Tia frowned as she glanced over the crate she was crouched behind to get a better glimpse of this prisoner the Romans claimed had been sent by the Neptune. Tia was still fairly new to the crew, yet she was very good with names and faces and she was certain she had never seen that man aboard the Neptune or at any crew meeting in the past.
“Know him?” she asked Kra’vaak.
Kra’vaak looked closely at the man and shrugged as he shook his head determining he had no idea who the person was, but he had a feeling they were going to cause an issue for the away team. He clenched his fist ready for a fight.
Tia noted the tattered robe of the prisoner, covered in blood and practically ripped to shreds. The man had clearly received a beating, but it was no Starfleet uniform he wore.
“Not to be callous!” she called out to the group of Romans, “But your prisoner’s fate matters little to me! He’s not one of ours!”
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m bluffing!” The Roman leader’s voice rose and the clench of his jaw as he proceeded to pull his blade more tightly into the throat of his captive let Tia know that this unknown hostage would certainly perish if they did not turn themselves over. “Your man here will pay for your refusal to surrender, and he will not die slowly!”
Tia gritted her teeth. She hated to be the cause of a possibly innocent man’s demise, yet she could not forsake the purpose of their mission and surrender two Starfleet officers for the life of one unknown native. She glanced to Kra’vaak to see if he had any opinion on the matter, but just as she was about to ask for the Klingon’s advice, they both heard the crackling of a voice coming over the Romans’ comms.
“Sergeant Cassius, we have taken two others who were attempting to reach the enemy shuttle. Two women. We’re bringing them to you now.”
Tia’s heart sank. They had captured Kennedy and Kula as well. A dark grin crossed the lips of the Sergeant they had called Cassius, and Tia knew he now held the upper hand. “And I suppose those two don’t belong to you either!” The Sergeant challenged her.
Tia’s head fell for her forehead to pound against the wooden crate with a dull thud.
Kra’vaak could see the look on the XO’s face he inched to her and whispered “I think we need to give ourselves up otherwise something bad could happen to Kennedy and Kula. This is not what we wanted, but there isn’t anything we can do to change the present.”
Tia bit her lower lip but nodded in agreement. She couldn’t leave a member of her team behind.
“We’re going to try one thing,” she spoke softly to Kra’vaak. “If you can make it back to the Neptune, let Ryder know what we learned here.” Sliding her phaser back into the holster at her side, Tia held up both hands and stepped out from behind the packing case. “Looks like you got me and both my companions,” she stated smoothly, making her way towards the group of Romans with her hands held high. “What do intend to do with us now?”
The Roman Sergeant’s only response was a look of disdain and a snort. Shoving the hostage he still held by the shirt collar into the arms of a waiting soldier, whirled about without deigning to answer her. “Tie her up and throw her in a cell with the rest of them,” he ordered his men brusquely, striding away from them to make his way from the storeroom.
Tia allowed her weapons to be taken from her and her wrists to be bound behind her back. She only hoped that Kra’vaak would be able to find a way back to the Neptune if she could serve as a distraction for him to make a clean getaway.
“Should we search the area?” Tia heard one of the soldiers behind her mumble this question to a superior officer, and she quickly took action. Losing her act of compliance, she placed a well-aimed kick into the knee of the soldier behind her who had just bound her hands, ripping her wrists from his grasp. Then she smashed her shoulder into the nose of the soldier opposite her and she brought up her knee to catch him in the groin. There was a scuffle as the remaining Romans swarmed her and some heavy blows fell upon the XO before they were able to subdue her. They dragged her from the storeroom, struggling and fighting the entire way, but at least Kra’vaak’s presence had gone unnoticed.
Kra’vaak took the chance to slip away from the warehouse as he climbed out of a window he caught a glimpse of the XO being beaten and he got angry. There was no need for such barbaric treatment and he was going to make sure he got back to the Neptune to report the situation to Michael, who he knew would not be thrilled with the whole state of affairs. He escaped the warehouse easier than expected, but saw a huge increase in guards throughout the town and going into the encampment.
He stopped to observe and saw a huge battalion of soldiers preparing to leave the city. ‘Probably to go do something barbaric.’ he thought to himself. It took a grueling few hours to make it through the encampment. The soldiers were talking about the group of Starfleet officers, which they seemed to think were enemies. Kra’vaak wasn’t sure what was going on, but something was not adding up. He climbed up the hill to see the shuttle swarming with Romans. He was a Klingon not an assassin. They obviously had comms, but he didn’t know how good they were. He got on his tricorder to pinpoint the frequency they were using after a solid twenty minutes of attempts he had narrowed the frequency down. He input the frequency and spoke “We have a possible breach in the southeast all guards in the area report.” As he finished he saw all, but two of the guards leave the shuttle.
He smiled those numbers were way more manageable. He made quick work of the two guards tying them up and hiding them in a nearby storage area. He wasted no time to get back to the Neptune. He arrived and quickly made his way to the bridge. He arrived to see Captain with a look of worry on his face.
Cassius strode into the base of operations to report to Secundus. “We have captured the soldiers they sent down to infiltrate the camp, General.”
