—[Infirmary, DS9]— —[Stardate: 58840.4]—
The sound of the bio bed echoed in the background; Doctor Bashir did all he could for the young Lieutenant Reia Merrick. 'All we can do now is wait, but for what.' He commented to himself as he sighed heavy over her.
“Doctor Bashir…” Karushi walked towards Bashir “…the operation is a success she is still alive, Trills normally don't survive the removal of a symbiont.” Said Karushi trying to give Bashir some comfort in the effort the two gave.
“SUCCESS?!” He shouted in rage. “This woman is in a coma like I have never seen before! Her brainwave patterns are near nonexistent!”
He paced around the infirmary to add emphasis to his mood. “For all we know, she could be brain dead because of us.”
“But she is not on life support; we have to give her mind time to heal, Doctor. This is an unknown science to us. Well, at least to me.” Added Karushi.
Bashir shook his head not waiting to hear any more. Still in angry for causing the situation that put Merrick in a coma in the first place. He aimed a cold, deadly serious glare toward Karushi's eyes. “Get out. NOW!”
Karushi just nodded. She began to leave the room taking a look back at Bashir, giving him a final note. “As you wish Doctor, I'll be sending my report to Starfleet Medical on our patient's condition, along with any comments you may want to add?”
“No.” added Bashir attempting to calm down.
The trees whispered in the distance, from a wind Reia couldn't feel as she suddenly snapped to consciousness. She found herself in the middle of a serene mountain meadow, surrounded on all sides by mountains. She closed her eyes for a moment to enjoy the peace of this strange place, wherever it was, only to hear the voice of someone she had not heard in a long time.
“Long time no see Lieutenant.” The comment came from Naruko Kuga, and the last Reia had known, the petite former Ensign was somewhere in deep space. Naruko waved to her friend as she approached from the tree line.
Reia quickly turned to face Naruko. “I was hoping not to see you for a long time from now,” she commented as her friend came closer, “but I guess that was too much to hope for. Had a good run I guess.”
Naruko chuckled at the thought, “You misunderstand, Reia. You're not dead. And this isn't the afterlife.”
Reia, more than a little surprised, looked at Naruko with a puzzling stare, “Oh.”
“Your body is still on DS9, however your mind is on Telos three.” Added Naruko.
Reia speared a confusing look at Naruko again, “My mind is somewhere else?”
“I'm using the computer core here at our abandoned research facility to protect your higher brainwave functions. I'm sorry about what happened. The symbiont was supposed to help create a link between this world and you.”
Naruko walked past Reia to face towards the mountains. “I did not think your body would reject the symbiont the way it did. I had transferred you here in order to keep your mind intact. The feedback from the symbiont would have left you brain dead, or worse. ”
“I see.” Reia nodded, still not sure that this wasn't a dream, or at least proof that she'd gone insane. “This is quite interesting Naruko, but how do I get back to my body?” inquired Reia. “Can I?”
“Soon.” Naruko nodded. “The remaining nanites in your body are repairing the damage done by the initial implantation. Once that is done, I will transfer your mind back. However before we do that I have a favor I need to ask of you.” Naruko turned face to face with Reia.
“Hold on.” Reia interrupted. “Assuming that I'm not imagining all of this, you're talking about holding and transferring my consciousness across interstellar distances. How is that even possible?”
For a moment, Reia could see the mischievous flash in Naruko's eyes that so many people had noticed when the young ensign first reported to Republic. Like a school girl who new a secret. “You really want to know?”
“YES!” Reia nodded.
“Then you'll have to do exactly as I tell you.”
Reia returned with a smile remembering the promise she made long ago, “I'm listening.”
“Good. First, you need to get off DS9 Undetected. Then comes the hard part.”
—[Starbase 185, Docking Bay 12]— —[Stardate: 58866.78]—
Reia slowly exited the airlock, amazed at her good fortune in getting this far. Surprisingly, 'Naruko's' instructions hadn't let her put a foot wrong yet, and Reia was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Taking a good look around the Starbase's ventral cargo bay, apparently used for commercial and industrial traffic, she was caught by surprise when a humanoid hand took her by the arm, pulling her into one of the loading area's many shadows.
