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Cdr Wyatt Cayne

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About Cdr Wyatt Cayne

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  1. Rokassa Juice and Tojal - 100 Words - Gila Orrak Gila Orrak placed the personal items from her satchel onto the dresser. The dimensions were smaller than she was used to, but in the bedroom sat a soft bed and the living room provided a view onto the stars. One of those stars orbited Cardassia Prime. Light years in distance, but still close to her heart. She may have felt the push to leave, but a piece of her would always remain. Now to fulfill another need. "Computer, one rokassa juice and tojal with warm yamok sauce." The replicator complied. Gila sat at her table for two and dug in.
  2. What Your Gut Tells You Captain Chirakis, Commander Cayne, and Gila Orrak Hours after the TKR-117 Incident... Gila knew something serious happened off-station, but whatever it was exactly, it had tapered off. Everyone on the commerce level was on edge, speaking in hushed tones as if speaking aloud would cause the next great disaster. She overheard conversations mentioning Federation starships returning. She took it as the long-distance incident made it over that insurmountable mountain and now they were on the other side of it. Working at the scent shoppe for Kelsa allowed her to acclimate to the diversity of species living on the station. She learned to read more people in a few days than years on Cardassia. There were perhaps more species here than any other starbase or starship in the entire fleet. However, Gila was waiting for only one particular species-person combination on Aegis. A high-ranking Bajoran with Klingon undertones. She sent the message during the heat of a crisis so it was understandable the response was delayed. Still, a simple yes or no would suffice. Kelsa left for the day and once again left her in charge. Business was slowing down even though people began to gather outside. Lunch. Now that the Cardassian realized the time, she too was hungry. Several establishments delivered and she took to the terminal to place an order. As soon as she logged in, a message popped up. "Glinn Orrak, come to my office at your earliest convenience." The Cardassian woman shifted from her quest of hunger to the hope that her request was about the possibility of a new duty on the station. She grabbed her water bottle and headed out from the shop, but not before switching the "Open" sign to "Stepped out back in one hour." She hurried to Chirakis' office as fast as a brisk walk through a crowd of patrons would allow. Minutes later Gila stood at the door to her office. No security officer greeted her at the door. As soon as she came close to it, it slid open. The Starfleet officer she knew as Captain Chirakis, Chief of Security, looked up from her work, nodded, and waved her over. “Glinn Orrak, come in. Please sit. I will be with you momentarily.” She seemed to be frustrated and relaxed at the same time, if that was even possible. Gila nodded quietly. As she sat, the butterflies in her belly awoke, a mix of hunger and apprehension. Within a few moments, the captain put her PADD aside, sighed, and shook her head. “Work, work, and more work. Are you sure you want to be a security officer on this station? If so, this...” She waved at the backlog. “...is what you will eventually face.” With a minimal smile, the captain relaxed in her chair and regarded Gila calmly for a moment, then raised a brow. “Have you submitted your application?” "Yes I do Captain. I am working on it and the endless questions they ask. I can have it on your desk tomorrow." Gila turned her eyes to the pile of work padds in front of her. “Good,” said the captain without reservation. “Because you are scheduled to begin your training with Lieutenant Garand tomorrow. Are you prepared for that, or have you other duties to attend to?” "Tomorrow? I, err, sure. Kelsa. I'll let her know of my absence." She looked relieved as this was not about some other transgression. “She already knows, but it is best you tell her in person. She has spoken highly of you, Lieutenant. Moreover, I have made queries into your background and have spoken to some of those who encountered you on Cardassia. They, also, speak highly of you. That… and only that… is why I have waived what could easily have been countless roadblocks to your security position. I do not expect anything out of the ordinary in your application, but protocol is protocol. Therefore, before you begin your training I must have it. Have you any questions?” The captain seemed to be rushing through things, but given the work on her desk, Gila thought it best not to press the issue. "Sir, may I ask one question, after this one?" “That is why I asked if you had any questions, Lieutenant.” A faint smile appeared. “Please. Ask away.” "What kind of security did you have in mind for me? Personal guard, patrolling the station, or something else?" “All security officers begin in patrol, regardless of rank or experience,” the captain began, gesturing minimally while she spoke. “It is important that you become familiar with the station and its inhabitants, and that you and the other officers become familiar with each other. Working closely and quickly with fellow security personnel is paramount in a crisis, of which I am sure you are aware. Where we go from there will be determined when the time comes. If there are no more questions, carry on. My door is always open to new recruits.” * * * * * She was a lieutenant in the Cardassian Elite Guard, a recipient of the Golden Emblem for Gallantry, had an exemplary record, and yet something bothered her enough for her to almost shrink from moving forward. Starfleet? The military in general? This station and what we just experienced? Then again, everyone has been shaken lately. In any event, her reticence was palpable. “Come,” said Kirel as the door chimed, and she put her thoughts aside in an attempt to be openminded. The door closed behind Cayne with a quiet hiss. “Commander. Thank you for tearing yourself away from your favorite bistro on the commerce level.” She motioned to the chair opposite. “Sit. Let’s discuss our newest recruit.” The grizzled Commander grinned. "Someone has to protect valuable assets on the station." He paused at the second revelation. "New recruit? Is it who I think it is?" “Who do you think it is?” Several PADDs slipped into a drawer that slid closed with a satisfying thud. Even more relaxed, Kirel regarded him thoughtfully. "I think she is a former Cardassian soldier who I believed to have died shortly after the Dominion bombardment of her homeworld, and who has no idea who I am." He looked vacantly into the distance. "She is capable I presume… inline with Starfleet security protocols?" “Oh, definitely. In fact I have seen few soldiers like her. Have you been watching her?” He flipped his fingers as he spoke. "As much as getting back to duties allows. She seemed nearly homeless and I think she has my favorite coat. I have not seen any of her military skills since she was a lower ranked officer on Cardassia.” “Probably because she has not exhibited any,” Kirel suggested. “However, in your wanderings I want you to keep a close eye on her. I’m sure it will be a burden, but I am transferring you from the commerce deck to the training area.” If she ever smiled, it was half there. “Lieutenant Garand will begin her training tomorrow. Put your SI-6 expertise to use. Look for anything that is out of the ordinary for an experienced trainee, especially anything that would make her balk at a task.” "I only met her once, the others times were from a distance, ugh, probably thought I was a stalker now that I think of it." Cayne rolled his eyes. "If she is as good as you say her record is she was watching me as well." He straightened up and placed his elbows on his knees. "At that scent shop she spent a lot of time watching people, only going in after watching someone closely for a few minutes. I'm not sure she's been exposed to so many cultures before, certainly ones not through a Cardassian mouthpiece." Cayne looked up at Chirakis. "She is concerned about her appearance, the makeup and all," he chuckled, "you can tell from the forehead colorization and whatever they call those hair things." "I have no doubt she could take care of herself in a melee, but I'll have to test her on that. I heard she is a good shot, and I mean really good?" “We shall see. Lieutenant Garand will get to that level eventually.” "Very well, but I would like to conduct my own evaluation, if that is allowed." Mentally he was already thinking of challenges. The captain leaned back to regard him a moment. After a deep breath, her eyes narrowed slightly, maybe with a little skepticism, but no anger. “Once a trainer, always a trainer, Commander? As good a trainer as you were, remember that Lieutenant Garand is her trainer. You, Commander, are to watch, and not interfere, no matter how much your gut tells you to. Understood?” "Yes Captain."
