    After meeting with Lanali, he’d contacted the Wayfarer and spoken to Tava da’Naar zh’Shev, the ship’s boatswain (the polite way of combining jack-of-all-trades and general dogsbody). He’d told her about the heightened state of alert on the station, and that it’d be best to implement full security protocols on the docking port. Tava had agreed to see to it without question, then had asked where ‘they’ were at now. He told her he was alone, so when she’d said that she hadn’t seen Cam since he’d told her about the lockdown, Ramirez had grown concerned.

    This disappearing act was the latest in a string of odd behaviour from his husband, all of which was making Ramirez uneasy. He was starting to wonder if it was some sort of delayed PTSD. As he considered looking into getting some advice or help, he’d tried Cam’s comlink, but gotten no answer, so had decided to check out a few of their regular haunts, hoping he might find him at one of them. Though Cam was stubborn as hell, not the sort of person to admit there was a problem, Ramirez couldn’t just stand by and watch the man he loved fall apart. After they’d miraculously found each other in the Badlands following his capture and the slaughter of the Maquis, he wasn’t going to lose him again—there was no force in the galaxy that would be able to do that.

    There’d been no sign of him at the arboretum, freight office, Nadia’s, or a dozen other places he’d gone too, he’d even checked in with the infirmary and Security, though both hadn’t seen him—though they were both frantically busy. Eventually his search had brought him to the Old Dogs, which was quieter than it usually was. There were less than twenty people, including Tgohl behind the bar and two servers, a couple of them he knew, a few familiar faces, and some he’d never seen in the bar before. But no Cam.

    He strolled over to the bar, perched on the edge of a stool and looked around, as the Tellarite proprietor approached.

    “What can I get you today, Diego?”

    “I was looking for Cam, he’s not been in has he?”

    Tgohl shook his head. “Afraid not. Don’t tell me you two have had some kind of argument.”

    He shook his head. “No, nothing like that. I was just needing to talk to him about something and he forgot his comlink.”

    The Tellarite scowled. “That doesn’t sound like him.”

    “He must be having an off day, I guess.”

    “You two will want to be careful from what I’ve heard.”

    “Oh?” he asked innocuously.

    Tgohl leaned over the bar and Ramirez followed his example. The bartender dropped his voice, so none of the other patrons could hear. “The situation onboard, the one that’s gotten all you spacers locked in dock, from what I’ve heard it’s an Alpha-10.”

    Ramirez’s eyebrows shot up and he pulled back, studying the man’s porcine face, trying to decide if he was pulling his leg or not. Seeing no signs of deception, he leant back into their private huddle.

    “Are you serious?”

    “So I’ve heard through the grapevine, twice so far today—which makes me think there’s some truth to it. What about you? You’ve got friends in high places.”

    “Friends who take their security clearance and careers seriously, so they’ve been unable to tell me anything.” He looked over his shoulder, but the others were all too focused on their own conversations to pay much attention to theirs. “Any word on who the vics were?”

    “Two Cardies from what I hear, they were here for some meeting with a Federation official. I did overhear someone mention that with the talks breaking down that another war between the UFP and Cardassia was on the horizon.”

    “Which faction?”

    Tgohl scoffed. “Aren’t they all pretty much the same?”

    Ramirez had to agree with the Tellarite there, though the Wayfarer had purposefully avoided all work that was anything to do with the Alliance or Republic, it was near enough impossible not to have run ins with them—especially when the Ju’day-Class had become better known in recent years as a ‘Maquis raider’—and during those times he’d never seen any difference between who they were now with what they were before.

    “Of course,” the proprietor continued, stroking his stubbly chin, “to even get into the VIP section of the guest accommodation, you need a Starfleet security ID—or at least be very good at hacking advanced computer systems. But that’s just my thoughts on the matter.”

    His stomach suddenly started to feel tight. He swallowed heavily. “If he comes in, can you let him know I’m looking for him?”

    “Sure thing, Diego.”

    Slowly, he got off the stool and headed for the exit, his legs feeling heavy. Once back on the main thoroughfare of the Plaza, he found himself going along with the flow of people, not really thinking about where he was going, Tgohl’s statement ringing in his head.

    What if the perpetrator was formerly in Starfleet with Masters in computer science and data management? What if they’d worked out a schedule that saw their ship at DS10 when the Cardassians were onboard? What if their behaviour had recently changed and they were now nowhere to be found?

    He stopped at the balcony that looked onto the levels above and below as well as the subtly shifting holoart installation that spanned all three tiers, but he didn’t see any of it as he gripped the railing to keep himself steady. He couldn’t believe it, wouldn’t believe it. There was another explanation. There had to be! Cam had quit Starfleet in protest of its inaction over what had happened in the DMZ, not because he wanted to kill Cardassians—given all he’d gone through, despite how much time had passed, he still woke up in the middle of the night in cold sweat, sometimes crying or screaming with the memories that refused to leave him in peace.

    Ramirez’s eyes were wet as he looked up at elaborately decorated ceiling of the Plaza, uttering a silent prayer that his husband wasn’t responsible.

    * * * * *
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  9. Count Zero

    Count Zero No nation but procrastination Moderator

    Mar 19, 2005
    European Union
    Oh oh. :(
    I hope it's not Cam.
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  10. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 5, 2006
    Not sure if I've said this yet, but this is one gruesome double homicide. I mean CSI has nothing on this. And it just becomes more heinous the more we learn about it.

    An odd case, for sure, which makes me wonder if it was really the act of a disturbed killer with a history with Cardassian aggression or if this was staged to provoke a war. If it is isn't the latter, I suppose we already have our first suspect. Or is that too simple and merely clever misdirection?

    Regardless I like me a good whodunnit. Looking forward to unravel this mystery.
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  11. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    Looking after the nephews this week so not getting any peace to write, but will hopefully get focused on this piece at the weekend again, and move this case forward.

    I did have a little waver about just who was behind it all not long ago, but sorted that out and now just need to get to the great reveal and find out just why Old Man Winkle was dressing up as the Star Trek Spook :lol: