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Posted on Thu Aug 6th, 2015 @ 12:57pm by David Hawkins & Commander Mercia Kavi & Commander Khelev ch'Koro [Halan]
Edited on on Wed Oct 21st, 2015 @ 7:47am

Mission: Heart of Stele
Location: Brig, USS Gladiator
Timeline: Following "Destination Known"


Rematerializing on the Gladiator, Kanoa touched his side where Vanora had cut him. From the very small amount of blood, he knew the wound was superficial, but still thanked the gods that he had managed to survive his encounter with the hot-headed Elasian. His new surroundings were familiar: he was back in the Brig. The commander, Mercia, he believed she had been called, was still unconscious on the floor next to his former cell. He crossed the room in a few strides and checked her pulse. It was strong, so there was that at least.

Quickly taking account of the situation, Vanora's words stuck in his head. No doubt the first instinct of the Commodore and Security would be to assume that this was all of Kanoa's doing. But surely there was evidence in his favor. The fact that Vanora had fled the scene, for example. There was no way the Gladiator missed his ship going to warp. Still, the best thing to do now was to support his position as much as possible, and that meant helping the First Officer get taken care of as quickly as possible. He looked at her uniform and then at the shattered remnants of her comm badge on the floor next to her, so he made his way back to the console. Since the Razor he'd stolen a decade ago was a Starfleet vessel, he was familiar with the controls, though they did seem to have been updated. It took him a few moments to figure out the communications system.

"Commodore... Hawkins, I believe it is. Your presence was requested by your First Officer, the Commander Mercia. She is in the Brig, and injured, so you may wish to order Medical personnel here as well. This is Kanoa Tiamet," he finished in his deep voice, somewhat awkwardly.

The next thing to do was to release the Security doors. However, he quickly discovered that he was having the same problems that the guard outside was likely having: Vanora had sealed the doors with her command authorization codes, meaning only someone of equal or higher rank could unlock them. There was thus nothing to do but wait. He checked on Mercia again, put her in a more comfortable and safe position with a blanket under her head, and then backed away. Just in case there was any confusion, he made sure that his hands were visible on top of the console, and then he simply stared at the door, waiting.

It didn't take long before David and his Chief Engineer followed pursuit. "What the hell is going on?!" David raised his voice with his pistol raised walking into the brig.

"Commodore," Kanoa addressed David, "Your Elasian lieutenant commander, Vanora Stele, assaulted your first officer, who you will find resting comfortably there," he motioned toward Mercia's prone figure, "and then the Elasian had me take her to my ship, which she promptly stole from me."

"Ok?" the Commodore cocked his head as he walked up closer. "And how the hell did you get yourself back here?"

Khelev moved towards Mercia but kept himself facing towards the bounty hunter. He moved down and checked her over briefly, she seemed ok and he reached up and tapped his badge.

"I need a medical team down to the brig."

As he moved back up to his feet he looked at the bounty hunter wearily, "Where is she?"

"To answer both of your questions, the Elasian beamed me back here before her hasty departure. In my ship," Kanoa repeated for Khelev's benefit.

Mercia groaned as her eyes fluttered open. The taste of blood was coating her mouth and her jaw hurt like hell along with the back of her head. "Son of Bitch..." she muttered as she raised a hand to cover her eyes hoping her vision would stop seeing double. "Vanora I'm going to kill you..." she groaned as she shifted to try and sit up.

"Alas, Commander, your erstwhile best friend is no longer here," Kanoa reported to Mercia.

"She stole your ship?" Khelev's antenna bent backwards as he took a couple of steps towards the bounty hunter. "You had better start explaining boy, or I'll tear your damn arm off and beat you to death with it."

Mercia finally managed to sit up and whip the drying blood from her lips, staining them a deeper red shade. Her face began to redden, as the turmoil rose inside of her. "Tang... the son of a bitch told her Tangs alive." she growled. A sense of betrayal warred with a sense of understanding.

That wasn't exactly what Khelev wanted to hear and he felt like it was a bit of a blow. She rushed off without a word, which meant she still loved Tang. It also meant she didn't trust any of them to help her and that pissed him off even more. "You're going to give me a detailed read out of your ship, so I can track it or I do the arm thing."

"I'd listen to what he said," David backed Khelev as he finally holster ed his side arm and looked at Mercia as medical started to arrive and surround her. "So who is this Tang?"

"Tang Stele," Khelev said with a grunt. "The husband she lost on her ship, the Lady of the Lake. Even if he is still breathing I'm going to knock some sense into that woman."

Mercia grumbled against the medics who descended upon her, she let them scan her and begin to heal her split lip and the bruise on her jaw. She was grateful for the pain killers injected in her neck though. "You and me both, I begged her do this the right way, but she attacked me instead, she lost it," she said angrily through gritted teeth before the medic held her head to keep her still, threatening to sedate her if she didn't comply. She glanced at David and wondered if she was in Vanora's shoes if she'd not do the same. She sighed, hating that war inside of her.