  3. Smells like... (A Kelsa and Gila Log) Scene: The Commerce level in Kelsa's fragrance shoppe. Gila and Kelsa are talking as the day starts for business. Kelsa explained the shop layout. “In general, my clients will find a particular type of scent appeals to them; all of a particular type are grouped. Florals are together, woods are together, musks are together, and so on, based on what is predominant. Custom mixes can be done, but are of course more costly. Those that truly wish something special do not seem to mind.” She paused, then added, “It is a simple task assisting most clients. They simply need to be encouraged to try some scents and see what they like.” The Elasian shrugged slightly, and smiled in encouragement. "What's this one," Gila inquired as she opened a bottle and took a whiff. "Oh my g-!" She quickly capped the bottle as she struggled for a moment to keep her balance. She regained her composure. She sat the bottle back on the table. "Who orders that? Sexually pent up Vulcans?" “Not exactly. It is a favored scent of Klingon clients,” she chuckled. “A very strong scent, but one very popular among them. I should have warned you. Here…” The woman reached behind the counter and produced a vial of coffee beans. “Smell these, they will help neutralize the scent.” The Cardassian woman took it happily and smooshed her nose to the vial's brim. She inhaled deeply for as long as she could. "Smells of vanilla. I feel much better though." “The vanilla is lingering from the previous scent, but that will fade shortly,” she remarked. “It was not an easy scent to mix.” Kelsa grinned. “It does smell better on a Klingon than it does in the bottle.” Handing back the vial to Kelsa, "Who wears that, the man or the woman?" “I have seen both purchasing it. Both favor strong scents - it is difficult to say which it better suits. I suppose it may depend on the particular Klingon.” She nodded before saying something she forgot earlier. "I meant to thank you for letting me stay at your place last night. I really have nowhere to stay at the moment. It was far better than the park. I do have a question however." “Of course,” Kelsa replied, gesturing for the other to continue. "This scent shop seems like small manageable business, which makes me wonder exactly what assistance you need. My training is military in nature. What would I do exactly?" She let her slim smile linger as she listened. “It would be nice to have another to mind the shop, and not need to close just to step out for a little bit, especially if I have clients who may be picking up special orders. Besides, it may be something that will help you start to decide what you wish to do with this new part of your life.” "Ah," she says brightly. "Which brings me to another issue. What do you know of a Captain Chirakis? She had security round me up, rather than escort me off the station for being too friendly, she offered me some kind of security post." Kelsa pondered a moment. “I have met her in passing, but I do not know her very well.” After a pause, she continued, “Are you considering the offer?” "I'm considering both offers. I was almost considering seeing if the cleaning crew needed help, but yours and hers sounds better." The woman fiddled with her spoon-shaped dimple on her forehead, smearing some of the blue makeup from it. "Perhaps both? I really need to hear more about it." She leaned against a counter. "I mean anything is better than what I left on Cardassia. I just could not take it any longer." Gila looked at her new friend quizzically. "I've been around people and you don't seem like you have been doing perfume sales all your life." “No. I was in Starfleet previously. This was what I chose for retirement,” she said, gesturing about her. “It suits me.” The Cardassian looked surprised. "You folks are everywhere, despite this being a joint alliance station. Perhap the Romulans were right in how the Federation spreads its tentacles across the galaxy." She laughed. "So, what scent for a woman like me, far from home?" “Do you wish to recall your home, or would you prefer something different? Nostalgia, or the future?” she asked, considering the younger woman. She smiled as plotting Cardassians do. "I think I need to leave my old battered world behind. Something for tomorrow." Nodding in understanding, Kelsa led Gila to some samples…
  4. Gila Orrak Cdr Cayne and Chirakis Security Lt David Garand walked casually through the garden, monitoring those who had taken refuge in the park during red alert. Two other officers flanked him as they wandered through at a discreet distance, occasionally stopping to talk, answer questions, and to reassure the population that all is well and that they would soon be able to return to their homes, places of business, or dinners very soon. Their sweep took in most of the park, but centered on one particular area that was occupied by a group of children and one Cardassian newcomer. Normally, adults who came aboard the station looked immediately for housing or jobs. This one associated with children. When the Cardassian left the group, Garand moved slowly in her direction. He watched for a few minutes, then approached her casually, politely introduced himself, addressed her by name, and suggested they take a walk together so they could talk in private. She swallowed hard. "How do you know my name? Am I in trouble?" He shrugged. “I’m a security officer. I’m supposed to know everyone’s name, especially for newcomers to the station.” His eyes flicked in her direction. “Is there a reason you should be in trouble?” "No. I mean, no. Not anymore. Not here on...what is this station, Aegis?" She kept pace with the security officer figuring any escape would be too risky. “Yes. It’s Sky Harbor Aegis, and a little more than a station, but we call it one. Best one on this edge of the galaxy.” His brows rose into a minimal smile that seemed genuine. “But then, there isn’t any other station on this edge of the galaxy.” He chuckled. “You’ve been in trouble before, then. Most of us have at one time or other. Was it anything that would come back to bite you?” "Bite me?" “Oh, sorry. It’s a figure of speech that we Terrans use, one not usually used in Federation Standard. It means that you have something in your background that could come up again and get you in trouble.” Gila shook her head, her single braid flopping about. "Did that little thief go running to someone to tell on me. He took the girl's tickets to the holodeck. He only got a little wet." She shook her head and stared at the ground, cursing in her head. “Oh, that. I saw that, but didn’t know what problem he caused. Thought you handled it pretty well. He’s what we call an instigator—likes to cause problems for the other kids, especially girls in the park. And no, he didn’t come running. He’s pretty harmless; we just keep an eye on him. He would have given the tickets back eventually, especially if the little Rihan girl had come after him.” He smirked and shook his head, like Annisha was no one to reckon with. She felt a bit more relaxed. "So, if the boy is not the reason you approached me, what is?" “Curiosity, mostly.” His head ticked toward an empty picnic table. “Have a seat. We’ll talk it over.” This time his expression was more insistent, a little less congenial. "S-sure..." she said with a pinch of reluctance. “Tell me why you’re watching the girls,” he said calmly, straddling a bench to face her. "Why I'm watching the girls? I only met Annisha in the park by accident, but then I've been spending a lot of time in the park." That did not sound good. "I did not mean to hang around with them. The three of them were merely in the park shortly after that incident. Then the klaxon sounded. They knew where to go and I didn't. I did not touch any of them. Honest." She realized she looked like… a vole right about now. He seemed to accept that at face value, but leaned on the tabletop, as her expression change repeatedly, eventually settling on frightened. “Okay,” he said, pulling a PADD that hung at his side. “We know that you came here for some reason—everyone does—but we don’t exactly know what reason. And by that I mean that you had more reason to come here, way out on the edge of nowhere, than just to get a job. Most people who land here are proprietors, miners, dock workers, and the like. You’re not in any of those categories, but you came here instead of going to a station closer to civilization where you could find work. Why did you choose this one? That’s a question I’ve been trying to answer since we started watching you.” He paused to tap on the PADD then swivel it so she could see. “Your name is Gila Orrak, former Cardassian military, and I’m guessing the Cardassian Guard. You had quite a distinguished service record because I don’t have access to your record. Only my commanding officer does, and she’s quite a bit higher up the chain of command. She’s a little busy right now, so we’ve been watching you closely, and this is what we’ve seen.” The PADD began to play snips of surveillance footage that showed her talking to the children, saying a few things that could be incriminating: “The journey here was long. People were looking at me the entire voyage and not in a good way.” “This was my last stop before…. I had no other destination.” “I need a place to stay for a while. Don't suppose you know of any places, or perhaps your parents need some tasks done for room and board.” Alexis said, “I'll talk with Dacia when she gets back, maybe she can talk with the quartermaster... or can't Jylliene find a room for her?” Annisha nodded, “She's operations.. I don't see why not….” “Interesting conversations. It doesn’t tell me much directly, but it implies quite a bit, and it looks suspicious. And that’s why we’re talking. Understand?” "Yes I understand. I meant no harm. I only have been here a few days. This is as far as my credits would take me. What did you think I was doing with them?” He shrugged and blanked the screen. “I think you were getting close to the children for some reason.” "Oh." She looked down at her hands, not looking him in the face. Garand slipped the PADD into its case and turned to face her again. “Tell you what. You know we’re watching. I’m not going to say that you have to stay away from them, but watch yourself. If we see anything questionable, you’ll be downstairs in a very special room faster than you can blink. Got it?” "Yes...sir." Nodding, he stood and pointed at a kiosk as he handed her a card. “Take this over there. Get something to eat. See you around.” He moved on.
