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Connecting the Dots

Posted on 10 Feb 2016 @ 12:15am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Jillian O'Connell & Commander C. Kos & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Roget del Rosario & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant Parisa Rykov DCS & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Chief Petty Officer Sergei Andropov

Mission: Rude Awakening
Location: Various
Timeline: MD 9 || 1415 hours

===[Brig]===

Lieutenant Tharlon Wul, who had been standing in the corner near the forcefield keeping an eye on both the guards in the room and his Commanding Officer in the cell across the room, suddenly wavered. His black pupiled eyes went wide in surprise and a hand went straight to his forehead. Ensign Trevol, his Vulcan cellmate, instantly rose to his feet to catch the Lieutenant.

"What is the matter, sir?" the Vulcan asked without a hint of concern in his voice.

"Something... something is wrong," Tharlon said, looking up at the Vulcan. "Someone... I... I don't know. But something is seriously wrong..."

The Vulcan helped the lieutenant sit on the nearby cot before calling for a guard. "Call for a medic," he requested.

Jillian watched the two men from her cell across the brig. Her face instantly turned an ashen white. "No..." she whispered, fearing the worst. The last time Tharlon behaved the way he did was months ago when the Consortium attempted to take over the O'Carroll. All she could do now was hope that the crew of the Black Hawk would act quickly enough to prevent the Consortium from carrying out unimaginable acts.

Camila bolted past the other cells and exited from the Brig and hit her combadge as she ran down the corridor. =^=Di Pasquale to Commander del Rosario. Computer has issued a Security alert. There's phaser fire on the bridge, Sir!=^= Granted, the acting Executive Officer had probably gotten the same alert, but he might not have since he had turned Security over to her while he carried out his new duties.

She entered the turbolift. "Bridge, Security override. Maximum safe velocity!" she ordered the computer before the doors on the turbolift closed and it began to accelerate without stops for other requests.


===[Ready Room]===

"Computer, cancel security alert. Authorization del Rosario-gamma-seven-three-one-epsilon-nine."

"Authorization recognized. Security alert cancelled," the computer responded.

The security chief tapped his comm badge. "Del Rosario to Di Pasquale. Stand down. There was an accidental discharge. I was present and am dealing with the situation."

=^=I have vital information to present,=^= Camila said as the turbolift came to a halt and she exited onto the bridge.

Roget quickly entered some code that would have the computer only admit him to the ready room. It was an advanced algorithm which had a self-preservation subroutine, making the code exceedingly difficult to find.


===[MAIN SICKBAY]===

Jayla stood staring at the prone figure on the bio bed, mine racing a mile a minute. She had to tell Geisler right away. She took several deep, calming breaths. If he was with del Rosario, she didn't want to raise suspicions. "Kij to Geisler," she said, tapping her com-badge.

Not now Kij!, he thought. "The Captain is busy Doctor," Roget informed the Trill physician. "If it's important, I can come down to Sickbay as soon as I finish up here."

Jayla hesitated. "Uh, no," she replied, managing to sound a little annoyed rather than terrified like she felt. "It's nothing important. It can wait. Kij out."

Something had happened. Something was wrong. But, who could she go to? Who could she trust?

Kos!

"I'll be back shortly," she said to her nurses. "Keep an eye on Bast." Without waiting for an answer, she grabbed a medkit, turned, and headed out the door.


===[BRIDGE]===

Roget exited Geisler's office and stepped onto the bridge. He had moved the captain's limp form into the small restroom facilities, so no one on the bridge would be able to see him.

He saw Di Pasquale attending across the bridge. "You have something to report, Lieutenant?"

"Yes, Sir," Camila said. "It would be best if the Captain were involved, Commander. In private." She had no idea who she could trust with the information she had received from the Tellarite, but she did know that the Captain had to be informed.

"I will have to suffice, Lieutenant. The Captain does not want to be disturbed," Roget told the security officer. "Report."

"I have information that could shake the foundations of Starfleet's presence here in the Gamma Quadrant," Camila said. "I would prefer that the Captain hear this first hand, Sir. Regulation forty-six-A dictates that the bridge is not the place to divulge this information."

Though the business being discussed behind him was clearly not meant for everyone, including blue-collared stellar cartographers, Lieutenant Carmichael couldn't help but turn and observe what was happening on the command platform. All these rumors about Consortium this and Consortium that had made him very very glad that he was not destined for a command slot. Hell, he'd be happy to make it to forty before making lieutenant commander. Still, he couldn't help feeling that something was wrong. Sadly, he didn't know what to do about it. Instead, he turned back to his display which monitored the convoy, the O'Carroll and the half-dozen Valkryies still patrolling the perimeter around all five ships. He just wanted this to end so he could get one more high-resolution scan of that nebula...

