Taken - Part 1 "The Greater Good"
Episode 3.5 - Welcome to Paradise
Location: USS Arcadia, Beta Antares Ship Yards
[Previously in Danger Close and Wheels within Wheels]
. . . . . .
"Can you describe to me the critical skills that you possess which allow you to perform your duties as a Marine?" I'lien dipped his brush into water, watching as the swirls of blue flowed out of the bristles and into the once clear liquid.
Hearing the first question, George stiffened up even more. "No, Sir!" Then he paused for a moment as he formulated his answer to the second question. "Well, Sir, as a sniper, I have the ability to focus on my target with pinpoint precision. I am also able to prioritize my targets quickly and effectively, adapting to the battle in a fluid manner, Sir."
"Excellent. That kind of adaptability and focus are the reason you are sitting here, watching a Vulcan paint. Corporal, what I am about to tell you is between you and me. Only your superior officer knows." He paused to look at the Corporal, making sure he was understanding the seriousness of the situation. "From this point on you will be relieved of your normal duties. You have been assigned a temporary bunk on deck 22. You will be working undercover. Your assignment is to shadow Captain Lee, wherever he might go and make sure no physical harm comes to him. Ideally you will not be detected, and I am counting on your ability to blend in to make sure you are not.
. . . . . .
"Admiral Sandel has an illogically strong hatred of the Captain. I have no other proof than what her own mind provided. It is possible that nothing will happen but I am not willing to risk the Captain's life on that." Said I'lien
Kevan rubbed his chin, considering.
"Well, there's no way Vulcan intuition, for lack of a better word, holds up in a court of law. I'd be laughed out of Starfleet if I tried to detain her..." He looked at Slvar. "Do you have a plan, sir?"
I'lien nodded. "Yes, I do. I have assigned Corporal Charles to work as my Yeoman. He is a newly arrived sniper with the Marine detachment. His job is to be a last line of defense for the Captain. I am using him because Captain Lee knows you and your staff too well and if he becomes aware of my attempts at protection, I believe that he would order me to discontinue. What I need you to do is to heighten security for anyone boarding the Arcadia who is not a member of the ship. I leave it up to you to determine how to do that best."
"Of course," Kevan nodded. The Commander's forethought and planning was hard to argue against. Having a marine shadow the Captain would be wise, and certainly wouldn't raise any eyebrows if done right. "In that case, Commander, I must report that in the absence of our Chief Medical Officer on board that the Chief of Security deems it appropriate that we improve screenings of anyone boarding the ship, in case of potential outbreak or epidemic." He gave a sly grin. "It would be risky to continue to allow unsupervised access to the ship without a senior qualified medical adviser available."
I'lien gave him a small grin in return. "Very wise recommendation, Lieutenant,"
. . . . . .
Ensign Naavar looked over the PADD that had just been handed to her and returned it to the Vulcan officer standing in front of her. "As I said, sir, we are now operating under boarding protocols Beta-3. None Arcadia personnel cannot board the ship without prior and express authorization from the captain, the XO, or Lieutenant Dash."
"Then get one of them here. Now." Retorted Commander Nirak with an arched eyebrow
Naavar tried hard not to roll her eyes. Tapping her comm badge, she opened a channel to the ship's security chief. "Naavar to Lieutenant Dash. Your presence is needed at docking port 1." Dash wanted the new boarding protocols, so he could deal with this himself.
It was the third call Kevan had taken that day. Changing the protocols had seemed like a good idea at the time, until half of his staff had staged a mini coup and decided he had to be called to ratify every mildly annoyed-looking visitor to the ship. With the Arcadia leaving port within days, the activity had ramped-up and that meant his workload, too.
A little wearily, he made his way to port one, where among a small gaggle of crewmen moving backwards and forwards he could clearly see Ensign Naavar and a pair of officers waiting impatiently to be seen.
"Thank you Ensign." He gave his subordinate a look that suggested this should be the last time she bothered him for a while. Then he turned to the newcomers, neither of whom he recognised. "Gentlemen. I'm sorry for the delay with boarding the ship. Our medical team is short-staffed at the moment and we've had to enact a few protocols to ensure the safety of the crew. Can't be heading out into deep space with a Tarkalian Flu epidemic, can we?" He tried to keep it light as he glanced over the PADD Naavar had passed him. "So, business or pleasure?"