  5. Park and Reclamation The light breeze blew across the park from one end and flowed playfully to the other. The warm sun poked out from the leaves of the trees about midway to zenith. Directly above at zenith a patch of cumulus clouds crawled slowly across the otherwise azure sky. No world could claim they had a sky quite like this, not Earth, Vulcan, or Cardassia Prime. The parameters were likely set by a committee light years away, some universally agreed upon pleasantries no doubt. Even with its rather lowest common denominator of idealism, one visitor found this park a touch beyond perfect. Gila had just arrived only hours ago on a Groumall class transport bound from Cardassia Prime. The trip was thankfully uneventful, but felt quite longer than it should have. Mostly the problem was her seat's comfort bordered on criminal and was likely a relic from another ship. Her back was killing her, but seeing a park like this on a space station this size was worth the pain. Laying flat on her back on the soft grass was a bonus as well. Even with the park's rather too-perfect setup, getting off of Cardassia never felt so good. The rebuilding process after the devastating bombardment by the Dominion at the end of the war by many accounts were complete. Had you never been there before the war you may have never known anything took place. Gila knew. She remembered. She remembered losing so many friend and most painful of all her entire family. Her battle group was only spared by being at the wrong place at the right time. They were at a training facility high in a mountain range. A man only a mere rank higher by the name of Retav took control of her group and lead them to a system of underground hardened caverns. Their safety came at a cost. The Jem'Hadar were in pursuit as they were heading into the cave system. Retav held them back, all except one. One soldier followed the battle group into the caves and fired shots, hitting Gila in the chest just below her shoulder. The missed shots hit a part of the cave much closer to the lone Jem'Hadar, causing him to plummet to his death. No other soldiers followed. Retav never returned. Those were only memories now, the physical scars paired with the emotional loss having woven themselves into her past. Now it was time to move on. A time to leave everything behind save for the scar left by the Jem'Harar weapon. For the most part she was free. The feeling of relief was so moving for her that emotions pour out in the form of tears down the sides of her face. She was silent in her outburst, but Gila heard crying in her own head. No, it was not her. Gila rolled over and got herself up off the grass. She waited for the head rush to subside as she wiped the tears into the sleeve of her mauve shirt. The euphoria faded away as she got her bearings and looked for the source of the crying. She winded through the plant life scattered along this end of the park before heading to the central pond. The crying was closer, but she could not see from whom. Almost on top of it she looked down to see a young girl sitting on a rock at the side of the pond. She was crying and sniffling, trying to stop one with the other, but likely causing them both in the process. Her hair was a lot like Gila's: black and straight. What was distinctly different was the point of the girl's ears poking out from dark strands. The girl had not seen her approach. "Hello there," Gila started, having not thought of exactly what to say, "My name is Gila. I noticed you are...upset." The girl, no more than ten years old, jumped off her rock and nearly fell in. Would have fallen in if not for Gila's hand reaching out and catching her. The girl looked at the hand on her arm and then back up to see who saved her. The girl's eyes went wide at the unexpected face of a Cardassian. She quickly withdrew her arm as she steadied herself on the rock. "Let me go! I'm not crying. No one is crying here." The girl said as she promptly plopped herself back onto the rock. Her crying subsided. "Oh I did not hear any crying, but even a Horta can tell a biped like yourself is having a bad day." Gila gestured she too wished to sit on the rock. The girl nodded in a manner looking more like she was in trouble and she scooched over a bit. She expressed that by folding her arms and letting out a "humph." Gila continued on. "So little girl," the Cardassian women offered a hand, "my name is Gila Orrak. What's yours?" "Annisha. Annisha t'Korjata, but I'm not a little girl." "Oh my apologies Annisha, but you should enjoy your time of youth, believe me. I was like you once, even the same hair." Gila chuckled as she showed how her own hair was like that of Annisha's. "It's a chore to keep straight, as I imagine yours is too. At least in the respect we are alike." "Maybe, what do you care?" "Well," Gila grinned. "Us straight-haired girls have to stick together, help each other out, but I can't help you if I don't know what is upsetting you so much. If it's something you don't want other grownups to know about I can keep a secret." She patted Annisha's need in assurance. "Someone took something from my and my friends. I was too small to stop them." "Too small?" Gila looked at her quizzically. "Small is only a matter of perspective. What's small to you is quite big to others." She looked down at the girl again, realizing the point may be lost a bit since she was larger than Annisha. "What did they take from you?" "Passes. Holochamber passes I got as a prize from school from a competition. Three passes of three hours each. I was cutting through the park and was ambushed by someone I'd not seen before. Some scraggly boy. He looked homeless." Annisha started tear up upon revisiting her misfortune. "Homeless," Gila repeated. "Did he have a torn shirt with some kind of script on the front, blue perhaps?" "Yes, how did you know?" "I saw him milling about when I entered a while ago. He was pocketing something and stared at me for a moment. Must have been those tickets. If only I had arrived sooner." "Oh, well, he was too tall for me to get them. Teased me with them over my head. There was not even a Federation security officer around to get them back." Annisha looked dejected and stared into the still pond waters. "I know where a security officer can be found," she patted Annisha on the knee again. "Wait right here." Gila got up from the rock and huffed her way to where she last saw that shifty boy. The types of plants where she last saw him were unfamiliar. The writing on the descriptions of the trees looked vaguely Rihan. There were tall grassed and bushes obscuring the grassy floor of the park. In the midst of it all Gila stood there to listen carefully for any movement. She could not hear Annisha, but heard the rustle of the leaves against the wind and then... A snicker of triumph a few meters ahead, in the middle of the Rihan bush. Like before, the sound was low to the ground. As she approached the chuckling stopped. A pair of white eyes greeted her and the rest of the body they were on jumped up. "Ahh!" He exclaimed and he rose to run away. She grabbed him on the shoulder with a surprising combination of swiftness and strength. "No so fast little boy." Gila said sternly. "Let me go! Security!" "I am security," she glared at him with the contempt Cardassians were known for in the quadrant. Her eyes burned through his expression like a nova. "I saw you pocket something earlier and I have it on good authority that it was stolen from a little girl by someone bigger than her. Does this sound familiar to you?" She snarrled. "You can't prove the tickets aren't mine! They were a gift," the boy said with fear in his eyes. "I never said they were tickets, but my friend sure did. Hand them over NOW!" "No, you can't hurt me." "Oh?" she said with mild amusement. Gila proceeded to carry him through the bush and grass. She lead him back to the pond. His struggles were in vain as she held him up just enough that he could not release himself or walk off. Annisha turned from watching the tiny waves on the water too seeing Gila approach with a boy suspended in the air. "Oh," she gasped as she leaped to up and stood upon the rock. "That's him! That's the messy boy that took my tickets!" "That answers my question then." Gila turned to the boy. "You have been identified as suspect in a local robbery. Annisha, come over here please." "Okay," she walked over with a bit of apprehension. She stood in front of Gila, who managed to hold the boy in the air and with little struggle. "Don't be afraid Annisha, but reach into his right pants pocket and pull our your ticket." Annsiha nodded and walked closer to retrieve her stolen passes. She reached into his pocket, not very deep, and pulled out three polymer paper holodeck passes. They were grimy from the handling by the the thief, but still valid for use. "These are it!" She said excitedly, jumping up and down. "Good," Gila said, turning her attention to the raggy boy. "Now you apologize to her." The boy looked ever more frightened as he turned to face Annisha. "I-I won'tt steal f-from you." "Or anyone else." Gila added. "O-Or anyone else again. I'mm sorry." Annisha looked up at the boy who was now had gone limp in the strong arms of Gila. "You better not...boy. I know people on the station. Powerful people that will make..." "That's quite enough Annisha." "Right," Annisha said, smiling. "Hey, au said there was one more thing." The Cardassian woman turned to Annisha and nodded. "You are quite right." Without another word Gila took the boy up on the rock. She held him there. "Just so you don't forget this moment," She then threw him into the pond, the wave so large that water splashed back onto Gila and Annisha. He struggled a bit, but the pond was not that deep. He flopped around in the water and eventually crawled back onto his feet. He ran away from the pond, heading towards the exit. "Tell your friends there will be no theft on this station!" Gila yelled. She turned her attention back to Annisha, who was still agape with what she just saw. "I thought Klingons were brutal." "I'm not Klingon, I'm Cardassian."
