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Posted on Fri Oct 4th, 2019 @ 5:25pm by Lieutenant Karna Zsan & Lieutenant Commander Leonora Wolf MD

Mission: S1E3: Barbarians at the Gates
Location: Severnogovetra, Dalyston 3
Timeline: MD 10

Most people understandably did not think of the wintry climate of Dalyston 3 as a holiday hot spot. Most traders, patrol vessels, and other light traffic did their business on the Starbase in the planet's prominent tundra plateau, with only the most intrepid sportsmen and mystics finding anything of interest in the ice-capped mountain peaks. Severnogovetra was as touristy as Dalyston 3 would get, which meant there was next to nobody atop the snowswept mountain villa.

Sometimes, Starfleet Intelligence was less than intelligent. Those times were bad times, in Leonora's experience. Lack of communication caused people to die, Wollf knew that all too well, from her days at the FHO, and from the remainder of her career in Starfleet Intelligence.

The Lagashi massacre and the subsequent clusterfuck of a mission was a lesson in miscommunication consequences the size of which it would take a long time to recover from. Opposing orders, incomplete analyses, personal agendas vs bigger picture agendas, all had been at play...

Investigations were going to take place, without doubt. Internal Affairs for sure, JAG likely, perhaps even the Security Council. This was too big to sweep under the rug.

Her reverie came to be interrupted by an uneven gait that made approach to her small table-for-one on the veranda. Nobody among the villa's scarce staff had such a distinctive limp. Before he got too close, the man called out.

"Hello, Leonora." Less bravado, same familiar smugness. "Can I interest you in a bottle of akvavit?"

Leonora's lips formed into an ironic smile as she gave a small chuckle, "water of life from someone who's supposed to be visiting Valhalla. I'll take it." She reached out, tapping the seat next to her at the bar where she was sat.

"Valhalla, is it?" Karna popped the cork and took a swig before handing the bottle over to Leah. "Isn't that reserved for honorable warriors, like the Klingon Sto'Vo'Kor? I don't know that I would qualify."

"Hel would just spit you out," Leah returned with a chuckle as she raised the bottle to him then took a swig herself. "yet still, after everything, you seek me out."

Karna slid into the adjacent chair with a noticeable pop and click in some of his joints. "You came after me." He let the statement hang in the air before continuing. "And I evaded you, though your musclebound associate nearly thwarted me." He turned to look at Leah. "I am declared K-I-A, Leonora, and a traitor besides. There is nothing left for me in the Federation, but I didn't want to disappear without making sure you knew the truth."

"You know what they say about truth and rationalizing it, my friend." Leah turned to face him, turning her chair along as well, probably putting them in closer proximity to eachother than they had been in years. "Regardless...I will hear you."

To outward perception, the two appeared to be old, perhaps even close friends catching up.

"What Oversight told you, undoubtedly, was that I was on assignment with orders from the Cardassian desk until I went rogue. Considering that I single-handedly killed an entire covert CIB team, that's the classified version of events that the Cardassian castellan was told, as well." The sociopath Betazoid's grin never touched his black eyes. "But the truth is far more complicated. You see, everybody knew about the remnant of the Obsidian Order planning a comeback maneuver, but all projections placed the earliest attempt to be several years from now. Special Operations knew better due to their assets in Special Investigations that told them about Project Red Route, an experiment that went from phase-cloak technology to accessing fluidic space." He paused for a moment and pondered aloud, "Why is that all these 'Special' groups don't talk to one another?" With a shake of his head, Karna continued.

"The Obsidian Order thought to weaponize this technology, and deployed it in Breen and Federation space in order to start another war where they could seize power away from the New Detapa Council. Rather than pass these developments along, Special Operations tasked a singularly qualified field agent with unique connections to the Obsidian Order--" Karna cleared his throat and jostled his head in mock humility. "--to eliminate the Cardassian Bureau's attempt to neutralize the beacon's deployment in order to infiltrate the heart of the Order's facility, acquire the technology, and destroy them from within." After the long-winded explanation, Karna flared his hand in the air and dipped his head. "As you can see, even if I could prove that I was sanctioned, the people who sanctioned me are probably going down for war crimes, and that's far too messy for my liking."

Leah nodded, "so they would have burned you, or will burn you." Then she sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose, "so, Spec Ops knew, but didn't talk to C-Sec. I'm not surprised, but I don't like it. With such a big event, they should have cross-talked. So that means one thing - they had an agenda of their own."

Then she looked over at him, "why not go dark immediately? Why come out and tell me?"

Leonora knew enough about sociopaths to know caring wasn't a thing they did. Was it a last ditch attempt at possibly clearing his name? Or was this the old debt?

"Why wouldn't I?" Karna said, expressing mock offense. "You brought me in after I got bored with the Cardassians. I owed them a debt after they rescued me from the Romulan prison colony. The very one where Starfleet abandoned me." His eyes burned cold. Not with anger or malice, but plain, unfeeling indifference. "I plan to disappear, to go so far away that nobody from the Federation will find me. But if anyone gets a notion to try, they will probably come to you." He smiled again as though sharing a joke. "I wanted you to know what kind of operation that would be, and what fate lies in store for anybody so wickedly foolish as to try." His smile dropped, leaving only the intensity of his black eyes. "Anybody."

"Would have been better to simply not know," Leah shrugged in reply. "Less of a chance of them finding through me that I know you're not sleeping with the fish."

The moment passed, and Karna's carefree grin returned. "And not say goodbye? I do wish you a long and happy life, Leonora. Perhaps you should consider early retirement as well."

She took another swig of akvavit, "perhaps. Or perhaps I can get involved and figure out why sections are not talking to eachother. It's too big to ignore. First they shut Delphi down then they start shutting out whole sections...something's going on behind the scenes."

"And end up somebody's fall guy like myself and Kazyah Linn?" Karna tisked his tongue in disapproval. "I thought you were smarter than that. As parting advice, I recommend you be as uninvolved as possible. I hear there's a particularly nasty bitch from Internal Affairs who's been taking heads." The remark made Karna look off to one side for a moment. "You know, I never did try that one. Seemed too messy and not nearly as efficient as the holovids suggest." He chuckled at his own joke before concluding, "Promise me you don't do anything stupid."

Leah leaned back in her chair, "that's what they told me when I reached out to you, all those years ago." She handed him the bottle back again, "and here we are. You're going back to the cold and I'm poking my nose where it doesn't belong. Sinara would be proud of me."

"The Sinara? I always regretted never crossing paths with that one." Karna rolled his neck and let out a pur. "Alas, such is life." He looked on Leah with fondness, or whatever the equivalent of a sadist would be, and extended a handshake. "Fare thee well, Leonora."

"Stay alive." She countered as she shook his hand. This was it.

Ta ta.




After they shook hands, Karna leaned in and pressed his mouth against Leah's in a firm, passionate kiss. When he pulled away, his eyes bore holes through her for a moment while he processed what he'd done. "Nope," he said with a wicked cackle. "Nothing."

With a tap to a hidden communicator, as he'd long ago ditched his combadge, Karna grinned wide as the transporter beam took him away. His face almost seemed to linger an instant longer than the rest of him like the Cheshire Cat.

Leah shook her head, a small amused smile on her face as she stared at the bottle of akvavit, the last tangible remnant of Karna Zsan.

"Ha det..." she said in her native tongue as she grasped the bottle again, rising it towards the sky, "ha det, bra min venn." Then she took another swig. (tr: Goodbye. Goodbye, my friend.)


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