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One Good Turn Deserves Another

Posted on Fri Oct 4th, 2019 @ 12:41pm by Captain Mrazak & Lieutenant Karna Zsan & Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker & XiaoLi Zhan
Edited on on Sun Nov 3rd, 2019 @ 6:45pm

Mission: S1E3: Barbarians at the Gates
Location: Alpha Quadrant
Timeline: MD 3

Obsidian Order Starship Dreadnought-Bret (OOS Dreadnought-II) | Bridge

"Situation report!" Gul Kretok, formerly known as Agent Amarak of the Obsidian Order, shouted to his bridge crew. "What just happened?!"

The two Cardassian kels at consoles in the Operations pit below the bridge's command dais were hard at work trying to make sense of their readings. "We're no longer in fluidic space," one reported. A female Cardassian with jet black hair pulled back into a braid. "Back in the Alpha Quadrant, but light-years from Soukara."

"Ba'ou!... the rest of the ship is gone," said her male counterpart. His hair was closed-cropped and nearly buzzed. "Gul," he said looking up at the dais, "it appears the rest of the Dreadnought did not make it through the singularity."

All eyes fell to the Gul, but Kretok made no reply. His eyes quivered in their sockets along with his trembling lips as if he were fighting to express a coherent thought.

"What are your orders, Gul?" the female kel asked.

Kretok dropped to his knees with his eyes rolled back to whites before falling flat on his face. A gleaming handle of a Reman jackal knife protruded from the back of his head, buried to the hilt in Cardassian skull. A few meters away in the doorway to the Gul's ready room stood a bloody Kazyah Linn.

The female Betazoid, Nwexele, who was Kretok's adviser and psionic specialist turned to Karna. "You failed to kill him." It was a stinging accusation that went deeper than stating the obvious.

"Would you believe I missed?" Karna said with a sarcastic shrug, his black eyes glinting mischievously.

"No." Nwexele unsheathed her own blade, a Klingon kut'luch whose uneven serrated edge would rend flesh and fabric despite its small size, and slashed for Karna's throat.

The grinning Betazoid was a ghost, never where he appeared to be. Nwexele's strikes grew fierce and accompanied with harsh grunts of aggravation. The more she missed, the wider Karna grinned. "And you thought you were better than me."

For Kazyah's part, he dove headlong into the Operations pit where the bridge crew went for their weapons. The knife he'd used to kill Kretok was the same Karna had given him under the guise of a killing stroke. In reality, it had been a flesh wound accompanied by a telepathic impression that Karna intended to double cross the Obsidian Order. Kazyah was no stranger to pain. He knew how to take one for the team. This was Special Operations, and he was no stranger to its methods. The knife he used now was his own, similar to Karna's, except that he had been gifted it by a commanding officer rather than taking it off the corpse of an interrogator. Even though he and the sociopath were not the same, he knew their mission was. And, if nothing else, the trained assassin in him was at peace with that. Before all else, there was the mission. Petty rivalries were dim distractions best discarded.

The Cardassian officers were quick to respond, encircling him as they took aim with their disruptors. Kazyah danced between their circle, slitting one across the neck, deflecting another's fire into the temple of another, while impaling still a third through the heart. Dodging the green hail of fire while returning shots of his own between knife strikes, Kaz was a whirlwind of death. After so many setbacks, his calm, professional blood-lust now would not be denied.

One by one, the officers fell. When his stolen disruptor ran dry of its charges, Kazyah slashed the second to last remaining guard above the knee with the knife, then cracked him against the head as he knelt before him.

The final Cardassian disruptor fired, but Kazyah deflected the shot far and away before opening the shooter's neck to let it drain onto his chest. Its green bolt went wide and caught Karna in the left side of his midsection. He crumpled to the floor. Nwexele seized the opportunity to end him and jumped into a straddle that allowed her to plunge her Klingon dagger into his chest.

A friend might have cried out in anger and grief, but Kazyah was no friend. He silently marched up behind the vulnerable Nwexele, pulled her head back by the braid, and sliced through her neck clear to the bone.

"I'm not going to lie," Kaz said, "you're not going to make it, Karna."