  6. Ghost Squad: Covert Oops Cayne, Shadow, Ghost Squad Cdr Wyatt Cayne -> What brings you here NRG... oh that's good... Not my wit I presume Shadow -> Unknown. Think rift. Cdr Wyatt Cayne -> The explosion? Shadow -> Children find. Children not afraid. Children young biologicals. Teach Shadow. Give name. ~Chat Log, 16 September 2016 In the less visited areas of the station, Commander Cayne, looking a bit older than usual, hobbled along as he nursed his ankle. He shifted from walking fine and wanting a railing to hold onto. They moved on silently as he got his bearings and took in the energy being's last words. "Children..." the word lingered, not so much as a question, but a realization. "That 'gang' I met back there? You've been talking to them? Maybe that's why scanning of that area has been hit or miss. Hope they have not taught you things like petty theft." Cayne turned to the being. Shadow gave him a curious look, and took a while to respond. He seemed to be thinking, though because of his semi-transparent form, it was difficult to tell. “Petty,” he said. “Small. Inconsequential. Theft. Take something without permission. Steal. How biologicals teach this Shadow?” "I've met a lot of kids on a lot of worlds and many of them are little thieves. A large portion of them were out of necessity." He frowned as he shuffled. "I tried to help a few, but I'm only one man. Sounds like they did not pass on that wisdom to yourself. Guess you are their guardian angel." Cayne could press for more information, but this was no ordinary interrogation. “You secondary The Cayne. Primary young biological The Jake. This one Shadow. The Jake not steal. Shadow not steal.” He extended his hand through the wall, then retracted it. “Shadow not hold. Not grasp. Not take.” Again, he gave Cayne a curious look. “The Cayne steal?” Cayne laughed loudly. "Fair enough. When I was young, younger than Jake, I stole for a time, but it was a short-lived part of my life." He sighed. "Well, that's not quite all. In my job I've had to steal, but it was from bad people doing very bad things." Cayne found a railing as they rounded a corner and took it. "I guess possession of items would not matter to a being such as yourself." Shadow seemed to consider that while watching Cayne lean. “The Cayne broken. The Jake fix.” “Hey, Commander,” a young voice called from around the corner. “I hear ya talkin’. We got you somethin’ so you don’t have to walk.” A few seconds later, Jake rounded the corner followed by an entourage of equally ragged kids. They hauled several things, among them a pair of crutches, an old fashioned wheelchair with wheels that squeaked squeegee, squeegee, squeegee, like it needed oil, and a stretcher that must have been used during earth’s First World War. “So, Shadow’s takin’ care of you, Commander?” The old soldier looked back. Two of them turned Cayne around. "What are those?" Before he could get an answer the wheelchair clipped him in the back and sent his butt into it. "Oof! Hey...," he went as he rolled his eyes. "How old do you all think I am?" They wheeled him along and his politeness saw no way out of it. “Uh… sorry, Commander. Billy’s never had to do this before. In fact, you’re our first casualty.” The boy made it sound like it was a major accomplishment for their gang, like a step up on the covert ladder. “Yeah,” said Billy, hanging his head as he continued to navigate the small corridor. “Sorry, Sir.” "It's fine son. I'm sure the doctors would insist on even more precautions. Jake took the lead, the rest following behind, whispers about a Starfleet Commander shooting back and forth. “What is he doing way down here?” “Are we in trouble?” “What’s that funny pin on his collar?” “What pin?” “The one with the bird wings around that tower thing and a 5 above it.” There was a moment of silence, followed by a stifled gasp. “Gol...that’s what the captain wears. You know, the creepy one that wears a black uniform and never smiles.” “Oh, no. That means he’s….” “Yeah. Same as her.” “Gees…. Yeah, we’re in big trouble.” After several turns and twists, the corridor narrowed. The walls vibrated with the rhythmic pounding of machinery, and there was just enough space for the wheelchair to squeeze through. At the next turn, Jake stopped, looked back along the corridor, then knocked “shave and a haircut”, which was answered by “two bits” a few seconds later. Part of the corridor wall opened and they wheeled him into a fairly large room that looked like an empty storage area. To the left, a piece of castoff packing paper stuck awkwardly to the wall. The wall next to that looked like it was covered with graffiti, but close examination showed it was a rough plan of the of the station. Several areas were colored green, some were yellow, and some were red. An assortment of youngsters ranging from about 9 to 14 stared at Cayne like he was some kind of weird new species, their eyes darting uneasily from him to each other before they settled down. Their faces were dirty, their hair unkempt, and their clothes beyond the well-used stage. Some had shoes, but most were barefoot. “Hey, guys. This is Commander Cayne,” said Jake. “Commander, meet the Ghost Squad: Bean, Mouse, Gopher, Jimbo, Juice, and Angle. The one behind you, pushing the wheelchair is Billy, my XO.” At that point, Shadow came through the far wall to hover just above the floor. “Oh, and Shadow. He’s kind of our helper.” "This is like a band of multiple Korjata daughters. Motley crew, no offense." The commander started to get up, but some strange sharp pain in his lower back sat him back down. At least no one called him Candy Cayne, like kids did when he was their age. "Do any of you know an Annisha or her friend?" The group exchanged glances, then shook their heads. “Guess not, Commander,” Jake answered. “She must be an Above kid, and we never go there.” He shrugged. “‘Cept for Juice. He’s our Intel guy.” He pointed to a skinny boy who stood off to the side, a pair of semi-broken glasses hanging off his nose. The boy shrank into a corner, embarrassed. "Seems you have your squad all mapped out." He laughed. "I think Annisha is more a sneaky villain type. I should introduce you...wait, perhaps I should not." He looked over the kids, wondering something. "One big question, where are all your parents?" Jake stared a minute, then shifted uneasily. “They… uh.” He tried to look calm and casual. “They live around. You know, wherever they can find a safe place… away from traffickers and dealers. They make do.” "Right, so I should be able to find them in our database, you know, to let them know you are alright and being watched by energy beings." He started to mock-scribble into his hand. Jake’s mouth dropped open. “Huh?” "I mean, it seems unlikely I'd really find your parents. I've seen this before, just not on a station as new as this." He sighed. "You kids could be in all kinds of danger and not even know it. Shadow there may be unaware." He contemplated their needs. “Danger?” said one, stepping forward, his chin thrust out, posturing. “Us?” piped up another, coming to stand alongside. “We’re the ones who protect ‘em all,” said Billy, moving to stand next to Jake. “Us and Shadow. You can’t do that. We live here. This is our turf.” “Hey, Billy. Chill.” Jake stepped between the offended triad and Cayne. Shadow materialized next to him. “He’s not gonna take us away. Right, Commander? Even you said you’d probably never find our parents. And they need us.” Shadow hovered. “The Jake angry. The Billy angry. The Jimbo angry. Negative energy. Must not.” Jake eyed Shadow, then turned back to Cayne. “Commander, we take care of our own. We’re stayin’ right here.” "I'm not going to put anyone away. That solves nothing. Think of your schooling. There are people willing to help you here on Aegis." He looked them all over again. "This is no way to live in this universe." “Heck, Commander, we’ll never fit in up there. If you wanna do something to help, then get us food and clothes. And we got schooling. Probably better than they have Above.” Jake sighed, agitated. “My mom and dad, they’re….” “Jake! Shut up!” Billy stepped forward to cut him off, his eyes wide in alarm. Cayne thought about it for a moment. "They are what? And I can arrange for certain items to be delivered, but what is there in it for me?" He found his gloves tucked away in a shirt pocket and put them on, still talking. "What kind of services can you all offer for my silence? I should report you all, frankly, but willing to cut you all a break." He did this all of the time on missions far and wide. Perhaps it worked just as well on the relative security of a Federation station. Jake and Billy exchanged glances. One in the group breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, for starters, we know the station better than anyone,” he said. “We can help you find things and catch the bad guys. You see that chart up there? It’s a map of Below. Down here. We know where everyone is and what they do. We can get you information about….” Jake stopped and glanced again at Billy. “...about stuff.” "Not exactly standard procedure, but at this point," the commander put out his now gloved hand. "I think this is an arrangement we can build upon." He shook Jake's hand and displayed that same smile he used a thousand times before to solidify a deal. "I'll see what I can get by without arousing suspicion from the supply officers. Now don't go selling any of this stuff, cause we can track that." Cayne flexed his hands then pulled off his gloves again, turning them inside out and placing them back in his pocket. With a zip close he added. "Expect something by the end of the week. You'll know it when you see it."
