<<OOC: This is setting up for the new crew to have a way of getting to Charon. Part 3 will be out tomorrow, part 2 is set for JL with Chaya which will be sent out when she's back (since its not part of the current plot its not imperative and being sent out after 3 won't impact negatively>>
[Starbase 45 Docking Ring | USS Quantum Fury]
Khiy eyes reflected the pale holographic screen that hovered in front of him as he flicked through the departmental reports listed. Behind him he could hear the turbo lift doors hiss apart and the sound of his ever jovial executive officer greeting the bridge crew as he meandered to sit next to Khiy. Hearing his XO land on the padded cushions of the seat next to him Khiy twisted his gaze away from the reports and scowled at the Cardassian "why do you always wear that aggravating grin Kaen? You remind me of that portrait of Elim Garak I once saw on Cardassia Prime- you may be Starfleet now but it's quite apparently that you inherited your people's smugness."
"Touché Captain- I could get into your genes." The Grin on Onarin's face widened precipitously "but I know how sore of a subject that is for you so I won't touch on it- today." Kaen tapped on his own armrest console and brought up another holographic screen "before I arrived here I met up with Nik Nok in the lounge to give him one of my bottles of Kanar. He told me that the Starbase Security personnel had arrived and rounded up the NeoDyne criminals. Once we resupply we should be able to continue on to Versailles..."
"No." Khiy interrupted Onarin with a heavy whisper "I want you to set a course for Vulcan. There is someone there I need to meet. We can head to Versailles once that matter has been settled but for now keep this information between us."
Kaen's forehead creased slightly. He was suspicious but Khiy dismissed the reaction and leaned back into his seat continuing to go over the reports. The Cardassian nodded once and returned to his own work. Across from them at the operations station T'Ern spoke "Captain, we are receiving a transmission from Starbase security."
Security? Khiy tapped his armrest console causing the holographic viewscreen in front of him to fold and then evaporate. His attention then turned to the main viewscreen "on screen." He ordered and stood up as older Rigellian man appeared.
"Greetings Commander- crew of the Quantum Fury. Sorry for the delay but we had an incident on the station but it's been taken care of. I'm sending a security team to pick up the prisoners now. Just wanted to inform you beforehand so you can make arrangements."
In the periphery of his vision Khiy could see Onarin standing up through his holographic screen. A wave of panic crept into Khiy but he remained composed and ridged as he replied "then there seems to be a issue Commander since personnel from your station have already come to retrieve the prisoners...they are no longer in our custody."
"No, that's just not possible. We had all of our available personnel handling a large riot. No- no one from 45 should have paid you a visit."
"Then we have problem." Khiy said. He turned and looked at Kaen "go get Nik Nok before he can open that bottle of Kanar and find out where the prisoners went." He looked back at the view screen "I suggest you make all available security personnel on the Starbase for this manhunt. These are no ordinary criminals- they are war criminals and cannot be allowed to escape."
"Understood Commander. I will alert my entire staff. I assure you we will find them." The Rigellian was immediately replaced by the Starfleet delta. Khiy grimaced and fell back into his seat feeling a cold chill crawl through his skin. What a disaster this was!
"Captain. I believe I have discovered the whereabouts of our criminals." T'Ern's stoic expression twisted around to look at Khiy. Onarin, who had just reached the turbo lift doors stopped and turn to see what the Vulcan woman had to say. Khiy nodded at her and T'Ern twisted back typing on her console "sensors just detected several bio-signatures in grid 47." The view screen image changed to the interior view of the starbase's docking ring and it immediately magnified on several floating object. Khiy had to squint but it didn't take him long to realize what they were...bodies! "Unfortunately Captain, they appear to have succumbed to the effects of a vacuum."
