Section 31: The Bell that Tolls
The lights dimmed on eternal darkness. The female Captain about the age of 42, had them lowered in her Quarters before the attack began. There was a swipe to the left, and a swipe to right.
Natalie Bowman heard the knife fly out for her, as the shadowed man, before her, threw it expertly. Bowman fell back over her couch-foot rest, barely cut by the blade that hit the wall. “Uhh!”
Bowman quickly rolled to her side and grabbed a phaser strapped to the leg of a nearby table. She blasted it up at the man, and nicked his shoulder. “Argh!” He fell back onto the couch with a stunned left arm, groping his waist with his other in search of his alternate weapon.
The Captain changed the setting on her phaser and fired again. But the man had dove off the couch to the floor, blasting his phaser at her. The couch suddenly vapourized and Bowman was at another near-hit to her head. The man’s phaser struck the table leg at her left, braking it and causing the table to topple over on one edge.
Bowman caught it before the edge hit her, and a bunch of mechanical parts and devices spilled around her and to the floor where she lay.
The man fired again, accidentally striking one of the devices on Bowman, causing a green gas to be emitted. The smoke began to increase and confuse his view as Bowman threw the table to the side and got up out of breath. The man was then attacked by Bowman while the smoke encompassed him, and they struggled. The green lit up their features and Bowman recognized the man as a Starfleet Officer. She stabbed the man’s knife into his shoulder and forced him back into the doors of her Quarter’s, which were locked.
Blood trickled down from the Officer’s shoulder and her fingers. She looked him into his eye, for he was her trusted First in Command.
“I didn’t think you would do this,” Bowman said.
He took in the pain and breathed in deeply, “I guess I’m not as trusted as you believed.”
“I didn’t think you would do this,” Bowman said.
He took in the pain and breathed in deeply, “I guess I’m not as trusted as you believed.”
The Commander overpowered her other arm and grabbed a hypo-spray from his belt, to which he reached out to Bowman with. But Bowman dodged her arm out of the way in half a spin, that forced her to tear the knife out of his shoulder and slice it across his chin. Blood splattered as he fell to the floor in stinging pain and she adjusted her stance.
Bowman took a moment, looking down at her First in Command. The smoke in the room got to her throat and muscles, causing her to fall to her knees coughing. “Ack! Urk!”
She crawled her way to that device which was emitting it, and picked it up. With a simple combination of tapping, the device sucked all the gas in the room back into it. Exhausted on the floor, she turned to take one more look at her fallen First Officer. She wasn’t happy that he attempted this. In fact, the idea had saddened her for a moment. Normal life had changed drastically.
It wasn’t more than a day ago that they both had shared a joke. But his attack was obviously something he felt he had to do. It was an attack she expected. One that she knew was coming, and soon.
Agent Sandra took a seat in the Mess Hall of the Draconis. She sat with Agent Raines who hadn’t expected any company that day. Sandra was new in Section 31, having joined from an Earth Task Force. The organization had been watching her for a while and were very impressed at what she could do. Though, that wasn’t enough, a test to her wits had proven to Section 31 that she could easily look the other way.
“So an entire Gene Splicing Experiment was destroyed and that’s what got you into Section 31?” Raines hoped to reiterate.
Sandra wasn’t sure how to explain it, because it just seemed impossible to accept,
“Well, in a manner of speaking. The Experiment was a top priority for Section 31; because the Task Force was on the same Station it was being developed,” she looked to the side a bit uneasy, and then back, “When I had helped to control its immanent backfire, I was willing to turn a blind eye in Section 31’s favour. That’s what impressed them.”
“Section 31’s easier to get in to than Rura Penthe,” Raines said.
“I’m just here to do a job,” Sandra added. “Whatever you guys need me to do, I’m all for.” Sandra opened up a package and poured its contents on her food. She began eating.
Raines stood up, having finally had enough. “Well,” she said, “It’s more than just doing your job. You’ll see.” Raines pushed her chair back in, “I have a previous engagement.”
“Of course, ma’am,” Sandra nodded back. Raines left Sandra’s straight-ahead view, in which she saw a group of Agents around another table in the distance. They seemed very tight-nit and used to each other’s company.
I wonder if I’ll ever become that friendly around here.
One of them got up and walked over to Sandra’s table. He outstretched his hand, “Hi, I’m Devin.”
“Sandra,” she outstretched hers and shook it.
“May I have a seat?” He asked.
“So, what’s on the menu today?” He asked.
She smiled, “Tellarite food. Surprisingly tangy in flavour.”
“Interesting. I’ve never really tried it before.”
“Well you know, they don’t have a very big selection of cuisine. I just thought I’d try something different.”
“Speaking of trying something different, I was wondering if you would like to go out tonight?” He furrowed his brow.
Sandra was caught off guard, “--Erm. I don’t think so...”
“Oh come on. I was thinking we could go to the holodeck? Your choice of program.”
“I don’t think your behaving appropriately. I don’t want to go anywhere tonight,” she placed her utensil down and looked him in the eye.
Devin held his hands up, “Whoa, whoa. Let’s not get all defensive here. I was just asking politely.”
“Well, the answer is no. Section 31 isn’t a dating zone.”
Devin sighed, “Well it has to be. Considering we’re not supposed to mix with the ‘Normals’.”
“Very funny,” she squinted one eye and then went back to eating her food. “I’m not even in the mood for... dating.”
Devin glanced over, “Oh come on. Dating is fun!”
Sandra just continued eating. She wanted to drop the subject.
Her silence suddenly scared Devin, as he almost jumped back in shock. "Um, well, I guess I'll be going. Heh... If you change your mind, I’m in the Tech Department.”
He quickly got up and left the Mess Hall. Sandra was left to her meal, confused by that guy. But he reminded her how she hated being forced in to things.
When Section 31 was recruiting her, they gave her a choice and that’s what persuaded her to accept recruitment. This time she thought maybe she needed to stop avoiding things that forced her. She wondered if it was time to face them dead on.
Agent Caceedo Raines entered the Ward Room, where a bunch of her colleagues were lounging about. A few were at a the main table, playing cards.
There was a pause, as she stood there in disbelief of what she was seeing. She shook her head and then went over to the replicator. After tapping at the control panel, a mug of coffee appeared on the grid and she took it. She went over to a side table, where she had a clear view of the game.
After taking a sip, she placed her cup down on the table, “Doesn’t anybody work around here?” She finally asked, breaking the silence.
“We would be down in the Mess Hall,” Eiken started, but trailed away as everyone knew the reason why they weren’t down there.
“But it’s too busy,” Lords said, stating the reason. She glanced over at Tarasov, in acknowledgment of it. It was his reasoning they were all here in the first place.
“I thought Chen would be joining us this week? ” Raines inquired thoughtfully.
“He called in busy, ” Oakes replied. “I think he just likes to rub in his Klingon superiority at us.”
“He certainly is in a high position on the Council, ” Lords said, looking over at Oakes.
“I think he likes it there. ”
“Is he still gone?” Eiken blurted out. “Chen really needs to take a break.”
“Chen's on the Klingon Homeworld,” Raines spoke back, annoyed by Eiken’s light-hearted joke. "You can't just leave on a whim."
“Well he could put the effort in to making this game,” Eiken continued. “He always finds a reason to get back here anyway.”
“Chen’s really committed to that place,” Tarasov said, placing a card down in seriousness.
“You have to be when you’re a Field Agent,” Oakes pointed out. “You have to completely immerse yourself in the environment you’re put in.”
Ekien laughed, “Ha! You don’t have to tell me.”
“Oakes, you were posted on a Federation ship. Immersing yourself was probably the easiest task for you,” Raines broke in again.
Suddenly the doors swooped open and Savage walked in. He stood there silent for a moment as he absorbed the room.
“Sir?” Lords said.
“I’ve just gotten news. It seems our new man on the Merrimack has been killed,” Savage reported. “Before we lost contact with him, we received his report. On it, he mentions that he suspects the Captain of having collected data on Section 31. He said she may have been trying to expose us.”
Everyone remained silent for a moment.
“This kind of thing happens all the time,” Tarasov said. “Who doesn’t try to expose us?”
“Well,” Savage continued, “Pierce goes on to saying that if what he suspected was true, he would go on to assassinating Bowman right away. Section 31 gave him clearance on that before their last contact. We have to assume that his assassination failed.”
Eiken shook his head, “That Captain just keeps trying to cross the line. She’s always been trouble for us.”
Oakes remained silent at this. He’d served with her for the longest time and knew her well. But he never believed she was capable of this.
“She’ll be dealt with soon enough,” Savage added. “In the meantime... what are you all doing here?” He asked, a bit perplexed.
Lords glanced over at Raines and the others, “The messhall was busy.”
Savage crossed his arms and stared at them. Everyone immediately got to their feet, frantically putting their cards away.
“Right, well, I’ve got to get back to my post anyway,” Eiken said.
“Yeah, Engineering actually needs attention at the moment,” Lords put her cards down and left the Ward Room.
Raines and Oakes got up and followed Tarasov as he passed Savage out into the hallway.
The Runabout class, U.S.S. Zidane, sped through space. Inside, a Federation Officer sat back, alone, with his feet up on the control panel. He was relaxed, and also a little bored.
Ryku had been flying for almost three days already. He’d taken a mission on Denobula Triaxa to research some biology being developed there. It was directly in his field of study.
“Lieutenant Commander’s Log, Stardate 57084.7; I’m on route to Denobula Triaxa for Alpha Team’s Bio-Chemical Research. We hope to evoke some interesting theories in these new findings, and peek the Science Academy’s support in it,” he scratched his chin of gruff-hair growth, “Captain Boday is to meet us there for the Seminar, along with Doctor Hanna Bates and Doctor T. Keniclius who are some enthusiastic experts in the field. I remain on course, unaltered.”
He deactivated the Log and sat back, even more bored than before.
“This should be interesting...” He said to himself hopelessly, knowing full well how much more boring this assignment was just about to get. But in all honesty to himself, it was exactly what he wanted to be doing. In his mind, he knew no one ever died doing the boring stuff, and that’s what he preferred.
Flash! Then suddenly he found himself in a mass of chaos, fazed by a film of hazy blue. Flash! He tried to fight it off, only to rush his heart into an adrenaline---
Less than a second later, Ryku realized he was alone on the Runabout. The hum of the Warp Engines continued to fire calmly beneath the floor. It happened so fast that he wasn’t even sure that it happened.
That was odd, he thought.
Never the less, he decided to ignore it. The possibility that it never really happened was more viable. Ryku relaxed again, comforting his back into the soft cushion of his chair.