"'The arm thing' is unnecessary, Andorian," Kanoa finally replied. "As is the need to track my ship, though I will freely provide you with such details. The precise destination of your Elasian is known: she returns now to Elasian space, the Tellun star system. Specifically, she will first proceed to the prison moon orbiting the planet Troyius. That was the end of the line for the prisoner transport shuttle upon which I encountered her former husband."

"Do we have any chance of stopping her before she gets out of the nebula?" Mercia wondered.

"Commander PLEASE!" the medic said with exasperation.

Mercia grumbled and sat still again and opened her mouth to repair the cuts to her lips.

Without a word, David glared at Mercia in a nonverbal command to knock it off as he waited for her question to be answered by Kanoa. He wasn't completely sure what had gone wrong with Vanora, but for one of his command staff officers running off like she had. He was going to have a few words with her.

Kanoa shrugged. "It depends on whether you are proposing to send this Sovereign vessel after your absent officer, or if you have a shuttle faster than mine. The latter seems less likely. My ship is a modified Razor interceptor, so she has departed at likely Warp 2, and no more than Warp 4. Still, in the time that has elapsed since the Elasian's escape, I would estimate that she has already cleared this Nebula within which we sit."

The Molai bounty hunter waited for the others to speak, but as they all stood silently, he continued. "I hesitate to breach this topic, but I would point out that I have cooperated fully in both notifying you of your injured Commander's condition as well as in providing freely such information as I possess about the officer Vanora Stele. I do hope that these actions demonstrate that I bear you no ill intentions. Perhaps," he added, "you will find that I can be of assistance to you in your missions, as well." Had Kanoa had his ship, he would be gone as soon as he secured his amnesty. Or perhaps before; it was not clear that this Command team trusted him enough to quickly process those papers. But with his ship gone now, he had little choice but to find a way to make it on the Gladiator.

Mercia was finally cleared of the medical personnel and she nodded them towards the door, "He never made a move against Vanora or me." she confirmed. "I don't know that other than breaking on to the ship we have more cause to hold him in the brig." she said. Her mind went back to Mr. Shark, who was a murder and had done far worse than breaking and entering and he was now a member of the crew. She looked at Hawkins, wasn't the USS Second Chance. Were they going to trust someone else again?

David looked at the man for a moment and sighed. He wasn't completely sure how he wanted to actually have a bounty hunter on his crew manifest but then again, it could come in handy. "Cut him loose. But he will have a badge on him like the rest of the crew."

Mercia arched her brows and walked over to a cabinet, the brig was a place where a few extra new badges were kept as security tended to have a high amount of damaged ones. She walked over to the bounty hunter and stuck it on his chest. She gave him a look that ensured she told him that she did not trust him.

The Molai looked down at the badge and repressed an involuntary shudder. He repressed also the feeling that he was now actually the traitor that his former comrades had long accused him of being. But being a bounty hunter meant doing unpleasant things, so even if this was the most unpleasant thing he'd ever had to endure, Kanoa was prepared to steel himself for the challenge.

"Welcome to the family, Mr. Tiamet. You follow the the same rules and regulations as the rest of us, or act like it. First time you turn against us... expect one of us to shot ya, if it isn't me first."

"So just like that, he's on board? No background check? No phone calls? I know some people that'll give a good picture of who this guy is," Khelev eyed the man. "We also need to talk about going after Vanora."

"We may need a shady member," David admitted as he shrugged for a moment. "But we will continue with the phone calls. And as of Vanora..." he looked at Khelev and Mercia. "... Of course we are going after her, but I want a rescue plan set forth. I am tired of throwing my people into danger without a back up plan. That's not how I like doing things. Prepare your runabout, and bring me a plan. I highly doubt we are going to be allowed to take a Federation starship where she is."

Kanoa opened his mouth to disagree, but then changed his mind. The Commodore was actually correct: even though Elas and Troyius were Federation members, the Troyians would not be too happy about a Starfleet cruiser showing up at a secret prison, whether or not it was authorized or at least condoned.

Mercia licked her lips, "Maybe I'm just pissed off because she attacked me, but isn't this her choice? She left, maybe she doesn't want us to go after her just yet? Besides we're about to get looking around on this station." she said. "Can we afford to let Khelev go after her?"

This made David sigh as he agreed with her as well. This wasn't the time or the place to go after her. It had to wait. "First the station, it should take long. Then after Vanora. Hell, I want her ass as much as anyone else. I'm not running a circus like everyone else is saying. Kavi, get her assistant up to speed in Ops and forwarded to active Chief. I guess we will go after her afterwards."

"Yes sir." Mercia said glumly.

"Well then," Kanoa said, "it appears we are agreed." He look around. "And it seems time for a change of scenery. You can rest assured that this most recent stay in a Starfleet cell has dissuaded me from drawing your ire a second time." And that was the truth: the prospect of ending up back in the brig was actually of more concern to Kanoa than one of the Command staff shooting him.

"I'll have someone take you to a room to stay in." Mercia said tapping a few controls on the guard station. She swallowed hard, trying to stuff away the feeling of betrayal that was roaring inside of her. She glanced at the men, and saw the same sort of story in both their eyes. She betrayed them all... was it worth it? Mercia wasn't sure yet.



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