Episode 5: The Adversary (Joint Mission)
Location: Nogura Brig
Timeline: MD120, 1150 Hours
Turbolift doors opened on deck 5 and out stepped a rather cross Trill, followed closely by the Bajoran Strategic Operations Officer. Tara wasn’t overly fond of the news she had just received, not that Garen told her much at all, which made her all the more terse when she considered where she stood with the Captain. Personal feeling aside, there was a situation brewing that demanded resolution, and so she reported to the Brig, as ordered.
Inside, the Andorian was already present and locked in an intense face off with the Terran behind the forcefield. There was clearly no love lost between the two, with the Captain despising the very ground Hunter walked on, but that wasn’t the issue today. No, today was something so significant there were potential ramifications across the quadrants.
Upon the sound of the door opening, the captive’s gaze diverted from the Andorian and towards the visitor. “Tara! You just can’t keep away,” Hunter smirked.
“Shut up,” Tara ordered sharply, then gave her full attention to the Andorian Captain. “This cannot be good if you’re ordering me here against Commodore Azulas’ wishes.”
The former Captain stood in genuine shock at both the Captain’s silent stance and the bluntness of Tara. She was able to surprise him after all.
“Read this,” Thalek ordered as he passed over the data PADD to the Trill and then decided it was time to fill in their ‘guest. He took a step forwards so as to draw Hunter’s attention back to him. “So, turns out your intelligence was useful,” Thalek revealed, much to Hunter’s surprise.
“Of course it did,” the traitor remarked confidently. He knew it would, but to hear the Captain declare it was unexpected.
“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me,” Tara said as she read the PADD. Then she turned her gaze to Hunter. “Did you do this? Did you somehow warn Monhok that we were on to him?”
Hunter looked genuinely confused at the words that left his former executive officers mouth. “What? No! What are you talking about? I’ve been in custody the entire time!” he protested.
“Your former associate has apparently been warned of our mission to apprehend him and has fled for the wormhole,” Commander Garen chimed in as he moved to stand beside his Captain, nervously rubbing his nose ridges briefly.
Hunter shook his head vigorously. “Nah ah, not me!” he protested again. “If he got wind of your mission, it came from someone else. Not me,” the Terran countered, an anxious look replacing the one of shock. What if they didn’t believe him?
“Nathan, I have no mind to play games with you today,” Tara said sternly. “If you truly did not alert him, then who could have? And where would Monhok go once on the other side of the wormhole?”
Hunter shook his head slowly and walked back to his bunk at the back of the cell. Perching on the edge, hands on both knees, he spoke quietly, almost to himself. “This can’t be happening… It wasn’t supposed to happen…”
“What wasn’t supposed to happen?” Thalek queried, taking a step towards the cell now that his attention had been piqued.
Hunter looked up at the Andorian and, with a great sense of foreboding, let out a heavy sigh. “There were rumours, around the cells, that Monhok had been trying to branch out. Almost as if he were going in to business for himself. He had supposedly been approached by someone from the Alpha Quadrant that could use his… expertise, his knowledge of the Consortium,” Hunter told quietly, and for the first time in what felt like an age, it felt good to get the truth off his chest - whether they believed him or not. “He was told, in no uncertain terms, by the leaders of each cell that he was not to proceed with anything without getting the collective approval of all the cells. We were so effective because things were coordinated, targeted. We knew that as soon as individuals started branching out for themselves, our agenda would go out of the window. We’re not barbarians! We have a cause that we fight for, whether you agree with it or not.”
“Monhok used to be an arms dealer. Surely you knew he was in it for himself,” Garen remarked. He knew all about Monhok from his own research, but even he had no explanation for what was transpiring.
“If this is the case, I think you have no one to blame but yourself; after all, you were the first one to disregard agenda by pursuing a personal cause when you kidnapped Admiral Hanson’s son, so Monhok is just following your shining example” Tara pointed out as she crossed her arms over her chest. “If there’s anything you know about Monhok’s contacts or what he planned to do in the Alpha Quadrant, then we need to know it, now.”