"Business." Said Nirak. The annoyance in his voice was subdued, but still more pronounced than one would expect from a Vulcan. "I am Commander Nirak and this is Lieutenant McGuire, Internal Affairs. We have a few questions for Captain Lee and Captain Ymir. The questions are time sensitive."
"Commander. Of course." Kevan's mind raced for a moment. Internal Affairs rang a bell. Something in the Captain's file. Mostly redactive and beyond his pay grade. "Like I said, we're operating a heightened level of security before the Arcadia departs on her mission." He made a little show of tapping his PADD as though it made a difference. "So you're here to see the Captain. Good. And...Captain Ymir as well? That's unusual." Stall, Kevan. And think, he told himself. "Well, the Captain is most likely in his Ready Room. I can arrange an escort if you like?"
Nirak arched an eyebrow. "That would not be necessary, Lieutenant. We are familiar with the Arcadia's layout. May I also remind you that time is of the essence, Lieutenant. Any further delay will jeopardize an ongoing investigation of the utter most importance. Inform Captain Lee of my arrival, and Lieutenant McGuire will speak with Captain Ymir."
"Certainly. Enjoy your stay on board the Arcadia, gentlemen. I won't hold you any further." Kevan stood aside and allowed the two men to continue. He felt Naavar watching him curiously, so moved to a quiet corner and slapped his combadge. "Dash to Yeoman Charles. A heads-up for you: Internal Affairs just boarded the ship. They're asking about Captain Lee and Captain Ymir."
[Meanwhile on the bridge]
George was keeping busy, trying to look busy. He was still figuring out exactly what a yeoman actually did. When the call came in, he reached up and double-tapped his combadge, to acknowledge the signal. He didn't say anything, to keep attention away from him. Afterwards, he started to move closer to the Captain's ready room, casually checking his hidden weapons as he did so. Though, on the exterior, he seemed cool as ice, his mind was working furiously, preparing himself for any possible threat.
It didn't take long for Nirak to arrive on the bridge. Briskly the Vulcan made his way to Lee's ready room. Once there he pressed the chime and waited to be admitted.
George watched the Vulcan officer enter the bridge, and then approach the Captain's ready room. Though he didn't make it obvious, the young Marine watched every step that was made, sizing up the possible threat.
Oliver was in the middle of working through a pile of PADDs when the door bell rang. His yeoman, PO2 Nevin, had been out sick since two days ago. I'lien had asked his own yeoman to help out, but even then he couldn't dump just all the administrative work on PO2 Charles and double his workload. Jesse could provide some administrative support, but the AI was still in the middle of testing, and there was only so much she could help with. All of that meant that he now had to do quite a bit more administrative work than he had been accustomed to since he took over the command of the Bunker Hill a few years ago. Of course, administrative work was quite necessary and important. He just found it overly tedious. So when word came that an officer from Internal Affairs had come aboard to talk to him, he welcomed the change of pace. "Enter." He opened the doors with a voice command. Pushing the PADDs to the side, he looked up and found his visitor standing in his ready room.
"Commander Nirak, what brings you to the Arcadia?" Asked the ship's commanding officer as he rose from his chair and walked over to the lounge sofa. But before he could sit down, the Vulcan handed him the PADD he carried with him.
"Captain Lee, I apologize for the unannounced visit," Said Nirak, "but time and discretion are of the essence. May I request that the Arcadia's artificial intelligence cease its monitoring of the ready room?" Said Nirak.
"Of course." Oliver nodded. It was not an uncommon request, coming from an IA officer. "Jesse, you heard the Commander."
Nirak waited for the AI to acknowledge Lee's command before continuing "We are reviewing some of your old cases from the Inspector General's Office, Captain, and we have some questions regarding the Brakav investigation."
"Well, that was a pretty straight forward case." Said Oliver. He began pacing in a slow circular movement as he looked over the files on the PADD. "We received several tips regarding misappropriation of funds at the Brakav Labs. We looked into it and found little evidence that substantiated the allegations, so case was dropped."
Having glanced trough all the files on the PADD, Oliver turned again to face Nirak, but instead of a question, he found a phaser pointed at him. He frowned. "What's the meaning of this, Commander?"
"My sincerest apology." Said the Vulcan. "But this is for the greater good."
Calmly Oliver retorted. "The greater good? Does the greater good also demands that you . . ." His words were cut short when a phaser blast hit him square in the chest.
