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Paying the Piper

Posted on Mon May 18th, 2020 @ 7:13pm by Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker & Commander Arianna Frost & Lieutenant Sophie Xiong & Lieutenant JG Kara Madavi

Mission: S1E4: The Hills Have Eyes
Location: USS Phantom | Sickbay/Bridge
Timeline: MD 1

Arianna shook off the momentary fuzziness in her head as she, Brodie and McGill dematerialized on the Sickbay floor.

As the medics rushed to them, Arianna handed the wounded pilot over, "he's sustained heavy injuries courtesy of Ferrofax trying to assist. She..." she motioned to the prone form on the floor, "she's just out I think, but she's a person of interest and under arrest. I'll need a guard with her at all times. I'll also need to question her as soon as she can be woken up."

The medics quickly got to work as Arianna stood to the side, so as not to be in their way. "Frost to Security, I have a prisoner in Sickbay, she'll need round the clock presence until my say otherwise."

"Security, understood. We're sending someone down immediately." Came a prompt reply.

"Commander." One of the medics called.

Arianna turned to face the man, "hm?"

"Ma'am, she can be awoken now. She's got a broken nose, I'll fix that up right quick." He raised the bone knitter device.

Frost nodded, "do it."

Quickly as he could the man repaired the ginger menace's broken nose. Arianna stepped over to the bio bed and activated the binders. They quickly snapped into place, binding the woman's hands and feet.

She nodded to the medic, who pressed a hypo compound to her neck.

"Why aren't we dead?" McGill groaned aloud. After a moment, her eyes came into focus and recognized Ari. "Where am I?!" She briefly fought against her bindings and gave up. "I'm not saying anything without an advocate."

"G'day, mate." Ari leaned against the bio bed, looking down at her, "you are under arrest Mailie McGill for endangering lives of Starfleet Officers, Fedration and Allied citizens by act of sabotage to promote a terrorist act. Now, I can add volontary manslaughter on there if I so wish, and treason as well considering you admitted you were working for a third party who instructed you to sabotage the platform." She raised a still gloved finger, counting off, "endangering lives of Federation Personnel, Federation and Allied citizens. Sabotage, act of terrorism, volontary manslaughter and treason. I've got you dead to rights on three out of four. Give me time and I'll have you on all four counts. An advocate won't help you. The only person that can help you here, is me. I decide what report gets sent out. Start talking and counts go down."

McGill scoffed. "We aren't going to survive this. Nobody will. That's what you fools don't understand. You're dead and you don't even know it."

"What the hell, Mailie?" Brodie said from his bio-bed. "You pulled a phaser on me. Made me crash, and inside a shuttle bay no less."

"That wasn't me," McGill said. "Maybe try learning to fly."

Brodie coughed. "Maybe try not attempting to murder your friends!" His outburst erupted in a dry coughing fit.

"So, why don't you enlighten me, McGill? I obviously don't understand. So please, make my feeble brain understand." Frost decided to play off of the dynamic. "What would make you want to kill people you've worked with? I get you want to kill us Fleeters, a lot of people do. But why your friends and coworkers?"

"You... aren't... Kin," McGill said through gritted teeth.

Arianna looked over at Brodie, "I need to know everything about this Kin."

=/\="Commander Frost, please report to the bridge=/\=" Ryland's voice sounded oddly professional. =/\="Immediately."=/\=

Arianna sighed, "Frost. On my way." She tapped her commbadge before looking back at Brodie, "when I come back, obviously."

"You gotta be kidding me," Brodie scoffed at McGill who just scowled.

"I demand to speak to your commanding officer this minute!" The angrily contorted face of Administrator ch'Vihron was backed by Colonial Security Chief Leland Donaldson and Director of Operations T'Ren.

"And I told you I got somebody coming!" Ryland retorted, though he glanced to Sophie and Kara who were offscreen for a little backup.

As per her usual, Sophie was out of patience. She stormed over to Dedeker’s side and faced the screen, eyes blazing. Combined with her ripped uniform and grease smeared face, she looked positively demonic. “Listen!” she snapped testily. “Unless you want to talk to the pilot or the engineering lead, shut your mouth and wait one damned minute!

