U.S.S. Corsair - NX-011979
Nebula II Prototype
“Sic Parvis Magna”
(Greatness From Small Beginnings)
“Foxes & Hounds – Part 7”
=== USS Corsair – In Orbit Around Vulcan ===
“What is your impression of her”, Captain Taverain Ramius asked his chief intelligence agent. Captain Zane Akina took another look at the human woman through the one-way glass that separated him from the interrogation room.
“I’ve pulled her records. Not much of note. She was born on Earth. Parents died at a young age. She transferred to Vulcan on a work permit when she was nineteen. In addition to her job at the bar I would surmise she moonlights as a working girl if you catch my meaning. No criminal record that I could find. Still, she isn’t telling the truth. She’s hiding something.”
Ramius rubbed his chin which was prickly with stubble. He had neglected to shave yet again immersed in his duties. “What makes you say that?”
“Notice her neck and shoulder. Its red, possibly bruised. I’d say someone else recently beat us to her. She may be afraid for her life or simply put off by the uniforms around here, but she knows something. I am curious as to why she is still alive.”
“Well it seems we’ve confirmed each other’s observations. I noticed the marks when we brought her in. I am also curious as to why she was left alive. I suspect she has been keeping rather dangerous company.”
“So how do you want to play this? Good officer, bad officer?”
Ramius continued to rub his jaw as he analyzed the scantily dressed woman sitting alone at a small table. “I’m not sure. I get the impression she’s tough. I doubt the good cop/bad cop routine will work with her. We need to find out what she knows. Did you manage to get samples from the shuttle explosion and the explosion at the tavern site?”
“Yes. Science processed the samples an hour ago, but you already know the results.”
Ramius continued to watch the woman uncomfortably fidget as she rapped her fingers against the surface of the table. “I had a hunch based on our sensor sweep from orbit. What were the results?”
“Science cannot be conclusive given the limited amount of access to either site. Slipping past Vulcan security and remaining undetected is no easy task. However, the results seem to indicate the shuttle’s matter/anti-matter fuel was somehow spontaneously mixed resulting in an instantaneous and explosive release of energy. It is possible the craft’s magnetic containment failed, but that is unlikely. They also mentioned the shuttle is of Federation design and likely of Starfleet origin.”
“The only other starship in orbit now is the USS Charon. It is unlikely the shuttle came from anywhere else. That seems to indicate a member or members of its crew are involved. The plot thickens. Anything else?”
“Yes. Radiological analysis revealed a distinct particle decay rate on the wreckage of the tavern. Science almost missed it, but they were able to prove energy weapons were used prior to the explosion. That checks against the witness and news reports. The rate of particle decay is distinct and is attributed to only one weapon on record in our databases.”
“Let me guess”, Ramius turned with a faint scowl. “The weapon is manufactured by NeoDyne.”
“I hoped I was wrong”, Ramius muttered. “What the hell are they doing here? Blowing up civilian establishments isn’t their MO.”
“It could just be coincidence Ramius. NeoDyne does manufacture a wide range of weaponry that is available on the black market for a price. Perhaps events are tied to local organized crime? There is no proof NeoDyne is involved and I agree such a brash, bold move is not their style. They would never act in this manner or leave such an easy trail of breadcrumbs to follow. I’ve never known them to act so recklessly.”
“Unless…”, Ramius turned his attention back to the window. “Perhaps someone wanted to leave a trail for someone else to follow?”
“I’m just thinking out loud. But consider the possibility. We both believe it is odd she is still alive given what has occurred. Everyone in that bar was murdered. She was the only survivor or so we are made to believe. If someone did get to her before us then they were meant to find her and in doing so obtained some form of information possibly by threatening her life as indicated by the marks around her neck. We need to learn what she told them and I think it is time we have a talk with her. I am sure the Vulcans are actively searching for her as we speak. The shuttle explosion does grant us a measure of jurisdiction since the craft appears to have been Starfleet issue. However, let’s get this over with. I don’t want to play politics with Vulcan security brass if they manage to discover we’ve been poking about.”
=== Meanwhile on the Vulcan Surface ===
Mercenary Aev Keirianh slowly approached the small, desert oasis lit by a solitary lantern hanging from a nearby tree. There were no signs of intelligent life and his electronics could detect no lifesigns and yet the lantern did not appear and light itself.
Gripping his Romulan disruptor, Aev stealthily moved across the sand keeping himself in the shadows until he arrived on the edge of the oasis. Using a nearby bush to conceal his presence, Aev carefully examined the area with both his eyes and his electronics. Again, nothing.
“Well, well if it isn’t the Black Reaper himself”, an unknown voice suddenly announced. “It took you long enough. The trail I left is large enough for even those idiot Vulcans to follow given some time.”
Aev instantly froze his weapon at the ready. All of his senses were engaged. Sight, smell, hearing, touch – none of them were providing information on the source of the voice.
“Come now Keirianh. There’s no need to slink around in the shadows. I’ve been expecting you.”
Keirianh looked on as a lone figure dropped from a nearby tree. Human. Male. He could tell that much in the pale light of the lantern. How had this person evaded his electronics? The tree? Perhaps he had some sort of cloaking field engaged to prevent detection. But why go to so much trouble?
“You are probably asking yourself why I have led you here tonight? I am sure you have many questions and I have answers. As you can see I am unarmed. You can scan me if you wish to confirm.”
Aev stood from his location revealing himself to the human. The two men carefully examined the other for several moments without words or movement. Aev slowly left the cover of the brush and moved out into the open to face the unknown human. “Are you responsible for the tavern and the shuttle?”
“Indubitably my dear mercenary. Of course you already knew that. Are you going to bore me with the obvious? I am hoping you are somewhat sharper than the average blunt instrument. Your reputation indicates you are quite the cunning assassin. It would be refreshing to engage with one who actually possesses a brain cell or two.”
“Cut to the chase”, Aev shouted unwilling to engage in the man’s verbal, whimsical games. “Who are you and what is it you want?”
The man sighed. “Professional to the last? I like that. Very well. Who I am is unimportant. What I want is nothing more than the opportunity to fight one of the best or rather so I’ve been told. I do of course retain the right to make my own determination on that point.”
“I find it difficult to believe you destroyed a Starfleet shuttle, murdered innocent people, and destroyed an entire building simply to entice me out here to fight you this night human”, Aev replied his voice bitter.
“Indeed. Fighting you is more of a fringe benefit of the job. To tell you the truth, I lured you here to put an end to your pathetic existence, but not before seeing just how talented and skilled you really are. Let’s just say I want to see firsthand if the man measures up to the legend.”
He was growing ever more incensed by this human’s babble. What was this fool’s true game?
“You must have me confused with another”, Aev replied as his hand slid imperceptibly toward the hilt of his blade strapped to his side. “I never have the need to fight as my prey typically DIES without the need!” A glint of steel in the lantern light was all that could be seen as the Romulan made his move against the human with lightning speed.
[ To Be Continued… ]
Captain Taverain Ramius
Commanding Officer, USS Corsair
Captain Zane Akina
Intelligence Operative, USS Corsair
Unknown Male Human
Aka: “The Black Reaper”