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Let Sleeping Vulcans Lie?

Posted on Tue Mar 2nd, 2021 @ 3:46am by Commander Arianna Frost & Calderon Jarsdel & Taskmaster
Edited on on Sun Feb 20th, 2022 @ 10:10pm

Mission: Mission 0: Everybody Has A Story
Location: undisclosed
Timeline: sometime after 'Et tu, Brutus?'

Moving an unconscious vulcan male from a prone position into an sitting one was a bit of a chore, but Arianna made it work. He was now strapped to a chair, hands bound behind his back, the torso also bound, mostly due to being unconscious, but also to minimize when Ari did wake him up.

The cell had no windows, it had a small door on the other end and one light source over head.

On the other side, monitoring through a screen, Arianna, dressed in a thermal outfit, watched, considering the best course of action. They still hadn't a full picture of why the man had turned, and what secrets he had sold to the Black Nagus. This was to be her task today, to find out those answers.

First, however, she needed to wake him. Frost pressed a command and gas began to fill the room.

"Double it," said the Taskmaster who stood over her shoulder. "He's Vulcan. He can handle the extra stim-gas. That way he's good and panicked as soon as he wakes. No time to assess."

Arianna held back a sigh, but did as requested none the less.

For a moment there was a tiny dot of brightness within a vast ocean of inner darkness. Then...

Everything exploded.

Heart pumping, lungs on fire, brain sparking in fifty different directions and an overwhelming input of noise slammed into his ears. Vokau's enforced seated frame tensed, bucked and fought against the ties refusing to allow him to push up and away. He threw his head back, stretched his face and howled a silent exhale of nothing but air. An absence of sound in a world that suddenly seemed to hate him on every tangible level. Still wired to the max in every fibre of his being, Vokau tried to grab some sense of stability, of calm, and was denied yet again. That struggle against feral delirium was visible to the two observers even as he, finally, opened his eyes and visually sought the sense of company that his mind suggested was present.

"Who's there?" He asked, hating the way his body denied his need for control.

Arianna pressed a button on their end. "Your callsign is Vokau, what is your real name?" She asked, her voice coming off distorted through the cell feed.

There was a garbled string of inventive cursing in Vulcan, but no actual reply to her question. Vokau rocked against the chair testing for any sense of weakness or movement where there was none.

"You first," he spat.

Arianna took a PADD, a field bottle filled with water, a chair and stepped over to the door, nodding to the Taskmaster to let her in.

As he did so, Ari stepped in, "you want to know what I find really funny?" She asked as she set the chair down two metres away from where Vokau was sat, and sat herself, PADD in her lap. She opened the bottle and took a small sip. "Water?" She offered in a relaxed tone.

"Oh please," her prisoner said, his tone dripping with virtually visible sarcasm. "Do tell me." He stared at the water bottle with eyes that suggested he wanted to answer her second question in the affirmative, but Vokau knew that everything had a price, and he was already currently in debt. "I'm not thirsty," he said, stubbornly.

Arianna gave no outward reaction, merely put the screw back on the bottle and kept it in her lap, next to the PADD. She tapped a small command on the PADD to begin recording. "My name is Valeria Korushanova," she made a gesture with her hands and shoulders that would easily be translated as 'there'. "So, what's your real name?"

The atmosphere in the room ever so slowly changed. The quality of air grew more dry, cold.

Vokau glanced about the room as he felt the subtle shift of temperature and aridity. He ignored his interrogator pointedly for the longest moment as he attempted to calm his mind and push down his irritability. Damn them for their overuse of the rousing gas, though he couldn't blame them for the tactic when he would likely have done the same. "You wouldn't be able to pronounce it," Vokau said, finally, with a querulous tone. "But fine, it's Tu Pa’ritsuri S’solai-igen." He half-lied.

Arianna looked up from the PADD, although she hadn't actually been reading it, merely making it seems so. "Tell me about the Sandhill Estate."

The Sandhill Estate was a Starfleet Intelligence operation on Corridan III, designed to monitor Orion Syndicate activity under the guise of a trading corporation.

Bitch, thought the Vulcan as he refused to give her the satisfaction of straining against his bonds. He might be able to break free, but there'd be nowhere to go. The deliberate and ongoing discomfort of the increasingly cold environment sapped more of his endurance, causing a shaking shiver to ripple across his olive skin and he hated her just a little more for making his weakness so visible.

"Corridan's always been complicated," Vokau said. "They wanted to even the score some, set up or influence some deals. I don't know all the details. I was approached with an offer that they wouldn't let me refuse. They wanted information that simply gained them influential and financial weight. It wouldn't hurt anyone I knew." He'd have shrugged, but that was tricky right now and his teeth chattered, a sound that seemed so much louder from inside his head.

