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Undiplomatic Immunity

Posted on Thu Jun 6th, 2019 @ 9:13pm by Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander Kiril Nevin
Edited on on Tue Oct 1st, 2019 @ 3:47pm

Mission: S1E3: Barbarians at the Gates
Location: White Lotus jiǔguǎn, Fāngwèi concourse
Timeline: MD 2

"How far is it?" Mrazak asked for the fifth time.

It felt weird to Jaya to be returning to the selfsame place which she had left in order to return to the ship. While the information did change the nature of the mission to some degree, she still wished she could have stayed with Tamel Kozel for further questioning. Mrazak wanted a crack at him, though, so she had no choice but to comply.

"It's not far," she replied. They were rounding through the concourse to the White Lotus which still appeared to be cordoned off by Lagashi security guards.

Mrazak nodded. "Very well. I'll take point in questioning him as we've discussed. Lieutenant Kiril, I want you to check him out and make sure there aren't any nasty surprises... viruses, hidden bombs, what have you. I'm sure the Lagashi were more than thorough, but I'd rather not take any chances."

Nevin shrugged, "Sure, why not," he said, flippantly.

"As for you, Colonel, I'd like for you to liaison with the Lagashi security commander and arrange for a transfer of custody," Mrazak said. "If this Cardassian is an adversary, I'd like to submit him to Starfleet Security for further questioning." He paused for a second before adding, "Curious that he was not already apprehended by the same. More questions to ask, I suppose."

Storr nodded imperceptibly. His earlier confrontation with the man was still fresh in his mind though did not keep him from also did not keep him from adding another tick mark to the Vulcan's board concerning galactic hubris in relation to Starfleet, Intelligence, and in general obliviousness to things like sovereignty and bureaucratic ineptitude. Thankfully, visually following the whimsical, silver inlaid petal blooms along the wall depicting the correct path to their destination provided a pleasant distraction.

At last, they came upon the sealed doors of the White Lotus. The security officer from before recognized Jaya and gave her a silent greeting.

"What's his name?" Mrazak whispered from the corner of his mouth.

Jaya hesitated in answering. "I... never got it."

"You never got it?!" Mrazak blurted aloud. He closed his eyes and shrugged the visible tension out of his body. "Very well. I already have to do everything. Why would that stop now?"

The Deltan clenched her jaw but said nothing. She did give Storr's hand an angry misdirected squeeze. Her husband squeezed back as he imagined it being around a certain man's neck.

"Greetings. I am Commander Mrazak of Starfleet Intelligence." He began to sweep his hand to introduce the others as part of their cover story.

"Ah yes," the officer said. "I am San Ji Jun Shi Zhang Tao Feng, and I have already been acquainted with some members of your team." The man gave Jaya a discreet nod to recognize her presence without disrespecting her superior.

While the Lagashi introduced himself, Mrazak quizzically frowned at the man and tapped his commbadge. Apparently, his communicator had glitched and made him unable to tell where the man's title ended and his name began. "Thank you, San Ji," Mrazak said carefully. "We are here for a secondary interview of the Cardassian subject. Colonel Garlake here will arrange for transfer into our custody... if it pleases you."

Master Sergeant Tao Feng arched his eyebrow, clearly wondering if Mrazak were joking. "Ah, yes..." His demeanor straightened. "But that may not be possible."

"I'm sure you two fine soldiers can work something out." Mrazak clapped Storr on the back and rushed ahead. "My Psychological Specialist knows the way from here."

Jaya shot glances between Storr and Nevin before following Mrazak. How could a man so brazen be in his position?

Lt Col Garlake's caught Jaya's glance and it told him that they were both thinking the same thing and was why he had maneuvered to be on Mrazak's team...keep your friends close and all.

"It's upstairs," Jaya said. "First room."

"All right," Mrazk said. "You two on me."

Master Sergeant Tao looked as though he were considering possibly detaining the trio, but he turned to Storr. "Is the commander always this way?"

