Part of Empok Nor: The Grand Experiment

Loose Lips, Conspiracies, and Connections

Trivas System
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Glinn Talmet stared through the force field that separated him from the hulking Nausicaan sitting on the slab that served as a bench and bed in the holding cell just adjacent to the Cardassian’s office. The Security Chief’s staff had been diligent throughout the night, managing to extract a fair amount of information from the low-level thugs that were fortunate enough to have kept their lives during the Federation raid on their hideout. The individual glaring at Talmet currently had been singled out by his peers as the one with the most authority out of the survivors. What that actually meant among a group of raiders and thugs was fairly open to interpretation. The most critical thing it meant for the Cardassian Security Chief was that he had found someone who might just have something worth hearing.

Glinn Talmet had been quietly observing his prisoner for nearly a half hour, saying not a single word nor moving from the spot he’d taken up. The man inside the cell hadn’t really given it any thought at first, since he’d gotten used to being watched on the Federation ship he’d been taken aboard after the rather short and embarrassing showing that he and his compatriots had against the four Starfleet vessels. What he hadn’t been used to, however, was someone standing stock still, just watching his every movement as if he was looking for something. It was a rather unnerving experience judging by how agitated he was getting.

“Are you here to torture me like you did to all the rest of the spineless wretches you’ve caught?” the Nausicaan finally said, his patience having reached a terminus.

“Why would I do that?” Talmet asked, modulating his voice to purposely sound confused over the question.

“Because that’s what you Cardassians do, isn’t it?” the shot back, his glare never slacking.

Talmet shrugged apathetically, “When it serves our purposes, I won’t deny it is a useful tool. It simply isn’t useful in this instance.”

The Nausicaan let out a laugh, “Lost your nerve?”

“Hardly,” Talmet said dryly, “I just understand that pain isn’t what will loosen your tongue. I’m simply waiting for something that will. You see… I’m in no real hurry to ask you anything. I will get what I want sooner or later. Just as all your so-called friends gave you up, so too shall you give up your superiors in due time.”

“Ha!” the Nausicaan remained undaunted, “The only reason you heard about me was because your little guards managed to squeeze the weaklings and pry my name from their lips. And that’s all you’ve managed to get. They know nothing because they are pathetic and their tongues wag too quickly.”

“Your assessment of your peers is rather accurate. They were weak… but they did provide hints as to who is behind your ilk. All I need from you is confirmation of what I already know. And as I said before… I’m patient,” the Cardassian said with a mocking smirk.

“Awfully confident for a spineless worm,” the Nausicaan growled.

Even if the door leading from his office hadn’t opened at that particular moment, Glinn Talmet wouldn’t have bothered to respond to the man. He’d already planted the seeds in his relatively tiny mind and he was ready to move on to the next step. The Cardassian that walked in had a satchel with him, containing the items that would make the Nausicaan talk no matter how much he was against the idea. It was, in this particular instance, far more effective than some measured application of pain since Nausicaans inflicted far worse on themselves for sheer pleasure.

“Do you have everything you need,” The Glinn inquired of the Gil who had walked in.

“I do,” the man nodded in response.

“Very well… let us begin the interrogation,” Talmet said, looking over to the man inside the cell with a neutral expression.

Legate Aren glanced up when the chime to her office door went off, taking in the visage of her Security Chief. The man had a PaDD in his hand, and judging by the time, it seemed likely he’d finally managed to get something out of his prisoners that required a report. Without looking, Aren tapped the command on her desk that would allow him access and waited for him to walk inside and take a seat.

“I assume you have something to report,” the Legate said as she leaned back into her chair.

“I believe so. Most of the prisoners were either newly inducted into the group and knew nothing, but a few of the longer serving ones were able to remember fragments of things that seemed interesting. They also pointed us in the direction of one of their own who had a much greater understanding of how their organization worked and who they were working for… at least on the surface,” Talmet explained.

“So they weren’t just ordinary thugs then?” Aren asked, her curiosity piqued.

“No, Legate, they were not. It took some time, but the Nausicaan gave us a great deal of information regarding the inner workings of their group, as well as some names for mid-level criminals in another group that has been laying low not too far from Raltek Nor, just inside the Badlands,” the man replied.

“Raltek Nor…” Aren repeated the name of the station as she tried to recall why the name sounded familiar. Her eyebrows rose a moment in recognition, then drew down again when she tied that information together with what she’d just heard.

“Are you saying that our own people might be somehow connected with these raiders?” The Legate asked, looking to gauge whether she’d put the pieces together correctly or not.

“In the most broad of terms, yes. Cardassians have been allegedly in contact with this group, however their origins and affiliations are so far unconfirmed given that our informant hasn’t had direct contact with them, he has only laid eyes on them twice,” the Glinn responded to the woman’s suspicions.

“Did your informant tell you whether the Raltek Nor has been aiding his cohorts out there?” Aren asked the obvious follow-up question.

“He claims the opposite, that the station routinely sends out hunting parties, which has driven them to hide in the Badlands. From what he knows of their arrangement with the Cardassians he has seen, they have only tipped them off to lucrative transports in the area and nothing more. Given their pattern of activity, it would seem that information is true. They have run into units aligned with Central Command several times and have either been wiped out or close to it. That would seem to indicate that Central Command simply wanted us to fail in our defense of this area, as their response hasn’t extended into areas that the Council actively controls,” The Glinn reported.

“So it would seem that the True Way has decided to set these pirates about their task, hoping that the tension between the Council and Central Command will only worsen and they can swoop in when we’re both distracted and seize control…” Aren mused.

“It isn’t an unlikely scenario,” the Glinn said with a bit of a shrug.

“For the time being, at least,” the Legate said vaguely as she leaned her elbow against her armrest and rested her jaw against her balled fist, “It could well be even more complicated or convoluted than that. As much as the Legates in Central Command might say to the contrary, they aren’t above using Obsidian Order tricks if it serves their purposes.”

“Do you believe there to be something deeper going on than what has already been uncovered?” Talmet asked, an edge of anticipation in his voice.

“I suspect… just as any good Cardassian should. Were I not to assume that things were never entirely as they seemed, I wouldn’t be where I am now. Being wrong is inconsequential if we are more vigilant and wary of our enemies’ movements. Start sifting through reports of True Way activity in the areas where these criminals were active, see if things line up. If so, then we know our information is solid and we can move accordingly. If not, we can dig elsewhere. Have a report for me within the week,” the Legate said after giving the matter some thought.

“I will work on that,” Talmet said, pushing himself out of his chair.

“Before I forget,” Aren said, stopping the man, “I wanted to reiterate how nice it was to see you getting along so well with our Federation guests. I hope it was an enlightening experience for you.”

Talmet took a moment to consider his reply, “It wasn’t what I expected dealing with them would be like. And at least some of them aren’t completely useless.”

“Then I needn’t remind you that having connections, even within the Federation, is not a wasted effort if they turn out to benefit us,” the Legate said with a knowing smile.

“I will keep it in mind,” Glinn Talmet said before committing to leaving the office once more.