Nirak watched as the human slumped over the coffee table next to him, breaking its glass top and the white ceramic bowel that had sat on it. "I am truly sorry, Captain."
As soon as the AI had been blocked from the ready room, George had been notified. He quickly activated the concealed camera he had planted in the Captain's private office and watched, with disbelief, as the Vulcan pulled a phaser and pointed it at Lee. He pushed past the officers standing on the bridge, who were unaware of the goings on a few meters away. As he reached the sealed doors, he heard the sound of phaser fire inside. He quickly punched in the authorization code to unlock the door. As it slid apart, he saw the Vulcan standing over the Captain, attaching what seemed like a transporter tag to his uniform.
Without a single seconds hesitation, George pulled the concussion grenade, that he had been carrying on his belt, armed it and tossed it inside the ready room. He then ducked back away from the open door, covering his ears and slamming shut his eyes. Less than a second later, it detonated with a blinding white light and a deafeningly loud popping sound. The instant after the grenade went off, George turned back towards his target and ran full speed into the room, towards the Vulcan, as he struggled to recover from the explosion. Knowing that his speed would be the only factor in his favor, George went full bore. He hurled the PADD he was carrying at the Vulcan's head, while he aimed his body for his knees.
For an extraction mission as important as this, thorough preparation was only logical, and thorough preparation was exactly what Nirak had done before coming to the Arcadia. He had planned the operation down to the seconds. But what was that human expression, "no operational plan ever survives contact with the enemy"? And in this case, it was the transporter beacon that did not survive contact with Lee. For some unknown reason the device simply refused to work.
Nirak's mind raced through the options still available to him - there were very few. Even without the AI monitoring the ready room, the ship's internal security system must have detected the phaser fire and alerted the bridge crew. According to his calculation he had at most another twelve seconds before security arrived and mostly likely far less time, so it was not much a surprise when the doors to the ready room opened seconds after Lee's body hit the deck and one of the bridge crew he had passed earlier rushed in. The young man's face suddenly ran a bell, but there was no time to react as the stun grenade detonated, disorienting him. Even before he could regain full control of his senses and motor functions, an unidentified object struck his forehead and mere second later the man rammed his body into his knee knocking him over and out.
After the collision, George quickly rolled away, trying to get some distance from the stronger Vulcan. As he rolled to his feet, he stood up, drawing the small Type I hand phaser he had also been carrying. When he stopped moving, the phaser was pointed at the, still prone, Vulcan. George wasn't sure if his opponent was truly unconscious or simply faking it in order to lull him. So the Marine shot him to be sure. Even a Vulcan couldn't withstand a phaser shot set on heavy stun. Afterwards, George reached up and slapped his combadge. "Security to the Captain's Ready Room! There has been an attempt on the Captain! The assailant is subdued!" He then slapped the badge again. "Sickbay, Medical Emergency to Captain's Ready Room. He has sustained a direct phaser shot at close range and is unconscious!" And a third time. "Corporal Charles to Lieutenant Dash! The Captain was attacked, Sir. However, I foiled the attempt and have delt with the attacker. Both Security and Medical have been notified."
"I got your first call," Kevan retorted over the comm. "Is the Captain hurt?"
Moving over to the slumped form of Lee, George took hold of the Captain and gently lowered him to the deck. He then reached down and checked for the pulse in Lee's left carotid. He sighed slightly. Sitting back on his ankles, he reached up and tapped his combadge. "The Captain is unconscious, but he is alive."
"There's a team en route. Don't let him out of your sight until the XO gets there, Corporal."
As Dash was speaking, the ready room door slid open, and three burly security crewmen (one Andorian and two humans) burst into the room, phasers drawn and ready.
George quickly instructed them to take the Vulcan into custody and get him in the brig before he regained consciousness. One of the humans and the Andorian both took an arm, lifting the Vulcan to his feet. The three of them then transported directly to the brig. The other human stayed behind to ask George question about what had happened. Before he could start, though, a team of medics burst in next. They quickly swarmed the unconscious form of the Captain, peppering George with a myriad of medical questions. Once they were satisfied the it was safe to move the Captain, they had him beamed directly to sickbay. George told the security crewman that the questions would have to wait, and if he had a problem with that, take it up with Dash.