The Lagashi's statement brought a chuckle to Storr's belly as he heartily clapped the man on the shoulder. "Master Sergeant, you have no idea..."

Tao Feng regarded Storr with mixed reactions. On the one hand, he seemed to approve of Storr's private disdain for the surly commander, but he did not appreciate the unwanted physical contact. He stepped back, just out of arm's reach. "You wish to take custody of the prisoner. My orders were to surrender him to Starfleet Security, but Commander Mrazak is from Intelligence. I am familiar enough with Starfleet ranks to know that neither Intelligence nor Security contains a Colonel position, which means you are of the Marine Corps? Starfleet Security has officially pulled out, but my orders have not changed even if Starfleet's personnel has. I'm sure you see my predicament."

Lt Col Garlake's chuckle tapered off as his back straightened and his eyes hardened at the corners. He should have known that the "aww shucks" routine wouldn't work here and he was losing time in rejoining the rest of the field team.
“Your assessment is correct though we’re not normal Intelligence OR Security OR Marines,” Storr said, flicking back his color to reveal the hunter green tab that normally sat behind his silver oak leaf. “We’re part of a hastily assembled expeditious individual augmentee system reconstruction team operating on contingency orders using continuing resolution authority. As you can imagine, this isn’t my first rodeo getting woken up at zero-dark-thirty by higher simply to hurry-up-and-wait nuts-to-butts for a SNAFU mission but we’ve got some bravo zulu guys in the unit which makes it a little easier to ride the lightning. I barely know that Vulcan, though,” Garlake jabbed his thumb towards the stairwell, “but I know enough that he’s a horrible blue falcon and the epitome of Semper I. This lost-in-the-sauce prisoner is that last thing between us getting out of your hair for the next dog-and-pony show."

If he couldn’t win him over with kindness, he’d bury him in perdedrolle.

Tao Feng regarded Storr with muted wonder, his translation algorithms clearly on overdrive. A few seconds after Storr finished his tirade, the man cracked a smile.

“So look, Master Sergeant…I completely understand your predicament and I’m the closest thing you’ll find to Starfleet security for several light years. I’m sure both you and your superiors have things far more useful of your time than you guarding this man.”

"Perhaps..." It was a moment of deliberation between attention to protocol and a desire to be done with the foreigners. "... we could release the prisoner to representatives of Starfleet Security, as you say. Do you have authenticating data of some kind to substantiate the arrangement?"

Storr suppressed a grin as he retrieved a small PADD from its drop-leg holster on his left thigh. Tapping a few buttons before satisfied, he swiveled the display around to the Lagashi to show a very official-looking memo authorizing the Marine to act with the full administrative and legal authority of Starfleet Security. He thought that Sgt. Maj. Daniel J. Daly's signature block was a nice touch.

"Hopefully this is all you need, Sergeant. Now, if you don't mind, I'll make my way upstairs and join my party to prepare the prisoner." The Afrikaner didn't wait for permission and simply began climbing the steps...

Tamel Kozel sat much as he did before, neither moving nor giving any sign for a behavioral specialist to read. He was expecting more company presently and was pleasantly unsurprised to see the Deltan return with a Vulcan and a Bajoran of higher rank. And he smiled. Perhaps now he could get somewhere.

"Greetings, Mister..." Mrazk sighed and leaned back to Jaya. "Did you remember to learn his name?"

"Tamel Kozel," Jaya whispered.

"Glad you bothered to do something," Mrazak quipped. He then took a few steps forward. "Mr. Kozel, I am Commander Mrazak, Starfleet Intelligence."

The Cardassian gave him a smug, sidelong look. "Intelligence, you say? The color of your service uniform would suggest Science Corps. Perhaps Medical?"

"Do you consent to a brief medical evaluation?" Mrazak asked, ignoring the question.

"As long as I am allowed to remain discreet," Kozel said.

Mrazak nodded to Nevin. "Go on, then."