Nathan shook his head slowly. His usual chipper arrogance had seemingly evaporated at the prospect of what was transpiring. If it was true, it would be a disaster. “You really don’t want to know…” he spoke quietly, looking Tara in the eye.
“Dammit, Nathan,” Tara said, stalking closer to the forcefield that separated them. “Even while we were chasing you, I never gave up on the friendship we shared, even if it meant my loyalties were questioned, but looking at you now, you’re only a fragment of the man I once respected. If that friendship ever meant anything to you, then you will tell me what we need to know, otherwise there’s nothing I can do to help you, much less stop Monhok from doing whatever is filling you with dread now.”
Nathan pushed himself up and off the bed again and slowly made his way to the forcefield to look her in the eye. “You won’t like the truth Commander, but if it is the truth you want then it is the truth you shall get,” Hunter responded in a stern tone. “If what I am told is true, Monhok’s contact works for a group you and I know very well,” the former Captain revealed slowly, dragging out the information until the very last second. “He works…” Deep breath. “...for the Order of Twelve.”
Tara closed her eyes with a slow exhale of breath. “Thank you,” Tara said in a subdued tone, but there was no relief in her words. Damn it all, why did it have to be the Order of Twelve?! “Did he ever reveal any specific contacts or locations where he might go? Anything you can offer could help us intercept him before he can do any harm.” Her voice was calm now, if somewhat strained at the prospect of dealing with the Order of Twelve again.
Shaking his head, the former Captain returned to his seat at the back of his cell. “Nothing. But I’d bet you my freedom that he’ll be headed for the Corridor,” Hunter spoke, louder and clearer than before. They both knew the Corridor well from their time together. “It is a relatively lawless place where no one has jurisdiction. If they want to carry out some sort of deal, they’ll do it there,” he concluded.
Thalek looked at Garen and with a nod of his head towards the door, the Commander set off to relay a new set of orders to the bridge. “Thank you for your cooperation Nathan,” Thalek spoke with a brief look back at the man in the cell. It was a sign of not only thanks but begrudging respect. If Hunter was telling the truth, he’d be risking his life doing so. If the Consortium found out he had told them anything, he’d never live to see another day once he was free.
“Never thought I’d be going back to the Corridor,” Tara said as she turned her attention to Thalek. “We should reach out to DS10, have them watch for any signs of a disturbance until we can get there. Maybe they can coordinate ships in the area to give us some back up,” she suggested.
Garen returned to the pair almost as quickly as he left and, when in a three person huddle, he updated them both. “We’ve detected one ship headed to the wormhole. Even at maximum warp, we won’t catch them before they get through,” he revealed, but then it got worse. “Ops is reporting that they tried to contact the relay station to get a message through the wormhole already. All transmissions are blocked,” the Bajoran revealed.
“Which means we can’t contact the station until we are on the other side of the wormhole,” Thalek frowned as his antennae bobbed away freely. “Do we believe him?” The Captain whispered, glancing back briefly at the Terran who was now laid back on his bed and staring at the ceiling. “He’s lied before, plenty of times.”
Tara sighed. “I’m cognizant enough of my own bias to realize I can’t be an impartial judge of his character at this time,” Tara replied. “I want to believe that my friend and former Captain is still in there somehow, but I just can’t see it, not anymore; even still, I want to believe he told us the truth,” she admitted candidly. Truly, this could all be some elaborate feint, take out the relay and have Monhok run off to places unknown, and Nathan knew how to play her, throwing in details about the Corridor and the Order of Twelve to put her on edge, and his casual response now certainly wasn’t helping matters, but despite it all Tara’s gut was telling her it was the truth. “I know you have little reason to trust me at this point, but I think we should act on this intel.”
Thalek considered the woman’s words carefully and eventually nodded. “Okay Commander, the bridge is yours. Get us to the wormhole as soon as possible. When we are on the other side, we’ll try and contact the station,” the Andorian instructed. “I’ll fill the Admiral in and contact the Commodore before I join you up there,” he added.
“Yes sir,” Tara replied, bowing out so she could carry out his orders. Without showing an inkling of the hesitation she felt inside, she disappeared through the Brig doors to catch the next lift.