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Posted on Wed Jul 21st, 2021 @ 6:18pm by Captain Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant JG Jaya Maera Garlake & Ensign Nandi Chakma & Lieutenant Colonel Storr Garlake & Commander Arianna Frost & Calderon Jarsdel

Mission: S1E5: Symphony of Horror
Location: DS9
Timeline: MD 3

Akiva had snuck back into the shared suite in the early morning hours of the station. He had expected everyone to be asleep, yet the difference in station time meant that was not particularly the case. Storr and Jaya were occupied, Cal and Nandi were not to be seen, but Akiva didn't want to assume. Once through the door, he hurried through the common area toward his room until the comm unit beeped.

Priority One.

With the time he had just spent with Laena, he had nearly forgotten his reason for being on Deep Space 9. All attempts to reach the Phantom had gone unanswered. Either Mrazak was in trouble or he was ignoring Akiva's transmissions. It was tempting to have Mrazak declared rogue, but such a maneuver could potentially doom them all. With stakes that could not be higher, the need Cap'n Donal Mulryan for delicacy was paramount. Akiva had reached out to the sector commander for the Theta-Corvus system, one Captain Donal Mulryan, in hopes of getting some sort of update as to Mrazak's current whereabouts.

Accepting the transmission, Akiva was pleased to see the four pips of Captain rank addressing him. "Fleet Captain Mulyran, I presume? Thank you for getting back to me."

"Cap'n ben-Avram, 's a pleasure." Came from the dark haired Irishman. "Tell me yer callin' about' that idjit pretendin' t' be Ess See Eeh?"

It took a moment for Akiva to understand the man's thick brogue, but then he realized the mistake was more due to one of Mrazak's likely cover stories. "Ah, yes. I actually need him to report to Deep Space 9 ASAP, but he has been out of communication. Could you update me on his activities and whereabouts?"

Donal pressed a finger to his temple and sighed, "Roight, where t' begin? Oh' tha's right. Forst, 'e demands a system wide lockdown then 'is ship takes a pot shot a' an unindetified vessel, then 'e uses tha' incident as an excuse t' enforce quarantine the entire bloody syst'm, locking everythin' down under the overriding authority. There were a few threats t' my rank an' station too. Things are bad enough a' Corvus, Cap'n without these games. I understand tha' 'is team 'as authority but' this isn' the way t' go about it. As for where they are now? They were on their way t' see Mister Ingram. An' 'opefully t' 'ave a look a' Alucard now tha' the radiation's cleared."

"Oh HaShem..." Akiva gasped at the news. "Thank you very much, Fleet Captain. You have been a tremendous help."

"Best o' luck t' ye, Cap'n," Donal sighed, his face disappearing off the screen.

The transmission ended. Akiva sighed and turned around to face Jaya who was dressed in a nightgown.

"How much of that did you hear?" he asked.

Jaya gave him a worried look. "Enough for me to go wake Storr."

After waking everyone, including Ari who had been staying elsewhere, the six officers sat at the small dining table in the suite to discuss the news.

"Near as I can tell, Mrazak has locked down the entire Theta-Corvus system," Akiva explained. "He's called for a full quarantine and has even engaged in hostile action with a vessel of unknown origin."

Nandi let out a gasp. "What in the world could he be doing there?"

"As a textbook case of classical narcissism, it is entirely possible that Mrazak is suffering a nervous breakdown as the result of losing his position," Jaya offered. "It has been a while since Starfleet has experienced such an event, but it is not unheard of."

Arianna rubbed the sleep out of her eyes as she stood next to Nandi, "I need a bit of context, what are they doing in the Corvus system?"

"I don't know," Akiva said, "other than responding to a Theta alert a couple of days ago. Mrazak was boasting that it would be a 'slam dunk,' which was an odd turn of phrase to hear from him. To hear him talk, he would have resolved it by now."

"Who called it in?" Frost continued.

Storr sat quietly, realizing that there would be far more questions than answers and he only had the former with none of the latter. Wearing his favorite SFMC muscle tee and short black ranger panties with Sky's Out and Thighs Out emblazed on each leg; since he was awake, he could at least use the time afterward for a good workout. Carpe diem and all that.