Flash! Suddenly he found himself in the mass of hazy blue chaos. Flash! It pierced his existence, coming at him at incredible speeds. Flash! People where everywhere, trying to attack-- trying to avoid. Flash! Images of organic structures, bubbling water rushed passed him until it all went away and he was back on the Shuttle.
The hum of the Warp Engines continued to blaze beneath him.
Flash! Suddenly he was caught up in the chaos again. Flash! Screams were heard, the rushing liquids forced past him even more, and the fighting got faster and faster. Flash! It was as if he was reliving past experiences, the kind that were suppressed. Flash! But he was certain there was nothing he was suppressing.
Flash! The beeping console of an incoming transmission broke him out of the trance and back into reality. It was Captain Bowman of the Federation Starship Merrimack. Ryku took a moment to realize this and reached his arm out to the control panel.
He activated the side view-screen, which then clicked on. Bowman appeared on-screen, looking at Ryku.
“Is everything alright, Lieutenant?”
Ryku glanced at her unexpectedly. “Yes,” he replied. “How can I help you, Captain?”
“I just wanted to see how things were going. I haven’t forgotten you, or your brother,” the view-screen explained. “You seem... troubled?”
Ryku tried to shake it off, “No, no. I’m fine, Captain.”
“Very well. I heard you were transferring. I wanted to congratulate you,” she said.
He looked at her, recalling the last few years. Bowman had been talking more and more to him, as if she was his new mother. Bowman’s constant contact annoyed him more than ever.
If only she hadn’t been there during the incident seven years ago; the incident in which his younger brother was taken from him.
“Thank you,” Ryku replied.
“Yes, well-- I’ll speak to you later then? Take care of yourself Lieutenant. Bowman out.” The view-screen clicked off, and she was gone.
Eiken entered the Technology Lab of the Draconis. He could already tell this was going to be an arduous task.
The Tech Room was moderately busy, with people in Section 31 suits all over accessing consoles, or working on half-built unidentifiable devices. There were even two men leaning against the wall, talking out of leisure.
The Andorian walked passed them, annoyed at their lack of professionalism. Lazy Agents... He said in his mind, watching them chat it up. Who’s in charge here? I definitely need to have a talk with them!
But that wasn’t why he came down here. His good old friend was checking things out in the Lab. Well, supposedly. He didn’t appear to be anywhere seen.
Tarasov sat in a smaller bunker-sized room, on a window ledge at the end of it. He was loading and unloading a disrupter rifle. The door opened and in walked Eiken. Eiken looked around curiously. “What the heck is this room for anyway?”
Agent Tarasov continued playing around with his Rifle. “Heh. It used to be a storage facility with a window view. Now it’s nothing.”
“Of course. Because of the window! Who designed this vessel anyway?”
Tarasov stopped with the Rifle, “It doesn’t matter. It’s built; it’s in use. It’s far more advanced than conventional ships.”
Eiken just looked at him. They hadn’t even made eye contact.
“What is that?”
The question caught Tarasov off guard, so he picked it up and re-loaded it. “The new Silencer Rifle. They fire disrupter shots in almost perfect silence. There are only a few of them made so far.”
“Now I know why you’ve been down here.”
“Yeah, it’s creator is also the creator of the TRV Rifle, and there are only two or three of those in stock.”
Eiken took it and looked it over. It wasn’t too heavy. When he was done, he tossed it back to Tarasov.
The two remained quiet for a moment. Their previous conversation wasn’t the reason Eiken came down here. It was all just an icebreaker.
“Savage wants to send in an Assassination Team to take Bowman out,” Eiken said.
“A whole team?” Tarasov questioned.
Eiken nodded, “Section 31 doesn’t want to take any chances.”
“A whole Team is taking a chance.”
“You know how important it is that this person be dealt with,” Eiken added coldly.
Tarasov agreed in his head, “It’s too easy.”
“You can take the mission.”
Eiken widened his eyes in surprise, “You mean you’re not going to get involved with this??”
Tarasov picked his Rifle up and started cleaning it with a cloth, “Just get it over with!”
Eiken shrugged, glancing to the left and then back at Tarasov. “Alright then.”
He turned to leave, thinking to himself. Does he even have the authority to do that?? Oh well. It looks better on me taking this mission. Both men were capable of it, and Savage knew that. Whether who took it, it didn’t matter. As long as it was done.
As the Andorian left and was halfway through the Tech Lab, he stopped in his tracks. “Wait a minute. Does that mean he’s too good for this mission!?” Eiken gritted his teeth in anger and then left the Lab.
A couple Agents had been forced to look over in confusion of his outburst.
Sandra stepped out of the sonic shower in her Quarters. She got semi-dressed and entered her Living Area. There, her Section 31 Uniform was laying on her couch. Looking at it, she began to think about her new life here.
She always expected to see a Federation Uniform on that couch. But there was something better about this one. It was closer to the truth.
Sandra entered the Briefing Room, filled with fifteen Agents including Eiken. He had called a meeting immediately with the agents specializing in stealth operations. If it wasn’t for her experience in the Earth Task Force, Agent Sandra wouldn’t even had made it here.
“Alright,” Eiken said, as he directed everyone standing to look to the flat viewer on the table. The screen lay flat along with the table for holographic projection. But this time it merely listed data. “The Merrimack has 19 Decks, with a length of over 470 meters, and a crew of 523 people. Bowman will be in her Quarters, on Deck 4 when we come in. Now our arrival is the tricky part.”
The others looked at him, hanging off every word.
“One person will be beaming in on a fluxuation to the shield grid that we’ll be causing from space. That man will implement a disruption to the Warp Engines, forcing the Engineering crew to run a Level 7 Diagnostic. With the Diagnostic in circulation, the external sensors won’t be able to pick up our transports.”
Eiken looked around to see if people were still paying attention. His eye caught Sandra’s for a moment, but he went back to his briefing.
“Transport on to the ship will only be possible on the lower decks due to the Plasma-Detection System the Control Tower runs on the upper Saucer Section. It is usually active when the Shuttle Bay’s are active, to detect plasma spills from the Shuttles or any Alien Space Craft that board and leave the Merrimack.”
“Because the upper area is constantly being scanned in that way, a transport would easily show up on its logs, and we would be found out,” Agent Lithane stepped around, taking part in the explanation. Lithane. He was like the perfect Federation Officer in the way he stuck to the rules and regulations. In this instance, Lithane was first in command on this mission, having worked closely with Eiken in the planning stages.
“Correct,” Eiken said, “These Akira ships are highly focused on their Shuttle Bay’s from a technological and security stand-point. Although for this mission I find it quite annoying.”
This time Sandra watched Lithane and Eiken share a moment of agreement. Eiken brought up a holographic-blueprint and then re-addressed the team.
“Once we’re inside, we’ll be playing cat and mouse with the schedule shifts of each department. We know exactly what hallways will be empty, when. You are all to take your positions and direct me a path to Deck 4, Bowman’s Quarters. I can’t be seen at all.”
There was a pause to absorb the information. But Sandra was just shaking her head. There was something so simple about this plan, that all this trouble wasn’t even necessary. Why couldn’t the others even see it? She wondered.
“Sir,” Sandra interrupted. “Couldn’t we just wait until the Detection System is put offline?”
There was a sense of discomfort and apprehension. Eiken was uncomfortable with the question, and displeased.
“This has to be done now. All we care about is Bowman’s death; straight and simple. How it’s done, who it’s done by...? Don’t waste my time, and don’t waste anyone else’s.”
He activated another area of the hologram and left the room. Sandra was completely surprised by Eiken’s outbreak. What’s his problem? She wondered. To her, the whole thing didn’t make any sense. He completely avoided the question!
Sandra shook her head. Fine, whatever, she thought. It’s his mission and he can do whatever he wants!
A few of the other Agents felt the same way. Some, on the other hand, didn’t. Those that did, couldn’t figure out why. The Agents quickly got to work, studying the Merrimack’s details.
A Padd was tapped on quickly, and placed down on a glass table. The table contained technological parts and pieces in a manner a first year Engineering student would only have it; a complete mess. Her Quarters were dark and moody, as Captain Bowman went over to a table across the room and placed a few pieces there.
There was a low-level dampening field in effect. She adjusted it precisely so as to not have internal sensors pick up on what was in her Quarters... and advanced pieces of technology were the least of her secrets.
Captain Bowman went back across the room to the glass table again, to check her results on the padd. Upon the far south end of her Quarters was an open doorway with the only light shining through. She glanced over at that door, which lead to her bathroom, for a moment. Perhaps she should check on the situation?
It might not be a bad idea, she thought.
Bowman began walking towards the lit bathroom. As she stepped across the threshold of one room to the next, she came to see her wearisome patient. He was held up by a wall-corner placed tractor-beam, of low frequency as to not set off any alarms.
Commander Pierce’s arms were held up, as with his back, looking like he was held up by the dungeon chains of the old days. The mini-tractor beam was strong enough to immobilize him; not to mention the injuries inflicted on him added to the difficulty.
Dried blood patched his chin and stained the shoulders of his uniform. Bowman looked at the half-conscious man, who was in desperate need of medical attention. She wasn’t perfectly blood-ridden herself. It would seem Bowman was too preoccupied in her own business to deal with the simple things.
“Traitor,” Bowman muttered. She turned to leave, but was called back.
“You have no idea what... you’re up against,” Pierce said in pain. “Where, where did you get that technology?”
Bowman returned, pleasantly surprised the Section 31 Agent was up for another chat. “I developed it myself,” she looked him over naturally. “A Captain isn’t all just for giving orders.”
Pierce shook his head, “Impossible. You... you couldn’t have invented half those devices.” He took a moment to work through the pains in his body. His muscles seemed to be giving him a considerable amount of tension. “The device in my brain has been deactivated... You also knew that I was coming for you...”
“Oh yes. Your little suicide device,” she shook her head. “It just proves how insane you all are to begin with... As for the pre-knowledge, the answer to that solves both questions; an advanced scanning tri-corder. I was able to detect the inconsistency in your cerebral cortex, compared to everyone else on the crew.”
He opened his eyes halfway, as far as he could, only to find he was merely capable of staring at the floor. “You think you’re so many steps ahead of us... That you’ve got it all figured out. But the truth is you haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.” He tried turning his head to her, but only succeeded in part-way, “Your advantage is only going to last you so long. I’m confident enough to expect our guys to take you out before your next washroom break.” He turned his head back down and let out a difficult chuckle, “I didn’t want to endure that experience with you anyway. No matter how far ahead you think you are, Section 31 is always ten steps ahead of your three steps ahead. It’s the way it’s always been, and it’s the way it will always be.”