Having been working on an Engineering matter at a bridge station, the sharp Romulan ears heard some of the interesting exchange. Doesn't want to be disturbed? Way to go hide your face thought the engineer in mild disgust at Harvey's vanishing act. Things were getting complicated and puzzling, and now to top off the matter, the Captain was not to be disturbed.

Lieutenant Rykov finished her work on the Bridge and headed for the turbolift. Soon her shift would be over and she could at least try to get some shut eye.


===[USS O’Carroll, Bridge]===

It had been two hours since Walsh, Niequist, and Dicon had beamed aboard to take control of the O’Carroll. Repairs were moving along as fast they could go with the amount of crew available. Though the ship was still quite a ways from being at one hundred percent operating efficiency, they did have impulse engines, shields, and weapons fixed.

Terry had no idea how long their temporary assignment would be. It had been forty-five minutes since they had heard anything from the Black Hawk and even longer since he’d heard from Captain Geisler. Terry had been left in the dark, something he didn’t like.

“Niequist, when did we last hear from the Black Hawk?” he asked.

"It's been almost an hour," Niequist noted without even looking up from the science console. She'd spent the better part of their time here studying the information coming back from the O'Carroll's sensors, and the look on her face certainly told the tale of frustration.

“Well, we’ll give them a while longer,” replied Terry. “In the meantime, have we learned anything else from those scans on the convoy and the beamed out weapon parts?”

"Very little," Niequist admitted with a sigh. "Honestly, they're mostly dust at this point. I can give you a rough estimate of how many, but that's it."

Behind both of the Black Hawk's officers, Ensign Barda, who had assumed control of the Operations station following Bast's sudden departure, eyed both the bald man and golden-haired woman. There wasn't a soul aboard this ship that was thrilled that they were reliving their worst nightmare once again. Her fianceé had been one of the Consortium agents who had tried to overtake the bridge. What she hated more than his betrayal was this crew's willingness to step aside at the Captain's request to see where the Black Hawk's loyalties lay.

She'd detected minutes ago a transmission from the Black Hawk pointed at Deep Space 11's coordinates. After that, silence. She couldn't wait any longer. Every minute this ship sat here guarded by the Black Hawk and its circling tiny predators was another minute closer to the command crew's doom.

Over the last few minutes, she'd sent coded messages to various stations on board the ship. Each person had responded, coming to the bridge one by one with Type-I phasers concealed on their waists. If these visitors were Consortium, it was time to find out.

Barda took in a slow, quiet breath, looked at the back of the bald head in the center chair and uttered the three words she despised with every fiber of her being and hoped this wouldn't end badly.

"Pity is treason," she declared for all the bridge to hear.

"What the hell?" Niequist asked, looking up at the Ensign confusedly. Despite all, she raised her hands--not in defense, but in acquiescence. Two against many were not good odds if these people wanted a fight. "Walsh?"

Terry turned around and saw an Ensign standing there. Then he looked at Niequist and shrugged. “Got me, Commander.” Right then, he realized that there were more people on the bridge than before and brushed it off, momentarily. He turned his attention back to the Ensign. “What in the world are you talking about, Ensign? Treason? I’ll have you know I’ll shoot you myself.”

Barda was surprised by the reactions of the high-ranking officers. She had expected them to instantly whip out their phasers and assert their command over the bridge. "You're... you're not Consortium," she said softly, wanting to make sure her conclusion was correct.

Terry didn’t wait for Niequist to answer. She could answer for herself anyway. “Hell no!” he exclaimed. “I’m true-blue Starfleet and UFP! Are you Consortium?” he asked.

"There's not an ounce of Consortium blood on this vessel," Barda sternly replied, gripping the edges of her console. "Hasn't been for weeks."

“That’s good to know,” said Terry, as he relaxed. Then he decided to deal with the extra personnel on the bridge. “I suppose these folks were here for backup?” he asked, grinning.

Barda smiled. "Something like that."

Terry laughed. “Meh, we could’ve taken ‘em.”

Niequist let out a sigh of relief, then grinned at Walsh. "Probably, but I'd much rather the part where we don't have to. So, Ensign, since we've established we're all good guys, and this ship is nearly back in working order, what say you give me a hand going over these scans to see if we can't piece together what they were doing."