Nevin pulled out a tricorder, flipping it open with a flick of his wrist as he stepped towards the man. He pulled out the scanner and began to slowly pass it over the man's body, from head down. "I'm detecting a subdermal chip of some sorts," Nevin stated. "Could be a tracking chip, could just be a data chip. It's implanted in the back of his neck."

The revelation made Kozel smile.

"Something funny?" Mrazak asked. "Because we're here to investigate not only the attack by Species 8472, but also the possibility of Cardassian collusion. If you have something to say for yourself, now would be the time."

And yet Kozel did naught but smile.

Mrazak scowled. "Remove the chip," he ordered.

"I can't," Nevin said with a shrug.

"And why not?" Mrazak growled.

Nevin walked back to the Vulcan, pushing the tricorder into his hands. "The chip is connected with a few of his nerves. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose or if his body just started to absorb the chip. Either way, removing it would be painful at best, fatal at the worst. And I cannot do harm, even for your mission."

"Fine. Deltan," Mrazak said without turning away from Kozel. "You do it."

Jaya shuddered at the mere thought of it. This whole business was already way beyond her comfort zone. "No," she said pointedly. "At least, not outside of a medical facility."

At first Mrazak made to argue, but he realized her argument was a sound one. Mrazak chewed his lip as he teetered his head back and forth. "Very well. We'll remove it once we're back on the ship. Perhaps he will be more talkative as our special guest." He cast an annoyed glance at Nevin. "Unless Vedek Kiril here has any objections?"

It seems that the Marine arrived just in time as the last of Mrazak's statement drifted down the stairwell. Reaching the top, he quickly scanned the room and between the defiant look on the doctor's face and waves of apprehension coming from his bride, he knew enough that the Vulcan's charm and witty banter had won the day again. Storr promptly stood between the Deltan and the Vulcan, saying nothing.

"Oh, good, the Colonel finally joined us." Mrazak gave a sinister clap. "I trust you've cleared his release with the local authorities. Please restrain our guest here for a secure transfer to the Phantom. Mister Kozel undoubtedly has a wealth of information to share."

The Cardassian gave a smirk that gloated in victory.

The Marine raised a brow but remained mostly dispassionate. Before he began to move towards the prisoner, the Vulcan's comm unit chirped.

=/\="Garai to Mrazak. Sir, we have some information for you."=/\=

Mrazak frowned at the interruption. "Excuse me. I think I'll take this outside." With nothing else, the Vulcan left Storr, Nevin, and Jaya alone with Kozel.

"If you think he's bad," Jaya said to Kozel, "just wait till you see some of the others. Once we get back to the ship, you'll be at the mercy of officials who don't officially exist. If there's anything you can tell us to help your situation, please do it now."

Kozel laughed. "Where I come from, Miss, Starfleet is not renowned for its altruism toward Cardassians." His mouth curved in a smile that was more wary than amused. "Your attempts to beguile me into giving something away are useless. Nobody will mourn my passing. I've no hope of rescue. Soon I will join my departed team in death, and I am at peace with that." His voice dropped into a guttural mutter. "My only solace is that insane Betazoid won't get the satisfaction."

Stoicism in the face of death was something to be commended but this...this was something different. Storr tried to put his finger on it as he fastened the inhibitor cuffs on Kozel but couldn't pin anything specific down. Internally shrugging, he looked to the unusually giddy Vulcan (even for one without logic) and winced. Mrazak usually was insufferable but when he was successful? Doubly so.

Mrazak barged back into the room. "We're returning to the Phantom. Immediately. And you--" he pointed at Kozel. "--will have plenty of time to weave the story you wish to tell. Onward!" With that, he spun on his heels, fully expecting his team to follow.

The Marine Colonel caught his wife's eyes and nodded to commend her plea before taking the Cardassian by the shoulder and positioning him after Jaya and before Nevin. He knew that the Bajoran could handle himself well if they were set upon from the rear, he didn't want to antagonize the Cardassian anymore than necessary, and well...he greatly appreciated the view.


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