"The alert was triggered by an SFI operative with the handle of Cassandra," Akiva said in answer to Ari's question, "although it seems she was on assignment for Starfleet Medical. The entire system has been under Starfleet Medical's observation for much of the colony's existence. All I know is the alert was due to suspicion of banned research covered up by a thalaron detonation."

"Funny that, I thought she was retired." Arianna sighed, "Lieutenant Commander Leonora Wolf, formerly CO of the Delphi Black Site on Driaan VI. If she called for Theta specifically, it'll be serious. I can try and get in touch with her through our back channels if getting through to Captain Mrazak doesn't help?"

Akiva visibly perked up at that. "Yes, please do so immediately. Mrazak has been ignoring my attempts to reach him. So far I've only had success with the sector commander, and Fleet Captain Mulyran did not have a good report."

Frost nodded, "I'll be back, I'll need a secure channel." She said and without waiting for dismissal, she exited the room.

"Is it a requirement that all spooks know every other detail about every other spook?" Garlake mused, blowing a wisp of steam from his cup before taking a quick swig of the jet black coffee within. His eyes gazing across the others above the rim of the cup, they finally settled on Jaya as he waggled his eyebrows at her in his (at least he thought) charming way.

"Presumably they've worked together before." Akiva shrugged. "Perhaps this Commander Wolf is also with Internal Affairs. That could help us right now because, as it stands, Mrazak is unlikely to meet the tribunal's deadline." Looking at everyone, he asked, "In that event, any thoughts about what our strategy should be?"

Cal hadn't yet kicked the habit of sleeping in a vest and sweatpants, ready to roll if needed. He rubbed a hand over his chin and took a moment to gauge everyone's current mood, then reached for his glass of water. He didn't need caffeine messing with his brain right now, there was enough going on in there. "Do we know anything about the ship he fired on?" Cal asked, as he passively searched what he could of Akiva's mind for answers to other questions.

"Not as yet," Akiva said. "Perhaps Arianna can glean more from any of her contacts, but as it stands now the Phantom fired on an unidentified vessel." The look on Akiva's face could not have been more exhausted. "I'm... I'm just hoping he hasn't fired on a friendly. Or, if he has, that he had a good reason for locking down an entire star system."

"An entire star system that's been under the watchful gaze of Starfleet Medical for some considerable time," Cal noted, feeding Akiva's words back at him to make a point. "Clearly something important, dangerous or both is going on there. Couple that with the sniff of 'illegal research' and a really big explosion and I'd say someone's trying cover some seriously big tracks." He looked intrigued, curious and deep in thought. "Who's capable of combining banned research with a convenient dose of Thalaron?"

"Nobody ideal," Akiva said. "Mrazak's 'slam dunk' clearly has not panned out as he hoped. That, or he's lost his ever-loving mind and declared himself a system lord for fear of Memory Theta being decommissioned. We need more information."

"Anyone here we can... tap for details?" Cal asked, as innocently as possible.

Akiva shrugged. "Maybe we could call in a favor with the station's security, but that might draw even more attention to Mrazak's actions. Depending on what Arianna can uncover from her attempts to make contact with her colleague, I might have no choice but to declare Mrazak rogue... for the sake of Memory Theta."

Moments later, Arianna stepped back through the door. "No joy. Back-channel is dark. I tried the electronic dead drop as well, left an urgent contact request which hadn't been picked up by the time I left. If I were to guess, I'd say the pieces on the board were moving."

It wasn't until the slew of tradecraft jargon left her mouth that Arianna realized the rest of them may not have understood her.

"Sorry...left a message, no reply, I think they might be in the field." She quickly explained.

"Sounds like hurry up and wait," Storr said, shrugging as he pushed back his chair and stood. "If anyone wants a spotter, I'll be in the gym."

The fact that it was early enough for the commandant to get his morning workout in made Akiva fight not to blush. He had, in fact, attempted to sneak in after a late and unplanned rendezvous with Laena. So far, nobody seemed to suspect anything nor question why he was still in uniform. Perhaps they had just chalked it up to his tireless work ethic...

"Good idea," Akiva said. "It's been a long couple of days. Everyone get some rest, take some personal time, and we'll see what opportunities present themselves after we're back in top form." Pausing, with fingers crossed that no one would ask anything of it, he said, "I for one need some sleep." And, with that, he retreated to his quarters.

Arianna nodded, then sent a smile to Jaya and young Nandi before exiting the room herself. There were reports she needed to submit.


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