Ryland conspicuously peeked over at Kara. He didn't quite know who she was or whether she was even authorized to be on board.

"Where is Captain Mrazak?!" ch'Vihron shouted. "I demand to speak to him or so help me..."

"And when you find him, you can speak to him as long as he'll allow," replied Sophie, crossing her arms. "But he's not here and we don't know where he is. Our ranking officer is on her way. You can talk to her or go look for Mrazak."

"Talk to me about what?" Arianna announced herself as she stepped onto the Bridge. She was not in the mood for impudence and stupidity right now, so she did what she always did in that situation, she went frosty.

Ch'Vihron balked at the lack of formality. "Commander... Frost, was it? I wish to know the meaning of what just transpired. Your vessel, I am told, tractored Aerial Platform 7 and flung it into orbit!"

"After one of yours sabotaged the Platform, tried to get my team plus a hundred of your people killed, yes. Luckily our pilot answered my distress signal in time and managed to save all of our lives." Arianna rattled off putting on an air casual annoyance. "So we nicked this individual, saved your platform and your people, you're welcome by the way. Now we need to find our missing crew. Also, at this present stage we won't be pressing charges against your entire operation for endangering lives..." what was left unsaid was clear. "Can provide you with all the necessary evidence, should you so desire. Now, was there anything else, Administrator?" She ended with a perfectly practiced smile and sing song voice.

The administrator looked concerned. "Missing crew, you say? Who, pray tell, has gone missing?" He conveniently ignored the claim that a member of colonial staff had sabotaged anything. "Never you mind. We had received an alert from Platform 7 and were initiating evacuation measures anon, so your interference was not only unnecessary but jeopardized the lives of every person on that platform! Good luck making your trumped up charges stick." The Andorian's antennae twitched aggressively. "I think, at this time, that I am going to insist that you return any Venusian citizens to our custody and then leave this planet immediately."

"Ma'am." Kara said, speaking up for the first time since coming aboard. This was all just a little bit nuts, who were these people? She silenced the channel so the Administrator couldn't hear them. "He can push for the civilians, but he can't make us leave. You are still operating under the authority of the Terraforming Command. Only Starfleet itself could order you away, and technically those orders would come to me to kick you out."

"Madavi," the administrator seethed through gritted teeth. "I would have known you were part of this. If you were the saboteur the commander spoke of, then she can rid us of you once and for all."

Kara looked over at the screen, reaching to the closest console to briefly unmute their end of the channel. "As you've made it repeatedly and abundantly clear Administrator, no one in Starfleet is one of yours." Letting the panel go and once again muting the man as he began to spout off at the both of them.

Arianna held the smile as she unmuted the Andorian. "Administrator, you're free to file protests with Starfleet Command based on your lack of or nonexistent evidence. I'm sure the Council will respond to said protests in due course. The person responsible for the near death of 100+ of your people and mine is in Starfleet custody and will remain under said custody until a hearing and a trial, as they have been arrested for the attempt of murder, in case you missed that in my earlier statement. Unlike you, I do have evidence to provide. So, right now, your best option is to send vehicles to retrieve the people from the Platform. My job is now to find the rest of my missing crew. We will talk later. Good day to you, Administrator." With that said, Arianna made the motion to cut the channel.

"Now see here--" ch'Vihron began to say just as the screen turned back to the exterior starfield.

Sophie nodded once approvingly. Her opinion of Frost suddenly shot up about 100 ticks.

"Well, there's my headache abating." Kara chuckled nervously. "So..."

"Ryland, I need a sit rep. What happened with the other teams?" Frost turned to the pilot.

Ryland swiveled around in the helm seat and kicked one foot over the ankle of the other into a reclining position. Hands locked behind his neck, Ryland gave his shoulders a half shrug. "I don't know what the jarheads are up to. Last I saw was them deploying from Llorona Station and docking with the space elevator. The heavy subspace transponder seems to be damaged, though, as we've maintaining positional coordinates but otherwise no comm chatter." He hissed a breath through a sly grin. "As for Mrazak's team... I kinda' left them hanging at the vault when I responded to the SOS."

