== Personal Quarters ==
Ian Lamont stood at the windows in his quarters his gaze fixed upon the billions of stars each shimmering like diamonds in an endless sea of obsidian darkness. In his hand was a fine port wine as Caprice No. 24 in A minor by Niccolo Paganini resounded throughout his quarters. Sipping his wine he listened to the classical piece partially absorbed by its majesty while a tiny part of his consciousness contemplated why the Charon’s designers had not put more thought into acoustics, at least for the senior staff. A pity.
The piece came to an end as did Lamont’s glass of wine. Also a pity.
He turned from the splendor of his window setting down his glass and ending the next piece of music which gently wafted from concealed speakers. Lamont ran a hand through his long sandy hair before grabbing his uniform jacket which rested on the back of a chair. The hour was late and he had yet to eat. He glanced at the replicator and the empty table nearby. He was tired of dining alone. Not even Paganini could entertain him tonight.
Grabbing his uniform jacket he decided to investigate what the ship’s chef, if one could call her that, had on the menu to tantalize those aboard who lacked any true sense of taste. His desire for some form of social engagement was strong enough that he was willing to brave the culinary train wreck that likely awaited. Sloppy Joes? Hot dogs? Macaroni and cheese? He shuddered. He longed for once to see a perfectly seared filet mignon or be served the delicate texture of salmon lightly grilled possibly with a dusting of herbs and spices. Caviar he could do without, but it would be a nice touch on occasion. This ship had no hunger for the gourmet, the exotic, for perfection! Perhaps he should bring the issue up at the next staff meeting. It might actually help boost morale, certainly his, to have a few days of gourmet food on the menu. It would certainly give the ship’s culinary staff a run for their money. He wondered with a tiny grin if they were up to the challenge.
Pushing an arm through his jacket he left his quarters for the mess hall and made his way only partially down the hall when someone let loose scream akin to the roar of a dozen banshees from the depths of hell. The deafening sound sent a primal surge of adrenaline through the ambassador who quickened his pace as he headed for a turbolift and the direction of the terrifying cry.
Rounding the corner Lamont stopped dead as his eyes locked upon the both the source of the scream and its cause. Romulans! More specifically Gai’Shian. If they were here it could only mean one thing. The Charon was being forcefully boarded.
No security alerts? No call to general quarters? No shields? What the hell was happening on the bridge? Who was in command? A dozen possibilities ran through his mind in an instant with one terrifying possibility sticking like a warm tongue to a frozen metal pole. Had Shiarrael t`Rehu sold the ship out to her fellow Romulans? The thought both angered and sickened the ambassador. If she had turned traitor it would explain why there were no alarms, no warnings, and no instructions. The idea was plausible, but even if a part of him wanted to believe such a thing was possible…he knew the captain. She was a cold, calculating, and arrogant woman, but a traitor to her crew and to those with whom she served? He couldn’t believe it. He refused to believe it. There had to be another explanation.
Back peddling, Lamont reversed direction having only briefly appeared around the corner. In a dead run the ambassador returned to his quarters sealing the door behind him.
“Computer, lock and seal the door. Prevent all access!”
His heart was pounding and his stomach was in his throat. Then he suddenly realized he had to escape the deck. As a diplomat he would be a high value human commodity if the Romulans were taking hostages which from his encounter seemed to be their aim. They could use him as bargaining chip to sue for Federation concessions or worse force him to negotiate his own release and the release of the crew on their terms with the Federation. He wouldn’t be made the puppet or played like a violin!
He ran to his desk and nervously dug through his drawers locating a dusty phaser. He had smuggled it aboard under diplomatic seal. It had been a gift from a friend when he had been assigned to the Charon. His friend had told him to watch his back while on the frontier and had given him the weapon.
Fumbling with the device, Lamont dropped it on the floor as he struggled to keep his emotions in check. Scooping up the weapon he checked its power level which was still good despite almost total neglect. He glanced at the door. It would slow them, but not stop them. Eventually they would gain entry. Did he make a final stand in his quarters and go out in a blaze of glory? No. He was no hero. He was a frightened diplomat with only a few ancient academy courses in weapons training to draw upon. It had been years since he had handled a weapon. Even still his former training was not completely gone.
If he couldn’t fight he had to escape, but to where? Suddenly a radical idea hit him. It was so insane he had difficulty believing he had even thought of it, yet he didn’t have time to second guess himself. Shoving the phaser into his jacket pocket, Lamont ran to the nearby wall and ripped off the cover exposing one of the access hatches to the depths of the ship.
He had to get to the brig. He couldn’t believe that he was actually headed there. It was funny. All of the hours and days he had spent incarcerated in the brig might actually prove to be useful. One of his hobbies was to research escape routes even though he had no real intention to use them. It was a fancy which kept him entertained during long hours of boredom. With so much time on his hands he had practically memorized the various routes, tunnels, and tubes that snakes their way from the brig to various areas of the ship. He would often play mental escape games in his head attempting to elude security teams if he had escaped, where he would go, and what tactics he would use. Never in his wildest imagination did he think such a foolish pastime would ever be useful. Perhaps he owed Rehu a tiny spec of credit for incarcerating him…then again, perhaps he didn’t.
Sliding into junction 92B Section 12, Lamont pushed several bottles of his prized alcohol collection out of the way before sealing the hatch behind him. Damn Romulans would likely loot his carefully procured collection of fine spirits. He spied a bottle of Romulan Ale nearby. It was one of his best bottles and he would be damned if he’d let it fall into the hands of the Gai’Shian. He’d rather give it to the captain.
Shoving the bottle into the deck grating below his hands, Lamont forced open the cap as a thick stream of carbonation spilled out over the broken edge of bottle. He took several long swigs of the blue liquid. Damn if it wasn’t divine.
The remaining contents he splashed around the tube before crawling a safe distance away. He retrieved his phaser and took aim at the liquor soaked area determined not to let his prizes fall into enemy hands. Was he being petty and selfish when the crew and ship were under attack? Perhaps. His odds at survival were not good embarking on this course of action. If his fate was already sealed, at least he would die knowing those green blooded bastards would not have the satisfaction of toasting their victory over the Charon with his prized possessions.
Pulling the trigger a crimson beam quickly ignited a massive fire which exploded in the confined narrow space of the tube fueled by some of the most expensive, rarest, and enjoyable beverages in the galaxy. Lamont hoped he got the chance for revenge as he took a brief moment to mourn his profound loss. He so detested synthehol.
A fire would draw attention. He had to escape and quickly. Fortunately, he knew the precise route to take to snake his way through the bowels of this ship to the brig while avoiding the areas likely to contain Gai’Shian waiting to capture hapless crewmen attempting to hide.
If anyone survived this, if Rehu survived this, he might just actually owe her a thank you. Possibly. He would have to give it some thought. A lot of thought. For now he had a difficult and surreptitious route ahead of him if he was to make the brig in one piece. Hopefully he could reach it before the Gai’Shian did.
[ To Be Continued… ]
Ambassador Ian Lamont
Diplomatic Advisor & Really, Really Pissed Off…
PS: The ambassador is having a “Fire Sale” on fine wine and spirits on deck 2. The deals are hot and won’t last. Cash only. Void where prohibited. Sale of alcohol to minors is illegal (meet him in the back of the Eris deck after hours…), all rights reserved, no shirt, no shoes, no service.