  7. The High Ground Cayne & Chirakis From her vantage at Kvana Faisal in Aegis’ commerce area, Captain Chirakis watched the crowds pass in waves—ocean swells that varied according to commercial tidal flow: who was offering what special, and when. An occasional loud voice caught her attention, but for the most part the crowd was docile, using the commerce area to wind down after a long shift, or lingering until the late-night clubs opened, which would be soon. Though Captain Chirakis had been Chief of Security for only a few hours, everyone seemed to know. Kvana's proprietor, Faisal, was waiting for her when she arrived. Her table was ready, in a fairly secluded area with a good view of the tavern and its patrons, and most of the commerce area. A sturdy weight-bearing column protected her back, and a blast-proof emergency exit two strides away opened only from the inside. A bottle of exceptionally rare vintage Romulan ale sat expectantly in its chiller, and a crystal glass rested easily next to it on a white linen cloth. Faisal seemed to always know her needs. No, he was not Betazoid, but he often anticipated events with uncanny accuracy, and given her dislike of permanent command positions, it wasn’t difficult to predict her mood. Faisal was well-known in this area of space. As the civilian proprietor of a highly-respected establishment he drew elite patrons — especially those of high status in the military and the diplomatic corps. Chirakis kept that in the forefront of her thoughts when she spoke. Confidentiality with Faisal went only so far; beyond that, she would tread on perilous ground. “There are advantages to having a command position, Captain,” he commented as he poured her first glass. His words flowed in easy cadence, with a slight crispness and great fluidity in the formal, yet gentle lilt of a maitre d. “It provides the tools you need to accomplish your goals.” Her expression remained passive, and she did not respond except for a polite nod and thank you. Yes, he had his contacts, and he was correct. Despite her initial bristle at the orders, she realized that this position offered certain useful amenities, especially the command codes and full access to Command and Control, all parts of the station, and the station’s security grid. For once, SI-5 had chosen wisely. After a few sips of her Romulan ale, she paused to fully enjoy its quality. Faisal had indeed outdone himself, and a suspicious smile appeared as she wondered what favor he would ask once she settled in. It would be small and inconsequential, but something only she could fulfill. They knew each other well. A few taps on the slate by her side brought up basic notes and station information, general command memos, and a few other things that had transpired since her departure. She began to read, taking intermittent sips of the ale and enjoying the solitude. * * * * * Not long after, another figure strolled into the Kvana Faisal, with careful steps and a quiet entry. The man was outfitted in earth-tones from head to toe, making him stand out against the largely gray backdrop. He took the nearest booth to the door and waited to be served. A waiter walked over, but before he could speak the man ordered his drink. Stuck between hiding out here and getting out quickly, the man could not hide his agitation. The tall drink arrived and he drank a quarter of it right off. News, both bad and good, slipped away for a few good moments, but reality bounced back: Tal Shiar. He'd heard of the name before, obviously; anyone in intelligence circles learned of them the first day, along with Klingon Intelligence, Obsidian Order and Section 31. Sorry, that last entry does not exist. What did that little Rihan girl have to do with the Tal Shiar? Too young to be an agent, but in this wide universe of possibilities anything can happen. And what of the father? He did not look a master in espionage, just a run-of-the-mill engineer with some strange hold over an alluring Trill. The Rihan girl may be his, but could not be from a union with his fiance. There had been an influx of orphans after the Romulus incident, flooding many sectors under Federation control. What of his fellow agent's interest in her? Chirakis likely watches everyone, including children. With another swallow of his drink he thought: especially children. A tall, stately waiter suddenly appeared at his side, making Cayne jump slightly. His attention had settled on his drink rather than his surroundings. A bit sloppy, but he showed no surprise. A modicum of control in any situation did wonders. “Excuse me, sir,” the gentleman began with an apologetic smile. “I am Faisal, sole proprietor of Kvana Faisal. I have a message for you, from Captain Chirakis.” He nodded toward a table that was fairly well hidden from the rest of the patrons. “In the far corner. If you are available, she would like you to join her.” "Only if I can get a refill on this Altairian brandy," he asked, swinging his glass in the air. “Of course, sir. I will bring it to your table.” Faisal deftly retrieved the empty glass as it waved. He bowed, then moved smoothly to the bar. Commander Cayne left his empty glass of brandy to join Captain Chirakis with the promise of a fresh bottle of the same. He looked around for anyone else that may have seen him join her, but as the proprietor mentioned, her spot was indeed tucked away. His eyes lit up as he sat down to exactly the drink he wanted. With a swift twist he unscrewed the bottle and poured its first shot. The captain greeted him without looking up from her slate, then mentioned in a quiet, casual tone, “I often question newcomers to the station, Commander. Anyone watching us will view it as a normal, introductory meeting.” Her smile was slight and a bit weary as she dispensed with her reading and looked up. “I suppose you’ve heard the news? Everyone else seems to know.” Wyatt nodded. "Like you said. Congratulations." He held out a hand, then saw body language telling him a simple bow was enough. "Nice new station you have here. So, does this level have a name?" “Although some are still using the moniker ‘Midway’ from the previous Jupiter class design, this is the Commerce level.” "Commerce level? All of the names in the universe and this is all the Federation could come up with? It's much larger than a midway." He shrugged. "Well, I've surely put in a lot of foot falls on the 'CL'. Quite a collection of characters on this level alone. More species than I can count. Old enemies side by side." Wyatt smiled to one side. "Sounds ideal, for a captain like yourself." That finally brought a smile, or something that looked like one. “This is not a Federation station, Commander,” she said. “It is a Joint Allied station. Old enemies?” She shrugged. “We welcome any species, so long as they obey the rules. This is, by and large, neutral territory.” The captain leaned back to allow Faisal access, then continued when he left. “Since I’m doomed to stay a while, have you any plans for the future?” "Crimes have been solved and others are beyond my immediate purview, so I find myself assigned to Aegis for an indeterminate amount of time. Frankly, I'm running out of stools to occupy. It's good to know the best drinks for my different moods. I think I have a handle on it, but I otherwise need work." He drank the newly delivered brandy, finding it stronger than before. “So, you are looking for a position in security, or elsewhere?” "Can't say I've done actual security. Long-term observation? Sure. Chasing the bad guys? Sure." Wyatt looked her over through the shot glass. "I'm not much for working under a command structure. I'm my best when I work alone. Can't imagine that gig exists on a station like this." “I think you might be surprised at how we work here, Commander,” she opined, studying her half-empty glass. “Yes, we ‘chase the bad guys,’ and yes, we often need long-term observation. Under my command you would move much as you are used to, however,” she paused with a poignant cautionary look in his direction, “you must remember that I am in command. You might be needed to work out of your comfort zone on occasion, and my word is the final word.” "Of course, with a Captain as Chief of Security, how can I pull rank? It's not as if I have other places to be, lead the way Captain." He hurriedly drank down the rest of the brandy shot. He looked for Faisal, then spoke up. "I'll be coming back to this bottle," hoping he overheard his request. Soon they were entering the security complex, not far from Kvana Faisal — a strange place for security. Then again, maybe not so strange. “My office, Commander,” she said as they entered, a hand gesture indicating the elaborate bank of systems, monitors, and other equipment. "Security is nothing without their toys." Wyatt looked all around to put what he saw to memory. Some of the devices were tools of the trade, but some of their function could not be determined. He continued to walk past the monitors watching everyone in public eye. A familiar, albeit short, figure popped into view, the Rihan child from earlier. He stopped to watch her sitting with her friend. "I trust this girl is being monitored constantly?" “Why would I want to monitor this child?” she asked, turning to study him. "The Tal Shiar are not to be trifled with, and I overheard her conversation. Seems like a possible liability security would keep on their radar. If," he turned to her, "you need anyone to observe her specifically I could tail her...and her companions." At that, Chirakis reached to her desk and entered a code that turned the lights to a yellowish hue. Above the exit, the ‘secure’ symbol glowed, and the previous slight echo disappeared. She faced him with a direct, piercing gaze. “The first order of business, Commander, is to remember that Aegis is not a secure facility. Before you begin spouting sensitive compartmentalized information, be sure you are speaking in a secure area. Is that understood?” "Yes Captain," he said with a hint of chagrin. “Now. As for the Tal Shiar, you are correct. They are not to be trifled with. But then,” her eyes narrowed and her expression turned deadly, “neither are we. Do not worry about the child. She is none of your concern.” "Fair enough," he replied plainly, still watching the Rihan girl until the camera moved on.
