Episode 4: Whispers In the Dark
"Captain's log, supplemental. The mission to rescue JP Hart has been a resounding success. Not only was the boy retrieved without injury, we have finally secured his captor and long time fugitive, Nathan Hunter. Hunter is in custody in the Brig whilst our youngest guest is in sickbay with his very relieved mother. Nogura is en-route to Nerey'n, along with the Starship Thesis. We've yet to hear from the away team..."
Nogura's joined Trill master and commander walked up to the large sickbay doors and once they had parted, strolled inside, greeted by the sight of a small child sitting on a biobed, surrounded by two medical professionals, Commander Neprem and one very relieved red head. "How is our guest?" she smiled as she came to a halt by the biobed.
"The Commander kicked his ass, it was awesome!" the exuberant red-headed child exclaimed with exhilaration as he let the medics tend to the bruises from his restraints. Andy snickered at his enthusiasm, tousling his curly hair with a grin.
"He's doing fine," Tara informed Nilani, standing by in her own red medical gown; the synaptic transceiver plus the pain feedback from the fight had left her isoboramine levels dangerously low, and while neither she nor her symbiont were in any real danger, sickbay merely wanted to keep her overnight for observation.
"He's just excited right now 'cause he got to talk to his dad for a bit," Andy chimed in. "Hey JP, this is Captain Azulas and she helped us rescue you," she said to her son.
"Thank you, ma'am!" JP said brightly.
Nilani offered a hand to the boy and when it was reciprocated, she shook it gently. "Glad to have you aboard, Crewman!" She then looked around the officers and back to the boy. "I'm just going to borrow your mother and the Commander for a few minutes. The doctors will look after you," she smiled before nodding in the direction of the Chief Medical Officer's private office and leading the way.
Andy gave her boy a hug before following Nilani and Tara to the office.
"Hey, I can't thank you two enough for getting my boy back," Andy said as she entered the office.
"It was my pleasure," Tara replied warmly. "Although next time it'll be the Captain's turn to take a holographic gut shot to the symbiont pouch," she said in jest.
"The Thesis have captured Hunter's accomplice. According to him, they had tracked JP all the way from Deep Space Ten until the point they took him hostage," Nilani spoke quietly, glancing past both officers to look at the boy who was chatting away to the medical officers. "Captain th'Zorati appears to be far more persuasive than me. Hunter's refusing to talk," the Trill Captain revealed as she folded her arms across her chest in frustration.
"That's not entirely surprising," Tara said as she leaned against the office desk. "The anger and rage I saw in him on Apizmic III- I honestly had no idea he was carrying around that kind of rage... It almost didn't seem like I was talking to Nathan! But he gained power from feeling in control, so it makes sense that he would control the situation by not talking."
"Admiral Hanson wanted us to transfer Hunter to the Thesis so that they could take him to New Bajor in time for his arrival," Nilani revealed as she looked at Andy, knowing the mention of Hanson would stoke her interest further. "I strongly objected. After the last time he escaped, I want him here. He'll remain in our Brig until we report to New Bajor at the conclusion of the mission on Nerey'n," the Captain told, not revealing exactly how forceful or what expletives had actually been used in the conversation or by who, but it wasn't often a Captain defeated an Admiral in an argument.
"I have to agree, each time he's transferred increases the risk of another escape; Hunter should stay here," Tara replied with a nod. "I can completely understand wanting him to get to New Bajor as quickly as realistically possible, but this minimizes the risk."
"Not to mention the Brigs on the Nogura are a brand new design, all state of the art tech, there's no way for him to weasel out of them," Andy pointed out.
"We should be back at Nerey'n in about two hours. Until then Master Chief, you're off duty. Take JP and have some time together. Maybe show him the bridge or something," the Captain suggested, sure she wouldn't have to make it an order for the Chief to spend some time with her son after such an ordeal. "You on the other hand," she spoke to Tara this time, "you're stuck here until they release you and not a minute sooner," she instructed, fully aware of the dangers to symbionts and hosts from low isoboramine levels.
"You'll get no argument from me," Andy said, probably the first time she'd ever said that in her life.
"Nor me," Tara said in agreement. "I'll send someone back to my quarters to get me something to read, but I'm fine staying here as long as needed." It wasn't just her isoboramine levels that were on her mind; Tara had just hunted down and helped apprehend her former CO and friend and it was weighing heavily on her, so a night off to decompress was well in order.
"If there's nothing else, I'll go get my boy and, uh, go tour the Bridge," Andy said with a grin. "That'll make his day; it's his dream to join Starfleet like his dad."
“You’re both dismissed,” the Captain smiled and she watched with a joyful grin as the pair retreated and went their separate ways. But deep down, in the dark recesses of her mind, the presence of Nathan Hunter gnawed away at her. It was time he got his commupance...