Secundus looked up at Cassius and nodded “Good, but I feel like there is something we don’t know here, Cassius.” He looked at his Sergeant with a huge sense of confusion. This whole situation didn’t feel right to him.
“Has the unknown ship tried to talk?”
Secundus shook his head as he looked at the ship on the holotable hoping something would happen that he could justify attacking, but there was nothing. No hint of aggression nothing for Secundus to use as an excuse. Even if the group had tried to infiltrate they had done nothing to attack the Legion. He knew Cassius was probably cruel to the prisoners and he wouldn’t change that. He was mean, but in this case there was so much uncertainty. “There has been no communications…have you learned anything from the intruders?”
Cassius crossed the room to unceremoniously lean against the holotable with his arms crossed. “Well, one of the ones we captured seems to be the leader of the group. A green broad.” The sergeant shook his head with up curled lips. This place would never cease to shock him. “You care to speak with her, or would you prefer I do it?”
Secundus looked at the sergeant and shook his head “Bring her here I will talk to her.”
“Understood,” Cassius grunted in compliance, pushing himself from the table to go retrieve the prisoner.
Tia was roughly deposited into a cell and a guard stationed outside. She took a quick moment to familiarize herself with her surroundings and search for any means of escape, and her first glance fell upon a huddled figure in the corner. She quickly recognized the figure of the hostage who the Roman Sergeant had first produced in an effort to bring about her surrender. Approaching slowly with an outstretched hand as a sign of peace, Tia greeted her fellow prisoner.
“Hello, I’m Commander Savik of Starfleet. Can I ask your name?”
“I was told to- I wouldn’t have- I did only what they said,” the figure mumbled out this jumbled sentence under his breath, refusing to meet Tia’s eyes. “I’m sorry, what’s that?” Tia asked for clarification.
The figure continued to hug his knees close to his chest as he rocked back and forth, then suddenly turned to Tia with crazed eyes and screamed. “I didn’t do it! I swear I’m innocent! They can’t keep here!”
“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Tia attempted to soothe the addled man who was clearly crazed, either from the torture he had received or perhaps he was mad in the head to begin with. “Everything will be okay.” Tia gave him a false promise which seemed to somewhat calm him, and he turned back to his corner and continued to mumble nonsense under his breath.
Tia turned from him to finish her inspection of the cell, while also keeping a close eye on her fellow prisoner who she did not quite trust. The cell was too sturdy for her to see any obvious means of escape, and she was only given a moment to consider her options before the door was opened and Kennedy and Kula joined her.
“Well I can’t say I’m happy to see you both,” Tia greeted them.
“Yea, not happy to see you either,” Kula responded. “We’d hoped you and Kra’vaak made it out.”
“Kra’vaak may still stand a chance,” Tia updated them. “I, however, have had the pleasure of meeting our crazed companion who the Romans seem to think is a friend of ours.”
Jovi’s eyes squinted as she studied the figure in the corner.
“What’s wrong with him?” she asked after observing his behavior.
“No clue,” Tia shook her head. “Was hoping maybe you could give us some insight on that front.”
Jovi’s nose scrunched in distaste but she crouched low to slowly approach the figure.
Tia stepped close to Kennedy as Jovi moved towards their cellmate.
“Think Kra’vaak will make it back ok?” she asked the chief security officer.
Amanda smirked “Well these Romans weren’t super through when they took away my weapons.” She said as she pulled out a small device. “This is a tracker I have on out shuttles with the Captain’s permission. As you can see the shuttle is not in the planets atmosphere.” She said putting the device back in her hidden pocket. “I am sure that the Captain is going to try and get us out of this.” she said reassuringly.
Then Tia’s brow furrowed and they both stood in silence for a moment as they watched Jovi work her magic on the addled prisoner.
“She wants you to listen to me, she has ordered you to do as I say.” Jovi held up a finger in front of the man’s eyes, and she now seemed to hold his attention. “Your eyes should follow my finger, do not take your eyes from them.” With one hand Jovi kept the man’s gaze on her finger and she moved it around, as with her other hand she reached out to run her fingers along his jawline and then down his forearms. “Make a fist for me, it’s what she commands,” the Starfleet doctor instructed and the man obeyed without question.
Tia approached the couple and crouched down to their level. “What’s wrong with him?” She asked the medical professional for an analysis.
“Well it’s a little difficult to say for certain without the proper medical tools, but based on what I’m seeing here, I’d say he’s been hypnotized or something of the sort,” Jovi answered with a shrug.
“Green one.” Tia was pulled away from Kula’s medical analysis by the grating voice of the Roman Sergeant.
“You come with me.” He held up a meaty hand with shackles dangling from an outstretched finger.
Tia was roughly shoved into a large room that had been outfitted with a large holotable and various scanners. It wasn’t like any normal base of operations she had seen before, seemingly fashioned by someone with little knowledge of the advanced machinery they were dealing with, but it certainly served its purpose and opened her eyes to how far these primitive Romans had advanced in their understanding of the modern-day universe.
“This one’s the leader,” Cassius stated as he shoved her forward to present her to Secundus.
