Episode 3: Something Wicked This Way Comes
With the ship underway at last and the initial senior staff briefing complete, Captain Azulas had called on several officers to remain behind whilst they awaited the arrival of a fifth officer she had met only recently. The purpose of the meeting was, perhaps, unknown to most in the room since it seemed to be quite an eclectic gathering of individuals.
Tara dreaded this part of the mission. She knew what she was here to do, but that didn't mean she had to like it. She shifted uneasily in her chair, waiting with breath held as she waited for Nilani to get this talk under way.
Lisa had been asked to stay behind for some reason as she had been on the ship during the last few weeks of the ships construction and looked over at the commander who looked rather worried, She asked," Commander , are you ok?"
"It- it's nothing, Lieutenant, but I appreciate your concern," Tara replied. And certainly wasn't 'nothing', but they would all learn in just a moment what was bothering Tara...
Ensign Dorn entered the observation lounge after a timely conversation with a intelligence asset that couldn't be avoided. The information however was needed to possibly contribute to the teasm upcoming mission. Standing by the way-side as senior officers exited the room. Dorn entered and pulled out a seat. His lack of eye contact might have been off putting for some, but it was his nature to expel with the pleasantries of greetings as he would be seeing most of these people for the foreseeable future.
His attention was also averted in a PADD with data he needed to be able to quote accurately. Sitting it down momentarily, Dorn looked up and towards the Captain as he simply spoke. "Captain Azulas." Dorn then simply made eye contact with the rest of the officers and staff present, one-by-one.
"Okay folks," Azulas called order to the meeting and proceeded to share with you some information regarding a secondary objective to our mission. An objective that is, for now, to remain between all of us in this room until I choose otherwise," the Captain spoke as she stood wand walked to the wall mounted display. She pressed a button and a face appeared. "This is Nathan Hunter. A former Starfleet captain, a consortium agent and public enemy number one here in the Gamma Quadrant," she then gestured to Commander Silur to take over.
Lisa sat quietly absorbing this new information that they were being tasked to keep a lookout for someone who knew Starfleet tactics and methods, this news was troubling that one of their own had gone bad and was helping this consortium know every move or predict every move they made. She now knew that she had to come up with Tactics that he wouldn't even think of so that they might have a chance against him.
The Vulcan around the table sat forward and clasped her hands together on the table top as she began to speak. "According to our intelligence, which has been marked as top secret until now, Nathan Hunter escaped from the Pegasus Internment Facility approximately one month ago and is believed to be back here, in the Gamma Quadrant. Our sources believe have tracked him to one of three possible former strongholds of the Consortium," she paused as she pressed a button on the table and changed the screen behind her. "Bopak, Nerey'n or Ophinas. Command has authorized us to bring him in," the Vulcan concluded.
"Commander Neprem is Nathan Hunter's former executive officer and our personal link to the man," Azulas revealed as she gestured to her fellow Trill around the table. "She is going to help us track him down. Commander, you know the man better than any of us here. What could have caused him to turn on Starfleet?" the Captain quizzed as she glared at the woman, still unsure if she could trust her. In truth, she would be unsure until the minute Hunter was safely in custody again.
"To be perfectly honest, I don't know," Tara said candidly. "I've studied his career since I left his Command, examined the choices he's made, and I don't know what made him go off the rails; at least, there's nothing in his service record that could give me any clues, meaning it would have to be something intensely personal." Tara paused, releasing a small sigh as she lifted her mug of tea to her lips to wet her lips. "It's possible that my actions on Deep Space 10 may have contributed to his downfall; to call Nathan Hunter a 'loose cannon' would not be appropriate because he is quite focused in everything he does, but he can be volatile, and enough things happened on Deep Space 10 that could have very well been the flashpoint for him. One of the biggest things that come to mind is that he learned he had a daughter with the fiance who betrayed him; earlier in his career, he attempted to take his own life when he found her bed with someone else, and then to learn years later that she hid a child from him, I know he struggled with how to handle it. On top of which he was seeing someone; I know he was quite taken with our Chief of Operations, and I haven't been able to locate her since our transfer to the Venture, perhaps this was another betrayal he couldn't deal with. Add to that, my failure as an XO and friend... I know it's no excuse for what he's done, and looking back on it now, I know I should have seen the warning signs that he was boiling over, but I didn't, and even after all I've read, I'm still finding it hard to believe that he's done all the things that are attributed to him..."
Nilani made a mental note of all the Commander had just said and would speak to her fellow Trill about it in the not too distant future. For now though, she shifted in her seat and gave the woman a nod. She did appreciate how hard it had to be to hear that ones friend had become public enemy number one. She'd be mortified if Audrid ever did such a thing.
"Okay..." she began again, "Ensign Dorn will assist Commander Silur in the gathering of intelligence regarding any rumours of lingering Consortium operations. So many of their major players are out of commission now that any operation could be led by him. Commander Neprem will lead any mission to bring him in. In the meantime. Neprem, work with Lieutenant Creed. I want a complete overhaul of security procedures here. I want this place to be so secure that even the Borg would have trouble getting aboard," the Captain instructed.
"Aye Sir, " replied Lisa as she nodded to Tara, as she would no doubt have ideas and get this team of slackers up to speed and drilled into the best Security team in the fleet, after all they had had it easy whilst the ship was being constructed, but now the hard work began.
That was a tall order for someone who didn't have a Security background, but such tasks had once been under her purview before, and Tara figured that once she got back into old habits that everything would fall into place.
"We should probably schedule some drills," Tara said to Creed. "And not just for Security personnel, but for myself as well; I've been out of service for a while now so I'm a little rusty, I need to be sure I'm ready to lead a team, and that I'm ready to fire upon Hunter if I have to. Are you up to whipping me back into shape?"
Lisa replied "As long as you understand that I am a tough task master," looking back at Tara, she continued, "and that you agree that anything I say you will not complain about," as she knew the last time she took a officer on a drill, they complained that she had over stepped the mark. now here she was again being asked to do so once more.
"Then get to work people. Dismissed," the Captain ordered as she rose to her feet and departed the briefing room, leading an exodus from the meeting place.