U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
“Foxes & Hounds – Part 8”
Note: This log contains some adult language. Reader discretion advised.
Cargo bays. They had far more uses than simply storing cargo. Athalla had more than a few stories of events that had occurred behind crates and boxes however his current goal had nothing to do with dark corners and lovely ladies. What he needed was a transporter without an operator. There was little time for questions.
“Damn you Aev”, the pilot muttered slipping into Cargo Bay 2. It had taken him five hours, two favors, several uncomfortable conversations with uncooperative Vulcans, and a bottle of good scotch to track down the female waiter from the explosion at the bar the night prior. It hadn’t been easy and she had not been eager to talk, but he had managed to get the information he needed. With a bit of sleuthing he had come to realize that the sexy waiter had been involved in recent events despite her convincing performance. She was the only one to survive the explosion at the bar and had been paid to set up Keirianh. She was an accessory to murder as far as he was concerned, but the Vulcans would find her soon enough. The mercenary already had nearly a day head start and if he wasn’t dead already, Leon might just make sure of the task himself. The woman had coughed up a location only after some strong persuasion. It appeared Aev had made the same deductions and had visited her earlier in the day. The Romulan was as sly as he was deadly.
Dodging two crewmembers, Leon made his way toward one of the ship’s many cargo transporter units. Leaving the ship was fortunately somewhat easier than beaming aboard. With the ship docked and crewmen coming and going for shore leave he was sure his departure would not be immediately noticed. He did not have the patience or the time to play twenty questions with a transporter operator. Beaming into the middle of a desert wasn’t exactly the most common of vacation spots and right now Athalla needed to avoid as much attention as possible.
Rounding the small operator console, Athalla powered up the unit ensuring the two crewmen he passed earlier were not in sight. He wasn’t exactly an expert at transporter operations. He was a pilot after all, not an engineer. Struggling with the controls he sought the help of the computer and was able to enter his destination with a five second activation delay. Satisfied the coordinates were correct, Leon pulled a phaser from his uniform and began the brief countdown. Dashing onto the platform the pilot soon dematerialized.
=== Desert, Vulcan Surface ===
Leon saw the lights of the cargo bay fade only to be replaced by the darkness of a Vulcan night. A cold breeze hit the pilot as he looked around seeing nothing but rock and sand. Damn it, he mused. Had that woman lied to him? Where was this oasis she had continually mentioned? Scouting the area, Leon chose the nearest and tallest sand dune and scrambled his way to the top. Reaching the summit his eyes were quickly drawn to a point of light in the midst of several trees and bushes. The oasis! What he saw next was not unexpected, but still managed to take the pilot by surprise.
Aev Keirianh and another shadowy figure appeared to be locked in combat with one another using nothing more than their hands…no wait knives or perhaps swords? Not bothering to evaluate the tactical situation, Leon moved to help his friend only to sink into the soft sand at the lip of the dune. Already in motion the pilot fell forward and bounced and rolled down the large dune until he came to a stop at its base covered in sand and dirt. Picking himself up, Leon shook off the effects of the fall and dashed toward the edges of the oasis. He never reached its edge.
The fight appeared to be evenly matched. Aev had landed a blow on the other person’s shoulder or arm, but soon after the mercenary seemed outclassed. Athalla in a dead run suddenly froze like a statue as the unknown person broke Aev’s own blade with his own and ran his blade through the mercenary’s torso before kicking the body to the ground.
Athalla could hear nothing but fanatical laughter from Aev’s assailant as he cried out making his own presence known. The laughing stopped as the individual looked up with an amused expression his clothing spattered in emerald blood.
“YOU BASATRD”, Athalla shouted resuming his dash phaser in hand. He wasn’t about to fight honorably. He only had to keep himself from vaporizing this murderer and thus cheating the hangman and justice of their prize in exchange for his own selfish need for vengence.
As Leon entered phaser range several strong arms suddenly caught him seemingly out of nowhere halting his forward momentum as if he had hit a wall. Starfleet security? What the hell were they doing here?
“NO”, he shouted as he was held back. “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND! HE’S DYING! LET ME GO!”
Three officers struggled with the flailing pilot disarming and eventually subduing him amid impassioned cries.
Two Starfleet captains moved past the struggling pilot just as the body of Aev Keirianh fell at their feet tossed several meters by the unknown individual still standing within the oasis.
“AEV”, Leon shouted grappling with no success against his captors. The mercenary struggled to pull himself upwards the sword lodged within his chest protruding from his back. He had taken a far worse beating that Athalla had realized as his entire body was covered in his own emerald green blood. Lacerations and deep wounds covered his battered body. Aev struggled to pull himself upwards onto his knees before looking up at the pilot with eyes that had lost their luster.
“Leon…you…”, was all he managed to say before toppling forward into the sand and falling still.
“NO! DAMN IT! LET ME GO YOU FUCKING IDIOTS!”
“Get them both out of here now”, the captain sternly ordered his men. In a haze of blue transporter activity the pilot, his captors, and the body of Aev Keirianh disappeared from the desert.