The man who had grabbed Reia wore operations gold, and the pins on his collar marked him as a low-ranking crewman. Just the kind of person that everyone else was used to ignoring. He turned to face Reia and softly whispered in her ear, “We have to move quickly, follow me.”
Reia just nodded as the two made a discrete exit.
They soon came to a little used storage room and slipped inside.
“You must be Lieutenant Rizzo.” Reia observed.
Rizzo gave a nod as he looked around for anyone else; He handed her a bag, taking a position near the entrance.
“There is a uniform to change into, as well a dermal masking agent. You'll need it to cover your spots.” As Reia looked on absorbing what details she could, Rizzo slipped a small pill from his pocket into his hand and gave it to the Trill. “Swallow that, and wait 20 minutes,” he instructed. “It'll change the color of your hair. Starfleet security has your face posted all over this sector.”
Reia looked at the pill and other devices as they were handed to her. “That's nice to hear.” She noticed the uniform she was changing into was command red. “I thought I was posing as an inspection engineer?”
“Change of plans,” Rizzo clarified. “Commander Malkinize has been delayed, So we have to act without him.” Rizzo paused for a second to take another peek around the corner, “You're taking his place. Now if you don't mind please hurry.”
“Great.” Commented Reia; walking deeper into the storage room to find a place to change. Several minutes passed before Reia reappeared. Her hair now blonde and placed neatly into a bun. The red collared uniform was expertly tailored. She approached Rizzo. “Well?”
Rizzo pulled out three pips and handed them to Reia. “Garrick's work speaks for itself,” he commented. Then he continued. “As of now, you are Commander Rachel Young. Welcome to The Organization.”
Reia looked into Rizzo's eyes as she tried to put the pieces together. “Let me get one thing straight here, I am not part of your gang or whatever you call it. I'm only doing this because I made a promise to a friend. Once this is done, I'm going back to my old life. Understood?”
Rizzo nodded in acceptance, “Understood, Ma'am.”
Reia placed the pips neatly on her collar, “Good, now what is the plan?” she inquired.
“We'll discuss that on the way to the Aeolus.” Added Rizzo
Reia sounding not too sure of herself, “Since I'm taking Commander Malkinize's place, I take it I have to take command of the Aeolus?”
“I know it's not what you were supposed to do for this us, but it's the best shot we've got for now.” Rizzo's words did not reassure Reia.
“Most of the crew of the Aeolus is regular Starfleet crew. Only select members of the senior staff and some hand-picked junior officers are part of The Organization.”
Rizzo kept his pace steady as the pair passed a small unit of station security. “Aeolus' Chief Engineer and Security Chief are with us. We'll have to deal with the rest of the senior staff.”
“Wonderful,” Reia quipped. “At least you made it easy for me. You do realize that I'm not even TRAINED for Intel work, don't you?”
Rizzo continued, seeming not to hear her. “As for the junior officers we'll see what they will do when the time comes.”
Reia stopped dead in the corridor, puling Rizzo close so their voices didn't carry. “Did you hear what I said?” She hissed. “I'm not a Black Shirt, damn it.”
“No,” Rizzo agreed. “But you've got some valuable tech in your guts, and Kuga trusts you. Plus you're the only asset I could pull that scored in the 98th percentile in Advanced Combat Tactics and Strategy at the Academy.”
Reia blinked, dumbfounded, then stutter-stepped to catch up to Rizzo who'd moved on. “You pulled me because of my ACT scores?”
“Pretty much.” Rizzo offered.
Merrick seemed to take the admission in stride. “ You know, if the Captain suspects us, this will be a real short trip.”
“The Engineer has placed a virus in the core of the Aeolus to lock down the bridge and remove the Captain's access to the ship's core functions. Once that happens we will able to beam the senior staff to the brig and take over the ship. Easy as cake.” Stated Rizzo sounding ready for anything that may come up.
“Pie.” She corrected.
Reia shook her head. “Nothing.”
A moment later, Reia halted her movement. Clearly, there was something on her mind.
“Something wrong?” Rizzo asked.
“One thing I would like to know.”
“ONE thing?” Rizzo laughed.
Reia continued, now more than a little put out. “What is The Organization really?” she questioned. “Who are you people, and where did you find Naruko?”
