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Part of USS Daradax: Mission 2 – Wings of Salvation (Sundered Wings Fleet Action) and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

SW – Chapter 8: Caught by Surprise

Kunhri III
May 2400
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Kirin found herself looking down the weed-covered road at an abandoned warehouse she was meant to meet the informant.

Since beaming down into a building that looked remarkably similar to the one she now looked at she was taken aback by the level of degradation she saw around here. Most buildings had seen better days and the people, mainly Remans but with a fair number of Romulans she saw were thin and all too often frail; but not all of them.

On several occasions, she had seen clear indications of gang-controlled areas with Remans openly carrying disrupters and actively harassing anyone they didn’t know thankfully within each of these there were clear indications of the syndicate, a small marking on a door here, an innocuous draping of fabric there. She couldn’t help but be amazed and surprised that the system of identification was so similar to Kolar and other worlds she had been on. Twice while she had moved through the streets she had been approached but upon recognizing her as an Orion, and armed, they backed off; falsely assuming as so many people do that all Orions are part of the syndicate and pirates and therefore, not to be crossed. 

Glancing at the small holographic display on her arm she could see she had another 30 minutes until the meeting. She started to slowly make her way towards the building. She had just enough time to sweep around the building and make sure it wasn’t a trap; well somewhat certain it wasn’t an obvious trap.

Finding nothing to indicate a trap or otherwise, she couldn’t help shake the sense that something was off but could not place it. There were Romulans, Remans, a couple of Ferengi, and a smattering of people of other races around going about their business on the street none of which seemed to be eyeing her more than she would expect. Pushing the feeling aside she approached the building and pushed open one of the side doors entering into a large open space littered with rundown equipment and boxes. The swampy nature of the planet had not done this place any favours as weeds and vines seemed to cling to most surfaces and the ground in places was squishy, almost as if the swampland was trying to pull the building down to reclaim it.

Consciously keeping her hands away from her visible weapons she slowly walked into the building. Not seeing anyone she made her way into the shadow of one of the abandoned machines and waited, listening for any sound. After a few moments, she heard a squishing sound as someone made their way into the building without trying to stay on the firming ground before stopping she estimated in the rough centre of the building.

“Heallo?” a quiet voice called out. “An-any Anyone there?”

Peering around the corner she can see an elderly Reman who appeared to be alone. Before stepping out she called over to him, just loud enough, “We are here to serve.” and waited for a response. She could see the man startled at her voice before responding “Serve we must for who else will.”

Hearing the correct response she steps around the machine, greeting the elderly man, “Thank you for meeting me, I am told you have the information we need to know.”

He turns and eyes her while she approaches, “Orion? You are Starfleet not syndicate?” Nodding to this Kirin holds up her combadge, “Starfleet, good.” He gestures Kirin over nervously and pulls out a small datapad. “Must be quick the Syndicate and Romulans are likely around….I worked in the administration office and local Prod was lazy and liked his drink. I accessed their computer system the day before they, um…were removed let’s say.” he says looking around nervously. “Here take it. I must go, been here too long,” he mutters.

Seeing him on edge Kirin scans the warehouse wearily. “What is on this. What is so important that you sig…” she starts to say as a series of disrupter bolts shoot out of the dark taking Reman in the back and splashing into the ground and containers around her. The Reman cries out and falls sending the datapad sliding across the floor. Without thinking, Kirin dives behind a nearby canister and spots the datapad a few feet from her location. ‘Shit shit shit. I knew something wasn’t right!’ she curse at herself. Pulling out her pistol she peers around the edge of the canister seeing nothing again. ‘Where are they? I need to get that datapad…’ as thinks as she sends a few shots off in the direction the blast came from knowing full well that if the assailant was competent they would have moved already.

Diving for the datapad she grabs it and runs to the nearby machine she hid behind earlier. Just as she is about to duck behind it a searing pain erupts on her back by her left shoulder spinning her and knocking her to the ground but the momentum carries her behind the machine making the next shot miss. Putting her back against it Kirin reaches for her combadge activating the emergency transponder and transporter. It beeps indicating the beam-out is not working, “SHIT!”; ‘Hopefully the signal got through and the security team will get here in time at least’ she thinks to herself. 

Hearing footsteps approaching she raises the disrupter pistol pointing out past the machinery she is hiding behind as she tries to focus through the pain; her vision blurry, ‘Damn disrupter wounds’.

“Did you see where the other one went? I think they grabbed the datapad as it isn’t by this ungrateful worm.”