Bowman was gritting her teeth in anger at this. She couldn’t think of a come-back that quickly. Who did he think he was to talk to her like that? How could he embellish on an illusion so big that he would insult her so light-heartedly? Section 31 is a fool’s establishment, and Pierce seemed to be the biggest of those fools. The very thought of him angered her.
She reached her left arm up and back-handed Pierce across the face! The wound across his mouth opened up again, splattering blood on the floors and walls.
When his head returned to its droop, Bowman found she was breathing deeply from a rush of adrenaline. Her eyes narrowed from her previous expression of hatred. But looking at the blood on her hand, she stopped to think about what she had become.
Bowman looked to the left and then back down. She had to get out of there.
She left the washroom and grabbed a uniform jacket on her couch. The swoosh sound of the doors indicated to Pierce that the Captain had left her Quarters in a rush. But he just remained in his place, for in his mind he would work on re-healing this facial wound.
Denobula Triaxa was beginning to get busy with space-traffic. Inside a quaint living Quarter’s, based on Federation design, Ryku placed a picture frame of his little brother on a dresser. He had barely unpacked when he arrived at the Federation Compound, procrastinating on the idea.
Lieutenant Commander Ryku looked at the picture for a moment, thinking back to Jaden. He was a smart kid, he thought to himself. But before he could go any further in his thoughts, his doorbell rang in the standard computer-chirping tone.
“Come in,” he slowly turned to face the door. In walked his Commanding Officer, Captain Boday.
“I just came by to see how it was going,” Boday said in a typical Gallamite inflection. “The research team is scheduling its first meeting tomorrow. Not to mention the first part of the Seminar that is tonight.”
Ryku went over and opened a suitcase onto his bed. He just suddenly realized how difficult it was to look at the Captain. “We all just get here, and it’s straight to work already? Typical.”
“Now don’t disposition the mission. I know for a fact you do find a part of it interesting... And God knows how important you are to the team. I would even go as far to say that you’re the most brilliant mind here.”
Ryku glanced up at him for a moment for a standard conversational reaction, but was drawn to Boday’s third eye. The eye itself sat directly between Boday’s other two eyes. He quickly returned to unpacking his suitcase, afraid he might somehow insult the Captain. “-Uhh,” he completely lost track of the subject.
“You’ve made some exceptional breakthroughs in the technological sciences through the years. I would be terribly disappointed to see you begin a downward struggle. --It’s happened to so many geniuses throughout the Centuries. They hit their peek, and only a few years later they begin to lose it. Only a select few ever are able to keep that balance.”
The last word seemed to speak to Ryku more than anything. A ‘balance’ is what he needed. In fact, what Boday just said seemed very right. He hadn’t expected such a cold visit from the Captain to be that helpful. “Thank---” But just as Ryku glanced over at Boday, he became drawn to his transparent head.
This time, Boday caught the awkward pause, and could sense that Ryku was preoccupied with his appearance. “Ryku...” the Captain murmured.
But the Officer just continued staring.
“Ryku!” the Captain bellowed finally. The Lieutenant Commander jumped back, startled. “You know, Lieutenant Commander, with a brilliant mind like yours, it’s refreshing to know that you remain grounded in an everyday manner. Perhaps you do have a balance.”
Ryku was sure the Captain was going to chew him out. But he failed to take into account Boday’s intellectual angles.
“Although I’m still going to have to apply a certain amount of pressure... I know of your brother, but we need you now. Please remain focused on the mission,” the last of Boday’s tones before he left felt strict and commanding. A conversation was never normal with Captain Boday.
After Boday left, Ryku turned back to the picture. In his mind it was time... He had to commit himself to something, and the mission was it. The chains of Bowman’s sympathy still linked him to the past, and no matter how boring he found this mission, and how comforting a sympathy was, the mission was the sign to move on.
In the morning he would attempt to contact the Merrimack and tell Captain Bowman he didn’t want anything to do with her anymore.
A cloaked Section 31 Shuttle sped through space. When it came to approach the Akira Class Starship, Merrimack, it slowed to get in closer.
Agent Eiken was at the Helm, pulling the Shuttle to a stop at an upper extreme angle to the Starship. All fifteen of his Infiltration Team were either behind him watching through the window, or in one of the three other rooms in the back, changing clothes. Everyone was changing into or already wearing a Starfleet Uniform.
But stepping through the others was a single man, Agent Desul. Agile, smart, and quick to react, Desul was one of Section 31's newest in-and-out infiltrators. He held a perfect placing in the organization, and in return equated fun with his line of work.
Sandra sat next to the Helm with Eiken, calculating tactical theories at the Sensors. Her updates were based on immediate scans of the Merrimack.
"I'm ready to go in," Desul remarked with a furrowed brow of intention. He wore the yellow Engineering collar under his gray top-striped black-Uniform. All that was missing was a commbadge.
Eiken reached over to a nearby Agent and grabbed the commbadge off them to hand over, "Here. You'll need this." Desul took it, realizing that he had forgotten all about the communication devices. The commbadges were certainly crude technology, but for some reason remained the official insignia and dependency of the Federation. "Ha! It's your first time infiltrating as a Starfleet Officer," Eiken caught on. "Don't mess this up."
Agent Desul stepped back and took a deep breath for himself. He nodded to Eiken and received the same in return. The hum of the transporter beam encompassed his very being and he was suddenly dematerialized.
Out in space, the cloaked Section 31 Shuttle, Hikoma, fired out a seemingly harmless spacial fluxuation towards the Merrimack's forward shields.
Desul's transporter beam rode the shockwave as both energies hit the shields. The fluxuation weakened the Starship's protective barrier instantaneously as to allow the immediate passage of Desul's particles into the ship.
Agent Desul rematerialized directly in a stand-up crawlspace of the ship's Jeffery's Tube system. He came out a hatch into a Corridor that, according to the Infiltration Team's calculations, would be completely empty.
Lithane had taken a seat next to Eiken and Sandra just in time, on the cloaked Shuttle, Hikoma. He quickly fed the Infiltree signal to his processed Merrimack-schematics to find out Desul's positioning.
"I've just accessed a critical regulation terminal and sent the anonymous disruption program to the Warp Core," Desul said over the comm-channel. "The shields are now out of sync, allowing even this secured communication with you."
"Getting used to the commbadge I see," Eiken replied as he tapped at his console.
In thier minds, they could see Desul smirking in amusement. But over the comm-channel came, "Yes sir. Transport is going to have to occur periodically every three minutes and kept strictly down to two people at a time."
Just as we calculated, Eiken thought. "Perfect."
Eiken and Lithane stood from thier chairs in almost sudden unison. Sandra soon followed, more than prepared to take the mission on.
Desul stepped out into the next Corridor in time to meet Eiken and Lithane as they were beaming in. Eiken held a metallic suitcase which contained safely cushioned TRV Rifle parts.
He nodded to them, as they all knew the 74-percent chance they would run into someone. As they turned around, they found themselves confronted by that statistic; a Starfleet Officer had just happened upon the trio.
"This wasn't part of the calculation," Eiken said to Lithane.
Lithane shook his head, "We knew the risks."
"Hi!" The real Starfleet Officer said, "My name's Alex. I've been authorized to double check all suitcases and bags on this Deck."
"Double-check?" Eiken said in surprise. "Would you like to double-check my regulation boots aswell, man? Who put you up to such a miserable country job? I mean, surely you're not up to this sort of drabble; surely you're capable of so much more?"
"Heh. I was just saying that to my buddy earlier," he shook his head. "You know what, just go. My duties have become just ridiculous this past week."
Eiken, Lithane and Desul then began walking by. But they were called back suddenly.
"Wait, wait," Alex chuckled as he turned around. "If I don't check the suitcase, my Senior Officer is going to have a fit."
Lithane gritted his teeth in impatience and slightly lent for his own boot. He snatched a knife out and flung his arm across Alex's throat. Alex was quickly sliced through, falling to his knees and then falling flat to his face.
Desul widened his eyes in momentary shock, "Was that really necessary, sir?"
"I wanted to get rid of him, but not so messy," Eiken said hopelessly.
Desul gestured at the body, "Now we have to make it look like a plasma injury! Agent Tikeq will have to do a Bio on this guy."
Lithane looked at him, "That's the least of our problems, Agent. You just don't get it, do you?"
"I guess not, sir," Desul replied annoyed.
Eiken walked past them with a focused glare on his mission, "Take care of that. I have to keep moving."
Desul turned his head to watch Eiken disappear down the next Corridor. Killing someone wasn't his problem; it was the needless sloppy fashion it was done in. They even brought aboard undetectable energy weapons for the rare and avoid-at-all-costs possibility they needed to kill someone. In this case it was just off the bat, and they were going to have to blow a nearby plasma conduit. Desul knew he could back that up easily, but the whole issue was unnecessary. Lithane called up Tikeq to get here immediately, and Desul began dragging the body into position.
Bowman was back in her Quarters again. She was sitting at her parts table, having taken out a rebuilt rifle. The Captain followed schematics worked out on a padd, and used her own expertise to construct tech-parts onto it.
As she did this, her thoughts drifted to her crew. If they only knew what was really going on, perhaps they could do something. They were, in fact, the people she should be able to trust the most. Unfortunately, you never knew who was working with Section 31... even a side-man that wouldn’t be in the organization itself. She couldn’t take that risk.
Bowman began placing small yellow tag-like devices along the open shaft of the rifle.
These tags were created for permanent damage, and an electrocuting device. Commander Pierce was inflicted with a temporary condition for now. She would soon fix that. This weapon was what she had been working all this time for. It was her best bet against Section 31.
Section 31. The name felt like giant spikes stabbing for her. This organization was created to assist the Federation with problems that normally the Federation or Starfleet couldn’t fix legally. Its very existence was illegal to her. There was never any information on them in the database. They were neither confirmed, nor denied; and everyone else was too busy to even do anything about them. They were just another unsolved mystery... or rather, the evil part of us all that we intend to ignore because you can’t kill a part of you that has to exist.
She placed her rifle down in anger. Has to exist? She thought. That’s the part I hate the most. Who ever said they had to exist? Who chooses what parts of us live and what parts of us dies? ...Heh. That’s right. We do. We always wanted the Federation to be a utopian existence, but only succeeded in the illusion of that. I choose for that organization to die, so what we believed for so long can finally be true.
Her mind suddenly drifted to her actions against Pierce earlier. She had struck him out of anger, leaving her to ask what had she become? For a moment she stopped what she was doing, in shock. She hesitated, but was interrupted by the lighting up of the rifle. She had finished placing the rest of the tags in it, and it had powered itself.