Karna gurgled blood through his lips. "I know that. But it was an honor to work with you... the great... Kazyah Linn." He tried to laugh, but it just turned to coughing. "Thank you for killing Kretok... Amarak... couldn't be me... I owed him my life..."

"Yeah, well, I was aiming for you," Kazyah quipped.

"Don't make me laugh, Commander..." Karna hacked and wheezed, barely able to breathe. "I... I... just wanted... someone to know... the truth." At that, Karna's eyes bulged as his body began to seize. "Don't... don't..." But his lungs failed him before he could finish, and he saw Karna breathe his last.

"Warning: Life support failure is imminent."

Kazyah looked at the lift door. If the Cardassian's system report was accurate, then the bridge had been blown free or otherwise separated from the rest of the ship, which meant no power reserves--only what was left in the system, which was rapidly dwindling. While he wasn't afraid to die, Kazyah's training compelled him to live, to find a way out and conduct a mission debriefing. His mind rushed through the potential options and came up dry except for one.

The Lagashi.

Where had she gone? One moment she was in Kretok's custody awaiting to bribe or negotiate her way out of the veruul's den, and the next she was gone. Kazyah clutched his Rod of Kel, the psionic amplifier he had taken from a past mission. His awareness stretched out across the damaged bridge section and located a single living consciousness on the far side of the gul's ready room -- and it was accessing a way off the derelict.

Kazyah grinned at the cunning of it.

USS Phantom | Bridge

"Scan the bridge for life signs," Mrazak said, then realized he was still at the science station. "Never mind, I'll do it myself."

After the Phantom had been pushed back into normal space, most of the crew had been taken to Sickbay to be tended by the Emergency Medical Hologram and Akady Sjet, the captured Intelligence officer who knew his way around a medkit.

"Should we light them up?" Ryland asked, who was as familiar with Tactical systems as he was Flight Control thanks to his years as a starfighter pilot and a gunnery merc.

Mrazak shook his head. "Negative. There are only two life signs, and they appear to be fleeing on a... a shuttle nestled beneath the bridge."

"Like a gul's yacht." That Cardassians would install such a thing on a salvaged Dominion carrier was very amusing to Ryland. "Should we light them up?"

"Can you all go five minutes without trying to kill people? Put them in a tractor beam while I try something." Mrazak shook his head in disgust at the violent men in his employ. "Since the dreadnought's systems are down, we might be able to download their memory core and get the schematics for their death beacon to fluidic space."

"Are you sure that's a good idea? From what the hot chick and cyber giant said, our pinky promise not to play with death beacons again is what kept those buggers from killing us dead and invading our space." That Ryland felt the need to be the voice of reason made him very uncomfortable. He looked around the bridge longingly and came up short, as the two enlisted officers manning auxiliary consoles had nothing to say.

Mrazak pointed at Ryland in anger. "I've had about enough of your contrary disposition, Lieutenant. Just engage that tractor beam." Lowering his voice to an acidic scoff, Mrazak muttered, "Should've left you back in the brig on Starbase 375 where I found you." Before he could say more or Ryland could give reply, the sensors bleeped at him in clear denial. "Blast it! That ship's memory core didn't survive the return trip. All we've got are our sensors scans."

"If it's any consolation, we're getting hailed by the gul's yacht." Ryland's tone was clearly offended, but he kept it to himself.

"Put it on the main viewer," Mrazak said.

Rather than a Cardassian, it was the last person Mrazak expected.

"Hello, Mrazak." None other than Lieutenant Commander Kazyah Linn.

"You look like death," Mrazak said.

"Thank you."

"It wasn't a compliment," Mrazak retorted. "Let down your shields and we'll beam you aboard along with whoever is with you."

Kazyah shook his head. "I'm afraid I can't do that, Mrazak."

"And why is that?" Mrazak asked, his brow quizzically arched.

"This latest escapade of yours went too far," Kazyah replied. "We went into Cardassian space, took a chunk out of their planet, got half an Order's worth of ships destroyed. Even if they were Obsidian Order vessels, we're connected to them now. I would have died for SFI, but not for bitchy section chiefs more concerned with their own fiefdoms than with the mission."