===[Brig]===

Jayla entered the brig and waved off the officer on duty. But, the guard jumped up and hurried to open to the brig for her. "That was fast," he said. "I just called for you."

"You did?" said Jayla.

"Yes," he said. "One of the prisoners collapsed."

"I- that... that's now what I was coming down for," she said. "But, okay."

"What did you come for then?" he asked, opening the door to the cell area for her.

"Um... Commander O'Connell," she answered. "She's pregnant and I need to check on her. But, I'll check the collapsed prisoner first, obviously."

He nodded and let her enter the cells by herself. Good, that was good. She found the collapsed man with no trouble, obviously, but she also spied the subject she'd come to see. "Commander Kos!" she said, taking out her tricorder and dropping the forcefield so she could scan the prisoner laying on the floor. "I think something has happened to the Captain."

"What? Is he okay?" Mackenzie was aware of the concern in voice. Even though she was with Walsh, she still cared greatly about Harvey. "Do you know what happened?" she asked.

She shook her head. "I have reason to believe that del Rosario is Consortium." She took a deep breath. "I need to break you out," she said.

"Del Rosario?" Mac said quietly. Although the veteran security chief was rigid and not easy to get along with, Kos was shocked. Having dealt with several minor crew complaints about del Rosario, she knew that he rubbed people the wrong way, but even still, she had recommended him to Geisler for Second Officer. Then Kij's words fully hit her.

Jillian's cell was next to Kos's. Surprisingly, the doctor's tone wasn't hushed, but indeed laced with urgency. Before she dared to participate in the conversation, she looked up at the guards in the brig. Their reaction would determine the outcome of this situation.

"Break me out?" Kos questioned.

Andropov entered just in time to hear the XO's words. "No one is breaking anyone out," Sergei stated authoritatively.

He had been on duty in the watch commander's office when he noticed Doctor Kij rush by and into Detention. Curious, he'd decided to check on the situation.

"Tend to Lieutenant Wul without further conversation with the Commander," he suggested. He also motioned for one of the guards to reposition herself in between Kos' and Wul's cells, in an effort to further discourage communication between the Chief Medical Officer and the Executive Officer.

Jayla stared at the security officer for a long moment, her eyes going from urgent to caged animal to steely resolution. She took a deep breath and was about to reply when the doors to the detention area opened once again, and T'Lura walked in, with a medkit strapped at her shoulder. The Vulcan nurse had heard the exchange between Commander del Rosario and Doctor Kij. The Chief Medical Officer's next action was only logical: she would attempt to get to the ship's First Officer. If they were to assume Lieutenant Bast's words to be true, then it was logical to assume Commander Kos had been framed, and was loyal to Starfleet. Commander del Rosario had maneuvered to place himself in command of the Black Hawk.

She took in the situation in the detention area in one glance, and determined the best course of action.

"I have the prenatal vitamins for Commander O'Connell you requested, Doctor," she announced.

She placed herself behind the guard standing between Kij and Kos's cell, a woman she recognized as Ensign Smith, and reached up with her hand. In an instant, her fingers located the nerve at the junction of the neck and shoulder, and pressed hard. The Security guard collapsed, while T'Lura's free hand swept at Smith's hip, and grabbed the Security guard's phaser. In one swoop motion, she levelled it at Andropov.

"Stand down," she ordered. "We have reason to believe Commander del Rosario is an agent of the Consortium, and that he has disabled, or killed, Captain Geisler, and framed Commander Kos."

Jayla's steely resolution faded in an instant back to the urgency that had been there before T'Lura walked in. "You're either Starfleet or Consortium, but no matter which, we're taking commander Kos with us," she told the guard.

Sergei's eyes stayed focused on the Vulcan Lieutenant, though he directed his words to Kij. "I don't appreciate having my loyalties questioned, Doctor. And you're not taking the Commander anywhere."

"I apologize," said Jayla, sounding and looking truly sorry. "But, I have questioned everyone's loyalties in the past week. Including my own, just an hour ago."

Andropov listened to the Trill physician's words. "You claim that Commander Kos was framed. What evidence do you have of that?"

"Do you honestly think that I would sabotage the ship, Chief?" Mackenzie asked from her cell. She wasn't sure who to trust anymore, but it was clear that Kij was actively on her side. Andropov, on the other hand, could still go either way.

"Of course not, sir. But the evidence is against you currently. Barring orders from the Captain or Commander del Rosario, I'm not releasing anyone."

"And I'd greatly prefer not having a phaser pointed at me," he added.