Bowman stood up, carrying the Tag Rifle with her. She entered her bathroom, to find Pierce still hanging there by a tractor beam that was no power drain to the ship. As he was on his way to looking up at her, she lifted her Rifle and fired it. Pierce was hit in the chest by a yellow tag and electrocuted. “Auuhh!!” His limp body coming alive in pain, and then falling back to what it had been for the past 12 Hours.
He hung, unconscious; and there was a different look in Bowman’s eye. She had no doubts and no hesitations. She had a look of evil that she knew she needed in order to defeat these people. A look in her eye that summed up her anger.
Lieutenant Commander Portman entered Sickbay, to find one of his best men lying on one of the biobeds. The body didn’t move, and the Doctor hadn’t finished some of the examination. As the Doctor was in the other room, preparing a nerve-hypospray, Portman placed his hand on the unmoving Officer.
“Taken out by a plasma conduit,” Portman spoke to himself in disappointment. “What were you even doing near one?”
He was confused, but worried none-the-less. Just then, Captain Bowman entered Sickbay. She walked over to the bed and looked down upon the Officer. So many things were unsaid between her and her crew, and Portman was now the second in command.
Portman had been a loyal and generally good Starfleet Officer from day one. He had maybe two scrapes on his record, but only for situations in which he helped save other people. Portman, a good Officer that was ready to become a better Officer. Unfortunately, he had to deal with his first death under his command before moving on to any more stages of his life.
He shook his head, but knew these things happened. He knew the procedure in order to notify the family. But for now, the Captain was standing across the body, before him. He was unsure at what to say to her...
For the longest time, Bowman had kept her interactions with the crew to a minimum. Ever since Pierce was killed by an alleged energy spike from the nearby rip in space the Merrimack had been examining, she had remained in her Quarters. Many wondered what she was doing in her Quarters. He didn’t know what to start with-- “Th---”
“Lo--” Bowman spoke the same time he did, and they both cancelled each other out. “Pierce is still alive,” she began.
Portman just looked at her in shock.
“He attempted to kill me in my Quarters, so I captured him and retained him.” The glint in her eye altered her perception of keeping the entire crew in the dark. After she had acquired her weapon, she knew she had to take the risk and obtain an ally. Portman was the perfect one. “Pierce was trying to kill me because he is a member of Section 31. I had recently accumulated information on them, so they began to realize how much of a risk I was.”
The Captain had a way of just coming out with it. But Portman heard of this organization before; rumours that were ignored. He couldn’t believe that they existed under the Federation either.
Bowman saw the look in his eyes, and knew what he was thinking. “There has to be a way to stop them...” Portman said in shock. He then looked down to his Security Officer. He didn’t want to think of the possibility that his death was the result of conspiracy.
The Captain continued to stare at Portman, coldly. “We can’t let the crew know about this. I took the risk in talking to you, but it was time for me to expand my fight from just my living Quarters. ...I have a feeling there are possibly one or two more people on the ship that have connections with them.” She looked to the side and the back at Portman. “We can’t very well interview every person on the ship to find out, but I may know someone who can filter these people. I just got in contact with him and I need you let him on the ship.”
“Anything, Captain. But how do you know that I’m not one of these guys?”
“I don’t,” she looked at him.
Portman nodded, finally realizing the risk factor in his Captain, “Right, of course.” Her fight must have been that significant. The Captain handed him a padd and he took it. “I’ll authorize his boarding onto the Merrimack.”
Bowman stared at him one last time, satisfied, and then turned to leave. There was something to be feared of a women with that level of spontaneous behaviour.
Eiken entered a rarely used Storage Room on the Merrimack. There, some of the Team were able to co-ordinate a momentary meet-up before the execution. Eiken had realized the few settings on his TRV Rifle that he had not adjusted.
Sandra, Desul, and Tikeq were busy with thier own calculations but still noticed Eiken crossing the room to a table.
Eiken opened his suitcase to reveal the Rifle parts. He recalled what Tarasov had said earlier, that there were only two or three of these TRV Rifles in stock. This weapon was that important. He accessed a piece from inside and began reprogramming its weight.
"Sir, the patient has been examined by Sickbay and they found no traces of alteration," Tikeq reported.
"Very well," Eiken replied. "Is everyone in place?"
Sandra nodded, "Yes sir."
"I'm going to the Control Tower to perform the assassination from there. When that's done, I want you to begin the second disruption to the Warp Engines. The Merrimack's Level 7 Diagnostic just ended four minutes ago." Eiken finished and closed the suitcase.
He turned to leave, but the other three glanced at each other hesitantly, making obvious they had spoken about certain issues earlier.
"Sir!" Desul interrupted. "...If we only waited a few more hours, even a day would better prepare our security for this. The rate of possible detection is above 47% percent."
"We set up for right now, Agent. I can handle it," Eiken said, turning to him. He then turned back and continued for the doors.
Desul stopped him again, more sincere this time, "Agent Eiken, I just don't understand why we're not putting any effort into covering our tracks?" He shook his head in confusion, "We've never seen you like this before, Eiken. You're acting very uncharacteristically."
Eiken turned to him, the other two in the background, having had enough of this opposition. A good Agent didn't question his Senior Officer's orders. "That's the problem; you don't understand. None of you do! You have to wake up and see there are more important things in Section 31!"
The Andorian turned but this time stopped voluntarily at the doors.
"You can cover my tracks if you want, but I'm going to assassinate Bowman."
He stepped out, leaving the others. At this point, Sandra finally knew what Eiken had been talking about, finding her previous conflict with him irrelevant.
I get it... She thought. It's so simple. Sandra gathered her things and prepared to take her next position.
The calm hum of the ship interlaced in background noise to Lieutenant Vain. He slouched in his chair at the back of the Bridge, looking over data-logs at a Science Station. It was only a day since Commander Peirce’s death.
Vain shook his head in disappointment. He was just drinking with the Commander, only the other day. They had spoken much about genetics and biological theory.
What the Merrimack was doing in this part of space was examining the strange effects of a warp tear in space. Apparently it was over six years old, containing odd bio-matter in its subspace. It was quite possible that an organic entity was killed here.
Captain Bowman claimed she was here when it was formed all those years ago. She had been a part of another ship... the U.S.S. Reliant, was it? Vain wasn’t too sure. But the story went along the lines of her Starship rescuing an adrift Shuttle Pod that contained survivors from the Dominion Wars. It was rumoured they were Starfleet survivors of the Battle at Cardassia.
It was only recently, that a Federation Relay Station had been picking up the traces of bio within the warp tear in this part of space. The theory Starfleet Science had provided was that, it was possible an organic space creature was present during the full stop of the Shuttle over four years ago. The full stop may have occurred directly within this creature’s positioning, killing it.
Vain thought about it.
Two years ago, the U.S.S. Columbia had encountered a subspace organic species that took comfort in resting within areas of space that were worn down by Warp engines. Starfleet must have found the likeness in these Creatures’ to the readings they found here, and come to that conclusion.
Well, Vain thought, It could be considered far-fetched, but then again how many times had something so far-fetched been the cause of alienation to random Starships in space? Strange encounters throughout were something of a normalcy in this Galaxy. There was much of the unknown out there that the Federation of most organizations has been forced to accept them.
But at least this somewhat explained Bowman’s absence from her crew. It was quite obvious she felt responsible for this, deep within her.
It wasn’t her fault though, Vain thought in defense. There was no way she could have really known. The Federation hadn’t encountered the species until nearly two years later.
Lieutenant Vain glanced at the bio-specs for this Unknown Entity Species. The quantum readouts were surprisingly similar to that of a Humanoid.
“Fascinating. I bet Starfleet keeps a close eye on this Species. They’re as rationally close to us as Dolphins had been labeled back in 21st Century.”
Suddenly, a scan to the Station on his left peeked in signal. While Vain was researching, he was also running a Level 14 High Frequency Botany Experiment in Sickbay. The computer terminal was to be fed all the information to him as he found it to be an extremely sensitive project.
The study was done to a species of plant called the Diomedian Scarlet Moss. When he had noticed the spike on its sensors, he had come to realize only a high-frequency energy output could have caused it.
“Son of a bitch!”
He stood up in shock as he read the life-form readings on his experiment. Apparently the high-frequency jolt disturbed the cultivation of the plants, beginning the process of degradation.
“Oh man! I put so much work into that! ...Damn!!”
He kicked his chair in frustration and then decided to get back into it. He sat down, calming his shock. Vain then found himself more astonished than angry. How the hell--???
“Son of a... Augh. Damn!” He cursed again as he relapsed into frustration.
Vain then returned to his astonishment, attempting to calm himself. It’s always the little things that upset you the most.
Something on this ship had caused this spike. If not, it may have also been the same spike that was responsible for the Commander. Either way and he was going to find out what it was. The first thing to do was to report it, and then check in with who ever was actually investigating Pierce's incident.
“For the love of g---- ...Dammit!!”
Eiken took a Turbolift to Deck 2 of the Merrimack. He began passing Starfleet Officer after Starfleet Officer until the rate of encounter wore thin. Few had actually wondered where the Starfleet Andorian came from, but none bothered to stop and introduce themselves.
I wonder if I should feel insulted? Eiken thought. He rolled his eyes, Pink skins...
Returning to his state of determination, he stopped at the end of the Corridor. He was now at the end of the ship, where another Turbolift would take him to the Control Tower. As the doors opened, a female Science Officer stepped out.
“Oh, excuse me,” she said apologetically as she squeezed by Eiken.
Eiken half-smiled and stepped into the vacant Turbolift. The Control Tower was the most powerful weapons module on the Merrimack. It contained seven of the fifteen pulse photon torpedo launchers on the ship, not to mention an extra phaser array. The Merrimack was one of many Federation Starships built for heavy combat, considering all the threats the Federation seemed to get.
...And they say there is no need for Section 31, Eiken thought to himself.
The Turbolift stopped as it made it to the Control Tower. The area he was in was big but surprisingly cramp. There were torpedo casings sitting in arranged units throughout the Tower. One other person was in there, packing up their suitcase. The girl glanced over, noticing Eiken’s entrance. She watched to see if he was lost, or if he would input his entrance code.
Eiken made eye contact with her, and then turned to his own business of inputting the entrance code. As she watched, she wondered what anyone was even doing up here at this time. It was pretty much closing-time for the Control Tower.
“Hey,” the Lieutenant smiled.
For that matter, when did we get an Andorian crew-member on the ship? She wondered as Eiken answered.
“Oh hello. There are a few diagnostics I need to run from here,” Eiken explained.
Ah, he must be from Engineering, the Lieutenant thought. “Well we’re actually closing the place up for the night. Are you sure it couldn’t wait until tomorrow?”