Rizzo sighed a bit. “That's more than one,” he winked. “But I'll answer the first question. “We're a division of Section Thirty One. Okay…more like a cell.”
“Of course you are.” Reia rolled her eyes. “That explains a lot.”
“I know what you're thinking, but we're not all monsters like McCain, and he has to be stopped before he has his way.” Comforted Rizzo.
For a moment the universe stopped. “You mean that bastard isn't dead?”
Rizzo did't answer. He just shook his head in the negative.
Reia nodded, her mind made up. “Lead on then.”
The two approached the airlock of the Aeolus, only to admire the beauty of her. “What class is she?” inquired Reia.
“She is a prototype; her design elements are similar to the famous constitution class, but much larger. Crew complement four hundred, about five hundred meters long. Top speed warp nine point nine eight, and equipped with a drone tachyon detection system, to detect cloaked ships when it's deployed.”
Reia paused for a moment to take in the view. 'Such a shame that my first command I have to hijack a ship to get it.' She thought to herself.
—[Several Minutes Later]— —[USS Aeolus, Bridge]—
The doors to the turbolift open reliving Reia, and Rizzo to the bridge of the Aeolus. The Captain of the Aeolus stood up to greet the two.
“Ah, glad you could join us Commander Young. I'm Captain Engel, welcome aboard.” He said with a smile.
“Thank You, Captain and a very fine ship you have here.” Added Reia.
“Thank You Commander, Now if you don't mind taking a seat, we'll get underway.” suggested Engel.
“Not at all Captain.”
—[Main Engineering]— —[Stardate: 58872.14]—
The doors to main engineering opened up as Reia approached the Chief Engineer who was quite busy tasking other officers with duties. “A word?” she asked.
“Of course Commander.” Replied Lieutenant Commander Orrick, the Aeolus' resident miracle worker. the two walked off to the Chief's Office.
“We are to rendezvous with the Coeus in thirty six hours.” Reia explained. She paused when her comm. badge gave two short beeps. “Shit.”
She looked at the now confused Lieutenant Commander.
“Looks like there's another 'change in our plans'. Those beeps were a signal. Rizzo thinks the Command Staff might be onto us.”
Orrick threw out an afterthought, “This will be bad if a fire fight breaks out on the ship. And the Captain will have the support of most of the crew. Minus a few in Tactical.”
Reia gave a smirk. “The key is getting them to want to leave.”
Orrick instantly began shaking his head.
“Can you fake a warp core breech?”
Orrick let out a chuckle at the thought of all the chaos, “Can I? Sure.” He explained. “Will I or SHOULD I? I don't think you know who you're talking to missy.”
In that instant of understanding, Reia's comm. badge beeped again.
Calling from the bridge, the voice of Lieutenant Anders, the Ops Officer on duty crackled over Reia's commbadge.
“Commander Young, Captain Engel and few security officers just left the bridge and heading your way.”
“Where are you now?” inquired Reia.
“I'm with Rizzo at the moment. Supposedly escorting him to the brig.”
Reia gave a smile, “Good, you and Rizzo get the rest of the team ready, we're going to fake a core breach. Make sure the crew gets off the ship.”
“What about you?”
“I'll handle the Captain myself.” Stated Reia.
Orrick shook his head at the thought, “Not alone you won't.” Orrick stepped out of the enclave and yelled. “O'Connor! get over here!”
A moment later, a fresh-faced ensign who's hair was a mass of tight red curls came rushing over. “Yes sir?”
“Ensign I want you to accompany the Commander here, follow her orders as they were mine.”
“Aye Sir?!” replied O'Connor sounding a bit confused.
Reia placed her hand on the young ensign's shoulder, “Don't worry Ensign you'll be fine.” She added a smile to reassure the ensign, but in truth she was making up the whole thing as she went along. 'Damn you, Naruko.' She cursed silently. 'You better be worth all this.' Then she made for the port side exit. “Come on O'Connor, we got work to do.”
–[Few minutes later]— —[Deck 18]—
“Where are we going?” inquired O'Connor
Reia and the young Ensign ran down the corridors of deck eighteen. “Finding a place to set a trap.” She replied.