"You- you left them?" Sophie sputtered indignantly.

"Your fine ass wasn't gonna' save itself, was it?" Ryland winked.

"There are escape pods!" Sophie bristled in retort. "We would have been fine!"

"Escape pods?" Ryland pointed at the broiling maelstrom of violent atmospheric gases. "Most of their shuttles aren't even rated to go down in that hot soup. No, darlin', there weren't no escape pods to be found, which means I saved your life." His eyes went to Ari and then Kara. "And your life, and your life. With all these grateful damsels rescued from distress, don't seem right a fella can't get a lil' kiss in gratitude."

Were this a different situation, Ari might have considered it, to a) shut him up and b) continue to work him in as a future asset. As it was, however, not a different situation, Arianna Frost decided on a different approach. "For doing his duty as a Starfleet Officer and answering a priority one distress call? He gets a thank you." Frost said, nodding at Ryland, "thank you."

Then she turned to Sophie, "we need to find the Marines, Sophie. See if you can ping their communicators or any transmitting gear, or maybe see if we can trace a partition of Ferrofax's that's with them, as ours seems to be royally stuffed. You're the expert, so I leave that task to you, delegate as you see fit."

Sophie responded by heading to the nearest console and doing exactly that. After a couple of tries, she shook her head angrily and broadened the search, looking for any sign of gear or anything at all that could be Marines.

"Ryland, get in contact with Captain Mrazak's team, give them a report. I'll fill Mrazak in on further details. If he wants to go off on someone, I'll cop the flak for it." Ari said to Ryland.

"You got it, baby girl." Ryland spun back around and went to work.

Ari then turned to Kara, "I'm assuming you're familiar with the concept of an NDA. I will give you one to sign momentarily. Now, I need to know everything you know about, the Kin?"

"Umm right, the Kin... umm Kinship of Shangri-la, I mean. Present themselves as modern-day environmentalists, they believe the Terraforming has ruined Mars and other worlds and now we're doing the same to Venus. In truth they're extremists, little more than eco-terrorists from the briefings I've gotten from Command. They have supporters all over the colony according to Starfleet Security. They've been investigating for years, but I haven't gotten an update for a while." Kara wasn't really in the loop with those investigations. "They promote having a Sanctuary where true believers can go, but they don't tell anyone outside fo the cult where it is."

Arianna pinched the bridge of her nose, "of course. McGill did seem to be if to a higher power of sorts? Does that...say anything about them?" Frost grimaced in a mix of confusion and annoyance at the ginger Foreman.

"Other than them being a few quads short of their triticale? No idea," Kara replied with a shrug. "McGill and her group always seemed a little off, but this whole higher power thing, that's new."

"Oh joy," Ari's tone dripped with sarcasm.

“Commander!” said Sophie as they computer pinged. “I’m picking up the transponder. It’s a bit... garbled. I think it’s damaged. The computer is working on honing in on the signal now.”

Frost nodded, "Let me know as soon as you have coordinates."

"Looks like the atmospheric interference is too strong to get hold of the vault team," Ryland said. "The last attempt was with double the power to the transmitter and the permastorm sent a plasma arc back at us. Still no dice."

Arianna turned to Ryland, "what was their last known status, do you know?"

"So..." Ryland couldn't help but grin at the incriminating admission he was about to make. "Mrazak seemed to be having an argument with some kind of assholes before going into the vault. Would could go wrong? Not like I left them there permanently, ya know."

Arianna said nothing, making a tssk sound with her tongue against the back of her teeth. "Alright, Sophie, soon as you have coordinates, feed it to Ryland." She looked from Sophie to Ryland, "soon as you have them, lay in a course for the Marines' location. The Captain and company can handle themselves for the time being. The Marines may be in more trouble. Once we have them we'll decide on the next step."


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