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Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 12: Measure by Measure

MBM 009 – The Burn Notice

Rasputin Colony
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“I got a bad feeling about this.”  Commander Charlie Hargraves walked behind Henry Wyatt as they shifted closer to the agreed-upon rendezvous point.  He was thankful to be second to Wyatt on this harebrained scheme to negotiate the return of their colleague by giving the sector’s resident madwoman the reality of her imagined fantasy.

Wyatt kept walking, “As I said back on Mackenzie, you have a better idea; I’m ready and willing to listen.”  He knew didn’t have another plan to propose – nobody did.  They were dealing with someone who played so far outside any expected rules you couldn’t begin to plan how to second-guess her.  You could only try and fight her with whatever you had in your arsenal.

As they walked into the clearing, Henry stopped.  In the middle of the field stood Sadie Fowler of the Daedalus, her hands bound behind her back.  Her face was a smattering of deep bruises and dried blood.  He stepped forward until she said, “That’s far enough.”  Her eyes were panicked, and Wyatt could see tears at the edges of her eyes.

“What…Sadie…are you ok?”  Hargraves soon stood by him, his medical tricorder scanning from a distance.

“No.  She’s got a collar under the uniform.  If she doesn’t get what she wants or you piss her off…she wants you to know she’ll blow my head off.”  She sniffled and worked to control her spiraling fear, “You know she will.  She’s listening in to a mic here on my arm.  She’s in my ear, telling me what to do.”  her eyes were pleading, hoping for a safe way out of this situation.  Fowler listened to the angry voice in her ear, “She wants to know what you know.”

Wyatt glanced at Hargraves’s screen.  She was pretty beat up.  The injuries would need tending.  He decided the truth was the best avenue.  He told the story of the first person Patra had sent in his place to Walton on the starbase.  He then related the events involving Paglia and the attempted scheme to kidnap one of them that had unraveled quickly.  “We’re pretty sure Patra’s using you all as pieces on the chessboard while he sits in the back, seeing what we will do.  He’s testing our defenses…with you.”

Fowler grimaced in pain as the repeated shock of her injuries faded.  Crawford remained silent.  Sadie wasn’t sure where her captor had hidden herself or if she was even on the planet anymore.  She felt no compassion for the woman and had found her rage building each time she’d been beaten.  It felt out of place in her heart, as if it wasn’t used to filling up with red-hot emotion.  Crawford’s voice was back, and she repeated, “Show me Paglia.  I want to talk to him.”

Henry had thought it was entirely possible.  He tapped his badge, and a few minutes later, the rugged Romulan Syndicate captain came shuffling out into the open.  He looked at Fowler, “Hello, Crawford.”

“Rigilia.”  It was Fowler’s voice, just one of the many incongruities in this situation.  “What do you know about all this?  They’ve told you”?”

He shrugged, his hands behind his back.  “I know my plan did not go according to plan in spectacular fashion.  I know he hasn’t tried to rescue me, find me…or even communicate with me.  I haven’t heard from him since I pulled my act with the station administrator.”  He looked at Fowler, speaking to Crawford, “You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t interested in hearing what they said.  And she wouldn’t be alive if you didn’t believe that there’s something to this story.”  He kicked at the dirt, “I’m a Syndicate, through and through.  Patra’s taken us off the course of success.”

Fowler flinched at the words that were coming fast and furious now.  “I don’t trust these Starfleet idiots.  I also haven’t had a lot of reasons to trust Patra.  I’ve sent him a dozen messages…all ignored.”  Fowler heard no more and looked from Romulan to Federation and back again, wondering what happened next.  She closed her eyes as the minutes ticked past until there was the sound of boots on the ground coming towards her.  Her eyes flew open, and Alt Carolyn Crawford stood inches behind her.

Crawford spoke now, “Fowler for Rigilia.  I’ll take what you’ve told me…and do what I please.”

Wyatt turned away and spoke quietly to Charlie, “I promise you we shoot her; Fowler dies.  She’s not a fool and not standing here without layers of protection.”

His partner agreed, “Let me talk to the captain.”  He stepped further away and opened a channel.

Henry turned to Crawford, waiting for the answer from Hargraves.  She spoke up, “You’re the El-Aurian.”  He nodded.  “You’ve probably seen some shit.  Probably why you’re here facing me.”  Her look was one of amusement.

He stared at her, his eyes telling as much of the story as they could, “I’ve seen and lived through things that might even give you pause.  I’d never wish it upon my worst enemy.”

She picked up on it, “Am I the worst?”  Her smile walked the line of arrogance and hubris as she seemed to want to get a response from him.

Wyatt’s face remained placid as he replied, “No.”  She moved to ask a question, but Hargraves returned.

“Captain’s accepted the request.”  He shifted behind the Romulan, “They’ll meet in the middle and come to each of us.  Take her neck device off.”

Carolyn’s smile had faded in her discussion with Wyatt, and it did not return as she worked roughly on Fowler’s neck, tossing the deactivated unit to the ground,  She shoved the Daedalus science chief forward and motioned to her new partner to move forward.  Both walked hesitantly to the middle, where they met each other’s eyes for half a second before taking off running to their team.  Fowler jumped into Wyatt’s arms in tears while Rigilia shook Crawford’s hand.  She tapped at her arm, and they both vanished in red transporter beams.

Wyatt held Fowler as she thanked him through tears and sobs.  Hargraves tapped his badge for transport.