"It weakened all of Operation Castermer," the Taskmaster cut in. "We drove out the Black Nagus before, or so we thought. Now, thanks to your treachery, the highest echelons have lost faith in us, the last and only safeguard to preserve SFI's integrity. You sold out our future!" Spittle began to fly from his mouth. "You should have killed yourself rather than comply with our adversary and spared me the trouble."

He didn't shift his head down, but Vokau's gaze dropped briefly at that first statement in a telltale sign of lost pride. Like the others, he'd fought to drive Nagus out. Unlike them, he'd seen that clear line seriously muddied. His eyes locked back hard with the Taskmaster's at the word 'treachery' though, and held. "I didn't have another option," Vokau stated "Do what you have to." He tensed his arms. "I can't stop you."

"What did they have on you? How did they approach you? When?" Arianna pressed.

"What difference does it make?" Asked Vokau as a dark frown creased his brow. It was done now. Revealing his deeper weaknesses would do nothing to help him at this point, it would only give them the same detail as Nagus. "Everyone has something that can be exploited." And the Vulcan High Command were as formidable as any. It was complicated, until it wasn't. "Even you."

"I'm not the one strapped to a chair being interrogated," Arianna replied with no emotion or expression, simply keeping her eyes on the PADD, occasionally making a swiping motion across it. "As for what difference it makes? Now? None, later, when they strike again, and they will, it could make all the difference. Chance for atonement from your betrayal..." Frost finally looked up at him.

She had him there, Vokau had to admit. So calm, so cool, just how they had all been trained. He flexed then, pushing with everything he had against those bonds that held him to said chair. The cold bit into his flesh and sunk into his bones, and every part of him silently screamed for freedom, but that wasn't going to happen and Vokau knew it. He'd probably never see anything outside of this room, not unless he was really unlucky, but then she gave him a tiny, miniscule thread of hope.

"Are you offering me a deal?" He asked, needing clarification. "I'd like to remind you that I already sent you a data package."

"You sent me proof of what was already suspected and could be proven." Arianna countered, "I'm offering a chance at possible redemption. We both know there's no good way out of this for you, Tu Pa’ritsuri S’solai-igen," she said his 'name' with perfect pronunciation. "A chance for your name not to be spoken with disgust and disdain but in thanks for the life-saving intelligence you provided."

After a moment's hesitation, Taskmaster cut in. "Time's up. Decrease temperature to -100 centigrade."

"No..." whispered Vokau unintentionally. So this was how it ended, his brain told him as he lost feeling in his extremities and as his blood slowed in his veins. Whatever he wanted to say, if he had anything to say, he needed to say it now. "Encoded," he said on a slow exhale of frosted breath. "... lenses' data." He felt that icy embrace, the pull of what humans called Hell as the darkness swiftly began to permeate his mind and his limbs became mere dead weights. Words were difficult to form now, his lungs refusing to work. "Password... skann..."

Arianna committed the words to memory, before stepping out then coming back in moments later, a non descript weapon in her hand. She adjusted the setting, levelling the weapon at his head, her own breath coming in icy puffs. She bit the inside of her cheek, watching the man suffer as life ebbed away from him swiftly.

"Spasiba," she said quietly, steeling herself towards the fact that she was about to kill an unarmed, restrained man.

The weapon discharged moments later.

A sense of - relief? closure? - the faint sense of warmth hitting his skull and permeating deeper as energy destroyed his eye socket and followed on through. Then... painless red darkness.

"That was unnecessary," Taskmaster said. "But so be it. Collate the debriefing--" Such a neutrally sterile word for what they had just done. "--and add it to the project files. You can defer the closing to me if you wish."

Arianna looked over at Taskmaster, "as opposed to freezing him to death?" Frost shook her head. "I'll get the data collated and sent, as requested." Without another word, she stepped out, the moment just passed replaying in her head, a slight shiver permeating her muscles.

As Ari left, more technicians arrived--presumably pathological experts who would dispose of the body.

Taskmaster approached Vokau's remains which had suffered frostbite throughout the extremities before the ostensibly fatal head wound. Removing a hypospray from the case proffered by the technicians, Taskmaster personally administered the dose of whatever the hypospray contained.

A hiss signaled the injection. At first nothing happened, but soon the frost around Vokau's skin began to thaw as mechanical constructs began to form all throughout his body. The head wound even self-cauterized.

"Assimilation complete," the technicians confirmed.

The remaining eye on Vokau's head fluttered open in a soulless, mechanical parody of life.

"Initiate the neural uplink to project servers and then prep for transit to Starbase 233 for deep storage." Taskmaster shook his head in disgust. "Such a waste."


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