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Under the Knife

Posted on Mon Jun 17th, 2019 @ 6:24pm by Lieutenant Commander Kiril Nevin & Lieutenant Commander Kazyah Linn & Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant Karna Zsan

Mission: S1E3: Barbarians at the Gates
Location: USS Phantom | Deck 2 Infirmary
Timeline: MD 2

"Don't make me do this," Nevin said as he walked into the small Sickbay on the Defiant-class USS Phantom. The main biobed was already occupied by the Cardassian who'd been transported aboard just a few moments earlier. The man was unconscious and if Mrazak got his way, he wouldn't be waking up any time soon. The sound of boots followed as Mrazak, Kaz, and Karna followed him into the room right behind him.

"You raised concerns over his well-being," Mrazak intoned impatiently, "and now we are in a medical facility. There is no more cause to delay."

"Being in a medical facility doesn't negate the risk," Nevin said, taking out a tricorder and scanning the unconscious man. "Either way, an extraction like this isn't medically necessary and I won't intentionally harm someone just to give you what you want."

Karna presented his jackal knife. "I would be more than happy to retrieve it." His black eyes glinted with heinous ambivalence.

"That won't be necessary," Mrazak said, raising his hand. "It might damage the chip." Turning to Nevin, he said, "The Cardassian possesses information critical to the success of our mission, and he has not been cooperative. We must acquire all the data we can in order to determine whether or not the Cardassians are preparing for yet another war with a deadly ally, and the data on that subdermal chip may be the very key to preventing open war. I want it now, Lieutenant Commander Kiril. That is a direct order."

Nevin just shook his head, “I won’t follow that order. My oath as a healer supersedes your authority.”

"Then heal him!" Mrazak shouted. "But first get me what I need! I will not ask again."

"It doesn't quite work that way, you insolent asshole!" Nevin yelled, even louder than the Vulcan.

"Alright alright," Kaz said, taking a step forward with his hand out. "How about we all just lower our tempers and we can discuss this calmly."

Mrazak shook his head like a rabid dog. "There is nothing to discuss!" Looking back to Nevin, he said, "I demand that subdermal chip to be removed immediately, or you will spend the rest of your Starfleet career, perhaps even your natural life, in the lower levels of Deep Storage on Tartarus. Choose now, Doctor, before I choose for you."

"I refuse," was Nevin's short answer.

The silence that descended was deafening. Reading between the lines, Karna stepped toward the biobed where the unconscious Cardassian lay. "If I may be so bold, Commander, I have extracted more than one Cardassian device in my shadowy career." His hand raised in a flourish, he produced his dagger in a twirl around his fingers. "In my not-so-humble opinion, the subdermal implant is likely a micro optolythic data rod similar to the standard model used by Obsidian Order couriers. It is sure to contain all manner of juicy secrets--" The Betazoid laced the words with salacious intent. "--including this man's true identity, his mission of madness, and likely even more items of interest. And all it takes to safely remove is knowing where to prod." He pointed the tip of his knife toward the Cardassian's head. "I'm certain the good doctor has never performed such an extraction, so perhaps forgive his ignorance. We are all only experts in our own fields." He grinned broadly at Nevin with dark, teasing eyes. "You may stand down, Bajoran." He glanced at Nevin's superior rank as indicated on his pips and added a terse, "Sir."

Nevin took a step, putting himself between Karna and the biobed. "Don't you touch him," he said, his voice low and threatening.

"Not without permission," Karna said. He looked to Mrazak, but his words were for Nevin. "I know how to follow orders."

"I don't care who delivers it," Mrazak said, breaking up the dispute. "If Kiril will not, then our guest will, and we'll sort the consequences later."

Karna cackled wickedly. "Very well." He approached the biobed in sheer indifference of Nevin, who may as well have been a fly on the wall.

Before he could get too far, Kaz grabbed the Betazoid by the arm, swinging his body around as he brought Karna to the floor with a thud, pressing a knee into the back of his shoulders. "Stand down, Lieutenant," Kaz said before looking up at Mrazak. "Have you gone completely mental?" he asked, his voice raised raised.

"Stop," Nevin said, closing his eyes to try and shut out the yelling. "Just stop."

"You can't force an officer to break an oath and I refuse to allow you to have this man killed!" Kaz yelled, pressing down on Karna's struggling form.

The grin slid away from Karna's face which was pressed into the deck. "You heard the commander's orders. If you neither of you have the balls to follow through, then stand aside for someone who does. Either way, I suggest you release me now, lest I decide to act in self-defense."

"Cease and desist!" Mrazak screamed through darkened cheeks. "Or by my stars I will have the three of you beamed directly into the frigid void and be done with the lot of you!" He grabbed another laser scalpel from the supply cabinet. "If you want something done right..." he muttered with a scoff.

"No!" Nevin yelled, grabbing the scalpel from Mrazak's hand. He sighed, looking down at the instrument. "You'll surely kill him. I suppose if this is being forced, his best bet is with me..."

Kaz stood, releasing the Betazoid, as he took a step towards the biobed. "You sure about this?" he asked.