"Think about it," Jayla said. "Why would someone go to all the trouble of sabotaging the ship and then NOT cover their tracks? I think someone wanted her out of the way. And I also think that that someone is del Rosario."

"But you have no actual evidence against Commander del Rosario," Sergei replied, pointing out a very important factor.

"Bast is in Sick Bay right now," she said. "It's a very long story, but someone injected him with some sort of serum that blocked the link between symbiont and host. I believe they used that blocked link to control him telepathically. We've been working on restoring the link. He woke up a few minutes ago and uttered three words: Roget, Terlexa, Consortium."

Mac studied the Russian security officer's face. She hadn't worked with him much, but they had talked several times, mostly about places Andropov had visited during his lengthy career. She knew that he was probably still not convinced.

"Chief," she started, "look at me."

"Not with a weapon trained on me."

Kos looked at T'Lura. "Lieutenant? Do you mind?"

T'Lura lowered her weapon very slowly, never taking her eyes off Andropov.

As the First Officer's cell was right beside hers, Jillian had no way of seeing her face, much less anything in that cell as she attempted to take command of the room. She did, however, step as close to the forcefield as possible to show she was interested in how this went down, hoping all the while that this crew quickly came to an understanding.

"Chief," Mac began.

Sergei turned his head to look at the Black Hawk's XO. "I'm not inclined to release you, sir."

"I know. And I respect that. But, if the Doctor is onto something, someone needs to take action."

"Even if Commander del Rosario is Consortium, Captain Geisler is still in command of the ship," Andropov replied. "No one has yet produced any evidence that Commander del Rosario has done anything to the Captain."

"Try to contact him," Kos urged.

Sergei tapped his comm badge. "Andropov to Geisler."

"Chief," came del Rosario's voice over the comm, "the Captain is unavailable currently. What is the problem?"

The captain wouldn't just lock himself away in the middle of a situation like this, Sergei thought.

"Commander Kos asked me to talk to the Captain for her, sir," the Chief Petty Officer lied.

"You shouldn't be in Detention, Chief. Kos isn't any of your concern. Do you understand?"

"Yes sir. Of course. Andropov out."

The Security Chief's response was enough for him. "What are your orders Commander?"


===[USS O’Carroll, Bridge]===

Terry fidgeted in the center chair. Something wasn’t right. He could feel it in his gut. Besides which, there was this apparent communications blackout from the Hawk.

“I don’t like it,” he said aloud. “I don’t like it one bit. Niequist, ready room. Whoever the senior ranking Lieutenant is, you have the bridge.” Terry got up and quickly walked to the CO’s ready room.

Niequist nodded and headed towards the ready room as ordered, leaving her station with only a single backwards glance.

Terry didn’t go over to the desk. Instead, he stood in the middle of the room. “Things aren’t adding up, Niequist. Why has Starfleet resorted to weapons smuggling to settle a crisis? Why use a medical convoy to hide it all? Why did Bast suddenly disappear and end up on that ship? And why in the hell is no one from the Black Hawk talking with us?!”

Like Terry, she didn't head behind the desk. Instead she crossed her arms in front of him, standing at a resting and uncertain pose. "I have some guesses, but they're just guesses. If Ensign Barda's right, and no one on this ship was Consortium in the first place, then either the Consortium gave them bad information, or they gave Captain Geisler bad information." Or both. It could be that.

"Either way," Niequist continues, "both ships are being played against one another. Given Barda's bold assertions, my guess is we were supposed to destroy the O'Carroll, which leads me to believe it's us that got the bad info. Moreover, given someone went to a lot of trouble to try and hide those weapons at the last instant, I think we weren't supposed to check the cargo on those transports. So if you want my very honest guess," Imráe says, "the reason we haven't heard from Geisler by now is either because Geisler is dealing with something aboard the Black Hawk that is more pressing than us, or because Geisler is with the Consortium."

Here, Niequist pauses and looks Terry straight in the eye. "Walsh, I want to point out that right now you are in legal command of this Starship. Whatever happens, you cannot be relieved without the orders of Captain Geisler, or an officer of superior rank. She's undercrewed, but if the Black Hawk is in trouble, then we should use the O'Carroll to help her out."

Terry had settled down by now. This was all grinding at him and Imráe was making sense. “If no one on this ship is, or was, Consortium, then the crew that is being held on the Black Hawk is loyal to Starfleet and needs every bit of help we can give them to escape. And if we were supposed to destroy the O’Carroll, then those weapons were supposed to arrive at...wherever. And we can’t let that happen either.” He paused and sighed deeply. “You’re right, Niequist, about this ship. We need to use it to help the Hawk. I just hope I don’t get backhanded for breaking a ship that was recently put back together.” Terry kind of chuckled at his last statement.