Eiken shook his head, “Unfortunately Chief Korinen is very stingy when it comes to getting these things done as soon as possible.”
She rolled her eyes at this, “Hah, you don’t have to tell me. I’ve worked enough with the guy.” The Lieutenant picked up her suitcase and walked past Eiken to the Turbolift. “Well the Turbolift is about to go on code-activation. The code is Beta-0-4-7.”
“Why thank you,” Eiken replied. “I certainly hope to get this over with as soon as possible.”
“Heh! You know Korinen would understand completely if you only waited until tomorrow. Those diagnostics actually aren’t as important to use the Control Tower after-hours.” She then snapped her fingers, “Oh! I could contact Korinen and let him know the situation. That way you could take it easy tonight.”
She lifted her hand to tap her commbadge.
“Alexia to Chief Korinen,” she called out.
“Korinen here,” came the reply over the comm.
“Wait!” Eiken out-reached his palm. “It’s really something I want to do. A personal desire to get this work done--- I’ve... been waiting all day to run this diagnostic.”
Alexia smiled at his enthusiasm.
“How can I help you Lieutenant Alexia?” Korinen said. “It better not be a favour, because I vowed to stop doing those for you ever since you left my team.” A chuckle could be heard over the comm.
“Cancel that Chief,” Alexia said with a noticeable smile in her voice. “It’s just that I was going to get one of your Officer’s out of duty, but he seems eager enough to complete his work.”
“Ha! Now come on, Alexia, why don’t you mind your own business?” the communications voice said.
“That must be Sterlin, heh. --Sterlin don’t try to get out of it this time!”
“...Heh!” Eiken hesitated in replying a non-descript noise.
“Alright, alright,” Korinen said. “I’ll talk to you two later. Sterlin, I still want those reports we talked about, in by tomorrow. Oh, and remember the reconstruction of the conduit we wanted to begin? Don’t start that until next week. We’ll be running a high-powered defragging program during the next few days, first. Any work you might begin could be dangerous or even fatal.”
“Heh,” Eiken squeezed out another non-descript noise in a nervous hesitation.
Alexia put up her hands, “Okay guys. I’m out of here. If you want to talk, do it when I’m gone.”
“Have a good-night, Alexia,” the communications said. “As for Sterlin, what the heck is ‘heh’?? What do you mean by that?”
Eiken hesitated even more, about to speak, but wanting to drag a mumble as long as he could, “Eerrrrr.....”
Alexia took the Turbolift down, as the Chief lost his patience, “Oh forget it, Sterlin. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Have a goodnight... and don’t come to me tomorrow saying you were ‘burning the midnight oil.’ You know how much I hate that phrase.”
There was a pause as he waited for an answer. But Eiken refused to say anything.
“Sterlin? ...Meh. See you later, Sterlin.”
The comm.-signal cut out leaving Eiken to his work. He moaned unhappily at the fact that took up too much time. He made his way over to a torpedo casing in which he layed his suitcase down. Opening it up, he was still able to see the contents inside, even though the room was dimmed.
But just as he opened the case, a door on the upper-level behind him opened. Out walked another Officer... someone who stayed even later than Alexia. Damn! She must’ve not even known.
“Hey!” the male Ensign made his way down the ladder. “What are you doing here?”
Eiken turned around and smiled. “Just, oh you know... burning the midnight oil. Heh, heh.”
“Oh. Well, my name’s Frank. I don’t recall any new members to the ship lately? Who are you?” When he came close, he managed to peer past Eiken to his open suitcase. Inside he could see tubes and devices, and it took him a moment to piece together what they could be in his mind.
“I’m Desin,” Eiken said. “Ensign Desin from Engineering.”
Frank ignored what he said and began snapping his fingers at the suitcase behind him. “Wait, wait. I recognize those objects... they should be... Oh don’t tell me... --Hey, those are rifle parts?”
Eiken rolled his eyes. How many more interruptions?? I’m running out of time!!
“Yeah, they definitely are,” he reached to tap his commbadge, but Eiken quickly shot out his hand to grab Frank’s wrist. “Huh!?”
“You know, you Starfleet brand are getting on my nerves,” Eiken said with total truth.
Frank tried pulling his wrist back, but struggled with Eiken’s hold. He then launched his free hand into a fist around to the side for Eiken’s head, but Eiken blocked it with his palm and then head-butted Frank in his face.
“Uuhh!” Frank fell back a few steps, grabbing his face in pain.
Eiken’s antenna’s flickered as he searched for his knife. After groping his own suit, he finally pulled out his knife to a recovering Frank.
“Who are you??”
“Just your imagination...”
Eiken flipped the knife around his hand, and flung it directly into Frank’s shoulder. Frank fell another few steps back into a stack of torpedo casings. He focused on the blinding pain coming from his right side, not even anticipating the approach of Eiken and the elbow that next came into his face.
Frank hit the back of his head against the casings from the blow, knocking him unconscious. As Frank fell limp to the floor, dripping blood, Eiken was already walking back towards his Rifle Suitcase.
“Auughhh!!!” Eiken growled in frustration. He was running out of time.
He immediately began assembling the TRV Rifle. The rifle was already set to go, and customized for his use. He attached the end-piece and finally the eyepiece.
“Bowman, this isn’t just for your meddling behaviour, but also for your constantly annoying crew...”
Eiken gritted his teeth in anger, searching for Bowman. As he aimed the TRV Rifle and peered at the wall, he looked into Deck after Deck and room after room; he could see people going about their business. Everything he saw, was in a yellow-haze, due to the eye piece allowing him to see through walls.
Bowman entered her Quarters. It remained dimmed and silent; the only light, yellow and grim, coming from her washroom to the right. She looked to her left, recalling the fact her couch was missing. The only remnant of the set piece was a broken coffee table and a chair-couch.
She walked across her room in full focus of her situation. The downtime didn’t even faze her. Bowman took a seat in the chair-couch with elegant movement, and began to slouch only slightly. Staring straight ahead, she recalled the last time she was in this part of space... back on the U.S.S. Reliant.
It’s nearly impossible that we were responsible for the death of some alien life-form... she began calculating. We’d have detected something just as the Columbia once had. She then put an idea together; it was based on an incident that happened the last time she was here. Unless...
But before she could complete her thought, she noticed the advanced scanning tri-corder on her parts table suddenly light up and begin blinking. The blink pattern alerted her of an unknown-sourced sensor-field.
---Eiken found Bowman and immediately fired the preliminary object.
A square-clamping device was transported on a low enough frequency as to pass through the Plasma-Detection System and right into Bowman’s Quarters. The Captain didn’t even notice its calm re-materialization upon the surface of the nearby wall.
In the next second, the square-clamping device began emitting a high-density energy field. Eiken fired again, and a small metallic projectile, was next to be transported into the room. The tiny spherical projectile beamed in at incredible speeds!! It spun while in the direction of the un-noticing Captain, and began to ignite. The chemicals within it had instantaneously reacted to the high-density energy field... it had transformed from a metallic projectile into a deadly phaser-pulse.
Pfft! In the same second, the pulse shot directly behind Bowman’s head, hitting the side-wall. It was as if Bowman was awakened to the real speed of time. She heard the pulse hit the wall, and turned to see the resulting singe in it. “Damn!!”
In the second after that, Eiken had found some kind of misalignment in his green-hazy eye-piece. The only course of action, next, was to fire again.
The third and most significant second came to pass, as Bowman immediately dove to the ground, rolling, and missing another two or three pulses. Eiken had fired them as the seconds shot by, but only succeeded in hitting the floor. Pfft! Pfft! Pfft!
--Eiken tried to follow her movements, but found his visual was beginning to static. When it cleared, he realigned the cross-hair’s on top of his target.
The Andorian blasted two more times, trying to hit a quickly moving Bowman. But all he accomplished was breaking the table in half and shattering a picture on the wall. Crack! Smash!
His visual had staticked out again.
Bowman scrambled behind the chair to her broken table. There she had her advanced devices all over the floor. They're making thier move. Damn! Someone must be trying to hit me from another part of the ship!
Eiken fired again, irritated at the disruption to his eye-piece. The more its sensors were in contact with the room, the more aggravated it became. Crack! The chair broke in half, and Eiken realized his TRV Projectiles weren’t igniting anymore. He then came to understand what the interference was all about: “This can’t be..."
The truth as it was, had revealed itself to him.
"...She has a dampening field around her Quarters!!!?”
Bowman scrambled to get to her feet, but he missed her again and again!
Eiken gritted his teeth and tried aligning the cross-hairs. Only, they wavered every time his visual distorted.
The Captain climbed to her feet and began running towards the main source of light in the room. Eiken began to fill in the distortion breaks with his imagination. From the clear images he got, he attempted to figure out Bowman’s next position.
The Captain was hit in the waist by a projectile. The speeding momentum turned her for an angle, as she grabbed the wound in pain. Eiken fired again, destroying the vase next to the washroom door. Eiken fired again and hit Bowman in the leg!
Blood splattered out in thick liquid state as the Captain fell to the floor. Thud! - Her impact was more painful than she expected. She began to lose her strength, now trying to crawl her way towards the washroom: her only chance at survival.
Eiken fought his visual, trying to make out what was going on. He thought he could see Bowman in one continuous spot, but wasn’t sure. The Andorian readjusted his aim on his TRV Rifle and fired again.
In a second, just as before, his fired projectile instantaneously beamed out before it hit his wall, and beamed back in, in Bowman’s Quarters at full speed. Splatter!!
The Captain was hit in the exact same leg again, as she had moved up a meter. Though taking the time to think was a bad idea, she realized that could have been her head. As Bowman continued dragging herself towards the washroom, she trailed a streak of blood along her already sin-struck carpet.
“Ugh!” She moaned in fear of her life, and in pain of being shot. The idea of metallic objects lodged in her body made the pain even worse.
She’s moving!! Eiken realized as his image was clear for one second. He fired again and hit her right below her shoulder-blade. In a sweat, Bowman dropped her pulling-attempt at the floor of her washroom, nearly at a complete loss for strength; fear was creeping up into the blood-stricken caves of her emotion. She had just made the threshold... and Eiken’s eye-piece had just staticked out into overtime.
As he struggled to readjust his frequency, Bowman took the time to reaffirm her will. There was no way she was going to let them win. A second later she pulled her upper-body back up and continued inside. She flipped behind the wall, as Eiken completely lost his visual.
He degraded his attempt on to firing more metallic projectiles in the blind state. They hit and trailed along the floor and into the only reachable parts of the washroom. Pfft-pfft-pfft-- Thud! Break! Shatter!