Reia and the Ensign came to a stop when Reia spotted the doors to the shuttle bay. “Perfect.”
The two entered the shuttle bay to find it empty. Reia took her comm badge off and threw it towards the middle of the room. She then looked towards O'Connor, “See that control room up there?” she asked, pointing the way for O'Connor.
“Yes.” He nodded
“After the Captain leaves the bay. I need you need to seal the doors.” Ordered Reia
“Aye, but where will you be?” inquired O'Connor.
“I'll be hiding in the corridor. Soon as he enters the shuttle bay I'll be placing a force field at the junction. With some luck we'll trap him and the security team without firing a shot.” Explained Reia.
A few minutes passed by as Reia waited, poised in a recessed Jeffries tube alcove, just outside the shuttle bay. Seconds later she could hear the voice of Captain Engel, shouting orders as he made his approach.
“Make sure phasers are on stun! I want her alive for questioning.”
“Yes, Sir!” replied the security team.
The doors to the shuttle bay opened once more. Reia quickly rose from her hiding place and began to interact with a nearby interface. She made several attempts but unfortunately, the same computer crash that was keeping the Captain from controlling the ship was also keeping her from doing what she wanted to. 'Come on' she whispered to herself in frustration.
After several seconds of repeating attempts, Reia slapped the obstinate panel with her hand. As if by magic, the computer spoke. “Command Override Accepted.”
At that moment Captain Engel, hearing the computer's response, had realized that Reia was not in the shuttle bay. He saw the active badge, apparently relaying her voice from somewhere else. He moved to the center of the room, picking up the badge. “Son of a…!” He threw the comm badge to the ground and stormed out of the shuttlebay only to be thrown to the ground from the impact of the force field that now blocked his exit.
Equally surprised, the two loyal tactical crewmen helped their captain to his feet. Engle glared at the sparkling blue field in front of him. “Computer! Shut down force field on junction C, deck eighteen.”
“Command not found.” Replied the computer coldly.
The Captain mumbled something not heard under his breath as he now attempted to return to the shuttle bay only to be blocked by the doors shut and, he assumed, locked doors. He sighed as he addressed the computer once more. “Computer release all locks and hatches to shuttle bay two. command override delta twelve gamma four.”
“A level two clearance or higher is required.” Replied the computer coldly.
The Captain smashed his fist against the cold, smooth metal surface of the corridor in rage.
Reia soon stepped out from the alcove where she'd worked her magic and made her stand in front of the force field. She looked towards Engel with a smile. “Checkmate, Captain.”
Engel grunts under his breath, “Smart move Commander Young, or is that your real name?” he inquired.
“I'd tell you, but that's not in the cards.” Replied Reia.
“So what do you plan on doing with my ship?” questioned Engel
Reia sizzled at the inquiry a bit. “You don't run too many holo novels now do you? Wonder why the bad guys always loose? They always spill their master plan to the good guy. Not gonna do that.”
Reia paced back and forth in front of the field as Engle's frustration continued to build.
“Of course, in this case, and I am the good guy in this story, at least I think I am, so if I were you, or…well, me, I'd just keep quiet. Sound good?”
“You just keep playing with fire don't you?” provoked Captain Engel. “There are what? A DOZEN of you people on this ship? Just how do you think you're even going to get out of the system before you get stopped?” Engle's face reddened as he let his temper go.
“You better space me now, 'Young'. 'Cause if you don't, I'm going to choke the life out of you with my bare hands!”
The corridors darkenned as the red alert siren fired off. Reia cupped her ear towards Captain Engel making a sarcastic reply. “I'M SORRY IT'S KIND OFF NOISELY IN HERE COULD YOU REPEAT THAT.”
Captain Engel flashed grin towards Reia.
“Warp Core Breech Eminent. Please proceed to the nearest escape pod.” Announced the computer.
“Well, that's my cue Captain. I would love to chat more, but as you can see I've got my hands full.” Added Reia
“You're a dead woman, Commander! Whoever you are! You'll pay for this!” yelled Captain Engel with the rage of a thousand burning suns.
Reia waved goodbye as she ran down the corridor heading for engineering.
Lieutenant Reia Merrick
Rogue Starfleet Officer