Captain Taverain Ramius, Captain Zane Akina, and several heavily armed marines and security personnel were left to confront the lone assassin who oddly enough had chosen to remain instead of fleeing during the commotion.
“Well, well. Starfleet? I must admit your arrival is unexpected. You put together the pieces far quicker than the Vulcans, but why? What interest does Starfleet have in domestic Vulcan affairs? What possible reason do you have for being here?”
“Little reason”, Ramius answered, “however when a Starfleet shuttlecraft explodes in public and the cause is not accidental we tend to ask questions.”
“Yes it was an overly dramatic display however one that was necessary to achieve a certain outcome.” The man quietly studied the party for several seconds before his face brightened. “I see. You must be with Starfleet Intelligence! Of course. That would explain the armed gorillas behind you. But even so, I doubt Starfleet intelligence would waste the time of one captain let alone two to follow up on a mere shuttle explosion. I must say I am quite interested to learn why you have pursued this matter with such voracity.”
“The attack on the Vulcan tavern was not performed by any random criminal. It was a precision, surgical strike aimed and wiping out everyone alive within the facility. The explosion that followed was only a smokescreen to obliterate evidence and redirect suspicion.”
“Well captain, you seem to have the entire scenario figured out”, the unknown male replied his voice almost lyrical as if he was enjoying the conversation. “Please, continue. I must know how this ends.”
“It ends when I use you to get to them. Tell me, how is Alistair Merikai these days? Well I assume in his obsidian glass tower on Rigel IV?”
The man’s amused expression instantly faded at the utterance of Merikai’s name.
“Oh wait”, Ramius continued. “I’m not supposed to know that am I? Not supposed to know that you work for the NeoDyne Defense Corporation. Not supposed to know that you were sent here to Vulcan. Not supposed to know about NeoDyne’s chief executive and his sinister objectives? Oh? You aren’t smiling anymore?”
“Who are you”, the man asked his tone far darker and sinister than before.
“I could ask the same of you”, Ramius replied. “Captain Taverain Ramius. Starfleet Intelligence. And you?”
“Ramius”, the man hissed upon hearing the name. “You truly are an omnipresent thorn.” The man said nothing for several seconds. “I had expected to encounter you at a time and place of my choosing, but you are indeed as cunning and dangerous as I have been told. However inconvenient, this time and place should do nicely.”
The man smiled at the captains. “I’ve so wanted to meet you Ramius. As to your question, I am referred to as Gabriel. I believe the NeoDyne scientists simply call me BX-71. You see it took them seventy one attempts to get it right, but with me they succeeded. I am the prototype if you will. They’ve slowly perfected their methods over the years while you have aimlessly chased NeoDyne around the Galaxy. It is only a matter of time before there are others like me. My brothers and I will become the new order of things in time. And to think that you and your brother are my father in a way. What do you say to that Ramius?
The man laughed giving Ramius no chance to answer. “It is time I see for myself what you are capable of captain. The mercenary I recently met was purported to be one of the best. He was amusing for a time but hardly a worthy challenge. You on the other hand should be most interesting. I cannot wait to see how well the old model performs given the substantial improvements and enhancements NeoDyne has made over the last thirty years!”
“My god Ramius”, Akina whispered nearby. “Is this possible? Have they really progressed this far?”
Ramius grimaced. “I guess there is only one way to find out”, he replied.
“You don’t intend on fighting him”, Akina quickly replied his voice filled with concern.
“The circumstances of this investigation have drastically changed. I must ascertain how far NeoDyne has progressed. The only way I can do that is to engage this Gabriel and see for myself.”
“But if what he says is true then…you may be outclassed! Ramius you cannot…”
“Take the marines and return to the Corsair”, Ramius sternly instructed. “If this fight is not concluded in ten minutes time instruct Commander Novada to target the area with the ship’s phasers and destroy both of us. This individual cannot be allowed to roam free if what he says is true. He must be stopped at all costs even at my own expense. Do I make myself perfectly clear Captain?”
“Follow my instructions captain. That’s a direct order.”
“Well Ramius”, the man known only as Gabriel stated with a sly grin his arms folded as he tapped his foot impatiently. “If you’re planning some ingenious way to trap me I suppose I should mention I’ve activated a transporter inhibitor. Oh, and I also took the liberty of activating a general dampening field as well to prevent you from calling your overeager minions aboard that annoying starship of yours.”
Ramius turned toward Akina. “Take the marines and go now. Escape the inhibitor field and get back to the ship. If you don’t hear from me by the time you reach the Corsair, I want this entire area turned to glass!”
Akina gave the captain a hard glance as the two men shared a moment of eye contact each expressing themselves without the need for words.
“The audience is waiting”, Gabriel shouted from his position near the edge of the Oasis’s muddy pool of water. “The orchestra is engaged.
Shall we dance?”
[ To Be Continued… ]
[ List of Characters ]
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Captain Zane Akina
Starfleet Intelligence Operative
Lt. Leon Athalla
NeoDyne Operative ???