  8. Changing Tide Cdr Wyatt Cayne and Cptn Chirakis Whether it was to give her something constructive or, as Terrans so aptly put it, "to get her out of his hair," Commander Coleridge, OIC on Aegean, could not have assigned her to a better position. The science console was a masterpiece of Commander Jorahl's creation: a seamless blend of the best technologies available, and primarily Romulan. From here, despite the interference of the nebula, crisp images formed on the planet’s surface, especially the image of Commander Cayne as he approached the alien freighter. * * * * * Time to pull out the flask, he thought. His reputation as a drinker spanned several sectors now. He took a swig, then another, poured enough from the flask to fill his hand, then splashed equal amounts on his face and jacket. He started to lumber and twitch as he got closer to the freighter, but this was not an ordinary ship. For one, the alien freighter was massive compared to most Federation vessels capable of landing. Second, well, there was no real description of the strangeness in its configuration. Perhaps an engineer could explain, but not him. Wyatt approached a long ramp to a tall loading hatch, sealed. As he looked up from the corner of his eye he spotted two figures walking parallel to the freighter. Two women in work attire. Time to act. Wyatt stumbled, then faltered from side to side. His clothes smelled of cheap durian-derived wine, and he smelled to high Stovokor. The women approached, but began to slow down in caution. "Can I," he started with a hic,"interest you ladies in a pi-" But before he could get another word out he heard a loud crack. A second after he felt a stinging pain as something between a slap and punch connected with his nose. His fake drunkenness left him vulnerable and he plummeted to the ground. "Viruminen!" the woman with the duranium fists exclaimed as she spat on the drunken man, now flat on the ground. She and her companion turned and continued on, hastening their pace. He could see them fade into the distance as he clutched his bleeding nose. Great. Someone new approached. Other than towering in height their garb concealed any useful features. Behind this figure followed an antigravity cart piled with containers of various sizes, and behind that was another figure looking exactly the same as the first, likely the one driving. They turned and went up the ramp about half way, then stopped. The lead figure waved a hand, the hatch hissed open, and he walked into the freighter, followed by the cart driven by the companion. Through the pain of his nose, Cayne watched all of this and saw an opportunity. The cart was halfway through the door when Wyatt started his own walk up the ramp, making sure his footfalls were near silent. The tall figures carried on with their work which allowed Wyatt to creep behind them. He slipped through the hatch and took to the nearest wall, pressing against it. As they continued on without notice and rounded the corner, Wyatt exhaled the breath he held in. Then the door sealed shut. Wyatt jumped, though he shouldn't have. So he was in the freighter, he needed to investigate, but now he was sealed in. Time for another drink. He pressed the open end to his lips, tilted his head back, then pressed his thumb to the corner. The curved flask’s back lit up, revealing a label with moving text. Having finished swallowing the wine in his flask, he spat out a tiny acorn-sized piece of metal onto his hand and pressed it against the face of the display. Both glowed blue for a moment. Like many species and many starships, console displays lined the wall at eye level. Their eye level. Fortunately one was next to the loading hatch door. None of the alien text was readable of course, but he was not here to peruse their database on his own time. The walls were largely a metallic dark gray with dulled-gold squares in no discernable pattern. Ideal for concealment. Wyatt placed the bit of metal on the side of the console. It cooed softly as it changed shape and color to match the surface it was placed on. Often this piece of technology did such a good job agents were unable to find it again. A minute passed. His flask vibrated indicating the bug was in place. He pulled the flask out of his pocket to look at the back. The tiny device started its work. A minute went by. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Each passing minute meant it was more likely he'd get caught or the freighter would take off with him still onboard. Time to escape. Key presses on the pad next to the hatch did nothing. When the figure waved his hand to open it before, there was no indication of how to open the door. He cursed at his inability, but perhaps he should've saved that for later as he heard footfalls approached from around that corner. What to do? Three figures, dressed like the ones before walked towards the hatch. They had no cart with them, but rifles of a design he had never seen. All three pointed them at him, but kept their measured approach to the hatch. "Sta radis ovde?" The lead figure called out with a force that need not translation. "Oh gosh *hic* I am glaad yoo guys are here. I needed to take one galactic number one and I thought this was the restroom. Then after *hic* dooing my business I found the exit closed up on me." As he spoke the other pressed the tip of the gun into his chest. "Sta radis ovde?!" the figure asked again. "Hey, I'm just trying to get out. Come on. My wife left me. Took the kids, and all my credits. Time are to- aah!" His body shook in pain as some kind of electric field overtook his bodily functions. He plopped unconscious onto the deck, resting against the hatch door. "Glupi pijan ljudsko prljavstina," the lead figure triumphantly called out as he opened the hatch and kicked the human down the ramp. * * * * * Tongue in cheek and suppressing a grin, Chirakis kept watch on the freighter hatch for nearly twenty minutes. The live video feed had taken on the look of a picture frozen in time — until the body of an all-too-familiar figure rolled down the ramp and planted, face first, on the concrete. Apparently he had succeeded in his mission, and would have the minor injuries to flaunt at the closest female — who just happened to be watching from a distance. Tarisa had been the wiser of the two, the captain decided, and though Aegean’s science sensors were excellent, they were still not good enough to give Chirakis the angle or the resolution she wanted to see the expression on the young lieutenant’s face as her superior officer rolled unceremoniously down the ramp. But before she could gloat further, the priority one alert secured to her belt vibrated, and she raised her forearm to view the unencrypted message via wrist monitor. From: Rendezvous October To: Cdr Wyatt Cayne, Cptn Chirakis Kirel RE: Mission Reassignment Make best speed to Aegis for situational evaluation. J. t’Aldani
  9. Shifting Priorities Cayne & Chirakis The catchphrase for any mission that deviates from its original objective is mission creep. The phrase was despised, but its truth remained. Every mission is variable, changeable, shifting, irregular, and fluid. Like a beached carp, it can flop 180° in less than a heartbeat, and could easily cause that heartbeat to cease. Commander Cayne and Captain Chirakis, along with several other craft, left Rendezvous October with orders to find, follow, and gather information about the alien craft that were using nebulae to slip through Allied space. It seemed simple enough, especially for Drakkor. Beneath its stealth-coated Peregrine hull, the captain’s personal craft was one of the most technologically sophisticated fighters in the fleet, so it was not long before they found an alien freighter, followed it, observed it, recorded as much information as they could, and watched it land—strangely enough—on the very same planet that Aegis’ advanced hybrid starship, Aegean, was orbiting, cloaked, apparently on a mission of its own. It was all downhill from there. Chirakis drummed her fingers on the armrest. “I do not like this,” she said absently, for lack of anything else to say, perhaps just to break the silence, to break the endless string of roiling thoughts that would explode if she said nothing. "You mean these long missions with little more than watching from afar?" Wyatt said without raising his head a centimeter. "Most of my past missions involved waiting for the right moment, but more importantly, recognizing it." He appeared to be waiting for that moment. “Watching from afar,” she replied flatly, staring through the canopy in the direction of the cloaked Aegean. “It is not the watching that disturbs me, Commander. Unfortunately, several years on a space station have taken its toll on my patience and whittled away at what used to be instinct for this line of work, and the variables that have crept into this mission are what is disturbing.” She glanced in his direction. “So tell me, Commander, when is the right moment? What are you looking for?” "Pieces are falling into place, Captain, and quickly." He scrolled through scans taken moments ago and brought up signatures from the brief burst of energy. Brief, but significant. "That energy burst we detected earlier emerged from subspace, several layers deep. Enough for a single quantum resolution pattern." He stared a moment, wishing he'd paid more attention in subspace mechanics class. "At least this computer thinks so." After a few moments of consideration, she said, “Assume I have no idea what that means.” "That burst could carry enough information to transport a person if needed. Just one person." He cleared his throat. "You can't go lower than that for a life form, otherwise you are just making a very bad copy. I'm guessing someone got beamed off that ship of yours, but to where I don't know." Wyatt tapped the display in frustration, as if it responded to anger. Did it? “What kind of device could remain undetected while targeting a life form, then beaming it through a cloak?” "Nothing Starfleet uses that I know of," he answered, shaking his head. "There are non matter-stream methods of instantaneous travel, but most are far too dangerous or unpredictable." The Commander rubbed his temples to clear his mind. "Whenever I think of cloaks, I think of Romulans, but nothing about this fits their M.O." “A non matter-stream method,” she mused aloud, then turned to face him. “What exactly would that be?” "Hmm, could be a temporal vortex of sorts, more like a pocket wormhole that would not destroy living matter due to gravitational forces. Nah, that's too complicated no matter how advanced." He raised one brow quite high. "Perhaps a dimensional fold, but instead of crushing you it would be an inaccurate transfer, over time killing you at the DNA level. I'd hate to be the person transported in either case. Please tell me you have something to add." “So, a temporal vortex would be too complicated, no matter how advanced,” the captain replied with a note of irony. “What if I were to tell you that such a thing does exist, Commander, and that it has been used in conjunction with a DNA signature, though we are not certain exactly how that factored in, but it could have been a combination of both.” She sighed. Wyatt turned to her in disbelief. "Who in the heck would use both technologies? Open the temporal, then avoid the gravity with the dimensional shift. That's crazy. That person is likely in real danger." “To answer your first question, it was the Breen, and they have not been seen for almost a year. Moreover, their colonies have mysteriously vanished. And I would agree that the person transported might be in real danger. So now the question is: where do we go from here?” "Time for a grocery list," he sighed. "We have an alien craft that's resistant to scans and the computer can't make much from what we can gather, unless you want to take the Drakkor out of the dark. We need to tag this ship if it has that capability. More importantly, if they indeed beamed someone off a cloaked vessel, they can likely beam through shields with ease. Beam people away, beam boarding parties or… explosive devices." He gave this some thought, but only a moment. "I think it's time we change the mission profile upon review of this new information. This technology takes priority, Captain."