Her mirror was destroyed, but she was finally propped up behind the wall where she couldn’t get hit. She tried getting up but slipped in her own blood.
Pierce summoned enough strength to lift his head at Bowman in the yellow-dimmed washroom. He looked at her state, noticing that she was breathing heavily from being under-attack. Her leg and shoulder bled profusely, agonizing both portions of her body to numbness.
“You look like you need medical attention,” Pierce said in partial amusement.
Bowman ignored him in anger. She noticed a break in the firing and reached under her sink where a med-kit lay. She broke out a stolen laser-scalpel and began cutting into the wound that bore into her leg. With another tool, she extracted the metallic projectiles.
“Auughh!!” Eiken cursed in anger. He couldn’t believe this!
It was as if he’d missed the easiest shot in the book of assassination. His men bypassed Security, they bypassed the Plasma-Detection System, they even bypassed internal sensors... but the scattering-energy around the Captain’s Quarters hadn’t been anticipated. It wasn’t even plausible. The dampening field was ruining everything!
Bowman had extracted most of the projectiles, piling them on the floor next to her. She pulled out her advanced-scanning tricorder and followed the incoming sensor-field to the Control Tower.
Eiken took out an enhancer unit, intended for Rifle transporter, and connected it to his eye-piece. He hoped this would do the trick and intensify his visual:
Suddenly, his eye-piece came back online.
Bowman’s Quarters were clear.
The normal chirp-response chimed in.
--Eiken scrolled his visual forward, and through the wall to her washroom. There he could see Bowman’s shape.
“Raise a Level 12 Force-field around the Control Tower,” the Captain finished.
He aligned the cross-hairs up right on top of her.
The Computer chirped a successful tone, “Force-field in place.”
At that moment, Eiken’s TRV Rifle shot offline. He clicked the trigger multiple times, but it didn’t fire. He was unable to shoot past the energy-barrier.
“Bridge to Captain Bowman,” a communication broke in to her Quarters. “There has been a force-field erected over the Control Tower on your command. Is everything alright?”
Bowman listened to the lack of projectiles being fired in her Quarters. She realized the attack had stopped after a while. Her wounds were more-or-less under control and pieces of her Quarters were now falling apart; but that was all that followed. The Captain lent back in a sigh of relief.
“Yes,” Bowman confirmed in an angered war-torn voice. “Please get me Portman... I have to talk to him immediately.”
Ryku had wrapped a bandage around the palm and back of his right hand. The left had already been done. Standing in front of his punching bag, he nearly had forgotten what it was like to use it.
That hurt, he thought as the punching bag swung back and forth. He then reached out and stopped it.
The last he recalled was the fact he was ready to move on. He last remembered deciding his life finally taking a direction. In fact, his meetings with Alpha Team were some of the most successful and intelligent he’d ever been a part of. The conversations they all had yesterday were truly enlightening, in terms of biological theory.
Ryku stopped for a moment; the quiet hum in the background.
If only it weren’t for those infernal flashbacks. They appeared before and after Boday spoke to me, and they appeared even during the meetings. I had to be asked to leave, he recalled. Not that it was embarrassing, or even wrong; it was that he was still having them. Am I really suppressing something? A deep emotion? He wondered if his loss feelings associated with his late brother had crept up on him psychologically.
Then it hit him.
Yes. It had to have been something in that direction. But it’s a little late to see a Councilor about that now.
Honestly, they were way too preachy a breed. He knew what he was doing now. Ryku looked back up in front of him. He was regressing – Possibly the only way to finally confront his flash-backs.
The Lieutenant Commander turned his head, and looked out his window. The last time he was here was the incident.
Flash! He was suddenly surrounded by chaos.
...And amidst the chaos, in a focused mind: he knew this was to be his last flash-back.
The doors swooshed open, allowing another entrée to the post-mission briefing. Agent Desul stepped into the Locker Room and looked at the other Agents. There was an air of misguided anxiety in the atmosphere... the only person who seemed to be calm was Sandra, but she was a mystery.
“He should be back by now!” Agent Desul said, pacing until he faced in the direction of Agent Lithane and Agent Sandra.
Lithane took the impression without concern. He already knew Eiken should have been back by now, and the checks with the computer constantly reiterated that the Agents’ location was unknown. But he wasn’t going to act as stupid as Desul was.
Agent Tikeq glanced at Desul and then at Lithane, “He’s right. Something’s gone wrong.”
“He should have covered his tracks more,” Desul said with regret. “It was obvious what he was doing.”
Sandra spoke, half in thought, “An assassin’s work should always be evident. The crew was to find a dead body anyway,” she looked halfway down into a nothingness, “You’re wrong, Desul. Eiken was in a perfect state of mind, because he had become a true assassin.”
Lithane was surprised at her words.
“What are you talking about? Any assassin’s work should never be sloppy!” Desul argued.
“Yeah,” Tikeq agreed. “No disrespect to Eiken, but he was more blood-thirsty than professional.”
Lithane stepped up, “Eiken was blood-thirsty. But that’s exactly what an assassin is when he’s professional.”
“Right. I believe he had heart,” Sandra said from Lithane’s side. “He knew the risks and went in the way he did anyway. He was obviously conscious of his efforts. --Efforts overlooked by his team.”
Desul walked around, “Hey, we got him to his place-point with perfect misdirection. Our efforts get just as overlooked.”
“That’s enough now!” Lithane ordered. “We won’t achieve anything if we’re fighting. We’ve got to think of this logically.” He began pacing the room, eyeing each of the Agents. They had rightfully discontinued their banter. His authority was recognized; just as to be expected.
Returning to the issue at hand, he began speaking his thoughts out-loud. The idea of his Commanding Officer out of commission was unsettling, but also relieving. He felt the freedom to act and do as he saw fit. Fortunately, his professionalism remained in tact-- and the wilds of Section 31’s rebel angles didn’t steer him left.
Sandra watched him as he toured the room. She could somehow read him, and exactly everything he was going through. It was predictable.
“The only explanation there is to Eiken’s failed return is the possibility that Bowman has a leg up on us,” Lithane said.
The others glanced at each other in response to this. It was quite possible he was right.
“It’s conceivable,” Desul chimed in. “If she had advanced knowledge on Section 31, then she may have more capability than we expected... I would recommend precaution.”
Lithane stopped and stared away in focus, “We’ve got to contact Section 31.” He then turned to two more Agents part of the mission. They were young and usually unspoken; daring not to cross their Commanding Officer’s with the possible risk of laborious conflict. “I want you to return to the Hikoma and make contact. We have to report the situation immediately.”
The young Agent nodded seriously, showing his undying loyalty and incorporated soul to the Section.
After the Agent had left the room, the last few orders were given out, prompting everyone else to leave. The patterns of exits were inconspicuous enough in spread to be expectedly unnoticed by passer-byers.
Sandra was about to leave into the Corridors as well, but found a tug and grip to her left arm. Agent Lithane had pulled her back into the Locker Room.
“Quite a team you and I make,” he said.
Sandra narrowed her eyes in reaction, “We merely understand the same thing.”
“You know,” Lithane let his focus wander from the wall to wall around her, “Being in an organization like this, doesn’t leave much opportunity for establishing relationships...”
Agent Sandra knew where this was going and didn’t find it appealing, “Don’t go there. I wouldn’t waste my time with you.”
“Heh,” Lithane almost smiled at her quick shut-down, “This isn’t because of the Officer I killed earlier, is it? Did you find it intolerable?”
She refused to talk about that, “It’s your personality.”
“Heh, heh, heh, heh---” Agent Lithane placed his hand on his forehead, in laughter. He found her more amusing than he thought, “Heh, heh-- Hahahahahahaha! ...To think I was almost about to feel embarrassed if you turned me down. Ha-- ha-- hahahaha! Hahaha...” He calmed his laughter finally and looked at her. “You're one of those Agents that reinforce the rules, even at their commanding Officer's when they falter; 'A strong character builds strong respect.' That is what you and every Starfleet Officer believes right? Well, I can't argue with that. Unfortunately our kind lives outside the box. So you're going to have to try something different with me--- and no, the sex idea has long passed. Dismissed.”
The female Agent stared at him in confusion one last time. The tables had turned, and now she found him a mystery; only it was an unpleasant one. Sandra left the Locker Room thinking now, This is 'not good'.
Eiken felt the hangover of a million poker-nights. His body was even more in pain, as it felt like he hadn’t been lying down during his time unconscious. He opened his heavy eye-lids and realized his arms were up over his head.
Starfleet hand-cuffs clamped his wrists together. But something was holding him diagonal, close to a vertical stance... it was a low-level tractor beam being emitted from the wall behind him. It was as if he was held up in the dungeons of the old days.
“You’ll get used to it...” a familiar voice said from next to him. It was Agent Pierce.
The Andorian realized he was in some crummy old washroom. It was Bowman’s!! Looking in the other direction he caught Bowman’s approach.
“Well, look who’s awakened,” She walked over-- the heal of her boots clanking the floor in limping-succession. Eiken glanced up at her, but before he could say anything she opened her palm to slap him. In the millisecond he saw that she palmed a yellow-tag of some sort.
Bowman slammed her hand into Eiken’s shoulder and electrocuted him!
“AAUUUUUURRRRH!!!” The currents rode from her hand, all throughout his body for a good few seconds until she let go. The Andoridan fell limp for a moment, in complete pain. He gritted his teeth as he began to lift his head at her in anger.
He glanced up in time to catch her exiting her washroom. Eiken didn’t even get the chance to say anything--- Looking, over he re-noticed Peirce.
He was alive. All this time Section 31 thought he was dead. The whole mission to get out here and kill this lady, and he was still alive. It didn’t matter. She would have received the death-sentence anyway for doing this. But for the length of time Pierce had been in here was unbelievable. How was he still alive??
“Don’t bother with the suicide device in your brain,” Pierce said in exhaustion. “That tag just rendered it offline permanently.”
Eiken struggled in his tractor-beam in even more anger, “ARGH! That unbridled-female!!! She isn’t worth killing myself over anyway!!”
- “Shut the door.”
Portman stepped into Bowman’s Quarters on her command. The doors shut behind him and he came into the horror drenched Living Area he had passed through just an hour ago.
To his right, the broken table had been the only thing replaced. Bowman needed it to work on the technology she had been toying with lately. Captain Bowman limped over to the table and picked up a scanner on it.
Her leg was wrapped around with a white-cloth, as with her waist, and below her shoulder. They were blood soaked due to something in the metallic-projectiles that had infected her wounds, keeping them open. “--This scanner allows me to pick up Section 31 Agents,” she said. “It detects the devices in their brains; the ones they use to commit suicide.”