“I saw them over this way. I think it was an Orion female; she was hit though; likely dead already.” responds a second voice to her left

“Damn Syndicate always were they don’t belong, scum.” Responds the first voice.

“Yeah, though Orions have their uses” answers a third voice coming around the other side of the machine.

Slowly the footsteps get closer and Kirin can hear the other pair approaching from the other side of the machine. ‘Come on, where are they’ she thinks as her vision starts to fade just as a Romulan steps around the corner and she pulls the trigger as green flashes fill the air and everything goes dark.

— 

The Starfleet tactical team materialize within two minutes of the signal being received; delayed due to unexpected interference slowing them down.  Appearing in several groups around the warehouse phasers at the ready the team quickly moved into the building sweeping it for enemy combatants and for Lieutenant Kirin Tarken.

A Chief Petty Officer in full tactical gear approaches his CO, “Building is clear, we have two bodies. An elderly Reman, a Romulan in tactical gear and two disintegration burns. Scans indicate Romulan remains sir. The Lieutenant isn’t here and we don’t have her signal anymore.” he says as he pulls us out a burned and melted combadge handing it to her. “There is a faint transporting reading, seems to have been masked. It could have been her. The bodies have only been there for a couple of minutes.”

“Thanks, Chief” turning away from the Chief Petty Officer he hits her combadge. “Tactical team to Temeraire. Area secured, no signs of the Lieutenant. We have the body of an elderly Reman and a Romulan soldier plus two disintegrated Romulans.”

“We have detected a residual transporter signal but it is too weak to track. If she is alive we will do what we can to find her.”

— 

Kirin opened her eyes before quickly closing them as a bright white light glaring down at her. “What happened?” he groans as she slowly sits up realizing two things, first that her shoulder has been bandaged and feels only slightly better than it had any right to; though it still sends sharp stabbing pains throughout her and secondly that she is no longer wearing her top but a medical strap across her chest providing little cover; ‘Someone has some explaining to do!’  Looking around the room she could tell she was in some sort of medical bay but definitely not aboard a Federation vessel.

Sitting up she finds her coat with a large hole in the back of the shoulder on the chair beside the bed just within reach. Mixed feelings crossed her mind. It was a nice coat but it was for work this work…but she couldn’t help think it was a pity, she did like it. Slowly reaching for it she grabs it and pulls it onto her lap. She checked its pocket, they were all empty and her weapons were missing. “Damn damn damn. Where am I?”

As if on queue the door opened and in walked a female Reman and a large Orion. Without pause, the Reman pulls out a scanner and beings to scan her. “Ah, good good. You are looking much better. My name is Zarni.” waving a hand at the Orion, “This here is Halrad-Gar. It is a good thing he and his men saw those Romulans enter the building after you otherwise you would be dead Mistress. I would expect someone with your reputation to know better; especially someone from both Starfleet and Syndicate.”

Slightly taken aback by this Kirin shakes her head causing her hair to rapidly shift from green to red and back, trying to run through plausible scenarios and what she would need to do to overcome these two. “Starfleet, you must be mistaken. I have come from Kolar as…”

“Let me stop you there. We know who you are, both in Starfleet, well that you are Starfleet, and within the syndicate; Mistress of the Midnight Storm. You didn’t really leave a quiet trail behind you after the rogue syndicate faction on Kolar tried to seize power.” Pausing she looks to her colleague shaking her head, “the fools…they got what they deserved; most of their senior leadership arrested or killed; well, killed wasn’t it? Well done.” she says with a grin. “I am curious how you earned that title aren’t you as well Halrad-Gar?” causing him to grunt in agreement.

“Xianek, the Reman you met, worked for us and he jumped the gun in contacting Starfleet. We did not want the connection known and his foolishness led the Romulans agents to get wind of what he was doing. We suspect there are many still planetside and they are causing us trouble. I am sure you understand; this just happens to be one of those times when our interests align to a degree; for now, that is. You want the Data chip and I want your help.”

Kirin’s adrenaline had shot through the roof when the Reman Zarni started to speak; ‘How the hell do they know THAT name, that I am with Starfleet – I knew this was going to go sideways.’ Looking around she tries to look more relaxed than she felt; “You have a shirt I can wear? This isn’t the most practical for most things…Zarni?” Kirin says gesturing to the thin medical strap cover her chest. Without pausing the Reman opens a drawer and pulls out a black vest top “This should fit.” Nodding in appreciation Kirin pulls the top on with an audible groan of discomfort as she lifts her arm over her head.”

