Hale walked onto the bridge, feeling the tension as every officer present worked to get the ship back up and running after their little deception for the Devore. He had to admit, it wasn’t what he’d expected. Starfleet had rules and regulations for good reason.
He’d learned that as a rebellious teen rapidly heading down the wrong side of the tracks, falling in with some very nasty people. His cousin had tracked him down, hauled him the hell out of there and set him on the straight and narrow. It had been tough love, and he’d had bruises for weeks after. Shortly after that he’d joined Starfleet just like Titch and put the skills he’d gained on the wrong side of the law to better use. Obeying the rules and regulations this time.
And those rules and regulations kept the fleet, kept the ship, kept him on track. Controlled. In balance.
Raan Mason strode over those rules and regulations, and it should have gone to hell in a handbasket. Blowing up parts of their own ship, armed department heads crawling around the ship… it was ludicrous. Absurd. It should have gone wrong. The Devore should have realised what they were doing and hauled Micheals and Bennett out of the jeffery’s tubes, and they should all be on their way to an Imperium Detention facility.
But they weren’t. They were free, and rapidly putting the ship back together as they hurtled through space following the detention transport that had taken their people.
Hale sat down next to Mason. “Are you sure we’ll be able to pick Harrow up?”
Of all of the plan, that was the part he thought the weakest. At least, it had been the original second weakest part, but to be fair, he hadn’t realised that Bennett could blow things up with such a degree of accuracy.
Mason lifted a huge shoulder. “If we can get close enough, yes. And with the intelligence you’ve managed to cull from local sources we have a one in three chance at hitting up the right place first time.”
Hale grunted, leaning back in his chair. The ends justifies the means. The old saying came back to him, as his fingers moved quickly over the console embedded in the arm-rest of the XO’s chair. He glanced over the information he’d been able to gather with an experienced eye.
“Of the three locations,” he said, sending the information to Mason’s display. “This would be my guess. It’s smaller, more contained and away from major traffic routes. Given the furore that the Devore like to whip up about telepaths, building them up into monsters and justifying their treatment then they’re going to want to keep them out of the public eye. Keep the mystique and they can control the narrative.”
Mason nodded, pale eyes narrowing as he studied the intelligence Hale had been able to gather about the location. “Uninhabited planet. This looks like some kind of abandoned facility. Do we know what happened to the original inhabitants of the planet?”
Hale shook his head. “I can’t dig anything up. Either they decided to get the hell out of Dodge when the Devore showed up, or they’re still there in shallow graves. There’s nothing I can find from local sources to say what happened to them, which tells me the Devore wiped them from the records as well. We could see if there’s a black market trade outpost nearby… I might be able to dig up more. The truth often hides in bar tales and gossip when it isn’t in official documents.”
Mason shook his head. “We have the element of surprise. I don’t want to tip the Devore off that the Resolute isn’t a scattered debris field as they think she is. No, we’ll go with your gut instinct and hit this one first. Besides, if we have the right place, we’ll know. Harrow will already have gone to work and if that fails, we’ll be able to pick up the kenterium-17 deposits in his bone marrow. It’s unique to the planetary system he hails from.”
“Harrow? What’s that guy’s deal?” Hale leaned in to murmur. “I checked his service record and he doesn’t have any combat experience. Why’d you send him in with the telepaths? I’d have thought you’d send Bennett in to kick doors down and blow stuff up.”
“I don’t think even I could pretend Bennett is a telepath,” Mason chuckled and leaned back, amusement in his enigmatic gaze. For a moment Hale saw him as a spider sat in the middle of his web, pulling all the strings. A very large spider.
“Harrow has no combat experience that shows on his record,” the captain pointed out. “But Linis is talented when it comes to making people do what he wants, shall we say?”
Hale blinked, thinking back to the poker nights and the easy way Harrow dealt with those around him. Persuasive almost, able to read others and use that to—
“He’s a con-man?”
Mason inclined his head. “Actually, from what I understand, his father was the grifter. A really successful one. Harrow chose the straight and narrow, but he’s not adverse to using that skillset for good reasons. I anticipate that right now, he’s figuring out how to get out of where-ever they’re keeping him to cause chaos and havoc so we’re dropping into a soft target when we get there.”
Hale blinked again. The captain was crazy, utterly crazy. There was no other explanation for it.