Portman stood for a second in shock. The shock of everything still held him back, “Uh-- How... how did you get that technology?”
Bowman limped around to another angle on Portman, “..........It was developed by Ryku.”
He widened his eyes at this.
“When I had first met him, he was working on a Neural Technology to help his dying little brother. It was a dark day when the Reliant had encountered his escaped Runabout.”
In her mind, she recalled an image of the Federation Starship Reliant approaching a Runabout. It was years ago. On board the Runabout stood Ryku and his little brother, Jaden. All around them were quickly patched-technology devices Ryku must’ve spent his time working on while the Runabout had been in escape. But who were they escaping? Bowman recalled asking while on the Bridge of her ship.
The image of the man on-screen spoke in response. Bowman immediately felt the need to help him. It wouldn’t be until a few minutes later that she would order them to be beamed over.
--Her memory lapsed for a moment, and Bowman re-noticed she was in her Quarters with Portman.
“Ryku was trying to save his little brother, Jaden, from a neurological deficiency, and had come across a configuration-type that was compatible with the Human brain; Something theoretically capable of existing on the brain, as with the devices Section 31 uses at this moment.” She stepped over, to another angle on Portman.
In her mind, she recalled images of her and Ryku working together on the Reliant. There, remained secrets being kept with him-- but it was something she could over-look at the moment, considering the circumstances. Before them, on a table was the technology-devices he had brought over from the Runabout. He would try it on himself...
“The configuration and frequency was something we could pick up on the scanner-- on any alien who used neural technology. But at the time, scanning wasn’t what we were trying to accomplish. It was the deficiency. --Years later, after you and I had encountered Section 31 personally, I began accumulating information on them. I learned of their suicide devices and wondered if Ryku’s findings could be applied to them... Unfortunately there was no way to find out. I wasn’t sure if it would work on Section 31 Agents.”
She stepped around again.
“Ryku survived his experimentation, but was forced to unfortunately move on. His brother was gone and he had to go on with his life...” She recalled images of him at a punching-bag on the Reliant. He was taking the heat off his back through jabbing at it. Bowman stood behind him, watching in a non-decisive reaction. She in fact didn’t know how to feel, except that feeling bad was typical. His mind was something she couldn’t process, and something she could easily have feared. Though, the easiest way to deal with it was to be sensible and straight-forward. His physical obsession was obviously a way to deal with death, but there was something about it. ......Something she couldn’t comprehend. Science and technology were fields of expertise, but they were far from Ryku’s expertise. “His speed and focus were unbelievable. I didn’t know if his brother’s death affected him that much, or if he had experience with that punching bag.”
“Either way, it was incredible. Everything Ryku was capable of impressed me the moment I met him on that communication. His mind is beyond anything I've ever seen in my career... Science and technology were fields of expertise, but they were far from Ryku's expertise. I had an advantage by keeping him as an ally.” She then remembered the conversation she had with him earlier over subspace. He seemed indecisive, but strong. It was a pivotal communique'... like the one where they first met.
This time Portman stepped around, attempting to process the story. “What about Ryku’s findings?”
“Those were kept by me. Like I said, I wasn’t sure if the scanner would pick up Section 31 Agents. But now I know that they can.”
Bowman limped her way to her desk again and placed her hand on the Rifle she reconfigured to fire those yellow tags. It was the same one she shot Pierce with earlier, using the same tags she used on Eiken a minute ago.
“...Ryku's help served us more ways than one. When I shot Peirce I realized merely picking them up on scanner was the least of our advantages. Now all there's left to do is weed out these operatives. If my research is inhibited, then all my time and effort would have gone to waste. Not to mention the repercussions of allowing this organization to continue.” She took a breath. “No, they must be stopped. Do you understand, Portman? I'm the only one in the position to stop them. It's time to put an end to Section 31.”
Lieutenant Vain had been using the Tactical Console on the Bridge. The area was quiet and nearly empty as it had been recently since current events, so Vain took it upon himself to use the ship’s main systems to his advantage. Unfortunately, it wasn’t getting him anywhere.
As he peered at the data on-screen, an Ensign Miaca entered the Bridge. She had a fairly attractive presence and a focused will toward her current mission. Miaca walked over to see how Vain was holding up.
“Hey,” she said.
Vain glanced over and smiled slightly, as his scans were turning up with results not matching his theories. “Hey Miaca, how’s it going?”
“I heard you lost your Diomedian Scarlet Moss experiment,” she said. “Though it’s been done before, so there isn’t much to worry about.”
Vain shrugged as he peered at the Bridge’s view-screen, where data was being displayed, “I had been trying a few different variations. If it wasn’t for that unpleasant energy spike, it’d still be in its process.” He panned down a list of numbers and text, “So I’ve been trying to scan that Warp Tear. It was responsible for Commander Peirce’s death, and I have no doubt it was responsible for the experiment’s diminishment.”
“Stepping onto my investigation, Lieutenant?” She half smiled. - Unfortunately, the mention of the Commander abbreviated that gesture. Ensign Miaca had been assigned to the investigation on Commander Pierce’s death. Her career needed it, and her desire for some sort of reparation intended her feelings on the subject.
The Lieutenant glanced at her, “How did an Ensign get to head the investigation anyway?”
“It’s the investigation that’s going to be boosting my rank,” she shrugged. “That’s if I can find anything useful.”
Vain looked at Miaca who was already looking down in disappointment, “What happened?” Vain asked.
She looked up and shook her head in emotion, “It’s impossible to get anywhere with these warp-tear space creatures. You can’t find anything on them. It’s like they don’t even exist!”
“Did you talk to the Columbia?”
Miaca nodded, “They were the first people I spoke to. Unfortunately, they all gave me the same line - ‘The Warp-Tear creatures were a fascinating species, who I would love to see again one day.’ - I received their scans, and compared them to ours on the Merrimack. But there’s barely a correlation.”
“Ah, those. I was looking at them earlier,” Vain said.
Miaca crossed her arms in deep thought and then spoke, “Then I spoke to my contact, my only contact anywhere by the way, in Starfleet Intelligence who said the files on that species may have a possible encoding on them; like it was a cover-up for something.”
Vain shook his head, “Don’t tell me that. The possibility of these space-creatures was everything I was depending on.”
“I’m not saying it’s not true. It’s just a good possibility they don’t exist...” she said before her tone changed into a mock-excitement, “Now to explain the bio-energy-readings!”
Vain out-stretched his palm, “Look Miaca. You’ve had a rough a day. Why don’t you take it easy for a little while? I wouldn’t want to see you turn bitter from all of this.”
“Heh,” Miaca smiled, in appreciation for his caring. “What about you? You haven’t exactly been taking any breaks for the past five to eight hours. I know, because I have my sources on this Bridge,” she said in reference to the few Officer’s who frequently came onto and passed through the Bridge daily.
Lieutenant Vain shook his head in defeat, “I just can’t. We have two unknowns coming from that general area of the Warp Tear. Your bio-readings, and my energy spike from earlier.”
Miaca knew what he was talking about and glanced in the direction of the view-screen in regret of the situation. While looking there, she began to notice some of the numbers. “--Wait a second.” Miaca stepped forward, closer to the console and Vain. “If I’m not mistaken... what you have here are antiproton scans.”
“Yeah, I started throwing everything else we had at that Tear... but with the caution Lieutenant Commander Portman said to take during the hours after the Commander’s death. Anything more intense could have caused another spike.”
Miaca began tapping at the controls quickly, “But these readings aren’t concurrent with normal space. What if there was a cloaked vessel out there?”
“Right next to the Merrimack? But I’m sure the Tear would have rendered any cloaks ineffective.”
Miaca shook her head, “Not if the cloak is advanced enough.”
“What are we theorizing here? That a cloaked ship is the cause of the energy spike that killed my experiment... and... Commander Peirce?”
She shook her head again, “I’m not jumping to conclusions, I’m just saying...”
“You’ve been talking to that contact in Starfleet Intelligence too much,” Vain cracked. “Either way... I’m willing to accept the possibility of two unrelated issues here,” he said in reference to the Tear and this possible cloaked ship. “Let’s hope this helps Captain Bowman.”
Vain moved in, to help Miaca with the scans.
Tarasov snuck his way down some dark and dismal corridors. He held his Silencer Rifle close on this mission, even though his Team was spread throughout the Station. The Agent was ready to fire at anyone to cross his path at any minute, when he entered a Medical Chamber.
There, a single alien man had been waiting. The room was torn and singed from energy-weapon battles - and he was a Brunali Scientist, turned mad.
“Give up the Station,” Tarasov said. “Give us your command codes or I will destroy you!”
The Brunali laughed, “You’re going to destroy me anyway... I had enough of working for you. I had enough of Section 31!”
“You came to us, remember,” Tarasov said, inching closer as he aimed his rifle. “You said you traveled from thousands of Lightyears away to find a civilization worthy of experimenting with. We accepted you into our Labs... allowed you to work with us.”
The Brunali slammed his fist into a console, whilst pipes blew in the background. The Station didn’t look to be in good health, “That was before you refused to let me have my freedom!! I refuse to let my research go!!!”
“Then,” Tarasov raised to a focused target and aimed, “I have nothing more to say.”
He fired his weapon, which made virtually no sound, and impacted on the Brunali’s chest. The man flew over a console behind him and collapsed to the floor.
Just then, the Computer began to alert the occupants of the Station that there was an air-borne virus about to be launched. It was triggered in the event of the Brunali’s death. “Warning, air-borne virus launching in 50 seconds... 49... 48... 47...”
Tarasov packed his weapon to the side and called out on his communicator, “Tarasov to the Team! Return to the Shuttle immediately!”
He put his communications device away and ran for the nearest Transporter.
Out in space, a Runabout craft, Sicili, outfitted with Section 31 advances awaited for its occupants to arrive. When the Team and Tarasov beamed onboard, they found at least one man had not made it in time.
His screams were heard for a second over the comm. before Tarasov cut the communication.
“That was Agent Cevel!” one of the other Agents yelled out.
Tarasov turned to him, “Enough.” He was about to say more when the console near the Helm beeped. There was an incoming secret transmission. Tarasov looked at the others on the small Bridge, who were just looking at him back. “I’ll take it in the other room,” he said as he walked past them and through the doors.
He entered the tabled area in the other room, they used for briefings and eating food. There he activated the view-screen.
“Tarasov,” the screen showed a view of Director Savage. “You take this mission, but you wouldn’t take the Bowman mission?”