“Well, if what you say is true then you have me at a disadvantage Zarni.” Kirin says while trying to push the pain away from her shoulder. “What are your intentions now? If I am who you say, either Starfleet or Syndicate it puts you in a difficult spot. Unless I am mistaken there are three capital ships in orbit and they don’t take well to missing officers. And! If I am syndicate? Then you should be grovelling for one such as myself.”

This causes both Zarni and Halrad-Gar to look nervously at each other and laugh slightly. “Last thing we want is to antagonize Starfleet, after all, we are just as short on food as the rest of the planet. If they cannot get the refineries back up we will have no interest in this planet or system and move on – a wasted investment.” Halrad-Gar says in a deep voice.

“So, you speak?” Kirin says with a bit of an edge,  causing him to cast his eyes down. “Now, if that is so. Then please return my equipment to me.” With a quick glance at Zarni, Halrad-Gar leaves the room. 

With a smirk, Zarni remarks, “It has always amazed me the dichotomy of you Orion women, seen as slaves by some in your own race and objectified by other races at times but at the same time the real power of your race; especially those select few such as yourself…..” This causes Kirin to look at her with a frown “…I should mention that your implant was damaged by the shot and I had to remove it before it pumped your system so full of pheromone dampeners and killed you, but that is beside the point. You are Starfleet and the information on this” she says holding up the small datapad, “is too important to be left alone. You want it, need it really to save lives. But there is a price.”

Kirin feels a shiver run down her spine, ‘Shit, I wonder if the Daradax can replicate a new one…’ she wonders in regards to her implant, concerned about how this will impact those around her before the mission jumps back to mind. “What do you want for it and why would I do it, what information does it hold?”

A wicked grin crosses Zarni’s face “Right to the point, I expected nothing less from you.” She said as she walks around the bed, her hand trailing along it, “The data points to the amount of traffic, military traffic in and around the outer asteroid field as it is, was, more than it should have been. We suspect that the empire is hiding something there. We, well the syndicate, have been trying to find out but what little information we have points to an installation and possible biological or mutagenic wea…” she says before stopping as the door bangs open and Halrad-Gar barges in carrying Kirin’s pistol and blades.

“Mistress, Zarni, Hen’Real has shown up asking for you,” Halrad-Gar says trying to hide his concern.

“Ah, perfect timing. I sent a message to his lieutenant indicating I was here.” Zarni says her voice dripping with malice. Turning to Kirin she smiles, “Well Mistress, looks like the job I need you you to due before you can get this datapad just arrived.” 

“I know time is of the essence for you Starfleet types but I also know that you can play the game very well.” Pulling out a small dagger, one Kirin instantly recognises as her own, Zarni deftly flips it in the air and catches it before handing it to Kirin. “You will clear my path to power and I will give you the data…do it well and I may even have the syndicate help, well not get in the way…don’t or do it poorly and well let’s just say pheromones or not you won’t leave this building ever again and any efforts your precious Federation does to try to help this planet will well take more time and energy with a fair share of accidents will befall the poor naive officers on the ground. The choice is yours.”

 

Comments

  • Uh oh! This post is like quicksand. I was drawn in by the fast pace and the bottom falling out from under Kirin over and over. I did NOT expect the informant to get iced that quickly, nor for the syndicate to identify her as Starfleet AND Syndicate from the jump. And daaaaaaamn, "Mistress of Midnight Storm"? We're going to need some flashbacks to that era, at some point. The destruction of her implant is a really clever escalation; I'm certainly left wondering at what trouble that can cause. Especially because she's being sucked into a caper within a caper! That's one of my favourite genres. Let's get overlapping time clocks of doom, before she can even get back to her original mission. This is some exciting espionage intrigue, right here, and Kirin is proving to be a deeply sympathetic commanding officer.

    June 7, 2022
  • And there it is; the dark side of Kirin that I have been waiting to see. I loved the elder reman who was so nervous that I thought he was going to fly right out of his skin, and the gun battle was perfect, simple, and perfect. Then enter two syndicate members who know who Kirin is, or rather who she used to be. That was priceless and perfect and a surprise that I didn’t see coming. I mean I knew that the syndicate was going to show up but not in that manner. Well done. Ah, the inner workings of the syndicate at its finest. Do this and do it right or die. Yep, that sounds about right. Well done. This story has all of the elements from action to drama and the dark secrets of a lone Orion, Federation Officer put into a dilemma of sorts. As always, keep up the great work, and look forward to the next story.

    June 10, 2022