At first Mrazak was only half-listening to the Intel Chief's petulant griping, but his meaning quickly became clear. "You're deserting."

Kazyah nodded. "I am. I won't be anybody's patsy."

"Fuck yeah!" Ryland cheered from the helm. His own Starfleet career had taken a similar turn years before. "Although in my case I really was innocent."

"Nobody asked you," Kaz said. "Anyway, Mrazak, consider this my resignation from Memory Theta."

"You know I can't just let you go," Mrazak ominously intoned, "not with your clearance and everything you know."

A smile pursed Kazyah's blind, battered face. "I know. That's why I was keeping you distracted. Hit it!"

At his command, some kind of pulse shot up through the tractor beam, which give the Phantom a gentle shove. The Cardassian shuttle jumped into warp without hesitation.

"Hot damn!" The sudden maneuver made Ryland clap his hands in reluctant appreciation. "Want that I should lay in a pursuit course, Commander?"

Mrazak stared at the listless dreadnought bridge that was growing cold in the void of space and gave way to contemplation. Of course he should order to pursue. But what if he didn't? Kazyah Linn had command codes to Memory Theta's Intelligence section, but those codes could be purged very quickly. The rest of the secrets that Kazyah Linn possessed were not his own. Greater forces would be interested in chasing him to the ends of the quadrant and beyond. Let him be their problem.

"No, Lieutenant," Mrazak said with formal airs, "for it appears they've masked their warp signature. Looks like they've got away... for now."

"All right. Set a course for Overwatch then?"

"Yes. I will be in the Strategic Operations Conference Room. The conn is yours, Lieutenant Dedeker."

Unidentified Cardassian vessel

After their little stint to evade the Phantom and make a break for it, Kazyah released the ball of tension he'd been holding. These weren't the best of circumstances--hell, not even good ones--but the die was cast. He looked to his co-pilot who had orchestrated their getaway from the tractor beam's hold.

"Nice one. Anywhere I can drop you? It'll have to be remote."

XiaoLi shrugged. "I was a Lagashi intelligence operative. This 'Memory Theta' are amateurs. Really, it is embarrassing. How did you not commit suicide?" she questioned.

The question was obnoxious, which earned a contemptuous sniff from Kaz. "Memory Theta is not an Intelligence agency. It's a collaborative initiative between various departments of Starfleet, of which SFI is only one. We all have our part to play. Had our part to play." Kaz stopped just short of defending his colleagues. They were in his past now.

"For the pertinent question, that depends entirely on what YOU plan to do next, former lieutenant commander Linn. Hard as it is to remember or care at this point, my presence here was predicated on the desire to de-escalate this incident in a fashion that provided political cover. I would say that that mission has ultimately been neither a failure nor a success given the unmitigated calamity this has turned out to be, especially in regards to manifest security and intelligence failures on, frankly, your part. However, your testimony might well provide a sound basis for asylum in the Pentad if you wanted, though you would likely be stuck there."

Life in the Pentad. Transhumanist tyranny cloaked in a veneer of liberal philosophy to justify its commitment to ruthless service to self. There were far worse places to find sanctuary. Yet Kaz would spend the rest of his life as a political prisoner in a luxurious building that would be a cushy prison cell and eventual coffin. Kaz knew that he would kill himself one day if one of his and Karna's ilk did not manage to get to him first.

"I think not," he said at length. "I'm done being a puppet."

"In that case, I suggest you set a course for Ferengi space. This ship is a liability. Past that, there's a place called Fiddler's Green that might be good for you, though I am going back to the Pentad, regardless. The fallout is going to be unfortunate regardless."

Kazyah chuckled first, then laughed deeply. "Woman, do not mistake me for that fool Mrazak or any of his stooges. I am intimately familiar with the galaxy's underworld, which means I have contacts in Fiddler's Green, Orion territory, and even Black Nagus holdings." His head swiveled to turn his blind eyes directly on XiaoLi. "The only reason I don't kill you now for your ties to Lurk is because his chains are worse than death. Hope you enjoy the fate you've made for yourself."

With the understanding between them, the two flew along together in silence toward Ferengi Alliance space and, for Kaz, the turn of a new leaf.


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