Khiy mouthed the word 'No' and stood up feeling numb. He swallowed and looked at Onarin "find out what happened. Who we released them to and how they were able to fool Nik Nok. If the Lieutenant made any mistakes relieve him of duty and put him under house arrest until I review the facts. This is a disaster. T'Ern beam those bodies to cargo bay two and have doctor McCoy conduct an necropsy on all of them."
"Captain if I may interject. Under Starfleet regulations those bodies fall under jurisdiction of Starbase..."
"No- you may not. Beam them to the cargo bay. Kaen- find a way to coordinate the investigation with Starbase personnel but be cautious. I don't trust them at the moment. I will be in my quarters. Inform me when you have finished."
[Captain's Quarters - 8 Hours Later]
Onarin rang the chime to Khiy's quarters and entered when beckoned. He stopped about halfway in and studied the rather Spartan accommodations. Other than a few paintings and family portrait of the Captain with his adoptive mother, Admiral Morgana Kanryth, and his adoptive sister, there really wasn't much beyond the standard furnishings except one interesting item. Kaen had always found it curious for someone who purportedly loathed his heritage to have a shrine dedicated to the primary religion of his people. The Cardassian smiled- quite smugly finding his Captain seating in front of that very shrine whispering some sort of prayer in an alien language- likely Rihannsu. Though Kaen was surprised to see him out of uniform- the normally suited Romulan was instead shirtless and wearing loose exercise pants. In the dimness of the quarter's light Kaen could make over several striations crisscrossing the Romulan's back. He made a mental note to ask about those later but decide now was not the best time and waited patiently. Finally the Captain finished and stood up turning around to face Kaen who spoke immediately "we have finished the preliminary investigation. Did you review our findings?"
"Yes, unfortunately." Khiy made his way across the room and sat down on his couch. He noticeably winced and began massaging his temples as Onarin made his way around the coffee table sitting down across from him. Khiy looked up "computer display holographic diagram." Above the table a holographic diagram of the primary suspect appeared. "You have identified him?"
"Yes- unfortunately we don't think this is actually him. This guy is a professional. The person we identified was Lieutenant Eric Tarsus. Starbase Security found his body stuffed into several cubbies in one of their auxiliary science labs. Unfortunately it appears this guy- whoever he is, stole the Lieutenant's identity. We haven't found any evidence that might identify him. We've gone over everything. He was good- very good. Scary guy if you ask me."
Khiy frowned "what about the airlock mechanism? How did he trigger that? Also what about those security personnel that accompanied him? Who were they?"
"The airlock was triggered remotely- unfortunately we haven't found the remote." Onarin grinned but Khiy didn't find his joke funny and after a moment of tense silence he quickly continued "and those personnel with him were actually holograms- we believe they were erased since we haven't found any trace of them in the Starbase or our own Computer's. But that's not the only thing sir. I haven't told you this- well I haven't mentioned this to anyone actually. T'Ern and Vekelse discovered that all of our interrogation evidence has been erased."
"What?!" Khiy's eyes widened as he stood up slamming his fist into the table "can they retrieve it?" But the look on Kaen's face told Khiy the answer. He gritted his teeth and slid his fingers across his scalp grabbing a fistful of his hair and pulled "I can't believe this. We have a traitor on board then? I doubt he could have accomplished this feat without any assistance from someone aboard the 'Fury."
"No doubt." Kaen's smile appeared bitter "should we begin vetting the crew? Also where to do you want to go from here?"
"There is no point in vetting the crew. These people are quite clever, do you think simply vetting the crew will allow us to discover the culprit? No, we will keep this close to us. Inform T'Ern and Vekelse not to speak of this matter to anyone and to monitor all communications closely. In the meantime there is nothing more we can accomplish here" Khiy said "set course for Vulcan. There is a matter I wish to look into regarding the Charon."
"Understood- one more thing sir. Not all the evidence has been erased. While we have lost ours- the Charon still has copies. Which means that they are likely..."
"In danger." Khiy finished. This universe was indeed a perilous place.
[To be continued...]