Episode 5: The Adversary (Joint Mission)
Location: Nogura Ready Room
Timeline: MD120, 0930 Hours
With the Nogura once again underway, this time with a new Captain at the helm, the worries of the past few weeks had seemed to rapidly dissipate - for most. Not for the new Captain,nor his new executive officer though. Tensions between the two had been on the rise from the minute he had stepped aboard but had seemingly been exacerbated by his actions at Gamma Command when he, and Commodore Azulas, had taken Nathan Hunter from his cell. It was time for the Captain (and his new strategist) to come clean to the XO.
Having been in conversation with Commander Garen for almost a quarter of an hour, the Captain tapped his commbadge. "=/\=th'Zorati to Neprem," he called out.
Tara had nothing against th'Zorati, in fact she respected his terse nature, what she didn't appreciate was how little warning she'd had before Azulas had tossed them together, nor how Azulas had interrupted her meeting with Nathan, which Nilani herself had approved in the first place! There were so many mixed signals, not to mention the feeling that they were all being led around by their noses. Tara had had enough, so she was down in Strategic Operations while Garen was out, doing some research.
Generally speaking, Tara wasn't a paranoid individual, at least she didn't see herself that way, and nor were either of the previous lives of her symbiont, but she was quite paranoid now and she rather hated that feeling looming over her head. But even Kareel and Arjin agreed with her that something was not right! So paranoid she would remain until she uncovered what was going on.
"=/\=Neprem here," Tara answered promptly when she heard the call from her commbadge. Suspecting that she might be getting a summons, she began to save her research to a data stick and cleared the logs from her station, pocketing the data rod for safekeeping.
"=/\=I'd appreciate your attendance in my ready room Commander," the Captain requested over the comm channel.
"=/\= Yes sir, I'm on my way," Tara replied, then tapped her commbadge off. She closed down the station and made her way to the Bridge, giving the door a ring when she arrived.
"ENTER!" Came the call from within the ready room.
As the door swished open and Tara passed through the doorway, she immediately took notice of the fact that the Captain was not the only one present. "Reporting as requested," Tara said politely, standing at attention in front of the Captain's desk.
"Come Commander," the Andorian gestured for her to take a seat next to Romaes. "I feel we owe you an explanation for what transpired on the planets surface," he spoke, both antennae bowing in unison above his silver mane.
"An explanation would be appreciated, but as you are the Captain, I know one is not obligatory," Tara replied as she took a seat, casting a brief glance to Garen to acknowledge him before returning her full attention to th'Zorati.
"Starfleet Intelligence, in conjunction with Admiral Ryan and Starfleet Tactical, has enlisted the help of Nathan Hunter in a bid to track down a suspected Consortium agent. Commander Garen will be serving as Strategic Operations Officer and our link to Intelligence," the Andorian revealed, nodding at the Bajoran.
"According to intelligence from Hunter, we believe our target to be holed up in the Yadera system on the border of the Maran Republic," Garen informed in his slightly less harsh tone.
"Seems a reasonable course of action," Tara replied stiffly. "I still fail to see how that necessitated an interruption of an approved and private meeting, but I'm sure there's a perfectly reasonable explanation there as well."
"Simple; time was of the essence. We had further intelligence that suggested Hunter may have been at risk on the surface. We had to get him out as quickly and realistically as possible," the Andorian responded to her suggestion of an explanation.
"And as Master Chief Carter stated before departing the Nogura, this ship is brand new with all new security features, there is no place safer..." Tara mused aloud in acceptance of his explanation. She looked at the Captain and after a moment she gave him a simple nod; nothing more needed to be discussed in reference to her interrupted meeting, it was as good as forgiven. "So, what do we know about this Consortium agent?" she asked, ready to put the tension of the past aside to get down to business.
The Bajoran, at the behest of the Captain, tapped at the controls on the desk console and then turned it to the Commander. "His name is Monhok, a Benzite. We know that he has been involved in brokering arms deals and steal currency to fund Consortium operations. Intelligence believes several operations would not have been able to take place without Monhok," he revealed.
"I remember looking into him when I was in Strategic Operations," Tara said, recognizing the name right away. When the Benzite appeared on the wall monitor, Tara nodded in affirmation, seeing some of her own gathered intel in the profile. "He was also connected to a salvage operation that recovered a Cardassian warship from the Dominion War; an arms dealer is an arms dealer, they don't usually branch out like this, I thought it was suspicious so I marked him for further investigation, but then we got interrupted by the rescue of the Admiral's son."
"I want the ship ready to go to war in two hours Commander," the Andorian instructed. "We cannot afford to lose a minute in the search for this man. We need to get him into custody as quickly as possible so that he can't hurt anyone else," Thalek concluded.
"Yes sir, we'll be battle ready in two hours," Tara replied with a nod. "If there's nothing else we need to discuss, then I'll get started."
"Now, before anyone outside of these four walls asks, Admiral Hanson has asked to be kept appraised of the situation as it develops whilst he is aboard. Master Chief Carter will assist Lieutenant Yole in Operations in the event of any emergency situation arising," th'Zorati spoke, uncharacteristically nervous. Having an Admiral aboard added an extra element of risk to the mission.
"If anyone out there knows of the Admiral's presence here it will paint a pretty large target on our hull," Commander Garen spoke, seemingly echoing the Captain's sentiments.
"I thought we were just transporting them to the Altor system?" Tara asked.
"We are. But a lot can change between now and when we arrive at Altor," th'Zorati frowned as he rose to his feet and gestured for the door, dismissing both officers.
"Understood," Tara replied with a nod, then rose as well. She cut a glance to Garen for a moment, then offered him a nod as well; seeing as how they hadn't yet had a proper introduction, she wanted to show him some respect before darting off to make sure the ship was battle ready, which she promptly did now that she was dismissed.
Garen lingered for a few seconds until the door parted and then looked back at the Captain. "Do you think she suspects anything?"
"She's one of Azulas' people. She's probably as paranoid as the Commodore so she probably suspects the water produced from replicators," th'Zorati spoke with his arms folded across his chest and his antennae bowed in unison. "Treat her with extreme caution Romaes," the Captain instructed, using the Bajoran's given name for the first time. "We can trust no one but ourselves on this..."