Nevin just nodded as he gently rolled the patient onto his stomach. Taking a tricorder, he began to slowly scan the man's neck. "I need an anesthetic," he said, softly. He took a deep breath, feeling the heart beat in his ears as he took the hypospray that was pressed into his hands. He absent-mindedly pressed it to the man's collar, feeling the metal release under his hand as it released its contents. Another scan, more to waste time than anything else, as he avoided the task he had no choice but to perform.

The scalpel felt perfectly at home in his hand as it sliced through the tough epidermus of Cardassian skin. While he may not enjoy what he was about to do, no one could argue that he wasn't good at it. Being a doctor, being a surgeon, gave Nevin a purpose. A light to remind him who he was while everything in his life crumbled around him. He lost his family, his fiancé, his ship. But with all of that, he had this: his profession. What he was made to do. Using a pair of magnetic forceps, Nevin spread the open incision to reveal the patient's inner workings. Blood dripped down the table and onto the floor at his feet.

"I need a vasoconstricting spanner," he said, quietly, using the scalpel to cut through the patient's muscle and pushed the tendons aside. It only took a few minutes and the tool he asked for was in his hands. As he activated the device, the veins around the area began to close, keeping the bleeding to a minimum. He picked up the tricorder, smearing the face with his bloody hand as he passed it over the patient again. So far everything was alright, but he hadn't even gotten to the difficult part yet.

It only took a few more cuts before Nevin saw what he was looking for. Exposing the spine, the small device was there, protruding between two disks but almost completely covered in nerves as the man's body began to absorb the device into his physiology. "This isn't going to work," he said, though he wasn't quite sure anyone heard him. Another set of forceps, another slices of the scalpel and the tears started to roll down Nevin's face as he began to separate the spine from the device. If this man even survived the procedure, he most likely wouldn't walk again.

There was a popping sound as the small gadget dislodged from the man's spinal column. The sound was echoed by the alarm as the biobed detected an issue with the patient. Nevin grabbed the tricorder, scanning the patient quickly only to realize his greatest fear. The removal of the device severed a few nerves and the patient was beginning to have a stroke. "Don't do this," Nevin said, dropping the tricorder to grab a hypospray nearby. He pressed it to the man's neck and released the medication but it was already too late. The body siezed for a few moments before it became still and the alarms let off a monotoned steady note. As predicted, the Cardassian died.

Nevin looked up, first to Kaz, then to Mrazak, as he started to cry. "You made me do this," he said. "You made me into a murderer!"

"I'll be the first to admit that I was wrong." Karna slapped Nevin on the back."I was just going to pry it out with my knife, but your way was even better." He leered to the side of Nevin's tear-stained face. "And you did it so cleanly! We don't even have to hide the body. Just another dead patient, right?"

After a moment of inspection, Mrazak saw that Karna had been right. This was no isolinear chip. The transparent blue of a Cardassian optolythic data rod was unmistakable, which meant the data contained therein was all original. Impossible to duplicate. Impossible to delete. They had indeed struck gold. Mrazak had ignored Nevin easily enough, but Karna's prattle was starting to break his concentration.

"Yes, yes," Mrazak muttered with an absent wave of his hand. "Kiril acquitted himself nicely in the end. Now let's see what this Cardassian was willing to die for."

He set his tricorder into diagnostic mode and activated its manual docking port. The micro rod didn't have a direct interface, but the induction port would compensate for that. All it would take is for the tricorder to auto-configure the correct software interface to access the stored data. Of course, it came up in Cardassian script. Mrazak accessed a secondary tricorder and synced it up to provide instant translation without waiting for the data to fully upload on the first.

"Name: Kozel, Tamel. Rank: Kel: Assignment: Omekla III Shipyards. Position..." Mrazak paused for a moment. "Cardassian Intelligence Bureau." He looked to Kaz, then Karna. "This man was an Intel agent. And you said you killed his entire team..." The implications were maddening. "You said he was a terrorist!"

Karna shrugged. "Was there not an act of terror just perpetrated in Lagashi space?"

"It was an act of war!" Mrazak shouted. "We were supposed to ascertain the validity of rumors that the Cardassians were somehow involved! And I let you talk me into killing the Intelligence agent of an ally!"

"Or potential adversary," Karna replied. "Fortunately, my mission is complete, so I will leave you to yours. Good luck!"

Mrazak snarled in wrath. "Oh, no you don't! I invoke Executive Order 233 dash 99-Theta and hereby conscript you into compulsory service in the acquisition of our present target. Now this is your mission, Lieutenant Zsan, and you aren't going anywhere until it's finished. If we fail, then you fail, and I'll see you buried in that event."

Rather than argue, Karna just made a mock frowning face. "Oh, very well."

"I'm making him your problem," Mrazak said to Kaz. "If he kills anything else without my express permission, kindly return the favor."

"He's not my problem," Kaz said, throwing his hands in the air. "I don't work for you Mrazak, nor do I take orders from you. Find another babysitter."

"You will be your problem if I order him not to leave your side!" Mrazak retorted. "And you," he said to Nevin, "cremate that body. This never happened. Understand?" He removed the micro optolythic data rod and threw it to the ground, grinding it with his heel for good measure.

Kaz sighed, rolling his eyes as he motioned for Karna to follow him. On his way out, he patted the young doctor on the shoulder, giving it a light squeeze.


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