Tarasov looked at him, “Heh. Don’t you even want to know if I succeeded?” They just looked at each other, “Well I did... If you must know, I had a personal affair with Cold Station. If you recall, the Gene Splicing Experiment a couple years back.”
Savage remembered, “Of course. It’s always something with that place. Now our Brunali Scientist goes mad.”
“Well, he’s dead now,” Tarasov said.
Savage glanced over at him, “There’s something else. We received word from the Hikoma that there were some problems.”
The Director readjusted his sitting, “They in fact, didn’t succeed. Not yet, at least. --I want you to go over there and ensure the job is done. You aren’t far from that ship.”
“Right now? I’ve just used up half my supplies. My Team is ready to go home,” Tarasov said.
“Just go. That’s an order! After this moment, I don’t want to hear anything more from this Bowman issue, other than the fact that unbridled coarse women has finally been vapourized from existence. Do I make myself clear?”
Tarasov nodded slowly in understanding, as another assassination mission clicked into his head. More proof that that was what he was good at. “Consider her existence a distant fantasy,” Tarasov replied to satisfaction. He deactivated the view-screen and turned to towards the Runabout’s Bridge.
Ensign Marple and Ensign Grant met at a hallway intersection, walking towards the same destination. They were both in the Security Department where their jobs ranged from guarding doors, going on away mission, or operating the Brig. This time, they had been called to an immediate and strict silent meeting-- meaning, in fact, that no one was to know about it.
Although the call was urgent, and non-descript, they had a inkling on what their Commanding Officer needed them for and suspected.
“You get the memo too?” Grant asked.
Marple nodded as they walked in a rush, “I think I know what this is about...”
“Me too. But just to make sure, what do you think it’s about?”
Marple glanced at him, “What do you think it’s about?”
“Well... intruders, possibly,” Grant shrugged.
Ensign Marple turned back to his gaze before them, “That’s what I thought too.”
The two turned a corner and came to the next section, where the door to Weapon’s Locker Room 47 was. Stopping before it, and taking a moment to glance at each other in near hesitation, the two Officer’s went in.
Lieutenant Commander Portman was beginning to speak to the entire Team. The room was small, and threaded with a thin group of Security Staff. The place was crowded with shelves and shelves of phaser rifle’s, weapon parts, and ammunition cells.
“Is everyone here?” Portman asked the group. He watched the eyes of people looking around to see if his question could be answered. To his memory, which was good, it seemed like the right amount of people he selected were at this meeting. But this was more than a meeting...
On the table, lay a large pile of Rifle’s. They were all replicated specifically by the Weapon Replicator usable by only the Chief Security Officer and Commanding Officer’s. Portman aimed his attention at the Rifle’s: they were all Tag Rifles. The same design the Captain had spent her waking hours, working on.
“I’ve given this meeting twice in the past three hours to your team members who have already left. This is a priority One meeting, and there’s a reason I had you all arrive at non-descript times. In fact this is a Mission Briefing,” Portman continued. “You’re all the best of the Security branch on this ship. I even recommended a lot of you here myself, when we first launched: all of you have been here for at least a year and a half. Now we have a big problem on our hands - Intruders on the Merrimack.”
Everyone stood at attention, with a few slightly turning their eyes at each other.
“Section 31,” Portman stated. “They’ve infiltrated the Merrimack. I’m not going to explain to you who these people are, because I’m going to assume many of you have heard rumours of them. I’ll just say, that they’re an undescribed organization with illegal objectives.”
He began picking up Tag Rifle’s and throwing them to Security Officer after Security Officer.
“They stand for everything the Federation is not. --We know they are on board. The Captain and I have modified Tri-Corders, able to pick up temporal-chips placed in their heads. These chip’s show up on our Tri-Corder’s giving us specific locations to their whereabouts on the ship-- not only down to the Deck, but down to the Area. It wasn’t until recently, we used it again and found to be what was a whole Team of Section 31 operatives aboard the Merrimack,” Portman thought back to the attack on Bowman by that Andorian. It was him personally, who had to relocate the man to Bowman’s Quarter’s. Portman didn’t even have the chance to brave the question to her of what she planned for them.
But once that second attack had commenced, they knew there were more on the ship. Why would Section 31 risk this many people?
Possibly to get the job done right this time, Portman thought to himself.
“Sir,” an Officer spoke out.
Portman glanced over at Ensign Grant, “Go ahead.”
“Why... why are they here?”
Portman was now handing out Tri-Corder’s, to every other Security Officer, “Do any of you remember our last encounter? With the Draconis?”
“We were forced to work with them in fighting back that species of parasites who were aiming to destroy the Federation,” Marple spoke out.
The Lieutenant Commander looked at him, “Exactly. Ever since then, the Captain has been working at trying to expose their relentless organization. It appears that she may have gone too far... So far in fact that Section 31 has caught on and is trying to kill her.”
Grant clenched his fist in a nervous sweat of anger, “So it’s war...”
“We can’t let them take the Captain... we can’t let them roam free on the ship,” Marple said.
Portman tossed him a tri-corder, “That’s why it’s our mission to eliminate them. We’re going to take the Operatives out before they take the Captain out.” He moved to a padd on the desk and tapped at it, “According to the readings, they have already started moving throughout the ship. They’ve already begun their attempt on Captain Bowman-- and I fear they will not make any mistakes.” - At least not this time... he added in his mind.
The Officer’s looked at each other and then straight head, clenching the Tag Rifle’s ready.
“You’re order’s,” Portman re-addressed the group, “Are to hit all the Agents with these tags-- The tags will immobilize them. You are to do it discreetly, and when no other Starfleet Officer is in the vicinity.” They looked at him in shock. “Whatever the Bridge knows, Section 31 knows. If anyone comes to knowledge at what we’re doing, our cover to fight their cover will be broken. No one is to know. The battle must be fought in secret for as long as possible.”
Grant nodded in understanding, “So they don’t get rise to the situation.”
“Yes. They could do something drastic. I’ve seen them before and I know how dangerous they can be. Do you all understand?” Portman asked everyone. “There is no option for this mission. It must be done successfully. Dismissed.”
The room began to clear out, as everyone had their Rifles and their positioning-Tri-corders. Not only did each of them know where every Section 31 Operative was on the ship, but they also knew where every Starfleet Officer was. With their radar’s they each had the ability to choose where and when their next hallway-turn should happen. The intricate detail was much to be impressed by.
“So it is a war,” Grant repeated himself from earlier as he was about to leave.
Portman picked up his own Tag Rifle, “...A silent war,” he added.
Grant left the room, leaving Portman to himself and to plan his next move.
Sandra was walking down a corridor when she made eye-contact with Desul. He was walking the same corridor but in her direction. Between them was an intersection that Desul wasted no time in turning left, without any forewarning.
“Now what’s going on?” Sandra said to herself.
She turned right into the intersection, following Desul toward Holodeck 7. He looked left and right, oh so subtly, to make sure no one else was paying him any attention. Desul tapped on the Holodeck panel and opened the doors. With Sandra just happening to be there, he let the curious Agent in with him.
Inside was an Environmental simulation-- a wide green, grassy, field on a beautiful summer’s day. The sky was blue, reached by a few trees in the vicinity. At a table, that looked completely out of place here, stood Agent Lithane. On the table were Silencer Rifles.
Lithane picked one up as the two approached.
“Section 31 has been informed of the situation,” Desul reported, glancing at both of them, but mainly at Lithane.
“Well the situation is about to be changed,” he cocked his Silencer rifle, resetting the charge-pack. It was ready to be fired.
Sandra glanced at Desul and then Lithane, “You’re not going to assassinate Bowman yourself?”
“That’s precisely what I’m going to do,” Lithane replied as he walked past them toward the doors.
Sandra and Desul turned to his direction as he passed, “But-- sir? What about a plan??” Desul asked.
“Don’t you remember what Eiken said earlier? There are more important things in Section 31 than constant planning! Sometimes you just got to get the job done.” As he came to the Arch doors, they opened, “I’ve programmed this Padd to feed me internal sensor-data. I’ll be able to see where any Officer is at any time. Don’t worry, I’ll be practicing caution. But I am going to head for Bowman’s Quarters.”
He twisted his upper body to look in their direction.
“You two are to break into the Merrimack’s computer systems, unnoticed. I want to have control of this ship.”
Desul nodded, slightly due to his shock of the situation and what he was hearing.
“The Silencer Rifle’s have been relocated to three Holodeck locations. I’ve notified the others where to pick them up. When Bowman is dead, we’re going to take this ship and teach this crew a lesson in Section 31 respect...”
When Lithane finished speaking he turned back and left the Holodeck. Sandra remained staring ahead. That can’t be good. But now’s not the time to worry. I knew he was going to do something this drastic-- I saw it coming. He just wants to water his tiny little ego... where it can grow into a healthy superiority complex. She paused. Her instincts told her to forget the thorn in her foot that was her perverted boss; and just focus on the force that was Section 31. The force she learned through Eiken’s speech, that did not follow rules... and when someone had to die-- they just had to die. Lithane could encounter problems. If he goes, and I mean if someone takes him out, then no one would be left to complete the mission.
It was her job, and although she felt nothing but fear, she had to do it. Because, what else was there?
“T... tuh... take over the ship? What would Director Savage say??” Desul went on.
Sandra walked over to the table and picked up her own Silencer Rifle, “They want her dead any means possible. Do you remember reading of a Gene Splicing Experiment that went wrong a few years ago?”
“I think,” Desul replied.
“I was there... I stumbled upon the fact they were experimenting on Humanoids. Then I told Section 31 I’d keep it secret. I did my job. And they did everything possible to stop their escaped subjects. They spared no expense, and the fact the whole Station became alerted of the situation, didn’t faze them. ---A ship take over would fall into that grey area where Lithane could get away with it. I’m sure someone could think of a good backup story. Ours was Ferengi.”
“What are you doing??” Desul asked.
Sandra picked up a padd and began tapping into it. “I’m going to back him up. I knew he was going to go power crazy; but if he fails at getting to her, then there won’t be anyone else to get her. So I’ll go.” Sandra reprogrammed a padd to feed her the same internal sensor feed that Lithane was using. She swallowed almost nervously; I hope I know what I’m doing...
Desul watched as she strapped the Rifle around her and left the Holodeck.
“I suppose it’s about time. That Captain’s been alive for far too long,” he went over to the Arch doors and opened a control panel. There, he began tapping at the buttons. “But to take over the ship? I... I don’t see how that’s going to help anything.” He stopped for a second. “Explaining her death is easy. We’d just use the same cover story she used for Pierce... But the ship? How do you explain that?” Then it hit him...
Desul nodded in confidence, finally.
“When in doubt, blame Parasites.”