The Astounding Adventures of Terri Cornelia Lee - Part 11 "Necessary Betrayal" (Flashback)
Posted on Sat Jul 8th, 2017 @ 8:47pm by Captain Nami Ishikawa
Episode 4 - Truth, Justice, and the Federation Way
Timeline: 2419, In A Future That Was
Note: Hsina was the Bunker Hill's former chief science officer and second officer.
::Somewhere in the Himalayas::
The cool and crisp air, the glistering stars in the open night sky, everything was so quiet and calm, even serene. It would be easy to forget that there was a full scale civil war brewing and that she was in the very middle of it, but Nami could not forget. She was back on Earth to fight a war, not for sight seeing.
In fact, she hadn't had a real vacation since she graduated from the Academy all those years ago. Even during the mandatory shore leaves, she always found something important to do, something to keep her mind focused and occupied. The universe might not be heartless - Oliver had shown her that ever since he saved her from the slavers - but it was still cruel, even without the war, and in such a cruel universe she would never allow herself to relax and forget that peace and tranquility were mere exceptions that proved the rule, the rule of violence, of aggression, of survival at any cost. She must always be prepared.
Taking in one last view of the alluring, but deceptive, serenity around her, Nami was ready to return to her makeshift quarters for the night when her wrist communicator alerted her to an incoming transmission. One glance of the frequency display, she knew that rest would have to wait a little longer.
:: USS Madeira::
Having sat down in the pilot's seat, Nami put the runabout on security lock-down to shield communication from any prying ears. Turning on the encrypted channel, she gave a simple nod to the older woman on the holographic display.
"Brigadier Amman, what can I do for you?"
Hsina was dressed in arctic fatigues, and from what could be seen on the viewer, was inside of a small, candlelit cave. An old-fashioned rifle of some kind was slung over her shoulder, while goggles were up on her forehead, ready to slide down to protect against the howling wind that could be heard even over the comm channel despite Hsina being deep inside the cave.
"You have an hour to escape quietly. Leave behind enough intel to look convincing, and make sure Terri isn't home when I come knocking."
Nami raised an eyebrow at the unexpected news. She understood what Amman was doing, but the short notice was ticking her off. "You are raiding the camp, and you are only giving me . . ." Shaking her head, she decided to just drop the matter. There were more important things to worry about. "Yes, ma'am. Everything will be ready when you get here."
"How many fighters inside?"
"55, give and take a few."
"That many, damn. Can't be helped, just you and Terri, I don't have to remind you how important it is that I have surprise."
"Understood." Said Nami. "I assume you have earned Bolanus' trust?"
"He trusts me to an extent, taking out this base will seal it."
Nami nodded. These were good people here in Camp Theta, fighting for a cause they believed in - even if she herself might have doubts. But in war even the good must be sacrificed sometimes, and this was one of those times.
"We should keep this from the Admiral for now. He would not approve of the massacre of an entire resistance camp, even if to gain Bolanus' trust. It's better if we spare him the . . . worry. We don't want him to be distracted from putting down the coup."
The Trill was worried about him, Hsina could tell. "Probably best that way." she replied as she looked over her shoulder and gave some cryptic hand signal to someone standing out of the camera's view.
"58 minutes, Captain, you'd better get busy."
"Yes, ma'am." Nami gave another nod before terminating the transmission. Immediately her fingers flied over the control panels. "Madeira, execute Program Hades Subroutine Lethe."
"Aye aye, Captain." Acknowledged the runabout's artificial intelligence.
Nami calmly waited out the few seconds it took for the AI to execute the subroutine, one designed to erase certain critical files from the camp's computer servers, but leave intact a sufficient number of files that were important enough to help Hsina earn Bolanus' trust, but not critical enough to inflict any serious damage on the resistance.
"Subroutine Lethe completed."
Nami spun in her chair as she considered how to bring Terri, Alenis, and Gustave out of the camp without arousing anyone's suspicion. It's true that Amman only told her to get Terri and herself out, but not even she would be able to constrain the girl if Terri found out later that her friends had been left to die. She would go on a war path and get herself killed, and she would rather lose the entire resistance than losing Terri.
As difficult as it was for Oliver, Terri was the only link he had to Korra. She was his only family. If anything were to happen to the girl, it would break him irreparably, and she would not allow that. She could not. Despite everything, she still loved him.
A few quiet moments passed before her eyes landed on the weapons storage by the runabout's exit. "Madeira, prepare for launch and set a course for Camp Penthesilea."
"And beam one Type 4 stun grenade to the following coordinates. Set detonation with a two-second delay"
::Meanwhile, Elsewhere in the Camp::
It was close to midnight, but Alenis still couldn't sleep. Sitting on the edge of her makeshift bed, she quietly worked on a sketch of the woman who had so valiantly saved her from Starfleet Security earlier in the day.
Terri was brave. She was strong. And behind those emerald eyes was an indomitable spirit that refused to yield even in the face of overwhelming odds. In that alley, she was exhilarating to watch. She was breathtaking.
And yet, here in her sleep she looked so vulnerable. Her limbs bent and drawn to her torso, she looked like a child fearful of some ghastly demons that lurked in the darkest recess of her deepest fears. But what could possibly frighten such a fearless soul? Alenis wondered.
Gustave knocked on the frame of Alenis's door, then entered. He softly whispered, "Hey," then went over to her bed, looking down at the sketchbook in her lap. From his upside-down view, he couldn't quite tell who it was.
Lost in her own contemplation and in Terri, Alenis did not notice Gustave until he was already standing next to her bed. "Oh, hi there." She said, looking up at the pilot. "Can't sleep?"