Tia found herself standing before a well-built figure of a Roman General. The man looked rather young for his station, but a hardness in his eyes betrayed that he had seen much in the years he had lived.
Secundus stood straight and looked at the prisoner with a pure look of no nonsense “Who are you? Why did you try to infiltrate the camp?”
“My name is Tia Dalia Savik, Commander of Starfleet, and First Officer of the USS Neptune under Captain Michael Ryder.”
“What are you doing here on this planet?”
Tia heard the Sergeant’s question from where he stood behind her. She swallowed hard but refused to turn and kept her steady gaze on the General.
“My name is Tia Dalia Savik, Commander of Starfleet, and First Officer of the USS Neptune under Captain Michael Ryder,” she repeated firmly.
She heard quick footsteps approach her from behind and the impatient voice of the Sergeant rang close to her ear.
“Are you deaf?” Cassius growled. “I asked about your business here on this planet.”
Tia was silent, her gaze firmly locked on the Roman General who stood before her.
Cassius circled to stand next to the general. “How many fighters are in your fleet?” he tried a different question this time, but the strain in his voice was growing and Tia could tell that the Sergeant would not control his rising anger for much longer.
“My name is Tia Dalia Savik, Commander of Starfleet, and First Officer of the USS Neptune under Captain Michael Ryder.”
The Sergeant was seething with rage by this point. A quick step forward and his hand rose to his shoulder. Tia braced herself but the backhand never came.
Secundus rose a hand at the Sergeant “Enough Sergeant! This is not getting us anywhere and she is obviously very loyal to this Captain Ryder.”
Cassius dug his teeth into his lower lip, but he lowered his hand without question. “Then contact her captain,” he ordered brusquely to the soldier standing at the comms desk.
The soldier nodded at the orders of the General and scratched his head trying to remember how to contact the enemy ship. He quickly recovered and opened comms looking back at the General. “Comms open, Sir.”
Secundus nodded “This is General Secundus Aquila of the Augustus Legion. We have your first officer Captain Ryder would you care to explain why you’re here?”
The unexpected voice interrupted the conversation between Ryder and Kra’vaak and made the two turn in unison after hearing the voice and hearing his title. Ryder looked at the crew and back at Kra’vaak before motioning for Tuvok to open comms “Well, first off I would like to see my officer and know that she is ok. That is non negotiable if you come to talk in an amicable way that is the least you can do.” Ryder said in his normal suave and in control tone.
The screen changed from the view of the planet to a view of a man clad in armor standing tall. Ryder overserved he was young, but he obviously was better than Ryder could currently give him credit. Behind him stood Tia who was bloodied and beat up. His fist clenched tight at the sight.
Tia stepped forward to address her CO. “The three of us are good, Captain,” she assured him, careful to state the number so Ryder would be informed that the Romans were not aware of a fourth team member. “Kennedy and Kula are being held elsewhere, but we’re all alive and well.” Tia couldn’t see Kra’vaak on screen and decided to subtly ask about the chief strategic officer, certain that Ryder would have caught the omission of Kra’vaak’s name among her update. “And is everyone good aboard the ship?”
“That’s enough!” Cassius reached out to grip her by the elbow and jerk her back. “No delivering intel through hidden messages,” he hissed in her ear.
Tai grimaced at the rough yank on her arm, but she wisely chose to remain silent. If Kra’vaak had made it through to the Neptune, then Ryder would have all the intel they could provide concerning the situation on the ground.
Michael kept his composure, but these Romans were starting to move to Michael’s bad list. “It would be nice if your man there would loosen up. I am Captain Michael Ryder of the USS Neptune. We are part of the United Federation of Planets and have no part of being an enemy to you General Secundus.” Michael spoke in a professional manner showing his experience.
Secundus was confused he had no idea what was going on, but he knew that something wasn’t right. He looked back at the screen seeing the Captain with no indication of lying in the man Secundus knew something was happening.
“And what of the traitorous actions of one of our own? Are we really supposed to believe you all had nothing to do with that?” Cassius challenged.
“Actually, our medical professional did an analysis of your prisoner.” Tia moved to speak further but instead jerked her head back and snapped her mouth shut as a thick finger was thrust into her face.
“I told you to be silent,” Cassius growled from between tightly clenched teeth.
Secundus flipped around and looked at Cassius indicating it was time for him to fall in line. The Sergeant continued to push Secundus and he was about to learn what happened when he overstepped direct command. “That is enough, Sergeant! You are dismissed until further notice.” He said with an authoritative voice.
Cassius slowly lowered his hand but his lips curled back in a snarl that warned Tia of dire consequences should he sense any underhanded intentions in her words.
“Our doctor said your man looks as though he’s been under the influence of some sort of mind control. She can’t tell much more than that without the aid of advanced medical equipment to perform a proper analysis,” Tia informed the Roman leaders and Ryder, hoping this would provide some useful intel for the captain that Kra’vaak would have been unable to give.
Ryder glanced at Kra’vaak before looking back at the General “I think it’s time we meet General.”
Secundus nodded with one word “Agreed!”