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Part of USS Eagle: Mission 2 – Red Heaven

Danger Under Heaven

USS Eagle
December 2400
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"You wanted to see me, Matt?"  Lori paused in the captain's ready room when she saw another officer she didn't know.  He was in gold, with three pips on his collar, and a PADD was on the desk in front of him.  "Captain.  Commander."

"Have a seat, Doctor," said Kirby.

While Lori sat on the couch, she knew something was up, as Matt wasn't normally so formal when it was just the two of them.

"This is Commander Perry from Starfleet Intelligence," said Kirby.

Lori didn't like the sound of that.

"He has a request."

Matt emphasized that last word, making Lori more uneasy.

Kirby nodded towards the intelligence officer.

"I'll get right to the point, Doctor.  We need you for an important undercover operation."

Lori knew she wasn't going to like this.  Looking at Matt, she couldn't read his expression, something that surprised her.  “I'm listening.”

"Lextis III, one of the colonies in the Velorum Sector, has been infiltrated by a new pirate faction.  There's been smuggling, but the biggest concern is the spread of a new illegal drug.  Its highly addictive and after continued use, often leads to permanent brain damage.  Its street name is red heaven."

Lori's medical knowledge was probably why SFI wanted her, but there was certainly much more to it.

Perry continued.  "We learned the names of the pirates running the operation on Lextis.  A Human man named Dex Watson and a Betazoid woman, Nessa Trennel.  Your assignment is to infiltrate the organization, gain their trust, and track down how the drugs are smuggled in.  If you can learn where they're manufactured, that would be the best result."

Lori stared in disbelief.  Glancing at Matt before replying, she chuckled in derision.  "How am I supposed to do that?"

"We have an SFI operative portraying a corrupt government official that learned about the drug operation.  He's demanding a cut of the profits to provide protection.  You'll be going in as his representative."

"So why do you need me?" said Lori.  "Why don't you send one of your people?"

"We need you because you can't be read by a telepath," said Perry.

Now it made sense.  "You're concerned that Nessa Trennel won't abide by the telepath moral law, so you need someone she can't read."

"Exactly."

"If she tries reading me, how will I explain why she can't?"

"We're going to change your eye color and send you in as a Betazoid," said Perry.  "There's a rare genetic disease that prevents a Betazoid's telepathic talents from developing.  It also renders them unreadable.  If Trennel researches it, she'll see it's a real condition, if she hasn't already heard of it.  We've set up an intricate cover story for you."

Perry got up and offered Lori the PADD.  "There will be a handler you'll interact with and other undercovers watching you.  There are risks, but we wouldn't have come to you if it wasn't so important.  If you accept, you'll get a crash course on everything you need to know."

Lori looked at the data device, up at Perry, then across the room to Matt.  It was important and she understood why they came to her.

"I'll do it."

“Now wait a minute,” said Kirby, concern clearly in his voice and on his face..  “Don't you want time to think about it?  I don't believe you comprehend how dangerous this is.”

“I'm sure I don't, which is why I won't take more time.  If I do, I'll talk myself out of it.”  Lori knew Matt was strongly against this.

“Commander Perry, before I allow my CMO to do this, I insist that one of my other officers go with her.  Commander Allen could do it.”

“Captain, with respect, my people know their jobs,” said Perry.  “Besides, if I allow your XO to go, what happens if Trennel reads him?”

“Hok.” said Lori.

“What?” said Perry.

“Hok could go with me.  Betazoids can't read a Ferengi.  He'd be perfect to be my partner.”

“Commander?” said Kirby.

Perry paused, a thoughtful expression on his face.  “That might work, but I'll need to clear it with my superiors.  In the meantime, Doctor, study the information on that PADD.  Learn it, memorize it, become it.  Everything about your cover story needs to be second nature."

“I understand.”  Lori's stomach felt like she had eaten something tainted.  She hadn't studied or trained yet, but the feeling of the danger she would be facing was now front and center.

“I'll let you know what my boss says about Hok,” said Perry.

'I hope you made the right decision," said Kirby.

“So do I, Matt.  So do I.” 

Comments

  • Dun dun DUUUUUUUN! I love how this scene slowly reveals itself by teasing out the details, with each character holding their cards just out of sight but still pulling us as readers along. There's a challenge ahead, but the CMO seems willing to do what is needed. Interested in seeing what and how (or even if) Hok comes along. Good stuff!

    December 18, 2022