The Marine sniper then ran from the ready room and made a bee line straight for the nearest turbolift. "Main Sickbay, emergency speed! Authorization, Charles gamma gamma epsilon three!" The lift door slid shut and then the car sped away towards the required destination at twice the normal speed. The computer either delayed or redirected the other various turbolift cars that were or would be in his path. Less that two minutes later, the disguised Marine had taken up a position near the Captain's biobed, ensuring to stay out of the Doctor's way.
[Elsewhere on the Ship]
Kevan started moving when he heard the combadge squeak at him with George's wordless response. They had planned and prepared for an attempt on the Captain, but the involvement of Korra in the equation was unexpected. Whoever it was behind this - if it wasn't IA as they claimed - knew enough to know about the personal connection between her and the Captain. That means she was equally, if not more exposed. And only Kevan was aware of the danger.
Korra didn't know how long she had been out, but when she was finally able to open her eyes, her vision was blurry and her head was hurting. It took a few seconds for her to realize that she was lying on the deck next to a transporter, merely feet away from the motionless body of a crewman who had presumably manned the transporter room. Now she remembered. A Lieutenant McGuire from IA had come to talk to her in her quarters. She didn't know what IA wanted from her, but in any case she didn't get a chance to ask before McGuire surprised her with a phaser blast in the back. That poozer didn't even have the nerve to look her in the eyes.
McGuire was attempting to override the transporter's security protocols when he noticed the Marine pilot struggling to get back on her feet. He wouldn't have to do this if the transporter beacon had worked as planned. But this mission was too important; everyone counted on him and Nirak to succeed, and he would not let them down. He couldn't. He mustn't.
"Stay down, Captain Ymir. This is for your own good." He said, training his phaser on her as he continued to work the console interface.
Kevan had called ahead. His duty officer on the bridge had locked-down transporters on his order, so if anyone tried to get off the ship they'd be stuck in the confinement beam until released. Even so, Kevan couldn't risk it. Instead he drew his hand phaser and approached the door cautiously. If the guy was IA then it wasn't likely he had the same marksmanship as Kevan. If he was something else - black ops or similar - then this might play out differently. He had a team on the way but waiting for them would take too long.
He tapped in his override on the door and dropped to a knee as he swung his aim upwards. His arm straight, his eye sharp. The door hissed open, and he found that it was his lucky day; Korra had stirred and caught the man's attention. Before he had spun his weapon on to the door, Kevan had fired his own and sent him sprawling.
Darting quickly into the room, Kevan kept half an eye on the stunned would-be abductor then approached Korra and offered her his hand.
"Are you okay?"
Korra was beyond disbelief. First she allowed some poozer to sneak up on her, and now she was rescued by Dash, whom she had regretfully slept with a few nights before and hadn't talked to since. That was just embarrassing. It was worse than embarrassing. It was horrifying.
Ignoring the offered hand, the Marine helped herself up from the deck and back onto her own feet. "I'm fine." came the cool response as she glanced over the unconscious McGuire. "What did he want with me?"
"You're welcome..." Kevan grumbled. "At a guess, the guy wanted leverage. Over the Captain. Seems there has been a clandestine attempt on his life by people claiming to be Internal Affairs. Even if they are, there's no way they're getting away with it while I'm around."
"What?! You're just telling me this now?" The Marine shot him an angry look. She knew how terrible her best friend was at defending himself in close-quarters. "We need to go." She turned, but nearly stumbled over her own feet. Apparently the effect of the phaser stun hadn't dissipated entirely.
Kevan reacted without thinking too much, and Korra ended up stumbling into his arms. It was a strange, slightly awkward moment as he held her upright, his arms snaked around her body in a way that they had once before. He opened his mouth to speak but hesitated with his words. Instead, he just said, "The Captain is secure. Stunned, but safe. Maybe I should get you to sickbay?"
His embrace felt good, and she would not have minded it at all except, of course, she had slept with him, regretted it, and told him so. But more important, she needed to make sure that Oliver was alright. He must have been taken to the sickbay, so that's where she need to be.
Grumbling, the Marine pushed the security chief to the side and headed for the door. "I know where the sickbay is."
[To be continued in Part 2 . . . . . .]
Captain Oliver A. Lee
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Commander I'lien Slvar
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Kevan Dash
Chief of Security
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Corporal George Charles
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Captain Korra Ymir
Squadron Leader, VMFA-31
(NPC - Oliver)
Commander Nirak & Lieutenant McGuire
(NPCs - Oliver)