  10. Yes. About that… A Cayne and Chirakis Log Time passes slowly when you’re waiting for something to happen. It passes even more slowly if you are sitting in orbit and you have to watch that ‘something’ constantly while it is doing absolutely nothing. Terrans would compare it to watching grass grow, but in the case of Commander Cayne and Captain Chirakis aboard Drakkor, grass would grow more quickly than the freighter they were following would move, because its crew had apparently decided to take a vacation. “Commander,” Chirakis began wearily, “since we will be here for a while, perhaps I should acquaint you with this vessel—if you are up to it?” She raised a questioning brow. "Sure. Like you said," he smirked. "We have time to burn." The captain removed her helmet, set it in its cradle, and retrieved a PADD from a forward compartment, handing it to Cayne. “Your biosigns and voice print are already entered into the system, so everything in this craft is accessible to you. Familiarize yourself with all its functions immediately, especially the basic controls and the weapons system.” What followed was a text-book recitation similar to what is often called Death by Powerpoint, minus the Powerpoint. “Drakkor is a highly advanced stealth vehicle with an EMP suppressor system and other systems that keep it secure,” she began, pointing casually along the consoles as she spoke. “All systems have triple redundancy. The ship can function completely by voice command. If anything happens to me, the computer will know immediately and command will automatically transfer to you. “Your flight suit is infused with biosensors that record and/or transmit your biosigns to the computer. It is fully EVA capable, enabling you to survive for approximately three hours. Alert your partner and depressurize the cabin before opening the hatch. Your helmet will alert you if it is not properly seated, but always check it anyway. “Your helmet can be configured to completely block out cockpit activity, effectively rendering you either blind or able to sleep. It has a Heads Up Display that can be engaged by voice command or by pressing the helmet’s side firmly with either index finger. The HUD will furnish you mission data and has the full capability of the tactical and operations consoles of a starship. On command, it will read the biosigns of your partner, in case of emergency. “The pilot has the capability of rendering the second seat’s helmet blind. If I am compromised, the AI will allow you to remove my helmet and put it on so you have security access and codes. Otherwise, you will not be able to safely find or approach a covert base such as Rendezvous October. “Last, but most important,” her expression relaxed as she nodded in his direction, “the dials on your left armrest change the configuration of the chair from tactical mode, to normal cruising mode, or to sleeping mode.” "So it tell makes coffee right? Because that's the most important part as far as I'm concerned." He let his bit of humor hang in the cabin air, but Chirakis didn’t seem impressed. A moment passed before he shook his head. "So what happened to cruise around in regular attire like most in Starfleet? I mean no disrespect, but this seems a step back for many officers." Wyatt was so used to what most officers experienced while in a shuttle: just wear your uniform and go. The ship would provide your environment and protection from severe forces that would splatter your remains fore or aft. “This is not a cruise ship, Commander, it is a highly advanced stealth fighter. ‘Cruising around’ would be a waste of the vessel’s capabilities and a misuse of Starfleet property.” The readouts had not changed over the course of several hours. This was driving him to boredom. He smiled. "I guess this ship can do some things other's can't do if they rely on maintaining the comfort of its crew. That maneuver to wake me up was only a taste I bet." He zoomed in on his findings as the captain watched. "I've detected irregularities around alien ship's defense grid. It's a strong field, but inconsistent. I'll give this information to the Drakkor's offensive system." He cleared his throat. Chirakis nodded. "So, do you want me to try this bird out? I'll be the first to admit it's been a few years." He exhaled slowly. It was not often he'd admit to inability. Chirakis was far too stern and the mission far too important to leave that little detail out. “You may test the HUD, your chair, and other nonessential systems, Commander. Beyond that will have to wait in deference to the mission. There will come a time when you can ‘try this bird out.’ Then you can have fun.” Did she wink? He wasn’t sure, but it looked like a wink.
  11. From the Depths of Perdition Stardate 2388.017 With over a decade of fieldwork, Commander Cayne often found himself in tight situations, but not literal confined spaces of a fighter craft. Exceptions can be made. When one becomes the hunted and an angel plucks you out from danger, you don't protest. The Drakkor, with its sleek lines and agile controls, was an unexpected mode of departure and one he'd not complain about, at least out loud. One thing bugged him: the helmet. Was that really necessary? It felt tight, inclosing, but his rescuer insisted. "So," he broke the silence, "Was it you that received my message?" “Were you expecting someone else?” Chirakis posed a semi-rhetorical question, accompanied with a quizzical glance. Wyatt grunted. "I was not expecting anyone. This is the ass-end of this sector, hardly worth the Federation's time in the grand scheme of the quadrant. Franky, I did not expect anyone for days." He adjusted in his seat. "Either the cold or the growing mob would find me first." The mob that gathered in the city as he made his escape entered his mind. Had he been followed off-world? "The group of people following me out into those frosted plains has high connections on the planet. I presume we are not being followed?" The pilot’s cautious skepticism was visible through the helmet’s clear visor. “If we are being followed, then someone needs to check the viability of Drakkor’s stealth systems. We are quite safe, I assure you. We would know instantly if we were being followed.” "That's more reassuring than this food bar. What's in this stuff?" “Everything you need to survive. I find it’s best not to go beyond that thought, and I suggest you do not read the list of ingredients.” Another grunt. "That explains it," he sighed as he looked out to the stars passing at warp. “I imagine that after starving for a few days you would appreciate anything, Commander,” she said, returning her attention to the primary flight display. He smiled, out of her view of course. "I'm a constant complainer, one of my many charms.” “Really?” the pilot quipped. “I hardly noticed.” Then she pulled the fighter suddenly into a sharp dive, rolled, then swerved at a 45° angle, straining the IDF enough to call attention to the seat’s extra padding. "Hey, what gives?" If she wanted to keep him awake turns like that would do it. “A precaution,” she replied. Though her head was turned, Cayne was sure he saw a grin spread across her face. "It was a random, abrupt course change,” she continued, barely hiding a chuckle, “one of many we will make in the next few hours. And since we have several more hours of travel,” relaxing into her seat, she turned toward him. The smirk was gone. “Chirakis Kirel, SI-5,” she said in greeting. Her name did not register, but his face did not show it. "Alright," he acknowledged with a nod. "Wyatt, Wyatt Cayne, SI-6." He took a moment, through his smile, to pour over his memories of the rare other agents he heard about. This "Chirakis" was not one of them. He knew from her expression she knew more of him. For now this interaction seemed no more than a rescue by a friendly. If this was an agent from that planet, he indeed had been very well played. “Tell me how you came to be on Drakel’a.” "A series of unfortunate events in Starfleet Intelligence's scheduling." He sighed and looked into the distance. "As to why I'm here, sadly the usual, bad people causing trouble for Federation interests in this system. They send me to look, dig a little deeper than what appears on the surface. Well, that was the plan anyhow." He yawned as sleep escaped him while on the run on that icy planet. Here, sitting in the Drakkor, the heat provided a pleasant respite from the cold. Though he had yet to be debriefed, the pressure was largely off his shoulders. His body relaxed and for a moment he wondered if there was something in the air. * * * * * * * Cayne’s hand went limp, his head lolling forward, pressing his face awkwardly against the helmet’s visor seal. The remnants of his energy bar clung to his outstretched fingers. Kirel tossed it into the recycle bin, then set the seat’s position controls to recline into what the computer determined to be the optimal sleep position for his height, weight, and body type. She closed, sealed, and darkened