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We Have Ways...

Posted on Sat Aug 17th, 2019 @ 3:06pm by Commander Mrazak & Lieutenant Karna Zsan & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake & Gunnery Sergeant Roderik Kos & Ferrofax & Lieutenant Arkady Sjet & XiaoLi Zhan
Edited on on Sat Aug 17th, 2019 @ 3:07pm

Mission: S1E3: Barbarians at the Gates
Location: Brig, USS Phantom
Timeline: MD 2 (before "Line of No Return")

When the away team had been beamed aboard, it was to the Vault on Deck 4 as per standard protocol. The pattern buffers had been set to lax parameters so that no one and nothing got left behind. A pair of Marines had met the six individuals and now vacant tricorder that once contained Ferrofax in order to escort the two not wearing Starfleet communicators to the brig.

It was here that a decision had to be made. The large, burly Russian and the squirrelly Lagashi were on board and by all rights should not be. Held in separate cells, their fate was now left to the Marine Commandant while Mrazak and Kazyah were busy with the Cardassian agent in custody.

"Colonel, Sergeant." The Brig officer made a sharp salute toward Storr and Rodi. "The subjects are secure and ready for questioning."

Storr returned the salute for both him and the SNCO as they both entered the brig in-step. Some things in the SFMC died hard. Some never did.

"What is for questioning?" Arkady asked from his cell. "Question for unknown, not for man who brings such a gift to your hands. Was to go bag not hint perhaps am shaped more like friend than enemy? Perhaps is fact your head not unscrewed from shoulders is evidence to this."

Zhan XiaoLi had been giving the brig officer her best resting-bitch-face-I-am-plotting-your-death-in-a-thousand-painful-ways stare since she had been placed in the room. She turned her attention to the Colonel and Sergeant and leveled only a slightly more polite look at them. She knew spouting regulations and treaty provisions at Sergeant Boytoy would probably not help. She would have to wait to get a better read on the Colonel. She hoped such things would sway him. After all, they were in the heart of the Lagashi Republic, in the Federation, making her technically a citizen of both who had been kidnapped, very much against her will, though, being on the ship could prove helpful in making good on her deal with Plotch, if she could manage to get out from under surveillance for even a few moments. The original security guard had done a piss poor job of searching her.

Lieutenant Colonel Garlake stood, arms crossed, just in front of the brig station so as to position himself equally in front of and between the two adjoining cells. "Care to tell me what we have here, Gunny?" he asked Rodi, looking first at the burly Russian and then the lithe Lagashi. Sergeant Kos had already given him a hasty AAR but it was always telling to see how others responded to a reiteration of recent events.

"Behind force field number one we have someone our odd Betazoid friend knows. One mister Arkady Sjet. He procured Lieutenant Zsan's gear and handed it over to us. He then proceeded to fight Lieutenant Zsan, after which I shot both of them to quicken our exfil. Behind force field number two is Zhan XiaoLi, fiancee to Commander Qiao, Lagashi official who facilitated our entry into Central Storage building. Both I'd rate as moderately dangerous, Sjet physically, XiaoLi however in ways I'm not entirely sure of yet."

"Will try not to take personally," Arkady spoke up from within the forcefield. "Am proponent that mind is most keen weapon, though occasionally needs a...what is word? 'Manual recalibration'."

Storr nodded dispassionately, regarding each occupant in turn as Kos spoke. His eyes flickered back to the beefy Russian, resting several moments before a glimmer of recognition sparked behind them.

"Arkady Sjet...or do you no longer go by 'Doctor'?" he asked, genuinely curious. How does a bull like Arkady go from Chief Medical Officer on a Starfleet ship to...what, hired muscle? Displaced intelligence operative? Something worse? Marginally better?

"Have always been Doctor," the Russian said with a shrug. "Sometimes mean fix broken arm, sometimes mean remove problem. Still am registered doctor with Starfleet, but for time since last meeting have been working for the Epidemiology Investigation Service. I get to travel, find people who like to make new plagues for highest bidder. Sometimes I talk, sometimes I do not talk."

The station commandant nodded slowly. It didn't make sense but he supposed it didn't have to. "Well, I suppose it's good to make your acquaintance again. Unfortunately, it seems to not be under the most ideal circumstances...I'm afraid we won't be sharing scotch together again anytime soon."

"Good. On Mars scotch is made from mushrooms, and is not fit for drinking. Sterilising instruments of surgery, perhaps if not like patient to much," Arkady said thoughtfully. "But vodka, this is drink of people who work."

Compared to the bear of a man, Zhan was far more pleasing to the eyes though her presence here was even more questionable (and likely problematic) for Storr and therefore MT and Starfleet in general. Perhaps the more surprising fact was Bao's previously unknown relationship with her.

"I must say, XiaoLi, I'm afraid our Commander Qiao by far got the better end of the engagement," he said with a quirked smile. It wasn't good-cop-bad-cop but the change in demeanor and questioning style was something that Storr had seen (and used) successfully many times before. No time like the present to put it to the test again.

The Lagashi woman looked to Colonel over again. "That is neither here nor there, at the moment," she said blandly.

Garlake chuckled and kept the smile. "Fair enough. Now, care to explain in your own words what happened back on the station?

"Seeing as it has resulted in my abduction by what I presume is 'Memory Theta', and am now being held decidedly against my will, I believe it more pertinent to say nothing at all, as I must consider myself detained by a hostile power."

"Power, yes, hostile...no," Storr was barely able to get out before an interruption caused all three to look over his shoulder.