Then he continued. “Before this mess started, Lieutenant Barda showed me some tactical scenarios. In the Akira versus Akira one, both ships were left as smoldering wrecks and floating derelict. Akira and fighter squadron versus Akira gave us our actual outcome. I have my fighter squadron out there ready to go. That gives us the advantage. That, and I don’t think anybody, Starfleet or Consortium will be expecting this. Thoughts on a plan of attack, Commander?”

Imráe grimaced at the idea of attacking the Black Hawk. "If it comes to a fight, we fight," she notes, "but there are other options. Most important right now is getting information. We don't have enough, and it's a big problem. I think we should move into an aggressive position. Don't actually take action, just make it look like we're going to. Get the Black Hawk to notice us. Because right now I think they've entirely forgotten. But if we put ourselves just a few kilometers off their forward bow with weapons and shields up, they won't be able to jump to warp without maneuvering, and they won't be able to ignore us unless they call our bluff."

“Okay,” said Terry, “We’ll go with the aggressive stance, it might just work. Though, if it comes to a fight, we fight. That’ll be Plan B. I’ll also have the fighters take up an offensive position and have their weapons armed as well. Let’s remind them we’re still out here. Anything else you can think of?

Niequist shook her head uncertainly. "No, I'm out of options, otherwise. Anything else would require more crew or a different ship."

Terry breathed deeply. “Alright then, let’s see what happens. After you, Niequist.” He gestured towards the door.

Niequist considered Terry a moment, then nodded her head and turned for the door. "Time to ring the doorbell," she muttered as she moved to take up a position not in the science officer's chair, but in the Executive Officer's, at Terry's right.

Terry followed Commander Niequist out of the ready room and took a seat in the center chair . “Gotta alert the crew. I don’t want to keep them in the dark, especially if some of them still think we’re Consortium.”

He tapped a few commands into the arm of his chair and spoke. “Attention all hands, this is Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh, current Commanding Officer of the USS O’Carroll. We are about to position ourselves in an aggressive stance against the USS Black Hawk. Things are not adding up and we believe that the Consortium has something to do with it. There is a possibility that we will be forced to defend ourselves. We must be prepared for the worst. Walsh out.”

Terry turned to Niequist, “Bring us into position, Commander.”

Niequist blinked at Walsh giving her the bridge. She qualified for it before she joined the Harbinger, years ago, but never has she had to take command of a starship except for a night watch. Swallowing her self-doubt, Niequist brought up the navigational data on her arm-console, then took a breath.

"Yellow alert, shields up," Imráe declared, and the computer immediately responded. "Helm, ahead one third and bring us about. Put us twenty kilometers off the bow of the Black hawk, up five degrees relative."

"Aye sir," said the helmsman as he brought the ship's engines to life. With the repairs still underway the ship wasn't at full power, but it had plenty for the low-speed maenuver. "We are twenty five kilometers off, up five relative."

"All stop," Niequist instructed. "Match orientation. Tactical, arm all phaser banks and torpedoes. Let's see whether they ignore us, now."


===[Brig]===

Having been released from her cell, Mackenzie thanked Chief Andropov. "My command codes won't work. They were locked out when I was taken into custody. Given del Rosario's expertise in computers, I doubt we can safely reinstate them without him knowing."

She paused and thought about her options. "I need to go to the bridge. Doctor, come with me. As the Chief Medical Officer, your access codes will get you into just about everything."

Jayla nodded. She had no idea what they were going to do once they got to the bridge, but she supposed they could work that out on the way.

"Chief, you're coming too."

Sergei simply nodded confirmation.

"You can head back to Sickbay Lieutenant," Kos informed T'Lura.

T'Lura nodded, and followed the others out of the detention area. But while the others turned left to head for the Bridge, she made a right turn, and returned to Sickbay.

"Please tell me you have a plan," Jayla said to Kos as they walked.

"Two in fact," Mackenzie replied. "My father taught me the value of words in resolving difficult situations."

"So you're just going to talk to Commander del Rosario," Andropov inquired.

"That's the first plan."

Sergei pushed. "And if that doesn't work? What's your other plan?"

Kos stopped in her tracks and looked the Russian security officer directly in the eyes. "You are. Keep your phaser ready."



~To Be Continued~

 

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