Gustave shook his head, "No, there's just so much going through my head. This rebellion, my family . . . not to mention Terri's been acting weird." He sat down next to her on the bed, looking her in the eyes. "So what's got you up?" He asked, shifting his gaze to her sketchbook, "And what's this?"
Alenis' attention was not entirely on Gustave or what he was saying. "Nothing. Just doodling." She said absentmindedly. She set her sketchbook down between them and glanced back at Terri still sound asleep on her bed. "She is amazing, isn't she?" There was a brief pause. "Do you know if she's seeing anyone?"
Gustave cringed at the memory of a cheeseburger being thrown at his face, and shook his head. "No," he replied, "but, well, there's someone she's had her eye on, and never realized it until recently." He looked over to Alenis, only to see her gazing wistfully at Terri. He felt his lungs light on fire, and he had to restrain himself from strangling her.
Then Gustave realized, what the heck was he doing? He couldn't be jealous, Terri was his friend, and so was Alenis. What is wrong with me? He wondered, casting his gaze back down to the floor. He put his elbows on his knees and leaned down to rest his face in his hands. He wasn't tired enough to sleep, but he had never felt more emotionally exhausted in his life.
All Alenis heard was "No," and that was all she need to hear. Her eyes having never left the sleeping blonde, she asked with a small smile on the corner of her lips, "What does she like? I mean other than punching people." That last bit brought out a gleeful chuckle as the Bajoran absentmindedly played with a strand of her loose hair. "Maybe I should . . ."
Before she could finish, transporter beams lit up in the middle of the cave and deposited a small metallic sphere with a flashing red ring across its circumference
"Bomb!" Gustave cried, jumping up to cover it with his body in the hopes that he would protect the others from the explosion, but it was too late.
As soon as the words were out of Gustave's mouth, the stun grenade detonated with a barely audible hum and blinding light, knocking out everyone in the room.
::Later, USS Madeira::
Gustave's ears were ringing and his head was pounding as he slowly sat up. He groaned audibly as he opened his eyes to find the dark interior of the runabout too bright for him. He saw both Terri and Alenis waking up beside him with similar reactions. "Wha- What happened?" He asked, the pilot, whom he recognized as Captain Ishikawa.
Without turning around, Nami answered the question matter-of-factly. "Bolanus' men raided the camp. You three were knocked out by what I assume to be a stun grenade. You were lucky that I got there before they could haul you away."
"And the others?" Asked a visibly concerned Alenis
"There has been no sign of any escaping shuttles."
"We must go back!" Demanded Terri as she sprang up from the deck. "We can't leave them to fight on their own!"
Nami turned back and with a stern look she said, "We can't, not at the risk of you falling into Bolanus' hands, Terri. You father is trying to put down the coup, and if Bolanus has you as a hostage, it would make it very difficult for him. It could even jeopardize the entire operation. Do you understand, Lieutenant?"
"But," Terri struggled for words. She wanted to go back; she wanted to fight, but she also knew that Captain Ishikawa was right. It vexed her that herself was the reason the others had to die on their own. "Arggh!!" She smashed her fist into the bulkhead in frustration and self-loathe.
"Calm down, Terri, it'll be fine. We live today to fight tomorrow. It's probably for the best. We can do more from where we are now than defenseless in our room anyways." Gustave said in an attempt to soothe her.
Terri turned her head and shot an angry look at him. "It's for the best? How do you figure?!! Do you even . . ." She was stopped in mid-sentence as Alenis tenderly took her hand into her own.
"Come on, Terri." The Bajoran said softly. "Let me take care of that contusion of yours."
The blonde shot Gustave another look before following Alenis into the aft compartment without another word.
Gustave clenched his fists and growled once Terri left the room. What is UP with her? Alenis can't just save the day, that's MY job!, he thought, then walked up to the copilot's seat and turned to the controls. He wasn't doing anything, but sitting at the helm relaxed. He hadn't gotten the chance to sit at one since the Churchill went over to Bolanus.
He looked over to Nami, "So where are we headed now? Please tell me it's some tropical paradise planet, preferably one where beers grow on trees." he joked in a mocking tone. Not mocking anyone in particular, he was just irritated.
"We are not leaving Earth, Lieutenant, and no, beers don't grow on trees where we are going." Responded Nami, but after a brief pause her voice softened a little. "You are not going to get the girl if all you do is fuming to yourself. So I suggest you go back there and do something about it. And yes, I sensed it. I'm half-Betazoid." All of that she said without ever looking at the man.
Gustave huffed as he muttered, "Did I say you were allowed to read my mind?" He pushed himself up out of his chair and then said, "Alright, I'll go talk to her. Any other deep, dark secrets of mine I'll need to know before I go in?" He wasn't usually this sassy, but he was angry over Terri and Alenis, and he wasn't too keen on having his brain scanned by this Betazoid.
Nami turned her eyes away form the controls for a moment. "Oh, please, you were literally broadcasting all your thoughts a minute ago. It was difficult not to sense it. Now get out here so that we both can get something done."
"Whatever," Gustave huffed, walking back towards the door.
Nami watched Gustave as he disappeared into the aft-compartment to sort things out with Terri and Alenis. In the three of them she saw Korra, Oliver, and - how she despised that name - Michaela. Of course, she didn't know exactly what was going on with the three, but if it was to happen all over again . . . She sighed and pushed that thought to the deepest recess of her mind. There were more important things to worry about at the moment.
[To be continued in Part 12 "Heart to Heart" . . .]
Captain Nami Ishikawa
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant JG Terri C. Lee
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant JG Lauren Alenis
(NPC - Oliver)
Lieutenant Gustave Dolarian
(NPC - Theo)
Brigadier General Hsina Amman
Advance Reconnaissance Group Unified Service (A.R.G.U.S)
Special Operations Command