his visor, then engaged intercom communications in preparation for landing. It would be several more hours, but she doubted he would even stir. Though his identification was positive, the man in Drakkor’s second seat was a shadow of the Commander Wyatt Cayne whose dossier she had open before her. His record showed a human in his 40’s, 180 Terran pounds, slightly-graying sandy brown hair, and medium build. In contrast, the man sleeping next to her registered 152 pounds, and his build was more slight than medium. Ten months of stress and isolation in stark, unstable conditions had definitely taken its toll. Listed as a Tier-1 agent, the words “energetic, capable, quick-witted,” and any number of other descriptors appeared frequently in his reviews. Only one CO had a negative comment, strangely scribbled in pen across a page. “Cayne is reckless, he bends the Prime Directive to achieve his goal, and is easily frustrated….” Either his captain had something against him or the captain had lost all sensibility. Possibly both. The full context of the official report read, “...is easily frustrated when pulled off a mission,” which was commonplace among agents. His next commanding officer painted a very different picture: “Cayne is cautious, he is slow to form close relationships and prefers to work alone, though he will not refuse a team assignment if necessary. Recommended for the Distinguished Service Medal with V device for bravery in action, rescuing and defending the wounded against an overwhelming force in Operation Ganymede. Awarded Stardate 2384.320.” What had become known as The Circle" (for lack of a better term) had tapped Cayne for inclusion, and they expected her to give an evaluation. But how could she, with only his record and a little over a day’s travel in Drakkor? The answer, of course, was that she could not. A soft ping drew her attention to the master display. They were nearing ASTech’s facility, close to Ferengi space and active shipping lanes. The fighter changed vector automatically for a more indirect approach. Kirel put the PADD aside and took manual control of the fighter. Because Drakkor was registered as one of ASTech’s many experimental craft, she contacted their Command and Control for entry, just as any other experimental craft would after a test run. Within the hour, Drakkor settled into the ASTech bay, and after a few minutes of scan and verification, a section of the floor lowered the ship into Rendezvous October. “Commander,” she said, squeezing his shoulder to wake him. “Remove your helmet, stand, and state your name, rank, and posting.” "Say what?" Quickly he got up, shook himself awake, and fumbled for the helmet release. “State your name, rank, and posting,” she repeated. "Wyatt Cayne, Commander, Starfleet Intelligence Division Six," he stated, a bit unsure of his spacelegs. “Identity verified, Captain,” said a voice via intercom. “Welcome aboard, Commander Cayne.” “Thank you, Chief. Commander,” she turned toward him with the routine question, “do you need assistance, or are you able to move on your own?” He put his arms out to steady himself. "No thanks, I'll be fine. I've just been on the ground for too long." “Of course,” the captain replied. “Until you are fully familiar with the facility and its protocols, Lieutenant Marten will escort you.” She gestured toward a young man who stood on a stairway ladder to Cayne’s right. “Welcome aboard, Commander,” said Marten. “The first stop is medical, then billeting. Come with me, sir, and we’ll get you settled in.”
  12. Escape From Nowhere Planet Drakel’a Stardate 2388.015 OPEN LOG Ops like this can take any number of turns when you least expect them. This was one of those turns. The merchants in that blistery cold city started asking too many questions. A little "I've seen him" here, a little "yea, I know him" there. When you grab enough puzzle pieces pretty soon a picture emerges. The local authorities started closing in on my little hideaway. Time to go. A few hours and a few clicks later it was time to call for a pickup. I only have one shot at getting off this cold, dark rock; its name is October. The transmitter is a one time use device. Set it off without a clear view of the sky, and I may as well hand myself over to them. CLOSE LOG Wyatt placed the small recorder in his front pocket. Talking to himself was the last thing he needed. Getting out of here was the first and he only had one shot. He picked up his walking cane laying next to his pack and pointed it skyward. He twisted the large knot along its side three times, causing the tip to glow. It continued to shine for another minute, then darkened. He believed hiding his call-home device in the cane was clever, but only if someone picked up. After the transmitter finished he returned to the small fire he cobbled together an hour ago. These temperatures made keeping it going a trial. More comforting than the small fire was his custom particle magnum, just the way he liked it. The barrel’s alloy dissipated heat, making it as cold as the night air. Placing the handle in his right hand, he sighted down the barrel. There was nothing or noone out there, fortunately for their sake. He'd have to do a lot of looking around, especially in the darkness. He hated the dark, the cold, but feared the light. Now time hovered over him like a hunter stalking its prey. How long would it take the signal to bound off the micro-satellite and transmit to who knows where? If the transmission had to travel via subspace, it was fair to say anyone picking him up would be light years away, ten at best. The frost could be his friend for days. "Great," he thought. None of this had to go down this way, but a month ago signs of his handler dried up and the locals started their going away party for him. But, no time for that now; surviving the next few days was his primary concern. He shivered, tiring of consciousness, a sign of hypothermia. Getting out of the city drained his reserves. The fire would warm him; his gun would protect him. The temperature continued to dip throughout the night, but fortunately no wind carried his warmth away. The large brown coat he'd had for years covered him. Brown blended in; dirt was the same color everywhere. Even so, he shivered and shook as the cold tried to wake him. Anyhow, the next few days would come with little rest. The glow of city lights dimmed as its residents slept in relative quiet and comfort. Hours passed. Frost formed on his hair and face. The two moons rose in the eastern sky over the distant mountainscape. Their light was nothing to read by, but allowed the brighter outlines of the rolling snow-filled plains to step out from the shadows. “Both moons are visible tonight, Centaur,” said a voice close by. “As the moons show, the time is close for Hunting and Harvest, and you are ill prepared.” In one swift movement he drew his sidearm and rolled down the hill be had perched upon. His reflex action aimed the pistol toward the voice. "I know you're there and this thing is pointed right at you," he shouted into the dark. "State your business," he demanded, keeping his weapon drawn. He looked side to side to check for others, as no one would come out here alone. A tall, lean image dressed in black emerged from the shadows, hands raised, fingers spread in submission. “I am a hunter, looking for someone to join in the harvest. I understand you are available.” From the voice, it must have been a female, but it was difficult to tell. It took him a few moments to review what she'd said. "Centaur you say? There may be a bull willing to pull the yoke and till the fields." He remained still, listening for footfalls in the snow, a crack of a twig. Anything. "When is this harvest?" “It comes in the tenth month, every year.” Wyatt rose from his prone position, keeping his sight squarely upon the face of this potential ally. He was a few meters away, but the hill proved steep. They had the advantage. He again checked his surroundings with great care as he kept this weapon trained. No one else appeared to be around. This person was alone. "That's the ideal time for a harvest." He twisted the gun about the barrel slightly, waiting for someone else to make even the slightest sound. “I am alone, and unarmed.” Her hands immediately clasped over her head. He lowered his weapon, but kept it out of the holster and considered her for a moment. Bajoran. He didn't know many, but the few he did know were often a determined lot. "I was not expecting anyone for days. I presume you got my message?" “I did. And I have my ship, if you will permit me?” One hand motioned to her belt, where a small device known as a Beckon hung, used to remotely summon a small craft. He nodded, she tapped, and Drakkor appeared, hovering silently as it rounded the hill and approached their position, stopping within easy walking distance. "That's an interestingly small ship," he quipped. "Is that the ride away from here? Don't answer that, I just need away from Drakel’a."