The door to the brig opened with a hiss, admitting one Karna Zsan, who appeared happy as a clam with his unreadable black eyes, and Kazyah Linn, who decidedly was not.

"Look at this happy little reunion!" Karna held out his hands as if greeting old friends. "It must be kismet that we all keep running into each other like this."

Kazyah shoved him into an open cell and punched the force field actuator. "Shut up."

Turning to Storr, he nodded toward the small cubby that passed for an office. "A word, Colonel?" He stepped inside and awaited the commandant.

Lt Col Garlake nodded and wordlessly followed the Intelligence Operative, not looking forward to the rabbit trail the man invariably led the crew downtime and time again.

The closet that passed for an office nearly pressed both men together, especially with Storr's large girth. That was preferable, though, as Kaz could speak in hushed tones.

"The Cardassian you brought back is dead," Kaz said bluntly. "Mrazak ordered a hasty procedure to remove an embedded device that probably tripped a failsafe switch. Our idiot savant here boasted that it was the last member of a terrorist cell, but analysis of the device showed the man was Cardassian Intelligence. Karna seemed to know and not care. Furthermore, I received a BOLO from Central to apprehend him on sight."

Satisfied that Storr understood the situation, Kaz exited the booth without awaiting a reply. He paused long enough to turned a blind glare upon the brig officer. "Nobody lets him out but me. I don't care if the President of the Federation comes calling. You notify me first and wait till I get here."

At that, he was gone.

"Is it too late to use the restroom?" Karna asked with a grin. "Maybe I should've mentioned that before."

The Afrikaner sighed. Not that he wasn't expecting it but there were now additional...complications. If he were a younger officer, he might be excused to look the other way while Gunnery Sergeant Kos simply spaced them out the nearest airlock. Alas, rank has its privliges as well as its pernicious responsibilities.

Before pulling up his chair, Rodi had stepped next to the guard and keyed the forcefields to not allow sound to enter the cell unless the push-to-talk button was pressed on the cell. Now the marine sat across from Sjet. His PTT button was keyed to Rodi's PADD. "I'm curious, doctor, how did you get into the Lagashi building?"

"I walked in with visitors pass. EIS and SFI had agreement to get myself and other into Lagashi space following disquieting information about 8472. You know of these? Walking talking DNA shredders, very nasty things," Arkady shook his head. "Did not know that Starfleet bogey man would also be there. Thought that Theta only chased after myths, like Omega particles and tooth fairies?"

Garlake's mouth quirked at the corners. Tooth fairies indeed, though if the good doctor spoke it loudly enough he had no doubt that Mrazak wouldn't order them to Le Royaume des Fées for sample retrieval.

"So what did you find?"

"Same as you. 8472 is not advancing into our space, like Borg or Cardassian's might. Instead they are being drawn here, like fire to a broken O2 line. The Cardassian's are using them as patsies, proxies, to fight their battle. Is playing with fire, fire in space very bad," Arkady shook his head. "After I found that out, found your team. Your team then invite me to join them. Very polite, would only wish to make unconscious if last resort! Politeness, very rare thing."

Li spoke from the other cell, offering a tease of information she had managed to glean from Admiral Huang and a quick bout of asking around her former colleagues. "Lagashi Naval Intelligence thought it best to let to so-called Doctor Sjet wonder around mostly openly. The other one, Karna Zsan, was the wildcard. The intelligence service was chasing its tail trying to track him down to find out why he was killing Cardassian intelligence operatives. I suspect subterfuge and ill-intent on behalf of your Federation."

"Nobody is innocent," Karna said glibly. "At least when considering present company."

"And who is saying 'so-called doctor'? Five years Starfleet medical, five more fieldwork on starships, five more in fields I cannot speak of until I am told are declassified. Am not so-called, am called Dr Sjet. Am like nephew, following proud Sjet tradition of healers," Arkady said proudly from his cell.

The brig officer, a Bolian with senior chief chevrons, jumped in the air at the unexpected chirp of his terminal. An automated computer process had just completed, requesting authorization to file a log. "Wait, what is this?" Security protocols flashed across the display as boxes were checked, statements were made, and signatures were digitally scrawled. Rather than his name, SCPO K. Unam, the login credentials simply read FERROFAX. "Compu...Ferrofax! What are you doing? Disengage!"

"I'm doing nothing. I'm detecting only minor debug-bug-bug-bug-bug-bug-bugging routines ruuuuuuuuuuuuun."

Ferrofax's usual love for the spoken language ended after a brief and bitter stutter, and the holocam eye above the door frame went dark as Ferrfox completed the stand alone protocol needed to isolate the brig from the rest of the PPhantoms digital sense horizon.

"Brig to Lieutenant Zelaney," the brig officer said through the communicator.

=/\="Zelaney here."=/\=

"We're having glitches down here of a security nature."

=/\="I'll be right there."=/\=

The Bolian brig officer then turned to the others. He interjected himself between the higher ranking officers and invoked one of the few protocols that let him give orders to anyone present in his brig. "All right, sirs, I have to insist on terminating the interrogation in light of technical difficulties." When it appeared they were going to protest, he raised his hands to get the first word in. Most NCOs could not get away with mouthing off to senior commissioned officers, but everybody was equal where Security was concerned. "You may wait outside until the computer tech gives the all-clear. Until then, everybody's got to clear out. If any of the security protocols go rogue, then I can't guarantee the physical safety of anybody in here, even the detainees. Now, move!"

 

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